Jonathan Clarke wrote:
Action against terrorists and terrorists organisations
is certainly just. Whether bombing third countries who
harbour or even give official shelter and support to such
terrorism falls under the cloak of waging war justly is
another matter. Groups that many would consider terrorist
have sheltered and found support in the US, sometimes with
official sanction. Does this give the countries who have
suffered from the depredations of these organisations (Britain,
Cuba, Nicaragua, Russia, Cambodia, to name some) the right
to take military action against the US?
I'm not sure which "terrorists" you are referring to particularly
in the case of Britain and Russia. Perhaps what you actually
mean is that the US supported various puppet dictators who
bilked their countries of what few resources they had, and
then fled to the US after the countries were routed by the
opposition. The US then protected many of them.
At least at the surface, advisors (both military
and political) in the US often seem virtually ignorant the
underlying history of countries they do business with.
Unfortunately, a dark reality is that many countries have
problems which only they themselves are able to solve.
Outside interference only tends to exacerbate the long
road to recovery.
Whereas I have little doubt that the US has harbored
people that some countries might consider mere
"troublemakers" and "thieves", I think you need
to provide some specific examples to make a real case.
The present US
military based approach against terrorism seems very similar
to that taken by Israel against the terrorism it has suffered
in the last 20 years. It has seen the once famous Israeli
military machine humiliated and tainted by atrocities and not
solved the problem. Israel is a more dangerous place to live
than it was 20 years ago.
What is a reasonable thing for the Israelis to do here?
The history of the middle east is very complicated and
I do not say that Israel is without fault. However,
if they did nothing, would they be better off now? Would
Israel be any less dangerous? If you really want to make
issue of it, you need to provide a case study of a particular
incident, analyze the various perspectives (both Israeli and
Arab), and point out where each could have avoided escalating
the situation. I suspect that any complete analysis will
leave you with varying shades of gray rather than the black
and white picture you have just portrayed.
If there is any lesson that can be drawn from t
he past 50 years of terrorism and guerilla warfare
is that containing with terrorism is a matter for
police and intelligence forces, backed up by judicious
use of the military, when required.
I am a bit concerned about the rate at which the
US has jumped into this matter; however, it's clear
that some information is missing. Only history can
I would argue here that surely it would be better for
the Islamic folk themselves to lay down the law on
these reprobates and rabble rousers. If they (the
Islamic folk) are doing a responsible job of policing
such antisocial and seditious behavior, the UN wouldn't
have to play world policeman.
The Aum Shinrikyou leaders (who sponsored the subway
gas attack in Tokyo) were arrested by the police and
prosecuted within the judicial in Japan. (I don't know
how "shinnrikyou" is expressed in English speaking
countries but the meaning is essentially "church of
supreme truth" --- already a good indication of the
actual "truth" content.) However,
I think that situation is quite different here. Most of
the Aum believers were in their early 20s. Many were
well educated. They suffered mostly from social problems:
loneliness and a dislike for the conformity of corporate
life in Japan. Their decision to follow that Shokou Asahara
charlatan was tragic, but they were basically law abiding
people to start with. Some remain as fugitives, but I
would expect that they genuinely regret what they did.
I wonder how you propose to bring about justice in the
current situation? Is the US supposed to do nothing
and wait for the Afghanistan government to prosecute
Ben Laden? What do you propose instead and what examples
do you have of reasonable ways that it can be implemented?
Dealing with terrorism requires dealing with the
underlying causes for it. The US should ask itself
why is it hated to such an extent that people are
prepared to sacrifice themselves to kill thousands
of its citizens.
No argument per se. Dealing with causes is far more
effective than dealing with the consequences.
Nevertheless, once again I think you
will find that the matter is varying shades of
gray. As George Murphy pointed out, they see
freedom of thought as a threat to their narrow views.
They are free to hold such views and keep the West
out if they like, and Afghanistan and the Talbians
were essentially left alone for the last 5 or so years.
If they don't want to associate with the rest of the
world, fine. The Amish in the US (Pennsylvania) live
that way. However, the Amish do not build bombs to
harass the people outside their community or fly
airplanes into buildings to make issue of their
views. They should expect rapid police action against
them: especially if they harbor such people as "guests".
Likewise, the Bin Laden (and Talbians for that matter)
cannot expect to be left alone if they engage the rest
of the world in this way.
The reasons have nothing to do
with Brush's delusional nonsense about the US being
hated for its freedoms, wealth and power. There
are other free, wealthy, and powerful countries out
there who do not suffer terrorist outrages to anything
like the same degree. They have to do with a
hypocritical and self-serving foreign policy
and bully-boy military actions.
I doubt that the rest of the world is free from
such harassment. The US was the grand prize
winner of the lottery this time but it would be
all that much easier to commit such mischief
elsewhere in the world any time with possibly
greater casualties. What price are you ready to
pay for such madness?
As to "self-serving" and "hypocritical", name a
nation that is not replete with self-serving
and hypocritical policies. At some point, there
is no free lunch, and business cannot prosper
in a give-away-only fashion. The hope is that
some of the benefit is passed on.
The US could do better --- a lot better,
but at least the US is to some extent under
world scrutiny, which does (at least currently)
seem to temper some of the more atrocious
behaviors that have commonly occurred in the
brief history of western civilization expansion.
It is certainly a lot better than a mere century
ago when Great Britain was able to sail its
ships up the Yangtze River to support the opium
Hopefully, this was a constructive response.
By Grace alone we proceed,
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Oct 25 2001 - 12:56:46 EDT