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Bin Laden wanted--dead or alive?

The medieval mindset of this Methodist scion continues to astound. He's reaching to the lowest common denominator of his party now, the shoot-em-ups who think that God is just but vengence and justice are somehow in the hands of American Republicans.

As Groucho asked (in Night at the Opera), in a question that defies deconstruction but still makes perfect sense to those enlightened people who see that violence must end with the victim defending himself better, but not attacking: "Hey, ya big bully--why are you picking on that little bully?"

jeanpaulsartre
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in a question that defies deconstruction but still makes perfect sense to those enlightened people who see that violence must end with the victim defending himself better, but not attacking


Simple question, honest question: How do you propose the United States defend itself without going on the offensive?

Several threads here have discussed one offensive strategy versus another, and a few posts discussed offense versus defense, but I have yet to see a proposal of a viable plan of defense only.

What strategies and tactics would you employ, and why do you feel these tactics would be sufficient to end the threat from terrorists?

--Pup
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Simple question, honest question: How do you propose the United States defend itself without going on the offensive?

Several threads here have discussed one offensive strategy versus another, and a few posts discussed offense versus defense, but I have yet to see a proposal of a viable plan of defense only.


jeanpaul and I discussed this over lunch. It's not that killing bin Laden or his organizers, should they be established as responsible, is not a good idea. It's just that it is difficult to maintain confidence in someone who articulates national policy on an incredibly important and convoluted problems via crude and inarticulate reference to serial westerns and TV shows, like an eleven year-old taking time away from the TV to devour a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

"There's an old poster out West … that says wanted, dead or alive,” Bush said, referring to the Saudi dissident suspected of orchestrating last week's attacks on New York and Washington.

On the other hand, we have Joe Biden, lecturing us on the lessons of history gleaned from the imagination of the screenwriters of "Tora!, Tora!, Tora!"

Don't get me wrong: I'm supporting my country, our President, our leaders and our armed forces. It just gets tougher to be optimistic about the outcome when our leadership expresses its thinking in such mediocre or puerile terms.


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<<it is difficult to maintain confidence in someone who articulates national policy on an incredibly important and convoluted problems via crude and inarticulate reference to serial westerns and TV shows>>

Amen.

(Did I really say that?)

I sure hope that babble translates better than it sounded in English.

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[i]Simple question, honest question: How do you propose the United States defend itself without going on the offensive?[/i]


We could devote $0 to Star Wars this next decade, and spend all the money earmarked for that on counterintelligence. Maybe then we wouldn't see the sad spectacle of the FBI begging for Farsi and Arabic translators at press conferences.

We could have the kind of air security in this country that Western Europe does.

We could grow up and recognize that government is not all bad.

We could attend conferences even if we disagree with their premises, and we could recognize it sooner when countries in the mideast turn rightwing. We could exhibit better balance in the mideast in general, than by unilaterally supporting our traditional allies there, regardless of what they do.

We could try to understand Arab culture as much as we have tried to understand other cultures.

We could chuck any foreign policy which arms people we don't really care for and think may even pose a risk to us in the future.

We could stop selling arms to the third world.

We could tighten our borders just a little, and tighten our visa permitting process a lot.

We could hold free elections in Florida.

jps


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jeanpaul and I discussed this over lunch. It's not that killing bin Laden or his organizers, should they be established as responsible, is not a good idea.

Actually, one problem I have with the current tone in Washington is the obsession with bin Laden. Let's say his dead body shows up at the border of Pakistan. Then what? Someone else will come in to run his organization. Also, there are dozens of other organizations with similar goals, desires, and capabilities. I agree with the concept that this has to be a "war on terrorism" (whatever that ends up meaning) but I'm concerned it is going to be a "war on bin Laden." The threat will not end with him.

Anyway, the original post pretty clearly stated that we should defend ourself better instead of attacking. Frankly, I can't think of such a plan that works, which is why I'm curious to hear what others think will succeed.


It's just that it is difficult to maintain confidence in someone who articulates national policy on an incredibly important and convoluted problems via crude and inarticulate reference to serial westerns and TV shows, like an eleven year-old taking time away from the TV to devour a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I thought Bush did a decent job in the first days after the attack, but now he seems to be acting like a newscaster waiting for the editors to break away to some footage, yet the camera continues to be on him. To bridge the uncomfortable gap, he just keeps yapping, for the sound of silence seems to disturb him.

Dubya, we all know that you and your staff plan to take action. You have overwhelming support to do so. Be quiet now, and just go do it.

When I saw the Western quote, I cringed. We haven't hit rock bottom yet, though.

We'll have hit the bottom when Dubya walks up to the podium and says: "Everything is different, but the same... things are more moderner than before... bigger, and yet smaller... it's computers... San Dimas High School football rules!"

--Pup
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When I saw the Western quote, I cringed. We haven't hit rock bottom yet, though.

We'll have hit the bottom when Dubya walks up to the podium and says: "Everything is different, but the same... things are more moderner than before... bigger, and yet smaller... it's computers... San Dimas High School football rules!"


Actually, I'm thinking we hit rock bottom when Dubyah quotes Yoda, and Biden claims he said it first.
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We could ...


All of which play nicely into a long term strategy, and I can't disagree with any of them (save for the Florida shot).

But how will any of these stop a terrorist from blowing up an oil tanker or releasing anthrax in, say, the next 6-12 months?

Your ideas work in the long run, but can't say I see them working in the short run. There are too many groups with too much capability right now. Personally, I think we need to knock out the immediate threat before a long term defense strategy can work.

And, for the record, in case someone hasn't read my other posts on the topic, I am against wholesale bombing of civilian targets and against storming in with massive amounts of troops. Not only do I disagree with the concept, but I also don't think it will be effective. Best solution (out of several imperfect options) that I see is increased intelligence supplemented with heavy use of special ops teams. Target the terrorists, leave the civilians out of it, and disable terrorist capability. Not pretty, but I think it has the highest chance of success.

--Pup
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<<We could hold free elections in Florida.>>


Could we start at the bottom?
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<<Actually, one problem I have with the current tone in Washington is the obsession with bin Laden. Let's say his dead body shows up at the border of Pakistan. Then what?>>


Worse yet.

What if Afganistan actually gave him to us? Alive?

He is a martyr. We put him on trial. He gets convicted. We send him to jail. Maybe we execute him after five or ten years.

In the mean time; all of the guys who have been taking orders are giving orders, trying to prove who is the baddest of them all.

W has sent the posse home, having been successful.

Uh oh.
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Actually, I'm thinking we hit rock bottom when Dubyah quotes Yoda, and Biden claims he said it first.

"But beware. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."
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"It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" -
Headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter series)


Michael
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Best solution (out of several imperfect options) that I see is increased intelligence supplemented with heavy use of special ops teams. Target the terrorists, leave the civilians out of it, and disable terrorist capability. Not pretty, but I think it has the highest chance of success.

And the money.

Don't forget we have to squash his (their) supply of money.

- T, still thinking in a rather simplistic mode.
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And the money.


It's very much about the money, and it's apparently a very complicated issue.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/nation/specials/attacked/A46773-2001Sep17.html


Stopping the flow of money will go a long way to stopping the flow of blood. In that regard, eliminating Osama bin Laden will make a huge difference. This guy is unique.


euclid
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And the money.

Don't forget we have to squash his (their) supply of money.


Again, agreed, but that is another mid- to long-range strategy.

Also, I'm not convinced we can be effective at this. Who knows how many different places have money squirreled away? Who knows how many governments or other organizations keep slipping him money on the side?

Further, a lot of that money has already been spent on existing capability. Cutting off the money now may stop some things down the road, but I suspect there are several operations that are primed and nearly ready to go and self sufficient enough to stay that way a while.

It's going to take a long time to flush out all the cash that is involved with these people. Knock out the capability and cut off the cash so they can't rebuild it.

--Pup
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It just gets tougher to be optimistic about the outcome when our leadership expresses its thinking in such mediocre or puerile terms.


JJinLA:

Maybe you would rather the President explain how we need to talk to the terrorist and ask them nicely to behave. Get them to promise to not kill innocent civilians anymore. I'm sure they are civilized enough to understand our point of view and will agree to be good from now on.

I can the headlines now . . " BUSH asks terrorists Pretty Please, film at 11"

Thank God those that think like you are in the minority in the US, although I am sure you would find complete agreement to your warped views among the followers of Bin Laden.


Fajita
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Maybe you would rather the President explain how we need to talk to the terrorist and ask them nicely to behave. Get them to promise to not kill innocent civilians anymore. I'm sure they are civilized enough to understand our point of view and will agree to be good from now on.

I would rather he avoid cliches. The terrorist organizations need to be rooted out and their ability to wage war must be ended.

However, calls for vengeance don't help matters. This is a time for cold rationality and sober actions, not for flying off the handle. Overall, and keep in mind that I have been incommunicado through much of the last week (I just got back from Germany the day before yeaterday, where I was TV-less - a good thing, I think) my impression of the administration's actions have been mostly favorable so far. However, the "Wanted Dead or Alive" reference was an example of the sort of thing that I find worrisome about our current President. I don't trust cliches.

FWIW,
Mike
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Fajita:

Maybe you would rather the President explain how we need to talk to the terrorist and ask them nicely to behave. Get them to promise to not kill innocent civilians anymore. I'm sure they are civilized enough to understand our point of view and will agree to be good from now on.

You make almost as little sense as Dubyah does sometimes. All I want him to do is avoid sounding like a teenager being interviewed outside a video parlor in a mall.

My post said, in English clear enough for anyone who cared to try to understand rather than issue a knee-jerk attack in response, that I did not disagree with targeting bin Laden or other terrorists.

J. Wormold, Vacuum Rep
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<<We'll have hit the bottom when Dubya walks up to the podium and says: "Everything is different, but the same... things
are more moderner than before... bigger, and yet smaller... it's computers... San Dimas High School football rules!">>

Actually, I'm thinking we hit rock bottom when Dubyah quotes Yoda, and Biden claims he said it first.


I thought bottom was when President Ike said:
"Things are more like they are now than they have ever been before."

For the longest time I thought that quote was written by Mad Magazine or spoken by Yogi (not Yoda) or maybe Casey.

"Hey, I'm still not dead yet."
Mamie
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