Taliban clerics meet to discuss bin Laden
September 20, 2001 3:12 AM   Subscribe

Taliban clerics meet to discuss bin Laden and then they kindly ask him to leave.
posted by bargle (22 comments total)
Two links because CNN has been iffy this morning.

So what does this mean for Afghanistan? My first thought is that this is just a ploy to buy time and means very little.

Is simply asking him to leave going to be a strong enough action to satisfy the US, even if he does leave the country?
posted by bargle at 3:21 AM on September 20, 2001

Ask him to leave: see, we are ok
He leaves. Training camps stay. Taleban stays. Saudi Arabia continues to support Taleban finacially. Bin L moves to another country and continues his "work."

Or: he is asked to leave. He stays. Taleban delcares he is gone.
posted by Postroad at 3:26 AM on September 20, 2001

I think that yes they are buying time and yes they're hoping it'll be good enough for the US. I don't think so.
posted by omen68x at 3:28 AM on September 20, 2001

still, it's telling that no one can afford to support him publicly. He becomes less and less of a martyr, if he's jailed or killed and no one insists he should be praised.

They can't exactly give up on him now and then later go back and claim he was a hero and champion of virtue and sacrifice all along....
posted by mattpfeff at 4:03 AM on September 20, 2001

People: Facts: The Taleban cannot, even if they desired so profoundly, capture Bin Laden because:
a. They do not control all of Afghanistan
b. Bin Laden has a larger better equiped force than the Taleban
c. If they decide to go after him, more than half of their army will rally around Osama Bin Laden.

They cannot also, for internal reasons, officially permit US troops to come into Afghan soil (in the remote chance that they would wish to), because, again, most of their army will disregard their edicts and turn against them. So, whether it's good enough for the US or not, there is nothing more that they can do...
posted by talos at 4:20 AM on September 20, 2001

"What's the use of sending a $2 million missile into a $10 tent to hit a camel in the butt?" Bush said in private talks with members of Congress last week, according to aides.

See, that makes perfect damn sense.

When George is sitting around talking shop with the boys, he's really in his element. When he's getting pelted with questions by journalists, you can tell he'd rather be anywhere else in the world.
posted by raaka at 4:22 AM on September 20, 2001

I've been expecting either this or an announcement from the Taliban that bin Laden has left Afghanistan and they don't know where he is. Either way, a US invasion loses some of its moral authority, since Afghanistan is no longer defiantly sheltering bin Laden.

They're taking advantage of Bush's eager declaration that we know who did this and we're a-gonna git him and his evildoin' pals. What was needed and is needed now is a clear statement that the US is at war with terrorism, that we renouce it ourselves and will never sponsor or train terrorists again, and that if your country has sponsored or abetted terrorism in the past you must now renounce it and stand with us or you are our enemy in this war.

That would give us the justification, and our allies the inspiration, to go in hard, rout out the Taliban and Saddam and the rest of those miscreants, and have some hope of civilizing the Middle East. Nothing short of that can pacify the area or much reduce terrorism.
posted by nicwolff at 4:33 AM on September 20, 2001

Nicwolff, Why must it be America's mission to "civilise" the Middle East, especially via war? Bush has talked of a "crusade"; the US' commitment to constantly "civilising" and "democratising" other nations, whether Communist or Islamic, reminds me of the worst possible aspects of the Christian crusades.

I can't think of many reasons why it has to be America's priority to evangelise democracy in these reasons, aside of course from oil and commerce.
posted by skylar at 5:07 AM on September 20, 2001

That would give us the justification, and our allies the inspiration, to go in hard, rout out the Taliban and Saddam and the rest of those miscreants, and have some hope of civilizing the Middle East.
The Middle East has been "civilized" far longer than any other part of the world. Miscreants in the area include good US allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia (the world's most fundamentalist government before the Taleban showed up), the United Arab Emirates etc.
BTW who decides on who is a terrorist and who is not? Is the IRA terrorist? Because an awful lot of money have been going in their direction originating from the US... Are Aceh independence fighters terrorists, as Indonesia claims, or freedom fighters as they claim? Are Berber attacks on the Algerian government terrorist attacks, or the uprising of oppressed people? Are the various Kurdish armed groups operating in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, terrorists (as the respective governments claim) or freedom fighters? Was the ANC a terrorist organization when it fought against apartheid in S.Africa (as the racist S.African government claimed), or a liberation movement?
It is never simple.
posted by talos at 5:16 AM on September 20, 2001

Kicking him out after giving him a base from which to plan this attrocity isn't going to save their butts.
posted by darren at 5:30 AM on September 20, 2001

I can't think of many reasons why it has to be America's priority to evangelise democracy in these reasons, aside of course from oil and commerce.

It's basic self-defense. What's the best strategy:

  • weaken your enemies, and at best make them go away completely, or
  • sit quietly, let your enemies roam, and hope that they never attack you, the very symbol of the values they hate?
    posted by dagny at 5:58 AM on September 20, 2001

  • skylar: why evangelize democracy? Because democracies don't often blow up each others' buildings full of peaceful citizens. It's our mission because we have the most to lose if it doesn't happen, and the military force to make it happen.

    talos: Of course the middle east was civilized first in the archeological sense — but people sure could be a little more civil there than they are now, right? Maybe I should have said "modernized". And yes, like I said, this starts with the US admitting that it has sponsored terrorism and doing so no longer, and demanding that our allies do the same. It's not easy — and I don't hold out much hope that it'll happen — but it is simple.
    posted by nicwolff at 6:00 AM on September 20, 2001

    nicwolff - but wasn't Tim McVeigh a citizen of a democracy? We are still talking about a terrorist group here, not a country. I'm sure most, if not all terrorist groups are not democratic.
    posted by nprigoda at 6:52 AM on September 20, 2001

    Asking him to leave sounds pretty lame to us, but considering the hospitality traditions of the Arab countries where all travelers are to be welcomed and defended as family it may mean more than we assume from our western viewpoint.
    posted by username at 7:08 AM on September 20, 2001

    I'm sure as hell about one thing: bin Laden (or whoever) didn't attack the Twin Towers just because he dislikes democracy, civilisation, peace, freedom and momma's apple pie. My guess is that his motives have something to do with America's involvement in Middle East politics.
    posted by skylar at 7:44 AM on September 20, 2001

    I think you might be on to something.
    posted by Mocata at 8:49 AM on September 20, 2001

    No one has expressed my complex feelings about this as eloquently as this woman.
    posted by varmint at 9:14 AM on September 20, 2001

    U.S. rejects this idea.
    posted by rorycberger at 11:10 AM on September 20, 2001

    Skylar -- our involvement in Middle East politics may present a useful excuse, but in reality, our very way of life and the attractiveness of it are a direct threat to those who would impose their extraordinarily constricting and narrow interpretation of their religious law on their people. Everything about our society is in diametric opposition to the "holy Islamic culture" that bin Laden and the Taliban wish to see propagated -- not just in their own nation, but around the world. Consequently, as long as people can see us, and see our example of what freedom -- for Muslim, Jew, athiest, Christian, whomever -- is about, we make it difficult for them to effectively portray their oppressive life-in-a-box idea as appropriate, desirable or in any way fair.
    posted by Dreama at 11:30 AM on September 20, 2001

    Dreama, I disagree entirely. My opinion - with the utmost respect for the victims of last week's terrible atrocities and for the heroes who have worked to put America back together - is that it is a red herring to claim the terrorist attacks were targeted at America because of the so-called freedom and democracy of US society. I would go as far as to say such views are arrogant, existing mainly as a convenient front to prevent public examination of the US foreign policy.

    In fact, the American government supports oppresive regimes when it suits them - Saudi Arabia for example. America will happily fund one bad guy (bin Laden) to beat another bad guy (the Soviet Union) until the two players switch roles. America will force crushing embargos upon one enemy (Iraq) while giving $43 million to another supposed foe (the Taliban, in May). I'm really not convinced that every American policy abroad is a model of good ethics and democracy and it's probably *this* which bin Laden and his like are fighting against. He doesn't care how well Americans live on their own soil, he just doesn't want them in Saudi Arabia.
    posted by skylar at 3:36 PM on September 20, 2001

    Skylar, when you get your facts straight about who funded whom and when, we can return to discussion. Geez.
    posted by Dreama at 4:44 PM on September 20, 2001

    Okay, apologies. Let me rephrase that:
    America will force crushing embargos upon the people of one enemy (Iraq) while giving $43 million in humanitarian aid to help the subjects of another supposed foe (the Taliban, in May) and simultaneously acknowledging appreciation for the Taliban's assistance in the "War on Drugs".
    posted by skylar at 1:45 AM on September 22, 2001

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