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Old 01-11-2002, 03:49 AM   #1
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A message to Dr. Gonzo and others with nothing good to say about the USA

I just finished reading the topic about America starting its next war on terrorism posted by Dr. Gonzo. Gonz points out that he does not agree with the US policy of aiding governments with money, training and weapons to help us battle terrorist groups. Gonz points out that time and time again these governments, or pieces of them have come back to bite us later on. Let me say that I completely agree with you. How long until we are fighting the Northern Alliance?

However, what I don't see coming from these people like Dr. Gonzo are alternatives. Gonz, and many others in this forum, take every opportunity to bash the US government and US policy WITHOUT offering an alternate plan. Why is that?

As far as the WOT is concerned, what would have been a better way to approach this situation? Should we have tried to conduct peace talks with UBL? Should we have invaded Afganistan, occupied the country, and then installed a government of our choice without any respect to the people of Afganistan? Would that have been a less cowardly alternative? Many more American soldiers would have died, much to the pleasure of some people in this forum. I wonder what the neighboring countries would have thought of that policy.

As we continue to root out terrorism, it looks like we will continue to use this policy of supplying weapons to questionable governments. Again, I don't totally support it, but that's just the way it goes. However, until I can come up with a better alternative that will stop terrorists from killing Americans, I WILL KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT!

Just my opinion though. And you know what they say about opinions.
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Old 01-11-2002, 03:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by wolfwill23:
I just finished reading the topic about America starting its next war on terrorism posted by Dr. Gonzo. Gonz points out that he does not agree with the US policy of aiding governments with money, training and weapons to help us battle terrorist groups. Gonz points out that time and time again these governments, or pieces of them have come back to bite us later on. Let me say that I completely agree with you. How long until we are fighting the Northern Alliance?

However, what I don't see coming from these people like Dr. Gonzo are alternatives. Gonz, and many others in this forum, take every opportunity to bash the US government and US policy WITHOUT offering an alternate plan. Why is that?

As far as the WOT is concerned, what would have been a better way to approach this situation? Should we have tried to conduct peace talks with UBL? Should we have invaded Afganistan, occupied the country, and then installed a government of our choice without any respect to the people of Afganistan? Would that have been a less cowardly alternative? Many more American soldiers would have died, much to the pleasure of some people in this forum. I wonder what the neighboring countries would have thought of that policy.

As we continue to root out terrorism, it looks like we will continue to use this policy of supplying weapons to questionable governments. Again, I don't totally support it, but that's just the way it goes. However, until I can come up with a better alternative that will stop terrorists from killing Americans, I WILL KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT!

Just my opinion though. And you know what they say about opinions.
My take; my one and only take on this particular debate - absolutely nobody should keep their mouths shut. This forum does not have a sign on the door saying 'do not tackle a subject unless you can offer a solution that those in power cannot or have not'. That's just unrealistic.

That said, I hope somebody does throw a few bones, because this is getting awfully old awfully fast as things stand right now. And that's a shame.

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Old 01-11-2002, 04:12 AM   #3
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What I mean by keeping my mouth shut is that I will not just sit here and criticize this policy without offering an alternative. If you break it down, it's kind of like the kid on the playground who is insulted and comes back with something like, "you're dumb." The kid is insulted again and his reply is again, "you're dumb." That kind of thinking gets us nowhere. I know that's a simplistic analogy, but I just think that if you are going to point out one's faults, you should be able to point out a way of correcting those faults. So again, my question is, what else should we have done in Afganistan and what should we be doing in the future to specifically uproot these terrorist cells and stop them from killing innocent civilians?
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Old 01-11-2002, 08:22 AM   #4
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Regarding alternatives, I think we do give some alternatives, just alternatives who are not viable to some people and therefore, since its not viable to THEM they don't take it as an alternative at all.

Personally, a couple of months ago, people started to say the usual "you don't have an alternative" stuff. I posted a topic in wich I completely stated my alternative and got only one member of this forum to respond, who said that my alternative wasn't an alternative at all, that it gave everything on the terrorist (I was involving the United Nations and the member, where are the terrorists in that ?). This topic may be still in Free Your Mind (very deep and far away). I won't state this alternative, since I stated it earlier in the post I'm talking about and it was very long (and complete), but it involved major points :

1- War against terrorism is global, and therefore the United Nations should modify its constitution and take charge that war.

2- War dosen't imply weapons at 100%. Therefore, war on terrorism should be more focused on long-term actions than the near-time actions wich implies the USA bombing Al-Quaeda in Afghanistan.
a) Implies political, economical and social actions to eradicate poverty (example : the complete eradication of Third-World Debt). It is poor people or people with a social conscience, mostly living in poor countries, who were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks (and not only the attcks of this day, but in mostly terrorist attacks world-wide). Ben Laden is just the catalysor (does that word exists in English ?), an opportunist with no social plan.
b) The modification of the United States of America's and of the occidental sphere (i.e.: G7 and G8 Countries) of the foreing policy and the severe control against companies and corporations of these countries who use child labor, women labor and labor of anykind who are under-paid and living in social disorder.
c) A greater social cooperation with the G20 Countries.
d) A drastical mind-change that does not only care about numbers and money.
e) The appropriate use of the Civilizations Discussion Board, in Turkey, who is under the administration of the United Nations.
f) Remember : United Nations implies the whole world. The "United We Stand" slogan is not a USA monopole.
g) The end of corruption of Governments world-wide (but with a serious focus on Africa-Asia-Middle-East).
h) The end of the usual USA-veto against sending UN workers in Palestine.

3- End this USA and Occidental isiolationism. In my view, the solidarity of the USA (wich I admire, I say) seems to be another form of isiolationism. While the world have its eyes on the USA, the USA have its eyes on itself. Same thing goes to the Occidental world. We are not superious, our economical system does not apply to every country, our culture is imposing itself everywhere (little exemple : how gratifying for a guy living in India or in Saudi Arabia to notice that in a majority of American movies [and in some French movies as well for what I saw] that Arabians are always the big terrorists, the big evil, etc...).

This may not be the best alternative to the actual war, but is it an alternative ? The other member said no.

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Old 01-11-2002, 12:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by wolfwill23:
Gonz, and many others in this forum, take every opportunity to bash the US government and US policy
the word 'bash' is being used more frequent in here than 'intelligent'



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Old 01-11-2002, 01:08 PM   #6
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Ah, a great reply. This is exactly the kind of discussion I was looking for.

First of all let me start out by saying that I agree with your point that the US needs to take a more active interest in the poverty of the world. If the people of Afganistan had things like running water, food, and plumbing, I don't think these attacks would have ever happened. Probably because Bin Laden and teh Taliban would have never been allowd to gain power in the area in the first place. The only reason they were able to gain power is because the country was easy to break. My view on this topic used to be very American and still kind of is. I used to feel, "why is it America's job to support the rest of the world?" Now I can see why it's America's job to support the rest of the world, so things like this don't happed in the future. However, I must admit, I'm not crazy about money that I work hard for being spent on some guy living in a cave 10,000 miles away.

This idea of America supporting these poorer countries is a double edged sword. If America floods a poor country with aid and assistance, people will say that America is trying to rule the world and sticking its nose where it doesn't belong. But if America minds its own business and lets these poor countries run their course, then people say that we are isolationists.

As far as the UN being more involved, that is a good point. However, the UN didn't have 3000 civilians killed, the US did. I believe we have a right to find those responsible and "bring them to justice." I don't think the UN would comeplete such a task to the satisfaction of the American people and I believe that if this problem was soley left to the UN, we would be facing a similar attack in a short period or time (or there would have already been another big attack by now.) I'm happy with the way Bush is handling things in Afganistan and I would argue that we need to be even more aggressive in this theatre of the campaign.

I look forward to reading your reply.
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Old 01-11-2002, 01:10 PM   #7
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Another thing you should ask yourselves, is why people like us (Gonzo, myself, melon, etc...) are questionning the USA's politics, the capitalist system, etc... bashing is too simple to say. Critic is not necessarily bashing. Why does millions (or billions) of people on this planet are questionning the politics and systems of the USA, why does the USA culture and system is imposing everywhere, why do people critics it ?

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Old 01-11-2002, 01:41 PM   #8
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I'm very critical of U.S. government policy on moral grounds, though I have plenty good to say about the U.S.

I have outlined potential SOLUTIONS in my posts multiple times:

First, I'd like to say that I DO believe the U.S. could be a major positive influence in stopping terrorism, if that was its primary goal. (But it's not) Of course it's a complicated problem, here's a good start:

1. The U.S. should stop supporting terrorists around the world. I'm ashamed to say it, but we (the U.S.) are the leading financial supporters of terrorists and human rights abusers around the world. U.S. foreign policy is based on the principle of creating a "favorable business climate" for our companies in other countries. What this involves is working hard to prevent unionization of workers, humane working conditions, environmentally sound policies - and doing whatever it takes (murder, torture, preventing freedom of speech, etc.) to accomplish this. The way we do it is by supporting brutal dictators/regimes financially so they can use their brutal armies/death squads to suppress human rights. The number of countries in which we do this is VERY large, and this is VERY well documented.

Regarding Afghanistan specifically, there's no doubt in my mind that the reason the U.S. is there is to gain access to the Central Asian oil pipelines. The War On Terrorism is a convenient front. The government we set up there will undoubtedly give us full access to the land militarily, and will give our oil companies what they want. Just wait and watch.

2. Stop selling arms. The 5 U.N. security council nations are responsible for 90% of world arms sales, with the U.S. the leader by far. Boeing, Lockheed, General Electric, Honeywell - yes they make commercial airliners and light bulbs and burglar alarms, but the way they make their REAL money is by massive government (ours and others) contracts to make tanks, bombers, fighter planes, munitions, etc.

3. Stop providing unjust diplomatic support for our companies hurtful policies overseas. For instance, the U.S. sues African countries for patent infringement when they try to find alternative ("generic") versions of drugs sold by our companies at prices they can't afford. I'm talking about malaria, and other diseases that could be eradicated with sound policy. Let's give them a break - Africa loses millions of lives a year because of their inability to treat simple diseases. Also, the U.S. threatened trade sanctions against several Southeast Asian countries when they tried to limit cigarette imports in 1996-7 - the countries were forced to back down, and the rate of teen smoking in Japan (one example) has increased by more than 10% PER YEAR since then. That's a lot of deaths.

4. Debt relief. Why should African countries that can't feed their people be forced to pay money to the U.S.? Especially when the "loans" were never used for human/social development but to support brutal 3rd world dictators who supported our business policies.

5. Every citizen should learn about what its country is up to by reading many sources, of which many should include foreign ones - the U.S. press (like any countries' press but much more powerful now that U.S. media ownership is so concentrated) cannot be depended upon to provide anything but propaganda. And get involved in nonviolent efforts to improve the behavior of our country.

Long . . . but anyway it's a start.

As for what we could have done AFTER 9/11, we made a decision to destroy a country, including many civilians, in order to capture a bunch of thugs. We decided upon bombing, judging that murdering many Afghani civilians was OK in order to save U.S. soldiers' lives. I simply don't agree that that is fair - the Afghani civilians are just desperately trying to survive after being dealt successive blows by Soviets, mujaheedin, Taliban, and now us. They did not vote to bomb New York - they spend their time begging for food. U.S. military personnel are people that VOLUNTARILY chose to go 8000 miles away to fight. We shouldn't be sacrificing the weak in order to prevent the deaths of the strong, even if the weak are Afghani and the strong are American. Let's remember that the Afghani people, for the most part, are VICTIMS, not criminals.

SV

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Old 01-11-2002, 02:13 PM   #9
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Lots of good points there, Holy John and sv.
No more corruption in politics is kind of neglecting the fake democracy that we live in, but however, it is true that political leaders in 3rd world countries also have to get less corrupted.

@Wolfwill23:
If you think supporting poorer countries is a double edged sword, you are drawing the wrong conclusions. If America floods a poor country with aid and assistance, people (especially there) will LOVE it. If America only gives a LITTLE Aid to a country where, therefore, it gains lots of oil or has other interests, some people might be intelligent enough to find this out.
Every "help" America ever has offered was serving its own purposes.
The edged sword is that persons like you (and I am not blaming you for it, just start to use your head) always draw a border between things happening in America, and in the rest of the world.
You should know that it is more than support some people need, and that this is not America´s JOB, but America´s MORAL DUTY. And not only America´s, but also your duty. As long as you continue to get your coffee, your fruit, your oil/ gas, your clothes and so on and so on for such a ridiculous prize (not soooo lowdown for you because transport and sales and distribution services make the big cut, not the workers in the 3rd world countries) in compare of the working power that is needed to create it, you better hide your shame under a big stone.
And if America would mind only "its own businesses", it couldn´t survive. In fact, I don´t think it is isolationalistic, but purely criminal.
You know, like one of those criminals Bush likes to put on Death Row (I am not referring to the cruel attacks).
As we see, there would be more than one alternative.
It is sad that America doesn´t take new ways, but simplifies all the tragic events to a phrase like "War on terrorism", which means "Hail to the weapon industry".
But anyway, how could we expect anything different from a state like yours (Not to mention that mine, Europe, isn´t any better)?

Oh, and I would like another answer from you then: How can we find the responsible ones for the 50, 000, 000 of people dying from hunger every year, and to bring THEM to justice?

Looking forward to read your reply.
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Old 01-11-2002, 07:05 PM   #10
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sv, I don't think the primary problem is that the government and business execs like watching peons suffer.

The primary problem is that consumers and investors patronize companies that engage in these unethical practices, instead of paying a bit more (or watching their investments grow not as quickly) by patronizing companies that are ethical. (That plus the fact that there are very few big businesses that abide by such standards.) Anyway, I think that consumer and investor behavior is the root problem.

And in case anyone was wondering, I don't drive a car (I'm fortunate enough to live in Boston and not need one, though it certainly is a necessity for much of the US) and I try to buy clothes that are manufactured in countries that have reasonable living standards for workers.

[This message has been edited by speedracer (edited 01-11-2002).]
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Old 01-11-2002, 07:42 PM   #11
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Speedracer, the issue is not a matter of liking suffering, it's that government and business execs do not consider peon suffering a significant consideration in making business and foreign policy decisions.

The problem is that the economic system we have has so many incentives that induce us to favor governments that engage in repressive policies. The fact is, the ability of a government to control its people (the euphemism is "stability") is a major factor which attracts American (and other foreign) investment. Ever since U.S. and international capital flight laws were liberalized 30 years ago, governments which try to honor human rights, labor, and environmental safeguards simply have not been able to compete for foreign investments against those that don't. Governments which control their people using repressive tactics are able to create the sweatshop conditions that our companies profit from.

Our economic system is predominantly speculative - therefore, publicly traded companies are forced not just to make excellent profits, but to exceed the profit predictions that pundits make. A company can make billions of dollars a year and have its stock price fall. When stock prices fall, executives get fired (and as you have noted, investors get pissed) - thus, there's a huge incentive to deal with anyone (Pinochet-Chile, Shah Pahlavi-Iran, whoeveer) to make sure ridiculously high profit margins are maintained. The problem is not conspiracy between leaders (well, maybe partly), it's our system of economic incentives that encourage bad human behavior.

Ed Herman, a professor of finance at Penn's Wharton School of Business, did a major study of U.S. investment policy in the late 1970s and found that U.S. military and financial investment in a country was directly correlated with the administrative use of torture. Similar studies by others have found similar findings.
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Old 01-11-2002, 08:02 PM   #12
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sv,

I'm not sure what exactly it is you're arguing with me about.

My primary point was that if consumers and investors were more prudent and willing to pay more (or not profit as much), big businesses wouldn't need to engage in such unethical practices. Do you agree or not, and to what extent?
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Old 01-11-2002, 09:43 PM   #13
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whenhiphopdrovethebigcars,
Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your input. I agree with a lot of your longterm points. However, I caution you to not dictate to me how to live my life and what my moral duties are. You don't know what I do or how I live my life.

In your reply, you didn't seem to address what should be done right now in Afganistan and what should be done in the future theatres of the war on terror. How should the US, right now, handle this situation? And please, before you answer, put yourself in the shoes of Americans, as hard as that may be.

I also don't agree with you that the war on terrorism translates into hail to the weapon's indutries. That is purely not factual.

Also, it is very sad that every day, people die of hunger, all across the world. However, there are people dying of hunger in the streets of New York or California as well. How can the US support the rest of the world if we can't even take care of ourselves.

America is far from perfect. But, let me say this, every day, when I step out of my apartment in New York City, I see a great country. The US welcomes people of all faiths, religions and origins to come here for a better life. I would really like to see some statistics on the diversity in America vs. that of Europe or anywhere else in the world.

Also, as far as the war on terrorism is considered, it boils down to this; we were attacked! 3,000 civilians were murdered and we must defend ourselves. Again, I agree that for the long term, I think the best way to defend ourselves is to take care of poorer countries. However, for somebody from another country to say that the US's finding of the people responsible for this attack and bringing them to justice is a way to "hail the weapons industries," makes me sick to my stomach.
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Old 01-11-2002, 10:33 PM   #14
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first of all, i'm not personally attacking anyone who doesn't agree with me on this. if you don't, that's great. if you do, that's even better. all i have to say is this. no government system is perfect. and here's why: governments are run by people. every person has flaws (yes, even me *sighs* hehe) and of course, governments change and alter as stuff happens. think about it: if our system is perfect, why do we have amendments? these things should have been in the constitution in the first place!
anyway, my point: our system is not perfect and other countries must not like the way we're running things if they're bombing us. i know this sounds naive to some but ... it could be why. with all wars, it starts because one group of people doesn't like what another group thinks/does. one of them may be wrong, neither of them, or maybe even both.
but living in america does not require us to love everything about it. we are allowed to criticize and complain. if we weren't, i think snl would've been taken off the air about a month into the show. (just an example...)
like Holy John said, the alternatives presented may not be viable to some, which i can understand. sometimes i've received advice that sounded outlandish to me. i still really don't see how what "gonzo and others" are doing that's so horrible.

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Old 01-12-2002, 09:08 PM   #15
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I know this has no business being in this post, but TheU2, I'm in the current process of Laughing my Ass off, Soiling my underpants, and just all around Becoming Hallucinogenic with all the laughter at your post.. so innocent but yet so valid and proper at teh same time.. Oh, Oh, I've gotta use the 'Proper Internet Forum Abbreviations' .. ROTFLMFAO .. Hahahahaha.. That's one of the funniest threads I've ever read, truly valid, and sensible, and yet so funny at the same time... Holy sh#t, This is good.. I love this forum.

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