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September 12, 2001 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Sorry that this will be offensive to many (seriously; if I didn't think this was important, I wouldn't post). It's an article linking American foreign policy to the terrible events yesterday.
posted by andrew cooke (45 comments total)

 
In a personal, spiritual tone to your link: I believe in the article fully. I guess though we get to see how much we have evolved and grown from war to war, tradegy to tradegy. It is good to see someone else who will at least advocate such ideas and continue onward with them.
posted by memorydream at 8:55 AM on September 12, 2001


I agree. American foreign policy has frequently been arrogant and thoughtless, and we need to recognize our own role in this.
However, if this man is correct, then yesterday's attackers have abandoned political goals, and simply desire to damage the US as much as possible. That suggests that beyond pulling all support for Israel and getting all our troops out of the Middle East (which, needless to say, will never happen) there's nothing we can do to convince them to leave us alone. At the same time, it'll be extraordinarily difficult to find and attack such a dispersed group.

Damn. Someone give me some hope, here.
posted by lbergstr at 8:57 AM on September 12, 2001


I wish it was so simple for every one to understand. Americans are human beings. So is every one else in the world. Americans have vested interests. So does every other nation in the world. Americans want things to happen their way. So does every other nation. Americans are willing to plot, plan,create,manifest opportunities for themselves and other nations willing to help them. Other nations are willing to do the same.

The US of A, is a very big economic, financial and military power. It should act as a World Leader, as a Father Figure, and try to understand the cultural, freedom needs of other countries and nations. The US of A should not act as a Super Cop. This is not hollywood although yesterday's scenes depict that image. This is real life.
posted by adnanbwp at 8:57 AM on September 12, 2001


The proper response to these horrible attacks.
posted by dagny at 9:04 AM on September 12, 2001


Not sure why this article would offend people. Its not only true but I think its fairly non-critical of US foreign policy.
posted by pixelgeek at 9:04 AM on September 12, 2001


"an eye for an eye makes the world go blind"

--Yitzhak Rabin
posted by jedwin at 9:14 AM on September 12, 2001


My sentiments exactly.
posted by tippiedog at 9:14 AM on September 12, 2001


"Switzerland isn't beset by terrorist attacks, because the Swiss mind their own business."

He's kidding right?
posted by szg8 at 9:16 AM on September 12, 2001


Good old Harry. Always the outsider who can make "right" judgements because like Ralph N., he is not in a position thwere he must choose to act one or the other way. In fact we have a long record of wrong-doing. But Harry's focus is more upon what he perceives might be the loss of individual rights--typical of his libertarian view (I point this out though I don't destain this view).
In fact, there are any number of fundamentalists (and some Americans) who don't like us. Period. The overseas types want the West to go away. They fear what might happen to their own people if they get a taste of free thought!
I wish Harry would address our serious foreign policy blunders when we saved Europe during WWII and WWII.
Was that terrible too?
posted by Postroad at 9:17 AM on September 12, 2001


It says a lot about the American political scene that you feel it necessary to apologize for posting something that doesn't call for swift and jingoistic revenge.
posted by tnadeau at 9:21 AM on September 12, 2001


jedwin - yes, of course (although I think Gandhi said it first.) But what if these attacks continue? What should our response be? Carpet bombing of Afghanistan would be immensely counterproductive. I don't think a surgical strike (the myth of the 'surgical strike' is a regrettable legacy of the Gulf War) is possible, given the nature of the organization.

We have to react somehow. I'd prefer to pull out of the Mideast altogether, but I don't think that's going to happen. So I just don't know.
posted by lbergstr at 9:22 AM on September 12, 2001


Yesterdays actions go far beyond any statement about Americas foreign policy. It was an attack at our very existence. The perpetrators of such attacks do not wish to change our stance on global politics, they want to wipe out our society and way of life. Stirkes at the financial and symbolic heart of our economy as well as military, and quite possibly our government, were but an oppening salvo of an enemy that we can not appease nor negotiate with. Their cause is not political it is religious, the crux of witch is the elimination of any and all obstacles which oppose their god.

Do you really believe taking support away from Isreal, staying out of Middle Eastern affairs, recalling all military forces,....i.e. returning to an isolationist policy would remove the hatred which these evil men feel for America? The world already tried appeasement with one madman, do you advocate trying again.

Our way of life is threatened. The relative peace and prosperity which we enjoy as well as that of the rest of the world, is being chipped away by men who's fundamental view is that God has ordered them to destroy anyone who stands against it, even if it means sacrificing their own lives. How do you placate men who believe their cause is just and holy, and view you as the Great Satan.

Not every German followed Hitler or was a Nazi. Many followed blindly for fear of their own lives, or simply chose to ignore the reality of the situation as long as they weren't personally affected. This condition can be seen throughout the world today, and it is often these same people who suffer because of leaders.

This is a battle of biblical proportions. good vs. evil. And one need only look at the tactics and targets to understand which side is which. Personally, I would prefer not to kill a single man,woman, or child. I cherish peace, and the american way of life. But if someone wants to take that from me, the will find that it a lot harder destroy than 110 stories of steel and concrete
posted by goona at 9:26 AM on September 12, 2001


I think as this article suggests we have to think long and hard about why this attack happened. There has been plenty of talk about how to fix the airports so something like this can never happen again, but even if this is done it can only give the illusion of safety. Who before yesterday would have thought of using passenger airplanes basically as huge missiles to take out buildings, certainly not I. My point is that terrorists can always come up with something, some method of mass destruction as long as we are a free society and as hard as it is, we have to get the to root of this problem before we can ever be "safe" again. But thats just my 2 cents.
posted by bytecode at 9:27 AM on September 12, 2001


Indeed, no need to apologize. It is sad that there isn't more of this kind of honest and intelligent discussion in the general media.

This article is a great piece by Michael Moore, who goes into a few more specifics.

What firghtens me most is the carnage that will probably follow this catastrophe...carnage that will likely involve the killing of many thousands of people by an enraged giant.
posted by mapalm at 9:28 AM on September 12, 2001


lbergstr -- i agree that this can't go ignored (and we all know that that would never happen). i just wish that the states would set a precedent with their inevitable "counter strike." attack the perpetrators in the world courts, not with a surgical strike. wage a war of diplomacy, not of death. the genocide of the afghan people (which seems to be where the rhetoric is pointing) will only create more hate, and inevitably more death and suffering.
posted by jedwin at 9:31 AM on September 12, 2001


well put, jedwin
posted by mapalm at 9:32 AM on September 12, 2001


Nice article up until he holds up the Swiss as heroes for their foreign policy. How can you possibly have a shred of respect for this guy after that? He either doesn't know his history or is partial to helping out Nazis.
posted by badstone at 9:32 AM on September 12, 2001


"Third, find a way, with enforceable constitutional limits, to prevent our leaders from ever again provoking this kind of anger against America."

This, of course, being the most difficult to accomplish goal of the article.

Our government has for years reacted rather than acted. Bush and Powell already have mentioned retaliation.

Will our government remember history and that we've gained nothing in the mentioned bombings? Will we, as a nation, not tolerate killing people to show killing people is wrong?

Even with the Palenstine people celebrating in the streets, our focus must remain on a calmness that we must and can only invent.

I pray so for our next generations. I want my (future) children's skies blue - not patrolled.
posted by jasons at 9:33 AM on September 12, 2001


Though before action, is that what your all saying: mapalm & jedwin?
posted by memorydream at 9:35 AM on September 12, 2001


This is a battle of biblical proportions. good vs. evil.

I don't think it's ever that simple. It's not US & Israel equal good; Arabs equal bad. We've made some very poor choices in our foreign policy, and I can understand why our sometimes arrogant foreign policy pisses off countries all over the world. But then again, we are a stable nation, and this is due to the strength of our military and our economy. I just think the truth lies somewhere in between Browne's article and America's (current) policy.

Regardless, this unprovoked attack on tens of thousands of civilians cannot be excused. I just pray that our leaders choose a course of action that does not further endanger us.
posted by jennak at 9:36 AM on September 12, 2001


Someone pokes you in the eye and your response is, "I'd prefer if we just pull out."

I'm not suggesting massive invasion or strikes, but to just throw up our hands because the terror that Israeli's live with every day has finally reached our border is abhorrent.

The mideast conflict is built upon layers and layers of complex relationships that have existed for thousands of years. While colonialism and other "Western" interactions there may not have always been correct or proper, nonetheless it is too late to rewrite history.

We must live in the world that we have created and deal with the consequences that our decisions and the decisons of others have wrought. However, it is quite clear that the first thing you do not do is abandon an ally because you have finally shared their pain.

If anything, you stand toe to toe with your friends now more than ever.

And before this deteriorates into a discussion of the mideast conflict, be sure you know the facts, and if you do not know them, learn them.
posted by szg8 at 9:38 AM on September 12, 2001


goona: aren't you falling into the trap you bemoan, calling them "evil" and yourself "good"? I see little difference between your rhetoric and theirs.
posted by droob at 9:39 AM on September 12, 2001


no no, what we need right now IS action. and it should be swift and uncompromising. what i'm saying that "action" should be redefined. why not make a statement by NOT killing a whole bunch more people. we have to get it out of out heads that "military action" is the only acceptable means retaliation. the states is in a perfect place right now to show the world that there are other, more productive, humane ways of dealing with such atrocities.
posted by jedwin at 9:43 AM on September 12, 2001


And they are......

Hey world, look at us....we didn't kill anyone today. And we promise not to kill anyone tommorrow too.

But we'll link Bin Laden to the attacks, show all our evidence to the fair and just Afgahni govenment and of course when they the see the evidence they'll be so overwhelmed with guilt for harboring him and his organization that they'll turn him over to us. And then we'll take him to Hague and prosecute him the world court.

Or we could get the world to impose economic sanctions on the wealthy Afghan people because they have so much going for them already....
posted by szg8 at 9:52 AM on September 12, 2001


I hear a lot of senator's talking about unleashing "punishment" for what has happened... but I hear nothing of "justice." That bothers me.
posted by mkn at 9:58 AM on September 12, 2001


Jedwin: primitive beings only understand military force. Wake up. Stop "thinking" to the point where barbarism somehow becomes justified or reasonable. WTF has the United States ever done that's so horrible, other than threaten Medieval societies with Modern weaponry? (Corporate imperialism? Install the Shah? What?). Reject outright the notion that a medieval, militaristic society is anything other than barbaric simply because it hides behind the Koran. Either the people are liars, or their "religion" is to be deplored and ignored (I hope it's the former). In either case. Look at the conduct; see it for what it is; and don't be blinded by a bunch of historical/cultural bullshit. I'm sure Neville Chamberlain had a brilliant analytic mind and a great understanding of history.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:00 AM on September 12, 2001


Very good ideas coming around, keep it coming, I mean you: szg8. It is a criminal case, to say the very least, regardless of who was involved, a detective would check all leads before following a path and going to work in solving what is going on, I think. My prayers are this is at least a part of what we decide to do in the future.
posted by memorydream at 10:01 AM on September 12, 2001


I regret the terrible tragedy that American people is going through. I will never justify violence and murder, but some things need to be said. Many more than 10K people were killed or tortured by Latin American dictatorships sponsored by the US in a long and cruel terrorist act that lasted many years, and the history of terror and murder produced by US foreign policy around the world is long and painful. How come these tragedies are never compared to this? I hope the US Army doesn't finish the bodycount and decide that for every American who tragically died yesterday, 100 poor people in other country must suffer.
posted by papalotl at 10:02 AM on September 12, 2001


Lets not forget, if it was bin laden, that we armed and trained this guy ourselves during the soviet/afgan war. Harry is more right than wrong when he says that we are reaping the rewards of our own foreign policy.
posted by housepox at 10:02 AM on September 12, 2001


szg8 - living in afghanistan
isn't as luxurious as you might imagine. they don't need to die for us. don't
confuse their people with the
taliban
.
posted by jedwin at 10:11 AM on September 12, 2001


It is as simple as good and evil.

I don't believe Arabs are anymore evil than the Germans were during WWII. It is the ideas and the men who preach these ideas who are evil.

Granted our political leaders have often set America on a course which hasn't always been in our best interest in the long run. But does anyone honestly believe, that if we would have set a course for neutrality, such as switzerland, that these events would have been avoided?

quite simply they would have been postponed for a time but eventually they would wind up on our shores. As long as America remains a symbol diametrically opposed to those whose aim the destuction of freedom of choice. We will be a target.
posted by goona at 10:12 AM on September 12, 2001


WTF has the United States ever done that's so horrible, other than threaten
Medieval societies with Modern weaponry?


i hope this a joke.
posted by jedwin at 10:14 AM on September 12, 2001


Do you really believe taking support away from Isreal, staying out of Middle Eastern affairs, recalling all military forces,....i.e. returning to an isolationist policy would remove the hatred which these evil men feel for America? The world already tried appeasement with one madman, do you advocate trying again.

An isolationionist policy is not appeasement. The terrorists are not asking us to leave them alone so that they can run amuck across the planet.
posted by danec at 10:26 AM on September 12, 2001


I wish Harry would address our serious foreign policy blunders when we saved Europe during WWII and WWII.
Jeez, isn't it about time to stop taking World War II victory laps? Everybody here who personally, himself, helped save Europe during WWII, speak up. Otherwise, maybe it's time to start considering the current wisdom of our own current nation's current foreign policy.

Do you really believe taking support away from Isreal, staying out of Middle Eastern affairs, recalling all military forces,....i.e. returning to an isolationist policy would remove the hatred which these evil men feel for America? The world already tried appeasement with one madman, do you advocate trying again.
In a word... yes. Hitler wanted to conquer the world. The terrorists don't.

How do you placate men who believe their cause is just and holy, and view you as the Great Satan.
For starters, I would maybe consider why they view us as the Great Satan.

This is a battle of biblical proportions. good vs. evil. And one need only look at the tactics and targets to understand which side is which.
Funny, I can easily imagine the other side using exactly the same language. Of course, if you're prone to viewing yourself as the good guy and your opponents as evil, you're not usually imagining their viewpoint.

But does anyone honestly believe, that if we would have set a course for neutrality, such as switzerland, that these events would have been avoided?
Uhhh... yes. Why do you imagine they would have happened anyway?

quite simply they would have been postponed for a time but eventually they would wind up on our shores.
"Today Afghanistan... tomorrow, San Diego!"
posted by Allen Varney at 10:37 AM on September 12, 2001


I am done here.
posted by memorydream at 10:51 AM on September 12, 2001


Hitler wanted to conquer the world. The terrorists don't.



True, but Osama Bin Laden and his ilk share one aspiration with Hitler: the utter and total annihilation of the Jewish people and the state of Israel. It would be a grave mistake to for the U.S. and the world to abandon Israel. I appeal to you with two words: "Never Again."


posted by gazingus at 11:01 AM on September 12, 2001



I was being sarcastic.

I am well aware of the plight of the afghani people.

And that was my point. You can't impose economic sanctions on a country whose people have almost nothing.
posted by szg8 at 11:01 AM on September 12, 2001


[I hear a lot of senator's talking about unleashing "punishment" for what has happened... but I hear nothing of "justice." ]

What do you think would be "justice" in this case?
posted by revbrian at 11:02 AM on September 12, 2001


WTF has the United States ever done that's so horrible, other than threaten Medieval societies with Modern weaponry?

ParisParamus, for example (since someone's already brought Latin America up) I have plenty of photographs of Ron and Nancy partying with Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in Manila, drinking and eating on the money of an impoverished and oppressed people and knowing full well where the wealth came from and where it was going -- not just not saying anything, but supporting the dictator almost until the very end, because their country (your country!) was benefiting from it.
posted by lia at 11:06 AM on September 12, 2001


from the michael moore article mapalm posted, the CIA trained bin laden!?
posted by kliuless at 11:13 AM on September 12, 2001


What do you think would be "justice" in this case?

Not to speak for mkn, but justice can't possibly mean the death of innocents.
posted by lia at 11:17 AM on September 12, 2001


goona: I don't believe Arabs are anymore evil than the Germans were during WWII. It is the ideas and the men who preach these ideas who are evil.

while i think you're probably trying to make a good point here (ie in the last sentence), comparing Arabs to Germans is potentially harmful. many, many Germans got behind Hitler and did his bidding. only a handful of Arabs/Muslims are involved in terrorism. more may sympathize, but the aiding and abbetting is far worse. in a time like this we must be very careful about blanket statements about Arabs/Muslims.
posted by Sean Meade at 11:20 AM on September 12, 2001


hi lia, and good points.

and, yes, the CIA and bin Ladin are old partners.
posted by Sean Meade at 11:22 AM on September 12, 2001


I have been reading many many articles today on US foreign policy as well as endorsements from other countries praising the US. One in particular from a Canadain journalist who defends the US anfd names several occassions where our nation has helped others. The debate is that this is propaganda because of the anguish the US has caused in other countries because of our policies.

I'm sure many many others on this board have read these articles as well...I'm also going to post a response that I sent many of you may disagree with but makes things a little easier to bear for me...

Missiles, troops and the like came into our country during Pearl Harbor.
English and French troops both occupied our land at one point in time.
Our country's beginnings are founded in fighting and by war.

And we were responsible for the decimation of the Native Americans.

The people of this country with half a brain in their head know exactly why and how this happened.

The Camp David Accord for one...yesterday's date was not a random day, it was specifically chosen and full of symbolism for the muslims.

But all that aside.
Not all of us are calling for revenge but the articles we are reading are not entirely propaganda.

Yes, we stick our noses where it doesn't belong.
Yes, we should have learned our lesson by now after Vietnam etc.
Yes, we have done deeds in other nations that we need to be held accountable for.

What I took away from these articles was this....

That we have indeed helped and continue to help many, many other countries in their times of need.

However no other nation has ever really stepped up to help us in ours.

It is time for all of us to come together for humanities sake, not just for the Americans and end the terror that reigns all over the world.
posted by Happy_Shoes at 2:23 PM on September 12, 2001


Thanks for the supportive comments - I've missed this whole discussion as I didn't even realise my article had posted (and now I'm off to bed!).

Anyway, Declan's just posted a lot of very good links if anyone's interested - http://www.politechbot.com/p-02508.html.

G'night...
posted by andrew cooke at 2:50 PM on September 12, 2001


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