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Islam and terrorism
Posted: 17 February 2005 09:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Similar to the depravity and delusion we used against Dresden, Cologne, Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the fire-bombings of many other “enemy” cities?

Not similar at all. And if you don’t understand why, there is no point in dignifying you any further.

In both cases innocent civilians were targeted to further the purposes of the perpetrators.  Explain what exactly is the difference.  Handwaving and ad hominem won’t suffice.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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[quote author=“dchoweller”]In both cases innocent civilians were targeted to further the purposes of the perpetrators.  Explain what exactly is the difference.  Handwaving and ad hominem won’t suffice.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were targeted to bring a swift end to the Pacific War. It was either that, or a land invasion of Japan, which would have driven both American and Japanese casualties into the millions.  In addition, both cities were centers of industrial support of the Japanese war effort.

WRT Dresden, you may be half right.  Historians still debate whether the attack was justified; however, the commanders of the effort had specific military goals in mind, and weren’t attacking the city out of cruelty for its own sake.

But the real distinction lies in the bigger issue: the nature of the combatants. Bombing Dresden may indeed have been a war crime; but that does not mean that it was wrong to be fighting Hitler. Hiroshima may or may not have been justified; but that doesn’t mean it was wrong to resist the expansion of the Japanese empire. Sherman’s march may have been criminal, but that doesn’t lessen the justness of the war against the Confederacy.

The reason Dresden and Hiroshima are not comparable to 9/11 (for example) is that the former were carried out for military objectives, while the latter was carried out solely to commit mass murder for its own sake.

Put simply, our bombs do not carry kidnap victims.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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[quote author=“global village idiot”] Well, that’s what they’ve openly stated they want to do.  And all that’s necessary for us to ensure their success is to do nothing about it. Well, not their “success”; world conquest will remain an impossible goal for at least a few more centuries. But that won’t stop totalitarians from trying.

Who said we should do nothing about it?  I suggest that we go after the terrorists, instead of doing our usual imperialist meddling in the middle east, which actually gives the terrorists more support. 

I’d suggest two tacks:

(1) stop our infernal meddling and our support of Israel.  Stop trying to get bases in the middle east

(2) go after the terrorists

#1 will help us go after the terrorists, because it will reduce the pool of recruits for terrorists.  If we simultaneously did both, it wouldn’t seem like a withdrawal that would embolden terrorists.

But really, #1 is impossible, since we’re the real empire, and we’ll never give up our means of control.  Because of our empire and our imperial leaders we will make pretenses at doing #2, while not caring about the victims of terrorism, using the actions of terrorists as pretexts to enlarge our military expenditures and increase our empire.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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[quote author=“global village idiot”][

WRT Dresden, you may be half right.  Historians still debate whether the attack was justified; however, the commanders of the effort had specific military goals in mind, and weren’t attacking the city out of cruelty for its own sake.

Perhaps the terrorists aren’t doing it out of cruelty for its own sake, but to accomplish their purposes

But the real distinction lies in the bigger issue: the nature of the combatants. Bombing Dresden may indeed have been a war crime; but that does not mean that it was wrong to be fighting Hitler.

Who said it was?

Hiroshima may or may not have been justified; but that doesn’t mean it was wrong to resist the expansion of the Japanese empire.

Who said it was.  I’m quarrelling with the targeting and killing of civilians to accomplish our purposes, not the fight against the Japanese or the Germans.

Sherman’s march may have been criminal, but that doesn’t lessen the justness of the war against the Confederacy.

Not sure where you’re getting all this from.  The means are in question, not the ends.  Terrorism is a means, not an end.  Targeted bombing of civilians is a means, not an end.

The reason Dresden and Hiroshima are not comparable to 9/11 (for example) is that the former were carried out for military objectives, while the latter was carried out solely to commit mass murder for its own sake.

How do you know that the latter was carried out solely to commit mass murder for its own sake?

Put simply, our bombs do not carry kidnap victims.

Your argument appears to be based on knowing the minds of the terrorists.  To me they are using terroristic means to accomplish their ends, just as we did in Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Cologne and all the other places we firebombed.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“dchoweller”]#1 will help us go after the terrorists, because it will reduce the pool of recruits for terrorists.  If we simultaneously did both, it wouldn’t seem like a withdrawal that would embolden terrorists.

Maybe you should pay attention to what the “terrorists” actually say their motives are, rather than assuming you’ve got all the answers already… especially when those answers are based on pure superstition.

From the preamble of Al-Qaeda’s “Why We Fight America”:

How can [the Muslim] possibly [accept humiliation and inferiority] when he knows that his nation was created to stand at the center of leadership, at the center of hegemony and rule, at the center of ability and sacrifice? How can [he] possibly [accept humiliation and inferiority] when he knows that the [divine] rule is that the entire earth must be subject to the religion of Allah - not to the East, not to the West - to no ideology and to no path except for the path of Allah?…

As long as this Muslim knows and believes in these facts, he will not - even for a single moment - stop striving to achieve it, even if it costs him his soul… his time, his property, and his son, as it is said, ‘Say [to the believers]: If your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your wives and your kinsfolk and the worth you have acquired and the trade, the dullness of which you apprehend, and the dwellings that you fancy are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving in His cause, then wait until Allah issues His judgment. Allah guides not the disobedient people…

Here are the first two grievances they list against us, outranking Israel, Iraq or anything else.

America is the head of heresy in our modern world, and it leads an infidel democratic regime that is based upon separation of religion and state and on ruling the people by the people via legislating laws that contradict the way of Allah and permit what Allah has prohibited. This compels the other countries to act in accordance with the same laws in the same ways… and punishes any country [that rebels against these laws] by besieging it, and then by boycotting it. By so doing, [America] seeks to impose on the world a religion that is not Allah’s…

America, with the collaboration of the Jews, is the leader of corruption and the breakdown [of values], whether moral, ideological, political, or economic corruption. It disseminates abomination and licentiousness among the people via the cheap media and the vile curricula.

I submit to you that they actually mean what they’re saying.

But really, #1 is impossible, since we’re the real empire, and we’ll never give up our means of control.  Because of our empire and our imperial leaders we will make pretenses at doing #2, while not caring about the victims of terrorism, using the actions of terrorists as pretexts to enlarge our military expenditures and increase our empire.

You have no idea what imperialism is. This is nothing but a faith-based claim of special insight into the hidden motives of some superstitious notion of evil. You may as well claim that America is Satan. It’s exactly the same.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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[quote author=“global village idiot”][quote author=“dchoweller”]#1 will help us go after the terrorists, because it will reduce the pool of recruits for terrorists.  If we simultaneously did both, it wouldn’t seem like a withdrawal that would embolden terrorists.

Maybe you should pay attention to what the “terrorists” actually say their motives are, rather than assuming you’ve got all the answers already… especially when those answers are based on pure superstition.

Who cares what their motives are?  Just kill them.  To prevent more of them from rising up to replace the ones we killed, we do #1, which reduces their recruiting pool.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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[quote author=“global village idiot”]You have no idea what imperialism is. This is nothing but a faith-based claim of special insight into the hidden motives of some superstitious notion of evil. You may as well claim that America is Satan. It’s exactly the same.

A country that spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined, has its navies going all over the world’s oceans, has more than a hundred bases in other countries, overthrows the governments of other countries, and invades them in many cases, or subverts them in others, is an empire.  A country whose planners say that they need control of Iraq, whether or not Saddam is in power, and who then use the “catalyzing event” of 9/11 to go ahead and do what they wanted to anyway, is an empire.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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[quote author=“global village idiot”]
What I’m suggesting is simple: when totalitarian madmen say things like “the entire world should be subject to the religion of Allah” and claim for themselves the divine right and the intention to acquire nuclear weapons and use them against us, then we are fools if we don’t take them at their word.

Who’s suggesting we not take that seriously?  Perhaps if the U.S. empire really did take it seriously they would have tried to kill Bin Laden, and done more to stop the proliferation that might come from Pakistan or the former Soviet Union, rather than invading Iraq.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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[quote author=“global village idiot”]What I’m suggesting is simple: when totalitarian madmen say things like “the entire world should be subject to the religion of Allah” and claim for themselves the divine right and the intention to acquire nuclear weapons and use them against us, then we are fools if we don’t take them at their word.

What I’m suggesting is that totalitarian madmen who have delusions of grandeur but no power (even you admit it would take centuries for them to achieve their aims) are not as big a threat as the U.S empire, which is responsible for the death of tens of thousands of people in the third world countries it invades.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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[quote author=“dchoweller”]Who said it was.  I’m quarrelling with the targeting and killing of civilians to accomplish our purposes, not the fight against the Japanese or the Germans.

I guess I should ask whether you are an absolute pacifist or not. If so, then I can understand your position. But if not, I think it’s disingenuous. The attacks on Dresden and Hiroshima were not targeting civilians. They were targeting military targets for military goals. Absent those targets and goals, the cities would not have been bombed. The purpose of the attacks was not to kill civilians.

Now, yes, civilians were killed in both attacks, as they have been in all attacks in all wars. But the distinction lies in whether killing civilians was the purpose of the attack. With Dresden and Hiroshima, it wasn’t.

How do you know that the latter was carried out solely to commit mass murder for its own sake?

Their actions speak for themselves.

Your argument appears to be based on knowing the minds of the terrorists.  To me they are using terroristic means to accomplish their ends, just as we did in Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Cologne and all the other places we firebombed.

We can know their minds by examing what they tell us about what they’re thinking. And saying that “they’re doing it to accomplish their goals” is a non-observation that means nothing. That’s self-evident, and you prove nothing profound by pointing it out.

Your assertions are, it’s clear to me, based on an assumption that there is a moral equivalence between all uses of violence; and if you’re a pacifist, I can respect that position, even if I think it’s mistaken. But if you’re not a pacifist, then I think it’s a disingenuous attempt to avoid having to challenge your own assumptions and superstitions about “imperialism.”

I’m speaking as someone who used to sound exactly like you. Therefore, I think I have some insight into how you’re thinking.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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[quote author=“dchoweller”]A country that spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined, has its navies going all over the world’s oceans, has more than a hundred bases in other countries, overthrows the governments of other countries, and invades them in many cases, or subverts them in others, is an empire.

No, it isn’t. It’s just a run of the mill nation-state doing what all nation-states, without exception, do, to the extent its resources allow it to do so. An empire seizes territory, holds it against all comers, replaces the indigenous population with immigrants from the home country, forces locals into slave labor, executes or exiles those who don’t sign on to the empire’s ideology, and so on. We’re not doing any of those things.

A country whose planners say that they need control of Iraq, whether or not Saddam is in power, and who then use the “catalyzing event” of 9/11 to go ahead and do what they wanted to anyway, is an empire.

  Proof please.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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[quote author=“dchoweller”]Who’s suggesting we not take that seriously?

You are, although you think you aren’t.

Perhaps if the U.S. empire really did take it seriously they would have tried to kill Bin Laden, and done more to stop the proliferation that might come from Pakistan or the former Soviet Union, rather than invading Iraq.

I take from this, then, that you’d have supported the unilateral invasion of Pakistan and Russia? Somehow, I don’t think you would…

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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[quote author=“global village idiot”][The attacks on Dresden and Hiroshima were not targeting civilians.They were targeting military targets for military goals.

The attacks on Dresden, Hiroshima, etc. targeted civilians.  You cannot not target civilians when you use atomic weapons and firebombing. 

Absent those targets and goals, the cities would not have been bombed. The purpose of the attacks was not to kill civilians.

Then why not attack a purely military target.  why use an indiscriminate weapon like an atomic bomb, or fire-bombing?

Now, yes, civilians were killed in both attacks, as they have been in all attacks in all wars.

I’d say that civilians were explicitly targeted in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, and Cologne.  The indiscriminate nature of the weapon used indicates this.  If the military targets in Hiroshima or Nagasaki were being targeted, less indiscriminate weapons could have been used. 

But the distinction lies in whether killing civilians was the purpose of the attack. With Dresden and Hiroshima, it wasn’t.

Killing civilians for its own sake was not the purpose of the attack.  Killing civilians for the purpose of terrorizing the Japanese/Germans into accepting that they were defeated was the purpose of the atacks.

How do you know that the latter was carried out solely to commit mass murder for its own sake?

Their actions speak for themselves.

Maybe I’m dumb, but I don’t see Bin Laden and his ilk killing civilians purely for the joy of it.  Terrorism is a tactic, not an end in itself.  It is assymetric warfare.  It is a horrible means used to accomplish a purpose.

We can know their minds by examing what they tell us about what they’re thinking. And saying that “they’re doing it to accomplish their goals” is a non-observation that means nothing. That’s self-evident, and you prove nothing profound by pointing it out.

However, it’s different from what you’re saying, which is that they’re doing it for the pure joy of killing people.

But if you’re not a pacifist, then I think it’s a disingenuous attempt to avoid having to challenge your own assumptions and superstitions about “imperialism.”

One can be a non-pacifist, and yet insist that civilians not be targeted for whatever purpose.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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[quote author=“global village idiot”][quote author=“dchoweller”]Who’s suggesting we not take that seriously?

You are, although you think you aren’t.

Perhaps if the U.S. empire really did take it seriously they would have tried to kill Bin Laden, and done more to stop the proliferation that might come from Pakistan or the former Soviet Union, rather than invading Iraq.

I take from this, then, that you’d have supported the unilateral invasion of Pakistan and Russia? Somehow, I don’t think you would…

I take it from this, then that you extrapolate wildly about what other people think and say.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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[quote author=“dchoweller”]What I’m suggesting is that totalitarian madmen who have delusions of grandeur but no power (even you admit it would take centuries for them to achieve their aims) are not as big a threat as the U.S empire, which is responsible for the death of tens of thousands of people in the third world countries it invades.

But here’s the mistake you’re making: to quote your homeboy Robert Schuer, our choice is not bewteen war and peace; it’s between war and endless war.

Do we sit around and wait for the madmen to come to power in a place like Pakistan, which has nukes, or Iraq, the second-holiest land in Islam and center of an enormous industrial capacity; or do we destroy them now, while it’s easier and costs fewer lives.

To wit, do we destroy the Nazis before or after they come to power.

Everything you’ve written here about “imperialism” carries a tone of moral indignation that suggests these problems would vanish if a leash were put on American power. Which essentially means you’re arguing we should do nothing. And that, in turn, assumes that the madmen aren’t acting out of their own motives, which they’d have no matter what America does. They’ll do it, anyway.

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