September 12, 2001
4:54 AM   Subscribe

How are we really any different from them if we can suggest "selective genocide" and "complete destruction and annihilation"?
posted by tranquileye (20 comments total)
I got that email from Coffee Cup, and I just wanted to vomit. Customer records should not be used to distribute political reactions, no matter the stimulus.

I removed myself from their email list and will no longer be using their software.
posted by jackiemcghee at 5:07 AM on September 12, 2001

I want to know who they intend to annihilate.. Lets hope Bush isn't thinking the same. If military action is required, strategic strikes beat all out assault any day.
posted by Mossy at 5:08 AM on September 12, 2001

Gives one a somewhat different view about the Israeli use of knocking off known terrorists. And the Israelis, for this, condemned as acting in an immoral way.
Not sure that the statements by this or that one, from the left or from the right, mean very much. After all, we get similar things from various arabs, here and abroad, and this does not mean that they are communally "guilty" and ought to be subject of racist remarks or genocide.
A bit of a student of the language, I do not know exactly what "partial genocide" truly means. Sort of like being pregnant: you are or you are not. No in-betweens.
posted by Postroad at 5:09 AM on September 12, 2001

As far as I know, there's only been one full genocide: the Tasmanian Aborigines. Kurt Vonnegut has a great conversation with one of the deceased in God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian. A quick read, and a must read.

Uh, yeah, remind to never use CoffeeCup software again. Never liked the demos I downloaded, anyway.
posted by gramcracker at 5:49 AM on September 12, 2001

Well, there are a couple things that are clear this morning. First, 'being better than them' is the last thing on the lips of Vox Populi - the howling for payment in blood - and lots of it - has already started to bloom. Moral highroads were fine when America didn't have their nose bloodied; now, that dangerous, bloodthirsty cold vengence side of America that has been mostly confined to movies and television until now, is awakening.

And I'm not all that sure I can even disagree with it.

Some years back - someone may be able to fill in the details - Russia was victim of a terrorist attack. In retaliation, they leveled indiscriminantly the source of their pain; it may have been Chechnya. The world yowled about the inhumanity - the human rights violations, the horror... and Russia, very coldly, told the world that this was an internal affair, and to butt the hell out. Tough luck.

And, as far as I know, Russia has not been the target of terrorist attacks since. They're now viewed as crazy enough to be dangerous. There are ugly consequences to attacking Russia, no comforting shelter of the 'holier than thou' restraint that makes terrorism a one-way street. Russia, in short, showed it was willing to become a terrorist to fight terrorism.

Estimates of 25,000 - 35,000 civillians were killed yesterday are forwarded. Palistinians were dancing in the streets. If they KNEW that our response was to take 100,000 lives in response... would they still be dancing?

The moral highroad will trade 30,000 innocent lives for 5 legal indictments. For a terrorist point of view, is this not a bargain? That kind of equation will give license to kill one million people with the loss of 325 people. Militarily, who would not find that ratio 'acceptable losses'?

So, unless you believe terrorists will now unilaterally decide they've 'bagged their limit' and retire... how do you stop them?

Especially if you refuse to make them pay a dear and personal price for their actions.

The moral highground bares our throat to the wolves. The moral highground binds us to the pillory. It's not rhetoric, folks - it's simple fact. Without a viable deterrent, we are swimming bloody and naked among the sharks. They will eat at leasure.
posted by Perigee at 6:18 AM on September 12, 2001

As far as I know, there's only been one full genocide: the Tasmanian Aborigines.

Ah yes. What we all need right now is semantics...
posted by jpoulos at 6:46 AM on September 12, 2001

I dunno, if you are talking about wiping people out or not, I think you should be precise.
posted by jackiemcghee at 6:58 AM on September 12, 2001

In most communites here in the west the blood banks are open and I hear the president will address America (and everyone else who has any links to the media) to donate blood. For everyone who can, anywhere in the nation, I ask that you please do. Also, blessings and great thanks to rescuers over their in New York, heroes who just do their job continuing to be heroes.
posted by memorydream at 6:59 AM on September 12, 2001

Perigee, the Chechen story is much more complicated than that. There was a war in Chechnya in the early '90s. The Russians lost. When Putin came to power, suddenly, "Chechens" started to bomb residential apartment buildings. There is good reason to believe that the FSB (the successor to KGB) was behind these bombings, and that they were meant to stir anti-Chechen sentiment in order to legitimize another war against Chechnya. They went in and dispensed with the formalities, leveling towns and committing atrocities on a scale that makes Milosevic's actions against Albanian insurgents seem like a playground brawl. With the air of a war victor, Putin then established himself as the leader of the semi-fascist kleptocracy that is ruling Russia now.
Bad analogy.
Plus, while the persons responsible for yesterday's massacre are murderers and terrorists in a real sense, I would not like to have the US government decide by fiat which is a terrorist organization and which not on a global scale. Heck, they decided that the freedom fighters in Turkish Kurdistan are "terrorists" and made sure that they were crushed by the Turkish military- not exactly paragons of democratic values themselves and certainly guilty of acts that can only be described as terrorist.
posted by talos at 7:32 AM on September 12, 2001

The US must continue to stand for freedom and progress. If we give up these ideals, the terrorists will have accomplished their mission.

Perhaps this is more semantics, but "an eye for an eye" isn't progress.
posted by Loudmax at 7:41 AM on September 12, 2001

In my (granted, reactionary and illogical) current state, I don't feel like 'progress' or 'taking the high road' is really the point right now.

The point is for America to come off as the crazy hillbilly with a shotgun, someone no one will ever want to fuck with again.

My friend is arguing with me that all human life is valuable, and that this is no more tragic or heartbreaking than when terrorism occurs in Arab nations. Well, I call bullshit on that bullshit. When a human life is standing in my doorway with a gun in my son's mouth, this isn't about the 'Human Race' anymore. It's time to take sides. Fuck justice and fuck progress.

Kill everyone who had anything to do with this 10 times over, and piss on their carcasses.

I may feel differently tommorow - I make no pretense of enlightenment or intelligence in the matter. I'm just pissed off right now.
posted by glenwood at 7:57 AM on September 12, 2001

Sobering thoughts, Perigee. Well-stated.
posted by rushmc at 8:13 AM on September 12, 2001

I think for every eye-for-an-eye anti-terrorist "success" story, there are several Northern Irelands and Israels, where escalating brutality and human rights restrictions just didn't work. And I'm not even sure that Chechnya was a real "success"; very many innocent people were killed in that war, and it was never really established who was responsible for the terrorism in Russia.

Perigee, in the scenario you describe, we become terrorists, and if we don't take some sort of high road, then it doesn't matter who wins. If we accept genocide and "wiping people out" as a solution to this, we aren't any better than the Nazis. The rhetoric that America loves and promotes freedom and democracy is fine, except that it isn't the reality of America on the global stage. Now, that reality has come home.

If we are headed into a world of tit-for-tat, bloody, convert war -- of propping up even more dictators for "security reasons" and saying "the ends justify the means" -- then I don't want to be part of it.
posted by tranquileye at 8:29 AM on September 12, 2001

The rhetoric that America loves and promotes freedom and democracy is fine, except that it isn't the reality of America on the global stage.

Sadly, there is way too much truth in this statement. Why do we allow it?
posted by rushmc at 8:33 AM on September 12, 2001

The point is for America to come off as the crazy hillbilly with a shotgun, someone no one will ever want to fuck with again.

Or ever want to do business with again. Or ever want to work with again. Or ever allow into their homes again.
posted by harmful at 8:44 AM on September 12, 2001


1. The Russians didn't just go in and kick Chechen ass for a couple of days, then everything stopped. That was a horrendous, bloody, guerrilla-style war that took thousands of lives on both sides of the conflict.

2. There is a profound difference between Chechen "terrorists" and the fundamentalist Muslims who are widely suspected to be responsible for the WTC. As we've seen before in the Middle East, when a conflict is not just political, but based on a fundamental interpretation of religion, no one is willing just to lay down. The US could wipe out the whole of Afghanistan, and still there would be those planning anti-US terrorist attacks.

Also, whoever these terrorists were, their goal wasn't simply to kill a few thousand Americans. Their goal was to shake the foundation of our democracy. To instill in the American people suspicion that our government is incapable of protecting us. To make us question the viability of our free democratic society. If we cry "Fuck justice and fuck progress" in response to these acts, the terrorists get exactly what they want.

I, for one, refuse to let them win.
posted by jpoulos at 8:52 AM on September 12, 2001

Look. If our only goal is to react with aimless destruction, regardless of who was actually responsible for this, then why not stay close to home and just turn Canada and Mexico to rubble? Yeah, that'll teach 'em.

The reason for restraint, the reason for all this attention to justice, is not that we need to be merciful to those responsible, it is that, regardless of how enraged we are, killing people who had nothing to do with this would not help, and would be, in itself, a great evil.
posted by moss at 9:08 AM on September 12, 2001

The difference is the same as the difference between murder and self-defense. This wasn't the first act of terrorism aimed to kill a large number of civilians and won't be the last one unless we stop them, effectively.
posted by semmi at 9:27 AM on September 12, 2001

This government IS incapable of protecting us, as long as we insist on both moral highground and maximum individual liberties.

We could surrender some of our individual liberties, so our government could keep a strong monitoring and control of movement, public and private communications, and act more quickly on even percieved public risks. In other words, we lose mobility, privacy, and some 'civil liberties' in order to take a protective, defensive stance: we replace the Eagle with an Armadillo. This would be our 'ounce of prevention'.

The other choice is that we make incursions on our society Extremely costly. We make our wrath something to be avoided at all costs. We overkill, without compunction or predjudice. That's nasty and hard, but it is the only 'pound of cure' I can see as effective.

I don't disagree with any of you, from a moral POV. But... when your morals are considered your weakness, you either martyr yourself for your morals or you show that you can climb down off your Maslow's scale and flick the ticks off as well as the next naked ape.

What am I missing, folks? Is there a third option?
posted by Perigee at 10:49 AM on September 12, 2001

I'm seeing many points in this thread and agreeing with all of them to some extent.

At this point, the nerve is too raw, and we as a people are overwhelmed emotionally. This is just too big. The American temper may have had a short attention span, but a long memory, this may have changed yesterday.

The point is *something* must be done. I am not one to speculate on what should be done, or even whether something would be the 'right' thing to do. I know my limitations, and my judgement is clouded with anger.
posted by tj at 10:55 AM on September 12, 2001

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