"Learn (America) that we can topple you along with the other big enemies"
September 9, 2002 4:37 PM   Subscribe

"Learn (America) that we can topple you along with the other big enemies" Could the US be so easy to topple? We've been told that we're not fighting a traditional war anymore (ignoring possible actions on Iraq), but it seems like a relatively small catalyst like 9.11 could forever damage the principles of due process and judicial review. Ironically, the secret and undemocratic FISC secret court may provide hope with their criticisms of the Justice Dept's blatant abuse of power, but sadly AP lists what we've lost already. If there is a formula for toppling the US in this 'new way of war,' then it sounds like we're doing it ourselves by slowly embracing the oppression of the last failed superpower. Something to think about amongst the rah-rah patriotic cheerleading that will mark the anniversery of 9.11.
posted by skallas (24 comments total)
 
Granted you dressed it up differently, with some additional content, but...

The Associated Press has written a summary of the Bush Administration's...

I'm just saying.
posted by mikhail at 4:52 PM on September 9, 2002


To be honest I'm more tired of the incessant 'beware the numbing 9.11 coverage' type stories than I am the 9.11 stories themselves.
posted by zeoslap at 4:54 PM on September 9, 2002


Interesting differences between what is mentioned and left out in the same story by AP and Reuters
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:54 PM on September 9, 2002


"Learn that we can topple you along with the other big enemies." What a load of BS. That seems to be the Arab way, though, like when Saddam predicted "the mother of all battles" before the Gulf War. And we all know how that one turned out. It's all just chest beating and posturing without substance, and this falls into that same category with all the other empty threats.

The only country that could topple America is America. But we haven't forever damaged the principles of the Constitution, like skallas insinuates, we've simply adopted a war-time principle of dealing with potential threats. It's been done before, and America has remained a free and democratic superpower, the Constitution fully intact. Now, you can debate the Constitutionality of wartime concentration camps, but you do what you must or you fail under your own incompetence. Rest assured, when the threat is gone, so will be the laws that govern them.

If there is a formula for toppling the US in this 'new way of war,' then it sounds like we're doing it ourselves by slowly embracing the oppression of the last failed superpower.

Umm, could you elaborate on that? I'm searching for this "oppression" you speak of, and I'm coming up empty. Do you have a personal experience regarding oppression by your government to share with the rest of us?
posted by David Dark at 7:02 PM on September 9, 2002


skallas, do you know anything about american history?
if you dont, understand that preservation of the union is paramount to ANY other task the government may face. Now, can we be toppled? no, only multiple invasion coupled by civil war could topple us. that or some bio-nightmare in which case i want to thank the people of the world for playing. see you in the tar pits.
posted by clavdivs at 7:04 PM on September 9, 2002


David: It's been done before, and America has remained a free and democratic superpower, the Constitution fully intact.

Granted and I think most Americans don't have a problem with limiting rights/access during wartime, but there are no more formal declarations of war, just limited battles and political agendas. Will the US PATRIOT act expire when OBL has been captured or killed? No. The consensus from a few constitutional thinkers is that its likely to be struck down by SCOTUS after the current war on terrorism mania is over, if its ever over. That's bad government.

David: I'm searching for this "oppression" you speak of, and I'm coming up empty.

Are you being fascetious? Abdallah Higazy's story is a good starter. Selective illegal suspension of habeas corpus for Jose Padilla should be a no brainer.
posted by skallas at 7:57 PM on September 9, 2002


Now, you can debate the Constitutionality of wartime concentration camps...

You can? I hope that debate is over. As far as the Japanese-American camps: It was wrong. We were wrong.

In 1982, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians concluded, "Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity. The broad historical causes... were race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

In the Ex Parte Endo ruling of December 18, 1944 that ended the camps, Supreme Court Justice Murphy stated: "…detention in Relocation Centers of persons of Japanese ancestry regardless of loyalty is not only unauthorized by Congress or the Executive, but it is another example of the unconstitutional resort to racism inherent in the entire evacuation program."
posted by pitchblende at 7:59 PM on September 9, 2002


So, skallas, what you're saying is, the terrorists have already won?
posted by kjh at 9:18 PM on September 9, 2002


I don't think the terrorists have won yet, but ... Osama bin Laden is a smart man. He is well educated and well travelled. He has studied US culture, hobnobbed with the US 'royal families', and knows his enemy very well.

I suggest that his objective is not the physical destruction of the USA (though I am sure he'd do a little dance of joy if it happened). He knows this is impossible. He wants the political destruction of US power over the world, and the ideological destruction of the 'American way of life' that he and his co-religionists so abhor. The Fox News assumption that bin Laden wants only to physically destroy the USA, but has not even noticed its societial framework, let alone done anything to it, is plainly wrong.

Think about this, put yourself in his sandals for a moment. How would you, given his resources (summary: about $10 billion, about six friendly foreign powers, and a couple thousand fanatical cultists), go about achieving his objectives? (Incidentally, anyone who says "I wouldn't" or "I'd give myself up" should skip on this exercise, as they would come to no useful conclusions.) Personally, were I of a mind to, I'd do it the same way as he: wait until a US administration particularly vulnerable to my tactics came along (and do what I can to help it come along), then scare the crap out of the Americans. Then watch them tear apart their own society looking for enemies that can't be found or don't really exist, and attack their own ideals of individual liberty and diversity of thought that are what really bother me so much, because these ideals are so hostile to a life of service to God's will.

The Bush administration is half-right about 9/11, it wasn't an act of war, but an act of terrorism; but terror is a weapon of war, fear is a means of achieving military/political goals, as the bomb-droppers well know. Declaring 'war on terrorism' is like declaring 'war on explosives' or 'war on battlefield communications' or 'war on the encirclement maneuver'. All of these things are just methods, means towards ends. 9/11, it seems to me, was not so much a bomb aimed at physical destruction, but a flash grenade aimed at American society - a small amount of direct harm, causing chaos and a very large amount of indirect harm. The distinction between military and political objectives, between military and civilian targets, is a relic of the 19th century.

I expect bin Laden took pains to be seen as coming from Afghanistan perhaps because he and so many of his men are actually Saudi, I expect he predicted the round-up of the Taliban and installation of an oil-friendly puppet government there, and I expect he has probably predicted Gulf War II as well. My guess is that he is currently in Iran, sheltered by Iranians hostile to Iraq (as well as, of course, the USA and Israel). Iraq is just Osama bin Laden's latest tool, replacing the Taliban. My theory is that he wants the US to attack Iraq, because Iraq annoys him too. It is not an Islamist nation, it is a military dictatorship, and Saddam is egregiously and grossly a sinful man who distracts the Iraqi people from the will of God. In turn, bin Laden wants Iraq to retaliate against the US and Israel.

Which doesn't, in itself, mean it shouldn't be done, but it disturbs me that--if I am right, and I hope I am not--the USA is so closely following what seems to be Osama bin Laden's script for it.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:39 PM on September 9, 2002


"detention in Relocation Centers of persons of Japanese ancestry regardless of loyalty is not only unauthorized by Congress or the Executive, but it is another example of the unconstitutional resort to racism inherent in the entire evacuation program"

really?, then why were not Japanese americans in Hawaii sent to camps. anyone care to explain that?

Osama bin Laden is a smart man. He is well educated and well travelled. He has studied US culture, hobnobbed with the US 'royal families', and knows his enemy very well.

yeah, one enemy was his own people whom put at least two assassination attempts at his feet. 10$ billin is a little high there cowboy

I'd do it the same way as he: wait until a US administration particularly vulnerable to my tactics came along (and do what I can to help it come along), then scare the crap out of the Americans.
hahaha. then why not while clinton was in office and not a pseudo-religious "madman"

The distinction between military and political objectives, between military and civilian targets, is a relic of the 19th century. is this why we did not fire bomb tokyo on a weekly basis, a relic. (brits were given strict orders not to blow up dutch property...whoops forgot Dresden)

Iraq is just Osama bin Laden's latest tool
you know nothing. saddams secret police gave out feelers for OBL to live in Iraq around 98-98' he refused but kept his options open (just in case he needed a place to crash, and keep his dialysis machine)

How would you, given his resources (summary: about $10 billion, about six friendly foreign powers, and a couple thousand fanatical cultists), go about achieving his objectives? hmmm. I'll play. give me 10 men, 1000$ and i could start another revolution. ( i am not blinking) destruction and subversion is easy if one has the will..

My guess is that he is currently in Iran like a the IRA going to good pastor protestant for a band-aid.

--if I am right, and I hope I am not

dont worry.
posted by clavdivs at 10:14 PM on September 9, 2002


skallas, SCOTUS strikes down laws all the time. I disagree that it's bad government, it's just our government, since 1803, anyway.

I don't necessarily think that Congress sought to destroy America by passing the Patriot Act; however, I do think the possibility exists that they passed a shady law to quickly gather a bunch of information when the Justice Department was admittedly in dire need of such information. It's not pretty, and it's not ideal, I'll admit as much. Parts of it will no doubt be reviewed and tossed aside.

Yes, I've read stories about arrests and detainments, but no, I hadn't heard of Abdallah Higazy. I read your link, and thanks for linking. I feel badly for him and for anyone in his situation.

But when I asked you to elaborate I was asking to know which failed superpower you are comparing us to, how the oppression measures up, and how this will lead to the toppling of the US. Then I tried to get cute with the oppression bit and I undermined my own question. All apologies.

pitchblende, you can debate anything and everything, silly. Don't you read Metafilter?
posted by David Dark at 11:22 PM on September 9, 2002


hahaha. then why not while clinton was in office and not a pseudo-religious "madman"
My suggestion is that Osama bin Laden wants you to destroy your civil rights, and that was the point of 9/11. Maybe he was watching the whole impeachment fiasco and thinking "hey, my evil plan will work so much better the next time these guys are in charge". Or maybe you all look the same to him and it just worked out that way. Why do you think he waited for Bush, if he waited? He'd been planning it for quite a while, that's obvious, why choose 9/11/01?

"The distinction between military and political objectives, between military and civilian targets, is a relic of the 19th century." is this why we did not fire bomb tokyo on a weekly basis, a relic. (brits were given strict orders not to blow up dutch property...whoops forgot Dresden)
Yes, that's exactly why. The idea that war can be honorably fought, that's the 19th century relic I mean. Terrifying the civilian population--usually by killing lots of them with bombs, napalm etc--is a large part of modern warfare. I don't think it's a good thing! But terrorism is part and parcel of modern conflict, so a 'war on terrorism' is bound to be futile. (If anyone can convince me otherwise, I'm willing.)

"Iraq is just Osama bin Laden's latest tool"
you know nothing. saddams secret police gave out feelers for OBL to live in Iraq around 98-98' he refused but kept his options open (just in case he needed a place to crash, and keep his dialysis machine)

OK. I could, for sure, be wrong, and he could be in Iraq, having completely failed to figure out that America will be on a war footing after 9/11, will be casting about for enemies after failing to find him, and will probably want to re-fight the Gulf War. Hey, he could even be in a secret prison under Saddam's mountain fortress, waiting to be sold to the USA in exchange for calling off the war. But it's unlikely. :-) It's fun to play "we're's Osama", but I seriously doubt you know any better than I do.

hmmm. I'll play. give me 10 men, 1000$ and i could start another revolution. ( i am not blinking) destruction and subversion is easy if one has the will..
Wow, you're Metafilter's own Dr Evil! Why are you wasting your talents here arguing with pathetic fools like me? Let me guess, you're gonna take over the world just as soon as you win one last argument. And borrow the $1000 from your mom. :-)

"My guess is that he is currently in Iran" like a the IRA going to good pastor protestant for a band-aid.
Interesting. So you think the Iranians, the nation which dubbed the USA "Great Satan", all hate bin Laden. Why?

"--if I am right, and I hope I am not"
dont worry

Hey, if the Dr Evil thing doesn't work out, you could teach sneering and posturing classes.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:26 AM on September 10, 2002


Uhhh, I think you really meant to say :

"Osama bin Laden was a smart man. He was well educated and well travelled. He had studied US culture, hobnobbed with the US 'royal families', and knew his enemy very well.

Unless - in the next few days or weeks - we get a nasty surprise in the form of videotape that can definitively prove he is still alive, I think its safe to say Mr Bin Laden is no longer amoung us.

Lets face it; over the past few months we've all seen repeated claims by his supporters that not only was he "alive and well" but also "planning future attacks" and would "soon" appear in a videotape as proof.

And of course as the deadlines come and go (repeatedly, mind you) there is still no sign of Mr Bin Laden. Isn't that strange? So I'm betting he's dead and gone.

And in terms of your claim that he has assets of about $10 billion, you're gonna have to cite that. A quick google shows :
  • CNN claims his assets were a mere $250M
  • ABC agrees that he has roughly $250M, but notes Bin Laden had substantial expenses (terrorists training camps are by no means cash flow positive enterprises, you know). They also note that Mr Bin Laden was heavily invested in the equity markets, and as an ex-Investment Banker its not clear to me how much of this money would still be accesible, given the post September 11th tightening on money laundering.
  • The BBC quotes AP as saying Mr Bin Laden has about $300M in assets.
So it kinda looks like you're off by a factor of 40 or so.

Finally, regarding your statement that "Mr Bin Laden took pains be seen as coming from Afghanistan" I think anyone who had read pretty much anything on this guy would have known that he was only in Afghanistan since he was thrown out of Sudan and the Saudis (his native country, BTW) wouldn't allow him to return.

Who on earth thought he was from Afhanistan?
posted by Mutant at 1:39 AM on September 10, 2002


Since we're talking theories of OBL's whereabouts, mine is admittedly foolish and most likely dead wrong, but my first gut instinct tells me that when he really needs to hide out, he goes home to mama. I'm sure it's impossible, but what better place to hide than that where no one would think to look? More importantly, where no one would be allowed to search. In an area that is definitely not in danger of US attack and needn't yeild to US demand. I know he was exiled, but time and money have a way of easing such disputes. And in the end, blood is blood, after all. I know I don't trust the Saudi Arabian government as far as I can throw it. Which ain't far, BTW.

clavdivs, Apocolypse Now, right? Colonel Kurtz? Each of the ten would have to be a special kind of man. I'll bet you even know ten such men. But even Kurtz wanted ten divisions:

My God, the genius of that, the genius, the will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they could stand that--these were not monsters, these were men, trained contras, these men who fought with their hearts, who have families, who have children, who are filled with love--that they had this strength, the strength to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, then our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral and at the same time were able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling, without passion, without judgment--without judgment. Because it's judgment that defeats us.

But he was talking about conquering a nation, you're talking about merely starting a revolution. Different games, eh?
posted by David Dark at 2:16 AM on September 10, 2002


Today is possibly the last day we'll refer to 9.11 as 9.11 and not 9.11.2001. Scary huh?
posted by hnnrs at 5:16 AM on September 10, 2002


In a way the terrorists scored big on 9-11. Our government immediately seized the chance to formally take away rights they have been infringing on for years. Wall street almost toppled which brought about extra scrutiny on big corporations and exacerbated the accounting scandal started by enron. When dubbya announces a draft the circle will be complete and we will be just another 3rd world country run by an "elected" despot!
posted by hoopyfrood at 6:56 AM on September 10, 2002


Good points, Mutant. My guess of $10 billion is just that, a guess, although in its defence I will say that there is a difference between the wealth an organization may call upon and the personal wealth of its leaders (though its leaders may not see it that way).

Also by 'coming from Afghanistan' I meant not ethnic origin, but 'home base' or 'flag of convenience'. Anyway, if he's dead, it's probably because he died in Afghanistan under a bunker-buster, which would be entirely a just and good thing, I think, but ... does it make it worse or better that he did what he did while being inadequately planned and prepared to survive? [I think: better. Less bad consequences.]
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:22 AM on September 10, 2002


"In a way the terrorists scored big on 9-11"
you make itlike someone just scored a 20$ sack.
you to destroy your civil rights
first off my civil rights arenot destroyed and you saw "the siege' to many times.

why choose 9/11/01
goggle up 1922, same date. but i think it was arbitrary date type of attack.

Terrifying the civilian population--usually by killing lots of them with bombs, napalm etc--is a large part of modern warfare
since napalm really was not around in the 19th century- one cant help but agree.(forgot greek fire) terror is as old as the hills . remember, hilter was bombing airfields and the like before he turned the luftwaffe upon London

I seriously doubt you know any better than I do. I'm glad you don't know me. you would not want to know me and do not doubt me unless you can defend yourself. Many intel scholars have twiddled down his escape plans. Yemen is a good guess, but i say Iraq. I personally think he was killed along with Omar by people whom sold himout.

you brought up the little terror scenario 0bi-san. If you had studied Sun-Tzu, you would know that destruction by subversion is the cheap way of destruction...and just one of many forms of attack....no, mom wont give another clip of ammo, another stik-o-dynamite. If i had too, I'd steal it. most likely from you. (the people) but your question is foolish. you know and i know I would be dead the first whiff, the first 24 hours.

all hate bin Laden. Why let me cast my clairaudience spell
sunni/ shiite for starters?
Hey, if you get a argument and want to have a real debate, do it with someone else. your easy, your points are refuted. you have lost. Thing is, i really don't like it in general (and when in does occur),BUT i take great satisfaction in seeing you wrong and jut about the blue like a freshman in college who asked where Boer war was fought.

David Dark- thanks for the jab, really. K got me good in MeTa recreating the trailer scene (the skinny scene i call it ) please see the tactical exercise in what i said. no, they would not be sneaky killers, quite the opposite really.

But he was talking about conquering a nation, you're talking about merely starting a revolution. Different games, eh? good distinction. revolution to me is conquering at this point. Jeffersons Maxim about the 20 year wheel of revolution is obsolete (though it does not revoke the peoples mandate)plus i think he just wanted to validate his shortsightedness that occurred during the terror in france.
i never trusted the Sauds either but i did think that there was respect. my father did not want to move there in the 70's because of the hotbed radicalism forming.
posted by clavdivs at 9:09 AM on September 10, 2002


really?, then why were not Japanese americans in Hawaii sent to camps. anyone care to explain that?

Because the US was lazy, basically. As I understand it, they were seen to be too large a percentage of the islands' population to corral and ship off.
posted by pitchblende at 10:40 AM on September 10, 2002


If I were Osama bin Lauden, and I wanted to strike a blow against the great Satan of the US, then I would get my most devoted followers, have them learn to use the most versitile and destructive civilian weapons available, and use them against high-profile targets that were likely to do as much psychological and financial harm as possible.

Flying commerical airliners into the WTC and the White House sounds about right.

Since the attack on the White House failed the first time, I would try again. Since commercial aircraft are now likely to be impossible to capture, I would use more conventional methods (one or more semi-trucks loaded with fertilizer explosives comes to mind).

My next target would be a major sporting event, just to stir up as much fear as possible and cause more psychological and financial damage (since the US is a nation very much interested in sporting events). If I can get my hands on a nuclear device (a small one will do), chemical or biological agents, these would be prime targets for terror.

I would also consider attacking a major heartland city, just to prove that no where was safe. The drawback to that would be that the media coverage wouldn't be as great, and media coverage is a very important thing. It is how we spread fear and disillusionment. A derailed train carrying poisonous chemicals would do. Causing a catastrophic accident at a chemcial plant would do (see Bhopal, India).

I would keep up coordinating these attacks as long as I was alive, and would make arrangements for the fight to carry on after my death. My goal: If I and my people can cause enough fear and disillusionment, then we can cause enormous financial and psychological harm, making the US government to do rash things. These rash things will cause the world to see how evil the great Satan really is, and they will rise up and oppose the USA.

Anyway, that's how I would think if I were Osama bin Lauden.
posted by moonbiter at 11:58 AM on September 10, 2002


them learn to use the most versitile and destructive civilian weapons available
what? smoke ciggerettes and drive SUVs'?

not bad moonbiter. you mentioned almost everything that has already happened. but bin laden did not do a majority of these things.

Because the US was lazy, basically

this is like fish in a barrel. Lazy? but your right, many japanese americans lived there and pledged there undying loyalty. Plus the east coast was not a threat to invasion. that is why only the west coast japanese americans where "relocated". Lazy? we moved the population of Bikini just to test a bomb. lazy is is funny. (bikini right?)
posted by clavdivs at 1:33 PM on September 10, 2002


Lazy? we moved the population of Bikini just to test a bomb.

Moving 167 people is not really comparable to the ..."159,534 Japanese Americans in Hawaii, comprising 34.2% of the population.", in my mind at least.

this is like fish in a barrel

So glad I can amuse the high and mighty clavdivs.
posted by pitchblende at 2:57 PM on September 10, 2002


who said i was high?
- -
0

ah the war of numbers.
you wanna play.
let us start with the trail of tears
then go back to watch the removal of the "indians".

and the vietnamese exodus...

the evac of 1000s from Phenom pehn. Jesus, the air crews were pushing off helecopters to make room...lazy?

I'm refuting 'lazy' pitchblende.
so your numbers game does little. If the japanese americans posed a threat on hawaii, they would have been removed.The only lazy i could see is that we didnt move them because we were to lazy to replace the work force...and asking people to relocate to hawaii is a tough sell...right? Besides, relocating the Japanese americans was WRONG.

or maybe we could have done what the nazis did, relocate all of them a systematically murder them....where we just lazy then?
posted by clavdivs at 3:22 PM on September 10, 2002


Fish in a barrel
posted by clavdivs at 9:23 AM on September 11, 2002


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