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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 10, 2006 9:55 PM. The previous post in this blog was Working with, and around, OregonLive. The next post in this blog is Two half-stories. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Is it just me...

... or does anybody else think that today's bust of the alleged Pakistani jet bomber brigade in England may be just a little hyped up, to rally support for our continued bloody adventures in Iraq and Lebanon?

Oh, and the new wave of security theater at the airports will be fun. We're past "Take off your shoes!" No Starbucks on the plane -- might be a bomb! Toothpaste? Could be a lethal weapon, sorry. Will they still serve those little bottles of vodka? Pretty flammable, you know.

I think the Bush people's terror alarm has developed a snooze button, and I'm inclined to push it on this one.

Comments (1)

thats what they be saying at dailykos.com ... wolf been called too many (convenient) times

Posted by: catfish bob at August 10, 2006 10:12 PM

There will be political hay made out of it, yes. I'm hoping people will see through that kind of opportunism...finally. But I'm pessimistic.

Posted by: teacherrefpoet at August 10, 2006 10:33 PM

What happened to leaders who exude quiet confidence? These people run to the microphones to scream their Islam-fascism, 3rd World shrieks of fear. It's so obvious they're exploiting the situation to retain their power. We've faced terrorist attacks for decades, but it wasn't till the Cold War ended that the need for a new adversary led to this current World War 3 marketing scheme. It's phony as are many of these terrorist reports. Is this one a hoax? It's sad that we even have to wonder, but that is the state of the Bush/Cheney credibility. Even if this plot was real, the Bush administration has been running a con game and our only hope is that more and more Americans stop falling for it.

Posted by: Bill McDonald at August 10, 2006 10:44 PM

What happens when they catch someone with a bomb in their rectum? Will every passenger have to undergo a rectal exam before boarding?

Posted by: Sam at August 10, 2006 10:54 PM

Hit the "Snooze Button"? Probably not...I don't share the political scepticism and pessimism about the arrests in London and the help coming from Pakistan.

If nothing were done and the terrorist succeeded, which is highly likely (see "WTC February 1993 and September 11, 2001) the families, communities and the nations affected would be injured for years to come.

I'd rather suggest a ratcheting down on the political rhetoric and give the British and Pakistani officials credit for doing their job well. It's either naive or conceited to think that everything which happens on this globe is a result of American foreign policy, or a result of U.S. political pressure (see July 11, 2006 Mumbai, India train bombings and 2005 Indonesia bomb attacks).

It's quite normal, when traveling abroad, to find similar geocentric thoughts exist in every other country (fill in countrie's name here), about that own country and expressed in their press, on radio and where available, tv.

Posted by: carol at August 10, 2006 11:08 PM

Terrorist acts, as they always have been, aren't prevented by militaristic force, let alone an occupation in an already tense region. The GOP practices in blatant opportunism, because a real war on terror doesn't require breaking things just to create more pork opportunities.

Terrorist threats are thwarted through lawful intelligence, not through Cable News-ready cock fights. Certainly not with the bloated defense budget we see today, funding occupation costs and pervasive no-bid contract abuse.

Listen to Cheney and Bush, et all chant "Weak!" "9/11!" "FEAR!" through the election and beyond... but the arguments are shallow and reek of facism.

Posted by: TKrueg at August 10, 2006 11:22 PM

everything which happens on this globe is a result of American foreign policy

The targeting of commercial flights between the U.S. and Britain most definitely is. No one is seriously suggesting otherwise.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 10, 2006 11:52 PM

I'm with Jack on this one- my first reaction was that of extreme skepticism. Just remember that Tony Blair and GWB are tight. I detect a whiff (however slight) of nepotism.

Posted by: Lily at August 11, 2006 12:15 AM

For the love of God....the Anti-Bush crowd is becoming unhinged. What is next? That the administration was behind the plot. I mean you all "know" that Bush was behind 9-11.

Posted by: ron wade at August 11, 2006 12:33 AM

Let's not put words in my mouth. I said that this incident is being hyped for political purposes. And that the new airport show is ludicrous. That's all.

I'll let others speculate about the rest. But I will venture to say that Bush, Rove, and Rumsfeld cannot be trusted by anyone. Even Condi's figuring that out.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 11, 2006 01:06 AM

Looking forward to several flights back to Portland from Florida, and already having bought several bottles of booze I can't purchase back home (Herbsaint from New Orleans, for one) I'll have to switch to carrying my underwear on carry-on to make room in my luggage, I guess. Please don't let there be a terrorist plot between now and Tuesday involving carry-on underwear!

"If they want my hand lotion, they can have it, if it means we're safe" Susie of Melbourne, Florida is quoted in Florida Today. Sure. First they came for the hand lotion. Then they came for the juice. Pretty soon there's our "Bill of Rights" --insurgent literature, no doubt-- being tossed out at the airplane gate.

"During the first few hours of the alert, the TSA was taking toiletries away from flight crews. Then they said 'This is stupid, we're taking toothpaste away from the guy flying the plane'..."

Why doesn't all this make me feel safer?

Posted by: Frank Dufay at August 11, 2006 05:00 AM

The thing that bothers me is the overreaction and the P.R. hype. Yup Jack you are on it.
There have been airliners blown up in flight previously and no one fell all over themselves to search passengers after those events. This plot, if true, is similar to the one that was planned for some flights over the Pacific years ago. Problem is we have this infighting bewteen government agencies who are suppossed to be involved with national security. The turf battles between the CIA and the FBI resulted in the failure to follow up leads that might have led to the capture of those involved in the Sept. 11 plot. And that kind of crap will continue far into the future.
M.W.

Posted by: Michael Wilson at August 11, 2006 05:10 AM

Please watch this video

www.911revisited.com/video.html

see for yourself

Posted by: S E Smith at August 11, 2006 05:35 AM

Interesting, and very sad.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 11, 2006 06:32 AM

Yeah, the consensus in our household was the "hype" line of thinking as well. However, since 39% of Americans think Muslim-Americans should carry a "special I.D. card," I'm not surprised that everyone is handing over their toiletries and talking about how safe they feel now that the great liquid menace has been abated. Myself, I'll not feel safe until we can drain each passenger's bodily fluids, ala Tankgirl, prior to boarding.

Posted by: P&S at August 11, 2006 06:41 AM

I don't know if I think it's overhyped. 9/11 was a big deal, and we kind of have to adjust accordingly.

That said, could someone please ask George Bush how the war in Iraq is making the US safer? I see these terrorist plots and I immediately ask what the f*&$ are we doing in IRAQ? How is that war preventing terrorists from attacking us?

Posted by: justin at August 11, 2006 06:56 AM

Hey, give the guy a break, he's hung over.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 11, 2006 07:05 AM

"Hyped up" suggests the threat is not as dangerous as advertised. I think any plan intended to crash 10 jets is quite dangerous: it was Scotland Yard that conducted the investigations; not Tony Blair.

It's been 5 years, and the second shoe still has yet to drop. Every day that passes without another terrorist attack on America is a win for the good guys. And George Bush deserves (at least) some of the credit. If it were Al Gore sitting at 1600 Pennslyvania, I dare say he would be exploiting this "catch" with at least the same fervor.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 11, 2006 07:06 AM

If Gore were President, we wouldn't be in Iraq, the Lebanon thing probably wouldn't be happening, and the ranks of terrorists would be less than half the size of what they are now. The Chimp recruits thousands for them, then shuts a few dozen of them down. What a hero. A great diplomat, too.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 11, 2006 07:12 AM

I will venture to say that Bush, Rove, and Rumsfeld cannot be trusted by anyone. Even Condi's figuring that out.

I would agree with that...(although I dont know if any politician can truly be trusted).

But I also know that if a plane had been blown up, the same people bitching now would be bitching that Bush & Co didnt do anything about it, or if they caught them and didnt tell anyone, people would bitch that the public "needed to know". They cant win.

I will concede they do go a bit overboard sometimes, but I think its because they severely underestimated the terrorists in the beginning. (Clinton did too).
And now they are a bit scared of being handed their ass like they were on 9/11. And rightly so.

Posted by: Jon at August 11, 2006 07:53 AM

I wish TSA would put in a call to El Al and figure out how to be grown up about this whole process. The Mossad figured out long ago that the key is to find the bomber, not necessarily the bomb. Taking my toothpaste and Diet Pepsi isn't going to extend my life by one second. Finding the bastards who want to kill me and locking them up will.

Posted by: Chris Snethen at August 11, 2006 08:29 AM

Jack, your assertion that Bush is recruiting thousands of terrorists with the war in Iraq is simply naive'. In the decade after we left Saddam Hussein in power rather than deposing him, representatives of the umma responded by bombing the World Trade Center (1993), Khobar (1996), the embassies (1998), the U.S.S. Cole (2000); unsuccessfully plotting to blow up much of Manhattan (1993), a bunch of airliners (1994-95), L.A. Int'l Airport (2000) and the U.S.S. The Sullivans (2000); and finally killing almost 3000 of us in suicide hijackings that destroyed the WTC and damaged the Pentagon.

But it was the Iraq war of 2003 that radicalized them.

It couldn't possibly have been, say, the Koran's Sura 9:5 ("Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolators wherever ye find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush.")

Posted by: butch at August 11, 2006 08:31 AM

Who's naive, Butch? Reminder #329 about Saddam: Al Qaeda wanted him out of power too. Iraq had and has nothing to do with radical islamists... Saddam was a secular leader that we helped prop up in power because he was secular. Are we selective about which crazy dictator to go after here? How can we say this is about democracy when we continue to support regimes similar to Saddam's??

For chrissakes, we're occupying Mesopotamia! How is this not enraging Muslims everywhere? You think we can just 'kill em all', but that tactic will never work, especially since we're creating more radical sympathizers each day all over the globe. We're now viewed as the aggressors, on a new Crusades... don't cite scripture from the Koran hoping to prove moral high ground. Are you really saying that this IS a holy war? Yikes.

Why does common sense evade you Bush supporters? Terrorists are fought with an occupation?? Get f-ing real.

Posted by: TKrueg at August 11, 2006 09:11 AM

TKrueg:

Got to Google, type in "Salman Pak".

Posted by: butch at August 11, 2006 09:14 AM

Here's a thought... perhaps the extreme overreaction in the airports now is part of the aftermath of Katrina.

The administration didn't do enough before and after the hurricane, and a year later people are still bitching about it. So is it any wonder that, especially with mid-terms coming up, the administration wants to make sure that they at least look like they're doing something about this terrorist plot?

I for one have said ever since 9/11 that all of the extra "security" at airports is a ridiculous inconvenience entirely out of proportion with the actual benefit to be had. I would like to return to the pre-9/11 security regime. For those who need the security blanket of waiting in line for up to 5 hours (as happened in some locations yesterday) you can have your own special flights, or maybe even your own extra-"secure" airline. And the rest of us will be able to, if not actually enjoy our flights, at least get them over with that much faster.

Posted by: David Wright at August 11, 2006 09:23 AM

I was pretty skeptical at first. Now that I've heard more about it... not so much. It seems like it was a real plot. (Unlike the loonies in Florida thinking they were gonna blow up the Sears tower.)

The spin on this is intense, though. The British have been very careful to not tell us anything about the suspects' background or ideology, while Mr. Bush rants about islamofascists. Way to coordinate, guys. Here the British have it right, I think, while Mr. Bush is milking it for political gain.

Maybe it's to distract from the fact that our government has known about the threat of liquid explosives since the mid nineties, when a similar plot targetting Pacific ariliners was uncovered. You'd think after TheHorribleEventsOfNineEleven (TM) that someone would have been working on a detection method and quietly rolling it out to airports, but no. They were chasing nail files instead.

And it turns out liquid explosives are easy. The BBC told us yesterday that all one needs for one kind is hydrogen peroxide and acetone. Very simple or common chemicals. (Although peroxide in sufficient purity is rather difficult to obtain, it's not impossible.) Our current explosive detection methods will not detect this. The bad guys observed our defenses, found our vulnerability, and prepared to exploit it.

Among other duties at my job, I deal with computer security. One thing that I've learned is that, in any useful system, there's always another vulnerability. Always. You patch the holes you know about, and prepare to control the damage from the ones you don't know about. Read a little Bruce Schneier and you come to realize that this is true when it comes to physical security, too.

And this is why the whole War on Terror is a wrongheaded and futile approach. The opposition have shown themselves to be smart, inventive, and determined. Short of killing every one of them and wiping out their ideology, there is no way to contain this threat by force. We can try to achieve perfect domestic security, but that can only be accomplished by making the "system" non-useful: that is, by transforming our society into a police state. (And even that isn't likely to work.) We can try to undermine their determination with less selfish foreign policy, but that won't convince everyone. Instead, we are actively maddening some of them by our inept use of force.

What we have to face is that we are never going to be safe from terrorism. It will always be a threat. A War on Terror will never end, so you'd better be real damn comfortable with your "wartime" restrictions on freedom.

Yet even though it is a persistent threat, it's a minor one: you're far more likely to die in a car crash than at the hands of a terrorist. By allowing ourselves to be scared out of proportion to the actual threat level, we are handing the terrorists a victory. With nearly every speech, this administration reinforces our fear. (And people claim it's liberals who are aiding the enemy!)

What we need to do is back down from this whole "War on Terror" rhetoric. Let's try "Bullies with Bombs" instead. It's a minor threat, so we should treat it like one. This administration is wrong to elevate it to a clash of civilizations.

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at August 11, 2006 09:28 AM

Also, there was an excellent commentary about the whole situation by zefrank yesterday. I blogged about it (includes link to the video).

Warning: the video does contain a segment towards the beginning that is laden with obscenities. But past that, his analysis is definitely worth listening to and taking to heart.

Posted by: David Wright at August 11, 2006 09:30 AM

Butch- Even the GOP controlled Senate Select Intelligence Committee has recognized what the CIA knows: the Salman Pak facility claims were dubious.

And what if it wasn't? We bombed the hell out of Iraqi military facilities in the years leading up to the 2003 invasion. Tactical strikes did more to cripple every questionable Saddam program than any made-for-TV War did.

Posted by: TKrueg at August 11, 2006 09:47 AM

Sorry for the repost, but I thought Butch needed a quick glance at reality (via TPM):

President Bush just said the events in London are "a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists."

Also a pretty stark reminder that President Bush's War on Terror, the way he's chosen to fight it, is at best irrelevant to combatting this sort of danger. These are homegrown Brits apparently trying to blow up planes over the Atlantic. Good thing we've got a 150,000 or so troops in Iraq to take the fight to them.

Posted by: gene at August 11, 2006 09:47 AM

An addition to Gene:

The claim of "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here" is bonkers, too. I'm pretty sure the USA appears on most wrold maps, and I think maybe these guys are bright enough to read one.

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at August 11, 2006 10:01 AM

The fact that Bush didn't know about Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, and the fact that they trusted Chalabi for insider intelligence should give you an idea how incompetent this administration is... They can't admit they made a mistake, so the justifications change while getting more desperate. And we sink deeper into the quagmire.

Cowboy Diplomacy... at the business end of a rifle. Yeehaw! (I'm visualizing Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove riding that missle...)

Posted by: TKrueg at August 11, 2006 10:05 AM

If we leave Iraq, the shiite soldiers in the Iraqi army that we trained will be the same people who kill all the sunnis living in shiite Iraq.

Posted by: Pottery Barn at August 11, 2006 10:07 AM

Yeah Pottery Barn is right... you break it, you buy it. Maybe that was the intention all along.

If you read the Project for A New American Century documents, penned by the likes of Cheney/Kristol/Bolton/Libby/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/et all, you'd find their stated need to have another Pearl Harbor-like event to create an economic watershed moment (read: defense contracts and other pork). Well, they got it in 9/11, and now we see how well the PNAC neocon vision is going. God Bless America.

Posted by: TKrueg at August 11, 2006 10:19 AM

I think Jack is right on. The over-hype isn;t that these guys weren't serious; it is in how realistic of a threat they were. A plot that involved 20 or more people and was infiltrated early on by MI-5 who waited until the right moment to bust everyone had about 0 chance of success.

I think this may very well be what Al_queada wants. They seed a bunch of people in various Mosques aroudn the west and recruit a bunch of disaffected type into these kind of plots. None of them actually have to get anywhere, just their existence causes us to run around liek Chickens with our heads cut off disrupting our transportation system.

For Pete's sake one wacko tries to light his shoes on fire and we're still spending 30 minutes to an hour standing in line holding our shoes before every flight 2 years later.

Somewhere in a cave Osama is laughing his head off.

Posted by: Eric at August 11, 2006 10:34 AM

For a good comment on this check out this post at Ameriblog:

http://americablog.blogspot.com/2006/08/more-evidence-that-this-red-alert-is.html

Posted by: Eric at August 11, 2006 10:42 AM

What I think is preposterous is the fact they are not allowing any of these "new" substances in carry on here in the U.S., only in your checked baggage. This is supposedly because they can screen the baggage before it's loaded. However...they don't do that here in the U.S. So, if there's a bomb in the cargo hold, no one will ever know...

Posted by: laurelann at August 11, 2006 10:48 AM

"The fact that Bush didn't know about Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq"

We also have to remember that he can't seem to seperate the good Shiites from the bad Shiites. The Shiites who are his hope for a Democratic Iraq are part of the same groups in Syria and Iran who are backing Hezbollah (Shiites) in destroying a stable government in Lebanon.

Posted by: tom at August 11, 2006 11:09 AM

everything which happens on this globe is a result of American foreign policy

Genocide in Darfur?

Posted by: Jon at August 11, 2006 11:12 AM

No, Darfur isn't sitting on an oilfield... Mr. 33% Bush says we can ignore them.

Posted by: TKrueg at August 11, 2006 11:31 AM

"If Gore were President, we wouldn't be in Iraq,"

I can view the competition for resources, here oil, as an amoral cold calculation.

That we use our military to assure access to resources obtained abroad is beyond question. Now --

Are you just a free rider to the access to such resources? (Analogous to a non-union member to a bargaining unit.)

Are we incapable of treating the military costs as an externality that must be pinned to the costs of the resources that we seem to demand from abroad?

The record profits for oil companies is proof in and of itself of their stronger political alignment with the likes of Saudi Arabia than wholly-US-geographically-located people and enterprises. That is, the monopolistic rent that they are extracting goes far beyond merely a cold calculation of monopoly but far into the realm of treason, as measured by the general population notwithstanding the flailing about by national politicians and pundits.

If Saudi Arabia can cough up Billions and Billions in the 1991 gulf war then surely Exxon and friends could cough up Billions and Billions for the War-on-Terror just as if they were a foreign government, which they effectively are already.

Would Gore have had a sufficient political base to conduct a War-on-Terror (economic war) against the foreign country of Exxon? I tried to quietly scream that the post-9-11 ZERO PERCENT financing schemes to encourage purchase of premium-priced SUVs was the height of absurdity, in the context of the cold calculated concern over militaristic control of access to gasoline. I cannot recall hearing any Democratic/Gore/Dean whimpering over this obvious little abomination.

If I could go one step further, I would demand that ALL public support for alternative energy resources be denied to entities that today are part of the monopolistic control of oil AND on the consumption end via the sale of gas vehicles. That is, the recipients of public aid for research, and more importantly ultimate control of the patents that are thereby obtained/developed, not fall into the hands of the oil and petroleum-based enterprises to sit on for decades to come. I cannot imagine hearing any Democratic/Gore/Dean whispering as to imposing such a condition.

Toothpaste talk? God almighty!

Posted by: Ron Ledbury at August 11, 2006 12:40 PM

Checked bags are indeed screened in the US--at least at the airports I've been using. Here in Portland it's done in the main check-in lobby.

Posted by: Allan L. at August 11, 2006 01:52 PM

Conspiracy theorists of the world - Unite!

Posted by: Bill Holmer at August 11, 2006 04:09 PM

I'd rather suggest a ratcheting down on the political rhetoric and give the British and Pakistani officials credit for doing their job well. It's either naive or conceited to think that everything which happens on this globe is a result of American foreign policy, or a result of U.S. political pressure (see July 11, 2006 Mumbai, India train bombings and 2005 Indonesia bomb attacks).

Carol is right on. It's not about foreign policy. It's about male Muslim extremists between the ages of 17 and 45. They don't care about foreign policy; they just want to kill "infidels" - which is pretty much everyone else on the planet.

TSA has it all wrong; grandmas shouldn't have to take off their shoes prior to boarding a flight. But they have to enact stupid, all-encompassing rules so the ACLU and other nutjobs don't tie them up in court for years with their hysterical rants. Profiling is definitely necessary, because we know exactly who the actual enemy is.

From Sirhan Sirhan, who murdered Bobby Kennedy, right on up to the present, the enemy was - and is - the same: Muslim males, ages 17 to 45.

Posted by: Max at August 11, 2006 05:53 PM

"President Bush just said the events in London are "a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists."

I think he said we were at war with Islamic fascististits. Then he said "Th-Th-Th-That's all folks."

Posted by: Tom at August 11, 2006 07:13 PM

Where are them damn black heel ee o coptors? u ever get the feeling that the bush hating crowd has simply lost their collective minds? if their old buddies the ACLU had their way, it wouldn't be safe to rice MAX. Their last attempt to prevent random inspections of bags on the NYC subways failed but they keep hanging in there trying to protect the rights of those wife beating, genital mutilating, Jew, Christian, Hindi and Buddhist killing, church burning muslims.

Posted by: ron wade at August 11, 2006 08:22 PM

entrapment? if a MI-5 infiltrates a group, could it be that he was the instigator? If not for the instigator this idea may never have been thought?

Also, I am hoping when I put this web address up that someone watches it. I feel it is a very good video that doesn't overwhelm you with information you may not be prepared for. It is an hour long but worth viewing. Because people forget so easily, this video shows you the news broadcast of that day. here it is again;

www.911revisited.com/video.html

I have problem with something else. I forget also so I may not have everything , so here goes.

We were looking for the people that this admistration said was responsible for 9/11, then we were looking for weapons of mass distruction. then going after terrorist, then were after insurgents, now we are after islam muslims. The enemy seems to change as needed.

But we have not had a crimal investigation of 9/11.

There is always a few in every religion that seems a little extreme, but we have put the entire islam/muslim into this catagory. Hitler did that with the jews I think.

Think about what your additude would be if you didn't have water to your house, only about 1 hour of electricity a day, no job, then your family gets killed. You may become a little extreme then.

Distractions, distractions, maybe all of this is distractions. Has anyone figured out want the real goal is in all of this? I don't have an answer for that.

What is this US military base that is being build in Iraq that is being paid for with our taxes? If this base is larger then the Vatican, is it something else maybe?

Most of us want peace, why we all don't follow the golden rule is beon me.

Help bring peace back.


Posted by: S E Smith at August 11, 2006 08:55 PM

those wife beating, genital mutilating, Jew, Christian, Hindi and Buddhist killing, church burning muslims.

Say goodbye to "ron wade," everybody.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 11, 2006 09:19 PM

We all remember the regular announcments of red ,yellow, and orange alerts. That was until they were forced to admit that they were hype and politically motivated. We dont see them much anymore. Kinda makes you cynical about other alerts.

The never ending war on terror, Its all in the design. Nothing but one upmanship that will go on forever, that is what the powers that be want.

Posted by: Moi at August 11, 2006 10:00 PM

Bye Ron. I'd like to say it's been fun, but... no.

As for Max, who said "[...] we know exactly who the actual enemy is", do you mean this guy? Or This one? No? Maybe him? These folks, perhaps? Oh, I know. This guy. Drat, missed again. How about this one? Shoot.

Err... are you sure? This is a war on terrorists of all kinds, right?

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at August 11, 2006 10:03 PM

All of you except Ron Wade are insurgents. Fat white men in rented white and black uniforms with blue eagle patches made in China, who drive SUVs with $300k of equipment that will never be used and take 75 days of government funded vacation a year mostly to go to parades and funerals for other brownshirts will be at your door to scan you, chip you, and transport you to the Halliburton camps in the morning.

Ron, the Justice Department wants to talk to you. It's important. Al says ever since Jay Bybee and John Yoo left, he's been looking for another front man.

Posted by: Newt Gingrich at August 11, 2006 10:45 PM

When police moved in and arrested the suspects, searches of their homes also turned up martyrdom videos, which normally are recorded just prior to suicide operations, according to homeland security.

...one of the plane bomb plot suspects, Waheed Zaman, is head of the Islamic Society at London Metropolitan University.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 11, 2006 11:16 PM

I can't comprehend the claims that it's not our meddling in the Middle East that creates terrorists, it's simply that they hate our religion so much. They hate our freedoms! they claim. That we MUST kill 'em all, because they only respond to force!

So, the crazy nazi-ish tone aside, are they saying people want to start militias and committ suicidal homicide, simply because they hate our MTV and Appleby's?? Another example of GOP talking points that are completely divorced from reality. Some people still buy it though... hey 33% of America, I'm talking to you.

Posted by: TKrueg at August 12, 2006 01:00 AM

MAX offers From Sirhan Sirhan, who murdered Bobby Kennedy, right on up to the present, the enemy was - and is - the same: Muslim males, ages 17 to 45.

Well, heck. If all Muslim males --age 17 to 45-- are "the enemy" why wait until they reach 17? Let's kill 'em in their cribs. I'm sorry, MAX, but that's very scary stuff you're saying. (And, I hate to tell you, there are female suicide bombers these days, too...)

Posted by: Frank Dufay at August 12, 2006 07:36 AM

Bill Holmer,

Suppose I argued that the primary factor in people's decision making process was that of their self-interest, or their perceived self-interest. Could that be characterized as a conspiracy theory?

Characterization of debate as that of an ideology, or theology as a subset of ideology pertaining to the origin of life or the existence/nature of afterlife, is little more than a cute distraction . . . away from facts that one can observe and measure. (Or as TKrueg says "completely divorced from reality")

If granny has to toss out her denture cream is that not just as disruptive and ideological, as a voluntary supportive gesture, as being forced to attend a particular church to provide evidence of her belief? She would surely be thinking about the notion of idiocracy. There must be some rational purpose for the demand. Could it be based on the self-interest of someone other than granny? What common sense might granny have to offer? Suppose she uses a walking cane to smack the guy/gal demanding that she cough up that denture cream -- all hell would break loose.

Max,

Just as the prevalence of psychological disorders (having physical manifestations and causes) is shared by all races, and by other species as well, I find no particular reason to associate mindless evil uniquely to Muslim than any other belief-based world-view. Young males the world over are under the animalistic compulsion, from an Atheist's world view, to find a niche for themselves in the world in which they find themselves. (I use young males as they are uniquely charged with high-levels of testosterone.)

One could argue that a Maoist is like Islamofacist-light, free of the element of religiosity, but identically anti-something. The US just serves conveniently as the global North Star for all to see. Still, I blame Ben Franklin for his devotion to science and for thinking that a society could be designed to accommodate it amongst a bunch of folks that insist that "belief" in this or that is all that matters. Yeah, strip out the religiousity angle and refer back to the Maoist link above, and class struggle, which is observable and based on perceived self-interest. (Note the Shining Path, for a case study, and discover why it is that I find selective attack on individuals, based on strict ideological belief and loyalty, as applied routinely by Blue Oregon and their polar opposites, so condemnable.)

Posted by: Ron Ledbury at August 12, 2006 09:20 AM

Well, heck. If all Muslim males --age 17 to 45-- are "the enemy" why wait until they reach 17? Let's kill 'em in their cribs. I'm sorry, MAX, but that's very scary stuff you're saying. (And, I hate to tell you, there are female suicide bombers these days, too...)

Hate to have to break it to ya, but Sirhan Sirhan was a pakistanian muslin male falling within the age-group I identified. He murdered Robert Kennedy, and the killing by Muslim males between the ages of 17 and 45 has escalated since then.

Of course, I never said that all Muslim males do this stuff - that's just your basic Lib tactic. I didn't say it, you pretend I did, then call me "scary".

No, what's scary is your mindset. What I said, and I'm going to go v-e-r-y s-l-ow-l-y so that you can actually begin to grasp the concept, is really quite irrefutable.

The terror activities have been carried out primarily by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 45. Granted, there have been one or two female homicide bombers, the unabomber, and Tim McVey. However, the irrefutable fact of the matter is that the huge majority of terrorist activities and killings have been perpetrated by "devout" Muslim males between the ages noted above.

That's a fact. And that you find it "scary" that I note the fact doesn't change it - it's still a fact. And because it is provable, because it is demonstrable, because it has not changed significantly in over thirty years, I believe that it should be used as a tool in profiling of potential terrorists.

Posted by: Max at August 12, 2006 11:24 AM

"I can't comprehend the claims that it's not our meddling in the Middle East that creates terrorists"

OK, Mr TKrueg, what makes Israel such a target for Iran?

I don't think you can deny that part of the animus comes from a lot of the fundamentalists in Islam live in a very repressed society. Seeing the, ahem, "freedoms" we enjoy in behavior does bother them a lot. Should we go into a lot of places we are now? No, but saying that foreign policy is the whole cause is being naive.

In addition, you add in the fact that besides oil, a lot of these countries really have no economic engines plus corrupt leadership (a la Mr Arafat looting Palestine for 20+ years so Mrs Arafat can live a very nice life in France now) that uses hatred for Western cultures (I think France has some issues with Arab immigrants also, not exactly a foreign policy issue) to distract people from their own incompetence.

Add this up and then you have a pretty nice recipe for discontent.

Posted by: Steve at August 12, 2006 11:32 AM

If we had never set foot in the Middle East, I find it difficult to imagine the Islamo-Fascists would be willing to "live and let live"...The Koran is demands much more from the faithfull than prayer and a trip to Mecca.

I do concur with the greenies who believe we should find a path to eliminating the consumption of oil wherever possible (cars, home heating oil, plastics, etc) and save it for those applications that don't lend themselves to alternatives (jet engines, smaller watercraft, motorcycles).


The U.S. needs to achieve energy independence: let them drink their oil.

Also: the region has a rich history (going back 6,000 years) of war, involuntary servitude, and oppression of subservient nations/tribes by more powerful ones. It is pure folly to suggest that hatred or violence against the "other" is anything new: if they weren't fighting Israel and the U.S. they would be fighting each other.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 12, 2006 12:03 PM

"However, the irrefutable fact of the matter is that the huge majority of terrorist activities and killings have been perpetrated by "devout" Muslim males between the ages noted above."

It all depends on your time and place. Around 1795 most terrorists were French athiests, since that's where and when the term originated. From the 1870s on in England they were Irish Catholics. Until very recently in Spain they were Basque nationalists. Other exampes abound.

So while what you say is true, it is only true now, and of doubtful value here.

"That's a fact. And that you find it "scary" that I note the fact doesn't change it - it's still a fact. And because it is provable, because it is demonstrable, because it has not changed significantly in over thirty years, I believe that it should be used as a tool in profiling of potential terrorists."

Of course it's a tool. But it's not a very good one.

As any good statistician will tell you, probablities don't tell you a damn thing about the next example to walk through the door. If 90% of current terrorists are muslim, that says absolutely nothing useful about the next muslim you see. The fact is, there are very, very few terrorists among any culture or group, muslims included. The incidence of terrorists in any population is so low that ordinary scrutiny is going to yield far more false positives than false negatives or real positives combined. With special scrutiny targeted to a particular population, it may well get worse, since the false positive rate is likely to increase fastest.

Worse, if you single out any group for special scrutiny, you should be sure that your surveillance will catch more actual bad guys among the group than it disaffects good guys in the group. Otherwise, you may end up doing more harm than good.

So in addition to objecting to profiling (which is presumably what you're talking about) on grounds of plain fairness and justice, I also don't think it's a very good practical tool. It sounds reassuring, but probably isn't actually very effective.

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at August 12, 2006 08:05 PM

But making the grandma's and grandpa's kick off their shoes, remove their coats/belts/keys, and still get "wanded" because they have an implant is just being careful?

Profiling is not intended to label everyone who fits the profile as dangerous; merely subject them to hightened scrutiny. It works: any cop over 40 can tell you that.

I haven't heard about any middle aged B'hai women hitting the blaster button on their TNT vests...Not yet anyway.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 12, 2006 08:42 PM

the irrefutable fact of the matter is that the huge majority of terrorist activities and killings have been perpetrated by "devout" Muslim males between the ages noted above."

There's nothing "irrefutable" about this "fact."

Frankly, it comes down to one's definition of "terrorist." (Versus virtuous patriot and warrior.)

"The villainy and the madness of these deluded people...a more impudent, false and atrocious proclamation was never fabricated by the hands of man." That's the secretary to British Admiral Howe, speaking of the American revolutionaries...and the Declaration of Independence. The founders of our country were "terrorists" in every sense of the word.

Anyway...whatever. I'm not into body counts. But when this morning's Florida Today worries about the increasing failure to differentiate Muslim terrorists from Muslims, that doesn't serve to fight terrorism. That works, instead, to serve the needs of the fanatics and extremists.

You need to aim your weapons --and anger-- carefully, or you end up shooting yourself in the foot.

Posted by: Frank Dufay at August 13, 2006 08:02 AM

Terrorist vs. patriot? OK, so when Iran sends missles to Lebanon or someone crashes a plane into an American building, you have trouble distinguishing these acts as either terrorism or patriotism? What is your definition of terrorism then?

Posted by: Steve at August 13, 2006 10:20 AM

What he is trying to say is that the difference between a patriot and a terrorist is a matter of perspective. Remember the Mel Gibson movie called 'The Patriot'? The British considered the hero a terrorist someone who fought in the shadows picking off one soldier after another rather then confronting them under their rules of engagement. Read For whom the Bell Tolls about an American 'Terrorist' planning the destruction of a bridge during the Spanish Civil War. When the Jews were trying to establish the state of Israel during WWII they were using terrorist tactics against the British who were trying to maintain the peace in Palestine between the Arab majority and the Jewish minority. One persons terrorist is someone elses freedom fighter, one mans ceiling is another mans floor, one mans meat is another mans poison, etc. etc.

Posted by: Tom at August 13, 2006 11:50 AM

YEAH, except this isn't a movie. Time to decide which team you're rooting for, Liberals.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 13, 2006 12:41 PM

I'm on the side of a secure peace. Which is why we have to get rid of Bush; he is incapable of even moving us even slightly in that general direction. The man is just not competent.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 13, 2006 01:31 PM

"OK, so when Iran sends missles to Lebanon [...]"

Then a US-manufactured F-16 drops a US-supplied smart bomb on the Iranian-supplied missile launcher.

I call that arms dealing. It's highly annoying when it supplies the other guys with arms, but it's just fine when we supply our proxies with arms. Hmmm. Suppose that might have something to do with our lack of perceived moral authority in the region?

Mister Tee: One of Tom's examples was from a movie, which may be a bit strange. (It did portray a fictionalized verson of real attitudes, though.)

Another of Tom's examples was not at all strange, and is highly relevant. Look into the history of the zionist movement, and you will see some of what we might today call terrorists.

Does this mean all zionists, all israelis, or all jews are terrorists? Of course not. But it does show that a terrorist leader might, in thirty years, end up spending some quality time negotiating a peace.

Admittedly, it is important for them to stop shooting somewhere along the way...

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at August 13, 2006 01:46 PM

OK, again, define a terrorist. We have gone from confusing Muslims with Muslim terrorists ( earlier someone mockingly intoned that to profile Muslim males is somehow equivalent to wanting to kill all Muslim male youth.)

You're right - Bush is not the solution (heck, I may vote for Hillary) and he will be gone in two years. Then what is the solution to terrorism?

Obviously banning carry-on Starbucks on planes isn't (unless you count on airlines selling Starbucks a success.) Just us leaving Iraq (as long as we use oil we are on the list I think) or wherever isn't going to stop us from being a target - we just are in their eyes.

Unfortunately, like Mr Snethen, we probably need to focus on who is a terrorist and develop a profile of some sort instead of spending a lot of time banning one potential weapon after another.

Posted by: Steve at August 13, 2006 01:56 PM

"Then what is the solution to terrorism?"

There is only one solution: Stop being scared of them.

Most Americans are more than ten times as likely to die in a car crash this year than they are to die at the hands of a terrorist. Fear them just that much, and no more.

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at August 13, 2006 02:29 PM

On racial profiling: I think the issue is not so much how much unwarranted attention is given to innocent Muslims or Arabs: it's how much time and energy and distraction is devoted to others, not fitting the profile, who common sense will tell you do not pose a security threat: grandma's toothpaste, shoes, etc. It seems as if we frisk and search pale children and all just to appear even-handed, and in so doing put our attention on the wrong people.

Posted by: Allan L. at August 13, 2006 04:07 PM

"Time to decide which team you're rooting for, Liberals."

Yeah, except this isn't a football game. Time to show the world some humility, Republicans, because the US won't be top dog forever, or even much longer (Hello China!).

Posted by: Sam at August 13, 2006 06:10 PM

Correct, it isn't football; it is a game called geopolitics. There are more than two teams on the field, and many of them aren't wearing uniforms.

Though an imperfect analogy, my derision stands: you need to decide which country/ies ideology/ies you wish to support.

As Jack noted, I am on the side of a secure (translation: "just and lasting") peace in which nations are generally left alone to pursue their own liberal democracy or Islamo-Fascist dictatorships. I honestly don't care which, although the liberal democracies have a history of resisting the urge to invade neighboring countries sans provocation.

If one of the aforementioned democracies or dictatorships threatens an ally of the United States or tries to interfere with the free flow of goods and commerce, then my "live and let live" gloves come off, and we should promptly nuke them back to the stone age. You do that once, and the "48 hours to get out of Baghdad" warning is sufficient for the next few generations. Tom Friedman calls it "Hama Rules".

If you are uncomfortable with deploying the threat of nuclear annihilation as a bargaining chip, then you will understand why Israel cannot permit the "push them into the sea" faction of the Islamic Republic of Iran to get the bomb.

And if you don't want Israel to be forced into a nuclear first strike (or you are averse to even greater restrictions on domestic liberties in the United States), then it's time to realize that the Al Qaeda and those who support their brand of radical Islamist domination of life and state do not respect diplomacy, negotiation, or military restraint. They understand it is a battle that will never end, and it's high time that we do the same.

If we aren't prepared to play by Hama Rules, we will certainly lose in the long run: China will not dominate that future society, the Islamists will.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 13, 2006 07:58 PM

"There is only one solution: Stop being scared of them."

You should copyright that before someone uses it as a campaign slogan.

Posted by: Steve at August 13, 2006 08:32 PM

"You should copyright that before someone uses it as a campaign slogan."

Good point. I hereby claim copyright of the phrase "There is only one solution: Stop being scared of terrorists." It's available for use under the terms of this creative commons license. (Would-be commercial users may drop me an e-mail.)

Now for pity's sake, start using it as often as possible! :-)

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at August 13, 2006 10:28 PM

I guess the same "be happy, don't worry" philosophy could be applied to all the liberal handwringing over George Bush?

There is only one solution: Stop being afraid of George Bush!

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 14, 2006 06:45 AM

"There is only one solution: Stop being afraid of George Bush!"

Again, fear him exactly in proportion to the threat he represents. No more, no less.

I'm more afraid of his administration's incompetence than I am of international terrorists. :-)

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at August 14, 2006 09:13 AM

Giving George Bush the presidency is like handing a live gernade to a baby.

Posted by: tom at August 14, 2006 09:47 AM

"Correct, it isn't football; it is a game called geopolitics."

It isn't Risk, either. It's the "real world." You, Bush, and Osama see it as a "game." The vast majority of the rest of Earth's population doesn't want to play your insane "game" of mutual annihilation.

"the liberal democracies have a history of resisting the urge to invade neighboring countries sans provocation."

Except for the US invading Iraq in March 2003. Or are you conceding that the US is no longer a "liberal democracy"?

"If one of the aforementioned democracies or dictatorships threatens an ally of the United States or tries to interfere with the free flow of goods and commerce, then my "live and let live" gloves come off, and we should promptly nuke them back to the stone age."

Such psychotic talk may vicariously thrill Americans sitting in their air-conditioned arm chairs, but it is neither a sane nor rational approach to diplomacy. Or are you typing this from Baghdad while on break from defusing IED's?

Posted by: Sam at August 14, 2006 10:00 AM

Speaking of security theater, here's an article that I wish I would have read earlier. It would have saved me a great deal of writing to just link to this. (The addendums are good, too... especially this one.)

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at August 14, 2006 05:24 PM

I won't mention all of the UN Resolutions that Saddam Hussein violated, or the runaround that he gave to the UN inspectors (FOR YEARS) during the entire Clinton Administration, and the early Bush 43 years.

Items worthy of mention (and examples of provocation):

1. Saddam Hussein was paying ransoms to the families of homicide/suicide bombers targeting Israel, reportedly $15,000 per decedent.

2. Saddam's Army routinely threatened U.S. Aircraft enforcing the U.N. sponsored "No-Fly" zone (with surface to air missiles).

3. Saddam Hussein plotted to (see www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/1996/dci_speech_090596.html) assassinate Bush 41 during a 1993 visit to Kuwait.

4. Regarding the 1993 bombing of the WTC (see: http://www.espionageinfo.com/Vo-Z/World-Trade-Center-1993-Terrorist-Attack.html)
JUDSON KNIGHT writes:

Ramzi Yousef fled the country, and engaged in other terror plots before he was captured and brought to the United States from Pakistan in February 1995. He was sentenced to life plus 240 years. As of 2003, Yasin had not been captured, and was believed to be in Iraq. In October 1995, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind Egyptian cleric who taught at mosques in Brooklyn and New Jersey, was sentenced to life imprisonment for masterminding the attack. But some observers wonder whether the roots of the 1993 WTC attack run much deeper.

The fact that Yousef is the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a top figure in al-Qaeda, suggests a strong connection between the 1993 conspirators and the group who ultimately brought down the towers eight years later. After the September 2001, attack, it was the opinion of many investigators and analysts inside President George W. Bush's administration, that the perpetrators of that attack had a state sponsor—Iraq. A number of details, including the fact that Yousef was traveling on an Iraqi passport, as well as the date of the 1993 attack—the second anniversary of the U.S. liberation of Kuwait in the Persian Gulf War—furthered suspicions of Iraqi involvement in the 1993 incident. Mohammed was later involved in masterminding the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, and was arrested in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on March 1, 2003.

HOW MANY REASONS DO YOU NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN WAS AN ENEMY OF THE UNITED STATES?


Posted by: Mister Tee at August 14, 2006 07:13 PM

Mister Tee:

0: He wasn't the only one. Who's next?

1: What a cheapskate. DoD pays $1,033 per month, untaxable and in 2006 dollars, for the life of the surviving spouse of our casualties.

2: Francis Gary Powers ring a bell? We'd try for enemy planes overhead too, under similar circumstances.

3: How do you think we got Zarqawi? We like to call it "targeted killing" but that's just a weasely way to say assassination.

4: He lived in the US, too. Does that mean our government supported his cause? Living in a place is not proof of official support... no matter how many warmongers' opinions you cite.

Posted by: Tasteless Tattler at August 14, 2006 10:09 PM

It really is tasteless to equate the life of a U.S. Serviceman with a suicide bomber.

Moral relativism will be the end of liberalism.

If you hate America so much, why limit yourself to rooting for Al Qaeda when you can join up, and punish the Great Satan?

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 15, 2006 07:31 AM

"HOW MANY REASONS DO YOU NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN WAS AN ENEMY OF THE UNITED STATES?"

All the capital letters and bold type in the universe could not convince me that Saddam was a "threat" to the United States in March 2003. Maybe he was a self-described "enemy," but he was harmless to us. None of the items you list is "provocation" or an imminent threat that would justify a pre-emptive invasion under international law.

Saddam had our support when he committed his atrocities in the '80's; Rumsfeld shook his hand after he gassed his own people with chemical weapons US companies provided him. Please admit that giving $300 billion in taxpayer funds to Halliburton and dropping all those bombs and servicemen into Mesopotamia was a foolish, foolish geopolitical move, if our goal is to decrease terrorist threats to the US.

"If you hate America so much"

Who here has said they hate America? Voicing disapproval of the American government is not "hating America," Mister Tee. It's called "dissent," and it's far more patriotic than blind loyalism. Please spare us the histrionics, and try to respond substantively to our arguments.

"why limit yourself to rooting for Al Qaeda"

Again, you are confusing world events with the Super Bowl. No one here has given any indication they are "rooting" for Al Qaeda.

"when you can join up, and punish the Great Satan?"

So I take it you are a National Guard reservist or a Marine serving in Iraq. How many tours have you done? It's pretty hot in Baghdad this time of year, eh? Got enough body armor? At least you have electricity and running water in the Green Zone, unlike the Iraqis for the past three years.

Posted by: Sam at August 15, 2006 09:01 AM

Mister Tee:

"It really is tasteless to equate the life of a U.S. Serviceman with a suicide bomber."

So, you're saying that one human life is more valuable than another, then? Dude, that's harsh. Who's the moral relativist here?

Anyway, doesn't matter if I believe it. What matters is, do the bad guys believe it? If the bad guys think of their suicide bombers as soldiers, what's wrong with them giving something extra to their dead soldier's family? Is it only okay if we do it? Moral relativism strikes again!

Or are you saying all "death gratuities" are wrong? That's cold, man. I didn't know you could be so heartless as to pick on our war widows.

Posted by: Tasteless Tattler at August 15, 2006 10:41 AM

Since the latest "alert" in the past week, I have traveled through four major airports-Boston Logan, Baltimore, Washington DC National (could see the capital from the lobby), and Denver Stapelton; as well as Portland's. Longest wait going through security was three minutes. Has anyone ever considered that the media hypes the "inconvenience" to make the issues prominent or to make Bush look bad?

Posted by: Jerry at August 15, 2006 09:24 PM

Tasteless: your philosophical outlook is so deeply flawed that I must begin by asking if you actually believe what you have written? It is possible you just enjoy playing the devil's advocate.

Assuming you are serious:


A. Yes, I do value a U.S. Soldier's life more than a terrorist. There are many reasons why:

1. I'm an American. The U.S. Soldier was sent into battle in my name, after taking an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Clearly, I value his or her life more than an enemy combatants. I do not pretend to offer objectivity: I'm rooting for the hometown team.

2. The Geneva Convention (and common sense) distinguish between a uniformed combatant who engages in battle with other combatants versus a guerrilla/suicide bomber who wears no uniform and targets civilians.

3. To suggest that all human life is equally precious denotes a moral vacuum, not moral relativism. I can distinguish between the murder of an innocent crime victim and the imposition of the death penalty on the person who murdered them.

While the above scenario certainly resulted in two death, they are not equally tragic: one died for no reason (and without any warning); the other was given a trial, and years of appeals. The sixth commandment was "Thou shall not Murder."

4. There are many distinctions between the death of a soldier on the field of battle and the death of a suicide bomber in a crowded pizza parlor or bus. The biggest difference: the soldier is prosecuted for the intentional targeting of civilians; the suicide bomber is celebrated.

B. There is a huge difference between paying the families of suicide bombers and paying the families of a soldier that was killed in the service of his country.

1. The U.S. Soldier did not choose to die for his country; he chose to defend his country. By contrast, the suicide/homicide bomber made the conscious decision to take his own life in order to kill the innocent civilians he is standing near.

2. The payment of life insurance proceeds, or Survivor's Benefits is not intended to "reward" the U.S. Soldier's family, or encourage other soliders to choose to die. By contrast, many commentators believe that payments to the families of "Martydom Missions" is intended to encourage future Martyrs to push the button.

3. Saddam Hussein had no dog in the fight: he didn't demonstrate any particular concern for the plight of the Palestinians. Rather, he was exploiting the death of suicide/homicide bombers for their political value (i.e. it led to Israeli reprisals). Saddam Hussein wasn't paying Iraqi widows; the United States is paying American widows.


The fact you are willing to spout your vitriol in public (even with a pseudonym) is a stark reminder of the depravity of liberalism and the absence of any ethics/morals education in the public schools.

I hope that you never have to live in a society that is so quick to dismiss the victim's life as being of no greater value than their aggressor's.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 15, 2006 09:39 PM

Devil's advocate. But that doesn't mean my arguments should not be taken seriously. If you wish to fight the bad guys and win, you'd damn well better try to understand them a little.

You're assuming our enemies are monsters, dehumanizing them. You think they are attacking us because their hateful little hearts are three sizes too small.

Well, guess what? They're human, too. They have motivations just as we do, and if you want to ever end and win this war on terra you'd better figure out what motivates the enemy.

(Here's a hint: Most terrorists, worldwide and for a hundred years, have been motivated by nationalism, not religion. Radical Islam is a tool being used by nationalist militants, more than the other way around. If you get this backwards, you'll be fighting the wrong thing.)

Assuming this is all about their murderous hatred of us will lead to genocide with the blood on our hands, make no mistake. If I have to shock and appall you to get you and your kind to close your mouths and open your minds enough to avoid that future, so be it.

Now, back to the matter at hand. My mention of the similarity between the death payments had two purposes: One was sort of a political Turing test, and you failed: online, your reply was so predictable that you proved indistinguishable from a jingoistic automaton. You might want to look to that, or maybe change your handle to "Miss Eliza". (Free your mind, Neo.)

But the other was to say that, while the two payments are not the same thing, the difference is not so large as to justify going to war with Iraq, which is how you brought up the whole stupid subject in the first place. Paying a few dozen mercenaries to attack a third party is not crime enough to justify the US invading a whole freaking nation. Did Israel become the 51st state while I wasn't looking or what? Why would we fight a war as their proxy? It is not a real reason for this war, and only demagogues said otherwise.

In fact, most of your points were baloney as regards to being a cause for war. They are things that any nation-state might do, and that most more-or-less have done already.

The only one that holds up at all is the bit about UN resolutions. But are we poised to invade Cyprus? Are we gonna force Israel back to its 1966 borders? No. (Plus, the irony of a bunch of unilateralist UN-haters hiding behind the security council is pretty thick... watch your step.)

Posted by: Tasteless Tattler at August 16, 2006 12:14 AM

Whenever you find credible evidence of a state sponsored assassination plot on a U.S. President, we have sufficient "casus belli" to invade and depose that administration.

Even without the WMD's, the Rape of Kuwait, the manipulation of UN Inspectors, firing on U.S. planes, crimes against humanity, paying rewards to suicide bombers, and the willingness to shield known terrorists. If the only crime of Saddam Hussein were to plan the assassination of a U.S. President, that (all by itself) would have been sufficient justification for our actions.

It sends a message: this is what happens if you pick a fight with the United States. Even with all the failings of the Occupation of Iraq, we have sent a very stern message to the North Koreans, Syrians, Venezuelans, Iranians, and any other rogue nation.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 16, 2006 05:32 AM

Hmm. Interesting idea. Then I guess it's only fair if the Cubans or the Libyans invade us? Cuz we've tried to kill their heads of state.

If you count formenting a coup in our interest as basically the same thing, we have since the end of WW2 given causus belli to Iran (1953), Syria (1949), Argentina (1973), Haiti (maybe), Guatemala (1954), Dominican Republic (1961), and Viet Nam (1963, that sure worked out well) and probably Venezuela.

I don't think that's a good precedent for us in the long run. There's too many skeletons in our closets.

"Even without the WMD's ..."

With straight lines like this, who needs jokes?

"... the Rape of Kuwait ..."

Dealt with to the UN and Kuwaiti's satisfaction a decade ago.

"... the manipulation of UN Inspectors ..."

To hide the fact that the WMDs were all gone!

"... firing on U.S. planes ..."

Time to invade Russia and China. Bit late, actually.

"... crimes against humanity ..."

If only we had had forces free to help Liberia. Or Darfur. Where are the Marines when you need 'em? Oh, that's right. Falluja.

"... and the willingness to shield known terrorists."

Oh hell. Even the 9/11 commission didn't believe that.

"... we have sent a very stern message ..."

What, a message like, "Do what you like, boys, the world's last superpower is bogged down and overstretched!"?

Posted by: Tasteless Tattler at August 16, 2006 09:33 AM

The discussion of Iraq was initiated by Sam's remark (implying that the U.S. invaded Iraq sans provocation):

Except for the US invading Iraq in March 2003. Or are you conceding that the US is no longer a "liberal democracy"?

Certainly, the Bushies put too much emphasis on the WMD threat (unknowingly, IMO) and they did a lousy job of communicating the other provocations (like the assassination plot on Bush 41).

Any objective analysis of U.S. Foreign Policy would find that our cumulative effect on the current shape of geopolitics was overwhelmingly positive. There were certainly mistakes made along the way, but I trust that those errors are outweighed by defeating Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, the U.S.S.R. and then pumping billions of dollars of US Foreign Aid into the redevelopment of those recently vanquished foes. We didn't occupy them or enslave their people. We didn't colonize them or make them pay tribute.

Many anti-Democratic decisions were made in U.S. policy towards Latin America and Vietnam: these were predominately driven by cold war politics and the intellectual failings of the dominoe theory.

Tasteless Tattler may not fear or respect our lone superpower status; our enemies feel otherwise.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 17, 2006 06:59 AM

"Tasteless Tattler may not fear or respect our lone superpower status; our enemies feel otherwise."

Tough talk, Mister Tee. Again: are you typing this from your unarmored Humvee outside of Baghdad?

Or Lake Oswego?

Posted by: Sam at August 17, 2006 07:51 AM

"Any objective analysis of U.S. Foreign Policy would find that our cumulative effect on the current shape of geopolitics was overwhelmingly positive. There were certainly mistakes made along the way, but I trust that those errors are outweighed by defeating Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, the U.S.S.R. and then pumping billions of dollars of US Foreign Aid into the redevelopment of those recently vanquished foes. We didn't occupy them or enslave their people. We didn't colonize them or make them pay tribute."

Well, we did occupy them of course... our troops are still based in those old Axis nations, though no longer as occupiers. Nitpicking aside, though, I agree that there was a time when our ideals were actually expressed in foreign policy.

[Cue the Bunkers singing"Ah, those were the days..."]

"Many anti-Democratic decisions were made in U.S. policy towards Latin America and Vietnam: these were predominately driven by cold war politics and the intellectual failings of the dominoe theory."

Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, you mean.

"Tasteless Tattler may not fear or respect our lone superpower status; our enemies feel otherwise."

See, generally speaking I try not to use the words "fear" and "respect" with an "and" between them implying they're the same thing. Because, ya know, they're not.

While Bush 41 clearly knew how to balance the two, his idiot son our President and his cronies seem to only know how to work with fear. They want us to fear the terrorists, and they want the entire world to fear us.

What happened to respect? What happened to the nation that produced the Marshall goshdarn Plan? Christ, how far have we fallen that we hope - hope! - that our enemies still fear us? Have we given up on respect? It seems this administration has.

These young whippersnappers in power know nothing of WW2, but grew up thinking the Cold War was normal. They don't knw how to cooperate in the world, only how to dominate. Their whole concept of foreign policy is shaped by the idea of Mutually Assured Destruction. They think the biggest failure in Viet Nam was that we didn't use enough bombs in neighboring countries, for pity's sake.

They not only didn't get that the Domino Theory was crap, they are - right now - actively trying to apply it in reverse! They think they can make Iraq a democracy by force, and that this will somehow cause all of the middle east nations to not only become democracies, but friendly democracies!

If you're not weeping for the Republic, you're not paying attention.

Posted by: Tasteless Tattler at August 17, 2006 10:17 AM

Tasteless: what makes you think the the Rape of Kuwait was "Dealt with to the UN and Kuwaiti's satisfaction" ? I'm guessing there's a couple thousand Kuwaitis (and their surviving relatives) who would disagree: too bad they're all 6 feet under.

Iraq was supposed to pay reparations to Kuwait: they've paid less than $19 billion of the $350 billion claimed.

From Wikipedia: The United Nations Compensation Commission ("UNCC") was established, and US$350 billion in claims were filed by governments, corporations, and individuals. Funds for these payments were to come from a 30% share of Iraq's oil revenues from the oil for food program.

The UNCC stated that it had actually distributed US$18.4 billion to claimants as iof July 1994.

I believe that America's nearly 100 year record of involvement in the middle east is quite benign when compared with the previous 6,000 years of documented examples of war, domination, and religious persecution.

If you want to criticize somebody for empire building and western interference in the mid-east, you would have a much stronger case against both the U.K. and France.

Explain to me why the U.S. is always the target of the Hate America First crowd? Were you similarly outraged when the Taliban when the Taliban was using the national soccer stadium for hanging women who'd cheated on their husbands?

Or how about the Iraqi Secret Police? One of their favorite tactics was to rape a girl while her parents were forced to watch; or torture a family member while their spouse/children are interrogated. Similar examples of mistreatment of kidnapped journalists and contractors abound in post-invasion Iraq?

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 17, 2006 06:08 PM

"Explain to me why the U.S. is always the target of the Hate America First crowd?"

Not being a member, I'll have to guess. But it seems likely that the Hate America First crowd would hate America, you know, first.

Posted by: Tasteless Tattler at August 17, 2006 07:30 PM

My mistake: must proofread in the future. I should have said:

Why focus your criticism exclusively on the U.S.A? There are a multitude of more egregious examples of human rights abuses and imperialism than the Presidency of George Bush.

Syria and Iran are both engaging in regional imperialism; North Korea is the most inhumane country on the planet (assuming mass starvation bother you). The U.S. is the Johnny come lately of global influence: we didn't have a two sea Navy until the 20th Century.

The Bad Guys are the ones that are beheading the journalists and contractors with machetes and blowing up car bombs in the middle of crowded markets. The Good Guys are the ones that are trying to combat the guerrilla warfare such that we can declare victory and stay home for at least a year or two.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 17, 2006 08:24 PM

"Why focus your criticism exclusively on the U.S.A?"

Because I am a cititizen of the U.S., which is as Lincoln said a republic by, for, and of the people. Therefore what the US does in the world it does in my name, and I bear some measure of responsibility for its deeds both kind and cruel. It is my plain duty as a citizen - and it is also yours - to hold this government accountable for its mistakes and atrocities, and keep it from repeating them.

Or, to put it more bluntly, who the hell else am I supposed to criticize? Bashir Assad wouldn't give me his phone number, the jerk. So this is the only government I have any influence over.

It's funny. You keep trying to convince me that Saddam Hussein was not a nice guy, but I knew that. So does everyone else. It's effing obvious. And the really blackly comic thing is that you're doing it to make Bush look good by comparison. While it's true, "Not as bad as Saddam Hussein" is the faintest of praise, and that you're reduced to defending him this way is more damning than anything I can say.

And then you have the gall to imply that I "hate America" because I criticize our government. You've again acted like an automaton by parroting the disUniter's idea that criticism of the government helps terrorists. Well, buster, I might be wrong in my opinions, but I'm not telling them to help the f*&^ing terrorists. After all, if we follow this incompetent leader without speaking up, al qeida is gonna be laughing all the way to the West Bank.

I criticize because I love this country and its Constitution, and I can't stand to see this chowderhead keep fooling anyone. He is not fit to sweep out the Truman library or hose off Grant's tomb... hell, he may be a worse wartime US President than Jefferson Davis. Wake up and smell the pretzels.

Posted by: Tasteless Tattler at August 17, 2006 10:18 PM

Saddam Hussein was not a nice guy? Ya think?

How about "Saddam Hussein was a very cruel man and a ruthless dictator with a multi-billion dollar income that he used to wage war, acquire offensive weapons, and foment instabality."

Or better yet: "If we put France in charge of U.S. Foreign Policy, we'd all be speaking German."

If you love this country, you may wish to spend more time demonizing her enemies as you do you the American President. Al Qaeda knows they can't begin to challenge our military superiority, so they are banking on the American Public losing interest with the war on terror (or opposing Bush politically, if the prosecution of war seems futile).

Your anti-Bush propagandizing and faux patriotism play into the hands of Al Qaeda: they want the world to seem Bush as the aggressor, and themselves as the defenders of righteous Islamic values. You are helping them perpetuate this lie.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 17, 2006 11:35 PM

Gosh. Is it still okay if I just think Bush is bad for the country? Or does that help the terrorists too?

Please help me get with the program, Eliza.

Posted by: Tasteless Tattler at August 18, 2006 09:24 AM

"Your anti-Bush propagandizing and faux patriotism play into the hands of Al Qaeda: they want the world to seem Bush as the aggressor, and themselves as the defenders of righteous Islamic values. You are helping them perpetuate this lie."

You've got to admit, "shock and awe" and dropping daisy cutters on urban areas in Iraq, a good fifteen years after Saddam planned to assassinate Herbert Walker (that being adequate "provocation" for invasion under international treaties reached only in Mister Tee's imagination), was a little bit aggressive. Ordering the inspectors out before they had finished searching for WMDs so he could drop the daisy cutters on old ladies and little kids was also ever so slightly aggressive. In fact, any clear thinking person, whose head is not muddled by right wing propoganda, will acknowledge that Bush himself is "playing into Al Qaeda's hands" and helping perpetuate the "lie" that he is aggressive--BY BEING AGGRESSIVE. The Bushies are proud of being aggressive. Cheney himself recently praised Lieberman for supporting Bush's "aggressive" foreign policy.

Mister Tee, take a break from the A-Team and read John Dean's new book "Conservatives without conscience," then read some Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt. "Faux patriotism" is the authoritarianism you espouse: blind loyalty to one leader or party, right or wrong. True patriotism is criticizing the president, and I bet you did your share of that from 1992-2000. Your equation of "loyalty to Bush" with "loyalty to country" is dangerous and Anti-American.

Bush has a 33 percent approval rating and 60 percent of Americans think invading Iraq was a mistake. Are the majority of Americans un-patriotic? What kind of absurd spin from Michael Savage and Sean Hannity can you parrot for us on those recent poll numbers?

Posted by: Sam at August 18, 2006 03:26 PM

If you have one shred of evidence that Daisy Cutters (15,000 pound bombs) were dropped on old ladies or children, please cite it. Otherwise, the reader may assume you're making it up.

I am in awe at your ability to demonize George Bush, while giving Saddam and Al Qaeda a pass, as if they were just bumping along, minding their own business until America stirred up the hornet's nest.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 19, 2006 08:24 AM

Sam's wrong about the daisy cutters. Sam, it's not helpful for either side to exaggerate about the facts.

But as for you, Eliza:

"If you love this country, you may wish to spend more time demonizing her enemies as you do you the American President."

Why?

Lots of people, yourself included, are doing a fine job of demonizing our enemies. Yes, indeed, Saddam Hussein was a murderous dictator, and everyone knows it. Why is it necessary for me to say this?

Do I have to demonize our enemies to prove my loyalty before I am allowed to speak my mind in other matters? Will I next be required to proclaim "God bless America" or "In the name of Bush the benevolent, the merciful" before every statement? Is it not enough that I am a native-born citizen? Is innocence no longer presumed? Have we alienated the inherent right of free expression of ideas, or mandated that some ideas must be expressed?

It's a sad, sad day when people like you attempt to suppress the freedom of speech my denying me my right to remain silent. You're attempting to destroy Liberty while claiming to support it, and you should be ashamed.

Posted by: Tasteless Tattler at August 19, 2006 04:31 PM

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=ADR20051113&articleId=1239

http://www.channel4.com/news/2003/03/week_4/26_hilsum.html

http://www.rediff.com/us/2003/apr/03iraq6.htm

What were you "in awe of" again?

Posted by: Sam at August 19, 2006 07:03 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


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