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No. of Recommendations: 4
NPR keeps playing this clip from Bush's speech:

There is no such thing as a good terrorist. No national aspiration nor remembered wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent.

I know he used the word deliberate in there, but really, we're bombing Afghan cities knowing full well that innocent civilians will get in the way sometimes. Is this so very different? Not as far as I can tell. All we're doing is using a (freshly) remembered wrong to justify our military actions, which is exactly the thing he's decrying here.

This one just makes me giggle:

Stressing the links between terrorism, crime and drug abuse, Brazil's President Fernando Henrique Cardoso called for ``a worldwide public awareness campaign to make drug users realize that, even if inadvertently, they are helping finance terrorism.'

That sure adds a new twist to "Buy American".

Mitten
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No. of Recommendations: 7
Is this so very different? Not as far as I can tell.

I think it is very different.

All we're doing is using a (freshly) remembered wrong to justify our military actions

A society is not required to treat its predators gracefully. Would you say "Oh well" and wait for the next WTC?

D
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Is this so very different? Not as far as I can tell.

Why don't we just detonate a few suitcase nukes and spread a little nerve gas in our own cities and get it over with. As long as only American civilians get killed it's not a problem, right?


--Jingoist extraordinaire
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Is this so very
different?


You're kidding, right?

jazz
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No. of Recommendations: 6
I know he used the word deliberate in there, but really, we're bombing Afghan cities knowing full well that innocent civilians will get in the way sometimes. Is this so very different?

I suppose it depends on your definition of murder, or your definition of deliberate.

The innocent civilians likely to be caught 'in the way' are the ones who are the least likely to be able to do anything about their situation. They can't leave the area, and they can't influence the ones in power. It truly sucks to be them, and I'd like to think that it's going to get better for them but short term it's going to get worse. It probably can't be avoided, but I don't think it quite qualifies as deliberate.

As for Bush, I'm starting to wonder if his speech writers are selected on the basis of a good old boy system. At times, they don't seem to be much better than he is.
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No. of Recommendations: 6
A society is not required to treat its predators gracefully.

A barbaric society, no. One that considers itself advanced, moral, humanitarian and full of justice should at least consider it.

Would you say "Oh well" and wait for the next WTC?

No, but there are a myriad of possible actions which do not involve warlike military maneuvers. Off the top of my head: increase our defences at home. Get some intelligent intelligence. Refine and refigure our foreign policy.

But my real point was that Bush is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He is our leader, it is his right to decide to use force against our country's enemies. But I as a citizen have a right to speak out against him when he is being hypocritical. I actually don't mind his use of force near as much as I mind his justifying it with the very same things he claims to be fighting against. It's sloppy thinking and an arrogant attitude.

Mitten
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No. of Recommendations: 4
But my real point was that Bush is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He is our leader, it is his right to decide to use force against our country's enemies. But I as a citizen have a right to speak out against him when he is being hypocritical. I actually don't mind his use of force near as much as I mind his justifying it with the very same things he claims to be fighting against. It's sloppy thinking and an arrogant attitude.

I'll agree with your point about speaking out, and maybe I read more into the Bush statement than the overly simple words. Consider the preceding actions, some of which include:

1. There was a clear communication to the Taliban as to how the bombing could have been prevented. When we talk about justification, how do they justify inflicting this war upon their civilians.

2. I believe that they could likewise stop the bombing, should they choose to do so.

3. Of course they have a history of brutality toward their own people, so the current position is predictable.

4. Interesting that Taliban "warriors" are lodging themselves in civilian areas. That's the clearest evidence of US intent that I can see. They are voting with their feet - off to areas of relative safety. It sucks, as vu points out, and I know many good people die in war.

So Dub may come off arrogant, but the things he didn't say in the catch phrase, carry it for me.

D
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No. of Recommendations: 2
I know he used the word deliberate in there, but really, we're bombing
Afghan cities knowing full well that innocent civilians will get in the way
sometimes. Is this so very different? Not as far as I can tell.

Agentmitten


With the Taliban parking tanks, field artillery, and munitions near or in mosques, hospitals, and schools, (where you can be assured there are no female students), U.S. forces are left with little choice if they want to destroy enemy weaponry. This is why we need troops on the ground to identify and distinguish between military targets and innocent civilians. Again, the distinction is that the Afghan people know they are in a war, the WTC victims had no forewarning.

What I still am amazed at is our forces not eradicating a major source of income for the Taliban, Opium. Wipe out the crops and the fields they are grown on and their economy suffers a blow, and their ability to wage war diminished. In this scenario, civilian deaths would be at a minimum and two objectives would be achieved.

But I guess the "War on drugs" is just as silly overseas as it is at home.

dub

So Dub may come off arrogant, but the things he didn't say in the catch phrase, carry it for me.

D


Me, dub
Him, Dubya
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Is this so very different? Not as far as I can tell. All we're doing is using a (freshly) remembered wrong to justify our military actions, which is exactly the thing he's decrying here.


Yes it is. We warned the Taliban weeks before we started bombing Afghanistan. The terrorists gave the murdered citizens of the world on 9/11 no warning.

Big difference.

Naj
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No. of Recommendations: 7
We warned the Taliban weeks before we started bombing Afghanistan. The terrorists gave the murdered citizens of the world on 9/11 no warning.

Big difference.



Great, I think we all agree that we're the good guys. Can we now return to the point that AgentMitten was making? In the President's own words:

No national aspiration nor remembered wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent.

Notice that there is no mention of warnings or troop deployment or 'human shields'. Basically he is saying that it is wrong to kill people who aren't trying to kill you. I think he might be on to something there. On the other hand, he is in charge of a bombing campaign that is inevitably killing people who aren't trying to kill us, and he knows it. By making excuses for the civilian deaths you are saying precisely that our national aspiration (to 'get' Bin Laden and the Taliban) is justification for murdering innocents after all. The President seems to disagree with you.

At least the President's speech writers were smart enough to insert "deliberately" so that we could kill people by accident and still be ok. You haven't been so clever.

What Mitten has correctly pointed out is that his self-righteous bombast has ensnared him in an unintended rhetorical trap which he has weakly attempted to escape by declaring a convenient double standard. This means only that he is a poor editor and a putz, nothing more. But he is an awfully dangerous putz.

euclid
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No. of Recommendations: 9
>>No national aspiration nor remembered wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent.<<


Tell that to the children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who were innocent and that we deliberately murdered because of our national aspirations and remembered wrongs.

I have no problem whatsoever with taking military action to hopefully prevent the future murder of American innocents. I see it as a legitimate matter of self defense.

What I do have a problem with is our leaders, like Bush, treating us like morons and trying to pretend and convince us that when we murder innocent people in our desire to protect ourselves it is in the grand search for justice and freedom for all the people of the world. Right now our government is in the process of cozying up to every two-bit dictator and thug we can find that claims to be with us in our grand war on terrorism. Including the Northern Alliance which Bush calls our friends but from what I can see are no better and maybe worse than the Taliban judging by their past record of human rights abuses.

We wage a war to save civilization itself babbles Bush. You're either with us or against us in our war on terrorism. What idiocy. Our so-called allies in the war on terrorism, like Saudi Arabia, don't even make a secret of the support for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

It's a complicated, dirty world out there. A world where we have to get up close and personal with all manner of nasty "friends" to protect ourselves from lunatics like our former friend, Saddam Hussein. A monster we did a lot to help create and nurture and that we now will have to destroy once we get done with those push-overs, the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Those evil doers the Taliban. The same people we coundn't give a cra* about two months ago. The same group that were just as nasty and just as evil on September 10 as they were on September 11. We just didn't give a damn.

So great. Let's roll. Let's deal with those who wish AMERICAN innocents harm. But spare me the bomides about how the US never deliberately kills innocents in its pursuit of what it sees as the national interest. That's a flat out lie.

Mike

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No. of Recommendations: 6
As for Bush, I'm starting to wonder if his speech writers are selected on the basis of a good old boy system. At times, they don't seem to be much better than he is.

It might help. If they stopped. Putting periods. Where they don't. Belong.


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No. of Recommendations: 0
Hey fleg

<Why don't we just detonate a few suitcase nukes and spread a little nerve gas in our own cities and get it over with. As long as only American civilians get killed it's not a problem, right?>

Ordinarily I wouldn't agree with this but in your case I'm sure we would be glad to make an exception.

j
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No. of Recommendations: 6
>>No national aspiration nor remembered wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent.<<

Tell that to the children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who were innocent and that we deliberately murdered because of our national aspirations and remembered wrongs.

I have no problem whatsoever with taking military action to hopefully prevent the future murder of American innocents. I see it as a legitimate matter of self defense.

What I do have a problem with is our leaders, like Bush, treating us like morons and trying to pretend and convince us that when we murder innocent people in our desire to protect ourselves it is in the grand search for justice and freedom for all the people of the world.


Along the same lines...

In an interview given to a reporter from the Pakistani newspaper Dawn ( http://www.dawn.com/2001/11/10/top1.htm ; I've been checking the paper on and off for the last month), Osama Bin Laden said:
"I wish to declare that if America used chemical or nuclear weapons against us, then we may retort with chemical and nuclear weapons. We have the weapons as deterrent."

To which, Colin Powell on Meet The Press responded (paraphrasing) that such threats were further evidence of how awful OBL was. And, IIRC, Dubya said something very similar. (don't ahve an exact quote in front of me, but if one has a link, that would be great)

Now, I'm no fan of OBL, and wouldn't be troubled in the least if we shot OBL and all Al Qaeda members down as if they were rabid dogs. They've provided ample evidence of how awful they are.

But, saying one will use weapons of mass destruction if they are used against one...heck, hasn't that been our official position? That's Israel's position re: nukes (have they ever officially admitted they have nukes? We all know it).

I think OBL and co. are lying like rugs (afghan rugs? I know, OBL ain't no Afghan). I don't think they have viable chem, bio, or nuclear (or as dubya calls them, "nucular") weapons, and if they did and could deliver them effectively, I bet they'd have no qualms about using them offensively. But, the statement that one would use such weapons in response to an attack in kind is NOT evidence of evil. In fact, it's OUR official policy.

-synchronicity
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No. of Recommendations: 7
I don't believe that we're bombing anything in Afghanistan where there are no Taliban. Civilian casualties are inflicted on people who are in unfortunate proximity to those who harbor the murderers of 6000 innocent Americans. If we don't get them, it's only a matter of time before it happens again and again, beefed up security or not. Can't you understand this incredibly simple fact?

I wonder what you guys would be saying if Mr. Gore had won the election and was right now busy wiping out the Taliban and causing regretable civilian casualties. I think you'd be using every sophistic mental gyration you could get your hands on to justify agreeing with it wholeheartedly. Your blind rage over the fact that a Republican won the Presidency is showing.

--fleg9bo, no fan of Bush, but for other reasons
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No. of Recommendations: 11
causing regretable civilian casualties

Regretable civilian casualties, Flegbo? You were all in favour of nuking the whole country a couple of months ago. What happened? You manage to watch enough CNN and Fox news to realize not everybody in Afghanistan was a "goddamned terrorist."

If we don't get them, it's only a matter of time before it happens again and again, beefed up security or not. Can't you understand this incredibly simple fact?

Can't you understand the incredibly simple fact that if a country is going to wage war and "get them", they better be willing to commit their boys to fighting on the ground and yes, dying too? Bombing from above and using murderous gangsters...oops, I mean the Northern Alliance, on the ground to do the dirty work is a sure fire recipe for disaster.

I hope I'm wrong but personally, I think the U.S. is cuffed on this one, sunshine. Dubya and his administration haven't been thinking through the consequences. I'd like as much as anyone to see bin Laden and his al Qaeda destroyed, but I don't think that will be accomplished, not the way the U.S. is handling things at the moment.
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No. of Recommendations: 5
Bombing from above and using murderous gangsters...oops, I mean the Northern Alliance, on the ground to do the dirty work is a sure fire recipe for disaster.

The Northern Alliance is actually Afghanistans largest growers of opium - not the Taliban as has been suggested in some western media sources. The Taliban have banned the production of drugs:

http://news.123india.com/full/05102001/regional/afp/011005173423rs02hjs4q4.html

Those drugs have probably killed more Americans than what were killed in the WTC attacks. So it is kind of strange, having them as your allies. As the saying goes with friends like these, who needs enemies.

But I guess the same goes for the Taliban during the soviet days. Then they were portrayed as idealistic freedom fighters (much as the Northern Alliance is portrayed), now they are terrorists. Give the Northen Alliance a few years and we shall see whether they are still the democracy loving idealists.

At the risk of being accused of "being against us, if you are not with us" (copyright George W. Bush), I should end with the standard sign off that must be used if anyone says anything remotely negative about the war:

"I'd like as much as anyone to see bin Laden and his al Qaeda destroyed"
(copyright - neofool22).

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No. of Recommendations: 4
Responding w/out reading the previous 6000 posts and w/out taking enough medicine to actually sit through an entire G.W. speech or Pentagon briefing... N'theless:

I wish to declare that if America used chemical or nuclear weapons against us, then we may retort with chemical and nuclear weapons. We have the weapons as deterrent."

To which, Colin Powell on Meet The Press responded (paraphrasing) that such threats were further evidence of how awful OBL was.


I think (note the word "I", because it's not clear that GW ever does) that the demonstrated "evil" is not the willingness to RETORT with chemical or nucular weapons - the evil is/was in the appropriation of such weapons. The "evil" is apparent from the modus operandi of the group, and it is compounded by their efforts to obtain weapons of even greater mass destruction.

As synchronicity already says, if they did (have nuclear or chemical weapons) and could deliver them effectively, I bet they'd have no qualms about using them offensively.

To admit they have them, or even want them, when it is "understood" that they'd use them in an instant, IS an outright sign of how deliberately disturbed (evil) they are

It's this lack of qualms that makes it even more evil for them to go about obtaining these weapons. If my neighbor to the left goes out to buy a handgun "for protection", I don't think of it as evil. When my neighbor to the right, already known for poisoning the dogs and cats that cross his yard and for shooting BB's at our kids when they climb his fence, and now starting to walk down the block to yell at the kids skateboarding on the street - when he buys a handgun, that's further evidence of "evil".

In the long and short run, it doesn't matter. We should say less about everything involved. The facts speak for themselves, and all the speeches in the world only act to confuse the issues.

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No. of Recommendations: 5
<No national aspiration nor remembered wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent.>

Notice that there is no mention of warnings or troop deployment or 'human shields'. Basically he is saying that it is wrong to kill people who aren't trying to kill you.


I disagree. I think the speechwriter indicates a difference between deliberately targeting 50,000+ people minding their own business and accidentally taking out a few dozen people here and there living in a war zone. Not that bombing Afghan civilians isn't a tragedy, and even worse because the Afghans who could best get away probably already did, meaning the least able get the most bombed, but a tragedy isn't always a crime.
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No. of Recommendations: 8
But, saying one will use weapons of mass destruction if they are used against one...heck, hasn't that been our official position? That's Israel's position re: nukes (have they ever officially admitted they have nukes? We all know it).


This has the taste of Vietnam in it.

If it is not possible for you to make a moral distinction between the US and a terrorist organsization, you need to think harder.

I agree it is bad speechwriting, and I'm with you, I wish Bush was not our president today. But are any of the posters really making comparisons between the way the US acts and the way Al-Qaeda functions?

You can do better, I'm sure.

Rick
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No. of Recommendations: 8
Pixieboy said:
The Northern Alliance is actually Afghanistans largest growers of opium - not the Taliban as has been suggested in some western media sources. The Taliban have banned the production of drugs:

http://news.123india.com/full/05102001/regional/afp/011005173423rs02hjs4q4.html

Those drugs have probably killed more Americans than what were killed in the WTC attacks. So it is kind of strange, having them as your allies. As the saying goes with friends like these, who needs enemies.


Sure, they got $43 million from the US government to say they are not going to manufacture drugs. Of course, they also said they don't support bin Laden or al Qaeda. Then they allow a massive bombing campaign that allows harm to a small number of their civilians and the eventual loss of their government.

The Taliban are F-ing liars. Like Iraq, they have the lack of respect for people that makes it possible for them to stand in front of television cameras and make blatantly false claims to the world. The US is often called arrogant, but you have to start early to out arrogant a bunch of religious fanatics, whether they be Muslim or Christian fundamentalists.

The Taliban government could have stopped this early and easily.

Rick
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No. of Recommendations: 3
The Taliban government could have stopped this early and easily.

And Iraq could have avoided sanctions by allowing U.N. inspectors into their country to make sure that they are not developing weapons of mass destruction, whose only purpose is to murder civilians of Israel and the Western democracies.

And yet we are being accused of starving Iraqi children by those in our midst who choose to see the world through America-is-always-bad-colored glasses. Go figure.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
If it is not possible for you to make a moral distinction between the US and a terrorist organsization, you need to think harder.

Oh, I can make hundreds of moral distinctions between the US and terrorist organizations. And even between the US and various foreign governments. For example, we don't commandeer civilian aircraft by force and fly them into civilian structures in a deliberate attempt to cause massive casualties.

But, the statement "if attacked with weapons of mass destruction, we will reply in kind to defend ourselves" is NOT an example of such a distinction, and our leaders don't need to make statements reacting as if it were one.

OBL and Al Qaeda have given us plenty of evidence of why they should be destroyed. We can stick to their many other statements to justify our acts, as if any further justification is needed after September 11.

-synchronicity

PS- Rick, DNK if it's important or not, but I don't see the Vietnam corollary there. What am I missing?
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No. of Recommendations: 6
The Taliban government could have stopped this early and easily

As the U.S. could have stopped it earlier, or at have least made an attempt. Negotiation, diplomacy, the willingness to show the Taliban the proof of bin Laden's complicity in the acts of terror (as the Taliban requested at first). I don't know if it would have worked, but the effort could have been made.

What disgusts a lot of people, and not just Muslims anymore, is the U.S. attitude that they can do whatever they please simply because they have the fire power. In truth, we all know Bush et al (and it could just as easily be Gore or Clinton) had to start the killing asap in order to survive politically.

The US is often called arrogant
Yes, the U.S. is arrogant. When one government tells another "We are going to bitchslap you back into the stoneage if you don't do what we say immediately" what exactly do you expect the threatened government to do? Capitulate, and lose their own political backing? Or give the "bully" the finger and say "Let's do it mothercuffer."

And the U.S. is arrogant to use nazis to defeat stalinists. Do a google search on Northern Alliance, then add the words "rape" or "murder" or "execute", or "pillage". The NA are feared and despised in all Pashtun areas of the country. They are not heroes, they are not to be viewed romantically, they are as bad or worse than the Taliban. I believe the Northern Alliance will be coming back to haunt the U.S. for a long, long time.



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No. of Recommendations: 1
synch said:
But, the statement "if attacked with weapons of mass destruction, we will reply in kind to defend ourselves" is NOT an example of such a distinction, and our leaders don't need to make statements reacting as if it were one.

The problem here is that it's possible to be a sane thinking human and still consider it likely that al Qaeda might set off a nuke somewhere in their own region to give excuse to use one against the US. It is unthinkable that the US government is capable of such a thing.

The Vietnam connection I was going for is trying to link cultures and view one on equal with another. I'm not trying to say whether that was valid or not for Vietnam, but it is the road we took to beating ourselves in that battle.

Rick
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No. of Recommendations: 7
Capitulate, and lose their own political backing? Or give the "bully" the finger and say "Let's do it mothercuffer."

Yes, when faced with unbeatable odds. It's a lose either way, but if you do it while saving the lives of innocents, there is grace to that.

Or, they could have just given up the man who was funding their government. NATO falls inline with the US immediately, as do many Arab leadership, but that proof wasn't good enough for a corrupt Afghanistan government? You are walking on thin rhetorical ice here, Neo.

Rick

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No. of Recommendations: 3
<< But, the statement "if attacked with weapons of mass destruction, we will reply in kind to defend ourselves" is NOT an example of such a distinction, and our leaders don't need to make statements reacting as if it were one. >>

The problem here is that it's possible to be a sane thinking human and still consider it likely that al Qaeda might set off a nuke somewhere in their own region to give excuse to use one against the US. It is unthinkable that the US government is capable of such a thing.


I thought about that one, although my thought was using Chem or bio weapons as the "excuse" for self defense.

But of all the comments I heard from our leaders, no one mentioned this as the possibility. I was looking to hear something like "they claim <blank> as self-defense", where <blank> is any of OBl's ludicrous pronouncements. Or stating a fear that "they might attack their own people as a pretext to an attack on us", like the much publicized fears of Taliban poisoning food airdrops to blame on the US.

But none of this was raised in any way, it was just "he says he has nukes and is willing to use them", which is a distortion of what OBL said. And that upsets me, as we don't need to distort OBL's statements to provide justification for our actions.

-synchronicity
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No. of Recommendations: 4
When one government tells another "We are going to bitchslap you back into the stoneage if you don't do what we say immediately" what exactly do you expect the threatened government to do?

What about when the 'threatened gov't' (read terrorists) threaten to use chemical and nuclear weapons on us? And say that innocent civilians are perfectly good targets because they are American?

Then what?

Naj
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No. of Recommendations: 2
. It's a lose either way, but if you do it while saving the lives of innocents, there is grace to that

You're talking logic here Trick, I'm talking realpolitick. Logically, even romantically, you are of course correct. But given the necessity of the political survival of both governments, they did what was predictable, and in their respective minds, necessary. Which IMO was absolutely the wrong thing to do in the case of both country's leadership. You're taking my statement a bit out of context which is fine as I did it to you first. No rhetoric was intended. I was merely pointing out how the U.S. should have, and probably did know, how Mullah Omar would react when faced with such an ultimatum.

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Neo, do you really believe the Taliban will last through this?

Rick
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No. of Recommendations: 11
Of course the U.S. knew how the Taliban would react - exactly the way the U.S. wanted them to. They could have screwed us over badly by turning over bin Laden but they didn't. Why? Because bin laden _is_ the Taliban. The Taliban acted to save bin Laden, not itself, because bin Laden calls the shots and took the best path to save himself.

The Taliban isn't a government. They're just a gang of thugs who marched into a couple towns a few years ago so the U.S. has no need to negotiate with them in any way.

The Taliban have a few months, at most, until they cease to exist in any measurable sense. That's never been in question and it's the easy part for the U.S.

Now the challenge for the Bush team is how to rebuild Afghanistan. We're directly responsible for this mess in the first place because we abandoned them back in 1989 after they served our purposes. If we cut and run again, we'll only be compounding our error.

Dubyah has blathered about how the U.S. is not in the business of building nations. That has to change. Especially since we're the ones who tore down this particular nation in the first place (along with the Soviets, of course.)

-chris
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Now the challenge for the Bush team is how to rebuild Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is more like a space between Iran and Pakistan than a country. They would probably do better divided up (of their own free will and if they can agree upon it) along ethnic lines like Yugoslavia. Perhaps then the various groups might stop going after each other when outside forces leave. One can only hope.
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No. of Recommendations: 7
What disgusts a lot of people, and not just Muslims anymore, is the U.S. attitude that they can do whatever they please simply because they have the fire power.

Neo, you are in a much better position to know about this than most of us. Prior to Sept 11, such an attitude on the part of the US would be arrogant in everyone's eyes. After that day, how can the actions of the US be a surprise to anyone? Do they really think that we can negotiate with someone like bin Laden, or that the Taliban would have negotiated? I think AC has accurately described the Taliban. In fact, it now looks like the Taliban is falling back to protect the only asset they care about, bin Laden, while letting the rest of the country fall to the Northern Alliance.

And the U.S. is arrogant to use nazis to defeat stalinists.

I don't think that anyone in the US is happy with this. However, it's hardly our fault that the Taliban was engaged in a battle with one enemy when they decided to go out and attack a much bigger enemy. That's just a bad strategy. Perhaps it was a calculated risk on their part, and perhaps they have a few more cards to play.

They are not heroes, they are not to be viewed romantically, they are as bad or worse than the Taliban.

The Northern Alliance wouldn't be overrunning Afghanistan if the Taliban's goal is defending Afghanistan. To me, it looks like the Taliban's goal is defending bin Laden.

vuelta


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No. of Recommendations: 3
Neo, do you really believe the Taliban will last through this?

Yes and no, though I'm a bit surprised you ask. I certainly never meant to suggest that the Taliban would survive as we know them now. Nor that I would want them too.

As the ruling body of Afghanistan the Taliban is already finished, as we've witnessed in the last astonishing 24 hours. As a hit and run guerilla crew operating out of the mountains, yes, they will survive forever.

More worrying though, and the point I was trying to make earlier, is the mob who are replacing the Taliban - the Northern Alliance - the coalition's "allies". The executions have been going on since they retook Mazar-i-Sharif on Saturday. The bodies are piling up in Kabul as we speak.

I do think the U.S.-led coalition made a huge mistake dealing with these people. And they know it. They (the U.S., the Brits etc) are totally freaked that the Northern Alliance broke their promise and entered the capital city. You can bet Washington and London are hsitting themselves as they wait to see if these devils will leave
Kabul before too much killing has been done.

Paul

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No. of Recommendations: 2
More worrying though, and the point I was trying to make earlier, is the mob who are replacing the Taliban - the Northern Alliance - the coalition's "allies". The executions have been going on since they retook Mazar-i-Sharif on Saturday. The bodies are piling up in Kabul as we speak.

Is anyone else hearing this on the news? I haven't heard any coverage of it, but the plane crash seems to be dominating over the past 24 hours. The closest I've heard is that Pakistan is calling for a United Nations peacekeeping force to be installed in Kabul pronto.

It sure does show what kind of people the Northern Alliance are. I mean, if they really were interested in being taken seriously or being a serious part of a new government system, they've got a golden opportunity to be on their best behavior and do just that. The fact that they are out there dispensing their brand of "justice" speaks volumes about their true goals and purpose.

Mitten
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The bodies are piling up in Kabul as we speak.

Is this right? NPR this morning seemed to be reporting that there was some of this, but it seemed to be light (and I thought the implication was that it was Kabul citizens extracting revenge (bad, but hard to stop everywhere) as opposed to NA troops). Also, that looting was light (and police (whose?) were stepping in to stop it.

Joe
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The Taliban acted to save bin Laden, not itself, because bin Laden calls the shots and took the best path to save himself

I'm not sure where you get this from, and I'm not sure it's wrong, though I believe it is. I was under the maybe mistaken impression that the Taliban is the creation of Pakistan, after that country could no longer watch the factions (now known as the Northern Alliance) battle for control of Afghanistan. The Taliban and bin Laden share the same corrupted vision of how Islam should be, to be sure. But I strongly doubt bin Laden controls the Taliban. Yes, bin Laden probably does have the reported one or two hundred million dollars at his disposal, but I don't think that would persuade the ultra-purist, holier-than-thou Taliban in any direction.

They're just a gang of thugs who marched into a couple towns a few years ago so the U.S. has no need to negotiate with them in any way

So why the fukc didn't the world's caring policeman do something about them when they started the executions on the soccer fields ten years ago? This is what I have major problems with. As you so correctly said Chris, the U.S. is in part responsible for this monster bin Laden and the Taliban which attempted to destroy it. My arguement here is that neither the U.S. nor the American media took the time to understand the Taliban or the situation in Afghanistan before jumping all over them, swearing revenge. And again, in case you haven't got it yet I will reiterate, I hope the pricks behind the attack of your country fukcing rot. But the U.S., I believe, handled this badly with repercussions that will continue to reverberate throughout the world for years to come. Anyway, peace. Boat drinks. An end to the killing.

Paul

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Is anyone else hearing this on the news?

Apologies Mitten. What is on the top of the news sked in my part of the world isn't easily found online in yours. The closest I can find are these links.

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/p/nm/20011113/wl/imdf13112001071719a.html

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/p/nm/20011113/wl/imdf13112001071556a.html

http://www.msnbc.com/news/627086.asp

One of our top stories is of the 600 executions, unverified by our people I must add, committed by Dostin's men since they captured Mazari on the weekend. We also have numerous reports from our people in Kabul of executions and lootings. This is to be expected. The worrying aspect is that the Northern Alliance had sworn to the coalition they would not enter Kabul itself, but stay only on the outskirts. Now their "security force" has entered the city, which is threatening any chance of the former king of Afghanistan returning from exile to lead some kind of coalition government.

Again, it must be understood that the NA are not a solution to this problem.

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Is anyone else hearing this on the news? I haven't heard any coverage of it, but the plane crash seems to be dominating over the past 24 hours.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/13/international/asia/13AFGH.html (color photos)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18213-2001Nov12.html
http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/11/13/ret.afghan.mazare/index.html
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The bodies are piling up in Kabul as we speak.

I saw a Northern Alliance spokesperson saying that any unarmed Talib who wanted to collect the body of a comrade or family member would be allowed to do so safely.

They (the U.S., the Brits etc) are totally freaked that the Northern Alliance broke their promise and entered the capital city.

Is the majority of the NA fighting force still outside Kabul or not?

Either you're making things up or my TV is. I'm not saying which is more likely.

6
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aps' link - so, did they shoot a rocket up that guy's butt like it appears they did? Yeow!

6
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It sure does show what kind of people the Northern Alliance are. I mean, if they really were interested in being taken seriously or being a serious part of a new government system, they've got a golden opportunity to be on their best behavior and do just that. The fact that they are out there dispensing their brand of "justice" speaks volumes about their true goals and purpose.

Laura, it's a war. Bad things happen when people start shooting at each other. The bad things don't just stop when one side turns and runs. Many people in Kabul or whereever are still the enemy and deaths and fighting continues.

I'm not condoning any of it, but I also don't know the situation. We aren't getting a lot of reporting, even from the overseas organizations.

One thing I did get is that the Taliban didn't leave behind the 8 Christians they have been holding for preaching. It's not clear if they are dead or hostage fodder, but they haven't been seen.

Bad behavior is deeper than bodies in this war zone.

Rick
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Neo said:
But the U.S., I believe, handled this badly with repercussions that will continue to reverberate throughout the world for years to come.

Yeah, yeah, we always do, right?

Rick
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<<So why the fukc didn't the world's caring policeman do something about them when they started the executions on the soccer fields ten years ago? This is what I have major problems with. >>

Because we don't care. Because we operate under the mistaken mission statement that it's not our job to build nations.

Of course, we can't police the world and we can't fight everyone's battles for them. But when we're largely responsible for it in the first place, it's our obligation to do so.

-chris
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Laura, it's a war. Bad things happen when people start shooting at each other. The bad things don't just stop when one side turns and runs. Many people in Kabul or whereever are still the enemy and deaths and fighting continues.

Well, duh. But earlier you were saying that there are differences and moral distinctions to be drawn in the way warring factions go about murdering people. The US is apparently the good guys because we are only killing innocents as collateral damage and not with malice aforethought. So why not draw those distinctions here? I was trying to say that if it wasn't clear that the NA is a bunch of murderous thugs before, it should be now. There is quite a difference between continuing skirmishes with enemy forces and executing captured enemies. The NA seems to be doing a fair bit of the latter, and if anyone was harboring romantic notions that these supposed "freedom fighters" were going to be a productive part of a new government in Afghanistan, or that they were somehow better than the Taliban, they should be disabused of said notions by now.

It's a shame that that's the case. It would have been so much more like a movie script if the NA really were fighting for the freedom and self-government of the Afghan people. Now all we're left with is messy reality, and the mess is largely of our own making.

Bad behavior is deeper than bodies in this war zone.

As long as you're including America in this statement, I'll agree. But it does make me wonder why you seem to accept this as The Way Things Are. Shouldn't we be aghast at bad behavior, whether it occurs in a war or not?

Laura
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So why the fukc didn't the world's caring policeman do something about them when they started the executions on the soccer fields ten years ago?

So, let's hop in the time travel machine and go back 10 years.

Bush the elder is president. We've just finished wiping the Iraqis out of Kuwait. We're taking heat from several countries, including allies, about how we've acted in Iraq. Some of them support further military action, some further economic sanctions, some want us to back off completely. A wide variety of opinions from the world. The Soviet Union is in the initial months after its collapse.

So, fresh off our rousing military demolition of the Iraqi Republican Guard, we announce to the world that we don't like what's going on in Afghanistan. They're killing people in the soccer fields, for goodness sake. We take all of our military toys sitting in the Gulf and head for Kabul.

I can see a good half dozen or more major problems with this:
(1) Diplomatic: We have no causus belli against Afghanistan, yet suddenly decide to attack. We are the aggressor. World opinion lines up decidedly against us.
(2) Logistics: We would almost certainly NOT have been granted the use of Pakistani airspace, nor Tajik or Uzbek ground space. Just how would we have been able to launch any sort of military operation?
(3) Diplomatic: The Soviet Union had just collapsed at the end of 1991. Suddenly American "imperialists" show a military interest in Afghanistan? Talk about an agressive move likely to spawn further widespread conflict.
(4) Domestic: Even after the 9/11 attacks, there is a small, but sufficiently sizeable, portion of the population that does not want to see us taking military action. Ten years ago, we heard all about how we were spilling blood for oil. Suddenly taking on a country like Afghanistan would have been politically disastrous.
(5) Diplomatic: Once again, considering lack of "cause of war", we bring heavy military force to bear in central Asia. Conveniently close to China. Think they might have had something to say about that?
(6) Intelligence: Think it's bad now? We are at least getting help from Russia and Pakistan right now. We certainly wouldn't have then.
(7) Tactical: Right now, we get to use the Northern Alliance as our pawn. Agree with this concept or not, but it does mean that US troops are not shedding blood. Ten years ago, we would have had to introduce ground forces of our own. Mixed with some of the previous points--lack of bases, airspace, support lines, plus diplomatic pressures and domestic opinion upset at loss of our troops' lives, this would have been a disaster.

That's just getting started. These are the high-level categories. Think about it some more and you'll see what an absolute disaster it would have been to try to take action 10 years ago. No causus belli. No logistical support. A threatened and newly collapsed Soviet Union, convinced this was the precursor to their biggest fear--an American invasion. Red China similarly threatened. No intelligence to do the job right, no tactical level support, massive amounts of ground troops to expand a war that the American public barely believed in in the first place.

There are plenty of things to rip in our actions now and then, but failing to act as "world's policeman" and taking military action against Afghanistan ten years ago isn't one of them.

--Pup

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Because we don't care. Because we operate under the mistaken mission statement that it's not our job to build nations.

We aren't the world's policeman. We build countries when there is a market for our products. Afghanistan shows no such market. When they(and I, like Chris, see Afghanistan and bin Laden as closely linked) attacked our economic engine, we fought back.

It's not so complicated.

Rick
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I was trying to say that if it wasn't clear that the NA is a bunch of murderous thugs before, it should be now. There is quite a difference between continuing skirmishes with enemy forces and executing captured enemies.

Is there a difference between executing captured enemies and executing innocent civilians?

6
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Mitten said:
I was trying to say that if it wasn't clear that the NA is a bunch of murderous thugs before, it should be now.

You dismiss me with a "Well, duh" and then say something like this. War is best fought by a disciplined bunch of murderous thugs, in case you were unaware. War is murder, and it doesn't stop just because one group runs.

Why accept it as the way it is? Because I want to win the war, not lose it with moral confusion. As soon as war is entered, it's bad. Once entered, get it done.

I don't think it is possible to enter a war and before the fighting starts, decide that it's ok to kill 300 people, but once we get over 500, we've got to stop. War is about killing, and we are in a war.

We teamed with some bloodthirsty dudes. At least the bloodthirsty dudes are winners in this battle.

Am I being clear? I don't agree with fighting wars if it is avoidable. I don't think this one was avoidable. Once we decide to enter a war, end it as quick as possible using necessary force.

Rick
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One more thing. I think there is another reason we teamed with the Alliance. They are now the ones committing any war crimes being done. We are not guilty as long as they are our killers.

I've said before I think this is one of bin Laden's strategies, to make us engage in war crimes however our latest treaty defines them. It's almost impossible to fight a war without committing war crimes (unless you are the British.) Using another force to do the dirty work has a certain appeal to it and might save us from UN troops invading DC to capture our Commander-in-Chief.

Rick
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What disgusts a lot of people, and not just Muslims anymore, is the U.S. attitude that they can do whatever they please simply because they have the fire power.

Looking throughout the long course of history, it is hardly a unique concept that he with the most firepower sets the rules. Name a superior miltary force that hasn't used the sword to spread its "diplomacy."

In fact, isn't use of force to do whatever one pleases *exactly* what the Taliban was doing? I don't recall the women under the burqas being considered a equal military force to the Taliban.

Before people get too disgusted, they really should ditch the selective vision. This doesn't excuse American behavior, of course. But it does mean that we have plenty of company, which is what the quote above seems to miss.

--Pup
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Six axed:
Is there a difference between executing captured enemies and executing innocent civilians?

Is there a difference between captured enemies and those innocent civilians who don't welcome one's invading presence?

It's a very grey day in Kabul, I'm sure.

I'm not defending illegal acts, but as Neo said, let's get realpolitic about it.

Rick
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There is quite a difference between continuing skirmishes with enemy forces and executing captured enemies.

I would guess that many of these NA folks have had friends and family mistreated and killed by the Taliban. They probably have barely enough to eat themselves, much less to feed enemies. Besides, it seems that in their culture the normal thing to do is kill captured enemies. Their whole scene is so alien from the sheltered academic enclaves of middle America that we must be vigilant to not impose our values on their culture, musn't we?
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BTW, I just received and started that book, "An Unexpected Light", that was recommended elsewhere. It looks to be a good, informative read. The author seems to have that very rare ability to see a foreign place and foreign people on the their own terms and describe that back to the reader, and distinguished from what his own perception is. I'm enjoying it. The part that's readable on Amazon is really more flowery and pointless than the meat of the narrative. That part was sketchy background; when the story picks up the author is in Kabul as the Taliban, this mysterious force, is approaching. Rumors of the insane policies under their rule are dismissed as too implausible.

What caught me right away is how we, here, us, have taken the few facts we know and done a lot of generalizing, a lot of assuming. There are so many details that were so important in shaping the region that within a page I'd had to wipe my mental slate clean just to absorb all the knowledge Elliot has to pass on.

Should be interesting.

6

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312288468/qid=1005676112/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_10_1/107-7322947-0797317
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Is there a difference between captured enemies and those innocent civilians who don't welcome one's invading presence?

I don't know, have the NA been shooting anyone who flips them the bird?

6
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We build countries when there is a market for our products. Afghanistan shows no such market.

<blink>

These people have nothing. They need everything.

Seems to me like it will be a wide open market for all manner of goods & services.

How to pay for it? Well, that's another matter entirely.

- T.

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I don't know, have the NA been shooting anyone who flips them the bird?

Depends on whether they've entered the mental hospitals. Only a crazy person would flip the bird to an armed soldier coming in from the desert.

Rick
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<What caught me right away is how we, here, us, have taken the few facts we know and done a lot of generalizing, a lot of assuming>

Thank you 6.

j
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Depends on whether they've entered the mental hospitals. Only a crazy person would flip the bird to an armed soldier coming in from the desert.

I'm just wondering where your question came from.

6
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<<Looking throughout the long course of history, it is hardly a unique concept that he with the most firepower sets the rules. Name a superior miltary force that hasn't used the sword to spread its "diplomacy." >>

Of course.

I would also suggest that never in world history has there been a world power as benevolent and generous to its "opponents" as the United States.

That's not to say we don't do bad things, even evil things. We sure do. But everyone who cries "We hate America! We hate America!" is quick to shout "Oh no, we just had a mudslide, save us, America, save us." And we do. Every time. And then we leave and they say "We hate America! We hate America!"

Big deal. People hate Bill Gates. People hate America. Both have done bad things and both have done exceptional things to help other people.

We're #1 and we know it and we flaunt it and it pisses people off and they bitch about it but they also know we can be relied on to come save their asses when they need it.

-chris
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I was trying to say that if it wasn't clear that the NA is a bunch of murderous thugs before, it should be now. There is quite a difference between continuing skirmishes with enemy forces and executing captured enemies. The NA seems to be doing a fair bit of the latter, and if anyone was harboring romantic notions that these supposed "freedom fighters" were going to be a productive part of a new government in Afghanistan, or that they were somehow better than the Taliban, they should be disabused of said notions by now.

The general impression I've received from dispatches is that the Northern Alliance hasn't been engaging in the indiscriminate massacre of captured Taliban troops, but rather has been singling out the ones that happen to be foreign volunteers (Arabs, Chechens, Pakistanis, etc.). While this is still undoubtedly deplorable, I have trouble shedding tears over it.

It's one thing for Afghan citizens to choose to fight for the Taliban - ethnic and cultural issues definitely come into play, some were conscripts, and some may have been so tired of the decades-long bloodletting they'd seen that they were willing to support any group they felt was capable of bringing about a semblance of peace and order to their country - but it's a completely different situation when you're dealing with foeign volunteers who had virtually no ties to either Afghanistan or its people, and who happened to be fully aware of the Taliban's human rights record, but nonetheless opted to take up arms in support of this monstrous regime. Thus, while I'd much rather see these self-professed holy warriors brought before a war crimes tribunal (or perhaps extradited to their homelands to face charges of treason) than be executed by revenge-minded warlords, it's difficult for me to feel sympathetic for their recent plight.
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I think there is another reason we teamed with the Alliance. They are now the ones committing any war crimes being done. We are not guilty as long as they are our killers.

Do you believe we aren't tacitly guilty of war crimes if our bloodthirsty team members, the NA, are committing war crimes?

And it's not that I don't think you're correct about the US's intentions regarding partnering with the NA. This whole "please, don't go into Kabul" thing is probably just being said so that we can point to something concrete to say "we told them not to do that" even though we've been providing them with the air defense that has made their offensives possible. But they can posture all they like - if the NA are committing war crimes and we are assisting the NA, then we are committing war crimes too.

I do not think that war is a reason to suspend morals. If anything, it should be a time when we cling to them most tightly.

Mitten

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And it's not that I don't think you're correct about the US's intentions regarding partnering with the NA. This whole "please, don't go into Kabul" thing is probably just being said so that we can point to something concrete to say "we told them not to do that" even though we've been providing them with the air defense that has made their offensives possible.

When the NA said that they wouldn't go into Kabul, I don't think that they knew that the Taliban would retreat as fast as they did. I think that the intention was that they would not attack the Taliban in Kabul. In any event, I read now that they are inviting the UN to come to the city. A war criminal would not do that.



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But everyone who cries "We hate America! We hate America!" is quick to shout "Oh no, we just had a mudslide, save us, America, save us." And we do. Every time. And then we leave and they say "We hate America! We hate America!"

France is a good example
Obviousman
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- if the NA are committing war crimes and we are assisting the NA, then we are committing war crimes too.

Has the U.S. ever done anything that you like? I mean, besides not causing more casualties in Iraq so Saddam could survive to create chemical weapons?

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<<The general impression I've received from dispatches is that the Northern Alliance hasn't been engaging in the indiscriminate massacre of captured Taliban troops, but rather has been singling out the ones that happen to be foreign volunteers (Arabs, Chechens, Pakistanis, etc.). >>

This would be consistent with the interviews I have heard with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah (is he a mullah? That would rule-a) who says they were taking Taliban Afghanis prisoner but killing the Arabs.

Hey, in the Western World I think we all just ask "What, Afghanis aren't Arabs? All the same to me."

-chris
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It sure does show what kind of people the Northern Alliance are. I mean, if they really were interested in being taken seriously or being a serious part of a new government system, they've got a golden opportunity to be on their best behavior and do just that. The fact that they are out there dispensing their brand of "justice" speaks volumes about their true goals and purpose.

War is not fought according to Marquis de Queensbury rules. If the parties were able to resolve their differences over a nice cup of tea, they would be diplomats, not soldiers.

There are a few points that you have evidently overlooked from your high moral perch, a perch provided by others more willing to see that we live in a world full of moral choices, some of which are distasteful but necessary, and who are willing to make those choice so you can maintain your fiction of moral purity. Unfortunately, the pure and sweet warrior probably only exists in Arthurian romances. Look hard, I don't think you will find Galahad packing an AK47. If we waited until we found allies only of the noblest purpose and acts, we would be the unilateralists that you so decried in earlier posts.

Throughout its history, Afghanistan and its people have been exceptionally tough and violent. Read the travails of those who tried to conquer the area, going back to antiquity. Hell, read the way they fight and kill each other, right through the present. It is not an area known for white gloves and polite manners. War is an almost constant state in the area, defined by geography and culture. What kind of people are the Northern Alliance? Mean tough SOBs who were fighting another bunch of mean tough SOBs.

The closest I came to war was being on the flight deck of one of the carriers that bombed Ghaddifi back in 86. I was off the flight deck for a total of 7 hours in a 96 hour period, in 100+ degree heat. I was cranky, and I did not have anyone shooting at me. I can only imagine that if you spent the last five years exchanging pleasantries with someone via mortar barrages you might wish to offer them something other than a hardy handshake and condolences. Well, not you, because you live in a morally unambiguous world and would no doubt offer them compassion.

There is a set of rules that are expected to be followed in times of war, but these rules don't change the fact that people die and are crippled in war. Following the rules also does not make for a strong moral fiber. The Germans in WWII probably followed the rules of war as closely as anyone, especially in regard to treatment of prisoners. Of course you had to be considered above the untermenchen level (meaning you had to be a fellow Anglo-Saxon) in order to be considered worthy of being treated according to the rules. Does the fact that they were willing to follow the rules (albeit only with those they chose) make the Nazi regime more moral than the US during Vietnam?

American hegemony has existed since about 1918, with the end of WWI. I challenge you to find a historical power who was less bellicose than America in the ensuing century. I will grant you that some of that came from the USSR having the bomb, but even during the late 40s when we had a nuclear monopoly we did not just roll over the prostate nations that we had formerly warred with, nor the Soviets despite the fact that we had the bomb and they didn't. Do you think that Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan would have created and carried out a Marshall Plan? Which side of the Iron Curtain do you think had greater freedom? There are others who have been as dominant in their time, but again I can not think of one that was more benevolent in its power (which is not to say that the US was always pure in purpose). Imperial Rome? Victorian, or even Hanoverian, Britain? Maybe France under the varied Louis'? No.

On September 11, 2001, we were attacked upon our own soil. Civilians were intentionally targeted. If you can not see the difference between killing civilians because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time (and taking steps to make sure as few civilians as possible meet that fate) and singling out for death the over 50,000 civilians that worked in the World Trade Center, then you are so blinded by your own moral purity that you have lost your grasp on reality. You seem to morally equate the Taliban with the US government. Tell me, were you denied schooling because you are a woman? Are you able to walk the streets without a male relative escorting you?

In addition, from everything I have seen and heard, your assumption about mass reprisal killings seems to be little more that your fevered imagination desperately searching for something more to blame America for. There seems to be remarkably little of this going on, and it seems to be directed at non-Afghans who have chosen to help rip that country apart. That does not make it right, but it is hardly the wholesale killing fields you wish to make it. One of the first acts the evil thugs in the Northern Alliance did upon taking the capital was to call for the UN to come in. Remind me, when did the Taliban make any effort to protect human rights or ask in an outside monitor?

Perhaps you missed it, but we were attacked. Two months later there are still 4000 civilians, civilians who were deliberately targeted for death, buried in the still burning rubble of what once was the World Trade Center. Would you prefer that we just overlook that fact, or maybe challenge bin Laden to a game of jacks, winner take all?

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Throughout its history, Afghanistan and its people have been exceptionally tough and violent

True

War is an almost constant state in the area, defined by geography and culture. What kind of people are the Northern Alliance? Mean tough SOBs who were fighting another bunch of mean tough SOBs.

True again

I was cranky, and I did not have anyone shooting at me. I can only imagine that if you spent the last five years exchanging pleasantries with someone via mortar barrages you might wish to offer them something other than a hardy handshake and condolences. Well, not you, because you live in a morally unambiguous world and would no doubt offer them compassion.

Been there, done it in N Ireland. Not nice.

There is a set of rules that are expected to be followed in times of war, but these rules don't change the fact that people die and are crippled in war.

False. Rules are there for politicians. They get broken in war. Every day. Rules are there to be broken. Flame flowers? Banned. Bullshit. Nerve gas, mustard gas? Bullshit. It happens. Illegally, yes, but it happens.

The Germans in WWII probably followed the rules of war as closely as anyone, especially in regard to treatment of prisoners.

Yep, finger nail reprisals, lashings (ohhhhhhh, you mean, better than the Japanese?) Forgive me, I have to get my barbaric sensitivity back in order. You're right, there's barbaric, and there's outright, inhumane, animalistic barbaric. When my eyes are getting burned out, I'll be sure to sign over evidence to the Geneva Convention that I was abused.

Does the fact that they were willing to follow the rules (albeit only with those they chose) make the Nazi regime more moral than the US during Vietnam?

Gotta love those rules. Yep, those ones, which were patently ignored, abused, and outrightly given the four-finger shuffel to.



On September 11, 2001, we were attacked upon our own soil. Civilians were intentionally targeted. If you can not see the difference between killing civilians because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time (and taking steps to make sure as few civilians as possible meet that fate) and singling out for death the over 50,000 civilians that worked in the World Trade Center, then you are so blinded by your own moral purity that you have lost your grasp on reality. You seem to morally equate the Taliban with the US government. Tell me, were you denied schooling because you are a woman? Are you able to walk the streets without a male relative escorting you

Now this is different. Of course, a few million Jews weren't targeted, but hey, they're only Jews.

What are you trying to say, Nedd? Admittedly, I haven't seen the post to which you're responding, but where were the posts 3 months ago bemoaning the conditions of those hard-done by Afghans and Afghan Women. I've known about this for years, thanks to a friend who works for the Red Cross based out of Amsterdam. Why now, when OBL is hiding there, is there now all the talk of hypocrisy. It's all a farce.


Perhaps you missed it, but we were attacked. Two months later there are still 4000 civilians, civilians who were deliberately targeted for death, buried in the still burning rubble of what once was the World Trade Center. Would you prefer that we just overlook that fact, or maybe challenge bin Laden to a game of jacks, winner take all?

Granted.

Now then, about those people in Northern Ireland. Given that a lot of funding to the IRA is from the US, and by Bush's definition, the IRA are definitely a terrorist organisation, shall we now go and bomb the living pope out of them? No? Oh, why not? A terrorist is a terrorist, so goes the talk so far. Is the US going to bomb Belfast, with the help og the Brit government, to purge the world of these filthy animal terrorists? And northern Spain with those didgt Basque seperatists? No? Why not? Terrorism is terrorism, right?

Let's all now talk about humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Not two months ago. Ohm those poor women and kids. Why now, because it's such a focal point. We, in the western world, didn't give a rat's arse a few months ago. Now it's the deal of the century to save an Afghan family. This is utter and complete bullshit and hypocrisy. Let's bomb the shit out of them, but let's hope the women ad kids are fine.

Down and dirty, we've only just started to give a toss because it's in our interests to give one iota.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti going out for the Taliban, but the talk of global terrorism is very self centered. What seems to be happening is talk of a global attack on global terrorism, yet it is hardly that. It is US-oriented. Let's talk it like it is, not how theoretically cheap as it is in reality

Bullet
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. What seems to be happening is talk of a global attack on global terrorism, yet it is hardly that. It is US-oriented.

When someone claims to have biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and admits to wanting to kill more 'innocents' on TV simply because of where they live or work, it is NOT a US problem.

It is the world's problem.


And northern Spain with those didgt Basque seperatists?

Oh, very sly. Yeah, I think the situations are identical. Not.

If the ETA kills our citizens and threatens the globe with nuclear weapons, I advocate the exact same response as the Taliban. No hypocrisy here. The only hypocrites are the ones who want to live in a safe society, but expect to do nothing to get one.

Naj
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Naj,

by definition, terrorism, as Bush has said, is a global problem. What you're suggesting is that it's only a global problem when the US gets hit.

Ah, so that's why NATO gave permission to bomb Iraq 5 years ago. Yes, it all makes sense now. So long as terrorism is targeted at the US, it's a global problem. When it's localised, it can stay localised. Yep, now I get it.

Bullet
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In addition, from everything I have seen and heard, your assumption about mass reprisal killings seems to be little more that your fevered imagination desperately searching for something more to blame America for.

Nope, you've got me confused with someone else. I am angry about the doublespeak my president is spewing and I'm angry about the fact that we're engaged in war and I'm angry about the decades of sloppy foreign policy which fomented this situation, but I'm not looking for reasons to hate America. I've not said that at all, and I won't let you accuse me of it. On the contrary, I love my country and I love the fact that I am able to speak out against its leaders when I think they are behaving incorrectly.

One of the first acts the evil thugs in the Northern Alliance did upon taking the capital was to call for the UN to come in.

And this was not being said until late this afternoon, well after the beginning of this conversation. I think it's great! I view it as a very hopeful sign.

But tell me, Ned, just why shouldn't we aspire to be a nation of diplomats? Just think how good we could be at diplomacy if we threw even a quarter of the resources we throw at military defense at diplomacy. But that wouldn't look as good on tv. And that wouldn't create near as many jobs as a war machine does. And it sure wouldn't feel as good as hunting those bastards down and blowing them to smithereens. Being a grown-up isn't near as fun as being a child.

Would you prefer that we just overlook that fact, or maybe challenge bin Laden to a game of jacks, winner take all?

I don't understand this question. Are you saying that unless I agree that killing bin Laden and his followers is acceptible then I am overlooking the great wrong which has been committed against American citizens? I don't see that one follows the other. I've said it several times - there are many courses of action, only one of which is revenge. Just because I don't think violence is the right action to choose doesn't mean that I don't think some action should be taken.

Mitten
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Now then, about those people in Northern Ireland. Given that a lot of funding to the IRA is from the US, and by Bush's definition, the IRA are definitely a terrorist organisation, shall we now go and bomb the living pope out of them? No? Oh, why not? A terrorist is a terrorist, so goes the talk so far. Is the US going to bomb Belfast, with the help og the Brit government, to purge the world of these filthy animal terrorists?

Bad analogy. The US was not providing training camps and coordinating actions with the IRA. A better analogy would be comparing the US to the roll of the Saudis, providing major funding for the IRA.

BTW, you will get no support for th IRA from me. I am amazed that the UK has not more firmly pressed for the US to stop the funding of the IRA. I honestly thought that would be one of Blair's first request for being in on the Afghanistan attacks.

Down and dirty, we've only just started to give a toss because it's in our interests to give one iota.

Yup. And it is in the interest of the free world that the Taliban lose. The US is in the lead for several reasons. After years of relying on the US to defend it, most of Europe has flacid military (special forces excepted) that are too small for most jobs. Why spend money on defense when you have that big SOB willing to fight for you? Also, we were the ones directly attacked. Bin Laden made a mistake in launching an attack that provided pictures so horrific that even Ghaddafi was moved to mouth outrage.

I am unaware of the IRA or ETA claiming to have CBR weapons, or of having taken out about 5000 with a single event.
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But tell me, Ned, just why shouldn't we aspire to be a nation of diplomats? Just think how good we could be at diplomacy if we threw even a quarter of the resources we throw at military defense at diplomacy. But that wouldn't look as good on tv. And that wouldn't create near as many jobs as a war machine does. And it sure wouldn't feel as good as hunting those bastards down and blowing them to smithereens. Being a grown-up isn't near as fun as being a child.

Because being a diplomat implies that the other side is willing to also be diplomatic.

Tell me, should we have invited Hirohito over for tea after Pearl Harbor? Maybe if we had just been more understanding of Hitler he would have seen the error of his ways and turned Dachau into the world's first theme park.

War should be used only when diplomacy fails. When you are the subject of a pre-emptive attack on your own soil, diplomacy has failed.

I don't understand this question. Are you saying that unless I agree that killing bin Laden and his followers is acceptible then I am overlooking the great wrong which has been committed against American citizens? I don't see that one follows the other. I've said it several times - there are many courses of action, only one of which is revenge. Just because I don't think violence is the right action to choose doesn't mean that I don't think some action should be taken.

I'll bite, what action should be taken? We asked the Taliban nicely, several times, to turn over bin Laden. Not just Bush, but slick politely asked. Still, they provide aid and shelter. Do we just stand there with our umbrellas, proclaiming "Peace in our time?"
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Naj

I've been out on the streets with an assault rifle in NI with body armour, knowing it won't make a slightest bit of difference if a car bomb explodes within 30 feet of me, shrapnel hurts, hurts bad.

I did that as a kid, not understanding what the hell I was really doing. It was all orders from the top, patrol this street, that street, this area, that area, potential problems here, there, everywhere.

At the time, the IRA, the RIRA, NLA, you name it, were out to put a hit on any Brit army tour. It's still terrorism. What degree it comes in is still almost without regard. The US has said, staunchly, terrorism is to be attacked.

Here, take my SA80 rifle. Tuned to a tee. Semi-automatic, I could shoot an apple off your head. I went to bed with it. Take one step out those metal gates without crapping your pants because you don't know whether there's an IRA snipper watching you, fixing his sights on that exit door, and I'll buy you a keg of beer the next time I'm in the US.

Talk is cheap. Terrorism is terrorism. The US stated that. You're either against it, or for it, right? There's no in-between. Whilst on different scales, you're more likely to get killed in NI patrolling in a uniform than in NY.

Bullet
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Pup, it's rare that I disagree with you, but...

<< So why the fukc didn't the world's caring policeman do something about them when they started the executions on the soccer fields ten years ago? >>

So, let's hop in the time travel machine and go back 10 years.


This is the problem, not your post but the one you're replying to. The issue wasn't that of "invading" Afghanistan ten years ago (actually, if we're talking about the Taliban and executions on soccer fields, we're talking no more than five years ago). The problem was the fact that we were heavily involved in Afghanistan until 1989, and then once the Soviets left we dropped them like a hot potato. We only cared as long as it involved our direct our interest (them as a proxy in our fight agains t the Sovs) and then after that was done, they weren't worth the time of day. Thus bringing about a power vacuum, which led to the constant warring between the Northern Alliance factions, and eventually the predominantly Pashtun Taliban entered and took over. Initially any alternative to the internecine struggles was seen as an inprovement, until the Taliban distinguished themselves to be insane "religious" loons.

What we could have done, and probably should have done, is used what influence we had among the mujahideen (sp?) to get them to tone down the fighting. Maybe give them some economic aid and the like on the grounds that they would have to stop fighting with each other. Heck, we might ahve been able to keep a small military presence in the area (or maybe not, I'm not that up on my history here to know if the factions would have gone for that).

But the main point is that after the Sovs left, we did have a fair amount of influence in the area and a bit of "good will" from helping them repel the Soviet invaders. We could have done some more there. It didn't have to be much, and it didn't have to be overly intrusive, but it might have made the area a little more stable and made things a bit safer for everyone, including the US.

Pup, you're right if you start from the premise of aggressively invading a nation-state ten years ago. But given our history in the area, that shouldn't have been the situation.

FWIW, I think we've made our biggest mistakes when, in our blind pursuit of one specific goal, we ignore the other consequences of our actions. Our backing of the Shah for years ("he may be a thug, but he's our thug"). This declined a lot after the Cold War, but my fear is that, in our haste to quash "terrorism" however we define it, we may make some of the same mistakes (IIRC, the leader of Uzbekistan is not a nice, friendly guy).

End of ramble.

-synchronicity
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But the main point is that after the Sovs left, we did have a fair amount of influence in the area and a bit of "good will" from helping them repel the Soviet invaders. We could have done some more there. It didn't have to be much, and it didn't have to be overly intrusive, but it might have made the area a little more stable and made things a bit safer for everyone, including the US.

sync


After the Brits left, the French had a fair amount of "goodwill" from helping us form a nation and expel the British.
They could have been intrusive, but thankfully left us on our own and have for the most part reaped the rewards in the form of assistance from the U.S. over the past century.

Granted, we didn't have the warring factions here that present-day Afghanistan has, but we helped them repel an invader and when that goal was achieved, we let them govern themselves. Yes, we used them, but they got what they wanted as well. Nobody figured the Taliban would come to power and manifest itself in this manner.

Democracy does not play well in the Arab world. To expect them to emulate our system of government is unreasonable. The fact that the Northern Alliance is asking for U.N., not U.S. help in forming a transistional government is a positive sign for all.

dub

Welcome back, Ned
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there are many courses of action, only one of which is revenge.

Killing someone who is threatening you with nukes and other WMD (even if you think he doesn't really have them--yet) isn't necessarily revenge--more like self defense. Killing someone who has already killed 5000+ innocents and has made it clear that he wishes to kill many more isn't necessarily revenge--more like sanity.
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Democracy does not play well in the Arab world. To expect them to emulate our system of government is unreasonable. The fact that the Northern Alliance is asking for U.N., not U.S. help in forming a transistional government is a positive sign for all.

At the risk of basing my entire stance on one novel that I'm just getting into, it seems that had the Taliban not been successful in their takeover, the "Islamic Republic of Afghanistan" would have had a constitution several years ago.

6
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by definition, terrorism, as Bush has said, is a global problem. What you're suggesting is that it's only a global problem when the US gets hit.

Ah, so that's why NATO gave permission to bomb Iraq 5 years ago. Yes, it all makes sense now. So long as terrorism is targeted at the US, it's a global problem. When it's localised, it can stay localised. Yep, now I get it.

Bullet


No, that's what you are saying. I CLEARLY stated that when an organization has chemical or biological weapons, and threatens to rain mass destruction down on innocent civilians, it is a GLOBAL problem and needs to be fixed, whether they threaten Tokyo, Gibraltar, Cork, or the Yucatan.

Read for content. I'll use smaller words next time.

naj
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Terrorism is terrorism. The US stated that. You're either against it, or for it, right? There's no in-between.

I wholeheartedly agree. And if Osama Bin Laden had targeted Manchester or London, the US would have been over there faster than you can say Jack Straw.
Whilst on different scales, you're more likely to get killed in NI patrolling in a uniform than in NY.

Bullet


Anyone with sense in their head knows you're much more likely to be killed and/or targeted for mass destruction while in New York. Period. It's so obvious I even hate to mention it.

Take one step out those metal gates without crapping your pants because you don't know whether there's an IRA snipper watching you, fixing his sights on that exit door, and I'll buy you a keg of beer the next time I'm in the US.

First of all, after growing up in West Philly, and living in Liberty City and then the Fifth Ward of Houston, mentioning 'gun' and 'snipper' (sic) doesn't really scare me. Like you're the only one who had to run like hell to escape a crossfire? Let me tell you, it's alot more scary when it happens on your street and you're NOT in the army.

Side topic-
Secondly, and this is just a suggestion, if the British army stopped shooting innocent civilians in the back, stopped murdering 16-yr old Irish girls in their bed, and teenagers at checkpoints, maybe you wouldn't have to worry so much. Just maybe.

Hey, does the Queen still give out awards and commendations for killing innocent Irish civilians (ie Non-IRA) in cold blood? Do you get a promotion with that as well??

If you're so anti-terrorist yourself, look within before lashing out at others.

Naj
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When you are the subject of a pre-emptive attack on your own soil, diplomacy has failed.

OK, but how seriously did we take diplomacy prior to 9/11? It seems to me that had we taken a more diplomatic tack with the Middle East over the course of the last few decades, it is possible that this might never have happened. Had we found a diplomatic solution to the Arab discontent with our "occupation" of Saudi Arabia, we might never have become the target of such an attack. (And please, don't insult me by jumping to some conclusion that I think the terrorists were justified in their attack - all I'm saying is that our insensitive foreign policy gave them a rallying point against us.)

We asked the Taliban nicely, several times, to turn over bin Laden. Not just Bush, but slick politely asked.

And the Taliban politely asked for proof that bin Laden was involved, which we refused to give. Not very diplomatic of us. So there's one possible avenue for action which wasn't taken - give the Taliban proof that bin Laden was involved.

We went in looking for a war, so Cowboy George could "do right" by all the angry, vengeful victims of the terrorist attack. There was no real aim to be diplomatic or solve the issue without violence, just lip-service to that effect. I think that maybe you and I have a different idea of what diplomacy is if you think that "give him up because we say so" is diplomatic.

Mitten
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OK, but how seriously did we take diplomacy prior to 9/11? It seems to me that had we taken a more diplomatic tack with the Middle East over the course of the last few decades, it is possible that this might never have happened. Had we found a diplomatic solution to the Arab discontent with our "occupation" of Saudi Arabia, we might never have become the target of such an attack.

How seriously did they take diplomacy prior to 9/11? Diplomacy works two ways. You can't hold a discussion with those who do not want to discuss.

This is an honest question. I can't say I'm familiar with any diplomatic activity instigated by Middle Eastern nations with us regarding our presence in Saudi Arabia, and can't say if it was existant or not. I do believe that Saudi was pretty damn glad to have us there ten years ago when Iraqi tanks looked southward. What diplomacy has been tried by them? Diplomacy is a two way street.

And the Taliban politely asked for proof that bin Laden was involved, which we refused to give. Not very diplomatic of us. So there's one possible avenue for action which wasn't taken - give the Taliban proof that bin Laden was involved.

Well, the Taliban "politely" asked for proof in between announcing fatwa and calling for American blood to be spilled. There isn't a single bit of evidence that could have ever implicated bin Laden in the eyes of the Taliban. We could have had a continuous satellite feed televising his every action and every word for the past 10 years and it would have been dismissed as Hollywood trickery.

Of the things to question in our recent actions, I don't believe this is one of them. Any interest the Taliban had in the evidence was fraudulent. Why take even the slightest chance of revealing intelligence gathering methods when there is no possibility of benefit?

Mitten, if I may make an assessment here, I think the issue is that you seem willing to take the Taliban at their word. They want evidence to review, so you believe we should give it to them. They say they want peace and don't want to hurt civilians, so we should give them the opportunity. I believe this is an overly optimistic approach. A leopard can't change its spots, and the Taliban can't change its own nature. They are thugs and terrorists with no respect for rule of law. Diplomacy is fraudulent with this group.

If I saw even the slightest hope that this group was interested in becoming a real government and interested in establishing itself as a true citizen in the global arena, I'd be all for diplomacy. As it is, they are usurpers and mercenaries with little interest in anything but inflicting what power they can over whomever they can inflict it upon. Again, you can't be a diplomat with someone who has no intentions of being the same in return.

--Pup
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I'm a bit reluctant to get into this, because I disagree with Laura on some of these issues, and my disagreement has already been misconstrued as intolerant. Laura is not the one who accused me of that, and I hope you continue to understand that I fully support your right to hold and express views different from mine and others who speak out on this issue and others. Anyway...

Laura said:
And the Taliban politely asked for proof that bin Laden was involved, which we refused to give. Not very diplomatic of us. So there's one possible avenue for action which wasn't taken - give the Taliban proof that bin Laden was involved.

This statement ignores the Taliban's history of lying publicly and privately to the US. Very few believe that any form of proof that would have been produced for the Taliban would have been persuasive. The Taliban government are a bunch of liars, and it's foolish to play their game, in the same way it is foolish to participate in discussions with some who post on these boards. It's a waste of time, and makes the most reasonable participant look like an idiot.

Laura also said:
We went in looking for a war, so Cowboy George could "do right" by all the angry, vengeful victims of the terrorist attack.

I'm no fan of George Bush Jr or Sr, but I think this statement comes too much from your gut, and not enough from the evidence at hand. I suspect any human being would pause for a long time before making decisions that will kill thousands, no matter how justified. As I've told you before, I give military leadership the benefit of the doubt while they are under fire, until they prove they are unfit for making decisions under those conditions. I'm forced to do the same now for George Jr, and I think your conclusion is a cheap shot. It fits nicely with my view of George Jr, but I still think it is unfair under current conditions.

I don't want to make these kinds of decisions, not do many of my countrymen and women. That's why we educate and train military leaders and we elect the leader of the entire military. I hope in the future, we'll be more thoughtful about who we elect to this very important position, but for now, I'm stuck.

Rick
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Side topic-
Secondly, and this is just a suggestion, if the British army stopped shooting innocent civilians in the back, stopped murdering 16-yr old Irish girls in their bed, and teenagers at checkpoints, maybe you wouldn't have to worry so much. Just maybe.

Hey, does the Queen still give out awards and commendations for killing innocent Irish civilians (ie Non-IRA) in cold blood? Do you get a promotion with that as well??



Perhaps you should understand that what happened on Bloody Sunday hasn't happened since. We've been there on this board regarding that. The soldier who killed the youths at the checkpoint went to prison (not sure if the case was appealed, I recall it was a while back, not sure on the ruling. What happened in the past should be left there.

Bullet
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Perhaps you should understand that what happened on Bloody Sunday hasn't happened since. We've been there on this board regarding that. The soldier who killed the youths at the checkpoint went to prison (not sure if the case was appealed, I recall it was a while back, not sure on the ruling. What happened in the past should be left there.

Besides all that, I think Bush crafted his statements on terrorism to include the words about "terrorist organizations of international reach" or something like that. It was my impression he did that to sidestep the issue of the IRA and all others with specific beefs. al-Qaeda is against the US, Israel and everyone who teams with them, and has inflicted terrorism in many countries all over the world. IRA specifically targets a government and country, at least as far as I can tell.

Rick
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...I fully support your right to hold and express views different from mine...

Fully support? What kind of left-wing liberal pussy statement is that?

You're supposed to “fight to the death” for your right yada yada yada.

You've got a lot to learn before you can post on PA or CF.

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I'm a bit reluctant to get into this, because I disagree with Laura on some of these issues, and my disagreement has already been misconstrued as intolerant.

I'm doing my best not to feel overly picked on here. It's a bit hard to when the peaceful are being called weak-minded, self-indulgent, cowardly and the like. But I'll keep trying.

Very few believe that any form of proof that would have been produced for the Taliban would have been persuasive. The Taliban government are a bunch of liars, and it's foolish to play their game, in the same way it is foolish to participate in discussions with some who post on these boards.

Someone, somewhere, sometime has to stop the cycle. Someone has to act on good faith, someone has to trust. As you and others have pointed out repeatedly, this is a WAR we're talking about, not a message board thread. Many thousands will die, not just be annoyed. There is so much more at stake.

Would it have been so difficult to show them proof? (I guess it would if we don't have any.) Would it have compromised our position? Would it have unduly delayed action? If not, and I don't think it would, then it should have been tried. To just assume it won't work without trying it is a cop-out and an admission that war is what we want.

I think your conclusion is a cheap shot.

OK, maybe the Cowboy George part was. I don't like George and I don't think he was elected. (You can say "get over it" all you like, but unless someone keeps voicing this idea, it will just happen again and again and again.) But I do know that my government told me they would pursue all avenues possible to stop terrorism and I believe that they are lying. What they are doing is stopping a particular terrorist, not stopping terrorism. They are killing the rat which is living in the cupboard, but not stopping up the gaping holes through which more will come in. That takes diplomacy, that takes sound foreign policy. I have seen no evidence of movement in those directions, only the movement of troops. If the root causes of terrorism are not addressed, all those who die in this conflict will have died in vain, which is a waste I don't think humanity can afford.

M
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It's a bit hard to when the peaceful are being called weak-minded, self-indulgent, cowardly and the like. But I'll keep trying.


I'm pretty peaceful myself, and I don't even know what to call you right now. Is your whole point that we should have shown proof to the Taliban before starting the campaign? What if that proof would have jeopardized our agents? Do you think the Taliban would have accepted any evidence as proof? Do you not think that killing is justifiable under any circumstances or do you not think this is a matter of self-defense? Do you really believe we bombed children on purpose? Do you think that you and others who feel as you do are responsible for our inability to trust that our media isn't whitewashing this war? Do you think there is a clear goal here or do you think we're just making Cowboy George happy?

6
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Someone, somewhere, sometime has to stop the cycle. Someone has to act on good faith, someone has to trust. As you and others have pointed out repeatedly, this is a WAR we're talking about, not a message board thread. Many thousands will die, not just be annoyed. There is so much more at stake.

I will heartily second your point that war is not something into which we should enter lightly. However...

Would it have been so difficult to show them proof? (I guess it would if we don't have any.) Would it have compromised our position? Would it have unduly delayed action? If not, and I don't think it would, then it should have been tried.

Yes, but

(a) How do we know that proof that would not unduly sacrifice intelligence networks and personnel was not offered?

and (b) Do you really, honestly think that it would have made any difference even if it were? You should know that I am no knee-jerk hawk on these issues, but the Taliban "government" simply could not hand over OBL without destroying itself politically, proof or no proof.

Realpolitik really sucks, doesn't it?

What they are doing is stopping a particular terrorist, not stopping terrorism. ... That takes diplomacy, that takes sound foreign policy.

Unfortunately, it is also going to take some killing and some dying and some not very happy choices.

Oh, I do have serious reservations about how the US is conducting this war, don't get me wrong. I also know that I don't have even a small fraction of the information necessary to know what is really going on and just how far the US is pursuing matters in non-OBL linked terrorist threats.

If the root causes of terrorism are not addressed, all those who die in this conflict will have died in vain, which is a waste I don't think humanity can afford.

And these are legitimate concerns. I can't and won't deny that.

--zoui
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If the root causes of terrorism are not addressed, all those who die in this conflict will have died in vain, which is a waste I don't think humanity can afford.

What, specifically, are the root causes of the WTC attack?

6
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Is your whole point that we should have shown proof to the Taliban before starting the campaign?

No. Ned asked me what other actions might have been taken besides violence. This is one possible alternative action.


What if that proof would have jeopardized our agents?

Then yes, we were right not to offer proof.


Do you think the Taliban would have accepted any evidence as proof?

I don't know, we didn't try it. If we had made the proof available publically, and other nations/people thought it was convincing, it would only strengthen our government's decision to pursue military action.


Do you not think that killing is justifiable under any circumstances or do you not think this is a matter of self-defense?

I think killing for self-defense can be justifiable. I am struggling with how this current action fits into "self-defense."

Do you really believe we bombed children on purpose?

No, and I don't know where that question came from. But on purpose or not, it's still wrong to kill innocent people. Hell, it's wrong to kill guilty people too.


Do you think that you and others who feel as you do are responsible for our inability to trust that our media isn't whitewashing this war?

Sorry 6, I'm not sure I understand this question. Do you mean that you think the media isn't giving us the whole story on the horrors of war because it would give peaceniks more justification to oppose the war??? If the media is deliberately not showing us innocent dead or NA executions, then I think it's because


Do you think there is a clear goal here or do you think we're just making Cowboy George happy?

I do think there is a clear goal here: to kill bin Laden and the members of the Taliban and Al Queda. But that is not what the current administration is saying that the goal is. They are saying this is a war on terrorism. Bullsiht. It's a war on specific terrorists. There are laws on the books which say we as a country are not allowed to assassinate people, so we have to say we're fighting terrorism, not assassinating terrorists. It's all doublespeak.


I'm pretty peaceful myself,

I saved this one for last since I'm pretty sure that it made me laugh at you just as hard as you're laughing at me right now, Ms. ThinTheHerd.

Mitten
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(oops - hit the wrong button)

From mid post:

If the media is deliberately not showing us innocent dead or NA executions, then I think it would likely be to keep Americans from seeing anything but the "good" parts of this war so that we won't be so inclined to question our leaders and so we would find it easier to remain convinced of our cause.

M
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If the media is deliberately not showing us innocent dead or NA executions, then I think it would likely be to keep Americans from seeing anything but the "good" parts of this war so that we won't be so inclined to question our leaders and so we would find it easier to remain convinced of our cause.

Exactly. However, the problem with this is that it has an effect regardless of the necessity of fighting the war.

Too many Americans (and no, Mitten, I am not implying you are among them) seem to demand to have their cake and eat it too -- they want the security and prosperity that can come only through the use of force but are too squeamish to know (or want to know) exactly what makes their prosperity and security possible.

--zoui
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I saved this one for last since I'm pretty sure that it made me laugh at you just as hard as you're laughing at me right now, Ms. ThinTheHerd.

I'm not laughing at you, I'm angry at you. I think you're dangerous and confused and you want something to either stop happening or start happening but you don't know what or why.

Do you mean that you think the media isn't giving us the whole story on the horrors of war because it would give peaceniks more justification to oppose the war???

Not justification, excuse. And again, a peacenik is someone who prefers peace to war; someone who finds war wholly unexcusable and unneccessary is...I don't know, something else.

I don't know, we didn't try it. If we had made the proof available publically, and other nations/people thought it was convincing, it would only strengthen our government's decision to pursue military action.

We made it public to everyone (with clearance, of course) and their brother except the Taliban. Everyone thought it was extremely convincing. I think it strengthened the will of other countries to step up and support the "coalition" more than it strengthened our own government's will.

I think killing for self-defense can be justifiable. I am struggling with how this current action fits into "self-defense."


Because bin Laden is dedicated to ending the lives of as many American civilians as he can, and because the Taliban is his vehicle for the moment. Do you disagree with that or do you think Al Queda can't follow through again or do you think that's not a "direct" threat?

They are saying this is a war on terrorism. Bullsiht. It's a war on specific terrorists. There are laws on the books which say we as a country are not allowed to assassinate people, so we have to say we're fighting terrorism, not assassinating terrorists. It's all doublespeak.


I think a war on terrorism is nothing but a bunch of wars against a bunch of specific terrorists. Which makes it at least marginally more winnable than a war on drugs. I think you're right about the doublespeak, but part of why I'm mad at you is because I think you're somewhat to blame for that. If my government said, "we're going to assasinate terrorists", I would support that. You would not. The government must protect our safety, and to do that they must assasinate terrorist. So, we get lied to.

6






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Too many Americans (and no, Mitten, I am not implying you are among them) seem to demand to have their cake and eat it too -- they want the security and prosperity that can come only through the use of force but are too squeamish to know (or want to know) exactly what makes their prosperity and security possible.

I think those people are fewer and futher between than you think. My experience says that those who believe the war is justified are resolved; those who don't believe it's justified are... a vocal minority.

6
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I think those people are fewer and futher between than you think. My experience says that those who believe the war is justified are resolved; those who don't believe it's justified are... a vocal minority.

It's not just war, 6. It's about taxes vs. spending. School safety vs. student freedom. Rampant litigation vs. personal responsibility.

I am sure you can make up your own list.

--zoui
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Perhaps I am wrong about this - I am certainly no expert on the Middle East or Afghanistan - but I have a difficult time taking this idea of negotiating with the Taliban seriously. I am pretty sure our government never took it seriously and only issued demands they were certain would not be met for public relations purposes. The Taliban is not a government. They are some guys with guns who took over a few cities. The Taliban is Bin Laden. Bin Laden is the Taliban though he is also more.

Their demand for proof is, in my eyes, every bit the sham our demands to them were. If they had any interest in protecting their positiong in Afghanistan or the country of Afghanistan, they would have handed over Osama immediately, no questions asked. They didn't because they _are_ Osama bin Laden. When I hear about their request for proof, I just picture a Taliban spokesman on the phone spouting those words while Osama skulks in the next room, listening on the other line.

The Taliban has and had no validity of any kind. And I believe that was how our government approached them from the very start of this campaign.

-chris
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Their demand for proof is, in my eyes, every bit the sham our demands to them were. If they had any interest in protecting their positiong in Afghanistan or the country of Afghanistan, they would have handed over Osama immediately, no questions asked. They didn't because they _are_ Osama bin Laden. When I hear about their request for proof, I just picture a Taliban spokesman on the phone spouting those words while Osama skulks in the next room, listening on the other line.

The Taliban aren't Osama bin Laden, but they are Osama bin Laden's. His millions have propped up the regime for years, in exchange for safe haven.

Showing proof to the Taliban would have been useless, and opened the door to countless measures for stalling any action against bin Laden or the Taliban.

The Taliban militia are bin Laden's paid bodyguards.
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The soldier who killed the youths at the checkpoint went to prison (not sure if the case was appealed, I recall it was a while back, not sure on the ruling. What happened in the past should be left there.

Bullet


How long ago was that, pray tell? Link, please.

Naj
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The Taliban is not a government

What's your definition of a government? The ruling body of a country which comes to power via the process of democratic election? In an ideal world, yes, that would be correct. But surely nobody is naive enough to believe that has ever been the case. The governments of your own country have supported and actively involved themselves in the politics of more than one military regime in the past. Regimes that were responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians. The U.S. still has diplomatic relations with numerous governments which came to power via the gun rather than the ballot box and to this day are guilty of monstrous human rights abuses.

The U.S. has supported, aided and abetted more than one monster regime in its time. Most, if not all governments can rightly be accused of the same thing. Call it part of the learning process if you like. Or growing pains.

My earlier posts where I questioned the wisdom of the U.S. using the Northern Alliance to fight the ground war have been roundly thrashed, and a number of the responses, though not all, deliberately twisted my words into something which I never came close to implying. Others rightly brought up weaknesses in my arguements. My point was and is that I see a danger, not a likelihood but a danger, of the U.S. government falling into that trap again of using murdering bandits at to meet their short term objectives without considering the longterm effect on the people of Afghanistan.

If the killing has stopped in Mazari, if the Northern Alliance pull out of Kabul to allow a coalition government to take over, if the NA don't think about travelling south to the freshly-fallen city of Jalallabad to battle the Pashtun rebels who have just defeated the Taliban there, then I will praise the George Bush administration for achieving their initial objective. That doesn't mean I'll particularly agree with their decsion on how to react to the terror attacks, but I won't be able to deny their reaction was done as professionally as possible. And if the remaining Taliban fighters are either smart enough to desert, or are completely erradicated before getting the chance to regroup in the mountains to stage an endless guerilla war, that is icing on the cake. When the Taliban are no longer able to field any kind of fighting force then perhaps the next pictures we'll see are of bin Laden's bloody body being paraded in front of the news cameras. And I doubt anybody posting here will mourn that sight.

.
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If the media is deliberately not showing us innocent dead or NA executions, then I think it would likely be to keep Americans from seeing anything but the "good" parts of this war so that we won't be so inclined to question our leaders and so we would find it easier to remain convinced of our cause

Mitten, being in the news business I can assure you that the U.S. media has deliberately not shown certain pictures or footage which have received wide play elsewhere in the world but I doubt very much it's as sinister as it may first appear. Newspapers and the network news, just like any other businesses, are very much in tune with what their customers want. They have rightly (from a business standpoint) judged that images of the deaths of innocent civilians, or NA performing summary executions will outrage their reader/viewer/advertising base to the extent that they will lose money. This would only change if they perceived a growing dissent against the war. At that time the images would, with initial trepidition, appear in public. This happens everywhere.
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I'm doing my best not to feel overly picked on here. It's a bit hard to when the peaceful are being called weak-minded, self-indulgent, cowardly and the like

Hell Laura, if it weren't for you most here would have nothing to post. Baseball season's over after all. So all should be thanking you. Remember though, nothing, but nothing, angers the righteous more than when methods of revenge are questioned or criticised.

Be brave, don't give an inch. Most of your detractors here will, I'm sure, eventually remember the tenets of which your country is based.

Remember though, when mega-violence on a large scale hits a country, especially for the first time, thoughts of revenge is all most citizens can use to take away the pain and the fear. And that is also correct behaviour. Or it would be if the new-hawks respected the right of the still-dovish to encourage alternative action. Peace.
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In the fourth sentence of my post which starts off "What's your definition of a government?" please change the word "ever" to the word "always". Should read "But surely nobody is naive enough to believe that has ALWAYS been the case." Apologies.
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The real reason they hate us (in the author's opinion, anyway)

http://www.chretiens-et-juifs.org/JIHAD/Terror_&_Islam.htm
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The real reason they hate us (in the author's opinion, anyway)

http://www.chretiens-et-juifs.org/JIHAD/Terror_&_Islam.htm


What's so extremist about a belief in green horseradish paste on...

Oh, wahhabism. Never mind

-synchronicity
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Do you think the Taliban would have accepted any evidence as proof?

I don't know, we didn't try it. If we had made the proof available publically, and other nations/people thought it was convincing, it would only strengthen our government's decision to pursue military action.

Why should we offer the Taliban jack sthi? They were recognized as the government of Afghanistan by exactly three nations, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. They were not recognized as the legitimate authority by the US, or the UN (the many headed Hydra of diplomacy).

Now I grant you, they were the de facto rulers of much of Afghanistan, but if we are going to be polite little diplomats you deal with only the "legitimate" rulers. Dealing with the Taliban as a government would be dealing with those who took control via force, and it would just besmirch my sterling pacifist character too much to reward violence.

If we are going to be a diplomatic nation, we should sit on our hands while allowing bin Laden to take another run at us while we are chatting nicely with Burhanuddin Rabbani, who is the recognized leader of Afghanistan. And he must be legitimate because the UN says he is the leader of the country.

One of bin Laden's beefs is that we have bases in Saudi. So? Are we to pull out just because one violent rich guy decides to over rule the government of Saudi Arabia, a sovereign nation?

You have every right to make yourself as presentable a target as you can for Mr. bin Laden. I have no interest in joining you in that quest. The guy said, prior to September 11, 2001, that it was the duty of all Muslims to kill American citizens. As an American citizen I can only presume that Osama wants me dead. Telling someone that you want them dead is not a good way to open a dialogue.

Some people are just born not very nice, and all the talking in the world is not going to change their disposition. Throw in a direct pipeline to God, Allah, Zeus or whoever, and you just make them all the more certain that they are right to kill you. Chatting about their feelings and trying to raise their self esteem doesn't work in this circumstance.

Guy says he wants you dead. Guy takes steps to bring about that end. Sorry, I don't think that it is going too far over the line to take him out first. You come after me with intent to harm, I will make you stop, even if the only way to do that is to make you stop all bodily functions.

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If we are going to be a diplomatic nation, we should sit on our hands while allowing bin Laden to take another run at us while we are chatting nicely with Burhanuddin Rabbani, who is the recognized leader of Afghanistan....

One word here: "diplomacy" does not mean "passivity". Diplomacy is the skilled employment of economic, political, and even rhetorical and moral forces. I don't think the Taliban were anyone to be diplomatic with, either, but I sure wouldn't trash the concept of diplomacy wholesale.

To be a (chiefly) diplomatic nation is very desirable--much more desirable than it's alternative: to be a chiefly warring nation. We shouldn't show our weaponry off every chance we don't agree with someone.

jps
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