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what do you all think will be the outcome of this war??(98 posts)

what do you all think will be the outcome of this war??ishmael
Oct 14, 2001 5:26 PM
bear with me..please read this, it'll take about 6 minutes..i cant talk bikes thinking that there alot of people, me included, who dont know as much as we should about what is happending around us..

Arundhati Roy
Saturday September 29, 2001
The Guardian

In the aftermath of the unconscionable September 11 suicide attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre, an American newscaster said: "Good and evil rarely manifest themselves as clearly as they did last Tuesday. People who we don't know massacred people who we do. And they did so with contemptuous glee." Then he broke down and wept.

Here's the rub: America is at war against people it doesn't know, because they don't appear much on TV. Before it has properly identified or even begun to comprehend the nature of its enemy, the US government has, in a rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric, cobbled together an "international coalition against terror", mobilised its army, its air force, its navy and its media, and committed them to battle.

The trouble is that once Amer ica goes off to war, it can't very well return without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place.

What we're witnessing here is the spectacle of the world's most powerful country reaching reflexively, angrily, for an old instinct to fight a new kind of war. Suddenly, when it comes to defending itself, America's streamlined warships, cruise missiles and F-16 jets look like obsolete, lumbering things. As deterrence, its arsenal of nuclear bombs is no longer worth its weight in scrap. Box-cutters, penknives, and cold anger are the weapons with which the wars of the new century will be waged. Anger is the lock pick. It slips through customs unnoticed. Doesn't show up in baggage checks.

Who is America fighting? On September 20, the FBI said that it had doubts about the identities of some of the hijackers. On the same day President George Bush said, "We know exactly who these people are and which governments are supporting them." It sounds as though the president knows something that the FBI and the American public don't.

In his September 20 address to the US Congress, President Bush called the enemies of America "enemies of freedom". "Americans are asking, 'Why do they hate us?' " he said. "They hate our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." People are being asked to make two leaps of faith here. First, to assume that The Enemy is who the US government says it is, even though it has no substantial evidence to support that claim. And second, to assume that The Enemy's motives are what the US government says they are, and there's nothing to support that either.

For strategic, military and economic reasons, it is vital for the US government to persuade its public that their commitment to freedom and democracy and the American Way of Life is under attack. In the current atmosphere of grief, outrage and anger, it's an easy notion to peddle. However, if that were true, it's reasonable to wonder why the symbols of America's economic and military dominance - the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon - were chosen as the targets of the attacks. Why not the Statue of Liberty? Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)? It must be hard for ordinary Americans, so recently bereaved, to look up at the world with their eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them to be indifference. It isn't indifference. It's just augury. An absence of surprise. The tired wisdom of knowing that what goes around eventually comes around. American people ought to know that it is not them but their government's policies that are so hated. They can't possibly doubt that they themselves, their extraordinary musicians, their writers, their actors, their spectacular sportsmen and their cinema, are universally welcomed. All of us have been moved by the courage and grace shown by firefighters, rescue workers and ordinary office staff in the days since the attacks.

America's grief at what happened has been immense and immensely public. It would be grotesque to expect it to calibrate or modulate its anguish. However, it will be a pity if, instead of using this as an opportunity to try to understand why September 11 happened, Americans use it as an opportunity to usurp the whole world's sorrow to mourn and avenge only their own. Because then it falls to the rest of us to ask the hard questions and say the harsh things. And for our pains, for our bad timing, we will be disliked, ignored and perhaps eventually silenced.

The world will probably never know what motivated those particular hijackers who flew planes into those particular American buildings. They were not glory boys. They left no suicide notes, no political messages; no organisation has claimed credit for the attacks. All we know is that their belief in what they were doing outstripped the natural human instinct for survival, or any desire to be remembered. It's almost as though they could not scale down the enormity of their rage to anything smaller than their deeds. And what they did has blown a hole in the world as we knew it. In the absence of information, politicians, political commentators and writers (like myself) will invest the act with their own politics, with their own interpretations. This speculation, this analysis of the political climate in which the attacks took place, can only be a good thing.

But war is looming large. Whatever remains to be said must be said quickly. Before America places itself at the helm of the "international coalition against terror", before it invites (and coerces) countries to actively participate in its almost godlike mission - called Operation Infinite Justice until it was pointed out that this could be seen as an insult to Muslims, who believe that only Allah can mete out infinite justice, and was renamed Operation Enduring Freedom- it would help if some small clarifications are made. For example, Infinite Justice/Enduring Freedom for whom? Is this America's war against terror in America or against terror in general? What exactly is being avenged here? Is it the tragic loss of almost 7,000 lives, the gutting of five million square feet of office space in Manhattan, the destruction of a section of the Pentagon, the loss of several hundreds of thousands of jobs, the bankruptcy of some airline companies and the dip in the New York Stock Exchange? Or is it more than that? In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then the US secretary of state, was asked on national television what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of US economic sanctions. She replied that it was "a very hard choice", but that, all things considered, "we think the price is worth it". Albright never lost her job for saying this. She continued to travel the world representing the views and aspirations of the US government. More pertinently, the sanctions against Iraq remain in place. Children continue to die.

So here we have it. The equivocating distinction between civilisation and savagery, between the "massacre of innocent people" or, if you like, "a clash of civilisations" and "collateral damage". The sophistry and fastidious algebra of infinite justice. How many dead Iraqis will it take to make the world a better place? How many dead Afghans for every dead American? How many dead women and children for every dead man? How many dead mojahedin for each dead investment banker? As we watch mesmerised, Operation Enduring Freedom unfolds on TV monitors across the world. A coalition of the world's superpowers is closing in on Afghanistan, one of the poorest, most ravaged, war-torn countries in the world, whose ruling Taliban government is sheltering Osama bin Laden, the man being held responsible for the September 11 attacks.

The only thing in Afghanistan that could possibly count as collateral value is its citizenry. (Among them, half a million maimed orphans.There are accounts of hobbling stampedes that occur when artificial limbs are airdropped into remote, inaccessible villages.) Afghanistan's economy is in a shambles. In fact, the problem for an invading army is that Afghanistan has no conventional coordinates or signposts to plot on a military map - no big cities, no highways, no industrial complexes, no water treatment plants. Farms have been turned into mass graves. The countryside is littered with land mines - 10 million is the most recent estimate. The American army would first have to clear the mines and build roads in order to take its soldiers in.

Fearing an attack from America, one million citizens have fled from their homes and arrived at the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The UN estimates that there are eight million Afghan citizens who need emergency aid. As supplies run out - food and aid agencies have been asked to leave - the BBC reports that one of the worst humanitarian disasters of recent times has begun to unfold. Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death while they're waiting to be killed.

In America there has been rough talk of "bombing Afghanistan back to the stone age". Someone please break the news that Afghanistan is already there. And if it's any consolation, America played no small part in helping it on its way. The American people may be a little fuzzy about where exactly Afghanistan is (we hear reports that there's a run on maps of the country), but the US government and Afghanistan are old friends.

In 1979, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA and Pakistan's ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) launched the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA. Their purpose was to harness the energy of Afghan resistance to the Soviets and expand it into a holy war, an Islamic jihad, which would turn Muslim countries within the Soviet Union against the communist regime and eventually destabilise it. When it began, it was meant to be the Soviet Union's Vietnam. It turned out to be much more than that. Over the years, through the ISI, the CIA funded and recruited almost 100,000 radical mojahedin from 40 Islamic countries as soldiers for America's proxy war. The rank and file of the mojahedin were unaware that their jihad was actually being fought on behalf of Uncle Sam. (The irony is that America was equally unaware that it was financing a future war against itself.)

In 1989, after being bloodied by 10 years of relentless conflict, the Russians withdrew, leaving behind a civilisation reduced to rubble.

Civil war in Afghanistan raged on. The jihad spread to Chechnya, Kosovo and eventually to Kashmir. The CIA continued to pour in money and military equipment, but the overheads had become immense, and more money was needed. The mojahedin ordered farmers to plant opium as a "revolutionary tax". The ISI set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. Within two years of the CIA's arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland had become the biggest producer of heroin in the world, and the single biggest source of the heroin on American streets. The annual profits, said to be between $100bn and $200bn, were ploughed back into training and arming militants.

In 1995, the Taliban - then a marginal sect of dangerous, hardline fundamentalists - fought its way to power in Afghanistan. It was funded by the ISI, that old cohort of the CIA, and supported by many political parties in Pakistan. The Taliban unleashed a regime of terror. Its first victims were its own people, particularly women. It closed down girls' schools, dismissed women from government jobs, and enforced sharia laws under which women deemed to be "immoral" are stoned to death, and widows guilty of being adulterous are buried alive. Given the Taliban government's human rights track record, it seems unlikely that it will in any way be intimidated or swerved from its purpose by the prospect of war, or the threat to the lives of its civilians.

After all that has happened, can there be anything more ironic than Russia and America joining hands to re-destroy Afghanistan? The question is, can you destroy destruction? Dropping more bombs on Afghanistan will only shuffle the rubble, scramble some old graves and disturb the dead.

The desolate landscape of Afghanistan was the burial ground of Soviet communism and the springboard of a unipolar world dominated by America. It made the space for neocapitalism and corporate globalisation, again dominated by America. And now Afghanistan is poised to become the graveyard for the unlikely soldiers who fought and won this war for America.

And what of America's trusted ally? Pakistan too has suffered enormously. The US government has not been shy of supporting military dictators who have blocked the idea of democracy from taking root in the country. Before the CIA arrived, there was a small rural market for opium in Pakistan. Between 1979 and 1985, the number of heroin addicts grew from zero to one-and-a-half million. Even before September 11, there were three million Afghan refugees living in tented camps along the border. Pakistan's economy is crumbling. Sectarian violence, globalisation's structural adjustment programmes and drug lords are tearing the country to pieces. Set up to fight the Soviets, the terrorist training centres and madrasahs, sown like dragon's teeth across the country, produced fundamentalists with tremendous popular appeal within Pakistan itself. The Taliban, which the Pakistan government has sup ported, funded and propped up for years, has material and strategic alliances with Pakistan's own political parties.

Now the US government is asking (asking?) Pakistan to garotte the pet it has hand-reared in its backyard for so many years. President Musharraf, having pledged his support to the US, could well find he has something resembling civil war on his hands.

India, thanks in part to its geography, and in part to the vision of its former leaders, has so far been fortunate enough to be left out of this Great Game. Had it been drawn in, it's more than likely that our democracy, such as it is, would not have survived. Today, as some of us watch in horror, the Indian government is furiously gyrating its hips, begging the US to set up its base in India rather than Pakistan. Having had this ringside view of Pakistan's sordid fate, it isn't just odd, it's unthinkable, that India should want to do this. Any third world country with a fragile economy and a complex social base should know by now that to invite a superpower such as America in (whether it says it's staying or just passing through) would be like inviting a brick to drop through your windscreen.

Operation Enduring Freedom is ostensibly being fought to uphold the American Way of Life. It'll probably end up undermining it completely. It will spawn more anger and more terror across the world. For ordinary people in America, it will mean lives lived in a climate of sickening uncertainty: will my child be safe in school? Will there be nerve gas in the subway? A bomb in the cinema hall? Will my love come home tonight? There have been warnings about the possibility of biological warfare - smallpox, bubonic plague, anthrax - the deadly payload of innocuous crop-duster aircraft. Being picked off a few at a time may end up being worse than being annihilated all at once by a nuclear bomb.

The US government, and no doubt governments all over the world, will use the climate of war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, deny free speech, lay off workers, harass ethnic and religious minorities, cut back on public spending and divert huge amounts of money to the defence industry. To what purpose? President Bush can no more "rid the world of evil-doers" than he can stock it with saints. It's absurd for the US government to even toy with the notion that it can stamp out terrorism with more violence and oppression. Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease. Terrorism has no country. It's transnational, as global an enterprise as Coke or Pepsi or Nike. At the first sign of trouble, terrorists can pull up stakes and move their "factories" from country to country in search of a better deal. Just like the multi-nationals.

Terrorism as a phenomenon may never go away. But if it is to be contained, the first step is for America to at least acknowledge that it shares the planet with other nations, with other human beings who, even if they are not on TV, have loves and griefs and stories and songs and sorrows and, for heaven's sake, rights. Instead, when Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, was asked what he would call a victory in America's new war, he said that if he could convince the world that Americans must be allowed to continue with their way of life, he would consider it a victory.

The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card from a world gone horribly wrong. The message may have been written by Bin Laden (who knows?) and delivered by his couriers, but it could well have been signed by the ghosts of the victims of America's old wars. The millions killed in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 17,500 killed when Israel - backed by the US - invaded Lebanon in 1982, the 200,000 Iraqis killed in Operation Desert Storm, the thousands of Palestinians who have died fighting Israel's occupation of the West Bank. And the millions who died, in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Panama, at the hands of all the terrorists, dictators and genocidists whom the American government supported, trained, bankrolled and supplied with arms. And this is far from being a comprehensive list.

For a country involved in so much warfare and conflict, the American people have been extremely fortunate. The strikes on September 11 were only the second on American soil in over a century. The first was Pearl Harbour. The reprisal for this took a long route, but ended with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This time the world waits with bated breath for the horrors to come.

Someone recently said that if Osama bin Laden didn't exist, America would have had to invent him. But, in a way, America did invent him. He was among the jihadis who moved to Afghanistan in 1979 when the CIA commenced its operations there. Bin Laden has the distinction of being created by the CIA and wanted by the FBI. In the course of a fortnight he has been promoted from suspect to prime suspect and then, despite the lack of any real evidence, straight up the charts to being "wanted dead or alive".

From all accounts, it will be impossible to produce evidence (of the sort that would stand scrutiny in a court of law) to link Bin Laden to the September 11 attacks. So far, it appears that the most incriminating piece of evidence against him is the fact that he has not condemned them.

From what is known about the location of Bin Laden and the living conditions in which he operates, it's entirely possible that he did not personally plan and carry out the attacks - that he is the inspirational figure, "the CEO of the holding company". The Taliban's response to US demands for the extradition of Bin Laden has been uncharacteristically reasonable: produce the evidence, then we'll hand him over. President Bush's response is that the deman
So we roll over and play dead?LC
Oct 14, 2001 6:09 PM
If you don't like the freedom that many people have fought and died for to get then you are welcome to leave; that is if you are even a U.S. citizen. At least we have that choice, unlike most countries. We did not become the most powerful nation by being pacifists and if we don't have a good show of force then the terrorism can only get worse.

Why don't you take your pansy ass and crawl under a rock somewhere to hide.
don't be so aggressive, LCmiss mary mac-mac mac
Oct 14, 2001 6:24 PM
it's aggressive mind-sets like yours (LC) that give america a bad name and get us into trouble. why call ishmael a pansy for being concerned about his future?

i think that article, while taking more than 6 minutes to read, ahem, is quite informative and educational. (assuming these are truths). the media and us government is providing the american people with only watered-down mediated propaganda while hiding critical history and facts that we should all be aware of (heroin factories...i didn't know).

the american people should know why exactly we are in this mess.
Oct 14, 2001 6:58 PM
i think you are wrongishmael
Oct 14, 2001 6:49 PM
what are you saying?..what choice do US citizens have that most others dont?.. the option to leave?.. no you cant leave youre a citizen of the US and can only visit other countries..about your other two points, i agree that not being pacifist likely has to do with us being the most powerfull nation but are you implying that what is most important for a nation is to be strong as apposed to pacifist, cant you be strong without force?...your other point that if we dont have a good show of force then terrorism can only get worse is dead wrong, do you prepose that we scare everyone who could possibly apose us into submission?...what values do you stand for?..are you a US citizen or from the taliban? you have a good argument for anything you say?..
wow that's long, but I agree...more bombing is necessaryHamSammy
Oct 14, 2001 6:20 PM
Why can't we all just....ride bikes :-). nmnestorl
Oct 14, 2001 6:29 PM
In 30 to 40 years we will be driving cars built in AfghanistanLWL
Oct 14, 2001 6:48 PM
If we ever do knock sence into them, we will aid them until they can survive and thrive. Like Germany and Japan.
i hope in the end you are rightishmael
Oct 14, 2001 7:03 PM
but the knocking sense part seems risky and could have a disasterous backlash...knocking sense into them might not be viewed in such a nice light
Showing them that an open mind on beliefs and religionLWL
Oct 14, 2001 8:27 PM
is a good thing. Tolerance is also a good word to use.
Japan and Germany are friends, even though we killed many of them, to show them the light. Could you imagine if the U.S. had the mentality of Germany, Japan (WW II) or the Taliban. They would all be dead.
I have also yet to see a burning Afghan flag in the U.S.
On the whole we are a very easy going country. Maybe to easy.
Showing them that an open mind on beliefs and religionishmael
Oct 14, 2001 9:00 PM
but i think the hostilites between us and other industialized nations have quickly escalated and are different...the afghanis and others have badly suffered from US policy with no recourse for a long time..i think that is one of the reasons they are so pissed.. and then again maybe they are a strange intolerant bunch who get pissed easily, in that case we should avoid pissing them we really have to be tough with every country if it ultimately gets more seem to believe that given time things heal, how bout giving them some time to chill out and in the meantime we can try to compensate some of the other disaster nations we have started...we deffinately arent in the process of making friends/allies the way we behave internationally...pride isnt always a good thing, the facts speak clearly that weve made a bunch of mistakes,why dont we show that america is better than that and put us on a better path..
You're related to Ishmael in Genesis, right?davidl
Oct 14, 2001 7:09 PM
Get real. These rag-heads fly two airliners into the Twin Towers and kill thousands of innocents - that's just flat wrong. There is no understanding it. Have you suffered brain damage? You expect no payback ? This is the typical 'hate-America' garbage disguised as pacifist "discourse."

Let's stick to cycling. At least your cycling posts rise above this crap - usually. Find somewhere else to unload this junk. You sound like you are just in for a free ride. Be thankful you're not in Kabul.
You're related to Ishmael in Genesis, right?ishmael
Oct 14, 2001 8:40 PM
your logic stinks..there is no way to understand it?..then you never seems you feel they are all insane over there and in many other countries too?...and what if you grew up in one of the many countries in which the US has institued an opressive, undemocratic,dicatorship, what do you imagine you might think of americans?..for a country that is supposed to be a christian nation i dont see it looking to christian principles, when is "payback" productive ...i guess the locals of kabul should feel like "payback" after we bomb over there too?..dont tell me im in for a free ride, the free ride is acting without understanding, and the ride ends rudely
Ever heard of an educated fool?davidl
Oct 15, 2001 1:37 AM
You're giving yourself a bad rep on this board. Go back to bikes.
Better an educated fool than a simple fool.Largo
Oct 15, 2001 8:03 AM
C'mon, grow up.
Just because you don't agree with someone dosen't mean you have to belittle them.
Or perhaps you feel it is wrong for people to have opinions that differ from you, thats how the Taliban feels.
Better an educated fool than a simple fool.Gi Joe
Oct 16, 2001 3:38 PM
How's towel heads, instead?
GI JOE = RACIST TWAT LOSER - c'mon Gregg block this fukwit - nmMJ
Oct 17, 2001 1:04 AM
Oct 15, 2001 2:54 AM
it's nice of you to demonstrate your depth of international persepctive through your knuckle-dragging-racist epithet

have you firebombed any mosques recently? - shot any Sikhs? they lookalmost the same after all - you'd probably be justified by your rant - after all your only lumping in most of Southern Asia and the middle east with your 'comments'

it is wrong to kill people - most people (in and out of the US) think it's right to respond - but I thought we called those people 'terrorists' - save the racism for your next klan meeting bubba

it's important for people, especially racist fukwits like you, to at least see that there is a whole wide world out there - they may not all think exactly the same way and they may even disagree with your point of view, after all they're not from the cast of Deliverance - they may have even have a passport and left their country once in their life - you're the brain damaged if you can't piece together why a view from outside the US, or a pacifist point of view, should be heard and understood before outright dismissal - idiot - it's about the best response

Arundhati Roy's point of view is one that should be noted - in this case it's not just more magic realism - ignorance of hundrerds of millions people's points of view isn't what dealing with the 'ragheads' is all about - idiot

now go listen to Rush Limbaugh - you know why he went deaf? cause he didn't listen to anybody who he disagreed with - divine retribution is a bitch
re: what do you all think will be the outcome of this war??GI Joe
Oct 14, 2001 7:36 PM
"Pedal" your anti-American crap somewhere else, like back where your ancestors came from!
Oct 14, 2001 8:11 PM
You have such enormous critical thinking skills.
Zaphros think that GIJoe.....ZAPHROS
Oct 15, 2001 12:01 PM
...not know the difference between "peddle" and "pedal"!!
Oct 16, 2001 5:24 PM
That maybe his ancestors weren't all Native Americans.
Or....GI Joe
Oct 17, 2001 7:46 PM
Kowabunga! You speak with forked tongue!
The only war allowed in this forum is to the finish line...Bruno S
Oct 14, 2001 8:32 PM
This is a cycling board, to read about the war I can go the other million boards on the internet. Don't post that here. If you can't talk bikes go to a forum with people knowledgeable of the current affairs where you may be able to get answers to your worries.
The only war allowed in this forum is to the finish line...ishmael
Oct 14, 2001 9:03 PM
im not looking for answers..trying to influence/educate the other folks who are theoretically responsible for running this country..
Uninformed rantings of a fiction writerJS
Oct 14, 2001 9:02 PM
So much much of this reads like a bad spy novel with all the melodramatics and incorrect facts. She should stick to her little "fiction" books and leave the reality to people who actually know whats going on.
please tell what you knowishmael
Oct 14, 2001 9:07 PM
then why dont you tell me the presently taking classes on modern american history and this all is confirmed by my teachers..if you know whats going on please tell us, since we all should probably know...
please tell what you knowishmael
Oct 14, 2001 9:09 PM
this article was given to me by my teacher infact..
TeachersJohn Evans
Oct 16, 2001 5:53 AM
Teacher = the last bastion of the ultra-left, sitting around on their brains under an umbrella of tenure cursing the strengths and freedoms of this nation. They forget the hardships hard work and blood that it took to build this country, but those are just the common folk that don?t know any better, teachers are the intellectual elite. Look down your noses at the ignorant masses while you slip your hand into their back pocket to pay your salary. Give your leftist propaganda and issue tainted eco-science and revisionist history to our children while censuring any conservative views. When times get hard hide behind they rest of us that actually build things, make things, grow things, you?ll know when it?s safe come back out and curse us again.
Oct 15, 2001 5:24 AM
america is not the scapegoat for the poverty of the afghans or the rise of terrorist groups. the taliban doesnt allow women to go to school and doesnt permit the development of a market based economy because its 'western influence.' and the billions of dollars it makes from the sale of heroin around the globe doesnt seem to be invested in the development or education of the afghan people.

"this all is confirmed by my teachers" -be careful what people tell you. everyone was an impressionable student at one time but you must learn that professors (and everyone else) have an agenda or a framework for thinking that makes them interpret events in one way or another. be critical of your teachers, of books, of newspapers, and try to piece things together for yourself.
Oct 15, 2001 6:27 AM
even if we werent in some way responsible, which isnt true...dont you think we should do something to help or is not our problem..i think alot of peoples attitudes not some naive kid, and neither are alot of other folks who think we could make a positive difference...why assume it isnt our problem, globalization makes everything a little more our responsiblity since we are the most powerfull richest nation around...does our power always have to be used millitarily
Oct 15, 2001 6:46 AM
Perhaps your teachers could teach you spelling, punctuation, and grammar first. Then they could move on to geopolitical analysis.
try looking at our 180 account budget function!critical
Oct 15, 2001 7:13 AM
-zz- i dont assume it isnt our problem. i think it is in our nation's interest (as well as a moral interest) to aid other countries in development. you assume that we dont do anything for anyone else except through the miliary. that's plain wrong. try taking out the budget of the United States and look at the 180 account (foreign operations). look at the billions we spend on humanitarian and development aid through the Agency for International Development, the Foreign Agricultural Service of USDA, through the Departments of State and Commerce, through contracts with private voluntary organizations. then look at what other rich nations spend, especially the oil-rich OPEC countries

if the muslim nations are so united, why dont the Saudis and the Kuwatis send some food aid to Afghanistan? Why, in a country like Saudi Arabia, are people desitute while the coffers of the royal family are overflowing. you seem to think that all the problems in the developing world are our fault and that we should be responsible to do something about it. we do our part as much as we can in light of the fact that there are plenty of people in this country that are poor and hungry (ever been to Appalacia or Indian country?). its time other entities ante up as well.
Well said. (nm)JS
Oct 15, 2001 7:26 AM
try looking at our 180 account budget function!ishmael
Oct 15, 2001 11:57 AM
im glad we give more than other countries,although i still think its peanuts compared to what we consume..but, i dont know how we got on this argument, i was trying to say we should not jump to conclusions about the attackers being crazy and have no rational for attacking, the understanding is in our foreign policy...i hear to much misinformation about the situation and one of the worst informers seems to be the president...
i grew up in appalacia and was homeless for about a year in san francisco does that make me an expert on something.. in a way i think it does, i didnt starve to death, infact i lived quite well off of gabage and soup kitchens..cant do that in afghanistan, they only wish they could be so lucky to eat american's trash
Ahhh, San Francisco, that explains alot.JS
Oct 15, 2001 12:27 PM
You my friend have been brainwashed by the Liberal masses of SF. By the way, homeless is San Francisco applies to anyone who doesn't make at least $250,000 a year. You say your attending college, where would that be and how are you paying for that, governament loan maybe? Feeling a little guilty about all the freebies this country has provided for you therefore attack that government to to clear your conscience.
Ahhh, San Francisco, that explains alot.ishmael
Oct 15, 2001 4:19 PM
went to city college, its free, and good actually because teachers all wont to move im not attacking our country,it a shame that a difference of oppinion from commander bush is seen that way...the only thing expensive in sf is the housing so it was a pleasure to be homeless,its nice weather most of the year and i got an extremely part time not liberal either, just dont like war, is that that we are in it though i think we should remove the taliban, feed everyone and install a better government which will keep the mideast and the us happy...that would be long term planning and i think bush is too cheap for that, he'll just blow up stuff and move the rubble around, piss them off..
Oct 15, 2001 12:30 PM
you outright avoided all the arguments in my statement. can you really say what we give is peanuts? did you look up how much aid we give? there is no rationale for this kind of attack because there is no rational thought behind these reprehensible actions. there is however explainations having to do with sickness of the mind.

i dont discount your experience as homeless, but dont discount mine as a former US federal agency staffer who administered aid projects around the world. you say what we have done is peanuts, yet you probably cant explain one aid project the US has funded and run that was implemented prior to 9/11/01. i would like to hear from you one concrete and specific example of what you think the US has done wrong or what the US has actually done right. enough with these quasi-generalizations.

and i like how you ignored the fact that the oil-rich arabs havent done anything but sow dischord. they have given even less than we have in relative terms of consumption versus aid.
I want you on my debate team.JS
Oct 15, 2001 12:42 PM
Just kidding. Seriously, I become so frustrated with the outright ignorance of facts by most people in situations like this that I end up just walking away from debates because they just want to believe what they want to believe regardless of what's true. Thanks for the clear thoughts on this confusing issue, It's a breath of fresh air.
Oct 15, 2001 4:34 PM
there is a rationale for the attack, and for why millions of people in countries other than afghanistan hate americans, as i said it has to do with our foreign policy...when you go into one of the many countries which america has been instumental in overthrowing the government and installing an undemocratic dictatorship and see the US then sending aid you shouldnt think we are not the one hurt by this but there are many who are and they are the ones who are upset with the US foreign policy...just as bush sends 37000 meals to afghanistan while at the same time blows the country up with 2 million dollar missles wont make america loved...yes we give more, but we also screw more, and live as a country in more luxury...the millions arent all irational or have "sickness of the mind"...i dont condone what they have done but i try to understand the millitary dont they tell you it is imporant to understand the enemy..and im not ignoring the rich oil countries, maybe they are all greedy slobs, but there foreign policy hasnt made them hated in most cases, and since when is it ok to say "they didnt do it so why should i"
try againcritical
Oct 16, 2001 5:44 AM
first- js, thank you for your kind words.

rationale has to do with reason, and anyone with a grain of reason does not ram planes into buildings with thousands of innocents in them.

now, i wish you would stop treating the afghans and the citizens of other developing countries like they were little children who aren't able to make a decision for themselves. the US has only been involved in other countries' politics when there was a willing party (we have been outright and vocally rejected by many countries when it came to CIA interference etc., Afghanistan is not one of them). The Afghans were all too willing to accept US aid to fight off, guess who?, the Soviets. i consider your analysis to be disingenuous because you point only to the americans as being responsible for the current state of affairs in afghanistan. let me give you a little timeline. the SOVIETS invaded afghanistan (do you remember this?). then, they bombed the country to pieces, into an utter wasteland. whatever modern structures existed there were no more. during the war, we gave billions of dollars of support to the Afghan opposition fighters through the Pakistani government, which they made a CHOICE to accept. we funded their WAR.

now this sort of analysis does not lend itself to nice conclusions. we can discuss why Afghanistan was important to the US at the time with respect to the domino theory, etc. or what our responsibility was after the war was over. but the fact remains that the US didnt sign a contract to provide arms and then build roads. the Afghans wanted help to repel the Soviets and we gave it. whatever happened thereafter was up to the Afghans, who are quite able to think for themselves.

now, as you and i know very well, but for some reason you want to ignore, i dont subscribe to the idea that "they didnt do it so why should i." i am perplexed as to why you would say this. you still havent looked up our 180 budget numbers, right? and you obviously dont recognize who funds the UN's world food programme that operates in afghanistan up to this day. in fact, the head of the programme is Catherine Bertini, an American, who is doing something about the condition of the poor there in a very real way. I work for a private voluntary organzation, post-govt. service, that does something about hunger and development in a very real way.

i ask you as someone who obviously cares: what are you doing in a real way to help our efforts? talk on this board is great; discourse and argument open minds and bring new ideas to the table. but now is the time for action. if you don't like our foreign policy (which you may not fully understand yet) and you feel that we should be doing more overseas, what are you doing to bring your beliefs to bear, embodied in ACTION?
i still dont like itishmael
Nov 6, 2001 7:53 AM
yes we funded their war, we didnt twist any arms..and now those we have supported have come to power..our baby in afghanistan, why did we support them, the domino theory, is that a good reason in hindsight...regarding the cia involvment in only countries "when there was a willing party", there are alot of small ruthless parties we have supported..

regarding the food issue, if you read the most recent article i postedyou can see the figures for how much is being dropped,its a puplicity stunt... you can also see how much we are spending on the weaponry..the starvation there is being worsend by the war, they may have hated us before and this isnt going to help..we may be justified in bombing but ultimately we are all going to be hurt by it..who knows maybe itll last for centuries..what action am i taking? atleast here realizing the situation and trying to spread the word that the war is going to cause alot of suffering over there..
high school teachers don't know $h!tRusty McNasty
Oct 15, 2001 11:30 AM
That's why they are stuck teaching brats in high school, rather than working a real job.
Any dumb@$$ can teach in high school, and most do!
Oct 16, 2001 4:28 PM
That's a pretty shitty thing to say and quite ignorant. Teachers work pretty damn hard for lousy pay, just to get crapped on by the kids, their parents and the administration. The real problem is they are forced to deal with mostly assholes like yourself. My public high school teachers set me up well for a demanding engineering education and I was able to place out of an entire year of calculus and cruised through the thrid semester. To categorically call them a bunch of dumb asses (even though it requires 4 years of college plus a teaching program) is totally disrespectful and completely wrong. You sound a lot like the brats they have to deal with on a daily basis.

SFB = shit for brains
You responded to the respond to minematt
Oct 14, 2001 10:53 PM
It is a shame you took this site into your personal agenda. This site is about riding and racing. But since you brought it up, you will now get my opinion about what I think of your disertation. Being a military person, I get the very distinct impression you are the "never been there, but know how it probably would be". I have been to Southwest Asia many times. In fact of my ten years in the service I have probably spent atleast four of them in Saudi, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, and Oman. Have you been to any of these places? Or are your theories based on a blossoming college awakening induced by Top Ramen and stale bong water? Have you ever met the people of these countries. I have, they are a peace loving people whose religious beliefs don't tollerate the violence that is happening in the name of Islam. The president made it very clear that we are not at war with Islam or the people of Afganistan, but the terrorists who perpitrated this crime and those who harbor them. UBL isn't the only person we are at war with. Eliminating him wouldn't end terrorism. Why is Bin Laden doing this?? Because we have soiled his holy homeland of Mecca and Medina. NEWSFLASH...if we weren't there Saddam would roll through Saudi so fast the King would be in jail waiting for his day at chop-chop square before the last prayer call of the day had ended. The Saudi military couldn't defend a sorrority house against a panty raid, let alone the trained hungry military of Iraq. I would be more than happy to have my friends and fellow soldiers pull out of the region. Unfortunately the whole region would totally destabilize. We could go back to flying food runs in the caribean. We could sit on the beach and sip Mai Tai's while Isreal nukes the whole region into the stone age. Hell when it was over we could send in the Marines to paint lines and turn it into a parking lot. Now can we please get back to bikes. Today was the world championships. Why don't you spend your keyboard time telling of the brilliance of one man defeating the field, overcoming the adversities of injuries.
re: what do you all think will be the outcome of this war??duh
Oct 14, 2001 11:24 PM
You and Harlet need to move to afgan and catch the NUKES we will send them. ALL you kind are trators and CREEPS
re: what do you all think will be the outcome of this war??Pavement Eater
Oct 15, 2001 4:18 PM
While riding this evening, I came to the conclusion of how do we view the muslims here. I know I cant look at one without wondering if they knew what was comming or if they really were as shocked as I was when it happened. How do we get past the point of not trusting people that look like the ones who did this. I live in Arkansas, and let me tell you, I feel sorry for the ones who live here. My friend at work had his neighbor who is a muslim leave his home and everything in it two nights before the attacks and the man is now on the FBI most wanted list. A man till only a few days before seemed perfectly normal to us. But on the other side is a terrorist. How do you get past that? I know that I cant stop but to wonder about it myself.
but what do they ride?4bykn
Oct 15, 2001 6:07 AM
Campy or Shimano....Al or Steel or Ti or Carbon.....Mountain or road? Let's get back to bikes please!
Preach it Brother! : )jtolleson
Oct 15, 2001 9:02 AM
At least I assume it's "brother" not "sister."

I couldn't agree more. Tragic events are not license to turn this board into a political/religious/military/pacifist/whatever forum, and posts like this (not to mention the ad hominem responses) do nothing more than divide.

Don't we have real lives (or other internet sources) we can use as a forum for non-bike related needs/chat/pontificating?

If this board must be used to make enemies and call names, let's have it involve the Shimano v. Campy camps.
Brother it is... <nm>4bykn
Oct 15, 2001 10:23 AM
Preach it Brother! : )harlett
Oct 15, 2001 12:06 PM
ishmael..awhile ago i tried to have a one thread discussion on the subject of our middle east policies and there consequences and the innocents that always pay the ultimate price when we are unwilling to apply to ourselves the criteria that we brandish with grand
moralistic flourishes when professing outrage over the terrorist crimes of others--- that thread is still reverberating, in a negative way towards me, in the minds of some here---

jtolleson.your correct in that this is not a political board--- but, as in our own real time communities, these are times when "political/religious/military/pacifist/whatever" actions and there ramifications seems to be invading our consciousness on a daily basis--- it is perhaps hopeful that it, occasionally, wouldn't also surface here in this community based on the common devotion to the physical/mental/emotional/spiritual benefits we all receive from something we share in common---hopeful but not realistic...

this is my last post on this board--- no one has "run me off" or caused me to be so angry that i'm pounding these keys with righteous indignation--- this is simply about my needing to be part of something different than what is here--- we all need that certain comfort zone that helps to nourish us in the ways that we need..i am happy for and envious of those of you who have found this place to be that kind of place for you---
there are some wonderful people/minds on this board--- i would hope that those of you who have interacted, via other mediums, with me, realize that i completely enjoyed our exchanges---

life is a verb....
Going to miss you girl!!!!!!!Gail
Oct 15, 2001 12:53 PM
I hope you come back to read this. You helped me think about things in ways I may not have found otherwise. THANKS for being here to do that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! bye
So sad.delia
Oct 15, 2001 1:09 PM

Thanks for all your advice and input throughout your time here. I'm sorry that you are going to leave the board. I hope that you will drop in from time to time and say hi :)

I will miss you......Len J
Oct 15, 2001 1:24 PM
and your holistic life view.

I will always remember, and will probably plagarize, your "life is a verb".

I will remain sad for those who could neither value nor tolerate your difference.

I will continue to be glad you came here, even though for such a short time.

I will wish you much sunshine, and that you find what you are looking for.

I will selfishly, wish that you return

Oct 15, 2001 6:32 PM
Takes a lot of courage.....Len J
Oct 16, 2001 3:20 AM
to make that kind of low class statemement hiding behind a nake like DUH.

Too bad.look271
Oct 16, 2001 5:20 AM
I'll miss you. Those of us with more than 2 brain cells will miss your insight and intelligence. I agree with all of what Len said so eloquently. May your rides all be downhill and filled with a strong tailwind! Peace.....
The bombing will accomplish absolutely nothing.Largo
Oct 15, 2001 6:22 AM
Bush feels he needs to placate the anger of his country, and war is a good way to do this, its concrete action.
But, what good is it going to do besides satisfying this need for revenge?
If GWB was really interested in bringing Bin Laden to justice, why not increase the bounty to 200,000$.
There are enough ex-special forces types out there after the end of the cold war, that Bin Laden would get picked up pretty quick,IMHO.
Bombing Afghanistan will just get the backs of the Taliban up, and possibly create more terrorists.
A surgical approach is what is needed, not the sledgehammer.
By the way, did anyone read about the New York mayor refusing a 10,000,000$ aid cheque from a Saudi prince because the good mayor felt that the prince was trying to justify the attacks.
I read the quotes from the Saudi prince, and all he was saying was that some US foreign policy might have contributed to these attacks.
Hardly justifying it.
I thought that was very petty of the mayor. The US can't afford to go alienating its friends in the Arab world like that.
Anyway, just my own opinions, and you are welcome to yours.
Have a great day.
The bombing will accomplish absolutely nothing.ishmael
Oct 15, 2001 6:36 AM
the mayor turning down the money was shows how closed minded we can be..god forbid our government foreign policy might actually have something to do with the hundreds of thousands if not millions who hate glad to see there are a few out there who are open to different possiblities other than what commander bush says..this country once was filled with diverse people, it doesnt seem so these days..
tell us a bit about yourself?nova
Oct 15, 2001 10:30 AM
Where do you live? General geographic location will suffice. Age group? Gender? Are you a member of any political affiliations? Ever serve in the military?

Ever live in New York City? Ever live in Washington DC? Ever get married in Pennsylvania? Fly often? Travel much?

What bike(s) do you have? :)
Oct 15, 2001 11:49 AM
ive lived in philly for the last year..before that san fran..age 27 male, no affiliation, no military, been to new york couple of times, dc alot,fly often..trek...and you
... and menova
Oct 15, 2001 12:16 PM
I'm 35. See my post below for more info. If you followed the flame-war last week in which I opposed SUVs as passanger vehicles because they burn too much fuel (and thus play a role in making us dependant upon the middle east), you'd know much about me because I revealed alot about myself. I did that basically to counter the uninformed arguments to the effect that I'm a "tree-hugger socialist" type of person.

So my first reaction upon seeing your posts was to avoid judging you and drawing conclusions with no idea of who you are or what makes you tick. I still don't know you, but I have a sense of you, which helps.

I disagree with you. Mayor Guliani used the term "moral equivalency" when he rejected the check from the Saudis. I couldn't agree with him more. His point was that there is no room for arguments which even suggest a reason for the atrocities of September 11th. The Saudis were suggesting such a reason - and the mayor did the right thing. Do you really think that the mayor of NEW YORK CITY, arguably the most culturally and ethnically diverse city that ever existed, isn't sensitive to the Arab perspective?

Why do we care about the Saudis? Because they have oil, and for no other reason. Where did they get that $10M to begin with? Probably from us, in the form of crude oil sales. If I had my way, we would withdraw from the Middle East entirely, and that means no crude oil purchases. What would happen to middle eastern civilization then? Hard to say, but it would likely collapse. (BTW - I spent some time studying Islam and middle eastern history in NYC)

The bottom line is that these "terrorists" are paranoid bigots on the same level with the KKK or perhaps the militant militias in this country. They cannot tolerate diversity in any form. Why else are those American women under arrest in Afghanistan for "spreading Christianity"? I often see "I Love Allah" and "Islam, The Way of God" bumper stickers when driving down the street here in Virginia. And here you are saying that the US isn't a tolerant, diverse country.

You know what the real problem with this country is? It isn't perfect. I love it anyway. If you don't, you really should leave. Seriously. I bet that if you do, you'll pick a country with a capitalistic economy and a representative form of government as your new home, much like the USA.
Well doneSteveS
Oct 15, 2001 3:44 PM
Well done, Nova. A very real danger exists for Americans from the ishmaeli sympathizers, excusers, and rationalizers of the recent terrorism and they are alive and well in most Western nations. I had previously read the article by Roy and it was rather unadulterated leftist crap. Typical. Similar in content to a recent speech given in Canada by another leftist recently. Easy to recognize their bent, it starts with something like: "don't get me wrong, I don't agree with terrorism, but..." Its the "buts" that show you where they are coming from and they fall into the sympathizer etc. grouping that will help any additional terrorism in this country or throughout the world. And in true reality, they represent the enemy.

It might be good to remember who the character "Ishmael" was in the Bible. Ishamel was an outcast because "his hand was against every man." Consider, what religion has conflict with Christians in Nigeria, Egypt and Sudan, Jews in Israel, Baha'is in Iran, and Hindus in India? The answer is, the religion that claims descent from Ishmael, the person who was going to "live at odds with all his kinsmen." Though there may be religious conflict elsewhere in the world, no other is so consistant as this grouping.

Notice again what group has chosen to put bombs on airplanes, commit murder at the Olympics, sub-contract machine attacks at airports, and now slit the throats of airline attendants and crash airplanes into the World Trade Center? Same grouping. It appears a pattern is developing here and never is there any introspection as to their guilt.

It is unfortunate but it may take more terrorist actions from this same group (with complicit or non-complicit help from their brethren that are sympathizers, excusers, and rationalizers of their actions) to awaken the western world. Too bad. In the end, the Western world may be damaged severly by Ishmaeli-excusers ain't inheriting anything, much less 50 virginal Houris in the great beyond.

A better route for all involved is that the individuals in the Western world who find great truth in Roy's article, and all terrorist excusers, rationalizers, and sympathizers, to emigrate peacefully back to the Middle East. Everyone will be better off. The terrorist actions in the West will lessen in likelihood of scope and depth, reprisals against emigrant supporters of terrorism won't happen, and the world will be a better place.

Too bad it won't work out that way.
So, how do you stop terrorism?Largo
Oct 15, 2001 8:10 PM
Bombing civilians in some poor s***hole country like Afhganistan?
Don't see how that will stop terorism.
The taliban doesn't give a f**k about their people, so we might actually be doing the Taliban a favour by getting rid of their dependents.
If Bin Lauden does get snuffed, then he is a martyr, and that would be bad news.
A war like this is like a porno movie with all the guys standing around going "yeah, do the b**ch"
If someone could give me a rational explanation why this war will stop the terrorist threat, i would love to here it.
The above poster Steve mentioned that if you are against this war you must be a leftist.
Well, i am against this war, and i am a pretty right wing guy.
Does not wanting to bang your head against a wall make you a leftist?
I hate seeing waste in any form, and this whole action seems like a big waste.
As usualSteveS
Oct 15, 2001 8:28 PM
As usual, you got it wrong. Where was my statement?:"The above poster Steve mentioned that if you are against this war you must be a leftist." I spoke of the sympathizers, condoners, and excusers of terrorism and they virtually always issue forth from the Left.

Where it ain't is anywhere in my post. As I remember, you are not an American, so where is your part in this war? Most of the time you have posted, you have made smart-aleck comments on Bush, so how does that make you qualify as a "right wing guy?", especially one to comment on American's decisions. Maybe right-wing to Sunera Thobani?

In terms of your question, I heard recently that Jordan quashed terrorist groups in their country by rounding up the entire families of suspected terrorists and announcing that they were going to eliminate them all, if the terrorists didn't turn themselves in. The point being, you have to make the terrorist lose what he/she values beyond their own lives whether it be friends, family, money or country. And that they not be allowed to hide anywhere, behind human shields or otherwise. Sounds pretty bad to me. But giving them free reign is worse.
As usual, Steve slags those who he doesn't agree with.Largo
Oct 16, 2001 4:47 AM
I make smart aleck remarks about Bush because i don't think he is a particularily bright man.
Thank goodness he has an advisor like Colin Powell.
What is Canada's part in the war?
We are there, to the best of our ability, sending Frigates and men to assist you.
As well, because we are your neighbour, anything that happens to you will affect us as well. Like, god forbid, a terrorist attack involving something terrible.
So this affects us all, including any negative effects, like terrorist retribution.
And i disagree with you that terrorists give a damn about their families.
These "people" care about nothing except their own adjenda, so rounding up there families does nothing, IMO.
How did he 'slag' you?nova
Oct 16, 2001 6:23 AM
Steve has a strong tendency to stick to the facts and examine empirical data before he states his position. What did he say that wasn't true and which also was a personal attack?
... and meishmael
Oct 15, 2001 5:03 PM
how is an expression such as "tree hugging socialist" there something wrong with loving trees and socialism..i think there is a need for both..does that make me a fool..
i still dont agree with guliani, a donation in itself says something, if the saudi also had an oppinion he is intitaled to it, why antagonize by returning the gift...that oppinion, seeing how it is coming from someone who lives in the middle east might be of value, you might consider him an expert of sorts in my mind...disregarding others oppinions which might be valuable wont help us understand..we dont seem to try to understand the afghani people at all, the majority of folks in this country dont no afghanisan history at all but are quick to jump on bush's boat and call for war...
your sisternova
Oct 16, 2001 6:06 AM
gets gang-raped by a group of escaped convicts.

During the rape trial, the judge says to your sister: "You know; this wouldn't have happened if you acted like a proper lady. Anyway, these men are hereby sentenced to another 15 years for their acts."

Well, gee whiz, thanks for putting the guys in jail and all, but you are telling me that the woman deserved to be raped? It is an insult to justice and to your sister to even suggest that she deserved to be raped.

Do you see the corallary between the above scenario and the topic at hand?

And yes, socialism is not good. If you love socialism, you should not live in a capitalistic society. France is a beautiful place, it is also a socialist country. May I suggest that you move there? Or if France isn't quite what you are looking for in terms of a political environment, may I suggest Cuba?

By the way, you aren't terribly articulate.
your sisterishmael
Oct 16, 2001 10:24 AM
umm..i dont think im getting through..lets try to stick to the mid east and south america..there are millions who dont like us, some who realllly dont like us...why?...there are reasons..lots of them...if you want to pretend that its simplier than that dont waste my time.

about moving to france cause its socialist..its a mix of socialism and capitalism as is much of europe and also the US..there are socialist institutions here such as welfare..i dont remember saying i love socialism or that i excuse terrorists..get your facts staight
here is the dealnova
Oct 17, 2001 6:23 AM
After I posted to you yesterday, I read your post to someone else which indicated that you are from Appalachia, and that you were homeless in SF for a year.

Now lets go back to my other post about why anyone perceives the world the way they do. (The post where I explain that I lived in NYC and DC, etc.)

While I certainly wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I have been blessed in life compared to you. I've been able to travel to various parts of the world, I have an advanced degree which I paid for out of my own pocket (no loans or grants), I've never been homeless, I've owned my own home since I was in my 20's, I acheived a milestone in personal net worth before the age of 35, on and on.

So naturally I'm a bit biased toward the way America operates. The American Way works for me. That doesn't mean that I'm blind to the fact that it doesn't work for everyone. It certainly doesn't appear to have worked for you, relative to me.

You picked a good community (cycling) in which to have this discussion. My expereince has been that cyclists from all walks of life are friendly, thoughtful people. This discussion on this board is certainly more interesting than a similar discussion on a "news" board. The people here make it interesting, and I care about what my fellow cyclists have to say, even if I disagree with them.

Anyway, back to the topic. You said: "is there something wrong with loving trees and socialism.." And I replied by saying that if you love socialism, you might be happier in a country where socialism is part of life. I never said that France didn't have free markets, I mearly pointed out that France, with it's socialist tendancies, would be a consideration as a place for you to live if you want to be closer to socialism.

Why don't you move there? My cousin did! She is happy, she is living her dreams, and she isn't complaining. That says alot about who she is as a person, just as it says a lot about you to sit here in this country, complaining and whining about this country, and not doing anything about it. Get active, or get out. The question has been put to you before - what are you doing with your life to correct the things you are whining about? The answer, I suspect, is NOTHING.

I'm not pretending that huge factions of the world's population do not hate Americans. I'm saying that we shouldn't bend over and spread our legs because they don't like us. The goverment of Iran recently annouced that they WILL PROVIDE LOGISTICAL SUPPORT TO US MILITARY OPERATIONS. What does that say to you? How many people in Iran hate the USA? Just about the whole country I would suspect. But why are they supporting us? Why is Japan supporting us after we nuked their country? Why is the former head of the USSR saying "We must work together" when referring to Russia and the United States? The Vatican has even issued a public statement in which they express an understanding as to why the US needs to take military action. Ask yourself; Why?

No, we not should oppress other people around the world, nor should we be blind to such oppression. But we also shouldn't allow more than 6,000 people to be murdered in the US simply because "other people hate us".

Final note: you obviously weren't able to understand the corallary between my hypothetical rape trial and Rudy Guliani rejecting the Saudi donation. Let's try another example. You are a wealthy and happily married man. You have five children and a wife. Then you and I get into this discussion on this board, and I realize that you really aren't all that smart. I end up hating you, and I murder you. (this is strictly hypothetical). Now your family has no income, and your children are in jeapordy. So from my jail cell, I send a note to your wife saying, "you know, that Ishmael was really a dreadful bastard. If he hadn't been so stupid, I wouldn't have murdered him. But anyway, take this check for $1M and feed your children with it." Does your wife rip up the check? Or does she cash it and feed her (your) children with it?

Does Rudy Guliani rip up the Saudi check? Or does he reject it? Still don't get it? Then I give up.
we have to keep talking.guido
Oct 15, 2001 1:18 PM
Henry Miller wrote about America in "The AirConditioned Nighmare"; Jack Kerouac repeated essentially the same analysis in "On The Road." America, they said, was immature, violent, racist. Its intellectuals, artists, writers rebelled. Miller, Hemingway, Dos Passos and others went to Europe, "The Lost Generation," later followed by blacks, writers Richard Wright, James Baldwin, jazz musicians Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, escaping the spirtual desolation of racism.

It's essentially a spiritual question Ishmael and many others are grappling with. What is the value of a human life? do I need an SUV and a house in the suburbs to be happy? Am I my brother's keeper? Does brotherhood end at national, political, religious boundaries? What is honor, and how are we defending it? We lost it in Vietnam. The world looks down on our materialism, greed and arrogance. Our governments have shown contempt for third world peoples by siding with their oppressors, and assassinating their leaders, as we did in the Congo and in Chile, to name two examples. The fundamentalist Islamic movements in Iran and Afghanistan are attempts to overcome spiritual despair caused by this cultural imbalance. Facing an unseeable threat from terrorists among us, Americans are thinking, as we did in the late sixties, of what is really important and what isn't in the short span of a human life. If you have everything, you get spoiled. Realizing it can all be taken away from you in a heartbeat is a wake up call, and that's why we're talking.
Aerial view of lower Manhattannova
Oct 15, 2001 10:51 AM
Warning: This is a huge image. If you scroll to the lower right-hand corner of the image, you will see city hall, which is the lowest building in the area. Directly East of city hall (down in the picture) is an ingress/egress point for the Brooklyn Bridge. South of that roadway (a little left in the picture) is a part of a low building with black iron sculpture on the facade. Click below to see the picture.

That building is Pace University,, my undergrad alma mater, and lower Manhattan is my old neighborhood. (Pace is often in the background on old episodes of Law & Order, if you are into that show)

I received this picture from an acquaintance who works for Merrill Lynch in Chicago. I won't even try to describe which buildings are Merrill's.

So, do you think I have any opinions on this topic? I lived in DC for years, now I live in Northern VA (hence my screenname), which as you know is the home to the Pentagon and the CIA. I was married in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, not far from where the fourth hijacked plane went down.

So you see, I have some biases, but I'm sure you do to. Take this dialouge off the board and make it an internal dialouge with yourself. Why do you feel and think the way you do about this issue? As I think I've illustrated, the way you live your life has a dramatic impact on how you view the world. Having lived in NYC and DC clearly plays a role in the reasons why I disagree with you. But I tend to think that just being a citizen of the US would lead to that end at this point :-)

What is it about your life and your experiences that makes you feel the way you do? (That is a rhetorical question, no need to answer it here)

I'm going to have a banana now; I want to keep my blood sugar up for a ride later on this beautiful afternoon in VA!
Here's another nmLazy
Oct 15, 2001 11:54 AM
Never mind, another failed picture posting nmLazy
Oct 15, 2001 11:55 AM
The bombing will accomplish absolutely nothing.Gi Joe
Oct 16, 2001 3:51 PM
Saudis, friends? Hmmmm
Easy to find pics of wounded Afghanisnova
Oct 15, 2001 12:36 PM
What I want to know is this: Where are the pictures of the body parts that continue to litter the streets of New York City? Where are the pictures of the hundreds of people as they jumped to their deaths from the trade center, being forced to choose between being incinerated in the 1,500 degree inferno or plummeting over 90 stories to their deaths? Why aren't we seeing those images? I've heard that Japanese television shows those images with regularity, why not here at home?

Japan gave $10M to New York for recovery, and never said "Well, 6,000 innocent people were slaughtered because you are friends with Isreal" Culturalism never entered the equation, despite the fact that WE NUKED THEM in 1945. The fact is, the Japanese aren't nearly as bigoted as the Saudis.

We aren't seeing the pictures of American corpses and remains because those in the media think we don't have the stomach for it, but it turns right around and shows us pictures of wounded muslims overseas. What is up with that?

So anyway, I did see some pictures of Taliban members on bicycles. Maybe they'll be contenders for the team time trial during the next summer olympics? (if they can take time out from their busy schedules of executing women)
re: what do you all think will be the outcome of this war??ProudAmerican
Oct 15, 2001 1:38 PM
I would not ordinarily respond to statements like the one contained in your message, but the last paragraph of the statement that the Taliban has acted reasonably is so absurd that I can't resist. First, the Taliban treats women like slaves, non-molsems as enemies and considers free speech a criminal act. It has called for a "holy war", despite the obvious oxymoron, against innocent Americans and citizens of other western countries. Its own people are starving, yet it does nothing. "Reasonable" and Taliban cannot be used in the same sentence.

As far as the claim that the U.S. is acting out of revenge is concerned, apparently the writer hasn't heard that there is a continuing threat to innocent Americans at home and abroad. This war is to hamper and hopefully destroy terrorism. Pre-emption and even punishment of the attackers are valid reasons for this war. Vengeance is what is being called for by the fanatics who are demonstrating in Pakistan.

As far as whether bin Laden orchestrated the attacks, numerous leaders from dozens of countries have stated that the evidence is compelling. Bin Laden has already been indicted in abstentia for the U.S. Cole attack, yet he has been harbored by the Taliban. Moreover, proof comes at trial. There is no need to produce the proof prior to bin Laden being taken into custody, and certainly not to his accomplices.

Finally, the anti-American bias is obvious in the misstatement of numerous "facts" and ignoring of others. The statement failed to mention that prior to September 11th the U.S. provided Afghanistan with more humanitarian aid than any other country, and continues to make food drops during the war. The U.S. has always come to the aid of countries in distress. Indeed, the claim that the U.S. killed thousands of Iraqi's (although unsupported by any evidence) ignores that it was in defense of Kuwait after it was attacked by Iraq without provocation. While the statement attempts to portray the attacks on innocent Americans as a response for U.S. actions over the past several decades it conveniently ignores bin Laden's stated reason for his hate of America. According to bin Laden, the mere presence of "infidel" American's on "sacred" soil (the same rationale for his hate of Israel) warrants the attack of innocent Americans. Also, bin Laden's plan is to destory anything civilzed that does not conform to his warped vision the world. In essence he wants to spread the Taliban message thoughout the world. Only when all people are converted to Islam or killed, all women are covered from head to toe or imprisoned, and the free exchange of ideas and expression of religion is forbidden will bin Laden be satisfied.

Yes, you can attack the U.S. with words, but it is only our freedoms that allow you to do so. You could not do the same in Afghanistan.

No, I can't answer what will come of this war. I can only say that I hope terrorists are caught and punsished; terrorist havens are exposed and eliminated; countries that harbor cowards who prey on the innocent think twice before doing so; and, lastly, people who condemn the U.S. realize the hypocrisy of their position.
Oct 15, 2001 5:31 PM
I have been reading this thread with teeth-grinding restraint. You have summarized the
situation well. The ignorance and fractured logic of some of the posts are simply beyond comprehension.
re: what do you all think will be the outcome of this war??ishmael
Oct 15, 2001 5:36 PM
i dont feel im being hypocritical..i think america has great ideals and has great potential..i have heard everything you have said before, i know, i dont dispute that the taliban and bin lauden are a nightmare..but, will dropping bombs help is the issue i have trouble not all pacifism, if the problem could be solved simply with bombs id be for it but i dont think its going to help...although i now believe that our best bet at this point is to finish the job this time and put a government in that we can all agree on,if that is could be the united nations state and we could all nurture it to health..but then that would take money and commitment that our government wont make..i love this country and the people here but sometimes or maybe alot of the time our government screws things have to admit the US has done some pretty unamerican things itself..america is a state of mind/morals/ideals and i dont think the government lives up to the standard sometimes and what is more worrying is that the citizens let it happend...
I respond to this with trpidation.....Len J
Oct 15, 2001 1:54 PM
because of the strong emotions swirling around this issue.

Ishmael, it is clear to me that you are attempting to understand the different dimensions of this event. I commend you for your search for the truth.

Much as most of us don't like it, the truth is always more complicated than we would like.

Would I like it if the U.S. Governments view of this event were 100% complete & true, absolutly.

Do I believe that the U.S. and our policies are 100% responsible for the events of 9/11, absolutly not.

However, I think that it is naive to believe that we have not made mistakes in our foreign policy, and that these mistakes did not contribute to the hate that exists in some pockets of the world, and that some of this hate resulted in 9/11. These things are a matter of historical record. Do they justify 9/11, NO. Do they help us understand it better, maybe.

In our haste for revenge, I only hope (for my childrens sake) that we don't make the hate grow stronger.

I don't pretend to have the right answer, but I am sure that bombing them back to the stone age will do nothing more than make us feel better, the problem will still be there when the dust settles.

This is an incredibly complex issue, with economic strings, human rights strings, revenge strings, expedient alliances strings, historical strings & religous strings. Any one of these in and of themselves would be prone to high power, together they create a mixture that could spin way out of control if we are not careful. Who really wants to risk that?

Simple: We Win.grzy
Oct 15, 2001 3:43 PM
So much hand wringing - trying to rationalize with unreasonable people, is well, irrational. I'm just sorry I don't get to drop the bombs. If they're so willing to die for their cause why don't the leaders come out so we can shoot them and speed things up?

Sorry top tease you so. But what the hell does repsoitng someone else's political thoughts have to do with bikes?

Just be gald you're not a widowed woman under the Taliban.
Simple: We Win.ishmael
Oct 15, 2001 5:42 PM
im glad im not a taliban glad im american, but im not proud of the history of our government alot of the time..its hard to stand and defend our country against criticism about international a prouder american than those who are willing to make excuses for the mistakes our country has made..about this having to do with bikes, it doesnt...if i thought it would do any good id send you over to drop those bombs, but i dont think future generations will benefit from it..
Simple: We Win.grzy
Oct 16, 2001 5:15 PM
Hey, to sit around and criticise others is easy and fashionable. To actually get out and do something positive in the face of uncertainty and all the critics takes guts. To put your life on the line or in someone else's hands is a profound experience. Face it - many people have died in order for you to sit around on your hippie ass and whine. Some of them were friends of mine. You are right, there are things that we as a country have done that we're not that proud about, but the thing that makes us unique is that we learn from our mistakes, hold people accountable and try to make things better. And we never stop trying even though the past can never be undone. It's damn obvious you've never spent a single day in uniform or made a sacrifice for someone else that you don't even know and expected nothing in return.

Maybe you'd rather defend some other country about their international politics - care to pick one? Even the "neutral" Swiss can be taken to task for their actions in WW II - what with not letting the Jews in and then keeping their money. While it's easy to criticise things that the USA has/hasn't done you can't point to another country that has done more for others. Travel in Asia sometime soon and ask old timers that were around during WW II what they think of Americans vs. Japanese. You'll be amazed and the reaction you'll get. I've had grown maimed Philippino men with tears in their eyes call me a hero and shake my hand not wanting to let go.

Concerning your statement of pride - what a bunch of rubish - I could round up ten rednecks that would make you look like a wuss. How can you say you're a prouder American than those that are willing to make excuses for their mistakes? Since when does the ability to admit your wrong have anything to do with pride. If anything pride gets in the way of people being able to admit they made a mistake. That's why there's the term "foolish pride."

The purpose of dropping the bombs is to hold the cowards and corrupt government responsible for their actions. There's no shortage of people that would prefer to do the job by hand. The benifit to future generations is that they can go to work and not wonder if this is the last time they'll see their family b/c their building might get bombed or they opened the mail and contracted some nasty sickness. Terrorism and the slaughter of innocent civilians is not the way to bring about constructive change in the modern world. It's a plauge that needs to be wiped out and the Taliban has a choice. If anything it's their foolsih pride (and total corruption) that gets in the way. If they really were leaders they'd protect their people and put their lives on the line and stand up for what they believe in.

Ultimately I think you enjoy stirring the pot and raising controversy b/c you lead a dull and pathetic life. This is the most exciting thing that happens to you all day. Your pattern is pretty clear to those of us that have been around here for a while: you raise a stink and then leave for a while.
Oct 19, 2001 1:57 PM
really didn't want to participate in this one at all, but I'll post this link anyway

I'll not be responding to any replies or follow ups
re: outcome of this war?? missed opportunities....Starliner
Oct 15, 2001 10:35 PM
ishy, people are still hurting and in shock over 9/11, and are not yet healed enough to be of a mind to look at this whole thing in a neutral way, if that will ever be possible. There is a lot of fear and confusion swirling about on both sides.

We may never get to the point of introspection, of self-evaluation, where we can critically assess our actions, our agreements, our influence, our responsibilities to the world we now dominate on a military and economic level. To do that will require us to open our ears and listen to what our enemies have to say. That's not going to happen right now.

If and when it does, we are going to understand their great fears that fuel their terrorist actions. Such as a fear that our culture is tearing theirs apart. We need to know why such fears exist. And where we have responsibility.

This war is a war between states of minds, not real estate. Long term gains cannot be won with missles and guns. Levelling Afganistan won't stop the postman from delivering the mail...

My opinion of the outcome.... I don't think there will be one; I think we're in for a long struggle. BTW, my intuition tells me bin Laden was killed last week. He's been built up so much by the media, it would have been better to keep him alive and on the run for a while in order to keep the coalition strong and together.
We should bomb them more..Mustapha War
Oct 16, 2001 1:22 AM
cos they all drive SUVs and use lots of gas, and the ones that have bikes use downtube shifters, and none of them have any lycra turbans, but most of all, just cos a bunch of cyclists know soooo much about the subject...
I'm just trying to keep perspective.Leisure
Oct 16, 2001 3:07 AM
First of all, I'm not at all offended that Ishmael brought up the issue; I think it's worth looking at how the cycling community looks at the issue just as in any subcommunity.
The first problem I see with our approach as a nation to this dilemna is that we are looking at it as "us" declaring war on "terrorists". First off, these are not terrorists; terrorists make threats of violence to manipulate and control others with the intention of satisfying motives often unrelated to the victims. This was nothing of the sort. It was mass-murder: a sneak attack on innocent, unsuspecting, unarmed civilians. The goal was to kill; the only manipulation here was to dress it up with what we have normally associated with terrorism to make us question whether or not a response is justified: to make us and the rest of the world second-guess that we'll be playing bully for the wrong reasons as we may well have at times in the past. Don't be fooled.
War was declared on the US as a nation, and while we have press-conferences and declarations of war to delude ourselves into thinking we are the ones in control, we are not. We should instead acknowledge that war was declared on us, for no reason but to kill innocent citizens. We have to respond. The threat is still out there with the means and desire to kill more innocent people. Seems pretty simple to me. Accomplishing the task is a whole other story, and I'm glad I don't have inherit it.
The difficulty is that war has not been declared on us by an obvious nation with clear boundaries and a defined military. We all know this. The fact that any American, or just about any civilized human anywhere, will be so angered by what has been done will not make it any easier to handle the matter affectively or fairly. I am not innocent here; I very much want to sit here and lambast the maliciousness, the cowardous, the pure evil against creation and humanity that this act represents. If I weren't so involved in my self-important drivel I would do just that. But in the end, our safety comes first. We can't afford to distract ourselves with our own principles. The founding fathers knew very well how this worked: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--in that order. It's no accident.
The last thing I want to see is more innocent civilians killed. I wish this for innocent Afghan civilians as much as possible. I can't help hating some of them after watching them celebrate the deaths of innocent human beings that they never knew, but I also realize many of them have spent their entire lives horrifyingly misinformed by their own media and government. The complexity of the politics in the area additionally makes it impossible for us to do anything "right" in their eyes. It doesn't mean we don't try.
In all this we should not forget those that have suffered and lost. I feel that one of the stronger flaws of our culture is that we pay so much attention to the perpetrators that we forget about the victims. I've been reflecting a lot about how fortunate I've been. I can't imagine the hurt some people are enduring right now.
They deserve what they getLazy
Oct 16, 2001 7:04 AM
I agree with others that any thought that the Taliban has been anything resembling reasonable is ridiculous. The bottom line is they are harboring a mass murderer. They support terrorism. They deprive and imprison their own people.

Whatever you do, don't lose sight of the fact that Mr. bin Laden is personally responsible for murdering over 5,000 innocent civilians. Then he threatens us when we accidentally kill a few hundred Afghanis. The mans dimentia is staggering.

Don't make the mistake of thinking the Taliban is in control of Osama bin Laden either. bin Laden owns the Taliban. They exist as an instrument of his will.

The Al Qaeda organization has declared war on America. When you declare war on America, you get your a$$ kicked. It's as simple as that. The last people who had the balls to attack American soil ended up getting nuked, and at least Japan had the brass to attack a military target. Why should the latest people to attack America (and kill 10X the amount of people who died at Pearl Harbor) get off any easier? I'm not suggesting we use nuclear weapons, but they should suffer a similar fate. Anyone who thinks it's a good idea to attack my country has to pay a dear price.

What about pacifism? What would happen if we didn't do anything about this? If we didn't respond militarily to this attack, it would send a message that none of us want to send. The sick cowards of the world would get the message that they can attack the United States of America and not pay a price. People like bin Laden don't give a rats a$$ about diplomatic sanctions, embargo's, or other political instruments. The terrorists of the world and the governments who support them need to know that if they attack the USA, they are going to pay a heavy price. They have to know that messing with us is the dumbest idea they could ever entertain.

Finally, a note to my brothers still serving in the US armed forces: I'm with you guys. I pray for your safety everyday. You are doing a fine job of representing our country, and I'm very proud of what you are doing. I wish I was still there with you. Keep it up, and keep your heads down.

Love it or leave it.
Oct 16, 2001 5:22 PM
Kinda funny how those of us who have served in the armed forces have a different perspective than the critics we defended so that they can criticise us. I don't begrudge them, they do keep the military machine in check, but I wish they had spent a little time overseas in our boots standing duty in some forgotten hell hole.
Since this country was founded on dissent...Tom C
Oct 16, 2001 7:43 AM
I've always tried to make it a point of trying to see every side to get the best possible view. Unfortunately there appears to be some creedence to the old saw that the first casualty of war is the truth. If you're seeking to understand what lead to this situation Ishmael, that alone distinguishes you from about 90% of the people posting here. If I knew nothing of this situation at all, I would have been alerted to something out of kilter by George Bush's assertion that "they want to freeze us into fear and non-response." Only an idiot would expect us not to respond... or a propagandist. But I'm afraid the current incarnations of patriotism demands an unquestioning allegiance to the dictates of leadership. Those who question(dissent)are admonished to love it or leave it all the while being told of their unpararelled freedoms of free speech.( You have to watch what you say in a free country.Peter Ustinov)The truth, whatever that may mean in the 21st century, as a casualty of war is by no means a unilateral event, if you listen to BBC or Frontline or NPR all of which will be quickly dismissed here as liberal voices, the perceptions on the other side degenerate into, well, peculiar views as well. For example, the near generic Middle East answer as to who was behind the attacks from the man on the street is the Jews. Sounds ridiculous to me too but that is their perception. I presume our perception is probably not even heard but of course that is their loss. Without this liberal media "view" we probably wouldn't be much better off. Unfortunately this view is not coming through the conduits of ABC,CBS or NBC but from marginal fringe sources. Well I should say that I first heard that Bin-Laden was CIA trained before I read it, on CBS, via an interview with a retired CIA operative. Thing is it was buried at about 12 midnight when Dan-Jack thought it Ok to say so. I'm lucky though, I don't snap to attention reflexively when I hear God Bless America because America is not about it's government, for me anyway. It's about our culture, our movies, our Corporations, our music, Louis Armstrong will stand out as an example of American culture long after the current crop of American politicians become Millard Fillmore like footnotes in American history. Same for hotdogs and Nascar. No my allegiance has to be first to every bit of information available to me, sober and stupid, obviously right and wrong, liberal and conservative, informed and naive, anecdotal and authoritative, domestic and foreign because if I don't bother to avail myself my position isn't worth anything more than the man on the street in Cairo or Tehran who simply thinks , the Jews did it.
Tribalism vs. SecularismMe Dot Org
Oct 16, 2001 10:29 AM
The article states:

i "The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card
i from a world gone horribly wrong. The message may have
i been written by Bin Laden (who knows?) and delivered by
i his couriers, but it could well have been signed by the
i ghosts of the victims of America's old wars. The millions i killed in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 17,500 killed i when Israel - backed by the US - invaded Lebanon in 1982, i the 200,000 Iraqis killed in Operation Desert Storm, the
i thousands of Palestinians who have died fighting Israel's i occupation of the West Bank. And the millions who died,
i in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti, Chile, Nicaragua, El
i Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Panama, at the hands of i all the terrorists, dictators and genocidists whom the
i American government supported, trained, bankrolled and
i supplied with arms. And this is far from being a
i comprehensive list."

It would take pages to go through the indictments contained in this paragraph - a laundry list of the perceived sin of American involvements.

I notice the writer leaves the largest American involvement off of this laundry list: World War II. America was instrumental in rebuilding Japan and Germany into stable democracies after each committed horrible atrocities - but this is somehow this pivotal event of the 20th Century doesn't register on the writer's radar screen. World War II encompassed, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the firebombing of Dresden and Hamburg, and yet our Nations were able to move past these events and build strong friendships.

Are the citizens of Germany and Japan oppressed or duped? I think not.

Korea? Are you saying you would prefer the government of the Pyongyang to Seoul?

The U.S. opposes Slobodan Milosevic and Radavan Karadzic and this opposition is lumped in with those "at the hands of all terrorists, dictators and genocidists whom the American government supported?" Is this, in your opinion, a fair characterization?

The U.S. is blamed for acting in Bosnia and Somalia, yet condemned by many as being racist for NOT acting in Rwanda.

But let's go to the heart of the paragraph: "The message may have been written by Bin Laden (who knows?) and delivered by his couriers, but it could well have been signed by the ghosts of the victims of America's old wars."

What a magnificent shifting of responsibility! The people who planned and executed the attack are not responsible. It's karma! Hard cheese, old man! And yet the writer also says "Terrorism as a phenomenon may never go away. But if it is to be contained, the first step is for America to at least acknowledge that it shares the planet with other nations, with other human beings who, even if they are not on TV, have loves and griefs (sic) and stories and songs and sorrows and, for heaven's sake, rights."

Funny, I thought that's why the United Nations was in New York City.

Interesting, the enemy's actions are somehow justified by past U.S. trangressions, but we should not respond to the enemy's transgressions.

Interesting, also, is the choice of the verb "contained" instead of "fought" in relation to terrorism. Implicit is an accommodation that I personally find abhorrent.

I'm not suggesting that the United States has been lily-white in all of its foreign policy or military actions. Author Isabelle Allende noted that 9/11 is also the anniversary of her uncle's assassination in Chile. I opposed the war in Vietnam, and I found our involvement in a coup against the democratically elected government of Chile a betrayal of our principles.

You want to know my honest opinion? The problems of Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Morocco, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Libya are greatly exacerbated by the fact that they are not SECULAR democracies. In the post cold war era, it is the mixing of religion and politics that creates the great schisms of the world.

Europe used to be known as 'Christendom'. Then there was the Papal Schism, the rise of Protestantism, and periods of horrible religious wars. Out of those conflicts came a realization that no one religion would have control of the state, and that religious power and temporal power would be separate. The rise of the Nation-State, with allegiance to the government rather than a tribe or religion, is one of the great defining characteristics of Western Civilization.

There has never been a corollary experience in the Islamic World. In the west, the price we pay for this freedom from religious constraint is a society that is overrun by materialism, and culture and entertainment that seems to fall to the lowest common denominator. (And by my personal observation, the bar keeps getting lower).

People from Islamic countries see the decadence of the West as a threat to their way of life. Some of those people use the concept of Jihad to justify terrorism.

If the great conflict of the 20th Century was capitalism versus communism, perhaps the great conflict of the 21st will be tribalism versus secularism (or, as the title of a recent book said "Jihad versus McWorld").
Tribalism vs. SecularismTom C
Oct 16, 2001 5:44 PM
Very interesting ideas especially as I'm a lifelong anti-cleric.
Very Insightful!grzy
Oct 16, 2001 5:48 PM
I really have to agree with everything you've written. And you've done such a better job than I ever could.

I also can't help but realize that the whole concept of "jihad" may backfire on them. Just b/c you declare a holly war it doesn't mean you're going to win. Afterall, don't we both claim that "God" is on *our* side. Either one of us is wrong or we're going to find out who's "God" is tougher. Besides who put the Taliban/bin Laden in charge of speaking for all of Islam? I also can't help but think that many of the bombs coming off our aircraft have the word "jihad" chalked on them, in addition to other things. One should know their enemy and their capabilities before they pick a fight. I think that there are probably a few "leaders" in Afgahnistan that might be huddled in the dark and starting to think they may have made a big mistake - only they can't admit it. Had they kept to their own business they may have continued indefinitely. As it is now we're not going to stop until they're crushed. It's pretty much like throwing rocks at the toughest guy on the playground - there are just somethings you don't do if you want to see tomorrow. Of course this doesn't mean much if you buy into the concept of the afterlife and becoming a martyr. We're just speeding up the process.
Tribalism vs. Secularismishmael
Nov 6, 2001 7:33 AM
i agree in large part to what you say about this article... "containment" is an ambiguous word and kind of gives her an escape from the question of what she thinks should be done,i would like to know what she thinks the US response should be..and yes she doesnt bring up ww2, but why should she, it doesnt help her argument, and our involvement in ww2 doesnt make our more recent international history justifiable...

...the US has been involved in far too many military operations which in hindsight werent a good idea..i dont lump milosevic in with all other US involvment, but you cant deny that the US has made mistakes in the past and these are often the mistakes of bad intentions or at the least misinformation...the whole country has jumped on this latest war bandwagon and i can understand why, it seems justified and simple enough..bad guy over there attacks us and is given security in an undemocratic opressive government...its a bad situation to be in for us and we must do something, but what...when i look at the options and take into account that these are not your typical secular states we are dealing with (even our allies now) and we've seen that they have a very different set of values because of this....we are maybe totally justified in bombing, but, when a bully steps on your toe and you push back because its justified to do so under "secular law" and he claims jihad and his whole crazy religious family which is schooled with the last traces of a pre-enlightenment religious form of law then beats you up, then whose right..we are, and we will be right when we attack them again for what theyve done... this analogy doesnt include the realworld innocent casualties which dont help our claim to what do we do...i dont know...maybe we are forced to go over there by our secular beliefs, we cant have a double standard of justice...but i dont think war helps in this situation for the simple reason that i dont think its going to convert anyone over there to our way of thinking...when you bomb the germans and japanese i think its different in that way, they are largely secular and were close to our belief system..afghanistan seems centuries away....

i think the article was imformative because of the history it brings to the situation which lots of people dont know and telling how the starving there are going to be badly hurt by this..and thats not american justice, hurt alot of people to get one or two..these people arent going to go through our secular court system with their greivences, they'll do it their way and blow something up..even if we get bin i'll understand why the next terrorist attack happends..dont get me wrong, i dont agree with it but i'll understand why it happend...

id be glad to hear a response and if you have any articles other than ones that talk simply about the logistics of the war please send them on..
Tribalism vs. SecularismMe Dot Org
Nov 6, 2001 10:43 AM
Let me talk about the areas where I would agree with you: The United States has had many military involvements that I have opposed, and which I think were based on our "power projection" rather than the defence of freedom.

But when you say "and our involvement in ww2 doesnt make our more recent international history justifiable...", again I ask "which involvements?" If you want to talk about Vietnam, Guatemala, or the Dominican Republic, I might be in agreement.

But the author of this article lumps together virtually every US military action as being evil or wrong. And with that I disagree. To characterize a mere recital of our military involvements as a history lesson, without providing any history of the involvements, is simply not accurate.

As to what I wish the US would accomplish in this war, I would hope that the El Qaida network will be seriously disrupted, and that a government which does not sanction terrorism would be installed in Afghanistan.

I would remind you that before September 11, there were only three governments IN THE WORLD that recognized the legitimacy of Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Now there is only one (Pakistan) which is necessary for the Taliban to have some form of communication with the outside world.

Bin Laden says that this is a "crusade" against Islam. The United States led the fight to defend Kosovo Muslims from Serbian Christian attack. How can he say we are against Islam when we did more to defend those Muslims than any Islamic country? By using the word "crusade" he is deliberately trying to inflame old hatreds and confuse the issue.

Yes, the Unites States did funnel money and arms to the mujahideen during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Yes, we used the mujahadeen as proxies in a Cold War fight.

But let me ask you, how many Afghans were telling us NOT to help them unseat the Soviet-backed Communist regime? The vast majority of Afghans supported our efforts. The Taliban (heavily financed by Pakistan and the Saudis) were only one faction of many fighting for independence.

Where I share a deep concern with you is for the suffering of the Afghani people, who are the greatest victims of this tragedy. The Taliban has essentially sold their country to Bin Laden and El Qaida, using their protection and money to stay in power. They use the Afghani people as human shields.

Where my conscience is most troubled is with the idea that, in order to bring those to justice that are responsible for the death of 6,000 Americans, the Unites States might be complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Afghanis, mostly through starvation. I wish there was more concern about their plight being voiced in America.

Before September 11, the United States was the largest supplier of food aid to Afghanistan. But now the overland supply routes are virtually unusable. The air drop of rations, while certainly helpful, is not nearly enough. I would hope that, for example, if Northern Alliance and US forces are able to capture Mazar-e-Sharif and use it, not only as a military base, but as a food distribution area.

So should we pull out? (Reminds me of one of my favorite Vietnam anti-war signs when Nixon was President: "Pull out Dick, like your father should have!")

The problem is that when the United States pulled out of Somalia (Does anyone want to tell me, other than trying to help deliver food, what the US interest in Somalia was?) Bin Laden perceived it as a weakness on our part. Our withdrawal emboldened him to further action.

So I ask you (and this is not a rhetorical question) if the US should not fight those who shelter the people that attack our country, what should we do? How shall we prevent being attacked in the future? How will the Afghan people overthrow the Taliban?
Oct 19, 2001 5:35 AM
SYSOP- Can this be moved to non-cycling forum?(NM)
Nov 6, 2001 8:06 AM