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Ask K5: What would you do as the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security?

By Silent Chris in Op-Ed
Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 02:12:35 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

There has been much discussion, on K5 and otherwise, about the current state of civil rights in the U.S. and the relative merits of the Department of Homeland Security in the face of increasingly limited freedoms of the average US citizen. Many people agree that limiting personal freedoms is not the answer.

What hasn't been discussed adequately, I think, is what K5'ers think should be done.

I'm writing this from a New Jersey-bound bus passing through the Lincoln tunnel in New York. The events occurring on and following September 11 have hit us in the area pretty hard. Just in walking through the NY/NJ Port Authority bus terminal on my way home, I'm reminded of the changes that have been undergone in the past few years.

The central security area of the terminal, filled with closed-circuit monitoring screens, used to have clear glass surrounding it. Now, the glass is tinted, and a sign reads that photography or videotaping near it is prohibited. On occasion, particularly when the national terror "threat level" is raised to orange, one will see men in army camouflage toting automatic weapons. And of course, there are the constant reminders of what we lost on that day emotionally (banners depicting the US flag as two long towers still read United We Stand; they were put up just weeks after September 11 throughout the terminal and have yet to be taken down).

If you're a New Yorker (we're all essentially New Yorkers in this area) you get used to it. You get used to everything. I now anticipate and expect what used to be a 15-minute trip through the tunnel between New Jersey and New York to now take an hour or more for security checks. The cameras are more omnipresent, but they are quickly drowned out by the crowds passing in front of them. So are the police, undercover and in uniform, that seem posted everywhere. You learn to walk with a slightly more cautious gait around the police, knowing that sudden movements or unusual behavior (that is, behavior outside the bustling of a normal commute) is probably watched and possibly recorded.

I resent the loss of some of my freedoms. While I don't speak much and am very shy in real life, I brandish a mean pen, and I would hate for the monitoring I undergo in my commute to take over my words and thoughts. Part of K5 is to relish and support that sort of "unusual" behavior.

I have found that the bent on K5 (and, once again, at most community sites) is to bemoan this loss of freedoms. However, from someone who is part of the area that was physically devastated September 11, I have found very little suggestions of what should be done. Clearly, intelligence and security went terribly wrong in the years before the planes crashed into the two towers; I don't think anyone, even the fiercest wielders of liberty, would suggest attacks like this should've occurred or should occur again, if they can at all be prevented.

The question, though, is how best to prevent such attacks in the future without damaging liberty? Is this even possible? I don't profess to know the answer. However, I find a monologue of "all freedoms must be protected" doesn't seem to adequately answer the child who now has no parents. Or the illegal immigrant family, relying on the sparse contributions of a dishwasher father, who now has to return to their country and lose any freedoms they may have gained in the U.S.

What would you do as the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security?


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Ask K5: What would you do as the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security? | 293 comments (282 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Armchair politics (4.87 / 41) (#5)
by epepke on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 02:37:04 PM EST

I like it. Here are my answers:

  1. Recognize that our liberties are our most powerful security measures
    Remember a few years ago, when some Russian spies were caught giving intelligence reports that were cribbed from newspapers? They said it was very hard to corrupt most U.S. officials, because they were loyal to their country. The American Dream isn't an SUV and a house in the suburbs; it's Don't Tread On Me. Citizens who feel comfortable with their liberties intact are far better citizens.
  2. We need more intelligence, not more "intelligence."
    After 9/11, the FBI and others very quickly assembled a list of people who were probably responsible for the attacks. That could not have happened unless all the information was already there. Probably unlooked at and stacked in boxes in some storage closet. We don't need more information; there's too much already. What we need are people with actual, functioning brains to look at the information we already have.
  3. Stop covering your ass
    Mohammed Atta got a visa into the U.S., bought a ticket for a plane, and got on it, all using the name Mohammed Atta, while at the same time Mohammed Atta (same spelling) was on a list of suspected terrorists. What good is facial recognition software and soundex codes if agencies can't figure out that Mohammed Atta might be Mohammed Atta? The answer seems to be that the FBI et. al. didn't want to release the name. Since I'm the director, I get to say nasty thing like maybe it's because they didn't want anyone to see what incompetent fools they really are.
  4. Part of it's been done already
    The 9/11 attacks could only have happened once, and that's only because of a policy of not fighting hijackers, and that's only because it was the very first time that a commercial plane leaving U.S. soil had ever been brought down. Now it's different. Anybody trying the same trick is going to be beaten to a bloody pulp.
  5. Take a tip from El-Al
    Now, I know it's considered bad form on k5 to say anything about anything Israeli without getting really red in the face and calling them murderers. However, these folks do have some experience. They have armed guards on every flight, but they still let you take your Swiss Army Knife on board. They know something. Subject all luggage for the hold to a decompression test before putting it on the plane.
  6. Ignore the idiots
    There are people who will say that stomping over the world in hobnail boots will improve security. There are others who will say that you can't piss off anybody lest you create more terrorists. These groups are both stupid. Recognize that the causes of terrorism are not likely to be accurately determined by the left, who imagine everyone just loves peace unless they are justifiably provoked, nor by the right, who imagine everyone to be Machiavelli in miniature. Hire some anthropologists and cognitive psychologists, people who actually have some vague clue about what they are doing.

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

El-Al (5.00 / 7) (#21)
by it certainly is on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 09:46:40 PM EST

They have some useful security ideas, and some particularly evil ones. Armed guards everywher, yes. Complete physical seperation of flight deck and cabin, yes. Mandatory "security" interviews and cavity searches for every young Arab male on the flight, no. That's racial discrimination, plain and simple. It only works when the absolute majority of passengers are Arab-hating Israelis, who go along with it. It wouldn't work in a true multicultural society -- "What's that you say? You're black? Right, well, you're a serious terrorism threat sonny, let's see what's up that sphincter!"

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

El Al (none / 0) (#49)
by Bad Harmony on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:31:43 AM EST

From what I've seen, all passengers get a "security interview", not just Arabs.

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

From what I've heard (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by it certainly is on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:44:43 AM EST

Passengers the security team don't have any interest in simply get the standard check-in security questions.

Can you imagine if London Heathrow was run El-Al style? There would be roughly 100,000 interviews every day -- more than one a second. Can you imagine the logistics required to carry out careful, lamp-in-the-face interrogations for EVERY passenger? Thousands of vetted interrogators! Thousands of interrogation rooms!

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

The interviews (none / 0) (#72)
by The Jews on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 04:25:47 AM EST

Happen as you're checking in, not in some Nazi-style interrogation room. A couple of people come up, quickly ask you questions. If they don't like what you say, they might take you aside.

You call these bagels?
[ Parent ]
What "you've heard" is wrong. (4.66 / 3) (#175)
by awgsilyari on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 12:43:40 PM EST

Unlike most ignorant people here, I have flown in and out of Israel. I'm a 6'3" gangly white kid. I'm an American, and an obvious mark for people trying to scam me. I look like a dipshit, not a terrorist.

Here's a mostly accurate portrayal of the conversation I had with the security agent at the airport. This was at the downstairs security checkpoint. After this, you ride up an escalator surrounded by bulletproof shielding into a "holding area" where you wait to go through customs, and yet another security check.

Agent: "How long have you been in Israel?"

Me: "33 days."

Agent: "What was the purpose of your visit?"

Me: "Tourism."

Agent: [gives me odd stare.. who the fuck would come here for tourism?] "Did you stay in the house of any Palestinian while you were here?"

Me: "Nope."

Agent: "Did you come into contact with any member of the PLA, Hezbollah, [fifty other terrorist groups]?"

Me: "No."

Agent: "Who is this standing next to you?"

Me: "My friend, who I came here to visit."

Agent: "But you told me you were here for tourism." [evil glare]

Me: "Well, tourism, and to see my friend."

Agent: "Of what nature is your friendship?"

Me: "[mumbling something, I didn't want to let her dad know we were seeing each other, at that time]..."

Agent: [suspicious glare] "So your friend is Israeli?"

Me: "Yes."

Agent: "[somethingsomething] Ivrit?" [she's asking if I speak Hebrew]

Me: "I don't speak Hebrew."

Agent: "Please go to the other side of the room. I am going to ask your 'friend' the same questions in Hebrew. If she gives different answers, you'll be in trouble."

Me: "Uh. Ok."

... time passes

Agent: "Do you have any fruits or vegetables in your bag?"

Me: [what? now she's become a quarantine agent?!] "No."

Agent: "But the dog is signalling that it smells an apple."

Me: [WTF?! I have apple-flavored tobacco in the bag! They've trained the dogs to signal what smell they are smelling?!?!] "No, I'm sure that I don't have any fruit in the bag."

Agent: [extreme suspicion] "Your friend must remain here, you must go up the escalator at this time. You can't come back downstairs, do you understand?"

Me: "Yes." [We say our goodbyes, I go upstairs, cry a little, get on the plane and go home]

And that was the treatment I got. Me, a dorky looking, gangly American white boy.

Also, bear in mind that this was before the Intifadeh started. At the time I was there, it was considered a period of relative peace, there were no bombings, people drove freely through the remote desert regions, and everyone was generally quite happy.

Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

Similar Experience (4.00 / 1) (#196)
by Rich0 on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 04:08:20 PM EST

I also flew out of Israel in 1999.  I few Tower - not El Al, but my treatment was comparable.  I was actually in a tour group, and would hardly be thought to resemble a terrorist.

The questioning I got was not just the standard "did anyone give you anything to carry?" nonsense they ask in the USA.  I felt like the interregator was actually trying to trip me up.  I felt quite flustered when I was finally allowed to proceed, and I think this was the whole purpose of the interview.  I'm guessing they get you out of sorts and then judge your reactions.

And again, all this was before the recent flare-ups.  And yes, if they did this in the USA you'd have to show up 6 hours before a flight.  But if they took things as seriously here as they do over there, I'm guessing you'd have less hijackings.

[ Parent ]

Take a tip, not the kit and kaboodle (4.50 / 4) (#82)
by epepke on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 08:14:20 AM EST

The U.S. already has some degree of a security interview for all passengers. It's short, though, but it's probably good enough. Remember that the 9/11 attackers probably didn't bother to keep their box cutters in their rectum. It isn't certain, because there were no nose-witnesses, but I think it's bordering on the paranoid. But again, as you say, not only would it be wrong to have racial profiling; it would be pointless. I recall the orthodox Jews who were bumped because they were saying a prayer before the flight, and also the Sikh who was killed in the days after 9/11 because he was wearing a turban.

Another thing that's bothered me about U.S. travel is the "random" searches. There's no real evidence they're random. Once, when I flew, I got selected for a search on both outgoing legs of the flight but on no incoming leg.

I really like the Mexican customs system, and I think we might model it. When I flew into Mexico (Puerto Vallarta), in customs you could choose to declare or not declare. If you wanted not to declare, you pushed a button on a box containing a pseudorandom number generator with a red light and a green light. Your bags only got searched if the red light flashed. It inspires a lot more confidence that a search event is random rather than somebody doesn't like your looks.

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

[ Parent ]
KILL WHITEY !!!!! [nt] (1.28 / 21) (#6)
by rmg on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 04:00:21 PM EST

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks

Nothing. (4.18 / 11) (#7)
by Apuleius on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 04:25:43 PM EST

Absolutely fucking nothing. The diversion of security assets for use against domestic terrorism has been largely futile, unnecessary, and it has caused a rise in crime rates because of all the man hours that would have been better spent against run of the mill criminals. Anti-terrorism efforts are the proper role of the Department of Defense and Department of State. The DoHS should not even exist.

There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
What would I do? (3.40 / 10) (#8)
by Fredrick Doulton on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 04:59:33 PM EST

I would resign my commission and promptly have myself hanged for treason against the ideals for which my proud and noble country was founded.

Bush/Cheney 2004! - "Because we've still got more people to kill"

What I would do... (4.20 / 20) (#9)
by mulescent on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 05:16:40 PM EST

I will not go so far as to say that the U.S. deserved what it got - murder is wrong no matter how you justify it. I do think that 9/11 served to inform the U.S. that it had a serious problem. The DoHS, the Bush team, the U.S. media, and most U.S. citizens have come to the conclusion that inadequate security measures were to blame. If only there were more searches, more intelligence, and more military 9/11-like incidents could be avoided in the future. This is a dangerous view for two reasons.

  • 1. It has caused massive decay of civil liberties
  • 2. It will not solve the problem

A useful analogy to this situation can be found in technology. No matter how much anti-spam tech there is, spammers will succeed in spamming. No matter how many anti-piracy tech there is, people will pirate music. No matter how many security measures the U.S. implements, terrorists will kill people.

The solution lies in confronting the actual causes of terrorism in the U.S. - the fact that many people around the world feel disenfranchised. The U.S. must give more foreign aid and use less military force. For example, the U.S. invaded Iraq even though the security threat was questionable and the objectives (kill Saddam, seize weapons, implement democracy) are proving to be nearly impossible to achieve. Meanwhile, Liberia is actually begging for U.S. military assistance, however the U.S. has taken no action. This situation is emblematic of U.S. foreign policy, which has ignored the thoughts and opinions of the world populace.

The attitudes of the people (and governments) of the world are what makes the U.S. prone to terrorism. The DoHS should redirect its efforts to improving the behavior of the U.S. on the world stage. Maybe championing a "No Idiots for President Act" would be a good start.
You better stop that laser game, or you'll smell my mule

A small point. (4.33 / 3) (#11)
by Kyle on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 05:54:46 PM EST

I disagree with you slightly about anti-spam and anti-copying tech. These things could be controlled. The problem is that the price is too high. You can turn the network into the tech equivalent of a police state, and problems will go away. You can block email completely, and spam stops. However, nobody wants to go without email, and nobody wants to pay the (implementation) price to make it happen.

America could stop terrorism by turning itself into a police state. The "problem" is that Americans consider their freedoms more important than stopping terrorism.

I think that's as it should be.

[ Parent ]

Possibly nothing will satisfy... (4.20 / 5) (#14)
by sphealey on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 07:33:42 PM EST

...the actual causes of terrorism in the U.S. - the fact that many people around the world feel disenfranchised. The U.S. must give more foreign aid and use less military force. For example, the U.S. invaded Iraq even though the security threat was questionable ... Meanwhile, Liberia is actually begging for U.S. military assistance, however the U.S. has taken no action. This situation is emblematic of U.S. foreign policy, which has ignored the thoughts and opinions of the world populace.
Without disagreeing with your prescription, I must point out that it is quite possible that no combination of actions (or stopping of actions) by the USA would be sufficient to satisfy every group (or even every violent group) in the world that dislikes it.

First, when human beings believe they have a grievence, nothing short of full satisfaction of their desires (and usually the destruction, emotional or physical, of the person causing the grievence) will satisfy them. And sometimes not even that. But the US cannot address everyone who has a grievence against it, since (a) as you have demonstrated above, these multiple grievences often conflict (b) the citizens of the US don't agree with that all of them are problems and/or problems caused by the US.

Second, for the moment, and probably for at least the next 20 years, the USA is the most powerful political entity on the planet. No matter what it does or how it behaves someone, somewhere, will be mad at it. That is the nature of being the biggest. And indeed, many will attack it regardless of whether they actually "hate" it, since that is the best way to get attention (or deflect attention from bad things occuring under their control).

While I agree with the idea that the US should be more sensitive about how it is perceived around the world, I still fail to see exactly what could be done to make it less disliked by the extreme and those determined to pick fights.


[ Parent ]

Good point (5.00 / 4) (#43)
by ender81b on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:00:35 AM EST

I must point out that it is quite possible that no combination of actions (or stopping of actions) by the USA would be sufficient to satisfy every group (or even every violent group) in the world that dislikes it.

Take the common point that the US needs to stop interfering so much in world affairs, stop sending its military overseas all the time, etc, etc. And yet just now we have protestors from liberia basically begging the US to become involved in their civil war.

The simple fact is the world wants the US to be involved in world politics. Europe in particular would probably have a collective anuerism if the US withdrew from NATO, Japan would scream bloody murder if we withdrew our troops from bases there, South Korea, god knows what the middle east would become if we stopped interfering, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. The simple fact is the mere presence of US troops virtually gaurentees nobody will mess with your country. Note: obviously US troops as occupation forces (such as Iraq and Afghanistan) doesn't work quite the same way.

At any rate, the problem becomes exactly as you say, every single nation, every single PERSON in the world expects different things from the US as a whole, it is impossible to satisify them all. It is especially impossible to satisfy radical groups like Al qaeda. Even if the US withdrew every single troop from the middle east they would undoubtedly find something new to hate about us and continue to wage terrorist campaigns against the US, or just hate us. Heck, the US itself has it's own share of nutty organizations (KKK, milita groups, far right christians, etc) but they rarely become violent, I think, because they believe at the most base level that they can possibly affect change in our system.

In essence we face the problem of our own power and wealth. The US as a nation is far too powerful to attack directly, o so any group that feels 'disenfranchised' for whatever reason must resort to tactics such as Al qaeda's to attempt to accomplish their goal. Remember that email going around the internet after 9/11 in which it was proposed that the US select 1,000 of it's troops and Al qaeda could bring however many and they could fight it out like 'men'? What do you think Vegas would've put the odds on Al qaeda actually winning that one?

Also important is the fact that radical elements attacking the US often do so on basis of something their OWN government won't do (such as Saudi Arabia withdrawing permission for US troops to be based there). These groups have failed to persuade their own governments to do anything about the situation so feel they must attack the US directly.

There is, simply put, no easy solution. No matter what the US -- or any government -- does in the foriegn scene somebody will always take issue with it. And no I have no solution other than the US should probably stop invading countries....

[ Parent ]
Er... (4.00 / 2) (#189)
by Vesperto on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 02:37:34 PM EST

The simple fact is the world wants the US to be involved in world politics. True, it does, but there are ways to be involved. The EU is already preparing an "EU-army" so whether or not the US are in NATO will become irrelevant, if it's not already. Yes, we can take care of ourselves, thank you. If an international incident occurs and NATO decides to take action, then yes, "the world" does appreciate that the US get involved, since it boasts the most technically advanced army in the world. If a country has problems and it chooses to ask the US for help, like Liberia, then yes, "the world" expects the US to take action.

I really can't say this without getting flamed and 1-rated, as usual, but if the US foreign affairs policy was less abrasive, 9/11 probably wouldn't have happened. But it would have had to changed decades ago, not a month before the attacks. "The world" expects you to act when asked, not whenver you want. Your president, making everybody miss Clinton, doesn't seem to see this (in fact i think he lacks the brains and i'm sure lots of americans share this opinion as well), seems to protray himself as the president of the world and the armed forces are his police force and it's his duty and god-given right to "defend freedom" on other people's backyards... Try to picture that happening to you.

Of course you can always say that at least sometimes the US invades other countries because it's defending its interests (the White House speakers almost make it sound like the US will cease to exist if they don't take action); but even then - flame at will boys - you can always tell the US's interests traslate as oil.

I know i'm not being exactly coherent but english is not my native tongue. You can probably filter all of this to what i've said already: if the US changes its foreign affairs policy it will, and i'm not saying tomorrow or in a year, drastically improve the chances of anyone hating you. Of course groups like Al-Quaeda will always exist, but at least the list will be considerably smaller.

But it's useless stating my point in a site where most users are americans.

La blua plago!
[ Parent ]

Europe still needs us (none / 0) (#200)
by ender81b on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 06:10:03 PM EST

True, it does, but there are ways to be involved. The EU is already preparing an "EU-army" so whether or not the US are in NATO will become irrelevant, if it's not already.

I've heard of this but I doubt it will happen for numerous reasons. Even assuming it does you seem to think that all of a sudden the US military becomes irrelevant. I don't think so.

The US spends nearly twice as much as the rest of the world combined on military research. Many of the weapons systems used by Europe are US in origin, or had US design firms involved in their construction. You also need to consider the fact that, as it stands now, Europe is effectively under the US' "nuclear umbrella." You might have forgotten that Russia, and other republics, possess 2500 nuclear warheads but the rest of the world has not. While they aren't a threat now they might be in 10-20 years -- who knows?

Also, it would simply not be in Europe's best interests to cancel it's alliance with the world's only superpower. While US military might be less important, it is still important to ensuring the stability of Europe.

- you can always tell the US's interests traslate as oil.

As does the rest of the worlds! Without a steady supply of Oil the world economy would collapse -- and that includes Europe. Famine, an economic disaster magnitudes worse than the great depression, etc, etc would all occur. I think people like to point at the US and say "it's all about Oil" but if the US -- for whatever reason -- wasn't in the position to secure the Oil supply you can be damm sure the Europeans, or anybody else, would be doing everything to insure that the world's oil supply wasn't threatened. Indeed, perhaps you have forgotten the Gulf War when basically the entire world ganged up on Iraq because it threatened to seriously harm the world's oil supply?

There is no easy answer but, as I said, a good thing we could start doing is to stop invading every country that pisses us off =).

[ Parent ]
Good points. (none / 0) (#215)
by Vesperto on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:42:33 PM EST

Thank you for your comment, it's a relief getting decent and well argumented replies (whether or not i agree with them).

The US spends nearly twice as much as the rest of the world combined on military research. - Too true and lots of it does end up in other nations' hands when it becomes obsolete (i remember the fuss it was over here to buy some two airplanes from you guys two years ago). I don't see the US army's superiority as an obstacle for EU not creating its own. The resorces exist, polititians just need to open their eyes and start using them for a change. Of course if a country would prefer some EU company, dumping Lockhead Martin i'm sure the US wouldn't be pleased. If all of the US would become more EU-centric weapon-wise Little Bush would start crying "Cold War". I think the only main obstacle to the EU becoming self-suficient when it comes to weapons is the fact that it's a bunch of different countries (and they keep on adding more!) with different agendas. I wouldn't mind a Cold War. This might seem like a silly braindead comment, but the world is offbalance as it is: there's only one superpower, the US, and no one on the other plate of the scales. If the EU, or Russia ( i  doubt it), or Japan or whoever would start becoming selfsufficient and not necessarily banning but starting not to buy "made in usa" stuff and the US would react cold-war-ingly, the world would be ballanced again and the two superpowers would keep eachother busy.

While they aren't a threat now they might be in 10-20 years -- who knows? - No one does, as no one does if the US will pose a threat to their country in the same ammount of time. I personally fear more the US as a nucular (sorry, couldn't resist! ;) nation as opposed to any other nation. Why? 'Cos i doubt any nation would want to nuke my country and the US, being the only superpower and in fact the only country wich has actually used such device, inspires me no confidence. The latest "peace campaign" not only was based on bogus crap as well as crippled Democracy internationally and discredited the UN.
It's also interesting that the US goes around stating who has the right to bare WMDs... hypocrisi?

While US military might be less important, it is still important to ensuring the stability of Europe. - The US army, at least in short-medium term, will never be unimportant. It's way too powerfull. The EU also is not as weak as you protray it, the difference is that it takes a lot more for the EU to take any agressive (military) action.

Without a steady supply of Oil the world economy would collapse. - Would it? Mad Max style? I think it would if oil was to end tomorrow, as in suddenly. But that will never happen. Universities, individuals and some enterprises of all sorts have been studying for years now alternative power sources, 'cos everybody knows oil will end. But not in our lifespans. The problem is that while oil (and it's crushing lobby promoted by the big oil empires) still exists, all the alternatives will be pushed backstage. Or sure you see some nifty solar car events here and there, some countries are sane enough to invest in decent investigation in these fields and Shell and alike even promote such events on occasion, 'cos they care. But they also own most of the patents for alternative power devices. Cars that run on water have been invented, sollar power has been here for ages, wind farms aren't news, fuel cells are blooming and yet we still linger on oil. Habbit? Nope, lobby. Hey, some decades ago man reaching the moon was a foolish utopic dream. With enough money (driven by the Cold War), man got there. With enough money alternate fuel options can be developed so that the average Joe wont say off the top of his head "Solar cars are slow" when he rarely drives fast enough to notice.

a good thing we could start doing is to stop invading every country that pisses us off - sigh too true... you guys could cut down on the military funding and use it on... solar cars! Reducing poverty! Buying patents for things that should've never been patented (like AIDS medication) and GPL it (hey, one can dream...). A less abrasive foreign policy would be so good for the world and for the US..

La blua plago!
[ Parent ]

Keep the oil flowing for now (4.00 / 1) (#234)
by lordDogma on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 04:23:07 AM EST

But they also own most of the patents for alternative power devices. Cars that run on water have been invented

Wrong. This is a myth. The only way to "run a car on water" is to make hydrogen fueled cars. Such a car burns Hydrogen by mixing it with oxygen from the atmosphere and the EXHAUST is pure water.

Unfortunately, even though hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, H2 gas does not exist in any great natural quantity on earth. Thus we have to "manufacture" it by separating it out from seawater. But guess what? In order to separate the Hydrogen and Oxygen, we have to use just as much energy as we get back when we run our car off of it! In fact we have to spend MORE energy than what we get back in return because like any thermodynamic process, a lot of waste heat is generated in both the hydrogen separation process and in driving our car around (and in transporting the Hydrogen fuel all over the counrty, etc.). And where does the energy come from to separate the Hydrogen and Oxygen in seawater? Answer: A power plant, probably burning oil, coal, natural gas, or nuclear fuel.

In other words, Hydrogen is not a source of energy, it is merely a storage medium.

solar power has been here for ages

There is hope for solar, but right now it is very expensive. The people driving the research on this are primarily oil companies (such as BP Solar) and semiconductor companies (such as Sharp Electronics), so your assertion that all of the evil oil compainies are conspiring against alternative energy is wrong. Remember, the oil companies are energy experts. They aren't stupid. They know the oil is going to run out and they know their company will die unless they move on to something else in the future. Solar is very interesting but it has a lot of problems. For example, a solar plant was built in California that used adjustable reflective mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a central tower, where it would heat water (or some other kind of working fluid). Unfortunately, it just so happens that areas that have large amounts of sunlight hitting them, which are the best locations for these solar plants, also tend to be very dry (think desert). This means that the mirrors would get coated with lots of dust and have to be cleaned weekly or else the efficiency of the solar power plant would be drastically reduced. Guess how much water it took to clean all of the mirrors? ANS: Something like 2 million gallons a week (and this has to be done in the middle of a desert where water has to be pumped in - rather expensive). As far as solar cells, they are simply not viable right now. We need a LOT more funding and research in this area. In the future, I imagine that solar cells will contribute greatly, but will not come anywhere close to providing all of our energy needs. In order for this to happen, they will have to be used in a distributed manner (e.g. every house has solar cells on them) because a centralized solar plant of this sort would be HUGE (hundreds of square miles).

wind farms aren't news

Here again, wind farms will be a contibutor in the future, but they have tricky problems too. One calculation I read on the web from an energy expert said that in order to be able to provide enough energy for the state of California using modern wind turbines alone, we would have to have a 30 mile wide swath of wind turbines stretching from San Francisco all the way to Los Angeles. And that is a theoretical number assuming that all of the land in use is ideal. Get ready to start plowing down entire towns to make this happen. I also read somewhere that it takes three times as many people to operate/maintain a typical wind farm as it does for a typical coal/oil plant. So instead of a $50 electric bill you will have a $500 electric bill. Hey, maybe that will force people to conserve! On the other hand, maybe it will *cripple our economy!* Say goodbye to all that foreign aid and goodwill everyone keeps taking about - we won't be able to affort it!

One more thing about alternative energy - the same whakjob environmentalists who protest the evil conspiring oil corporations are the same ones who protest all of the alternatives. For example, Green Peace protests nuclear energy. Other groups have been known to cause wind turbine projects to be cancelled because the turbines "ruin" the natural scenery, displace wildlife habitats, and (believe it or not) cause birds to die when they accidentally fly into them. I know of at least three instances where these types of objections hindered the development of wind farms.

fuel cells are blooming

As stated previosly, a fuel cell isn't an energy source, it is just an energy storage device. It will reduce city smog and the like, but it won't give us any more energy that we already have.

and yet we still linger on oil. Habit? Nope, lobby.

Nope. Once again, those "evil" corporations are going to be the ones who save all of our asses through continuing research and eventually marketing the alternatives when they are ready.

I realize you don't know any better, but please get informed and stop spreading misinformation.

[ Parent ]

It's no missinformation to me. (none / 0) (#238)
by Vesperto on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 08:31:50 AM EST

We need a LOT more funding and research in this area.

How many billions do you think an oil company gets per month? Are they researching alternate power? Of course they are, like you said: they ain't stupid and probably have a countdown clock to when the oil will end. But will that that money do they invest enough? I, personally, don't think so, I'm pretty sure very good alternatives will be in place whenever oil ends, and the developing of most of them 'til then was heavily done by oil companies - but the change will only happen (it's my opinion) when oil ends and never before. This is what i think it's wrong: if there are ways to invest big bucks that will lead to professional exhaustive research so we can stop screwing up our planet, then why delay them? That's the "evilness" i see in oil companies.

As for alternatives, in my city 1/3 of the buses run on natural gas, it's becoming a viable source and it's proving profitable - some cars use it as well. In Brazil cars that use alcohol as a fuel are very popular. Zero emition veichles are no longer a dream. About the ecofreaks (the bad faction of the ecomovement if i may) yeah some tend to exagerate. I remember a case when they tied themselvs to a lifting brigde to prevent it from opening 'cos one of the ships in the harbor had wood from some protected rainforest. They were wrong and not only jeoperdized that company as well as made fools out of themselves. Windmills so far aren't feasable from a comercial point of view yet (again, money = research), but i'm sure no one is against them in Antarctica, where they supply energy to the scientists living there. Maybe alternative energies aren't an end now, but they sure are a means. I think Toyota (Izuzu in the US?) has a hybrid gasoline-electricity car in the market, for instance. Untill they can "live by themselves", one can use alternate energy sources combined.

I keep my statement: money = research.

La blua plago!
[ Parent ]

Now you are spreading the misinformation too? (none / 0) (#263)
by lordDogma on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 08:48:28 PM EST

As for alternatives...

None of your suggested alternatives provide the complete answer to our long-term energy needs. See below:

in my city 1/3 of the buses run on natural gas

(1) Excerpt from "The Hydrogen Economy" (good book): "...new studies suggest that global production of natural gas is likely to peak soon after global oil production, with some analysts predicting a peak as early as 2020. Dutch Shell says that 'natural gas scarcity could occur as early as 2025'... compounding the problem, more than 40% of the total [natural gas reserves] are in the Middle East".

(2) Continuing on, you don't have to lecture us about natural gas use, as "there are 272 gas-fired power plants currently under construction or on order in the US." As stated in the book, once they all come online in the next ten years, our energy grid will become virtually dependent on natural gas.

In Brazil cars that use alcohol as a fuel are very popular.

(1) How many people in Brazil own cars? From what I have been able to research (and I may be wrong with this figure since I got it off the net without looking for a second source) only 1/8 of the population of Brazil has cars. Thats 175 million divided by 8 = 22 million cars. How many people in the US own cars? The average is a little more than 1 car for every person. Thats 300 million cars. Trying to run that many cars on alcohol is absurd at best. We would have to turn every square mile of our country into genetically engineered cornfields (or sugar cane fields or whatever).

(2) Here's the real kicker: If you look at the numbers, it takes MORE ENERGY TO PRODUCE ALCOHOL THAN WHAT YOU GET FROM BURNING IT! (You have to fertilize, plant, cultivate, harvest, transport, ferment, distill, etc. etc.) In other words by using alcohol you are actually blatantly *wasting* energy as there is a net energy loss! I realize this isn't what you've been told by the enviro-pundits but what do you expect? Hey, look, you can't blame them - its a lucrative business - they dupe everyone into believing that they are saving the environment when they are actually defrauding it. Meanwhile they line their pockets with cash from people who don't know any better - during which time the greenies are too preoccupied accusing "Big Oil" of destroying the environment to see who the real scammers are. I have two new terms that I am going to coin now: "Big Corn" and "Big Alcohol". Lets hope they go bankrupt soon for the sake of all of us.

(3) Not to mention, in the process of growing all of this corn, farmers damage the environment with tons of fertilizers and pesticides which eventually find their way into *your* drinking water. For a deeper discussion of this, read "The Solar Fraud" a book written by Howard Hayden, an energy specialist.

i'm sure no one is against them [wind turbines] in Antarctica, where they supply energy to the scientists living there

Your right, nobody objects to wind turbines in Antarctica. Unfortunately wind turbines in ANTARCTICA don't do the industrialized world up here in AMERICA any good! Come on now Vesperto, lets not lose focus on the big picture! Sheesh.

Keep in mind, I'm not *against* wind turbines. Heck, I say lets install them and to hell with the scenery and dead birds. But again, it would take a swath of wind turbines 30 miles wide stretching from San Francisco to LA just to provide california's energy needs. Thats a *lot* of wind turbines, a lot of ruined scenery and a lot of dead birds.

Toyota (Izuzu in the US?) has a hybrid gasoline-electricity car in the market

Where do these hybrid electric cars get their electrical power from? Answer: Fossil Fuels. Either the engine provides it by burning gasoline or when you plug the car into a wall socket it gets its energy from a coal plant down the road. So in other words electric cars do not create a magical new source of energy for us.

I keep my statement: Money = research.

Agreed. Care to donate some?

Hey, I have an idea - maybe some European Green Peace whackos and their anarchist mobster friends will front the money for these technological breakthroughs since after all, they are so environmentally friendly and so brilliant and the US is nothing but a stupid evil polluting bullying superpower that doesn't care about the environment.

Hell, maybe Bin Laden will donate the money. He wants the US out of the Middle East, right? Or maybe the Middle Eastern countries themselves will fund the breakthroughs. Granted, they would go bankrupt without the industrialized nations buying oil from them, but at least they would get all of the infidels out of their countries - surely they don't mind being poor so long as they don't have to put up with us infidels being in their countries.

Or how about this. How about we take back our $15 billion pledge to fight AIDS in Africa and spend it on alternative energy research instead. Hell nobody appreciates all of our foreign aid anyways. We could donate our entire $10 trillion GDP to the world and we'd still be labeled as selfish, bullying, innocent-child-bombing war-mongers.

-- Lord Dogma

[ Parent ]

Al Qaeda (none / 0) (#248)
by mr100percent on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 12:06:45 PM EST

If the US pulled its military out of the middle east and all five areas where Muslims are being oppresssed (Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq, Chechnya, and Afghanistan), then support for Al Qaeda would evaporate. You really wouldn't want to attack the US if they took your advice and left.
--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]
RE: Al Qaida (5.00 / 1) (#260)
by lordDogma on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 06:08:31 PM EST

The US does not have military forces in Kashmir, Palestine, or Chechnya. In 2001 (pre 9-11) we did not have military forces in Iraq or in Afghanistan, but that didn't stop Al Qaida from recruiting thousands of fundamentalist Islamic-Supremacist bigots for their violent cause, and subsequently attacking us.

Al Qaida claimed that they wanted us out of Saudi Arabia. That was their principle aim as stated numerous times by Bin Laden himself. Therefore, it should follow that once we moved our forces out of Saudi Arabia, that Al Qaida should stop wanting to kill us. Well, we moved our forces out of SA right after our victory in Iraq, and lets see here, let me just check... Nope, they still want to kill us just as much as ever! So in other words their claim was bogus and is now exposed for the lie that it is. The real reason AQ wants to kill us is that they are violent-minded fundamentalist Islamic-Supremacist bigots.

One more thing: In most of these areas in question, Muslims are being oppressed because there is rampant terrorism being carried out by cowardly Islamic terror/separatist groups and the governments in those areas frankly don't know how to deal with it other than by cracking down on everyone. If the terrorists would stop killing innocent people and spreading Islam by the sword, then maybe the Muslim people as a whole would not find themselves being oppressed all over the world.

[ Parent ]

A good excuse (3.80 / 5) (#77)
by Viliam Bur on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 05:29:55 AM EST

the USA is the most powerful political entity on the planet. No matter what it does or how it behaves someone, somewhere, will be mad at it. That is the nature of being the biggest.

That's a universal excuse to do anything, and then say: "Do they hate us for having done X? Nonsense. We are the biggest, so they would hate us anyway. Just don't worry and go on."

What you said is true to some extent. Certainly many paranoid minds will target to the most powerful country. But there are many more people who worry about American neverending War on Anyone. Just please do not start a new war each year and I think some people will change their minds about USA.

[ Parent ]

Neverending war on anyone? (none / 0) (#227)
by lordDogma on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 02:53:37 AM EST

Unfortunately, someone has to keep the evil despots in check. If you don't want to do it, fine, I have nothing against that. But don't complain when we have to shoulder the burden. We're the ones spilling the blood of our loved ones in the name of freedom.

Afghanistan: Remember, Al Qaida attacked us first. They attacked the WTC with a car bomb in 1993. We ignored them. They blew up our military barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1995(96?). We ignored them. OBL officially declared war on us in a 1998 fatwa. We ignored them. They bombed two of our embassies in Africa in 1998. We ignored them. They attacked one of our warships in 2000. We ignored them. They hijacked four airplanes and killed 3000 of our citizens in 2001. At this point we had to stop ignoring them. We were hoping that they would be like a mosquito - get their fill, and just fly away eventually. But in the end we had to squash them. You can hardly blame us for that.

Looking at the above, it seems like we were doing everything we could to *avoid war*. It looks like AQ were the ones trying to start a war every year.

Gulf War I: Started by Saddam Hussein.

Gulf War II: Ok, we started it. But hey, if Hussein hadn't invaded Kuwait in 1990 and subsequently proved to be a complete international thug, then GWII would not have occured.

The Ongoing North Korea Spectacle: North Korea invaded South Korea 50 years ago. We came to the rescue and have been there ever since. We'd love to leave, but we are willing to endure daily nuclear threats from North Korea if it means standing up for democracy in South Korea - this is our commitment to freedom. If we are bad and evil for standing up for democracy then so be it, but someone has to do the dirty work.

You have to admit that there is a pattern to our military endeavors. It is almost always aimed at (a) keeping despotic dictators and terrorists in check, or (b) humanitarian missions to third world countries. A free, democratic nation has virtually no chance of being attacked by the US if history is any judge. Thus it isn't a Neverending War on Anyone, its a Neverending War on Brutal Dictators, Fascists, and Fanatic Terrorists.

Lastly: yes innocent people die as a result of our military actions - we wish it didn't have to be this way and we try as hard as we can to minimized those deaths, but wishing doesn't make assholes like Saddam and Bin Laden go away. Wishing didn't make Stalin, Pol Pot, or Hitler go away and it won't make our modern day evildoers go away. Holding hands around a campfire and singing "Kum Bai Ya" and "Give Peace a Chance" doesn't make them go away either. Sometimes the only thing that does the trick is a 2000 lb. bomb up their ass, and you just have to cross your fingers and hope that in the process of shoving it up there you don't kill nearly as many people as these assholes did during their individual reigns of terror. Its a harsh reality but one we have to live with.

[ Parent ]

re:Neverending war (none / 0) (#250)
by mr100percent on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 12:22:29 PM EST

You are mixing up Who's who.

Afghanistan: They didn't attack us first. Who's they? Not Afghanis. The Taliban condemned 9/11, but we invaded them anyway because they wouldn't turn over Bin Laden without a trial.

And you make it seem like the US was just doing nothing in that time, while Al Qaeda just suckerpunched us. Nope, the US had (up until right after Iraq) military stationed right outside Mecca and all over Saudi Arabia. The Saudis wanted to revolt against the royal dictatorship there, but we officially supported them. Bin Laden saw himself as a freedom fighter for the Saudis. I don't support him, but that is his position.

Gulf War II: The CIA said that Saddam Hussein was extremely unlikely to start any fights since he knew we could retaliate in a major way. I think the US wanted to get him even when he started cooperating with the UN and inspectors.

The ongoing North Korea: Plenty of people say that North Korea is a far bigger threat than Iraq ever was. Who actually has nukes: Iraq or North Korea? Who fired test missiles that landed in Alaska? Who is scaring Japan? North Korea is far worse, but Bush is downplaying it since he knows how much the idea of Vietnam ruins the image of presidents.

I'd like to think that we do everything in the name of democracy, but I wish I saw good examples of that today. Rumsfeld declared that if the Iraqis made some kind of "Islamic" democracy, then, well, that's just not going to happen. Saddam Palace is now Bremer Palace, and free speech is restricted there still.

Every pro-war person says that they don't want to fight, but that they must as some kind of duty. Yes, freeing Iraqis is a good thing, but that was not the primary reason we went to war, according to all of Bush's prior speeches. Bush said in all of his speeches that Iraq was a threat to the US because of WMDs. Liberating Iraqis was a plus, but Iraq had to be dealt with NOW because of the imminent threat.

--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

Give me a break please. (none / 0) (#258)
by lordDogma on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 05:31:51 PM EST

They didn't attack us first. Who's they? Not Afghanis.

Correct. And in keeping with that fact, the US attacked the Taliban government and the Al Qaida terrorists located there. We did not wage war against the average Afghan citizen, although they *were* caught up in the war and a few thousand died. Because Al Qaida attacked us first in an overt, unprovoked act of war, the blood of innocent Afghans is on *them*.

The Taliban condemned 9/11, but we invaded them anyway because they wouldn't turn over Bin Laden without a trial.

Their "condemnation" of 9/11 was a total ruse. Don't tell me that you actually think the Taliban planned to put Bin Laden on trial. They had no intention of doing so and they had no intention of turning him over. Quit with the lies already.

And you make it seem like the US was just doing nothing in that time, while Al Qaeda just suckerpunched us. Nope, the US had (up until right after Iraq) military stationed right outside Mecca and all over Saudi Arabia.

So in other words you believe that stationing miliary forces overseas at the *invitation* of foreign governments gives citizens of those foreign countries valid reason to attack us.

By that argument, if the US invited Canadian warships into our naval ports (which we often do)and then some whako US citizen with a grudge against Canadians launched a bloody assault on Toronto claiming he was justified because the "infidel Canadians" were occupying our country, then you would say he has valid reason to carry out that attack (qualifying your support of course with the disclaimer that you don't agree with him.)

Bin Laden doesn't have the right to dictate to the Saudi government who they are allowed to invite into their country any more than I am allowed to dictate the same to our government. I realize that he is an islamo-fascist bigot and he can't help himself, but that doesn't give him a valid reason to attack us. It is an *invalid* reason, and therefore we had a right to respond to 9-11.

The Saudis wanted to revolt against the royal dictatorship there, but we officially supported them. Bin Laden saw himself as a freedom fighter for the Saudis. I don't support him, but that is his position.

Well I'm sorry but his position is WRONG. It doesn't matter how Bin Laden saw himself. Just because he believes he is a freedom-fighter doesn't mean he is one. And stop throwing the word "freedom" around when talking about these filthbags. Bin Laden would best be described as a fascism-fighter. Do you honestly think he was out to turn Saudi Arabia into a freedom-loving Democracy and that he was standing up for the freedom of the Saudi people? No! He wanted to overthrow the corrupt Saudi government just so he could install another repressive fanatical government on top.

[ Parent ]

Re: Gimme a break (5.00 / 1) (#281)
by mr100percent on Sun Jul 27, 2003 at 11:59:14 PM EST

The Taliban's "condemnation" I think, was genuine. They claimed to be religious, and they condemned it as murder. They probably thought it was a zionist conspiracy and Bin Laden was framed, but they did condemn the act.

I dont know if Saudi Arabia "invited" the US to put troops there. If the dictators did, then why are we supporting them? That same pretense was justification for the USSR to invade plenty of eastern europe and Afghanistan.

Bin Laden sees himself as a freedom fighter because the government in place is a dictatorship, and HAS at one point slaughtered muslims at Mecca, the holiest city of Islam. Bin Laden wants an elected ruler (perhaps a caliph), not a king. I wouldn't call him a fascist, since that definition doesn't fit him. I also wouldn't say that he would make the government more conservative than it already is. Too many Wahhabis to begin with. Plenty of people want a democratic revolution in Saudi Arabia, but he goes to the extreme by attacking the US to get there. I support democracy in Saudi Arabia, but the ends don't justify the means.
--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

RE: Taliban (none / 0) (#283)
by lordDogma on Mon Jul 28, 2003 at 10:13:06 AM EST

The Taliban's "condemnation" I think, was genuine.

Ok. 'Nuff said. If that is what you sincerely believe then I don't think I am going to change your mind anytime soon.

They probably thought it was a zionist conspiracy and Bin Laden was framed

That would be the first thing that came to my mind as well if I were a fanatical Muslim extremist bigot, so I guess I can't blame them.

Then again, lets take a closer look at this. Lets say you are the Taliban...

In your country you are hosting Osama Bin Laden who is a known international terrorist (er, I mean freedom fighter). He advocates the unrestricted use of suicide bombings, assassination, purposeful killing of innocent civilians, etc. to achieve his ends. He declared war on the United States and incited Jihad against the US, proclaiming it was the duty of all Muslims "to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it." (1998 Fatwa). He has repeatedly attacked the United States and is sought by the US for the bombing of two African embassies in 1998 and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. He runs terrorist (er, I mean rebel) training camps throughout your country, where he recruits hundreds, perhaps thousands of Jihadists every year to fight in his war/rebellion. His organization, Al Qaida, is the largest and most well-funded international terror empire in existence; it has links to several Islamic separatist movements throughout the world, including Kashmir, Indonesia, Chechnya, and the Philippines.

Taking all of this into account, as the Taliban, would it be your *first* presumption that 9-11 was some kind of corrupt US government conspiracy and that Bin Laden was just an innocent victim being framed by imperialist crusaders? Would you bet the survival of your government on that presumption?

But hey, maybe I'm just being narrow-sighted. Maybe I'm not looking through their eyes. Lets face it, if I ran an evil despotic government like the Taliban then I would probably think all other governments were corrupt too. If all I ever did was lie, then it would never occur to me that other governments might actually tell the truth sometimes. This goes to show the thinking of the Taliban - their first assumption is conspiracy because that is all they know. -- Lord Dogma

[ Parent ]

The US in Saudi Arabia (none / 0) (#284)
by lordDogma on Mon Jul 28, 2003 at 11:56:31 AM EST

I dont know if Saudi Arabia "invited" the US to put troops there.

By invitation, I don't mean that they called us on the phone and begged us to come over. It was likely a combination of (1) self-survival (protection against Saddam Hussein) (2) the fact that the US forces had already been there for months and Allah had not rained down death and destruction, so hey it must be Ok with Allah, and (3) political pressure from the US.

Nevertheless, in the end it was the Saudi government's decision to allow us to be there.

They could have kicked us out anytime they wanted to. Yes, the US would have strongly protested this in private with the Saudi government, but the protest would be *persuasive* not *coercive*. As a sovereign country, SA had the right to kick our military out and the US would have to respect those wishes. The fact that this never happened means that we were there at the "invitation" of the Saudi government.

As far as whether such an invitation was legit, let me say that the ruling Saudi monarchy is the officially recognized government of Saudi Arabia. That is who we and all other international governments deal with, and that is the government that has recognition and representation at the United Nations. As soon as Osama Bin Laden gets a seat at the UN, then his opinion will matter. Until then he has no right dictate who is and isn't allowed to station military forces on Saudi soil.

That said, America isn't "failing to sympathize with OBL's position" or "misunderstanding OBL's feelings" or "being insensitive to the grievances of OBL".

From the point of view of American values, OBL has *every right* to protest the US military presence in SA. He has *every right* to say that it is against God's will. He has *every right* to campaign amongst fellow Muslims for the removal of US forces. We don't have a problem allowing him to express his opinion. However, as soon as he incites or facilitates violence to achieve this end, he is WRONG, because again, HE DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY to determine who is and isn't allowed in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Government does.

why are we supporting them?

We support Saudi Arabia's current goverment because (1) we want to preserve stability throughout the world, particularly in areas of critical US interest, (2) the Middle east is vital to America's energy needs*, and (3) it is the legitimate government as recognized by the UN. Our "support" was largely a military effort to defend SA against Saddam Hussein, not a police force looking for political dissenters. We weren't all that concerned with OBL and his rebellion until he started attacking *US*!

* Note that a lot of people think it is evil and selfish to "steal" oil from the Middle East. First of all we aren't stealing it, we're buying it. Those countries are free to raise the price to $300/barrel if they want. Nobody will buy it from them if they do that, but nobody is stopping them. Secondly, I would ask those people who run around with the "No blood for oil" posters: In a country with 1.3 cars per person (the US), how do you get to work every day? You drive? That's what I thought idiot!

That same pretense was justification for the USSR to invade plenty of eastern europe and Afghanistan.

According to Webster's: PRETENSE 1. a claim 2. a false claim. 3. A false show of something. So in other words, you (like all good conspiracy theorists) think that our presence in Saudi Arabia was nothing but a sham, covering up a plan to eventually invade and occupy it. You do not believe that we were there to defend the region against Saddam Hussein. I can't help you if that is what you believe, but if so, then the recent US withdrawal from SA certainly should have proved you wrong.

That same pretense was justification for the USSR to invade plenty of eastern europe and Afghanistan.

And guess what country was there to oppose them every time? I'll give you a hint: It wasn't France. There is no reason to suggest that the US was trying to "pull a USSR" with respect to Saudi Arabia if you look at our history. Of course, the conspiracy theorists will always find a way to turn America's proud history of opposing agression into some kind of secret imperialist plan to conquer the entire world and plunder its oil resources.

Bin Laden sees himself as a freedom fighter because... blah blah blah...

Well, I'm sorry to say that Bin Laden fucked up. Maybe in some alternate universe out there, Bin Laden is actually succeeding and/or doing the right thing to put Saudi Arabia on a path to freedom and democracy. Unfortunately that is not what is happening in *this* universe and I for one am not going to appologize to the terrorists for our foreign policy. Yes it can be improved. Yes it can be unfair sometimes. But by and large it is the correct one.

I think OBL needs to improve *his* foreign policy. Hijacking airliners and flying them into tall buildings isn't going to earn him any dimplomatic points, even if it does earn lots of praise from palestinians and intellectual fools.

Plenty of people want a democratic revolution in Saudi Arabia

A great way to peacefully bring democracy to your country is to establish good relations with the US and implement our suggestions. The United States has been pushing Democratic reforms on governments for a long time. Therefore it makes no sense to attack us in an effort to establish democracy.

-- Lord Dogma

[ Parent ]

Foreign aid? Disenfranchised? (4.66 / 6) (#22)
by khym on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 09:49:19 PM EST

The solution lies in confronting the actual causes of terrorism in the U.S. - the fact that many people around the world feel disenfranchised. The U.S. must give more foreign aid and use less military force.
Osama was the son of wealthy parents, and I seem to remember that many of the 9/11 hijackers were middle class. During the first Gulf War, Osama got pissed, not because he supported Iraq or any other political reasons, but because of all of the non-Muslims running around in the the holy land of Saudi Arabia, home of the city Mecca. How, exactly, would foreign aid and enfranchisement get them to not be religious fanatics?
... ignored the thoughts and opinions of the world populace.

The attitudes of the people (and governments) of the world are what makes the U.S. prone to terrorism.
While ignoring the thoughts and opinions of the world populace does lead to a lot of resentment, resentment doesn't translate into levels of fanaticism so high that people are willing to kill themselves in order to hurt their enemy. If the U.S. gave out lots more foreign aid and got world consensus before implementing its foreign policy, would that have calmed Osama down? During the time leading up to the first Gulf War, there wasn't much world opinion against U.S. troops simply being stationed in Saudi Arabia, except among Osama and his fellow fanatics, and it is this stationing that was a part of Osama's grudge against the U.S.; should the opinions and feelings of people like Osama be considered by the U.S. before it goes about its foreign policy?

Of course, there are probably lots of things that the U.S. has done that fostered such fanaticism among the Al Qaeda and their ilk, including its support for Israel, and things that could be done to mitigate this fanaticism. However, you seem to be trying to generalize from terrorism by Al Qaeda and friends to terrorism in general, and it just doesn't add up for me. If U.S. unilateralism and a lack of foreign aid is the cause of terrorism, then why aren't there terrorist groups from China, Europe and South America doing Al Qaeda style attacks?

Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
re: foreign aid (none / 0) (#251)
by mr100percent on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 12:25:51 PM EST

Well, Mr. Bin Laden isn't mad that there are non-Muslims there per se, but he's upset that up until 2 months ago, the US had military troops and bases in Saudi Arabia. The people there hate the government, but any revolutions would disrupt the oil flow, so we've supported the royalty there. He feels the US is meddling against the interest of the Saudis and the Muslims.

--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]
The obvious problem (4.00 / 2) (#104)
by epepke on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 07:03:38 PM EST

The U.S. must give more foreign aid and use less military force.

The obvious problem with this statement is that the U.S. did that. They were called the Clinton years. Besides that, the U.S. pushed for the Oslo accords and did a lot to calm down the IRA. Yes, the action in Bosnia and Desert Fox cost lives and had problems, but it was peanuts compared to the Bush and Reagan years.

The planning of the 9/11 attacks started well before Dubya was elected.

In that context, saying that terrorism against the U.S. was caused by Dubyaesque military adventurism is, at best, a rather severe temporal challengement. If people making this claim were ever even to acknowledge the order in in which things happened, it wouldn't be so bad, but they don't. Instead, they prefer usually to make snide comments about the fact that the Clinton years weren't perfect, which leads any reasonable soul to conclude that it's just a bitch fest.

This does not necessarily mean that you are wrong. For all I know, you might be right. However, for some hypothetical director to try to figure out what to do involves looking at causality, and that at least requires acknowledging the order of events.

Right or wrong, a consistent failure of advocates to display that ability has caused the credibility of this kind of statement to plummet. It sounds more and more like an article of faith, and I distrust faith.

Meanwhile, Liberia is actually begging for U.S. military assistance, however the U.S. has taken no action.

Well, I think that the U.S. should intervene here, especially as, unlike Israel, Liberia really is a U.S. colony. But I'm also sure that, if the U.S. But first of all, Liberia isn't begging the U.S. to intervene. Factions that would find their lot improved if the U.S. were to intervene are begging the U.S. to intervene. As soon as the U.S. did intervene, critics would switch to the side of the New Underdogs in a femtosecond and blame the U.S. for intervening.

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

[ Parent ]
I would... (4.95 / 22) (#10)
by Tatarigami on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 05:25:46 PM EST

  • enact a series of poorly-considered eye-catching 'security' measures in exchange for friendly media coverage and short-term political gain.
  • quietly start sharing information with enforcement agencies in hushed but open defiance of laws intended to protect privacy and personal liberties, in order to buy my way into the old-boy network of back-scratching and mutual favours.
  • exaggerate my successes and play down my failures in the court of public opinion, while at the same time hyping the possibility of further terrorist attacks just in case anyone gets the mistaken idea that maybe they don't need me and my massive, well-funded agency.
On the other hand, if my appointment to the position wasn't a hasty bit of butt-covering by a government trying to convince a frightened populace that they had the problem in hand, I would:
  • Work quietly and methodically to uncover and then plug potential security holes without frightening people or over-reacting.
  • Develop a friendly but open relationship with other agencies, to ensure a healthy exchange of information and co-operation between us without back-room deals.
  • Open my processes and hierarchy to government review, to show people that I'm not building a secret police force that considers ordinary people going about their everyday business to be a threat to the country.
  • Release regular reports to the media, adopting a calm tone to reassure the public while keeping them informed of any progress that's safe to discuss.

What to do (4.95 / 21) (#12)
by godix on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 06:53:17 PM EST

  1. Develop a consitant foreign policy. This doesn't neccesarily mean a nicer one, just a sane one where the world can tell ahead of time that action X will prompt response Y from the US.
  2. Aid third world countries. This doesn't mean Nike shops for all. This doesn't mean massive support for one country that happens to get publicity while ignoring others. This doesn't mean sending food to be stolen by local warlords. Quite often the best help America can provide is to go in an stop them from killing each other. Peacekeeping, when not perverted by political goals, is actually effective. Bosnia and Timor show how to really help the shitholes of the world.
  3. Government propagana would basically boil down to 'Shit happens. It'll happen no matter how draconian the gov gets. Get used to the idea. Now go live your life free and happy and hope some asshole doesn't decide to kill you'. The propaganda would have to be more appealingly phrased, probably a lot of 'they can take our lives but not our freedom' type of stuff.
  4. Take reasonable precautions without going to the absurd. Armed air marshalls make sense. Banning nail clippers doesn't. Blocking access to cabin from the passenger deck is logical. Preventing cars from parking at the curb by the airport isn't. If a third grader can tell you that your security idea is dumb then it probably shouldn't become policy.
  5. Control immigration. This does not mean closing the borders, it actually means opening them up. Right now we have literally thousands of illegal immigrants a day into the US. Open it up and allow anyone who wants to come in provided they can pass reasonable immigration checks.
  6. Integrate intelligence. There is no reason the CIA should know that X is a terrorist but immigration does not. There may need to be special rules detailing how and when US citizens info can get spread around.

"I think you're right"
- Rusty speaking about godix
Hey, it's my damned
You mean Tim Tim? (3.50 / 4) (#23)
by bankind on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 09:54:29 PM EST

East Timor is an example of where not to send aid under ANY circumstance. The donor dollar rate of return is abysmal. They have a ridiculous administration run by the UN, where by mandate, there has to be a set quota on what nationalities do what.

Last I heard the UN administrator was using his UN provided jet to fly him, his kids, and his mistress around the world. With the current situation there it would be much better if it was back with Indonesia, like during the prosperous outland island focused Suharto years.

E. Timor has been a big lesson in development. I agree with your points, but don't Tim Tim is a bad example of peacekeeping or foreign aid.

Anyway, the Aussies only when in once the fighting had basically ended and they rarely went into the major fighting areas. A good example as far as I know, is the Brits in Sierra Leone.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

You do know, of course, (none / 0) (#27)
by guidoreichstadter on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 10:26:47 PM EST

that the US funded the original Indonesian devastation of East Timor.

you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
someone's (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by bankind on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 11:14:01 PM EST

been reading Noam Chomsky again. That is your source, right?

You can rot your brains with that stuff. He also did said that Pol Pot and the KR just had "bad PR." Real right on the nail's head with that one.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

One may try Scott (4.80 / 5) (#38)
by Pac on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 11:44:14 PM EST

Peter Dale Scott is a former Canadian diplomat and a retired professor of English Literature from the University of California. He wrote some articles about CIA involvement on Sukarno's overthrow and the subsequent massacre (CIA compiled lists of communists for the Indonesian army to find and kill - in the years following the coup 250,000 Indonesians were killed by their own government forces, with heavy US assistance).

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
I answered you down below (4.33 / 3) (#52)
by bankind on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:38:22 AM EST

sorry I didn't include this point.

But yeah, every scholar of Indonesia musrt make a choice about 1965, but that choice ISN"T what the US did, it has always been Sukarno's role. Whether he supported the Air force or was just a figurehead. No one can answer that question.

But for your question, the US literally dropped all CIA operations after the Pope incident (US plane shot down while bombing Indonesian troops).

Furthermore, NO ONE knew Sukarno was going to be the guy to survive the entire affair, in fact the only reason HE did was because everyone thought he was soft. Sorry man, Indonesia politics in '65 ain't so simple as a US led coup.

Did we support Suharto after he seized control? Damn right we did. And guess what happened? Indonesia was cured of being the sick man of Asia. Regardless of what a literature professor might say.

I know its a difficult piece of history to cover, that's why most of the skivvy comes via the inside track. Here's a little diary I wrote a while back. Would hate you to think I have some fleeting temporary interest in this sort of thing. And certainly for you to assume that I'm some dumb-ass. Insouciant sure, but dumb-ass! Oh my ears are a bleeding!!

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Old K5 problem with links (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by Pac on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:53:57 AM EST

Theys must be absolute or else our friend Scoop rewrites them in his own particular funny way...

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
sorry (none / 0) (#63)
by bankind on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 01:28:18 AM EST

i don't know much about no thinking machines (like I just accidentaly voted -1)

why'd that do that no-ways?

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Correct form (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by Pac on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 01:49:37 AM EST

If you want to make a link to another page, Scoop demands that you starts with <quote>"http://"</quote> in front of the url (and use the complete url, making it an absolute link). Otherwise it interprets your link as relative to the page you are on (for instance, the wrong link in my comment above, whose original source is exactly equal to the correct link, except for the leading <quote>"http://"</quote> notice K5 added the url for this very page in front of it).

It is a more or less inevitable design decision. The other way around (interpreting everything as absolute) has its own problems too.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
thanks yo [nt] (none / 0) (#67)
by bankind on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 01:58:34 AM EST

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Can you please cite (none / 0) (#41)
by sal5ero on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 11:56:52 PM EST

where Chomsky said that? I'd like to see it for myself.

[ Parent ]
about the KR? (none / 0) (#61)
by bankind on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 01:09:49 AM EST

Here are the references:

Chomsky, N and Herman E 1977. "Distrotions at Fourth Hand" The Nation June 25.


Chomsky, N and Herman E 1979. after the Cataclysm: Post-War Indochina and the Construction of Imperial Ideology. Boston. South End Press.

They aren't so easy to find. Last I heard he was trying to buy every last single copy because he made such a fool of himself. He really was the Michael Moore of the 1970's. No offense to K5's own.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Conext, please (none / 0) (#76)
by thaths on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 05:11:41 AM EST

The comments were made in a period of great uncertainity about what was happening inside the then Kampuchea. The KR were ruling Kampuchea with an iron fist between '75 and '78. No Western press was allowed into the country during the time. In fact, the only press that managed to visit the country and make a report was the Yugoslav contingent that were strictly chaperoned. The only source of information about the genocide going on inside the country was the refugees in the camps in Thailand.

The Vietnamese overthrew the KR regime in response to repeated provocations in '78. The horros of Killing Fields did not become public till the early 80's.

What is ghastly, to me, about the tragedy is that the KR continued to occupy the Cambodian seat in the UN with the backing of the US through the 80's when the horrors were well known and substantiated. The KR continued to wage a civil war aided by tranfusion of arms and money (from the sale of illegally logged teak from Cambodia's resource rich North) through the US's client Thailand.

I recommend Sideshow for more information.

Second, Chomsky is not infallible.


[ Parent ]

For the most part I agree (4.00 / 1) (#90)
by bankind on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 10:12:53 AM EST

but whomever the US backed it has nothing to do with Chomsky. Furthermore you're missing the larger context of what was occurring during the period. The US should have supported Vietnam's occupation of Cambodia from a moral perspective, but it wasn't an option. The US was not "backing" the KR (as in arming), the US was backing FUNCINPIC (Norodom Sihanouk's royalist party) although it is wholly denied. Both these groups were opposing Hun Sen's regime.

The KR had the backing primarily of China (which is why China invaded Northern Vietnam in '79) and Thailand. The US didn't fight the KR's seat and would not support a Vietnamese selected chair. But yeah ultimately the US was in a bad position, but it wasn't like we could suddenly say, "yeah, the Vietnamese are the Cambodian saviors." How do you think that would have gone over domestically?

The big problem was the fear that the Vietnamese were going to march all the way to Bangkok, as they certainly had the military to do it. The Vietnamese had one of the most hardcore militaries in the world at that time. They slaughtered 50,000 Chinese that were foolish enough to go into the northern mountains while they were occupying Cambodia. They didn't even bring any support up from the South. Just used the in place border defense to fight off the Chinese horde. It was because of the strength of the Vietnamese military that the US supported opposition to Vietnam in Cambodia. Our old ally, Thailand was sweating bullets (they only had 4 tanks and maybe 1 could crank up).

But as far as Chomsky, his little idiotic escapades during the period pointed out the fact that his little theories can lead to some stupid rational. Chomsky is always about jumping in any political issue and declaring himself the god of the subject because he wrote some unreadable book on syntax.

I've read Sideshow and it is a very biased book, most people that study this subject prefer Nayan Chanda's Brother Enemy, Karl Jackson's 1975-1978: Rendezvous with Death, or Stephen Morris's Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

More context (none / 0) (#224)
by thaths on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 02:21:23 AM EST

The US was not "backing" the KR (as in arming), the US was backing FUNCINPIC (Norodom Sihanouk's royalist party) although it is wholly denied.

Wasn't Sihanouk the Head of State (at least for a while) during the KR (mis)rule? Also, FUNCINPEC did not exist as a viable political entity during that period.

The KR had the backing primarily of China (which is why China invaded Northern Vietnam in '79) and Thailand.

China, by this time, was firmly on the US side in the "War Against USSR" after Nixon's visit. As for Thailand, they were as happy to contiue the fight from which they got so much money and materiel.

The big problem was the fear that the Vietnamese were going to march all the way to Bangkok, as they certainly had the military to do it.

That is just the much discredited domino theory.

Our old ally, Thailand was sweating bullets (they only had 4 tanks and maybe 1 could crank up).

You mean to say all through the 60's and early 70's (especially during the escalation of US involvement in the late 60's and the disengament during the Vietnamization in '72-'73) the millions of dollars of US aid (most of which was military aid during this period) could only buy 1 working tank? If you look at the figures oodles of war materiel was flowing into Thailand all through the conflicts. The weapons, as with most infusions of US arms to American client-states around the world, was used by the military junta as much against its (the junta) own people as against the "communist threat".

I've read Sideshow and it is a very biased book, most people that study this subject prefer Nayan Chanda's Brother Enemy, Karl Jackson's 1975-1978: Rendezvous with Death, or Stephen Morris's Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia.

Thanks for the references. I'll check them out when I get to civilization and a decent bookstore. As for _Sideshow_, it has copious quotes from Nayan Chanda's _Brother Enemny_ and his reporting for the Far Easter Economics Review.

PS: I am not a citizen of the US. So I can't be included in your 'Our'.
PPS: We are going way off-topic. So I'll end my comments to this artile here.

[ Parent ]

well I disagree completely (none / 0) (#225)
by bankind on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 02:31:34 AM EST

But we can certinaly continue this debate sometime in the future. I'm taking a motorbkie trip throught the battle fields of the '79 border war between Vietnam and China and intend to write a story.

Just one quick note, Sihanouk always played a weird game, which is why he has allies in North Korea, but he was NEVER the head of state during the KR rule.

FUNCINPEC was and is a party backed by the US and most of the international community, yet for some darn reason every time there is an election, the Hun Sen regieme shoots them. Maybe because they don;t have guns.

Anyway the election is happening right now, let hope for the best.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Breaking my own word (none / 0) (#236)
by thaths on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 05:26:04 AM EST

I know I said my previous comment would be the last. But I'm going to break my word just to say the following:

  • I'm thoroughly enjoying this debate. We MUST continue this debate at a later date.
  • I'm looking forward to reading your story on the bike ride. The northernmost I went was Hanoi.
  • Sihanouk was something in the KR Kampuchea. I don't have my Chandler handy.
  • When I was in Cambodia the people I spoke to seemed to like Sam Rainsy but would not vote for him, despite his clean image, because, in one person's memorable words, they "didn't want to vote for somebody that lost".


[ Parent ]

KR in the UN (5.00 / 2) (#71)
by thaths on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 04:24:10 AM EST

Actually, it was thanks to the US govt's irrational urge not to make up with the Viet Namese Govt after '75 that the KR kerp their seats in the UN as the legal representatives of Kampuchea after they got kicked out by the Viet Namese in '78.


[ Parent ]

The difference between you and Chomsky... (none / 0) (#108)
by guidoreichstadter on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 09:46:13 PM EST

If you had given enough of a damn about dead people murdered with US guns, I might have read about it in your book first ;>

you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
So... (none / 0) (#112)
by bankind on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 12:29:21 AM EST

you'll be reading about how we killed Uday and Qusay, I presume? Can you beleive the audacity of the butcher AMERICANS?

I'm not into your Stalinist double standards. Better go burn all those books of different points of view...

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Back to the glorious Indonesian nights of terror? (4.75 / 4) (#35)
by Pac on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 11:18:32 PM EST

You are full of it. I don't really know if you are uninformed or just trying to be an smartass, but UN intervention, led by other Portuguese speaking countries (specially Brazil), prevented Indonesia from carrying out a Bosnia-like racial cleansing in East Timor.

No matter how inadequate the current UN administrator is, Timoreans are doing much better now, without the bodies pilled on the streets.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
I dabble in Southeast Asian Politics (3.40 / 5) (#45)
by bankind on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:13:08 AM EST

but like Sukarno, my true love is loving.

The death numbers in East Timor range from 200-20,000. My conclusion is that there is little evidence of a huge killing. In Indonesia its typical for death rates to be overstated, for example, in 1965 with the Communist led coup, there was supposed to be vast deaths as all the communists disappeared. However, most stories these days say that most villages that supported the communist simply went to the city square and tossed down their membership cards. The infamous number for how many deaths occurred that year (200,000) was from a estimate by a State department official that drove across Java and guessed by how many grown men he should've seen on the street corners.

But that's all history, right?

When the Militias in Indonesia rebelled after President Habibie declared a "special situation for East Timor." The Indonesian funded militias (note: not military) rebelled, there were killings, but nothing very organized, like in Bosnia. Which tends to put me guessing that a lower end amount of violence occurred. And we sure haven't heard about any mass grave in Tim Tim.

So what good has come for East Timor from being separate? They no longer have access to ANY support or integration with the Indonesian economy and are now another welfare baby of the UN. Just like Cambodia. This (and of course the strategic interest of the Malacca straights) is why Indonesia will never let go of Aceh.

But sure man, I'm all for secession, cause had my people been successful, my current President wouldn't be the Massachusetts born baby W Bush.

You got any more question there, laddy? Wanna know capital controls function? Care for a history of peasant coercion and rebellion throughout Chinese History? Ever want to learn the official Marine Corps method of silent removal of sentry? I can also pop a wheelie on my motorbike, but that takes years of training.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

You are talking just about the independence war (4.60 / 5) (#50)
by Pac on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:33:07 AM EST

There are reliable accounts that more 200,000 East Timoreans were killed by the Indonesians from 1975 (when Indonesia invaded East Timor) until the independence.

Also, talking about "secession" is bullshit. East Timor was invaded by Indonesia on the brink of its independece from Portugal, in 1975, and never ceased fighting for it.

And if the US can just forget about it, as it always claim it wants to, Portugal and Brazil are trying their best to rebuild East Timor and give it a meaningful economy...

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
No 1999 (4.25 / 4) (#58)
by bankind on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 01:00:55 AM EST

wait hold on a second there cowboy. You being all confused there. The 200,000 number comes from 1965 in Java. In the invasion of East Timor on Dec 7, 1975, 60,000 people were killed. And yeah, they got royally fucked no doubt about it.

But 200,000? come on man! There were only 600,000 people total in East Timor in 1976!!! The military went in to remove the communist rebel faction that took over and there was a blood bath because the military was poorly trained. Mainly they killed the Chinese.

You got your blood baths confused. So lets run it all down:

1965: Sukarno booted, Suharto takes over, 250,000 (doubtful) deaths

1974: Indonesia invades E. Timor: 60,000 killed (high estimate).

1999: Militia starts killing again and 200-20,000 (I think more around 4,000) are killed

We all straight now? You referenced an article before about 1965, did you mean to? If you want a source, try A History of Modern Indonesia Since 1200c. 3rd edition by MC Ricklefs.

So your 200,000 number from 1975 to 1999, right? I got under 100,000 from my numbers.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Re-read then recount (5.00 / 4) (#62)
by Pac on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 01:18:15 AM EST

I never said 200,000 were killed in 1975. I said 200,000 were killed from 1975 to the independence. And East Timor population estimated in 800,000 by 1999 and in almost one million by 2002. So as not to be accused of excessive use of leftist sources, try this or that.

The article I referenced elsewhere has nothing to do with East Timor, it was about US involvement in the Indonesian coup.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
yeah (4.25 / 4) (#64)
by bankind on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 01:42:05 AM EST

and the CIA link says 100,000-250,000. Pretty wide margin don't you think? I mean who knows really. Every indo-hand debates this and no one has an answer. NGOs and the UN always inflate numbers because it increases their budgets. I like the lower end just because you don't hear about many rives jammed with corpses stories like you hear from Rwanda. Plus the Indonesians have a tendency to go through this exchange:

Q: So how many people were killed in this village?
A: this village? Naw not here, my man. But that village on the other side of the river, savages man, everyone was killed.

Yeah and I disagree with that assessment of '65 as I said earlier.

BTW in an earlier post, when I said "no one expected Sukarno", I meant Suharto. Bloody Javanese and their S-blahblahbla-O names.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Add 1991 (none / 0) (#193)
by Vesperto on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 03:18:46 PM EST

Noverber 12th 1991: Alain Nairn and Amy Goodman (The New York Times and WBAI radio, NY) filmed the Santa Cruz Massacre. That is to say, 270 people who were walking towards the cemitary after the mass for a student murdered by the indonesian troops two weeks before. That same army killed in cold blood at least 270 unarmed civillians. That was the most shocking news from East Timor but i'm sure you're not gonna try to convince me that that was the only massacre.

Some notes:
The aussie prime in '74, Gough Withlam, stating publicly that Suharto's decision to anex Timor would bring greater stability to the region didn't exactly help the East Timor people.
During the indonesian ocupation (1975-95) 308000 died. The population in '75 was 696000 so that's a 44.3% decrease. During the japanese ocupation (1942-45) that decreae was of 13.5%.

La blua plago!
[ Parent ]

never said (none / 0) (#198)
by bankind on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 05:19:30 PM EST

I never said massacres didn't happen and I never said it wasn't a bad thing; I just said I don't think East Timor has much hope as an independent country. I am well aware of that event and I never said anything about it.

Anyway, the NGOs( specifically, Human Rights Watch) came out with that 200,000 number in '74 and from then to independence there is perhaps half that many killed. I doubt that figure. 200,000 people are a shit load of people to die at one time. WHERE ARE THE BODIES? If there were mass graves, you would expect them to be paraded all over the news.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how many were killed exactly, but I don't trust NGO's in this situation. They are generally more money grubbing than MNCs. Creating issues is their business, the bigger the issue, the more funding.

But never mind, everything's fine, they have democracy and that is FAR more important than sustenance. Lots of UN and NGO dolts have jobs there, good for business. And don't look at me as someone to stop somebody from earning. So make sure you clap humanity on the back about that and Cambodia as well.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Let them choose. (none / 0) (#217)
by Vesperto on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:47:55 PM EST

While they were under Indonesia then got no liberty, massacres and what not. They weren't free, they weren't happy. Yeah, maybe they did have some stability, but i think anyone in their circumstances would want freedom and peace above all things.

Now, they're independant and unstable. No wonder, they didn't know what was rulling their own land for decades, they're blind. Sure it'll take time and international help for them to get back on track and there's the risk of them becoming another welfare kid of the UN; but i'm pretty sure they prefer this to the indonesian regime.

It's a risk worth taking, imho.

La blua plago!
[ Parent ]

and how would you apply this (5.00 / 1) (#222)
by bankind on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 02:06:24 AM EST

to the Confederate states of the US?

Freedom is three squares and a bed to lay in. Everything else is pleasure. Don't dupe yourself to thinking that these political experiments define man, peace or security. The period in 1974 was one of mass western suspicion of communism and the Timorese that supported independence, supported communism. Looking at the other communist experiements in the world, can you say they would have been better off? Furthermore, Sukarno was developing a hybrid policy of communism, nationalism and Islam right prior to '65. Assuming that Suharto would not take action, that he was logically inclined to not take action is foolish.

East Timor today has no liberty. They have an administration that cares nothing for their development (the UN) and they have not had progress.

Choosing Independence or this bullshit notion of liberty removed them from the major development achievement of the 20th century (East Asia). Now Tim Tim might as well be a South American shit-hole like the rest of them.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

You're either a troll or an imbecile <nt> (2.50 / 2) (#239)
by Vesperto on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 08:35:03 AM EST

La blua plago!
[ Parent ]
keep your Stalinist double standards <nt> (none / 0) (#242)
by bankind on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 10:01:20 AM EST

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

"Shit happened, will happen again" (4.60 / 5) (#36)
by Pac on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 11:24:59 PM EST

It may be just a matter of pointing how Italy, Germany and England fought very strong internal terrorist groups during the 70's without becoming military governments. Or how Israel keeps its democracy (with a large group of Arabs, no less, sitting in the Knesset with a popular mandate). Even fancier, show how a the Nicaraguan Sandinista government managed to survive the drug-finnanced covert attack by a foreign power. Hmm, no. Let's forget theis last one, the American people is not really prepared to forget all fairy tales their government likes to tell them...

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
Hmmm, not sure Northern Ireland would agree (5.00 / 3) (#91)
by grand master thump on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 10:55:51 AM EST

Cant speak on behalf of the other countries but there was a considerable loss of freedom in the UK due to the conflict with the IRA. The Prevention of Terrorism act stripped many of the privileges accorded to a suspect, media censorship, troops on the street in support of police units etc, not to mention behind the scenes government collusion with loyalist terrorists, military shoot to kill policies, extra-judicial killings and cover-ups within the various intelligence services.

The troubles were and to a lesser extent still are a nasty, dirty and murky conflict.

This sig has been stolen
[ Parent ]

US involvement (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by smallstepforman on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 01:04:43 AM EST

Bosnia and Timor show how to really help the shitholes of the world.The kicker is that (in the case of Bosnia & Herzegovina) US unilaterally supports one side of a conflict at the expense of the 2nd, causing the other side to despise American foreign policy. You still haven't learned the lessons of 11th September.

[ Parent ]
Bosnia (2.00 / 2) (#96)
by Merk00 on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 11:51:15 AM EST

Are you trying to suggest that the US should've been less biased against countries that were committing ethnic cleansing (namely Serbia)? I'm not sure if that was the lesson we were supposed to learn from September 11th.

"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 ]

Re: Ethnic cleansing (4.50 / 2) (#105)
by smallstepforman on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 07:06:04 PM EST

Check out UN refugee statistics and you'll see that the largest number of refugees from the former Yugoslavia belong to the Serbian national group. But hey, its way too easy to believe CNN and the WhiteHouse reports, who actually cares about some barbaric people half a world away. Divide and conquer, cripple the strongest opponent, and install several puppet states.

[ Parent ]
Immigration (none / 0) (#153)
by MicroBerto on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:50:01 AM EST

Good stuff. However, I'd like to raise one off-topic point on the immigration idea.

I've always been pro-immigration. However, my rule is this: one strike and you're out. If you get caught red-handed breaking one single law, you get punished -- and punished badly. Sent to an island, tortured, your family all gets sent back and not allowed back in, whatever.

I don't mind letting anyone in. Once they start causing problems though, i want them dead. I think it's only fair.

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

Any Law? (5.00 / 1) (#176)
by thejeff on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 12:49:33 PM EST

So jaywalking would be punishable by death? A little extreme don't you think? If you can actually live for a year in the US without breaking some obscure law, I'd be impressed. Especially if you came from a country with a different set of obscure trivial laws.

Even if something like this was implemented, and to some extent it is, if you become a citizen, it should no longer apply. There should be no way for the government to take citizenship away.

[ Parent ]

Immigration (5.00 / 1) (#210)
by godix on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 08:49:56 PM EST

I always thought immigration should be both easier and harder.

An immigrant should be held in a secure facility for a week or two while a through background check in their home nation is done. If the person is wanted for violating laws in their home country that are also illegal in America (IE murder as opposed to writing 'The Satanic Verses') then not only are they denied entrance to America but they also get handed over to officials of their home country. If the immigrant is not wanted, or is wanted for things that aren't illegal in America, then let them in. There are of course exceptions, IE health quarantine, but any exception I can think of would delay entry to America rather than deny it. This would be for standard immigration of course, political asylum would have to be dealt with differently because if North Korea (for example) said a person was a murderer we wouldn't necessarily believe them.

This makes it much harder to get into the country than it is now, we tend to not check into their history much. On the other hand it makes it easier because we'll no longer be saying 'sorry, we already got 100K Mexicans this year' or 'You're trying to claim political asylum but your country is our ally, denied.' As long as the person hasn't committed anything that would be illegal in America they're in.

Give everyone about a year to get used to this then order border patrols to shoot to kill on any illegal immigrants. By that point almost all illegal immigrants will be people who couldn't pass the background check and those are exactly the type of people we want to deny entry to.

The advantages of this are that it would actually put credence to our claim as the 'melting pot', would help world opinion because we'd be acting a lot less elitist (at least on immigration), and it would make slipping into the country illegally harder. It's difficult for a terrorist/drug smuggler/etc to slip in as just another illegal mexican worker when all real mexican workers go through immigration. The disadvantages of this is that it would give Pat Buchanan and his followers heart attacks, but if you think about it is that really all that bad?

As for once they're in the country, they should be dealt with under American laws the same as everyone else. Citizenship should be granting someone the privileges of America, IE voting. Basic human rights (as defined in the Constitution) should be granted to everyone in America regardless of if they're citizens or immigrants with green cards.

"I think you're right"
- Rusty speaking about godix
Hey, it's my damned
[ Parent ]

A note about consistency (none / 0) (#235)
by TheLizardKing on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 04:28:51 AM EST

In reply to point #1, "The US should develop a predictable, consistent foreign policy", I should point out we tried that.  The name was containment, and its logical spawn was the Vietnam War.  

When you become predictable and inflexible (by sticking to a consistent foreign policy no matter what) your enemies will use that to their advantage to force you into costly situations that you necessarily wouldn't get yourself into.  When the USSR figured out that the US was willing to fight it out over the most insignificant of territories in order to prevent any sort of spread of communism, they sent aid, materiel, and training to Ho Chi Minh's government to help North Vietnam conquer the South.  

If the US hadn't been so dogmatic about Containment, maybe we would have stepped back and realized that the attempt to prevent South Vietnam from falling to the Communists just wasn't worth the effort and cost it would take.

Inconsistency is also a byproduct of the democratic tradition: new leadership every 4 to 8 years likewise brings in new thinking and new policies.

Consistency is likewise not necessarily a good thing.  In President Bush's State of the Union Address 2002 he mentioned Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as clear and present dangers, and warned that further misbehavior would warrant any response up to and including military intervention.  Personally, I like the inconsistent shift Bush took in the SotUA 2003 in signalling flexibility towards Iran and North Korea (he noted that internal reformists and diplomacy were the best options for the two, respectively).  Or, alternatively, would you like President Bush to be consistent to the Iraq model of response and be marching US troops east from Iraq and west from Afghanistan right now, given Iran's advanced uranium enrichment program?

[ Parent ]

Simple (2.66 / 6) (#13)
by bigbtommy on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 07:01:20 PM EST

Move to Canada.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
nah: invade canada, should take one afternoon (nt (2.33 / 3) (#17)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 09:08:08 PM EST

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
two words: (1.00 / 1) (#16)
by Osama Bin Fabulous on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 07:46:07 PM EST

Misappropriation of funds.

ps how can this story not have a poll?

two? (none / 0) (#30)
by eht on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 10:49:38 PM EST

you must have failed math because that is three words

[ Parent ]
democracy first, money second, not visa versa (4.00 / 9) (#18)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 09:19:53 PM EST

the us govt foreign policy should be purged of the influence of corporate interest, and aligned strictly along the lines of the promotion of democracy, everywhere, regardless of economic interests

what we have now is the promotion of democracy strictly along the lines of economics (iraq) and in kneejerk reaction to threats (afghanistan)

meanwhile, we stand by saudi arabia: that's hypocrisy

most of the sept. 11th bombers were saudis raised on militant wahabism which is funded by saudi money from the sale of oil to the us

fuck that backwards fundamentalist kingdom

and if we don't do this, we will suffer later form the next round of militant fundamentalist assholes, bought and paid for with our own oil money

the whole world can see our hypocrisy on this point

we should simply go with promotion of democracy by any means, everywhere, all the time, regardless of economics

liberians begging us troops to invade see this, but we won't out of fear of another somalia, and because we don't see any $ in it.

but we will, if later the blood diamonds mined in sierra leone (destabilized by charles taylor) turns out to be the source of osama bin laden funds

tyranny and corruption anywhere is a threat to peace and security everywhere

simple as that

us troops to liberia, now

$ is the enemy of democracy in the us

that really is the biggest threat to democracy in the us: the choking and warping of it by the influence of money and corporate influence

we will either purge our governmental institutions of this addiction, or we will pay the price again and again, until we learn democracy everywhere is peace and security and prosperity everywhere, regardless of the shortsighted pursuit of the almighty buck

howabout the longsighted pursuit of democracy?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

close it and save money (nt) (4.00 / 3) (#19)
by mami on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 09:20:48 PM EST

First I would introduce (4.00 / 2) (#88)
by mami on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 09:44:19 AM EST

national ID cards (without any readable information) for all Americans. All the money you save from closing the homeland department, you invest in the CIA.

Second you check the power of the administration to not pressure the CIA to produce results that suit its ideology, but to produce facts and analysis.

Third you find ways for all states to work together flawlessly.

Something in the structure of doing police and intelligence work in the US is on purpose left chaotic and unmanagable as an effort to check and balance power, but it seems as if that effort isn't going anywhere and actually fires back.

The structure of competing fragmentation seems to leave so many loopholes open that can easily be filled by forces that abuse power. The opposite from what was intended.

Or may be not, may it was intended. Then it would be an evil system. Well, one thing is sure, I don't understand this complicated system of governing a country. All I know is that it doesn't work well.  

[ Parent ]

I would do two things (3.80 / 5) (#20)
by Maclir on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 09:21:41 PM EST

1. Change the name to the "Department of Defence" (or Defense). The role of the Department is to defend the country. That sounds like "defence" to me. (Side issue - what do we call the current "Department of Defense"? Obvious - The Department of War, or The Department of Offense). "Homeland Security" is a bullshit term.

2. Make sure all people in the U.S. have a legal right to be here. If you are a citizen, or have permanent residency, then you have an unfettered right to be in the country. Same as someone on any of the other visas. You are here illegally? Have you overstayed your visa? We will give you a free trip home. Are you here on a student visa, but not fulfilling the requirements as a student? You have two weeks to get back to your studies, or we give you a free trip home.

Where have you been? (5.00 / 4) (#54)
by jabber on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:39:59 AM EST

The people who carried out the 9/11 attacks were legally here. In fact, Atta had his visa renewed the following March. The problem isn't illegality. The problem is intent, and policing that is a hair's breadth from "mind-crime".

Actually, the problem isn't even intent, as that is just a symptom. The problem is international policy. Policy is what is pissing off enough people to the point of coming over here, following all rules for doing so, and then blowing up sky scrapers. All that "Homeland Security" (or your much more aptly names Department of Defense) can do is treat the symptoms.

Tightening INS enforcement is well and good, but the vast bulk of illegals in the US are just trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. The people trying to hurt this country are working within the bounds of law, until they're ready to strike their death-blow.

Before 9/11, box cutters were not disallowed in carry-on baggage, but the use of cell-phones in flight was. The terrorists boarded the plane within the rule of law, but with ill intent. The passengers of the Pennsylvania flight, who called family and police before taking the plane down, broke the law, but with good intent. How do you reconcile that?

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

Can do! (none / 0) (#119)
by bjlhct on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 03:45:47 AM EST

First we need to strengthen the brainwashing qualities of our fine educational establishments, and then to plug the gaps we make you go through a year of a cross between http://www.wwasp.com/default.htm and http://www.scientology.com/ except for patriotism.

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
I mean when one immigrates NT (none / 0) (#120)
by bjlhct on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 03:47:49 AM EST

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
Re: (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by smallstepforman on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 01:07:15 AM EST

Make sure all people in the U.S. have a legal right to be here.

So when will descendants of European and African emigrants return to their place of origin and leave the American continent to the indigenous Native American tribes?

[ Parent ]

Not sure if you are trolling, but.... (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by Maclir on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 08:35:15 AM EST

If a descendant of a European or African emigrant (actually, once they are here they become an immigrant) is a US citizen, then they have a legal right to be here.

Don't cloud the issue with off topic discussions about returning the land to its original inhabitants. Do we then kick all those of Norman descent out of England? What about all the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes? Or those that came with the Romans? Leave England to the original Britons? Or was it Celts?

[ Parent ]

Actually it's the damn humans that need to go back (none / 0) (#87)
by fn0rd on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 09:37:50 AM EST

Send 'em all back to Africa!

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
Death to the fidels!

[ Parent ]
Department of Defense (none / 0) (#95)
by Merk00 on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 11:48:43 AM EST

The current Department of Defense is so named because it combined the old Department of War (namely, the army) and the Department of the Navy. Neither Department would've consented to taking the name of the other so a new name had to be devised. Given that it's designed to defend American interests (and not just America proper), the name is somewhat fitting.

"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 ]

It is a simple, great truth of the world: (3.25 / 4) (#24)
by bankind on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 10:06:04 PM EST

that no two countries with a McDonald's have ever gone to war. The US should promote Burger Hegemony worldwide, with or without the support of the UN or KFC.

You can preach your theories, your ideals, but I'm speaking on the for real.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman

It was a simple, great truth of the world. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by Apuleius on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 10:23:21 PM EST

Until that dustup over Kosovo. The day after the bombing began, the Belgrade McDonalds was looted.

There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
LIES (4.20 / 5) (#29)
by bankind on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 10:38:19 PM EST

Silence thee besmirching of Lord Ronald. McDonalds was a bringer of peace and harmony to the Serbian warmongers. With the McCountry sandwich, Lord Ronald gave the people of Serbia a sense of dignity and pride served with processed pork. Offers were made to sell the Belgrade consulate, yet the Holy Empire of McDonald's kept its vision of a peaceful world full easy to order extra value meals.

Shame on thee for poxing the Lord Ronald at his finest hour of peace keeping and maintaining global order.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Ah, marketing myths (5.00 / 2) (#42)
by Pac on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:00:14 AM EST

Ronald's marketing machine is pretty good, no argument here.

Now try these: Argentina against England (1982), Israel against many Arab countries (1948 and beyond), India against Pakistan (since 1948 again), Turkey against Grece... And I am not even including covert wars (USA against Latin America, mostly) or civil wars with clear foreign involvment.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
haha... to quote the linked article: (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by sesh on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 06:00:22 AM EST

"And people in McDonald's countries didn't like to fight wars anymore, they preferred to wait in line for burgers."

Does the US not count as a McDonalds country, or does it not count as a country that likes to fight wars? I find the one as difficult to believe as the other...

[ Parent ]

I would admit (1.25 / 4) (#26)
by richarj on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 10:26:22 PM EST

That I was not American and during the furore that followed I would retire and take the huge big spanking pension and live out the rest of my life comfortably in a better country called Australia.

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
Arrest you (2.83 / 6) (#28)
by Work on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 10:30:02 PM EST

Ya troublemaker.

I'd kill myself. (4.00 / 4) (#31)
by j1mmy on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 10:50:27 PM EST

No, but seriously, I'd dissolve the entire department and spend my horde of funding on feeding the hungry, providing quality education for the poor, and creating job training programs for the unemployed. I might hire a hooker or two with whatever's leftover.

And then... (4.50 / 2) (#37)
by Pac on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 11:26:52 PM EST

You end up erradicating poverty, illiteracy and unemployment, but all the press will care about will be those couple of hookers and their best selling book about you...

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
Re: Hookers (none / 0) (#44)
by ender81b on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:05:52 AM EST

That wouldn't be that bad to have a best selling book about my sexual prowess being passed around.

I think what we have here is a win win situation.

[ Parent ]

Do you also smell Oval officeness? :) (none / 0) (#46)
by Pac on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:17:26 AM EST

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
I would... (4.00 / 4) (#32)
by gr3y on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 10:53:40 PM EST

take action based on the following:

  1. The burden of proof should be on those passing through points of entry into the United States, not on citizens. We should refuse to become a police or surveillance state. Freedom is too precious. Turn immigrants, students, etc. away if they can't provide positive proof of identity. Sorry, but it's not too much to ask. My great grandfather had to provide proof of identity, and had his name changed at Ellis Island to something easier for most Americans to pronounce by fiat. "Sloan" was a very popular surname at Ellis Island.
  2. No American citizen should be expected to carry "papers" or an identification card to verify their identity. We're Americans, and we don't do that.

Of course, the devil is in the details. The implementation of both or either would be the subject of a great debate.

I am a disruptive technology.

Two words (none / 0) (#48)
by jabber on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:27:13 AM EST

Oklahoma City.

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

Two Words (none / 0) (#51)
by Bad Harmony on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:33:07 AM EST

Ruby Ridge

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

One word (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by jabber on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:44:54 AM EST


Point being, any "War on Terror" is going to be as easy to fight as the "War on Drugs".

Now, trained and strong, white anglo-saxon militia-men like those at RR, who dislike the government, can get on a plane with no problems.

The "threat" can't be seen as external. Therein lies xenophobia, and the US is one of the few countries that can not make a convincing argument for any practice or law in that direction.

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

I didn't say... (none / 0) (#110)
by gr3y on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 12:11:53 AM EST

that "foreigners" cannot be trusted, or that every American is an exercise in moral rectitude. There are more than a few Americans I would take the right to vote away from, and some I would deprive of the right to breed.

I only said that foreigners get the brand before I do. I live here. I see no reason I should be branded for their convenience.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Personally (1.71 / 14) (#33)
by STFUYHBT on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 11:11:31 PM EST

I'd legalize pot, you nimrod fascist apologist. Think your views are 'fair and balanced?' After they ban your precious fucking X box so you can spend more time being a productive and beneficial member of society, I hope you'll change your mind.

"Of all the myriad forms of life here, the 'troll-diagnostic' is surely the lowest, yes?" -medham
The obvious stuff (3.83 / 6) (#39)
by Blarney on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 11:44:24 PM EST

First of all, order this nonsensical harassment of immigrants to stop. People will overstay visas, will screw up their paperwork, and will continue to come here illegally to work (still better for our economy then the permanently debilitating offshore outsourcing Republicans love so much) - and there's nothing to be done about it. These people are our first line of information - in fact, how about free citizenships for those foreigners who give us useful tips about terrorism? I think that's a perfectly reasonable reward, one which helps everybody.

Secondly, where are the reinforced airline cockpit doors? The ones that we were promised in exchange for the humonguous airline bailout? In fact, do things Israeli-style and put a plainclothes agent on every plane, with a gun to shoot the bad guys - and a grenade to take the aircraft out in case it's falling into enemy hands. There won't be any more hijackings, once it's known we're serious. And if we need another airline bailout to fund increased security, do it - but every American gets a free domestic round-trip voucher as a condition of the $50-250 per capita these bailouts are costing. Use some of the money to hire trained security guards like was originally planned, fire every sleeper or slacker or illiterate - and tell Little Bush to shove it up his ass when he starts reciting his cute little memorized speech about free-markets and union-busting and keeping the inspector's wages on par with those of Wal-Mart greeters.

Thirdly, advocate for the removal of the CIA's "black budget" funding mechanism, possibly take it to the Supreme Court. Work towards a "Barbarian Act" which strictly prohibits any Federal employee or contractor from arming any military or separatist movement in any miserable dictatorship hellholes - we should only help countries which have popular suffrage, secular government, and guaranteed rights to their citizens similar to those in our Constitution, or in rare circumstances revolutionary movements which support these concepts beyond a reasonable doubt. In the end, these muhajadeen and dictators just raise terrorists who turn on us and our allies - we must stop supporting it. All these dirtbags like Osama and Saddam got where they were on our money and guns - our system must be reformed to that this never happens again. Those CIA spooks and high officials who continue to arm our enemies in the name of realpolitik must face the full penalty for treason - including, yes, hanging.

Fourthly, a Marshall Plan for Iraq. They got bogged down a bit when they mentioned "universal healthcare" for Iraqi's, that plan got shot down because we have deprived American citizens who are sometimes sickening or even dying for lack of this same privilege themselves - but it can't be helped. There is enough oil money in Iraq to make the people there richer than the average American - and we should do this, should make them rich despite the well-justified opposition here, for the sake of the future and all the wars to come. I'd tell Rumsfeld to shut his stupid face next time he babbles about how he wants Iraq to become a "moderate Islamic country" - rather, it must become a country with the same freedoms that ours does, let it be a light and an example to the backward nations which breed hate against us due to their lack of knowledge and understanding of our way of life.

Pretty much what the Russians did... (none / 0) (#74)
by gordonjcp on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 04:50:18 AM EST

When people from the West were being kidnapped by Israelis in the early 80s, every time one Russia's diplomats was kidnapped, they'd start hauling random (but related to the kidnapping) Israelis in, beat them up a bit, then shoot them. Made it quite, quite clear that they were not fucking about. They learned to leave the Russians well alone after that.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.

[ Parent ]
Brutality... (none / 0) (#213)
by Matrix on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:44:32 PM EST

...Seems to be helping them a whole lot with their current round of rebellions. That sort of thing will only get you so far before people get fed up and slam your head into the counter for a change. Or even better, don't even bother kidnapping your ambassadors/tourists - they just shoot them on sight, because they know that if some idiot goes missing in their country for any reason, they and their families are going to suffer.

"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Is that really wise? (none / 0) (#191)
by NoBeardPete on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 02:44:53 PM EST

You propose banning our government from supporting any government that doesn't measure up to high standards of liberty and democracy. I appreciate the sentiment, but I don't think this is a good idea. This would deny us any leverage over countries that are well below those standards. If some country doesn't come close to measuring up, there's no reason they should make any changes to get better, unless they are willing to undertake a dramatic overhaul of their whole system.

What would be nice is to link aid and support to measures of liberty, democracy, and general good governance. No matter how poorly a country is run, they should know that by making a small improvement, they will recieve a bit more support from the US. This way there can be constant pressure on other countries to improve.

You are attempting to address the problem of untrustworthy memebers of the American government who will give aid to the wrong groups for the wrong reasons. You seem to hope that by tying their hands, they can be prevented from doing this. While that may be true, it would also have other side effects that are not as desireable.

Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

Here's what I'd do... (4.00 / 2) (#40)
by Pseudonym on Tue Jul 22, 2003 at 11:51:10 PM EST

I would sack any official in the relevant intelligence and law enforcement organisations who are responsible for inter-departmental squabbling and petty empire-building and get them actually cooperating.

That's really all you need that was missing before the 9th of November. Unfortunately, here on Planet Earth, it's a somewhat utopian goal.

sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
Do everything that can morally and legally be done (5.00 / 6) (#47)
by pb on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:23:47 AM EST

First, it would be silly to just start implementing policies to fix problems with no real knowledge about the actual problem. That would be like prescribing drugs to people based on their alleged symptoms when (a) you don't know exactly what the drugs do and (b) you don't know exactly what's causing the symptoms. It would be like blindly suing or threatening large groups of people because you think they're suspicious in some way. Sadly, this sort of thing happens all the time. So I'd say the first step is to back off and do some real research. Armed with that, then you can start considering your options. Here's an analysis on the matter, which I also happen to agree with. I'd say it's even more relevant now than it was when it was published.

I read another essay years ago that made an impresison on me; I think it was some sort of editorial by Asimov in a science fiction magazine, but I could be wrong on some of those points, since I can't seem to find the original source. In any case, I believe it was explaining why the US doesn't need to have nearly as much of a military as it does have. Everything that we (the US) can conceivably defend against is covered, and one of the only things left is terrorism. Throwing more money at it will not make it go away.

The US isn't worried about being invaded; it isn't at war with Canada or Mexico, and it isn't bordered by anyone else; both Europe and Asia are about as far away from our borders as is possible. However, when you have to prevent against one person sneaking through instead of an army, you'd have to police the entire length of your borders, and all other entry points. That alone would be a huge expense, and seems impractical all by itself. But even if we could do that, it still wouldn't help.

The main problem with terrorism is that anyone could be a terrorist. Therefore, if you wish to defend against terrorism, then suddenly all of your citizens are potential terrorists. Under current US law, that means that any of them can be held without trial and stripped of their rights--this is the wrong way to go about things, and it's entirely unconstitutional, going against some of our most ancient legal principles. But even before people get detained, there's an even larger problem.

Obviously the US can't arrest everyone for terrorism; that would be absurd, especially considering that a very vanishingly small percentage of the US is actually composed of terrorists. No, only the suspicious people get arrested, which means that the government must at least think they have some grounds. Otherwise, many ordinary people would complain quite loudly (and rightfully) at being falsely detained, questioned, abused, and whatever else comes with the territory of being a suspected terrorist in federal custody. This means the government needs intelligence.

There have been several publicly known efforts at expanding the reach of US intelligence, including a program that would make all of us into stool pigeons (TIPS) and another one that was intended to essentially keep files on everyone and search for suspicious activity (TIA); yet another would bar you from flying if they didn't like your travel history, or your credit (CAPPS II). The CIA and the FBI have pledged to work more closely and share information between the two agencies. And now we have The Department of Homeland Security. All of these agencies are therefore very interested on spying on their citizens, and singling out anyone who might look suspicious.

Now, there's no way you could ever catch all the terrorists or potential terrorists before they could even commit a crime, (sounds like something straight out of a movie, actually) but even if you could, you'd be practically guaranteed a lot of false positives. So what can you do--lock them up too? Forever? I suppose that would cut down on the unemployment rate, but you'd also have prison camps full of... well, whomever the government "thinks is suspicious". Who is that, exactly? Unemployed Arabs? Libertarian protesters? Potential "hackers" using Freenet to swap potential munitions plans? Who knows. The suspects are whoever they want them to be, and they'd have no legal recourse.

No, that isn't a recipe for preventing terrorism--that's a recipe for practicing terrorism. And against your own people, too. So I think there's really no defense against terrorism, and the harder you try, the harder you'll fail, perhaps spectacularly. If you do everything that you can legally and morally do to prevent terrorism, then you've done all you can do--any more, and you'd start turning into a terrorist yourself.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall

Law Enforcement (4.50 / 4) (#53)
by Bad Harmony on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:39:55 AM EST

Quite a bit could be accomplished by enforcing existing laws. Congress has a bad habit of responding to the non-enforcement of existing laws by passing more laws, instead of providing more funding for the criminal justice system.

5440' or Fight!

Disband (4.00 / 2) (#68)
by Perpetual Newbie on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 02:29:24 AM EST

The name alone is a great insult against the people, and I'm surprised more don't notice it or care. It also is inappropriate for a nation of immigrants where 98.5% of USians' homelands are not just the US. So, my first act is to change the name, or better yet, disband an organization which was created with ideals in direct opposition to American ideals, and start over.

That doesn't make the actual problems go away, so working from this:

  • Merge redundant agencies, with the resulting agency using whatever name sounds better
  • Move the Science and Technology agencies into a new Bureau of Defense Research, nominally under the Department of Defense
  • Move the IT parts of the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection agencies into a new Information Security agency under the Department of Commerce
  • Merge the Infrastructure Protection agencies (minus the IT agencies) with the Emergency Preparedness and Response agencies and the Transportation Security Agency into a new Federal Emergency Management Bureau (a super-FEMA or mini-HomeSec) under the Department of the Interior
  • Move the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center to the Department of Justice
  • Move the Federal Protective Service to the Department of the Interior
  • Move the Coast Guard and the other Border and Transportation Security agencies into a new Border Security agency under the Department of Defense
  • Put the Secret Service back in the Treasury Department

That leaves the Office of Homeland Security, whose duties are now to lobby Congress to give the states money for their emergency security measures as recommended by the new FEMB. This might actually be more successful than their current efforts.

I seem at a dilemna (5.00 / 1) (#69)
by the77x42 on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 03:46:24 AM EST

I don't know whether I would:

a) Preach that the best defence is intelligence and educate the populace more and have increased safety training in schools. Fund more disaster-survival training for the public. Promote a better WORLD objective and try and get all countries on the same page with respect to their wishes, even if this means removing sanctions. Make a long-term commitment to countries in need of aid and resources. Stop promoting the American "might" attitude and adopt a friendlier stance on global politics in an effort to help the world, not merely police it.


b) Kill everything that moves and run off with the money.

"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

Let the terrorists alone (4.20 / 10) (#70)
by megid on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 04:20:25 AM EST

Man, you need a look around you. Many MANY people on this planet have shittier lifes, their surroundings bombed away from some random bomb, their families torn apart by random bullets, everything. Its just two towers and 3500 ppl. More americans die each year per car accident or obesity. Keep it in perspective.

As for "what should be done to prevent terrorism": Obviously you cannot fortress yourselves enough, so *give them no reason to attack you*. Who invited Coca Cola to "invest" (read invade) into arabia anyway? I guess it was kinda like the "opening of the japanese ports", which was made with american cannon boats. Plus random CIA pro-fascist-america-friendly-dictator activity, grave poverty, and bingo, you have a reason to be a terrorist. Take that away, and you have effectively eliminated terrorism.

Not some mumobo-jumbo "security" stuff. That will only deter amateurs, not people *dedicated* to make a professional attack.

Dont kill the aligator, dry the swamp.

"think first, write second, speak third."

Amen! (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by SanSeveroPrince on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 06:25:55 AM EST

The clear, powerful reasoning of your reply almost brought me to tears! You get the an automatic 5 rating in your next 10 comments.


Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think

[ Parent ]
Wow and thanks! (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by megid on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 11:32:55 AM EST

I never had a comment rated like this before. I always hoped someone could draw something from my thoughts, but never imagined that it would really happpen. Thanks a lot for the flowers.

"think first, write second, speak third."
[ Parent ]
Coke (none / 0) (#94)
by Merk00 on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 11:41:50 AM EST

You can't purchase Coca Cola in Arab states. They do, however, sell in Israel (which is the reason that they don't sell in Arab states, given that they would be boycotted). You can buy Pepsi products in Arab states.

"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 ]

Pepsi! (none / 0) (#97)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:00:19 PM EST

Damn, even THEY don't deserve THAT!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Dr. Pepper! (none / 0) (#106)
by Theranthrope on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 08:48:03 PM EST

Screw 'em both.
"Turmeric applied as a suppository will increase intelligence." -- HidingMyName
Parent ]
Coke & Pepsi in the middle east (none / 0) (#285)
by CokeBear on Mon Jul 28, 2003 at 10:31:16 PM EST

This might have been true 10 years ago, but as of today, both Coke & Pepsi are widely available everywhere in the middle east. Sorry, your information is out of date.

See: http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/israel.asp

The most important part is right at the end: "Today you can get either Coke or Pepsi in anywhere in the Middle East, and the days of the boycott have faded into memory."

[ Parent ]

I know it is a nit-pick... (none / 0) (#107)
by Theranthrope on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 09:04:48 PM EST

...but when you are making a serious comment on a topical discussion, I suggest not using chat abbreviations (E.I. "ppl"). I see your comment and I agree with your sentiment, but I almost wrote you off as another 14 year-old slashdot troll (omg! lololol!! ect). Not that k5's trolls are any better than slashdot, just different than slashdot if anything.
"Turmeric applied as a suppository will increase intelligence." -- HidingMyName
Parent ]
The jargon was rhetorical (none / 0) (#127)
by megid on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 07:52:41 AM EST

...with "ppl" as willful replacement for "people" to rhetorically underline the lesser importance of those (when compared to greater death tolls, of course; I do NOT say that those 3,5K (<- see? again) do not matter -- they do, to at least 3500 (<- see?) relatives).

"think first, write second, speak third."
[ Parent ]
Meh, whatever [n/t] (none / 0) (#274)
by Theranthrope on Sat Jul 26, 2003 at 03:25:13 PM EST

"Turmeric applied as a suppository will increase intelligence." -- HidingMyName
Parent ]
I'd change the name of the department... (4.50 / 4) (#75)
by Psycho Dave on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 04:52:20 AM EST

Seriously, "homeland"? I've never referred to my country as the "homeland" (not that I don't consider it my home.) "Homeland" reminds me too much of things like "Motherland", or worse, "Fatherland", but without the totalitarian zing. Despite that, I've got little problem with the concept of Dept. of Homeland Security though. Clearly, the gulf between foreign and domestic investigations was too broad and the hijackers were able to slip through. And though it was a shitty way to learn, you can be sure no one's taking over any more airplanes with just a fucking boxcutter. They need to be much more specific with their threat levels. A blanket "orange alert" over the whole country forces city and state governments to spend shitloads in police overtime that their budgets just can't handle. In the end though, a terrorist will find a way. I'm surprised that after 9-11 we haven't had a spate of Palestianian-esque suicide bombings. Just strap a guy with explosives, sit him down in the a crowded movie theater and blow his ass up. Not very elegant. You'll only take out about a dozen people at the most, and wound a fuckload more. It will still be enough to send us into a panic and get Asscroft to sing while he merrily hacks away more of our civil liberties.

Simple (2.54 / 11) (#80)
by SanSeveroPrince on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 06:30:53 AM EST

1) Shoot George W. Bush
2) Disband the two political parties and force people to create new ones
3) Shoot George W. Bush again
4) Get some muscular black gay men to give Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr Cheney what they really have been longing for

Now, after all that personal satisfaction is done, I would

5) Ensure the continuation of national security by ensuring that no one from the Southern States is ever responsible for foreign policy ever again
6) Stop thinking of ways to censor and protect and start kicking out all those 'Freedom Fries' assholes
7) Withhold further military assistance to any state in the Middle East


Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think

nice moral superiority (none / 0) (#172)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 12:01:04 PM EST

So, what you're saying is, the guys who are actually in charge are no more amoral or contemptous of the law than you are; the only difference is they're smarter (because they really seized power while you were merely fantasizing about it.)
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Smarter? (none / 0) (#228)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 03:45:42 AM EST

Ahem, SMARTER? Yes to all your points, except that the guys currently in power are richer, better placed and born in the right families.

Smart men don't go into politics, they make money.


Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think

[ Parent ]
hahahahaha (none / 0) (#244)
by Battle Troll on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 10:37:34 AM EST

Smart men don't go into politics, they make money.

You're the first person I've ever met who thought there was a difference. E.g., for G W Bush, making money is the result of exercising political connection. E.#2 g., the Clintons didn't own a house of their own before Bill Clinton was elected, and now they own several mansions.
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Peanuts (none / 0) (#282)
by SanSeveroPrince on Mon Jul 28, 2003 at 05:06:27 AM EST

I am talking REAL money. Mansions? A couple million dollars? I am talking global empires that hold entire nations in their thralls. Like McDonalds, man...


Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think

[ Parent ]
You just committed a felony. Twice. [nt] (none / 0) (#195)
by awgsilyari on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 03:50:30 PM EST

Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]
No, I didn't because I'm not a resident of the US. (none / 0) (#229)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 03:46:42 AM EST



Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think

[ Parent ]
Then.. (none / 0) (#241)
by awgsilyari on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 09:26:08 AM EST

Why fantasize about being head of DHS then?

Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]
Power, Monica Lewinsky. {n/t} (none / 0) (#265)
by SanSeveroPrince on Sat Jul 26, 2003 at 05:07:01 AM EST


Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think

[ Parent ]
Lock up all of those seditious K5'ers (3.00 / 2) (#84)
by duffbeer703 on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 08:34:19 AM EST

Those people over at Kuro5hin can't be up to any good.

I'd resign for the sake of America. -nt (1.00 / 1) (#86)
by Kasreyn on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 09:19:10 AM EST

"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
I'd keep the president's promises (1.00 / 1) (#89)
by GenerationY on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 09:56:12 AM EST

regarding countries that support and harbour the supporters of terrorism by launching a series of air raids and artillery strikes against the united states in order to eliminate the organisation known as Noraid.

Why I voted this up: (2.00 / 1) (#98)
by debacle on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:02:44 PM EST

  • It'll probably get voted down anyway as "too US-centric" or "politics suck"
  • I orginally thought the title was "What would you do to the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security" and I had all sorts of ideas about whips and chains and spikes and nipple clips and some very interesting Jenga strategies
  • I'm leaving for Syracuse in an hour, and there I'm going to have lots and lots of sex, so there's no need to even care about kuro5hin for another three days, but I thought that I should pretend to do my duties by voting up one of the stories in the queue. This one had the best title.
  • Who's the author of the story? Oh, no one I know, what the fuck?
Have a good day, kuro5hiites!

It tastes sweet.
Syracuse for Sex? (none / 0) (#114)
by OldCoder on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 12:38:42 AM EST

Why Syracuse, of all the boring places?

By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]
Why I voted -1 (5.00 / 5) (#99)
by kphrak on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:04:31 PM EST

Unfortunately, this article looks like it's on the way to getting posted. After all, it asks a legitimate question...right?

Unfortunately, I don't see many people answering the question. "Duh...first I'd kill George Bush...then I'd make Iraq a socialist state like I wish the US was...then make a rule so Republicans could never be elected...then I'd apologize to the world and disband the US" is not an answer. He said "Dept. of Homeland Security", people, not "God".

Incidentally, as Secretary of Homeland Security I would recognize that you can't make anything 100% secure, and call a halt to the apparently headlong rush toward making our country an exact copy of the one described in Orwell's book. (I'd try, anyway; keep in mind that this office was created for that purpose). I'd use the Israeli methods when it comes to baggage checking and airport security -- if I recall, they've never been hijacked, and I'll warrant it's not from lack of trying.

I'd computerize the INS (recently renamed to BCIS) and use such a system to communicate with the FBI so checks don't take a year of mailings, red tape, and senseless form-filling, wasting everyone's time and taxpayers' money (no, they are not in any way computerized). I'd have to look a little better at the job description to add more; this is off the top of my head.

Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.

Yeah, this is a worthless topic. (none / 0) (#156)
by cburke on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:19:37 AM EST

If through some incredibly improbably twist of fate I became Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, I'd be removed from office in about a week when everything I did went directly against the Official DOHS Guidebook, 1984.  Any changes I had attempted to make would be reversed, and the only thing anyone could say after the fact would be "What the hell?"

Frankly, if they were going to try to re-create a well-known distopian work in real life, I'd have rather it be Brave New World.  At least there, they encouraged recreational drug use and promiscuity.  :)

[ Parent ]

Here's what I'd do. (3.00 / 3) (#100)
by Work on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 12:50:33 PM EST

Hire someone to clean up the results of this silly k5 wankfest.

If you really think you could do any good, why are you typing and why arent you doing something?

Clonetroopers (4.20 / 5) (#101)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 01:32:47 PM EST

It is clear to me now that the republic no longer functions.

The only solution is to suffuse the population with a grand clone army of vigilant troopers, uncorruptable and striking in their matching armour.

When this crisis has abated, the authorities will surely lay down these powers they have been granted. They love democracy, and they love the republic.

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski. Personally, I pref
Too bad Lucas's film otherwise sucked. (none / 0) (#216)
by Fantastic Lad on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:46:17 PM EST

Star Wars has generally been a vehicle for the right message at the right time.

I'd be curious to know the how's and why's of just how the last couple of films sucked so marvelously!

I bet you anything they tampered with George's head. (Lucas, I mean.)


[ Parent ]

What should be done? (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by jd on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 03:57:41 PM EST

Well, self-regulation has been shown to be a failure, both in industry and in Government.

Correction of the problems in society lie not in restricting further those who are adequately constrained by laws, but to restrict those who, through "self-regulation" choose no constraint at all.

Terror is not a product of a hatred of freedom by those outside of it. It is a product of a hatred of other people's freedoms by those who desire power and control.

The reason for the US Constitution - and the Magna Carter (from which the Constitution was derived) was to limit the power of those in power. It would work, too, if it were not totally enforced by the same people it constrains.

(For the same reason, England didn't acquire real courts until the Reformation dissolved the absolute power of the Monarchy. The king/queen was technically under the provisions of the Magna Carta, but with no means of enforcing those provisions, the rest of the population had absolutely no means of ensuring that it was held to. In consequence, it often wasn't.)

Magna Carta (5.00 / 1) (#121)
by towerssotall on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 04:48:44 AM EST

Magna Carta should be viewed as a start point, not an end point.

In putting down in writing that the power of executive government was limited it was the most radical document since the koran and until the US Constitution.

Its an idea that is still under constant attack by executive government and those who wish to ride on its coat-tails.

But the document itself is just a beginning.

[ Parent ]

Ask that my budget be reassigned (3.75 / 4) (#109)
by ShadowNode on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 11:00:16 PM EST

To more pressing threats against Usian populace:

  • Tobacco Companies: about 400,000 casualties/year
  • Obesity: about 300,000 casualties/year
  • "Teh Terraists": A few thousand, total

Idiots unable to drive: 30,000/year (n/t) (none / 0) (#149)
by iwnbap on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:29:36 AM EST

[ Parent ]
And all those examples except the last . . . (4.00 / 1) (#158)
by acceleriter on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:23:01 AM EST

. . . are self-induced death, caused by partaking of substances of the decedent's own free will.

[ Parent ]
Applies to terrorism for the most part too (none / 0) (#208)
by ShadowNode on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 08:26:01 PM EST

The cause and effect of tobacco -> cancer is just as apparent as the relation between aggressive foriegn policies and their result.

Also, those tobacco numbers include deaths from second hand smoke, hardly "self-induced".

[ Parent ]
Wow! (none / 0) (#253)
by acceleriter on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 12:56:03 PM EST

You mean that presidents now come with warning labels?
The Surgeon General has determined that Third World country smoking is hazardous to your nation's health
I learned something today :)!

Really, though, I believe an "aggressive" foreign policy will ultimately result in less terrorism than the milquetoast policies of the past. Do you think that if Reagan had ordered a nuclear strike against Tehran after the hostages were on the tarmac that we'd be in the mess we're in now? In response to terrorism or other threats, we must strike hard, and fast. Oderint dum metuant, since they hate us no matter what we do.

I'll give you the point on second hand smoke, since I'm not familiar enough with the research to judge either way.

[ Parent ]

True Security (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by mberteig on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 12:13:46 AM EST

There is a false dichotomy between security and freedom. The tradeoff is not there. Rather, consider this:

The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. - Baha'u'llah

Baha'is generally mean "unity in diversity" and use the analogy of a beautiful garden with many different plants and flowers to indicate the sort of unity that must be established with the human garden.

The "Peace Statement" has a much more in-depth analysis of this issue.

Agile Advice - How and Why to Work Agile
well said (5.00 / 1) (#133)
by mreardon on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 09:30:09 AM EST

I would add some words from Share International also:

"Without sharing there can be no justice;
without justice there can be no peace;
without peace, there can be no future."

Unfortunately, it appears the only thing that will awaken humanity to this truth is the impending stock market crash.

[ Parent ]

False dichotomy of your own (none / 0) (#169)
by Jman1 on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:56:04 AM EST

The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. Well-being is not all or nothing. You can be relatively more secure or relatively less secure by having weapons and defenses. Perfect peace might be only possible with unity, but until we have unity, the powerful and violent people will always take advantage of the powerless and/or peaceful people.

[ Parent ]
Well-being (none / 0) (#187)
by mberteig on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 02:25:20 PM EST

I actually think that well-being is all or nothing. The fact that we have never in recorded history experienced the well-being of mankind is irrelevent. It is like the body: either you are physically well, or you are sick. Even if you are just a little sick, you are still not well. It is possible to be healthy, and that may even be our natural state, but we must combat illness whenever it threatens.

Another quote:

The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. - Baha'u'llah

It is unfortunate that so many people use religion (small "r") for thier own purposes instead of following His Religion (the Golden Rule).

Agile Advice - How and Why to Work Agile
[ Parent ]
jeez, you're right (none / 0) (#257)
by Battle Troll on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 02:39:50 PM EST

I wonder how everyone could have overlooked all that for all these thousands of years! Let's love each other!

a/s/{cop/not a cop} ?
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Love (none / 0) (#264)
by mberteig on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 09:37:59 PM EST

It's easy to blow off such things because people have done such a bad job of it for all of these thousands of years, but that doesn't make it an unworthy goal. And we have made some progress in developing more complex and prosperous social systems so it hasn't been thousands of years of stagnation. There's hope I think.

Agile Advice - How and Why to Work Agile
[ Parent ]
oh, I agree (5.00 / 1) (#270)
by Battle Troll on Sat Jul 26, 2003 at 10:52:09 AM EST

I even agree that God guides people who want to be guided. I just don't think that airy platitudes will help us to want that.

Frankly, most people are busy living their lives, and have no time for mystics' cryptic utterances. How is your quote going to change that?
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Some People (none / 0) (#271)
by mberteig on Sat Jul 26, 2003 at 11:52:32 AM EST

You are right about most people... but maybe there are some small number who will have their hearts touched or even transformed. There are people who want to be guided, but have not yet found the guidance that really resonates with them. Who am I to say that none of those people are here at K5? Also, I hardly think that these short bits in the Diary section will actually turn anyone away from becoming a better person.

Agile Advice - How and Why to Work Agile
[ Parent ]
ok, carry on (none / 0) (#275)
by Battle Troll on Sun Jul 27, 2003 at 09:13:37 AM EST

There are people who want to be guided, but have not yet found the guidance that really resonates with them. Who am I to say that none of those people are here at K5?

Sure, that's fine, just don't get your hopes up too high.
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Well... (5.00 / 3) (#113)
by valar on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 12:29:36 AM EST

in no particular order, I'd make the following suggestions:
Recall a lot of the troops we have stationed elsewhere. Armies should be used to deter aggression against one's own country, not occupy (err, I mean, assist) other countries. This has the side effect of making other nations less angry at us.
Stop the war on drugs. It's somewhat true that drug money funds terrorism, but not all drugs, and only because of the black market. Terrorists are willing to sell drugs because they are already involved in more serious criminal acts (i.e. terrorism).
And this one is controversial. Terrorize back. Not nations, terrorists and those who specifically support them. None of this "countries that harbor terrorists" nonsense. Most of the people in those coutries have nothing to do with terrorists. Get to the terrorists and their financiers, though. Hunt them to the ends of the earth, drag them through the streets. Carpet bomb their camps. Whatever.

Great post (none / 0) (#151)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:35:28 AM EST

As for the last one, the US has been doing this from the start.  The only major concern - and this shouldn't even have to be said - is to be damn sure of your intelligence.  Actually confirm with two eyeballs that that's a terrorist camp and not a religious retreat.  A single mistake can cause more problems than ten successful operations.

[ Parent ]
oops (none / 0) (#152)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:36:19 AM EST

...than ten operations *can solve*.

[ Parent ]
Foreign and Domestic (2.00 / 2) (#115)
by OldCoder on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 01:32:31 AM EST

The head of DoHS doesn't have the authority to do everything I think is needed:

Domestically, I'd change the name to the "Department of Domestic Security" or just "Department of Security" or even "Department of Internal Security". Just so people get the idea. The scarier the name the more liberty-conscious Congress has to be. The name "Homeland Security" is too much of a tranquilizer.

Domestic todo List:

  1. Better physical security in air, water, and ground transport.
  2. Better physical security at chemical plants, water treatment, and so on.
  3. We can't keep caramel colored Mexicans from being smuggled across from Mexico, how can we keep out caramel colored Arabs? An easier green card program will provide some control. The coincidence of the caramel coloring has got to be one of God's little jokes, or maybe a hint.
  4. An easier green card program means a US domestic National Identity Card. Sorry.
  5. This means a database of all citizens, central and Federal, no longer county records only. Save a bundle of bucks in the long run.
  6. Database has to have enough info to establish the identity of any immigrant or citizen from fingerprints and/or face photo. Lost cards no excuse.
  7. If we can't keep tons of cocaine and heroin from coming across, how can we keep out tons of VX or uranium? Need to liberalize some drug laws and enforce the rest more harshly.
  8. Everybody gets a personal permanent phone number that goes along with the identity card.
  9. Forgery of Drivers Licenses in the US is a major problem. Preventing forgery of National Identity Cards is a special challenge.
  10. Better scanners and sniffers for the border crossings.
International todo list:
  1. The greatest source of international terrorism is Militant Islam and the movements it spawns. They are currently fighting in the Phillipines, in Kashmir, the Sudan, Chechnya, Palestine/Israel, some parts of Indonesia, and on 9/11 in the USA. The cure is Moderate Islam. Tear down one, build up the other.
  2. Nothing teaches lessons against war mongering better than military defeat. The wars of Militant Islam must be lost by Militant Islam. Decisively.
  3. State sponsors of Militant Islamic Terrorism must be punished for their behavior.
  4. Now that everything is computerized, the CIA can erase all references to the Nicaraguan Contras from the archives and libraries ;-)
  5. The Arab/Israeli dispute (now known as the Palestinian intifada) has been going on for fifty years and I predict it may continue for another fifty. It would be good to find a compromise. I have no confidence at all in the current Hudna.
  6. A firm but fair Pax Americana could maintain world peace for at least a hundred years if done right.
  7. This portion of the plan is offered AS IS without warranty.

By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
"homeland" (4.00 / 1) (#148)
by kableh on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:28:44 AM EST

The "homeland" conjures up imagery of the Third Reich to me...

[ Parent ]
You miss the point (none / 0) (#194)
by awgsilyari on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 03:41:45 PM EST

The name "Homeland Security" is too much of a tranquilizer.

Wha? You do realize that the most accurate English translation of KGB is "Department of Homeland Security," right? Do you actually think that was a coincidence? I think the name "DoHS" was a little inside joke among old commie-fighters.

Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

Live everday as it's your last day (none / 0) (#116)
by sweetie on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 01:59:37 AM EST

I don't think we can ever prevent attacks just like we can't prevent a cold or getting older. It sucks and we have to deal with it.

"If god thinks he's doing me wrong , he'll strike his ass down with a lightning bolt!"
Have you been fucked with the wrong way? If so then post that Bitch or Dick to my Dick
by McBain on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 02:51:07 AM EST


Now, Silent Chris, I anxiously await the next installment in your What Would You Do tm series. Which obscure US official you will pick next?...

Sorry. I can't seem to find that sig.

Do absolutly nothing at all. (5.00 / 5) (#118)
by gnovos on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 03:17:40 AM EST

I have found that the bent on K5 (and, once again, at most community sites) is to bemoan this loss of freedoms.  However, from someone who is part of the area that was physically devastated September 11, I have found very little suggestions of what should be done.

Nothing should be done.  Laws outlive terrorists by a long long time.  Sure, some people may die today, but thier deaths are the price of freedom for our children.  If you truly want security, find youself a way to get incarcerated for life without the possibility of parole, and I guarantee that you will be safe from terrorists for the rest of your days.  But if you want to life like a patriot, then live free.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen

(+5, Insightful) (none / 0) (#145)
by kableh on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:24:45 AM EST

While rather idealistic, I think you may have hit the nail right on the head. =)

[ Parent ]
no more drinking stupid... (none / 0) (#122)
by zzkt on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 05:58:00 AM EST

mecca cola

To Counter Dental Terrorism? NT (5.00 / 1) (#125)
by freestylefiend on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 07:12:27 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Nothing... But (4.50 / 2) (#123)
by Apreche on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 06:18:43 AM EST

Personally I feel perfectly safe. I need no security other than what I provide for myself. Any security provided by the government I can do without. The problem is that our country is a bunch of pussies. They are all running scared because the media and some terrorists gave them quite a healthy dose of fright with one parts reality. Because of this, the government has to make it look like it is providing security, to make people feel safe, so they will fly on planes and walk the streets without fear. This costs money. However, the government is going overboard and is decreasing freedom in order to increase security. TJ (Thomas Jefferson) is oft quoted as saying something to the effect of "Anyone who trades civil liberties for an illusion of security deserves neither". Since all security is not foolproof it is all an illusion. Which is fine, as long as civil liberties are not lost. So, if I were homeland security head honcho I would do absolutely everything to creat an illusion of security that I had the power to do. But only as long as 0 freedom was reduced. Better to be free and living dangerously than safe in slavery.

The more cynical among us... (none / 0) (#143)
by kableh on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:21:28 AM EST

... don't think that the government is in this to make us feel "safe". =D

[ Parent ]
Agreed. (none / 0) (#240)
by McMasters on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 09:04:24 AM EST

Heh, figures that the first time I decide to post an agreement to a post in a month, it turns out to be you, Apreche. Here's a 5.

[ Parent ]
Treat the Disease not the Symptom (5.00 / 4) (#124)
by boxed on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 06:37:08 AM EST

The US has since 9/11 done:
  1. Enforced stricter security in irrellevant places
  2. Created stricter laws with no physical way of enforcement (here's a tip for the US Govt: terrorists don't follow laws)
  3. Bombed a country that harbored terrorists (Afghanistan)
  4. Invaded a country that fights terrorism (Iraq)
  5. Threatened the former allies of Europe
  6. Promoted AIDS worldwide
It looks like number 3 on that list might actually turn out pretty ok since there is rebuilding of Afghanistan. Iraq might work out find for Iraq but the US sacrificed their already small credibility in invading.

The US has, according to tradition, is treating a cause that is somewhat similar to the cause of the symptom of the problem. School shottings? Ban black coats! Planes flying into buildings? Security checks on all foreigners!

The causes of terrorism are (in no perticular order):

  • Poverty (gets worse if you bomb them)
  • Feeling powerless (gets worse if you occupy them)
  • Lowered value of life (gets worse if you kill them)
  • Fear (gets worse if you threaten them)
What I would do to combat terrorism: feed the poor, introduce democracy (NOW, not just empty promises, and no pseudo-democracy where corporations have all the real power either), increase life span (if you live longer than it's harder to become a suicide bomber) and last but not least trust them, so they will trust you.

Oh, and start right at home. The biggest threat from terrorism in the US is from domestic terrorism not from arabs. Oklahoma, Unibomber, DC sniper, Waco, post-9/11 anthrax, it's all American and it's all the time.

Spot on but one addition (5.00 / 3) (#126)
by xavier boone on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 07:23:10 AM EST

Absolutely spot on, but I'd make one addition - total and utter separation of state and religion. It really can't do the US image in the eyes of any foreign nation, especially those associated for whatever reason with terrorism, any good for the likes of Ashcroft et all to be holding prayer meetings every morning. The points you raise as the causes of terrorism are also the causes of a great deal of crime and unrest in the US as well. Treat those causes worldwide and we'll all be in a much better state.

[ Parent ]
Amen (n/t) (none / 0) (#140)
by kableh on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:16:57 AM EST

[ Parent ]
small issue imho (1.00 / 1) (#150)
by boxed on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:30:06 AM EST

That issue is just another small facet of USian arrogance that make people dislike the US a bit fuzzily. But sure, if you want to remove anti-americanism from Europe you really need to fix that.

[ Parent ]
who cares? (2.00 / 1) (#171)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:58:26 AM EST

if you want to remove anti-americanism from Europe you really need to fix that.

What has Old Europe done for us lately? Not much except whine and wring their hands. Hell, when you guys had a genocide going on in your own continent you didn't do anything; why should we trust you appeasers now?
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

no one. (5.00 / 1) (#186)
by cburke on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 02:21:56 PM EST

Maybe we shouldn't be pointing fingers at Old Europe, eh?  When us guys had genocide going on in our own contintent, we were the perpetrators.

Just a friendly reminder of unpleasant historical fact.

[ Parent ]

bs (none / 0) (#211)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:06:37 PM EST

There was no genocide of Native Americans, and very few of today's American citizens' ancestors were even here yet.

ps IHBT, nice one
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

-Y-HBT?! (none / 0) (#245)
by cburke on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 11:04:57 AM EST

There was no genocide of Native Americans,

Ha ha ha ha ha!


[ Parent ]

you need to read a variety of sources, sport (none / 0) (#246)
by Battle Troll on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 11:32:48 AM EST

The Native Americans died, but that's not necessarily 'genocide.' The government at the time didn't have the ability to implement an extermination policy, and disease did most of the dirty work (in the cases of many Native American peoples, tuberculosis and smallpox preceded actual white explorers by several years.) The U S government did its best to hasten the process of wiping out the Natives, but their disappearance isn't a simple case of 'bad whitey killed them.'

You need to be careful with the bad whitey literature. It rots your brain. The Ostrogoths, Medes, and Etruscans are extinct as nations, but no-one committed genocide against them. The U S government, ca. 1850, didn't have the resources to commit genocide against the Native Americans. They were severly weakened (95% attrition) by warfare, disease, and sub-warfare conflict with hostile whites, but that isn't genocide. It would only be genocide if the government had had significantly more power and intent than they'd actually had.

So, I thought you were trolling, but you were serious. I guess you really can't tell the difference between a protracted (more than 100 year) conflict, abetted by severe contagious diseases causing one-sided losses, and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Serbian Army. Perhaps you could show me the stats demonstrating that the U S Army killed 200,000 Native Americans within 3 years, which is pretty much what you'd need to compare the two cases.

And one final note. Your ridiculous tu quoque against the USA doesn't absolve the European states of culpability for failing to usefully intervene in the Yugoslavian civil war.
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Well, (none / 0) (#247)
by Alfie on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 12:03:24 PM EST

I prolly shouldn't post because I don't have enough energy yet to doproper research at the moment, but, basically, the U.S. Government and other power interests focused on destroying the Native American cultures, not necessarily the native americans themselves. So you're right that it wasn't genocide, but it was still an attempt to destroy who the native americans were.

[ Parent ]
well yeah (none / 0) (#252)
by Battle Troll on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 12:43:07 PM EST

the U.S. Government and other power interests focused on destroying the Native American cultures, not necessarily the native americans themselves.

And this is perfectly reprehensible and nothing new to me. It's not like I came out in favor of exterminating Native Americans!

I'm just objecting to the argument that 'Americans genocided [sic] Native Americans and so they have nothing to say against Europeans who allow worse atrocities to occur today.'
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Iraq fights terrorists? (3.00 / 1) (#129)
by modmans2ndcoming on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 07:56:21 AM EST

since when?

ansar al islam?

news flash...the independent Kurds were fighting them. for all we know, Iraq was supporting Al Islam as a proxy to fight the rebel kurds.

not to mention, Sadam was giving 25 grand to suicide bomber's families and made public spectacles of these events which gave more reasons for suicide bombers to go kill themselves since their family would get more money that they would see in their life time.

oh yeah...and lets just ignore the horrible things he and his sons did to their population.

[ Parent ]

Dictators HATE terrorists (none / 0) (#141)
by boxed on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:17:37 AM EST

Terrorism is the number one fear of all dictatorships. Promoting terrorism in any form is inviting to get it back at you. Saddam was contacted on multiple occations by Al-Qaeda and he refused them each time, and he has also persecuted them and executed members. Saddam does not like random uncontrollable people with weapons any more than the next dictator. The CIA itself has, prior to 9/11 when they changed their tune totally, documented that Saddam is anti-terrorist. Attacking Saddam might have been a good thing, but claiming he's involved with terrorism is laughable and yet another reason why the US is losing all credebility in international politics.

[ Parent ]
Not always (none / 0) (#157)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:22:31 AM EST

Obviously, Saddam supports the Palestinian terrorists. The problem Saddam had with Al-Qaeda is that he couldn't CONTROL them and they might turn on him. That wouldn't stop Saddam from using terrorists that he COULD control to de-stabilize the region.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Saddam's only anti-terrorists-that-he doesn't like (none / 0) (#160)
by Ken Arromdee on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:27:27 AM EST

Promoting terrorism can help dictators in some circumstances. True, terrorists turned against him can be dangerous, but terrorists turned against someone else--like his documented support of Palestinian terrorists--can be very useful.

Dictatorships have little to fear from terrorists, anyway, compared to democracies. Dictatorships can use methods like rounding up everyone who's even suspected to be a member of the terrorist group and executing them and their families immediately.

[ Parent ]

it is well documented (none / 0) (#219)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 12:05:41 AM EST

that he supported Palestinian suicide bombers.

so stop making shit up.

[ Parent ]

how has the US promoted AIDS? (2.00 / 2) (#130)
by modmans2ndcoming on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 07:57:29 AM EST

where do you fools get this crap?

[ Parent ]
duh (4.00 / 1) (#139)
by kableh on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:15:18 AM EST

1) Cut funding for family planning/education programs that don't preach abstinence (with the emphasis on preach). 2) Allowed profiteering by pharmaceutical companies selling AIDS treatments.

etc... etc...

Not saying the statement is totally accurate, but there is cause to believe it is.

[ Parent ]
"just say no" (5.00 / 2) (#144)
by boxed on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:22:53 AM EST

The Bush administration pulled economical support for all organization in Africa that gave out condoms. Their official line is "just say no", the same method responsible for the massive epidemic of teenage pregnancies in the US. In Africa however, the risk isn't of getting pregnant at an early age, it's getting AIDS at an early age. Then of course, the US is harshly enforcing the depts of African countries and patents for AIDS medicines like those that can stop pregnant mothers from transmitting the disease to their children. There is only one thing the US can do to support AIDS in Africa more: go over there with a full invasion force and inject them all with AIDS directly. Short of that they're doing everything in their power to spread AIDS.

[ Parent ]
reference please (none / 0) (#204)
by psxndc on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 07:07:31 PM EST

I hate Bush and all, but when I did a search for evidence of what you said (becuase it really pissed me off that he'd do that), most of what I found contradicted your statement.


Please provide evidence that Bush pulled funding for groups that encouraged condom use.


[ Parent ]

wow, that's a big change (none / 0) (#232)
by boxed on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 04:17:45 AM EST

I totally missed that one. That's really cool! Totally invalidates my point though :P

[ Parent ]
hey stupid... (none / 0) (#220)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 12:07:09 AM EST

most AIDS cases are caused by Rape, and the rest are caused by husbands that go out and cheat on their wives and bring it home.

[ Parent ]
hey even more stupid... (none / 0) (#230)
by boxed on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 04:16:13 AM EST

Prostitutes and fucking around are the biggest cause in Africa, as in any other place. Rapes are just way too uncommon for the disease to have spread that wide, do the math. Had people been unfaithful WITH CONDOMS they would solve the problem.

[ Parent ]
Rubbish (5.00 / 6) (#131)
by zakalwe on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 08:44:18 AM EST

The US is already tackling the root cause of the problem, not the symptoms. As we all know, the real reason people are committing these terrorist acts is because they hate us because of our freedom. Current measures are making removal of this root cause their first priority, and there will soon be no reason for jealousy or dissatisfaction over this issue.

[ Parent ]
Okay... (none / 0) (#135)
by ryuuzin on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 09:47:52 AM EST

...let's add "freedom" to the list then, but, could you please elaborate on how exactly the US is tackling the root causes? From my perspective, as someone who keeps even as small a connection to the world at-large as I do, the US presents an often wishy-washy (if not patently callous) attitude towards helping to ameliorate those root world causes. It seems to me that we mostly deal with the symptoms, really (that's partly why our men and women in uniform are over there being shot at).

Also, and this is just a thought, but did you ever think that the reason that they hate us might not *just* be for our freedom, but also for the other noted facts? From my perspective, 1) we are a nation of so much wealth who, in the end, do really little to share it or encourage it in others ("poverty"), 2) who march into foreign nations like some Wild West posse ("powerless"), 3) and think (for most the most extreme example) nothing but "acceptable losses" and "collateral damage" when making mistakes in armed conflicts ("value of life"), 4) while at the same time shaking our mailed fist at sideline players to either be "with us or against us" ("fear").

For better or worse, I love this country. I love how I have clean drinking water and how I've good food and am not forced to live in my own sh*t. I love being able to jump in my car and drive to the grocers, the bookstore, and the big consumerism complex down the street. I lover being able to go to Uni and learn anything I want. But, what I've learned from sticking my head above this glamorous country is that the world isn't a great place, and that as a nation (not necessarily as individuals), the US is not doing a whole heck of a lot to deal with many of the issues that your parent poster noted. We mostly try and just contain the unrest and provide some token lip-service and pocket change to fight the causes.

But that's just the overly-simplified (for-want-of -coffee) expression of my perspective. You're free flame it as you will...

[ Parent ]
YHBT (n/t) (none / 0) (#138)
by kableh on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:11:36 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Can you be sure? (none / 0) (#183)
by ryuuzin on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 01:32:18 PM EST

Just because the poster notes that the US is removing freedoms as the "root cause" doesn't mean that s/he is even aware of the other 'causes' and is just simply expressing the same ignorant US opinion... Hm?

[ Parent ]
Nope, can't be sure (none / 0) (#188)
by kableh on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 02:34:54 PM EST

but I learned a while back that when someone expresses such a seemingly ridiculous rule that they are probably trolling, and that writing a lengthy response is just frustrating =).

The "they are just jealous of our freedoms" is the most absurd thing I ever heard uttered by the conservative press.

[ Parent ]
Pretty sure, actually. (none / 0) (#205)
by cburke on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 07:16:06 PM EST

"Terrorists hate us because of our freedoms.  We are working to remove the problem."

Get over your knee-jerk reaction to the first statement, and absorb the irony.

[ Parent ]

ever heard of irony? (none / 0) (#146)
by boxed on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:27:30 AM EST

He was making fun of the morons claiming that jealosy of US freedoms are the reason for the terrorist attacks. He also stated that the US is curing this problem by removing the freedoms, which is correct.

As for going to university, as long as it's as expensive as it is in the US you aren't really free to do it at all. Compare to modern European countries where university is not even free, but you are actually paid to attend.

Hmm.. unless you were also ironic with your statement, in which case I must say you weren't obvious enough :P

[ Parent ]

Uh-huh. (none / 0) (#180)
by ryuuzin on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 01:26:07 PM EST

I think you're looking for "sarcasm". And, frankly, I did not perceive sarcasm, simply because that *is* the problem perception in this country: "they hate us because of our freedoms". So, to hear someone utter that drek sentiment does not automatically bring to mind any bit of humor. You're right, though, there is some irony in that statement, sad as it may be.

I said I hadn't had my coffee, did I not? :|

<aside> As for University in this country, it all depends on where you go. Yeah, guys like Harvard and MIT suck down tens of thousands of dollars per *semester*, but you don't have to go there (and you'll likely not get your money's worth). There are a lot of good state Universities that offer just as good an education at significantly reduced rates. I'm quite lucky living where I live and am happily attending a state University (of Maryland) which costs me ~$25,000 for four years and happens to be one of the best public university systems (UMBC, UMUC, UMD) for Comp. Sci., Bitotech, and Humanities. So, I can't complain.</aside>

[ Parent ]
Sarcasm *and* Irony! (none / 0) (#203)
by baron samedi on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 06:45:34 PM EST

You can have both, ya know...
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]
och fuck, yes I did mean sarcasm (none / 0) (#233)
by boxed on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 04:20:34 AM EST

Dammit, I am usually one of those people who bitch at other people for mixing up sarcasm and irony :/

[ Parent ]
Cough (none / 0) (#163)
by CENGEL3 on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:36:59 AM EST

First lets deal with the outright inacuracies.

"Invaded a country that fights terrorism (Iraq)" -
Iraq fights terrorism? You might try to tell that to the terror victems of a rather well known incident aboard an Intalian cruise ship.... the orchestrator of the Achille Lauro incident, Abu Abbas, was given asylum in Iraq and was captured by US Special Forces on the outskirts of Baghdad.

We could also talk about Abu Nidal, head of the Fatah Revolutionary Council or any number of other Palestinian terrorists that Iraq has given asylum.

We could also talk about the fact that Iraq was publicly offering $50,000 to the families of any palestinian who chooses to become a suicide bomber.

We could also talk about the Mukhabarat branch of Iraqi Intelligence Service support of Ansar al-Islam .

While Iraq may not have been giving Al Queda it's marching orders...it has certainly been well documented that it did provide them with training materials and that Iraqi official visited Al Queda training camps in Afghanistan.

The idea that Iraq fought terrorism is laughable. It fought Kurdish and Shiite insurgents who opposed Saddams regieme....while one might be able to claim that some of these insurgents were terrorists due to the tactics they employed...That hardly qualifies as "fighting terrorism".


"Threatened the former allies of Europe" - Threatened? What do we have a Carrier Battle Group parked of La Rochelle?

Sure we told them that thier failure to support us might cost them our support in future... what would you expect?

Sure we've publicly berated them for thier shortsighted self interest in supporting Saddams regieme.

Sure we've shifted some of our coopertave efforts to countries that DID support us....again what would you expect?

But unless you count renaming some of our fast food...I don't see the "Threat".


"Promoted AIDS worldwide" - Evidence, Please! You call a $200 million dollar donation to the UN AIDS Global Fund "Promoting"? True, it's not the $2 billion that Kofi Annan asked for but that's a far cry from "Promoting". Let's not forget that under Kofi Annan's plan America was slated to contribute close to 30% of the total budget for the fund even though NONE of funds money would actualy be used to fight AIDS on american soil.
Please forgive us for not giving as much money to other people as Kofi Annan thinks we aught to.


Now lets deal with your suggestions, some of which ARE commendable in theory but which seem to totaly ignore the problem of EXECUTION.

Poverty - If we had sent money to Iraq instead of soldiers exactly who's pocket do you think that money would have ended up in? If you think it would have found it's way into some poor Iraqi orphans mouth rather then a Hussien family Swiss bank account I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

          Remember what happaned when we tried to feed the poor in Somalia? Providing aid is a great idea but it will only work if a responsible power has control of the ground. "Responsible Power" being defined as anyone who allows that aid to actualy go to the people it was intended for.

Introduce Democracy - Again laudable idea that WILL reduce terrorism. But how do you acieve it when the people who are holding ALL THE GUNS don't happen to want to share power with the rest of thier population. You think sending Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan over there to give a speech will somehow magicly transform totalitarian despots into fluffly bunny rabbits?

Trust them, so they will trust you. - Worked real well for the Czechs in '38, Poland in '39 and Belgium in '40 didn't it?  Next time you get mugged why don't you try that line on your mugger and see if it gets you your wallet back or a sharp rap on the head.

You want me to trust you, lets talk about that bridge I want to sell you.... you do trust me, don't you?

[ Parent ]

Yes, treat the cause not the symptom (none / 0) (#166)
by beerman on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:45:58 AM EST

I mostly agree with you, but feel you have left out one main cause: an extremely aggressive foreign policy (to say the least). Am I the only one that saw the attack of the USS Cole as a warning shot? I was living in NYC 9/11/1 and remember saying (as I stood out front of the house watching the smoke rise) "What have we done now?" It is public knowledge that we have agents (overt and covert) in over one hundred countries. Is it to protect our freedom? No, it's to protect our "interests", meaning our financial (i.e., corporate) interests abroad.

And why has Saudi Arabia hardly been mentioned (in the main stream) when discussing 9/11? Over half of the hijackers were from there. (And NONE from Iraq, if you haven't heard.)

But let's not assume that this sort of "global unrest" is not desired by our (mis)leaders. Political/social destabilization is an old policy of taking control of a country. There was a good K5 article (diary?) on the four phase method of the World Bank, IMF, et. al. used to destabilize a countries economy.

Yes, this is simplified rant^H^H^H^H look at a very complex problem, but we are trying to look at the fundamental causes. And it's time to get back to work.

Thanks to all for a lively discussion.

Smarter than the average beer.
[ Parent ]

btw (4.00 / 1) (#170)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:56:33 AM EST

Very few suicide bombers, and none of the 9/11 terrorists, are "poor, hungry," etc. They are politically opposed to the USA and Israel, and despair of ever getting their way by peaceful means.

The causes of terrorism are (in no perticular order):
* Poverty (gets worse if you bomb them)
* Feeling powerless (gets worse if you occupy them)
* Lowered value of life (gets worse if you kill them)
* Fear (gets worse if you threaten them)

Please cite a source for these canards.
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Good point. (none / 0) (#173)
by wumpus on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 12:26:42 PM EST

In this case the derivative(s) may be more important than the value of the function (say for wealth).

I've heard that Saudis see Saudi unemployment as a problem. There are less sinecures available then young Saudis expect, thus fueling resentment. The catch is that Al'Queda certainly has an easier time passing off Saudi middle class as potential pilots than Afghans used to medieval tech. I also suspect that the culture shock of being in a Florida hotel could cause an Afghan to consider deserting, while a Saudi might consider it nothing important.

On the other hand, I suspect that dirt poor Palestinians could infiltrate many parts of Israel for a suicide bombing, and typically do (busses, etc.). Also, if the Bush administration doesn't want their business partners to go the way of the Shah, they might worry about the "have nots" who do the work in Saudi Arabia.


[ Parent ]

sure, I don't mind that kind of discussion (none / 0) (#174)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 12:40:24 PM EST

You have a number of good points. All that I object to in the post parent to my original is the implicit contention that an American-financed Palestinian welfare state would eliminate terrorism.

There are less sinecures available then young Saudis expect, thus fueling resentment.

Quite true. The Saudis have to put their house in order. The whole country has run on sinecures for fifty years. What are there now, 50,000 princes? I can't remember, it's some ridiculous number.

Also, if the Bush administration doesn't want their business partners to go the way of the Shah, they might worry about the "have nots" who do the work in Saudi Arabia.

Absolutely; the only thing is, so many of them are Filipinos and Yemenis that they don't agitate much. The immediate related internal problem is that the Saudi middle class is routinely expropriated by minor members of the nobility, so there is nothing like stable entrepreneurial conditions. There are stable business conditions, but only for people with the clout to rip off the people who founded those businesses.

But yeah, I largely agree with your assessment. I just don't agree with boxed.
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Causes of Terrorism ? (none / 0) (#223)
by OldCoder on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 02:13:45 AM EST

You wrote:
The causes of terrorism are (in no perticular order):

* Poverty (gets worse if you bomb them)
* Feeling powerless (gets worse if you occupy them)
* Lowered value of life (gets worse if you kill them)
* Fear (gets worse if you threaten them)

You are missing the reality on all counts if you are referring to Islamic Militant Terrorism. While the general poverty and backwardness of the Islamic nations as compared to the West is indeed a source of tremendous personal stress to many Muslims, the oil-wealthy nations can be as militant and as terrorist as any other. Certainly the 9/11 terrorists were not poor. Islamic ideology has always had a strong triumphalist and even Imperialist thread. Islam spread by conversion but also by a lot of conquest. This attitude is a major and important motivator for Islamic Terrorism.

In any case, the fabulous wealth that the West has been pouring into the Islamic world has funded and made powerful the anti-western Islamic forces that undergird terrorism. Defunding terrorism by refusing to pay for the oil might be a practical approach to defeating terrorism (but imagine the arguments!). Irans oil wealth has not made it pro-Western. Saudi religious ideology is totally dismissive of any other philosophy or culture, even other Islamic groupings, and they fund schools that teach hatred of the West and its eventual downfall.

Fear is not the problem. The suicide bombers are not suffering from an excess of fear.

Poor, downtrodden, frightened people don't take on the worlds superpower, they huddle in their shanties and await the future. Islamic fundamentalism makes rich and poor alike supremely confident that military action against overwhelming odds will result in victory. Someday, it might.

Your AIDS comment is completely dumb. There aren't cells of AIDS sufferers blowing themselves up or crashing airliners into buildings. US government policy on AIDS is also dumb sometimes, but it hasn't resulted in terrorism.

By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]

ask for more funding (none / 0) (#128)
by modmans2ndcoming on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 07:52:45 AM EST

because as the government knows....throw more money at a problem at it solves itself!!!!

vulnerability (none / 0) (#132)
by gdanjo on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 08:48:54 AM EST


a) Recognise that there exists a tradeoff between security and freedom. If we could perfectly educate people about relative risks, perspective, etc. we'd have a perfect world. As it is, it's an imperfect world, and the relative threat of terrorism enjoys a larger mind-share than fags, fat, cars, industrial and environmental risks put together.

b) Recognise that authority must (MUST!) enact laws and guidelines to give visibility to preventative actions. If you didn't see the M-16's in the street, elected officials would be thrown out on their arse, period.

c) Recognise that the lip-service given to "freedoms" is just that: lip-service. It always has been, and it always will be. Freedom is defined by more than just what the movies mean it to be. There are limits to everything.

d) Recognise that USians have a larger ego than most (mainly because of their position in the world) so non-standard attacks will always have a high utility to those that have hatred for you.

e) Recognise that military invincibility is a double-edged sword: on the one hand it gives citizens warm fuzzies about their role in the world, on the other hand it gives others warm fuzzies when you fall on your arse.

f) Recognise that all civilisations prior to the ones in the present day have fallen, no matter their relative strength.

So far, I'd say the US is about par for the course. Things have changed, both in policy and attitude, such that the US will be better prepared for future attacks.

Other than the above reality checks, I would advise leaders in the US to stop with their cowboy attitudes; show a little vulnerability to the world and you will not only get sympathy for your cause, you may even find friends in your enemies.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"

Integrate! (none / 0) (#134)
by mveloso on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 09:30:29 AM EST

It's been pointed out that the scope of the DHS overlaps other agencies, which is true. The one thing the DHS can do that the other agencies can't is integrate the data from all those other agencies.

It's been pointed out that a bunch of the 9/11 guys were known, it's just the information never was consolidated...until it was too late. I'm sure there were incredible procedural hurdles to jump through before 9/11 if an agent wanted info across agencies - enough so it didn't happen.

With the DHS' position, that integration becomes much easier, and gains the massive amount of value that integration provides. What if the BCIS (INS, the FBI, State Dept, local law enforcement, etc could pull information from a common source?

That's really the value that DHS can bring in the long term. Physical security may not be possible, but at least DHS can give law enforcement the tools to potentially do their jobs better.

While it's not within the Department's powers... (5.00 / 2) (#136)
by Bora Horza Gobuchol on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 09:50:38 AM EST

The most effective thing that could be done to reduce the United States' vulnerability to international terrorism would be to get out of oil politics entirely, and become self-sufficient in energy. I cannot understand the rationale of playing footsie with countries that are viscious dictatorships, hotbeds of religious fundamentalism and completely corrupt, all in the interest of oil. If you don't want terrorists, don't feed the societies that give them birth.

(Note that this solution would not deter domestic terrorists such as McVeigh. There will, unfortunately, always be crazy people in the world.)

A really good question, BTW. It's very easy to be a critic, much harder to suggest alternative solutions, and I'm both amused and appalled by the range of responses thus far.

-- "Don't criticise. Create a better alternative."
And you would do this how? (none / 0) (#147)
by ad hoc on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:28:00 AM EST

get out of oil politics entirely, and become self-sufficient in energy

Burn coal? Drill in the Alaska north slope? If we used only American oil, it would last a few years, maybe even quite a few years, but not very long, and not very cheaply. So by exclusively using American oil, are you willing to subject the economy to the recession and, quite probably, a depression as a result? Are you willing to pay 100 to 200% more for every item in the store (including food which must be grown and shipped using a wide variety of petrol products).

You could mandate organic farming, but the yeild would be reduced to such a point that it's debateable whether we could supply our own needs let alone the massive amounts of exports we supply, which would the destabilize other parts of the world with the resulting grain shortage.

But, by all means, keep on with the "don't use foreign oil" mantra.


[ Parent ]

Alternatives (none / 0) (#155)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:16:03 AM EST

Whatever happened to the alternative energy sources people used to talk about? Solar, wind, etc. Are they any closer now than they were 30 years ago? If not, why not? You realize that as long as we're dependent on oil from the most unstable region on Earth, there will be trouble! Maybe it's NOT possible to find/create an alternative to Middle Eastern oil. Which means we'd better move a lot more troops in there so nobody else can cut us off!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
I'm not saying it can't be done (none / 0) (#165)
by ad hoc on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:39:33 AM EST

I'm asking how do you do it. As you say, so far the alternative energy "revolution" has been a spectacular failure.

Many examples of stiff opposition (including celebrities like Walter Cronkite) to alternatives comes to mind. As long as there are those insist on alternative forms of energy as long as it has no impact on their lives and they do not have to compromise in any way, the road to alternative energy self sufficiency is a dead end.

I also find it terribly ironic that there was such al large percentage of SUVs driven to the last Earth Day thing at the esplanade. Hundreds of soccer moms and dads driving their SUVs to Earth Day. If that's the example of the pro-alternative energy crowd, it's a complete non-starter.


[ Parent ]

Go nuclear until the orbital solar (none / 0) (#164)
by michaelp on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:39:31 AM EST

stations are done. Use IFR reactors, with the benefit of using up all the nuclear fuel on the planet and turning it into mostly harmless metal.

2 birds: make the planet safer while eliminating the very dirty (and radiation spreading!) US coal burning industry.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Nuclear is another non-starter (none / 0) (#168)
by ad hoc on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:52:34 AM EST

The debate over nuclear power has been so poisoned that neither "side" can negotiate on the mertis of the argument; it has completely degenerated into an irrational, emotional argument.

That said, nuclear only solves a small part of the problem, if any at all. The issue of nuclear waste has not been addresses in any realistic way. Burying it is not a real solution. You can't send it into space, both because it's very heavy and expensive to ship that way, and the risk of massive contamination if the rocket fails (which is more common than you might think) is too high.

What do you do with the millions of cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships? Those vehicles that ship consumables and other products around the world? I suppose you could make an argument for nuclear for large container ships, as they rival aircraft carriers in size, but aircraft carriers are not a profitable venture. Would you trust nuclear power to captains like this or this or this? Captains (and their employers) whose first instinct is to run, and whose second instinct is to deny that it even happened. What if these were a nuclear leak?

What would be the cost premium for an orbital solar station v. oil? Do you think the public is willing to pay that increase on every single manufactured item they buy? Do you think any politician would vote to fund such an enterprise if they knew they were going to be blamed for such cost increases (including the inevitable cost overruns that come with any large scale enterprise of this sort)? Something this large could not be a private enterprise, it has to be government backed. It's simply too large for a commercial venture. It could, possibly, be done be a commercial joint venture, but you run the risk of what happened in California.


[ Parent ]

Issue of waste (5.00 / 1) (#178)
by michaelp on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 01:08:37 PM EST

is mostly solved by the IFR design. Not to mention that the issue of nuclear waste should not be considered in a vacuum: rather it should be contrasted with the issue of coal plant pollution and waste, and oil/gasoline pollution and waste. When considered in the context of the waste it would eliminate, nuclear power looks much less scary.

What do you do with the millions of cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships?

Electric power can be used for trains, cars, trucks, etc. Batteries have their problems of course, but either fuel cell or (better IMO) the compressed air motor are already proving viable for vehicles & much cleaner & more efficient than batteries.

Planes and ships may need fossil fuels longer, but the goal in question was US energy self sufficiency, not no fossil fuels at all: we have enough domestic oil for our planes and ships for a long time to come.

What would be the cost premium for an orbital solar station v. oil?

The intial cost premium is not oil vs. orbital solar, rather it is oil vs. nuclear. Right now the US public is shielded from the real cost of an oil/coal based economy: the additional military spending needed to support the oil and the radioactive(yes, radioactive), sulpher dioxide, and greenhouse gas pollution and waste generated by coal.

We're already paying a very high premium (7 trillion according to ORNL) for the oil components of our energy economy.

As far as orbital solar, there is enough uranium/plutonium to provide US energy independence for quite some time, giving us time & money (from less need for military adventures overseas as well as the benefits of producing our own power) to reduce the costs of orbital solar power to economical levels.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
what about just wasting less fuel? (none / 0) (#181)
by 6mute on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 01:26:54 PM EST

impose proper fuel efficiency restrictions on carmakers.

invest in public transport (where applicable).


[ Parent ]
get rid of SUV's (nt) (none / 0) (#182)
by phred on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 01:29:36 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Some answers (5.00 / 1) (#190)
by ad hoc on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 02:40:09 PM EST

The ultimate answer to all three, of course, is a political one. And, as much as people hate to hear it, much of it comes down to campaign finance reform.

You can't impose tough restrictions on an auto industry when that same industry pumps millions in the coffers of the regulators. It just ain't gonna happen.

That said, auto makers have actaully done a pretty good job in increasing efficiency of cars. Just compare cars of today with similar sized cars of 1970 or 1980. The problem comes when cars keep getting bigger and bigger and turn into SUVs which are not subject to the same efficiency regulations that normal cars are.

In non cars, the Energy Star certification is a success, as far as I can see. I certainly won't buy an appliance that is not Energy Star certified and I don't think I'm unique.

Public Transit (which is a subject near and dear to my heart) is in the same political trouble. Every time you hear about "public transit" it's always in the context of "subsidized with tax money from hard working taxpayers". How often do you hear about how much the highway system is subsidised by tax money? Do you think that silly little gas tax entirely pays for highway and bridge maintenance?

If public transit were subsidized to the same amount as the public highway system, it would be a spectacular system, but I doubt that will ever happen.

Of course there are problems particular to public transit in the US that Europeans don't understand. And that is, people from Europe don't realize just how big this country is and just how spread out things are. Public transit can be, and is, successful in the northeast corridor (DC to Boston) and, to a lesser extent, along the CA coast, but it has real, significant problems elsewhere.

Carpooling is a nice idea and works well in some cases, particularly where workers are on a fixed shift. It works less well in a white collar economy where people really don't know what time you're going to get to go home. Carpools aren't that flexible. You can't just say "my boss told me I had to stay an extra hour to finish this thing up" and expect the carpool to wait on you.

One you missed, though, at least for white collar workers, is telecommuting which works very well for me. High speed internet, telephone, and fax means I rarely have to leave the house for work, and when I do, I can get a zipcar for out of town meetings. But you have to have a boss that trusts you and management that will pay for the connections. That's pretty rare, too.


[ Parent ]

No need to go cold turkey... (none / 0) (#197)
by curunir on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 04:55:00 PM EST

We don't need to completely stop buying foreign oil, only to start the process of reaching that goal. Moving funding from programs that encourage fossil fuel consumption (e.g. occupation of Iraq) to research and construction of new energy technologies could be a big win.

First thing we should do is to divest ourselves of the responsibility of playing world policeman. The resources we spend abroad could be used to subsidize the higher gas prices that would result from the instability in regions we no longer pacify. This would also pretty much solve most of the issues with terrorism since most groups only hate us for what we've done to their countries. That would leave the majority of our anti-terrorism budget to invest in new energy technologies as well.

Second thing we should do is to invest more heavily in other forms of power. Wind power is severely under used in this country and, combined with hydrogen fuel cell technology could be used to eliminate a large chunk of our dependence on fossil fuels. There's also a couple of new sources of energy that should be funded much more heavily than they currently are, chief among them (in my mind) harnessing the energy of tides. For instance, it's estimated that with the amount of water that flows into and out of the San Francisco Bay (where I live), enough energy could be generated to power the entire area. All we need to get there is to fully research the technologies and fund the construction projects. With the amount of money we spend clinging to our oil-based technologies, I can't imagine it could be less than what would be required to get these new technologies to the point where they'd be usable. Also, as much flak as they get, nuclear could be a huge help in weaning ourselves off fossil fuels.

[ Parent ]
I agree (5.00 / 1) (#202)
by ad hoc on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 06:39:33 PM EST

for the most part. But that still ignores the political question. Playing world policeman (read: imperialist) is not something this country will give up easily or quickly, in spite of all protestations. It's too deeply ingrained in the culture with its roots going back to, at least, the imperialism of the early 1900s if not the earlier Mexican War.

Even if we were to decide to give it up, which I grant you is a worthwhile goal for the most part, it's unlikely to satisfy the world's need for revenge. The balkan countries are still fighting over the Great Schism of 1054, and the Islamic countries cite the Crusades at every opportunity and somehow the US is to blame for both of these even though they were 500 years before this country even existed. Hatred this deep can only be described as racial. Racial as in "part of the race" not as in skin color. It's nearly instinctual. So even if the US were to turn over a new leaf and do everything right from here on out, there is so much water under the bridge that it's unlikely the rest of the world would let it pass. But then the US isn't likely to turn over a new leaf any time soon, so it's really a moot point.

The only way new sources of power can be invested in, especially in the current climate, is if it's included in a military budget or, perhaps, if it were somehow terrorist related. Anythign else will be labeled a boondogle and lampooned by O'Reilly as total and complete wastes of money. A famous citiation of this genre is a government study of the sex life of bees. Waste of money you say? Well, (forgive me I forget the actual numbers), bees fertilize a huge percentage of crops and if their numbers start to decline (as they were) some study needs to be undertaken as to (1) why and (2) how to correct it. Number 2 requires a study of the sex life of bees, so some of these "boondogles" may not be quite as wasteful as the simpleton talking heads would have you believe.

Harnessing wave power is also a great idea and one with much potential. But, dollars to donuts, if you suggest putting devices in San Fransisco harbor to harnes the waves, you'll get the same outcry that they're getting now in Nantucket Sound about those who are trying to harness the wind. (See here). People, even some of the most screaming liberals, are all for alternative energy on paper, as long as it (1) doesn't effect them, (2) doesn't cost them anything, (3) is done somewhere else, preferably in a poorer economic neighborhood where "it will be good for them".


[ Parent ]

Let's keep the oil, but get rid of the dictators. (none / 0) (#206)
by harryh on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 07:19:20 PM EST

> I cannot understand the rationale of playing
> footsie with countries that are viscious
> dictatorships, hotbeds of religious
> fundamentalism and completely corrupt, all in
> the interest of oil.

Neither can I, and neither can the Bush administration.

Which is why we're doing our best to get rid of the viscious dictatorships.

[ Parent ]

Um (none / 0) (#254)
by ad hoc on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 01:11:29 PM EST

I thought "we" were doing to bust up al-Queda and prevent another Sept. 11.

Or was it to prevent the proliferation of WMDs?

Or something.


[ Parent ]

Torture Chambers!!!! (none / 0) (#280)
by Jazu on Sun Jul 27, 2003 at 10:34:47 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Empty the Cities (2.00 / 1) (#137)
by Baldrson on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:04:37 AM EST

I'd do everything I could to empty the cities.

-------- Empty the Cities --------

Security? (4.87 / 8) (#142)
by awgsilyari on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:20:37 AM EST

I think this is going to degenerate into a rant, you be the judge: I was a hysterical wreck for several months after 9/11. I flinched when planes flew low overhead (no, I didn't think they would crash, I thought they might be carrying poison gas). Then I realized I was being an idiot.

The DHS doesn't make me feel more secure, but that's probably because I don't feel less secure in the first place. I'm honestly worried more about pissing my g/f off enough to kill me some days. Security? What fucking security do I need? I'd love to ride a plane with two hundred old white grandmas carrying nail clippers. They can even throw in some box cutters, it'll be a little added excitement. You know, I'd even be comfortable riding a plane entirely filled with guys named Mohammed.

If people are determined to kill me, what the hell am I supposed to do about it? Even more importantly, why should I care? When I cross the streets in Portland I run a greater risk of being killed (it's almost happened more than once). When I get up on the roof of my house to clean the rain gutters I always feel fear. When I woke up in the middle of the night to the nerve-wracking sound of a component of the security alarm overheating and nearly setting the fucking house afire, I felt damn terrified -- what if I hadn't woken up? I could have died a frightening, fiery death!

Am I supposed to feel more afraid about dying by terrorist? Why? Because his name is Mohammed? Because he might use some unconventional form of killing me?

Let's suppose 3000 people were blown up by terrorists every day. That's a 1/100000 chance each day. At that rate, I'd have to live for 190 years just to have a 50/50 chance of having been blown up. You know what? I'll fucking take that risk.

To everyone who advocates even the smallest change in our rights and freedoms in response to this: fuck off and die. You haven't succeeded in anything, you haven't made yourself safer -- what you've done is made me into yet another enemy. Now I hate you. I guess you better hope you never make my hate rise to the level of desperation. Because after all, there's something to fear.

Have a nice day.

Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com

Meh. (none / 0) (#154)
by jmzero on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:51:21 AM EST

Life is dangerous.  Therefore, anything we do to make it safer is stupid.  Great.

I don't think people should be able to take knives on planes (or boxcutters).  I think there should be metal detectors before you get on a plane, and there should be an effort to take away anything that would make a reasonable weapon.  It all goes in a box, and you can claim it when you get to your destination.  If explosives sniffing technology is priced viably, it should be implemented too.  

I think a lot of airport security is wasted effort and/or pure show (ie, worrying about nail clippers and terrorist buttons).  In principle, though, I think it makes sense to try to enforce a weapons ban for airline passengers.

If people are determined to kill me, what the hell am I supposed to do about it? Even more importantly, why should I care?

Err, uh.  Yeah.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Mehph. (none / 0) (#167)
by cburke on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:46:15 AM EST

Life is dangerous.  Therefore, anything we do to make it safer is stupid.  Great.

Yeah, that was his point.  Or maybe it was that we should be focusing on making safer the things that actually have a decent chance of killing you.

I don't think people should be able to take knives on planes (or boxcutters).

I overheard a worker at an airport deli tell a friend that the knives they use to cut bread are chained to the tables.  I wanted to laugh out loud.   Let me paint you and the guy responsible for that decision a picture.  Evil terrorist Abdul McVeigh is on a plane, and pulls out the carving knife he swiped from the deli, which is about ten times bigger than the swiss army knives that are all they used to let you take on a plane.  He wants to get into the cockpit, but the door is locked.  He turns around to threaten the passengers, but they ain't threatened, they're pissed.  So at this point he either realizes he's fucked, and gives up the knife to sit quietly until the plane lands and he's arrested, or he gets stomped like a narc at a biker rally.

Actually, that Dennis Millerism is out of date.  In fact, the next time a narc gets stomped at a biker rally a bystander is going to
comment  "Damn, he got stomped like a jackass trying to hijack a plane with a Swiss Army Knife!"

If people are determined to kill me, what the hell am I supposed to do about it? Even more importantly, why should I care?

Err, uh.  Yeah.

A teacher of mine once said "If someone is willing to lose their own life in order to kill you, the only thing you can do about it is decide what you want on your coffin."

I guess Option B:  Hide in Underground Bunker for Rest of Life never occured to him.

In the meantime, I'll be worrying more about second hand smoke.

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#177)
by jmzero on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 01:01:02 PM EST

Life is dangerous.  Therefore, anything we do to make it safer is stupid.  Great.

If you really don't agree with the above statement (which it sounds like you don't), then we're agreed that there are going to be some safety measures worth taking and some that aren't.  The original post didn't make this clear - I thought I'd point this out.

I think we'd agree that the current security regimen at airports is overdone (at least with regards to certain threats).  

All I'm saying is that it does make sense to prohibit weapons in general (at least ones that are more threatening than the steak knives they give first class passengers).  

Even without the threat of terrorism (and I think we'd agree that this particular attack vector isn't likely to recur), I think a weapon ban makes sense - I've seen a few air-rage fistfights break out on airplanes and been glad nobody had a knife.

I guess the distinction I'm trying to make clear is between "the idea of a prohibition on weapons" and "the current security regime".

"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Okay (5.00 / 1) (#185)
by cburke on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 02:15:43 PM EST

I'm about as worried about mid-air rage-induced knife fights as I am about knife fights in bars...  Well, less so because of the alcohol.  A fist fight is a far cry from a knife fight, even if someone does have a knife.  Really, it's very different to be so mad you want to beat the crap out of someone and wanting to stab them.

Anyway, I agree that some measures are fine.  But first, I'm not losing any sleep over the issue so long as they continue to ban guns and machetes.  Second, I don't think they should be banning the things that used to be okay, for example pocket knives, of which I have two on me at all times.  Used to be three, but airport security confiscated my tiny keychain knife which was about as dangerous as a sharpened pencil.

What I want to make clear is the distinction between "a ban on weapons", and "a ban on objects that could conceivably, though quite ineffectively, be used as weapons".  I always thought the 3" rule about knife blades (was it three inches?  It seems like so long ago that airport regulations seemed somewhat sane) was reasonable.

But other than that, yeah.

[ Parent ]

relax (1.00 / 1) (#159)
by jettero on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:24:28 AM EST

The first thing I'd do is relax the very stupid security they put in place at airports. It doesn't do anyone a lick of good, makes ordinary people feel like criminals, and ...

Ok, I just plain resent standing barefoot next to an x-ray scanner while some nitwtit is examining the laminate on my drivers license ...

What good does that really do? The evil arabs ... err. terrorists will plan on that sort of thing and just think of something clever. Iff they even bothered with airplanes this time.

Wrong topic (4.66 / 3) (#161)
by michaelp on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:32:39 AM EST

DHS is not the big scary thing taking away our freedoms, thats the PATRIOT ACT.

As has been amply demonstrated, the Gummint had all the power and the evidence it needed to stop 9/11, it just didn't add 2 plus 2 in time.

If DHS resulted merely in the integration of information systems and powers already granted to the law, it might be a step in the right direction.

The problem is that certain folks who have always had completly different problems with traditional American freedoms than security used 9/11 as a chance to grab more power from the citizenry, in the form of PATRIOT and various other acts passed in the name of security.

DHS is just the folks charged (among others such as your local town cops) with enforcing some of these clearly Unconstitutional new powers, those new powers are the real problem.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

What I would avoid (5.00 / 1) (#162)
by t reductase on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:34:16 AM EST

Collecting mounds of information on every individual in the US is a no go. I believe such mass data collecting to be non-productive and what is more could possibly be used to assist a police state. A little selective surfing to sites of interest is certainly all right but mass data collection and mass informant programs are a hurtful to good intelligience and to a free society. The system was overwhelmed by bad leads before 9/11. There was no time to follow up on good leads. Intelliginece which winnows the grain from the chaff is I believe the order of the day rather than ever more massive data collection systems. I believe from an effectiveness standpoint such a strategy is preferrable besides being more sparing of civil liberties.

Cure the disease (3.00 / 3) (#179)
by thoennes on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 01:09:49 PM EST

The one thing that would have prevented 9-11: lock the freakin' doors to the cockpit and have a policy that pilots NEVER give up control of their planes.

All the info systems in the world can't make up for bad policies and procedures.  Just ask any CEO.

How to remove a terrorist threat?  Take away their motive, opportunity, and methods.

Methods comes down to what they're going to use and how.  Bomb, knife, gun.  Solution:

Get some good non-intrusive high-speed technology for scanning a person in place at any mass transporation center.  Deploy it, keep on improving it.  Make sure it's an open market solution or your vendor will screw you.

Opportunity.  Large population centers will always be opportunities.  That will never change.  There will always be an opportunity.

Motives are a long term problem.

Remove the US reliance on oil.  Require high energy standards, alternative energy, conservation, etc.  The technology is here.  Now.  Either do it on our terms now, or do it later under much worse conditions.

Quit financing foriegn governments and quasi-wannabe governments.  All of them.  By not being the worlds financier, we remove ourselves from being a target of the pissed, regardless of their justification.

Really help developing countries.  Forget their politics.  Help them with education, food, water, energy, communications.  Give the people that, the rest follows.

In a nutshell, have some balls and do the right thing things for real "homeland" security.  I see that happening, I'll feel more secure.  Right now, I'm just pissed at my eroding privacy and increasing expense.  I have no faith that this will be accomplished.

Read the last issue of "Skeptic" magazine, "Do We Fear the Right Things?"

What I'd Do (4.50 / 2) (#184)
by czolgosz on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 02:03:59 PM EST

Remember that this is the (horribly named) Deptarment of Homeland Security, so I won't be dealing with foreign policy, which is the long-term source of many of our security problems. Instead, I'll stick to what DHS is supposed to be doing.

1. Dump the PATRIOT Act. It's ineffective and diverts resources. There is no tradeoff between real rights and phony security.

2. Identify single failure points in critical infrastructure and let out government contracts to develop workarounds and build redundancy into the systems. Big money in this, and it would be for the public good.

3. Shut down nuclear power plants. They're already uneconomic and create long-term environmental problems, and are a target for terrorists as well.

4. Admit that the existing airport security system is a wasteful fiasco. Re-engineer the system using a risk-based analysis, with cost-effectiveness being a criterion, and with passenger's wasted time considered as one of those costs.

5. Abandon the inane color-coded alert system, since there is no concrete action that the public can take based on the current warning levels. If it doesn't influence behavior in a way that promotes real security, then it's just a propaganda ploy to feed the general sense of insecurity.

6. Perform random readiness audits of disaster preparedness systems and hold those who screw up publicly accountable. To force timely corrective action, publish the results of the audits 60-90 days afterwards.

Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
Support (none / 0) (#201)
by cloudboi on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 06:37:35 PM EST

3. Shut down nuclear power plants. They're already uneconomic and create long-term environmental problems, ... Can you support these claims in comparrison to say, coal power? -cb

[ Parent ]
Simple. (4.50 / 2) (#192)
by Lethyos on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 02:51:53 PM EST

Domestically, we do nothing.  That's right.  Absolutely no domestic changes whatsoever should have been made as a result of 9/11.  The reason for this is simple: all the increased security in the world (in exchange for liberty) would not have prevented the destruction of the World Trade Center.  The terrorists involved never broke the law, up until the moment they hijacked the planes.  All of this nonsense would not have stopped them.  It only serves to hurt core American ideals.  Destroying freedom is exactly what the terrorists wanted us to do, and in my opinion, we gave them exactly what they wanted.  Good job, Big Brother!  Of course, I think the politicians know that.  Conspiracy theories aside, post 9/11 was a government power grab that capitalized on the deaths of thousands of people, and it's sickening.

Now, what we must do is alter our foreign policy.  I believe strongly that US foreign policy is a very near indirect cause of this tragedy.  We stage coups.  We frequently install dictators in other countries.  We give rouge nations (like Iraq) weapons.  We enforce injustice all through the world, and yet we wonder why people hate us.  US politicians need a wake up call.  They need to realize that we do not have absolute power and we should try making friends rather than enemies.  Then maybe we will be less of a target.

But that is a much broader discussion...

earth, my body; water, my blood; air, my breath; fire, my spirit

RE: Simple (5.00 / 2) (#221)
by lordDogma on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 01:47:44 AM EST

what we must do is alter our foreign policy

Ok I see that I am going to have to weigh in on this one. You assert that 9-11 is a result of our foreign policy, which I think is absolutely baseless...

We stage coups.

What was the last coup staged by the US? And do you think Osama Bin Laden declared jihad on the United States (OBL issued a fatwa calling for Jihad in 1998) because of any of these coups? Do you think that 15 Saudi Arabians flew airliners into the WTC in part because they were angry about any of these alleged coups?

We frequently install dictators in other countries.

Can you name *one* dictator that the US has "installed" in any country during the last year? Two years? Four years? Ten years? If you can't name a single one in the last ten years then how can you claim that the US makes a frequent habit of doing this? This statement is totally baseless. And don't start talking about the 60s and 70s. You can't seriously claim that 19 Saudi hijackers flew airliners into the WTC in 2001 because they were angry about US foreign policies from 30 years ago.

We give rouge nations (like Iraq) weapons.

The whole premise of your argument is that we need to change our *current* foreign policies in order to avoid being a target of terrorists. I have news for you: We haven't given/sold weapons to Iraq in over 15 years. The terrorists still want us dead anyway, so clearly this can't be the problem. (You haven't named any other countries so I can't address them, but I would love to hear what other "rogue" states you think we give weapons to.)

We enforce injustice all through the world and yet we wonder why people hate us.

How about we turn this question around for a minute. The Islamic terrorist groups attack our civilians. They kill innocent men, women and children on purpose. They run around calling us infidels, inciting violence and Jihad against us. They spread their violent form of Islam by the sword throughout the rest of the world. Then they wonder why we hate them and want to kill them.

Moving on, would you care to provide a concrete example of an international injustice commited by the United States prior to 9-11 which gave *valid reason* for 15 Saudi Arabian citizens to target 50,000 American civilians for death (and kill 3000 of them)?

I can name dozens of things the US does in the world that *promotes* justice and goodwill. How about the $15 Billion we are giving to Africa to fight AIDS? Did you know that the US was the biggest provider of foreign aid to Afghainstan before 9-11? That didn't seem to keep the Taliban from helping OBL plan attacks on us.

I've been to many places in the world and I can tell you that we are well liked by many people, just as we are disliked by many people. That's life. We can't expect everyone to like us, just like you can't expect everyone living in your neighborhood to like you.

Here is a specific example of the US promoting goodwill. It regards our military since so many people think that all we do with our miltary is run around bullying other countries: The US Navy wargames/operates on a regular basis with Canada, Australia, Japan, Chile, South Korea, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Great Britain, Spain, and a whole host of other NATO countries. Sometimes we even do small exercises with Bahrain or invite some African nations to come out and play with us. Often these joint wargames/operations include port visits/personnel exchanges/receptions/etc. I can remember hosting three Japanese destroyers in San Diego a few years ago in which we had a barbeque and played softball with them. Imagine that - 50 years ago we were at all out war with these people and now we are allies. Can you name another country that has this kind of relationship with so many foreign militaries?

US politicians... need to realize that we do not have absolute power and we should try making friends rather than enemies.

We have more friends and allies than any other country in the world (see above example). But it doesn't make sense to *force* a friendship with governments that we have fundamental disagreements with, particularly those run by evil dictators and religious fanatics. How come *they* don't try to make friends with us? Any time we try to make friends with these people they wind up backstabbing us in classic Fidel Castro/Saddam Hussein/Osama Bin Laden fashion and then twenty years down the road we have to listen to people like you complain about us giving weapons to them.

The last thing I have to say is that it doesn't make sense to keep philosophizing without any evidence or basis in fact all the reasons behind Al Qaida's desire to attack us. If you want to know WHY just read Bin Laden's 1998 fatwa. He lays it all out right there - straight from the horse's mouth.

[ Parent ]

What I would do to deal with terrorism. (none / 0) (#199)
by thedukane on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 05:57:32 PM EST

1. Overthrow the Taliban 2. Invade Iraq 3. Overthrow the Theocracy in Iran. 4. Invade Syria 5. Withdraw from the UN. 6. Let Israel deal with the Palestinians and kill Arafat. 7. Make America energy independant. 8. Monitor everything I can regarding the population. If you are doing nothing illegal then don't worry. 9. Change airport security back to private sector. 10. Tell Saudi Arabia to take a hike. 11. Re-elect George Bush.

You forgot to add. . . (none / 0) (#214)
by Fantastic Lad on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 11:38:22 PM EST

12. Turn in your neighbors because they're acting 'funny' and you never liked them much anyway. (Better do it first, before they do it to you!)


[ Parent ]

I would enjoy... (none / 0) (#207)
by mcgrew on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 07:59:34 PM EST

my cushy, meaningless job and my fatassed bank account! And try to get whoever appointed me reelected so I could continue the good life.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

simple: (5.00 / 1) (#209)
by kstop on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 08:31:46 PM EST

Devote all my energies to replacing the current bunch of bloodthirsty fundamentalist christian idiots that run the US with the alternate team of blowjob-seeking healthcare-funding idiots. Then the domestic intelligence services that are supposed to stop crazy people doing bad things wouldn't be distracted by pornography crackdowns and political pogroms, the rest of the world would be listened to a little, the status quo would be maintained, and with a little luck things would slowly get better for everyone. Then I would resign, before I was responsible for turning the world into the unpleasant bits of A Mind Forever Voyaging.

Not sure that's the right question (none / 0) (#212)
by wrinkledshirt on Thu Jul 24, 2003 at 10:21:37 PM EST

Barring the usual conspiracy theories, the department of homeland security is basically doing everything it can to ensure that terrorists et al can't kill American citizens. This basically means limiting actions of potential threats, and that means limiting freedom. It sounds ugly, but that's its job, and it's reactive one, with what it's reacting to in this case being a tangible high-profile attack with the possibility of more on the way.

If you don't like the way that the department goes about its business, IMO you have two options, but both are outside the purview of the department.

1: Figure out a way to kill the disease instead of just fighting the symptoms of it (with the DHS's job being the latter). This means having the country figure out a way to play nice with other countries diplomatically, not supporting the wrong regimes, not using war as a first resort, etc. Take the bull's eye off your back instead of daring others to shoot at it with your (sorry if this offends) rather arrogant approach to dealing with the rest of the world.

2: Find a way to independently police the department for abuse of its power. I'm actually not against racial profiling, invasion of privacy, monitoring speech, etc. so long as the proper counter-measures are in place to ensure that the department does not abuse the powers, and that appropriate punishments are levied in case the department does. This means a separate body with real power outside the department policing the police. I don't think it's realistic to expect COMPLETE freedom (and we haven't had that for a long time, even before 9/11), but at least you can comfort yourself knowing that, if your freedom was taken away unjustly, you can be compensated for that.

Maybe these are both over-simplifications, but that's how I see it.

And so long as we're day dreaming. . , (none / 0) (#218)
by Fantastic Lad on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 12:03:27 AM EST

I'd like a nice ice cream cone.

Mmm. Ice cream.

Seriously, folks. The only sensible course of action is to learn AS MUCH as you can about what is going on out there. Stop pretending that 'Conspiracies are for Nuts'. Stop pretending that the playing field is both fair and limited in scope to the mundane activities 'documented' by our corrupt science and education systems.

Then, after you *see* what's happening, grow a spine and put away your useless fear.

Take what you have learned and figure out what you want to DO with your knowledge. What place do you want to hold in the New World which is rapidly unfolding around us. (Keeping in mind that aliens don't share power with human munchies, and that ALL humans are munchies. Even losers like Bush.)

Then, once you have a plan of action, ACT on it. There ARE ways out.

Armchair politics and feverently pretending that everything 'Will Turn Out Okay' is what got so many millions of people (MILLIONS!!!) liquidated in all those camps back in WWII. --And they were NOT just killing Jews. They won't be this time either.


I agree (none / 0) (#226)
by emwi on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 02:31:35 AM EST

with what you see as the real danger, BUT:

You assume a moral majority which would -if they only knew the truth- completely object against it.
I  see it way more pessimistic. Concentration camps are possible because the majority don't care, not because they don't know. It's like in this poem, the average american will not care until he himself get's deportated.
The totalitarian thinking behind the recent events is not new, it just reared it's ugly head and shaked off it's qualms. The current government just rides on a way of thinking which was there for a long time. War on alcohol, war on communists, war on drugs. Lock em up and throw the key away. 3 strikes and you're out. Let god sort'em out.
America as a political entity fought successfully against the totalitarian monsters of the 20th century, but the abyss stared back too long, and this is now a totalitarian society as well.
So, in essence, there will be no revolution "once the people know". The people don't want to know. They prefer the cushy pillow of that the leaders know what they do and that it can't happen to them, since they are good, exactly until the moment a black car stops at their house.
And for the majority, chances are good that this will never happen. Yes, millions died in concentration camps (btw, long before WW2, and long after), but even more millions did not, because they learned to carefully check what they say, and when and where. They checked their anchestry and their own political history and were relieved that they never cared for anything enough to participate, not even on the currently correct political agenda. This is the way to survive under totalitarian governments.
So, enjoy the ice, and have your backpack ready. Noone will act until it's too late.

[ Parent ]

Dude. (none / 0) (#243)
by Alfie on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 10:01:33 AM EST

Get out of Scientology. Really. You don't need that cult in order to be free. Check out: Why are they dead, Scientology?.

[ Parent ]
Heh? (none / 0) (#266)
by Fantastic Lad on Sat Jul 26, 2003 at 05:39:35 AM EST

Scientology is a stupid cult founded on the works of deliberately manipulative, and seriously deluded assholes.

I have *nothing* to do with those creeps. In any case, I am my own man and I follow my own directives, thank you very much.

One of the commonalities between Christ, Buddha and the other truly great sages is that every person's path is and must be different. There is no one way to find enlightenment.

In this manner, to follow, is very much to lose your way.


[ Parent ]

Aliens? (none / 0) (#273)
by Alfie on Sat Jul 26, 2003 at 12:31:17 PM EST

Maybe I misunderstood your comment, but parts of it seemed really weird to me. Like:

(Keeping in mind that aliens don't share power with human munchies, and that ALL humans are munchies. Even losers like Bush.) </pl>

I'm curious what your beliefs are.

[ Parent ]
To answer. . . (none / 0) (#290)
by Fantastic Lad on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 12:41:14 PM EST

Maybe I misunderstood your comment, but parts of it seemed really weird to me. [. . .] I'm curious what your beliefs are.

Okay, now that's a fair question.

It would take many pages to explain what my current belief structure looks like. In short, however, I am sporting the belief that. . .

1. That there is an alien influence on our planet.
2. That it operates from a realm which does not operate in space and time as we understand it.
3. That most forms of human institution are regularly manipulated to achieve alien objectives, and that, except at the very highest levels, those institutions remain unaware of this.
4. That the over-arching alien objective is to 'take over' (to put it very very simply).

I realize that this sounds nuts. --And yes, I realize that cults like Scientology incorporate ideas which may sound similar to people who don't otherwise know anything about such matters, (Scientology is merely another control mechanism, using psychopathic methodology to achieve control over people. Yuck.)

A thousand different bits of object data can be pointed at which do not fit into the traditional official version of 'reality'. In fact, I just an hour ago ran across a fairly well presented one regarding a new crop circle. . .

You can examine that story for yourself at this site.

The page is long, but if you take the time to read through it, you will find it quite informative. It's about a recent crop circle formation, and it has photographs of military on the scene, photos demonstrating the level of magnetized soil both within and without the formation, energy-charred plant stalks, (which incidentally means that this particular circle was created by the 'Bad' aliens which are working to harvest Humanity. --Those circles which do not interrupt the life-cycle of the grasses involved are performed by a different group which will not physically manifest or become directly involved in the unfolding scenario on Earth. Think, 'prime directive'.)

My work and surprising discoveries with Chi energy led me to start asking many questions. I have since examined the behavior patterns behind social engineering, the pharmaceutical industry, the military and corporate world, the food industry, secret societies and esoteric groups throughout history. . . Quite naturally, everything fits together in a rational way. The disconnected pieces were overwhelming at first, but the more I learn, the more clear and simple the picture becomes sot hat today, many of the things which people often find mystifying, or which confuse and frustrate their lives, have become quite simple for me to understand as well as navigate myself through and around. Knowledge is a wonderful thing! Without it, people are bumbling in the dark in a room filled with sharp objects, but (to extend the analogy), as you work to bring up the light level, one's ability to exist and to survive quickly increases as well.

We are in the very last few years of the current 'age'. Unfortunately, the souls in this reality, (both human and alien), have chosen to make the transition a very painful and bloody one. World war, death camps, generally insane and greedy behavior. . . A new cycle is preparing itself, and it is going to be a rough ride across the border. The unfolding decade will be very interesting, to say the least!


[ Parent ]

eesh. from the fp of that web site: (none / 0) (#256)
by Battle Troll on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 02:36:17 PM EST

Wrapped in nicely worded prescriptions for the well-being of Pakistan, there are well-studded gems for pleasing master of our destiny, the Zionists in the U.S.

Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Ego-deficients, like you, will punch low. (none / 0) (#267)
by Fantastic Lad on Sat Jul 26, 2003 at 06:17:30 AM EST

Being 'Right' in the eyes of the larger audience is so bloody important that warping reality is seen as a valid means for achieving dominance. My last reserves of respect for you just went, 'Piff'.

People for whom truth is secondary to self-aggrandizement are dangerous and should be ignored at all cost, because nothing they say can be trusted.

You try to dissuade others from looking at a link and judging it for themselves. --And you do it by quoting out of context a single sentence from a comment posted to the site which was written by a fellow for whom English is most likely not even his first tongue.


-FL "A High-Brow is one who has been educated beyond his intelligence."

[ Parent ]

whatever, dude (none / 0) (#269)
by Battle Troll on Sat Jul 26, 2003 at 10:50:00 AM EST

I don't care if English is his first language. Raving about Zionist conspiracies == dangerous lunatic.
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
If I was my boss at DHS... (5.00 / 2) (#231)
by opendna on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 04:16:35 AM EST

I know nobody's likely to read this, but I'll share anyway. My emphasis is border protection and bad people, because that's what I do. Others deal with internal inforcement or cargo, and I don't know that game, so I'll ignore it.

My Wish List:

  1. Fix all the broken equipment. I'm not saying anymore about this - the status quo is unacceptable.
  2. Pay parity with local law enforcement. Border guards should not earn less than security guards at Macy's.
  3. Replace the Pac-Man hack we call the Inter-agency Border Information System (IBIS). Put together three teams composed of two inspectors from each of the Departments of Agriculture, Customs, INS, two Border Patrol agents, and four software engineers. No inspector above a GS-12 is to be included and a diversity ports (sea, land & air) should be represented. Leave the development notes open to other teams. The winning team gets a $30K bonus each.
  4. Encourage Communtication. We nee a high-speed vertical flow ideas, because the ones coming down don't respond to reality on the front line. Currently bad information goes up and innovation doesn't spread because each level of authority filters too cautiously. This includes changing the current culture of memo writing as punishment instead of communication. End the downward crapflood of broadcast emails: Data is not information.
  5. Reward risk-taking. I know of many foreign-born officers who are willing to go under cover to infiltrate smuggling rings, but the folks Upstairs can't stomach the risk.
  6. Listen to the grunts. Honestly consult the lowest-rungs for suggestions and evaluation. One officer I know found a $5 key ring trinket that increases fraud detection considerably. The Service should be buying these by the container load. But nobody listens to the new guys.
  7. Speed the flow of legitimate travelers. Replace all of the following visas with INSPASS-Border Crossing Card hybrids: As, Gs, Es, Hs, Ls, Fs, Ms, Js. (In order: diplomatic, government, investor, temporary worker, transfer worker, academic students, vocational students, exchange participants) Also a select number of high-frequency B1s (business travelers).
  8. Hire consultants. Hire this guy to plan counter-terrorism operations. Hire this guy for the bureau of infrastructure protection (or whatever it is).
  9. Use the Colombian Truth Powder. Burundanga has all the indications of being a god-send for extracting information from terrorism suspects that is credible and timely.
Yeah, there's more.

Re: If I... (none / 0) (#249)
by doctordank on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 12:06:56 PM EST

One officer I know found a $5 key ring trinket that increases fraud detection considerably. The Service should be buying these by the container load.

Out of curiousity, what kind of key rings are these?

[ Parent ]

Re: Re: If I... (none / 0) (#262)
by opendna on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 08:00:51 PM EST

Something like this and this: a UV LED keychain.

These failed in trials, they're just not durable enough. Which gets us back to #1 again.

[ Parent ]

Don't shoot George W Bush ... (5.00 / 1) (#237)
by oliveo on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 06:55:33 AM EST

as a previous comment suggested. Instead, meditate, meditate real hard on how this moron became the President of the United States of America.

You know, if I were a rich man, I would be seriously tempted to vote for W. It would be a question of saving tens of thousands of dollars, and if I were rich enough, hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. I would like to flatter myself and say that I would resist that temptation but one never knows until one is actually in that situation ...

But what about the millions of others who voted for him? It is not as if he did a great job of hiding his shortcomings during the campaign! These campaigns are deliberately made long and grueling so that we know just about everything about a candidate, even things we probably should not know. (We knew about Clinton's woman problems, for example.) The best defense W could come up with was: "You know, I may be dumb but I will surround myself with intelligent people." And the opposition crumbled by the weight of that mighty argument!

It is probably not fair to post this comment at K5. Could somebody give me a suggestion as to where I could post it so that it finds its "target audience". I guess I am asking to become a bull's eye for flames.

You aren't framing the argument right (none / 0) (#279)
by Jazu on Sun Jul 27, 2003 at 10:14:37 PM EST

The problem is that stupidity was part of Bush's campaign. For some reason, there are several unfortunate threads in American culture that make stupidity a good thing. There's the appeal to the imaginary past: "things were simpler back then, and I'm simpler right now!" There's the dislike of politicians surrendering their opinions for personal gain: "I'm too stupid to listen to polls!" Then there is the fact that stupidity is frequently a critical part of manliness: "I may be clueless about foreign policy, but that makes me a good drinking buddy!" There are others, but none occur to me right now.

[ Parent ]
Roots of anti-intellectualism ... (none / 0) (#287)
by oliveo on Tue Jul 29, 2003 at 08:44:50 AM EST

I read somewhere that anti-intellectualism finds its roots in the Reform movement and the general Protestant feeling that you dont need a degree-toting priest to tell you what to think and do while you can read the Bible yourself. The anti-(Catholic-hierarchy) tendency ...

But I think the main factor behind this is psychological. People seem to be really afraid that a really clever President will pull a fast one on us - to do what? take over the world like a James Bond villain?

I remember watching some sort of a religious program on TV where they came to within a hairbreadth's length of saying that Bill Clinton was the Devil; and they werent talking metaphorically!

It is a pity because it is a misplaced fear. I think we can be feel free to make the most intelligent people presidents because, as Lincoln assured us, however intelligent they may be, they cannot fool all of the people.

Think of England in the Victorian era: two great prime ministers Disraeli and Gladstone and they managed to develop economically and politically while avoiding civil war or revolution.

[ Parent ]

I would track down (none / 0) (#255)
by kuro5hinatportkardotnet on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 02:31:42 PM EST

and hire the insightful devil that came up with the 'In Soviet Russia' line of trolls! Imagine the propaganda value when combined with Fox News!


Libertarian is the label used by embarrassed Republicans that long to be open about their greed, drug use and porn collections.
Change the name (none / 0) (#259)
by klash on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 05:31:53 PM EST

The name "Homeland Security" has always creeped me out. It sounds so nationalistic and militaristic, like "Mother Russia." Why not "Domestic Security?"

resign (4.00 / 1) (#261)
by svampa on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 07:18:23 PM EST

Securely Land At Home (none / 0) (#268)
by jefu on Sat Jul 26, 2003 at 09:45:06 AM EST

It seems to me that there are two sides to "homeland security". ( Of course, I have been known to be wrong before. All too frequently, sadly enough. )

One is defending ourselves against threats and the other is trying to eliminate the reasons that someone would threaten us.

Defending ourselves against threats is the kind of thing that we see the current administration doing: adding police, checking identification more pervasively, making travel harder, making "sensitive" information harder to get, increasing surveillance on people that might be considered suspicious, putting more resources into watching borders, increasing the numbers and effectiveness of intelligence gathering/evaluating/propagating efforts. I'm not sure that I think this money and effort is currently being spent well, but I'm not sure how I might do better myself.

The harder part is the other side. Its probably not possible to keep everyone in the world happy with the US. But it is likely that a bit of effort spent in doing that would pay off very highly. This does not mean abandoning principles, but it does mean that we need to be careful about how those principles are applied and interpreted. For example, US policy in the Middle East was certainly a contributing factor to the Sept 11 attacks. More important though was probably the way that US policy in the Middle East is viewed by those in the region and the way that American policy has been used by governments and other groups (various Muslim factions, Palestinian groups, even the Israelis) in that region as a tool for controlling the populations and for deflecting internal criticism. As another example, we could probably be doing more to help developing countries with the AIDS problem - making drugs available more cheaply, making condoms available and so on.

It may be worth noting too that while current media accounts, governmental actions and so on focus on external threats, internal threats may be as serious, if not more so. Laws and regulations that are perceived as a threat to fundamental rights, to economic health, or to other things that individuals care about, encourage those individuals to think critically about the government - both specific actions of the government and general trends. Remember that the next-to-last major terrorist action in the US was the work of Americans who felt disenfranchised.

In general though, the better the population feels about things the more strongly they will support the government. Keeping the people happy with the government (and the economy) is probably the best thing that can be done in regards to any threat. Yes, several thousand people died due to the Sept 11 attacks, but in a very real sense those attacks were fairly minor - the government was stable and never lost control, the economy paused for a bit and then went back to normal (more or less). But its not hard to imagine a situation in which a similar event could lead to serious unrest, even rebellion.

I've come to believe that it is things that may seem otherwise minor that may be the biggest impetus to destabilization. Not because people get all that riled up about them necessarily, but because they may push people to think critically of the governement/economy/society as a whole. For example, consider the ever popular topic of file sharing and folks like the RIAA. This might be just the kind of thing that starts people thinking about how well the government is actually doing its job. Sound laughable? Remember the stamp tax and the Boston Tea Party? How much did thinking about such things influence Paine and Jefferson and their peers? Napster may have been an economic blip - but Napster and its cousins could easily be far more than an intellectual blip.

So, what would I do as head of Homeland Security? I'd put pressure on the government to tread carefully in foreign affairs. I'd probably also push the UN and push the US to set up a permanent part of the armed forces for UN peacekeeping. I'd push the government to maintain basic rights both inside and outside the US as a very high priority - higher than "security". I'd work hard on using the information infrastructure we're building to keep information on foreign threats and try to react to them early rather than late. I'd work hard on building an international information infrastructure that would be hard to censor. I don't know how to keep an economy healthy, but I'd do my best to help the people of the US from finding economic problems overbearing.

It is impossible to say just what I mean. TS Eliot

What is going on here? (none / 0) (#272)
by crunchycookies on Sat Jul 26, 2003 at 11:54:54 AM EST

Lets step back a minute and look at what is actually going on here. We have a whole region that is in various states of rebellion against American influence. Those countries that seem most stable are the most anti-American. Our best friends in the region are the ones that we pay the most to prop up. Our best friend, Israel, seems just as bad as our worst enemy, Iraq under Sadam. (WMD, genocide, torture, oppression, assassination). The region is a mess from our point of view. What is happening?

The answer is; nothing new. This is exactly the same as Africa in the 1950's and 1960's. They were throwing off the old colonial overlords. This looked pretty bad from the view point of the old European colonial powers. The African revolutionary leaders were no liberal democrats. The Africans were probably even worse leaders than the European leaders. The important thing was that they were indigenous African despots, and that made all the difference in the world. They were legitimate. Africa will find it's way to a liberal democratic future, but it will take time. How long did it take France to become democratic after the fall of the king? There was a lot of blood split along that path. It is naive to think that Africa will be any different.

The Middle East is undergoing the same process. This time it is American power that is being rejected. We don't like this one bit. We are hurt, they don't love us! The process will continue and no amount of "regime change" or "homeland security" will stop it. The time for American dominance in the Middle East is passing just as the colonial era in Africa has passed. Our only choice in the matter is the violence that we are willing to endure before we recognize this new reality.

Given this understanding, our path should be pretty clear. We must stop propping up corrupt governments. When we do this they will be faced with a choice; reform or be overthrown. The end result, either way, will be better for the people of the region and better for us.

This brings us to Israel. For them the choice is the same; reform or be overthrown. Reform means give the Palestinians their rights. This will result in a government that represents all the people of Palestine, not just the select elite. The alternative is to be overthrown. If the Israelis choose this course, i.e. their current course, we should do nothing to stop the process. We should stop all financial aid to Israel and institute an arms embargo. This will result in a Palestine that is at peace.

I would hope that the Israelis would see the reality of the situation and choose peace in the same way that the Apartheid government of South Africa saw the dead end of their current situation. Israel is still under the illusion that oppression will gain them security. We should dissuade them from that view. Nuclear weapons, fighter jets, and tanks did not save the Apartheid government in South Africa, they will not save the Zionist government of Israel.

We Americans and the Israelis have created an enemy that is willing to pay any price, make any sacrifice, to expel us. We haven't a clue as to the origin of this region wide rebellion. We are left with complaining about the way that they use religion to motivate their troops. We complain that they are not fighting "fair". Our only answer to any challenge is to drop more bombs. We refuse to deal with the actual fighters because we call them "terrorists". We prefer to deal with our stooges because they are "moderates". We are doomed because we are clueless. We should pack up and leave and apologize for our arrogance and lies.

In time we can have respectable relations with the governments in the region. It will take time for this all to heal.

-1 shut up monkey (1.66 / 3) (#276)
by gegennazis on Sun Jul 27, 2003 at 02:35:35 PM EST

> Our best friend, Israel, seems just as bad as our worst enemy, Iraq under Sadam. (WMD, genocide, torture, oppression, assassination). You don't have a fucking clue do you Mr. Facist Pig? >This brings us to Israel. For them the choice is the same; reform or be overthrown. Hey...Palestinians have chosen arafat to be their leader and it has been so in the last 20 years. They don't need any reform. It's either the western take over and change the way they live or put a wall between them and modern civilization. There cannot be any peace with ex terrorists. There is no such a thing as an ex terrorist or ex nazi. such scums belong in prison for a lifetime. No fancy deals and no forgivness for any kind of murder. Read the news before you post nonsense. The world doesn't need more ignorant lefties that go with "Globalisation bad....Mc Donalds bad...Oil bad...". 90% the lefties I know would tell u globalisation == Mc donalds anywhere. you're not showing more IQ then those with ur facist posts.

[ Parent ]
Standard stuff, yawn. (none / 0) (#278)
by crunchycookies on Sun Jul 27, 2003 at 05:18:42 PM EST

This is the standard "defense" of Israel;

1) Change the subject; i.e. Everyone else is worse, it is other peoples fault, etc.

2) Insult anyone that questions Israel; i.e. Call them anti-Semitic, Nazi, racist, etc.

It is all the standard stuff. Notice how no one actually defends Israel. Even supporters of Israel cannot defend it. I just wonder how much longer this ploy will work.

[ Parent ]

Well, yeah... and (none / 0) (#288)
by DoorFrame on Tue Jul 29, 2003 at 04:08:25 PM EST

"This will result in a Palestine that is at peace." Well, yeah... and an awful lot of dead Jews. If you're willing to accept that price, then support a financial/arms embargo against Israel. The Israeli's are hideously outnumbered by a local population that would be ever so happy to do away with the whole lot of them. If you're ok watching another genocide, then go ahead and support an arms embargo. The only chance for survival they've had historically (and in the future) is superior arms and superior wealth. I'll grant them that, it's the only way to make it a fair fight.

[ Parent ]
I love these argurments (2.00 / 1) (#289)
by crunchycookies on Wed Jul 30, 2003 at 09:24:26 AM EST

I love these arguments. We can't give the (Arabs, blacks, gays, etc) their rights. If we to they will (kill, corrupt, take over, etc) us good decent (white, Jewish, straight, etc) people. Therefore we must continue to oppress them. We don't want to do it but we have to because we are so good and they are so bad.

I thought it curious that you contend that the Palestinians would commit genocide while you ignore the fact that Israel and Sharon did commit genocide at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon. Perhaps you should condemn those that are guilty of genocide rather than those that you say might commit genocide if they could.

Don't cry for the Israelis, they are living in a world of their own creation. If they don't like it they can change it tomorrow. There will be peace when Israel gives the Palestinians their rights.

[ Parent ]

And whose fault is that? (2.00 / 1) (#291)
by Dantis on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 07:06:52 PM EST

The Israeli's are hideously outnumbered by a local population that would be ever so happy to do away with the whole lot of them.

That's what happens when you steal someone's land and fuck them over for decades. Some people get upset about it. There is no valid excuse for having as many weapons as Israel has. The excuse they are trying to use only highlights their own faults.

Imagine if a single mass-murderer tried this one. If I killed a few million people, then said "Yeah well I've killed so many people that everyone is now out to get me. I can't protect myself unless the American government gives me Weapons of Mass Destruction (tm) shipments regularly. Oh yeah, and that George Bush ... top guy. Got all my loving". Do you think people ( excluding the US government ) would give me weapons?

But the above example is obviously not what is happening here. Imagine, however, that now I'm not one maniac, but a few hundred thousand maniacs - ultra religious Zionists, at that. Now do I qualify for free WOMDs?

[ Parent ]

Standard Zionist defense (none / 0) (#277)
by crunchycookies on Sun Jul 27, 2003 at 05:16:48 PM EST

This is the standard "defense" of Israel;

1) Change the subject; i.e. Everyone else is worse, it is other peoples fault, etc.

2) Insult anyone that questions Israel; i.e. Call them anti-Semitic, Nazi, racist, etc.

It is all the standard stuff. Notice how no one actually defends Israel. Even supporters of Israel cannot defend it. I just wonder how much longer this ploy will work.

Editorial comment, four days too late... (none / 0) (#286)
by skyknight on Mon Jul 28, 2003 at 11:27:54 PM EST

When you are writing, never use phrases such as "I think that", "in my opinion", etc. It is wasteful, making your writing unnecessarily clunky for absolutely no reason. You are the writer, so we know implicitly that it is what you think, or that it is your opinion. My English teachers of yore have beaten this into my head, and I feel compelled to pay the favor forward. Otherwise, it was a good piece.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
Arguably... (none / 0) (#292)
by Cornelius on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 09:12:09 AM EST

These kinds of rhetorical figures add something to a text. Generally, they tend to convey the writer's sensitivity to the fact that there might be several different opinions in a particular matter. These figures also communicate a certain kind of humility which actually can be quite compelling.


"Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell", Hellraiser
[ Parent ]
Arguably... (none / 0) (#293)
by skyknight on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 12:40:11 PM EST

"arguably" could fall into the same camp. Since any argument could be made by a sufficiently foolish idiot, everything is arguable. :-)

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Ask K5: What would you do as the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security? | 293 comments (282 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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