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[P]
US a better country after September 11?

By enterfornone in Op-Ed
Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 03:34:27 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

According to a recent survey by the ABC and Washington Post, the majority of Americans believe that the US is a better country after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

While it is clear that the September 11 tragedy substantially changed the USA, it is difficult to understand why 63% of Americans would think these changes are for the better. A closer look at the changes that have taken place would reveal quite the opposite.


First, some things that haven't changed. America's foreign policy, a policy of using military force to impose the will of the US government on the rest of the world, hasn't changed a bit. If anything it is far more overt, in the name of protecting the US. While it is hard to believe that the US military action will in Afghanistan will cause anything except further attacks from terrorists who are not Afghani residents, the US people seem to have taken the bait and are mostly in support of Bush's actions.

But certain things have changed in the US. Bush was voted into the US Presidency under controversial circumstances. Early in his term he was despised for "stealing" the presidency. Now he is almost universally adored by the US people, while at the same time stealing their freedom.

Lenin once said "Liberty is precious - so precious it must be rationed". It would appear that the US government, who supplied the Taliban with funds and Osama Bin Laden with training in order to prevent the spread of Lenin's ideology into the middle east, seem to agree. In the name of defending freedom, an "anti-terrorism bill" was quickly rammed through congress. It allows, among other things, federal agents to conduct searches without your presence or knowledge and to conduct sectret trials with secret evidence that is not available for you to refute. There are already examples of innocent people running foul with the law simply for speaking out against the US actions, so it wouldn't be surprising to find that people are worried about these new laws. But they aren't worried, the majority of Americans have accepted that these laws are needed to protect their "freedom".

Exactly what freedoms are being defended are not known. While writers such as Warren Ellis and Frank Miller describe evil futuristic presidents cutting up the constitution, the freedoms described in the Bill of Rights have already been ignored in drafting the anti-terrorism bill and most of them have been ignored in other laws long before September 11.

The Declaration of Independence states that "that they (all men) are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." By waging a war that will only encourage further attacks, Bush is hardly defending the right to life. By allowing federal agents to almost arbitrarily search and detain people without evidence he is hardly promoting liberty. And what of happiness?

Well the majority of Americans have happily accepted the changes, completely ignorant of the fact that their freedoms are being removed. And since ignorance is bliss, perhaps in one sense the American people are better off than they once were.

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Poll
The US is a better place after September 11?
o Yes 10%
o No 63%
o How could it be worse? 25%

Votes: 94
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o ABC and Washington Post
o military force
o Lenin
o "anti-terr orism bill"
o among other things
o examples
o Warren Ellis
o Frank Miller
o Bill of Rights
o Declaratio n of Independence
o Also by enterfornone


Display: Sort:
US a better country after September 11? | 81 comments (67 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
Causing terrorism (3.71 / 7) (#6)
by wiredog on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 01:39:35 PM EST

it is hard to believe that the US military action will in Afghanistan will cause anything except further attacks

Actually, I tend to disagree with that. Someone from that region said something like "when people see two horses, they will choose the stronger". I think he was correct. And the US looks the stronger because of its reaction to Sept 11. The reaction to the attack on the USS Cole was to treat it as a law enforcement problem. That certainly did nothing to deter future attacks, from which I infer that treating terrorism, in that region, as a law enforcement problem is ineffective at best. Treating terrorism as a military problem will, at least, eliminate the terrorists that plan and carry out the attacks, as well as the governments that provide support to those terrorists.

It's the latter that is the part of the strategy that will have, and is having, the strongest beneficial result. Yemen's government has begun to crack down on terrorists. Not because they attacked the US (else they would have done so after the USS Cole was attacked) but because they are afraid that if they don't, the US will come after them, personally. They are more afraid of the US than they are of extremists in their own country. Which is good, from the US point of view. If the terrorists don't have places to hide, train, and plan their attacks then they can't function.

What we need to do is break up OPEC. The oil dollars support corrupt and non-democratic regimes in that region. The arabs tried to influence us through an oil embargo in the 70's, and failed completely. The factors which prevented them from succeeding would keep direct diplomatic and economic pressures from working to replace them, however. The relationship with Russia, however, may do the job.

The next few years will be interesting. There will be more attacks on the US, and more US military action in the mid-east. The Cold War lasted 50 years, this one may as well.

Editorial: Remove the "will" before "Afghanistan" in the cited sentence.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"

democracy and the middle east.. (3.83 / 6) (#12)
by krkrbt on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 02:46:08 PM EST

The oil dollars support corrupt and non-democratic regimes in that region.

Funny, from what I've read on the subject (and I read a lot), it's the united states government (so-called) that does this. Saudi Arabia was having a nice little democratic revoluction before the U.S. stepped in, and there was something about the CIA having its fingers all over Iran's revolution too. And then there's central america...

[ Parent ]
Do what? (4.50 / 4) (#17)
by Alarmist on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 04:27:48 PM EST

What we need to do is break up OPEC. The oil dollars support corrupt and non-democratic regimes in that region.

I admit to being agog at this. How is destroying the economies of several contries that have little reason to like us going to help matters?

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and other Middle Eastern countries have little in the way of non-petroleum natural resources, economies based on the production of export of a single resource, and a not terribly friendly environment. If OPEC is broken up (and yes, I'm aware that there are non-ME countries in OPEC), how exactly is this to help the U.S.' standing in the eyes of other nations?

And for that matter, how exactly would OPEC be broken up? "Knock it off or we'll bomb you"? The United States has no jurisdiction over an international body that it is not a member of.



[ Parent ]

Our standing in the eyes of the world (none / 0) (#28)
by wiredog on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 08:44:20 PM EST

That isn't the issue. The issue is preventing terrorism. The oil money supports despotic regimes, which also funnel money to the terrorists. That is done in the hopes that they'll practice their terrorism elsewhere, and also because some of those governments support some of the aims of the terrorists.

Also, what about the effect that the OPEC oil monopoly has on the economies of the US, Europe, and Asia? Aren't the poor in those nations deserving of at least as much consideration as the people of the nid-east?

How to break up OPEC? Russia has large reserves of oil, and is not a member. Co-operation between the US and Russia in the extraction of that oil, and incentives for US companies to buy it, would go a long way towards breaking up OPEC. Like any monopoly they depend on having control of the majority of the product they sell to maintain their monopoly prices.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

If the US was really serious ... (none / 0) (#31)
by Robert S Gormley on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 09:38:51 PM EST

... why not the Mexican Gulf?

I like the fact that America, whilst on one hand - literally on the same day - was asking Australia to send troops to Afghanistan, was upping tariffs on Australian lamb to protect its interests... (not that they can't do it, but a little ... hrm!)

[ Parent ]

Read greenrd's diary (none / 0) (#48)
by wiredog on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 07:49:07 AM EST

In one of his latest entries there's a reference to the work of Deffeys on oil supplies.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Whoops! Wrong citation! (none / 0) (#50)
by wiredog on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 08:25:43 AM EST

It's here.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Preventing terrorism. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by Alarmist on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 12:19:19 AM EST

The issue is preventing terrorism. The oil money supports despotic regimes, which also funnel money to the terrorists.

I've got a better idea: let's not disband OPEC. We don't really have the power to do so anyway, not without treading all over the sovereignity of several other nations. Instead, if we're really serious about stopping terrorists, then let's do two things:

Firstly, stop screwing around with other nation's affairs unless we are explicitly asked to do so. Superpower or not, the United States has more than enough to deal with at home without having to go and pick fights overseas as well.

Secondly, stop relying on oil. While the Middle Eastern OPEC nations only provide about 10% of our oil needs per year, I think we can all agree that this country might be at least slightly a better place if we didn't keep turning the stuff into gasoline and burning it as if there was no tomorrow.

If all else fails and people insist on committing terrorist acts against U.S. citizens, then we should by all means punish those responsible. I would rather we not do this by killing them unless it is unavoidable - every terrorist killed is a martyr created. There is little glory in being imprisoned incommunicado for life.

Aren't the poor in those nations deserving of at least as much consideration as the people of the nid-east?

That's a new one. I haven't heard "do it for the poor!" yet.

I pay about $1.00 US for a gallon of gas. That works out to somewhere around 17 English pence for a liter. The poor do not have a problem buying gas in the United States, and in Europe, there are cheaper alternatives to driving in the form of walking and public transportation. (Europe as a whole has a far better system of public transportation than the United States.)

In light of this, how exactly are the poor in Europe and the United States being disadvantaged by OPEC?

Co-operation between the US and Russia in the extraction of that oil, and incentives for US companies to buy it, would go a long way towards breaking up OPEC.

Fine. Russia is also historically not very advanced with regards to environmental awareness or safety. We can get more oil out of a country that will produce more waste and pollution, so we can also produce waste and pollution here.

A better solution is to cut back dramatically on oil consumption.

Like any monopoly they depend on having control of the majority of the product they sell to maintain their monopoly prices.

And if we stop consuming that product, we reduce their control over us.


[ Parent ]

You're getting way off base (none / 0) (#61)
by rantweasel on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 05:05:27 PM EST

1 - OPEC is not a monopoly. There are major oil feilds in former Soviet states, in the North Sea, in Alaska, in Texarkana, etc. OPEC is a major influence in petroleum production, but they are not the only player.

2 - OPEC is not interchangeable with terrorism. There may be Saudi terrorists, and there may be billionaire Saudis who are funding terrorists, but there are many Saudis who are not terrorists who do not fund terrorists. This is true of every other OPEC nation.

3 - OPEC is not interchangeable with governments. If OPEC raises production quotas, it does not mean that Mexico wants to see higher quotas. Mexico might want lower quotas, but Venezuela may have provided a successful argument for raising the quotas.

Destroying OPEC is not the solution to terrorism. It might not even make a difference. Fixing the problems that get the terrorists all riled up will definitely make a difference.

[ Parent ]
You sound like a terrorist I know... (4.66 / 3) (#26)
by ahsyed on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 07:36:43 PM EST

What we need to do is break up OPEC. The oil dollars support corrupt and non-democratic regimes in that region.

OBL left (or supposedly kicked out) Saudi Arabia for the same reason. He believed that the US was supporting this corrupt regime, the House of Saud, and was fighting against that. While you might not go around bombing folks, you have the same mentality as OBL.

And so what if it supports corrupt and non-democratic regimes? Again, the US does the same thing. Let's break it up too! And besides, just because a country is non-democratic does not make it evil and/or corrupt. The best democracy allows others to choose as well as themselves.

[ Parent ]
OPEC? (5.00 / 2) (#30)
by Robert S Gormley on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 09:31:14 PM EST

What we need to do is break up OPEC. The oil dollars support corrupt and non-democratic regimes in that region. The arabs tried to influence us through an oil embargo in the 70's, and failed completely. The factors which prevented them from succeeding would keep direct diplomatic and economic pressures from working to replace them, however. The relationship with Russia, however, may do the job.

America's issue with OPEC is that it wants to further its own interests, and look after itself, to hell with anyone else.

OPEC is of no concern to America, or shouldn't be. You have no mandate there, and no "need" to do anything. Though you have a extremely tenuous mandate in Afghanistan, the US has to realise it can't just bully anything it doesn't like into the ground.

[ Parent ]

Eh!? (none / 0) (#69)
by valeko on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 01:45:20 AM EST

And the US looks the stronger because of its reaction to Sept 11. The reaction to the attack on the USS Cole was to treat it as a law enforcement problem. That certainly did nothing to deter future attacks.

But pray tell, what leads you to believe that the course the US is pursuing now in Afghanistan will deter future attacks? Sure, in the short term, al-Qaeda has been more or less disabled, but the US has seized upon this opportunity to expand its influence by putting an obedient pro-western government in Afghanistan and moving into the former central Asian Soviet republics (slowly but surely, with creeping military bases). It has managed to pull off this extension of its hegemony under the justification of "the war on terrorism". If anything, that's going to ensure future resentment, hatred, and cultivation of sympathy for extremists, with people becoming increasingly convinced that the only solution to American imperialism lay in violent means. I find the deterrent effect of this policy ... dubious.

What we need to do is break up OPEC. The oil dollars support corrupt and non-democratic regimes in that region.

The US supports corrupt and non-democratic regimes in the region. I wouldn't make an example of democracy in the House of Saud, but the US is propping this monarchy up quite effectively in order to maintain their economic interests. US support to such governments is far more crucial than any oil revenue.


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

History (none / 0) (#72)
by wiredog on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 09:40:50 AM EST

But pray tell, what leads you to believe that the course the US is pursuing now in Afghanistan will deter future attacks?

Historically, more questions have been settled by applied violence than by reason. "Cartago Delenda Est" is an early example. Later ones include the Barbary Pirates (another islamic group reduced to irrelevancy by the US Marines.) The Thuggees. The Assassins of Syria. Imperial Japan and the Third Reich are more recent examples.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Violence and past successes. (none / 0) (#73)
by Alarmist on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 12:27:27 PM EST

Historically, more questions have been settled by applied violence than by reason.

I agree. Killing the other person has a way of ending his disagreement with you. However, past successes are no guarantee of future success, as any student of history knows. Consider:

Cartago Delenda Est" is an early example. Later ones include the Barbary Pirates (another islamic group reduced to irrelevancy by the US Marines.) The Thuggees. The Assassins of Syria. Imperial Japan and the Third Reich are more recent examples.

All good examples of violence providing a solution. You know what else? None of this violence has kept people from killing other people. We beat the British in two wars, the Germans in one (and contributed to another), the Japanese in one, ourselves in one, and so on. However, none of these victories has kept anyone from coming and kicking us in the shins. The guys who blasted a hole in one of our destroyers didn't care that we had ground the Germans and the Japanese into dust. Nor will anyone who comes after.

The problem with violence is that it is a temporary solution, one that should hopefully be used to buy time (or influence) in which a more reasonable solution could be worked out. World War II is a success not just because the Nazi regime was destroyed, but because we helped rebuild a shattered continent to ensure that the conditions that led to the war would not occur again.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all in favor of bombing the living shit out of evil bastards who deserve to die. I'm not fooled into thinking, though, that just because I killed the bad guys that nobody will ever mess with me again.


[ Parent ]

Two different questions. (none / 0) (#79)
by valeko on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 04:32:37 PM EST

Historically, more questions have been settled by applied violence than by reason.

No, conflicts have been resolved by applied violence. Questions have not been answered proximately by applied violence. That issues may have naturally faded away once the means to undertake them was disabled is one thing, but it's not the same as settling the issue.

Do you really think that waging "war on terrorism" and disabilng al-Qaeda is going to naturally squash resentment of American imperialism in the Middle East? Of course not. It may, at least for a time, disable an organisation that provides an outlet for this resentment through violence, but it won't make the resentment go away. All it will do is come and stab us in the back at a later time - and it's not as though such resentment is limited to the locale of the Middle East. Bombing Afghanistan does not "settle the question" - it may deliver a practical obstruction to some terrorists (and kill lots of innocent civilians in the process!), but it won't settle anything.


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

Bah! (4.28 / 7) (#8)
by MrAcheson on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 02:18:26 PM EST

What is the alternative to military action? Sitting on our asses and doing nothing? Will that prevent attacks? Certainly not. Should we then listen to the terrorist complaints and comply with their demands? No, that will certainly cause more attacks because it is positive feedback. Even if these groups are satisfied what is to stop new groups from using similar tactics to demand other things. This tactic will simply result in greater bondage not greater freedom.

So the correct answer is find and destroy the terrorists and their networks. The US has chosen to do this by classifying terrorist strikes as military actions and persuing this as a military problem. This is very intelligent since the growth of Islamic terrorism is directly related to the fact that the Muslim nations have not been able to beat Israel in conventional war. It also plays to the US's strengths and encourages the Islamic nations to police themselves. In short it creates deterence which is what we want and what we built our military for in the first place.

As for the DoI, I find it funny that you cite a document used to justify the first American military action ever as if it were advocating some form of universal pacifism. This is certainly not the case. Nor is your analysis that military action will create more attacks valid for reasons I mentioned above.


These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


neither flawed logic nor might makes right (4.00 / 4) (#15)
by rantweasel on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 04:07:50 PM EST

Just because you refute the arguments in your first paragraph does not mean that you have proven the opening sentence of your second paragraph. There are a plethora of options between complete pacifism and total war. It's not a black and white issue - a combination of small actions (think Somalia, Granada, Panama, and lots of less public actions), propaganda and psychological warfare, a hearts-and-minds style PR campaign, political pressues, economic pressures, and law enforcement might have been more successful, but it's too late to find out now. Once you escalate, it's hard to back down. If you build slowly, you can stop escalating once you've gotten to the right level of pressure.

Most importantly, it is naive to think that you can use force to stop an ideology. It didn't work for the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War, it didn't in Ireland, it isn't working in Palestine, it didn't work after the 1972 Munich Olympics, it didn't work for Bull Connor or Orval Faubus, what makes you think it will work now? A long term solution would be much more likely through USIA/VOA, the Peace Corps, USAID, etc. Solve the problems that are the cause of the dissatisfaction and the terrorists who are fighting for a cause will disappear - war crimes trials for the some of the leadership on both sides of the Palestine/Israel fighting would be a good start.


[ Parent ]
Somalia?! (4.50 / 2) (#41)
by elefantstn on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 12:32:46 AM EST

a combination of small actions (think Somalia, Granada, Panama, and lots of less public actions)

It's very difficult for me to believe you just brought up Somalia as an example of a better way to conduct foreign policy than the current action in Afghanistan. Somalia was a total mess, from beginning to end, resulting in more casualties on both sides than the Afghanistan campaign and in the end, accomplishing nothing. If anything, Somalia is a clear example of what not to do.



[ Parent ]
On the same scale, but with actual planning... (none / 0) (#56)
by rantweasel on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 02:54:56 PM EST

I believe that Somalia, Grenada, and Panama were all flawed from a policy point of view. I was trying to illustrate the level of military action, rather than the policy behind the action. Sorry if I was unclear about that...

mathias

[ Parent ]
No, we know that already (none / 0) (#60)
by epepke on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 04:57:42 PM EST

It's not a black and white issue - a combination of small actions (think Somalia, Granada, Panama, and lots of less public actions), propaganda and psychological warfare, a hearts-and-minds style PR campaign, political pressues, economic pressures, and law enforcement might have been more successful, but it's too late to find out now.

No, we know that already. 9/11 was not the first attack on the U.S., it was simply the most recent and largest. The WTC was bombed first in 1993, and we treated it as a law enforcement problem. The Cole was attacked. Several embassies were attacked. Soldiers were slaughtered by people using women and children as shields. Bin Laden took credit for all these attacks, a point that needs to be mentioned for those who think there is no evidence against him. While these happened and continued to escalate, the U.S. took substantially the same halfhearted approach that you are advocating. A little pressure, a cruise missle every once in a while, an actual shooting war when people tried genocide and invasion (Yankee pig-dog spoil all our fun!), but really not much. We know that it didn't work, because 9/11 happened. This isn't rocket science.

Most importantly, it is naive to think that you can use force to stop an ideology.

All right. Show of hands now. Who thinks this is to stop an ideology? Anybody? I didn't think so. We all know that "War on Terrorism" is a rhetorical slogan, and so-called critics could do a bit better than going "hyulk-hyulk" about it. Frying Ted Bundy wasn't a "War on Misogyny," either. No, wiping out the Taliban isn't going to stop terrorism. But it will stop the Taliban and weaken al-Quaeda, the organization which, I remind you again, took credit for all major acts of terrorism against the U.S. leading up to 9/11 over the past decade. No, it isn't going to stop religious nuts from releasing Serin in the Tokyo subways, and it won't make the IRA stop blowing up nail bombs. But for those who gleefully say what about that, or what about Iraq or Saudi Arabia, etc. there's an age-old proberb: Be careful what you ask for; you just might get it.

9/11 wasn't so much the event for which the U.S. attacked the Taliban in retaliation or prevention. Rather, it is the event that woke up the Sleeping Giant. Last time this happened, Dresden got ruined by a firestorm, and nuclear weapons were used twice on people. Hey, smart move, guys! Pull your beards, shake your fists, and write nasty letters, for all the good it will do.

Some people, mostly idiots, may come to the conclusion that I am happy with the way things are going. I am not. No, it isn't a happy-happy joy-joy kind of thing. If you had asked me the day before bombing Afghanistan started whether we should do it, I would have said no. But it's started. It's history. It happened. The Giant is no longer asleep, and no amount of rhetoric will make it unhappen. In the words of the prophet Frank Zappa, "A mountain is something you don't want to fuck with." These are just the basic facts.

The only question is where to go from here because, and I think a lot of critics don't seem to be able to get this through their thick prognathous skulls, you can't change the past. On the other hand, you can learn from the past. If you don't like it, suggest something that hasn't already been shown not to work.


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


[ Parent ]
One thing leads to another (none / 0) (#20)
by marc987 on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 05:46:50 PM EST

Assuming there is some flawed US foreign policy

Changing:

will certainly cause more attacks because it is positive feedback. Even if these groups are satisfied what is to stop new groups from using similar tactics to demand other things. This tactic will simply result in greater bondage not greater freedom.

No, changing means you recognize a wrong.

[ Parent ]

Bah! (4.50 / 2) (#22)
by daedal on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 06:14:49 PM EST

What is the alternative to military action? Sitting on our asses and doing nothing? Will that prevent attacks? Certainly not.

It may not prevent further attacks, but it may limit them. Military action is likely to make the terrorists, or more accurately, proto-terrorists, react to violence with violence. Both parties will lose touch with the original issues, and if everyone thinks like you seem to, violence will not stop until one side has been defeated. Peace only comes when both sides stop shooting. If both wait until they have won or the other side stops first, this may take a while.

Should we then listen to the terrorist complaints and comply with their demands?

We certainly should listen to both their complaints and demands. Once we have listened we can judge for ourselves the validity of both. If people use violence in support of a cause/movement this does not invalidate their cause. In fact the numbers of terrorists would decrease if we addressed the issues which move them to such drastic measures.

So the correct answer is find and destroy the terrorists and their networks.

But the terrorists who actually commited the atrocities are dead. How can you deter people who are willing to die? The solution IMO is preemptive action to limit their reasons for sacrificing themselves. I also do not agree that the people who sponsor them should be destroyed; they should be given a fair trial, preferably in whichever country they were operating in, or under international law.

You continue by saying that the the US is "very intelligent" in "classifying terrorist strikes as military actions", even though you admit that "the growth of Islamic terrorism is directly related to the fact that the Muslim nations have not been able to beat Israel in conventional war.".

So the US is very intelligent in aggravating the very issues that caused the growth of terrorism?

-P

[ Parent ]

Bah! (none / 0) (#53)
by MrAcheson on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 12:42:13 PM EST

1) Doing nothing will not limit terrorist actions it will simply send the message that terrorists can do whatever they want and get away with it. Much like a disobedient child must be punished so must terrorists or they will simply walk all over you.

2) Complying with terrorist demands is also incredibly stupid. You do not negotiate with terrorists. Period. End of statement. I can't believe I have to explain this. If a terrorist act brings you to an immediate change of policy then this will encourage further terrorist acts to make further policy changes.

3) One of the major problems with previous anti-terrorism initiatives is that they treated terrorism as if it were a matter of international law enforcement. This has been shown to be completely ineffective. Example: Bin Laden and the USS Cole.

The current initiatives treat terrorist groups as what they essentially are, unorthodox military organizations. My point with the growth of terrorism after the failure of conventional Muslim military was to make this point. The resources of many islamic nations went from conventional military to unconventional military or in other words terrorism. To ask these countries to enforce laws on people they themselves are encouraging to break said laws is foolishness. This is therefore a military problem and it should therefore require a military solution.

Lastly, you made the point that none of this will stop until one side is completely defeated. That is the whole point. That is the only paradigm that is proven to work. "Measured responses" have not been proven to work. In fact they tend to get lots of people hurt on both side in prolonged conflicts. The one paradigm which has been proven sucessful in turning bitter enemies into friends is complete military victory. Unconditional Surrender. We have great relations with Germany and Japan and had them in less than a decade from the end of WWII. On the other hand measured actions in Somalia, Haiti, etc have created no change in these countries but have gotten many people killed on both sides.

Do what works. Like it or not this works.


These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


[ Parent ]
humbug? (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by rantweasel on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 06:20:22 PM EST

1) Arguing against military action does not mean arguing for doing nothing

2) Complying with terrorist demands is stupid, but fixing the problems that got them riled up to begin with is smart. If I start a terrorist organization to try to end world hunger, that doesn't make solving world hunger a bad goal. Resolving the problems between Israel and Palestine would be a good place to start, and I would suggest that Jerusalem would make a wonderful international city...

3) You can't treat terrorist acts as acts of war, because they are acts committed by individuals. What is the difference between killing 5 people because I'm a jerk like that and killing 5 people because I want to end world hunger? It's still 5 people dead, so why should the response be tied to my reasoning and motivation?

The problem with comparing our current invasion of Afghanistan and WWII is that they are completely different situations. 19 guys on 4 airplanes do not a nation make. You cannot hold all of Afghanistan responsible for the actions of 19 men who were not even Afghans. A Japanese military invasion of Pearl Harbor, or a German military invasion of Poland, on the other hand, is something that the respective governments had control over. You are right that measured responses like Somalia and Haiti have not worked consistently, but political pressure and election observers have led to a democratically elected government in Nicaragua, the invasion of Panama did accomplish the stated goal, and outright war has failed as a conflict resolution in the past (Korea and Vietnam). There is no single, applicable solution - each situation is different. In this case, a small scale military action (but kept to a minumum), combined with an international law enforcement approach, political and economic pressure, plus rebuilding/restructuring efforts is far more likely to actually prevent future acts of terrorism. Blowing up another country is only going to piss people off.

Finally, you say that we should do what works - as far as terrorism goes, a violent response does not work. Ask the British, the Israelis, or the Colombians. They have all tried to crush terrorism, and that didn't stop it. Look at how the situation in Ireland has improved through diplomacy, however.

[ Parent ]
Please sir might I have some more :) (none / 0) (#74)
by MrAcheson on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 01:18:26 PM EST

1) Yes this is true. However what are the alternatives? Civil response? Doesn't work because it depends on civil societies which are supporting the terrorists. Economic response? Doesn't work we need arab oil and look at all the criticism we are getting from "measured" economic response to Iraq. Change our policy will be discussed later. Military response.

2)Change our policies? This isn't a bad thing in and of itself however the most important thing here is that these policy changes cannot be seen as related to or caused by the terrorist strikes for obvious reasons. If the terrorists bomb us and then we instantly "reevaluate policy" in their favor this is essentially the same as complying with them. I am not saying that we cannot change. I am saying that we must be careful about it because it is the appearances which matter. Furthermore muslim terrorists will not be happy with us until we stop supporting Israel and allow them to be pushed into the sea. This is not an option.

3)Yes you can. Soldiers are individuals too. Furthermore terrorist groups are directly and indirectly supported by nations. This makes these nations accomplises. If these were nations which were actively but poorly discouraging terrorism that would be one thing. These are nations which are saying come here, have some money, and train to fight the Great Satan. This is unacceptable. Law enforcement action against whole nations is essentially military action.

Democracy is not a panacea. Note that democratically elected leaders in nations does not make them peaceful or freedom loving. Many 3rd world nations see military takeovers because the military (often US trained) will not allow the elected governments repressions to continue. In many muslim nations the fundamentalists have a popular majority. When they are in power their first step is to destroy the other factions and establish a fundamentalist state. This is one of the better reasons why we support many dictatorships around the world. Democracy will only work in cases where the populace is capable of governing itself and unfortunately that is common especially in the uneducated 3rd world.

I did not advocate limited war like korea or vietnam. Do not compare them to WWII because they are strategically different. Also I haven't seen north and south Korea at war lately. In fact there have been talks between the two about reconsiliation within the last decade. Korea was a success not a failure like vietnam.

Blowing up another country is the last resort. Would the Taliban have given in to our "requests" would denying them aid have changed anything. No. We already knew that because we had been trying the measured civil approach for years and it didn't work. Can we use a more measured approach with other islamic nations? Some yes some no. If yes then do so. A lot of people are coming around now that an example of the consequences has been made. If we have tried that and its failed then send in the military. For instance Iraq has proven that the "measured" approach which the other islamic nations suggested has not worked.


These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


[ Parent ]
You're quite wrong. (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by valeko on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 01:28:28 AM EST

1) Doing nothing will not limit terrorist actions it will simply send the message that terrorists can do whatever they want and get away with it. Much like a disobedient child must be punished so must terrorists or they will simply walk all over you.

I agree with you to the extent that not reacting to an atrocity as profound as September 11th would be an incorrect course of action. However, you are attempting to grossly oversimplify a very large problem. You can punish the perpetrators and their direct associates, but that doesn't make their sympathisers and those who are in solidarity with their cause magically disappear.

2) Complying with terrorist demands is also incredibly stupid. You do not negotiate with terrorists. Period. End of statement. I can't believe I have to explain this. If a terrorist act brings you to an immediate change of policy then this will encourage further terrorist acts to make further policy change.

That's an interesting proposition.

I can't believe I have to explain this, but the failure to remedy the cause of their grievances does not make this cause invalid or make it cease to exist. In the case of September 11th, the cause was the fight against American imperialism. It is true that it would've been absurd for the US to not respond militarily in some way, but it is no less true that what it is doing now virtually ensures further terrorism.

You're attempting to simplify it down to, "oh, these psychopathic murderers attacked us just because they want to kill us, there's no underlying motive, and so all we have to do is punish what's left of them." This is not true. The real problem isn't that the US is supposedly punishing the terrorists in question, but that it has seized this opportunity to expand its hegemony to central Asia. Instead of addressing the underlying cause, even symbolically, it has instead acted again exclusively in its self-interest (under the justification of "the war on terrorism") and has already conveniently installed a pro-western government in Kabul that is subservient to its economic interests to some degree or another[1]. It has also placed itself in a number of former Soviet central Asian republics, where it is more than likely that it will not be leaving (i.e. the military bases). This is not helping the problem that the terrorists were trying to address, but aggravating it. The terrorists acted inhumanely and atrociously, but that doesn't invalidate their problem - that doesn't make it go away. Instead, further hatred is cultivated in the silent sympathisers of this cause, virtually ensuring more terrorism in the future. At any rate, certainly more terrorism, I firmly believe, than if the problem were to be actually remedied in some form or fashion.

3) One of the major problems with previous anti-terrorism initiatives is that they treated terrorism as if it were a matter of international law enforcement. This has been shown to be completely ineffective. Example: Bin Laden and the USS Cole.

If only it were that simple...

The one paradigm which has been proven sucessful in turning bitter enemies into friends is complete military victory. Unconditional Surrender. We have great relations with Germany and Japan and had them in less than a decade from the end of WWII.

You're committing a grave mistake by confusing the regime currently holding the reigns of power in a given country with the country itself. I realise that this doesn't translate into a perfect analogy to describe fascist Germany, but still. For example, civilian Afghans are not the terrorists of the country. Yet they are being bombed accidentally, but with apparently very little effort to surgically avoid them. This does not communicate to them the impression that the US does not hold them as an enemy, but only those among them that are connected with terrorist groups. But more to the point - the Taliban are not Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda are not Afghanistan. September 11th was an act perpetrated by al-Qaeda, not the people of Afghanistan or the government of Afghanistan. These entities should not be confused.

Saudi Arabia is currently a "friend" of the US. The US is propping up a US-friendly monarchy there. If the monarchy came down and the regime were replaced with a virulently anti-American one, as in Iran, Saudi Arabia would become an "enemy". This does not represent a transformation of the country itself, but only a change of leadership and political direction.

--------------------
[1] Hamid Karzai, the head of the current interim government in Afghanistan, used to be a consultant for the American oil company Unocal. This was the same Unocal that complained to Congress that the only plausable way to reach oil deposits in the Caspian Sea were to lay an oil pipeline through Afghanistan, oh, if only the regime there were more friendly.

Actually, the regime was quite friendly up to 1998. Up until then, the US sort of supported The Taliban order when negotiations between them and Unocal were going on. Then the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania came along, and suddenly the US was firing cruise missiles at training camps in Afghanistan. Naturally, the negotiations quickly disappeared.

I do not base my conclusion that the government in Afghanistan is pro-western on Mr. Karzai's background. It's more common sense - why would the US, or anybody else, not install a 'friendly' (read: subservient) government whereever it could?


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

terrorism == military action (none / 0) (#71)
by richc on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 09:18:29 AM EST

The problem I have is not with military action but with describing terrorist acts as acts of war. If the terrorist attack was an act of war then it is almost legitimate, an attack on the financial heart of an enemy state is is pretty standard fare for 20th century warfare. Lots of civilians where killed, but far fewer than in Tokyo, Dresden or even London during WWII. Terrorism should be treated as a criminal act much as it has been in the UK, Spain and many other countries who have long experience of terrorists. To treat it as an act of war merely legitimises the act in the eyes some of those who support their aims if not their methods.

[ Parent ]
Misleading opening paragraph (5.00 / 6) (#9)
by chipuni on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 02:20:10 PM EST

Your opening paragraph stated that 63% of Americans believe that America is a better country. They may have believed the question was whether America is a better country for Americans.

Bush is looking like a "tough guy" -- a strong fighter for the U.S. and against everyone else. Most Americans believe that the loss of civil rights only happens to foreigners living in the U.S. With a very few casualties on our side, we've toppled the Taliban and seemed to have broken Al-Queda.

In short, the average American would definitely feel that America is doing very well.
--
Perfection is not reached when nothing more can be added, but only when nothing more can be taken away.
Wisdom for short attention spans.

Wait till 2004 (3.25 / 4) (#11)
by adamhaun on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 02:42:33 PM EST

I'll be very interested to see the turnout for the next election. Assuming that
the War on Terrorism continues on its course, the current swell of patriotism
among Americans might lead to more people voting, more attention paid
to important issues, or any number of other things.

Or we could all forget and go back to our Britney Spears CDs. Either way, I'll
be waiting with baited breath.

-- Adam Haun No, you can't have my email
You know (none / 0) (#21)
by davidduncanscott on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 05:48:06 PM EST

...if you stop eating worms, you can lose that baited breath.

[ Parent ]
More likely... (none / 0) (#33)
by Spatula on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 10:04:46 PM EST

voter turnout will be at an all-time low. People might just be so content that they won't see the need to vote. Ya never know. It'll be interesting to see.
--
someday I'll find something to put here.
[ Parent ]
your focus is too narrowed. (4.60 / 5) (#13)
by rebelcool on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 03:09:47 PM EST

there is much, much more to a country than the actions of its government

I think for the most part, people care about bullshit less. Remember when coke-snorting, wife-beating, whore-chasing sports 'heros' gathered their hero status by merely pushing a ball into the endzone?

I think people now have a better idea of what real heroism is.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

How quickly we forget (2.00 / 1) (#47)
by locke baron on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 02:50:29 AM EST

Maybe it's just that those of us already in the military are a bunch of jaded dweebs, but even days after the attacks, my shipmates over here were right back to their standard activities, namely wanking to really raunchy pr0n, Morpheus-ing for boyband music and getting infected with lame-o viruses... The bullshit's still alive and well here!!!

Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
[ Parent ]
Fixing the problems.... (5.00 / 3) (#14)
by Elkor on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 03:20:38 PM EST

In order to address many of the issues you bring up here, I would encourage you to write your congressional representatives and tell them what you think, and how you would like them to vote.

Let them know which issues are important to you, and why.

Also be sure to let them know that:
a) You vote
b) How they handles these issues WILL affect whether you vote for them or their opponent(s) in the next election.

The important thing is that you try to communicate. You can't make them listen, and it may seem like wasted effort. But for every 1 letter they receive, they attribute 20 people having that opinion (learned as theory in a political activism seminar by a lobbyist). If they get 10 letters, that's 200 people.

While you are at it, write a couple of different versions and ask your friends to sign them, then mail them (in seperate envelopes, not with your letter). Sounding similar is ok, just try not to have it sound like a form letter.

If nothing else, print out the article you have written and mail IT to your reps.

But, if you don't become an active participant in the process, you risk being partially to blame for the results.

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
Use the system (4.66 / 6) (#18)
by br284 on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 04:29:23 PM EST

I guess one thing that gets to me is the way people talk about rights being trampled and how there's nothing we can do about it. To me, it appears that people have forgotten about the court system and the idea of checks and balances. If you percieve your rights as being violated, by all means, take the offender to court. That is the only and proper means by which you may change your situation.

I never said that it would be easy, but the best ones to bring suit are those who are being harmed. If you are not being harmed, but perceive the action being taken against a fellow citizen as a precursor to harm against you, support your fellow citizen against the offender. Whatever you do, just don't sit around whining about it and how powerless you are. Else, these things are only going to continue if noone steps up to the plate.

-ck


indeed (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by rebelcool on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 06:46:48 PM EST

it is far easier to bitch than take action. The whole libertarian-geek bent which promotes apathy towards anything governmental has done far more harm than good, leading most to simply ignore what tools of change are available.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Apathy (none / 0) (#37)
by enterfornone on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 10:48:17 PM EST

Libertarians are such a small minority that I doubt anything they do would cause much of an affect either way. I think the "government will fix it, individuals can sit back and relax" attitude of big government supporters is far more apathetic than anything liberterians believe.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
eh.. (none / 0) (#43)
by rebelcool on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 01:02:43 AM EST

I think the majority of libertarians gather their numbers from the IT-professional industry. At least it seems theres a disproportionate amount of them.

The whole 'the government doesnt affect me/only screws things up so fuck em' attitude inevitably leads to the apathy, and it is that apathy which generates the problems they believe exist. A vicious cycle.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Taking things to the courts (none / 0) (#77)
by aphrael on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 01:51:09 PM EST

If you percieve your rights as being violated, by all means, take the offender to court. That is the only and proper means by which you may change your situation.

That is one of the most frightening statements i've ever read in an online weblog.

There are numerous methods by which you may change your situation which are far preferable to asking a court to do it for you. Asking a court to do it, in essence, is a request to an unelected and unremovable person (eg., a person who has no responsibility to obey the will of the people) to overturn the decisions or actions of elected and removable people (eg., people who do have a responsibility to obey the will of the people). While it is necessary for a republic to have that structure, it is in its very essence anti-democratic, and it should be used only as a path of last resort.

What else can you do? You can write angry letters to your representatives asking them to repeal these laws, and threatening to vote against them if they do not. You can organize your friends to do the same. You can run for office --- most district attorneys are elected, for example. You can write letters to the editor of newspapers or start a petition drive. You can organize and publicize protests.

I'm not saying any of this is easy. But it's far preferable to simply asking an unelected judge to overturn the decision of the representatives of the people.

[ Parent ]

From the article... (none / 0) (#78)
by br284 on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 04:20:33 PM EST

I quote:

Well the majority of Americans have happily accepted the changes, completely ignorant of the fact that their freedoms are being removed. And since ignorance is bliss, perhaps in one sense the American people are better off than they once were. (Last paragraph)

Against such a scenario, you will accomplish nothing through democratic means. The officeholders are beholden to the mob (by definition), and when the mob does not feel that your freedoms (enumerated in a root document that set up the mob rule in the first place, with certain provisions) are worth less than catching terrorists (or whatever the cause may be -- yesterday, it was "for the children", tomorrow, who knows?), your only hope for preserving those freedoms are appealing to a party who has the power to interpret the basic document and say that despite the mob wants X, it cannot infringe upon freedom Y to get it.

Democracy is not all that it's trumped up to be, and in the cases of individuals and minorities, it can be particurlarly dangerous.

-Chris



[ Parent ]
One free clue. (3.50 / 6) (#19)
by Apuleius on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 05:35:58 PM EST

You say: While it is hard to believe that the US military action will in Afghanistan will cause anything except further attacks from terrorists who are not Afghani residents, the US people seem to have taken the bait and are mostly in support of Bush's actions. What the US action in Afghanistan is doing is establishing the precedent whereby if you rule a country and use it as a staging ground for an attack on the US, Uncle Sam comes in, knocks you off your throne, and puts someone else in your place, and for a finishing touch, nices the place up so that your former subjects will celebrate your demise. If you don't see why that is a good course of action, and one likely to make the world's fanatics think twice before attacking the US, then you're obtuse. Try reading something other than Chomsky.




There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Two free clue (2.50 / 2) (#27)
by enterfornone on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 08:43:32 PM EST

While most Americans seem ignorant of this fact, the Taliban, and more importantly the Afghan people (who are the ones being killed) had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks.

"The world's fanatics" don't care about the bombing of Afghanistan. Most of them don't live there and the ones that do can quite easily move elsewhere if need be.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Hah! (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by nebby on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 10:02:07 PM EST

Riiight, the Taliban had nothing to do with it. Other than the fact that Bin Laden was giving Omar ribjobs every other weekend in return for letting him run his little happy fun time terrorist training camps.

I think it's undeniable that the Taliban and Al Quada were in bed together and needed one another to thrive.

I now ask you the question I ask every individual who shares your views, perhaps you can rise above the rest in showing you're an actual thinker and not merely an intellectual moocher: What do you suggest the United States do in order to ensure the defense of her people? Every anti-war cynic when asked this question clams up for a second or two and responds in a flavor similar to: "Well, of course I can't be specific, but we can't do what we're doing now." You've had four months, and we're still waiting.




Half-Empty: A global community of thoughts ideas and knowledge.
[ Parent ]
What to do about terrorism. (none / 0) (#35)
by enterfornone on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 10:33:08 PM EST

I'd be curious to know exactly who you are asking, since there has been so much written about the alternatives to war in recent months.

For a start, try here, here and here.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]

Good one! (none / 0) (#59)
by epepke on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 04:15:42 PM EST

Well, at least somebody is writing something. I read that.

Unfortunately, it reduces to "bring back isolationism." It's an appealing thought, but there's a problem with it. The problem was called the Great War, until it happened again. The first time it happened was then called World War I, and the second time was called World War II. At the end of World War II, America bombed the snot out of Europe and Japan and then rebuilt both.

Like it or loathe it, all of American foreign policy since then has been to prevent World War III. The idea of going to isolationism is based, ultimately, on the pure and simple faith that if America just went away, all of the people who took great delight in using chemical weapons freely against each other during both World Wars and have hated each other in some cases for thousands of years, would just sorta kinda get along and work everything out and not start World War III, because everyone on the East side of the Atlantic is just so peaceful and trustworthy and would never ever think of using mustard gas or Zyklon-B.


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


[ Parent ]
Preventing WW3 (none / 0) (#63)
by enterfornone on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 10:35:43 PM EST

There is a big difference between defending yourself against a direct attack (in the case of the US retaliation against Japan) and sticking your nose into a conflict that doesn't concern you (eg the US vs North Vietnam, the US aid of Israel against the Palistinians). If you butt into a conflict like that then you have to accept that the enemies of you allies have now become your enemies.

If the US wants to be the world's police force, then S11 is the price they will continue having to pay. If they care about the welfare of their own citizens then continuing to make enemies in the middle east is not the way to do it.

If the nations in the middle east want to fight amongst themselves then I would say let them. Not getting involved in these conflicts is what will prevent World War 3, getting involved is more likely to cause it.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Response. (none / 0) (#67)
by valeko on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 12:58:39 AM EST

Replying To: Good one! (none / 0) (#59) by epepke on Thu Jan 3rd, 2002 at 04:15:42 PM EST Like it or loathe it, all of American foreign policy since then has been to prevent World War III.

This is not an accurate analogy. American foreign policy during the Cold War and after does not amount to policing the world to the necessary degree that another Great War does not transpire.

'Maintaining' economic powers for the sole purpose of their being subservient to American interests, exploiting foreign labour and natural resources, propping up murderous tyrants in Latin America and Asia that are compatible with American political and economic aims, and otherwise engaging in standard-fare imperialism is not "preventing World War III". Depending on who you ask throughout the world, some may be of the opinion that the reverse is achieved - that this policy ensures an eventual Great War. What the catalysing event may or may not be is open to speculation, but it remains that American foreign policy over the last half-century ensures the increased risk that things like September 11th will happen. That's not playing world policeman, or world peacekeeper.


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

The war in afghanistan and the american mood (none / 0) (#76)
by aphrael on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 01:44:41 PM EST

For people throughout the US who are generally of an anti-war bent, this is a difficult issue. Mr. Browne makes some good points (I'd probably support the constitutional amendment, or a slightly modified version to allow commitments required by treaty, eg., NATO and the UN), but he misses some things as well.

Yes, the best thing we can do to prevent terrorist attacks against us is to stop doing things that piss of people in the rest of the world.

But that won't be completely effective, because part of the outrage felt in the developing world has nothing to do with politics, but is rather the outrage of those who are economically not well off at those who are; that outrage isn't going to go away if we pull the troops home. It's very optimistic and idealistic of Mr. Browne to believe that it will.

And even if it were a sufficient long-term solution, it misses the short-term problem: what do you do about the people who were responsible for this attack? Given that the government of Afghanistan had refused to hand over the individuals responsible --- and note that, at the time we started bombing, I wasn't sure they were responsible and so was more skeptical than i am now; now there appears to be very little reasonable doubt --- we had several options:

  • Impose economic sanctions on Afghanistan in the hopes of persuading them. The problem here is that the only case where economic sanctions can be shown to have worked is the sanctions against South Africa --- and Afghanistan is already more or less completely disconnected from the world economy; it's hard to see how that would have mattered.

  • Exert subtle diplomatic pressure. With a country we had no relations with, and a government that cared so little for the opinion of the world that it was actively trying to undermine the governments of some of its neighbors (Uzbekistan and Tajikstan).

  • Hire private assassins to take out the people responsible. Which would have been difficult to do without a large armed military presence.

  • Invade, find, and capture the people ourselves. Which is basically what we're trying to do; the change of governments was a by-product of that (although admittedly it became the goal for many people --- largely because the change in government came to be viewed as a way to reduce the likelihood of the country being used as a breeding ground for terrorists; in this sense, removing the government of afghanistan became a *preventative* measure, sort of like killing a rabid dog).
Given the prevailing mood inside the US in September and October, doing nothing was not an option; while the anger has subsided, it was blazingly hot at the time, and the country was more politically united than I have ever seen it be about anything. Which would you have chosen?

[ Parent ]
What to do about it. (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by CaveMan on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 01:18:54 AM EST

Well, THIS "anti-war cynic" has been saying this from day one: True Peace.

It's kind of a trite slogan, but complete answers rarely fit on a newspaper headline, so it's the best I can open with.

The "terrorist problem" can be broken down into near term prevention, and long term prevention. Both must be considered before acting.

Near term: Stop existing terrorists today.
Long term: Stop creating terrorists.

While military action is probably the most effective solution to the Near term problem, it is THE WORST possible solution for the Long term. Using the international court system, working with the UN, and doing NOTHING unilaterally is a less effective Near term solution, but far better in the long term.

[ Parent ]

Problems with that solution (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by wiredog on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 08:05:55 AM EST

Using the international court system, working with the UN

You seem to make the same assumption that too many others are making. That International Law can be applied non-violently. Domestic law can't be applied non-violently. Think about it, the police have at least the threat of applied violence to deter crime. If the criminals aren't afraid of the police, they are not deterred. Any effective legal system has, at its heart, the threat of violence applied to enforce the law.

If a country isn't afraid that it will be on the receiving end of violence, what reason is there for it to comply with the law? The recent events in Yemen and Pakistan are instructive in that regard.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Have you been under a rock? (none / 0) (#55)
by Apuleius on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 01:17:53 PM EST

The line between al-Qaeda and the Taliban is virtually non-existent (or was, until the US gave the Afghans an incentive to redraw it.)


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
This is not certifiably true. (none / 0) (#66)
by valeko on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 12:48:40 AM EST

Obviously the American propaganda organ has gone to great lengths to ensure that people assert that merely by conjecture, but the reality is that you cannot equate the relatively narrow group of perpetrators who committed the September 11th atrocities with the entire Taliban regime.

The Taliban are a large and diverse body. They have to be in order to maintain effective control of the country. There are Taliban leaders at the upper echelons of the heirarchy, and Taliban officials below them. The Taliban, of course, engaged in what by western standards is perverse, even psychopathic mode of enforcement of draconian laws, but they did bring a measure of order to a country that was torn apart far more seriously by the aftermath of war with the Soviet Union and the brutal infighting that followed.

No, before your knees start jerking, this does not amount to a defense of the Taliban regime. However, it is academically unsound to cast off everyone involved with the Taliban order as being directly responsible for the attack on the US. Please don't confuse the ordinary citizens of the country -- some of whom sympathised with the Taliban to some degree -- with the terrorists of the country.

The organisation al-Qaida is not the Taliban. That the Taliban accomodated them and that Osama bin Laden personally funded a number of infrastructural projects in Afghanistan does not indicate that al-Qaida was the de facto governing organ of the nation of Afghanistan. This is a rather broad and unjustified assertion that indicts many innocent Taliban partisans who were simply "going with the flow" - it's not so black and white- so rigidly, mechanically distinguishable.


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

Lenin? (3.75 / 8) (#24)
by J'raxis on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 07:10:37 PM EST

A quote by Stalin is more apropòs to this presidency:
“Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.”
— The Raxis

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

Why don't you write an article ... (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by joegee on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 09:25:54 PM EST

... about the hundreds who are turned back from Australian shores every year because Australia doesn't want too many non-white foreigners? What about their rights? Will David Hicks be tried for aiding an enemy? Who's the enemy if Australia isn't at war?

What about the rights of people in Europe? What about Britain's draconian antiterror legislation, that allows for detaining foreigners suspected of terrorism indefinitely, without trial? You are aware of course that even with the new laws in place, the United States is not nearly as restrictive as will be Great Britain when its new laws are enacted?

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
huh (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by delmoi on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 10:05:44 PM EST

People in AU have rights?

Wow, you learn something new every day, I guess.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Since you mentioned it... (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by enterfornone on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 10:44:44 PM EST

I am planning on doing an immigration story, I just want to sit down and write it properly, rather than just bash it out in an hour like I did with this one (besides, Inoshiro gets the shits if I have more than one article in the queue). I agree (as do many Australians) that the Australian government's policy on immigration is bad (tho it's not as if the US are letting in masses of refugees either).

Hicks would probably be charged, but last time I read asnything on him he was a prisoner of the US, so the Australian government doesn't really have a say.

Obviously I'm not in favour of Australia's involvement with the war. Many Australian's aren't and for the most part we are able to express our views. Fortunatly Australia has never had the "My country, right or wrong, my wife, drunk or sober" attitude that exists in the US.

Nor am I in favour of the various anti-terrorism laws being enacted in Europe. However Australia and Europe don't claim to be a great example of freedom to the rest of the world.

Besides, the article was about Americans believing that they were better off after S11, so the rest of the world isn't really relevant.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
If you can accept that your own house needs ... (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by joegee on Wed Jan 02, 2002 at 11:10:35 PM EST

... work then you can point a finger at mine. That's fair, and I appreciate your response.

What I find amusing (and somewhat offensive) are the people who seem to pick on the U.S. at the exclusion of equal or even worse wrongs being commited by their own governments against their own people. They refuse to acknowledge, and sometimes I think to work on the disorder around them, and choose to criticize from afar.

You were not offended, you spoke openly and rationally about each of my points. I like the way you write. I look forward to your immigration article. I commend you. :)

I *do* think we're better off. What you don't see from the outside looking in are the every day people who are nicer to eachother. We've slowed down. We don't care as much about material things anymore. We spend more time with people. A lot of us are looking outside our borders for the first time. A lot of us are thinking about how to make the world a better place (and for the first time, not only on our terms.) Crime is down. Respect for one another is up.

From where I am in the American "heartland", in a twisted way 9-11 did us a backhanded favor. For a brief time it shook us up enough that we sat aside vanity and looked at real things. So yes, I do think we (U.S. citzens) are better off.

BTW, I hope you're nowhere near the horrible bush fires. One of my best friends lives in West Ryde, one of Sydney's suburbs. I am worried about her. :/

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Anti-Terror Laws and Freedom (4.33 / 3) (#42)
by Mister B on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 12:41:05 AM EST

In the name of defending freedom, an "anti-terrorism bill" was quickly rammed through congress. It allows, among other things, federal agents to conduct searches without your presence or knowledge and to conduct secret trials with secret evidence that is not available for you to refute. There are already examples of innocent people running foul with the law simply for speaking out against the US actions, so it would not be surprising to find that people are worried about these new laws. But they aren't worried, the majority of Americans have accepted that these laws are needed to protect their "freedom".

For my law class this semester, I did quite a bit of reading on the new legislation that was passed in response to the September 11 attacks. I concluded that all of the measures taken were relatively sound in theory and law (read: not any more broken than half of the crap that slides across the oval office desk). What makes it all seem so bad to many people is the extreme media hype given to the "possible uses" of the law (I'm not blaming this problem on the media). There are many laws on the books that would be horribly broken if we didn't apply them with common sense, but that is why we have judges and juries!

I think if you really need to worry about losing your freedoms, you should worry about losing them in another fashion. Judges are far too clever and (generally) far too biased toward individual rights to uphold a usage of the legislation that is not with the spirit of the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

{Bracing myself for the backlash}

-Mister B

hark! (4.66 / 3) (#44)
by rebelcool on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 01:05:20 AM EST

how dare you put education to use and go against popular mentality!

Ya know, it would be amazing how many people would probably stop bitching if they took the follow college courses (and were taught by competant instructors):

1. Government.
2. Economics.
3. Law.

When all of the above are demystified, the world appears to me a much better place and in better hands.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

I don't think so... (none / 0) (#46)
by enterfornone on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 02:05:33 AM EST

Judges are far too clever and (generally) far too biased toward individual rights to uphold a usage of the legislation that is not with the spirit of the Constitution or Bill of Rights.
Unless the "spirit" of the constitution varies greatly from it's plain english interpretation, I think you will find plenty of examples of legislation that goes against it. Every law that prohibits free speech or the right to bear arms are the more obvious examples.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Re: I don't think so... (none / 0) (#51)
by Mister B on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 08:55:42 AM EST

You are free to interpret the Constitution in a variety of ways, just like judges interpret the Constitution differently. One of the best reasons for the appeals process we have today is that by having different judges hear cases on appeal, it exposes the case to different interpretations of the law so that the fairest remedy is found.

Particularly at the Appeals Court level and above, it is probable that your case will be heard by a neutralist, a restraintist, and an activist judge at some point in the process.

[ Parent ]
Interpretation (none / 0) (#65)
by enterfornone on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 12:15:19 AM EST

There aren't that many ways to interpret "Congress shall make no law...".

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Re: Interpretation (none / 0) (#81)
by Mister B on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 10:05:02 AM EST

Once again, I'm going to disagree with you. Your interpretation is that of a Neutralist, or absolutist. You find no "wiggle room" to interpret the Constitution any differently from the printed words on the page. Your views on Constitutional interpretation are much like those of Justice Hugo Black (the best example I can think of). Regarding the first amendment, Black believed that the wording of "no law" meant just that. In truth, there are a lot of judges who would disagree with Justice Black and you.

-Mister B

[ Parent ]
there he goes again (1.85 / 7) (#54)
by gregholmes on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 01:02:07 PM EST

Bush was voted into the US Presidency under controversial circumstances.

He won. The loser launched some legal challenges; they failed because they were baseless.

Early in his term he was despised for "stealing" the presidency.

By those who wanted to believe that. There are sizable minorities of Americans who believe all sorts of wacky things (like AIDS being invented by government, and such things).



Regardless of who you supported ... (none / 0) (#75)
by aphrael on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 01:24:12 PM EST

Regardless of what your personal opinion of the results of the elction was, or mine, the fact is that a *sizeable* percentage of the US population believed that the election was unfairly decided, and that various portions of the procedure were questionable. (By way of example, *both* opinions in the supreme court decision were incredible; the adopted legal positions of the two groups appeared to be the reverse of their standard positions.)

Yet, today, virtually nobody questions it any more; while the issue should have been but behind us by the inaguration, it was not in fact put behind us until Sept. 11.

[ Parent ]

baseless (none / 0) (#80)
by Dogun on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 08:16:13 PM EST

Baseless yes, but also worth investigating - a significant change in the demographics of the counties in question, if you go by voter data...

[ Parent ]
Links to data (none / 0) (#58)
by eightball on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 03:48:03 PM EST

1/1/02

12/21/01

Just previewed it and tested the links, hoping for no 'post' bugs.

This is reposted from an editorial comment responding to another editorial comment.

US a better country after September 11? | 81 comments (67 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
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