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  •  "Does it matter that Bin Laden was never... (none)
    ... found in Afghanistan?"

    What exactly are you trying to say here?

    Do you allege that he was never there?  Do you allege he was not there at the time of the American invasion of that country?  Do you allege Afghanistan was not the most significant Al-Qaeda training location?

    You're taking "we didn't catch him" and turning it into innuendo.  I don't like that.  If you doubt these "known facts", you should say so outright and take responsibility for that statement.

    •  I'm trying to ask some good questions, and (none)
      judging from these answers, they are good questions that deserve clearer, credible answers.  (Judging from a few efforts to down-rate my post, they must be really good questions that someone called Ray Radlein and a few others just don't want asked, let alone answered.  If he had any answer he'd have posted it.)

      One of my core questions was about sourcing - why are we so certain that Al Qaeda's main training was Afghanistan rather than Saudi Arabia or Pakistan?  Why are we so sure we knew where Bin Laden was in 2001/2?  For all of the foaming replies, there wasn't one link to a source on this topic.  (But thanks for the Carilles link, RWeede.) Calling your beliefs and prejudices "known facts" is exactly the opposite of sourcing them.  And putting up multiple strawmen instead?  Smells like propaganda.  So far you've all given the answer: conventional wisdom.

      Do I really have to "allege" anything to ask these questions??  As several replies have pointed out, Bin Laden also has links and help in Saudi Arabia and in Pakistan - an "ally" that confesses to export nuclear weapons technology to our enemies!  For all we know, those are the places where Al Qaeda gets the most help and training, and where Bin Laden is right now.  And as Roadbed Guy points out, even the FBI acknowledges that the pilots were trained in the USA.  Where should we bomb again?

      Chewbacca almost committed sourcing when he wrote Did you miss those news reports where the Taliban refused to hand over OBL because he "Was a guest"?  That was on the right track - can you get a little more specific?

      •  No. (none)
        I'm not obligated to research and reteach history for you.

        Furthermore, getting down-rated is not proof of the controversial excellence of your argument.  It could be proof of that, it could be proof of any number of other things.  

        I notice that you have done very little sourcing yourself.  

        I used the phrase "known facts" and the scare quotes deliberately.  "Known facts" are accepted facts or interpretations of facts that could indeed be wrong.  However, they have a standing even higher than conventional wisdom.  Challenge "known facts," and the burden is on you to prove your case, not on me and the rest of us in the mainstream to prove ours.  

        Furthermore, you've already chosen to disbelieve a broad range of completely unanimous institutional sources.  I should not expect that a half-hour of research by me, with none of the resources of the NYTimesCo, will persuade you.  Nor would that be a resonable request on my time even if it were likely to persuade you.

        It is a "known fact" that Bin Laden had large and significant training facilities in the south of Afghanistan.  If you care to argue the point, the burden is on you.  People here will listen with attention.  If you're right, then what you have to say is very important, extremely important.  But the burden is not for me to prove accepted history to you.  That's just the economy of an information board.

        •  Known facts: the crusade that lost the US two wars (none)
          getting down-rated is not proof of the controversial excellence of your argument.  It could be proof of that, it could be proof of any number of other things.
          This would be fair, except I hadn't made any argument - I was asking questions.  So frankly, the (minority) down-rating smelled like censorship or willful ignorance.

          This Guardian article from 9/20/01 reminds us that the Taliban condemned the 9/11 attacks and asked Bin Laden to voluntarily leave, but without a deadline, and did refer to him as a 'guest' in 1998.  They were evidently not very cooperative, nor did they claim to know where he was.

          Known facts: Bin Laden's "significant training facilities" in Afghanistan did not teach jihadists how to fly planes or threaten people with box cutters.  The 9/11 technical training happened in the US.  Of course, they may have had ideological training there to hate Americans.  Just as obviously, GWBush and Rumsfeld had taken over that ideological training role by early 2003, with full government support.  It's far from clear that bombing anyone or attacking any nation is a solution for ending any of these training methods.

          As everyone has pointed out, anyone with any insight into Bush would question his ability to successfully prosecute an attack focussed against real enemies.  The moment he talked about the "Crusade" against evil doers it was clear he would lose the ideological war, whatever military force he used.

          Note that Bush's "Crusade" speech came right before the Taliban's uncooperative response.

          •  That's not a bad reply (none)
            but look: if there is such a thing as manufacturing consensus, as Chomsky has taught us (and as you appear to worry about), there is also such a thing as manufacturing non-consensus, manufacturing disagreement.  The radical Rs have taught us that, by creating "debates" about subjects that are closed, like creationism v evolution, global warming, and the health effects of air pollution.

            I still want you to take a certain form of responsibility for your questions.  If you take an agreed upon fact, and directly and specifically question it, then you have not only created an argument (in the sense of disagreement), you have lodged an argument (in the sense of taking a position in a disagreement by offering claims).  If we all say "x is true" and you say "do we really know x is true" then your effective position is "maybe x isn't true."  You have lodged an argument.  The more dark innuendo attached to the question -- "do we really know x is true?  no one is giving real arguments.  this is all propaganda.  you're silencing me." -- the more firmly you have made an argument: "I think x is not true."

            Once you have made that argument -- and yes, you can make an argument and take a position in the form of a question -- I think you should take more responsibility for it, not try to disclaim it by saying "I was only asking...".  If you're arguing that "maybe x isn't true" or "I think x probably isn't true" then you should stand by that, support it if you can, and understand that your burden of sourcing, for instance, is at least as high as everyone else's, and probably quite a bit higher.  Instead of making your argument-as-a-question, then chastising everyone else for not bringing sourced material to the table.

            •  I get your point. On the other hand, (none)
              my questions were sincere and, for the most part, valid:
              Haven't most Americans conveniently forgotten where the hijackers were from, and where they were trained - not really Afghanistan in either case?

              Isn't it possible that we never found Bin Laden because he wasn't where we thought he was?

              The fact that the Taliban did not rush to join Bush's "crusade" does not mean a war against Afghanistan was inevitable, or that it was ever a good idea.  (See, I can argue without asking questions.)

              If those reasonable questions - and the arguments they imply - are taboo here, while Bush's view of the merits of attacking Afghanistan must be considered "known fact," then I have every right to object, and to demand that we be more skeptical and that the debate here be more open.  And the fact that "90% of progressives" believe something doesn't make it truth.

              I know everyone here worries about tin-foil hats and ANSWER clones derailing us.  But blind acceptance of "known facts" - yes, even Saddam's WMDs, rape rooms and mass graves - is actually far more dangerous.  We'll never learn what is and isn't really true, in time for it to matter, unless we're free to question.

              •  My personal feeling is that presented responsibly, (none)
                those questions and arguments are far from taboo.  They're important.  And answering them, even if the answer is usually "received wisdom is more or less right," will still shed light on small details that we shouldn't overlook, and that we may have been intended to overlook.  And of course every now and then received wisdom will have been completely wrong, or deliberately misleading; and a questioner will help us see that.

                And you're right, if reasonably and seriously presented questions are given no consideration, you are well within your rights to complain.  I think a key factor is the spirit and commitment with which questions are offered.

                I think your most recent post was pretty good, and certainly good on the matter of taking responsibility for your arguments, which was my original concern way up top.  I'd say this dialogue has worked itself out towards a meeting of minds.

                On the merits, I think the evidence does suggest that Bin Laden was in Afghanistan on 9/11/01 and for at least two months thereafter, and that the Taliban that governed southern Afghanistan knew he was there and made a conscious decision to protect and harbor him.  Furthermore, I think the evidence suggests that operational training -- how to structure a cell, how to communicate with leadership, how to recruit cannon-fodder, how to cover one's tracks to avoid detection by law enforcement -- did take place in organized camps in southern Afghanistan, with important organizational strengthening of Al-Qaeda as a consequence.  Those facts on their own do not make a practical case for all-out war, and in fact on their own do not even make a moral case for all-out war.  I think they are a significant beginning towards both cases, which I am sure is why they are so vigorously defended as "facts."  Those facts happen to be important in the logical sequence of an argument, and that argument was used to make important life-or-death public policy decisions, which is why questioning those facts is not child's play.  People can get hot fast.

                But I do think those things are likely true.  That a war was necessary does not strictly follow.  And if you disagree with those facts and are serious about convincing others, I would want to see evidence supporting your disagreement.


            •  speaking of Manufacturing Consent - Help dKos!! (none)
              I'm very concerned that comments on this thread have been suppressed and effectively censored (not mine).

              Whether or not you agree with them, Trusted Users should please rate them Excellent (add a disclaiming comment if you need to) so they can be unHidden on the thread.

              texas dem, you and I had a civilized, public disagreement with no hint of censorship.

              Some people may think true progressives were against the Afghanistan attack.  Others may think all real progressives should favor it.  None should be censored here.

              Let's refuse to create phony consensus here by censoring honest debate.  People are (perhaps inadvertently) shitting in our precious dKos pool.  Please help correct it.

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