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Bush clarifies "terror doctrine" to exempt Arafat
April 2, 2002 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Bush clarifies "terror doctrine" to exempt Arafat because of Arafat's past participation in peace negotiations.
posted by Ty Webb (22 comments total)

 
so, which way is the wind blowing today?
posted by zoopraxiscope at 9:08 AM on April 2, 2002


The story makes Bush seem like a kid caught in a fib.
posted by Werd7 at 9:17 AM on April 2, 2002


That is to say: Terrorism--whatever the hell it may or may not be--is wrong. Is that clear? And Id did not inhale and I did not have sex with that intern.
posted by Postroad at 9:25 AM on April 2, 2002


First - I'm a Bush supporter. Second, I think this is absolute garbage. If Arafat isn't aiding and abetting terror then I'm at a loss to say who is.

What I'm sure the administration means is that they can't call Arafat a terrorist because all our allies in the middle east would freak. Screw 'em and call him what he is.
posted by revbrian at 9:31 AM on April 2, 2002


The very word 'Terrorism' is losing any meaning that it previously had, now that all sides are labeling their enemies 'terrorists'. Sharon calls the Palestinians who kill soldiers terrorists (maybe they should be called guerrillas), and Arafat claims the state of Israel is engaging in terrorism. It keeps going back and forth, it's hard to tell which side is legitimate (at least for me), but they are both using the word. No one really wants to define it, because politically, that would limit what our government can do to fight this so called war on terror. As long as the definition remains ambiguous, they can go after anyone they want, for any reason (Kevin Mitnick was a cyberterrorist, according to the FBI), and they can still claim to be somehow just.

Powell nails the crux of the issue when he says, in the article, "It would not serve our purpose right now to brand him individually as a terrorist."

Hello, Machiavelli, anybody, anybody? Bueller? Anybody?

Our governments working definition of a terrorist- anyone who violently disagrees with us, or anyone who violently disagrees with someone else, and thereby hinders our interests.

I think the qualification of violence is tenuous, since disagreement itself is unpatriotic, and therefore terrorist-like, because if you're not with us, you are surely dedicated to destroying us.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:50 AM on April 2, 2002


Terrorists: bad guys.
Guerrillas / Freedom Fighters / Contras: good guys.

Simple.
posted by ook at 9:57 AM on April 2, 2002


Prozac, good.
Pot, baaaaad.

Wait, that's the other war. Sorry.
posted by dong_resin at 10:02 AM on April 2, 2002


I think ook is missing a few qualifying terms; "Enemy of my enemy" and all that. It's confusing for us non-presidents. Maybe a scorecard would help, for, as they used to say at Shea Stadium, "You can't tell the players without a scorecard!"
posted by tommasz at 10:04 AM on April 2, 2002


I'm glad Bush has realized that the world is complicated. This is a pretty bold statement that will probably alienate much of the pro-Israeli right, but it also reveals Bush's post 9/11 'good vs. evil' rhetoric for what it was: simplistic self-righteous chest-puffery.

The generally accepted definition of terrorism is this: The use of force or the threat of force against civilians to achieve a political goal.

Without a doubt, Arafat has supported acts of terrorism. So has the United States. The plot thickens.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:20 AM on April 2, 2002


For those interested, the US Code has an entire chapter [doc format, blame the government] dedicated to terrorism, including a definition of sorts.
posted by alan at 10:28 AM on April 2, 2002


i'm now hoping for a color coded system for terrorists so that i can keep this all straight....
posted by zoopraxiscope at 10:33 AM on April 2, 2002


bush doctrine meets powell doctrine: .o0o. that meddlesome powell!

Pot, baaaaad.

eurekalert: Greatest IQ-gains shown with 5 joints/week :)
posted by kliuless at 10:36 AM on April 2, 2002


<offtopic>
Greatest IQ-gains shown with 5 joints/week

That is not a significant finding (i.e. the difference between light users and former or nonusers is most likely due to chance). You're not going to get much statistical power with an N of 9.

</offtopic>
posted by iceberg273 at 10:47 AM on April 2, 2002


kliuless -- all that smoke must be obscuring your monitor... open a window or something. "Light" and former users showed the greatest IQ gain; heavy users were the only ones with IQ loss. And what iceberg said.
posted by ook at 10:53 AM on April 2, 2002


Here's the US Code chapter on terrorism in text mode, courtesy FindLaw.* Instructively, however, this is not the same as the broader definitions that are used by the State Department -- because diplomacy requires flexibility, as people who salivate at the prospect of identifying instances of hypocrisy are loathe to acknowledge.

* Of course, it's completely inconceivable that the government would hire a knowledgeable web person -- say, someone from Metafilter. Nah. Never happen.

In any case, the Bush doctrine was never that simple to begin with {WaPo (!) article that traces development; memo to Sonya Ross: read Bill Kristol's stuff in your own paper} -- not only was it limited almost from the beginning to 'terror groups of global reach' but the SOTU expression was aimed specifically at 'regimes' threatening use of weapons of mass destruction. Ever since September there have been arguments over whether to classify, for example, Hamas and Islamic Jihad as 'terror groups of global reach' on the State Department list of banned organizations. I believe those two were only added in December, after the human bomb attacks stepped up.

Even the Taliban, after all, were given an opportunity to renounce their support of al Qaeda, turn over bin Laden, and thereby gain legitimacy in the international community. Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, and others have chosen to provide cooperation and help, and have avoided being branded. It is pretty easily demonstrated that this serves the interests of ourselves or the greater civilized world much better than some sort of solipsistic, legalistic definition that would absolve people of actually having to occasionally make moral choices.
posted by dhartung at 10:58 AM on April 2, 2002


i guess 5 is somewhere in that grey area between light and heavy :)

thanks for clearing that up!
posted by kliuless at 10:59 AM on April 2, 2002


All in good fun, of course
posted by ook at 11:05 AM on April 2, 2002


dhartung: Good point -- although it was the soundbite version that became, well, the soundbite. Would popular support be as great for a war based on the complicated, fuzzy, realistic definition you cite, as for the simplistic "axis of evil" that made all the headlines?
posted by ook at 11:15 AM on April 2, 2002


of course :)

The authors suggest further investigation into the cognitive consequences of both current and previous marijuana use, particularly since the popularity of the drug has been increasing over the last 4 years.

study must be expanded!
posted by kliuless at 1:13 PM on April 2, 2002


dhartung, that was some of the most amazing shuck and jive I've ever read. On the one hand, Bush wants to be able to make hand-over-heart appeals to Good versus Evil in order to drape his domestic policy initiatives in stars and stripes, and on the other conduct a foreign policy which definitively contradicts that rhetoric. Bush used 9/11 to serve his purpose, and now he's having to back away from his heavy, though certainly politically useful, language.

---"In any case, the Bush doctrine was never that simple to begin with {WaPo (!) article that traces development; memo to Sonya Ross: read Bill Kristol's stuff in your own paper}"

Don't mistake Kristol's self-serving and wishful interpretation of Bush's policy, such as it is, for actual reporting.

---"Even the Taliban, after all, were given an opportunity to renounce their support of al Qaeda, turn over bin Laden, and thereby gain legitimacy in the international community."

Good point, which perfectly illustrates the Bush contradiction: had the Taliban turned over bin Laden, they would have been placed in the "Good" column, and been left to continue in their despotism. As it was, they held out and were placed in the "Bad" column, and Bush trotted out his wife to make radio broadcasts about the horrible Taliban's oppression of women. That the Taliban regime was evil is a fact. The idea that to allow such regimes to continue is "more moral" because it serves the U.S.'s larger strategic goals is complete double-think. If you want to take a realpolitik view of things, then do so. But please have the decency not to attempt to argue it in terms of morality.
posted by Ty Webb at 2:02 PM on April 2, 2002


Ty: please do not misrepresent what I wrote. (And you could be nicer to Bill Kristol, since he made your original point for you.)

I did not say it was, in your quote-marked misquote, more moral to make these choices. I said that they were moral choices, which is quite different, and an argument instead for pragmatism. Sometimes all your political choices are varying degrees of bad.
posted by dhartung at 6:37 PM on April 2, 2002


I did not say it was, in your quote-marked misquote, more moral to make these choices. I said that they were moral choices, which is quite different, and an argument instead for pragmatism. Sometimes all your political choices are varying degrees of bad.

dhartung,
Morality doesn't enter into it. Cast about all you want, but it remains that Bush is having to back away from earlier politically expedient and morally resonant definitions. Your statement again reflects the neo-conservative contradiction: the attempt to wrap morally relativistic strategic concerns in a cloak of righteous moral objectivity. It's one or the other.
posted by Ty Webb at 9:25 PM on April 2, 2002


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