US is a leading terrorist state?
Posted: 23 August 2012 05:14 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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So I thought it might be a good idea to attempt to resurrect this forum a bit. So now im going to throw a bit of Chomsky’esk criticism out there. The basic argument is that it really is pointless to consider islamic terorrism as particularly worthy of comptempt and even criticism, when the US (at least when counting bodies) is much much worse. In other words, the US—and the west in general—is morally worse than islamic terrorism. To blame islam, is therefore simply hypocritical; you know, splinter in your brothers eye and everything.


Anyways take a look at this


I feel like that movie clip pretty much sums up the general arguments. The arguments are of course generally not very good, but they are pretty much how they tend to go, when you meet an average person with that opinion.

To be honest, I think it is not quite as easy as it should be to respond to this kind of criticism of the west.
Sam’s response—which more or less goes like this—is that it is intention that matters. The west never kills civilians intentionally, islamic terrorists do. He also gives the example of ‘perfect weapons’ [in ‘The End of Faith’] and how they would be used differently by the west and islamic terrorists.

Now, I don’t find that argument very persuasive, and the people who make the criticism are obviously not convinced either. First of all, there is the whole ‘they [islamic terrorists] only kill civilians because they do not have the military capability to wage a traditional war’. In other words if they had perfect weapons they would go straight for military targets. Secondly, people seems genuinely to doubt that the US does not kill civilians intentionally—that is they perform military actions where the civilians are purposely the target of the operation.

Given the hypothetical nature of the ‘perfect weapons’ argument, it does not seem easy to respond to those objections. Therefore the conversation inevitably ends up going into details about specifci US military operations; and given the US’ rather questionable accomplishments in Iraq, the case becomes harder and harder to make convincingly. What to dew?

 

So now im just pretty much throwing it out there. How do you respond to criticism—and a defense of islam—by the line of argument shown in the video? Do you have something better than Sam’s ‘perfect weapons’? And finally, what do you think of Sam’s ‘perfect weapon’ argument?

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Posted: 23 August 2012 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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In this case…I believe Sam’s justifications to be nothing more than intellectual masturbation, and he needs to apply his awareness of the illusory “self” to his own illusory “self” and it’s illusory-self promoting arguments.  As long as one self tries to implement it’s own rules of proper engagement, the other self will quite naturally move away from the reality of its own illusion in order to survive an illusory battle that has the potential for real destruction.  No matter how you argue it…war perpetuates war.

At least thats what the bumper sticker said.

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Posted: 23 August 2012 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I did not really understood what you were trying to say there, but I somehow get the idea that you missed my point.


The question was not whether or not military intervention in it self is a good idea, but rather whether or not there is a moral distinction between the violence that islamic terrorism is perpetrating and the one the US is engaged in for instance iraq. In particular, is Sam’s ‘perfect weapons’ argument, in your opinion, sufficient to make the case that there is indeed such a distinction and that the west has the moral highground?

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Posted: 23 August 2012 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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I am simply saying that his judgement for or against one side simply strengthens the illusory concept of “self” and serves as nothing more then a rallying cry to the selfish thoughts of the others he is arguing against.  There by strengthening the overall illusion of self he rails against.  Call it unwittiing mental masturbation. Or self agrandizement.

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Posted: 23 August 2012 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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“The basic argument is that it really is pointless to consider islamic terorrism as particularly worthy of comptempt and even criticism, when the US (at least when counting bodies) is much much worse. “


While I won’t speak to your criticism of America’s recent wars, I do question your suggestion that Islamic terrorism is somehow justifiable.  Perhaps you are not aware of the many casualties perpetrated by Muslims on fellow Muslims.  In Muslim dominated regions throughout the world expect to find social disorder and, perhaps, bloodshed.  To name a few during the past several decades: Timor in the Philippines (where the Muslim majority was engaged in a separatist war), Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq (even before the war), Iran, and Afghanistan (which was engaged in civil strife before the current invasion), India (where Hindus and Muslims travel by train to kill each other), Pakistan, Bangladesh, Libya, Sudan (where Arabs are engaged in the “ethnic cleansing” of black Africans), Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Chechnya (a breakaway Muslim dominated province of Russia), Kashmir (where war may break out at any time), Egypt (now and during the Seven Days War), Somalia and so many, many more.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_modern_conflicts_in_North_Africa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_modern_conflicts_in_the_Middle_East
 

Consider The Persian Empire, Egypt of the pharaohs, the great cultures of the Fertile Crescent, the Euphrates-Tigris Valley, and Lebanon, (the “Paris” of the middle east)—so many great cultures reduced to grinding poverty.  Why is it that the Middle East and North Africa continue to lag behind the rest of the world intellectually socially and economically?—The Islamic movement is not benign.     

[ Edited: 23 August 2012 09:47 PM by Wreck of M Deare]
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Posted: 23 August 2012 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Perhaps I should emphasize that im more or less playing devils advocate here. I agree completely with Sam’s view on the subject, I simply find his ‘perfect weapon’ argument somewhat inadequate.


While you points about muslim on muslim violence is dead on and complete destroys the idea of islams benignity, it doesn’t really excuse much of the violence perpetrated by the west. I guess it more or less comes down to whether or not military intervention in the name of freedom and democracy can ever be justified and whether or not it actually is in the name of freedom and democracy.

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Posted: 23 August 2012 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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The targeting of non-military targets by the US over several decades is a fact. (Hiroshima, Cambodia, etc..)  That clandestine efforts resulted in the destabilizing of democratic, peaceful countries is also a fact. (Chile)  As long as international law is upheld by America, while excusing itself from the rules, makes it not just a hypocritical state, but something of a terrorist state, IMO.  Let’s start with Kissinger, get him put where he belongs, and then an intelligent discussion on who the terrorists are can actually ensue.  Until then, the US has absolutely no credibility.


However, while the administration that went into Iraq was somewhat corrupt, there’s no question in my mind that Saddam had to be removed.  And there is no oil in Afghanistan.  A shitload of valuable resources, yes, but I don’t believe that was known, or at least to what extent, a decade ago. 


But let’s put the brakes on the finger-pointing for a sec.  Just as it is completely irrelevant to point to what others were doing as an excuse to the international crimes against humanity that the US has committed in the past, Islam needs to start taking responsibility for the actions of those who commit crimes in its name.  And while I do believe that most Muslims are peaceful, I believe it isn’t because of Islam, but in spite of it.  I do not have a mind flexible enough to accept the notion that Islam is a religion of peace.  No religion that has a death penalty against apostasy can reasonably expect to state it is a peaceful religion and be taken seriously.


Once moderates find their voice, things may change.  But remaining entirely silent as those who take the religion more seriously and follow the more immoral instructions, and only break their silence to rebuke critics of Islam as being racist, is despicable, immoral, and a root cause of the obvious “problem of Islam”.  And leaders from other faiths are not just ok with this, but join in.  It wasn’t Islam or Muslims that were to blame for the deaths and destruction from the publishing of the Danish cartoons - it was the cartoons.  At least, according to both the Pope and archbishop of Canterbury.  Same with a fictional book that discussed the satanic verses.  It wasn’t the placing of a bounty, announced openly and internationally, that was condemned.  It was the book!  A clear and obvious attack on freedom of speech - probably our most precious and important right we hold dear.


Try this - ask a “moderate” Muslim what the penalty is for apostasy.  I’m willing to bet he or she will tap-dance around an answer for 10 minutes before walking (or running) away from the discussion.


Islam: “We are peaceful, and if you say otherwise, we’ll kill you.”
Nuff said! 

Islam is that abusive boyfriend that says “don’t make me hit you”.  Blaming the victim is never a worthwhile endeavor.

[ Edited: 23 August 2012 03:40 PM by Ice Monkey]
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Posted: 23 August 2012 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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The biggest problem with Yuri’s linked video (other than the bad writing and acting) is it attempts to draw parallels between the Iraq invasion and Afghanistan (WMDs not found in Iraq, and terrorists not found in Afghanistan, etc.), and make the military actions seem equally as misguided.  The two wars are pretty classic examples of the stark results democracies are capable of producing.  Iraq was an inexcusable imperialist disaster pretty much from the get-go with hardly a hope of generating benefits that outweighed the costs (unless you were Halliburton, Bechtel, et corporate al, of course).  And Afghanistan…well, if not removing the Taliban, then what?  What was the other more appropriate response after Sept. 11?  Being there for over a decade and piling up collateral damage with no end in sight and the ever-morphing stated objectives STILL beyond our reach is despicable and ridiculous, granted, but this, again, can be blamed on the pointless operation in Iraq, which drained needed resources that could have drastically reduced time spent in Afghanistan.

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Posted: 23 August 2012 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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This conversation is the perfect example of the illusory “self” in action.  Each self, whether it be american self or iraqi self or communist self or muslim self or nationalist self etc., is why humans can’t change.  Everyone is operating from a position of… “which” self, and/or “who’s idea”  is more moral or just or right.  The brain and memory trying to root itself into some form of comfort zone that if only “all” would conform to…the world would be a much better place.  Thought is the fuel that drives it, and all thought is based on experience which is old and has nothing to do with the moment.  Thought is the great rapacious predator that uses fear as its insurance to keep itself alive.  The entire world seems to be in a state of unconcious, unbridled thought.  All perceptions are based on the past with an eye towards an imaginary fear for the future.  No one is grounded in any sort of awareness of this fact it seems, and although I run the risk of being considered a crack pot of some sort…this is the crux of the matter.  Nothing short of an evolutionary change in the brains of humans can change these things and I seriously doubt that humans will survive long enough to make that evolutionary jump if it does indeed have the possibility of existing.

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Posted: 23 August 2012 08:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Now that we know each of our myriad, thought-afflicted selfs are doomed (as well as any head-scratching selfs out there, one would assume), did you have anything to add regarding America’s hypothetical terrorist-state status, BobD?

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Posted: 23 August 2012 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Well James…How could the human condition that I just put out there be anything other than a terrorist state?  Terrorism, in the sense that the herd is trying to squirrel hole here,  is simply the symptom…not the core problem.  If you can come close to agreeing with me on that, then you have to see that I am attempting to identify the actual problem.  And ultimately…if individuals become aware of the problem…the symptoms simply drop away.  Or would you prefer to continue with the herd consensus that dictates that the symptoms might somehow magically go away if we simply put more thought into it?  And if I am somehow, the antithesis of what this forum is trying to accomplish, just let me know and I will leave you to your own devices. My only intent was to throw out a different way of approaching the issue.  There is no offense intended sir.

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Posted: 24 August 2012 08:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Well, yeah, sure, if you zoom the focus out far enough, you will see precious little beyond a faltering, backward species of hominids struggling to overcome its aggressive, violent, ape heritage, so I can see what you’re getting at in that respect.  To further the point, if you, and not Gene Roddenberry, had produced Star Trek, we wouldn’t have had to put up with all those exceedingly crappy and corny episodes where the moral was how challenging yet simultaneously special and wonderful it is to be human.

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Posted: 24 August 2012 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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JamesEvans - 24 August 2012 08:55 PM

Well, yeah, sure, if you zoom the focus out far enough, you will see precious little beyond a faltering, backward species of hominids struggling to overcome its aggressive, violent, ape heritage, so I can see what you’re getting at in that respect.  To further the point, if you, and not Gene Roddenberry, had produced Star Trek, we wouldn’t have had to put up with all those exceedingly crappy and corny episodes where the moral was how challenging yet simultaneously special and wonderful it is to be human.

 


Indeed!

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Posted: 24 August 2012 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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JamesEvans - 24 August 2012 08:55 PM

Well, yeah, sure, if you zoom the focus out far enough, you will see precious little beyond a faltering, backward species of hominids struggling to overcome its aggressive, violent, ape heritage, so I can see what you’re getting at in that respect.  To further the point, if you, and not Gene Roddenberry, had produced Star Trek, we wouldn’t have had to put up with all those exceedingly crappy and corny episodes where the moral was how challenging yet simultaneously special and wonderful it is to be human.

Now that was funny! Thank you.

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