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Let's get something straight first.
I deplore indiscriminate violence against peaceful moslem communities and it should be dealt with promptly by the police.

BUT I just watched the Sunday show where some muslims were interviewed.
I am not naive enough to think that it was not edited. If Sunday recieved a balanced view and only showed one side of that for sensationalistic purposes then they should be dealt with - SERIOUSLY- for potentially inciting violence.
If the footage shown was the general consensus then that is a different matter.
The muslim people interviewed did absolutely nothing to make me feel sorry for their "innocence" in being caught up in this. They sounded as if they agreed with the action.
They reminded me of the "so called Australian" muslims protesting against the Gulf war when that was on.
The 2 opinions expressed were "USA brought this on them self" and "why is this a big deal, the media and the west didn't feel sorry for anyone when USA bombed bunkers in the Gulf War".
Well -it IS a big deal.
Comparing Tuesdays actions with wartime events and payback for foreign policy just won't cut it with me.
If you must insist on comparing it to a wartime event, compare it to something of the same moral magnitude, eg WW2 Holocaust.
This was an attack specifically aimed at civilians.
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Barcoo wrote re the Sunday program:

'The muslim people interviewed did absolutely nothing to make me feel sorry for their "innocence" in being caught up in this. They sounded as if they agreed with the action.
They reminded me of the "so called Australian" muslims protesting against the Gulf war when that was on.
The 2 opinions expressed were "USA brought this on them self" and "why is this a big deal, the media and the west didn't feel sorry for anyone when USA bombed bunkers in the Gulf War". '

Funny, I only saw part of it, but I saw more than just those opinions. In particular, the sentiment from a Muslim leader in Brisbane that "we oppose all acts of violence", those committed against the Americans as well as by the American state.

And let's face it, America did bring this on itself. That doesn't make it any less evil to attack civilians, but it's true.

'Well -it IS a big deal.'

Yes, Barcoo, and many Muslims agree with you.

'Comparing Tuesdays actions with wartime events and payback for foreign policy just won't cut it with me.'

Why - too difficult for you to think about?

Personally I agree that it's unfair to compare 5000 people killed (an awful evil action) with, say, the 500,000 plus children killed by the US in Iraq, as collateral damage in their war against a monster (Sadam) that the USA and other Western powers created and helped to install. Have a look at those numbers, and tell me that the attack was unprovoked.

Evil yes, unprovoked no.

'If you must insist on comparing it to a wartime event, compare it to something of the same moral magnitude, eg WW2 Holocaust.'This was an attack specifically aimed at civilians.'

Or the Allied bombing of German cities. Or Vietnam or the carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos perhaps. Or the direct support lent by the CIA to Suharto in murdering around half a million people in the mid-60's. And we haven't even touched Latin America yet, nor Hiroshima/Nagasaki, which had civilian victims as part of their goal. Shall I go on...?

Many people would have more sympathy for the terrorists if they had focused only on military and presidential institutions (pentagon, white house). Not that that would have made it okay, but their moral position would have been superior to that of the murderous United States government & military.

I personally lean towards pacificism, but when the oppressed rise up and attack their oppressor, we need to ask: Who deserves the greater condemnation?

But, as with American military actions, innocents were killed on Tuesday with no compunction. Yes, it was evil. Look in the mirror, America.
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In particular, the sentiment from a Muslim leader in Brisbane that "we oppose all acts of violence", those committed against the Americans as well as by the American state.
This is just gutless political rhetoric trying to stir up justification and anti-American feeling prior to them retaliating. He couldn't come straight out and condemn the attack without condemning the Americans in the same sentence.

And let's face it, America did bring this on itself. That doesn't make it any less evil to attack civilians, but it's true.

Saying America brought this on itself, to me sounds like "serves them right". Is this how you feel?

'Comparing Tuesdays actions with wartime events and payback for foreign policy just won't cut it with me.'

Why - too difficult for you to think about?

Not at all. It's comparing apples with oranges. Totally different moral issues.

Personally I agree that it's unfair to compare 5000 people killed (an awful evil action) with, say, the 500,000 plus children killed by the US in Iraq, as collateral damage in their war against a monster (Sadam) that the USA and other Western powers created and helped to install.

First off I'll dispute that 500,000 children were killed by Desert Storm.
If you are talking about the sanctions starving the people, then you have to assume that the entire country is so poor that there is no money at all for food and medicine for the people. On this line I will say that it is Saddam and the government (who have the money) spending the money on other things that could be feeding and looking after the people.
As to USA and Western powers helping to install Saddam. Totally irrelevant when you really think about it. This does not mean that they are forever responsible for everything he does.

Have a look at those numbers, and tell me that the attack was unprovoked.
So you are assuming that Saddam had something to do with the attack,are you? Or are you lumping all muslims in the one basket?

Or the Allied bombing of German cities. Or Vietnam or the carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos perhaps. ...
...., nor Hiroshima/Nagasaki, which had civilian victims as part of their goal. Shall I go on...?


Allied bombing of German cities and Nagasaki/Hiroshima- war time acts- to end the war (not start it) against a nation that had attacked first and exhibited atrocities. I can see the similarities, but if you can't see the differences, then you are part of the problem.

Or the direct support lent by the CIA to Suharto in murdering around half a million people in the mid-60's. And we haven't even touched Latin America yet
The CIA did not support Suharto murdering 500,000 people. I am not saying the CIA always get it right but sometimes a dictatorial leadership can appear better than the attempted genocide that replaces it. eg Kosovo where the US and Western powers came to the rescue of muslim people. Also remembering that Milosjevic had talks with Saddam about a joint effort against the west.

Not that that would have made it okay, but their moral position would have been superior to that of the murderous United States government & military.
BULLSH*T, their POSITION is that all muslims should push all Jews into the Mediterranean and KILL Americans everywhere. There are fatwas on this and they are undertaking a jihad. A jihad is not the same as a Sunday School picnic. Turning the other cheek is not going to make this go away.

I personally lean towards pacificism, but when the oppressed rise up and attack their oppressor, we need to ask: Who deserves the greater condemnation?

You don't sound like a pacifist, you sound like a "sleeper". The user name "rootsofchange" is interesting as well.
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when the oppressed rise up and attack their oppressor, we need to ask: Who deserves the greater condemnation?

I read your post the other day and immediately wanted to reply. But I decided to wait a bit while I calmed down.

I AM AN AMERICAN and proud of it. My country is not an "oppressor" - quite the opposite. Over the centuries, we have lost American lives fighting for the freedom of others. I don't think it's a topic "too difficult to think about" as you suggest. Yes, American (and other Allied forces) killed people. It was a war. Vietnam was not a "declared" war but it was war nevertheless. Unfortunately, in a war, civilians get killed. But in most instances, civilians are not the primary targets - even in a war. (Before you bring up Hiroshima and Nagasaki again, we were trying to end a war which we did not start.)

Here in NY, those office buildings were filled with civilians - at their desks or going to their offices. And they were the target (along with all of civilization, in my opinion). So, pardon me, but I think the greater condemnation goes to the terrorists and their supporters, not to the US.

You are entitled to your opinion. I may not agree with you in the slightest but since I believe in freedom of speech, I will defend your right to have an opinion and to express it.

Christina
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for Barcoo and Christina:

I won't try and answer every point.

I wrote: And let's face it, America did bring this on itself. That doesn't make it any less evil to attack civilians, but it's true.
Barcoo wrote: Saying America brought this on itself, to me sounds like "serves them right". Is this how you feel?

No, I didn't express that very well. The innocent civilians who were murdered did not deserve to die. The action was horrific and (as I said previously) evil. That's an absolute.

Barcoo, it seems to me that you lay out the rhetoric of each issue in such a way as to rule out any US guilt.

I wrote: In particular, the sentiment from a Muslim leader in Brisbane that "we oppose all acts of violence", those committed against the Americans as well as by the American state.
Barcoo wrote: This is just gutless political rhetoric trying to stir up justification and anti-American feeling prior to them retaliating. He couldn't come straight out and condemn the attack without condemning the Americans in the same sentence.

By first ignoring and then reinterpreting the clear meaning of his words, you are trying to deny him the possibility of holding a view different to your own. Your reaction seems completely unjustified to me.

"As to USA and Western powers helping to install Saddam. Totally irrelevant when you really think about it. This does not mean that they are forever responsible for everything he does."

Well, considering he was clearly a murderous bastard when they installed him, yes, they are responsible. If I aid a murderer, I have committed a crime, even if he kills people I didn't want him to, or keeps going after I say "Stop!" Even at the time they were supporting him, equipment supplied by the US & UK was modified by Sadam for chemical warfare.

I wrote: Or the direct support lent by the CIA to Suharto in murdering around half a million people in the mid-60's. And we haven't even touched Latin America yet
Barcoo wrote: The CIA did not support Suharto murdering 500,000 people.

This is quite widely accepted, actually. They supplied lists of "communists" to the killing squads aligned with Suharto. Incidentally, the Times and other western media reported the killings as a good thing. From living in Indonesia for two years, I saw some of the effect of the oppressive Suharto regime. We could also talk about East Timor, where so many were killed with US & UK supplied weapons. Now the Western powers try to gain moral high ground from it, but, to use the analogy again, if I supply weapons to a serial killer, knowing what they are doing, then I share the guilt.

"I am not saying the CIA always get it right but sometimes a dictatorial leadership can appear better than the attempted genocide that replaces it."

Sukarno had big problems... years of deliberate destabilisation by the US & its allies contributed strongly to them. US bombing of Sumatra in 1958 for example. It was very embarrassing at one time when a US pilot was shot down and was found to be carrying CIA papers.


Christina - I appreciate your considered and respectful response.

"I AM AN AMERICAN and proud of it. My country is not an "oppressor" - quite the opposite. Over the centuries, we have lost American lives fighting for the freedom of others."

America has done good things... but I think you would benefit from some study of history. Did you know Mark Twain was a vocal critic of US foreign policy, e.g. in the Philippines? Do you have any idea how often elected governments have been toppled by or with the help of the US?

Perhaps the clearest example is that of the complicity in the repression of East Timor.

Here in NY, those office buildings were filled with civilians - at their desks or going to their offices. And they were the target (along with all of civilization, in my opinion). So, pardon me, but I think the greater condemnation goes to the terrorists and their supporters, not to the US.

Certainly the nature of this action is more abhorent. That's very true. My point though is that there have been many unjustified killings by the US & its allies than by their enemies. Any such killing deserves condemnation - whether it's from a particularly shocking terrorist attack, or through immoral foreign policy directed towards Iraq or East Timor. I would also add the invasion of Vietnam in support of a corrupt puppet regime, but I'm sure you interpret that bit of history very differently.

"You are entitled to your opinion. I may not agree with you in the slightest but since I believe in freedom of speech, I will defend your right to have an opinion and to express it."

I guess the point is for us all to keep an open mind and seek to understand. Thanks again, Christina, for your reasonable attitude to discussing this (in spite of our differences). I realise this must be a particularly difficult time for you (and many others) and I apologise for any insensitivity on my part.

My concern is that more innocent lives aren't taken in anger... but I don't want to be insensitive in the process of doing it.
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I forgot one important point:

Barcoo wrote: "I am not saying the CIA always get it right but sometimes a dictatorial leadership can appear better than the attempted genocide that replaces it."

In this case there was no attempted genocide - just a supposed coup actually fabricated by Suharto, so he could elimate key moderates in the military and prevent opposition to his own genocide. Which he carried out.

For what it's worth, I spoke to a couple of Indonesians old enough to remember the events of 1965-66, and their recollection of the "communists" was of relatively moderate types, working with the common people... and who were then slandered, scapegoated and slaughtered. Interesting that in the Indonesian case, the US was happy to support Muslim killing squads, just as they helped create the Taleban in Afghanistan. Work for us, and you're a freedom fighter. Work against us and you're a terrorist. It just depends which innocent people you're killing.

Note that in all this where I criticise the US, I lay the blame at the feet of the US state and allied states, not on the citizens. Not even on the soldiers, necessarily, who believed they were fighting for truth and freedom.
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Countries(in this case Australia) who live in glass houses
should'nt throw stones..
Gough Whitlam handed the Timorese over to the Indonesians---
how many years of suffering,rape and pillage . and these people
were our friends! Good one Gough- remember it on your deathbed.

Malcom Fraser was instrumental in getting Mugabwe installed
as well...
The Brits have done plenty of damage to civilians in foreign
countries, during their superpower years. Heck, want to go
back to the crusades.
How about Spain and the conquest of Mexico!
and on and on....

No country out there can point the finger of guilt at the US
and say "Im clean, I didnt hurt anyone!"
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True Fc

Kinda hard to talk about places like Indonesia & the Philippines in retrospect I'm thinking, I mean who can say that they would have been better of left on their own.
Both those countrys have heaps of islands & many many ethnic & culture differances within their borders the fact that it was accepted at the time strong leadership was needed should be paid some respect. We are looking backwards & our leaders had no such advantage they did what was thought best given what they knew at the time.....& yes they made mistakes.

Oh & I can assure you most Philippinos hold no grudges towards the USA in fact the opposite is true they hold the US & esp the great general in very high esteem.

JR
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Folks
Lets not forget also the many good things the US has done.
Sometimes I'm guilty of bashing the Americans as many are but when I consider all things my true thoughts are Thankyou & god bless them.

Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.



http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blamericans.htm


JR
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America has done good things... but I think you would benefit from some study of history

I beg your pardon, but please don't tell me what I would benefit from. You will note that I refrained from telling you what I think you would benefit from.

My concern is that more innocent lives aren't taken in anger

And suggesting that US foreign policy is partially to blame for the terorist attacks somehow helps to alleviate that concern? I would think that the fact that we haven't done anything rash yet would indicate that "appropriate" methods which are more likely to be successful are being sought and considered. Certainly Colin Powell as well as many others in the current administration have the experience and intelligence to act without revenge as a motive. The reason that any action is necessary is to prevent this type of attack from happening again - either here in the US or in Australia or anywhere else.

I apologise for any insensitivity on my part.

An apology for being insensitive contained within the same post where you yet again post remarks that are insensitive cannot be sincere, IMHO.

Christina, proud to be an American


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... you mentioned Colin Powell. This is the only person that I see in your government that knows what the sound of a bullet. He is the only one that has the experience.

>>to prevent this type of attack from happening again - either here in the US or in Australia or anywhere else<<

touche ... the decisions that will be made will effect all of us, so we are all praying that the sense and sensibility of JFK shines through.


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I think Cassie raises a valuable point.

The Brits have done plenty of damage to civilians in foreign countries, during their superpower years. Heck, want to go back to the crusades. How about Spain and the conquest of Mexico!and on and on...


How far do you want to go back. How long do you hold a grudge. Maybe this has been brewing since 852 A.D.
We all know about the horrible acts committed by all our preceding generations. It doesn't make this act any less horrible and it does not make "us" the cause of it.

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Couple of direct questions - are you a muslim?
What is the meaning of your username?

It's so easy to portray the world as 2 dimensional, the trouble is, the world is 3 dimensional.
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Hi Barcoo.


Am I a muslim? no, nothing so exotic. All my family are
Anglo-Irish Catholic, at least for the 5 generations I have traced
back so far. (hey I was just having a joke about the gambling
I gamble like a Fiend-honest)


My username comes from my daughter-in-law's cat.
Fatcassie is one mean, aggressive, deranged animal,
(my son refers to her as mongrel gums,)
I have noticed lately I have been getting chunky around the
middle though.... too much hanging around with the computer
I suspect. Perhaps I should change my username while I'm still
normal size...could be a self fulling prophecy!




anyway, all the best of luck with the footie bets.

Cheers.FC


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There has been little response to my actual points - it's mainly been "but look at what other countries do." Well, there's no surprises there, of course other countries do bad things. No one seemed to notice that I was deliberately including other countries in my criticisms, referring to the UK and other allies. Besides which, "(s)he did it too" would hardly stand up in court, because it doesn't reduce the guilt of the person in question.

And why is it America that people mainly pick on? Because they are the main players, the single biggest determiner of world politics. Not because it's more guilty, but because it's the point of reference. If I criticise the US I am by implication criticising the UK, Australia and others who take America's lead.

"Countries(in this case Australia) who live in glass houses
should'nt throw stones..
Gough Whitlam handed the Timorese over to the Indonesians---
how many years of suffering,rape and pillage . and these people
were our friends! Good one Gough- remember it on your deathbed.
..."

Of course, that's why I said the US and its allies, specifically naming the UK although the list is much longer... of course Australia is no better, it's just smaller in size and impact. (Yes, I'm Australian, and I criticise the Australian government more often than I do the American - and Whitlam deserves the same condemnation as Carter and successive PMs and presidents for their actions towards East Timor).

"No country out there can point the finger of guilt at the US
and say "Im clean, I didnt hurt anyone!" "

Of course not, did anyone say that? I just wish Americans would stop claiming to be clean. The comment is irrelevant.

The bottom line is that the US is not fundamentally different from other nations in terms of its approach to foreign policy (whether Australia or the USSR). It's just

"Kinda hard to talk about places like Indonesia & the Philippines in retrospect I'm thinking, I mean who can say that they would have been better of left on their own."

Would they have been better off without years of constant subversion, followed by a bloodbath and the installation of a brutal and repressive dictatorship? That doesn't seem like such a hard question to me.

"Folks
Lets not forget also the many good things the US has done.
Sometimes I'm guilty of bashing the Americans as many are but when I consider all things my true thoughts are Thankyou & god bless them.
Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States."

Yes, this was good. And to America's credit, Wilson's approach to settling WW1 might have avoided the rise of Hitler (Unfortunately France and Britain wanted vengeance). Next time round it was perceived that world security, esp in the face of communism, depended on a strong Europe and Japan. Credit where credit's due. No one here ever said America hasn't ever done good, so how about we stop avoiding the issues.

Oh, and in that case don't forget to talk about the US influence on the World Bank, esp when MacNamara (?) led it, pushing money onto governments, much of the money then lost through mismanagement, and now of course the money is demanded back, with interest, from the people who never saw it. No, it's not just America, it's other nations and creditors such as churches which aren't willing to forgive their share of the debts.

"I would think that the fact that we haven't done anything rash yet would indicate that "appropriate" methods which are more likely to be successful are being sought and considered. Certainly Colin Powell as well as many others in the current administration have the experience and intelligence to act without revenge as a motive."

I'm hoping this is true - certainly there seems to be more acknowledgement this time round that killing civilians will just earn more enemies.

"Christina, proud to be an American"

You've got much to be proud of, historically and culturally. Just don't let it blind you.

Incidentally, Christina, I was apologising for insensitivity because I thought I hadn't been clear enough that I absolutely condemn the attacks, and that the innocent deaths were undeserved, and a tragedy. (I had said as much, but Barcoo questioned me on this, so I wanted to clarify). I don't apologise for saying you need to learn some history. And further, if you were interested in the truth, I can't help thinking you would have tried to deal with some of the historical issues.

I'm not a historian, but I do get annoyed by those who wilfully ignore history and adopt a patriotic "America is the kind and peaceful saviour of the world" attitude... just as I would with an Australian or French or Russian person who had a similar view.

Barcoo:
I guess your questions were meant for me...

"Couple of direct questions - are you a muslim?"

No. I dislike Islam more than most other religions, in fact (though there are Muslims I like and respect). Living in Indonesia turned me feminist rather than Muslim, when I saw, behind the mask, the terrible way women are really treated... and Islam is one of the influential factors in the way women are treated there.

What is the meaning of your username?

It was going to be a website (cooperatively run) aiming at looking at key issues that have a broader impact - ie where is the critical area to bring about change. Sort of like teaching someone to fish instead of giving them a fish, but trying to take it further. The website never got off the ground, but I use it as a login name sometimes as it's easy to remember and usually no one's taken it. Didn't realise it would be my forum tag, or I would have chosen a different one. "Rootsofchange" sounds pretentious, much as I like the principle of it.

"It's so easy to portray the world as 2 dimensional, the trouble is, the world is 3 dimensional."

I believe you are more guilty of that than I am, Barcoo. America is a complex entity - state, military, people, freedom, oppression, good, bad. America needs to look to see why it's hated by many... even if those people are wrong in certain ways (some of their reasons and many of their actions), there is much that needs to be learnt. Likewise, Muslim anger is not simply "right" or "wrong". It's wrong when it kills innocent people. It's wrong when it seeks to impose an extreme Islamic state. It's right when it expresses anger at the West for the innocent Muslim lives which have been lost, without justification.

That's most of it... but there was also a point someone made suggesting that this is all history, it doesn't matter what the Spanish did to Mexico... well, Mexico was someone else's red herring... but 1965 is not ancient history, and if you want more recent examples, look at Chile (US support for Pinochet was pretty clear, and Kissinger and Thatcher still act as his apologists - Kissinger at the time was contemptous of the people's democratic choice and chose to support a murderous dictator instead); Iraq (installing the murderous Sadam and giving him WMD, failing to support a democratic uprising against him after the Gulf war, and killing innocents, esp children, with bombs and embargoes aimed at the WMD); Nicaragua; Turkey (Sadam bombing innocent Kurds - "Evil Sadam" = Western ally Turkey bombing Kurds = silence).

As I said, I'm not a historian, but I'm happy to discuss history if someone will deal with it seriously, and not just use it as a distraction.

Why is this important (addressing Christina)...? Because as long as Western foreign policy continues as it does, more resentment will fester, and breed the sort of horrible murderous movements that were seen following the devastation of Indo-china (of which a large part was huge scale bombing by America). Khmer Rouge didn't threaten the US much, but now in the Middle East we see some people are detecting one of the countries which has exacerbated their suffering. They are responding with the murder of innocent people.

Are they responding in a morally acceptable way? No. Are they crazy, dangerous extremists? Do they have some legitimate grievances? Yes.


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Whoops, my apologies to Barcoo.
I answered Barcoo when he was not referring to me. Sorry Guys--
much embarrasment!
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Rootsofchange

We did reply you just didn't get it.


No country is a paragon of virtue.
No individual is perfect.
We can only look at the good & bad & judge whether the good outwieghts the bad.
The US IMO has done many more good things than bad.
Bin laden has done many more bad things than good.

You don't seem to understand that fact & your respect is lacking, your jumping ahead, first we must stand up & destroy something(terrorist)very evil, before we look at ourselves.

K.I.S.S

JR
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Hey it was worth FC.

You fat angry pussy you.

LOL

JR
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Yep, all the things you never wanted to know about me---
and never intended to ask!



(blush)
cheers.
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...failing to support a democratic uprising against him after the Gulf war ......

....Because as long as Western foreign policy continues as it does, more
resentment will fester, and breed the sort of horrible murderous movements that were seen following....


To support the democratic uprising against Saddam after the Gulf War, the USA would have had to totally go against the UN resolution. Would this not have bred your resentment in the world, especially the muslim world.
This is exactly the sort of thing that you are complaining about, yet here you are advocating it.

Now here is the point I mean about 2 and 3 dimensional viewpoints. All your examples look at "flashpoints" as a people or country vs USA in isolation. That's a naive & simplistic point of view often used by "US bashers".

If only foreign policy was so simple.Each case involves trade offs with other countries & within the US, threats from other countries, assumed threats from other countries, second guessing other countries reactions, decisions made by hostile committee (eg UN, congress etc).
It might even involve threats/negotiations with countries with a convoluted 5 degrees of separation from the actual issue and involve taking into account the reaction of 20,30 or 50 different countries.
When you line the ticks & crosses, they come out in the US's favour in my opinion.
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A brief one for now.

I might add that I have never at any point advocated _not_ taking action against Bin Laden. The concern is how it's done. I get the feeling that some can't people me painting the issue in shades of grey.

jono202:

"The US IMO has done many more good things than bad.
Bin laden has done many more bad things than good.
You don't seem to understand that fact<snip>


That's ridiculous.

"& your respect is lacking"

We're talking about massive war crimes here, on both sides. Anyone - Americans, Australians, Indonesians, crazed fundamentalist terrorists - who attempts to downplay the significance of lives taken without justification gets zero respect from me.

Is that really unfair?


For comparison, much (not all) of what has come from Washington does suggest that Bush is getting and probably acting on better advice than has been the case for past presidents.

" your jumping ahead, first we must stand up & destroy something(terrorist)very evil, before we look at ourselves."

Just watch out doing it. Destroying first and thinking later has caused the US grief in the past.

For what it's worth, I believe swift action should be taken against Bin Laden (not necessarily military strikes, until the time is right). This doesn't preclude a bit of introspection. In fact, our governments could do with a bit of introspection

The most nauseating comment I've heard in all of the media barrage lately was from Tony Blair, indignant that the sanctity of life had been so recklessly disregarded. Well, Blair, you hypocrite, the evil acts of the terrorists are small compared to the evil of the UK policy toward Indonesia and East Timor, in very recent history.

No one defending the US here has dared touch on East Timor I notice. Much easier to fudge the issue with vague comparisons about relative evil vs good? Yes, Bin Laden is more evil than our governments. Should that be enough to make us happy?

Barcoo:

"To support the democratic uprising against Saddam after the Gulf War, the USA would have had to totally go against the UN resolution."

The problem was in saying "rise up we will support you", at which they rose up... and the US gave free reign to Saddam in slaughtering the proponents of democracy. Based on past form, a compliant dictatorial type would have got more support from the US, in practice.

"Would this not have bred your resentment in the world, especially the muslim world."

I haven't met any Muslims who were fans of Saddam, so I'm not sure why. They might have made some friends, or at least tempered the anger over the nature of the attack and the blood spilt for oil. (Or do you think the US was defending democracy in Kuwait?)

"This is exactly the sort of thing that you are complaining about, yet here you are advocating it."

That's nothing like what I have ever complained about. In fact, I have never complained about the US supporting democracy. If carefully targetted military action were necessary, then that might be a necessary evil. But I haven't seen the US act in those kinds of circumstances (there's probably exceptions I can't think of, but they are not the dominant patten... and don't talk about Haiti unless you know what happened to the the previous elected president)

"If only foreign policy was so simple.Each case involves trade offs with other countries & within the US, threats from other countries, assumed threats from other countries, second guessing other countries reactions, decisions made by hostile committee (eg UN, congress etc).
It might even involve threats/negotiations with countries with a convoluted 5 degrees of separation from the actual issue and involve taking into account the reaction of 20,30 or 50 different countries.
When you line the ticks & crosses, they come out in the US's favour in my opinion."

So because it's not simple, factual arguments should be ignored (as you have done) and replaced with these broad generalisations and opinion? That's what this whole discourse boils down to - whether you're willing to face the facts.

So go on, Bush, advisors and allies, neutralise Bin Laden if you can, anyway you can, preferably quietly. Just avoid killing innocents and making too many more enemies. Be aware of your past failings, so that at this critical point in world history, you don't make dangerous mistakes. And stop being so damned smug, self-righteous and hypocritical.
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brief I said, it's never brief...

I wrote:
I get the feeling that some can't people me painting the issue in shades of grey.

D'oh - some people can't handle me painting the issue in shades of grey - as in America's recent historical record on human rights and related issues is on the whole very poor, even while acknowledging the good that might be done. Just as the UK was the most benevolent and enlightened of the colonising powers, it was still a colonising and exploiting and often brutal power, the same as the (more brutal) Portuguese and Ottomans and ancient Rome, and Mesopotamia.

jono202:
"The US IMO has done many more good things than bad.
Bin laden has done many more bad things than good.
You don't seem to understand that fact<snip>

That's ridiculous. As in it's obviously true, but ridiculous in that you can't use that to put the US beyond criticism and factual analysis.
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So because it's not simple, factual arguments should be ignored (as you have done) and replaced with these broad generalisations and opinion? That's what this whole discourse boils down to - whether you're willing to face the facts.

No. This is exactly what I am accusing you of doing.

As to your comments about The problem was in saying "rise up we will support you", at which they rose up... and the US gave free reign to Saddam in slaughtering the proponents of democracy. Based on past form, a compliant dictatorial type would have got more support from
the US, in practice.
.........


You are totally and obviously purposefully deying the political feeling of the time and what the US was being told by the UN, the Russians, the Chinese and the Moslem world.

........I haven't met any Muslims who were fans of Saddam, so I'm not sure why.
The fact that you haven't met them is neither here nor their, it's just rhetoric.
Didn't you see the rallys on TV of muslim immigrants in Australia protesting against the Gulf War.
I suppose you haven't met any muslims who were fans of Bin Laden either, I suggest you take a trip to Pakistan- and stay there.
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I wrote:
So because it's not simple, factual arguments should be ignored (as you have done) and replaced with these broad generalisations and opinion? That's what this whole discourse boils down to - whether you're willing to face the facts.

Barcoo wrote: No. This is exactly what I am accusing you of doing.

That's a bizarre claim. Have a look at past posts and see who has been relying on facts and who has been relying on patriotism.

I wrote: ........I haven't met any Muslims who were fans of Saddam, so I'm not sure why.

Barcoo wrote: The fact that you haven't met them is neither here nor their, it's just rhetoric.
Didn't you see the rallys on TV of muslim immigrants in Australia protesting against the Gulf War.

This is called equivocating - equating two things which are not equal in order to draw a false conclusion. (In this case you equate opponents of the Gulf War with supporters of Saddam). It's a good indication of rhetoric that not only is at odds with the facts, but makes no attempt to deal with them.

Lots of people who opposed Saddam for years (including while the US supported him) were opposed to the slaughter of the victims of his regime - but hey, don't let facts get in the way of a good argument - you haven't even attempted to answer most of my other historical points, so I don't see why you'd start now.

You've confirmed my view that the patriotic right is unconcerned with history and facts (not to mention human rights or the sanctity of life) - other than as a propaganda resource to be used selectively. It's rare for a right-winger to engage in an honest argument about history. (I'm sure they exist though. I used to be a right-winger myself... but I guess an open-minded right-winger is liable to change their views.)

Barcoo wrote:
I suppose you haven't met any muslims who were fans of Bin Laden either, I suggest you take a trip to Pakistan- and stay there.

That trip should be reserved for those who 1. support Bin Laden, or 2. support the states (including the US) that created such monsters. Not for those who refuse to support patriotic lies and murders.
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Having launched a tirade against right-wingers, I thought I should moderate my comments.

I'm by no means denigrating all comment from right-wing sources, or praising lefty media (which can be pretty bad). Nor everything posted by a right-winger such as yourself. For example, the articles for which you posted links to the board (Afghan-American's comments and the Jewish journalist visiting an Islamic school in Pakistan) were extremely interesting, and I don't find fault with them.

Even PJ O'Rourke, who often deserves the criticisms I made of right-wingers, is often insightful, and certainly seems closer to the mark re Cuba than many left-wing commentators who excuse the dictatorship (their ideology leading them into exactly the same kinds of logical and moral problems I find with right-wingers).

Arguments should not be rejected because they are undesirable or because of their source, rather than on their merits. If Pauline Hanson asks a reasonable question (it's happened at least once) then it should be dealt with reasonably. And someone from the left, or a critic of the establishment, deserves the same treatment.

Barcoo, you make general assertions about the rightness of the US in its actions and how on balance they're really okay. I have given a number of responses, with historical examples and moral arguments which are no doubt uncomfortable to a patriotic supporter of the US or Australian or UK state. And you ignore those responses, asserting the benevolence of American foreign policy while refusing to discuss East Timor and brushing off Western culpability for Middle Eastern monsters Bin Laden and Saddam, implying that it's okay for masses of innocent people to die (avoidably) because we don't like their dictator (even if we put him there). You can't really expect me to take you seriously, when you deliberately refuse to face the mirror of history.
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jono202:
"The US IMO has done many more good things than bad.
Bin laden has done many more bad things than good.
You don't seem to understand that fact<snip>

That's ridiculous. As in it's obviously true, but ridiculous in that you can't use that to put the US beyond criticism and factual analysis.


You like reading between the lines I notice.
Never said anything to suggest the US was beyond criticism, I in fact acknowledged they had made mistakes. But I like more what they have done good in the world. Further I believe in the freedom of speach & the freedom of all men & woman esp to hold their own views.

-Your not bringing anything new to the table.
-You agree that action against the terrorists should happen.
-Many posters conveyed understanding in regards to past wrong acts by our goverments.
-Your thoughts on history are blinded by your own convictions(lack balance)
-I know that you think you a enlightening the board with the world your way.

I say you should be glad for the UK, US & Australian past & present for the considerable libertys we enjoy, hey you don't have to cover your face in public do you?

JR-Rooting for a change of subject-
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JR-Rooting for a change of subject-

Hey, I thought "rooting" in Oz-speak meant "doing the deed", if you know what I mean!!!

Seriously, I have refrained from responding to some of the posts here that I DO NOT AGREE with because I realize that you all might want to get back to discussing stocks, the economy, etc. and not America (land that I love!)

Best regards to all.

Christina
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"Rooted" means "beyond repair or saving" in Australia. Of a person, exhausted, unable to move, too ill to act.


We do not "root" for a team. We barrack for a team.


And while we are talking about these things, I am not a fan of "free speech" without acknowledgement of a responsibility to restrain such speech to avoid hurt or untruth. America has much to answer for on this front; and its all-too-vocal extremists (right-wing, fundamentalist, racist) deserve condemnation.

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"Rooted" means "beyond repair or saving" in Australia. Of a person, exhausted, unable to move, too ill to act.

Yep & the sexual slang as in...you wont a root?.....been rootin all weekend...& of cause go get rooted you #%#@#^%



We do not "root" for a team. We barrack for a team

Yep, & we don't were our cricket caps back wards either mate.


And while we are talking about these things, I am not a fan of "free speech" without acknowledgement of a responsibility to restrain such speech to avoid hurt or untruth. America has much to answer for on this front; and its all-too-vocal extremists (right-wing, fundamentalist, racist) deserve condemnation.

Extremists, god knows we got to many of them, they deserve condemnation from all decent thinking people.

JR




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That's a bizarre claim. Have a look at past posts and see who has been relying on facts and who has been relying on patriotism......
.....Lots of people who opposed Saddam for years (including while the US supported him) were opposed to the slaughter of the victims
of his regime - but hey, don't let facts get in the way of a good argument - you haven't even attempted to answer most of my other
historical points, so I don't see why you'd start now.


Your facts have been broad generalisations about very specific instances that would take at least 100 pages or more to answer properly. As I said- complicated issues.
I suspect, the only reason they were raised in the first place was to "muddy the waters", so I stuck to the issue at hand. ie 6000+ people being murdered by terrorists in one go, and the need to track down and deal with the perpetrators. Original statement I believe was my displeasure at the people interviewed on TV who couldn't condemn the terrorists without blaming America in the very same sentence.

Along the way I probably pointed out that the likely consequences would be an escalation of the situation until it became a war. My attitude is if "they" (the middle eastern muslim communities) want to cause an escalation to this level, to protect a known terrorist murderer, then so be it. It is their choice.

(In this case you equate opponents of the Gulf War with supporters of Saddam). It's a good indication of rhetoric that not only is at odds with the facts, but makes no attempt to deal with them.

er No, I equated the muslim opponents of the Gulf War shown on the national news programs with supporters of Saddam.. That is what I saw on my news broadcasts. Maybe you were watching a different channel.
(NB I believe you defined your type of misconstrued inference here as equivocation. Conveniently left a few words out, didn't you.)


.....other than as a propaganda resource to be used selectively.
...... It's rare for a right-winger to engage in an honest argument about history

Propaganda resource used selectively- yes I would say that sums up your argument.
I AM NOT a right winger. Aren't people from the left allowed to disagree with you. Aren't people from the left allowed to be disgusted by the murders at the WTC. Aren't people from the left allowed to be disgusted by people who have trouble condemning this act unequivocably (I put you in this category).Aren't people from the left allowed to agree with a military response to this abominable act. Your elitest leftist attitude portrays you as having a superiority complex.

That trip should be reserved for those who 1. support Bin Laden, or 2. support the states (including the US) that created such
monsters. Not for those who refuse to support patriotic lies and murders.

These monsters aren't made by the US etc. We are all responsible for our own actions. If these people become monsters, it comes from "inside" them, it is not put there.They are psychopathic meglamaniacs.
As for your implication that I posted "patriotic lies". Point me to a lie in this thread, told by me. Them's fightin' words.
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As for your implication that I posted "patriotic lies". Point me to a lie in this thread, told by me. Them's fightin' words.

And this sentiment just about sums up the whole bloody pointless arguments that have raged on this board for the last two weeks. Next step.....Holy War?

Like kids arguing in the park. Lots of heat and very little light. For Christs sake ....... lighten up.

applefoot

(who regretfully has to resort to very undiplomatic language to get through. Go on....start on me now......I dare you......no I double-dog dare you. (LOL)

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As I said in post #2633:

"Seriously, I have refrained from responding to some of the posts here that I DO NOT AGREE with because I realize that you all might want to get back to discussing stocks, the economy, etc. and not America (land that I love!)"

Fool on!

Christina
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I haven't had a chance to come back to this, with business picking up in the run up to Christmas. But there's a couple of things left untied... a couple of comments and 2 questions for Barcoo.


Yes, Jono202, I probably was reading between the lines and misinterpreting. That has worked both ways, as there have been a lot of incorrect extrapolations from my own emails as well. One point where I give Barcoo credit is in his list of direct questions, early on. His assumptions about me were off beam, but that's understandable in text based discussions and that was a good way of clearing it up. I would have done better to respond in kind.

This is not to downplay the extent of the disagreement, but next time round hopefully there'll be better communication.

Barcoo:
"These monsters aren't made by the US etc. We are all responsible for our own actions."

Direct question: If we give weapons to known murderers, are we responsible for our actions, and do we share responsibility for subsequent murders?

Barcoo again:
"As for your implication that I posted "patriotic lies". Point me to a lie in this thread, told by me. Them's fightin' words."

Considering your earlier suggestion that I sounded like a sleeper, I don't think you have any cause to be indignant.

I didn't say you had lied, but rather you supported patriotic lies. As you have refused to give any reasons for your positions you haven't really needed to lie. Personally I think you are probably misled more than consciously lying. Plenty of false statements: the latest of them is your brushing off of any responsiblity by the West for the monsters they in effect created (in that these people probably would have been relatively insignificant in world events and would not have become who they are/were if they had not had Western support).

One final question for Barcoo:
Are you proud of US/British/Australian support for the Suharto regime and the Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor, including the arms sales to the Indonesian military?

Cheers,
Chris
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Really you are asking me foreign policy questions. As I've stated these are complicated issues with many trade offs involved that we -the little people- are not privy to.

Direct question: If we give weapons to known murderers, are we responsible for our actions, and do we share responsibility for subsequent murders?

For a start- it's a loaded question. Known murderers is an emotional term and I'm not sure it is very applicable to war zones. But any way I'll attempt to answer the question as if it's not loaded.

Yes, we are definitely responsible for OUR actions.
Are we responsible for THEIR actions, not necessarily.
THEY are responsible for their actions.
I would say that for responsibility to be applicable then prior knowledge would also have to be assumed.

Sometimes USA or Oz or UK etc might get it wrong. Sometimes they might appear to get it wrong, but be absolutely right.
Even if you get it right, how can you know? Even in retrospect. How can you know what might have happened in Indonesia if Suharto wasn't supported. Maybe 20 million might have died in a protracted civil war.
Maybe that will happen in Pakistan in the next 3 years. No one knows.
If that does happen in Pakistan, I suppose you would think that will "be America's fault too". Then again I suppose it could be the fault of the militant, fundamentalist fanatics that have been teaching and brainwashing to the masses for 10 or so years and the very anti-western media in some of these islamic countries.

If a country is supported for "the right" causes (very subjective) and then turns around and has a civil war in the ensuing power vacuum, should the US have stayed and imposed government, or should they have left. I think it's a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Things change. Your ally today is not necessarily your friend tomorrow. Your enemy yesterday is sometimes your ally today.

Are you proud of US/British/Australian support for the Suharto regime and the Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor, including the arms sales to the Indonesian military?

Actually that's 3 questions.
1) No opinion
2) No
3) No.

One direct question back to you if I can paraphrase you. I might even load it a bit myself.

If we don't hunt down the terrorists and, they get a nuclear weapon in the next 5 years, and explode it somewhere populated, are WE responsible then?

Before you answer this, I'll remind you that some of the militant and not necessarily militant masses regard nuclear weapons as a gift from Allah for use in Jihad. This, I would call "prior knowledge".

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Okay, I think that was constructive. Barcoo, I'll give you credit for being willing to answer direct questions - I may have to withdraw some of my earlier frustrated comments.

I don't know how the italic thing works, but I'll guess it's HTML...

Really you are asking me foreign policy questions. As I've stated these are complicated issues with many trade offs involved that we -the little people- are not privy to.
<snip>
Sometimes USA or Oz or UK etc might get it wrong. Sometimes they might appear to get it wrong, but be absolutely right.
Even if you get it right, how can you know? Even in retrospect. How can you know what might have happened in Indonesia if Suharto wasn't supported. Maybe 20 million might have died in a protracted civil war.
Maybe that will happen in Pakistan in the next 3 years. No one knows.


So, (correct me if I've misread you): Your position is not necessarily that we can know the US & allies' position is the right one and morally acceptable, but rather that we _cannot_ know. Direct questions: Do you therefore support and defend the US' foreign policy record on the basis of trust? If so, what do you base this trust on?


Direct question: If we give weapons to known murderers, are we responsible for our actions, and do we share responsibility for subsequent murders?
For a start- it's a loaded question. Known murderers is an emotional term and I'm not sure it is very applicable to war zones. But any way I'll attempt to answer the question as if it's not loaded.
Yes, we are definitely responsible for OUR actions.
Are we responsible for THEIR actions, not necessarily.
THEY are responsible for their actions.
I would say that for responsibility to be applicable then prior knowledge would also have to be assumed.


Yes, although a lesser degree of responsibility would apply when due care is not exercised.

To take this argument further would require some serious history, so I'll just be happy that I understand your position better.

If a country is supported for "the right" causes (very subjective) and then turns around and has a civil war in the ensuing power vacuum, should the US have stayed and imposed government, or should they have left.

If that is your perception of the way things have happened, then you & I have a very different reading of history. But again, I'm at least more satisfied to know where you're coming from.


One direct question back to you if I can paraphrase you. I might even load it a bit myself.
If we don't hunt down the terrorists and, they get a nuclear weapon in the next 5 years, and explode it somewhere populated, are WE responsible then?
Before you answer this, I'll remind you that some of the militant and not necessarily militant masses regard nuclear weapons as a gift from Allah for use in Jihad. This, I would call "prior knowledge".


That's an easy one. Yes, we would share responsibility. Yes, would should hunt them down.

In the current situation, every (morally acceptable) effort should be made to immobilise, kill, make ineffective or capture Bin Laden and his followers. However, this should be done with an eye to the consequences of our actions, particularly the danger of earning more enemies than strictly necessary.

Which requires me to address the question - what's morally acceptable? If we suppose that there is no other option than a bombing campaign which kills hundreds of civilians, then that _may_ be the morally acceptable alternative to letting Osama Bin Laden flourish. I am not convinced that this is indeed the only option, but I don't know all the necessary facts about the short term situation in order to make a judgement on this bombing campaign. Where you and I seem to differ is on our willingness to trust the moral judgement of US (& allied) political & military leaders.


Another direct question (not directly related): Do you agree with Henry Kissinger, when he responded to the Chileans' democratic election of the Allende socialist govt by saying that "I don't see why we have to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people"? (The palace was stormed in September 1973).

Thanks for the response.

Cheers,
Chris
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You already seem to have this, but anyway here it is if you are interested.



Styling Your Post

Yes, you too can now use bold and italic (even bold italic if you are really clever!) type in your board posts, just like the famous publishers!
Be the star of your folder, and have the admiration of your peers!

For you HTMLers out there, just use the standard opening and closing
HTML tags when you write your post. The rest of us will need that
explained. At the beginning of the text you want to enhance, type
< B > for bold, and < I > for italic. At the end of the enhanced text, type < /B > for bold, or < /I > for italic (take the spaces out to make them work), whichever you used (using both tags creates bold and italic text, of course). For example, I code the following sentence in a post: I < B > love < /B > the < I > Fool < /I >. When I preview or publish the message, the sentence appears as follows:

I
love
the
Fool.

Using italics to quote a portion of a previous post when writing your
reply is effective and classy, always in good taste. Just remember that
as in any good writing, a little bit of emphasis goes a long way.

Inserting a hyperlink is even simpler. Just type or paste it in. The post
page will automatically change anything that starts with "www." or
"http://" into a link. You don't have to do any fancy HTML formatting.
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Your position is not necessarily that we can know the US & allies' position is the right one and morally acceptable, but rather that we _cannot_ know.
No. I believe the US and allies' position is the correct one.
My point here was that people throw mud at the US for taking a "position" in a country when a "bad" outcome results. Yet it is possible that a worse "outcome" could have eventuated if no position was taken.
The trouble is that there is no way of knowing what the alternative outcome would have been. There are possibilities, probabilities, extrapolation ,rhetoric, lies, propaganda etc. but absolutely no proof either way.


Direct questions: Do you therefore support and defend the US'
foreign policy record on the basis of trust? If so, what do you base this trust on?


Foreign policy is a big field to lump all actions/positions together as one.
I didn't say that I supported every position that they take.
I've never really thought about it in terms of "trust" but I suppose generally ,it is. From my point of view I base this trust on common sense.
Consider the alternative. Someone else having this "power".
I don't like this alternative.
The US are prepared to support and fight for "western ideals" - democracy, freedom, equal rights, freedom of speech. The same things we regard as important. The same reason these people from other countries want to come here.


.......effort should be made to immobilise, kill, make ineffective or capture Bin Laden and his followers.

I'll repeat, the problem is bigger than Bin Laden and his web. The real difference between our viewpoints seems to be that you want to put boundaries on any action/targets, whereas I take the viewpoint "whatever is necessary" literally. You can't fight with handcuffs on and even if you put "self imposed handcuffs" on, you don't let the enemy see them.
Before you "get off your bike" "whatever is necessary" doesn't only mean military action.

However, this should be done with an eye to the consequences of our actions, particularly the danger of earning more enemies than strictly necessary.

A semi tongue in cheek question to this. How many enemies are strictly necessary?
And a serious response as well. Yes take that into account BUT you don't let it stop you from doing what is right.


Where you and I seem to differ is on our willingness to trust the moral judgement of US (& allied) political & military leaders.

I'll give you a scenario.
Afghanistan- year 2010- infrastructure 50 to 60% repaired. All major towns with running water. Legal agriculture the best it's been for 30 years and feeding the country. Government stable but with rumours of unrest. Ex pat Afghanis going back to Afghanistan to live, more every year. All Afghanis allowed to participate in society.
Do you think this outcome would more likely be the result of the US and their allies being successful or the Taliban and their allies being successful?

Do you agree with Henry Kissinger, when ......

No opinion whatsoever, don't have enough knowledge of the situation.
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Barcoo,

thanks for the formatting info.

"Your position is not necessarily that we can know the US & allies' position is the right one and morally acceptable, but rather that we _cannot_ know."

No. I believe the US and allies' position is the correct one.
My point here was that people throw mud at the US for taking a "position" in a country when a "bad" outcome results. Yet it is possible that a worse "outcome" could have eventuated if no position was taken.

The trouble is that there is no way of knowing what the alternative outcome would have been. There are possibilities, probabilities, extrapolation ,rhetoric, lies, propaganda etc. but absolutely no proof either way.


I'm genuinely having trouble understanding your position. So... does the following tie in directly and explain your position?:

Consider the alternative. Someone else having this "power".
I don't like this alternative.
The US are prepared to support and fight for "western ideals" - democracy, freedom, equal rights, freedom of speech. The same things we regard as important. The same reason these people from other countries want to come here.<i/>


I don't know if I'm getting to the heart of your reasoning here, but I'll try:

On a superficial level, someone could say that they supported Russia's invasion (or "defence of", however they described it) Afghanistan - and that there was no way of saying that it would have turned out better if Russia hadn't invaded.

Yet you would not accept this as a basis for saying Russia's position and actions were the right ones (any more than I would). Is the essential difference the fact that you have faith in US policy and not in Soviet policy? (Note I deliberately didn't say "more faith" - there are plenty of us who have little or no faith in US policy, but who view the Soviets as having been worse.)

Consider the alternative. Someone else having this "power".
I don't like this alternative.


Neither do I. I prefer the US having the power rather than, say, the Chinese or Russians having this power. But if someone doesn't want another regime, do they therefore have to accept US policy without comment?

The US are prepared to support and fight for "western ideals" - democracy, freedom, equal rights, freedom of speech. The same things we regard as important. The same reason these people from other countries want to come here.<i/>

US (& Australian etc) citizens enjoy a large degree of freedom, including freedom of speech, and certain equalities. Which many Muslims and others would also like to enjoy. While some may point out flaws, (and have the right to do so) there's no doubt that the West is a long way ahead of Iran and China etc etc. Good, we agree. So does Noam Chomsky, a particularly vocal critic of US foreign policy. No argument.

But here's a point of difference: does the US (and Australia etc) support these same ideals in other countries? By and large, I believe not. East Timor is an obvious example. Chile (and much of Latin America), Indonesia (prior to and during Soeharto's regime) and Vietnam (starting from 1919, when it refused to support independence, and consistently through the following decades, through the Diem regime...) are other examples.

Why you believe that the US does support these values?

Now, you believe that the US supports democratic values. On historical questions relating to the overthrow of popularly supported governments in favour of dictatorships, as in Indonesia and Chile, you have not given an opinion, so what can I say...

Okay, here's a question for you: Do you believe that our governments should support democratically elected governments in other countries (not destabilise them or support coups)? If you believe there are exceptions, what would they encompass? (E.g. I would class a vote for an regime committed to nuking Washington as a valid exception).

Gotta go...
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I slipped up with the italics (html typo), so I'll try again:

Barcoo,
thanks for the formatting info.
"Your position is not necessarily that we can know the US & allies' position is the right one and morally acceptable, but rather that we _cannot_ know."

No. I believe the US and allies' position is the correct one.

My point here was that people throw mud at the US for taking a "position" in a country when a "bad" outcome results. Yet it is possible that a worse "outcome" could have eventuated if no position was taken.

The trouble is that there is no way of knowing what the alternative outcome would have been. There are possibilities, probabilities, extrapolation ,rhetoric, lies, propaganda etc. but absolutely no proof either way.


I'm genuinely having trouble understanding your position. So... does the following tie in directly and explain your position?:

Consider the alternative. Someone else having this "power".
I don't like this alternative.
The US are prepared to support and fight for "western ideals" - democracy, freedom, equal rights, freedom of speech. The same things we regard as important. The same reason these people from other countries want to come here.


I don't know if I'm getting to the heart of your reasoning here, but I'll try:

On a superficial level, someone could say that they supported Russia's invasion (or "defence of", however they described it) Afghanistan - and that there was no way of saying that it would have turned out better if Russia hadn't invaded.

Yet you would not accept this as a basis for saying Russia's position and actions were the right ones (any more than I would). Is the essential difference the fact that you have faith in US policy and not in Soviet policy? (Note I deliberately didn't say "more faith" - there are plenty of us who have little or no faith in US policy, but who view the Soviets as having been worse.)

Consider the alternative. Someone else having this "power".
I don't like this alternative.


Neither do I. I prefer the US having the power rather than, say, the Chinese or Russians having this power. But if someone doesn't want another regime, do they therefore have to accept US policy without comment?

The US are prepared to support and fight for "western ideals" - democracy, freedom, equal rights, freedom of speech. The same things we regard as important. The same reason these people from other countries want to come here.

US (& Australian etc) citizens enjoy a large degree of freedom, including freedom of speech, and certain equalities. Which many Muslims and others would also like to enjoy. While some may point out flaws, (and have the right to do so) there's no doubt that the West is a long way ahead of Iran and China etc etc. Good, we agree. So does Noam Chomsky, a particularly vocal critic of US foreign policy. No argument.

But here's a point of difference: does the US (and Australia etc) support these same ideals in other countries? By and large, I believe not. East Timor is an obvious example. Chile (and much of Latin America), Indonesia (prior to and during Soeharto's regime) and Vietnam (starting from 1919, when it refused to support independence, and consistently through the following decades, through the Diem regime...) are other examples.

Why you believe that the US does support these values?

We could get further by considering historical questions relating to the overthrow of popularly supported governments in favour of dictatorships, as in Indonesia and Chile. But you have not given an opinion, so what can I say... but keep those areas in mind if you feel like reading some history.

Okay, here's a watered-down question for you: Do you believe that our governments should support democratically elected governments in other countries (not destabilise them or support coups)? If you believe there are exceptions, what would they encompass? (E.g. I would class a vote for an regime committed to nuking Washington as a valid exception).

Gotta go... (hope the italics work better)
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I suggest you do a "preview reply" before posting to check your formatting. It helped me a lot when I first started fooling around with Italics & Bold.

We are getting to the stage again where the answer could easily be a 100 page document and I can't be bothered doing that.
I think my position is fairly clear. I am sick of people throwing sh*t at USA with regards to foreign policy and using that to "blame" America for the terrorist attacks.

"But here's a point of difference: does the US (and Australia etc) support these same ideals in other countries? By and large, I believe not. East Timor is an obvious example. Chile (and much of Latin America), Indonesia (prior to and during Soeharto's regime) and Vietnam (starting from 1919, when it refused to support independence, and consistently through the following decades, through the Diem regime...) are other examples.

As I've said, complicated issues which I am not sure I know enough about to comment on. Not sure if you do either, second hand rhetoric can often look like knowledge.

The main thing to remember is- the primary concern of the USA is USA's interests, the primary concern of Australia is Australia's interests. Supporting those interests involve lots of trade offs. Some easy ,some hard, some very hard and very smelly.
Lots of situations are put in the "too hard" basket. Doesn't mean that the US or Australia or whoever like it, it just means that they have to live with it, and work with it, until something happens to change the situation. I could say "East Timor is an obvious example."

Politics/foreign policy involves trade offs on all levels, whether it be with super powers, allies, protagonists ,electors, parliament etc. To pretend that there are/were simple options to these problems is deceiving.

Some of your argument goes back to 1919, I seem to remember last time you even took it back to the crusade days. I'll ask again "How far do you want to go back?"The world was a bit different place in 1919 than now.

Okay, here's a question for you: Do you believe that our governments should support democratically elected governments in other countries (not destabilise them or support coups)? If you believe there are exceptions, what would they encompass?

Two questions actually maybe three.
Not sure if these questions are loaded purposefully or just attempting to be simplistic. Either way I could probably easily run this answer alone to twenty pages. I'll answer in a simplistic manner.
There are differing levels of democracy.
There is no guarantee of democracies electing "sensible, kind, reasonable" government.
"Support" can mean many things.
Personally I think the BEST form of government is a benevolent dictatorship but the chances of getting one are so slim that a "sensible" democracy is the next best option.
Destabilising governments could be valid, current situation is a case in point. I don't think whether that government is democratically elected or not is relevant to the situation.
How many different shades of grey do you want to talk about?
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I think my position is fairly clear. I am sick of people throwing sh*t at USA with regards to foreign policy and using that to "blame" America for the terrorist attacks.

Few people are blaming the US in the sense that they excuse the actions of the perpetrators (although patriots tend portray them in this way) but rather see it as a consequence of equally abhorrent and even more widespread terror perpetrated by the US over a period of decades. A more intelligent response to the attacks would involve as one part of the analysis, why do they hate America? This is an uncomfortable question for patriots, but it is an essential one. It should go without saying that asking difficult questions in no way excuses the murderous acts of September 11; nor should someone else's evil provide us with an excuse to forgo self-examination.

But since you readily admit to an fairly broad ignorance of history, I don't know on what basis you could assess whether this applies to the current situation.

"But here's a point of difference: does the US (and Australia etc) support these same ideals in other countries? By and large, I believe not. East Timor is an obvious example. Chile (and much of Latin America), Indonesia (prior to and during Soeharto's regime) and Vietnam (starting from 1919, when it refused to support independence, and consistently through the following decades, through the Diem regime...) are other examples.
As I've said, complicated issues which I am not sure I know enough about to comment on. Not sure if you do either, second hand rhetoric can often look like knowledge.


I've made a serious effort to understand these things, although I don't claim to be an expert. If I hadn't I wouldn't be expressing opinions so vehemently. On the critical and sometimes left-wing side, the writings of Chomsky, Hermann and others have been influential in getting me thinking about these things and making me question my previous right wing biases and assumptions, as have documentaries, such as those based on Halberstam's book "America in the Fifties". I've tried to do my own research, sometimes with encyclopedias and sometimes assaulting historian friends (from undergrad to PhD) with questions, and in one case an Indonesian specialist, particularly in regard to the book "Subversion as a Foreign Policy" by the Kahins, about the US role in Indonesia. Biographical reading is another source. Study of relatively "straight" history, particularly through an Open Learning Australia course, was very informative.

Another way I try to increase my understanding is to expose myself to and try to understand those with opposing views. That's what I'm doing now, although what I've learnt in this case has to do with mindsets and communication rather than history.

Obviously these sources range widely in reliability, but it's a matter of knowing how to use your sources (just as with science and engineering, my own areas of study). What an undergrad or PhD historian or indeed any individual says cannot be taken as fact, but it can be valuable as a pointer and as a check against other sources, a way of challenging what one believes one has learnt so far. And of course verifiable historical facts need to be at the centre of historical understanding.

A lot of this stuff is not difficult to find out about. Policy makers simply rely on people's willingness to believe comforting soundbites that appeal to their patriotism.

I respect your willingness to say that you don't understand and not express an opinion - but this should also make you careful about expressing opinions on related topics, like defending US foreign policy.

The main thing to remember is- the primary concern of the USA is USA's interests, the primary concern of Australia is Australia's interests. Supporting those interests involve lots of trade offs. Some easy ,some hard, some very hard and very smelly."


Don't be surprised then if other countries put their own interests first... and possibly don't share the apparently view that 7000 American lives are more important than half a million Indonesian/East Timorese/Vietnamese lives. And don't be surprised when others find this view obnoxious and hypocritical given claims made about respect for human rights and democracy etc.

Some of your argument goes back to 1919, I seem to remember last time you even took it back to the crusade days. I'll ask again "How far do you want to go back?"The world was a bit different place in 1919 than now.

I don't recall mentioning the crusades, I think that was someone else's red herring - as if asking "how far should we go back in history?" somehow mitigated all atrocities.

Re 1919, the point is that we see a consistent anti-democratic pro-colonial position adopted towards Vietnam by the US from the time of the Versailles conference through to the Vietnam war. This is recent history. And there's no evidence that the US has fundamentally changed either since 1919 or since the 1970s.

The one positive development has been the protestors you seem to despise so much have required a greater attention to questions of morality than would have been the case previously, including a lower willingness to sacrifice ordinary Americans etc for unjustified conflicts.

Destabilising governments could be valid, current situation is a case in point. I don't think whether that government is democratically elected or not is relevant to the situation.

Depends whether you value democracy or not. But don't hold this position and then make claims about the USA's supposed defence of democracy etc.

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Your reply is very hard to decipher in parts because of your apparent lack of understanding of the HTML instructions. Doesn't give me much faith in your ability to understand the nuances of foreign policy.

but rather see it as a consequence of equally abhorrent and even more widespread terror perpetrated by the US over a period of decades.

You can call this statement what you like. I call it indirectly blaming the US for the attacks.

But since you readily admit to an fairly broad ignorance of history,
I didn't think that I admitted a broad ignorance of history, I thought I denied a knowledge of the specifics of some facets of US foreign policy and an unwillingness to comment from that position. It's a pity you wouldn't answer the questions that I have put to you.

The one positive development has been the protestors you seem to despise so much have required a greater attention to questions of morality than would have been the case previously, including a lower willingness to sacrifice ordinary Americans etc for unjustified conflicts.
Please answer this one- you are calling the current situation "unjustified conflicts" are you??? If not why are you using the inference that it is?

I don't think whether that government is democratically elected or not is relevant to the situation.
Depends whether you value democracy or not. But don't hold this position and then make claims about the USA's supposed defence of democracy etc.

Obviously you didn't understand my answer last time, so this time I will write slower for you.
There are differing levels of democracy. You are commenting as if there is only one level of democracy and by doing this are attempting to "handcuff" my response. Why would you do this? I thought you wanted an open discussion.
Democracy doesn't guarantee a benevolent government.
Democracy while admirable doesn't exclude the need to take action against a democratically elected government if that government does something that warrants action.

Don't be surprised then if other countries put their own interests first... and possibly don't share the apparently view that 7000
American lives are more important than half a million Indonesian/East Timorese/Vietnamese lives. And don't be surprised when others find this view obnoxious and hypocritical given claims made about respect for human rights and democracy etc.


Let me get this clear. The Americans are now also responsible for the death of half a million Indonesian/East Timorese/Vietnamese lives as well, are they?
We've already covered the Indonesian and East Timorese questions. You are becoming rhetorical and repetitive.
As I've said I'm not familiar with the situation in 1919 but I presume US walked away rather than fight with France. Do you think they should have had a war with France?
I presume you hold them responsible for the Vietnam War as well.

YOU hold them responsible when they take a position, YOU hold them responsible when they walk away. WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO DO? TAKE A POSITION OR WALK AWAY?
Being as the answers are so simple and you are so informed I expect you will be able to list your answers by either situation or country. Probably should also list expected casualties and acceptable maximum casualties from resulting action (including from walking away) and how closest 5 or 6 affected countries will be expected to react.
It's a lot easier to be wise looking backwards than forwards.

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Barcoo,

You wrote:
"The US are prepared to support and fight for "western ideals" - democracy, freedom, equal rights, freedom of speech."

Can you give any examples (say, in the past thirty years)?

Chris
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hear, hear. i'm also appalled and i'm not american.

judy
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hey , you guys are good for a laugh - i was getting so hot under the collar reading the rubbish and then i had a laugh and calmed down - thank G-d for australians and our weird sense of humor.

judy
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