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[P]
Why we should buy into American propaganda

By theantix in Op-Ed
Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 08:41:01 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Much of the debate on K5 since September 11 has revolved around the attacks on the World Trade Center towers and Pentagon, and then the American bombings in Afghanistan. Much of the debate has been very good, this forum seems to be among the best that I've seen for having people on both sides of the debate, without too much "rah rah America" or "death to American scum" (with notable exceptions of course). One thing that has bothered me is the fact that many times someone tries to defend the United States, they are accused of buying into American propaganda. This article is a modest attempt at defending the belief in the propaganda that is served by the American government and media.


That's a provocative statement, that we should believe American propaganda! Obviously it should be taken with a grain of salt... as we are concerned citizens of many different countries and are educated people, we have a duty to ourselves to be critical of all information fed to us by any government. However, in this case I believe we can believe that the American government is telling the truth more often than they are not. So I'm not suggesting blind faith in the US government or media, that would be foolish and irresponsible. However, I am suggesting that many of the claims of the Americans are justified by reason, and should not be dismissed as nave simply because they are propaganda.

The Taliban claims thousands of civilian lives lost, the Americans suggest less than 10 civilians killed. Americans claim to be targeting the military and terrorist targets, while the Taliban claim that the US is targeting civilians. Who can you believe in a situation like that, where we don't personally have any knowledge beyond the numbers given by obviously biased parties. I approach the current situation of uncertainty like any other: analyze and try to cut through the bullshit, and try to guess where the truth might lie. We have to ask ourselves: what is rational, given the interests of the parties involved?

It is in the interests of America to minimize the claims casualties in Afghanistan while at the same time it is in the interests of the Taliban to maximize the claims. We know that four UN workers were killed in Kabul, and it seems extraordinarily unlikely that 40% of those killed were people with direct ties to the outside world that the US could not dismiss as Taliban propaganda. So we know the numbers are likely significantly higher than the 10 claimed by CNN in the link above.

But on the other hand we also know that American has put together a coalition of countries that support their actions, and America does not want the world to see poor civilians in Afghanistan getting killed. The Taliban has not been taking advantage of this beyond letting a few foreign journalists into one city, and even then reports of casualties were few and far between. This suggests to me that the numbers supplied by the Taliban are suspect.

We know that the Americans have many weapons at their disposal, including biological, chemical, nuclear, and large-scale conventional weaponry. They've used them in the past, and nobody would likely stop them if they decided to be cowboys and carpet the cities and villages with bombs as seen before in Vietnam and (to a lesser extent) Iraq. Instead they chose the expensive cruise missiles and Special Forces operations. We have seen no evidence or even claims to counter this. Again, this suggests to me that they are trying to minimize civilian casualties.

The organizations al-Qaeda and the Taliban claim no link between them and the WTC tower attacks, while the US claims that they are. Again with the information discrepancy, and we have to choose whom to believe. The Taliban have absolutely nothing to gain by claiming responsibility, so we could not expect them to take credit regardless of the truth. One might expect al-Qaeda to take credit for the actions, but they seem to benefit from not taking credit. They are gaining a following amongst Islamic radicals because they proclaim to fight the Americans, while not taking any specific credit for any attacks. This allows the extremists to support them, and justify this in the wake of the condemnation of the WTC attacks by Muslim clerics. And as for the Americans, they have a direct interest in stopping terrorism in their borders, and have motivation to try to prevent future attacks. They know as well as everyone reading this that the attacks on Afghanistan are likely to rile up anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world... but they chose to attack anyhow because they thought it was worth it. If they unnecessarily attacked an innocent group it would create additional tensions without solving any problems, thus I believe they thought it through and rationally concluded that al-Qaeda was at least in part responsible.

The Americans claim that they are not targeting Islam, while al-Qaeda claims that the Americans are targeting Islam. Who to believe? Again al-Qaeda can only benefit by their claims by triggering a worldwide muslim backlash against the US and US interests. But it would not benefit the Americans to target Islam. If they had evidence that the Real IRA or the Israelis were behind the attacks against them, they would move swiftly to arraign those terrorists as well... it just makes sense. America has made friends with Islamic countries such as Saudia Arabia and Jordan, even when the countries have less than perfect governments. They are trying to improve relations with countries such as Indonesia and Egypt, and would not rationally want to target them. Again, the american propaganda just makes sense in this case.

Other people claim that the Americans are just trying to subvert the Afghanistan people to they can be an imperialistic presence to sell more goods to or provide cheap labor. That seems very unlikely, as the Afghani people are exceptionally poor, and wouldn't be a significant factor in international trade even with the most optimistic scenarios. The actions that they have taken have hurt the very corporations (via a mini stock-market crash) that would benefit from extra sales in those regions. As for cheap labor, it would be many years before the Americans could benefit from that. I doubt they are thinking long-term, because the actions of elected governments are legendarily short-sighted.

Much of the distrust of the media was developed in eras where large defense contractors supported the American economy. This is no longer the case, as American corporate interests are selling consumer goods and technology to the world. Only one (GE's NBC) of the five mainstream news sources (FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN) has any direct links to these defense contractors. I sincerely believe that if they could get an exclusive story breaking news about America targeting civilians, they would do this, because it is in their interest to do so. Of course, because of the overwhelming support of the American people for the military campaign, the major media would be reluctant to give support to anti-American claims without strong evidence, so we also have to rely on the independent news available through the Internet. But it seems to be in the interests of the media to jump all over news that contradicts official government reports, as they did with the affairs of Bill Clinton and Gary Condit.

So when the Americans say that they are targeting the Taliban/al-Qaeda and trying to minimize civilian casualties, I believe them. I trust them to some extent because I believe that it is in their interests. But when the media reports that only 10 civilians, we have to remember that this is a propaganda war. I think it is possible to remain an independent thinker and stay critical of the media and the US government, while still believing in some of the news and propaganda that they distribute.

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Poll
Do you buy into American propaganda?
o Yes, everything they say true 2%
o Yes, when it seems rational 39%
o No, I would rather trust the Taliban 13%
o No, I don't trust either side. 44%

Votes: 141
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o American propaganda
o suggest less than 10 civilians killed
o Also by theantix


Display: Sort:
Why we should buy into American propaganda | 136 comments (112 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
The U.S., The Taliban, and The Truth (4.03 / 27) (#1)
by theboz on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 01:42:41 PM EST

Your ideas are flawed. You seem to think that we have to pick a side to believe in, when the most likely answer is that it probably most realistic to not trust either. Both the U.S. government and the Taliban have a history of immorality (lies, murder, terrorism, etc) and are not trustworthy in my opinion.

The convenience of who to trust can be argued. Because you erroneously assume the U.S. to be innocent and incapable of telling more than "white lies" you are biased. For example with the death tolls, it is in the U.S. military's best interest to suppress information about their fuckups. And if you look at it one way, the Taliban would be more capable of knowing how many casualties there are because they are the ones actually living in Afghanistan and ruling over it? However, I personally don't trust either to give me that information.

The U.S. government and news has proven to be extremely untrustworthy recently. I've pretty much stopped paying attention to the U.S. news altogether. Instead, I look to other countries. Even the BBC is much better than anything you can read about in American newspapers or on TV here. There have been plenty of things that the U.S. media has suppressed out of 'patriotism' or omitted out of stupidity. I don't really know which is which most of the time but they have left out some fairly substantial news, such as the casualties. Also, the fact that so many Americans are buying the lie that the terrorists "hate freedom" and just want to be evil shows how in the dark people here really are.

I could go on, but I suggest you go do research for yourself. Definitely look at BBC coverage, and if you know any other languages I have found some good articles in Dutch and Spanish, and I am sure there are others in many different languages that are more fair than what the U.S. media and government has been telling you.

Stuff.

for the record (3.44 / 9) (#5)
by theantix on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 01:54:15 PM EST

I could go on, but I suggest you go do research for yourself. Definitely look at BBC coverage, and if you know any other languages I have found some good articles in Dutch and Spanish, and I am sure there are others in many different languages that are more fair than what the U.S. media and government has been telling you
I have been watching BBC news almost exclusively (channel 85 on Shaw digital cable), because the coverage is much more complete than the coverage on CNN, MSNBC, or CBC (Canadian). Unfortunately I don't know any other languages (a bit of French, but not enough to make it worthwhile) so it makes foreign news much more difficult, though the Pakistani Dawn is a useful source as well.

Anyhow, I appreciate your comments, and agree with them to a certain extent. I tried to emphasize in my article that the US should not be trusted in the civilian casualty count for the very reasons you stated... perhaps I should have made it a stronger emphasis. I don't assume the U.S. to be innocent and incapable of telling more than "white lies" , infact I believe them to tell lies whenever it is reasonable for them to do so. I'm just trying to suggest that the Americans have a reasonable justification for their propaganda in this case.

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

Justification? (3.50 / 4) (#49)
by caine on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 09:59:36 PM EST

I'm just trying to suggest that the Americans have a reasonable justification for their propaganda in this case.

How can there ever be justification for propaganda? If you need propaganda at all, it's probably because you're trying to get people to do something they wouldn't do if they had all the facts. I fail to see how propaganda can be separated from any other attempt to sucker people by lying to them, as for example forgery. How can it ever be justified?

--

[ Parent ]

well, (4.00 / 1) (#74)
by theantix on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 11:27:58 AM EST

How can there ever be justification for propaganda?
I am using the term "propaganda" as a defensive term, because when I sided with the Americans I was accused of buying into American propaganda. Obviously it would be preferable to be in a world where every party did not show their bias, but we don't live in that world. I was trying to show in my article that a person could believe some of the information that they distribute (their propaganda) without being labelled as a mindless sheep.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
The Guardian is also nice; US news bias evidence (4.33 / 3) (#64)
by ToastyKen on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 03:41:23 AM EST

I agree that that BBC News has great coverage. The Guardian is also nice. They do noticeably lean toward the UK a bit, as is to be expected, but they certainly are more objective toward the US than the US media.

In particular, I noticed that when the Department of Defence first acknowledged a couple of civilian casualties in a mistargeted missile attack, the news was one of the top stories on both BBC News and the Guardian, but it wasn't even on the front page of CNN or the Washington Post. (I should mention that I do find the Post to be a great news source in general about domestic politics, as might be expected. In particular, I found it to have the best coverage during the election fiasco last year.)

[ Parent ]

Nice article (4.28 / 7) (#2)
by wiredog on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 01:45:29 PM EST

Civilian Casualties and the Air War is interesting in relation to your thesis.

Latest news: 2 Postal Workers Die of Suspected Anthrax

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

Thanks (3.33 / 3) (#73)
by orichter on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 10:36:54 AM EST

Thanks both to you (for the reference) and to the author of the original article.

I find it entertaining to see all the rationalizations made about not having civilian causalties during war. This is a distinctly modern idea. No one even considered it a problem until the maybe 19th century (except for maybe Napoleon and a few others - history is fascinating, if one bothers to read it).

Look at what was common in Roman times. The annihilation of the population (by killing all able bodied men, and selling into slavery all women and children) continuing with the salting of the fields of Carthage, and destroying every building by making them piles of broken rubble. This type of war of annihilation, in which the victors were genocidal, was the norm until the 1500's or thereabout, in most of the world. Today, though still happening at times, they are still much rarer than just a few hundred years ago. Though, they seem to be making a comback lately, in the last half of the 20th century.

Yet, the current crop of Islamic extremists call for just such actions in today's times. They promulgate the EXTINCTION of the West, an idea that fits in well with times 500 years ago.

The Islamic extremists are deathly afraid of the West and its ideas since they would not survive with the kind of cultural backwardness they advocate, in a modernized and democratic Islamic world. The idea of democracy instead of theocracy is just as terrifying since they would no longer be able to say that they have to kill because God says so. They could no longer justify their totalitarian form of government based on decree and whim by saying that God says it must be this way. They would lose their power. That is what it boils down to. Loss of political power, and worse yet, to the very people (the common man) they have treated so badly for so many years.

The extremists themselves do not advocate limiting civilian casualties, they advocate the opposite. That is all they have learned to do in the last 500 years?

So, the US provides food to both sides since many others do not, including many of those critical of the US.

The Taliban are also quite able to withhold food supplies from their own people in order to supply their chosen few. This is what one expects of despots. Saddam Hussein has practiced this for many years in Iraq, so to have the Taliban learned this lesson well. The Taliban have many enemies in Afghanistan so they see it as their right to withhold food supplies from them. (Even if it means millions of people starve, it won't be their millions of people, only their Afghan enemies. They are only doing what the Romans did to Carthage - eliminating their enemies in any way possible - any method is justified because God says so.)

The Taliban then blame it on a faceless foreign threat. Another strategy of despots to keep power over their people - they mustn't have people who realize the problem is with the despots and not the foreign, faceless, evil ones. People who know will normally rise up against such despots if the opportunity presents itself.)

But if the people are uneducated, starving, without contact with the outside world, and subject to self-agrandized God-like Mullahs with decrees from God for everything, and men with guns that enforce the God-like powers of the Mullahs, the people do not have much of a chance, except for the continuance of suffering.

Does that sound like the God-Priest-Kings of the old Egyptian Pharaohs, doesn't it sound like the Old Testament that the Muslims supposedly consider part of the traditions of the book? Is that what the Muslims have become? Where is the education and advancement of thought and technology that was the shining of Islam in the 9th through 14th centuries? Has it all been swept back to pre-Islamic tribal warfare based on God-Priest-Kings?

Ah, well. I am on my soapbox again. Let's go on to blame the US for the moon falling onto the Earth in 5 or 10 billion years. (It must be because the US first set foot on it). If we have not learned space flight by then we are all doomed. I vote we declare a fatwa against the Moon and declare Jihad on the Moon. That is how silly these arguments against the US and the West seem to anyone who just wants to go about the business of day to day living.



[ Parent ]
Survival (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by Wah on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 02:31:14 PM EST

[thanks for the post, this isn't a rebuttal, just another way to look at it.]

That is how silly these arguments against the US and the West seem to anyone who just wants to go about the business of day to day living.

Those without the means to go about the day to day business of living would see the arguments as other than silly. Most of the soldiers/extremists would more likely justify it as a war of survival. A war of survival for the culture, which includes their religion. 20 years of warfare in that country. For me that would be war since I was six. The "God said so" explanation is way too simple. It's like killing people because they are "evil". A much more likely way of looking at it for them would be, "War killed my family, my home, and most of my friends. Someone told me who caused it. And God says it's all right, so here I go."

Back to the main theme of the article. Think about the information you have access too. Then think about the information they have access to. The education you've recieved, the movies you've seen, the books you've read, your experiences. Change all of them. But's that just information and it has to be put in the context of the day to day world. 20 years of day to day world's, all in the context of war.

Does that sound like the God-Priest-Kings of the old Egyptian Pharaohs, doesn't it sound like the Old Testament that the Muslims supposedly consider part of the traditions of the book? Is that what the Muslims have become? Where is the education and advancement of thought and technology that was the shining of Islam in the 9th through 14th centuries? Has it all been swept back to pre-Islamic tribal warfare based on God-Priest-Kings?

Which takes the phrese "bomb them back to the Stone Age" and sheds new light on its meaning.

Anyway, to defeat your enemy, you must know your enemy, and terror is a strange enemy, not a silly one.
--
Information wants to be free, wouldn't you? | Parent ]

that's not quite accurate (3.45 / 11) (#4)
by jnthnjng on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 01:50:25 PM EST

The Americans claim that they are not targeting Islam, while al-Qaeda claims that the Americans are targeting Islam. Who to believe? Again al-Qaeda can only benefit by their claims... But it would not benefit the Americans to target Islam.... it just makes sense. First of all, your argument doesn't hold up here. You're using identical arguments for the two positions and coming to different conclusions. You say Al-Qaeda can benefit by claiming it's a war against islam, so it must be wrong. Then you say that America can benefit from claim that it's not a war against islam, so they must be right. It doesn't logically follow. Other people claim that the Americans are just trying to subvert the Afghanistan people to they can be an imperialistic presence to sell more goods to or provide cheap labor. That seems very unlikely, as the Afghani people are exceptionally poor, and wouldn't be a significant factor in international trade even with the most optimistic scenarios. The actions that they have taken have hurt the very corporations (via a mini stock-market crash) that would benefit from extra sales in those regions. As for cheap labor, it would be many years before the Americans could benefit from that. Cheap labor and increased sales of coca-cola are not the issue at all. The people that are arguing that the US is interested in an imperialistic presence in the area are talking about proposed oil pipelines Through afghanistan and the 'stans. If the US had a presence in this area they could much more easily ensure a stable supply of oil.

misunderstanding (4.50 / 6) (#7)
by theantix on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 02:02:44 PM EST

First of all, your argument doesn't hold up here. You're using identical arguments for the two positions and coming to different conclusions. You say Al-Qaeda can benefit by claiming it's a war against islam, so it must be wrong. Then you say that America can benefit from claim that it's not a war against islam, so they must be right. It doesn't logically follow.
Sorry it came across that way, it wasn't my intention. I meant that Al-Qaeda can only benefit from the claim that the Americans are fighting Islam, which can't be trusted because it's the only proposition that they could make. So I'm not saying it's impossible that they are telling the truth, but that they would say so even if it was blatantly obvious that it is false.

While on the other hand I meant that it doesn't make sense for the Americans to fight Islam because they are friendly with Muslim countries, and benefit from the cheap labor and large markets within then (I'm thinking Indonesia). Two different propositions entirely.

Cheap labor and increased sales of coca-cola are not the issue at all. The people that are arguing that the US is interested in an imperialistic presence in the area are talking about proposed oil pipelines Through afghanistan and the 'stans. If the US had a presence in this area they could much more easily ensure a stable supply of oil.
Interesting proposition: do you have a link for that? I've heard mumblings about around the 'net, but I'd like to read an expanded reasoning of that position. If you got em, I'd appreciate it.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
Here's a link (4.33 / 3) (#23)
by Best Ace on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 05:14:02 PM EST

Here's a link discussing that proposition. It's a long article, but only part of it is relevant, and it is also written by an anti-globalization activist, so filter out the rhetoric if you find that repellant.

I personally think the desire of the US to exploit oil opportunities makes far more sense than a desire to flood Afghanistan with Nike and Coke (assuming this war is all about extending the imperial reach of the US ;)

[ Parent ]

Another counterarguement... (2.00 / 1) (#59)
by physicsgod on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 01:24:13 AM EST

To the US vs Islam claim. If the US were interested in a war against Islam the Stars and Stripes would be flying over the Kaaba.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Factual error (3.00 / 11) (#15)
by Ludwig on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 04:40:02 PM EST

Only one (GE's NBC) of the five mainstream news sources (FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN) has any direct links to these defense contractors.

CBS is owned by Westinghouse, one of America's largest defense contractors. CNN and ABC are under the same umbrella now, so a more accurate phrasing might be "Half of the four mainstream TV news sources are directly owned by two of the largest defense contractors in the country. The other half gets tons of advertising revenue from corporations invested in defense."

excuse me? (4.00 / 3) (#20)
by theantix on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 05:03:17 PM EST

When did westinghouse become a defense contractor? They are a nuclear power company, even Adbusters doesn't claim more than that. And when did Disney (ABC) buy AOL Time Warner (CNN)?

Fsck, people will mod anything up these days... and they criticize me for factual inaccuracies.

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

Westinghouse (3.50 / 2) (#22)
by Ebon Praetor on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 05:13:31 PM EST

Westinghouse at one point was a defense contractor. I don't know any more, but it used to be in the business. Most of the defense part was bought by Northrop Grumman, but Westinghouse may still have some.


[ Parent ]
wrong and right (5.00 / 3) (#27)
by Ludwig on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 05:30:10 PM EST

My bad on Disney/AOLTW, I was thinking of Disney buying ABC. It's easy to get confused these days.

However, Westinghouse was a major defense contractor for just about ever. In addition to being a nuclear power company, they make other products which the DoD would have an obvious need for. Until fairly recently, when they sold off many of their manufacturing divisions, they were one of the top five or ten defense contractors, right up there with General Electric. Westinghouse Electric is now part of British Nuclear Fuels, which still comes in at number 25.

[ Parent ]

wrong and wrong. (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by theantix on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 07:35:48 PM EST

It's easy to get confused these days.
That's for sure. Maybe tomorrow AOL/TW will buy Disney and you'll be right! =)
However, Westinghouse was a major defense contractor for just about ever. In addition to being a nuclear power company, they make other products which the DoD would have an obvious need for. Until fairly recently, when they sold off many of their manufacturing divisions, they were one of the top five or ten defense contractors, right up there with General Electric. Westinghouse Electric is now part of British Nuclear Fuels, which still comes in at number 25.
I see. I did a cursory check of Adbusters before I posted, but I should have done some more research... I do remember that vaguely now that you mentioned it. Anyhow, the point still stands that CBS is independent of BNF and their military contracting interests. Since the US is not attacking (nor threatening, nor will the likely begin to threaten) any country with Nuclear weapons these days, I don't really make a tight connection between Westinghouse (today) and the DoD. I'd think I would be safe to say their editorial decisions are not affected by this co-ownership. This is not to say that there is no influence or pro-US gov bias... I'm sure there is plenty to go around, but IMHO it would be more likely to draw from the "access to the white house" issues more than ties to their conglomerate family.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
Again, Westinghouse is dead! (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by bgarcia on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 01:23:13 PM EST

Once again: Westinghouse is dead. Westinghouse Engineered Products Department, to which you have provided a link, is now owned by Washington Group International, Inc., along with a few other related former-Westinghouse divisions.

But again, this is no longer the Westinghouse Company that you grew up knowing.

[ Parent ]

!Westinghouse (4.66 / 3) (#52)
by finial on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 11:11:01 PM EST

CBS was sold to Viacom a couple of years ago.
Columbia Journalism Review
Motley Fool

[ Parent ]
Westinghouse is dead. (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by bgarcia on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 06:47:12 AM EST

Westinghouse has been gone for several years now. It no longer exists.

I had many friends and family members who used to work for Westinghouse. The different pieces of the former company are now owned by others, including Siemens, Daimler-Benz, and Ebara Solar.

[ Parent ]

"Informed Comment" (1.50 / 2) (#68)
by Ludwig on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 07:36:06 AM EST

Hey, how about following some links before spouting off (to say nothing of rating parent comments down to 1?)

Westinghouse, while admittedly but a shadow of its former self, remains the most visibly extant "nonexistent" company I've ever heard of. They're a significant part of the 25th largest U.S. defense contractor, they continue to run several nuclear power plants, they run nuclear fuel-and-waste handling equipment manufacturing concerns... Seems like an awful lot of activity for a nonexistent company, but then, I'm no MBA. To be charitable, perhaps you're thinking of the highly visible consumer appliance division which they sold off back in 1974. Understandable. I grew up with a Westinghouse refrigerator myself. But even as prone to inaccuracies as I am, I don't go around making blithe blanket statements WITHOUT EVEN CLICKING ON GENEROUSLY PROVIDED LINKS WHICH SOMEONE TOOK THE TIME TO ACTUALLY RESEARCH INSTEAD OF RELYING ON THE HAZY RECOLLECTIONS OF INFREQUENTLY-ENCOUNTERED EXTENDED FAMILY MEMBERS.

[ Parent ]

Inform thyself (4.00 / 3) (#71)
by bgarcia on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 08:50:54 AM EST

Hey, how about following some links before spouting off (to say nothing of rating parent comments down to 1?)
First off, you provided no links.

Secondly, I rated your comment at "1" because it was factually incorrect, not because I personally dislike you in any way. Please take a chill pill, and accept my apologies.

Look, I live near Pittsburgh, the city where Westinghouse was based. And I assure you, it is dead. If you want some links, here's a good one: Who Killed Westinghouse?, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

...they continue to run several nuclear power plants...
No, the Westinghouse nuclear operations (which does still use the name "Westinghouse", where your confusion probably arises) was sold to British Nuclear Fuels plc. (look under subsidiaries).
I grew up with a Westinghouse refrigerator myself.
And apparently that is the basis for your assertions that Westinghouse still exists.
...RELYING ON THE HAZY RECOLLECTIONS OF INFREQUENTLY-ENCOUNTERED EXTENDED FAMILY MEMBERS.
Like my mother, my aunt, and the best man at my wedding?

The downfall of Westinghouse was all over the news in Pittsburgh. It hit the entire region pretty hard. Your personal attacks are unfounded. Do a little more research next time.

[ Parent ]

Why your post is misleading and incorrect (3.68 / 22) (#17)
by M0dUluS on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 04:51:21 PM EST

Briefly, you mis-represent Taliban casualty claims, ignore media concentration and present no verifiable evidence to back up your thesis

The Taliban claims thousands of civilian lives lost, the Americans suggest less than 10 civilians killed. Americans claim to be targeting the military and terrorist targets, while the Taliban claim that the US is targeting civilians. Who can you believe in a situation like that, where we don't personally have any knowledge beyond the numbers given by obviously biased parties. I approach the current situation of uncertainty like any other: analyze and try to cut through the bullshit, and try to guess where the truth might lie. We have to ask ourselves: what is rational, given the interests of the parties involved?

I agree totally with a rational evaluation. To that end it is important to provide some substantiation of one's assumptions and claims. Therefore, could you provide a reference for the Taliban claiming thousands of lives lost? I've only seen the Taliban claims of 20 here, 10 there, a couple of hundred here, the death of the 10 year-old son of Mullah Omar claimed here was actually repudiated by the Taliban. In total the claims of the Taliban seem to be around 900 people in contrast to the unsupported "thousands" that you claim that they are claiming.

The problem is that your focus is misleading. One of the main objections to this "war on terror" is that it is likely to kill many, many innocent Afghan civilians. Here are some quotes and references for you to back up this claim:

On World Food Day (October 16) Human Rights Group Releases Fact Sheet on Food Crisis in Afghanistan
(New York, NY, October 15, 2001) ?The Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), a New York-based human rights organization, today released a fact sheet that details the extent and causes of famine in Afghanistan.
According to Sarah Zaidi, CESR Research Director, ?Relief officials on the ground are warning that millions ? literally millions ? of Afghan civilians will starve to death this winter unless the US military suspends its attacks and allows the UN to re-establish effective food distribution. We are talking about women, children and the poorest of the poor, who have no means to access food in this war zone.?
Afghanistan was experiencing a food crisis even before 11 September ? almost 5 million vulnerable civilians depended on emergency supplies trucked in from neighboring countries. US military operations have disrupted this massive international relief effort and created the conditions for a nation-wide famine.

Here are some more quotes that support this concern:

DoctorsWithoutBorders With winter approaching, MSF is concerned that the possibilities for bringing relief to the people of Afghanistan are ebbing away. Warfare, drought, disease, and a lack of basic health care had already created a dire humanitarian situation in Taliban-held areas before MSF international staff evacuated due to security concerns following the September 11 attacks.

And here is another:
Oxfam * Some 400,000 people are thought to be already having to survive on wild vegetation and essential livestock * Two million people do not have enough food aid to last the winter, and of those, 500,000 will be cut off by snow by mid November * Millions more are on the move and we just do not know the scale of their need. The UN says 5.5m people are short of food * UN food stocks within Afghanistan are now down to just two weeks? supply (9,000 tonnes).

So, it looks as though the most significant deaths won't come because some poor peasant that hasn't travelled more than a couple of hundred miles in his life has his head blown into jelly, but because he'll be starved to death.
We know that the Americans have many weapons at their disposal, including biological, chemical, nuclear, and large-scale conventional weaponry. They've used them in the past, and nobody would likely stop them if they decided to be cowboys and carpet the cities and villages with bombs as seen before in Vietnam and (to a lesser extent) Iraq. Instead they chose the expensive cruise missiles and Special Forces operations. We have seen no evidence or even claims to counter this. Again, this suggests to me that they are trying to minimize civilian casualties.

Again, this begs the question of how death by starvation is minimizing casualties. Also there is little evidence that they chose to use more "expensive cruise missiles and Special Forces operations". Here is some evidence that directly counters your (again) unsupported claim.

There is also an unstated and unsupported assumption in stating that expensive cruise missiles will minimize casualties. This is a part of the "surgical strike" or "precision" myth that is circulated. These weapons are notoriously imprecise

But even if they work as intended, precision in military terms is relative. Any weapon has what is known as its "error probability" - jargon for how close it is likely to get to the point at which it is aimed. Laser-guided bombs have a 10-metre (33-foot) "circular error probable". That means that half of those you drop will land within 10m of their targets - and half will not. The new JDAM system, which is a guidance kit that can be clamped to ordinary, unguided bombs to make them into precision weapons, is not quite as accurate - quoted as 13m, although the US Air Force claims it has performed better in action.
Here is another source that makes the same point:

[A] guided bomb that hit a residential area in Afghanistan Friday, apparently killing four people and wounding eight others, was one of a new breed of satellite-guided missiles designed to achieve greater accuracy.

The bomb, called a Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), had a Global Positioning System receiver built in and used satellites to guide it to a specific longitude and latitude that was programmed into the bomb before it was released from a Navy F-18.

Human error may have caused the bomb to miss its target. "Preliminary indications are that the accident occurred from a targeting process error," the Department of Defense said in a statement released Saturday. That would mean the wrong target had been programmed in, either before the plane took off or while it was en route to deliver the bomb.

And finally, the U.S Department of Defense admits here that "precision" can be a relative term
"I and anyone involved regret the unintended loss of life," he continued. Rumsfeld said while U.S. forces are using the full range of ordnance available to them, most are precision-guided munitions. "The munitions being used are precise, but they are not 100 percent," he said.

To further back up this point, consider the fact that the U.S. is reported to be using Cluster Bombs. This has caused great embarrasment to it's U.K. allies who frown upon non-discriminate weapons and have signed the Ottawa Convention which prohibits land-mines due to their "indiscriminate" nature.
Yet, their Diego Garcia base is being used by the U.S. to drop these weapons about which the Red Cross says:

"Unlike anti-personnel mines, incidents involving these sub-munitions usually result in death or injury to several people as a result of their greater explosive power," the Red Cross said. Cluster bombs are used to cover a broad area rather than a single specific target. The bomblets, or "sub-munitions", contain higher explosive than landmines and their normally brightly-coloured casings make them attractive to children.

Finally, on to your last claim.

Other people claim that the Americans are just trying to subvert the Afghanistan people to they can be an imperialistic presence to sell more goods to or provide cheap labor. That seems very unlikely, as the Afghani people are exceptionally poor, and wouldn't be a significant factor in international trade even with the most optimistic scenarios. The actions that they have taken have hurt the very corporations (via a mini stock-market crash) that would benefit from extra sales in those regions. As for cheap labor, it would be many years before the Americans could benefit from that. I doubt they are thinking long-term, because the actions of elected governments are legendarily short-sighted.

First off the "imperialist" analysis claims among other things that the flexing of American muscle is in part due to the need to demonstrate to the world that the U.S. is able to stamp down anyone. If the U.S. is to maintain its army as an effective threat to countries that may want to follow socialist policies (e.g. Nicargua, Venezuala, Cuba, etc.) then it has to respond to any direct provocation. There is no way that the U.S. could not respond to this attack if it intends to be a credible military threat in the world. It is built into the logic of the situation that in order to be an interventionist state you have to be willing to kill any and every threat. As long as the U.S. depends upon controlling the raw resources of other countries then it will continue these practices. Secondly, if you were an imperial power would you rather have an independent, strong nation controlling the region or a weak puppet state that exports its raw resources cheaply?

Much of the distrust of the media was developed in eras where large defense contractors supported the American economy. This is no longer the case, as American corporate interests are selling consumer goods and technology to the world.

Huh? How is this logical? You are claiming that selling to the world weakens the U.S. economy?

Only one (GE's NBC) of the five mainstream news sources (FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN) has any direct links to these defense contractors.

So, what about indirect links? Can you show me that the interests of the owners of the news sources are independent of the owners of the MI complex?

But it seems to be in the interests of the media to jump all over news that contradicts official government reports, as they did with the affairs of Bill Clinton and Gary Condit.

Isn't it the point of Manufacturing Consent that there is debate, but only withing narrowly prescribed limits? I don't see many articles laying out the flow of raw resources into the U.S. economy in the mainstream press. There is slightly more debate about this sort of thing due to the people that are going out and getting shot, clubbed and tear-gassed, but it's not the majority of coverage. If journalists were exclusively interested in kicking over the traces they'd be hounding Bush about the subject matter of "Fortunate Son" and howling about the deaths by diarrhoea in Third World countries which pay interest on their debts.



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
wow (3.85 / 7) (#24)
by theantix on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 05:25:02 PM EST

I'll address the part of your post that was on topic. IMHO, 2/3 of your post belonged in a new story, or a reply to a totally different post.
agree totally with a rational evaluation. To that end it is important to provide some substantiation of one's assumptions and claims. Therefore, could you provide a reference for the Taliban claiming thousands of lives lost? I've only seen the Taliban claims of 20 here, 10 there, a couple of hundred here, the death of the 10 year-old son of Mullah Omar claimed here was actually repudiated by the Taliban. In total the claims of the Taliban seem to be around 900 people in contrast to the unsupported "thousands" that you claim that they are claiming.
Yes, I was referring to the 900 people claim, plus the 100+ people claimed killed in the hospital today. I was careless with the term "thousands" and I apologize.
So, what about indirect links? Can you show me that the interests of the owners of the news sources are independent of the owners of the MI complex?
No, I can't show that, it's fucking impossible to prove! Can you show me that Noam Chomsky's interests are independent of Fidel Castro? Can you show me that there are no pink unicorns in New Zealand? But seriously, it is really in dispute that the US is now a service and technology-based economy, while previously it was much more dependant on manufacturing, including defense contractors? Here's a brief example: of the top 25 corporations (by market cap) traded on the US markets, only one: (GE) has any strong ties to defense.
GE General Electric Company 374 Bil
MSFT Microsoft Corporation 325 Bil
XOM Exxon Mobil Corporation 283 Bil
PFE Pfizer Inc 271 Bil
WMT Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 237 Bil
C Citigroup Inc. 237 Bil
AIG American International Group, Inc. 198 Bil
JNJ Johnson & Johnson 184 Bil
IBM International Business Machines Corporation 183 Bil
BP BP p.l.c. 182 Bil
GSK GlaxoSmithKline plc 172 Bil
INTC Intel Corporation 170 Bil
MRK Merck & Co., Inc. 154 Bil
VOD Vodafone Group PLC 141 Bil
AOL AOL Time Warner Inc. 141 Bil
SBC SBC Communications Inc. 139 Bil
VZ Verizon Communications Inc. 139 Bil
KO Coca-Cola Company 122 Bil
BMY Bristol-Myers Squibb Company 116 Bil
MO Philip Morris Companies Inc. 111 Bil
RD Royal Dutch Petroleum Company 108 Bil
NVS Novartis AG 103 Bil
HBC HSBC Holdings plc 100 Bil
BRK.A Berkshire Hathaway'a' 99 Bil
NOK Nokia Corporation

Is that close enough to proof for you? Banks, Telecom, consumer products, Pharmaceuticals, and Technology firms dominate the list.

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

No proof there IMHO (4.33 / 6) (#30)
by M0dUluS on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 05:47:51 PM EST

I'll address the part of your post that was on topic. IMHO, 2/3 of your post belonged in a new story, or a reply to a totally different post.

My post endeavored to call into your specific claims that:
1.The Taliban claimed thousands of deaths.
2. that the U.S. response is trying to minimize casualities
3.that there is no reason to fear that there is control of the media by those who have an interest in the war continuing.
I also challenged your assertion that U.S. exports somehow weakens the U.S. economy.
You've admitted point 1, completely ignored the huge amount of evidence that I presented for point 2, failed to prove your strong claim of point3, and totally ignored point 4

No, I can't show that, it's fucking impossible to prove!

So why assume that the inverse is true? It seems more likely that the elites have holdings in both media and the military and everything else rather than to assume that they don't?

But seriously, it is really in dispute that the US is now a service and technology-based economy, while previously it was much more dependant on manufacturing, including defense contractors?

Seriously, this is a complete strawman.



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
straw-people (4.00 / 5) (#33)
by theantix on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 05:57:18 PM EST

1.The Taliban claimed thousands of deaths.
2. that the U.S. response is trying to minimize casualities
3.that there is no reason to fear that there is control of the media by those who have an interest in the war continuing.
I also challenged your assertion that U.S. exports somehow weakens the U.S. economy.
1. Sorry. I should have said "one thousand" instead of "thousands".
2. I'm saying that they are trying, given that a war is taking place. you think they are not trying hard enough and are doing more damage than good. That doesn't mean they aren't trying.
3. I'm saying the American economy has moved past its reliance on defense contractors. I showed this by displaying some of america's largest corporations and how only one of them had significant military interests. If that's not enough for you...
4. I never tried to say this. I did say the benefits would only come long-term and even then be minimal, and that the goverment rarely looks long-term.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
I'll leave it here (5.00 / 3) (#39)
by M0dUluS on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 06:48:20 PM EST

Point 2. Talking about trying to minimize casualties when you are bombing a starving country that's been at war for c.20 years is oxymoronic. It's as though a cop trying to murder a fleeing suspect in a crowd chooses to use the shotgun instead of the rail-gun.
Point 3. You are claiming that there is no inherent bias in the media. You attempt to do this by claiming that U.S. (not America, that's a continent) economy's dependence on the assault industry has reduced. Maybe so, but that doesn't show that the people who own the media don't also own defense and oil and everything else. You have made a strong claim. Also see Arkady's post on this
Point 4. I misunderstood what you are saying. Sorry.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
defense? (4.75 / 4) (#32)
by Arkady on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 05:57:02 PM EST

I don't know the names or businesses of all 25 you listed, but several other than GE have direct ties to the DoD:

General Electric Company - well known major defense contractor

Microsoft Corporation - massive contract to provide data systems to the DoD (most well known is the control systems on the Navy's ships; remember when the trial unit had to be towed back to port because they couldn't get the control systems to restart?)

International Business Machines Corporation - IBM is also a large supplier of DoD technology (and the original designers of DES)

Intel Corporation - Intel is also a DoD technology supplier

Others have rather direct interests in this particular conflict:

Exxon Mobil Corporation/BP p.l.c./Royal Dutch Petroleum Compan - all the oil companies are interested in the trans-*stan pipeline project

Several others have direct interests in maintaining the U.S. economic hegemony, and the military hegemony on which it depends):

Pfizer Inc/Johnson & Johnson/GlaxoSmithKline plc/Bristol-Myers Squibb Company - the maintenance of U.S. pharmaceutical patents in the Third World (where the need for these "products" is highests) benefits _only_ these companies, and benefits them extremely well

Coca-Cola Company - Coke is probably the best known beneficiary of the American "intellectual property" expansion, since it'd be pretty easy to market a Coke clone if the U.S. weren't forcing it's patents onto the rest of the world

Most of the telecom companies are also _likely_ technology suppliers to the government, if not the DoD directly. Two of them (SBC and Verizon) are U.S. state-sponsored telephone monopolies.

I don't know the others, but some research would probably tie their interests into U.S. trade policy (which is backed largely by U.S. military and espionage policy), I'd expect. Based on the other known interests here, it sees likely that those I don't know about are also beneficiaries.

More important to M0dUluS' critique, though, would be a consideration of who sits on these companies' Boards of Directors, and to what degree that body of people overlap with the Boards of the major "journalist" compnies in the U.S. media. There are several books available that list these statistics, as of their writings of course. The best I've read are Norman Solomen's, and much of his stuff is available on the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting web site.

-robin

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


[ Parent ]
To SprintF (3.50 / 6) (#31)
by M0dUluS on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 05:55:38 PM EST

I note that you've modded me as "0" on this post. Would you care to explain why? I did a lot of work on this to try and point out the errors on the story.
The reason that I did this was that I was voting against the story and wanted to explain to the submitter theantix why I considered his essay to be inaccurate and misleading.
Perhaps you could do me the same favor so that I can learn from you? If there are serious errors in my post, or if it is lacking in content then it would be nice of you to point this out to me. Otherwise you are merely stifling debate.
Thanks.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
don't take it personally... (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by theantix on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 07:20:14 PM EST

it seems that SprintF has been abusing the ratings system with the overabundance of 0 ratings... it's not just you.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
Thanks (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by M0dUluS on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 07:31:52 PM EST

I try not to care about ratings but sometimes fail. I guess I assume that there must be something very wrong with a post to get a "0", and if it is a reason that I might agree with then I'd rather know what that reason is.
I know my own ratings of other's comments have been a little arbitrary, but I try to reserve "0" for a completely pointless /. style troll. "1" goes to something that is intentionally offensive and then the rest is frankly dependent upon emotion with an attempt to give higher ratings to comments that are well-formatted, contain new info, are interesting etc. (all subjective of course).

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
heh (none / 0) (#43)
by theantix on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 07:53:30 PM EST

"1" goes to something that is intentionally offensive and then the rest is frankly dependent upon emotion with an attempt to give higher ratings to comments that are well-formatted, contain new info, are interesting etc. (all subjective of course).
Heh, I've got some "1"'s from you before, but I probably deserved it! =) Sometimes I get a bit caught up emotionally...

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
It's all part (none / 0) (#44)
by M0dUluS on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 08:04:08 PM EST

of my struggle against rationality. On bad days I beat myself. (figuratively speaking). Probably you haven't deserved the "one's".

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Well researched but (4.00 / 4) (#65)
by baseball on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 03:54:34 AM EST

fundamentally wrong.

You have done a good job of marshaling support for the premise that millions of Afghan civilians will die for want of food, medical supplies, and shelter. That is undeniably true. But millions of Afghan civilians would have died from the lack of those things if the US had done nothing at all. Afghanistan is a horrendously poor country that is also horrendously poorly run by its "government", the Taliban. They hold fundamentalist religious beliefs that assure that many preventable deaths will occur. They read the Koran, or at least parts of it, so literally that avoidable deaths must occur. For example, the Koran counsels that only the meat of freshly killed animals be eaten. That made a great deal of sense when the Koran was written because effective means of preserving meat did not exist. But applied literally, as the Taliban do, that means that meat that has been frozen or preserved cannot be eaten.

The Taliban reading of the Koran prohibits male doctors from treating women. It also prohibits women from receiving an education, and so there are no women doctors to treat ill women. They die.

Again, millions of Afghan citizens will die, but millions would die anyway if the US did not exist.

Another problem that exists now in providing humanitarian aid to save Afghan civilian lives is the interference of the Taliban. There have been reports by the UN that Taliban representatives are seizing humanitarian aid food supplies and equipment, and are beating humanitarian aid workers.

There is no question, though, that more Afghan citizens will die because of US actions than would have died but for those actions. But the US has never said that its ONLY goal was to avoid civilian deaths. If that were its ONLY goal, it would accept the WTC attack and do nothing other than send aid to Afghanistan (BTW, it is still sending humanitarian aid, or trying to, to Afghan civilians). The US position is that it will get bin Laden and the other terrorists in Afghanistan, and that in doing so, it will try to minimize civilian injuries and death. I think it is trying to do so; if the ONLY goal were to get bin Laden and there was no concern for civilian well-being, bin Laden would be dead now as would everyone else in Afghanistan.

I will never understand how people, when they speak of what a bully the US is, refer to Cuba. Cuba is a small island off the coast of Florida. If the US really were a belligerant who cared nothing of the sovereignty of other nations or the welfare of their people, it could take over Cuba entirely in a week. Yet, for forty years, Cuba has been run by a dictator utterly adverse to the US. In the early 1960s, Castro agreed to allow Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. If it were the policy of the US government to "kill any and every threat", Cuba and Castro would have been dead long ago.
Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
[ Parent ]
Thanks but: (4.00 / 5) (#77)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 11:55:30 AM EST

But millions of Afghan civilians would have died from the lack of those things if the US had done nothing at all.
The "doing nothing at all" part of this sentence includes two major actions: first, supporting (with c.$30 billion of taxpayers dollars) Islamic fundamentalist extremists; second, supporting a system of Capitalism which is designed to cause extreme suffering.
They hold fundamentalist religious beliefs that assure that many preventable deaths will occur.
Actually, there is a religious obligation to make sure that one's fellow Islamist does not go hungry.
Again, millions of Afghan citizens will die, but millions would die anyway if the US did not exist.
Only if one assumes that the alternative to U.S. imperialism is Islamic fascism. I'm not arguing for a "choice" between the US/Taliban. I'm arguing for socialism (of a very particular variety).
The US position is that it will get bin Laden and the other terrorists in Afghanistan, and that in doing so, it will try to minimize civilian injuries and death
Again, this is an oxymoron. I will bomb the country to murder the suspects while trying to minimize civilian deaths. If the U.S. really were trying to minimize civilian casualties they would be brokering an open borders agreement with Pakistan, Tajikistan etc. in which we (the country seeking to commit the illegal action) would pay hundreds of billions of dollars to enable those countries to cope with the influx of refugees. But, we're not doing that. Instead we're spending tens of billions on dropping munitions on a country that we already paid tens of billions for other people to shell and burn.
I will never understand how people, when they speak of what a bully the US is, refer to Cuba.
Because it was a popular revolution which the U.S. did its best to destroy. That said I agree that it is now a dictatorship and that political dissent is suppressed. Like other Marxist-Leninist states it betrayed the popular revolution and used authoritarian structures to maintain control. Not something I like.
If the US really were a belligerant who cared nothing of the sovereignty of other nations or the welfare of their people, it could take over Cuba entirely in a week
There was the Bay of Pigs. There has been a long series of covert operations. Also when you say "if..really a bully" are you ignoring the other examples I gave of Nicaragua? How about Chile?

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
ACK (4.25 / 4) (#81)
by theantix on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 12:27:54 PM EST

supporting a system of Capitalism which is designed to cause extreme suffering.
No, it's not designed to do that. It does cause incidental suffering... but Capitalism (in the pure Ayn Rand-ish sense) is designed to exchange goods more efficiently, by fixing production where supply meets demand. Saying that is is designed to cause suffering is just inflammatory (trollish), please don't. Capitalism (in the American sense) evolved from the more "pure" (note: I said "pure", not "good") capitalism with more emphasis on protecting "intellectual" goods i.e. patents and copyrights. They don't have any designs on causing suffering, infact they make fighting poverty and disease worldwide. You can argue that they don't do enough, or more harm than good, those are respectable arguments. But arguing that capitalism is designed to cause extreme suffering makes you sound like some loony imagining some large corporation: "let's see how much extreme suffering we can cause today, that would be fun".
If the U.S. really were trying to minimize civilian casualties they would be brokering an open borders agreement with Pakistan, Tajikistan etc.
They aren't doing this for obvious reasons: they don't want al-Qaeda to escape into another country as refugees, and large-scale displacement of people is harmful for a lot of reasons. Instead, I would suggest they should setup demilitarized zones along the borders (where the refugee camps already are) and provide medical and foodb aid there to the people, while protecting them from the Taliban and using metal-detectors to ensure no weapons get through. When the war is done, they can resume their lives without disrupting the bordering countries any more than they have too. That solution would work much better IMHO than having an influx of refugees into the 'stans, or dropping rations in land-mine zones.
If the US really were a belligerant who cared nothing of the sovereignty of other nations or the welfare of their people, it could take over Cuba entirely in a week

There was the Bay of Pigs. There has been a long series of covert operations. Also when you say "if..really a bully" are you ignoring the other examples I gave of Nicaragua? How about Chile?

While its indisputable that America has been a bully abroad, it doesn't change the fact that they could easily conquer most poor countries in a hurry if they wanted to. If they didn't use covert operations in Cuba there would not have been a bay of pigs disaster (for them)... the failure came because America didn't want to commit to a full-out war, for a variety of reasons. Hell, some pundits are actually calling for full-out colonization now...

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
Good points (3.50 / 4) (#86)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 01:24:20 PM EST

Especially on the trollish nature of my definition of Capitalism. It would indeed to be more accurate to describe it in the way that you do, with one proviso. One would have to admit exactly what the "incidental suffering" (collateral damage?) was, otherwise it's not a full description of the system.
I like your de-militarized zone idea as a minimal approach to reducing the civilian deaths. Further, a sincere effort would include support for the population after the war.
I'm not really sure why Cuba was such a disaster for the U.S. I guess that my main point for the poster was that there is ample evidence for the U.S. trying to be a bully, and they have tried to overthrow Cuba.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
after the war (3.50 / 2) (#89)
by theantix on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 02:00:23 PM EST

Further, a sincere effort would include support for the population after the war.
I really hope they do... I have heard that a US congressman (or senator) is preparing a bill for Central Asia that would be compable to the "Marshall Plan" that seemed so successful in Western Europe. I also hope they will get the fuck out of the area when they are finished and leave it to the UN. Then again, I tend to be overly optimistic at times.
I'm not really sure why Cuba was such a disaster for the U.S. I guess that my main point for the poster was that there is ample evidence for the U.S. trying to be a bully, and they have tried to overthrow Cuba.
Yeah, they've been brutal in ingoring the consequences of their bullying actions in the past. I have the (perhaps somewhat naive) notion that America has learned their lesson from the attack against them... for one, the US is finally being openly critical of the Israelis! Oh well, I hope my optimism is justified.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
dying vs. killing (3.60 / 5) (#94)
by Arkady on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 04:21:16 PM EST

"Again, millions of Afghan citizens will die, but millions would die anyway if the US did not exist."

To use that as a justification for killing (basically, to say it's OK to kill someone whose going to die anyway) is to justify any killing, since _everyone_ will die eventually anyway.

To loosen it even to saying it's OK to kill anyone whose going to die "soon_ anyway would make it acceptible for some to (for example) go on a shooting spree through an old folks home or a casualty ward in a hospital.

Is that what you're trying to say? ;-)

-robin

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


[ Parent ]
You're misreading my post (none / 0) (#117)
by baseball on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 12:55:45 AM EST

I never offered the fact that millions of Afghan citizens will die for lack of food and medical services as a justification for killing them or anyone else.

My point was this. I have read repeated posts directly or indirectly saying that the US, by attacking the Taliban,will cause millions of Afghan citizens to die of hunger or lack of medical care. My point was that the US attacks on the Taliban will not cause millions of Afghani deaths by hunger or lack of medical care; regardless what the US does, millions of Afghani citizens will die of hunger or from lack of medical care. The cause of the vast bulk of those death is not the US, but the facts that Afghanistan is a very poor country that is very poorly run by its "government", that has been continously engaged in war for two decades, and that has a principal crop which isn't a food staple and which is illegal in many countries. The US is NOT causing millions of Afghan citizens to die from hunger or the lack of medical care.

I never even remotely said that it's okay to kill people because they are going to die anyway.
Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
[ Parent ]
thousands vs. millions (none / 0) (#122)
by Arkady on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 08:25:20 PM EST

If that's the point, and I've no reason not to believe you on it, then it's just plain incorrect.

Everything I've read from the various aid organizations states that, though they do possess the supplies necessary to prevent starvation and disease on the scale of millions dead, they are not able to enter the country to deal with the problems. They say this is because the borders have been closed (at U.S. insistence) and also because even could they get in it's impossible to run a functional relief effort while being bombed. They couldn't prevent everyone from dying, and can reasonably expect thousands to perish regardless. The reason they expect 7.5 million to die is that they are both unable to help while being bombed, and aren't being allowed in to try anyway.

Either way, the U.S. _is_ the reason that 7.5 million Afghanis are likely to die in the coming winter.

-robin


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


[ Parent ]
Fucking ivory towers ... (3.40 / 15) (#45)
by joegee on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 08:24:13 PM EST

<begin rant>

What if the planes had flown into Big Ben, Number 10 Downing Street, Westminster Palace, Scotland Yard, MI5, MI6, or Buckingham Palace instead of the WTC ... Would outrage against the current "hostility" have become something self-righteously English? No crowds of thousands marching against war, instead God save the queen, defense of queen and country, be a good Briton and fly the Union Jack?

What if a jet had rammed into the Eiffel Tower or Versailles? How dare they, other than Algeria, Lebanon, Egypt, and a few baubles Napoleon "liberated" the French continuously bend over backwards for the rights of all French friendly Arab francophones. On dirai, vive la guerre, n'est-ce pas?

Or what if the lovely new German parliament building in Berlin had been leveled? We're already burning Turkish and Arab Germans out of their homes, so why don't we just bring back the Wehrmacht and have done with it?

I agree, civilian loss of life is terrible, unfortunately in this thing called "war" there are usually casualties. To the credits of the planners, and I believe largely contrary to the Taliban claims of "genocide" civilian casualties on the Afghan side are still at a relative minimum.

I do believe the American government has the right culptits in al Qaeda. Everything I have seen and heard leads me to believe this. I also believe that if the world does not stand up and fight this kind of terror, there will be much more of it, and quite a lot of it not on American soil.

As for the claims of genocide, please remember that if the U.S. (or any Western power) wanted genocide, as the ash pits in (now "civilized") Germany will attest there are much more effective methods than "smart bombs" available to the thoroughly modern hegemon ...

When did Europe lose their tolerance for death and conflict? Was that before, or just after the genocide of Rwanda, Yugoslavia, the various African famines, and the AIDS epidemic in Central Africa? Please refresh me.

Protest against your own governments' policies too. Rail against the inequities of your own societies. The U.S. has recently faced the price of several decades of failed policy. We probably don't need a bunch of ivory-tower dwelling professional counterculturalist fops who are afraid to point their crystal clear wrong-seeing glasses at their own country, saying "we told you so."

<end rant/>

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
One small nit (2.33 / 3) (#46)
by finial on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 08:30:41 PM EST

Taliban claims of "genocide"

I don't believe the Taliban have ever claimed that. Only Chomsky claims that we are engaged in a genocide.



[ Parent ]
Genocide (4.40 / 5) (#51)
by RHSwan on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 11:07:22 PM EST

The Taliban foreign minister in Pakistan claimed today or yesterday the US (and Great Britain) were engaged in genocide. Whether you believe it or not is up to you.

[ Parent ]
But (1.33 / 3) (#54)
by finial on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 11:20:55 PM EST

But then, he's a Chomskyite, isn't he? He has a subscription to zmag.

[ Parent ]
the Taliban ministers watch the news, after all (3.50 / 2) (#87)
by demi on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 01:29:48 PM EST

and they have heard pretty much the same rhetoric against the attacks from within the US that we have. You can bet your ass they know exactly what Susan Sontag and Noam Chomsky think about our foreign policy. The Taliban can just co-opt the arguments of dissident Americans and perhaps gain a patina of credibility over here. It's worth a shot, I mean the Taliban have basically tried every single propaganda tactic in the book by now. Witness their panicked attempts at spinning in the first week after the attack.



[ Parent ]

what color is the sky in your world? (4.00 / 1) (#100)
by jmc on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 07:45:21 PM EST

Yeah, I can't turn on my TV without seeing Chomsky spreading his anti-American propaganda!

I wish liberal media like the "Clinton News Network" would cover more than one point of view... I have to go to the far corners of the web to find reliable news sources like Pentagon briefings.

[ Parent ]

oh please (none / 0) (#112)
by demi on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 01:17:58 PM EST

That's not what I was saying. We have a huge diversity of news sources. Despite what many in this forum may think, there are many outlets for war dissenters to make their viewpoints known. The Taliban, and many other political groups that have positioned themselves as anti-american, are aware of that. The terrorists have been coming at us where we are weakest, and what better place to attack than by acting to legitimize the viewpoints of our domestic critics. It's the same strategy we have used over and over, so why shouldn't they try it?



[ Parent ]

Genocide (4.00 / 3) (#56)
by Merc on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 12:47:12 AM EST

Unfortunately the US has this darned thing called "democracy" and "[near] freedom of the press". Americans don't, as a rule, like genocide, so the military can't just go out and nuke people, or gas them, or do other obvious things. Well they could, but there would be an unacceptable price to pay.

Instead, if the military wanted to engage in genocide, they'd need to find a non-obvious way to do it. This could be partially accomplished by disinformation, partially by keeping reporters away from the scene of the genocide, and partially by using an indirect tactic. Something like say starving the intended victims to death by making it virtually impossible for the food relief they rely on to get to them.

Now I'm not saying that the US military would want to engage in genocide. Once the word got out (and eventually it would), it would make them very unpopular. Besides, most US soldiers and commanders are smart, essentially good-hearted people. Genocide is most likely not what they're after, though they might want to "cull the herd" a little. However if the deaths of millions of Afghanis was their goal, they'd be well on their way to accomplishing it.



[ Parent ]
That's the most unfortunate thing ... (4.00 / 2) (#57)
by joegee on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 01:04:18 AM EST

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are hiding behind the people of Afghanistan. Something has to be done, but the price for both the U.S. and the Afghan people is so damned high. This is probably one of the most unfortunate "wars" ever fought, and you can bet that bin Laden and his cronies won't be the ones freezing to death or starving this winter. :(

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Why would the military want genocide? (3.50 / 2) (#62)
by khym on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 03:16:02 AM EST

Why would the U.S. military desire such a genocide? Because if they wiped out everyone in Afghanistan, that'd be an easier way of eliminating al-Qaeda then going in and taking out the al-Qaeda and Taliban and leaving the populace alive? Or is it something more sisister?

--
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 ]
They don't want genocide ... (3.00 / 1) (#79)
by joegee on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 11:56:20 AM EST

Again, if they did Germany wrote a little text book a few years back on "How to ..." Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Stalin, Idi Amin, Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge have since revised the manual ever so slightly but the basic rules still apply.

"Something more sinister ..." Would this be an allusion to bin Laden's claim of a jihad of Islam versus Christianity? Genocide usually begins at home before it is packaged for sales abroad, but before September 11th the U.S. Islamic community was doing just fine with several million members.

America's Islamic community is still doing fine. The federal government is working hard to protect Americans of middle eastern descent and their interests. We haven't had a Krystallnacht, and I don't think one is likely.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
I was questioning Merc... (4.00 / 3) (#97)
by khym on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 07:10:36 PM EST

User Merc seemed to be saying that the U.S. military wishes it could commit genocide on the Afghans, but various things are preventing them from doing so. I'm just wondering why in the world they'd wish that in the first place.

--
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 ]
I don't really think they would ... (none / 0) (#102)
by joegee on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 08:52:32 PM EST

I misread you. As I think I made clear in other rants, I really do not understand anyone believing that allegation myself.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry. (1.00 / 1) (#108)
by bil on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 10:27:30 AM EST

When did Europe lose their tolerance for death and conflict? Was that before, or just after the genocide of Rwanda, Yugoslavia, the various African famines, and the AIDS epidemic in Central Africa? Please refresh me.

Hmm, Two Balken wars, one world war, one civil war, a bit of peace, another civil war, another world war, a bit more peace, a couple more balkan wars, add in to the mix a few revolutions, several major terrorist campaigns, the odd other war that I've forgotten about, add a few periods of extreme instability, and all the non-European adventures (South Africa, indo-china, Korea, south Atlantic, etc etc), and you have the European 20th century.
Total death toll? god only knows.
Major capitals that have not seen fighting, occupation or bombing raids? Geneva, Stockholm thats about it (I think)
Years since WWII the british army has not suffered casualties due to enemy action? approx. 1

When did we loose our toleration for death and conflict? When we saw it up close and personnal.

The U.S. has recently faced the price of several decades of failed policy.

If thats the price paid in full, you got off lightly.

We probably don't need a bunch of ivory-tower dwelling professional counterculturalist fops who are afraid to point their crystal clear wrong-seeing glasses at their own country, saying "we told you so."

I sorry if we don't shout and cheer when people decide to kill each other, I'm sorry we do not belive that the cruise missle is the answer to all lifes problems and that "minimum" casualties are perfectly acceptable. In fact damn it all I'm sorry that I am european, I promise to move to the US so I can cheer every explosion, every grave, loudly like all right thinking people should.

bil


bil
Where you stand depends on where you sit...
[ Parent ]

Ah but you see ... (none / 0) (#113)
by joegee on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 03:04:27 PM EST

Two Balken wars, one world war, one civil war, a bit of peace, another civil war, another world war, a bit more peace, a couple more balkan wars, add in to the mix a few revolutions, several major terrorist campaigns, the odd other war that I've forgotten about, add a few periods of extreme instability, and all the non-European adventures (South Africa, indo-china, Korea, south Atlantic, etc etc), and you have the European 20th century.

So the response to everything that occurs after this point is to stick one's head in the sand and hope it goes away. Genocide is fine and dandy as long as it doesn't happen on your civilized soil. :)

If thats the price paid in full, you got off lightly.

If you think it will stop at America's doorstep you are mistaken.

I sorry if we don't shout and cheer when people decide to kill each other, I'm sorry we do not belive that the cruise missle is the answer to all lifes problems and that "minimum" casualties are perfectly acceptable.

One of the alternative responses to 9/11 was nuclear. Choose which one you would prefer? I am not shouting and cheering that people are dying, in fact it's horrible. On the other hand something does indeed have to be done. To keep these acts from being repeated throughout the world the price for commiting acts like 9/11 must be proven to be too high. It doesn't matter if you're in Luxembourg, Switzerland, or Tuva, someone somewhere can hold a grudge against you and target you.

Saying "can't we all just get along" will not make the problem go away. To cede a point to pacifists, neither will imperialism, or a hundred thousand smart bombs. The answer to the problem is not military. The issues that cause these young people to seek jihad must also be addressed.

BUT

Again, I think it must be demonstrated in the most unequivocal terms that the price for acts of megaterrorism must be too high to be endured. Good for you for disagreeing, but how would you feel if this incident had been on your soil? Just because it didn't happen does not mean it couldn't.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Seems like you bought the whole package (3.30 / 10) (#47)
by Gutza on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 08:30:44 PM EST

Dude, the whole idea is making you think about the little things instead of the big political issues - so if that's the problem now - "how many did we kill?" - then the US propaganda worked very effectively. You must understand you only heard the US propaganda - you didn't hear the Taliban propaganda! You only heard some numbers from the Taliban, but not the actual propaganda.

My main concern about this war is that:
1. The Taliban have nothing to lose so why the hell surrender or do something? See the current anthrax issue if unaware of what can a hand of people do when they have nothing to lose (not to mention the 7/11 itself);
2. The US can not accept any kind of "defeat" - mind the quotes. I mean, they can't even agree to a deal or something - Bin Laden or war - otherwise they's look like pussies and who can accept that?
3. Even if Bin Laden would be delivered, do you think that would be the end of terrorism?! You'll see a Bin Maden or something coming up pronto - along with a couple of spectacular acts of terror;
4. Neither US nor the Taliban are renowned for their high morality when it comes down to war.

So my concern is when is this thing going to end? Look again at the four statements above and try thinking about some other, hypothetical situation - other countries, other people. Do you think this kind of situation is going to end soon after it starts? Not to mention the political situation in the Middle East... So the problem is not actually how many the US killed - it's rather when it's going to stop. True, we can't answer that and neither can the propaganda - it would be laughable to state an exact date. But that's where the wories should be coming from in my opinion...

Who's your vendor, who's your vendor? — Scott Adams
time is K5
No exit strategy. (3.50 / 2) (#83)
by beergut on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 12:51:37 PM EST

My main concern about this war is that:

1. The Taliban have nothing to lose so why the hell surrender or do something? See the current anthrax issue if unaware of what can a hand of people do when they have nothing to lose (not to mention the 7/11 itself);

There has been no evidence linking the Taliban, al Qaeda, nor anyone else to the Anthrax problem we're seeing currently. None that I have seen, or even heard reported anywhere.

It might be a group of home-grown wackos like Earth Liberation Front doing the Anthrax thing. They like to burn crops, break into labs, and just screw stuff up, in general. That is at least as credible and plausible an explanation as the Taliban or al Qaeda or bin Dover.

2. The US can not accept any kind of "defeat" - mind the quotes. I mean, they can't even agree to a deal or something - Bin Laden or war - otherwise they's look like pussies and who can accept that?

The issue isn't "looking like pussies." The issue is simply this: "If you 'deal' with terrorists, then terrorism will never end. If you give in to one group's demands, then another group will blow something up so that you will appease them, too."

Please take the time to read and understand that last paragraph. Repeat it a few times aloud, and maybe it will permeate properly and leave you with a more full understanding of the issue. At issue is human nature, not expediency.

3. Even if Bin Laden would be delivered, do you think that would be the end of terrorism?! You'll see a Bin Maden or something coming up pronto - along with a couple of spectacular acts of terror;

Precisely. Which is why we cannot be seen "dealing" with this current crop of assholes.

4. Neither US nor the Taliban are renowned for their high morality when it comes down to war.

Nobody is. It's "war", fer Chrissakes. In "war", people "die" and things get "broken".

Now I'll grant you that we do not have a declared war, and are not at war with the legitimate government of Afghanistan. It seems to me that a system of marque and reprisal could work well here, perhaps better than this military action we're pursuing currently.

The biggest problem, in my eyes, is that we'll probably end up having to fight and trounce the Northern Alliance, too (they're just as stupid as the Taliban.) Afghanistan needs a stable government. In order to stabilize Afghanistan, we will probably need to lean on Pakistan pretty hard, and let the Russians have a free hand in Chechnya (since they're fighting the same kind of thing there, from reports I've heard.)

That doesn't even begin to address the problems we're beginning to have here at home with the U.S. government. The rights-grabbers are out in full force nowadays, and they wear government badges.

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

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Rebuttal of two points and questions on others (4.00 / 3) (#90)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 02:22:36 PM EST

There has been no evidence linking the Taliban, al Qaeda, nor anyone else to the Anthrax problem we're seeing currently. None that I have seen, or even heard reported anywhere.
Well, right now on NPR they are saying that govt sources say that it may be linked. Personally I doubt it, but then if you'd told me that planes were going to be crashed into the WTC I'd have doubted that too. Still, it's damned hard to have any opinion on this when I have so little data.
The issue isn't "looking like pussies." The issue is simply this: "If you 'deal' with terrorists, then terrorism will never end. If you give in to one group's demands, then another group will blow something up so that you will appease them, too."
THis is completely untrue. The history of terrorist organizations is that they either are militarily crushed or they reach compromise with their opponents. A high-profile recent example is the IRA. They have moved steadily toward de-commisioning as a result of negotiations with the British and Irish governments (despite rhetoric from blow-hards such as Thatcher who was actually negotiating with them in secret)
It seems to me that a system of marque and reprisal could work well here,
What is that?
That doesn't even begin to address the problems we're beginning to have here at home with the U.S. government. The rights-grabbers are out in full force nowadays, and they wear government badges.
What are "rights-grabbers"?

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Errr... (3.00 / 1) (#98)
by Gutza on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 07:28:49 PM EST

The issue isn't "looking like pussies." The issue is simply this: "If you 'deal' with terrorists, then terrorism will never end. If you give in to one group's demands, then another group will blow something up so that you will appease them, too."

Ok, let's try it this way: are the Taliban completely irrational about the terrorist attacks? Or maybe they feel what the rest of the world feels more or less - that the US (plus UK) are interfering in a lot of issues just because they have the power to (you know, Iraq, Israel - stuff like that). And after the deed is done and regular people don't have a clue what that *really* was about you "suddenly" have a terrorist attack! WOW! What a surprise! No, it wasn't a surprise! The CIA knew something bad was cooking before time. Why?! The issue here is that - imagine - the Taliban are not plain madmen killing themselves just because! I'm not saying they're necessarily right, I'm not saying the way they took action with the WTC was right. Let's have an analogy: after beating the crap out of a couple of guys in the neighbourhood you should expect your front door to go up in flames at some time, shouldn't you? Setting fire on your door is not the right thing to do for their best friend, I agree, but since there's no police in town - remember? - you should expect him to do something about it by himself.

So, in the light of the "new" facts stated above, if you were to go to those guys' best friend (who set your door on fire) in order to beat the crap out of him too, would you honestly say to yourself on the way that "If I 'deal' with door burners, then door burning will never end. If I give in to one dude's demands (which are "leave us alone!"), then another dude will burn down my door up so that I will appease him, too"? Nope. I think you'd rather say to yourself "If I don't do anything about this dude who burned down my door I'll look like a pussy in the neighbourhood and since I am The Mighty One I can't allow that to happen! No matter that I am the cause for his anger, I won't tolerate this kind of attitude!"

Please take the time to read and understand that last two paragraphs. Repeat them a few times aloud, and maybe they will permeate properly and leave you with a more full understanding of the issue. At issue is human nature, not expediency. Couldn't have said it better myself!

Anyway, I din't understand the need for the paragraph above in your answer - I wasn't starting any flames - but I wanted to serve it back so you see how it feels.

Ok, back to the issue:
Nobody is. It's "war", fer Chrissakes. In "war", people "die" and things get broken".

In case you *cough* followed a link directly to my reply, let me reiterate what the story I replied to was about: killing civilians. Civilians, hospitals and homes are not "things" that should get "broken" in "war". Or, maybe, WTC was just plain old war?

Who's your vendor, who's your vendor? — Scott Adams
time is K5
[ Parent ]
Errr... (none / 0) (#133)
by gorilla on Wed Oct 31, 2001 at 12:42:40 PM EST

are the Taliban completely irrational about the terrorist attacks?

Very good question, and I think that the answer has to be "No". They have said that if the US provides them with reasonable proof that bin Laden is behind the WTC bombing, then they will hand him over. Bush has refused to provide such proof, leading many people to wonder if he actually has it.

Compare this to the opposite situation. If a foreign power demanded that the US handed over a resident accused of a crime elsewhere without any proof, would the US do so? I don't think they would.

[ Parent ]

taliban is not the legal government (none / 0) (#134)
by theantix on Wed Oct 31, 2001 at 02:01:00 PM EST

The US, the UN, and almost every country in the world, does not recognize the Taliban as the rightful rulers of Afghanistan. That is the difference and the cause for the apparent hypocracy. Thus, dealing with them as a governmental body would be accepting their place as government. Therefore: no negotiations, not on any terms. I know it wasn't made clear, Bush didn't ever explain this properly, perhaps because he didn't understand himself.

And even disregarding the above, they should still not give evidence to the Taliban. Why? The links between al-Qaeda and the Taliban are well-established. The request for more information read to me as an internal hunt for leaks. And there is preliminary evidence made public via the british government's white paper that. It should be enough for an indictment at any rate.

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

well... (1.00 / 5) (#50)
by j0nkatz on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 10:55:57 PM EST

www.lp.org 'nuff said!

w()()p
When the truth gets in the way... (3.81 / 11) (#53)
by smallstepforman on Mon Oct 22, 2001 at 11:18:27 PM EST

Just a reminder that the US intentionally bombed a TV station in downtown Belgrade just because they didn't like the images beamed via satellite to the rest of the world. Its easier to lie to your citizens when you control the images they see on TV. "We destroyed a weapons factory" vs "They bombed our car factory - look at the footage"

The weird thing is that the western journalists didn't condemn the bombing of Belgrades TV stations, even though their colleagues were dying. Just goes to show you how independant journalists are (well, they aren't since they take orders from their editors, and their editors are dependant of the media owners).

Every time you see news footage, the real question is "What do Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch want me to think now?"

Answer is always the same ... (none / 0) (#107)
by Scrymarch on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:22:03 AM EST

Every time you see news footage, the real question is "What do Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch want me to think now?"

"Watch more TV." (Apologies to U2).

[ Parent ]

The truth (3.33 / 9) (#55)
by Merc on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 12:17:28 AM EST

"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." - Sir Winston Churchill

At the same time, the best lies are the ones surrounded and supported by truth. This makes them sound more true, and makes lazy fact checkers assume they're true.

The problem is, it is often the most important things that are untrue. An example might be the number of civillian deaths in Afghanistan. If the Pentagon tells CNN the truth about the number of sorties, the number of ground troops used, the number of bombs dropped, and these can all be verified by reporters on the ground where the planes are taking off, it sounds like they're telling the truth. But what if the one fact they lie about is the number of civillian deaths. What if the Taliban is dead on? If it's true that thousands of Afghani civillians have been killed, perhaps as many as the number of Americans killed in the WTC, many Americans would stop supporting the war effort. But by saying they can only confirm 10 deaths, they make sure the war can go on.

I think you have a point, in that the number of lies you hear on CNN is probably far fewer than the number you hear from the Taliban spokesmen. CNN even has a business reason to find out if the Pentagon is lying (but not if it costs them "off the record" interviews and turns inside sources against them). But I can't say that I can accept "buying into American propaganda", or even just "getting all your news from American media sources". Listen to what the foreign media is reporting, and consider it, just so that one lie doesn't get you.



Lies, consensus, and the Delphi method (none / 0) (#84)
by epepke on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 01:02:41 PM EST

A big problem is that consensus has nothing to do with whether people are lying. Consensus arrives by an informal application of the Delphi method. In the Delphi method, you ask a bunch of people for their opinion and then average them.

There are some people who are going to believe the US government no matter what. There are some people who are going to believe the Taliban no matter what. Other people are going to believe or disbelieve based on their biases. Consensus is going to be a weighted average of what people believe.

Let's say that, in a certain assault, 10 civilians are killed. Let's say the US reports that there are 10 civilians killed. That might literally be the truth, but it is still a public lie, because the number of people who believe it is a lie is greater than zero. Let's say that the Taliban claims that there are 70 civilians killed. People might not buy that either, but they will think that the number is greater than 10. So, maybe they will decide that 40 civilians were really killed. That will be the public consensual truth.


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


[ Parent ]
Only variations of the truth (4.11 / 17) (#58)
by billman on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 01:04:34 AM EST

I will have to say this, I have watched some of the live press conferences with the Taliban diplomat to Pakistan and I just want to jump up and yell, "You're a f*cking liar". Why? Not because I believe US propaganda over Taliban propaganda, but because he just says things that should be easy to verify but no proof ever emerges. So far, the Taliban claims to have shot down 4 US fighter planes. So far, not one photo, no name of any pilot, no piece of wreckage, nothing. When asked point blank by a reporter for proof, he said (I'm paraphrasing but pretty close) "The plane was shot down in _________ (I forget the name of the city). The plane is there and we are here. I don't know how I can give you proof if the plane was not shot down here."

In another instance, the Taliban claimed 70 dead in one attack. International relief workers who happened to be there when the attack took place said the number was closer to 10. This happens in instance after instance where the Taliban says one thing and the facts available say something completely different. Rumsfeld says we have destroyed Taliban air defenses and have total air superiority. The Taliban claims that their air defenses are in tact, it's just that the planes are flying too high. As the CNN anchor commented, if your air defenses have been reduced to sling shots, any plane is too high.

Now, between US and Taliban propaganda, the US propaganda is easier to deal with personally. You know that the US is going to under-report civilian casualties. You know they are going to over-report strike effectiveness. That's what governments do in a time of war. But, at least the propaganda has some basis in truth. The Taliban just seems to make stuff up. It's fairly obvious that the Taliban has the political savvy of a high school class treasurer. They make statements and then retract their own statements. A Taliban official shows up in Pakastan and tells the press he has an offer to make to the Pakastani government. The Pakastanis turn him down and he claims he knows nothing of any offer.

I don't know. I don't buy the US propaganda but at least they make an effort to make it believable.

matter of proof (none / 0) (#70)
by unstable on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 08:42:54 AM EST

the taliban claim 70 dead... how they got that number, i dont know as im not there. US says its 10, most likely it can be proven that at least 10 people died so the us uses that number. whats going on is the US is taking the number that can be proven as the number they report. This is so that if it is proven the US is not caught saying "no civilian casualties" when there were.

I remeber reports of a US bomb hitting a Red cross building and the taliban making a big deal of that. But what they didnt tell you is that the Red Cross wasnt in the building, they left. Who was in the building, Taliban gov't. if you notice the only casualty in that was a taliban guard.

I personly belive that the US is targeting military instilations as much as possible, but you have the problem like the US had in iraq, Sadamm would place a cemical weapons factory right next to or in an apartment complex. They are trying to pick out targets in densly populated areas so civilain casualties are unavoidable, but the US is trying not to harm the civilians.





Reverend Unstable
all praise the almighty Bob
and be filled with slack

[ Parent ]
You're bootstrapping (3.66 / 15) (#60)
by democrap on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 01:30:33 AM EST

>bullshit, and try to guess where the truth might lie. We have to ask ourselves:
>what is rational, given the interests of the parties involved?

An excellent question. What are the actual interests of the US in Afghanistan? I don't think they're very clear. If you listened to the Noam Chomsky speech, you might have heard his comment that a government official was quoted as saying (roughly) "It doesn't matter if there was evidence against Bin Laden, because we were going to do this anyway." If you buy that, then the interest most people perceive is the excuse, not the reason. I don't know what the real reason for being there is, but in absence of that knowledge it's hard to speculate on what might be rational.

>We know that the Americans have many weapons at their disposal, including
>biological, chemical, nuclear, and large-scale conventional weaponry. They've
>used them in the past, and nobody would likely stop them if they decided to
>be cowboys and carpet the cities and villages with bombs as seen before in
>Vietnam and (to a lesser extent) Iraq. Instead they chose the expensive
>cruise missiles and Special Forces operations. We have seen no evidence or
>even claims to counter this. Again, this suggests to me that they are trying to
>minimize civilian casualties.

The US increasingly tries to wage its wars in an economical fashion. Why bother with biological, chemical, or large-scale conventional weaponry when you can kill everyone by stopping foreign aid to a country that has no food. Which is what they've done. When people talk about the US committing genocide, they're referring to the fact that several million people are going to starve to death soon. It's not being carried out through military means, but through very cheap and simple economic means.

>The Americans claim that they are not targeting Islam, while al-Qaeda claims
>that the Americans are targeting Islam. Who to believe? Again al-Qaeda can
><snip>
>the american propaganda just makes sense in this case.

This is one issue where, coincidentally, US interests and the truth coincide.

>before the Americans could benefit from that. I doubt they are thinking
>long-term, because the actions of elected governments are legendarily
>short-sighted.

The actions of the US government are not exclusively determined by the party in power. Agencies (e.g. CIA) may have long-term interests that are intertwined with the public events, but those events are never presented to you in such a way that you have a clear idea what's going on. That's the power of propaganda.

>Much of the distrust of the media was developed in eras where large defense
>contractors supported the American economy. This is no longer the case, as
>American corporate interests are selling consumer goods and technology to the
>world. Only one (GE's NBC) of the five mainstream news sources (FOX, CBS,

So what's changed? Defense contractors have an interest in war so that they can make money selling tools of war. American corporations have international interests as well though, in cheap labor, resources, markets, the acquisition of which may or may not involve warfare. These interests are far more powerful and far easier to defend in the eyes of the public. Whether or not the US intends to get cheap labor from Afghanis, it should be abundantly clear that media supported by consumer goods corporations is no more trustworthy than media supported by defense contractors, probably less so.

>believe that if they could get an exclusive story breaking news about America
>targeting civilians, they would do this, because it is in their interest to do so.

It is? If targeting civilians (which, BTW, has happened, unreported or underreported, many times) serves economic interests, then it serves media interests, end of story. This is historically proven, absolutely, to be the case.

>independent news available through the Internet. But it seems to be in the
>interests of the media to jump all over news that contradicts official
>government reports, as they did with the affairs of Bill Clinton and Gary Condit.

You're ignoring the critical factor, which is the subject matter. Ultimately Clinton and Condit's actions meant nothing in economic terms, so the media was just looking to get the best stories. That's a completely unrelated scenario.

>war. I think it is possible to remain an independent thinker and stay critical of
>the media and the US government, while still believing in some of the news
>and propaganda that they distribute.

It is possible, certainly. But herein lies the problem with your particular case and with your article. You need an independent means to determine what the facts are. You can't validate propaganda using previous propaganda. All of your support here is based on speculation about the interests and intentions of the US government, corporations, and media, which in turn is based on the existing doctrine. So, in essence, you're proving your point by presupposing its truth, a serious logical flaw.

In conclusion, the most clear example I can give of the deceptive power of propaganda, is your own article.


Not as much as you (3.88 / 9) (#61)
by baseball on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 02:27:06 AM EST

Your post accuses the author of bootstrapping and propaganda. At least he made an effort to consider and evaluate in a rational way the respective interests of the US and the Taliban and to address whose side of the story was more likely to be true in light of those things. Your post does nothing more than admit you have insufficient facts for rational analysis, and then turns to vilifying the US and accusing it of targeting civilians for economic purposes.

Your post completely glosses over the fact that the US has nothing whatever to gain, and everything to lose, by targeting Afghan civilians. Doing so would cost it both international and domestic support. Besides, if the goal were to obtain a cheap source of labor, it would seem self-evident that killing the potential laborers would be a bad strategy. The idea that the Afghan people would ever be a profitable market for US corporations is at best entirely unsupported, and, more likely, ridiculous. The Afghan people have no money, and their religion makes off-limits much of what America likes to export. If the goal were, as your post seems to imply, simply to line the pockets of defense contractors, there are better ways than war (i.e., selling weapons to friendly nations) to do it, and even if war were they only choice there are better places to attack than Afghanistan. Given Afghanistan's location, just getting staging areas was a problem with high political costs (e.g, lifting sanctions against Pakistan). It would have been far easier, if the goal were simply to manufacture a war, to have placed the blame on Iraq (one of the hijackers reportedly met at least twice with Iraqi officials), and another war with Iraq would have been easier to pursue.

Your post's argument that the US kills people who have nothing by giving them no aid is hyperbole. Before the recent events, the US was the world's largest supplier of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Some sources indicate that the greatest impediment now to providing humanitarian aid to the Afghan people is not the US, but the Taliban who are seizing food and equipment and beating humanitarian aid workers. Moreover, on the assumption your unspecific reference to killing by denying aid was to the sanctions against Iraq, the US and the UN did NOT bar the provision of humanitarian aid to Iraq. Moreover, the reason sanctions have been imposed is that Hussein reneged on his agreement to allow weapons inspections by the UN, and, given his history of efforts to obtain biological and nuclear weapons, and his proven willingness to attack his neighbors, limiting his ability to obtain the parts for such weapons through international trade was deemed, not just by the US but by the UN as well, to be important.

I regard your post as simply an unsupported attack without any offer of factual or analytic support to back it up, and without any evaluation at all of the conduct of the Taliban and al Qaeda. In my view, it does nothing to undermine the author's conclusions. It is in fact the worst kind of propaganda, the kind where, no matter how unsupported, if one says something often enough and loud enough, people come to believe it.
Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
[ Parent ]
Misinformed and misleading (3.40 / 5) (#69)
by greenrd on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 07:56:49 AM EST

Your post completely glosses over the fact that the US has nothing whatever to gain, and everything to lose, by targeting Afghan civilians.

The reasons the US is targeting civilians are these:

  • The "credibility" of the Mafia boss. Mess with us, and we will starve you, bomb you, and probably metaphorically stab you in the back as well (going on past history).
  • Oil (and gas) pipelines desired through Afghanistan.
  • Possibly also gaining greater control over South Asian countries - with the ultimate target being greater control over Russia and its huge natural resources (see emperors-clothes.net).
Your post's argument that the US kills people who have nothing by giving them no aid is hyperbole.

No, it's absolutely true. Although in the case of Iraq it is misleading, since what's being asked for isn't just aid but fair trade, unecumbered by having to route all requests through the Iraqi government (the US supports inefficient, communist-style central planning in Iraq!!) a UN Sanctions Committe that has to approve every purchase in a grossly inefficient Stalinistic manner. The UN Sanctions committee has blocked the import of educational and medical items. Iraqi doctors have no access to medical journals - they are sanctioned. Etc. etc. Just look at the anti-sanctions sites for more details. Open your mind and stop accepting US govt propaganda!

Some sources indicate that the greatest impediment now to providing humanitarian aid to the Afghan people is not the US, but the Taliban who are seizing food and equipment and beating humanitarian aid workers.

Let's not forget that the US has made it unsafe for aid workers by declaring war, and has ordered Pakistan to close its borders.

Moreover, the reason sanctions have been imposed is that Hussein reneged on his agreement to allow weapons inspections by the UN, and, given his history of efforts to obtain biological and nuclear weapons, and his proven willingness to attack his neighbors, limiting his ability to obtain the parts for such weapons through international trade was deemed, not just by the US but by the UN as well, to be important.

There is no problem with military sanctions. It is non-military sanctions that are killing 6,000 a month.


"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 ]

cutting through the bullshit (3.75 / 4) (#76)
by theantix on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 11:48:38 AM EST

The reasons the US is targeting civilians are these:
[blah, blah, blah]
Those are not reasons for targeting civilians... they are reasons for targeting the military. Targeting civilians would be so counter-productive I can't fathom why the military would be so stupid. That doesn't mean that they aren't, but I'm going to need much more than the Taliban's word and Z-Mag to convince me.
Let's not forget that the US has made it unsafe for aid workers by declaring war, and has ordered Pakistan to close its borders.
Yes, this is true. You and I both know why they did this. The real problem with the situation is as following: America is willing to have civilian casualties to complete its mission. They got hit, and are willing to do whatever it takes to prevent it from happening again. They are willing to accept civilian casualties by mistargeted bombs, and by starvation in refugee camps. It's a fact... and its the root of the problem that you have with US military policy there. The bullshit about oil,imperialism, and targeting civilians, is just window-dressing for the biggest concern -- a disagreement about what acceptable civilian casualties are in Afganistan.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
bringing back the bullshit (4.00 / 2) (#80)
by democrap on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 12:14:02 PM EST

>Those are not reasons for targeting civilians... they are reasons for targeting
>the military. Targeting civilians would be so counter-productive I can't fathom
>why the military would be so stupid. That doesn't mean that they aren't, but
>I'm going to need much more than the Taliban's word and Z-Mag to convince
>me.

They could do it now for the exact same reason they've done it in the past. If you push the populace far enough they will overthrow their own government because it's their only way out. It saves the US some of the trouble. The reasons for wanting that are the ones you were replying to.

>Yes, this is true. You and I both know why they did this. The real problem with
>the situation is as following: America is willing to have civilian casualties to
>complete its mission. They got hit, and are willing to do whatever it takes to
>prevent it from happening again. They are willing to accept civilian casualties
>by mistargeted bombs, and by starvation in refugee camps. It's a fact... and
>its the root of the problem that you have with US military policy there. The
>bullshit about oil,imperialism, and targeting civilians, is just window-dressing
>for the biggest concern -- a disagreement about what acceptable civilian
>casualties are in Afganistan.

You're making an assumption though about what the US wants out of the situation. You can't define what's acceptable without knowing the goal, which is why the oil and imperialism talk is quite relevant.


[ Parent ]
Bullshit though analogy (none / 0) (#114)
by crealf on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 03:59:53 PM EST

Yes, this is true. You and I both know why they did this. The real problem with the situation is as following: America is willing to have civilian casualties to complete its mission. They got hit, and are willing to do whatever it takes to prevent it from happening again. They are willing to accept civilian casualties by mistargeted bombs, and by starvation in refugee camps. It's a fact... and its the root of the problem that you have with US military policy there.

The root of the problem is US military are bombing in order to actually diminushing the American military casualties at the expense of Afghan civilian casualties.
It's like, there was a madman shooting at random in a crowd ; and a policeman, trying to arrest/shot him, has grabbed you, and was using forcedly you as a human shield (so that *you*'d be killed, and not him), in order to get closer to the murderer. Would you be very happy?

[ Parent ]

exactly! (none / 0) (#115)
by theantix on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 04:07:48 PM EST

The root of the problem is US military are bombing in order to actually diminushing the American military casualties at the expense of Afghan civilian casualties.
It's like, there was a madman shooting at random in a crowd ; and a policeman, trying to arrest/shot him, has grabbed you, and was using forcedly you as a human shield (so that *you*'d be killed, and not him), in order to get closer to the murderer. Would you be very happy?
Yes, that's exactly what I was trying to say. The Americans don't value the lives of their own troops as much as the lives of the Afghani civilians that are starved or accidentally bombed. And (using your wonderful analogy) they feel that getting "the murderer"(s) its worth the casualties. I also think that's the root of the differences.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
Agreement. (5.00 / 1) (#124)
by crealf on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 03:46:10 PM EST

Yes, that's exactly what I was trying to say. The Americans don't value the lives of their own troops as much as the lives of the Afghani civilians that are starved or accidentally bombed.

I see we nicely agreed :-)

[ Parent ]

Misinformed (3.00 / 3) (#78)
by randombit on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 11:55:49 AM EST

There is no problem with military sanctions. It is non-military sanctions that are killing 6,000 a month. The people will die one way or another, if not by starvation, then by execution in a football stadium built with foreign aid(ironic isn't it?) for putting on make up, not covering every part of their bodies, or trying to get an education. If it wasn't for billions of dollars in American aid to any of these countries, millions more would be dead. So you know what? We can decide weather our money gets spent or not! Are you gringos going to tell us otherwise? I thought not.

[ Parent ]
Random title (2.66 / 3) (#82)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 12:30:56 PM EST

It is non-military sanctions that are killing 6,000 a month. The people will die one way or another, if not by starvation, then by execution in a football stadium built with foreign aid(ironic isn't it?) for putting on make up, not covering every part of their bodies, or trying to get an education
Umm....for a start I believe that the estimates may be much higher than 6000 per month due to non-mil sanctions. However, let's say we accept 6000 per month. Now, you claim that 6000 per month die due to execution and starvation. Do you have some sort of verifiable source for that?
If it wasn't for billions of dollars in American aid to any of these countries, millions more would be dead.
Does that include the billions that we spent arming the Taliban? That would seem to have done a lot of good at preventing starvation.
So you know what? We can decide weather our money gets spent or not! Are you gringos going to tell us otherwise? I thought not.
I'm confused by you using the term gringo, how do you know the nationality of the poster? Anyway, the poster is not saying you can't decide how to spend your tax dollars. He's telling you why it's wrong to spend them in murdering innocent people.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
No (none / 0) (#99)
by randombit on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 07:38:29 PM EST

Notice the text in italics? That means its a quote. I'm quoting him about the 6000/mo number he came up with. I did not pull that out of my ass.

Secondly, Does that include the billions that we spent arming the Taliban? That would seem to have done a lot of good at preventing starvation..
Do you have any proof of this? To my knowledge, we did not arm the taliban. We armed the afghani rebels who were resisting the soviet invasion which we stopped when the Soviets pulled out after the collapse of the SU. We never armed the taliban which did not materialize into power until 1996.

[ Parent ]

Mujahedin->Taliban (1.00 / 1) (#103)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 08:56:44 PM EST

Notice the text in italics? That means its a quote. I'm quoting him about the 6000/mo number he came up with. I did not pull that out of my ass.
You quoted it and accepted it. He was referring to deaths by sanctions. You claimed that they would die anyway. In order for that latter sentence to be true you have to provide proof that 6000 die per month before sanctions. I don't care whose, or what, orifice you pulled it from. I do care about you verifying your statement somehow though.
Secondly, Does that include the billions that we spent arming the Taliban? That would seem to have done a lot of good at preventing starvation.. Do you have any proof of this? To my knowledge, we did not arm the taliban.
To my knowledge the Taliban originated in the ranks of the Mujahedeen. Therefore if we armed the Mujahedeen we armed the Taliban. If you want to know more about this then you can consult
"Blowback:The Cost and Consequences of American Empire",Chalmers Johnson, 2000.
"Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism."
Also Bob Woodward "Veil".

Furthermore we have actually tricked their enemies for them.



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Oh my f*cking God (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by randombit on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 10:38:27 PM EST

Will you drop the 6000 shit. Its not my number! I did not validate it! And I could care less about 6000! Insert and number you damn well please in there. I don't care. My post had absolutely nothing to do with the number 6000. I was simply pointing out the fact that these people will die with or without our aid money, and its not the U.S. thats killing them. Now will you drop the number 6000 shit.

[ Parent ]
The mujahedeen are not the Taliban (none / 0) (#118)
by baseball on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 01:17:08 AM EST

You say that "To my knowledge the Taliban originated in the ranks of the Mujahedeen" and therefore, by arming the Mujahedeen to fight the USSR, the US deliberately armed the Taliban. But virtually everyone now fighting someone or the other in Afghanistan -- the Taliban, the Northern Alliance, the various Tribal warlords -- were from the ranks of the Mujahedeen. Among themselves, the Mujahedeen held different views and ethnicities, and were united only in their fight against the USSR. The US was united with them only in antagonism against the USSR. At the time the US provided arms to the Mujahedeen, the Taliban did not exist, and it goes way too far to claim the Taliban received US support just because the people who later formed it were one small part of a group the US supported years earlier for reasons entirely unrelated to what the then non-existent Taliban body might feel like doing years later.
Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
[ Parent ]
jumping to conclusions (3.75 / 4) (#75)
by democrap on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 11:34:36 AM EST

>admit you have insufficient facts for rational analysis, and then turns to
>vilifying the US and accusing it of targeting civilians for economic purposes.

I would be vilifying if I said "The US is evil." But, what I did was state several facts without commenting on their moral implications. You drew your own conclusions there. As well, the us has in the past targeted civilians for economic purposes or supported the targeting of civilians for economic purposes. (e.g. haiti, nicaragua, east timor, etc). If you want the full stories, learn some history.

>Your post completely glosses over the fact that the US has nothing whatever to
>gain, and everything to lose, by targeting Afghan civilians. Doing so would cost

No, the point of my post is that you have no waying of knowing that if you don't know what their goal is in Afghanistan.

>it both international and domestic support. Besides, if the goal were to obtain
>a cheap source of labor, it would seem self-evident that killing the potential
>laborers would be a bad strategy. The idea that the Afghan people would ever
>be a profitable market for US corporations is at best entirely unsupported,
>and, more likely, ridiculous. The Afghan people have no money, and their
>religion makes off-limits much of what America likes to export. If the goal
>were, as your post seems to imply, simply to line the pockets of defense
>contractors, there are better ways than war (i.e., selling weapons to friendly

This is very far from what I actually said. 1) The defense contractors are irrelevant at this point because they have been replaced by broader corporate interests. 2) The statement I made about access to labor and markets was in the context of showing that US media still isn't trusthworthy. 3) There are other possible economic reasons for the war on afghanistan, which I thank greenrd for mentioning in his reply to your comment.

>largest supplier of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Some sources indicate
>that the greatest impediment now to providing humanitarian aid to the Afghan

I'd be interested to know what sources those are.

>beating humanitarian aid workers. Moreover, on the assumption your
>unspecific reference to killing by denying aid was to the sanctions against Iraq,

You assumption is incorrect. I'm not sure what you're referring to but I believe it's my statement that the US tries to wage war cheaply. If you want specific examples of that, listen to the Chomsky speech that was posted a couple of days ago.

>I regard your post as simply an unsupported attack without any offer of factual
>or analytic support to back it up, and without any evaluation at all of the

I can list pages of facts if you like, but I'd rather not. If you want the support, then as I said above, learn some recent US history.

>conduct of the Taliban and al Qaeda. In my view, it does nothing to undermine

The title of the article wasn't "Why we shouldn't buy into Taliban propaganda." Their conduct isn't relevant to my comment. The fact that this was important to you suggests that you're most concerned with who appears to be on the higher moral ground, which isn't something I tried to address.



[ Parent ]
USA insterest (1.00 / 1) (#116)
by svampa on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 05:54:04 PM EST

The idea that the Afghan people would ever be a profitable market for US corporations is at best entirely unsupported, and, more likely, ridiculous.

Oil pipeline.

This article was published in The guardian. You could argue that it is a biased article, perhaps, but facts are true.

Have you seen articles like this in USA press?, have you seen in TV, someone asking policians "Do we have any interest in Afghanistan?"

From two biased news you can get something like truth, but if you only heard one side it is just "propanganda"



[ Parent ]
But why would they want genocide? (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by khym on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 08:35:34 PM EST

... when you can kill everyone by stopping foreign aid to a country that has no food. Which is what they've done. When people talk about the US committing genocide, they're referring to the fact that several million people are going to starve to death soon. It's not being carried out through military means, but through very cheap and simple economic means.
Why would the U.S. want to kill millions of Afghans? It's not the Taliban or Al-Qaida who are going to starve.

--
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 ]
Assume stupidity not malice (3.66 / 3) (#106)
by Sunir on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 03:47:30 AM EST

I honestly think that the American State Department accepts devastating, genocidal sanctions because they don't know what else to do. Coupled with the types of comments like killing 500 000 children is worth it from Madeline Albright, what we have is probably some additional cognitive dissonance.

It's not easy making global decisions. It requires a degree of empathy that's unnatural, a fine understanding of politics, a better understanding of diplomacy, and a first class comprehension of logistics. When you are fighting your own populace's opinion polls as well, even a superhuman who can balance all the above problems gets sideswiped by the incapability of the electorate of understanding just exactly why we do things.

Finally, the American State Department has had long-standing policies of limited foreign involvement and "no entangling alliances." Consequently, much of their foreign policy could be seen as actions of Corporate America. That is, economicly based. The rest of their foreign policy over the past few decades was sadly motivated by a blinding desire to end Communism, beyond all rationality. Witness, of all places, Afghanistan as a perfect example of what trouble they sowed for having a second agenda.

Since global relationships do not change with each election, instead being built over decades, and the civil service advisors remain fairly fixed and homogeneous, we can only have glacial changes in policy opinion. In other words, the world is stuck with an ultimately inhumane superpower.

So, don't think that Americans want to kill millions of Afghanis, although certainly some morons do (infamously, Ann Coulter, for example). I think it's more that American foreign policy does not have at its centre an fundamental humane altruism to guide it through the trickier bits of balancing its world role. Of course, it's this inhumanity that goes around that comes around as backlash.

The European Union holds some promise here. As it becomes another superpower in its own right, I hope it brings some of that European social justice to the debate. And, better, a desire that could only be born of such a bizarre amalgam as the European Parliament to sort things out through long, boring, non-violent consensus building.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

the independent media (4.11 / 9) (#63)
by kraft on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 03:33:52 AM EST

There is what seems to be an independent media. If all you ever read is CNN/NBC/Fox et al then don't expect to get anything but variations of Gov. press releases.

See:
- Fair and Accuracy in Reporting
- Accuracy.org
- Lots at mediachannel

At FAIR, have a look at MediaBeat for a real rant ;)

Enjoy!

--
a signature has the format "dash-dash-newline-text". dammit.
And one more... (none / 0) (#88)
by xxxlucasxxx on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 01:41:32 PM EST

Just to add to your list of outside-the-machine-news-sites: http://guerrillanews.com

[ Parent ]
who really cares (2.58 / 17) (#66)
by IamLegend on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 05:56:39 AM EST

I have ALWAYS found it funny when someone says "Thats not true thats just <insert country here> spreading their <insert religous/political group> propaganda, MY news agency/government says that YOUR a bunch of lying bastards. Hmmmm yea makes alot of sense to me. Every group in the world survivies by saying whatever it is that is going to make them the most popular with the most people at the time. America and the middle east have long had problems. Osama Bin Laden has a reputation for being one bastard of a terrorist so he was a good target. Do I know he did it? No I have seen no evidence to prove he did it. Does he still deserve to die? Yes. Why? Because even if he didn't kill my fellow country men, he likes the idea. And guess what, I don't care what my fuckin government says, because I really don't like them that much either, anyone who threatens Americans is threatening me, and I'll fuckin shoot him in the face myself. I don't care who or what nation or group of people threaten the general welfare of myself and my family, be they American Christians or Pakastini Muslims or English Druids, if they say "Hey lets go crash a plane into a building somewhere in the US." I'm going to make sure they know what the buisness end of a assult rifle looks like. You don't like it, I don't care. Fuck you. I'll kill you too.

Strongest law (2.00 / 4) (#95)
by svampa on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 04:49:07 PM EST

No I have seen no evidence to prove he did it. Does he still deserve to die? Yes. Why? Because even if he didn't kill my fellow country men, he likes the idea.

So if you get a puncture and your neighbor laughs at you, you puncture his car, and everything is all right.

I don't care who or what nation or group of people threaten the general welfare of myself and my family

After they attaked it is not so important, but when they threat you before they attack perhaps wouldn't be a bad idea to investigate who and why

Sincerely, you don't talk of justice, you talk like a bully that knows can fight and win without damage, so doesn't mind to fight whenever someting dislikes.

Fuck you. I'll kill you too.

God bless you, and keeps you far from me



[ Parent ]
nope just tired ot being pushed around. (1.60 / 5) (#105)
by IamLegend on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 12:49:04 AM EST

You say I don't talk of justice, but like a bully. You mis-understand me. I'm tired of Americans being viewed as push-overs and "capitalist-dogs" and whatnot. Lets see, what country in the world has bailed out more countries when they were in financial ruin? What country spends BILLIONS on helping underdeveloped nations better themselves. Why is America such a melting pot of cultures and peoples? Because we always extend a helping hand. ALWAYS. Even to our foes, for the most part, we aid the innocent people that live there and are caught up in the war (japan, germany, viet-nam, even afganistan). And what do Americans get for it. We get one of our greatest landmarks destroyed. Thats why I say fuck you, kill'em all. You would too. If you gave a bum a quarter and he spit on you, would you just say, oh heres another quarter. No, at least you would SAY somthing to him. So, America, who is tired of being berated and terrorized by people who can't even figure out how to run a modern country, has struck back. And you actually blame us? And as far as the neighbor goes, not I wouldn't do anything to him for my car. Now if one of my family got hurt very badly or killed and he laughed, I'd beat the shit out of him. I imagine that you'd just sit by and let him laugh at your pain and misfortune right?

[ Parent ]
cowboy attitude (none / 0) (#109)
by tmenezes on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 11:11:20 AM EST

I invite you to read your own words. This: Do I know he did it? No I have seen no evidence to prove he did it. Does he still deserve to die? Yes. Why? Because even if he didn't kill my fellow country men, he likes the idea. And then this: I don't care who or what nation or group of people threaten the general welfare of myself and my family, be they American Christians or Pakastini Muslims or English Druids, if they say "Hey lets go crash a plane into a building somewhere in the US." I'm going to make sure they know what the buisness end of a assult rifle looks like. Now suppose there's enough people around the world with your cowboy attitude. Can you start to see what you get?

[ Parent ]
yep I see (none / 0) (#119)
by IamLegend on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 08:12:07 AM EST

Yep I see what you get: Survival of the fittest.

[ Parent ]
Sigh. (none / 0) (#135)
by ComradeSeraph on Thu Nov 01, 2001 at 04:13:23 AM EST

I don't want to be personal, but your post is... ill-informed. Firstly, Darwin never said survival of the fittest... the best translation is survival of the best adapted. Survival of the fittest is a neo-darwinian corruption. Secondly, the best adapted nation in terms of long-term survival (the only real evolutionary virtue) is China, with 5000 odd years under its belt. America is a ridiculously young (<300) and likely doomed upstart- most evolutionary innovations fail, although the results may not come in before the species has branched out several times. If nations were like biological evolution, the US is statistically likely to be part of a dead-end branch. Thirdly, on a personal the average American citizen is hardly a paragon of physical, intellectual or moral prowess. Contemporary Western European and Canadian citizens exceed it in most criterion, as, for that matter, do the ancient Greeks of the Classical period.

[ Parent ]
Lies (3.37 / 8) (#72)
by Hefty on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 08:51:48 AM EST

Both sides are lying, its just that we do a better job at lying then the Taliban does. Our media keeps information held in this grey area where its difficult to determine whats fact and whats false. The Taliban just seems to be intent on disagreeing with anything and everything we say or do like a bratty five year old. The Taliban doesn't really seem to care if what they say sounds believable or not as long as its contradictory to our message.

The Economist (4.22 / 9) (#92)
by ziegler on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 03:35:46 PM EST

I find that The Economist has the most accurate, in-depth reporting anywhere. If you haven't read read an issue before, pick one up and try it out. Their articles are *very* well researched and try to fairly present the arguments on both sides of an issue. They do pick sides on issues, ie globalization = good, war on drugs = bad, but they are very open about their biases. I find this refreshing compared to "unbiased" reporting you get from most media outlets.

- Sam

test each new (2.60 / 5) (#96)
by svampa on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 06:56:03 PM EST

If you want more acurate informations you'd better don't hear USA nor Talibans news. Other media is more impartial, for example european press, and don't expect gospel truth

First I must say that taliban is a totalitary gov, but USA is supposed to allow free press, so USA press lies are more reprehensible. A press guy, I don't know who, said "the press must be patriotic" or something like that.This gives you a clue, if you are looking for news go to another place, if you looking for patriotism go to this press.

Second there aren't a thousand of independent press companies, they are all mixed in some way into a few big corporations, so is more difficult to have dissident speach, internet has changed this a little, will see for how long.

About civils casualities, Talibans informations looks more credible. A lot of wounded civils have arrived Pakistan, so you can guess how much couldn't arrive. Yesterday a bomb was droped on North alliance, ally, 10 miles error, you can guess how acurate are bombs in the middle of a city.

Attacks with chemical weapons The information is based on a doctor that diagnosed a strange intoxication in children after an attack. Doctor is taliban, so with no other poofs not very credible, and I don't think USA needs such weapons, it is not so desesperate, will see

Al-Qaida involved in WTC Probably, but "secret proofs" make me ... I don't know if cry or laugh

Attack to Islam, It is not the aim, that's all. But we all know that nowadays any muslim is suspicius. Anyhow Islam countries hates USA long ago before WTC, and "secret poofs" don't help. Besides Al-Qaida is not in just a country, it is spared along a lot of countries. So fight against Al-Qaida could become easily a fight against Islam.

Imprerialistic interest in Afghnistan. This war is for WTC, not for interest. but they could take advantage of this war. The prize won't be the posiblity of selling coca-cola and McDonald, but the control of a gas or oil pipe from the old soviet republics. search in google "Unocal pipe afghanistan"

Taliban press is worse than USA press, but don't relly to much on USA press. I could understand this war propaganda if is this were a total war, where high moral of people is important for victory. But this war doesn't need thousands of soldiers, nor a great involvement of citizen. I find all this propaganda is suspicius.

BTW, have you heart about demonstrations against the war in front of White House?



Demonstrations (none / 0) (#126)
by acceleriter on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 11:19:41 PM EST

No, I hadn't heard about them. But if there are such demonstrations, those conducting them are demonstraitors in my book. Perhaps they should consider relocating to a country that they like better.

[ Parent ]
Democracy (3.00 / 3) (#127)
by Amesha Spentas on Sun Oct 28, 2001 at 06:04:39 PM EST

I continue to see these statements along the lines of "If you don't like such and such about this country, leave" or "Perhaps they should consider relocating to a country that they like better." And I am forced to wonder if the people making these statements have any idea what it means to live in a Democracy or a Republic. The United States is billed as a country "For the people, By the people" This means that if there is something that you don't like about this country and you are a member of this country, than it is your civic responsibility to try to change the government to reflect your beliefs. You must also understand that others with contrary views have the right and will be using that right, to do the same. If you believe in democracy, you must place some trust in your neighbors to understand the situation as well as you and perhaps with some discussion, to make rational decisions based on that understanding. If you truly believe that anyone who disagrees with you or the powers that be, are traitors, Then you do not believe in Democracy but in totalitarianism.

When the founding fathers invented Democracy they imbued it with their sprit, that of Rebellion, Expression, Freedom and Independence. They secured their country through acts of defiance to a colonial superpower, the British, through low-key acts of Terrorism, such as the Boston Tea Party. Perhaps I am given to sentimentality, but I do not believe acts such as those would purchase our Independence today. In this day and age we have surpassed the antiquated notions of Honor and Equality in everything from our military to social commentary. In this day and age we have no Ben Franklin's, Thomas Jefferson's or George Washington's. For we have honed the weapons that would be used against them. Weapons such as the accusation of infidelity. Would Thomas Jefferson have been elected president if the rumors of his having an affair with a black mistress were circulated with the voracity and effectiveness of the modern media? Look at the way the suspicion and then admission of an affair was used against Bill Clinton, and he wasn't even fighting to secure the rights of a fledgling country. The last truly great leader in the United States was perhaps Martin Luther King. It is truly a shame that he was not allowed to dream. So what do we have to continue the traditions of Democracy, if we have forsaken Honor and Equality? This is the question I would like this Website/Community to answer. And I do hope that we can answer it. Or perhaps someone can prove me wrong and show that Honor and Equality are alive today in the hearts and minds of the people of the world.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

As a citizen of a democracy/republic . . . (1.00 / 1) (#128)
by acceleriter on Sun Oct 28, 2001 at 07:17:25 PM EST

. . . they are free to leave, as well. If they feel such sympathy for the enemy, I stand by my sentiment that they should join them, not stay here and demonstrate.

[ Parent ]
The CIA's Greatest Hits (3.00 / 3) (#110)
by GoingWare on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 12:19:20 PM EST

I recommend everyone here read the story of the world's largest and best-funded terrorist organization:

Mark Zepezauer got his start with the Santa Cruz Comic News and went on to publish the Tucson Comic News.

His book details fifty incidents of the CIA's terrorism and other efforts to derail democracy and are accompanied by cartoons of each incident.

Read some of Zepezauer's Rants.

C'mon, it's just eight bucks at Barnes & Noble. But support your local independ bookstore by purchasing it from a brick & mortar.


I am the K5 user now known as MichaelCrawford. I am not my corporation.


it makes people feel good ... (3.60 / 5) (#111)
by gregholmes on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 12:48:53 PM EST

... to think that they are savvy, in the know, above the fray. To call information they don't like "propaganda". To be bothered by patriotism; it is so much more sophisticated to denigrate one's own country and culture, you know.

Well, sometimes things are what they are. Yes, the information from the US government is more reliable than that from wacky terrorists hiding in the hills. Yes, if said wacky terrorists hide in villages, villagers will get killed, and we won't know how many. Big news.



anti-propaganda (3.00 / 2) (#120)
by tobywan on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 08:12:22 AM EST

Has anyone seen this? http://pages.cthome.net/bpgalvin/bin.swf

Civilian Casualties (4.66 / 3) (#121)
by Khedak on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 04:30:15 PM EST

On this point, it is probably the case that yes, the United States is not targeting civilians, and is trying to avoid civilian casualties. However, "trying to avoid" probably means "not without some tactical justification." So, bombing the hopsital in Herat probably killed a few dozen civilians at least, but this was deemed a tactically acceptable cost for destroying their military complex as a whole.

I for one completely disagree with this, since from the Afghan civilians' point of view, they're innocent civilians being killed by foreign weapons in their own country. In my view, they are no different than the victims of the September 11th attacks, except in which side killed them (which seems rather trivial considering they're dead either way). They're all victims of the cycle of violence that our military is only perpetuating.

And Bush says it will be a long war...

Yep, follow the sheep. (4.00 / 6) (#123)
by pkej on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 05:58:10 AM EST

"Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
Hermann Goering, Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II

Follow the money, people. Who owns the media? What can the owners gain on the reporting of events? Who doesn't the media dare question because the money will stop?

How many civilians die isn't the issue. One civilian dead is one too many!

Ask these questions:

What are the goals of the war? What were the goals at the outset? Do the goals seem winnable?

The goal was first to take the ones responsible for the NYC tragedy. Then it was to catch Osama bin Laden. Now it has turned to ousting the Taleban. And it has also been the underlying goal to "end terrorism".

The goals have changed, and the goals aren't attainable. In other words, there must be other reasons for the war than the goals stated, don't you think?

And in that light: is the civilian casualties acceptable at all?

Civilian deaths? (3.50 / 2) (#130)
by jolly st nick on Mon Oct 29, 2001 at 04:52:30 PM EST

How many civilians die isn't the issue. One civilian dead is one too many!

How about 6000 civilian dead for starters?

Here is why you and 99% of people who are complaining on this subject are completely full of it: there are no easy answers. Unless you have a an alternative plan (ones inovlving hypothetical time machines don't count) your criticism is worthless.

It's easy for me as an individual to avoid killing dozens of people. As a citizen of a representative government, it's a lot harder. Civilians are going to die if we attack Afghanistan. Civilians are going to die if we don't attack Afghanistan, but different ones, in different ways. There is no perfectly humane way to conduct war, including crawling under a rock and waiting for it to go away. That's what makes it something to be avoided.

I'm all for doing this without a single future civilian casualty, but I haven't seen anybody with a better plan B. If you have one, now is not the time to be shy.

Finally, let me take a few of your specific issues on.

What are the goals of the war? What were the goals at the outset?

The goal of this war is to slowly destroy Al Qaeda by denying it access to assets it needs to carry out acts of terror. The Afghanistan part of this war is intended to deny Al Qaeda access to Afghanistan as a training center and base of operations. This has been the primary announced goal since before the first bomb was dropped.

Do the goals seem winnable?

Yes, but we are not assured of success. Is that what you are looking for? Do you have a guaranteed plan of success?

The goal was first to take the ones responsible for the NYC tragedy. Then it was to catch Osama bin Laden. Now it has turned to ousting the Taleban. And it has also been the underlying goal to "end terrorism".

As far as I can see, the goal of catching Osama Bin Laden has only been one of several. Whether this has been the number 1 goal depends on who you've been listening to. It is certainly one of the most desirable goals the American public and one played up by the press. However, if you have followed Secretary Powell on this issue catching the kingpins has never been the only goal, or even the main one of the wider conflict. In fact relatively early on the US clarified its demands on the Taliban to include all Al Qaeda operatives.



[ Parent ]

Plan B (none / 0) (#136)
by pkej on Tue Nov 13, 2001 at 07:08:58 AM EST

I asked: Do the goals seem winnable?

And You answered:

Yes, but we are not assured of success. Is that what you are looking for? Do you have a guaranteed plan of success?

Ah, but to "end terrorism" has been the stated goal of president Bush. That isn't a goal which is attainable at all, at least not with military actions in Afghanistan.

It is also the fact that terrorism isn't defined, because any definition close to the truth would immedieatly reveal that the US has acted like terrorists. And it is also the reason why the Chinese can define Falun Gong and Tibet as terrorist issues and therfore wholehartedly agree with the war. (And we have the Basques in Spain, the people of Corsica in France. And we all know that communist fractions are terrorists viewed from the US, and freedom fighters when viewed (back then) from the Soviet Union. The list is almost endless.)

What I'm "full of" isn't easy answers. The easy answer is what the US has done, and what the US will always do: use their industrial, economic or military might to force their view on the rest of the world. Most Americans probably like this fine, because there seems to be a lack of empathy and understanding swirling trough the entire American society.

What you're really saying is that you'd rather exchange foreign civilians for American ones. If the "war on terrorism" was true, then at least the US would send troops to Israel and check the Israeli army and governments intrusions on international agreements specifically aimed at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

But I shouldn't include the wider picture, should I? That isn't the way Americans think or react.

A better plan B has been put forward to the international community for years (and should therefore be called plan A) before this atrocity (in Norwegian vernucular the word tragedy has taken on the same meaning as atrocity, thank you for pointing out my mistake in assuming this in English). It's a much harder solution. It includes giving the underdeveloped countries the same access to foreign markets as developed countries enjoy. It includes banning sales of small arms and land mines. It includes not letting the people of poor countries pay for what their leaders have accepted (leaders who are just dictators and similar) and put into their own pockets (loans, international aid). It includes accepting that some conflicts are the root of some very basic problems and the cinderbox of much terrorism.

That is a hard pill to swallow. It won't solve all unequality, or unjustice which has been done, and is beeing done, by the industrialised world, nor will it stop all separtists and extremists, but it will marginalise many of the reasons for their existence.

Further more, and this has been suggested by many, should anyone who are victims of terrorism send their forces to any country where the terrorists spring out? "State-terrorism" is called "special ops" in some countries.

I guess the EU should bomb the US, because under US definition of cyberterrorism, the US has infact done that towards European businesses by snooping on their communication.

Yes, I'm stretching it, but it exposes the problem of the way the US handles this, and the hypocrisy behind their arguments.

So, before talking down on me, and saying that I want simple solutions, you should look at how you define simple and hard, worthless and worthy and not least what your definitions of terrorism and civilians are based on clearly uninformed and Americentric views..

BTW, the number of dead in New York is what really sets it apart from other terrorist acts. The number you used, 6000, is probably a bit far off the mark, as they have been set closer to 4500 for a few weeks (but I concede that this might have been after what you wrote, and thus the accepted truth at the moment). The reduction in numbers doesn't detract from the atrocity at all.

[ Parent ]

And one more thing (3.50 / 2) (#131)
by jolly st nick on Mon Oct 29, 2001 at 04:58:04 PM EST

Don't call it the "NYC tragedy" unless you mean what you say.

A misfortune is when luck or fate destroys you.

A tragedy is when you destroy yourself.

It's an atrocity is when some bastard kills you and thousands of other innocent people so he can make a political point.

You judge for yourself what September 11 was, but for me it is an atrocity.

[ Parent ]

Get Lost... (1.00 / 4) (#125)
by gmlongo on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 11:09:34 PM EST

I can't believe the bullshit I'm reading. If you think the United States is doing something unjust, then you really need to have your head examined. We are only doing what is necessary... -G

The consequences of not questioning. (none / 0) (#132)
by jolly st nick on Mon Oct 29, 2001 at 05:58:54 PM EST

Islam forbids both suicide and taking innocent human lives. The September 11 murderers did both even though they professed Islam. Did they stop to really question whether mass murder and group suicide were compatible with Islam? Or did they snatch a glibly constructed justification for acting on their hate?

When you stop questioning, you become an moral automaton, a mental slave of your party, country, ideology or religion.

If there's one lesson we should have learned from September 11, is that we must at all costs keep our minds free, and a precondition to that is to keep questioning.

And it isn't just enough to question -- its the quality of questioning that matters. What I find disturbing is the people who live in an comfortable alternate reality constructed of rhetoric and arguments that are insulated from both the magnitude of the crime and the suffering that our response is going to bring on innocent people even if we try to shield them. What bothers me are not people questioning the government, but how they have simply fallen back on the same old habits; the ones whose questioning isn't bringing in new insights to their world view. The ones one one side who just want to "take them out", and on the other who want to hurl political barbs from a safe position behind walls of denial.

It's been a little over a month, and already we are forgetting the horror; our reactions to it are crystalizing into autonomic reactions. We are integrating September 11 into our world views. Does this seem wrong to anyone else? Isn't this to hasty to come to grips with it? A crime of this magnitude should shatter our world view and force us to put it together in a better way.



[ Parent ]

Why you will not be able to change a single mind. (none / 0) (#129)
by jolly st nick on Mon Oct 29, 2001 at 04:11:21 PM EST

What your arguments boil down to is this: while anybody is capable of lying if it is sufficiently in their interest, you can still believe what they say if they have no plausible reason to lie in that particular way.

This is good reasoning, but the problem is that people rate plausibility on a sliding scale, depending on how well it fits with what they already believe. There's always a good enough reason handy if your world view is cemented strongly enough. Those hearing this argument will generally fall into one of three categories:

  1. People who are so convinced of American wickedness they'll find any explanation which attributes evil to America more convincing than any explanation which exonerates it, independent of any other merits. Sufficient to every case is the ready explanation of sheer irrational and self-immolating viciousness.
  2. People who are so convinced of American virtue that they will find any explanation which exonerates America more convincing than than one which indicts America, again independent of any other merits. Willful blindness can readily obliterate even the evidence of their own eyes.
  3. People who actually are willing to be convinced one way or another.

September 11 has tremendous polarizing power. To be sure, most people in the US will tend to be drawn towards the position holding unbendable American virtue, but to be sure those who by force of habit can't go there will tend to move towards the the position holding irrational and inplacable American wickedness.

Taking an open minded position in times like this is like walking on the edge of a knife.



Why we should buy into American propaganda | 136 comments (112 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
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