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  •  No way (4.00)
    Whhhhaaaaaaaa?

    "The reasons for terrorism? Global poverty."

    Come on Kos.  This isn't even remotely the case.  Terrorism does not spring from poverty eternal.  The wahabists are not a product of poverty rather they are a product of religious extremism of an incredible degree.  Last time I heard, Osama and his family were pretty damn well off.  Not poor.  Further, the social conservatives in our country (not to mention the leaders of extremist states) are not uniformly poor.  Many are among the most well off.

    The reasons for terrorism?  Religious intolerance.  Hatred manifesting hatred.  War.  Charismatic leaders and the sheep that follow them.  That is my take.

    OTOH another way to look at it is to ask the wahabists why they do what they do.  Here you will find their reasons for terrorism which should probably be a first clue since... you know... they are the terrorists...

    -- formerly Adam in MA

    by manyoso on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 04:11:09 PM PST

    •  Agree for the most part (none)
      manyosos. But, being poverty-stricken can lead to an embrace of radical theory. Also, it is easier for Al Qaeda agents to convince those in poverty that their state is the result of the United States. Do not underestimate poverty as a possible contribution to terrorism in general.
    •  I might (none)
      recommend you to look up some of the early UBL tapes or cnn interviews. I believe there were three things .
      out of saudi arabia
       out of Iraq with the lifting of any UN sanctions
      end the israeli conflict with a peaceful solution
       basically let the islam nations run their own buisness

      May there be peace on earth and may it begun with me

      by lazbumm on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 04:19:21 PM PST

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      •  And you may note (none)
        Yes, and you may note, not one of those reasons is "poverty".

        Actually, if I recall, Al-Qaeda prefers people to be poor.  You know... keeps them humble, stops them from loving "the world" more than God, etc.

        ---

        "And there's never been a physicist that ever thought anything would work. That isn't what they do." - DBCooper

        by Rayonic on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 04:31:19 PM PST

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        •  Anti-Hegemon=Poverty (4.00)
          We often describe American hegemony in terms of our wealth. To a degree, that's true. But more accurately, it our hegemony translates in the ability to force other countries to do things they don't want to do.

          Which is really about humiliation.

          Yes, it's easy to recruit poor people into extremist organizations (for example, because it provides a way to send your kids to school).

          But it's particularly easy to recruit people who feel that they have been humiliated into extremist organizations.

          And from an Islamic perspective, the US has been using its power to humiliate Islamic people for 50 years.

          •  The power of humiliation (3.75)
            What the framers of U.S. foreign policy have repeatedly been shown, but decline to learn, is the power of humiliation as a motivator.  

            People may tolerate poverty indefinitely if they believe that there is no hope of changing it --- and it's hard to convince people that a revolutionary movement could improve their material lot.  [Reference: see twentieth century.]

            By contrast, a man who is humiliated in front of his family has a powerful and immediate motivation for retribution.  This is particularly true in parts of the world with strong customary codes of personal honor.  And a person who sees her nation humiliated has a motivated for vengeance that may be much more visceral than any that could be aroused by grinding poverty.

            The United States humiliated Iran in 1953. It was quick and easy -- at first.  The Shah held power with the aid of SAVAK, which killed, tortured, and humiliated thousands of people.  Iran grew materially richer between 1953 and 1979, but this was no compensation for the deeper wounds that the U.S., through its agents, inflicted.

            Inflict enough humiliation, and people will die rather than submit.  When they start doing that, as they have in the Middle East, it won't help to build schools, and it won't help to increase repression.  The only thing that will work in the long run is to stop the humiliation.

            A generous settlement by Israel of the Israel-Palestine problem would go a long way.  Recognition that people were displaced to make way for the state of Israel.  Compensation to those displaced.  A real Palestinian state.  What would that cost? Less, I would wager, than we have spent already in Iraq.  And that would remove a major cause of the pan-Arab humiliation that many undeniably feel.

            President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

            by C S McCrum on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 05:59:11 PM PST

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            •  A Lot Depends On What You Mean By Poverty (4.00)
              When the Europeans arrived in Australia they found mostly naked black people living with very few possessions and assumed that these people were too stupid to build a decent, materialistic life in this huge land and therefore had no right to survive.

              The Euros didn't understand that these stupid black people lived richly endowed cultural lives where providing their material needs only took about 3 hours each day, the rest of which was given over to talk, ceremony, play and rest. The Euros also didn't understand, because their own technology was so limited, that these stupid black people had invented the remote controlled attack helicopter for killing birds in flocks, it was called the boomerang and its aerodynamics match anything that Boeing can build.

              As in most places when the Euros arrived, there was a perfectly functioning society based on a sustainable economy that had worked for 40,000 years plus. The poverty was introduced by the Euros, who forced everyone to exchange only cash at a fixed rate for goods and services and since they controlled the cash, you had to work for them. Since they also controlled the rates at which people were paid, so the grand theft began.

              But even that wasn't enough, so they invented debt and now we all owe our souls to the company store, and that is  the beginning of the endless humiliation that leads to violence. Americans protest loudly when they proclaim that those killed in the WTC attacks were innocent. Perhaps a few of them were, but their wealth and privilege was traded for the poverty and powerlessness of millions of others. To that degree, they were not innocent. And neither is anyone able to read this.

              "Till the last dog dies"

              by Deep Dark on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 07:57:33 PM PST

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            •  god bless you (none)

              May there be peace on earth and may it begun with me

              by lazbumm on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 04:25:51 AM PST

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            •  Nonsense (none)
              A generous settlement by Israel of the Israel-Palestine problem would go a long way.

              There is no "settlement" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict acceptable to OBL and his followers. The only outcome they seek is the elimination of the state of Israel.  To them, the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East is an affront to history, a humiliation to Muslims.  

              Unlike the dictators who rule Syria, Saudi Arabia and other repressive Arab states who find the Israeli-Palestinian conflict useful to divert the attention of their subjects away from their own failings and therefore don't really want a settlement of any kind, OBL truly does want to destroy Israel and knows that the only way to do that is to weaken support for Israel in the US.

              Polls show that Israelis would support a settlement with Palistinian leadership that they felt they could trust.  Someday that will happen but now it is important not to make the mistake of thinking that terrorism has anything to do with "settling" the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

              •  Missing the point and losing the war (none)
                The point is not to "convince" OBL; the point is to stop creating followers.  If justice is done at the same time, that is also a good in itself.  

                Why do 86 percent of Jordanians believe that suicide bombings by Palestinians against Israelis are justifiable?  Your hypothesis seems to be

                the dictators who rule Syria, Saudi Arabia and other repressive Arab states who find the Israeli-Palestinian conflict useful to divert the attention of their subjects away from their own failings and therefore don't really want a settlement of any kind. . .

                Is there a Jordanian state propaganda machine that is trying to "divert the attention of [its] subjects" by blathering about Israel? Hardly. The price of daily humiliation of Palestinians in the occupied territories is the murderous fury of 6 out of 7 Jordanians.  Other countries in the region

                President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

                by C S McCrum on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 12:09:50 PM PST

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              •  Missing the point and losing the war (none)
                The point is not to "convince" OBL; the point is to stop creating followers.  If justice is done at the same time, that is a good in itself.  

                Why do 86 percent of Jordanians believe that suicide bombings by Palestinians against Israelis are justifiable?

                Is the explanation that there is some Jordanian state propaganda machine that is trying to "divert the attention of [its] subjects" by blathering about Israel? I don't think so. Jordanians are quite well aware from personal experience of the realities on the ground.  The price of daily humiliation of Palestinians in the occupied territories is the murderous anger of 6 out of 7 Jordanians.  

                 Large numbers of Turks, Moroccans, and Pakistanis tell pollsters that suicide bombings against Israelis and Americans are justified.  These disturbing results can't be explained by "diversionary propaganda by repressive Arab dictators," and they can't be repaired by ratcheting up the repression ourselves.  

                President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

                by C S McCrum on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 12:27:47 PM PST

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                •  Who misses the point? (none)
                  Forcing a settlement on the Israelis in a misguided attempt to appease the terrorists doesn't serve our interests, the interests of Israel or the Palestinians.  Trying to force a settlement that doesn't address the interests of all sides and that is not seen as fair and just by all sides will not help anyone except OBL and the Islamo-fascists.

                  You may not like it but until both sides are willing to and capable of meeting each others needs, nothing will happen.  Appeasement of OBL and his ilk will only make things worse for everyone, including us.

                  •  Buzzword bingo (none)
                    Let's see... we've got "appeasement," "forcing a settlement," "Islamo-fascists"...

                    So many tendentious phrases to choose from.  Let's start with "forcing a settlement."  I don't happen to think that Israel is entitled to carte blanche to the tune of billions a year when its foreign policy is directly contradictory to international law and to the interests of the United States.  So you won't be surprised that I don't think that putting reasonable conditions on future assistance would not be "forcing" anyone to do anything.

                    "Appeasement" gives the warm fuzzies to those who would like to see a wide variety of historically disparate situations through the lens of Munich.  Munich involved an expansionist state that sought to extend its reach into territory not its own.  The world made a big mistake in caving to that expansionist state.  

                    The Munich analogy does not hold.  Israel is not Czechoslovakia.  The Palestinians are not the Third Reich.  It would not be appeasement for Israel to act lawfully and justly in the territories it occupies, nor to offer compensation to those it displaced.

                    "Islamo-fascists"... Jordan??? Jordan is a fascist state? Stateless Palestinians are fascists? Or are you perhaps referring to Lebanon? Egypt? Pakistan? Morocco? Turkey? Bad historical analogies again.

                    President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

                    by C S McCrum on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 01:43:28 AM PST

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                    •  correction (none)
                      end first full paragraph should read:

                      ...I don't think that putting reasonable conditions on future assistance would be "forcing" anyone to do anything.

                      President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

                      by C S McCrum on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 01:46:09 AM PST

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                      •  Jordan? (none)
                        I've been quite clear that I am referring to appeasement of OBL and his fellow travelers (they are the terrorists, Islamo-fascists etc).  You have chosen to misunderstand me.  So be it.

                        Let's talk Jordan. You seem to think this is a wonderful example of an open, free society.  It is not.  It is an autocratic repressive state that appears better than it is only by comparison to its Arab neighbors.  Do a Google search of the term "honor killing".  Look up the history of the Palestinian uprising against King Hussein.  Who did Jordan support in the Gulf War?  With friends like that, neither we nor the Palestinians need enemies.  

                        •  It is not "appeasement" (none)
                          to remove one's boot from one's neighbor's neck in order to reduce the likelihood that the neighbor's son, when he grows up, will want you dead.

                          The whole "appeasement" thing is riven with  inconsistencies.  If there is a general principle that one doesn't make concessions to an adversary who does terrible things, then no armed conflict will ever have a negotiated end.  Israel says that making concessions to Palestinians would be appeasement, but it faults Palestinians for not appeasing Israel: i.e., for not conceding territory to Israel, from 1948 forward, in hopes that Israel will be satisfied and not want more.  [Hard to blame them: Israel, alone among states, won't even say how much territory it claims rightfully belongs to it.]

                          Not sure what your point about Jordan is.  I don't hold it up as a paragon.  Israel's problem is that the population of Jordan and the rest of the region has very good reason to hate Israel's guts.  Sharon's solution is to give them more reasons.

                          The problem with OBL and fellow criminals is not that they are "fascists," a historically silly label, but that they is riding a wave of resentment that it is in the power of the West to stoke or dampen.  I favor dampening it. You seem to favor stoking it, though I may be misreading you.

                          President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

                          by C S McCrum on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 11:56:01 PM PST

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      •  Too generous to OBL (none)
        I don't think OBL wanted a "peaceful" solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Quite the opposite.  A two state solution is unacceptable to him as it is to the most radical Palestinians. I think he wanted Israel to vanish as an entity.

        And yes, he wanted Muslim nations to "run their own business" so that they can impose Taliban type governments on them.

        •  Can I come (none)
          toi your house in my mobile home and hook upto your utilities , enslave your chikdren for low wages and attempt to change your religion?

          May there be peace on earth and may it begun with me

          by lazbumm on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 04:28:32 AM PST

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        •  No indication of this (none)
          I think he wanted Israel to vanish as an entity

          other than our own and Israel's long term public campaign to define Arab and especially Palestinian  objectives and mindsets.

          Wanting Israel to be accountable for its own founding and responsible for the consequences therein is not the same thing as "wanting it to disappear as an entity" no matter who much Israeli governmental leadership wants to make those two things parallel.

          "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

          by a gilas girl on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 03:23:16 PM PST

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          •  I think you're being naive (none)
            if you don't believe that bin Laden wishes the destruction of Israel.  It's absurd to believe that he (or most of the suicide bombers and their organizations) "want Israel to be accountable for its own founding and responsible for the consequences therein."  They simply don't believe in the legitimacy of the state of Israel.  I think the policies of Sharon are terrible, and Israel should withdraw from the settlements. But Israelis have to be convinced that a two state solution will not be the first step toward their destruction.
            •  I may be many things (none)
              but naive about the way the world views Israel is not one of them.

              "Destruction of the state of Israel" is a 60's era (or 70's era) position in the Arab world; while we like to think the Arab world never changes, they are part of the world and know that "destruction of the state of Israel" is nothing more than empty rhetoric for propaganda purposes.  

              "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

              by a gilas girl on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 02:54:43 AM PST

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            •  belief in legitimacy (none)
              They simply don't believe in the legitimacy of the state of Israel.  I think the policies of Sharon are terrible, and Israel should withdraw from the settlements. But Israelis have to be convinced that a two state solution will not be the first step toward their destruction.

              Whether or not they believe in the "legitimacy" of the state of Israel is irrelevant (they don't believe in the "legitimacy" of any non-Islamic orientation to the world, either, but don't set out to destroy everything "not Islamic" rather they have a more strategic orientation to these questions.  They know the state of Israel exists.

              Convincing Israelis that it is not still the early days of the state of Israel and that "destruction" is the goal of their enemies is a harder task, too much of the ethos and identity of that state is invested in that piece of "common sense" to expect to convert the citizens to another path.  They are also not ready to be honest about what they now mean when they talk about fears of the "destruction of Israel" which have less to do with fear of an all Arab war/terror attack and a whole lot more to do with the demographic realities of the region and the fact that world consensus on the Israeli occupation is shifting.  

              "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

              by a gilas girl on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 03:00:19 AM PST

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    •  Actually (4.00)
      Terrorism is most of the time not for religious reasons. Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, parts of the Palestinians now (and basically all of them in the 70s), the various leftists and righists European groups in the 70/80s. In fact religious terrorism is mostly limited to the islamic world so far - with the exception of the odd nutcase killing doctors in the States.
      Though you point to one clear historical fact: in resistance or revolutionary movements, the leaders and the founders are often middle-class people and not illiterate oppressed peasants. The US revolution, the Russian revolution, the French revolution, the Cuban revolution, the Chinese revolution all show that pattern. Doesn't mean they don't aim to improve the situation of the people, but these people aren't those who suffer the most from the regime.
      The fact is, they win because the people support them, and the people support them because the regime against which they fight is utterly corrupt and exploits them. Without poverty, middle-class idealists or nutcases could try to destroy the system, but they wouldn't find many people who would fight with them, protect them, hide them, feed them.
      It's a bit more complex than what you, or kos, said. (and of course I clearly over-generalise in this post)
      •  The Poverty factor (none)
        Spot on, as far as an 500 word exposition can be. Take a 4.

        The fact is that the leadership will always have to be from the relatively well off, the insidious reality of poverty is that it steals your options. You spend all of your time and energy not dying, not freezing, not being poisoned by your filthy environment, that there is no time at all left to resist.

        The only exception may be in places like South America where jungle resistance can arise because the jungle itself provides the living resources that frees indigenous leaders enough to rise up.

        In places like Yemen, or Zimbabwe, or Saudi Arabia or Iran, there are so few natural resources on wich to draw that those in poverty have to graft for every crumb, every day.

        The next step is assymetrical warfare, because even the richest socialist can't afford to feed all the poor or buy enough weapons to create an alternative army, so you get terrorism, its just an very long military lever.

        "Till the last dog dies"

        by Deep Dark on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 07:42:00 PM PST

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      •  Right wing Christian terrorist (none)
        I think the right wing Christian terrorist movement is somewhat more extensive than the occasional :..nutcase killing doctors in the States."  We have the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, shootings at school yards, executing the transgendered, and other activities that are widely underreported in the United States.  My guess is that there is a lot more similarities between the violence prone Christian far right here and Al Queda than most would admit.  I recall a lot of talk among the far religious right about 9/11 being God's punishment for America because of race mixing, tolerance of gays, taking prayer out of schoos etc.

        eschew obfuscation

        by jimG on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 08:06:07 PM PST

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        •  Fundamentalism is fundamentalism is fundamentalism (none)
          When you use the words "Christian," "Jew," "Muslim," "Hindu" by themselves, you are using nouns.

          When you change it to "Christian Fundamentalist," "Jewish Fundamentalist," "Muslim Fundamentalist," or "Hindu Fundamentalist," the nounds have become pronouns, all describing one noun:  Fundamentalism.

          The only difference between a Christian Fundamentalist and a Muslim Fundamentalist and a Jewish Fundamentalist and a Hindu Fundamentalist is the languages they spew in.

          William Goldman was right when he said the three rules of Hollywierd are "1) Nobody, 2) knows, 3) anything." Works in the real world, too.

          by HollywierdLiberal on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 08:31:25 PM PST

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        •  go jim go (none)

          May there be peace on earth and may it begun with me

          by lazbumm on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 04:34:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Poverty indirect contributing factor (none)
      for terrorism.

      Religious fundamentalism is at the moment a contributing factor to the forms of terrorism we are experiencing today, but there are enough examples (both historically and today) to counter the argument that religious fundamentalism is a "cause" per se.

      Religious fundamentalism may be better described as a motivation or a unifying call, but its not the religion that leads to the practice of terrorism.

      I think it might be possible to argue, however, that lack of democracy or the potential to build democracy in cultures fraught with extremes (extremes in political power, extremes in economic wealth, extremes in military power, dextremes in rights and possibilities) is a major contributing factor.  

      Terrorism is always a political act, even if it proports to be "about" religion or fashion choices or anything else. It is an "effective" political tool in those instances of extreme imbalances.  I would go so far as to argue that it is hypermilitarization that is the most obvious cause of terrorism.  Its both a product of the militarization of the mindset of various political actors and the increased discrepancies in force and ability to inflict force/pain that gives rise to the choice of terror as the tool to gain particular political ends.

      Terror is not new and it isn't some kind of genetic deformity that classes of people possess.  Its a rather old tool in the political repetoire of maintaining or acquiring power.  The forms that it takes today and the backdrops for it are particular to a set of political/policy choices from the last 60 years, however.

      There are lots of poor places that don't have outbreaks of terror, but anyplace where there is terror you will find discrepancies in the wealth gap, you will find very poor people who see no options to their continued poverty and oppression because the democratic or autonomous/indigenous control over their livlihoods is being effectively dismantled or destroyed.  That's what gives rise to the conditions which make terrorism a viable choice of political action.  

      "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

      by a gilas girl on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 02:07:24 PM PST

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