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Anonymous
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STEPHEN ZUNES
THE magnitude of the initial U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan raises legal, moral and practical questions.
The use of military force for self-defense is legitimate under international law. Military retaliation is not.
The use of heavy bombers against a country with few hard targets belies the Bush administration's claim that the attacks are not against the people of Afghanistan.
The airstrikes are punishing the wrong people -- the Afghan population. They have already suffered through a 23-year nightmare: communist dictatorship, foreign invasion, civil war, competing warlords and fundamentalist rule.
The Afghan people are the first and primary victims of the Taliban, perhaps the most totalitarian regime on Earth.
It is tragic that the United States is victimizing them further through a large-scale military operation that will almost certainly lead to widespread civilian casualties.
The strikes will also do little to root out terrorism.
The Taliban leaders may escape harm in their bunkers or in remote mountain outposts. And the strikes may gain some sympathy for the regime and even Osama bin Laden himself, as people under attack tend to rally around their leaders.
The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has given bin Laden and his supporters sanctuary, but this is not a typical case of state-backed terrorism. As a result of bin Laden's personal fortune and elaborate international network, he does not need (and apparently has not received) direct financial or logistical support from the Afghan government. Destroying the limited government resources in Afghanistan, therefore, may not cripple bin Laden and his cohorts.
Al-Qaida is a decentralized network of underground terrorist cells operating throughout Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. It does not have much in the way of tangible targets that can be struck as if the United States were at war with a government. To target Afghanistan seems to be more an act of catharsis than a rational strategy to enhance U.S. security.
If there is any logic to bin Laden's madness, it is his hope that the United States will overreact militarily, creating an anti-American backlash in the region, which would play right into his hands. This may very well happen.
In order to break up these terrorist cells and bring the terrorists to justice, the United States needs the cooperation of intelligence services and police agencies in a number of Muslim countries. If the ongoing attacks are seen to be excessive and innocent lives are lost, it will be politically difficult for these regimes to provide the United States with the level of cooperation needed.
To win the war against terrorism, we need to re-evaluate our definition of security. The more the United States militarizes the Middle East, the less secure we become. All the sophisticated weaponry, all the brave fighting men and women and all the talented military leadership will not stop terrorism as long as our policies cause millions of people to hate us.
President Bush is wrong when he claims we are targeted because we are a ``beacon for freedom.'' We are targeted because the support of freedom is not part of our policy in the Middle East, which has instead been based upon alliances with repressive governments and support for military occupation. If the United States supported a policy based more on human rights, international law and sustainable development and less on arms transfers, airstrikes and punitive sanctions, we would be a lot safer.
America's greatest strength is not its far-flung military might but the fortitude and compassion of its people and the democratic values they uphold.
------------------
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
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Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

This sounds similar to pieces of similar ilk written around the time of the Gulf War.
Zunes' conclusions are (of course, the American says smugly) ridiculous. Fortitude, compassion, and democratic values do not play in the Middle East or Central Asia; there are only allies and enemies. There is no Switzerland between Beirut and Ankara.
And you can't pick allies in the Middle East without being wrong, egregiously wrong, in the eyes of some. That's just the way it is out there.
[This message has been edited by Michael Ernest (edited October 14, 2001).]


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Greg Harris
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Joined: Apr 12, 2001
Posts: 1012
reading this crap makes me sick... i want to rant for a while, but it would be useless since people who believe it are not likely to change their minds.


what?
Greg Harris
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Joined: Apr 12, 2001
Posts: 1012
The use of military force for self-defense is legitimate under international law. Military retaliation is not.

okay, i guess i will respond to this. this is self defense. period.
if we do nothing, the terrorists will attack again.
if we attack, the terrorists will attack again.
this is a "no-win" situation because of the differences in the middle east. no matter how we (the US) play our cards, someone is going to hate us for it. one side will call it self-defense and come to our aid... the other side will call it "needless retailiation" and say we are elitist tyrants.
so, to quote a famous Kenny Rogers song: "Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man..."
Jason Menard
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Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
President Bush is wrong when he claims we are targeted because we are a ``beacon for freedom.'' We are targeted because the support of freedom is not part of our policy in the Middle East, which has instead been based upon alliances with repressive governments and support for military occupation.

Alliances with repressive governments? Well, if we are to ally with any Arab nation in the Middle East, it would have to be a repressive regime because they all are. Kind of narrows it down a bit don't it?
As for support for military occupation, I'm not sure if that is a reference to the US in Saudi Arabia, which is not an occupation, or to the Israelis in the West Bank, etc...?
I love how the Arab states are just so outraged that the Israelis occupy some formerly Arab held territory. They seem to conveniently forget how Israel embarassed and humiliated the surrounding Arab states who tried to destroy Israel but were instead swiftly defeated in just seven days. What would the Arabs have done with Israel had they won?


If the United States supported a policy based more on human rights, international law and sustainable development and less on arms transfers, airstrikes and punitive sanctions, we would be a lot safer.

Really? And what does the author base this comment on? The idea that we offer bribes (sustainable development) or ignore their transgressions so that they leave us alone is ridiculous. The idea that we leave Israel to the wolves is equally ridiculous.
Mapraputa Is
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Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
If you need more proof of America's concern about innoncent victims in Afghanistan - read all this noise about 1 (one, uno) wrong aimed bomb that made top-news throughout the world. Russian troops kill civilians in Chechnya daily and nobody cares. If it's not hypocrisy, then what it is?


Uncontrolled vocabularies
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Andy Ceponis
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Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 782
I love how these articles try to appear neutral but are so obviously one sided. Not even a hint of trying to actually think about what gets written. Anything to get a rise out of someone will do.
Anonymous
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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Looks lik all of us here support the strikes. Can anybody *seriously* analyse how exactly will these strikes make US more safe? Can we identify the parameters that will change which inturn may change another parameters which in turn will make US safer?
I'll start will my set of parameters:
1. These strikes *may* help the northern alliance topple the taliban and then Osama bin laden *may* well be on the run.
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
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Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

The intent of the strikes is not to make the US more safe; the horses are out of the barn. From this point on, we can only prepare for what we think is next.
The strikes do have implicit and explicit objectives, however.
Implicit: you attack us, we attack you. In case you were wondering why it's necessary to use diplomacy to get what you want, this is why.
Explicit: "We will make no distinction between terrorists and those who harbor them." That's our line in the sand.
Anonymous
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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
The intent of the strikes is not to make the US more safe; the horses are out of the barn.

But I guess, it is certainly not to make US more unsafe either. After reading all the news reports, I think you'll agree that these strikes are actually making a hero out of Osama.

From this point on, we can only prepare for what we think is next.

What do you think is next? How is bombing in Afgh. helping US preparing for whatever is next? ...other than giving a workout for it's forces.

Implicit: you attack us, we attack you.

This really makes sense when there is "war war". When US bombed Japan, that perfectly made sense. Finally, it brought them to senses. But this case, who is getting the blows? The people who are getting the blows were not even responsible for it. Moreover, terrorists are everywhere. They are in Afgh., Pak., Iran, .... + nearly whole Asia. They are even in Germany and right under US's nose !!!
How can you target them?


Explicit: "We will make no distinction between terrorists and those who harbor them." That's our line in the sand.

[/B]
Again, whether the govt. of a country supports them is immeterial. Because they do not need it's approval/support anyway. You could definitely argue that Taliban supports Osama so they'll get bombed. Agreed. But Hosni Mubarak doesn't support them, but Al Qaida has may be more tentacles there.....Saudi Ar. doesn't support them but Al Quida's back bone is made up of Saudis'.....Germany was in a way used by terrorists too.
You see, may be they do support terrorists in a hidden way or may be they don't. Still terrorists are breeding there happily. But the point is, terrorists don't need their support anyway.
They are like virus. A people do not "support" viral disease...still people fall ill.
The only difference I see between Pakistan, Afghanistan, in fact I should rather say Taliban i.e. governments who voluntrarily support and other countries like SA or Egypt i.e the countries who involutarily support terrorism is same as the difference between a full blown AIDS case and an HIV infection case.
What should be the cure?
Michael Ernest
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Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

I don't agree that the bombing is making a hero out of bin Laden. What I see is that U.S. action, regardless of its motives or intentions, are categorically unpalatable to people sympathetic to bin Laden's objectives, if not his tactics. These same arguments were made for both Qaddafi and Hussein -- if we attack them, we'll only galvanize the support behind them, only innocents will get hurt...and by implication, the U.S. must be the first to back down "because these guys are crazy."
The U.S. maintains cooperation, if not support, of all but a few countries in this strike. I think you'll agree that world opinion cannot both publicly worship bin Laden and publicly agree with the military offensive against Afghanistan. Where dissent is concerned, geez...anyone who thinks the U.S. can't operate under the pressure of divisive issues *really* isn't paying attention to this country.
By "what's next," I hoped to suggest that making the U.S. safer at home is a matter of anticipating future attacks, e.g., the current anthrax scare. Whatever plans are in motion, that's what we must prepare for. Whatever attacks have already occurred, we know bin Laden made them happen, and the U.S. intends to go through Afghanistan if necessary to get him. If Afghanistan would rather be a crater than give him up, or remains persuaded the U.S. tires easily, well, I guess we'll see.
Whether the government of a country supports terrorist preparation and staging, I argue, is completely material to the action. The best an attacking country can do, in such cases, is avoid civilian targets. It cannot pretend "innocents" won't get hurt. But that's a far cry from targeting them specifically for the purpose.
This all makes for an interesting PR game. We all saw how quickly foreign journalists were allowed in Afghanistan once civilian casualties were available for photo opps. Back in the Gulf War, Hussein used human shields. Later he moved civilian populations into sensitive military areas to create "damned if you do, damned if you don't" propositions for military attacks. You don't hit that target, it'll be used against you. You do hit it, you'll kill civilians. Hussein was very subtle on this point; he learned the delay between U.S. reconnaissance and subsequent action, and learned to move civilians in that time frame. Next day, the Great Satan kills a few more old men and hungry children.
It's regrettable, but none of that obligates us to use means that would put U.S. lives at greater risk. My feeling is that's what happening -- the Taliban wants world opinion to force a ground operation before the U.S. is ready to do so. So it sounds like a stalemate, until someone's had enough.

[This message has been edited by Michael Ernest (edited October 15, 2001).]
Anonymous
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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
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Michael, what you are saying is about the justfication of US attacks. I have no doubt that it is justified. Again, US attacks as a response to WTC/Penta. is justified.
I am analysing the attacks as a "solution" to the problem of terrorism.
The ultimate aim of any operation conducted by a country is the safety of that country's people, it's teritory, it's business. Why do we develop weapons even when there is no war? Why do we train the army? Why is there a Department of Defence? The whole point is to safeguard the country's interests.
Another important point is, a country is not equivaltent to a person...mind/thinking wise. When a guy gets hurt physically by someone, the guy may get enraged... he may get so angry that he may punch the next person he sees. A country has to do better than that. It's got to think beyond revenge or retaliation.
And when you consider these points, I think, success of any operation should be measured in terms of how well it enhanced the safety of the country, how well it ensured that such act will not happen again.
That's why I say, classifing WTC as an "act of war" on US as naive as classifing AIDS fever as a common viral fever.
And that's why taking Tylenol may not really be the best way. It may provide relief but simply has no potential to harm the AIDS virus.
Anonymous
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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
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Daniel, you don't seem to have any idea what I am talking about. Don't just argue for argument sake.
Michael Ernest
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Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

Ah; we're each posting to different concerns.
I agree with you. Attacking Afghanistan will not stop terrorism. I think we would also agree that there is no 'cure' for terrorism; there are only responses (and counter-responses). But bin Laden is not a terrorist; he's simply a man consumed by his own hatred; terrorism is just a means to realize that.
bin Laden has Afghanistan as his armor -- it's going to be a very messy thing unfolding for the next 9 months.
Greg Harris
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Joined: Apr 12, 2001
Posts: 1012
Originally posted by Aman Chain:That's why I say, classifing WTC as an "act of war" on US as naive as classifing AIDS fever as a common viral fever.
And that's why taking Tylenol may not really be the best way. It may provide relief but simply has no potential to harm the AIDS virus.

oh, but this was an act of war. what are the first things you attack when you start a war?
1. Command and Control (Pentagon / White House)
2. Communications (Pentagon)
3. Leader (President Bush)
of course, we do not know if the plane that was heroically ditched in PA was really headed for the White House, but that does seem logical. even if it was Camp David, that is still Command and Control or Communications.
and, even though the FBI / NSA will not give details, they had good reason to believe the President / Air Force 1 were targets, too.
sure, the WTC was the worst attack as far as human loss, but the Pentagon was far greater in military tactics.
Jason Menard
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Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Aman Chain:

That's why I say, classifing WTC as an "act of war" on US as naive as classifing AIDS fever as a common viral fever.
And that's why taking Tylenol may not really be the best way. It may provide relief but simply has no potential to harm the AIDS virus.

It was in every definition an act of war. Besides the points Greg made, don't forget the attacks also targetted our economy. We had an unprovoked hostile action directed at us from multi-national forces supported by various governments as well as other foreign nationals. How is that not war? There is not a definition of war that requires that it be a contract entered into only by combatants who rally under some flag.
Now we are being attacked with biological weapons. It is very important that you people outside the US realize that these biological attacks were made well prior to us initiating anything resembling military retaliation. In fact the envelopes were mostly postmarked around 9/18. It is only now that we are beginning to notice the effects. What do you think our response will be when we find who is responsible? Do you think we will sit down and talk to them about it, or do you think we will dropping more bombs (probably on Iraq)?
You said that it is immaterial that the Taliban supported Al-Queda, implying that it does not make them a legitimate target. If we deal with all governments who support him, he will have nowhere from which to run his terrorist operations. His funding will also be severely limited.
As for your question of whether or not bombing the people who supported Al-Queda (Afghanistan) makes us a safer place, probably in the long run. The alternative is to do nothing and make ourselves an easier target, or to give into terrorist demands.
Speaking of giving into terrorist demands.... I understand that one of the individuals who helped bankroll the 9-11 attacks had been a recent guest in the Indian prison system. There is currently evidence he wired $100,000 to the terrorist Muhamad Atta I think his name was. I guess there was a hijacking in India and the hijackers demanded the release of this individual. While we may laugh at such demands in the US, the Indian government folded like a bad poker hand, gave into the hijackers demands, and released the terrorist from prison.
Anonymous
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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Do you guys have any idea what I am saying here??? Jason, you've posted a whole page without even thinking twice about what I am saying. Would you please read this sentence again:
"That's why I say, classifing WTC as an "act of war" on US as naive as classifing AIDS fever as a common viral fever."
It was not an act of war.......it was not a common viral fever for which you could take a tylenol. It's much more than a war. It's AIDS.
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
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Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
You mean the USA is going to die?
Jason Menard
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Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
You mean the USA is going to die?

It's the promiscuous lifestyle.
lehmanra
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Joined: May 08, 2001
Posts: 27
Ask this to the families that lost love ones in New York and DC....


Richard A Lehman
Cindy Glass
"The Hood"
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Originally posted by Aman Chain:
It was not an act of war.......

Aman,
I disagree, It WAS an act of war. It just was not instigated by a formal governing body. They even CALL it a war.
However to follow your infection analogy - how do you get rid of an infectious disease? You make the environment as hostile as possible until the surviving population of the germs or virus is reduced below the critical number required to propagate. Sometimes the side effects of this cause damage to healthy parts of the organism, but survival dictates the necessity.
Usually you start at the most obvious outbreak and then expand from there.
That is what we are doing. The Taliban is the most obvious outbreak of the disease - so we are making it a hostile environment. Right now we have quite a fever going in Afghanistan. When that is under control we can start fighting the disease across a greater region.

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