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If you want to make productive criticism, focus on the higher principles of justice and human dignity and leave the street-level sniping to those who don't understand higher principles.

The response so far is not beyond reproach, but a productive end ought to be served by criticism.


My productive end is to say: No bombs, no war, and to criticize vehemently those who are fanning the flames of barbarism within our own country.

* * *

The biggest problem we had with Vietnam--which this situation looks like a lot more than it does Pearl Harbor or the Gulf War--was, according to no less a player than Robert McNamara, a failure to try to understand the mind, biases, and ambitions of the enemy.

To think of Bin Laden and Islamic terrorists in general as deranged yahoos is to make the same mistake. We don't want to understand their motivations, it seems: so we simply project supervillian, comicbook qualities on them: they are intelligent and evil; they have blind hatreds, etc.

* * *

Islam is about 1300 years old--almost the precise age of Christianity when Christianity began--finally--to self-critique itself. (Judaism was about that old around the time of Christ, which explains part of healthy the revisionist thinking that enabled Christ to pour new wine into new sacks, and after the divergent stream of Christianity assembled itself, Jewish commentaries really took off.) When Christianity was 1300 years old, it behaved in roughly the same way the Islam is behaving today.

So, you conservative fundie Christians, don't imagine to think that your religion is "better" than theirs, or that you come from such an ohso different tradition than Bin Laden's.

It is in this period of self-critiquing and a tradition of tolerance for new points of view that humanity becomes civilized. (The Jewish and Catholic track records of tolerance of opposing views were not too hot in their first 1300 years of existence, either--and the primitive, race-based tribalism that was inherent to Judaism, as well as the martyr-cult of Christianity lives on, even today, as Orthodoxy on the Jewish side and Fundamentalism on the Christian side.)

Islam, though old and with many practitioners, has no system or history of self-critique yet, and cannot yet police itself very well when dealing with critique. One has been emerging, thus far with limited success. The fatwa issued against Rushdie for commenting on the Koran in The Satanic Verses was a stunning example of this. But it is cultivating one, slowly, even as Francis cultivated a new order of the old monied church, Luther protested it, and Paris got over the burning of Aquinas's books and began to accept his theology.

* * *

Anyone who has taken a class in nearEastern history first learns that the concept of a national border, even a nation itself, is an uneasy fit for the peoples who constitute Islamic majorities. (I can even remember growing up with maps of the Saudi peninsula on which Muscat and Oman had no real borders, the arbitrary national border just kind of drifted off up the peninsula into the Saudi sand.) These people are still by and large living in city states, not nation-states. To hold "governments"--constituted of not much more than arbitrary lines in sand drawn by colonial Englishmen--responsible for heinous acts against humanity just doesn't work when dealing with these people--hasn't the failure of identifying Arafat, or for that matter even Saddam, as a leader of a united people already failed a hundred times? No, projecting nation-state qualities on Afghanistan and Pakistan, which makes it easier for us, does not really work "diplomatically" with the near Eastern arab states, and that has been demonstrated thousands of times.

* * *

In the meantime, as Islam evolves, the world must deal with its threats, actions, and spectacular growing pains. (Images throughout Islam of Israelis bulldozing Palestinian settlements and displacing people certainly do not help advance the Islamic intellect--but because of our own nation's paranoias and guilts, critiques of the hawkish side of Israeli domestic and foreign policy is too-often denounced as anti-Semitism and silenced, and we too for a moment join in the tribal groupthink.)

My feeling, first a political one, secondarily a civilized one, is that we are better off addressing Islamic extremists by refining our counterterrorist abilities than we will be by inspiring an endless cycle of payback violence, which only serves to keep the cycle going. Shrub and other conservatives who thrill to hear the word "war" employed in conjunction with anything Arab have another POV, and I'm not advocating your silencing, but I'm saying consider that this is like Vietnam, and you are only going to escalate your way into another 50,000 dead for nothing. It is really presumptuous for anyone to think me any less "American" than anyone else, or any less "concerned" than anyone for not embracing the warring groupthink POV.

When we lose our ability to criticize and dissent, we lose precisely the quality that has made us an evolved civilization and, with difficulty over long epochs, ultimately made the religions of Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity great moral apparatuses. Why throw that evolution in our own religious apparatuses away? You people who denounce me for denouncing the phoney, preposterous, warmonger Shrub at this time--Shrub, who went straight to a declaration of war against an enemy he hasn't even identified, and therefore cannot possibly understand yet--you are in danger of becoming what you accuse your enemies of being: tribal, eye-for-eye, tooth-for-tooth barbarians.

jps
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jps said:
When Christianity was 1300 years old, it behaved in roughly the same way the Islam is behaving today.

That was the obscured point of my rhetorical question linking jihad to the Crusades. But I think the concept of "fatwah" is all on Islam, or at least, the ultra conservative factions. Maybe not, though, Joan of Arc issued a couple fatwahs of her own.

jps also said:
(I can even remember growing up with maps of the Saudi peninsula on which Muscat and Oman had no real borders, the arbitrary national border just kind of drifted off up the peninsula into the Saudi sand.) These people are still by and large living in city states, not nation-states. To hold "governments"--constituted of not much more than arbitrary lines in sand drawn by colonial Englishmen--responsible for heinous acts against humanity just doesn't work when dealing with these people--hasn't the failure of identifying Arafat, or for that matter even Saddam, as a leader of a united people already failed a hundred times? No, projecting nation-state qualities on Afghanistan and Pakistan, which makes it easier for us, does not really work "diplomatically" with the near Eastern arab states, and that has been demonstrated thousands of times.

I remember those maps too, and I recall being perplexed until a fifth grade teacher expressed what you did. I eventually got it.

Still, that does not excuse it. One of the points of this war on terrorism, if it happens as the script is written now, is to force accountability. In other words, whether or not the people believe borders are important is irrelevant to a large extent. It's time they matured and realized they are living in the modern world with a global society. Mature and be a part of it, stop holding on to the ultra conservative ways. If it takes guns to get that across, so be it. If it has to be forced, so be it. In an age of nuclear weapons and biological agents, we have to have some rules. I don't mind one bit forcing our rules on a group of vagabonds. If my neighbors will not respect my fences, I'm going to take action, whether they are from my culture or not. This is a hard position, but an act which takes down the WTC caused this. Until then, we had a live and let live policy. Time to draw the line.

jps again:
My feeling, first a political one, secondarily a civilized one, is that we are better off addressing Islamic extremists by refining our counterterrorist abilities than we will be by inspiring an endless cycle of payback violence, which only serves to keep the cycle going.

That is not the plan at all. Have you missed the "This is different" talk? the plan, as I understand it, is to go beyond the tit-for-tat policy of the past, and take it to all terrorists. To force a decision about whether they will live in a modern world or not. If not, the consequences will continue. I agree with you if we were going to hit and run, but right now at least, that is not the plan.

jps again:
When we lose our ability to criticize and dissent, we lose precisely the quality that has made us an evolved civilization and, with difficulty over long epochs, ultimately made the religions of Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity great moral apparatuses.

I don't think anyone is trying to get you to cut back on honest dissent. I read Euclid's note as encouraging you to flesh out the nature of your dissent, not to stop. It's the sniping, the tit-for-tat, that is inappropriate in this time. Make you best argument, as you have here, but I hope everyone can limit the "I hate Bush" rhetoric.

Rick
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That is not the plan at all. Have you missed the "This is different" talk? the plan, as I understand it, is to go beyond the tit-for-tat policy of the past, and take it to all terrorists. To force a decision about whether they will live in a modern world or not. If not, the consequences will continue. I agree with you if we were going to hit
and run, but right now at least, that is not the plan.


It didn't, and still doesn't, seem different enough to me. Wasn't anyone else sickened, as I was, by Congresspeople singing "God Bless America?" in the aisles of power at this time? God bless America--for what? For preparing for war when the enemy has already mostly killed itself off? For letting people suspicious of bombing Israelis take pilot lessons here with impunity?

The whole flirtation with the declaration of "war" does not seem so different to me. It's not a war we're dealing with, there are no battlefields, no generals; flight schools of Florida trained the "troups", and Boeing of Seattle made all the "weapons". Terrorism is certainly more than conventional crime, but it is much less than war, and it does not merit the same rhetoric that accompanies war. But by escalating it into one, we will only help to coalesce some twisted medieval cells into a more determined enemy, and maybe we'll get the war the Pentagon so desperately wants.

Make you best argument, as you have here, but I hope everyone can limit the "I hate Bush" rhetoric.

It's not Shrub I hate, it's war, especially when it's an unnecessary escalation. But what follows a hatred of war is a hatred of warmongers.

Despite how intelligent we might be, we are still suggestible enough to take our behavioral cues from leaders in times of crisis. Many are now taking them from Shrub, and so it "feels" like wartime here. It needn't feel that way. He could--and I believe he should--be behaving entirely differently. I think he should look at this as a colossal failure of American intelligence, and rally the country to improve its intelligence, instead of as an act of war, and rile the country for payback. I also think he should visit a mosque.

jps


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I also think he should visit a mosque.

Bravo.

I was surprised how welcomed I was. I got the genuine feeling that the people I met were determined to "earn" our trust as viable members and citizens in this country. That's powerful.

Rick
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Joseph, what are your thoughts on this commentary?

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/09/14/News/News.34837.html

When (not if) someone does park a nuclear device under an American building (maybe LAX), will you still yell "filthy warmongerer" at those who strike back? Is there anything that could make you believe that the capitalist running dogs are *not* the instigators here but rather the defenders?

6
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I also think he should visit a mosque.

What an idea: this would be a simple and profound gesture.

Take a brief repose from these boards and flesh out this idea into an opinion piece on tolerance to submit to the LA Times.

I think they'd run it.

Jimi
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When we lose our ability to criticize and dissent, we lose precisely the quality that has made us an evolved civilization and, with difficulty over long epochs, ultimately made the religions of Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity great moral apparatuses.


I find myself with you among the minority who want no part of a war of retribution. I find myself opposed to those who are quite sensibly arguing that we are obligated to support our leaders. I believe the public statements which the President has made on this topic are pandering and crass. I want everyone to understand clearly what is at stake and what we are committing ourselves to. I want everyone to understand that war is NOT inevitable, and should not be undertaken if it means sacrificing our principles.

That's why I think that criticism of the govenment's response has to be narrow and obvious, rather than broad and potentially misdirected (and potentially misunderstood). Trolling for policy contradictions and signs of weakness do not serve the signal purpose of legitimate criticism. You have articulated this well in the post above and I expect that the potential for misunderstanding has been greatly reduced. I look forward to reading more posts from you at this level of engagement.


euclid
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I also think he should visit a mosque.

By the way, I agree with this and think it's a beautiful sentiment.

6
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Joseph, what are your thoughts on this commentary?

When (not if) someone does park a nuclear device under an American building (maybe LAX), will you still yell "filthy warmongerer" at those who strike back?


I think these are scare tactics that will only escalate not just our resolve against terrorism, but also will escalate the terrorists' resolve to violate us. You're use of a "what if" scenario is the type of thinking that serves cloistered counter-terrorist thought well, but the "what if" manipulated general public poorly.

Is there anything that could make you believe that the capitalist running dogs are *not* the instigators here but rather the defenders?

I am a capitalist and not a running dog, and I don't recall talking about capitalism once in this debate. I recall pointing to gross failures of security, and on reflection, I can think that perhaps the terrorists were served by too stiff competition in the airline industry, among other security failures.

I am against the erosion of governmental regulation of these types of industries, yes. I am still pro-capitalist; but I just don't believe that the unchecked, unregulated free market is the solution to every problem. It is precisely my point that we are NOT the instigators, but that we should be much better at defending ourselves, and the problem here is that we eroded our national security, through cutting corners on governing ourselves, to a degree that a really bad act of terrorism was possible.

jps





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jps said:
I think these are scare tactics that will only escalate not just our resolve against terrorism, but also will escalate the terrorists' resolve to violate us. You're use of a "what if" scenario is the type of thinking that serves cloistered counter-terrorist thought well, but the "what if" manipulated general public poorly.

It's not "what-if." Pakistan is a dangerous place because of the focus of their technology. Pakistan got their technology from us without our cooperation and it's beyond question that terrorists are likely to get their technology from Pakistan, with or without their cooperation.

One of my biggest fears is that we will use our biggest bargaining chip to negotiate with Pakistan. Our chip is larger quantities of fissionable material. Right now, Pakistan is limited to about 5 times the explosive power of a fuel loaded jet. As we've seen, we can deal with that. Any more though, and it's too much to consider.

Rick
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I think these are scare tactics that will only escalate not just our resolve against terrorism, but also will escalate the terrorists' resolve to violate us. You're use of a "what if" scenario is the type of thinking that serves cloistered counter-terrorist thought well, but the "what if" manipulated general public poorly.

These are not scare tactics. Maybe when some people say them, but I was convinced the WTC would come down from the moment of the first attempt, and I'm convinced that there will be a next time, and it will be nuclear. If we're lucky it will be biological. If you believe otherwise you are living in a fantasy world. Maybe spending time in the Middle East is necessary to have a real understanding of what these people are capable of. All they want is an excuse to hate and kill. bin Ladin et al are the same people who stood at Mattthew Shephard's funeral with an "AIDS kills fags" sign, only they don't live in a country where fanaticism is socially frowned upon or where murder is illegal. They are fundamentally different from you and I and nothing we do to our borders or to our airlines will prevent them from accomplishing what they set out to do. We can delay it at most.

The only way, I believe, to prevent this future from occurring is to 1) kill the current leaders, instigators, and supporters of Islamic fundamentalism, 2) destroy their financial and political network of support through military threats and diplomatic strength and 3) follow them with intensive intelligence efforts from this point on. And that probably won't be enough anyway. But we are at war.

I am against the erosion of governmental regulation of these types of industries, yes. I am still pro-capitalist; but I just don't believe that the unchecked, unregulated free market is the solution to every problem. It is precisely my point that we are NOT the instigators, but that we should be much better at defending ourselves, and the problem here is that we eroded our national security, through cutting corners on governing ourselves, to a degree that a really bad act of terrorism was possible.

I don't think it is either, but when you say defending ourselves you mean retinal scans at the airport or something like that (rhetoric, I'm sure you're not really for retinal scans. Although maybe). Yeah, that's a good idea but it's not a defense. If Mohammed is really Mohammed and he's not on any list anywhere he will still walk right through that scanner. They come here as children and get their cuffing citizenship and all the while they are being trained as weapons. There is no way we can weed them out unless we devastate their organizations and then maintain heavy infiltration for the future.

I'm totally babbling.

6

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<<It didn't, and still doesn't, seem different enough to me. Wasn't anyone else sickened, as I was, by Congresspeople singing "God Bless America?" in the aisles of power at this time? God bless America--for what? For preparing for war when the enemy has already mostly killed itself off? For letting people suspicious of bombing Israelis take pilot lessons here with impunity?>>

That's just dumb, jps.

Sometimes it's not a matter of good and evil or right and wrong. Sometimes it's us and them.

And the us - the we - we've been attacked. We're hurt and we need something to salve the pain. So we sing songs and we share condolences and we try to get better.

-chris
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I'm totally babbling.

6





No, you are not!

AM
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someone does park a nuclear device under an American building (maybe LAX),

Or more painful, a stray bomb inadvertently takes out the Rustic.
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Trick -
That is not the plan at all. Have you missed the "This is different" talk? the plan, as I understand it, is to go beyond the tit-for-tat policy of the past, and take it to all terrorists. To force a decision about whether they will live in a modern world or not. If not, the consequences will continue. I agree with you if we were going to hit and run, but right now at least, that is not the plan.

This is the message I'm hearing. Have not been able to catch everything Bush has said, but my thought was he described an act of War having been committed on the US, not that we were declaring War.
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That's just dumb, jps.

Maybe, but to me that song is completely dumb. I could have taken America the Beautiful easily, but something about the howling wartime ditty God Bless America makes me absolutely cringe. I'm always shocked that others find it meaningful and moving--the memory of Ethyl Merman debuting it under contrived circumstances, old glory blazing in the background, belting it out like another Broadway showtune is just too putrid for me to get over it. But I suppose it shouldn't be surprising for me to find myself in a small minority on this one too.

We're hurt and we need something to salve the pain.

It's called gin, I believe. But if that song does what gin does, it must be better than I thought.

jps
hapless dissident peacemonger toper
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<<I'm always shocked that others find it meaningful and moving--the memory of Ethyl Merman debuting it under contrived circumstances, old glory blazing in the background, belting it out like another Broadway showtune is just too putrid for me to get over it. But I suppose it shouldn't be surprising for me to find myself in a small minority on this one too.>>

It does little for me either. Neither does the National Day of Prayer. In fact, personally, I find it quite off-putting.

But I'm in a distinct minority on that one and this is the sort of time when I have to understand that and respect that. Most people derive comfort from this sort of thing and I'm glad they have it to make them feel better.

-chris
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Wasn't anyone else sickened, as I was, by Congresspeople singing "God Bless America?" in the aisles of power at this time?

That didn't bother me much. Using The Battle Hymn of the Republic as the closing to the National prayer service this afternoon did, though. Checked those lyrics lately?

I worry about the lack of loud pacifistic voices right now. I worry that a president who doesn't see much problem with government funding flowing through churches may not believe firmly enough in the separation of church and state to lead us to anything but a sort of modern day Crusade. I worry that we are already becoming that which we claim to hate - ruthless, blind, hateful agressors functioning on rhetoric and the worst of human impulses: revenge.

Now, I did not hear the whole National service today because I was attending one locally, and perhaps more pacifistic sentiments were expressed elsewhere in that service. But I would have much rather heard them conclude with something like this, instead of a call to arms:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations. - Lincoln, from his second inaugural speech


Mitten
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<<. Using The Battle Hymn of the Republic >>

That's a really good song though. One of my favorite shower tunes.

-chris
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hapless dissident peacemonger toper

Look, pally, I'm a hapless dissident toper myself. I just can't stand peacemongering.

6
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Look, pally, I'm a hapless dissident toper myself. I just can't stand peacemongering.

That's just because peacemongering is a luxury we Jews cannot afford.

JJewinLA
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That's just because peacemongering is a luxury we Jews cannot afford.

The unAmerican part of me is consumed with the wrong, bad, evil, tactless, gutless, nasty, small minded and coldhearted desire to just once, whisper into a dark corner somewhere, "I told you so".

6
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Trick: That is not the plan at all. Have you missed the "This is different" talk? the plan, as I understand it, is to go beyond the tit-for-tat policy of the past, and take it to all terrorists. To force a decision about whether they will live in a modern world or not. If not, the consequences will continue. I agree with you if we were going to hit and run, but right now at least, that is not the plan.

Let's hope we improve our intelligence activities to the point that we can at least find out where the bad guys are and what they are up to. Being able to disrupt them (by offing?) would be a plus. That would be a war I could support. Bombing Afghanistan (or Iraq, or Algeria) back to the stone age is unacceptable.

Anyone who is advocating nuclear weapons is sadly misguided, and totally ignorant, not to mention stupid. That is not an option. Even if New York were A-bombed, it would be foolish of us to respond by bombing some country. Our challenge is to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. We won't accomplish that by indiscriminate killing. To get them into the 21st century, with or without their medieval superstition is the idea.

Cliff
… one A-bomb can ruin your whole day.



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find out where the bad guys are and what they are up to. Being able to disrupt them (by offing?) would be a plus. That would be a war I could support

Two words: special operations.

A few more: SpecOps don't take place overnight. You'll know about it when you know about it. And you'll never know how many of our men die in the attempt.

Much more difficult will be finding and eradicating camps, training facilities, cells, sleepers, and sympathizers.

Foolishjk
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Our challenge is to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world.

No no no no no. Our challenge is to shift the balance of power in the Arab world away from the wealthy and deadly Muslim fundamentalists and towards the people they've been trampling on. How many Afghans were among the hijackers or planners of this? Very few, and yet the Taliban is largely responsible. Why would Saudi Arabia not support us in our future efforts? Because of the power of the bin Ladens of the middle east, not because of any majority sentiment. There is way too much money mixed with idealogy in the Saudi Penninsula for us to ever feel secure about the loyalties of any country there.

6
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Our challenge is to shift the balance of power in the Arab world away from the wealthy and deadly Muslim fundamentalists and towards the people they've been trampling on.

Do you refer to Saudi Arabia?

cliff
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jps: Wasn't anyone else sickened, as I was, by Congresspeople singing "God Bless America?" in the aisles of power at this time?

Mitten: That didn't bother me much. Using The Battle Hymn of the Republic as the closing to the National prayer service this afternoon did, though. Checked those lyrics lately?

I thought Bush's speech was the best I have heard from him, which isn't actually saying much, I suppose. It was better than that. It was good.

I was disappointed that they didn't use Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man, but Battle Hymn of the Republic was also appropriate. I have an ancient (monaural, no less) record with BHotR with wonderful trumpets and drums at the end. I'll have to dig it out and hear it. My favorite version. I suppose Copeland was an atheist fag, and therefore not worthy of such an honor.

I found the very Christian prayers and eulogy a bit frustrating. How many of the victims were non-christian?

cliff
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Do you refer to Saudi Arabia?

I refer to Afghanistan, Yemen, UAE, Iran & Iraq mostly. And Sudan. Saudi Arabia is an individual problem that might resolve itself were the fundamentalists dismembered.

6
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That's just because peacemongering is a luxury we Jews cannot afford.

JJewinLA


Oh sure, play the Jew card.

Rick
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"Neither does the National Day of Prayer. In fact, personally, I find it quite off-putting."

I'm no atheist by any means, but Billy Graham's sermon at the National Cathedral struck me as woefully inappropriate.

This is not Christianity versus Islam. This is civilization versus savagery.

mglf

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<<Oh sure, play the Jew card.>>


I can get you a good deal on one of those.

-chris
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"I refer to Afghanistan, Yemen, UAE, Iran & Iraq mostly. And Sudan. Saudi Arabia is an individual problem that might resolve itself were the fundamentalists dismembered."

Iraq - like Syria - has many problems, but fundamentalism isn't high on the list. Why do yo think the Iranians and Iraqis killed each other for so many years? Both Syria and Iraq are Ba'athist regimes more concerned with conventional exercise of power. Fundamentalist Islam is to them just a tool to be cynically used for political ends.

Quaddafi fits the same mold, though he seems to have tried to conduct himself more legitimately lately, not that anyone seems to care.

Again, the problem is not Islam: North Korea is on the list of states sponsoring terrorism, as is Cuba.

I agree that Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are very, very problematic. I sometimes can't help but think in my dark moments that all the ugliness in the world is a result of the worship not of God, but of the automobile and of oil.

mglf
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6: I refer to Afghanistan, Yemen, UAE, Iran & Iraq mostly. And Sudan. Saudi Arabia is an individual problem that might resolve itself were the fundamentalists dismembered

The fundamentalists I had in mind are the ruling "oiligarchy" in Saudi Arabia. If they go down, then the radicals take over. Not any less fundamentalist, but less belolden to us and our oil money.

cliff
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but that we should be much better at defending ourselves, and the problem here is that we eroded our national security, through cutting corners on governing ourselves, to a degree that a really bad act of terrorism was possible

Vince Lombardi: "The best defense is a great offense"

That's not just a quote by a legendary football coach. It's also established knowledge in the military regarding tactics and strategy.

It's simply far harder to defend than attack.

-gabe
(refraining from profanity & personal attacks)
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God bless America--for what?

For the right for people like you to say purely hateful things like that. For the right for others to burn the flag and curse the country from top to bottom, even as they live here all their lives.

I'm not even religious, I'm an atheist. But one of the few, one of the ONLY things in this world that I love, is my country.

I had my life 48 hours from combat for 6 years, ready to die on the call of congress.

And I might do it again. For all those people who love this country. For all those who don't care either way. But most of all, JPS, I would die for people like you, for you to be able to post freely here without fear of being shot for treason.

call me a "houseplant" or a fanatic, whatever insult pops to mind. I could really care less, as I only value the opinion of people I respect.
I know what I love, and I know what I would do to save it.

regards,
gabe
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Vince Lombardi: "The best defense is a great offense"

That's not just a quote by a legendary football coach. It's also established knowledge in the military regarding tactics and strategy.

It's simply far harder to defend than attack.



Hi Gabe,

not sure if you've ever served in the military, but let me give you an idea of the scale to accomplish this sporting tactic.

In the annual NATO exercises in Norway each year that were held in the 80s (and maybe still are, although the risk of Russian troops coming down from the north pole these days is less remote), the British Royal Marines, in conjunction with other NATO member military, portrayed this very scenario.

And the scale for defenders to attackers?

6:1
10:1 was a more ideal figure

That's a lot of GIs to waste for a bit of gung-ho bravado.

Bullet
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That's just because peacemongering is a luxury we Jews cannot afford.

JJewinLA


The Father of the Living Beyond Your Means board and it's biggest spender a Jew? You mean that stereotypes are sometimes not true?

Whoa! Does this mean I can be Irish and not drink to excess?
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not sure if you've ever served in the military

six years USMC.

And the scale for defenders to attackers?

6:1
10:1 was a more ideal figure

That's a lot of GIs to waste for a bit of gung-ho bravado


you seem to have the waste on the side of the defenders. Was that a typo?

And the whole world doesn't engage in combat NATO style. Something like a dozen men just took out two of the tallest buildings in the world, plus the seat of the military, plus umpteen thousand lives, shut down all air transportation for two days, and may just launch a recession. Not bad for a day's work, and only a couple handfuls of them to pull it off.

Attacking is much easier than defending. The terrorists aren't just sitting there defending against the great american satan, are they?

Here's something for discussion: does defense breed complacency?
I'd have to say yes.

regards,
gabe

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<<Quaddafi fits the same mold, though he seems to have tried to conduct himself more legitimately lately,>>


Since he received a midnight, long distance call from Washington.
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<<Whoa! Does this mean I can be Irish and not drink to excess?>>

No. That would violate a law of nature. You know. Like gravity.
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Okay Gabe, you can be on point. Just don't shoot any civilians.

j
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you seem to have the waste on the side of the defenders. Was that a typo?

And the whole world doesn't engage in combat NATO style. Something like a dozen men just took out two of the tallest buildings in the world, plus the seat of the military, plus umpteen thousand lives, shut down all air transportation for two days, and may just launch a recession. Not bad for a day's work, and only a couple handfuls of them to pull it off.

Attacking is much easier than defending. The terrorists aren't just sitting there defending against the great american satan, are they?



Hmmmm.

But your original post about attacking rather than defending wasn't suggesting the US becomes terrorists itself?

Or are you proposing such hypcocrisy? Now where did I last see that black pot and kettle?

Bullet
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It's simply far harder to defend than attack.

That's a lot of GIs to waste for a bit of gung-ho bravado.


The issue regarding tactics (offense or defense) is dependent on a decision regarding strategy.

For example, if involved in ground to ground combat with a strategy of acquisition of territory, one would build significant defenses around the targets that the opponents ground forces would move against. You consider the manner at which the enemy might strike and erect defenses to counter them.

In this case, the opponent is a terrorist. The goal is not to strike a particular target--it is to strike a target, any target. This makes erecting a defense much more difficult. It isn't as simple as just throwing up a few more security checkpoints at an airport, nor is it as simple as trying to protect New York or Washington.

The next time, it will be a release of anthrax in Chicago, or the explosion of an oil tanker in Los Angeles, or the theft and explosion of gasoline tankers in Atlanta, or the bombing of a nuclear reactor in Minnesota, or the assassination of businessmen in Seattle.

The methods will be different. The targets will be different. And if they can't get those tankers in Atlanta, they'll get them in Houston. To defend against this sort of attack would require such draconian measures, we would completely surrender our way of life.

I do believe that this is indeed one of those cases where the problem must be fixed at the source. Terrorist groups (not just bin Laden's) must be harassed, must be attacked, must be eliminated. I'm not sure yet how I feel about expanding the offensive to the harboring governments, but I'm damn sure I'm in favor of taking the battle to the terrorists and making them play defense against a stealth bomber or Airborne Ranger unit.

Offense the best defense? In this particular case, the tactical answer is yes.

--WP


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Offense the best defense? In this particular case, the tactical answer is yes.

--WP




Absolutely.

AM
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Is there anything that could make you believe that the capitalist running dogs are *not* the instigators here but rather the defenders?

6

===

I imagine jps, if transported back in time to WWII, would be quite upset at that warmongering Roosevelt for entering the war...I imagine all of France was probably revolted at the thought of those rash Americans declaring war.

Perhaps after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, we should have just beefed up our defenses, gotten some better Japanese spies and intelligence, and crossed our fingers...hoping it wouldn't happen again.

Prevention is always the best way...
But if an infection has already spread, then you need to take action.

You have to hit these terrorists, and as Prof Trick stated, all terrorists...and you have to hit them and their support systems hard.
You have to hit them so hard that it becomes a matter of weighing options in the future.

If, as a practical matter, terrorists fully understand/believe that any actions they take will have a greater negative reaction upon them and those they care about, it will serve as a deterrent.

In other words...it would help prevent future attacks.
Just beefing up counterintelligence to ward off future attacks will not be enough.

Look at the typical kids in the playground with a bully scenario: The bully keeps picking on the kids that don't fight back. He keeps taking their lunch money...keeps smacking them around.
It will not stop by simply moving to another neighborhood (there are always other bullies).
It will not stop by staying in the library during recess (living your life in fear...restricting your liberty, should not be an option)

You have to make a stand, and let it be known to the bully that it may not be worth it to try and take something from you...
Whether that is fighting the bully by yourself, or getting your friends to help you kick his ass, you need to fight back at some point.

Jason
ps...you can be conservative without being Christian, or religious for that matter.

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Okay Gabe, you can be on point. Just don't shoot any civilians

Honored. And I absolutely don't believe in "acceptable collateral damage"

Inevitable? Always. Acceptable? Never.

-gabe
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But your original post about attacking rather than defending wasn't suggesting the US becomes terrorists itself?



no. I apologize if that came across as what I meant. I mean it's better to go and wage war on those who kcuf with us, than to sit here and lock up tight.

-gabe
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Look at the typical kids in the playground with a bully scenario: The bully keeps picking on the kids that don't fight back. He keeps taking their lunch money...

Bwwahahaha, cute analogy, great throwback to the '50s, should we now begin a discussion of the Korean conflict. I don't think it happens that way in high schools today, the bullys' I ran with knew it was easier to roll a street hooker for a few hundred, than bully for lunch money.

Now your buddy Gabe, he's the one with the military intelligence. He knows, -you never share a foxhole with someone braver than yourself.

/boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=15746802

jason, gimme a hand sometime on the martini board.

-gabe


So Dorkipup (Jason), continue to look unimportant, they may be low on ammo.

And Gabe, - When you have secured the area, don't forget to tell the enemy.



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>>You have to hit these terrorists, and as Prof Trick stated, all terrorists...and you have to hit them and their support systems hard.
You have to hit them so hard that it becomes a matter of weighing options in the future.<<

I must have seen this sentiment expressed hundreds of times in the last few days.

Hit these terrorists hard so they will weigh their options in the future? Like rational people would? Who are we talking about?

The same terrorists who boarded four aircraft in groups of four or five, hijacked those aircraft and then apparently calmly flew those aircraft along with the crew and passengers into the side of buildings full of people?

How hard do you have to hit terrorists--the truly dangerous fanatics--before they will weigh their options or change their behaviour if those terrorists value their own lives so little? Let alone the lives of others. What can you do to punish people who are not only willing to commit suicide for their beliefs but to commit mass murder?

No doubt it is neccesary now to take some action to disrupt and harass these terrorists as much as possible. Make it as difficult as possible for them to carry out terrorist attacks. Put them on the defensive. Improve security at home.

But it's delusional and wishful thinking that we can completely stop terrorists so fanatical they are willing to fly an airliner into the side of a building. What can you do to people who are willing to do that to themselves and others for the glory of the cause? How hard do you have to hit people like that?

Mike



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Hit these terrorists hard so they will weigh their options in the future? Like rational people would? Who are we talking about?

To weigh options, you must have options first.

Some have been brainwashed until they can't think of options any more. Those people don't have options to weigh.

Terrorists in governments can install effective controlling systems. If you are an average person in such a country, you may not want to go to a war your government wants. But you can't act as you want because they would kill you immediately if you don't show enough enthusiasm. What options do you have to weigh? Immediate death or a lucky fight? Guess a rational person's choice.

I think many normal muslims in the middle east already fear the fundamentalists among them. They may hope for someone to speak out loud, but who should risk his life? What should he say?

Jörg
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How hard do you have to hit terrorists--the truly dangerous fanatics--before they will weigh their options or change their behaviour if those terrorists value their own lives so little? Let alone the lives of others.

Like I said, you make Afghanistan an example by removing it from the face of the earth. You give them the certain knowledge that their own society will literally vanish if they don't stop. This also gives the sane muslims an incentive to weed out the madmen in their midst. Poof--no more Kabul. You think Saddam will risk no more Baghdad? You think Assad will risk no more Damascus? You think whoever it is will risk no more Karachi? Collateral civilian damage? You bet, but it's them or us.
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fleg9bo,

either it's OK to kill innocents or it isn't. If it is not, can a terrorist change that?

Bin Laden declared war to USA several years ago, so you just saw an example of some collateral civilian damage. After all, they attacked the financial center and the pentagon, the latter clearly being a military target. Following your logic, the attack was OK, wasn't it? I don't think that, but you can't have it both ways.

Have you ever thought that you're making millions of enemies by lumping together all people in middle east as "them"? Are you suggesting genocide?

Jörg
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Have you ever thought that you're making millions of enemies by lumping together all people in middle east as "them"? Are you suggesting genocide?

No, I'm suggesting that if we don't do something drastic, the next time it might be hundreds of thousands killed by a smuggled nuke or biological or chemical weapons. If I had to make a choice between hundreds of thousands of Americans dying vs. hundreds of thousands of somebody else dying when that somebody else is the source of terror, I say let it be they. I have nothing against mainstream Muslims. I would feel the same way were it radical Hindus from India or radical Catholics from Paraguay.
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If I had to make a choice between hundreds of thousands of Americans dying vs. hundreds of thousands of somebody else dying when that somebody else is the source of terror, I say let it be they. I have nothing against mainstream Muslims.

Mainstream Muslims ARE NOT the source of terror. If you eradicate any country, be it poor Afghanastan or rich Saudi Arabia, you will eradicate hundreds of thousands of mainstream Muslims, not hundreds of thousands of radical fundamentalists.

Such action will send a message, though: that Americans care no more for humanity and the sanctity of human life than common terrorists do.

Mitten
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Such action will send a message, though: that Americans care no more for humanity and the sanctity of human life than common terrorists do.


We're in a really difficult situation here. If we don't demonstrate the will to do whatever it takes, they will keep on pounding on us until our society is in ruins. How many U.S. cities in ashes will it take before we do something decisive?

I can think of some pie-in-the-sky schemes that should probably be tried first. For example, we can drop a nuke outside of Kabul with minimal loss of life. Then blanket the country with leaflets and radio broadcasts aimed at the lower ranks of the Taliban political and military establishment. Let them know that if they produce their leaders' heads on pikes and round up and give us all the terrorists inside their borders, we will leave them alone.

Again, there will be many innocents lost in this new war. We have to choose whether we want to lie down and let it be us or not. Please see the link in my previous post. The author is not the only one with knowledge of the situation to be saying these things.
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/boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=15746802

jason, gimme a hand sometime on the martini board.

-gabe


I asked a buddy of mine with some similar viewpoints to help me debate! Gasp! the horror!

don't forget to tell the enemy

I'll leave that for you, genr'l.

-gabe
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I can think of some pie-in-the-sky schemes that should probably be tried first. For example, we can drop a nuke outside of Kabul with minimal loss of life.

Earth to fleg9bo: a nuke is something you would try as a first resort? Hello?! This is not rational. This is completely hystericallly emotional, in fact. If you base a so-called war on emotion you are doing absolutely nothing different than the terrorists who attacked our country did.

I have no doubt that some force, perhaps even great force, will have to be applied in the effort to stop existing terrorist organizations. But why is everyone acting as if violence is our only option? Why is no one discussing how we might judiciously use force? Or how force integrates into a plan which would stop terrorism at its root? Why is no one discussing how diplomacy or education might help? Why is no one discussing this in terms of liberating the poor citizens of Afghanistan from the oppressive rule of the Taliban? Because all we can see is revenge. Because we aren't thinking. Because we are so hurt that we can't see straight. This is NOT the environment in which a decision to use any force, let alone nuclear force, should be made. Count to ten, people.

This country has waged so-called wars on poverty, on drugs and even on illiteracy. Have they worked? Nope. Throwing money at the poor only salves the wound, it does not fix the problem. It does not end the reasons for poverty. Likewise, throwing bombs at Afghanistan, or anywhere else for that matter, will only salve our deep national pain. It will not stifle the reasons for terrorism, and more terrorists will come from somewhere else.

America must rise to the difficult task of actually coming up with a solution to the problem at hand, so that all people everywhere may live without fear of terrorism, instead of taking the easy but unthinkably bloody road to the quick fix.

Mitten
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for the record, I must say that I think nukes are something that should never be used, ever again. Simply too much power for one man, or even a large group of men, no matter how smart, to be able to use.

-gabe
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I can think of some pie-in-the-sky schemes that should probably be tried first. For example, we can drop a nuke outside of Kabul with minimal loss of life. Then blanket the country with leaflets and radio broadcasts aimed at the lower ranks of the Taliban political and military establishment. Let them know that if they produce their leaders' heads on pikes and round up and give us all the terrorists inside their borders, we will leave them alone.


I hope for the sake of all of us that we can come up with a better idea than dropping a nuke to start off the show. There may be a place for them farther down the line, and I hope it never comes to that. We drop a nuke, and this international support we have right now dissipates.

Think that isn't important? We're the US, right? We can do whatever we want? Nope. Our ability to act depends upon the diplomatic situation with our allies and with the middle ground. If we want to take the high road with countries such as Pakistan and North Korea, and get them to put their nuclear arms under control, how can we ever be viewed as leaders if we drop a nuke on Afghanistan--especially if we haven't been nuked first?

This gets back to the tactical and strategic question. Before you rush off with a solution, you need to put a better frame around the question. What would dropping a nuke solve?

Not an complete list here, but I believe our strategic goal should be (and from what I can tell from the White House right now, is) the disablement of terrorist capability. You don't go about this by nuking or bombing a bunch of civilians and hoping that will be enough to throw out the leadership. Did bombing the WTC make Americans want to back off and walk away? No, it made us mad at those who did this to us. We bomb Kabul with impunity, and not only will Afghan resolve steel against us, but so will the Arab and Muslim world, as will many other of the relatively neutral bystanders.

I believe that we need to use a heavy dose of lethal force, but that it needs to be aimed at the terrorists, not the civilians. Find these camps, find these leaders--not just bin Laden but all of the networks you can track down--and send in missiles, bombers, and/or special forces against the terrorists themselves. The civilians of Afghanistan have suffered immeasurably over the past 20 years (and more) and bombing them with American bombs instead of Russian ones won't make their lives any more cheery.

Aim the focus where it belongs--the perpetrators, not those who happen to live nearby. Bombing Kabul to get bin Laden would be akin to bombing McVeigh's town (well, if he wasn't a drifter) after Oklahoma City.

Civilians will undoubtedly be hurt. That doesn't mean we should give up trying not to have that happen and just make them the target instead. In the Gulf War, Saddam encircled his royal palaces with women and children--this will, of course, make it difficult not to have any civilian casualties if similar tactics are done here. But focus the wrath where it belongs, and focus on eliminating terrorists, not those who happened to be too near to them.

War is an ugly mess, but that doesn't mean you need to abandon all semblance of morality to wage it.

--WP











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Earth to fleg9bo: a nuke is something you would try as a first resort? Hello?! This is not rational.

fleg9bo to Earth: I think that you are not grasping that we are in a war and that these fellows intend to do us perhaps more damage than the Japanese and the Nazis.

If we had had the Bomb in 1941 and responded to Pearl Harbor with the immediate annihilation of a Japanese and a German city (with all their civilians), the war would have been over right then and tens of millions of lives would have been saved.

It is extremely dangerous to fight evil with anything less than our best efforts. These madmen burn with hatred for western civilization and will stop only when they see that they have nothing to gain and everything to lose by continuing their efforts. I'd be very happy to never have to bomb anybody, but I haven't seen any other suggestions that amount to anything more than an invitation to continue to do us in.
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I believe that we need to use a heavy dose of lethal force, but that it needs to be aimed at the terrorists, not the civilians. Find these camps, find these leaders--not just bin Laden but all of the networks you can track down--and send in missiles, bombers, and/or special forces against the terrorists themselves.

Israel tracked down and killed those who massacred their athletes at the Munich Olympics. They have tracked down and killed lots and lots of terrorists and their bosses who have acted against them. Currently they are engaged in a policy of "measured responses" to the shredding of children by nail bombs. Has the terror stopped?

I don't have the figures, but taking into account the relative population sizes, I don't think we've lost as large a percentage of our people to terrorism yet as they have. Note that I said "yet."

I'm sure that we will try something more akin to your proposals than to mine at first. And we will probably try it again after the next attack, and maybe the one after that. There will come a point when world opinion will mean less than our own survival, and that's when the necessary escalation will occur (assuming that we have sufficient resources still standing and sufficient personnel still alive and sufficient communication infrastructure remaining to pursue it).
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What solution do you suggest for Israel? What solution do you suggest for Palestine? Can there be a military solution at all? Is there an alternative to peace?

If Israel wants to be "more consequent" against palestinian terror, it would have to kill all Palestinians. I don't see any other possible escalation between that and today's situation. Remember that the unholy land already is a big prison for just about everybody. Of course, doing that would cause a new big war with all of Arabia. So, apart from the atrocity, it is not even feasible from a very basic POV.

If Palestinians want to be "more consequent", that would lead to a similar scenario. War between Arabia and USA. And don't think Arabia wouldn't find any supporters. Are you ready to fight China? China could not afford to let the US go.

So far, both sides prefer to rely on strategies that are millions of years old and are not supported by their respective religions, for very good reasons. The problem seems unsolvable with war. Now this conflict has reached the US.

Frankly, I don't have a solution.

Jörg
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We bomb Kabul with impunity, and not only will Afghan resolve steel against us, but so will the Arab and Muslim world, as will many other of the relatively neutral bystanders.

I've never been to Afghanistan, and it's weird, but I'm pretty sure I don't even know anyone personally who has. It sure sounds like a tough place, it has sounded that way since the Russian invasion, even a bit before. It sounds like a very poor country. The huge majority suffers in very poor countries, life is tough.

If we destroy a large number of people who already have it very tough, we will surely invoke the bad feelings of those who know their situation well. As, I think, we should. The people in the WTC and pentagon were as innocent as the majority of people in Afghanistan, but they were at work in an air conditioned office with a cell phone to call their loved ones. They commuted to work from comfortable homes. The majority lived good lives. Yet we are deeply saddened by their death.

Think how much more saddness it might bring if the identical conditions of death are brought to thousands of widows and orphans? It's tragedy heaped upon tragedy. In any other time, it would be bordering on the unforgiveable to even think such thoughts.

Given all this, the talk of nuking Afghanistan is ridiculous. I am for a massive strike to limit the power and mobility of terrorists and to strenghten our resolve and demonstrate our commitment. But a random act of impressive violence would work against our goals, and I am certain our government and military knows this. Don't expect an immediate reaction, it might take months. If this is a war, it must be planned carefully.

In other words, chill the cuff out.

Rick
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I've never been to Afghanistan, and it's weird, but I'm pretty sure I don't even know anyone personally who has.

I've been thinking about this claim. I'm wrong. I had a one armed guy in a class in the early '90s, and he had been in Afghanistan.

I'm serious, no joke. It seems like a tough place.

Rick
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I can think of some pie-in-the-sky schemes that should probably be tried first. For example, we can drop a nuke outside of Kabul with minimal loss of life.

Finally, out of the mist and confusion, a voice of reason. Nothing pie-in-the sky about this scheme.

It is a reasoned and measured first step. The way we should go. Small incremental steps to bring them to our way of thinking.

If this first small step doesn't work, we have lots of room for gentle, stepwise escalation. Perhaps a plague of pestilence. Mostly take out the old, children and the infirm.

Then we can move up to acts of biblical proportions.

Makes sense to me.

Hops4thHorsemanMaltYeast

Winning hearts and minds, one infidel at the time
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<<the latter clearly being a military target.>>


Sorry, the latter clearly being an office building.

I've been there. I've seen it. My father worked there.

No weapons. Lots of desks. Lots of telephones. Lots of paperwork.

Do they push THE buttons there? Yep.

Have they pushed THE buttons on the aggrieved (yet)? No.

Might they push THE button now? Oh yeah.
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<<I asked a buddy of mine with some similar viewpoints to help me debate! Gasp! the horror!>>


Lighten up on the guy. He recognized that he needed help. He needed a lot of help. In fact, he might want to call his mommy cause he is getting his ass kicked.

Go work on another star.
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<<Earth to fleg9bo: a nuke is something you would try as a first resort? Hello?! This is not rational. This is completely hystericallly emotional, in fact. If you base a so-called war on emotion you are doing absolutely nothing different than the terrorists who attacked our country did.>>


Which is exactly why the War talk, straight out of the box, by everyone associated with the administration is really scary.

There is no where to ratchet up to. They went from 0 to 100.

No sense of rational consideration. ZERO to ONE HUNDRED.

Not terrorism. WAR.

Now, they have boxed themselves into a corner. Great chess players here. If they don't nuke someone, they will be afraid for their "manhood."

George W. has just guaranteed following in 41's foot steps.

One term. Thank the god of your choice.

I hope to see some really good back peddling.
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<<Israel tracked down and killed those who massacred their athletes at the Munich Olympics. They have tracked down and killed lots and lots of terrorists and their bosses who have acted against them. Currently they are engaged in a policy of "measured responses" to the shredding of children by nail bombs. Has the terror stopped?>>


Oh that's right. Measured response.

An individual commits a crime against a "settler."

The Israeli military destroys a village.

I don't see the connection.

Now, many would adopt the Israeli approach and destroy a country, a people, a religion, because some individuals committed a crime.

No, not in my name.
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In other words, chill the cuff out.

Trick, so well put.

A few things.

All this talk of nuking. Sheesh. Like Pakistan is going to take well to that? They have nuclear power. As does India. Add in the UK, China and France, and retaliation against a sado Islamic becomes adios to earth as we know it.

Nuking what is already naturally nuked is pointless. Whoever brought this matter up is an arsehole.

Given all this, the talk of nuking Afghanistan is ridiculous. I am for a massive strike to limit the power and mobility of terrorists and to strenghten our resolve and demonstrate our commitment. But a random act of impressive violence would work against our goals, and I am certain our government and military knows this. Don't expect an immediate reaction, it might take months. If this is a war, it must be planned carefully.

Precisely. Rationality. Thanks. Trick. A reasonable mind in unreasonable times.

Bullet



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To piggyback on Trick's comments, remeber that we're going after a largely dispersed organization (actually, a number of dispersed organizations). "Kill the head and the body will die" does not really apply here.

We want to accomplish two things:

A) Show to the world (and to those that plot acts of terror against the US and/or US nationals) that we have the capabilities and the will to identify, locate, and destroy those who want to engage in such acts against the US, and

B) give as few people as possible new reasons to want to engage in acts of terror against the US.

"Nuking Afghanistan" or similar types of actions is unlikely to kill those we should target, and will only make a whole new batch of enemies among those few who survive (or are related to those who survive).

Sure, we can take the approach that "it doesn't matter if they hate us, as long as they fear us", but that is the way of despots and tyrants.

What I was trying to write last night before the computer trashed it was essentially: the actions of this "war" over the next several years will not be dominated by grand armies and large scale assaults. They won't be bandied across the headlines in half-page type. They will be the small, little noticed actions of select groups that, over time, will make a difference. This also involves the support of as much of the rest of the world as possible. If we want help beyond our borders, we'll need as much help from the "locals" as possible. And in the event a rogue state should sponsor such actions, we want as much of the world as possible to stand against them and support whatever actions we need to take.

And the more we can help other nations, the fewer people will find reasons to hate us. But we should be aware that there will always be some people somewhere who will find a reason to hate us.

-synchronicity
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Israel tracked down and killed those who massacred their athletes at the Munich Olympics. They have tracked down and killed lots and lots of terrorists and their bosses who have acted against them. Currently they are engaged in a policy of "measured responses" to the shredding of children by nail bombs. Has the terror stopped?


From purely a tactical viewpoint, the United States and Israel are in a completely different situation.

I can't find exact numbers (Google, don't fail me now!) but I think it is safe to say that the US has a larger standing army than Israel. If it comes to it, we certainly have a larger population base from which to draft. We have greater economic means. We have greater technology. We also aren't surrounded on all sides by countries who would be willing to wage war, should too many of our resources go toward a focus on terrorists.

Israel doesn't have the luxury of being able to go after the root cause. They get attacked, and they get retribution. They may try to find some terrorist leaders, but frankly, they don't have the resources to launch a sustained effort to do so. Their manpower is focused on defense of Israel and counterstrikes nearby. Israel doesn't have the ability to drop a strike team of elite soldiers into Afghanistan, or Libya, or Indonesia. They guard as best they can, strike back as best they can, but at best in the grand scheme they are caught in an impasse.

Enter the Unites States. Last Tuesday aside, we don't have the ubiquitous threat of terrorism on any street corner at any time, every single day, day after day. We don't have hostile neighbors on our borders. We have more manpower able to be allocated to an offensive, since comparitively speaking, we need less allocated to defense. We have more money to spend on the task. We have better technology with which to strike.

We also have more world support right now than Israel has ever had. There are still countries who don't recognize the Israeli government. We, on the other hand, while not universally loved by any means, have a pretty broad base of support, particularly if NATO and Australia stand by their treaty activations and provide military assistance.

In short, the US is able to bring military assets into play that the Israelis have never even considered. We have the stability to focus on offense, not defense. We have support. In short, the comparison to Israel's situation is extremely poor.

Ironically, you point out the ineffectiveness of Israel's "measured responses" (read: military reprisal). So what makes you think that dumping a nuke on Kabul is going to be any more effective than this? When this doesn't work, where do you go from there? Nuking--hell, even conventional bombing--Kabul isn't going to gain anything. The terrorists will still be out there, and will gain unprecedented support from other nations seeking revenge for being obliterated.

We have the troops and materiel to go after the source. We have the opportunity that no other country has had before. We need to not only go after the podunk terrorist cell leaders, but those at the top who coordinate them, and those who supply them with funds. We'll never be able to eliminate them completely, but we can make it damn difficult to coordinate and operate. All of that can be done without ever designating a civilian population as a primary target.

Launch nuclear reprisal against a civilian population, and we'll become World Enemy #1. Hope you like facing down China, Russia, and several dozen other countries with no NATO support after they back out after our humanitarian atrocity.

Let me put it another way: Look at how the terrorists treat the citizens of Kabul. You think nuking those citizens is going to encourage the terrorists to stop? They don't value the populace now--why would destroying something they don't value deter them? Bombing the civilians, who already suffer far more than any of us can imagine, would be an utterly useless act of cruelty against people caught in the middle of us and our opponent.

--Pup


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There is way too much money mixed with idealogy in the Saudi Penninsula for us to ever feel secure about the loyalties of any country there.



and let's not forget where a lot of that money came from.....


USA
USA
USA
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If we destroy a large number of people who already have it very tough, we will surely invoke the bad feelings of those who know their situation well. As, I think, we should. The people in the WTC and pentagon were as innocent as the majority of people in Afghanistan, but they were at work in an air conditioned office with a cell phone to call their loved ones. They commuted to work from comfortable homes. The majority lived good lives. Yet we are deeply saddened by their death.
Think how much more sadness it might bring if the identical conditions of death are brought to thousands of widows and orphans? It's tragedy heaped upon tragedy. In any other time, it would be bordering on the unforgiveable to even think such thoughts.


Yes and yes.

After we "win the war on terrorism," perhaps we should stage a hunger strike for anorexia.
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Just watched a CNN call-in show. They got a call from an Arab-American (at least that's what he claimed). He said that Americans greatly underestimate the threat from the madmen, said that suitcase nukes are inevitable unless appropriate action is taken. The action he recommended was lots better than my earlier suggestions. He said we should give the rogue states advance warning that we're going to nuke their cities and otherwise eliminate their infrastructure, enough time for the civilian population to safely evacuate areas to be affected. After all, the purpose of our attacks should be to destroy the enemy's ability to wage war against us, not to needlessly harm civilians. We can take out huge chunks of their infrastructure, thus improving our own chances of survival, with minimal damage to civilian populations in this manner.
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If we had had the Bomb in 1941 and responded to Pearl Harbor with the immediate annihilation of a Japanese and a German city (with all their civilians), the war would have been over right then and tens of millions of lives would have been saved.

That's an interesting theory but it's wrong. Firstly, Oe bomb on a Japanese city certainly wouldn't have been enough. It took two atomic bombs before Japan surrendered. But in addition to the two atomic bombs, to a campaign of fire-bombing Japan cities had been going on for months. More Japanese were killed on the night of March 13/14 1944 when Tokyo was bombed then were killed in either Hirshima or Nagasaki (some say more than both combined). Over 50% of the structures in 42 Japanese cities were vaporized. Sometimes, four cities a day were fire-bombed. Additionally, the Japanese Navy had almost totally been destroyed, Japanese soil had been invaded, and Russia had declared war. At that point Japan was ready to surrender. On atomic bomb was not enough to do the job, not even close.

The bombing of Dresden and Hamburg likewise inflicted casulties on the scale of Nagasaki, but the war dragged on for months and years after that.

After the WTC attack, did you hear anyone say something like "We should give into bin Laden. He can strike at us whenever he wants. We should just give him whatever he wants and hopefully he won't strike us again." Of course not. The opposite happened. Every single resource available to use will be spent destroying bin Laden.

In the short history of modern warfare, terror-bombing has never worked (your proposal to attack civilians with nuclear weapons certain qualifies as terror-bombing). History tells us that terror-bombing galvanizes civillian populations. I fear your proposal would create a thousand times more enemies, with double the motivation.


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After all, the purpose of our attacks should be to destroy the enemy's ability to wage war against us, not to needlessly harm civilians. We can take out huge chunks of their infrastructure, thus improving our own chances of survival, with minimal damage to civilian populations in this manner.

The WTC attacks were carried out by people who trained in the US, using US airlines on flights originating in the US. Terrorist might need infrastructure, but our infrastructure seems to work just fine for them.
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The WTC attacks were carried out by people who trained in the US, using US airlines on flights originating in the US

It's widely thought that bin Laden himself received some training by the CIA during his days as a mujahideen faction commander. This certainly would have been possible as anybody fighting the good fight against the commies in those days was considered a friend.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_155000/155236.stm
He received security training from the CIA itself, according to Middle Eastern analyst Hazhir Teimourian

If you do a google search on bin Laden and CIA, several references are made to different training he may have received.


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Just watched a CNN call-in show. They got a call from an Arab-American (at least that's what he claimed). He said that Americans greatly underestimate the threat from the madmen, said that suitcase nukes are inevitable unless appropriate action is taken.

I watched that same show and heard that caller. The hosts didn't even bother to acknowledge the nuclear comments, and instead focused on some other issues he raised. In other words, maybe this one man spouted off about it, but no one considered it a viable topic for discussion. (This in itself doesn't make it right or wrong, but shows a lack of support for the idea.)


The action he recommended was lots better than my earlier suggestions. He said we should give the rogue states advance warning that we're going to nuke their cities and otherwise eliminate their infrastructure, enough time for the civilian population to safely evacuate areas to be affected. After all, the purpose of our attacks should be to destroy the enemy's ability to wage war against us, not to needlessly harm civilians. We can take out huge chunks of their infrastructure, thus improving our own chances of survival, with minimal damage to civilian populations in this manner.


No, this is dumber. If you are trying to take out chunks of the infrastructure used by terrorists, why are you bombing the cities? The terrorists train, live, and base operations in the back hills, mountains, and deserts. There isn't a "Bin Laden Recruitment Center" in Kabul akin to a US Military Recruitment Center in, say, Chicago. There is no terrorist infrastructure in the cities. All you are doing is adding to the devastation of the civilian population.

If we want to nuke the infrastructure that supported the attacks from last Tuesday, we'd have to nuke a flight school in Florida, some hotels in Boston, some apartments in Hamburg. Somehow, I don't think that will yield the productive results you hope for.

The terrorist enemy is compartmentalized, mobile, and stealthy. There is no place to drop a nuke that will do more than dent any terrorist infrastructure. There are 1000 camps of 50 terrorists, not one camp of 50,000. Sure, we have a thousand nukes to use, but even this would not accomplish the task.

The only reason to nuke a civilian infrastructure in Afghanistan is to make one's self feel tough and macho. There is no strategic advantage yielded by such an action. There is no tactical advantage yielded by such an action.

Special ops units supported by better intelligence are the most effective way to flush out this target. This enemy must be eliminated one by one. This is going to take a hell of a long time, and won't be over in a few days whether or not you drop a nuke. Again, you are fighting hundreds, perhaps thousands, of loosely connected autonomous groups. You won't so much as nick them by dropping nukes.

The only thing dropping would accomplish is giving someone a few weeks of pleasure by saying "there...that will show them."

Congratulations, you've become the Bill Murray of the military world, trying to flush out gophers with dynamite. You might blow up one hole, but the entire network you don't see remains. Let's hope our military leaders can come up with a better strategy than a nuclear Caddyshack.

--Pup
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I'm totally babbling.

6





No, you are not!

AM


I thought it was your best post yet, actually.

Naj
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The unAmerican part of me is consumed with the wrong, bad, evil, tactless, gutless, nasty, small minded and coldhearted desire to just once, whisper into a dark corner somewhere, "I told you so".

It is a huge dark corner.

The tactless, gutless, nasty, small minded, and coldhearted right now are not Arabs, Gentiles, or Jews per se; the TGNSMCH right now are fundamentalists of every stripe: Radical Islam, fundie Christians like Falwell and Robertson, and, yes, rightwing Jews who think the only good Arab is a dead Arab. All those who insist that only the bombing of nations is a solution, whatever their faith--that is where there is darkness now.

"But they bombed us; but we were victims of genocide, etc." We gain nothing by holding nations accountable until nations rise against us. This isn't a whole nation rising against us. These are cells, strict but informal networks, with about as many adherents as, say, the ACLU, and far less than Greenpeace.

Our first response in preventable tragedy should be to examine ourselves. Where did we fail? (In many areas, first and foremost at the National Security Agency, also with absurd air security) How can we make sure we don't fail similarly again? (By being much more vigilant and focusing on real enemies, rather than the ones the current Pentagon wants us to perceive).

But this kind of healthy first response has been all but silenced, indeed, it has been ridiculed, in the calls for war and rallying around the Pentagon. (Make no mistake about it right now--the "President", ever the impostor, is now merely the acting Press Secretary for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who are the people truly presiding over this barely-free country now.) It doesn't help at all that we now have a four-company conglomerate media who waves the flag and beat the drums of war more readily and dependably than Pravda ever waved the hammer and sickle for the Kremlin.

We should not be deaf to the counsel of self-scrutiny, even if the Pentagon would like us to be. Right now, we don't appear interested in blaming ourselves in the slightest, and since the beginning I have maintained that we should be, first and foremost, and not that people are speaking up against our own citizens; we should scrutinize ourselves just as Nazi Germany should have been blaming itself when anti-Semitism began leaking into public discourse.

To me, Falwell's atrocious words with Robertson's tacit endorsement yesterday were another kind of terrorist bombing. The fact that homophobia, blind patriotism, and anti-Arabism have leaked into our national discourse with impuninty is a cause for great alarm, nearly as alarming as the other notable collapse this week.

jeanpaulsartre
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(Make no mistake about it right now--the "President", ever the impostor, is now merely the acting Press Secretary for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who are the people truly presiding over this barely-free country now.) It doesn't help at all that we now have a four-company conglomerate media who waves the flag and beat the drums of war more readily and dependably than Pravda ever waved the hammer and sickle for the Kremlin.

===

Leave it to the French (the doormats of Europe) to reproduce and conceive you.
When it comes to how to handle attacks, the world should always turn to the French for advice...

I am watching one of the 4-co-congl-media (4CCM) channels right now...being brainwashed, because I am not as smart as the French.

Jason <--- doesn't have a fancy French name...drinks beer, not wine.
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"our first response..should be to examine ourselves"

Is he thinking about enlisting?

"We should not be deaf to the counsel of self-scrutiny"

He must be.

Congatulations.

Max
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<because I am not as smart as the French>

Your words...one of the only accurate things you have said.

j
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The fact that homophobia, blind patriotism, and anti-Arabism have leaked into our national discourse with impuninty is a cause for great alarm, nearly as alarming as the other notable collapse this week.

Sadly, these have always been in the national discourse. Perhaps we will see that societal predators include racists, disease, and famine, as well as terrorists. The eradication of terrorists, and the vigilant guard against their resurrection may provide provide a moment of clarity as we seek to eradicate those other predators. I'd rather engage in discourse than turn a blind eye.

D
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Both Syria and Iraq are Ba'athist regimes more concerned with conventional exercise of power. Fundamentalist Islam is to them just a tool to be cynically used for political ends.


I absolutely agree with that statement, however I think they, definitly Syria at least, have funded and encouraged and coddled terrorism for so long that now they are at the mercy of the extremists. 13 years ago even Syria was threatening Israel with toxic gassing on a monthly basis. Once upon a time I think the governments used the terrorist, now it's the other way around, and I think a lot of fundamentalist Muslims have been just waiting for the excuse to unleash their worst.

6
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The fundamentalists I had in mind are the ruling "oiligarchy" in Saudi Arabia. If they go down, then the radicals take over. Not any less fundamentalist, but less belolden to us and our oil money.

bin Laden is waging Jihad on Saudi Arabia as well because they are not as fundamental(ist?) as they should be. I assume if they were they would share his disgust at the blasphemous presence of non-Muslims (US troops) near Mecca and Medina. They are very likely to become our ally in this as long as we can somehow offer protection against Taliban/terrorist/coup/you name it. What we need to do is be clear that yes, we will aid you in all anti-terrorism efforts but you need to clamp down on extremists and make it clear that you will seek out and prosecute groups internally.

6

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But it's delusional and wishful thinking that we can completely stop terrorists so fanatical they are willing to fly an airliner into the side of a building. What can you do to people who are willing to do that to themselves and others for the glory of the cause? How hard do you have to hit people like that?

The best that can be hoped for is that we can kill a lot of them, establish good intelligence conduits, continually damage and disrupt their camps and training facilities, hit the people who fund them, and seriously threaten governments who allow them to operate in country. Of course we will never be able to make them stop wanting to kill - as I've said, whatever reason they're using is just an excuse.

6
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"I think they, definitly Syria at least, have funded and encouraged and coddled terrorism for so long that now they are at the mercy of the extremists."

I agree with you.

Every country with a large fundamentalist population has the same problem to a greater or lesser degree, even including these U. S. of A. (except our fundamentalists tend to be Baptists or other evangelical flavors). I think that the Pakistanis probably have this political issue to deal with as much as anybody, so kudos for stepping up in the way that they have.

Of course, the situation is complicated: This morning's Washington Post had an article on how the Indian government has already granted an unprompted and pretty unconditional permission for the US to use Indian territory for basing US troops and equipment. Anybody who has followed Indian affairs will recognize this step as not just unprecedented, but very far out of India's past practice. The Indian government took a lot of heat just for allowing US planes to land for refuelling en route to the Gulf from the Pacific ten years ago. India's decision was undoubtedly motivated more than in part by a desire to get some leverage against fundamentalist insurgencies in Kashmir (funded and supported principally by Pakistan).

mglf
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I've been thinking about this claim. I'm wrong. I had a one armed guy in a class in the early '90s, and he had been in Afghanistan.

I'm serious, no joke. It seems like a tough place.


I was looking at websites about Afghanistan, and one was about how it's pretty much the only place left on earth where there is a large population of lepers, because medicine is unheard of there. Also, according to most of what I've read, any claims of us sending $43 million in food are probably at best misleading, since the Taliban military controls all roads and deliberately prevents aid from reaching the most of the population.

6
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Jason <--- doesn't have a fancy French name

Would you like one assigned to you?
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ZERO to ONE HUNDRED.

This was just one, but perhaps the most catastrophic, failure of leadership that the President has displayed during this episode. Another is the simple number of appearances, statements and and press briefings he has made, as if he is trying to make up for his lack of real leadership by 'appearing' to be in charge. The result is that no singular statement has carried the gravity and strength of purpose that we need. He has approached this tragedy like it's an election campaign, trying to build a political consensus for war. What he doesn't understand is that the consensus is already there, and he needs to use it productively. If his advisor's don't understand their constituents, how the hell are they going to understand the enemy?

In addition, he is telling us only what we want to hear: that someone will pay, that we will use every weapon at our disposal, that the response will be overwhelming, that we will succeed. No one is telling us what we need to hear: that we cannot abandon our principles in the pursuit of the perpetrators, that we have to be prepared to lead in peace as well as war, that we will weigh every option and hold ourselves to the highest standards of justice in our response, that it is as important to find out why as it is to find out who. The President and his advisors are at least a half a step behind the public right now in understanding popular sentiment. That is not leadership. The administration is reinforcing popular sentiment in a way that denies our national principles and has created a tolerance for injustice. That is destructive and reprehensible leadership, and it is certainly NOT patriotism.

And the zero to one hundred syndrome is staggering. It exposes the narrow understanding that this administration has of reality. For the President the world is one of events, and all the matters is action. He has no perception of the world of ideas and therefore cannot comprehend the vast interconnectedness of events over time. He cannot understand his enemy. He does not understand his role. He can only vaguely understand the consequences of his own words. As a result his response is doomed to disappoint history.

Has anyone counted how many times he has uttered the phrase "make no mistake"? It seems to be a code word that the terrorists should listen to the next little bit of what he will say. Sadly, the mistakes have already been made.

euclid

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This was just one, but perhaps the most catastrophic, failure of leadership that the President has displayed

Just think of what might have happened had all this occurred during Clinton's tenure. We might have gotten really tough and blown up two aspirin factories. That would finally show them! And with Bin Laden having enough money to buy pardons for any and all terrorists captured and brought to justice, we might have gotten to do the whole thing all over again.
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I think that the Pakistanis probably have this political issue to deal with as much as anybody, so kudos for stepping up in the way that they have.

Of course, the situation is complicated: This morning's Washington Post had an article on how the Indian government has already granted an unprompted and pretty unconditional permission for the US to use Indian territory for basing US troops and equipment.


Sucks to be Pakistan, eh. They basically are choosing the lesser of two evils - better to be threatened by Afghanistan and internal forces than by the US and India. They cannot afford to be our enemy when India becomes our good friend.

6
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He has approached this tragedy like it's an election campaign, trying to build a political consensus for war. What he doesn't understand is that the consensus is already there, and he needs to use it productively.

Bull***t. Iran and Pakistan are 'allies' only in the sense that they have something we need now. We have to work on them, gain their cooperation -- or threaten it.

If his advisor's don't understand their constituents, how the hell are they going to understand the enemy?

I'm not sure what your point is here. His advisors probably understand the enemy more than they do America. Perhaps your confusing an international consensus with an American consensus, he clearly has the latter - he wants the former.

No one is telling us what we need to hear: that we cannot abandon our principles in the pursuit of the perpetrators, that we have to be prepared to lead in peace as well as war, that we will weigh every option and hold ourselves to the highest standards of justice in our response, that it is as important to find out why as it is to find out who.

You seem to be judging the administration on the things it hasn't done. It hasn't sacrificed our "principles" -- whatever those are. It hasn't acted rashly.

And what is your idea of "real leadership"? None of this has happened before. Going off on a Republican President, that's all.

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<<Bull***t. Iran and Pakistan are 'allies' only in the sense that they have something we need now. We have to work on them, gain their cooperation -- or threaten it.>>


That should endear our allies.

And what if Iran and Pakistan don't cooperate?

Should we bomb them because they don't give in to our bullying?

That will play well in the rest of the world and there we are, "American Imperialist Capitalist Pigs", alone.

Nice work W.
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And what if Iran and Pakistan don't cooperate?

Both seem to be, which is a bit of foreign policy voodoo by any standards.

Should we bomb them because they don't give in to our bullying?

Again, judging on things that haven't happened, and thanks for putting words in my mouth. There's no reason to "bomb" either. Pakistan is currently the victim of sanctions, those would continue (the point is moot since they are cooperating) and Iran is Iran (and we've screwed them enough) and they aren't a likely Arab ally.

Nice work W

Glad to be of assistance my simple friend.

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He has approached this tragedy like it's an election campaign, trying to build a political consensus for war. What he doesn't understand is that the consensus is already there, and he needs to use it productively.

Bull***t. Iran and Pakistan are 'allies' only in the sense that they have something we need now. We have to work on them, gain their cooperation -- or threaten it.

If I understood the context correctly, I believe "political concensus" meant a concensus among American people.

Threats and fear are poor motivation tools, and ones with short lifespans.

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If I understood the context correctly, I believe "political concensus" meant a concensus among American people.

I understood the post to mean what war had pointed out, nothing. I found nothing important or informative in that post. It received fifteen suspect recs for pointing out that Bush is an ineffective leader. Ok, but why?

I don't think he's done anything poorly yet. He's used rhetoric to assure the American Public, which support him to the tune of 90%. Are you suggesting that he doesn't know that? That's stupid. Politicians live and die with the polls.

Threats and fear are poor motivation tools, and ones with short lifespans.

They seem to be working pretty well, in the case of Pakistan. To be fair, it isn't likely that threats were used in their case. He probably made promises. As far as the Taliban is concerned, threats seem pretty reasonable to me.

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Maybe you should learn to use HTML. I'm confused by your post. You don't seem to be getting my point.

He has approached this tragedy like it's an election campaign, trying to build a political consensus for war. What he doesn't understand is that the consensus is already there, and he needs to use it productively.

This isn't true, what I was decrying.

Bull***t. Iran and Pakistan are 'allies' only in the sense that they have something we need now. We have to work on them, gain their cooperation -- or threaten it.

The last part was an obvious joke.

If I understood the context correctly, I believe "political concensus" meant a concensus among American people.

That's my point, that that is a stupid point. He has that consensus, duh.

Threats and fear are poor motivation tools, and ones with short lifespans.

OOOOOOOH something we can all applaud. Got any proof? Who said what, who the hell cares. Let's slam Bush. Oh, yeah. Clinton sucked too.

This just in, this thread sucks.

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From another Fool board:

I worked with 3 Islamic Fundamentalists for 2 years on a software project. They were the 3 nicest people in the company. Got along great. Spent hours-discussing politics, finances and religion with them. They were much more intelligent and politically aware than the American drones in the office. But they believed and openly stated that America and to a lesser extent, Israel were plagues that must be eliminated from the Earth. How can you combat that? I tried killing them with kindness and earned their respect, but am convinced to this day each one would have slit my throat for the glory of Allah if they were called to Jihad.

And

Did you see "60 Minutes II" last night?

CBS had a segment on this elite Pakistani boarding school. They interviewed about six of these well-scrubbed teenagers that spoke English like British aristocrats. That looked to be about 16 or 17 years of age. All were vehemently anti-American. The interview took place in the school's Physics Lab. The Osama Bin Ladan screen-savers on the computers were indicative of the man's popularity. These kids were obviously not economically deprived, yet all aspired to be a muhajadeen (sp?) which I take to be some kind of religious warrior.


Examples of "civilians" we must take pains to avoid harming?
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. But they believed and openly stated that America and to a lesser extent, Israel were plagues that must be eliminated from the Earth. How can you combat that?

Think about it. Conservative Christians believe much the same thing, and some even engage in terror to make their point and to show progress. The only difference between bombing and Israeli passenger bus and an abortion clinic is the scale of the damage.

Try and maintain some perspective. Weird ideas are all around us. It pays to discern which are a serious threat.

Rick
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Examples of "civilians" we must take pains to avoid harming?


YES, you self-righteous, vindictive, intolerant, war-mongering s.o.b, they might be. That's what makes being an American so challenging.

But if you're not up to it, get the hell out of my country before you make us all look bad.


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Examples of "civilians" we must take pains to avoid harming?

When I hear anecdotes like this, I think of two acquaintances of mine (FOAFs) Naim and Nadim. They are brothers, from Pakistan. They worked closely with a good friend of mine in her previous job. They were among the kindest and most intelligent people I have met. Their family is still back in Pakistan, and I would imagine they are very worried right about now.

Painting with a broad brush is very, very dangerous. Judging all Muslims or all Arabs or all Pakistanis or Afghanis or Palestinians or whatever from these two stories is like judging Americans from the Tim McVeighs and Ted Kaczynskis among us. Deciding that killing off thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Muslims or Arabs or Afghanis or ... is acceptable because of anecdotes like these is simply repugnant.

--Mike
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Painting with a broad brush is very, very dangerous. Judging all Muslims or all Arabs or all Pakistanis or Afghanis or Palestinians or whatever from these two stories is like judging Americans from the Tim McVeighs and Ted Kaczynskis among us.

Or Christians. Think of the way we tend to view characters like Pat Robertson. Mainstream Christians are tolerant of him, because he is in the fold, even though his particular brand of ultra conservative Christianity is not accepted by most. It wasn't so long ago that he was seriously considered as a man who could run for very high elected office. But as people came to know more and more about him, the details about his life and beliefs did not line up with most Christians.

It's probably the same situation with so many of the Islamic fundamentalists like bin Laden. Pat Robertson had a few ideas that resonated with many, and he could present them in a Christian based way that appealed to the masses. He also has all these other ideas that separates him. We are fortunate to have widespread media coverage of people like Robertson and eventually, we learn the truth. Many in the middle East do not have that advantage, and they are much slower to learn the real truth behind the image. That does not make the masses bad people.

Remember, Pat Robertson was once a serious candidate for President. Don't pass a death sentence on people because they make poorly informed choices. Even I voted for Ronald Reagen once.

Rick
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Even I voted for Ronald Reagen once.

I can't believe I just went public with that. At least I never worked for him.

Rick
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It's OK, Rick. If you idolized him, you would have spelled his name right.

Mike
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Even I voted for Ronald Reagen once.

At least when Ronald Reagan babbled cliches, his delivery had the polished, professional quality to it that was vaguely reassuring.
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It's OK, Rick. If you idolized him, you would have spelled his name right.


And then you would have named an airport after him.

euclid
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It's OK, Rick. If you idolized him, you would have spelled his name right.

My solemn nod to the sadness of Alzheimer's.

Rick
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Mike Easter: Painting with a broad brush is very, very dangerous.

http://borgman.enquirer.com/weekly/daily_html/2001/09/091601borgman.html
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CBS had a segment on this elite Pakistani boarding school. They interviewed about six of these well-scrubbed teenagers that spoke English like British aristocrats.
[...]
Examples of "civilians" we must take pains to avoid harming?




The sort of civilians who would be hurt by indiscriminate bombing of Afghanistan would better be described by the word "refugee" than "aristocrat."

--WP
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<<We are fortunate to have widespread media coverage of people like Robertson and eventually, we learn the truth. . . . .
Remember, Pat Robertson was once a serious candidate for President. Don't pass a death sentence on people because they make poorly informed choices. Even I voted for Ronald Reagen once.>>

Hell, almost 49% voted for Bush in the last election. The only majority he got was in the Supreme Court.

I suppose we are now getting the widespread media coverage we should have had before the election. It is tough to put together a week of sound bites without sounding shallow and dim.

Hi Ho Silver, away.


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Hell, almost 49% voted for Bush in the last election.

Wow, that's more than Clinton got when he was elected, and about 5 other Presidents, not bad, actually. (not great either.)


The only majority he got was in the Supreme Court.

Yeah, it was 7-2, if I recall accurately.
Oh, and in the Electoral college.

Naj
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<<Yeah, it was 7-2, if I recall accurately.>>

No, 5-4.

The difference was that, much to the shock of all pundits, Bush won by carrying 100% of the African-American vote.

-chris
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<<Yeah, it was 7-2, if I recall accurately.>>

No, 5-4.

The difference was that, much to the shock of all pundits, Bush won by carrying 100% of the African-American vote.

-chris


Actually, it was 7-2 that the Supreme Court decided that allowing each FL county to count whatever the hell they wanted as a vote, as unconstitutional. Now, if the FL Supreme Court had enforced uniform standards the 2 times it went to them, Bush would have won the easy way.
By having more votes in the State of Florida. (Which he did, proven by many seperate news organizations, watchgroups, and accounting firms.)
But they didn't.

Naj
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Even I voted for Ronald Reagen once.

Oh, Rick.

As a Mule, let alone a Big, Gay one, how *could* you? More than that, how could you admit it in public?
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As a Mule, let alone a Big, Gay one, how *could* you? More than that, how could you admit it in public?

I enjoy a good flogging once in awhile. And I know you do too. Admit it.

BGM
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After noting the enmity and vituperation heaped upon me by members of this board I reviewed my previous posts. I can see where it came from--my posts were somewhat incomplete. I do not wish harm upon anyone. I would like to see the nations of the Middle East turn over all their terrorists to us to be placed in solitary confinement for life (and constantly shown Hollywood-produced fake movies of their own cities in flames). No one would be happier than I if the crisis be solved without a shot being fired nor a drop of blood being spilled.

But I don't think it will happen. And I don't think the suggestions of the kind folks who post here, if implemented, will be effective. The madmen want to turn the entire Middle East into a fundamentalist Islamic state and remove the abomination that is Western civilization from the planet. They will not stop killing us until they are stopped. I believe the only way to do this, unfortunately, is to show them beyond a shadow of a doubt that any action they take against us will only move them further, much further from their goal.

My wife had some friends who worked in the WTC. Fortunately they got out safely after the first crash. She has flown many times from Boston, NYC, Newark, DC and Atlanta to CA. In her current position she flies regulary from Portland to SF. I believe the next attack will be something along the lines of a suitcase nuke taking out a city. SF would be a good target. It's all a little too close to home.

I hope you guys are right, that we can stop it with measured responses, I really do. But I'm afraid that the 5,000+ dead so far is just the down payment on what's to come if we don't get really mean.
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More than that, how could you admit it in public?

Hell, I voted for Reagan twice, and worked on his campaign in '80. Either many of you also did or many of you are liars, as he won handily both times. But there being a Democratic Congress was more reassuring.

jps
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<<Hell, I voted for Reagan twice, and worked on his campaign in '80. Either many of you also did or many of you are liars, as he won handily both times. >>

Christ, you mean that there are people who voted for Ronald Reagan who are still alive? How old are you people? Good lord!

-chris
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I enjoy a good flogging once in awhile. And I know you do too. Admit it.

True, but I restrict mine to the bedroom, not the ballot box.
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Christ, you mean that there are people who voted for Ronald Reagan who are still alive? How old are you people? Good lord!

Considering I was in the 4th grade in 1980, my voting record regarding Reagan is clean.

--Pup
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I believe the only way to do this, unfortunately, is to show them beyond a shadow of a doubt that any action they take against us will only move them further, much further from their goal.


flegbo,

I think you'll find most people in agreement with this concept. I think our differences lie in choice of means to the end.

I'm concerned with us targeting civilian populations--populations that are abused and repressed by its own rulers. If the rulers treat those people so poorly, why would they care if we do too?

It isn't your support of military force that people disagree with, it is the effectiveness of your target.

I realize that by supporting military action, the result will be that some civilians will die. I think that is inevitable at this point. The question is whether they died because they happened to be too close to a terrorist military target, or if because they happened to be the primary target. Attacks with the intention of targeting civilians are the problem I have here, not use of heavy and lethal force against terrorist camps. I don't think this exactly makes me a pacifist.

Regardless of one's moral view regarding targeting civilians, I simply don't think that it will work. If it won't work, why do it? Send in the SEALs.



I believe the next attack will be something along the lines of a suitcase nuke taking out a city.

Oh, I can help you sleep better at night. Even though I think there is a good chance the terrorists possess, have access to, or will soon possess a nuke, I don't think that is the thing to worry about.

Worry about anthrax instead. An entire anthrax outbreak could be organized from within our borders, without even having to bring anything past customs. Anthrax can be fairly easily acquired here, grown here, and released here, all without ever having to raise suspicions of border guards. It doesn't even take a hell of a lot of knowledge to do all of this.

A nuke is tough to slip past the guards, but with anthrax, you don't even have to bother trying.

There. Feel better now?

--Pup
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<<A great way to impress the opposite sex! They'll think you're educated and worldly!>>


Instead of simply a "Cut and paster"

Hey, I think you violated a copyright.

We're tough on that lately.
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Considering I was in the 4th grade in 1980, my voting record regarding Reagan is clean.

I was 23, and an intern, first for Reagan's PR firm, then for the Reagan campaign, then I became a staffer. I interrupted a year of college to do this.

I was also a Democrat, but I couldn't stand Carter, and that allowed me to entertain the assignment.

Inflation was 18%. Hostages in Iran all year long. A failed military rescue which lost 8 American lives. Carter cronies from Georgia running things.

Weird thing about politics is, you don't have any idea what you're getting into. You have no idea where it's going. Reagan lost Iowas caucus, and we thought, well, at least we're not in too deep. Then he kicked butt in New Hampshire, and seemed to be running deadset against Bush, and some of us younger types were actually enthusiastic.

He won the primaries, but Bush hung in long after he should have, and alienated many. Then, when Reagan picked Bush as his running mate, three-quarters of the campaign threw up. But after the Ford-co-presidency fiasco, there were few options.

It doesn't seem like it in one's mind, but Bush was actually taller than Reagan. When they appeared together, Reagan usually stood on something.

From that point on, most of us who weren't ideologues were just hanging in for curiosity's sake.

Everyone under 30 on both campaigns, Reagan's and Carter's, were on drugs. Quaaludes were the Reagan campaign's favorite. And it seemed John Anderson was on drugs, too.

jps

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Everyone under 30 on both campaigns, Reagan's and Carter's, were on drugs.

It was the '80s. Everyone, period, was on drugs, campaign or not.

Just say no.

Rick
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"...Considering I was in the 4th grade in 1980, my voting record regarding Reagan is clean..."

Yeah, but admit it, you wanted to vote for him even then.

Mark
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Considering I was in the 4th grade in 1980, my voting record regarding Reagan is clean.

--Pup


... but was this when you were 23 or 24?

lessee. 5 years in first, 3 in sencond, ...

cliff
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Considering I was in the 4th grade in 1980, my voting record regarding Reagan is clean.

... but was this when you were 23 or 24?
lessee. 5 years in first, 3 in sencond, ...



Cliff--

Lay off the martinis. It was jps that said he was 23 in 1980, not me. I was just a young Pup then.

Good thing, too. I'd have hated to be a "bad Minnesotan" and vote against Fritz Mondale in 1984. God, the Democrats must have been afraid of Reagan to offer up such a sacrificial lamb like Fritz. But God forbid we here in Bumcuffia vote against one of our own.

Brought to you by the Jesse Ventura for President in 2004 campaign,
WonderPup



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True, but I restrict mine to the bedroom, not the ballot box.

There's a board just for this kind of, err, sharing, isn't there?

Mark,
but maybe now people will understand what I mean when I say I have to go home and spank the monkey
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This must be the thread that wouldn't die.

j
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This must be the thread that wouldn't die.

If the Khmer Rouge were here, they'd kill it. They kill anything.

-synchronicity

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