London Attacked

An apparent well coordinated terrorist attack on London's transport system has been unfolding this morning. Not much news on casualties yet. The Irish Republican Army has not bombed London in over a decade and never set off so many bombs at once when it did. It is easy to imagine Al Qaeda may be responsible.

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  • ||

    Horrifying, but, sadly, not surprizing.
    Terrorism..
    Libertarianism dosn't have an answer to this medieval mentality.

  • ||

    I tried to get the news from the BBC, but it kept timing out on me. Were their offices affected, do you think? Or is is just an increased number of people trying to access their site?

    Libertarian plug: apparently the million surveillance cameras across London didn't do a thing to prevent this travesty.

  • ||

    You're right, but before we cut the plug on 'em, lets see if they're useful in identifying the culprits in the aftermath.
    If they aren't useful even for that then they should be scrapped wholesale.

  • ||

    I got on to the BBC. It says an "Islamist Website" has claimed responsibility.

  • ||

    Jennifer, I listened to reports on the BBC World Service from 5 til 6 ET this AM. But that was on my local NPR station.

    They're on the air, but there may be disruptions in some of the feeds.

    Reports indicate 3 or 4 explosions on the Underground and 3 buses (at least one crowded) an one unofficial report of an unexploded bomb at another station. One guy the Beeb interviewed said he saw 5 dead (he thought) at one site and that he gave first aid to a couple of others (As near as I could tell he was just some guy on the street not a cop or anything).

    Possibly planned around G8 meeting. A lot of London's security and Emergency services had been moved north. Possible Olympic connection??? If another city had been chosen it might have been the target(???) (pure speculation, I think more likely G8)

    NPR reported that the the cell phone system was completely overloaded.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    You posted while I typed. Thanks for that. I have no access to Beeb at work.

  • John M. Joy||

    Libertarianism dosn't have an answer to this medieval mentality.



    The answer is, was, and remains noninterventionism. Bat the hornet's nest, and expect to get stung.

    JMJ

  • ||

    Coordinated around the G8? Very possibly. Coordinated around the announcement of London as Olympic 2012 host? Extremely unlikely. This type of timed coordination did not get thrown together in a day.

  • ||

    While I'm not a complete noninterventionist, there are smarter and dumber interventions. The argument that intervening in Iraq to concentrate terrorism there instead of the West has joined WMDs on the graveyard of W justifications. All we have left is "Saddam was bad, m'kay?"

  • ||

    Things are pretty calm here right now. There were sirens and noise for a few hours this morning but now everyone is getting on with work.

    As I was coming to work my bus was evacuated and turned around. However, I pushed on toward work by foot. So far as I could judge a large proportion of others did the same. People walking in to central London out numbered those walking out by maybe a hundred to one, at least by the main route I was taking.

    I take that as a good sign - people think the appropriate response is let it affect their lives as little as possible.

    For the rest, there is still some speculation and rumour. We don't yet know the number killed. Somewhere between a dozen and few hundred looks likely. Thankfully it appears that not all the bombs went off - possibly even due to efficient police action rather than terrorist incompetence.

    Near as anything of this sort is certain, I can tell you this was not the IRA.

  • Tristan Mills||

    Al Qaeda look most likely, rumours of a suicide bomber (for the first time in the UK).
    4 blasts been confirmed so far with the maximum number mentioned being 7 but I think that includes some double counting due to blasts in the tunnels between stations.

    The challenge for us over here is to stop the governmnet using this as an excuse to further erode liberty. ID cards would never have prevented this.

    The only answer I can give is that freedom for all and prosperity and lack of the alienation which drives people to this are the only way to minimize this.

  • ||

    JK-

    According to the BBC website, the number of deaths is 2. But I fear that number may grow.

  • Tristan Mills||

    Phone networks are down, reportedly due to being switched off in case more bombs were to be triggered using phones, or possibly to be used soley by emergency services.

    Edgeware Road has been totally evacuated and seems to have lead to relatively few casualties and Royal London are not expecting more casualties from Liverpool Street/Aldgate.
    I think the worst scene will be the Kings Cross/Russell Square. There's talk of two trains being caught up in it and its a deep line which will be more difficult to get to.

  • ||

    chthus at July 7, 2005 08:29 AM

    Yes, I thought most likely planned around G8 too.

    Libertarian plug: apparently the million surveillance cameras across London didn't do a thing to prevent this travesty.

    Statist response. We won't know, until we see what use law enforcement is able to make of the tapes in tracking down the perps.

  • Adam||

    There's no libertarian response?

    How bout this: Hunt the motherfuckers down in every corner of the globe and kill them and everybody and anybody who is helping them and demand cooperation and overthrow any government that refuses to police their own people or shows any likelihood of supporting terrorists.

    Nevermind - I'll just re-register as a Republican. They may not "get it" with sex, drugs or rock 'n roll, but at least Bush has a spine and a brain when it comes to dealing with these motherfuckers. I'd rather get arrested for smoking dope than watch my sister get beaten when her burqa slips off her face.

  • ||

    Libertarianism dosn't have an answer to this medieval mentality.

    Well, except for tracking down the people responsible and punishing them, or (preferably in my book) killing them. Not getting bogged down in a sideshow in Iraq might be a good move, too.

  • ||

    I'd guess a libertarian response would be to hunt down the guilty parties, NOT hunt down the people whose complexions or religions are identical to those of the guilty parties.

  • ||

    "I'd rather get arrested for smoking dope than watch my sister get beaten when her burqa slips off her face."

    if you're lucky, you might get to see both.

    hope all the reasonites in london are reasonably ok.

  • Mike H.||

    Hunt the motherfuckers down in every corner of the globe and kill them and everybody and anybody who is helping them and demand cooperation and overthrow any government that refuses to police their own people or shows any likelihood of supporting terrorists.

    Sounds good to me.

  • ||

    Adam,
    Get a grip.

  • Mike H.||

    NOT hunt down the people whose complexions or religions are identical to those of the guilty parties.

    Yeah, because so many are advocating this course of action... WTF?

  • ||

    Mike H.-
    It was an oblique reference to invading Iraq in response to an attack planned in Afghanistan (and possibly Iran) with Saudi backing. Y'know--"Some Ay-rabs done attacked us; let's us kill every Ay-rab we see! Invade them, kill their leaders, convert them to Christianity!" Etc. etc. If you're not with us you're with the terrorists. And so on.

  • Adam||

    Dave, get a clue.

  • ||

    Jon M Joy

    Beware the fanatic who always has the answer.

  • ||

    "Hunt the motherfuckers down in every corner of the globe and kill them and everybody and anybody who is helping them and demand cooperation and overthrow any government that refuses to police their own people or shows any likelihood of supporting terrorists."

    Good luck on that one. We see how well our current "war on terra" is doing. Terrorist attacks around the world have gone up since the "War" started.

    I especially like the bit about waging a bloody war on any country that even shows a "likelihood" of supporting terrorists. Shoot first, confirm later. While we're at it, why don't we just execute anyone who shows a "likelihood" of BEING a terrorist? And if we're wrong, and they're just innocent civilians, well, I guess we can send a fruit basket to their family.

  • ||

    Oh, sorry. A couple hundred people died somewhere in the world this morning. This has never happened before. I am freaking out! I want to kill, kill, kill! Because if I didn't want to kill so bad, then I would get so scared that I would wet myself. Kill!

  • ||

    Surely there's some middle ground between "being arrested for pot smoking" and "being killed for not wearing a burka." Any Dutch posters here to suggest what that middle ground might be?

  • Adam||

    Since obviously this has already deteriorated into a rehash of Iraq and Bush's terrorism policy, I'll take a moment to repost Clinton's Justice Department indictment of bin Laden, 1998:

    In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

    So who wants to be the first to stick their fingers in their ears and yell, "I'm not listening! I'm not listening!!!"?

  • ||

    "I'd rather get arrested for smoking dope than watch my sister get beaten when her burqa slips off her face."

    Unfortunately the Republicans have plenty of their own mullahs who seek to dominate peoples' minds, bodies, and souls.

    I don't believe in non-intervention, either. I support the notion of going over to the middle east to kick them around, because, unfortunately, the only thing some of these people understand is violence.

    Yes, it is an enlightened view that violence begets violence, but I can't see a passive solution to a bus gutted by a bomb. The only real solution is to make the people responsible very, very sorry.. enough that they'll think twice before they try to pull this again. A stern letter from the UN is not going to do it.

    We need to get in a position where we are holding most if not all the cards. Then we can focus on altruism and ideals.

  • Mike H.||

    Surely there's some middle ground between "being arrested for pot smoking" and "being killed for not wearing a burka." Any Dutch posters here to suggest what that middle ground might be?

    Perhaps Van Gogh's surviving relatives might have some ideas?

  • ||

    Mike H.-
    Are you suggesting that Dutch legalized marijuana was responsible for Van Gogh's murder?

  • ||

    I know this is cynical but nothing would help Bush more than a similar attack on american soil. Yes it would invalidate his argument that "we're fighting t'rrer in Eye-raq so we don't have to fight it here," but most of the american sheeple would "rally behind the flag" and Bush would get a bump in the polls. Maybe it'll happen closer to the midterm elections? Also it would give him more power to curtail freedoms at home, just as his black little heart desires. Who knows maybe he could impose the draft afterwards?

  • ||

    make the people responsible very, very sorry
    (Emphasis added)

    We have a winner.

  • Adam||

    Maybe Theo van Gogh would like to share some Dutch thoughts on the subject. Oh, wait - that's right, another Muslim monster murdered him in cold blood.

  • tros||

    Nevermind - I'll just re-register as a Republican. They may not "get it" with sex, drugs or rock 'n roll, but at least Bush has a spine and a brain when it comes to dealing with these motherfuckers. I'd rather get arrested for smoking dope than watch my sister get beaten when her burqa slips off her face.

    How would you like it if your sister gets raped and then has to have the baby because abortion is illegal? Fancy having a nephew raised in a Faith Based Orphanage, you fucking fascist?

  • ||

    Drew

    I think you typed the wrong address in your browser, you're looking for democraticunderground.com.


    PS You forgot to mention Karl Rove

  • ||

    "So who wants to be the first to stick their fingers in their ears and yell, "I'm not listening! I'm not listening!!!"?"

    Um, the 9/11 Commission?

  • ||

    Can Adam or Mike PLEASE explain to me the connection between legalized Dutch pot and Muslim terrorism on Dutch soil? I mean, hell, pot's illegal here, but that didn't stop 9-11.

  • ||

    Adam -

    "Hunt the motherfuckers down in every corner of the globe and kill them and everybody and anybody who is helping them and demand cooperation and overthrow any government that refuses to police their own people or shows any likelihood of supporting terrorists."

    Well the first bit's OK. Demanding co-operation from governments is another matter. It sounds good, especially when you have in mind an example like the Taliban. But here's my experience in the UK: the government is introducing biometric passports on the basis that they have been demanded by the US. I have no doubt our government is quite authoritarian enough to pass such measures all by itself. But by referring to US requirements it can side step debate. And I have to say, visiting the US recently it did make me just a little uneasy to have my fingerprints scanned to get in to the country. In the back of my mind the balance tipped just a little further toward the sense that the US was abandoning liberty in the hope of gaining security.

    Now consider the impact in less civilised parts of the world that the UK. The very best thing that the West, and in particular the US, has going for it in the fight against terror is that for all its flaws it is most libertarian. Sure, it is necessary to militarily defeat some terrorists. But in the long run the only guarantee of victory is that most people are on your side.

    Every time a government justifies authoritarian measures, from imposing ID cards through to tortue, by pointing to US demands in the War on Terror it gets harder to win over the people we need. The more those justifications of authoritarianism look like the truth, the more they hurt.

    Yes, we should demand that other governments fight terror. But we also need to remember that while sacrificing our own liberty for security is merely cowardly, sacrificing other people's liberty for our own security is criminal.

  • ||

    joe-
    You've missed the memo. The preposterously thoroughly debunked Iraq-Al Qaeda "connection" meme is having a renaissance.

  • ||

    But we also need to remember that while sacrificing our own liberty for security is merely cowardly, sacrificing other people's liberty for our own security is criminal.

    The most beautifully succinct denunciation of our foreign policy I've ever seen.

  • ||

    Jules: say huh? What the hell? It's like the excuses for the war are on a repeating cycle. What do you mean, "renaissance"?

  • ||

    The challenge for us over here is to stop the governmnet using this as an excuse to further erode liberty. ID cards would never have prevented this.

    Unfortunately I think that is one of the certainties. Blair's cabinet seems to have a few ministers who seem comfortable with authoritarian solutions. And as for Blair himself his only rivals in the slimy opportunism department are George Bush and Bill Clinton.

  • tros||

    We have always been at war with Saddaam Hussein! LONG LIVE KING TOOL!

  • ||

    "We need to get in a position where we are holding most if not all the cards. Then we can focus on altruism and ideals."

    Steaming, stinking bullshit. We've been holding most if not all the cards for fifty years now.

  • ||

    Dammit, people, you're supposed to CC me!

    I suppose it's only a matter of time before I'm threatened with an Iraqi mushroom cloud again.

  • ||

    Joe-
    If you keep making these hippy-dippy leftist posts, Iraqi mushroom clouds will bloom over America and it'll all be your fault.

    And possibly mine, on account of that bowl I smoked last weekend.

  • ||

    Comment by: JK at July 7, 2005 09:32 AM

    Excellent post.

    For our current situation see:

    http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?HobsonsChoice

    http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?MortonsFork

    Good luck over there.

  • M1EK||

    Adam, you're an idiot.

    The Republican response to 9/11 was a half-assed invasion of Afghanistan (at least half right); followed by a completely irrelevant invasion of Iraq which effectively ended what progress had been made in Afghanistan. Oops.

    You want to go after the people who are responsible for this? Try SAUDI FUCKING ARABIA. But your Republican buddies won't GO THERE, because it would require an ACTUAL SACRIFICE.

  • PintofStout||

    Imagine you're waking up in the morning to some coffee and your morning paper. Suddenly a bomb falls on your neighbors house, destroying half of your house in the process. Your children, who were unfortunately asleep in the destroyed half of your house, are now dead and burning. As you run out of your burning house to get a grasp of the situation, a Humvee drives by firing a machine gun at you.

    Sound like terrorism? It has been happening in Iraq for probably a decade now, and several other countries around the globe probably. The people who are antagonizing these events are never effected by the blowback. They are simply hurt (or sadly, actually helped) in the opinion polls and allowed to keep their jobs, where they will continue with increased vigor to terrorize.

    Don't look now, but the sky is falling, THE SKY IS FALLING....again.

  • ||

    The Israelis did it.

  • drf||

    *Moment of silence for the Victims of this cowardly act*

    In the wake of profundly tragic shared events, people often use the event as an emotional release. They can use the event to confirm or reject parts of life. We will see people use these events to justify their POV on Iraq - "you see? terrorists. they said this is in response to iraq! terrorists are linked with iraq! we were right! ha ha!"

    and doves will use it for their ends, too.

    In the meantime, a little honest self reflection about why one was for or against can't hurt. For the knee jerkers out there: please be honest with your emotional reasons for the reason you were either for or against. then look at the costs.

    Sympathy to the families.

    drf

  • ||

    Jennifer, I think the point of the van Gogh references was that the Dutch aren't exactly a shining paragon of how to manage radical Muslim immigrants, regardless of how much pot they smoke. The pot is irrelevant; the deleterious effects of unassimilated radical Muslim populations are increasingly obvious.

    For you non-interventionists: Ah, I don't even know where to start.

    If you don't understand by now that the "intervention" that drives these Mohammedan nutballs around the bend is primarily the export of American culture and ideas into their backward countries, then there is no hope for you.

  • ||

    RC-
    Yes, and the point *I* was making was that, previous posts to the contrary, there IS indeed a middle ground between "arresting the pot smokers" and "arresting the non-burka wearers." The Muslim terrorists are evil, yes, but that doesn't mean that ANYBODY who claims to oppose them is automatically good in everything they do. Nor does this mean that any action should be excused if the one doing it says "But I'm doing it to fight the terrorists!"

  • ||

    Oh and RC--the main "intervention" that makes people hate us isn't importing our ideas into their culture, but supporting the dictators who oppress their culture, and dropping the bombs that kill the people who live there.

  • ||

    Perhaps somebody can explain to me the moral difference between dropping bombs on an Iraqi city and planting bombs in a London subway.

  • PintofStout||

    If by culture you mean high explosives, weapons and money for the people who rule over them, and just plain manipulation of their political systems via assisted coups and the like, then I would rather not be associated with our culture. They hate us for our freedom.

    drf,
    Self-reflection is always good. It's just a pity we sometimes need somethinng so aggregious to trigger it. Hopefully we can reflect on how we are responsible for our government and have failed miserably at keeping it in check.

  • ||

    "If you don't understand by now that the "intervention" that drives these Mohammedan nutballs around the bend is primarily the export of American culture and ideas into their backward countries, then there is no hope for you."

    Yeah, it's got nothing to do with us building US military bases on Muslim holy lands. Nope. I'm sure they get more riled up over seeing a McDonalds in their hometown than they do waking up to American tanks firing rounds into their house.

  • M1EK||

    RC Dean,

    The interventionalists in your world apparently support attacking the completely irrelevant Iraqis instead of taking care of the country who was REALLY responsible for 9/11, and probably this latest attack as well. No thanks.

    I supported bombing the crap out of Afghanistan. I didn't support attacking Iraq. There is, however, a country I'd support attacking right now for continuing to pay the bills for these nihilists. Why won't you pansy Republicans use our war machine for good for once?

  • ||

    You know, all this talk about "they hate us for our freedom" and "they hate us for our freedom" or "they hate us for our culture" reminds me of this one bitchy girl whom we all--geeks and jocks alike--hated back in high school. But despite what she said, we didn't hate her because she was rich or because she was pretty--we hated her because she was a RUDE FUCKING BITCH with NO CONSIDERATION FOR ANYBODY BUT HERSELF, and her claims that we hated her because of her beauty didn't get to the root of the problem; they only served to flatter herself more. Same thing with Americans running around screaming, "The only reason anybody hates us is because we're just SO fucking fabulous." Right, sure--our callous treatment of others, and view that the rest of the world can be sacrificed to keep us comfortable, doesn't have a damned thing to do with it.

  • drf||

    If you're looking for morality, a libertarian site is the wrong place to be ;)

    Sure - how about the morality of bombing Dresden etc etc etc. Those comments won't change RC's, Dan's, etc view on what they're for. It won't bring up any intelligent debate, and even though I was a skeptic about the Iraqi war (I had the wait-and-see attitude about the WMDs - if they were there, I would have understood the reasons. I cannot fathom why we did, based on such flimsy non-evidence), I find that kind of smug "gotcha" questioning to be rather silly.

    Damn. You remind me of christian conservatives trying to get a "gotcha" on Gay individuality or one of those silly fucking Roskilde assholes trying to justify why "all things red euro" are superior. Combining that with your misunderstanding of what "small government" was shorthand for, I'm gonna need another coffee. This time a "Warren Special".

  • theOneState||

    Would someone please release Judith Miller so she can do some reporting from London?

    Sheesh!

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    I think Mike H's comment was not blaming pot for Van Gogh's murder. He was pointing out that the Dutch had an open tolerant society (the middle ground you had mentioned) and that was not enough to protect Van Gogh from being murdered for expressing views that angered radical muslims.

  • ||

    TJIT-
    It's still irrelevant, unless anyone can show that a society which legalizes pot is therefore incapable of handling threats to domestic security.

    I'd even go further and say that NO free society (and probably no dictatorial one, either) can make it impossible for people to commit random on-the-street murders, like Van Gogh's, which is a very different matter from organized terrorist bombings.

  • drf||

    MikeH, TJIT:

    Dutch society = open and tolerant??? You have got to be kidding. Tolerant to certain things, sure. But the underlying racism was huge and conspicuous every time I've been there.

  • ||

    drf,

    Melissa's question is not at all 'silly' whatever her motives in posing it. It is, in fact, the fundamental question.

  • ||

    Melissa,
    With out defending or justifing being in Iraq. The answer is targets. UN forces don't target rush hour trains full of only civilians in finacial districts. The UN forces target combatants who seek to topple the newly recognized legitimate govenrment of Iraq. Earlier they targeted to topple the dictator.

    Feel free to take exceptions to the legitimacy of the action in Iraq, I do.

  • ||

    "I'd even go further and say that NO free society (and probably no dictatorial one, either) can make it impossible for people to commit random on-the-street murders, like Van Gogh's, which is a very different matter from organized terrorist bombings."

    yes, but jennifer, that puts holes into the whole "if we kill the right people we will be safe" vs. "if we hug the right people we will be safe" thing.

  • ||

    Dakota:

    When one drops a bomb on a city, it kills indisrimanately no matter whom one claims to be targeting.

  • ||

    I heard that if the national ID cards in England work well, they're going to issue mandatory toothbrushes as well.

  • drf||

    Hi MTM!

    I approach that question cautiously - it may indeed be a (the) fundamental question, but it can be posed as a "gotcha" with the intent to drive you down a slippery slope to a gotcha. It can be posed without thought, but answered only with massive thought. I feel it is akin to Dave's comment #16 in the post above - the same style of post pointing out that these acts demand more violence.

    I know people who feel that the US involvement in Afghanistan is wrong - but they refuse to point out what happened on 11. Sept was wrong. We have people who quickly denounce Israel's violence without making it equally clear that the PLO shares in violent deeds.

    While I appreciate your sentiment about war potentially being a last resort (apologies if I misread you or am putting words in your mouth), I have no quick and easy answer.

    (To wit: I have an easier time answering this with the tit-for-tat on torture, however. So, FWIW, confusion reigns here)

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    "the main "intervention" that makes people hate us isn't importing our ideas into their culture, but supporting the dictators who oppress their culture, and dropping the bombs that kill the people who live there."

    I think you are wrong.

    I think that if you look at the people who would be opposed to us supporting dictatorships, wouldn't they be more upset about the biggest dictators of all, ie a Taliban type government.

  • ||

    "Steaming, stinking bullshit. We've been holding most if not all the cards for fifty years now."

    We're holding all the cards on controlling and destroying terrorism and radical Islam? Thanks, I feel better. I can ride the DC metro home today with a peaceful mind.

  • ||

    drf,

    Basic moral questions tend to be annoying and, if they are put forward by annoying people who think they have the answer, they become doubly annoying. That doesn't mean they can be dismissed. That was my sole point. Confusion reigns here as well.

  • drf||

    Hi Kwais, hi Jennifer:

    the US is the biggest dog on the block. It is the most visible. Its entertainment business is visible to the entire televised world. Music, movies, baywatch. People use those as symbols for whatever they love, hate, fear, loathe, desire, etc.

    This also makes us a lightning rod for everything. We see justification for many actions, beliefs, policies, and deeds clad in this symbolism.

    We see Norwegian and Danish politicians wanting to stop US tv in their countries because it causes their young populations to become obese. We get blamed.

    Anything that happens is going to cause these nutbags to blame us for things.

    As long as these miserable individuals pander to a willing audience (that may or may not have good information, but do trust these leaders based on misunderstood observation), we will be blamed. I don't know what we can do about it, but I don't think either of your reasons contradict the other's.

  • ||

    M1EK,

    I support the invasion of Iraq. I think that it was the only sensible thing to do. Invading Afghanistan alone would be a half measure and doomed to fail. It may yet still fail, but I like to think that it wont.

    Intervention in Saud Arabia is a stupid idea. Are you only pushing the idea because you like to push buttons, and accuse Republicans of being hypocrits, or do you really think that it would be a good idea?

    If you really do think that it would be a good idea to invade Saudi Arabia, I can explain in detais why you are wrong, and why invading Saudi Arabia would be a bad idea.

    If your response to the above is that you can explain that invading Iraq was wrong, hold it.

  • drf||

    sorry for the double post here
    Agreed, MTM! I was dismissing the question posed by a specific individual whose motives I felt were not open to discussion. And was ignored, too. It is the ideal Reason world: two individuals freely expressing themselves, both free to take or ignore as desired!

  • ||

    M1EK,

    You are right the Saudi's are one of the major drivers of the terror problem. They have been and will continue to use their petro dollars to support terror activities across the globe. Even worse they have been using that money to support mosques and madrasses to grow cultures that incubate terrorism.

    However, on the surface they have said the right things and not broken any major international law by say invading one of their neighbors. So it would be difficult to justify much more then using diplomacy to urge them to clean up their act.

    Iraq had invaded neighbors, used WMD, attempted to hide their WMD program from UN inspectors, and were still interfering with the inspectors prior to the start of the the second war.

    Iraq has a lot of surface area to inspect and if they were not willing to give free and unfettered access to the inspectors there was no way to assure they did not have WMD materials stored or in development. Saddam was not allowing unfettered inspections and the only way to be sure Iraq did not have or develop WMD was to invade.

    Given there were not any WMD found I am amazed that Saddam did not just open the doors and let the inspectors in. Had he done that chances are very good he would still be in power and the war would have never started. Then again his war with Iran and invasion of Kuwait shows he may not have been the most rational leader the world has ever seen.

    My 2 cents, I'm sure there are reasonable people who don't agree.

  • ||

    If you don't understand by now that the "intervention" that drives these Mohammedan nutballs around the bend is primarily the export of American culture and ideas into their backward countries, then there is no hope for you.

    Nonsense. 70-80% of the world has (and is willing to export) porn, beer, scantily clad models, etc. The fundamentalists could keep most of the "culture" out if that is what they are concerned with. (That's what many of them do already.)

    The fundamentalists are nutjobs, but don't believe the hype. They're not coming after you because you're having a beer and watching Girls Gone Wild.

    And no, I'm not miminalizing what happened today, that was a tragedy.

  • ||

    1. Dropping bombs on Iraqi cities is done with government approval.

    2. Bomb on the train was without government approval.

    3. Number 1 is okay, so long as the government is basically good folks. Number 2 is bad because there is no government approval. You must get government approval to do legitimate bombing. Otherwise everybody would bomb everything and all the fields and cities would be overbombed. A tragedy of the commons. A market failure. Since bombing cannot be fairly allocated by private ordering, it becomes a legit gov't function.

  • ||

    When one drops a bomb on a city, it kills indisrimanately no matter whom one claims to be targeting.

    This is wrong, given competent targeting and modern technology. Modern bombing is highly accurate and as discriminating as the soldier who pulls the trigger.

    In any event, there is a moral difference between engaging in an activity with a risk of killing non-combatants, and intentionally targeting non-combatants.

    Yeah, it's got nothing to do with us building US military bases on Muslim holy lands. Nope. I'm sure they get more riled up over seeing a McDonalds in their hometown than they do waking up to American tanks firing rounds into their house.

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't recall seeing American tanks firing rounds into the houses of Saudis, Iranians, or Syrians, yet somehow these countries produce disproportionate numbers of terrorists. No correlation, no causation.

    The non-interventionists who believe that if we had no military presence in the mid-east we would be of no interest to the Mohammedan fanatics, overlook the fact that these fanatics hate what our culture and ideas are doing to their societies more than anything else.

    As their cordial relations with Saddam Hussein and the Assads show, they have no problem with secular dictators that have piled up truly impressive Muslim body counts, so I don't think oppression of their Muslim brothers by the godless really bothers them all that much.

    It must something other than the presence of non-devout governments on Mideast soil that riles them up.

  • M1EK||

    kwais,

    if you think "invading Iraq" helped the war on terror, you're not worth any further breath.

    For both you and TJIII:

    Saudi Arabia was the main culpable actor in the 9/11 attacks and further terrorist activity, once Afghanistan had been dealt with. If ANYBODY deserved the heavy hand of American justice, it was those evil sons of bitches. They've bought off their own people by funding terror against us; and a regime more interested in the safety and security of the US than winning votes in the next election would have taken it to them immediately after 9/11 with the same deal we offered Afghanistan, namely:

    "Cut it out right now, or the army's coming."

    The current sorry crop of Republicans won't mess with the Saudis because they know the suburban voter is their bread and butter. Suburban voters vote economics, especially when its their beloved SUVs which can't be fueled for short of $100 (which, of course, would be a temporary result of saber-rattling towards the Saudis).

    But is that an excuse to do nothing? HELL NO. We RATIONED gas during WWII. We put up posters saying "if you drive alone you drive with Hitler". WHY THE HELL WASN'T THE SAME SACRIFICE JUSTIFIED AFTER 9/11?

  • drf||

    Hi TJIT:

    the myth of awesome power was another tool SH used to stay in power. He probably needed his close enemies to believe that he was armed. He misread the US even worse than the US misread him.

    CAT: I like your analogy. The funny thing, Denmark is on the list to be attacked, too. And I've read in some of their papers that they were worried that their porn industry might have some part of the blame!

  • ||

    My point is that terrorism seems to be the weapon available to the weaker side of a conflict. If they had planes, I'm sure they would be happy to drop their bombs rather than plant them. We can call them barbarians, but is their barbarity any worse than ours? I don't pose this question to be annoying. I think it's an important question.

  • ||

    Seriously, we need to stop thinking of our enemy as a bunch of "nutjobs".

    They're not - they know what they're doing, and they obviously understand us a whole lot better than we understand them.

  • M1EK||

    RC Dean,

    Why are you such an appeaser toward the Saudis? Do you drive an Expedition or somesuch gashog?

  • ||

    M1EK,

    That's brilliant. It's the SUV owners that are responsible for this mess!

  • ||

    M1EK,
    I do indeed believe that invading Iraq helped the war on terror.

    I believe it is essential in the war on terror.

    I believe that anything else would have been a half measure and doomed to failure.

    I believe the alternative would be to accept that their attack on us is justified and to surrender to them. The alternative is to stick your head in the sand and hope that the problem goes away that someone else will take care of the problem. But no one else will. We are the solution that all the Europeans with their heads in the sand are counting on whether they know it or not.

  • M1EK||

    wellfellow,

    Not responsible for the mess, but responsible for blocking efforts to clean it up.

    Pretty much ALL arguments against bringing the Saudis back in line rest on the premise that it would hurt our economy to lean hard on the only major oil-producer with surplus producing capacity.

  • ||

    Melissa,

    Either we are fighting them and we are better than them. And we believe it and fight as such.

    Or it is simply us vs them. And every thing goes.

    If we resort to the latter, God help them. (maybe God help us too for what we would do)

    Either way we are fighting them. Whose side are you on?

  • ||

    "Given there were not any WMD found I am amazed that Saddam did not just open the doors and let the inspectors in. Had he done that chances are very good he would still be in power and the war would have never started"

    The Director of British Intelligence would seem to disagree with you - he realized, after talking to the American principles, that the administration was determined to go to war months before the invasion began, and that the WMD excuse was merely a pretext, with the intelligence being fixed around it. The bombing campaign to soften up Iraq for invasion, he stated in the Downing Street Memo, had already begun.

    Of course, a fairminded observer would have realized that the administration was determined to invade Iraq based on Donald Rumsfeld's September 14, 2001 memo (yes, you read that date correctly), stating that the attacks gave us an excuse to attack "not just OBL, but SH" as well.

  • fyodor||

    Taking Melissa's point a step further, I'm not even sure what the moral difference is between targeting civilians and targetting soldiers who wouldn't be targetting your soldiers (and therefore wouldn't be "combatants") if your soldiers hadn't started targetting them first. Oh well, I guess one could invoke the fact that the soldiers' leader was an unelected psycopathic asshole with a mass murderous history. And I'm serious, there's some logic in that. But then, to the Islamist terrorists, there's just as much logic in striking back, since they believe we started it and we're not justified. That they're targetting civilians is a convenient distinction to make for those whose side has the ability to take out military targets. But as long as each side is convinced of the righteousness of their cause, I don't see how targetting civilians is distinctly worse. Maybe it's worse by degree, maybe not. It's certainly not that one is okay and the other is evil. Killing those who would not kill you is just that regardless.

  • ||

    M1EK

    Explain your logic to me. The main arguments against the Iraq War are 1) Saddam didn't have anything to do with 9/11, 2) He didn't have WMDs, 3) he posed no immediate threat to the US.

    You state that if someone believes the Iraq War was the correct move they are "not worth any further breath". Then you say that Saudi Arabia should be the one we should have gone after. Which of the above arguments applies to Saudi Arabia? Is there a direct link to 9/11? One that would with stand up to investigation after investigation? Do they have WMDs? Are they an immediate military threat to us?

    I am not an apologist for them at all, I know they have bred anti-Americanism for decades and are not our friends. I also think we should be leaning on them much harder than we seem to be. What is your ironclad justification for going at them when the Iraq situation is so open and closed?

  • ||

    M1EK,
    Right now the Saudi govt is mostly helping us out. Right now they are more effective at finding and killing terrorists than we are. They have many flaws, as they have people inside their government that are more with the terrorists than with us. But they also are more effective when hunting terrorist, they do not have qualms about killing the bad guys, or using torture to get information from the bad guys.

    If the Saudi govt overtly helps the terrorist and turns agains us, by all means lets go in.

    Not the case right now.

  • ||

    Melissa,
    Terrorists specifically target civians not combatants. What is so hard to understand about the moral differnce?

  • fyodor||

    joe,

    I agree that there's good evidence that the Bush admin was looking for an excuse to invade Iraq. That doesn't necessarily mean that they would have done it without one. We'll never know that for sure.

    Saddam was once quoted as saying that he'd prefer a military defeat to a political one. Perhaps that's one time we can take him at his word. Doesn't justify taking him up on it, of course. Reminds me of Grace Slick saying why don't the people who want to fight wars just do it themselves and leave the rest of us out of it.

  • ||

    drf-

    CAT: I like your analogy. The funny thing, Denmark is on the list to be attacked, too. And I've read in some of their papers that they were worried that their porn industry might have some part of the blame!

    Well if you have the information as to why they have been targeted I'd be happy to have a link. I haven't seen any terrorist press releases that state "we're going after the Danes for all that high grade Danish porn they send our way".

    R C Dean-

    One of the reasons I've seen given by several experts on the middle east is that we support some of the totalitarian regimes in the area. You know, such and such a wacko is OK as long as he is our wacko. This is very different from what you state.

  • ||

    One that would with stand up to investigation after investigation?

    We don't know. Those pages of the report were secret (whited out).

  • ||

    We already have all of the tools we need to end this type of terror - they only need to be applied correctly.

    First we need to raise the alert level to "Fuchsia". Connect jumper cables to some A-rab testicles, have W flash his smirk on the BBC, drop some napalm on Fallujah, require all bus riders to remove their shoes, declare terrorism to be "interstate commerce", sieze some Afgani caves by eminent domain, post the Ten Commandments in more courtrooms, jail some more journalists, scotchgard all American flags, and (most importantly!) find out what is the thread count of Michael Jackson's sheets.

    Round up the usual suspects!

  • ||

    These attacks once again show that almost no amount of police / surveilance state tactics can make a society safe or stop attacks like this.

    Dave W.

    The problem is that with modern technology a couple of hundred dead today could easily be a 10,000 or more dead tomorrow.

    world historical hubris

    We have held a lot of cards for the past 50 years. However for at least 35 of those years the soviet union held a lot of cards too. And for some portions of those 35 years it looks like they had the winning hand. Don't let that fact go to far down the memory hole.

  • M1EK||

    "Which of the above arguments applies to Saudi Arabia? Is there a direct link to 9/11?"

    Yes.

    Indirect financial support; insufficiently strong prosecution; direct ideological support.

  • drf||

    CAT:

    it was mentioned after the Iraq war started and after Madrid in Berlingske Tidende and Politikken. It was in the context of "analysis". And it was as I represented it.

    I never claimed their analysts were smart.

  • M1EK||

    And for those aghast at the idea of attacking Saudi Arabia, I say again: any security argument you use to justify attacking Iraq applies tenfold to Saudi Arabia.

    Financial support for terrorists? Huge from the Saudis, nearly zero from Iraq.
    Financial support for the 9/11 terrorists? All from the Saudis; none from Iraq.
    Ideological support for the 9/11 terrorists and alQaeda in general? Saudis, Saudis, Saudis.
    The ACTUAL ATTACKERS? Saudis, Saudis, Saudis.
    Threat to OUR COUNTRY? Saudis, Saudis, Saudis.
    Attacked US ON OUR OWN SOIL? Saudis, Saudis, Saudis.

    Anybody smart enough to read Reason who fell for the smokescreen thrown up by the neocons which linked Iraq and 9/11 is engaged in one serious case of cognitive dissonance.

    History's going to look back at our response to 9/11 and wonder why the hell we wussed out at going after those who were really responsible.

  • ||

    Perhaps somebody can explain to me the moral difference between dropping bombs on an Iraqi city and planting bombs in a London subway.

    I sympathize more with the world-view of those who bomb Baghdad than those who bomb London.

  • ||

    "I agree that there's good evidence that the Bush admin was looking for an excuse to invade Iraq. That doesn't necessarily mean that they would have done it without one."

    Correct. The cooking of WMD intelligence, and the easily-refuted accusations that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks, mean they went to war without a good excuse. If they had a good reason to begin a war, they wouldn't have had to make up so many bad ones.

  • Mike H.||

    Can Adam or Mike PLEASE explain to me the connection between legalized Dutch pot and Muslim terrorism on Dutch soil? I mean, hell, pot's illegal here, but that didn't stop 9-11.

    No I can't, because that's nowhere NEAR the point I was making, Jen. I made an oblique reference of mine own, specifically to the loony nature of Islamist ideology.

    BTW, I'm a big fan of mj legalization.

  • ||


    Unfortunately the Republicans have plenty of their own mullahs who seek to dominate peoples' minds, bodies, and souls.


    Comment by: Mr. Nice Guy at July 7, 2005 09:21 AM


    Unlike the Democrats, who don't seek to dominate peoiple's minds, bodies, and souls.

  • ||

    To further my point on legitimacy of terrorist actions. Factor out the state actor as the only legitimate source of war making. If the group that executing the bombings in London today had planted bombs in a military recruiting office, an embassy, or even a UK government facility it there would be an argument that it is a legitimate attack. Just as there is a difference in shooting an enemy combatant in battle rather then shooting him while he is laying down with a white flag flying, or already in custody.

    A point and case might be the IRA. Although many civilians died in IRA attacks they usually targeted specific people or state actors. Sometimes this line was blurred when they went for officers clubs or pubs frequented by UK military forces. Although the morality of that as a military tactic can be argued it is simply immoral on the most fundamental level of military and social morality to target commuters. The lack of morality extends beyond reprehensible when you time the attack it to expose the maximum number of people.

  • drf||

    LWP:

    you bet. and when they're in power and abusing their platforms in hypocritical ways, we go after them, too. And I think MNG's ironikality (sic) was that both sides of his comparison contain a vocal group of fundamentalists.

  • fyodor||

    joe,

    Agreed. Still, Saddam could have possibly kept them from plausibly cooking the WMD evidence had he been more forthcoming with his own, which was my point (not sure if you were attempting to refute that or simply make your own point building on mine, which in turn was built on yours).

    That said, I've often wondered if Saddam's apparent lack of forthcomingness was a product of incompetence rather than intention.

  • ||

    "I sympathize more with the world-view of those who bomb Baghdad than those who bomb London."

    This statement misses the point. World view would go to the legitimacy of the war, not the legitimacy of the tactics. Huge distinction. I can believe the US lacked a moral foundation for invading Iraq, but used legitimate tactics of war.

    What I believe you are trying to suggest is that the terrorists have the moral legitimacy to strike back at the people who have "attacked" them. Which is fine if you want to argue that. But the tactics they employ to achieve what you might perceive as legitimate, are morally bankrupt.

  • fyodor||

    Dakota,

    I can see your point, up to a point. I guess there's degrees of vileness. At the same time, it seems to me that any unprovoked killing is just that, whether the target was wearing a uniform or not. And, by saying: "If the group that executing the bombings in London today had planted bombs in a military recruiting office, an embassy, or even a UK government facility it there would be an argument that it is a legitimate attack," are you making that argument? Seems to me it would still seem pretty vile. It would certainly still be labeled "terrorism," as was the attack on the USS Cole. And regarding the state as the only "legitimate source of war making," I believe it's most practical to invest the state with that function, but that doesn't mean it affects the morality of violence that it was done by an organization recognized as a state.

  • ||

    "Still, Saddam could have possibly kept them from plausibly cooking the WMD evidence had he been more forthcoming with his own..."

    To which my hawkish alter ego replies, "Big country. Size of Texas. Could be anywhere. Buried in the sand. No paperwork. Big land area."

    And, in fact, Hans Blix (remember when it was funny to rag on him for suggesting that Iraq might not have an active weapons program? Ha ha ha, now there are 100,000 people dead) stated repeatedly that the inspectors had the access and equipment they needed to do their job.

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    How would you like it if your sister gets raped and then has to have the baby because abortion is illegal? Fancy having a nephew raised in a Faith Based Orphanage, you fucking fascist?

    Only in American politics can a discussion about Terrorist bombings in London end up as an abortion fight.

    I think the supreme court should ban people that talk about abortion.

  • ||

    Fydor,

    "are you making that argument?"
    I am not making the argument that an attack today on a recruiting office would be legitimate. I wanted to point out that there was no goal to "strike back" at the UK government or "war machine". The terrorists who attacked today are attempting to use citizen death tolls as their political capital. No one can see that as morally justified, no matter whose "side" you were on.

    To me it might be an apt metaphor to look at it like 1st 2nd 3rd degree murder. Clearly if you plan out an attack with death as the intended result it is the most immoral act. But if you commit an negligent act that inadvertently leads to someones death it is less morally reprehensible, despite the same result.

    I think basic morality of the state lies in non-intervention, respecting violence is a tool last resort when the natural state of man in being threatened.

    " I believe it's most practical to invest the state with that function, but that doesn't mean it affects the morality of violence that it was done by an organization recognized as a state"

    I agree with your statement. I just wanted to factor out today's attacks were committed by non-state actors and deal with the morality of the act on its face.

  • ||

    I still can't figure out why SH was playing games with the weapons inspectors. Maybe he thought that the US worked like Iraq and that Clinton would be in power forever. Oops.

    As far as Saudi Arabia goes, neither party would have attacked them after 9/11 and neither party is likely to attack them anytime soon. They give too much money to both parties, and at the moment have increased their utility.

    Islamic fundamentalists hate us, period. Would removing our presence from the ME help? Sure. Would significantly weakening the US economy help? Sure. Would removing all support from Israel help? You bet. Maybe if all these things happened, they'd leave us alone. Maybe. But they'd still hate us just the same. Nothing will ever change that, so the only question is how do we most effectively limit their ability to cause harm?

    The admin seems to think that a democratic ME will do the trick, and while I believe that there will be many benefits if such a thing actually happened, it will not change the fact that we just aren't muslim.

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    This is great. London is attacked, and instead of discussing the attack, the effects on the Brits, the effects on British policy, the effect on Europe, the effect on G8, thread devolves into the same fucking Iraq War pissing match that has been going on for the last 3 years.

    Good on all of you.

  • ||

    TPG-
    Bush's first response to the attack was to say that this justifies what we're doing in Iraq. Good on him too, huh?

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    So you're using George Bush for intellectual equivalence? And that from someone that has decried forms of equivalence in the past.

    Good on him and you.

  • fyodor||

    I wanted to point out that there was no goal to "strike back" at the UK government or "war machine".

    The terrorists lack the ability to mount any militarily effective attack. Any attack they had made, regardless of whether it was on military personnel or civilians, would have only had value to them for its terror.

    Question for you. If someone were to point a gun at me, and if for whatever logistical or psychological reasons I deduced that my best means of self-defense were to point a gun at a third (and innocent) party dear to my aggressor, would that be inherently illegitimate? Would that be closer to collatoral damage or to targetting civilians? Should I forego such an option in the name of self preservation? Is the third party entirely innocent if he or she might have been able to talk my aggressor out of pointing the gun at me? I agree that there are levels of vileness and targetting civilians for political capital is probably on top of the heap. But I don't think there's clearcut lines between legitimate and illegitimate means of making war, nor that the reason for making war is an entirely independent issue, since it is only a good reason (self-defense) that makes any violence legitimate.

  • ||

    "If the group that executing the bombings in London today had planted bombs in a military recruiting office, an embassy, or even a UK government facility it there would be an argument that it is a legitimate attack."

    It would only be a legitimate attack if they also had been wearing uniforms when they did so and had borne their arms openly, instead of skulking around in civilian clothes.

  • ||

    it will not change the fact that we just aren't muslim.

    Japanese (for example) aren't Muslim either - I don't see much terrorist activity there.

    The simple truth is that we rely on Middle East oil. That is the only reason we are there. Their stated goal is for us not to be there. Yet we are unprepared to accept the changes that would have to take place if we got out ("The American way of life is non-negotiable.").

  • ||

    "It would only be a legitimate attack if they also had been wearing uniforms when they did so and had borne their arms openly, instead of skulking around in civilian clothes."

    sometimes i get the feeling we're all stuck in a kenny loggins-scored movie about one man (ex cia, ex navy seal) who's fighting against all odds to defeat evil with a capital VIL, bureaucrats and due process be damned, because he IS due process.

    like don't you guys understand this yet? he is motherfuckin' due process!

  • ||

    Whose side am I on? What a supid question. If it comes to my family's life or an Iraqi family's, I prefer that mine survive. This is clearly a war, albeit an asymetrical one. But given the number of Iraqi civilians killed by our bombs, I don't think we should delude ourselves about the nobility or moral superiority of our side. Optimism about our species and all our utopian dreams is a hard sell.

  • ||

    [bombing a military target] would only be a legitimate attack if they also had been wearing uniforms when they did so and had borne their arms openly, instead of skulking around in civilian clothes.

    Not at all sticking up for the terrorists here, but comments like this, or criticisms of Iraqis using sneaky roadside bombs to strike at Americans, make me think of that "King of the Hill" episode where Bobby, the unathletic nerdy kid, is picked on by a bunch of bullies. His father enrolls him in a how-to-fight course, but by accident Bobby ended up in a women's self-defense class, where he learned the basic knee-to-the-balls maneuver, and found that it was indeed effective against the boys who picked on him. His father, the manly ex-football hero, was horrified: "Bobby, you can't go around kicking guys in the fellas!" And Bobby's response? "Dad, they're bigger than me. They outnumber me. And you're saying I shouldn't do the ONE THING I'm actually capable of doing?"

    I also consider that our own Revolutionary War was, by today's definitions, fought mostly by terrorists (though at least Washington's men didn't single out civilians, I'll grant that).

  • ||

    TJIT,
    10,000 dead is an awfully small war. How about we divert the Iraq War funds to energy research. Then we can hopefully avoid the big war where casualities are measured in the 100s of millions.

  • fyodor||

    Good post, Jennifer. Seamus's post reminded me of comments made by many in the Arab world that Americans were cowards because we bomb from the air. Also of comments that Bush is a coward because he was scared to fight Saddam in hand-to-hand combat.

  • ||

    kwais,

    "I believe the alternative would be to accept that their attack on us is justified and to surrender to them." Surrender to who? The Iraqis? Seriously, you can't see any alternative to invading Iraq than to surrender to Al Qaeda?

    "The alternative is to stick your head in the sand and hope that the problem goes away that someone else will take care of the problem." Well, we stuck your ass in the sand, hoping you would take care of the problem. It's not working, regardless of the fact that you're (plural) doing your job very, very well.

    Goiter, the central political devate in this country for the past three years has been whether invading Iraq is a reasonable and effective way to prevent terrorist attacks on us. So yes, when a major terrorist attack happens against us or our allies, the conversation is going to turn to whether invading Iraq is helping.

    fyodor, it is immoral for you to point the gun at an innocent person. If you try to shoot your assailant and hit somebody else, that's a differen matter.

  • ||

    Fyodor-
    I too thought about our aerial bombings; Seamus seemed to be saying that an attack is only fair if your intended victims can see you coming, which rules out pretty much everything we've done over there.

    Attacking a civilian bus was indeed terrorism, but if they'd attacked a military installation I think it would be a standard procedure of war. For that matter, I don't think that attacking the Pentagon on 9/11 was itself a terrorist act; what made it terrorism was the use of an airliner filled with innocent civilians.

  • ||

    I'm with TPG. And kwais.

    And the dead. On both sides. Who are used as justification for more killing.

  • ||

    Lots to read...

    The critism of Dutch openness and tolerance seems misguided. No it didn't stop terrorism. Neither has any other form of government. As long as a terrorist is willing to accept the consequences there isn't a damned thing anyone can do to stop someone from getting killed.

    I have read nothing that convinces me that Iraq has had any effect on terrorism one way or another. I don't like the administrations handling of Iraq, and I think they're full of shit with the lame reasoning and the opportunism of using 9/11. I don't complain to much though since the situation we had there had to change. I have seen no convincing evidence that it is a good idea to punish a group of people in the hopes that they'll topple their leader. Saddam had to go. I would have been happier with a little honesty from the administration, though I admit it wouldn't have mattered.

    I don't accept that they hate our freedom either. I don't really know what they hate. We do have a history, in the name of stability, of not putting any pressure even giving support to regimes that should have been toppled. Again it isn't a good idea to let a people suffer in the name of stability.

    I have yet to read any convincing arguement on how terrorism can be stopped. I suspect any solution will take generations, because the roots are that deep. Doves and Hawks are too bird brained to offer any answers.

  • ||

    Joe-
    I can see where you're coming from in telling Fyodor that it isn't fair to target innocents in any case, but I can see Fyodor's point too: say Osama comes waltzing into my office and threatens to kill my infidel self. It so happens that I can stave off the threat by threatening to kill his child, or for that matter killing the child outright.

    The child is innocent and it's a shame he had to die. But Osama fixed things so that SOME innocent person was going to die today; can I really be blamed for thinking "If an innocent will die today, it damn sure isn't going to be me?" I'm not saying that in the fight against terrorism we should single out the innocent (which seems to be our policy), but if someone far bigger and stronger than you decides he wants to invade your country or kill you, how can you POSSIBLY have a chance if you insist on fighting fair?

  • drf||

    Or, Jennifer, you could pull a Kaiser Souza, who kills his own family as a message.

    Didn't the main character in "Beloved" do something like that (cut off her finger as a threat to someone else)?

  • ||

    I don't know, drf, I'm not a Toni Morrison fan. I'm just not sure that safe and comfortable people (like all us posters here with the possible exception of Kwais) are in a position to criticize the desperate acts of people with their backs against the wall.

  • fyodor||

    Thanks Jennifer. On one hand I can definitely understand the notion that it's immoral to involve anyone who's not directly responsible for your plight. On the other, it's easier to say that than it might be to operate on that principle if put in that situation. Seems like you were putting yourself in the situation rather than thinking about it academically. I should also add that conscripts are every bit as much innocent third parties as civilians. The difference being that they are cannon fodder for a more direct military strategy rather than an indirect one.

    I will say in deference to the other POV that to premeditate the killings of civilians for such indirect purposes and with such unlikely goals requires a level of viciousness and vileness that I believe trancsends ordinary warfare with military strategy. But lacking proper justification, it is only a matter of degree.

  • Adam||

    JK - I see your concern with my comments, and by "police its people" I did not mean "take any insane, freedom-depriving measures that may be justified with a bullshit reference to the threat of terrorism." I meant more along the lines of, "Don't let terrorist training camps run openly, don't look the other way while terrorists recruit," and other basic steps of that nature. Sorry for the confusion.

  • ||

    Jennifer: If you have an understanding of the foolishness of fighting fair, apply the same to the strong side, too. Detentions and torture aren't fair. In war fairness is not important. All that matters is effectiveness.

    I remember that you might believe that a USA which doesn't fight fair is not worth fighting for; it compromises the foundation of the nation. I draw my line between citizens and everyone else. You can be more generous, but you'll have a slightly greater chance of being killed yourself.

  • ||

    Adam,
    Thanks for getting a grip.

  • ||

    possible exception

    There are other possible exceptions to the "safe and comfortable" criteria.

  • Adam||

    Oh and RC--the main "intervention" that makes people hate us isn't importing our ideas into their culture, but supporting the dictators who oppress their culture, and dropping the bombs that kill the people who live there.

    Jennifer, bin Laden seems to think it's because we still allow our weapons manufacturers to sell weapons to Israel, that we (the U.S. and the civilized and much of the uncivilized world after Gulf 1) imposed sanctions on Iraq and "we" starved 1.5 million Iraqi children, that we have an embassy in Jerusalem, that we are in Afghanistan, that bin Laden wants us to be Muslims (bin Laden: (Q2) As for the second question that we want to answer: What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you? (1) The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.), ending "the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling, and trading with interest" [and he goes on to denounce usury further].........

    And you're telling me they don't hate us for our freedoms? They don't hate us because we can go out to a bar on friday night, get piss drunk and fornicate til our hearts are content?

    What else? Oh yeah, they hate us for Clinton's blowjob, more gambling, we have "destroyed nature" ...hell, in this particular letter to America from bin laden, he doesn't even get to discussing Gulf II until more than halfway through. Oh, they hate us for the patriot act ("In America, you captured thousands the Muslims and Arabs, took them into custody with neither reason, court trial, nor even disclosing their names. You issued newer, harsher laws.")

    Wow, I never really read anything bin Laden wrote before today, but here it is.

    Anyway, we can disagree all day and all night about Iraq, but we've got some evidence to go on about what they hate us for (and it's not just - or primarily - propping up dictators or dropping bombs on people.

  • ||

    Dynamist-
    I'd say that fairness can actually change depending on the individual situation; in my above scenario, killing Osama's child as a way of keeping my own self alive is different from killing Osama's child because, dammit, I'm pissed off and I can't kill Osama but I sure as hell want to kill SOMEBODY!

    And there are levels of unfairness, too. Yesterday there was a thread about how an American citizen has been held in an overseas prison for two months and counting, after the taxi he was in was found to have possible bomb parts in it. Now, it's not fair that an innocent man should be taken in for questioning because the taxi he took just happened to have contraband in it, but in the context of war it is understandable and even necessary. What is NOT necessary is to keep the man in prison even after he's already been cleared, as is the case.

    Or compare the unfairness of striking a legitimiate military target, like a bomb factory, and killing a few civilians who happened to be in the bomb zone, versus the unfairness of destroying an entire city, like Fallujah, because a dozen people in it did a criminal act.

  • Adam||

    Dave, no problem.
    And everybody else, I apologize for the many punctuation errors in my last post.

  • ||

    Detentions and torture aren't fair. In war fairness is not important. All that matters is effectiveness.

    Honestly, Dynamist, if the people suffering under our detentions and torture were in fact terrorists, I might not care so much. Problem is, most of the folks we've got had nothing to do with the fight--they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And how effective is it, anyway? A couple months ago, in an Afghan prison, the American military tortured TO DEATH a young cabdriver whom even the military admits was innocent, just in the wrong place at the wrong time. How is his death effective? How does his agony help us win the war? It's not--if anything, it probably helps push a few more people, namely those who loved him, into the anti-American camp.

    Didn't one of the Bushies say this was a war to "win hearts and minds?" Unless our government is run by men who pay hookers to tie them up and beat the shit out of them, I don't see how they'd believe that the way to win a man's heart is to torture him.

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    Dynamist,

    I'm with TPG. And kwais. And the dead. On both sides. Who are used as justification for more killing.

    Screw them! Let's use them as an attempt at furthering our side of the pissing match!

  • fyodor||

    Dynamist,

    You miss the point. We're not suggesting they're as good as us. We're suggesting they're as bad as us!

    Well, I exaggerate. There are degrees of badness, and don't worry I'm not really saying they're as bad as us or we're as bad as them (an emoticon somehow didn't seem appropriate). I'm guessing that my first paragraph would suitably paraphrase Melissa's original point of moral equivalence. What I'm saying myself is that there's no cut & dry this-good that-bad in using "legitimate" means to fight an illegitimate war versus terrorism. Or put more simply, that the moral distinctions are not so clear and easy, such that those on the other side can be easily written off as evil, which we're clearly not. Either way, none of us are saying that the bombings in London (or anywhere else) are okay.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    "Problem is, most of the folks we've got (imprisoned)had nothing to do with the fight"

    Really jennifer, you are swallowing too much leftist anti Bush hysteria. Think about that one, there is no way that is true. No way.

    There are indeed the ocasional dude who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, like some of the ones you have mentioned. But it is far from "most".

    Read some blogs about Gitmo, or some of the other prisons from the other side. You most the prisoners don't even deny that they are terrorists, unless talking to a reporter.

  • ||

    >Libertarian plug: apparently the million surveillance cameras across London didn't do a thing to prevent this travesty.

    Law enforcement plug: the failure to catch them proves we need more cameras.

  • ||

    Really jennifer, you are swallowing too much leftist anti Bush hysteria. Think about that one, there is no way that is true. No way.

    So the military officials who admit that most of the Abu Ghraib population is non-terrorist are leftist anti-Bush guys? Holy shit, no wonder our military's not achieving its goals, if its own leadership is sabotaging the effort.

  • ||

    What I believe you are trying to suggest is that the terrorists have the moral legitimacy to strike back at the people who have "attacked" them. Which is fine if you want to argue that. But the tactics they employ to achieve what you might perceive as legitimate, are morally bankrupt.

    Actually, I was hoping my moniker would suggest that I don't believe that moral propositions can be justified. I have an opinion on the matter (exactly what I said before), but that's all it is.

    Thus, saying terrorist tactics are morally bankrupt is just to say you disagree with them, but in a metaphysically shady way. If that's all you want to claim, then we agree; if not... well, at least we still agree on what matters.

  • Adam||

    Jennifer - what's up with the bait-and-switch? Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib in the blink of an eye! My, how convenient for you.

  • ||

    Adam-
    What, you're saying our being in Abu Ghraib has nothing to do with this War on Terror we're fighting?

  • ||

    Also, Adam, how was it "bait and switch?" I wasn't talking about Gitmo, and Kwais' comment said to read about Gitmo OR OTHER PRISONS. Switching the terms of the conversation in the blink of an eye! My, how convenient for you.

    Hee hee hee.

  • ||

    ...the American military tortured TO DEATH a young cabdriver whom even the military admits was innocent, just in the wrong place at the wrong time. How is his death effective? How does his agony help us win the war? It's not--if anything, it probably helps push a few more people, namely those who loved him, into the anti-American camp.

    This guy's death probably was not effective. I suggest you are using an inappropriate frame of reference. The pattern of events, the tactics, the strategy, and the policy are more important than an individual case. An absurdist extension of what you seem to argue would be to say that our troops should not be issued bullets because most of them do not hit targets, and a few even hit innocents. The death of innocents is tragedy, and our wide-open system keeps such events in review. However, it sure seems like war, and part of why war sucks is that some innocents die.

    This is not a struggle within an ordered society where we like to give greatest weight to making sure the innocents are not punished unfairly (or at least we used to). This is a struggle between societies, and in terms of war the USA seems to making historically superlative efforts to minimize the killing of innocents. We're not perfect, neither there nor at home. But to beat the dead horse again, what would you do differently?

  • ||

    "I too thought about our aerial bombings; Seamus seemed to be saying that an attack is only fair if your intended victims can see you coming, which rules out pretty much everything we've done over there."

    Hey, I don't make the law; I just report it. And the law of war, BTW, doesn't say "your intended victims [have to be able to] see you coming." It says that if they *can* see you, you can't be posing falsely as a noncombatant, and that if you do, you are subject to trial by court-martial and to execution. That's what we did to the Nazi sabateurs in World War II, as well as to the Confederate agent who tried to burn buildings in New York in 1864.

  • ||

    Well, Dynamist, for starters I would draw a HUGE fucking distinction between an innocent who dies from a stray bullet or misfired bomb, versus an innocent who dies because he is cold-bloodedly tortured to death by the supposed "good guys" over the course of three days. I would end ALL torture by our people, and imprison for at least twenty years anyone who violated the policy. I would bring the Gitmo boys to trial, not only for the innocents to be set free but so that the guilty ones would be shown to be guilty before the eyes of the world, and there'd be no room for reasonable people to say we were holding innocents.

    And I would NOT have had the State Department black out references to Saudi Arabia in the various reports on 9/11, and I might even have invaded Saudi Arabia, although that would require actual--gasp!--sacrifices on the part of Americans, as opposed to our being told "The way to defeat the terrorists is to live exactly like you did before. If we don't have a shitload of disposable income to spend on stuff we don't need, if we have to sacrifice for a couple of years to solve this war, then the terrorists have won!"

  • ||

    Jennifer: I'm not up on the details of the man tortured to death. Were our players acting sadistically cruel, in violation of the military code and thus murders not acting under USA authority and subject to the kind of penalty you seek to impose? Was the victim in good health before we went to work on him?

    How do you determine what will be considered torture?

    How could we show anyone to be genuinely guilty before a world who has already decided our courts are rigged and our cause unjust? Why is it so important to curry favor around the world in the first place? It would be nifty to free innocents, but since even in our ordered society it can take years for a case to come to trial, why would you expect quicker justice for alleged combatants? There's no reasonable way to set bail. The detainees must be detained until the grinding wheels of bureaucracy squeeze them through the system.

    If Iraq was the wrong invasion, how would Saudi be better? One of OBL's core motives, I thought, was our intereference in Saudi in the first place. Saudi wasn't violating the terms of truce after its invasion of Kuwait. In any case, that's a historical beef. How does that help me to figure out what to do now?

    Your words make it seem that you are more mad at GWB than the people who created his defining moment by attacking WTC. There's an eagerness to "make Americans sacrifice", as though our 16,000 plus casualties are not enough. How much USA blood (and the consequential "enemy" blood) would you need spilled to feel as though USA has suffered enough? And why are obligated to suffer, either as victims or "liberators" anyway? You probably didn't vote for Bush, but Al-Q seems to want to kill you just as much as if you did.

  • ||

    Seamus,

    Where can I look up the laws of war you refer to? Are they for real or are they the sort of squishy agreement that we adhere to when we want and ignore when we don't like them? Is the international court that we object the place where these things are adjudicated?

    It strikes me that as long as the terrorists are willing to accept the consequences (death, invasion, imprisonment, annihilation...) there isn't much hope for stopping them, and labels and laws are something we use for our own comfort.

  • Adam||

    Jennifer,

    Fair enough. You're still wrong about why they hate us.

  • Jack Bauer||

    Coordinated around the announcement of London as Olympic 2012 host? Extremely unlikely. This type of timed coordination did not get thrown together in a day.

    You obviously have no idea how much a person can do in 24 hours.

  • ||

    It looks like the taxi driver was murdered cruelly. Look for the perps to spend time in Leavenworth. But try not to condemn everyone in uniform, or even every jailor for the acts of a few criminals. In the same way it is wrong to blame every arab for 9/11, it is wrong to blame the entire military (and the government that orders them around) for acts they do not condone.

    I don't believe any one of us is well-qualified to assess the suffering and sacrifice of another. Perhaps the fuel price that you substitute for blood means less food or education for someone busting their ass to get a piece of the American Dream. We "should" all pitch in, and it seems most of us are, even beyond the mandatory taxation. That magnet you see is likely a symbol of some greater contribution, rather than a superficial "purchasing of patriot indulgence" before the church of USA. You have written in other threads of a mistrust of people's charity. I read that as a mistrust of your own intentions, as my experience among the unwashed masses shows them to be simple and sincere.

    FDR faced a different enemy with different goals at a different time. The current enemy is not armed with the resources of an industrial state, and is not seeking to occupy our soil. (The Japanese were, though, trying to get secure supplies of oil) A measure of our present enemies' success or failure is our standard of living. Remaining free to choose mouthwash over bullets with the fruit of our labor is, to me, something worth gratitude, not derision.

  • ||

    Dynamist-

    The death of innocents is tragedy, and our wide-open system keeps such events in review.

    No it doesn't. Our "system" is becoming increasingly more secretive, so less and less actions taken by our government and its agents are coming under any kind of effective review.

    deron-

    and labels and laws are something we use for our own comfort.

    That's not true. Laws and process are supposed to help reveal the truth and ensure that we are not wasting time and resources and violating the rights of innocent people. People often overlook this accuracy function of the law - that law and process is supposed to ensure that the accused has actually committed a crime and that state resources are not being wasted or abused. Under secrecy you can hide all kinds of things - incompetence, corruption, abuse, mistakes, ineffectiveness, fraud, waste, score-settling, etc.

    That's why the law and due process should not be discarded willy-nilly, it serves a lot of purposes that a lot of people take for granted. The founding fathers instituted them for a number of good reasons. Having just had intimate experiences with tyranny at the time, they wanted to put checks and balances in the system that avoided those kinds of abuses. And now we are throwing these checks and balances away without realizing the full effect of what we are doing. Torturing innocent people is wrong, but it is also wasteful - because the personnel being used for nonsense like that could be doing real police or intelligence work, not violating human rights.

  • ||

    CAT: From the Mueller interview thread I copy this--
    As to civil liberties,... press freedom during WWII was severely curtailed (through a "voluntary" acceptance of , with the U.S. government passing judgment on which stories the press could print on issues related to the war. We have more press freedom today in the U.S. than we ever have.

    Comment by: Hakluyt at July 8, 2005 12:42 AM

    One poster says freedom is decreasing. Another says it is at an all-time high. I don't know who to believe! :-)

  • ||

    One poster says freedom is decreasing. Another says it is at an all-time high. I don't know who to believe! :-)

    Well censorship can take different forms. (Yeah, I see the smiley, but I'll yap some more anyway.) The government might not be openly dictating what can get printed like during WWII, but I'd be willing to bet there's still a lot of arm-twisting going on behind the scenes. Then you have the concentration of media ownership - censorship pushed "upstream" to inside the media organization itself. Then you have the media fixation on sensational issues like runaway brides. (Although they are feeding the market what it wants in that regard.)

  • M1EK||

    "If Iraq was the wrong invasion, how would Saudi be better?"

    Can I make this any more clear?

    SAUDI ARABIANS ATTACKED US ON OUR OWN SOIL.
    THE SAUDIS PAY THE BILLS FOR AL QAEDA.
    THE SAUDIS PAY THE BILLS FOR WAHABBISM.
    THEY KNOW THIS RESULTS IN TERRORISM AGAINST THE US.
    THEY'RE STILL DOING IT TODAY.

  • ||

    The hell of it is, for all these stories coming out about torture and murder in American-run overseas prisons, people like Dynamist refuse to believe any prisoner who claims he was tortured, unless he has documentary evidence. We only know about Dilawar because the story was leaked; we only know (a little) about Abu Ghraib because Joseph Darby was brave enough to release a photo CD. How many others do we NOT know about? If Dilawar's story hadn't been leaked out, how quickly would Dynamist and like-minded people dismiss his family's claims that he was murdered by Americans?

  • ||

    Another cut and paste job with more details of Dilawar's awful death, other tortures we've committed against people, and also how innocent people can end up in Gitmo. (But remember, if any survivors end up hating America it's not because they're only human; it's because they're inhuman terrorists. Who hate freedom.) Anybody who doesn't want to believe this story, first printed in an Alabama newspaper, can console themselves with the thought that Alabamans are nothing but a bunch of Bush-hating hippies, or something:


    Practices undercut nation's principles

    By Trish O'Kane


    This July Fourth, the hood seems a more fitting patriotic symbol than the flag. For we the people, as a nation, have donned one so we do not have to face ourselves or the family members of people like Dilawar.

    It was the eve of a Muslim holiday that December. A shy, thin, unschooled 22-year-old, Dilawar was an aspiring taxi driver in the village of Yakubi.

    Dilawar's mother wanted the entire family together for the holiday and asked him to pick up three sisters from neighboring villages. Dilawar needed gas money, so he went to work in a nearby city.

    He collected three passengers. On the way home, he passed Camp Salerno, a U.S. base that had been attacked that morning. Afghan militiamen stopped the taxi and turned Dilawar and passengers over to U.S. soldiers as suspects.

    The three passengers ended up in Guantanamo, where they spent over a year before they were sent home without charge.

    Dilawar was sent to Camp Bagram, another U.S.-Afghan base. He arrived Dec. 5. It was a U.S. camp where torture was routine, according to a nearly 2,000 page confidential Army investigation file given to the New York Times by a military official. Dilawar's story and others were published in the New York Times on May 20. Twenty-four hours before Dilawar arrived, another prisoner named Habibullah died after four days of being beaten and kicked. Soldiers told investigators they beat him while he was chained to the ceiling. The autopsy reported bruises on Habibullah's chest, arms and head, and deep contusions on calves, knees and thighs.

    In sworn statements to Army investigators, soldiers described a female interrogator at Bagram stepping on a prisoner's neck and kicking another in the genitals. One Bagram interrogator was nicknamed "the monster," and a group of Bagram soldiers were called "the Testosterone Gang."

    Dilawar lasted five days. Interrogators later told Army investigators they believed he was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the base. He was tortured by Americans his own age who said it was "funny" to hear him cry "Allah" when they hit him. One soldier estimated they hit Dilawar in the legs over 100 times in 24 hours. Dilawar died when his heart failed due to "blunt force injuries to the lower extremities."

    Military coroners declared both deaths "homicides." One coroner described Dilawar's legs as "pulpified."

    On Sept. 16, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney said: "We also have to work 'the dark side,' spend time in the shadows. It's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal."

    Dilawar died in December of 2002. Between 2001, when Cheney made this statement, and 2005, at least 108 prisoners have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan (Associated Press, March 16, 2005.) Just one death occurred at Abu Ghraib.

    Take off your hood and read the Army reports published online thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union (www.cid.army.mil/Documents and aclu.org/torturefoia/).

    This is what you will see by the dawn's early light:

    Our flag waving over a sprawling prison network of some 42 camps holding 11,000 prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. The government admits to "detaining" at least 50,000 since US military operations began.

    Our soldiers using a dead Iraqi to wave hello on a DVD called "Ramadi Madness," and brutalizing Iraqi prisoners. Army documents published in March 2005 described the DVD (see Palm Beach Post website).

    Abu Ghraib prisoner Manadel Al-Jamedi, suspended by the wrists, hands cuffed behind his back, in a practice called "Palestinian hanging." Al-Jamedi died in a shower room during a half-hour interrogation by the CIA and Navy Seals (Army account in Associated Press story, Feb. 17, 2005.)

    An Iraqi father begging for his teenage son's life as our soldiers stage a mock execution (Army documents published April 19, 2005.)

    Two Iraqi prisoners on a bridge, and three U.S. soldiers behind them, pushing them off. One prisoner could not swim and drowned. His family found his body 12 days later (Army report published July 15, 2004.)

    Is this what so proudly we hail, at the twilight's last gleaming?

  • Adam||

    And yes, I *AM* angry at the people who attacked us on 9/11. However, they're not the ones we're fighting in Iraq.

    You're right, Jennifer - most of them are dead. We're fighting and killing their supporters and their wannabe-terrorist friends in Iraq now.

  • ||

    "Where can I look up the laws of war you refer to? Are they for real or are they the sort of squishy agreement that we adhere to when we want and ignore when we don't like them? Is the international court that we object the place where these things are adjudicated?"

    The laws of war are a little like the common law--partly a matter of long-standing custom, partly a matter of positive law (such as international treaties). For starters, you could look at the army field manual on "The Law of Land Warfare" (FM 27-10), which attempts to distill the customs of law and the relevant formal legislative acts (such as treaties, statutes, executive orders, etc.).

    But the law that combatants out of uniform are guilty of war crime is hardly a new or controversial position. If you remember the movie Breaker Morant, part of the defense of the Austrialian officers on trial for (inter alia) murder of Boer prisoners is that the Boers were out of uniform and thus subject to summary execution. (See this discussion: http://www.awm.gov.au/journal/j34/boer.htm. Where Morant went wrong is that he took the law into his own hands, rather than bringing the Boers in to be tried by court-martial.) During the American Revolution, Major Andre was court-martialed and hanged because he was out of uniform behind American lines for the purpose of conducting hostile operations (i.e., the negotiations with Benedict Arnold regarding the surrender of West Point). Similarly, civilian contractors in Iraq are allowed to carry arms to defend themselves, but if they engage in offensive operations out of uniform, they are unlawful combatants. (Who could try them for their crimes is an intersting question, however. They aren't subject to U.S. military law, and the occupation authorities exempted them from Iraqi law. I suppose the current "sovereign" Iraqi government could lift that immunity, but I don't expect that to happen any time soon.)

  • M1EK||

    Adam,

    "You're right, Jennifer - most of them are dead. We're fighting and killing their supporters and their wannabe-terrorist friends in Iraq now."

    Terrorism didn't really exist in Iraq until we overthrew Saddam and turned it into the "honeypot". And it's working great, if you consider an attack on London sufficiently far from "our shores". Or if you consider 1700 US military deaths a drop in the bucket.

    Oops.

  • ||

    We're fighting and killing their supporters and their wannabe-terrorist friends in Iraq now.

    Like the late Mr. Dilawar, I take it? If we really want to fight their supporters and friends, we should have gone to Saudi Arabia. But that wasn't an option, since that would involve changing our way of life and, as the administration has said, "The American way of life in non-negotiable."

  • ||

    Jennifer: It really seems like you're looking for facts to support your belief. I suppose we all do, and we all find them.

    Taking in all the information that passes my eyes, I'm trying to develop a reasonable and broad understanding of events. I had zero awareness Dilawar before you brought his tragedy to my attention. There's nothing you've added, from your trusted sources which I accepted without criticism or scrutiny, that does not fit in with my pre-conceived notion that innocents get screwed in wartime, and that any large group (more so prison guards) will include a significant number of criminals and sadists.

    Show me the pattern where only innocents are murdered, or where the rare and reportable cases are of people being sent home after the bureaucracy finds no cause to detain them. Then, I'll go ahead and mock USA right beside to you. I get to hear plenty of "Bush is a moron/Iraq war wrong". I also try to understand the other sides.

    M1EK: Do I take then you advocate an invasion of Saudi? As a current course of action? Or are you, too, bitching about the past?

  • M1EK||

    "M1EK: Do I take then you advocate an invasion of Saudi? As a current course of action? Or are you, too, bitching about the past?"

    I support giving the Saudis the same ultimatum we gave the Taliban, or something similar.

    "Knock it off, or we're coming".

    "knock it off" in this case means "stop exporting your discontent to your neighbors and to the shores of the United States and its allies".

  • ||

    Dynamist-
    You don't have to take the word of my "trusted sources" on Dilawar; just Google his name. Although there are apparently a lot of Dilawars out there; if you add the word "Bagram" you'll separate out a lot of the chaff.

    A couple of days ago, I think you participated in the thread of the Iranian-born American citizen who's been held for two months, despite the fact that even the FBI has cleared him. And considering how many other people we've tortured, I am inclined to believe him when he says that he was too, at first.

    Think about this: IF Abu Ghraib had been the only such leak, I might consider the possibility that this was just a few rogue people raising hell. But similar stories are coming out of EVERY prison we're running overseas. And these aren't just coming from the prisoners, but from the Americans working there. How many isolated incidents do you need before they cease to be isolated incidents?

    And here's a serious question though it may sound like a "gotcha": you said you had zero awareness of Dilawar. Where do you get your news sources? Do you only skim the front pages of a couple of news websites, or do you read deeper? Literally every day, major, reputable news sources are coming out with stories of horrors we're committing against INNOCENT PEOPLE in the name of this war. And I don't mean the normal wartime problem of innocents caught in crossfire or being in the bomb zone of a legitimate military target; I'm talking about innocents killed in cold blood in our prisons. If it were just one or two isolated incidents, that would be one thing, but the scope of these complaints, and the similarities of accounts from prisons scattered all over the world, suggest that this is an endemic problem.

  • ||

    Jennifer: I don't take it as a "gotcha". I've an ultra-lefty acquaintance who kept quoting Al-Jazeera, so I incorporated that into my pool of sources, along with CNN, BBC, and the CS Monitor, and several other regulars. I don't go looking for the same things you seem to, but I used to be at least similar. I had a giant ball of ire around domestic police and I sought out evidence of their abuses. It was easy to find.

    That's probably part of why I mistrust the tales of torture. It has become expected news. My looking for more details on Dilawar will not bring him back to life, just like my rage over Detroit's Finest beating Malice Green to death as he sat in his car proved not useful to me. People with power abuse it. I accept it, just as I accept war will produce dead innocents through many scenarios. That's part of why I'm looking for the best way out of the current situation.

    In that thread about Kar, I was waiting for the bureacracy to get its paper shuffled, and questioning why he had to put himself at risk. I note that your mistrust of the state doesn't carry over to exonerations as well as indictments. If the FBI is corrupt, why should I trust their assessment of Kar's innocence?

    M1EK: Perhaps such things were discussed at Crawford? Saudi hasn't been violating UN resolutions, or all the other stuff (beyond WMD) that made Iraq a reasonable target. Giving them an open ultimatum without the UN imprimatur seems like it would be tremendously counter-productive.

  • M1EK||

    "Saudi hasn't been violating UN resolutions, or all the other stuff (beyond WMD) that made Iraq a reasonable target."

    For the umpteenth time, Saudi Arabia engaged in multiple acts of war against this nation which resulted in the events of 9/11. No United Nations sanction would be needed to justify our intervention there, if they didn't cave.

    Nor would we have needed UN sanction, had it existed in 1941, to attack Japan.

    Do you get it yet?

  • ||

    I note that your mistrust of the state doesn't carry over to exonerations as well as indictments.

    We're talking about things happening in a War Zone, where the military can hang on to prisoners a LOT easier than cops can here. Domestic cops here in the US might sometimes be forced to let truly dangerous people go due to lack of evidence against them, or a sneaky defense lawyer who can get any guilty guy off the hook. That does NOT happen in the countries we're either occupying or liberating (as you choose) right now. Our guys can pick people up for pretty much any reason or no reason at all, and hang on to them, apparently indefinitely.

    So basically, you're saying that when you, personally, are wielding Occam's Razor to get to the most likely possibility, the blade somehow turns in your hand and you end up assuming that, where Arab or Persian men picked up by the American forces in Iraq or Afghanistan are concerned, the chances of an innocent person being wrongly suspected and the chances of a guilty person being mistakenly thought innocent and set free are to be viewed as equal?

    That's probably part of why I mistrust the tales of torture. It has become expected news.

    So the more often you hear of wrongdoing in our prisons the less likely you are to believe it? That would result in a far more cheerful outlook about things like prison rape in America, I'll admit. And this whole drug-war-power-abuse thing in America is most likely mythological, too.

    If the FBI is corrupt, why should I trust their assessment of Kar's innocence?

    Translation: If the FBI and occupation forces might be corrupt, willing and able to trample all over people's rights in their zeal to capture possible Islamic terrorists, why shouldn't they be equal in their zeal to release guys who were picked up on suspicion of being Islamic terrorists?

    I don't go looking for the same things you seem to, but I used to be at least similar. I had a giant ball of ire around domestic police and I sought out evidence of their abuses. It was easy to find.

    Yes, each day when I read the news on these obscure, obsessive, hard-to-find sites like the BBC, my obsession drives me as far as the "Middle East" section of these many mainstream news sites. Sometimes (I'm SO ashamed to admit this) I even go so far as to discuss it here and run a quick Google search to back up a point or two.

    And even you admit that tales of torture have become common, which shows you're familiar with them too, at least on some level. And you're approving of behavior--not in the heat of battle, but cold-bloodedly in a prison or torture cell--which we ourselves considered war crimes in times past. A big country occupies a little country, demands and uses the right to pick up people at random, torture and even kill them, and you're fine with that?

    We're ten times bigger than Iraq (population-wise), and we invaded because supposedly Iraq had WMDs and might use them against us.

    China's got four times our population. If they rescinded their one-child policy and let people have as many children as they wanted, they could probably be ten times our size in a generation or so. And even if they had the military hardware to pull it off, I wouldn't want them to invade us because we had WMDs and might use them against China, but if they did then I wouldn't want them to be able to pick me or my friends or anybody up for no reason at all, and torture or kill us if they wished.

    I'm looking for the best way out of the current situation.

    We invaded Iraq and we have to find a way out of there. Agreed. And they say the way to do that is to get Iraq calm and stable enough for us to leave without it disintegrating. Okay.

    We're doing bad things to Iraqis--not just the ones fighting us, but the ones who aren't involved--so much that the majority of them have reason to fear us? How is fear and torture and murder of the civilian population supposed to bring enough calmness and stability that we can leave?




  • ||

    "Hunt the motherfuckers down in every corner of the globe and kill them..."

    Not necessary. Instead, we could bomb Riyahd to kindgom come. And when the George Soros-funded protesters come out screaming against us, shoot them all point blank. The Muslim rats will no longer have anyone to defend them and will crawl back into their holes.

  • ||

    How is fear and torture and murder of the civilian population supposed to bring enough calmness and stability that we can leave?

    That seems to be a flaw in the "insurgent" strategy, too. If they quit blowing up policemen, USA can leave. But then native order takes over and there's no room for terrorists.

    Nice that you end with a version of the same question I keep asking. You would like the torture to end. Me too. Yet after all the gnashing of teeth, the best available course of action seems to be the one USA is on, with all its ugliness, complexity, suffering, and death.

    M1EK: No, I don't get it yet. USA can't offer a credible ultimatum to Saudi at this time. For a whole pile of reasons. Lower on the list, but interesting to me at the moment: Due to the nature of Saudi Arabia's position in the interrelated oil market, an attack on Saudi is an attack on the entire world. Another of the non-WMD reasons for picking Iraq as the focus seems to be it's piddling contribution to the world's energy supply. Quite the opposite of the "blood for oil" mantra, I suggest it was blood for lack of oil production.

  • ||

    You would like the torture to end. Me too. Yet after all the gnashing of teeth, the best available course of action seems to be the one USA is on, with all its ugliness, complexity, suffering, and death.

    The best available course of action is to sweep people up at random and torture them? In that case, we and the Iraqis are both fucked. We may as well pull the troops out now, regardless of the consequences, because if torture and murder is the "best available course of action," then there's no way our being there will improve anything. Remember: we're not torturing the car bombers; we're torturing the people VICTIMIZED by the car bombers.

  • M1EK||

    "M1EK: No, I don't get it yet. USA can't offer a credible ultimatum to Saudi at this time."

    Did we care one doodly squat about what military action would do to our economy when the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor?

  • ||

    Jennifer: Murdering random cabdrivers is not the policy. Such is a consequence or product of the best available course of action. "Best available" is an important idea. I could present a decent case that civilian police in USA are similarly brutal; that beating motorists to death does not keep civil order in a civil society and therefore police forces should be eliminated. That, despite its emotional appeal, is an incomplete view. Police are (grudingly) necessary, and that many officers are murders doesn't change the bigger picture that maintaining a police force is the best available way to uphold social peace and order.

    M1EK: Since you picked the "credible ultimatum" line...
    Everybody seems to agree USA is at capacity for military engagement. We could threaten the Saudi rulers all day, but until USA enlists, trains, and equips several more divisions it is all hot air. Further, you'll not only have to persuade Americans to support the buildup and invasion, you'll have to persuade the regional allies who allow us bases and way-points. Seems like a tough sell.

    I agree with your Pearl comparisons about the nature of the attack. I disagree with your implied assessment of the world situation that suggests 1941's response is appropriate for 2005.

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