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[P]
Under the Skin of Anti-Americanism

By Best Ace in Op-Ed
Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:48:06 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

`How do I respond when I see that in some Islamic countries there is vitriolic hatred for America?' asked President Bush last week. `I'll tell you how I respond. I'm amazed. I just can't believe it because I know how good we are.'


Those like Mr. Bush, who are finding it hard to comprehend the scale of, let alone the reasons for, vehement anti-Americanism often attribute it to a hatred of Westernism, and everything this term evokes. This hatred is generally extended to include democracy, freedom of speech and of association, equality of women and men, and other notions of justice and liberty that we hold so dear in the West.

Relative to any other explanations, this one is comforting to the West: by passing off hatred of the West as a hatred of Western life, it can dismiss such feelings as irrational and continue blindly on its merry way without being forced into a deep and radical appraisal of its past actions abroad.

However, such explanations for hatred of the West are misleading and are being used to justify damaging policies. Even worse, they do nothing to diminish the underlying causes of anti-Americanism, but instead do the complete opposite. A journey of a thousand miles only begins with one step if that step is in the right direction.

Osama Bin Laden has already articulated his reasons for his hatred of America, namely, the Palestine-Israeli conflict, the existence of US troops in Saudi Arabia, and the on-going sanctions in Iraq. Given that in all three cases, the victims of US policy are Muslims, it is difficult to counter the perception that the US and its allies are not waging a war on terrorism, but instead are fighting Islam. In Bin Laden's own words, `These incidents divided the entire world into two regions - one of faith where there is no hypocrisy, and another of infidelity, from which we hope God will protect us.'

And indeed the world is beginning to divide, between those with sympathies with Bin Laden (his causes and rhetoric, if not his modus operandi), and those who are blinded by the outrageous atrocities of September 11 and cannot begin to countenance the fact that Bin Laden may actually have a point.

The upshot of this split is that in the Middle East, Bin Laden has become a hero. Thousands of middle-class graduates from Cairo to Riyadh to Lahore listen to his every word, and countless more refugees in the West Bank and Baghdad burn the Stars and Stripes and chant 'Death to America'. Meanwhile in the West, Bin Laden is Public Enemy Number One, politicians' popularity ratings soar through the roof, and an overwhelming consensus is in favor of bombing Afghanistan.

It is exactly this failure of both sides to understand the other that serves to accentuate Bin Laden's division of the world. Indeed when US actions in the three cases cited are examined with any semblance of objectivity, it is difficult to disagree with Bin Laden's description of the West as being hypocritical.

In Saudi Arabia, for example, the presence of US forces is ostensibly justified on the basis of defending the country against Iraqi aggression, and on securing oil supplies from the region. In reality, the US troops are propping up a despotic monarchy that cares little for human rights, and whose women are treated marginally better than those under the control of the Taliban. This is how the US upholds American values of freedom, liberty and democracy abroad, but this is OK, because Bush knows `how good we are'.

Or take the US policies in Iraq. Sanctions there, now in their eleventh year, have been an abject failure. To quote Bin Laden again, `One million Iraqi children have thus far died in Iraq although they did not do anything wrong... [For the West] this is not a crime, but rather a debatable issue'. If sanctions are maintained to prevent Saddam Hussein from killing his own people, then why are Turkish atrocities against the Kurds rewarded with NATO membership and financial and military aid? Or if the sanctions are to prevent the development of nuclear weapons, then why are Israel and Pakistan not isolated and sanctioned for having developed these weapons? Or perhaps the sanctions are maintained to prevent the development of biological weapons. In which case, why is it acceptable for the US to reject a protocol designed to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention?

It is these double standards that leads Bin Laden to accuse the West of hypocrisy, and allows the Muslim world to be such fertile ground for his rhetoric. And it is the failure of the West to understand this that leads Bush to say things like, `I just can't believe it because I know how good we are.' British Prime Minister, Tony Blair began to realize this when he said, `One thing becoming increasingly clear to me is the need to upgrade our media and public opinion operations in the Arab and Muslim world'.

He can make a start by upgrading his foreign policies in those very same areas.

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Under the Skin of Anti-Americanism | 293 comments (288 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
everybody hates the richest and the strongest (3.29 / 44) (#2)
by theantix on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 08:49:32 PM EST

those are the real reasons for anti-americanism. America is hated because it is the only superpower in the world, and can't please everyone. For every one of the points mentioned that are critical of US foreign activity (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel) there are good defenses for those policies, and everyone knows them. I'm not going to list them all one-by-one because the reaons are so obvious and can be found everywhere in the media. People have a bone to pick with these areas and blame America for taking a stand.

Then, they take the areas that the US has been inactive (Tibet, Turkey, Kashmir) and blame the US for not taking a stand. Well, you can't have it both ways... the US stands up for Muslims in Kuwait and Bosnia, and this was ignored by the Muslim anti-americans because it was not useful to their cause. I've never heard Bin Laden mention those ones in his speeches!

Intellectuals like to prove how smart they are by criticizing every single action that the Americans take... it pisses me off. I don't support all of the things that the Americans do -- who does? -- but this continuing anti-americanism at every step is tiring and non-productive, because much of it is done simply for the sake of criticizing.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!

Whatever. (3.75 / 4) (#5)
by Dlugar on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:19:46 PM EST

everybody hates the richest and the strongest
those are the real reasons for anti-americanism.
I severely doubt that. First of all, you never see Tibetians or Turkeyans or Kashmirans bombing the United States. Certainly much of the criticizing of the United States is done simply for the sake of criticizing, and certainly people will have problems with the United States no matter what they do, but you cannot deny that there are some serious rational arguments against some of the actions the United States has taken. Feel free to argue those actions to death, but to say that it's "because of how good we are," is simply avoiding the question.

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
Yes! (1.00 / 1) (#13)
by sasha on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:25:54 PM EST

It's often tempting to write off anti-American sentiment abroad as merely envy of the lifestyle/wealth/strength/whatnot, but unfortunately that's just avoiding the essense of the issue. This very good article tried to shed some light on that, and the comment by this theantix gentleman merely serves as its diametrical antithesis.


--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
[ Parent ]

Its not the money/power... (5.00 / 4) (#21)
by Sikpup on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:48:43 PM EST

its the interference in the internal affairs of other countries. The US doesn't leave well enough alone. Its one thing to tell a country "We aren't happy with what you are doing." and interfering in their internal affairs.

For example, the incident portrayed in "The Falcon and the Snowman" - the US was interfering with the electoral process in Australia.

While in Korea, I noticed a heavy dislike/hatred of Americans by the college crowd, including being accosted on the street by a few. The situations were diffused by questioning wether they were pissed with me personally, or with my government. This followed by a few rounds of soju (sp?) eased a good bit of tension, and was quite educational for me as well.

As long as the US interferes directly in others internal politics, there will be a deep resentment of its interference.



[ Parent ]
Do or don't? (none / 0) (#169)
by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:15:36 PM EST

As long as the US interferes directly in others internal politics, there will be a deep resentment of its interference.

Of course, in cases where the US has left well enough alone, there has sometimes been deep resentment of its failure to get involved. I've seen US Bosnia and Kosovo policies decried in the same breath (without any mention of the Serbs).

[ Parent ]

quite true (none / 0) (#229)
by Sikpup on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:02:37 PM EST

My personal opinion is that the European nations should have stepped up to the plate on this one immediately.

I think everyone stayed to the side in light of the way US support went for "helping out" in Somalia, etc. Not much comfort to the victims however.



[ Parent ]
Korea (none / 0) (#179)
by galazi on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:40:25 PM EST

Your comment about the Korean (I assume South Korean) college crowd is interesting. The "love US individuals/hate the US government" feeling is common in many countries where the causes for a dislike of the US are fairly easy to unearth.

I have no experience of Korea, however, and would be interested to know what exactly is it about the US that the Koreans find so objectionable? Is the US interfering with Korean internal politics?

[ Parent ]
A variety of objections (none / 0) (#228)
by Sikpup on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:00:20 PM EST

There are the usual resentments of a foreign military presence in any country. The British were not entirely fond of the US presence during WWII - "overpaid, overfed, over sexed, and over here".

The corruption of their own government is a least partially blamed on US policies. I can't state wether or not that is true, but it seems to be the perception.

I don't know that we directly interfere with their government, but I'm sure our military support is used to "nudge" them in the desired direction from time to time.

Also, a few companies have definately created problems. Nike pulled out once Korea became sucessful and relocated (I don't remember where - Taiwan or Malasia?) dumping ALL of the local employees out of work. Not exactly loyal treatment of a loyal workforce in a society where said loyalty is a virtue (not unlike the US in the 50's and 60's) rather that a liability to some bean counter.

Once you get to know them, one finds them very similar, they love the internet, learning (highest Phd per capita in the world), socializing, etc. This has been my experience through most of the world.



[ Parent ]
No! (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by theantix on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:44:46 AM EST

It's often tempting to write off anti-American sentiment abroad as merely envy of the lifestyle/wealth/strength/whatnot, but unfortunately that's just avoiding the essense of the issue. This very good article tried to shed some light on that, and the comment by this theantix gentleman merely serves as its diametrical antithesis.
No, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that whatever action the US takes or does not, they will be criticized simply because they are the strongest and richest, and everybody wants them on their side. This is true regardless of the actual action or inaction taken by the Americans. That's what pisses me off...

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
Ahem (1.00 / 1) (#148)
by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:06:43 PM EST

I am saying that whatever action the US takes or does not, they will be criticized simply because they are the strongest and richest, and everybody wants them on their side.

This is a very intuitive way of freeing yourself from a feeling of responsibility for anything that goes on abroad as a result of American policy - no matter what we do, someone thinks it's wrong, so who cares, let's do whatever we want!

Unfortunately, this rigid dogma doesn't hold up in practise. But it takes a while for this truth to manifest itself.


--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
[ Parent ]

Feh (2.87 / 8) (#6)
by J'raxis on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:21:30 PM EST

Let’s suppose I spent most of my life working for charity then went on a psychotic killing spree. How do you think I would be remembered?

The U.S. may do a few good things but they do not make up for the atrocities.

— The Raxis

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

Err. (3.50 / 8) (#12)
by sasha on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:19:20 PM EST

For every one of the points mentioned that are critical of US foreign activity (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel) there are good defenses for those policies, and everyone knows them. I'm not going to list them all one-by-one because the reaons are so obvious and can be found everywhere in the media. People have a bone to pick with these areas and blame America for taking a stand.

The exact reason these "defenses" exist is because they are not rational or credible. There's a dubious irony to saying that these rationales are ostensible and obvious because they are in the mass-media, to say the least! There is no defense for these policies; they advance American imperialism. Period. That qualifies as a 'defense' in the US, but not elsewhere (except in places that also have a stake in it for the same reason).

the US stands up for Muslims in Kuwait

I don't know that the US did much to stand up for Muslims in Kuwait. First of all, Kuwait before the Gulf War (and after) was one of the most liberal Arab gulf states in terms of adherence to Muslim law and enforcement of Muslim order. I think that speaks volumes about Kuwait's Muslim constituency.

The US intervened on behalf of its oil interests in the Middle East. That's been admitted by the American government itself, as well as by many notable domestic and seemingly conservative/mainstream 'scholars.' Oil. That's it.

Of course, just as his son is doing now, President Bush Sr. at the time settled on the theme of defending "our way of life" when explaining Desert Storm. It doesn't take an elaborate knowledge of the situation to extract the obvious from the rhetoric that surrounded Desert Storm - 'national security', 'commitment to the peace and welfare of our allies'. The defense secretary of the time, Caspar Weinberger, went as far as to declare that what was at stake was the "leadership of the free world to resist the forces of anarchy and tyranny." ... whoa, you have to put it in such apocalyptic terms for domestic consumption, when you could just say taht cheap, plentiful oil and its consumption is the cornerstone of American foreign policy (well, certainly in context). There's no moral or political obligation that demanded this of the US. American forces weren't deployed to Kuwait because it's a nice country that should be defended either. Kuwait might be a nice place, but other nice places have been utterly dissolved in the last half of the 20th century. Think Tibet or something. Where there is not economic interest, it's irrelevant. You could argue that during the Cold War there were places that were of ideaological interest (Communist containment), but obviously that boiled down to economic reasons as well. The cultivation of many southeast Asian 'miracle economies' (Japan, South Korea, and such) under the banner of 'Communist Containment' reflect this pretty well.

And finally, as a sort of synopsis, just as bin Laden does not mention things that he doesn't appear to have a direct vested interest in (Bosnia and Kuwait according to you), the US doesn't mention things it doesn't have an economic interest in in its speeches.


--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
[ Parent ]

read more carefully... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
by theantix on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:30:12 PM EST

I said: "I'm not going to list them all one-by-one because the reasons are so obvious and can be found everywhere in the media."
Instead, you replied to: "I'm not going to list them all one-by-one because the reasons are so obvious because they are found everywhere in the media." by saying "The exact reason these "defenses" exist is because they are not rational or credible. There's a dubious irony to saying that these rationales are ostensible and obvious because they are in the mass-media, to say the least! There is no defense for these policies; they advance American imperialism. Period. That qualifies as a 'defense' in the US, but not elsewhere (except in places that also have a stake in it for the same reason)."

Its a subtle difference, but very important. What I'm saying is that I don't need to defend every area of american foreign policy, but their reasons have defenses, and can be found if you want to find them. I'm tired of arguing them, and don't agree with every policy (specifically the support for Israel). Would you be surprised to know that the US would allow Iraq to bypass sanctions by allowing them to sell oil for food and medical aid? No, I'm sure you know this. But they are still criticized for the sanctions at every step of the way. You know why they exist, I know why they exist. That's what I'm saying.

The US intervened on behalf of its oil interests in the Middle East. That's been admitted by the American government itself, as well as by many notable domestic and seemingly conservative/mainstream 'scholars.' Oil. That's it.
Yes, of course. They saw a Iraq invade another country. It threatened their interests (oil) and had an international justification (invasion). So they acted. Is this a news item, or even a problem? No, its a rational response that should be expected.
Where there is not economic interest, it's irrelevant.
That pretty much sums it up. Would you expect any country to act differently? The americans aren't the bloody UN... they want to defend themselves against threats, be it terrorist threats, economic threats, destabilizing threats (in the cold war). They don't want to get involved in a domestic struggle that doesn't involve them in any way shape or form! Thats the resposibility of the United Nations (which as you know the americans fund almost a 1/4). I don't agree with american action all of the time (in fact in most cases I am against it), but I don't have a problem with them taking action as long as they have justification and international supprt. In this case, they are supported by a wide international coalition, and the UN. Now, if they continue bombing for much longer they will threaten their own support... but that is another story altogether.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
Difference being... (3.50 / 2) (#274)
by Robert S Gormley on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 11:50:31 AM EST

Other countries don't then try to play the World Policeman card as justification for actions, good or bad.

The US would fund the UN almost 25% - *IF* it paid its dues. It doesn't.

[ Parent ]

Yeah! (3.54 / 11) (#20)
by Merc on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:40:38 PM EST

What the hell do they know about our Mid-east policies anyhow! Most of them are towelheads for freak's sake! They're all just jealous because we're rich, free, and have Britney Spears!

Damn right about those intelle.. intile... smart-asses too! If the president says Osama is "the Evil One" well then it's true. He wouldn't lie, he's the president! My gov't says that our reasons for doing stuff like getting rid of the democracy in Chile and putting that Pinochio guy in power were good ones, and their wright, how do I know? They're the freakin' US governmint! They'd never do anything wrong. Besides, any country that names itself after a meal has to be a pretty ass-backward country anyhow!

If you wanna talk bad about the US go the f*ck somewhere else! The first amme.. amind... thingo of the constipitution wasn't meant for people to sh*t all over the USA, it was only meant for people who know how good it is to say there bit!

In short, to everybody who thinks the US could do anything wrong, I have one thing to say to you: USA!, USA!, USA!, USA!, USA!, USA!

/me goes and hides under the bridge, waiting for victims



[ Parent ]
But how much do they hate us for that? (4.85 / 7) (#26)
by khym on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:31:19 AM EST

those are the real reasons for anti-americanism. America is hated because it is the only superpower in the world, and can't please everyone.
Yes, but how much do people hate us for that? As Dulgar pointed out, if that alone were sufficient for WTC type attacks, there'd be a lot more people performing terrorist attacks on the U.S.; since there aren't, there's got to be more to it than that.
For every one of the points mentioned that are critical of US foreign activity (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel) there are good defenses for those policies, and everyone knows them.
For the sake of argument, lets assume that's true. But there's lots of people in the Middle east (and in the U.S. too), who are religious nuts, nationalistic nuts, or both. Our own religious nuts think that backwards subliminal messages are put into rock songs; if a Muslim country were attacking what they considered to be a Christian country, they'd think it was an attack on Christianity, no matter what the circumstances. And the nationalistic nuts know that their country can do no wrong, so it must be the other guy's fault. The religious and nationalistic nuts in the Middle East aren't going to look at things like this rationally.
Well, you can't have it both ways... the US stands up for Muslims in Kuwait and Bosnia, and this was ignored by the Muslim anti-americans because it was not useful to their cause. I've never heard Bin Laden mention those ones in his speeches!
Bin Laden probably believes that saving those Muslims was incidental, and those actions had self serving motivations. Even if someone does hate X, it doesn't mean that they'll never do anything for X, out of ulterior motives. For instance, the Nazi's let some Jews out of Nazi Germany, but this doesn't mean they weren't planning on exterminating them; they let them go in return for the release of German prisoners. (I'm not saying that the U.S. actions are equivalent to that, but that this is a possible way for Bin Laden to be thinking)

But even if the U.S. had done these actions solely for the sake of helping out Muslims, it wouldn't matter, because Bin Laden and company are fanatics who will filter out anything that doesn't agree with their world view.

Given that you believe that U.S. foreign policy is rational, you seem to be thinking that Bin Laden and company have based their emotional responses on rational thought, and thus they can't hate the U.S. for it's foreign policy, which leaves motives like jealousy. But you're making a mistake if you think that fanatics like that are thinking rationally.



--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (4.00 / 3) (#68)
by theantix on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:07:24 PM EST

I seem to have been misrepresented, perhaps I picked the wrong article to vent at! I am sorry if you got the idea that the world hates america out of reasons of jealousy... it was not my intention, nor do I believe it to be true. I think that the general pervasiveness of anti-americanism around the world is due to their sheer size and influence as a sole world superpower, and that they can't be on every side all of the time.
Yes, but how much do people hate us for that? As Dulgar pointed out, if that alone were sufficient for WTC type attacks, there'd be a lot more people performing terrorist attacks on the U.S.; since there aren't, there's got to be more to it than that.
OK, I make a distinction between anti-americanism that is held worldwide, and the violient anti-americanism held by a few. Obviously certain people have taken it a step beyond because they feel more offended in a personal way and are more violent by nature... the Unabomber and Bin Laden's group fall under this nature. It's the same with terrorist all over the world in all of its forms --- but the US casts a wider net because of its sheer size, it has more people that could possibly be pissed off.
For the sake of argument, lets assume that's true. But there's lots of people in the Middle east (and in the U.S. too), who are religious nuts, nationalistic nuts, or both. Our own religious nuts think that backwards subliminal messages are put into rock songs; if a Muslim country were attacking what they considered to be a Christian country, they'd think it was an attack on Christianity, no matter what the circumstances.
I wonder if this is true, I really don't know -- I'm not an American and haven't been exposed to the Christian fundamentalism there. I hope not, but I'll have to concede because you seem to have more direct experience.
Given that you believe that U.S. foreign policy is rational, you seem to be thinking that Bin Laden and company have based their emotional responses on rational thought, and thus they can't hate the U.S. for it's foreign policy, which leaves motives like jealousy. But you're making a mistake if you think that fanatics like that are thinking rationally.
Two problems with this... firstly, I don't think that the motivation for UBL and al-Qaeda is jealousy -- I don't know how this came across, perhaps because it was in the article I was criticizing. I think the motivation was existing anti-americanism (because of the reasons I have stated) that was pushed past the line towards violence by specific grievances.

But yes, I do think that both the Americans, and al-Qaeda are acting in what they feel is their own rational self-interest. I have heard no indications that UBK is a raving psychotic, foaming at the mouth (not that you suggested it). Instead, he has manipulated the anti-americanism feelings in the area to go after his pet cause, in order to push the americans out of the region. Remember, he has given interview for 5 years now... repeatedly saying how cowardly the americans are, and how his main concern was getting troops out of Saudi Arabia (he only jumped on the Kashmir and Palestinian bandwagon in the past weeks to shore up more Muslim support). I believe he rationally calculated that if americans suffered more civilian casualties, they would cowardly back away from the region, and he could install his own set of dictators in the region. It does seem logical in its own way.

But even if the U.S. had done these actions solely for the sake of helping out Muslims, it wouldn't matter, because Bin Laden and company are fanatics who will filter out anything that doesn't agree with their world view.
Agreed, and the Americans are doing the same thing on their own homefront.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
US as non-representative world government (5.00 / 3) (#173)
by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:28:50 PM EST

I think that the general pervasiveness of anti-americanism around the world is due to their sheer size and influence as a sole world superpower, and that they can't be on every side all of the time.

Yeah.

This "sole superpower" stuff boils down to: the US, in today's world, holding almost all the cards, acts as an effective international government, police force and all.

But this government is not representative. It was not elected by the people of the world, and does not pretend to represent them. It represents less than a twentieth of the world's people, and acts solely in their interest.

As our own time-tested principles state, what do you get when a powerful government is not representative? Tyranny! And the response to tyranny is dissent and anger.

[ Parent ]

good point (nt) (none / 0) (#177)
by theantix on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:39:14 PM EST



--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
Excellent (none / 0) (#269)
by sonovel on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 10:36:13 AM EST

Great point.

This is my main reason for not wanting to give the U.N. too much power, since many of its member states are repressive, non-representative regimes.

This argument works against the ICC, as well.

I don't support giving those non-representative regimes power over the civilized world.

Thanks.

[ Parent ]
How about the other side of the coin? (3.53 / 13) (#3)
by tudlio on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 08:54:43 PM EST

It is exactly this failure of both sides to understand the other that serves to accentuate Bin Laden's division of the world.

This statement implies that there are two sides to the story, but you only present one.

I agree that a lack of mutual understanding between the "Islamic world" and the "Western world" is behind much of the growing polarization. I think you do a decent job of presenting the case for anti-American sentiment. What would you suggest for presenting the Americans' case to the Islamic world? Or do you believe that the Americans have no case?

Also, I'd like to know how, exactly, the American troops in Saudi Arabia are propping up the corrupt Saudi government. I'm not asserting it's not true, but I've heard the statement made often without any factual backing. Do you have sources you can cite to back that up?




insert self-deprecatory humor here
The other side of the coin... (4.83 / 6) (#8)
by chipuni on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:26:21 PM EST

You raise two excellent points.

Both the Western World needs to understand the Islamic World, and vice-versa. For good or for bad, though, Kuro5hin mostly reaches the Western World. How to reach the Islamic world would make an excellent article -- but it's really a different one.

Some links that seem to establish that American troops are propping up the Saudi government:

  • This link from CNN as the following quote: "...For some, that mission has evolved into undermining the centuries-long rule of Saudi royalty, its oil sales, and its military dependency on the United States. " (Emphasis mine.)
  • This link from PBS's News Hour goes into detail about why we have troops on the ground in Saudi Arabia. (Short answer: oil.) It does not go into details of why Saudi Arabia allows us to keep troops there, except that "..we have a political relationship with countries such as Saudi Arabia that do date back to FDR and very strong political ties with most of the--and all, actually, of the Arab Gulf states."
  • This link from the Federation of American Scientists is probably the best site to answer your question. Quotes from it include:
    • According to William Quandt, a middle east scholar at the Brookings Institution, "This is not a popular regime. It's a huge patronage system that has spread the wealth around. If you take that away, you could contribute to a political crisis" (New York Times, 23 August 1993).
    • Despite high military spending, Saudi Arabia remains unable to defend itself, principally because of its small population and large territory. There are only about 7 million Saudis, while there are 21 million people in Iraq and 66 million in Iran. The chief of U.S. naval intelligence has said that, regardless of "long-term plans to expand their military with the purchase of equipment..., it is doubtful that the Saudis would be able to counter threats from Iran and Iraq completely. The United States, or a coalition, would have to be called upon again to provide protection or to repel aggression." A prominent Saudi official has said the Gulf War demonstrated that "no matter how built up we become, we can't replace the U.S....The U.S. is our protector."

The last link, in particular, is excellent.
--
Perfection is not reached when nothing more can be added, but only when nothing more can be taken away.
Wisdom for short attention spans.
[ Parent ]

One-sided arguments and Saudi (4.20 / 5) (#10)
by Best Ace on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:48:24 PM EST

This statement implies that there are two sides to the story, but you only present one

Yes, you are absolutely right. I have presented just one side of the argument, (although I have tried to do that in an objective non-inflammatory way). I did this partly because I think the US have a serious case to answer (and certainly more than the 'Islamic world'), and also because I am hoping to write another article giving the other side of the argument.

Also, I'd like to know how, exactly, the American troops in Saudi Arabia are propping up the corrupt Saudi government

Well first off, there is no doubt that the Saudi regime is extremely oppressive. Amnesty have written a report 'Saudi Arabia: A Secret State of Suffering'. Someone else has provided other links, but I think it is enough that our troops are there, and that the US has sold the Saudi regime billions of dollars worth of arms. This by itself represents 'support' of the regime.

Note also that it is not just Bin Laden that thinks the the US presence there is disrespectful of Islam.

[ Parent ]

Suadi Arabia / unthinking anti-americanism (4.33 / 3) (#49)
by sonovel on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:48:02 AM EST

You seem to state that OBL wants to make SA a more liberal, less repressive place.

This is, of course, false.

He apparently wants to Talibanize his "holy lands".

So blaming the U.S. for proping up a despotic government may be a fair criticism. But to use this as an explanation of why OBL murders innocents is absurd.

Your logic is "A doesn't like B. A is bad, therefore B is good". It is a total non sequitur.

-----

I think the trap many fall into is that they feel they need to "whitewash" OBL and his acts. They are already anti-U.S. and think that they need to justify the acts of their fellow travelers. This shows the shallowness of much of anti-U.S. "thinking".

A reasonable person might be anti-U.S. for many reasons. But they can also see that the acts of 9/11 cannot be justified by reason. Nor can they be portrayed as anything but acts of barbarity that hurt all of the civilized world.




[ Parent ]
False dilemma: (none / 0) (#176)
by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:37:18 PM EST

"It's either our thugs or OBL's thugs, and our thugs are better."

[ Parent ]

Read what I wrote. (none / 0) (#212)
by sonovel on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:57:10 PM EST

Read what I wrote. Your statement isn't a fair synopsis of my post.



[ Parent ]
You misunderstand me (5.00 / 1) (#191)
by Best Ace on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:11:56 PM EST

'You seem to state that OBL wants to make SA a more liberal, less repressive place'

The point I was illustrating was in response to a question asking how the US was propping up the Saudi regime. I was also pointing out again, as I did in the original article, that this support is a double standard, and that is part of what Bin Laden was referring to when he described Western hypocrisy. I was not suggesting that Bin Laden is mad about US support of the saudi regime by itself. He clearly hates the Saudi regime, even though they are a strict Sharia government.

As regards your final point, I am in no way seeking to justify the acts of September 11, nor am I particularly anti-US. The WTC attacks were a 'barbarity', as you say, but more than that, they were also a manifestation of deep-seated Muslim resentment towards the US. I am just calling on people to not reject everything Bin Laden says, simply because he is insane and a terrorist. Some of what he says is worth listening to, if only because there are so many people in the Middle East hanging on his every word.

[ Parent ]

Re: You misunderstood me (5.00 / 1) (#244)
by tetrax on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 02:11:02 AM EST

"...but more than that, they were also a manifestation of deep-seated Muslim resentment towards the US. I am just calling on people to not reject everything Bin Laden says, simply because he is insane and a terrorist. Some of what he says is worth listening to, if only because there are so many people in the Middle East hanging on his every word."

Woah there Ace, that's one heck of a blanket statement. The vast majority of the Muslim world has completely refuted Osama's words and ways. Saying the WTC monstrosity is inidication of the general "deep-seated Muslim resentment" towards us is saying that the actions of this small group reflect upon the ideas of the millions (billions?) of Muslims out there.. Simply not true.

Let's not forget this guy almost directly killed 6000+ completely innocent people.. This goes directly against the Koran and thus against the legions of Muslims which choose not to pervert its word.
-peter

[ Parent ]
Bin Laden doesn't care about Saudi gov't (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by aonifer on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:03:32 PM EST

Bin Laden is not pissed about Americans propping up a corrupt government. Bin Laden is pissed because there are non-Muslims in the region. Period.

[ Parent ]
that is incorrect. (3.00 / 1) (#80)
by chopper on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:36:56 PM EST

Bin Laden really dislikes the current Saudi government. he believes them to be corrupt and against Islam, despite its oppressive (read: taliban-like) nature. i mean, this is the government that revoked his citizenship and forced him to leave in 1991.

and though Bin Laden is pissed because of the presence of non-muslims in the holy land, who is to blame? maybe the Saudi government for inviting the heathens over? so he definitely hates the Saudi gov't, and America's support of the regime is seen as aiding an enemy.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

From what I understand (3.66 / 9) (#4)
by Phage on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:04:53 PM EST

Which may be very little...
The following are the answers, roughly in the order that you posed them.

Saudi Arabia - your statements are true, but the country is wealthy, does not invade its neighbhours and the citizenry seem to be relatively healthy and content. ie There is no Northern Alliance or Tamil Tigers in Saudi Arabia.

Iraq/Turkey - AFAIK Turkey has never used weapons of mass destruction on the Kurds. (A difference of degree only). Again AFAIK Turkey does not have WMD program. Turkey is a secular state, not controlled by Mullahs. Turkey, until recently, was a mainstay of NATO's strategy by being the southern flank of the former USSR and was therefore given a great deal of benefits (such as the ability to manufacture F16's under license) that were not offered to other NATO allies.

Despite these criticisms, I agree with the tone of your article on the whole, just not with the portrayal of foreign policy being a series of black/white decisions. Compromises and deals are always made in order to further the interests of your country. Where we lose out is that those interests are often in conflict with our ethics and morals.

Or...I could be full of it.


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros

re: "The country is wealthy" (none / 0) (#9)
by symbiotic on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:27:32 PM EST

I am not sure that the wealth is indeed distributed as advertised. There are many people arguing this point vehemently.

[ Parent ]
Turks, Kurds & Saudis (5.00 / 2) (#11)
by Best Ace on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:01:53 PM EST

Like Symbiotic implies, oil riches and a decadent monarchy does not automatically translate into a rich country. The citizenry is most definitely NOT healthy or content. I posted a link in a comment below to an Amnesty report (I'll repost it here

Secondly, Although I'm not an expert in Saudi affairs, I would guess that part of the reason there is no equivalent of the Northern Alliance is that there is no one to support them (unlike the Northern Alliance, who get military and financial backing from Iran, Russia and to a lesser extent, India). Saudi oppression is something that does not make the news.

Thirdly, yes Turkey is secular, but it has still killed in the order of tens of thousands of Kurds, displaced around 2 to 3 million others, destroyed 3500 villages (and also been the largest importer of US arms during the Clinton years).

I accept that there are conflicts and compromises necessary in foreign policy. But this is not for example, a case of US companies getting a contract ahead of a foreign one, it is a case of putting US economic interests ahead of the lives and well-beings of hundreds of thousands of foreigners over the years. That's not just a compromise. It's a sell-out of vast proportions of all US principles that the US holds so dear at home.

[ Parent ]

All quite true (4.33 / 3) (#14)
by Phage on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:33:16 PM EST

(I had no idea. Thanks for the link.)
But you nailed it in your last paragraph.

it is a case of putting US economic interests ahead of the lives and well-beings of hundreds of thousands of foreigners over the years.

The US government is not responsible for their well-being. It is however, responsible for your petrol prices and economy as a whole, ie Your well being. If the US economy wants oil in vast quantities then it must deal with the rulers of the oil producing countries. The west can afford to turn a blind eye to the retail massacre of innocents, but when a country starts a WMD program and threatens US oil by invading a neighbouring state then you can expect action.

The west has signed up with Saudi in order to get oil. It is as simple as that.
Yes these are not the priniciples the US holds dear at home, but we are not at home !


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros
[ Parent ]

not true (none / 0) (#58)
by speek on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:33:13 AM EST

The US government is not responsible for their well-being. It is however, responsible for your petrol prices and economy as a whole, ie Your well being

Dangerous sentiment. Supposedly, the US is not a communistic state, but you would reverse that in one sentence. Free trade shouldn't need to be backed by a big-ass military....

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Pardon ? (none / 0) (#180)
by Phage on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:40:45 PM EST

I'm afraid I don't see the connection.
Deals with the Devil = Communism ?
And you are quite correct that free trade shouldn't need a military presence. But the truth is, it does. Not everything can be bought, and where someone tries to prevent your access to a crtical supply, whether it be water or oil or a sea port, and they cannot be bought, What then ?

All power comes from the barrel of a gun - Mao. And the US is the most powerful nation on the planet, for now.


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros
[ Parent ]

bgfgbfgb (none / 0) (#246)
by speek on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:20:31 PM EST

Stating that the government is responsible for petrol prices is essentially communism.

And, if someone is not willing to sell you something that belongs to them (ie oil), that is their choice. It does not give you a moral right to go and steal it from them.

All power comes from the barrel of a gun - Mao

Yeah, and he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. Being that the US is the most powerful nation means we have many choices. It's sad to see us make stupid ones all the time.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

No, not correct (none / 0) (#258)
by Phage on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 07:58:25 PM EST

The ability of the government to influence the consumer price of anything is the result of policy. Both foreign and domestic. It has nothing to do with communism.

Who said anything about stealing the resources ? What we see here is the Govt. Making a number of decisions to ensure the continued supply of oil to meet your energy needs.
Yes, those decisions are often morally reprehensible, (refer Dubya at Kyoto) but this is the real world where guns and money make the rules. Not morals, not ethics and certainly not you or I.

I certainly agree that it is a sad and terrible way to run a planet. I am genuinely scared as to the possiblity of this conflict becoming and ever-widening spiral of death as more and more of us are drawn into these conflicts.


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros
[ Parent ]

ok, confused arguing what is with what should be (none / 0) (#265)
by speek on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 08:01:23 AM EST

The ability of the government to influence the consumer price of anything is the result of policy.

But, the overt intention to use that ability, not just through policy, but through force, strikes me as being similar to communistic/socialistic control over the economy by the government - particularly when we're talking about such a central element to our economy as oil. Petrol prices are not the responsibility of the government (I live in the US, where I wouldn't normally call it 'petrol'). My well being is not the responsibility of the government. If it were, I'd be pretty damn pissed they aren't doing something to solve my current, personal problems!

Who said anything about stealing the resources

You did:

Not everything can be bought, and where someone tries to prevent your access to a crtical supply, whether it be water or oil or a sea port, and they cannot be bought, What then ?

The implication is clear. Someone won't sell you oil? You've determined oil is critical? No choice but to take action (ie take it by force/steal it).

I'm fully aware of reality - might makes right and all that. I'm not arguing on moral grounds, though it might sound like it. I'm arguing on practical, strategic grounds. If we tried other strategies, that didn't involve guns and force, and if we let go the idea that the government is responsible for delivering oil to our economy, I'm betting we'd be living happier lives right now. That's my bottom line.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Dangerous ground (none / 0) (#182)
by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:42:46 PM EST

Yes these are not the priniciples the US holds dear at home, but we are not at home !

I understand that this statement is well grounded in lots of time-tested political doctrine... but...

...it has the potential to contradict the obvious conclusion that people are people regardless of where they live.

[ Parent ]

Well articulated...+1 for me (3.00 / 7) (#7)
by symbiotic on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:23:46 PM EST

I really like this story. It is well written and well balanced. And when you say "And indeed the world is beginning to divide,..." you are so right... Different countries have very different value systems (even within Western countries there are tremendous differences - see French vs. Americans, or Protestants vs. Catholics in Northern Ireland). Bridging those differences may be difficult, if not impossible. Also, let's not forget that in many countries, illiteracy is very high (I heard 80% in Pakistan tonight on NPR), so it is really difficult to have more influence over those people than the people they have trusted all along - their clergy and teachers.

eh (1.80 / 10) (#15)
by core10k on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:40:56 PM EST

between those with sympathies with Bin Laden (his causes and rhetoric, if not his modus operandi), and those who are blinded by the outrageous atrocities of September 11

How could you say something so disgusting and evil? Really, how do you sleep at night? I can't put my finger on it, but that is the most revolting thing I've heard yet about the terrorist attacks and subsequent military attacks in Afghanistan.



aha (none / 0) (#17)
by core10k on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:59:31 PM EST

Looks like I answered my own question. The fallacy you've commited here is called 'bifurcation' according to infidels.org www.infidels.org

Or perhaps it's "Complex question / Fallacy of interrogation / Fallacy of presupposition" (also on that page). I'm not well enough versed in logic, and they both seem the same to me - but either way, you're being extremely dishonest with your statement.



[ Parent ]
Evil? (none / 0) (#28)
by greenrd on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:25:36 AM EST

You clearly think there is a third rational option, we don't, so we don't agree there is a fallacy there. But you still haven't explained why you found that "evil". I think you just misinterpreted it.


"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 ]

oh...my...god... (none / 0) (#38)
by core10k on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:04:11 AM EST

You mean, there are people who actually think that those are the only two options? Jesus Christ, the American school system has obviously failed.

[ Parent ]
anyways (2.00 / 2) (#40)
by core10k on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:06:57 AM EST

About the evil bit. It's the "either you're WITH the United States, or you're AGAINST us" mentality. I just realized why you'd have trouble understanding that - the propaganda campaign in the US has been particularly successful in this task, and Americans are no longer capable of seeing any other alternative.

[ Parent ]
Please, look at the situation differently (1.00 / 2) (#18)
by HereticMessiah on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:00:11 PM EST

If you're really offended by that, you've missed the point of the article. I would advise you to reread it.

--
Disagree with me? Post a reply.
Think my post's poor or trolling? Rate me down.
[ Parent ]
Slight disagreement (4.00 / 17) (#16)
by localroger on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:54:38 PM EST

This is well-spoken and thoughtful, so +1FP, even though I don't entirely agree with it.

The probable architect of our current miasma is not Bush, but bin Laden. As this article indicates, bin Laden is quite the nut job who simply hates everything Western. It isn't about Palestine or Iraq, and I think it's only a very little about the US in Saudia Arabia. It's really about bikini-clad American girls cavorting on American beaches, an image used in an al Qaida recruitment video.

bin Laden doesn't have a problem with the Jews in Palestine, he has a problem with the Jews in America. He doesn't have a problem with American values in Saudi Arabia, he has a problem with American values in America. He is the exact analogue of our own fundamentalist nut jobs like Jerry Falwell, only there is nothing we can do to appease him because we aren't the "other" because of something we can or should correct but simply because of what we are.

Taliban culture is bin Laden culture. They are forming one of the most repressive societies ever seen. I suppose we could wait and let it implode when they fail to breed because all their women are suffering from vitamin D deficiencies, but such a passive response doesn't seem in keeping with the 9/11 butt-kick we got from bin Laden's happy gang.

The article I linked says bin Laden only wants to kill as many Americans as possible before the inevitable martyrdom overtakes him. You know what the worst thing we could do to him would be? It would be to leave him alive and free. Cut off all his money, all his access, round up and kill as necessary his minions and confederates, but let the little creep himself rot in impotence as we isolate and neutralize him but deny him the fanatic's death he so seems to crave.

Barring that, I say waste his ass not as an example, but as a prophylactic measure. bin Laden didn't sow these dragons' teeth because we dropped any on him. Which is kind of ironic. After Cambodia and Vietnam and Nicaragua and el Salvador and Chile and all the crap we did to Cuba, we get knocked back by some basket case who can't stand the idea of bikini-clad women cavorting somewhere else in the world. It's good to know where your priorities are, folks.

I can haz blog!

Re: slight disagreement (3.66 / 3) (#30)
by Best Ace on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:30:18 AM EST

The article you linked to is interesting, but it is only anther piece of op-ed, just like my own article. The best part of your comment assumes that that article is the 'truth' concerning Bin Laden, whereas the Bin Laden quotes I put in my article (They were from his video address from last week, full translation here) reveal him to be more than a crazed, Western-hating nutter. Now you might say that Bin Laden's talk about Iraq and Palestine is mere propaganda designed to appeal to moderate muslims, but I could say that the statements from your article calling for the deaths of all Americans are also propaganda, designed to appeal to hard-line muslims. I haven't seen al quaida videos of bikini-clad women, but I have seen videos that include all manner of Muslims being killed as a result of Western policies (e.g.Iraqi kids starving to death).

So is he a crazed nutter hating all things Western? Or is he simply concerned with the human rights of his fellow Muslims?

I think the truth is probably somewhere in between. Yes he hates the US, but he is also concerned about these other global issues. As I mentioned in my main article, I think the issue of Bikini-clad women is a side-issue. It's a figleaf behind which the US can ignore its crappy foreign policies and wash its hand of guilt.

[ Parent ]

OBL doesn't believe in human rights. (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by sonovel on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:33:12 AM EST

"Or is he simply concerned with the human rights of his fellow Muslims? "


Perhaps if he cared about human rights, he wouldn't be a driving force behind the Taliban. Reports are now that he has propped up the Taliban to the tune of a hundred million dollars.

You are just nuts if you think that he is pro-human rights.

Or perhaps the Taliban is just misunderstood, boo hoo, poor Taliban.

Whatever.


[ Parent ]
Atrocities (none / 0) (#74)
by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:24:53 PM EST

We all hear about the ones the Taliban commits, but almost never anything about Saudi Arabia. Do you have any evidence to say the frequency or severity of the things the Taliban is doing is so much higher than the Saudis? Or for that matter, that there are more people killed in Afghanistan by the Taliban than in Palestine by the Israelis.

I honestly don't know, but I'm not willing to assume that just because I see the Taliban on TV more often means that they're that much worse.



[ Parent ]
RAWA, UN resolutions (none / 0) (#83)
by sonovel on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:49:10 PM EST

Look up the websites of the Revolutionary Women of Afghanistan.

Look at U.N. resolutions against Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia is bad, not doubt.

The Taliban regime is much worse.

[ Parent ]
Ok (none / 0) (#96)
by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:11:12 PM EST

I'll accept that since I don't have real reason to doubt it. However I won't trust the UN resolutions. The US has been known to veto resolutions against its allies, esp. Israel.



[ Parent ]
Right on the money... (4.00 / 2) (#62)
by 3waygeek on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:47:05 AM EST

He is the exact analogue of our own fundamentalist nut jobs like Jerry Falwell, only there is nothing we can do to appease him because we aren't the "other" because of something we can or should correct but simply because of what we are.

Check out this page; see if you can tell bin Laden from Falwell or Pat Robertson.

[ Parent ]
simplistic anti-americanism misses complexities (3.77 / 9) (#22)
by JetJaguar on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:40:19 AM EST

Ok, I want to put aside the anti-american arguments for a second. This is not to say that these arguments about poor US foreign policy are invalid, but I think they are painting over a lot of issues with an overly broad brush, especially with regard to the religious fanaticism being displayed by some muslims.

There have been a huge number of comments stating that US foreign policy is to blame for the rise of the militant muslim fundementalists. But is this really the case? Religious fundamentalism and fanticism isn't something that is strictly confined to the middle east. It happens everywhere. Hell, I have relatives that would say that I'm two steps removed from devil spawn if they really knew what I thought of their religious beliefs. And yet, there are many Christians with much more sane points of view, that would think very little of where I may depart ways with them.

The same is true of muslims, but Mr. Ace here seems to be making the same grave mistake that Bin Laden himself makes: That all good muslims must be on the side of terrorism and war with the west, and everyone else are infidels worthy only of destruction. The fact of the matter is, there are a great many muslims who strongly disagree with what Bin Laden stands for, his methods, and his interpretation of Islam. In addition, most of these anti-american diatribes completely dismiss the issue of fanaticism, or when they don't, they blame US foreign policy for that too. I just don't buy that argument. I think the case can be made that some US policy decisions could have a hand in giving fanaticism some power, but it is not at the root of it. It's too easy to look to our own backyards and see very nearly the same kind of cries for blood in the name of God (or Allah) for it to be merely the result of bad American foreign policy. Don't forget, our own religious fundamentalists aren't beyond resorting to their own brand of deadly terrorism every now and then.

So, in closing I submit the following question: Is US (or more generally western) policy the sole cause of the troubles in the middle east? Or is it just possible that the fanaticism that we see would still be there regardless of any mistakes we may have made in our relations with muslim nations?

I would think... (none / 0) (#31)
by Zeram on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:45:13 AM EST

that the vast majority of Muslims that disagre with Bin Laden live either in first world countries, where they don't se the daily depravation of other Muslims, or in US controlled areas, like Saudi Arabia, where they can turn a blind eye because of all the American money that is floating around. If you look up a couple of posts at what streetlawyer had to say, he explains quite reasonably, why this is so.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Economic Issue? (4.00 / 2) (#45)
by Merk00 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:18:12 AM EST

So basically, what you're saying is that those who support Bin Laden are poor. This seems to imply that it's much more an economic issue than it is a cultural or political issue. This is entirely different than what Bin Laden claims (US in Saudia Arabia, support of Israel, sanctions against Iraq) or what the US has been claiming (can't stand western culture) and it seems to make more sense. In this context, it appears that those who support Bin Laden would do so because the US and the western world are seen as rich and that they are preventing the Muslim world from becoming richer. Those two factors combined with religious fanaticism could push people to do what happened on September 11.

------
"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
[ Parent ]

here's a couple of points (4.45 / 33) (#27)
by streetlawyer on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:55:19 AM EST

Do you know why there are so many Muslim fundamentalists involved in politics in the Gulf (but none worth speaking of in other Muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia)?

Surprising to say, the answer has nothing to do with Arab racial biology. The reason is similar to the reason why there used to be so many Catholic priests involved in politics in Latin America and Eastern Europe; because there was no other political opposition to the prevailing government.

The Arab states had a chance to form a modernised secular republic. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, it looked very much as if the corrupt monarchies of the region were going to be swept away and replaced by a modernist, secular republic. However, the modernising force was something called the Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party (the forerunner of Saddam Hussein's party of the same name in Iraq). This was a pan-Arab, modernist, socialist, secular movement that really did look like taking power.

However, the Great Powers of the region (the US and UK) did not like the idea of having that much oil under the control of a bunch of Russia-friendly newcomers, and decided that the best alternative was the devil they knew. Hence, Ba'ath was more or less crushed as a political force through the jailing and assassination of its leaders. The only remaining force critical of the government, and therefore the pole round which objectors to the monumental corruption of most Gulf States, were the imams.

So you really have to look at Bin Laden in historical context to understand how we got into this situation. We got into it because, in what seemed at the time to be a sensible, cautious strategy of defending our oil, we systematically destroyed the only chance of a peaceful secular government in the region, thus creating a generation of Arabs who a) had a legitimate grudge against us for interfering in their affairs and b) had no outlets for the expression of their general bad attitude other than ones which systematically pushed them toward hatred of the West.

A lot of libertarians would call this "the law of unintended consequences", and I seem to find myself agreeing with them more and more these days.

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

got URL? (none / 0) (#35)
by Luyseyal on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:39:37 AM EST

Just wondering if you have a favorite URL for this info.
Thanks,
-l

[ Parent ]
our oil? (5.00 / 2) (#196)
by svampa on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:21:05 PM EST

So you really have to look at Bin Laden in historical context to understand how we got into this situation. We got into it because, in what seemed at the time to be a sensible, cautious strategy of defending our oil, we systematically destroyed the only chance of a peaceful secular government in the region,

whose oil?
Perhaps soviets used to call it our oil also.
Perhaps wild natives that inhabit the region call it our oil also.

Perhaps our need of oil worths to protect our oil, that evil soviets used to call our oil and wild natives call our oil, by any mean, changing governments, set up guerillas etc.

Perhaps it seemed at the time sensible, but I'm not very sure if it seemed sensible to wild natives

Perhaps wild natives didn't and don't like the means used, perhaps that's why they hate USA, perhaps that's why USA became an easy target of hate for a religious fanatic.

So we defend our Canal of Panama , so we defend our mines in Chile and Argentina, so we defend our wood resources in Brazil, so we defend our fruit fields in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, So we defended our barricades against the evil soviets in Asia.

Perhaps that's why a lot of people in Hispanoamerica cheered after WTC.

I'll tell you how I respond. I'm amazed. I just can't believe it because I know how good we are.

I'm amazed too, how can an adult say so?, how can a man that leads the most powerfull country answer such nosense?

The most patriotic USA citizen should have to say "Stupid, investigate why, we are risking too much there for such a childish answer".



[ Parent ]
It's certainly not jealousy (2.50 / 10) (#29)
by tombuck on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:28:46 AM EST

I recall seeing a program on the BBC, newsnight it's called.

It was on the night after the attack, and not only featured Americans and other westerners, but a couple of Muslims as well.

I was disturbed by a high-up American basically stating that he couldn't understand hatred towards the US - It must be a truly sad thing to be that jealous.

Jealous? You what?

The anti-american views are rarely due to jealousy. Just look at Israel - definately supporting the wrong side, and therefore getting up a lot of people's backs. Net result? Hatred towards Americans.

This is just one example, admittedly, but just look to America's foreign policy for many, many other reasons why the hatrid is rife.

--
Give me yer cash!

Jealously (none / 0) (#36)
by nobbystyles on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:43:36 AM EST

I think it partly comes into it. Not of America specifically but of the West as whole. I think the muslim world has been suffering from a feeling of cultural inferiority from the 17th century onwards. Mainly in the material sphere but also there seems to be no major intellectual progress in muslim scholarship since then.

The muslim world has been colonised, brutalised, exploited etc but this is because it has underperformed since 17th century and couldn't withstand the depredations of the west...

[ Parent ]
Newsnight coverage WAS odd, wasn't it. (4.50 / 2) (#44)
by squaretorus on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:17:01 AM EST

A number of things expressed on Newsnight during the few days following the 11th were disturbing, if not offensive.

There was a general use of the phrases US, West, Civilised World and America as being entirely interchangable if not equivalent. Equating 'the west' and 'civilised world' is not only WAY off mark, it is wholly offensive.

Many of the senior Americans stated that they simply did not understand anti-american feelings, and felt hurt by them. There are a number of reasons why this shocked me:

1 - As a senior politician it is your JOB to UNDERSTAND that which affects your people. Not understanding is not an option, you don't have to agree, but you have to know the reasons. You don't get away with saying 'ah dunno' in any other area of public life.

2 - The reasons are so obvious in light of recent history in the Gulf. Despite Bill Clintons efforts, the US has done nothing significant to help the situation in the middle east, and plenty to inflame it.

3 - All the presenters were simply taking this without question. There was no 'wait, are you saying that Muslim countries are uncivilised?' or 'why should we assume this is an attack on anything other than the US?' or 'how is this different from Isreal? other than is scale?'


None of this was appropriate on the first day - but we should be seeing these questions being asked by now. Shouldn't we?

[ Parent ]
It was `Question Time` (none / 0) (#51)
by pallex on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:03:43 AM EST

`Newsnight` is a current affairs analysis program.

`Question time` is a panel being asked questions from a studio audience.


[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#55)
by tombuck on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:25:49 AM EST

Newsnight does interviews. QED

Also, Jeremy Paxman would be a slightly different host type for Question Time

--
Give me yer cash!
[ Parent ]

The wrong side. (none / 0) (#52)
by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:11:33 AM EST

The anti-american views are rarely due to jealousy. Just look at Israel - definately supporting the wrong side, and therefore getting up a lot of people's backs. Net result? Hatred towards Americans.

Definately supporting the wrong side! snicker...
So you and I go to a soccer game, you are rooting for the other team which, of course, is definately supporting the wrong side.
My team looses, so me and a gang of soccer fanatics beat you to a bloody pulp. It's your own fault, because you supported the wrong side. Net Result? Hatred towards you.

Honestly though, no matter whether the US is doing right or wrong in the middle east, what do you think would have happened if the US had not supported Israel in the first place. Peace, understanding and prosperity in the region? Perhaps, but much more likely the jews would have been percecuted and displaced yet again. The violence would still be there, but the balance of power would be different and the world would probably be blaming America for not doing anything.

[ Parent ]
There are plenty of places in the world (5.00 / 1) (#94)
by SIGFPE on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:02:14 PM EST

Perhaps, but much more likely the jews would have been percecuted and displaced yet again.
I know lots of Jews in the US. None of them have been 'persecuted' or 'displaced'. The same goes for Jews in the UK and many other countries. I personally find it utterly bizarre that a bunch of nations should get together and make a 'homeland' for members of a particular religion in a place that most people who practice that religion had previously never even been to. (Of course this isn't the fault of the Americans).
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
Naturally. (none / 0) (#107)
by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:45:58 PM EST

I agree, and I purposefully left that whole argument about the creation of Israel out because when the US decided to support Israel it was already there.
But you're right, it doesn't seem like a good idea to me either. However I am not terribly well-versed in that subject but they problaby thought it was a quite reasonable idea at the time.
I mean, the Jews have a historical and religous tie to that area, and as I understand it, at the time the people in the area were mostly nomadic tribes, and they figured there would be no oposition to building a new state there since there were no state there then.

[ Parent ]
I'm not so sure... (5.00 / 1) (#249)
by SIGFPE on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:34:23 PM EST

I mean, the Jews have a historical and religous tie to that area
Now I'm not 100% sure, but it seems to me that some of this is in fact clever propaganda and a rewriting of history. The point is that ties to Israel by most Jews in the world, prior to the formation of the State of Israel, were completely minimal. Yes, talk of Israel appears in Jewish liturgy, for example. But Jews all over the world say "Next year in Jersusalem" without actually going there. The fact is that Jerusualem, for 2000 years, has been a state of mind, not a place. But that liturgy has recently been reinterpreted to provide a rationale for holding land in the Middle East.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
The Holocaust (none / 0) (#175)
by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:37:11 PM EST

I think one of the primary rationales for the carving out of Israel in the first place at the time by Western powers was the aftermath of the Holocaust.

Six million European Jews have been massacred, and the survivors of the concetration camps have absolutely nowhere to go. A vast majority of them do not have a European town to go back to - their parents and other family have been killed, their place of living destroyed, and their country ravaged by war. Western European countries, contrary to popular belief, did not absorb the massive waves of Jewish survivors that people sometimes think they did. These countries were preoccupied with their own concerns, such as recovering from their infrastructural and human casualities of the war. Disposing of the survivors was left mostly to various Western relief agencies, which sent a great deal of them simply to work on collective farm - kibbutz - in Palestine.

I think the astounding plight of Jewish people in World War II weighed heavily on the conscience of Western leaders, as did the momentum of centuries of anti-Semitism. Jews simply did not have a home. They had no government to speak to them, no state in which they could unite as an ethnic and political constituency. This formed the basis for a great deal of anti-Semitism in Europe throughout the ages (in reality, it's a little more complicated than that, I realise).

This played a very important role in the founding of the Israeli state in the late 1940s.


--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
[ Parent ]

Gar (none / 0) (#243)
by strlen on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 01:03:30 AM EST

Jews is not just a religion, it's also ethnic lineage. For the record I'm not a judaist, my family has been that way for several generations, yet we're Jews, by our ethnic lineage, and we can trace our heritage to Prussia.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Of course (none / 0) (#247)
by SIGFPE on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:22:32 PM EST

I'm (ethnically) Jewish myself with ancestors from Latvia. However that strengthens rather than weakens my case.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
.. but (5.00 / 1) (#251)
by strlen on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 04:39:50 PM EST

You were saying that they're creating a nation for a _religion_ rather than an ethnic group. May be the creation of Israel was a mistake, but I could definately see the rationale behind doing so. Why destroy israel? Why not simply return it to the 1947 borders and have it fully integrate the arab population through elimination of any discriminatory laws, and reduce any pre-sumption of a Jewish state from Israel, and simply make it a country sharing a Jewish and Arabic populations.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
I agree... (none / 0) (#252)
by SIGFPE on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 05:41:28 PM EST

...100% with everything you say. Once the mistake has been made, and a new generation of people has appeared, you can't simply delete the nation.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
What's happening in Gaza... (none / 0) (#194)
by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:17:06 PM EST

...isn't like a soccer game. Unless you mean soccer in its original form.

[ Parent ]

No, but what happens around a soccer game... (none / 0) (#224)
by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:49:16 PM EST

... is sometimes frightenly similar to what is happening around Gaza.

[ Parent ]
Profound ambivalence (4.81 / 53) (#32)
by johnny on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:02:39 AM EST

Warning: rambling rant. Not entirely on topic.

I knew people who died in those airplanes, and I know people who worked in the WTC (but did make it out alive). I attended high school within easy walking distance of Ground Zero. As much as any New Yorker, American, or member of the civilized world, I abhor the murders of September 11, and I identify with those who died or lost loved ones. They are my people.

I do not think "we had it coming to us," nor do I think that ANY good will come of this whole mess. Rather I think tensions and intolerance and starvation and war will increase throughout the world. I do not think that bin Ladin's objectives--whether or not any of those objectives are decent-- will be furthered by these horrible murders. This will not be a case of the Fremin defeating House Harkonen, or the Minute Men defeating the British Empire. The rag tag fighters of the Afghan hills (and similar places throughout the world) will loose to the 101st Airborne and its military, paramilitary, police and secret police allies worldwide. It may take 15 years, but they will lose. And millions of people from all nationalities and ages will get dead in the process. I feel pretty confident predicting this.

But I think even worse things may happen along the way. What's worse than losing millions of lives? I am afraid that in the name of "America's New War" humanity may lose much of what I call "civilization." ("America's New War" is he catchy title proffered by some TV News marketing department, I forget which flavor.)

In the USA our Bill of Rights and modes of behavior that I cherish as the very meaning of "Liberty" are being dismantled in the name of "Security." Call me a crackpot, but I believe that the USA is in real danger of becoming a corporate/totalitarian/national security state.

I expect to be challenged on this assertion, but I don't expect to defend these views to those who disagree. Anybody can find and read the text of the "anti-terrorism" measure that passed with only one dissenting vote (God bless Senator Feingold!). Most people don't find this law scary; I think it's terrifying.

Most people think it's time to "rally around the President." I think it's time for national unity, but I also think that President Bush is an unelected dimwitted man, unqualified for the job; a draft dodger; a corporate welfare kleptocrat hand picked by the Big Oil/Military-Prison-Industrial complex and installed by a treasonous Supreme Court in order to further enrich and empower the rich and the powerful. So I fly a flag in solidarity with my brothers and sisters, but I sure as hell don't think the Rhenquist/Scalia silent coup un-happened just because some wacko thugs commandeered some airplanes and destroyed two very tall buildings.

I am 49 years old. I'm proud of the small part that I have played as a citizen of the United States of America. I'm proud to have voted in lots of elections, to have written letters to my Senators and Congressmen, to have marched in anti-Viet Nam War demonstrations, to have served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (in a small poor Musllim village, as it happens). I'm proud to call myself a patriot. Sort of.

But American foreign policy-- virtually all foreign policy since the end of the Marshall Plan before I was born-- disgusts me. It disgusts me because it has always equated American interests abroad with the interests of shareholders in large American corporations, not with everything good and noble in our heritage. American militarism disgusts me. America's oil lust disgusts me. And the image of us--of me and my people, that is-- portrayed in American popular culture like movies, television, advertising, etc is deeply depressing. We project an image of a narcissistic, arrogant, untutored, uncaring, materialistic and shallow people with no notion of physical work or tradition or sacrifice for family. Our vaunted "Indvidualism" is perceived as an infantile self-centeredness. And George Bush is our emblem.

I saw a television commercial a few years ago. It was an ad for some kind of SUV, and featured a scene of this big shiny gas-guzzler with two young, able-bodied, confident-looking white people in the front seats as the vehicle drove, fast, through the dusty unpaved streets of a sun-baked village full of unpainted mud-brick houses. It looked like the village that I lived in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It looked like a village in Afghanistan. Curious and awestruck children chased after the car adoringly, but the driver did not slow down. A quick shot of the villagers' faces made clear that they viewed this tourist excursion as tantamount to an honor from a God-like race. This commercial epitomized for me everything that I despise about my own culture: the hermetically sealed isolation, the arrogance, the equation of ownership of expensive toys like SUVs with "success," the disdain for people who don't live the way we do, the indifference to poor children that might fall under our wheels. . . I said to my wife, "no good will come of this." Unlike George Bush, I have no trouble at all understanding where Anti-American feeling comes from.

So now we face a situation in which the values of those yuppie tourists-- cheap oil, triumphalist consumerism-- have trumped the values of the founders of our Republic: freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, habeus corpus, due process of law, open and accountable government, congressional control of war making, and on and on and on. Instead of being the democracy of peers that America should be (and that we are told that we are on corporate news shows), we are on the precipice of surrendering the very best of the American Idea to the Dick Cheney/Disney/Time Warner/Lockheed/General Dynamics/Operation Infinite Justice/CNN machine.

I am not responsible for the murders of September 11. The American people are not responsible for the murders of September 11.

But we are responsible for our arrogance, for our ignorance, for our support for dictators and repressive governments in the name of cheap oil. We are responsible for the image we project of ourselves, and for our belief that we are entitled to all the economic benefits of transnational capitalism, with none of the concomittant responsibilites that accrue when you start to act as if the whole impoverished world were your own private theme park.

Which leads me to the question: Am I anti-American?

yr frn,
jrs
Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.

Nitpick (3.66 / 3) (#42)
by Merk00 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:10:27 AM EST

Just a bit of a nitpick but it's no longer the 101st Airborne Division. The 101st is now designed as an Air Assault Division. This means they travel via helicopter. The only active Airborne Division is the 82nd.

------
"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
[ Parent ]

eloquent (none / 0) (#280)
by kpeerless on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 11:02:26 PM EST

that says it all. Every kid in every school in every state should read this.

[ Parent ]
Hatred of America (3.21 / 14) (#33)
by nobbystyles on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:33:00 AM EST

Is caused by ignorance on both sides. American citizenry and politicians lack of knowlege and interest in foreign affairs and therefore hijacking of foreign policy by corporates and lobby groups such as the American Israeli groups. This produces bad policy making decisions which causes the roots of this anti-americanism.

But on the other side, a lot of people in the muslim and third world have no real understanding of Americans and their culture and never acknowlege the good things that they have done like intervening in Bosnia and Kosovo to save muslim peoples. They are never willing to give Americans the benefit of the doubt and always think that yanks are directing some vast global conspiracy against their countries to keep them poor whereas a lot of their problems are caused by anti-modernism and backward social and economic policies...

You had me until... (1.00 / 6) (#34)
by Zeram on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:35:22 AM EST

"intervening in Bosnia and Kosovo to save muslim peoples. " America entered Kosovo to prevent it from becomeing a repersentitive socialist government much like those of northern Europe.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Nice claim. (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by br284 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:08:40 AM EST

Care to back it up?

-Chris

[ Parent ]

The facts (1.00 / 1) (#60)
by Zeram on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:40:10 AM EST

We entered under false pretense. The American people were told that we were going to stop genocide against ethnic Albanians. Well after The UN, the FBI, and Spanish officals all failed to find even the slightest hint of genocide or mass graves, Clinton decided to drop some bombs. So then there were all kinds of refugees to plaster all over the news. Then as journalists moved through these camps they came upon droves of women all too happy to claim that they had been raped but Serbian soldiers, but with no proof what so ever. And about this time, and with all this "evidence" America convinced the UN to sell off the rights to the mineral rich mines, which are owned by their government, to foregin companies, there by cutting off the largest source of income for the government there. And to top it all off Slobodan Milosevic was convicted of genocide by the UN, at Americans severe urging. I am not defending Milosevic in anyway, but he didn't do anything that hasn't been done in civil wars throught the world, that America never concerned itself with, and he definitly did not commit genocide. So you tell me, was America trying to in fluence the fate of Kosovo or not?

Here is a choice quote from the annotated comments of the book You are being lied to

Colony Kosovo: Not So Pretty Christian Parenti: freelance writer; author of Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis
"Rather than a multiethnic democracy, Kosovo is shaping up to be a violent, corrupt, free-market colony erected on the foundation of a massive lie."
disinfo.com
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
False charges? (none / 0) (#67)
by br284 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:06:49 PM EST

It seems to me that a bunch of trumped up charges would not be pressed by the world against Milosovic if there was a chance of them not being true. It would be bad for the countries pursuing the matter and the Hague for entertaining them.

So, please explain this: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20011009/wl/war_crimes_milosevic_1.html. It sounds like he was responsible for many deaths and is being tried in the appropriate court.

-chris

[ Parent ]

I never said (none / 0) (#100)
by Zeram on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:20:13 PM EST

that Milosevic was not guilty of crimes. I said that #1 he was not guilty of genocide, as there was not one single mass grave found, not one! And my second point was that worse crimes have been committed in the past, with America turning nairy an eye to it. The biafrian nation comes to mind.

The point I was trying to make was not about wether Americas involvement in Kosovo was right or wrong, but simply that the American government once again lied to us, and went in there with it's own agenda.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Yeah. (none / 0) (#163)
by br284 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:48:21 PM EST

I doubt that Hitler and his immediate henchmen shot all those Jews in WWII personally, too.

(Damn, I just lost due to Godwin. Dagnabit.)

-chris

[ Parent ]
Bad subject. (none / 0) (#75)
by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:24:59 PM EST

Seems to be a lot of opinion and very little fact.

Lets ask the magic q-ball, It will have about as much backing up of it's facts....
Yep, all signs point to global conspiracy orchestrated by the US!

[ Parent ]
Or not... (none / 0) (#88)
by mech9t8 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:52:33 PM EST

Hey look! Disinformation! A UN Court found that there wasn't evidence of genocide in that the primary goals of the murders, rapes, and atrocities committed by the Serbians against the Kosovars was to drive the Kosovars out of the country, not exterminate them all - those acts are more accurately called crimes against humanity or war crimes. So the argument that "the UN couldn't find evidence of genocide" is just using some semantic differences to try to change reality. And there were several mass graves found. So that assertion is just plain wrong. Much more troubling is the way both the far-left and the far-right can't see the world in shades of gret, and must assert that the is always one side that is right and one side that is wrong. And then they pick and choose the evidence that supports their point of view, thus resulting in the two sides getting polarized and each is convinced of their own righteousness. The left read there information sources, the right read there's, and nothing gets decided. Something like the Kosovo situation is a prime example of that. People want to condemn the bombing; fair enough, in many ways it was illegal and perhaps unjustified. But since there wasn't any simple solution that didn't involve violence, the easiest solution is to try to convince everyone that the atrocities weren't happening - if you can do that, you come up with a simple, blank-and-white situation - evil American aggression. Yay! Don't have to think! The atrocities commited against the Kosovars are plentiful and well-documented. The bombing campaign, although it may have accerated the atrocities in the short term, did eventually work: the atrocities were stopped, there is a UN peacekeeping force and temporary government in Kosovo, and the Milosevic regime was replaced by a government from the people. Was it worth the price? Was the worth the civilian deaths from the bombing, the accerated atrocities against the Kosovars? Is the new government in the Kosovo better than what was there before? Are American companies taking advantage of the chaos for their own profits? If there is wealth there, how can we make sure it benefits the people, without lining the pockets of American corporations or corrupt government officials? All those questions need to be considered. The nice part of going into denial about the Kosovo atrocities is you can ignore the really tough questions and blame it all on US corporate greed. But, well, that's just plain incorrect.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]
Or not... (5.00 / 2) (#90)
by mech9t8 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:53:36 PM EST

Hey look! Disinformation!

A UN Court found that there wasn't evidence of genocide in that the primary goals of the murders, rapes, and atrocities committed by the Serbians against the Kosovars was to drive the Kosovars out of the country, not exterminate them all - those acts are more accurately called crimes against humanity or war crimes. So the argument that "the UN couldn't find evidence of genocide" is just using some semantic differences to try to change reality.

And there were several mass graves found. So that assertion is just plain wrong.

Much more troubling is the way both the far-left and the far-right can't see the world in shades of gret, and must assert that the is always one side that is right and one side that is wrong. And then they pick and choose the evidence that supports their point of view, thus resulting in the two sides getting polarized and each is convinced of their own righteousness. The left read there information sources, the right read there's, and nothing gets decided.

Something like the Kosovo situation is a prime example of that. People want to condemn the bombing; fair enough, in many ways it was illegal and perhaps unjustified. But since there wasn't any simple solution that didn't involve violence, the easiest solution is to try to convince everyone that the atrocities weren't happening - if you can do that, you come up with a simple, blank-and-white situation - evil American aggression. Yay! Don't have to think!

The atrocities commited against the Kosovars are plentiful and well-documented. The bombing campaign, although it may have accerated the atrocities in the short term, did eventually work: the atrocities were stopped, there is a UN peacekeeping force and temporary government in Kosovo, and the Milosevic regime was replaced by a government from the people.

Was it worth the price? Was the worth the civilian deaths from the bombing, the accerated atrocities against the Kosovars? Is the new government in the Kosovo better than what was there before? Are American companies taking advantage of the chaos for their own profits? If there is wealth there, how can we make sure it benefits the people, without lining the pockets of American corporations or corrupt government officials?

All those questions need to be considered. The nice part of going into denial about the Kosovo atrocities is you can ignore the really tough questions and blame it all on US corporate greed. But, well, that's just plain incorrect.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

I'm not (none / 0) (#102)
by Zeram on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:27:29 PM EST

making any sort of justification. I am only trying to say that the American government lied about it's reasons for going into Kosovo.

And there were no mass graves found. The largest graves they ever found there had about fix to six people in them, who appered to be of both Serbian and Albanian decent (although it was often hard to tell admittedly) and seemed to have been burried to prevent their corpses from spreading disease.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Recent BBC report: (none / 0) (#112)
by mech9t8 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:28:37 PM EST

The decision comes as authorities in Serbia begin the excavation of another mass grave believed to contain the bodies of around 50 Kosovar Albanians.... Four graves have already been investigated, revealing the remains of 340 victims.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1530000/1530781.stm

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Ok (none / 0) (#115)
by Zeram on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:39:57 PM EST

I am willing to admit that you have something of a point, but it just doesn't gel. If the Serbs found four graves with 340 dead, why didn't the UN, the FBI, or the Spanish investigators find them previously?
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Need more info... (none / 0) (#211)
by mech9t8 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:55:46 PM EST

why didn't the UN, the FBI, or the Spanish investigators find them previously?

I'm not sure... I've never heard of these other failed investigations. Do you have a reference?

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

nuts (5.00 / 1) (#43)
by mami on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:16:19 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Facts about Turkey. (3.70 / 17) (#37)
by exa on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:48:50 AM EST

The article is well written, but the sentence about Turkey is misleading.

Turkey got NATO membership _before_ PKK incidents began in its horrible dimensions.

It's true that Turkish government neglected the needs of the Kurdish people, but it's largely misunderstood abroad due to propoganda. Actually, there are 10-20 million Kurdish people in Turkey. They are not a minority.

The terror broke out because the Southeastern Anatolia suffered from poverty. Terrorist actions though did little to reverse the lack of wealth. Terrorists were supported by our neighbors _and_ European countries to try and decimate or even divide our country.

The terrorist groups were not freedom fighters by any measure, they committed mass murders, slaughtered civilians, women and babies whenever they had the opportunity to. Much like the men of Bin Laden.

In response, the government tried to force down the dissents but _of_ _course_ that did not work out. The army and intelligence too acted with violence and hatred which made the situation a mess.

There were on the other hand no "atrocities against Kurds". The true atrocities began with the actions of the terrorist group PKK which resulted in a death toll of more than 30.000 people from both sides, and it continued as a vendetta between the government and the PKK. These events pretty much went down since PKK leader has been caught.

Thanks,
__
exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

Two words.... (4.50 / 2) (#56)
by mickj on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:29:46 AM EST

Armenian genocide.

Our country still doesn't even acknowledge that it happened.

[ Parent ]

Both sides are guilty (none / 0) (#85)
by exa on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:50:38 PM EST

There are these Ottoman documents that tell about the conflicts with Armenians.

It turns out that Armenians came and slaughtered people in some Turkish towns, in response Turkish forces probably fought militia and then the Turks, knowing that many of them would die, sent the Armenians to exile.

It's not like Turks burnt or slaughtered Armenian civilians but the effect was pretty similar. It looks like neither side was innocent; even though our government and Armenian government claim otherwise.

Whether it occurs under war conditions or not, ethnic cleansing of any sort is inhuman.
__
exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

[ Parent ]
Facts you say? (4.00 / 3) (#82)
by greenrd on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:42:57 PM EST

How can such blatant distortions get modded up to 5? "There were no atrocities against the Kurds" - yeah riiiiiight!

Please don't moderate on things you know fuck all about.

http://directory.google.com/Top/Society/Issues/War,_Weapons_and_Defense/War_Crimes/Kurdish_Genocide/

http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/countries/turkey?OpenView&Start=1&Count=30&Expandall

Turkey's atrocities against the Kurds haven't been covered much in the West, because Turkey is our ally. But right into the Gulf War they were bombing in Kurdish areas, and tens of thousands of people were driven out.
The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many (Interviews with Noam Chomsky)

"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 ]
You're Totally Uneducated (5.00 / 1) (#293)
by oiarsun on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 07:20:07 PM EST

You are rude, insolent and ignorant.
You swear about things that you do not have a clue about.
From tousands of kilometers away you talk about a "Kurdish Genocide" with little subjective references.
You did not see dead bodies, or babies pictured with a bullet hole in their bodies.
The "civilized" Europeans yelled at us while the real genocide was going on at the very heart of Europe - Bosnia. They just look at people getting murdered.
Do not think that "not even one drop of unfair blood had dropped to my lands". Your "civilization" has genocied more than you claim Turkey has done.

Actually I am not falling into the mistakes you have fallen. We know our faults. In the past Turkey has neglected the voice of the Kurdish people, which sooner or later be corrected by Turkey itself. Not the "civilized" westerns. First wipe out the blood you caused then stand for others.

[ Parent ]
exa (none / 0) (#116)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:45:21 PM EST

I appreciate that you probably have very strong feelings about the PKK. However your post states that
There were on the other hand no "atrocities against Kurds"

I've modded you as "1" just for that statement alone. It is completely untrue. I was interested in your point that Terrorists were supported by Turkey's neighbors and Europe (Greece maybe?) but this statement is just a flat out lie.
It's a pity because I have appreciated many of your other comments and posts in which you make many good points. This diminishes you.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]

Umm, no... (4.52 / 25) (#39)
by br284 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:05:35 AM EST

First of all, your analysis regarding Bin Laden's motivations are completely off base...

First off, the Palestinian connection... Bin Laden has only recently started to mention the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a motive for his actions. Where were his comdemnations and support for the Palestinian people before 9/11? It seems quite obvious that he doesn't care a bit about the Israeli oppression and is only looking to supplement his jihad with pro-Palestinian types. So, this is a PR ploy to increase his numbers.

Secondly, the Saudi connection. To suggest that Bin Laden is against American occupation of Saudi Arabia because the USA supports a repressive regime ignores the fact that Bin Laden is supported and protected by a more repressive regime in the Taliban. A case may be made that he doesn't like Americans there period, but to suggest that it is because the regime the Americans support is too repressive is just silly.

Sanctions in Iraq. Once more, I believe that this is a case of Bin Laden trying to take advantage a preexisting aggravation and to use that in his quest against America. To suggest that the Americans are responsible for the starving Iraqis is to ignore the fact that there is an oil-for-food program that is intended to feed the Iraqi people, but because of the actions of the ruling class, these resources do not make it down to the starving, and is used to finance weapon development and keep the current despotic regime in power. If Bin Laden were truly concerned about the starving Iraqis, he might also say/do something with regards to Saddam Hussein and diverting the international funds meant to feed his people.

Now, this is pure speculation, but I believe that the reason Bin Laden is doing what he is doing is some sort of payback or revenge for something that happened after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan. It may be that the American intelligence community stiffed him big time, or failed to come through on certain promises. In any case, I think he is pissed at the USA for some reason unrelated to the causes mentioned above, and is exacting retribution at this moment. Using the current discontent of the Arab peoples is only a means to accomplish his end.

Ultimately, though, to annoit Bin Laden as some sort of Arabic savior that is fighting for Arabs everywhere is to belittle the (sometimes legitimate) problems that the Arabs have with the West by placing a man who is either insane, or really has no care for their causes at the helm of this movement.

-Chris

Very well said (3.40 / 5) (#54)
by Heywood Jablowme on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:24:59 AM EST

I was so infuriated by this article, but didnt know how to respond. Looks like I dont have to though because you stated my feelings on the subject very well.

There is no hope for peace in the middle east because neither side will be happy until the other is completely destroyed. If we turned around and supplied Palestine with arms as opposed to Israel, Palestinians would do the same thing to the Jews that the Jews are doing to them, the only difference is that once Palestine was done wiping out the Jews, they would attack us. We can safely assume that Israel wont do this.

There is no right or wrong in the Middle East, there is only the least atrocious, and that is who we have sided with.



Did you just grab my ass?
[ Parent ]
Yep... (4.00 / 3) (#59)
by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:37:59 AM EST

Plus the US involvment in the Middle east is not only shipping guns to Israel. The US is also trying to exert their influence over Israel to use them against the Palestininas as little as possible.
Of course, it does not always work but still..

Did you just grab my ass?

No sir, from over here that is physically impossible.

[ Parent ]
Re: Palestinian connection (3.83 / 6) (#63)
by ttfkam on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:47:33 AM EST

Osama bin Laden has been speaking out against Israel for many years now. The conflicts on the West Bank were cited when the USS Cole was attacked and the first WTC bombing a few years ago.

The main notable point here is that the order of grievences changes. In those earlier attacks, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict was further down on the list after American military presence in Saudi Arabia and sanctions against Iraq.

Now all three (and others) are rotated in importance in his various speeches. This is no different than the rhetoric of any other politician or religious leader in the world. This does not excuse his actions in aiding and organizing world terrorism, but it is not a new condemnation.

The U.S. populace only took notice of and condemned the actions of the Taliban after it learned recently of the destruction of Buddhist temples. Then the treatment of women was discovered. These types of behavior were occuring five years ago. Where was our condemnation five years ago? Time changes goals for everyone. The changing of primary goals or grievances is not our difference but rather the difference in the overall goals.

With regards to Saudi Arabia and the singling out of the U.S., do we not single out the Taliban even though there are many other repressive regimes in the world (not just the Middle East)? People tend to fixate on one or two targets at a time. The U.S. is the most visible target to many religious extremists right now just as the Taliban and Al Queda are the most visible targets to the West.

With regards to Iraq, the U.N. has noted that sanctions against Iraq are not working as planned. Do we continue a possibly ineffective policy or try to find other options. (Note: this last point I have been playing devil's advocate)

I am not trying to excuse the actions of extremists, but to ignore that there may be another point of view to this story, a point of view shared by many people around the world, is to shut out any hope of ever reaching a period of peace. Peace can only come from understanding and mutual respect. Acknowledging the other point of view whether or not you agree is the first step in understanding.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
Heh heh (3.00 / 1) (#204)
by ttfkam on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:42:49 PM EST

You know that you've struck a nerve when you have all of the numbers from two to five in your moderations.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
:) No... (none / 0) (#245)
by codemonkey_uk on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 04:57:35 AM EST

You know you've hit a nerve when you get all 5's, and 1's, a couple of 0's and a most of the replies are flaming you, or the moderation. :)
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
Any backup? (2.50 / 2) (#81)
by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:41:11 PM EST

You state a number of pretty controversial things in your post:

  • Bin Laden has only recently started to mention the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...
  • It seems quite obvious that he doesn't care a bit about the Israeli oppression
  • [In Saudi Arabia] to suggest that it is because the regime the Americans support is too repressive is just silly
  • [In Iraq] because of the actions of the ruling class, these resources do not make it down to the starving, and is used to finance weapon development and keep the current despotic regime in power.
  • the reason Bin Laden is doing what he is doing is some sort of payback or revenge for something that happened after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan.

I'll give you that the Taliban is a very repressive government and that he supports it. From what I understand, however, Saudi Arabia is only a little less repressive, but the big difference is that the rulers in Saudi Arabia are getting rich off oil while the rest of the population suffers. Since nobody is rich in Afghanistan the rulers aren't getting rich while keeping the people down. Perhaps that's the distinction to him.

For the rest do you have any backup for it, or is it all just speculation?



[ Parent ]
yup. (3.00 / 1) (#161)
by br284 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:45:37 PM EST

Regarding not mentioning the Palestinians. My bad. See my prior post for more explanation on this point. Also see that post for why he doesn't give a shit about the Palestinians.

See the mentioned post for my reply on the Saudi issue.

Regarding Iraq and WMD development, it is common knowledge that Saddam has and continues to engage in active chemical and biological weapon development. Reply and I can dredge up links, or just read about the stuff the UN weapons inspectors had to put up with before being kicked out of Iraq. As far as capital to finance the weapons, this development is not cheap. While money goes in with the UN oil-for-food program, the common people see little of it. Either the UN program is really corrupt, or the monies are being diverted elsewhere. Given that Saddam is developing these weapons, this is a likely source for this money. That or he continues to spend it lavishly on palaces and things like that. I suspect a bit of both. As before, if you (or anyone) truely doubts me, I can look for links that detail this more.

My last point about revenge against the American intelligence community is pure speculation, as stated in my original post.

-chris

[ Parent ]

Saudi, Iraq and Israel (4.00 / 3) (#104)
by Best Ace on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:32:19 PM EST

Right, the original article is Op-ed. It represents my opinions and analysis, and does not purport to be the gospel truth. You are perfectly entitled to your own analysis of the political situation in Saudi/Israel/Iraq, but please do not try and lay it down like your version of events is the gospel truth ('Your analysis... is completely off base').

OK let me address some of your points, as I see them.

Bin Laden has only recently started to mention the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

As I recall, he has been mentioning this since around the time of the USS Cole attack, and maybe even before. Why is it obvious to you that Bin Laden cares nothing about Israeli oppression? If you actually read his speeches, he mentions it fairly regularly. Given the current climate in the West, it is so easy to dismiss anything he says as pure propaganda. Maybe this talk is just a PR exercise. Maybe its easy for Westerners to see that. But that's not the case for those in the Muslim world. Even if (a big if) the West does have right on its side, that counts for nothing if it loses the propaganda war in the Middle East.

I am not an apologist for Bin Laden's words or actions. I am just trying to be objective here, which is nigh on impossible in the Western world right now.

'but to suggest that it is because the regime the Americans support is too repressive is just silly.'

Well there are a few ways of countering this point. I'll just outline a couple without advocating either one of them.

It strikes me that Bin Laden didn't really have a choice. Afghanistan was not his first choice of haven after leaving Saudi. The Sudanese also banished him, and he was running out of countries that would accept his presence. I don't think it's the case that the Taliban is supporting and protecting him. It's more the other way round - he has funded the Taliban to the tune of several hundred million dollars, maybe in return for not being evicted again. Or maybe he sees the Saudi regime as a decadent despotic one that is getting rich at the expense of the ordinary Saudi (not something you can say about the Taliban).

Sanctions in Iraq.

Again, is his rhetoric here just PR, or is he really concerned? I don't know. I don't buy into either the propaganda of the West or of Bin Laden where each takes an extreme position. Even if Bin Laden is a raving madman, it doesn't excuse the effects of US policies in Iraq (Yes they have been crappy policies. I don't buy into your suggestion that the existence of the oil-for-food program assuages US responsibility. US sanctions are still preventing ordinary people from buying food from outside).

'To annoint Bin Laden as some sort of Arabic savior... is insane...'

I don't disagree with you there. Let me repeat that I am no Bin Laden apologist. I am disgusted by what he did on September 11 (if it was him), and he is no spokesman for Islam. However, with Western politicians and the media spewing forth just as much propaganda as Bin Laden is, it is almost impossible for ordinary citizens around the world to have any sense of objectivity or perspective. I would just hope that Bin Laden's words are not dismissed out of hand in the West, given how much weight they carry in the Middle East. He makes valid points about the division of the world into pro- and anti- the effects of Western policies.

[ Parent ]

[more] (4.00 / 2) (#157)
by br284 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:37:44 PM EST

Ok, so your article is op/ed. I still think that your take on things, no matter how much opinion it is, is still completely wrong. Now, to get on to the reply.

Re: only recently mentioning Palestinian conflict... I'll freely admit that this was a goof upon my part. Bin Laden has been mentioning Palestine for some time now. However, it does not detract from my original point. I still maintain that the Palestinian people mean nothing to him other than a way to rally people to his cause. Here's why. If Bin Laden were as concerned about the Palestinians as he says, I think that he would have taken some sort of strong action against Israel. Instead, he goes after the Americans. It makes no sense for me. Also, one must not forget that Jordan has been less than friendly to the Palestinians -- why no attacks against Jordan as per his M.O.? I maintain that if Palestine were anything other than a propaganda cause to him, he would have taken other severe action against Israel or Jordan by this point in time. Bin Laden can shout Palestine all he wants but noone should be fooled to believe that it actually matters to him.

Regarding the repressive Saudi regime... To say that you are fighting to topple a corrupt and restrictive regime while being sheltered and supporting a more repressive one is illogical. Neither of your countering statements annull the fact that Bin Laden chooses to accociate with the repressive Taliban regime. Has he done anything to moderate them? I don't think so. Thus the repressive Saudi regime cannot be a valid reason for his crusade while he continues to assist and recieve shelter from the Taliban.

With regard to Iraq... Despite whatever current US policy is in place, you cannot deny that capital that could serve to feed the population is being sent into the country. The problem continues to be their government spending the majority of it arming themselves and letting the leftovers trickle to the common people. Simply put, the government of Iraq could feed its people, but chooses not to. Other than waging a campaign against Iraq similar to the one in Afghanistan (and toppling Saddam), there is no way that the US can fix the problem of the starving Iraqis while refusing to fund Saddam's programs for weapons of mass destruction.

-Chris

[ Parent ]
Countercountercountercounter.... (4.50 / 2) (#195)
by Woundweavr on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:17:34 PM EST

Afghanistan actually WAS Bin Ladin's first choice as home base. That is where he was trained (by the US going against the USSR, the same place the Taliban military forces trained). He had a strong support base their from the Soviet-Afghan war. It would be near impossible for him to be found there. It was ideal for his purposes.

Despite what Iraq says, they have enough food to feed its people. It actually has an income GREATER than before the Gulf War now, and it is only supposed to spend that on food. Yet none of if gets to the people. This tells you either a) Sadam could never feed his people b) he is using the funds illegally in part for PR effect.



[ Parent ]

further speculation... (4.00 / 2) (#105)
by theantix on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:32:57 PM EST

Now, this is pure speculation, but I believe that the reason Bin Laden is doing what he is doing is some sort of payback or revenge for something that happened after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan. It may be that the American intelligence community stiffed him big time, or failed to come through on certain promises. In any case, I think he is pissed at the USA for some reason unrelated to the causes mentioned above, and is exacting retribution at this moment. Using the current discontent of the Arab peoples is only a means to accomplish his end.
I've been interested in that too, and I have a very unique speculation. I think what pushed Bin Laden over the edge was that the American air bases in Saudi Arabia were built by his own family.

Imagine you hated the americans, and the saudi government already, and spoke out against them. Now add the presence of the Americans in the holy land near Medina and Mecca(his main beef, we all know). Further, add the fact that his own family is the one enabling the americans to build there. Finally, the guilt over having much of his fortune coming from the very things that he hates so much. Is there any wonder that he takes it so personally? Instead of lashing out against his own family, he lashes out against the Americans who he blames for corrupting his own family. And I suspect he enjoys the irony of using America's money against them.

I dunno, maybe I'm taking it a bit too far, but I found it interesting anyhow. Maybe that's the "unrelated reason" that your speculation was missing.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]

Mutually Exclusive (3.86 / 15) (#46)
by Merk00 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:21:35 AM EST

I'm beginning to believe that the beliefs of people such as Bin Laden and those of the Western World are mutually exclusive. We cannot live with him and he cannot live with us. We are not willing to do what would satisfy him (basically leave the Middle East but probably more also). He is not willing to do what would satisfy us (give himself up to justice and swear off terrorism for both him and his followers). This basically puts us at a point where we have no choice but to attempt to destroy him or he will assuredly destroy us. There is no appeasement that will work here nor is there any appeasement that we are willing to do. The problem comes from diameterically opposite beliefs.

------
"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

I keep thinking of this... (4.27 / 18) (#48)
by Mzilikazi on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:41:34 AM EST

Saw this in an article on MSNBC:

"Talk about ironic: the same people always urging us to not blame the victim in rape cases are now saying Uncle Sam wore a short skirt and asked for it."

A bad analogy (3.44 / 9) (#69)
by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:13:02 PM EST

Violated as Americans feel, this isn't a rape. Rape generally involves a huge power imbalance, the rapist is strong, dominant, and uses that dominance against the weaker victim. Is the US weaker than Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda?

No, that's just not the right analogy. Try this one instead: The US is the tough guy on the beach, walking around, kicking sand in people's faces, showing off, and generally being an ass. From behind someone sneaks up and stabs the bully in the back.



[ Parent ]
Uhh, ok. (3.33 / 3) (#140)
by A Trickster Imp on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:43:07 PM EST

> The US is the tough guy on the beach, walking
> around, kicking sand in people's faces, showing
> off, and generally being an ass.


All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?





[ Parent ]
argh! (3.62 / 8) (#73)
by lurker4hire on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:23:50 PM EST

I am sick and tired of hearing america being compared to a rape victim.

When a woman wears a short skirt, sexy clothes, or whatever floats your boat... she is not doing anything to hurt anybody. It is her personal choice and she has the right to wear whatever she wants whatever her reasons. If a man cannot control himself such that when he sees a scantily clad woman he has to rape her, then there is a problem with the man, not the woman.

I am no expert on foreign policy, but even I can see the difference. US foreign policy has routinely supported actions that ,if they were the actions of another government against the US, would be called 'acts of war' or attacks against the very fabric of western democratic civilization. Actions that have been, in many cases, violent. This is no mean comparable to the passive act of wearing alluring clothing.

There is a VAST difference between the simple personal act of wearing a short skirt (or even just being a woman), and a foreign policy which advances US interests with little or no regard for people who are not american.


[ Parent ]
But didn't you hear Bush?? (3.00 / 6) (#76)
by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:28:02 PM EST

<sarcasm>

He said they hate us because of our freedom! They're just jealous of Britney Spears and Coca-cola!


</sarcasm>

[ Parent ]
It's not that simple though... (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by TheCaptain on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:58:46 PM EST

They attacked innocent people who had nothing to do with the foriegn policy that they have such problems with. If they have a problem with our foreign policy, than take it up with the people who put it in place.

Those people no less innocent than any woman who goes out wearing a short skirt in the example stated. Some weren't even American citizens, and yes...some were innocent kids. (I know...I know...everyone here hates the "save the children" arguement...especially when it applies. They had/have nothing to do with foreign policy though.)

[ Parent ]
Though in a weird way it is. (3.50 / 2) (#98)
by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:15:55 PM EST

With a dictature it's simpler, we can say it is not the fault of the Iraqi people, it's Saddams fault.

However with the US wich is a democracy (let's put all arguments about misrepresentation and the government being puppets for corporations with lots of money for now), you cannot simply hold the government responsible since they are meant to me elected to serve the will of the people.
So ultimately the people is accountable for the actions of it's government.

But then of course, since children cannot vote, that still excludes them...

[ Parent ]
Women and children first, kill the rest later... (2.00 / 1) (#119)
by wnight on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:03:00 PM EST

If you have a problem with the idea of slaughtering innocents in great numbers instead of dealing with the few people at the top, I suggest you talk with your government.

The US government killed how many Iraqi soldiers in the Gulf war? Tell me, how many of them voluntarily signed up, and how many were drafted or threatened into joining?

Didn't stop the US from killing them and purposefully leaving Sadam alive. It's the US policy to not kill foreign leaders, even in time of war. Instead they try to destroy the leader's power base which is a nice euphamism for killing all their subjects.

The reason they don't remove the leader is that they'd then have to deal with the replacement leader and if they dicked them around again, they'd face another war. If they remove that leader's power (by killing their army and destroying the country's infrastructure) then they can deal with the same person, conveniently humbled.

As long as the US uses this policy, I can't really see much difference between Bush Sr. (and now Jr.) and Sadam. Sure they're nicer, but only because they can be and get their way. They're both willing to kill thousands of innocents to achieve their goals.


[ Parent ]
Leader vs. Subjects (5.00 / 1) (#136)
by A Trickster Imp on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:35:41 PM EST

I do agree that it would be more just to take out the leader rather than to plow through 100,000+ (is the number) and leave the leader alive. However, taking out Saddam directly might have brought greater rage against the US as "they killed an Islam leader!" is much more meaningful to the local nations' hoi polloi than "they killed 100,000 peasants and but thankfully left Saddam alive!"


> I can't really see much difference...They're
> [Saddam and Geo. Sr.]'re both
> willing to kill thousands of innocents to
> achieve their goals.

You have deliberately voided the difference to pretend not to see it. In addition, you suggest a fantasy world where we could magically oust Saddam's forces without killing or injuring any of them. Or just do nothing. Or wait for sanctions that, while still in place in addition to massive military damage, haven't prevented him from rebuilding, much less would have forced his voluntary withdrawal.

As for the difference, if someone grabs an innocent as protection and still continues to threaten me, it is regrettable that the innocent may be injured as I defend myself, but I have every right to do so.










[ Parent ]
Leaders and subjects, not leaders alone (5.00 / 2) (#149)
by wnight on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:07:46 PM EST

I agree, if you're going to war (and sometimes that's what it takes) you have to accept that some people will die, even some innocents.

And I'll say also that just because many of Saddam's army were conscipts they aren't completely blameless. No matter what the circumstances were, they did participate, for whatever that's worth.

My only objection is to the US policy of NOT killing leaders.

Had we gone in, killed soldiers until we got to Saddam, and then killed him, I think it would have been a more reasonable outcome.

I don't think we should invade a country though unless we're willing to occupy the country until we can provide a decent standard of living for the citizens and guarantee free elections for an educated populace. And I realize this is a generations long project. If we had to do this as well as simply bomb someone, we might think twice before we got involved. When we got involved though we'd be committed and we'd be doing it for something we really believed in.


[ Parent ]
Re: "they killed an Islam leader!" (none / 0) (#199)
by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:33:08 PM EST

Isn't Saddam a secular despot?

[ Parent ]

Yes - most certainly (none / 0) (#203)
by calouste on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:39:19 PM EST


Eat your vegetables.
[ Parent ]
Innocent people (none / 0) (#259)
by svampa on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 08:17:13 PM EST

A spanish catholic nun that teaches in Cachemira told that an Afgan woman that escaped from her country said:

My house has been bombed. I am sorry for the innocent people that died in New York, but I didn't kill them, I don't know Bin Laden. I am innocent too, is my life less valuable than the life of a woman that died in NY?

I don't think this woman will ever have good feelings about USA or its people

Perhaps to minimize the probability that the hate against USA foreign policy results again in death of innocent USA people, USA citizens should ask their gov to change the policy. They can, it is a democracy, isn't it?

If the answer is "Our gov foreign policy is OK, It look after our interests by the means it needs. We support it"...well... I don't know how many lifes will cost to win this war, but be ready for the next crazy man... perhaps it will use lasser cannons. It is the price that empires pay



[ Parent ]
Still not getting it, are you? (5.00 / 1) (#270)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 10:54:20 AM EST

This is exasperating.

By attacking the United States rather than working out a diplomatic solution to thier objections to US foreign policy, the terrorists have guaranteed that there will be absolutely no change whatsoever in the areas that the Taliban have identified as their "demands" against the US.

If the US were to pull out of Saudi Arabia, stop supporting Israel and stop "propping up" the monarchs of Arab states, then we would be sending the message that the best way to get heard by the US is to kill innocent US civilians.

The mission now, after Sept. 11, is to send the message that by killing our civilians, your problems will only get more severe.

BTW, I'm sick of making this point to people who JUST DON'T GET IT!
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

After the war (none / 0) (#290)
by svampa on Sat Oct 20, 2001 at 12:04:03 PM EST

They have been complaining to USA foreign policy for years, USA has done what ever needed for its own interests

I don't think diplomatic means had made, nethier would had made USA change foreign policy. And I don't think 11 Sept. will make USA change its foreign policy. 11 Sept. was a sorry monstrous wild tantrum, that will be useful for nothing. I don't think there is anything that make USA change its foreign policy.

After USA crushes afganistan, bombes it, defeats it, turn it into stone age, catch Bin Laden etc. USA will had sent a clear message "This is what get those who try to hurt USA", that's right, although I think those guys don't care their own lifes.

I'm talking what USA citizens will ask government after war is won

Will then be the time to study what was wrong in USA foreign policy to raise such hate? or Will then be the time USA will say "We do the foreign policy we please, none dares to stand up to us"?

I'm afraid the second one, we'll see the next crazy Bin Laden



[ Parent ]
Excuse me (4.50 / 2) (#97)
by soulcatcher on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:12:30 PM EST

And why exactly should the top priority of my government be anything but it's own people? you make it sound like the US government is doing something horribly wrong, while the rest of the governments of the world all do their best to help others before helping themselves.

Yes, the US government has more power then any other government in the world. No, that does not meen that the US government all of a sudden has a duty to care for the citizens of other countries before it cares for it's own.

Even so, the world asks us regularly to be a police force. Sometimes we do it sometimes we don't - normally it depends upon our interests. But answer me this: Why should we do things internationally that are COUNTER to our interests?

If a person wants the US government to work for their interests, it's not like the US doesn't actually have one of the more liberal immigration policies. Want to become a British citizen? that could take decades. Want to become a US citizen - it's process intensive, but you CAN do it in 5 years.

do that, then vote - then the government will care for your interests above those of non-us citizens.

ask yourself what it would take for me as an individual to get the government (or bin laden) to look out for my interests. I'm non-muslim trash, and infidel, most hated. There are thousands upon thousands of Iraqi, Packistani, Palestinian, Iranian, Turkish, Egyptian, Saudi peoples - muslim peoples who live in the US, who are now citizens of the US, who are now parents of citizens of the US.

Know what? they have as much ability as I do (A white bred, WASP (tho I am actually an atheist, my family is WASP)) to control the government. And the US will send in the marines for them, just as fast as they will for me.

seems a large difference - doesn't it.

[ Parent ]
disparity between ideal and reality (3.66 / 3) (#106)
by zander106 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:44:37 PM EST

Voting isn't foolproof. A majority of Americans throughout the country voted for a different President a year ago, but he still lost (and looks quite weird with the new goatee, I might add).

Our government is not set up to be a direct democracy. Vote all you want, the only thing you're voting for in the federal government is for or against the people who will "represent" you. We don't have national referendums. People can't vote on policy decisions. As an average person, you can join a volunteer organization or nonprofit devoted to policy issues and try to lobby like hell. But voting alone does not involve you in any discourses on what our government does once in power.

This becomes especially problematic with regard to foreign policy. Would the American people vote directly to support some of the more questionable foreign policy decisions made by our government in the past?

To get the government to look out for your interests, what you really need is money.

Incidentally, I don't believe that the United States should do anything counter to its interests either, but sometimes, from a foreign policy standpoint, it could really improve its position in the eyes of the world by just taking into account more than its own interests.

The more we focus on our own interests irrespective of what other countries might want, the more likely it becomes that our policies can come back to hurt us.

The saddest part is that ultimately it is the civilians who will end up paying for the sins of its elected (or non-elected) leaders.

[ Parent ]
Priorities (3.33 / 3) (#117)
by wnight on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:55:32 PM EST

If we shouldn't do anything counter to our interests, why should anyone else?

If Bin Laden's interests involve getting the US out of the middle east, or hell, even if he just wants to blow up buildings, why are we making him out to be the bad guy? I mean, after all, he shouldn't have to control his impulses or anything, should he?

And if we expect him to deal with things diplomatically, shouldn't we do the same? How many governments has the CIA overthrown or refused to support, to the detriment of the people, because it interfered with our comfort level?

I do think Bid Laden has done a very terrible thing, but then so have the Western governments. And as citizens of a theoretically democratic land, aren't we responsible, if not for the past, then at least for working towards a better future?


[ Parent ]
Generalisations, misinformation abound (3.40 / 5) (#170)
by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:20:17 PM EST

Your militant idealism and hideous generalisations here greatly undermine your credibility. But don't let that stop you - just try to remember that each story has at least eighteen sides, for the future.

Even so, the world asks us regularly to be a police force.

At best, the US asks the world to ask it to be a police force. At worst, it simply asks itself. The reality is infinitely more complex than we can grasp within the scope of a measly comment.

If a person wants the US government to work for their interests, it's not like the US doesn't actually have one of the more liberal immigration policies. Want to become a British citizen? that could take decades. Want to become a US citizen - it's process intensive, but you CAN do it in 5 years.

While I don't disagree that the US immigration system is relatively liberal, I think your Ellis Island visions need to be dispelled.

First of all, it depends on the circumstances in which you come to this country and the status you are granted. There are many dozens of such circumstances, typically identified by INS visa types. If you're married to an American and he/she takes you back to this country, you're in luck - you really can do it in five years. If you came here as a student, you're in for a ride of several decades that's as least as long as anything you can imagine in Britain. In theory it's possible to do anything in five years, but in even the most fantastic circumstances, that's merely what it says in the documentation. Nobody in the INS is going to give you permanent residence in the US after five years unless you are in very, VERY special circumstances (like marriage to an American). Nobody. In the stories and people I've encountered, it can be conclusively said that it's by far easier to immigrate to Commonwealth countries and Britain itself under many circumstances common to, well, immigrants. Don't get me wrong - you can be on both extremes of the immigration wing. Marriage to an American is probably one definitive end of the spectrum, and being a desperate political refugee might be the other. I won't criticise America's refugee acceptance policy - it's a very difficult, diverse subject (and one that you undoubtably would simplify into a mere boolean question). But suffice to say, for the normal, working-class status quo, immigrating to this country is not easy.

And the US will send in the marines for them, just as fast as they will for me.

Bzzt. The US will send in Marines when there's economic interest at stake, or it's a political issue in which it cannot lose face domestically.


--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
[ Parent ]

The national interest (4.00 / 1) (#202)
by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:37:20 PM EST

Why should we do things internationally that are COUNTER to our interests?

I suppose it depends on what you think our interests are. Being universally hated can be dangerous.

If a person wants the US government to work for their interests, it's not like the US doesn't actually have one of the more liberal immigration policies

I'm not sure North America could handle a sudden influx of 6 billion immigrants. And wouldn't that be rather wasteful of arable land in other parts of the world?

[ Parent ]

no excuse... (5.00 / 2) (#226)
by lurker4hire on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:56:27 PM EST

And why exactly should the top priority of my government be anything but it's own people?

Why indeed? Why should your government do anything at all except act in its (and by extension your) self interest?

Because if america really stands for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.... then it must acknowledge the right of all people to strive toward the same. It may be easier to install a puppet dictator who doesn't get in the way of your interests, but it isn't right.

I'm not saying that the US government should place the rest of the world above its own citizens... only that it should practice what it preaches.

[ Parent ]
Supporters of the War on terrorism (3.00 / 2) (#186)
by thePositron on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:51:53 PM EST

Taken from the title of the article you linked to:
Blame America At Your Peril Critics of the war
on terrorism don't seem to understand: someone is
trying to kill them

First he starts of with a threat. Then he uses fear to get people to toe the line.

Well, here is my premise to undercut his threat and fear the fears he eengenders:
First of all pointing out possible mistakes in American foreign policy is not "blaming America". It is pointing out possible mistakes in American foreign policy. The maxim I go by is that one can generally learn more from their critics then those who are unquestioning sycophants.

Second of all. I posit using his rhetorical style that:
Supporters of the war on terrorism don't understand that they are going to die anyway and if someone wants to kill them it might happen regardless of what the government does in Afghanistan.

A person can then decide to:

  • A) Fear that someone is out to kill you all the time and decide the best route is to give all power over their lives without question to the government to assuage your fear. I assume one would do this hoping that the government would not use the power you ceded to them abusively. And also hoping that the government will somehow prevent your own mortality from occuring. (Something some people give responsibility to God for)
  • B) Take responsibility for your own life and for the most part your own health and protection. Be free and disgree wth the policies of your government that you disagree with while supporting wholeheartedly those you agree with. Protect yourself, take care of your own health, put all threats to your life in perspective and if it helps take up a spiritual practice that eases your fear of death. Most importantly accept that are bodies disintegrate at some point and it is better to fully live today then to continually worry about what will happen tomorrow.

    WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT TERRORISM?



    [ Parent ]
  • Bin Laden hijacked more than planes. (4.26 / 15) (#50)
    by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:55:06 AM EST

    He (and other so called fundamentalist muslims) have also hijacked the entire religion of Islam.

    You agree with him accusing the west of hypocricy, wel meybe it is, but do you really think that bin Laden is the right man to listen to regarding hypocricy?
    While he is going on and on about being "of fait" and fight the "infidels", he has no problems whatsoever with bending what he calls islam and twisting it to serve his own personal little agenda.

    You know how bin Laden, the Taliban and thier mullahs promise the people martyrdom and a place in paradise if they die in Jihad against the "infidels", promoting suicide bombers and the like.

    Well do you know that in the Koran it clearly states that only God can give life so consequently only He can take it back. (Meaning, just like in the bible, if you commit suicide you are basically damned to go straight to hell).
    But do you hear them preaching about this? No, it doesn't really mesh with their plans.

    `These incidents divided the entire world into two regions - one of faith where there is no hypocrisy, and another of infidelity, from which we hope God will protect us.'

    Do you know that, again, the Koran calls Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike for "people of the book"? They all have the same God you know. That means that there is no such thing as "infidels", that bin Laden conveniently likes to call Americans in particular, but anyone he don't like in general. Perhaps you could call Atheists for infidels, but especially now with Bush that is not something that you can especially accuse the Americans of being not more than your typical Western European country at least, that is for sure. So why single out the Americans? Talk about hypocricy.

    This article is one of the worst, most one-sided, and narrow minded I have ever seen here. Sure the US has done some bad things (but tell me someone who hasn't?), but you actually listen to what bin Laden says and find his arguments reasonable, that "bin Laden may actually have a point?

    I am sure that I could go on and quote Hitler all day and find plenty of things he said that makes sense, but does that make him right?!
    I am sure that there has been some Jewish criminals, so some things that Hitler said was true about some Jews. But again, does that make him right?

    If you want more understanding between the Muslim world and the West, then the west has to show that they are not waging a war on Islam, but on Terrorism. But also,the true Muslims must take back their faith from the extremists that has used it for their own personal gain for so long (much like the highest goal of the Christian church in medieval Europe seemed to be to make itself rich and powerful), and show that the real Islam is a religion of peace and understanding.

    *Sigh!* (3.00 / 2) (#108)
    by Best Ace on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:47:04 PM EST

    'Do you really think that bin Laden is the right man to listen to regarding hypocricy?

    Why not? He may be a raving madman, but I have come to the conclusion that he is undoubtedly right about the West being hypocritical.

    I am aware that Bin Laden is subverting Islam to his own ends. I am not excusing his actions, or condoning the murder of thousands in the WTC (that disgusted me just as much as the next man), but if you bother to read his speeches, he does have valid points to make about Western policies affecting Muslims.

    'This article is one of the worst, most one-sided, and narrow minded I have ever seen here'

    I'll actually take that as a back-handed compliment ;) Someone famous (I forget who) once said that writing is worth nothing unless it provokes a reaction. Let me ask you why, if it is such a bad article, it managed to get on the front page? (Or are you suggesting that your judgement of the article is worth more than the scores of K5'ers that voted it +1?). Also, where does your judgement of narrow mindedness come from? I have read Bin Laden's speeches, I see what an inspirational effect he is having on intelligent people in the Middle East (Or are you suggesting that your dismissal of Bin Laden's every word and everything he stands for is more valid than those hundreds of thousands of people?), and I realize that yes, he does have a point. That does not make it right for him to fly planes into the WTC

    Unlike you, who, it seems has been happy to swallow every piece of propaganda coming out of the mouths of Western politicians and media people without questioning it, in which case it is you who is narrow-minded.

    [ Parent ]

    double sigh... (3.50 / 2) (#114)
    by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:36:18 PM EST

    Why not? He may be a raving madman, but I have come to the conclusion that he is undoubtedly right about the West being hypocritical.

    So what, I challenge you to find a single nation, or individual for that sake who is not a hypocrit in one regard or another.

    I'll actually take that as a back-handed compliment ;) Someone famous (I forget who) once said that writing is worth nothing unless it provokes a reaction.

    I can write an article saying Bush is a monkey and it will surely provoke reactions. Does that mean my article is good?

    Let me ask you why, if it is such a bad article, it managed to get on the front page? (Or are you suggesting that your judgement of the article is worth more than the scores of K5'ers that voted it +1?).

    Someone, not famous (in fact it was here on K5 the other day), made a good point that just because people agree with you, it doesn't mean that you ae right.
    Besides, I believe that K5 moderators may not neccesarily moderate solely on the basis of what they agree with but also what they would like to see being discussed.

    Also, where does your judgement of narrow mindedness come from? I have read Bin Laden's speeches, I see what an inspirational effect he is having on intelligent people in the Middle East

    Then you also know that in Pakistan, when the mullahs are trying to recruit people to their little "jihad" against the "infidels" are much more sucessful in the countryside where most people are poor and uneducated than in the cities where people are educated, have other sources of information that the mullahs, and are more concerned about running their busines.
    Yes I know therte are demostrations in the cities too, but the demonstrators are far from everybody.
    And again, a lot of people agreeing with you does not make you right. If I may again draw the paralel with Hitler, most people today would agree that Hitler was a complete lunatic and would discard anything he said or wrote as garbage (which may or may not be a misstake). However, during his reign, we all saw what inspirational effect he had on houndreds of thousands of intelligent people in Germany. Yet today we'll say that they were deceived or simply caught up in the moment.

    (Or are you suggesting that your dismissal of Bin Laden's every word and everything he stands for is more valid than those hundreds of thousands of people?)

    Indeed I am, what you are referring to is called peer-pressure, I do not need the help of a million people in the middle east, china, the US, Sweden, or anywhere else to make my own opinion.

    Unlike you, who, it seems has been happy to swallow every piece of propaganda coming out of the mouths of Western politicians and media people without questioning it, in which case it is you who is narrow-minded.

    Ok, number one, will you finish of that last sentence? Unlike me , ... WHAT?

    Number two: One way of knowing that you are an extremist is that you will blatantly call all information other than the one that support your own opinion for propaganda. THAT is my definition of narrow-mindedness.

    [ Parent ]
    Let's try again (4.00 / 1) (#125)
    by Best Ace on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:39:56 PM EST

    'So what, I challenge you to find a single nation, or individual for that sake who is not a hypocrit in one regard or another.'

    Fair enough, but when the results of Western hypocrisy result in the deaths and misery of so many thousands of people in foreign countries, do you not find that a touch unsettling?

    '...just because people agree with you, it doesn't mean that you ae right.'

    Also true, but my article is op-ed. It represents my opinions and analysis, and does not aspire to be any kind of 'truth'. It's a catalyst for discussion, which is what I meant by 'provoking a reaction', something I doubt your article on Bush being a monkey would generate.

    I wish more people would moderate articles on the basis of its scope for discussion and how well it is written, but come on, have you not seen how people just moderate on the basis of whether they agree with the thesis?

    '...mullahs are... much more sucessful in the countryside '

    Perhaps, but this still does not explain that thousands of educated Muslims are sympathetic to Bin Laden's rhetoric of the West targetting Islam. Your refusal to even begin to accept that they might have views equally valid to yours is just arrogant.

    'will you finish of that last sentence? Unlike me , ... WHAT? '

    The sentence makes sense. Re-read it along with the preceding paragraph. (I find it funny that you accuse me of grammatical errors when your spelling errors are just as bad).

    'One way of knowing that you are an extremist is that you will blatantly call all information other than the one that support your own opinion for propaganda. THAT is my definition of narrow-mindedness.'

    You could equally well be referring to yourself here. Your point blank refusal to listen to Bin Laden could be judged as dismissing his words as propaganda because he does not support your view. At least I have taken the time to sift through his speeches, to judge for myself which parts of what he says are baseless rhetoric, and which parts are actually making valid points. You would simply dismiss him out of hand, and in so doing, continue to misunderstand the millions of Muslims who see value in his words even more than I do. Who's being narrow-minded?

    [ Parent ]

    Nope, didn't work this time either. (none / 0) (#138)
    by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:40:40 PM EST

    but when the results of Western hypocrisy result in the deaths and misery of so many thousands of people in foreign countries, do you not find that a touch unsettling?

    Hs not Osama's hypocricy resulted in the deaths and misery of many thousands of people in foreign countries? Has not Saddam's?
    Has not US foreign aid (which could be called hypocritical as well) resulted in saving many thousands of lives in foreign countries?
    You simply have to take the good with the bad, the US has done good things abroad and it has done bad things, it has also done things that was intended to help, but they turned out wrong. No matter how good your intentions are there will always be injustice, there will always be someone who feel they have been treated unfairly.

    Also true, but my article is op-ed. It represents my opinions and analysis, and does not aspire to be any kind of 'truth'. It's a catalyst for discussion

    Sure, but the way you said it "If my article was so bad ..." seemed to indicate that you felt that because people voted on your article your thesis was right.

    Perhaps, but this still does not explain that thousands of educated Muslims are sympathetic to Bin Laden's rhetoric of the West targetting Islam. Your refusal to even begin to accept that they might have views equally valid to yours is just arrogant.

    I never said their views are invalid, simply that the number of people that hold a specific view should not influence my own view.

    The sentence makes sense. Re-read it along with the preceding paragraph. (I find it funny that you accuse me of grammatical errors when your spelling errors are just as bad).


    Actually, the reason I complained about it was not the gramatical errors, I simply did not understand it. if the Unlike you art was referring to something up in the paragraph above it is just way to far away for the connection to be obvious. Otherwise I try to overlook spelling and grammar errors (unless it just makes it really funny) because I know I am not perfect myself, so what if I spell bad, English is not my first language.

    You could equally well be referring to yourself here. Your point blank refusal to listen to Bin Laden could be judged as dismissing his words as propaganda because he does not support your view. At least I have taken the time to sift through his speeches, to judge for myself which parts of what he says are baseless rhetoric, and which parts are actually making valid points.

    Not quite, I do not dismiss bin Laden because he does not share my view, I dismiss him because he is a lunatic. Of course he will say things that are true and makes sense in his speech; that is how they get you you know. Mix in enough truth (bait) the make you swallow the lies (hook). Bin Laden may be a lunatic, but he is not stupid; how many followers do you think he would get if all he said was rhetoric and lies?
    It is always dangerous to listen to extremists, especially if some of what they say rings true with you. once you've started agreeing to part of what they say, you will be more open to fall for their rhetoric and more inclined to fall for their lies.

    [ Parent ]
    Seems to work brilliantly ... (3.50 / 2) (#166)
    by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:05:25 PM EST

    Hs not Osama's hypocricy resulted in the deaths and misery of many thousands of people in foreign countries? Has not Saddam's?

    If you argue rigidly in terms of statistics, you're missing the point. The overall magnitude of destructive foreign policy on the part of the US is far greater, no matter how many bar graphs you can plot. You can't begin to compare Osama bin Laden and the American foreign policy apparatus (including its cumulative adventures during the Cold War) on the same scale - it's academically uncredible.

    It is always dangerous to listen to extremists, especially if some of what they say rings true with you. once you've started agreeing to part of what they say, you will be more open to fall for their rhetoric and more inclined to fall for their lies.

    To put it reasonably, although somewhat cryptically: It all varies with your definition of extremist and lunatic. An extremist is simply someone who diverges virulently from the line of best fit. Hell, Indymedia could be called 'extremist', by the aggregate of my definition and that which [apparently] is yours. Doesn't mean they're wrong. It also doesn't mean you have to lose your head. If you're a person of sound judgement and one who is apparently well educated and rounded, as your sparring opponent is here, extremists aren't going to recruit you with their 'rhetoric'.


    --- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
    [ Parent ]

    no, but maybe a dim glow... (none / 0) (#205)
    by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:44:53 PM EST

    If you argue rigidly in terms of statistics, you're missing the point.

    A valid point, but I was not comparing any statistics or trying to compare numbers against each other. To me, the post I was responding to semed to finally agree that everybody is a hypocrit but then to say that only US hypocracy is bad.
    While we're on the subject of comparing numbers: murder is no more right just because you only kill a few.

    It all varies with your definition of extremist and lunatic. An extremist is simply someone who diverges virulently from the line of best fit.

    Ok, Extremists was not the best word to use there., but I couldn't think of a better one. I think you still understand my point.

    I made the mistake of assuming that everybody thinks the same when they hear the word extremist.
    For clarification I think of it as someone who will not listen to reasononable arguments or opinions. I say listen to because it does of course not mean they have to agree to it, but atleast consider it. Someone that will find any way to refute your arguments no matter how far fetched (for example by saying that the only reason you have a certain opinion is because you have been fed propaganda and lies. Kind of like how the author--being so apparently well educated and rounded--did with my whole post).
    Of course, that is only if you agree that the statement that everything that comes out of western politicians and media is propaganda is a pretty extreme statement.

    It also doesn't mean you have to lose your head. If you're a person of sound judgement and one who is apparently well educated and rounded, as your sparring opponent is here, extremists aren't going to recruit you with their 'rhetoric'.

    While education is defiantely makes you less gullible, it has been shown time after time that it is unfortuenately no "antidote to smooth-talking". I, for example, don't believe for a second that all symphathizers of the KKK are uneducaded schmucks, even though their opinions would be regarded as extreeme by almost any measure.

    [ Parent ]
    Final refutation (none / 0) (#178)
    by Best Ace on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:40:04 PM EST

    'Hs not Osama's hypocricy resulted in the deaths and misery of many thousands of people in foreign countries? Has not Saddam's?'

    Maybe it has (although I don't remember Saddam ever aspiring to be anything other than a tyrannical dictator, so I'm not sure we can accuse him of hypocrisy), but you seem to be justifying outrageous Western hypocrisy on the basis that its enemies are also hypocrits. Do you not see problems with this argument?

    '...the US has done good things abroad and it has done bad things...'

    But the latter always seems to outweigh the former, and the former is rarely done for altruistic reasons. It is bad enough that Muslims perceive the US to do more bad than good, whether or not this is actually the case.

    'I do not dismiss bin Laden because he does not share my view, I dismiss him because he is a lunatic.'

    If that's the reasoning by which you decide whether or not to listen to someone, then that's fine, that's your choice. But from comments you made in your first post, you imply that for anyone else to even listen to what Bin Laden has to say is just unacceptable. I find this stance of yours unacceptable. He is a pivotal figure in the Middle East, and lots of people listen to his every word. Do you not think it is unwise to ignore him because you perceive him to be a lunatic, when so many others consider him a hero?

    You will only fall hook, line and sinker for a Hitler figure if you blindly swallow everything he says. If you have any capability for independent thought, then this is not a problem. Since you do not want to exercise your capabilities for thought when it comes to Bin Laden's speeches, please do not try and stop the rest of us from doing so.

    [ Parent ]

    Hah! how final... (none / 0) (#223)
    by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:40:44 PM EST

    So your final refutal is calling me a censorship promoter? jikes!

    but you seem to be justifying outrageous Western hypocrisy on the basis that its enemies are also hypocrits. Do you not see problems with this argument?


    Not at all, I have stated several times that I think US policy is/has been wrong. But conversely you seem to argue that only US hypocricy is bad, or that other's are somehow justified because they are not as "bad".

    But the latter always seems to outweigh the former, and the former is rarely done for altruistic reasons. It is bad enough that Muslims perceive the US to do more bad than good, whether or not this is actually the case.

    Well, if you listen to bin Laden you are definately going to seem that the US does more bad than good. However. But you're right, it is bad that people perceive it that way whether that is the case or not. But then, how are you going to measure and compare which side outweighs the other. What is good or bad, better or worse depends on what your values and priorities are.

    He is a pivotal figure in the Middle East, and lots of people listen to his every word. Do you not think it is unwise to ignore him because you perceive him to be a lunatic, when so many others consider him a hero?

    I never said that he should be ignored, simply that his arguments does not bear much credit with me because of his extreme opinions. You know for certain that he has no interest in depicting anything but a bad side of America, and you know that he is not going to shy away from hiding the truth to achieve his goals.

    You will only fall hook, line and sinker for a Hitler figure if you blindly swallow everything he says. If you have any capability for independent thought, then this is not a problem.

    So you are saying that people in Germany were incapable of independend thought?

    [ Parent ]
    Will the real mind control please stand up? (3.66 / 3) (#122)
    by wnight on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:21:42 PM EST

    "Real" Islam is brain washing. Now, before you jump on that, let me say that I'm not discriminating here. "Real" christianity is brainwashing too. All religions are a tool for the priesthood to control the masses.

    As long as religion is seen as a valid belief, we'll have people flying planes into towers, killing others to save them, and other similar stupidities.

    Now I'm not saying we should outlaw religion, or kill the religious... I'm just saying that we should make a point of exerting social pressure against this bad influence. If someone tells you they're religious, look at them as if they said they leave milk out at night for the wee folk. If they tell you they talk to god, treat them as if they claim to talk to Elvis.

    If they tell you they raise their children religious, treat them as if they deliberately lie to their children to control them, for this is exactly what they are doing.

    You can see this delusion on both sides. Osama couldn't pay someone to give their own life, but religion gave him a tool to get them to commit suicide. And what response did he get? People who want to bomb anyone who looks like him and convert the survivors to their own particular brand of insanity.

    Some other thoughts on the issues...

    "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
    Susan B. Anthony

    "The difference between a religion and a delusion is the number of people who share it."
    Anonymous

    "If you were taught that elves caused rain, every time it rained, you?d see the proof of elves."
    Anonymous

    "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
    Denis Dioderot

    [ Parent ]
    Exactly, exactly right (2.00 / 2) (#142)
    by raven13 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:49:29 PM EST

    It's so strange, being an Atheist in the midst of all this, because with Christian Bush on this side and Islamic bin Laden on that side, both believing - I mean really believing - that "god" is on their side, and killing each other's people based on a mutual delusion.... It's like watching the inmates take over the asylum (apologies for the dated term). You should write an article about the real issue underneath all these events that no 'religious' people of either side can understand, because they've bought in to the delusion as well. It's no wonder people keep asking 'why?' all the time - they can't see the insanity of it with the clarity that we can, and it is truly horrifying to me.


    "...the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys."
    [ Parent ]
    US killing for Christianity? (none / 0) (#262)
    by sonovel on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 01:48:17 AM EST

    Bush isn't killing for Christianity. He is responding to attacks that killed thousands and threats of further attacks.

    Provide some evidence that Bush is killing for Christianity.

    I'm not defending Christianity or any religion. Certainly Christianity has been used to justify killing. I just don't see it in _this_ case.

    I could see an athiest responding exactly the same way as Bush.

    So how do you figure that Bush's Christianity is "making" him attack OBL/The Taliban/Afghanistan?


    [ Parent ]
    Perhaps you should distinguish... (4.00 / 1) (#198)
    by leifb on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:29:21 PM EST

    between "religion" and such perfectly adequate terms as "pandering", "fundamentalism", "hypocrisy" and "eisegesis."

    This instead of suddenly redefining a word to mean what you want it to. (Itself a form of eisegesis.)

    Points are just so much stronger if they're not based on straw men and paper tigers, and if they're not refutable by a single counterexample.

    And yes, there are examples of real, historical figures pursuing their religious beliefs despite very real personal consequences. Of the top of my head and within the last century, I can name you Mother Theresa, Marten Luther King, Jr., and Ghandi.

    [ Parent ]

    Caution: Do not expose paper tiger to open flame! (none / 0) (#248)
    by wnight on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:29:29 PM EST

    This isn't reading my beliefs into a holy book, this is watching religious people and forming my views based on their words and actions.

    I don't think you offered a single counterexample, let alone one that refuted my arguments. I'm not saying that nobody could do anything positive if they were religious. My point was that religioun as a whole does no good overall. For every religious person who acted on their views and did something good you can point to a non-religious person who did something good for other reasons.

    Ditto with all the nasty things. Religious nuts climb clock towers with athiest nuts.

    The difference is that religion is a tool that can be used to control people. That control could theoretically be used for many things but it's almost always going to be used to make people do things they wouldn't have been comfortable doing withing the idea that a creator is condoning it.

    For every Salvation Army feeding the poor, there's a secular charity as well. For every Christian Children's Fund there's a United Way.

    But for every Heaven's Gate, I doubt there's a cult of athiests killing themselves. For every Branch Davidian cult, is there a secular group who burns themselves to death with their children to avoid government capture?

    If we didn't have religion, which at its base is a fundamuntally irrational world view, people would do these things, alone and in small groups, but would have trouble convincing others to do it. Societaly positive messages such as "feed the starving" would be acceptable though and people would gain support with those ideas.

    My point is that we need to treat religion as the irrational system of belief that it is, to realize that it exists only as a way of exerting control on people. When society sees it as such and starts treating the openly religious like it treats those who smoke in a public place their ideas will have to stand on their own. It won't be enough to say "Because god said so!" anymore, you'll have to justify your actions.

    Some actions which society accepts (equality for blacks, non-violence, helping the sick, to use your examples) will be justifiable and people will still be able to gather support for them. Other actions (Enslave the blacks, denegrate the women, drink poison kool-aid, etc) won't be and people will see them for what they really are.

    Do you really think Gandhi is such a shallow person that he only stood his ground against the British because he believed in a god that would protect him? I prefer to believe that he came to his own decision that the conditions must change and at great personal risk he made a change. Understanding all along that he might die and willing to make that sacrifice it necessary to leave the world a better place than when he got here. I ask you, isn't that a more potent image?


    [ Parent ]
    Small Correction (3.50 / 4) (#53)
    by mickj on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:20:02 AM EST

    We actually did isolate pakistan(until recently) for developing a nuclear weapon.

    Mostly right, but... (none / 0) (#109)
    by Best Ace on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:50:09 PM EST

    That's mostly true. The US imposed economic sanctions, while the UK imposed sanctions on things like ministerial visits and educational exchanges. But this was just a slap on the wrist compared to the sanctions imposed on Iraq. Furthermore, don't you find it very unprincipled that the US can drop its sanctions against Pakistan in a flash, when its suits the it. Pakistan goes overnight from irrelevant country (what's their president's name again?) to the US' best friend in the region, and we give them billions of $ in loans. It's just another example of the double standards that I am trying to put forward in my article as proof that Bin Laden is right about the West's hypocrisy.

    [ Parent ]
    Good Article (4.00 / 15) (#57)
    by SPYvSPY on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:30:25 AM EST

    I understand that the author is positing certain views that may or may not be his own. Nevertheless, I want to address a few points that he makes:

    1. He says that the US is propping up a cruel monarchy in Saudi Arabia. Please remember that Saudi Arabia is in possession of perhaps the single most important and vital resource in America -- oil. This changes the rules of the game enormously, and has caused our leadership to take an "any means necessary" approach to diplomacy in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern states. We tolerate and support the Saudi royals because they give us a measure of control over oil. Please think of oil as America's drug of choice-- we are addicted to it. We'd do just about anything to get it. We need it bad, and we're willing to compromise our moral principles to get it. We are, in short, a crack whore when it comes to oil.

    Now, what if the Saudi people sought to replace their leadership with a democracy? What if they approached America privately and said, "if you get us out from under these dirty royals, there's oil in it for you." Do you think America won't orchestrate the collapse of the monarchy if she sees more access to the oil in her future? Let me tell you, America will happily betray the Saudi royals. Why doesn't she? Probably because Saudis (as a group) aren't sincere enough in their commitment to freedom and democracy. Aren't they becoming a nation characterized by self-interested, greedy, shameless, arrogant religous zealots that would just as soon stab one another in the back to sit on the monarch's throne as fund Osama bin Laden's jihad against the "oppressive" west? It seems to me that there's a nearly total lack of commitment to democratic ideals in Saudi Arabia. So who can blame America for aligning herself with the two-timing leadership and securing her own interests?

    2. Iraq and sanctions. There is a concept in nature known as cause and effect. There is a refinement of this concept in the criminal law that accounts for an "intervening cause." When, for instance, I shoot an arrow pointed at Elvis, and you shoot a gun pointed at Elvis, and your bullet hits Elvis before my arrow does, you are the intervening cause. Yes, I shot Elvis, but I didn't kill him. You did.

    In Iraq, the United States has drawn a line in the sand again and again, saying "if you cross this line, we will make you sorry." And Saddam keeps crossing the line, and we keep trying things to make him stop. At some point, we decided that if Iraq was going to kick sand in our face, we were not going to let it (as a nation) participate in the benefits of our economic success. This is an entirely reasonable position. Many who have travelled to the third world know that most foreign aid helps the bastards that oppress the people, and the suffering masses are only afforded what's left over. By not sanctioning Iraq, the US would be supporting Saddam with valuable resources that he will use against us. Yes, we denied food and medicine to the Iraqi people, but Saddam is the intervening cause. He killed them.
    ------------------------------------------------

    By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.

    But WHY?! (2.40 / 5) (#71)
    by Jon Peterson on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:22:24 PM EST

    "In Iraq, the United States has drawn a line in the sand again and again, saying "if you cross this line, we will make you sorry." "

    Yes, but why?! why did they draw that line? They didn't draw a line over Tibet. They sure as hell didn't draw one in Rwanda. So Saddam's an evil bastard. Why the hell should America get involved?

    Desert Storm has a lot to answer for. If some country invades another, it's not business of mine. I don't want to fight other people's wars. I don't care who's dying and why, it's not my battle. The rest of the middle east could have defeated Iraq, and we should have let them.

    [ Parent ]
    sure, why not (none / 0) (#89)
    by soulcatcher on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:53:01 PM EST

    and while we are at it, why don't we just let hitlet take poland? oh, sure - it's not our problem that he wants austria, fine, let him have what he wants - it's not OUR problem.

    [ Parent ]
    Weapons of Mass Destruction (none / 0) (#99)
    by jasonab on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:16:54 PM EST

    Yes, but why?! why did they draw that line? They didn't draw a line over Tibet. They sure as hell didn't draw one in Rwanda. So Saddam's an evil bastard. Why the hell should America get involved?
    Because China isn't interested in nuking/poisoning/diseasing us. You can argue about what America should do (or have done) in the other cases, but given Saddam's desire to use WMD, that makes him our business.

    [ Parent ]
    The US can't be neutral (5.00 / 3) (#111)
    by mech9t8 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:06:15 PM EST

    The rest of the middle east could have defeated Iraq, and we should have let them.

    Doubtful. It is certainly possible for him to have continued on and conquered the other Arab states (ie. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, etc) without our help.

    In which case, he'd have the resources to (a) get weapons of mass destruction and (b) build a truly huge army. He would certainly have a good conquering Israel, at that point, if not the ability to blow it off the map. Of course, if we don't care about Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc, we shouldn't care about Israel, so I guess we wouldn't care about that (unless having a democracy and a largely Western culture is enough for a country to be considered enough of an ally). But the more places he conquers, he more resources he'd have... eventually, he'd have the power to attack someone we care about. Or even attack us.

    In addition, he'd have a stranglehold on mid-East oil. Which would have a rather bad affect on the US economy, and the economy of the world.

    OTOH, maybe the Middle Eastern countries would team up to defeat him... maybe Israeli and Saudi would fight side by side, and a new era of peace would've be upon us...

    But I doubt it. The US and Russia both fought Hitler, and we saw how well that turned out... or, for that matter, US and Saudi fighting side by side...

    So the international coalition was the least risky way the deal with the Iraq problem. The desert conditions were ideal for the US high-tech war machine, and driving him was never really thought to be that difficult. Everything would remain status quo, and maybe the US, the rest of the world, and the other Arab nations would grow closer due to their coalition (or maybe not<g>).

    In any case, if the US hadn't done anything, it would be chastized the world over for abandoning its ally, Saudi Arabia.

    They didn't draw a line over Tibet. They sure as hell didn't draw one in Rwanda.

    Tibet and Rwanda are far more difficult places to fight in. It would be pretty impossible for Rwanda not to degrade into another Vietnam, and fighting China is a World War-level action. The Iraq problem had a simple solution. Most world problems (like the horrific chaos that a good deal of Africa right now) do not.

    Of course, in Iraq, we're left with the problem of how to keep Saddam Hussein from building a new army and weapons of mass destruction. Are choices are:

    1. the sanctions, which result in the deaths of hundreds of innocents - but have UN support.

    2. releasing the sanctions, thus hopefully helping the Iraqi people, but making it far more difficult to keep Iraq from rebuilding its military capacity - and raining nukes and bio-weapons on Israel or even us.

    3. a unilateral action to invade Iraq and replace the government. That'll go over real well with the rest of the world (especially those who already have sympathies for the causes the terrorists claim to fight for), especially right now - and it would be a difficult and costly action for the US miliary.

    Of course, if we don't care about what happens in the rest of the world, what's the appropriate action in this case? If we allow trade with Iraq, it means we're funding the development of its military. If we don't allow trade with Iraq, it means we're making life hell for its children.

    When you're as powerful as the US, there's no such thing as a "neutral" position. Military action or lack of military action, economic relations or lack of economic relations, it's impossible for the US not to take a position on any issue in the world.

    Of course, part of the problem is that the US most often takes the so-called "neutral" position of having economic relations with dictators and warlords - thus strengthening their position.

    --
    IMHO
    [ Parent ]

    Basis (none / 0) (#155)
    by PhillipW on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:33:36 PM EST

    Doubtful. It is certainly possible for him to have continued on and conquered the other Arab states (ie. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, etc) without our help.

    What is your basis for that statement? While it is possible, had those nations organized they could easily have driven Saddam out of Kuwait, and kept him contained to where he is.

    Of course, in Iraq, we're left with the problem of how to keep Saddam Hussein from building a new army and weapons of mass destruction.

    This is definitely a problem that needs addressing. You list the sanctions as a solution. I don't think that the existing sanctions will help this goal. Saddam has lots of money, and can finance said development with ease.

    1. the sanctions, which result in the deaths of hundreds of innocents - but have UN support.

    Sanctions have not worked for decades against Cuba, and they are not working against Saddam. The least we could do is drop food and medicine from the sanctions.

    -Phil
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Basis (none / 0) (#209)
    by mech9t8 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:54:01 PM EST

    What is your basis for that statement? While it is possible, had those nations organized they could easily have driven Saddam out of Kuwait, and kept him contained to where he is.

    Relative sizes of their militaries vs. Iraq's military at the time. Iraq had a friggin' huge army.

    It's certainly possible that they could've defeated Iraq. But it wasn't guaranteed.

    The least we could do is drop food and medicine from the sanctions.

    We let in food and medicine (part of the oil for food program). The problem is, Saddam takes a good portion of it, smuggles it out, and sells it elsewhere in order to get hard currency.

    I agree sanctions are a lousy policy. Unfortunately, they're one of the more politically acceptable ones.

    Personally, I think with the world's largest economy, and the largest and most powerful military ever, we can come up with ways to keep him in check, or replace his government, without killing millions of innocent kids. But for whatever reason the sanctions are easier to get passed at the UN.

    --
    IMHO
    [ Parent ]

    Sanctions (none / 0) (#210)
    by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:54:01 PM EST

    The least we could do is drop food and medicine from the sanctions.

    My understanding is that this was done, from the beginning.

    The issue is that the sanctions (a) block all exports but oil, and (b) prevent most infrastructural imports.

    This has the effect of preventing any economic development in Iraq, which keeps Saddam's regime weak but the people of southern Iraq jobless and starving (to which condition, may I add, Saddam is indifferent at best).

    We ship in humanitarian supplies, but there's no substitute for having a real economy.

    I hope someone has an achievable goal and a plan; this policy has a long-running human cost and can make us very unpopular.

    [ Parent ]

    Iraq and Sanctions (3.00 / 4) (#77)
    by Shalom on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:28:05 PM EST

    You argue like a terrorist. It always makes me cringe in a movie when I see the bad guy say "if you don't give in to my demand, I will (blow up New York, kill your girlfriend, starve out your people) and it will be all your fault. What a crock.

    Plus, from your definition of "intervening cause," we are the intervening cause here. We are the ones imposing the sanctions and starving people. Even if Saddam is doing it indirectly, we are doing it directly.

    The problem is, Saddam doesn't give a crap about the people in Iraq, and sanctions aren't going to hurt him. Hell, this keeps people mad at the U.S. instead of Saddam; and it keeps many of them too weak to think about overthrow their government in any case--they have more immediate concerns like food and medicine. The only people we hurt are the Iraqi people, not Saddam and his cabal. They have the money to get whatever luxuries they want to get. They do not hurt.

    Sanctions in Iraq are a unilaterally stupid policy. They not only serve no purpose, they serve a negative one.



    [ Parent ]
    Umm.. (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by soulcatcher on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:51:12 PM EST

    I would like to know why WE are the bad guys because we have purely decided that we don't want to do business with Iraq. That is essentially what sanctions are...Us saying - we don't like you, get the hell out of our store.

    When did it become a right of nations to do business with the United States? Any business has a right to say - I won't sell to you - well, our country is doing the same.

    yes, the US grows a ton of food - but it's not our fault that Iraq has not spent the time to invest in it's own angriculture, and making their population sustainable. (Just as it's not Iraq's fault that we use Oil at a rate that is not sustainable without imports)

    [ Parent ]
    More than that (none / 0) (#103)
    by gorilla on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:30:37 PM EST

    Except it's more than just not dealing with the countries. It's preventing other countries dealing with them too. The US has warships in the gulf intercepting ships and removing cargos.

    [ Parent ]
    Blockade (none / 0) (#133)
    by wnight on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:18:04 PM EST

    The US isn't just saying that they won't deal with Iraq, they've forbidden Iraq to deal with anyone else.

    There's a bit of a difference.

    [ Parent ]
    You forget one important point (5.00 / 4) (#95)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:06:40 PM EST

    Actually, you forget several so let me list them"

    First, even the small amount of humanitarian relief that does make it into Iraq is repackaged and sold by the Iraqi government in order to raise funds to build up the military. This is the same kind of problem going on in Somolia and much of the third world. We can ship food and medicine all day long but as long as there are those in power who can steal that aid and resell it, then we have two options, stop sending it or eliminate those who circumvent our attempts to help the people. Since we've seen the stomach of Americans to have our troops put in harms way to feed the hungry of Somolia, it doesn't leave us with a lot of options here.

    Second, as someone else pointed out, doing business with the rest of the world is not a right. In fact, it is the right of every nation to choose who it does and does not do business with, not the other way around.

    What do you suggest as an alternative? I notice a lot of people who are against US policy have no plan for doing anything different. All they can do is critique existing policy. If Saddam is simply going to take any proceeds from doing business with the rest of the world to develop biological weapons and rebuild his army, tell me what you would suggest as a alternative way of dealing with him. And don't cop out by saying that you don't know but there must be a better way, because unless you have an idea of what that better way would be, you're simply howling into the wind.

    [ Parent ]

    Solution (3.00 / 1) (#113)
    by Shalom on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:33:01 PM EST

    The solution is, if we're after the government, hit the government, not the people. We're not hitting our intended target here.

    Keep the sanctions when it comes to shipments of arms, but let everything else in.

    Then, if we decide that the government actually needs to change, let's be men about it and bomb the shit out of them or assassinate Hussein or start directly infiltrating and removing crucial sections his government infrastructure or military, covertly or overtly (depending on what we can get away with). If we're not interested enough to directly subvert him, then why should we hurt his people?



    [ Parent ]
    100k Iraqi troops (none / 0) (#129)
    by A Trickster Imp on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:58:28 PM EST

    Remember, though, that killing a hundred thousand Iraqi troops is better, in the eyes of the world, including other nations in that region, than killing Saddam and replacing the government (or allowing another, via vacuum). It's sick, but true. Other nations' leaders would take advantage to crow about that and make much more out of it than what actually happened. We would be even more hated.







    [ Parent ]
    teaching ignorants helps to reach Haven (none / 0) (#221)
    by svampa on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:39:15 PM EST

    Please remember that Saudi Arabia is in possession of perhaps the single most important and vital resource in America -- oil. This changes the rules of the game enormously, and has caused our leadership to take an "any means necessary"

    We can discuss for years about the the moral behind that motivations or sentences as We tolerate what other coutries do in their own territory. But I am sure, unlike G. Bush, you understand why USA is hated

    You should send a letter explaining it to him



    [ Parent ]
    Debatable issues (4.36 / 19) (#64)
    by bobpence on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:48:56 AM EST

    Sometimes, when people are starving to death, a little tiny bit of the blame lies with their own government. Are any of Saddam's kids or grandkids malnourished, or his generals' children begging for food? Maybe if his government can't govern effectively (while blocking the U.N. weapons inspectors representing the international community), a more capable government should be in place. Yet Saddam's nascent clepto-monarchy is not on Osama bin Ladin's list of governments to topple. That's odd.


    Palestinians are treated in the whole of the Middle East the way the Roma are treated in Eastern Europe, if as well. The saying goes that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, and this is certainly the case with Arafat during the previous Israeli administration. What we don't realize is that there is the opportunity to leave the refugee camps - especially those controlled by Israel. But too many parents raise their children expecting them to be suicide bombers instead of preparing them to be citizens, renewing a cycle of despair.


    As to propping up the Saud family oligarchy, I say let it fall, I can bike to work. But if it does collapse, do not replace one oppressive regime with another. Instead, follow the model that most Middle Eastern and other Islamic states should follow, similar to Turkey: 1) secularize; 2) democratize.


    bob
    "Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
    Preparing them to be suicide bombers (3.50 / 4) (#87)
    by greenrd on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:51:53 PM EST

    What we don't realize is that there is the opportunity to leave the refugee camps - especially those controlled by Israel. But too many parents raise their children expecting them to be suicide bombers instead of preparing them to be citizens, renewing a cycle of despair.

    I'm sure you meant that as an exaggeration. But you are half-right. For peace both sides need to change. It is too simplistic to only expect one side or the other to change.


    "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 ]

    Two to tango (none / 0) (#101)
    by bobpence on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:22:40 PM EST

    For peace both sides need to change. It is too simplistic to only expect one side or the other to change. I wholeheartedly agree with the above. Frighteningly, there are children being raised with this expectation. Folks believe that their grandchildren to grow up in camps just as their grandparents did. The success of the American black middle class is not the result of parents whose dreams for their children included raising kids in neglected high-rise projects. Children can rise above adversity, and very frequently do. Where there are few children that do - or worse, where homocide disguised as martyrdom is seen as the only way to transcend - it is a sign of a sick culture. That said, we should make more of the Palestian success stories both in the West and in the Middle East. bob
    "Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
    [ Parent ]
    Flat Out Wrong (3.00 / 2) (#92)
    by DarkZero on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:00:59 PM EST

    Yet Saddam's nascent clepto-monarchy is not on Osama bin Ladin's list of governments to topple. That's odd.

    During the Gulf War, bin Laden wanted to lead the charge against Iraq. Instead, however, the Saudi government chose to ask the US to come in and help them, thus starting the whole "The US is expansionist, because they leave several military permanent military bases whenever they come in to 'help people'" arguement.

    [ Parent ]

    Debatable indeed (none / 0) (#190)
    by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:11:27 PM EST

    Sometimes, when people are starving to death, a little tiny bit of the blame lies with their own government.

    Yes, the Jews should definitely have voted against Hitler, and hey! what about those Kulaks? The thing that I really don't understand in all of this is why the Kurds will keep on supporting both Hussein and Turkey? Sheesh.

    I'm really intrigued by this statement

    What we don't realize is that there is the opportunity to leave the refugee camps - especially those controlled by Israel. But too many parents raise their children expecting them to be suicide bombers instead of preparing them to be citizens, renewing a cycle of despair.
    What do you mean? Where can the Palestinians go? What risks are involved in this exodus?

    As to propping up the Saud family oligarchy, I say let it fall, I can bike to work.
    Totally agree.

    ollow the model that most Middle Eastern and other Islamic states should follow, similar to Turkey: 1) secularize; 2) democratize.
    The problem with this picture is that Turkey is a serious human rights abuser, so secularism and democracy are not enough on their own. Look at the U.S. we're a secular democracy and we support religious fundamentalist regimes, secular fascist regimes, any old regimes as long as we get our oil.



    "[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
    [ Parent ]
    An aside (none / 0) (#214)
    by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:09:11 PM EST

    Yes, the Jews should definitely have voted against Hitler

    There actually were Jews who voted for Hitler. Darkly comic but true. They thought his economic programs were important for Germany, and figured the anti-Semitism was just a peccadillo.

    [ Parent ]

    wow! (none / 0) (#250)
    by M0dUluS on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 01:35:39 PM EST



    "[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
    [ Parent ]
    How democratic is Turkey? (none / 0) (#215)
    by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:11:46 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Just once I would like to see (4.15 / 19) (#65)
    by epepke on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:50:34 AM EST

    • Someone who thinks that support of Isreal equals genocide of Muslims assert, clearly and plainly, that they think a withdrawal from Israel would not lead to an Isreali-led bloodbath, with Muslims providing most of the blood.
    • Someone who thinks the U.S. does bad things for cheap oil go out of their way to buy gasoline from a company that uses a higher percentage of American, Mexican, and Canadian oil, even if it costs more.
    • Someone who hates all these propped monocracies to argue for the superiority of the practices of the governments in Afghanistan and Iran, which is clearly what the people have revolutions to get.

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


    ...what point does this have? (4.00 / 4) (#72)
    by aziegler on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:23:22 PM EST

    • Someone who thinks that support of Isr[ae]l equals genocide of Muslims assert, clearly and plainly, that they think a withdrawal from Israel would not lead to an Isr[ae]li-led bloodbath, with Muslims providing most of the blood.

    I think we've seen that already. I'm also not convinced that a Western withdrawal from Israel would be a good idea; instead, the original policy considered by the UN (the creation of two states, not just one) needs to be imposed on the region (including Israel) just as Israel itself was imposed on the region. This, however, does not change the fact that US policy has been almost unabashedly pro-Israel, even when Israel is doing things that under any other regime would be unconscionable.

    • Someone who thinks the U.S. does bad things for cheap oil go out of their way to buy gasoline from a company that uses a higher percentage of American, Mexican, and Canadian oil, even if it costs more.

    I'll agree with you on this, but note that it's harder to do in the US than you might imagine. It's easier in Canada.

    • Someone who hates all these propped monocracies to argue for the superiority of the practices of the governments in Afghanistan and Iran, which is clearly what the people have revolutions to get.

    This is a false dichotomy. At least in Afghanistan, though, there wasn't a "revolution" but a power vacuum caused by the US and the Soviets.

    -austin



    [ Parent ]
    Tell me where (3.00 / 2) (#79)
    by hardburn on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:32:40 PM EST

    Tell me, where can you get gas from a company that uses only oil from North America (in the US, that is)? I know of no such company, but I'd be plesently surprised to find out about one. Oh, and "going out of your way" is one thing, but moving to the other side of America or even to another country just to get non-Arab gas is a little much, don't you think?

    (Or you can stop driving all together :)


    ----
    while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


    [ Parent ]
    "Don't eeva mes wid Tessas" (none / 0) (#84)
    by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:49:25 PM EST

    Of course, in Texas they'll only use Texan oil!! :o).

    Actually, humor aside, he didn't mention buying only north American oil, but the highest percentage of it.

    Still, it would be interesting to see if Americans would be willing to pay a higher price at the gas pump if they knew that the gasoline came solely from American oil.

    [ Parent ]
    Ok, I'll bite (2.66 / 3) (#93)
    by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:01:50 PM EST

    I live in a big city downtown, so I have the luxury of being able to bike, walk, or use public transportation to get everywhere. I just sold my car, but while I had it I bought the cheapest gas I could find. But that's because I had no idea where it came from. Where do you find this information out? Which companies use domestic oil and which import?

    As for Israel, I don't think after arming them for years and supporting them it would make any sense for the US to suddenly back out. You're right, a bloodbath would result. But maybe the first step the US should take is to finally stop blocking every UN resolution against Israel. They should also stop doing things like boycotting the international conference on racism because it just might criticize Israel. Finally, instead of just backing Israel, the US should work for peace and a Palestinian state. You've got to admit the US has been pretty far from impartial so far.

    As for the governments in the region, forget Afghanistan. The US contributed to the horror in that place by training, arming, and supporting them while they fought the USSR, but when that battle was done dropping them like a used cigarette butt. The Taliban is hardly the natural result of a change in government in the region.

    As for Iran, that was far less the fault of the US. They share some blame because they were propping up the Shah despite his faults. Mostly though, Iran caused it's own mess. Instead, focus at the successes in the area. Turkey is 99.8% muslim but it's a democracy. So is Egypt. While Oman, the UAE and Qatar are not, they're certainly moving in the right direction. The US shouldn't try to kick the stool out from under these monocracies it's supporting, but instead provide incentives to gradual, peaceful change.



    [ Parent ]
    quite articulate (1.50 / 6) (#70)
    by Ender Ryan on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:20:01 PM EST

    "Osama Bin Laden has already articulated his reasons for his hatred of America, namely, the Palestine-Israeli conflict"...


    -
    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!


    What I don't get is... (none / 0) (#123)
    by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:23:24 PM EST

    ... what are Tali's, and why do they want to ban it?

    [ Parent ]
    that was a different kind of articulation (none / 0) (#126)
    by juln on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:47:12 PM EST

    That was him articulating his hatred... articulating the reasons came later, in the video shown on Al Jahzeeri.

    [ Parent ]
    all psychological warfare (4.66 / 3) (#127)
    by demi on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:52:12 PM EST

    Bin Laden doesn't care at about Palestine or Israel inasmuch as they may provide an expedient route to making more Arabs pissed at the US. He is in a situation where he could become the next Saladin, Hitler, or Islamic Prophet for all we know. It is in our (and the rest of the world's) best interests to keep that from happening. I am not talking about the world petroleum situation either. His views on the lifestyles of western infidels, treachery of Zionist controlled governments, and the natural rights of citizens in a secular sense, should send shivers through the spine of *anyone* wondering who the bad guys are.

    Remember when Saddam was at war with the US, and all of a sudden he wanted to launch SCUD missiles at Tel Aviv? Same situation. He was in a shitload of trouble and he thought he could appeal to hidden allies by pitching everything as Arabs vs. Israel.



    [ Parent ]

    Gambit (none / 0) (#216)
    by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:26:22 PM EST

    Remember when Saddam was at war with the US, and all of a sudden he wanted to launch SCUD missiles at Tel Aviv?

    I bet he was hoping to get retaliation out of Israel - which might have split the US coalition.

    [ Parent ]

    very much a spy novel writ large (none / 0) (#232)
    by demi on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:47:25 PM EST

    I bet he was hoping to get retaliation out of Israel - which might have split the US coalition.

    Exactly. And this time around, it is almost the same situation, except that Sharon is in power in Israel, who is really chomping at the bit. Compared to Saddam, bin Laden is infinitely more media-friendly, has al-Jazeera on his side, and is riding an all-time high of international anti-American resentment. This time, the gambit may be successful. If they (whoever is calling the shots, be it bin Laden or otherwise) play a strong hand against us politically, fomenting international and domestic dissent over the war, they could achieve their goals easily.

    Israel has to be kept on a short leash. The US needs to keep its mission well-explained and justified. The real battles in this war will be fought in interviews and press conferences.



    [ Parent ]

    It really is sad (3.64 / 17) (#110)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:05:44 PM EST

    I weep for the lack of responsibility that people want to take for what is happening to the US. No, not because of what we have done, but because of what we have not done. bin Laden has said over and over again he attacks us because we are pussies (I think he used the term paper tiger but let's be honest). You can't do something half way. When we pulled out of Somolia after losing a couple of dozen men, it was a sign to the world that the US can't stomach to lose men in battle. When the peace marchers undermined US opinion and demanded that we retreat from Iraq as soon as we had liberated Quwait instead of chasing down Saddam and killing him, it sent a message that the US has no stomach for finishing the mission. It is exactly this pussy attitude that leads the bin Laden's of the world to think that if they just hang in there long enough, they can get the peace marchers to create enough divide within America to secure their objectives. And complete stupidity like Best Ace's work of fiction, riddled with inaccurate statements, do exactly what the Saddam's and the bin Laden's of the world love.

    So do you suggest we pull out of Saudi Arabia and leave our oil interests unprotected? While the current regime might not be perfect, I'll gurantee you that it's better than letting it fall to Saddam or to the radical fundamentalists who would be licking their lips as the US pulled out. It's called the lessor of two evils and in the real world, that's the choice you're given sometimes. Sometimes there is no morally superior choice. You play the cards as they're dealt and sometimes that means you gotta play a shitty hand.

    And in case it has escaped you, the US has done more to secure a Palistinian homeland than any other nation on earth. You can't tell me that the Arab world has done much to make this happen. Their only objective is to murder every Israeli in the region. The US has been there trying to secure peace between the two sides. Yes, we are openly partial to the Israeli side but then again, it just might be because their citizens don't openly burn our flag and call for the death of our leaders. It's called cause and effect. Believe me, if the leaders in the Arab world showed as much solidarity with the US as Israel does, I think they might be amazed how much support we would show them. It's taken several decades but even people like Arafat are starting to see that. You notice Arafat was the first person to jump to the side of the US in the bombings. Arafat has also taken an unpopular position in the OIC trying to justify the US response. That's because he knows that the US is the only hope he has of securing a homeland. He's figured out his Arab brothers won't lift a finger to help, just as they have abandoned the Palistinians for the last several decades. He's finally figured out that the Arab world has no interest in the Palistinian cause if it means recognizing Israel.

    And get your numbers straight. It's not countless unless tens of thousands is too big a number for you. In Pakistan, at most, they could only muster 10,000 people to protest the US bombings (in a country of 140 million Muslims). Why does it seem like more? Because those 10,000 are violent and have done everything to create media exposure. Even the CNN people started to openly question if the protests were not being played out for the benefit of the media. The problem with the fundamentalists movements is that they are armed. They use terrorism within their own countries. The president of Yemen is scared of his own citizens because religious leaders have threatened his life for making moves to eliminate terrorism and get closer to the US. These are small pockets of people who hold great influence because they use murder and terror to keep their leaders in check. The assasination of Anwar Sadat was typical of the fundamentalist movement. They opposed that fact that he was trying to open ties to the west and accept Israel and for that they murdered him. This was a wake up call for other Arab leaders that they should not cross the fundamentalists or they would meet a similar fate. So, it is not the entire Arab world who listens to bin Laden. It is a small but powerful group who gains their power by intimidation, murder and terror.

    Would you people quit trying to justify bin Laden? Just for a moment can you entertain the idea that he's a sick asshole who is set out to lift himself up politicaly? He has no care about his demands other than they would prove to the rest of the Arab world that he is a powerful man who they should listen to if they want to stay alive. He wraps his message in religion but don't be fooled, he's in it for the power. If he can make the US blink, do you not think his next move won't be to intimidate other Arab leaders into doing exactly as he says? His cloak of religion is simply a way to recruit people who will follow him without question. If he is doing the will of Allah, what man can argue with him? He can get people to follow him unto death just as the leaders of Heaven's Gate were able to get their followers to commit mass suicide. It is the will of God, now eat the pudding. It doesn't work when it's the will of Bob, now eat the pudding. He's a sick, sick puppy who needs to be eliminated for the good of the world. If we back down today, it's not just the US that will pay, it will be the whole world. He will threaten, intimidate and murder anyone who stands in his way. Count on it.

    The real question (none / 0) (#118)
    by Zeram on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:00:57 PM EST

    is why do we wory so much about oil? We wouldn't have to play this shitty hand, if the oil lobby in America wasn't so darn persuasive.
    <----^---->
    Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
    [ Parent ]
    Stop trying to avoid responsibility (4.00 / 1) (#120)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:12:56 PM EST

    Do you drive a car? Do you fly on airplanes? That is the reason we rely on oil. When you start biking it to work and doing cross country hikes for travel then you can count yourself free from the cause but until then, the reason we rely on oil is because you and the rest of the US are massive consumers of oil.

    And why is it the oil lobby in America? Europe doesn't have scientists or engineers who could come up with an alternative? Asia lacks the ability to create alternatives? There's a whole world out there that is not subject to US lobbying that hasn't come up with a viable alternative.

    [ Parent ]

    more oil (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by nodsmasher on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:19:42 PM EST

    oil isn't just used as fual but all plastics are made of ail. plus most chemicals used for cleaning ect. think of the how many times you used somthing made out of plastic today ?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
    -Tatarigami
    [ Parent ]
    It's not just plastics ... (none / 0) (#241)
    by Kalani on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:48:12 PM EST

    It's pretty much all artificially created organic polymers. This includes a LOT of cosmetics (so tell your wife/girlfriend/mistress to stop wearing makeup).

    -----
    "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 ]
    Ok... (none / 0) (#128)
    by Zeram on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:52:33 PM EST

    I don't own a car, and don't have a drivers licence. The only way I come close to directly using oil is through plastics. Also it has always been my belief that the large oil companies take a great interest in patents, snapping up any that relate to technologies that might decrease the worlds reliance on oil. How there every came to be a law in America mandting zero emmission is beyond me, but I am thankful for it.
    <----^---->
    Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
    [ Parent ]
    Your beliefs (none / 0) (#156)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:36:29 PM EST

    I don't own a car, and don't have a drivers licence. The only way I come close to directly using oil is through plastics.

    Ok, so you are only a minor contributer. Good for you. (I mean that seriously)

    Also it has always been my belief that the large oil companies take a great interest in patents, snapping up any that relate to technologies that might decrease the worlds reliance on oil.

    Well, I can't very well argue with your beliefs. Care to share any supporting facts we can discuss?

    [ Parent ]

    True, however (none / 0) (#137)
    by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:38:07 PM EST

    Due to taxes, the price of gasoline in Europe is up to 4 times more expensive than it is in the US. They still drive cars, but ones with much smaller engines. This makes alternative energy vehicles much more reasonable for a consumer. But with everybody in the US owning at least 5 SUVs nobody would stand for an increase in the price of gas.



    [ Parent ]
    But we're a nation of hypocrites (1.00 / 1) (#150)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:08:07 PM EST

    No lie, the other day I saw a Suburban, second only to a tank in terms of gas guzzeling, with a bumper sticker on it saying "Protect the Environment" and another from Yosemite.

    We can't have it both ways.

    [ Parent ]

    Oil is not the issue this time (none / 0) (#130)
    by demi on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:00:19 PM EST

    Although it would be silly to think that we would be in a big mess if there were no oil in the middle east (we would probably have flattened everything by now), the price of oil at this time and in the near future is not in a favorable position for OPEC. There are many more oil producers now than there were in 1991 (mostly in Russian republics), who are supplying the world at a rate beyond which they (OPEC) could safely dictate the price. What I mean by that is, in order to raise the price per barrel to $25 where they like it, they would have to cut back their own production to levels where their own economies would not have sufficient revenue.

    One more thing. The oil lobby in America wouldn't be bothered at all if the world price jumps. It would support domestic production that has been idled by economic factors. The higher the price of oil the more gets pumped out of Louisiana and Texas. You might be thinking of other industries that use petroleum as a material feedstock.



    [ Parent ]

    I dunno (none / 0) (#143)
    by PhillipW on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:51:01 PM EST

    I think oil plays a fairly large role in all of this. We are able to ignore much worse conflicts in Africa much better than we are in the Middle East. Why? They lack a resource that is as valuable to us as oil is. And yeah, there are quite a few places that we get our oil from other than the Middle East, but a very large portion of it is from there.



    -Phil
    [ Parent ]
    well ... (none / 0) (#240)
    by Kalani on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:39:39 PM EST

    There's also the issue of proximity to allies (and interests of allied countries). The Middle East used to be the medium of the Silk Road (is that what it was called?) between Europe and China. A number of intellectual ideas moved into Europe from the Middle East. I'd mention more but I've got to run ... in any case oil isn't our only significant interest in the region (and probably not even close to the most significant one -- it'd be more significant to Europe than us).

    -----
    "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 ]
    It may not be so much... (none / 0) (#282)
    by ariux on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 03:42:25 AM EST

    ...US consumption of mideast oil, but US influence over its disposition.

    The theory may be, the oil reserves of the middle east represent power; who controls them, wields it. If the "wrong guys," or close friends of the "wrong guys," get them, they could use that power to build a big army, then fly over here and try to kill us. I'd guess, about the Gulf War, that the Baath regime became the "wrong guys."

    [ Parent ]

    Do your homework (2.33 / 3) (#139)
    by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:40:50 PM EST

    the US has done more to secure a Palistinian homeland than any other nation on earth

    The US has regularly vetoed UN resolutions criticising Israel. They've supplied weapons to Israel. They're one of the nations that has done the least to help the Palestinians. The only reason it means anything when the US invites Israeli and Palestinian leaders to Camp David is that it's a change from unilaterally supporting Israel.



    [ Parent ]
    Please check YOUR facts (none / 0) (#147)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:03:27 PM EST

    Please tell me of any single nation that has done more to secure a homeland for the Palistinians than the US. Has any Arab nation offered to broker a peace? Oh, yes, Egypt, but they killed Sadat for that, didn't they?

    I didn't say that we were an ally of the Palistinians, I said that we have done more to bring about a homeland for them than any other nation. Until you can proof to the contrary, I stand by the statement.

    [ Parent ]

    Who else could? (none / 0) (#158)
    by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:39:39 PM EST

    The most powerful country in the world is backing Israel. Other countries have done what they could to support a Palestinian state, but with the US behind Israel it doesn't do much good. What other country could possibly bring Israel to the bargaining table? What could they offer? The US has the implicit threat of withdrawing support, so the Israel has to bargain when the US tries to broker peace.

    The US has only just recently put it's support behind a Palestinian state, whereas most other countries and the UN have been supporting it for decades.

    The US has done more to block a Palestinian state than any other country aside from Israel. Take a look at the number of times the US has vetoed a UN resolution critical of Israel. In many of those cases every single other country on the security council has voted for the resolution, but the US has vetoed it. It was huge news in 1999 when the US abstained from a resolution condemning Israel from provoking Palestine by letting Ariel Sharon visit a site holy to muslims. And they just abstained. They didn't even agree. It was big news because they didn't veto the resolution!

    The fact that lately they've publicly tried to broker peace doesn't mean they have done much to support Palestinian statehood.

    Say I'm feeding machine gun bullets into a machine gun someone is shooting at you. If eventually I refuse to feed more bullets into the gun I'm doing a lot to keep you alive, but the overall balance of my actions is trying to kill you rather than to keep you alive.



    [ Parent ]
    Israel provoked Palestine? (none / 0) (#165)
    by sonovel on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:54:43 PM EST

    "provoking Palestine by letting Ariel Sharon visit a sitr holy to the muslims".

    The site in question was the #1 holy site for the Jews. The reaction to his visit proved that Palestinians wouldn't respect Jews rights to visit their holy sites.

    The site was coincidently Islams' third holiest site.

    Muslims becoming violent over a Jew going to Jerusalem is like Jews becoming violent about Muslims going to Mecca.

    There are two sides to this story. Please stop propagandizing. Sharon had every right to visit his religion's holiest site.

    Terrorism in response to his visit shows that there are some who will never accept Jews in the Middle East, let alone Israel.



    [ Parent ]
    Sharon had no right (none / 0) (#168)
    by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:13:25 PM EST

    Israel is an occupying power in that area. The terroritory does not belong to them, but they have troops in the area. It does not matter if the site is holy to them. They are an occupying army. If Sharon wanted to visit he should have requested permission to visit, and once he had been denied permission he should have agreed not to go.

    Instead he used military power to enable him to visit the site. The UN says it: "Deplores the provocation carried out at Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000, and the subsequent violence there and at other Holy Places, as well as in other areas throughout the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, resulting in over 80 Palestinian deaths and many other casualties;"

    There are places holy to Christians in the middle east as well. If Bush wants to visit one of them, does he have the right to bring an army to force people out of the way so he can visit a site he considers holy? No!

    I suggest you look at the UN resolution regarding the incident and the Geneva Convention to understand why what Sharon did was wrong.



    [ Parent ]
    what he was saying (none / 0) (#184)
    by demi on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:46:23 PM EST

    was that we (the US) is actually NOT unilaterally supporting Israel in this mess. We have been trying to help the Palestinians too. That's a HELL of a lot more than any other nation has done, including those who are criticising literally every move we make towards or away from the negotiating table. Sure, Sharon is not the right guy to have in a situation that needs a peaceful resolution. But we are trying to help both sides and getting screwed in the propaganda war.



    [ Parent ]

    Then there never will be peace. (none / 0) (#208)
    by sonovel on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:48:40 PM EST

    Sorry, but there will be no peace if both sides can't access their holy places.

    Israel will never accept not being able to access the Temple Mount any more than Muslims would accept being barred from Mecca.

    You make excuses for people who hate Jews. Both sides must have access to their holy sites. Both sides have gone and will go to war to ensure it. No "peace process" that doesn't ensure this will lead to peace.


    [ Parent ]
    Holy sites, bah! (none / 0) (#231)
    by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:36:57 PM EST

    The root of this whole problem is holy sites. If both sides were more concerned with the teachings of their religion instead of their "holy sites" the world would be a better place.

    Where did I make excuses for people who hate jews? I think you're misreading something.

    Anyhow, the point I'm making is that in order to visit this holy site, Ariel Sharon (who is seen as a war criminal by Palestinians) used the military might of his country to force innocent bystanders out of the way. How could that possibly be in accordance with the teachings of his religion?

    The fact is, Sharon didn't make that visit out of religious piety. He made the visit to make a political point. "We own this region, we will do what we want to do here, and your views mean nothing to us".

    It may be true that for there to be peace in the region, all religions must have access to their holy sites. But at the same time, there will never be peace while military force is used to visit these holy sites.



    [ Parent ]
    His point was different / analysis of situation (none / 0) (#237)
    by sonovel on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:29:18 PM EST

    I believe his point was not what you make it to be.

    I figure his point is 'See their reaction to my visit? If they had their way, we could never even visit our holiest site' and 'we can't trust them to allow us to live in peace.'

    He may have provided "provocation" for Infatada II, but Palestinians fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

    -----

    But either way, all sides must compromise on some things.

    I think the settlements are going to have to go sometime for there to be peace. These are a real provocation.

    Whoever is the authority for Palestine will have to take meaningful steps to curb terrorism against Israel.

    Either the Palestine Authority (Arafat) isn't stopping terrorism or can't stop it.

    If it isn't stopping it when it can it is violating agreements. This proves that Israel can't trust the PA with Israel's security. In this case, Israel will try to prevent the formation of a Palestinian State.

    If the PA can't stop terrorism, there is no point in Israel negotiating with it.

    ------

    Some form of Palestinean homeland should be formed.

    But Palestinians are outcasts in far more countries than just Israel. Other Arab countries have treated them just as shamefully as Israel. Of course, the Arab nations are hypocrits for using this issue to bash Israel when they don't treat Palestinians much better.

    There are a least three sides here. Most of the Arab world wants Israel destroyed. Arab nations don't agree on much, but this is almost a universal desire.They use Palestinians as pawns for this goal.

    Israel wants to survive and will not go easily into oblivion. Israelis fight back (too?) hard against those who attack her.

    Over the last few years, many of the direct attacks on Israel have come from Palestinians and terrorists supporting them. The result of this is that they bear the brunt of Israel's response.

    Israel won't give up captured lands unless she feels secure. Terrorist attacks and failed truces make it less likely Israel will concede land.

    Access to holy sites in Jerusalem must be open to all. This might require international oversight. Perhaps this means that the city is administered by the U.N.

    ----

    So what parts of my analysis do you disagree with?



    [ Parent ]
    A few disagreements (none / 0) (#239)
    by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:35:49 PM EST

    I figure his point is 'See their reaction to my visit? If they had their way, we could never even visit our holiest site' and 'we can't trust them to allow us to live in peace.'

    I could maybe believe that if he had come alone, or with a small escort. But from what I understand he had riot police and military troops pushing protestors back so he could make that visit. Besides, this is Ariel Sharon. He has been found responsible of the massacre of 2000 unarmed Palestinian refugees. It's not like he's just another Jewish tourist wanting to see a holy site. Maybe I'm wrong. Who knows.

    If the PA [and Arafat] can't stop terrorism, there is no point in Israel negotiating with it.

    I disagree. If Israel wants peace it has to make peace with someone. Arafat is the only real option. He may not be able to completely stop terrorism, but he has a better shot than anyone else I've heard of.

    Perhaps this means that the city is administered by the U.N.

    I agree completely. No state based on a religion should have control over a religious site belonging to another religion, especially when the parties involved have such animosity for eachother. I even think that Saudi Arabia shouldn't have control of Mecca and Medina. I believe that Saudi Arabia is a mostly Sunni Muslim country with a Sunni Muslim royal family. From the hostility between Sunni and Shiite muslims I would imagine that the Shiites in Saudi Arabia are probably not treated as well as the Sunnis. If this site is so important to all muslims, why should one group have control over it? However this is a much trickier issue.



    [ Parent ]
    Disagreements (none / 0) (#254)
    by sonovel on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 06:33:08 PM EST

    One interesting thing, the violence of the Infitada II started _before_ Sharon's visit.

    So bringing an "escort" may be as much reaction to as cause of violence.

    I don't think Sharon was _right_ in going to the Temple Mount.

    I just think that it is a very flimsy excuse to throw out years of negotiations and the possibility of a Palistinian homeland. I think these things occur at least partially because there are those who feel that Israel must be destroyed.

    ----

    I guess I disagree that "peace with someone" is useful if that someone can't or won't produce peace.

    These negotiations are tricky things. Can you blame Israel for not moving forward with them when suicide bombers are blowing up kids in a nightclub or beach?


    ----

    I just have to say "EEEEEK!!" over your suggestion of international control of the two holy cities of Islam. I would want the U.S., U.N., and any countries _I like_ to stay far far away from that!

    Consider OBLs response to infidels in SA, let alone the two holiest places!

    I figure the Muslim nations can work that one out. I don't know if there is much of a problem with the current setup. I think these places are open to all Muslims. I don't know of the Saudi royalty using this to punish nations they don't like (Iraq, say).


    [ Parent ]
    just for the record (none / 0) (#275)
    by SEAL on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 01:03:42 PM EST

    Your view is incredibly short-sighted.

    Israel retook the Temple Mount and the Old City as part of the 6 days war. Notice I said retook. For the first time in ages, Judaism controlled this site again. As far as Israel is concerned, the importance of this site goes all the way back to Abraham at Mt. Moriah - around 2000 B.C. The first temple was built by Solomon around 950 B.C.

    By comparison, Mohammed died in 632 A.D. and Muslims took control of Jerusalem shortly thereafter. And the Dome of the Rock wasn't commissioned to be built until 691 A.D.

    Of course there have been many invasions and Jerusalem has changed hands several times over this huge time period. The temple was destroyed and later rebuilt.

    The key thing to keep in mind here is that the U.S. and Israel are not always on the same page especially when it comes to religious issues such as this. The U.S. tends to look at the more immediate situation. Israel, though, takes a long view in this matter.

    In any event, who WOULD you say this territory belongs to? Jews, Christians, AND Muslims (if you take the views of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed) all trace their roots back to Abraham. Normally I don't like to bring up Biblical arguments because they are always vague and open to interpretation. However, in this case, there's a passage in Genesis which is of interest. This was part of the covenant between God and Abraham:

    "And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

    And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." (Genesis 17:7-8).

    Interestingly, you can find supporters of all three religions claiming that these lines grant them title to this land. Apparently, His children still haven't learned to share.

    Best regards,

    SEAL

    It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
    [ Parent ]

    I guess the issue here (none / 0) (#219)
    by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:36:29 PM EST

    ...is that Arabs in Israel's conquered territories have no rights, and Israel has no intent to ever give them any. Everything that happens there gets interpreted in light of this.

    [ Parent ]

    Please step away from the rhetoric (none / 0) (#188)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:02:06 PM EST

    Name one Arab country that has offered Palistine a homeland. Name one Arab country that has offered food or shelter. Name one Arab country that has suggested a solution to the situation that does not involve the elimination of all Jews in the region. Name one. The Arab world has left Palistine high and dry.

    You still cannot argue with the accuracy of my statement. You're simply trying to bring all of this sideline rhetoric that doesn't eliminate the fact that the Arab world has done NOTHING to help the Palistinian people.

    While you can rail against whether or not the US has been an unconditional ally of Israel is pointless in the context of what I'm saying. The US is the only country that for several decades has been trying to bring peace to the middle east. With the exception of Egypt, no other country has even tried. So it seems that for all of the grief the US gets at the hands of those who wouldn't give the Palistinian's the scrap from their tables, the US has actually done a lot.

    [ Parent ]

    What is a "homeland"? (none / 0) (#236)
    by Merc on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:21:37 PM EST

    To me, a "homeland" sounds like "the land they came from", and isn't that Palestine itself? The only country that can offer this kind of homeland is Israel, since they're the ones occupying this territory.

    But maybe by a "homeland" you just mean a new home. In that case, Jordan. Jordan has offered palestinian refugees in certain areas Jordanian citizenship. Other states have fed and clothed them in refugee camps, allowed them to come in as workers, and some have allowed small numbers to become citizens.

    But it is true that this goes against the common Arab viewpoint: Palestinians shouldn't be offered citizenship in another country because they're citizens of Palestine. By allowing Palestinians to become citizens of the other Arab countries, these countries would take the pressure off Israel to give back the land they occupy. Unfortunately this is using the Palestinians as pawns. But the Arab world has without a doubt helped the Palestinian people.

    The US has done a little to help bring peace to the middle east. They have had some showy peace talks, and even made some progress. But if the US is vetoing every UN resolution unfavorable to Israel how hard are they really trying to bring peace to the region? Actions speak louder than words.



    [ Parent ]
    "Homeland" (none / 0) (#253)
    by NovaHeat on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 05:42:35 PM EST

    To me, a "homeland" sounds like "the land they came from", and isn't that Palestine itself? The only country that can offer this kind of homeland is Israel, since they're the ones occupying this territory.

    Well, thats a pretty preposterous statement, given that following the same logic would lead, eventually, back to "Well, the Jewish people had their original homeland roughly in present-day Israel, and thus they have as much right to the land as Palestinians. But we both know that sort of logic is faulty, since it's just one of those historical phenomena that peoples get pushed from place to place.

    -----

    Rose clouds of flies.
    [ Parent ]

    A NOTE ABOUT OIL INTERESTS(ot) (none / 0) (#167)
    by thePositron on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:11:52 PM EST

    Most (about 80%) of the oil imported into the U.S. is imported from Venezuala.

    The only oil interests the U.S. government is protecting in the Middle East are those of mostly U.S. based oil corporations who bring the oil to market in JApan and Europe. Besisdes it's not OUR oil anyway we don't own it. The people who live in sovereign nations where the oil is located own the oil.

    Fundamentally what you are saying is that it is ok for Europe or Russia to put troops in Alaska because they fear that their oil interests will not be served because the U.S. government might deny them oil at later date or that the U.S. might become unstable so they need to guarantee that it remains stable by putting troops on uur soil.


    Does this make sense?




    [ Parent ]
    Justice and duty (none / 0) (#217)
    by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:29:29 PM EST

    Sometimes there is no morally superior choice.

    As the biggest kid on the block, it's always our responsibility to be looking for a better way. In the last ten years, we've abdicated that.

    [ Parent ]

    Ignorance is bliss (5.00 / 1) (#273)
    by scorchio on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 11:30:21 AM EST

    When the peace marchers undermined US opinion and demanded that we retreat from Iraq as soon as we had liberated Quwait instead of chasing down Saddam and killing him, it sent a message that the US has no stomach for finishing the mission.

    I think it was Powell's decision not to go in after Saddam. Which decision, by the way, was a sickening betrayal of the Shias of Southern Iraq. These people were encouraged by George Bush Senior to rise up and overthrow Saddam. A logical thing for him to do, since the US is a democratic country, and the Shias represent the largest religious-ethnic group in Iraq.

    The Shias duly rose, and were put down with great brutality by Saddam's army, after the defeat of Iraq. The US didn't lift a finger, and gave various mealy mouthed excuses, one of the most hilarious being that they didn't want to violate the territorial integrity of Iraq.

    Saudi Arabia, America's ally/lickspittle in the region is a fundamentalist Sunni theocracy. Iraq is Sunni-ruled but a majority Shia state. Iran is Shia. The US didn't fail to finish Saddam off because of the peace-mongers, but because they were playing geopolitics and the Shias of Iraq happened to get in the way.

    Don't assume your leaders are as naive as you are.

    So do you suggest we pull out of Saudi Arabia and leave our oil interests unprotected? While the current regime might not be perfect, I'll gurantee you that it's better than letting it fall to Saddam or to the radical fundamentalists who would be licking their lips as the US pulled out.

    The current regime is far from perfect. It is a fundamentalist regime, compared with which Iran and Iraq (pre Gulf-War) were havens of democracy and liberal thought.

    It's called the lessor of two evils

    Oh really? And who's the lessee?

    ...and in the real world, that's the choice you're given sometimes.

    Correction. You and I are unlikely ever to have to make such a choice. Our leaders are.

    Sometimes there is no morally superior choice. You play the cards as they're dealt and sometimes that means you gotta play a shitty hand.

    Puerile analogies aside, you show an astonishing ignorance of European and US conduct in the Middle East for the last century or so. Who put the Saud dynasty in power? The Brits. Who armed Saddam to the teeth? The US.

    And in case it has escaped you, the US has done more to secure a Palistinian homeland than any other nation on earth.

    2 * 0 = 0. Actually, since the US gives Israel 4 billion in military aid a year, which they use against the Palestinians, the US is on the negative side of the balance sheet. Also, Israel is in breach of the UN Oslo accord requiring Israel to withdraw from the illegally occupied territories. Guess who voted against the accords in the first place? The US and Israel.

    Believe me, if the leaders in the Arab world showed as much solidarity with the US as Israel does, I think they might be amazed how much support we would show them.

    And you were blithering on about cause and effect?

    So, it is not the entire Arab world who listens to bin Laden. It is a small but powerful group who gains their power by intimidation, murder and terror.

    It's surprising that you have the nerve to pontificate about Arab opinion, or trust the numbers you are given by CNN.

    As for intimidation, murder and terror, there's nothing the Arabs couldn't learn from the US.

    Would you people quit trying to justify bin Laden?

    Don't think anyone is trying to justify bin Laden. A lot of Americans (understandably, given the scale of the attacks on your country) have difficulty separating the alleged perpetrator of the attacks from any action the US may wish to undertake in response. If bin Laden bombed the WTC, he should be brought to justice. The current 'war' in Afghanistan, which seems nothing more than an ego-boosting attack by a superpower on a country far weaker and poorer even than Iraq, is not justified by the WTC.

    Just for a moment can you entertain the idea that he's a sick asshole who is set out to lift himself up politicaly?

    He seems more of a military man, really...

    He has no care about his demands other than they would prove to the rest of the Arab world that he is a powerful man who they should listen to if they want to stay alive. He wraps his message in religion but don't be fooled, he's in it for the power.

    One question... what is your basis for any of this?

    [ Parent ]

    Middle Road (4.33 / 6) (#124)
    by glassware on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:24:11 PM EST

    This whole terrorism war tends to polarise people too completely.

    The proper behavior for the US is not to either prop up or abandon Saudi Arabia. The proper behavior for the US is to be friends with these nations and urge them to take steps to democratise their societies, in much the same way that we do with China. China is still angry at us much of the time, but we both understand that progress is a long, hard, slow road. China is more democratic now than they were twenty years ago (did you know local areas in China hold elections now?).

    The proper behavior for the US in Afghanistan is to do everything necessary to bring the terrorists who committed these atrocities to justice, and then to work to help the country recover; as we did with Germany and Japan in the 40s and 50s. Many people may not remember now, but a large portion of the German and Japanese population was very angry at us after WW2. It was only after years and years of doing our best to help them that they gradually became our friends.

    It is interesting to me how the only successful wars are those which combine violence with friendship. In so many cases, a ruthless victor in a war becomes the victim in the next war a few hundred years later. It is arguable that the war against terrorism is to the gulf war as WWII was to WWI. Because George Bush Sr. did not adequately end the war, he left the rage and the anger to simmer until it resulted in terrorist acts.

    Let this be a lesson to us. We must be strong and kind at the same time.

    As Winston Churchill once said, "In defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity."

    Urging to change versus propping (3.50 / 2) (#131)
    by demi on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:08:02 PM EST

    If you think that having a diplomat appear at a Saudi state dinner and saying "I think you fellows should abandon your dictatorial monarchy and pursue a course of European democratic reform" is going to be effective, you are wrong. Although the fairness their form of government is not what it may be in the US, Canada, or even Mexico, we have no diplomatic leverage to ask them to do anything. Their neighbors are much worse (Egypt, Libya, Syria) and they have always cooperated with us in the past. Just because bin Laden jumps up and says that the Saudis are corrupt does not mean that it is incumbent upon us to denounce them. We have to use what diplomatic leverage we have judiciously in that region of the world. Are the Saudis the ones we should be criticising right now? Think about it.



    [ Parent ]

    Well (4.00 / 1) (#141)
    by PhillipW on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:43:50 PM EST

    While we should be focusing a great deal of our efforts at bringing terrorists to justice, this does not mean that the Saudis should escape criticism. They don't treat their women much better than the Taliban, and aren't anymore aware of basic human rights. Encouraging change is not a bad thing.

    -Phil
    [ Parent ]
    Perhaps someday (4.00 / 1) (#187)
    by demi on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:54:36 PM EST

    there will be a more principled approach to international relations in the US foreign policy, but when it comes to the middle east we are backing the moderates (the Saudis are moderates) and getting reamed. Much of the Islamic world has yet to consitutionally recognize the human rights that we take for granted. I don't know how you feel about it, but I think that region is due for a major secular backlash (maybe a gradual change, maybe a bloody civil war) some day.

    It won't be pretty. In the meantime we have to support the guys who are closest to our way of thinking. If Saudi Arabia were diplomatically isolated like North Korea or Aghanistan, then things would be different.



    [ Parent ]

    Oi! (1.00 / 5) (#160)
    by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:43:54 PM EST

    Must you be so inflammatory and supremacist?

    China is still angry at us much of the time, but we both understand that progress is a long, hard, slow road.

    In other words, progress is defined as the gradual disappearance of anger towards the US? That's how you measure progress? How friendly the country is inherently to the US is the manner in which you quantify its evolution? Haha!

    The proper behavior for the US in Afghanistan is to do everything necessary to bring the terrorists who committed these atrocities to justice, and then to work to help the country recover; as we did with Germany and Japan in the 40s and 50s.

    Yes, because it's relatively easy and economically beneficial. The US cultivated Japan's stagnant, lethargic democracy and 'miracle economy' (along with that of South Korea and other SE Asian states) during the Cold War largely for its own economic gain, but back then it also had the convenient masquerade of ideaological containment (Stop the spread of Communism). Not to mention enourmous leverage, when it came to offering Japan preferential access to its vast, vast domestic consumer market in return for its role as a Cold War ally (think Okinawa). Even domestic American workers' protests against this destruction of domestic industries (think cars) were largely hushed, because Japan was a vital bastion of American interest. To a large extent, this was true of West Germany as well - reviving western Europe under these Marshall Plans is an investment. It all generates thundering economic return.

    Afghanistan doesn't seem to, no matter how you imagine it...


    --- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
    [ Parent ]

    So spend some money (none / 0) (#222)
    by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:40:24 PM EST

    ...and choose how to spend it really, really well.

    It never hurts to have friends in the world.

    [ Parent ]

    Progress (5.00 / 1) (#242)
    by Woundweavr on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:01:39 AM EST

    The progress refered to was China becoming more democratic. Read it again before you get an attitude.

    I don't understand your point. Was it bad that the US helped Japan and West Germany? If it had done it to no benefit whatsoever (however impossible that may be) to itself would it have been? And how can you condemn the US as you seem to wish to do for something it hasnt, not done yet?

    [ Parent ]

    No, you've misunderstood me (none / 0) (#257)
    by sasha on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 07:24:12 PM EST

    Was it bad that the US helped Japan and West Germany?

    Absolutely not. It was a very good thing.

    What I'm trying to say is, there are many other nice places on the globe besides SE Asia and Western Europe that could've gladly used some American aid to repair war damage and improve humanitarian situation. But Western Europe and SE Asia (chiefly Japan) were the candidates, and there is a very specific political motivation for this - that motivation is primarily economic, and far more to the advantage of the US than subsidising reconstruction in many other places that needed it - some far more badly. Well, more badly than Japan needed, anyway.

    And how can you condemn the US as you seem to wish to do for something it hasnt, not done yet?

    I never made any condemnation. I think you're inferring something from conjectural points at best.


    --- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
    [ Parent ]

    There are no nations. (5.00 / 4) (#183)
    by aphrael on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:42:50 PM EST

    be friends with these nations

    This statement underlies the basic problem with respect to US involvement in the middle east. It's meant entirely innocently, too, but then that's part of the problem. :)

    The thing is, there are no nations. In western Europe, everyone knows what it means to be French, or Italian, or German. What does it mean to be Saudi Arabian, or Omani, or Qatari? (Does that last word even exist?) There are states, but not nations. The states of the middle east are not nation-states.

    This poses problems for internal stability. It is pretty much true in modern times that the only states that are considered legitimate are (a) nation states or (b) large multinational empires (the US is the only major example of this after the collapse of the USSR). None of the states in the region, except for Turkey, Iran and Israel, and to some degree Egypt come close to being either. Instead, the states are artificial creations of the post-WWI colonial powers.

    Why is this a problem? The people living within the states have no emotional allegiance to them. What does it mean to be Saudi Arabian? How is that different from being Arab? Loyalty either goes to something larger than the state (Arab nationality or Islam) or to something smaller (local tribe or minority group). The states of the middle east are only able to maintain internal unity by force --- and that's what they do; it is not by accident that Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria, Pakistan, Oman, and Yemen all have seriously repressive regimes.

    This is the fundamental problem for western relations with the area. Almost none of the states have any legitimacy; any move towards democracy is likely to lead to the collapse of the states in question. There is no way to be 'friends of the nation' because there are no nations; democratizing the society means the death of the state, so no government will willingly pursue it. Yet the west cannot simply walk home, because it depends economically on the resources of the region.

    The proper behavior for the US in Afghanistan is to do everything necessary to bring the terrorists who committed these atrocities to justice, and then to work to help the country recover; as we did with Germany and Japan in the 40s and 50s.

    This is a different matter --- for all that it has been torn by civil war for almost thirty years, Afghanistan is a recognizable idea in a way that, say, Syria is not. Of course we should try to help the country recover --- and everyone in power understands that, and the UN will be around for a long time after the war ends. But it's not going to be easy. Germany and Japan were (a) better off economically than Afghanistan, and (b) true nation-states (which Afghanistan is not). Which isn't to say that it can't be done, or that it shouldn't --- just that the road may be a long and difficult one.

    [ Parent ]

    democracy (3.66 / 3) (#287)
    by ShrimpX on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 08:31:26 PM EST

    and you simply assume that democracy is good for everyone just because it's good for you?

    how about the USian octopuss retracts itself within US territory, stop taking advantage of its influence in the WTO to pull things in its advantage, trade more fairly, stop child labor, manufacture its own goods, etc etc etc

    that would probably be a better start than urging everyone to become like us...

    [ Parent ]
    What about OUR point of view? (4.11 / 9) (#132)
    by sopwath on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:11:22 PM EST

    I wish I could have cought this when it was waiting for submission...

    Why is there no notice of why the US picked those policies in the first place? If the US let Iraq take Kuwit and then Saudi Arabia, where would our oil interests be? In the hands of a dictator! Are we supposed to outright make a new enemy in the Saudi people by attacking thier government and establishing a new democracy? At least for now, wouldn't it be easier to defend a pseudo-ally agaist an agressive enemy state?

    I suppose Iraq has some type of free market for developing weapons, both chemical and biological, but the great Saddam Hussein can't feed the people because that's so much harder to do. Maybe the government there should worry about making sure kids have food, medicine, clothing, etc than on further development of an Army that will basically be crushed if they ever try to use it. Do you think relations with Iran are so good that we'd just let them attack Iraq without US intervention?

    The northern no-fly zone is in place to try and protect the Kurds that are in Iraq. I'm sorry for anyone being attacked in Turkey. I'm also sorry for having not heard anything about Turkey attacking other countries.(that's sarcasm and yes I understand that the US probably doesn't have any vested interest in Turkey oil[eww, turkey oil])

    What "protocol" was proposed to stop the development of biological weapons? Was there more to the "protocol" like puting a stop to nuclear weapons? I don't think the US is to interested in developing biological weapons. We do maintain an arsenal of nuclear weapons, but that's policy to assure mutual destruction against say... China. There are still super-powers that we have to worry about. When it came to Pakistan, the US urged both akistan and India to stop trying to produce nuclear weapons. How can we possibly step into a conflict of that size? How come when we step in to try and defend one group from the other we are evil, but when we don't go in to do the same thing we are still eveil? You can't have it both ways. There's no way the Us wants to get into a war with India or something.

    I seriously doubt changing our foreign policies is going to have a big difference. Perhaps Powell's work on establishing a Palestinian state would help, but when it gets down to it every country has to worry about number one. Themselves.






    Graduation, Sleep, Life: Pick Two
    Hint (3.25 / 8) (#134)
    by Betcour on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:24:35 PM EST

    where would our oil interests be

    OK read this carefully : you (US) have no right to petrol drilled and produced outside of US borders. If Saudi Arabia wanted to stop selling its petrol, or sell it for 10 times its price etc... it would be it's perfect right. Despite what you seem to believe the US is not entitled to get cheap petrol from outside - nor it it entitled to anything it doesn't own. Stationning troops to control a resource that doesn't belong to you is wrong - plain and simple. If I put some armed guards into your living room to protect my "TV interests" and make sure there's always a place for me on your sofa, you won't be happy either.

    [ Parent ]
    Bigger Hint (3.42 / 7) (#144)
    by Merk00 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:51:13 PM EST

    The starving in Afghanistan have no right to food. If we don't want to sell it to them or want to sell it to them for outragous prices it is our right. Despite what you seem to believe Afghanistan is not entitled to get food from outside - nor is it entitled to anything it doesn't own.

    ------
    "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
    [ Parent ]

    You sick puppy (4.50 / 2) (#256)
    by BlackAndRed on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 06:47:03 PM EST

    Your value system is FUBAR. And you're wrong on the critical point: *everyone* has the right to food.

    Quoting from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

    Article 25

    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

    The real question is, how can the rights of the Afgan people be protected during the U.S. military assault?

    [ Parent ]

    So the world _must_ give Afghanistan food? (none / 0) (#261)
    by sonovel on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 01:21:51 AM EST

    Does this mean that by international law, the world _must_ provide support for Afghanistan or say, North Korea?

    Does this obligate the world to invading a country that starves its own people? Consider the acts of the former USSR under Stalin. Under this declaration, would the rest of the world be obligated to invading and deposing Stalin?

    I of course think that refusing to sell food would in most cases be wrong. I also think it is ethically right for the haves to help the have nots.

    I am just really curious of whether this Declaration really means what it implies, or if it is just hot air.


    [ Parent ]
    Time (none / 0) (#271)
    by Robert S Gormley on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 11:12:04 AM EST

    Well, probably not in the case of Stalin, as the Bill was drawn up after his time...

    [ Parent ]
    So instead of Stalin, someone like him now (none / 0) (#272)
    by sonovel on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 11:15:50 AM EST

    So if there were a leader starving his country when he could feed it, does this human right force us to give him food?

    Do it give the rest of the world the right to depose him since he is violating universal human rights?

    I'd really like a serious answer to this.

    If this declaration of human rights really means something, it has implications.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes, human rights mean something. (none / 0) (#285)
    by BlackAndRed on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 06:44:29 PM EST

    You asked:

    >So if there were a leader starving his country when he could feed it, does this human right force us to give him food?

    The analogy is no good. You could rephrase it:

    > So if there were a big country that attacked a small country -- a poor, starving, and largely defenceless country -- that led to the termination of food and other humanitarian aid, does this human right [to food] force us to give them food OR stop the attack and help the food shipments start again?

    First, let me reiterate the question I posed in the first place:

    > The real question is, how can the rights of the Afgan people be protected during the U.S. military assault?

    This is not a rhetorical question, it is very serious. It is also difficult because there is no explicit enforcement mechanism. Let's start a few facts:

    • According to Oxfam, 3.7 million Afghans were receiving some form of food assistance prior to the US attack.

    • Winter is coming, and the people of Afghanistan will need truck shipments of at least 40,000 tonnes of food to survive.

    • Aid shipments of not just food, but vitally needed medicines and the expertise to administer them, are threatened by this "war".

    If the United States was seriously interested in protecting the rights of the Afghan people, it would at a minimum:

    • End the charade of dropping HDRs from high altitudes, what the respected aid group Doctors Without Borders has called "a cynical propaganda ploy," and take specific actions to reopen the borders and get the aid workers back in there.

    • Refrain from it's massive propaganda campaign, in the interest of preventing an expansion of the refugee population.

    • Publicly commit the resources, a small fraction of the $40 billion (at least!) allocated to this war, to the rebuilding of Afghanistan. Yes, engage in "nation-building" with all that entails. The alternative is "nation-destroying", something we are quite good at.

    • End the war rhetoric and replace it with the concept of a "police action" to search the country for the accused terrorists and arrest them. Think of how you would feel, being a poor peasant, the United States declared "war" on your country and committed to overthrowing the government. Pretty scary? And so unnecessary.

    • Along that line, it would behoove us to terminate this illegal unilateral action and seek redress through the proper forums, i.e. the U.N. security council. Yes we have "allies" in this "coalition" but the fiction of this being a global war on terror cannot be maintained if it is seen as a crusade led by the United States.

    I don't accept the proposition that the USG "cares" about the fate of the Afghanis. They [the USG war planners] care just enough to keep themselves from looking like cruel monsters, which they undoubtably are. There have already been far too many civilian deaths, far too many new refugees, far too many lives disrupted. And the worst may be yet to come. These people have done nothing to us. We are the guilty party in Afghanistan, and our actions will ENSURE that the terrorism will continue. An eye for an eye is not justice, it is madness.

    [ Parent ]

    So what does this mean? (none / 0) (#286)
    by sonovel on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 07:40:30 PM EST

    Does this mean that other, mostly uninvolved, countries have the right or responsibility to attack the U.S. to stop your so-called illegal attacks on Afghanistan?

    That is the implication I am curious about.

    Getting rid of the Taliban is probably about the best thing we could do for human rights in Afghanistan.

    Of course, if we go in, get rid of them and leave, we will cause a worse humanitarian crisis.

    I expect that the U.S. will be spending billions to help the people of Afghanistan if we succeed in ousting the Taliban.

    But I guess the only way we will find out is by waiting.

    ------

    I was looking to see if anyone would answer that preventing a leader from starving his people could be a reason to attack given the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

    But no one was willing to even entertain the question. If this declaration really meant anything, it would have interesting ramifications that are worthy of discussion.

    The only response was to use the question to bash the U.S. How sad.

    I guess everyone must think the declaration is just another piece of dirty paper.

    [ Parent ]
    Not That Sick (none / 0) (#267)
    by Merk00 on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 09:30:57 AM EST

    First of all, don't equate what I post to my value system. I don't always post things I believe but do simply because there's a point to be made.

    Second, we'll ignore the fact that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a nonbinding document. It's more along the lines of "this is what we'd like the world to be but if it's not, that's okay too." Now, there have been other binding documents based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    I also think that there is a right to economic prosperity in the world. Gasoline is necessary to the US economy. That is simple. The US economy cannot operate without oil. If there is no oil, the US economy will collapse. When this happens, a lot of people around the world will be out of jobs. Now, it may not be so bad in first world countries with adequate social programs but in other less developed nations there are going to be a lot of hungry people. So maybe this does all come down to a right to food.

    ------
    "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
    [ Parent ]

    Nonbinding amendment? (none / 0) (#276)
    by BlackAndRed on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 02:46:10 PM EST

    Perhaps you should suggest amending the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to read:

    Article 30:

    Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein; with the following exceptions

    1) All the worlds oil are belong to USA,
    2) The USA has the right to economic prosperity,
    3) Afghanistan does not have the right to food.



    [ Parent ]
    Aye. (none / 0) (#277)
    by sasha on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 04:12:40 PM EST

    Sounds about right, as far as reflecting American unilateralism through the ages.

    Addendum to #2, going along with your argument:

    2) The USA has the inalienable right to economic prosperity, at the expense of anybody and everybody who may be victimised as a side effect ("obstacles").


    --- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
    [ Parent ]

    Gee (none / 0) (#264)
    by Betcour on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 06:58:31 AM EST

    Staying alive and having cheap gas for your SUV are NOT the same thing. Besides, it's been a while Afghanistan is in this shit but it took the WTC disaster for the US to realize something was going on. I guess it is more important for the US to protect it's gas supply than save a few million peoples.

    [ Parent ]
    Gas (5.00 / 1) (#266)
    by Merk00 on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 09:27:10 AM EST

    Instead of realizing that the only reason we need gas is for so that I can travel in "my SUV cheaply" (not that I own an SUV nor intend to nor that I drive more than 10 miles a day) then you need to reexamine the economic situation in the United States. With out affordable gasoline, our economy will collapse. That's a simple fact. While some people may believe that's a good thing, I tend to think that going back to the Great Depression would be bad for everyone. And guess what? Assuming the US economy collapsed, there would be a lot of starving people in both the US and throughout the world.

    ------
    "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
    [ Parent ]

    Taking the problem the wrong way (none / 0) (#268)
    by Betcour on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 09:52:20 AM EST

    Yes - the US economy is very oil dependant. No, the solution is not putting the world in flames just to make sure the oil prices are low and it is available in quantity. The solution is using other energy sources. Not tackling the oil dependency problem is short term thinking - sure it is easier to send troops here and there and bomb a few countries, but someday there'll be less available petrol, and this day no army will save the US economy butt.

    It is sad that whole countries are put or kept into dictatorship or get bombed just because the US is too greedy to spend a bit of its GNP on researching and using other energies. The technology is there : France is producing less than 10% of its electricy with fossil fuels (75% is nuclear and 15% hydro) and has been doing so for several decades now.

    [ Parent ]
    Hints for sale (5.00 / 6) (#145)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:58:37 PM EST

    Stationning troops to control a resource that doesn't belong to you is wrong - plain and simple. If I put some armed guards into your living room to protect my "TV interests" and make sure there's always a place for me on your sofa, you won't be happy either.

    You're not serious, are you? We are protecting our interests BECAUSE WE WERE ASKED TO!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are not in Saudi Arabia as an occupying force. The government has asked us to be there. So in your analogy, it would be ok to put armed gaurds in my house IF I ASKED YOU TO. If my wife and kids don't like it, that's an issue between me and my family. If I thought someone might come and steal my TV and you offered to put armed gaurds in my house to protect your right to come over and watch my TV, that's perfectly ok. It's when I ask you to leave and take your armed gaurds with you and you refuse, is when we are talking about it being wrong.

    You seem to overlook the fact that the Saudi government gets money for that oil stuff. They want to protect it too. They just don't have the ability to so they hired their biggest customer to do it for them.

    Your argument assumes that someone does have a right to the oil. You say the US does not have teh right to it, but the government of Saudi Arabia does. And as long as the government in Saudi Arabia asks the US for help, we have the right to be there. If the Saudi government asked us to leave and we refused, that would be a different story. Whether the Saudi government represents the will of the people is not our concern. They are the recognized government and until they aren't they are the only ones who can say stay or go.

    [ Parent ]

    On the surface (2.40 / 5) (#152)
    by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:18:15 PM EST

    Of course, your perspective holds that someone asked the American military apparatus to simply plop down in Saudi Arabia.

    I agree that Saudi Arabia neither has nor has ever had nor ever will have the capacity to defend its oil reserves from interested invading parties, but the looming danger from these convenient ready-to-cook menaces like Saddam Hussein should not be exaggerated either.

    However, using your mainstream arguments, I could ostensibly suggest that Nicaragua "asked" for CIA intervention on behalf of the contra forces, that Somalia specifically asked for American intervention, and that Iran "asked" the US to please do them a nice favour and install Pavlavi. You've got to be a little more multilateral than that...

    Saudi Arabia is a country of 22 million, surrounded by many turbulent political zones, full of lots of desert, and otherwise not entirely equipped to fight off bullies. Especially ones so vigilant in their pursuit of economic gain as the US (along with other Western countries, at least in the middle of the century). I propose that you infer here just a little bit and conclude that maybe nobody really "asked" them. The oil oligarchy and monarchy nod along, of course, but I have trouble accepting that Saudi Arabia united as a nation, as people, and earnestly "asked" for a massive American military presence on its soil.


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    [ Parent ]

    Not sure I see your point (4.00 / 2) (#153)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:31:06 PM EST

    The Saudi government asked. That's really the end of any such discussion on whether we have the right to be there or not. As long as they are the recongnized government, that is a valid reason. If the Saudi people rise up and overthrow the government, the new government will be able to decide if they want us there or not.

    Your bringing up little tidbits of past US foreign policy doesn't change anything. It's a nice way to deflect the real discussion but it serves no purpose here.

    I've never claimed we've done everything perfect. I've never claimed that we've never done some really wicked shit. I said, that as long as the Saudi government is in power, we have a right to station troops there if they so request it. Stick to the topic.

    [ Parent ]

    The point (as I see it) (4.50 / 6) (#171)
    by broken77 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:23:43 PM EST

    The Saudi government asked. That's really the end of any such discussion on whether we have the right to be there or not. As long as they are the recongnized government, that is a valid reason. If the Saudi people rise up and overthrow the government, the new government will be able to decide if they want us there or not.
    I don't think this is true at all. Since when has supporting a corrupt, oppressive government moral or ethical? Suppose you were offered a job at a company that was well known to pollute the environment, perhaps worse than any other company in their field, and you were a staunch environmentalist. Would it be ok for you to go and work for them? Suppose a Klan leader invited you to come to a party and "hang out with the boys", and perhaps come to a rally with them. Would it be all right to do it? These analogies are silly, maybe, but I think the point is easy to see. It's not ok to give your support to someone that asks for it, if they are inherently unethical. That, by proxy, makes you unethical. Just because they asked us to go there, doesn't mean we should be there. I, for one, don't believe we should be supporting the Saudi government at all. We're not supporting other corrupt governments, so why do we support theirs? Easy. OIL.
    Your bringing up little tidbits of past US foreign policy doesn't change anything. It's a nice way to deflect the real discussion but it serves no purpose here.
    No, it doesn't change anything. But it keeps important discussion on the table. Let us have a voice, please. No, we don't believe that it deflects the real discussion. We believe it IS the real discussion.
    I said, that as long as the Saudi government is in power, we have a right to station troops there if they so request it. Stick to the topic.
    I've already partially responded to this earlier in this post. As far as "stick to the topic"... Like I just said. I personally think this guy's comment was right on topic. That this IS the issue. Not that it circumvents the issue.

    I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
    [ Parent ]

    It is not the same issue (none / 0) (#185)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:46:44 PM EST

    No, it doesn't change anything. But it keeps important discussion on the table. Let us have a voice, please. No, we don't believe that it deflects the real discussion. We believe it IS the real discussion.

    But the person being responded to was implying that the US was there against the government's will. That is not the case. The person who posted their comments said the US doesn't have the right to be there. We do. Whether you think we should be there is a completely different subject on which I have not commented on because it deals with a whole other set of facts which are in dispute and are not central to the points being made.

    If you want to talk about should or should not, then address that point. Don't say we have no right and then try to defend that with should and should not arguments. We have the right. Whether we should be there is a different topic.

    [ Parent ]

    Rigid (3.00 / 1) (#189)
    by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:08:44 PM EST

    It's difficult to call what the issue is.

    You can't conclude it in such rigid terms. With the minute amount of actual information that the public knows about the exact political adhesives that keep the US and the Saudi monarchy together, how can you possibly call whether US presence in Saudi Arabia is blessed by them or not? That's one.

    Two is that there are varying degrees of 'agreeing' and even 'asking'. There's a whole spectrum of grey in between the extremes you've plotted. When one party in a bargain exerts such a disproportionate amount of leverage, it is logical to assume that it's applying it in order to advance its own interests. There's a great degree of vagueness surrounding the actual details, and just how much the monarchy represents the public will at this point. It would be an interesting excercise to investigate whether the Saudi monarchy would even be around right now without vital American support. Many foreign policy scholars believe it's another Iran (except that the issue isn't a lavish, Westernised Shah, but closer to the opposite), and that within the next decade or two, a violently anti-American regime will come about in Riyadh.

    The problem is, none of us really know. It's difficult to make such rigid, concrete speculations.


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    [ Parent ]

    If they want us out, they could ask (none / 0) (#260)
    by sonovel on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 01:12:25 AM EST

    Sorry, but I don't buy your logic.

    If the ruling powers of Saudi Arabia want us out, they could ask. If we refused, they would raise a big stink in all the world media. Anyone with access to just about any news outlet would know that the U.S. refused.

    The situation may be complicated. I'm sure the Saudi monarchy would prefer the world situation were such that they not feel the need for U.S. troops in SA.

    The time may be coming where they ask us to leave. They are obviously less afraid of say, Iraq, than they were a decade ago.

    But until they ask, how can we conclude anything but that they want us there, or at least prefer the alternative less?

    [ Parent ]
    Now i'm a bit confused (none / 0) (#193)
    by broken77 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:15:57 PM EST

    But the person being responded to was implying that the US was there against the government's will. That is not the case.
    Who implied that? Betcour? First off, it's a matter of debate whether or not he implied what you're suggesting. It's highly possible that he is entirely aware that the U.S. was requested by the Saudi monarchy to station troops there. It my mind, he is only alluding that we don't have any implicit right to their resources. Their resources belong to their people. That's all. And regardless of that, it doesn't even matter that Betcour made this comment, because I was responding to remarks you made to sasha, who never said anything about us being there against the government's will. On the contrary, he actually acknowledged that.
    If you want to talk about should or should not, then address that point. Don't say we have no right and then try to defend that with should and should not arguments. We have the right. Whether we should be there is a different topic.
    Ok, point taken. I still don't believe we have the right. But I suppose that is based on a completely different set of criteria defining "right". In my mind, "right" is not "legal right according to a government". It's philisophical and social right and wrong.

    I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
    [ Parent ]

    Let me help (none / 0) (#197)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:22:42 PM EST

    In my mind, "right" is not "legal right according to a government". It's philisophical and social right and wrong.

    That's a moral or ethical right or wrong. I thought I was very clear in making the distinction that what I was talking about was a legal right but if I was not, I apologize.

    [ Parent ]

    Interests (5.00 / 1) (#200)
    by Ressev on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:33:35 PM EST

    Funny, we were not asked to "prop up" the corrupt Saudi government to protect it from it's own people but to defend it from a more corrupt, oppressive, and hostile (relative to everybody except it's own officals) government that would have leveraged the "oil" we purchase from Saudi to further it's ends.

    Yes, we do a lot based of our interest within a region. We also do a lot based off of friendships with other countries. Sometimes we appear to care less about other nations that have problems, sometimes we care to much.

    If Osama cared so much for the Saudi people, why doesn't he bomb the oppressive Saudi government? Could it be that his interests are not as he presents them? His goal is similar in vision to that of Saddam: a reunited Islamic Middle East - a new Caliphate. Naturally he wants to the Caliph. Unfortunately, as long as the West (not just the US but the West as a whole) is an influence there in any form, we will be targets.


    "Even a wise man can learn from a fool."
    "There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." - Mark Twain
    [ Parent ]

    Hmm. (none / 0) (#220)
    by broken77 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:38:35 PM EST

    If Osama cared so much for the Saudi people, why doesn't he bomb the oppressive Saudi government? Could it be that his interests are not as he presents them? His goal is similar in vision to that of Saddam: a reunited Islamic Middle East - a new Caliphate. Naturally he wants to the Caliph. Unfortunately, as long as the West (not just the US but the West as a whole) is an influence there in any form, we will be targets.
    Interesting idea. Thanks for the insight.

    I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
    [ Parent ]

    Yes, and that's worked so well for Cuba... (none / 0) (#174)
    by leifb on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:35:47 PM EST

    If the Saudi people rise up and overthrow the government, the new government will be able to decide if they want us there or not.
    Okay, so suppose that there was the political will on the part of 100,000 Saudi Arabians to actually execute such an overthrow.

    Further suppose that another 12 million Saudis (more than 50% of the population mentioned above) thought the overthrow would be a good idea, and would protest, demonstrate and generally help out, but weren't quite ready to take up arms for the operation.

    I think it's open to debate whether the US would graciously accept the will of the Saudi people and step aside. Far more likely, the US would assist the house of Saud in the eradication of the "agitators" and the "destabilizing influences".

    Cuba is worthless compared to the Middle East, and we're still all over Castro.

    [ Parent ]

    I think we would start puckering up (none / 0) (#206)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:46:59 PM EST

    Cuba is worthless compared to the Middle East, and we're still all over Castro.

    True, but I think that is one of those strange cases where the US and Castro actually get off on hating each other. I can't explain it, justify it, or even fully understand it. It just is.

    In terms of what the US would do if the Saudi people rose up against the Saudi government, I think we would try to gauge which way the winds were blowing and kiss a lot of ass if the Saudi people looked like they might be successful.

    [ Parent ]

    lend me a clue, please (4.50 / 4) (#162)
    by el_guapo on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:48:13 PM EST

    while i take no sides on whether it is right or wrong for US troops to be in Saudi Arabia, I do NOT think they are there against the will of the Saudi government. So, right or wrong would depend on the will of their government, and I don't see them clamoring for us to get out. Unless I'm mistaken, this is hyposcritical as hell (and I know everyone is to some degree) - "your troops are in my country (ok, ok, so my government invited them there) so i am going to blow up your innocent civilians!!"
    mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
    [ Parent ]
    Exactly (3.66 / 3) (#135)
    by PhillipW on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:29:41 PM EST

    The article refutes Bush's comment about knowing how good we are. It points out that American Foreign policy is generally decided with the question, "What would do us best, financially?" It is not that we are a shining example of Democracy, and freedom. If we were such a shining example, then our actions would back this up, and support of dictatorships which have no regard for human rights certainly is not in line with freedom or democracy.

    -Phil
    [ Parent ]
    Completely not true (2.42 / 7) (#146)
    by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:03:14 PM EST

    The original motive and direction of these policies that the US 'picked' was set long before the Gulf War, for starters. It suffices to say, however, that your thesis is wrong. Every nation can afford to stand up for its own interests, but it varies completely with its definition of its own interests and its stake in their defense through military intervention. Sorry mate - Saudi oil is not your oil, just because you think that it (and force it to) should simply be given to you as part of your manifest destiny.

    There is woefully inadequate evidence to support your allegation that Iraq would've felt itself compelled to invade Saudi Arabia, as a logical extension of the conquest of Kuwait. At first sight, it must seem only logical to you on account of oil and things, but that's engaging in oversimplification of the most perverse kind.

    In short, you're parroting out a manifesto for American superiority and domination, particularly over things it happens to find vital to its national interests. How is it conceivable that Americans do not have a natural human right to cheap and plentiful oil to supplement their mechanised lifestyles? It's an absurd thought, no?

    "There's still superpowers we have to worry about" is a frightfully foreboding statement. The logical extension, given its tone and the context within which it is set, is "and only after we get rid of these superpower nuisances will we achieve a state of perfection and grace." Apparently strategic balance of interests isn't needed then; only the American ones matter.

    Changing foreign policy is unfortunately the only way, and that definitely means sacrifices of things that you take for granted, although you may not realise it is the product of extortion and exploitation. Imagine that!


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    [ Parent ]

    Untrue or not to your liking? (4.80 / 5) (#151)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:17:24 PM EST

    There is woefully inadequate evidence to support your allegation that Iraq would've felt itself compelled to invade Saudi Arabia, as a logical extension of the conquest of Kuwait. At first sight, it must seem only logical to you on account of oil and things, but that's engaging in oversimplification of the most perverse kind.

    Saddam is a classic example of a dictator bent on expanding his borders. His war with Iran and his invasion of Kuwait, are textbook. He has internal conflict so he occupies the people with wars in order to keep the people's minds focused on other things. He blames the Kurds for the standard of living of the Iraqi people so he hunts them down and attempts to eliminate them. He NEEDS conflict. As long as there is conflict he always has an enemy to blame all of the domestic problems on.

    [ Parent ]

    Sounds a bit Orwellian (2.66 / 3) (#154)
    by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:32:38 PM EST

    I agree that Saddam Hussein is a thug, and a classic totalitarian, but there's really enough conflict going on in Iraq domestically that he doesn't necessarily need a perpetual conflict, let alone with the United States - this really doesn't benefit him very much.

    There were a number of political and psychological justifications for the invasion of Kuwait that extend beyond merely the fact that it has oil, is small and relatively weak, and that it's a US bastion. During the reign of the Ottaman Empire, for example, Kuwait belonged to the same administrative district of the empire as Iraq's southern second-largest city, Basra. This and many other factors rationalise, if not to anyone else than certainly to Saddam and many Iraqis themselves, a historical claim to the land of Kuwait. The boundaries between Kuwait and Iraq, and for that matter most existing boundaries of middle eastern countries, that have existed since the end of World War II are all artificially sketched lines in the sand, courtesy of the withdrawing British empire. They do not necessarily reflect any kind of ethnic or religious distribution. Iraqis feel that they bled for the Arab world (which they really did, at least for the first part), defending it from the Iranian menace during the long and costly Iraq-Iran War from 1980 to 1988. Yes, the one in which the US financed and supplied Saddam. While thousands of Iraqis suffered terribly, both on the front and elsewhere, Kuwaitis kicked back in their SUVs and chilled American-style.

    These are all probably moot points to you, but all I'm really trying to say is that invading Kuwait wasn't merely the product of a need for perpetual conflict that comes with Orwellian theory.


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    [ Parent ]

    I'm not sure that disproves mypoint (5.00 / 2) (#172)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:24:08 PM EST

    These are all probably moot points to you, but all I'm really trying to say is that invading Kuwait wasn't merely the product of a need for perpetual conflict that comes with Orwellian theory.

    But Hitler used the same justifications. All dictators of Saddam's ilk have some centuries old wrongs they are trying to make right by invading another country. The guy wears a military outfit half the time. What does that say about his thought process? I don't think that's Orwellian when you look at all of the similarities between past expansion hungry dictators and Saddam. You're right he has internal conflicts, which is exactly why he wants to externalize them. As long as he can convince the people that their suffering is not the fault of the government but of some external factor, they can keep the people under control.

    [ Parent ]

    Point is much simpler (2.00 / 1) (#181)
    by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:41:53 PM EST

    The point is that Saddam didn't make conflict just for the sake of making conflict, as it is integral to the survival of his political apparatus. Neither did Hitler. To these dictators, and to some extent their educated people, this was sound reasoning.


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    [ Parent ]

    No, unfortunately, it's not that simple (5.00 / 2) (#201)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:34:02 PM EST

    It would be nice if it were but it really isn't. I find it almost LOL funny that you would say Amen!! to a post that stated that Bush needs a war to maintain his popularity and then claim in this post that Saddam doesn't make conflict for the sake of conflict. Of course he does. Look at Bush (Sr. and Jr)'s approval ratings. Do you think the same thing doesn't happen in Iraq? Especially, when the only news the people get is from state run news? Of course he's telling the people that he is going to unite the great empire of Iraq by re-taking Kuwait and all of that oil that rightly belongs to Iraq. And when he gets done with Kuwait, and the people are still starving in the streets, he will need to right another previous wrong in order to bring glory to the great nation of Iraq. (I'm obviously mixing in the nationalistic wording that would be used to justify such actions, not my own thoughts on it).

    Take a look at any dictator who has expansionistic tendencies and it's the same story with very similar domestic conditions.

    [ Parent ]

    One moment Please ! (2.12 / 8) (#159)
    by pandeviant on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:42:02 PM EST

    <Leader X> is a classic example of a dictator bent on expanding his borders. His war with <Country Y> and his invasion of Kuwait, are textbook. He has internal conflict so he occupies the people with wars in order to keep the people's minds focused on other things. He blames the <People Z> for the standard of living of the <Country Y> people so he hunts them down and attempts to eliminate them. He NEEDS conflict. As long as there is conflict he always has an enemy to blame all of the domestic problems on.

    Saddam or Bush seem interchangable as <Leader X> in this context .....

    [ Parent ]

    Amen!! (1.00 / 5) (#164)
    by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:48:58 PM EST

    I could not have put it more succintly.

    My cheers to you, sir!


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    [ Parent ]

    He's a nice parting gift (4.50 / 4) (#192)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:12:25 PM EST

    We were provoked by somebody flying a few planes into our buildings and killing oh . . . 5000 or 6000 of our people. Saddam, got a wild hair up his ass and decided to go invade a country.

    I don't know who's more insane, you or sasha for posting "Amen!!" to this crap. If you hate Bush, go ahead and hate him but quit trying to insert him into the cause for everything. Can you friggin people give it a rest? I'm not a Bush fan myself but you have no idea how idiotic you sound pulling out moronic arguments like this. You run out of intellectual ammunition so you immediately reach for the Bush gun.

    [ Parent ]

    Hah (1.00 / 6) (#207)
    by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:48:32 PM EST

    First, the "Amen!" was a rhetorical answer specially tailored to suit your mechanical reasoning. You fight fire with fire - give people a taste of the validity of their own arguments.

    For example, if you think the proximate cause of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait is Saddam getting a "wild hair up his ass", that demonstrates that you clearly have no higher ideaological ground to blast my sophomoric "Amen!"

    Bush and Hussein are hardly analogous when reflected across the axis of dictatorial tyranny, I agree. But it suits your apparent lack of reasoning perfectly, especially if you believe Hussein invaded Kuwait because he needs real, tangible war in order to keep himself in power, and that he is the perfect embodiment of Orwellian novels. It's not nearly so simple.


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    [ Parent ]

    Well I guess I is stupid (5.00 / 1) (#225)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:50:51 PM EST

    Sorry if you don't like my direct tone. I don't believe in beating around the bush. Unfortunately, for all of your eloquent and highly reasoned verbage you still have yet to make a case to the contrary. I don't think my reasoning is mechanical at all. I'm taking a given set up parameters and comparing them against similar circumstances.

    Milosevic, Hitler, Saddam, Amin, etc, etc. When you look at the underlying economic, social, and other conditions of their nations, it becomes clear that the way in which they keep the masses quite is to focus the people on some external factor. Sometimes it is bringing back glory by recapturing lands, sometimes it's ridding the country of ethnic, racial or religious groups. Whatever the factor, there is always the promise that this is needed to fulfill the grand vision that the dictator has for the people. It can never end because . . . things never get better for the common people. There is always another land that needs to be grabbed. Another group of people that need to be eliminated. Another enemy that must be conquered. Only then, will the people finally be able to realize the vision.

    If you care to argue this is not true. Please offer us some insight on why there are so many similarities between these kinds of men the pre-existing conditions, and their actions.

    [ Parent ]

    Detour around Reality tunnel..... (5.00 / 1) (#218)
    by pandeviant on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:32:59 PM EST

    I seem to have polarised opinion quite strongly with my post ( just look at those moderations), so I think I should respond.

    My post was not prompted by hatred for America or President Bush, but because the current conflict is being fought by two sides, who both think that they are right. It is an unwillingness by both sides to see the other's point of view that lies at the root of this, and more enlightened observers ( or contributors ) to this thread should bear this in mind.

    -----------

    "A single intelligent remark can destroy a man's entire career." Ezra Pound

    [ Parent ]

    Stepping in? (3.00 / 2) (#235)
    by compsci guy 2000 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:21:31 PM EST

    The US sure has a funny way of stepping in to stop stuff.
    The US didn't seem to want to prevent Saddam's regime from gettting biological weapons when they sold them to him in the 70's. They didn't seem to care about the Kurds when he used those same weapons (from a company in Rochester New York, no less) to murder them en mass.
    Bush Sr certainly knew Saddam had bio-weapons. As head of the CIA he had to approve those weapon shipments.
    In fact, the US didn't even care when Iraq attacked the USS Stark (just a year or two before it became the enemy) and killed close to 40 american soldiers.
    That was then. Now Iraq is evil. And thus the US and Britain are somehow justified in killing millions of Iraqi civilians.
    And in case you didn't realize, Saddam is a dictator who is certainly not loved by his people. But the same was the case over 10 years ago. Of course, Saddam doesn't really care about his people dying either since he has also murdered his own people, again when he was a 'friend'.
    Perhaps you need to do a little research before you begin defending policies you know nothing about.

    [ Parent ]
    Osama's True Goal (4.00 / 4) (#213)
    by imadork on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:05:54 PM EST

    Everything I've read has convinced me that while Bin Laden does talk about Palestine, Kashmir, and U.S. dominance, those concepts and causes are secondary to his true goal: the unification of the entire World under one Islamic Caliphate, perhaps with himself at the helm.

    This is why practically every government has offered the U.S. some measure of support - even governments like Iran's that don't like us very well and do it grudgingly-- they realize that Bin Ladem's movement is in direct opposition to the very existence of their governments. Heck, we're bombing a fellow Muslim country, and they're still selling us oil! This is because they realize the threat that radical Islamists pose to their hold on power.

    However, Osama talks about issues like Palestine to get more common Muslims to back him, even if his movement is in direct opposition to most govermnents in Islamic countries. Will there be civil wars in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt because most Muslims have been convinced that their government is corrupt? Bin Laden wants that just as surely as he wants the U.S. to topple, and he's aiming to rile up the populations to do just that. Osama's best chance to get his One World Caliphate is to do nothing less than to start World War III. Let's hope that never happens.

    fear (5.00 / 1) (#227)
    by svampa on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 08:57:57 PM EST

    This is because they realize the threat that radical Islamists pose to their hold on power.

    This is because they are more afraid of USA than of Bin Landen

    If they support Bin Landen they can get USA sanctions, even bombs. If they support USA, they get weapons, money and USA support in international afairs

    If they stop selling oil, believe me, Bin Laden and WTC would become a secondary matter for USA



    [ Parent ]
    Not exactly... (none / 0) (#238)
    by joecool12321 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:32:27 PM EST

    First, I fail to see whether or not you are agreeing or disagreeing with the above author. If they are more afraid of the USA, what exactly is it that they fear? You have shown nothing from the US that they fear. You have, however, demonstrated quite nicely why they should ally themselves with the US. They "get weopons, money, and USA support in international affairs". This, however, would demonstrate how they can keep their freedom, freeodm not offerd from Bin Laden. Thankyou for upholding this view.

    You next say "If they stop selling oil, believe me, Bin Laden and WTC would become a secondary matter for USA". By what authority do you make this claim?

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]

    fear (none / 0) (#255)
    by svampa on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 06:41:26 PM EST

    This, however, would demonstrate how they can keep their freedom, freeodm not offerd from Bin Laden. Thankyou for upholding this view.

    Helping USA has good points, going against USA is very dangerous. Helping Ben Laden is better, and it is what they want to do, going against Bin Laden is not very dangerous

    If you remove USA pression and danger and let USA gifs , they would chose Bin Laden, you only have to see the feeling of most people in these countries, burning USA flags.

    By what authority do you make this claim?

    I'm sorry, it is a mis-translation, I have translated literally an idiomatic. I wanted to mean: "If they stop selling oil, I am sure, Bin Laden and WTC would become a secondary matter for USA" it's just an opinion, I haven't any secret information ;-).

    Any way the question is, How do I uphold this opinion?

    USA has done a lot of ... well,let's say acts... just to guarantee supply of oil. And lot of people excuses any action of USA because we need the oil. Just to guarantee the supply!!, what won't USA do if a great supplier country cuts the supply suddenly?

    I don't like Bin Laden, and as far as I know the societies of those countries are a nightmare for my taste. But I don't see any moral justification to interfere in those countries. there is only money justification

    Perhaps Bin Laden is not their sweet dream but they care less WTC than USA attacks to Afganistan. They don't kick USA out of their countries because USA is powerful. Another point of view is blindness or hypocresy.



    [ Parent ]
    Clarification (none / 0) (#263)
    by joecool12321 on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 06:01:06 AM EST

    A major issue now makes itself clear. "I don't like Bin Laden, and as far as I know the societies of those countries are a nightmare for my taste. But I don't see any moral justification to interfere in those countries. there is only money justification"

    However, you provided a moral justification within that paragraph. The society of his country is a nightmare. Women are treated horribly. Men and women are forced to follow strict religious practices. Let me summarize the argument mostly as presented by imadork.

    1 Osama bin Laden's goals are contrary to the goals of other nations
    1.1 Argument from religion
    1.1.1 Osama bin Laden desires the, "unification of the entire World under one Islamic Caliphate."
    1.1.2 Some nations do not desire the same religion he desires
    1.1.3 Osama bin Laden holds goals which other nations must oppose
    [1.2 Argument from Human Rights
    1.2.1 Osama bin Laden's regime violates rights of women
    1.2.2 Some nations oppose violations of women's rights
    1.2.3 Some nations oppose bin Laden's regime.]
    2 The United States' goals are contrary to the goals of bin Laden
    3 Many other countries goals are contrary to the goals of bin Laden
    4 Therefore, many countries find their goals in line with the goals of the United States

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]
    Europe will become a football (none / 0) (#234)
    by demi on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:05:37 PM EST

    that is going to be bounced back and forth between the US and the Islamic extremists, where each side wants 'international' approval for its actions. If bin Laden and the Taliban can continue to convince Europe that the US support of Israel is equivalent to oppression of Palestinians, and that their terrorism is a protest of this 'policy', they will continue to pick up momentum.

    We (the US) need to wake up and realize that Europe's ambivalence means our arguments have not been properly articulated. It is time for us to strengthen our rhetorical defenses.



    [ Parent ]

    on the subject of world domination (5.00 / 1) (#278)
    by thumb on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 04:46:07 PM EST

    Everything I've read has convinced me that while Bin Laden does talk about Palestine, Kashmir, and U.S. dominance, those concepts and causes are secondary to his true goal: the unification of the entire World under one Islamic Caliphate, perhaps with himself at the helm.

    You could infer from any institution that it is trying to gain world domination. The US has military bases and intelligence agencies in countries all around the globe in order to protect it's national interests. There are Christian missions all around the globe, including most Arab countries.

    It is true that Islaam seeks a unification of the world under Islamic rule, but the religion also recognizes the idea of peaceful co-existance with non-Islamic states (1). However, it is seen as a religious duty for Muslims to defend their home territories, especially holy places (Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem) from non-believers (1).

    However, Osama talks about issues like Palestine to get more common Muslims to back him, even if his movement is in direct opposition to most govermnents in Islamic countries.

    I have seen no evidence whatsoever that Osama Bin Laden seeks to do anything other than rid his home Muslim countries of US Supported Occupation.

    The reason Bin Laden is trying to get more followers is to start a struggle against US occupation of Arab countries similar to the struggle against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. After they defeated the Russians, Bin Laden had a large army under his control, and they showed no aggression towards any outside countries.

    This is why practically every government has offered the U.S. some measure of support - even governments like Iran's that don't like us very well and do it grudgingly [...].

    Iran has been trying to get control over Afghanistan ever since the Soviet Union pulled its troops out of the country (read). Iran has been supplying anti-taliban forces with weapons for years. Iran's isn't the only government supporting the US with alterior motives. Pakistan had it's trade sanctions lifted in return for allowing US troop operations to take place in it's borders. The ruling family of Saudi Arabia thrives on US trade relations and even today houses US troops to keep the area under control.

    thumb

    [ Parent ]

    A Memo to American Muslims (4.66 / 15) (#230)
    by billman on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:34:01 PM EST

    A Memo to American Muslims A fantastic and well reasoned piece by Dr. Muqtedar Khan.

    Muslims, including American Muslims have been practicing hypocrisy on a grand scale. They protest against the discriminatory practices of Israel but are silent against the discriminatory practices in Muslim states. In the Gulf one can see how laws and even salaries are based on ethnic origin. This is racism, but we never hear of Muslims protesting against them at International fora.

    The Israeli occupation of Palestine is perhaps central to Muslim grievance against the West. While acknowledging that, I must remind you that Israel treats its one million Arab citizens with greater respect and dignity than most Arab nations treat their citizens. Today Palestinian refugees can settle and become citizens of the United States but in spite of all the tall rhetoric of the Arab world and Quranic injunctions (24:22) no Muslim country except Jordan extends this support to them.

    thank you (none / 0) (#233)
    by demi on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:48:22 PM EST

    for pointing me to that article.



    [ Parent ]

    shock that America is hated when they are so good (3.85 / 14) (#279)
    by kpeerless on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 08:56:33 PM EST

    It's been a long time since I've read such fatuous drivel. USians that think they are so "good" should go here <http://www.ncf.ca/coat/> to find out what their CIA has been up to for the last 50 years. Perhaps you'll begin to understand why any rational person sees your government as murderous, bigoted, greedy, manipulative, treacherous, ignorant, selfish, dangerous, psychopathic, and at times inhuman. But it didn't all begin just 50 years ago. No. It began at the conclusion of your revolution with your expansion into the heart of the continent and your genocidal destruction of the indigenous folks that lived there, which you have since perverted into a glorious adventure, ignoring such little historical gems as US Army Cavalry soldiers cutting the vaginas out of murdered Indian Women and stretching them to dry over their saddle bows to be worn later as hat bands. Then of course you invaded Canada in 1812 and, lucky for us, were driven back. You had better luck ripping off Mexico. Bill Gates learned "embrace, absorb and extinguish" from your practices in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Your General Smith ordered all males over the age of ten shot in Samar in the Philippines at the turn of the last century when you were "pacifying them", saying he wanted it turned into a "howling wilderness". Three generations later, my wife is still convinced that Americans are murderous. Christ... it goes on and on including a million dead children in Iraq and two million casualties in your "secret" bombing of Laos and Cambodia not to mention Vietnam, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua and anywhere else you protect your "Interests". What stuns the rest of us is that you feel that your "interests" are paramount and that the interests of the rest of us don't count for shit. All that the rest of us can do is to conclude that you folks don't give a big rat's ass for the rest of the world except as a repository of resources and cheap labour to feed for your lust for power and 'the good life'.


    Contrary to what you seem to think, most of the rest of us would rather live in hell then the US. I personally refuse to cross the border ever again. After watching news clips of your children shooting each other in school, my children, who grew up in a particularly blood soaked province in the Philippines, think you folks are insane.


    Where the hell has your President BEEN all these years, that he is now shocked to find out that the US government is hated? And consider... what you are seeing is the OVERT hatred, not the quiet, internal, seething hatred that is harboured in the hearts of hundreds of millions of people all over the planet... people who wish to christ you'd wise up and see what your government has been up to in your name. Those of us with any sense aren't holding our breath.


    If there is one true thread that runs through human history it is this... ALL EMPIRES DIE... And the American Empire will also.


    For most of us it can't happen too quickly.

    After writing something like that... (4.00 / 2) (#281)
    by ariux on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 03:27:55 AM EST

    ...I don't expect you'll be reading for responses, but... here goes...

    The way it looks from inside is, you're born, you grow up, and you're not directly surrounded by homicide and starvation like your grandparents were when they immigrated. So, the natural response is happiness and gratitude. (Later, you learn a bit more...)

    I imagine you know that Canada, like much of Europe, escapes a lot of the need for self-defense by relying on us for the dirty work. By living there, you're benefiting. (Not to justify any of it; but your wife's long memory has apparently destroyed your ability to see the moral ambiguity of your own position).

    I guess what bothers me most about your probably justified tirade is its apparent nihilism. It doesn't seem to bother to include hope for anyone's future, even your own. No "it should be like such and such instead"; no "all right, so the next thing to do is..."; just "DIE - you deserve it." This implies to me that, had you but the power to, you would do even worse.

    All that said, Bush speeches sure are fatuous, but I don't suppose you fall into the trap of conflating them with the thoughts of actual Americans. These two things have the same relationship as McDonald's and food.

    [ Parent ]

    Very good points, however.. (3.00 / 2) (#283)
    by sasha on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 07:19:47 AM EST

    I imagine you know that Canada, like much of Europe, escapes a lot of the need for self-defense by relying on us for the dirty work. By living there, you're benefiting. (Not to justify any of it; but your wife's long memory has apparently destroyed your ability to see the moral ambiguity of your own position).

    Canada relies on American military defense commitments far, far more than Europe does. And there's a very good reason; Canada is as much of an American imperial asset as anything. You could probably make an effective surface counterargument, but ultimately, through things like NAFTA, it's of very much economic importance to the US. A sizeable portion of the jobs that exist in Canada are jobs in American firms.

    (You might say that's good - we're giving the Canadians jobs, but that's just frightfully egotistical. If American firms didn't monopolise a lot of the labour there, particularly in the technical sector, the vacuum would be filled by firms that benefit the domestic economy instead.)

    I guess what bothers me most about your probably justified tirade is its apparent nihilism. It doesn't seem to bother to include hope for anyone's future, even your own. No "it should be like such and such instead"; no "all right, so the next thing to do is..."; just "DIE - you deserve it." This implies to me that, had you but the power to, you would do even worse.

    So, you find somebody that obviously and justifiably feels passionately, strongly about a subject, and you feel compelled to blast their words as hate-mongering drivel? Why?

    And why do you always expect a suggestion for "here's what you should do instead"? To give a concrete answer would be grossely oversimplifying the situation - people aren't perfect, and naturally don't have answers to every pressing issue of our time. It would be unacademic to try to tell, within the scope of a comment, what the US should do now.

    I applaud this gentleman for his willingness to express his feelings on America. He's obviously dealt with it up front, and he deserves to be heard from.


    --- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
    [ Parent ]

    You put far too many words in my mouth (none / 0) (#284)
    by ariux on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 07:47:11 AM EST

    ...at each point, from "surface counterarguments" through "giving the Canadians jobs" right through "hate-mongering drivel." If you choose to respond to my posts, Sasha, please don't mistarget your words at strawmen.

    I applaud this gentleman for his willingness to express his feelings on America. He's obviously dealt with it up front, and he deserves to be heard from.

    Do you imply I think otherwise? Not even close. He, like anyone, has the right to his opinion (in fact, that's what we're doing here on a discussion board) - and I, like anyone, the right to speak my mind in response.

    [ Parent ]

    reply (4.42 / 7) (#288)
    by kpeerless on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 09:46:46 PM EST

    Of course I read the responses after a tirade like that... and I'll even admit to indulging myself in a bit of a rant... but the US is the most frustrating country I can imagine having for a neighbour.


    To answer...

    My maternal grandfater was the bastard son of a Scottish Inspector of police and went to work in a jute mill in Aberdeen at age eight. My paternal grandfather was legitimate and went to work as a house painter at the same age. My father went to work full time for an optical company at the age of eight also. Following in the family tradition I went to work part time (after school, saturdays and summer holidays) at eight. None of us remember any crime. One supposes we were too busy.


    As for depending on the US for protection, to put it in a word, bullshit. I can think of no time in our mutual history that the US has ever had to come to Canada's defence. Contrarily, we were the fourth biggest contributor to George Bush Sr.'s run up for re-election euphemistically called the Gulf War, and so far we are the third largest contributor to this most recent Bush imbroglio. We also figured heavily in the Korean War which was pretty much an American war and were in WWI and II long years before the US. So please, spare me the implication that we depend on you for defence. (I was an Able Seaman on the Canadian destroyer "MacKenzie" in 1963 when we put to sea post haste for your Cuban Missile Crisis... and my step-father was Captain of a Canadian Tribal Class destroyer during Korea) Aside from our mutual participation in WW I & II, our only other mutual participation in a conflict was when you invaded us in 1812.


    Since WW II, with the exception of Korea which was at least UN sanctioned, Canada has participated world wide in Peace Keeping Missions. As a matter of fact, it was a Canadian Prime Minister, Lester Pearson, that put together the UN Peace Keeping Forces when he was Secratary General of the UN, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize. The US was opposed. I doubt that any country has contributed more blood to peace keeping then we have. It's what we do. And that is why it enrages me when a spineless Canadian Prime Minister sucumbs to trade pressures (NAFTA) in support of this present undertaking. It would have pleased me a whole lot more if we had declined the invitation to America's New War and opted for the peace keeping that is bound to follow. It's for damned sure that after turning Afghanistan into a gravel pit the US won't be an acceptable peace maker... and now neither will we.


    It also offends me that our Prime Minister puts so little value on Canadian lives that he sends our military folks into danger with a foreign Commander in Chief who has to be the most worthless pure asshole to come down the pike since his father.


    Further... Let me assure you that my wife's grandfather's experiences at the hands of the US military in Samar almost a hundred years ago has not clouded my mind even slightly. Seeing friends taken out and shot by Marcos' military, which was armed and trained by the US, pissed me off though... and being peronally hunted door to door in a village in the jungle in Palawan by the same military along with paramilitary elements, with a shoot-to-kill order on my head made me feel REALLY fucking evil tempered.


    As for being a nihilist... It doesn't seem such an irrational reaction to the present circumstances, all things considered. You may complain that I don't offer any solutions, however the fact is that neither I nor anybody I know or have read can think of a single restraining suggestion that the US public or the dipshits that you elect would pay any attention to once you have the bit in your teeth and the smell of blood in your nostrils. America's New War... what a fucking travesty. Dubya and the Bush Family consiglieris Chaney, Rumsfeld, Powel and Ashcroft must be making some fairly exotic offerings to the God's of War for this opportunity to remove George Jr.'s feet from his own dick where they have been firmly planted for the last year.


    The only bright spot is that the worthless son-of-a-bitch has three years to fuck it up spectacularly. And he will. Count on it. Big time. And we will all, all of us who are still alive, have to pay the bloody piper for him.


    So hopefully you folks to our south will be a little more discerning at the ballot boxes next time... or at least be a little more vociferous in your post election complaints when some fat headed, simpering prick rips your election off. Jesus wept.


    At second thought, regarding suggestions, a World Court with a World Police Force comes to mind... but the US opposes that and has passed, or is passing legislation to allow the US Military to use force to rescue any USian hailed in front of it.
    We could ban biological weapons but the US is against that also, or at least against any meaningfull inspections, which comes to the same thing.
    We could prevent the proliferation of small arms and nuclear weapons but the Us opposes even that and is in the process of blowing off the nuclear treaties so as to build Star Wars.
    Maybe something simple like no more land mines so as to prevent any more one legged children hopping around, a Canadian initiative I'm proud to say. Nope. US refuses to sign.
    Let's see... keep it simple, kp. how about breathable air and drinkable water? Yeah. The Kyoto Agreement. That should fly, no prob. For-fucking-get it. It would cost US Corporations too much.


    So I'm all out of suggestions, Pard. Maybe you can come up with a way that the rest of the world can deal in a flat across way with the intransigent greed-heads who rule your country. How about you revolt again?


    lemme know


    kp

    [ Parent ]
    Well, stuff is happening all the time... (3.75 / 4) (#289)
    by ariux on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 11:15:50 PM EST

    ...that would get people really mad here if anyone would bother to publicize it. US citizens see themselves as good and generous people (a huge information gap helps square this circle) and respond notoriously well to starving babies in the newspapers. (If a cynical, concrete national interest was at stake in the Somali misadventure, I'm still looking for it.)

    The problem is that our aging left wing has grown morbidly introspective and begun focusing on increasingly petty domestic "issues," content to rant on about legal punishment for insensitivity in relationships, the habitats of spotted frogs in Florida sewers, and the evil influence of Starbucks Coffee, while people starve and die around the world by the millions amid the spent shell casings of our old war and the ruins of our failed, abandoned policies. There must exist hundreds of Afghanistans. Not one of them was in the Times until last month.

    As brutal and hideous as the cold war was (and how much more so for the world's Afghanistans, sung and unsung), the balance it struck between opposing heavyweights lent a kind of twisted stability and predictability to world politics. Rich nations, to achieve their strategic goals, had to compete for the hearts of poor ones. Most international decisions were accompanied by legitimate, forceful dissenting views.

    By contrast, since the end of the cold war, the world has grown deeply unstable. The US, last gorilla standing, has failed to meet the challenge thrust upon it by its own victory. Our leaders, still locked in a cold war mindset, have failed to exhibit the vision, creativity, and fresh thought needed to deal productively with the new and different international environment which has been in full swing for an entire decade now. In 1945, seeing necessity for what it was, the nation turned on a dime. We should have done the same in 1991, but we failed to. The best we managed was to turn into some kind of sleazy international loan shark.

    The United States needs a new generation of leaders, equipped and inclined to address things as they now are rather than as they were twenty years ago. The hideous butchery of 11 Sept, committed by the homicidally insane though it was, should serve as a wake-up call toward this end. Our pathetic "liberals" need to recall what liberalism is actually about. Our leaders are not going to start thinking past the next election unless we force them to. It's too late to avoid fighting this war, but maybe we can use something other than bombs to forestall the next one.

    So to answer your question? Publicize what you know, and speak your mind about it. Speak to the people of the US, not its leaders - the people do hold the reins. Give them a role to play in your ideas instead of just popping a rhetorical cap up their ass.

    By the way, hat off to you for saying what you think. With smug US media being the only evidence of US thought available to the rest of the world, trying to effectively criticize even the most boneheaded and vicious of US actions must sometimes feel like shouting into a waterfall.

    --A

    [ Parent ]

    We're still number one (2.33 / 3) (#291)
    by mamaway66 on Sun Oct 21, 2001 at 05:04:32 PM EST

    I have the faintest understanding of why you chose to bash my country. Do you really still hold grudge over the War of 1812? I don't know why we constantly have to apologize for being number one. I think your disdain is misguided, much like that of the terrorists. Have your feelings changed even the slightest since Sept. 11th? I hope so because I wouldn't wish what happened on any country. Here's what I believe:

    We did not ask to become the world's policeman. WWI is an exception to that but it wasn't as if we were meddling and had no reason to be there. We had a chance to help our friends out and to show other aggressors that our country was not to be messed with. And it was effective. Every role after that had a stake in our nation's security. What's wrong with that? What is wrong with defending yourself? You say our interests are paramount and your interests don't count for shit. If they didn't, there wouldn't be any Canada. It would be either be a former Soviet republic or our 51st state. What if we never developed nukes? We'd all be reading Russian right now.

    We are the Super Power because from time to time there is someone to fight, and we usually win. Our hard earned tax dollars ensure that. If we did not fight them, there's a good chance we wouldn't be able to cherish the freedoms and rights we do in this country today.

    Bin Laden's policy is to kill Americans. That's you, pal. And we think that counts for something. That's why we launched cruise missiles at him after the embassy attacks. But he didn't get the message. So now were only going to get more powerful by orchestrating the end of terrorism. I'm sorry to say this, but it's easier because you do not live here: you're either on our side, or your on their side. You are entitled to voice your opinion, but I will not be silent while you and your kind perpetuate this unjustified hatred and jealousy when my country is helping yours.

    [ Parent ]

    "Defense" in the Philippines? (1.00 / 1) (#292)
    by ariux on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 02:26:08 AM EST

    Every role after that had a stake in our nation's security. What's wrong with that? What is wrong with defending yourself?

    Some of the actions he cites, like the military subdual of the Philippines' civilian population, haven't the faintest color of self defense.

    Not that many of our strongest critics - England, France, Holland - didn't do just as badly in those days, if not worse; but I'll fairly take our criticism if it's set next to theirs.

    [ Parent ]

    Under the Skin of Anti-Americanism | 293 comments (288 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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