THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: On Terrorism - Part 3

Thursday, July 21, 2005

On Terrorism - Part 3

My apologies, to a degree, for the political focus of these last few posts. Rest assured, an in-depth criticism of the song I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is coming up soon.

But Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has posted an important report discussing an unconventional way of thinking about suicide bombers that I think is very much worth your review.

Consider these sentences:

  • Between 1982 and 1986, there were 41 suicide terrorist attacks in Lebanon. Once the U.S., the French, and Israel withdrew their forces from Lebanon, there were no more attacks.

Assuming that's true, isn't that noteworthy? Isn't it worth thinking about?


Blogger Chris said...

I won't dispute this fact, but I still disagree with the underlying idea that western involvement in the arab world is the cause for islamic violence.

This flawed (and dangerous) thinking gave rise to a question asked of Australian Prime Minister John Howard today (who was visiting London) after new bombings.
John Howard on terrorism (scroll down to the response to a reporter's question.

Bin Laden and Al Qaida had declared war on the U.S. long before our involvement in Iraq or even Afghanistan. These guys have hated us since at least the first gulf war. Did conventional wisdom believe that kicking Saddam out of Kuwait was the wrong move?

I wholeheartedly agree that US foreign policy is aggravating militant islamists. That having been said, I completely reject that this is because we're the bad guys, or that we should pull out of the middle east. This is war, it's ugly, but they brought it to us first.

10:04 PM, July 21, 2005  
Blogger garrett said...

First and foremost, I want to just state the obvious to make sure we don't confuse the questions I'm asking with siding with the enemy, etc.: terrorism is wrong, bad, immoral, terrible, tragic, and awful. And I'm OK with using police and military to stop terrorists from carrying out suicide bombings. Note - you didn't say anything to prompt that defensive remark, but I want to be clear on that topic.

Now ... to our discussion. Did you read Ron Paul's article? You consider the thinking represented there dangerous?

I think I found the John Howard item to which you were referring. (Was it this: text?)

I think those kinds of remarks are dangerous. Maybe what bothers me about it the most is the tiny sliver of history PM Howard is using as a justification for current military exploits. If he wants to use a chicken and egg argument (who came first, who started it, etc.) he certainly needs to go back a lot farther than 5 years (or whenever the terrible attacks in Bali occurred). And so do you, for that matter, I guess. I'm surprised, for example, that you would say in one sentence that Al Qaida had declared war on the U.S. long before our involvement in Iraq and then in the very next sentence say "[t]hese guys have hated us since at least the first gulf war." The first gulf war certainly involved U.S. involvement in Iraq. For whatever that's worth.

Also, no, I don't think conventional wisdom believes kicking Saddam out of Kuwait was the wrong move. I don't have the technical/factual background to have an informed opinion about that topic. But my uninformed opinion about that and conventional wisdom is that (1) spending US taxpayer dollars on that was a violation of the constition and (2) conventional wisdom is generally wrong.

Can I ask you (and anyone else who wants to pipe in here) a couple of other questions?

What do you think the U.S. goal in Iraq is?

How is it OK for us to take military action that we know will result in civilian deaths/casualties?

1:34 AM, July 22, 2005  
Blogger Chris said...

Good response. I'll try to take your questions in order.

I did skim the Ron Paul article. I do not dispute the facts, but I think that the conclusion is a bit too simplistic. Mr. Paul neglects to mentioned where 9/11 fits into his analysis. Where was the egregious violation of "homeland" that propted this sort of response?

When defending the actions of Australia, why should Mr. Howard go back in time any further than East Timor? In my limited understand of 20th century Australian history, I cannot think of an offending action that justifies the response in East Timor. If memory serves, Australia only supported the democratic movement, without troops.

I disagree with your thoughts on the first gulf war. That was a necessary military exercise in order to preserve order in the region. Saddam was threatening an invasion of Saudi Arabia, which even the threat of would be too destabilizing to allow. I could care less about the "world community" or International Law, even though the gulf war was taken with both into consideration. If there was any mistake, it was not supporting Kurdish and Sunni uprisingings after the war.

Your final two questions (with overly simplistic answers):

1. This is the battleground for the "war on terror". The crazies from all over the planet are descending on Iraq to try and fight "the great infidel" (which shows how stupid they are). We need to kill them all. Plain and simple.

2. I have little relative problem with civilian casualties in Iraq. The majority of these casualties are coming at the hands of their own people or other arabs, anyway.

8:55 AM, July 22, 2005  
Blogger The Velvet Fog said...

"The US nearly paid the ultimate price for its friendship with Israel" - Ramzi Yousef, orchestrator of the first world trade center attack.
Make no mistake, the roots of western problems with islamic radicals began with the creation of Israel after World War II. It is one of those unforseen consequences of western guilt over the holocaust-maybe Germany should do more in the Middle East, but I digress. This is when terrorism, as we are discussing here began. Now then, what to do about it? Some say pull back and it will go away. After Spain was bombed they pulled their troops out of Iraq, and yet there was a subsequent plot against members of the Spanish High Court that was foiled so the stick your head in the sand policy hasn't exactly worked.
After the July 7th bombing in London, the responsible group threatened more attacks unless all crusader governments removed their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. This is significant I think, if you compare it to what Ramzi Yousef said at the top. Israel is always the 'fall back' position for terrorist reasoning. Right now the justification is the positioning of our troops. However, lets say we were to remove all of our troops today, they would still have the Israel fall back position, which was the justification for the first world trade center attack, and some have argued that the second attack was just the second attempt to finish that job, with the same reasoning behind it to the terrorists.
It is for these reasons that I feel confronting terrorism must be a two pronged approach. First, you must cut off the head of the radical terrorist groups, but you also must do more than play lip-service to the root causes. The creation of a palestian state is a must, and we should force the Israeli's to make some tough concessions Iraq has been a terrible blunder, there is just no other way to look at it. No link between Al Qaeda and Hussein, they actually hated each other, no WMD. The fact that we were very near to catching Bin Laden when we invaded Iraq but lost him in Tora Bora due to diverted military resources to Iraq is an abomination. After 9/11 we had nearly the entire world, including such places as Syria and Iran ready and willing to work with us to catch the responsible parties. All we had to do was marshall that support and focus on Afghanistan. Instead we rushed into Iraq, turned the world against us, named Iran and North Korea part of the axis of evil and as a result we are down to about 3 allies, and two of them are green recuits. The naming of Iran and North Korea as the axis of evil has only accelerated their nuclear capabilites, which they didn't have prior to that. Both of which are a greater threat to our national security than Iraq ever was.

Garrett, as to your questions:
I believe that the goal now in Iraq is that we have to stay in until the Iraqi's can handle the job for themselves. I think as soon as this administration feels that the Iraqi military can get the job done, we'll be out of there. Bush is on record as saying he won't cut and run so he pretty much has to stay till the bitter end.

And as to civilian casualties, I don't really know what to make of that. I don't suppose that it is OK, but it is just a fact of the world. There have been civilian casualites in every military action throughout history. Judith Henry, an invalid widow laying in her bed in her house was killed by Federal artillery during the first major battle of the Civil War, because it was believed that Confederate snipers were hiding in her house. It happens, always has always will. How is it ok for terrorists, and combatants to use women and children as suicide attackers to kill our soldiers? I'm not suggesting that you would say that it is ok, by the way.

9:09 AM, July 22, 2005  
Blogger The Velvet Fog said...

Regarding Mr. Paul's comments:
Once the Israeli's withdrew their troops from Lebanon, there were no more suicide attacks THERE, but that certainly didn't solve Israels problems with suicide attacks.

9:25 AM, July 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I get a Jack and Coke over here?

2:17 PM, July 22, 2005  
Blogger garrett said...

Where is "here", anon?

2:40 PM, July 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coldstone Creamery...waffle cone central.

3:39 PM, July 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

England... Japan's sending Playstations... Stankonia said they are willing to drop bombs over Baghdad... Rickidy Raw is coming... Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation.

3:45 PM, July 22, 2005  
Anonymous Mic Dundee said...

Whenever anyone has a problem, we just tell Wally. Wally tells everyone, then no more problem.

4:37 PM, July 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice group you are starting to assemble

4:58 PM, July 22, 2005  

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