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No. of Recommendations: 17
I knew it was coming and here it is.

http://www.msnbc.com/news/632335.asp

Ashcroft urged quick passage of new police powers sought by the Bush administration, including the authority to detain aliens suspected of ties to terrorists indefinitely and without the right to appeal. The administration also wants wiretap evidence obtained in other countries in violation of the Fourth Amendment to be admissible in court.
In addition, the administration is asking for secret court authorization for wiretaps, longer jail terms for terrorists, access to users' Internet information without a court order and authority to review telephone voice-mail messages with only a search warrant


Hell, just about the same concern for civil rights as the place I'm in right now. I think you all have got to stand by what has made you a great country or just come right out and say "Screw it. Let's go Nazi."


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neofool said:
Hell, just about the same concern for civil rights as the place I'm in right now. I think you all have got to stand by what has made you a great country or just come right out and say "Screw it. Let's go Nazi."

I think you misunderstand what has made the US, IMO, a great country. It's easy to miss, many of our own citizens, who have spent their entire lives don't get this subtle point.

What makes the US great, is that no single person decides how we do things. Ashcroft is the "top cop" as the position is called. He's got a job to do. He wants to do it as efficiently as possible. He wants as much freedom to round up the bad guys as he can get. It should be no surprise he suggests things like this.

But he works under the Constitution and Bill of Rights. He doesn't make laws, he is charged with interpreting them and applying them. He pushes for changes to make his job easier.

He can't violate the Bill of Rights, however, and there is a huge court system he must wade through to violate a Right. If he wants to change laws or get new ones, he has to convince a House of Representatives, a Senate and a President. Even then, the court system ultimately tests to see if the new law is Constitutional.

It's not surprising to me that a man like Ashcroft will try and do whatever it takes to make his job easier and more efficient. But I trust there are many hurdles to jump befoe he is allowed to violate basic civil rights guaranteed in this country under our government and founding documents.

If the Congress starts to freak out, then I'll worry. And I'll work to vote the Freaks out.

Rick
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Keep in mind, I am naive about many things and I live in the sticks.

Rick
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No. of Recommendations: 8
So basically, Rick, you're arguing that what saves us is bureaucracy and inefficiency. Or maybe the constitution.

But the constitution is a mutable document. All we need to do is elect leaders willing to change it to codify popular sentiment. Prohibition, for example.

I personally don't think it would be to hard to get a few carefully crafted amendments right now. Who is going to vote against a new amendment 'designed to help our children sleep in safety'? Who wants to be seen hampering national security during a war? A few congressmen with 'the guts to stand up to terrorism' can probably propose civil liberty changes far less divisive than the Arctic national Wildlife refuge right now.

Article V:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.


The Nazis didn't gain power by running on the platform of "We promise a new era of genocide and totalitarianism". Their positions sounded reasonable to many in the 30s, at least at first. Remember the U.S. was the first nation to actually seriously propose eugenics as policy.

All we need is a few members of congress, perhaps organized by the new 'office of homeland defence', to propose a constitutional amendment that reads something like: "In times of war or other periods when national security is threatened, U.S. citizens are considered, at the discretion of Federal Officers, to have waived various basic rights, including..."

Right now, you're maybe thinking it would be great if we could detain suspected terrorists and search their places without a warrant, if we could tap their phone lines and freeze and/or confiscate the assets of suspected criminals.

Heck, let's take a look at the Bill of Rights and note how 'helpful and reasonable' it would be in this 'war against terrorism' to get rid of/modify it:


Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


What if 1000 islamic extremists wanted to organize a ralley against the U.S. in Times Square? What if al Quaeda wanted to organize and recruit using web sites and newsletters? What if they attempted 'bureaucratic terrorism' by tying up federal resources with legal paperwork? Wouldn't you support curtailing their rights to do this right now? I bet most Americans would.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.


Several cells of suspected al Quaeda are discovered living in a remote compound. They are heavily (but legally) armed. Should they be disarmed? Think of the Branch Davidian situation, only imagine them al Quaeda.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Should Federal officers be allowed to hide out on the 100 acre ranch of a suspected terrorist, waiting to capture him before he leaves for overseas?

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


What about anti-terrorism intelligence activities? How can we protect ourselves if we don't know what they're up to? Wouldn't it have been great if we had searched the terrorist's houses and tapped their phones before Sept 11?

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


I think we're already taking care of this one, with 'indefinite detainment of suspects'.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.


Or we just announce to the World we want you 'dead or alive' and demand the local government hand you over or face bombing.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Since we have a war on terrorism, any terrorist acts fall under military law and are subject to special action.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Israel has struggled with terrorism for all of its modern history. We need to adopt their proven effective tactics, including intelligence through torture. C'mon. Wouldn't you like to see the guy looking into crop dusters tell us what he knows at the end of a cattle prod? I know you would.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


What about the right to live our lives without fear of terrorism?

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


New York should enact its own tough security laws.
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Keep in mind, I am naive about many things and I live in the sticks.

Rick




TARBABY ALERT! ;o)

AM
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No. of Recommendations: 14
I personally don't think it would be to hard to get a few carefully crafted amendments right now.

Dave, you have previously demonstrated an ability to run your mouth even when you don't have a solid understanding of what you are talking about. Your last post shows you to be consistent. Some lessons are hard to learn.

This country has been threatened before, yet we have remarkably few amendments. Before you trot out our record towards Japanese Americans in WWII, it's clear their civil rights were violated, but it was done without new amendments. They've also been compensated, which was a formal apology and recognition of what was done. Even during that terrible time, there was no change to the Bill of Rights.

I don't see the conspiracy forming that you do. I don't see a call to change our basic government. I see a cop trying to do his job, and promoting ideas that push the boundaries of what is acceptable. Let's talk more if it turns into something, ok?

In the meantime, if it's really worrying you, write a column for a major newspaper. Make your opinion count. Invite feedback and discussion. But for Pete's sake, stop the public masturbation.

Rick
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No. of Recommendations: 5
I think you misunderstand what has made the US, IMO, a great country. It's easy to miss, many of our own citizens, who have spent their entire lives don't get this subtle point.

The US may be a great country, but our always flaccid appendage to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, has been cast aside senselessly many times, and almost always when it is, we suffer needlessly.

Way back, after the Revolutionary War, the absurd Alien and Sedition Act made it a crime to critize the Federal Government.

In WWI, after 1917 it was a crime to critize the war effort.

In WWII--Manzanar. It was a crime to be Japanese American on the West Coast.

In Vietnam--well. It was a crime, period. For some reason our government forgot to tell us all the countries we were bombing. That's the same guy, Kissinger, who's still around popping in as a talking head as though he has some credibility.

You remember the great "coverage" of the Persian Gulf War--our media were strangled and they haven't yet recovered their wind, ten years later. The whole public and even other governments were under the illusion that Patriot missiles actually do something.

If the Congress starts to freak out, then I'll worry. And I'll work to vote the Freaks out.

Congress already freaked out. Many Senators who voted for the first emergency appropriations bill had no idea what they were voting for, and were freaked out about that.

jps




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The Nazis didn't gain power by running on the platform of "We promise a new era of genocide and totalitarianism". Their positions sounded reasonable to many in the 30s, at least at first.

Not so. They were promising economic stability and a return to order, and voters were focused on that. But the Nazis never sounded reasonable, theirs was always the "appeal" of blind totaliarian extremism. There was anti-Semitic rhetoric right from the start. They captured only paranoid hearts and minds--unfortunately, these were many in Germany after WWI and German economic collapse.

jps
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public masturbation.

Great name for a new speaker's corner board.

-synchronicity



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<<But for Pete's sake, stop the public masturbation.>>

This advice does not apply to Faith Hill.

-chris
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The Nazis didn't gain power by running on the platform of "We promise a new era of genocide and totalitarianism". Their positions sounded reasonable to many in the 30s, at least at first.

Not so. They were promising economic stability and a return to order, and voters were focused on that. But the Nazis never sounded reasonable, theirs was always the "appeal" of blind totaliarian extremism. There was anti-Semitic rhetoric right from the start. They captured only paranoid hearts and minds--unfortunately, these were many in Germany after WWI and German economic collapse/

Even this is only partly so. What Hitler, and the 3rd Reich were promising, albeit in an unfulfilled manner, was a return tothe glory days of Pre-WW1, and an end to the aristocratic nuances that so typified the very art of those days. A promise to stop runaway 000s of percent-per annum inflation, a spirraling deficit, a foreign currency ruined by what defeat in WW1 had brought - debts, currency crises, inflation, economic mismanagement, poverty, unemployment, and, not least of all, a working class in massive numbers which was never more so angry.

It's no coincidence that the paintings of especially the Die Brücke era, depicting the slovenly gentry, despised by its very targets, was frowned, even pissed upon, literally. And guess what? Given Hitler's art was also pissed upon as being bland and nondescript when he was in Austria, it is no wonder how we can learn more subtleties about the artist given the times they lived in. They were cruel times to those who didn't toe the party line.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Max Beckmann's work is prominent in this era. I strongly advice you to take a look at these amazingly graphic depictions of life as they saw it, to understand the thoughts behind their caracatures(sp?) They tell a story of corruption, misgotten power, deviousness, inpropriatery, all the hallmarks of a modern-day US or UK government. Oh, how times little do ye change.

Bullet
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But the Nazis never sounded reasonable, theirs was always the "appeal" of blind totaliarian extremism. There was anti-Semitic rhetoric right from the start.

Yeah, but at first their anti-semitism was limited to "let's kick all the Jews out of public office and civil service," then "lets kick all the Jews out of the country," followed by the ever-so-popular "let's turn the Jews into slaves." Even when meeting at the Wannsee Conference and discussing the Fuhrer's "final solution," aka "let's kill all the Jews and be done with it," Nazis like State Secretary Dr. Stückart argued the "moderate" policy of "Let's just castrate all the Jews and let them die off." Much of Wannsee was spent arguing about the status of spouses and children of mixed marriages, in order that one of history's greatest crimes be carried out in accordance with the rule of law.
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Of course, all this is disregarding the fact that many of the high-powered Nazis didn't give a toss one way or the other; they were neither so blatantly outright into killing the Jews, nor where they so against Hitler's maniacal views that the Jews were to be so brutally condemned.

Yep, they sat on the wall. No-man's land. Too scared to be abhorrent to the murders. To manly to deny the fact that it was wrong (I know this is a wrong word, but 'wrong' is at least an acknowledgement that it wasn't right).

As regard to the the semantics of how far and how fast the Jews were outed from their levels of office, this so-called:

but at first their anti-semitism was limited to "let's kick all the Jews out of public office and civil service," then "lets kick all the Jews out of the country," followed by the ever-so-popular "let's turn the Jews into slaves."

almost makes it sound like it was official to take a 'step down'. This cannot be further from the case. Higher-level Jews were investigated behind the scenes, with alleged (and unofficial) charges brought up against them which pretty much forced them to step down, or resign.

The view that anti-Semitism was a slow going process is a fallacy. It was premeditated, pre-emptuous and proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the Nazis, and Hitler in particular, planned to murder and dispose of as many Jews as was possible, given the time restaints of torturing and biologically examing, altering and experimenting with the human body would entail.

Bullet
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I don't see the conspiracy forming that you do. I don't see a call to change our basic government. I see a cop trying to do his job, and promoting ideas that push the boundaries of what is acceptable. Let's talk more if it turns into something, ok?

Hmmmm. Perhaps it's easier for me to perceive the slippery edge of totalitarianism and/or theocracy as a Utahn ;)

Frankly, Rick, I'm surprised at your naivete.

You think our rights do not fundamentally change as a result of, or in preparation for war? Of all our 'official' wars (except maybe the Gulf War), probably none have been as small a direct threat to national security than WWI. At the time, there was quite a debate whether to get involved. Yet let's look at a couple of the basic rights of U.S. citizens that changed. Things you maybe didn't realize folks of the last century would find shocking affronts to citizen's basic rights.

1) Conscription. Enabled by the Selective Service Act of 1917.

Let's face it: being shipped to the front lines against my will is definitely inconsistant with 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'.

The rationale, of course, is that in war, and during national security crises, the rights of the collective supersede the rights of the individual. Very reasonable sounding to most, and a 'traditional' way of raising armies anyway.

2) Income taxes. Enabled by altering the U.S. Constitution.

Amendment XVI The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

This counters Article I, Sections 2 and 9, which state that no direct tax may be imposed unless it is apportioned among the states according to population. Income tax was previously imposed during the civil war, and removed thereafter. Income tax was tried again in the late 1800s but determined to be unconstitutional. I need not note that WWI is over, yet the tax remains.

So what if the government asks just a little more of you in this time of national crisis? You wouldn't refuse, would you? To do so would be unpatriotic. We need strong new guarantees that terrorism on U.S. soil will not happen again, don't we? You'll help, right?

Of course you will.
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almost makes it sound like it was official to take a 'step down'. This cannot be further from the case. Higher-level Jews were investigated behind the scenes, with alleged (and unofficial) charges brought up against them which pretty much forced them to step down, or resign.

Actually, the Nazis passed specific laws prohibiting Jews from holding public office or public jobs, so it was official. They also banned mixed marriages and miscegenation.

The view that anti-Semitism was a slow going process is a fallacy. It was premeditated, pre-emptuous and proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the Nazis, and Hitler in particular, planned to murder and dispose of as many Jews as was possible, given the time restaints of torturing and biologically examing, altering and experimenting with the human body would entail.

I don't know where you got the impression that I was arguing that Nazi anti-semitism was a "slow going process." Perhaps my dry expression confused you, but I don't view expelling Jews from public life and burning their businesses and synagogues as "slow" by any means. Nor the expulsion of people from their homeland, or their enslavement. At its inception, the anti-semitism was clearly extreme. But it grew even more hideous and murderous over time.

As for the idea that the Nazis planned to murder all the Jews of Europe, of course this is so -- it was deliberate, planned and coordinated at the highest levels of Nazi Government, beginning towards the end of 1941. Perhaps this is what Hitler planned all along, but we do not know -- there was never even a written order from Hitler with respect to the final solution. Regardless of when he decided, Hitler's order was a revelation to the Nazi functionaries responsible for carrying out the Nazi's Jewish policy, including those top Nazi bureaucrats actually responsible for carrying out mass murder who attended the Wannsee Conference. It is equally clear that prior to 1941 other "solutions" were explored and considered before the monstrous "final" solution was implemented.

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Of course you will.

If it is agreed upon as reasonable by the majority of people in my country, I will. And if I don't like it and can't change it, I'll leave. I've got skills.

But I won't join a paranoid conspiracy that believes we are heading for disaster before we see any signs of impending doom.

I've said how much I distrust Ashcroft. I was plain and clear about that, and I said why. Here, he isn't doing anything based on his religious beliefs, he is trying to do his job in the same way I argue that my courses are the best in the university and deserve more support than the others. I make my best case and get shot down. He's doing the same, and we are talking about it. He's getting shot down like I do. The fact that he raises the issues is not a bad thing. It's his right, and because of his job, his duty, just like it is ours to say no when he crosses the line.

Rick
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Re: The Nazis and their rise to power...

They were promising economic stability and a return to order, and voters were focused on that. But the Nazis never sounded reasonable, theirs was always the "appeal" of blind totaliarian extremism. There was anti-Semitic rhetoric right from the start. They captured only paranoid hearts and minds--unfortunately, these were many in Germany after WWI and German economic collapse.

Point taken.

But then...

economic stability?
a return to order?

Isn't that what most of America is crying out for right now, at pretty much whatever the cost?

As for racist rhetoric, I think applaud the administration's efforts so far to calm some of the anti-islamic and anti-arabic suspicion. But let's face it -- Joe Caucasian Christian Farmer probably also wants to know how much a crop duster can hold and how easy it might be to fly too, but probably wouldn't be arrested for asking. Let's say a group of your office mates wants to fly to Washington for a business meeting. They book seperately, taking flights depending on their favorite frequent flier program and other preferences. No big deal, right? But what if your office mates had arabic names. I'd place heavy bets the FBI would be all over that, and most Americans would happily support wiretaps, searches, and indefinite detainment of your pals. Yes, we have to protect ourselves. But at what cost?

There seems to be a lot of sensationalist talk about crop duster inquiries and truck driver's permits and war. But little about how soon until cockpit doors will be reinforced.

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Yeah, but at first their anti-semitism was limited to "let's kick all the Jews out of public office and civil service,"

That's already taken care of in our constitution (in response to the Civil War):

Amendment XIV, Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

You can, constitutionally, be removed from office for 'aiding or comforting the enemy'. So let's say you're a dovish congressperson who argues against attacking the Taliban, or advocates that we seduce Afgans with blatant humanitarian aid instead of bullets. Could you be removed from office? And when all you unpatriotic sorts are removed from office, wouldn't it be easy for the remaining legislators to pass dramatic amendments of whatever sort they could get away with?

The constitution doesn't keep our government from going astray. We do. It's our duty to remain vigilant. Especially in these times when it's hardest and most unpopular to do so.

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I said "Yeah, but at first their anti-semitism was limited to "let's kick all the Jews out of public office and civil service,"

That's already taken care of in our constitution (in response to the Civil War):

What the hell are you talking about? Nazi anti-semitic policies are already taken care of in our Constitution in response to the Civil War?

Apparently you so overestimate the importance of what you have to say, that you do not feel any compunction to actually read other's prose before you "respond." Your post is entirely non-responsive to mine.
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, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

You can, constitutionally, be removed from office for 'aiding or comforting the enemy'. So let's say you're a dovish congressperson who argues against attacking the Taliban, or advocates that we seduce Afgans with blatant humanitarian aid instead of bullets. Could you be removed from office?


No. There is a difference between doing it and talking about it, as spelled out in the Rights. These are two different actions.

Why are you trying to promote conspiracy theories? Fine if that is how you want to occupy your time. But use some consistent examples, please.

Rick
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What the hell are you talking about? Nazi anti-semitic policies are already taken care of in our Constitution in response to the Civil War?

Apparently you so overestimate the importance of what you have to say, that you do not feel any compunction to actually read other's prose before you "respond." Your post is entirely non-responsive to mine.


Thanks for the helpful critique. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Allow me to take a moment to ex post clarify (har har, note the pun):

In response to the Civil War, amendment XIV was passed. Clearly, the intention was to prohibit secessionist confederates from holding U.S. office. However, as written, the amendment could be interpreted nowadays to remove anyone from office should they be classified as 'rebels'. My point was simply that this may be one crack which could be widened for the purpose of preventing any undesirable enthnic or political group from holding office, much like what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany.

Perhaps you are right; it is a weak allusion. Thanks again for the thoughtful discussion, JJ. That's why I'm here.
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In response to the Civil War, amendment XIV was passed. Clearly, the intention was to prohibit secessionist confederates from holding U.S. office. However, as written, the amendment could be interpreted nowadays to remove anyone from office should they be classified as 'rebels'. My point was simply that this may be one crack which could be widened for the purpose of preventing any undesirable enthnic or political group from holding office, much like what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany.

Perhaps you are right; it is a weak allusion.

No argument there.
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Why are you trying to promote conspiracy theories? Fine if that is how you want to occupy your time.

C'mon, Rick. I'm not promoting any conspiracy, just trying to provoke some thoughtful discussion along the theme of 'what are we willing to give up to prevent terrorism?' Increased domestic security and intelligence requires less privacy and personal liberty. We must choose, as a nation, where we will go: On one extreme is 'do nothing'. The other extreme is to invoke a totalitarian police state. The best defence against future terrorism is arguably the police state. But is that worth it? Are you willing to forgo some civil rights to avoid fear? Or are you willing to risk violent death at the hands of a terrorist in order to preserve freedoms we've grown used to? What do you think the country will do?

You can spout meaningless feel-good anti-terrorism aphorisms if you wish; it'll certainly get the recs. I just thought a group of smart, well-informed people such as I've observed here would enjoy something more interesting. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps I should let y'all go back to your back-slapping and in-joke chuckles.

But not before I disparage a little more. According to the poll, I've got two more to go.
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You can spout meaningless feel-good anti-terrorism aphorisms if you wish; it'll certainly get the recs. I just thought a group of smart, well-informed people such as I've observed here would enjoy something more interesting. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps I should let y'all go back to your back-slapping and in-joke chuckles.

The problem isn't back slapping, the problem is that you are raising what-ifs and when that fails, reaching too far in your comparisons to Nazi Germany.

Present a credible threat. Yes, I think we all agree that we must be ready. Show us we are not?

The fact that a few Arabs have already been detained at airports without charge is something credible to look at. When compared to the fact that there are millions in America who are functioning without any threat of government imposition argues against it as a current problem, however. If a popular movement starts up to "round 'em up" I'll worry. Now it's an anomoly. Until it's widespread, you are over doing it.

Rick
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The problem isn't back slapping, the problem is that you are raising what-ifs and when that fails, reaching too far in your comparisons to Nazi Germany.

And he hasn't made a single reference to the Khmer Rouge yet.

If you're going to refer to genocidal maniacs who trampled on "civil rights", don't go for the pikers like the Nazis. Bring up the guys who REALLY knew what they were doing!

-synchronicity

(sotto voce: grumblgrumblegrumbledamn eurocentric conspiracy theorists)
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The fact that a few Arabs have already been detained at airports without charge is something credible to look at. When compared to the fact that there are millions in America who are functioning without any threat of government imposition argues against it as a current problem, however. If a popular movement starts up to "round 'em up" I'll worry. Now it's an anomoly. Until it's widespread, you are over doing it.

I disagree that we're only dealing with 'what-ifs'. To me, it only seems a question of 'what' and 'when'. I've already used the draft and income tax as examples of fairly large and long-lasting U.S. government intrusions justified by war. The present administration had a choice. They could refer to the plane crashes as 'criminal acts' or 'acts of war'. War allows the administration much more political freedom to take action, both domestically and internationally.

No, I don't expect jack-booted marchers rounding up Arab Americans in Hometown USA. Then again, blue-jacketed FBI agents are 'detaining' lots of folks. And no, I don't think the government will be mandating that certain folks wear gold crescents on their jackets. Then again, what about 'watch lists'? How you gonna know when they've crossed the line, Rick? You seem unwilling to draw one.

We trade liberty for security. That's just the way it is. To think otherwise is hopelessly naive. I don't mind waiting longer at airports if that's what increased security requires. Fine. I'm sort of OK with the fact that tax cuts and support for certain social programs are flying out the window because we now have a war to pay for in a declining economy. Heck, the gov can tap my phone if they want, open my mail. I personally don't care, if it'll help prevent terrorism or any other badness.

But let's put it all in perspective, shall we? Approximately three times more Americans die every year in alcohol-related car crashes than died in the recent terrorist attack. Where's the war on drunk driving? Is 40 billion advocated for that? Heck, five times more people die by gunfire each year than were killed in the crashes Sept 11. What is our government doing for that? Why are Americans not willing to give up rights to ameliorize this problem?

We have to prioritize. Terrorism is freaking scary. But should it have the national priority we are assigning it?

Just asking what folks think. Thoughtful, differing opinions welcome. Self-appointed board police can go yank themselves.
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Self-appointed board police can go yank themselves.

Bad monkey, JJ.
Baaaaad monkey !

Jimbo

................Keep your hands to yourself!
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Before we have to endure a whole series of highly-rec'd posts harping on my newest demonstration of ignorance...

I meant "ameliorate'.

-Dave, who reserves the right to make up words now and then.
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<<Keep in mind, I am naive about many things and I live in the sticks.>>

I can't believe no one has recced this in the six hours since it was born. Is it just too "self evident?"
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<<Congress already freaked out. Many Senators who voted for the first emergency appropriations bill had no idea what they were voting for, and were freaked out about that.>>

Hey man, it's only the surplus.
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I disagree that we're only dealing with 'what-ifs'. To me, it only seems a question of 'what' and 'when'. I've already used the draft and income tax as examples of fairly large and long-lasting U.S. government intrusions justified by war.

The amendment which authorized income tax was passed in 1913. We were not at war at all; as your previous post mentioned, an income tax was temporarily imposed during the Civil War. This example hardly proves your point that "long-lasting" intrusions are justified by war.

As for the draft -- how long has it been since we've had a draft?

Interestingly enough, some of the most significant changes to our Constititional structure have occurred in the wake of conflict, and have been among those which have extended guarantees of freedom to residents of the United States.

The most famous of our "War" amendments were those passed in the wake of the Civil War - the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, which enumerated proscriptions on slavery and de jure racism, and guaranteed rights such as due process and equal protection.

Even in the aftermath of the relocation camps of World War II, the Supreme Court's decisions in Korematsu and other detention cases, while paradoxically failing to correct the injustice of the present matter before the court, created the very architecture of Constitutional doctrine which has been used to fashion the "strict scrutiny" of that legislation which impacts a "discrete and insular minority."

It is fascinating to note that most of the Constitutional amendments and case law which has so advanced the cause of individual freedom have been those which grew out of our two sternest conflicts.
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<<Apparently you so overestimate the importance of what you have to say, that you do not feel any compunction to actually read other's prose before you "respond.">>

Who the hell is this Yap guy you are talking to?
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I've already used the draft and income tax as examples of fairly large and long-lasting U.S. government intrusions justified by war. [emphasis added]

The sixteenth amendment and subsequent enactment of our "modern" income tax occurred in 1913, before the outbreak of World War One. Corporate income taxes have been with us since 1909. As best as I can tell, the creation of the income tax had absolutely nothing to do with World War One.

You could make an argument that the increase of the income tax from affecting only a small percentage of Americans to most Americans was the result of an increased need for revenues during World War II. FWIW, individual and corporate income tax revenues as a % of GDP shot up during World War II, and have stayed at approximately the same level (with some declines) since then.

But the creation of the income tax...that predates World War one, and is unrelated to US involvement in any war. It was passed for other reasons, mainly related to populist views about redistribution of income.

I think we all understand that you're trying to raise a discussion (with an allegedly intelligent group of individual rights oriented types) about the upcoming issues re: increased "security" vs. decreased individual rights. But for now, much of that is simply too hypothetical. We only ahve some ideas what will be passed, we don't know much of what the FBI has been acting on so far, and we don't know how long any "unusual" activities by law enforcement agencies will go on, and to what extent these activities go beyond their normal operating procedures.

It's like critiquing the US military operations. We can give general opinions on what we'd like or dislike to see happen, but it's too early to given any specific opinions.

-synchronicity
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Hi Dave,

I can't think of a reasonable response to this post of yours, but I like the undercurrent message of what I think you're trying to say.
As a Brit, I can sense a feeling in many US people of wanting to become inward looking again, almost (if not alread) paranoid by the sense of injustice and invasion. This is not meant to belittle the situation, rather, simply an observation as an 'outsider'.

'Prioritize' is a broad word. Prioritizing targeting terrorists (are the IRA included in this, being Irish rather than Muslim, and having murdered several hundred in the last 20 or so years?) implies giving more power to what is currently deemed more important than other 'targets'. Given that there are, in theory, limited resources, what happens to the fight against Columbian drug lords? To Asian child slave pimps and abuses of wildlife and protected species?

Yes, terrorism is freaky. But, it is rarely so abused as it was on Sept 11th. London wasn't safe 10 years ago. But it didn't stop people from getting on with their lives. For the U.S., it is a relatively new concept. No, it's not right. No, it *shouldn't* happen. No, innocent people don't deserve to die for causes they know sod all about.

But that is the way life sometimes so unfortunately is. IMHO, without wanting to sound cold, the U.S. has been lucky in not having been targeted earlier. Yes, now is a time to defend yourself. Yes. now is a time to take a stand. Yes, now is a time to attempt to forge alliances with countries that otherwise might be suspicious of allegiances with the U.S. But it is not the time to call any neutral country such as Switzerland or Sweden into the fray, and nor is it a time to condemn the actions of other countries in their actions when, as we know, the CIA and its operatives have been running abhorrent schemes and turning sides on each other.

Bullet
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The amendment which authorized income tax was passed in 1913. We were not at war at all;

Damn, JJ, you beat me to it.

-synchronicity
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"...die for causes they know sod all about...."

Ooooo, stealthy Brit naughty words flying under the radar.

Bloody.

Wanker.

Bugger.

Heeheehee.

Or should I have said, ods, loobdy, ankwer and gubber instead?

mglf
Livin' dangerously on a Tuesday night
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We trade liberty for security. That's just the way it is. To think otherwise is hopelessly naive.

Benjamin Franklin doesn't strike me as a hopelessly naive guy. Hopelessly misquoted, maybe. Here are a few versions of the quote being bandied about by everybody and their brother lately:

- They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

- Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

- Those who would give up a little freedom for a little safety, deserve neither freedom nor safety.

- They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Mitten, who likes #2 best but has no idea if it's the right one
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It was #1, according to Bartlett's.

http://www.bartleby.com/100/245.html

He also said:
"Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."

One more for TMF: "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other."

And sometime not even then.

Mike
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I think we all understand that you're trying to raise a discussion (with an allegedly intelligent group of individual rights oriented types) about the upcoming issues re: increased "security" vs. decreased individual rights. But for now, much of that is simply too hypothetical.

Plus, you started here with those damn polls. That was the equivalent of marching into a bar and flipping the whole place off. And then there is that "Lord of the Flies" post you linked to. WTF is that all about?

Rick
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C'mon Rick, lay off. This isn't a serious board. We were talking about Faith Hill, for Chrissakes. Dave didn't "flip off" anyone.

Dave has a point. There are others who are concerned

http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/25/rec.olson.cnna/index.html

These are VERY serious issues, about civil liberties. But then again, the prospects of a nuke going off in Cleveland complicate things. Maybe we could all familiarize ourself with the issues more.

BTW, Dave Matthews sucks.
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Yes, terrorism is freaky. But, it is rarely so abused as it was on Sept 11th. London wasn't safe 10 years ago. But it didn't stop people from getting on with their lives. For the U.S., it is a relatively new concept. No, it's not right. No, it *shouldn't* happen. No, innocent people don't deserve to die for causes they know sod all about.

This wasn't a nail bomb in a disco, or a car bomb in front of a hotel where dignitaries are staying. This was over 6000 civilians being killed in cold blood as a result of a long thought out and well developed plan. This attack made the IRA look like amateur hour. When was the last time the IRA made over 1000 corpses in a day?

It was the scope of the attack, not just the attack itself, that stunned many.

This attack came from a foreign source. As much of the IRA claims to hail from the north, they are more comparable to the Weather Underground or SLA, or even the militia movement that gave us Tim McVeigh. They are a homegrown terrorist organization, not one from half a world away. While there are some similarities (the desire to cloak barbarism as a religious act) it is not a valid comparison.

I do agree that the IRA is a terrorist goon squad who should be targeted, but the analogy ends there.
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But then again, the prospects of a nuke going off in Cleveland complicate things.

How is that?
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BTW, Dave Matthews sucks.

He does now. No arguments from me.

Rick
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Me: But then again, the prospects of a nuke going off in Cleveland complicate things.

aps3: How is that?

Well, assuming you like Cleveland, a case could be made that some things are more important than a few wiretaps or shakedowns of non-citizens. I'm not going to make that case, but I'd listen to it.

I'm not sure how I feel. It's obvious our gov has info that they can't disclose. Proving guilt is always such a pain.
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I'm not sure how I feel. It's obvious our gov has info that they can't disclose. Proving guilt is always such a pain.

You make an important point. That a particular wire-tap is illegal is probably already moot regarding whether it is used. Changing laws just allows the information to be used in court.

But what do I know, I teach second grade in Connecticut.

Rick
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You make an important point. That a particular wire-tap is illegal is probably already moot regarding whether it is used. Changing laws just allows the information to be used in court.

They were holding some Dr. in San Antonio, but released him. That really hurt them because they had the guy dead to rights.

Of course, he's probably safer INSIDE.

But what do I know, I teach second grade in Connecticut.

Aren't you at Wash?

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Hi Bullet,

This thread seems to have taken off, eh?

My wife, a brit, and I often have the discussion (especially lately) of whether we'd be 'safer' living in the U.S. or U.K.

She points out the gun control problem and, of course, the recent 'war' on terrorism. I point out the fact that The British have just grown used to being suspicious about untended suitcases. I haven't worked the numbers, but I bet UK victims of 'in-country' terrorism are similar (if not exceeding) US victims, as a percentage of population.

I found Blair's recent high-profile U.S. presence interesting. I too wonder what the repercussions for the IRA might be. Your thoughts?

-dave

p.s. To the others: I stand corrected re the sixteenth amendment. I have a recollection of another WWI-inspired tax, and seemed to have confused the two.
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Me: We trade liberty for security. That's just the way it is. To think otherwise is hopelessly naive.

Mitten: Benjamin Franklin doesn't strike me as a hopelessly naive guy. Hopelessly misquoted, maybe. Here are a few versions of the quote being bandied about by everybody and their brother lately:


I'll be damned. I honestly thought I made that up myself.

See, I knew I could learn a thing or two here!
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This wasn't a nail bomb in a disco, or a car bomb in front of a hotel where dignitaries are staying. This was over 6000 civilians being killed in cold blood as a result of a long thought out and well developed plan.

True, but at its height, the IRA bombings came with little warning, in crowded populations, etc etc etc. And they are far from a goon squad, they are professional killers. Attempts to blow up Parliament are not what one would generally ascribe to lunatic fringe groups or militia as you suggest. Whilst its attacks may be of less 'significance' because of the number killed in one attack (as you say: It was the scope of the attack, not just the attack itself, that stunned many), it is no less significant that the IRA funds other terror organisations (as has been proven via the flow of funds that have been stopped by various secret services).

If it had been a nail bomb, however, or another car bomb underneath the towers, would it be not so implausible that things would carry on pretty much as they did after the last WTC bomb in, I think, '93? It is because of the very fact that it was such a massacre that it has changed the whole landscape, not geographically, but in terms of the US's, and, so far, the western world's response to unite and clamp down to try and eradicate this kind of terrorism. Who knows. Speculation is useless.

Bullet
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But let's put it all in perspective, shall we? Approximately three times more Americans die every year in alcohol-related car crashes than died in the recent terrorist attack. Where's the war on drunk driving? Is 40 billion advocated for that? Heck, five times more people die by gunfire each year than were killed in the crashes Sept 11. What is our government doing for that? Why are Americans not willing to give up rights to ameliorize this problem?

Since we're putting it in perspective, are the drunk drivers and gunmen causing tens of billions of dollars in property damage? Are they disrupting the ability of the government to function properly by destroying its buildings? Are they holding press conferences for the world, saying "come after us, and we will make you pay?" Are they causing damage to the economy, including causing major losses for an entire industry, such as the airlines or insurers? Do they disrupt the ability of our largest cities to carry on normal function weeks later? Do they have the ability to strike again, but this time causing 60,000 deaths--or 600,000 deaths--instead of a "mere" 6,000?

Terrible as the loss of human life is, there are other factors to consider.

Even so, just in human terms, if this supposedly misplaced focus saves thousands more lives by stopping the release of sarin nerve gas or smallpox or anthrax or a small nuclear device, it will have more impact than a war on drunk drivers.

--WP


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They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Those that can easily do so at the urging of a Fundamentalist Christian (some of whom think that the attacks were due to America losing Christian values) deserve a swift kick in the ass.

It's not time to panic yet, Dave.

vuelta

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Bullett: Who knows. Speculation is useless.

Careful, you are undermining the the purpose of these boards.

If we wanted facts, we'd...

Well...

I dunno. Where does one get facts these days?


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Trick:
But what do I know, I teach second grade in Connecticut.

Huh? I thought you taught people who went on to work at companies like JDSU.

http://quote.fool.com/Chart/chart.asp?osymb=&osymbols=JDSU&symbols=JDSU&currticker=JDSU&time=1yr&uf=0&compidx=aaaaa%7E0&ma=0&symb=JDSU&freq=1dy&lf=1&comp=&type=64&sid=150709

Oh. Nevermind

-synchronicity
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What is our government doing for that? Why are Americans not willing to give up rights to ameliorize this problem?



Ameliorize the problem?

Are you Archie Bunker?

You are, aren't you!

AM
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I thought you taught people who went on to work at companies like JDSU.

Correction. I teach people who used to go to work at companies like JDSU.

Rick
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'Prioritize' is a broad word. Prioritizing targeting terrorists (are the IRA included in this, being Irish rather than Muslim, and having murdered several hundred in the last 20 or so years?) implies giving more power to what is currently deemed more important than other 'targets'. Given that there are, in theory, limited resources, what happens to the fight against Columbian drug lords? To Asian child slave pimps and abuses of wildlife and protected species?

This is something that I wonder as well. When Britain stepped up as our top supporter in this, I wondered when they were going to ask or we were going to offer to prosecute Americans financially supporting the IRA. What is the definition of "terrrorist"? I suspect the IRA would say they are guerillas instead.

6
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When Britain stepped up as our top supporter in this, I wondered when they were going to ask or we were going to offer to prosecute Americans financially supporting the IRA. What is the definition of "terrrorist"? I suspect the IRA would say they are guerillas instead.

I just read a story on this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/newsid_1563000/1563119.stm

"With all these new laws coming in we don't know what is going to happen. It's possible that it could impact us. We could be banned," says Mr McDonagh, who is one of an estimated 40 million Irish-Americans. While supporting what many would see as a terror group, he draws a line between the actions of the IRA and those of the 11 September attackers. "There's no comparison. I don't think it's in the psyche of the Irish to become suicide bombers. The IRA gives warnings before its bombings. What happened here brings it to a whole new level."

Apparently, giving a warning makes it OK.



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While supporting what many would see as a terror group, he draws a line between the actions of the IRA and those of the 11 September attackers. "There's no comparison. I don't think it's in the psyche of the Irish to become suicide bombers. The IRA gives warnings before its bombings. What happened here brings it to a whole new level."


Disclaimer; I believe the IRA is/has been a terrorist organization.

That said, if the IRA is defined during this "war" as terrorists, is any oppressed group who uses guerilla tactics then terrorists? Are Chechens terrorists then? Where is the line? I see a danger in that oppressive regimes can use this war, since it seems that a government, by our current definition, can support terrorists but cannot actually be terrorists.

6
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The IRA gives warnings before its bombings.


Well, shuh! That makes it ok then.

AM
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Where is the line?


One of the things I heard the current President say very clearly during his address was that he would pursue any terrorist organization that has "global reach". I think it said that specifically to avoid getting mixed up in provincial conflicts like those in Ireland and Spain. I'll give his speech writer credit for making sure that distinction was in place right off the bat.

euclid
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That said, if the IRA is defined during this "war" as terrorists, is any oppressed group who uses guerilla tactics then terrorists? Are Chechens terrorists then? Where is the line?


What might emerge is we may eventually define a terrorist in the 21st century as one who does harm to other people who are not otherwise apparently engaged in a conflict.

jps
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I think the gov'mnt is in agreement with jps.

Found this: http://web.nps.navy.mil/~library/tgp/tgpmain.htm#definitions

...the definition of terrorism contained in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d). That statute contains the following definitions:

- The term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant (1) targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.

- The term "international terrorism" means terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country.

- The term "terrorist group" means any group practicing, or that has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism.

The US Government has employed this definition of terrorism for statistical and analytical purposes since 1983.
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http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=15815260

Sounds like the IRA to me.

I wonder if not just UK, but some of the other possible future European support (particularly from places like France, Spain, etc.) might be (at least in part) a result of an implicit promise/expectation that the U.S. might help with other messy problems.
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What might emerge is we may eventually define a terrorist in the 21st century as one who does harm to other people who are not otherwise apparently engaged in a conflict.

So...if we bomb Afghanistan...

6
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Actually, that definition makes good sense. But still, any regime can claim that they are noncombative with their own citizens and thus label any resistance "terrorist".

Just random worrying,
6

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