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September 15, 2001 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Reactions. We won't be making war against our enemies because they are evil and we are good. We will be making war against these people because they are killing Americans and our allies, and we have to make them stop. --Orson Scott Card
posted by rushmc (29 comments total)

 
And this quote led me to this essay. Highly recommended, though I don't necessarily agree with all of it. Does this give anyone a fuller sense of what it MEANS to pull out the stops and conduct an "all-out war?" Are you (we) willing to do what it will take, to make those sacrifices? Is this the right way to address the Israel/Palestine situation now?
posted by rushmc at 8:45 AM on September 15, 2001


also, don't forget the us (as the worlds biggest arms exporter) stands to make money from any war.
or at least corporate america does.
it is they who dominate the media
posted by asok at 8:59 AM on September 15, 2001


Following that advice could just make the situation worse. The fanatics hate America because we support Israel, the "oppressors" -- to oppress them even more completely is going to have much the same effect as making bin Laden a martyr.

(I'm not sure why it is we support Israel as it is, instead of letting that part of the world settle its squabbles itself. Obviously we are *not* contributing to the stability of the region by doing so. But then I haven't really looked into that aspect of things.)

What we need to do is take the support out from under the terrorists. If any nation is providing bin Laden a place to hide, funding, equipment, land, soldiers, whatever... deal with them. Make it clear that as long as they do that, they are our enemies, and the enemies of this whole anti-terrorist coalition that's being thrown together.
posted by Foosnark at 9:07 AM on September 15, 2001


Some odd stuff being posted. The essay link proved crazier in thinking that I got from my ex wife.
Bin Laden is not the only enemy/terrorist. He is the middle man who lines up the cells and co-ordinates them. We have now been told by good sources that there are some 25 or more countries; that contain cells. And we now that lots of millions are needed to fund this operation and that might suggest a govt helping Bin Laden rather than his use of his wealth, which is insufficient.
Israel should be seen in the context of history rather than isolating it as something that is useful or bad for us to support. When the Brisitsh empire folded, they partitioned India into Pakistan/India; in Ireland, the North and the South, with (in North) Catholics v Protestants and the Brits to guard; And in Palestine, Israel (UN mandate gave the state the go ahead) and a state for Palestine (turned down and went to invade Israel instead).
These partitions, then, were split countries based upon religion, cultures and customs. And these have not since that time stopped from being very hot spots.
Bush has said that Arab nations must decide whether they are for us or against us. But we have played ourselves this sort of double game over and over. We trashed treaties the day Bush took office. Now he calls upon a united world to cooperate!
posted by Postroad at 9:17 AM on September 15, 2001


I was extremely impressed with Orson Scott Card's comments... I also remember him as someone who, through "Ender's game", taught us the need and the pain of destroying an enemy quite completely... and then taught us in "Speaker for the Dead" the pain of destroying a people irrevocably.

Those two science fiction novels I suddenly find disturbing relevant. I honestly don't think we can "win" this war without destroying an entire people and their religion, which is the most horrific thing I can imagine.

The violence with which people have reacted to the idea we should understand the enemy's point of view is an indicator that we would rather remain ignorant and righteous-- the exact attitudes that will lead us to foolish, ill-thought-out solutions that could cause further reprisals....

are we ready to commit genocide? are we ready to destroy an entire people? are we ready to be the next Nazi regime?
posted by christina at 9:33 AM on September 15, 2001


To turn the last comment around...are the terrorists ready to commit genocide? Are they ready to destroy an entire people? Are they ready to be the next Nazi regime?

After Tuesday, it sure seems like it.
posted by dewelch at 10:01 AM on September 15, 2001


Christina, I thought Orson Scott Card's comments were the most interesting. I think the decision tree should involve a question along the order of "If we didn't respond in any manner, would we be attacked again" I think the answer is yes. Which means we do have to undertake the sort of effort which Card is suggesting.
posted by prodigal at 10:14 AM on September 15, 2001


Orson Scott Card is one of the most under-recognized intellects of our era. All of his books profoundly changed my way of thinking about war, human relations, and the human intellect. In a time like this, I can think of no book that would be more pertinent than ender's game. For those of you who haven't read the book, or merely skimmed Card's essay in the post, I strongly recommend reading both. He will certainly make you think at the very least.
posted by statusquo at 10:21 AM on September 15, 2001


Oh, don't get me wrong-- it is jihad. As it has been for some time.

I'm hoping we can find a way to utterly stop these people. I just wonder if, by rushing forward, we are going to end up taking out a lot of others we don't have to.

Two scenarios, completely made up out of the whole cloth, with dozens of alternatives possible.

One: we rush in a bomb the hell out of a given country in the middle east. We get the wrong one (or even the right one). Other countries around it rally to their aid. NATO comes to ours. A short and ugly WWIII later, that population is gone. That area is a smoking ruin, full of nuclear waste. Multiple diseases infect the earth, freed in germ warfare. People everywhere have cancer from the radioactive clouds.

Two: we take another few weeks. We discover exactly who did it. We request the country they are in to turn them over to be tried for their crimes. It happens.. or it doesn't happen and we go to war with that country and maybe only one other country joins in. maybe nobody takes their side. The scale is about the same as desert storm, or Vietnam. Horrible, but we have a planet after it.

Of course, only in the first scenario is terrorism utterly removed from society. But only because everyone is too sick to do much. In the second scenario we are bombed again... maybe this time by Irishmen, or Bosnians, or Muslims who live somewhere we didn't bomb and want to keep the jihad alive. Maybe it isn't as big as the WTC, maybe it's just a school full of children, such as has happened in Israel several times.

I am not taking a position for or against any action-- simply thinking through possible outcomes (because I don't sleep much these days). We may have to commit genocide. I'm not sure if it will solve the problem of terrorism. I know history will judge us harshly. But we may have to do it anyhow. are we ready. You are right dewelch, there are many terrorists that are very ready to take the holy war to us.

What will we do about it? How will we live with ourselves after?
posted by christina at 10:24 AM on September 15, 2001


christina -- it seems the only countries it appears would even think about siding with the taliban are iran and iraq. pakistan has already relented to american demands, china, of all countries, has pledged it's support. NATO -- so on and on. remember in the two WWs, it was rather large, powerful countries against other large powerful countries. true, in WWII, germany was recovering from ruin, but they had the support of italy and eventually japan, and after a couple years in, germany had damn near all of europe. this time around, it's a country in relative ruin as a result of 2 decades of war -- they're hardly in any shape to fend off the whole world. the taliban doesn't have the power or the resources the nazis did.

genocide isn't really the case, i don't think. the whole muslim world doesn't subscribe to the taliban's extremist interpretation, which is tantamount to christians adhering to the horrible dictums of the book of leviticus. therefore, it would be the destruction of these radicals who seek to destroy us. to which i have no issue with. they made the choice to use violence as a means to and end.

how will i live with myself if we destroy the taliban? frankly -- i'll feel a little more secure, and assured that we've demonstrated that we're not going to tolerate such actions.

as it stands, it really seems it's the whole world against them. and rightfully so. let's keep in mind that the destruction of the WTC didn't JUST affect the US but many industrialized countries across the globe. the world economy is so closely tied together, to damage one is to damage them all. that being the case, there's really just one way to simply state the taliban's, and any country that supports them, standing in the world.

they're fucked.
posted by aenemated at 10:53 AM on September 15, 2001


I'm scared. It scares me that the last time someone attacked us "out of the blue," we used nuclear weapons on them. I'm scared that the people howling for war doesn't really know what that means. It could mean thousands of our military people dead, or thousands more American civilians killed in further terrorist attacks. And maybe the next attack is a biological weapon, or a nuclear one. It could be a war like Vietnam, where you don't really know who the enemy is or where they are, and it drags on for years and years.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:00 AM on September 15, 2001


increasing the amount of suffering in the world will be very unlikely to decrease the amount of hatred.

america has an enviable position as the only remaining superpower, but has done little to use this position to reinforce a stability throughout the world.

there is no imperitive to destroy, no 'we may have to'.

there is no option for using nuclear weapons.

'gunboat diplomacy' is dead in the water.

america needs to work out where it fit's into the world, instead of attempting to define the world itself.
posted by asok at 11:01 AM on September 15, 2001


I predict 100,000+ casualties before this is over. It's a ghastly figure. Freedom and security often come at a high price. Are we willing to pay it?
posted by rushmc at 12:02 PM on September 15, 2001


I'm scared. It scares me that the last time someone attacked us "out of the blue," we used nuclear weapons on them. I'm scared that the people howling for war doesn't really know what that means. It could mean thousands of our military people dead, or thousands more American civilians killed in further terrorist attacks. And maybe the next attack is a biological weapon, or a nuclear one. It could be a war like Vietnam, where you don't really know who the enemy is or where they are, and it drags on for years and years.

You're right kirkaracha, it scares the hell out of me and I'm sure a lot of our military personnel are scared as hell also, but this is America and we can not let things like this happen. I don't know what Bush has in mind but I hope it's hard and long and takes as many of these people (terrorists and supporters) out as possible. Will there be civilian losses, of course there will. What do people think a war is? But what do you do when we just let this go like we did in 1993 and 1998 and it happens again next year or the next. Do I think this will stop terrorism forever, hell no, of course not, but if you take as many of them out and their supporters as possible, there's that many chances less that it will.

I'm 30 years old, so I doubt I have any chance of getting drafted if they would start it up and I have a 2 year old son and a wife. But if it would come to me having to join, let's go, I'm ready, this is the greatest country in the world and we need to protect it.

I predict 100,000+ casualties before this is over. It's a ghastly figure. Freedom and security often come at a high price. Are we willing to pay it?

Yes, if you are a true American, you should be ready at any time to pay for it.
posted by the_0ne at 12:16 PM on September 15, 2001


the_0ne said: 'this is America and we can not let things like this happen'

things like what?

'if you are a true American, you should be ready at any time to pay for it.'

what happens if one's idea of what it is to be american does not include taking up arms against one another?
posted by asok at 12:38 PM on September 15, 2001


what happens if one's idea of what it is to be american does not include taking up arms against one another?

Good point asok, but I don't regard it that way, I take it as defending your freedom and security. If you aren't willing to defend it then you don't deserve to have it, plain and simple. There are a lot of people out there that want to bitch and complain about the US and it's policies, but when it comes down to change, they don't want to fight for it. That just seems wrong.
posted by the_0ne at 12:46 PM on September 15, 2001


asok, considering you're from the UK (unless your profile information is a lie), I don't think you have any right to be speaking about anyone's idea of what it is to be an American.
Unless, of course, it's your own personal idea, which from reading your posts I make out to be 'vicious, bloodthirsty, dangerous marauders who are also corporate-controlled docile sheep'.
posted by darukaru at 2:16 PM on September 15, 2001


Woohoo!

Orson Scott Card lives down the street from us.
posted by glenwood at 4:02 PM on September 15, 2001


Damn, one thing I forgot to comment about, Orson Scott Card has to be one of the most thought-provoking, thought-captivating and intelligent authors I've read. I was changed after I read Enger's Game and am still trying to read everything he's written. I am truly hopeful that we can do to terrorism what Ender, Bean and the gang did to the buggers.

Another good one, for a twist to his books is PastWatch, The Redemption of Christopher Columbus and the other is Lost Boys. I never expected the end.
posted by the_0ne at 4:46 PM on September 15, 2001


I am truly hopeful that we can do to terrorism what Ender, Bean and the gang did to the buggers.

Did you actually read all the way to the end of the book? Or the three sequels Ender spends trying to atone for his actions?
posted by rodii at 5:44 PM on September 15, 2001


christina, I've read many of your posts and I've come to the conclusion that you're smart.
posted by argybarg at 6:18 PM on September 15, 2001


"There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities -- it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain." - B5

Sci-fi reflects Sci-fi writers, people should listen to what a possible future has to say.
posted by kosubai at 6:25 PM on September 15, 2001


Did you actually read all the way to the end of the book? Or the three sequels Ender spends trying to atone for his actions?

Ender was tricked into actions beyond what his conscience would allow by those who thought they had his--and the world's--best interests at heart, and that they were therefore justified in making his decisions for him, without his knowledge or consent. With luck, we will be able to prevent OUR leaders from following this rationale.

In addition, it seems to me that the better part of Ender's remorse was the result of discovering that the Buggers were NOT, in fact, morally perverse and incapable of negotiation or coexistence. He never hesitated to defend himself against a bully, and a lot of the book is a justification of his belief in his right to do so. Terrorists are not a species in danger of genocide; they are individuals who choose violence and murder as their preferred mode of communication, placing them outside the pale of what is acceptable within our OWN species.
posted by rushmc at 6:35 PM on September 15, 2001


Did you actually read all the way to the end of the book? Or the three sequels Ender spends trying to atone for his actions?

Yes, I've read all 4, that's why I didn't include the other three. I know he spent the rest of his life trying to atone for what he had done. I didn't want to convey to you that he did that, I wanted to say exactly what I did, I hope we wipe these people out and wipe them out hard. You read too much into my post.

With luck, we will be able to prevent OUR leaders from following this rationale.

I don't think we need to "trick" our military into doing anything, I think the tragic events of Tuesday already did that.

Terrorists are not a species in danger of genocide; they are individuals who choose violence and murder as their preferred mode of communication, placing them outside the pale of what is acceptable within our OWN species.

I didn't mean to imply that terrorists are a "species" of people, I know they are sick individuals and we need to end the lives of as many of them as we can as fast as we can. And when the next crop of terrorists pop up, we need to hunt them down and end their lives as fast as possible also. And there will be more, but at least now I hope we start doing something about them.

You guys/gals read way too much into my post, I just want their lives to end now, not their species, not their race, them, and them alone. But with war, it's not always that easy and it never will be, that's why it's called war.
posted by the_0ne at 6:59 PM on September 15, 2001


Asok: what happens if one's idea of what it is to be american does not include taking up arms against one another?

Then your idea of what it is to be an American is wrong. Period. End of report.

If you're American, and you're not willing to defend the place when someone shoots at us, then get the hell out.
posted by baylink at 12:06 AM on September 16, 2001


REALLY SCARRY feelings about HOW it could all work out OK?

Why? Like THIS and THIS.

Then, we Americans pay billions and get THIS.


posted by rjrando at 12:08 AM on September 16, 2001


america is not the only country to suffer injustices.

i have seen much to enlighten me as to the nature of the american people (at least the online minority) in the past week.

i have never made any claims about what it is to be american. I do wonder how a country made up of refugees looking for a better life ended up without any idea of how the rest of the world views them.

ignorance may well be bliss, but when you are awoken from this blissful torpor the realities of life seem all the more intimidating.
posted by asok at 5:21 AM on September 16, 2001


and another thing

shock - denial - grieving - wish for retribution - therapy


i hope not to offend. i apologise if offence is caused. i am simply presenting a point of view, which you are encouraged to discuss. i also attempt to back up my arguments with evidence.

the attack on the us targeted the military industrial complex, this was not an attack on liberty. why did *whoever* choose these targets?

darukaru why do people translate information about their government's overseas activities as personal attacks?

in a country where half the population voted at the last election (not unlike the uk) it would seem that the political parties on offer do not represent the needs of the people.
maybe people do not value their democracy, maybe they can see no difference between the parties?
maybe legal enforcement of voting (as in Australia) would result in a population which pays more attention to the political system through which their society is defined?
posted by asok at 6:58 AM on September 16, 2001


Congratulations, by calling for election reform in the midst of this, you've proven yourself to be the soulless political machine I mentioned in another thread.
posted by darukaru at 10:24 AM on September 16, 2001


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