American Foreign Policy does impact Terrorism…
Posted: 23 June 2007 08:50 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I like Sam and I buy many of his arguments but quite frankly I am getting sick of the 'it's only religion' argument. I used to buy it and then I did some research and reading…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAt6Pf7jZjA&mode=user&search=

Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror (Brassey's, 2004; ISBN 1-57488-849-8) is a book originally published anonymously, but authored by Michael Scheuer, a 22-year CIA veteran who ran the Counterterrorist Center's bin Laden station from 1996 to 1999.

Scheuer describes his thesis this way:

"Imperial Hubris is overwhelmingly focused on how the last several American presidents have been very ill-served by the senior leaders of the Intelligence Community. Indeed, I resigned from an Agency I love in order to publicly damn the feckless 9/11 Commission, which failed to find any personal failure or negiligence among Intelligence Community leaders even though dozens of serving officers provided the commissioners with clear documentary evidence of that failure."[1]

The book is highly critical of the Bush Administration's handling and characterization of the War on Terrorism, and of its simplistic portrayal of Bin Laden as "evil" and "hating freedom." The book is notable in criticizing the idea that Islamist terrorists are attacking Western societies because of what they are rather than because of how they behave in the international arena. Scheuer writes:

"The fundamental flaw in our thinking about Bin Laden is that "Muslims hate and attack us for what we are and think, rather than what we do." Muslims are bothered by our modernity, democracy, and sexuality, but they are rarely spurred to action unless American forces encroach on their lands. It's American foreign policy that enrages Osama and al-Qaeda, not American culture and society."

Imperial Hubris argues that Osama bin Laden's war against the U.S. is a classical example of defensive jihad waged against an enemy occupier rather than an apocalyptic attack on "freedom." Scheuer is particularly critical of the U.S.-led war on Iraq, which he characterizes as "an avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat but whose defeat did offer economic advantages." For Scheuer, the war in Iraq was like a "Christmas gift" to bin Laden not just because it distracted the U.S. military from the war against al Qaeda, but more importantly because it has provided global jihadists a failed state from which to operate that is even more conducive to terrorism than Afghanistan. By attacking and occupying the second holiest place in Shi'a Islam, the U.S. has turned Iraq into a lightning rod for jihadists from around the globe to come attack the occupying armies. The invasion, he argues, has provided credibility and substance to bin Laden's assertion that terrorists are waging a defensive jihad against foreign occupier bent on destroying Islam.

The book is also notable for its critique of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, which Scheuer insists that the U.S. is losing badly. The Taliban, he argues, was not defeated; it is simply biding its time for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops and the inevitable collapse of Hamid Karzai's government in Kabul. "Karzai's defeat may not come tomorrow," he writes, "but come it will, and the Prophet's banner will again be unfurled over Kabul."

I highly recommend this book written by an insider with 20+ years of experience as a CIA field agent specialising in the Middle East; a Bin Laden specialist. The world is more complicated than many would have us believe; the whole point of the book:

American foreign policy DOES impact Islamic violence perpetrated against the west. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Read this book…

http://www.amazon.com/Imperial-Hubris-West-Losing-Terror/dp/1574888625/ref=pd_bbs_2/103-1529087-9204660?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182591435&sr=8-2

Being a skeptic means looking at the evidence…Sam Harris effectively says that people like Scheuer are talking out of their arse and really don't get it…I am inclined to say it's the other way round…

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Posted: 24 June 2007 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I dont think Sam is discounting the fact that political injustices, wheather they be perceived or valid in terms of international law, can be the trigger for a terrorist attack. He is just pointing out that Islam is the catalyst.

Without the koran suicide missions would fewer.

As he has already mentioned there are many other ethnicities, religions, tribes etc that have been tortured, abused, killed and silenced by occupying forces and not all of them retaliated by means of violent revenge, particularly against civilians. Take the case of the tibetans- with all they have suffered at the hands of chinese we dont see tibetan spirtual and political leaders urging their followers to seek revenge we see the exact opposite- calls to generate compassion for the chinese.

If Tibet was an islamic state prior to the chinese invasion then mainland china and chinese interests around the world would have been subjected to terrorism for decades, if latin america was predominatly islamic then the US would probably have seen dozens of 9/11 style attacks by now. None of these things have happened because the victims dont live their lives by a philiosophy which can make an individual so sociopathic that anybody who dares to think differently from them is fair game.

Its worth noting that one of Bin Laden’s main gripes with the US was their bases inside Saudi Arabia. Through the eyes of a reasonable non-muslim person there was never really anything wrong with these bases being there, perhaps a sense of spreading colonialism by the US but that was about it. The US was not harming anybody, was invited there by the Saudi ‘government’ and for all intense purposes was causing none of the locals any harm. Ask a fundamentalist muslim like Bin Laden how they would feel about those bases and many will tell you how deeply offensive it is, they are infidels on holy muslim lands etc etc. These ideas couldn’t exist without the Koran.

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“All Truth passes through Three Stages: First, it is Ridiculed…
Second, it is Violently Opposed…
Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident.”

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Posted: 25 June 2007 02:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[quote author=“meloncolin”]I dont think Sam is discounting the fact that political injustices, wheather they be perceived or valid in terms of international law, can be the trigger for a terrorist attack. He is just pointing out that Islam is the catalyst.

Without the koran suicide missions would fewer.

As he has already mentioned there are many other ethnicities, religions, tribes etc that have been tortured, abused, killed and silenced by occupying forces and not all of them retaliated by means of violent revenge, particularly against civilians. Take the case of the tibetans- with all they have suffered at the hands of chinese we dont see tibetan spirtual and political leaders urging their followers to seek revenge we see the exact opposite- calls to generate compassion for the chinese.

If Tibet was an islamic state prior to the chinese invasion then mainland china and chinese interests around the world would have been subjected to terrorism for decades, if latin america was predominatly islamic then the US would probably have seen dozens of 9/11 style attacks by now. None of these things have happened because the victims dont live their lives by a philiosophy which can make an individual so sociopathic that anybody who dares to think differently from them is fair game.

Its worth noting that one of Bin Laden’s main gripes with the US was their bases inside Saudi Arabia. Through the eyes of a reasonable non-muslim person there was never really anything wrong with these bases being there, perhaps a sense of spreading colonialism by the US but that was about it. The US was not harming anybody, was invited there by the Saudi ‘government’ and for all intense purposes was causing none of the locals any harm. Ask a fundamentalist muslim like Bin Laden how they would feel about those bases and many will tell you how deeply offensive it is, they are infidels on holy muslim lands etc etc. These ideas couldn’t exist without the Koran.

Yes, yes; there is much to agree with. The Tamil tigers are secularists that engage in suicide terrorism. They don’t read the Koran; thr Koran is just one of many possible catalysts.  I guess you support America’s military imperialism and the 720 + military bases littered across the world in more than 100 countries…I have lived and worked abroad for quite some time now and most people I ask are sick of the American military presence in their countries. How would you feel if China set up shop all over the USA with military outposts? Changing American foreign policy will change terrorism…

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Get with it. Millions of galaxies of hundreds of millions of stars, and a speck on one in a blink. That’s us, lost in space. The cop, you, me… Who notices?
-Vincent

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Posted: 25 June 2007 03:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“meloncolin”]I don’t think Sam is discounting the fact that political injustices, whether they be perceived or valid in terms of international law, can be the trigger for a terrorist attack. He is just pointing out that Islam is the catalyst.

Without the koran suicide missions would fewer.

I agree. That’s the way I read “The End of Faith.”

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Posted: 25 June 2007 07:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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i think one of the most disturbing examples of the ignorance which leads to terrorist attacks on the US and US interests is peoples lack of curiousity regarding those 700+ US bases which are located throughout the world.

I wonder how many other secret ones exist that the admin ‘can’t comment on due to national security’.

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“All Truth passes through Three Stages: First, it is Ridiculed…
Second, it is Violently Opposed…
Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident.”

- Arthur Schopenhauer

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Posted: 25 June 2007 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“meloncolin”]I dont think Sam is discounting the fact that political injustices, wheather they be perceived or valid in terms of international law, can be the trigger for a terrorist attack. He is just pointing out that Islam is the catalyst.

Without the koran suicide missions would fewer.

Yes, but it is meaningful to ask SO WHAT?

There were no suicide missions in Vietnam either.  We still conducted a war that the American people came to reject and that earned us the contempt of the world, and we lost after sane people rejected the idea of reducing southeast Asia to radioactive rubble.

We can’t wipe out the Middle East either.  We do have an even more urgent problem given the possibility of suicide bombers getting hold of WMD.  (Of course, homicidal terrorists could deploy WMD without killing themselves, too.)

So I think Sam’s position reduces us to helpless handwringing.  What can we do to make Muslims less inclined to suicidal/homicidal terrorism?  We certainly can’t influence their religious beliefs.  We can look at our own actions and adjust them.  Countless political/military experts are telling us this, and on the other hand we have a philosopher/neuroscientist telling us it’s just religion.  What is to be done in the face of that?

Either way, ultimately all we can do is hope for the best, and given that it only takes one cell to slip through, some horrible event may be inevitable.

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Posted: 25 June 2007 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“M is for Malapert”]What is to be done in the face of that?

Information, empowerment of women, and stealth marketing aimed at a younger generation. The West needs to paint a picture for them that clearly shows the young and the secretly dissident the advantages of Western culture.

Take even a mediocre (but somewhat inspirational) film like say, “Bend it Like Beckham” and let a bright young Muslim woman figure out for herself that her culture will never offer her an opportunity to make something of herself other than a genitally-mutilated, coal-sack-draped baby factory. bin Laden and other Muslim leaders are far less afraid of Washington than they are of Hollywood, and far less afraid of our soldiers than of their own women.

We can debate the relative merits of what passes for entertainment/news in the West at another juncture, but the means to reach the hearts and minds of the Muslim world lie in words, sound and pictures rather than guns, tanks and missiles. These last, like the presence of unwanted military bases, give their leaders concrete rallying points with which to galvanize the populace.

Has anybody noticed that Vietnam is now a bustling little free market economy? I suspect that napalm and Agent Orange were not the catalysts, but watching the emergence of the “baby tiger” economies was.

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Posted: 26 June 2007 01:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“M is for Malapert”][quote author=“meloncolin”]I dont think Sam is discounting the fact that political injustices, wheather they be perceived or valid in terms of international law, can be the trigger for a terrorist attack. He is just pointing out that Islam is the catalyst.

Without the koran suicide missions would fewer.

Yes, but it is meaningful to ask SO WHAT?

There were no suicide missions in Vietnam either.  We still conducted a war that the American people came to reject and that earned us the contempt of the world, and we lost after sane people rejected the idea of reducing southeast Asia to radioactive rubble.

We can’t wipe out the Middle East either.  We do have an even more urgent problem given the possibility of suicide bombers getting hold of WMD.  (Of course, homicidal terrorists could deploy WMD without killing themselves, too.)

So I think Sam’s position reduces us to helpless handwringing.  What can we do to make Muslims less inclined to suicidal/homicidal terrorism?  We certainly can’t influence their religious beliefs.  We can look at our own actions and adjust them.  Countless political/military experts are telling us this, and on the other hand we have a philosopher/neuroscientist telling us it’s just religion.  What is to be done in the face of that?

Either way, ultimately all we can do is hope for the best, and given that it only takes one cell to slip through, some horrible event may be inevitable.

Sam’s argument revolves around the question “What is it that drives people to commit 9/11 style attacks and problems in the middle east”

If you ask yourself what is the core reason behind why people fly planes into buildings you could come to the conclusion that its because of the US’s unqualified support for Israel and its bases located around the muslim world. But that doesnt go deep enough.

Why is it that the Israel/Palestinian problem exists in the first place? Why is it that some people are highly offended when people of other religious persuasions build bases on what they see as holy (religous) land? Why is it that Sunni feel they must kill Shia and vice versa?

It all stems from religious belief. Without these competing, intolerant and incompatible faiths then its highly unlikely we would see the types of violence that we are witnessing in the middle east now.

There could still be land disputes between various ethnicities but imagine if the core of their beliefs was forgiveness and non-violence such as in buddhism. Buddhism is as fracturered,devided and at times as dogmatic as other religions but we don’t see the Therevadan’s calling the Mahayanan’s and Vajrayanan’s apostates and fair game when it comes to war. We see plenty of debate, scholarly disputes and even calls of one teaching being inferior in comparison to another but thats about as far as it goes on the whole even though there has been cases of violence between various buddhist factions. But these are so few and far between in comparison to any other sort of religious path on the planet. Why? because of what they believe and how they live their lives.

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“All Truth passes through Three Stages: First, it is Ridiculed…
Second, it is Violently Opposed…
Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident.”

- Arthur Schopenhauer

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