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Zero Tolerance and the War on Terrorism

By Sethamin in Op-Ed
Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 08:42:31 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Zero tolerance was the fad of the 90s to clean up our schools and restore discipline. Its no-nonsense approach to dealing with policy violators was supposed to make students think twice about breaking any rule. Not only has it been a failure, it has been disastrous.

Indeed, zero-tolerance policies have not made our schools safe or whatever other sound-byte rhetoric was espoused in its favor. It has instead created a rash of neverending media spectacles where innocents are unjustly punished for minor infractions.


Observe only some of the recent scandals it has caused:
Going Too Far: The Case of the Nail Clipper
Student Expelled Over Bread Knife
Arkansas boy suspended for pointing chicken finger

In all the cases the story seems to be the same: the administration understands that it seems unfair, but their school policies (whether or not they explicitly say "zero tolerance") allow them no discretion in the punishment. Thus, we end up with suspensions for all sorts of things that would be hilarious if they were not true.

The flaw of zero-tolerance does not lie in some anamoly in its conception or flaw in its execution; it is the idea itself that is at fault. For what does it really mean? At its essence, it is the refusal of an authority to recognize different levels of punishment for different levels of infractions. In other words, zero-tolerance refuses to grant discretion to its executives. The enforcement becomes purely binary; either you broke the law and are punished for it fully, or you did not break it at all. There are no grey areas.

The point of this story is not just to illustrate the lunacy of zero-tolerance, as there is plenty of literature out there already doing that same thing. I cannot see how anybody could support such an inane and arbitrary policy after all the mishaps it has caused. Surely people have realized by now that the world is not made up of just black and white, good and evil, but that it is a complex place that requires critical thinking to come to decisions? Is it clear to everyone yet that there are no easy answers?

Apparently not.

On October 7, 2001, President Bush went on live TV and addressed the nation regarding the terrorists attacks of September 11. Key among his points was an implicit message to other leaders of the world: "Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents, they have become outlaws and murderers, themselves."

Fast forward now to January 29, 2002. In his state of the Union address, President Bush labeled the nations of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea "the axis of evil". His determination for this was that these states were seeking weapons of mass destruction and would supply them to terrorists, presumably putting them firmly in the camp of pro-terrorism.

So what does this have to do with zero-tolerance? They are incarnations of the same idea to take a tough stance and make no distinctions. In effect, "Either you are with us, or you are against us." President Bush has taken the philosophy of zero-tolerance and applied it to foreign policy. This is a recipe for disaster.

Not suprisingly, this is not the first time the US has painted the world in such a binary fashion. The Cold War serves as a glaring example of what happens when you put the world into two camps and do whatever you can to stop the other side. The US supported military dictatorships, overthrew governments, funneled money to terrorists, and propped up illegitimate governments, all in the name of opposing Communism. What ends will the US go to in order to oppose terrorism? They have already allied with a military dictatorship in Pakistan. What's next?

As a final thought, here is an excerpt from a foreshadowing speech given by Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of (ironically enough) Pakistan:

When the West correctly and bravely determined in the late forties to confront and contain communism's expansion, morality took on a bipolar configuration. Whether it was the Marshall plan to economically rebuild Europe, or the creation of the NATO alliance to contain the Soviet Union, the world became a contest between "us" and "them." And the West strategically calculated, that any nations who would stand with the West against communism would be treated as friends and allies.
Political systems became irrelevant. Due process became irrelevant. Human rights became irrelevant. Democracy became irrelevant. The enemy of my enemy became my friend.
The Greek junta. The Marcos dictatorship. The generals in Argentina. The Zia-ul-Haq bloodbath against democracy in Pakistan. The enemies of my enemy became my friends. And the victims of our friends became irrelevant.
A democratically elected government in Pakistan was overthrown in a military coup. A democratically elected Prime Minister was murdered. A political party was decimated, tortured, sent into exile. The press was destroyed. Unions were banned. Student organizations were prohibited. The cause of women was sent back into another century. And the world was silent.

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Poll
Is the US "War on Terrorism" going to lead to another Vietnam?
o Yes 37%
o No 28%
o It already has 34%

Votes: 124
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Going Too Far: The Case of the Nail Clipper
o Student Expelled Over Bread Knife
o Arkansas boy suspended for pointing chicken finger
o literature
o out
o there
o already
o addressed
o address
o speech
o Benazir Bhutto
o Also by Sethamin


Display: Sort:
Zero Tolerance and the War on Terrorism | 182 comments (161 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
Victory against zero tolerance (4.75 / 4) (#1)
by Torgos Pizza on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 05:16:36 PM EST

Dallas Morning News reports today that the student suspended for the butter knife will return to class. Punishment reduced to time served in "the district's disciplinary alternative education program".

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
The Viscious Bread Knife (4.50 / 2) (#55)
by Souhait on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 12:09:18 AM EST

I live in the school district where this happened and I've spent a few weekends over at Taylor's house, so the issue was double important to me. It's amazing that no one over at his high school was willing to step up and say "This is ridiculous, let's just let him go." A bread knife is not a harmful weapon. Baseball players all have bats, golf players have long golf clubs, we use very sharp scissors and scalpels in anatomy, and a pen could be used to jab someone in the throat. Classifying an object as a weapon is often a matter of intent - a bread knife is no more dangerous than these other objects, all of which are easily found on a school campus. It's only dangerous when it is used in a harmful manner. A similar incident happened at my school some time ago - a student had a military sabre from the civil war in the back of his car the day after Halloween, apparently the remnant of his costume. One of our vice principals confiscated the weapon and called him up. After hearing the story, no serious punishment was given. Did the student at our school deserve to be severely punished for a simple slip of the mind? Zero tolerance is not an effective method of controlling students when there is no way to appeal such universal judgements.

[ Parent ]
time served in an 'educational' program (none / 0) (#76)
by kipple on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 07:29:50 AM EST

good. so the guy will go to an 'educational' program where he will spend one hour listening about ... things he won't probably care about (since he's already a good guy) AND some other time with other people, potentially dangerous and that can lead him to a wrong path.
then, he'll probably become a terrorist for having had dangerous people in his 'disciplinary alternative education program' AND for being teasen by his classmates.

of course I am joking.
--- There are two kind of sysadmins: Paranoids and Losers (adapted from D. Bach)
[ Parent ]
Deadly weapons.... (none / 0) (#98)
by Kayser Soze on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 01:21:47 PM EST

The zero tolerance directive in schools is ridiculous. While I agree that a school is no place for children to be bringing or using weapons, there should be some guidelines as to percieved (or actual) intent of the person possesing said weapon.

In addition to this, there should be a clearly written definition of what is and is not a weapon.

For example, I am a martial artist. I could concievably kill you with just about anything that's lying around. Should a pencil be considered a weapon? A belt? All these could be used to hurt and potentially kill someone. In fact, I could use just my hands and feet. Will they take those away?

Rules without context are just asking to be abused. Possesion as well as intent should factor into the equation. It does in courts of law. Should our schools be any different?


"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." - Rene Descartes
[ Parent ]

Reading too much into Bush's statement (3.92 / 14) (#2)
by Torgos Pizza on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 05:38:02 PM EST

While I agree that zero tolerance for the most part certainly doesn't work, I think that you're totally wrong when it comes to terrorist activities.

To be sure, saying a statement that "you are either with us or against us" is a bold statement to make. Calling certain countries part of an axis of evil might be considered foolhardy. But we're not talking about normal people with nail clippers and kids with chicken fingers taking planes hostage. We're talking about some seriously bad guys hurting innocent people.

Taking a zero tolerance to terrorism is a no-brainer. Not doing otherwise would be saying it would be alright to take out a few civlilians even though you disagree with my politics. You've got to take at least some action when terrorism occurs, otherwise you find yourself being powerless and led by terrorists whenever they make a threat.

The key is a measured response, equal to the crime. In the case of the butter knife, the punishment did not fit the crime. It was overkill. Just as nuking Iraq for political posturing would be overkill. You make it seem that the US is going to nuke all three countries at any moment. That's not going to happen. If anything it put N. Korea and Iran on notice that they need to continue reforms and to watch themselves. To some extent it's working, but perhaps not exactly how the US would like. (Boy, I know I'm going to get a few replies on that statement.)

One thing I would like clarification on is your complaint with the current relationship to Pakistan. Despite what you think of their leader, how would deal with Pakistan? Ignore them and let al Qaeda terrorists just waltz into the country and further destablize it? Sure, he might not be the best leader, but he's currently the only one they have at the moment.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.

Side note (4.00 / 2) (#5)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 05:44:32 PM EST

The quote by Bhutto was *not* in reference to the current leadership, although I expect she takes a dim view of it. It was in reference to a previous military dictatorship, which among other things, had her husband executed for being a successful democratic politician.

[ Parent ]
She does have a point (4.00 / 5) (#10)
by Torgos Pizza on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 05:58:01 PM EST

I think she makes a point that the West pretty much ignored Pakistan for a long time. In fact, if it wasn't for 9/11, we'd still be ignoring Pakistan.

I'm pretty sure the think tanks in D.C. have realized their mistake. The US has ignored Islamic fundamentalism for too long, and it bit us in the butt. No doubt about it. Hang with me as I try to put current policy to a parallel.

The way I see it, the gov't is treating this like a r00ted box. What's the first thing you do when you find out your computer has been taken over by a back door program? You pull the network cable or shut the firewall down tight. From that point you identify the problem, reformat if necessary and apply the latest patches. Then you plug in that CAT-5 cable back in and slowly open up the ports one by one to the Internet. Finally, you step back and think about what just happened and how we could have prevented this.

In much the same way, the US is doing the same thing. After the attacks we pretty much shut everything down. After nabbing the bad guys in the US, we slowly opened the airports. Later we applied patches to the system by putting in new safeguards and procedures. Our anti-virus mechanism went after Afghanistan. We might have to reinstall Customs, INS and Border Patrol. Now we're sending out emails in the form of Dick Cheney to go around and let everyone know about the experience and how to prevent it.

The zero tolerance could be considered normal behavior. There are legitimate questions about which ports are going to be opened back up on the firewall. Your civil liberty ports may only be open on port 6667 instead of 6667 - 7000. That's when it becomes interesting. What ports do we really need and will we get them back?

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
[ Parent ]

Perhaps I should be more clear (4.83 / 6) (#13)
by Sethamin on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:02:40 PM EST

You bring up good points and it makes me wish I had been clearer in my story. First, I definitely DO agree with you that terrorism should not be tolerated. But what I was taking issue with is that foreign policy should not be formulated by dividing the world into "pro-terrorism" and "anti-terrorism". This does two things. First, it kills our options by painting ourselves into a corner with all the rhetoric we're espousing. Second, it makes leaders choose otherwise untenable options in the name of "the War on Terrorism".

I guess the real issue at hand is not the zero tolerance policy per se, but the binary view of the world it stipulates. Because that view leads to the principle of "the ends justify the means", and hopefully we all know where that leads to. I'm glad you bring up Pakistan, because that is a perfect example. We know we want to get al-Qaeda, so we ally with Pakistan. Well, Pakistan is a military dictatorship. The reason Musharraf is "the only leader they have" is because he's gotten rid of all the other ones and appointed himself President and Prime Minister while still remaining head of the military. He can (and recently did) appoint himself to serve longer terms if he wishes, up to indefinitely. But, since we are out to get al Qaeda then we say "well, I guess we have no other choice" than to ally with, legitimize, and give aid to a dictatorship.

This sounds distinctly like the situation that led to Vietnam. The French reasserted their presence in their colony in Indochina after WWII despite the prevalance of anti-colonialism at that time. We didn't stop them because we needed them to sign the Treaty of Versailles. But when the French could no longer support the war against the nationalists there, did we pull out and let them choose their own destiny? No, of course not, because by that point we "had to oppose Communism". That led us to continue to fight the insurgents and set up our own government in S. Vietnam, something we had no business doing in a place we had no business being. But because we had to make sure the area didn't become "pro-Communist", that end justified our means.

So how many other ends will the US justify via their War on Terrorism before we realize that these simplistic depictions of the world don't cut it?

A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman
[ Parent ]

Oh man, that needed to be in the article (5.00 / 2) (#18)
by Torgos Pizza on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:10:48 PM EST

Thanks for clearing that up. That does make the article a lot clearer. Gosh, now I want to do a rewrite and put that response in the article in place of all the silly school zero tolerance links.

Now you're getting into the real meat of the subject. We're dealing with al Qaeda at the moment, but you bring up the excellent point of where do we draw the line with other groups? Hamas, Shining Path, Hezbollah, Russian separtists: where do they fit in to all this?

This would have been much better to include this into your article. Please consider a rewrite if this gets voted down.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
[ Parent ]

Sometimes it is binary. (1.00 / 6) (#57)
by physicsgod on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 01:23:15 AM EST

Targetting civillians is either acceptable or unacceptable. If you find it acceptable you're on the side of the terrorists, and I hope you get to meet a Delta operator or SAS soldier real soon. If you find it unacceptable you're on the side of the US.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
all's fair in love and war (2.50 / 2) (#64)
by fhotg on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 02:34:46 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Well, exactly. (4.50 / 2) (#162)
by FredBloggs on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 11:46:16 AM EST

As long as you agree that whoever flew the planes into the WTC was being entirely consistant with American foreign policy, there`ll be no dissent from me.

You may want to bring up state-sponsored terrorism next. Words to search for: Casto, Cigar, CIA.

[ Parent ]
In other words (3.60 / 5) (#70)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 04:35:23 AM EST

you too find targetting of civilians acceptable. After all, you have just stated that it's OK to kill civilians who hold the opinion that it is sometimes OK to kill civilians.

See how you get yourself in trouble with a binary worldview?

As for finding the targeting of civilians acceptable, well, the US has never had much trouble with that. Flexible definitions as to what constitutes a "civilian" helps a lot, here.

[ Parent ]

Defining civillian is hard... (none / 0) (#112)
by physicsgod on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 06:26:07 PM EST

But there are some extremes that aren't. An investment banker is a civillian, as is a 4-year old. A military quartermaster isn't a civillian, even though he usually doesn't carry a gun. In my mind anyone who supports the targetting of civillians is closer to the latter than the former.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Are the Taliban civilians? (none / 0) (#134)
by StrontiumDog on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 10:18:47 AM EST

David Koresh and his followers in Waco, Texas? The inhabitants of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The Cambodians who got Agent Oranged? The Panamanians and Grenadians who died during the US invasions of their respective countries?

If a military quartermaster is a civilian, then what is a Taliban clerk?

In my mind anyone who supports the targetting of civillians is closer to the latter than the former

Did you support the war in Afghanistan, Mr. Binary?

[ Parent ]

Do you have comprehension problems? (none / 0) (#141)
by physicsgod on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 02:22:11 PM EST

I don't know who you're arguing with, but it isn't me. specifically your statement "If a military quartermaster is a civilian, then what is a Taliban clerk?" is the exact opposite to my statement " A military quartermaster isn't a civillian"

To answer all your questions, in order (starting with the title): No. Yes, though suicidal. Some were, some weren't, specifically the workers in the FBD 2, Mitsubishi torpedo factory, and Second General Headquarters were NOT civillians. Again, some were, some weren't, but since Agent Orange wasn't intended to kill people it's neither here nor there. Were the Panamanian and Granadan civillians targetted? As I said before a quatermaster isn't a civillian, ergo neither is a Taliban clerk. Yes.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

"Taliban" as a government organisation (none / 0) (#149)
by linca on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 04:04:51 AM EST

Is the Taliban ministry of education a civilian or a military?

remember that the "Taliban" designed the ruling party in Afghanistan, only some of them where actual fighters.

[ Parent ]
Re: the 1 (none / 0) (#127)
by physicsgod on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 03:16:18 AM EST

I gave you a 1 because I never said anything about killing civillians. What I said was that I hoped terrorist supporters got a visit from a Delta operator. If the US sends a Delta operator after someone it's because they don't want them dead. The US has plenty of options when it comes to making things dead that are a lot cheaper then sending a highly-trained soldier into harm's way.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Keep your 1 (none / 0) (#133)
by StrontiumDog on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 10:14:23 AM EST

I gave you a 1 because I never said anything about killing civillians.

Wimp.

What I said was that I hoped terrorist supporters got a visit from a Delta operator.

What for, a fireside chat? Why a Delta operator instead of a law enforcement officer? You think terrorism doesn't encompass torture as well as death?

If the US sends a Delta operator after someone it's because they don't want them dead

Is that so? I think you harbour a great deal of illusions as to the nature of miltary special forces.

The US has plenty of options when it comes to making things dead that are a lot cheaper then sending a highly-trained soldier into harm's way.

And just how would the US use that fantastic arsenal to kill me, a lone terrorist supporter in the middle of a big US-friendly city in a US-friendly country? As opposed to the use of, oh I don't know, say a Delta operator?

Eh, physics "god"?

[ Parent ]

heh (1.20 / 5) (#140)
by physicsgod on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 02:06:37 PM EST

And just how would the US use that fantastic arsenal to kill me, a lone terrorist supporter in the middle of a big US-friendly city in a US-friendly country? As opposed to the use of, oh I don't know, say a Delta operator?
Well if it were me, I'd put one of these a block or two away and turn your chest into a fine pink mist. The only time I'd let you know I was after you is if I wanted you alive for some reason.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Ok, lets apply this idea to... (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by FredBloggs on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 09:31:17 AM EST

...the US bombing of Hiroshimi and Nagasaki.

I find that unnacceptable, so i guess that puts me...on the side of the US, right?

Simple!

[ Parent ]
Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1.33 / 3) (#110)
by physicsgod on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 06:21:26 PM EST

Were both military targets. Hiroshima had been HQ for military units since 1873, and during WWII was home to the Second General Headquarters for the defence of mainland Japan. Where'd I get this? From Hiroshima's own web page.

Nagasaki was home to a Mitsubishi torpedo factory (which was a secondary target attacked because of bad weather over the primary).

A military HQ and a munitions factory are both valid military targets, and even if the US hadn't used atomic weapons there thousands of civillians would have died because bombing wasn't that accurate.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

WTC 1 and 2 (5.00 / 2) (#117)
by linca on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 07:09:54 PM EST

were military targets too. There were reservists in them. Killing those meant killing a few civilians, however, because even if jumbo jets hadn't been used, bombs aren't that accurate.

</sarcasm>

[ Parent ]
Except... (none / 0) (#132)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 09:23:18 AM EST

Except that they weren't targetted because of military reasons, but because of terrorist reasons -- attacking civilians in and of itself. Even attacking it as a center of business was done because of the terrorist nature, not because of the disruptive nature.







[ Parent ]
No exceptions (5.00 / 1) (#135)
by StrontiumDog on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 10:26:31 AM EST

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed with the atom bomb in order to terrify the Japanese into submission.

And it worked.

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#160)
by virg on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 10:09:34 AM EST

Although I agree with you in that the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unnecessary, they were not intended to frighten the Japanese, and they didn't even succeed in convincing them to surrender. They were dropped to demonstrate to the Soviet Union that we had them to drop, and the U.S. allowing the Japanese emperor to remain on the throne was what convinced the Japanese to give up the fight. Here's a good starting point for information about the end of the PTO in World War II.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Do you believe your own crap? (4.66 / 3) (#136)
by StrontiumDog on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 10:55:05 AM EST

and even if the US hadn't used atomic weapons there thousands of civillians would have died because bombing wasn't that accurate.

You mean to say you think a third of the population of Nagasaki had to die in order to eliminate a torpedo factory??

From the same website you linked in:

"The A-bomb destroyed all levels of administration, transportation facilities, including railroads, the communication system, journalism, offices, factories of private and public corporations, and all other facilities. The total destruction of these facilities caused such great confusion that it was utterly impossible to grasp the number of dead and wounded."

You have the gall to defend this as an attack on a military target?

You think it's evil when three thousand civilians died in the attack on the WTC and the Pentagon, but the near-total destruction of two cities in order to wipe out a military headquarters and a fucking torpedo factory is justifiable?

It does not surprise me one whit. As the war in Afghanistan has shown, this is also the official US policy line.

[ Parent ]

Do you know of what you speak? (none / 0) (#157)
by physicsgod on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 01:13:51 AM EST

Considering the US expended approximatly the same explosive yield trying to take out a Tokyo munitions plant (10 attacks w/ ~100 planes each carrying 10 tons of bombs) and failed, yeah I think the attack planners didn't consider the civillian deaths to be a deal-breaker, since most of those civillians were going to die to take out the factory (you don't think those 10 kt of explosives were fritted away from downtown Tokyo by the bomb fairy, do you?). From the US perspective using 1 plane-sortie (the actual attacks had a half-dozen planes, but only one had a bomb) to do what 1000 plane-sorties fail to do is a good, more damage to the enemy, less risk of planes and pilots.

Look, WWII was the first time significant airial bombardment was used, and the accuracy reflected that. Off the top of my head I can't think of any strategic bombing operation that didn't involve the killing of civillians, from the invasion of Poland to Nagasaki.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Tokyo munitions plant (none / 0) (#161)
by FredBloggs on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 11:41:21 AM EST

If thats not a military target, then i dont know what is.

[ Parent ]
Oh, My (4.50 / 2) (#97)
by virg on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 01:17:57 PM EST

You really are serious, aren't you? Let's apply your way of thinking to the bombing of Hiroshima. Whose side are you on there? Drat, that doesn't work, since that makes you and the U.S. terrorists. Okay, how about the bombing of Kabul? Again, you're looking at civilians who had no place in the conflict dying. And before you tell me that the civilians were sided with the terrorists, let me tell you a story. I was watching coverage of the fight in Afghanistan shortly after September 11. As a reporter talked about actions in the area, I saw in the background of the stock footage a film of an Afghani woman outside her house in Kabul. She had one child sitting beside her, another in a basket beside him, and she was digging a trench beside her house with her bare hands so that they would have shelter against bombs during the attack. Several days later, the news crew returned to the area to find it decimated (which, I can only assume, was for contrast). Now, since this woman was not allowed to have any influence on her government (which did not even recognize her as a person) and also no influence on the terrorists, who treated her the same way, how do you justify her death without labelling yourself as a terrorist? How about her children? It's very easy to say "casualties of war" when you're defending your own side, but most sane people realize that no situation involving politics or ideology is binary. To think so is to force such ridiculous concepts that with spin doctoring, you can justify anything.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Why don't you... (none / 0) (#111)
by physicsgod on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 06:22:19 PM EST

Read up on what Hiroshima was doing during the war.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Nice Thought (none / 0) (#159)
by virg on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 10:01:46 AM EST

> Read up on what Hiroshima was doing during the war.

Okay, I did. Here's a reference to a group of historians' comments on the Enola Gay exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum. Read the list of signatories for evidence of expertise. I'll take this excerpt to let them say it for me:
Defining Hiroshima as a "military" target is analogous to calling San Francisco a "military" target because it has a port and contains the Presidio. James Conant, a member of the Interim Committee that advised President Truman, defined the target for the bomb as a "vital war plant employing a large number of workers and closely surrounded by workers' houses."[12] There were indeed military factories in Hiroshima, but they lay on the outskirts of the city. Nevertheless, the Enola Gay bombardier's instructions were to target the bomb on the center of this civilian city.
We dropped the bomb to show the Soviets that we could, and a lot of Japanese civilians died so we could prove a point.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
So here's a question (2.00 / 1) (#163)
by physicsgod on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 12:53:26 PM EST

Do you think the Japanese would have bombed San Francisco if they could? Considering this little scheme I'd say yes.

I also have a problem with your quote, it just isn't logical. They say Hiroshima was a civillian city surrounded by military targets, and we bombed the civillian part just "to prove we could". We could prove our abilities just as well by bombing the military targets, plus hitting those targets would hinder Japan's war effort in case they didn't give up, air defenses wouldn't factor into the decision since the planes would have to fly over the emplacements to reach Hiroshima. This coupled with the failure to mention the Second General HQ (a valid military target very important to the defence of the Japanese homeland) leads me to belive that letter is generated by a political agenda.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Another Nice One (none / 0) (#166)
by virg on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 04:32:47 PM EST

> Do you think the Japanese would have bombed San Francisco if they could?

Very possibly, but that is completely irrelevant. Your discussion was in the very black-and-white world of "if you target civilians, you're a terrorist" so whether they would have done it does not change the fact that the Hiroshima bomb targetted civilians in a rather unneccesary fashion, and so we fail your "Terrorist" test. Besides, "they'd have done it to us if they had the chance" can't be used to justify actions after grammar school.

> They say Hiroshima was a civillian city surrounded by military targets, and we bombed the civillian part just "to prove we could".

That's not what the letter said at all. What it said was that the Enola Gay display said that the bomb was dropped on a military target and the historians argued that it was dropped on the center city, not the command headquarters or the military base. The argument was not that Hiroshima was a bad target in its entirety, but that the exhibit was guilty of painting a far nicer picture of what happened that what really did. Of course it was politically motivated, but that doesn't mean it was wrong. Besides, this discussion, while interesting, is also completely irrelevant to your original comment, which again was that targetting civilians is unilaterally terrorism, and it's hard to argue that an atom bomb was not more destructive to civilians than conventional bombing. That is, unless you care to justify that killing their civilians is preferable to risking our soldiers (or bomber crews, in this case). Even considering how much less accurate bombing was in WW2, you'd have a hard time convincing anybody that more civilians casualties would have resulted from conventional attack.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
You're not getting it. (none / 0) (#168)
by physicsgod on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 12:53:06 AM EST

My point has to do with target selection, not numbers killed. If you choose your target because "there are lots of people there" that's wrong. If you choose your target on a military basis (such as a munitions plant or HQ) then attack the target regardless of civillian deaths that's not wrong (it's not good either, but I don't think there's anything in war that can be classified as good). Even if the first attack results in 0 civillian deaths while the second kills thousands.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
What I Don't Get (none / 0) (#174)
by virg on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 10:13:08 AM EST

I fully understand the point you're trying to make, which is that Hiroshima was chosen as a target because of its military importance. However, the point you keep missing is that the elimination of the military targets in Hiroshima did not necessitate the wholesale destruction of the city, including the civilian population. The military definition for what happened in Hiroshima is "overkill" which means that the civilian population was unneccesarily attacked. Conventional bombing runs may do collateral damage, and civilians can get killed in the attacks. But they aren't specifically targetted, and it's hard to argue that for a nuclear device that is designed to destroy a specific area, when that area was chosen beforehand to include large civilian areas with no military value. I agree that we would have lost many more fighting men in trying to destroy Hiroshima's military targets by convenstional means, but what this means is we chose to kill their civilians to protect our military, and that (again) firmly fits the definition of "terrorist" that you espoused at the start.

Also, by this statement: "If you choose your target on a military basis (such as a munitions plant or HQ) then attack the target regardless of civillian deaths that's not wrong..." you're saying that the attack on the Pentagon was not to be considered a terrorist attack.

So, once more, I'm not arguing that Hiroshima should not have been attacked. I'm arguing that because we chose to nuke it instead of bombing it, we fit your definition of "terrorist", so you should perhaps rethink your black-and-white definition of the term lest you tar everyone with the same brush.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Unacceptable (5.00 / 1) (#154)
by yooden on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 05:44:02 PM EST

I find it utterly unacceptable to target a civilian aircraft into a civilian building the way it happened last September.

I find it utterly unacceptable to ignore all international laws and kill thousands of civilians to hunt down someone who may be a murderer.



[ Parent ]
Can we clarify your position? (none / 0) (#181)
by crucini on Sun Mar 31, 2002 at 09:14:41 PM EST

I see. So is this an accurate statement of your position?
It is wrong for any person or group, whether civilian or military, to attempt to kill or injure civilians (meaning people who are not active members of a national military), regardless of what threat those civilians might pose, and regardless of any past actions committed by those civilians. This does not apply to civilians killed incidentally to attacking military targets.
If that's not it, could you please edit it without introducing ambiguities or undefined terms?

[ Parent ]
So... (none / 0) (#75)
by FredBloggs on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 07:20:33 AM EST

"French reasserted their presence in their colony in Indochina after WWII despite the prevalance of anti-colonialism at that time. We didn't stop them because we needed them to sign the Treaty of Versaille"

The treaty of Versaille was signed at the end of WWI, so I`m not sure how these issues are related!

[ Parent ]
My Guess (none / 0) (#96)
by virg on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 01:05:42 PM EST

...which isn't a guess as I read his response to this above, is that he meant to say "Treaty of Paris", not Versailles. It gave me pause, too.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Tell that (4.00 / 7) (#21)
by ShadowNode on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:24:21 PM EST

To the Palestinian who gets shot for "brandishing a weapon", or the civilians who get bombed "by accident" because they look like they might, possibly, be terrorists.

I wouldn't worry much about the leader of Pakistan right now. He's caused a lot less damage than your own leader.

Yes, some response was necessary, but diplomacy could have been used before the military. The Taliban offered to try bin Laden themselves. Several days later they offered to extradite him to a neutral third country (can't seem to find that story on CNN anymore...).

[ Parent ]
Taliban (none / 0) (#165)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 03:37:18 PM EST

The Taliban trying Bin Laden would be like Microsoft trying Bill Gates! I don't know what third party country they had in mind. Perhaps Iraq or Saudi Arabia. I doubt it would be a true "neutral".
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Pakistan would be the logical choice (none / 0) (#179)
by ShadowNode on Fri Mar 29, 2002 at 08:22:38 PM EST

As it is the only country that had embasies in both the US and Afghanistan.

If Iraq accused Bush Sr. of terrorism, would the US extradite him?

[ Parent ]
No., zero tolerance is never right (4.75 / 4) (#146)
by DodgyGeezer on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 11:36:03 PM EST

So who gets to decide whether the "measured repsonse [is equal] to the crime"?

For example: the US decides another country is helping terrorists and is an enemy and starts bombing it back to the stone age. A friend such as France (they're often the most outspoken and willing voice their opinions) might decide that the US response is unjustified. Obviously they won't get anywhere with UN resolutions as the US will veto them. If they're really really upset and offended, they might introduce unilateral trade sanctions. (Now wouldn't that be ironical considering that the US uses them against people they don't like?)

Under the definition of zero tolerance towards terrorism that seems to be floating around at the moment, this would make France the enemy of the US. But in reality, France might be correct in their viewpoint, and wholly justified in their actions, and should be congratulated for standing their ground.

Declaring zero tolerance like this and equating it to friend or foe is just another bully tactic. Yes, something needs to be done, but thinly veiled threats are not the way to go. That justs breeds more anger, hatred and anti-American sentiment.

Did the British governement solve the problems in N. Ireland by declaring zero tolerance? No. As they've backed away from hardline policies and tried to engage in talks and make concessions, the situation there has calmed down a lot. It still remains to be seen whether the situation can be maintained, but the number of terrorist incidents is currently greatly reduced. I bet the IRA are still getting most of their money from the US, even though the US is supposed to be fighting a global war against terrorists. Perhaps zero tolerance towards supporters of terrorism should be applied evenly and against Americans by locking up and interrogating everybody in the Boston area?

[ Parent ]
-1 (1.81 / 11) (#7)
by m0rzo on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 05:49:17 PM EST

This seems to be an ill-considered rant. Zero Tolerance isn't all bad - look what it did to New York City.


My last sig was just plain offensive.

Yeah (2.50 / 4) (#9)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 05:53:28 PM EST

From where I hear, zero tolerance turned New York from the hippest city in North America into a not-so-hip city, handing the crown over to Montreal.

I haven't been to both places, so I can't verify, but it seems pretty plausible to me.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Mmm... yes... (3.00 / 7) (#15)
by beergut on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:03:28 PM EST

It also removed grafitti, broken windows, muggings, filth, and lowered crime, major and minor.

It turned NYC from a reeking open sewer into a place I'd not mind visiting once.

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

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

bah. tourists. (5.00 / 1) (#121)
by majcher on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 09:15:20 PM EST

Sorry, but we don't want people like you in NYC. There are already places for your type - one in Orlando, FL, and one near Los Angeles. Make sure to pick up a Mickey hat on the way out - I'm sure you'll love it.
--
http://www.majcher.com/
Wrestling pigs since 1988!
[ Parent ]
How's hipness defined? (3.60 / 5) (#17)
by m0rzo on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:07:17 PM EST

By how many people get killed and how dangerous a city is? Oh, it's all that gang culture thang aiight?

Zero tolerance took NYC's crime levels down to levels not seen before the 1960's. There were 101 murders recorded in Manhatten last year as opposed to 645 in 1975.

How, exactly, can zero-tolerance be attributed to making a city uncool? I don't get it. Sounds to me like an excuse.

I've been to NYC before zero-tolerance initiatives and after, and the difference is notable. It's a much more pleasant place to go to these days...


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

Crime went down throughout the US (2.50 / 2) (#20)
by linca on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:20:32 PM EST

or so I heard. It is not zero-tolerance that did this, but rather the evolution of US society. With or without it, crime would have gone down anyway. Especially considering the fact that Manhattan inhabitants have certainly gotten wealthier (or that the poor inhabitants were expelled)

(Oh, and what do you call murder? I heard that in Manhattan around last september people died of crimes in the thousands)

[ Parent ]
No. (4.66 / 3) (#23)
by m0rzo on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:25:43 PM EST

Crimes did not go down across the USA. In areas such as Boston, Los Angeles and Atlanta crimes rates have actually risen.

It really stands to reason that crime rates would fall with the introduction of tough crack downs.

Oh and 'good one'. I obviously neglected to mention Sept 11th because that was a terrorist attack and not common street crime. I fail to see how New York City Police Department's 'Zero Tolerance' approach would have prevented such a crime. Perhaps you can enlighten me.


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

Re (4.00 / 4) (#26)
by linca on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:44:23 PM EST

My problem with your statistic is that you are talking about Manhattan, the wealthy downtown, which has changed in the last 20 years. The crime might have gone where the poors went.

Also, crime in the city could have gone down because many people have been sent to jail. Criminals, but also innocent people - indeed some have been killed directly by the NYPD. That's a quite high cost for any policy.

Tough crack down do not necessarily lead to a decrease in crime, on the long terms. What is going to happen, when all those people put in the criminogen environment of jail get free? Will they be peacefully assimilated back into society?

Finally, why did any non-PG activity got busted along with the zero-tolerance? The spirit of zero-tolerance means to turn NY into Disney-World, not only about crime, but about everything else.

[ Parent ]
Gah (2.66 / 3) (#47)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 08:52:37 PM EST

From all these comments here, NYC sounds like a ghastly place without any respect for it's inhabitants.

Sounds like Montreal(great city btw. that's the one I've actually been to) has them beat by a mile.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
To the statistically challenged (none / 0) (#63)
by fhotg on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 02:26:32 AM EST

Correlation does not, not, constitute an argument for causality in itself.

Why and how for heavens sake could cracking down on kids spraying graffity influence the number of murders ??

AFAIK the 'zero-tolerance' policy didn't change punishment for murder or other real crimes.

[ Parent ]

Broken Window Theory (none / 0) (#180)
by crucini on Sun Mar 31, 2002 at 08:39:45 PM EST

Why and how for heavens sake could cracking down on kids spraying graffity influence the number of murders ??
It's called the Broken Window Theory. Here's a link:
This strategy is the implementation of the "Broken Windows" Theory, which holds that one neglected broken window in a building will soon lead to many other broken windows. By analogy, the arrest for petty offenses such as subway fare evasion and overly aggressive panhandlers often leads to the capture of suspects wanted for more serious crimes.
A space that is vandalized and run down sends a message to everyone that nobody cares and nobody is watching. A space that is clean, well lit and well maintained sends the message that someone owns this space and cares what happens.
Having seen NY before and after Giuliani, I feel some nostalgia for the crazy and dangerous city of the past. I miss the wild graffiti on the subway cars. But there's no doubt that the city feels safer, and the subway feels like it's owned by NYCTA, not by roving gangs of criminals.

[ Parent ]
China does it too (4.80 / 5) (#27)
by Jel on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:54:09 PM EST

You know, China has a zero-tolerance system going on, too. Individual provinces solve thousands of crime cases in just a few days, because officials have told judges not to "get caught up in the details". They've executed thousands, within incredibly short periods of time, and sometimes for the most petty of crimes.

Tolerance is a great concept. It's up there with freedom, righteousness, kindness, consideration, honor, respect, and a few of the other goals that most decent human beings strive to live by. If nothing else, it's basic common sense that true justice is impossible without some amount of tolerance.

Don't for a second make the mistake of believing the crap when our leaders tell us that giving up such important concepts in the interest of expediency can possibly be a good thing.



[ Parent ]
Strained analogy (4.10 / 10) (#8)
by jmzero on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 05:50:39 PM EST

Blindly categorizing and punishing "chicken-finger-pointers" according to some rule is wrong. OK.

But do you think Bush is following a similar program of blindly categorizing and dealing with countries according to some goofy, unchangeable rule?

Bush says "you're either with us or against us", but he doesn't bomb Switzerland because they don't help us out in the war. On the other hand, when a country is not "with us" in condemning the Sept 11 attacks, and demonstrates that with their actions (for example, supporting further terrorism), then I think it's pretty fair to call them "enemy".

We've allied with Pakistan in some work in Afghanistan (and what other choice did we have to get things done over there?), and I imagine the Bush government would support old Pervy even more if they thought a worse government was on the rise there. But we're also screwing Pervez around on things like textile imports. In fact, I've read lots of criticism saying we don't do enough for Pakistan - considering how far out on a limb they've gone to support us.

Are you suggesting it is somehow America's job to fix all the messes in Pakistan, and we can't use them until they're clean? I think we can use them whether they've got skeletor in their closet or not.

I think the Bush government has done a decent job of balancing things. And for the most part, it has made clear headed choices on dealing with other countries. How many planes crashing into buildings should we tolerate? Zero sounds good. And we did win the cold war after all.

If you've got problems with how Bush is handling things, give us some more examples. Don't hide behind a strained analogy.



.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
I didn't capitalize Skeletor (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by jmzero on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 07:02:29 PM EST

No disrespect intended to his evil genius.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
Blowback, and transitive guilt (4.75 / 4) (#30)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 07:03:18 PM EST

Are you suggesting it is somehow America's job to fix all the messes in Pakistan, and we can't use them until they're clean? I think we can use them whether they've got skeletor in their closet or not.

In this specific case I agree with you, but there's an ethical concern: if we help the Musharraf government reinforce its strength and power over the people; if we give it economic support which it then uses to reinforce its position --- are we not then in some way responsible for what it does?

This is particularly true in the case of Afghanistan. The US provided military training and financing to those trying to overthrow the Afghan government during the 1980s; there is no question that those *individuals* who recieved the support of the US, like those *individuals* who recieved the support of the ISI, were in stronger relative positions in the post-communist hierarchy than they would have been without the US assistance they got. To what extent does that make *us* guilty for the things they did later?

[ Parent ]

We didn't win the Cold War (4.16 / 6) (#42)
by wji on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 08:13:00 PM EST

When the Berlin wall came down, it was a tremendous loss. We didn't have anyone to blame anymore! We might have to cut the defence budget it half! We might have to stop building nukes! We might lose the divine right to perform violence wherever we wanted!

Fortunately, we now have "terrorism" as an acceptable substitute for Communism. Unfortunately, while Communism is an ideology, and can be alleged to manifest itself anywhere people desire social justice, "terrorism" is linked in the public mind with Muslim fundamentalism. It is unlikely we will be able to invade tiny Central American nations as part of the "War on Terror", so we will have to stick to pariahs like Iraq and North Korea and non-state terror groups.

However, drug trafficking can be invoked much more freely (witness the Waco affair), so I predict a resurgence in the war on drugs, perhaps started with harsh rhetoric and television ads... [grin]

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

Confused... (none / 0) (#89)
by elefantstn on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 11:05:19 AM EST

If, as I think I've seen you say before, and as I've definitely seen the man quoted in your signature say before, the US government's policy is guided by large corporations looking to expand their profits, how can the Cold War be seen as anything but a resounding success? The number of potential buyers in markets opened up by the fall of communism is staggering.

[ Parent ]
potential buyers and the cold war (none / 0) (#118)
by linca on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 07:16:10 PM EST

The problem with the end of the cold war is that the win of a few potential buyers, not that much (USSR was already buying western products, and is so poor now that it won't buy much), does not balance the loss of buyers in the form of military spending, allowed by the high taxes made possible thanks to the "Red Scare".

[ Parent ]
Different corporate interests (4.50 / 2) (#122)
by wji on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 09:54:59 PM EST

Well, it's not about opening up new markets, because the former Eastern bloc is poor and getting poorer. It's about cheap labour. There are a lot of skilled workers in the East bloc that will work for cheap. So if you're, say, a motorcycle maker, it's probably good news.

Now, on the other hand, the end of the Russian threat theoretically meant defence contractors would lose work.

Fortunately, they found a new threat, and although nobody can explain why we need ultra-manuverable stealth air superiority fighters to combat terrorism, let alone giant artillery pieces, stealth recon/attack helicopters, or STOVL attack planes, we're building all of those things at tremendous cost. F-22 alone will cost something like 60 billion -- 200 bucks from every American -- assuming they stay in budget. Comanche is another 50 billion, Crusader (which is completely useless, although it's being built by a major company in Donald Rumsfeld's portfolio) another 11 billion, new attack submarines (death to undersea terrorists!) are another 65 billion, and Joint Strike Fighter, which won't be able to accomplish anything existing aircraft can't do, unless you count subsidizing big business, is a whopping 220 billion. I'm leaving out missile defence, which will cost even MORE directly, and maybe trillions if it provokes an arms race with China.

So, I guess you're right -- the loss of the Russian enemy was a tactical blow to American corporations, but they recovered ground over the last decade.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

OTOH (none / 0) (#101)
by ethereal on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 01:52:41 PM EST

On the plus side, the War on Terrorism is unlikely to come to a clear-cut resolution like the Berlin Wall did, so we can remain on a war footing for years to come!

--

Every time you read this, God wishes k5 had a "hide sigs" option. Please, think of the
[
Parent ]

Another perspective (none / 0) (#105)
by jmzero on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 04:55:35 PM EST

<em>When the Berlin wall came down, it was a tremendous loss. </em>

When the Berlin wall came down, it was a tremendous victory for humanity.

I understand the point you are trying to make (and that one sentence is obviously a cheap, out of context thing), but I have to restate: the cold war turned out pretty well. At very least, I can imagine (and leaders in the 50's could imagine) a lot of possible worlds not nearly as great as the one we live in.

There wasn't a nuclear war, and America remains free and prosperous (by most any standard I can think of, but then again I'm not Chomsky).

.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
Good subject... (4.00 / 6) (#25)
by nobby on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:39:59 PM EST

The conclusion that I make from what you have written is that Bush et al, should be a little more understanding in the way that they treat other nations who may possibly transgress against them.

In my opinion, that would be a good thing. However, it is clear that certain nations would not respond to this in the desired way. Their wounds (percieved or real) and/or their allegences prohibit this.

Bush is posturing just as a kid would in a playground dispute (N.B. I do NOT think that 9/11 is trivial before I get flamed).He is squaring up to his opponent, trading threats, setting a time and a place for the fight. Whether anyone turns up is debatable.

In terms of zero tolerance, it is more of an act, he needs to do it for many reasons (as other comments say).
  • Firstly, these states may have influence over the terrorists (debatable)
  • Other nations not listed in the 'axis of evil' hear the threats, such as Syria or Saudi, and they may need to clean up their act a little. This saves face on both parts.
  • <CYNICAL>Since relations with the countries in question are already strained, he can posture infront of the US population, demonstrating that he is doing something.</CYNICAL>


  • In summary, I think that the 'zero tolerance' is just normal posturing, and is nothing new. But there are other questions in my mind now that I need to think about before I post...


    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?
    Clarification (5.00 / 11) (#32)
    by Sethamin on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 07:06:44 PM EST

    This is rehashed and reposted from a nested comment because I don't think I was clear enough in my story above.

    First, I definitely DON'T think terrorism should not be tolerated. But what I AM taking issue with is that foreign policy should not be formulated by dividing the world into "pro-terrorism" and "anti-terrorism". This does two things. First, it kills our options by painting ourselves into a corner with all the rhetoric we're espousing. Second, it makes leaders choose otherwise untenable options in the name of "the War on Terrorism".

    The real issue at hand is not the zero tolerance policy per se, but the binary view of the world it stipulates. Because that view leads to the principle of "the ends justify the means", and hopefully we all know where that leads to. Pakistan is mentioned because it is a perfect example. We know we want to get al-Qaeda, so we ally with Pakistan. Well, Pakistan is a military dictatorship. Musharraf has gotten rid of all the other leaders and appointed himself President and Prime Minister while still remaining head of the military. He can (and recently did) appoint himself to serve longer terms if he wishes, up to indefinitely. But, since we are out to get al Qaeda then we say "Well, I guess we have no other choice" than to ally with, legitimize, and give aid to this dictatorship.

    This sounds distinctly like the situation that led to Vietnam. The French reasserted their presence in their colony in Indochina after WWII despite the prevalance of anti-colonialism at that time. We didn't stop them because we needed them to sign the Treaty of Versailles. But when the French could no longer support the war against the nationalists there, did we pull out and let them choose their own destiny? No, of course not, because by that point we "had to oppose Communism". That led us to take up where the French left off and continue to fight the insurgents, eventually setting up our own government in S. Vietnam - something we had no business doing in a place we had no business being. But because we had to make sure the area didn't become "pro-Communist", that end justified our means.

    So how many other ends will the US justify via their War on Terrorism before we realize that these simplistic depictions of the world don't cut it?

    A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman

    WWII treaty (none / 0) (#37)
    by jasonab on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 07:57:18 PM EST

    This sounds distinctly like the situation that led to Vietnam. The French reasserted their presence in their colony in Indochina after WWII despite the prevalance of anti-colonialism at that time. We didn't stop them because we needed them to sign the Treaty of Versailles.
    I'm not sure which treaty you're talking about, but the Treaty of Versailles ended WWI. There were two treaties in WWII, one each for Germany and Japan. I don't think we needed France to sign either one of them, since both treaties were based on "unconditional surrender," and not a negotiated settlement.

    [ Parent ]
    Treaty of Paris (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Sethamin on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 08:06:19 PM EST

    Sorry, I meant the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Second World War. And we did need France to sign that as a victor, not as a loser. It was neccessary for the Allies to agree on the reperations and occupation of Germany, etc., and thus all the victorious nations had to agree and sign.

    A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman
    [ Parent ]

    Peace treaties (4.00 / 2) (#49)
    by DrJohnEvans on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 09:51:06 PM EST

    If Germany had surrendered unconditionally to end the First World War, the nation of Germany would have ceased to exist. Rather, the war ended by Germany agreeing to the terms set forth (mainly by Britain, France, and the United States) in the Treaty of Versailles. These terms included the loss of much of Germany's fertile territory and natural resources, the creation of restrictions on the size of Germany's military, and the War Guilt Clase, which forced Germany to a) admit that the war had been entirely its fault, and b) owe the victors incredible amounts of money for reparations.

    The Second World War ended more like an "unconditional surrender", with Allied troops marching on Berlin, and the German generals eventually surrendering without any government assistance. Germany was also actively occupied by Allied troops from 1945-55, and was, as we all know, split into Western and Eastern Germany. These actions were determined mainly by Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union-- France had been conquered by the Nazis in 1940, and thus could not contribute effectively to the eventual victory.

    I know it's horrendously off-topic, but I'm terribly picky regarding historical details. :) Apologies!

    [ Parent ]

    Treaties (none / 0) (#56)
    by jasonab on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 12:34:08 AM EST

    I know it's horrendously off-topic, but I'm terribly picky regarding historical details. :) Apologies!
    Oops. No, you're right, and that's what I was trying to say. The "both" I was referring to was both WWII treaties (although Japan managed to keep the emporer). I didn't mean to imply that WWI ended under the terms of unconditional surrender.

    [ Parent ]
    A little bit of misinterpretation.. (none / 0) (#113)
    by DrJohnEvans on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 06:31:09 PM EST

    .. goes a long way. :) Looks like we were both right-- I misunderstood your meaning. Also, having recently written a large paper on that period of time (post-WWI) made me a powerkeg of historical accuracy, liable to start spouting off facts at any minor provocation. Apologies!

    [ Parent ]
    France and victory (3.00 / 2) (#119)
    by linca on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 07:21:27 PM EST

    For all "practical" matters, France was regarded as a winning party after the Second World War (along with Tchang Kai Chek's China) Seat in the security council, a share of Germany and Austria (everyone seems to forget it was occupied too).

    Indeed it could be considered that France participated in the last year of the war ; most of it was free by the summer, and its army fought during the last year.

    [ Parent ]
    They're still here. (none / 0) (#125)
    by minra on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 02:19:58 AM EST

    "Germany was also actively occupied by Allied troops from 1945-55"

    Last time I checked my calender it was 2002. The Amerikan troops are still here. As in so many other countries in the world. (anyone know exactly how many countries the USA currently occupies?)

    Oh, sorry, they're our "allies", and not occupying forces. Yes yes. Correct, correct. I believe, I believe. I do see the pretty new clothes on the emperor.

    [ Parent ]
    American troops in Germany (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by buzco on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 12:52:46 PM EST

    ... The Amerikan troops are still here. ...

    Oh, sorry, they're our "allies", and not occupying forces. Yes yes. Correct, correct. I believe, I believe. I do see the pretty new clothes on the emperor.

    That means that the USA is "occupied" by troops from Germany, Korea, Holland, France, and who knows how many other countries.

    The difference being that occupying troops supersede the local government and all persons in the occupied territory are subject to the whims of the occupying forces.

    On the contrary, when I was in Germany in the late 50's, American military troops (when off-duty and off-post) and their dependents were subject to local civil law and the military had no jurisdiction outside American military installations.

    This was true to the extent that when I married an American woman in Germany, it had to be done in a German court by German law or it would not be recognized by the U.S. And our first child had to be registered with the German authorities as well.

    Also, all land, buildings, etc. used by American forces are rented from the German government.

    If American forces in Germany bother you, take it up with the German govt.



    [ Parent ]
    No Treaty in Europe (none / 0) (#155)
    by yooden on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 06:13:12 PM EST

    ... until, uh, 1990 give or take a year. Germany just surrendered and that was that.



    [ Parent ]
    Cold War propaganda (3.90 / 11) (#38)
    by wji on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 07:58:06 PM EST

    Not suprisingly, this is not the first time the US has painted the world in such a binary fashion. The Cold War serves as a glaring example of what happens when you put the world into two camps and do whatever you can to stop the other side. The US supported military dictatorships, overthrew governments, funneled money to terrorists, and propped up illegitimate governments, all in the name of opposing Communism. What ends will the US go to in order to oppose terrorism? They have already allied with a military dictatorship in Pakistan. What's next?

    I think you fall victim to a classic piece of propaganda here. It's not at all that we were wrong about Communism, that we thought it was going to take over the world and acted accordingly, and now we find we were mistaken. Our foreign and military policy remain essentially unchanged from 1946 to today: do whatever is neccessary for "the national interest", namely the businesses. We weren't fighting Communism or the Russians when we overthrew the democratic capitalist government of Guatemala, when we turned against the left-Liberal revolution of Fidel Castro -- in fact we did everything possible to drive him into the Russian orbit, etc, etc, etc. It has nothing to do with transgressions in our conduct of the Cold War, because the Cold War was an ideological cover to a far greater degree than it was a historical process. Try Chomsky, Deterring Democracy; Chapter 1 has a great comparison of "the two cold wars" I'm talking about.

    In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.

    Perhaps anti-USSR would be more appropriate? (4.66 / 6) (#44)
    by Sethamin on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 08:24:19 PM EST

    I would have to disagree. While I have not read Chomsky, this is the area of history that I specialized in for my history degree, so I do have some background in this. I agree that US policy, since 1945 and Truman, has been focused solely on National Security. However, the fact is that National Security meant opposing Communism, or to be more correct, opposing the expansion of the USSR's power. If you read documents from the State department they clearly show that the Communist threat was equated as the greatest threat to our national security

    It therefore seems difficult to me to make the case that the Cold War was an "ideological cover" when the ideology in question was committed to our destruction (from the US point of view). How do you make a distinction between an actual ideological battle and national security under the guise of the former when it appears the two are the same?

    A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman
    [ Parent ]

    Remember (3.20 / 5) (#45)
    by wiredog on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 08:39:15 PM EST

    There are quite a few people on this site who find marxism-leninism to be a perfectly wonderful idea. Just badly implemented. People who think The Nation is right wing.

    Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
    [ Parent ]
    You have two choices (3.00 / 2) (#65)
    by streetlawyer on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 03:03:49 AM EST

    1) Name one Marxist-Leninist on this site.

    2)Admit that you don't know what Marxism-Leninism is (it's actually a very specific flavour of Marxism).

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    [ Parent ]

    Here's a third (3.00 / 5) (#68)
    by baseball on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 04:00:33 AM EST

    Recognize that streetlawyer is just being a lawyer and quibbling over words. The poster's intent was clear: lots of people on this site claim to support socialism (veleko, jin wicked or whatever she's calling herself these days, etc,). Those people tend to express distaste for the US and support for the Soviet Union (remember Veleko's claim that it's not slavery in the USSR to work without pay and under government compulsion). You might be correct about Marxist-Leninism blah, blah, blah, but who cares? The poster's real point about the views of many on this site is correct.

    By the way, if you're so good, why don't you get an office?
    Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
    [ Parent ]
    mmm.... (none / 0) (#77)
    by me0w on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 07:41:41 AM EST

    1) Name one Marxist-Leninist on this site.

    My views are fairly Marxist in nature. So Me.

    2)Admit that you don't know what Marxism-Leninism is (it's actually a very specific flavour of Marxism).

    I know what it is. Thanks.


    "The only reason we PMS is because our uterus is screaming at our brain to go out, get fucked, and have a baby ... and it makes us angry."
    [ Parent ]
    really? (none / 0) (#82)
    by streetlawyer on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 09:42:02 AM EST

    Which party are you a member of?

    If the answer is "none", I'd be interested in how you view this as consistent with Marxism-Leninism.

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    [ Parent ]

    Yes (none / 0) (#83)
    by me0w on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 10:13:06 AM EST

    Does one have to be a member of a party in order to practice or admire the ideologies of that party? Do I have to be a member of a party to admire the classless society proposed by Marx? Or the practice of socialism? Do I have to be a communist in order to think that communism is a good theory (even if it doesn't work in practice)? The answer is No.

    Look at another example. There are many people out there who admire and practice some of the ideologies of christianity, but are not christians. Does that make their views any less consistent?


    "The only reason we PMS is because our uterus is screaming at our brain to go out, get fucked, and have a baby ... and it makes us angry."
    [ Parent ]
    Yup, you're another one. (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by streetlawyer on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 10:22:49 AM EST

    A Marxist-Leninist is, by definition, a Marxist who is also a Leninist. The main plank of Leninism is belief in "vanguardism" -- the belief that progress toward communism must be made by a small cadre party composed of intellectuals and activists of the working class. Leninists also believe in the unity of theory and praxis; that it is not enough to "sympathise" with the ideas of Marx, but one must also be politically active within a Leninist party.

    So, you might be a Marxist, but not a Marxist-Leninist. It's rather like you're analogy to Christianity; you can claim you're a Christian without being committed to any particular activity, but if you don't go to mass and haven't been confirmed or baptised, you can't claim that you're a Catholic.

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    [ Parent ]

    Thanks for the mini lesson. (none / 0) (#86)
    by me0w on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 10:37:02 AM EST

    "It's rather like you're analogy to Christianity; you can claim you're a Christian without being committed to any particular activity, but if you don't go to mass and haven't been confirmed or baptised, you can't claim that you're a Catholic."

    And if I practice the doctrines of the catholic church outside of my home, admire the ideologies .. does that make me any less catholic than one who has been confirmed (whatever that is) or baptised? The catholic church would not accept me?

    So you are saying that your views and beliefs can not be validated or justified unless you actively belong to a group that promotes and acts on those same views and beliefs? If you think about it, most people would have to actively belong to many groups ...I'm a socialist-Marxist-Hindu-humanitarian-part capitalist-Leninist-Buddhist. Is there a group for that?


    "The only reason we PMS is because our uterus is screaming at our brain to go out, get fucked, and have a baby ... and it makes us angry."
    [ Parent ]
    yup (none / 0) (#88)
    by streetlawyer on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 11:04:35 AM EST

    And if I practice the doctrines of the catholic church outside of my home, admire the ideologies .. does that make me any less catholic than one who has been confirmed (whatever that is) or baptised?

    The Pope has written at length on this one. If you aren't a member of the Church, you aren't a member. You can be a Muslim simply by accepting Allah into your heart, you can be some kinds of Protestant simply by believing, but to be a Catholic you have to receive the sacraments.

    So you are saying that your views and beliefs can not be validated or justified unless you actively belong to a group that promotes and acts on those same views and beliefs?

    No, I'm saying that some political belief systems, of which Leninism is one, include a commitment to practical activity, and in the case of Leninism, political activity of a very specific kind. If you don't share that commitment, you don't share a core belief of Leninism.

    Why do you want to be a Leninist anyway? It's a terrible version of Marxism.

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    [ Parent ]

    Official Fan Club (none / 0) (#90)
    by me0w on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 11:17:56 AM EST

    "You can be a Muslim simply by accepting Allah into your heart, you can be some kinds of Protestant simply by believing ...."

    These examples prove my above stated point.

    "No, I'm saying that some political belief systems, of which Leninism is one, include a commitment to practical activity, and in the case of Leninism, political activity of a very specific kind. If you don't share that commitment, you don't share a core belief of Leninism."

    For argument's sake, let us say that a party such as this one does not exist in my community. So I take political action, but not through a party as there isn't one. Is this accepted political activity? Do I have to be a member of a recognized party in order for my political contribution to count? - all I am trying to get at here is that one need not belong to the 'official fan club' in order to participate.


    "The only reason we PMS is because our uterus is screaming at our brain to go out, get fucked, and have a baby ... and it makes us angry."
    [ Parent ]
    wha? (none / 0) (#92)
    by streetlawyer on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 11:32:17 AM EST

    These examples prove my above stated point.

    No they don't. The fact that some religions require active participation and some don't, doesn't support the proposition that any given religion does not. That's just a matter of logic.

    For argument's sake, let us say that a party such as this one does not exist in my community. So I take political action, but not through a party as there isn't one. Is this accepted political activity?

    Orthodox Leninism would require that your activism be entirely directed at the creation of a vanguard party. If it isn't then you would be doing something other than Leninism.

    all I am trying to get at here is that one need not belong to the 'official fan club' in order to participate.

    Since I know what Leninism is and you don't this discussion is taking on a rather surreal air. My point is that even if you really admire Manchester United and support them in all you do, if your sporting activities involve hitting a small leather ball with a willow bat, then you're playing cricket, not football.

    Forget it. Leninism is a stupid cult which is nothing but damaging to the socialist cause. It's an organising strategy which has been disastrous almost everywhere it's been tried except in Russia 1917, and vanguardism became corrupt pretty early even then. There are far better kinds of Marxism to espouse.

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    [ Parent ]

    The USSR? (4.60 / 5) (#48)
    by wji on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 09:32:14 PM EST

    Give me a break. To take one very telling example (mentioned in Deterring Democracy I think), if we were really interested in promoting national security by opposing the expansion of the USSR, why were we opposed to a non-aligned, unified Germany? If you've done a degree on the period you'll surely know that the Kremlin offered, in 1952, to re-unite Germany, with democratic institutions, freedom of the press, and all that, as long as it refrained from joining NATO.

    Now, Germany was the centre of the whole European Cold War. There was some action on the flanks, fooling around in Norway and the like, but the conflict was basically centered on the German Border.

    Now, with a neutral Germany, there would have been a huge and powerful buffer between the two sides. The USSR would have seen no need to hang so tightly on to most of Eastern Europe (remember, they actually lost much more economically then they gained from the Warsaw Pact client states). Not only would there be the obivous benefits to the people of those states, the national security of Europe and of the United States -- if we mean national security as the security of the population, and not of certain business sectors -- would be greatly enhanced.

    What did we have to say about the offer? Well, we fired back a response, basically saying "we don't believe you", and that was before the public even found out.

    Now that it's too late to do anything about it, the historians argue over whether Stalin was really sincere. Basically, there are two historical camps: One says we should have accepted, because Stalin was sincere, the other says the note was only intended to sway German opinion with an eye to preventing West German integration into the European Defence Community. So, if we side with the anti-Soviets, we agree that Stalin's offer could have meant a neutral Germany, and that most Germans would have at least given it some sincere thought.

    Now (again, we're siding with the hawks' version), in the interests of national security, such a decision makes no sense. With a neutral Germany, there'd hardly be a need for a European Defence Community. So obviously the Soviets weren't undermining the defence of Europe. What they were doing was undermining the "European Defence Community", in other words undermining the polarization of Europe into two sides, and undermining the justification for whatever we chose to do in the future.

    So that's the nature of the Cold War. A real conflict, to be sure, but one sensationalized and indeed deliberately encouraged to provide justifcation for policies that have nothing to do with it.

    You know, I hardly need to go into these kinds of detailed examples. It should be enough to look at the "defence" budget. With the supposed source of all our enemies gone, and only insignificant annonyances like Cuba and North Korea remaning, our defence budget should have dropped tremendously. It didn't; we're currently pursuing a brand new stealth air superiorty fighter and building a THIRTEENTH very large aircraft carrier in an era where the closest thing to an enemy state has an air force of second-generation jet fighters and a navy of two Sovremenny destroyers and some SAM frigates and the closest thing to a threat to the nation comes from young men with guns, knives and bombs wearing civillian clothing. That alone should tell us something isn't right.

    In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
    [ Parent ]

    Two words... Red. Scare. (none / 0) (#52)
    by Skywise on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 10:10:16 PM EST

    The reason the US balked at Stalin's offer probably didn't have anything to do with rational thought. It was believed at the time (and has been proven since) that Stalin was running a very complex propoganda campaign to turn countries from the inside.
    In that kind of environment, letting Stalin execute any of his ideas would've been seen as letting the wolf into the hen house... no matter how good they sounded, or how honest he was. The old allied leadership didn't TRUST Stalin. But they weren't about to go into actual combat over that because the would've led almost immediately to the usage of nukes...

    On the flip side, what if the allies *knew* that a neutral Germany would've meant that Russia would've spent less on the Baltic states and could've concentrated its resources to its own war machine?

    As for our own military build-up... Russia has a fighter that can outfly us (although Russia's probably no longer a "threat" to us... the fact that our technology is lacking is reason enough not to sit on our laurels... ), and China (who's buddy buddy with Russia right now... can you say fighter technology sharing?) is openly feeding its war machine to "hold America" in check...

    [ Parent ]
    One Word: Roosevelt (none / 0) (#95)
    by duffbeer703 on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 01:03:55 PM EST

    FDR was a dying man in the waning days of WW2. His physical and mental condition was reflected in his decisionmaking.

    Unfortunately, he incorrectly chose to give Stalin all sorts of concessions to gain his "trust". Winston Churchill, who was one of the "big three" at the Tehran and Yalta summits was basically ignored.

    Churchill was the only advocate of free and democratic government in Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, FDR didn't see the onset of the Western Powers v. USSR and gave Stalin everything.

    As far as the Red Scare goes, while Joseph McCarthy & co were engaged in a witchunt, there were at least 250 members of the Roosevelt administration who were also drawing pay from the NKVD or KGB. This included the Undersecretary of State.



    [ Parent ]
    Incorrect (none / 0) (#116)
    by Sethamin on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 07:02:55 PM EST

    As you say, FDR was a dying man in hte waning days of WW2. Note only that, but he died before WWII was over. This was years before the offer of a reunited Germany was made, which is what the subject at hand was. So FDR cannot explain away things that happened 7 years later.

    Although, you are correct, FDR is widely criticized as not reading Stalin incorrectly and giving him too many concessions.

    A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman
    [ Parent ]

    Not directly (none / 0) (#151)
    by duffbeer703 on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 12:53:45 PM EST

    FDR may not have made actual policy seven years after his death, but the policymakers that he brought to power and the precedents that he made in his unprecedented 4-term presidency made his dead hand a powerful force in american politics.

    [ Parent ]
    You're correct, something isn't right. (3.83 / 6) (#53)
    by kcbrown on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 10:12:23 PM EST

    [Regarding the defense budget failing to shrink significantly after the end of the Cold War]
    That alone should tell us something isn't right.
    Yes. If the "defense" budget isn't shrinking (indeed, it's scheduled to grow if I'm not mistaken), but the number and sophistication of the enemy is, then something is indeed wrong.

    My prediction? The military will eventually be used on its own civilian population in police actions and the like. And it'll probably start with the "War on Drugs".

    I think the U.S. is going to turn itself into a full-fledged police state and will take the entire rest of the world with it. I think we're at the dawn of another Dark Age that will literally last thousands of years (since a police state with access to the kind of technology we have today and which has no outside influence to topple it is a stable form of government).

    [ Parent ]

    To close the circle (none / 0) (#60)
    by fhotg on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 02:12:59 AM EST

    to the topic at hand, your pessimistic scenario fits well with the propagation of the 'zero-tolerance' idea: If principles like the proportionality of punishment are abandonned (you smoke pot -> you are a criminal (like a killer)), and social behaviour is only sorted into two categories (good and evil, as defined by the law), why should we distinguish between jobs for the police and jobs for the military ? Both fight evil, as we all know.

    [ Parent ]
    U.S. should be saved! (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by johwsun on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 02:19:28 AM EST

    U.S. is like Democracy. It is a very bad state, but we cannot find a better one.
    I hope that this police state senario will not come truth.

    [ Parent ]
    Can't find better? (none / 0) (#153)
    by RandomAction on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 03:43:31 PM EST

    Mmm.. what about Canada, or New Zeland or Sweden? Were you being ironic?

    [ Parent ]
    U.S. is the best because.. (none / 0) (#169)
    by johwsun on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 02:41:22 AM EST

    ..it is a state where all nations of the world can live together in peace ... (or at least can tolerate eachother)

    [ Parent ]
    Sounds like nivarnr.. is that mis-spelled? (none / 0) (#176)
    by RandomAction on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 08:13:08 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    whats nivarnr? (none / 0) (#177)
    by johwsun on Fri Mar 29, 2002 at 01:38:03 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Nirvana.. (none / 0) (#178)
    by RandomAction on Fri Mar 29, 2002 at 10:59:49 AM EST

    Buddhism. The ineffable ultimate in which one has attained disinterested wisdom and compassion.
    Hinduism. Emancipation from ignorance and the extinction of all attachment.
    An ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy.
    IE a good place to be.

    [ Parent ]
    Have you (none / 0) (#67)
    by baseball on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 03:49:41 AM EST

    spent any time thinking about what the defense budget is for? I seriously doubt that the government is spending money on missile defense systems, bombers, nuclear weapons development and the like so that it can turn the US into a police state. Believe it or not, the US is a relatively civilized and stable place. We haven't had a revolution in nearly 150 years (the Civil War). We're not on the brink of a police state (nor will Armageddon come tomorrow, nor will aliens land, demanding to be taken to our leaders, nor have they saved Hitler's brain, etc.). Really, take your medication and relax.
    Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
    [ Parent ]
    here's hoping that's NOT the case (none / 0) (#102)
    by ethereal on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 02:14:57 PM EST

    An interesting corollary to the "Dark Ages" hypothesis: many scientists believe that technological civilization could not be restarted on this planet if it crashed now, because almost all of the easily-refinable (think early Bronze Age technology here) metal ores have been mined out and distributed across the world in the form of cars and telephone wires. Without these concentrations of minerals (not to mention petroleum), it would be a lot harder to build a technological society the second time around, at least in terms of industrial equipment. So if we fail now, we fail for good.

    I don't know if this is really the case or not, but that's the theory that I've heard.

    --

    Every time you read this, God wishes k5 had a "hide sigs" option. Please, think of the
    [
    Parent ]

    I don't expect technological civilization to die (none / 0) (#109)
    by kcbrown on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 06:17:58 PM EST

    Keep in mind that technology will be required to keep the population in check. A government can't function in a worldwide fashion without instantaneous communications and near-instantaneous travel (what we have today qualifies). History teaches us that the primary reason empires were limited in size is that they lacked timely communication and transportation. So the government will do whatever it has to in order to maintain the technological infrastructure. It may deny some of that infrastructure to the citizens, but that's not likely to cause a technological crash.

    I would expect a technological crash to be accompanied by a huge decline in the human population. In some sense, the fact that we've mined all of these metals is an advantage -- it means we've brought most of it to the surface, which means that it's now a lot more accessible to a post-crash population than it would be in its raw pre-mined state. Want copper? Start digging and find a copper trunk. Want iron? Melt down a car.

    All people would need is the ability to create a hot fire to melt the metal that's in automobiles and the like. That's not asking very much.

    I expect the upcoming dark age to be like the last one: technological stagnation (except for developments in control and monitoring technology), slavery (though of course it won't be called that), and no free thought to speak of. The difference is that this one will be much more insidious and gripping. People will be kept sufficiently happy that they won't be motivated to revolt, and much of that will involve conditioning people to not think for themselves. We're already a long way down that path.

    But the main reason for it lasting is that there won't be any outside pressure to change. The core can be as rotten as you can imagine, so much so that it would disintegrate at the slightest touch from the outside -- but there wouldn't be anything on the outside to touch it, and so it would stay up.

    [ Parent ]

    Tons of metal is still out there (3.00 / 1) (#131)
    by A Trickster Imp on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 09:13:26 AM EST

    Almost all the mined metal is still out there in one place or another. Any technology crash that also reduced the population would leave the rest with tons of higher-quality, easier-to-get-to metal than during the Bronze age.

    All those landfills the left laments? Pure gold to a crashed civilization. (I sometimes humoursly envision a future archaeologist, sorting thru such landfills, saying to a colleague, "Can you imagine that some people didn't want these produced? Thank god they were thwarted!")


    Anyway, the tech exists, and people know the tech exists. As long as crashed societies don't revert to totalitarianism, communism, or heavy handed socialism, they will recover quickly. Let the people be free, and you'll be drinking Coke again in short order. Why? Because that's what people want, and will work for it.









    [ Parent ]
    What form of government would a tech crash yield? (none / 0) (#150)
    by kcbrown on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 07:22:01 AM EST

    Anyway, the tech exists, and people know the tech exists. As long as crashed societies don't revert to totalitarianism, communism, or heavy handed socialism, they will recover quickly.
    It's interesting that you should mention this.

    It seems to me that the more oppressive types of government are the most likely ones to be formed after a tech crash, but the bright side of that is that now there's an "outside", and you'll see competition between these governments for resources and the like. It'll be bloody.

    But it'll force governments to change, which means there will be some hope for the formation of a government that really does protect the liberty of its citizens above all else (the way the U.S. is supposed to, but doesn't).

    So a tech crash, to me, is a better situation overall than an entrenched, technologically-enabled , worldwide police state.

    [ Parent ]

    Offer is a Bad Example (4.00 / 1) (#59)
    by plunkymeadows on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 02:11:40 AM EST

    I have a couple of problems with your argument. First, why would the allies have even considered the offer? The whole idea at the time was to keep Germany divided into 4 parts. The offer would have been laughed at by all of Western Europe. They weren't ready for one Germany and certainly wouldn't have considered the offer made by a leader whom they did not trust. These factors combined far outweighed their ability to analyze the situation and see that they would be creating a situation that would polarize Europe. It's easy to say that they had other choices that may have had better results now.

    This leads me to my other problem with your argument. You mention the phrase promoting national security. I believe that it was more along the lines of preserving national security at all costs. How else can you explain the mood that led to the McCarthy fiasco? There was genuine fear of the Evil Red Empire in all Americans. This was also true of the polititians who were far less rational than you make them out to be. In other words, the Cold War was not as planned as you think. Much of the policy was reaction and not proaction. You give too much credit to the policymakers. After all, they were only human and subject to getting caught up in a Red Scare movement. -Plunk
    "Dad, I dont think I'm gonna do it Hamster Style anymore."
    [ Parent ]

    USSR (3.00 / 4) (#62)
    by cameldrv on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 02:19:42 AM EST

    The USSR's ambitions were perfectly transparent in its ground combat capability. They had 200 divisions, including 50 armored divisions. You only need that kind of power for either taking over Europe, or taking over China. We were right to stand up to them; they were the Evil Empire.

    [ Parent ]
    I remember reading about this... (4.00 / 2) (#73)
    by mikael_j on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 06:09:43 AM EST

    IIRC The US, West Germany, Britain and France would basically increase their "defenses" since west germany didn't want to lose any land in case of a war, the Russians saw this, thought "We know what defenses look like, those forces are meant to advance, not hold a position." and deployed more tanks, west germany saw this, ran to the US crying etc. etc.

    /Mikael
    We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
    [ Parent ]
    Not true (none / 0) (#107)
    by cameldrv on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 05:42:41 PM EST

    There was never a time since the end of WWII that the Soviets did not have the upper hand in ground forces. In fact, until the eighties, the NATO strategy was to use tactical nukes to stop the advancing russian hordes. This is obviously undesirable, as it could lead to escalation, however it was widely acknowledged that this was the only real option to save western Europe. Even at the very end of WWII, there was a significant fear that the USSR would keep rolling through Germany, after the Germans were defeated. Many people believe that the reason for the Nagasaki bomb was partially to show the Russians that the A-bomb wasn't a one-off weapon and that they could be next if they didn't stop the advance.

    [ Parent ]
    Then again (none / 0) (#130)
    by A Trickster Imp on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 09:08:58 AM EST

    Then again, when the cold war was over, the US military issued a statement that the USSR's ground shit in Europe was never much of a threat anyway.




    [ Parent ]
    Source? (none / 0) (#143)
    by cameldrv on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 03:54:50 PM EST

    Mind citing a source on that?

    [ Parent ]
    OK, let me explain... (none / 0) (#158)
    by Cornelius on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 08:36:28 AM EST

    cameldrv, I zeroed your comment because of its reference to the "Evil Empire". To believe that the Soviets were "Evil" is shallow. They were no more evil in Soviet than in any other country. They were not motivated by the desire to inflict harm or the enjoyment of other people's suffering... Clearly, they believed that they were building a society that would benefit mankind. (Alas: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions").

    Their foreign policy was in part motivated by the messianic ambition of spreading their particular system of government to the rest of the world (by arms if necessary)[I'll grant you that], but the strongest driving force behind the weapons build-up after WWII was _fear_. The Soviets feared the world. They believed that they were surrounded by enemies that wanted to annihilate them. And I can't really blame them, because Hitler did a damn good job scaring them, killing some 20 million Russians.

    To paint the world in black and white, to think "the Russians dont love their children too" is plain propaganda and an attempt at demonizing the enemy. Reagan's reference to the "Evil Empire" was plain war mongering rhetoric intent on stirring up fear and hatred among Americans toward the Russians, so that more money could be spent on arms, so that the Cold War could be won. It is as simple as that.

    cameldrv, don't believe the hype. Don't demonize people. If you buy into that crap, You might end up sending your own sons to die for some lame cause, or another. But most importantly, in the famous words of William Shakespeare:

    "I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die?


    Got the message?


    Cornelius

    "Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell", Hellraiser
    [ Parent ]
    United Germany not the Best Example (4.00 / 1) (#120)
    by Sethamin on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 07:21:54 PM EST

    The united Germany example is most definitely the best one for you to bring up. Yes, everyone points at this as the flaw in the US supposedly ideological war. In particular, George Kennan, the founder of containment, is widely criticized for not having supported this, since it would seem to have fit perfectly into his espoused strategy.

    But when you look at the primary documents concerning this decision (Noam Chomsky's musings are not included, sorry), you can see the rationale behind this decision. In particular, the US had a very real fear that a free and open Germany would choose to be a leftist state. Russian propoganda was deemed very effective as it certainly appeared to have worked (from the Western point of view) on the rest of Eastern Europe.

    Past that, most historians will remember that Germany, not Russia, was the center and birthplace of Socialist ideas. It was from Germany that the seed spread to Russia and not the other way around. US had many reports that if free elections were held in a united Germany, Socialist parties would take the majority of the seats. Remember that the CIA rigged the elections in Italy shortly after WWII for fear of this very same thing.

    Now far be it from me to equate Socialism and Communism, as we all know they are very different ideologies. However, at the time the US was afraid of ANY government going to the left, and that included any type of Socialism.

    Lastly, let's not discount the fact that reuniting a country which was viewed as responsible for creating two world wars was not met regarded as the most responsible of ideas. Selling this to the public would not have been easy in any regard. And that's assuming that they could have sold it to the President. And our European allies (most notably France) would have thrown a fit.

    Anyway, it's not so cut and dry as it may seem, no?

    A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman
    [ Parent ]

    Man, you made my point! (4.00 / 2) (#137)
    by wji on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 11:00:18 AM EST

    That's just it, we fight for democracy by denying it to people. Thanks for mentioning Italy -- I didn't mention that because I didn't feel like being called a conspiracy theorist. There's Greece to think about too, not to mention widespread use of Nazi collaborators and war criminals against the Soviets.

    So you've really just made my point. I mean, a Leninist would say that people who vote for liberal democracy are just being duped by bourgeois propaganda, so we have the right to overthrow the government and install a Leninist dictaorship. Just as we say that people who vote for socialism are just dupes of the Commie propaganda, so we have a right to make sure they vote for the right people. Most of the time, "moral equivalency" is completely meaningless, but in a situation like the above, I think it's hard to deny.

    In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
    [ Parent ]

    suspensions/expulsions not punishment.. (2.66 / 6) (#50)
    by AnalogBoy on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 09:54:10 PM EST

    Need new form of punishment in school. Go beyond ISS.. How about... military-type school for a week.. you eat, sleep, and work at school for the length of your punishment?

    I was suspended 3 times for my own saftey after i was involved in fights (totally passively.. i never, once, struck anyone with my own fist.) The rest of the time i was too nervous in school to learn. Paddling is all but gone.. hell, parents don't even spank their kids anymore, why should the school? Suspension and Expulsion are pointless. GIve the kid days off of school? Hell, he'll break the rules just to get out of class. ISS? I dont know about elsewhere, but ISS in the schools i went to was laughable. Write offs, direct book copying.. not really punishment, and you don't learn anything. How about detention? Is it still effective? How about punishment by after-hours commnity service? spend 2 hours each day after school cleaning bedpans at the local hospital?

    what do you guys think a new method of punishment should be in school?

    [Warning: I'm all for school uniforms, metal detectors, cameras, and police. If it weren't for distractions and fights and fires in school, right now, i might be in college instead of wishing i had gone..]
    --
    Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
    Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
    re: (3.66 / 3) (#74)
    by mikael_j on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 06:12:51 AM EST

    [Warning: I'm all for school uniforms, metal detectors, cameras, and police. If it weren't for distractions and fights and fires in school, right now, i might be in college instead of wishing i had gone..]
    And had we had uniforms, cameras, metal detectors and police in my HS I would most definitely have dropped out or at least not gone on to college...

    /Mikael
    We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
    [ Parent ]
    Im curious? (3.00 / 1) (#104)
    by AnalogBoy on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 03:03:43 PM EST

    Why? Not that this discussion isn't going on in far more appropriate areas... I would have gladly traded in that "individuality" to feel a little safer in school. Having someone arrested beside you with a loaded shotgun in their gym bag changes your mind about a few things.
    --
    Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
    Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
    [ Parent ]
    Well... (4.50 / 2) (#106)
    by mikael_j on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 05:36:22 PM EST

    I was feeling controlled enough as it was, I doubt I could have taken even more draconian measures to make me "feel safe"...

    /Mikael
    We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
    [ Parent ]
    Good enough (3.00 / 1) (#114)
    by AnalogBoy on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 06:58:45 PM EST

    im glad i'll never have children though. I'd have to pay the $ to send them to private school. Its one of those things i'd appreciate now, but would have HATED as i was going.
    --
    Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
    Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
    [ Parent ]
    Whai if (1.50 / 2) (#80)
    by dropdead on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 08:59:37 AM EST

    "If it weren't for distractions and fights and fires in school, right now, i might be in college instead of wishing i had gone.."

    What distractions the pretty girls you were to afraid to talk to. You sould like somebody blaming others for your your own failings.

    [ Parent ]
    sounds more like (3.00 / 1) (#103)
    by AnalogBoy on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 02:39:55 PM EST

    you need someone to attack, so you found me. You're not the first.

    No, sir, im afraid that i was too busy being harassed by the bullies in school on a constant basis to get anything done.
    --
    Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
    Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
    [ Parent ]
    Why not? (3.00 / 1) (#129)
    by A Trickster Imp on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 09:04:11 AM EST

    Why not be a ferocious nerd (national merit finalist) with a Dungeons and Dragons true 18 intelligence (1 of 216 or better) AND a football lineman who can bench 260?

    It cuts down on the nerd incidents quite a bit. (It's also one of the things I find irritating about EverQuest, D&D, etc. "Balancing" in official rules would prevent an accurate portrayal of myself.)








    [ Parent ]
    Balance (none / 0) (#148)
    by scruffyMark on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 01:10:04 AM EST

    Wouldn't you be able to be able to get away with playing yourself by adding the handicap of overwhelming vanity?

    [ Parent ]
    Parents shouldn't have to beat their children (none / 0) (#147)
    by DodgyGeezer on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 11:48:02 PM EST

    "parents don't even spank their kids anymore"

    All spanking does is release parental stress, which is hardly fair, and teach the child fear and resentment. Being hit by my father made me more strong-willed and determined to do my own thing despite them, and turned my whole life into a me vs. them battle. Hardly a good family environment.

    I will not beat my children. I view that as the sign of a bad and weak parent who is too lazy to do the job properly. They're in my care, and beating them is an abuse of power, and is completely unjustified considering the size difference and that I know much better ways to behave.



    [ Parent ]
    wouldn't trade it (3.00 / 2) (#167)
    by itarget on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 04:45:50 PM EST

    My father used to beat the shit out of me when I was badly misbehaved. I certainly thought it unfair at the time, but now that I'm older I have no regrets. The strength of will you develop is more valuable than any amount of lovey-dovey family togetherness during the years before you strike out on your own.

    [ Parent ]
    You're actually talking about 3 things... (4.36 / 22) (#51)
    by Skywise on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 09:54:28 PM EST

    1. Zero Tolerance
    2. The -CURRENT- military action (war on terrorism)
    3. The imposition of one nation's will over the rest of the world's (past military actions).

    Point the first-

    Zero tolerance didn't start against cleaning up schools per se. It started as part of the "war on drugs". The term actually had meaning because up til that time lighter drug use (marijuana, beer) was treated with a slap on the wrist. They'd get detention, some treatment (if they were lucky) , then back to school were they'd smoke pot all over again... At the time there was a great deal of information/propoganda circulating that said these lighter drugs were "gateway" drugs to the really bad ones. That coupled with the schools dropping test scores and being seen as nothing more than teen-age baby sitting services, let to the "zero tolerance" policy. No drugs, period. Instant expulsion.

    There was some initial success that went over so well, that schools adopted it for EVERYTHING. Because it's much easier to throw the book at Johnny, then to teach him how to read it.

    Point the second

    Nobody *wants* the current military action. Osama could've continued to hit our boats, embassies and overseas military bases and domestically we would've done the same thing we did for the last 8 years. Ignored it. How's THAT for an evil empire. Now we can argue motivations until the end of time (and this will be debated for a very long time)... But the attack turned it immediately and permanently into an "us" vs. "them". WE still want a free society (By GOD, I want to run for the plane at the last minute, throwing the keys through the x-ray machine and flying through the metal detector again... Now I have to be stripped search and anal probed and have to fend off movements to ID and toe tag every American from birth so we can all be SAFE. All because Osama wanted to throw his little temper tantrum because his own people were selling out to American Imperialism...) and we'll do whatever it takes to defend that. World peace be damned.

    Point the third.

    American foreign policy has not always been good to the foreigners, and in some cases not even good for America. But it's not just an American problem. All the nations of the world are playing the same game. There is no one standard of laws. So the leaders of the nations are subject to the laws of their nations (sometimes), but not the laws of other nations. There are agreements about nations are supposed to interact (Geneva Convention for instance), but these are largely unenforceable. Breeching them is a breech of political protocol, and that only affects weaker nations... not the alpha ones...
    So when America engages in foreign policy its doing so in a very cowboy way. On top of that, this foreign policy can change dramatically every 4 years. So the ability for America to act responsibly is... basically limited to its contractual fairness at THAT POINT IN TIME. But America quickly forgets its policies, and when they go bad (as they do), the attention of the current administration is almost always elsewhere.
    Is that bad? Yeah. But that's true of just about any organization that has rotating management. Castro doesn't have this problem because he's been in charge for almost 40 years. That's almost 2 generations.. So regardless of the good/bad policies of Cuba... they're always consistent.

    So what can Americans do? Do what we've been trained out of doing by zero tolerance schools over the last 50 years... Take individual action and force our government to be honest. The power is all there in our hands... were just too lazy to do anything about it.

    Point the second (4.25 / 4) (#66)
    by katie on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 03:31:54 AM EST

    "Osama could've continued to hit our boats, embassies and overseas military bases and domestically we would've done the same thing we did for the last 8 years. Ignored it."

    When the embassies were blown up, the US launched, what was it? Only just shy of 100 cruise missiles at bits of the world?

    I'm not sure that counts as "ignoring it".




    [ Parent ]
    Where did you get THAT bogus number? (3.00 / 1) (#78)
    by wiredog on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 08:49:27 AM EST

    IIRC, it was 2 at Afghanistan and 2 at Sudan. The only time that close to 100 cruise missiles have gone out was during the Persian Gulf War.

    Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
    [ Parent ]
    Does it matter how many? (none / 0) (#182)
    by katie on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 08:56:59 AM EST

    I'm not sure "two cruise missiles" counts as "ignoring it" either.


    The number came from personal recollection of reporting at the time. But CNN seems to concur:

    http://www.cnn.com/US/9808/21/mission.success/

    "Some two dozen missiles reduced a suspected chemical weapons plant... to rubble."

    "In southern Afghanistan, some 50 cruise missiles caused 'moderate to severe' damage"

    That's at least 70. That's might not be 100, but it's a bit more than 4.



    [ Parent ]
    Zero Tolerance for the War on Terrorism (4.33 / 9) (#54)
    by mami on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 10:23:47 PM EST

    I wished that would have been the headline...

    The source of terrorism is poorness. (3.33 / 3) (#58)
    by johwsun on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 02:04:15 AM EST

    As a european, and greek , I can see things from an objective view.

    Well the source of terrorism is mostly the poorness. A poor and wretched person can easily obey to an evil (rich) one, in order to commit a terrorist act.
    Give money to the poor, and the terrorism will disapear.





    not poverty, ignorance. (3.50 / 2) (#93)
    by cashrefundman on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 11:33:27 AM EST

    OBL is/was not a poor man. Nor are many of the people who organize and "run" terrorist operations.

    Many terrorists have university educations. Poverty does provide a recruiting ground for pawns, but I don't think it is a root cause. There have always been poor people and mayhem.

    If you want to find a common denominator among the idiots who blow themselves up and crash planes in the service of hatred, I would suggest: A belief in the supernatural.

    Billions on this earth are taught from birth that some facts are true, that these facts require no proof, that to ask for proof is forbidden - that some facts are available only using faith; If they are taught from birth to believe in mysticism and irrationality, why should we be suprised when some of them act irrationally?

    If you want to stop terrorism, you have to go to the source. You have to work to free the world from religious ignorance.

    [ Parent ]

    its not a matter of religion... (none / 0) (#170)
    by johwsun on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 03:10:20 AM EST

    If you want to stop terrorism, you have to go to the source. You have to work to free the world from religious ignorance.
    Its not a matter of religion but a matter of bad religion...
    Faith is not always a bad thing, because it gives hope to escape from the current Hell of life. Faith may become a bad thing if it leads to behaviors that can harm other people. Not all faiths are the same.

    [ Parent ]
    A lack of hope (4.00 / 1) (#99)
    by revscat on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 01:46:30 PM EST

    I would take this one step further and say that it is a lack of hope that causes people to affiliate with extremist groups. If the poor do not have hope that they will be able to rise above their situation, they will naturally look for someone to blame about this.

    I cannot even begin to tell you the number of times I have seen this repeated in interviews with people in 3rd world countries. Hope (or the lack thereof) is absolutely a common theme.




    - Rev.
    Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
    [ Parent ]
    'give money to the poor' ? (none / 0) (#145)
    by simonfish on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 06:33:47 PM EST

    Giveing money will never solve a problem, mearly prolong or mildly relieve it. The system which created poor people in the first place will still excists, and I disaggree with your statement that the poor are behind terrorism. In many cases it is infact the wealthy.

    [ Parent ]
    poor people are not behind terrorism but.. (none / 0) (#172)
    by johwsun on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:49:03 AM EST

    ..a poor starving person may more easily be involved directly to a terrorist organisation, or indirectly support a terrorist organisation, than a wealthy one.
    This person will obey due to the needs he has, not because he really agree with them.

    So you may found wealthy persons commit terrorist acts, but the vast majority of those organisations is always based to poor persons that obey due to their poornes.




    [ Parent ]
    I agree with that... (none / 0) (#173)
    by johwsun on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 05:53:41 AM EST

    The system which created poor people in the first place will still exists. Giving money to the poor is for sure a temporary solution.

    I am suggesting a Direct Democracy scheme, in order to solve this and some other similiar problems.
    Look at my other comments if you like.

    [ Parent ]
    It worked great for Russia...not (none / 0) (#156)
    by HagakureGuy on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 11:15:04 PM EST

    Punishing productive people (this money you want to give the poor has to come from someone), and rewarding non-productive people won't solve any problems. Feel free to see almost any place in Russia for examples. All it does is provide a disincentive for personal responsibility.

    I'd say the problem starts closer to the corrupt, psychotic individuals in power. The ones that want to control "their" people. The ones that control the media and blame someone else (or some other country) as the source of their problems. I'm not saying that the U.S. hasn't done it's share of wrong (we do have a tendency to finance and arm "freedom fighters" who later turn on us, amongst other things). I'm just saying that there are a few countries that would drastically benefit from an internal revolution and the installation of a democracy or republic. That would do more to improve the lives and futures of their citizens than another government aid program that is going to end up the the Swiss bank accounts of the leaders of these countries.

    [ Parent ]
    if you dont want people to be controled... (none / 0) (#171)
    by johwsun on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 04:13:37 AM EST

    ..you should become a partisan of Direct Democracy, as I am..

    Look at my comments if you want to know what I think about Democracy, and "Democracy".

    [ Parent ]
    L.D. Bell High School (4.00 / 5) (#69)
    by erotus on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 04:35:10 AM EST

    After reading about the bread knife incident, I thought to myself, "what an amazing coincidence." I graduated from this very high school about ten years ago. It's amazing how ridiculously far this zero tolerance crap has gone. How much further is it going to go? For those who do not know, Bedford is a suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth. It's a fairly nice area and the high school itself is one of the best, academically, in the state of Texas. I'm not saying this because I went there... look up the stats if you don't beleive me.

    Anyway, I would hardly call a breadknife a weapon. When are these stupid lawmakers going to realize that making more laws is not going to solve anything. This poor kid has to be expelled because some jackass security guard decides it's a threatening weapon. I remember that the security guards were uptight when I went there. I can only imagine how stupid it's gotten today.

    I'll tell you a story. At the time I was there, only seniors were allowed to leave the campus for lunch. I had walked across the street to eat at a Taco Bueno. I saw somebody there I knew. He was a junior and had decided he was tired of cafeteria food so he broke the rules. We both finished eating and started walking back together. While walking back, we were stopped by one of those androgenous and enormously large female security guards who decides to masturbate her authority over us. She demands to see our IDs and I figured that I was safe since I was a senior. Upon discovering that my cohort was a junior, she decides to confiscate my ID and accuse me of taking a non-senior out to lunch with me. If I had driven him out of the campus then I would indeed be guilty as there were clear rules against this, but I walked there and walked back. He decided to leave campus on his own and any moron could have understood this. Unless I had handcuffed him and drug him with me, then there was no way I aided a junior to leave campus for lunch. I was never punished and I never got my ID back. I think bitch lost it and failed to report me.

    I guess the point of this story is, that society is becoming wacked. Laws are becoming even more stupid. Everyone will be a law breaker if enough laws are passed. High school has it's own rules which are absolutely moronic, but society as a whole, I feel, is becoming so rigid and inflexible. We are all becoming criminals since the laws make ordinary things people do illegal. Why are people being arrested for possession of something you can legally buy such as rolling papers?(zig zags) Why is there even such a concept as "guilt by association." Kids are getting kicked out of school for having nail clippers. Kids are getting expelled for having bread knifes in their cars. Our public officials are turning into a bunch of anal, uptight, administrative, red tape bureaucrats who have totally lost touch with humanity. It makes me sick. I'll step off my soapbox now.



    high school horror (4.00 / 4) (#91)
    by omegadan on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 11:29:55 AM EST

    I went to school during the height of zero tollerance (read the early 90s). And I had alot of experiences similar to yours ...

    At my school, (hemethigh.com), students were suspended for carying *any* medicine at all, be it asprin, midol, if you had a perscribed medicine you had to check it in with the school nurse and she would take posession of it and dispense it. Students could be suspended or expelled for having medicine on them (this was a twisted play on a zero tolerance drug policy). People weren't suspended often, but I remember one girl who had a *generic* midol with her that had no label stamped on the pill -- they suspended her for a week!

    Other absurdities, in southern california we have a gang problem, and for awhile as a sign of membership of a gang, in addition to rediculously baggy clothes -- gang members would wear football hats backwards, each gang had a specific patron team. Well, a new school policy came down that no one was to wear hats backwards because that was a sign you were in a gang. Then they got in legal trouble and declared no hats altogether. So the school spent a year confiscating hats and suspending repeat offenders (boy the baseball team didn't like ot be told they couldn't wear their *uniform hats* during classess). They eventually gave up.

    And yet still, the school would use their absurd rules to punish students selectively -- one year they got tipped off and did locker sweeps for drugs/alcohol ... I recall they found marijuana and alcohol in the locker of one of the schools start acedemic students -- she somehow escaped expulsion or serious punishment and was suspened for a few days ...

    The entire school has a no tollerance policy for fighting, your not supposed to fight even if your hit first. Not allowed to defend yourself! I was suspended several times for *defending* myself in a fight. What choice does this leave students? Even if you don't fight back, your going to get the shit kicked out of you, and it'll be obvious you've been in a fight (and thus you will be punished). Along the same lines, just recently (many years after I graduated) in another school across town, two football players jumped a kid half their size, beat him up, and left him *unconscious* in the gutter next to the school. They're motive when asked was "he is a nerd." These were star football players the school needed to win games, instead of going to jail which they deserved -- the school suspended them for something like 2 days so they could make their next game.

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

    Society has *always* been whacked (3.00 / 1) (#100)
    by revscat on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 01:51:53 PM EST

    Don't think that you live in special times, or that our current world situation is different from that of any given millenia. Society has always been fucked up. Sometimes to a greater degree, sometimes less. But it's always been fucked up. Politicians have always been greedy and power grubbing, adults have always been afraid of teenagers, and bureacracies have always been frustrating.

    Not saying you should be sick about it, just that it's not all that different from any other point in history.




    - Rev.
    Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
    [ Parent ]
    Everyone is a criminal. (4.50 / 2) (#108)
    by Amesha Spentas on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 05:53:42 PM EST

    Laws are becoming even more stupid. Everyone will be a law breaker if enough laws are passed.

    Um, I hate to tell you this but nearly everyone currently is a criminal. Exceeding the speed limit is a crime. Hence a speeding ticket is given for a criminal offence. Have you ever "Jay walked"?

    Many people are unintentionally guilty of committing crimes because lack of knowledge of the law is not a reasonable defense.

    Remember back in the mid to late 80's when people were crying over what they believed to be very poor judgments from the police and/or the judges. Some lawmaker came up with the idea that they would take the ability to make poor judgments away from the judges and police and require the same sentencing for everyone. This is what led us to our current problems.

    What people need to realize is that when you appoint one person to judge another, that person who is making the judgments is going to make on occasion poor decisions. (Or at least judgments that are unpopular.) The constitution provided an escape clause for this in the gradual escalation of courts ending in the Supreme Court.

    <Quick Tangent> However I'm not sure if it's intent was to allow the prosecution to appeal to higher courts. (Anybody got specific references for this?)</Quick Tangent>

    However with the passing of numerous (and contradictory) laws, the ability of the courts to make rational and well thought out rulings has suffered greatly. And in keeping with the publics ability to mistake cause for effect and visa-versa, they decided to enact more legislation to remove the ability of the courts to (eventually) make a correct ruling.

    It has been purposed (and I heartily agree) that more accountability needs to be established for the people passing the laws themselves. However I am weary of believing that this will be the "Silver Bullet" in the problem of poor laws and poor judgments.

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

    crime or misdemeanor? (3.00 / 1) (#123)
    by minra on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 01:50:36 AM EST

    "Exceeding the speed limit is a crime."

    Yes, people in power like to criminalize victimless crimes; it gives them arbitrary control over whom to put away while maintaining the facade of a free society. No argument there.

    But speeding is a misdemeanor. Like a parking ticket. Calling these 'crimes' cheapens the word.


    [ Parent ]
    Depends (none / 0) (#142)
    by Amesha Spentas on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 03:12:37 PM EST

    But speeding is a misdemeanor. Like a parking ticket. Calling these 'crimes' cheapens the word.

    Depends on how fast over the posted (Ha) limit you are going. I believe if you are going over twice the limit you can be arrested for vehicular manslaughter, or something along those lines. Also speeding or parking tickets in numbers can become a felony.

    Still, breaking the law (No matter the degree.) is a crime. Thus making you a criminal.

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

    Marijuana (2.50 / 2) (#128)
    by wysoft on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 04:32:43 AM EST

    Why are people being arrested for possession of something you can legally buy such as rolling papers?(zig zags)

    Even more to the point, why must people be arrested and jailed for posessing the substance which will be rolled into said papers?

    Yes, it had to be said :)



    [ Parent ]
    55 mph in Houston (3.00 / 2) (#139)
    by glitchvern on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 01:34:13 PM EST

    We are all becoming criminals since the laws make ordinary things people do illegal.
    In Houston a few weeks ago, they lowered the speed limit to 55 because of all the pollution. They had cop cars on the side of the beltway with their lights flashing trying to scare people in to slowing down. People were doing 85, 90. They just ignored the cops.
    Programmers are like Mogwai, they hate bright light, direct sunlight is rumoured to kill them.
    [ Parent ]
    Off Topic but.. (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by RandomAction on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 03:24:51 PM EST

    Programmers are like Mogwai, they hate bright light, Ah.. so wise.. but also: never put them near water, they actually like the way they smell.

    [ Parent ]
    Zero Tolerance Works! (2.00 / 2) (#71)
    by smarkb on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 05:20:20 AM EST

    As anyone who has seen Swordfish will attest to.

    smark



    Can we vote to keep this permanently on the FP? (3.00 / 2) (#72)
    by imrdkl on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 05:35:00 AM EST

    I would give that a +1. It's important to keep your views "in the face" of the public right now, even if the public doesn't quite see things your way.

    I note, however, that your poll results indicate that 70% do agree with you, to some extent. Either we are, or will soon be, mired again in Afghanistan.

    But I also agree with others who argue that you don't give enough credit to our patience and reserve, even if those very same qualities are diminished by recent events.

    I also resent another part of your analogy, where you leap from a focus on the ridiculous measures being implemented in our schools (also a result of recent events, but further tied to trends which began before 11.9) directly to a foreign policy bashing. These two phenomenon deserve separate treatment.

    Bread knife update (4.00 / 4) (#79)
    by garbanzo on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 08:52:51 AM EST

    As of this morning's (03/22/02) newspaper, the school has rescinded their expulsion decision and is apparently acknowledging the stupidity of their zero-tolerance policies. Go figure.

    sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

    It was a *bread knife* (4.00 / 3) (#94)
    by revscat on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 12:11:34 PM EST

    I think that it all fell apart when the evening news showed pictures of the knife in question. It was, to be sure, a big knife. But it was a bread knife; it had no pointed tip. To hurt someone with that thing would require a fair amount of determination: holding the victim down and maniacally sawing at them for a five or ten minutes. Surely someone would notice this.




    - Rev.
    Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
    [ Parent ]
    Harmless is in the eye of the beholder. (none / 0) (#164)
    by jolly st nick on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 03:22:40 PM EST

    If I came at you with a bread knife and mayhem on my mind, I guarantee you wouldn't see it a harmless object.

    Unlike a switchblade or a balisong, a bread knife falls into the class of things that can be turned into a weapon in a pinch. Other things in that category include: just about everything else. Examples of innocuous objects that can become deadly weapons: a crochet hook, a screwdriver, a ball peen hammer, a pencil. The nail clipper case was ironic, because it was the keys they should have been worried about. When I was a kid, I knew kids who used to take out their keys when they thought they were going to get jumped on a corner. They'd make a fist, with the keys sticking out between the fingers. If you got jumped, you'd punch the other guys in the face, preferably in the eye.

    The point I'm making here is that fixating on the harmlessness of the object misses the point. Zzero tolerance policies will never make children safe, nor will never make the world safe. Real security is much harder to accomplish than making feel good policies.



    [ Parent ]

    Haldeman (1.85 / 7) (#85)
    by MrZaius on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 10:29:29 AM EST

    The War on Terrorism is nothing at all like Vietnam. We don't die in this war. They do. This will be the Forever Peace, described by Joe Haldeman.

    Hum ? (3.00 / 1) (#115)
    by chbm on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 07:01:01 PM EST

    Care to elaborate for the part of has who is not familiar with with Joe Haldeman ?
    I couldn't tell if that was fine sarcasm or dow right redneckness.

    -- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
    [ Parent ]
    We dont die - Youre Joking surely (4.00 / 5) (#124)
    by eviltwin on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 02:16:32 AM EST

    I assume your joking because i cannot comprehend a more nonsensical statement if i tried.

    lets look at the facts. For the loss of 12 people 3500 died in New York. Thats just for starters, so then the US invades afghanistan to get rid of the taliban, despite 5 years of comndemnation, reports of opression and torture and calls for action from all parts of the world including moslem governments the US decides to be the hero.

    But if for a second any of you believe the US is killing terrorists in Afghanistan your kidding yourselves. The war has been fought against the Taliban troops who are not the same mob of people out there killing innocent people in the streets.

    You dont 'win' against terrorism by killing people - in fact you lose as the incentive to attack you where you live becomes greater - one man with explosive strapped to him can kill 30 people in a shopping mall, or 1 small nuclear weapon can take out a city (they are out there guys).

    The only way the above theory can work is to commit genocide by wiping out every percieved terrorist in the world - and that worked so well for hitler.

    Instead of devoting so much time to arming themselves and yelling at anyone who isnt white and american for being a terrorist it would be more productive for you as a company to sit down and work out why these people hate you. Do some research and you will be shocked at the actions of your government which led you to this mess.

    Some places to start

    Nicuragua
    EL Salvador
    Somalia
    Ethipia
    Lebanon
    Palestine
    Hungary
    Vietnam
    Cambodia
    Laos
    Brazil
    Argentina

    Do some reading on american foreign policy and military policy towards these regions and you might get some beginnings.

    Why can israel send tanks and fighter aircraft into bomb civilian targets in palestine and no one says a word? Have we forgotten that Israel started the whole mess by invading in the first place.(Thats One example - for another dont forget the US supported Saddam Hussein in the 80's with money and weapons)

    And if you say that the actions of your government arent your fault and you dont have responsoblity for them then dont ever forget that this is the government OF the people BY the people and FOR the people and thats what the world sees - an arrogant, heavily armed bully that applies its moral and political code to everything it sees.

    Please note i dont hate america or americans but i do hate many many things that i see lately, i lost 2 friends in Tower 1 on Sept 11th and i grieve for them but killing more people wont solve anything - the time has come to stand up and prove you are the paragon of fairness and democracy you claim to be and SHOW the world what it means to be free and civilised.

    All generalisations are false, including this one.
    [ Parent ]
    Goddamn (4.85 / 7) (#87)
    by jayhawk88 on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 10:46:16 AM EST

    That Bhutto excert is powerful. Pretty much sums up what's been fucked up in American foreign policy for the past 30 years, and gives some very good insight to the questions of "Why do they hate us?"

    Too bad that wouldn't fit in a .sig :)

    Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
    Zero Tolerance, theory vs practice (4.33 / 3) (#144)
    by gnovos on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 04:22:35 PM EST

    In theory, it sounds great. Any and all violations will result in the strictest punishment. The result? No one breaks the rules! Wow, it's great!

    Reality, however, says if all punishments are equal, then there is no incentive for a violator to chose a "lesser" crime. If murder and shoplifitng are met equally with the same punishement, what is going to stop a shoplifter from comitting murder in an attempt to conceal his crime?

    The same happens in school. If smoking cigarettes is equal to smoking marijuana, i.e. both will get you expelled, then why would a student chose to smoke a cigarette if pot is available?

    A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
    The Killer Drug! (none / 0) (#175)
    by phliar on Tue Mar 26, 2002 at 10:50:27 PM EST

    If smoking cigarettes is equal to smoking marijuana, i.e. both will get you expelled, then why would a student chose to smoke a cigarette if pot is available?
    Much better for the student and for society if she were to choose pot over the cigarette -- tobacco kills, and nicotine is far more addictive. (And of course pot is so much nicer and more fun than a cigarette!)


    Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
    [ Parent ]

    Zero Tolerance and the War on Terrorism | 182 comments (161 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
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