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[P]
Stop Terrorism Through...volunteering?

By schof in Op-Ed
Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 03:54:46 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

I believe the best way to prevent future acts of terrorism is to raise the standard of living of people who are potential terrorists - people who have mortgages and health plans and steady jobs generally don't throw bombs - and they are much less likely to listen to demagogues. My first (and probably quite nave) thought was this: "I make a good living from computers. Why can't I teach other people how to make a good living through computers?"


The thought that David Letterman could move me to tears never entered my mind as a possibility - but as we've discovered in the wake of Sept 11, many thoughts that were once inconceivable are now brutally real.

Letterman's opening monologue Sept. 17 moved me deeply - he articulated our confusion and grief and anger and awe at the horrible events of Sept. 11 as well as I've heard anyone do. With his voice breaking, he said, "If you lived to a thousand, could you ever make any goddamned sense out of this?"

I'm often moved to tears now - by listening to survivors of the attacks talk about their experiences; by listening to those who still wait and hope that, by some miracle, their loved ones will be found in the rubble. Even the "Star Spangled Banner" or "America The Beautiful" moves me to tears in a way they never have before.

But more than tears, this attack has filled me with rage. I want to strike back, to hurt the people who have hurt us so badly. When Kabul was bombed shortly after the attack on New York and Washington, I rejoiced. I knew we couldn't possibly be sure at that point who was responsible for the attacks on the US, and I still cheered the bombs. Of course, it turned out that the attack on Kabul was a result of the ongoing civil war in Afghanistan - but for a short while I thought it was us and I was glad.

That very thirst for vengeance that fills me, and the patriotic fervor I share with most Americans is sounding a little warning bell in the back of my head. When all Americans are united with a single purpose, as we seem to be now, the results might scare all of us. We've already seen the ugly side of this fervor in attacks (some fatal) on Arab Americans or people who just look Arab-American. Things will get uglier. The terrorists have gotten the heavy wheel rolling, and it's much easier get it going then to stop it later.

I think what worries me most about "America's New War" (as CNN is calling it) is that there is no clearly defined goals. We want to "eliminate terrorism." That's our national mission, according to George Bush. However, I don't think anyone will actually say that terrorism can be eliminated. There will always be someone with a grudge and a gun. We're getting into a war that, by definition, is open-ended. This is now America's second perpetual war. (The first is our ongoing "War On Drugs.")

We've already seen the effects on civil liberties and our inner cities and our prisons that come from the War on Drugs. Given that our War on Terrorism is a much higher national priority, with an unbelievably large majority of the American public supporting it, this can only be the War on Drugs on steroids. We can never know how many terrorist cells we missed in our sweeps, and we can never be certain that we have eliminated the threats against us.

Given that this is a war we can't win, what's our best course of action? (I'm not saying we can't hurt the ability of terrorists to operate, or remove some of their sources of support, or even kill some terrorists. We can and should and will do all of those things. But we can not decisively win this war.)

The only course that stands a chance of actually stopping terrorism (as opposed to stopping terrorists) is to remove people's desire to create terror. I'm no sociologist, no scientist, no economist or politician. But it seems to me that people who have jobs, health plans and mortgages are too damn busy to throw bombs. It's no coincidence that the biggest hotbeds of the Palestinian uprisings against the Israelis are the refugee camps. There's nothing to do there but hate.

I know that Osama Bin Laden, the assigned poster-boy for global terrorism, came from wealth - but we already know that no matter what we do, some people will have enough hate in their hearts to kill strangers. We're attempting to slow down terrorism by removing means of support and funding - we must also try to dry up sources of recruits. And the best way to do that is to make their lives better.

I'm not aware of any specific organization working in this area. I'm not aware of any group asking for donations or volunteers about this. But like just about everyone else I've spoken with, I'm desperate to do something active; something besides giving blood or money. Despite our almost frantic giving, I think we as Americans finally realize that some problems can not be solved by money alone, but we don't know what to do.

I'll be keeping a list of resources and of people who want to help. If you have a pointer for something we can do, or you want me to keep you informed, send an e-mail to helpout@coyotehighway.com.

I know there's little one man can do about this. These are big problems. But damn it, I need to do something, and I'm too old and cranky and fat to join the military - this is where I can be much more effective.

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Stop Terrorism Through...volunteering? | 41 comments (41 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
About the intro... (4.00 / 10) (#1)
by wiredog on Sat Sep 22, 2001 at 08:41:15 PM EST

people who have mortgages and health plans and steady jobs generally don't throw bombs

The people who carried out this attacke were well educated and middle class. They probably had mortgages and health plans and steady jobs. That's what makes them so scary. I wonder how many physicists, molecular biologists, and chemists are part of the al qaeda network?

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

Not only just being middle class... (4.45 / 11) (#4)
by libertine on Sat Sep 22, 2001 at 09:41:22 PM EST

The people who carried out this attacke were well educated and middle class. They probably had mortgages and health plans and steady jobs. That's what makes them so scary. I wonder how many physicists, molecular biologists, and chemists are part of the al qaeda network?

Ok, maybe its the sugar. Little chocolate halloween candy...can't stop! But my mind is running off with what you just said.

Its not only the perpetrators being middle class. That is scary, but what is even more frightening is the depth of planning, something on the scale of a decade or possibly more, which was required to set up the US for this event. These perpetrators were placed, trained, educated, and groomed for this one event by an agency that mostly works on word of mouth. If that is true, then that also may mean that the original WTC bombing may have been a feint. That concept gives me cause for extra thought.

What truly worries me is that the US may be stepping onto a course that was planned from the beginning by an outside agency (al Qaeda). Unless the US govt leadership gets clueful right quick, then the worry mightn't be whether there will be a response from terrorist biochemists and such, but how and when those responses will be timed. To what end?

This one attack is hitting the US harder than many thought. Yes, nearly 7000 dead. But there are reports that the collapse of the towers has caused the subway system in NYC to leak water extensively. That system may need to be shut down, and it is crucial to the US's financial centers in NYC to continue running. US's financial base, our investment markets, are in the dumper. The airline industry is laying off 40k workers in response to this and the utter lack of people travelling, and tax dollars are being spent by the tens of billions to stave of financial ruin (which in turn devaluates the greenbacks). The Congressional response to these events may have dimmed a lot of foreign investment, and if crypto backdoors gets put into place, then those big investors that are left may just pull out. And, there goes our tech market leaders, Cisco and MSoft, because nobody overseas in financial markets and such will use them at that point. All that and more from the direct action of what, 12 trained people with box cutters?

I can think of, what, maybe 5 to 10 watersheds that could be contaminated with something like anthrax that would bring the US down hard. I mean, completely fubar the country with recovery set back to decades rather than a few years. There are other, more spectacular responses, but if al Qaeda has gone beyond the point of needing to make a point, of doing something "flashy", then 7000 people won't seem like very many in the coming months or years.

Ok, sugar rush is over, time to go back to one of my books.




"Live for lust. Lust for life."
[ Parent ]

Yeah (3.00 / 4) (#5)
by wiredog on Sat Sep 22, 2001 at 10:20:53 PM EST

I've got a story in the queue that looks at biowar. And the US response to the same. Massive Retaliation. People aren't talking much about the next strike, but it's gonna happen. Where? Lots of juicy targets. World Series, Comdex, Olympics. Comdex looks especially juicy from an economic perspective. Some of the top tech people in the country go there. A couple of years ago both BillG and Linus were there. I preferred Linus's keynote, btqw. Bill had lots of glitz and marketspeak. A wall of PC's and monitors. Linus had a laptop with a slideshow on it, and he took questions from the audience.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
"Middle class?" (none / 0) (#19)
by greenrd on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 06:58:51 PM EST

The people who carried out this attacke were well educated and middle class.

This might sound stupid, but I'm just curious as to where you got this information from, or how you deduced it.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Info from the News (none / 0) (#26)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 10:38:53 AM EST

The Washington Post (unsurprisingly) has had lots of coverage of the attackers. For us it's a local story, in addition to its national and international aspects.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
different lifestyle motives (3.11 / 9) (#2)
by eurisko on Sat Sep 22, 2001 at 09:36:52 PM EST

You're proposing that the US attempt to change the people of Afghanistan from deeply religious people that care *very* little for material belongings (even those associated with comfort), into materialistic, money hungry, workaholic drones. in other words, "lets make them more like us, so as to make them understand our point-of-view", rather than educate ourselves abour *their* point-of-view.

these people hate us because we're interfering with their view of reality. we're "contaminating" their religion and way of life. there's no reason to believe they would not only NOT accept our help, but even view it as "help" at all, if we tried to impose our lifestyles on them. they're minimalistic beyond belief, and mortgages and 'workdays' mean nothing to them, as they preffer to live in mud huts and worship Allah 5 times a day.

--
The first human being who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization.

Then there is no hope. (4.66 / 3) (#8)
by Licquia on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 12:32:17 AM EST

So, we have people who:
  • hate our way of life;
  • act out their hatred by hijacking planes and crash them into things;
  • have no message for what they're so upset about except "you suck, we want to kill you"
And you wonder why people have used the word "nuclear" when talking about responses? What else are we supposed to do - convert to Islam?

I don't think it's as simplistic as you say. There are probably plenty of Afghanis who want a more American way of life (as in "more food" at least). The task is to separate out the nutcases and put them in a position where they can't hurt anyone.

Yeah, I know, it's easy to say. But it's at least more correct.

[ Parent ]

Turn up the vaccum dammit !! (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by CoolArrow on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 12:55:58 AM EST

As I have obviously been "sucked in" by the same scam artists who warped your views, demonstrated in that sparse yet beautiful reply.

Agreed.

---
This is a neighborhood! Not some kinda Got Dam residenshul distict!

[ Parent ]
"hate our way of life" (4.57 / 7) (#20)
by bunsen on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 07:59:22 PM EST

I'm getting so goddamn sick of people using that phrase. I've heard innumerable idiots on TV and in newspapers claiming that the terrorists hate democracy and political freedom, that they attacked America because we're a free people. This is bullshit thicker than words can describe.

Terrorists don't hate us because we don't live in a dictatorship. Terrorists don't hate us because they're jealous. Terrorists hate us because they believe we are the source of the pain and suffering of themselves and their people. They object to the fact that our economic foreign policy is built around fucking already impoverished people over for our own gain. They object to the fact that our political foreign policy often involves backing brutal dictatorships who are friendly to our cause du jour. They object to the fact that our government routinely sponsors its own terrorist groups. They see that every American is complicit in these acts, and that most of us don't give a shit. If that's what you mean by "our way of life," then yes, the terrorists hate our way of life.

Saying that America was attacked because we are a beacon of freedom (I actually heard that exact term used in that context) is asinine. Consider the child who pokes at his little brother continuously, then when his little brother hits him, he starts yelling "Mommy! Mommy! Jimmy hit me!" His mom asks why, and he says "I dunno! I was just sitting there and he hit me!" To make the analogy more complete, the older sibling should add "Jimmy hit me because he was jealous of where I was sitting, and he hates my way of life!" No parent would buy that kind of bullshit, and neither should we.

I'm not saying that killing civilians is justified under any circumstances. I just wish some people would pull their heads out of their asses and see that millions of people don't say "you suck, we want to kill you" to the most powerful nation on the planet without some kind of reason.

---
Do you want your possessions identified? [ynq] (n)
[ Parent ]

Uh... (none / 0) (#25)
by Licquia on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 10:26:31 AM EST

...first of all, wasn't that part of my point?

Second, you're partially incorrect about the "way of life" thing. Many of the analyses that have been linked to here (and other places) have shown that many radical groups hate what they see as our immorality, as well as the aggressive marketing of that society around the world.

Also, we stand for democratic governments and civil rights. This often means we support governments that the radicals think support immorality according to their warped sense of morals. In particular, women's rights has been a source of great friction between the West and these radical Islam groups. The state of women in Taliban Afghanistan is considered by these people to be the ideal in many ways: covered in a shroud everywhere, uneducated, with poor medical care (since women aren't allowed to work or be educated to care for their own, and men aren't allowed to give medical care to women because they might be required to see the woman in an immoral state of dress).

(Disclaimer: Yes, I know we haven't been consistent, and that we've done and supported nasty things against them.)

[ Parent ]

To reuse Schof's words... (none / 0) (#39)
by SIGFPE on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 03:10:37 PM EST

...people who have jobs and mortgages are too busy to care about other people's immorality. While many people may claim they dislike the Western 'way of life' the truth is that it's a misdirected complaint about their own state. It's very easy to recruit people to hate all kinds of things when they live in poverty - whether it be Blacks, Jews or non-Muslims.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
People (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by PhillipW on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 03:44:42 PM EST

So, we have people who:

hate our way of life;
act out their hatred by hijacking planes and crash them into things;
have no message for what they're so upset about except "you suck, we want to kill you"


I'm not quite sure any of these are true. If they hated our way of life, and are willing to die because they hate it, then I don't think they would have accepted our money when they were fighting the commies when they invaded them. Let us remember that this airplane hijacking thing has only happened once. Typical method is the traditional bomb. And as for their message, anyone that is actually willing to read something about these people knows what they are so pissed off about. Of course, this requires that you pay attention to something beyond CNN.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Message and hate (none / 0) (#32)
by Licquia on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 04:33:29 PM EST

I'm not quite sure any of these are true.

Well, right. That was my point.

And as for their message, anyone that is actually willing to read something about these people knows what they are so pissed off about.

I've been reading lots of stuff (besides CNN) and I'm not really sure what their message is. To the extent that I do understand their message, I disagree with it to a large degree.

The main themes that keep getting mentioned one after the other are:

  • Intervening too much in the Israel-Palestine problem
  • Not intervening enough in the Israel-Palestine problem
  • Our Iraq policy, and the resulting actions
  • Our general arrogance and immorality
  • Our effectiveness at promoting our culture around the world
Some of those are contradictory. Some have good points and bad points; lots of Arabs were relatively happy to see us defend Kuwait, but aren't happy with our continued aggressive behavior now. Others amount to a "you suck" attitude.

It's my opinion that you can justify the idea that the terrorists "declared war on our way of life" to the extent that you can justify the latter two rationales. Again, I think that those two grievances are mostly felt by the lunatic fringe, and that lunatics who put that kind of reasoning forward are wackos whom we need to be protected from. The other positions are at least defensible.

[ Parent ]

Kuwait & Israel/Palestine (none / 0) (#41)
by PhillipW on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:54:11 PM EST

First off, intervening in the Israeli/Palestinian problem is just a lose lose situation. Both sides of it are really unsympathetic control freak racists, and it is Western Intervention there that has created the problem.

Second, the real reason that Osama is pissed at us is because we have tanks at pissing distance of Mecca(sarcasm). You can bet that if some Arab country had tanks in the Vatican, catholics worldwide would declare war on them, and probably do some pretty similar things.

About Kuwait... The Arab community did side with Kuwait on that issue. But once again, our intervention was totally unneccesary. Osama Bin Laden was actually rallying up support in Saudi Arabia to fight Saddam. Of course King Fahd wanted to be in the same bed as the United States and didn't let this happen.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Counterpoints (3.33 / 9) (#3)
by onyxruby on Sat Sep 22, 2001 at 09:37:29 PM EST

I make a good living from computers. Why can't I teach other people how to make a good living through computers?
While wanting to teach others is a noble desire, it is folly to think that just anyone can do what we do. If employers honestly thought that just anyone could be trained to do what we do we would be making the same wages as someone at McDonalds. To think that the widespread masses could become all become computer professionals is a foolish as it is to think that they could all become Doctors or Lawyers.
Given that this is a war we can't win, what's our best course of action?
Is this like we couldn't win against Iraq or Yugoslavia? I recall FUD a plenty before both of these. Any war relies heavily on one critical thing to win - will. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor because they thought we did not have the will to fight back. On the flipside, Afghanistan had the will against the Soviets and Vietnamese had the will against the US, and on and on. In this case the American public has stated, clearly, that they have the will to enter this. The American public is certainly cognizant of both Vietnam and Afghanistan, and has heard plenty of dissenting opinion. Yet the public support, both here and internationally is quite strong.
The only course that stands a chance of actually stopping terrorism (as opposed to stopping terrorists) is to remove people's desire to create terror.
You cannot elimanate free will, nor can you dictate what other people will and won't do. One cannot remove other people desire to commit acts of terror anymore than one can remove someone's desire to commit murder. All you can do is have a strong justice system in place to take care of the things that people do. A strong and fair justice system acts like a lighthouse, encouraging people to think about alternatives. Yet, even then, we cannot stop someone who know's the price for an action and is willing to pay it.
I'm desperate to do something active; something besides giving blood or money.
Why not? Perhaps medical reasons prevent the giving of blood and financial reasons prevent the giving of money, but you can certainly volunteer. You write letters of support to soldiers that will go to battle, you can provide support to family members left behind and on and on.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

Oh, fuck. (3.66 / 12) (#6)
by Carnage4Life on Sat Sep 22, 2001 at 10:36:34 PM EST

Is this like we couldn't win against Iraq or Yugoslavia? I recall FUD a plenty before both of these. Any war relies heavily on one critical thing to win - will. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor because they thought we did not have the will to fight back. On the flipside, Afghanistan had the will against the Soviets and Vietnamese had the will against the US, and on and on. In this case the American public has stated, clearly, that they have the will to enter this. The American public is certainly cognizant of both Vietnam and Afghanistan, and has heard plenty of dissenting opinion. Yet the public support, both here and internationally is quite strong.

Your post has made me break my self imposed hiatus from posting to K5 stories on the WTC because it seems almost unbelievably illogical. Can you please answer the following questions:
  1. So exactly when did a war against "terrorism" turn into a war against Afghanistan?

  2. Even if a war with Afghanistan can be won with minimal American casualties, what does this have to do with terrorism?

  3. Specifically, will all the hatred from the US from extremist Moslems from Pakistan to India to the Middle East suddenly vanish once Afghanistan has been conquered and the Taliban executed?

  4. Are you ready to accept the number of terrorist attacks that will come as retaliation for going to war with Afghanistan simply to capture one man who may or may not have been behind the WTC attacks?

  5. When Moslems from India and Pakistan decide to help the Afghans in their "war" with the US, should the US also go to war with them?

  6. When exactly will the war on terrorism end? is it when Afghanistan is destroyed or when the entire Middle East is turned to glass? Since there are also domestic terrorists should the US also go to war against some of the hotbeds of domestic unrest?



[ Parent ]
Where did you get this from? (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by onyxruby on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 12:18:05 AM EST

So exactly when did a war against "terrorism" turn into a war against Afghanistan?
Good question, when did I say this?
Even if a war with Afghanistan can be won with minimal American casualties, what does this have to do with terrorism?
Another good question, I don't recall saying anything about his either, so what is the answer?
Specifically, will all the hatred from the US from extremist Moslems from Pakistan to India to the Middle East suddenly vanish once Afghanistan has been conquered and the Taliban executed?
It might be a good start if you could spell their religion correctly, as in Muslims.
Are you ready to accept the number of terrorist attacks that will come as retaliation for going to war with Afghanistan simply to capture one man who may or may not have been behind the WTC attacks?
Perhaps you could have better phrased your question as "Americans took it up the ass after doing nothing about earlier Osama Bin Laden terrorist attacks, do you think we should do something about it or buy more vaseline?
When Moslems from India and Pakistan decide to help the Afghans in their "war" with the US, should the US also go to war with them?
Is this like were going to war with Saudi Arabia because Bin Laden was born there? In case no has told you yet, we're going to war with the terrorists themselves. Were also going to do this globally wherever they are hiding. Nobody (from the US gov) has ever said anything about going to war with Afghanistan or Muslims, so where on earth did you get this from?
When exactly will the war on terrorism end? is it when Afghanistan is destroyed or when the entire Middle East is turned to glass? Since there are also domestic terrorists should the US also go to war against some of the hotbeds of domestic unrest?
The war on terrorism will end when the terrorists have either been locked up, killed or persuaded by overwhelming force to seek more peaceful ways of furthering political goals. The US has been very clear that we are going to go after terrorists in whatever country they reside in. That would certainly everyone from the militiaman in Montana to other terrorist cells in other countries.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
[ Parent ]

Are You Serious? (5.00 / 4) (#11)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 01:05:49 AM EST

It might be a good start if you could spell their religion correctly, as in Muslims

The religion is Islam and Moslem is a valid alternate spelling for Muslim as can be gathered by doing a google search for "Moslem" or simply looking in a dictionary.

Is this like were going to war with Saudi Arabia because Bin Laden was born there?

Errr...no. Did you even bother reading my question? Militant Pakistani moslems have proclaimed support for the Taliban and have stated that they will help in any way possible including fighting. Militant Indian moslems have burned the US flag and vowed support for Afghanistan. The fact of the matter is that this decision will eventually have to be made when the US military starts operating in Afghanistan, simply thinking this is a fight that will occur within Afghanistan shows limited thinking and a lack of world view.

In case no has told you yet, we're going to war with the terrorists themselves. Were also going to do this globally wherever they are hiding.

I am particularly amused by this notion that hunting down terrorists is going to be as easy as going to 100 Terrorist Lane then bombing and shooting the them to Kingdom Come. The fact that almost anyone with sufficient hatred for the US is a potential terrorist means that even if the US could find all the terrorist camps in Afghanistan and destroy, this will probably create a backlash that will lead the violent stateside reprisals and lead to the rise of more terrorist cells.

Remember that a large amount of Bin Laden's support in the Moslem world came after the US bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory after being given a tip about it being a chemical weapons plant as well as the fact that cruise missiles killed women and children during retaliatory bombings after the embassy attacks. Fighting within Afghanistan will lead to similar innocent casualties (doubting this is being naive) which will only increase the anti-US sentiment which will lead to more people willing to become terrorists. This is a "war" that could potentially go on forever especially since all the US is doing is attacking the symptoms and not the root cause of the attacks.

Nobody (from the US gov) has ever said anything about going to war with Afghanistan or Muslims, so where on earth did you get this from?

You did, that's why I'm posting in a thread about the WTC even though I despise discussions about this shit.

[ Parent ]
One point ... (none / 0) (#24)
by Herring on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 10:04:44 AM EST

Perhaps you could have better phrased your question as "Americans took it up the ass after doing nothing about earlier Osama Bin Laden terrorist attacks, do you think we should do something about it or buy more vaseline?

There is a third option. Maybe you might want to re-consider your policy of mooning at the whole world and just sit down before you start looking like the goatse.cx guy.


Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
You're attacking him on somethign he never said! (2.00 / 3) (#12)
by ToastyKen on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 02:36:33 AM EST

Onyxruby was talking about the Soviet war against Afghanistan, and how they fought the Soviets off because they had the will.. He never said anything about a US war against Afghanistan. Please read more carefully before ripping into someone's argument..

[ Parent ]
Can you read or are you illiterate? (2.66 / 3) (#13)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 02:56:43 AM EST

Onyxruby was talking about the Soviet war against Afghanistan, and how they fought the Soviets off because they had the will.. He never said anything about a US war against Afghanistan. Please read more carefully before ripping into someone's argument..

Let's look at the comment that made me respond again:
Given that this is a war we can't win, what's our best course of action?
Is this like we couldn't win against Iraq or Yugoslavia? I recall FUD a plenty before both of these. Any war relies heavily on one critical thing to win - will. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor because they thought we did not have the will to fight back. On the flipside, Afghanistan had the will against the Soviets and Vietnamese had the will against the US, and on and on. In this case the American public has stated, clearly, that they have the will to enter this. The American public is certainly cognizant of both Vietnam and Afghanistan, and has heard plenty of dissenting opinion. Yet the public support, both here and internationally is quite strong.
I fail to see how you could mistake that the above paragraph talks about the Soviet Union fighting Afghanistan and not the United States of America fighting Afghanistan (like they did Vietnam and Yugoslavia according to onyxruby)

[ Parent ]
One favor (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by onyxruby on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 08:56:22 PM EST

Can you please quote me where I said that America is going to go to war with Afghanistan? It's certainly not in the words I wrote that you quote above. I put enough words in my own mouth, I don't need anyone adding words for me. I'm usually pretty clear about what I mean. If I mean to say that America is going to declare war on Afghanistan you can rest assured I will write exactly that.

Now since you are trying to extrapolate extraneous meaning from my words I'll go ahead and do the extrapolating for you.

America has declared war on terrorists. Right now the will to fight a war against terrorists exists, and thus it is something we can win.

The listed examples of countries having the will to win a war are just that - examples. Now I will give an example of a war that we can't win - the drug war. Now do you understand that a war doesn't have to be against a nation?

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
[ Parent ]

the drug war (2.00 / 1) (#27)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 10:48:45 AM EST

There have been reports that the amount of drugs being smuggled into the US has dropped in the past two weeks. Seems the tightened border security has made it more difficult to smuggle the stuff in.

There have been some interesting comparisons to the "war on drugs". The Medellin and Caliu cartels were broken. The Mexican cartels are in trouble. OTOH, the Washington Post reported last weekend that 10% (!) of the residents of DC have alcohol or drug problems. Pot and Meth are domestically produced, and harder to control than the imports.

The most popular mind altering substance and, IIRC, the most deadly, is alcohol. It's legal.

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

Third perpetual war (3.50 / 2) (#9)
by Licquia on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 12:38:53 AM EST

The first was the Cold War.

We didn't do too badly in that one either. Part of the reason may have been that we weren't fighting ourselves.

McCarthy (5.00 / 3) (#15)
by Pseudonym on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 11:02:30 AM EST

The cold war did indeed start off with Americans fighting themselves. Senator McCarthy saw to that.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Not a gun (3.57 / 7) (#14)
by leonbrooks on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 08:33:10 AM EST

We want to "eliminate terrorism." That's our national mission, according to George Bush. However, I don't think anyone will actually say that terrorism can be eliminated. There will always be someone with a grudge and a gun.

To be sure of success, first eliminate something, and then call it terrorism.

In this case, we saw people with a grudge and a knife. The gun laws didn't help America, and neither did security searches. But they have cost America dearly in other ways.

I think what worries me most about "America's New War" (as CNN is calling it) is that there is no clearly defined goals.

I think that the existing vaguely defined goals are scarier: ``let's blow someone up!'' That's dumb schoolyard-style bullying, not a reasoned response from a rational modern society led by enlightened politicans. Trouble is, the bully in question owns nukes, and can hurt people bad - but probably can't hurt the ``right'' people at all.


-- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee

Make up stuff, then form an opinion (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by bgarcia on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 06:19:28 AM EST

I think that the existing vaguely defined goals are scarier: ``let's blow someone up!''
It must be nice to simply make up words, place them into someone's mouth, and then berate them for saying it.

If there is something factual that you want to complain about, please do. But this is just ridiculous.

It's a shame too, because the first half of your post was pretty insightful.

[ Parent ]

Culture gap (3.50 / 6) (#16)
by dennis on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 03:18:44 PM EST

A Soviet Vet's story:

Lisinenko said that to understand the Afghan mind-set, you have to set aside Western values.

He learned this his first day in Afghanistan when he entered a family's hut. The poverty was more than he could fathom. There was no furniture. No light. The only object inside was a copy of the Koran, tucked into an alcove.

"I asked an old man, 'Why do you live in such conditions? Don't you want to do something to improve your lot?' " Lisinenko said. "But the man replied, 'Don't you understand that the worse we live in this world, the better our lives will be in paradise? We don't want the same things in life that you want.' "

Thoughts (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by vr on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 05:19:22 PM EST

It is difficult to imagine how anyone can have values different from our own.

One question we should ask ourselves is, how do we know our values are the right values?

It seems that we always assume they are. Why? Because the are our values. Is this reason enough?



[ Parent ]
Of course! (5.00 / 2) (#18)
by roystgnr on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 06:50:51 PM EST

One question we should ask ourselves is, how do we know our values are the right values? It seems that we always assume they are. Why? Because the are our values. Is this reason enough?

Well, of course we assume our values are the right values. If we assumed that other values were the right values, then the only logical course of action would be to make those our new values, at which point our values would be the right values again!

[ Parent ]

Um.. yes, but.. (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by vr on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 04:40:02 AM EST

Our values may be right for us, but are they neccessarily right for everyone else? Is it right for us to force them upon others?

[ Parent ]
Devil's Advocate (none / 0) (#23)
by hesk on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 07:58:22 AM EST

It appears to be the case, since we have declared some of our values universal -- ie the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Also, it's not that the value system of some "Islamic" [1] countries is unknown to us. Some countries resemble more the European feudalistic states a couple of centuries ago than a modern democratic society. And the mindset that, no matter how bad our life is here, it will be much better in paradise, should be known to the Christian world, too.

Since, our societies have evolved and moved away from these value sets, it is natural to assume for us that ours is better.

[1] Islamic is way unspecific and totally unappropriate, but I lack a better term right now.

[ Parent ]

my question still stands (none / 0) (#30)
by vr on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 12:42:36 PM EST

It appears to be the case, since we have declared some of our values universal -- ie the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

I'm not sure what you are referring to with it, but yes, we do force our own values upon others.

Since, our societies have evolved and moved away from these value sets, it is natural to assume for us that ours is better.

Of course we assume, but my question is still valid: are our values neccessarily right? Simply because our society has evolved the way it has, doesn't make our values universally right.



[ Parent ]
there is no universal answer (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by toddg on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 03:01:12 AM EST

There is no way to objectively state that our values are "right". There probably isn't even a system for assigning "right" to values; in fact I don't even try to use that nomenclature. But if we must try, then we can only try to answer objectively by the societies that these values create. What metric can we use? Wealth? Many fine cultures have perished for want of natural resources, so wealth is out as a metric. Might? The very idea is laughable. Uniform popularity? Every single totalitarianist government commits atrocities striving towards this, they then fall apart; so that's out.

I believe that a good metric for a culture, and thus its values, is in how many people it empowers to freely state their mind and change the world as they see fit. It is also a measure of health of the values -- are the values held in place by a priviledged few and supported by murder squads, or are the values under constant assault by myriad elements of society who can each question freely, only to show the values grow and adapt and become stronger?

It is wise to overturn assumptions; wise to consider other values. It is also foolish to assume that *any* of our values are the end-point of human evolution. The best choice of values are ones that allow for flexibility as humanity grows and changes.

[ Parent ]

Not necessarily (1.00 / 2) (#28)
by Neuromancer on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 10:49:24 AM EST

Osama bin Laden is loaded dude. I can hardly say that he is marginalized or oppressed.

Read the story... (none / 0) (#29)
by Shovas on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 12:24:35 PM EST

Greetings,

Please read the story all the way through before saying something ignorant like this. The author clearly acknowledges his realization that bin Laden comes from wealth. You're simply exposing the fact that you did not fully read or understand the story.

Please, if you're going to take the effort to reply to stories or posts, take the effort to read thoroughly what you're replying to.

Farewell,
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
I did read it (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by Neuromancer on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 06:04:04 PM EST

I read it, I realize that he addressed bin Laden, but I didn't post well. There are plenty of well funded wealthy terrorists, and even malcontents who have little to complain about.

[ Parent ]
Sorry about that (5.00 / 1) (#34)
by Neuromancer on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 06:14:31 PM EST

I'm sorry about the earlier comment, it was rather rude to point out something already pointed at. The point I wanted to make is that a lot of assholes who blow up shit are well funded and have little to worry about. Not only that, but a lot of people will just exploit any chance to be a vehicle of terror to fill some need. Just look through the literature that leads to so many law suits being referred to as "frivolous."

Not only that, but a lot of these people are from countries plagued by war. Most of us from the US cannot understand their hate because we haven't spent our whole lives in these wars. Think of Russia in the 80's, and how everything they did was portrayed as assinine. Think of a LOT of these wars constantly around you. Obviously this has little to do with social class. If you need more examples, just open your newspaper.

None the less, my post was foolish and perhaps asinine, but I really dislike follow up posts like "read the article, you're a jerk." Thanks for the flame, come again. I dunno about you, but I have better things to do than post calling people jerks. I have better things to do than be called a jerk. Lets let it stand that I'd rather just not deal with it, so please just let it stand that I know that I'm a jerk and I don't want to be screwed with over it.

a few points (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by Ender Ryan on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 09:37:19 PM EST

Reading all the posts on here, I feel I simply have to comment on a few things. Consider this to be in response to all posts addressing(or attempting to) related issues.

1. Afghanistan is harboring a known terrorist that the U.S. and other countries have been trying to have extradited for quite some time. His name is bin Laden. He is a leader of sorts of what seems to be the largest terrorist organization in the world. He has, when it was to his advantage, admitted to being directly responsible for certain terrorist acts.

2. Afghanistan has "schools" where from a very young age, boys are taught to fire automatic weapons and are taught that the U.S., and any countries/people/organizations that are in any way affiliated with the U.S. are "The Great Satan".

3. Afghanistan has directly threatened the U.S. with more terrorist attacks if the U.S. retaliates.

4. The terrorist organization, that bin Laden is more or less the leader of, spreads throughout the whole middle-east. Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, etc. Currently, as far as anyone knows for sure, Afghanistan is the only country that in a somewhat official capacity is willingly harboring members of this terrorist organization.

5. There are millions of people in Afghanistan who are starving. Some are women who are not allowed to work. Some are fleeing from the Taliban and cannot acquire food. Some are refugees that have been turned away. The Taliban is largely responsible this. These people want the Taliban removed so they can have some hope of a prosperous future, for themselves or their children. If you haven't, you need to read this essay that was posted to Kuro5hin here, by an Iranian film-maker who has visited Afghanistan a few times.

6. The Taliban is currently blocking other countries from delivering humanitarian aid to the starving people in their country.

In my opinion, the Taliban is ONE solid target to set our sights on, if not to protect people in the U.S. and Europe(yes, I said Europe, read all the news, there were terrorists training in Europe too, also read Osama's interview, he doesn't like Europe at all either), but for the millions of people suffering under the rule of the Taliban.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


One more point... (none / 0) (#38)
by phubert on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 10:00:13 AM EST

Ousama Bin Laden represents a very distinct world view, based on a religious position, the Taliban more clearly so. They are a subset of "Muslim extremists" just as certain Indians are "Hindu extremists." I put these in quotes because the definition of or classification "extremist" is not theirs, but someone else's and I won't comment on that further except to say I have not read the religious books of either. However, what remains is a conflict of truths. Bin Laden and the Taliban et al hold to a very distinct "truth" .. good Muslims are "good", everyone else is an "infidel." Pretty simple, pretty clear. Infidels defile sacred ground and homelands (the U.S. in the Middle East -anywhere-). I don't recall the Taliban's position (if I have ever heard it), but we know that the PLO and others consider total destruction of Israel their ultimate goal as well. More clarity. The U.S. on the other hand, proclaims "Pluralism" which is a word for "we really don't believe anything" ... which has the stronger "moral" hand??
P.Hubert
An Arab speaks (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by elzubeir on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 05:20:18 PM EST

First of all, I would like to say that as an Arab, it pains me to see people claiming to represent me perform one of the most horrible acts of violence. Of course, I'm glad they didn't drop a nuclear bomb and claim that it was the only way. I am proud that we didn't annhilate two cities. I find the latter to be much much much much worse. Just because it didn't happen to you, doesn't make it better. Saving 'American' lives is not my priority. Saving 'LIVES' should be the priority.

Secondly, Israel is a racist country. RACIST I tell you. This is not that I don't believe in the bottom of my heart that the only way out is with peace.. but I also know what happens to the Palestinians. Israel is a 'JEWISH' State. Can you believe this? A country calls itself a 'religion' state. That is like saying, Afghanistan is an Islamic republic. Wow.. Islamic republic all of a sudden sounds evil, but Jewish state is perfectly fine. I don't understand. Israel builds settlements and ONLY allows Jews to settle it. I smell discrimination, I see prejudice, and I watch people get killed in random attacks back and forth. It seems like it is acceptable for the Israeli government to only allow a certain people with a certain background and ethnicity to live life as they wish, while the others are not. Yet, they are the good people, and the Palestinians are the villains.

I received my schooling for the most part between Saudi and Bahrain. My high school was in Bahrain (thankfully). I wouldn't go to Saudi if you put a gun to my head. Nothing against them, I just coundn't handle the way their society and everyday-life works. I guess you can say I'm too 'Americanized'. We have been taught day and night, in and out, how our Palestinian brothers are being butchered by the Israeli Zionist movement, backed by the American machine.. financially, politically, militarily and otherwise.

I have also had the liberty to look over the UN proposed resolutions, those which passed and those which didn't. I won't bother enlist them here, but I will say that the US has stood by Israel like no friend ever would. If anything, Israel is indebted DEEPLY to the US. America continues to veto every resolution the WHOLE world wants to pass, to limit Israeli aggression. Go figure. America and Israel vs. the world. When I say world, I include the what you call 'civilized world', being most of Western Europe too (with the exception of the UK sometimes).

I have concluded after much research that the US is clearly and beyond any doubt biased and blinded whenever it comes to Israel. It is also arrogant and selfish. Its arrogance and selfishness are not peculiar to it, every great civilization in the history of Mankind has gone through all those phases.. I don't have a grudge, I don't feel bad, and I don't find it enough to hate it. However, its unbecoming bias when it comes to Israel raises a lot of suspecion in my mind.

I don't care for our Arab media propaganda and rhetoric. They lie straight to your face, and give you plain wrong facts. Well, as opposed to American media - where they deceive you, tell you half the story but refrain from giving absolute lies. It's only a matter of sophistication. Both are bad, both are wrong, and both suck.

As an Arab, and not a Muslim (I don't believe in god, or any such myths) I don't understand why anyone would see why I should consider the US to be our friend. They clearly draw the line of friendship over Israel. To us, we see that they made their choice, so why should we cooperate? Why should we feel bad for you? What makes you think we should feel guilty of such violence, when your guns and technology is what Israel uses to kill our people. Ahh.. I sometimes wonder.

Islam is not exactly the most peaceful religion in the world. I know Muslims would give me crap about that, but truth be told, it is not. It says the end of the world will come as the Muslims and Jews fight and Muslims win. Wow, great.. in the Koran they teach everyone, the end of the world is based on a stupid war between muslims and jews. How stupid. What an end, something to look forward to, eh? That is one of the reasons I quit religion since I was 14. Of course my reasons back then were much more naive than they are now, but hey.. at least I made a choice. I chose to be a human, no more no less.

Saudi Arabia is where Mecca is. Mecca is the one black house that is supposedly god's house. It is where Muslims go for the pilgrimage. It's a holy land. Saudi is therefore holy. In Islam, having foreign troops on your land is taken very seriously, and as proven, a sign of great weakness. Having troops on the country that holds Mecca is very new. Saudi was never colonized. Today, and since the Gulf war, many (including myself) consider Saudi to be a colony of the US. This is a rather shameful thing for any Muslim or even Arab. It would make any Muslim's blood simmer and boil. It sure made Bin Laden's simmer.

Taliban is yet another 'mullah'. Sort of like, a priest. A fanatic with a very simplistic, uneducated view of the religion. They interpret the Koran literally.. and I mean, LITERALLY. The Koran is supposed to be a document which can evolve. That is one of its strength.. it is meant to be for all times and all places. But, when it says, 'arhiboo 3aduwwa allah' (terrorize god's enemy) it surely did not mean to blow up their buildings and kill innocent people. It meant, make sure your armies are big and mighty so they don't dare fight you. How stupid.

George W. Bush says, "either you are with us or with the terrorists".. what if I don't want to be with either? I don't care for Bush, and I sure as hell don't care for a religious agenda. I don't care for 'god bless america' or 'allah akbar'. I don't care for god, or Christ or Mohammed or whoever. I don't care for any of those. I just want to live in peace.. I want to hack my way on my bsd box, and write and share programs with the world. I just want to be a productive member of this society, the society of humanity. I am a human.

I know, I will get searched at the airports.. My phone conversations are tapped, and my whole life history is new under the microscope. What's new, they used to do that anyway. They made me take off my shoes and all back in '97 and they still will. Sure, strip me, search me, frisk me.. kill my brothers, strike our pharmaceutical factory (which supplied badly needed medicine btw). I will still be a human, and will still love you just the same.

Stop Terrorism Through...volunteering? | 41 comments (41 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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