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Declaring War against terrorism

GUEST 17 Sep 01 - 04:32 PM
flattop 19 Sep 01 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,Brian 19 Sep 01 - 10:21 AM
Bagpuss 19 Sep 01 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work) 19 Sep 01 - 10:33 AM
Clinton Hammond 19 Sep 01 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work) 19 Sep 01 - 11:30 AM
Clinton Hammond 19 Sep 01 - 11:40 AM
Kim C 19 Sep 01 - 11:59 AM
Don Firth 19 Sep 01 - 12:09 PM
sophocleese 19 Sep 01 - 12:34 PM
flattop 19 Sep 01 - 12:42 PM
Kim C 19 Sep 01 - 12:42 PM
Little Hawk 19 Sep 01 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work) 19 Sep 01 - 01:34 PM
Clinton Hammond 19 Sep 01 - 01:40 PM
flattop 19 Sep 01 - 02:42 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 19 Sep 01 - 06:20 PM
kendall 19 Sep 01 - 07:28 PM
flattop 19 Sep 01 - 08:09 PM
Amos 19 Sep 01 - 10:39 PM
sophocleese 19 Sep 01 - 10:57 PM
GUEST,Boab 19 Sep 01 - 11:05 PM
Amos 19 Sep 01 - 11:09 PM
Troll 19 Sep 01 - 11:18 PM
sophocleese 19 Sep 01 - 11:30 PM
sophocleese 19 Sep 01 - 11:41 PM
Troll 20 Sep 01 - 12:40 AM
Donuel 20 Sep 01 - 02:15 AM
Donuel 20 Sep 01 - 02:26 AM
GUEST, I, hurricane 20 Sep 01 - 05:02 AM
Murray MacLeod 20 Sep 01 - 06:21 AM
sophocleese 20 Sep 01 - 07:16 AM
Wolfgang 20 Sep 01 - 07:24 AM
Troll 20 Sep 01 - 07:45 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 20 Sep 01 - 08:07 AM
sophocleese 20 Sep 01 - 08:07 AM
CarolC 20 Sep 01 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work) 20 Sep 01 - 08:26 AM
flattop 20 Sep 01 - 08:28 AM
Bagpuss 20 Sep 01 - 08:28 AM
CarolC 20 Sep 01 - 08:36 AM
Amos 20 Sep 01 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work) 20 Sep 01 - 08:44 AM
flattop 20 Sep 01 - 09:36 AM
Amos 20 Sep 01 - 09:44 AM
flattop 20 Sep 01 - 10:41 AM
flattop 20 Sep 01 - 11:03 AM
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Deda 20 Sep 01 - 12:01 PM
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Subject: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 04:32 PM

From ,a href="http://argument.independent.co.uk/leading_articles/story.jsp?story=94353">Today's Indepedent

What is a declaration of war against terrorism, apart from a rhetorical device?

"Whatever the technical and legal issues about a declaration of war," the Prime Minister said yesterday, "the fact is that we are at war with terrorism." Never mind the technical and legal issues, there is the plain meaning of words. It is only meaningful to declare war on a state or a military power; anything else is metaphor.

You cannot declare war on a tactic; it is as if President Roosevelt responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor by declaring war on bombing.

It does not even make much sense to declare war on terrorists.

When President Bush solemnly announces that the United States is on a war footing and calls up the reservists, he does not seriously intend to mobilise resources against Eta, the Tamil Tigers or the Real IRA.

Irish terrorism is an illuminating case: when it comes to harbouring terrorists, the pre-Clinton US record of tolerating IRA fundraising and refusing to extradite IRA suspects does not bear close scrutiny.

We cannot even be sure that Osama bin Laden was behind the 11 September attacks. The US – and Britain – is thus at war with only a "prime suspect".

This is a war which, like the war against drugs, debases the language. There may yet be a real war, of course. If the US and its allies commit forces to fighting in Afghanistan there will, of course, be casualties on the Nato side, unlike the war in Kosovo or, in significant numbers, the Gulf war. That could lead the West into a war like Vietnam, but we are, we hope, a long way from that yet.

We are being purist, possibly even pedantic.

President Bush needs to respond rhetorically to the grief, anger and frustration of American opinion.

Thus the geniuses of the presentational arts give us Operation Noble Eagle, while the intelligence agencies get on with the essentially rather passive job of working out who was behind the atrocities and the military planners with that of working out how to reach them. It is possible that by talking tough and acting cautiously George Bush is pursuing a sensible, pragmatic strategy. Meanwhile, Tony Blair is pursuing a similar approach: he has attracted attention in the US for his "shoulder to shoulder" stance of unqualified support, thus ensuring that, when in private he advises restraint, he will be taken seriously.

There are dangers in the over-use of the language of war, however. It raises the expectation of an early, overwhelming and probably indiscriminate military response.

If that does not happen, public opinion in America may prove harder to mobilise when it comes to the resolve and expense needed to follow through on what President Bush has accepted will be a long and difficult process.

A secondary danger is that the rhetoric of war will be used to justify intolerance. Although the lives of US or British service personnel are not yet at stake, there is already an assumption, which would be wrong even if they were at risk, that questioning the policy of national leaders is collaborating with terrorists.

This is particularly strong in the US, which has a long tradition of non-partisan support for the presidency at times of crisis. But it is happening here too, as it did in the Falklands and Gulf wars.

Any suggestion that aggressive military action against suspects in Afghanistan might be counter-productive (because it could recruit a new generation of suicide terrorists), is treated in some quarters as "left-wing bias".

Greg Dyke, the director general of the BBC, was wrong to apologise for last week's edition of Question Time, in which members of the studio audience said that the US ought to try to understand why it was so hated by some Muslims. [bold is mine]

It is vitally important, if this is indeed a war between civilisation and fanaticism, as President Bush and Mr Blair have said, that it is fought in the name of civilised values.

Most people will accept some restrictions on civil liberties for the sake of protection against terrorism – luggage and personal searches, for example. The arguments about identity cards and DNA records, meanwhile, are mostly those of practicality and effectiveness rather than principle.

What they should never accept, however, except in cases of incitement to violence, are restrictions on the right of free expression.

Mr Blair, to his credit, recalled Parliament precisely so that there could be an open debate, and told CNN that, "if people want to be anti-British or anti-American, we're democrats, we believe that people have the right to express their views".

He also accepted that all he was offering the US at this stage was words of support. "That is the easy part. The hard part starts when you actually take the action."

Let us hope that the weekend's inflated language has not prejudiced the sustained work needed to make the world safer from terrorists when the hard decisions do need to be taken.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: flattop
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 09:46 AM

Writing to cc last week and talking to a businessman on Monday, I started to wonder if most of the confusion and rhetoric wasn't on the American side. I don't see any reason why we should expect a calmer, more reasoned reaction from Jerry Falwell than Osama Bin Laden, both are leaders with the level of intelligence that their followers demand. However, it seems to me that the American media is running way ahead of 'the enemy' in noise and disconcertion. Someone pointed out that the hijackers didn't even leave suicide notes. CNN is more than making up for their silence.

In a review of a novel by an American Jewish author, Gore Vidal noted that the sex scenes failed because American Jewish writers have had trouble getting under the American gentiles' skins, let alone their foreskins. Understanding people who attack us may be an even more difficult problem.

We have been horrified by scenes from New York but it is quite possible that 'the enemy' does not see their actions of last week as terrorism at all. They may not see World trade Center workers as innocent civilians. It quite possible that they see the World Trade Center as a strategic military target and the workers as soldiers in a financial system that oppresses them and kills them. If they believe the claims that over a million people have died in Iraq alone as a result of an American led and American enforced embargo, then the attacks may seem modest to them. They may see the attack as a wildly successful and relatively surgical strategic military hit rather than an act of terrorism. To misunderstand their thinking in what looks like modernized guerilla warfare could be a costly mistake.

The businessman, a Harvard MBA, drove home my earlier thoughts when he told me that whenever he was in New York and when he visited the World Trade Center he had always been nervous because New York was such a visible and vulnerable target for surprise nuclear attack by any nut in the world. Any nuclear attack would have been many times worse. America developed the nuclear technology that is becoming more available around the world and even America has its fair share of Falwells. Truely frightening if we care to think about it. Perhaps dangerous if we don't (although I'm not sure what we can do about it.)

The Halifax Herald ran two interesting news wire stories yesterday that shine different lights into the darkness. Mudcatters have raised similar issues but the reporters' pencil marks draw interesting pictures. Note how low key the rhetoric is in Afghanistan. Perhaps the western world could give 'the enemy' CNN as an aid package and drive them completely crazy.

www.herald.ns.ca/cgi-bin/home/loadmain?2001/09/18+151.raw

www.herald.ns.ca/cgi-bin/home/loadmain?2001/09/18+150.raw


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: GUEST,Brian
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 10:21 AM

The phrase 'declaring war on terrorism' does not sit easily with me either. If we have 'just' declared war on terrorism, what the hell have we been doing for the last 30 years?

Brian


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Bagpuss
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 10:27 AM

And wouldn't that make the US at war with itself. There are numerous documented examples of the US funding terrorist groups to overthrow governments who are too close to communist for america's liking. Oh, I'm sorry? They were freedom fighters not terrorists?

And don't forget Nelson Mandela was once a terrorist...

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work)
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 10:33 AM

Semantics..... War declared against terrorists and the states that support them is a plain and simple statement that everyone (even translated) understands. Fact: War has been declared on any state or individual that will murder Americans to achieve political aims in another country. Fact: When the world trade building was hit by civilian aircraft, they missed America and hit The World. Over forty countries lost people during this attack. There are enough threads to sink a battleship on this fucking subject, give it a rest for fucks sake. Yours, Aye. Dave (on the front line)


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Subject: The War on Terrorism
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 10:45 AM

Hopefully it'll go better than the war on aids, the war on drugs, the war on crime and all the other 'wars' that American has 'declaired' and haven't got a hope in hell of 'winning'...


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work)
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 11:30 AM

It behooves me to remind Clinton that we have not lost the war on Aids, Crime or Drugs. ;-) Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 11:40 AM

Pfffft!

You certainly aren't making any head way on them either... The war on drugs is a total joke... the war on crime is a token gesture that no one really expects will make a lick of difference... And well, I'm looking to the private sector for any decent scientific advances, especially in field of genetics...


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Kim C
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 11:59 AM

Why Dave! I have never heard you swear so! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 12:09 PM

My immediate response when I first heard Dubya use the word "war" was "Oh, crap! Here we go again!" It was obvious to me that either he just didn't understand the situation or he was indulging in political rhetoric for the ears of those who somehow feel that an immediate, violent response will make them feel better.

"War" doesn't fit the circumstances any more than it fits when applied to drugs, crime, AIDS, or poverty. Bombing Afghanistan will win the war against terrorism in the same way that bombing Columbia will win the "war against drugs."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: sophocleese
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 12:34 PM

Here is a useful link to some history about American involvement with Pakistan and Afghanistan. A war on terrorism would be useless if we don't address some of the conflicting issues brought up in this article.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: flattop
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 12:42 PM

The issue may not be semantics but general semantics, Dave. Semantics is about dialects and word choice whereas general semantics is about how language affects people.

S.I.Hayakawa said that the general semantics addresses questions like 'What are you saying if anything?', 'Are you fooling yourself?'

I thought that the words of our holiest leaders and most honored and admired politicians might have played some small role in slaughter. Words might even have been used to motivate people and in the hijacking of planes. I can't imagine mute people hijacking a bunch of planes.

Lack of clarity in their words can be an issue. Concepts and word patterns might play a part in most conflicts. In the book, Getting to Yes, the authors say, 'Understanding the other side's thinking is not simply a useful activity that will help you solve the problem. Their thinking is the problem.' Their thinking is usually in words.

You can call it semantics and bomb the hell out of people, you might even feel teriffic doing it, but that may not get them any closer to accepting your point of view as the truth and the light.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Kim C
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 12:42 PM

Ezackly. We have to treat the cause of the disease and not just the symptoms.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 01:18 PM

War is itself terrorism in most cases. I make an exception for war that is fought on (or above) one's own geographical territory against an outside invader. When it's on or over someone else's ground it's terrorism.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work)
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 01:34 PM

Maybe we should just fucking surrender eh? Sure its not a nice name, but make no mistake about it... Call it a Police Action, Mission, or any other name it is war. Hugging and lighting candles will not stop people like them from attacking anyone. What next? ships airplanes nuclear reactors? wait and see... No one is advocating bombing innocent people, but the likelyhood of innocents getting killed is very high. Failure to react to this threat will only mean that the Taliban will become heros and the extremists the victors. I dont want to live in a world dictated to by the likes of Bin Laden. Neither do I hate any race or religion. I do expect the rule of law to apply to this situation; and I expect that the vast majority of the worlds caring citizens agree with that sentiment. Simply put, dont start killing people in this manner and not expect to be hunted down as the rabid dog you have become. Yours, Aye. Dave (with appologies for my rudeness to the Mudcat ladies)


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 01:40 PM

"Hugging and lighting candles will not stop people like them from attacking anyone"

THAT should be a line in a song called "A Good Place To Start, A Lousy Place to End"


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: flattop
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 02:42 PM

Now I'm getting confused Dave, help me.

Who is 'we' and who would you surrender to? Who did you have in mind? (Aren't 'we' both in Nova Scotia at the moment?)

Your opportunities for hugging these guys in candlelight may be past Dave. If that was an option that you were considering, you blew it.

Do you think most of the guilty will be killed by any action that you can conceive of? What ratio of innocents killed to guilty killed do you see? Would you volunteer to be one of the innocents killed if you knew that someone you thought guilty would die at the same time?


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 06:20 PM

Flattop dont confuse the fact that I live in Nova Scotia, and dedicate my life to saving lives, that I have no experience with the other side of terrorism. To answer your question. We are the Western nations that will be targets for this type of agression. More than likely it will spill over to Canada. Some of the people dont want any kind of agression against this Bin Laden, and clearly he wont be given up lightly. The final option is military, but it is not the only option. I along with many others hope that with frozen assets, limited communication ability, his regime of terror will end by him being given up for trial (again not likely) The final option is to destroy his training camps and followers and attack the supporting regime. I dont want to see any casualties, but be realistic can we allow him and his kind to succeed? The next time something gets attacked, it might make the Halifax explosion look like a firecracker. Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: kendall
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 07:28 PM

Clinton Hammond, at least we are trying.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: flattop
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 08:09 PM

I don't think that you answered my question Dave. Instead you twisted it into something else. My question was who did you include in the 'we' that you referred to in 'Maybe we should just fucking surrender eh?' However, your ideas are becoming clearer as you write.

You asked one direct question before flipping back to a highly generalized statement mentioning the Halifax explosion: 'I dont want to see any casualties, but be realistic can we allow him and his kind to succeed?'

He or whoever organized this attack did succeed - perhaps beyond their wildest dreams. You can no longer prevent that success, it's history.

Should the U.S. protect itself? Certainly.

Will the U.S. retaliate? Most likely.

Will they target mainly people who they think were responsible? Looks like it. Bush seems focussed and careful. He seems better than many people expected him to be.

Will they get the people responsible? I don't know?

Will it stop attacks on the U.S.? I doubt it. Enemies of the U.S. have proven that they can get revenge for their perceived injuries and I expect that many more people out there feel like they need to get revenge. On the other hand, seeing the U.S. in such a vulnerable position may relax some peoples' attitudes about the country.

Will taking revenge on people who thought that they were getting revenge stop the cycle of revenge? Yeah, just like it has in all the hot spots around the world.

In the end I'm not sure what would be effective and I'm sure as hell glad that I don't have to make the decisions on who 'we' should attack or if 'we' should surrender. I don't think that American's killing innocent people is worse than others killing innocent Americans or even surprising given the circumstance.

You quoted Samuel Johnson on another thread. When asked what was learned from the English civil war, Johnson replied, "that the king had bones in his neck." We haven't learned a lot since. Revenge justifies revenge which justifies revenge.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Amos
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 10:39 PM

Flattop:

I'd be interested to hear what you believe the national response to a unilateral act of massive aggression like the civilian attack of last Tuesday should be?

It seems vividly clear to me that there is an organized network of individuals behind it, because of the support, training, and synchronization (not to mention cash) needed to have so many sleeping agents waking up and striking within minutes of each other.

That network of individuals is probably a segment of a larger network, whose common theme is the intent to commit acts of destruction in a terrorist or guerilla fashion against the United States or those nations which have allied themselves with the United States.

The declaration of war lacks the usual predicate, agreed; that is because those who have initiated the attacks are not willing to let themselves be seen, nor their group to be named, nor their location to be found out -- a state of mind that could readily be characterized as cowardly. But never mind that.

Given that such a collection of people exists, and that they are an association because of their agreements on means and general purpose, at least, and that they have indeed commited atrocious criminal acts against large numbers of civilians, here and elsewhere...what do you think we should do?

Send them hamburgers? I am sure they need them.

Sit and talk? They have made it clear they are prepared to resort to extreme subterfuge. Why would they now begin communication in earnest?

Forgive them? Which time? This one? The next?

Do you feel this is not an act of war, to destroy so many lives suddenly, violently, intentionally, in a surprise attack? How would YOU characterize it?

If it is an act of war, and it has shed all the blood available in some 5,000 humans who last Monday morning thought they were living normal, productive lives...what do you recommend as a national response to such an act?

Tactical croissants?

A


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: sophocleese
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 10:57 PM

Amos, how do you know that "That network of individuals is probably a segment of a larger network, whose common theme is the intent to commit acts of destruction in a terrorist or guerilla fashion against the United States or those nations which have allied themselves with the United States." ? Nobody has admitted to being part of the conspiracy. We have some idea of who might be guilty and therefore some idea of motive, but at the moment its still just supposition.

"Forgive them?" Why not? "Lord forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." I agree its hard to do but it seems a pity that it seems less difficult to decide on actions that involve more innocent lives.

I do not feel that this is an act of war. I think it is a shameful, brilliant criminal act. Cowards did not fly the planes, idiots did not plan it. War is a clumsy and ineffective means of dealing with criminals and with crime. Law working with uncorrupted officials does a lot more.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 11:05 PM

Guest--who began this thread---in my opinion, an excellent posting. And I'm with Kim. C. 12.42pm. all the way---


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Amos
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 11:09 PM

Dear Soph:

Well, it's okay with me if you want to undo Bush's declaration of war and make a declaration of crime.

Given the sheer number of victims, and the fact that a fairly large group is involved, I kinda thought it seemed war-like.

If it is a crime, though, and not a war, then we should not under any circustances send the military in to do roundups. Military people do not do arresting very well -- they are trained in different skills, and don't know how to spell Miranda.

As to how I know that those who staged, planned, financed, supported, trained and executed this operation were part of a larger network, it is an assumption extrapolated from the long history of similar acts in various nations, the similarities in some aspects of those acts and my own sense of what would be consistent with known data. It is not a fact, but an assumption, which is why I said probably.

As for your question, "Forgive them? Why not?" there are very good reasons why not. First, I can't. Second, I do not want to.

They still have the power to kill my friends.

I would be happy to forgive them once that power has been removed. Not before.

I am very sorry if this is not sufficiently Christian for your tastes, but I don't subscribe to organized religions.

A.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Troll
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 11:18 PM

Open question to all.
Would you resort to violence if your CHILD were being attacked by someone who gave every indication of doing him/her great, if not fatal, harm?
If your answer is no, then you are obviously someone who values philosophy over human life.
If the answer is yes, why would you feel that the US should NOT avenge it's slain children in whatever manner necessary.
If you in fact feel that way. You know what I mean.
Think about it. And don't split hairs.

troll


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: sophocleese
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 11:30 PM

I don't suscribe to much organized religion. However an eye for an eye hasn't done a lot for world peace in the last week has it? That Bush may have declared it an act of war carries little weight with me. Over a century ago a small council attempted to declare that pi would no longer be 3.14... but instead would be 4, this would make calculations easier. Calculations were easier but things would fall down and not work. The relationships within geometric figures are not susceptible to political decree. Language, while a far more fluid and human discipline, still has some logic to it. The sun is still the sun even if Kate agrees with Petrucchio that it be the moon.

If forgiveness is going too far in one direction, and I agree that it is difficult, declaring war and preparing for murder is going too far in the other direction.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: sophocleese
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 11:41 PM

Troll I would defend my child and my children to my last breath. Why do you think I'm arguing against the US blundering into WWIII?


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Troll
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 12:40 AM

Read Osama bin Laden's fatwa of 1993. If our government doesn't defeat him and his kind, you may very well get to defend them to your last breath.
Read the Fatwa!

troll


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Donuel
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 02:15 AM

"AMERICA UNITED!" "SMOKE 'EM OUTTA THEIR HOLES, HUNT 'EM DOWN, AND GIT 'EM!" "THE SLEEPING GIANT HAS BEEN AROUSED!" and "REMEMBER THE POSTER IN THE OLD WEST: 'WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE!'"

I have a question to all the war hawks out there: When you listen and look at our Commander-in-Chief, do you really think THIS is the guy who is going to kick some major league ass? I'm just asking all you conservative drum beaters out there -- man, you must be *embarrassed* that this is the best we have to offer.

I know we are all supposed to be supportive of Mr. Bush, at the moment, but has it dawned on anyone that he is not, in fact, the "president?" I hate to bring up a thorny subject, but this man is lost when left on his own to compose a sentence.

But occasionally his batteries run out -- and he goes off on some unintelligible tangent "make no mistake mumble mumble". You can see his handlers desperately trying to cut him off and whisk him away. You watch in awe and you ask the question that none of us even wants to contemplate right now, and that no one will dare to ask, so I might as well take the hit and be the one: THIS is the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful country on earth? Who amongst you feels secure tonight? What enemy is going to be afraid of *this* guy?

Bush keeps calling what we are in "a war." Has anyone told him that the more he keeps using this word, the more HE puts US in jeopardy? A "war" implies that two sides are participating in an action to kill as many of the other side as possible. Bush and the pundits use the word like it's a one-sided deal, like we're going to be the only ones doing the bombing. War means we bomb them, then they bomb us. That's what war is, you idiots. We strafe Afghanistan, then the terrorists drop a canister of chemical weapons in the New York subway. We send in a group of commandos and wipe out a camp of Muslims, they take out the Sears Tower.

All of you who are screaming for war: are you prepared to pay the price, to take thousands of more casualties? Because, my big, macho-talking friends, THAT is what this kind of war would be like. America is a complex and open society with a massive and intricate infrastructure that is fragile and vulnerable and susceptible to easy attack and disruption. IT CAN BE BROUGHT DOWN WITH A BOXCUTTER. Let me repeat that:

IT CAN BE BROUGHT DOWN -- IT CAN BE BROUGHT TO A TOTAL STANDSTILL -- BY A BOXCUTTER!

Nearly a week with no stock market, no commercial television, no professional sports, three days with no planes in the air (for the first time since 1911), no airports open, the country essentially shut down. A week later and the phone lines still don't all work. A boxcutter, folks! Do not be misled into thinking he with the biggest missile is going to win this "war."

We will never be able to protect all of us from this kind of terrorism. Back and forth, more buildings bombed, more planes downed, more innocent American lives lost. When does this end? After we have killed every terrorist? When exactly is THAT scheduled to happen? Or is it just when we kill Osama bin Laden, *then* we win the war? Are you serious? We couldn't even assassinate Hitler during a massive World War that lasted 6 years!
[b] Bush now says this is "a war against the evil people in the world." Oh, really? THAT war! Yeah, we should be able to defeat "evil," oh, sometime in the next millennium or two.[/b] Get a grip. "War" is not going to get the justice we demand or make us more safe. You know it and I know it. There is a different way to go, and I will lay it out in a later letter, but to simplify it for now and put it in a nutshell, it goes like this:

One billion people on this planet have no clean drinking water. Two billion have no electricity. Three billion have never made a phone call from their home. We have the money and the people-power to alter ALL of this. We also have the moral imperative to stop supporting repressive regimes and corporations who exploit these people.

When we decide to help improve these billions of people's lives, we will pull the rug out from under the terrorists who need those they send to their deaths to be poor and exploited and angry at us. The multi-millionaire bin Laden isn't going to give up HIS life!
When all the people in the Middle East have food on the table, a decent home, a good job, and democratic control over their own lives, who among them is going to be convinced to sacrifice his life by crashing himself into a tall office building?

Sure, there will always be those who go insane and kill without reason. The British saw that in a Dunblane schoolyard, we saw it in Oklahoma City. There will always be religious fanatics willing to kill and be killed because they believe God has so ordered them. Ask the families of the assassinated women's clinics' doctors in Buffalo and Florida about those willing to commit evil in the name of religion in America.
There IS a way to protect us from further attack, to lift the rest of the world out of its misery, but it requires some smarts and some guts, two things in short supply in Washington these days.

We are now driving across Ohio toward West Virginia and Pennsylvania. On the radio, NPR is running a history report on Osama bin Laden. We are told that he comes from a wealthy family and that they are the main builders for the Saudi royal family. They've remodeled palaces and built holy sites. Their construction projects are everywhere. Kathleen turns to me, and with one word sums up the kind of low-life we are talking about here.

"Contractors," she says. "Bin Laden is a contractor." Indeed, it all made sense. Michael Moore mmflint@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Donuel
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 02:26 AM

Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism From: Troll Date: 19-Sep-01 - 11:18 PM

Open question to all. Would you resort to violence if your CHILD were being attacked by someone who gave every indication of doing him/her great, if not fatal, harm? If your answer is no, then you are obviously someone who values philosophy over human life. If the answer is yes, why would you feel that the US should NOT avenge it's slain children in whatever manner necessary. If you in fact feel that way. You know what I mean. Think about it. And don't split hairs.

troll ................................... I have seen this bait and lure remark on other forums by even less savory people. The hypothetical question of graphic violence to ones child (murder,rape,sodomy,dismemberment etc.) should be answered by its author , but it is not. Instead he discribes what someone else's answer means before they answer. Call me old fashioned but to rhetorically put a bullet through the head of a child is a crude and cowardly remark reserved for US presidential debates of the 80's. Speak for your own child , if you have one.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: GUEST, I, hurricane
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 05:02 AM

Donuel: Is Michael Moore saying he would want to go to war if we had a better or tougher looking president, such as Clint Eastwood or Larry Holmes? That nations should decide whether to fight wars or fight back on the basis of the personal characteristics of each country's spokesperson? He has a sensible sentence buried in there, but the first part of the article is pure and spiteful ad hominem. George Bush is the person who we put in place to handle this mess. He hasn't mishandled it yet. People who profess do-goodism can sure be nasty, and to what end? Self-promotion?


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 06:21 AM

Sophocleese, please provide a link giving info about rthe "small council who tried to decree that pi should be 4." I am fascinated.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: sophocleese
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 07:16 AM

I read it somewhere in a book and I'm trying to remember which one. When I find it again I'll let you know.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 07:24 AM

link for Murray (the representatives of Indiana were so stupid; but don't forget to read the paragraph after the Indiana representatives' stupidity as well)

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Troll
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 07:45 AM

Donuel, of course the statement was loaded. It was meant to be loaded. The point of it all was to point out that there are times when violence is not only indicated, but preferable:i.e., protecting a child.
It points out that non-violence at any price is not a viable philosophy and no amount of sophistry and "except for" will make it so.
It's simply a matter of how much you are willing to take before you will resort to violence.
For violence, read war, revenge, etc.
As I said in a previous post, read the Fatwa. To illustrate what I am talking about, here is a portion of the Fatwa issued in 1998.

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God."

This is in addition to the words of Almighty God "And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill- treated (and oppressed) -- women and children, whose cry is 'Our Lord, rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will help!'"

We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan's U.S. troops and the devil's supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson.

Almighty God said "O ye who believe, give your response to God and His Apostle, when He calleth you to that which will give you life. And know that God cometh between a man and his heart, and that it is He to whom ye shall all be gathered."

Almighty God also says "O ye who believe, what is the matter with you, that when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of God, ye cling so heavily to the earth! Do ye prefer the life of this world to the hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least. For God hath power over all things."

Almighty God also says "So lose no heart, nor fall into despair. For ye must gain mastery if ye are true in faith."

I don't believe that there is a lot of ambiguity there. Whether or not we are at war withhim the man is surely at war with us and no amount of re-distribution of wealth is going to change that. His ulitmate goal -and he has so stated it- is nothing less than the conquest of the world for Islam.

troll


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 08:07 AM

Amazing! Thanks to GUEST and the rest for some refreshingly intelligent discussion of the issues with a minimum of meatheaded macho bullshit. Terror begets terror and the US is culpable for much of the deadliest terror in recent--and not-so-recent history. Even if we dismiss the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima and Nagasaki as wartime expedience, we still have School of the Americas trained death squads in Latin America, in Argentina, in Peru, in Nicaragua and El Salvador, in Guatamala. We also have several presidents' acquiescence in and support of genocide in East Timor, the murderous bombing and sanctions on Iraq and the destruction of the Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, and so on and on, with a propensity since the beginning of genocide against the indigenous population of the continent and the genocidal slave trade--I recall figures of less than half the Africans taking onto slave traders' ships surviving the village with another huge pecentage dying in the Caribbean slave breaking grounds. It's true that half a million Americans died in the war to end slavery, but how many died trying to establish rights for the freed slaves? Ya got a couple of free fingers to count on?

That much of the world looks to the US as the land of freedom and prosperity has less to do with history than with our rhetoric of freedom--of the "Land of the free and the home of the brave" and "Give us the... wretched refuse of your teeming shores, yearning to breathe free.." variety. We seem to welcome the "wretched refuse" of those systems whose political/economic systems we abhor: Cuba, El Salvador, Sandinista Nicaragua, but reject those whose governments have good standing with United Fruit or Archer-Daniels-Midland. Also, we are happy to welcome large numbers of computer programmers who will work for less than our home-grown workers.

The United States of America is a wonderful dream, but upon waking we find our dream lover has left us for someone with a lot more money.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: sophocleese
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 08:07 AM

Thanks for the link Wolfgang.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: CarolC
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 08:23 AM

Well then, troll, maybe the answer is for us to tell the Muslims and the Jews that they have six months to come up with some kind of agreement about how to share that tiny little piece of real estate upon which the whole future of humanity seems to hang, or we will bomb it to oblivion. Maybe we should put a missile where no one can reach it, permanently aim it at the that holy site, and tell them that if anyone takes any retaliatory stike at us over that bit of rock, we will permanently destroy it.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work)
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 08:26 AM

Flattop. I dont advocate revenge killings at all. Attacks against a regime that is threatening violence against me or my allies? Of course my answer is yes. Revenge is not the reason or the solution to the problem. I dont hate anyone or any nation, race, or religion. If I shoot an enemy, who is trying to kill thousands of innocent men women and children, it is done to prevent such action. There is no feeling of happiness or satisfaction involved. Extreme sadness, horror, fear, disgust, are all part of my emotions; but unlike my enemy (on this occasion) no dancing in the street or delight in killing at all. War is called the final option for those reasons. Any person or organization that intends to kill people in the manner that occured last week, have forfeit the right to exist on this planet; that includes governments who support their actions. Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: flattop
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 08:28 AM

Amos, you have far more knowledge of military issues and you be grappling with these issues. I was impressed with debates you seem to be having with yourself on earlier threads. I believe that you are aware of the complexity of the issues and doubt that I would come up with any better answer than Americans would. I think Bush and his staff have been doing a good job so far and that they are grappling with the complexity of these issues.

The point I originally wanted to make is in the second post on this thread. My point was that the situation looks totally different to people who feel that the U.S. is their enemy.

Dave quickly turned my statement into the same old arguments while complaining that there were too many threads on the same old arguments. I don't know if he was being dense or simply emotional.

Looking at how the things are shaping up this morning, you have religious leaders telling Osama bin Laden that he could give himself up. At the same time they are saying that they will call for a holy war if the U.S. attacks Afghanistan. The former was a surprise, the latter expected. Is the U.S. government ready to fight a holy guerilla war with people around the world?

Should Osama bin Laden give himself up, which I think unlikely, many people in the U.S. will not be happy unless he is executed, even if evidence is lacking. People in other parts of the world will be angry if he is executed no matter how much evidence is found. He will become a bigger hero and a bigger role model to some if he is executed.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Bagpuss
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 08:28 AM

A proposal. Any country who wants to fight in this war against terrorism must demonstrate that it is not supporting, financing or conducting (directly or indirectly) any terrorism of its own. If they can't do that, they can still fight in the war, but they are on the other side.

I wonder how many countries would put their hand up to join the war in these conditions.

Let he who is without sin...


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: CarolC
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 08:36 AM

Good point Bagpuss, and I think we should not exempt the Swiss banks.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Amos
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 08:43 AM

Good idea, Bagpuss. Understood, flattop. Imagine if we used the incredible sabre-rattling power we have to enforce that qualification and in so doing, all the players had to shut town any internal terrorist ops in order to qualify!! Ethics at gunpoint, wodda concept!!

I have a simple burning wish -- I don't want to raze any towns, or rape any women, or make any parking lots. I just want the root andbranch of a complex invisible network identified and vaporized.

Sounds awful crude, but I am a little upset and depressed about recent events.

As most of us are, Charles, you seem to be flailing rhetorically above, a little disjointed, and I sympathize. But I don't agree with you about the emptiness and hypocrisy -- I think you are leaving out a lot of data!!

A


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work)
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 08:44 AM

Flattop. You are quite right about my being fed up with the number of threads that are all about the same subject. (a very human emotion) I have been dragged into this unwillingly and withdraw. Your remarks have become personally directed insults. My comments are not directed at any individual in that manner. I dont object to differences of opinion, but insults are just that, and serve small purpose. I dont care to enter into that kind of childish exchange with anyone. What could be a difference of opinion, calls for private exchange not public. Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: flattop
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 09:36 AM

Do you see any clear and relatively safe way of achieving your wishes Amos?

A lot of people are depressed. Some people seem to be getting physically ill from the stress. Others may feel better because they have reduced their feelings to a few simple truths that they cling to. They may feel the stress later if leaders feel compelled to act without recognizing the complexity and difficulty of the situation.

Again, I'm pleased that Bush seems to be aware of difficulties and that he hasn't rushed into anything in panic and anger.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Amos
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 09:44 AM

How?

1. Long term massive intelligence operations with strong emphasis on HUMINT. Instead of placing troops on Saudi soil we should riddle the Fertile crescent with friends and allies willing to communicate every anomalous thing they see to handlers. Add hightech intell as well facial recognition software coupled with a lot of optical sensors. MAssive databases of connections and relationships between people. Financial analysis and identification. Find them, learn their patterns, learn who they are and to whom they report.

2. A series of careful SOF ops which take out the actual players in the terrorism game, no matter where located.

3. A lot of well-designed public relations allying us with Islam and an effort to return it to those who believe itsbest principles, rather than using its language to support a bunch of hate-filled fatwah booshwah!

That's the high level sketch of how to do it.

A


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: flattop
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 10:41 AM

How about spreading key financial systems across many building that can be given a bit of protection and treating them as if they were as valuable as old Fort Knocks(sp?)? How about moving financial jobs to finer parts of the country?


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: flattop
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 11:03 AM

Dave, besides questioning words I like playing with words. It's not easy being childish at my age. I have to work hard at it. If you lack a sense of humour and don't want to think hard about the words that we use carelessly, then I apologize.

The two loads of washing that I hung on the line last night are nearly dry. Then I am heading out to a family farm near Windsor Nova Scotia that doesn't have internet hookup for a few days. I trust that you won't think it cowardly of me if I don't reply.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: CarolC
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 11:39 AM

Dave (tam), I really feel for you. I know you have a tough job. But I have to tell you that if my country takes the kind of approach that it sounds like you're advocating, I would feel safer living where you are than where I am. I'm within range of a nuclear blast on Washington DC, as is my son. If we take the kind of approach you are suggesting, would you be willing to trade places with me?

Keep in mind that we have been using force in retaliation for previous terrorist strikes, and all that has been accomplished has been an escalation of the amount of violence employed in subsequent terrorist strikes against my country.


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Subject: RE: Declaring War againt terrorism
From: Deda
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 12:01 PM

I don't know how to do the blue clickies, but here is a site to an article in Jane's Foreign Report, which tracks military and weapons intelligence and development worldwide -- well worth reading, I think:

http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/fr/fr010919_1_n.shtml

Jane's Foreign Report


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