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I'm sure this diary will be controversial in all the ways I don't intend it to be. But I think it's important these things be said.

The takeaway message of the piece comes near the conclusion:

Which is why as liberals, we must - both out of political necessity and good sense - embrace some version of a war against terrorism and come to terms with the threat from strategic terrorism -  especially when coupled with weapons of mass destruction - to our way of life. We must build a society and a structure of laws that will withstand another attack. Or we will lose.

This piece was originally posted on my blog at 2parse.

***

Sun Tzu in The Art of War:

Hence the saying:  If you know the enemy
and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a
hundred battles.  If you know yourself but not the enemy,
for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will
succumb in every battle.

In the past week, the idea that America should "get rid of the 'War on Terror' mindset"  has enjoyed a resurgence. With Barack Obama's rolling back some of the blunders of the Bush administration's ill-fated War on Terror, liberals who have been bludgeoned with the term, 'War on Terror' in election after election want it retired. Surprisingly few voices have called for the Democrats to appropriate the term as a partisan weapon against the Republicans as it was used against them - which indicates the seriousness with which these liberals take retiring the term. For them, 'War on Terror' has become associated not only with political attacks on any criticism of the Bush administration but with the bevy of emergency measures taken by the administration in the panicked aftermath of September 11 - and then institutionalized as policy afterward. Many of these measures were ill-considered and counterproductive - and the fight over them has distracted the country from reevaluating our defense posture in light of the threat of strategic terrorism.

From when Sir Michael Howard first made the case to treat terrorism as a law enforcement matter and ditch the war posturing in 2002 in an article for Foreign Affairs magazine to Matt Yglesias's short sketch inThe American Prospect last week, the argument has been substantially the same. It is certainly not weakened by the fact that the main critiques it makes cannot be reasonably disputed.

In summary, the critics of the term 'War on Terror' make the point that this war does not fit our traditional definition of war; that because it does not, it makes it seem like the metaphorical wars on drugs or poverty; that it ennobles terrorists as warriors instead of mere murderers and criminals; that declaring war on terror leads us to conflate our enemies and even confuse them - when in fact they have separate and competing agendas; that by using the term war without the prospect of victory, we are setting ourselves up for a failure; that as this war is without a foreseeable end, we risk permanently giving up those liberties that are traditionally infringed upon during war. Already, this War on Terror has lasted longer than any war in American history - and yet victory is nowhere in sight. In related points, critics of the term point out that terrorists have launched attacks on numerous societies in the past - and these societies have been more successful when they responded with law enforcement than with military force, for, as Lawrence Wright explains in The Looming Tower:

The usual object of terror is to draw one’s opponent into repressive blunders...

In the past seven years, we have not avoided the pitfalls that have historically accompanied a state response to terrorism. We have not learned from the history and experience of other nations that informs the views of the liberal critics of the terms.

Yet it should be admitted that the term has been accepted by the greatest majority of Americans - and in the aftermath of September 11, it seemed clear to me - as well as to many others - that this was somehow different. It wasn't just the scale of the damage that was shocking; it was the deliberation involved in planning the attack. As more information became public - as it became clear that this attack was in development for years, that it had required hundreds of thousands of dollars to organize; that it's goals were not the mundane extortion of 20th century terrorism (Free this prisoner! Give us our own state!) - but a long-term strategic plan to reorganize the world - as all this became clear, we knew it was something different. Worse - our society is more vulnerable to attack today then it was even a decade ago. Biological technology is advancing rapidly - and soon, if not already, biological weapons will be acquired by terrorists. There is a black market is weapons of mass destruction - including nuclear weaponry thanks to Pakistan's A. Q. Khan. Large numbers of people travel the world and international borders have become porous. At the same time, our society is becoming more and more concentrated as people pack into already denseley populated cities. The markets that control an ever expanding portion of our society are especially vulnerable to the effects of terrorism - both the fear that it elicits and the government intrusion that comes in reaction.

These vulnerabilities coupled with the opportunities to create havoc which are more democratically available than ever mean that the threat of terrorism truly is a threat to our way of life. At the same time, these terrorists are no mere criminals - whose activities while damaging to society are manageable and who can be deterred with punitive measures. Suicide terrorists seek death - and even are willing to be given capital punishment, considering it martyrdom, as the Khalid Sheikh Muhammad has said.

For the past seven years, we avoided the needed-re-thinking of our approach to terrorism, as under Karl Rove's guidance, our response to terrorism became yet another front in the culture wars; as under Dick Cheney's influence with his poisonous One Percent Doctrine, he ensured that our nation stayed the course set in the panic of September 2001, justifying every misstep as an essential part of a 'strategy' to combat terrorism that never materialized. 'We will fight them over there so we do not need to fight them over here,' it was said - as if our enemy were a fixed group which we could eliminate like our enemies in conflicts past. The Bush administration could never bring itself to acknowledge that Al Qaeda was a stateless organization - and Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush were certain that Iraq must be somehow behind it all. But the threat of September 11 did not emanate from a state although it did have a temporary home in Afghanistan. We conflated and confused our enemies - presuming they formed a united front when in fact they consisted of squabbling groups, or in other cases, mortal enemies - and we did our best to unite them, treating them as one entity.

Although it is not fashionable today to say anything in praise of Donald Rumsfeld given his mismanagement of the Defense Department, by October 2003, he was asking the tough but necessary questions:

Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?

Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions.

Five years later, and we still do not have answers to these questions or a long-range plan for what the military has come to call the Long War. It is left to Obama then to forge a new legal and strategic framework to deal with this threat to our way of life. (Which should be easy as he must also attempt to patch together a new financial and economic world order at the same time.)

In the past seven years, liberals have tended to think of terrorism as an ever-receding threat. Certainly, the fear in the days and months after September 11 have proved to be inflated. And it is clear that Al Qaeda does not pose a threat to our nation in the way that Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union did. But Al Qaeda in particular - and strategic terrorism generally - does pose an existential threat to our way of life. By disrupting our markets, by prompting government repression. Our way of life is based on transparency, the rule of law, the free flow of goods, information, and people around the world, and technological advances - all of which are undermined both by terrorism and ordinary counterterrorism and war measures.

Which is why as liberals, we must - both out of political necessity and good sense - embrace some version of a war against terrorism and come to terms with the threat from strategic terrorism, especially when coupled with weapons of mass destruction, to our way of life. We must build a society and a structure of laws that will withstand another attack. Or we will lose.

A law enforcement approach is not sufficient to combat this threat. Nor is the hodge-podge of measures taken by the Bush administration. Nor would a traditional war. What is required is a serious look at who our enemy is and who we are. Without this knowledge, we will lose this war, whether we call it one or not.

A few concluding notes:

  • I'm not saying that law enforcement is not part of the Wars Against Terrorism; I'm just saying that law enforcement alone is not sufficient to tackle the challenge of terrorism.
  • I don't think the phrase, "War on Terrorism" should be used - but some variation, such as "Wars Against Terrorism."
  • I think the definition of war must evolve to meet the changing times - and that while traditionally wars were only fought by states or for states, today, with the growing power of individuals to wreak great destruction (or to do much good) - the definition of war too must evolve.
  • I'm not endorsing the Bush administration's attacks on the rule of law - in fact, I think they are inconsistent with the war aims we must adopt.
  • The same goes for torture and other actions by the administration which were not only attacks on the rule of law, but on common decency. These should play no positive role in our reevaluation of the fight against terrorism. As an old Senator once said:

    [T]his isn’t about who they are. This is about who we are. These are the values that distinguish us from our enemies, and we can never, never allow our enemies to take those values away.

    To allow that is a preemptive surrender in these Wars Against Terrorism.

  • This entire piece is greatly indebted to Philip Bobbitt's Terror and Consent.

Originally posted to theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:32 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  as i said in the text... (9+ / 1-)

    i hope this is received alright. i know it's going against the trend of opinion here and elsewhere - but i'm afraid that trending of opinion would be too easily reversed by another attack - and more, if Obama's presidency is going to be about shoring up our long-term national stability, reevaluating our strategy against terrorism is a necessity.

    "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

    by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:34:55 PM PST

  •  Regarding this point, (18+ / 0-)

    I think the definition of war must evolve to meet the changing times - and that while traditionally wars were only fought by states or for states, today, with the growing power of individuals to wreak great destruction (or to do much good) - the definition of war too must evolve.

    I don't think it matter what it's called as long as, in practice, it refers to defying national sovereignty, funding the military industrial complex, and killing untold numbers of civilians.

  •  Terrorism is a tactic used by (20+ / 0-)

    opponents

    How can there be a war on a tactic?

    A war on Fundamentalist Theocrats is OK with me.  Except it Might mean bombing Bob Jones or Oral Roberts Universities

    •  ...and your point is? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      limpidglass, SteveP

      The top tax bracket should be 90% for all types of income over $1,000,000.

      by atheistben on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:39:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

        •  LOL! right on! Take 'Em Out! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo

          Along with all the other right wing reactionary conservative fundamentalist traitors in the US, who are opposed to everything America really stands for!

          Especially the ones who are armed to the teeth, spewing hatred and bile, and praying every night for the apocalypse to come...including, of course, Aryan Nations, the KKK, Joel's Army, et al.

          But seriously, while we do have plenty of our own homegrown terrorists, who have been laying low under Bush, but can be expected to eventually start coming back out of the woodwork  under Obama and a Democratic Congress...there are also plenty of international terrorists we should really be going after...

          Personally, I have no big problem with the US going into Afghanistan and disarming the Taliban, since we are the ones who funded, trained and armed them in the first place, to harass the prior modernizing secular nation that was "occupied" by the Soviets to protect them from such elements, and from the warlord gangsters that we are now supporting as the "official government"

          But, I'd have to agree that a law enforcement approach would be more appropriate than robot bombers and missles that slaughter innocent civilians while they're at it.  Those should be aimed more at the poppy fields, and gangster warlords, maybe.

          Same goes for the extreme right wing reactionary conservative government in Columbia, and their infamous death squads, which we have been funding and arming for so many years.  We should go in there and disarm the fkrs, for a real change, and some real hope for the FARC to be able to abandon armed struggle and enter the electoral arena (which they tried to do, only to see most of their candidates and activists murdered).  

          We have other such clients all over the world, who really need to be disarmed and defunded, so the locals can proceed with popular democratic resolution of the conflicts we have so deliberately imposed on them for so long.

          And, of course, don't forget about Israel, which is really at the root of all the turmoil in the Middle East...instead of funding and providing the weapons for slaughters in Gaza, and apartheid in the West Bank, we should cancel that Bush policy of automatic veto in the UN to protect Israel from sanctions, and start putting some very serious, very short strings on whatever further aid we continue to give them.  

          If we were to force Israel to the table to negotiate a just peace with the Palestinians, a whole lot of the basis for the "war on terror" would completely go away.  That, and turning away from oil dependency, by going green...

          The "war on terror" will not be resolved by the US trying to terrorize the world into submission to our imperialist greed and hegemonic posturing.

          Only genuine diplomacy, and switching our support to popular democratic movements, and away from right wing reactionary conservative fundamentalist warlord gangsters, will serve to end the terror that keeps coming home to roost.  

          "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

          by Radical def on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:14:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Really? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus, sandbox, charliehall

            If we were to force Israel to the table to negotiate a just peace with the Palestinians, a whole lot of the basis for the "war on terror" would completely go away.

            It won't stop the violence in Darfur, will it?

            It won't stop the violence in The Congo, in Rwanda, will it?

            It won't stop the violence in Bangladesh, in Kashmir, will it?

            How about Tibet?
            Serbia/Croatia/Bosnia?
            Turks and Kurds?

            How about the drug terrorism tearing apart Mexico, Colombia? More innocent  Mexicans have died in the last year than all of the Palestinians since the start of the intifada.

            If "the troubles" start up again in Ireland, it won't stop that, either.

            All of these are 'terrorist actions' that have nothing to do with Israel.

            You are centered on your fear that the terrorism might be directed against you, as a citizen of the United States. Meanwhile, perhaps a billion people live under palpable threat of terrorism, every day of their lives.

            Terrorism and terrorists have been with humanity since ancient times.

            The Republican Party has died, Raptured, and has Risen Again as the Obstructionist Party

            by shpilk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:52:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  In each instance, the US has played a role... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              metal prophet

              Usually negative, and usually violent, in the same pattern of practice everywhere, as I described...

              We give the money and guns to the most right wing reactionary elements, to harasss, beat up, torture and murder the popular democratic elements who resist US imperialism and corporate rip off, the ones who demand control over their own national resources to provide schools, hospitals, roads, etc infrastructure for their people...the "damn commies", you know, like those who demand democracy, union rights, civil rights, human rights...the left, the progressives, the liberals, the church people, the unionists...no distinctions between them are made, they are all "damn commies" who have to die, or at the very least be marginalized and excluded from power.

              In a case like Israel, and the surrounding nations, and the Palestinians as well, we have deliberately and systematically decimated and marginalized the left,  until only the most reactionary fundamentalist elements are in power, and then we play them off against each other, like pawns.

              The corporations prefer to pay a few million in bribes to the warlords, to keep their populations under control, than to pay taxes and fair wages, to actually help build the country, for the people, anywhere.

              The CIA can't control every little detail, everywhere...but they can significantly effect the situation, anywhere, with a few well chosen clients, and a few choice assassinations.

              Personally, I'm much less concerned about international terrorist attacks on the US than I am about the domestic homegrown ones that the right is cultivating to sic on us.

              "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

              by Radical def on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 06:20:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Israel just isn't powerful enough (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shpilk, theDamascus

              to cause all that damage.

              Sorry, but the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a forgery, not the truth. (Somebody should tell Hamas.)

          •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Redstateresident, Radical def

            I think if we just stopped going into foreign countries and killing people, the rest of the world might be a bit more comfortable about us.

            I mean, how would we react if the Russians kept killing people inside our borders?  I think we would be a tad vexed.

    •  the problem isn't... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tnproud2b

      fundamentalist theocrats. or at least, they're not the new problem. the problem is fundamentalist theocrats or anyone else with the power to attack and undermine a state in a way that only other states could in the past.

      i hate to be a stickler - but i'm not calling for a War on Terrorism - but Wars Against Terrorism. a war against a tactic is still unorthodox - but i think both politically and philosophically we need to adapt our understanding of war.

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

      by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:51:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  fundamentalist theocrats in this country (6+ / 0-)

        ARE a problem. Specifically, right-wing Christianists.

        People like Rick Warren and Mike Huckabee may look a little more respectable and better-kempt than al-Qaeda, but they are far more potentially dangerous.

        al-Qaeda's dream of a global Caliphate is highly unlikely to come true, especially given how scattered and disorganized they are.

        The Christian right in this country seeks to gain control of the United States government, with its massive military and nuclear arsenal, using conventional political means, rather than terrorism. And they've made impressive progress over the last few decades--restricting abortions, building electoral organizations, infiltrating the military and law enforcement, and pushing pseudo-science in schools.

        They are never very far from the seat of power in this country, and it will take only one prolonged crisis for them to seize full power and institute their radical agenda, which, I suspect, will end up looking very much like the two most famous totalitarian regimes of the 20th century.

        It's them we really need to be worried about. And it's them we need to be fighting.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:01:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Redefining war has some extremely dangerous (4+ / 0-)

        extremely dangerous consequences.

        There are large sections of law, many of them regarding division of powers, which speak specifically to times of war. Re-writing those sections of law, to adjust for a new definition of war, is impossible politically.

        Remember what Bush's reasoning was?

        . President is King during war time.
        . We are always at war.
        . Therefore I'm da king. La la la F**k You.

        This is REALLY dangerous ground to be treading on.

        Member, The Angry Left.

        by nosleep4u on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:20:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There has always been "terrorism" (19+ / 0-)

    Never has a great power dealt with it as stupidly as has the US for the past 30 years.

    Perhaps Napoleon in Spain...

    www.bushwatch.net - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

    by chuckvw on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:40:39 PM PST

  •  The war paradigm brings with it a focus on war (24+ / 0-)

    technique, hard weapons, war strategy to the exclusion of soft power.

    Every year, we fight fires in buildings and forests, constantly working on new prevention strategies and ways to minimize losses. But we haven't declared War on Fire.

    What's so hard about Peace, Love, and Truth and Progress?

    by melvin on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:41:07 PM PST

  •  of course we need a plan to deal with terrorism (12+ / 0-)

    but such a plan will contain law enforcement/intelligence activities more than military action.

    Bush didn't have a plan to deal with terrorism and never bothered to come up with one. He simply exploited the fear of terrorism to shred the rule of law--illegal spying, warrantless search and seizure, torture, elimination of habeas corpus, etc. etc.

    I also think that not enough emphasis is given to the constructive policies that could contribute to a sound counterterrorism policy; namely, economic development and education in those nations where terrorism may be a problem due to an unemployed populace.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:42:23 PM PST

    •  i agree with this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nosleep4u, annominous

      point of yours:

      Bush didn't have a plan to deal with terrorism and never bothered to come up with one. He simply exploited the fear of terrorism to shred the rule of law--illegal spying, warrantless search and seizure, torture, elimination of habeas corpus, etc. etc.

      in fact, it's a point i made a half dozen times in the piece.

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

      by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:08:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Terrorist acts are defined in the criminal code (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, skrekk, HoundDog, limpidglass, SteveP

    So there's that.

    Apart from that, I have no idea what a "liberal" approach to the "war" on "terror" would entail, but considering the consensus view on the threat of communism that developed during the Cold War period and Obama's apparent determination to pour more money into the Afghanistan occupation, I'm skeptical of this approach.  

    If your argument is simply that given the nature of groups who use terrorism as a tactic that the military should be involved at some level, I have no real argument with that.  But I'm not sure what positive steps you are proposing.  What is the "new" legal framework, for example?

    What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

    by Alec82 on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:43:50 PM PST

    •  The liberal approach (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, corvo, skrekk, ArtSchmart

      as near as I can make out, is to treat it as criminal acts. Terrorism is (generally) civilian-on-civilian. Imposing military law on it makes no sense.

      Member, The Angry Left.

      by nosleep4u on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:32:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and just to qualify (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, skrekk, Catesby, ArtSchmart

        Military on civilian is war crimes. Military on military is war. Civilian on military is either revolution or suicide depending on your POV.

        Member, The Angry Left.

        by nosleep4u on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:34:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well the diarist suggests we should do something. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deedogg

        ...else, but what that would be remains unclear from the diary.  The diarist seems to specifically reject the criminal law enforcement approach, though.

        What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

        by Alec82 on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:34:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i don't entirely reject... (0+ / 0-)

          the criminal law enforcement approach - but it doesn't seem to fit terrorism well.

          law enforcement seeks to impose punitive measures on criminals. (but those who consider themselves at war with America feel by dying or being imprisoned, they are being martyred.)

          law enforcement focuses on punishment instead of prevention - while counterterrorism measures must focus on prevention rather than punishing acts already done.

          the consequences of letting an ordinary criminal go are far less than those of letting a terrorist go - so in some way that needs to be taken into account.

          "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

          by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 07:52:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This has been debunked. (0+ / 0-)

            We caught the Oklahoma City bombers, the Atlanta bombers, and the first World Trade Center bombers through law enforcement, not through the military. So, it can and does fit terrorism well. The problem with the 9/11 attacks was that there was no communication between the law enforcment agencies and the President was actually warned that Bin Laden was planning to attack with planes -- and choose to do nothing. And our law enforcement capture would-be terrorists in 1999 BEFORE they bombed the Space Needle.

  •  you post the central contradiction in yr opening: (9+ / 0-)

    ". . .especially when coupled with weapons of mass destruction - to our way of life. We must build a society and a structure of laws that will withstand another attack. Or we will lose."

    On the one hand the hackneyed "our way of life," one of Dick Cheney's favorite lines (they hate us for our, etc. ad nauseum). On the other hand "we must build a society. . ."

    Which is it, please? Do we need to build a new, just, egalitarian society on the ashes of this failed one, whose failures are more evident with each passing day? Or are we just protecting all the privileges and wealth that we have coerced, stolen--as the latest in a long string of empires--from the poor countries? (If this does not resonate w. you somehow, start w. Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hit Man).

    You see, terrorism--in its current phase--is exercised by both COUNTRIES--including us and Israel when we carpet bomb cities and peoples, and by small organizations in the poor Muslim countries (among other), who may not kill in quite the numbers we do, but garner all the press. Their actions keep our military machine well-oiled and furnish the rationale for "liberals" like you to insist it remain in perpetual motion.

    Sorry but--me personally?--not buying into that schite, dissasociating myself from it. In the end there's NO REASON AT ALL why you, me, or anyone else who calls themselves liberal or progressive to feel the need to identify with the killing. Like I always tell my friends who feel they have to support everything the Dems do--Let's let the POLITICIANS sell out; meanwhile, let's you and I continue to insist on what's right and what's wrong.

    One last thing: yes, the Taliban are miserable sons of curs. But they are creatures of our making, just as Hamas was nurtured on Israel's teat. There's no way you overcome such evil without owning up to your role in making it.

    •  Agree (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Matthew Detroit, corvo, Catesby

      and I'd like to point out that no group of terrorists has the ability to destroy the U.S. Kill a lot of people, sure, but the only people (short of nuclear WW3) with the power to actually destroy this country are its citizens.

      Member, The Angry Left.

      by nosleep4u on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:36:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed,,, (0+ / 0-)

        but they still can destroy our way of life, which is far more fragile and based on relatively open borders, open markets, and civil liberties.

        as i wrote above in the piece:

        Our way of life is based on transparency, the rule of law, the free flow of goods, information, and people around the world, and technological advances - all of which are undermined both by terrorism and ordinary counterterrorism and war measures.

        The emphasis was not in the original though.

        "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

        by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 07:54:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Only if we choose to let them. (0+ / 0-)

          George Bush himself set the parameters of the battle -- the terrorists hated us for our freedoms. Given that this was one of the most dictatorial administrations in our history, I would say that under Bush's own standards, the terrorists won. So, I suggest that more freedom is the way to defeat terrorism, not less.

        •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

          9/11 did not "destroy our way of life".

          Wall Street greed is a far greater threat to the U.S. than terrorism is. Just compare the damage from 9/11 and the Great Depression.

          Member, The Angry Left.

          by nosleep4u on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:41:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well, you do correctly outline the problem (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theDamascus, capelza, corvo, SteveP, annominous

    which is the growing potential for a small number of people (perhaps even one person) to do increasingly greater damage to society.

    That is the problem.

    The solution is much more difficult, and honestly, war isn't going to cut it. Development of new horrible ways of easily destroying life runs counter to the solution.

    The top tax bracket should be 90% for all types of income over $1,000,000.

    by atheistben on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:44:32 PM PST

    •  i agree that.. (0+ / 0-)

      a traditional war won't cut it. i think me and you only disagree with semantics.

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

      by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:10:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You neglect to say why law enforcement and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catesby

        intelligence services don't work.  To date, most of the successes (see the UK) have come from that arena.  Ultimately nothing will work until the cause of the complaint is addressed.

        Dubya's legacy: 25 million really pissed Iraqis...50 million shoes

        by skrekk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 06:00:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The risk posed to me personally by terrorists (22+ / 0-)

    is a lot less than the risk posed by recession, pollution, highway crash, and lighting strikes.  

    A sense of relative scale has been greatly lacking.  I don't think we need to help puff up the relatively sligth impacts of stateless terror in relation to our other risks; Bushco has done quite well enough at that.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:44:37 PM PST

    •  Risk to 9/11 victims also (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theDamascus, Radical def, charliehall

      would have been calculated to be infinitesimally small, before it happened. Same recently in Mumbai. I doubt the families and friends of the victims take any comfort in the idea that the risk was slight. Since hardly anyone in Mumbai was even in earshot of the gunshots do you think it best to just ignore that mayhem and murder, chalk it up as a relatively small risk and hey, we are all gonna die anyway?

      I don't abhor and oppose terrorism because I'm personally afraid; rather, I oppose it because I believe that terrorism is real, and the terrorists have an agenda of destruction they are willing to pursue with unimaginable violence on innocents everywhere, even on Muslim innocents. I opposed the way Bushco managed their "war on terror" because they hijacked it to wage war on Iraq, not our enemy.

      •  exactly (0+ / 0-)

        "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

        by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:14:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Infinitesimally small risks (10+ / 0-)

        are correspondingly enormous in their prevention costs.  You sound very much like Cheney with his "1% Doctrine".  

        Preventing the unlikely would be delightful, sure.  I am not advocating we ignore it altogether.  But if it sucks up vast resources that are NOT being allocated to prevent the quite highly likely, then your priorities are not actually doing you or your fellow citizens any favors.

        Your notion that I disregard the families and friends of terror is a straw man.  I might equally well say that you disregard the families and friends of the victims of preventable highway crashes, who are far more numerous and just as bereaved.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:19:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mean reply. No need to compare me to Cheney. (0+ / 0-)

          Sheesh. Uncool.

          •  Well, I admit the Voldemort of the R's (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus, ArtSchmart

            is a harsh comparison, sorry.  But he IS the guy who said that any unlikely event (like Saddam maybe MAYBE someday nuking us) justified a drastic pre-emptive move, like invading a country that hadn't done a darn thing to us so far.  He made himself the king of the big bet on the long shot.  On exactly the grounds you offer -- that IF that long shot came true, it would be really really terrible.

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:36:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Apology accepted. I guess you stumbled on (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lgmcp

              the newest top insult: comparing someone to Cheney. I personally wouldn't have the heart to do it to anyone else, except to Cheney himself. Maybe.

              For the record, I've done what I could to oppose Bushco, as you probably have yourself; you can see how successful we were in getting Bushco out of power. Not very, it had to run its course. At the beginning of Bush's presidency, through the time it became obvious he was lying to us, I supported him only because he was the president. Now that the 46% have to similarly accept Obama, let's see if they can do as well.

              You wrote that "infinitesimally small risks are correspondingly enormous in their prevention costs".

              That is true of natural disasters and unpreventable accidents, but I maintain that it is only from the victims' perspective that the risks from terrorism are infinitesimally small. From the point-of-view of the terrorists, so long as they keep up their activities the accrual of terror is given, the certainty of it happening is 100%. So they won't stop, unless they are made to stop.

              The bad outcomes of (unpreventable) road accidents, tornados, and lightening strikes don't share this feature of terrorism, although violent crime does.

              That is the basis my disagreement with your cost/benefit risk analysis.  

              •  I grant that intentionality is a factor (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                annominous

                in terrorism and other forms of violent crime, and thus theoretically subject to deterrence or to "emboldening" (ugh).  But I still think you are overly seduced by the emotional satisfaction of moral retribution.  Prevention vs. neglect, of provision against natural disasters, isn't as juicy, and that's one of the main reasons why we don't do it ... but is 'juice' really the point, or might less death and suffering really be a more important point?

                "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                by lgmcp on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 09:27:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes you are right about the retribution part. (0+ / 0-)

                  I still want justice for 9-11, unapologetically. So your point is taken. Crimes on the scale of the 9-11 attacks, or (what some think of as the) Bushco crimes in response to 9-11 do require justice, IMO. There are a lot of kossaks here who want congressional investigations and war-crimes trials for Bushco. Why should Bushco endure a war crimes trial if OBL isn't also held accountable?

                  As an aside to your comments claiming that we limit the resources we are willing to expend to counter the ill effects of natural disasters according to the tinyness of perceived risk, that is just not true. We first-worlders can, should, and do avert as much as possible of suffering consequent to natural disasters with careful planning and construction practices, and emergency response systems. And we willingly pay the associated cost, and don't really think twice about doing so. Sometimes our system fails us (NO during Katrina) and sometimes it works (NO during the last hurricane in the area). Another example: consider the earthquake-damage-limiting construction techniques developed by the Japanese, that are in common use in earthquake-prone areas of the pacific rim in the first world these days. Another example for local-scale risks: even when just a few lives might be at stake, it is common for public works departments to re-engineer dangerous intersections (unfortunately, usally after some unacceptably large number of accidents have occurred to demonstrate the danger).

                  It is simply not the case that we don't do what we can to avert the suffering from low-risk natural disasters and other perceived dangers. Perhaps I'm mangling your original point?

          •  not mean, warranted (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, skrekk, lgmcp, Catesby, ArtSchmart

            His point about family and friends of highway crash victims is spot on.

          •  Yes, it is uncool, so maybe it will make (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lgmcp

            you think.

            Humans are capable of extraordinary things when they are afraid.

            Fear probably causes more misery on this planet than anger.

            And we, for some reason, are made more afraid by large, spectacular, but rare events than small, deadly events.

            It is why more people are afraid of flying than driving.  Because although airline crashes are far more rare, 100+ people die in one fell swoop and it makes all the tv news.

            Is it somehow worse that the victims of 9/11 were killed by foreigners than by Americans?  

            I think the families of the victims of the Oklahoma bombing would beg to differ.

            I think the wife and three small children of the man who was killed when his car went off the road on a patch of ice would beg to differ.

            All of our pain over losing a loved one is equal.  It is not multiplied by the number of people who died with them, or the particular reason for the death.

            That is why closure is such bullshit.

            And yet, you think visiting such pain on some family far away, caught in the middle, is somehow any form of justice.

      •  And your fear has turned 'terrorists' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp

        into complete bogey-men for you.  They are not human, and they have no reason.  They live to kill for the fun of it.

        I grew up with terrorism - in a real, everyday way - not like here in the US.  I was injured in a bombing, and not far away from many more.

        And I never felt the complete fear and dehumanisation of the attackers in the way that comes across in your voice.

        I am far more afraid of our fellow American citizens than I am of any terrorist.

        My mother died not because of a terrorist, but because of a lazy misdiagnosis of a doctor.  So because I should not chalk it up to a small risk because I was inconsolable for many years, we should now fight a war on malpractice?  Bomb the clinics where bad doctors kill people?

        You do need a sense of proportion.

        •  I am sorry for the loss of your mother. (0+ / 0-)

          I lost my own mom more than ten years ago, and still miss her.

          Bad doctors should be made answerable for malpractice, but all too often they are not held responsible until they have harmed a lot of people. I've had bad doctors myself ... one set left me with skin cancer for 6 years! with a series of wrong diagnoses. Lucky for me it was slow-growing, or I might not be here today to express my abhorence of terrorism.

          I'm also sorry to hear of your having been hurt in a bombing. In spite of how frightening some of our compatriots can be at times, I hope you have had, and continue to have, many long, happy and peaceful years in the US to continue in your ardent advocacy for others. Best wishes.

  •  the rationale of the diary is fatally flawed (12+ / 0-)

    in that the diarist thinks that liberals somehow aren't tough on or abhor terrorism.

    It's the Bush Admin, and Republicans in general, which fostered terrorism, and now it's up to us to clean up their mess.

    •  don't accuse me of that.. (0+ / 0-)

      if that's what you got out of the piece, you didn't read it.

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

      by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:56:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  or you didn;t communicate clearly enough (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, Alec82, ArtSchmart

        the responsibility for communication is on both the writer and the reader.

        Respond to the criticism, don't just dismiss it.

        "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

        by SteveP on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:00:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's a possibility... (0+ / 0-)

          but reading through the comments, a significant number of people clearly responded to the title and forgot to read, presuming they knew the content.

          i wrote explicitly that most of the critiques of the term 'War on Terror' are correct. i wrote that liberals who criticize the term are generally doing so from a valid historical perspective - and that the Bush administration would have been better served to have listened to these critics rather than dismissing them and waging political war on them.

          and i wrote that we would need to clean up bush's mess b/c they never came up with a coherent strategy to combat terrorism...

          which is why the commenter above who says my rationale is fatally flawed clearly didn't read significant portions of this piece.

          "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

          by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:18:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That may be (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, ArtSchmart

            But as a teacher I know that when more than one or two of my students get something wrong, it's probably me that has failed and not them.

            Maybe they couldn't get past the title. My impressions was that you dealt with enforcement whether military or legal and missed the broader point which most liberals share is that there are two parts to the equation.  One is to do something about the perpetrators, but the second and more important frankly (since no one terrorist poses an existential threat), is that of avoiding it altogether. Liberlas would mostly say that that is not to be done through "war" regardless of definition but by generally trying to make people not hate us.  Minimize the fringe people, and don't give moderates a reason to support the radicals.

            Placing the whole thing in the paradigm of how do we get the bad guys insures a perpetual "war" unless you also address the second part.

            "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

            by SteveP on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:35:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Achille Lauro (9+ / 0-)

        We had Carlos the Jackal. And before that, the SLA. The Red Brigades, Bader Meinhof - what sort of irks me is this attitude that assumes all this started on 9/11 - it did not. We have been battling terrorists ever since John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln.

        The British stopped the London Subway bombing through police work. All forestalled acts of terrorism have been halted via police and intelligence work.

        What we need is better cooperation and coordination via the world's security services. In an extreme circumstance, like the discovery of a training camp in the Bekkah Valley, something like that, we can send in a missile strike, a commando raid, sure.

        But the "war on terror" is a sham, it's a lie, and it postures us completely wrongly. We waste vast resources and overlook the real dangers. The first real step in combating terrorism is to repeal the Patriot Act. Better practices could follow.

        Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

        by The Raven on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:05:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And we had the Contras. (4+ / 0-)

          We also have the MEK, PJAK and Jundullah, all violent terrorist groups the US currently supports.  We have a huge double standard on this issue.

          Dubya's legacy: 25 million really pissed Iraqis...50 million shoes

          by skrekk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 06:04:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Americans, unfortunately, only care (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Raven

          when something happens to them.

          After having lived through the worst the IRA could throw, being financed all along by Americans with the government turning a blind eye, it really pissed me off when Americans adopted terrorism as something that happened exclusively to them because of 9/11.

          How many Americans have been arrested for funding the IRA?

          And I am an Irish-American.

          •  Not many (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Radical def

            How many Americans have been arrested for funding the IRA?

            But we also know that America was a huge source of IRA funding. That was a terrible time.

            This is exactly the point: The United States did not send an army to occupy Ireland and try to kill all the IRA. Some locals here were supportive but that wasn't our official policy. The US can deal with terrorism as it always has does.

            Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

            by The Raven on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 07:27:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Nonsense (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theDamascus

      It's the Bush Admin, and Republicans in general, which fostered terrorism, and now it's up to us to clean up their mess.

      Terrorism was around long before Bush was born.

      I agree they screwed up big time, but Republicans had nothing to do with 9/11.

      Google "Hebron massacre 1929" for an example of Arab terrorism from before most of our parents were born.

  •  Bombs by either side kill people (8+ / 0-)

    No matter what you want to call it.

    If we count the number of bombs that have exploded and killed innocent civilians then the United States is the biggest terrorist in the world.

    Are you sure that's want you wantto embrace.

    Stupid. Breakfast of Republicans.

    by You Get What You Deserve on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:45:48 PM PST

    •  Now we're getting somewhere (0+ / 0-)

      I'll always use the "Defensive action" question in these circumstances.  Does that comparison still hold if its a reactive action to a prior attack/violent action?  I would argue no.

      If we were to remove those deaths the U.S., while possibilly still in the lead would have a closer call than just using your tes.

      "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

      by Mister Gloom on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:49:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The US is still in the lead - by far - without (0+ / 0-)

        even listing "defensive actions".  We sponsor terrorism directly: the Contras in the 1980s, and the MEK, PJAK and Jundullah against Iran today.  That's not even including the death squads we like to support.

        Dubya's legacy: 25 million really pissed Iraqis...50 million shoes

        by skrekk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 06:09:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hey! Let's declare a WAR ON BOMBS! (0+ / 0-)

      That is a pretty good equivalent of "War on Terror" as both are tools and a tactic. I suppose those bombs will have a problem signing a surrender document so the war can go on and on and on with no real goal in sight.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:45:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I do not follow right-wing definitons of reality (15+ / 0-)

    Even former combat generals think that the notion of a "war on terror" is almost naturally simplistic.

    •  Or to put my old pastor's spin on things... (7+ / 0-)

      .."The whole climate is one of fear, fear, fear.  This fear is making us do things as a country that we will likely someday regret."

      This had a point then and I'd argue it still does as the paradigm of a "war on terror" naturally is one of such high level that it leads to fear and some of the worst abuses of the Bush Presidency (my pastor was making it more general, and possibly tap dancing a bit fast to avoid the issue that that Episcopal church faced a couple years ago).

      "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

      by Mister Gloom on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:51:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not actually sure (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Radical def

      that the "even" is necessary.  There's a reason it's called "unconventional warfare" (or asymmetric) -- because it's not army vs. army war, and it's not what the traditional military is good at.  Arguably portions of the military should be better at this type of thing, but that's why we have Special Operations Command.  

      But it seems almost like Afghanistan wasn't sexy enough because we could have pulled it off ("it" being detaining or killing Osama and disrupting Al Qaeda and the Taliban, both of which were and, sadly, remain meritorious) with a few thousand special ops operators and CIA agents... I honestly think they wanted something bigger, sexier.  So they got their blitzkrieg, their video of tracers firing over the city skyline...

      Someone is wrong on the Internet! To the Kosmobile!

      by socratic on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:45:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The war paradigm is the problem (17+ / 0-)

    i could not disagree more with what you have written. Taking a silly metaphor "war on terror" and giving it legal meaning by distoring the international laws of armed conflict is the single greatest undermining of the rule of law that BUSHCO has produced.  
    Terrorists conducting their activities are criminals and not combatants.
    persons who commit what would normally be terror acts in an armed conflict are war criminals, not terrorits.
    There are perfectly functioning legal regimes to deal with both categories.  the only reason for the conflation is to avoid being restrained by any rules and normative principles.  The inevitable resutl:  prolonged arbitrary and indefinite detention, unfair trials, abductions and disappearances, extrajudicial (or "targeted") killings, etc.

    "No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it."- Franz Kafka, "Before the Law"

    by normal family on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:48:01 PM PST

  •  this is unlikely (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RaulVB, skrekk, haruki, SteveP, Alec82

    I'm sure this diary will be controversial in all the ways I don't intend it to be

    Unless you mean that people will engage in heated debate about what you're getting at, because you didn't make any kind of definite point.

    You say that "liberals" need to embrace the war on terror and that a "law enforcement approach" didn't suffice, then qualified that you believed in the rule of law.

    Just what are you saying here?

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:48:28 PM PST

  •  Is it true you wrote this whole thing without (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandbox

    mentioning Islam?  Sun Tzu might have brought it up in passing.  

  •  One Dosn't 'Embrace' (6+ / 0-)

    A Criminal Act, and that's what 'Terrorism' always has been and will continue!!

    The previous administration should have followed that Fact, especially after 9/11 and Countries around the World were more than willing to open up their intelligence and more to Help Combat the Criminal Element of World Terror, which has existed for decades!!

    We also could have helped minimize it decades ago except it Happened 'Over There', even when it occurred to our 'Own Interests' or 'Citizens' 'over there'!!

    Now we've created the possibility of tens of thousands more who may be searching for ways to Retaliate for that which we've done!!!!

    "How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans."

    by jimstaro on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:50:46 PM PST

  •  I got your War on Terrorism: (10+ / 0-)

    Reverse the decades-long foreign policy that creates terrorists. Stop being an enemy to the world, and the world's citizens will stop hating and attacking the USofA.

    War on Terrorism won  . . . without a single shot being fired.

    Your diary is extremely misguided.

    •  I doubt that.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theDamascus

      .If we remotely provide aid to governments that oppose Islamic law, or any country ever refuses to allow a province to seperate from the country as a whole (Basque, Chechnya, etc.) and a few other things.

      What your suggesting would seriously reduce it.  But terrorism as a whole will still be with the world (maybe almost none of it directed at us, but still existent).  

      "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

      by Mister Gloom on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:59:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think there's a canard in their (5+ / 0-)

        I think we conflate rhetoric with reality as regards "islamic law" very few people hold the extreme versions of islamic law.  The problem is not that there are such people but that we empower the radicals by radicalizing the moderates through our actions.  

        Islamic law is such a minor issue it is hardly worth even thinking about except as a modality of a small corner of the problem.

        "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

        by SteveP on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:04:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That would be They're...or There..or (0+ / 0-)

          Just came from a Keith Moon I-P fest...forgive me

          "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

          by SteveP on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:26:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not a minor issue (0+ / 0-)

          otherwise Arab Muslims would not have a problem with the concept of a Jewish state in Palestine.

          •  A) that's not an "Islamic Law" issue (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Radical def

            and B) part of the problem is that any people will have a problem with being moved off their land by force - religion has very little to do with it.

            Cue - Horowitzian islamofascism response.

            "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

            by SteveP on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 07:11:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Islamic Law holds that no non-moslem state can (0+ / 0-)

              exist in a formerly moslem land.  Remember when OBL said that he wanted to make Spain muslim again.? He wasn't kidding.

              •  Well: (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                skrekk, SteveP

                A lot of good Bin Laden did in calling for that. Bin Laden's version of Islam is so fringe that most Muslims ignore it -- that is how ineffective that call was. And Muslims around the world nearly universally condemned the 9/11 attacks, even some of the ones who fought against our troops in Lebanon when Reagan was President.

                •  yep, I'm not speaking about sandbox here (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Eternal Hope

                  but it just makes me sick that on this blog of all places we have so much anti-Islam bigotry.

                  I know little enough about the religion, but I own a copy of Google and some tubes ;-), and I can look things up.  And I know that anything that Horowitz, or Bush or Netanyahu says in regards to Islam needs to be verified before I'll put two mgs of credence into it.

                  In a country with as many religious kooks as we have that we can't put bin Laden in the correct context is shameful.

                  "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

                  by SteveP on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 09:29:44 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I suppose you are prepared to cite that law (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                skrekk

                that says that?

                And then after that I suppose you are going to explain to me that it really is Islamic law that is the operation thing here. UBL is not an example, he hasn't taken over Spain or even tried. So, what example can you give me wherein that principle has ever been put into practice?  The we'll see whether that example is because of Islamic Law or some other reason.

                Islamic "law" is merely an excuse for some acts. The sooner people realize that the sooner they will satrt to find solutions.  The danger of being deluded is not that people are wrong.  It's that they act out of those delusions and then are surprised whn it doesn't help. W did this a LOT.

                "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

                by SteveP on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 07:26:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  How about : (4+ / 0-)

    The Struggle for Peace

    "Attempting to debate with a person who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine

    by liberalconservative on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:54:59 PM PST

  •  Sorry diarist, (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RaulVB, corvo, skrekk, limpidglass, SteveP, edtastic

    but all I got from this diary was "blah, blah, blah... look how original my simpleminded logic is, blah, blah, blah..."

  •  Wars? OMG. They've pluralized. (7+ / 0-)

    Hello.  We got rid of Bush and the Bushbots for a reason.  

    There are other ways to cope with this.  

    Sit down.  Think.  Try to understand.  

    The one who kills the most of whomever happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time does not win.    

    I can't make it any simpler.  Or any saner.  Try to understand.

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:57:13 PM PST

  •  War ON or War AGAINST Terrorism (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RaulVB, corvo, rhetoricus, pelagicray

    is too broad a term and really describes nothing.  Dealing with our opponents requires more specificity.  There are two very different opponents, just as a for instance, in Afghanistan and Pakistan and two very different operations.  We simply cannot win a war against the Taliban and we have no real interest in staying there long term.  The CIA is best suited to dealing, long term, with Afganistan and Pakistan.  Afganistan will end up being an intelligence war, as it should be.  Al Queda really has pretty much been defanged. Our interest is in making sure it remains so and that no groups is able to replace it.  

    National interest must be a serious concern for the USA but we need to make sure we don't raise holy ghosts that simply dig us into positions that are not useful to us.  

    The truth about John McCain's Keating Cheating

    by tikkun on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:57:26 PM PST

  •  Bush (the empty puppet) used the 911 attack... (9+ / 0-)

    to manipulate the citizens and their representatives of our country.

    The war he declared was against our own government, against his own people.

    He named it the "war on terror" to disguise the fact that his actions were themselves acts of terror.

    The response should have been (morally and ethically,  IMHO) one of sudden cooperation (treaties) in international police investigation and arrest.  Innocent citizens and the infrastructure of two countries would have been unharmed, and the supporters of terrorist acts would have been implacably pursued.

    The military is for destruction, of life and property, it has no other function.

    Terror is a human emotion, stimulated by psychotic idiots like Bush and Osama Bin Laden.  They want people to be afraid because they are so frightened themselves.

    The idea that the military can stop "terrorism" is absolutely and completely absurd, it is like running to heal a broken leg.  

    A million + dead in Iraq by our hand.

    by rubine on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 04:57:35 PM PST

  •  So, You Like the New Rebublic (10+ / 0-)

    ....and don't understand that what you're selling is nothing more or less than neo-liberal/neo-conservative Judeo-Christian bigotry.

    Was there something else?

  •  I say we start a War on Wars (11+ / 0-)

    No more wars.

    Howzzat?

    William Casey "We will know that we have succeeded when everything the public believes is false"

    by Inky99 on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:01:13 PM PST

  •  Those who trade freedom for security deserve ... (10+ / 0-)

    Ben Franklin nailed that one. We don't need a war on terror and we will never be safe so get over it. 20,000 people die each year due to gun violence. The fact terrorism can be used as a political weapon is a product of our poor leadership and not he effectiveness of terrorism. If a mere terrorist attack can bring down America then we are in fact a weak minded weak kneed nation on the verge of collapse. We need to teach the people courage in the face of adversity instead of fear. We don't need to give up our rights or double the size of the military. Basically bad things will happen from time to time and we need to learn to get over it.

  •  What exactly is the mission (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RaulVB, corvo

    or end point of such a war i.e. when do we (or they) actually declare victory.

  •  Waging war on a terrorist network is like (9+ / 0-)

    waging war against moles in your lawn, Caddy Shack style. Why do you think BushCo invaded Iraq? Yeah, okay, there's the oil and Shrub's inferiority complex. But the main reason was that they had whipped the country into a war frenzy which was working very well for them politically, except after occupying Afghanistan and chasing the Taliban from power they were rapidly running out of targets. You can wage war on countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, but you can't wage war on Al Qaeda. So Shrub invaded Iraq in hopes of keeping people too distracted and geographically challenged to notice. And Bush's wars have been an incredible boon to Qaeda.

    An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz (cskendrick)

    by brainwave on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:04:45 PM PST

  •  Thanks. But I'd prefer not to give anyone (8+ / 0-)

    any sort of grievance for which they feel they must attack me. Remove the cause of the grievance, remove the attacks on me.

    Terrorism by non-state actors is best met with police actions rather than military force. Because terrorism is not something that can be fought with military means - you get into the whole problems of asymmetric warfare. The War on Terror is essentially misconceived and has not been succeeding as a result. What we need is a lot more talking with our mouths and a lot less talking with the end of gun.

    War results from human failure on both sides. I don't want to see failures enshrined into policy.

    •  No shit it hasn't been succeeding (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skrekk, Fire bad tree pretty

      Bin Laden said his goal was to bankrupt the US, and look at where we are.

      Amazing for someone with a couple of box-cutters and airline tickets who lives in a mountainous desert.

      •  Well he has been ably assisted by the utter (0+ / 0-)

        idiocy of the Bush Administration and their compatriots (ie fellow village idiots) in Congress and the financial sector. But unfortunately we can't lay the blame for that on bin Laden. All accounts show Bush wanting to find any excuse to go into Iraq and the financial sector was overtaken by its own greed, utterly destroying itself.

        But I'm sure bin Laden is getting all the news reports and is very pleased by what he has wrought.

  •  That feels half thought through (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catesby, drbloodaxe, Radical def

    as it stands.

    Just what is different about Al Qaeda terrorism?  You rely on paranoid supposition, aka "argument by paranoia", to somehow propose that it differs greatly from archetype.  Why not try harder to articulate and argue specifically what is fundamentally different and unmanageable about it?

    The "War On Terror" of the Bush Administration is a gussied up way of talking about the general method that white Settlers used in the aftermath of Indian raids to destroy those Indians and their tribes.  E.g. hot pursuit that fails, an expedition to the homeland, reliance on traitors and turncoats, not distinguishing friendly and hostile Indians, planting a fort in the middle of the hostile tribes territory that becomes a center for destructive raids and death after capture, all that.  It is in practice more a destruction of people considered savages and enemies on grounds of race and culture and being rightful inhabitants of the land than anything else.

    No doubt a serious, and in part violent, effort must be made to extinguish Al Qaeda as a force.  But terrorist groups exist because of political grievances, and they tend to end with the end or settling of the political problem involved.  Al Qaeda's driving grievance has to do with misplacing of American troops and misplaced American interests and actions in the Middle East.

    There are more complicated elements in the game, mostly the problem of Modernity reaching the Middle East and being not quite settled in Europe and North America.  

    It should also be pointed out that there is a consistent Democratic and Republican pattern to terrorism perpetrated against Americans.  During Democratic Presidencies the problematic violence is generally domestic, involving American right wing extremists killing American civilians.  Foreign terrorist groups generally see American government acting to solve their problems during Democratic periods and cut down their attacks.  During Republican Presidencies there is usually a problem with foreign terrorists while the domestic kind is dormant.  Because Republican Administrations tend to insult foreigners and be part of the problems elsewhere in the world, yet let domestic right wing extremists avoid prosecution for minor offenses and throw them political bones.

    We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. Martin Luther King Jr.

    by killjoy on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:13:33 PM PST

  •  nukes against gnats (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RaulVB, drbloodaxe

    sledgehammers against Brazil nuts

    metaphors be with you, but sometimes metaphors are against you

  •  So delusional! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RaulVB, corvo, SheriffBart, drbloodaxe

    There is no such thing as "terrorism". Terrorism is just an attitude, a willingness to terrorize to accomplish political goals.

    The diary assumes that there is a definable class of people who are "terrorists", sharing common goals and tactics. There are many violent confrontations in the world. Most are internal to a nation, some involve several or many nations. None are truly global.

    Even the definition of "terrorism" is elusive. Frankly, none of existing conflicts involves WMDs at present. "Terrorists" could easily use biological weapons just by getting some of their people sick with a nasty virus and slipping them, into populated areas. Our water supplies are not secured at all. They don't do that. Nerve agents have rarely been used. Instead, the actions seemed designed for massive local events that will draw maximum media attention.

    We can't fight tactics. We must recognize each conflict individually with some casual connections in some cases. We need to identify our "enemies" and deal with the threats we recognize. We must reject the false GOP entity of "Terrorism" and thus I reject the argument of this diary.

    Is it not written "A lot goes on we don't know about"? (Lu Tze)

    by MakeChessNotWar on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:21:34 PM PST

    •  How would you label it and what would you do? (0+ / 0-)

      It's better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

      by thestructureguy on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:36:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fair enough! (0+ / 0-)

        I would categorize by threat (domestic, American interests abroad, international urban threats, global (WMD) threat. Of course some clever names would be needed. I would not use the word "terrorist". I would accept "barbarian" to describe enemies who place no value on civilian lives, especially children.

        Usually enemies are identified: Al Qaeda, Somali pirates, Taliban, etc. Separate fights should not be mixed. That's the Bushian lie. It may be that some individual groups collaborate, but there is no "International Terrorist Conspiracy"

        I suggest that more people are killed each year by barbaric actions that are in no way connected to Al Qaeda or radical Islamists. Rwanda, Darfur, Congo, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Russia -- there are problem spots all over the globe. Many counties have a "Mafia" that uses "terrorist" tactics.

        Each "enemy" requires a dedicated intelligence task force, backed up with military force when necessary, but generally working within existing laws and jurisdictions. Police action is the right eay to go. Why treat them differently than other dangerous killers?

        Above all, our leadership must try to reduce the number of enemies. Religious fanatics are always a problem, but cults have been dealt with in the past, though they now can be politically dangerous even if they don't commit murder and rape.

        I'm not opposed to using the military when needed. But it must always be a last resort. Killing folks doesn't make friends.

        Is it not written "A lot goes on we don't know about"? (Lu Tze)

        by MakeChessNotWar on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 06:45:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK, how about this (0+ / 0-)

          In approximately 1974 (I can't quite remember), a bomb went off in a square in Holland Park, London.

          The purpose of the bomb was to kill an MP who lived there, however it was known that a large number of schoolchildren passed through that square at that time in order to get to Holland Park Comprehensive School.

          Luckily no one was killed, except for a dog.  But a number of children were injured, myself included.

          This act was financed by Americans.

          Now, I am torn, because I have always found the Irish cause to be just, it just pisses you off when you get blown up.  In England.  With the surname of O'Brien.  And you have to face your schoolmates.

          But the American government has never arrested anyone in the US for financing the IRA.

          Therefore we, as American, who knew what went on, place no value on children's lives, and therefore we are barbarians.

          So now what?

          •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

            We have done barbaric things throughout our history. We have backed he wrong side and done dirty deeds. We are supplying weapons used to slaughter children, and have murdered many civilians. It is a big flaw, but Americans can improve. We've eliminated slavery and have achieved some civil rights. But we regress easily as during the Bush regime. Now I hope we move back into the positive with Obama.

            Is it not written "There's a lot goes on we don't get told."? (Lu Tze)

            by MakeChessNotWar on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:03:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  virtually everything you wrote... (0+ / 0-)

          but not quite, i agree with...

          "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

          by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:28:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  How to end the war on terror: (6+ / 0-)

    --Facilitate a two-state I/P peace.

    --Get our war bases out of Muslim holy lands.

    --Help Middle East countries establish safety and infrastructure

    --Stop bombing them

    --Stop trying to control their oil and natural gas. In fact, stop buying it

    --Allow the heroin trade to be shut down, instead of facilitating it and secretly profiting from it

    --Step up defense and security on our own soil

    --Take our ports back from Dubai

    --Get out of bed with Saudi Arabia

    ..fundamentalist Islam is a recruiting tool and a focus, but it's not the reason for the terrorism. The reasons for terrorism is "blowback" from our shitty foreign policy.

    How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

    by rhetoricus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:22:37 PM PST

    •  wow (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't realize it was so simple

      •  Actually, it really is (0+ / 0-)

        ..but there's so much money to be made from war, occupation, resource-stealing, chaos and heroin.

        Peace is just not lucrative for outfits like Blackwater, Triton, Halliburton, UNICAL, Shell, etc.

        How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

        by rhetoricus on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 09:13:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  In other words meet their demand? n/t (0+ / 0-)

      It's better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

      by thestructureguy on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:38:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps you could tell us (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skrekk, sandbox

        precisely which of those demands are unreasonable.

        Might be a couple, for sure, but just because they're demands of The Terrorists does not necessarily mean they're depraved demands.

        •  Well one of their demands is that our (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          charliehall

          leaders convert to Islam. I remember OBL in one of his tapes offerring GW Bush the opportunity to convert to Islam. I think that is unreasonable.

          •  Fair enough, although I was thinking more about (0+ / 0-)

            the nine points rhetoricus pointed out that were immediately dismissed by thestructureguy as the demands of terrorists.

            •  I've got no problem with the list as long as you (0+ / 0-)

              agree we are meeting their demands and violence has worked.  

              It's better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

              by thestructureguy on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 07:12:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ah, so if they have a legitimate demand (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Radical def

                we should still not honor it, just because they made it?

                •  Are demands legitimate with a gun (0+ / 0-)

                  to your head?  If so then if we point the gun, which we've been doing and demanding they do what we want aren't are demands just as legitimate?  There is no easy answer. I'm anxious to see how Obama handles all this.  If he maintains the current level of activity as far as our influence we exert then that is the US policy and I have to stop blaming Bush.  Damn it.

                  It's better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

                  by thestructureguy on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:51:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There are no easy answers (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rhetoricus

                    but there are better answers than yours.

                    For instance: "Okay, terrorists, you want X?  Okay, we'll do X, but you have to submit yourselves to an international tribunal to answer for your terrorist acts."

                    •  And us? (0+ / 0-)

                      ..will leaders in the US who authorized rendition, torture, unprovoked invasion, the use of white phosphorus on civilians.. will they be made to answer for their terrorist acts?

                      How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

                      by rhetoricus on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 09:15:59 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, the answer IS easy (0+ / 0-)

                    And the "gun" is resistance fighting. Invade, occupy, abuse and steal resources from nations, you're going to be fought back against. But make no mistake, it's a COUNTER attack. The methods are horrible (because they target economic civilian targets as well as military), but we've killed, maimed, tortured, displaced and disenfranchised a HELL of a lot more of their civilians.

                    How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

                    by rhetoricus on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 08:48:04 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  And Hamas will not accept a Jewish state (0+ / 0-)

            so there goes the first point

            •  And Likud won't accept a Palestinian state. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rhetoricus

              That's one of the main tenets of Likud's party platform, but you'll never hear that mentioned in the US media:

              The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.

              The 1988 charter of Hamas has been superseded by more recent documents, and you'll never hear about that either.

              Dubya's legacy: 25 million really pissed Iraqis...50 million shoes

              by skrekk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 09:32:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  So the hell what? (0+ / 0-)

              That doesn't change the moral necessity to create a 2-state solution.

              Once there is a fair and secure 2-state solution, Hamas will find itself awfully lonely, and many Palestinians will turn on them. They will be frail enough to be dealt with by intelligence and police action.

              How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

              by rhetoricus on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 08:49:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, NONSENSE (0+ / 0-)

            If the political and foreign policy abuses and occupations ended, and if we STOPPED buying their oil and their gas, there would not be the recruitment levels, money or impetus for terror that blowback generates. It doesn't matter what they say they demand.

            How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

            by rhetoricus on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 08:45:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Bush did it (0+ / 0-)

        bin Laden threatened more terrorism until the US closed the Bin Sultan air base in Saudi Arabia.

        Shortly after 9/11, W did just that.

        Unfortunately, he also invaded an unarmed Arab nation on the basis of fabricated evidence, upset the Taliban and restored the heroin trade, and started torturing and rendering people. Not good international PR.

        How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

        by rhetoricus on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 08:42:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Might as well declare war on anger. (9+ / 0-)

    Or on bad taste, or on obesity.

    Al-Qaeda was a largely discredited lunatic fringe group until 9/11; they were then briefly the most despised human beings on the planet...until the unholy cabal of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld stepped in.

    By falsely declaring this criminal atrocity to be an 'act of war', then invading a country totally unrelated to the crime, Bush et al virtually overnight validated Bin-Laden and granted Al-Qaeda utterly undeserved importance.

    Everything since then has merely worsened the disaster; Abu Ghraib drove tens of thousands of outraged Muslims to join the Jihad. Mindless support for the dictator Musharraf has destabilized Pakistan, turning a crime into potential nuclear terrorism.

    At every step of the way, the total mischaracterization of a criminal atrocity as "war" has made things vastly worse. You're suggesting we buy into this delusion.

    No sale, friend.

  •  reorganize the world? (6+ / 0-)

    You characterized the 9-11 attacks as involving "a long-term strategic plan to reorganize the world".

    I don't agree with that assessment.  To me it sounds almost as hollow as "they hate freedom".  (I said almost!)

    Maybe we should just accept what Osama said were the reasons behind the attacks: US troops in Saudi Arabia and US countenance of Israel's persecution of Palestinians.  Maybe there were other motives, but I have yet to hear a good argument for one.

    •  that's part of osama's (0+ / 0-)

      list of grievances - but his long-term plan is to draw the us into wars in the middle east bankrupting us, uniting the muslim world against us and to create a caliphate united them. as a side bonus, he can undermine our way of life - which is dependent on free borders, transparency, open markets, etc...

      this is what he says and has said...

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

      by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:30:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can you source any of that (0+ / 0-)

        I can see the "drawing us into wars", but that seems to me to be more of a tactic than a motive.

        Of course he wants to bankrupt us.  And we want to bankrupt him.  Kind of interesting that it looks like he may be winning.

        Uniting the Muslim world?  Yep, you are exactly right on that.  What's the point?

        Against us?  You are right again, but who else has troops in their "holy land"?  And who else supports a country that is committing horrors against a large number of innocent civilians in the area?

        Create a caliphate?  You are probably right in that too, and it is in this point where I think your argument has some real merit.  The caliphate envisioned is, in my humble opinion, evil.  I was aware and concerned about the Taliban long before "9-11".  I thought "we" should do something, but I didn't know what.

        But the question resolves down to what do we do NOW?  Obviously, that's not easy.  I totally, TOTALLY, disagree with your premise about embracing the GWOT.

        On the other hand, your diary is well written, and I respect your point of view. It was brave of you to express it!  It has one of the most cogent summaries of the arguments against GWOT that I have ever read!

        While I respectfully disagree, THANK YOU!

        •  The notion of a caliphate is an absurd pipe-dream (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ImpactAv

          and has no significant support anywhere in the world.  It's a recruiting slogan.  It's not a reason to attack the US, and certainly nothing the US should fear.  Bin Laden has explicitly stated that it is what we do to them that provokes a response...otherwise, why not attack Sweden?

          Dubya's legacy: 25 million really pissed Iraqis...50 million shoes

          by skrekk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 09:40:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  YES! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skrekk

            They hate us because of what we do!

            The "terrorists" aren't nearly as concerned with all this philosophical bullshit as we are.  If you could find one, even at Gitmo, and asked him if he hated "freedom" is there any question at all as to what answer you would get?

            If you ask why do you hate us, they will say because we kill them.  We kill them!  We kill their family, their children, their loved ones, and they hate us for it.  This ain't rocket science!

            Is there really any serious dispute about this?

            •  Here's a link: (0+ / 0-)

              Sweden

              Oh American people, my talk to you is about the best way to avoid another Manhattan, about the war, its causes, and results.

              Security is an important pillar of human life. Free people do not relinquish their security. This is contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom.

              Let him tell us why we did not strike Sweden, for example. It is known that those who hate freedom do not have proud souls, like the souls of the 19 people [killed while perpetrating the 11 September 2001 attacks], may God have mercy on them.

              We fought you because we are free and do not accept injustice. We want to restore freedom to our nation. Just as you waste our security, we will waste your security.

              Michael Scheuer, the first head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit, has said this as well.

              What's funny about all this is that Bin Laden has been very open about his goals, but it gets suppressed by the US government and media.  Rarely do his full statements get any airtime, unless you look at Al-Jazeera.  I have two books of Bin Laden's collected statements, and I can guarantee that most of the public has never seen any of it.  Far better to demonize our enemy than to try to understand his motives, no?

              Dubya's legacy: 25 million really pissed Iraqis...50 million shoes

              by skrekk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 10:24:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  It's Not a War. There's Nobody Who Could Surrendr (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hornito, corvo

    There's virtually no infrastructure to destroy to force surrender.

    There's no mass of enemy troops that can be killed or captured in numbers that would force surrender.

    There's rarely any military mission and almost never a need for massed military action.

    We could cut defense spending 75% and yet fight terrorism more effectively. That would not be true for any military enemy.

    It's not a war.

    It's still not a war.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:29:42 PM PST

  •  wars? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catesby

    there is more than one war on terriosm? and tell me again how you can have a war on a noun? and will it be just as "succesful" as the other war on nouns such as war on drugs and poverty?

    http://politicz.wordpress.com/

    by GlowNZ on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:31:54 PM PST

  •  I read a lot of critiszm but very little on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    charliehall

    suggestions on how to proceed.  

    It's better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    by thestructureguy on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:34:33 PM PST

    •  Don't expect any (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theDamascus

      too many commenters here figure that people who promote terrorism can be reasoned with.

      •  Well, the IRA was once considered terrorist. (0+ / 0-)

        As were we.

      •  You're an imbecile (0+ / 0-)

        The notion of a war on terrorism plays right into the hands of terrorists. What we've done is we've made terrorists into Robin Hood figures in the minds of moderate and mainstream Muslims. These are the important people. If we isolated the terrorists, rather than taking a military approach, mainstream and moderate Muslims would be far more likely to help us. But our military "solution" has made that very difficult, if not impossible.

      •  Charlie .. (0+ / 0-)

        Rabin shook Arafat's hand,  .. and it wasn't a Palestinian that shot Rabin, either.

        Yes .. right now, this minute there's no one in Hamas that is worth talking to, or in Hezbollah, either.

        But just remember, there was a time when no one wanted to talk with Arafat, either. Abbas and the PA are Arafat's people.

        Just keep that in mind.

        The Republican Party has died, Raptured, and has Risen Again as the Obstructionist Party

        by shpilk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 11:05:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We should never embrace war (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, corvo, skrekk, Radical def

    We should defend ourselves with a heavy heart that violence is necessary only after other options have been exhausted. There is no great cause that justifies the slaughter of innocents. There is no great cause that justifies the deaths of our most committed young people. There is no cause that justifies preemptive war.

    The only reason to fight is for self-defense. We are not there yet. The threats we face can be dealt with by criminal investigations and our justice system. The British have had success by using Scotland Yard. If numbers of deaths are the imperative, why are we not excoriating auto-makers--we have over 40,000 deaths a year on highways. Over the time since 9/11, seven years, that is 280,000 dead. Is terrorism a threat on that scale?

    I am sick of this whole tired chicken-little argument. We face a bigger threat from our health care system than we do from terrorism, we face a bigger threat from the collapse of our financial system from greed that results in destitute seniors than we do from terrorism. We have no personal security in our lives unless we are rich and the terrorists have nothing to do with that.

    Screw the big military build-up. Provide me with some universal health insurance and I will take my chances on the terrorists. I'm more likely to get struck by lightning.

    Yes we did, yes we will. President Obama

    by marketgeek on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:37:18 PM PST

  •  The very use of that term demonstrates faulty (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, corvo, skrekk, sandbox

    thinking bordering on idiocy.

    Terrorism is a technique, a tactic used by weaker opponents of some power. As has been stated many times by people with some sense, often military, one may as well declare a

    War on:

    bombs
    flanking maneuvers
    frontal attacks
    retreats

    Such massive misidentification of the issue and continued muddy thinking as a result has cost us and should be counted as one of the Bush administrations major blunder.

    Aside from declaring war on a tactic the whole "war" thing is misguided. Those that use terror swim in the sea of the general populations. By bringing war to them you bring war to the general population with the result you multiply your enemies. Bush did have considerable success there!

    We need to stop this shithead--and I mean that literally in the sense those brains must be full of it--type of thinking.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:37:33 PM PST

    •  The terrorists who attacked us on 911, the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      charliehall

      London subway suicide bombers, the Madrid Train bombers, the Mumbai massacres of a few weeks ago, the Bali nightclub, the Belsen children's murders in Russia, the suicide bombings in Isreal, and on and on and on...........The terrorists are self identified radical islamists or jihadis.  We know this because they tell us so in their videos, websites, speeches.  I believe them. We don't have to be so politically corrent in discussing the topic.

      •  Bullshit. Nothing PC about noting the misguided (0+ / 0-)

        "War on a weapon" idiocy. Anyone with an ounce of military sense knows the misidentification of a target or threat is a major weak spot liable to serious blowback and even defeat. Bush and all the "anti terror" chorus perpetuating this crap is adding to the diversion and weakness.

        The target is either an individual or group applying the weapon of terror. Since this is not "state terrorism" general war is stupid for reasons given. No anti insurgency or similar effort, short of the old technique of absolute extermination, has won by carrying war to the general population within which users of the terror weapon operate. In fact, it is a recognized method of losing. As a matter of well established fact the entire technique of terror is intended to goad a stronger enemy into falling into a trap of reacting in a way that multiplies enemies.

        I suggest you study history, specifically military and political history, on this topic. As a start you might begin with The Lasting Challenge: A Strategy for Counterterrorism and Asymmetric Warfare.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 06:53:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There has been, and always will be terrorists. (0+ / 0-)

    You cannot win a war against 'Terror'.
    Period.

    You work towards a world where people do not adopt violence as a solution to problem they perceive themselves to have.  

    The very term 'War On Terror' is an oxymoron. Randi Rhodes said it best, it's like declaring a 'War on Sadness'.

    Should we do our utmost to protect innocent citizens against the acts of lunatics and extremists? Absolutely.

    That's not a war.
    That's common sense.

    The real reason for the GWOT is that there's no longer a Soviet Union or Communist China to spend trillions on each year to threaten.

    The real reason we use violence to impose our foreign policies on others is that we already have the weapons, already train the soldiers and it would [supposedly] be a death knell to the economy to stop building bombs and planes and tanks and guns.

    The Republican Party has died, Raptured, and has Risen Again as the Obstructionist Party

    by shpilk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:41:30 PM PST

  •  You quote (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    metal prophet

    If you know yourself but not the enemy,
    for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.

    And yet, you did not show the slightest spark in this diary of attempting to know the enemy.

    All you discuss is how their tactics are different from traditional enemies, and how you think we should approach that.

    But not one word of insight into what you think inspires them.

    Leaders of violent groups, whether they be armies or terrorists, are sometimes idealists, sometimes just in it for power.  But that's not extremely helpful knowledge.  Killing these people is fairly useless, as a replacement will always be found.

    But you need to understand why ordinary people follow them.  Without these people, the leaders have no power.  And that applies equally to Bin Laden, Hamas or the US.

    You cannot defeat any group by killing as long as they have enough of the population willing to support them.  Killing innocents only worsens the problem by creating an additional incentive for ordinary people to hate us.  I met an ex-Marine who absolutely HATED Iraqis because they killed his fellow soldiers.  Even though he didn't know anyone personally who had been killed.  So imagine if it was your brother.

    So you have to truly understand, and work to fix, why the general population supports a particular enemy.  Like I always say in regards to Hamas - the right thing needs to be done for the Palestinian people in spite of what Hamas, or other countries have done.  Because if they are content, no one is going to be able to drag them into a useless fight or get them to vote in a violent political party.  See N Ireland.

    The same thing hold for those Muslims that support Al Qaeda.  Have you looked into what their beef is with the United States?  How much is real, how much is propaganda?  What can we do to genuinely change their minds, instead of just dishing out more propaganda, which just insults people's intelligence?

    Or do we truly believe these people hate our guts for absolutely no good reason?

    This is what we need to completely understand in order to 'win' - not the best method for killing.

    •  i can't do everything (0+ / 0-)

      in one post - but i have put a lot of thought into that issue. i don't think the hatred of america is as simple as you portray it - or as bush did, saying, 'they hate us for our freedom.'

      they hate us for historical reasons; they hate us because we are the single most powerful protector of the status quo in the world and they hate the status quo; they hate the creeping effects of globalization which undermines their religious beliefs (not Islam, but radical islamism); etcetera.

      but we must also understand ourselves and our vulnerability and realize that people are at war with us whether we accept that we are at war or not...

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

      by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:34:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And here is where you fail (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk

    I'm not saying that law enforcement is not part of the Wars Against Terrorism; I'm just saying that law enforcement alone is not sufficient to tackle the challenge of terrorism.

    1. I disagree.
    1. Then fix it.

    The War on Terror is and always has been a distortion.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:53:30 PM PST

  •  Actually, for the most part, liberals (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Martha, charliehall

    do embrace war -- whether against terror or anything else.  Hell, Obama wants to intensify the war in Afghanistan, and he just bombed Pakistan a couple of days ago.

    It's the occasional progressive who isn't much interested in embracing your wars.

    •  FDR embraced WW2 (0+ / 0-)

      Truman embraced the Korean War

      Johnson embraced the Vietnam War

      all liberals

      •  Tally sheet - all three States/Countries (0+ / 0-)

        1st one .. a war against 3 countries espousing rank evil as policy, which had the power to take over the world.

        2nd one .. a proxy civil war, involving two dictatorships who were very powerful [Russia and China], working through yet another country, North Korea. The result was a holding action, which to this very day is still not ended.  

        3rd one .. another proxy civil war, but unlike Korea it was weakly held.

        The GWOT is a 'war' against non-State forces operating in areas where there is no government. There's no civil war taking place, and while there is the requisite 'evil', there's no State, either. It's a police action, not a war action.

        The Republican Party has died, Raptured, and has Risen Again as the Obstructionist Party

        by shpilk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 11:18:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  i never said (0+ / 0-)

      that liberals don't embrace war.

      i'm a huge obama fan. i campaigned for him, raised money for him, etc. i thought he made the most sense on the issue of terrorism.

      which is why in the piece i generally referred to liberals who object to the term 'war on terror' rather than liberals in general. i could have used the term progressive in there, but i didn't want to muddy the waters too much.

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

      by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:36:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  poster = neocon troll (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    metal prophet

    How telling that this diarist relies on Phillip Bobbitt, an NSC spook under Bush, Henry Kissinger's favorite philosopher, and a guy whose writings have the familiar stink of neoconservative contempt for international law.

    Here is a link to a Bobbit article from 2004 ("The Iraq War was the Right Thing to Do"), endorsing the invasion of Iraq, even in the absence of WMD.

    Are we better off today than if Saddam Hussein were still in power, seeking nuclear weapons technology on the black market? For that was always the crucial issue - not whether he was to be punished for acquiring WMD, but whether he could be removed before he actually got nuclear arms, thus making his regime impervious to pressure for change? Clearly we - to say nothing of the Iraqi people - are vastly better off for having acted, for we now know the extent of the black market trade that could have bypassed the years of development that an indigenous nuclear programme would have required.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    In other words, Boboit endorses the idea of preventive war, which Dwight Eisenhower accurately dismissed as an idea invented by Adolf Hitler.

    I suspect that the poster is a neocon troll, trying to peddle aggression as a liberal idea now that the bushites have finally been defeated.

    •  ad hominem (0+ / 0-)

      attacks are always fun.

      perhaps i'm a neocon troll - but i supported obama, raised money for him, campaigned for him. as did philip bobbitt by the way.

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory and still to love it." -Oscar Wilde

      by theDamascus on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:38:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who cares who you supported? (0+ / 0-)

        You "embrace" wars of aggression and declare that liberals "must" do so also.  As for your hero, Bobbitt, he pimped for an invasion of a defenseless country.  Let him raise money for the families of the million or so Iraqis who died as a result!

        I would really prefer you stick with the republicans.  Our side does not need your poison.

  •  War is moronic in 99% of cases (0+ / 0-)

    This is not the 1%.

  •  war on terror = dirty war (0+ / 0-)

    The same goes for "counter-insurgency".

    Law enforcement against terrorism will not be squeeky clean either, but perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, it shouldn't be.

    Even so, I am a bit bother by the fact that I do not know if charges against Jose Padilla were somewhat bogus or totally bogus, like Saddam's WMDs.  This is the zone we enter if law enforcement is a part of a "war".

    War creates "fog of war", a mist of bullshit that obscures reality until you do not know a thing.

    today, with the growing power of individuals to wreak great destruction

    Is that really true?  yes, 9/11 was a "perfect storm".  Which was not reproduced since.  Was 9/11 something that could not possibly happen in ages past?  Read about "gunpoweder plot" and see that it was possible in 17 century.

    One can list many countermeasures for terrorism  of varying degree of efficacy and cleanliness that would not involve "war" and which make at least some sense, starting from airport security and continuing with FBI agents posing as wannabe terrorist, so joining a terror cell for weekend fun in Poconos lands you in jail for life.  (The latter may be tad excessive, but we want to make it hard and risky to join a terror group.)

    I cannot figure what "warlike" activities would make any good.  When we pursue "Islamists" in places like Yemen and Somalia we get involved in serious atrocities without much concrete gain.  And it has at least serious moral price.  Do we gain by paying a rather sanguinary Communist dictatorship to kill more folks that they would ordinarily do (this is what we did in Somalia)?

    Concerning nukes on Peshawari bazaar, (a) it is  rather bogus, (b) we still have no much influence about what can be purchased there, and what cannot.  Which is as it should be.  We do not want Mexicans to bomb our flea markets from drones on the account of guns being smuggled to Mexico from USA.  They should solve their problems in a different way.  And this applies to us as well.

  •  Why is it that your recommenders are the Israeili (0+ / 0-)

    -first crowd around here?????
    is not that too obvious ????

    Real News Daily http://www.antiwar.com - http://www.middleeast.org!

    by egyinny on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 07:10:47 PM PST

  •  some nitpicking (0+ / 0-)

    I think the definition of war must evolve to meet the changing times - and that while traditionally wars were only fought by states or for states, today, with the growing power of individuals to wreak great destruction (or to do much good) - the definition of war too must evolve.

    I would say, the notion of war evolved toward a conflict between states.  But indeed, what does it mean "war"?

    Some early accounts of war go like that.  "(Frankish) King Theodubald decided to make war on Goths.  Count Fulko upon receiving the summons started to loot his villages to gather provisions for his troops.  Several were burned  down as the peasants there were resisting."  Atrocities would start months before actual engagement of hostile armies.

    Somewhat recently some wise (or smart-alec) guys said "the modern levels of organization and technology are such that we can, and should, make some rules that future wars would involve less shit than before".

    One problem with "evolving" the notion of war is an attempt to go back to "the rule is that there are no rules" kind of war.

  •  Sun Tzu got it right... (0+ / 0-)

    ...If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

    And 'liberals' who believe that any "war on terror" is possible to conduct without a thorough upending of our own ruling class and military-industrial-complex are living in a total fantasy world, a world in which delusional beliefs about ourselves and our society guarantee what The Art of War predicts.

    For a literary lesson in the origins of this fascistic fantasy process, one could check out Conrad's The Secret Agent, which details one of the first 'terrorist' attacks in the modern arena, orchestrated in London by agents provocateurs.  The book emanates from a historical event, and, while not as compelling as some of J.C.'s work, it nonetheless sets the stage for an accurate political comprehension of the fraud and hypocrisy underlying most drum circles concerning evildoers and terrorists.

    I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

    by SERMCAP on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:18:59 PM PST

  •  I always wondered how many... (0+ / 0-)

    ...of those brave Irish-American cops and firemen who rushed to their deaths in the twin towers had donated money to the IRA. Terrorism was romantic in this country as long as those dying were British soldiers and Ulster protestants.

  •  Terrorism has been with humans since humans (0+ / 0-)

    learned to beat each other over the head with clubs.

    It will never end, until humankind as a species evolves by way of education and serious introspection.

    The mad howling for the need of military force is an indicator of how hungry the Military Industrial Entertainment Complex is, nothing more, nothing less.

    The Republican Party has died, Raptured, and has Risen Again as the Obstructionist Party

    by shpilk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 11:00:03 PM PST

  •  One other point. (0+ / 0-)

    The people who bombed the WTC in 1993 were captured without a war.

    .. oh, and so were the people who bombed the OKC Fed Bldg, the guy who bombed the Olympic Park in Atlanta, and a guy who blew abortion clinics and shot doctors.

    "No war required".

    The Republican Party has died, Raptured, and has Risen Again as the Obstructionist Party

    by shpilk on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 11:22:02 PM PST

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