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How about we all get a grip and stop the back and forth?

Yes, lots of blame to go around. Get over it. Yes, we will be told some lies. Get over that too.

Right now, I'm watching in amazement as our government seems to be doing a wonderful job of managing the current situation. The fact that much of the militarily important world has pledged support and help is remarkable. That was impressive, and it didn't happen because the stars aligned.

I've been *most* impressed the way our government has jumped on Pakistan. That's also very scary. Pakistan has access to nuclear weapons, and we here don't yet know for sure, but that could mean terrorists have access. It's possible, Pakistan is the country that can find out what that particular situation is. I'm impressed we are putting the hammer down so hard on Pakistan, but also worried as I can be. The fact that NATO lined up so fast, well, it's scary. If China lines up...

These are serious concerns. The petty stuff is just silly in comparison. Get real.

The real question is whether this will escalate to nuclear proportions before or after germs are involved. The first attack by the world coalition will have to be swift and severe and demonstrate that if this thing goes nuclear, hell will be paid. It's hard to convince some people hell is coming if they think the right death takes them to heaven. Afghanistan's leaders don't care about heaven and hell, let's hope Pakistan is not so far gone.

Tomorrow is a day of prayer. I don't pray but I wish I did. It's unpleasant to think that man is in charge.

Rick
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Tomorrow is a day of prayer. I don't pray but I wish I did.
********************************************************

Go ahead. It's not hard.


P413
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It's unpleasant to think that man is in charge.

Rick

===

Enough with the liberal cheap shots...seriously.
What, pray tell, do you think Clinton/Gore/Albright would do better than Bush/Cheney/Powell?

I know plenty of people that were excellent academically, but have the commonsense of a deer facing headlights in the middle of a street.

I never agreed with Clinton's liberal policies, but I never thought "oh geez...it is unpleasant to think that Clinton is in charge!"

Your buddy, ex-prez SlickWilly the First, was just on tv telling people that there are "good people" in charge, and that we should support our President and leaders.

I will give it to ol' Willy...he was the best at biting that lip and producing a watery eye on cue.
And no one could wag an angry finger at a camera like him.

Is that what you don't like about Bush? That Bush isn't as dramatic and as well-spoken on camera?

Is the presidency supposed to be held by the guy that can deliver the coolest soundbite?

Give it a rest...especially the cheap shots like jps took about Bush flying around in AF-1. It makes very little sense to put the sitting president in jeopardy so that Peter Jennings can get his soundbite.

I wouldn't mind all that much if McCain had made it instead of Bush, but Bush got the nod, and is in charge, and that is it.

I will take Bush over a guy who needed to pay a woman to find out how to act like a man.

Jason
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Enough with the liberal cheap shots...seriously.
What, pray tell, do you think Clinton/Gore/Albright would do better than Bush/Cheney/Powell?


Mellow out and read the sentence in context. In the context of a paragraph talking about prayer, the sentence is clearly talking about "Man" as opposed to a Supreme Being, not about "that man," George Bush.

Rick
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Jason
It's unpleasant to think that man is in charge


I think Rick is talking about God here. 8)


Goo
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Mellow out and read the sentence in context. In the context of a paragraph talking about prayer, the sentence is clearly talking about "Man" as opposed to a Supreme Being, not about "that man," George Bush.

Rick

===

That may have been more obvious if not for the continual bashing on the part of liberals...
My post still stands, as do my comments...especially towards jps.

I give credit to liberals.
They are largely an emotion-based group. They feed off the poor, the disenchanted, the special interests...
They are much more dedicated than conservatives, in general.

I just wish they would give it a rest...at least for a little bit.
The anti-Bush debate serves no purpose that is beneficial to any American right now, regardless of party affiliation.

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Amen Jason....AMEN.

UKBB
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That may have been more obvious if not for the continual bashing on the part of liberals...

It might have been more obvious if you'd taken 45 seconds to read Trick's post, instead of reacting like a rabid baboon on crystal meth, too.
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It might have been more obvious if you'd taken 45 seconds to read Trick's post, instead of reacting like a rabid baboon on crystal meth, too.

===

Baboons make rational and practical comments after being on crystal meth?
I will take your word for the reactions of meth on animals...
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<<Tomorrow is a day of prayer. I don't pray but I wish I did. >>

<Go ahead. It's not hard.>


Not all of us are as readily capable of self-delusion.

Or to put it another way, if praying makes YOU feel better, do it.

But someone who doesn't dig on the whole God thing has no reason to be praying, it being a pointless act for them.

-chris


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Before I have to make a new thread, "Out of hand II" I was really someone would calmly refute the concerns I mentioned in the start of this thread. I was hoping someone would tell me how wrong I was.

Rick
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<<Enough with the liberal cheap shots...seriously.>>

We can live without the partisanship and the jingoism. Yelling at everyone who doesn't "get with the program" is unproductive.

Everyone should be supportive of the President and damn near everyone is.

At the same time, some people have very serious concerns about his ability and his intelligence. I know I wish we had Clinton, Bush Sr. or Reagan in charge now instead of this guy.

But he's our man and I am rooting 100% for him to step up to the plate and hit it out of the park. I'm just afraid he can't even figure out which end of the bat to hold.

-chris
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<<I give credit to liberals.
They are largely an emotion-based group. They feed off the poor, the disenchanted, the special interests...
They are much more dedicated than conservatives, in general.>>

How pathetic.

This is a time for unity and you keep sniping away in this imaginary battle of conservatives vs. liberals.

Tuesday you got a loud message, "Grow the hell up." So do it. Now.

-chris
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"But someone who doesn't dig on the whole God thing has no reason to be praying, it being a pointless act for them."

Only if there is no God, chris. If there is, it might do you some good even if you don't believe it. Pascal's gambit again, right? No edge in not trying.

m
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Not all of us are as readily capable of self-delusion.
***********************************************************

Although there's a lot more to it than this, time will determine who's being self-delusional.


P413
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<<Only if there is no God, chris. If there is, it might do you some good even if you don't believe it. Pascal's gambit again, right? No edge in not trying.>>

Sure but you could say the same thing about sacrificing chickens, casting tea leaves, or making gris-gris bags.

I mean to cast no aspersions on anyone's religion but this isn't a time to fall back on superstition so, to those to whom such things do seem to be superstition, there's no point to it. Better to spend the time checking in with loved ones and donating money and blood to the cause.

-chris
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<<Only if there is no God, chris. If there is, it might do you some good even if you don't believe it. Pascal's gambit again, right? No edge in not trying.>>

Sure but you could say the same thing about sacrificing chickens, casting tea leaves, or making gris-gris bags.

I mean to cast no aspersions on anyone's religion ......
***********************************************************

Really? Could have fooled me.


P413
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<<I mean to cast no aspersions on anyone's religion ......>>

<Really? Could have fooled me.>

Sorry, bud, but you're way off-base here. I said nothing to criticize anyone's religion and you know I didn't. Unless you think the mere existence of people who don't believe in the whole God thing is an attack in which case I'm sorry you feel that way.

I hope very much that you find comfort in your religion and your religious community.

Just don't go assuming everyone believes the same.

-chris


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While you all are discussing religion, could you kindly tell me if a jihad is the Arabic translation of the word "Crusade?"

Thanks.

Rick
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"Really? Could have fooled me."

No, chris is OK. Really.

m
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Trick wrote:

While you all are discussing religion, could you kindly tell me if a jihad is the Arabic translation of the word "Crusade?"

No. From http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/reference/glossary/term.JIHAD.html

"It is an Arabic word the root of which is Jahada, which means to strive for a better way of life.
The nouns are Juhd, Mujahid, Jihad, and Ijtihad. The other meanings are: endeavor, strain, exertion,
effort, diligence, fighting to defend one's life, land, and religion.

Jihad should not be confused with Holy War; the latter does not exist in Islam nor will Islam allow
its followers to be involved in a Holy War. The latter refers to the Holy War of the Crusaders.

Jihad is not a war to force the faith on others, as many people think of it. It should never be
interpreted as a way of compulsion of the belief on others, since there is an explicit verse in the
Qur'an that says:"There is no compulsion in religion" Al-Qur'an: Al-Baqarah (2:256).

Jihad is not a defensive war only, but a war against any unjust regime. If such a regime exists, a
war is to be waged against the leaders, but not against the people of that country. People should be
freed from the unjust regimes and influences so that they can freely choose to believe in Allah.

Not only in peace but also in war Islam prohibits terrorism, kidnapping, and hijacking, when carried
against civilians. Whoever commits such violations is considered a murderer in Islam, and is to be
punished by the Islamic state. during wars, Islam prohibits Muslim soldiers from harming civilians,
women, children, elderly, and the religious men like priests and rabies. It also prohibits cutting
down trees and destroying civilian constructions."


--
Rich
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<<While you all are discussing religion, could you kindly tell me if a jihad is the Arabic translation of the word "Crusade?">>


You can try poking around here for an Islamic perspective.

http://www.islaam.com/jihad


But according to this UK site:

http://www.unn.ac.uk/societies/islamic/jargon/jihad1.htm

<<The word Jihad means striving. In its primary sense it is an inner thing, within self, to rid it from debased actions or inclinations, and exercise constancy and perseverance in achieving a higher moral standard. Since Islam is not confined to the boundaries of the individual but extends to the welfare of society and humanity in general, an individual cannot keep improving himself/herself in isolation from what happens in their community or in the world at large, hence the Quranic injunction to the Islamic nation to take as a duty "to enjoin good and forbid evil." (3:104) It is a duty which is not exclusive to Muslims but applies to the human race who are, according to the Quran, God's vicegerent on earth. >>
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Well, you web-hounds have beaten me to it, but it was at least a fun chance to try to figure out how to use my Arabic dictionary. I haven't yet learned the consonant that begins the word jihad, so I was a little slowed down. But I found it. Arabic dictionaries are organized by their root words, so when I found jihad, I found all the related ones too. The root does in fact seem to revolve around the idea of striving and exertion and strain. The dictionary I have defines jihad itself as a fight or battle.

On the other hand, crusade seems to be of specifically Christian meaning (by way of French and Spanish), having its root in "taking up the cross."

Mitten
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Thanks for all the effort, but the question was rhetorical. I'm wondering whether centuries from now, Muslims will sit around redfaced talking about "The Jihad" years. Will there be a Muslim Monty Python sketch? "Bring out your dead Satan's!"

From the Federation of American Scientists:

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/pakistan/nuke/index.html

We've been trying to twist Pakistan's arm for years and years. Maybe that $20 billion will help.

Rick
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Sorry, bud, but you're way off-base here. I said nothing to criticize anyone's religion and you know I didn't. Unless you think the mere existence of people who don't believe in the whole God thing is an attack in which case I'm sorry you feel that way.
Just don't go assuming everyone believes the same.
-chris
*********************************************************

Sorry if I misread your post. I thought you were saying that religion (& I mean Christianity here) was a superstition tantamount to finding a four leaf clover, which of course to believers it is not. After re-reading your post, I realize that was not your intention. My bad.

I don't think the existence of people who don't believe in God is an attack in itself. People can believe whatever they want.

P413
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<<Sorry if I misread your post. I thought you were saying that religion (& I mean Christianity here) was a superstition tantamount to finding a four leaf clover, which of course to believers it is not. After re-reading your post, I realize that was not your intention. My bad.>>

No problem-o. It's a time to focus on everything we have in common now, not what we don't.

-chris
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How about we all get a grip and stop the back and forth?

I hear ya Rick.

I'm watching in amazement as our government seems to be doing a wonderful job of managing the current situation. The fact that much of the militarily important world has pledged support and help is remarkable. That was impressive, and it didn't happen because the stars aligned.

So far, so good. Along the same lines, remember that just before the Gulf War, Bush Sr. had James Baker "get the stars aligned" for international cooperation against Iraq. There's lots of things I can (and have) said about the Bushes, few of them are complimentary, but they seem to have good people around them when it comes to this sort of thing.

We need that now. A lot.

I've been *most* impressed the way our government has jumped on Pakistan. That's also very scary. Pakistan has access to nuclear weapons, and we here don't yet know for sure, but that could mean terrorists have access. It's possible, Pakistan is the country that can find out what that particular situation is.

Pakistan is one of only three countries (what are the other two?) who have recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan. Thre have been some reports that Pakistan is ready to give considerable support to the US: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/010913/1/1g5m3.html . However, there's apparently also a cozy relationship between the Taliban and Pakistan. http://www.atimes.com/c-asia/CI13Ag01.html . Remains to be seen what happens, but so far Pakistan seems to be leaning towards helping us.

Also, Iran has even made some comments regarding assisting the US, Of course, Iran is no friend of Afghanistan, so there's some self-interest there.

All of this assumes (as seems likely from the news so far) that Osama Bin-Laden's organization will be targeted by the US as being partially or wholly responsible for the attacks.

The real question is whether this will escalate to nuclear proportions before or after germs are involved. The first attack by the world coalition will have to be swift and severe and demonstrate that if this thing goes nuclear, hell will be paid.

And, will this be the start of continuous, unrelenting aggressive activity against terrorism. That doesn't mean "let's extradite person X". That means "let's engage in military actions against group X". The phrase "acts of war" has been used often. That's not an accident; the goal isn't to bring anyone to trial, it's to eliminate them.

And it won't stop with one attack or series of attack's against Bin Laden's organization, Al-Qaeda. Remember that this isn't one man, or one small group with a definitive base. Wiping out whatever base they have in Afghanistan won't end the battle. There will still be people of various stripes plotting against the US. Can we continue to counteract that while at the same time A) not radically sacrificing our freedoms in this country, and B) strike against those who deserve it, while minimizing damage to those who are innocent of wrongdoing.

It'll be an interesting next several years, and may well characterize this decade.

I'm not looking back, I'm looking ahead. Dunno what will happen, but it's a lot bigger than partisan politics. There will be time enough in the future to praise or criticize our leaders by their acts in the following months or years.

-synchronicity
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"Pakistan is one of only three countries (what are the other two?) who have recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia is one. I believe that Libya is the other.

mglf
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"I believe that Libya is the other."

I believed wrong. The third is apparently the United Arab Emirates.

mglf
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The real question is whether this will escalate to nuclear proportions before or after germs are involved.


Personally, I think the germs come out first.

Angry as we are, I don't believe we pull the nukes out of the holster first--it would undermine much of the world support we are seeing right now.

So, does the opponent bring out nukes before germs? Considering that germs are easier to deliver, I suspect they come out first.

Hell, maybe they already did. In the first hour after the WTC attack, my wife (who is a microbiologist) turned to me and said, "an exploding airplane would be a pretty effective way to deliver a microbiological attack." When I asked about whether the explosion would kill anything, she said that most of a biological payload would indeed be killed, but some would survive, and that is all you really need. She said ebola, a virus, was a possibility but that anthrax was much more likely, because it is a bacteria that encases itself in spores. The spores can withstand a hell of a lot, she says, and would be more likely to survive than ebola in such a case.

So, it was no surprise that the Center for Disease Control was on the scene with all due speed to determine if the threat was even greater. If a microbiological attack were to be launched, the death toll would be enormous, dwarfing what we saw Tuesday.

There is a real, real likelihood that this entire mess escalates beyond a "mere" military reprisal. If we decide that governments, not just terrorists, are to be held accountable and take military action against them, things will get very messy, very fast. If we go to war against Afghanistan and/or Iraq, the entire Arab world will end up picking sides, and perhaps India and China as well. There will be enough states with nuclear and biological capability lining up on opposite sides of the line for this to be damn near apocalyptic. This isn't a "Nuke Baghdad!" sort of bravado that many people spouted off about during the Gulf War. While still unlikely, it is no longer absurd to think that nuclear weapons will come into play.

The nuclear question aside, I doubt this is the last major terrorist act we'll see. The thing that gets me about all the increased airport security is that the next attack probably isn't planned via an airplane anyway. Common sense tactics--strike one place, let the opponent rearrange their defenses, strike somewhere else. The next one could be an oil tanker exploding in a harbor, or a biological entity released into the food and water chain, or something completely different, but it probably won't be affected by the new security restrictions.


These are serious concerns. The petty stuff is just silly in comparison. Get real.

Absolutely. The partisan rhetoric has no place right now. Times like this make me glad I don't hold a major public office. No matter who was in the White House right now, I wouldn't envy them the tasks that lie ahead.

We expect our elected officials to be superhuman, but the fact remains that they are flawed human beings doing the best they can given the circumstances...whether they have a (R) or a (D) next to their name when speaking on CNN. When all is said and done and we have the luxury of hindsight, we will undoubtedly see errors in their actions. But for the moment, we can all hope or pray (as you see fit) that these people guide us as best as can be expected.

May our elected officials at all levels rise to the occasion,
--Pup




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Pakistan is one of only three countries (what are the other two?) who have recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan.

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.


Note that one of them is a country we used as a staging area the last time the military went to the Gulf. Will it be available again?

If so, what are the repercussions? Bin Laden was angry with Saudi for letting us in the last time and that started his obsession with us.

--Pup
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<<Note that one of them is a country we used as a staging area the last time the military went to the Gulf. Will it be available again? >>

From the wording of the early news releases, it seems evident the U.S. is not asking anyone for anything. They simply told Pakistan what they are required to do. I believe they know what happens if they don't.

And I don't say that with any nationalistic fervor. I think that's just the way it is.

And as much as they hate use and as lazy as they think we are and as vulnerable as they know we are now, every Arab government knows there is no way they can stand against a U.S. military campaign. Nobody can beat us in a military campaign or even come close.

-chris
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WP said:
Hell, maybe they already did. In the first hour after the WTC attack, my wife (who is a microbiologist) turned to me and said, "an exploding airplane would be a pretty effective way to deliver a microbiological attack." When I asked about whether the explosion would kill anything, she said that most of a biological payload would indeed be killed, but some would survive, and that is all you really need.

I've given this some thought, it was on my mind early, too. I'm not even sure the incubation time is done yet, so who knows?

But while I'm no expert on the survivability of microbes, I am an expert on the reaction kinetics in a hot flame. When you think about the fact that the WTC didn't even withstand the jet fuel fired heat, it's doubtful that microbes would have survived. The planes buried themselves, containing the entire payload. If the bugs were there, they were in the building, the building burned hot, hot, hot for at least 30 minutes. I don't think anything survived. I can't think of any molecule that would outside teflon and a few really nasty poisons.

Besides all that, delivery of microbes effectively is not trivial. They have to be dispersed, and a surprisingly large amount of research has been done to figure out how it is done right. An aerosol is one of the easiest best ways, and you need a water supply of some kind. It's not trivial, but not too hard either. We'll see it sometime.

WP also said:
There will be enough states with nuclear and biological capability lining up on opposite sides of the line for this to be damn near apocalyptic. This isn't a "Nuke Baghdad!" sort of bravado that many people spouted off about during the Gulf War. While still unlikely, it is no longer absurd to think that nuclear weapons will come into play.

I think this is pretty close to what we were up against in the Gulf War. Many fewer countries cared about Iraq and Kuwait, though, and the Gulf countries didn't like it that we were sticking our nose in. There was plenty of difficulty lining up a coalition, but it was done. Money talks. Here, there might be some principle involved.

Rick

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AC said:
From the wording of the early news releases, it seems evident the U.S. is not asking anyone for anything. They simply told Pakistan what they are required to do. I believe they know what happens if they don't.

And what exactly will happen? We exerted a heck of a lot of influence when Pakistan was nuking up, all to no good. As Powell himself said today, Pakistan is sanctioned up to its eyeballs.

It seems the only option is to go midieval on Pakistan, but with 10 nukes with a 1000 mile range, that could cause some problems.

I imagine what we are asking for is for them to round the terrorists up for us. They won't do that, of course, so I think we will demand a place or three to stage our attack from. If Pakistan caves in and let's us, I hope we have the rest of the countries lined up or it could be a rough place to be stationed.

At least that is what Rudyard Kipling thought.

The Young British Soldier
...When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier....

It's a tough place.

Rick
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<<I mean to cast no aspersions on anyone's religion but this isn't a time to fall back on superstition so, to those to whom such things do seem to be superstition, there's no point to it. Better to spend the time checking in with loved ones and donating money and blood to the cause.>>

If the extremists behind the highjackings really believed in their god, they would have prayed for him/her to knock down the WTC, Pentagon, Capitol, Shrub's plane, and the next big PowerBall combination. Instead they highjacked four planes and attempted to run them into something of symbolic value.

Now, instead of praying to his god for justice, Shrub will yell "war" repeatedly until everyone believes him and starts throwing big bombs at their innocent people because they "harbor" the bad guys.

Yep, there is a difference between us and them. They started it. Or did we? Sometimes it is really hard to tell and kind of depends on your perspective. That seems to be the root cause of all this stuff.

"He hit me first."

"Did not."
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God damn it-- I just lost a really brilliant reply to Rick's post, by hitting the wrong key on my computer before I had finished.

But to reprise, I think Rick's post is right on target. I worry a lot too about Pakistan's giving nuclear weapons to crazed, Moslem fanatics. However, I will give Pakistan's government the benefit of the doubt, and believe that this is highly unlikely.

I also note the conflicting message conveyed by TV scenes of common Russian citizens placing flowers on the steps of our embassy in Moscow, while one U.S. Fool working in Moscow (see the "Current Events" bulletin board) is confronted by a Russian co-worker gloating that we were getting our just desserts for bombing Serbs merely because they were killing Moslems in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Am I not seeing something here? In 1956, I remember that President Eisenhower condemned the invasion of the Suez Canal region by England, France and Israel-- an action which caused us a lot of difficulty with allies, but little credit from the Moslem world.

In the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, we supported the Moslems in Bosnia and Kosovo, gaining a lot of enmity from Serbs. We gained even more enmity from Russia when we urged moderation in their war with Afghanistan and the Moslem Chechens.

Moral: It's not easy to be an impartial policeman of the world-- especially when modern technology is delivering infinite power to the likes of Timothy McVey and Osama bin Laden.

Solution: Stumble through as best we can. Meanwhile, provide civilization some redundancy, by establishing viable colonies in space, the Moon and Mars. Ad Astra!
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Nobody can beat us in a military campaign or even come close.

Vietnam

And please don't spout the usual nonsense that you lost the war at home. War is fought on many basis, not just with arms. Diplomacy, political and public pressure are all factors that determine the 'winner' of a war. You may have had the stronger army, but you were beaten due to these other factors.






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Now, instead of praying to his god for justice, Shrub will yell "war" repeatedly until everyone believes him and starts throwing big bombs at their innocent people because they "harbor" the bad guys.

I wonder if Bush is smart enough to realize a few simple facts. First, the Soviets got their ass kicked fighting a land war in Afghanistan, fighting a guerilla war, which is very different than what was encountered in Desert Storm. I think we've should have learned a lesson about that a few years ago, somewhere else in southern Asia.

Take a look at Afghanistan on a map. The logistics of conducting a land war there is a challenge. The Soviets had the advantage of bordering the country, and they couldn't win in 10 years. They could destroy every village they came across, yet they couldn't win. Does it matter if the village is destroyed after 2 months of artillery fire or after one hour of a nuclear attack?

Oh, and this situation does not call for nukes. Anyone who thinks so is wrong.

A decade ago we fought a war, and 10 years later our opponent is still in power, and we can't even inspect his weapons program. The current state of affairs in Afghanistan is due, in part, to the failure of the West to provide much assistance to the country after the Soviets were driven out. The area was pretty much in shambles for most of the 90's, with warlords fighting for power. The Taliban finally ended up with that power. If we can defeat the Taliban, we need to be committed to providing a stabilizing government. Even if we have the military ability to defeat an enemy, we don't seem to have the statesmanship to know what to do afterwards.

And that leads to a final interesting fact – there is a large reserve of oil and gas in Central Asia, and a pipeline through Afghanistan may be the best way to get it out. Apparently, Unocal has been in contact with the Taliban, trying to work a deal.


**********************************

So what do I think we should do? Wait, watch, and learn. They have their weaknesses too. They need money to operate, and they need secrecy to survive. I suspect that we can destroy them without going to war.


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<<Nobody can beat us in a military campaign or even come close.>>

<Vietnam >


That was guerilla warfare.

We can't be beaten in a straight up military fight.

Again, not said with any nationalistic zeal - just a statement of fact.

If we want to march into a country with bombs a-dropping and guns-a-blazing, we go wherever we want.

-chris

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I just got back from a four-day trip and tuned into the Martini Club to see how jps would have spun recent events into a diatribe against Bush. No foolin', I actually had that very thought. And I was far from disappointed. He even managed to include the tax cut. How that talented scribe does resort to pedestrian cliches whenever the knee starts jerking. However, I digress.

WonderPup wrote: There is a real, real likelihood that this entire mess escalates beyond a "mere" military reprisal. If we decide that governments, not just terrorists, are to be held accountable and take military action against them, things will get very messy, very fast.

And, yet, that is exactly what we must do. The only way we can ever hope to stop these attacks is to deny the madmen a safe haven. If we knock off Bin Laden, many will rise up to replace him. If we strike back in a "measured" way, well, how successful has Israel been with those tactics? If (and only if) Afghanistan is proven to have sheltered the perpetrators, we must remove it from the face of the earth, whether it takes nukes or not. Flatten every city and town, knock out every dam, power station, radio & TV transmitter, bridge, airport, etc. Wipe Taliban and Afghan society out of existence. And let the other leaders over there know that if they so much as think about harboring terrorists, it will happen to them. If anything will stop suicide terrorists it might be the knowledge that their societies will vanish if they try anything. And the leaders, seeing Afghanistan disappear, insane as they are, are not stupid enough to bring the same fate upon themselves. If we take "measured" responses, we might as well paint bulls eyes on ourselves.
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While you all are discussing religion, could you kindly tell me if a jihad is the Arabic translation of the word "Crusade?"

This may tell you. Please be sure you at least scroll down to the end and read about the 'youths of allah'.

http://azzam.com/html/articlesdeclaration.htm


ellen
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And as much as they hate use and as lazy as they think we are and as vulnerable as they know we are now, every Arab government knows there is no way they can stand against a U.S. military campaign. Nobody can beat us in a military campaign or even come close.

I want to agree with you AC, I really do. But the most powerful weapon in a war such as the one we are embarking on is WILL. "They" are willing to kill ALL of us, civilians, children, military, government - it doesn't matter - and kill themselves as well. I just don't think we're willing to do the same. Does this make us the good guys? Of course. Does it improve our odds of winning? I doubt it.

Mac
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If (and only if) Afghanistan is proven to have sheltered the perpetrators, we must remove it from the face of the earth, whether it takes nukes or not. Flatten every city and town, knock out every dam, power station, radio & TV transmitter, bridge, airport, etc,

Well pal, let's hope the U.S. government does a bit more research than you did for this post. First, dams, power stations, TV transmitters are few and far between in Afghanistan. Second, 90% (guesstimate here based on many visits) of the population have never seen a TV, never heard of New York, and further have had their already hsitty lives further trampled into the muck since the Taliban took over. You think they like it there?

I've been going in an out of Afghanistan for almost 30 years. I've been there when it was common to see miniskirts on fashionable coeds in Kabul in the early 70s. I've spent months with the mujahadeen as they fought your former enemy, the Russians. I was there when the Taliban captured Kabul. You're full of ignorant crap to group the many into the actions of the few. Your average Afghan suffers more than you'll ever know under the fist of the Taliban, an evil regime to be sure.

Wipe Taliban and Afghan society out of existence

It's already cuffing gone. How can you bomb somebody back into the stoneage when they are already there?

http://us.news2.yimg.com/f/42/31/7m/dailynews.yahoo.com/h/p/nm/20010914/pl/mdf52405.html

And this isn't, fyi, an isolated scene of poverty fool.

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.

Now, instead of praying to his god for justice, Shrub will yell "war" repeatedly until everyone believes him and starts throwing big bombs at their innocent people because they "harbor" the bad guys.

Yep, there is a difference between us and them. They started it. Or did we?


1. I'm sure GWB is praying to his god for justice.
2. It's Bob Barr and several other Congressman that rushed to declare war in Congress.
3. Bush has an over 90% approval rating for how he has handled the situation so far, and that doesn't include 3-4% no opinions.
4. No intelligent or rational person, and that includes Bush, wants to bomb innocent people. It's really, really nice that you made that accusation, but it's not true.

5. I don't think we ever hijacked passenger planes and flew them into buildings in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia. I don't think we have terrorists in those countries plotting to kill thousands of innocent people. In fact, I remember we helped the Afghanis defend themselves against the Russians.

That means 'they' started it. But we'll finish it.

cheers,
Naj
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Take a look at Afghanistan on a map. The logistics of conducting a land war there is a challenge. The Soviets had the advantage of bordering the country, and they couldn't win in 10 years. They could destroy every village they came across, yet they couldn't win. Does it matter if the village is destroyed after 2 months of artillery fire or after one hour of a nuclear attack?

Dunno V, seems like Afghanistan got a lot of support from the US, as North Viet Nam did from USSR and China. I think if the Taliban were to block the US from getting bin Laden and whatever of his infrastructure we want they would have pretty much no pals anywhere. Pakistan is over a barrel, they want out of sanctions from their nuke-testing, Russia is not going to be giving them any sympathy, and I think even China would be looking for a way to find common ground w/ the US after the spy-plane incident. Heck, China lost a lot of office space in the twin towers anyway, they might even be holding a grudge over that. Never mind that the Taliban does not have universal support w/in Afghanistan.
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. Your average Afghan suffers more than you'll ever know under the fist of the Taliban, an evil regime to be sure.

Of course, to hear the Taliban tell it, they have it really bad under Communist rule. The rulers actually stopped giving praise to Allah before every sentence uttered. It just doesn't get worse than that.

Rick
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I've been there when it was common to see miniskirts on fashionable coeds in Kabul in the early 70s.


Ironically, that's one of the things that the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups find so reprehensible about the influence of Western culture. Former Defense Secretary McNamara said last night that we have to understand our enemy. In Viet Nam, his war, he admits that we did not understand the Viet Cong, and they did not understand us, and that prolonged the war. I'm hopeful we've learned that lesson and will not enter into this campaign until we are prepared to replace the governments we may topple with a regime that is viewed by its own people as just. Western standards don't necessarily apply.

For the time being, as the diplomatic and political ground is softened up, two things are important. First that our actions are justified, and second that we preserve our principles. Much of what I'm reading suggests that many are willing to abandon principle in favor of retribution. That would be the greatest of all losses, and the greatest of all tragedies.

euclid
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You're full of ignorant crap to group the many into the actions of the few. Your average Afghan suffers more than you'll ever know under the fist of the Taliban, an evil regime to be sure.

I have absolutely no doubt that you're right. I have no wish to harm anyone who doesn't have it in for us. I should have stated that we need to do it to set an example--so that Iraq really gets it that we have the will to squash them also. If we bomb a few terrorist bases and blow up a few military planes at the Kabul airport, Saddam is going to be thinking "No sweat, bring it on." If Kabul vanishes under a mushroom cloud, Saddam will be turning his local terrorists over to us before they kill any more Americans.

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Mr. Beach said:
In Viet Nam, his war, he admits that we did not understand the Viet Cong, and they did not understand us, and that prolonged the war. I'm hopeful we've learned that lesson and will not enter into this campaign until we are prepared to replace the governments we may topple with a regime that is viewed by its own people as just. Western standards don't necessarily apply.

You hope for much. If you wander through the universities in this country, Arabic Studies is not found often, and when it's found there is a chronic student problem. There just aren't that many people, and I mean an incredible shortage, when one considers how large this country is. That's why we need spies, but spies became distasteful in the 80s and 90s.

In the 80s, Africa became an area of focus for our State Department and Foreign Service. I was at an ag school that served as the landing ground for many returned Peace Corp volunteers from Africa. I knew many of these people, and almost all of them received offers from the State Department (USAID, etc.) after their degrees. Many didn't even finish degrees the demand was so high. Of course, demand wasn't really that high on a relative scale, the supply was that low.

The number of people in this country with a real interest in the outside world beyond Europe and Japan is small. The people interested in Pakistan and Afghanistan can probably be counted on 4 hands. Amazing, isn't it?

Rick
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The people interested in Pakistan and Afghanistan can probably be counted on 4 hands. Amazing, isn't it?

An ex-housemate of mine is one of them. I was also at a landgrant school w/ lots of ex-peace corpsters. I should really give her a buzz. She was totally into Muslim society, far far far more than any American woman I've ever known.
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She was totally into Muslim society, far far far more than any American woman I've ever known.

I lived with one for awhile myself. Until she decided she wanted to try and live in a scarf and covered face for a year. She packed up and moved to Ramallah for a year. Was shot at only once.

We've got a guy here who spends every summer in a Muslim country or region, and he draws a few students here every few years. But the numbers are low, even though he can guarantee his students experiences like my friend. Even with those kinds of perqs, they are very far and few between.

FWIW, it's a waste of resources for this particular woman to cover herself completely. I never could successfully make the resource argument with her.

Rick
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She was totally into Muslim society, far far far more than any American woman I've ever known.

I don't know that I'm totally taken with Arabic and thus Muslim society, but it is an interest of mine. And not just because I think those Moroccans are so sexy. The language is poetic (sound, expressiveness and even look), the landscape is captivating, the architecture is elegant. And I haven't even mentioned the food. There's a lot to be said for the culture, and I'm not sure why more people aren't interested in it.

That's not true, I do know why. Intimately. Picking up a new language, with all new sounds and a whole new alphabet, is a daunting task. I am struggling in a way I have never struggled in school before; learning has always been easy for me - this is damn hard. I'm not suprised many haven't even thought about trying.

I filled out a questionnaire in class today about my reasons for taking the class. The way it was set up was funny - there was virtually no way for me to indicate that I have no Arabic background, either in terms of language skills or ethnicity. It was as if no one but ethnically Arab folks and students of Islam take the class. (One checkbox was for if I was learning Arabic to study the Qaran.) I guess it's not something anybody takes for fun. Oh well, I am.

It seems to me that a little learning goes a long way in terms of fostering tolerance. There may be little I can do concretely in this crisis, save giving blood or whatnot. But I can do my best to be not just tolerant, but accepting of those around me who are different from me. Knowledge and learning are the first steps. The unknown is scary and threatening; once the light of knowledge is applied, much of the fear falls away.

Mitten
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That's not true, I do know why. Intimately. Picking up a new language, with all new sounds and a whole new alphabet, is a daunting task. I am struggling in a way I have never struggled in school before; learning has always been easy for me - this is damn hard. I'm not suprised many haven't even thought about trying.

I've tried many times, and failed. Hard stuff, at least for me. I've had a few friends though who could pick up any language like a sponge. But for me, it's the hardest thing I've tried to do. Much more difficult than quantum mechanics and math.

Rick
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silja: modern technology is delivering infinite power to the likes of Timothy McVey and Osama bin Laden.

What modern technology? Razor blades? Explosive made from fertilizer?

Kamikaze pilots have been around for more than fifty years.

Timothy McVeigh didn't use much more technology than Guy Fawkes.
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RJ said:
Timothy McVeigh didn't use much more technology than Guy Fawkes.

Not much more technology, but a lot more powder. He had the internal combustion engine, too.

That's really all a nuke is, too, more powder. So what's the big deal?

Rick
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What modern technology? Razor blades? Explosive made from fertilizer?

Kamikaze pilots have been around for more than fifty years.

Timothy McVeigh didn't use much more technology than Guy Fawkes.


C'mon now...

Dual-use biotechnology equipment which can be picked up in secondary markets by the bioweaponeer on a budget.

Several years ago, Kathleen Bailey, then-Senior Fellow at Lawerence Livermore's Center for Security and Technology Studies, claimed to be “absolutely convinced” that $10,000 can currently finance a biological weapons lab. How does this compare to earlier costs? In 1977 Nicholas Wade estimated the then-cost at between $50,000 and $200,000. In congressional testimony from 1969, Michael Meselson strongly suggests that only advanced developed states would be able to exploit such weapons with any reliability.

The self-serving sons of bitches who originally debated the hazards of recombinant DNA techniques in the early 1970s removed the techniques' implications for biological weapons from the agenda, because it served their personal research interests to do so. Earlier efforts to include consideration of biological weapons hazards were conveniently excised from the famous "Berg moratorium letter" of July 1974. And at the Asilomar conference of 1975, where the foundations of the original NIH recombinant DNA regulations were established (and which served as the regulatory model for the rest of the planet), David Baltimore (I believe he is your university's president?) stood up and told the assembled participants not to include consideration of biological weapons. Despite his admonishment, the Plasmid Working Group devoted space in its final report to the issue... which again, was cut from the final announcement from Asilomar's organizers.

The human genome project set aside a little money to investigate the ethical, legal and social implications of the effort to map the human genome. When I explored what research they might be funding of the military implications of the endeavor, I discovered that they had explictly excluded such projects from their funding criteria.

The issue has long been the subject of a conspiracy of silence.

12 Monkeys,

Jimi
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That's really all a nuke is, too, more powder. So what's the big deal?

No, it's not even that complicated. An H-bomb is thermonuclear fusion. Same thing that powers the Sun. We've had the Sun around since the dawn of time. Talk about low tech.

-synchronicity

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silja: modern technology is delivering infinite power to the likes of Timothy McVey and Osama bin Laden.

RJMason: What modern technology? Razor blades? Explosive made from fertilizer?
Kamikaze pilots have been around for more than fifty years.
Timothy McVeigh didn't use much more technology than Guy Fawkes.

Hold on-- a Japanese Zero, even with a couple bombs aboard, is no match for a Boeing 727 fully loaded with jet fuel. And Guy Fawkes could have loaded a lot more explosive into a panel truck than an oxcart.

We may well manage to get thru all of this. But just in case, it wouldn't hurt to get some viable off-earth colonies going. I maintain that this would vastly increase the human race's chance for survival-- not only in the face of today's threats, but in the face of those we can't yet foresee.
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No, it's not even that complicated. An H-bomb is thermonuclear fusion. Same thing that powers the Sun. We've had the Sun around since the dawn of time. Talk about low tech.

It would be low tech if you started it with a pull cord. It takes a bit more.

Rick
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RJ: Timothy McVeigh didn't use much more technology than Guy Fawkes.

Trick: Not much more technology, but a lot more powder.

Not really. Fawkes had twenty or so barrels of gunpowder. McVeigh had about 4000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, that's uh, em, fifteen barrels maybe? Granted that McVeigh's explosive was of a higher quality, I'd still call it the same ballpark.

Trick: He had the internal combustion engine, too.

Granted, Fawkes and company may have had to transport their explosive in several trips, instead of just one. Not dozens of trips, though.

Trick: That's really all a nuke is, too, more powder. So what's the big deal?

Well, as you probably know, typical nuclear binding energies are much greater than typical chemical binding energies. So there's a much bigger difference between a nuclear explosive and a chemical explosive than between one kind of chemical explosive and another, and nuclear explosives are a relatively big deal.

But McVeigh didn't have a nuke, did he? As a matter of physics, the Oklahoma City bombing was much closer to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 than it was to Hiroshima 1945.

The WTC terrorists didn't use genetically engineered viruses or lasers, as far as we know---they used razor blades to commandeer some large aircraft. Something similar could have been done at any time since the invention of large aircraft.

Is it reasonable to worry that one day a lone lunatic will get control of a nuclear weapon or other technological terror? Sure, but, my point is this, let's temper that worry with the observation that it hasn't happened yet. Osama bin Laden has a hundred million dollars to spend, but we may infer that he doesn't have nukes, since he hasn't used them. Aum Shinrikyo was equally well-funded and fanatical, with thousands of followers, but managed to kill ``only' a few dozen people with nerve gas. Maybe obtaining weapons of mass destruction is hard.
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Is it reasonable to worry that one day a lone lunatic will get control of a nuclear weapon or other technological terror? Sure, but, my point is this, let's temper that worry with the observation that it hasn't happened yet. Osama bin Laden has a hundred million dollars to spend, but we may infer that he doesn't have nukes, since he hasn't used them.


Disagreed. Just because he hasn't used them doesn't mean he doesn't have them. It may mean just that, of course. It may also mean he hasn't been able to deploy one that he has. By this logic, one may have inferred on September 10 that he didn't have a fleet of suicide hijackers in the US, since he hadn't used them yet.

Obviously, no one knows the truth right now. But if I had to make a call based on gut instinct, I'd say it is more likely that he has a nuclear device than less. It may not be a potent one (compared to what we Americans envision in our own arsenal) but I suspect he has one nonetheless. Gut instinct, as I said, based on the fact that Pakistan has nuclear capability, and that he probably has acquired something from them (whether Pakistan did so willingly or not).

Maybe obtaining weapons of mass destruction is hard.

I'm sure it is hard--very hard. Unfortunately, I don't think it is impossible.

--Pup
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Maybe obtaining weapons of mass destruction is hard.

Not with $100 million.

What might be the case, is that the nuke is hard to get into a country. The baggage guards sometimes error on the casual side, but even the most casual must be able to detect a nuke.

I was joking in my response to you, but I really do think this is what saves us from nuke attack. I'm not as confident that a nuke is hard to get as you, but I am confident that today, it's hard to get into the US.

I can do that energy calculation on McVay vs Fawkes. Do you really want to know?

Rick
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Trick: What might be the case, is that the nuke is hard to get into a country.

Why would it be harder to get in than a planeload of drugs?

Trick: I can do that energy calculation on McVay vs Fawkes. Do you really want to know?

Not unless you think the total energy might differ by an order of magnitude one way or the other.

I realize that the total energy of an explosive is not the whole story: the speed with which the energy is released is important, as well as how effectively the energy is delivered to the structure. But I'm prepared to gloss over those details.
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silja: But just in case, it wouldn't hurt to get some viable off-earth colonies going. I maintain that this would vastly increase the human race's chance for survival

I'm sympathetic to the idea of hedging our bets. But viable off-earth colonies are a tall order.

I suggest we get some practice first by establishing some colonies---not just huddled outposts, mind you, but actual self-supporting colonies---in places that are less Godforsaken and inhospitable to life.

Like the South Pole.

The bottom of the ocean.

Maybe something on the 5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
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RJMason wrote:

Maybe obtaining weapons of mass destruction is hard.

From a legal standpoint the terrorists who acted on Sept. 11 did use weapons of mass destruction. The term is defined by U.S.C. Title 18, Section 2332a:

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/unframed/18/2332a.html

From part (a):

"(a) Offense Against a National of the United States or Within the United States. - A person who, without lawful authority, uses, threatens, or attempts or conspires to use, a weapon of mass destruction
(other than a chemical weapon as that term is defined in section 229F), including any biological agent, toxin, or vector (as those terms are defined in section 178) -
(1) against a national of the United States while such national
is outside of the United States;
(2) against any person within the United States, and the
results of such use affect interstate or foreign commerce or, in the case of a threat, attempt, or conspiracy, would have affected
interstate or foreign commerce; or
(3) against any property that is owned, leased or used by the
United States or by any department or agency of the United
States, whether the property is within or outside of the United States, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, and if death results, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life. "

From part (c):

"(2) the term 'weapon of mass destruction' means -
(A) any destructive device as defined in section 921 of this title; "

From section 921 (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/unframed/18/921.html):

"(4) The term 'destructive device' means -
(A) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas -
(i) bomb,
(ii) grenade,
(iii) rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces,
(iv) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce,
(v) mine, or
(vi) device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding clauses; "

From the manner in which the planes were use, it would not be hard to argue for the suitability of part (vi) on "similar" devices. The nature of the nationwide shutdown of airports meets the interference with interstate or foreign commerce criterion of 2332a.

A similar opinion comes from the FBI:

http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/norfolk/wmd.htm

"A weapon of mass destruction (WMD), though typically associated with nuclear/radiological, chemical, or biological agents, may also take the form of explosives, such as in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1995. A weapon crosses the WMD threshold when the consequences of its release overwhelm local responders."

I wouldn't want the U.S. to rush to meet our standard of response in kind, but there would be legal justification for an unthinkable escalation.

--
Rich
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Pup: Obviously, no one knows the truth right now. But if I had to make a call based on gut instinct, I'd say it is more likely that he has a nuclear device

My gut is bigger than yours.
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"Yep, there is a difference between us and them. They started it. Or did we?"

<<1. I'm sure GWB is praying to his god for justice.>>

I thought he stopped drinking.

<<2. It's Bob Barr and several other Congressman that rushed to declare war in Congress.>>

Really? Bob Barr had an original thought?

<<3. Bush has an over 90% approval rating for how he has handled the situation so far, and that doesn't include 3-4% no opinions.>>

That is an exceptionally delusional reading of an opinion poll.

<<4. No intelligent or rational person, and that includes Bush, wants to bomb innocent people. It's really, really nice that you made that accusation, but it's not true.>>

That remains to be seen. By the way, I never accused Shrub of being intelligent or rational. I'm merely accepting your premise for the sake of discussion.

<<5. I don't think we ever hijacked passenger planes and flew them into buildings in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia. I don't think we have terrorists in those countries plotting to kill thousands of innocent people. In fact, I remember we helped the Afghanis defend themselves against the Russians.>>

Including the same people we have now "Declared War" upon. Funny how this stuff comes home to roost. If Shrub's plane was at risk, it was from a Stinger the CIA gave to the “Freedom Fighters.”

<<That means 'they' started it. But we'll finish it.>>

You wish.

Don't forget to dig two graves.
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Trick: What might be the case, is that the nuke is hard to get into a country.

RJ: Why would it be harder to get in than a planeload of drugs?

First, a nuke is much harder to get. Second, most drug smugglers have insider connections which allow them to bypass satellites. A nuclear smuggler may pose as a drug dealer to make the necessary connections, but no one in the NSA is going to give out info to someone carrying a nuclear device. Third, isn't radioactive material a lot easier to find than cocaine? Can't we see this from space?
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Rick: I've been *most* impressed the way our government has jumped on Pakistan. That's also very scary. Pakistan has access to nuclear weapons, and we here don't yet know for sure, but that could mean terrorists have access. It's possible, Pakistan is the country that can find out what that particular situation is. I'm impressed we are putting the hammer down so hard on Pakistan, but also worried as I can be. The fact that NATO lined up so fast, well, it's scary. If China lines up...


Pakistan probably has about two weapons. Not enough to consider selling. India has many more. I guarantee that Pakistan isn't going along with us for free. Whatever Bush promised them, probably anti missile defense, it had to have been big. They're going to let us operate from their borders.

As far as China is concerned, they are a wild card. All week they've been carrying out military drills which will train them in fighting our carriers. You see, they plan on taking Taiwan back and are ready to fight us. The Bush administration probably got caught with it's pants down because of this.

Of course, should we be preoccupied in the middle east, then China may take Taiwan. I've a feeling we'll give it to them. Condy Rice is the person that handles much of our policy in that area and she doesn't respect the strength of the Chinese. Time magazine reported that Colin Powell was contemplating resignation, though that seems highly unlikely now, over this type of policy making.

Bush is doing a fantastic job of doing nothing, because he realizes that hasty action may make these countries more willing to aggressively act in their own interests. There's more at stake than bombing a few buildings in Afghanistan.

The Israeli intelligence agencies are suggesting that Iraq financed the WTC bombing. The US is "ruling out" Iraq right now because we're seeking some Arab support, and Sadam is popular with many Arabs.

To sum up, the situation is a mess. I hope to God no one here is reading Matt Drudge in hopes of being informed.
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Pakistan probably has about two weapons. Not enough to consider selling.

Pakistan has tested more than two weapons. I'm sure they have at least ten mounted on missiles.

Rick
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....The Bush administration probably got caught with it's pants down because of this... ....I hope to God no one here is reading Matt Drudge in hopes of being informed.

WHAT? Bush Bean's getting a knob-job?

Why aren't the mainstream news agencies covering this?
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Pakistan has tested more than two weapons. I'm sure they have at least ten mounted on missiles.

Yes, they tested about five.

http://www.clw.org/pub/clw/coalition/paki0530.htm

But testing and missile readiness are often two different things. They only need to make it public that they are capable of detonation, then the necessary deterence is there. In theory, that is.

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<<5. I don't think we ever hijacked passenger planes and flew them into buildings in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia. I don't think we have terrorists in those countries plotting to kill thousands of innocent people. In fact, I remember we helped the Afghanis defend themselves against the Russians.>>

Including the same people we have now "Declared War" upon. Funny how this stuff comes home to roost. If Shrub's plane was at risk, it was from a Stinger the CIA gave to the “Freedom Fighters.”


Your fantasy world grows increasing unstable. The Taliban were not the rulers of Afghanistan when we were helping the Afghans resist the communist Russians.
Now they are. So they are certainly not the 'same people we have now "declared War" upon.' But you've never let simple facts get in the way of making ludicrous statements.

It seems obvious to me, and anyone else with two or more brain cells to rub together, that we have declared war on terrorists, not the people of Afghanistan. That's what Bush, Cheney, Powell, and everyone else has been saying. Do you have different information that we declared War on the people of Afghanistan rather than the terrorists who live there?

<<That means 'they' started it. But we'll finish it.>>

You wish.

Don't forget to dig two graves.


I'm happy to dig two or more graves for Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist crew. Personally.


I've also been to more than a few Irish wakes this weekend and seen more fresh graves this week than I thought I would see in the next 40 years. So far the death toll includes my old boss, a college classmate, and a neighbor who was only 26, among others. This is true for many of us who work/worked in the bond business in lower Manhattan.

But that does not weaken my resolve to wipe out the terrorists the way we exterminated smallpox. It only strengthens it.

sincerely,

Naj
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But that does not weaken my resolve to wipe out the terrorists the way we exterminated smallpox. It only strengthens it.

sincerely,

Naj


So you are going to sally forth with a smallpox vaccine to eradicate the terrorist? Pardon an old graybeard like myself if I am not content to rock on the porch phlegmatically, knowing you are on guard.

What an unfortunate and strangely revealing example to quote. And so wrong.

Smallpox is a very likely candidate for terrorists to use in the near future, since crashing airliners is a used up option.

Like airline security complacency, we have been complacent in smallpox protection, and other eradicated diseases. Millions of doses of vaccine have been destroyed.

One reason that Atlanta was likely to be a target this past week was the CDC near Emory University. It houses some of the last doses of the smallpox vaccine on earth. The CDC was evacuated.

So naj, when do you ship out? I applaud your commitment and resolve. A true patriot. We'll miss you.

And we (the royal we) especially applaud your work in exterminating smallpox.

Thanks,

Hops


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RJ: Why would it [a nuclear weapon] be harder to get in than a planeload of drugs?

warisproduct: First, a nuke is much harder to get.

I agree, but that doesn't answer the question. Rick supposes that obtaining a nuke is comparatively feasible, and the hard step is getting it into the country. I don't see why.

warisproduct: Second, most drug smugglers have insider connections which allow them to bypass satellites. A nuclear smuggler may pose as a drug dealer to make the necessary connections, but no one in the NSA is going to give out info to someone carrying a nuclear device.

That makes no sense. If most drug smugglers are privy to when satellites are passing over (which I don't necessarily believe) then the terrorist just has to find some drug smuggler and pay them for that information.

Anyway, I think you're giving too much credit to satellites.

warisproduct: Third, isn't radioactive material a lot easier to find than cocaine?

Apples and oranges. You need different tools to find cocaine and radioactive material. I suspect our customs service has more drug-sniffing dogs and chemical-explosive-sniffing dogs and relatively few plutonium-sniffing dogs (or electronic equivalents) but I'm guessing about that.

warisproduct: Can't we see this from space?

No. Plutonium-239, for example, is primarily an alpha emitter, and because alpha particles are charged and massive, they're very easily blocked. So it's far from trivial to detect from outside whether a cardboard box has plutonium in it. You'd have to open the box, or probe it with X-rays or some other radiation of your own. Can't do that from three hundred miles up.
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No. Plutonium-239, for example, is primarily an alpha emitter, and because alpha particles are charged and massive, they're very easily blocked. So it's far from trivial to detect from outside whether a cardboard box has plutonium in it. You'd have to open the box, or probe it with X-rays or some other radiation of your own. Can't do that from three hundred miles up.

So you think that it's possible to hide a nuke in a cardboard box? Then it's certainly only a matter of time.
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