Stop the War.
November 18, 2001 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Stop the War. 50-100,000 people marched on Trafalgar Square today to protest against the ongoing situation in Afghanistan.. (lil bit more inside...)
posted by Mossy (57 comments total)
And I must say it was really quite good despite the absolute freezing cold - people of all types attended, and the square was pretty much packed. The speakers were also generally quite good, highlighting the various reasons for a reconsideration of the current approach to Afghanistan, as well as highlighting items such as home secretary David Blunkett's internment bill trying to get squeezed through parliament this week..
posted by Mossy at 3:22 PM on November 18, 2001

oh, and as to police claims that 15,000 people attended, the march stretched from Hyde Park down to Trafalgar Square when I saw it, and was nearly completely packed all the way.. In any case, it was quite a sight (and sound :)
posted by Mossy at 3:27 PM on November 18, 2001

I think someone in the government took notice, Mossy. Looks like we'll be pulling our troops out of Kabul on the double...

As fighting continued throughout parts of the country still under the Taliban's control, Hoon also indicated that the group of 100 troops, including members of the Special Boat Squadron, already in the capital could be pulled out as tribal warlords began carving up the country, demanding bribes from locals, killing captured Taliban soldiers and looting property from civilians.

'It sounds pretty dangerous,' Hoon said in an interview with The Observer . 'If they have completed their work we will pull them out. We are not keeping them there for the sake of it.

posted by dlewis at 3:42 PM on November 18, 2001

Horrible post mossy from If I wanted an news account on mad cow disease, I would not go to If I wanted a news account on how GWB is handling this crisis, I would not go to

Here is a better link:

Please note this particular quote: "Organisers estimated that 100,000 had marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square for the event, although the police say the numbers were nearer 15,000. "
posted by Oxydude at 3:43 PM on November 18, 2001

I used to attend a lot of London protest marches, first as a right-on student and later as a journalist. My rule of thumb for calculating attendance was to take the police figure and the organisers' figure, and split the difference: that usually seemed to fit my personal guesses pretty closely. Most news outlets take the police figure as gospel, however.
posted by Hogshead at 3:43 PM on November 18, 2001

I wonder how many of theat crowd protested the killing of the 5 thousand folks in the World Trade Tower? Or does that not fit into their pacifist feelings?
The marchers ought to watch the telly showing the many Afghans with smiles, listening to music, opening up the movie studios closed by the Taliban, the papers opening up and the radio at last allowed to broadcast.
posted by Postroad at 3:52 PM on November 18, 2001

Ooooh, they got Bianca Jagger to give a speech. I am impressed.
posted by gimonca at 3:59 PM on November 18, 2001

I wonder how many of theat crowd protested the killing of the 5 thousand folks in the World Trade Tower? Or does that not fit into their pacifist feelings?

Some may have been among these folks, back in September: Britain Grieves In Silence. It's possible to protest against war and grieve for the dead, too.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:07 PM on November 18, 2001

The marchers ought to watch the telly showing the many Afghans with smiles, listening to music, opening up the movie studios closed by the Taliban, the papers opening up and the radio at last allowed to broadcast.

Way to go with that critical thinking! The television NEVER lies! And a short-term victory practically INSURES that nothing bad will ever happen in Afghanistan, ever ever again!

I'm so fed up with both sides of the Media War Regarding The Current Situation now. The crowd was "reveling in its diversity"? The rhetoric on both sides has gone from stupid to moronic and is plunging straight towards the imbecilic.
posted by solistrato at 4:11 PM on November 18, 2001

Postroad - maybe they didn't demonstrate against that act of terrorism because (1) it had already finished or (2) they can tell the difference between a democracy and a terrorist and understand which will listen to a demonstration and which won't.

Also, I thought this was a war to decrease the chance of that terrorism not happening again, not to increase the number of people watching TV or listening to music.

I'm not arguing these people are right - I just wish the standard of argument here could rise a little (and previewing this, I see I'm not alone....)
posted by andrew cooke at 4:15 PM on November 18, 2001

Hey, you Americans - isn't it good that sometimes someone in the world is, like, anti-war? You know, pacifism... Don't you yourselves have a lot to be proud of in this area? Short memories, all of a sudden? I believe being war-like against peaceful protesters is positively Nixonian. No, wait, Nixon actually put up with it. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:44 PM on November 18, 2001

What's your point Miguel?
I'm having difficulty deciding whether you're insulting Americans, or joking poorly.. you're usually much more articulate.
posted by dness2 at 4:47 PM on November 18, 2001

We could go to war with Nazi Germany again and there would still be people marching against it. There's no such thing as a 100% popular war.

After Vietnam being anti-war is suddenly the "cool, hip thing" to do. I guess liberating people from a government that treats women worse then dogs and keeps all influences that might make people think individually is no longer cool. I don't want any links going "And you think this government is better" with some lame duck story about a 9 year old who said gun in school.
posted by geoff. at 4:50 PM on November 18, 2001

dness2: I mean you Americans, specially with the anti-Vietnam campaigns, but long before that on practically every important matter concerning civil and human rights, have often shown the world the value of protest. So saying that Londoners who turn up to appeal to an end of bombing in Afghanistan are somehow condoning the terrible massacre of 9.11 is simply incoherent.
I'm sure a majority of the people who protested in Trafalgar Square actually identify with the sentiments of all those Americans who were brave enough to stand up for, well, peace.
I would never have participated in such a demonstration - I'm fanatically pro-U.S. and pro-West - but the sort of people who do participate are those who were inspired by all the public protests, too numerous to name, which Americans practically made effective in our age. You know: peace and love, good music, Country Joe and the Fish. Ah, the Woodstock album - Richie Havens is my favourite artist and person of all time - you have no idea, dness2, what a solace it's been to me since September 11.
Also: thanks for giving me the chance to elucidate, dness2. The mark of a gentleman, as is usual with you. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:03 PM on November 18, 2001

Pacifism is the sanctuary of the idealist, it only works if everyone acts on it.
Unfortunately, we don't live in the ideal world. People must be punished for their actions so that they can be made an example of for those who might follow their path in the future. "Anti-war" protests anger me. What do you suggest we do? We sit idly by and twiddle our thumbs? We tried sanctions, we tried asking for Osama Bin Laden from them, we even tried bombing them into submission. It didn't work. Now, we must run the distance.
I believe that those who protest the war in afghanistan would feel different if it was they who were in front of the plane on that fateful september morning.
posted by starduck at 5:06 PM on November 18, 2001

Let me clarify a thing or two lest I go down as The American War Monger.
1. I served in Korea and got htere 6 months after that war began.
2. I protested any number of times about the Viet Nam war.
3. I distinguish, I like to think, between a war that is just--yes, there is such a thing, ie, WWII-- and wars that are senseless and are made merely to advance some nuts in office who have odd ideas about policy making.
A green beret said it best on tv. When is a war just? when you don't have thousands of people eligible for the draft running off from their country or protesting the war.
When a war is just college kids and most of the folks involved in a potential draft or directly effected support their government's position.
posted by Postroad at 5:12 PM on November 18, 2001

Pacifism is the sanctuary of the idealist

And America is a nation born of idealism. You could perhaps say that of a lot of countries, but America is one of the few young enough to be able to remember its founding idealism. I'm afraid for the most of the rest of us, dementia has set in.

I believe that those who protest the war in afghanistan would feel different if it was they who were in front of the plane on that fateful september morning.

Now that just doesn't make sense.
posted by dlewis at 5:14 PM on November 18, 2001

but the sort of people who do participate are those who were inspired by all the public protests, too numerous to name, which Americans practically made effective in our age

The problem with such demonstrations is that they are, at core, incoherent statements. Take Vietnam. There was a very strong case to be made for dramatic change to America's policies. Despite this, the war protestors managed to accomplish exactly NOTHING on war policy other than polarizing the citizenry and making meaningful debate impossible.

The strategy was to act like spoiled children and expect people to change their minds when the Truth was jammed in their face. This is a technique for the hubristic and lazy.
posted by marknau at 5:21 PM on November 18, 2001

Can I just point out that protesting against a particular war doesn't make you a pacifist.
posted by Summer at 5:23 PM on November 18, 2001

Then you will allow me to explain the hairs risen on the back of my neck which, by your comment, you are so kindly giving me a chance to vent. I am getting really annoyed at non-American rhetoric about peace as if the rest of the world needs to be a moral-leader to the US. As if Americans, by our largely deafening silence on this particular anti-war front, have somehow lost our souls, our compass, our common-sense, or our appreciation for human beings besides ourselves. Bully for the peace protesters in the UK! You have the right to speak your minds. But don't expect Americans to necessarily agree with you and don't cop a supercilious stance with us if we don't. I would think that given the notoriously independent spirit of the average American, our history of successfully back-talking our government and the fact that it was OUR country attacked would lead other people to take pause, even defer to our judgement, at the fact that there haven't been any similarly huge peace protests in the US. I am not saying the US is right, or morally superior in any way, but that non-Americans massing and presuming to know better than Americans in how to feel or how to react is really, REALLY goading. Protest the actions of your OWN government, fine. Protest the actions of mine, nope -- that's my job. After all, not that I was paying tons of attention, but the real rub of Vietnam in my mind was that the US was sticking our nose in others' business.
This stuff gets my goat; I'm never going to be enlightened in this lifetime at this rate. :)
posted by dness2 at 5:33 PM on November 18, 2001

starduck: I agree with you completely. But don't people have a right to disagree with us? Don't pacifists make us rethink our policies? Where do you think the whole prejudice against "collateral damage" came from? Pacifists, through their influence, have made us spend more money on less bloody forms of war. They are essential.
Imagine that Bin Laden or whatever mass murderers killed all those people actually advertised beforehand that they wanted to kill thousands of Americans. Don't you think those very pacifists that are being decried here would turn up to protest as well?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:37 PM on November 18, 2001

Now that just doesn't make sense.

yeah, you're right.
It pains me to see people protesting war. it seem like the protesters are saying "these 4000 people who died didn't matter, let them be dead."
what other course of action do you suggest we take?

I'm not arguing eye for an eye is just, but we're out of options, and sitting idly by won't accomplish anything.

and I really hope that made sense, I stayed up too late last night watching the meteors.
posted by starduck at 5:38 PM on November 18, 2001

Maybe the Brits are overcompensating for the century of misery THEY brought to the various non-white folks of the world. We Americans are stuck with THEIR legacy too.
posted by wiinga at 5:47 PM on November 18, 2001

'The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain have joined CND and the Socialist Workers' Party '

If you add to that The Green Party and The Palestine Solidarity Campaign then you will get an idea of who is behind these protests.

This demonstration is completely unrepresentative of UK public opinion. What I find totally sick is that CND's motive. They are just on a membership recruitment drive. What on earth has this war got to do with nuclear disarmament, directly that is?
posted by RobertLoch at 5:47 PM on November 18, 2001

I believe that those who protest the war in afghanistan would feel different if it was they who were in front of the plane on that fateful september morning.

Now that just doesn't make sense.

Yes it does; it's the papa/mama bear argument. My country was personally attacked, you'd better expect me to defend my cubs more strongly than if they were just neighbor cubs. Just as it's harder for Americans to understand the affront to stability in the IRA situation, for example, it's harder for others to understand the issues for us here.
Living in a very affluent, idyllic (in the sense one can ignore most of nature's adversities) society like the US (most of it anyway) is a tremendous and glorious privilege. I totally understand why we are fighting tooth and nail to keep it that way.
posted by dness2 at 5:49 PM on November 18, 2001

what do you suggest we do? We sit idly by and twiddle our thumbs?

what other course of action do you suggest we take?

Just for the purposes of making this debate a little bit more insightful, here is an example of some pacifists' (the Quakers') proposed "course[s] of action".

Some may argue that the counsel in that missive has already been attempted, and that it failed. Others may feel that they're futile and foolish suggestions. I'm inclined to agree to a certain degree. But it's inequitable to air this discussion under the pretense that the anti-war camp is not presenting clear alternatives for that which they oppose. The major pacifist voices are no more simple-minded than the commentators who support the violence in Afghanistan. In fact, I find the restraint of many of their speakers to be far more laudable than the apparent bloodlust of some of those who "grieve" for the victims of 11/9.
posted by Marquis at 5:58 PM on November 18, 2001

hehheh ya know something that's fun to do? go to any of these 'pacifist' protests. approach any protestor. kick him/her in the shin. continue doing so until said protestor is a hypocrite. and it doesn't take many kicks, we discovered.

yep ... couple friends and i did this recently. man, the looks on the faces of those confused bastards was priceless when they started to shove back.

call it childish or immature or whatever -- fact is, push someone far enough, eventually he'll push back. i think our point was quite clear.
posted by aenemated at 6:01 PM on November 18, 2001

aenemated, you are proof that there are idiots on both sides who piss me off.
posted by dness2 at 6:05 PM on November 18, 2001


if you'd have been there, you'd have laughed, too.
posted by aenemated at 6:07 PM on November 18, 2001

Someone should tell those hawks in Afghanistan to stop celebrating and cheering the liberation of their country. How rude.
posted by geronimo_rex at 6:13 PM on November 18, 2001


Is there any way to keep this crap out of MeFi? This is the quality of rhetorical life everywhere else.
posted by argybarg at 6:18 PM on November 18, 2001

I believe that those who protest the war in afghanistan would feel different if it was they who were in front of the plane on that fateful september morning.

Now that just doesn't make sense.

Yes it does

I meant in the literal sense. However starduck did say he'd been up all night, and I do get the point he was trying to make (and yours, dness2). But you have to understand that these people are protesting against their own government's war campaign. Displeasure at the US administration's actions is really an indirect effect, stemming from the British government's very close ties with Washington.

This demonstration is completely unrepresentative of UK public opinion.

Maybe unrepresentative of the majority, but it certainly represents a quantifiable minority of British opinion. More to the point, a recent poll would suggest that the vast majority of British opinion supports the voicing of criticism about the war campaign as vital in maitaining democratic debate. This from a country that lost its idealism a long time ago.
posted by dlewis at 6:19 PM on November 18, 2001

Laughing at you perhaps.
I think I would've folded my arms and been a bit smug, and definitely not intervened, at the sight of your immature butt getting stomped; you asked for it after all. Violence should NEVER be a tool for making points. It is a last resort. If you can't think of anything more clever than this, which has been making the email rounds and is quite passe, you reveal yourself as an arrested adolescent with as simplistic a moral code as the bare-breasted WTO protesters.
posted by dness2 at 6:21 PM on November 18, 2001

aenemated: Your clever little joke has already been posted and rebutted on MeFi. It's no more insightful now then it was then.
posted by turaho at 6:23 PM on November 18, 2001

Kind of reminds me of Ali G interviewing the tree protesters...

Ali : Do you not think that it's time for the protesters to start looking out for themselves and protecting themselves?
Protester : Well violence doesn't solve anything now does it?
Ali : Well I don't know, it does.
Protester : Well it don't.
Ali : Yeah, well mainly it does.
Protester : Not really. You can't conquer nothing with violence can you.
Ali : Well you can.
Protester : In what situation?
Ali : Well, in a violent one.

posted by dlewis at 6:35 PM on November 18, 2001

aenemated's capacity for rational debate aside, the "clever little joke" has been defended quite intelligently here.
posted by mw at 6:42 PM on November 18, 2001

Violence should NEVER be a tool for making points. It is a last resort.

Bingo. I think the main point of the 'anti-protest' posters (myself included) are trying to make is that violence must be used in this situation. The anti-war protesters aren't making a good enough point for the alternatives to this war, and therefore their viewpoints are null. It appears almost as if they protest only for the purpose of protesting itself. Kinda reminiscent of all those kids who go to Wal-Mart to buy the latest Rage Against the Machine CD (but that's a different story).
posted by starduck at 6:46 PM on November 18, 2001

damn, the previous post cops busted me. for shame.

do i have to go to the principal's office now?

BTW dness ... we didn't get stomped. we weren't looking to get in a fight (that's outside the pub on friday nights after too much bombay sapphire.) we were proving a point. and it worked.

but shit, i can't talk about this. it's been, like, EVERYWHERE. geez. i guess i should stay in more often.
posted by aenemated at 6:54 PM on November 18, 2001

"clever little joke" has been defended quite intelligently here.

I agree the argument is sound, but I can't find the original article to see if he states that kicking someone in the shins to 'act out' the argument is clever. I stand behind the non-contradictory rationality of otherwise pacifistic people to support this war, with heavy hearts, but not the use of any more violence than absolutely necessary. That kind of aenemic logic is an insult to civil debate over a very weighty topic.
posted by dness2 at 7:08 PM on November 18, 2001

It's no more insightful now then it was then.

Only because once something can't be more than completely insightful.
posted by kindall at 7:15 PM on November 18, 2001

From the "Stop the War" site, following the linked press release, intermixed with my comments:

Despite the crowing of members of the pro war lobby, Northern Alliance victories do not mean liberation for the Afghans or the end of fighting in the region.

The images of men shaving their beards, women showing their faces, and people everywhere listening to music and watching TVs being shown not only on CNN, but on Afghan TV, speak for themselves.

Even the most basic of the West’s everchanging war aims have not been met. Bin Laden is still at large, the so called ‘Al Quaida Network’ has not been uprooted.

These arguments are absurd. No, Bin Laden has not been caught, and Al Queda has not yet been turned asunder, because it's an ongoing campaign. Stay tuned. They will be. (And "everchanging" war aims? Sure, tactics change, as they must in any successful military effort, but the goal has been the same from the beginning: get Bin Laden, put Al Queda out of business. And it still is; see above.)

Kabul is occupied, against the explicit orders of Bush and Blair, by various competing warlords with a record of brutal atrocities to match anything the Taliban have done.

The Northern Alliance are not nice people. But no reasonable person would say they're worse than the Taliban.

These forces are causing chaos and disrupting aid efforts. Christiane Berthiaume, spokeswoman for the World Food Programme described the situation in Mazar yesterday; "there is a lot of pillaging as well as civilian kidnappings, armed men out of control and fighting in the streets."

It's somewhat chaotic, as opposed to the Taliban's orderly oppression of the people. Fortunately, it's nowhere near as chaotic (i.e., a free-for-all) as Blair and Bush feared it might become if the Northern Alliance took Kabul before the U.N. peacekeeping/government-building personnel arrived, as they did. Furthermore, the U.S. military, far from contributing to hardship (stray missles most, most unfortunately notwithstanding) has been described as a "full partner" in humanitarian aid efforts.

UN observers have not gone in to Mazar because the situation there is too dangerous.

Good. The last thing we need is more innocent casualties. Shortly, they'll be able to proceed into those areas as planned. Patience.

Faced with a situation that could spiral completely out of control, Western intervention will continue. Geoff Hoon announced on the radio this morning that 10,000 British troops are being prepared to go to Afghanistan. Other ‘peacekeeping’ forces are being put together to intervene.

I would say that the actions of the terrorists on 9/11 are what caused their situation to spiral out of control. They signed their death sentence that day. We're just carrying it out for them. And the more international support we receive in doing so, the better; send in those troops, Mr. Hoon.

Meanwhile influential Western leaders are proposing an assault on Iraq.

When I first heard talk of this, I thought the same thing. But I'm increasingly convinced that at some point after we've finished our military engagement in Afghanistan -- but continue to carry on humanitarian efforts there -- we have to go take out Saddam. He sanctions terrorism. That makes him (but not his people) our enemy. (I wish I had a link to a really convincing editorial on this subject to link to here, but alas, I do not.)

The events of the last few weeks make crystal clear that western intervention only leads to more death, more suffering and more instability in Afghanistan.

Again, they're tuning in halfway through the program and wondering why the story hasn't resolved itself yet. (And even so, what they see as "more instability" I see as "increasing liberation.") More patience.

The turnout of over 100,000 people in London today has shown that people care now than ever before and want peace & justice, not an ever-expanding continuation of an unjust war.

Unjust? You say toe-MAY-toe, I say toe-MAH-toe. It's not only fully justified, in my opinion, based on our being attacked on 9/11, it's just in as far as we're about the business of dispensing justice to the perpetrators (and their guardians) of the unspeakable events of that date.

What I went to their site looking for -- a substantive alternative to the war on terrorism -- is altogether absent. I applaud their protesting something they deeply believe in, I really do. But what do they have to offer in place of what they're protesting against? Inaction? Nothing beyond humanitarian aid? Whatever it is, make the case for it.
posted by verdezza at 7:22 PM on November 18, 2001

aenemated's capacity for rational debate aside, the "clever little joke" has been defended quite intelligently here.

not really.

the first three points he tries to make are based on stretches of assumption.

the fourth point really shows Dr. Hurds double-sided patriotism. he's for a strong america, but against taxation? he claims the judicial system isn't just, but is against anti-trust laws that keep the marketplace just? plus he seems to have forgotten that our legal system is totally dynamic and adaptable. sure, it wasn't made "prosecute six-year-old sexual harassment cases or blame fast food chains when somebody spills coffee in their laps while driving" but that was a long, long time ago.

his fifth point makes the faulty assumption that membership in the united nations suggest some sort of moral equality. the UN charter clearly states that their intention is to save mankind from the scourge of war, grant all human beings equal and decent civil rights, maintain law, and promote social progress.

his sixth point is probably the worst of all, in which he accuses his arguer of romanticizing bin laden. turning a blind eye to facts, Dr. Hurd says that the terrorists are nihilists, when in fact they are a highly organized and specifically-acting religious sect. these people, no matter how inhuman their actions, have engaged in an untold amount of planning, deliberation, and execution and the best america has done so far is drop a couple bombs here and there. if I were Dr. Hurd, I'd be ashamed of my country's feeble response and find sweet solace in marching on down to the nearest long-haired hippy bar and beat up some pussy college faggots.

what if these protestors truly did not fight back? would you have kicked them until they fell down? after that, would you have kicked them in the sides, or in the head? would you have then stomped on their stomach, their crotch, and on their face? after that, would you have flipped them and hit the back of their head, knocking their teeth out onto the pavement? would you have spit them before leaving?

you weren't making a point at all. you were acting out of fear. a fear for an ideology that goes against your little macho persona, an ideology that you're too scared to admit could and would work.

i guess i should stay in more often.

please do!
posted by mcsweetie at 7:38 PM on November 18, 2001

*mighty sigh*
mcsweetie, I have read your post 17 times and finally, after climbing off the ceiling, have decided that your pussy faggots comment was hyperbole that you imagine Dr. Hurd to be thinking. After all, you tell aenemated to expand his mind to non-violent solutions. If this is the case, perhaps you can state your position in a less projecting, troll-like fashion? Or if it is not the case, then you can join aenemated in the juevenile hall of shame.
posted by dness2 at 7:54 PM on November 18, 2001

Well said verdezza. The Iraq argument is relatively simple. He has produced chemical and biological weapons in the past. Weapons inspectors have not been allowed in to monitor since August 5th 1998, and intelligence suggests that he has reactivated his weapons program. Does anyone trust him to keep his knowledge to himself? Does anyone believe that it is completely impossible that he will pass weapons on to terrorists?

For my money, if anything has been learnt from recent events it is that pre-empted strikes are sometimes needed.
posted by RobertLoch at 7:58 PM on November 18, 2001


woof. kiss!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:00 PM on November 18, 2001

Send in those troops, Mr. Hoon.

From the link I posted earlier in this thread, it looks like Mr Hoon is not so sure any more. The Northern Alliance blatantly don't want us in Kabul. So what now, do we install a peacekeeping force ... by force? Or do we just pull out and let the tribes fight it out amongst themselves. It's been said before, but the Northern Alliance is only an alliance against the Taliban. Once they're gone, they'll turn on themselves. Do we just leave them go at it, having got what we want? If instead we do want to install this mythical broad-based government in Afghanistan, because we are fighting a just war, and do so much enjoy seeing the beardless smiles on those liberated Afghan faces, then let's all realise we're likely to end up fighting these tribes for the privilege.

We have to go take out Saddam

We've been trying to do this for the last 10 years, as I recall. Why will it be easier to do it by force this time? The best weapon against Saddam is time, that is if he's not already dead. Getting caught up in another conflict, along with ousting the Taliban and keeping the Northern Alliance thugs under control, is really the last thing we need.

What I'm trying to say is that it's very easy to bite off more than you can chew. Terrorist organizations need to have the military might of the US tied down. Rapid response is their worst enemy, so the more ensnarled the US and her allies become in worldwide conflict, the better. I believe we've already got off extremely lightly with this campaign, and that if we continue to take this gung-ho attitude to solving world terrorism by sending in the heavy guns, we're going to come unstuck very soon.
posted by dlewis at 8:03 PM on November 18, 2001

::YUCK! dog kisses::
ok, there there. Nice doggie. Even nice doggies pee on the carpet sometimes, I know you didn't mean it.
posted by dness2 at 8:12 PM on November 18, 2001

dlewis what are you whittering on about. How is time the best weapon. He has held on to power longer that almost any present world leader and even if he dies his ideology will live on in his son who will take power. He is reported to be worse than his father.

If we wanted to, the world community that is, we could get rid of him very quickly. The only reason that we did not last time was because the UN wasn't entirely behind the idea and because Saudi Arabia wasn't prepared to condone it. In truth the fact that we did not is shameful, but that is what happens when you give anyone but the US and the UK a say in the matter. We should not make that mistake again.

Iraq is not more than we can chew, it is a light snack.
posted by RobertLoch at 8:15 PM on November 18, 2001

I disagree with you, RobertLoch. Iraq is a wafer thin mint.
posted by dlewis at 8:19 PM on November 18, 2001

I agree with mcsweets there. That Dr Hurd article is hardly an intelligent defense. The premise of the joke is flawed to begin with. If you can get a pacifist to protect themselves in self-defense from immediate bodily harm, you have hardly proved they're a hypocrite about opposing war. Nor have you proved that war is the only solution. Can we just drop the idea that the beat-up-a-pacifist meme is a brilliant piece of rhetoric?
posted by turaho at 8:23 PM on November 18, 2001

I agree, dlewis -- you're absolutely right, we have gotten off surprisingly lightly thus far in Afghanistan, and we're walking a perilously narrow trail the wider we spread our campaign.

I find it exceedingly difficult to trust that the coolest, wisest heads in our Western governments will indeed prevail as we persist... but persist we must, I think. I pray that if there are further (extra-Afghanistan) engagements, we pursue them with the same deliberation and surgical precision we've demonstrated thus far in Afghanistan (as well as all the international support we can muster).

As far as Northern Alliance resistance to our installing a "mythical broad-based government in Afghanistan," depending on the reports I read, they seem to be relatively restrained in their behavior and supportive of such an arrangement at one moment, and then agitated and hostile toward it the next. I think the situation there is too murky and mutable to decipher. I agree with the writer of another Guardian article posted elsewhere here, though, that fighting this war was something we had to do, and now we have to attempt to help them reorganize and rebuild as best we can.

Also, Iraq is neither a light snack nor a wafer thin mint. It is a Gummi Bear® -- thoroughly unsatisfying nutritionally and in terms of taste, and a real bitch to get unstuck from your teeth if you make the mistake of biting down on it the wrong way.
posted by verdezza at 8:56 PM on November 18, 2001

a substantive alternative to the war on terrorism

Come up with a substantive definition first.
posted by holgate at 8:59 PM on November 18, 2001

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Contrary to what you've just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun. There are no winners, only losers. There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: The American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars Trilogy. If you'd like to learn more about war, there's lots of books in your local library, many of them with cool, gory pictures. Well, good night, everybody. Peace, man.
posted by signal at 9:57 PM on November 18, 2001

Yes, Aenamated proved a point. That point is this:

If you hit a non-violent person enough times, he will stop thinking clearly and start acting like you.

Doesn't prove that pacifism is bad. It only proves that standing against violence on principle takes an effort of will, and that all flesh is weak.

Incidentally, I'm not a pacifist, and if it'd by some mistake been me you punched I wouldn't have been able to resist breaking your goddamned jaw. And that would have been indicative of the level of debate most of us have sunk to..
posted by Hildago at 10:04 PM on November 18, 2001

thank you for your input, signal. I had no idea there were "buks" about "wor.'
posted by mcsweetie at 11:13 PM on November 18, 2001

I was at the march - I would estimate about 35,000 people. It pains me to watch TV and have the newsreaders tell me only 15,000 people attended. It was a massive march.

As the crowd, made up of all elements of society - young, old, very old, Moslem, Christian, non-religious - walked peacefully up towards Trafalgar Square, one taxi driver stopped and thrust in our direction a sign reading "Remember New York, YOU SCUM".

We *do* remember New York on September 11th. It was terrible. Some of us have lost friends in the disaster. But bombing Afghanistan is not going to bring them back, and it will not bring an end to all terrorism. I'm sorry if this appears to be an oversimplification, but it's one I'm pretty confident about. If longing for peace and a peaceful solution to our problems makes us scum, then we're scum.
posted by skylar at 2:50 AM on November 19, 2001

Sadly, there is really no hope of a peaceful solution at this point, Skylar, since we've already attacked them. Obviously, no amount of bombs can remove terrorism as a threat, and anyone who maintains that this is possible is, to me, a very frightening individual. What we have to try to do now that the opposition government is gone is find diplomatic solutions which will stabilize (and yes, westernize) the region. The good news is that it will be easier now than it would have been if we had tried to do it peacefully. Bad news is we traded about 20 years of progress towards civilization for an easy solution to our problems.

What people have to realize is that you can't solve the entire problem, or even most of the important aspects of the problem, with violence.
posted by Hildago at 12:29 PM on November 19, 2001

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