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[P]
If I were the leader of al Qaeda

By freakazoid in Op-Ed
Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 11:33:16 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

I take one look at Jose Padilla and one word comes to mind: patsy. Here's an American citizen whose citizenship not only made him interesting to al Qaeda, it also made him untrustworthy. So what did they do? They sent him to the US to do what most, if not all, of their US cells are probably doing right now: keeping the authorities distracted while tightly controlled cells abroad plan the real operation.

I'm an American, and this article is admittedly somewhat US-centric. I believe the US is the most likely target of the attacks described here. However, my recommendations should be applicable just about anywhere.


You've just destroyed one of the largest symbols of the Western economy, and you've struck fear into the hearts of Westerners everywhere. What are you going to do next? Are you going to settle for minor nuisance operations like dirty bombs that contaminate a few blocks and kill a couple hundred people and cause health problems years down the road for maybe a thousand more? That's not what I'd be doing if I were the leader of al Qaeda. It's time to escalate.

However, people are expecting something to happen. You can't just hide and plan your next move while the militaries of the West hunt for you. You need to maximize the aftereffects of your first attack while keeping them busy.

Disinformation works. With a cellular organization, disinformation is easy. Just assign your various cells real but relatively minor operations that will further your goals without revealing your real plans. Give up your less trustworthy or valuable members (Jose Padilla) as patsies. This would also have the benefit of maximizing the effect of the September 11 attacks, creating fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Let the world think you're weak and desperate. This is exactly what we can least afford to be thinking about al Qaeda right now.

In the Illuminatus! trilogy, the Illuminati were made up of a bunch of sub-conspiracies that all thought they were working toward something different, while they were unknowingly all working toward the same goal, just very small aspects of it, like a blind man attempting to describe an elephant. I think this is a fairly accurate description of the structure of al Qaeda.

It is in the perceived best interest of Western politicians for the public to believe that the politicians will protect them. This is perhaps the biggest lie ever told. Few, if any, of the measures in use today would have stopped the events of September 11. The terrorists used the simple tactics that they did because they knew we were not paying attention. If we had been paying attention, they would have used more sophisticated tactics or attacked a different but equally valuable target.

If the politicians tell the truth, that they cannot protect their constituents, the constituents will elect politicians who will tell them what they want to hear. So even the politicians are helping al Qaeda's disinformation campaign.

Perhaps the most effective operation possible for a group like al Qaeda would be a nuclear blast in a major American city. The best target would be Washington, DC, but terrorists attack where there's weakness, not where we expect them to attack. If they find a way to get a nuke into Washington, DC, that is exactly what they'll do. However, from anecdotal evidence about possible radiation detectors in Washington, DC, I think it might be easier to sneak a nuclear weapon into a different city, probably by boat. I think the target will still be in the US, however.

Why do I think the weapon will be delivered by boat? The US receives a greater volume of goods by sea than by any other means. Once the ship is in the harbor, detonation of the device would cause tremendous damage and be a tremendous boon to al Qaeda, so discovery would not be a very big problem at that point. Inspectors would need to meet the ship before it came into the harbor and check it over with radiation detectors and other sophisticated and expensive devices. Procedures and regulations to prevent a weapon from coming in this way would be incredibly costly, and if they were implemented, this would still help the terrorists by hitting us in the wallet.

The device could either be detonated in the harbor on the boat, which would be the operation least likely to be interrupted, or it could be transferred to a truck, an aircraft, or even a train. Since this would be a suicide mission, the operatives involved would have the ability to detonate the weapon at any time, probably with a dead man switch, and there may even be additional remote triggers in case the operatives chicken out or are otherwise foiled. There would be multiple contingency plans involving moving the device to successively more sensitive places until they were discovered or discovery seemed likely, and then detonating the device. This is a win-win situation for al Qaeda. This sort of progressive operation is a virtual certainty.

I sincerely hope the governments of the West are only telling us what we want to hear to keep us calm, while behind the scenes they're secretly investigating al Qaeda's real plans. If not, well, they're being snowed just like the rest of us.

Can we prevent the attack described above? My answer to this question is a controversial one: No. At least, not with reasonable certainty. Once  a device is armed, we will probably not be able to stop it from going off for the reasons I described above. We might get most people out of harm's way, but just detonating a nuclear device would be enough to prove that the terrorists really are capable of carrying out their threats, and to create the product of terrorism in great abundance: terror. This could be as good for bin Laden's popularity as destroying the World Trade Center even if no substantial damage were done.

Does this mean we should do nothing? Certainly not. Awareness ang planning are the solutions to this dilemma. People need to be aware that the attacks described here are a real possibility and that the government cannot protect them completely, and they should not want the government to be able to protect them completely.

Reducing the openness of Western societies would be playing right into the hands of the terrorists. This does not mean we need to be blind, however. We know that there are people in the world who want us dead. We know that, like script kiddies, they will attack us where we are most open. The earlier we discover their true plans, the more damage we will prevent. But we can't keep deluding ourselves into thinking we can prevent all damage, or even prevent catastrophic damage to one area or another.

We need contingency plans of our own. One possible response to the knowledge that such an attack was underway would be an emergency order suspending the Constitution. The purported purpose of such an order would be to enable whatever measures were necessary to try to find the device(s) and disable them or prevent them from moving to a more sensitive location. In the process, the government could end up doing more damage than the terrorists. Will they bring back the Constitution after they suspend it? How soon? Do we have any real policies for handling such a situation that do involve a sunset clause of some sort?

What do we do in the US if the entire succession for President gets killed and Congress is destroyed? In this case, it falls to the Governors to choose a new President and set up a new government. Will they? Is there any assurance that the government they create will resemble the old one?

We also need to make sure the public is in on whatever contingency plans exist.  We may not like living under the shadow government if the shadow government ever needs to take control. Last I heard, the shadow government was made up of a bunch of unelected bureaucrats. I don't really consider it "continuity of government" when the new government doesn't even slightly resemble the old one.

I'm not trying to scare people. I just want to point out that there is as much danger in believing that we've won as there is in paranoia. I hope this article will make people think when they hear about all these supposed al Qaeda operations that are being foiled. They say Jose Padilla's dirty bomb operation was in the early planning stages. Doesn't that mean it wasn't even an operation? Talk about zero-cost disinformation.

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Display: Sort:
If I were the leader of al Qaeda | 527 comments (493 topical, 34 editorial, 1 hidden)
...I'd buy you a house (2.70 / 10) (#2)
by speek on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:15:51 PM EST


--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees

If I was Bin Laden.. (1.50 / 2) (#10)
by The Littlest Hobo on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:37:52 PM EST

If I was Bin Laden..

We wouldn't have to walk to the store

If I was Bin Laden..

We'd take a limousine 'cause it costs more!

If I was Bin Laden..

We wouldn't have to eat Kraft dinner.

(but we would!)

(We'd just eat more!)



[ Parent ]
Oh those (none / 0) (#23)
by poopi on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 05:12:01 PM EST

crazy canadians :)

-----

"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - chimera
[ Parent ]

If I were Bin Laden (1.33 / 3) (#24)
by dennis on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 05:13:40 PM EST

Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum
If I were Bin Laden, man!

[ Parent ]
Oh, the sickness of hysteria (3.82 / 28) (#4)
by marcos on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:22:52 PM EST

How many years since there have been Islamic militant groups? Decades.

How many terror attacks on U.S. soil? 1. What has changed? Nothing. Why should there be more terror attacks? I don't see any reason.

Americans have become consumed by terror attack fever. They keep expecting terror attacks one a minute; it hasn't happened atnd it isn't going to happen.

These supposedly well organized and hugely funded super terrorist organisation has only succeeded in so few terror acts? But the Palestinians can succeed every second day in the most heavily guarded nation in the world?

It isn't because they can't attack that they aren't attacking. It is because they don't want to.

Do you really think that Herr Laden and his friends are some great Dr. Evil? I don't think so. They are afraid for their lives, and hiding in some Pakistani hut, and not planning some huge conspiracy to destry the "Western World".

Herr Laden doesn't want the destruction of America, something we seem to be ignoring in our free press nowadays. Bin Laden has a specific Agenda, which he has stated many times in Al Jazeera (I believe our free press is not allowed to broadcast his statements). His agenda is

  • Freedom for his "brothers" in Palestine
  • The removal of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia
  • The removal of the current ruler of Saudi Arabia
The main factor blocking progress in all of these three points is the United States. He cannot come to Pearl Harbour and start shooting with his Kalashnikow at the docked Warships. He can only plant bombs. And he doesn't do that at any frequency either - when was the last attack from Bin Laden?

Nobody is behind you, stop looking behind your shoulder and shooting at shadows.

you count bad. (3.33 / 3) (#6)
by Shren on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:28:30 PM EST

How many terror attacks on U.S. soil? 1.

1? Really?

[ Parent ]

Huh? (3.50 / 2) (#8)
by marcos on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:31:39 PM EST

I don't remember any other. And please, you know what kind of terror attacks I am talking about, so don't go mentioning that Timothy guy.

[ Parent ]
World Trade Center Bombing (none / 0) (#9)
by Netbard on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:34:47 PM EST

At least two then. You're forgetting the orginal World Trade Bombing.

[ Parent ]
That wasn't Bin Laden (none / 0) (#13)
by marcos on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:39:50 PM EST

As is well established. The story is about Al Kaida, but Al Kaida has done very few terror acts, and only one on U.S. soil (which they ahve not claimed responsibility for, which is very strange).

[ Parent ]
Hrm (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by Netbard on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:48:10 PM EST

True, I wasn't claiming it was. I associated your claim of 1 terror attack on American soil with your first statement about Islamic militant groups. :)

[ Parent ]
Embassies (3.66 / 3) (#17)
by KilljoyAZ on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:49:36 PM EST

Legally, the two embassies al-Qaida blew up in 1998 were US soil.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
Also (4.00 / 1) (#121)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:26:29 AM EST

The USS Cole.

People who complain about hte US going off after the latest WTC attack should read up on "Remember the Maine!"

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]

First... (none / 0) (#120)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:25:28 AM EST

Warn us when you link to a site that generates multiple pop-ups.

It has been fairly well established that the first WTC attack was an Al Quaeda operation.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]

[OT] Pop-ups vs browser (none / 0) (#167)
by DodgyGeezer on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:53:40 AM EST

"Warn us when you link to a site that generates multiple pop-ups."

You mean you're not using Mozilla, and you don't have ad.doubleclick.net mapped to localhost in your hosts file? I've almost forgotten what pop-ups and pop-unders look like since I switched to Mozilla full time.



[ Parent ]
More Mozilla Ad Goodness (none / 0) (#257)
by BadmanX on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:59:40 AM EST

Why bother with a hosts file? In Mozilla, just right-click a banner ad and choose "Block images from this server". Bang, they're gone.

[ Parent ]
Hosts file vs Mozilla's built-in image blocking (none / 0) (#342)
by DodgyGeezer on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:35:29 PM EST

That would be true if I didn't keep blowing away my preferences and upgrading to the latest and greatest all the time. I like to use the hosts file as it also has beneficial affects to Kazaa Lite. And anyway, who knows if it's just images that get requested from those domains?

[ Parent ]
Hmm (4.50 / 4) (#19)
by KilljoyAZ on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:54:16 PM EST

These supposedly well organized and hugely funded super terrorist organisation has only succeeded in so few terror acts? But the Palestinians can succeed every second day in the most heavily guarded nation in the world?

The Palestinian terror groups have an advantage over al Qaeda when attacking Israel - a sympathetic local population to hide behind and to help cover their tracks. bin Laden isn't going to get much sympathy or help from the American Muslim population.

Plus al Qaeda seems to be more interested in going after big symbolic targets or dramatic attacks, not things like blowing up random restaurants or discos like Hamas and company. What have been their targets? The WTC (twice), the Pentagon, embassies, warships, the Space Needle and Los Angeles International Airport. Destroying these sort of things takes a lot more planning and logistics than strapping explosives onto some poor deluded schmoe and sending him into a crowd, which is why attacks of this nature don't happen that often.

I agree with you that people are more hysterical than they need to be. But to say that the US is not a target is wishful thinking.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]

Second that (4.61 / 13) (#31)
by dennis on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 05:43:16 PM EST

Here's what I don't get. Everyone talks about what an enormously sophisticated and coordinated attack this was. But...this was twenty guys with boxcutters. They bought tickets, went onboard with perfectly legal carry-ons, and were able to create havoc only because in 1970 we quit allowing pilots to carry revolvers, as they commonly did until that time. Coordination? The airlines publish their itineraries! What's the big deal?

Since then, we've had warning after warning, but nothing's happened. This latest hooha is about a guy who had no bomb, no actual plan, research that consisted of browsing the Web (according to an intelligence official quoted in today's WSJ), and a meeting with al-Qaeda honchos that must be hearsay because if we know where those guys are, we take them down.

Then there were the nuclear-bomb-making instructions we found in the terrorist camp, which put the media in hysterics, but turned out to be a spoof from the Web. I just don't think these guys are rocket scientists.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they'll blow up New York tomorrow. There's been concern for years about missing Soviet nukes, and maybe al-Qaeda will get their hands on one. But so far, I think they're a bunch of schmucks, and we're exaggerating their capabilities because otherwise it's just too damn embarrassing.

[ Parent ]

US vs other countries divide (3.66 / 3) (#45)
by sien on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 07:07:02 PM EST

I agree, I am a foreigner living in the US. Americans have a very different view of this. It's interesting to see how the article talks about 'Western' all the time while it's been a long time since a target that was non-American was attacked by Muslim fundamentalists.

Fundamentally, if the US wants to stop terrorism it has to force a settlement that is seen as just in the Arab world on Israel. The other issues are important, but surely it's unlikely that the Egyptian members of the hijackers were as motived by issues in Saudi Arabia as they were by the perceived injustice in Palestine.

But, would you bet on there being no attacks against the US over the next 10 years if the current policy on Israel does not change ?

[ Parent ]

just in the Arab world (2.00 / 2) (#123)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:28:56 AM EST

Ummm. The arab world, until a few months ago, insisted that the only just solution was the destruction of Israel.

Which was the interesting thing about the Saudi peace plan. It was the first time that an arab state had said it would recognize Israel.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]

Egypt (none / 0) (#133)
by sien on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 11:01:07 AM EST

The Egyptians always seemed quite happy to get their couple of Billion from the US for leaving Israel's Southern border alone. Didn't they recognize Israel ?

[ Parent ]
Egyptians aren't Arabs (2.00 / 1) (#135)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 11:18:18 AM EST

At least they don't consider themselves to be. Yes, Egypt under Sadat recognized Israel (and he died for that recognition) and the Egyptian government has found it politic to continue doing so. But read some of the stuff said about Israel in the (government controlled) press.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
Errmm (4.00 / 1) (#138)
by sien on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 12:10:12 PM EST

They don't think they are Arabs ? It must have been a mistake when they were one of the founding members of the Arab League. ;-)

Your point is pretty valid though, I hadn't realised that most Arab States hadn't recognized Israel. I think Jordan does though. And yes, I realise that the Arab press is obsessed with Israel. But, the European press is no longer that fond of Israel.

Face it, the tide has turned. There is only really one state that unequivocally backs Israel.

[ Parent ]

Wrong! (none / 0) (#197)
by BlackFireBullet on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:55:08 AM EST

The Fahd/Fez Initiative of the early 80s supported a two state solution.

[ Parent ]
It's not just hysteria (none / 0) (#409)
by zhermit on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 07:19:05 AM EST

First off, why are the Palestinians so adept at attacking Israelis, as opposed to Al-Qaeda's relative lack of confrontation with America on our soil? There's a vast gulf in the required logistics. It's relatively easy to slip across the border with a bomb strapped to your chest when compared to sneaking in various components of a bomb, putting them together, planning for ages, and finally exploding a building or two. There's also the desparation level. Palestinians are seeing the usurpation of their land first-hand, and their retaliation is driven by this. Al-Qaeda reads the news, quotes some scripture and has to gather their strength from this.

Second, the very idea of an America consumed by the fear of a terrorist attack is the goal of terrorism - that's why it's called terrorism. But the American public has a tendency to just forget the whole thing and continue on with daily life - hence the renewed threat decrees, issued every few months by our elected officials.

Finally, this link is to an interview in a Saudi newspaper with an Al-Qaeda spokesman who prclaimed their "right to kill 4 million Americans." This may be just smoke - who knows. But if you look at his words, you'll see the words of the American government echoed - just replace Islam with Democracy or Capitalism as you're reading and you'll see what you're talking about. If we're so fervent about defending democracy, what's to stop them from having the same intensity about Islam?

Recent reports have said that Al-Qaida has regrouped in Northwestern Pakistan. Wouldn't it make sense to just relax for a bit, wait for the American public to stop believing its leaders about the threat of the week and attack? They don't have the technical resources we do, so strategically, that's probably their best bet.

So it makes sense to look behind our shoulders a little bit. There's a threat out there, and no one's really doing anything to control it, despite the proclamations of the new bureaucracies we set up to put our minds at ease.


I have a sig?
[ Parent ]
Please answer one question for me (1.71 / 21) (#16)
by theboz on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:49:05 PM EST

Why do you hate America so much?

Stuff.

i second that (2.00 / 4) (#20)
by minus273 on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 05:01:31 PM EST

and im not even american..

[ Parent ]
is someone (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by KiTaSuMbA on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 07:35:04 PM EST

telling you to "watch out for this 'trick'!" hating you? He just made a couple of serious points...
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
What are you talking about? (none / 0) (#406)
by tekue on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 06:03:11 AM EST

The guy just made some good points, do you think it's because he hates US (he wasn't talking about America, just US)? You're looking too much for people who hate US.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]
If they manage to detonate a nuke on U.S. soil, (2.14 / 14) (#21)
by acceleriter on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 05:04:08 PM EST

they must be even more fanatical that even I could comprehend. Because in doing so, they will start the war they apparently believe the Koran prophesied, and unleash the immediate nuclear annihilation of every Muslim country on earth and the forced conversion and/or massacre of those Muslims living in non-Muslim countries, with the full support of what's left of the U.S. electorate and NATO.

Given how much effort it took to maintain tolerance of people who even looked Muslim after 9/11, think about it and see if it's really all that far-fetched.

Wouldn't work that way (4.50 / 2) (#22)
by dark on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 05:11:19 PM EST

The 'immediate nuclear annihilation of every Muslim country' would cause a HUGE backlash against the US -- for the few months that mankind will have left to live. That kind of nuclear attack will usher in the Fimbul winter.

[ Parent ]
you are likely right (4.00 / 2) (#27)
by Altus on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 05:36:47 PM EST

But I do not belive that the us would have to use large scale nukes to absolutely level the middle east.  Everyone talks about the US and their nukes, but our conventional weapons are also disgustingly devistating and just as abundant.

I do believe that we would level the middle east if something like this happened.

 
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the money, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

not very likely (5.00 / 2) (#93)
by blablablastuff on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:36:27 AM EST

Although it would be a really good time to be moving far, far away from the country hiding them that time. A nuke on american soil wouldn't bring down the country, but it damn sure would bring down the last little scraps of serious resistance towards scouring the planet for the last drop of Bin Laden's blood line. (or, of course, whoever did actually commit the act)

We wouldn't punish the entire middle eastern subcontinent for the actions of someone who happened to share their religion, but we would most likely stick the stars and stripes on top of the rubble pile of the capitol city of the nation giving safe harbor to the bad guys.

So much the better if it happens to be Iraq...we never actually got around to declaring peace the last time. We just quit for a while to rest a bit. Put the words Saddam Hussein on top of the picture of a mushroom cloud in Chicago (just because everyone always picks on New York in their hypotheticals) and find out just how well rested we really are.

It'd kick ass for the economy too, IIRC, Iraqi oil makes for good gasoline. Prices will drop when we have our own wells out there.

[ Parent ]

I Hate Yanks (1.25 / 8) (#105)
by I Hate Yanks on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:52:53 AM EST

They're so fucking arrogant.


Reasons to hate Americans (No, 45): George Bush is America's leading diplomat.
[ Parent ]

thanks (none / 0) (#238)
by ChannelX on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:07:39 AM EST

for the generalization buttmunch. I guess everyone from whatever country youre from is an asshole too?

[ Parent ]
yeah, whad-ever! (1.25 / 4) (#373)
by I Hate Yanks on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:11:16 PM EST

I guess everyone from whatever country youre from is an asshole too?

Er, No. But you're an asshole!

And learn to fucking spell.


Reasons to hate Americans (No, 45): George Bush is America's leading diplomat.
[ Parent ]

heh...whatever (none / 0) (#514)
by ChannelX on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 12:26:39 PM EST

care to point out the spelling error bumhug?

[ Parent ]
Maybe hate America's electoral system, but... (none / 0) (#327)
by Dephex Twin on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:36:01 PM EST

don't think that a majority of Americans voted for George Bush as president.

They didn't.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Bush voters (none / 0) (#349)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:22:52 PM EST

I suspect a majority of Americans who DID vote for Bush were really voting against Gore.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
My Point Exactly (1.00 / 1) (#372)
by I Hate Yanks on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:09:04 PM EST

They've been screwed. They know they've been screwed and nobody is lifting a finger to change things.

"Oh well", they say. "He's better than Gore"

Fuckwits! the lot of them I say!


Reasons to hate Americans (No, 45): George Bush is America's leading diplomat.
[ Parent ]

Are you high? (none / 0) (#396)
by Dephex Twin on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 12:30:35 AM EST

You're rambling like a madman now, honestly.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

You're right (none / 0) (#424)
by sagie on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 11:29:21 AM EST

and they have every good reason to be.

[ Parent ]
Just one (3.00 / 2) (#247)
by ThePlague on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:28:07 AM EST

The U.S. would only have to nuke one Arab city, to show that it has the will. Then, declare that the next time it will be Mecca. I wonder how many suicide bombers will be recruited when it is well known that their actions will lead directly to the destruction of their holy city?

[ Parent ]
All of them. (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#259)
by Kwil on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:00:22 PM EST


That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
You think so? (none / 0) (#329)
by ThePlague on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:45:29 PM EST

Ok, in retrospect it seems insane that they (presumably) thought they could get away with WTC without severe retribution. However, in the threat of nuking Mecca, there would definitely be created an incentive throughout the Islamic world to collaborate with the U.S. to thwart future attacks. Basically, a MAD situation would be established. Now, granted, some might not care, but they would be hard-pressed to recruit suicide bombers on the basis of religious fervor when the performance of such an act would lead directly to the destruction of their most holy city, the one they "pray towards" several times a day. Coupled with moderate Islamists now having a definite incentive to prevent their plans, I think this would be a workable, though distasteful, solution.

[ Parent ]
I notice a few ones and Spork's zero (1.00 / 1) (#266)
by acceleriter on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:21:53 PM EST

. . . but no significant rebuttals. I'm somewhat new to this, but now I know to zero or one comments that I disagree with.

[ Parent ]
Don't take ratings so personally (none / 0) (#433)
by Kalani on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 12:43:45 PM EST

There aren't even usually very many comments on any given story. They're usually used more to allow somebody to thumb his/her nose at somebody else than to actually keep comments from being seen. :)

-----
"Nothing says 'final boss' like a giant brain in a tube."
-- Udderdude on flipcode.com
[ Parent ]
Riiiight. (none / 0) (#363)
by PrettyBoyTim on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:37:20 PM EST

NATO countries have agreed to defend each other, but only from war with other countries. The US might want to smash its way through every country without a McDonalds franchise after such an attack, but they'd be on their own.

Nice troll though.

[ Parent ]

And note how quickly . . . (4.00 / 1) (#365)
by acceleriter on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:50:24 PM EST

. . . Article 5 of the NATO charter was invoked after 9/11, when the U.S. was (and still is) not technically at war with any country.

[ Parent ]
Hmm (5.00 / 9) (#30)
by marcos on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 05:40:33 PM EST

According to somewhat reliable sources, nobody has yet managed to build even a dirty bomb without killing himself.

To quote:

And therein lies the biggest problem in building a dirty bomb. Even if you find all the parts, putting them together can kill you. To make an effective one you need a lot of radioactive material -- which either means making a shield so heavy the bomb becomes impossible to move -- or building a bomb without a shield, which would mean almost instant death for the bomb maker from radiation poisoning.

Duh... (5.00 / 13) (#33)
by cyberdruid on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 06:01:05 PM EST

...you train monkeys to do it for you. This way you get the extra bonus of having a group of angry radioactive monkeys that you can unleash on an unsuspecting target.

Isn't there something in the bible about a swarm of murderous radioactive apes being the first sign of the apocalypse? Somewhere in the back?

[ Parent ]

Suicide (4.00 / 2) (#34)
by freakazoid on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 06:03:23 PM EST

And whoever sets it off will probably kill himself in the process. We already know the terrorists use suicide missions.

[ Parent ]
Don't Be Daft (none / 0) (#331)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:51:08 PM EST

If the radiation poisoning kills the builder within minutes of getting the material together, the bomb never gets finished.

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 ]
Building a nuke (3.33 / 3) (#104)
by dinu on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:48:22 AM EST

Getting the uranium is fairly easy comparing to actually building the nuke itself. But uranium is dangerous enough by itself. Imagine 5kg of uranium powder and 20kg of tnt for propelant on top of a skyscraper with the right wind condition. The powder itself won't kill to many but the panic will. And you will have a large enough area to decontaminate with long term health effects on population if you do not act fast enough. Isn't this the ultimate terrorist goal? Achive terrorizing efects without having to inflict a deadly blow.

[ Parent ]
Ummm (5.00 / 2) (#113)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:11:35 AM EST

Uranium isn't that dangerous. It's a toxic heavy metal, like lead, but the radioactivity is fairly low unless it's been enriched. 5kg of Uranium powder is probably little more dangerous than 5kg of lead powder.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
not if you ingested (5.00 / 1) (#117)
by dinu on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:21:54 AM EST

Not if you ingested and it will have long term effects. You can getted assimilated with food, water, or just by breathing. Indeed Cesium, cobalt or ammericium are much more dangerous. Statisticaly you will have betweed 1 in 100 to 1 in 10000 cases of cancer of lechemeia or cancer deppending on the distance wind etc.

[ Parent ]
But that's true of lead also (4.00 / 2) (#126)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:56:17 AM EST

Lead, mercury, and other metals, can have horrendous effects when ingested, completely without any radiological compenent. Yes, the radiological nature of U makes it more dangerous, but not tremendously more.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
depends on isotope (none / 0) (#127)
by dinu on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 10:01:37 AM EST

Depends verry much on the uranium isotope you are using and the concentration. Uranium 238 is not that dangerous even though recent studies and examples of the effects in desert war and Bosnia (from A10 deppeled uranim 30mm projectiles) proove different. On the other hand Urranium 235 have verry dangerous effects even if ingested in tiny quantities.

[ Parent ]
Natural metallic uranium (none / 0) (#129)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 10:09:47 AM EST

Or depleted. Either of those it what we're talking about. If the terrorist can get ahold of 5kg of U235, why would he make a radiological weapon rather than a nuclear?

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
U235 (none / 0) (#132)
by dinu on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 10:19:00 AM EST

It is quite hard to build a nuke even if you have the U235 in pure state, also reactor grade uranium in a concentration 3-5% it is imposible to detonate but presents very high radiaton risks, and in Russia they do not have a perfect record guarding it.

[ Parent ]
U235 (5.00 / 2) (#134)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 11:15:55 AM EST

A nuke built on U235 (assuming you have >1 critical mass) is extremely easy to build. You put a ring of U at one end of a tube, a cylinder of it at the other, and fire the cylinder down the tube. That's the Little Boy design used on Hiroshima. So easy to design it wasn't even tested before use (Trinity was a test of the Pu design).

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
Gun-Triggered Fission Bomb (none / 0) (#149)
by dinu on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:46:03 PM EST

Indeed Little Boy was a gun trigered device. It sounds very simple in theory but it is not actually that simple because you should get the majority of fuel to fission or fuse before the explosion occurs otherwise the bomb will just fizzle out. As far as I remember there were lots of problems in the Manhatan project to design the actual shape of the of the explosive charge in order to achive enough material fissioned, and we are talking first class scientist here. Finaly they ended up with 1.5% efficiency bomb (only 1.5% of the fissionable material was fissioned) whitch weighted 4.5 ton and was longer than 3m. The yeild was 14.5KT. This is not within the reach of a terrorist organization to produce or to move arround. Indeed the bigest problem is to produce enough enriched uranium and a "rogue" state might be able to produce it but deploy it against you would be quite hard but not imposible. If I were Ossama Bin Laden I will just go for multiple large maetropolitan area contamination whitch is simpler to do and require lower grade and easier to get radiological materials. It does not have to be uranium. Cesium, Cobalt, Americium, Uranium, Plutonium and Iod isotopes are good examples examples. Just remember the effects of Cernobal and there was not a nuclear explosion there. The smoke litteraly poisoned all Europe.

[ Parent ]
the manhatten project (none / 0) (#246)
by el_guapo on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:23:14 AM EST

the trinity device they detonated was a plutonium compression device. the little boy gun-type device was never tested. they were so sure it would work they just dropped their first (and only one, at the time) one over hiroshima. the only "engineering" on that device was a berillium (some composite if memory serves) disc placed at the bottom of the target uranium that somehow drastically upped the neutron generation at the beginning of the explosion. uranium gun-style devices == very easy to build, with low efficienceies. compression style plutonium devices == a bitch to build with higher efficiencies. thermonuclear/hydrogen devices (which is tnt setting off a compression plutonium device which then sets off a deuterium fusion device) are a ROYAL bitch to build and have HUGE efficiencies. the first h-bomb set off (ivy mike, you can find pics on the web) completely evaporated the pacific island it was set off on and left a huge crater in the ocean floor. it was like 5 times the highest estimated yield.
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Hmm (none / 0) (#375)
by KilljoyAZ on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:32:45 PM EST

The problems you described with the shape of the explosive charge is the problem with the plutonium device (shell of explosives surrounding a plutonium core). I don't think finding a way to shoot a "bullet" of enriched uranium into a shell of enriched uranium quickly enough was difficult for the Manhattan project scientists.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
right (none / 0) (#402)
by dinu on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 02:58:13 AM EST

You are right. Got them mixed up a little :). Anyway the point is that such a device is quite bulky.

[ Parent ]
Good Luck! (5.00 / 2) (#119)
by Ranieri on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:24:02 AM EST

It's a toxic heavy metal, like lead, but the radioactivity is fairly low unless it's been enriched.

Well, good luck making an explosive device with natural uranium. Sure, it's possible, but the amount of compression required makes this quite impractical, especially within the realm of the 5 kg mentioned by the previous poster.

Additionally the halflife of U235 is about 25 million years, or 7.9e14 seconds. Five kilograms of 3% U235 would contain 0.64 mole or 3.8e23 atoms of U238. We can therefore estimate an activity of approximately 4.8e8 Bq, or slightly less that 500,000,000 events per second.
I understand the point you are trying to make, but i think i'll go for the lead.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]

not natural (none / 0) (#130)
by dinu on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 10:11:24 AM EST

I was thinking of rector grade uranium which have a 3-5% percent concentration of 238 isotope or even nuke grade whitch shoul be over 90%. Uranium of that type it can be obtained from Russia (casess of rector grade uranium smugling have been reported in the past). The scope of the TNT will be just to propell the matterial it into air assuring a wide spread area, not to achive critical mass. No imediat health effects will follow but long term ones. Anyway the goverment has to act and clean up the area, and the news of uranium infestation will generate an widespread panic which will kill much more people than the uranium itself and the psyhological effect will be tremendous, both by spreading panic and fear and also by discreding the government capacity to prevent wide scale terorist acts.

[ Parent ]
Nuke?!? (1.00 / 1) (#267)
by wurp on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:22:22 PM EST

Who's talking about building a nuke?  A radioactive dirty bomb is just a conventional explosive with some radioactive material, probably in powdered form, to be dispersed by the blast.

A news story on NPR had experts stating that there was no calculable risk of death due to radiation poisoning from any workable dirty bomb plans, even over the course of years.  The radioactive material (usually Cobalt 60 or Strontium 90) would be too weak to cause a significant number of deaths from cancer compared to the deaths from the amount of explosives needed to disperse it.  It is purely a terrorist weapon; it has no real value in terms of killing people.  It just scares the uneducated.

As an aside (and rebuttal):
To build a nuclear weapon, getting weapons grade uranium or plutonium is by far the hardest part.  Any reasonably intelligent person can educate himself on how to take two chunks of weapon-grade radioactive material that are each smaller than the critical mass but both together are greater than critical mass, and use conventional explosives to slam them together to make a fission bomb.  The process of refining uranium or plutonium to have a composition that is almost purely the isotopes needed is complex and difficult.  You would have to find such material already made by a country that has nuclear weapon.

There's a good reason that there are only a few nuclear powers on the planet, and it's not because the engineering to make nuclear bombs is so hard.

---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]

Spurious assumption (none / 0) (#325)
by Rogerborg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:32:44 PM EST

    nobody has yet managed to build even a dirty bomb without killing himself.

What was the biggest long term effect of September 11th? Thousands of people died, and I grieve for them, but we can make more people. We're good at that.

The biggest effect was that the global - and local - economy took a beating from which it's still struggling to recover. There's a damn great scar on New York. Property values for skyscrapers dropped. Even after the immediate danger was passed, people got scared

Now, why would you need to make a radioactive dirty bomb that kills people in the short term?

Just dump depleted uranium, plutonium, actually anything with an "ium" at the end - or even asbestos or enough "suspicious white powder" for that matter - on an area of New York or Washington, and watch the panic start. Watch property values plummet, and the stock market dive, and insurance companies muttering about not paying out for acts of terror.

The horror of September 11th was easy to understand, but at the other end of the scale, our ignorance about non-obvious threats is also ripe for being manipulated. Given how the markets reacted back in September, I'd say it's a fair bet that they'll do it again the next time there's even a hint of a news story beginning with "Mass panic..." in it, regardless of the actual substance.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

If Bin Laden can evade the US for this long... (4.09 / 11) (#32)
by hovil on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 05:45:47 PM EST

He must be a super-human evil-genius and other descriptive terms that require hyphens.

My theory is that its all a diversionary smokescreen for the powers that be in the USA to put in place the changes needed ( "homeland security" etc ) to become an evil fascist state that will take over the world and enslave us all!

"Global controls will have to be imposed and a world governing body will be created to enforce them. Crises, precipitate change" -- Virus, Deltron 3030

BTW, this topic sucks.

Hehe (5.00 / 1) (#87)
by BlackStripe on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 02:32:16 AM EST

You get a 5 just for quoting Del, bro. That album was tight! I am currently going crazy waiting for PE's "Revolverlution" to drop, their show in Boston was freaking spectacular. I'm out for now, just wanted to let you know you got a 5 for your taste in music (speakin of PE, check the sig). Peace.

Blackstripe out.

"I normally take garbage records to the range and blow them away with my rifles."
- the one and only Johnny Juice Rosado

[ Parent ]

... then there must be a reason for it (4.66 / 3) (#102)
by squidinkcalligraphy on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 06:59:29 AM EST

While I don't discount your theory out of hand, a slightly more likely explanation is that they cannot catch him. he has a big support network, and there is a _lot_ of barren desert in that part of the world. And he's a pretty smart fellow.

Alternately, it would be a strategically very bad move for the US to capture him. If they capture him and try him, they got just about no evidence. If they kill him, he will be a martyr. Someone will fill his shoes. More trouble will ensue. If they _do_ find him, the best thing to do would be to keep  a very close eye on him. That way they get a lot more intelligence that could possibly be gained from his death.
An identity card is better that no identity at all
[ Parent ]

Bin Laden's network (5.00 / 3) (#107)
by ka9dgx on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 08:04:41 AM EST

Bin Laden's network is headquartered in Langley, Virginia, and they even have a highway sign these days. The level and span of disinformation is amazing, infiltrating almost every source known to mankind, even the Drudge report is a blatant propagadist. (He wants us to "have courage" to see the Pearl video, and to get angry... and stop thinking!).

Why Yemen all the sudden?... The worlds largest untapped Uranium reserves. Why Afganistan?... the oil reserves are more than double those of Saudi Arabia.

It's all about oil, and energy.

The recent arrest of a probable drug runner from the Latin Kings as a terrorist is a diversion. He was arrested a month ago, and the news was delayed to distract us from Sharon's visit to meet with Bush in the US.

If we don't wake up, we're going to repeat history, see Germany, 1930's.

--Mike--

[ Parent ]

no evidence (4.00 / 1) (#118)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:22:48 AM EST

Other than the videotapes where he admits responsibility for the Sept 11 attacks.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
Confessions (none / 0) (#125)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:35:26 AM EST

Bin Laden is not the only terrorist group to have admitted responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks.

Personally, I'm still waiting for the public revelation of the evidence the US said it had amassed in October last year, prior to the attacks on Afghanistan, and prior to the very conveniently found confessional video tapes.

[ Parent ]

You're thinking too hard (4.57 / 7) (#38)
by ROBOKATZ on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 06:16:47 PM EST

As much as we would like to believe, there are no elaborate conspiracies as such. Their goal is to do damage -- so they will use every opportunity to do so. They are not going to waste people intentionally setting them up to get caught (and risking giving the "enemy" a lot of intelligence information) just to create a distraction from others. It is better, and more logical, to play the numbers and just create as many cells as possible, in the hopes that they won't all be caught.

This is especially true in the case of a US citizen -- it is much less likely that they would be caught, and could more effectively move about and operate without being noticed. So why set up one of your most valuable people to be caught? What is the gain here?


Recruits are cheap (none / 0) (#42)
by freakazoid on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 06:25:44 PM EST

And there is no reason that the terrorists who are being caught should have any information that is valuable to the US. If al Qaeda are really carrying out a campaign of disinformation, they're keeping the people in-the-know very close to them while giving the rest of their cells disinformatory missions. (Is that a word?)

[ Parent ]
So... (4.16 / 6) (#41)
by ksandstr on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 06:22:49 PM EST

How, exactly, do you know that the current mess with the al-Quaeda wossname and all that isn't just one of the subconspiracies, all of which would have been constructed to bring dubya to power in the Holy American Empire and then through the bombing into submission of the rest of the world reinstate the so-called Ideal New World Order?

Huh?



Fin.
I don't (5.00 / 2) (#43)
by freakazoid on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 06:27:17 PM EST

But I think it's unlikely. Besides, I've already been accused by two commentors of being anti-American. If I were anti-American, I would be telling everyone everything's fine, or that the government really should be taking away our freedom to keep us safe.

[ Parent ]
Anti-American (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by J'raxis on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 08:53:46 PM EST

If you’re referring to theboz’s comment, I believe he was simply debating you as a true American Patriot would.

— The Raxis

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

Homer (none / 0) (#299)
by phliar on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:56:26 PM EST

... one of the subconspiracies, all of which would have been constructed to bring dubya to power in the Holy American Empire and then through the bombing into submission of the rest of the world reinstate the so-called Ideal New World Order?
"I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter."


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

If I was Osama (3.00 / 4) (#47)
by jmzero on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 07:10:29 PM EST

I would be like "Hey, there's a good chance I'm no longer alive."

The fact that there isn't large bombs exploding all over the States is evidence that something is missing from the "smart enough, willing enough, resourceful enough" equation.  

I think there's probably deficits in all 3 categories, and that the US should continue doing things that maybe wouldn't stop your smart terrorist - but could well catch some of the real ones.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

For a moment, assume I'm right (3.00 / 2) (#48)
by freakazoid on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 07:34:00 PM EST

Then the "real" terrorists that the US is currently catching would in fact be patsies. Of course, the fact that we're catching them isn't proof that I'm right. However, the incredible incompetence shown by the likes of Jose Padilla indicates either that al Qaeda are complete idiots or that perhaps they're using patsies.

Imagine this scenario: After 9/11, thousands of people flock to join al Qaeda. Al Qaeda spends a little time training a bunch of them and then sends them off on dozens of "missions." Thinking they're doing something for the cause, these people dutifully pursue their goals, only to get caught because they were idiots in the first place.

Just looking at the descriptions of how these terrorists have been caught and how much they talk after they get caught, one is almost required to imagine either incompetence or disinformation on the part of al Qaeda.

[ Parent ]

How can you be so stupid? (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by The Littlest Hobo on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 07:36:03 PM EST

What evidence do you have for your idiotic theory that this is anything more than run of the mill American propaganda?

[ Parent ]
New word for you? (none / 0) (#70)
by ROBOKATZ on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 10:37:03 PM EST

Did you just recently learn the word "patsy"? You've been to see Insomnia, haven't you? It's daylight during the nighttime!

[ Parent ]
"Evidence" (none / 0) (#58)
by DarkZero on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 08:05:04 PM EST

The fact that there isn't large bombs exploding all over the States is evidence that something is missing from the "smart enough, willing enough, resourceful enough" equation.

There have always been huge periods of inactivity between Al Qaeda terrorist attacks. How is the status quo for a group somehow evidence that it has undergone massive changes?

[ Parent ]

Huh? (none / 0) (#131)
by jmzero on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 10:15:17 AM EST

I'm not saying it's evidence of massive changes.  I'm saying it's evidence that they don't have limitless resources, and aren't necessarily the superterrorists talked about in the article.

Perhaps it would be more clear if I said it this way:

The fact that there isn't large bombs exploding all over the States is evidence that something is missing from the "smart enough, willing enough, resourceful enough" equation.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Not unusual at all... (4.00 / 1) (#82)
by tftp on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 01:35:04 AM EST

The fact that there isn't large bombs exploding all over the States is evidence that something is missing from the "smart enough, willing enough, resourceful enough" equation.

Continuous bombardment would be consistent with goals of a war (to suppress the resistance, to occupy the territory.) But goals of terrorists are - surprise! - to terrorize, not necessarily to kill.

The terrorists don't need to explode bombs every day. They do it once, and then governments do their job of terrorizing the populace for them! Fear of a near, imminent strike can be more powerful than the pain of the strike itself.

[ Parent ]

What about Israel? (4.00 / 1) (#124)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:33:38 AM EST

That's not the method the Palestinians are following.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
Palestinians (none / 0) (#303)
by phliar on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:01:23 PM EST

That's not the method the Palestinians are following.
I agree completely. Perhaps that's a good indicator that it's a result of widespread despair (desperation?) in the general population, not the work of a central command. Perhaps we should not expect Arafat to be the key to the problem.


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

Well, what about it? (none / 0) (#366)
by astatine on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:55:37 PM EST

I'm inclined to believe they think it is a war rather than a terror campaign.



Society, they say, exists to safeguard the rights of the individual. If this is so, the primary right of a human being is evidently to live unrealistically.Celia Green
[ Parent ]
the "why not" (2.75 / 4) (#51)
by KiTaSuMbA on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 07:50:28 PM EST

The big word here is: retaliation. If they get nuclear on the US, it wouldn't be such a surprise for the US to strike back with nukes as well. Mind you people, terrorists are not a bunch of madmen with demonic laughters as the movies love to present them. There are politics in this too. If Al Quaeda was to go nuclear with the US, why not do it from the begining? It would create a lot more fuss than the WTC attack did, it could even paralyze the country altogether (imagine what would have happened if the plane hitting the pentagon carried a warhead instead). Plus it would be a lot easier to deploy than now.
I recall discussing last summer on another e-forum Bush'es then-plans to reactivate the project of "space shield" against intercontinental missiles. I was arguing then that current "enemies" can be identified in 3rd world countries and that would for sure avoid the extreme cost, technical difficulty and transparency (you can't hide an intercontinental missile silo, you get fried before even finishing it!) and the US would be attacked, if ever, by non-conventional methods. I recall giving them an example of what that could be (pretty much as you did)  and my idea of "possible attack" involved airliners carrying warheads (I got the planes part right - I just wish I hadn't).  However I had added the same opinion I offer to you now: nobody is fool enough to blow a nuclear strike without possibility of a resolutive success (i.e. bring the US *AND* allies so much on their knees that no reply can be given).
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
Umm.... (4.75 / 4) (#64)
by Eater on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 08:38:19 PM EST

And what exactly would the US nukes be aimed at? What would they destroy? Saudi Arabia (that's where a lot of Al Quada members are from, isn't it?)? Iraq? Iran? You can't nuke a terrorist organization. If it was possible, the US would have done so already. And besides, if the Al Quada cared so much about protecting states that show some support for them, they would never have gone through with Sept. 11th, because they knew full well that the US would strike out at the first country that even showed a hint of supporting Al Quada.
Eater.

[ Parent ]
I partly agree (none / 0) (#67)
by KiTaSuMbA on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 09:26:43 PM EST

with you... However, the location of Al Qaeda leaders is rather well known and if they pulled that hit, reason and calmness would be goods in lack after the attack. I wouldn't be surprised if the US considered some "side effects" (casualties) as "acceptable". The risks would be too high for a, yes, hard hit but not resolutive.
No, the Saudi Arabia would never be hit with such weapons... petrol is stll high on our civilization's preferences.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
Attack a country that hasn't attacked us? (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by freakazoid on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 10:52:51 PM EST

What do you suppose the repercussions would be if the US set off a nuke on the territory of a government that hadn't attacked it? Even if they harbor terrorists, it would be difficult to make the argument that they deserved nuking. It would be even more difficult to argue that their neighboring countries deserved the fallout. Sorry, but nuclear retaliation by the US is a non-issue. There is obviously the issue of conventional retaliation. There are many who argue quite convincingly that retaliation is exactly what bin Laden and his ilk want, because it leads to increased hatred of America and destabilizes the world even further.

[ Parent ]
As I said (none / 0) (#81)
by KiTaSuMbA on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 01:12:16 AM EST

I can see your reasoning and agree on what should or should not be done... But can you imagine anyone thinking that cool after being nuked? Conventional retaliation is already employed (B52s are not exactly ideal for manhunt, they are pretty good on bringing havoc though).
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
It pains me to say this, but... (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by Xeriar on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 09:44:53 PM EST

And what exactly would the US nukes be aimed at? What would they destroy? Saudi Arabia (that's where a lot of Al Quada members are from, isn't it?)? Iraq? Iran? You can't nuke a terrorist organization. If it was possible, the US would have done so already. And besides, if the Al Quada cared so much about protecting states that show some support for them, they would never have gone through with Sept. 11th, because they knew full well that the US would strike out at the first country that even showed a hint of supporting Al Quada.

If, somehow, they actually set off a set of nukes in our populated areas - one source claimed that they have twenty, what do you think what's left of the American public would want to do? Do you think we'd keep up the whole tolerance bit? It's a question I've pondered - not belonging to any religion really, I will give any of them the benefit of the doubt.

I like to think of myself as calm and unbiased, but... Their own countries have an eye for an eye system. I am not going to delude myself into thinking I would keep such patience in the event of a true nuclear attack.

There are certain things very central to these terrorists that they cannot, will not ever be able to hide. I feel that any true believer in Islam would do everything in his power to keep nukes out of this. They cannot lead to good things.

----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
[ Parent ]

Hide what? (none / 0) (#83)
by tftp on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 01:43:45 AM EST

There are certain things very central to these terrorists that they cannot, will not ever be able to hide.

I have some problems parsing the statement above. Are you talking about some things that are holy to terrorists, and which they can't hide? Or you just mean that terrorists themselves won't be able to hide?

If former, then definitely nuking Mecca & Medina would cause terrorists some pain. But it will bring about more problems than it solves. If latter, terrorists are not in this business to hide. They only need to be hidden until they can strike. After they strike, they will be dead anyway.

[ Parent ]

Nukes and True Believers (none / 0) (#312)
by phliar on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:10:44 PM EST

If, somehow, they actually set off a set of nukes in our populated areas - one source claimed that they have twenty, what do you think what's left of the American public would want to do?
It's extremely unlikely they have any at all. Remember, India has about that number of tactical nukes; and India has had civilian nuclear power for over thirty years, a very large economy, a well-established scientific community, and enough western backing for her to be able to accumulate the fissionable materials. I would posit that Al Qaeda (or any other band of "evildoers") would have less resources than, say, Iraq; and it's unlikely that Iraq has any nuclear weapons.
I feel that any true believer in Islam would do everything in his power to keep nukes out of this.
I believe that any "true believer" of Islam would not attack civilian targets. But true believers of Islam seem about as rare as true believers of Christianity!


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

I understand... (none / 0) (#364)
by Xeriar on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:37:29 PM EST

It's extremely unlikely they have any at all. Remember, India has about that number of tactical nukes; and India has had civilian nuclear power for over thirty years, a very large economy, a well-established scientific community, and enough western backing for her to be able to accumulate the fissionable materials. I would posit that Al Qaeda (or any other band of "evildoers") would have less resources than, say, Iraq; and it's unlikely that Iraq has any nuclear weapons.

I realize full well that it is unlikely that Al Queda possesses a single working nuke. Short half-life of critical components make the world a safer place, indeed.

The article seemed to go after the possibility, however :-/

----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
[ Parent ]

where the nukes be aimed at? (4.66 / 3) (#96)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 04:12:00 AM EST

And what exactly would the US nukes be aimed at?

Iraq. Whether they were involved or not. And you lot would not only endorse this, but treat people who pointed out that Iraq was not involved as if they were supporters of terrorism.

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

Mecca (2.50 / 4) (#144)
by Merk00 on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 02:13:15 PM EST

If there is a group of Islamic terrorists that you want to retaliate against, and you have no qualms about civilian casualities, then Mecca would be your choice. It would go beyond striking at them personally and instead striking at their beliefs. The threat of a nuclear attack on Mecca should make the most hardened Islamic terrorist at least stop and think.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

No (4.00 / 1) (#164)
by autopr0n on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 11:19:19 PM EST

Muslims belive mecca is invulnerable to destruction, so they wouldn't belive it to be possible.

Also, it would 'hurt' over a billion people, and probably destroy the US in the end.


[autopr0n] got pr0n?
autopr0n.com is a categorically searchable database of porn links, updated every day (or so). no popups!
[ Parent ]
The destruction of Mecca ... (4.80 / 5) (#178)
by vrai on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:14:45 AM EST

... by the US would turn even the most peace loving Muslim into a rabid member of the anti-US jihad. The moment you starting using the threat of attacks on civilian targets as a way of fighting terrorism you become terrorists yourselves. This is especially true when 90% of anti-American sentiment could be removed by simply dropping support for Israel and removing US (and other NATO) forces from the middle-east and other Muslim countries. As a comparison how do you think the world would feel (especially parts of the US) if the UK threatened to nuke the Vatican in response to any Irish republican attacks?

[ Parent ]
I can't agree any more strongly here! (5.00 / 2) (#229)
by Kintanon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:50:10 AM EST

The above poster is 100% correct, even THREATENING to nuke Mecca would turn millions of formerly peaceful Muslims into incredibly angry individuals. You DO NOT threaten to destroy the central location of a religion practiced by half of the worlds population! It's just not smart.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

No, the worst thing (4.00 / 1) (#314)
by phliar on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:16:24 PM EST

Destroying Mecca would have quite the opposite effect: every muslim in the world would be ready to become a martyr to destroy the US. (Perhaps I exaggerate -- but not by much.)

If you want to destroy a people, kill all the persons. Destroying a symbol just gets the survivors riled up.


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

I think you give the terrorists too much credit (3.72 / 11) (#52)
by skim123 on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 07:55:48 PM EST

I don't think al Qaeda will ever be blamed of being that clever. Read this interview with a woman who interviewed Atta, one of the Twin Tower hijackers, when Atta was wanting a loan to buy a crop dusting plane. Atta made comments like:

"[Atta] ... remarked about the lack of security in the [woman's office] building, pointing specifically to a safe behind Bryant's desk. 'He asked me what would prevent him from going behind my desk and cutting my throat and making off with the millions of dollars in that safe.'"

"'I believe he said, "How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it," like the cities in his country had been destroyed?' Atta also expressed an interest in visiting New York, specifically the World Trade Center, and asked Bryant about security there. He inquired about other American cities, including Phoenix, Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago."

"He mentioned al Qaeda, he mentioned Osama bin Laden."

This hijacking mastermind was anything but covert, no? So why now, when the terrorist group is at one of its lowest points, would you expect world-class espionage, tactical planning, etc.?

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


That 'loan interview' is widely acknowledged... (5.00 / 2) (#53)
by The Littlest Hobo on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 07:56:50 PM EST

As being fake.

[ Parent ]
Proof? (5.00 / 2) (#56)
by DarkZero on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 08:01:08 PM EST

Could you please provide some proof of that? On the one hand, there's this ABC News article. On yours, there's... well, your half of a sentence in the body of your post.

[ Parent ]
Of course it was fake (none / 0) (#85)
by BlackStripe on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 02:18:29 AM EST

I said that the second it was first posted to Kuro5hin. Anyone who thought that was legitimate is a fucking moron. No one is as stupid as Atta was made out to be by that lady. He asked for the picture because it was a nice overview of the city and then talked about blowing up American monuments? Ya right. And then she talks about how "these people don't just walk in with a 'T' on their foreheads." I'm sorry but anyone who took this seriously is a clown for real. Blackstripe out. "I normally take garbage records to the range and blow them away with my rifles."
- the one and only Johnny Juice Rosado

[ Parent ]
Someone needs to learn to use HTML (none / 0) (#86)
by BlackStripe on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 02:20:01 AM EST

and that someone is me. Sorry guys.

Blackstripe out.

[ Parent ]

aknowlaged by whom? (2.00 / 1) (#163)
by autopr0n on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 11:15:58 PM EST

Kuro5hin's 'pundants'? Is there any actual evidence that it's fake?

If atta asked some of those things in a joking manner, it might not have freaked her totaly out. She probably just wrote it off as a 'crazy foriner'


[autopr0n] got pr0n?
autopr0n.com is a categorically searchable database of porn links, updated every day (or so). no popups!
[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#256)
by odaiwai on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:58:33 AM EST

> Is there any actual evidence that it's fake?

You mean apart from the fact that, from her story, Atta is practically twiddling his moustaches, tying young ladies to railway tracks and going "Muahahaha" all the time?

I'm just surprised that she didn't say he'd asked for  some sharks with lasers on their foreheads.

dave
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]

Al Qaeda (4.40 / 5) (#60)
by J'raxis on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 08:22:12 PM EST

All this says is that Al Qaeda finds stupid people to be their suicide bombers. Their leadership obviously isn’t that stupid, but I do agree that this plot is far more involved than what Al Qaeda has done before (blowing up the WTC with a truckful of explosives, blowing up the USS Cole with a boatful of explosives, blowing up the WTC again with two hijacked airplanes, ...).

— The Raxis

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

Rabid scaremongering: -1 (4.66 / 27) (#57)
by mr strange on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 08:01:48 PM EST

I can read this sort of hyperbolic nonsense in any tabloid newspaper. Try writing something new or interesting.

If the politicians tell the truth, that they cannot protect their constituents, the constituents will elect politicians who will tell them what they want to hear. So even the politicians are helping al Qaeda's disinformation campaign.
You Americans are just waking up to the reality the rest of us have had to live with for years. Nobody can guarantee your safety. Live with it.

I live in London. We regularly have terrorist bombs here. Not so many recently, but still I remember. I travel to work on the train. There are no waste bins in the stations. That's annoying, but at least it's one less place to hide a bomb. Terrorists have attacked shops and offices. I work in just such an office. I shop in those shops.

We get used to it. Yes, a bomb might blow me to smithereens on the way to work. But I'm far more likely to be run down by a drunk driver, or stabbed to death by a relative.

Terrorism is just one more danger. Politicians and the police and the courts do all they can, but they can't completely eradicate all risk. It's worth losing a few waste bins. Maybe it's worth having to check in 2 hours before every domestic flight to allow to security checks. Perhaps it's even worth a few more pounds on my tax bill, to feel a little bit safer. It's NOT worth losing my freedom to associate, to speak, to think or to a fair trail. And NEITHER is it worth sacrificing any other person's right to those things.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus

if only there were more people... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by blablablastuff on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 08:37:43 PM EST

Who held to the simple truth you expressed in the last paragraph. Terrorists would give up in frustration. What we're doing over here, right now, is just shouting at the world that terrorsim attacks CAN make us change. We're letting them win.

[ Parent ]
Terrorists don't want to restrict our rights. (5.00 / 3) (#94)
by mr strange on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:51:40 AM EST

Thank you for your praise. I appreciate it.

However, I think you are mistaken. Terrorists don't care about citizen's rights or freedoms. No terrorist group I know of is fighting for a police state run by "President" Bush or Tony Blair.

The IRA want a united Ireland. Mr. bin Laden wants a change of government in Saudi Arabia.

I'm not arguing whether or not we should give them what we want. I'm arguing that we shouldn't overreact to them.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

They do want to cause change (3.00 / 2) (#97)
by blablablastuff on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 04:18:50 AM EST

And they want their victims to acknowledge them as powerful, and an entity to be feared. I believe that by overreacting, we take a step along the path they would have us walk. The logic (or twisted lack thereof) could then indicate, OK we hit them once, and look at the "mighty" Americans, cowering and hiding, they obviously fear us now. If we do something really mean, despite all their precautions, then we will prove ourselves stronger than them, they will have to do as we say.

Sure it's irrational to right-minded human beings, but to the whack jobs that would try something like this in the first place, it might have some appeal. If they do pull off another attack, say by an 18-wheeler full of homemade explosives, maybe then we'll have even stricter laws, fewer rights, police checkpoints all over every highway. They wouldn't launch the attacks if they didn't think we would succumb to them eventually. Publicly overreacting may, in effect, be giving them exactly what they want to see, whereas a great big, hearty public "F*ck you!" followed up by a swift kick in the ass to the bad guys, sends a message that we will not be cowed into action, that they will never have a snowball's chance in hell of winning. We've got the ass-kicking part down, but the rest of the technique still needs some work I think.


[ Parent ]

Hear! Hear! (4.00 / 1) (#322)
by phliar on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:25:14 PM EST

I, for one, am glad that this story did not get voted down (in spite of your -1) -- because then this comment would have been lost forever:
Yes, a bomb might blow me to smithereens on the way to work. But I'm far more likely to be run down by a drunk driver, or stabbed to death by a relative.

Terrorism is just one more danger. Politicians and the police and the courts do all they can, but they can't completely eradicate all risk. It's worth losing a few waste bins. Maybe it's worth having to check in 2 hours before every domestic flight to allow to security checks. Perhaps it's even worth a few more pounds on my tax bill, to feel a little bit safer. It's NOT worth losing my freedom to associate, to speak, to think or to a fair trail. And NEITHER is it worth sacrificing any other person's right to those things.

Amen!


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

Al Qaeda isn't that organized (3.58 / 17) (#59)
by valency on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 08:17:37 PM EST

9/11 could have been pulled off by twenty angry people. As of right now we have absolutely no proof that Al Qaeda is any larger or more organized than that -- twenty people or so.

All these super-conspiracy theories about Al Qaeda being a worldwide network more powerful than any government are nothing more than propaganda (FUD) to bolster the power of the executive branch and keep us from questioning its actions.

---
If you disagree, and somebody has already posted the exact rebuttal that you would use: moderate, don't post.

So? (none / 0) (#101)
by axxeman on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 06:33:06 AM EST

In that case, finding another 20 angry people wouldn't be terribly hard now would it?

Feminism is an overcompensatory drama-queen club, with extra dykes. ---- Farq
[ Parent ]

Nope (none / 0) (#148)
by valency on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:26:14 PM EST

It wouldn't. That's the biggest obstacle in the War On Terrorism -- getting used to the fact that no matter what you do, you cannot prevent it.

---
If you disagree, and somebody has already posted the exact rebuttal that you would use: moderate, don't post.
[ Parent ]
No (none / 0) (#162)
by autopr0n on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 11:11:17 PM EST

But 20 random angry people arn't going to build a dam nuke, either.


[autopr0n] got pr0n?
autopr0n.com is a categorically searchable database of porn links, updated every day (or so). no popups!
[ Parent ]
someone watches waaaaaay too many movies (3.42 / 7) (#61)
by blablablastuff on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 08:31:11 PM EST

Although i'm sure you just saw a really exciting action movie/read a really neat book where a bunch of puny partizans were able to conquer some great power because they knew every thing about how everything worked, what everyone thought, and had total omniscience about their hated enemies plans, on this side of the movie theater doors, things like that just don't happen.
Howling fanatics don't really make the best covert agents. Thousands of howling fanatics forming a secret network trying to hide a hypothetical nuke is really kinda funny. Keep in mind, we're talking about the people who sent that guy with the shoe bomb. Which he had to light the fuse of. With matches.
MAAAAYBE they have a nuke. MAAAAAAAYBE they're going to take the HUGE risk or trying to transport it halfway around the world, instead of just using it on Israel. And yes, maybe we wouldnt find it. All three of these are pretty highly doubtful.
If, however, your conspiracy theory actually has some merit, then it should be pretty clear that there is no one in America who can handle this. We don't need the CIA, we don't need shadow governments and contingency plans, we need to borrow James Bond from the Brits. Because your history books, I mean Hollywood, have proven that the only remedy to evil omniscient fanatic terrorist masterminds with world domination evil plans, is to send one, lone man armed with a gun that never runs out of bullets, and a really hot chick to get in trouble. I suppose Austin Powers will do if Jimmy is a bit too busy bringing down the Soviet Union this week.

Another thing,

"One possible response to the knowledge that such an attack was underway would be an emergency order suspending the Constitution."
One possible response to someone suggesting that anyone in the the government would even think about issuing an "emergency order suspending the Constitution" is to call them a lunatic.

If the Constitution were ever to be violated to such a degree, it would be over time, step by step, with the American people nodding like sheep saying, "yes please, protect us, we don't really need THOSE rights" the whole way. That could easily happen, the way people are acting today. I'd be much more worried about that then Dr. Ev--Usama bin Laden's secret genius mastermind plot for world domination.

But, just to indulge you, "an emergency order suspending the Constitution" wouldn't make it past the office door of whichever madman slipped into schizophrenia long enough to sign his name to it. If there were a President who, by whatever means, of acid flashback or whatever is necessary to lose that much of a grip on reality, were to issue such a thing, you would see the fastest and loudest unanimous vote in the history of Congress. The Chief Justice would be physically dragged before the Senate before he could say "what the fu--?" and we'd have a new Executive before the old one even knew he was impeached.

I hope you're right (none / 0) (#71)
by freakazoid on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 10:44:58 PM EST

Perhaps you should read more K5 if you think that suspending part of all of the Constitution is impossible. And just because something happens in the movies doesn't mean it can't happen in real life. I hope people are right and al Qaeda and bin Laden really are a bunch of incompetents. On the other hand, there is no reason for them to want us to think otherwise, unless in fact they really were incompetents, in which case they might want us to think they were more capable than people seem to think they are right now. Of course, this sounds like "we think they are, so they're not, and if they weren't, we'd think they were." My point is just that just because it appears that al Qaeda are incompetent or at least very weakened right now, we shouldn't assume this to be the case.

[ Parent ]
Outlook not so good, but (none / 0) (#76)
by Holloway on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 11:15:23 PM EST

I hope people are right and al Qaeda and bin Laden really are a bunch of incompetents.
Signs point to yes


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]
sophisticated, huh? (4.50 / 2) (#95)
by blablablastuff on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:59:13 AM EST

one attack is conducted with razor blades and kung fu fighting, the next one they try involves a guy setting his shoe on fire.

Let me say that again, just because I still love that one.

The guy tried to set his shoe on fire.

These are the methodical evil conspiracy geniuses you're talking about here.

They didn't have their own pilots take off in the planes to begin with, they just had to kinda wing it with "lets get up there and start kicking peoples' asses until the pilot opens the door."

And don't forget the diabolical plot to blow up an airplane with some guy who tried to set his shoe on fire.

If you can make out some kind of supreme all-encompassing sophistication in that, more power to you.

[ Parent ]

I agree, Amateurs. (5.00 / 1) (#128)
by a2800276 on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 10:05:09 AM EST

Let me say that again, just because I still love that one.
The guy tried to set his shoe on fire.

The one I really love is the guys who blew up the World Trade Center! You really can't take terrorists seriously who content themselves with such peanuts, instead of going after something big, you know.

[ Parent ]

You missed the point (4.50 / 2) (#153)
by blablablastuff on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:01:03 PM EST

The author of the article here is trying to pin these guys as masterminds of criminal and political genius. He is making them into Mission:Impossible/James Bond bad guy overlords. The operation was not sophisticated. The planning could be done in about an hour. The plane attacks weren't done with any subtlety or significant skill. They quite frankly got lucky. In all of the cases they succeeded because the passengers were scared. The whole thing revolved around:

Get the pilot to open the door

What if the pilot hadn't opened the door? what if they accidentally tried to hijack a flight with a dozen marines flying home on vacation, sitting in first class? What if any of the passengers had grown a pair of balls and said drop that puny little knife or i'm kicking your ass?

Total failure. The hijackings were made successful because when they stood there slashing flight attendants with razor blades, the pilot let them into the cockpit. No access to the cockpit = no plane go crunchy crunchy into big tall buildings.

The author is trying to describe Bin Laden and his people as a bunch of mega genius criminal masterminds, which just isn't the case. If they had a fraction of the capabilities and sophistication he is trying to convince people of, the planes would have been flown from the start by al qaida pilots, who infiltrated the airport (and probably left the real pilots in a closet someplace in T-shirts and their underware, tied hand and foot, with a strip of duct tape over their mouth), and probably had cargo holds full of various Bad Things, insert your consipracy of choice. (Anthrax, nerve gas, nukes, blah blah blah)

Knocking over a big building is no sign of sophistication. It's a sign of brute force. If a kid builds a sand castle and you go belly flop in it, all you did was prove you know how to aim yourself in a ballistic arc which will land you roughly where he was building. Thats a bit different from having radio-controlled rats pop out of secret burrows on the beach and eat the kid and pee on his castle. Developing/hiding/training/transporting killer rabid remote control rats, takes an obvious level of sophistication. Running across a beach without getting tripped, or beating the piss out of a flight attendant while shouting "open the fucking cockpit door" is an indication of brute force.

Super geniuses don't use shoe bombs and razor blades. Except MacGuyver. But he's a good guy so that doesn't count. Infiltrating an airport, or having a (________) (insert evil cause here) sympathizer working as an airplane maintenance tech sabotage a fleet of 747's, that is the sign of someone sophisticated.

Even the targets show little in the way of sense. So they took out some tall buildings, who gives half a shit? Drop a plane into the NSA HQ on For Meade, blow up Congress AND the Supreme Court, hit the cornerstone of military control of the mideast (CentCom in Tampa). You can kill 10 times as many civilians without even trying at any major (american)football/basketball/WWF event. NOW you've done something more than symbolic damage. The WTC is full of accountants, and they get as much love as lawyers.

[ Parent ]

You have a point ... (4.00 / 1) (#210)
by a2800276 on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:58:01 AM EST

... in saying that the actual tools used - package knifes, brute force, etc. - were in themselves far from sophisticated. On the other hand, this was an extremely precise operation.

The type of sophisticated "super geniuses" that you describe just don't exist in real life. The scenario that you describe in which the real pilots are tied hand and foot, with a strip of duct tape over their mouth is pretty much the scencario that airports lines of defense were set up around.

It's not very sophisticated to attack a target - especially one as powerful as the US - head on, instead find weaknesses, go in in ways that haven't been exploited yet. Just because the bad guys on TV hijack planes using really cool computer stuff to magically defeat security systems and wearing pilots uniforms stolen from the Zippy DryCleaners, by a cohort of Dr. Evil working there undercover the last twoandahalf years, doesn't mean doing it diffrently is less sophisticated.

There was a lot more to the whole campaign than just yelling "open the fucking door". Think about the logistical effort in organising the whole thing, figuring out a way for a whole bunch of independant cells coordinating one another while being watched by the country that prides itself in having the most efficient intelligence gathering organisations ever.

Having to smuggle significant funds through international channels that are in themselves very well monitored.The preliminary planning, choice of targets that have an extremely large psychological impact on all sides, whether the operation fails or suceeds ...

Think about how extremly synchronised the attacks were. An operations with that magnitude of complexity would be difficult to get right if you were able to communicate freely.

Sure there was a good deal of luck involved, but this wasn't a bunch of kids throwing stones though window panes. It was an extremely professionally planned and executed operation that totally maximised the impact of the available resources.



[ Parent ]

good distinction (5.00 / 1) (#367)
by blablablastuff on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:58:05 PM EST

I condede that, although I still think the operation itself in total, wouldn't have been quite THAT hard. Smuggling a relatively small sum of money into the US isn't hard. These guys weren't living like big pimps and driving porsches. A small apartment, a shitty car that runs, flight training, plane tix and food. Piking targets is easy, because for some odd reason the Musilim fundie blow-shit-up club has had some kind of Freudean obsession with the the WTC, (get over it people, it's not that important) and that works for a good soft target, the other 2 planes were assumed to be going to blow up something that would actually hurt. The pentagon was just stupid. It's a big flat building, and they nicked a corner of it. Everyone on the planet has a different guess as to where the last one was heading. Most likely White house or Congress. I'd put money on the white house, the President is the one that gets all the attention.

"Ok, you guys are gonna fly into buildings"
"We dunno how to fly boss."
"ok. heres 50 grand. go to fly school. don't act like idiots and get busted. go see Ahmed over there for the standard fake passport/ID. call us in X months."
[time passes]
"OK we can fly boss. And American women are awesome!"
"What?!?"
"uhh nothing...anyway, whats next?"
"ok. hmm. better do this all at the same time. heres 4 crosscountry planes taking off at the same time. May Allah have mercy on the strawberry goo you're gonna look like next week."

The distinction does however reinforce my original point that the author's wild hollywood conspiracy theory is just not what we're dealing with here. If you opinion of Al Quaeda's tactical planning abilities is high or low, the most logical thing to do in the still unlikely chance that they do manage to lay their hands on a nuke, is to set that thing off ASAP.

For a terrorist, holding on to a nuke in some convoluted scheme like the author laid out with his World Wide Network Of Highly Trained And Well Supported Secret Agent Terrorists That Do Not Exist (WWNOHTAWSSATTDNE) theory up there, is stupid. If they're gonna use "Do what we say, or we will nuke you!" threats, they'd be doing so already. You don't have to actually HAVE the nuke you're threatening people with anyway, as long as you can convince them you do. And if they said they had it, every CIA, etc assurance they were full of shit would do nothing, the country would be a mess of screaming lunatic soccermoms trying to drive their SUV's to someplace safe. If the intention is to actually use one on people, waiting to set it off is just begging to get busted with it. And I would imagine that building a WWNOHTAWSSATTDNE gets kinda expensive after a while. Getting them all arrested would be a nuisance, to say the least. And once you discredit the WWNOHTAWSSATTDE theory, the rest of the article doesn't really have that much going for it. Except that "emergency order suspending the constitution." That's kinda cute, in a naive junior-sized tinfoil hat kinda way.

[ Parent ]

Eh... (none / 0) (#392)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:13:45 PM EST

These guys weren't living like big pimps and driving porsches.

One of the hijackers was positively loaded with cash... his dad was giving him a $2000/month allowance, and I have no doubts that if he called his papa up and said "Dad, I'd like a Porsche," he'd have it within two weeks.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Simplicity and Sophistication (none / 0) (#330)
by phliar on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:45:54 PM EST

Don't get carried away!
They didn't have their own pilots take off in the planes to begin with, they just had to kinda wing it with "lets get up there and start kicking peoples' asses until the pilot opens the door."
This plan was simple, and very sophisticated. Like Einstein said, "Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler." This was the essential plan -- they needed the minimum amount of preparation for a very effective plan. (They didn't even need to start kicking peoples' asses -- they could have just waited for the first time the flight deck door was opened because a pilot had to go to the restroom or wanted a cup of coffee.)
the diabolical plot to blow up an airplane with some guy who tried to set his shoe on fire.
And this was the other extreme: a simple-minded plan. That guy -- Reed -- was associated with Omar Bakri, "bin Laden's man in London." Hear an excellent (serious and funny) account of reporter Jon Ronson talking about his adventures with Bakri on This American Life (Dec 7, 2001). Bakri sounds like a clueless moron, and he probably is -- but that doesn't make him any less dangerous or evil.

(The David Sedaris piece on Christmas that follows is hilarious -- listen to that too!)


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

actually... (none / 0) (#75)
by Anonymous 23477 on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 11:13:33 PM EST

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has some real interesting powers granted to it. Eventhough this site is the conspiracy theorist's dream (lots of accusations ETs are already here helping the gov) the Executive Orders are real. http://abovetopsecret.com/pages/fema.html

But I don't think that would ever work. I agree that it would (or IMHO it had been for many years) happen slowly over time

[ Parent ]

Yeah, that suspending the constitution is silly. (none / 0) (#455)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 04:18:03 PM EST

It's not like we're going to lock up american citizens without a trial of their peers or access to a lawyer.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
WWBLD [n/t] (2.40 / 5) (#65)
by booyeah451 on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 08:50:16 PM EST



So why is it? (4.90 / 10) (#73)
by John Thompson on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 10:54:29 PM EST

freakazoid wrote:

The US receives a greater volume of goods by sea than by any other means. Once the ship is in the harbor, detonation of the device would cause tremendous damage and be a tremendous boon to al Qaeda, so discovery would not be a very big problem at that point. Inspectors would need to meet the ship before it came into the harbor and check it over with radiation detectors and other sophisticated and expensive devices.

[...]

Can we prevent the attack described above? My answer to this question is a controversial one: No. At least, not with reasonable certainty.

Nothing controversial about that. I can't help but wonder why the Bush administration still wants to flush billions of dollars down that "missile defense" shithole, though.

I truely can't see any justification for that except as another instance of corporate welfare riding through on the "war against terrorism" bandwagon.



Better use of money (4.83 / 6) (#84)
by tftp on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 01:54:51 AM EST

Nothing controversial about that. I can't help but wonder why the Bush administration still wants to flush billions of dollars down that "missile defense" shithole, though.

For example, they could redirect the money to build new seaports in unpopulated areas, or offshore (on islands). The customs inspection would be done there, in relative safety, and only cleared goods would then be forwarded to mainland (via a railway or a ferry). That project would be clearly doable, would not push any limits of technology, and would employ hundreds of thousands of workers - and it would be good to do anyway because the country will only benefit from more and better ports!

"Missile defense" indeed. Drug smugglers alone dug hundreds of tunnels under the border, and many tunnels are presumed to be fully in operation at any given time! There are so many ways to smuggle The Bomb across the border that it does not even make sense to list here. They started talking about scuba divers recently. D'oh! Haven't they seen James Bond movies?

[ Parent ]

Look at a map (5.00 / 3) (#112)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:08:38 AM EST

build new seaports in unpopulated areas, or offshore (on islands)

Find me an unpopulated area on the US coast that is feasible as a seaport, and which can be turned into one without the environmental lobby going totally ballistic. Ditto for offshore islands.

It's interesting to note that immediately after Sept 11 the amount of drugs entering the country dropped dramatically. There were reports in the press (usually on page A31) based on comments from people south of the US (not law enforcement). Then the border controls were loosened, due to cost and diplomatic concerns.

The US has never been serious about border control. Not the way other countries have been. Can you imagine the outcry if the US did get serious? "Enter at designated crossing areas only. People entering in non-designated areas are subject to being shot on sight by the Border Security Forces."

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]

i'm not sure if that's even possible... (none / 0) (#139)
by joshsisk on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 12:29:51 PM EST

that is a LOT of border to patrol.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
Fences, barbed wire (4.00 / 2) (#140)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 12:43:05 PM EST

Just rebuild the Iron Curtain on the southern border and put several divisions of troops with air support there. Give them authorization to fire on anyone trying to cross the border. Physically it's possibly. Politically? Well, if there are more large scale attacks.

The biggest loser in the War on Terror, under this scenario, would be Mexico. With farmers in California right behind.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]

_southern border_? (4.00 / 1) (#203)
by joshsisk on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:26:56 AM EST

Yeah, but what about the Northern Border? It's pretty sizable. Can we we really lock down both?
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
Standard operating procedure already (5.00 / 2) (#150)
by tftp on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 04:35:29 PM EST

immediately after Sept 11 the amount of drugs entering the country dropped dramatically

Of course. Everyone was lying low, to see what happens. Now they know, and they are back in business. Anyhow, they probably didn't lose any business if the price of drugs rose during that "shortage" period.

People entering in non-designated areas are subject to being shot on sight by the Border Security Forces

That's not too far from reality. Farmers at the border are all armed, ready and willing to shoot and kill anyone who trespasses. As I understand it, people who cross the border have absolutely no rights in USA, and they can be killed by a patrol. This is rare, though, because they usually surrender. But if they try to escape or attack the patrol they will be dead in no time. That's how many countries operate on less-than-friendly borders.

[ Parent ]

Drug statistics... (none / 0) (#321)
by curunir on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:24:47 PM EST

Of course. Everyone was lying low, to see what happens. Now they know, and they are back in business. Anyhow, they probably didn't lose any business if the price of drugs rose during that "shortage" period.

Not necessarily. Drug smugglers don't register their shipments with border patrols...so there's no way to know the true amount of drugs being smuggled into the country. DEA figures are based on the amount of drugs confiscated by border patrols. So, if the figures say that less drugs entered the country after 9/11, that just means that less drugs were confiscated.

It's quite probable that customs officials and border patrol were given a different set of priorities post-9/11 since the focus of their job has become more about stopping potential terrorists than stopping drug smugglers.

[ Parent ]
Location for seaport (4.50 / 4) (#189)
by Herring on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 06:13:37 AM EST

Unpopulated area? Few environmentalists?

Texas



Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
Two Fives? (none / 0) (#264)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:12:21 PM EST

Are you nuts? Sure, you can put these ports off the Texas coastline. Are you then willing to pay to have everything brought into the country shipped from Texas? The cost of living for most of the U.S. would double easily.

It's economically infeasible.

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 ]
Err, No. (none / 0) (#269)
by Hillgiant on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:32:05 PM EST

There are two reasons that a new port would not be built in Texas:
  1. If it is a good place for a port, there is already one there.
  2. The gulf coast regions that are not built up are popular for hunting. If you think the enviornmentalists are hard to fight, wait until the hunting lobby wieghs in.
Frankly, the first point applies for nearly any plan for some sort of clearing house port of entry. There are few unpopulated beaches, and those that are unpopulated are that way for a reason.

-----
"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny
[ Parent ]

because the government KNOWS things (4.66 / 9) (#88)
by blablablastuff on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 02:54:21 AM EST

and only the "missile defense" system will have the capability of shooting down the alien mothership when those fuckers come after us with the anal probes.

[ Parent ]
Hijack LNG tanker? (none / 0) (#381)
by rastafarii on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 08:59:17 PM EST

and ram into a french port to thank them for all the help they gave various ragheads against us interests over the years...

[ Parent ]
Congratulations Al Qaeda! (4.14 / 7) (#74)
by jabber on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 11:09:28 PM EST

Reporter: " You've just destroyed one of the largest symbols of the Western economy, and you've struck fear into the hearts of Westerners everywhere. What are you going to do next? "

Bin Laden: " I'm going to Disney Land! "

Think about the consequences of a dirty bomb, or Smallpox, with ground zero being the Magic Kingdom.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Scary indeed (5.00 / 1) (#291)
by Anonymous 7324 on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:34:13 PM EST

shut down any major entertainment center as a demonstration, and watch the economy get flushed right down the toilet as people try to spread thin and huddle in their houses.

[ Parent ]
Disneyland "security" isn't (5.00 / 1) (#356)
by ehintz on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:38:18 PM EST

We were there about 3 weeks ago. Security == looking inside your backpack. That's it. Not even a pat-down (which is surprising given that a few people have been stabbbed or shot at Disneyland). Anything which would fit under your baggy clothes would go in without question. That leaves room for traditional suicide bombs, dirty or chemical suicide bombs, an MP5 or Uzi, the possibilities are endless. 3 people with MP5s, synchronizing an assault in 3 different areas of the park (fantasyland, tommorowland, and frontierland for instance) could cause massive amounts of damage and terror. Or perhaps a herding technique; start the attack in tomrrowland and frontierland, then have another guy on main st. waiting for the scared folks running for the exit. Anyway, it's low tech enough and easy enough for AQ to pull off.

Regards,
Ed Hintz
[ Parent ]
Get out the tin foil hat (2.00 / 4) (#79)
by Torgos Pizza on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 12:32:14 AM EST

Are you sure you're not Oliver Stone in disguise?

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
Terrorist are stupid (4.00 / 11) (#89)
by godix on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 02:57:35 AM EST

My father and I had a conversation once way back when the Oklahoma City bombing was news about how stupid terrorist were. In under and hour the two of us thought of quite a few attacks much more devestating than any done yet. For example do you know how much damage would be done if you could destroy the Hoover dam? That attack alone would deny several states of electricity and several (desert) states of water not to mention the effects of everything downstream from the dam once it burst. I've heard that NYC is supplied with water from 2 pipelines running from Lake Erie to NYC. I don't know if this is true or not, but if so picture how easy it is to deny the largest city in USA of fresh water. If you could time it, it'd be best to do these attacks while a hurricane was hitting Flordia. If you did any of these attacks with airplanes America would (and did) shut down air travel. Imagine, with two properly timed attacks you could force America to deal with several states and their largest city suddenly becoming basically refuges without any airtravel to help them move around.

Or imagine this: Opening ceremonies of the Olympics. A hijacked plane is heading for them. America is forced to shoot down a plane full of civilians in front of cameras broadcasting to the world. Bonus points if the terrorist arrange for the passengers to be talking to loved ones or media at the time we shoot them down. No reasonable person would blame America, it's obvious that's what would have to be done in that situation. However you just know that the people who like hating america would throw a fit about it. This attack would probably do a lot more for seperating America from it's European allies than the Kyoto treaty, test ban treaty, or economic policies ever could.

The best place for a nuclear explosion right now would NOT be in America. It would be in Afganastan. If a nuclear bomb went off in Afganastan would anyone anywhere in the world really believe that it wasn't America who caused it? (Inside of India or Pakastan would be a good target also if the terrorist cared about that conflict) The damage to Americas foreign relationship would be much worse than anything you could hurt by blowing it up in America.

9/11 was also stupid. The towers were a propoganda attack. It shocked America and provided lots of highly visable damage, but in the end it killed less people than a days worth of car accidents. The real damage would have been if the Penn. plane hit congress like it's assumed it was targeting. If I was planning it I'd make damned sure the first plane to hit would be Congress. The second would be the White House (at a time when the president was actually there). The third and fourth would be for the towers  since it wouldn't matter as much if those got stopped (actually I'd probably only hit one tower and send the other to another building like the Sears tower or something. Spead the damage around a bit).

Bin Laden appears to have no end game. His entire focus was on pulling off the 9/11 attack with no thought of what would happen afterwards. If he were intelligent he would have had more attacks prepared for the months following 9/11 (it appears he was not involved in the anthrax attacks immediately following). Historically terrorism doesn't really do much with one attack. If Bush wasn't constantly using his high visability to keep people focused on terrorism we'd probably be back to wondering who Condit is screwing by now. As it is I figure by the end of the year terrorism will not be the focus of most people political thoughts. The only time terrorism seems to even partially work is when it is a sustained almost daily occurance like Ireland had or Israel has. Bin Laden wasn't out to change Americas policy on anything, if he was we would have had another 10 or 11 attacks against us by now (not neccesarily as big as 9/11 of course, just things like car bombing a disco here or there)

Now don't get me wrong, I'm glad terrorist are pretty dumb (or unable to pull of these attacks, same effect). Just don't make the mistake of thinking that because you're smart enough to imagine an attack that they're smart enough to do it.

do you have any idea what would be involved (4.75 / 4) (#92)
by blablablastuff on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:24:08 AM EST

in destroying the hoover dam?
it would take either a nuke or a hell of a lot more explosives than I can carry around.
crashing a plane into the face of it would probably leave a pile of plane wreckage at the bottom of the dam...which is 600 feet thick, of solid concrete, and which the government acknowledged almost immediately after it was build that they over-engineered it to a rather excessive (i forget the exact details) degree.

also the power it generates is just a bonus. when they need to let water out, it just so happens that the process of doing so generates power. As I recall from the tour, no one really "depends" exclusively on the power of the dam, except the dam and the small town right next to it.

[ Parent ]

600 feet thick? (none / 0) (#168)
by onemorechip on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:01:46 AM EST

I checked http://www.hooverdam.usbr.gov/workings/damstats.htm; the 600 ft. (660, actually) is at the bottom of the dam. The top is 45 feet thick. I presume it tapers fairly linearly. A hit at the bottom would have little effect, I guess, but a hit somewhere close to the top, and below water level, might cause a rupture. I don't think the effects would be felt as strongly as the post by godix suggested. IANACE, so I could be wrong.
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

Effects. (5.00 / 1) (#183)
by Ranieri on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:05:30 AM EST

The effects will be pretty damn terrible, as the events in 1963 at the italian dam of Vajont readily attest. We're talking millions of cubic metres (thus million of tons!) of water hurling down the valley, washing away everything.

The city of Longarone at the foot of the Vajont Dam was reduced to a large extense of mud. Look at this image. The top left is the city of longarone before, bottom left is after.

Now keep in mind that the Vajont dam is just a tiny fraction of the size of the Hoover dam.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]

Effects Redux (none / 0) (#262)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:07:33 PM EST

Actually, the fact that the Hoover Dam is bigger than Vajont works in its favor. That is, bigger dams are, well, bigger, and therefore less susceptible to damage. While it's true that a failure of the Hoover Dam will be much more catastrophic than the Vajont failure, that very failure is less likely because of the relative size of the dam. The simple fact is that using an airliner against that dam won't be effective (even 45 feet of concrete is sufficient to stop a plane). To destroy it, you'd need to blow it apart. Impact alone (failing a meteor or such) just doesn't carry the necessary force, and a plane designed to carry passengers doesn't pack enough explosive force to do the job (well, it does, but there's no way to direct that force effectively against the dam, since the major part of the explosion from such a collision would occur on the surface of the dam).

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 ]
Defense (none / 0) (#323)
by godix on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:26:19 PM EST

To defend myself mildly here, I did say this was an offhand idea thought up in under an hour. I have no interest in learning what would really be needed to do this. I also said no where that a plane should be crashed into the dam, I doubt that would work.

Going on memory here: I think there are two tunnels carved into the rock to serve as flow control. I imagine it'd be a lot more effective to send an underwater explosive through those and destroy whatever holds the water back in them. You could also blow a somewhat small hole near the top of the dam, the water flowing through the small hole would make it into a bigger hole. I'm not sure how effective either of these ideas would be, but doubtless either is more effective than a plane crash.

[ Parent ]

Why do you assume that terrorists are stupid? (5.00 / 5) (#152)
by cdupree on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 06:30:05 PM EST

It seems to me that Occam's Razor would tend to make one think that those who planned 9/11 got what they wanted. They weren't trying to kill the largest number of people. They were, like the bombers over Afghanistan, trying to terrorize the largest number of people. If, for example, Al Qaeda managed to set off a "dirty bomb" in New York, how would that help them? Such an incident would cause most of the countries in the world to unite against the attackers and attempt to destroy everything in their world. What could be more stupid than that?

I would claim that it's easier to imagine the leadership of Al Qaeda being intelligent planners with the goal of getting the US out of "Saudi" Arabia. From their point of view (which I attempt to understand because I want the terror on both sides to end, not because I agree with them), very few of the people in the WTC were the innocent civilians described by the NY Times. They would probably have looked to Al Qaeda like front-line soldiers in the global economic war that is devastating a lot of the world. Of course, the people who died on the airplanes were innocent civilians from any point of view. In the US, we call the innocent civilians we kill "collateral damage". Is that more righteous than Al Qaeda?

"Criminal: A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation." --Clarence Darrow
[ Parent ]

Goal (none / 0) (#319)
by godix on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:21:13 PM EST

Yes, the goal is to get US out of Saudi Arabia, which a side goal of Isreal that appears to be more for recruiting than an actual goal. Have you seen an move at all by the US since 9/11 towards leaving Suadi Arabia? Heard a single government person indicate we should even rethink being in Saudi Arabia? Hell, for the most part I haven't even heard people acknowledge that is the goal of Bin Laden. The terror attacks did not achieve Bin Ladens goal. They haven't ever worked towards it any. The only time I know of that terrorism has achieved it's goals in Ireland, and that was only partially. Israel has several times offered what was the stated goal of the Palastines, so that could be counted as well. In both cases it wasn't a single massive terrorist incident that did it, it was a sustained assault of small incidents.

[ Parent ]
woop (4.00 / 1) (#157)
by j1mmy on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:21:05 PM EST

Or imagine this: Opening ceremonies of the Olympics. A hijacked plane is heading for them. America is forced to shoot down a plane full of civilians in front of cameras broadcasting to the world.

Nobody would be shot down. This sort of thing has happened before and it was taken care of without too much trouble.

9/11 was also stupid. The towers were a propoganda attack. It shocked America and provided lots of highly visable damage, but in the end it killed less people than a days worth of car accidents.

You've been playing too much GTA3.


[ Parent ]

Why would the US nuke Afghanistan? (none / 0) (#170)
by avocadia on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:21:23 AM EST

The best place for a nuclear explosion right now would NOT be in America. It would be in Afganastan. If a nuclear bomb went off in Afganastan would anyone anywhere in the world really believe that it wasn't America who caused it?

I can't believe anyone would seriously believe the US were behind it.



[ Parent ]
Think about it. (4.00 / 1) (#195)
by bgarcia on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:26:17 AM EST

If a nuke were to go off in Afghanistan, which would be the most believable scenario:
  1. A U.S. tactical field nuke accidentally went off.
  2. Taliban supporters were able to build a nuke, then sneak it into Afghanistan and detonate it.
I think it would be much easier for people to believe scenario #1 (especially for people in the east).  You would then hear calls from even the U.S. supported government in Afghanistan for the U.S. troops to leave the country.


[ Parent ]
Accidentally?!? (none / 0) (#252)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:49:25 AM EST

Um, nuclear weapons don't ever, EVER, EVER go off "accidentally". In many cases, they don't even go off when intended (there are huge numbers of duds when nuclear tests are conducted, and every country that ever did them ran afoul of this).

It's roughly akin to saying a 747 could "accidentally" leave the gate, roll to the runway and take off without a pilot.

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 ]
Doesn't matter (none / 0) (#302)
by bgarcia on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:00:14 PM EST

Um, nuclear weapons don't ever, EVER, EVER go off "accidentally"
The reality doesn't matter.

Perception is all that matters.

If a nuke goes off in Afghanistan, people will believe that the U.S. had an "oops" long before they will believe that al-queda got their hands on a nuke, let alone that they would use it in a Muslim country.

[ Parent ]

Radiological Analysis (none / 0) (#377)
by Bad Harmony on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:48:58 PM EST

Nuclear weapons are not as anonymous as many people think. Radiological analysis of the fallout can tell a nuclear weapons expert a great deal about the materials, design and probable source of the weapon.

54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Think "common people" (none / 0) (#408)
by bgarcia on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 06:46:39 AM EST

And do you think your average Pakistani or Saudi is going to give a rats ass what some "Nuclear weapons expert" tells them about a radiological analysis?

Yes, there are great investigative techniques that I'm sure someone could use to get to the truth.  But you have to remember that people in the world have agendas, and they will not let facts and analysis get in the way of their agenda.

[ Parent ]

Closed Minds (none / 0) (#414)
by Bad Harmony on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 09:54:02 AM EST

Many people wouldn't believe al-Queda was responsible for a terrorist attack even if Osama bin Laden released a video tape with a full confession. Witness all the conspiracy theories about the CIA and Mossad being responsible for 9/11 that are being propagated around the world.

54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

actually, I can (none / 0) (#225)
by F a l c o n on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:28:38 AM EST

or, to be more precise, here are the three most likely scenarios: - missed nuke from india that was intended for pakistan - vice versa - US attack nobody else with nuclear power would have even a remote, partly believable reason to detonate a nuke in afghanistan.
--
Back in Beta (too many new features added): BattleMaster
[ Parent ]
why not? (none / 0) (#313)
by godix on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:13:07 PM EST

If it happened the logical assumption would be that a nuclear power did it. The nuclear powers that are interested in that region: India, Pakastan, and US. If the nuke went of in the western area of Afganastan that would rule out India, they use planes to drop their bombs instead of missles and it's highly doubtful a plane could miss by that much. Pakastan has no reason to aim to it's west, it's enemy is to it's south. That leaves the US. Logically we're the only ones that have the capability and reason to nuke afganastan.

[ Parent ]
McVey's motives (none / 0) (#212)
by Shren on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:02:34 AM EST

McVey was working under the assumption that the order to assault Waco came from the Salt Lake City office. [This assumption, no matter where he got it from, turned out not to be true.] I also recall from his biography that he claimed not to know about the day care center.

He was trying to focus his efforts - he just made a lot of mistakes. While he was a retired soldier, he learned more about how to stand in line, keep well polished gear, and how to fire a machine gun than how to plan an attack or gather intelligence.

Of course, there have been at least a few people poo-pooing the idea that McVey's explosives alone could have taken down the building (I'm thinking of the essay in You Are Being Lied To, but there are others), but that's conspiracy theory, isn't it?

[ Parent ]

Actually... (4.00 / 1) (#249)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:43:37 AM EST

I think he said, "My motive? I'm just so pissed that people keep misspelling my name, and I figured, if I blew up something, at least the news people will get it right."

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 ]
argh (none / 0) (#250)
by Shren on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:46:02 AM EST

must ... not ... rate ... comment ... criticising ... my ... spelling ... zero ...

/me grabs hand reaching for the mouse

Ok, it looks like my principles have won this time, but don't push me! *grin*

[ Parent ]

Uhhh (4.66 / 9) (#90)
by Betcour on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:07:22 AM EST

you've struck fear into the hearts of Westerners everywhere

In every American maybe. The rest of the western world has been living with terrorism for centuries, and although the 9/11 events where spectaculary, they are nothing new or even really unexpected :
  • In 1914, a terrorist assasinated king Francis Ferdinand III, which started by a chain of alliance the first World War (which killed millions of people)
  • In 1603 Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the whole English parliaement (the whole thing, decided for religious reasons, failed).
More recently Europe has been fighting terrorism from independantists (Basque or Corsican), Algerian islamists, radical communists or just real weirdos.

That's a bit too cynical ... (5.00 / 1) (#100)
by Ranieri on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 05:18:24 AM EST

I'm a european. Italian to be exact. We've had more than our share of terrorism. Older k5ers might remeber Piazza Fontana (1969, i believe has still to reach a final verdict), the abduction and murder of Aldo Moro, the bombing of the Bologna Train Station (that, by the way, i passed on my way to my aunt hours before the blast) and the bombing at the Uffizi museum in the mid-1990s, as well as tons of other incidents related to the infamous Red Brigades, right-wing fringe groups and a host of other subversive elements.

According to your line of reasoning i should be completely desensitized to every possible act of terrosism imaginable. Then please explain to me why about nine months ago i was sitting at my TV with my mouth hanging open and tears trickling down my face.

Perhaps the attacks of the 11th of September didn't strike fear into my heart, as the previous poster suggested, but they certainly procured me a great deal of shock, horror and anguish.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]

Excess (none / 0) (#142)
by Betcour on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 02:00:20 PM EST

There's a difference between being worried about terrorism and knee jerks reaction we see right now, where everytime a politician talks, he has to put the word "terrorism" somewhere to get peoples attention. We went from USA totally oblivious to terrorism to USA totally obsessed about terrorism. Balance would be good, and there's no need to turn our countries into complete police states to fight terrorism either. Don't forget that the terrorism victims in US are way way less numerous than victoms of traffic accidents, yet you don't see the whole world going on a "war on car accidents" and talks of car accident at every WTO, NATO, EU or WIPO meeting.

In other words, I'd rather have 0.001% chance of doing from a terrorist attack than live in a society where I cannot go to the toilets without the CIA knowing about it.

[ Parent ]
And actually (none / 0) (#346)
by Dephex Twin on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:11:59 PM EST

A .001% chance would be *much* higher than it really is.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Not new in US either (4.00 / 1) (#110)
by Rand Race on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 08:56:16 AM EST

From Tim McVeigh to abortion clinic bombers to the KKK to Nat Turner, terrorism is nothing really new in the States either.

And if we're going to talk European terrorism, let's mention the event that made the word what it is today: The Jacobin Reign of Terror.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Not in .au (none / 0) (#165)
by Nefarious on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:13:16 AM EST

AFAIK, the land of Oz has never felt the touch of (serious) terrorism. After 9/11, however, the residents of Brisbane (of which I am one) shat their pants at the thought of CHOGM being held there soon after. Fortunately, the event got cancelled.

[ Parent ]
CHOGM? [nt] (none / 0) (#208)
by Shren on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:46:59 AM EST



[ Parent ]
CHOGM (none / 0) (#380)
by Nefarious on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 08:31:12 PM EST

Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting. http://www.chogm2002.org/

[ Parent ]
Sydney Hilton CHOGM Bombing (none / 0) (#379)
by orin on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 08:12:02 PM EST

Well there was a bombing at the Hilton in Sydney in 1978 when a lot of Commonwealth Heads of Goverment were staying there. That would count as "serious terrorism" in my book.

[ Parent ]
um? (1.00 / 1) (#182)
by Miggle on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:48:31 AM EST

I heard it was Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary that got assassinated. Though I agree with the rest of your comment. Read history, you'll find that every regime had its 'terrorists'.

--
Dammit, I wish I made this up: Why the Jews has to do with genetics. [sic]
[ Parent ]
Treating the symptom (4.88 / 9) (#98)
by boxed on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 04:32:38 AM EST

This, as the current legislature in the US, is an attempt to treat the symptom. This is fine as long as people are perfectly aware of that it is this they are doing so they also treat the cause. What I see and hear from the USA, perticalarly from Bush, is a lack of understanding the cause. The most prevalent idea is that the cause of this terrorist attack is envy of the freedom one achives in the USA. Well let me give anyone that thinks this a hint: you do not go on a suicide mission because you envy something. The emotion itself isn't strong enough, you need hate, no more no less.

The cause (1.00 / 2) (#111)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:01:58 AM EST

Lepanto. Andalusia. Those still rankle. Bin Laden even mentioned Andalusia in one of his communiques. Some of the Islamist groups have stated that one of their early goals is the reconquest of Andalusia.

The primary reason they hit the US? If they knock out the US, then the rest of the world will be easy to handle. Makes sense strategically, assuming that you can get the US to write off the rest of the West.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]

eh, that's not a cause (none / 0) (#114)
by boxed on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:11:57 AM EST

An ancient grudge might be reason for attacking something, but this is no ordinary attack. We're talking about a suicide attack, it takes quite a bit of motivation for a human to kill him/herself.

[ Parent ]
ancient grudge (none / 0) (#116)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:14:31 AM EST

To them, it's not ancient.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
A small error in reasoning (4.00 / 1) (#122)
by Harpalus on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:26:34 AM EST

You are assuming that the motives of the alqeada leadership is the same as that of the suicide bombers. Maybe just maybe, religious promises (martyrdom and a bunch of vigins etc...) are tools used by the leadership to convinve people to blow themselves up.

[ Parent ]
a huge error in facts (3.66 / 3) (#137)
by boxed on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 12:01:30 PM EST

Maybe just maybe, you are clueless as to what this conflict is about. Maybe, just maybe, it's because you're american? Let me tell you that the US is disliked pretty much universally, and it's not because some random priests (or whatnot) promise us virgins when we get to heaven. The virgin stuff is a small nudge to get them over the edge. To get them NEAR the edge they have to live in misary and (in the case of for example Israel) with a constant and immidiate threat of being killed. If you're gonna die anyway, suicide bombing suddenly isn't that horrible anymore.

[ Parent ]
live in misery (5.00 / 2) (#141)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 12:56:25 PM EST

The Sept 11 attackers were hardly living in misery.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
Hehehe (5.00 / 3) (#315)
by Harpalus on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:17:29 PM EST

Well while we are on the topic of assigning labels and promulgating stereotypes, I am NOT american, I happen to be french. Do I approve of the US support for isreal no, do I approve of israels actions for that matter, even less.

My point is simply as follows and I suggest you read it carefully before you try to assign me another label. First off, this does not apply to suicide bombers acting within the middle east, as far as I am concerned they are not terrorists.
I completely agree with you that it requires a huge amount of hate in order to be willing to kill oneself in order to get back at an enemy. My problem has to do with were that hate comes from. Is the US responsible for misery in the arab world, in part yes. Are the royal families in certain arab countries responsible as well yes. Are the US responsible for the misery in afganistan, yes and no. Are taliban responsible yes. Are the warlords responsible definetly. How much has osama bin laden and alqeada done to alleviate this misery, not much. So it begs the question why this everarching hate at the US and not the other responsible parties. For example why is russia the "good guy" in the middle east considering they are the ones who invaded afganistan. The alqeada leadership (wealthy people) is, in my opinion fueling this hate and using the resulting willingness to die to further their own agenda. I doubt your everage terrorist knows enough about international politics to explain to you why the us is responsible for all their problems, but he beleives and why because he has been made to beleive it by rethoric cloaked in religion.

[ Parent ]

Be fair (5.00 / 1) (#357)
by Dephex Twin on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:48:25 PM EST

Maybe just maybe, you are clueless as to what this conflict is about. Maybe, just maybe, it's because you're american? Let me tell you that the US is disliked pretty much universally
Is this a testament to how crappy and unfair the US is, or how crappy and unfair the rest of the world is? Because talk like this does not reflect highly of you.

You both accuse the person of being ignorant because he is an American citizen, yet at the same time hold him and other American citizens responsible for some of the unpopular moves by the American government.

Basically, what it comes down to is that we are an extremely powerful country economically and politically, and so even the slightest things we do can have a profound effect on other parts of the world. And we aren't perfect and some things I really wish could have been done differently. But we are not solely responsible for any of the problems, we just have a hand in lots of things.

Bush is screwing up in a lot of ways, and the sooner he is out of there the better... but a lot of Americans didn't even vote for him (a majority, in fact).

I really don't understand why anybody would hate an entire country. Do you think there is something in the genes of Americans that causes these things to happen? That is to say, would your country truly do a better job if it were in our position of power?

(Some Americans have this blind hate as well (Iraq? Cuba?), but my point is that nobody is better than the other.)

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Fairness (none / 0) (#403)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 03:01:58 AM EST

I really don't understand why anybody would hate an entire country. Do you think there is something in the genes of Americans that causes these things to happen? That is to say, would your country truly do a better job if it were in our position of power?

Damn, you're not the brightest lamp on the block, are you?

There's a difference between fallibility, that is "to err is human", and accountability, that is "you are responsible for the consequences of your own actions".

The concept of fallibility is a prerequisite for understanding, the concept of accountability is a prerequisite for justice. You cannot dodge responsibility by claiming that many others would do the same thing in your place. It's an excuse that no-one would accept for Hitler and Stalin, and an excuse that no-one should accept for the misbehaviour of the US on the international stage.

[ Parent ]

You missed my point (5.00 / 1) (#423)
by Dephex Twin on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 11:29:17 AM EST

Damn, you're not the brightest lamp on the block, are you?
This comment shows exactly my point. Why must it be personal attacks?
There's a difference between fallibility, that is "to err is human", and accountability, that is "you are responsible for the consequences of your own actions".
My point was not whether anything the US has done is wrong. My point was that even if you hate things that the US has done, I don't think it is right that you then hate all the citizens of the country as well. When Bush called Iran, Iraq, and North Korea the "Axis of Evil", I was really pissed off. When the US told the world "you're either with us or against us", I thought it was a bad move. I didn't vote for Bush. Should I be viewed with contempt if I travel abroad? If you think so, then this is something I do not think is right.

Is this getting through to you? I'm not saying we should get off scot-free here.

Of course the US should be accountable for its actions. I agree with that. And the fact that Bush is in office means he represents us. If the US digs a political hole and it ends up affecting the economy (or whatever else), which in turn affects me, I accept that. But what actions did I personally take that you (general non-Americans) should have reason to actually hate me personally? I voted against the current government and have protested its actions. Am I a jerk because I haven't yet attempted to overthrow the government?

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Missed nothing. (none / 0) (#522)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:45:06 AM EST

But what actions did I personally take that you (general non-Americans) should have reason to actually hate me personally?

My fine friend, I don't know you from Adam, so why should you think I hate you personally?

Should I be viewed with contempt if I travel abroad?

Your confusion puzzles me. Do you think everyone outside the US hates you as an individual? Do you think everyone outside the US would hate you as an individual if you explained your opposition to various negative US policies? Do you think you would be liked if you waved a flag and wore a T-shirt bearing the slogan "Nuke Afghanistan"?

[ Parent ]

as always, you don't understand (5.00 / 1) (#405)
by boxed on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 04:03:09 AM EST

I really don't understand why anybody would hate an entire country. Do you think there is something in the genes of Americans that causes these things to happen?
The country is disliked because of the prevalent ignorance and arrogance. A country with such power over the international economy should at least educate it's citizens about basic concepts like there beging a world outside the US, that not everyone speaks english (and that english isn't the biggest language in native speakers for that matter), that dollar isn't the same word as money/currency, etc, etc, etc.
That is to say, would your country truly do a better job if it were in our position of power?
Any European country would, because we have thousands of years of history of being deeply involved and aware of the world outside our own borders. The same cannot be said about the US.

[ Parent ]
Like I said, be fair (5.00 / 1) (#426)
by Dephex Twin on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 11:52:31 AM EST

The country is disliked because of the prevalent ignorance and arrogance.
I kind of stated some similar ideas above, but none of this answers the question why you would have a blanket hate or contempt for everyone. Do you really think every American is like this?
A country with such power over the international economy should at least educate it's citizens about basic concepts like there beging a world outside the US, that not everyone speaks english (and that english isn't the biggest language in native speakers for that matter), that dollar isn't the same word as money/currency, etc, etc, etc.
Ich kann ja auch Deutsch, Spanisch und Französich, was wöllen Sie von mir?? I just wonder what I have to do besides renounce my citizenship in order to be judged on who I am instead of prejudged according to stereotypes about Americans?

I know a lot of Americans are ignorant. It's embarrassing. If you have a conversation with an American, and he asks you what the Japanese dollar is, then go ahead and say "man, you are an idiot." But it is prejudiced to see an American and, without ever knowing anything about him, think "I'm going to give him a hard time because he is such an ignorant American." But this happens, and I don't understand the justification.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
argh, you still don't get it (none / 0) (#464)
by boxed on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 05:42:37 PM EST

The country is disliked because of the prevalent ignorance and arrogance.
I kind of stated some similar ideas above, but none of this answers the question why you would have a blanket hate or contempt for everyone. Do you really think every American is like this?
"The country" I said, and I meant that in the most literal sense. I know several americans whom I think are good friends, but that doesn't change the fact that the USA, as a state, acts in total like a big clueless mass. Americans aren't hated, America is. The difference is extremely important, yet americans don't seem to grasp it.

As for the rest of your comment: you're right. I totally agree.

[ Parent ]

I did get it (5.00 / 1) (#467)
by Dephex Twin on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 06:21:53 PM EST

"The country" I said, and I meant that in the most literal sense.
Maybe when I used the term "blanket hate" it confused what I was trying to say. Part of what you said, that we could at least be minimally educated on what is going on, know that dollar!=money, etc. is the unfairness I was really talking about. Also when you said "Maybe just maybe, you are clueless as to what this conflict is about. Maybe, just maybe, it's because you're american?" This is what really made me decide to make my original comments. Does this sound like you just think lowly of the government?

If you didn't mean it in that way, then that is okay, but maybe you can see where I'm coming from.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Be careful! (4.84 / 13) (#99)
by Ranieri on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 04:46:20 AM EST

Discussing possible terrorist attacks on K5 already earned some people a very unpleasant visit.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
Anybody that doubts freedoms are being eroded.. (5.00 / 1) (#106)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:55:18 AM EST

Should follow your links.

In many places people are now fearful of discuss this matters, nothing stops the US goverment to decide you are a terrorist for writing what this brave sould wrote in this article.

I hope USians come to their senses and realize how all this is horribly wrong before it is too late. A bit of sense of security does not justify to be able to speak freeely about anything.
---
_._ .....
... .._ _._. _._ ...
._.. ._ _ . ._.. _.__

[ Parent ]

But you'll notice (5.00 / 3) (#115)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:12:56 AM EST

That we do talk about these things. Even, or especially, those of us who know what happened to Lee.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
First of all, (1.00 / 3) (#185)
by Demiurge on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:07:52 AM EST

It's pretty obvious that Lee came to the attention of the FBI mainly as a result of his 'unusual' past, not some offhand comment he made.

And as an aside, it's American, not USian, which is the anti-American equivalent of kike or nigger.

[ Parent ]
Cry me a river (4.42 / 7) (#190)
by Cwis on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 06:35:01 AM EST

Being a 'kike' personally I think I have the viewpoint to say that 'USian' is nothing like that word.

Have you or your family been beaten up, judged against or otherwise opressed by a mob shouting 'USian USian'?

Of course not. You may not like the term but you might want to get a bit of perspective before you compare it to 'nigger or kike'

Jeez - some people.

[ Parent ]

blah blah blah (3.50 / 2) (#344)
by Stretch on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:54:16 PM EST

Simply a terribly flawed arguement.  I guess we just need to wait for the first beating before we figure out a word has a negative connotation associated with it.

Seriously folks, if "Jap" is considered a racial slur, surely "USian" can be seen in the same light (some people see it as an abbreviation, while other take offense).

Then again, by nature, I don't give a crap, as a white, male American.

[ Parent ]

But we weren't talking about 'Jap' (none / 0) (#388)
by Cwis on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:47:57 PM EST

Were we?

How do you abbreviate 'Jew' to get 'kike'? It's got more letters in it!

But I'm sure you don't really give a crap, being a white, male American - I don't blame you - it's all semantics anyway, but where's the negative connotation of 'Usian' - is it of not giving a crap?



[ Parent ]

vas you dere, sharley? (1.00 / 1) (#382)
by rastafarii on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:10:39 PM EST

i don't remember seeing you when the jewish kids called me a stupid polack who helped the nazis and stole my lunch money in chicago many years ago...

[ Parent ]
As if... (none / 0) (#386)
by Cwis on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:39:17 PM EST

My family is polish. What were your grandparents doing 50 years ago sunshine?

[ Parent ]
purely false (5.00 / 2) (#234)
by ChannelX on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:58:30 AM EST

Citizens of the US have *never* been able to speak about *anything* freely. That is simply a falacy.

[ Parent ]
Evidence... (none / 0) (#376)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:43:13 PM EST

Or was that just an anal reflex?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
surely you cant be that obtuse (none / 0) (#515)
by ChannelX on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 12:35:15 PM EST

What more evidence to you need other than the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Surely you know that those documents only apply to the government's treatment of citizens correct? Here...I'll give you a refresher course on the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Notice the words 'Congress shall make no law...'? I'll leave that interpretation up to you. And you must have heard the terms 'slander' and 'libel' before right? If any speech was guaranteed to be protected by freedom of speech there wouldn't be such a thing as a libel law. duh.

[ Parent ]
Apologies (none / 0) (#517)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 02:43:30 PM EST

Sorry. I misconstrued your statement to be knee jerk anti-American drivel. You are 100% correct. First amendment protections are not extended to the functional aspects of speech (libel, slander, threats, fraud, directives, etc...).

Again, apologies for jumping the gun.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
thanks (5.00 / 1) (#518)
by ChannelX on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 11:00:23 PM EST

and apologies back for being a jerk. After I wrote my last posting I went back and read what you replied to and it defintely wasn't the clearest posting i've made :) I should have emphasized the word "anything" to make myself clear. The First Amendment only protects us from the government though. I am absolutely free to tell you to get the hell out of my house if I don't like what you're saying and you have no way to say 'but hey....I have free speech rights!'. Technically you can saw whatever the hell you want but you also have to live with the consequences ;)

[ Parent ]
Secret Service Incompetence is Scary (none / 0) (#166)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:33:36 AM EST

I read that the comment that sparked this visit. The idea that this could be interpreted as a "death threat" is rather scary.

Frankly, I think the Mr. Malatesta has a case for harrassment against the Secret Service and I would encourage him to seek legal counsel. I saw nothing in the post that connect Mr. Malatesta with his consulting client. Visiting someone's place of employment because of that comment strikes me as harrassment pure and simple.

[ Parent ]

They are covering their behinds... (none / 0) (#231)
by cc144 on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:52:23 AM EST

They are not incompetent, just meticulous and rightfully so.

Because of the cost of getting POUSA assasinated is so high, Secret Service *has* to investigate every possible attempts or sayings. Suppose by some freak chance that some comment at K5 resulted in a successful attempt. Do you want to be the Secret Service agent that discarded the threat?

Even if you don't like the current president, I don't think any sane US citizen would want their president assasinated. I'm not a US citizen and even I wouldn't want that to happen.

[ Parent ]

This was harrassment not investigation (none / 0) (#328)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:39:29 PM EST

If they had simply wanted to investigate the situation, they could have talked to this guy at home. Seriously, the feds can't even protect the borders of the US from illegal immigration and they are off pulling this kind of stuff. The Feds are simply useless. The only peaceful way out of this mess might be to simply disolve the Federal government and let the states pick up the pieces. I don't think that will happen though-I expect something far more messy.

[ Parent ]
analogy? (3.00 / 4) (#103)
by tps12 on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:00:50 AM EST

More like a blind man building an elephant.

Bah (3.20 / 5) (#146)
by trhurler on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 02:58:17 PM EST

Covert operations have a history. That history is blithering, incomprehensible incompetence. I am more concerned by the factually observable inepitude of our own government's antiterrorism people than by any alleged competence of our enemies.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Bah back (5.00 / 2) (#155)
by j1mmy on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:11:05 PM EST

Covert operations have a history. That history is blithering, incomprehensible incompetence.

There's a reason why you rarely hear about a covert operation succeeding.

[ Parent ]

On laws. (slightly OT?) (4.50 / 6) (#147)
by gnovos on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:04:23 PM EST

People should always be wary of new laws that try to "protect" them from terrorist attack.  Just remember, the million people you save will all be dead in 50 years, but the draconian law you used to save them will still be very much alive.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
Question (1.00 / 1) (#151)
by mgarland on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 05:27:10 PM EST

If, included in the million people you save, is your entire family that might live in, say, New York City ... would you be willing to sacrifice them so that the draconian law is not passed?

[ Parent ]
bad question (4.33 / 3) (#154)
by j1mmy on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:04:58 PM EST

Since there's no guarantee that passing a law will save lives in the first place, whether or not me or my family or my friends or Britney Spears is in harm's way is largely irrelevant.

If laws saved lives, every U.S. citizen would be immortal.

[ Parent ]

Yes, if I must... (5.00 / 6) (#156)
by gnovos on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:15:23 PM EST

I don't want to sound callous, becuase, of course, I do care for my family, but there are some things that go beyond concern for yourself, your friends and your family.  If we allow the country to slowly denigrate into a nightmare 1984ish world, even in part, what kind of life are we giving to those million people and thier children.  Sometimes death is not the greatest evil.  If you are married, ask youself something like this:  Would it be better for your wife to die, or to become, say, a slave in some thrid world sex indistry.  I know this doesn't have to do with nuclear terrorists, but I'm trying to show you that there are some choices where you would say, "Yes, it is better to die."  

When you ask me that question, I hear it as, "Would you rathar your children die, or grow up in a world where they live in fear of the state?"  Even if I could save them, what cost is the rest of the country paying for my kind-hearted, and perfectly understandable selfishness?  Am I willing to strip the rights of all Americans so that my children can live?  Do I want them to grow up in a world where thier children, and thier friends and families all bow sickeningly beneath the jackboot of opression?

No, I am not, and I do not.  I may sound irrational, especially in these pendantic and self-centered times, but I cannt betray my convictions, even if I must pay the ultimate price.  I am willing to save the countless people who I do not know, even if I must sacrifice the ones I do.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

And THAT is the patriotism the founders wanted (5.00 / 2) (#158)
by blablablastuff on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:22:48 PM EST

THAT is the moral this country was founded upon. This is Liberty speaking here, and it is attitudes like this that have made the United States a free nation.

[ Parent ]
that, dear sir, is unfortunate.... (none / 0) (#172)
by fluxrad on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:38:25 AM EST

since that world view is in more danger of extinction than the alaskan grizzly.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Patriotism != values (5.00 / 2) (#187)
by Bnonn on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:43:00 AM EST

While I agree with you, I don't think this attitude has anything to do with patriotism. It is simply a consistent application of a set of values (which I happen to support). Patriotism is pretty unrelated to values, being basically just support for one's country because one lives there. It is a hazy disinction between supporting a set of values that your country supports, and supporting the country itself, I suppose, but patriotism tends to be embodied in the military and in sport (two things I dislike for the most part, so there's my bias)--it's a very primitive sort of feeling; a case of "us" and "them".

Patriotism, as Oscar Wilde put it, is a virtue of the vicious. It sounds silly at first; until you've had time to think about it.

[ Parent ]

Agreement, Conditionally (none / 0) (#243)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:13:30 AM EST

I agree with you in theory, but you must be careful not to couple patriotism and liberty too closely. It's nice that the two tend to fall close together in the U.S. (at least in principle), but it's not necessary. I tend to follow this type of patriotism, but in the modified form, "U.S.A.: love it or leave it. Or change it."

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 ]
wooooo! [nt] (1.00 / 1) (#206)
by Shren on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:40:49 AM EST



[ Parent ]
and why would this be up to you? (none / 0) (#492)
by greg pass on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 05:13:31 AM EST

While I agree that death is not always the greatest evil, I don't see why you should have to kill millions because your personal opinions on the aftermath of the tactics used to prevent these deaths are negative. Perhaps they won't hate it so much, perhaps they will and they'll try to undo these laws, no two people are alike after all. But the choice for them to live or die in this respect is not and should not be up to one person over the Net.

Besides, saying that you'd rather the country not live at all than it live in a state of increased security = giving in to the al Qaeda.
greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass
[ Parent ]
On hate (3.80 / 15) (#160)
by krogoth on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:46:26 PM EST

If the US can't protect themselves, they may want to stop making ennemies....
--
"If you've never removed your pants and climbed into a tree to swear drunkenly at stuck-up rich kids, I highly recommend it."
:wq
Too simple (3.50 / 2) (#171)
by jmv on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:35:08 AM EST

That would be too simple! Why solve the real problem when you can throw military power at it?

[ Parent ]
Its the government/Israel supporters at danger (none / 0) (#173)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:38:48 AM EST

I can't imagine the Islamic powers could threaten the US bulk of the militarily except possibly via biological weapons(like smallpox). What the Islamic powers might do is cause a collapse of the US government or hit targets specifically associated with supporters of Israel. Even if the Islamic powers got china on their side and started nuking major military targets and cities, most of us wouldn't be directly affected. For the rest of us, we may have to deal with some fallout, but maybe we'll not have to deal with the IRS anymore-sounds like a reasonable trade.

[ Parent ]
There's no way (none / 0) (#217)
by JChen on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:11:01 AM EST

that China would ally itself with any Islamic power that wages war against the US; Muslim insurgents are already stirring up trouble in China. And why would China want to be involved in a useless conflict with the US anyways? I hope you're only fantasizing.

Let us do as we say.
[ Parent ]
china? of course not (none / 0) (#233)
by ChannelX on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:55:54 AM EST

1:) the militant Islam problem China is having on its own 2:) the US is probably the biggest market that Chinese goods enter. Like China is gonna risk that.

[ Parent ]
China's PLA on how to fight a war against US (none / 0) (#253)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:50:09 AM EST

I suggest you read what some officers in China's Peoples Liberation Army have to say about how to fight a war against the US. The next thing to ask yourself is if the folks that invented the word assassin might figure out a way to create a conflict between two countries that didn't start out wanting that conflict.

There have been other strange alliances in military history. The US and the Soviet Union went from being two countries with a tradition of low-intensity armed conflict to being allies that didn't trust each other much during WWII--then went back to the Cold War. China already arms a lot of countries that don't have a very good relationship with the US/Britain. China also really wants to bring Taiwan "back into the fold". There are lots of sources of conflict that might be enhanced to create a conflict between China and the US. I personally don't think that a one-on-one China/US conflict is likely, but I can imagine that if the US were over extended and involved similtaneously in the Middle East and say Latin America(say yet another chapter in the "War on Drugs"), the right operation might also get China into the picture.



[ Parent ]

How the hell do you do that? (1.00 / 1) (#283)
by ave19 on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:07:50 PM EST

Country A and country B are enemies. Country A needs money. They ask the US for some.

We should:
a) Give it to them and make friends of A and enemies of B.
b) Not give it to them and make friends of B and enemies of A.
c) Nuke them both.
d) Close our eyes, and hope nobody asks us for anything. (Worked in 1939.)

Try not to be such a moron. It makes you stick out in public.

[ Parent ]

In theory... (none / 0) (#471)
by krogoth on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 07:09:22 PM EST

The idea is that we elect politicians to make the best choice in situations like this, since they can spend all their time working on a solution instead of 5 minutes to make a post.
--
"If you've never removed your pants and climbed into a tree to swear drunkenly at stuck-up rich kids, I highly recommend it."
:wq
[ Parent ]
Islam and the US (3.57 / 7) (#169)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:03:28 AM EST

Long term, Islamics don't really need terrorism to influence the US. Islam is now the second largest religion in the US after Christianity-a fact which has been very disturbing to pro-Israel forces in the United States and fundamentamentalist Christians.

There has already been a history of government directed violence surrounding the spread of Islam in the US. What is less well known is that the Waco murders involved a reaction to Islamic ideology spreading into the rural white community. David Koresh theology was a strange mix of Islam and Christianity. Koresh's very name was a phonetically borrowed from Mohammed's family name. Now, it wouldn't be strictly correct to call Koresh a Muslim, but Koresh did push the envelope in his open polygamy and his overtures towards Islamic leaders. What is also strange here is that the McVeigh who avenged the death of Koresh and his followers, expressed an affinity with the ancient cult of Sol Invictus. The cult of Sol Invictus was related to Zoroastrianism-the official religion of ancient Persia, was involved in the creation of Christianity and was also an important influence upon Islam.

We've recently been seeing New York Times columinsts talking about a "War against Islam". I don'e think these folks have any idea what a "War Against Islam" would really be like for folks in the US. The Islamic countries are not especially militarily powerful, but I think it would be a gross error to underestimate their ability to conduct espionage and intelligence/propaganda operations. The west is already divided among secular/humanistic elements and Christian elements at this point -- and leaders of both camps are especially vulnerable to blackmail/exposure. I'd expect one outcome of a real "War Against Islam" would be a series of scandals that would make Enron look tiny by comparison and further division in the US. At this point, US Muslims have not opposed the US government seriously. If a real "War against Islam" develops, it could threaten the very constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion by virtue of the kind of mobilization necessary to fight such a war. It is also possible that the reaction against non-Judeo-Christian elements in the US could spread to Pagans and practitioners of Eastern Religions--simply because the group really willing and able to fight a "War against Islam" include fundamentalist Christians that are not just Anti-Islamic but also anti-pagan and anti-eastern religion.

The Islamic powers include major net creditor nations. At this point, the US is a debtor nation. If a real "War with Islam" is brewing, I'd expect significant assets in the US to get liquidated to reshape the US into something the Islamic powers would rather fight. This might include a major evangelical effort that would further expand the already substantial Islamic minority in the US. I suspect this hasn't been done already because the Islamic powers fear the reaction it might produce as soon as Islam starts moving into the mainstream in the US; but when a reaction is already underway, these folks have less to loose.

We have already seen a major act of domestic terrorism in the US, conducted by someone sympathizing with a religious figure sympathetic to Islam. How much more of this could we see? What would that mean? The US is not the same country that fought WW II. If the Islamic powers feel truly threatened by the US, they have every incentive to turn the US into another Lebanon -- and they just might have the means. The right strategy against the US isn't a straight-up military attack, but accentuating existing divisions in the US.

Does Islam accepts and bows in front of Democracy? (1.66 / 3) (#181)
by johwsun on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:46:55 AM EST

..I dont know thats why I am asking...

[ Parent ]
...until now .... (1.25 / 4) (#184)
by johwsun on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:07:52 AM EST

...Jesus has never gave me a sign that I should not accept and bow in front of Democracy. Au contraire, he also accepted Democracy, thats why he went to the cross.

Does Islam and your leader gave you the same sign?

I can tolerate if you are not a Christian, but I cannot tolerate you if you are against Democracy!

I can accept that you dont want to love, but I cannot accept that you want to impose, and oppress and enslave. And of course I cannot accept those "Christians" that behaving like this.

[ Parent ]

..oops wrong! (1.00 / 2) (#193)
by johwsun on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:10:51 AM EST

..I read your article again and it seems to me that you are an atheist, am I right?

In that case, my question about Democracy, also applies to you.

Do you accept it or not?

[ Parent ]

Democracy and the Cross (1.00 / 2) (#194)
by johwsun on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:19:34 AM EST

..I want to make clear that Jesus accepted Democracy, in order to give his body for us, but also accepted Democracy too, in order NOT to dismiss his rights to vote for our world.

because it is well known that..

[ Parent ]

seems clear to me /nt (none / 0) (#226)
by tps12 on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:32:40 AM EST



[ Parent ]
quit responding to your own posts! (4.00 / 2) (#205)
by Shren on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:38:51 AM EST

Once in a while is fine, I've forgotten something important in a post. But you respond to almost all of your posts - sometimes twice. Think before you post. Fit all those one paragraph posts into one four paragraph post that people will actually read, as compared to a 12 post session of you talking to yourself.

[ Parent ]

..you are right.. (1.00 / 3) (#211)
by johwsun on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:58:25 AM EST

We should have this ability in k5, to unite several comments to one. I cannot resist answering to myself, because many time I am wrong..
I am trying hard to avoid it though.

Nearby this comment, there is another hidden one, that adds more information to my previous comment. I wish I could make them one,because now it is a hidden one.

[ Parent ]

Then where the hell are the Muslim leaders? (2.50 / 2) (#198)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 08:31:17 AM EST

In order for Islam to be a mainstream element in America, it will have to step up and deal with this extremism problem in its own backyard. So, I ask you, where are the charismatic Muslim leaders? Or even just personalities? Cat Stevens? Where? Sure, the occassional mosque will speak out against terrorism -- but rather weakly, if you ask me. So, I ask you again, in light of these huge numbers of Muslims that you cite, where is the leadership? Where are the people that will purge Islam of the scourge of terrorist extremism? Sure, there are seeemingly billions of cab drivers in New York that are Muslims. They worship in the mosque across the street from my apartment (in New York City). But, I ask you a third time, where are the Martin Luther Kings of Islam?

I'm not trying to be facetious or ignorant, but the only Muslims that I know by name (and I live in the biggest city in the country where you claim Islam rapidly turning mainstream) are driving yellow cabs and trying to kill pedestrians and are generally a bunch of raving lunatic assholes. I don't doubt that there are a whole bunch of lovely Muslims hiding in the background somewhere. So where the fuck are they when we need them the most?
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[ Parent ]

Islam lacks leaders by design (5.00 / 2) (#200)
by peace on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:03:27 AM EST

The religion of Islam, as described by Muhammad, had no heirachy of authority. Their are no priests in a Mosque, it is simply a place of communal worship and study.

The problem I think Islam is having is that it did not start this war, anymore than "Christianity" or "Judaism", so what is it suppose to say? This war is political and as usual religion plays a pawns role. President Bush has not refrained from speaking in forboding religios terms and neither has Bin Laden. If you listen, individual Muslums as well as "Islamic countries" have spoken out quite strongly against the attacks on the US, or the use of terror at all, pre and post 9/11. But if you are looking for the "Pope" of Islam to make a decree, you are not going to find it.

Kind Regards, peace

[ Parent ]

Not Pope. (none / 0) (#224)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:26:37 AM EST

Seriously, I don't care about the Pope. I cited MLK as an example of a religious leader that championed a just cause despite his extremist counterparts in an effective manner in the USA. Were is the Islamic counterpart. Understood, those are big shoes to fill. But so far, the moderate, peace-loving Muslims have sent a *very* weak message of solidarity with the mainstream of America. Most Joe Six-Pack Americans are about two suicide bomb attacks away from organizing lynch mobs. Don't forget, nobody hates as well as Americans hate. We turned hate into a freaking institution of the government. Moderate Islam needs leadership, or will suffer greatly in the USA. Far from being in the mainstream, it will be shunned (yes, unjustly) by the God-fearing, gun-toting rednecks that make this country a force with which to be reckoned.
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[ Parent ]

Watch me, I'm full of balls. (none / 0) (#240)
by StrontiumDog on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:10:37 AM EST

I cited MLK as an example of a religious leader that championed a just cause despite his extremist counterparts in an effective manner in the USA ... Most Joe Six-Pack Americans are about two suicide bomb attacks away from organizing lynch mobs ... Moderate Islam needs leadership, or will suffer greatly in the USA.

History lesson: Martin Luther King was assasinated. I would guess moderate Islamic leadership wants that kind of treatment from Joe Six-Pack like they want a hole in the head.

[ Parent ]

Here in lies the problem (5.00 / 1) (#294)
by peace on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:44:42 PM EST

The whole framing of this conflict as a "War on Islam" is incorrect. It's been stated by the Bush administraation itself that Bin Laden is not a religious extremist but instead a rich, well connected political militarist. Why the rhetoric has changed to a "War on Islam" I don't know, but it is not helpfull for either understanding the war, the problem or the solution.

So asking Islamic leaders to speak out against terrorism is a devils bargain. If they do, they imply a level of guilt and an inability to "control" their populace. If they remaine silent, they open themselves up to accusations such as the one you are leveling. What I have heard is that some Muslims denounce violence while others see it as a neccesary evil. They sound very similiar to the opinions expressed by the Americans I listen to. An investigation into why some people feel one way and others feel differently would help Americans understand the current world situation. Try looking into American conduct in Vietnam 1965-1975, or Afghanistan in 1978-present as examples of why people might perceive "The West" as they do.

Kind regards,
peace

[ Parent ]

Dude... (none / 0) (#300)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:56:50 PM EST

I never said it was a war on Islam. But you can't ignore the fact that the tie that binds bin Laden to the other wack-job terrorists is their common religion. If the enemy is trying to "hijack Islam" as so many people have claimed, why aren't Islamic leaders taking serious, effective steps to dispell the association? I'm sorry, but standing on the stoop of your mosque and telling a press conference that you deplore the violence and repeating the (unsupported) soundbite that "Islam is a religion of peace" is not effective. It's actually a pathetically weak and ineffective response. Hence, my concern. Muslims are not combatting the association with the vehemence that is required of them.
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[ Parent ]

Incorrect (5.00 / 1) (#261)
by xzap on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:02:18 PM EST

Mosques do have Kazis, Maulvis , Imams and a variety of other leaders. These are the ones who read the Namaaz into the loudspeakers atleast here in India.

I do not know if Mohammed wanted no hierarchy, though there were Khalifs / Caliphs who were the leaders earlier. These days the Chief Imam of Jama Masjid in Delhi is the leader of Muslims here in India and I believe there are such leaders elsewhere also.


Remember the unique wonder and terror of life, and knowing it, live. - adequate nathan
[ Parent ]
"Incorrect" is a bit strong (none / 0) (#284)
by peace on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:09:59 PM EST

Their is no function in the religion of Islam that can not be performed by any member of the religion. At least this is the way it was first practiced. I'm certainly not going to argue that modern factional interpretations of Islam do not exhibit hierarchy. However, these hierachies do not represent all Muslims, nor is recognition of a hierachy required in order to be a follower of Islam.

My point is that while a religion like Christianity is by it's nature hierachical, Islam is not. Just as Christianity is capable of being egalitarian, like the Unitarian Universalists, Islam can be practiced in hierachical form. However, the fundamental strucure of Islam and Christainity is different, and this is reflected in Islams seeming inabiliy to make denounciations like, say, Catholicism can.

Instead, I would suspect that any perceived silence from the "Islamic Community" concering terrorism has something to do with the attitudes of Muslims who witness over the years that "The West" has been unwilling to speak out against the damage it itself has caused Muslim communities around the world. The obvious examples apply.

As for Islamic MLK's, as StrontiumDog has pointed out, MLK was assasinated on US soil. I have often woundered where all the MLK's have gone myself. I suspect that the first place one should try for an answer to that question are the records of the FBI.

Kind Regards,
peace

[ Parent ]

Correct (none / 0) (#293)
by xzap on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:42:32 PM EST

Incorrect, was a bit strong, I take back my words.

As regards this comment, you are totally correct. The silence of the Muslims is not totally US's fault either. It is true that the US has already looked after its own interests but there is also a whole lot of anti-west, anti-nonmuslim in general, propoganda in these countries. That freedom of speech is not a birthright in many of these places, means a lot of sane voices are silenced before they speak.


Remember the unique wonder and terror of life, and knowing it, live. - adequate nathan
[ Parent ]
Xtians (5.00 / 1) (#202)
by lb008d on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:26:15 AM EST

Where are the people that will purge Islam of the scourge of terrorist extremism?
Change Islam to Christianity and you've got another valid statement.  I'm sure there are still plenty of extremist Christian leaders calling for the deaths of certain doctors based on their abortion practices.

[ Parent ]
Excuse me? (none / 0) (#220)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:15:06 AM EST

Wasn't MLK a Christian? Even a minister? My point is that the religion of Islam, as it manifests in the USA, has no dynamic leaders that speak on its behalf and defend it in an effective way against the charactization that bin Laden and the extremists give it.
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[ Parent ]

Silly Goose! (none / 0) (#232)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:53:30 AM EST

Silly geese and double think, it's Spy vs Spy, he's on the brink!

You third-rate twit. Didn't you understand at all? If you expect Muslims to denounce fundamentalist Muslim terrorists before taking them seriously, then you also have to denounce all Christians, all Buddhists (China is evil don't yah know?), all Zoroastrians, all Jews, all Sikhs, until they denounce terrorists that share their religion.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#305)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:03:15 PM EST

I'm arguing that Muslims need to step up and deal with this problem. I would most happily denounce all religions -- Fuck the Pope, the Primate, Buddha, Allah, God, Jesus, all the Hindu deities and fuck you, too.
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[ Parent ]

It's not their problem! (5.00 / 1) (#307)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:06:26 PM EST

Are you thick-skulled? Mainstream Muslims do denounce these fringe, fundamentalist nutcases like Osama Bin Laden. What more do you want from them, their first born child cooked in boiling oil?

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Like who? (none / 0) (#309)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:08:14 PM EST

Name one. No google. Make it a good one, too.
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[ Parent ]

No google? (5.00 / 1) (#316)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:19:00 PM EST

Man, you really need a reason to hate Muslims, don't you.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
No. (none / 0) (#338)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:17:55 PM EST

Just trying to prove my point, which is (again) that Muslims have not presented a forceful, effective counter to the forceful, effective association that terrorists are pushing. I don't hate Muslims. I just don't think that they're going to be mainstream in American society any time soon (which is what the parent post claimed), for the reason that I've just stated. I have as much disdain for Muslims writ large as I have for any person that smokes the opiate of religion. I will, however, confess to despising the murderous extremists that are Muslims.
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[ Parent ]

Load up your newsgroup software (none / 0) (#334)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:01:37 PM EST

And head over to "soc.culture.iranian," which is a hodgepodge of Persians with a multitude of different viewpoints (Persians are generally better educated than other ethnicities, so it's no surprise that they'd be opinionated). It's therefore statistically very likely that I would be able to find a mere one Muslim who detests Osama Bin Laden.

And indeed, that is the case.

Look for the posting on the date Saturday, June 1st called "Re: Teerirst alarm ,suicide attack in Berlin"

An ass hole is and ass hole is an ass hole! BUT Osama stinks too bad to even be an ass's hole!! He resides in one!

-----------

The OBL is not an asshole , he is a psychopath. > however this psychpath has more brain , oragnization skill and taktical > talent than CIA/FBI etc together >

> I believe , if he was the Manager of Saudi soccer team , they should > become the world champion.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Now that's mainstream! (1.00 / 1) (#340)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:19:30 PM EST

If soc.culture.iranian isn't the lifebeat of American culture, I don't know what is!!! Huge *LOL*!!!
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[ Parent ]

What do you mean? (none / 0) (#341)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:22:34 PM EST

If soc.culture.iranian isn't the lifebeat of American culture, I don't know what is!!! Huge *LOL*!!!

I assumed you meant mainstream western culture. There aren't many people who live in Iran who post in soc.culture.iranian - Internet access costs a small fortune in Iran still. You keep redefining the terms to make it impossible to fulfill, I see. Typical right-wing tactic.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Come on... (none / 0) (#345)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:08:17 PM EST

...the point I've been arguing all along is that (contrary to the parent post) Muslims are not rapidly encroaching on the mainstream in America, despite their large numbers. The reason, I argue, is that no leadership has emerged from the American Muslim community. There are no dynamic personalities that can impress upon Joe Six-Pack that Muslims do not equal bin Laden. Sure, Bush can say it, but no one listens to him anyway. So, when I asked you for an example of a powerful voice in the world Muslim community that is effective at distancing Muslims from terrorist maniacs (in the same manner that MLK distanced the civil rights movement from extremists), you pointed to a post in soc.culture.iranian?!
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[ Parent ]

Are you blind? (4.00 / 1) (#352)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:31:50 PM EST

Who's talking about "Muslim leaders" except you?

Muslims do denounce these fringe, fundamentalist nutcases

You asked me to name one example, and I did! It's pretty easy to say that "mainstream muslim leaders don't denounce Bin Laden's actions" when there are none in the public eye. That doesn't mean that Muslims aren't part of our culture - they are. That they aren't on CNN pimping for their mosques Jesse Jacson style is neither here nor there.

Not everything is about television, the drug of the nation...



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Farrakhan Denounced WTC (none / 0) (#526)
by nomoreh1b on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:54:44 PM EST

Min. Louis Farrakhan is possibly the most prominent Muslim clergyman in the US, condemned the 911 attack. I'm personally unaware of any major Muslim clergyman in the US that didn't denounce the 911 attack.

[ Parent ]
Islam is mainstream among US blacks already (none / 0) (#362)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:28:09 PM EST

...the point I've been arguing all along is that (contrary to the parent post) Muslims are not rapidly encroaching on the mainstream in America, despite their large numbers. The reason, I argue, is that no leadership has emerged from the American Muslim community.

Look, Islam is already mainstream in the black community. The leader of the largest civil rights march in history was Min. Louis Farrakhan--and he did it with no support from the media or major donors outside the black community(which is what was the source of MLK's fame).

There are no dynamic personalities that can impress upon Joe Six-Pack that Muslims do not equal bin Laden. Sure, Bush can say it, but no one listens to him anyway. So, when I asked you for an example of a powerful voice in the world Muslim community that is effective at distancing Muslims from terrorist maniacs (in the same manner that MLK distanced the civil rights movement from extremists), you pointed to a post in soc.culture.iranian?!

I'd suggest that if you did see any significant religious leader in the US bringing Islam to the white community, that leader would be just as dead as David Koresh-which means the Muslims won't make that move until they are ready for a significant conflict.

This thing about religious freedom in the US is really a bunch of hypocrisy when some big political end is in the picture.

[ Parent ]

David Koresh? Farrakhan? (none / 0) (#434)
by SPYvSPY on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 12:59:10 PM EST

The best you can cite is Koresh and Farrakhan? Not only are both these men insane, but they are also extremists. And by the way, how does David Koresh, who was a militant cultist that got whacked due to an over-anxious and poorly coordinated FBI-ATF operation, relate to this discussion at all? You seem to imply that an outspoken Muslim would be treated similarly to Koresh, which is a *huge* leap of logic.

Well, since you all have failed so miserably to answer my question, I will do it for you. The best candidate for a mainstream, outspoken Muslim is....... Muhammad Ali . Too bad he's got a degerative disease that renders him nearly unable to speak.
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[ Parent ]

Out of Touch (none / 0) (#453)
by nomoreh1b on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 03:56:25 PM EST

The best you can cite is Koresh and Farrakhan? Not only are both these men insane, but they are also extremists.

Min. Farrakhan is regularly counted as one of the most influential American Americans by a mainstream voice of that community, Ebony magazine--and lead the largest civil rights march in US history with no outside support(MLK got lots of outside support and couldn't get the same numbers). Why are you calling the beloved leader of a minority community a nutcase? Have you ever read any of this man's writings? Have you ever spoken to any of his followers? Are you just relying on mainstream TV and journalistic sources? I don't suspect you are a racist, it sounds though like you take what you read in the press far too seriously.

I am not a follower of Min. Farrakhan. I do respect his ability to stay alive as a leader of the constituency to which he ministers. Frankly, I think we in America are lucky to have a moral, cultured and educate man like him as a leader in that constitutency rather than some of the other options that may have been chosen. I also think that the press regularly lies about this man not because of his limitations, but because of their own jealousy of his ability to earn the love and respect from a group that they themselves cannot.

That sad, I wouldn't choose Min. Farrkhan as my minister-but I will respect those that do.

And by the way, how does David Koresh, who was a militant cultist that got whacked due to an over-anxious and poorly coordinated FBI-ATF operation, relate to this discussion at all?

David Koresh was the closest thing I've seen to charismatic minister that was being ideas from Islam into the rural white community. Look at the link from my original post that started this thread. Koresh could have been _easily_ arrested(a friend of my father was his neighbor near Waco, Koresh regularly showed up in that town).

You seem to imply that an outspoken Muslim would be treated similarly to Koresh, which is a *huge* leap of logic.

Charismatic Muslim ministers in the US either seem to have very good security forces or seem very dead. I find the coincidence rather odd.

Well, since you all have failed so miserably to answer my question, I will do it for you. The best candidate for a mainstream, outspoken Muslim is....... Muhammad Ali . Too bad he's got a degerative disease that renders him nearly unable to speak.

I'd actually agree on this one. I heard Ali speak in his prime. He was very engaging.

[ Parent ]

Malcolm X vs MLK (2.00 / 1) (#245)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:22:21 AM EST

MLK was largely and establishment created leader created in response to the rise of Malcolm X. Malcolm X never had any significant support outside the Black community--though towards the end of his life there appeared to be some possibility he would get support from the mainstream Islamic world. MLK traditionally got lots of support from major east coast elite groups--and voiced a message for more acceptable to those groups than what was heard from Malcolm X.

[ Parent ]
Ummm.... (none / 0) (#301)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:58:11 PM EST

...which is exactly what Islam needs now, and notably lacks.
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[ Parent ]

Dynamic Xtian Leaders (none / 0) (#412)
by lb008d on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 09:36:49 AM EST

After the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, how many dynamic christian leaders came forth to condemn the murder?

Can you name one without searching? Why do you apply the same standard to Muslims then?

[ Parent ]

Assasinations of Muslim Leaders in the US (none / 0) (#242)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:12:39 AM EST

Two charismatic leaders tending advance Muslim interests in the US Malcolm X and David Koresh were both killed under strange conditions. The leaders of the NOI(the Islamic organization that in many respects seems the least "foreign" to US converts) in particular feel that their organization has been traditionally subject to police and media harrassment.

[ Parent ]
David Koresh? Muslim? (none / 0) (#428)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 12:01:59 PM EST

Are you on drugs?

As for Malcolm X, if killed as part of an conspiracy, it was more than likely because of his civil right politics and not his religion, just like MLK Jr.

Claiming that someone would have been targeted for assassination in the 1960s because they were an important Muslim is rather surreal.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Check the link (none / 0) (#485)
by nomoreh1b on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 01:52:08 AM EST

David Koresh was borrowing substantially from Muslim theology. IMHO would it would be an exagerration to say that Koresh was a Muslim. However, it would be correct to say that Koresh was a charismatic sect leader moving his flock rapidly in that direction and in doing so breaking substantial taboos in Western Christianity.

[ Parent ]
Sure. (none / 0) (#506)
by DavidTC on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 12:00:17 AM EST

But saying he 'advanced Muslim interests' is just surreal. For one thing, no one had even heard of him until the standoff, so he didn't advance any interests at all (And the standoff certainly wasn't because he was advancing any.), and second, 'borrowing from the theology of a religion' doesn't have anything to do with 'advancing a religion's interests', and third, he couldn't have come out against Muslim terrorism, nor could Malcolm X, for the simple matter of being dead a long time.

So I don't even know why they were mentioned, except to talk about how all Muslim leaders end up dead. But Koresh wasn't a Muslim leaders in any sense. And Malcolm X is a much better example of how all civil rights leaders in the 60s ended up dead, nothing to do with religion.

I don't deny that he got killed because he was breaking taboos (Some of which are taboo for a good reason, some not so good.), and other stupid reasons to attack a compound and kill a lot of people, but it wasn't because he was some great advancer of Muslim interests.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

How Koresh Advanced Muslim Interests (none / 0) (#512)
by nomoreh1b on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 11:23:00 PM EST

But saying he 'advanced Muslim interests' is just surreal.

One of the major "Muslim Interests" is moving the Muslim religion into areas where it isn't now. Sometimes this doesn't start with someone putting out a shingle for a Muslim Church and like they would with a new Christian Church. Koresh was a leader in a denomination that he did not found and was creating a much greater knowledge of Islam within that organization than is typical in North American Christian denominations.

IMHO the first time you hear about a US denomination that converts en masse from Christianity to Islam, this will be a very big deal-and a major milestone in the development of Islam in the US--particularly if it involves a group of people that have little ancestral connection to Islam(African-Americans are an unusual case because a substantial portion of slaves brought to North America were practioners of Islam).

Koresh was important IMHO because he really did seem to be showing some possibility of moving from Christianity to Islam(just like lots of folks in North Africa and the Middle East did over a thousand years ago).

For one thing, no one had even heard of him until the standoff, so he didn't advance any interests at all

Koresh was a regional figure in Waco before the standoff. Lots more folks knew this guy by sight than the average citizen. He was also a leader of a small denomination that had been around for a while and had undergone a transition in leadership(most new religious denominations never make it past the death of their founder).

(And the standoff certainly wasn't because he was advancing any.), and second, 'borrowing from the theology of a religion' doesn't have anything to do with 'advancing a religion's interests', and

I am suggesting that the prospect of Islam moving into the White community really presses some folks buttons to the point of making them hysterical. Koresh was native to the US-and he did have some decent looks and some charisma--and he had a lot more kids than the average white dude.

third, he couldn't have come out against Muslim terrorism, nor could Malcolm X, for the simple matter of being dead a long time.

Islamic terrorism isn't anything new--it certainly was going on when Koresh and Malcolm X were both alive.

But Koresh wasn't a Muslim leaders in any sense.

I'm saying that folks like Koresh are a necessary stepping stone to having movement of Islam into the US white community. If Islam does in fact take root in the white community, I can imagine some folks like Koresh becoming viewed as martyrs.

And Malcolm X is a much better example of how all civil rights leaders in the 60s ended up dead, nothing to do with religion.

You don't think that Malcolm X's religions tendencies didn't press some serious buttons? Look at how the fundy christians react to the scale of conversion that has been happening in the black community. These folks are seriously scared by that prospect. When folks get scared they can act impulsively especially when are surrounded by folks that are similarly frightened.



[ Parent ]

Everything distrubs fundamentalist christians... (3.00 / 2) (#281)
by ave19 on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:00:08 PM EST

video games, rock music, pagan religions, TV shows, leaf blowers, insects, typos in bibles, quantum mechanics, math, evolution, pancakes, brains, dogs, the internet, drugs, fruit bats, artichokes, the Minnesota Vikings, ballet, anyone in a wheel chair, dry-erase markers, remote controls, aluminum foil... well, you get the picture. -ave

[ Parent ]
Re: Islam and the US (5.00 / 2) (#422)
by scorchio on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 11:10:09 AM EST

What is less well known is that the Waco murders involved a reaction to Islamic ideology spreading into the rural white community. David Koresh theology was a strange mix of Islam and Christianity.

Islam and Christianity share a common history and mythology. The Koran preaches tolerance of Christians, and allows Muslims to marry Christians. The three religions of the book, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam spring from the same Middle Eastern spirituality. They are far more alike than they are different.

It might be more accurate to say that Koresh's "theology" (not so sure that this word applies) was a mishmash of Christianity and various other beliefs picked up along the way.

Now, it wouldn't be strictly correct to call Koresh a Muslim,

Indeed, it would be strictly incorrect to call Koresh a Muslim.

What is also strange here is that the McVeigh who avenged the death of Koresh and his followers, expressed an affinity with the ancient cult of Sol Invictus.

The "cult" of the Sol Invictus (Latin for the unconquerored sun), is sun-worship. Its iconography was borrowed by (among others), the Byzantium Empire, which used it to express the divinity of Jesus Christ (and the temporal power of the Emperor), by the Egyptians with the cult of Ammon Ra, and by the Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrians (who still exist in Eastern Iran), had the idea of an eternal flame symbolizing the power of the sun. This eternal flame burns on the Champs Elysses in Paris, and in the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Dublin, and indeed, all over the world. It's a powerful poetic symbol.

As far as I know, however, the term Sol Invictus specifically refers to the Byzantine imperial cult. Byzantium fell to Turkish invaders in 1453, having spent much of its history fighting Muslim princelings and kingdoms.

Because the origins of all three Book religions lie in the Middle East, and because all three of these religions were founded by Semitic peoples, considerable overlap is inevitable, in imagery, religious practice, and intolerance to outsiders.

The savage irony is that these three "brothers" have been at one anothers' throats for the best part of their history. The best the rest of us can do is retire into an enlightened and urbane paganism, and let them fight over the scraps.

[ Parent ]

Koresh and Islam (none / 0) (#486)
by nomoreh1b on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 02:12:21 AM EST

It might be more accurate to say that Koresh's "theology" (not so sure that this word applies) was a mishmash of Christianity and various other beliefs picked up along the way.

Big things to get here:
Koresh was arguing that Jews were not needed to fulfil biblical prophecy. This put him in direct contradiction many of the religious leaders of the groups that founded the United States.

Koresh was starting to borrow Islamic imagery and symbology(i.e. his name itself).

Koresh was actively polygamous.

Koresh was making overtures to Islamic religious leaders.

The last factor is rather important. How much would it we worth to some interests in the Islamic world to have a leader promoting Islam in the US to groups these Muslims didn't know how how to appeal to? Would Koresh have been willing to adjust his theology to obtain substantial funding? How much would it take to create a substntial evangelical Ialamic movement in the US that could spread in the white, rural communities and what would that mean? Frankly, I think that prospect scares the hell out of some folks. Islam has a habit of raising some very thorny and divisive issues when it spreads into a new culture.

[ Parent ]

Alqueda's Mode of operation is different. (4.76 / 13) (#174)
by bitgeek on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:46:56 AM EST


Think about it-- they brought down the WTC and destroyed part of the pentagon with box cutters.

Box cutters are the tool they used.  Not even knives.

They used an extremely low tech, low cost tool to do a very maximum amount of damage.

They traded an elaborate, sophisticated, complicated plan for a simple one that exerted an amazing amount of leverage.  This is how they operate.

Here in the US we trade thinking for really sophisticated, complicated, expensive weapons-- look at the tools of war we use.  They are high tech, expensive, brute force tools.

A nuclear weapon is a great example of this-- very difficult to build, move, and hard to get  the raw material for.

This is not Alqueda's mode of operation at all.

They will seek to kill more people than last time (I think the white house was a big target) and do more damage-- but their tool will be a very low tech one.

Nobody seems to have cottened on how enginious thier 9/11 plan was-- they destroyed two massive buildings with box cutters, carefully applied.

As Osama has said, the US underestimates them, calls them savages and unsophisticated--- but what they really are is exceedingly clever, low tech and focused.

We should be very scared-- and all I've seen from the US is a lot of posturing, name calling, and pretending.  Thinking about nukes is thinking like an american-- how we'd solve the problem.  I think biotech is more likey-- a much easier to manufacture weapon of mass distruction.  

I agree completely about boat delivery, though... and with the US lookng for nukes with secret radiation detector at major ports, they'll miss the SeaLand container full of virii.

BitGeek
-- Between 1982 and 1988 US Income tax revenues doubled from approx. $500 Billion to $1 trillion due to Reagans tax cuts.

You think about it (1.33 / 3) (#176)
by WildDonkey on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:33:46 AM EST

You are talking nonsense.

They didn't bring down the twin towers with boxcutters, they brought down the twin towers with two jets which they hijacked. You can no more say they brought down the twin towers with the food they ate over the previous few days or the cars they used to drive them to the airport.

As for Osama saying they are extremely clever. What else would you expect. He's hardly likely to say they're extremely stupid (what they are) when he's one of them. If they were so extremely clever couldnt they cotton on to the fact that their actions would result in them being hunted down like the dogs they are and obliterated (if they fought) or imprisoned for their actions (if they surrendered). Very smart.

The idea of flying aircraft into the twin towers wasnt even original btw - it had been mentioned several times in the past on the topic of terrorist activities and I believe was even part of a story in a book.

As for nukes being hard to manufacture, well it wasnt a nuke that this guy has been arrested for, its a radioactive dirty bomb. Very easy to manufacture out of old hospital equipment parts and very effective too (if you're looking to cause wide spread panic, disruption and terror in the least possible effort)

These people are not clever. It is not a sign of intelligence to try and kill civilians in terrorist actions. More a sign of people blinded by irrationally fueled hatred. Their own societies are poor places to live in largely due to intolerance of others but all the blame is of course placed on the west because its their fault. Right.

[ Parent ]

Burden of proof (4.85 / 7) (#179)
by Wulfius on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:31:44 AM EST

Excuse me;

He has not been arrested for MAKING a dirty bomb.
He has not even been arrested for HAVING a dirty bomb.

Apparently (on what little information has been released) he might have been at some stage
in the company of some people who have at some
stage talked about making a bomb.

Think about that one for a while.

Do you still believe you live in the land of the free?

.

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

Let me get this straight (1.25 / 4) (#188)
by WildDonkey on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:47:16 AM EST

So you're only issue with my post is that:

He hadn't actually finished a dirty bomb yet, but got arrested anyway.

Definately the sign of the tyranically society in which (you think) I live, the good old US of A.

Except I don't actually live there and never have. Not even on the same continent. Now you ask me if I still think I live in a free society ? Actually yes I do, but you don't know where I live. What does that tell me ? You are confused.

[ Parent ]

hadn't *finished* ?? (5.00 / 2) (#237)
by crazycanuck on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:07:05 AM EST

"He hadn't actually finished a dirty bomb yet, but got arrested anyway."

hadn't finished?? he hadn't even started! he didn't even have any materials for it!

he wasn't arrested for "building a dirty bomb", he was arrested for "exploring the possibility" which is an euphemism for "we have no proof whatsoever but this makes a good story that most people will buy"

[ Parent ]

Lets just cut to the chase (none / 0) (#347)
by Stretch on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:13:04 PM EST

Should it be illegal to think about and discuss building a "dirty bomb" or for that matter, any bomb?  Most Americans can answer, no.  But as soon as you add that the intended target is city XYZ in the US suddenly opinions change.

So where do you stand?  Should it be illegal to think or not?

[ Parent ]

Think vs Plan (4.00 / 1) (#351)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:30:04 PM EST

I have no objection to someone THINKING about dirty bombs. I have very serious objections to someone actually PLANNING to build/use one. Especially if I happen to live in XYZ city.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
re: Think vs Plan (4.00 / 2) (#370)
by Stretch on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 06:50:41 PM EST

So then, what is the exact difference between thinking about and planning?  IMO, not too much.  Clearly, aquiring the means (such as the radioactive material) constitutes planning, but this fella in question hadn't done that.  As far as I can tell, he was just in the thinking stages.  

Then again, one question is why he wasn't just tracked closely and then busted along with his co-conspiritors when it was clear this wasn't just a thought crime.  There can be a perfectly good (classified) explaination, or this could be a deliberate change in policy.  If it's the latter, we have a problem.  If its the former, someone has an obligation to prove to us it isn't the latter.

[ Parent ]

Possible reason (none / 0) (#516)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 01:43:25 PM EST

My guess, and it's just a guess, is that they would afraid that if they didn't get him immediatly someone would f*** up, people would die, and worst of all, their @$$es would be toast.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
More on why he was arrested. (none / 0) (#502)
by Wulfius on Sun Jun 16, 2002 at 09:06:10 PM EST

The US Citizen arrested is presumably entitled
to the protection extended to him under the US
Constitution. Here is that pesky document again
I think the US should just annul it.
Or better yet 'UNSIGN' it (Like the Shrub did with
the nooklear treaty).

He is WHY the US conservative media think
the announcement was made;
"To take the focus away from the Intel agency bashing for screwing up 9/11 intel".

Why this is so evident?
Something called "The Trade Craft".
When you SUSPECT someone plotting something.
You keep a close surveilance of him.
Then you have PROOF (you dont have to
rely on the Prez calling him a "Bad Guy" as your
stongest case against him).
You might also score some other trivialities
oh I dont know, like his OTHER accomplices
and exact plan.

The dude is a patsy for the greater game being played with the media and where the price
is civil liberties. But then Americans
dont seem to care for those anymore.

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

This is just dumb. (1.50 / 2) (#199)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 08:52:03 AM EST

Are you proposing that Al Queda is clever because they were able to hijack these airplanes? I'd say clever is getting two goddamn heavy peices of metal to fly -- which was done by Americans. If I were going to attribute any cleverness, it would be to the hard working, ground breaking Americans that made air travel a possibility. The fact that Al Queda exploited our principles of freedom to advance their moronic powergrab is not clever, it's just abusive. I can't stand it when people talk about what a clever plot 9/11 was. How hard is it to hijack a plane? Aren't we now discovering that their plot was clumsy and had been uncovered by the intelligence community, but not acted upon properly? These guys are not clever -- they're a bunch of self-serving dumbasses that abused our sense of liberty to kill a whole bunch of people that never did anything to them.
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[ Parent ]

Think whatever you want ... (5.00 / 2) (#201)
by Ranieri on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:13:22 AM EST

These guys are not clever -- they're a bunch of self-serving dumbasses

Underestimating your foe's intelligence is a major mistake. If it makes you feel better to say they are stupid, please say it. As long as you do not really believe it, because that's when you'll get hurt.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]

Okay. (none / 0) (#222)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:20:57 AM EST

Fair point. I concede this one to you. Nevertheless, going around characterizing these guys as masterminds is just silly. They got away with this attack for a million reasons, the least of which was the inherent "cleverness" of Al Qaeda, or the extreme cunningness of this plot. My God, I used to keep a deadly Spyderco knife on my keychain and fly with it all the time. If I had been insane enough to kill a stewardess, hijack the controls and fly it into New York, I'd be a mad genius!
------------------------------------------------

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[ Parent ]

So America is clever!? (none / 0) (#214)
by a2800276 on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:08:05 AM EST

Aren't we now discovering that their plot was clumsy and had been uncovered by the intelligence community, but not acted upon properly?

So the really clever American intelligence community uncovered the plot, but were not able to prevent it.

What's cleverer:

  • Devising a plan to destroy two of the largest buildings ever made by man using hardly more tools than boxcutters. -OR-
  • Knowing of such a plan and not being able to get off your ass to do anything about it.


[ Parent ]
20/20 hindsight. (none / 0) (#221)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:18:30 AM EST

Counter-terrorism is a very delicate game, my friend. Sure, it's easy to pretend that the CIA/FBI failed miserably, but the truth is that they just didn't communicate effectively. The fact that there were field agents that uncovered this secret plot is pretty clever, no? The fact that they weren't able to penetrate the beaurocracy in time to stop the attacks is not evidence of American stupidity. It's just a fact of life in a big huge government that tries (harder than most, despite what you might read/think) to respect people's rights.
------------------------------------------------

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[ Parent ]

You said it ... (5.00 / 1) (#254)
by icastel on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:56:45 AM EST

Sure, it's easy to pretend that the CIA/FBI failed miserably, but the truth is that they just didn't communicate effectively.

Wouldn't lack of good communication make it a failure? I think so




-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
To rephrase... (none / 0) (#265)
by a2800276 on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:18:43 PM EST

The parent post was making a point out of saying:
a.) Woot! Woot! U S A! b.) Terrorists were so stupid that out intelligance agencies knew about the plot before hand. but c.) didn't do anything about it.

Terrorist used the bureaucratic confusing, lack of communication as one of their tools. In my opinion a much more important and sophisticated one than the goddamn boxcutters everyone keeps mentioning.

Also: knowing about an attack of the magnitude of 9/11 and not being able to act upon it, is very much an act of stupidity, maybe not of any on particular individual but most certainly of the system.

Finally: obviously, counterterrorism is a very delicate game, and judging by how condescending you are, my friend, I'm sure you know all about it first hand.

[ Parent ]

here we go again (2.00 / 1) (#223)
by WildDonkey on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:22:44 AM EST

*  Devising a plan to destroy two of the largest buildings ever made by man using hardly more tools than boxcutters.

I thought we had already decided that the two towers were destroyed by passports. (Since they got onto the planes with the passports...)

[ Parent ]

Not me. (2.00 / 2) (#263)
by a2800276 on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:10:14 PM EST

a.) 'fraid I didn't say that anywhere
b.) I also don't believe that all it takes to pull off a stunt like that are boxcutters, that was taken from the parent post.
c.) were you trying to make a point or just being a dick?


[ Parent ]
Dense or obtuse? (4.00 / 1) (#275)
by bitgeek on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:43:43 PM EST

I explicitely was talking about the tools of force used.

The tool of force in the original article was a nuclear bomb.

The tool of force in 9/11 was box cutters.

Tehy didn't take over the plane with passports.  Nobody's going to give control of a plane over because they see passports.

My point was clear to most people-- you're persistance in this is stupid.
-- Between 1982 and 1988 US Income tax revenues doubled from approx. $500 Billion to $1 trillion due to Reagans tax cuts.
[ Parent ]

If I had to call you one, I'd probably use dense. (1.00 / 1) (#292)
by WildDonkey on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:41:19 PM EST

The tool of force in 9/11 was box cutters.

Yeah right. Had the boxcutters not been on the plane, it would have flown straight through the buildings without damaging a thing.

Your soundbite about using boxcutters to destroy the world trade center is just that - a soundbite. The plane destroyed the world trade center. The passports getting them onto the plane played just as much a role in the final outcome as the boxcutters did in getting them into the cabin. They could have got into the cabin without the boxcutters but couldnt have got onto the plane without the passports.

Journalists periodically smuggle guns onto planes and say "look what we managed to do, security is terrible". Well yes, unfortunately it is rather easy to hijack aircraft for anyone who really wants to.

The fact that they did it does not make them intelligent.


[ Parent ]

Definition of Clever (2.50 / 2) (#279)
by bitgeek on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:51:05 PM EST

<i>I'd say clever is getting two goddamn heavy peices of metal to fly -- which was done by Americans.</i>

Between you and the passports guy, I'm starting to think that americans like their heads in the sand, want to keep them there, and don't want to deal with it when reality intrudes.

Why the desperate desire to make these guys out to be idiots.  

I'm an american, I'm proud of what it stands for (despite the vast majority apparently being completely ignorant of it) and I don't see how it is somehow someting we can never admit that someone else in the world can be clever.

You pretend your opponents are stupid dogs and you will be mighty surprised when they beat you.

You pretend your opponents are really clever and you may well beat them.

As long as you pretend that they are incapable of anything significant-- especially after they murdered 3,000 people in one fell swoop-- you give them the advantage.

Bill Mahr  got his show canceled because he said they showed courage in doing this act.  But what he spoke was the truth- objective truth.

These people were clever, and they bested our security system.    To prevent it from happening again, we should take them seriously.

IS the american sense of worth so fragile that we cannot imagine the possibility that people in other countries are smart?

We did this last time around with Hussein.  Bush was calling him a madman, but he outlasted Bush, and while he's lost the military war- he's still around.

Part of the problem here is that most americans, apparently, are completely ignorant of Middle Eastern traditions, attitudes and ideology.

You've forgotten about the "Gulf War" while people there who feel victims plot to kill you.  

And when they suprise you, its them you call stupid.

Hmmm.
-- Between 1982 and 1988 US Income tax revenues doubled from approx. $500 Billion to $1 trillion due to Reagans tax cuts.
[ Parent ]

I'm not american (none / 0) (#298)
by WildDonkey on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:53:53 PM EST

If you're referring to me as "the passports guy" then I'm not American.

They could have killed a LOT more than 3k people if they had crashed the jets into the buildlings much lower at a time when the buildings were fuller rather than just beginning to fill. So if killing as many people as possible was their aim - they failed.

It is not hard to take advantage in free societies.

You pretend your opponents are stupid dogs and you will be mighty surprised when they beat you.

You are confused. Let me help: I am calling these people stupid. I am not saying lets treat them like they're stupid, and I doubt anyone else is. Let's call them stupid (they are) and treat them like they are smart, while we try to disable their organisation.

Lenox Lewis called Mike Tyson stupid. Did that mean he dangled his chin out in front of Mike during the match ? No. He called him stupid and kept his chin well guarded because there is a difference between being stupid and being dangerous. You don't have to be smart to be very dangerous.

[ Parent ]

ROTFL (none / 0) (#415)
by tekue on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 10:00:43 AM EST

You are confused. Let me help: I am calling these people stupid. I am not saying lets treat them like they're stupid, and I doubt anyone else is. Let's call them stupid (they are) and treat them like they are smart, while we try to disable their organisation.
Oh, so it's your genius plan to make them look stupid, it's so clever of you.

If they are stupid, why would you act like they are not? I mean, if they're stupid, you can disable their organisation exactly like they were stupid, because IYO they are. I'd say that it's better to treat them as stupid if they are — this way you could make use of their weak points, such as their stupidity. If they're stupid and you treat them as smart, you loose some advantagest that you would use.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

eh, again? (3.33 / 3) (#207)
by toby moray on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:42:02 AM EST

with boxcutters they hijacked the planes that they flew into the towers. no machineguns, grenades, weapons of any greater destructive power than those used to cut open boxes. So yes, they brought down the towers with boxcutters.

there are plenty of stories doing the rounds here in the UK today that the dirty bomb story was a ploy by the government to make the FBI look valuable after the lack of action related to 9/11. the guy was arrested for the dirty bomb scheme on May 8th - why release the story now and not at the time?
Wisdom Springs - what's it really like where you live?
[ Parent ]

They brought down the towers with passports (none / 0) (#209)
by WildDonkey on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:57:17 AM EST

But without passports they wouldn't have got into the country and couldn't have hijacked the planes so therefor they brought down the towers with passports. What effective leverage of paper. You can make this kind of pathetic argument for just about anything which renders the "they brought the towers down with boxcutters" line meaningless. It sounds more like the kind of embelishment remark a cnn journalist would make in the hope people would be impressed.

I'm geniunely impressed how many gullible people seem to think four or five people seated in business class right at the front of the plane and hijacking an aircraft with "boxcutters" which are actually more or less knives depending on what kind of boxcutter you are talking about (some have rather long retractable blades, as im sure you're all aware) is an act of impressive intelligence.

[ Parent ]

Personal Opinion (2.16 / 6) (#215)
by Kintanon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:08:05 AM EST

To me it just shows that there were 3 airplanes full of cowardly, pathetic, decadent westerners. And 1 plane full of real Americans. 6 guys with box cutters should not EVER be able to take over a plane. Ever. They have no long range destructive ability with a box cutter, and they can not engage multiple opponents effectively with a box cutter. 2 v 1 they are easily defeated. One person grabs the box cutter arm and holds on for dear life, the other person beats the shit out of the terrorist. It's not that hard people....

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Fighting Expectations (5.00 / 2) (#235)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:02:31 AM EST

You're forgetting a huge point that comes out only in hindsight. Until September 11th, the best course of action in a hijacking was considered to be "sit down and shut up" because until that day, there was never an occurence where a hijacker turned out to be a suicide pilot. It's very easy to talk like you do after the fact, but even your "1 plane full of real Americans" did nothing until they were notified by the outside world that other hijacked planes were being used to hit buildings.

To present an analogy, if you were in a gas station, and someone walked in with a knife (assume you don't have a weapon yourself), why would you try to disarm him and risk getting gutted? You'd just stay out of it, let him take the money and go home in one piece. Further, even if you'd jump him, what if he pulled his coat aside to show you an explosive device, and said if anyone moves, he'll drop the deadman switch? You'd have to be a fool to endanger everyone in the area just to protect a few dollars from the till. This is what those passengers faced (the folks on the plane over Pennsylvania reported that the hijackers had a box that they claimed was a bomb, so it's reasonable to assume the other three groups did the same). They didn't know they were going to die anyway, and only after they found out did they take matters to hand.

So, in short, STFU until you can consider all of the pieces of the story.

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 ]
No. You've all been brainwashed., (2.00 / 2) (#241)
by Kintanon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:12:29 AM EST

I don't know why people persist in believing this. If someone has a weapon, and they are waving it around, they OBVIOUSLY want to kill someone. You should NEVER EVER assume they are going to let you go, if they didn't want to hurt you they wouldn't have a weapon. I always work from the assumption that I am going to be killed later if I cooperate. If nothing else I will be killed to reduce the number of witnesses that can testify against the criminal. I will ALWAYS fight against armed thieves, hi-jackers, etc... I've spent 8 years training in martial arts of all kinds. Not with some misguided idea of that it will make me invincible or anything, but with the mindset that perperation will never hurt. I know all kinds of good ways to kill people barehanded faster than can be done with most weapons. And yes, I will gladly risk my life, and the lives of others in order to stop hi-jackers, muggers, etc... Because even if they don't kill me today, the next person they attack might not be so lucky. I've always had this attitude and I always will. If someone points a gun at you, or holds a knife to someones throat, then they obviously wish to kill and it should be assumed that they will do so unless stopped.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Maybe ... (5.00 / 1) (#251)
by icastel on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:48:33 AM EST

The government should sponsor a nation-wide, mandatory training program in Martial Arts, just in case we are ever faced with a situation like the one in those planes. The program would be complemented, of course, with psychological preparation to kill barehandedly any armed person, especially if they appear to be terrorists.


-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
Any armed person? (1.00 / 1) (#255)
by Kintanon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:57:40 AM EST

I believe you have been trying to read things into my post which I didn't put there. If an armed person threatens me with their weapon and attempts to coerce me into performing some action, then I'm going to assume they are going to kill me. If they are just sitting in their seat holding a weapon and not saying anything, then they aren't threatening anyone and can be left in peace.

As for Martial Arts. I don't think it would be a bad idea to have state sponsored martial arts classes as part of normal schooling. But American's tend to teach Martial Arts as a way to fight, without the respect for others that is ingrained into people who study under eastern teachers. So it would probably backfire. Of course, I need MA because I'm only 5'7 and 130lbs. So I'm not exactly a powerhouse here. But still, three untrained, relatively large people could easily take on a guy armed with only a box cutter.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#317)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:20:31 PM EST

They could, if that person was not also trained to fight with that weapon.

Second, where in my example did I say that the store robber threatened you? He pulled a knife and went for the register. Where did the threat to you personally materialize?

The vast, vast majority of armed crimes do not end in the victim's death, and in almost all cases the cost of fighting (risk of getting killed by the assailant) far outweighs the value of what's lost.

You should be careful about throwing around the term "brainwashed" if you're going to stand by your concept of lethal intent.

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 ]
Keep in mind (4.00 / 1) (#260)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:01:21 PM EST

that the average American has NOT had 8 years of training, or even 8 minutes. Also, the average street thug is not out to kill; he's out to steal. He WILL kill if you don't cooperate but your odds of getting out alive are pretty good if you just hand over your wallet. Most people know this, and also know that they couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Assume lethal intent (none / 0) (#268)
by Kintanon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:26:05 PM EST

Any time someone has a weapon and is threatening you with it you must assume lethal intent. If the person doesn't want to get caught it is in their best interest to kill you so that you cannot testify against them or contact the authorities. You can not assume that they will preserve your life, they obviously don't value you as a person since they are willing to coerce you into giving up your personal posessions.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Not neccesarily (none / 0) (#296)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:50:02 PM EST

They don't value your life, but they probably realize that a trail of dead bodies will spur the authorities to pull out all the stops to get them, instead of just saying "just another robbery". I'm not saying you should ALWAYS submit, just that there are valid reasons for doing so. And I'm also referring to street crime, not terrorism. With the terrorist, his GOAL is death, so you have nothing to lose by fighting back.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately it is not that simple (5.00 / 4) (#236)
by Afty on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:02:43 AM EST

The Boxcutters are actually very effective weapons - sharp and very mobile. It is almost certain that all the Al Queda members on those planes received extensive military training, particularly in the area of hand to hand combat versus unarmed combatants in a confined space.

It is worth noting that it is extremely likely the hijackers were well versed in psychology aswell - and so most likely picked out several good looking young women and held the weapons to their necks as others went about their business.

Are you going to be the man who stands up to tackle the hijacker in a confined space, knowing that he will sever the jugular and windpipe of your friend Suzie, and she will die in agony while you wrestle a trained, armed combatant, and most likely end up wounded, probably mortally, while having the knowledge that most hikackings end peacefully, and the survival ratio for hijacked passengers, even over less 'friendly' airspace is far better than many forms of cancer.

It is very easy to sacrifice your own life to save others if you know you are all going to die. It's a little harder to sacrifice your life when you expect to survive, and incredibly hard to sacrifice someone elses life when they will probably not die anyway.

Those people on 'that flight' were definitely heroic, but I would not have a word said against the others, and not knowing how the day was going to unfold, sitting down and shutting up was the most sensible thing to do.

[ Parent ]

Nonsense (2.00 / 1) (#219)
by synaesthesia on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:12:07 AM EST

With hands they held the boxcutters with which they hijacked the planes that they flew into the towers. So yes, they brought down the towers with their bare hands.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Are you being deliberate? (none / 0) (#272)
by bitgeek on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:39:32 PM EST

The tool they used was a low tech one-- boxcutters.

Not a high tech one- a nuclear bomb.

The tool they bought or built was low tech.  

They could have built their own 767 or bought it, and flew it into the towers.  

They did not.

They used a low tech tool.

All this talk about hands makes me think you're being deliberately dense.  

IT wasn't just boxcutters, of course, it was planning and the leverage that comes with that-- using 767s, etc.

But the tool was not a nuclear weapon, as the poster of the article speculated, but a low tech one, and it will likely be low tech and effective again.
-- Between 1982 and 1988 US Income tax revenues doubled from approx. $500 Billion to $1 trillion due to Reagans tax cuts.
[ Parent ]

Not at all (none / 0) (#417)
by synaesthesia on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 10:20:13 AM EST

My point is - clearly - that box cutters were only one part of a complex plan, which involved careful planning, understanding of the US psyche, etc., not to mention SEVERAL AEROPLANES.

Without the aforementioned, they would not have brought down the twin towers. Without the boxcutters, they probably wouldn't have done either, although they would certainly have stood a better chance of doing so. So to say that they destroyed the WTC and part of the Pentagon with box cutters is sensationalism: the stuff that tabloid headlines are made from.

I was in agreement with the original point you made about low-tech terrorism. They found a weak point and exploited it to maximum effect. But try to imagine a world in which aeroplanes don't exist, try to imagine a world in which box-cutters don't exist, and tell me how you would bring down the WTC in each scenario.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

How ironic (4.00 / 1) (#216)
by synaesthesia on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:09:52 AM EST

If they were so extremely clever couldnt they cotton on to the fact that their actions would result in them being hunted down like the dogs they are and obliterated (if they fought) or imprisoned for their actions (if they surrendered). Very smart.

Have you not yet realised that America's weak point is its arrogance? "Oh, flying planes into buildings is possible, but they wouldn't dare, we'd have their guts for garters."

Well? Have they obliterated or imprisoned the Medusa yet?

Al-quaeda are clever because they didn't fire nuclear missiles into orbit to be shot down by lasers; they applied Occam's razor to the problem of killing lots of Americans, and came up with the weakest link.

Even if intelligence were inversely proportional to social responsibility, as you seem to think, you have to realise that America is not the only society in the world, despite its best intentions.



Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Sheesh. (4.00 / 1) (#270)
by bitgeek on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:35:32 PM EST


Of course they used planes.  

They also had to think a lot about what it would take to bring the buildings down-- they had been deisgned to withstand a direct hit from a plane.

And they were careful to hit the towers at two different locations-- it wasn't clear which would be the best place to hit, so they were hoping at least one would come down if they both wouldn't.

The force they used was boxcutters.  The tool they used was planning. Putting the two together allowed them to leverage a very low tech device to do great damage.

You're calling them stupid is exactly the kind of foolishness I'm talking about.  American's underestimation of them gives them an advantage they wouldn't otherwise have if we took them more seriously.

You said they didn't think thru the response?  Don't be silly-- of course they did.  They knew the response would be a war in the middle east.  What has the result of that war been?  The same as the last one-- The muslim world hates us more and more.   We're doing Al Queda's recruiting for them, breeding enemies of the US on a massive scale.

And, like Saddam Hussein, Osama seems to have gotten away (never fight a traditional war with gurillas--  especially in Afganistan.  You'd think the past 200 years of Afganistan would be a clue.)

Hell, I think the reason they went now rather than the clinton campaign was because Bush was in office-- they knew how his father reacted, and wanted to ellicit the same reaction again.

And they succeeded.  The Americans have been attacked twice now-- first on 9/11, and second a few weeks later when Bush moved us further towards  tyranny.

Near as I can tell, they have been extremely successful at damaging this country.  

Yeah, one plane went down.  Maybe there were others that never got hijacked because the pilots were alerted and took precautions.   But to say that they are stupid when they so clearly were successful is the same mistake our government is making.

America's reaction here has been very predictable, and completely inneffective.   Have we got Osama's head?  No.  Have we destroyed the Taliban?  No.  What's going to happen in Afganistan?  Fundamentalist theocracy will return within 10 years.  What does the rest of the muslim world think of us?  If they didn't hate us before, they hate us more now.

So far, they are winning-- and part of the reason they're winning is that the government, like you, doesn't even know what the score is... doesn't even understand what the game they're playing is.
-- Between 1982 and 1988 US Income tax revenues doubled from approx. $500 Billion to $1 trillion due to Reagans tax cuts.
[ Parent ]

Follow that thought (2.00 / 1) (#192)
by EvilNoodle on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:00:52 AM EST

It makes more sense for an operative to get a job as a cleaner at a nuclear plant using a false ID and finding a way to sabotage it. No cost or training, little planning or intelligence and very hard to predict based on their prior actions.

Water supply locations are also easy targets if they decide on hitting a city such as Washington or NY.

[ Parent ]

not likely (none / 0) (#336)
by ringlord on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:12:16 PM EST

No training or intelligence needed to sabotage a nuclear power plant without getting caught? I find that hard to believe, regardless of what _The Simpsons_ leads you to think about such things.

If someone dropped you into a nuclear plant for several days or weeks, do you really think you could sabotage it successfully?

Re: water supplies. I think this is relatively unlikely as well, despite the hype that seems popular every once in a while. The human digestive system is remarkably adept at destroying or filtering out impurities and other nasty stuff, excepting large doses of some chemicals and poisons. Anything you placed in a water system would be incredibly diluted by the volume of the water in that system. It wouldn't be worth the effort and trouble to transport a large enough shipment of material to dump into the system.

[ Parent ]

What's the real goal, though? (1.00 / 1) (#501)
by TheSleeper on Sun Jun 16, 2002 at 09:57:58 AM EST

No training or intelligence needed to sabotage a nuclear power plant without getting caught? I find that hard to believe, regardless of what _The Simpsons_ leads you to think about such things.

If the goal of the sabotage is to actually do a lot of damage and kill a lot of people, then you may well be right.

But if the goal is to cause a big scare in the press and get many thinking that you almost managed to do a lot of damage and kill a lot of people, I think the odds are probably somewhat better.



[ Parent ]
Train derailments (none / 0) (#213)
by Kintanon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:04:05 AM EST

It's pretty easy to cause a train derailment with a ramp shaped piece of steal about 6 inches tall and a few seconds with a torch welder. Both of those things are easy to get ahold of and don't require any licensing to purchase and it takes only minimal training to be able to do quick welds. So it seems like we could see train derailments all over the country with very little effort and almost no chance of catching the culprit. And a lot of people and goods are still moved around the country by train.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Physics 101 (5.00 / 2) (#228)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:49:38 AM EST

Lesson 1: Understanding Momentum.

A six inch wedge on a train rail, welded on quickly with portable equipment, will NOT stand up to the rail brush on the front of any train currently running on U.S. tracks today. Second, even if it somehow got past the rail brush, the weight of the train would blow it off the rail. Did you think they tempered the rails for fun?

Lesson 2: Practical Applications.

When one has a hand welder, ten minutes and a desire to derail a train, one should forgo trying to braze something to the rails and just cut the rail instead. It's still very hard to cut enough out of a rail to derail a train without setting off the rail break alerter (you knew there are devices that run a low current in rails to detect breaks, right?) but it's a lot more likely to do the job than trying to weld a jump on to one of the rails.

Discuss.

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 ]
Rail sweepers (none / 0) (#239)
by Kintanon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:07:45 AM EST

I was unaware of the effectiveness of rail sweepers. Now I'm all curious as to how secure something has to be in order to get through the rail sweepers.... What if you made a 6 or so foot long ramp with a relatively gentle slope? The entrace portion of the ramp would be flat against the rail, and the gradual slope should push the train up, correct? It doesn't seem like the sweepers would be able to get to it if it were that low, and fused to the track the train would be exerting more downward force on the ramp than anything else, which should keep it in place. Would that work? Or are the sweepers designed/configured in such a way that they would dislodge it?

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Raising the track (5.00 / 1) (#244)
by vrai on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:14:54 AM EST

I remember a programme on British TV last year about rail safety. One of the sections was about a guy in Germany who kept trying to derail trains (I forget his motivation). His most audacious attempt was where he broke one of the joins and used a car jack to raise the end of a rail section by about 6 inches. A high speed train hit the section but despite running up the rail at over 100mph its centre of gravity was low enough that it just fell back onto the track after the break (rather than tipping over the lower wheel).

By comparison a major British rail junction was rendered unusable because a yoghurt pot lit (a tiny piece of foil) got stuck on the track!

[ Parent ]

Heheh, amazing. (5.00 / 1) (#258)
by Kintanon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:00:19 PM EST

Seriously amazing contrasts in effective design. It would probably be more effective to trick the track into thinking it was broken, hence shutting down the line for a while, and then you attack the stopped train with more conventional means.... Though I suppose you could put a small amount of explosives on the track, and detonate them when they train got too close to stop. That would probably do it....

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

More Than That (4.00 / 1) (#306)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:04:24 PM EST

Actually, as mentioned before, the momentum of the train will keep it upright and linear until it's moved very far from its line of travel. That said, you'd have to blow more than three feet or so out of the rail before it would stand a chance of derailing a train moving at any speed (remember that the train can't travel very far off the rails but if one rail is missing a foot-long section the truck is wide enough that the lead wheel will be back on steel before the trail wheel gets to the gap, and so the train will cross the air gap without having time to dig in or tip significantly). Your best target, the outside rail on a good curve, is also the most difficult place to do anything, since most rail lines have cameras watching the curves for safety reasons, so you're likely to get caught if you try anything there.

As to your earlier idea to weld a long, gentle ramp to one rail, I say that if you've got the time to pull that off (to be effective you'd be welding for something like an hour) you can derail the train much more efficiently by other means, which I won't get into lest I give anyone any more ideas.

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 ]
2 explosions! Or better yet, 4. (none / 0) (#418)
by Kintanon on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 10:32:03 AM EST

Blow out 2-4 sections of track simultaneously. Positioned properly I think that would do it. But it certainly ups the equipment and expertise needed to succesfully perform the sabotage.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Side Notes (none / 0) (#310)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:10:19 PM EST

Just to add a side note or two, the "sweeper" on most diesel engines is the front of the truck, which extends out in front of the lead wheel by about 6-8 inches. Also, if you lift a train upward at one rail to a height sufficient to tip it, a great deal of the force on your ramp would be sideways, from the inside to the outside of the rail. Under such stress, even if your weld holds the rails are not designed to resist that kind of torsion, and it'll twist under the train, with the result of lowering the "lifted" side.

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've still got it halfway derailed (none / 0) (#425)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 11:45:33 AM EST

What you do is do that to both sides of the track, except you use long steel bars, about four feet long. You simple curve both steel bars off to the side about three inches. (You might ahve to support them, or something. But, remember, you don't have to derail the engine, all you have to do is derail the lightest car.)

That curve is gentle enough to not have momentum overcome it, but enough to derail the train.

I actaully debated posting this, but if I can think of it, terrorists can. And if they're going to derail trains no one could stop them from just sticking an explosive device under a bridge support anyway, and waiting for the train to come by.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Not Boxcutters but fear (5.00 / 2) (#230)
by cione on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:52:12 AM EST

While I can't disagree with your comments as a whole, some just are not that simple. It wasn't box cutters that enabled them to take over a 767, it was fear and hope for life. How many hi-jacking of planes have led to the jet being flown into a building before 9/11. You also don't mention the fourth plane that was met resistance and never made it to the intended target. I don't think the plane crashed because the people aimed it there but rather a plane isn't exactly an idiot car where you point and drive.

This organization is not exceedingly clever, low tech and focused by any means. These are all objective words. My dog at home is exceedingly clever, low tech and focused but that means nothing. I mean I show him a stick and throw it on the other side of the fence, and then he will sit for hours trying to get it. Just because they made a fool out of the FBI and CIA means that they were the benefactors of two organazations total lack of communication. My dog even gets out of the yard every once in a while.

I live in the US and I am not scared. I am mindful of what goes on around me but not scared. As for the posturing, name calling, and pretending. That not only is normal but human nature. What I would be scared of is that the US has now set a SOP for a terrorist attack. Find where they hide and bomb the hell out of said place.

_________________________________________________
Chromophobia: The fear of colors
[ Parent ]

Nailed it.. (none / 0) (#447)
by Malachi on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 03:00:11 PM EST

I've got idiot friends who are 'clever', or at least think themselves so, every so often one of them gets the idea right.. Most of the time it ends up exploding in their face.  

I agree with your commentary thuroughly.  I am a citizen of the US and I am not afraid.  I am careful and delibret, but I will not alter my lifestyle for anyone else.  Then again.. I'm a libertarian.  Don't sacrifice my freedoms for your inadequate safety.

-M-
We know nothing but to ask more questions.
[ Parent ]

a ship nuclear attack. (1.57 / 7) (#175)
by johwsun on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:09:53 AM EST

I think that a terrorist may find this a nice idea. The coutries that are afraid of terrorist attacks should take precautions about it, before it is too late. So I vote for precautions and extreme controls on transport ships in case they carry such a materials.

what does 1 rating means? (1.00 / 4) (#177)
by johwsun on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:03:14 AM EST

Does it means that precautions and controls on trasport ships should not be made? Does it means that my comment is not necessary?

My previous comment was Not a comment. It was a vote. Better rate it as a vote, not as comment.

So I vote for precautions and extreme controls on transport ships in case they carry such materials.

[ Parent ]

Do you have any idea of what you're talking about? (none / 0) (#186)
by CtrlBR on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:36:02 AM EST

Without precise intelligence on a bomb at a precise place in a given ship you have no hope of finding anything.

Go in a harbot someday to see how huge ship can be, then try to imagine having to find a suitcase sized nuke in on of those, or even a contained sized nuke...

Geiger detectors are not a solution, you can shield the bomb...

If no-one thinks you're a freedom fighter than you're probably not a terrorist.
-- Gully Foyle

[ Parent ]
so whats your proposition? (none / 0) (#196)
by johwsun on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:36:51 AM EST

is it :"lets wait from the bomb to explode" ?

Extreme precautions is not everything, but it is something. And ships are not unlimited.

[ Parent ]

What We Can See (4.00 / 1) (#227)
by virg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:41:16 AM EST

> Go in a harbor someday to see how huge ship can be, then try to imagine having to find a suitcase sized nuke in on of those, or even a contained sized nuke...

Most of the details of such devices are classified, but the capabilities aren't, so here goes. I have personally used equipment that's sensitive enough to spot core materials in a nuclear device through shielding (spotting a nuclear warhead in a shielded silo, specifically). This device resides in orbit. they are currently being used on shipping, and have been for more than a decade.

There are very real threats of this nature, but not via someone bringing a nuke in on a big ship. The danger (at this point, at least) is greater from an organization bringing in small amounts of material at a time, and constructing said device locally. This is what makes "dirty" bombs so popular; you don't need a critical mass of a radioisotope to build a conventional-based radioactive payload device, just enough to make a big mess.

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 ]
And what if... (none / 0) (#523)
by CtrlBR on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:25:25 AM EST

You hide your reasonably shielded bomb in a container of tritium illuminated watches?

Radiations coming from the container will be assumed to be normal...

If no-one thinks you're a freedom fighter than you're probably not a terrorist.
-- Gully Foyle

[ Parent ]
..by the way..mojo is a failure! (1.20 / 5) (#191)
by johwsun on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 06:41:38 AM EST

..It is clear that some people here abuse their mojo power. I dont blame them, I blame mojo!

[ Parent ]
Pray For Mojo (none / 0) (#320)
by FuriousXGeorge on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:22:06 PM EST

nt.

--
-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]

But you're not (1.94 / 17) (#180)
by autopr0n on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:43:55 AM EST

You are not the leader of Al-Quaeda, this artical is an embarasment to k5


[autopr0n] got pr0n?
autopr0n.com is a categorically searchable database of porn links, updated every day (or so). no popups!
eh? (3.60 / 5) (#204)
by toby moray on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:27:48 AM EST

unlike your spelling or your choice of website to run, which is something we should all be proud of?

it's the guy's opinion, and he's entitled to it. he also raises some valid points that if you stepped away from your pr0n hoardings for long enough, you'd see affected you as much as they affect everyone else.

hmm, now where did i leave my flame-retardent suit ;)
Wisdom Springs - what's it really like where you live?
[ Parent ]

Not really (1.50 / 2) (#384)
by autopr0n on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:31:42 PM EST

I wrote a more detailed editorial comment, but I didn't feel like reposting it. Basicaly, this artical is just a bunch of paranoid ramblings.

Also, the fact that you have some kind of hangup about porn really dosn't matter that much, and certanly dosn't have anything to do with k5.


[autopr0n] got pr0n?
autopr0n.com is a categorically searchable database of porn links, updated every day (or so). no popups!
[ Parent ]
No shit, Sherlock. (none / 0) (#490)
by greg pass on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 04:07:21 AM EST

"You are not the leader of Al-Quaeda"

Was the title of the article "I were the leader of al Qaeda"? Y'see, you're missing the key word here, which is "if". Starts with an I, ends with an F, and it's two letters long. It also means that this is what is called a "hypothetical statement", which means that it is not actually happening, but rather what would happen under the circumstances that he "were the leader of al Qaeda". This "hypothetical situation" is definitely not as much embarassing to k5 as a guy who states in his signature that he needs to search a database to find his pr0n. Furthermore, even if the author was the leader of al Qaeda, would him telling us what he was gonna do be all that embarassing? Stupid, but not embarassing.
greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass
[ Parent ]
Commit Suicide. (4.00 / 1) (#218)
by Shren on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:11:06 AM EST

I've long thought that the nastiest thing Osama bin Ladin could have done would be to commit suicide in some way that his body would never be found - burning, or acid, and keep it totally secret.

It only takes a little bit of foresight to guess that the US government will search as long as it takes, trampling every nation and civil liberty in it's way, to find Osama. Probably the most powerful, most dangerous thing he could do, to hurt America in the long run, would be to make sure that search takes forever.

Imagine the entirety of the CIA losing sleep for dozens of years thinking, "He's out there, somewhere.", and the things they would do to find him, and the resentment those things would cause.

They would stop looking for him (none / 0) (#277)
by xzap on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:47:51 PM EST

If he doesn't do anything for a couple of years, it is very likely they and the citizens of the United States of America will forget all about Bin Laden and let him enjoy his retirement in peace.

If you think the nastiest thing he could do is kill himself, think again . Wouldn't it be nastier if he killed you ? he he ;)


Remember the unique wonder and terror of life, and knowing it, live. - adequate nathan
[ Parent ]
ahhh... (none / 0) (#285)
by Shren on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:10:22 PM EST

What if he trusted a limited number of people with the secret and told them to claim responsibility for any wide-scale terrorist act? Hell, you could probably write a scripted "responsibility claimer" that processed reuters articles looking for keyphrases like "shocking new terrorist act".

[ Parent ]

I concede ...... (none / 0) (#289)
by xzap on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:26:16 PM EST

that it is very likely that he will keep the CIA , FBI and every other security department that Bush creates in the coming days on their toes for a very long time.

But my point is that he doesnt need to commit suicide and get his body burnt to do that. Why not see some of your plans being seen to their ends and dying a natural death ?


Remember the unique wonder and terror of life, and knowing it, live. - adequate nathan
[ Parent ]
better yet... (none / 0) (#304)
by Shren on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:02:54 PM EST

Why not see some of your plans being seen to their ends and dying a natural death ?

Better yet, why not repent your sins and spend the rest of your life helping the homeless and unfortunate?

We're just talking possible Osama strategies. This is my canidate. The fact that I wouldn't mind Osama being dead has probably biased my judgement some.

[ Parent ]

Capitalism and Greed (1.50 / 4) (#248)
by jforan on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:39:40 AM EST

Religion: pshaw.  Symbolisim: bullcrap.  Maybe it is my US upbringing, but the only thing that I could imagine that would make a group of individuals create the level of havoc and destruction (without actually planning to win a war/conquer a country) of 9/11 (or of a nuke) is money and greed.

If you have the power and money to accomplish such a feat, you also can tip people off as to how to make money from it, and can make money from those tips.  A lot of money.

The people behind the attackers do not have anything specifically against the US - they are willing to play the capitalist game just like the rest of US.  They enjoy their money and power more than the rest of us - it is more valueable to them than the lives of a few thousand citizens of a distant country.  That is not to say that they don't convince their foot soldiers (and perhaps the leaders of the foot soldiers) that the US is evil through religion and training and (perhaps) blackmail.  Just that the reasons of the people who are really in charge were solely monetary; they still purchase american products and fly around in american jets, and enjoy their semi-american lifestyles.

When the people in charge of the terrorists can make more money by performing a major attack on some other country, the US will no longer be the target of their attack.  Not until then.

Jeff

P.S.  I predict that the next major attack does not come until the US economy has fully recovered:  sell high, buy low they say.

I hops to be barley workin'.

You're absolutely right.. (none / 0) (#271)
by Kwil on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:36:52 PM EST

..it's your US upbringing.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Strike a MINOR US city... (4.00 / 2) (#280)
by ave19 on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:55:09 PM EST

Forget big city targets. When bad things happen to big cities, people rationalize that it was a target because it's big. THAT will never happen in THEIR home town, no matter how TRAGIC it was, it won't scare them. They don't consider their hometowns to be targets. I mean, why would a terrorist blow up Topeka, Kansas? Now... take your nuke to Topeka, Kansas. State captital, seat of government, heart of America, population 122,000+. Kill some elected officials. Give a patsy plans to blow up an even SMALLER city in another state, and let him get caught. No target too small... No one is safe... Maximum fear. 280 million Americans check under their beds that night. -ave

[ Parent ]
Small cities tend not to support Israel (5.00 / 1) (#394)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:33:34 PM EST

Bin Laden has stated clearly that he would much rather deal with a highly nationalistic government in the US than one which strongly supports Israel. Support of Israel is strongest among two groups:
Jews and those that identify strongly with that culture-who are concentrated in a few large metropolitan areas
Fundamentalist Christians(who support Israel for religious reasons) that tend to be a more rural group and one more spread throughout the US.

Many other Americans oppose the US alliance with Israel even after(or maybe especially after 911). Bin Laden doesn't want/need to stir up a hornets nest-but to divide the US citizenry.

[ Parent ]

Safety through numbers... (none / 0) (#420)
by jforan on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 10:46:55 AM EST

If I lived in a city that size, I wouldn't be scared if a nuke blew up Topeka.  (It would still be a terrible thing.)  Terrorists would have to blow up hundreds of cities before they had a reasonable chance at getting me.

Jeff

I hops to be barley workin'.
[ Parent ]

No need to go nuclear.. (3.50 / 2) (#273)
by Kwil on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:41:42 PM EST

..when there's agro-bio terrorism.

Just head down to one of those places where hoof'n'mouth disease has taken hold, pick up some samples, bring it on back to the US and take a tour through the major cattle-ranching states.

You think farm subsidies are a drain on the economy now? Wait til Bush's strongholds in the midwest realize they have to burn their herds.

Ultra-low risk, major economic effects. The hardest part is keeping the samples alive til you make it to the States.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


if you were the leader of Al Quaeda (1.00 / 1) (#274)
by pwhysall on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:42:06 PM EST

You'd be a poet who didn't know it.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
Islamic Terrorists are not very organised (4.00 / 1) (#276)
by xzap on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:44:37 PM EST

Osama Bin Laden / Al Qaeda are as of now the only Islamic Terrorist group that has a semblance of being organised. That also, if the US Government is to be believed. The idea of 'Cells' in the US that Rumsfeld likes to talk about so often is really far fetched.

As a trend atleast till now, Islamic Terrorists have been very high on rhetoric and very low on organisation. Their attacks are hastily planned Suicide attacks and the technology they use is lowtech.

It is hard even for nations to build nuclear bombs and such a venture does not seem possible for a terrorist organisation. US has for a long time been keeping a tab on Nations building nuclear bombs. There are a few things required to build such a bomb that are not easy to acquire and keeping a track of such resources makes it easy to track people trying to make a nuclear bomb. Is another attack on the US likely ? Hell yes, its plausible. But will it be a nuclear attack ? I don't think so.


Remember the unique wonder and terror of life, and knowing it, live. - adequate nathan
Really? (none / 0) (#290)
by anon868 on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:31:58 PM EST

It is hard even for nations to build nuclear bombs and such a venture does not seem possible for a terrorist organisation. You might want to re-think that comment in light of this article: \news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_2038000/2038447.stm
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
[ Parent ]
FUD (none / 0) (#295)
by xzap on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:45:22 PM EST

The 'chemistry', my friend is certainly very elementary. I learnt it in high school.

The 'instructions', I agree are available whenever you want them.

The money, the materials, the precise machines and technical expertise needed for this : These my friend are not easily available and quite limited, thus making it easy to track them. That is my point. Even if someone started making a bomb, the US would find out and 'cut' their sources. This has been done quite often with nations. Even now, US is pressuring Russia to stop selling Uranium to India which is (supposedly) to be used for Nuclear Power Generation


Remember the unique wonder and terror of life, and knowing it, live. - adequate nathan
[ Parent ]
Islamic Terrorist need little organization (none / 0) (#497)
by nomoreh1b on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 12:42:16 PM EST

The key here to keep in mind: Islamic terrorists done need much in the way of organization to be effective. The simple fact is that even with little organization, they have overwhelming numbers and a rapidly increasing population.

Islamic terrorism is one step beyond a riot--and is still very effective. The Islamics can take substantial numbers of casualities and this is swamped by the natural increase of their population. Handing out suicide bomber vests simply doesn't take much in the way of organization and makes occupying a population very, very difficult militarily(the best response I can think of is to ramp up robotics research considerably).

Is the West really capable of the kind of mobilization necessary to keep on having a high ratio of Islamic/Western casualities decade after decade? The Islamic social structure has been largely at war one way or another since WW I over 80 years ago and shows no sign of letting up. IMHO to respond to Islamic militantism will require an abandonment of globalism and fundamental reconfiguration the western economy and how westerners think of themselves.

The Ottoman Turks were willing to rule the middle east as an empire-and were willing to use techniques most westerners would find offensive. What will it take to wear the west down?

A disorganize defense like we are now seeing can proceed by trial and error. Eventually, some formula will be discovered that will "take off" and then there will be hell to pay.

[ Parent ]

Lets actually solve this problem (3.25 / 8) (#278)
by crunchycookies on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:50:43 PM EST

This is movement much larger that Al Queda.   It as followers who are willing to die for their cause.   Killing them does not solve the problem; it just produces more dedicated fighters.   Look at Israel.   They have no pesky human rights, at least for Arabs. They have the best assinassitation squads, the best torturers, and an army that commits genocide on a regular basis.   They have unlimited money and weapons.   Have they won?   We will not win even if we become just like Israel.

Let us try a different path.   Let us change our foreign policy.   It is a policy that we should be ashamed of anyway.

*    We support Israel.   This is the last standing racist state.   Apartheid South Africa is gone, Rhodesia is gone, only Israel is left.   We wisely did not get caught up in the continued existence of those regimes, how did we get caught up with Israel?

*    We prop up various monarchies in the Arab world.   Why do we do that?   Did we not fight to free ourselves from a monarchy a few years back?   Don't the Arabs have the same right?   Yes, I know, those monarchs are our friends.   They tell us just what we want to hear.

This war is spreading, it is coming here.   We have an enemy who cannot be defeated.   We are supporting causes that we would be ashamed of, if we bothered to look at them closely.   It is time for a change.

Of course, we will change the policy later if not sooner.   We will have no choice.   We can save a lot of bloodshed, on both sides, if we change sooner.


Recruitment (4.00 / 1) (#282)
by bayers on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:01:14 PM EST

To say that retaliating against terrorists breeds more terrorists is simplistic. Every success Al-Queada had spawned new recruitment. The attack on the Cole, the attack on US embassy's in Africa helped bring in many new recruits.

So, if doing nothing increases Al-Queada recruitment and doing something increases Al-Queada recruitment, 'recruitment' is not an issue.

They want to kill us. They especially want to kill liberals, homosexuals and those who have turned against God. They are religious conservatives. Think 'Moral Majority' with machine guns.

[ Parent ]
Round and round (2.00 / 1) (#288)
by crunchycookies on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:25:13 PM EST

They want to kill us, so we have to kill them...first.   This is no strategy, this is mutual suicide.   This is also ridiculous.

They have a specific strategy to get a specific outcome.   They want us out of the Middle East.   The Algerians fought to get the French out.   The Vietnamese fought to get America out.   Everyone fought to get the British out.

When the foreigners left the war was over.   We will have to leave the Middle East eventually.   We will be welcomed back as tourists and usinessmen but not at power brokers or oppressors.   Those days are over.


[ Parent ]

sorry (3.00 / 2) (#308)
by EriKZ on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:06:33 PM EST

We cannot leave. The lifeblood of the US is oil and not having anybody in the Middle East would be foolish.

[ Parent ]
We won't have a choice. (none / 0) (#335)
by crunchycookies on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:02:09 PM EST

I see this argument being made a lot.   It is completely specious.   The Arabs need to sell their oil as much as we need to buy it.   The Arabs are natural born traders; they have been doing it for thousands of years.   World trade does not depend on the US military propping up unpopular governments.   Indeed, trade would be a lot smoother if we stopped.

[ Parent ]
Hehe (none / 0) (#385)
by theR on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:33:43 PM EST

The Arabs are natural born traders;

I guess we know why you're qualified to call people racist in your previous posts. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it was meant to be playful.



[ Parent ]
What do you mean? (5.00 / 1) (#391)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:10:39 PM EST

I guess we know why you're qualified to call people racist in your previous posts.

I doubt he meant that all Arabs are natural born traders.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
That wouldn't solve the problem (2.00 / 3) (#286)
by xzap on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:20:00 PM EST

Stopping support to Israel will not placate them. Most of the radical Islamic terrorists, believe in or atleast spread the belief that any non Muslim is a kafir and therefore a lower life form than a Muslim.

In addition, a lot of these terrorists, atleast the lower rungs, are doing it as much for money as for anything else. If you agree to be a Fidayeen (suicide bomber/attacker) in Kashmir, for example, the ISI, Lashkar e Toyba or the various fronts of the radical Islamic groups take care of your family's financial needs.
,br> Yes Israel is racist, yes Palestinians have a right over the land, but Israel is not going to give in just because US stops supporting it. Also Israel-Palestine isn't the only cause of Islamic terrorism

Not that US ever would stop supporting Israel. The number of Jews in the American Political Arena, their financial standing would ensure that. Atleast thats what a lot of 'Islamic Scholars' like to say.

Monarchies in Arab states may be backed by the US in the sense that they are backing individuals but, if they stopped doing that, these individuals would be replaced by other monarchs, most definitely worse than the previous ones. Democracy is not very likely to arrive in Arab/Muslim states anytime soon.


Remember the unique wonder and terror of life, and knowing it, live. - adequate nathan
[ Parent ]
They will sort themselves out (4.50 / 4) (#297)
by crunchycookies on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:52:12 PM EST

"Democracy is not very likely to arrive in Arab/Muslim states anytime soon."

Maybe you are correct here.   But it is not so hopeless.   Consider Iran.   They went from being a monarchy, to a theocracy, to an emerging democracy in about 20 years.   How long did it take France to make the same transition?   We probably cannot speed up the process as outsiders.   We will generally make matters worse.

An important thing to consider is that living in a monarchy or a theocracy is pretty miserable for those not connected to the power structure.   This is true in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the world.   The forces for progress will become irresistible.   So long as democracy presents itself as attractive, it will spread.

This is also true for Israel, interestingly enough.   It is pretty miserable to live in that theocracy when you are excluded by your religion.

[ Parent ]

The solution isn't to misrepresent the truth... (3.00 / 2) (#339)
by disgwylgar on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:18:54 PM EST

Look at Israel. They have... an army that commits genocide on a regular basis.

Dictionary.com defines genocide as "The systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group." Please explain which national, racial, policital or ethnic group has been exterminated by the Israeli army? Surely not the Palestinians, unless you're working off a wildly incorrect definition of "exterminated."

You don't have to like what the Israelis are doing, but let's keep some perspective - we've seen several attempted genocides in the last century, but the Israeli's aren't doing one of them.

We support Israel. This is the last standing racist state.

I think you mean to say, "This is the last standing racist democracy." There are plenty of states in the Middle East that qualify as racist, and of them all Israel is the only democratic one.

We prop up various monarchies in the Arab world. Why do we do that?

  • Oil. Or do you bike to work and run you computer off solar?
  • Because history has shown that oppresive Arab regimes, when overthrown, are replaced by even more oppressive thugocracies or, even worse, theocracies.

It is time for a change.

And you're suggesting what? Walking away from the whole mess, letting the Arab states destroy the only functional democracy in the middle east, and hoping that they won't descend further into hatred of the West once they don't have a local enemy to hate? You should consider that much of the hatred is fomented by state-sponsored media outlets who help distract people from the crappy systems they live under by making them hate Israel instead.

Ooh, better yet. We could pressure the Israelis to make peace. Never mind the fact that they've tried and the Palestinians won't accept anything less than the eradication of Israel.

C'mon - we've watched 60 years of the world's best minds shake their heads over this mess, what's your fix?



[ Parent ]
The solution is to face the truth (4.66 / 3) (#355)
by crunchycookies on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:38:15 PM EST

Israel a democracy?   Then you must believe that the apartheid government in South Africa was a democracy.   It was a democracy if you had the right skin color and national origin, just like Israel.   If you want to call Israel a democracy, then at least call it a sham democracy.

Israel is faced with a choice; give the Palestinians their rights or be defeated.   The choice is as simple as that.   The defeat will not happen tomorrow but it is coming.  

The best choice is to give the Palestinians their rights.   Join the civilized world.

Israel may look at the mountain of arms that they posses and consider themselves secure.   They have nuclear bombs.   They probably consider themselves invinciple.   South Africa had all that but they choose to see the writing on the wall and give up apartheid.   Israel should do the same.

I suspect that you don't really believe that Israel tried to make peace.   Do you?   Making peace while bulldozing Palestinian homes?   Making peace while continuing the oppression?   You believe that?

The best minds have failed.   They missed the obvious.


[ Parent ]

Racist? (none / 0) (#496)
by awgsilyari on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 10:31:59 AM EST

Look at Israel.   They have no pesky human rights, at least for Arabs.

Have you BEEN to Israel? The old city of Yaffo (sometimes spelled differently, has now been subsumed into Tel Aviv) houses an Arab majority, all of whom seemed quite happy when I was there (2000). You know the dudes you see on TV coverage of Israel, searching people's bags as they enter public places? A lot of those guys are Arabs.

Then there's the Arab section of Jerusalem, which certainly didn't seem like a racism hot-bed when I was there...

So when did YOU visit Israel?

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

terrorism:big fat hairy deal (2.77 / 9) (#287)
by squinky on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 01:24:02 PM EST

I think you are trying to scare people.

I grew up in Southeastern VA. Virgina Beach-- Oceana Master Jet Base. Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Strategic Allied Command, Atlantic.

I then attended college near Camp Peary, the CIA's special training grounds, and subject to frequent visits from US presidents and international dignitaries.

I probably spent the first 20+ years of my life living at ground zero of armed and aimed Soviet nuclear warheads.

I expected to be dead by now. (remember Reagan used to *joke* about pushing the button. Ha Ha).

Then the wall came down. Now we just have these weany-assed amateur psychos blowing shit up occaisionally. I'm not impressed. I'm not about to become worried about it. And I'm surely not going along with extending presidential powers in the time of alledged emergency.

Stop being manipulated.

Repeat after me, "Terrorism. Yawn.".

Can we do something about the economy now please?


Maybe you missed the news? (3.00 / 3) (#311)
by Shimmer on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:10:21 PM EST

Those boring amateurs knocked down the Twin Towers.  What did the Soviets ever do to us?  This is a war on American soil.

Get a clue.

-- Brian

Wizard needs food badly.
[ Parent ]

So What? (2.00 / 4) (#324)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:26:43 PM EST

Personally I have more of a problem with the H1-B program and the hordes of Mexicans coming to the US than I do a bunch of New Yorker's financial elite and hangers on getting wacked because they supported running Palestinians off their land. I also think a lot of this patriotic fervor is really pretty shallow-and this will become readily apparent when the body bags start coming back home--and those body bags will have kids from places like Appalachia and Harlem in them--not the kinds of folks that were in the WTC when it went down.

[ Parent ]
Charming (1.00 / 1) (#343)
by Shimmer on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:48:49 PM EST

a bunch of New Yorker's financial elite and hangers on getting wacked because they supported running Palestinians off their land

You seem to be saying that New York's "financial elite" consists of inherently worthless Jews, so no one should care if they got killed.

I had to read this a few times before I could believe my eyes.

-- Brian

Wizard needs food badly.
[ Parent ]

Your word's not mine (none / 0) (#354)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:36:50 PM EST

You seem to be saying that New York's "financial elite" consists of inherently worthless Jews, so no one should care if they got killed.

Worthless is your word, not mine. Many of these folks had people that loved them. They were people--some of whom quite talented people. Still, there are lots of talented, hardworking people in various conflicts all over the world. Why should I get more upset at New York's financial elite getting assaulted because of their actions than I would be upset about what is happening to the Palestinians on the West Bank? Or more upset than when I hear that the Bloods and the Crips have had another turf war and some innocent folks have gotten caught in the crossfire? I'm not Jewish or Muslim(or even Christian for that matter). This isn't my war-and frankly I resent getting dragged into it.

That said, I honestly have more concern for the humanity of the Palestinians than I do New York's financial elite. I honestly can empathize with the anger the Palestinians feel for having been driven off their lands. I honestly think that New York's financial elite consists largely of a bunch of con-artists that have enriched themselves at the expense of others. I do not advocate or practice violence against con-artists, but I see no particular reason to actively work to defend con-artists against those that would commit violence against them--and I'm not such a hypocrite as to claim I'm really concerned when I'm not.

WTC was inspired by a hatred so deep that the attackers will willing to sacrifice their lives to attack what they perceived as their enemy. It is going to take a lot of sacrifice to defend against that kind of assailant. I'm not willing to make that kind of sacrifice--and neither would a lot of other folks if they really knew what was going to be involved. The only people I know that really are willing and able to fight a war of this magnitude include Israeli patriots and their allies in the Fundamentalist Christian community(fundies _do_ tend to serve in the Military, PC liberals generally don't).

The real tragedy here IMHO is that WTC could have been avoided. The middle east didn't have to be a financial powerhouse--and the US shouldn't be an economic basket case like it is becoming. Something as simple as having more research dollars flow into energy indepedence for the US could have made a big difference. I personally suspect that the New York financial elite had more to do decisions that led to this sitaution than most of the folks that are likely to die in any future conflicts.

As it is, I don't think the US can win this conflict long term--nor do I think Israel will continue to exist as a Jewish state in the Middle East(the latter an opinion shared BTW by Richard Nixon who did more to help Israel than any other US president and got little thanks for it). Long term, I suspect that the history books will be written with a perspective that is rather sympathetic with Islamic sensibilities on this matter--and the New York financial elite will be seen as just another failed elite that took those that followed them into a catastrophe. Long-term, I think that this coming conflict may lead to the discredidation of both Christianity and the brand of PC secular humanism of which New York is a leader because even if the war fought against the Islamic powers is "won" from a purely military angle, it will be so morally offensive in the scale of casualties and the atrocities involved that WW II and the holocaust may seem like just a minor skirmish.

[ Parent ]

Your ideas, not mine (3.00 / 2) (#368)
by Shimmer on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 06:19:38 PM EST

You were the one who said the victims of 9/11 were also the oppressors of Palestine, not me.  I simply spelled it out in black and white so you couldn't pretend otherwise.

This isn't my war-and frankly I resent getting dragged into it.

Okey dokey.  In that case, I'll just send a quick note to bin Laden excusing you from the hostilities.

Hello?  There are people trying to kill you, Mr. or Ms. nomoreh1b,  If you live in America, this is your war.

-- Brian

Wizard needs food badly.
[ Parent ]

sigh (5.00 / 1) (#348)
by Shren on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:22:28 PM EST

Another programmer out to defend his job by any means. Hey, nomoreh1b, if those imported programmers are that much better than you, then it's never too late to learn to wield a mop.

[ Parent ]

Mop (2.50 / 2) (#350)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:25:26 PM EST

Why should anyone hire him to mop (or program) when they can get a foriegner for 1/5 the cost?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
prices (5.00 / 1) (#358)
by Shren on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:50:54 PM EST

Why should anyone hire him to mop (or program) when they can get a foriegner for 1/5 the cost?

I don't know. I know why I'm not replaced by a foreigner, and it's a number of reasons.

H1B visa programmers don't work for 1/5 the cost of other programmers, so you're full of poop anyway. As for moppers - if someone gets hired to mop for 1/5 of what you were mopping for, and that 1/5 is less than minimum wage, call the INS and the press, in that order.

As for outsourcing overseas ... well, most programmers I know didn't come to the aid of autoworkers who lost thier jobs to plants in Mexico. They just talked about the wonders of free trade. I'm having a little trouble with the sympathy flow here - I think someone's hypocracy blocking the pipe.

[ Parent ]

Re: Sigh (none / 0) (#359)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:56:28 PM EST

Another programmer out to defend his job by any means.

Well, the New York financial elite did have a lot to do with the rather sad US immigration policies of the last 40 years. Still, as angry as this has made me, I did not have a role in bringing down the WTC nor did I actively support such actions. One question that remains to be see is if the tactics that the Palestinians and their allies are using against their opponents are going to be effective--I suspect that these tactics will be effective even if means destabilization of the United States.

The US simply didn't have nearly as great of security problems 40 years ago as it does today. I'd suggest that WTC is but one side effect of the current immigration policies(combined with US's slavish support of Israel)--and there are a lot more problems to come.



[ Parent ]

Different enemy, different rules (3.25 / 4) (#318)
by Rogerborg on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:20:53 PM EST

    I probably spent the first 20+ years of my life living at ground zero of armed and aimed Soviet nuclear warheads.

Soviet. We knew where the guys who pressed the button lived. And their families. And their little dogs too.

Contrast with al Quieda. We've already killed most of their families. They live, uh, kind of in that direction. What are we going to do in retaliation? Spend another few billion blowing up some more camels? Bomb another host nation further back into the stone age?

I think this is a whole new ball game. And I think we missed a golden opportunity by offering that god damn proportional response. Our response should have been:

  1. Apologize for policing the world, and divert defence spending into health and education, both domestic and foreign.
  2. Glass Kabul and say "This is the cost of screwing with us. You will fear us more than you hate us."

We did neither. We decided to go with business as usual, and pretend that our proportional responses can continue to make our enemies fear us more than they hate us. I don't they can, and I think the article submitter is correct that we'll be reminded of that - again - sooner or later.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Soviats were chickens (5.00 / 1) (#332)
by gotak on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:54:42 PM EST

I would much rather compair the terrorist facing the US now with the North Vietnamese.

Both enemies are willing to lose more lives then the USA is. Both practice similar tactics.

This isn't same old boring. It's a totally different enemie from a large state who you can destroy at will if threaten.

And the danger is greater then I think most people realise.

The danger isn't more terrorist attack. The danger is in the reaction from the USA. Already bush is making a great bigger homeland security thingie. What's next? Mandatory searching and road blocks? What places does that sound like? Who would you search? Everyone or just the Muslims?

[ Parent ]

Yeah-OK-Fine (3.80 / 5) (#333)
by superdiva on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:00:15 PM EST

I think you are trying to scare people.

I would rather read about the possibility of a major terrorist attack on New York City than have it actually happen. Unfortunately, we can't turn back the clock.

I expected to be dead by now.

Wrong time, wrong place, eh? But as long as you're alive the possibility still exists, for you and everyone else.

Can we do something about the economy now please?

In case you haven't been keeping track of oil prices and Wall Street, the Middle East has a lot to do with our economy, and as long as 50 percent of our oil is imported, things ain't gonna change.
_____________________________________________
[ Parent ]
You're right (5.00 / 1) (#369)
by epepke on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 06:28:39 PM EST

However, most of the people here seem to be too young to remember that period. Show of hands, now--how many people had to do drills marching to the local fallout shelter in elementary school? The world used to be very scary indeed, in an unbroken line from World War II, which was arguably the most scary thing ever.

The destruction of the WTC was absolutely terrible; I even went up for a couple of weeks to help out in recovery and saw it when the air was still a haze of bone particles and worse stuff. But seriously, folks, compare 2700 dead people with 270,000,000 live ones. More people died in the U.S. in automobile accidents that month.


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


[ Parent ]
Actually... (4.00 / 1) (#401)
by gromm on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 02:11:18 AM EST

The proper response to terrorism is "Unprofessional punks, they didn't even do their job properly." This is especially true in cases like the bombing of the FBI building by Timothy McVeigh et al, and only half the building was destroyed.

The terrorists win when you make a big deal of their actions. If you largely ignore them and treat them as insignificant bugs that need to be exterminated, then they don't get the attention they want. Of course, the American news media doesn't like that option, as "oh, somone tried to bomb an office tower, ho hum" hardly sells newspapers.
Deus ex frigerifero
[ Parent ]

Implausible, illogical premise: al Qaeda have nuke (4.00 / 1) (#326)
by M0dUluS on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:34:16 PM EST

Look, if al Qaeda had Nukes don't you think they'd have used them as their first option? Do you think they said to themselves "Oh, let's alert the great Satan to us first and _then_ use the real weapon"?

I also dislike your plans for "emergency" suspension of the Constitution: sounds suspiciously like that Patriot USA legislation that We The People have allowed to pass. So much for libertarianism, freedom and individuality.

Now, stop disturbing me: I've got to get back to watching the game and drinking beer.



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
Remember, none of this is about Islam (4.30 / 10) (#337)
by mingofmongo on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:15:47 PM EST

Some of the commenters are not clear on this, so I thought I would speak up

The vast majority of Islamic people are as embarrassed by their fundies as Christians are of theirs.

There is no built-in animosity toward Christians in Islam. As a matter of fact, there is special respect accorded to Christians and Jews, as fellow "Children of the Book."

There is no REAL religious reasons for the Al Queda's attacks on USA, USA's attacks on Afganistan, or even Arab vs. Isreal hostilities.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

Islamic Fundies aren't heretics (3.00 / 1) (#360)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:03:56 PM EST

It is pushing things a bit to say this "has nothing to do with Islam". Islam isn't a tightly organized entity like say Catholicism-which means that inherently a variety of folks can claim legitimacy as Islamics.

I suspect you are correct to say that most Islamics don't endorse WTC tactics, at the same time, Islamics are far from Unitarians with fancy headgear. Most Westerners really have very little idea where the head of the average Muslim is. The public opionion polls I've seen on WTC show that Western and Islamic views on what happen and why vary considerably.

[ Parent ]

My muslim friend... (4.00 / 1) (#371)
by sydb on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:02:55 PM EST

...was my best friend at high school. He was by no stretch a 'fundamentalist' (whatever that really is) but he used to tell me about Armageddon and how the Qu'ran predicts a war between Islam and the infidels, and that "planes will fall from the sky". He told me this in the late eighties.

As I say, I wouldn't call him a fundamentalist but he believed this. He wasn't stupid either, he was at university studying chemistry last time I saw him. But he had complete faith in Islam and told me several times that unbelievers like myself would rise from their graves to be damned to eternal suffering come Judgement Day, early this century. Angel on left shoulder, angel on right, one recording good deeds, one recording bad, all that jazz.

My point? It doesn't take a fundamentalist to think 9/11 was the start of the Revealed end.
--

Making Linux GPL'd was definitely the best thing I ever did - Linus Torvalds
[ Parent ]

Damn, I must have known the wrong Muslims (5.00 / 2) (#389)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:51:31 PM EST

Because the ones I hung out with for months on end never talked about how I would end up in eternal suffering and damnation. Perhaps it was because they were all female?

...was my best friend at high school.

Reminds me of an old saying. "With friends like these, who needs enemies?"



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
is that so? (none / 0) (#479)
by jafac on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 10:10:20 PM EST

If that is true, then the fundies are being enormously and effectively FAR more vocal than those of you who are embarrassed by them.

It even shows in the surveys that have come out of the Islamic world;
70% beleive that 9/11 was a plot by Mossad.

That is one DAMN sobering statistic.

I am a Christian, and I am embarrased as hell by the Christian Taliban here in the US.  I do not support them, and I have taken action against them, funding politicians who don't support them, and campaigning within my own church organization.  And discrediting them wherever possible on internet chat boards.

I think that Islam definately has a chance to regain some credibility in the eyes of the west. But the moderates are gonna have to make a HELL of a lot more noise.

[ Parent ]

I don't Think So (3.00 / 9) (#353)
by bayers on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 04:36:12 PM EST

You don't understand. You can't placate them. You are an agent of the devil. They want to kill you. They want to kill your mother. They want to kill your babies. They want to murder your friends. In their minds, you must die.

Learn to accept this. It's okay.

Al Qaeda hasn't gone for body count yet (3.00 / 1) (#361)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 05:12:01 PM EST

WTC was a symbolic target. At this point there have been far more Arab casualties in the various wars over there related to the defense of Israel and maintainig the oil trade than there have been western or Israeli casualities.

The simple fact is that Al Qaeda and their allies are willing and able to take an imbalence of casualties to acheive their ends. The US and other western powers have more ability to inflict casualties than does Al Qaeda--so Al Qaeda is playing a different game here.

[ Parent ]

Right... (none / 0) (#390)
by CitAnon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:51:47 PM EST

This is why they calculated ahead of time the number of people they would kill, and were pleasantly surprised at the overperformance.

Given the chance, they would kill every man woman and child in America.

[ Parent ]

come on (none / 0) (#416)
by nomoreh1b on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 10:12:45 AM EST

Bin Laden has been very up front about his agenda: he'd rather deal with a highly nationalistic US government that is concerned about US interests than one that backs Israel.

The US has been directly involved in creating a lot more Arab casualties in the Middle East(operationg desert storm etc.) than 911 produced in the US. I'm sure the 911 planners wante to kill some folks, but that attack was optimized for hitting a highly symbolic target--in particular a target that was highly symbolic to a small portion of the US population and meant nothing--or was even a negative symbol to much of the rest of the US population.

The result is that a lot of folks are wondering: why is the reaction towards 911 so different than the reaction toward Perl Harbor? When the US military got its nose bloodied at Perl Harbor, the US mobilized significantly. Military recruitment centers were swamped. There has been no swamping of US military recruitment centers after 911. Why? Because the folks for which WTC was an important symbol are not prone to sign up for military duty and the folks that tend to sign up for military duty really care more about feeding their families than they care about the New York financial elite and hangers on getting wacked in WTC.

Right now, it seems like the Arabs could level the statue of Liberty and much New York City Skyline and we'd see a lot of flag waving and emoting, but not much else. Hell, if the Arabs were to hit the various IRS service centers and Federal Reserve banks, they might well have folks in the US what would cheer them on.

If the Arabs really wanted to kill people on the scale that the US has killed in the middle east, I suspect the Arabs would be releasing biological weapons or poisoning the US food supply.

[ Parent ]

Terrorists != Arabs (4.00 / 2) (#431)
by CitAnon on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 12:33:39 PM EST

First of all, it's terrorists who specifically want to kill Americans, not Arabs.  These come from all over the world, not just the Mideast.

Second, if they had biological and chemical weapons, they would be releasing them.

The US Military is doing just fine with the existing force structure.  Extra people are signing up to become firefighters and policeman instead of the military because no one feels that the country's existance is in danger, yet.  In contrast, WWII was a much more dire situation.

If the terrorists managed to level much of the New York sky line, or if intelligence discovers that terrorists have a significant cache of advanced biological weapons like the Russians have, we'd see the US going after bunkers with tactical nukes, no joke.

[ Parent ]

US isn't only target of terror (none / 0) (#450)
by nomoreh1b on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 03:28:27 PM EST

First of all, it's terrorists who specifically want to kill Americans, not Arabs. These come from all over the world, not just the Mideast.

The fundamental question here: who are the broader populations that support terrorist actions against the US other Western nations and where are they? The US has alienated lots of governments and people in the Middle East. The major governments that are relatively friendly towards the US aren't especially democratic--so you can't just look at which governments support the US to get an idea of what opinions are like over there. There is a real question of what the range of opinion is in the Arab world. One thing I'm pretty dang sure of: opinions on this whole topic in the Arabs world are much different than in the west.

Second, if they had biological and chemical weapons, they would be releasing them.

What makes you so sure of that?

Right now, the Arabs that support terrorist action can make a real simple case: there have been far more Arab casualties in the recent hostilities than US casualities, even with 911 taken into the count. The social structure and governments are such that they can absorb a lot of casualties and kept right on with business-as-usual. Saddam Hussein Just consider how many Iraqi's died in the Wars with Iran and the US and ask yourself: could any US leader have absorbed similar levels of casualties and stay in office?

Would the terrorists need to fight a genocidal war against the US to acheive their objectives? From what I can see the major objectives of Arabs that support terror right now include:
reduction of the US support for Israel
Continued expansion of Islam throughout the world including Europe and the US.
removal of western influence and military presence throughout the middle east

I don't see how any of these objectives would be served by a genocidal attack against the US. Islam has been expanding in the US and Europe without military action. Why would they want to disturb that situation?

Now, Islam does have a habit of destroying symbols of previous cultures where they take over(look at how the Taliban destroyed the statues of Buddha in Afganistan). Islam has spread using the sword. Still, I'm unaware of Islamics ever spreading by use of genocide like Europeans did in North America and Australia.

no one feels that the country's existance is in danger, yet. In contrast, WWII was a much more dire situation.

Well, I'm not a no one. I think there is a non-trivial chance that this little war will cause the US to go the way of the Austro-hungarian empire. I'm just not especially patriotic/concerned about the US government or its elites at this point. I am concerned about preparing myself for anything that happens.

I also think it incorrect to say the existance of the US was ever seriously threatened by Nazi Germany or the Empire of Japan during WW II. Certainly WW II propaganda of the day promoted the idea that both the US and UK's very existance were threatened, but the big target of German expansionism was Russia--and the British empire broke up despite the UK being on the winning side of WW II.

If the terrorists managed to level much of the New York sky line, or if intelligence discovers that terrorists have a significant cache of advanced biological weapons like the Russians have, we'd see the US going after bunkers with tactical nukes, no joke.

I'm sure that the Arabs that support terrorist action are well aware of that fact. I suspect that if they do conduct such an action, they'll do so fully prepared to accept response they'll get--or try to see to it that the US response is so effective to moral sensibilities of the Arab public that the US response will create more sympathy for the agenda those that support terror want.

The Arabs that support terror are fully aware they can't inflict the same casualties on the US as the US can on the Arab world--the supporters of terror have seen military action in the middle east of which the Arabs themselves are simply not capable-these folks are far from stupid. That doesn't mean that constituencies in the Arab world can't use terror to manipulate the US and the Arab public in various ways.

One of the prime targets of terror attacks on the west is the public opinion in the Middle East. If Middle Easterners see terrorists obtaining goals these feel are warrented by the resulting casualties--and/or if the US/EU response to terrorist attacks is so morally offensive to warrent in their eyes escalation, terror attacks on the West will obtain broader support in the Middle East.

Other targets of terror attacks on the west include western populations themselves and world opinion. Even the average Joe in say East Asia that wouldn't support a terror attack against NYC may have some real reservations around the US. There are very, very strong political incentives to respond decisively to terrorist action. At the same time, if the US government makes a mistake--and acts on it--world opinion could be very unforgiving. Similarly, the last major war the US fought, Viet Nam, was incredibly divisive in the US. In the middle east, the US potentially faces a much larger population that could be hostile enough against the US to stage miltary action than it did during the Viet Nam war. What would it mean to life in the US if say the US were to reinstitute a draft? What would say 50,000 military casualities mean in how the US public views this war?

Frankly, few folks in the US have much in the way of understanding of the sensibilities in the Middle East or the history of this conflict. When that knowledge develops, we could see some dramatic shifts in attitudes.

[ Parent ]

Some counterpoints (none / 0) (#466)
by CitAnon on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 06:02:26 PM EST

Some counterpoints to what you contend:

The fundamental question here: who are the broader populations that support terrorist actions against the US other Western nations and where are they?

If you wish to draw line, I would say that the broader population that support Islamic terrorists would really have to be the population of poor or undemocratic Islamic societies. Indonesia and Pakistan are a big portion of that population, so it's certainly not limited to the Mideast.

According to the CIA World Fact Book, there are 144,616,639 people in Pakistan and 228,437,870 people in Indonesia. These dwarf the size of the population of most populous Arab countries Iran 66,128,965, and Egypt 69,536,64. In fact, today there are probably more Muslims living in Asia than in the Mideast. While most Al-Qaeda have come from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the terrorist leadership are suspected of hiding in Pakistan.

The major governments that are relatively friendly towards the US aren't especially democratic--so you can't just look at which governments support the US to get an idea of what opinions are like over there.

Well, popular support for the US is relatively strong in countries such as Turkey, Kuwait, and the UAE, with more democratic governments, prosperous populations and more liberal presses while popular resentment is strong in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  However, in those countries, the US has strong influence over the authoritarian governments.  There are only two large Mideast Nations where both popular and governmental resentment for the US is strong, Iran and Iraq.  Notice that those are counted on the terrorist list.

What makes you so sure of that?

Right now, the Arabs that support terrorist action can make a real simple case: there have been far more Arab casualties in the recent hostilities than US casualities, even with 911 taken into the count.

I may be wrong, but I don't think they've made that case, at least in the context of being more humane than the US. Remember that according to Islamic extremists, non-muslims are Infidels who are to be either conquered or killed. Either would serve Allah's will.

Furthermore, once terrorists have weapons of mass destruction, they'll have two initial options. Use it in secrecy or announce that they have it and use it as a threat.

However, they know that every resource of the US will be directed to finding their weapons. Once they're found, every piece of US arsenal, including nuclear weapons, are in the game. In actuality, if biological weapons are found inside a country whose government is friendly to the US, the US will force those governments to seize them and turn them over to US authorities.  If the weapons are found in a hostile country, and the US fails to secure their turnover, going nuclear would then become a highly likely option.  The reason is that any conventional attacks will not be able to destroy the agents and their subsequent dispersion will cause more civilian casualties (100,000 - millions) than a low yield tactical nuclear weapon (several thousand - 10s of thousands if using ground penetrating low yield weapons).  So what the terrorists really face is a use it or loose it situation, and I think they'll use it.

Will that attack allow terrorists to topple friendly governments and incite war against the US?  Possibly, but unlikely.  People in the Mideast respect strength and ruthless power, and the US will have demonstrated both spectacularly.  

Even if they are able to achieve such goals, they will have lost their weapons of mass destruction, and they will lose the conventional war that will follow.

One of the prime targets of terror attacks on the west is the public opinion in the Middle East. If Middle Easterners see terrorists obtaining goals these feel are warrented by the resulting casualties--and/or if the US/EU response to terrorist attacks is so morally offensive to warrent in their eyes escalation, terror attacks on the West will obtain broader support in the Middle East.

It's not just a matter of popular opinion.  The terrorists have had the upper hand in the battle for hearts and minds in the Mideast for a long time.  An astounding high percentage of people in Saudi Arabia and Egypt support them.  However, populations don't just act because they are mad.  They will also need to have the capability to do so, which they don't.

Furthermore, the American public and possibly American allies will be galvanized into large scale ground war by the possibility of attack by a biological weapon.

In the middle east, the US potentially faces a much larger population that could be hostile enough against the US to stage miltary action than it did during the Viet Nam war.

Maybe a larger population, but they still won't have the capability to launch significant military operations against the US.  In any case, the US will, in Israel, a most capable and willing proxy force, which is why US support for Israel must continue to be strong.

The extremists see themselves as the rulers of a future Islamic state.  They will not risk facing a war of conquest, WWII style,by the US and its allies.

Saddam Hussein Just consider how many Iraqi's died in the Wars with Iran and the US and ask yourself: could any US leader have absorbed similar levels of casualties and stay in office?

History has shown that US leaders acquire more power during times of dire crisis.  Examples are Lincoln during the Civil War, over 500,000 Americans dead in a population much smaller than it is today, Wilson in WWI, FDR in WWII.  LBJ's Imperial Presidency during Vietnam.
The US government is designed to fortify executive power during times of crisis.
The only chance that terrorists have is to critically wound the US before it has time to act.  If terrorists were able to paralyze the US, their standing in countries with rigid authoritarian regimes, will soar since the population respects strength and power.  They can then start toppling governments and setting up theocracies.  This is their greatest chance at winning, which is why I'm so sure they will use WMD if they get them.

The Arabs that support terror are fully aware they can't inflict the same casualties on the US as the US can on the Arab world...

If we get into biological warfare, then that's absolutely not the case.  The casualty figures could reach 10s of millions with Smallpox, and billions around the world with the use of reengineered chimera viruses that the Soviet Union and lately Russia have worked on.  Especially since, in biological warfare, neither the attackers nor the defenders may be capable of limiting the transmission of the weaponized agent.


[ Parent ]

Re: Counterpoints (none / 0) (#472)
by nomoreh1b on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 07:31:05 PM EST

If you wish to draw line, I would say that the broader population that support Islamic terrorists would really have to be the population of poor or undemocratic Islamic societies.

Keep in mind, there were folks from some of the not-so-poor Islamic countries on the WTC plains. I think the more precise what of stating this: support for terrorism is spread accross all Islamic communities and is most concentrated among Palestinians and the poorer Islamic communities.

Indonesia and Pakistan are a big portion of that population, so it's certainly not limited to the Mideast.

you can make a decent case the Pakistan invented modern Islamic fundamentalism. Still The focus of the US as an enemy of Islam comes mostly from the people most affected by the founding of Israel via the Balfour agreement.

Well, popular support for the US is relatively strong in countries such as Turkey, Kuwait, and the UAE, with more democratic governments, prosperous populations and more liberal presses while popular resentment is strong in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

UAE and Kuwait were founded largely to concentrate resources into exceptionally rich countries. Without the US military,those countries simply would cease to exist I'd imagine.

Right now, the Arabs that support terrorist action can make a real simple case: there have been far more Arab casualties in the recent hostilities than US casualities, even with 911 taken into the count.

I may be wrong, but I don't think they've made that case, at least in the context of being more humane than the US.

Humane is not by concept here. I think that the Arab nations of the middle East see that their entire region was destabilized by the Balfour agreement and the US's support of Israel and the process of globalization.

Now, just looking at Operation Desert Storm alone, there were over 100,000 casualties. I think the number here from the perspective of the more militant Arab elements is much higher because they'd generally include the casualties of many of the smaller wars in that region fought since WW I because they don't think the boundaries that were created by the western powers were done with an eye to stabilizing the region.

Remember that according to Islamic extremists, non-muslims are Infidels who are to be either conquered or killed. Either would serve Allah's will.

I think that is a bit overstating the case here. As I understand it, infidels should be given a real chance to convert if at all possible.

Furthermore, once terrorists have weapons of mass destruction, they'll have two initial options. Use it in secrecy or announce that they have it and use it as a threat.

There is a third possibility here:
Goad the US into a series of actions that alienate much of world opinion, and then respond with attacks on the US that are highly destabilizing because they attack key symbols are but are regarded as restraine responses by the bulk of folks in the world long term.

In actuality, if biological weapons are found inside a country whose government is friendly to the US, the US will force those governments to seize them and turn them over to US authorities.

My own image is that the governments of those countries may sincerely try to stop terrorism--but they simply aren't able to do so.

So what the terrorists really face is a use it or loose it situation, and I think they'll use it.

I think you underestimate how well/long these folks can keep a secret.

Will that attack allow terrorists to topple friendly governments and incite war against the US?

When the "friendly governments" start getting toppled, I expect it will happen suddenly and in several countries at once.

Even if they are able to achieve such goals, they will have lost their weapons of mass destruction, and they will lose the conventional war that will follow.

The big option for winning Islamic militants have is to get the US embroiled in a war with other countries at the same time. The US military is relatively small, and if it gets stretched thin, then the US will have problems.

It's not just a matter of popular opinion. The terrorists have had the upper hand in the battle for hearts and minds in the Mideast for a long time. An astounding high percentage of people in Saudi Arabia and Egypt support them.

I think what these folks would like is an overwhelming consensus among muslims from Morrocco to Indonesia. I think there are elements that would like a lot more cooperation among muslims in a variety of dimensions.

However, populations don't just act because they are mad. They will also need to have the capability to do so, which they don't.

You say that with such certainty. I think these folks have a few nukes, just not that many, and they are playing their cards very, very close to the vest.

Furthermore, the American public and possibly American allies will be galvanized into large scale ground war by the possibility of attack by a biological weapon.

If the biological weapon is in fact clearly identifiable as such-it might not be readily apparent what is happening here(i.e. a slow acting biological weapon that creates mobidity rather than mortality).

In any case, the US will, in Israel, a most capable and willing proxy force, which is why US support for Israel must continue to be strong.

Keep in mind, the US his highly dependent on Israel for intelligence in the Middle east. The US has little way to be sure Israeli's are telling the truth.

The extremists see themselves as the rulers of a future Islamic state. They will not risk facing a war of conquest, WWII style,by the US and its allies.

I suspect they have well developed plans to handle that eventuality-or at least those _really_ in charge do(I don't think the hard-core fundies are running the show, but those that do run the row in that part of the world sometimes find fundies useful.

History has shown that US leaders acquire more power during times of dire crisis. Examples are Lincoln during the Civil War, over 500,000 Americans dead in a population much smaller than it is today, Wilson in WWI, FDR in WWII. LBJ's Imperial Presidency during Vietnam. The US government is designed to fortify executive power during times of crisis.

The US is much different country than it was under Lincoln, and a major all out War involving Islamic powers could involve a lot more casualities on a per capital basis than the civil war.

The only chance that terrorists have is to critically wound the US before it has time to act.

I think this might be done by getting the US into other conflicts and a prolonged policy of destabilization which may already be underway. I'd check out what the PLA has been talking about in this regard in Unrestricted Warfare.

If terrorists were able to paralyze the US, their standing in countries with rigid authoritarian regimes, will soar since the population respects strength and power. They can then start toppling governments and setting up theocracies.

I tend to agree with this point.

This is their greatest chance at winning, which is why I'm so sure they will use WMD if they get them.

The question is when and how, for these folks, timing is everything. They will also take great pains to make the US look like the immoral agressive nation-at least in the future history books.

If we get into biological warfare, then that's absolutely not the case. The casualty figures could reach 10s of millions with Smallpox, and billions around the world with the use of reengineered chimera viruses that the Soviet Union and lately Russia have worked on.

Yes, but the US/EU don't have the numbers of the Islamic world. 100 Million casualties in the EU/US, the society collapses. 200 Million casualties in the Islamic world, lots of the same faces would be in power. If the US has those kinds of casualities, it comes out of the blue. In the Islamic world, the leadership just says, we've been telling you this would happen all along-don't trust the infidels.

Especially since, in biological warfare, neither the attackers nor the defenders may be capable of limiting the transmission of the weaponized agent.

there are tricks in that regard, but I suspect the Islamic countries are way behind in that arms race.

[ Parent ]

Your basic point (none / 0) (#474)
by CitAnon on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 09:04:06 PM EST

Is that Islamic terrorists can weaken and paralyze the US with series of small conflgrations damaging key US interests and breaking down the will of the American people.  

I think this is a very valid point.  I absolutely agree with you that they are trying to do that, however, I think there are some key details that you are wrong on.

1.  There is a single well coordinated conspiracy behind the extremists.

I deem this highly unlikely.  Terrorist organizations by necessity are loosely connected.  Any large organization is inevitably organized along a loose confederation of parties whose identities are not necessarily known to each other.  Under these conditions, groups will both cooperate and compete for power and prestige.  The people in charge see themselves as Allah's chosen warriors.  This means that, given a chance to do massive harm, an individual terrorist organization will probably choose to do so even if such action is not in harmony with the larger aims of the confederation.  

2.  Islamic militaries will be able to inflict massive casualties on Western militaries.  

This is also extremely unlikely.  The countries that are of concern today simply do not have effective conventional armaments to defend themselves from or strike at a combined western military force.  If they resort to Chemical/Biological or Nuclear weapons, they face the nuclear arsenals of the United States and any other countries concerned about Islamic militancy including Russia and China.

3.  Islamic countries will be able to survive a war with EU/US after inflicting 100 million casualties.

That's simply not the case.  The US dropped nuclear weapons on Japan.  At the time, it had suffered no where close to even 1 million dead and wounded.  During all of WWII, Europe did not suffer 100 million dead.  If a bilogical attack caused 100 million deaths (and that's pretty much the only way that that could happen), all semblance of moral restraint would go out the window and there would be nothing but radioactive dust in countries connected to the attack or supporting the attackers even if that would mean killing a billion people.

These are horrendous scenarios.  We have to remember that no matter how civilized our society, human nature will not change.  Under circumstances so dire and tragic, people will behave in horrible ways.

[ Parent ]

Clarifications (none / 0) (#483)
by nomoreh1b on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 01:34:24 AM EST

Is that Islamic terrorists can weaken and paralyze the US with series of small conflgrations damaging key US interests and breaking down the will of the American people.

It isn't mainly a matter of armed conflict. The Islamic powers are not especially powerful militarily. They have an excellect track record at subverting other cultures through other means though that include economic warfare, espionage and manipulation/absortion of other groups religions. 1. There is a single well coordinated conspiracy behind the extremists.

I deem this highly unlikely. Terrorist organizations by necessity are loosely connected. Any large organization is inevitably organized along a loose confederation of parties whose identities are not necessarily known to each other

I'm not sure what I said that made you think that there was a "grand conspiracy" here. I do not think there is any such conspiracy. What I think is that there is a culture that under the right circimstance will suddently coalesce and unite in ways that are hard for outsiders to appreciate or predict.

Under these conditions, groups will both cooperate and compete for power and prestige. The people in charge see themselves as Allah's chosen warriors. This means that, given a chance to do massive harm, an individual terrorist organization will probably choose to do so even if such action is not in harmony with the larger aims of the confederation.

I think here you underestimate how strong the code of honor is in those cultures. These folks will proceed very carefully according to their idea of what is right and wrong.

2. Islamic militaries will be able to inflict massive casualties on Western militaries.

This is also extremely unlikely. The countries that are of concern today simply do not have effective conventional armaments to defend themselves from or strike at a combined western military force. If they resort to Chemical/Biological or Nuclear weapons, they face the nuclear arsenals of the United States and any other countries concerned about Islamic militancy including Russia and China.

I don't think that the Islamic powers would likely directly inflict substantial casualities. I think it is more likely that they would figure out a way to turn this from an anti-Islamic war into an anti-white folks war in which they can get China and possibly even Japan on the side of the Islamic powers. This isn't a completely original idea on my part-it has been support by various policy analysts also.

3. Islamic countries will be able to survive a war with EU/US after inflicting 100 million casualties.

That's simply not the case. The US dropped nuclear weapons on Japan. At the time, it had suffered no where close to even 1 million dead and wounded. During all of WWII, Europe did not suffer 100 million dead. If a bilogical attack caused 100 million deaths (and that's pretty much the only way that that could happen), all semblance of moral restraint would go out the window and there would be nothing but radioactive dust in countries connected to the attack or supporting the attackers even if that would mean killing a billion people.

Just FYI, I suspect that the various Islamic interests at play here could get most of what they want with a lot fewer than 100Million casualities in the West. 2-3 million casualties could transform western culture if they picked the right targets(say hitting the most wealthy, culturally and politically influental communities in the US/EU). The 100Million figure is an upper end of what I'd expect this might escaulate into.

I think there are real limits to how much taste for genocide the US/EU military will have even after substantial casualities in the US/EU. Think about it:would the US be willing to kill 1Billion people in response to an attack that killed say 10 million? 1 million? Part of the issue here is that if some Islamic powers mount a nuclear attack, it may be internally difficult to justify attacking all Islamic powers--it would require taking the US/EU into a very, very different mindset than it has now.

Also, I'd keep in mind that fundamentally what nuclear weapons are good for is attacking major cities. On the whole, Islamic countries are less urbanized than the US/EU-which means that to effectively attack the Islamic powers means that an attacking nation needs to use more environmentally destructive weapons that make extensive fallout-which would be an escalation beyond simply using nuclear weapons.

Now, my guess is that it won't come to an all-out nuclear conflict right away. I suspect it is more likely that we'll see something like the Islamic powers facilitating terrorism on the part of some other non-Islamic groups that have beefs with the US government and/or Israel(for example seeing to it that some neo-Nazi group got some nuclear weapons). The important thing about an all-out nuclear scenario is that having a projection of how it might evolve constrains both sides on this issue.

The thing in particular about nuclear terrorism though: say nuclear devices were used against some select suburbs in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and Philadelphia. Is it plausible that an organization might do this without as strong a territorial connection as Al Qaeda had to Afganistan? What would the right response be if the governments of the countries in which these folks had operated had all sincerely tried to stop them and just weren't able to do so? Would it be possible for a terrorist organization to make it impossible to accurately know who was behind a nuclear terrorist attack?

[ Parent ]

I wouldn't be posting this... (none / 0) (#397)
by ariux on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 01:10:38 AM EST

...except for the way people seem to be rating the parent up.

If by "they" you mean the few thousand self-selected members of Al-Qa'eda, you may be right.

But all Muslims? Do you realize that you're talking about a billion people? How many of those billion have you met? (No, reading frothing articles about "them" in Time magazine doesn't count.)

[ Parent ]

I think he meant just the terrorists (none / 0) (#399)
by CitAnon on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 02:00:50 AM EST

I certainly hope so since I rated him up.

[ Parent ]
Comic books (4.60 / 5) (#374)
by daani on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:31:08 PM EST

What I don't get is why the American media is presenting this whole conflict in a comic-book style story. GWB and others continually profess that "The terrorists hate everything we stand for. Truth, justice and the American way!".

This is clearly bullshit. They may want all Westerners out of their homelands. Hell, they may want the right to stone their women to death for fun for all I know. But I find it unlikely that they just woke up one morning thinking "Damn American justice system. All that freedom makes me so mad.....".

The more right-wing kind of American folk may be right, maybe America as a nation has always acted in a flawless, globally philanthropic way. But there are people out there who seem to see things differently. Some of them are already fighting a "jihad", some of them will start next year. Rather than try and figure out why, and work toward a long-term fix, it is far easier for GWB to act like some B-grade super-hero fighting "the evil ones".

Your nation, and possibly mine too, will play the price for this in blood. But gosh it makes for good TV.

 

The problem (4.00 / 1) (#411)
by wiredog on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 09:18:37 AM EST

Some of them, including bin Laden, have stated their intent to, at least, reverse things such as the 'tragedy of Andalusia'. At most, they want to conquer the world for their version of Islam.

How do you negotiate with people whose minimum demands are more than the max that can be given?

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

Re: The Problem (none / 0) (#511)
by daani on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 09:30:02 PM EST

How do you negotiate with people whose minimum demands are more than the max that can be given?

Skillfully, one would hope.

Seriously though, any "negotiations" with Al Quaeda themselves should be designed to discredit them in the eyes of their followers and potential followers, rather than to gain concessions for them. Please do not misunderstand me - I doubt that it is possible to negotiate with the kinds of people who blow up buildings as much as you do.

However I do think that the sympathies of the "Arab on the street" are the most valuable asset we could gain in this whole unfortunate situation. I define "valuable", in this case, as that which contributes to minimizing the incidents of terrorism and other warfares. In my view, the administration have not yet concentrated their efforts in this direction sufficiently.

PS: Although it does not seem inconsistent with his other nonsensical ramblings, I don't think OBL has publicly declared his intent to reverse the "tragedy of Andalusia". He did say he wished to see a repeat of it prevented, refering specifically to the perceived annexation of Palestine by Israel. I could well be wrong here though.



[ Parent ]
except that... (2.66 / 3) (#436)
by klamath on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 01:19:02 PM EST

Rather than try and figure out why, and work toward a long-term fix, it is far easier for GWB to act like some B-grade super-hero fighting "the evil ones".
Al Queda are evil -- and the reluctance of modern intellectuals to make that kind of moral judgement is sickening. Arab/Muslim culture -- for example, that of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lybia and more extreme examples like the Sunis -- is wrong. It stands for primitive autocracies that don't even respect the most basic of human rights: "It is absurd to impose on an individual or a society rights that are alien to its beliefs or principles" says Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia smuggly.

I, for one, don't have a problem stating that Western culture is superior to the culture of the East. When people talk about the "real causes" behind 9/11, isn't it possible that America didn't directly cause what happened to it? That the Arabs, frustrated by the absolute failure of their culture to adapt to the modern world, lashed out at the country that makes their failures all too clear? While American foreign policy might not be perfect, the primary reason why most Arab nations find themselves in the desparate situation they are in is not because of American or colonial influence: it's the fault of those Arabs themselves.

When you're dealing with people who martyr themselves in the name of a religion for any cause, I'd be skeptical of any attempts to "reason" with these people.

[ Parent ]

What about (2.00 / 1) (#440)
by Dephex Twin on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 01:46:37 PM EST

While it is IMO simplistic and ignorant to consider any group of people "evil", I wanted to mention a more obvious problem in your statement.

So how do you address the third part of Bush's "Axis of Evil": North Korea?  They do not have a Muslim or "Arab" culture, and in fact religion has been more or less prohibited for the last 50 years.  So why are they "evil"?  Oh right, because they are our enemies.

Face it, the term "evil" is just to make us feel justified in what we do.  It implies that we are on the "good" side and that there is a clear right and wrong.  It helps to dehumanize those with whom we are in conflict.  Don't fall for the propaganda.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

I want to know more (none / 0) (#451)
by Ken Pompadour on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 03:31:46 PM EST

and more extreme examples like the Sunis

Tell me more about these "Sunis." It sounds like you're an expert, so I want to know more.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Re: except that... (5.00 / 2) (#505)
by daani on Sun Jun 16, 2002 at 11:31:02 PM EST

I also, would be skeptical if GWB and OBL suddenly announced they were meeting at the conference table. But I'll make two points:

Firstly, saying that Islamic culture is intrinsically inferior is at best contentious. For someone like you or I (assuming you are, like me, not a scholar of Islamic studies) is just plain silly. Just as silly as if a non-representative sample of Islamic people were to say the same about us.

I suspect that such a sample would also question your "basic human rights" definition. For example, Arabian kings (including the current Saudi regime) consider it a matter of personal pride to feed their needy citizens. So outside the palace, they feed thousands every day. These same Arabian kings would consider it quite disgraceful that we have homeless people living in sight of our homes and don't help them out. Let me emphasise I am not trying an "Islam-good, USA-bad" argument here, just trying to explain that things can be relative.

Secondly, even if you decide you are superior to "them", this does not (automatically) discount the point I was trying to make - that GWB seems to be playing this one based on rhetoric he saw on "The League of Justice" or some other tripe.

I concede that the people that he has to deal with are not rational. But neither are animals or small children, and sometimes it is necessary to understand and predict their behaviour, for the common good. This doesn't always have to do with simple right or wrong, but rather what will contribute to a positive outcome.

So does the USA administration have the "right" to act in as hostile a way as they are? If you live in a tit-for-tat world then yes, obviously. But if you are interested in minimizing the loss of life inflicted on the American people, then it may be worth considering alternatives.

[ Parent ]

No. (4.66 / 3) (#378)
by deefer on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 08:08:46 PM EST

"You've just destroyed one of the largest symbols of the Western economy, and you've struck fear into the hearts of Westerners everywhere. What are you going to do next?"

I've read most of the comments here so far. You're missing the point of terrorism.

Terrorism is *not* measured in the dead, on either side. Terrorism is measured in how the target nation changes it's behaviour.

Al-Queda cells, if they have any sense, will go into hibernation.

For a few months, or years, depending... Watch the results of their vandalism take root; pity to waste the opportunity to let every USian start checking under their car (I've seen people do this, BTW, with a special mirrored device.).

If Al-Queda have any sense, they'll watch the USian system fuck every single citizen over before they make their next major new move. USians may laugh at us Brits for our constant CCTV in London, and the Ring of Steel around London roads. But wait until you have a journey interupted every week by a "bomb scare", and a real bomb every year or two. Terror woreks better than action, sometimes, as long as you're playing off a strong hand. Bin Laden just stacked his hand with aces, what are you going to do?

Put it this way - as a Londener who's been screwed by surveillance, by bomb scares, by mates who have facial scars from being in the wrong place at the wrong time - think about *negotiation* instead of *bottom line for *shareholders* in foreign policy.




Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

Checking under the car (none / 0) (#413)
by jesseerdmann on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 09:51:53 AM EST

Actually I think many women have been told they should look under the car (the mirror just being a handy device so as not to have to get on the ground) when they're alone and going to their parked car in a remote area for a long time.  They're also told to check the backseat.  Unless of course you're specifically refering to checking for bombs, which I hadn't heard of people doing.

[ Parent ]
Yes... but No (4.33 / 3) (#383)
by Schmacko on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:24:43 PM EST

You do raise some interesting points, however perhaps you went to far... Maybe you do not need to increase security and lower privacy... Lets get back to how some people where thinking on September 12 in other countries around the world... The general line was "America's Foreign Policy is the cause for this action". Perhaps we need to move down this line instead. Perhaps taking the following steps - 1. Order the Israeli Army out of all of Palistine. 2. Implement a UN or Joint US/Arab Peace keeping force in the region. 3. Start taking other actions to prove to the Arab community that you are a neutral superpower when it comes to the middle east and that you will take action in hot spots around the world, no just when oil supply is involved. There are many other things America can do, maybe looking at these options would save the need to spend so much money on protection.

In other words (none / 0) (#387)
by CitAnon on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:47:51 PM EST

  1.  Alienate our strongest ally in the mideast
  2.  Give our troops a task they are least well equipped and trained for, put them into a situation where they are most vulnerable to terrorist attack, give them "friends" who can't be trusted to back them up, and politically limit the tools that they can use to get the job done.
  3.  Do the above in all places around the world, thus making ppl around the world hate us even more than they do now while spreading our military so thin that readiness and retention rate will fall dramatically from current levels.
I'm not sure what a good plan is, I am sure that this isn't it.

[ Parent ]
Here's an issue. (3.00 / 2) (#407)
by vinay on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 06:30:05 AM EST

What's this going to look like? They blow up 2 national landmarks, and we say "time to change!" So that means next time they want us to do something they blow something else up.

I'm not saying that changes shouldn't happen with regards to foreign policy. However, I believe it's wrong and dangerous to make such changes in response to an attack.


-\/


[ Parent ]
Well... (3.00 / 1) (#489)
by greg pass on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 03:29:15 AM EST

"What's this going to look like? They blow up 2 national landmarks, and we say "time to change!""

How dare we try to defend ourselves?

"However, I believe it's wrong and dangerous to make such changes in response to an attack."

And then what, Osama looks at the destruction he's caused and suddenly decides all by himself that terrorism is wrong and calls off all his suicide bombings? Your world must be nice...
greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass
[ Parent ]
But... (none / 0) (#508)
by vinay on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 03:51:13 AM EST

I'm not saying my way's ideal, but I believe yours is less so.

It basically says "if you want to change the way I do things, just kill a few people. I'll 'defend' myself."

What happens when they "kill a few people" and their demand is "do away with the constitution" or "attack england?" Those aren't likely, but I think they illustrate my point. Where do you draw the line?

I think you agree with the asked-for changes in this case (and, to some extent, I do too: I think our foreign policy requires a good deal of overhaul), and so it's easy to say "do what they want, because it's what's right." It's a mistake, though. We should change because we as a people have decided that such change is required, not because somebody has pointed a gun at our heads.


-\/


[ Parent ]
Just for the record (none / 0) (#527)
by freakazoid on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 04:54:32 PM EST

It seems that very few people who are commenting have actually read the entire article. At no point do I actually advocate increasing security and/or decreasing privacy.

I'm an individualist anarchist, for Christ's sake!

Oh, and for anyone who thinks my comments about "shadow government" are conspiracy-theory related, look up "continuity of government" on Google some time. Perhaps a poor choice of terms on my part, but  the fact remains that they holed up a bunch of unelected bureaucrats in underground bunkers for months after 9/11 and probably still are.

[ Parent ]

Just a few interesting notes about 9/11 (3.50 / 10) (#393)
by rmn on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:30:50 PM EST

Just a few interesting facts about the attacks on 9/11:

The targets were the Pentagon (the symbol of american military power over other countries) and the WTC (the symbol of american economic power over other countries). I believe the 4th plane was also heading towards the Pentagon. Possibly the White House, but probably the Pentagon.

The date, written "the american way", is 911, which is also the emergency phone number in the US. In most other countries, this date is written 11/9 or 11-9, and the emergency numbers are also different (112 in Europe, for example). Coincidence? Perhaps. To me this spells: US emergency.

The airlines used for the attack were United Airlines and American Airlines. Both names are part of the name of the country (United States of America). To me this spells "The USA brought these attacks on themselves". If there was a "State Airlines", they probably would have used it too.

This was not an attack against democracy or against freedom or against civilisation. This was an attack against the USA. The authors went to great lengths to make that as clear as possible.

And the message was pretty clear: "you are not untouchable". No-one is. If you bomb someone 10 thousand miles away, make sure you kill all of them. Because if you don't, the ones that survive will do all they can to get back at you. And since the USA has spent the last 60 years bombing and exploiting pretty much every nation on Earth, they're now in for a few sleepless nights.

I really don't think other countries have a lot to worry about (except for Israel, which is just a USA pawn, and possibly the UK, because it's the USA's official asskisser).

On the contrary, I think americans do have a lot to worry about. Not from al-Qaeda, who are just sitting back enjoying the show (for now, at least). But from their own government, which is now showing its true colours. Can you imagine how much "freedom" US citizens would have if their government had to deal with something like the IRA or the ETA?

I think the american people should start putting some pressure on their government to start behaving as the civilised people they claim to be instead of bullying everyone else around as if they had some God-given right to do so. Stop making enemies and start trying to lose all the ones you've made so far.

That's the only way they'll be able to sleep easy again.

Interesting points (3.00 / 2) (#395)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 10:50:47 PM EST

Main thing I disagree with is calling Israel a US puppet state. The Israelis are a very cohesive state with a lot of moral resolve the US lacks at this point. You don't have folks selling out Israel like we've seen in the US. Also, the US is pretty dependent upon Israel for on-the-ground intelligence in the Middle East.

I tend to think there is a much greater disconnect between the US elites/masses and the Israeli elites/masses especially in this whole area of foreign policy-which is part of why 911 took so many folks by surprise. Most Americans know little about the world except what they see through a media which is heavily biased towards Israel and has little concern with the interests of the US population.

[ Parent ]

no no, you've got it wrong (3.33 / 3) (#429)
by jbridge21 on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 12:21:44 PM EST

The USA is a puppet state of Israel...

[ Parent ]
You have a point, there... (none / 0) (#437)
by rmn on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 01:24:10 PM EST

Well, I can see what you mean. But it's hard to say for sure, since the Israelis steering the USA actually do it from within the USA. It kind of reminds me of that Stanislaw Lem book, "Memories found in a bathtub", where the two spy agencies had so many moles and double-agents that there was no way of telling who was controlling whom.

Although I'm about as anti-fascist as anyone can be (my country was a fascist dictatorship until not too long before I was born, and I still felt the effects of that), I have to say this:

No-one has done more to improve Hitler's image than Ariel Sharon (& friends).

RMN
~~~

[ Parent ]

Some cheese with your whine? (2.33 / 3) (#439)
by nsgnfcnt1 on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 01:41:56 PM EST

Thank you for your incredibly enlightening discussion on the true meaning of 911. I had no idea there were all these symbolic meanings behind the tools and timings of 9/11. Tremendous.

So, now that you're done spewing this gut-wrenching garbage to the rest of the world, let's go over some points:

1. Do you really think the US is going to rescind any policies that "... brought this attack on themselves"?
2. Do you think the US is going to roll over, turn the other cheek and play nice with extremists and terrorists?
3. Are you so sure people in the US are losing much sleep over this (yeah, I know, you probably saw that special CNN report on how people were not sleeping so well anymore 'cause we're all scared)?

Come on, in the back of your head, at the ultimate end of the process of escalation (terrorism and counter-punishment), you know the US and NATO are going to bomb the shit out of countries openly supporting terrorism, install their own puppet governments and take whatever measures necessary to protect their homelands. That's what they build bombs for. Don't think NATO countries are backing the US in their new endeavour? Think again. Their governments may not agree fully with the "Rambo" nature of the US response, but they all know what will need to be done. I think everyone is starting to realise that kissing Saddam's ass with the oil-for-food-for-his-troops-while-he-builds-missiles program is not having the desired effect.

And no, God, Allah, Ganesha and Buddha are not going to come down, join hands and destroy the evil West. Really, what world do you live in? Everyone knows there will never be an end to terrorism, but the terrorists better be happy living the rest of their lives in caves because they will never achieve what they desire.

[ Parent ]
Good against evil, bla bla bla... (5.00 / 1) (#442)
by rmn on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 01:53:17 PM EST

You see, from a lot of people's point of view, the americans are the terrorists.

RMN
~~~

[ Parent ]

That (5.00 / 2) (#444)
by Dephex Twin on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 02:08:46 PM EST

is what makes me feel so nervous with Bush's repeated use of the word "evil".  In Vietnam, lots of people got the idea that what we were doing was not right, and there was a lot of protesting.  Now, since the enemies and the countries they are in are "evil", we can rest assured that we are justified in what we do to them.  And anybody that defends them is wrong, because how can you defend evil?

I *really* hope that reality sets in soon and his approval rating finally gets out of "obey my every command" range.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

There's no "us" in "USA". Well (5.00 / 5) (#446)
by rmn on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 02:57:45 PM EST

...but my point is: Americans keep saying "the west", and "democractic countries", and "NATO", and "the civilized world", when in fact they mean the USA. I can't remember any act of international terrorism aimed at a country other than the USA.

There is no terrorist campaign against the west, or against NATO, or against christians, or against democracies. There's a "terrorist" reaction against the USA. And the reason they use suicide bombers and airliners is they don't have missiles or stealth bombers.

Some time ago, someone said about a conflict in Somalia, "people are now being killed with stones and clubs, surely this represents an escalade in violence?", and an aid worker replied "no, it just means they ran out of bullets". When you're fighting for your life, you fight with what you can get your hands on. Flying a plane into a building is not a cowardly act. Certainly not when you compare it with firing a missile from a thousand miles away.

In a democracy, the people are responsible for their governemnt, and must answer for its actions. Why shouldn't US civilians suffer the consequences of its government's actions when they are the ones who gave that government its power?

See where I'm getting at?

If the government doesn't look after its citizen's interests (all citizens, not just a few big corporations'), then those citizens can force it to behave differently. Or they can replace that goverment with one that does. Right? Isn't that what democracy is all about?

I see americans talk about their goverment as if it was some separate entity, that they have no control or influence over. If that is the case, then the USA is not a democracy. Democracy means "people power". It has nothing to do with voting (especially when the guy with the least votes wins, but that's another story) or with having a guy who wears a suit instead of guy who wears a crown.

How can you praise democracy so much and then detach yourselves from your goverments' actions?

How can you praise individual freedom so much and then have such terribly restrictive anti-drug and anti-alcohol laws? Did you learn nothing from the prohibition (or even the Bible)? Forbidding something only makes it more desirable, and more dangerous.

How can you praise freedom of speech so much and then have censorship on the newspapers, and radio, and TV?

How can you say public executions in Afghanistan were "barbaric" when more people are executed by the state of Texas in one month than by the Taliban in 5 years?

How can you call the WTC strike "the greatest killing of innocents in History" after having dropped two nuclear bombs in Japan, each of which killed over 200 thousand civilians?

Americans seem to wear very peculiar glasses. They can't see the rest of the world except to drop bombs and give orders.

You know what, most countries don't have the death penalty. Most countries won't put you in jail for smoking pot. Most countries won't "bleep" you if you say "shit" on TV. In most countries, governments get replaced if the people aren't happy with their policies.

Most countries (especially in Europe) had a fascist (or whatever you want to call it) goverment at some time in their history. And then there was a revolution, and people learned what freedom really meant. Maybe the USA should try that, too.

Stop telling yourselves (and everybody else) how damn good you are and start concentrating on getting better. Not better than other people. Better than yourselves. If you think you're perfect, you'll never improve. As someone (Mary Schmich, I believe) said, the race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

RMN
~~~

[ Parent ]

What the... (2.50 / 2) (#454)
by Dephex Twin on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 04:01:06 PM EST

I'm not sure what any of this has to do with my post, but whatever.
There is no terrorist campaign against the west, or against NATO, or against christians, or against democracies. There's a "terrorist" reaction against the USA.
Well, it's just a matter of where you draw the line. There are certain ties that the US has with countries in Western Europe, and NATO is one of them. If you say it was only directed at the US because it happened in the US, then why not say it was directed at New York State and D.C.? Being from Illinois it wasn't directed at me. Yes, this is foolish because Illinois has much in common with New York-- New York is simply the biggest symbolic target, and it doesn't mean Illinois won't get attacked next. Wouldn't the same caution be prudent with Western European countries? Yes, we have our differences but compared to Arab countries we have much in common. USA is the biggest and most shocking target though. The fact that many leaders of the groups who carried out the attacks say things like "holy war" and "it is Islam vs. non-belief", I'd say Europe should at least keep their eyes open.
If that is the case, then the USA is not a democracy. Democracy means "people power".
The USA is not a democracy, it is much closer to a republic. It's a misuse of the word, yes. And there are big problems with the way it works. Just as with every government.
How can you praise democracy so much and then detach yourselves from your goverments' actions?
Maybe those aren't the same people? There are a lot of different people in the USA. The "Fighting for freedom and democracy" is propaganda from the government and politician talk. Some Americans foolishly believe it at face value, some don't. All the citizens face the consequences of what the government does, they just don't all have to stand behind it.
How can you praise individual freedom so much and then have such terribly restrictive anti-drug and anti-alcohol laws? Did you learn nothing from the prohibition (or even the Bible)?
Just because a country isn't the most liberal or free country in the world doesn't mean that it is not free or doesn't really value freedom. If you compare the personal freedoms of the US to Holland, the US has many strict rules. If you compare the US to China, it is very free. It is just not the most free.

As for the drug laws... some of them are dumb. These things happen. They may very well change (marijuana). As for the "anti-alcohol" laws: I assume you mean that the drinking age is 21? Well, the driving age in many states in the US is 16, in some 15 or 14. Is the German driving age of 18 horrible like our drinking laws, or just a minor difference of opinion?
Forbidding something only makes it more desirable, and more dangerous.
And all this time we've fobidden murder in this country. Who knew that we were just making it more desirable and dangerous?
How can you praise freedom of speech so much and then have censorship on the newspapers, and radio, and TV?
Some countries allow more of one thing and less of another. In much of Europe, one can see nudity on TV. In America, it is more strict. However, most European countries are more strict in terms of depictions of violence. In Germany, Scientology is illegal, while they are protected in the US. It is a give and take sort of thing, and it changes a lot.
How can you call the WTC strike "the greatest killing of innocents in History" after having dropped two nuclear bombs in Japan, each of which killed over 200 thousand civilians?
Nobody calls it that, they call it the greatest killing of innocents in American history.
Stop telling yourselves (and everybody else) how damn good you are and start concentrating on getting better.
Stop telling us how awful we are and how you hate everything we do and maybe we would be more willing to listen to your opinions. Those who say the US are perfect are deluding themselves. So are the people who think that America embodies everything that is wrong with the world.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Only you can save mankind (3.66 / 3) (#463)
by rmn on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 05:40:44 PM EST

Europe (most of Europe, anyway) was at war with the arabs for a long time. But it was an "honest" war. People knew they were at war, and they knew their enemy knew that, too. And this enables europeans and arabs to get along pretty well today.

There was also a war between the USA and Japan, and (despite Hiroshima and Nagasaki which, apparently, you think  are not part of american history), the fact that it was also recognised by both sides as a war means that, today, the USA and Japan get along pretty well.

But the cold war introduced something new. War by proxy. Instead of USSR vs. USA you had Iran vs Iraq, North Korea vs. South Korea, and so on.

The cold war made the UUSR go bankrupt. Why? Because they gave weapons (and technology) to their "puppets" (or allies, if you prefer). But it made the USA rich. Because the USA sold their weapons to their puppets.

Now the cold war is over, the USA (or some parts of its industry, to be more precise) want to keep selling weapons. So what do they do? They start to feed both sides of the conflicts. It's brilliant, really. This way you sell twice as many bombs and you make sure those countries never become stable enough or productive enough to compete with US industry. And if a country manages to end all its conflicts and starts to develop, what do the USA and Europe do? They flood them with free (surplus) food. This way they ensure those countries' economies never develop, and never become really competitive.

Now, the differences between the USA and Europe may be due to a lot of things. It may have to do with culture, or it may have to do with the fact that Europe is made up of a lot fo small countries. More likely, it has to do with the fact that Europe has several thousand years of history.

And the difference is this: Europeans think they suck. Talk to a french guy and he'll tell you what a terrible country France is. Talk to an Italian and he'll complain they have the worst governemnt in the world. Talk to a portuguese and he'll tell you how Portugal is such a miserable place to live in.

But you talk to an american and chances are he'll go on and on about what a great country the USA are ("the greatest planet on Earth", as some vice-president once said), and how free everyone in the USA is, and how there's nothing more advanced than the US constitution (which is rather odd when you consider it has so many ammendments). I've heard this routine from about half the americans I know, and most of them are actually quite intelligent people. It's a cultural thing, I guess.

No-one is saying americans are to blame for everything wrong in the world. But it would be nice if they (and by "they" I mean the US government, not a couple of individual citizens) would at least admit the possibility that they might have, at some point, done something wrong.

People who are sure they're right are terribly dangerous. Take Hitler or Stalin, for example. They were so sure they were right that anything became acceptable. They were going to make the world a perfect place. Wipe all ther evil scum off the face of the planet. Some people believed them and followed them. The ones that didn't follow didn't bother to get in the way either. It was none of their business. When Dresden was bombed, all of a suddent it became their business.

So if you (and now I mean you specifically) don't agree with the way your government steers your nation, do something about it. Now.

If someone had done something about it in the last couple of years, the WTC would probably still be standing, and a lot of dead people (in NY and in Afghanistan) would probably still be alive.

P.S. - The title ("Only you can sabe mankind") is a book by Terry Pratchett. It's a great book for children that explores the eternal subject of "good vs. evil" or "us vs. them" (which is the same thing).

RMN
~~~

[ Parent ]

yes, yes and... well... (none / 0) (#469)
by nsgnfcnt1 on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 06:47:58 PM EST

And if a country manages to end all its conflicts and starts to develop, what do the USA and Europe do? They flood them with free (surplus) food. This way they ensure those countries' economies never develop, and never become really competitive.

Absolutely. Again, probably self-serving actions at work here, but maybe they (we) actually believe we're helping. "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and..." he'll compete with your economy I guess. There was an interesting article recently in The Economist to this effect.

And the difference is this: Europeans think they suck. Talk to a french guy and he'll tell you what a terrible country France is. Talk to an Italian and he'll complain they have the worst governemnt in the world. Talk to a portuguese and he'll tell you how Portugal is such a miserable place to live in.

Ummm... and this is a good thing? Yeah, sure, most Americans think the US is a great place. But, after living there... let's see... count up the years... my whole life, I can say I dig it pretty well too. And I'm not even wealthy. Maybe, after the US has been around for thousands of years we'll start to think it sucks too.

No-one is saying americans are to blame for everything wrong in the world. But it would be nice if they (and by "they" I mean the US government, not a couple of individual citizens) would at least admit the possibility that they might have, at some point, done something wrong.

Yep, I see this as an issue too. Every time the US government makes a "mistake" I hope to see a public declaration acknowledging the fact... and it's always the same bullshit trying to side-step the facts. I would like to see more accountability in terms of disclosure in such matters.

So if you (and now I mean you specifically) don't agree with the way your government steers your nation, do something about it. Now.

If someone had done something about it in the last couple of years, the WTC would probably still be standing, and a lot of dead people (in NY and in Afghanistan) would probably still be alive.


And here's where we part ways. You would assume I, or other Americans, believe our government is doing something wrong. Which, near as I can tell, is a bad assumption. What would you propose the US do to "prevent" things like the WTC attacks? Dump its allies (like Israel)? Stop "meddling" in foreign affairs (like trying to get India and Pakistan to play nice... or putting peace monitors in Sudan)? Really? Give me some ideas here, cause doing things like negotiating with terrorists don't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Makes me think that if we do it today, a new set are going to pop up tomorrow with something else. Would you suggest Columbia negotiate with FARC?

[ Parent ]
It's these small details... (3.00 / 2) (#495)
by rmn on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 10:28:16 AM EST

>> And the difference is this:
>> Europeans think they suck.

> Ummm... and this is a good thing?

Yes, it is. As long as you think you're not good enough, you'll keep trying to become better. And as long as you think you're not good enough, you'll admit the possibility that others are better than you.

> Yeah, sure, most Americans think the US
> is a great place. But, after living there...
> let's see... count up the years... my
> whole life
, I can say I dig it pretty well too.

My point exactly. You have nothing to compare it to, yet you think it's a great place. I'm not saying it's not. Just as Portugal or France or Italy are great places in many ways (the three countries with the best food I've ever tasted, BTW). But if you've lived in the same place your whole life, it doesn't mean much to say it's "the best country you've ever lived in". It's also the worst. Because it's the only one.

> And I'm not even wealthy.

By north-american (or european) standards, maybe not. By world standards, you probably are.

> Give me some ideas here, cause doing things
> like negotiating with terrorists don't give
> me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

From a palestinian point of view, israelis and americans are terrorists. And yet they are ready to negotiate, because they know that's in their own best interest (perhaps because they lack the tanks and the M-16s). From the point of view of the indonesians, the timorese guerrillas were terrorists. But when they finally let the people decide, the leader of those guerrillas was elected president, with over 80% of the votes. From the point of view of England, I'm sure George Washington was a dangerous terrorist who was out to destroy all civilisation.

Ask yourself exactly why is Israel an "american ally", when officially the USA is not at war with anyone, and Israel was certainly not the victim of any foreign attack. And why were India and Pakistan "playing nice" before the USA started to take an interest in the region.

I don't know if you've read a book called Good Omens (by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman). The book tells the story of a (failed) apocalypse. And it has an updated version of the four knights. War is now a woman. She has red hair and she's a journalist. A war correspondent, to be more precise. All her colleagues envy her because somehow she always manages to arrive in countries just before the wars begin. The USA is a bit like that. They're always trying to "bring peace" to some area of the globe, but amazingly they always seem to arrive before the war actually starts.

RMN
~~~

[ Parent ]

Re: It's these small details... (4.00 / 2) (#513)
by TunkeyMicket on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 10:06:40 AM EST

Ask yourself exactly why is Israel an "american ally"

When you make alliances with someone, 9 times out of 10 you do it for the strategic gains. What does the United States stand to gain from allying itself with Isreal? They're the single strongest country in the Middle East; why wouldn't we want to be their friends. They beat the hell outta most of the mid east countries before we started selling them guns.

And on the India-Pakistan point, I'm glad that the US government feels the need to step in. The conflict is like two neighbors down the street threatening each other with weapons [having lived in a shithole known as San Jose, I've seen this before], a conflict which, if defused, will benefit the entire neighborhood.

I agree with your earlier points on the US not stepping up and taking responsibility for its faults, and I support your point by voting for candidates whom I feel will work towards this.

I don't agree with the notion that the US brought 9/11 on themselves. No-one deserves to have 2800 civilians killed for the actions of a government that rotates its leaders almost every year. The act itself was done, imo, just for pure shock value. Its obvious that some of the world completely disagrees with how the US handles religion, morals, and mores, but in the same respect, the US completely disagrees with how some of the world handles these same issues. I'm 100% sure that the US hasn't rammed 3 planes into buildings in Tehran or Paris [god knows I disagree with France ;)]. I think people take things [read religion] too seriously for the better benefit of society. Its almost like we've got this 300lb 6 year old clamped on our [read the world's] leg and we can't shake the lil prick off. I do realize that most of the world couldn't survive without religion and therefore I don't suggest that my pipe-dream of a religion free world is a good solution. Honestly, I don't have many solutions, but I have alot of opinions.

Bouncing ideas/opinions off each other is the best way of identifying your own faults and the faults of others. So debate on.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
"We" are *always* the good guys (2.33 / 3) (#519)
by rmn on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 11:26:15 PM EST

> What does the United States stand to gain
> from allying itself with Isreal? [...]
> They beat the hell outta most of the mid
> east countries before we started selling
> them guns.

They didn't exist before you started selling them guns. Israel "as we know it" was created by the english and the americans to put the refugees they didn't want to let into their own countries.

> And on the India-Pakistan point, I'm
> glad that the US government feels the
> need to step in.

You seem to have missed my point. Pakistan and India have been "at war" for the last 50 years. That war basically started because India was very friendly with the russians and the USA decided to back Pakistan (to Save the World and Civilisation, etc., etc.). Since the USSR went bankrupt, things had pretty much calmed down. Until the USA decided to bomb Afghanistan. And it's only since the USA has started messing around in that region again that things have escalated between the two countries. Now the USA are presenting themselves as the dove of peace when in fact they are one of the main instigators of that war. And if India and Pakistan do go into a "real" war, who do you think will sell them the guns and the bullets and possibly also the coffins...? Yup, the "civilised world".

You know what Ghandi said when they asked him what he thought about the western civilisation? He said he thought it would be great idea.

> I don't agree with the notion that the
> US brought 9/11 on themselves.

So you're a follower of the 'evil madmen' theory. Abdullah Al Zheimer (or whoever) wakes up one day and says "Hm... I really hate those americans. They're so nice and so smart and so good-looking that it just gets on my nerves. I think I'll bomb them out of spite!"... is that it? You think the people who planned and executed 911 had absolutely no reason to dislike the USA? Do you think the people who kill themselves in Israel do it just because they're bored? Nothing good on the TV, honey, I'm going to blow myself up in Israel. Okay dear, don't for forget you coat.

> No-one deserves to have 2800 civilians
> killed for the actions of a government
> that rotates its leaders almost every year.

It's down to 2800, then? Started out as 20000, then came down to 16, then 10. Last time I heard it was still at 6 thousand. Do they ressurect or what?

And does anyone deserve to have 200 thousand killed instantly with an atom bomb? Twice? Does anyone deserve to have 15 thousand killed because the USA decided their favourite terrorist was hiding in their country?

It's kind of hard to measure.

When someone has nothing left to lose, it's very easy for them to lose all they have, especially if they feel that will have an impact. Sometimes a suicide bombing is the only way to show the world that you're alive.

> The act itself was done, imo, just for
> pure shock value.

As opposed to what? Killing people? Of course. If you want to kill a lof of people there are much easier ways to do it. Poison in the water supply. Gas in the subway. Some nasty virus spread by a crop duster.

Which brings me back to my first message. They were not trying to kill people, or to hit random targets. In fact, they were very careful with the targets they picked and the weapons they used. I don't think they even planned to destroy the WTC, and surely they knew the Pentagon wouldn't suffer a lot of damage.

They just wanted to show that the USA can be hit. And if they're not hit more often it's not because they're untouchable, it's just because no-one has really wanted to hit them before.

And does anyone in the USA actually believe these "terrorist plots" that the FBI and the CIA seem to dismantle every friday...?

> Its obvious that some of the world completely
> disagrees with how the US handles religion,
> morals, and mores, but in the same respect,
> the US completely disagrees with how some
> of the world handles these same issues.

Yes, but the difference is, no-one tried to invade the USA with the excuse that they were doing it to "save the american people from capitalism", like the USA did all over the world to "save mankind from communism".

Most countries in europe have a couple of communist parties. But we have a lot of bombs and a lot of money, too, so the USA didn't feel like saving us... (in fact, they didn't even feel like helping us in WW2 until it became obvious that the germans were going to lose the war).

> I'm 100% sure that the US hasn't rammed
> 3 planes into buildings in Tehran or Paris

On the other hand, they did shoot down a civilian airplane and blamed it on the (Libyan) pilot for not understanding english (if they did even try to warn him, which I personally doubt). To this day, the USA has not apologised and has not even acknowledged any wrong doing. Even the pope apologises more often than the USA, and the pope is supposed to be infallible...

> we can't shake the lil prick

I could take that severely out of context. :-)

> I do realize that most of the world couldn't
> survive without religion

This is not about religion. Unless you consider that war and exploitation are religions (which I suppose wouldn't be too far off the mark).

RMN
~~~

[ Parent ]

Why can't *you* save mankind too? (none / 0) (#473)
by Dephex Twin on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 08:24:57 PM EST

But you talk to an american and chances are he'll go on and on about what a great country the USA are ("the greatest planet on Earth", as some vice-president once said), and how free everyone in the USA is, and how there's nothing more advanced than the US constitution (which is rather odd when you consider it has so many ammendments).
I think it's possible that there is a higher percentage of Americans who love their country than Europeans love their respective countries. But I wouldn't say that we Americans are missing the criticism of their country that Europeans have.

So more Americans like their country. Maybe there's more to be happy with around here. Isn't that a possibility? In the past eight years the economy had been doing wonderfully, people were feeling great about things. Sure, there were problems and still are, but you can never fix everything all at once.
No-one is saying americans are to blame for everything wrong in the world. But it would be nice if they (and by "they" I mean the US government, not a couple of individual citizens) would at least admit the possibility that they might have, at some point, done something wrong.
You act like amendments are a bad thing. Doesn't the fact that we add amendments to our constitution indicate our willingness to better ourselves and admit that things aren't perfect the way they are?

Just because American politicians don't come out and say "we suck", is that really important? Isn't actually just DOING something better?

And another thing that bothers me that Europeans sometimes use to seem more knowledgeable in a discussion like this is saying that they have years of history behind them. Okay, so your people existed 1000 years ago. So did ours, since most of us are descendents of Europe (and those who aren't are descendents of *somewhere*). Your people aren't 1000 years old, your ancestors are, and they are ours too. Or maybe the years of history behind you comes from your country being in existence for a long time. Well, we were around before Germany became a country, so what does that mean? I never knew a European to look down on Germany as being a brash upstart country that needs to get years of history behind them.

My point is you aren't inherently more wise-- none of us have it all figured out.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
what the heck are you talking about? (5.00 / 1) (#475)
by sunyata on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 09:36:11 PM EST

Just because American politicians don't come out and say "we suck", is that really important? Isn't actually just DOING something better?

What are we doing better? How are we helping? Granted some of our citizens are helping the world, but if you go to thrid world countries you will find Japan and Europeans doing all the NGO, development shit work. I tried to volunteer for a UN org over in Cambodia. Not allowed. The USA wont join, has never, and is not in good standing with development groups. And dont give me crap about they do stuff outside the UN.. They dont (unless you count the CIA game playing). I went all over Cambodia and other countries looking for US presence. Its not there. (again, you cant count CIA ex Nam doods selling heroin and 12 year olds).

A glance through post WW II history will show that the USA has fought against democracy and fair economics on an epic global scale.

We have even been found guilty of terrorism by an international court due to our dealings in Central America. But we choose to say the court is bullshit, and continue down our arrogant unilateral path.

Step outta the datasphere for a second and try and grok whats really going on.

[ Parent ]

Let me clarify. (none / 0) (#491)
by Dephex Twin on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 04:46:59 AM EST

What are we doing better? How are we helping?
I'm not saying the US is doing good or helping, in fact, I think that the Bush administration is doing a pretty bad job. I'm saying who cares what US citizens say about the US, or what crap politicians say. That is not the problem. I felt the person I responded to was too caught up in that.
Step outta the datasphere for a second and try and grok whats really going on.
Does the "datasphere" mean being on the computer, or something more general? I don't think I fit that category of person. I think you jumped to conclusions about who I am as well as what I was trying to say.

You ignored the real meat of what I was trying to say and just got worked up about one side thing which you took out of context (I admit it could have been worded more precisely).

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
datasphere (none / 0) (#499)
by sunyata on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 01:41:03 PM EST


Does the "datasphere" mean being on the computer, or something more general? I don't think I fit that category of person. I think you jumped to conclusions about who I am as well as what I was trying to say.

My definition of the 'datasphere'is pretty much the USA in general. This is because there is never ending coercion (I feel) of the official party line. Which of course is "buy, dont think".

I think I did jump to conclusions. I apologize. It is easy to get worked up, as you probably know. ;)


[ Parent ]

I'm foreign; I'm not part of mankind. (3.66 / 3) (#481)
by rmn on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 11:35:23 PM EST

> So more Americans like their country.
> Maybe there's more to be happy with around here.

Most wouldn't know, since they've never tried living anywhere else. And the image that the american media and (especially) Hollywood transmit of "foreign parts" is that it's a place full of nazis, terrorists and generally insane criminals who can't seem to be able to hit the hero a single time (so they're probably cross-eyed, too). Amazing how the same guys who can't hit Ahnold with 10 machine guns managed to pull off the WTC stunt. No wonder everyone was so surprised.

In some ways, the USA are a great place to live. But most americans don't even know that, because they don't really know anything about other places (except that they're full of evil people who hate americans for no good reason).

> You act like amendments are a bad thing.

On the contrary. Ammendments are a great thing. They show people were able to recognise and correct (or at least try to correct) their mistakes. Corrections to the constitution are common in most democratic countries. A state's fundamental principles must move with the times.

If only they'd made a few more, perhaps the USA wouldn't be one of the few countries that still has (and applies) the death penalty.

> Isn't actually just DOING something better?

Absolutely. Bombing a lot of miserable people in Afghanistan who don't even know why they're being bombed (they don't have TV, remember)? Walking out of ecological summits? Saying "if you're not out ally, then you are our enemy"? Putting tariffs on imports because (despite polluting more), they can't compete with other countries? Not exactly the best way to make friends, is it...? Are you going to sit and wait for the american government (and "W.") to suddenly become civilised?

I see freedom of speech being stifled, I see the FBI and the CIA getting more powerful, I see more and more money being spent on useless defence and espionage projects that will only increase the control of a few over many. And no-one in the USA seems to do anything about it. No-one seems to care. If you value your freedom so much, how can you let someone (your own goverment, elected by you) take it away? If you value your free will so much, how can you let other people decide for you? Decide against you?

Unless they're not really deciding against you. Unless, of course, you agree with them. Half the USA are singing along with W. and the other half are keeping quiet so they don't spoil the harmony.

You know, I'm pretty sure that if W. hadn't been elected, 911 would continue to be just a phone number.

> most of us are descendents of Europe

Yes, but a nation's culture is bound to the nation, not to the genes. If you ancestors are chinese and you live your whole life in Germany, raised by germans, you'll act like a german. Countries' names may have changed, and their borders may have moved a bit, but the streets of Rome or Paris (or Barcelona, or Lisbon, or London, and so on) are basically the same today as they were two  thousand years ago. And a lot of shops are pretty much in the same place, too.  

See, Europe had Poseidon and Zeus and Afrodite and Mercury. America has Captain America and Spider Man and Super Man and Wonder Woman. Europe had gladiators who fought lions to the death. America has the American Gladiators, who fight contestants with giant cotton swabs.

It's just not the same thing.

It's missing the fundamental point of the thing. And the fundamental point is Zeus was real (as real as gods get, and they can be pretty real for the people who belive in them) and the lions were real and the gladiators were real and the pyramids and the aqueducts and the castles are still real. No-one (well, very few poeple) actually believe Captain America ever existed.

European history had an influence over people's lives. True american history is the history of native americans, it's not the fantasies the "european" americans made up to fill the void left by the past they'd left behind. They wanted to start a new country. They did.

Even if they tried to cling onto some traditions, they came from so many different places that those traditions inevitably got mixed up and created something new. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. But countries do need some time to mature. In historical terms, the USA is about 7. It has learned to bully other kids around but hasn't been beaten up yet. 911 was just a little slap, and it hurt. Now that they have an idea of the consequences, it's up to the americans to decide if they want to continue behaving as they have for the last 50 or 60 years.

And the reason why I can't do anything about US foreign policy is I'm not american. And if someone tries to tell the USA how to behave, the USA bombs them.

RMN
~~~

[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#493)
by Dephex Twin on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 05:15:48 AM EST

Most wouldn't know, since they've never tried living anywhere else. And the image that the american media and (especially) Hollywood transmit of "foreign parts" is that it's a place full of nazis, terrorists and generally insane criminals who can't seem to be able to hit the hero a single time (so they're probably cross-eyed, too). Amazing how the same guys who can't hit Ahnold with 10 machine guns managed to pull off the WTC stunt. No wonder everyone was so surprised. In some ways, the USA are a great place to live. But most americans don't even know that, because they don't really know anything about other places (except that they're full of evil people who hate americans for no good reason).
Okay, so you insult Americans because they feed into stereotypes about what foreign countries are like, and at the same time endorse a stereotype of Americans. Are you familiar with irony?
Absolutely. Bombing a lot of miserable people in Afghanistan who don't even know why they're being bombed (they don't have TV, remember)? Walking out of ecological summits? Saying "if you're not out ally, then you are our enemy"? Putting tariffs on imports because (despite polluting more), they can't compete with other countries? Not exactly the best way to make friends, is it...? Are you going to sit and wait for the american government (and "W.") to suddenly become civilised?
You misunderstood my comment about "doing", but since someone else did as well, I blame it on my wording. I agree with you on these things and I dislike them as well. I don't expect Bush to do any better... I only hope it doesn't get worse. Now, if voting for people I believe in, giving money to lobbies I support, keeping up with the news and trying to get my friends interested, and protesting is still "just sitting there", then I think you expect more of me than you do of people from other countries.
See, Europe had Poseidon and Zeus and Afrodite and Mercury. America has Captain America and Spider Man and Super Man and Wonder Woman. Europe had gladiators who fought lions to the death. America has the American Gladiators, who fight contestants with giant cotton swabs.
So... even though I, along with everyone else in my school, learned about Poseidon and Zeus and all that, just like you did, somehow you got so much more out of it than we did, that we just couldn't possibly understand? Congratulations. Yes, in school we learn about comic books and long ago canceled television shows. I'm glad you have such a strong grasp of Americans, and don't just follow stereotypes.
And the reason why I can't do anything about US foreign policy is I'm not american.
Why should that stop you? You really think you have to be an American citizen to donate money to the American Green party (or whatever)?
And the reason why I can't do anything about US foreign policy is I'm not american. And if someone tries to tell the USA how to behave, the USA bombs them.
Good for you. You know, it's diplomats like you that really make Americans respect Europe more and think about changing their ways.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
One-way mirrors (3.00 / 2) (#494)
by rmn on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 09:52:55 AM EST

> Are you familiar with irony?

What do you think? o_O

> along with everyone else in my school,
> learned about Poseidon and Zeus and all that

And I learned about the snail's digestive system. But I can't exactly say it had much influence over my country's culture.

The way to cook snails, on the other hand, may have had. But I never learned that at school.

> You really think you have to be an
> American citizen to donate money to
> the American Green party (or whatever)?

Excuse me...!? With people starving all over the world you expect me to give american politicians even more money than they already have...?

By the way, how do you think other american parties (and much of the american public) would react if they noticed the "greens" were getting a lot of "greenies" from abroad?

> You know, it's diplomats like you that
> really make Americans respect Europe
> more and think about changing their ways.

You can't use diplomacy on people who walk out of summits and refuse to acknowledge the decisions of international courts when they don't suit them.

If anyone is going to change the way the american government and american corporations behave, it'll have to be the american people. If enough people want to change something, they can do it, no matter how stubborn their government is. Before their revolutions, a lot of european countries were dictatorships (a couple continued to be, but I never said revolutions are foolproof).

RMN
~~~

[ Parent ]

Just some points (none / 0) (#468)
by nsgnfcnt1 on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 06:22:57 PM EST

In a democracy, the people are responsible for their governemnt, and must answer for its actions. Why shouldn't US civilians suffer the consequences of its government's actions when they are the ones who gave that government its power?

You're making an interesting point here. You actually believe that the US government did something wrong that its civilians deserve punishment for. You seem to be passing absolute judgement here. I would say that the US government, while not perfect, has been pursuing actions in line with their, and their allies', interests. Is it wrong in supporting Israel? Is it wrong in supporting the Saudi royal regime? Was it wrong in defending Kuwait from Iraq? Did the actions in Afghanistan turn out so bad? Yes, they served Western (and I do mean Western) interests. That doesn't make them wrong.

How can you praise individual freedom so much and then have such terribly restrictive anti-drug and anti-alcohol laws? Did you learn nothing from the prohibition (or even the Bible)? Forbidding something only makes it more desirable, and more dangerous.

You seem to have passed over France and Germany's demonization of selling Nazi memorabilia on the internet. A massive blow to individual freedom of free speech. Or don't you value that as much as being able to smoke a bowl? (just as a side note, I'm in favour of legalizing marijuana here in the states; I think those laws are far overdue for change.) But, yes, our laws on saying "shit" on TV and not showing nudity are antiquated and I hope that will change soon.

How can you say public executions in Afghanistan were "barbaric" when more people are executed by the state of Texas in one month than by the Taliban in 5 years?

Huh? You wanna back that up, buckeroo?

Most countries (especially in Europe) had a fascist (or whatever you want to call it) goverment at some time in their history. And then there was a revolution, and people learned what freedom really meant. Maybe the USA should try that, too.

I've been working in Brussels for the last 3 months. While here I've learned a little about European "freedom". While I love Europe, and have made a great many friends (OK, a few) here in my travels, I can say that hands down, I've seen more xenophobic and racist attitudes here than in the States (except, perhaps, in Alabama). Is that the kind of freedom you were talking about? Or perhaps the freedom to have unemployment rates of 9%? Or perhaps the freedom for doctors to go on strike while emergency rooms go without them? See what I'm getting at here? I'm not touting America as the almighty. But I do love it, just as I'm sure you love your country. But no country, or group of country's is perfect; what you hope for is that your elected government does what's best for your interests. And I put, at least partial, faith in the institution of its government to make the right decisions; after all, I voted for them. Well, not GWB, but that's a different story.

[ Parent ]
Suicide bombing = cowardice (1.00 / 1) (#476)
by jafac on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 09:37:07 PM EST

I want to clear up the one comment you made about suicide bombing. It is cowardice - of the worst kind. Equating it with a military sneak-attack, or the desperation of someone fighting with the only weapons they have is foolish, and buying into the same "martyrdom" propaganda that guarantees these fucknuts a free trip to paradise with 12 virgins. The Suicide Bomber does not have to face up to the responsibility of what he has done. The Suicide Bomber does not have to deal with the results and consequences. He does not care about his victims. He does not care about their families. He does not care about the impact on the global economy, and the effect it will have on his own country's economy. He does not care about how many Arab-Americans get shot by rednecks. He does not care how many peaceful Arabs are turned away at the border because of their name or skin color. He does not care about how much of a dumbass ineffective useless irrelevant moron he makes his "leader" look like (are you listening Hamas/Arafat)? He does not care how many security checkpoints the people in his home village in Palestine will have to go through to go to work each day. He does not care how many hundreds of innocent villiagers in Afghanistan get the shit blown out of them by a cluster bomb from a US-flagged B-52. He doesn't care about the loss of credibility he gives to his own religion, his own people, his own culture. All he gives a shit about is satisfying his burning need for revenge, and rationalizing his certain knowledge that Allah wants him to murder people in cold blood. - - - Saying that having suicide bomber attacks directed at us is "our own fault" - is the same thing as saying that cluster-bombs on Afghan villiages is "their own fault". I don't believe anyone in the US Government has ever said that in ANY case where they've acknowledge that a civilian was wrongly killed. There is often an official apology of some sort. There is always a pilot left behind who feels bad about it, has remorse, regret, and does not feel as if God had wanted him to kill those people on purpose. For whatever reason, when you get down to it, it's accidental - and there are people around who are responsible, you know them by name, and you can vote them out in the next election if you don't like it. In the bombing of the WTC, there was no apology from the al Quaeda organization. There was no apology from the Taliban government. There was only celebration and dancing in the streets of Ramallah. There's nobody hanging around to take responsibility. Nobody who stands up and says "I, Mohammad Al Zwakiri, claim responsibility for my actions, and face the consequences among my people, whose lives I have just made that much harder because they are the ones who inevitably will face whatever response the West throws at them - I will stand side by side and suffer WITH them." Instead, they have guys marching down the streets wearing white hoods to cover their cowardly faces. Just like the KKK used to do in the US. We finally got some balls and outlawed those fuckers. Why don't the various governments of Arab nations do the same? Because they're spineless cowards as well. Refusing to stand up for law and order among their own people. Refusing to pick a side. Does Arafat admit that he funds the bombers? Fuck no. In English, he tells us one thing. In Arabic, he tells his own people the opposite. Is he FOR war, or against it? Does he want his people to continue suffering perpetually? Is he trying to stop these people? Is he even capable of stopping them? Or is he helping them. Because he does not have a backbone, he won't come out and say it - or prove it by actions. He doesn't want accountability. Which makes him, NOT a leader. It makes him a yellow-bellied coward, and a murderer, and an enemy of civilization. The whole culture of "martyrdom" is completely, 100% sick and wrong, and in no way has any moral high ground because of any misdeeds on the part of the US government.

[ Parent ]
Suicide bombing = cowardice (1.00 / 1) (#477)
by jafac on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 09:38:05 PM EST

(jeez fucking formatting defaults)

I want to clear up the one comment you made about suicide bombing.

It is cowardice - of the worst kind.  Equating it with a military sneak-attack, or the desperation of someone fighting with the only weapons they have is foolish, and buying into the same "martyrdom" propaganda that guarantees these fucknuts a free trip to paradise with 12 virgins.

The Suicide Bomber does not have to face up to the responsibility of what he has done.
The Suicide Bomber does not have to deal with the results and consequences.  He does not care about his victims. He does not care about their families. He does not care about the impact on the global economy, and the effect it will have on his own country's economy.  He does not care about how many Arab-Americans get shot by rednecks.  He does not care how many peaceful Arabs are turned away at the border because of their name or skin color.  He does not care about how much of a dumbass ineffective useless irrelevant moron he makes his "leader" look like (are you listening Hamas/Arafat)?  He does not care how many security checkpoints the people in his home village in Palestine will have to go through to go to work each day.  He does not care how many hundreds of innocent villiagers in Afghanistan get the shit blown out of them by a cluster bomb from a US-flagged B-52.  He doesn't care about the loss of credibility he gives to his own religion, his own people, his own culture.

All he gives a shit about is satisfying his burning need for revenge, and rationalizing his certain knowledge that Allah wants him to murder people in cold blood.

- - -
Saying that having suicide bomber attacks directed at us is "our own fault" - is the same thing as saying that cluster-bombs on Afghan villiages is "their own fault".  I don't believe anyone in the US Government has ever said that in ANY case where they've acknowledge that a civilian was wrongly killed.  There is often an official apology of some sort. There is always a pilot left behind who feels bad about it, has remorse, regret, and does not feel as if God had wanted him to kill those people on purpose.  For whatever reason, when you get down to it, it's accidental - and there are people around who are responsible, you know them by name, and you can vote them out in the next election if you don't like it.
In the bombing of the WTC, there was no apology from the al Quaeda organization.  There was no apology from the Taliban government.  There was only celebration and dancing in the streets of Ramallah.  There's nobody hanging around to take responsibility.  Nobody who stands up and says "I, Mohammad Al Zwakiri, claim responsibility for my actions, and face the consequences among my people, whose lives I have just made that much harder because they are the ones who inevitably will face whatever response the West throws at them - I will stand side by side and suffer WITH them."  Instead, they have guys marching down the streets wearing white hoods to cover their cowardly faces.
Just like the KKK used to do in the US.  We finally got some balls and outlawed those fuckers.  Why don't the various governments of Arab nations do the same?  Because they're spineless cowards as well. Refusing to stand up for law and order among their own people.  Refusing to pick a side.  Does Arafat admit that he funds the bombers?  Fuck no.  In English, he tells us one thing.  In Arabic, he tells his own people the opposite.  Is he FOR war, or against it?  Does he want his people to continue suffering perpetually?  Is he trying to stop these people?  Is he even capable of stopping them?  Or is he helping them.  Because he does not have a backbone, he won't come out and say it - or prove it by actions.  He doesn't want accountability.  Which makes him, NOT a leader.  It makes him a yellow-bellied coward, and a murderer, and an enemy of civilization.

The whole culture of "martyrdom" is completely, 100% sick and wrong, and in no way has any moral high ground because of any misdeeds on the part of the US government.

[ Parent ]

hmmm (5.00 / 1) (#487)
by sunyata on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 02:27:33 AM EST

I don't believe anyone in the US Government has ever said that in ANY case where they've acknowledge that a civilian was wrongly killed.  There is often an official apology of some sort.

They have yet to applogise for secretly bombing Laos for 9 years in attempts to eradicate the civilian population in a lame brained attempt to kill off communism before it started.

In that case they were killing civilians on purpose.

Link

Link

This is all pretty common knowledge and can be supported with hundreds of sources. I have personally validated it by spending a couple of months in Laos myself, living in villages where the folk lived in caves for up to 10 years while we rained bombs and napalm on them. The bombs are everywhere. The streets are lined with them, houses are constructed with the shells of those that have not gone off. They all have our name on them. Same with the landmines in Camobodia. That place is another world altogether and a proof of concept living hallucination of our lovely exploits.

and ummm.. So why did we officially support the regime that had just commited mass genocide against its own people and call them the officially recognized government?

God only knows. Did we say we are sorry? No.. We left the mess (as usual) for those typical Euro-Commies to clean up. The only people with a fuckin heart it seems.

[ Parent ]

Also... (4.00 / 1) (#488)
by sunyata on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 02:29:45 AM EST

The whole culture of "martyrdom" is completely, 100% sick and wrong, and in no way has any moral high ground because of any misdeeds on the part of the US government.

Did you fail Anthro 101?

Try stating your argument without the subjectivity program running. It will do you wonders.

[ Parent ]

Don't know what cowardice is (5.00 / 2) (#498)
by nomoreh1b on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 01:07:26 PM EST

It is cowardice - of the worst kind.

Someone willing to die for what they believe in is in your eyes a "coward". Right.

There is a basis principle in warfare: get as many of the enemy as you can sacrificing and few of your people as possible. If you have more numbers(which the Islamics do). You can win even if you can accept a high ratio of casualities--which Islamic nations have shown they can.

The Suicide Bomber does not have to face up to the responsibility of what he has done.

The leaders/commanders of suicide bombers do. Now, in real crass terms, all these folks have to do is take people that might be commiting suicide _anyhow_ and focus them the way they want.

He does not care about how many Arab-Americans get shot by rednecks.

Car to give examples of how rednecks are killing Arabs with no financial incentives? (sure, lots of US soldiers are rednecks, but that's a job).

As a red neck hillbilly, most of the folks I know don't give a shit about what happened in New York City--the folks calling for blood are former liberals. He doesn't care about the loss of credibility he gives to his own religion, his own people, his own culture.

No, he thinks his people's interest is served by clearing carpet bagger scum out of his turf-and fact is that their tactics are wearing the enemy down. Every year, there are more Islamics and fewer westerners that really believe in the current establishments fairy tales.

Just like the KKK used to do in the US. We finally got some balls and outlawed those fuckers. Why don't the various governments of Arab nations do the same?

Maybe its simply because they don't find the example of modern day America to be particularly inspiring. Has the US really done all that well militarily since it banned the KKK? We'll learn a lot in this regard the next war in which the US has a substantial number of casualities.

Islam has an element of it that promotes a lot of integration, but somehow recognizes tribal lines. Any leader of an Islamic nation that really promoted US style Political correctness would likely wind up very, very dead.

[ Parent ]

Nope (2.60 / 5) (#445)
by Rocky on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 02:56:57 PM EST

> Stop making enemies and start trying to lose all the ones you've made so far.

> That's the only way they'll be able to sleep easy again.

The only way we'll be able to sleep easy again is to utterly destroy our enemies.  Preferably with our culture.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
[ Parent ]

Culture? (5.00 / 1) (#448)
by rmn on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 03:06:42 PM EST

If this was Slashdot I'd give you a +1 Funny.

RMN
~~~

[ Parent ]

Yeah... (none / 0) (#470)
by nsgnfcnt1 on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 06:52:16 PM EST

It was pretty funny. I gave it a 3. But, in reality, you know what he/she means. If you live in Europe its already too late. I see more signs of "America" here than in America. I was on a train to Normandie last weekend and I passed a very small town. There was a huge McDonalds there. Amazing.

[ Parent ]
Julius Caesar could sue... (3.00 / 2) (#480)
by rmn on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 10:34:29 PM EST

A very small town with a huge McDonald's? It'll probably go bankrupt pretty soon, then... not like McDonald's, such poor strategy.

And let me see if I got this right: you consider McDonald's fast food joints to be an example of american culture?

I mean, the USA may not be the country with the richest culture on Earth, but I would certainly put Walt Whitman's poems, Hopper's paintings or Kubrick's films ahead of what McDonald's calls (with some humour, I always thought), their "restaurants".

There were fast food places in Europe before McDonalds. In fact, the romans used to eat 'hamburgers' on bread about 2000 years ago, so McDonald's is hardly original. It's just a brand. Nokia is finnish and you wouldn't say people who have Nokia phones are being flooded by finnish culture, would you?

If Julius Caesar's descendants decided to sue McDonald's, now that would be "american culture".

RMN
~~~


[ Parent ]

100 years from now U.S. will not exist. (3.00 / 1) (#507)
by johwsun on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 02:08:21 AM EST

100 years from now, no one from you will exist in order to talk for U.S.

100 years from now, U.S. will not exist. A new state will exist in its place, the U.S. of your childs, which will be tottaly different from the U.S. you know today.

1000 years from now, I will be here.

[ Parent ]

Still here after all those years? (3.00 / 2) (#525)
by rmn on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:10:45 PM EST

> 1000 years from now, I will be here.

You could use the time between now and then to get a life. Or, failing that, a death.

RMN
~~~

[ Parent ]

If I were in Al Qaeda with a nuke (3.50 / 2) (#400)
by JohnZed on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 02:08:20 AM EST

... I'd sell it in a second. Seriously, I think there is no chance of Al Qaeda producing a functional nuclear weapon in the forseeable future. But if they do find one lying around, they shouldn't waste it! Sell it to Iran/Iraq/etc. for a few hundred mil (yay, embezzled oil-for-food money!). After all, the buyer will surely use it to blackmail/attack the US anyways, so Al Qaeda's terror goals get accomplished either way. But after the sale, at least they can relax on a nice beach in the Caymans and watch the results. . .

most effective weapon? (3.50 / 2) (#443)
by zipper on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 02:04:51 PM EST

"You've just destroyed one of the largest symbols of the Western economy, and you've struck fear into the hearts of Westerners everywhere. What are you going to do next?"

I'm going to Disney World!

Blah blah blah. Aside from the obligatory (and inane) conspiracy-theory-esque bullshit about shadow government and the Illuminati. Unless Al Qaeda manages to buy an intact, perfectly working nuclear weapon, the idea of a real nuclear blast isn't terribly likely. Granted, I'm not up on my black market INSIDER INFO, but I got the impression that most of what was leaking out of the disintegration of russia was nuclear material. Note, that's "material", a key ingredient, but not the weapon itself.

Making a real nuclear bomb is extremely difficult. It's extremely difficult to scrape on together in a cave. Coincidentally, that's why you get all the SCARY MEDIA COVERAGE of "dirty bombs" ... which is just a conventional explosive with some radioactive material strapped to it.

The downside of a "dirty bomb"? More people will die of a heart attack worrying about it than actual casualties from the bomb itself. It's just not an effective weapon.

So what's the most effective weapon? Coincidentally, it's the cheapest. Viva biological warfare! Ole! Far more bang for the buck, and a much higher mortality rate... especially given Amerika's complete inability to capture (or even identify) the ANTHRAX MAILER.

Good luck.

---
This account has been neutered by rusty and can no longer rate or post comments. Way to go fearless leader!

I don't think so (3.00 / 2) (#504)
by rmn on Sun Jun 16, 2002 at 10:15:22 PM EST

You're assuming they would be primarily interested in killing people. I think they're more interested in leaving a mark. The Pentagon and the WTC were symbols. I think they would rather blow up the CIA headquarters, or some other government agency / army building.

RMN
~~~

[ Parent ]

Possibly innocent patsy (none / 0) (#510)
by dennis on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 12:03:45 PM EST

"During the next month, the feds tried and apparently failed to build a case against Padilla that would stand up in court. On Sunday, June 9, the day before Padilla could have been released under laws protecting U.S. citizens from indefinite detention, President Bush approved Padilla's reclassification as an 'enemy combatant.'" --Time article

If I were the leader of al Qaeda | 527 comments (493 topical, 34 editorial, 1 hidden)
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