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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Why Al Qaeda hasn't hit the US again: Osama's Damoclean Sword...nuke Mecca? (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Why Al Qaeda hasn't hit the US again: Osama's Damoclean Sword...nuke Mecca?
WarrsawPact
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Well why not discuss the reasons why suddenly everyone in the Middle East seems to have seen the writing on the wall?

Suddenly everyone in the Middle East with a WMD program made the decision to come clean and get rid of it (and in so doing, securing better ties to the West, as Qaddafi has done) or to get real vocal about it, as Iran has.
We haven't seen any attacks in the US, though we have seen activity in Europe (esp. the Spain train incident). But there was the shoe bomber. And who knows how many potential acts were cut short by detaining suspected terrorists?

Then again, we've assumed for years that a nuke would be relatively easy to get thanks to loose post-Soviet weapons control, or at least someone would overcome what barriers still exist. Yet no terrorist group has accomplished a nuclear attack, or even a dirty bomb. Nobody has claimed they are close to getting a nuke. And the Russians have been loose with their materials for a long time now.
Why are we not nuked?
Clearly we were overestimating our enemies. What appears dangerously easy to us in the West may be deceptively difficult for other parties, even parties with quite a bit of fiscal prowess and experience in weapons procurement and smuggling.

So if getting something with a lot of damage potential is easy, and getting the dedicated people coordinated is easy, and the borders are extremely porous, and our intelligence is poor, and we don't have the technical or manpower tools to effectively track a laundry list of such activity, then why aren't we even more battered than Israel?

Either it's harder to hit us than we think, or they're holding back. I'm inclined to go with the first option, because to make them hold back takes a few too many threats too well communicated to just the right parties. I suspect we're actually going a little hard on ourselves here and giving terrorists a bit too much credit, though 9/11 was tactically smart. Not that going hard on ourselves is a bad thing.

I suspect that the activity of other Middle Eastern countries is simply pragmatic rules seeing the writing on the wall and feeling the heat. When Bush goes out and makes a hit list, publicly, and says you're either with us or against us, it sends a message to anyone who isn't sure how they'll add up in our political calculus. Mentioning WMD over and over again sent that message pretty clearly to Qaddafi. But calculated threats to all the right parties in the Middle East? I have my doubts.

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
Either it's harder to hit us than we think, or they're holding back. I'm inclined to go with the first option, because to make them hold back takes a few too many threats too well communicated to just the right parties. I suspect we're actually going a little hard on ourselves here and giving terrorists a bit too much credit, though 9/11 was tactically smart. Not that going hard on ourselves is a bad thing.

I suspect that the activity of other Middle Eastern countries is simply pragmatic rules seeing the writing on the wall and feeling the heat. When Bush goes out and makes a hit list, publicly, and says you're either with us or against us, it sends a message to anyone who isn't sure how they'll add up in our political calculus. Mentioning WMD over and over again sent that message pretty clearly to Qaddafi. But calculated threats to all the right parties in the Middle East? I have my doubts.

I tend to agree with this assesment. We overestimated the Soviet threat during the Cold War, and I think we have overestimated the ability and resources of Al Qaeda. Doesn't mean they're not dangerous, but as long as we keep them harried I don't think they can stage anything huge. The global Jihad that they hoped to spark also doesn't seem to have materialized -- I think most people just want to live their lives, even if they dislike the U.S.

I think Al Qaeda blew their wad, and the "secondary" terrorist groups they were counting on to press their advantage didn't show up. Now, the real scrubs and wannabes have gone to Iraq, and more "legit" operators are being snagged by the Saudis et al.

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TCB
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The strategy Daruma outlined has the disqualifying drawback that it encourages people who wish to see America nuke Mecca to frame Al Qaeda by commiting terrorist acts.
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carmachu
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[/QUOTE]It's not hard to grasp, Daruma. It just makes no sense. [/QB][/QUOTE]


Again, MAD doesnt make any sense at first look, but in the end USSR took it serious and it worked.

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carmachu
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quote:


I think he sees the threat is pretty empty barring a simply astonishing success on his part, and I don't think nuking Mecca would end the problem (unlike, say, blowing up the world during the MAD years). If the bluff stops terrorism, then actually destroying Mecca is even better since no Muslim would then have a reason to fight. We should do it tomorrow.


No A, I disagree, I dont think he understands that at all. You have to look at this over the ten year period OBL did:

All throw the 90's, pretty much teh US didnt really respond to attacks: the USS Cole, embassy bombings, etc, cutting and running in other places after casualties.

In his mind, we'd fold like a cheap tent after a "great event"(9/11). Unfortuantely, history repeats itself, so much like Pearl Harbor, 9/11 was a cataylst for action.

I'd bet the house the LAST thing he expected was an invasion of Afganastan and him on the run. Or after Bush told Saddam to knock it off of he's next(simplified version), and now Saddam is gone.

So now unoffical word is that if OBL tries another event, his holy oh holy site will be in nuclear ruin: WE may know that Bush will most likely not do it, but he on the other hand a)cares a great deal about Mecca, even if it will bring him an army, its STILL gone forever and its HIS fault, technically. OBL brought about the ruin of Mecca, thats a hevay load to bear. B) He knows now that his attacks will bring retribution, after all he expected the US to cower after 9/11, but instead it brought an army to his door step and sent him on the run.

Darum has it right: its a game of poker, just like when Kennedy played it over the cuba crisis. It doesnt matter if YOU know your bluffing. All that matters is making the other guy believe you have 4 aces.

carmachu

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Mike_W
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See, since none of us is likely to be intimately familiar with OBL's personal views, a lot of this is debateable. I'd "bet the house" that OBL, having studied assymetrical warfare, BANKED on the US reacting militarily in the middle east, thus creating more animosity towards the US and West. I don't think he banked on the effectiveness of that response in Afghanistan.

Seeing how much traction this idea has worries me. Sun Tzu said "know your enemy" ...I'm now less certain we do.

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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
Now, the real scrubs and wannabes have gone to Iraq
Why not US/Mexico border? Wouldn't the bombs in Iraq be more useful in the US. Sure, it wouldn't be as effective as 9/11, but if we can't seem to stop it in Iraq would it really be so easy to stop in the US. Even if the bombs didn't kill anyone but just blew up a few cars in a mall parking lot it would cause an enormous panic here...especially if it happened about once a week.

While I'm not convinced that OBL would fall for a Mecca threat, I think those "wannabes" and "scrubs" might. I think IF Mecca threats are being voiced at all, they MIGHT be believed by the fanatic true believers...the suicide bombers...the religious clerics...but probably not OBL himself.

My impression is that many of the infantrymen have faced widescale propoganda on the US. They really do believe that Bush is that evil and insane. And it's those infantrymen that OBL and others rely on to do much of their dirty work.

Convince OBL? probably not. Convince his weakest allies to drop their ties? Convince his most brainwashed ardent followers? Possibly.

I still think that it's more LIKELY that Bush has purposefully kept the threat vague and let his opponents use their imaginations. Did some out in the middle east imagine nukes on holy sites? I'd be surprised if no one did!

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
Why not US/Mexico border? Wouldn't the bombs in Iraq be more useful in the US. Sure, it wouldn't be as effective as 9/11, but if we can't seem to stop it in Iraq would it really be so easy to stop in the US. Even if the bombs didn't kill anyone but just blew up a few cars in a mall parking lot it would cause an enormous panic here...especially if it happened about once a week.

Because most of the "scrubs" slipping in to Iraq (separate from the homegrown insurgency) are individual wannabe martyrs or small bands rather than well organized and funded groups. These guys can't get to Mexico with all the stuff they'd need to mount a terrorism campaign, even a small one (in the same way that, say, the Montana Militia would have a hard time effectively setting up shop in Iraq). If Iraq were a functional state, these wannabes wouldn't even be able to get there.

I think OBL didn't get the support from other international terrorist groups that he was banking on to follow on the heels of 9/11. I also agree with Mike_W that he probably didn't count on how effective our "purge" in Afghanistan would be. I think the power of our conventional response was enough to discourage a lot of his would be "allies" from taking another whack at the hornets' nest without having to resort to the threat of nukes.

Edited to add:

quote:
I still think that it's more LIKELY that Bush has purposefully kept the threat vague and let his opponents use their imaginations. Did some out in the middle east imagine nukes on holy sites? I'd be surprised if no one did!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm not going to argue that the U.S. doesn't implicitly threaten nuclear retaliation against folks who step over certain lines -- I think we do, and I'm fine with that. I just don't agree that this bluff is as effective as stated in the article. That is, there are so many problems for the U.S. in nuking Mecca that an educated or worldly person would call the bluff. The uneducated scrubs (who seem to be blowing themselves up or rushing to die on our bayonets) seem to me to be so nihilistic that I don't see how the threat sways them either.

[ January 08, 2005, 12:07 PM: Message edited by: A. Alzabo ]

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carmachu
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quote:
The uneducated scrubs (who seem to be blowing themselves up or rushing to die on our bayonets) seem to me to be so nihilistic that I don't see how the threat sways them either [/QB]
But they are swayed to do things by the 72 virgins they recieve in paradise, no?


carmachu

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The Drake
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I can't imagine why we'd go nuclear. You could achieve an equally destructive force with conventional weapons, which would not blow a plume of radioactive material into the stratosphere. It would be nice if our nuclear trump card meant we'd never be attacked again, but I don't think so. The nuclear arsenal can be used to deter massive attacks, or an invasion of US soil by conventional forces, but it is not credible to use it against small threats. Otherwise, we could say that the next roadside bomb in Iraq will be THEIR LAST!!! Baghdad is in the nuclear crosshairs - don't you forget it! And thus ends the insurgency.

(edited for geography)

[ January 08, 2005, 02:56 PM: Message edited by: The Drake ]

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
But they are swayed to do things by the 72 virgins they recieve in paradise, no?


Some of these western fantasies about muslim extremists goes beyond silliness. In general we know next to nothing about Bin Laden, and yet many people seem to have no problem being sure of his motivatsion. Bush is convinced its because they hate freedom, and tells us so every day. Is a little critical thinking too much to ask from our leaders? Our response to 9-11 was entirely predictable, and its a dangerous fantasy to think that OBL expected us to "roll over" and seek some kind of peace treaty. We have been deploying troops around the world nearly constantly for 50 years with far less provocation. Any one with the necessary intellegence to organize a massive terrorist strike would see the obvious eventuality of U.S. troops on mid-east soil. Any further thought would show that our realist foreign policy framers would have trouble adapting to AQ's non-state status, and that our response would be somewhere between a truly effective AQ purge and a traditional state vs. state invasion. The rational conclusion, the one that does not dismiss OBL as a fool, is that he wanted to provoke the kind of response that we have made. If we explore this premise, there are many good reasons to support this. The kind of polarizinfg world struggle that OBL always professes to want is growing more likely every day. Our actions in Iraq have lost us the world's perception of moral superiority and much support from our allies. Terrorism is never intended to defeat , but to destabalize, and we must expect professional terrorists to understand the difference. AQ are acting on a world stage, and the world has become a much more unstable place since 9-11.

The reason this proposal strikes me as so naive (silly, ridiculous, utter nonsense), is that it focuses on the fact that AQ are muslims, ignoring the fact that THEY ARE TERRORISTS. As muslims, they probably would not want to see mecca vaporized. As terrorists, it plays right into their most obvious strategy (insofar as we can speak of them having one) of destabalizing to world stage and galvanizing opposition to us. For pete's sake, they have hated Saudi Arabia since before they hated us. Nuking their oldest enemy and toppling a government that OBL has himself vowed to topple is a deterrent? Not in the real world, but then, apparently "reality" isn't a big factor in the making of W's policies. Lets hope no one reads him this article.
Adam

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TomDavidson
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quote:

And Tom, I will assume you are calling me an idiot since I propossed just this sort of strategy immediately after 9-11. If I recall correctly, you were in the camp calling for negotiation and accomadation of the Taliban.

Heck, I'll do you one better. If you're still advocating nuking Mecca, you're not only an idiot but a spineless, murderous, idiot.

And no, you recall incorrectly; I called for neither negotiation nor accomodation, but rather suggested that we would do better to police our own borders and completely ignore the Taliban, as rewarding minor attacks like 9/11 with the negative consequences of our full military attention would only encourage further terrorism in the long run.

I also said, if you recall, that Bush was almost certainly going to use the invasion of Afghanistan as a pretext for the invasion of Iraq. And you called that ridiculous. [Smile]

So far, I'm batting 100%. You, however, aren't doing so well.

------

"So now unoffical word is that if OBL tries another event, his holy oh holy site will be in nuclear ruin:"

What I love about you, carmachu, is the enormous respect you show towards other faiths.

It's always great to hear somebody mocking what is quite possibly the single most revered spot on the face of the Earth -- perhaps rivaled only by the Temple Mount -- with a line like "holy on holy."

Let me make this clear to you: to millions of people, Mecca is indeed "holy on holy." This isn't funny. That's not a joke. It's not quaint. It is completely, deadly, and absolutely serious.

To nuke Mecca would not only kill hundreds of thousands of completely innocent people, but would also be a declaration of not merely war but complete and total disregard for the Muslim faith. As a former Muslim myself, I cannot begin to describe to you how offensive and unthinkable this would be; I cannot imagine any response but one of worldwide horror and outrage, except among the drooling neanderthals in this country who are only capable of mustering up respect for faith and human life when it's their own.

The suggestion, to put it in a context that perhaps some of those neanderthals might understand, is akin to threatening to put the Mona Lisa through a wood chipper if the staff of the Louvre went on strike.

[ January 08, 2005, 09:05 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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JLMyers
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Ha, excellent Tom.

KE

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Paladine
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JL-

"Ha, excellent Tom"?

He just called someone a murderous, spineless idiot. Shouldn't you be calling him a child, a fool, and making inane comments about bending him over your knee? Quoting forum rules and "polite discussion"? Or is namecalling "excellent" coming from people who happen to agree with you and "childish" from those who don't? Just curious.

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Paladine
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quote:
And no, you recall incorrectly; I called for neither negotiation nor accomodation, but rather suggested that we would do better to police our own borders and completely ignore the Taliban, as rewarding minor attacks like 9/11 with the negative consequences of our full military attention would only encourage further terrorism in the long run.
Minor attacks like 9/11? Was that a typo, or is it a full moon out tonight?
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Danzig
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Well, in the context of nuking an entire city...
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carmachu
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quote:
Originally posted by Danzig:
Well, in the context of nuking an entire city...

So conversely, I can advocate, hypothetically, killing off your's or Tom's family because in the context of a "minor" event like 9/11....?


carmachu

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TomDavidson
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9/11 was, quite frankly, a minor event. It did not shake our country to its foundations; it did not sap our will nor our resources, nor kill statistically relevant numbers of people. (Note: this is one of the problems with WarsawPact's other thread, about zero-sum sympathy; by any reasonable measure, 9/11 was a blip on our nation's radar.) At best, it scared us because we let it scare us; insofar as 9/11 was relevant at all to the people who were not directly affected by it, it was relevant because they permitted themselves to be manipulated by terrorists.

"He just called someone a murderous, spineless idiot."

Yes. And I did so because they proposed, in all seriousness, threatening the deaths of thousands of innocent people and the destruction of the holiest site on the entire planet in order to checkmate a single small terrorist organization whose single greatest desire would be to unite world opinion against us.

There has to be some point at which we say, without any satire or sarcasm or equivocation in our voice, "No. That's completely outrageous. It's completely evil. And I will not pretend otherwise." I will not pretend that nuking Mecca would be anything but an act of drooling insanity, and will not disguise my disappointment in anyone who'd suggest it.

I recognize, for example, that your brief crack about murdering my family was merely a tasteless hypothetical. However, had it been a serious suggestion -- had it been something like, "Hey, let's kill Tom's family so he knows what it feels like," or whatever -- I feel reasonably confident that, yes, I would be justified in calling you an evil maniac. I'm not sure why advocating the cold-blooded murder of thousands of families is any less depraved.

[ January 09, 2005, 10:49 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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DonaldD
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I was originally going to take Tom to task for the "spineles murderous idiot" crack as well, but there comes a point when you just can't separate the belief from the person. If someone truly believes and promotes what you believe to be a patently stupid and murderous position, calling the argument as opposed to the person murderous is certainly no more polite. If you’re going to use the big guns, you might as well do so honestly.

However, I don't think that Red's position is spineless; just incredibly wrongheaded, counterproductive and immoral.

If anyone wants to read more about Red’s Muslim war philosophy, you can start reading here. I should warn you, it's a bit of a slog.

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carmachu
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
[QB] 9/11 was, quite frankly, a minor event.

Only in your poor deluded world Tom. Not to the folks who's lives it touched, one way or the other.

But hey, if ill luck strikes you and yours, dont look for sympathy.....


carmachu

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TomDavidson
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"Not to the folks who's lives it touched, one way or the other."

Ah. Here's the rub, innit?
Because I had a friend in New York, who worked at the WTC, whom I feared dead for nearly three days. He didn't die, though, so clearly I wasn't "touched" enough, right?

The same year, I also lost my favorite aunt to a brain tumor. It was really, really depressing. Clearly the fact that you didn't even send a card means that you lack a sense of perspective.

*rolls eyes*

Again, I'm sure a few thousand people were touched by 9/11. That's awfully sad, and I feel for them. But if we're going to play this game, a whole order of magnitude more people were touched by drunk driving, and yet alcohol is still legal. I am appalled at your shocking lack of empathy for the victims of alcohol abuse, carmachu.

(Note: no, not really. But we don't have a sarcasm tag.)

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carmachu
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quote:


Again, I'm sure a few thousand people were touched by 9/11. That's awfully sad, and I feel for them. But if we're going to play this game, a whole order of magnitude more people were touched by drunk driving, and yet alcohol is still legal. I am appalled at your shocking lack of empathy for the victims of alcohol abuse, carmachu.
[/QB]

Well Tom, YOUR the one that is standing around the forum calling folks who MIGHT have dropped the hint that anotehr attack might result in nuclear bomb on Mecca evil mass murderers, and in teh same breath calling 3000 dead a minor event.

But hey, dont let facts get in your way now.


carmachu

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carmachu
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quote:
Originally posted by carmachu:
quote:


Again, I'm sure a few thousand people were touched by 9/11. That's awfully sad, and I feel for them. But if we're going to play this game, a whole order of magnitude more people were touched by drunk driving, and yet alcohol is still legal. I am appalled at your shocking lack of empathy for the victims of alcohol abuse, carmachu.

Well Tom, YOU'RE the one that is standing around the forum calling folks who MIGHT have dropped the hint that anotehr attack might result in nuclear bomb on Mecca evil mass murderers, and in teh same breath calling 3000 dead a minor event.

But hey, dont let facts get in your way now.


carmachu [/QB]


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TomDavidson
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Did you just quote your own post? It wasn't that insightful. [Smile]

I should point out that five buildings and 3000 innocent dead is, by any truly objective standard, a pretty minor event in war. It'd be a sizable event in the history of terrorism, but we made it clear pretty early on that we were going to make this a military conflict instead of a police response. And certainly, considered across all the human tragedies out there, 3000 dead isn't much more than a blip.

What makes it significant to us is that it was 3000 innocents killed on purpose to send us a message. And we decided to go ahead and listen to that message, thus fulfilling its agenda.

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Redskullvw
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Tom,
QUOTE

Heck, I'll do you one better. If you're still advocating nuking Mecca, you're not only an idiot but a spineless, murderous, idiot.

And no, you recall incorrectly; I called for neither negotiation nor accomodation, but rather suggested that we would do better to police our own borders and completely ignore the Taliban, as rewarding minor attacks like 9/11 with the negative consequences of our full military attention would only encourage further terrorism in the long run.

Ialso said, if you recall, that Bush was almost certainly going to use the invasion of Afghanistan as a pretext for the invasion of Iraq. And you called that ridiculous.

So far, I'm batting 100%. You, however, aren't doing so well.
QUOTE

Let us be clear on what my advocacy was in September, 2001 and remains to this date consistent. I advocate a public or private diplomatic stand which lets the radical islamic extremists know that further mass attacks such as the September 11 attacks could and would result in the jeopardy of islam’s most holy sites. Such a policy accomplishes two things.

1. The radical islamic extremists would understand that anything other than a pin prick against the United States of America would result in the elimination of Mecca and/or Medina. Knowing this, these groups will be less likely to attempt to conduct large scale conventional attacks or WMD based attacks. Also, they would run the potential risk of having to take responsibility for actions which ultimately result in the destruction of the islamic holy sites. Knowing that an exchange of losses that involved Mecca and/or Medina would place them at odds with the greater islamic culture and could never be seen as equal to the greater Islamic culture, the radical islamic extremists cannot risk the potential alienation that would befall them.

2. Moderate islamic clerics and politicians put on notice about our potential reaction against Mecca and/or Medina would be encouraged to remove both public and private support for radical islamic groups. Since this would pit the majority of the islamic world against the radical islamic extremists, and since this majority would now be acting in our interests because they would be attempting to protect the holy cities from retribution; radical islamic groups would see and feel the effects of the majority of the islamic world acting against the terrorists.

As to the stances you took regarding United States foreign policy in late 2000/2001, the policies you advocated called for diplomatic responses. In the cases of the USS Cole bombing and the missile strikes made by President Clinton in Sudan and Afghanistan, you advocated no response at all. You viewed both events as provocations and any response would simply escalate the aggressiveness of the radical islamic extremists. Even in the case of the attacks on our African embassies, you counseled no attack against the United States of America would ever be excessive enough to warrant an act of aggression by the United States.

In fact, in the run up to the September 11 attacks, you dismissed such attempts as the Y2K hijack plot as evidence that our enemies had no real threat capability and that criminal prosecution of suspects was the most effective response. You did not advocate control of ports of entry. You opposed any profiling, especially profiling targeted at identification of islamic terrorists. You did advocate diplomatic interchange with islamic governments to enable them to publicly air their complaints against the United States. Even actions in Afghanistan, such as the destruction of UN World Heritage sites by the Taliban was seen as being a national government’s regrettable prerogative as far as you were concerned.

At all times you emphasized that the American public was ignorant about islam, and unqualified to either perceive or understand the islamic world view. You strenuously attacked any attempt by any member of Ornery to point out that significant clusters of islamic society are hostile to the Western Cultures, and the United States in particular. You were in fact, an apologist for the actions of the islamic radical terrorists. Your ultimate rebuttal to any argument which pointed out specific groups and actions taken by radical islamic terrorists was that they were completely justified because we as a nation were the cause of such attacks.

The American government followed your policy in response to any attacks made by the radical islamic world. We followed a policy of diplomatic engagement in the Palestinian issue. We got an intifada as a result. We pursued Al Queda cells as criminals, instead of treating them as military forces. We got Khobar bombings as a result. We did not respond with military force following Al Queda’s attack on the African embassies. We did not even respond to the USS Cole attack. We followed diplomatic engagement with Iraq. We got the Oil for Food scandal. We as a government, followed your policy goals and were told by you and those who shared your views, that if we did so the terrorist activities would wither of their own accord because the terrorists would appreciate our willingness to accommodate and understand the demands of radical islam.

We got 9-11. You, and those who shared your pre 9-11 views were 100% wrong.

Even after the fact you declared that we as a nation should take the blame for the events that lead up to 9-11. You are correct, we should blame ourselves for how we responded to Al Queda’s declaration of war against us in 1998. You are correct that we should take the blame for the 9-11 attack because we as a nation followed a policy of weakness and ineffectiveness. You stated we could not attack another nation since it was not technically the Taliban that was responsible for the attack. You offered apologies for the demonstrated ties and coexistent relationship shared by the Taliban and Al Queda. You stated that if we attacked Afghanistan, the islamic world would attack us. You neglected to realize that the islamic world already had attacked us. Instead of encouraging further attacks against our nation, it would seem to be a fact that no further attacks have happened against us on our own soil as a result of our new international policy.

You claimed Afghanistan would be a quagmire of Vietnam proportions. You took a policy view that any victories in local battles would ultimately be undone by jihadists and Al Queda allied forces. You stated that civil war would be the unfortunate result of our aggression in Afghanistan. And you were quite sure, Afghanistan would never be anything more than a puppet government. You insisted that United States forces could never win without massive support and moral authority of the UN. And you were quite insistent that the world community, especially NATO would never condone our attack or act to assist us. You were 100% wrong.

Even after Afghanistan had fallen, you insisted that we were not in fact at war with any identifiable force. You strongly resisted anyone’s attempt to demonstrate that radical islam was a force of international scope. You continued to be the apologist for radical islam’s excesses. Those who used specific fact and incident as evidence of the poison that radical islam is in reality, would be informed by you that since they were not islamic they were morally incapable of judging the specific facts and incidents. You continually brought up the fact that the only outcome of our attack in Afghanistan would be a mass racism against our own Islamic citizens. You accused those you argued with of being incapable of making an intellectual distinction between main stream Islam, and the radical islamic groups and terrorists. We apparently were not granted the intellectual capacity you were granted. Ironically, you yourself could not recognize that there is a difference between radical islamic groups that have declared war upon the United States and mainstream Islam. It is this lack of personal perception that prevented you from understanding that people could be hostile to the radical islamic terrorists, yet not be racist.

Following the successful elimination of the Taliban in Afghanistan, you continued to take a stand against any United States action that was not based on United Nations diplomatic exchange or simple criminal prosecution. You continued to maintain that United States foreign policy would result in a unity of the islamic world militarily against us. You claimed that by using military threat or pressure would result only in multiple combat zones which we would be incapable of handling. You continued to maintain that the intifada against Israel was a regrettable outgrowth of a United States foreign policy which failed to fully commiserate with the islamic nations. You pointed out that our helping the Filipino government against the islamic terrorists would simply fail, and enflame radicals across South East Asia. You were wrong, after suffering multiple military defeats, the Filipino government concluded a peace treaty and secured full control for the first time in decades. And when the Axis of Evil speech fell on your ears, you declared that such pronouncements would result in islamic fanaticism against the United States. I wonder what you thought about the Iranian marches against the extremist elements in the Iranian government?

You did indeed state that Bush would use Afghanistan as an excuse to invade Iraq. You assume a cause and effect relationship. Bush attacked the poor innocent islamic Taliban, and now wants to wet his sword on innocent Iraq. That was not the cause and effect. You were still consistent with the pre 9-11 view that diplomacy and criminal pursuit of terrorists was the only means permissible to United States responses against islamic aggression. You failed to understand the new and effective foreign policy of the United States. The United States will act with force to protect its interests; will not permit nations to offer aid and support to terrorist groups; and will not tolerate acts of aggression committed against us while enforcing United Nations’ mandates. Saddam’s government was routinely attacking United States forces. Saddam was in breach of the United Nations Armistice. Saddam was starving his people intentionally. Saddam was publicly providing aid to groups involved in the intifada. For these reasons, not because Bush demanded more islamic blood, was Saddam found in breach of our new foreign policy.

I was fully supportive of our intent to invade Iraq. I saw full justification for such an act even if WMD was not found. My chief justification was the simple fact that Saddam had historically provided aid to islamic terrorist groups, and had waged war against his neighbors. Since I viewed this as an ultimate threat to Israel, and also a likely threat to the United States due to state sponsored islamic terrorists, I had no problem with engaging Saddam with the intent of removal and installation of a democratic government such as that planned for Afghanistan. I did disagree with the time table of initiating engagement. I agreed with others on Ornery that finishing Afghanistan first would be a better policy. But you maintained the policy that no threat or breach of United Nations agreements could justify our reengagement. I wonder if you have considered that the United Nations, which is key to your diplomatic policy, will ever be effective if you do not permit the enforcement of its agreements between itself and member nations? Especially if the member nation is still at war with the United Nations and is actively trying to usurp and avoid any United Nations oversight. Again, you maintained that if we invaded, the islamic world would unite against the United States and result in a massive regional war. You were wrong.

You were also wrong when you maintained that oil was the only reason why we invaded. You maintained that our selfish needs for oil, and our racist attitude against islam were the true reason why we were so intent. When WMD was ultimately not found, you re-affirmed your view that oil and racism was the cause of our actions. In fact, your policy has proven to be misguided since I became a member of Ornery. Your assumption of racist motivations against islam, your insistence that we deserve the consequences of racism against islam, and your denial that we are at war with any definable enemy all fly in the face of what has happened in reality.

There has been no national reaction of racism, either by the majority of our citizens nor the islamic minority. We have somehow invaded two islamic countries without finding ourselves the victim of a coalition of islamic governments united against us. Instead we have caused the initiation of democratic government in two nations. We have gotten India and Pakistan to the negotiating table. Libya has renounced its nuclear program. Sudan has signed a cease fire ending 20 years of genocide. The Palestinians are voting instead of shooting. Al Queda is continually being damaged. Iran has abandoned its nuclear program. North Korea’s main ally is forcing it into six way talks aimed at eliminating its nuclear arms. Yemen has removed Al Queda bases from its borders. And that is only the bare surface of what we have accomplished by not following the policy you advocated. The world of islam, and its leadership are now engaging diplomatically and actively combating terrorism with the United States. We no longer have official government statements condemning the United States and calling for our downfall.
So while you may equate a policy of MAD against Mecca and/or Median as tantamount to putting a painting through a wood chipper, you might want to consider something. You may be wrong and the neanderthals and idiots you debate with here may be right. While no one is calling for a first strike attack with a nuclear weapon, you seem to equate the concept of MAD as having to mean exactly that. You may continue to maintain your policy view that the United States should utilize United Nations sanctioned diplomacy and criminal prosecution of islamic terrorists. It is indeed your right. But I encourage you to reexamine the historical outcome that has taken place by following your policy. It is a demonstrated failure when judged by the results it achieved leading up to 9-11. It is impossible to judge your policy with what has happened post 9-11, since America has not followed your policy. However please review the successes that have resulted from following this new policy that you disagree with.

If you can put aside your apologetics for radical islam, and consider the opposing view held by some Ornery members, you might realize that the facts regarding the results of this new policy, make your policy appear to be a Neanderthalithic idiocy that belongs to a time that predates the 9-11 attacks, and that this new policy is not inherently racist against islam. Results speak for themselves. Your policy has proven to be a failure. And while the possible threat of a MAD response is merely a conjectured component of the new policy, it has proven thus far to be a success. We have not been attacked again, two dictatorships have been removed, radical islamic terrorism is being dismantled, and finally the islamic world has not united in a reaction to a racist American foreign policy.

So to repeat:

Your policy stands have proven false when judged by results.

The current American policy has been proven correct when judged by results.

I am proud to be a spineless, murderous, idiot who ascribes to the latter policy because it has resulted in a measurable improvement to the human condition, unlike the former policy stand.

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carmachu
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Did you just quote your own post? It wasn't that insightful. [Smile]

I should point out that five buildings and 3000 innocent dead is, by any truly objective standard, a pretty minor event in war. It'd be a sizable event in the history of terrorism, but we made it clear pretty early on that we were going to make this a military conflict instead of a police response. And certainly, considered across all the human tragedies out there, 3000 dead isn't much more than a blip.

What makes it significant to us is that it was 3000 innocents killed on purpose to send us a message. And we decided to go ahead and listen to that message, thus fulfilling its agenda.

For want of a nail, the battle was lost.....


For all the 150K dead in the Tsunami, it will in the end, be a minor footnote in history.

9/11 on the other hand, despite the smaller scale dead and property lost, was a catalyst to a much larger movement. Much like Pearl harbor, with out it, Afganastan would not have been invaded, Iraq would have been invaded, tougher security measures, and a host of other things.

So when you stand around and say minor, you couldnt be farther from teh truth....


carmachu

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Redskullvw
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Donald,

you might want to include the disclaimer that in the terms of debate on that thread, the issue i presented was a result vs permisable result argument. If you really wanted to end islamic terrorism and you have a means that would permit that result, a merely logical political leader would follow through on that abillity to get the result. However the thread was also about what is pragmatic and humane to result in ending of terror.

You might note I choose the pragmatic an humane over the option of simple destruction of the islamic world.

And Tom, I do take offense at what you wrote because you completely mischaracterized my view, even though we have discussed it to the point of mutal understanding in the past. I advocate threat, yet recognize that using a nuke would require extraordinary events. I have also called for a recognition of the changed geoploitical situation which forces the United States to confront radical islam with force, but also requires democratic freedom, economic aid, and cultural respect.

Hardly a murderous, idiotic, or spineless stance.

And in terms of this thread, a MAD senario was being offered up as a plausible/possible explanation for why the United States has suffered no further attack. Everyone was discussing the theoretical, not what they actually advocated. You assumed something altogether different which resulted in first a generic insult to any member who considered a MAD event, and then became a personally directed insult against me.

I request a formal retraction by you.

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TomDavidson
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"Even in the case of the attacks on our African embassies, you counseled no attack against the United States of America would ever be excessive enough to warrant an act of aggression by the United States."

Nope.

"Even actions in Afghanistan, such as the destruction of UN World Heritage sites by the Taliban was seen as being a national government’s regrettable prerogative as far as you were concerned."

Again, nope.

"Your ultimate rebuttal to any argument which pointed out specific groups and actions taken by radical islamic terrorists was that they were completely justified because we as a nation were the cause of such attacks."

Nope. In fact, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a case in this history of this forum in which I have ever called any act of violence justified.

"You stated that if we attacked Afghanistan, the islamic world would attack us."

Nope. I specifically stated that if we attacked Afghanistan, terrorist recruitment would dramatically escalate. There's a major distinction.

------

Actually, as I work my way through your post, I find myself rebutting point by point and claim by claim most of the assertions you make, either because they're clearly inaccurate -- like the first three I quoted here -- or distortions of my actual statements, like the fourth.

This makes it difficult for me to write a reply that is more concise and effective than your rambling post, since I would have to quote the majority of it followed by one-line rebuttals of your mischaracterizations and/or flawed recollections.

Rather than doing that, then, let me just issue a blanket denial of most of your claims. There are a handful -- I count five off-hand -- which aren't outright errors, but again it seems like a waste of time to go through, point by point, to identify the ones that aren't calumny. [Smile]

------

That said, let me reply specifically to two quotes that I found particularly interesting.

You argue that I said Afghanistan would turn into a quagmire, and that it would devolve into a fruitless civil war. Of all your statements, this is the only one that is unequivocally accurate. It is also one that I find baffling, since Afghanistan is a quagmire that has devolved into civil war.

You also argue that I said the Islamic world would rise up against us if we invaded Iraq. While this isn't entirely accurate, it IS true that I certainly expected and predicted a more hostile response from the other countries in the region, and I was in fact very pleased to see that the State Department was able to secure those countries through a variety of measures -- including basic bribes -- even if it did not manage to win the hearts of their populations. I'm very glad to be wrong about that detail.

Before we go on with this conversation, though, I've got to bring up a quote like this:

quote:

You continued to maintain that the intifada against Israel was a regrettable outgrowth of a United States foreign policy which failed to fully commiserate with the islamic nations. You pointed out that our helping the Filipino government against the islamic terrorists would simply fail, and enflame radicals across South East Asia.

This is so bafflingly wrong in every particular that I find myself wondering whether you aren't recalling conversations with other people who also opposed our Mideast policy. Are you sure you're correctly remembering our conversations, Greg?

-------

"9/11 on the other hand, despite the smaller scale dead and property lost, was a catalyst to a much larger movement."

So you are saying that the importance of any event is measured by the response to that event, and not the event itself? While this is a perfectly salient point, it makes the argument that the 9/11 attacks would in fact have been far less important if we had not launched a war in the Middle East in response.

[ January 09, 2005, 01:53 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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TomDavidson
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"I request a formal retraction by you."

If indeed you agree that we should not, as a country, countenance any nuclear threat against the city of Mecca, I'd be happy to concede that I mistook the meaning of your posts on that topic. If, however, you actually believe that threatening Mecca with destruction is a sensible way to respond to terrorism -- one that confronts radical Islam with, as you said, "democratic freedom, economic aid, and cultural respect" -- then I'm afraid no retraction is possible.

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Redskullvw
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Also Tom here is a theoretical for you.

One day New York city evaporates in a surface delived nuclear blast which destroys the city and all the outlying boroughs. Washinton DC is untouched. Al Quead claims responsibily. Al Queada publishes the identities of the people responsible. They happen to all be Saudi's. They happen to work for a Saudi shipping company. The company happens to be based in Mecca. The company is partly owned by Saudi royals. The company happens to fund Wahhabbist Clerics and their activities.

We independently confirm that the facts are as presented above. Although the Global community is outraged, fear of nuclear attack prevents them from taking up a collective defence for the United States. Al Queda informs the United States there will be a second nuclear strike if we do not surrender to their demands.

You already have 12 million people dead, and face the probability of losing even more if you do not surrender.

Do you:

A: Surrender.

B: Appeal to international organizations to mediate on our behalf?

c. Withdraw all forces, seal the borders and place the offical international policy of the country to be no forces deployed beyond our contenetal waters.

D. wait for the second device to inflict damage.

E. Appeal to the Saudis to diplomaticly solve our problem?

F. Declare war on the Saudis and demand their surrender immediately and occupy it with conventional forces that target Al Queada and its supporters in the kingdom?

G. Take the terrorists at face value and remove Mecca and Medina before another US city is vaporized?

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Redskullvw
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Regardless of your personal view of what I do, or do not hold to be viable policy.

You have no right to personaly and publicly declare me to be anything other than a respected adversary.

I demand the retraction on principle, and in light of the fact I did nothing to provoke your initial declaration that people contemplating the MAD senario are idiots as a general group. And I certainly did not deserve your personally targeted insult either.

Maybe if you answer my hypothetical, we might see exactly what merit your personal policy views have, but even if i do disagree with them, I would not personally and intentionally insult you.

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Redskullvw
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And as for your rebuttal of my statements concerning your policy views regarding islamic terrorism, I fully stand behind them and will leave it to those interested in determining who is correct to go back and research your arguments.

Your rebutal, though clever, is without context and ignores your previous work concerning this issue.

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TomDavidson
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In answer to your question: lacking other information, I'd go with "F." A nuclear strike on any city, regardless of its "holiness," would seem premature in the situation you describe.

"And I certainly did not deserve your personally targeted insult either."

This remains to be seen. If you do indeed believe that the threat of nuking Mecca is a valid and sensible strategy as part of the policy you outlined above, I'm afraid that you hold an idiotic, murderous opinion. It is, in fact, by definition murderous; its idiocy is of course my opinion, although I believe it self-evidently contradicts the other pillars of "respect" and so forth that you laid out as part of a decent Middle East policy.

"Your rebutal, though clever, is without context and ignores your previous work concerning this issue."

I'm not at all sure what you mean by this. Surely I am uniquely qualified to provide context for -- and verification of -- my own statements? When I say you misrepresented me, it is because you did, in fact, misrepresent me. As you point out, it is possible to check many of the historical posts on this forum to verify these and other claims; I am perfectly content to refer to those as necessary.

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JLMyers
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Although I was referring to Tom's Mona Lisa comparison, I do agree with his post and think it was excellent. His calling Red anything is between he and Red. Although you might notice he had a point, not simply; you don't agree with me? You must me crazy! See the difference? No? I didn't think you would.

KE

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
This remains to be seen. If you do indeed believe that the threat of nuking Mecca is a valid and sensible strategy as part of the policy you outlined above, I'm afraid that you hold an idiotic, murderous opinion. It is, in fact, by definition murderous; its idiocy is of course my opinion, although I believe it self-evidently contradicts the other pillars of "respect" and so forth that you laid out as part of a decent Middle East policy.

Well, I don't want to get into any name calling here.

I'd just like to recap the point I was trying to make.

Nuking a holy site in nation X, an ally and source of most of our imported energy, in retaliation for the actions of group Y, an enemy of that ally seems to me to be self-evidently ridiculous. So ridiculous, in fact, that it isn't even a useful bluff since the blowback would appear at even cursory examination to be so much worse for the U.S. than for group Y. A sort of corollary to this is: If nuking Mecca would somehow cause the end of militant Islamism -- since they'd have nothing left to fight for -- we should clearly do it right now, rather that waiting for more terrorist groups to "test the limits".

I don't think OBL and his ilk would suddenly fold if we destroyed Mecca. I do think we'd lose any and all support from the world community -- the gloves would be off and a lots of nations that aren't now would then tacitly or materially support our downfall. Imagine if Great Britain had threatened to nuke Vatican City and/or assissinate the Pope in response to the support that many Catholics in the U.S. gave to IRA terrorists. What do you think would have happened if they had carried through with such a plan out of exasperation?

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FiredrakeRAGE
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TomDavidson -

The other thing about 9/11 that was major was the insurance payouts. The moment large insurance companies start to go bankrupt, the dollar collapses. That scenario was probably closer than most realize.

--Firedrake

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Paladine
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Tom-

Supporting the threat of nuclear force on Mecca, whether it be a "correct" position or not in your view, certainly is not the definition of a murderous opinion. The threat of force (as opposed to the actual use thereof) is absolutely not murderous. Hopefully you'll see the distinction and retract that statement?

As for 9/11 being "minor", that's a ridiculous statment on its face. It's like calling the Holocaust a "minor" incident because Stalin and Mao killed so many more people than Hitler, and there were plenty of people unkilled in Europe. In terms of the number of people killed, 9/11 was relatively small. As a percentage of the US population, it was likewise small.

Compared to other attacks on the United States from terrorist organizations, however, it was massive. The psychological, economic, historical, and political impact it had on this country (and by extension the rest of the world) were absolutely tremendous. To call it a "minor attack" flies in the face of reality.

The idea that the slaughter of thousands of innocent Americans doesn't merit some kind of military response by the American government (assuming I understand your position correctly, that is. I wasn't around for your initial posts on this, please correct me if I misrepresent or oversimplify, as I intend to do neither.) against the government that supported the 9/11 killers seems likewise ridiculous. One of the main purposes of our government, in fact *the* main purpose, is to protect us from those who would visit harm upon us.

This can and must be done by actively thwarting attacks, bringing down massive retaliation upon those who attack us, and threatening those who would do us harm with the prospect of massive retaliation. Securing the homeland was very important in the wake of 9/11, but it wasn't the only priority.

[ January 09, 2005, 08:19 PM: Message edited by: Paladine ]

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Redskullvw
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Tom,

I find it puzzling that in the first three points you attempt to state as not being your view, you rebut them with the statement that one would be hard pressed to find a single instance of your posting on this forum that you ever called any act violence justified. While I am certain you are correct about this, I am trying to accurately represent this fact of your personal policy by pointing out instances where you found state sanctioned violence as being unjustifiable.

In the first, you see no justification for any aggressive response by the United States to the African embassies being bombed, and also that in your view no justification for an aggressive response by the United States could ever be justified.

In the second quote you pulled, you were against any aggressive act against the Taliban to prevent the destruction of the colossal Buddahs, because again you could see no justification for use of force by the United States.

In the third quote you have a subtle point in that the aggression of the terrorists is as unjustifiable as any response we might resort to that would involve aggression. It is splitting hairs for you to take exception to my statements regarding what you have presented over the years as your views as being inaccurate in toto because I neglected to treat the initial act of the terrorists as unjustifiable because it was violence. However you have stated repeatedly that we are ultimately responsible for the violence visited upon us due to our own ignorance and stupidity concerning how we treat the islamic world.

In all three quotes you rebutted with “Nope”, I was indicating your stance correctly concerning violence and its never being justified. So knowing this, is it now your claim that these instances where you claimed justification was lacking for implementing violence were the opposite? You have never advocated violence, by your own admission in any policy on this forum. And I believe I represented your nonviolent stand accurately.

Since I have reflected your non violent stand, and since you reiterated that stand in your response, then your rebuttal of the first three points you take exception to fails.

In the fourth point you attempt to rebut, you attempt to dismiss it by how you personally define the islamic world. The distinction you try to point out as an invalidating agent to my representation of your view is white wash. You did indeed claim terrorist recruitment would increase, and you also declared the islamic world in general would likely view us as hostile as well.

What you are attempting to avoid is the fact that instead of escalating and swelling the ranks of Al Queda and the Taliban, the exact opposite has occurred. I will grant your quibble over whether you were speaking of islam in general or terrorist groups in general. However, your contention that terrorist forces would dramatically escalate has proven to be false. I was pointing out an error in your assumption regarding the new policy of the United States. Your paradigm predicted an increase in terrorist recruitment and activity. That has proven to be false, making your view to be an error.

You are unable to issue a blanket denial because in the first four points you attempted to rebut, I have demonstrated that I accurately represented your view, and historical events so far have shown your view to be in error.

You did expect a more significant degree of hostility by islamic nations in response to both Afghanistan and Iraq. My point in bringing the issue up, is that under your paradigm and views, you expected the result of the new United States policy to be hostile response from region. A view which turned out to be false as demonstrated by historical events so far and reveals your views and the paradigm those views represent to be in error.

Your exception to the next point is baffling to me as well. You have indeed maintained that the intifada, and for that matter many radical islamic movements are an outgrowth of the policies of the United States over the past decades. And when the subject of the Filipino islamic group came up, you specifically presented the problem as it having been a direct result of America supporting Marcos as dictator, and ignoring the needs of the islamic minority. And if I remember correctly I was not involved in that thread at all concerning the Americans being held hostage by the Filipino rebels and the American military support that was being given to the Filipino government at that time.

The fact is that I agreed with your origination of the rebel islamic movement in that country and saw no reason to reply. My reason for pointing out your pattern of presenting our current problems with radical islam as being a result of ignorant policy was to again point out instances where what you predicted to be the result of the new American policy did not come to pass. You indicated that since our past actions had resulted in radical islam becoming hostile to us, we should avoid any aggressive actions against them because it inflames them and would not result in any success. The success of aggressive threat in the Philippines which resulted in the collapse of the islamic rebels was not predicted by your theory, and your theory would predict further failure if we acted with aggression. The opposite is the case, therefor making you again wrong.

You have a bit of a point with the intifada, because it was diplomatic aggression and by proxy Israeli military force which marginalized Arrafat and largely neutralized the intifada. But again, the elimination of much of the terrorist leadership by Israeli strikes resulted in a realization by the islamic world that true negotiation would be the only permitted means of struggle for palestinian independence. You maintained that dialogue with Arrafat and his appointees and a cessation of Israeli military strikes would be the only way anything would improve. Your view again turned out to be wrong in this case as well in light of the Israeli government assisting in the second instance of truly democratic elections taking place in an islamic country.

My whole purpose was to show how your view and your assumptions about how we should deal with the war and radical islam in particular has been almost completely wrong. For you to question the theories of other members of Ornery who have been much more accurate in their understandings of current American policy was foolish. Your track record of accuracy in determination of cause and effect regarding American policy disqualifies you from making any judgment regarding other members. Even if their theories are wrong, they are ultimately no worse than yours because historical events have already invalidated yours as being counterfactual. To take a further step and declare them idiots, reveals more about you, than it reveals about them.

And I am still requesting a formal retraction by you.

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TomDavidson
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"The threat of force (as opposed to the actual use thereof) is absolutely not murderous."

The problem is this: do we intend to follow through on the threat, or is it a bluff? If it's a high-stakes bluff, then indeed it is not murderous. If it is not, however, and we would actually keep our end of the bargain, then it is.

------
*sigh* Greg, don't make me rebut your rebuttals of my blanket rebuttal. That completely defeats the point of being succinct, which is one of the greatest virtues.

"In the first, you see no justification for any aggressive response by the United States to the African embassies being bombed..."

You attempt to extrapolate a position here from another position of mine. I have never, to my knowledge, discussed the bombing of embassies on this board; it's honestly a subject that I care very little about. In order for you to reach this conclusion, then, you must be assuming that I oppose retaliation of any kind because, as a pacifist, I am likely to oppose retaliation of any kind -- even if I haven't said that I oppose this specific sort of retaliation.

This would be like saying, with exactly as much accuracy, that I would object to police gunning down the man who killed my wife if he refused to come quietly. It may be accurate, but you have no way of knowing if my statement of general principles can be applied to this specific case, as we've never discussed it.

Let me expand this discussion to your second point.

"In the second quote you pulled, you were against any aggressive act against the Taliban to prevent the destruction of the colossal Buddahs, because again you could see no justification for use of force by the United States."

Here we see the flaw in your approach. I recall this conversation rather well -- and my objection was not that there was never any justification for the use of force by the United States, but rather that the use of force by the United States in this situation would create untenable precedents and/or troublesome expectations, especially regarding our position on the sovereignity of nations. Invading a country to protect a statue, I pointed out, would be a policy statement of questionable consistency.

And here we come to the important part:
"You have never advocated violence, by your own admission in any policy on this forum."

This is true. This is because, in situations where I believe violence may be justified, I remain silent. There are plenty of voices out there advocating violence; I see no need to be one of them. Consequently, if I have not spoken on an issue, it would not necessarily be accurate to automatically assume that I oppose a violent solution.

I am a pacifist, but I am also a pragmatist. While I arrange my personal life in such a way that it is possible for me to live a life of pacifism, I recognize that I do not have this level of control over our government and am thus willing to accept less ideal -- and idealistic -- solutions, if only because they are unwilling to take the steps necessary to make such a worldview practical.

"My point in bringing the issue up, is that under your paradigm and views, you expected the result of the new United States policy to be hostile response from region."

Well, yes and no. I certainly predicted the chaos in Afghanistan, the upswing in terrorist recruitment, and so on. However, I will freely -- and gladly -- admit to being wrong about the intervention of Arab governments. I did not realize at the time how much money Bush was willing to spend to secure their inaction.

Regarding Palestine and the Philippines, I'm not sure what to tell you. While it's certainly true that I believe that the Intifada has its roots in British colonialsm, and deeply regret the creation of Israel, I'm reasonably sure I've never attempted to make any excuses for the Palestinians or Palestinian terrorism as a consequence. And I have never, to my knowledge, discussed the Philippines with you. So I suspect, Greg, that you're recalling a conversation with someone else altogether.

-------

That said, I recognize your point: that in at least one particular, I have predicted something incorrectly. (Note, however, that I dispute the vast majority of your claims in this regard.)

However, even if it were true that I had been completely and consistently wrong, that would [i]not[/i\ mean that I would be any less justified in calling an evil, idiotic policy an evil, idiotic policy. The issue of bombing Mecca is not solely one of practicality -- although I maintain that it is both impractical and unlikely to achieve the end you predict here -- but also one of basic morality, and I don't think you're able to speak to my authority on that topic.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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There is a simple way to tell if torture is 'ok'. Torture is specifically cited in the bill of rights as 'not ok'. Therefore torture is ok if those perpetrating it are willing to deal with the consequences.

If it is important enough that you're willing to spend 15 years - life in prison, by all means, torture someone.

The largest question is 'what is cruel and unusual?' That is obviously harder to answer.

--Firedrake

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