Very good argumentation. Thank you.
So we should simply lie down and accept terrorism as a fact of life?
Absolutely not! Definitely not! Most vehemently, no! On the contrary, I'll be among the first in line when the world thanks you, if you can diminish this abominable curse. I'm not saying "Lie down," I'm saying "Do things that have an effect," "Choose strategies that may work," "Don't make it even worse than it already is."
[...] I am compelled to endorse extreme measures [...] the half-assed measures employed by the French, Italians, and Germans were woefully ineffective and an agressive policy of zero tolerance is required.
I think Russia's strategy toward Chechnya can be aptly described as extreme measures and an aggressive policy of zero tolerance. Russian strategists would probably consider the measures employed by the French, Italians, and Germans "half-assed" and "woefully ineffective". Unfortunately, however, the aggressive Russian strategy has not had the effect that they wanted, as we could see in the recent occupation of a theater in Moscow.
Is that surprising? Is it surprising that Chechnyans respond with violence?
What if the people at the receiving end of the Russian strategy were not Chechnyans? What if they were Americans? If the US were for some reason as subdued as Chechnya, and the Russian treatment were directed at the US, can you then imagine that every single American would bow down to Russia? Can you imagine that not even one American would respond with violence toward the aggressor?
I claim that Americans would respond, and on the same grounds I claim that Chechnyans will continue responding, and that Iraquis will respond.
If the US were subdued like that, and a number of American groups and individuals were responding with violence toward Russia, then what strategy could Russia employ to successfully subdue every American? What extreme measures and aggressive policy of zero tolerance could get every American to bow down to Russia?
the scope of the problem is much more narrowly defined than just "terrorism". There exist known and unknown groups that have as an objective attacking American targets,
Fine, but the argument remains the same. In the above scenario, if Russia is only interested in subduing the violence that is directed against Russia and none other, I still can't see any strategy of war-type aggression that will subdue every American.
Additionally, in the long term, it is necessary to assess the root causes of the current anti-American hostilities and make some attempt to minimize their effects in the future.
In the above scenario, is it realistic for Russia to have this as a long-term goal after a campaign of war-type aggression? Wouldn't there be too much animosity created by the war-type aggression? Wouldn't it be too late?
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but the Swedes in American custody were captured on the Afghani battlefield acting as foreign mercenaries
Yes, I'll have to correct you, you are wrong. If they had been captured like that I'd never protest.
The one Swede at Camp X-Ray was visiting some school. As far as I know there have never been any claims or allegations that he was in any kind of battlefield, or that he in any way showed that he sympathised with such groups or such ideas. It seems the only allegation against him is that he was visiting a school. That school was the wrong place to be. (This case was discussed here.)
The three other Swedes that were punished without trial were simply at home in Sweden minding their own business. Moreover, the fact that they all worked for local branches of an American company proves that they sympathise with the US and with American ideals. Right?
Doesn't it prove this?
Of course not. It proves no such thing. Working for Western Union Money Transfer only proves you're competent at some tasks needed for money transfer. It proves nothing about your sympathies and ideas.
However, it wasn't Western Union they worked for. It was Al-Barakaat. So the fact that they all worked for local branches of Al-Barakaat proves that they all sympathise with Al-Qaeda and their ideas. Right?
Doesn't it prove this?
Of course not. It proves no such thing. Working for a money transfer setup only proves you're competent at some tasks needed for money transfer. It proves nothing about your sympathies and ideas.
As far as I know there have never been any claims or allegations that these individuals had any contact with Al-Quaeda or that they have shown in any way that they sympathize with such ideas. It seems the only allegation has been that they worked for this outfit. That was the wrong place to work.
Because of this they were blacklisted by the US in such a way that they could not possess or dispose of any money, not even tiny welfare sums for subsistence. They were essentially ruined. No trial, no investigation, nothing. After ten months two of them were cleared. Then it was finally recognized that they had done nothing. Ten months of ruinous punishment of innocent people. The third case is still not decided, as far as I know. (Here's a news story and here's a list.)
So, the punishments are based on assumptions. Perhaps many of these assumptions are right. But nobody knows if they are right or wrong, as there's no trial, no hearing. It's all based on assumption.
Pardon me if I can't muster up a whole lot of sympathy for the fate of some mercenaries.
On this point we agree. As I said in a comment some time ago, actual heinous-crime terrorists should be grateful that their captors will not cut off their hands, like the regime that they promote sometimes does.
Really, I don't care at all how terrorists are treated. The only thing I care about is what happens to normal people, to good citizens, to people whose only mistake is that they happen to be in the wrong place.
Nonsense. If you don't want to find yourself on the losing end of America's creative interpretation of international law, don't enter a battlefield in support of her enemies. So long as you remain in Sweeden (or most anywhere else, for that matter) your rights remain perfectly intact.
I wish that were true. I hope I've clarified that reality is not as rosy as that.
Get back to me when the US has landed an invasion force on your shores and is heading toward Stockholm, until that point your position is more than just a little bit on the histrionic side.
A strawman. I'm not claiming that the US is attacking countries like Sweden, I'm claiming that in situations where trade and cultural exchange could successfully accomplish the desired goals, the US is ruining this possibility by instead chosing aggression.
We, meaning America considered monolithically, haven't forced anyone at gunpoint to buy a satellite dish and tune into Baywatch [...] we haven't forced any poor hapless Parisians into the doors of a McDonalds or a Starbucks [...] America is villified by elements of the local culture [...]
Another point where we agree. This is a digression, but it matters here. If I may again quote an earlier comment of mine, if I feel that my TV channel sends too much American material I might complain to my TV channel. Why should I blame the US for the choices that my TV channel makes? If I'm too lazy to contact my TV channel I might simply switch to a different channel. I wonder if there are people who blame the US for not pushing the channel-switch button for them.
Were we to line the roads to Mecca with titty bars, gin joints, and burger shacks [...] So whom should we side with and be respectful of?
This is very simple. You don't side with any extreme. Basically, just do as the locals do. There are local establishments that do not raise conflict. Arrange solutions similar to existing local solutions.
Another consideration, more difficult but very important, is that you must not outcompete local companies, ruining them and upsetting the local economy. Some decades ago many foreign aid organizations failed miserably on this point, again and again, ruining the people they wanted to help.
There are a number of complications and pitfalls. But the US has fantastic resources in the form of people and companies with the necessary skills and cleverness and diplomacy. And if you should lack some of this in some details, you have inventiveness to cover up the slack, you have a culture of inventiveness. This is something you could do very well if you put your mind to it.
In addition to this, many countries are your friends and might contribute. Like little Sweden, a people almost obsessed with avoiding conflict and looking instead for discussion, for bargaining, for the common ground. Obsessed and therefore good at it, from generations of practice. And there are other countries with other skills. I'm sure with the right kind of effort some very good results could be achieved in this difficult struggle.
Agreed. The Jose Padilla case really infuriates me and gives me sufficient reason to contribute my vote to the futile task of un-electing Bush in the next election.
On several points our standpoints are very similar.
Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]