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Author Topic: Cowardly  (Read 5717 times)

daveed

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Cowardly
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2005, 04:02:14 PM »
Quote from: iLoveCheese
who said anything about Al Gore?


My point was that we seem to think that terrorism -- I'll rephrase -- that certain people wish to inflict damage on the US and kill its citizens only since January 2001. Therefore, the polltical shorthand I hear is that it's because Bush is in office we have this war. Lord knows I'm more than willing to ascribe all sorts of blame to that jackass, but instigating the terrorists isn't one of them. We forget that this country had been under attack at least since 1993.

Their pedigree certainly goes back more than that -- all the way to the writings and rantings of Sayed Qutb of the 1940s and 50s, and even earlier to the Cult of Assassins. Here's a good examination of the cult-like nature of Al Qaeda.

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Terrorists (and most of the rest of the world) usually hate the United States. Invadeing Iraq has only angered this set even more, and created a chaotic haven for those plotting against the United States to hide out.


I agree that the terrorists of this particular bent hate the US. They also hate Western society, secularism, religious tolerance, separation of church and state, freedom of expression, feminism, democracy, sex, drugs and rock and roll. They basically hate most of the world, which I believe is an extension of their own self-loathing.

As for the rest of the world, I think our immigration officers would disagree. People still are literally dying to get here b/c of what opportunities can be found, because of our secularism, religious tolerance, freedom of expression, what have you.

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We *did* express our anger through violence. So why wouldn't you expect them to do the same? We're just continueing a circle of hatred and violence instead of being brave and ending it and making this planet a better place to live.


You're probably right. However, we're dealing with fanatics here with whom I believe there's no compromise, at least in the forseeable future.

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Just because we may not know what we should've done doesn't mean the only thing the only thing to do was blow two other countries to smitherines. I think, however, that trying to figure out what conditions lead to this kind of divide would be a start.


I'm sorry but I don't think giving Al Qaeda the breathing room to plan another major assault while we figure out stuff would have been a good idea. Afghanistan was perfectly justified, IMO, if poorly executed. The Taliban government refused to turn over the Al Qaeda leadership and shut down the camps. I wish we finished the job properly before taking up Iraq.

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I do, by the way, think they considered themselves desperate. They have nothing and the world's economic power is controlled by this country.


Actually they have the backing of some of the wealthiest individuals and private institutions in the world, and a few dictatorships, too. We know for a fact that Bin Laden's no pauper. Zawahiri (Bin Laden's #2) is a physician. Even the foot soldiers on 9/11 came from middle-class, educated backgrounds. This isn't a class struggle.

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It isn't happy people that join a "death cult". It doesn't justify what happened, but I think they must've thought that taking us out was the only way they could suvive. Why else would they do it?


Wholeheartedly agree there. Take Zawahiri, for instance. He's considered to be the 'brains' behind the Al Qaeda movement (whereas Bin Laden is more of a spiritual leader and financial backer). He belonged to a radical organization in Egypt that, among other things, was behind the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. Zawahiri was arrested and tortured after the assassination. Ask any psychologist, and they'll say that untreated, a torture victim will exhibit obsessions with revenge and violence, and will suffer from paranoia. Apparently it stems from the need to reassert domination and control.

So, do we blame the Egyptian government? Or the Saudi government for say, the rise of Bin Laden? Maybe. That still doesn't exculpate our good doctor. My point is, some say what Al Qaeda is really attacking is the corruption and rot and opression in their own societies. We're just the target of their displaced aggression. Possibly. I think it's that and more -- they ultimately are the vicious howl of the medieval mind.

Let's keep in mind that they have gone on record about advocating the restoration of the old Islamic Caliphate of the 7th Century. The 7th Century. And they also advocate theological puritanism along the lines of the Wahabi sect of Islam.

To me, this is more than a grudge match against Bush, or globalization, or Israel. I believe theirs is a war against humanity. Unfortunately, ours is of contrived politics.

Richard Holbrooke (admittedly, not one of my faves) had an excellent op-ed in the New York Sun yesterday about this Administration's misguided policies. This link only lets you see the intro paragraphs, unfortunately... He advocated boosting our public diplomacy, and expanding our notion of the 'war' as a war of ideas.

Anyway, while I believe these practitioners of terrorism act out of fear and loathing, they're certainly not cowards, nor should ever be considered as such.

iLoveCheese

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Cowardly
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2005, 09:15:55 AM »
No doubt we've been a target before 9/11/01, but Bush invaded Iraq. The terrorist haven abounding there can thus be ascribed to him.

Have you traveled abraod lately? Americans traveling, even to Europe, habitually say they are from Canada so as to avoid the general attitude towards Americans abroad. *Everybody* hates the U.S. We are enemy #1 *everywhere* and Bush has made this a zillion times worse.

It's true terrorist groups often have wealthy backers, but those wealthy backers aren't the desperate ones. They're only trying to protect themselves from thier own have-nots and deflect class-conflict towards us.

At any rate, I just can't understand why you think that anyone would simply want to attack other people if they didn't consider thier own situation desperate. It doesn't make sense. Why do you think that they they would want to take back all that power? Create an Islamic empire? Because they feel powerless over thier own lives.

So, the real question I was driving at to begin with, is does a desparate act fall into the category of "cowardly"? I don't know.

daveed

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Cowardly
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2005, 10:03:03 AM »
Quote from: iLoveCheese
No doubt we've been a target before 9/11/01, but Bush invaded Iraq. The terrorist haven abounding there can thus be ascribed to him.


No, the terrorist haven can be ascribed to the terrorists flocking there b/c we've turned it into a massive target of opportunity for them. Bush is guilty of opening an unwanted and IMO dangerous second front. Also, most of the terror attacks since the aborted Fallujah assault have mostly been against Iraqis, civilians and police.

We're seeing this is rapidly evolving into an Iraqi civil war between Shia and Sunni; Al-Zarqawi and his group are trying to exploit it to their advantage: keep US forces pinned down, destabilize the country, and kill a few Americans in the process. I believe that the Iraqis are getting fed up with having these foreign fighters in their midst -- they just want to get on with their lives. The key will be if more and more Iraqi public support turns against them. Then again, we've seen how a small, organized, heavily armed and violent group can cower entire countries.

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Have you traveled abraod lately? Americans traveling, even to Europe, habitually say they are from Canada so as to avoid the general attitude towards Americans abroad. *Everybody* hates the U.S. We are enemy #1 *everywhere* and Bush has made this a zillion times worse.


C'mon, don't you think those are sweeping generalizations? Have you met every American who's traveled abroad? Have you met every non-US citizen? I agree that Bush isn't very good about playing nice with other countries, and his polices seem to reinforce many sterotypes foreigners have about America. However, this sense that 'everybody hates the U.S.' is a misconception.

As for travelilng abroad, I used to live abroad -- granted before 9/11. However, I know many non-US citizens and some of them are IMO overly critical of this country, others are more supportive. And I know of some who actually support the war in Iraq, which I don't. Don't let the propaganda fool you -- not 'everybody' hates America.

Bush is a lousy leader, a poor commander-in-chief, and no friend to civil liberties. But to me he's the least of my worries. Those guys beheading civilians, blowing up buses and trains, and trying to acquire WMDs are far more frightening.

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It's true terrorist groups often have wealthy backers, but those wealthy backers aren't the desperate ones. They're only trying to protect themselves from thier own have-nots and deflect class-conflict towards us.


In Holbrooke's article he makes a good distinction between suicide bombers and the terrorist leaders. He sees it as a form of maniupulation -- common to most radical movements -- whereby the powers-that-be in Al Qaeda-afilliates (and it is more like a franchise than a unified group) are very skilled in getting others to do their dirty work. (I wish I still had the article... it was really good.)

As far as class conflict, I believe it's much deeper than that.

To me, the fallacy lies in the presumption that Allah (or whatever Supreme Deity) can be insulted, disrespected or otherwise injured. We're talking God, The Big Guy, here. Immutable, immovable, invincible. So someone pees on a Quran. A Jew tips his hat in Jerusalem. "Infidel" soldiers are treading on the sacred sand of Arabia. So what? Is God writhing in pain over this? Does it mess up his x-ray vision? Give him cold sores? What?

It's the ego of the self-rightous, those who presume to know what essentially is good for God. What arrogance bordering on blasphemy! And yes, Christians and Jews and whomever have been guilty of this violence-cum-theosophic hubris before, but why has it become such a powerful force and a casus belli in Muslim communities over the past 80 years? Where are the cooler heads and moderate voices in the Islamic world?

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At any rate, I just can't understand why you think that anyone would simply want to attack other people if they didn't consider thier own situation desperate. It doesn't make sense. Why do you think that they they would want to take back all that power? Create an Islamic empire? Because they feel powerless over thier own lives.


Consider the fact that there are truly evil people in the world who enjoy inflicting pain on others. Maybe this Caliphate chauvinism is merely the justfication in order to recruit people to the cause. I wouldn't classify every single Al Qaeda operator as evil, but I don't think that notion should be dismissed out of hand. For instance, the man behind the abduction and beheading of Daniel Pearl (I forget his name) was evil. I think Al Zaqarwi is evil. Maybe Bin Laden, too, in a fanatical Hitler-esque kind of way.

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So, the real question I was driving at to begin with, is does a desparate act fall into the category of "cowardly"? I don't know.


The passengers on Flight 93 acted out of desperation which was far removed from any sense of cowardice.


 

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