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[P]
A brown man's post-09.11 point of view

By ahsyed in Op-Ed
Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:14:38 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

I am a twenty year old male living in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I work as an Oracle and systems administrator for a technology startup. I am pursuing my bachelors in Systems Engineering. I am also a Pakistani born Muslim.

As you continue to read, please do not think that only the later affects my views. All of these factors, including my American citizenship, influence my world view. Here are those views as they relate to the current war on terrorism.


Risking sounding egotistical, I have always considered myself to be a well educated and rational person. That is why I believed terrorists and terrorist organizations to be very counter productive. Why attack someone in order to get what you want from them? Why risk giving your culture and religion a bad name? I despised the terrorists for dragging Islam and our culture along for the ride. I could never understand it.

Now I do.

Before I have Mr. FBI agent give me a call, let me separate understanding and condoning. I understand why these extremes are taken. But I do not condone them as you are not following Islam, not to mention the traditional Arab culture, by killing innocent victims.

"we have known for a long time that the Saudis have been supporting and funding ... terrorist individuals" -Senator Biden on the Charlie Rose show broadcast on October 22, 2001

Saudi Arabia has been treating women "badly" well before the Taliban. It still has capital punishment where limbs are cut off. And eleven of the 09.11 terrorists were Saudis. But Afghanistan is getting bombed, while Saudi Arabia's considered a close ally. Now I understand that Afghanistan is harboring bin Laden, so it gets priority. But I will bet my left hand on Saudi Arabia never being bombed, or even considered an enemy state, due to the recent attacks. So I don't think this is a war on terrorism, but just a war against countries the US doesn't like and has no financial interest in.

And I realize the US is the last super power and that money drives this world. Plus, I fully understand America retaliating against Afghanistan; any Arab country would do the same. But please don't over simplify the situation by calling this war...

Good vs. Evil
Let's look at what bin Laden has done. He wanted to hurt, or dare I say rage war, against a country it felt was against his twisted interests. He attacked the US on its own turf. He called for all those siding with him to do the same.

What has George Bush done differently? What has the American government done differently?

America has attacked Afghanistan, hunted for its citizens, uprooted its government, and has put in a government in its place. Now while bin Laden killing innocents does push it to being the evil, what the US has done does not necessarily deem it the good.

US: Love it or leave it
I know that most of you are saying this in your minds right now. And my response is hell no. I am an American citizen. I pay my taxes, I contribute to the American society, and I voice my own opinions. All of these rights and responsibilities are mine. But that is the lesser tragedy of this world now.

American citizens, of any descent, no longer feel they can voice their opinion unless it is in line with the bleeding red, white, and blue. Rather strange since this is the main difference between us and "them"

Dear Osama,
While bombs might raise awareness of these issues, there is a far more lethal weapon in bringing change. No, not more C4 or anthrax. I'll give you a hint: it's green and you at least had a lot of it. Money knows no language and opens all the doors.

Dear Mr. FBI agent,
I'm not in my room wiring up a bomb to strap to my brown torso. Rather, I'm in my room studying my ass off. So you might not feel this "Islamic fundamentalists" explosion, you will hopefully feel his checkbook.

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A brown man's post-09.11 point of view | 349 comments (348 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Interesting perspective (3.00 / 4) (#1)
by onyxruby on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:21:14 AM EST

I find your perspective interesting, but find it unfortunate that you seem resigned to give into being one of "them". You disagree with much of what is being done, yet here you are writing something in a forum that criticizes the government. Thus is the two edged sword that is American Citizenship, the ability to chastise a system that protects us so that we can chastise it.

I certainly hope you haven't had any problems due to your Pakistani background. I worked with a man (until two months ago) who came from Pakistan about twenty years ago to the US. He came as a refugee, speaking not one word of English, without family or friends. He was able to earn US citizenship, go through college, learn the language fluently, gain a well paying job in charge of "prototypical" Americans and even bought a house. All of this was possible for two reasons, first in America the potential is there, second and more important, he was willing to work hard to get where he got.

As far as the whole American citizen bit goes, if you are a citizen than you are an American for better or worse. Ethnicticity of what an "American" is has always been very fluid in US history. This is part of what makes the US so dynamic and strong, being able to call upon possibly the most diverse range of people that any nation has.

I certainly understand when you say that you can the distinction between condoing and understanding what happened, but I am left wondering at the following quote

But I do not condone them as you are not following Islam, not to mention the traditional Arab culture, by killing innocent victims.
Rather than try to construe what it is that you meant by that, I ask that you would please clarify this for me. As far as I can tell by the words of the quote it seems like your saying the attacks were ok since they were against infidels, but I'm doubting that is what you meant by the rest of your article.

Now you mention that Saudi Arabia seems to be getting off scott free. You do realize that they have been cooperating with us don't you. The US government has been going out of their way to find non-military options in every regard so far. For example, I would point out that the Taleban had been given the option to hand over senior Al Qaeda leaders and have the US walk away. Instead they refused to hand over terrorists that they were harboring, and now just yesterday a new government has taken their place in Afghanistan. The Taleban could have prevented this and could have remained in power by turning over the terrorists, but have now "paid the price" for not doing so.

Now you say that Americans are not being able to voice dissent in this time of patriotism. Let me ask this, have you actually known of someone who has been questioned for a voicing a dissenting opinion? Even when Lee Malesta recently got a visit from government officials, it had nothing to do with anti government views.

PS, scrolling mouse, noticed that my vote shifted off of +1 section to I dont care, can an editor please fix this?

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

RE: Interesting perspective (5.00 / 2) (#3)
by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:14:53 AM EST

I am not at all "resigned" as to being one of "them". I am very proud of my heritage and would not give up either my religion or culture for anything. My use of "them" was to describe the us vs. them mentality sweeping America. Either you are with "us" or you are with "them".

- "But I do not condone them as you are not following Islam, not to mention the traditional Arab culture, by killing innocent victims."

I don't understand how you believe I think it is OK to kill infidels from this sentence. What I was trying to say was that it is counter-Islam and counter-Arab culture to kill innocent people. Innocent people can be Jews, Christians, Bhuddists, etc. They are still innocent and therefore killing them is counter-Islam.

The reason the Saudis are following along is because of US' obvious "with us or against us" policy. I'll quote Mr. Powell, "And if they want to be a responsible member of this coalition and to participate in this campaign against terrorism, they have to do everything that is required, and they have been forthcoming."

And if cooperation is a sign of alliance, not cooperating could be a reason for conflict. So in OBL's eyes, the US did not cooperate with him and therefore he could start a conflict. Or what if Russia started a conflict with the US because the US did not cooperate with the anti-missle treaty? Cooperation should not mean a free pass.

As far as being able to voice dissent, I know of plenty people (including myself) who have been "questioned for voicing dissenting opinion". But there are more public examples, suce as Barbara Lee of CA on many of the CNN comentaries and specifically a Mr. Barry Reingold

Thanks for your response, I hope I have cleared up any miscommunication.



[ Parent ]
Muddled Quote (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by mold on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:45:43 PM EST

The reason it was possible to get that meaning out was your wording, is that when you switched from them to you, it could be read as

"But I do not condone them[,] as you are not following Islam..."

If you switch the 'you' for 'they' it allows your original meaning to come across properly.

I just thought that I would point that out. :-)

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
Thanks (none / 0) (#79)
by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:20:02 PM EST

Thanks for pointing that out. I understand how that could have been taken that way, and I apologize for that mistake.

[ Parent ]
Clarification (5.00 / 1) (#4)
by Pseudonym on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:25:48 AM EST

I'm not the original author, of course, but I understood this:

But I do not condone them as you are not following Islam, not to mention the traditional Arab culture, by killing innocent victims.

It means that he does not condone the acts of terrorism or those who perpetrated them because it it against both Islam and traditional Arab culture to kill innocent people. (As opposed to soldiers in wartime or criminals convicted of serious crimes.)

The problem was a shift in person (from "them" to "you"), which is probably a language issue. I take it that English is not one of the author's native languages.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
The difference between us (3.80 / 5) (#2)
by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:50:39 AM EST

What has George Bush done differently? What has the American government done differently?

If Osama got the world he wanted, do you really think it would have database admins in it?

I don't think this is a war on terrorism, but just a war against countries the US doesn't like and has no financial interest in.

That lacks a bit of depth. The Taliban had to go because they were fanatical hardcases: nothing we could have said or done would have convinced them to play ball. War there was our last, worst, and only option.

(Which is a darn ironic shame since, as you note, the people who intentionally flew planes full of people like you and me into high rises full of more people like you and me, and their backers, were not indigenous to Afghanistan but in fact were Saudi expatriates.)

I imagine we think the Saudis, by contrast, will work with us because they have the rationality to understand their position, the ability to do something about it (which is why bin Laden etc. had to operate out of lawless Afghanistan in the first place), and above all something to lose by not cooperating.

Make no mistake: if Al-Qa'eda had actually been based and primarily operated in Saudi Arabia, with blessings and full operational support from the House of Saud, that's the first place the war (in one form or another) would have gone.

While bombs might raise awareness of these issues, there is a far more lethal weapon in bringing change. No, not more C4 or anthrax. I'll give you a hint: it's green and you at least had a lot of it. Money knows no language and opens all the doors.

Yeah. Yeah, I've got to agree with that. The worst part of all of this is, a lot of the stuff everyone's so mad about really is important, but these attacks essentially leave us with no choice: when something like September happens, you have to show all the copycats why they shouldn't try it too.

RE: The difference between us (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:32:03 AM EST

I am not arguing that OBL and the US government give the same results and rights to their followers. I am arguing that the methods of attack/response are both strikingly similar. OBL didn't like the US, he did xyz to it. The US government didn't like Afghanistan and OBL, it did the same xyz to them.

In response to "fanatical hardcases": It is not US' place to judge a foreign government as hardcases or friendly folk. That is the one thing that OBL and I share in thinking. US govern. should run the country the way it wants to, and the Afghanistani govern. should run the country it wants to. OBL changed this by interfering with the US. And similarly (more to my point), the US interfered with Afghanistan.

Plus, the Afghans/Talibans were trying to protect someone that helped them fight the Russians and is staying in their country. What if Russia, let's say they were stronger than the US, demanded the release of all the Vietnam POWs and then have them sent to Russia. Would the US not be pissed?

And yes, I understand we bombed Afghanistan first since al-Qeada is centered there. But my point is that the Saudi government, or atleast Saudi citizens, were involved as well. But they will not get any punishment now or down the line mainly due to financial and energy ties with the US.

And I agree with you about the US responding, this will stop the "moderate" terrorists if there are any. The only problem is that moderate Muslims, like myself, become that much closer to OBL's thinking as a result.



[ Parent ]
Axioms of war (none / 0) (#12)
by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:34:29 AM EST

I am not arguing that OBL and the US government give the same results and rights to their followers. I am arguing that the methods of attack/response are both strikingly similar.

Don't the intended results have some bearing on the legitimacy of actions?

OBL didn't like the US, he did xyz to it. The US government didn't like Afghanistan and OBL, it did the same xyz to them.

US govern. should run the country the way it wants to, and the Afghanistani govern. should run the country it wants to. OBL changed this by interfering with the US. And similarly (more to my point), the US interfered with Afghanistan.

I see. Your (ambitious) argument is that war itself is inherently illegitimate.

But what then should a country legitimately do when it is illegitimately attacked? Bare its neck to the knife?

What if Russia, let's say they were stronger than the US, demanded the release of all the Vietnam POWs and then have them sent to Russia. Would the US not be pissed?

I'm not sure I understand the parallel you draw, and I assume you're speaking of Soviet days. But - yes, it would have angered us; but we wouldn't have unleashed suicide attackers on Moscow - or nuked it, over something like that.

Preventing the Cold War from becoming a bloodbath dwarfing anything that actually did happen required a degree of restraint that is completely alien to bin Laden and his ilk.

[ Parent ]

Who to attack? Who to attack? Must attack! (5.00 / 3) (#15)
by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:45:57 AM EST

But what then should a country legitimately do when it is illegitimately attacked? Bare its neck to the knife?

I think the author of article has clarified a self-evident truth - the issue with this becomes who attacked you.

Did Afghanistan illegitimately attack the US? No.

Did the Taliban illegitimately attack the US? No.

Did radical Muslims illegitimately attack the US? No.

Who attacked the US? Well, barring that it's all a bunch of lies (which isn't impossible), it's going to be a very narrow group of terrorists - "Al Qaeda" if you will. I think the author was trying to ask why the US is dropping cluster bombs and Daisy Cutters on Afghan civilians and wrecking its already nonexistant infrastructure, to the detriment of nobody really except ordinary Afghan civilians.

I'm not sure I understand the parallel you draw, and I assume you're speaking of Soviet days. But - yes, it would have angered us; but we wouldn't have unleashed suicide attackers on Moscow - or nuked it, over something like that.

So your (ambitious) argument is that Afghanistan unleashed the suicide attackers on the US? See above (sigh). You're lumping ordinary Afghans together with the Taliban, lumping those together with radical Muslims, and then throwing in OBL and his posse. How is that? That doesn't work. If everyone in the world applied those kind of generalisations to the US, very bad things would happen. ,p>

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Hmm. (none / 0) (#28)
by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 10:22:14 AM EST

You state here your point, I think, not his. His statements portray any attacks by any side as illegitimate. Yours, by contrast, consider "fighting back" legitimate, but question the choice of targets.

[ Parent ]

Further explanation (5.00 / 2) (#40)
by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 01:08:25 PM EST

OBL didn't like the US, he did xyz to it. The US government didn't like Afghanistan and OBL, it did the same xyz to them.

I did not feel I had to substitue what xyz was since I had referrred to it earlier in the article. But I can see how this would lead to confusion, so let me clarify.

I am not opposed to war. I am not even opposed to the US retaliating. I am opposed to calling the Taliban, al Qeada, and bin Laden evil but then calling the US good. This is what bin Laden has been rightfully called evil for: attacking a state that conflicts with his interest to further his cause. This is what the US has been, questionably, called good for: attacking a state that conflicts with its interest to further its cause (eradicate terrorism).

I am questioning why Mr. bin Laden is referred to as a terrorist and why the US is considered to be the heroes. And to further my point, bin Laden sees himself as the hero by attacking a state that it feels is wrong (just like the US). Why is he wrong and the US right?

And to add to the Saudi references, if this was a war on terrorism, like the gentleman before me said, Afghanistan would not be getting bombed. Its government would not be uprooted. And if states that harbor terrorists are to blame, why is Saudi Arabia considered an ally? Why Pakistan? Why are the bases of the IRA not being attacked?

[ Parent ]
Perspective (none / 0) (#174)
by mold on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 04:57:25 AM EST

In the U.S., there is a mentality that you should not start fights, but finishing them is fine. Since it is percieved that we did nothing to them (Al'Queda), we are doing the right thing by fighting back.

bin Laden is only wrong and the U.S. is only right from the U.S. perspective. If you change to the perspective of the other side, then the situation is reversed. Nobody likes to think that they are doing something wrong, although they may look back in retrospect and claim to be wrong. By that time, of course, it is too late to do anything.

Although this is a 'War on Terrorism,' a real war actually needs a target, and a reason. The U.S. is not about to start the fight, to overuse the phrase. The optimum target, of course, would be Al'Queda, since they actually crashed the planes. However, since the Taliban denied access to Al'Queda, they became an enemy. It could be summed up as such, "An ally of my enemy that impedes me on his behalf, is my enemy." This is true in any war, of any sort, and so Afganistan was targeted.

Saudi was not targeted because the actual organization that founded the crashes was not there. It is as simple as that. The U.S. does not want to have to worry about other terrorists, as well as Al'Queda, at this time. Since it would have a negative effect to fight a battle on multiple fronts, this is not pursued. The U.S. wins by attacking the true culprits, by sending a warning to terrorist groups that retaliation will occur, and to countries that contain (Notice that I say contain, rather than harbor) terrorists. And the U.S. does not even have to claim to be sending a message, merely fighting back, which is of course, good for public relations.

This may seem, from an outside point of view, a bit of a bully-tactic, but it is entirely understandable, given the circumstances. The U.S. had a scare, fought, and won, and does not want to fight again. But it will if it needs to. Since this will help keep the fighting at a minimum, I personally feel that this is good.

Good questions; they are creating quite a nice debate. :-)

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
Not anything new (none / 0) (#187)
by dasunt on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 11:56:12 AM EST

From the Barbary Wars in the beginning of the 1800's, to the present war in Afghanistan, and including several wars and acts of armed conflict inbetween, the US seems to have an active policy of attacking other countries in retaliation for "terrorist" activities.

[ Parent ]

Re: Who to attack? Who to attack? Must attack! (none / 0) (#213)
by fanatic on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 01:00:22 PM EST

Did Afghanistan illegitimately attack the US? No.

Did the Taliban illegitimately attack the US? No.


They harbored and aided those who did.

Did radical Muslims illegitimately attack the US? No.

Oh. And what do you call OBL and Al-Queda - they sure sound like radical Muslims to me. The suicide bombers are drawn from mdrassahs where little boys sway and read the koran ALL DAY. Is that not radical Islam?

I think the author was trying to ask why the US is dropping cluster bombs and Daisy Cutters on Afghan civilians

When we hit civilians, it's after (I do believe this) significant efforts to avoid them. (I concede this is cold comfort to those hit and those who love them, but this IS war and shit happens.) OBL, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, etc. hit civilians because that was their plan. That IS a difference that makes a difference. And I think your average Afghani will be way better off post-Taliban. But that's not the reason we're doing this. This is self-defense. We were attacked and when you are attacked, you fight back. This drivel that our methods are no different than our enemies's is crap - THEY chose the methods. They started this, but we will finish it.

[ Parent ]
Must attack! Must attack from conjecture! Attack! (none / 0) (#215)
by valeko on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 01:26:48 PM EST

Oh. And what do you call OBL and Al-Queda - they sure sound like radical Muslims to me. The suicide bombers are drawn from mdrassahs where little boys sway and read the koran ALL DAY. Is that not radical Islam?

Radical Islam takes on many different forms and directions. Are bin Laden / al Qaeda radical? ... Yes, in a sense. Are they Muslims? Well, um, yes. Does that make them representative of radical Islam as a broad movement or political vector? No. Afghanistan didn't attack the US; only a very narrow group of Afghans and Arabs did. Radical Islam didn't attack the US either; only a very narrow constituency did.

When we hit civilians, it's after (I do believe this) significant efforts to avoid them.

Pah - how do you know? I'm not trying to insinuate anything reeking of the opposite, but you have to attack the question of just how careful they are with a little bit of a more open mind. There is considerable evidence now that can be read about in European media that the pilots who hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade were delibarately given outdated or incorrect maps that portrayed the Chinese diplomatic mission as a weapons depot or a number of other things.

I'm not saying anyone's hitting civilians on purpose... that would be rather cruel. Are they surgically avoiding hitting people who don't need to die to the best possible extent? No.

This is self-defense.

War on terrorism is.

Opportunistic war on obstructions to economic interests is not.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

You've forgotten the 3,000 dead in NY so soon? (1.00 / 2) (#264)
by FcD on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 03:26:21 AM EST

I'm not saying anyone's hitting civilians on purpose... that would be rather cruel.

Thank you for making the American point so crystal clear. It would be "rather cruel" to burn and crush 3,000 civilians to death on purpose. Yet the people responsible for that act merit your defense?

Opportunistic war on obstructions to economic interests

You think we're in it for the money? Bush himself lost a dozen friends in the attacks. Money is at best a side interest to the eradication of the scourge of hate that has apparently found safe harbor somewhere between your chair and your keyboard.

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."

Looks like yours was a total loss.

This is what lies like yours can cause

[ Parent ]

You and your sensationalistic crap (none / 0) (#277)
by valeko on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 04:46:53 PM EST

Thank you for making the American point so crystal clear. It would be "rather cruel" to burn and crush 3,000 civilians to death on purpose. Yet the people responsible for that act merit your defense?

You seem to be lost on the question of who merits what defense. This is most likely due to the inability on your part to differentiate between Afghanistan/its government and the narrow group of perpetrators who committed the atrocities of September 11th. In any case, using your misguided emotional appeals does not help you make a coherent point. The civilians of Afghanistan are *not* responsible for September 11th, no matter what your disinformation-ridden mouth will try to spout to conteract this truism, and killing the said civilians is an unjustified atrocity of a magnitude no less than the September 11th attacks themselves.

You think we're in it for the money?

I won't even begin to address this, as it seems to be nothing more than a testiment to your naiveness. But, it suffices to say, a scholarly examination of American foreign policy following World War II can lead to such an assertion that American policy is fundamentally guided by economic interests.

Money is at best a side interest to the eradication of the scourge of hate that has apparently found safe harbor somewhere between your chair and your keyboard.

See above about unnecessary sensationalism.

Unfortunately, the eradiction of the "scourge of hate" as a broad goal of foreign policy is contingent upon this said eradiction being economically beneficial. This can be observed by the bloody atrocities that the US backed in Latin America, the propping up [by the US] of dictators like South Korea's Syngman Rhee (who killed more Koreans than any other tyrant in Korea's history!!!), Vietnam, etc. Not to mention the fairly obvious fact that Iraq was a good friend of the US in the 1980s during the Iraq-Iran war, as were the roots of the Taliban.

Whether any of these allies harboured the "scourge of hate" wasn't given consideration by policymakers, now was it?


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Response (5.00 / 1) (#284)
by ahsyed on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 07:06:46 PM EST

It would be "rather cruel" to burn and crush 3,000 civilians to death on purpose. Yet the people responsible for that act merit your defense?

The killing, or even attack, against any people merits a defense. I defend America when radicals say that America "deserved" it. I will also defend Afghanis when they are considered responsible when only people living in their country were actually responsible. PLEASE SEPERATE THE PEOPLE OF THE COUNTRY FROM THE TERRORISTS OF THE COUNTRY.

You think we're in it for the money? Bush himself lost a dozen friends in the attacks. Money is at best a side interest to the eradication of the scourge of hate that has apparently found safe harbor somewhere between your chair and your keyboard.

Wow, a lot of well written rhetoric but no actual points. Why are we not in it for the money? My, and I'm assuming valeko's, reasoning is based on America's past. Why was Kuwait suddenly bumped up to the top of the list of those who need protection back in the Gulf War? Oil. Money. Regions in Asia, namely Tibet, have been battling with invaders and in need of protection. How come they have yet to receive support? Look in the ground, no oil. Look in their pockets, no money.

Those are my points for why this is based on money. How about you give me some for why they are not?

[ Parent ]
Re: Response. (none / 0) (#290)
by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 02:19:15 AM EST

Why was Kuwait suddenly bumped up to the top of the list of those who need protection back in the Gulf War? ... Regions in Asia, namely Tibet, have been battling with invaders and in need of protection. How come they have yet to receive support?

We repelled Iraq to protect the territorial integrity of nations everywhere. It worked: name one state that has been invaded and fully occupied by another since 1991.

A similar tactic is not exactly feasible against a very nuclear armed China. If it were, it might be considered.

(I understand that Iraq was the closest secular Islamic state to Pakistan, and was a vital counterforce against the interests of Pakistan's neighbor to the southwest, Iran. However, that did not give Hussein license to invade Gulf emirates any more than Serbia's Orthodox Christianity gave Milosevic a free pass at genocide.)

[ Parent ]

Response (none / 0) (#293)
by ahsyed on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 02:31:51 AM EST

It worked: name one state that has been invaded and fully occupied by another since 1991.

Right, just because no new invasions have occurred in the last ten years means invasions are done for good. I don't know if you've noticed, but invasions don't within each decade. It's only been ten years. The only thing it has taught me, of course I'm not a nation, is that I shouldn't invade an oil rich country.

A similar tactic is not exactly feasible against a very nuclear armed China. If it were, it might be considered.

I doubt nuclear arms was the sole reason. But regardless, point well made.

[ Parent ]
What's this territorial integrity about? (none / 0) (#294)
by valeko on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 02:35:20 AM EST

We repelled Iraq to protect the territorial integrity of nations everywhere. It worked: name one state that has been invaded and fully occupied by another since 1991.

There is considerable and obvious evidence that this is completely false. Very few aggressors would be attacked on the grounds that they are violating anyone's territorial integrity if the victim's territorial integrity was not instrumental to American interests. Tibet is one rather medium-quality example:Tibet was taken over by China in 1949/1950, long, long before the People's Republic had developed nuclear arms. Tibet was simply not of interest, as it represented no economic interests vital to the US.

It would simply be adequate to summarise: aggression that violates the territorial integrity of other countries is fine as long as it's within the framework of US interests. Examples include the Turkish invasion of the northern part of Cyprus, which drove several hundred thousand people off that island. That's fine. Turkey is an ally and a vital NATO partner- this is also the reason why the Armenian genocide of 1915 by the Ottoman Empire was denied by the US government officially until about 1999 or so. If it were recognised, Armenians would once again clamour for territorial reordering (much of present day Turkey used to be part of Armenia). That would compromise Turkey as an important host for airbases vital to operations such as the bombing of Iraq. The US supported the Indonesian invasion of East Timor under Suharto, and as much as 90% of the Indonesian arms used in that invasion came from the US! Two hundred thousand inhabitants of East Timor slaughtered - definitely a massacre of cosmic proportions. But that's fine, right? You indict me in another comment for quickly forgetting the 3000 who died in New York, but I'll bet East Timorians have a different perspective for you.

Saddam Hussein actually attacked Iran, not the other way around. There were a number of geopolitical motivations behind this, but in the process many Kurds residing in the northern part of Iraq were gassed. There is evidence that chemical weapons were systematically deployed on villages upon villages of innocent people. But that's okay, Iraq is the US's ally against Iran - besides, Kurds are a nuisance to the US's other good friend - Turkey.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

A few self-corrections. (none / 0) (#295)
by valeko on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 02:41:58 AM EST

much of present day Turkey used to be part of Armenia)

Ooops. That didn't quite come out right. A substantial portion of eastern Turkey was once part of Armenia, but Armenia is and always was a pretty small country. Never was much of the entire country of Turkey ever part of Armenia.

Saddam Hussein actually attacked Iran, not the other way around. There were a number of geopolitical motivations behind this, but in the process many Kurds residing in the northern part of Iraq were gassed.

Again, somewhat poorly stated - bah, it's late. The atrocities against Iraq's Kurdish minority did not come as a result of the attack on Iran, but rather as an entirely separate matter under Saddam's direction.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Sigh. (none / 0) (#301)
by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 04:11:43 AM EST

We repelled Iraq to protect the territorial integrity of nations everywhere. It worked: name one state that has been invaded and fully occupied by another since 1991.
There is considerable and obvious evidence that this is completely false.

[Three long paragraphs and two amendments fail to provide any evidence.]

I'm not going to debate you on the entire Chomsky liturgy, unless you somehow tie it in to the topic at hand, which is Afghanistan, and the bombing thereof, in the year 2001.

We've strayed now to the question of whether defending Kuwait was the defense of the principle of territorial integrity. You provide a lot of examples of why breaches of territorial integrity are bad. So essentially you agree with the stated American cause in the Gulf War. Since you are also unable to find evidence that the cause was not achieved, we can agree that the Gulf War is, in retrospect, notable for having protected the principle of territorial integrity.

My contention is that the Afghan War is being waged to enforce the Doctrine of No Harbor. If you have an argument against that contention, preferrably one which doesn't involve shadowy evil corrupt necrophiles, please raise it.

[ Parent ]

It is most relevant. (none / 0) (#319)
by valeko on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 12:26:41 PM EST

unless you somehow tie it in to the topic at hand, which is Afghanistan, and the bombing thereof, in the year 2001

At no time are historical lessons of American policy more relevant than they are now. The inability to tie it into present times is a defect on your part, not mine.

We've strayed now to the question of whether defending Kuwait was the defense of the principle of territorial integrity. You provide a lot of examples of why breaches of territorial integrity are bad.

The thesis was that breaches of territorial integrity are bad, unless they're committed by American allies or the US itself, in which case it's perfectly fine. Therefore, the US is not vigilantly defending the territorial integrity of all happy people in the world, nor their human rights, nor democracy and freedom in their respective countries. Where it is beneficial to their economic/political interests, that's when the US intervenes - or doesn't intervene. That's what I was trying to say.

So essentially you agree with the stated American cause in the Gulf War.

I'm not debating what I agree with. I'm just telling you what the real cause most likely was.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

the former Afganistani "government" (none / 0) (#217)
by drunkenmonkey on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 03:18:54 PM EST

I'm sorry that innocent people have died in Afganistan but I'm not sorry to see the Taliban go.

I find myself having a hard time calling the former Taliban a government, let alone the rightful goverment of Afganistan. It's a reppresive regime who's main goal was to enforce rule based on a corruption of a religion. Am I being judgemental? Probably. But the main purpose of a goverment should be to benefit the people it governs. Shooting a mother in the head in the middle of soccer field does not benefit the nation.

Also, it is my understanding that the Taliban originated in Pakistan and not native to Afganistan. It originated from extremist Islamic schools in Pakistan and took advantage of the infighting amongst the Afganis to gain control of the country. Not to mention that it was backed by the Pakistani government and that only Pakistan recognized the Taliban.

The right of the Taliban to govern Afganistan gets even more sketchy.
The very existence of the Northern Alliance is an indication that the Taliban did not have full support from the people. The fact that soon after the Taliban pulled out, the burkas (spelling?) came off and that men started playing soccer in their shorts showed that the people did not completely agree with the Taliban's ideology. The ideology wich was the basis of the Taliban. Something tells me that the Taliban was not completely welcome.

One of the Taliban officers who stayed behind in Kabul (I think it was Kabul) talked about how the al-Qeada had made their way up the ranks of the Taliban because of the support and money they provided. This was more than a simple case of giving refuge to a guest (our dear friend OBL).

My main point however is that the US helping the NA in toppling the Taliban is not a good example of how the US meddles in other people's business or the ways of legitimate governments. Believe me the US, and specially the CIA do that plenty elsewhere.

The Taliban knew the bombs were coming and chose to stand in the way.

Narbey Derbekyan

(If any of the facts I mention above are incorrect, please let me know.)

[ Parent ]
Freedom of debate (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:28:18 AM EST

American citizens, of any descent, no longer feel they can voice their opinion unless it is in line with the bleeding red, white, and blue.

If you go looking for counterexamples, you'll find them hard to miss.

It's easy on the Internet (4.40 / 5) (#22)
by truth versus death on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:23:38 AM EST

It's easy on the Internet. I have tried to voice alternative opinions to what the government line is at work and in select social occassions and have almost gotten shouted down. I sincerely no longer feel I can voice my opinion in real life without being branded anti-American. Even worse, try doing it in a mainstream media outlet. It would be most enjoyable to receive those death threats.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Question (none / 0) (#53)
by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:14:55 PM EST

Can I ask you where you're from? I just want to see if only "foreign looking" people are being deemed un-American, or is it also "native looking" (Whites, blacks, etc).

I apologize if this is too personal.

[ Parent ]
Now the Internet knows (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by truth versus death on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:26:03 PM EST

I am very white. (German/French descent with some various other Northern European nationalities thrown in.) Based on news reports, I would have been afraid to even make the test of airing my views if I were seen as a foreigner. Kudos to those people who do. These are hard times to be an American.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Easy in real life too... (3.00 / 2) (#97)
by SvnLyrBrto on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 05:03:08 PM EST

Well, I guess the bigger answer would be "it depends".

I don't know where you work or what social circles you circulate in. But at my ex-workplace (yea... still unemployed), no one ever had a problem being critical of the government.

One little example... remember that picture collage of the shrub in varying facial expressions, with pictures of apes and monkeys mirroring the expresion beside? That was the wallpaper of many a desktop there until one day when the finance guys asked us to change it because the VCs were touring that day.

Plenty of people were openly critical, and some outright comtemptous of the government, in general, and of son-of-bush in particular. Hell, the senior systems guy was a Pakastani imigrant, and I think HE had a higher opinion of the government that I. But no one was ever hassled or shunned, or even critisized for their political views. (Though in all fairness, most of us were on the same side)

Likewise in my social circles. Being critical of the government is no big deal. Hell, sometimes you get the feeling that people might have more of a problem with you for being TOO patriotic! A few crews, for a while, had a little red, white, and blue "united we stand" logo on their party flyers. And there were a good number of benefir parties for the VICTIMS of the 9/11 attack. But mindless patriotism? Inability to critisize the government? Haven't seen it. Dittoheads? Haven't seen them.

Of course, the irony is not lost on me that it was right here in San Francisco, right across the bay from Berkeley, the home of the free speech movement, that bush/ashcroft had the FBI send its thugs goosestepping over to Barry Reingold's home to threaten and intimidate him for his speech. But I think it's important to seperate what's socially acceptable to the majority of the population from the mandates that bush/ashcroft hand down from washington.

Hell, there had been many an unmolested protest and/or demonstration, on both sides of The Bay, against the war. Hell, the city of Berkeley passed a resolution condemning the war a while back!

And, a few radicals aside, the bulk of The City, and The Bay Area, has chosen to REJECT bush/ashcroft's message of hate, and NOT pre-judge all arab/muslim residents as terrorists. If you keep up with the news, you'd STILL see the occasional overnight vigil at an arab/muslim owned business... local neighbors staying up all night to watch a shop that was target for the rare hate inspired vandalism.


cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Just my experience (none / 0) (#100)
by truth versus death on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 05:27:07 PM EST

Pre-9/11 I agree with you; post-9/11 things have changed. At workplaces, and elsewhere.

Then again, I have a government job and many of my friends work for the government. So "it depends" could be pretty applicable.

But a lot of the people who were pretty anti-government before the bomb have become "let's kill Bin Laden at any cost" stalwarts. And they're very convinced that someone must die in response and that our government can do no wrong towards that end. And those who disagree are un-patriotic.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Berkeley's resolution (none / 0) (#188)
by jason on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 12:23:19 PM EST

Hell, the city of Berkeley passed a resolution condemning the war a while back!

No, it didn't. The city council passed a resolution calling for bombing to stop as soon as possible. Some people intended it to say "no war," and others intended it to say "bomb 'em high, then stop." It was really a dumb resolution; it says nothing and has little impact on anything. News articles state it's an anti-war resolution, and so some companies and groups refuse to do business with Berkeley. City council at its best. sigh.

Some of the same articles drastically over-estimate the sizes of the anti- and pro-response demonstrations, too. Even more amusing is that there are no demonstrations planned over UCB's winter break...

Jason

[ Parent ]

Why just citizens? (4.80 / 5) (#7)
by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:32:06 AM EST

American citizens, of any descent, no longer feel they can voice their opinion unless it is in line with the bleeding red, white, and blue. Rather strange since this is the main difference between us and "them".

Most that tend to voice such opinions virulently aren't really thinking. Bleeding red white and blue is cultivated by mass-culture and mass-media at the moment. However, that's not really what I wanted to say. :-)

One of the finer points in the United States Constitution is that the addendum known as the Bill of Rights appears to apply to all persons under the jurisdiction of the United States government, and being an American citizen is not necessarily requisite.

I certainly don't expect non-citizens in this country to have the complete range of rights available to citizens - there would be many places where that would be inappropriate. However, it is my profound conviction that denying legal protection to those non-citizens who live here and engage in freedom of expression is the antithesis of the Constitution as much as anything else. There is a broad range of non-citizens in this country - students, temporary workers, permanent residents, refugees, and everything in between. Why do you not mention them as being able to criticise American policy?

Sure, if you're here, particularly as a refugee, it might not be very decent and courteous to criticise every aspect of your surroundings to the ground. Certainly, it's not a nice thing to do. But why should you not be afforded Constitutional protection for doing so? Many people come here to escape places where they cannot do that, and whereas they have not been given their citizenship by the INS bureaucracy[1], they are quite firmly entrenched in the society.

The natural response among the population to people who come here and criticise the regime, culture, etc. is, "Well, if you don't like it, go back to where you came from." I find this contradictory to the spirit of open mindedness that we fight so dearly to preserve in some people. Why do you have to go back to where you came from? Is it not possible to join a society and wish for social change and for the better, expressing this through disapproval of the social, economic, and political regimes? Does this mean that you do not harbour the requisite loyalty to your adopted country? Absolutely not! It means you have a head on your shoulders.

On the other hand, from the practical standpoint, maybe expressing your opinion right now as a foreigner isn't very wise or tactful. There's no clause in the First Amendment that says it's going to be easy or comfortable for you to do so, and this truism applies even more so to non-citizens.

But I stand by my point: All people in America deserve the same basic liberties. From the vantage point of the Founding Fathers, there is a set of natural rights applicable to human beings regardless of cultural subjectiveness. If this is so, why exclude noncitizens from them? Citizenship is a mere political status, in a bureaucracy. What matters is that you are here in this country, enjoying your liberty to say and do what you wish.

----------------------------
[1] Have no illusions of Ellis Island. For a vast number of legal immigrants, this process can and does take decades. The only method of speedily acquiring American citizenship is marrying an American. Any other path here - via a worker visa, a student visa, etc, is a lifetime effort to convert to something fruitful for permanent immigration.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart

Nice point (5.00 / 3) (#8)
by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:39:40 AM EST

You really ellaborated on that last topic much more than I ever could. I particularly like the point about "It means you have a head on your shoulders." Well said.

And I understand what you mean by my views not being "wise" or "tactful." But my main point was that my views should not be considered un-American just because they are not deemed patriotic. I don't mind being ignored, I do mind being given an ultimatem.

[ Parent ]
Well ... (3.50 / 2) (#9)
by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:48:58 AM EST

And I understand what you mean by my views not being "wise" or "tactful." But my main point was that my views should not be considered un-American just because they are not deemed patriotic. I don't mind being ignored, I do mind being given an ultimatem.

Well, I didn't say specifically that your views were unwise or untactful. But yes, I imagine they fit into that "unpatriotic" framework, and as such I would advise you for your own benefit to consider where and when to express them in the real world. Does not matter whether you are a citizen or not.

The real problem that I've seen firsthand is that after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90s, people came here, particularly from Eastern Europe, with a genuine faith in all of this freedom of expression and civil liberties stuff. After all, that's what Radio Free Europe had been preaching to them for decades. The times were those of Clinton, so you could get away with that. It's now that they're discovering that this may not be as realistic as it was cracked up to be, and that they may have come with somewhat naive expectations.

That's not to say that that goes for a majority of immigrants here. Most just want to live a comfortable life and be left alone. But yes, some will probably discover or have already discovered that particularly at times like this, freedom of speech isn't quite what it was cracked up to be in western propaganda. :-)


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

IHBT (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:10:18 AM EST

But yes, some will probably discover or have already discovered that particularly at times like this, freedom of speech isn't quite what it was cracked up to be in western propaganda. :-)

I don't think anyone's going to haul you out and shoot you, regardless of your intentional (or at best shallow and casual) misinterpretations of US aims, and particularly of the intent of US people.

You'll seriously compare the occasional fulminating pundit to an armed secret police running gulags in Siberia?

[ Parent ]

No. (none / 0) (#24)
by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:38:44 AM EST

I think you're misinterpreting the discussion entirely.

We aren't talking about totalitarian regimes, or comparing the situation in the US with the conditions of existence under the same.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Ok. (none / 0) (#27)
by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 10:06:02 AM EST

I guess I misread what you said as equating those things (others on this site have been known to do that).

You're right that there's a difference between an arcadia-like ideal of freedom of speech and action (as heard on VOA) and actual conditions in the United States, which is a real place inhabited by imperfect human beings.

Still, online and off, I think we are in fact having these debates. They are lent a certain urgency by the current sense of danger and uncertainty, but I think every part of society recognizes that it would be self-destructive to avoid them.

[ Parent ]

Hrm... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by Miniluv on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:58:17 PM EST

1] Have no illusions of Ellis Island. For a vast number of legal immigrants, this process can and does take decades. The only method of speedily acquiring American citizenship is marrying an American. Any other path here - via a worker visa, a student visa, etc, is a lifetime effort to convert to something fruitful for permanent immigration
From time of first legal access to the country to final citizenship eligibility, it is identical regardless of method of immigration. Five years from the day you get your visa.

Marrying someone takes longer than promising to marry them, as fiancee visas get faster handling. By faster, it means you'll see your loved one in a year to 18 months, rather than 3 to 5.

Some things are holy, and the sauna is one of them
[ Parent ]

So? (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:07:05 PM EST

From time of first legal access to the country to final citizenship eligibility, it is identical regardless of method of immigration. Five years from the day you get your visa.

So what? There are a variety of practical constraints that make this factually inaccurate for most immigrants.

That you are eligible for citizenship five years from the day you enter the country does _NOT_ mean you will get your citizenship. The requisite approval of various papers can take years - most greencard applications take 3 or 4 years in a good situation. But that's that.

If you are attempting to immigrate by starting out as a student, there are various lucrative "work lists" that require you to return to your country for two years if you have completed study in certain professions. Two years before you can return to the US. I've heard of many people who have never heard of these until they were suddenly informed of them one day by immigration officials.

I'll leave figuring out the difficulty of getting a job in the US when applying from another country (for the avg. person) up to you as an excercise. You can get an H1-B visa, but how do you know your employer is going to sponsor you beyond that to some kind of permanent residence?

And that's just what I know. I'm sure similar rules exist for immigrants of just about every category. It's not easy for most people, dispite what it says on paper.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Reality (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by Miniluv on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 05:02:08 PM EST

I'm just trying to inject a little reality into that rather odd little footnote. It was full of inaccuracy wrapped up in poor phraseology.

Immigration in the US is a nightmare, no need to convince me of that. However, it's a relatively equal nightmare, all things considered.

Some things are holy, and the sauna is one of them
[ Parent ]

Clarification (none / 0) (#161)
by Banjonardo on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 12:35:37 AM EST

One of the finer points in the United States Constitution is that the addendum known as the Bill of Rights appears to apply to all persons under the jurisdiction of the United States government, and being an American citizen is not necessarily requisite.

Not quite. The 14th, not included in the BoR, is the one that guarantees citizenship to all who were born in the U.S. and "equal representation under the law." It was, of course, made for the blacks who were at the time newly-freed. The Supreme Court of the period interpreted this very narrowly, but it has since become much more encompassing.

Just a quick clarification.
I like Muffins. MOLDY muffins.
[ Parent ]

It kind of gets me down... (2.90 / 10) (#11)
by yaksox on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:28:10 AM EST

How most people are missing the main reason for this invasion of Afghanastan. There's huge quantities of oil underneath the caspian sea and the installation of a puppet regime is key to the US getting it.
i don't want to come across as being radical, but the mass media are leading us astray.
Please if you have the time, read this article entitled, `An overview on the "War on Terror"', at this page.
Re: Your article, in the second para maybe you're looking for latter instead of later. Cheers.
zom·bie n. 3. One who looks or behaves like an automaton.
Nobody's missing it... (4.50 / 2) (#13)
by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:36:54 AM EST

... it just gets redundant to restate it every single time. The context of the discussion was ... relatively ... narrow. Perhaps we do not want every discussion to degenerate into a debate over American foreign policy, thus obscuring a vital point that the author may have been trying to get across.

Don't be down. :-)

However, don't limit yourself to the narrow issue of oil. I think it can more broadly be asserted by saying that the US wishes to expand hegemony to cover Soviet Central Asia, and from there, god knows what else. Also a good time to take out another obstruction to American economic interests - Iraq. History has shown that if Iraq were an obstruction to anything except economic interests, it would not be on the American "human rights" agenda.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Interests (5.00 / 2) (#17)
by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:52:34 AM EST

History has shown that if Iraq were an obstruction to anything except economic interests, it would not be on the American "human rights" agenda.

This is (sadly) true enough. I'll just note that today it's economic interests, where in '90, it was strategic (anti-Soviet) as well as economic. Neither connects very well with the "human rights" talk, though - it's long overdue that we should back that talk up with our pattern of actions.

[ Parent ]

Commie containment (5.00 / 2) (#19)
by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:03:24 AM EST

I'll just note that today it's economic interests, where in '90, it was strategic (anti-Soviet) as well as economic.

I suspect this is the point where we stop and agree to disagree, but I contend that it has always been economic interests. "Communist containment" and all that was as rooted in economic interests as "the battle for human rights" or whatever.

This is illustrated most succintly in southeast Asia, where the US cultivated a number of 'miracle' economies in places like South Korea[1] and Japan[2]. They weren't just "buffer states" against Soviet infiltration. They also existed specifically to serve the domestic American consumer market, to which the American government gave them preferential access[3]..

It is also illustrated in numerous American inverventions in Latin America, which could not possibly be for reasons other than economic ones.

------------
[1] While propping up Synghman Rhee, who has killed more Koreans than any other tyrant in Korean history.

[2] While vigilantly fighting for democracy there too! The Japanese parliamentary body was controlled by one party until the end of the Cold War.

[3] Which, as we know, created a number of problems related to the decadence of certain industries in the US itself. But, ever noticed how during earlier Cold War times, protests by American auto makers of Japanese market dominance were just kind of quietly ... disposed of? In general, these 'miracle' economies of SE Asia were export-driven, which is a big problem once the US can no longer afford them the artificial dominance at home as much as they could before under the pretext of Communist containment.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Strategic vs. economic (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:20:18 AM EST

While I agree the US is strongly motivated by economic policy (and not always to other parties' detriment), would you seriously assert that the Soviet Union, and the violent insurgencies it armed and funded in Latin America, offered no military threat to the United States? (Not to justify the equally brutal counterinsurgencies the US backed.)

Anyway, to me the distinction is minor, because strategic and economic interests are two peas in one amoral pod. To me the problem is that we don't back up our big talk with actions designed to actually make people's lives better around the world.

Yeah, this is veering offtopic for this story. Maybe post another one about this, and we can have the discussion there. (Unless I've collapsed into bed by that point.)

[ Parent ]

Economic!! (none / 0) (#33)
by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 12:00:14 PM EST

While I agree the US is strongly motivated by economic policy (and not always to other parties' detriment),

From the economic standpoint, I don't think anybody except the architects of economic policy are really fit to judge whether it's to other parties' detriment. However, it's sufficient to say that it is an extremely complex question.

On one hand, it cannot be plausably argued that the rapid export-driven economic growth in countries like Japan has been detrimental to them. This is especially true when it is noted that this emerging role for Japan came about in the context of the end of World War II.

However, it has locked them into export-driven economy. Historically, the US government has given Japanese and South Korean products a relatively preferential access to its enourmous domestic consumer market. This is especially true in the field of automobile manufacturing, steel, and consumer electronics. As you can imagine, the return on it to the Japanese was aggressive economic growth and the relative advantage of being left alone to practise state-guided capitalism -- as long as they were on the American pole. Naturally, adjustment of trade barriers following the Cold War's end was detrimental to Japanese economic "growth". The living standards there are excellent, consumer goods are cheap and are of good quality. Failure to export a sufficient quantity of their manufactured goods creates a recession (lots of other things create a recession, but this is one of the key pressure points). The US gets the blame for cultivating this self-serving economy.

The more broad costs of American economic occupation are evident when the involvement of entities like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are examined.

Astounded by the success of Soviet ideaologues in promoting the virtues of central planning & etc, the US felt a need to strike back. Prior to the Cold War, "economics" had been more of a sociological study - but now it was being quantified with mathematics, with statistics. The exact way in which a delicate balance between prices and production costs are achieved thanks to the Invisible Hand was now expressed in formula. Enter IMF. A bunch of scholars of this sort of economics attempting to imply lessons of American market dynamics to countries where it is unsuitable and inappropriate. An instructive result of the chaos that this causes is apparent in that the IMF was largely responsible for the Asian economic collapse of 1997/98. Other countries prefer a more state-guided form of capitalism, and the IMF's prescriptions can be more detrimental than not. The IMF is only one microcosmic example of American macroeconomic policy, but the IMF is evil.

Whether supporting characters like Syngman Rhee is requisite to American economic policy or not I do not know, but if it is, obviously that can be construed as a detrimental consequence as well.

and the violent insurgencies it armed and funded in Latin America, offered no military threat to the United States? (Not to justify the equally brutal counterinsurgencies the US backed.)

Whether the Soviet Union involved itself in backing brutal military insurgencies in Latin America to the extent that the CIA did is subject to debate.

As for military threats, I suppose it depends on what you mean by military threat to the United States. It certainly threatens American economic interests and proxies of said interests in Latin America, and American businessmen residing there. I'd like to see a Latin American country invade the US though, now or then, backed with Soviet armaments or not. :-)


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Arrgh! (3.66 / 3) (#14)
by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:45:00 AM EST

How most people are missing the main reason for this invasion of Afghanastan. There's huge quantities of oil underneath the caspian sea and the installation of a puppet regime is key to the US getting it.

I hate answering innuendo because there's no effective way to refute it. When it even shows up in a discussion, it usually means the other guy holds it as an article of faith.

But, here goes anyway...

Those oil reserves were there before September, too. But we didn't invade until after September. I think this makes the priorities of the American government, and people, clear.

[ Parent ]

*smirk* (3.66 / 3) (#16)
by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:50:43 AM EST

Those oil reserves were there before September, too. But we didn't invade until after September. I think this makes the priorities of the American government, and people, clear.

To use a common item of teenage colloquialism - "duh!"

You can't pull something like that off without a pretext. Yeah, you see where I'm going with this. Even the US can't arbitrarily invade places just because, or world opinion even in the West would very quickly turn against it.

There needs to be a way to rationalise it. "War on terrorism" is one. Building a nice "multinational coalition against terrorism" doesn't hurt either, since anybody who participates can be indicted for any relevant atrocities and illegitimacies. I risk noting that even Saddam could not arbitrarily be toppled during Clinton times without _some_ kind of justification, however fuzzy. I recall that in 1998 that was firing on aircraft patrolling the DMZ or something like that.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Fume fume (none / 0) (#18)
by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:59:40 AM EST

Ok, I repeat what I said about innuendo, but despite it I'll make one last try.

I strongly suspect that if the bombers had come from Antarctica with its government's support, then we'd be invading Antarctica.

[ Parent ]

Oh really (4.00 / 2) (#23)
by core10k on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:27:30 AM EST

Ok, I repeat what I said about innuendo, but despite it I'll make one last try.

I strongly suspect that if the bombers had come from China with its government's support, then we'd be invading China.

Point and match.



[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#25)
by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:40:43 AM EST

Are you trolling me?

How does contrasting China with Afghanistan add weight to arguments about pursuit of Central Asian oil? China has a bunch of resources too.

[ Parent ]

Well, for one ... (none / 0) (#26)
by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:43:58 AM EST

How does contrasting China with Afghanistan add weight to arguments about pursuit of Central Asian oil? China has a bunch of resources too.

Although this probably is peripheral to the discussion at hand, the unique situation of Soviet Central Asia makes it particularly susceptible to American hegemony. It's always been not very well off if assessed by capitalist criteria, and a lot of the resources it did have came from their utilisation by way of their being part of the Soviet Union. Republics like Tajikistan are wide open to American economic interests at the moment. I hear Kyrgyztan has long had a deal involving one of its large oil fields in which Chevron has a 70% stake.

This is not so for China.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

The point is (none / 0) (#30)
by core10k on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:15:42 AM EST

That if China, for whatever reason, organized a terrorist attack, you most certainly would not be invading them. Invading Afghanistan, on the other hand, is a trivial matter.

The US and British armies just crushed Afghanistan's ruling government, if you hadn't noticed.



[ Parent ]
another self-fulfilling prophecy. (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by demi on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:06:48 AM EST

Certainly, now that a relatively friendly government is sitting in Kabul the chances of a trans-Caspian pipeline being built are much higher than before Sept. 11. But as for how to address this viewpoint:

most people are missing the main reason for this invasion of Afghanastan. There's huge quantities of oil underneath the caspian sea and the installation of a puppet regime is key to the US getting it.

I agree with you, ariux, that there is no way to refute this (remotely plausible) fantasy. Especially now that the pipeline will be built, in the minds of some people it was all planned years ago in some secret boardroom in Washington, DC and a phony 'War on Terrorism' is merely a pretense for oil exploitation.

<shrug>



[ Parent ]

Repeat after me: We have plenty of oil (3.50 / 2) (#31)
by Anatta on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:36:08 AM EST

and the left needs a new conspiracy theory. This has been discussed ad nauseum on this site. Oil simply is not as important as many would like to make it out to be in order to fit the actions of the US into their convenient little conspiracy theory.
My Music
[ Parent ]
You have missed the point. Ambition, not need (none / 0) (#35)
by svampa on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 12:38:47 PM EST

The goal is not to burn it in USA, it is to sell the east countries, they are begining to have cars and industies, their growth of need of oil is higher than USA or Europe. USA doesn't need oil, wants to control a strategic resource.

your argument against the interests of USA in Afghanistan has missed the point. We are not talking about need, it's about ambition. That is like saying that the final proof that Microsoft isn't doing anything bad is that it has plenty of Market

If you want to attack the argument of conspiracy, you have to attack the idea that USA wants to control that oil, not that USA needs that oil.

I don't mean this was the reason to attack Afghanistan, but probably some decisions during the war, the election of new government, and the presence of USA army after the war have something to do with this.



[ Parent ]
What? (none / 0) (#210)
by norge on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 11:34:33 AM EST

Are you suggesting that guaranteeing that availability of oil reserves is not that number one energy policy of the United States? I believe that it is and that suggests to me that oil is pretty damn important to my government. The Economist recently published a few articles about the west's reliance on middle eastern oil. They seemed to be suggesting that control over oil reserves would be one of the most important political issues in the next half century. I don't know what your definition of "left" is, but if The Economist fits into it then you have a very liberal definition, indeed. I'm curious what commodities or ideologies you think rank above fossil fuels in guiding the US government's actions (I am not suggesting that there are none, I just believe that there aren't many).

Cheers,
Benjamin


[ Parent ]
Nice Troll! (2.00 / 1) (#32)
by duffbeer703 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:38:12 AM EST

I guess alot of people here are not familiar with geography.

The Caspian Sea is about 1200 miles from Kabul. Running a pipeline though Afghanistan is not feasible either, since terrain is very rough and banditry is still common practice.

Also, we already buy oil from the Caspian sea via Russia & Kazakstan.


[ Parent ]
That plan to build a pipe is real (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by svampa on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 01:00:42 PM EST

I don't think this is the reason behind the attack, but your argument is wrong, Unocal company is the one that is going built it.

In this article you can found some information. Perphaps the argument and conclusions are biased, but facts declarations of important people are real. There are firms plans to build this pipe through Afghanistan.



[ Parent ]
Don't belive everything you read. (none / 0) (#160)
by duffbeer703 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:46:24 PM EST

That sounds like a total fantasy.

Study the topology of the area, even with a cursory glance. From a geographic standpoint, it makes no sense to build a pipline through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the sea. Why involve three nations, when you can pipe it through just Iran or through Russia or the former Soviet republics.

Also, running pipe through the Hindu Kush & other mountain ranges though country that has been in a state of civil war for 25 years is sheer lunacy.

[ Parent ]
Huh? (4.00 / 2) (#136)
by khym on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:52:35 PM EST

The implication seems to be that, if there wasn't any oil at stake, then the U.S. would not have taken any military action against Afghanistan. Of course, now that the U.S. is already in there, I wouldn't be surprised that they would take advantage of the situation, but to say that the U.S. wouldn't have done anything about the attacks without a profit motive seems, well...

--
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 ]
Yep... (none / 0) (#198)
by mvsgeek on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 05:57:04 PM EST

but to say that the U.S. wouldn't have done anything about the attacks without a profit motive seems, well...

The question at stake is not wether the U.S wouldn't have taken any action, but rather, would it have taken it against Afghanistan in particular...
- mvsgeek
[ Parent ]
Umm, your an idiot (3.00 / 2) (#172)
by omegadan on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 03:06:08 AM EST

First of all if you haven't noticed, we're doing real well with oil right now ... Saturday the 22nd, I saw gas for 86c/gallon in manhattan beach!

Second of all, your link claims that theres 40 billion dollars worth of oil in the caspian sea, how much money do you think we've spent blowing up afghanistan ? I'll admit that I don't know how much the war costs, but Id wager its going to approach 40 billion dollars fairly quickly, and thus make the return ration quite poor.

Lastly, the reason we're attacking Afghanistain is, forget the bullshit, *WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING*. You know when your bored and you goto the mall just to get out? We're having a war because we have to attack *somebody*. If we don't respond, then this is a very bad message to terrorists. The challenge that terrorism sets forth is "we can kill you, but you can't kill us" we've replied to this with "we can kill you with massive force".

Im quite sure that we've done more good in afghanistan then bad. Remember: to fight evil one must do evil, this is the universes rule, not mine. Im sure we've killed *alot* of people by accident <grin> and this is heartbreaking ... but one must ask oneself, did we kill more civilians then the taliban would have executed? Did we kill less civilians then we would have lost in future terrorists acts we disrupted? I think these answers are obvious.

at the very least, the US has liberated an entire people in its selfish interests -- not a bad days work if you ask me.




Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley
[ Parent ]

Question (4.66 / 3) (#34)
by rusty on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 12:30:24 PM EST

Now that we've seen how at least the first part of the war has shaken out, what do you think about the results? I'm sure the "aliens ate my brain" contingent here will argue, but it sure looks to me like the campaign has done a great deal of good without killing very many innocents. Are the people of Afghanistan better or worse off now than they were under the Taliban?

____
Not the real rusty
Good does not make Right (5.00 / 2) (#36)
by natael on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 12:49:10 PM EST

The people of Afghanistan might be better off now then they were before. But what gives us the right to decide what is good for an entire group of people. We can all probably agree that the Taliban needed to be overthrown, but it should have been the people of that nation to do it. I do not see how we can justify replacing the government of another people, even if we think they will be better off for it.

I think here at home, our country would be much safer without guns. I'd like to see handguns banned. But I wouldn't like to have another country like France come over and force us to ban handguns because they think its right. Its an issue that the US will have have to work through on their own.

"We walk in the dark places others fear to enter." - Marcus Cole
Watch Babylon 5: Legend of the Ranger
[
Parent ]

well (none / 0) (#139)
by jayfoo2 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:00:55 PM EST

But what gives us the right to decide what is good for an entire group of people

Using that argument what gives (gave) the Taliban the right to decide what is good for an entire group of people. Remeber it looks like most Afghani's couldn't stand the Taliban.

In moral terms we have just about as much right (not more mind you) as the Taliban to decide what is good for the Afghan people, as would a convention of Elvis impersonators.

In reality (hey reality on k5, novel concept) what gave the Taliban the right to govern Afghanistan is that they had the biggest guns. Well ours are bigger.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, but... (5.00 / 1) (#186)
by natael on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 11:14:04 AM EST

There is one major difference as I see it. The Taliban wasn't some invading force. They lived in Afghanistan. They were Afghan people. IMHO this gave them more right to rule then us, or Elvis impersonators.

Of course they stayed in power because they had a larger military force. All we are doing by bringing over our own guns (or in other cases, selling weapons, etc) is upsetting the natural balance of power in that region.

"We walk in the dark places others fear to enter." - Marcus Cole
Watch Babylon 5: Legend of the Ranger
[
Parent ]

Good! (none / 0) (#194)
by jayfoo2 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 04:42:54 PM EST

All we are doing by bringing over our own guns (or in other cases, selling weapons, etc) is upsetting the natural balance of power in that region.

Good! Excellent! Woo-ye-ha-flippin-hoo!

The natural balance of power in that region? There is no natural balance of power in Afghanistan. In the past 30 or so years we have had:

  • The Kamal government (courtesy of the Soviet Union, till they killed him).
  • The Soviet supported puppet government during their invasion.
  • The Rabbani government (whoops, Soviets again).
  • Chaos and warlordism (ok so maybe chaos is a natural state, laws of thermodynamics and all)
  • The Taliban (Pakistan and some other nice people).

    So.....What is the natural balance of power in Afghanistan? I come up with two possible answers, either none at all or chaos. I beleive that chaos, starving people, an unending civil war isn't really a tenable option. Any order in Afghanistan is going to be unnatural

    So that being said, what would you prefer? Should we invite the Soviets (Russians? who?) back? Or should we allow chaos to return? Should we have left the Taliban to keep on murdering and opressing the people (not their people) courtasy of Pakistan?

    While there have been shameful episodes in western foreign policy (colonialsim, all sorts of stuff in South America, Iran, etc.) this isn't one of them. This intervention is backed by the world community under the ageis of the United Nations. This intervention will the condition of the Afghani people. It may even lead to democratic self rule in Afghanistan (one can hope).

    So since your position seems to be that the west's actions in Afghanistan are bad I would like to hear what alternate course of action you would advocate. Come on Mr. Armchair quaterback, let me have it. Don't tell me why you don't like what the West is doing, tell me what would be better.

    [ Parent ]
  • Just a point (none / 0) (#273)
    by deaddrunk on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 04:11:30 PM EST

    Would that be the same Pakistan that the US has been very keen to be friends with?



    [ Parent ]
    We aren't forcing our ideals ... (3.00 / 1) (#175)
    by mold on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 05:17:48 AM EST

    But I wouldn't like to have another country like France come over and force us to ban handguns because they think its right. Its an issue that the US will have have to work through on their own.
    We are replacing the Taliban with a new government, but the new government was the rebel faction within Afgahnistan. This is what many of the Afgahn people wanted.

    The United States decided during its imerialistic period that it did not want to come across as barbaric, and, starting with Cuba, began replacing conquered nations with rebels that already existed within the nation. Since the U.S. helps these governments get into place, it is hoped that they will look kindly on the U.S. when making trade deals and such.

    ---
    Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
    [ Parent ]
    Good does make right (none / 0) (#252)
    by On Lawn on Fri Dec 28, 2001 at 01:29:32 PM EST


    Aside from moral highgrounding as a battle field I'd like to remind that good means that it is right. If there is no "good" then there is no right. If there is right, then there must be good. And they must go together.

    Now I realize that you mean that the ends do not always justify the means. I would agree with that, since sometimes the antidote kills worse than the disease.

    But I think Rusty's point is more along the lines that people were predicting disaster from US involvement. From deaths in the millions to turning the whole Muslim world aganst the USA. Other predictions ranged from "its going to be another Vietname" to "we'll wind up carpet bombing to get our way". These would certainly have been used as evidence of wrong doing on the USA part. Consequently the lack of them should be used as evidence (but not proof) of a well handled operation.

    Now on the moral grounds of whether or not we can know if involvement was right or wrong, I can only offer that the free world felt threatened (in differing degrees) not mentaly but physically. Bush told the Taliban directly "You don't let someone on your roof top to shoot your neighbor." I'd personaly hold my neighbor and the shooter responsible if anyone in my house was injured.

    Now that sentiment may or may not be right. Sometimes it is just a guessing game. But I support it becuase I think it is right. I think a vast majority of the world support it also.

    [ Parent ]
    This is the thinking that moderate Muslims hate (3.50 / 2) (#41)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 01:25:13 PM EST

    AMERICA HAS A RIGHT TO AMERICA'S BUSINESS AND ITS BUSINESS ONLY. But the <insert poor third world country> people's business is off limits. Sure, America is the last super power and can really do whatever it wants. But let that be the excuse, rather than "liberating" the Afghani people. Say "We are coming to your country because we can and you can't stop us" and not "We are liberating you"

    To explain my point of view some more, I was very content in Pakistan. It's a third world country where many American "necessities" are luxuries. But I was content. Now that I live in the US, I can see that America is "better". "Better" because I have more opportunity here, but that does not mean we can tell the Pakistanis "Live like us, even your own people consider us better".

    It is the equivalent of an older brother telling you what is right or wrong. Sure, it is probably helpful but let the younger brother find out what works and what doesn't on his own. And atleast in that situation, the family bond is there to allow such persuasion. There is no such bond between the US and ANY other country.

    The best democrocy is one that lets other choose not to be one.



    [ Parent ]
    Very good point! (2.50 / 2) (#43)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 01:32:36 PM EST

    To explain my point of view some more, I was very content in Pakistan. It's a third world country where many American "necessities" are luxuries. But I was content. Now that I live in the US, I can see that America is "better". "Better" because I have more opportunity here, but that does not mean we can tell the Pakistanis "Live like us, even your own people consider us better".

    It is very good that you feel compelled to openly say that you were content in Pakistan. I have no doubt that many people are.

    It's going to come as a very grave shock to a vast majority of mass-media indoctrinated Americans that some people can actually live just fine in a country from which they emigrated to the US. After this many generations, they believe in their own propaganda - which states that the rest of the world is a barren, war-torn, disease-filled third-world wasteland. Parasitic media does a very good job of backing up this claim with real images of decadence and war-torn wastelands from everywhere else in the world, and since this is the only perspective that Americans see of other countries from their living room armchair, they naturally believe this stuff.

    To most, it's an inconceivable notion that someone emigrated here for a reason other than to escape an Orwellian regime or hunger or whatnot. This is probably the most embittering phenomenon I've had to deal with.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Only if the US had a mirror (4.66 / 3) (#51)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:08:06 PM EST

    If I used the lower points of America when I describe it to other Pakistanis, they would believe it to be an AIDs ridden, rape filled, racist country where its people believe the government is conspiring against them. But I don't, those things are minor in presence. Only if the American media and people believed the same for other countries.

    Plus, I would argue that most Pakistani children are more content and generally happy. I never once thought of bringing a gun into that school. In America, that sort of thing is screened against at the front door.



    [ Parent ]
    Absolutely (4.50 / 2) (#55)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:22:48 PM EST

    If I used the lower points of America when I describe it to other Pakistanis, they would believe it to be an AIDs ridden, rape filled, racist country where its people believe the government is conspiring against them.

    Most certainly. I kind of took this understanding for granted on the part of the reader when constructing the content of my comment, but in retrospect it certainly needs mention.

    Even in places where war is a significant part of the affairs of the country, for example, there is a pretty significant demographic that lives just fine. The US and the West are not the only places where people live just fine.

    To be fair, I'll point out at least one probably positive way in which western countries, most emphatically the US, are distinguished from most of the world: they have decentralised economies. In the US, it really doesn't matter if you live in a small, rural town or one of the large cities - in the sense that basically the same consumer goods, cars, services, etc are available to you. At any rate, the difference is negligible in the broad picture.

    This is not true in other countries. If you live in a large city in most countries the West considers as "third world", chances are you are priveledged enough to receive more or less the same goods and services available in large European or American cities and live in accordance with the same "standard of living"[1]. But if you live in a small, rural town, you may not have running water or other "basic essentials" of life. That's one thing that does happen to be nice about the US.

    -------------------- [1] As if what you can buy somehow determines the quality of your life.

    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    US and Pakistan (4.50 / 2) (#61)
    by rusty on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:38:06 PM EST

    I don't believe that the rest of the world is a third-world sewer. I've seen at least some of the rest of the world, and lots of people live there happily. I don't doubt at all your happiness growing up in Pakistan, or your affection for it.

    However, implying that Pakistan is "safer" than the US is pretty disingenuous. Some facts from the CIA World Factbook [US, Pakistan]:

    • Death Rate
      US: 8.7 deaths/1,000 population
      Pakistan: 9.26 deaths/1,000 population
    • Infant Mortality Rate:
      US: 6.76 deaths/1,000 live births
      Pakistan: 80.5 deaths/1,000 live births
    • Life expectancy: (total population)
      US: 77.26 years
      Pakistan: 61.45 years
    On average, by living here you will live 15 years longer, and your children will have somewhat more than 12 times the likelihood of surviving their birth.

    This is not an "America: Love it or Leave it" argument. Just a reminder why Americans worry about the rest of the world so much, and why we intervene as often as we do.

    ____
    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]

    Safety. (3.00 / 1) (#66)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:51:31 PM EST

    I think to answer the question of what is safer for whom, one must examine what people mean when they say "safer". Birth and death rate statistics are meaningless to a person's individual perception of safety. They may reflect a more pious attention to everyone's lifespans on the part of the US, but lots of other things come into play when a person says that his native country is safer.

    One of them is people. You can be safe in the US, surrounded by the latest state-of-the-art medical technology and a peaceful lifestyle - however, be totally alone, without any family or friends that can plausably support you in a crisis. If you are in a war-torn country where you have an extensive family, lifetime friends, and connections in various places - you may feel safer. Being surrounded by familiar people and comfortably settled into the society contributes to a person's sense of safety, both practically and as a perception.

    Think about a single woman from a different country living in the US, rusty. Naturally, she may be concerned about crime, walking alone at night and all that. Objectively, there may be less rape and all of this where she lives than where she lived in another country, but if she doesn't have any good friends or acquaintances here and doesn't really know where to turn if she has a problem, where is she "safer", so to speak?

    Some of the statistics you quoted are even better per-capita in many Western European countries, according to the CIA World Factbook. Granted, the margins of difference aren't so high, but I am still incorrect if I were to say that better statistics convey a sense that I am necessarily safer living in France than I am in the US. It depends on where I live, how I live, with whom I live, what institutions are there to help me, and what people are there to help me with life.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    I never questioned safety (3.00 / 1) (#77)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:17:14 PM EST

    Safety or death rate is a non issue, especially in that post. I was just relating that the world should not be viewed only for its bad points.

    [ Parent ]
    Statistics (4.33 / 3) (#162)
    by Banjonardo on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 12:43:54 AM EST

    You could, conceivably, take the same sort of statistics about my native country: Brazil. That the statistics are much worse than the U.S.'s doesn't mean that I'm safer here. (I am, but that's not the point.)

    See, it's just a statistic. If it says everyone dies there, it probably means that the POOREST people do; middle class + up are completely different. They are just so small, that in a statistic they're negligible. That Pakistan is statistically unsafer does not mean that it is much unsafer to HIM, because he's probably not a poorer Pakistani.

    Statistics are misleading.
    I like Muffins. MOLDY muffins.
    [ Parent ]

    Hm (2.50 / 2) (#101)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 05:33:14 PM EST

    Hm. The interesting content there drowns out the slightly rude delivery.

    Yeah, you're absolutely right that US media universally portray the rest of the world as a destroyed sand-pit where people die like flies.

    Tell us more. Ahsyed, valeko, why did you emigrate?

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Hm (4.00 / 1) (#112)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:26:55 PM EST

    I apologise for the slightly rude delivery, if it was perceived as such by you. That was not my intention. My intention was to convey my perspective, which is that you cannot find anything on CNN except pictures of destroyed sandpits where people die like flies.

    As for personal discussions like the kind you are attempting to initiate, do not take offense if I say that I think they're appropriate for this forum. Neither is inferring that I or anybody else is an immigrant.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    er (none / 0) (#113)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:27:48 PM EST

    appropriate = inappropriate :-)


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Hm (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:18:32 PM EST

    My tone was intended to convey genuine curiosity, not hostility. My apologies if it did not do so clearly enough.

    My assumption comes because your words seem to have the ring of someone who was actually there.

    And if you were, it gives you greater authority to speak on the subject - and also intensifies my curiosity. If you think the topic inappropriate, though, I, too, will drop it.

    [ Parent ]

    Rock and hard place (4.00 / 1) (#50)
    by jasonab on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:02:50 PM EST

    AMERICA HAS A RIGHT TO AMERICA'S BUSINESS AND ITS BUSINESS ONLY. But the <insert poor third world country> people's business is off limits. Sure, America is the last super power and can really do whatever it wants. But let that be the excuse, rather than "liberating" the Afghani people. Say "We are coming to your country because we can and you can't stop us" and not "We are liberating you"
    And this, in my mind, is the exact reason that America will always be hated by someone. For any particular crisis, there is one group of people who desprately wants us to intervene and one group of people who claim it is none of our business. In fact, usually both of these groups exist in the US and in the crisis area!

    Somehow, the US is either isolationist or interventionist, and in the end someone is angry, and nurses that anger forever. Maybe, just maybe, we really are interested in liberation?

    [ Parent ]

    Liberate the Saudi women. (none / 0) (#52)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:10:00 PM EST

    Petition your congressman for that and see how far it goes.

    [ Parent ]
    Consistency (none / 0) (#68)
    by jasonab on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:55:15 PM EST

    Petition your congressman for that and see how far it goes.
    And that's my point exactly. You want the US to intervene when it's convenient for you, and to stay out otherwise. You want to have your cake and eat it, too.

    What if India invades Pakistan over the attack on their Parliament? If India starts taking over large parts of Pakistan, will you want the US to stay out, or help Pakistan?

    [ Parent ]

    Response (none / 0) (#75)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:13:20 PM EST

    No, I am saying that the US should either intervene in the governments or not intervene. In either case, it is not consistent. If it is to liberate those under oppressive regimes, liberate the Saudis. If it is not, do not uproot the Taliban's regime (those not supporting alQaeda).

    And no, I would not want America to intervene between Pakistan and India. That is my personal opinion. But if the US policy is to liberate those under oppression, there are plenty of other countries in the similar hypothetical situation.

    [ Parent ]
    Back to the beginning (none / 0) (#87)
    by jasonab on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:57:50 PM EST

    But who is to define oppsessive? I agree Saudi Arabia has issues, no doubt, but what then? You are saying the US must intervene in every nation you personally deem as oppressive, or we're hypocrites?

    I'll go back to what I said at the beginning of this thread: the US is not allowed to be right. No matter what the US does, someone will always scream about it. If the US made you happy, someone else would claim imperialism and imposing our views. If we let others be except where our hand is forced, you yell because we ever choose to intervene.

    I say the US is right to intervene where it sees the benefits as greater then the costs, and not intervene where the costs outweigh the benefits. If that means blowing the crap out of Afghanistan and leaving China and Saudi Arabia, so be it. The US can care about liberty while still deciding that there are times to intervene for it and times not to.

    [ Parent ]

    No - there really is a difference ... (none / 0) (#93)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 04:19:29 PM EST

    ... between merely acting in one's occasional self-interest, and maintaining a systematic imperial apparatus. Casting it off as "oh well, can't please everyone" is not a valid approach; the specific flaws of this piglet mentality manifest themselves all the time.

    I say the US is right to intervene where it sees the benefits as greater then the costs, and not intervene where the costs outweigh the benefits. If that means blowing the crap out of Afghanistan and leaving China and Saudi Arabia, so be it. The US can care about liberty while still deciding that there are times to intervene for it and times not to.

    Right, that's the definition of laissez-faire opportunism transplanted to the plane of policy.

    I don't think that the US would be blamed nearly as much for a failure to act ("can't please everyone") as it is when people perceive it as intervening on behalf of liberty/human rights/oppressed peoples and finding that the situation has actually gotten worse, no better, and the resulting resentment is cultivated into a bitterly anti-American government and social order which eventually results in blowback for the US.

    That's not to say that I'm an isolationist. There have been times in world history where it would have been borderline criminal for the US not to intervene, with its resources and might. One such example would be the two World Wars[1].

    --------------------
    [1] And yes, I'm perfectly aware that in both conflicts, particularly the latter, the US opportunistically intervened only when it itself was threatened directly. p.

    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Costs and benefits (4.00 / 1) (#103)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 05:47:39 PM EST

    I say the US is right to intervene where it sees the benefits as greater then the costs, and not intervene where the costs outweigh the benefits.

    The big question though is, costs and benefits to who? Just to us, or to everybody?

    Though rigid sovreignty theory would say "just to us," in a real world inhabited by human beings, in cases where we can't defend that they are at least partially to everybody, I think we have a real problem.

    [ Parent ]

    Countries (none / 0) (#165)
    by Banjonardo on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 12:49:14 AM EST

    Countries are not entities: they were invented to look out for the benefit of their citizens. Period. The U.S. can do whatever the hell it feels like doing. Not that it has any right to, but that is irrevelant.
    I like Muffins. MOLDY muffins.
    [ Parent ]
    World politics (none / 0) (#163)
    by Banjonardo on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 12:46:50 AM EST

    America will always be hated by someone

    So will I. Everyone will always be hated by someone else. It's just natural. There are lots of reasons as to why the U.S. will always be hated by some people.
    I like Muffins. MOLDY muffins.
    [ Parent ]

    World politics (none / 0) (#164)
    by Banjonardo on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 12:47:09 AM EST

    America will always be hated by someone

    So will I. Everyone will always be hated by someone else. It's just natural. There are lots of reasons as to why the U.S. will always be hated by some people.
    I like Muffins. MOLDY muffins.
    [ Parent ]

    Not my question (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by rusty on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:21:06 PM EST

    My question was, do you think life is, and will continue to be, better for the Afghan people now than it was in August?

    And to follow up on "America has a right to it's business": Someone crashes four airliners full of our citizens, in our country, and kills thousands more in the buildings they crashed them into. Is that still not our business? When does something become our business?

    ____
    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]

    I think that IS your question (none / 0) (#57)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:30:11 PM EST

    And to follow up on "America has a right to it's business": Someone crashes four airliners full of our citizens, in our country, and kills thousands more in the buildings they crashed them into. Is that still not our business? When does something become our business?

    The author did not say that disposal of the perpetrators of this atrocity is outside the realm of America's business. Nor did he say that he even opposes American 'retaliation' campaign in Afghanistan in principle.

    The question is the target. The perpetrators are a relatively narrow group of terrorists - al Qaeda - NOT the ordinary everyday Taliban partisans, and NOT ordinary Afghan citizens. Combatting terrorism and dismantling the circumstances which caused Sep 11 is most certainly America's business, and nobody is questioning that.

    What is being questioned is whether it is justifiable for America to overstep this mandate by altering the political circumstances in Afghanistan, and dictating to the people of Afghanistan what government they will function under - one subservient to US interests. I'm not saying that the destruction of the Taliban as a ruling government is a bad thing in itself, and I don't think the author is either. However, is it America's place to remove them by substituting military intervention for a popular revolution? Those who believe that this war is about terrorism and preserving the sanctity of human rights would say yes. Those who believe it's about economic interests and hegemonic, imperialist pursuits would say no. Take your pick.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    I would say more (none / 0) (#104)
    by svampa on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 05:48:32 PM EST

    Ben Laden troops have resist attacks from north alliance and USA bombs for a week or more in the caves of the mountains. And we still don't know it he has escaped or not.

    How hell USA hope that taliban government or anyone in Afghanistan had the power to arrest that guy?



    [ Parent ]
    Re: I think that IS your question (none / 0) (#129)
    by khym on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:12:10 PM EST

    What is being questioned is whether it is justifiable for America to overstep this mandate by altering the political circumstances in Afghanistan, and dictating to the people of...
    One of the inentions for the U.S. to get rid of the Taliban was so as to be able to uproot the terrorist infrastructure within Afghanistan; that intention includes that it doesn't come back. To make sure that Afghanistan doesn't once again become a safe harbour for terrorists, the U.S. has to medle (to a certain extent) with the politics and government of the post-Taliban Afghanistan.

    --
    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 ]
    Stay on Target... "Their right on your tail!& (none / 0) (#171)
    by On Lawn on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:48:17 AM EST

    "The question is the target. The perpetrators are a relatively narrow group of terrorists - al Qaeda - NOT the ordinary everyday Taliban partisans, and NOT ordinary Afghan citizens. Combatting terrorism and dismantling the circumstances which caused Sep 11 is most certainly America's business, and nobody is questioning that."

    Lets not forget that the Taliban knew what they were defending. In my opinion it was bin Laden, not Afghanistan. They could have surrendered him and Al Queda at any time and kept control of Afghanistan (remember Blair saying "Surrender bin Laden or surrender power!"?). Another evidence to me is that they surrendered so much of Afghanistan and still commited troups to protecting bin Laden.

    I don't think this was misdirected.

    [ Parent ]
    Response (3.50 / 2) (#59)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:33:29 PM EST

    Yes, I think that life will be better compared to the Taliban. But you have to realize, as I stated before, better is very opinionated and therefore should not be forced.

    Just because America has the power to bring forth that "better" world to the Afghans, doesn't mean it should. Pol Pot had the power and believed his world to be better after the murdering sprees he commited. That does not mean he should have used that power to bring it forth.

    The US says this is a war on terrorism, so rage war on terrorists. Where did nation building and liberating come into the equation? And like I tried to imply in my article, Saudi women and men under House of Saud's rule would be better under a democrocy and new leadership. That will never happen, even after a Senator said the state funds terrorism.

    Deducting from the title "War on Terrorism", hunting down terrorists should be America's business. Not "liberating" the Afghanis and making their lives "better".

    [ Parent ]
    Nation building (none / 0) (#102)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 05:46:35 PM EST

    The US says this is a war on terrorism, so rage war on terrorists. Where did nation building and liberating come into the equation?

    When it became a crucial strategy in waging war on terrorists. We left Somalia ten years ago because we didn't like substantial bloodshed over an unproven theory; but it's a lot closer to proven now.

    [ Parent ]

    Oh? (none / 0) (#105)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 05:49:13 PM EST

    When it became a crucial strategy in waging war on terrorists.

    And when exactly did that happen? History seems to demonstrate that it can have the opposite effect as well, especially when there is a significant discrepancy between what you consider "liberation" and what is applicable in the particular cultural and political sphere where you're attempting to apply it.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Is life better there? (4.00 / 2) (#65)
    by UncleMikey on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:51:06 PM EST

    From my comfortable (if messy) den in the middle of America, I'm not sure I can honestly say if life is, or will soon be, any better in Afghanistan than it's been for the last 20 years. I have to admit that, as much as I was in favor of crushing the Taliban to pulp, I think we were a little impatient about it. The approach I would rather have seen would have included the Marines marching in with truckloads of food, one city at a time, and distributing that food themselves to avoid any chance of misappropriation. Of course, if anyone happens to get in the way of that particular Marine convoy, they suffer.

    Alas, we chose once again the remote-control approach. A few special forces sent in to help guide the bombs to their proper targets, and a few advisors to help the United Front. That policy is not entirely stupid -- it's the United Front's country; why not let them be the ones who fight for it -- but it still leaves us looking twice as arrogant as if we'd actually rolled up our sleeves and gotten involved.

    In short, as much as I tend to be pro-intervention, I think I would have prefered an intervention with a strong humanitarian component, one that demonstrates without a doubt that we actually give a shit.

    But in the end, we weren't there to solve Afghanistan's problems; we were there to solve our own. And even now, we're not all that interested in what happens next, as long as the new regime understands the message that pro-terror states get crushed.
    --
    [ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
    [ Parent ]

    Au contraire. (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:15:28 PM EST

    In short, as much as I tend to be pro-intervention, I think I would have prefered an intervention with a strong humanitarian component, one that demonstrates without a doubt that we actually give a shit

    But does the US government give a shit? Not really. The US doesn't want regimes that openly sponsor people who will fly planes into its buildings or blow things up - terrorists, in other words. The US is extremely interested in the opportunities for exploiting various resources now that a pro-western government is seated in Kabul. I'm sure those plans for a trans-Caspian oil pipeline through Afghanistan will now materialise, among many other things. The more broad goals are infiltration of former Soviet Central Asia.

    But in the end, we weren't there to solve Afghanistan's problems; we were there to solve our own. And even now, we're not all that interested in what happens next, as long as the new regime understands the message that pro-terror states get crushed.

    What happens next is of paramount importance to the architects of American foreign policy. If it were not important, they wouldn't have gone to such extraordinary lengths to assure a long-term pro-western government in Afghanistan. People don't do that just to be nice.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Pro-western? (4.00 / 1) (#189)
    by UncleMikey on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 01:29:56 PM EST

    What happens next is of paramount importance to the architects of American foreign policy. If it were not important, they wouldn't have gone to such extraordinary lengths to assure a long-term pro-western government in Afghanistan. People don't do that just to be nice.

    I don't see any real evidence of a 'pro-western' government in Kabul. The new Government of Afghanistan is a mix of old tribal leaders, mujahadeen, and other such etc. Many of them are extremists just short of the Taliban's old position. They are not so much 'pro-western' as pragmatic: they have a country that's bene pounded to itty, bitty pieces, and the only people with any quantity of useful glue are the Western neations.

    But don't make the mistake of thinking that Karzai likes us. He's grateful to us for ousting the Taliban and putting him in power, but he and his government only want us there to help him pick up the pieces. Once Afghanistan is put back together again (however long that my take), don't expect that 'pro-western' attitude to last much longer.
    --
    [ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
    [ Parent ]

    None of our business (none / 0) (#99)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 05:26:23 PM EST

    AMERICA HAS A RIGHT TO AMERICA'S BUSINESS AND ITS BUSINESS ONLY. But the <insert poor third world country> people's business is off limits. Sure, America is the last super power and can really do whatever it wants. But let that be the excuse, rather than "liberating" the Afghani people. Say "We are coming to your country because we can and you can't stop us" and not "We are liberating you"

    It is the equivalent of an older brother telling you what is right or wrong. Sure, it is probably helpful but let the younger brother find out what works and what doesn't on his own. And atleast in that situation, the family bond is there to allow such persuasion. There is no such bond between the US and ANY other country.

    There is a distinction between actual goals and the fluffy rhetoric used to justify them.

    See above about the costs and benefits of "meddling."

    [ Parent ]

    They are equal but with a more destroyed land (4.33 / 3) (#48)
    by svampa on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 01:52:52 PM EST

    The new juzdge of the supreme court in Afghanistan has said:

    When there are 4 witness of adultery they will be killied with stones, but not like talibans, we will use small stones. That's Saria (Mahoma law)

    Burkas has not desappeared at all (a little to show foreign press). But women right are better now, they can study until they are 13 years old, and they are allowed to see public excutions, and they can work if her husband wants so.

    Reporters told that they must travel with a guard of Tayikos, and when they enter in a Pashtun territory, then they are guarded by armed Pashtuns. Ethnic goups hate one each other and now are well armed.

    Women rights are a little better, people can shave, and hear music. Things are a little better, but almost the same, and in a land that is still more destroyed.

    There is a lot of people wounded, dead, and famine refugees that escaped of bombs. Brutal and massive executions done by north alliance. There was a little war, you know.

    Perhaps Ben Laden is dead, perhaps USA will catch him, that is good for Afghan people.



    [ Parent ]
    My view (3.66 / 3) (#82)
    by jesterzog on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:35:28 PM EST

    Personally I have a very difficult time judging the results, because to me it hasn't been clear what the US Federal Government's actual goal is.

    More recently through the media, there's been a lot of publicity about the "liberating" of the Afghani people and the destruction of the "evil" Taliban. But if that's such an important thing, I have trouble understanding why it wasn't the policy beforehand.

    As far as I can tell from the start, the one and only goal of the US activities is to get Osama bin Laden, and do what it takes to supress terrorists from acting against the United States. Anything publicised about liberating a third world country is just to make American citizens feel good about themselves and feel justified in bombing a third world country into the ground. They're not being "liberated from evil" because it's a good thing, they're being liberated because it's a consequence, and yet their liberation is being promoted as the main purpose of the whole thing for what I think are dubious propagandous reasons.

    Of course, if the liberation of these people is a side effect, then what's the big deal? What worries me is that because it's not a goal to make Afghanistan better off, the whole place is going to be hung out to dry just as soon as everything else is finished. In the long term, suppressing terrorism doesn't necessarily mean making Afghanistan a better place to live in. All it means is having an agreement with the existing government there, and making sure that they do what it takes to supress any person considered "dangerous" by developed countries...

    And this is exactly what's happened in the past, in the same region and very ironically. The US government didn't like drugs, so they made back-door deals to ensure that the Taliban prevented drugs from leaving for the United States. The Taliban regieme and treatment of human rights in Afghanistan did no matter in the slightest. They were the ruling authorities, the US Federal government wanted something from them, and so they made a deal. End of story.

    What I'm afraid of is that the western countries will go home, everyone in Afghanistan will be left to fend for themselves and there's a good chance it might just plunge back into another civil war. (You probably won't hear of it unless you look hard.) Nobody in developed countries will care about any more, just as long as there's no terrorist threat. And there probably won't be, because strategists in the US will have a foot in the door with all the right people who are in control.

    So in ansering that question about whether the people of Afghanistan are better or worse off, I personally consider it irrelevant. I'll agree that there's many different ways to look at it, though, and some of them are much more positive.


    jesterzog Fight the light


    [ Parent ]
    Question question (none / 0) (#126)
    by Robert Hutchinson on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:05:23 PM EST

    I'm sure the "aliens ate my brain" contingent here will argue, but it sure looks to me like the campaign has done a great deal of good without killing very many innocents.
    I wonder, how many innocents would be too many to kill? . . .
    Someone crashes four airliners full of our citizens, in our country, and kills thousands more in the buildings they crashed them into. Is that still not our business? When does something become our business?
    . . . because this suggests to me that you consider 'thousands' to be too many.

    Robert Hutchinson


    No bomb-throwing required.

    [ Parent ]
    But one can make a difference (none / 0) (#170)
    by On Lawn on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:33:32 AM EST

    I wonder, how many innocents would be too many to kill?

    1 Now its my turn, How many innocents would be not be enough to save for the loss of that one life?

    [ Parent ]

    Being marginalized sucks. (4.66 / 9) (#37)
    by demi on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 12:49:26 PM EST

    Thanks for your perspective, ahsyed. I don't know what the political atmosphere is like in your workplace and/or community, but if it is high technology then I wouldn't be surprised if your viewpoints aren't met with much sympathy. In my experience, computer and engineering oriented personnel are most often conservative/libertarian and in these there is not a very receptive audience for criticism of the hypocrisy of US foreign policy and the like. And using a rhetorical device like this:

    What has George Bush done differently? What has the American government done differently?

    Is not going be as thought-provoking as you may think. Part of the reason is because the terrorist attack, and its reciprocal response, have indeed been cast as a matter of Good vs. Evil, and that's not just the fault of the media and/or the government. It's simply the way a lot of ordinary people see it. When your viewpoint happens to be in the minority, it can seem like your (reasonable) point of view is being forcibly suppressed by some kind of mindless aversion to intelligent discussion. To see this attitude exemplified in a comic strip, read This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow.

    American citizens, of any descent, no longer feel they can voice their opinion unless it is in line with the bleeding red, white, and blue.

    Yeah, there was this recent phenomenon called Political Correctness, where: American citizens, of white European descent, no longer feel they can voice their opinion unless it is in line with the bleeding... er, something or other. Now there is the right-wing backlash. I think it's stupid all around but that's just me. I don't think there will ever be a time when making your political opponents into evil, infidel enemies will be widely seen for what it is (IMO): a technique of mass-hypnosis.

    So how does this tie into the discussion of terrorism? Well, as much as it sucks to have a minority viewpoint in the US, where your right to express yourself is protected, in other parts of the world there is no such protection. There isn't any mechanism for political action for ordinary citizens in the Middle East. You have to wait for the King or the Dictator to die or be overthrown. For them, it really sucks to marginalized.

    Saudi Arabia, for example, is an absolute monarchy. If we are to take bin Laden at his word, his main interest has been in removing the Saudi regime from Mecca and the Arabian peninsula. That ambition was foundered after 1991 when US troops were quartered in Riyadh and other locations on Saudi Arabian soil. So from that point forward it became his goal to make it impossible for us to stay there. If he had decided to become a protestor for peace and democratic rights in the Middle East, I would say all the power to him. But instead he decided that killing US troops and innocent civilians would be better, and that path, my friends, was his choice. This is as far as I will go in terms of 'rationalizing' his actions: in my view, bin Laden is the product of an environment which allows for no democratic mechanism for political change. That is not to say, however, that terrorism was the only, or even the best option...

    Money knows no language and opens all the doors.

    You hit the nail right on the head. Money is the most powerful 'stealth' weapon of all time.



    Very good points (3.00 / 2) (#44)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 01:33:04 PM EST

    Thanks for your response. And I really don't mind being marginalized for my views. Call me an ass hole for my views, I really don't care. You are allowed that liberty just like I am. But calling folks that don't follow suit "un-American" is very wrong. That degrades from freedom of speech and debate, something I love the US for, rather than enhancing it.

    [ Parent ]
    I'd be interesting in hearing this (none / 0) (#169)
    by On Lawn on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:25:02 AM EST

    I gathered from the origional poster that a minority opinion will always consider itself squelched. As with him I've seen politically correctness thrown around as much as "unAmerican" and mostly they have been the same.

    However, as he points out it is almost always more percieved than true. I've seen many a debate here and elsewhere where a strawman was built with the sole purpose of summing up the dissenting arguments in quick on-line dismissals.

    They are different, but in the end the same the straw man is the same. It stands pointing straight at the people who made it with the accusing words "UnAmerican", or "uneducated", or "rightwing", or "leftwing" on its lips. They may be different names but the same straw man in my book. It simply means they are accusing the world of being blinded by ideology and dismissing what you are saying.

    It definately can feel that way, I know, I feel it all the time. I think the only thing that keeps me from out-and-out crying it from the roof tops is that it is a very weak arguement. It does nothing more than accuse the enemy of blindness, and name calling is probably not as effective as understanding and dealing with the issues.

    Anyway, I'd be interested in where you feel your comments have been labeled un-american. Perhaps there is something deeper in them that could help us understand the dynamics of the situation in more depth.

    [ Parent ]
    Examination of your agruments (4.80 / 10) (#38)
    by Anatta on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 12:53:59 PM EST

    Your article was well written and insightful. You offer a number of points that that are fair criticisms of the US Government's actions, however I would like to comment on a few items.

    But I will bet my left hand on Saudi Arabia never being bombed, or even considered an enemy state, due to the recent attacks.

    You're right about Saudi Arabia treating its women poorly, using corporal punishment... judiciously...,and not being all that democratic, but these actions do not make a state a terrorist sponsor. Thus far, Saudi Arabia has "done everything we asked them to do" in Colin Powell's words, which is a start. The Saudi government seems to have had no role at all in the terrorist attacks, and the US has actively gone after Saudi financial and religous groups that supported terrorism. As more of the names of Saudi clerics get identified on the recenetly-released tape, we will see how much further our government goes against Saudi Arabia. The US government hasn't attacked SA or openly criticized it because SA really hasn't done very much wrong.

    Compare the Saudi Government to the Taliban, who weren't really a government (only three countries recognized them, and all rapidly distanced themselves from the Taliban after Sept. 11), they were just a bunch of thugs in black turbans. There is clearly a significant difference between SA not allowing the US to use its military bases and the Taliban protecting, supporting, harboring, and "sponsoring" Osama Bin Laden.

    America has attacked Afghanistan, hunted for its citizens, uprooted its government, and has put in a government in its place. Now while bin Laden killing innocents does push it to being the evil, what the US has done does not necessarily deem it the good.

    Now this is rather propagandic, and not at all accurate. First off, America did indeed attack Afghanistan, however it repelled what was in reality a foreign invasion (mostly Pakistani nationals and several from Arab countries). The US government removed the invaders, reinstalled the Afghan government (much to the joy of the citizens of Afghanistan), and bought the first days peace Afghanistan has seen since before the Soviets invaded. As far as I can tell, virtually every country on earth is extremely pleased with the outcome of the US action. By the end of the campaign, the US will likely have spent many billions of dollars on laser/GPS guided smart bombs in order to avoid killing innocent citizens. There is no question that the US stands on high ground miles and miles and miles above Osama Bin Laden, who blatantly attacks civilians with an aim to massacre as many as possible, whose troops hide in populated areas and do not wear uniforms as per the Geneva convention, etc. A fair examination of the US' actions when compared Osama Bin Laden's actions clearly shows that the US unquestionably holds the moral high ground.

    I know that most of you are saying this in your minds right now. And my response is hell no. I am an American citizen. I pay my taxes, I contribute to the American society, and I voice my own opinions. All of these rights and responsibilities are mine. But that is the lesser tragedy of this world now.

    American citizens, of any descent, no longer feel they can voice their opinion unless it is in line with the bleeding red, white, and blue. Rather strange since this is the main difference between us and "them"

    But yet you just said that you feel you're an American and you criticized the government and the Red, White, and Blue. You just did what you said people couldn't do. And what happened to you? Off to the Gulag? Still typing with both hands? The fact is that you can say what you wish freely in the US (misconstrued threats to attack the Vice President notwithstanding). The problem in the US comes when one says something nonsensical (i.e. stupid) and hopes that cries of "help! I'm being repressed!" will keep others' attention away from errors in logic and fact. It doesn't work so well, and everyone from Susan Sontag through Noam Chomsky and straight to Pat Robertson has felt what happens when one says something dumb about the US' role in all of this. While some in the media may say that such people are one with the enemy, there is clearly a difference between saying things in support of OBL/the Taliban and and picking up a gun to fight for them. Anything less than that and you're still a proud American.

    Money knows no language and opens all the doors.

    Money's important, but it's not everything. The US spent a whole lot of money protecting Afghan citizens, it spent a whole lot of money attempting to feed the Afghan people (more than anyone else in the world), and it will spend a whole lot more money attempting to right the wrong that occurred Sept. 11. It didn't have to do any of that... so why did the US take such action?

    It has a moral obligation, and a rare chance to do something so obviously "good" it could not pass up taking action.
    My Music

    Protect Afghan people (none / 0) (#42)
    by svampa on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 01:27:55 PM EST

    The US spent a whole lot of money protecting Afghan citizens, it spent a whole lot of money attempting to feed the Afghan people (more than anyone else in the world), and it will spend a whole lot more money attempting to right the wrong that occurred Sept. 11. It didn't have to do any of that... so why did the US take such action?

    ??????

    When? Do you have numbers? comparations with other countries investiment?

    USA aproved a budget of $40.000 Millons for the war (I think that was the amount). Will senate aprove a budget $10.000 millions for reconstruction?

    Last thing I've heart is that USA told its Europe ally that reconstruction was a Europe bussiness.

    It's not only USA issue. Spain spent in a year $700 Millions in Bosnia war, and in 4 years has spent 245$ Millions in reconstruction. And so did international comunity. That war was to help Bosnia people, they must be praying not to be helped once again.



    [ Parent ]
    Good points (none / 0) (#47)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 01:51:59 PM EST

    The last paragraph is well stated.

    [ Parent ]
    Flag on the field -> (4.00 / 1) (#158)
    by On Lawn on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 10:16:03 PM EST

    And as far as the Afghani people being better off, you can make that judgement when you become one. But as long as you're on the opposite side of the Earth from the people you are worried about bettering, you have no right to how much of a "cruel infestation" its government is. OBL probably considers the US an infestation as well, but he has no right to criticize it (much less replace it) since he does not live here. You don't have that right towards Afghanistan.
    I do not know why you make this statement, and then applaud this one...
    It's not only USA issue. Spain spent in a year $700 Millions in Bosnia war, and in 4 years has spent 245$ Millions in reconstruction. And so did international comunity. That war was to help Bosnia people, they must be praying not to be helped once again.
    To tell one person that they cannot judge a country's contentment without being there, then applaud anothers judgement when it supports your interest is pretty much a double standard. In fact it seems to be very much like the double standard you accuse the US of having. I just thought I'd point that out.



    [ Parent ]

    Irony (2.00 / 1) (#214)
    by svampa on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 01:09:27 PM EST

    That war was to help Bosnia people, they must be praying not to be helped once again.

    I doubt international comunity helped Bosnia people. To destroy is easier than to build, 700$ M of destroying power must be balanced with at least 5000$ M, 245$ in four years is a cruel joke

    I was ironic about how Spain and the rest of involved countries helped Bosnian. Spain had no interest there, it acted under UN flag, and I doubt it was good for Bosnian people. Let me doubt when USA acts unilateraly and refuses to wait or honour UN decisions is a generouos Quijote.



    [ Parent ]
    Modern man and Myth (5.00 / 1) (#219)
    by On Lawn on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 01:01:35 AM EST

    I found three of them...

    To destroy is easier than to build, True...

    700$ M of destroying power must be balanced with at least 5000$ False...

    I don't think that becuase "it is easier to destroy than to build" that the money works out that way. For instance a Cruise missle costs between .5 and 1.2 million US dollars. That is the equivelant of 500-1000 Afghani citizens contributions to the gross national product of all of Afghanistan over a whole year! You'll generally find the trend that the destruction done by US bombs and weapons was far less monetarily than the cost of the weapon.

    Spain had no interest there, it acted under UN flag, and I doubt it was good for Bosnian people. Let me doubt when USA acts unilateraly and refuses to wait or honour UN decisions is a generouos Quijote. False, False, and False, and I'm not sure...

    Spain was not drug unwillingly into the war by the UN. The UN upheld the USA's right to bomb Afghanistan. However, after a few readings and an honest try, I have no idea what "Let me doubt when USA acts unilateraly and refuses to wait or honour UN decisions is a generouos Quijote" means.

    But... Back on topic...

    There is a conflict of interests between his two posts, and all you did was re-iterate the second side of the conflict.

    [ Parent ]

    I disagree (4.25 / 4) (#45)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 01:50:34 PM EST

    Thus far, Saudi Arabia has "done everything we asked them to do" in Colin Powell's words, which is a start.

    I am not saying SA has not cooperated with the US. I am saying that SA is involved with the terrorism such as the quote says:

    "we have known for a long time that the Saudis have been supporting and funding ... terrorist individuals" -Senator Biden on the Charlie Rose show broadcast on October 22, 2001

    And I understand that Afghanistan gets priority since that's where OBL is/was. But down the line, when all of this has passed, SA will not get any punishment. Punishment atleast for the above quote. None of its citizens will be harmed, no bombs will be dropped, and certainly its government will not be uprooted.

    In regards to your reply about my "propoganda", please read the "Good does not make Right" and my subsequent comments.

    In regards to my free speech, you are right. I still have my hands and no bullet wounds. I am just saying that while the situation hasn't changed to such drastic measures, it has changed. Changed where many people have called me un-American for my point of views, online and off. Changed where a guy talking in a gym is later questioned by the FBI.

    And I wish that "anything less than that and you're still a proud American" was true. I understand it would be hard for you to believe, but I have run across many people that would disagree with your point.

    In regards to the moral obligation, I agree fully. But what I am upset about is the fact that the US was obliged to do take such actions. Meaning this is a war on terrorism, so the US should get the terrorists and leave the countries (not including government) out of it.



    [ Parent ]
    Smotherers of debate (4.00 / 1) (#106)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:02:37 PM EST

    I understand it would be hard for you to believe, but I have run across many people that would disagree with your point.

    It is the nature of this country that such people are a loudmouthed, marginalized minority (though I'm sorry you've had to meet some of them).

    It's not so much that the times aren't somewhat desperate as that the mainstream recognizes the importance, even in desperate times, of forthright debate.

    [ Parent ]

    Permit me... (5.00 / 2) (#243)
    by chrome koran on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 12:08:35 AM EST

    to poke some holes in the Saudi Arabia comparison if you will.
    And I understand that Afghanistan gets priority since that's where OBL is/was. But down the line, when all of this has passed, SA will not get any punishment. Punishment atleast for the above quote. None of its citizens will be harmed, no bombs will be dropped, and certainly its government will not be uprooted.
    You are correct about bombs and the government being uprooted. You are correct in saying that the US will treat SA differently from the way it treated Afghanistan. However, your inference is not logical because world politics and foreign policy are not black and white as you would like to portray them. There are infinite shades of grey...

    First of all, the government that was in Afghanistan and the government in SA were miles apart in: human rights, international dialogue, global cooperation. When the diplomatic arm of a G-8 country speaks to a government holding on by its fingertips, the conversations go something like this: "This matter is not open to discussion. The entire world is convinced that bin Laden is guilty and we want him extradited to us yesterday. We aren't bringing you proof, and we aren't letting you try him there. You either do what we told you, or we are coming to get him, and when we get done, you will no longer be in power."

    The same conversation with a G-8 country goes like this: "We aren't happy about this situation at all. We were rather hoping you would cooperate with us more fully in this process. Now it looks like we aren't going to be able to ease that tariff on steel like we talked about last month..."

    The threats are still there, they just take a more conceptual tone. Threat two doesn't work against a Taliban government. It does work against more civilized regimes where the term "threat" is replaced by niceties like "negotiation." You give me this, I give you that. You block me here, I block you there.

    Trust me, SA received plenty of warning shots over their bow in the wake of September 11th. They didn't get bombs because they understand the verbal messages and respond to them. They respond: "Of course we understand the importance of this issue to your administration, and we will do everything we can to help you. If only we did not have to keep stopping people from launching attacks against Israel every day. Perhaps when the Palestinian issue is stabilized and the peace process moves forward, we can turn our attention more fully to al-Qaeda sponsors."

    Ahhhh...yes. And that my friend, is how most foreign relations work. But when all you deign to do is get up in front of a TV camera and deny that OBL is involved, then deny you know where he is, then admit you know where he is but refuse to hand him over, then deny you know again but express some willingness to look at any evidence...etc. AND when no other country in the world really likes your government to begin with. AND you really haven't got enough change to make a local phone call...THEN you get phone call number 1, and if you don't respond nicely, the next message gets delivered via supersonic fighter aircraft.

    Now, you will tell me that this isn't fair, but I will disagree with you and here's why. Country number 2 will cooperate with the will of the G-8 because it has something to lose. This is why insurance companies charge a 30 year old man with a wife and two kids less for car insurance than they charge a single 30 year old man...the former can be counted on to act in the best interest of his entire family and to act more thoughtfully and less spontaneously. Country number 1 is unpredictable and a loose cannon. It cannot be counted on to act even in its own best interest much of the time. (See Somalia.) Therefore, the rest of the world quickly gets nervous when they get aggressive, and nervous people are quicker to pull triggers and launch bombers. And that is why SA doesn't get bombed - they aren't making people nervous and they aren't thumbing their noses at the rest of the world...

    [ Parent ]

    Response (3.00 / 2) (#244)
    by ahsyed on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 02:05:01 AM EST

    I agree with you that SA and Afgh. act completely different towards the outside world. That is obviously true. That is why, like you said, Afgh. will get hit much harder than SA. But what I fail to understand is the scope of this war. War against terrorism should bring down terrorists. Bring down al Qeada and bin Laden. I also understand that funding such networks ties you to them. That is why the Taliban was removed. But wait, the Saudi government does fund terrorists. They're just not tied with those terrorists because they export oil and are "allies" to the US.

    So the message this sends to me, a laymen, is that the US will try to stop terrorism at all costs when it comes to countries it doesn't like. But it won't try at all, or even to a lesser degree, when it comes to countries it has financial ties to. And while you might be saying "Duh, that's how the world works!", I'm saying that is a wrong stance to take especially after 09.11.

    [ Parent ]
    Interesting point (none / 0) (#251)
    by On Lawn on Fri Dec 28, 2001 at 01:14:13 PM EST


    But without any examples of how SA is funding terrorism after 9-11 I can't readily support it. I'm not saying it isn't happening because you have no proof. I'm just saying I'll wait for proof before I can feel safe about accepting your position.

    [ Parent ]
    The government shares in my position (none / 0) (#253)
    by ahsyed on Fri Dec 28, 2001 at 05:32:15 PM EST

    If you read the interview's transcript, you'll see that Senator Biden believes the same as I do. He also says "we" knowing about SA's involvement with terrorists, which I would refer to as the US government knowledge of SA's involvement. So I think Mr. Biden has proof, if not the US government as well.

    [ Parent ]
    Ahhh...but (none / 0) (#256)
    by chrome koran on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 01:12:10 AM EST

    I wasn't saying the US "won't try at all" when it comes to SA...I was saying that it won't try bombing SA. It will try applying leverage behind the scenes. Such leverage might include increased/reduced backing of Ariel Sharon and his merry men, a less visible (but not reduced) US military presence in the moderate Arab world, increased sales of F-16s to SA, etc., etc.

    I do see your point and in principle I even agree somewhat. However, my point was that with countries like SA, you can apply pressure without dropping bombs. With the Taliban, there was no lever that could persuade them to act the way the G-8 wanted them to...and when no economic or political lever remains, then the bombs fall.

    [ Parent ]

    Wrong on several points (3.40 / 5) (#46)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 01:51:43 PM EST

    The US government hasn't attacked SA or openly criticized it because SA really hasn't done very much wrong.

    Whether the Saudi monarchy has done anything wrong or not is not an issue. The most brutal, oppressive, human-rights-violating regimes in the world aren't doing anything wrong from the US vantage point if they're not obstructing its interests. We know that from a historical examination of American foreign policy, Cold War and beyond.

    The US government props up the House of Saud in a reasonably symbiotic relationship. It is a continually nagging fear of the architects of American foreign policy that a virulently anti-American regime could come to power in Riyadh in the coming years, kind of like with Iran.

    Compare the Saudi Government to the Taliban, who weren't really a government (only three countries recognized them, and all rapidly distanced themselves from the Taliban after Sept. 11), they were just a bunch of thugs in black turbans. There is clearly a significant difference between SA not allowing the US to use its military bases and the Taliban protecting, supporting, harboring, and "sponsoring" Osama Bin Laden.

    It's difficult to say what the Taliban are. The univocalism of western media in portraying them makes it difficult to discern fact from fiction, but I think you're subconsciously grouping "Al Qaeda" thugs with Taliban thugs. The Taliban has many partisans throughout the Afghan population, and they did bring a measure of order to the society after the bitter fighting following Soviet withdrawal.

    Now, of course, you'll quickly point out their inhumane and psychopathic atrocities, but all of this must be kept in perspective. The most obvious example is that the House of Saud isn't any better as far as moral ground, but there are far worse regimes that commit wholesale slaughter of civilian populations on a grander scale which the US ignores, since they are irrelevant to American interests. This war is not about terrorism or defending human rights - that much should be taken for granted. Neither was Kosovo. You don't honestly think they were just looking out for the poor Albanians, do you? Anybody mildly knowledgeable about Yugoslavia will quickly point out that few 'atrocities' are so unilaterally one-sided, and dispel the cloud of lies American propaganda has erected around Milosevic's actions to portray them as a quiet Holocaust of the Albanian genome with the intention of eliminating them from the face of the Earth in a Hitler-like quest of ambition. Bzzzzt!

    The Taliban was more than a group of thugs in turbans, much as they were unpleasant. They were the functional government, administrative body. It's what Afghanistan had. I'm not saying that their political demise is a bad thing - quite the opposite is true. But keep an open mind when you are fed one-sided information about all the people they executed and their repression of women and all of that, because all of this is acceptable in some cultures to some degree and we are in no place to tell them that they're wrong (I am not equating Taliban doctrine with Afghan or Islamic culture).

    A fair examination of the US' actions when compared Osama Bin Laden's actions clearly shows that the US unquestionably holds the moral high ground.

    That's culturally and practically subjective. See above about Taliban.

    Anything less than that and you're still a proud American.

    Not according to Mr. Ashcroft.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Good points valeko (4.33 / 3) (#49)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:01:41 PM EST

    I would like to add on to valeko's last point: "Not according to Mr. Ashcroft."

    If we were all equally American, me being targeted for being a Arab Muslim would not be allowed. That is clearly not the case since Muslim charaties are being shut down in relation to Osama bin Laden and new laws are passed asking for Arab Muslim "volunteers" to be questioned by local police.

    Why weren't middle class white males profiled (so much so that new monitoring laws were passed) after Mr. Koresh, Mr. McVeigh, and Mr. Kazinski? Why did their religions and ethnicity not precede their names?

    [ Parent ]
    What you just said does not make sense. (4.00 / 4) (#67)
    by dogeye on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:52:03 PM EST

    It is impossible to profile the majority.

    Not all Muslim charities are being shut down - only those who the government believes has contributed to Usama bin Laden and his crew.

    Mr. Koresh's religion was an issue in the story, as the entire problem was related to his cult.

    When people kill in the name of a religion, especially one which people in the United States don't understand, of course their religion will become an important subject of conversation.

    I don't believe you made one rational point in that whole paragraph. It sounds like you are too emotionally attached to apply logic to this situation.

    [ Parent ]

    Response (none / 0) (#74)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:09:01 PM EST

    I agree with what you said about profiling the majority and the charaties contributing to OBL, good points. I do not agree with the religious aspect, though. If you are saying that only the MO of the crime (in this case Islam) gets attached onto the criminal, how come the other MOs are not represented for those three men rather than just being side columns? In that light, why wasn't Hitler considered a "Catholic fundamentalist"?

    [ Parent ]
    Catholic? (none / 0) (#78)
    by jasonab on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:17:54 PM EST

    In that light, why wasn't Hitler considered a "Catholic fundamentalist"?
    Probably because he wasn't Catholic. He was a wacked-out mystic, but he didn't subscribe to any particular religion.

    [ Parent ]
    Response (none / 0) (#80)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:24:41 PM EST

    He was raised Roman Catholic and wanted to create a united Protestant Church in Germany to fit his "single allegiance" standard. That is what I remember reading about him and will try to find a reference.

    Regardless, let's try "Christian fundamentalist" in the mean time.

    [ Parent ]
    HItler didn't fight for Christianity (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by jasonab on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:47:24 PM EST

    I don't remember anything about his desire for a united church. He killed several clergy who were against him, in fact. He may have wanted to create a single church in the same way that China does, but I don't think that makes him Christian.

    More importantly, he wasn't claimed or supported by any Christian sect. ObL claims to be a Muslim, is supported by many Muslim clergy, and has many, many Muslim sympathizers who hold him up as a model Muslim. Hitler could claim none of those things. He never claimed to be waging a war for Christianity, he never appealed to Christianity to support his views, and he was not seen as a symbol of Christianity.

    [ Parent ]

    OBL is not a Muslim (4.00 / 1) (#92)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 04:18:54 PM EST

    What OBL practices is not Islam. Killing of innocent people is not tolerated by Islam. And those who support him follow the same drum. Even the news media is starting to seperate Islam from what OBL practices.

    That is my point that OBL is as close to Islam as Hitler is to Christianity. Yet Islam is always related to OBL, and Christianity is never related to Hitler.

    And while Hitler never claimed to be fighting for Christianity, religion was the MO. And as the previous comment said, OBL is related to Islam because that is his MO. Why should Hitler not be a part of the same?

    [ Parent ]
    He's not, but many think he is (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by jasonab on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 05:01:45 PM EST

    That is my point that OBL is as close to Islam as Hitler is to Christianity. Yet Islam is always related to OBL, and Christianity is never related to Hitler.
    I agree that ObL is not a Muslim, and that what he does is not true Islam.

    That being said, many Muslim clerics openly support him and build him up as a great Muslim. Many Muslims claim him as their own, especially from Pakistan. Hitler was never claimed by any Christian sect, while ObL is supported by many Muslims in the name of Islam.

    [ Parent ]

    Let's put it this way (4.00 / 1) (#130)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:14:28 PM EST

    Those clerics and people who support OBL are not inherently Muslims. Just because they add that title to themselves does not make them one. Being claimed under by a faith does not mean you are of that faith. Religion is all in how you practice, and not who you know. Muslims by the definition of the word follow the Quran. These men do not. So in that sense, I withdraw my Hitler comparison. He is not of Christianity either.

    [ Parent ]
    Killing in the name of religion (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:09:02 PM EST

    When people kill in the name of a religion, especially one which people in the United States don't understand, of course their religion will become an important subject of conversation.

    If some nutcase you'd never met killed hundreds of people and left a note saying "I did it all for dogeye," would it be appropriate for people to start "debating" whether you, dogeye, support mass murder, in effect taking the murderer at his word?

    Because OBL wraps his homicidal, conscienceless quest for personal power in a cloak of Islam does not make it Islamic.

    [ Parent ]

    I am? (4.50 / 2) (#64)
    by Anatta on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:46:28 PM EST

    The most brutal, oppressive, human-rights-violating regimes in the world aren't doing anything wrong from the US vantage point if they're not obstructing its interests.

    That's not fair, nor is it accurate. The rest of the world considers the US to sometimes be interventionist, sometimes isolationist, and most always unilateralist (when it does something they don't want it to do). Rwanda is a prime example of the US trying to do something "good" without the support of its people, failing, leaving, and getting blamed for the atrocities. The bottom line is that the US gets yelled at by some country no matter what it does. Yes, it acts in its own interests (as it should), but it also frequently attempts to remedy problems. If, before Sept. 11, we were to invade Saudi Arabia in an attempt to fix the social problems there, I have no doubt that the international media would call the US interventionist, the US would not be acting for the people of SA, the US would be uncivilized for not appreciating the unique culture of SA, etc. The US will never silence its critics until it is no longer a superpower and nobody cares about it anymore.

    The Taliban has many partisans throughout the Afghan population, and they did bring a measure of order to the society after the bitter fighting following Soviet withdrawal.

    This is true, but they supported al Qaida, which makes them our enemy, simple as that. As the Taliban occupation crumbles, it is becoming clear that there were moderate factions within the Taliban, and they are likely to be represented in the new government of Afghanistan.

    This war is not about terrorism or defending human rights - that much should be taken for granted.

    I don't know why I even bother to ask, but I will... what, pray tell, was it about, then?

    You don't honestly think they were just looking out for the poor Albanians, do you? Anybody mildly knowledgeable about Yugoslavia will quickly point out that few 'atrocities' are so unilaterally one-sided, and dispel the cloud of lies American propaganda has erected around Milosevic's actions to portray them as a quiet Holocaust of the Albanian genome with the intention of eliminating them from the face of the Earth in a Hitler-like quest of ambition. Bzzzzt!

    Well perhaps I am not even "mildly knowledgable" about Yugoslavia, but I do know something about a religious war dating back to the 13th century between what are now the Albanians and the Serbs... 7 centuries of hate and war might be a clue as to where the ethnic clensing came from... and while it is obvious that Milosevic did not have the same grand designs as Hitler, it was also obvious that events on June 28, 1914 in a similar area led to a conflict that the world would not want to see again... so the US was forced to put a stop to it. But again, I guess I'm only "mildly knowledgable."

    They were the functional government, administrative body. It's what Afghanistan had.

    If you want to spin it that way, you could. To the average Afghan, the Taliban certainly were the government. In the grander scheme of world politics and interaction between nations, the Taliban most certainly were not recognized, and in this case, it was the world's view that mattered.

    But keep an open mind when you are fed one-sided information about all the people they executed and their repression of women and all of that, because all of this is acceptable in some cultures to some degree and we are in no place to tell them that they're wrong (I am not equating Taliban doctrine with Afghan or Islamic culture).

    Here is where we truly disagree. I reserve the right to tell a group of people involved in skinning people, wholescale brutality and murder, possibly even genocide that they're just not as good as the rest of the world. Call me a crazy conservative, but I reserve the right to say that we're better. We're not perfect, to be sure, but we're lightyears beyond the Taliban. Moral relativism be damned, a "government" happy to string up people in prison without any charges, rape, torture, skin alive, and murder just isn't as good as the governments of the West (or the East, or the South, or anybody). The whole point of "civilization" is that it's better than uncivilization. You may think it's acceptable here, but it isn't. Some silly feminists may argue that bathing suits are the same as burquas, but they're not. You may want to believe that John Ashcroft is a Talib, but he's not.

    [In reference to the US being better than OBL and the Taliban] That's culturally and practically subjective.

    No, it's not. It simply isn't culturally subjective. It's as objective as 2 is greater than 1. Unless one makes up fantasies of Jewish conspiracies, the secret undercover Mossad agents, or the Illuminati, it is obvious that the ones who don't target civilians, who follow the rules of war, who attempt to avoid innocent deaths are better than the ones who target civilians, ignore rules of war, and thank "God" for giving them the ability to kill as many innocents as possible.
    My Music
    [ Parent ]

    Yep - you most certainly are. (none / 0) (#88)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:59:14 PM EST

    This is true, but they supported al Qaida, which makes them our enemy, simple as that.

    Who supported al-Qaeda?

    To what extent the Afghan population supported al-Qaeda is difficult to assertain, and in any case, it is not the US's job to do that by any standard.

    Well perhaps I am not even "mildly knowledgable" about Yugoslavia, but I do know something about a religious war dating back to the 13th century between what are now the Albanians and the Serbs... 7 centuries of hate and war might be a clue as to where the ethnic clensing came from.

    I'm not sure whether you got my point: the "ethnic cleansing" is not unilateral. Ask the Serbs that are now being harassed by the empowered Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) whether either party is more guilty than the other throughout history of waging war on each other. Ask Macedonians, who were under assault from Albanian rebels no doubt empowered by aid to the KLA nextdoor, if Albanians are justified in laying siege to their towns.

    it was also obvious that events on June 28, 1914 in a similar area led to a conflict that the world would not want to see again... so the US was forced to put a stop to it.

    So, let me see if I got this straight; the US singlehandedly went in and won ("was forced to put a stop to") World War I for everyone? Heh... thanks for playing!

    the Taliban most certainly were not recognized, and in this case, it was the world's view that mattered.

    Who are you to determine what mattered? Your so-called world view isn't what mattered to Afghans.

    Here is where we truly disagree. I reserve the right to tell a group of people involved in skinning people, wholescale brutality and murder, possibly even genocide that they're just not as good as the rest of the world. Call me a crazy conservative, but I reserve the right to say that we're better.

    I think you misunderstood; I wasn't saying that since genocide and wholesale murder are culturally subjective rituals, we should leave other cultures that practise these things alone. But yeah, tell them what you think all you like.

    I was referring to the one-sided portrayal of "gender apartheid" and other such peculiar institutions in Saudi Arabia, for example, as being capital crimes and atrocities. Maybe the cultural context doesn't agree with your notion that women are entitled to full civil rights, working anywhere they please, and in general venturing outside the domain of the household. Things like that need to be put into perspective, not killing.

    Moral relativism be damned, a "government" happy to string up people in prison without any charges, rape, torture, skin alive, and murder just isn't as good as the governments of the West (or the East, or the South, or anybody's.

    I emphasise my complete agreement. At no time did I say otherwise.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    read it again (none / 0) (#90)
    by spacejack on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 04:07:51 PM EST

    it was also obvious that events on June 28, 1914 in a similar area led to a conflict that the world would not want to see again... so the US was forced to put a stop to it.

    So, let me see if I got this straight; the US singlehandedly went in and won ("was forced to put a stop to") World War I for everyone? Heh... thanks for playing!


    I think you're selectively misreading a lot of Anatta's comments...

    [ Parent ]
    Oops (4.50 / 2) (#141)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:10:29 PM EST

    Rwanda is a prime example of the US trying to do something "good" without the support of its people, failing, leaving, and getting blamed for the atrocities.

    No, that's Somalia; Rwanda is the one where we didn't even try.

    [ Parent ]

    Lies! All lies! (4.00 / 1) (#109)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:12:50 PM EST

    dispel the cloud of lies American propaganda has erected around Milosevic's actions to portray them as a quiet Holocaust of the Albanian genome

    I think anyone who actually lived in Bosnia or Kosovo might take a different view.

    [ Parent ]

    Milosevic (none / 0) (#110)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:20:36 PM EST

    There is no question that Serbia under Milosevic has committed many atrocities - although most certainly lacking the grandeur of Hitler's ambitions.

    My main emphasis was that the other sides, including organisations like the KLA, aren't guilt-free oppressed ethnicities in a Milosevic Holocaust. That's not the way it works. And either way, the US was not intervening just to help the poor Albanians of Kosovo - it was a great opportunity expand hegemony into the interior of Eastern Europe, once the last bastion opposing vigourous NATO expansion into Eastern Europe has been eliminated.

    But here is one interesting article about Bosnia evidence that you mentioned, and another dealing with the KLA.

    No, I do not rely on Emperors' Clothes for an infallable stream of accurate information. Those are just the first two articles that came to mind which articulate the general issues at hand.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    While they may in fact have distorted (none / 0) (#133)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:21:14 PM EST

    ...even without distortion it would have been a pretty grim picture.

    [ Parent ]

    How much better are we? (none / 0) (#168)
    by On Lawn on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:10:48 AM EST

    But keep an open mind when you are fed one-sided information about all the people they executed and their repression of women and all of that, because all of this is acceptable in some cultures to some degree and we are in no place to tell them that they're wrong (I am not equating Taliban doctrine with Afghan or Islamic culture).

    I agree with that sentiment. If it weren't for the Taliban and the Northern Alliance before hand, and the USSR before that, I doubt Afghanistan would have gotten very serious about self governance. I hope they follow in the footsteps of Hungary.

    Autonomy of world states is something I support a lot. Intervening in that is always messy buisness, which is why I understand that the USA doesn't want to do anything unless it is directly and negatively impacted. Even then I think its played bully to often and to the detriment of too many innocents.

    But I don't find the Taliban to be such a case. To quote Blaire "Surrender bin Laden or surrender power" was the challenge. This was not "yeild to human rights that we tell you or surrender power." Honestly, I find their dog-eared attempts to stall his surrender to be opportunistic in the worst sense of the word.

    We learn from John Walker that the Al Queda network funded many of the Taliban's troups. We've learned that Al Queda members made up many of the top positions on the Taliban Military. So when they said "We will die before we surrender bin Laden" a few weeks after the US showed Pakistan the evidence that the Taliban had origionaly requested, it was easy to see that they were pawns of a more insidious enemy.

    The Taliban and Al Queda were like the US Military and Secret Service, both branches of the same beast in my eyes. You had to take down one to get to the other. One openly tried to defend the other with its life.

    But attrocities are the more part what we hear these days. Indeed it gives me a warm comforting feeling to know that people are dancing in the streets, playing football, listening to music and watching TV. I'm happy that they seem to be pleased with the overthrowing of the Taliban and the supplanting of the (to them) foreign arab invaders.

    However, that was never the main reason for doing anything. The USA has been very upright and honest that it had its own security interests at heart, and for the most part the world agreed and supported the action to varying degrees.

    I hope the USA can feel confident that it can come out in the open with more of its interests, without being picked at by armchair commentators like a teenager scolded by parents.

    Sometimes I feel like such pundits are more like adolescents who simply hate and pick at any authority. Probably a more accurate analogy for these pundits are parents. I hope I don't lose you in this anaology where the government is like a child and we the people are its parents. It is so contradictory to how we see things since we percieve the government as so much more powerful than its people.

    However I believe in the founding fathers that mention that a government has no power that the people do not give it. I see "we the people" have become so entrenched in a particular ideology that we lose sight that the government is like a child --a continual work in progress. We get so caught up in the morality of our own making that we feel we have to force it on our child government in every turn.

    Of course, just like a teenager feeling its way through life, often a government can never tell before hand if you did the right thing. That is what makes politics and leadership so difficult. We will have to see how History judges this global escapade, but I'm feel confident that it was the right thing to do.

    I just hope however we judge things that we are peaceful, sure and helpful in our corrective measures.

    I guess that if I were to encapsulate this message, it would be thus. Afghanistan I hope has learned its lesson that it needs to do more than shout at its government and take up arms against it. I hope the Americans do not forget that same thing.

    [ Parent ]

    War, what is it good for ? (4.00 / 2) (#124)
    by mvsgeek on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:59:00 PM EST

    There is no question that the US stands on high ground miles and miles and miles above Osama Bin Laden, who blatantly attacks civilians with an aim to massacre as many as possible, whose troops hide in populated areas and do not wear uniforms as per the Geneva convention, etc. A fair examination of the US' actions when compared Osama Bin Laden's actions clearly shows that the US unquestionably holds the moral high ground.

    For fear of getting caught up in a drawn out diatribe about moral relativism, I'll ignore the choice of the word "fair".
    There is no moral highground in war. Propaganda may lead you to believe that there is, but chivalry (or bushido, as I prefer) has been dead for a long time. The difference between bombing civilians of an enemy state and bombing military installations is usually obfuscated (think Dresden), and often the result of personal decisions (of fighting [wo]men) rather than state sanctionned rules of war.
    While it may not be legal (because of the Geneva convention) for a state to purposely target elementary schools, it would be unrealistically laughable to think that elementary schools have not been destroyed during wars.
    Maybe I'm mistaken in my interpretation of armed conflict (and maybe my years as a soldier were based only on vapid philosophy), but as far as I know the objective of a war is to win it. All the sugar coating and Geneva conventions we want sprinkle on top of that statement is hypocritical and propagandist.
    I'm not a peacenik, I don't think live and let live works all the time, but before we start talking about being "better" morally or otherwise, let's get real here:
    There's nothing chivalrous about crashing planes into civilian buildings, but there's nothing chivalrous about bombing guys holding 1940's assault rifles with a space-age fuel air bomb either.
    The objective on both sides is to win the war, and this will be achieved by any means necessary.
    - mvsgeek
    [ Parent ]
    Not entirely (4.50 / 2) (#132)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:20:27 PM EST

    I agree that our options are limited - but in these technologically developed days, humanity just can't afford the rhetoric of unlimited war.

    [ Parent ]

    Conflicts In Argument (4.77 / 9) (#58)
    by ajkohn on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:32:07 PM EST

    Certainly there are some serious issues surrounding Saudia Arabia. Ugly issues. But I find it interesting that you seem dissatisfied that the US has not taken action against Saudia Arabia and then argue that US involvement in Afghanistan is akin to meddling.

    This seems to be a recurring theme in many posts here, where arguments are made for the US to do more, but then be called imperialistic, and then when not taking action, being called amoral self-serving capitalists.

    That aside, the attack on 9/11 was aimed solidly at civilians. This seems to be widely held as an evil act. Even Pearl Harbor was an attack on a military installation, and thus, in my opinion, less evil and more a ruthless tactic in that war.

    The response to the 9/11attack led first to the area in which OBL was sheltered. This happened to be Afghanistan. If he had been in Saudia Arabia, things might have gone differently, but ifs are a game best played by the media and those willing to give in to conjecture.

    The Taliban refused to turn over OBL and the US intention was made crystal clear. The US attacked military targets (though admittedly there have been mistakes as in any war effort) and the civilian damage has been, to my knowledge, tremendously less then the loss of life to those in the WTC. And let us remember that that attack on 9/11 killed not just US citizens but people from many, many nations.

    As for the Afghan government. It was a cruel infestation in that country, not acknowleged as the rightful government by most of the world. I don't see the great loss by toppling the Taliban. Are the Afghan people worse or better off for it? And which country, even before the attack spent the most on humanitarian aide to Afghanistan? Yes, the US.

    As for dissenting opinions. Once again there is this odd conflict in your argument. You are not allowed to voice a dissenting opinion yet that is exactly what you are doing unfettered. Days after the bombing a group of people were in Berkeley urging the US not to wage war in response. These people walk the streets freely. Opposing opinions may not be popular, may be received poorly by many in their grief and anger, but don't confuse this with the inability to voice them. Even visits by our over-zealous FBI haven't caused Lee Maletesta to cease posting, or the guy from the gym from living his life.

    Do I think these visits are scary, and often misguided? Yes. Do I agree with detaining numerous individuals with flimsy cause? No. Do I believe that we are treading on an errosion of civil liberties? Yes. Is this worrisome. Hell yes! But the fact that these are being debated in public forums should be some comfort.


    "Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

    Hmm. (4.00 / 3) (#62)
    by kitten on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:39:18 PM EST

    That aside, the attack on 9/11 was aimed solidly at civilians.

    I was not aware that the Pentagon was a civilian installation.


    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    Response (3.00 / 1) (#70)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:56:45 PM EST

    Either way, what the author of the comment holds true.

    [ Parent ]
    Errr, response2 (3.00 / 1) (#71)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:57:31 PM EST

    Either way, what the author said holds true.

    [ Parent ]
    Were you aware ... (none / 0) (#135)
    by ajkohn on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:31:23 PM EST

    that the World Trade Center was not a military installation?

    Yeah, I believe you do, just like I understand what the Pentagon is as well, having lived right next to it in Crystal City at one point in time.

    Why am I even responding to th-


    "Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
    [ Parent ]

    Hey. (none / 0) (#167)
    by kitten on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 01:27:07 AM EST

    All I'm saying is that the attack was not aimed "solidly" at civilians.

    Yes, the majority of casualties were civilians, and the biggest attack was on a civilian target, but the fact is that a government military installation was attacked also, which does make a difference.


    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    Response (3.00 / 2) (#69)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:55:33 PM EST

    My interests are not conflicted. My point is that the US should set out to do one or the other:
    - get terrorists and leave their countries be
    or
    - get terrorists and liberate their countries

    If the US chooses to do the first, I object to what they are doing in Afghanistan. If the US chooses to do the second, I want them to free Saudi women and men. In either case, no Saudi citizen has been taken from SA even though it is considered to be a state that funds terrorists (read quote).

    I personally would prefer the US use the first option, but that is not my decision. I am just saying that whatever they decide, it should be applied to all countries and not exclude those with generous oil supplies and include those that blow up Bhuddist statues.

    And like I have said in my previous posts, I fully understand why Afghanistan was number one on the list. I am arguing for why Saudi Arabia is not even on that list of countries that harbor terrorists.

    And as far as the Afghani people being better off, you can make that judgement when you become one. But as long as you're on the opposite side of the Earth from the people you are worried about bettering, you have no right to how much of a "cruel infestation" its government is. OBL probably considers the US an infestation as well, but he has no right to criticize it (much less replace it) since he does not live here. You don't have that right towards Afghanistan.

    Also as I said before, I am not saying I am not allowed to voice my opinions. As you stated, that is clearly not the case. I am only saying that I should not be deemed un-American for doing so. And believe me, I have been deemed un-American plenty of times.

    [ Parent ]
    Follow up (4.00 / 2) (#137)
    by ajkohn on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:53:13 PM EST

    I understand what you are saying, but I just don't think it's that simple. What you may view as a terrorist may not be viewed as such by the current 'government' in that country. Or the terrorists might essentially run the country, and when removed may lead to a vaccuum of power - generally a bad situation.

    When dealing with so many variables I don't think it is easy to make a blanket foreign policy.

    Saudia Arabia is certainly an interesting situation. They are an ally of convenience, an ally in which the US overlooks great ugliness. Is this a situation in which they believe it is better to keep them close as allies rather then push them away as enemies? That by using this relationship they seek to protect interests in that area of the world? Perhaps. I'm not in on those meetings. Suffice to say it is troublesome, but global politics is rife with compromise.

    As for not having the right to comment since I'm not Afgahni, I'll give you that to a point. Perhaps they preferred it better then before. It doesn't seem that way to me, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt that I'm not there, and haven't spoken to any Afghanis about it. Though one must be able to attach some subjective assessment to these situations. If not, then your outrage at how Saudia Arabia is governed should be quite neutral as well. Perhaps everyone there likes it the way it is?

    Hey, as for being seen as un-American or un-patriotic ... well, it happens from time to time to a number of us. McCarthy era, even people like myself being shouted down while trying to tell someone why a Constitutional amendment against flag burning was idiocy.

    Insults from idiots should be taken as compliments is my advice. Many Americans are far too reactionary and suddenly wave the flag and bristle at the slightest thing. Give it some time and the masses will be sedate again with some new TV show and true discourse can be had without such backlash.


    "Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
    [ Parent ]

    I agree mostly (3.00 / 1) (#200)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 06:09:45 PM EST

    Most of your response I agree with. The part about Saudi Arabia I'll respond to. I am not asking for the US government to liberate the Saudi people. What I am saying is that if this was a war on terrorism, why are not the terrorists living in Saudi Arabia brought to justice? As the quote said, the US government has known about Saudi terrorists and have led no attacks towards those terrorists.

    That is what led me to my belief that since Saudi has oil, and is financially attached to the US, this will never happen. Even though that country has terrorists and continues to fund them (as the quote says).

    [ Parent ]
    Principle (4.00 / 1) (#140)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:10:00 PM EST

    My point is that the US should set out to do one or the other:

    1. get terrorists and leave their countries be or
    2. get terrorists and liberate their countries

    If the US chooses to do the first, I object to what they are doing in Afghanistan. If the US chooses to do the second, I want them to free Saudi women and men. In either case, no Saudi citizen has been taken from SA even though it is considered to be a state that funds terrorists (read quote).

    I admire your inclination and ability to outline principles and your refusal to compromise them.

    What the US is doing right now is, at best, a compromise between any kind of principle and comparatively ugly realities which say that (1) is impossible and broader application of (2) impractical.

    Still, it's way too easy to cast off principle entirely and plunge wholeheartedly into the crimes of unrestrained pragmatism. That may even be a greater danger to us than the attacks themselves - it threatens, not our bodies, but our national soul.

    [ Parent ]

    Contradictory comments (4.00 / 2) (#85)
    by svampa on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:48:47 PM EST

    There are a lot of countries with evil government

    Sometimes USA helps rebels to change the government
    Other times it is ally of the evil government
    Other times it helps rebels against democratic elected government
    Other times it helps exchange an evil gov for another
    And a lot of times USA doesn't help nor government nor rebels, just ignores them

    When you see those anti-american comments, you don't have to see they ask USA to help other countries. They just say that the whole picture of how USA chooses to support rebels or government or just decides not to interfere shows a pattern. It has nothing to do with freedom or democracy, has to do with USA interests

    You may agree or not. But don't misunderstand them, they are not contradictory arguments. they are trying to prove that USA foregin policy is searching its own interest, because if it's searching freedom and democracy in the world it's a quite contradictory policy.

    [ Parent ]

    Ummm.... (4.00 / 1) (#236)
    by chrome koran on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 07:59:00 PM EST

    ...that USA foregin [sic] policy is searching its own interest...

    Wouldn't that be the definition of foreign policy? What government/country/organization does not conduct foreign policy in its own best interest? That may be the most naive thing I have ever read...

    [ Parent ]

    problem is (none / 0) (#265)
    by linca on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 09:58:06 AM EST

    That America is not saying, "We are waging war because it is our own interest"
    America is saying "Freedom is attacked! We must defend it!"
    It is saying "Osama ben Laden is Evil! We are Good and divinely inspired!"

    If America is acting in its own interest, so OBL was doing on the 11th of september. In your point of view, those attacks were legitimate?

    [ Parent ]
    There is no 'Right' and 'Wrong' - its all Culture. (1.08 / 24) (#60)
    by Phillip Asheo on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 02:38:01 PM EST

    You cannot tell me that the Saudi's are 'worse' than the Americans in their treatment of women. America has the largest pornography industry in the world, and therefore is the greater exploiter.

    As for you being rational, you are not. You say you are a Muslim. This means that you believe in a God. Which means you have made what is known as a 'leap of faith'. Whilst not criticising your choice of beliefs, to label them 'rational' is hardly credible. You believe in something without any evidence.

    The real problem is that Islam has not been brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century. It still has this totalitarian approach and is highly critical of non-Muslims, who form the vast majority on this planet. If Islam is to survive, it needs to moderate its approach, become less antagonistic to the kaffirs, and then it may just be allowed to survive. Otherwise the vast majority of non-muslims in the world will slowly but surely turn against Islam.

    What could be a worse advert for the Muslim faith than the September 11th incident ?

    Islam is attempting to take over the world and form a global Khalifate where Muslims rule over non-muslims and persecute them according the rules the Koran lays down.

    The majority of non-Muslims will NEVER allow this to happen. Therefore, the Muslim will forever be at war with the rest of the world.

    I think it shows amazing tolerance on behalf of the US government that it has not outlawed Islam. Such a dangerous ideology should not be allowed to propagate itself, lest there be any more Islamic attacks like the one on Sept 11th.

    Reading between the lines, Bush called the War on Terrorism a "Crusade". This was a very deliberate choice of words, and those who know about these things understand what he was saying.

    He was forced to retract that statement, but the message had already been sent.

    Its Holy War, another Crusade, and Christianity will win this one too.

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long

    Really now...(I'll bite) (4.50 / 2) (#81)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:32:56 PM EST

    The real problem is that Islam has not been brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

    Who are you to dictate to Muslims the characteristics of a religion and following that has been brought into the 21st century, or define the parameters of the 21th century for them? This demonstrates that you have a painfully narrow grasp of cultural relativity.

    It still has this totalitarian approach

    How do you know? Where do you get such outlandish information? A religion is a religion - I don't think you can necessarily map the social structure it endorses (or for that matter, how its followers interpret this doctrine) to definitions of 'totalitarianism' or anything else.

    and is highly critical of non-Muslims, who form the vast majority on this planet.

    That's certainly not unique to Islam, and is a characteristic of THE FOLLOWERS of many theistic religions. Probably not the religions themselves, because even though the teachings of said religions may encourage active attempts to seek converts, it's still up to the followers to act according to a fundamentalist or benign interpretation of them. This is demonstrated by the contrast of militantly evangelistic Protestant sects (or more correctly, their individual adherents) with the status quo in the US. Do you really think all Muslims in the world view everyone outside of themselves as evil infidels who should be eliminated in a great apocalyptic jihad?

    Otherwise the vast majority of non-muslims in the world will slowly but surely turn against Islam.

    Where do you get this prognosis? Many would argue that world opinion has already been turned against Islam as the peak during the Crusades, for example.

    What could be a worse advert for the Muslim faith than the September 11th incident ?

    I wasn't under the impression that Sep 11 was an "advert" for the Muslim faith, although I can see where you're coming from if what you're trying to say is that many naive, ignorant people will see it that way.

    Islam is attempting to take over the world and form a global Khalifate where Muslims rule over non-muslims and persecute them according the rules the Koran lays down.

    It is? *looks around* ... didn't notice. Well, sure, those radical fundamentalists register a blip, but they aren't exactly representative of the broad goals of all Muslims. I think you're a bit quick to indict the entire following of Islam there, the vast majority of which doesn't want anything to do with you to the extent that they have no interest in any kind of consoliderated world Caliphate.

    I think it shows amazing tolerance on behalf of the US government that it has not outlawed Islam.

    Really now? Well, if that's how the US functioned as a society, it would doubtless not exist right now.

    Again, you're attempting to construe the perpetrators of September 11th as representative of the goals of Islam. "Islamic attacks"? You really think that the following of Islam has perpetrated this attack, not an extremely narrow group of imposters who claim to follow a twisted, if "fundamental", interpretation of the Qur'an?

    Sounds like you don't know shit about Islam.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Sounds like you don't know shit about Islam. (none / 0) (#114)
    by Phillip Asheo on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:29:11 PM EST

    Au contraire. I know quite a LOT about Islam, which is why unlike most Americans I am not about to fall for GW's 'Islam is peace' BS. Islam is a militant expansionist sexist totalitarian political ideology combined with religious justification. It is just about the most violent religion there is. Anyone who says otherwise is simply lying to you.

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long
    [ Parent ]

    Most violent religion there is! (4.00 / 2) (#121)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:52:33 PM EST

    First, I have looked over your "atheist" websites and links briefly, and am profoundly under the impression that just as Islamic extremists have given Islam such a woefully bad name in the United States and elsewhere, you and your narrow-minded dogma have likewise misrepresented atheism. I consider myself an atheist as well, but not your kind of atheist.

    The dictionary defines an atheist as "one who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods", not someone who abusively denounces certain religions as a threat to civilisation and demands that their adherents be subdued.

    On the subject of expansionism, I've met some wonderful folks of various Protestant denominations that worry me a lot more with their expansionist/apocalyptic holy war agenda a lot more than radical Muslims do. I think that nearly every theistic religion has something in its teachings about spreading its respective gospel in a peaceful, nonimposing way to others. The choice to mark non-adherents as evil infidels/heathen is made by the reader of the Qur'an or the Bible, not the teachings themselves. I don't think that the expansionist agendas of some radical Muslims are representative of Islam, which by and large is a tolerant religion. That some radicals have hijacked its teachings for their own purposes, and that even some regimes have twisted its teachings into intolerance is true. This understanding needs to be separated from the institution of Islam itself, and the ambitions of most of its regular followers.

    The question isn't whether to believe Mr. Bush, and by defending the legitimacy of Islam I am not supporting or opposing him.

    But you need to get in touch with reality. It is well that the supply of extremists such as yourself on all poles of religious affeliation - Islam, Christianity, and everything else - is relatively small.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    You probably know more than a Muslim too (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:54:16 PM EST

    Well, let's put Islamic knowledge aside for a second. Because all 1.6 billion of us Muslims are going to be attacking soon. And why haven't we been attacking you infidels before? Oh, we were on break and forgot to read the Quran as well as you and the folks at about.com. NOW that the secret's out, we can strike.

    Give me a break.

    [ Parent ]
    Learn Islam (none / 0) (#173)
    by oiarsun on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 04:23:27 AM EST

    There is one and only reference when you are talking about Islam, the holy book Quran. Unlike the Bible, there is only a single version of Quran, and is more or less exactly all God's words.

    My advice to your sick and primitive mind would be that you get a copy of the Quran and try reading it.

    It may be hard for you to read a book, as I can derive from your words that you didn't read anything since grade school ('Christians won the crusade').

    As I said, your post was the most vile thing I've read in a long time. You are a bigot, the kind that makes me scared to walk alone at night. (reference: Lai Lai Boy)

    [ Parent ]
    I wouldn't flaunt that (3.00 / 1) (#86)
    by decaf_dude on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:56:02 PM EST

    Don't forget that the last Crusades resulted in creation of the great Islamic empire, after conquest of Jerusalem by a Muslim fella called Saladin (gotta love that Discovery Special!). His empire was succeeded by another Muslim empire - Ottoman.

    Is that what you really want from this campaign, a succession of powerful Muslim empires? Last Crusades were a fuck-up, all they managed to do was to consolidate Muslims into a single, powerful bloc.

    --
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


    [ Parent ]
    Its Holy War, another Crusade.... (5.00 / 4) (#89)
    by Lai Lai Boy on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 04:03:23 PM EST

    I haven't logged into K5 for a long time and I haven't commented in a longer time, but the pure vileness of this post forced me into doing so.

    As for you being rational, you are not. You say you are a Muslim.
    His belief in one god or many gods doesn't change his argument. Your use of it to bolster you argument is weak.

    In history Islam has had its times of tolerance (Christains and Jews welcomed Muslims as better rulers than the natives in many places) and many Muslim rulers in India melded Eastern and Islamic thought (Sufism) and did much to bring the two people together (Akbhar, for example). I am a child of this cultural crossroads; while religiously Muslim, I have been steeped in Bangladeshi culture, (everything from my mother's saris to Bengali language and script which is very closely related to Hindi). Even in Palestine, many Jews lived in what is now Israel with the Muslims, in peace.

    Islam is attempting to take over the world and form a global Khalifate where Muslims rule over non-muslims and persecute them according the rules the Koran lays down.
    My ass. Islam is doing no such thing. Many have conjectured that Usama Bin Laden is working towards such a goal, with himself as a Caliph. To say the least, American Muslims have no wish to make the U.S.A. or any other country a "Muslim" one.

    The Qu'ran says two important things; no man can judge another on any basis; God is the only one who can do so; he knows and understands all. This includes another's religious beliefs. The other is that all people, especially people of the book (Christains and Jews - "sister religions" according to the Qu'ran) should be respected.

    I think it shows amazing tolerance on behalf of the US government that it has not outlawed Islam. Such a dangerous ideology should not be allowed to propagate itself, lest there be any more Islamic attacks like the one on Sept 11th.
    The depth of your ignorance knows no bounds. The Islam I grew up with, the Qu'ran I grew up with, preach tolerance, unlike the bigoted views you are airing here. Islam is not a cult. It's an Abrahamic religion that at its center belives the ten commandements. You are using one of the oldest tricks in the TV Evangalist book; make the enemy less than it is, a cult (The Cult of Darwinism, the Cult of Buddism) and then attack from there.

    Reading between the lines, Bush called the War on Terrorism a "Crusade". This was a very deliberate choice of words, and those who know about these things understand what he was saying.
    More likely this was a flub by the President. He is not a man known for his oratory strength. Explain his visit with Muslim children with Eid al-Fitr, if this is a holy war against Islam.

    Its Holy War, another Crusade, and Christianity will win this one too.
    Any grade school history text book will tell you that the Christain invanders lost the Crusades.

    There is a deeper meaning in your historical inaccuracy, however. The Christains lost the Crusdaes, but the wars marked a change in Europe. The nations of Europe were introduced to the rest of the world, everywhere from the Middle East to the Far East. A meeting of cultures can only benefit both.

    As I said, your post was the most vile thing I've read in a long time. You are a bigot, the kind that makes me scared to walk alone at night.

    [Posted from Mozilla Firebird]
    [ Parent ]

    I cannot believe **I'm** considered un-American (4.66 / 3) (#91)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 04:13:02 PM EST

    Our President specifically said this is not a war against Islam. He even said that Islam is a peaceful religion and Muslims should not be discriminated against. Throughout the posts, I have never claimed it to be such a war. Yet you outright say it is a Holy War, and to further the point, claim Islam to be "totalitarian" and will lose. You are doing exactly what your leader did not want you to do. Now who is truly un-American?

    [ Parent ]
    Open your eyes. (1.33 / 3) (#111)
    by Phillip Asheo on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:24:41 PM EST

    Our President specifically said this is not a war against Islam.

    Ask yourself this question. What is the religion of the people on the ground in Afghanistan being bombed from a great height ? What was the religion of the Hijackers of Sept 11th ? Because the President says something, does it follow that it is true ? Can the President only tell the truth ?

    He even said that Islam is a peaceful religion and Muslims should not be discriminated against. Unfortunately Islam is not a peaceful religion, it is quite war-like in lots of ways. It is also one of the most discriminatory religions there is. Did you know that the term 'kaffir' used by white South African racists to describe black people originated from the Islamic practice of calling the non-believers 'kuffir' ? Did you know that non-Muslims are BANNED from the holy cities of Makkah and Medina, and there is a sort of hierarchy of badness of unbelievers with polytheists at the bottom, then Jews, then Christians and Muslims at the top ?

    While discrimination is never pleasant, it is justified in certain circumstances. When dealing with expansionist Islam, discrimination may be our only hope.

    Anyway, to get a more well balanced view of the 'peaceful' Islamic faith, the concerned open minded reader should take a look at some of the links on this website. This is an atheist resource, so it does not feel the need to pussyfoot around the issues in order to avoid causing offense. Very refreshing in these days of appeasement

    Its time we faced up to what we are dealing with here. Islam is a threat to our very way of life.

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long
    [ Parent ]

    To make you happy (none / 0) (#199)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 06:00:43 PM EST

    Since I don't need your approval, I'll concede..Islamic is barbaric and is out to kill infidels. Now to the (original) matter of patritorism...

    You are not patriotic. You do not listen to your government, you do not listen to your leader, and you don't believe either. What more could an un-American do?

    On the other hand, I do everything that is required of me as an American. You are un-American, and I will only listen to arguments regarding that.

    [ Parent ]
    Name one (none / 0) (#272)
    by deaddrunk on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 03:29:24 PM EST

    While discrimination is never pleasant, it is justified in certain circumstances.

    I can't think of a single piece of discrimination that can be justified. Please enlighten me.



    [ Parent ]
    What baloney. (3.66 / 3) (#98)
    by Kasreyn on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 05:16:35 PM EST

    "America has the largest pornography industry in the world, and therefore is the greater exploiter."

    Good grief, porn is just taking pictures of people. Get a grip, man! In other countries women get beaten, raped, forced into unwanted marriages, mutilated or outright killed at birth, and hurt or killed if they speak out. And you think a few fucking nudie pics are worse on them??!

    You must be out of your mind, or else the most illogical man who ever lived. The U.S. should not be applauded for showing tolerance by not outlawing Islam. Outlawing Islam would be grossly unconstitutional, therefore the U.S. cannot and must not outlaw it. Quit patting the U.S. on the back for things that are simply to be expected, and not to be praised.

    The dangerous ideology here, my friend, is YOURS. Namely, the idea that anyone's belief could be superior to anyone else's to the point of being worth a war. OBL is a madman, but GWB is a fool for believing "crusades" ever did anything but increase the world's supply of misery.


    -Kasreyn

    P.S. Just because someone hold religious beliefs does not give you the excuse to label them "irrational". A truly logical or wise man would be forced to admit he does not know whether the other guy is right, and would give him the benefit of the doubt. Therefore mocking others' beliefs is itself an exercise in belief. That makes YOU the irrational one. I find it ironic that you mock his "leap of faith" in Islam, but finish up your post with smug, self-satisfied pro-Christian bleating.

    P.P.S. Yes, I know I've been trolled.


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

    R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
    [ Parent ]
    Islam is Unconstitutional (2.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Phillip Asheo on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:03:47 PM EST

    Good grief, porn is just taking pictures of people. Get a grip, man! In other countries women get beaten, raped, forced into unwanted marriages, mutilated or outright killed at birth, and hurt or killed if they speak out. And you think a few fucking nudie pics are worse on them??!

    No, but in America women suffer all the degradations you just described, PLUS they are exploited by pornographers.

    The dangerous ideology here, my friend, is YOURS. Namely, the idea that anyone's belief could be superior to anyone else's to the point of being worth a war.

    Well you are entitled to your pacifist views. I however, would have been first to sign up to fight Hitler in WW11, and would happily serve my country should the need arise. War is a necessary evil. To deny that is to close your eyes to reality. (Which is something the religionists seem especially good at)

    Just because someone hold religious beliefs does not give you the excuse to label them "irrational".

    Yes it does. I am an Atheist. Therefore I do not make these illogical and irrational leaps of false logic that religionists (such as Muslims and Christians) fall prey to so often. Most religious people will freely own up to the irrationality of their beliefs. Its when people start to use 'logic' in a discussion about religion that I see red.

    On the question of outlawing Islam, America has laws against treason and sedition. Some interpretations of Islam call for a global Islamic nation (called the Ummah) ruled by a Khalifate made up only of Muslims. This is in the Koran. There is no getting around that. Islam as a religion is by definition expansionist. It wants to take over the USA and will given half a chance. You people still don't realise what we are dealing with here, do you ?


    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long
    [ Parent ]

    One or two points (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by Tatarigami on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:33:45 PM EST

    Well you are entitled to your pacifist views.

    Aren't you reading a little two much between the lines there? Saying 'war is bad' doesn't make anyone a pacifist, it just means the speaker doesn't get off on the thought of violent destruction.

    War is a necessary evil. To deny that is to close your eyes to reality.

    That's a fatalistic approach. And a silly one -- war is like lawyers, if we didn't have it, we wouldn't need it. But everyone has an army because their neighbour has an army, and everyone has bombs because someone else has bombs. If everyone made the decision not to be the one to start trouble, there would never be any.

    I admit it's an unlikely scenario, but "never trouble trouble 'til trouble troubles you" seems like a better philosophy than "war is a necessary evil".

    Yes it does. I am an Atheist. Therefore I do not make these illogical and irrational leaps of false logic that religionists (such as Muslims and Christians) fall prey to so often.

    Uh-huh. You do realise that denying the existance of a higher power without conclusive evidence to back you up is a religious position requiring a leap of faith too?

    Personally, I try to be open-minded. So if you can use logic to prove there's no god, I'm willing to accept your arguments.

    On the question of outlawing Islam, America has laws against treason and sedition

    If you're arguing that the lawmakers should be able to determine what the citizens believe or don't believe, you're arguing for the return of creationism to schools.

    [ Parent ]
    I don't need to prove anything (none / 0) (#120)
    by Phillip Asheo on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:49:24 PM EST

    I am not the one making assertions that a 'God' exists. Why should I prove anything ? Atheists simply do not believe in any Gods. There is no evidence for them. On the other hand there is plenty of evidence that religions are man-made creations. It requires no leap of faith to deny the existance of a superior being, when there is absolutely no evidence to support the theory.

    If you are really interested in Atheism, there are plenty of resources to get you started. Most religious people deep down inside them know that their religion is little more than a 'santa-claus' type myth handed on to them by their parents and it is a telling fact that, the world over, the vast majority of children follow the religion of their parents rather than any of the other available religions.

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long
    [ Parent ]

    Where is your evidence? (none / 0) (#127)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:06:43 PM EST

    Neither you or I know if a God exists. My "leap of faith" is in believing in one. Your "leap of faith" is not believing in one. If asked for solid proof for either theories, neither of us could respond. Like a previous post said, you have just as much faith in what has been handed to you as I supposedly have.

    Regardless, religion here is not in question. Patriotism is. You are un American by defying what your government and it's leader says. Atleast my barbaric mind can listen to the leader rather than bite the hand that feeds me. You're un American by the definition of the term.

    [ Parent ]
    Pretty Certain (3.00 / 2) (#143)
    by joecool12321 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:14:00 PM EST

    I think belief in a god is pretty certain. Debating different religions belongs elsewhere, but a proof for some type of god:

    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
    2. The universe began to exist.
      1. Argument based on the impossibility of an actual infinite:
        1. An actual infinite cannot exist.
        2. An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.
        3. Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist.
      2. Argument based on the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition:
        1. A collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually infinite.
        2. The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition.
        3. Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite.
      3. Confirmation based on the expansion of the universe.
      4. Confirmation based on the thermodynamic properties of the universe.
    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
    4. If the universe has a cause of its existence, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent.
      1. Argument that the cause of the universe is a personal Creator:
        1. The universe was brought into being either by a mechanically operating set of necessary and sufficient conditions or by a personal, free agent.
        2. The universe could not have been brought into being by a mechanically operating set of necessary and sufficient conditions.
        3. Therefore, the universe was brought into being by a personal, free agent.
      2. Argument that the Creator sans creation is uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent.
    5. Therefore, an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is "beginningless," changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent.
    The argument is really very simple and consists primarily of three steps. (1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence. (2) The universe began to exist. (3) Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence. And then in premise (4) we conceptually unpack what some of the principal attributes would be of a cause of the universe's existence.

    This is a fairly convincing argument that there is some form of a God, and athiesm must be false.

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]

    Hang on (none / 0) (#144)
    by Tatarigami on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:28:03 PM EST

    That seems like a bit of a jump between 4 and 5 -- going from 'the universe was caused to exist' to 'the universe was caused to exist by an intelligent agency'. The one doesn't necessarily lead to the other, does it?

    [ Parent ]
    See the post (none / 0) (#148)
    by joecool12321 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:44:47 PM EST

    Argument 4.2 gets long. Follow the link to see all of argument 4.2. Bascially, because of the necessary conditions at the time of the big bang, and constants that must be what they are (and mass at the time of the explosion...(if you want more info on that, I can post it)), one must believe that the initial cause was intelligent.

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]
    Alrighty (none / 0) (#155)
    by Tatarigami on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:17:35 PM EST

    Okay, I did read the full post... 4.2 is the long one, but 4.1.3 seems to me to be the crux of the issue. It looks like a re-stating of the Anthropic Principle, the premise that the universe and everything in it is there solely for the purpose of allowing intelligent life to exist. The implication being that the universe in its present form is the result of a huge number of variables, and that a change of any of these would throw the whole system out of whack, the end result being that we wouldn't be here to ponder the situation.

    The Kalam argument seems to infer from this that the answer which fits the situation best is conscious design. I can accept that as a possibilty, but it's hard to see the previous points leading directly to this conclusion.

    I've seen an alternate take on the situation which says that the physical make-up of the universe is also ideal for the formation of black holes, and that black holes may cause the propagation of new universes in seperate sets of physical dimensions. This other theory goes on to say that the physical properties of the universes vary slightly in each case, and the right properties lead to the formation of more black holes, so the structure of the series of universes has evolved to follow the best conditions for black hole formation.

    The two ideas aren't mutually exclusive, I just wanted to show that there are other theories which could fill the same point in the logical progression.

    [ Parent ]
    Clarification (none / 0) (#176)
    by joecool12321 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 06:56:33 AM EST

    Well, now you've shifted from discussing the need for intelligence to the need for a personal, free agent. In response to your more recent attack, and assuming that if you grand that it is a personal, free Initial Cause, you accept that it is intelligent, let me attempt to show why it must be personal and why it must be free.

    1. The Conclusion in 4.1.3 arises out of the Major Premise 4.1.1 and the Minor Premise 4.1.2. It appears you've simply attacked my conclusion (4.1.3) without finding any fault in either of the premises or in the syllogism itself. Let me, however, expand on the Minor premise.

    On 4.1.1. What other options are there? It was either mechanical, or it was not.

    On 4.1.2. If the cause were simply mechanical, existing from eternity, than the effect would also exist from eternity. That is, there would be no point of causation independent from any other point in time. The only way to have an eternal cause but a temporal effect would seem to be if the cause is a personal agent who freely chooses to create an effect in time.

    The Kalam argument seems to infer from this that the answer which fits the situation best is conscious design

    No, it does not. See above -- it follows from 4.1.1 and 4.1.2.

    physical make-up of the universe is also ideal for the formation of black holes

    This isn't the issue here, but pretend it were true. How is the universe ideal!

    On a side note, I thought about pre-empting the multiple universe argument, but decided not to. Oh well. 1. This argument has no proof. Where are these unobservable universes? 2. Argument from the non-existance of an actuall infinite (2.1, 2.2). 3. Argument from faith. Which is more likely, that there are an infinite number of UNOBSERVABLE universes, or that, in the face of Kalam, there is a Creator? Which one takes more faith? Which requires more belief?

    Thankyou for your thoughtfull responses thus far.

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]

    But intelligence IS a mechanical device! (none / 0) (#260)
    by PowerPimp on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 03:07:54 PM EST

    Intelligence and conciousness are both caused by mechanical devices that require time and space to manifest themselves in. You need temporal flow, or at least causality to be able to decide that you want a universe to exist and to make it, and in order to make those decisions and have those thoughts, you need time and space for the neurons to fire in your brain and all that. What gives?





    You'd better take care of me God; otherwise, you'll have me on your hands...
    [ Parent ]
    Sophomoric bullshit (1.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Phillip Asheo on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:28:25 PM EST

    The argument is really very simple and consists primarily of three steps. (1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence. (2) The universe began to exist. (3) Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence. And then in premise (4) we conceptually unpack what some of the principal attributes would be of a cause of the universe's existence.

    My eyes glazed over as I read this absurd piece of metaphysical bullshit. What causes the cause to exist ? If 'god' exists, who created Him, or did he always exist ? And if so, by what physical process did this happen ? Face it, religion is just fairy stories and mind control for the masses. This independent thinker won't touch it with a 10-foot pole.

    If you really want to believe in any of the many Gods out there, thats up to you, just don't kill me in the name of your religion is all I ask.

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long
    [ Parent ]

    And the great thinker continues... (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by Tatarigami on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:37:10 PM EST

    My eyes glazed over as I read this absurd piece of metaphysical bullshit.

    Ooo, harsh language. Derision. Dismissal. 'It's not cool to believe'.

    You know, an appeal to the emotions is traditionally the tactic of the devout rather than the rational. And you still haven't produced anything to back up your own point of view, so you've yet to establish any credibility for yourself.

    And contradicting yourself by first saying 'Face it, religion is just fairy stories and mind control for the masses.' and then going on to say 'If you really want to believe in any of the many Gods out there, thats up to you' isn't really doing anything for your cause.

    [ Parent ]
    All I Ask? (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by Lai Lai Boy on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:49:58 PM EST

    When you're attacking other people's beliefs you have quite a bit of gusto; when your own get attacked it's sophomoric bullshit.

    I agree that the logic of the arugument is off, but it's no reason for you to cry over it.

    If you want to believe in no god at all, that's up to you, just don't kill me, or my family, or my liberties as an American citizen, in the name of your Atheism/"Patriotism".

    [Posted from Mozilla Firebird]
    [ Parent ]

    If it's sophomoric (none / 0) (#151)
    by joecool12321 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:59:25 PM EST

    You must be a, what, freshman? <insert drum riff here>

    What causes the cause to exist?

    The initial cause must be eternal. Otherwise it would fall into the same problem. See argument 4.

    If 'god' exists, who created Him, or did he always exist ?

    He always existed

    And if so, by what physical process did this happen ?

    None -- it couldn't be physicall, or there would be an infinite temporal regress. Pay attention, please.

    Face it, religion is just fairy stories and mind control for the masses.

    What makes you think that? Any evidence, or do you just have an axe to grind?

    This independent thinker won't touch it with a 10-foot pole.

    But yet you manage (I assume) to believe in naturalism? I'd like to see a proof for naturalism, thankyouverymuch.

    just don't kill me in the name of your religion is all I ask

    I wansn't planing on doing that in the name of my religion. (And I don't think that's all you ask.)

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]

    not quite (none / 0) (#152)
    by Redemption042 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:12:14 PM EST

    While I disagree with pretty much every Philip Ashleo says, I do have to say that the argument for a supreme diety is pretty damn flawed. The logic there doesn't quite qualify for the term "Logic"

    [ Parent ]
    Heh (none / 0) (#177)
    by joecool12321 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 06:57:16 AM EST

    Would you care to enlighten me, or just call me illogical with no substantiation? Other people have found it logical enough to warrant a rebutall on one of the premises. In fact, not one single person has attempted to rebutt me on the use of logic. Rather, every attack has come upon one of my premises, not my use of logic. That is, every person I talk to agrees that if each of my premises are true, there is a God. Where's the problem with my logic?

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]

    *sobs* (none / 0) (#193)
    by Redemption042 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 03:32:18 PM EST

    I wrote a whole response explaining why I didn't explain how were illogical because I was lazy. Then I went on to proceed to explain why it was illogical. Then I previewed the post to make sure it looked nice. Then I noticed the formatting was all fucked up. So I hit the back button to go back and edit it.

    And it was all gone! Being that I'm a lazy person in the first place, you can understand how traumatic that was for me.

    So, off the top of my head, I'll try and post the same thing I posted earlier.

    The reason I didn't explain why it was illogical was cause I am lazy. Try to look at it from my point of view. Wouldn't it have been great if you just responded by saying "You know, you're right! I was illogical. You are right. I was wrong."
    Rather then having to go through the long drawn out process of argument?
    (that last bit was humor, for those of you who couldn't tell)

    okay, on to the rebuttals...

    "1.Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence."

    I understand you're going to say that this is a problem with a premise rather then the logic, but part of logic is the explination of your assumptions. And, I think this is a horrible assumption to make.

    "1.An actual infinite cannot exist. "

    Yes, I understand this is a premise and not logic again. But still, It's such a horrible premise in my opinion. *sigh* I'm not going to pretend to be stephan Hawking here or anything, but I don't see why an "actual infinite" can not exist.

    "1.A collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually
    infinite. "

    As for this assumption, I'm not entirely sure about it, but something really rings false about it and I start thinging about pi. I'll think about this one some more and get back to you.


    "4.If the universe has a cause of its existence, then an uncaused, personal
    Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is beginningless,
    changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and
    intelligent."

    No. Let me repeat this again in case you don't get the importance of this part of the post or don't want to respond to it as you ssem to have done in the past with other people that have brought up this point. And this is where there is a lack of logic, by the way.
    NO.
    There is one hell of a huge gap between proving that the universe is finite (Which I don't agree with at all, but I'll let it slide for now) and saying that it needs a creator. That's like saying ... "The universe was created, therefor it was created by aliens"

    ... You know, In the time I've been posting this I've also been reading the responses to the post with this argument you made to some other story... More the adequate explanations have been given to why this argument is illogical and you respond to the ones you think you can outbluff with long rants and ignore the ones you can't. I'm going to stop now with two points.

    A. You seem to love to quote David Himmler saying infinity cannot exist in nature. I respond with one word. Pi. The ratio between the cricumfrence and diameter of a perfect circle is a ratio of infinite length.

    B.I had a second point, I just can't remember what it is now.

    So, as a postsript, I guess I'll just say that a lot of people had problems with your so called proof, and all the argueing never convinced them you were right or you that they were right so more discussion is probably a waste of time.

    Also, would you really want proof of a supreme diety? Most religions value faith as an important quality. And faith cannot exixt in the face of logical proof.



    [ Parent ]
    Don't hit 'back' (none / 0) (#203)
    by joecool12321 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 06:37:54 PM EST

    The text of your preview is at the bottom of the page. If you hit back, lotsa bad stuff can happen, like loosing the text you already entered. Just scroll to the bottom.

    I understand you're going to say that this is a problem with a premise rather then the logic, but part of logic is the explination of your assumptions. And, I think this is a horrible assumption to make.

    You're right -- I am going to say, "You're arguing against a premise, not the logic if that premise is true." I've already upheld this point in this post. I'd also llike to respond to the ad hominum argument that it's a horrible assumption. Apparently, it is not so horrible. David Hume, himself a great skeptic, never asserted so "absurd" a proposition as that something might come into existance without a cause. In fact, he thought it was impossible to prove, because it was "obviously true" [1].

    "1.A collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually infinite. "

    As for this assumption, I'm not entirely sure about it, but something really rings false about it and I start thinging about pi. I'll think about this one some more and get back to you.

    Pi is not successive addition.

    Yes, I understand this is a premise and not logic again

    Exactly

    But still, It's such a horrible premise in my opinion

    Not to be rude, but I'm trying to discuss facts, not opinions. Let me try to explain. First, recognize that it's one part of an entire argument. First, recognize that even if argument 2.1 is wrong, there are three other reasons that the universe had a beginning (2.2,2.3,2.4). First, understand the difference between a potential infinite and an actual infinite. Basically, a potential infinite is a collection which is increasing toward infinity as a limit, but never gets there (i.e. lim x-> 0 (1/x)). The technical term for this type of infinte is indefinite, and is expressed in calculus by the sideways 8 symbol. (damn not being able to use font tags.) This is different from an actual infinite, in which there are an actually infinite number of members. It's not growing towards infinity, it is infinte. Calculus can't handle this concept, so we look to set theory. They symbolize an infinite set with that funny-little-x-not symbol (<font face="Symbol">Ŕ</font><font size="-1">0</font>, if you care to see it). 2.1.1 doesn't say that a potentially infinite number of things cannot exist, but rather it says an actually infinite number of things cannot exist. Hilbert's hotel illustrates the strange absurdities we'd experience if actuall infinites did occur. As I'm sure you've seen me say elsewhere, Hilbert concludes, "The infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature, nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought.... The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea."

    As for this assumption, I'm not entirely sure about it, but something really rings false about it and I start thinging about pi.

    1. pis is not successive addition. Basically, this says you cannot transverse the infinite (you can't count to infinity).

    You then take issue with all the arguments in point 4. I already explained that you need to look at this post. Any specific problems with my logic, or general assertions that I'm supposed to figure out, again?

    That's like saying ... "The universe was created, therefor it was created by aliens"

    No, it's not. Where did the alien come from? Unless you're saying it was an uncaused, personal alien, who, sans creation, is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent. But that's just another name for God.

    you respond to the ones you think you can outbluff with long rants and ignore the ones you can't

    Well, I find that offensive. I'm only one person, and I can only respond to so many posts. What specific issue do you think I need to clairfy better? And where do I rant? I may take some time to explain, but that's just trying to think well, not ranting. And I've somehow managed to mostly avoid personal attacks, which you might want to try, as well.

    You seem to love to quote David Himmler saying infinity cannot exist in nature. I respond with one word. Pi. The ratio between the cricumfrence and diameter of a perfect circle is a ratio of infinite length

    First, it's David Hilber. Maybe once you read his paradox, you'll see why we can't have an actuall infinite. And pi is a bad example of an actuall infinite. The number may be infinitely long, but it's not an actual infinite. Second, pi doesn't exist anywhere besides as a concept. Third, Give me a perfect circle, and I'll start to worship you.

    I guess I'll just say that a lot of people had problems with your so called proof, and all the argueing never convinced them you were right or you that they were right so more discussion is probably a waste of time.

    A lot of people had problems with the proof of General and Special relativity. In fact, most people still don't understand it. Difficulty is no evidence of incorrectness. Second, discussion is never a waste of time. I've just had yet to hear a convincing defeat of 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, AND 2.4. You do realize that, don't you. That if even ONE of those 4 arguments are correct, everything still follows? It's logic.

    Also, would you really want proof of a supreme diety? Most religions value faith as an important quality. And faith cannot exixt in the face of logical proof.

    First, yes I want a proof. If you can't proove it, you're living irrationally. You don't understand the (at least Christian) concept of faith. Faith isn't so much believing there is a God, as it is believing that what he says is true. So faith still exists. It actually distubs me how many people (religious and irreligious) have no reason to believe what they believe, they just believe it. But Christianity calls us to, "know the reason for your hope".

    I hope this has been helpful, and would enjoy further conversation.

    --Joey

    [1]David Hume to John Stewart, February, 1754, in The Letters of David Hume, ed. J.Y.T. Greig (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932), 1:187.

    [ Parent ]

    hun? (none / 0) (#153)
    by marc987 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:14:03 PM EST

    Therefore The creator becomes part of the new "universe" and we must find the cause of this new "universe" and so on. To simply state "the uncaused creator" is not logical.

    On proving things i find Kurt Godel interesting.

    Beyound the perceptible and logical lies reality and i find no point in describing the undescribable in words, oups.



    [ Parent ]

    I'm slow (none / 0) (#180)
    by joecool12321 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 07:42:00 AM EST

    I'm sorry, but I'm not quite understanding what you're saying. Could you expand a little, and flesh out your comment for me?

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]
    sorry append this (none / 0) (#154)
    by Redemption042 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:14:41 PM EST

    I should have posted this earlier, but a really great site for the ontological argument for or against a god of the various faiths is www.infidels.org

    [ Parent ]
    Falls apart at step one (none / 0) (#157)
    by magney on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:47:45 PM EST

    I'll leave it to others to disassemble the rest of the argument to simply note that we have observed things that begin to exist without there being any cause to their existence. Therefore the argument is moot at the very first step.

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    Wrong at the very start. (none / 0) (#166)
    by DavidTC on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 12:51:53 AM EST

    Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

    Matter/antimatter pair appear spontaneously out of empty space. This causes black holes to 'emit' Hawkings radiation, for one thing.

    There is no reason to presume that universes can't appear out of nothing, as things can appear out of nothing in this universe.

    Furthermore, even pretending such a rule as 'thou shalt not create matter' existed in this universe, which it doesn't, it's somewhat silly to try to ascribe physical rules about the creation of matter in this universe to the creation of the universe itself. We know the rules are different before the universe exists, and without 'time' the defination of 'appear' or 'create' is clearly very different.

    And that's just the things I see wrong with your very first item.

    -David T. C.
    Yes, my email address is real.
    [ Parent ]

    Not Quite (4.00 / 1) (#178)
    by joecool12321 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 07:18:13 AM EST

    I'm responding in this posting to the attack on premise 1. I respond to all these arguments in this post, because it appears to me to be the best-written attack. The truth of "Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence" has come into doubt, apparently, because of quantum mechanics.

    First, with regard to the universe, if there were nothing-no God, no space, no time, then how could the universe possibly come to exist? The truth of the principle ex nihilo, nihil fit (out of nothing, nothing comes) is patently obvious.

    Paul Davies best expressed this attack in his book, God and the New Physics. He says himself that it "should not be taken too seriously" (214), but let us pretend, for a moment, that it should be taken seriously. He says that although there is "still no satisfactory theory of quantum gravity", that such a theory would, "allow spacetime to be created and destroyed spontaneously and uncaused in the same way that particles are created and destroyed spontaneously and uncaused. The theory would entail a certain mathematically determined probability that, for instance, a blob of space would appear where none existed before. Thus, spacetime could pop out of nothingness as the result of a causeless quantum transition" (215). I assume you are implying the same thing, namely, that there is a parallel between particle creation and universe creation.

    Luckily, because of my ignorance in this area, Davies defeats both his own argument, and yours, for me. He says earlier, "The processes described here do not represent the creation of matter out of nothing, but the conversion of pre-existing energy into material form." (emphasis added, 31). So particles cannot "appear out of nothing". The world of QM provides no hope at defating this premise.

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]

    Close, but no Chiquita :) (none / 0) (#223)
    by Pihkal on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 01:28:30 PM EST

    Well then, how about the supposition that the universe has always existed? This would fit an oscillating universe model without supposing a definite beginning to require creation. Anyway, you only have induction as proof of assertion 1, "Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence." and induction is not logically sufficient to claim that you know this. Maybe the universe is the exception?

    Or maybe the universe is God. And maybe, as pieces of the universe, we are parts of God. Or maybe the reason the universe is so screwy when we try to explain it is that it's all like the Matrix, and the robots didn't do a good enough job of coding our reality. (Must have been written in Perl) :P



    "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
    -- Number 6
    [ Parent ]
    Oh, Bannanas! (none / 0) (#248)
    by joecool12321 on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 01:18:25 PM EST

    The universe can't always exist. Argument 2.4 defeats the oscillating model. In the oscillating model, entropy continues through the 'crunches'. Energy lost to radiaition is not re-claimed. So the oscillating model doesn't make sense from that point of view. Also, empircal observation shows that the universe doesn't have enough mass to collapse, so the oscillating model is wrong, even if you don't buy my metaphysical argument.

    If we can't know thing through induction, then we can't ever know anything. Skepticism, while possibly true, can't be allowed to affect our day-to-day lives. Also, it's an a priori metaphysical assumption that EVERYONE accepts (maybe not Zen). They accept it because it is useful. As far as the universe being an exception, where's your proof?

    "Or maybe the universe is God. And maybe, as pieces of the universe, we are parts of God. Or maybe the reason the universe is so screwy when we try to explain it is that it's all like the Matrix, and the robots didn't do a good enough job of coding our reality."

    Maybe. What evidence?

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]
    Why not? (none / 0) (#259)
    by DavidTC on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 12:45:46 PM EST

    The universe can't always exist. Argument 2.4 defeats the oscillating model. In the oscillating model, entropy continues through the 'crunches'. Energy lost to radiaition is not re-claimed. So the oscillating model doesn't make sense from that point of view. Also, empircal observation shows that the universe doesn't have enough mass to collapse, so the oscillating model is wrong, even if you don't buy my metaphysical argument.

    If the universe collapses, by defination, the entire universe collapses. We don't know the rules outside the universe well enough to know whether or not all energy can be reclaimed and we don't know that each universe, in fact, doesn't start off with less energy each time. We have no idea how long this thing is going to run.

    Not to mention, we don't need energy, that's not what we're looking for. We were looking for a cause. I can push a rock down the hill without having enough energy to put the rock on top of the hill. It's entire possible that the universe collapsing causes the next universe, no matter how weakly it collapses. Maybe there are a bunch of universes on the hill, and the dying implosion of each one pushes another one down the hill.

    -David T. C.
    Yes, my email address is real.
    [ Parent ]

    How could the Universe exist? (none / 0) (#255)
    by spiralx on Fri Dec 28, 2001 at 06:51:30 PM EST

    First, with regard to the universe, if there were nothing-no God, no space, no time, then how could the universe possibly come to exist? The truth of the principle ex nihilo, nihil fit (out of nothing, nothing comes) is patently obvious.

    Well there have been plenty of explainations which could explain this, but the main theme seems to be the idea of a "false vacuum" state preceeding the actual Universe, in which there was a highly symmetrical (mathematically speaking) "space" in which the energy of empty space (from quantum uncertainty) was in a semi-stable state of high energy - a ball resting in a small dip on a hill if you will. Thanks to quantum tunneling at any point there is a small chance that at some point in this initial space the false vacuum quantum mechanically tunnels out of the state it is in down to our "true vacuum" state which is stable.

    The symmetry breaking that occurs during this transition from highly symmetrical but semi-stable false vacuum to unsymmetric but stable true vacuum releases lots of energy and powers inflation, and results in us having four different forces rather than one superforce. But it requires no cause other than quantum mechanical ones - pure chance.

    Then there are other new ideas based around superstring and M-theory, such as the Big Splat idea. But none of them require a cause; they're a consequence of how the universe works.

    So particles cannot "appear out of nothing". The world of QM provides no hope at defating this premise.

    Well they can and do, as long as they don't violate certain conservation rules, and they aren't around for longer than a time inversely proportional to their energy. To turn these virtual particles into real ones requires additional energy, but their effect on other particles is a real and observed phenomenon.

    And in one sense the Universe has a net energy of zero, because gravitational energy is negative, and exactly balances out the positive contributions of matter and energy. So with zero energy, a universe popping out of nothing can exist for an infinite time before having to vanish.

    You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
    [ Parent ]

    That's not nothing (none / 0) (#341)
    by A Trickster Imp on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 12:51:36 PM EST

    As has been pointed out, a potential for a quantum fluctuation is a far cry from nothing.

    Why does anything exist at all?

    Why does God exist?

    The question no longer applies once you get back to the bedrock of God? Really? That is a strong statement for someone to make.

    "It's turtles all the way down..."

    [ Parent ]
    Well... (none / 0) (#345)
    by spiralx on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 05:32:53 PM EST

    ... there's no requirement for an initial creation of such a false vacuum state like there is with our Universe. And then you can ignore questions of "creation" entirely.

    You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
    [ Parent ]

    Answer me this (4.00 / 1) (#208)
    by baseball on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 09:58:54 PM EST

    If I understand you, you conclude a "Creator" must have existed to create the Universe because nothing can arise out of nothing and there must be a "cause" for everything. I actually don't think your premise is established but, if so, what "caused" the existence of the "Creator." Why is it permitted to exist without any "cause" when the Universe is not. I think you're just assuming your conclusion. You're entitled to do that (it's all about faith) but I don't find it even mildly convincing.
    Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
    [ Parent ]
    All answered in 4 (none / 0) (#247)
    by joecool12321 on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 01:17:49 PM EST

    When we look to understand the initial cause, we must avoid any of the problems encountered when assuming the universe came into existanec alone. So, the initial cause must be: uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent, otherwise the arguments for the cuase of the universe would also apply to this initial cause.

    The reason the initial cause is a god is because a being uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent sounds like a god to me.

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]
    You've already proven something (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by Tatarigami on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:23:32 PM EST

    I am not the one making assertions that a 'God' exists. Why should I prove anything ?

    Yeah, why should you? After all, you know you're right, you'll always be right, and that's all that matters. Right?

    But seriously, you're the one looking down your nose at someone else' beliefs, are we supposed to accept that out of awe at your so-obviously superior intellect?

    It requires no leap of faith to deny the existance of a superior being, when there is absolutely no evidence to support the theory.

    Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot: denying the validity of other peoples' beliefs is a fundamental tenet of an atheist's beliefs. You're not supposed to question it, they might revoke your subscription to Skeptical Enquirer.

    But now I'm getting scientific on your ass: You've asserted your position: there is no god. So go ahead -- show me a tangible absence of god.

    If you are really interested in Atheism, there are plenty of resources to get you started.

    I'm not really interested, so you can keep your tracts and pamphlets.

    Most religious people deep down inside them know that their religion is little more than a 'santa-claus' type myth handed on to them by their parents

    Got evidence to back that theory up? Or is it an article of faith for you? :o)

    [ Parent ]
    Prove a Unicorn doesn't exist while you're at it (none / 0) (#340)
    by A Trickster Imp on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 12:45:36 PM EST

    I am not the one making assertions that a 'God' exists. Why should I prove anything ?
    Yeah, why should you? After all, you know you're right, you'll always be right, and that's all that matters. Right?

    If I claimed Santa exists, as a child, you'd believe, but as an adult would you? Heck no! You'd demand proof.

    Well, we've all been waiting a long time for proof, any proof. I suppose science should feel proud it is so powerful that it can cause God to hide every time it looks.

    Then there's religion bailing on the suggestion God (if it existed, which it doesn't) is immoral because It doesn't do anything to end evil. I recall a particularly odious story about kidnappers kidnapping the son of a "wealthy" Central American family, then hanging the 8 year old even after they paid. If I could have stopped that with infinite ease I would be immoral not to do so. Indeed, I would have to be cruel to sit there on my Infinitely Fat Ass(c) and do nothing.


    God's "Infinitely Fat Ass" sarcastic statement Copyright (c) 2002 A Trickster Imp



    [ Parent ]
    Difference between Atheism and Agnosticism... (none / 0) (#190)
    by Kasreyn on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 01:49:28 PM EST

    ...here's a link so I don't have to type it all out again.

    http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2001/8/21/15457/2473/197#197.

    Read Simon Moon's reply and my response to him.

    Back yet? Read it? Good. Now I can tell you: atheism is illogical too. So I, as an agnostic, find it quite amusing to watch you looking down your nose at religious types. Hypocrite.


    -Kasreyn


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

    R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
    [ Parent ]
    Sure you do. (none / 0) (#191)
    by misterluke on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:33:19 PM EST

    But only if you actually want to convince some of the people here that you are right. All I see in your posts is the same bullshit handwaving every religious zealot out there comes up with when pressed for a rational explanation of their faith. Make no mistake, friend, atheism is as much a faith as any religion. Disproving the existence of whatever God(des)(e)(s) there might be out there is as fruitless a task as proving it, and better minds than yours and mine have spent their lives working on that one without success.

    So, in short, evidence of absence is as difficult to come by as evidence of presence, especially when you remember that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Soapbox mode off.

    [ Parent ]
    I never start anything (none / 0) (#181)
    by joecool12321 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 07:56:08 AM EST

    <i>If everyone made the decision not to be the one to start trouble, there would never be any.</i>
    <p>
    Heh, I don't think anyone ever starts trouble. It's usually the other guy.
    <p>
    --Joey

    [ Parent ]
    If Islam is unconsitutional, Idoicy should be too (4.50 / 2) (#118)
    by Lai Lai Boy on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:39:44 PM EST

    It's a shame your link as is bigoted as you are. To quote; These three horrible religions, springing from the forehead of ignorance, live on into our times. THe link also equates Khomeini with Islam. He is not the "Pope" of Islam, neither is Bin Laden, or Mullah Omar, or any of that crew. It can be argued that the Caliphate was an invention after the death of Muhammed (pbuh).

    Most of the atheists I know are much more open minded than that.

    Yes it does. I am an Atheist.
    Aren't we all proud. Your beating it like a drum doesn't help your case. Plus, just because you're an atheist, it doesn't mean your rational just as being religious doesn't make you irrational. one man's beliefs in a higher power, irrational or not, do not enter into his arguement.

    Some interpretations of Islam call for a global Islamic nation (called the Ummah) ruled by a Khalifate made up only of Muslims. This is in the Koran. Have you ever even read the Qu'ran? In Arabic? In one breath you mention interpretation and tie it to the Qu'ran. Perhaps one could interepret "Come ye Christain soldiers" to mean warring against the Nonbelievers. In anycase the Qu'ran is a book subject to interpretation, just as the Bible and Torah are.
    Islam as a religion is by definition expansionist. It wants to take over the USA and will given half a chance.
    You xenophobic bastard, you make me sick. Again, Islam is a religion. It doesn't want or do things, people do. And to speak as an American Muslim all I want is to live my life in peace, to learn from everyone and every culture.

    By the way, it's WWII, not WW11.

    [Posted from Mozilla Firebird]
    [ Parent ]

    I bet you don't (none / 0) (#185)
    by Phillip Asheo on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 11:05:49 AM EST

    And to speak as an American Muslim all I want is to live my life in peace, to learn from everyone and every culture.

    I suggest you read Ibn Warraq's 'Why I am not a Muslim' for a more detailed critique of Islam than I am able to give.

    The problem I have found when engaging in debate with most Muslims is that when asked to defend certain practices, they simply refer to the Qu'ran as if that was enough.

    I asked a Muslim why a Muslim man is permitted four wive, and not five or three or one hundred. She said - read the Qu'ran. I am sorry, but that is simply not good enough.

    I have no problem with people taking things on faith, so long as they understand that is what they are doing, and so long as they understand that I reserve MY right to disagree with them without being stoned to death.

    And you have to admit, the Qu'ran is full of references to slaying disbelievers. Think how that could look from a non-Muslim perspective, if you can imagine what it would be like not to believe in your religion.

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long
    [ Parent ]

    Talking of religious books (none / 0) (#271)
    by deaddrunk on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 03:19:06 PM EST

    The Bible is also full of references to slaying unbelievers (as well as adulterers, homosexuals and witches to name but three). That doesn't necessarily mean that Christians are a danger to their fellow man, anymore than Muslims are. The real danger is a leader that whips up fervour (whether it be religious, patriotic or anything else) as a way of furthering a specific agenda and it's not only Muslim leaders who do that.



    [ Parent ]
    Good point (none / 0) (#285)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 07:22:10 PM EST

    1 Corinthians 6:9 1 Corinthians 6 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual

    [ Parent ]
    On the subject of women being killed at birth (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Lai Lai Boy on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:35:01 PM EST

    To talk about the women being killed at birth, this is one of Islam's (as from the Qu'ran's) strengths. In the Middle East and in India (India still), it was common to kill girl children when they were born. Islam said that there is twice the blessing in raising a girl as a boy, to stop this type of thing.

    [Posted from Mozilla Firebird]
    [ Parent ]

    Exactly the reason Islam is Growing (none / 0) (#117)
    by n8f8 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:37:43 PM EST

    Your Statement ,"If Islam is to survive, it needs to moderate its approach," is the anthesis of reality. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world because it is so "in your face". The Muslim crusades have overtaken numerous countries. That which cannot be won with the heart is taken by the hand. Islam is intolerant because to be tolerant is to lose the battle. So at least be honest about Islam. That is why Extremist ruled Muslim nations demonize the western world. Because they can only win with the hand when the heart can see the truth.

    Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
    [ Parent ]
    I think such a bigoted view ... (none / 0) (#125)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:59:37 PM EST

    ... stems from the same problem that the author of the original comment suffers from - that is, the ability to differentiate between Islam and Extreme Islam, the latter getting the most publicity in the West.

    That countries ruled by Muslim extremists have taken to persecuting Christians says nothing about any inherent intolerance within Islam itself. It's the choice of the said extremists to twist its teachings to suit an intolerant agenda, not that intolerance is inherent to Islam.

    Especially intolerance of "people of the book".


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Not Bigoted (none / 0) (#146)
    by n8f8 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:33:34 PM EST

    Simply a bit of trend analysis coupled with a little perspective.

    Here is a little tool for reading arabic. They recently started requiring users to subscribe to use it though.

    Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
    [ Parent ]

    You may have misunderstood me. (none / 0) (#128)
    by Phillip Asheo on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:09:14 PM EST

    Your Statement ,"If Islam is to survive, it needs to moderate its approach," is the anthesis of reality.

    What I was getting at is that there will be a Christian/Hindu/Bhuddist/Zorastrian/Scientologist/Jewish/Animist/Mormon backlash against these arrogant Islamic would-be crusaders if they over-step the mark.

    There is a line in the sand. When the Muslim nation crosses it, the West will retaliate. And it will NOT be pretty. We may yet see another nuclear war.

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long
    [ Parent ]

    Whew (none / 0) (#119)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:42:23 PM EST

    Islam is attempting to take over the world and form a global Khalifate

    Sounds like you've been reading Bernard Lewis. Heady stuff, isn't it? Calm down.

    How can one make some huge, militaristic generalization about the goals of a billion people on the basis of a tiny, insane cult? The burden isn't on Islam to prove it's against such madness: it's on "Islam"'s self-serving hijacker to prove otherwise -

    - and he hasn't managed to produce much proof so far. His twisted vision of endless butchery is something most Muslims clearly want nothing to do with.

    [ Parent ]

    Hrm? (none / 0) (#138)
    by joecool12321 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 07:59:57 PM EST

    I fear this is a troll, but I fear even more that it is not.

    As for you being rational, you are not. You say you are a Muslim. This means that you believe in a God. Which means you have made what is known as a 'leap of faith'. Whilst not criticising your choice of beliefs, to label them 'rational' is hardly credible. You believe in something without any evidence.

    That statement implies that faith is non-rational. But I ask you, is scientific naturalism true? If it is, what objective, non-faith based evidence do you have for that satement? Rather, realize that "science" in modernity simply means a "naturalistic" religion, rather than a theistic religion. Both are beliefs.

    Other peoples responses deal with other aspects better than I can.

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]

    Alas, poor science (none / 0) (#142)
    by Tatarigami on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:13:30 PM EST

    I think science gets a bad rap. In its most basic form, it's just a methodology for establishing fact, it shouldn't be an object of veneration.

    Done properly, science is clear, concise and independantly verifiable. Any study containing ambiguities which require you to accept elements without question is bad science and should be derided and mocked without mercy.

    Real science neither promotes nor condemns religion, it just asks that any premise be proven without room for doubt in order to be accepted as fact.

    [ Parent ]
    I knew him, Naturalism (none / 0) (#179)
    by joecool12321 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 07:38:03 AM EST

    I'm enjoying our conversation elsewhere and enjoyed having you stick up for me. Let me do my best to respond.

    A quick disclaimer, I'm still new to "Science as Religion" and Naturalsim. If you want a much better presentation that I'm able to give, find Dr. Phillip Johnson's Reason in the Balance. Brilliant man.

    The methodology of the scientific method presupposes naturalism. That is, science assumes that there is no God, or at least, no God active in the universe today. This is a major statement regarding religion.

    By the by, can you tell me one single interesting thing you know beyond a shadow of a doubt. (That you are alive does not count, nor does a mathematical statement, nor does a semantically true (all unmaried men are bachelors) statement count).

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]

    Descartes would say... (none / 0) (#204)
    by Ixokai on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 07:07:23 PM EST

    That depends on what you mean by "interesting". Everyone's familiar with Descartes, I imagine, and you're asking the same question he did-- and the only thing he could come up with that can be known beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that you exist. Why? Because you can and do doubt, therefore you can think. Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am.

    He got significantly less brilliant after that point, after abandoning the skeptical tools he used to reach this point, and started saying that anything he Clearly and Distinctly thought in his head must be real and true. Um-- okay. :) Whatever. :)

    Anyways. There is nothing beyond that, which you can know *beyond*a*shadow*of*a*doubt*. :) --Ix

    [ Parent ]
    Interesting (none / 0) (#207)
    by joecool12321 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 09:14:44 PM EST

    So if the only thing I can know for certain is that I exist, wouldn't any "knowledge" actually be a belief about the way the world is? My point is: the scientific method is based upon a belief structure of Naturalism. I've never seen a proof for Naturalism, yet I've seen a couple for Thiesm.

    --Joey

    [ Parent ]
    Of course faith is not rational. (none / 0) (#184)
    by duffbeer703 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 11:00:09 AM EST

    That's what the word means!

    http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=faith&r=67

    The miracle of faith is accepting God's will and beliving in the holy trinity. (At least in catholicism.)

    Rational is very different.

    http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=rational

    In order to make a reasoned decision, you need to have knowledge of different factors. I know that a McDonald's quarter pounder has alot of calories because is is fried in fat, contains fatty meat and has a slice of cheese on it.

    I cannot quantify god or even measure the effects of god. That is why religion considers belief a miracle.

    [ Parent ]
    Actually, all tests for God show he isn't there (none / 0) (#339)
    by A Trickster Imp on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 12:31:03 PM EST

    I know that a McDonald's quarter pounder has alot of calories because is is fried in fat, contains fatty meat and has a slice of cheese on it.

    Isn't that God's fault for designing the universe incorrectly? First, he says you shall "toil" to remain alive after being kicked out of the Garden of Eden.

    Then, after we give God the finger on that, and produce bounty, so much so, that the fattest people in America are the poorest, it turns out God designed bodies so poorly that we can't handle an abundance of food well, packing on fat for lean years that never come, and getting heart disease, but carefully and only after the general reproductive years. Evolution might explain both of those a little better...
    I cannot quantify god or even measure the effects of god. That is why religion considers belief a miracle.

    To believe something that there is no evidence for is a miracle, indeed. It's also goofy.

    Religion in the west (well, west of the middle east, which is also the west) has been largely reduced to a quaint, anachronistic, and harmless "lifestyle choice". Politicians have replaced stirring up outrages in the hoi polloi (in exchange for power) by changing a few words here and there, changing, for example, why you should hate the "rich Jewish businessman" into why you should hate the "rich generic businessman".

    Some Islamic countries may happen to be ruled by way of politicians generating outrage using religion rather than the modern, acceptable "People's State" power-grab arguments. Islam in these countries will adapt, just as Christianity did, into being pushed to a quaint anachronism, a harmless lifestyle choice.

    The real question is, what will push the neo-Religion, "People's State", into being a quaint belief?


    [ Parent ]
    It's going to be hard to not flame (5.00 / 2) (#192)
    by zman on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 03:12:42 PM EST

    Your whole post and particularly it's culmination

    Its Holy War, another Crusade, and Christianity will win this one too.

    reek of bullshit. This is in no way a religious war. It's both a defensive war and a monetary one. The US is trying to prevent further terrorist attacks on it's soil, and at the same time protect their monetary (read: oil) interests in the middle east.

    It is unfair to say that Islam or it's practitioners are dangerous. Islam and even 'fundamentalist' Islam in no way advocates violence or killing in the name if religion. That is why these groups are called radical factions. They do not represent the majority of Islam practitioners.

    Also, believing in a religion does not define one has irrational. If the person has good reason to believe in what he/she does, then they are a perfectly rational person, regardless of how weak their reasons may be. Saying that someone's opinion is invalid because they believe in religion, is pretty damn oppressive, which brings me to my next point.

    I feel it is my duty to alert you that you are a fascist conservative. The country you are talking about (the US) was partly founded on the idea of religious freedom. Yet you say

    think it shows amazing tolerance on behalf of the US government that it has not outlawed Islam.

    This is ludicrous. If we were to outlaw a religion because it frightened some particularly moronic people, we would be no better than the Taliban regime or bin Laden.

    In addition, the reason Bush retracted his statements about a Holy War is because they are false and his advisors reminded him to try and hold back his christian-self and realize that America is not a Christian country. Nor is it Jewish, Buddhist, or any other faith or religion. It is a state, and states are different that religion. Hence you may have heard the phrase "seperation of church and state".

    It saddens me because you seem so very blinded by your ego, and I wish that more people could see that this is not a battle of good and evil. That implies that the US is purely good and their enemies are purely evil. While this may be convenient for the government, this is simply not true.
    - zman
    [ Parent ]

    hello? (none / 0) (#218)
    by drunkenmonkey on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 03:33:28 PM EST

    Pat Robertson? Is that you?

    Sorry, you sounded very familiar for some reason.

    [ Parent ]
    An Essay I Wrote (4.50 / 6) (#84)
    by GoingWare on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 03:48:38 PM EST

    A few weeks ago I wrote an essay which is topical here:

    Is This the America I Love?
    I am the K5 user now known as MichaelCrawford. I am not my corporation.


    Good article (none / 0) (#94)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 04:20:43 PM EST

    It's nice to know that Arab-American Muslims don't feel discontent with the changing government alone. A lot of the links were great, especially relating to backlash for those speaking their minds.

    [ Parent ]
    Ahsyed, thank you... (none / 0) (#123)
    by ariux on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 06:57:34 PM EST

    ...for speaking your mind. While I don't agree with everything you say, I'm very glad to have the chance to hear and discuss it. This country needs more people like you, not less.

    [ Parent ]

    What tool do you use for what job? (4.00 / 2) (#150)
    by mech9t8 on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 08:57:28 PM EST

    So I don't think this is a war on terrorism, but just a war against countries the US doesn't like and has no financial interest in.

    I'd say, it's a matter of degree, a matter of what's easiest, a matter of using the appropriate tool for the task.

    Afghanistan was a problem which was simple to solve. It was a country where the terrorists and the "government" were basically one, where the terrorists had free reign and as much control as they wanted. The "government" was illegimate, involved in oppressing its people to a far greater extent than others, and was still actively opposed by a military force within the country. And they were harbouring bin Laden - and lying (badly) about it.

    The solution to that problem is clear: weaken the Taliban through bombing, allow the other forces to take over, and install a new government. The terrorist will be disrupted, a lot of them will be killed, and they will be forced to run to other countries where they cannot, officially at least, find safe haven.

    Now, the problem becomes much more complicated. Most other countries, at the very least, have legitimately recognized governments. And their support for terrorism varies widely, but is usually a lot more complicated than the Taliban's symbiosis with Al Quaeda.

    For instance, the Saudi government doesn't directly fund terrorists or house terrorist training camps - they fund fundamentalist Islamic organisations, thinking that it'll deflect criticism from themselves. The Saudi government has no interest in funding terrorism itself - as a corrupt and Western-sponsored government, they're one of the prime targets.

    For what I've seen, it seems to me the main problems with this whole "Middle East problem" are the corrupt dictatorships, which restrain economic growth for their people and suppress free speech and political opposition - and thus all the people's frustration gets funneled toward the more militant forms of Islam, and towards hate for the West.

    The core of the problem, IMHO, is not the US, but the dictatorships. Now, the US has supported these dictatorships (selling them weapons, military training and buying their oil) over the years, which partially had to with concerns over the oil, and had a lot to do with the Cold War and who the Soviets were supporting. Now that the Cold War is over, at least that argument is gone.

    The question is, what can the US to foster a more responsible government in these countries? I guess the first thing they could do would be to stop selling them weapons - although they could just go and buy them from the Russians (who probably need the hard currency more than we do, anyway). But that won't do much. Economic sanctions seem like a poor idea - they just weaken the people and breed hatred, when what's really needed to get a democracy is a powerful middle class - which requires trade.

    The US is currently putting all its pressure to bear on these countries to crack down on terrorism - to hunt down cells, close down money lines, etc. And they'll probably succeed in reducing terrorism - until people get forgetful, and the "war on terrorism" seems over, and all the extra precautions and pressures and whatnot are gradually lessened, and the whole thing starts up again.

    But, I think, unless they do something to increase the personal and political freedom in this countries, the momentum is with the Islamists. And, I worry, the US politicians are spending a lot of effort worrying about the short-term efforts in weeding out terror and aren't worrying at all about the long-term socioeconomics of the region.

    Or something like that. ;)

    --
    IMHO

    Well.. I agree with one thing. (3.60 / 5) (#156)
    by mindstrm on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 09:41:01 PM EST

    Fisrt, I'm not american. I'm Canadian.
    Seondly.. I do sympathize with how my American neighbors feel. I do not blame them for beating the crap out of Afghanistan. I understand this.

    But I do think it's a mistake.

    People are saying 'We will wage a war on terrorism' 'They will not get away with this' 'They will be brought to justice'.

    Does anyone actually think that those responsible thought that the US would *not* retaliate in full, terrible force?
    It's no leap of logic to see that all the new laws, the war, the death, the change in lifestyle.. that's *exactly* what the terrorists wanted. Saying 'they won't get away with it' is moot; they already DID get away with it.

    Now.. don't get me wrong. I'm not saying 'evil america is attacking someone innocent'. I'm my neighbor's side in this one. I just wish they had stayed the course instead of blowing up.

    Then again. I'm not a military strategist. I don't work for the NSA or the CIA. I don't *really* know what's going on in the world; I get my news from CNN & other television stations.

    It just seems logical that what's happening now is what these terrorists wanted.




    Actually I think what they wanted ... (3.50 / 4) (#159)
    by joegee on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:36:09 PM EST

    ... was a rallying point for Islam, under their leadership. The problem is you can usually only lead if you're alive. I think bin Laden really thought the US was a paper tiger, that it would break instead of bending, and that retaliation would be less effective than it was.

    I think bin Laden miscalculated. From the news I have seen the protests in the Islamic world have basically dwindled to nothing, and no leaders other than Hussein have openly expressed support for his cause. The thing that most surprises me, and I suspect comes as a shock to the al Qaeda higher-ups, is the cooperation the US has received from Arab and Islamic-state governments in tracking down al Qaeda operatives and money.

    If this "war" against terrorism is to succeed, there's a lot of hard work ahead for the US and its allies. As others in here have mentioned, you can't just bomb every country and every group of people into submission -- the causes of terrorism must be addressed and an equitable system for settling grievances must be put in place.

    This struggle may end up making the Cold War look like a walk through a particularly sunny, pleasant park, and I suspect that many Western countries will feel its sting before we're finished.

    On the bright side, hopefully fifty years from now this will be seen as a positive turning point for humanity ... I hope, but I have my doubts.

    Thank you, by the way, for the expression of support. It's rare to hear that kind of voice in here from non USians. Merry Christmas to you and yours. :)

    <sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
    [ Parent ]
    OBL did not miscalculate (none / 0) (#266)
    by linca on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 10:26:54 AM EST

    He did expect the strong retaliation from the US

    What he hoped was the appearence of a fundamuntalist state in Pakistan. What is happening right now? It looks like there might be a war between Pakistan and India. Wars usually make a government much more fundamentalist - just look at the US. If the situation gets more tense between Pakistan and India, it is quite likely that there will be a Sharia-applying government in Pakistan. Just what he wanted.

    His original plan wasn't that however - noticed how Massud was killed just 2 days before the attacks? The idea was to destroy Northen Alliance, just after the death of its charismatic leader, before the USA could support it. The retaliation would then have been much harder.

    [ Parent ]
    No (2.50 / 4) (#183)
    by duffbeer703 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 10:53:46 AM EST

    I think OBL & Co. thought that the US would respond in the same manner that is has for decades: a crusise missile strike and/or bombing raid.

    The Clinton administration was always deathly afraid of putting soldiers and equipment in harm's way, due the political fallout that would result. Bush has displayed that we will go to great lengths to prosecute & engage our enemies.

    Force must be met with force. That is the only way to deter state-sponsored terrorist acts.

    [ Parent ]
    State-sponsored terror attacks (5.00 / 1) (#270)
    by deaddrunk on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 03:02:15 PM EST

    The US and it's various allies have sponsored plenty of what would be called terrorism if Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden were doing it. When is the 'war on terrorism' going to be turned on the perpetrators (and their willing allies in the west) of such actions as the destruction of Vietnam, the mass-murders in South America and the attempted ethnic cleansing in East Timor?



    [ Parent ]
    Missing the point (none / 0) (#348)
    by duffbeer703 on Sun Jan 06, 2002 at 11:36:26 PM EST

    Insurgents in Timor & South America are not threatening the US or our interests.

    So we don't give a damn.

    [ Parent ]
    Afghan Civilian Casualties (4.00 / 9) (#182)
    by Khedak on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 10:36:37 AM EST

    Lots of people here are posting that the civilian death toll in Afghanistan is much less than in the WTC attacks. Currently, the WTC death toll is just under 3,000 killed. We know this because it's been heavily reported, and we also know that the initial estimates of 6,500-7,000 were an overestimate by more than 100%.

    Now the tricky part. Try and find out any up-to-date information on the number of civilians dead in Afghanistan. I haven't been able to, despite looking long and hard. Some believe the civilian death toll in Afghanistan exceeds 4,000, but I won't call that an accurate figure because the source (Z magazine) is held in such low regard by k5 readership. But nobody else is reporting it at all... There haven't been any reports on civilian casualties in Afghanistan since October. Although we were informed that on Friday the 'Taliban' convoy struck by U.S. warplanes was actually carrying delegates to the new interim government. Rumsfels says lots of people were killed, but apparently we dont know who...

    Keep in mind that this doesn't include incidental deaths caused by general destruction of what little infrastructure existed in Afghanistan, of aid workers being afraid to do their jobs and leaving the country, of Hospitals being decimated leaving unknown numbers of innocents without medical care. There are millions of people (about six million actually) starving in Afghanistan. It's not known how many more will die because of these effects. And before you say "We dropped them aid too!" keep in mind that that aid was dropped arbitrarily, onto minefields, into Taliban camps, and pretty much without regard to actually trying to help people. But all that aside, let's just talk about civilian casualties directly do to military action, killed by American weapons. Why? Because that's the only kind of casualty that can't be disputed by anyone.

    But even though they can't be disputed, neither can they be tabulated. Apparently the powers that be don't want us to think about the civilian casualties in Afghanistan. If you think I'm being paranoid, I'm not. Major news organizations are deliberately not reporting on civilian casualties in Afghanistan because to do so would be "perverse." This seems hypocritical considering the repeated displays of the destruction in New York, to the extent that there were televised messages from the Red Cross advising people not to view the repeated images of the destruction for their own mental health.

    So before you start making conjectures about the Afghan civilian death toll being so much less than that of the WTC, try gathering some facts. And after you try, admit that we're ignorant, because it's not being reported here. I guess we just don't care.

    Meals Ready to Eat (4.00 / 2) (#211)
    by tibaza on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 12:47:10 PM EST

    "And before you say "We dropped them aid too!" keep in mind that that aid was dropped arbitrarily, onto minefields, into Taliban camps, and pretty much without regard to actually trying to help people."

    Did anyone notice in the footage of the Al Qaeda caves in Tora Bora, that they were all filled with U.S. Army ration bags. It's good to see that what we dropped was getting into the right hands.

    [ Parent ]

    Deaths (none / 0) (#338)
    by A Trickster Imp on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 12:11:09 PM EST

    To say we shouldn't because to attack would kill as many, or more, innocent civilians than WTC will only cause further misery down the road. Already, any of these holy war countries we attack immediately move their weapons into housing areas, or into religious buildings themselves. To adopt such a stance would increase this issue.

    If someone is shooting at you while standing behind a civilian, you have every right to shoot back. If you hit the civilian, that is regrettable, but the death is on your attacker, not you.

    You do not need to stand there as a target while your attacker weaves and dodges in and out of civilian areas.



    [ Parent ]
    We're all idiots (3.66 / 6) (#195)
    by FatHed on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 04:54:57 PM EST

    All in all, we are all idiots, land is worthless, religion just causes death, and terrorism will never stop.
    Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
    Right on man (4.71 / 7) (#196)
    by Publicus on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 05:10:10 PM EST

    US: Love it or leave it I know that most of you are saying this in your minds right now. And my response is hell no. I am an American citizen. I pay my taxes, I contribute to the American society, and I voice my own opinions. All of these rights and responsibilities are mine. But that is the lesser tragedy of this world now.

    Good for you. I feel the same way. I criticize this country a lot, but it's because I think it should and can and must be better. Love for one's president is not a neccessary condition for love for one's country. If I didn't love this country, I'd leave, but I think they're are plenty of reasons to stay. They just aren't very mainstream, and it doesn't seem to me that most people cherish the same things I do. But they exist, and so I stay. If they go away, so will I, and I'll continue to voice my opinion as long as I can, whether I'm free to or not.
    Times like these are trying, soulwise

    Umm.. (3.20 / 10) (#197)
    by nebby on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 05:53:58 PM EST

    What has George Bush done differently?
    I'm always amazed when supposedly smart people ask such questions. Even more surprising to me are the times when these questions are regarded as insightful. Perhaps everyone needs to have a relative to die at the hands of a fanatic (as I have) before they can really understand.

    Osama Bin Laden directly attacked and murdered thousands of innocent civilians in the name of religion causing an intended side effect of fear, hatred, and anger across the civilized world.

    George Bush, with the support of many nations of the world, directly attacked terrorists and military targets in response to said murder of innocent civilians but more importantly for the prevention of future attacks with the unfortunate, unintended, and unavoidable side effect of civilian casualties.

    I fail to see the similarities.

    Osama Bin Laden and Al Quada are responsible for the civilian deaths in New York City, as well as the civilian deaths in Afganistan, although in both cases did not manually pull the trigger.


    Half-Empty: A global community of thoughts ideas and knowledge.

    I am for retaliation (5.00 / 4) (#201)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 06:21:22 PM EST

    I must agree with you that I do not have the point of view of someone who has lost due to the attacks. I only have the point of view of an Pakistani born Muslim who is a law biding citizen of America. Both of those views are for retaliation. Pakistan would have done the same. Afghanistan would have done the same. I am not against America retaliating and even killing the terrorists involved. I am only opposed to altering a country and its people due to it. Get terrorists where they live: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and countless other places. But do not change its people or government, often referred to as liberating. Let the Afghani people liberate themselves. Fight the war on terrorism and not the war against countries and people who "oppress".

    [ Parent ]
    Afghanistan (none / 0) (#222)
    by spacejack on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 12:19:24 PM EST

    didn't have a government. It was invaded by foreigners who siezed control and turned the country into a terrorist breeding ground.

    [ Parent ]
    Doesn't matter (5.00 / 1) (#224)
    by ahsyed on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 01:40:57 PM EST

    This is a war on terrorism not freeing people from "foreigners who siezed control" and "terrorist breeding grounds". If that was the intent of the war, say it and then go after Saudi Arabia and the many other countries who breed terrorism.

    [ Parent ]
    shifty (none / 0) (#226)
    by spacejack on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 03:11:36 PM EST

    They went into Afghanistan to get the people responsible for the WTC destruction, and to wipe out the camps that trained the terrorists. Originally they were waiting for the Taliban to give OBL up to them, but only went in when they refused. Yes, they were impatient, yes they might have tried to put up with the Taliban's stalling tactics for a little longer in order to appease people like yourself, but remember -- the Americans were outraged. They do have feelings too, you know?

    You really have a knack for selectively misunderstanding people.

    As for Saudi Arabia, who knows what the U.S.'s long-term plan is? Maybe they will become more agressive if the government there doesn't actively crack down on terrorism.

    BTW, I'm not American, however your arguments only make me sympathize with them more and more. I really don't see much logic to what you're saying; they only seem like chaotic, random jabs. That's my perspective anyhow. I mean, if life was so much better in Pakistan, then why did you move to the States? If I had just moved to the U.S., I certainly wouldn't be critiquing them on their response to 9/11, nor would I be the cheap opportunist you have been to critizise the people and culture of the country that had allowed me to live and work there.

    [ Parent ]
    No, *you* selectively misunderstand! (none / 0) (#231)
    by valeko on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 05:34:55 PM EST

    the Americans were outraged. They do have feelings too, you know?

    No question that the ones directly affected by this were outraged. Some of the "outrage" propogated in the media is obviously superficial, however.

    Acting on impulses of "outrage", in any case, does not justify a scenario such as the one being played out now where Afghanistan is attacked! Sounds pretty barbaric.

    As for Saudi Arabia, who knows what the U.S.'s long-term plan is? Maybe they will become more agressive if the government there doesn't actively crack down on terrorism.

    However, this is extremely unlikely since the US government has very important symbiotic business ties with the Saudi government. Otherwise, why would the US prop up the House of Saud - that is what it effectively does, by and large, with its military presence there.

    I mean, if life was so much better in Pakistan, then why did you move to the States?

    And you're telling poor Ahsyed that he's selectively misunderstanding people!?

    Nowhere did he imply that life is so much better in Pakistan, and your question has a ring of implied hostility. Ahsyed merely sought to dispel the myth that everyone outside the western world lives in a war-torn unsanitary wasteland where they drop like flies from hunger or bullets. He's saying that there are normal people in Pakistan who lead perfectly normal lives and don't necessarily look up to the US as their divine saviour. This will probably come as a great shock to you if your source of information happens to be western media, though. Media effectively supplies the armchair traveler with images of squalour, poverty, war, and humanitarian crisis in every area of the world except for the West.

    nor would I be the cheap opportunist you have been to critizise the people and culture of the country that had allowed me to live and work there.

    And since when in $DIETY's name is criticising the foreign policy of your country (or adopted country) being a "cheap opportunist"? Foreign as the concept may be to you, there's also something known as academic discourse and criticism. That he chooses to hold an alternate opinion of the situation merely implies that Ahsyed has a head on his shoulders. This is becoming increasingly rare, as more and more sheeple chant univocally to the point of nausea their abusive denounciations of people who oppose the Bush administration's foreign policy as "unpatriotic", "un-American", or for that matter, "cheaply opportunistic". As a Pakistani immigrant, Ahsyed came to this country with the expectation that freedom of expression will be upheld and that he reserves the right to speak his mind about political matters, I'm sure. What you are doing is undermining the thesis of the people who fought for political and other basic human liberties in western countries like your own.

    It may not be courteous to criticise every aspect of your surroundings to the ground if you find yourself emigrating to another country, but Ahsyed has made quite clear that he has no such designs. If you have bothered to read any of his other comments, you would know that he appreciates the US for the opportunities living there has allowed him. There is a big distinction between criticising the "people and culture" of a country - its substance, by many accounts - and criticising the political establishment. These have very little in common.

    It is not unjustified to criticise the Bush administration for its response to 9/11. Thinking otherwise in the US is being a traitor to the American heritage of freedom of expression and liberty. (This is by far not exclusive to America, mind.)


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    O, the righteous indignation! (1.00 / 1) (#232)
    by spacejack on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 06:39:41 PM EST

    I can't respond to this.

    Let me say this: I have a lot more sympathy for my Pakistani friend whose family has been harassed on the phone and by email by hateful bigots, than I do for a recent immigrant whose youthful pride has probably gotten him into one too many heated arguments.

    Which is really what this argument boils down to: a real life flamewar that spilled into a weblog article that none of us can really judge effectively -- since we weren't there. You might try reviewing the political debates surrounding this issue from the past few months here on K5 if you want more of that.

    [ Parent ]
    Justified indignation. (none / 0) (#233)
    by valeko on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 06:54:58 PM EST

    Let me say this: I have a lot more sympathy for my Pakistani friend whose family has been harassed on the phone and by email by hateful bigots, than I do for a recent immigrant whose youthful pride has probably gotten him into one too many heated arguments.

    For one, you do not know that he is a recent immigrant.
    Far more importantly, you cannot assert that he chose to air his views on this forum because he lacks an adequate audience in real life. This may be true, however - and this is certainly the reason sites like this prosper. It seems that he merely wanted to make his views known and spawn an interesting discussion, not "spill over" a "real life flamewar" that resulted from the inability to judiciously restrain his "youthful pride".

    I fail to see the difference between a quiet family that is being unjustifiably harassed by bigots, and a person who chooses to be more promiscuous in airing his views (which he has a perfect right to do). Both are victims of unjust persecution.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    I admit (none / 0) (#234)
    by spacejack on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 07:23:03 PM EST

    I have been trolled. Look, if you guys want to write article #2815 about how the U.S. is the great satan, then go ahead and do it. As it is, it boils down to "got into argument with Washington D.C. suburbanites about U.S. culpability for mid-east strife, got called 'un-American'". Really! How about this: I'll go into a Muslim community centre, tell them it's a violent, oppressive religion, then write K5 about how intolerant they are. I mean, it must be a worthwhile exercise since it generates discussion, right?

    Whatever he said about preferential treatment towards Saudi Arabia is pure speculation at this point. One would wonder, though, why bin Laden had to go into Afghanistan to set up shop...

    I fail to see the difference between a quiet family that is being unjustifiably harassed by bigots, and a person who chooses to be more promiscuous in airing his views (which he has a perfect right to do).

    Difference being, he didn't get harassed! He didn't get fired, he didn't get deported, he didn't get visited by the FBI! He got called a bad name by people with strong views, who probably didn't want to hear what he was saying. What happened to my friend is illegal! Jeez..

    [ Parent ]
    bin Laden left SA for a reason (5.00 / 1) (#242)
    by ahsyed on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 11:34:40 PM EST

    OBL left SA because it was a corrupt monarchy held up by the US. That is not a personal opinion, that is a fact that the Senator Biden interview shows. He says outright that the House of Saud would not stand if it wasn't for the US.

    I never claimed to be harrassed, there are far worst things that can be called harrasment. That I agree with. I was just giving my point of view.

    [ Parent ]
    I am not a recent immigrant (5.00 / 2) (#241)
    by ahsyed on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 11:30:01 PM EST

    My family and I have lived in America since 1987. I have plenty of places to discuss how I feel, but sadly I do get called un American and just another brown man. That is why I turned to K5 looking for some discussion, and not just people siding/opposing me. I don't want or need approval from anyone regarding my views, I just wanted discussion regarding them.

    I have found that on K5 a lot more than I have found it in the face to face world.

    [ Parent ]
    Then you agree with Enduring Freedom. (none / 0) (#269)
    by FcD on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 01:18:29 PM EST

    I am not against America retaliating and even killing the terrorists involved. I am only opposed to altering a country and its people due to it.

    One of the terrorists involved is Bin Laden's son-in-law and father-in-law, Mullah Mohammed Omar, who led the Taliban. How exactly do you propose killing him without altering the country he leads?

    But do not change its people or government, often referred to as liberating. Let the Afghani people liberate themselves.

    Which is exactly what we did. Afghans retook their own country from all fronts.

    [ Parent ]

    Not true. (none / 0) (#276)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 04:37:46 PM EST

    Which is exactly what we did. Afghans retook their own country from all fronts.

    The overt hypocrisy of this statement is amusing.

    No, catalysing a removal of government is not synonymous with "Afghans retook their own country". The Taliban, regardless of whether they were supported by Pakistan, were argueably products of Afghanistan as well.

    In any case, nobody has retaken anything. Hamid Karzai, the leader of the current interim government, used to be a consultant for the oil company Unocal. This is the same company that made the case to Congress a few years ago about how the only plausable way to get access to Caspian Sea oil deposits was via a pipeline through Afghanistan. The pro-western government now seated in Kabul is a proxy of imperialist interests.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    True. (none / 0) (#288)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 02:01:39 AM EST

    The overt hypocrisy of this statement is amusing.

    Do you have some kind of Lefty Bullshit Generator?

    catalysing a removal of government is not synonymous with "Afghans retook their own country".

    The American Revolution was won with the help of France. Can you name any war that has ever been fought without "outside interference"? This isn't Star Trek, we have no Prime Directive.

    Al Qaeda -- the 55th Taliban Brigade -- consisted of about 10,000 battle-hardened troops. Eliminating these troops destroyed not only the might of the Taliban army but also the Taliban will to fight. It also killed a lot of Taliban who were stupid enough to stand next to the Al Qaeda members. The only other American aid was supplies and advice, which were paid for amply with Alliance intelligence and assistance guarantees in the fight against Al Qaeda. American troops did not engage the enemy in large numbers; the people sweeping across the plains were Afghans. The Taliban collapse was much more of a local affair than Korea or Vietnam.

    In any case, nobody has retaken anything. Hamid Karzai, the leader of the current interim government, used to be a consultant for the oil company Unocal....The pro-western government now seated in Kabul is a proxy of imperialist interests.

    Heaven forbid anyone should have an honest job, let alone one with a company that's trying to create jobs in your country. Just because he's "corporate" doesn't mean he's a bad guy.

    This is why I term your speech hate speech, because you hate people. You hate "corporate" people. And admit it, secretly you believe that these corporate imperialist office workers deserved what they got.

    [ Parent ]

    Response (none / 0) (#292)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 02:24:20 AM EST

    Do you have some kind of Lefty Bullshit Generator?

    Wow, so this doesn't constitute hate speech?

    Can you name any war that has ever been fought without "outside interference"? This isn't Star Trek, we have no Prime Directive.

    We, or atleast I, don't mind outside interference in war. Just don't say that the Afghans did it by themselves as the author wrote:
    "Afghans retook their own country from all fronts."

    The Taliban collapse was much more of a local affair than Korea or Vietnam.

    I strongly disagree. Don't underestimate America's influence in the war. Neither you or I know exactly what or how they did help. But I do know the Northern Alliance, the major opposition to the Taliban, were losing and losing quiet badly before 09.11. Afterwards, they won and won by a huge margin. That is not Afghanis liberating themselves. But that change was brought on by something drastic, namely America.

    ...because you hate people. You hate "corporate" people. And admit it, secretly you believe that these corporate imperialist office workers deserved what they got.

    Excuse me, how are any of these accusations justified. Valeko never said he hated the guy, he just thinks Karzai is biased. Where did the rest of your accusations come from? Please provide support for your comments rather than just comments.

    [ Parent ]
    Why do I have to be the one to rationalize? (none / 0) (#298)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 03:59:02 AM EST

    Please provide support for your comments rather than just comments.

    Why does having been employed for an oil company equal "nobody has retaken anything...The pro-western government now seated in Kabul is a proxy of imperialist interests."?

    [ Parent ]

    Incorrect rationalisation. (none / 0) (#300)
    by valeko on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 04:04:51 AM EST

    Why does having been employed for an oil company equal "nobody has retaken anything...The pro-western government now seated in Kabul is a proxy of imperialist interests."?

    That Karzai was a Unocal employee does not all by itself mean that there is a puppet regime now in Afghanistan. I did not say that this is so, and such an assertion is the result of a misunderstanding on your part.

    I was providing a somewhat ironic example. That the regime in question is pro-western and subservient to economic interests is evidenced by much more than just that, besides the historical evidence that the US (as well as any other imperial power) seats friendly regimes wherever it overthrows unfriendly ones.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    More of the same? (none / 0) (#302)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 04:35:23 AM EST

    subservient to economic interests

    Meaning their highest priority is bread on tables? Quel crime!

    US (as well as any other imperial power)

    What makes the US an imperial power?

    im·pe·ri·al
    adj.

    1. Of, relating to, or suggestive of an empire or a sovereign, especially an emperor or empress: imperial rule; the imperial palace.
    2. Ruling over extensive territories or over colonies or dependencies: imperial nations.
      1. Having supreme authority; sovereign.
      2. Regal; majestic.
    3. Outstanding in size or quality.
    4. Of or belonging to the British Imperial System of weights and measures.
    Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

    besides the historical evidence that the US seats friendly regimes wherever it overthrows unfriendly ones.

    You wouldn't need evidence to prove this; people don't usually overthrow their friends to install their enemies. Why do you hate Karzai for being a friend of the United States?

    [ Parent ]

    Response (5.00 / 1) (#314)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 10:35:49 AM EST

    people don't usually overthrow their friends to install their enemies. Why do you hate Karzai for being a friend of the United States?

    The fact that America would install a regime that is friendly to its interests are not in question. Honestly, that's just good tactics. The fact that America overthrew a government and then install a new one is what is bugging me (and I assume Valeko). And I've yet to see Valeko "hating" Karzai just because he's a "friend of the United States". Please provide examples.

    [ Parent ]
    Wrong Onus (none / 0) (#322)
    by FcD on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 02:12:04 AM EST

    And I've yet to see Valeko "hating" Karzai just because he's a "friend of the United States". Please provide examples.

    So far, we are yet to see anything from valeko about Mr. Karzai other than this statement:

    In any case, nobody has retaken anything. Hamid Karzai, the leader of the current interim government, used to be a consultant for the oil company Unocal. This is the same company that made the case to Congress a few years ago about how the only plausable way to get access to Caspian Sea oil deposits was via a pipeline through Afghanistan. The pro-western government now seated in Kabul is a proxy of imperialist interests.
    valeko makes the assertion that "nobody has retaken anything", in response to my statement that "Afghans retook their own country from all fronts". Now there are two ways to view valeko's statement: Either the country has not been retaken, or it was retaken but not by Afghans. If valeko believes the former, then his belief in a corrupted press would be exceptionally impressive; if he believes the latter, then he must be asserting that Mr. Karzai does not qualify as Afghan. This is a serious insult, and a serious allegation against the leader of a sovereign state like Afghanistan now is. The only rationale that valeko provides for his defamatory statements is Mr. Karzai's prior employment with Unocal.

    If employment with an American oil company is sufficient to denaturalize someone, then the inference is made that the millions of people who work for American oil companies are disloyal citizens. With talk like this, it is no wonder that oil companies must hire security services to defend their employees, plants and the general public from attack.

    [ Parent ]

    That's a load of conjectural BS. (none / 0) (#323)
    by valeko on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 02:35:06 AM EST

    if he believes the latter, then he must be asserting that Mr. Karzai does not qualify as Afghan. This is a serious insult, and a serious allegation against the leader of a sovereign state like Afghanistan now is. The only rationale that valeko provides for his defamatory statements is Mr. Karzai's prior employment with Unocal.

    All that is a testiment to your ineptitude. Since when is Mr. Karzai not Afghan? I made no such inference. When I say that the country has not been retaken by Afghans, I mean only the same thing that Ahsyed does - that the ousting of the Taliban and overturn of the government was not precipitated intrinsically by Afghans themselves. Instead, this was achieved via intervention by a foreign power - the United States. I offer no contest to both the proposition that Hamid Karzai is an Afghan and that he is fit to govern the country. But do look at the interests that put him in that position, and how the outcome may have been different if certain interests were not at work.

    This is a serious insult, and a serious allegation against the leader of a sovereign state like Afghanistan now is.

    Afghanistan was a sovereign state prior to US intervention as well, whether you personally observe its previous sovereignty or not.

    If employment with an American oil company is sufficient to denaturalize someone, then the inference is made that the millions of people who work for American oil companies are disloyal citizens. With talk like this, it is no wonder that oil companies must hire security services to defend their employees, plants and the general public from attack.

    Will you cease putting words into my mouth and attempting to construe what I've said as something entirely different?

    I did not say that employment with an American oil company cannot be reconciled with citizenship or loyalty, nor have I said anything to endorse attacking the employees, plants, and the general public that surrounds said oil companies.

    All I actually said was that a look into Karzai's background is indicative that certain economic interests at work - to me, anyhow. I'm quite open to the possibility that I'm wrong.

    Now, if you have something constructive to contribute to this discussion, you're by all means invited. However, putting words into my mouth, selectively and intentionally misunderstanding what I say, and attempting to undermine my position by spouting disinformation is not conducive to that.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Backing off? (none / 0) (#324)
    by FcD on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 03:12:47 AM EST

    All I actually said was

    No, you called him a "proxy of imperialist interests". Your link still fails to back up your use of the words "proxy" or "imperialist".

    [Link to FT Article quoting Al-Watan]

    Well, I'm glad you've found a source that speaks your sort of language.

    [ Parent ]

    Proxy of imperialist interests. (none / 0) (#327)
    by valeko on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 03:35:56 AM EST

    Yes, it is my belief (and not mine alone) that the interim government of Afghanistan has been constructed in such a way as to be subservient to western economic interests. This is evidenced by many things apart from a common sense expectation that the US would do so as historical examples serve to point out. It is my opinion that Karzai's former employment with an American oil company that was particularly zealous in exploring a trans-Caspian oil pipeline ... is a particular (although insignificant in the grand scheme of things) irony where this is manifested.

    It is a dignified gesture on your part that you researched the source of my information - the newspaper al-Watan. I have no doubt that many of the views it has aired do not square with my framework of what is acceptable and what I agree with, or yours. However, the matter in question was a concrete fact - that Karzai was employed with an American oil company. The secondary fact of importance is that this is an oil company that expressed an interest in running an oil pipeline specifically through Afghanistan, and whinged to Congress that the regime there was unfriendly.

    I'm pretty sure that this can be obtained from other sources more credible to you than al-Watan. I remember reading that this information was also aired in the respected publication Le Monde. The fact remains that around 1995-1996, Unocal and the State Department entered into negotiations with the Taliban government for construction of a trans-Caspian pipeline. Unocal executives themselves held several meetings with Taliban representatives regarding the project. There is credible evidence that western leaders supported the coming to power of a stable government in Afghanistan (i.e. the Taliban), especially through the Pakistani intelligence services, exclusively for the purpose of making the region more accomodating to potential pipeline endeavours. It took the bombing of the American embassies in Africa in 1998 and the Clinton administration's subsequent retaliatory missile attacks on al-Qaeda training camps before Unocal pulled out of these negotiations.

    I'm not telling you the absolute truth. I don't know the truth. I'm just saying that the facts merit a look.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Will you get to the point, man? (none / 0) (#329)
    by FcD on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 03:44:10 AM EST

    And none of that makes America "imperialist" or Karzai and his government a "proxy".

    [ Parent ]
    Imperialism, proxies. (none / 0) (#333)
    by valeko on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 04:10:19 AM EST

    Very well. You seem to want me to address those words, "imperialist", "proxy", themselves in a concrete, textbook fashion; that is, without citing historical example that should inspire your own thought and conclusions.

    What do you want me to do, prove to you that the US is empire in the classic sense? There are far more scholarly individuals which can do that more effectively than I can. It suffices to say that American policy, especially following the end of the Cold War, is indicative of imperial ambitions now that it is the "remaining superpower". The US is heavily involved in guiding the economic and political futures of other countries, using the resources of other countries, ensuring an unwavering political influence over many other countries, and maintaining a hegemonic climate suitable to its own interests. This is not unique to the US - the US is just the "remaining superpower" that has the might to excercise such policies. Empires have played this game as long as empires have been around.

    But, I think it would be counterproductive for me to personally attempt to convince you that the US is an empire. If you don't think so to begin with, I don't think I am fit to tell you otherwise.

    The interim government of Afghanistan is a proxy. It is a pro-western government that has been put in place (as opposed to any other government) specifically because it has these favourable properties. That's common sense. Most likely this government will be subservient to American interests, such as for example the development of the trans-Caspian oil pipeline. It will most likely favour the proposition that a continuous American political and military presence in Afghanistan is a Good Thing. Obviously the US would not have installed it there if the government didn't think so. That's a "proxy" government; I use that term for lack of desire to resort to more extreme labels in the context of this particular discussion .. i.e. "puppet".


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Response (none / 0) (#316)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 10:42:29 AM EST

    Why do I have to be the one to rationalize?

    A good rule of debate is providing support for your argument. Valeko and I have done that. We are using America's past to question its intentions at present. You have not provided any support aside from plugging holes into ours.

    Support for one's argument is not the same as breaking another one's down.

    [ Parent ]
    I think you're confused. (1.00 / 1) (#332)
    by FcD on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 04:02:47 AM EST

    You wanted me to rationalize why valeko is anti-American. Now you say that I can't do this by analyzing the only information I have on the man? I think you might have forgotten the branch we're on.

    My main argument here is to "debunk" valeko's arguments as those of a hateful fringe. His arguments make only circular sense, and have little basis in fact. They merely stir the emotions of those who already harbor hatred and ill feeling for the United States, its people, or its government. He is appealing to the community's basest instincts, and in so doing is alienating many of the non-self-hating Americans on the board. There comes a time when one gets tired of being accused of cold-blooded murder solely because of where one is born. And with that time comes also the classic choice of Exit or Voice. I choose the latter for now; I wonder how many will or have chosen the former. There are plenty of boards which are not dens of bigotry and hate.

    [ Parent ]

    You're no less confused yourself. (4.00 / 1) (#334)
    by valeko on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 04:20:44 AM EST

    You wanted me to rationalize why valeko is anti-American. Now you say that I can't do this by analyzing the only information I have on the man? I think you might have forgotten the branch we're on.

    Precisely; he has demonstrated that your rationalisation of the claim that I am "anti-American", if you will, is incorrect and not credible.

    My main argument here is to "debunk" valeko's arguments as those of a hateful fringe.

    If you see my arguments as inspired by a hateful fringe, that's your business. But you would do a good service to yourself to remember that my views are neither unique to me nor characteristic of people with a "hateful fringe". There are many people who agree with my views or certain portions of them who are also certifiably not "bigots" or full of hatred. I implore you to realise that I am not either, but my ability to convince you otherwise is limited.

    They merely stir the emotions of those who already harbor hatred and ill feeling for the United States, its people, or its government.

    How ironic that you accuse me of using basic emotional appeals instead of logical arguments. I am not the one that presents to you big, bold links to pictures of a burning WTC tower with captions such as [paraphrase]: "this is what lies like yours can cause" and "you are secretly happy that those corporate imperialists [a presumable reference to those that died in the WTC] got what they deserved".

    It is the height of hypocrisy for you to accuse me of "appealing to the community's basest instincts".

    I only want to contribute to the discussion. I have no desire to alienate anybody. But that's up to you to decide - here's the part that really gets me:

    There comes a time when one gets tired of being accused of cold-blooded murder solely because of where one is born.

    When did I accuse you [a presumable American] of being a cold-blooded murderer? When did I accuse the American people or anyone that is born here of being a cold-blooded murderer? I think you're playing the "put words into valeko's mouth" game again, unless you're trying really hard to selectively misunderstand me and are succeeding. I don't accuse you or Americans or the nation as a whole of playing the role of a "cold-blooded murderer". Pointing out that the US has carried out less than humane foreign policy in the past for its own benefit is not the same thing as accusing people born on this soil of being cold-blooded murderers. I urge you to re-think your statements.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Response (none / 0) (#299)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 04:01:14 AM EST

    Wow, so this doesn't constitute hate speech?

    Ever seen this?

    [ Parent ]

    Response (none / 0) (#315)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 10:39:19 AM EST

    Yes, I've seen many of those bullshit generators. I was referring to calling Valeko's comments bullshit. That is more hateful than anything Valeko said in any comment.

    [ Parent ]
    *blinks* .. huh? (none / 0) (#297)
    by valeko on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 03:03:14 AM EST

    The American Revolution was won with the help of France. Can you name any war that has ever been fought without "outside interference"?

    Your legitimate point is made, but an analogy between the American Revolution and the ousting of the Taliban is an impossible one. The circumstances are entirely unrelated and it makes little sense to dive into the a thorough explanation of why this is so if you do not understand that to begin with. But, a French-backed overthrow by Americans of their British imperial overlords is not the same thing as the US coming in and removing the Taliban from power. Doesn't matter who the troops are.

    The British monarchy invited ~30000 Hessians (German mercenaries) to fight against the American rebels in the 1770s. Do you think that if this contingent had any meaningful impact and managed to suppress the revolution, then the credit for squashing the rebellion would go to Germany?

    Heaven forbid anyone should have an honest job, let alone one with a company that's trying to create jobs in your country. Just because he's "corporate" doesn't mean he's a bad guy.

    This is the part that boggles me.

    When did I say he was a bad guy? When did I say that he's "corporate"? I'm not sure that by any definition, he himself individually is a proxy of corporate interests. I think you're trying (and failing abysmally) to discredit the perfectly legitimate viewpoint that the US installed a puppet government. The way in which you're trying to discredit is by introducing unrelated, conjectural garbage into the discussion - this is not helping your credibility, regardless of whether I agree with you or not.

    You hate "corporate" people.

    I do......? How do you know what I hate? Point me to the comment or story I have posted here on this forum which indicates that this is so. Not to mention a clarification of what you mean by "corporate people".

    And admit it, secretly you believe that these corporate imperialist office workers deserved what they got.

    I don't know where you are getting this psychopathic nonsense, but I refuse to be accused of supporting the atrocious attacks of September 11th. I condemn them as roundly as you do.

    The fact that I try to put some American ventures elsewhere on the globe in perspective for you in order to bring light to the origins of September 11th does not support such a conclusion as the one that I sympathise with the perpetrators of these mass-murders. You are engaging in defamation - you are attempting to put words into my mouth which haven't the faintest relation with anything I have said or my opinions, professed or internal.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Caught out? (none / 0) (#306)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 05:26:40 AM EST

    (Now): I don't know where you are getting this psychopathic nonsense, but I refuse to be accused of supporting the atrocious attacks of September 11th. I condemn them as roundly as you do.

    (Earlier): Did radical Muslims illegitimately attack the US? No.

    [ Parent ]

    Question (none / 0) (#313)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 10:30:10 AM EST

    Can you post the URL for the "earlier" comment? I'd like to see the context.

    [ Parent ]
    It's on this convoluted thread somewhere [NT] (none / 0) (#330)
    by FcD on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 03:47:11 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Zealous misinterpretation. (none / 0) (#318)
    by valeko on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 12:07:45 PM EST

    Radical Muslims as a collective if there is such a thing did not attack the US on September 11th. A select, narrow contingent we call al-Qaida did so. I don't think that they represent extreme Islam, because that is not always synonymous with "let's go kill Americans". Neither is what I'm saying, dispite your mindless accusations of the contrary.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Response (none / 0) (#282)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 06:49:57 PM EST

    How exactly do you propose killing him without altering the country he leads?

    By the US capturing/killing him and telling the country to find a new leader. As harsh as that may sound, many people would have been fine with that. But the US took the leader, the government (since the US was negotiating with them before the war), and then placed in a temporary government who is obviously biased (as in valeko's response).

    Afghans retook their own country from all fronts.

    Yes, that is why the leader of the Northern Alliance (not representing Afghanistan by the way) got air time on CNN asking the US to aid them in their war against the Taliban. The NA was losing the war before US' help. It won it afterwards. Not exactly what I call the Afghani people winning their country back.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Response (none / 0) (#296)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 02:45:56 AM EST

    By the US capturing/killing him and telling the country to find a new leader. As harsh as that may sound, many people would have been fine with that.

    I seriously doubt that most Taliban would have been fine with that. If so, they certainly had the opportunity to do this of their own initiative. The same ulema which had originally granted Mohammed Omar its blessing to rule, had been convened to discuss the question of Osama Bin Laden's extradition. They didn't take the opportunity either to extradite or to depose Omar.

    placed in a temporary government who is obviously biased (as in valeko's response).

    If the new leader is as biased as valeko's response, then I'm with you 100%. :-)

    Yes, that is why the leader of the Northern Alliance (not representing Afghanistan by the way) got air time on CNN asking the US to aid them in their war against the Taliban. The NA was losing the war before US' help. It won it afterwards. Not exactly what I call the Afghani people winning their country back.

    It is impossible to win back one's country without foreign involvement, as supplies must come from somewhere. The Russian Revolution, for example, was only made possible by the ongoing war with Germany. The US and the United Front all shared the same enemy, and yes they collaborated in their efforts. The US provided aid to what it and the UN recognized as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, but did not provide combat troops (only officers). Afghans themselves conquered and liberated Afghan soil.

    [ Parent ]

    Quell the dissidents ! (4.33 / 3) (#202)
    by mvsgeek on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 06:33:32 PM EST

    Perhaps everyone needs to have a relative to die at the hands of a fanatic (as I have) before they can really understand.

    While I can sympathize with your grief, this hardly constitutes an argument, and unfortunately probably lessens your ability to understand reason rather than revenge.
    I feel this is the situation that we're in right now, many have lost, and many are mourning, and so with blind rage, bloody handed vengeance is exacted, and highly publicized.

    but more importantly for the prevention of future attacks

    Do you really believe that ? Doesn't violence beget more violence ? From the ashes of Kabul, every new orphan created, every man who lost a spouse, every moderate taliban who was bombed out of his cave is a new enemy of the United States. At least that's what it looks like to me.


    - mvsgeek
    [ Parent ]
    Not really (none / 0) (#227)
    by nebby on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 04:02:33 PM EST

    If violence always begets violence, then I should probably stop hanging out with my German and Japanese friends before they kick my ass.
    Half-Empty: A global community of thoughts ideas and knowledge.
    [ Parent ]
    Don't forget about the old enemies (none / 0) (#268)
    by FcD on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 12:30:44 PM EST

    The point of this exercise was to kill the existing enemies of the people of the United States, destroy their shelter and elimintate their power base. At tens of thousands of military casualties, versus a maximum of 3,000 civilian casualties (using Taliban "estimates"), it seems we've made a net gain in our fight against enemies.

    Now, will the families of the dead civilians harbor grief against the United States? Probably some. But most Afghans will admit that civilian deaths are not the intended outcome of American bombing. And all Afghans now have the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures of life like music and sport and the occasional sight of a girl's face.

    From the ashes of Kabul

    Kabul is not Sarajevo, or even Baghdad. Kabul is doing just fine after a small amount of munition was dropped in some areas. In fact, it is doing better than before. New shops are opening. 50% more of the population is undergoing education. Professionals are returning to practice their trades. Its soccer fields are being cleared of blood and corpses. Law has rejoined order. And the embassies have reopened.

    every moderate taliban who was bombed out of his

    Your belief in moderate Taliban is touching. What, did they only want to take out the North tower?

    [ Parent ]

    Indeed, don't forget. (none / 0) (#275)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 04:34:14 PM EST

    Now, will the families of the dead civilians harbor grief against the United States? Probably some. But most Afghans will admit that civilian deaths are not the intended outcome of American bombing.

    That does not mean shit. Were hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths the "intended outcome" of Hiroshima and Nagasaki too? (Actually, in Truman's case, that's pretty likely).

    And all Afghans now have the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures of life like music and sport and the occasional sight of a girl's face.

    Your notion of "simple pleasures" is subjective. They very well may have had other 'simple pleasures'. In any case, attributing this seeming victory to American policy is not plausable - it's a byproduct.

    Kabul is not Sarajevo, or even Baghdad. Kabul is doing just fine after a small amount of munition was dropped in some areas. In fact, it is doing better than before. New shops are opening

    Please don't tell me that the determinant of how "fine" a place is doing is the number of shoppes that are open there. Seems like the American propaganda machine is doing an excellent job of getting people to think as narrowly as possible, which is a useful tool for hegemony.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    A swear word does not a point make (none / 0) (#287)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 01:37:36 AM EST

    That does not mean shit. Were hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths the "intended outcome" of Hiroshima and Nagasaki too? (Actually, in Truman's case, that's pretty likely).

    Exactly, and how many Nagasakians and Hiroshimars have become terrorists as a result? How many Brits grew up to kill Gerries?

    Your notion of "simple pleasures" is subjective. They very well may have had other 'simple pleasures'.

    Yes, like watching executions, beating women, rotting in jail cells -- that sort of thing. I bet you can't name one 'simple pleasure' that was taken away by the Alliance victory.

    Please don't tell me that the determinant of how "fine" a place is doing is the number of shoppes that are open there.

    I'm sure the number of closed shops, lack of food, and totalitarian persecution is more indicative of "fine"-ness in your sick world.

    Seems like the American propaganda machine is doing an excellent job of getting people to think as narrowly as possible, which is a useful tool for hegemony.

    Seems like the Lefty one has turned you into a ball of seething, anti-American hate. Neither rationality nor love fill you. This is why your words are "hate speech", and we all know what hate speech can cause.

    [ Parent ]

    Oh really? (none / 0) (#291)
    by valeko on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 02:20:21 AM EST

    Exactly, and how many Nagasakians and Hiroshimars have become terrorists as a result? How many Brits grew up to kill Gerries?

    That is beside the point. The circumstances in Japan were not compatible with fostering extremism, and Japan soon became a puppet.

    Afghani people have nothing to live for. The little infrastructure and order that they had was destroyed in the Soviet war, and even more in the infighting that followed. They have absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. They are an enraged people, however notoriously good at uniting in defense of their homeland from foreign invaders. This environment, in which the West is partly to blame, is an environment that fosters what you call "terrorism".

    Seems like the Lefty one has turned you into a ball of seething, anti-American hate. Neither rationality nor love fill you. This is why your words are "hate speech", and we all know what hate speech can cause.

    Who are you, Jerry Falwell?

    I don't know who this Lefty One is, although the parallels to the incoherent use of the term "The Evil One" are striking. As for my absence of rationality and love and the allegedly overt presence of "seething anti-American hate", you are in no place to assert that. I happen to have a slightly less univocal knowledge of history, in particular of American foreign policy. This allows me to make assertions about the motives of the US when becoming involved in global conflicts, and permits me to say that human rights, freedom, democracy, etc. do not top the agenda - as a general rule.

    I get the distinct feeling that you're resorting to sensationalistic, fanatical accusations of anti-Americanism because you lack more substantial arguments. I'd like to take this moment to refute your accusation that I am seething with anti-American hate - I am not inherently anti-American. That one desires to contribute to an academic discourse on the subject of whether this war is justified is not to be taken as an indication that I harbour a hatred towards the US or its citizens.

    But do keep in perspective that when the US drops bombs on Afghan civilians, to you, it's happening in a far away and irrelevant place. To the people of that locale, however, it is not so. Just as you point me to your saddening picture in big, bold links, these people would be delighted to, in my position, point you to pictures of this genre.

    I'm puzzled by the suggestion that my words are 'hate speech'. Nowhere do I recommend any undertakings that can be construed as the product of a hateful disposition. I merely suggest that American foreign policy in the context of current events might be unjustified, and that an inquiry into the circumstances that spawned September 11th might be in order. One of the biggest obstacles to progress is your irrational and abusive denounciation of all who dare criticise American policy as "seething with anti-American hate." This is the same tactic that most right-wing nutcases resort to in order to squash legitimate and scholarly discussion on the subject. That is the staple ideal of America's heritage of freedom, and your apparent (and aggressive) literary demeanour is a betrayal to its spirit. Pluralism of opinion is a good thing, you see.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Dissent in time of war has always been sedition (none / 0) (#307)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 05:58:16 AM EST

    I'd like to take this moment to refute your accusation that I am seething with anti-American hate - I am not inherently anti-American.

    But all your comments are anti-American. Sometimes they stray far off topic to hit Americans. You criticize people for being too close to America. While I can't possibly say whether you believe yourself to be anti-American, your writing on this thread indicates that such a belief would be quite supportable.

    I'm puzzled by the suggestion that my words are 'hate speech'. Nowhere do I recommend any undertakings that can be construed as the product of a hateful disposition. I merely suggest that American foreign policy in the context of current events might be unjustified

    And you do so without any actual logic to back you up. The reasons you give all insinuate either shadowy corporate-government conspiracies or the corruption of the pro-Americans involved. Or, alternatively, you rattle off a list of supposed American atrocities. When used against Jews, this sort of rhetoric is considered anti-Semitic. When used against Muslim insurgents, it is considered defamatory. When used against my people, I too will take offense.

    Next time you look at your Serbian propaganda link, remember that the people who asked us to do the left side to Belgrade were the same ones who did the right side to New York, and those are the ones who you say did "not illegitimately" attack the United States.

    [ Parent ]

    Response (none / 0) (#312)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 10:27:54 AM EST

    But all your comments are anti-American.

    If Valeko is an American, which I think we've established in previous comments, any of his comments are protected. You are un-American if you attack America. Comments and opinions that are not the majority is not said attack. If that was the case, all of the representatives that do not vote for a passed bill are considered un-American. Having opinions, even those conflicting with the government, is what makes an American. Anything other than that would be closer to Afghanistan's Taliban rule than America.

    And you do so without any actual logic to back you up.

    Since neither of us know exactly what is or is not going on, using the past and America's involvement in other parts of the world in figuring out US' stance in Afghanistan is viable. It is the equivalent of a background check or hiring someone based on past experience.

    For example, let's say you were hiring a new babysitter for your child. If the babysitter had abused other childrens in the past, you would be logical in not hiring him/her. Sure the babysitter could treat your child with geniuine care, but you wouldn't want to take that chance.

    While America has shown geniuine care to other countries many times, there were also times when it "abused" them (to use the analogy, not literally). Based on that, that's reasoning enough to atleast question the current situation.

    When used against my people, I too will take offense.

    Good point, and I commend you for that. But second guessing or questioning America's motives is not the same as calling it evil or doing wrong.

    [ Parent ]
    We're getting closer now (none / 0) (#328)
    by FcD on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 03:41:03 AM EST

    You are un-American if you attack America.
    Yes! And verbally attacking America is anti-American speech!
    Having opinions, even those conflicting with the government, is what makes an American.
    In peacetime, absolutely. And in war, too, but with caveats.

    Regardless of what time it is, the question is anti-Americanism is not whether valeko's opinions conflict with the government's, but whether they conflict with the government's solely because they are the government's opinions. In other words, if the government were tomorrow to reverse a policy that valeko opposes, would he then oppose the new policy? Most of the people who today defend the Taliban screamed bloody murder when the Taliban were in power, just like those who today defend the Serbs wept angry tears at our inaction in Bosnia.

    This is not much unlike the anti-Semites who argued that Mossad and not Bin Laden planned the attack on the Trade Center, and then when faced with Bin Laden's own admission, claim that Bin Laden himself is a Mossad agent.

    If the babysitter had abused other childrens in the past, you would be logical in not hiring him/her.
    I would not hesitate to call myself anti-[whatever the babysitter's name is] in that case, nor would I deny harboring hatred of him/her, although I would try to work on the hatred part.

    [ Parent ]
    The light at the end of the tunnel...?? (none / 0) (#335)
    by valeko on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 04:38:29 AM EST

    Yes! And verbally attacking America is anti-American speech!

    I suppose you could spin it that way, seeing as that fits within the framework of the rigid, mechanical, dictionary definition of anti-<anything>.

    The underlying question is not whether something is being verbally attacked, but what exactly is being verbally attacked. What do you mean by "verbally attacking America"? Attacking the nation and its people as a whole in a diatribe of general scope? I'm not doing that. Attacking its government? I wouldn't say I'm doing that, but I'd understand where you're coming from if you said that I am. Am I verbally attacking some policies the US government has carried out in the past and/or is doing so now? Yes. Does that mean I'm "attacking America"? I would say not. Foreign policy is a relatively narrow question in the grand scheme of what America is, and I think you're jumping to erroneous conclusions - i.e. that I am a hate-filled anti-anything-and-everything American bigot.

    Seriously. That's wrong. That's simply not true.

    Most of the people who today defend the Taliban screamed bloody murder when the Taliban were in power

    You have a legitimate point there. However, I think the root cause of this argument is yet another misunderstanding of me on your part; do you think I was defending the Taliban? No. I'm not defending the Taliban regime, nor do I fundamentally oppose its having been removed from power. Its tenure in the high seat of government was most certainly menacing by any measure.

    That I'm inclined to question how justified the US is in individually carrying out this role as revolutionary is not not not not synonymous with defending the Taliban order. Similarly, that I'm inclined to question how justified the US is in promoting its own specialised interests through such excursions as the Gulf War, Kosovo, and et cetera should not be construed as a defense of Slobodan Milosevic's regime, Saddam Hussein, etc. You need to understand this if you want anything fruitful to come out of our discussion!

    just like those who today defend the Serbs wept angry tears at our inaction in Bosnia.

    There is certainly lots of that going on, but you do have to consider that maybe those weeping over American inaction in Bosnia had not prophetically envisioned the full baggage of implications American action in Serbia had unloaded. There's 'overreaction' too, you know. It's subjective, but it's there.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Response (5.00 / 1) (#343)
    by ahsyed on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 12:20:24 AM EST

    Yes! And verbally attacking America is anti-American speech!

    Wrong. Verbally attacking American policies is not the same as disagreeing with American policies. I am disagreeing with it and discussing that disagreement is not only supported by the US, but even encouraged. That is democracy, not "attacking". In other words, if the government were tomorrow to reverse a policy that valeko opposes, would he then oppose the new policy?

    I highly doubt it. I know I wouldn't. If that was the case, I would be disagreeing with America's democracy and countless other policies it holds to me as well as the world. That is not the case. I, and I think Valeko, are disagreeing with a very focused set of policies. If you can find evidence of my disagreement with any policy outside of a narrow focus on US' foreign policy, please let me know.

    ...although I would try to work on the hatred part.

    Exactly my view. You don't see me or Valeko bombing the US because of this disagreement or "hatred". We are writing on K5, we are discussing it, and even seeing if/how we might be wrong. Believe it or not, that requires some strength.

    [ Parent ]
    You're spouting garbage again. (none / 0) (#320)
    by valeko on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 12:41:28 PM EST

    But all your comments are anti-American. Sometimes they stray far off topic to hit Americans.

    They do? Show me the comment(s) in question that are inherently "anti-American", especially the ones that "stray far off topic to hit Americans" in such a way that I am revealed to be definitively "anti-American". Sorry, critiquing American policy or even mass-culture is not synonymous with "anti-Americanism".

    And you do so without any actual logic to back you up. The reasons you give all insinuate either shadowy corporate-government conspiracies or the corruption of the pro-Americans

    To you they may seem "shadowy corporate-government conspiracies", but to those outside the realm of mass-hypnosis by American media, it may not be so. It's a frequent obstacle that people like myself are labeled "conspiracy theorists" - I don't propogate "conspiracy theories". Conspiracy theorists tell you "no, here's what really happened... X did Y" etc. I'm inclined to take some inconsistencies and historical facts and speculate based on what I have. I do not reject wholly the possibility that maybe the US really is intervening in Afghanistan for the good of its people, and to carry out its professed goal of wiping out terrorism. I do not wholly reject the possibility that the Gulf War was about preserving the territorial sanctity of Kuwait, nor that Kosovo was about helping the poor Albanians. I'm just telling you that I find the known facts to be inconsistent and indicative of something else.

    You accuse me of doing so "without any actual logic" to back me up, but you prove yourself no better than your own accusations. You haven't made a plausable point here - you're just spinning in circles - i.e. you're spouting illogical shadowy corporate-government conspiracies, you're anti-American, your Serbian propaganda, etc. This is not helping to refute my argument.

    As for the Serbian propaganda link, I don't know what to think of it. No doubt the presentation format gives the impression that it's one-sided and intended to serve a specific purpose, but so are the images of the WTC collapsing followed by endless swarms of Middle Eastern faces and then jet fighters. I don't know who "asked" the US to come and bomb Serbia, but there is considerable evidence that it wasn't to stop Milosevic (yet another incarnation of Hitler!) from wiping out the Albanian genome from the face of the earth.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Smell is not a directional sense. (none / 0) (#325)
    by FcD on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 03:22:22 AM EST

    Show me the comment(s) in question that are inherently "anti-American", especially the ones that "stray far off topic to hit Americans" in such a way that I am revealed to be definitively "anti-American".
    Here's one:

    (Me): Name one country that has invaded another since 1991.
    (You, pretending to respond): The U.S. allowed the murder of 200,000 people in East Timor in 1974

    Sorry, critiquing American policy or even mass-culture is not synonymous with "anti-Americanism".
    It isn't antonymous, either. Just because someone can say that racism is "objective criticism" doesn't mean it isn't also racism.
    I don't know who "asked" the US to come and bomb Serbia
    The KLA, which received support from Al Qaeda and is known to harbor Al Qaeda activity. The KLA is also said to have incited the original war in Kosovo, spread disinformation about the supposed "genocide" against Kosovar Albanians, and induced the refugee flight in order to force America's hand. After Yugoslavia's surrender, the KLA returned to Kosovo and promptly began beating, murdering and evicting the Serb minority population.

    [ Parent ]
    What does smell have to do with it? (none / 0) (#331)
    by valeko on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 03:56:36 AM EST

    (You, pretending to respond): The U.S. allowed the murder of 200,000 people in East Timor in 1974

    That was not intended as a direct response to the question of what invasions have occured since 1991, first of all.

    I'm not sure whether you consciously or unintentionally ignore the fact that when one says "the US", one does not mean ordinary American citizens, nor the country itself. "The US" usually means the US government, and on occasion not even that as much as "certain US policymakers". I take it for granted that this is how it is understood when I say that the US upheld Suharto's invasion of East Timor. If this is a misunderstanding between us, I sincerely apologise. However, I do not believe that pointing this perfectly well-known and legitimate fact out constitutes a fundamentally anti-American viewpoint. That I or ahsyed or anybody else dislike American policy at times does not mean that we are, in a classical sense, "anti-American". Foreign policy is merely one aspect - certainly a broad one, but not broad enough to entail of the many things that are part of the US which merit our appreciation.

    The KLA, which received support from Al Qaeda and is known to harbor Al Qaeda activity. The KLA is also said to have incited the original war in Kosovo, spread disinformation about the supposed "genocide" against Kosovar Albanians, and induced the refugee flight in order to force America's hand. After Yugoslavia's surrender, the KLA returned to Kosovo and promptly began beating, murdering and evicting the Serb minority population.

    I agree, and believe that this is generally correct. I profess to have something of a knowledge gap about the exact details of al-Qaeda's involvement with the KLA, but suffice to say, the KLA is guilty of most of the things which you describe above.

    Regardless, I don't know that I would equate al-Qaeda with the KLA in the context of the Kosovo affair. It's an interesting viewpoint that al-Qaeda would find American involvement on behalf of Kosovar Albanians beneficial, but I don't really have anything to say for or against it because I am at a loss in producing any relevant facts.

    I maintain that the US saw in this a great opportunity to expand its influence (and that of NATO) eastward in Europe, especially by removing one of the last [if not the last] substantial bastion of opposition to western hegemony in Eastern Europe - Milosevic's Serbia. That's not some big conspiracy, nor far-fetched - it's just opportunism. Just as I wholeheartedly reject silly "conspiracy theories" about how the US government orchestrated September 11th in an elaborate plot to take over Central Asia. That's rubbish. The way I see it, it's just opportunism - there is an opportunity which has presented itself to expand hegemony into former Soviet central Asia as part of a continuing political occupation of Afghanistan, which is justifiable under retaliation/"war on terrorism/etc. That's smart policymaking and acting in one's self-interest; common to most imperial powers in history, and hardly unique to the US.

    Furthermore, I have no doubt that there are good intentions rooted in such policies. Occupying Afghanistan does achieve the effect of suppressing a climate that otherwise ripened the people that carried out the atrocities of September 11th. I'm just saying that the effect it achieves is that the US has now a firm foothold in at least one vital central Asian country, and judging by the willigness of some of the former Soviet central Asian republics to accept an American presence there, they may already have a foothold on much more. Whether this is ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, a good or bad thing for humanity I do not know, and am certainly not fit to judge. I do find the idea that the US has artificially deposed an existing government in a foreign country under the pretext of war on terrorism somewhat disturbing, although not really surprising or unusual.

    It may not even be misguided. Maybe every single Taliban fighter really does represent "the terrorists" in every sense of the word. Maybe a large majority of the ruling class in Afghanistan is collectively responsible for September 11th. Maybe al-Qaeda was, in a de facto sense, the government of Afghanistan. My skepticism of all of this is rooted in the fact that I really don't know. I do oppose the needless deaths of Afghan civilians in the process of the bombing - the people of the country are not necessarily the terrorists in the country. The group in focus is narrow - it is al-Qaeda. The US obviously doesn't intend to wage war on the nation of Afghanistan itself, but hitting everything from Red Cross warehouses to settlements doesn't communicate that impression to the people on the ground.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    You sound almost reasonable (none / 0) (#336)
    by FcD on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 04:57:05 AM EST

    when one says "the US", one does not mean ordinary American citizens, nor the country itself. "The US" usually means the US government, and on occasion not even that as much as "certain US policymakers".
    September 11th seems to have eliminated the distinction. In broad terms, American citizens were held responsible for the actions of their government, while the Taliban government was held responsible for the actions of its citizens.
    I take it for granted that this is how it is understood when I say that the US upheld Suharto's invasion of East Timor. If this is a misunderstanding between us, I sincerely apologise.
    I would like to apologize for any misunderstanding as well, but also reiterate that you are incorrect in taking for granted the possibility of separating the government from its people. Indicting the government places a bounty on citizens' heads.

    [ Parent ]
    I'm glad we've arrived at that much. (none / 0) (#337)
    by valeko on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 05:10:30 AM EST

    I would like to apologize for any misunderstanding as well, but also reiterate that you are incorrect in taking for granted the possibility of separating the government from its people. Indicting the government places a bounty on citizens' heads.

    You are right, at least in the respect that separating the actions of a government from the will of its subjects leads to the undesireable philosophical walk in the cake of whether the government is the people, and vice versa. Obviously a zealous believer in democratic processes translating into macrosociety will say that yes, criticising the policies of a democratically elected government is functionally equivalent to indicting The People for its actions.

    I beg to differ. I'm definitely of the crowd that's inclined to perceive the ruling class as an "elite" that is almost peripheral to the people. In retrospect, it is a mistake on my part that I did not clarify this earlier in our discussion.

    However, I've come to take for granted that when a newspaper headline reads "US rejects ABM treaty", it means "US government rejects ABM treaty", not "ordinary Americans reject ABM treaty" or anything like that. Obviously the US physically cannot reject anything. It's a common colloqualism in journalism and in society that when we say that "Sweden refuses to take part in negotiations", we mean that the Swedish leadership has refused to take part in some negotiations.

    I think our discourse will be instructive to me in understanding that people are sensitive. I take it more or less for granted that people read what I have to say with a number of preconceived notions in mind, not the least important of which is that criticism of American policy is not functionally equivalent to criticism of America, accusations of its citizens of being cold-blooded murderers, etc. I will excercise more tact in this respect in the future, and will certainly keep your reaction to my thoughts in mind.

    I do not hold American citizens or American society as a whole accountable for the actions of the government. In most contexts, it'd even be wrong to hold the entire government responsible as an apparatus. (One example is how the Pentagon manages a lot of arms exports with relatively little governmental interference or oversight.) In general, in modern society, it's very difficult to pinpoint who exactly is responsible for what, and who to hold concretely accountable for anything. It's far too convoluted to be definitive about it, I think.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    counter. (3.00 / 3) (#209)
    by gromm on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 12:28:57 AM EST

    I'm always amazed when supposedly smart people ask such questions. Even more surprising to me are the times when these questions are regarded as insightful. Perhaps everyone needs to have a relative to die at the hands of a fanatic (as I have) before they can really understand.

    I'm always amazed when supposedly smart people don't question their governments. Even more surprising to me are the times when these questions are regarded as unpatriotic. Perhaps everyone needs to have a relative die at the hands of a nationalistic zealot before they can really understand.

    Osama Bin Laden directly attacked and murdered thousands of innocent civilians in the name of religion causing an intended side effect of fear, hatred, and anger across the civilized world.

    George Bush (both sr. and jr.) attacked and murdered thousands of innocent civilians in the name of nationalism, causing an unintended side effect of fear, hatred, and anger across the so-called "uncivilized world."

    What exactly *is* it that differentiates a war for nationalism and a war for righteousness? Is there even such a thing as a righteous war? A holy war? Or is there no such thing, only unholy wars whose winners dictate who was in the wrong? What is the difference between terrorism and "military action," besides better funding and political support? Do armies not bomb and shell densely populated cities? Is a country's capital a worthy military target? And what is the difference between revenge and "righteous wrath?"
    Deus ex frigerifero
    [ Parent ]

    All Questions, No Answers (5.00 / 1) (#212)
    by labradore on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 12:49:33 PM EST

    I think "a war for nationalism" is the wrong phrase to use. It would be better said as a war for civilization. What exactly *is* it that differentiates a war for nationalism [civilization] and a war for righteousness? In this case cult-like terrorists attacked innocent civilians and the pocketbooks and the well-being of every American citizen and every citizen in the western world. The United States acted carefully and responsibly to disable and destroy many of the terrorist's resources . It is working not only to defend itself but to defend those innocent in Afganistan and all across the world who are threatened by terrorism. I'm willing to bet my right hand that if you asked most Afghanis if they were thankful for the removal of the Taliban regime they would say resoundingly, "YES."

    Is there such a thing as a righteous or holy war? No. Humans are not righteous beings. We are the animals that rule the earth. Don't forget it to your own peril.

    What is the difference between terrorism and "military action"... The terrorists knew that they would be attacked. The Taliban soldiers signed up to put their lives on the line. Civilians do not make this commitment. In war, we try to spare civilians and capture or destroy the soldiers. Sometimes the lines get crossed. Was it wise to Bomb Hirosima and Nagasaki? Only time will tell. The U.S. has not tried to kill or deprive civilians in Afghanistan.

    What is the difference between revenge and "righteous wrath?" None is discernable. If you are worried about it then try to defend the position of not doing anything. What better response do you have to terrorism?

    [ Parent ]

    Read the entire Senator Biden interview. (4.50 / 2) (#205)
    by Futurepower on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 08:19:03 PM EST


    "we have known for a long time that the Saudis have been supporting and funding ... terrorist individuals" -Senator Biden on the Charlie Rose show broadcast on October 22, 2001 --- Quoted from the article.

    If you would like to read a transcript of the entire interview, it is the second chapter of What should be the Response to Violence?


    Thanks Futurepower (none / 0) (#206)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 08:43:50 PM EST

    I had gotten that quote from a, what some would consider bias, source. This is much better since this has a multi-sided look at the situation. What had made me angry was his "rationalizing" of the situation, and I didn't want to put that in with that relatively bias source. Thanks again.

    [ Parent ]
    Should guilt depend on intentions? (4.55 / 9) (#216)
    by svillee on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 02:38:25 PM EST

    Many people have made comparisons of the 9/11 attack versus the American attack on Afghanistan, debating which is more evil, and why.

    There are two ways to look at it. You can say that intentions are irrelevant. (This is actually the view I prefer.) Regardless of the hijackers' intentions, they killed about 3000 people, and if OBL masterminded it, then he should be held accountable for those deaths. Similarly, regardless of the intentions of the Ameriican military, they killed a number of Afghan civilians for which no official estimate is given, but which Marc Herold estimates at about 3700. Whatever the actual number is, the American military should be held accountable for those deaths.

    Or, you can try to factor in the intentions of those doing the killing. A key problem in any such analysis is determining people's actual intentions with reasonable certainty. We can only guess what was going through the minds of the hijackers, and we have only the word of government officials as to the intentions of the military.

    Over and over again, I hear people claim that the intention of the hijackers was to maximize civilian deaths. But a little calm rational thought will show that this is very unlikely. If the hijackers were really trying to kill as many people as possible, there are several obvious steps they could have taken to achieve this goal more effectively. For one thing, they could have hit the WTC later in the day. Even one hour later would have probably doubled the number of deaths. Also, hitting the Pentagon makes absolutely no sense if this was their goal. Any tall building in the DC area, or a large shopping center, would have made a far more effective target.

    The much publicised video tape gives further clues about OBL's intentions. Suppose on the tape OBL had said, "I had optimistically hoped for about 500 deaths, and was pleasantly surprised to hear the number was about 5000". If he had said that, then I would believe maximizing casualties was the goal. But instead he said, "I had optimistically hoped that a few floors above and below the planes would be destroyed, and was pleasantly suprised to hear both buildings were completely destroyed". To me, this indicates the goal was to destroy as much as possible of the WTC, and that he viewed the 5000 deaths as "collateral damage".

    We accept without question that the 9/11 attack was an act of terrorism. Call me crazy, but I am not convinced. Recently, experts have had difficulty even defining "terrorism", and I think part of the problem is that they want the definition to include 9/11, but in many ways 9/11 does not fit the usual pattern of terrorism. Similarly, I do not count Oklahoma City as terrorism.

    To me, terrorism is an act with the specific intention of creating terror. When the IRA explodes a bomb in some random London pub, that is terrorism. That particular pub has no strategic value to them. Instead, they are saying, "we blew up that pub. It could have been any pub. So the next time you go into a pub, we want you to be afraid we might blow up that one too."

    Now, perhaps the hijackers had similar thoughts. Perhaps their message was, "we just demolished that building. It could have been any building. So the next time you go into a tall building, we want you to be afraid we might demolish that one too." If that was what was really going on in their minds, then I would agree it was terrorism.

    But I don't think so. OBL's earlier attempt (1993) shows that he had a specific fixation on the WTC. He viewed it as a symbol of western economic culture and globalization, which in his view were defiling the religion of Islam.

    Both Oklahoma City and 9/11 certainly generated terror. But that does not mean terror was the goal. We think, "I feel terror, therefore terror must have been the intent." This arises from the vain assumption that OBL cares what we think. But my sense is that OBL was not trying to generate terror, fear or any other emotion in the American people. His message was not for Americans at all. It was for Islam countries. He was saying, "look, the American economic and military power is not invincible. There is hope for defying the Americans. There is hope for ridding Islam countries of American influence."

    The phrase "collateral damage" reminds me of the legal term "depraved indifference". I am not a lawyer or anything, but my understanding is that even if killing is not your true purpose, you are guilty of "depraved indifference" if you commit an act with a foreseeable high probability of killing innocent people. To me, this perfectly describes the actions of both the hijackers and the American military.

    If intent doesn't matter (3.50 / 2) (#220)
    by spacejack on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 11:51:06 AM EST

    then destroying the WTC was most certainly an act of terrorism; it struck fear into the hearts of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people whose only sin was simply showing up for work.

    [ Parent ]
    new OBL tape proving me wrong (3.00 / 1) (#235)
    by svillee on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 07:45:47 PM EST

    As I understand it, you are saying this: If the definition of "terrorism" is changed to mean "an act that causes terror, regardless of intent", then 9/11 was an act of terrorism.

    I agree completely. And the American bombing of Afghanistan was also terrorism, since it struck fear into the hearts of millions of people whose only sin was being born in Afghanistan.

    On the other hand, CNN is just now showing the latest video tape where OBL specifically uses the word "terror" (assuming it is being translated correctly), so it looks like I was wrong about this.

    [ Parent ]

    Oi! (1.00 / 2) (#237)
    by valeko on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 08:29:14 PM EST

    You're going to surrender your perfectly good position because of some videotape being shown on CNN? (Granted, they say it was shown on Al Jazira in order to give it the appearance of being substantial.)

    Come on, excercise a little critical thought. Maybe the videotape is authentic, maybe it's not. Doesn't really matter - your original post made perfect sense in that it was more universally applicable.

    But I agree with your point on what attacking Afghan civilians is, by definition.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Heaven forbid... (none / 0) (#304)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 05:08:57 AM EST

    Fact should get in the way of a good argument.

    Maybe the videotape is authentic, maybe it's not.

    Who would have faked the tape?

    [ Parent ]

    Response (5.00 / 1) (#311)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 10:10:38 AM EST

    I think Valeko said that to avoid a seperate argument. He is acknowledging that their are two sides to the camp and moving on. That's how I interpreted it atleast.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes. (none / 0) (#317)
    by valeko on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 12:03:49 PM EST

    That is exactly what I meant.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    The Afghan civilian casualty figures you cite... (4.00 / 2) (#229)
    by thanos on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 05:11:38 PM EST

    ...appear to be inflated. I visited the link containing Marc Herold's estimates and must say that much of his footnoted evidence seems quite specious. Where's the independent confirmation, what happened to checking every fact with at least 2 sources?

    In any event, the US military took special care to limit civilian casualties to the absolute minimum. If not for pure humanitarian reasons, then simply to deflect anti-American propaganda that invariably results from civilian casualties. The people that really do not value innocent life are the cowards who hide in hospitals and amongst women and children.

    This is a typical tactic of OBL and his gang. Remember Somalia? Well, down there when US forces were engaged by the local riff-raff they were trapped in an alley pinned down by fire from either side. The gunmen allowed women and children to wander around in front of them so they could hide. Human shields! And we can all remember the images of the corpse of an American serviceman being dragged through the streets in joy. This is the type of enemy the US is facing. Where are the rants about their lack of respect for innocent life on the battlefield?

    Civilian casualties should be avoided at all costs, but they are nothing new to war and sadly it seems will always be a part of it. The real goal should be to get rid of war itself.


    Savinelli testified that Pickard said on two occasions that he had accidentally spilled LSD on himself, dosing himself with the drug. Pickard acted "giddy" and was less focused and organized for about a month after the second dosing.
    [ Parent ]
    What is your take on the Qalaye Niazi attack? (5.00 / 1) (#321)
    by svillee on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 05:51:49 PM EST

    I'm curious what you think about this report from MSNBC. I could not find any mention of it on CNN.

    The explanation from the "senior U.S. official" was confusing to me. First he says that during the attack on Sunday, someone in the village fired anti-aircraft missiles at the U.S. planes. But then later he says that on Friday, the U.S. fired guided missiles at a target 10 miles outside Gardez (hence presumably 7.5 miles away from Qalaye Niazi), and destroyed the compound. If the compound was really destroyed on Friday, what was left to be attacked by the planes on Sunday? Or was that a different compound?

    The senior U.S. official does not deny that 107 people in the village were kiilled. He just says that some of them were strongly suspected to be Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders. I guess I'm naive, but I would have thought they could send in a ground team to take out just the Taliban and Al Qaeda folks.

    Do you really think this attack demonstrates taking "special care to limit civilian casualties to the absolute minimum"? Suppose we were living in a parallel universe where the U.S. military didn't care at all about civilian casualties. How would the Qalaye Niazi attack have gone differently?

    [ Parent ]

    Intent doesn't matter?!? (5.00 / 1) (#240)
    by chrome koran on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 11:25:45 PM EST

    So, the following scenarios are equal in your eyes and would merit the same exact level of condemnation:
  • I am an alcoholic and go out driving in a drunken stupor. I hit a car containing four human beings and they are all killed.
  • I am attempting to rob a convenience store but some of the patrons try to run out the door. I kill four of them as they try to get away.
  • I am a drug dealer. Several people owe me money for drugs. I decide it is hight time to set an example and I murder four of them in grisly ways to make my point.

    Do you seriously believe these three cases are equal? If you were a judge, would you give the same sentence to the perpetrator in the first example as to the perpetrator in the last example? If you can honestly answer yes to that, then thank someone you aren't a judge...

    [ Parent ]

  • avoiding repeat offenses (2.00 / 1) (#249)
    by svillee on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 08:18:31 PM EST

    As I see it, there are two main goals of punishment: (1) preventing this particular individual from commiting the same offense again and (2) deterring other people. (In the case of a robbery, there is the third goal of compensating the victim, but this is not feasible for a killing.) A good judge should carefully weigh all the factors in a case and choose a punishment that best achieves these goals. This is a complex and difficult task, and I do not envy judges this responsibility. Each case is a little different, and there are no hard and fast rules.

    That being said, I think on the whole, the law attaches far too much importance to intentions. So the short answer is yes, I would be inclined to treat your three cases very similarly, and I'm aware that is an unpopular position. In your case #1, some leniency might be in order if it was a first offense. The key issue to be decided is not his intentions, but rather whether he can learn the lesson of not driving drunk, so that goal (1) can be achieved. Again, this is not an easy thing to decide.

    [ Parent ]

    Valid argument (none / 0) (#257)
    by chrome koran on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 01:18:55 AM EST

    However, I would argue in return that there is very definite relationship between "intent" and capability for rehabilitation. That is, the alcoholic who "unintentionally" killed four people with a car, is much less likely to kill four more people than the drug dealer in example #3, who (in his mind) was justified in his act. The person who "intends" to kill four people once, and in fact, can justify it in his mind, is far less likely to change his ways.

    [ Parent ]
    Difference of Intentions (none / 0) (#250)
    by On Lawn on Fri Dec 28, 2001 at 01:07:17 PM EST

    As I understand it killing someone can result in several different charges. First, Second and Third degree Murder as well as manslaughter and wrongful death. In them we have many different degrees of intentions and purpose.

    Aside from that there is Geneva conventions and UN accords against killing during war, with differing degrees based on innocence, intention and purpose.

    You've already conceded that bin Laden's intentions of terror were exposed in his last video tape so I won't go there.

    [ Parent ]
    This will effect Saudi Arabia long term, not short (2.20 / 5) (#221)
    by edp0wers on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 12:03:17 PM EST

    Since September 11th, it seems that every Islamic state has said "The WTC attack was horrible ... *but* considering the US's stance on Palestine, blah, blah, blah ... We hope the US rethinks its foreign policy." Well, I think we have and I think that Islamic countries will all fair worse for it in the long run. What did we learn from this this examination of foreign affairs? That countries that we give millions of dollars to every year spout off anti-US hate mongering at every chance. That countries with whom we do billions of dollars of business a year actually sound more anti-semtic than Hitler. What does this mean? We are going to see financial aid and business drift away from Islamic countries because no one likes to help people that spread hatred about their helpers. The biggest beneficiary of all of this will be Russia. Russia has some very large oil fields in very hard to reach places. A couple years of R&D and infrastructure construction and it'll be ready to ship. You are right, we can't stop buying Saudi oil tommorrow our economy would hit a brick wall. But you can bet that in ten years we'll hardly be buying any from oil from any country that calls us Crusaders, Zionist puppets, etc. It wouldn't suprise me at all if in ten years there was almost no US interest in business or finacial aid to Islamic countries. And based on what I have read from islamic journalists I look forward to watching their countries degenerate into even bigger shit holes then they are today. Sure the islamic media will probably keep blaming the US and Israel, but at some point some one will have to think: "Hey, maybe if my kid didn't idolize people that blow themselves up in crowded areas and instead channeled his efforts into constructive persuits, then maybe my country will be a better place someday."

    You're my point exactly (4.50 / 2) (#225)
    by ahsyed on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 01:48:00 PM EST

    You brought up business and how Saudis and the US are partners in that. Saudis also breed terrorists. But they have a short leash and no bombs coming their way. Afghanistan has no business (money wise) with the US, and the bombs are a coming.

    All this sort of thinking tells me that while getting rid of terrorism is important, it's not as important as oil business and impeding relations. If I was wrong, Saudis would be worried and the US would take them off their "ally" list because of the quote and the US' knowledge of Saudis "breeding terrorists".

    Lastly, your life is not any better than those in those "shit holes". Of course you see it as that, but people living there (atleast from my POV as one living in Pakistan) are very content. They don't need television or the Internet to be happy. So while they do have a lot less money than American, of course...they are still very happy. Please read the comments and my responses below just so we don't rehash a lot of what has already been said.

    [ Parent ]
    You are incorrect when you say... (3.66 / 3) (#228)
    by thanos on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 04:55:15 PM EST

    ...that people in Islamic countries are happy. (Name a content Palestinian...) They envy the West and look inward and see that Muslim civilization offers very little to the modern world. The terrorists fight with borrowed weapons; they seek to destroy western culture and yet offer nothing to replace it. Theirs is an abject nihilism.

    If people are by-and-large content in Muslim countries, then why is there religious strife in practically every single one they inhabit? Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Indonesia, Phillipines, etc. to name some lesser known examples. I think it is because Islam is a conquering religion and it seeks to destroy other religions, not to coexist with them. Heck, it's in the Koran (the direct word of Allah): One should not tolerate those of other religions (yes I am paraphrasing.) It's not open to interpretation.

    I also wonder sometimes if the West was just as poor and pathetic as ALL the Muslim countries in the world are, would they hate us so much? I don't think so, there wouldn't be any Jones' to keep up with.

    Maybe I'm wrong and the author of the original post is right. But the only way I can reconcile that with what I hear, read, and see around me is that the media (Arab and Western) totally blow Muslim anger WAY the eff out of proportion... but I doubt it.
    Savinelli testified that Pickard said on two occasions that he had accidentally spilled LSD on himself, dosing himself with the drug. Pickard acted "giddy" and was less focused and organized for about a month after the second dosing.
    [ Parent ]
    Thanks for playing. (none / 0) (#230)
    by valeko on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 05:16:37 PM EST

    You have to be able to read between the lines a little. Ahsyed did not say that everyone is happy in Islamic countries, nor that there isn't "religious strife". This is true for most places of the world.

    They envy the West and look inward and see that Muslim civilization offers very little to the modern world.

    Making such an ignorant and generalised statement reveals that you know very little on the subject of Palestinians or Muslim civilisation. "They" envy the West? Who is they? It is statistically likely that some of them do, even a quantifiable portion, but "they" do not as a collective look inward and find these mythical lies in Muslim civilisation. You are spreading lies and disinformation.

    Palestinians have been displaced from their home and autonomous rule, and their broad political goal is to reconquer both. Most Palestinian citizens just want to be left alone to live a decent life, and Israel isn't letting them. Regardless of whether you agree with me, your ignorant generalisations are not applicable to the situation.

    Religious strife, so to speak, exists in most places where there isn't a religious hegemony. That's normal, and is not unique to Islamic countries.

    I also wonder sometimes if the West was just as poor and pathetic as ALL the Muslim countries in the world are, would they hate us so much

    Probably not. From their perspective, they are justified in opposing western imperialism and hegemony. The West covets most of the world's wealth and a substantial portion of resources that do not, strictly speaking, belong to them. And then the West supports Israel, which is inherently detrimental in the eyes of Palestinians and Islamic extremists. That's not something amazing or extraordinary. Of course they are going to resent the squalor perpetrated upon them by this inequitable distribution of resources.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Their own medicine (none / 0) (#346)
    by Lenny on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 01:15:36 PM EST

    Palestinians have been displaced from their home and autonomous rule, and their broad political goal is to reconquer both. Most Palestinian citizens just want to be left alone to live a decent life, and Israel isn't letting them.

    The palestinians are getting a taste of what the Jews have been going through for a few thousand years. Except the palestinians have the support of all the arab states. If the palestinians want to be left alone and live a decent life they should move to an arab governed country. Israel is the culmination of the treatment of the Jews for the last few millenia. If the jews had not been forced out of their homeland, they would not have had to force their way back home.


    "Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
    -Me
    [ Parent ]
    It's not that simple. (none / 0) (#347)
    by valeko on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 01:41:20 AM EST

    If the palestinians want to be left alone and live a decent life they should move to an arab governed country.

    Easy for you to say, but unfortunately this isn't nearly as simple as it sounds. "Don't like it, so move!" - it may work in the West, but it's not necessarily applicable to the Middle East.

    I am ignorant on the subject of actual relations of Palestinians with Arab neighbours, dispite their abstract political support for the anti-Israeli cause. However, I conjecture that Palestinians aren't wanted everywhere in the Arab world with great eagerness, and that they have no particular desire to leave what has been their home land, regardless of who was there first a millenium or two ago.

    Prior to the Iraqi invasion in 1991, Kuwait was a very prosperous Gulf emirate, with a very progressive disposition compared to the other Arab neighbours. Kuwaitis had some of the best per-capita living standards, as defined by westerners, in the known world. Most Kuwaitis were substantially middle class, and in general the citizens of Kuwait claimed some of the highest car-to-population and VCR-to-population ratios in the world. Kuwait had many facets of democratic leadership, partly because the al-Sabah monarchy governed more by tradition and less by force, a la the House of Saud. Before the Iraq-Iran war, it even had a proper parliament of sorts. (The monarchy sought to suspend this institution following growing terrorism in Kuwait as a result of its less-than-neutral support of Iraq [along with the US] at the time).

    However, Kuwait was host to several hundred thousand Palestinians, who constituted the economic underclass. They were not Kuwaiti citizens in general, and citizenship was virtually a closed option to them - even their children could not have Kuwaiti citizenship. The Palestinians were mostly displacted migrant types, and functioned as the blue-collar backbone of the oil industries there. They were not generally held in great esteem, dispite being of vital importance to the economic well-being of Kuwait, and had very few priveledges or given rights.

    I can infer from this that maybe a similar attitude exists in other Arab states. At any rate, I certainly can't see why the Arab world would be compelled to absorb waves of Palestinian immigrants, let alone why Palestinians would opt to emigrate to neighbouring countries en masse. Palestine is their home land.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    RE: You're my point exactly (4.00 / 1) (#238)
    by edp0wers on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 08:30:40 PM EST

    getting rid of terrorism is important, it's not as important as oil business

    Of course it isn't. Ok, time for some theorizing. Say we stop all oil trade with terrorist subsidizers. Well there goes most of our oil import. The futures market has a cow, oil prices sky rocket. Production costs go through the roof on almost everything manufactured. Consumption falls through the floor and production falls off causing more jobs to be cut. This in turn starts killing financial institutions as more people default on their loans and in just a few months we've gone from a recession looking up to a depression with a bleak outlook. Yeah, that's what our country needs. Timing, timing, timing. We'll deal with the Saudis all in due time, but not before we have a replacement lined up. And since Sept. 11th that replacement has become a bigger priority. Dealing with the Saudis now isn't worth the price (you've heard of the cost benefit ratio, right). Why beat ourselves up now to go after Saudi Arabia, when we can tag them along for a couple of years while we find a substitue oil source and then pounce on them? It sounds like you're suggesting that we follow the ideal of the war on terrorism regardless of the consequences. Well, if you're an idealist then we have a fundamental disagreement because I'm a pragmatist that believes in making the best descisions given the current situation. This is probably the crux of our argument. We may agree on all the facts yet still draw different conclusions. If this is the case we have little else to say to one another. I respect your opinion but don't agree with it.

    Oh yeah, I wanted to address this: Lastly, your life is not any better than those in those "shit holes".

    I know that. I don't really think human life has intrinsic value for reasons we can discuss if you really feel like it. I am convinced that many muslims don't share our feelings though, that all life is equal. Especially when their leaders encourage them to kill Israelis and then say that the Israelis welcome it and actually profit from it. What kind of sick bullshit is that!? The same was said about the WTC attack although is was barely reported. No American communities danced in the streets when we started bombing Afganistan like the Palestinians did on Sept. 11th. I've been reading alot of foreign press lately and if the militant muslims are in fact a minority they are a very vocal minority that meets with little if any government resistance. The events of Sept. 11th coupled with the global availability of Islamic media has brought to the surface the degree to which these institutions preach moral drepravity and lies with the tacit conscent of islamic intellectuals and governments. Watch what these governments say to the US and then compare that to what they tell their own people. It's a 180 degree difference. Just my $0.02. Maybe I'm wrong, but hey, that's my right :)

    [ Parent ]
    You are so awfully, blindly misinformed (4.33 / 3) (#245)
    by fellicity on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 11:41:14 AM EST

    Not really. ;) But just a few corrections to point out (this is long, I'll warn you in advance):

    Say we stop all oil trade with terrorist subsidizers. Well there goes most of our oil import.

    How do you figure that? According to the 2000 EIA fact sheet on non-OPEC oil producing countries, the United States ranks second behind Saudi Arabia in global oil production, not accounting for the other 76% of the world's oil production. Meaning, there are roughly 6 major oil producing countries (not including the U.S.) from which to import oil that have no connections with OPEC.

    We could do quite well with the oil we have in the U.S., actually, and especially now that most of our populous will blindly agree to anything Bush Jr. decides--including tearing up Alaska and our coast lines to get at more of his precious, precious oil.

    So for anyone pondering why the U.S. hasn't been tougher on such a terror-rich country as Saudi Arabia, you now have your answer. Our president comes from a long line of men willing to put profit before the welfare of those over whom they govern or lead. Not that other presidents haven't been equally bastardly, but still...

    Our government has a hard time looking at the long term v. the short term.

    One example of this can be seen through this statement:

    Well, if you're an idealist then we have a fundamental disagreement because I'm a pragmatist that believes in making the best descisions(sic) given the current situation.

    Certainly, our government wants us to believe that a full-scale war on a country such as Afghanistan was the best decision under the circumstances. However, it was a decision that left the UN scratching their heads. Rather than carefully rooting out those who may have been connected to the attacks on the U.S. in ways within our means, including focusing on those countries in which the terrorists originated (Saudi Arabia being the most popular), the U.S. chose to state Article 51 of the UN Charter (the "self defense" clause) and unfortunately launched an attack on mostly innocent people--either directly or indirectly. Sure we blew up a bunch of the Taliban's second-rate, hand-me-down planes and such left over from the war with (then) Russia. Yay us.

    Going at Afghanistan in the manner our country prescribed after 9-11 may have seemed emotionally right to many at the time (might makes right), but our attack has been a mostly wasteful, expensive, inaccurate and potentially devastating in the long term venture, compared to a more decisive and well-planned out 'seek and destroy' mission (that encompassed all possible terrorist cells, rather than focusing simply on bin Laden and al-Qa'ida).

    Of course, blowing away the heart of an already desolate country would be the easiest and most productive thing to do in the short term. This is possibly another reason our government makes the sorts of questionable decisions they do--instant gratification, coupled with the already discussed morally-defunct capitalist obsession, do not make a country run smoothly or admired by a great deal of the world.

    (A great cartoon here depicts just the kind of short-sighted foreign policy decisions that have cost unnecessary revenue, time and lives. We forget that bin Laden once worked for the CIA and that we helped institute the Taliban through installing a religiously extreme, corrupt puppet-regime in Pakistan. I don't think those decisions were very pragmatic--they are possibly the furthest thing from, once one recounts our political and foreign policy history.)

    I am convinced that many muslims don't share our feelings though, that all life is equal. Especially when their leaders encourage them to kill Israelis and then say that the Israelis welcome it and actually profit from it.

    Please don't let the actions of a few speak for the whole. I am convinced that only a very small minority of Muslims believe that violence is the answer to conflict, and that human life is devoid of intrinsic value. In fact, true Muslims know that taking a life (any life) is the worst crime one can commit, and this is a theme that is deeply ingrained in their religious text. However the xian bible also says "Thou shalt not kill"... and, unfortunately, there are those xians who do. Does this mean all xians are killers, who place no moral value on human life? No. Do the actions of some very crude and ruthless people who happen to follow Islam speak for the majority of those of the same faith? Absolutely not. Generalizations will help no one if they care to discuss this issue.

    Likewise, the irresponsible behavior of some Palestinians do not speak for all Palestinians--let alone all Muslims. Just as there were plenty of Americans who felt a swell of joy while we bombed Afghanistan (Red Cross aid centers, and all), not all of us did. People all over the world still fall into the same categories of humanity, with varying reactions and philosophies on life and behavior, regardless of what country they call home.

    The Palestinian-Israeli issue is a topic unto itself. I can see both sides of the conflict, including the side where some Palestinians consider America "the bad guy" for supporting a country who has occupied and whittled away at their homeland, despite the peace talks, and who continues to support their own brand of terrorism (a person who shoots children and bombs nursing homes is still a terrorist, even if he or she wears a military uniform). This is a touching story, if somewhat one-sided.

    I agree that there is too little government resistance in certain areas of the world (not only the Middle East, but also Ireland and Columbia for examples, and that this might be a factor in the development of terrorist organizations. Perhaps if we could set an example by dealing with those governments, who also breed corruption both financial and societal, we might see a dent in this "war on terrorism".

    And remember... not a single government on this planet is innocent when it comes to what they tell their citizens versus how they deal with other countries and having the two jibe. The U.S. is not exempt from this practice. Rhetoric is the power tool of politics, and often, in times of struggle, the populous eats it up. It must be comforting.

    The moral to this is--people are people everywhere, not just in the United States. If we felt that way--if we truly believed that and didn't view the rest of the world as third class citizens--there would be a difference. 6000 Iraqi children die a month due to malnutrition, lack of medical care, etc. as a result of imposed sanctions because of one man. One man, Hussein, is not worth the lives of 6000 children--almost twice that of the WTC attacks-- per month. The thousands who might die from malnutrition in Afghanistan and surrounding regions due to this "war" are worth SO much more than the lives of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts. I do not support terrorism. I do not support extremists of any kind, from any country. I do not hate the United States as some may claim of myself and others, simply because I feel our government should be held accountable for its actions as we wish the rest of the world to be held accountable for theirs.

    But I don't think this "war" is going to solve our problem or make up for the terrible tragedies of 9-11. I think it will cause more conflict unless we get to the bottom of the problem--including our relationships with countries around the world. If you say one thing but prove the opposite through your actions, it's likely that you won't get much respect.

    You're right-- it is your right to express yourself freely, as it is mine. And it's nice to have that right, even if the views might be dissenting. That's a right that's often overlooked in this land of the free... home of the brave... ;)



    [ Parent ]
    Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa . . . Stop right there . . (none / 0) (#279)
    by billman on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 05:42:44 PM EST

    However, it was a decision that left the UN scratching their heads.

    Do you have a source on that because I don't think many people were surprised at all by the US reaction to the attacks.

    Rather than carefully rooting out those who may have been connected to the attacks on the U.S. in ways within our means, including focusing on those countries in which the terrorists originated (Saudi Arabia being the most popular), the U.S. chose to state Article 51 of the UN Charter (the "self defense" clause) and unfortunately launched an attack on mostly innocent people--either directly or indirectly.

    I'm not even sure where to start on this one so I'll go point by point.

    1. Had the US done as you say (carefully rooting out those connected) then it is very likely another attack on the US would have already occured. Upending the Taliban and going after bin Laden will prove to be the best decision both in the long and short term. We have destroyed a major piece of infrastructure used by the terrorists and provided them with no safe haven in which to hide (I know you're going to argue with that but read the rest of my points where I explain this point further).

    2. Saudi Arabia can be delt with using economic and political pressure. But both of those things take time and what the US needed was to defend itself against an immediate threat posed by bin Laden.

    3. The attacks were not against mostly innocent people. The US went to great pains to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible. The US spent millions upon millions of extra dollars to help ensure that goal. Now, some civilians were killed but that was not the aim or goal. Our war was against bin Laden and those who defended him, namely the Taliban.

    4. I like the way people like you always seem to know what's going on in the minds of people you know nothing about. I would say the average Afghani feels better about his/her future than they did on Sept. 10th. People are swarming music stores, enrolling in schools, and for the first time in a long time, migrating BACK to Afghanistan. So, while it was not the intent of the US, it was a nice side-effect that the people of Afghanistan for the first time in 10 years actually have a bright future ahead of them.

    Sure we blew up a bunch of the Taliban's second-rate, hand-me-down planes and such left over from the war with (then) Russia. Yay us.

    Oh yea, I guess ending the Taliban rule in Afghanistan was not a good thing.

    Going at Afghanistan in the manner our country prescribed after 9-11 may have seemed emotionally right to many at the time (might makes right), but our attack has been a mostly wasteful, expensive, inaccurate and potentially devastating in the long term venture, compared to a more decisive and well-planned out 'seek and destroy' mission (that encompassed all possible terrorist cells, rather than focusing simply on bin Laden and al-Qa'ida).

    Two points:

    1. Please tell me how you are defining "wasteful, expensive, inaccurate and potentially devastating in the long term venture", because I think most people are viewing this as both a long term and short term success.

    2. Why do you think that we're not going to conduct search and destroy missions againt other terrorist groups? I've read several reports (most recently one in the WSJ) that indicate countries like Yemen are secretly asking the US to help them get rid of terrorist groups within their countries. See, contrary to popular belief, terrorist groups usually don't have government sanction. The problem is that they have guns and explosives. Any attempts by the government to crack down are usually met with assasination attempts. So, in a country of 10 million people, if just 10,000 are armed and trained in terrorism, your life can become a living hell real fast if they decide they don't like your anti-terrorism policies. I believe the US will use CIA, Delta and Special Forces to train and work with foreign governments in tracking down and assasinating terrorist leaders but it won't be something you read about in the NYT.

    Of course, blowing away the heart of an already desolate country would be the easiest and most productive thing to do in the short term. This is possibly another reason our government makes the sorts of questionable decisions they do--instant gratification, coupled with the already discussed morally-defunct capitalist obsession, do not make a country run smoothly or admired by a great deal of the world.

    Again, where are your sources? I think the immigration trend in the US would seem to indicate that most people do admire the US.

    [ Parent ]

    Be A Fantasy Historian -- Make It Up As It Happens (none / 0) (#303)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 05:01:08 AM EST

    However, it was a decision that left the UN scratching their heads.
    Do you have a source on that because I don't think many people were surprised at all by the US reaction to the attacks.

    UN staffers evacuated Kabul on September 12th. I wonder how that idea came to her...

    [ Parent ]

    Well no (5.00 / 1) (#246)
    by spiralx on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 11:42:11 AM EST

    No American communities danced in the streets when we started bombing Afganistan like the Palestinians did on Sept. 11th.

    But that's because several of them were busy preparing to go firebomb mosques and attack anyone looking vaugely middle-eastern.

    You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
    [ Parent ]

    Source? (none / 0) (#308)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 05:59:56 AM EST

    How many mosques were firebombed in the United States compared with the number in Britain, Canada and Australia?

    [ Parent ]
    *sigh* (5.00 / 1) (#344)
    by spiralx on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 05:30:28 PM EST

    It doesn't matter; that's not the point I was making at all. You were making a comment about people dancing in the streets after the WTC attack; I responded with a comment about people firebombing mosques. In both cases such events were not indicative of the majority of people in their repsective countries, and to take them as such is to ignore the fact that the vast majority of people on both sides did not support such negative acts.

    You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
    [ Parent ]

    Response (none / 0) (#310)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 10:07:00 AM EST

    I can't believe it, but I agree with FcD on this one. The level of discrimination towards Arabs/Muslims (this round) was far less than what others have felt. For a country that was attacked on its own ground, I would say that America was geniunly more calm than even I expected. America deserves credit for that.

    [ Parent ]
    Huh? (none / 0) (#267)
    by FcD on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 11:37:28 AM EST

    Lastly, your life is not any better than those in those "shit holes". Of course you see it as that, but people living there (atleast from my POV as one living in Pakistan) are very content. They don't need television or the Internet to be happy. So while they do have a lot less money than American, of course...they are still very happy.
    Then why, pray tell, did you choose to leave?

    [ Parent ]
    Hah. (none / 0) (#274)
    by valeko on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 04:29:13 PM EST

    It may be inconceivable to you that people can have pretty reasonable lives elsewhere, so naturally such things need to be put into perspective.

    The motivations of people who move to the US inspite of having pretty decent lives back home are difficult to pinpoint, but there's no question that there's more economic opportunity in the US, especially to work with various technologies, etc. That does NOT mean that they were living in utter humanitarian catastrophe or squalour elsewhere.

    I don't think it's your place to question why anybody moved anywhere, although I also suspect that ahsyed may have been young when his parents moved here and took him with them.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    What? (none / 0) (#305)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 05:14:00 AM EST

    I don't think it's your place to question why anybody moved anywhere

    No, everyone's lives should be off-limits, especially when they talk about themselves on Kuro5hin.

    Unless they work for Unocal, in which case they're illegitimate imperialist proxies.

    [ Parent ]

    Response (none / 0) (#309)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 10:03:27 AM EST

    I've already responded to your question. There's no need to go back to try to salvage or recreate another argument. Respond to the answer you wanted rather than rehashing another side argument.

    [ Parent ]
    Response (none / 0) (#283)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 06:58:19 PM EST

    Then why, pray tell, did you choose to leave?

    Just because you leave somewhere does not mean that somewhere was a shit hole. Most children love their childhood homes. Usually that childhood home is not run down or causing harm. It usually has a lot of good memories and its own form of happiness. But you eventually leave it, to find a new life and/or another form of happiness. That doesn't mean you hate your childhood home or that it is a shit hole.

    Lastly, to further baffle your mind, I am even considering moving BACK to Pakistan when I get married and have children. I want its happiness for my family more than I want American's opportunistic happiness.

    [ Parent ]
    Exactly! (none / 0) (#286)
    by FcD on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 01:23:15 AM EST

    Lastly, to further baffle your mind, I am even considering moving BACK to Pakistan when I get married and have children. I want its happiness for my family more than I want American's opportunistic happiness.

    This doesn't baffle my mind at all. The entire sense I had reading your article was a conflict of identity, which all travellers know. The events of September 11th have sharpened all sorts of conflicts, and you are left with two incompatible components.

    If you have not settled down in America, then you have not planted roots. You may own citizenship, but you're heart is somewhere in between. This is why you concern yourself with the future of Pakistan.

    And Pakistan's interest, not America's, is at the heart of your article. All of Afghanistan's neighbours have welcomed the increased stability that the new regime has brought to Kabul. The only country hurt is Pakistan, which must once again defend its Western frontier. This in turn harms Pakistan on its primary axis of concern, India and Kashmir. Additionally, Pakistan suffered the greatest number of casualties during the war. In fact, I would not be surprised (to be blunt and presumably hurtful) if there is no Pakistan for you to return to when you choose to settle down.

    America's interest in the chosen strategy was clear. The Afghan opposition would receive American supplies and would be aided by strategic bombing. In return, the opposition would provide America intelligence. The fact that only eight Americans lost their lives is testament to the strategy working in America's interest.

    Thank you for arguing Pakistan's point of view. I have heard it before in Dawn, the Nation and the Frontier Post, but it has usually been muffled by the press censorship regime in place over there. Stability and peace in South Asia are extremely important, as events of the past few days have made abundantly clear. Unfortunately, Pakistan's government in Kabul underestimated Bin Laden's power and decision-making, and the whole thing went to hell. The problem should have been clear from the point of his interview with Ted Koppel, and certainly after US missile strikes against Al Qaeda in 1998. (One of the camps attacked was in Pakistan proper, but Pakistani authorities covered it up.) However, Pakistan was under Sharif at the time, and presumably the military and the ISI and the government didn't tell each other all the important details.

    [ Parent ]

    Response (none / 0) (#289)
    by ahsyed on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 02:08:01 AM EST

    I said that I wanted to move back when I have a family. As long as I'm child less, I will stay in America. I want to go to Pakistan to give my children the same simple, happy, innocent (hopefully) child hood that I had.

    Lastly, I am not arguing Pakistan's point of views. I moved to the US with my family when I was five. My clueless days were in Pakistan. My formative years were in America. The majority of my life is in America. How can I be rooted in Pakistan after 15 years away from it?

    Regardless, that's a side point. The bottom line is I'm an American. Whether I'm arguing a Pakistani point of view or not, that citizenship plays an influence and deserves to be heard purely because I have it.

    Another reason why that theory is not true is because many white American born citizens share my views. If you don't believe me, read some of the comments on this article.

    And my views are far different than native Pakistanis. Native Pakistanis, mostly, prop bin Laden up as the hero who brought terror to America. I see him as a killer. These points are not altering that view, they are only criticizing how America responds in such a similar manner.



    [ Parent ]
    Where are you from (none / 0) (#326)
    by tjb on Tue Jan 01, 2002 at 03:24:31 AM EST

    I have to ask, in all seriousness, where you are from in Pakistan?

    I ask because I have a co-worker from pakistan, from Isalamabad, and from his desription, the place sounds much like, say, Shanghai or Bangalore (both places I've been, never been to Islamabad). Essentially, alot like a western city, but not quite. But again, not the simple life, people there work as accountants and engineers and waiters.

    As he elaborated, he explained Pakistan as almost two different worlds: The major cities and their suburbs which were very much secular, rich and western, and the mountainous tribal areas where the government rarely even bothered to exercise its rule for fear of sparking a revolt.

    Further, he said (based on what his family, still there, told him), it was really only the tribal areas that propped OBL up as a hero. His support among the urban population was close to zero. The protests that you saw on TV were apparently just made up of as many people that the more radical groups could bus into the cities, and hardly representitive of the people that Pakistan considers "citizens" (as in living in or near the cities), and people who really don't consider themselves Pakistanis but rather members of their tribe.

    And, if you's noticed, the protests died down pretty quickly, there were less than 20 total.

    Not saying you're wrong, just saying it might be a misrepresentation. If you have any evidence to the contrary I'd like to hear it.

    Tim

    [ Parent ]
    Response (none / 0) (#342)
    by ahsyed on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 12:00:45 AM EST

    Good point. I was born in Karachi, Pakistan. Yes, your coworker hit it dead on. The major cities and suburbs, like Karachi and Pakistan, have far different views than the tribal parts.

    That's true that the protests were very produced. There are no picketers out there supporting OBL. But you also have to realize that protests are also not representative of general idea, especially in Pakistan.

    My family (larger, not immediate) are all from Karachi and Islamabad. Some are still living in Pakistan. This family is split on the views of OBL. While we all agree, mostly, with his arguments, we don't all agree with how he is going about it. We see this sort of "extreme actions" either as hurting his/our cause or helping his/our cause. That seperation, not based on location, is where I drew my difference. While these folks might not protest, either because of laziness or because of the Pakistani government, they do have differntiating opinions.

    [ Parent ]
    Well, why not nuke 'em? (4.00 / 1) (#239)
    by leonbrooks on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 10:53:41 PM EST

    You are right, we can't stop buying Saudi oil tommorrow our economy would hit a brick wall.

    In less than 5 years, the USA could be down to well under half of the current oil consumption. How? Install safe nukes like CANDU for power, and switch your cars to gas and alcohol.

    Nukes create less pollution including less radioactive waste than coal-fired power does. Unlike wind and solar, it's cheap and readily available in great concentrations practically anywhere, and unlike oil there are no single-point-of-failure international dependencies (and did I mention less pollution?), especially with breeders.

    Before anyone leaps aboard the millions-of-years-to-decay bandwagon, there are many ways around this, and re-use of radioactives may even become a profitable industry.

    All of this would buy us time to launch the powersats, say 30 years to payoff, after which we could close down many ground-based power sources.


    -- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee
    [ Parent ]

    Arabs vs. Hitler (none / 0) (#349)
    by bartmoss on Mon Jan 14, 2002 at 08:12:37 AM EST

    Didn't the US give money to Hitler too?

    [ Parent ]
    So nu? (4.00 / 1) (#254)
    by epepke on Fri Dec 28, 2001 at 06:47:50 PM EST

    I despised the terrorists for dragging Islam and our culture along for the ride. I could never understand it. Now I do.

    I searched the rest of your article in vain for a description of what you understand about it but could not find anything, really. I, too, think that I understand it, but my understanding has a lot to do with anthropology and cognitive psychology. I'd guess it is very different from your understanding, but you haven't given much to go on. The closest I can come is that you don't seem much to like what the U.S. has done after 9/11, and so the actions of 9/11 were understandable, but that would require some sort of Islamic time machine. So, what exactly is your understanding?

    Now I understand that Afghanistan is harboring bin Laden, so it gets priority. But I will bet my left hand on Saudi Arabia never being bombed, or even considered an enemy state, due to the recent attacks.

    Other people have given good reasons for not attacking Saudi Arabia. Here's another: Mecca isn't in Afghanistan.

    Ultimately, however, it would make no difference, because if the U.S. had attacked Saudi Arabia, you could as easily argue that they would be bad for not attacking Afghanistan instead.

    Plus, I fully understand America retaliating against Afghanistan; any Arab country would do the same. But please don't over simplify the situation by calling this war...

    Well, you said it yourself. You're 20 years old. You don't remember back when the U.S. used words other than "war" to describe attacking another country. It didn't work. People are offended by any other term.

    America has attacked Afghanistan, hunted for its citizens, uprooted its government, and has put in a government in its place. Now while bin Laden killing innocents does push it to being the evil, what the US has done does not necessarily deem it the good.

    So, what's your point? The U.S. for at least ten years has been busting its hump to try to get peace in the Middle East, trying to find a moderate, meliorative course to do the best that can be done in an untenable situation. I already know you won't give the U.S. one iota of credit for that, which is pretty much my point. By trying to be the "good guy" and acting with restraint, we've seen the escallation acts of terrorism against U.S. ships, embassies, troops, and the WTC once before in 1993. 9/11 was just the most recent in a long line of activities. We know empirically that trying to be good gets us attacked. (Those who talk about "retaliation" for the attacks on Afghanistan don't seem to get that basic concept.) So now we're trying something that may be stupid or even evil in your book, but at least it hasn't empirically been shown to fail. There's very little in that category left.

    US: Love it or leave it
    I know that most of you are saying this in your minds right now. And my response is hell no.

    That's highly presumptuous of you and inaccurate as well. What I was saying in my mind was, "Maybe one of these people will say something substantive for a change. Nope. Guess not."

    American citizens, of any descent, no longer feel they can voice their opinion unless it is in line with the bleeding red, white, and blue. Rather strange since this is the main difference between us and "them"

    Even stranger is that I have seen about eighteen gazillion articles by American citizens criticizing the U.S., and at least half of them contain a claim like this, that it is difficult or impossible to voice such opinions. This is a contradiction, because the opinions were voiced in the same articles. It is the sort of contradiction I hope a self-defined rational person such as yourself can get a handle on, at least before you start mucking with database systems.

    I don't like some of the civil liberties restrictions that have been passed, but right now it is de facto just as easy to voice contradictory opinions as it ever was. If you don't feel safe about something that is obviously safe, well, that's a matter between you and your psychiatrist.

    While bombs might raise awareness of these issues, there is a far more lethal weapon in bringing change. No, not more C4 or anthrax. I'll give you a hint: it's green and you at least had a lot of it. Money knows no language and opens all the doors.

    Again, you're 20. You don't remember much. We tried money, for more than a decade. Lots of it. If it had worked, we would not be having this discussion now.


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


    Response (none / 0) (#262)
    by ahsyed on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 04:15:26 PM EST

    I searched the rest of your article in vain for a description of what you understand about it but could not find anything, really.

    bin Laden was kicked out of SA due to his dislike for its government. I understand why he did that after seeing how corrupt SA's government is, mainly in the Biden interview. bin Laden is killing innocent people so his views are heard. I understand, not condone, that...just like the US making its views heard. I didn't think I had to make these points explicitly like this and hoped for them to be implied, but I guess I should have.

    Other people have given good reasons for not attacking Saudi Arabia. Here's another: Mecca isn't in Afghanistan.

    There are many other countries with large terrorist groups within them, yet Afghanistan and Iraq (the two that US never liked before) are at the top of the lists. And again, I understand the priority of getting bin Laden...he will not be in Iraq.

    And as far as SA is concerned, the US government has known about its involvement with terrorist activities for, let's say, a year. Now while that is a huge underestimate, it's to prove my point. How come their haven't been any sanctions or attacks on its terrorist involvement or groups? Now by attacks I don't mean drop bombs on Mecca. Attacks where you inprison the terrorist groups like those in Afghanistan.

    And I would not say "How come Afghanistan hasn't been attacked?" if SA was attacked first. I don't even care if the US attacks SA last. My frustration is that, yes I'm only speculating, US will never attack SA in any way. If two months from now, SA gets attacked...you can have my left hand.

    The U.S. for at least ten years has been busting its hump to try to get peace in the Middle East, trying to find a moderate, meliorative course to do the best that can be done in an untenable situation.

    Despite your assumption, I do commend the US for trying to bring peace to the Middle East. That was not my argument though. My argument was about how the US and bin Laden deal with countries and/or governments they don't like. To me, yes a naive 20 year old, they are not that different. That is of course my opinion.

    Even stranger is that I have seen about eighteen gazillion articles by American citizens criticizing the U.S., and at least half of them contain a claim like this, that it is difficult or impossible to voice such opinions. This is a contradiction, because the opinions were voiced in the same articles.

    This point has been confused the most. I am not saying I can no longer voice my opinions. That is obviously not the case after your read the "gazillions" of articles and/or comments regarding them. I am saying that people are CRITICIZED for voicing such opinions. You have to look no further than this articles comments to see that I have been called an Islamic empirialist that needs to open his eyes to the truth. Lastly, while many of the folks that disagree with the US do discuss it, there is another section that are just plain afraid to. Again, you have to look no further than the comments below

    We tried money, for more than a decade. Lots of it. If it had worked, we would not be having this discussion now.

    This suggestion was not for the US. It was for the terrorists, especially based on the sub-title "Dear Mr. bin Laden". And while I might be too young and stupid to know how the world works, I doubt anyone can argue with me that money certainly doesn't hurt.

    [ Parent ]
    Thank you for replying (none / 0) (#263)
    by epepke on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 06:33:52 PM EST

    Seriously. So much of what appears on this and other boards is just a series of one-offs.

    bin Laden was kicked out of SA due to his dislike for its government. I understand why he did that after seeing how corrupt SA's government is, mainly in the Biden interview. bin Laden is killing innocent people so his views are heard. I understand, not condone, that...just like the US making its views heard. I didn't think I had to make these points explicitly like this and hoped for them to be implied, but I guess I should have.

    So, essentially you're saying that bin Laden is in it for the publicity. That's fine; I can buy that. However, you have to assume one other thing: that he's totally nuts. More specifically, that he has Antisocial Personality Disorder, a Cluster B Axis II disorder. However, once you've accepted that necessary requirement, the first suggestion becomes superfluous. He could just as easily kill people because he had a bad day or found a bug in his breakfast gruel.

    There are many other countries with large terrorist groups within them, yet Afghanistan and Iraq (the two that US never liked before) are at the top of the lists.

    Ahem. The US used to like both Afghanistan and Iraq, the former when they were fighting the Soviets and the latter when they were fighting Iran which, as you may or may not know, kidnapped a bunch of Americans and held them for more than a year.

    Now by attacks I don't mean drop bombs on Mecca. Attacks where you inprison the terrorist groups like those in Afghanistan.

    Yeah, you and about four other people on the planet would make such fine distinctions. bin Laden doesn't, and neither will the clerics that claim to speak for Islam and the people who listen to them.

    And I would not say "How come Afghanistan hasn't been attacked?" if SA was attacked first.

    It doesn't matter if you would. What matters is that you could. If you wouldn't do it, someone else would, and there would be an article like that on K5 right now, and it would read about the same as yours.

    Despite your assumption, I do commend the US for trying to bring peace to the Middle East.

    Well, I'm glad to hear it. Maybe it needs to be said more often, like maybe every once in a while.

    That was not my argument though. My argument was about how the US and bin Laden deal with countries and/or governments they don't like. To me, yes a naive 20 year old, they are not that different.

    Not that different in what way? The US is a country, and bin Laden is a person. You'd have to compare Bush with bin Laden. But, anyway, the difference is this. On September 11, 2001, every American citizen was driven nuts. You were. I was. Bush was. Maybe for some people it was more of a short putt than a drive, but in any event, mass psychosis ensued.

    Now, it doesn't matter whether you want to call this conversion syndrome or hysteria or PTSD or situational disorder or whatever, the point is that it is a temporary condition, though one you're lucky to get over in 6 months. Come back next summer, and if the US is still flinging bombs all over and tromping people's civil rights, then you'll have a point. I suspect you won't, that there will be a lot of intelligence gathering and infiltration (yes, even into Saudi Arabia) but not much in the way of fireworks. Anyway, without evidence of a permanent psychosis, the difference is this: bin Laden is permanently nuts. He's always been nuts, and he'll always be nuts, henceforth now and forever. (Before the bombing started, I only half jokingly suggested that the situation in Afghanistan could far more easily be resolved by putting Haldol, an antipsychotic, in the water supply.)

    The other difference, of course, is that, while you speculate that bin Laden blew up the WTC for the purpose of getting publicity, the US is blowing up Afghanistan for the purpose of getting rid of the Taliban. It's more direct that way.

    It needs to be pointed out that the war against Afghanistan started while everybody was still way nuts. Once the war started, the question immediately and irrevocably changed from "should there be a war" to "given that there is a war, how to conclude it and carry on." This is why I get so tired of people saying that the war is bad or stupid or evil or misplaced or whatever. Maybe it is; maybe it isn't; but it's already history. Now, it even looks mostly to have ended--oh, there will be civil war for years, but the time of lots of big things blowing up that say U.S. on them is pretty much over, and overall, it seems to be that things in Afghanistan are better than before it started.

    Frankly, I think there's more to this to you than bin Laden and the US. I think that you're starting to see that simple moralism doesn't really work too well in the real world. I don't envy you; it's not an easy lesson to learn under the best of circumstances, and through no fault of your own, the timing stinks.

    This point has been confused the most. I am not saying I can no longer voice my opinions. That is obviously not the case after your read the "gazillions" of articles and/or comments regarding them. I am saying that people are CRITICIZED for voicing such opinions.

    Look, this is what you wrote, in plain English:

    American citizens, of any descent, no longer feel they can voice their opinion unless it is in line with the bleeding red, white, and blue.

    No. Longer. Feel. They. Can. Voice. Their. Opinion. Your words, not mine. Your idea, not mine.

    Guess what! You're going to be criticized for everything. That's just what happens in free discourse. Now, I certainly don't believe that if someone criticizes me, it makes me not feel I can voice my opinions. But, then again, I didn't write the above--you did. Please at least have the honesty not to deny that you did.

    This suggestion was not for the US. It was for the terrorists, especially based on the sub-title "Dear Mr. bin Laden".

    Mea maxima culpa. On the other hand, I think you overestimate just how far money goes these days.


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


    [ Parent ]
    Response (none / 0) (#280)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 06:31:56 PM EST

    I had a nice long response for you lined up yesterday, but either K5 went down for a couple of minutes or my ISP's routing wasn't all too great. So when I hit preview, K5 never came back to show my response. Needless to say, I didn't put a copy of the response in my clipboard and lost it all. Anyway, let's try it one more time.

    So, essentially you're saying that bin Laden is in it for the publicity. That's fine; I can buy that. However, you have to assume one other thing: that he's totally nuts.

    I think you and I are interpreting "bin Laden is killing innocent people so his views are heard" differently. I do not think he's doing it to rally his troops and hopefully gain more. I think he's doing it to show SA, USA, and who else he has grievences with that he means business.

    For example, a bank robber might start killing hostages if the police don't meet his demands. This is not necessarily to get CNN over the bank. This is most likely to show the police that he will go to the extremes for what he believes in. That is the same "reasoning" I see bin Laden having.

    Also, why must I assume he's nuts? OK, stop laughing. Seriously. Killers like McVeigh seemed very sain. I have not come across any evidence contradicting that. Same with bin Laden. He's very calculated and is very good at what he does. I don't mean to sound cold hearted, but US officials have said similar statements. Regardless, I don't want to assume that he's nuts. Please provide reasoning behind it. And I said stop laughing!

    Ahem. The US used to like both Afghanistan and Iraq...

    The keyword is liked, as in the past tense. US' treatment for both of those countries was (again past tense) much different than today's. And I think the US' dislike for these countries, atleast Iraq, is what is propelling the two on the top of US' war on terrorism list.

    Now by attacks I don't mean drop bombs on Mecca. Attacks where you inprison the terrorist groups like those in Afghanistan. Yeah, you and about four other people on the planet would make such fine distinctions.

    Sadly, the US does not make this distinction either. They are not in my five man group. Please provide reasoning as to why it is. Because the way I see it, they dropped bombs on a country and government rather than imprisoning/killing/trying a "narrow group of Afghanistanis" as valeko would put it.

    And I would not say "How come Afghanistan hasn't been attacked?" if SA was attacked first. It doesn't matter if you would. What matters is that you could. If you wouldn't do it, someone else would, and there would be an article like that on K5 right now, and it would read about the same as yours.

    I can only argue for myself and my views here. What other people who fit my profile do or don't do is their business. Sorry if I sound like an ass, I just don't want to argue about would, could, shoulds here.

    My argument was about how the US and bin Laden deal with countries and/or governments they don't like. To me, yes a naive 20 year old, they are not that different. Not that different in what way? The US is a country, and bin Laden is a person. You'd have to compare Bush with bin Laden. But, anyway, the difference is this. On September 11, 2001, every American citizen was driven nuts. You were. I was. Bush was. Maybe for some people it was more of a short putt than a drive, but in any event, mass psychosis ensued.

    I had compared Bush to bin Laden. I also compared "those siding with" bin Laden to the US government.

    And regarding being driven nuts, there are many people (including myself) who do not prefer America's foreign policy and are often "driven nuts" by it. We write articles on K5, discuss policy issues with others, and write our elected representatives. We "drive". bin Laden also does not agree with US policies, but he rages war on the US (and whoever else is in his scope). He "putts".

    That sort of "putting" is done both by the US and bin Laden. I'm paraphrasing what I've gathered about your thoughts (so correct me if I'm wrong), but even you agree that this war on terrorism is a short-term reaction. bin Laden also shares that short-term mentality. These are exactly the similarities I'm talking about between the US and folks like bin Laden.

    While they are obviously not alike, they are very similar in how they react (based on what I said above). They both "putt".

    ...while you speculate that bin Laden blew up the WTC for the purpose of getting publicity, the US is blowing up Afghanistan for the purpose of getting rid of the Taliban. It's more direct that way.

    I do not believe bin Laden is doing these things for publicity as described earlier. He is doing it to get rid of a government that he feels is corrupt. The US is bombing Afghanistan/Taliban to get rid of a government that it feels is corrupt. bin Laden's way is about as direct as US' way. Please tell me how my comparison is flawed.

    I think that you're starting to see that simple moralism doesn't really work too well in the real world.

    I believe my government should not react to harm the same way terrorists do. If that is a case of my "simple moralism" hitting "the real world", then let me get my pencils out. I have a lesson to learn.

    American citizens, of any descent, no longer feel they can voice their opinion unless it is in line with the bleeding red, white, and blue. No. Longer. Feel. They. Can. Voice. Their. Opinion. Your words, not mine. Your idea, not mine.

    You left out a key component, "...unless it is in line with the bleeding red, white, and blue." in your over-punctuated response. Combining that with what you repeated brings a totally seperate message.

    For example, let's pretend I had said "bin Laden should be your child's role model unless you dn't consider violent killings quality traits." Of course you could conjure up a wicked idea that I meant:
    bin. Laden. should. be. your. child's. role. model.

    See how that has a totally seperate message than what I actuall said? Classic quote out of context. Anyways, back to my point. My message was that you people feel they can not stray from the politically correct "red, white, and blue" rhetoric.

    You're going to be criticized for everything. That's just what happens in free discourse.

    I realize that and totally agree. I don't mean to sound whiny about something so "small". But I just get a little ansy when people question my motives after I know all that went in to my family and I gaining our citizenship. It's as if I told someone who lost friends or family in the 09.11 attacks that they are being over dramatic about losing someone special. Sure they should ignore an idiot like myself and treat it as stupid criticism. But it's not always that easy.

    Now, I certainly don't believe that if someone criticizes me, it makes me not feel I can voice my opinions. But, then again, I didn't write the above--you did. Please at least have the honesty not to deny that you did.

    Again, I never said that I could not voice my opinions. You took the vital piece of the sentence out. If I actually did feel that, like you said, I would not have written the article or continued to comment against the popular belief even on K5.

    On the other hand, I think you overestimate just how far money goes these days.

    That's a whole other argument that my fingers will not be involved (read type) in.

    [ Parent ]
    Just some quick comments (none / 0) (#278)
    by billman on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 05:03:17 PM EST

    I just wanted to point out some counter-points to those you make in your response.

    The difference between SA and Afghanistan is that SA is a country that can be reasoned with (to some extent). The US can apply diplomatic and economic pressures on SA. The US and SA have a fairly good pre-existing relationship which also allows for behind the scenes cooperation that your grandchildren may one day hear about when the information becomes declassified.

    Afghanistan and Iraq are not in that same category. Afghanistan made it very clear, very early that they were not going to play ball. Iraq, well, Iraq is simply headed by another unbalanced figure who uses his conflict with the US to take attention away from domestic issues . . . like hundreds of thousands of people starving because he's taking money that is supposed to be used for food and medicine and buying more missles.

    So the point is that (I knew I would eventually get to a point) the US is using military options against countries in which there are no diplomatic options. SA is not a country that has forced the US' hand and made military actions the only available option. With Iraq and Afghanistan sanctions don't work, diplomatic channels don't work, economic pressure doesn't work, etc., etc.

    And in terms of what can and cannot be said post Sept. 11, I only would counter with the fact that there is a time and place for anything. I don't expect to go to a funeral and call the recently deceased a whore without getting punched in the mouth. Even if it's true. This is an emotional time for a lot of people and you will hear and experience the effects of those raw emotions. But like epepke pointed out, that tends to be a temporary reaction so I would not be overly concerned about it.

    [ Parent ]
    Response (none / 0) (#281)
    by ahsyed on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 06:43:10 PM EST

    With Iraq and Afghanistan sanctions don't work, diplomatic channels don't work, economic pressure doesn't work, etc., etc.

    I agree that violence against the terrorists in those countries is the last (and probably only) option the US had. My problem is that the US, including its public, can not differentiate between the countries that the terrorists live in from the terrorists themselves. To borrow from valeko yet again, go after the "narrow group of people" in the country rather than the entire country itself.

    A clear example of the public, atleast, not being able to differentiate the two is your comment. You did not have one reference to terrorists, bin Laden, al Qaeda, fundamentalists, extremists, regimes, or anything signifying that "narrow group of people". All I saw were names of countries.

    I don't expect to go to a funeral and call the recently deceased a whore without getting punched in the mouth. Even if it's true. This is an emotional time for a lot of people and you will hear and experience the effects of those raw emotions.

    I wouldn't mind getting "punched in the face" for my comments. Call me an idiot, tell me to "open my eyes", or whatever else you can throw at me. But do not call me un-American. That is the equivalent to being at the funeral and saying "Hey, you're not a part of the family now". Regardless, I know it seems like I'm whining. Please read my second response to epeke as I go into more detail.

    [ Parent ]
    but intelligence is a mechanical device! (1.00 / 1) (#258)
    by PowerPimp on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 02:58:16 AM EST

    Intelligence and conciousness are both caused by mechanical devices that require time and space to manifest themselves in. You need temporal flow, or at least causality to be able to decide that you want a universe to exist and to make it, and in order to make those decisions and have those thoughts, you need time and space for the neurons to fire in your brain and all that. What gives?




    You'd better take care of me God; otherwise, you'll have me on your hands...
    Oops... Meant this to be a reply... (n/t) (none / 0) (#261)
    by PowerPimp on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 03:10:12 PM EST


    You'd better take care of me God; otherwise, you'll have me on your hands...
    [ Parent ]
    A brown man's post-09.11 point of view | 349 comments (348 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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