• SDN Site Updates

    Hey everyone! The site will be down for approximately 2 hours on Thursday, August 5th for site updates.

R-Me-Doc

Now an X-R-Me-Doc
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2003
332
1
Status (Visible)
In general I find military folks to lean toward the conservative side of the spectrum. I'm curious as to other military members' thoughts on our current conflicts.

I see the War on Terror as akin to the War on Drugs, the War on Crime, or maybe even The Cold War. It won't end just because we remove the Taliban, capture Saddam Hussein, capture Bin Laden and his top 600 lieutenants, install a stable, democratic government in Iraq etc. It is a war that really can't ever be "won", like the War on Crime or the War on Drugs. We will never completely stop the flow of drugs into this country, and there will always be crime. This doesn't mean we shouldn't fight it, but it does dictate somewhat of a balancing act. IMHO, our goal should be to contain Crime/Drugs/Terrorism with a reasonably low cost and reasonably low loss of American life, rather than to try to eliminate any of them from the world completely. Like The Cold War, I think a policy of containment is more likely to serve us better in the long run than a policy of "trying to win." Like a successful amateur tennis player, we may be better off playing not to lose.

The Cold War turned into a battle of economics and ideology, rather than military conflict. This is the reason we won it. We had a superior economic system (capitalism) and superior ideology (freedom). We can win the "War on Terrorism" AKA the War against Islamic Fundamentalist Extremists in the same manner. I have faith that our economic system and ideology (freedom of religion, ideas, press etc) will eventually triumph. If we continue to try to "win" this war, I worry that we will bankrupt our economic engine and that the world will lose faith in the ideology of free, open societies.

Of course, I have no idea what the best exit strategy out of Iraq might be. Thoughts?

Sorry, I lean toward the Blue end of the spectrum . . . .

Just like the "wars" on drugs, poverty, cancer, AIDS, and the "Evil Empire," we started out on the war on terror with a lot of bravado and optimism, only to find that in reality it is going to be a long, hard, costly road and 50 years down the road we still won't be declaring victory. Does that mean we shouldn't be "fighting" all these "wars"? No, but it does mean:

1) You shouldn't confuse the "War on Terror" with the war in Iraq. Absolutely unconnected, total foreign policy disaster by an administration that had an agenda but no clue. Honestly, I have no idea how we can or will get out of there, but I sadly suspect there will be a lot more dead Americans and Iraqis before we finally do.

2) Just as with the wars on drugs/poverty/cancer/AIDS/Communism, we will need to realize that our initial strategies in the "war on terror" are not necessarily the best or most effective ones. The WOT, in my opinion, needs to be fought with diplomacy and law enforcement cooperation, not the 82nd Airborne. Terrorism is a decentralized tactic (often down to the rogue individual, i.e., Timothy McVeigh), not a centralized political-social-military juggernaut like Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan in WW2. Although military action may make it temporarily inconvenient for terrorists to operate in a specific location, terrorists are generally quite adept at moving around and setting up elsewhere.

3) Based on #2, our view of "victory" in the WOT needs to be adjusted. As we have seen, marching into Baghdad and Kabul didn't change much. Granted, nobody's flown any airplanes into buildings since 2001, but that's more due to airline and other security changes rather than knocking off Saddam Hussein or the Taliban. Terrorism is NEVER going to disappear, because, again, it is a tactic, not a centralized movement. And it is a cheap and effective tactic, so it will always be used by low-budget but desparate groups or individuals. "Victory" in the WOT will not be an end to terrorism, but rather a one-day-at-a-time absence of further disasters like 9/11, while accepting the inevitability of a random smaller event every so often. Kind of like how we went day-by-day in the Cold War without anyone launching the nukes, but still fought our little proxy wars.

Here's hoping the next administration, whoever may be leading it, has the wisdom to recognize that thumping our chests and sending in the marines isn't always the quick and easy answer everyone wants it to be . . .

X-RMD
 

AF M4

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
884
5
Status (Visible)
I remember seeing a picture in Newsweek a year or so ago of a Middle Eastern teenager raising his fist and yelling at a camera while one could see an American flag burning in the background. When you looked closer though, you could see that his shirt had a small swoosh symbol on the front. Here was this kid living in a chaotic country where he probably doesn't go a day without someone he looks up to telling him how bad America is, but he's still wearing a Nike polo shirt. That's how we'll beat this thing one day: despite everything that's happening, the young people over there still want what America has to offer, perhaps now more than ever. I think victory will come when we win their hearts and minds, and I honestly think that that victory can be much easier than we expect if we let it be.
 
About the Ads

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
320
0
US
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Regarding the WOT:

You shouldn't confuse the "War on Terror" with the war in Iraq. Absolutely unconnected

I disagree. Iraq is a central front in that war. It may not have been before, but it sure as hell is now. I appreciate the point you're trying to make, but it's about four years out of date, ever since Jihadis started streaming into Iraq from every corner of the muslim world. We're already there, so we might as kill as many of these starry-eyed, 72-virgin-seekers as we can; every one of those homicidal idiots we kill is a bonus.

As for erradicating terrorism, you're absolutely right... it'll never happen. What we should focus on is depriving them of logistics, financing, organization, and real-estate. In that vein, we can't afford to let another Afghanistan sit and fester for a decade or more, pumping out tens of thousands of trained terrorists from Bin Laden Summer Camp. They should be hunted wherever they attempt to hide/train, and killed with whatever means we have available, whether it's SF/Delta, local proxy forces, well-placed cruise missiles, drones, or poisoned peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

Personally, I want them so hunted/persecuted/short-life-spanned that they wake every single night in the dark, sweating and trembling, at the very thought that the airplane noise they just heard is an AC-130 dropping into firing orbit.

This means that me we must try to make Iraq work in some kind of meaningful fashion. Can we? I don't know... right now they're not exactly impressing me. Given the chance to build a new nation out of the decades of oppression they endured, they've instead chosen to out death-squad one another (beginning with the Sunnis inviting in every Al-Queda idiot on the planet, and attempting to bomb/rape/pillage their way back into power). You'd hate to imagine the whole thing degenerating to the point that all we could do is wall the place off and periodically carpet-bomb it to keep them from getting too strong... but it could get there, worst case. I don't know that anybody imagined the Sunnis would be so suicidally stupid (they're badly outnumbered)... but here we are.

For the record, I don't think any sort of "law enforcement" model of fighting terrorism will be sufficient. We've tried that. These people have been blowing up Americans for 30 years, and getting better and bolder at it all the time, culminating in 9/11. Like it or not, Bush is the first president to really take a man-sized bite out of this particular **** sandwich. Everyone else, Demo and Repub, going all the way back to Carter, kicked the can down the road. This is going to be a loooong fight, and my fear is that our short attention-spanned society hasn't got the right stuff to carry it off. This fight has been coming for a long time, and it certainly won't be finished in my lifetime.

Also, we need to seriously take on the ideological component that drives these people. It's radical Islam. There. I said it.
 

dry dre

All hat, no cattle
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2003
379
10
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
What we should focus on is depriving them of logistics, financing, organization, and real-estate...For the record, I don't think any sort of "law enforcement" model of fighting terrorism will be sufficient. This fight has been coming for a long time, and it certainly won't be finished in my lifetime.
Also, we need to seriously take on the ideological component that drives these people. It's radical Islam. There. I said it.

Alternatively, we could start to think long and hard about what about us pisses these people off. Then we could ask "would changing those things in our presence in the region (that pisses them off) cost us more or less than a perpetual WOT?" In other words, should we act in virtue or self-preservation.

As a radical Islam scholar in the late 90s and someone who use to keep his shoes on when walking to an airplane gate, I would offer that the perpetual WOT will bleed us of finances and change too much of our way of life to be considered acceptable (the precise goal stated numerous times by bin Laden).

In political science circles in the 90s, after the fall of the Soviet bloc, much was written about what would be the next "ism." Argued was that the defense-intelligence-industrial complex ramped up during the Cold War would not stand to lose presence without a new 'ism.' Radical Islam scholars warned against making Islam the next 'ism' and have long called for changes in our policy in the region. Recall that before 9/11 the majority of terrorist attacks against America did not come from radical Islam, though the gravity of 9/11 certainly made radical Islamism the new target.

For those that prefer a military approach in the region, consider reading a book written by a former ranking radical Islam/bin Laden analyst from the CIA entitled "Imperial Hubris." The book in convincing in that the analysis is short on virtue and heavy on realpolitik. At some point we will have to come to terms with failed policy...or fail socioeconomically.
 

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
320
0
US
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Alternatively, we could start to think long and hard about what about us pisses these people off. Then we could ask "would changing those things in our presence in the region (that pisses them off) cost us more or less than a perpetual WOT?" In other words, should we act in virtue or self-preservation.

That's easy... virtue wins, every time. Right is right. If we actually believe in universal human rights, representative government, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, equality of the sexes (and everything else the extremists have a problem with), then there's a price to be paid.

If we're not sufficiently confident in our culture, and in what we believe that we're actually willing to fight for those things, then why don't we give up, roll over, and beg for mercy? My problem with the tail-chasing, why-do-they-hate-us game is that it puts the onus on us, excuses and apologizes for the murderous behavior of our attackers, and further presumes that we'll be able to appease them enough at some nebulous endpoint. Their list of grievances goes all the way back to the Crusades. Substitute one beef for another... doesn't matter one bit to me.

Just out of curiousity... I'd be interested in what precisely, about us, you'd have us change, such that we're no longer the root of all these problems.
 

orbitsurgMD

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 27, 2005
2,107
203
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
That's easy... virtue wins, every time. Right is right. If we actually believe in universal human rights, representative government, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, equality of the sexes (and everything else the extremists have a problem with), then there's a price to be paid.

If we're not sufficiently confident in our culture, and in what we believe that we're actually willing to fight for those things, then why don't we give up, roll over, and beg for mercy? My problem with the tail-chasing, why-do-they-hate-us game is that it puts the onus on us, excuses and apologizes for the murderous behavior of our attackers, and further presumes that we'll be able to appease them enough at some nebulous endpoint. Their list of grievances goes all the way back to the Crusades. Substitute one beef for another... doesn't matter one bit to me.

Just out of curiousity... I'd be interested in what precisely, about us, you'd have us change, such that we're no longer the root of all these problems.

I have to agree. Resolving our policies regarding support for Israel and our opposition to Hamas and Hezbollah and to Syrian interference in Lebanon and to radical Zionist provocation in the Palestinian territories will not appease the radical islamists. These conflicts are instruments to be exploited as much as and no less than any other. Were these not issues, then it would be Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and North Africa. There is no appeasing people who believe they have a mandate to create a new caliphate that would conquer under a single Taliban-like society all the moslem and once-moslem world, even to include Andalusia and Eastern and Central Europe.
 

dry dre

All hat, no cattle
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2003
379
10
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Ex-44E3A said:
If we actually believe in universal human rights, representative government, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, equality of the sexes (and everything else the extremists have a problem with), then there's a price to be paid.

Resolving our policies regarding support for Israel...

Would anyone care to reconsile points #1 and #2 above? An exerpt from the Daily Show book "America" on why you hate America if you live in the occupied territories: "Shrapnel in your bedroom reads Lockhead Martin." Good luck winning those hearts and minds. What would you do if you were in their shoes?

If we really believed in these things we wouldn't have any Chinese made goods in our homes (and Nixon wouldn't have gone to China). We wouldn't buy petroleum derived products that come from Nigeria (or most other countries). We wouldn't do business with Central/South America or most of the world for that matter. So why do we? Because while we believe in certain ideas, economic (ergo national security) concerns predominate. Real-world constraints effectively force us to act against our stated ideals in order to maintain our way of life. The "price to be paid" apparently only applies to engaging militarily in foreign countries, not to us when making daily purchasing decisions.

An underlying point with respect to the WOT is that we are bleeding ourselves for the sake of the ideology. Frankly, I don't share the ideology...I see it as placing the US in greater danger...so why would I rationally support it? If one wants to die for their ideas, c'est la vie...but it's not their place to drag the US military along with them. The military is present to protect our way of life, not the opposite.

I tend to think that rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are more fundamental that those prescribed above. Intrinsic in liberty is the concept of self-determination, championed (at least in word) by Wilson. Forcing our concepts upon others without cultural relativism is naive and very hazardous for all concerned. As pointed out by AF M4 above, things would be easier if we just "let them," instead of force them.
 

R-Me-Doc

Now an X-R-Me-Doc
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2003
332
1
Status (Visible)
Regarding the WOT:



I disagree. Iraq is a central front in that war. It may not have been before, but it sure as hell is now. I appreciate the point you're trying to make, but it's about four years out of date, ever since Jihadis started streaming into Iraq from every corner of the muslim world.

Ummm . . . yeah . . . and why are they there?
BECAUSE WE ARE!!!!!
Instead of doing the smart and arguably popularly supportable thing of staying in Afghanistan, a known haven for AQ, we started a whole second front in a country that likely had no involvement, and in doing so we shot ourselves in the foot.

We're already there, so we might as kill as many of these starry-eyed, 72-virgin-seekers as we can; every one of those homicidal idiots we kill is a bonus.

Brilliant. Exactly the kind of insightful thinking that guarantees generations of continuous revenge-based violence . . .

As for erradicating terrorism, you're absolutely right... it'll never happen. What we should focus on is depriving them of logistics, financing, organization, and real-estate. In that vein, we can't afford to let another Afghanistan sit and fester for a decade or more, pumping out tens of thousands of trained terrorists from Bin Laden Summer Camp. They should be hunted wherever they attempt to hide/train, and killed with whatever means we have available, whether it's SF/Delta, local proxy forces, well-placed cruise missiles, drones, or poisoned peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

Hmmm, sounds like what previous US administrations (not to mention the Israelis) had been doing for quite some time. Judge for yourself how effective it was.


This means that me we must try to make Iraq work in some kind of meaningful fashion. Can we? I don't know... right now they're not exactly impressing me. Given the chance to build a new nation out of the decades of oppression they endured, they've instead chosen to out death-squad one another (beginning with the Sunnis inviting in every Al-Queda idiot on the planet, and attempting to bomb/rape/pillage their way back into power).

Sadly, I agree. We may just have to "wall the place off" and let Iraq have it's all out civil war to sort things out. Interestingly, it would have almost certainly happened that way anyone once Saddam was overthrown internally or just plain died. But instead of taking the "long view" (sort of like how we've been waiting out Castro in Cuba for 40 years) we had to go in like idiots and both accellerate the process and make a lot of new enemies along the way.

Like it or not, Bush is the first president to really take a man-sized bite out of this particular **** sandwich.

And we're all choking to death as a result.

This is going to be a loooong fight, and my fear is that our short attention-spanned society hasn't got the right stuff to carry it off.

This is one case where I actually think our short sightedness may be a blessing in disguise.

Also, we need to seriously take on the ideological component that drives ese people. It's radical Islam. There. I said it.

Smartest think you've said. You should spend your time thinking long and hard about how to deal with this aspect of things, rather than how many ways you can blow people up.

X-RMD
 

R-Me-Doc

Now an X-R-Me-Doc
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2003
332
1
Status (Visible)
If we're not sufficiently confident in our culture, and in what we believe that we're actually willing to fight for those things, then why don't we give up, roll over, and beg for mercy?

I am quite confident in my culture. So confident, in fact, that I am pretty sure it can survive some crazy extremists blowing things up every now and then. I am NOT confident, howver, that it can sustain an internal shift in attitude that promotes suspicion and increasing repression at home and pointless warmongering abroad. THAT'S the real threat to our culture.


X-RMD
[/QUOTE]
 

RichL025

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 6, 2005
422
4
Washington
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Recall that before 9/11 the majority of terrorist attacks against America did not come from radical Islam....


This is plain WRONG.

USS Cole
Khobar Towers
Marine Barracks in Beirut
US Embassy in Tehran
First bombing of World Trade Center
Achille Lauro
TWA flight 847
Embassies in Tanzania & Kenya

As a matter of fact, aside from the Oklahoma City bombing and Ted Kazynski, can you name any terrorist acts in the last two decades against the United States that were NOT committed by followers of Islam?
 

USAFdoc

exUSAFdoc
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 21, 2005
1,013
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Matter of fact? Facts:

http://www.state.gov/m/ds/rls/rpt/19691.htm

You stand corrected.

the difference with radical Islam is the sheer numbers of "followers" and the "depths" to which they will go. There are probably a billion muslims, and thankfully only a small percentage of them are "radical". Unfortunately, even a small % of a billion still leaves us with hundreds of thousands of radicals that would just as soon nuke and kill every american as they would flush the toilet.

Now we have had enemies before that might have felt the same way, but usually they were "nationals" of some county, and the fear from the retaliation they would get from us kept them "in line".

Just what does our country do if a radical muslim from Indonesia, or the Philippines, or Saudi Arabia, claims responsibility for a nuke on our soil?

there lies a big problem.
 
About the Ads

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
320
0
US
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Ummm . . . yeah . . . and why are they there?
BECAUSE WE ARE!!!!!

Zarqawi was there before we arrived. A lot of the others came later to the party, but they're fair game too. If we ignore these people, they're not just going to vanish.

Brilliant. Exactly the kind of insightful thinking that guarantees generations of continuous revenge-based violence . . .

You know, I've thus far treated your opinions with respect. If you're going to be an abrasive smart-ass and turn this into some kind of foam-flecked rant-thread, then I'm done; you can go argue with yourself. As for the cycle-of-violence you alluded to, that only happens when one side doesn't definitely crush the other. We're not still fighting the Nazis, or the Imperialist Japanese.

Hmmm, sounds like what previous US administrations (not to mention the Israelis) had been doing for quite some time. Judge for yourself how effective it was

On the contrary, the Israelis have actually done fairly well of late, and their program of targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders is something we should emulate. Between that and putting up a barrier between themselves and their antagonists, they've greatly decreased the number of bombings. We could learn a lot from the Israelis, particularly in the area of airline security.

We could also learn from their example of attempting to appease their enemies and the international community. They forcibly removed their own citizens from Gaza and handed it over to the Palestinians, only to have it become a rocket-launching site against the neighboring Israeli towns. I'm sure that lesson won't be lost on the Israelis, and it should not be lost on us.

As for giving up support for Israel to appease the "Arab street," I've heard people propose exactly that, and it's absolute madness. What possible justification could we give for standing idly by and allowing the slaughter of millions of jews? If Hamas/whoever actually took over, we'd see real, no-****, live-in-High-Def ethnic cleansing and genocide... and we would have no excuse for letting it happen. Why would we give up supporting one of the only functioning representative governments in the middle east? Because some angry jew-hating terrorists want us to?

You should spend your time thinking long and hard about how to deal with this aspect of things

I have. I think we need to encourage Islam itself to reform. It's going to be painful, and it's going to take serious assistance from moderate and westernized muslims to do it, but one way or another, it must be done. We must also address (and dissuade) the various regimes who whip these people into a frenzy as part of their own fascist will-to-power.

It's not going to be easy... look at how many hundreds of years it took for Christianity to get to where we are today. Christianity has at least as blood-soaked a history as Islam (more even, since it had a 600-year head-start), but the modern Christian church is a far cry from the Islamic faith. The history of the Christian church is rent with terrible violence, and it took the protestant reformation, hundreds of years of schisms and inter-faith wars, as well as the gradual progression of classical western liberal thought to arrive where we are today.

With the shrinking of the world thanks to travel, and the inevitable march of technology, the muslims don't have that kind of time. We can (and should) help them, but this change must come from within that faith. Anything else is going to be viewed as "crusader meddling," and will create resistance and resentment instead of real change.
 

RichL025

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 6, 2005
422
4
Washington
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Matter of fact? Facts:

http://www.state.gov/m/ds/rls/rpt/19691.htm

You stand corrected.

Actually, I do not.

Or are you claiming that incidents like the following are considered "terrorism"???
At approximately 5:30 p.m., over 400 demonstrators marched in front of a U.S. Government-owned building that housed the U.S. Consular Agency and a binational center to protest unemployment and land reform. After about 30 minutes, between 20-*30 demonstrators scaled the wall surrounding the consular agency and broke two windows, smashed a light fixture, and vandalized the garden. The protesters also hoisted a Cuban flag up the flagpole before dispersing at approximately 6 p.m. No injuries were reported.

So yeah, I guess if you consider a smashed light fixture and vandalized garden "Terrorism", I guess you have a point.

I suspect, however, that you didn't even bother to read the link you posted.

Here, let me spell it out: Can you name five incidents in the last two decades where americans were killed or seriously injured in terrorist incidents?

Most definitions of terrorism include only those acts which are: intended to create fear or "terror," are perpetrated for a political goal (as opposed to a hate crime or "madman" attack), and deliberately target "non-combatants".
(Wikipedia)
 

R-Me-Doc

Now an X-R-Me-Doc
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2003
332
1
Status (Visible)
Zarqawi was there before we arrived.

So what? I'm sure Zarqawi was in a lot of places before 2003. Does that obligate us to invade all of them?

[qoute]You know, I've thus far treated your opinions with respect. If you're going to be an abrasive smart-ass and turn this into some kind of foam-flecked rant-thread, then I'm done; you can go argue with yourself.[/quote]

One of us has been reduced to using profanity. It's not me.

We're not still fighting the Nazis, or the Imperialist Japanese.

Once again, you confuse a tactic (terrorism) embraced by a small subset of a widely distributed and heterogenous group (Islam) with a traditional war waged by a well-localized, homogenous, politico-economic-military entity (Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan). They are not the same thing and can't be dealt with the same way. Radical Islam has no firm "territory" to occupy or "army" to conquer. This is, essentially, a battle of ideas; from reading your posts (especially the Christianity/Islam comments), I really think you do understand this, so why insist that we shroud it with all the military trappings?
 

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
320
0
US
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
One of us has been reduced to using profanity. It's not me.

I call 'em like I see 'em... or did you intend some other meaning to the snarky rejoinder you posted? It doesn't matter... I'd simply prefer to keep this civil, instead of the usual Freeper-vs-Kos-Kid deathmatch that these things usually degenerate into.

Once again, you confuse a tactic (terrorism) embraced by a small subset of a widely distributed and heterogenous group (Islam) with a traditional war waged by a well-localized, homogenous, politico-economic-military entity (Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan). They are not the same thing and can't be dealt with the same way.

Which is why I haven't advocated making a modern-day Dresden out of Tehran.

This is most definitely a war of ideas, and unfortunately the jihadis are far better at promulgating their ideology than we are. They use their press (and ours) to gather followers, spread propaganda, and frame this conflict in their own terms. Until we can change that, we're going to have a harder time.
 

dry dre

All hat, no cattle
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2003
379
10
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
I suspect, however, that you didn't even bother to read the link you posted.

Here, let me spell it out: Can you name five incidents in the last two decades where americans were killed or seriously injured in terrorist incidents?

(Wikipedia)

I'm a former Marine embassy guard. Suffice it to say that, not only have I read the linked reports (up to the late 90s at least), but I also used to read the daily diplomatic threat assessments when I cared to. In the last 20 years, there have been at least 5 RPG/mortar attacks against US embassies, and there have been dozens, perhaps in excess of 100, car bombings of US embassies/consulates/USAID offices, and the like. All by non-Islamists. When you count up attacks on US interests (businesses/banks/etc), you get into the thousands.

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/20307.pdf

On page 7 of this report, for the year 1990, you can see 32 Americans were injured/kidnapped/killed by non radical Islam terrorists. This list is not all-inclusive. Maybe you had someone doing your work in grade school, but I'm not going to do it here. Read it.

As I am sure you are aware from your extensive wikipedia background, the NPA was supported by Qadaffi, and while this crossdresser is a radical Muslim, he is no radical Islamist by any standard definition (which I am sure you are also aware).

And as R-Me-Doc intimates, the distinction between terrorism and asymmetrical warfare is a fine one. It is made more clear when you put yourself into the shoes of the weak combatant and assess your capabilities. Where custromary international law finds the weak combatant to be classifiable as a "terrorist" you will typically find laws being broken by the more powerful actor in the fight. But who needs laws when we have virtue.
 

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
320
0
US
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
If we really believed in these things we wouldn't have any Chinese made goods in our homes (and Nixon wouldn't have gone to China). We wouldn't buy petroleum derived products that come from Nigeria (or most other countries). We wouldn't do business with Central/South America or most of the world for that matter. So why do we? Because while we believe in certain ideas, economic (ergo national security) concerns predominate. Real-world constraints effectively force us to act against our stated ideals in order to maintain our way of life. The "price to be paid" apparently only applies to engaging militarily in foreign countries, not to us when making daily purchasing decisions.

Are you presuming to say that we can only create change by confrontation? How about engagement? Soft power works in some scenarios, while military power is more appropriate in others. When feasible, it's great to defeat your enemy by spreading your culture, enriching their economies (and your own), and promoting capitalism. While not always possible, winning without fighting is the pinnacle; Sun Tzu knew this 2500 years ago.

The essence of realpolitik is engaging other countries on a strictly practical, pragmatic basis. Problem is, realpolitik undermines moral authority, hurts credibility, and rightly leaves one open to charges of hypocrisy and mercencery motives (eg. your above post). The United States has repeatedly been excoriated for tolerating oppressive regimes, simply because they agreed to trade with us for something we needed. Then, when the US actually steps out onto the ideological end of the see-saw to effect political change consistent with US values (and at great monetary cost, not benefit, to itself), we're labeled as imperialist/jingoist/aggressor/warmonger/blah-blah-blah. Is it any wonder ordinary Americans get tired of listening to the complaints of the chattering classes? Any way you slice it, it's "heads I win, tails you lose."

You're a political science guy... you know all of this.

It is made more clear when you put yourself into the shoes of the weak combatant and assess your capabilities. Where custromary international law finds the weak combatant to be classifiable as a "terrorist" you will typically find laws being broken by the more powerful actor in the fight. But who needs laws when we have virtue.

That comes across as a very dismissive and cynical sentiment. What are you intimating here? Our laws are based on our concept of right and wrong... on virtue, with some standard for judgement and the ability to choose. Or were you arguing for some sort of UN-sponsored transnational body of law?

You can certailnly argue that the terrorist standard for morality/law is as legitimate as our own, but when they clash and cannot co-exist with one another, you have to pick a side. If you're a complete moral relativist or believe morality to be culturally-bound, then you could find yourself defending all sorts of heinous things. For my own part, I know what side I'd choose; I'm vary satisfied with what western civilization has wrought.
 

RichL025

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 6, 2005
422
4
Washington
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
I'm a former Marine embassy guard.
Oh, terribly sorry, I'll try and use smaller words and more pictures.
.
.
.
.
.
Just kidding....I was hoping that would take the rhetoric down a notch

Although the definitions are certainly NOT set in stone - there is a recognized difference between political violence (what the state department delineates in their reports) and terrorism - the latter is usually performed with an eye to media coverage to maximize its effect.

When the FARC kidnaps & holds an American for ransom, and shoots him afterwards, that's quite a different thing than a wayward civilian contractor getting beheaded on video.

and there have been dozens, perhaps in excess of 100, car bombings of US embassies/consulates/USAID offices, and the like. All by non-Islamists. ...
http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/20307.pdf

On page 7 of this report, for the year 1990, you can see 32 Americans were injured/kidnapped/killed by non radical Islam terrorists.

Err, you need to go back and check your link. Page 7 of this reports has no such tally - it is nothing but at listing of several bomb attacks against Mormon churches in Columbia.

This list is not all-inclusive. Maybe you had someone doing your work in grade school, but I'm not going to do it here. Read it.

I'll let that pass, assuming that you just made an honest mistake in citing information from the wrong report.

And again, if you tally up all acts of "violence" against americans, you may very well be right. But that's hardly terrorism.
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2007
258
0
Status (Visible)
The essence of realpolitik is engaging other countries on a strictly practical, pragmatic basis. Problem is, realpolitik undermines moral authority, hurts credibility, and rightly leaves one open to charges of hypocrisy and mercencery motives (eg. your above post). The United States has repeatedly been excoriated for tolerating oppressive regimes, simply because they agreed to trade with us for something we needed. Then, when the US actually steps out onto the ideological end of the see-saw to effect political change consistent with US values (and at great monetary cost, not benefit, to itself), we're labeled as imperialist/jingoist/aggressor/warmonger/blah-blah-blah. Is it any wonder ordinary Americans get tired of listening to the complaints of the chattering classes? Any way you slice it, it's "heads I win, tails you lose."
Come now. It's fine to wrap ourselves in the flag and claim some moral high ground, but it simply isn't a reality, and maybe has never been. It's incredibly patriarchical to tell the world "Daddy America knows best, so fall in line". You want to know why the world wants to come after us? Because we've long ago abandoned our place as a global citizen, and we've somehow conferred upon OURSELVES the duty of mother, cop, and Overall Grand Poobah of All That Is Right. From where did we derive such moral authority?! Bush would tell you God, but I suspect other nations would be somewhat skeptical.
At the end of the day, our central failing is our lack of a simply understanding, that what works for us does not neccessarily work for others. In fact, maybe it does. Could the Crusades be called anything other than terrorism? I'll bet you the Moors of the day cursed the names of those fundamentalist Christian radicals who disturbed their way of life in the name of a nice man that partied with Mohammed once. Maybe the Muslims are just a mellinium behind.
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2007
258
0
Status (Visible)
That's easy... virtue wins, every time. Right is right. If we actually believe in universal human rights, representative government, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, equality of the sexes (and everything else the extremists have a problem with), then there's a price to be paid.
And in case you hadn't been monitoring the wire, we're doing one hell of a job destroying these on our own, thanks very much. They fly planes into buildings, and that legitimizes the government torturing people on my behalf, holding my cab driver in Gitmo without trial for years, the de facto establishment of a state church, and the tapping of my phones? Citizens are so made to fear each other, Aqua Teen Hunger Force shuts down the city where the Boston Tea Party went down. Let me know when the virtue kicks in.
 

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
320
0
US
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Could the Crusades be called anything other than terrorism?

Yes. They could be called an attempt by Christendom to respond to the various muslim expansionist wars that spread Islam (by the sword) from across the Pyranees in the west, to the Indian subcontinent in the east. Even Alexander the Great didn't conquer as widely as the Mohammedeans.

The first Crusade was launched after a plea from the Byzantines for help in repelling the muslim turks. Of course, the crusaders later continued on to sack Jerusalem, but the same was done to the Christian city of Carthage by the 7th century Arab armies... so nobody has clean hands. Why single out the Christian church for your ire?

the de facto establishment of a state church, and the tapping of my phones?

We have a state church? Now you're veering off into weirdo-political-talking-points land. Let's keep this factual. As for the phone-tapping (we're still not sure what kind of data-mining the NSA was doing, so I don't know if it was a "tap" or not), I personally have no problem with the FBI tapping your phone if they raid an Al-Queda safehouse, and your number is found in Zarqawi's blackberry.

It's fine to wrap ourselves in the flag and claim some moral high ground, but it simply isn't a reality, and maybe has never been. It's incredibly patriarchical to tell the world "Daddy America knows best, so fall in line". You want to know why the world wants to come after us? Because we've long ago abandoned our place as a global citizen

Global citizen? I'm an American citizen, in a country where I can vote my leaders in and out of office, have a say in what laws are passed, practice my religion freely, make my voice heard both locally and nationally, and have my rights guaranteed by a constitution. I bear no loyalty to some ill-defined concept of "international law," nor fealty to some unelected "leadership" body of transnational progressive elites, who I neither voted for, not have redress against should they act against my interests. I never voted for any of the UN bureaucrats, and based on their past behavior and offenses, they may be the most relentlessly corrupt political organization the free world has yet seen... and that's saying something.

You might view this discussion of virtue, motives, morality, and idealogy through a cynical and darkened lens, but I think it's critical to framing and understand what we do. As for the US's "virtue," I view the United States as a sort of modern international incarnation of King Lear; more sinned against than sinning. You may scoff at your country and mock what your fellow Americans believe, but I'm confident in what the ideological ferment of post-reformation Christianity and post-enlightenment political philosophy have created in the United States. It's taken us a while to get here, but we have a largely egalitarian social and political system that protects the individual, guarantees equal rights under the law, allows economic and social mobility limited only by one's personal ambition, and assimilates immigrants with a fair degree of success. Shorter version: American-style democracy has created some pretty good ****.

That assimilation concept, incidently, is where we differ significantly from the Europeans. Their immigrant populations do not assimilate nearly as well, leading to ethnic ghettos, balkanization, and a simmering resentment of their host nation that's continually fed by pernicious, multiculturalist, identity-based grievance politics. I believe that difference in assimilation to be the main reason why the US hasn't seen the rash of home-grown terrorism that has cropped up in England, Spain, and France. Remember, the London subway bombers were British-born, British citizens who grew to so hate the very nation that fed, sheltered, protected, and guaranteed their rights, that they sought to destroy it.

America may not be perfect, but I wouldn't live anywhere else, and I value what we have here enough to fight physically and ideologically to protect it. I also believe it's good enough for anybody, and if they want what we have, we should consider helping them achieve it. You say "Patriarchal," I say "willing to help."

You rage against the jingoist American "Patriarchy"... but have you seriously, objectively considered the possibility that father sometimes does know what he's talking about? You say "america sucks," I say "show me a better system."
 
About the Ads

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2007
258
0
Status (Visible)
Yes. They could be called an attempt by Christendom to respond to the various muslim expansionist wars that spread Islam (by the sword) from across the Pyranees in the west, to the Indian subcontinent in the east. Even Alexander the Great didn't conquer as widely as the Mohammedeans.

The first Crusade was launched after a plea from the Byzantines for help in repelling the muslim turks. Of course, the crusaders later continued on to sack Jerusalem, but the same was done to the Christian city of Carthage by the 7th century Arab armies... so nobody has clean hands. Why single out the Christian church for your ire?
It's radical Islam. There. I said it.
Uh, specifically because you singled out radical Islam. And because the vast majority of America identifies itself as one species of Christian or another. In essence, Islamic extremism is no different than Christian extremism, ergo it can't JUST be radical Islam, it's just radicalism.

We have a state church? Now you're veering off into weirdo-political-talking-points land. Let's keep this factual. As for the phone-tapping (we're still not sure what kind of data-mining the NSA was doing, so I don't know if it was a "tap" or not), I personally have no problem with the FBI tapping your phone if they raid an Al-Queda safehouse, and your number is found in Zarqawi's blackberry.



Global citizen? I'm an American citizen, in a country where I can vote my leaders in and out of office, have a say in what laws are passed, practice my religion freely, make my voice heard both locally and nationally, and have my rights guaranteed by a constitution. I bear no loyalty to some ill-defined concept of "international law," nor fealty to some unelected "leadership" body of transnational progressive elites, who I neither voted for, not have redress against should they act against my interests. I never voted for any of the UN bureaucrats, and based on their past behavior and offenses, they may be the most relentlessly corrupt political organization the free world has yet seen... and that's saying something.
Now who's veering off into the fantastical-paranoid? The way this country has conducted itself in the last, say, ten years, can you really claim, with confidence, that we adhered to the ideals you're espousing? Freedom of religion? I'm willing to bet that there are more than a few guys STILL in Gitmo whose major transgression was associating with the wrong cleric, or attended the wrong prayer meeting. We've admitted to torturing the bejesus out of people for the sake of information. And I have no doubt you're OK with that, but I'm sure not. If we're willing to waive these principals in the name of expediency, what's next? Go ahead and think "well, clearly, we'd never do that", but then again, I never thought we'd openly flaunt the fact that we are torturing prisoners. Has it happened in the past? Yes. Now we're owning up to it like it wasn't no thang.

You've clearly missed my point. I'm not saying you and every other American needs to swear allegience to the Baby Blue and White. Our non-participation in the UN is simply a proxy for how we view ourselves as above the law, internationally. Don't want to come invade Iraq with us? Do you conveniently forgotten how we overtly threatened other countries with trade embargoes and sanctions for NOT participating? Other countries grouse at us for our unilateralism and laugh when we demand people help us. In the last few years, we've been the worst mix between the cop who thinks he's beyond the reach of the law and the annoying kid in class who thinks he knows all the answers, and only manages a B.

Go ahead and write me and those with my views as those who hate this country. It's a simplified and facile way to view the world, and all indications are that the leader of our country views the world through this black-and-white lens. But dissent with how this country conducts itself could not be borne of anything but pride in this country's ideals. We're not bound to agree with everything this country does simply because we do it, and because the Europeans you hate so much disagree. These aren't teams we're on, they're political entities, they don't need cheerleaders. People are down on this country because we, as a people, have given them cause to be. The anger you see across the country isn't some manifestation of pointy-headed liberal scholars infecting our youth (or whatever nutty anti-UN conspiracy we choose to throw out there), it's a disaffection with our self-perception of cultural and moral elitism.

Despite what this administration says, there are no white and black knights here. That's far too simple, but that appears to be what you're espousing.
 

basicscikills

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2006
33
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
And in case you hadn't been monitoring the wire, we're doing one hell of a job destroying these on our own, thanks very much. They fly planes into buildings, and that legitimizes the government torturing people on my behalf, holding my cab driver in Gitmo without trial for years, the de facto establishment of a state church, and the tapping of my phones? Citizens are so made to fear each other, Aqua Teen Hunger Force shuts down the city where the Boston Tea Party went down. Let me know when the virtue kicks in.

I think you're going a bit overboard here. I'll be the first to say that I think we've at times made mistakes while going about prosecuting our campaign against terror, but we haven't established a state religion that I'm aware of. The last time I checked, abortion is still legal, you have the right to go to a church of your choice or not at your discretion, you can go check out the porn store any time you get good and ready, and you can have sex with any consenting adult you choose without fear of arrest. Does Bush form his policies based on his personal beliefs? Sure, but so did Bill Clinton...he just didn't call it religion, which is why nobody had a problem with it. I'd say that a secular agenda can often so resemble a religion that nobody could tell the difference if they looked critically.

Additionally, I have yet to see well substantiated reports of torture by Americans and, no, taking pictures of someone naked isn't "torture". "Abuse"? Okay, but torture, no. As for your cabbie comment, I still seem to be able to get a cab and they're still being driven by the same guys with thick accents that try to take me all over town to get to a place a mile away. They aren't in concentration camps.

Have bad things happened? Sure. A friend of mine who is from Pakistan got held in Federal prison in Louisiana for three months. He's no terrorist, but he'll be the first to tell you that he was sending quite a bit of money to his family back home. Once they figured out that the money was clean, they let him go, without any kickings or beatings. In fact, his citizenship application was expedited for his trouble. He's certainly not that upset.

While we're at it, if you're not an American citizen, the last time I checked, strictly speaking, the Bill of Rights does not apply to you. While I certainly oppose arrests without cause, if you're not here legally or you're not a citizen and conducting activities that may threaten citizens of this country, you have no right to complain about Constitutional rights that you don't have being violated. A foreign national is here as our guest.
 

basicscikills

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2006
33
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Uh, specifically because you singled out radical Islam. And because the vast majority of America identifies itself as one species of Christian or another. In essence, Islamic extremism is no different than Christian extremism, ergo it can't JUST be radical Islam, it's just radicalism.

The last time I checked, there aren't well funded, well organized, and widespread Christian extremist networks executing acts of terror in Muslim countries.

Now who's veering off into the fantastical-paranoid? The way this country has conducted itself in the last, say, ten years, can you really claim, with confidence, that we adhered to the ideals you're espousing? Freedom of religion? I'm willing to bet that there are more than a few guys STILL in Gitmo whose major transgression was associating with the wrong cleric, or attended the wrong prayer meeting.

Oh, come on. They didn't wander into the wrong mosque to ask for directions. You don't have to wonder what ideals clerics are espousing, any more than I have to wonder if a preacher on Sunday is advocating the bombing of a public building. They're more than happy to tell you. There have been no mass roundups of Muslims because the vast majority go to mosques where they do not advocate the killing of unbelievers and plan to put those ideals into action. You're either very naive, or you're the type that believed that John Gotti just happened to hang out with killers and drug dealers.[/QUOTE]

We've admitted to torturing the bejesus out of people for the sake of information. And I have no doubt you're OK with that, but I'm sure not. If we're willing to waive these principals in the name of expediency, what's next? Go ahead and think "well, clearly, we'd never do that", but then again, I never thought we'd openly flaunt the fact that we are torturing prisoners. Has it happened in the past? Yes. Now we're owning up to it like it wasn't no thang.

Which torture do you mean? I struggle with what people seem to think is torture. Cutting someone's hand off is torture. Beating people with a whip is torture. Sawing someone's head off is torture, albeit briefly. Not letting people sleep isn't. Playing loud music isn't either (otherwise I'd be a torture victim too). Apparently we're supposed to put them up in the Ritz and leave a chocolate on their pillow every night?

You've clearly missed my point. I'm not saying you and every other American needs to swear allegience to the Baby Blue and White. Our non-participation in the UN is simply a proxy for how we view ourselves as above the law, internationally. Don't want to come invade Iraq with us? Do you conveniently forgotten how we overtly threatened other countries with trade embargoes and sanctions for NOT participating? Other countries grouse at us for our unilateralism and laugh when we demand people help us. In the last few years, we've been the worst mix between the cop who thinks he's beyond the reach of the law and the annoying kid in class who thinks he knows all the answers, and only manages a B.

Our nonparticipation in the UN? We participate, but we are not under any obligation to go along with decisions that are clearly not in the interests of the United States. I never voted for anyone in the UN, nor did any other American. We give the UN real estate to meet in, are the major financial backer, and provide much of the infrastructure that makes its humanitarian and other missions work. The United States would work quite well without the UN. The same cannot be said in reverse.

Go ahead and write me and those with my views as those who hate this country. It's a simplified and facile way to view the world, and all indications are that the leader of our country views the world through this black-and-white lens. But dissent with how this country conducts itself could not be borne of anything but pride in this country's ideals. We're not bound to agree with everything this country does simply because we do it, and because the Europeans you hate so much disagree.

You've made a blanket statement about those of us that disagree with you as hating Europeans, but proudly hold forth your right to have a dissenting opinion. The fact is that I have no problem with Europeans, but I do have issues with a nation that is largely irrelevant in world politics and who is itself violating international agreements concerning trade with rogue nations (France) getting up on a moral high horse and telling us that we shouldn't worry about a dictator who had his guys shooting at our planes enforcing the no fly zone, had weapons of mass destruction at one time and could not account for what happened to them, and who everyone at the time agreed was pursuing further such capability.

Please stop making the same sort of assumptions that you are accusing others of making.

These aren't teams we're on, they're political entities, they don't need cheerleaders. People are down on this country because we, as a people, have given them cause to be.

People will be angry at America no matter what we do. As long as we are a powerful economic and political entity, people will be upset when we do things they don't like. But we can't please everyone. The fact is, though, that this is my country and I'm worried about doing what's good for it and for my family and friends, not so much about what's good for citizens of other nations. I'm certainly not angry at them nor am I for neglecting humanitarian concerns. We just shouldn't be held to blame for everything on the planet. It's been happening that way ever since 1945.

The anger you see across the country isn't some manifestation of pointy-headed liberal scholars infecting our youth (or whatever nutty anti-UN conspiracy we choose to throw out there), it's a disaffection with our self-perception of cultural and moral elitism.

I don't think there's anger across the country. If there's anger across the country, it's mainly concerning those who have no legal right to be here taking advantage of our system. The "pull our troops out now" crowd are just really vocal and really have no compassion for the Iraqi people whatsoever. If we pull out right now, a civil war erupts and hundreds of thousands will likely die. Oil prices will shoot through the roof, Iran might move in to control much of the world's energy supply, and radicals across the world will see this as another example of "if you wait long enough, America will cut and run". Note that it doesn't matter whether or not we should have gone in. We're there...now we need to figure out what to do.
 

BigNavyPedsGuy

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 11, 2006
1,267
147
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
That's easy... virtue wins, every time. Right is right. If we actually believe in universal human rights, representative government, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, equality of the sexes (and everything else the extremists have a problem with), then there's a price to be paid.

You mean there's a price to be paid if you're in the Middle East. We haven't done anything about Darfour, what about Indonesia? Why are there dictators all over the planet that haven't seen us spread freedom. Because those things weren't the driving force behind this Iraq conflict. It's an empty rhetoric - that this administration uses to refute logic.

I heard it on Meet the Press the other day
Russert: Why do you think we should support Bush's plan to increase troop levels?
Rep. Congressman: Because in a time of war we need to support our troops.

WHAT?!?!?! That doesn't make any sense. We need to support X because we need to support Y?? Again, it's just rhetoric. The real solution to this problem is political/cultural. Watch the movie Syriana and you'll see a great picture of how a young Muslim gets food and a roof over his head in exchange for losing his reason. More bombs aren't going to solve the problem. It's not just a "religous" difference. It's a societal, educational, economical, and lifestyle problem. As long as those disparities exist, so will "terrorism". Killing more people will feul the fire not extinguish it.

Unfortunately, we've alienated every other country that could help us in this project. It's a giant Charlie Foxtrot that's thousands of years old and made much much worse by our current administration.
 

solumanculver

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2005
364
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
What really disturbs me is when somebody implies that if we are patriots then we will support the war in Iraq... why? That's a complete non-sequitur. There's a big difference between patriotism and jingoism, and unfortunately there's a bad case of the latter going around.

If we actually believe in universal human rights, representative government, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, equality of the sexes (and everything else the extremists have a problem with), then there's a price to be paid.

I think that this is a rather naive thing to say. The government will use this kind of rhetoric to support anything that they want to do, that doesn't mean that it is really motivated by that stuff. We allow atrocities to happen all the time. Oddly enough, there wasn't actually any atrocity going on in Iraq when we invaded... he gased those kurds over 20 years ago. Of course he was a bad guy, but it's ridiculous to say that that is why we invaded.

Why the F*ck did we invade? It seems like we never really had a reason... if it was to clear the country of WMDs, then I guess we did it...

As for terrorism, it exists because people hate us. People don't stop hating us because we bomb their country... I know this is a shocker to everyone who watches fox news out there, but Muslims don't hate america because we have free speech and human rights. They hate us because we kept sanctions on Iraq for 13 years, something which killed half a million Iraqi children. They also hate us because we support Israel, which at the very least is a racist state, and at the worst is a full-blown apartheid state... In short, they hate us because of our policy, not our lifestyle. So let's stop throwing our hands up in the air and asking "why us?". Oh... and Iraq is filled with terrorists now? Probably not because we watch "sex in the city" and let women drive cars... it's probably because we stack naked Iraqis into pyramids and hold their buddies in secret prisons with no charge to torture them for 4 years...
 

USAFdoc

exUSAFdoc
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 21, 2005
1,013
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
As for terrorism, it exists because people hate us. People don't stop hating us because we bomb their country... ..

and sometimes people don't STOP HATING you no matter what you do. I suspect some people over there have been "trained" to hate us....probably not a whole lot different then how some "white folk" were "trained" to hates blacks in the past (sad to say that type training isn't entirely over with here in the USA).

and lastly; interesting that whenever the world is going to crap; natural diasasters, dictators on the rampage, etc....who is expected to come to the aid of those in danger? The US of A ! For all the the real problems our country and goverment have, there is a good reason why most people in the world want to come here. The fact that people who have never even met us would be willing to murder us without a second thought tells to the "brainwashing" and propaganda going on.
 

orbitsurgMD

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 27, 2005
2,107
203
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Why the F*ck did we invade? It seems like we never really had a reason... if it was to clear the country of WMDs, then I guess we did it...

Reasons offered vs. reasons done: we used noncompliance with U.N. mandated disclosure of WMD, which was a somewhat questionable reason, since we insisted on disclosure of something that so far, we haven't found. When the Baathist regime didn't reveal what they say they didn't have, they were accused of hiding their materials and facilities. No one would have put past the Baathists to defy the U.N. mandates; they did so all the time in the no-fly zone and elsewhere, inviting retaliatory strikes when they did. They made themselves unbelievable, which was a good enough reason for us.

The bigger issue is the geopolitical importance of Iraq in the Persian Gulf: it was and is the only sizable oil-exporting country in the region not at risk of or already in the grasp of a radical islamic leadership. Iran is an established enemy with a well-demonstrated history of support of terrorism and other criminal activity against U.S. interests in that country and elsewhere. Saudi Arabia superficially enjoys a working relationship with the U.S., but the chronic and escalating restiveness within its borders and the willingness of moneyed members of that vastly unequal society to support terror as a private enterprise makes that country an unreliable partner. Iraq offers a keystone presence in the Gulf: if not democratic, at least secular, with a potential under the right circumstances of becoming a stable and diverse society. The hope was for another Turkey, but Arab/Kurdish and with oil. Too bad that was so unrealistic.

Do I think this war is in the end about oil? Pretty much. If Saudi Arabia were able to demonstrate a capacity for stable and democratic reform with a commitment to eliminate the corruption rife in that society, I doubt we would have seen the need to invade as we did.

As for terrorism, it exists because people hate us. People don't stop hating us because we bomb their country... I know this is a shocker to everyone who watches fox news out there, but Muslims don't hate america because we have free speech and human rights. They hate us because we kept sanctions on Iraq for 13 years, something which killed half a million Iraqi children. They also hate us because we support Israel, which at the very least is a racist state, and at the worst is a full-blown apartheid state... In short, they hate us because of our policy, not our lifestyle. So let's stop throwing our hands up in the air and asking "why us?". Oh... and Iraq is filled with terrorists now? Probably not because we watch "sex in the city" and let women drive cars... it's probably because we stack naked Iraqis into pyramids and hold their buddies in secret prisons with no charge to torture them for 4 years...

Sanctions just gave the most ruthless people in Iraqi society opportunities to commit more crimes. Those people happen to have been Saddam Hussein and his clansmen, who were all too ready to show the world the plight of Iraqi children and exploit their suffering while raking in profits from illegal oil-for-food schemes. The real villians were the Iraqi leaders, the unfortunate reality is that the West became their witless facilitators.

Greater Palestine would be no better off, and probably a whole lot worse off without Israel than with it. Only a fool would believe that any more worthwhile circumstances would evolve from a Palestine represented by the ilk of the Palestinian Authority, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Lebanon (which is a catastrophe), Hezbollah, and Hamas. Now it certainly doesn't help that Israel has turned its blindest eyes to unlawful and dangerous radical jewish settlers whose mindset is as radical as that of any al Qaeda member. They have cynically exploited that movement, and deserve the criticism they have received for doing so. The U.S. has not done enough to force Israel to terms of reasonable accommodation, and we do pay a price in credibility for that. But the demands of Hamas and Hezbollah are categorically unreasonable, and no rational policy should accommodate them. They need to be opposed as all unreasonable and dangerous terrorists need to be opposed.

Iraq is filled with terrorists because some Iraqis have invited them. Iraq, like Somalia, like Afghanistan, like Lebanon is a failed state, and failed states are magnets for all kinds of violent parasites: warlords, criminals and terrorists.
 

AF M4

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
884
5
Status (Visible)
This is just a completely off-the-wall idea I had awhile ago, but it's a lot simpler than sorting through the centuries of sectarian beefs present in the reason.

Bribery.

Break Baghdad down into blocks. If your block goes a day without a bombing/violence, everyone on the block receives $100 cash the next morning. If a group of ten blocks goes without violence does the same, everyone gets an additional $100. And so on. Wouldn't that provide a huge amount of incentive for everyone in those areas to police their own region for terrorist activity and report them to the authorities? "Get out of my home you stupid al Qaeda bastards, you're costing me money!" We spend more money than this a day over there anyway, and this would also serve to create a wealthier middle class over there too. Crazy?
 

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
320
0
US
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
You mean there's a price to be paid if you're in the Middle East. We haven't done anything about Darfour, what about Indonesia? Why are there dictators all over the planet that haven't seen us spread freedom

The UN hasn't voted for intervention in Darfur, and we have no compelling national interest there, but I can understand your wanting to intervene, because stopping genocide is a noble thing to do. An argument from virtue... I was starting to think I was the only one.

I think that this is a rather naive thing to say. The government will use this kind of rhetoric to support anything that they want to do, that doesn't mean that it is really motivated by that stuff. We allow atrocities to happen all the time.

Because we can't fix them all, we should fix none of them? It almost sounds like you gentlemen are yearning for a consistent, principled foreign policy. The current Nixon/Kissinger-esque retro-race-to-realism we're seeing has a set of problems all its own. In fact, it's the very ideology of compromise-over-principle that has set the stage for some our current problems, and our nation's lack of international credibility.

I had some harsh words for the Sunnis in Iraq, but one can hardly blame them for believing they could drive out the US and murder their way back into power. Look at what we've done foreign-policy-wise in the last 30 years or so in the middle east... the Sunnis gambled, but they came by that belief honestly. We've got a serious problem as Americans, a defect in our national character: we never finish anything, and what's more, the world knows it. All they have to do is outlast us.

Hostage Crisis? Carter didn't finish it. Took Reagan to get it done.
Lebanon? Reagan didn't finish it... pulled out
Mogadishu? Clinton didn't finish it... pulled out.
Gulf War I? Bush Sr. didn't finish it... and he sat idly by while Saddam butchered the Shia in southern Iraq.

Is it any wonder they don't trust us?

Who's going to join with us when they know we'll sell them out the moment the going gets tough? Why are Iraqis now hedging their bets by joining militias and not stepping up to help the US? Perhaps because they fear, probably rightly, that we'll leave them in the lurch, go back across the ocean, and forget about them... just like we've done so many many times before. There's a reason why Bin-Laden specifically cited Mogadishu as the template for America's weakness.

For the last 30 years, we've sacrificed principle for political expediency, and it has cost us dearly. As a society, we have a reputation of looking inward instead of outward, cutting-and-running when the going gets tough, ignoring problems until they completely blow up, and selling out for enough money or just to make the problem go away. This war has required the average American to sacrifice virtually nothing.... yet we're tired of seeing the bombs on the evening news just prior to American Idol, so we're agitating to pull out? The Iraqis who threw in with us trusted us to keep our word... what happens to them?

If we run from this fight, and the ethnic cleansing begins in earnest, we will have no excuse. We can't claim ignorance, because we have the Vietnam example as a handy guide; we know exactly what's going to happen if we abandon the field of battle to this enemy. I remember the boat people, the Khmer Rouge, the killing fields of Cambodia... the millions that died after those nations fell to the communists. We won't be able to ignore it; the Iraqi genocide will be on the TV and internet in high-def color-corrected glory. I don't yet believe that the collapse of Iraq is an inevitable and foregone conclusion... though I can certainly understand why some of you do.

I'll grant you this much: it may be that we can't prevent disaster. Iraq may yet dissolve into a bloody maelstrom despite all our efforts (it will be far, far worse than we've yet seen), but we should do everything in our power to stave that off. We may ultimately fail, but we must try, not only because it's morally right, but because we will need it for the sake of our own national healing. If Iraq insists on civil war, then there may be no stopping them, but we need to be able to look ourselves in the mirror after this is all over, and say "we really did the best we could."
 

USAFdoc

exUSAFdoc
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 21, 2005
1,013
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
This is just a completely off-the-wall idea I had awhile ago, but it's a lot simpler than sorting through the centuries of sectarian beefs present in the reason.

Bribery.

Break Baghdad down into blocks. If your block goes a day without a bombing/violence, everyone on the block receives $100 cash the next morning. If a group of ten blocks goes without violence does the same, everyone gets an additional $100. And so on. Wouldn't that provide a huge amount of incentive for everyone in those areas to police their own region for terrorist activity and report them to the authorities? "Get out of my home you stupid al Qaeda bastards, you're costing me money!" We spend more money than this a day over there anyway, and this would also serve to create a wealthier middle class over there too. Crazy?


not a bad idea to get the muslims to want to get rid of al Qaeda.

still, as far as the radical muslim extremist go; how to you negotiate with somebody who believes the only good American is a dead American? There really is no ground for compromise on that one. This is really a fight/war to the death on this one. Short of that all we can hope for is that this generation of radicals dies off (and there is not a replacement generation with the same beliefs) before one of them nukes us.
 
About the Ads

solumanculver

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2005
364
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
You know, this problem that we have with Muslim extremists is at least partially a huge cultural misunderstanding. I lived for a year in the middle east and I got to know quite a bit about Islam. I also have a degree in religion, so I've studied the issues academically for a number of years.

The popular conception in the middle east is that the United States itself had already declared a de facto war on Islam with its support of Israel and its sanctions against Iraq. While these two policies seem to us to be unrelated, their unified impact on the middle east was devastating. Since the creation of Israel the middle east has had to deal with vast numbers of Palestinian refugees, to the extent that the majority of Jordan nowadays is actually palestinian. Apart from the economic harm that these refugees are bound to do to any country, by changing the demographics of lebanon, they were also directly responsible for the lebanese civil war. Even in Yemen, where I lived, the impact of palestinian refugees was to displace a number of Yemeni teachers and professionals as they were replaced in their jobs by better educated palestinians. Although there is a lot of resentment even towards the palestinians for this, the majority of it is, of course, directed towards israel and the US their benefactors.

Combined with this is the fact that Israel, as the "Jewish State" is an overtly racist state. This is undeniable; The "Jewish State" is full of muslim and christian arabs... kind of like if we called the US the "White Nation". Even if we didn't follow any specifically racist policies, we would be a prima facie racist nation. I don't think that there is a comparison between Israel being called "the Jewish state" and Greece, for example, being called the "Greek state", Jewish claims to Israel are too tenuous, historically. Even in the bible the Israelites took their land from the philistines (palestinians), and their independant kingdom only lasted a couple generations anyway. And then they didn't have a substantial presence in Israel from the second exile until the early twentieth century.

In any case, our sanctions against Iraq caused an equally destructive effect on the middle east by once again flooding the region with Iraqi refugees and intellectuals. Along with that, the countries such as Yemen which didn't take a stand either for or against the first gulf war had all of their guest workers in Saudi Arabia deported back to Yemen, totalling 850,000 unemployed people, along with the national loss of their income, which was sent back to yemen from Saudi.

My only point here is that US policy has destroyed the middle east, and we're completely oblivious to it. It's not difficult to be hated with that kind of record against us. And even though now we're in a "war against terror", nearly all muslims, and even most americans, read it as a "war against islam"... Bush even once called it a "Crusade against terror", to great uproar in Yemen, I can assure you.
 

BigNavyPedsGuy

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 11, 2006
1,267
147
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
You know, this problem that we have with Muslim extremists is at least partially a huge cultural misunderstanding. I lived for a year in the middle east and I got to know quite a bit about Islam. I also have a degree in religion, so I've studied the issues academically for a number of years.

The popular conception in the middle east is that the United States itself had already declared a de facto war on Islam with its support of Israel and its sanctions against Iraq. While these two policies seem to us to be unrelated, their unified impact on the middle east was devastating. Since the creation of Israel the middle east has had to deal with vast numbers of Palestinian refugees, to the extent that the majority of Jordan nowadays is actually palestinian. Apart from the economic harm that these refugees are bound to do to any country, by changing the demographics of lebanon, they were also directly responsible for the lebanese civil war. Even in Yemen, where I lived, the impact of palestinian refugees was to displace a number of Yemeni teachers and professionals as they were replaced in their jobs by better educated palestinians. Although there is a lot of resentment even towards the palestinians for this, the majority of it is, of course, directed towards israel and the US their benefactors.

Combined with this is the fact that Israel, as the "Jewish State" is an overtly racist state. This is undeniable; The "Jewish State" is full of muslim and christian arabs... kind of like if we called the US the "White Nation". Even if we didn't follow any specifically racist policies, we would be a prima facie racist nation. I don't think that there is a comparison between Israel being called "the Jewish state" and Greece, for example, being called the "Greek state", Jewish claims to Israel are too tenuous, historically. Even in the bible the Israelites took their land from the philistines (palestinians), and their independant kingdom only lasted a couple generations anyway. And then they didn't have a substantial presence in Israel from the second exile until the early twentieth century.

In any case, our sanctions against Iraq caused an equally destructive effect on the middle east by once again flooding the region with Iraqi refugees and intellectuals. Along with that, the countries such as Yemen which didn't take a stand either for or against the first gulf war had all of their guest workers in Saudi Arabia deported back to Yemen, totalling 850,000 unemployed people, along with the national loss of their income, which was sent back to yemen from Saudi.

My only point here is that US policy has destroyed the middle east, and we're completely oblivious to it. It's not difficult to be hated with that kind of record against us. And even though now we're in a "war against terror", nearly all muslims, and even most americans, read it as a "war against islam"... Bush even once called it a "Crusade against terror", to great uproar in Yemen, I can assure you.

Smart post!
 

orbitsurgMD

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 27, 2005
2,107
203
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
You know, this problem that we have with Muslim extremists is at least partially a huge cultural misunderstanding. I lived for a year in the middle east and I got to know quite a bit about Islam. I also have a degree in religion, so I've studied the issues academically for a number of years.

Then like any good academic, you won't mind if your ideas are criticised.

The popular conception in the middle east is that the United States itself had already declared a de facto war on Islam with its support of Israel and its sanctions against Iraq. While these two policies seem to us to be unrelated, their unified impact on the middle east was devastating.

The popular perception of the United States as evil puppetmaster, financier of Israel and oppressor-by-proxy has been cynically created and fed by the corrupt and oppressive regimes of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, and Iran. The popular press and electronic media of those countries has been the political tool of their respective regimes, and has been handily manipulated into demonizing Israel and by extension, the United States as the cause of unrest and injustice in the middle east. It has been a largely successful effort that has kept genuine democratic political reform and the control of state-facilitated corruption at bay in most of those countries.


Since the creation of Israel the middle east has had to deal with vast numbers of Palestinian refugees, to the extent that the majority of Jordan nowadays is actually palestinian. Apart from the economic harm that these refugees are bound to do to any country, by changing the demographics of lebanon, they were also directly responsible for the lebanese civil war. Even in Yemen, where I lived, the impact of palestinian refugees was to displace a number of Yemeni teachers and professionals as they were replaced in their jobs by better educated palestinians. Although there is a lot of resentment even towards the palestinians for this, the majority of it is, of course, directed towards israel and the US their benefactors.

So the U.S. is to blame for the immigration policies of middle-eastern countries? The U.S. drew the map of the middle east in 1947? Was it the U.S. that had control of mandate Palestine after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1919? Was it the U.S. that acquiesced control of the pre-1967 territory to native-born Jewish occupants of those lands?

Now you have me interested.

Combined with this is the fact that Israel, as the "Jewish State" is an overtly racist state.

Racist? Really? So the Arabs of Palestine, Muslim and Christian, and the Druze, are actually a different race? I'll give you that they may have a different religion, and that the State of Israel invidiously discriminates among religions, offering a "law of return" privilege to jews it does not offer to non-jews. But by comparison to its neighbors, who make the practice of religions other than Islam a crime, the considerably more liberal and democratic Israel offers a lot more freedom to its residents who are not jews.

This is undeniable; The "Jewish State" is full of muslim and christian arabs... kind of like if we called the US the "White Nation".

The non-jewish residents of Israel are still in minority, so I'm not sure how "full" the country would have to be to be "full". Are you implying that Israel is imposing its undemocratic will on a majority non-jewish residential population as did the whites in Rhodesia and South Africa? Or is it the fact that citizenship in Israel is restricted to a group smaller than all the residents of that nation? If so, how then are they different from Switzerland, for example, which has had even more restrictive laws governing citizenship?

Even if we didn't follow any specifically racist policies, we would be a prima facie racist nation.

So if the citizens of the Netherlands called themselves "the Dutch Reform Nation", or the citizens of Russia called themselves "the Russian Orthodox Nation" they would be racists, too?


I don't think that there is a comparison between Israel being called "the Jewish state" and Greece, for example, being called the "Greek state", Jewish claims to Israel are too tenuous, historically. Even in the bible the Israelites took their land from the philistines (palestinians), and their independant kingdom only lasted a couple generations anyway. And then they didn't have a substantial presence in Israel from the second exile until the early twentieth century.

So you are arguing the merits of right to territorial claim from the Bible? Now you are no better off than the radical jewish settlers in the Palestinian occupied territories who say they have a biblical mandate to occupy land.

In any case, our sanctions against Iraq caused an equally destructive effect on the middle east by once again flooding the region with Iraqi refugees and intellectuals.

The U.N.'s sanctions, you mean. And once again, you assign middle eastern immigration policies to whom? Oh yes, the U.S., of course. Might I suggest that Iraqis left Iraq because of the Iraqi Baathist policies regarding compliance with U.N. mandates following their unprovoked invasion and pillaging of their neighboring country Kuwait. Funny how U.S.-bashers like you never mention what Iraq or any other offending undemocratic middle eastern nation does to deserve sanctions. Last I saw, getting a Security Council vote for sanctions against a member country wasn't exactly a slam-dunk.


Along with that, the countries such as Yemen which didn't take a stand either for or against the first gulf war had all of their guest workers in Saudi Arabia deported back to Yemen, totalling 850,000 unemployed people, along with the national loss of their income, which was sent back to yemen from Saudi.

And that is a U.S. policy? How, exactly? Saudi Arabia is notoriously corrupt and undemocratic. The papers in that country publish announcements of names of persons who are deported as persons non grata for simply being in the disfavor of one or another members of the vast and corrupt Saudi royal family.

My only point here is that US policy has destroyed the middle east, and we're completely oblivious to it. It's not difficult to be hated with that kind of record against us. And even though now we're in a "war against terror", nearly all muslims, and even most americans, read it as a "war against islam"... Bush even once called it a "Crusade against terror", to great uproar in Yemen, I can assure you.

Home-grown corruption and oppressive and undemocratic social policies are what have kept countries in the Middle East in the condition they are in. You can always count on a minor sheik or imam to whip up a violent crowd to oppose something or other the U.S. has allegedly done somewhere, or wreck a few city blocks over some offensive cartoons published in Denmark, of all places. But just try to publish a criticism of the local or national political leadership, or raise questions about who in the families of the national leadership is taking bribes or skim on business in the country, and just see how long you last.
 

solumanculver

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2005
364
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Hi, thanks for your comments. I'll respond to a few of your criticisms.

The popular perception of the United States as evil puppetmaster, financier of Israel and oppressor-by-proxy has been cynically created and fed by the corrupt and oppressive regimes of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, and Iran. The popular press and electronic media of those countries has been the political tool of their respective regimes, and has been handily manipulated into demonizing Israel and by extension, the United States as the cause of unrest and injustice in the middle east. It has been a largely successful effort that has kept genuine democratic political reform and the control of state-facilitated corruption at bay in most of those countries.

I think you have a great point here that I'm not really disputing. What I was trying to get across is not that the US is the great satan, but that it's reasonable for Muslims-in-the-street to resent the united states. Definitely the spin that local media put on certain things fuel the problem, and that spin has a lot to do with local politics more than global politics, but we have a very similar problem in the US as well with political spin.

So the U.S. is to blame for the immigration policies of middle-eastern countries? The U.S. drew the map of the middle east in 1947? Was it the U.S. that had control of mandate Palestine after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1919? Was it the U.S. that acquiesced control of the pre-1967 territory to native-born Jewish occupants of those lands?

Now you have me interested.

I don't mean to say that the US was directly responsible for anything that happened during the creation of Israel. We all know how that came about via the balfour declaration and whatnot, our culpability, at least in arab eyes, comes in the form of vast amounts of unsupervised monetary aid that we give to Israel. Once again, though, my point is about arab perception rather than hard historical fact. The only way that we can stop this "Islamic Terrorism" is by changing the way that we are perceived by muslims in the middle east, but until now we've been unwilling to even understand how those perceptions came about.

Racist? Really? So the Arabs of Palestine, Muslim and Christian, and the Druze, are actually a different race? I'll give you that they may have a different religion, and that the State of Israel invidiously discriminates among religions, offering a "law of return" privilege to jews it does not offer to non-jews. But by comparison to its neighbors, who make the practice of religions other than Islam a crime, the considerably more liberal and democratic Israel offers a lot more freedom to its residents who are not jews.

Let me clarify what I mean by "racist state" and what I was getting at when I discussed biblical claims to Israel.

First of all, you're right that the term "race" is often ambiguous when applied to Jews... Since there are admittedly people of every race who practice Judaism. When I say "racist", what I really mean is a systematic preferance for Jews over arabs that is sanctioned by the national government.

You mentioned the right of return, and I think that that is a great example of a "racist" policy. In the middle east politics is very sectarian, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, and the two major "sects" in Israel are Jews and Arabs (considering christian and muslim palestinians together, which they are). If Israel was a real representative democracy then national compromise on key issues would be based upon negotiations between these two factions. The right of return is a policy that allows people of one faction, albeit the majority, populate the country to the other group's political detriment. When this right of return is seen in light of the explicit refusal to allow palestinian refugees to return to their own actual homes in Israel, homes that they actually owned and lived in, the racist dimension of the policy becomes more tangible. Also consider, for instance, the Israel land administration (here's a link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_National_Fund) It's a governmental organization whose purpose was to collect land and lease it to citizens, but it was actually legally forbidden from leasing land to any non-jews. As of 2005, this law has been declared unconstitutional in Israel, but once again, my point is about Arab perceptions and, well, when it comes to the land administration that damage has already been done.

As for my point about the biblical land claims, my intent was to preclude the comparison between the "Jewish state" and the "Dutch reformed state" by pointing out that while the nation states of europe came about legitimately as disempowered subnational ethnic groups within the holy roman empire and other feudal systems declared self-determination, the present state of Israel is a nation state founded in somebody elses ancestral land. The Jewish claims to Palestine simply aren't strong enough to warrant that kind of nationalistic state in good faith, and my evidence comes from Jewish history and the hebrew bible itself. A better analogy, and one that I made, is with the United States. We also got our nation late in the political game, and we also got ours by displacing the native group, and there's no doubt that, were we to claim the united states as "The white protestant nation", or whatever, we would be censured.

And that is a U.S. policy? How, exactly? Saudi Arabia is notoriously corrupt and undemocratic. The papers in that country publish announcements of names of persons who are deported as persons non grata for simply being in the disfavor of one or another members of the vast and corrupt Saudi royal family.

You've made a number of criticisms like this, that the US can't be held responsible for things that happen in the middle east like deportations and refugees and economic harm resulting from our policies. I think that there is definitely a point in which we (or the UN) can no longer be considered the proximate cause of these things, but I think that in the case of refugees resulting from UN sanctions that point has definitely not been reached. As for the difference between US sanctions and UN sanctions, by definition any substantive measure that the UN takes must be in furtherance of US policy, since we have a veto over everything that goes on there, and Arabs aren't stupid. The US does not have a veto over procedural matters, though, otherwise we would have vetoed all of the the resolutions concerning israel. Here is a list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_UN_resolutions_concerning_Israel)
 

orbitsurgMD

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 27, 2005
2,107
203
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
First of all, you're right that the term "race" is often ambiguous when applied to Jews... Since there are admittedly people of every race who practice Judaism. When I say "racist", what I really mean is a systematic preferance for Jews over arabs that is sanctioned by the national government.

If we are to hold the category of "race" as valid, and I am not so sure we should as that usually revolves around very imprecise simplifications like skin color or facial features, then the jews and the arabs both are grouped within the same "race" from which the semitic languages evolved, now represented by modern arabic and hebrew.

You mentioned the right of return, and I think that that is a great example of a "racist" policy. In the middle east politics is very sectarian, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, and the two major "sects" in Israel are Jews and Arabs (considering christian and muslim palestinians together, which they are). If Israel was a real representative democracy then national compromise on key issues would be based upon negotiations between these two factions.

[Bolds mine.]

So you are saying that politics in Israel should be race-based, using your understanding of race? Would you say the same for the U.S.? What about England? Or Brazil?



The right of return is a policy that allows people of one faction, albeit the majority, populate the country to the other group's political detriment. When this right of return is seen in light of the explicit refusal to allow palestinian refugees to return to their own actual homes in Israel, homes that they actually owned and lived in, the racist dimension of the policy becomes more tangible. Also consider, for instance, the Israel land administration (here's a link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_National_Fund) It's a governmental organization whose purpose was to collect land and lease it to citizens, but it was actually legally forbidden from leasing land to any non-jews. As of 2005, this law has been declared unconstitutional in Israel, but once again, my point is about Arab perceptions and, well, when it comes to the land administration that damage has already been done.

As far as I can see, the law of return was created to allow an unhindered passage to a palestine homeland for Jews wishing to emigrate from any country to a country where they would enjoy the rights of citizenship, which many did not where they were living. The purpose was to eliminate the barriers that had existed to Jewish migrants up until that point, including those laws in historically immigrant-settled countries (several South American countries, and the U.S., particularly), and those barriers that inflicted particular hardship on Jewish refugees attempting to leave Europe during the Nazi period. The effect on non-Jewish occupants of Mandate Palestine, and those displaced after the establishment of the State was secondary. Citizenship laws that restrict rights to Jewish citizens present a moral if not a legal problem, but given the climate of hostility in the region to the mere presence of Jews and the well-documented demographic change likely from the greater population growth rate among non-jewish residents of Israel, the jewish population in Israel may find themselves in the particularly uncomfortable position of being a ruling "racial" minority. The history of similar nations in the past century is no reassurance. But then, neither is the idea of ethnic cleansing, which too many of their hostile neighbors seem all too ready to start.



You've made a number of criticisms like this, that the US can't be held responsible for things that happen in the middle east like deportations and refugees and economic harm resulting from our policies.

That is precisely my point. They aren't our policies. We don't decide how many Palestinian or Yemeni work visas Oman or Saudi Arabia gets to issue. We don't decide where Iraqis who want to leave Iraq get to go, and we didn't decide for Saddam Hussein how he and his regime would comply with U.N. sanctions. And we didn't force The Baathist/Saddam regime to invade Kuwait. All of those are acts of other nations, made for good or bad reasons, and the U.S. is not responsible for them. So I don't agree with you or the myth that the U.S. is somehow the power pulling all the strings in the Middle East. And I don't think the U.S. is to blame for the Middle East being a mess, if you think of it that way. That seems to be the premise of so many who have been manipulated by the state media in that part of the world. But just because it is a "perception", even widely held and repeated, doesn't make it true.
 

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
320
0
US
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
If we are to hold the category of "race" as valid, and I am not so sure we should as that usually revolves around very imprecise simplifications like skin color or facial features

Imprecise is right. Just to add a tangential point to the above: It seems to me that race has become less and less about "blood" or skin color, and more about buying into the core political assumptions that "authentic" members of a group purport to hold.

Witness the slurs and outright racist remarks thrown at Condolezza Rice, with the underlying theme of "she's not really black." Also witness the risable characterization of Bill Clinton as the nation's first "Black President."

It seems to be more a matter of ideology than skin color, with the dominant meme-makers of the group excommunicating others based on failure to adhere to certain core political assumptions that have nothing to do with one's melanin content. And if it's more about political belief than skin color, then race can hardly be considered to exist as a discrete category based on a phenotype. Instead, it's a group that anyone can apparently join, based as it is on a socially constructed belief system.

Also, let me just say how much I've enjoyed this particular thread. It's rare to witness a civil discussion on these issues... issues so tightly held by some that the internet back-and-forth eventually degenerates into people screaming epithets past one another. :thumbup: for the participants in this forum for engaging in this discussion at a modest volume.
 

solumanculver

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2005
364
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
If we are to hold the category of "race" as valid, and I am not so sure we should as that usually revolves around very imprecise simplifications like skin color or facial features, then the jews and the arabs both are grouped within the same "race" from which the semitic languages evolved, now represented by modern arabic and hebrew.

Hey, there's been a lot of concern about my use of the word "race", so I'm going to stop using it. What I really mean when I say "racism" in Israel is that, inasmuch as there is a difference between Israeli Jews and Palestinians, this difference has become the criteria for a set of discriminatory policies in Israel. Instead of race it might better be defined as ethnicity. I've been trying to avoid phrasing the problem in terms of religion because I think that that is very deceptive. It's true that "Judaism" is a religion, but many "Jews" that I have known have been at best only marginally religious and more often than not completely atheistic. As for classifying races linguistically, that is generally a good way to trace ancient roots of a people, but it has little meaning with regards to current genetic or cultural makeup. By way of example, Amharic is also a semitic language, but few people consider ethiopians to be the same "race" as most American Jews...

So you are saying that politics in Israel should be race-based, using your understanding of race? Would you say the same for the U.S.? What about England? Or Brazil?

Yeah... I'm not really saying that politics should be "racially" based in any country. But in Israel there is a pretty clear political line between arabs and jews vis a vis settlements, occupations, and the Israeli land fund, for instance. Given that these questions are generally policies that openly victimize or discriminate against Palestinians, the Palestinian citizens of Israel should have a say in their legitimacy. But the palestinian voice is constantly being diluted nationally by the right of return for Jews, denial of return to palestinian refugees, and it's being diluted locally by Jewish settlements in the west bank.

As far as I can see, the law of return was created to allow an unhindered passage to a palestine homeland for Jews wishing to emigrate from any country to a country where they would enjoy the rights of citizenship, which many did not where they were living.

I think that you have a good point here. Israel was founded to create a homeland for Jews, who have historically been persecuted across the world. To be honest, I don't have a problem with the right of return per se... my problem is that it is not extended equally to palestinians. That's the "racist" element of the program (or ethnicist, or whatever). Ironically, this historical "statelessness" that has been a rallying point for the zionist movement has now been inflicted on the Palestinians, who have been a refugee people for more than 50 years.


the jewish population in Israel may find themselves in the particularly uncomfortable position of being a ruling "racial" minority.

To be honest, this quote is more or less exactly what I'm trying to get at. Any state in which there is a fear of there being a "ruling racial minority" is an apartheid state. That is the definition of an apartheid state.

So I don't agree with you or the myth that the U.S. is somehow the power pulling all the strings in the Middle East. And I don't think the U.S. is to blame for the Middle East being a mess, if you think of it that way.

Hey, when you phrase it in terms of culpability and blameworthiness it makes it more difficult to see the facts. I'm not exactly arguing that the US is blameworthy for having the crushing impact that it had on the middle east, inasmuch as we didn't want these things to happen. What I am saying is that since our policies did severely damage the middle eastern economies/kill many arabs, Arabs in the middle east hold us blameworthy.

My original point, which I feel I have to continually reassert, is that in the middle east we are widely regarded as having been the agressors in the war on terror. We caused the original insult that motivated these terrorists to begin with, and now we're trying to pacify them by doing more of the same. It will never work.
 

orbitsurgMD

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 27, 2005
2,107
203
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Hey, when you phrase it in terms of culpability and blameworthiness it makes it more difficult to see the facts. I'm not exactly arguing that the US is blameworthy for having the crushing impact that it had on the middle east, inasmuch as we didn't want these things to happen. What I am saying is that since our policies did severely damage the middle eastern economies/kill many arabs, Arabs in the middle east hold us blameworthy.

We buy oil from countries in the Middle East, directly and otherwise, that have governments that are oppressive and undemocratic. But from whom would we buy this oil if not them? Is this a matter with which we even have a choice? Our consumption, and the vast transfer of money that pays for the consumption has lined the pockets of kings and despots all around the world. Some of those governments foment unrest elsewhere as a way of deflecting criticism of the way they manage their peoples at home. It is far easier to have your state television service rant against Israel and publicize every extraterritorial action the Israeli defense forces take than to have to answer questions about how you and your thousands of "royal" family members have been skimming off business in your kingdom or have been abusing guest workers who have visas to work in your country.

Oil will sell for hard currency now and in the future just as it has done in the past. Only now, we can expect a larger share going to developing industrial economies whose energy requirements can be expected to grow along with their economies and their prosperity. We happened to be the earliest of the large consumers, but the future will require we share the supply with others as able to pay as we have been. The countries that have oil to sell will sell it whether we want to buy it from them or not.

We assist Israel. Israel has bar none the most well-developed support and lobbying network in the U.S. of any nation and even better than many domestic interests thought to have undue influence in Washington. We also assist Egypt, from whom we bought cooperation after they were abandoned by the Persian Gulf nations following their signing the Camp David accords. Should we have done this? Or would the Middle East have been better off with Israel still occupying the Sinai as a buffer against Egyptian aggression? Did our military and economic assistance to Egypt, which has been extended in rough parity with that we give Israel further entrench the corrupt and abusive leadership in that country?

The countries of the middle east are makers of most of their problems. They are fortunate, many of them, to have a resource the rest of the world wants to buy and that can afford them a degree of economic progress and development that would be impossible otherwise. They can import almost anything, buy the latest consumer goods, telecommunications systems, construction services, aircraft, medical services and training and weaponry.
They can hire foreign labor of almost any kind, from first-world financial and technical expertise to third-world manual labor. If they are abusive in the ways they do these things, is that the fault of the countries whose companies have bought their oil that gave them the means to do so, or should the fault lie more properly with those oil-producing nations and their leaders? You seem to be saying the former. If true, I don't agree.

My original point, which I feel I have to continually reassert, is that in the middle east we are widely regarded as having been the agressors in the war on terror. We caused the original insult that motivated these terrorists to begin with, and now we're trying to pacify them by doing more of the same. It will never work.

We are regarded as aggressors how, exactly. You say "because of our policies", but you don't specfy which policies those are. Supporting Israel? Supporting Egypt? Buying oil? Selling our goods and services? Freeing Kuwait? Upholding the U.N. sanctions?

Just because the state-controlled media of the undemocratic middle east countries have misrepresented us before their audiences and accuse us as a way of deflecting blame from their leadership that justly deserve criticism for corruption and failure to reform does not mean we are responsible for the problems in those countries. It really seems you have bought into their lies.
 

solumanculver

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2005
364
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Hi, I'm having a hard time following your exact arguments in this last post. It seems like we agree on quite a bit. I haven't really addressed this in my posts, but of course I agree that the middle east is filled with undemocratic crappy regimes, yet it's not these regimes, for the most part, that are behind international terrorism. So-called Islamic terrorism is a grass-roots kind of movement that is encouraged by local religious authorities that have no connection with the government and exacerbated by economic and political pressures. Whether rightly or wrongly the average Muslim-in-the-street assigns a certain amount of responsibility to the US for these economic and political pressures. My point is, for the most part, this blame is not unreasonable.

We are regarded as aggressors how, exactly. You say "because of our policies", but you don't specfy which policies those are. Supporting Israel? Supporting Egypt? Buying oil? Selling our goods and services? Freeing Kuwait? Upholding the U.N. sanctions?

It seems like I pointed to two main policies that inflame the arab world.
1) Our support of Israel and
2) Our (or UN) sanctions against Iraq
nowadays we can add
3) Our war in Iraq

Both 1) and 2) were responsible for massive changes in demographics as refugees fled their respective countries, as for 3) muslims regard it us a completely unjustified aggression. This should not be too surprising, though, because a good percentage of the United States also regard it as unjustified.

We buy oil from countries in the Middle East, directly and otherwise, that have governments that are oppressive and undemocratic. But from whom would we buy this oil if not them? Is this a matter with which we even have a choice? Our consumption, and the vast transfer of money that pays for the consumption has lined the pockets of kings and despots all around the world.

I agree that our main interest in the middle east has to do with oil. Were it not for the presence of oil in the middle east we would not have supported Israel nor Invaded Iraq in the first place, much less be there again. It seems irrelevant to me, though, why we created these policies in the first place, and it is certainly irrelevant to the terrorists that crash planes into our buildings. What's important to me is how we can put an end to this war, and I think that we have to first take a critical look at the impact of our foreign policy in the middle east and secondly see what we can do to change it so as not to inspire terrorist attacks against us.

We assist Israel. Israel has bar none the most well-developed support and lobbying network in the U.S. of any nation and even better than many domestic interests thought to have undue influence in Washington.

Yeah. I agree that the Israeli lobby is definitely an important factor in our continuing support of Israel... It also seems like this could be an indictment of our political system as well. Our support of Israel is based upon Israelis paying campaign contributions to our politicians running for reelection? It's true as well that we support egypt, but this was also because of the Israeli lobby. We're paying egypt off for not being aggressive towards Israel... As for our assistance entrenching a corrupt government in Egypt, I would say that Egypt has problems, but they are by no means more corrupt than most of the developing world. They are actually one of the most stable and effective governments in Africa.

Just because the state-controlled media of the undemocratic middle east countries have misrepresented us before their audiences and accuse us as a way of deflecting blame from their leadership that justly deserve criticism for corruption and failure to reform does not mean we are responsible for the problems in those countries. It really seems you have bought into their lies.

Hi, I think that you exaggerate a little bit the power of the state in the Arab media. I subscribe to an Arabic newspaper called Al-Quds al-Araby, which is palestinian but based in london. It definitely promotes the palestinian viewpoint, which is a bias, but it's not a bad newspaper I don't think. I also subscribe to a Hebrew Newspaper... although since my hebrew isn't too good I don't get through too much of it. It's called Sha'ar lamatkheel, it's designed for recent immigrants to Israel who speak crappy Hebrew. In any case, it presents a pretty one-sided argument as well, but very similar to the viewpoint in American newspapers. Oftentimes the same thing reported on in US newspapers will be reported in the Arabic ones, and it's very enlightening to see how each side treats the news. There are definitely differences, but I wouldn't say that the Arabic newspaper fabricates anything... It would be kind of hard to, Gaza isn't really that big...

That's not to say that national arabic media doesn't have an enormous bias when it discusses national government issues, they do and its awful. I used to work for a national arabic newspaper in Yemen. I have funny stories about it too.
 

orbitsurgMD

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 27, 2005
2,107
203
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Hi, I'm having a hard time following your exact arguments in this last post. . . . Whether rightly or wrongly the average Muslim-in-the-street assigns a certain amount of responsibility to the US for these economic and political pressures. My point is, for the most part, this blame is not unreasonable.

The point is the U.S. buys oil from and sells products to those countries, as does Japan and most of the rest of the advanced industralized countries in the world. We don't make their immigration policies. Our support for Israel is significant, but the result of that support has been wildly exaggerated. This has been done by the controlled media of the undemocratic countries as a way of deflecting attention from what should be more obvious and more pressing problems within those countries caused by the leaders of those countries. If the man in the arab street believes his life is poor and lacking in basic freedoms, the cause is the corruption and oppression done by his own leaders. Of course it is very useful to them to blame the U.S. for their misery. No one else tells them different, that is for sure.

As far as supporting Israel goes, I think we should support countries that have commitments to democracy at least as much as those that don't. If you think of the economic value of our balance of trade with Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf countries, the support we give Israel and Egypt together is insignificant. Does the support that Israel has been able to obtain from the U.S. government by way of its strong network of political action committees embolden the Israeli government to act in ways it might not if outside support were not forthcoming? Probably. But the alternative of allowing militarized extranational groups who receive substantial funding and material support from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and other well-financed Gulf countries to see through their stated intention to undertake ethnic cleansing leaves little room for compromise. Some, perhaps even you, will argue that that understanding is a false dichotomy, that it isn't a choice between the U.S. underwriting an intransigent Israel or letting Hamas and Hezbollah drive Israelis into the sea. I'm not so sure. I am sure that none of the other countries in the middle east represent the kind of governments or societies that should be preferred to that of a democracy with freedoms of speech and assembly and press, rule of law, elected representatives and due process rights for individuals. Israel isn't perfect, but it is streets ahead of any of its neighbors on all of those counts. And for that reason alone, it deserves our support.



It seems like I pointed to two main policies that inflame the arab world.
1) Our support of Israel and
2) Our (or UN) sanctions against Iraq
nowadays we can add
3) Our war in Iraq

Both 1) and 2) were responsible for massive changes in demographics as refugees fled their respective countries, as for 3) muslims regard it us a completely unjustified aggression. This should not be too surprising, though, because a good percentage of the United States also regard it as unjustified.

I sometimes wonder what they would have said about us if we hadn't gone to the Gulf in 1990-91. The sanctions were created to prevent the Baathist regime from further oppressing the Kurds and the Shiites as well as to prevent them from using oil money to re-arm and further their WMD development program (which at the time they admitted they did have). Do you think the welfare of the children of Iraq mattered in the least to the Baathists? Not at all. But they were a perfect public relations weapon to use against the West--the people who liberated Kuwait and beat back the regional aggressor who attacked not just Kuwait, but Iran, that resulted in the losses of more than one million people.

Should we have let Dr. El-Baredi and Dr. Blix work the scene a little longer before giving ultimatums? I don't know; they didn't seem to be making any progress, and the Iraqi government pretty much was able to play them at its will. Another year of negotiations and thwarted inspection efforts would have just given the Mr. Hussein and his Baathists more time to commit more crimes at the expense of his own people. But you want to blame their suffering on the U.S. and the U.N.
 

solumanculver

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2005
364
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Hi, I think that we may have lost the forest for the trees in this discussion. My essential point is that our war in Iraq was a failed policy from the get-go because our administration did not take into account the political causes of Islamic terrorism to begin with. We can never make ground in the WOT in Iraq because our presence there has become the primary impetus fueling global terrorism.

In fact, we can never win the WOT at all as long as we ignore what Arabs and muslims are telling us... They have legitimate grievances. It seems to be worth our while to change a few aspects of our foreign policy to antagonize the Middle east a little bit less, even if doing so involves taking our Israeli buddies to task on shooting rockets into peoples houses.

In the end, the average Muslim-in-the-street is not a bad guy. He's probably a nicer guy than the average american in the street... yet he utterly hates us. He's basing this hatred on tangible things, too. A palestinian refugee has taken his job, a bunch of Iraqi refugees have flooded his labor market, every day on the news he sees pictures of Israeli tanks rolling up on Palestinian kids, he reads about rockets shooting into peoples houses and secret torture prisons in Cuba... Even though these things are not direct evil machinations of an american empire, there are natural interpretations of the facts that put a lot of the blame on us, and they have a prima facie case against us, even if in the end we might be innocent. All I'm saying is we have to take his complaints seriously and not just zip-tie him and put a bag over his head, or whatever we do...
 

RichL025

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 6, 2005
422
4
Washington
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
My essential point is that our war in Iraq was a failed policy from the get-go because our administration did not take into account the political causes of Islamic terrorism to begin with.
At the get-go, the war in Iraq had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Islamic Terrorism.

In the end, the average Muslim-in-the-street is not a bad guy. He's probably a nicer guy than the average american in the street... .
Why do you say that?
 

solumanculver

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2005
364
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
At the get-go, the war in Iraq had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Islamic Terrorism.

Hi, yeah... it's difficult to say what our reasons were for invading Iraq. It seems like we didn't want their alleged WMD to be given or sold to terrorists...

Why do you say that?

That's simply a little bit of editorializing on my part. I don't exactly have data to prove it... It's just something that I came to realize when I was living in the Middle East. But if you want my anecdotal evidence... In my experience strangers in the middle east invite you into their homes and feed you, it's never dangerous to go out at night, and most people are nice and truly interested in hearing what you have to say. Of course there are some unfriendly people as well, but in my opinion the friendly people dominated.
 

RichL025

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 6, 2005
422
4
Washington
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
That's simply a little bit of editorializing on my part. I don't exactly have data to prove it... It's just something that I came to realize when I was living in the Middle East. But if you want my anecdotal evidence...
Fair enough - but I think you'll find Americans do much the same - espescially when you get away from the bigger cities.

On NPR yesterday I heard about a movie that premiered at Sundance (?) this year - five arab muslims travelling across America, stopping is small-town america and seeing what it's like. NPR interviewed one - a palestinian woman, who said she was surprised by how warm and welcoming americans were. (Her main complaint was that she hated american food <g>).

In my experience strangers in the middle east invite you into their homes and feed you, it's never dangerous to go out at night, and most people are nice and truly interested in hearing what you have to say. Of course there are some unfriendly people as well, but in my opinion the friendly people dominated.
See above - also, during _my_ travels in the Middle East (mainly amongst Kurds and Turks, but some Arabs also) I was struck by the dichotomy of how they could bitterly complain about America, but be warm and friendly to american travellers. Matter of fact, the above goes for most of the people I met in Eastern Europe & Russia, also.

Most of America is the same - it's easy to be scared of or demonize an "other", espesically one who doesn't share your predominant religion, but when most people actually _meet_ someone from that culture, the shared values tend to overpower the differences.

At least that's my humble observations over the years.
 

solumanculver

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2005
364
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Fair enough - but I think you'll find Americans do much the same - espescially when you get away from the bigger cities.

Yeah, you're probably right about Americans in smaller towns being friendly to foreigners. I guess I wouldn't really notice if Americans are friendly or not because I don't like to talk to people...

See above - also, during _my_ travels in the Middle East (mainly amongst Kurds and Turks, but some Arabs also) I was struck by the dichotomy of how they could bitterly complain about America, but be warm and friendly to american travellers.

Yeah, I noticed that as well. Oftentimes people think that Arabs hate Americans, they actually don't, but they sure do hate American policy.

Most of America is the same - it's easy to be scared of or demonize an "other", espesically one who doesn't share your predominant religion, but when most people actually _meet_ someone from that culture, the shared values tend to overpower the differences.

Yeah, I think that's a pretty good assessment. It might be suspect in principle to say that any one group is nicer "on average" than any other group... but, like I said earlier, it was my subjective impression while I was living there that people were nicer. The relative lack of crime, though, is an objective fact. It's actually amazing. Of course there is a whole other class of crime that they have, which is tribally based murders... but of course that doesn't affect foreigners, it's hatfield and McCoys kind of stuff.
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 14 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.