Oh, Good lord.
Another anti-Western apologist checks in.
Okay, let's try that again.
Not once in the weeks after the world trade center attack in New York were terrorist organisations other than so called Islamic ones mentioned.
Wrong. First hour, Oklahoma City and Timothy McVeigh were brought up and discussed on CNN.
What happened to the IRA? To the ETA?
Nothing. Show the U.S. credible evidence that they were behind this attack and then make this statement. Oh, and if it was the IRA, I'd advise moving, first, from looking at your homenode. Denigrating a 'lack of evidence' with spurious and undocumented assertions doesn't help you.
...America's foreign policy has been responsible for the deaths of at least 500,000 innocent people...
I'd love a reference. I'm not doubting you, mind; that number if anything sounds a bit small to me. However, what's your point? Those who have killed more are more guilty, and we should let people keep slaughtering until the books are balanced? I would also ask you to remember that in fact American blood and treasure has been spent more than once to defend lands and people not even ours; innocents died in those wars too. Whose 'fault' was it? The Americans or those nations which had started the wars? Let's at least be clear about which 'evil American foreign policies' we're discussing.
Were we to scale up the idea of terrorists, people who use terror or the threat of terror to achieve political goals otherwise inaccessible,, we would find that the most bloody, cruel, merciless and sadistic regimes in the world are those listed above.
Um, what is your point? I fail to see how 'scaling up' the idea of terrorists logically leads us to the conclusions you've made. If you'd like to first argue that terrorism is equivalent to the nasty things at the end of your sentence, maybe...oh, but wait, these terrorists are smaller so they're clean, right?
Lets cast our minds back to Vietnam shall we, and then the Gulf War. Perhaps we should remember that in both cases the governments of the west funded and trained the very butchers who later turned on them, now Vietnam is barely recovering from the scars, and Iraqi children die at the rate of 5000 a month. This isn't a statistic, this is genocide.
Okay, let's do that thing. Vietnam. Everyone loves this example. Note, however, that whatever your thoughts on the U.S.'s actions there, the U.S. paid, in blood, tears, humiliation, and extremely divisive internal political and social upheaval for a number of years. Furthermore, the U.S. lost a goodly number of young men and women killed in that action, and their surviving brethren, far from being held up as 'heroes,' had to withstand being shat upon by their own (misguided, but that's my opinion) countrymen upon their return. Finally, the opposing team won that round. They then proceeded to invade Cambodia plus a few other neighbors and carry out some fairly nasty political reeducation along the way.
Moving on to The Gulf War. Yup, we funded Iraq and built up Hussein's military. I would remind you that at the time we were doing this, Hussein's opponent was resorting to mass human wave attacks (mostly unarmed) in order to try to dislodge Iraq's military from its positions in a sovereign state declared war, which you seem to have decided is OK if everyone acknowledges it. Furthermore, why not go back a bit farther - we in fact armed the other side in that as well, if a tad earlier. My point here is that while the U.S. makes a shitload of mistakes in the meddling it does, it takes that same amount of shit whether it gets involved or not. Should the U.S. have intervened to stop the human wave attacks against prepared automatic weapon positions? Hm. Vietnam is not recovering from the scars of 'The American War.' Vietnam is recovering from the economic and social policies of the government that won that war, and from its later conflicts with China, Laos, Cambodia and the like, as well as the collapse of its superpower patron. At the moment, in fact, both Vietnam and the U.S. seem quite eager to resume trade in order to reap what benefits can come from that. I'm sure they appreciate you continuing to fight their war for them.
Oh, my favorite. "This isn't a statistic..." Um, actually, I'm sorry, but it is. It's also meaningless. Thousands of American babies, British babies, Rwandan babies, Canadian babies, Russian babies and Vietnamese babies die per year. In the US (at least), thousands a month. Furthermore, unless the Iraqis are cooperative enough to actually die off at the nice round rate of 5k/month, that number has been rounded and averaged - which makes it (cough) a statistic. Remember the truism? "There are lies, damn lies, and..."
Now that it is in the West's interest they have turned their sight to a new enemy, a faceless enemy, a world faith of over a billion. Could it be the fact that the fastest growing religion on the planet was going to overtake Christianity in a couple of years in being the largest? Maybe this is inspiring those leaders of the west, who so readily subsribe to democracy, to cull a few of those with an opposing view.
Ah. Of course, a faceless enemy. This is why bin Laden's fairly ugly mug is all over every piece of media in the U.S. at the moment. Sure. Oh, and we've declared war on Muslims! Good heavens, they must be shipping all the American Muslims off to Manzanar Mk. II...oh, wait. They're not. Your disconnected descriptions of 'a faceless enemy' and 'a world faith of over a billion' aren't relevant. If the U.S. had actually declared war on Islam, believe me, things would not be nearly so peaceful, and in fact would likely include an internal insurrection in the U.S. In point of fact, however, even Mr. Bush and company (and it pains me to say this, I hate all their asses) have been pretty damn careful to specifically identify our enemies. Lest you forget, this crisis has had the unexpected but not unwelcome side-effect of perhaps finally pushing the West and Iran to make up; Iran saw its first visit from a British Foreign Minister since the Shah fell as a result. Oh, but wait, Iran doesn't count, it's secular, and not Muslim, anyway...what? Oh. Sorry.
Um, sure, it could be the fact that Islam is going to overtake Christianity. What could be? What's your point? That they're (gasp) worried? I have news for you, Christianity has never been the most peopled faith around, unless you are describing regions. Perhaps you mean in terms of influence? I dunno, people seem to bitch far more about us Jews (except us Jews. We bitch about the Lubavitchers). Next point: Who has said that Islam is an opposing view to democracy? Um...(resounding silence)...right. You have. Er, as mentioned before, we're quite happy to talk to the government of Iran which is (gasp!) Muslim and, by their claims, a democracy. We're also quite happy to talk to Pervez Musharraf, whose government can in no way be called a democracy. I won't even go into the Former SSRs.
They will hit Afghanistan one of the poorest countries on the planet, then they will turn their attentions to Africa, the poorest continent on earth, and devastate some already decimated little country, and for what? So that they feel a little better about themselves and how powerful they are.
Ah. Being one of the poorest countries on the planet seems to have imbued Afghanistan with a special shield. Wait a minute, I thought we were discussing whether or not the leading party in Afghanistan had in fact sponsored a highly lethal act of violence against the U.S., not relative GNPs. Ooops, must be wrong. Besides, most of the actual hijackers appear to have been relatively well-off middle-class types with a penchant for vitriolic rhetoric. Oh, and then we'll '...turn our attention to Africa!' Good, some people have been bitching forever that we don't pay enough attention to Africa. Most of them seem to live there. Wait, you meant 'turn their attention to' as in 'bomb?' Possible, I grant you. However, the last time the U.S. went to Africa in force had nothing to do (originally) with bombing people. In fact, the U.S. spent money and stores like water to build roads, bridges, shelter, and more for a country that was so far down the international status ladder that it was being defined negatively, as 'a place in the international system where chaos reigns outside the borders of other nations.' Why did we? Because CNN spent time covering starving African children, and the U.S. polity (not the brightest bunch in the world, us) decided 'Something must be done!'
Sure, it went wrong. We hadn't counted on the venality of various groups in-country, and hadn't counted on the resistance to constructive change that was so easily mobilized. When a people has grown up knowing only deprivation, hate and bitterness, it is the easiest task in the world to point at a rich, thoughtless, selfish (yup, we are, all that and more) nation and say 'it's their fault!' when you need a handy mob. We went in with noble intentions; we stumbled, some of our people got dead and we killed a large number trying to retrieve them and in anger after the fact. Yes. But I would remind you that the original 'turning of attention to Africa' happened not because we needed to bomb someone, but because U.S. and foreign citizens were quietly appalled at what was going on there.
Oh, sure, it's to feel better about ourselves. Try reading Blackhawk Down, or talking to the families of the Rangers who died in Mogadishu that night. Try talking to President Clinton, who was handed a shitty situation by his predecessor and spent gobs of time trying to extricate himself and the nation. Ask any of the military who took part. Oh, sure, it was to make us feel better and powerful.
They cannot examine the heart of every muslim man can they?
Sure, if we had enough CAT scanners. (Sorry, couldn't resist). Why would they want to?
They were asked to produce evidence of their suspicions regarding Bin Laden, and the Taliban said they would produce Osama Bin Laden for them without delay. No evidence came forward, and the week before the evidence was due to be given, the USA suddenly decided to isolate the Taliban and make them victims of their vengeance. Yet still not a shred of evidence has been shown to suggest the man they are after is indeed responsible. If they are using threats of violence to achieve their ends, (which incidentally is a political killing, make no mistake about it..) then aren't they the real terrorists?
I'm not even going to try, here. If your picture of reality is this distorted, well, I wish you luck and strong glasses. Evidence has been accumulating, from video of the suspected hijackers boarding the planes and their identification to materials found in the U.S. and elsewhere, telephone calls made amongst members of Al-Qaeda, money transferred, and the like. Has the U.S. divulged all of it? Nope. I would remind you, however, that apparently the evidence is sufficient to convince the governments of Pakistan and Iran, both of whom had the closest ties to the Taliban of any other state. The Taliban just weren't too popular on the international list, man. Even among Islamic nations (coughIRANcough) their relations seemed to center mostly around exchanges of artillery fire. How, then, is their isolation our sudden fault and workings?
Threats of violence? Yup, because it's preferable to make threats than to actually use violence. At least, I thought so. I may be wrong. In any case, the U.S. is not intentionally targeting civilian populations; if we were, we wouldn't be dropping fairly huge quantities of relief supplies in areas outside the cities in an attempt to get them to evacuate. Look, every day we don't bomb them is another day they could be using to at least make credible demands for proof and a forum. It's quite clear (to me, at least) that the Taliban aren't interested in proof of the U.S. allegations; if they were, threatening not only the U.S. but their Muslim neighbors with Jihad sure looks funny.
Um, as to your final point, no, the threat of violence to achieve your end doesn't make you a terrorist. If bin Laden and company had phoned up and said "Look, get out of the Middle East or we attack New York," they're not yet terrorists. Once something happens at their behest that kills non-military Americans and others, then they're terrorists. I'm even prepared to give you Khobar Towers and the U.S.S. Cole as actual military targets; but how do you describe an office building which contains - wait for it - no military or governmental foreign policy decisionmaking bodies, PLUS several thousand foreign nationals, many of whom are Muslims themselves? As a military target? Nope.
Last time I checked, Afghanistan was it's own country with the freedom to choose it's own laws on the basis of its own value system, and not a far flung protectorate of the American empire. You DO believe in freedom don't you? What about the right of others not to believe in your kind of freedom? What about their right to choose their own laws, their own punishments, and to be sovereign in their own country? Or do you object to the fact that Muslims can run a country on this earth without the permission of the US. of A? Freedom is the right to allow others their own choice, as well as making yours. Terrorism is coercing others to accept what you want, and presuming them guilty because it is convenient.
If you could show me this 'American Empire' that everyone seems to love mentioning, I'd love to see it. I've been wanting a nice comfy colony or three for some time. Let's see. Well, Afghanistan certainly is its own country with the freedom to choose its own laws. In fact, they've been choosing a set which are fairly repugnant to the U.S. sense of values for some time now, and I don't seem to recall crusades being launched over that. In fact, the most ardent supporter of the opposition to the Taliban isn't the U.S. but (wait for it) Russia! Have they suddenly become a key component of an American Empire? Try that one on Putin and company; I'll keep an ear peeled over on this side of the ocean for the belly laugh you'll get.
I do, indeed, believe in freedom. I don't see your point. Oh, wait: What about the right of others not to believe in your kind of freedom? What about it? Has that been infringed anywhere? Every time anything in the world hiccups, there are groups of people burning flags and effigies of the United States on prime time television. By your reading, we should be out there bombing the living daylights out of everyone that disagrees with us, especially that flagrantly. Whoop - we're not? Hm. Their right to choose their own laws, their own punishments, and to be sovereign in their own country? Oh, that's a fun one. Let me see. The Taliban seem to have written their own laws for Afghanistan. bin Laden and company seem to have no trouble writing their own set when they need to. Has that brought down the donut-laden ass of Imperial America on them? Nope. Now, when they start destroying people and property inside our sovereign country, well, then, that's different. Sorry, you can't have it both ways. Before 9/11, we weren't snooping around caves in Afghanistan looking for Mr. bin Laden. Why? Because he was, in fact, in a different sovereign nation and hadn't really violated ours.
Let me clue you in on something, though - sovereignty isn't a guaranteed right that you get because you whine about it. Nope nope. You gotta fight for it. We did. We fought to keep ours several times as well. In order to keep your own sovereignty, part of the duties and responsibilities include making sure your own mess doesn't spill over into other sovereign countries, lest they get annoyed. Well, surprise! They have every right to sovereignty. I have every right by those lights to enforce my version of 'the rules' inside my country. Running back to Afghanistan and crying 'sovereign nation!' really doesn't matter much worth shit if the group claiming that responsibility has declared its complete unwillingness to engage in any of the protocols that the rest of us do (with varying degrees of reluctance) when our people bump up against other nations' people. Extradition; INTERPOL, reciprocal agreements, these are all part of it. Sure, in many cases the criminal can be safely sheltered because their activities don't threaten the 'sovereign government' that is sheltering them. Well, if you and the Taliban thought that knocking down the World Trade Center and trying for the Pentagon wouldn't cause the other 'sovereign nations' to come calling, I'd love to know what you're smoking and where you got it.
Do we object to the notion that Muslims can run a country? That's a good question. Apparently not so much as we object to *how* some of them are being run. We are, in fact, apparently going to go to our client state Israel with the notion that the Palestinians need a state, and not a rump state, for themselves. Oh, yes, that sounds like we don't think they should. How about Indonesia? While we may watch with concern what goes on there, have you seriously seen any U.S. attempt to remove the Islamic leadership from control? Hell no. We worry about it losing control.
As to your fairly convenient and pithy definition of freedom, I'll give that a pass. All I'll say is that if that is what you think freedom is, I have a nice Point of Light in a New World Order to sell you. For that matter, where was the choice of the Pakistani, British, Canadian and other nationals who were in 1 and 2 WTC that day? They apparently were denied theirs by their attackers. If our freedom isn't important to them, then why should we give a flying fuck at a rolling donut about theirs?
I'll skip the Irish issue while freely admitting that I don't have the firsthand experience or in-depth information that would lead me to argue it.
Here's a fun one! Ahhh, good then you agree that the Taliban has a perfectly legitimate right to declare war on America? After all that is what America is doing to Afghans now isn't she? Or are the news reports all lying?
Sure, the Taliban have a perfect right to declare war on America. Never said they didn't. What they don't have is the right to declare war, inflict casualties, and then run away from the game and scream that it isn't fair. Sorry. If they want to declare war, fine; don't come whining and puling when they figure out how much war can hurt. That's what it's about. Breaking things and killing people. They did just that. Fine; now it's our turn. I would direct your attention to a book called Man, the State and War by Mr. Kenneth Waltz; specifically, to the part that explains the anarchic nature of the international system. There is no overarching provider of order, there. It's anarchy, man. Power matters. You are free to do whatever you like; you are also required to accept the consequences of doing so.
Okay! Here's a gem of an argument! Let's dive in for the final piece!
Let me also not mince words, the writer of this paragraph is obviously lacking a grasp on reality. Snort. Whatever. Reality, my friend, is what you make it; and won't come running to support you because you happen to invoke it. "...he is someone who has no idea about the Afghan people, the nature of Islam, the nature of modern warfare, the nature of political exhange, the nature of terrorist activities, or the nature of any sort of argument approaching cogency, let alone truth. Ooh, them's fightin' words! Larn me! Larn me, I wanna know!
Let me put it like this: War is Evil. BZZZT. War is war. It's a event, a state of mind, a legal condition, an event. Evil is an interpretation. ...and Afghanistan is a graveyard for any invading army. Then why are you so upset that we're going to go in there? Shouldn't you be egging us on if you hate us that much? The Afghans aren't the terrorists... Um, sure. Semantics are fun, aren't they? Who cares who's the terrorist if we're in a fullscale shooting war? ...and they have nothing to lose ...then they shouldn't care. We, on the other hand, DO have things to lose, and losing them tends to make us really, really pissed. ...Islam commands all people to defend their homes Obviously, except for anyone who lived near the lower part of Manhattan- ...and their country from unjustified attack by an outside force, like the USA. Look, no matter how many times you assert that it's unjustified, it won't change the fact that that's a subjective term. Maybe it's not justified to them, but apparently bombing the WTC is. So we've agreed to disagree on that whole notion. They're welcome to defend themselves. Nobody has said that they should just lay down in the street. If they want to, that's their concern. Of course, even a step like agreeing to have bin Laden tried in another country (even Indonesia) would do them well; but they haven't suggested that, now, have they? Oh well. Modern warfare like missile attacks wont work in Afghanistan, they have tried and failed. Heh. Really? Okay, I'll even give you that one. Guess what? That ain't the only toy we got to play with. We just don't play with the others unless we get really severely provoked. Good morning! Thank you for playing, would you like a nice copy of the home game?
Remember Clinton? Politics is such that America, now it is committed to finding a scapegoat, a symbol for it's vengeance and anger, won't let go until that symbol is destroyed, regardless of the moral and ethical implications. See, now you're confusing me again. I thought you just said we wouldn't be able to destroy that symbol. Surely you don't mind if we give it a shot and bloody our noses, then? Oh, wait, moral and ethical implications. One phrase for you old chap: Ultima Ratio Regum. The 'great game' between sovereign states never turns on those points. If it did, Iran and Afghanistan wouldn't have been able to kill many thousands of each others' peoples in border skirmishes.
Politicians rarely say sorry, especially not when they get things wrong. The terrorists are well prepared, well equipped, masters at hiding themselves, and dispersing, and impossible to distinguish from normal people, simply because they are normal people. They don't wander around with AK-47's slung over their shoulders with "terrorist" written across their backs. The weapons are in dumps hidden far far away, perhaps abroad, and the people walk around and blend into society like everyone else. When arguing it is beneficial to deal with the main thrust of the opposing speaker, as it strengthens one's cause. In this case Jurph has ignored the simple and effective statement of fact that America has shown no evidence of Osama Bin Laden's guilt, and when pressed has assumed a threatening posture to the Taliban who would be happy to avert war and help them, which they cannot do without any evidence whatsoever. It would be an political death sentence for Osama bin Laden, and that is against Islam. Unless this central fact is dealt with, any shouts about revenge, or retaliation and war are premature at best, and irresponsible lies at worst. Take your pick.
Oh boy. Who cares if politicians say they're sorry? The terrorists are well-prepared, invincible, have twelve-inch penises, yadda. You've said all that. Look, if the terrorists are this fierce, why on earth do you seem to be so worried about us going after them? Oh, and for your information, the photographs of bin Laden and his courtiers/family seem to indicate that they do, in fact, go around with AK-47's slung over their shoulders. I haven't seen any T-shirts reading 'TERRORIST,' but if they called up that firm that makes the cool-ass blue and yellow 'FBI', 'U.S. MARSHAL' and 'ATF' windbreakers, I bet they could get a deal on some! Moving on, if their weapons are in dumps far away, why is it so bad if we try to bomb those? We wouldn't hurt anybody, by your argument. As for your repeated allegation that America has shown no evidence, BZZZT, we've dealt with that. Those Taliban who would be happy to 'avert war and help them'? How? By calling for Jihad against Pakistan, the US, Iran, Uzbekistan, and several others, including those nations who have stated that the U.S. can't even use their airspace? Uh-huh. Tell me another one. It would be a political death sentence for bin Laden. Well, that's better than a real one, no? Besides, you want me to believe that Mr. bin Laden's political career should outweigh 6,000+ dead American and international civilians? Whatever. Wait, it gets better: Now you're arguing that anything against bin Laden is 'against Islam.' Schyeah. Tell that to the Islamic governments that are trying like hell to disavow any connection; tell it to the American Muslims who have expressed their horror, disapproval and complete lack of support for the man. Ask the imams around the world if bin Laden speaks for them. Tell it to (God forbid) our President, who is (belatedly and weakly, admittedly) trying to demonstrate the falsity of this statement by visiting mosques and having Muslim leaders both American and foreign to the White House.
On third thought, don't even bother. Just climb back onto your high horse and continue ranting. That's fine by me, see, because by my system that's your right! Rant all you want. I'll even carry a gun to defend your right to do so, if you're an American. If you're not, I'll support you in other ways. Just please, for your sake, don't start tossing bombs or airliners at my countrymen, or defending those who have likely done so. In that case, your high horse makes you a great silhouette target; just hooooooold still...
See, Jaez, we have this problem. I am not trying to explain or support any of this to you, really, but to use your arguments as a foil for expository statements on what is, yes, my view of the way things work. You, on the other hand, seem to feel that I am 'obviously' ...let's see, I count 'insane,' 'a curiousity' and 'unable to understand.' Mmm.
I don't really care. Let me restate my primary point, which appears to have flown past you. While it's all well and good to explain that philosophers have dismissed me and my ilk, and that we have much to learn, I should like to remind you of one small fact which may render us irrelevant to modern philosophical discussion, but (I would argue) then renders such discussion irrelevant:
We have the guns.
I can hear the laughter now. "Force doesn't solve anything!" "Might doesn't make right!" ...and all the other platitudes mouthed throughout history. Jump shot: none of that matters. That is what I'm trying to say, not that we're 'right' or the Taliban are 'wrong' in a relativist or absolutist sense. See, if you want to worry about that, that's fine. I offer an explanation for why recent events are likely to bring down high-energy and cluster-munitioned responses from the declared targets (us) upon the declared actors (them).
Gravity bombs know diddly about philosophy, save for those in Dark Star. Have fun rendering me an obsolete curiosity; just understand that saying that the positions and viewpoints I hold are 'obsolete' and 'insane' does not make it any less likely that high explosive may rain down on various places and people who may have been involved. If you think it does, well, I'm sorry, and I do hope you enjoy your version of reality for as long as you're able, because sooner or later you'll be standing underneath some of that high explosive, be it labelled 'Made in U.S.A.' or 'Stolen from Czechoslovakia.' At that point, I wish you luck.