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Old 10-05-2001, 09:00 AM   #1
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Here is another perspective on the whole situation (past, present and future)

Here is an article I read in a (Bruce Springsteen) news group. I think its very interesting and wanted to share it with you all.

Marty

From East Indian writer ARUNDHATI ROY (author of the God of Small Things)


In the aftermath of the unconscionable September 11 suicide attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, an American newscaster said: "Good and Evil rarely manifest themselves as clearly as they did last Tuesday. People who we don't know, massacred people who we do. And they did so with contemptuous glee." Then he broke down and wept. Here's the rub: America is at war against people it doesn't know (because they don't appear much on TV). Before it has properly identified or even begun to comprehend the nature of its enemy, the US government has, in a rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric, cobbled together an "International Coalition Against Terror", mobilised its army, its airforce, its navy and its media, and committed them to battle.

The trouble is that once America goes off to war, it can't very well return without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place.

What we're witnessing here is the spectacle of the world's most powerful country, reaching reflexively, angrily, for an old instinct to fight a new kind of war. Suddenly, when it comes to defending itself, America's streamlined warships, its Cruise missiles and F-16 jets look like obsolete, lumbering things. As deterrence, its arsenal of nuclear bombs is no longer worth its weight in scrap. Box-cutters, penknives, and cold anger are the weapons with which the wars of the new century will be waged. Anger is the lock pick. It slips through customs unnoticed. Doesn't show up in baggage checks.

Who is America fighting? On September 20, the FBI said that it had doubts about the identities of some of the hijackers. On the same day, President George W. Bush said: "We know exactly who these people are and which governments are supporting them." It sounds as though the President knows something that the FBI and the American public don't.

In his September 20 address to the US Congress, President Bush called the enemies of America "Enemies of Freedom".

"Americans are asking why do they hate us?" he said. "They hate our freedoms-our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." People are being asked to make two leaps of faith here. First, to assume that The Enemy is who the US government says it is, even though it has no substantial evidence to support that claim. And second, to assume that The Enemy's motives are what the US government says they are, and there's nothing to support that either.

For strategic, military and economic reasons, it is vital for the US government to persuade the American public that America's commitment to freedom and democracy and the American Way of Life is under attack. In the current atmosphere of grief, outrage and anger, it's an easy notion to peddle. However, if that were true, it's reasonable to wonder why the symbols of America's economic and military dominance-the World Trade Center and the Pentagon-were chosen as the targets of the attacks. Why not the Statue of Liberty? Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things-to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)?

It must be hard for ordinary Americans so recently bereaved to look up at the world with their eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them to be indifference. It isn't indifference. It's just augury. An absence of surprise. The tired wisdom of knowing that what goes around, eventually comes around. American people ought to know that it is not them, but their government's policies that are so hated. They can't possibly doubt that they themselves, their extraordinary musicians, their writers, their actors, their spectacular sportsmen and their cinema, are universally welcomed.

All of us have been moved by the courage and grace shown by firefighters, rescue workers and ordinary office-goers in the days and weeks that followed the attacks.

America's grief at what happened has been immense and immensely public. It would be grotesque to expect it to calibrate or modulate its anguish. However, it will be a pity if, instead of using this as an opportunity to try and understand why September 11 happened, Americans use it as an opportunity to usurp the whole world's sorrow to mourn and avenge only their own. Because then it falls to the rest of us to ask the hard questions and say the harsh things. And for our pains, for our bad timing, we will be disliked, ignored and perhaps eventually silenced.

The world will probably never know what motivated those particular hijackers who flew planes into those particular American buildings. They were not glory boys. They left no suicide notes, no political messages, no organisation has claimed credit for the attacks. All we know is that their belief in what they were doing outstripped the natural human instinct for survival or any desire to be remembered. It's almost as though they could not scale down the enormity of their rage to anything smaller than their deeds. And what they did has blown a hole in the world as we know it. In the absence of information, politicians, political commentators, writers (like myself) will invest the act with their own politics, with their own interpretations. This speculation, this analysis of the political climate in which the attacks took place, can only be a good thing.

But war is looming large. Whatever remains to be said, must be said quickly. Before America places itself at the helm of the "international coalition against terror", before it invites (and coerces) countries to actively participate in its almost godlike mission-Operation Infinite Justice-it would help if some small clarifications are made. For example, Infinite Justice for whom? Is this America's War against Terror in America or against Terror in general? What exactly is being avenged here? Is it the tragic loss of almost 7,000 lives, the gutting of 5 million square feet of office space in Manhattan, the destruction of a section of the Pentagon, the loss of several hundreds of thousands of jobs, the bankruptcy of some airline companies and the dip in the New York Stock Exchange? Or is it more than that?

In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then US Secretary of State, was asked on national television what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of US economic sanctions. She replied that it was "a very hard choice", but that all things considered, "we think the price is worth it." Madeleine Albright never lost her job for saying this. She continued to travel the world representing the views and aspirations of the US government. More pertinently, the sanctions against Iraq remain in place. Children continue to die.

So here we have it. The equivocating distinction between civilisation and savagery, between the 'massacre of innocent people' or, if you like, 'a clash of civilisations' and 'collateral damage'. The sophistry and fastidious algebra of Infinite Justice. How many dead Iraqis will it take to make the world a better place? How many dead Afghans for every dead American? How many dead women and children for every dead man? How many dead mujahideen for each dead investment banker?

As we watch mesmerised, Operation Infinite Justice unfolds on TV monitors across the world. A coalition of the world's superpowers is closing in on Afghanistan, one of the poorest, most ravaged, war-torn countries in the world, whose ruling Taliban government is sheltering Osama bin Laden, the man being held responsible for the September 11 attacks.

The only thing in Afghanistan that could possibly count as collateral value is its citizenry. (Among them, half a million maimed orphans. There are accounts of hobbling stampedes that occur when artificial limbs are airdropped into remote, inaccessible villages.) Afghanistan's economy is in a shambles. In fact, the problem for an invading army is that Afghanistan has no conventional coordinates or signposts to plot on a military map-no big cities, no highways, no industrial complexes, no water treatment plants. Farms have been turned into mass graves. The countryside is littered with landmines-10 million is the most recent estimate. The American army would first have to clear the mines and build roads in order to take its soldiers in.

Fearing an attack from America, one million citizens have fled from their homes and arrived at the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. As supplies run out-food and aid agencies have been asked to leave-the BBC reports that one of the worst humanitarian disasters of recent times has begun to unfold. Witness the Infinite Justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death, while they're waiting to be killed.

By contributing to the killing of Afghan civilians, the US government will only end up helping the Taliban cause.

In America there has been rough talk of "bombing Afghanistan back to the stone age". Someone please break the news that Afghanistan is already there. And if it's any consolation, America played no small part in helping it on its way. The American people may be a little fuzzy about where exactly Afghanistan is (we hear reports that there's a run on maps of Afghanistan), but the US government and Afghanistan are old friends. In 1979, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA and Pakistan's ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) launched the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA. Their purpose was to harness the energy of Afghan resistance to the Soviets and expand it into a holy war, an Islamic jehad, which would turn Muslim countries within the Soviet Union against the Communist regime and eventually destabilise it. When it began, it was meant to be the Soviet Union's Vietnam. It turned out to be much more than that. Over the years, the CIA funded and recruited almost 1,00,000 radical mujahideen from 40 Islamic countries as soldiers for America's proxy war. The rank and file of the mujahideen were unaware that their jehad was actually being fought on behalf of Uncle Sam.(The irony is that America was equally unaware that it was financing a future war against itself).

By 1989, after being bloodied by 10 years of relentless conflict, the Russians withdrew, leaving behind a civilisation reduced to rubble. Civil war in Afghanistan raged on. The jehad spread to Chechnya, Kosovo and eventually to Kashmir. The CIA continued to pour in money and military equipment, but the overheads had become immense, and more money was needed. The mujahideen ordered farmers to plant opium as 'revolutionary tax'. The ISI set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. Within two years of the CIA's arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland had become the biggest producer of heroin in the world, and the single biggest source on American streets.

The annual profits, said to be between 100 and 200 billion dollars, were ploughed back into training and arming militants.

In 1995, the Taliban-then a marginal sect of dangerous, hardline fundamentalists-fought its way to power in Afghanistan. It was funded by the ISI, that old cohort of the CIA, and supported by many political parties in Pakistan. The Taliban unleashed a regime of terror. Its first victims were its own people, particularly women. It closed down girls' schools, dismissed women from government jobs, enforced Sharia laws in which women deemed to be 'immoral' are stoned to death, and widows guilty of being adulterous are buried alive. Given the Taliban government's human rights track record, it seems unlikely that it will in any way be intimidated or swerved from its purpose by the prospect of war, or the threat to the lives of its civilians.

After all that has happened, can there be anything more ironic than Russia and America joining hands to re-destroy Afghanistan? The question is, can you destroy destruction? Dropping more bombs on Afghanistan will only shuffle the rubble, scramble some old graves and disturb the dead.

The desolate landscape of Afghanistan was the burial ground of Soviet Communism and the springboard of a unipolar world dominated by America. It made the space for neo-capitalism and corporate globalisation, again dominated by America. And now Afghanistan is poised to be the graveyard for the unlikely soldiers who fought and won this war for America.
And what of America's trusted ally? Pakistan too has suffered enormously. The US government has not been shy of supporting military dictators who have blocked the idea of democracy from taking root in the country. Before the CIA arrived, there was a small rural market for opium in Pakistan. Between 1979 and 1985, the number of heroin addicts grew from zero to one and a half million. There are three million Afghan refugees living in tented camps along the border. Pakistan's economy is crumbling. Sectarian violence, globalisation's Structural Adjustment programmes and drug lords are tearing the country to pieces. Set up to fight the Soviets, the terrorist training centres and madrassas, sown like dragon's teeth across the country, produced fundamentalists with tremendous popular appeal within Pakistan itself. The Taliban, who the Pakistan government has supported, funded and propped up for years, has material and strategic alliances with Pakistan's own political parties. Now the US government is asking (asking?) Pakistan to garrot the pet it has hand-reared in its backyard for so many years. President Musharraf, having pledged his support to the US, could well find he has something resembling civil war on his hands.

India, thanks in part to its geography, and in part to the vision of its former leaders, has so far been fortunate enough to be left out of this Great Game. Had it been drawn in, it's more than likely that our democracy, such as it is, would not have survived. Today, as some of us watch in horror, the Indian government is furiously gyrating its hips, begging the US to set up its base in India rather than Pakistan. Having had this ringside view of Pakistan's sordid fate, it isn't just odd, it's unthinkable that India should want to do this. Any Third World country with a fragile economy and a complex social base should know by now that to invite a superpower like America in (whether it says it's staying or just passing through) would be like inviting a brick to drop through your windscreen.

In the media blitz that followed the September 11 events, no mainstream TV station thought it fit to tell the story of America's involvement with Afghanistan. So, to those unfamiliar with the story, the coverage of the attacks could have been moving, disturbing and perhaps to cynics, self-indulgent. However, to those of us who are familiar with Afghanistan's recent history, American television coverage and the rhetoric of the "International Coalition Against Terror" is just plain insulting. America's 'free press' like its 'free market' has a lot to account for.

Operation Infinite Justice is ostensibly being fought to uphold the American Way of Life. It'll probably end up undermining it completely. It will spawn more anger and more terror across the world. For ordinary people in America, it will mean lives lived in a climate of sickening uncertainty: will my child be safe in school? Will there be nerve gas in the subway? A bomb in the cinema hall? Will my love come home tonight? Already CNN is warning people against the possibility of biological warfare-small pox, bubonic plague, anthrax-being waged by innocuous crop duster aircraft. Being picked off a few at a time may end up being worse than being annihilated all at once by a nuclear bomb.

The US government, and no doubt governments all over the world, will use the climate of war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, deny free speech, lay off workers, harass ethnic and religious minorities, cut back on public spending and divert huge amounts of money to the defence industry.

To what purpose? President George Bush can no more "rid the world of evil-doers" than he can stock it with saints. It's absurd for the US government to even toy with the notion that it can stamp out terrorism with more violence and oppression. Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease. Terrorism has no country. It's transnational, as global an enterprise as Coke or Pepsi or Nike. At the first sign of trouble, terrorists can pull up stakes and move their 'factories' from country to country in search of a better deal. Just like the multinationals.

Terrorism as a phenomenon may never go away. But if it is to be contained, the first step is for America to at least acknowledge that it shares the planet with other nations, with other human beings, who, even if they are not on TV, have loves and griefs and stories and songs and sorrows and, for heaven's sake, rights. Instead, when Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, was asked what he would call a victory in America's New War, he said that if he could convince the world that Americans must be allowed to continue with their way of life, he would consider it a victory.

The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card from a world gone horribly wrong. The message may have been written by Osama bin Laden (who knows?) and delivered by his couriers, but it could well have been signed by the ghosts of the victims of America's old wars.

The millions killed in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 17,500 killed when Israel-backed by the US-invaded Lebanon in 1982, the 2,00,000 Iraqis killed in Operation Desert Storm, the thousands of Palestinians who have died fighting Israel's occupation of the West Bank. And the millions who died, in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican republic, Panama, at the hands of all the terrorists, dictators and genocidists who the American government supported, trained, bankrolled and supplied with arms.

And this is far from being a comprehensive list. For a country involved in so much warfare and conflict, the American people have been extremely fortunate. The strikes on September 11 were only the second on American soil in over a century. The first was Pearl Harbour. The reprisal for this took a long route, but ended with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This time the world waits with bated breath for the horrors to come.

Someone recently said that if Osama bin Laden didn't exist, America would have had to invent him. But, in a way, America did invent him. He was among the jehadis who moved to Afghanistan in 1979 when the CIA commenced operations. Osama bin Laden has the distinction of being created by the CIA and wanted by the FBI. In the course of a fortnight, he has been promoted from Suspect, to Prime Suspect, and then, despite the lack of any real evidence, straight up the charts to being "wanted dead or alive".

From all accounts, it will be impossible to produce evidence (of the sort that would stand scrutiny in a court of law) to link Osama bin Laden to the September 11 attacks. So far, it appears that the most incriminating piece of evidence against him is the fact that he has not condemned them.

From what is known about the location and the living conditions from which Osama bin Laden operates, it's entirely possible that he did not personally plan and carry out the attacks-that he is the inspirational figure, 'the CEO of the Holding Company'.

The Taliban's response to US demands for the extradition of Osama bin Laden has been uncharacteristically reasonable: Produce the evidence, we'll hand him over. President Bush's response is that the demand is "non-negotiable".

(While talks are on for the extradition of CEOs-can India put in a side-request for the extradition of Warren Anderson of the USA? He was Chairman of Union Carbide, responsible for the Bhopal gas leak that killed 16,000 people in 1984. We have collated the necessary evidence. It's all in the files. Could we have him, please?)

But who is Osama bin Laden really?

Let me rephrase that. What is Osama bin Laden?

He's America's family secret. He is the American President's dark doppelganger. The savage twin of all that purports to be beautiful and civilised. He has been sculpted from the spare rib of a world laid to waste by America's foreign policy: its gunboat diplomacy, its nuclear arsenal, its vulgarly stated policy of "full spectrum dominance", its chilling disregard for non-American lives, its barbarous military interventions, its support for despotic and dictatorial regimes, its merciless economic agenda that has munched through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of locusts. Its marauding multinationals who are taking over the air we breathe, the ground we stand on, the water we drink, the thoughts we think.

Now that the family secret has been spilled, the twins are blurring into one another and gradually becoming interchangeable. Their guns, bombs, money and drugs have been going around in the loop for a while. (The Stinger missiles that will greet US helicopters were supplied by the CIA. The heroin used by America's drug-addicts comes from Afghanistan. The Bush administration recently gave Afghanistan a $43 million subsidy for a "war on drugs"...) Now they've even begun to borrow each other's rhetoric. Each refers to the other as 'the head of the snake'. Both invoke God and use the loose millenarian currency of Good and Evil as their terms of reference. Both are engaged in unequivocal political crimes. Both are dangerously armed-one with the nuclear arsenal of the obscenely powerful, the other with the incandescent, destructive power of the utterly hopeless. The fireball and the ice pick. The bludgeon and the axe. The important thing to keep in mind is that neither is an acceptable alternative to the other.

>President Bush's ultimatum to the people of the world-"If you're not with us, you're against us"-is a piece of presumptuous arrogance.

It's not a choice that people want to, need to, or should have to make.

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Old 10-05-2001, 10:04 AM   #2
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Good grief. Haven't we argued enough about this?

[This message has been edited by 80sU2isBest (edited 10-05-2001).]
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Old 10-05-2001, 01:20 PM   #3
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eh?
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Old 10-05-2001, 01:21 PM   #4
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what do you propose we do marty?
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Old 10-05-2001, 02:19 PM   #5
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People like Roy are going to be terribly disappointed when the U.S. doesn't indiscriminately bomb citizens. Roy will also doubtless be terribly disappointed to learn that considerable evidence has been found in the last couple of weeks indicating that Bin Laden is the prime culprit. Bummer.
I too was hoping for American ineptitude and failure but it looks like we're shit out of luck this time. The way things are going the U.S. might not even slaughter innocent civilians and then what will we have to whine about? Heck, here's hoping the U.S. looses her collective cool and nukes Kabul. Imagine marching in an anti U.S. parade after that atrocity! How exciting!! The heart swells!!
One can only hope.

Arguing from across a grand canyon is impossible. Roy obviously has a wee bit of a bias against America. He makes several excellent and compelling points and then undermines them with his anti U.S. vitriol. When one presupposes that all U.S. involvement in the world is evil, wrong, for all the wrong reasons and just plain detrimental to the world as a whole there isn't much room left for debate.
He somehow manages to blame all the deaths and poverty in Afghanistan on the U.S. which was rather clever of him when he could have instead left it at the compelling and painfully truthful argument that America failed to support Afghanistan after the Russians left. Did the U.S. murder and starve all the innocents in Afghanistan in the eighties? No, the Soviets did and he knows it. Would the war between the Afghan people and the Soviet Union have occurred without U.S. involvement? Damn straight, it would have. The Afghans didn't need America's permission to fight for their freedom. What they DID need was our Stinger missiles to actually win that war for independence. Should the U.S. not have supported the resistance groups fighting the Soviets? It's a tough call. The Soviets, lest we get all revisionist here, were actually pretty brutal and merciless rulers. Perhaps not so brutal as Disney corp., but hey, who is? Stalin manged to starve 50 million of his own people intentionally. For those of you with wavering moral compasses that would be a "bad" thing. Really.
Regrettably Roy leaves the impression that he can empathize with the reasoning of anyone opposed to the U.S. but not to America itself. He refers to millions dead in Vietnam and Yugoslavia without examining the complexities of either example. Was he aware that after America left Vietnam the Communist government there killed two million innocent people? Can't blame that one on the U.S. now can we? I don't think America should have ever gotten involved in Vietnam and some of her conduct there was unforgivable but to blame all the problems in the region on America is shortsighted.
Personally, I blame France. (Mostly kidding here folks.)
Many people have died in the former Republic of Yugoslavia but to blame that one on America isn't just wrong, it's unconscionable. Civil war killed most of them. Religious genocide against Muslims was very real. Most of the world acknowledged that it was awful (France and China were okay with it) but didn't want to do anything about it because there wasn't anything to gain from protecting civilians. The U.S. convinced the U.N. that the lives of innocent MUSLIMS were worth fighting for. Imagine that... Will Bill Clinton and America ever get credit for that? Nope.

500,000 dead children in Iraq. That is a number so horrible it is nearly incomprehensible. Still, lets examine things a little more closely. IF Saddam Hussein wanted to feed those children he could. He has the resources. It just isn't a priority for him. Besides, he doesn't mind killing children to curry national favor. What more, the reason the sanctions that are starving Iraqi children are in place is that President Bush felt that he couldn't overthrow Hussein because MUSLIM MIDDLE EASTERN NATIONS were strongly opposed to doing so. These same MUSLIM MIDDLE EASTERN NATIONS supported the sanctions as an alternative. I guess they don't care about Iraqi children either. What more, many of the same liberal groups in America that are so appalled by the sanctions and dead children were violently opposed to both the Gulf War AND continuing the war to overthrow Hussein because it might lead to civilian casualties. Hmmm...


Roy makes reference to, "Stampedes that occur when artificial limbs are airdropped into remote, inaccessable villages" (in Afghanistan) but fails to mention where many of those limbs are coming from. America. He fails to mention that the evil, capitalist, big business medical industry in America and other Western European nations has perfected the design of the artificial limb. Roy fails to mention which country provided the most humanitarian aid to Afghanistan last year. America. Roy fails to mention that the U.S. Congress and President Bush are planning to send 320 Million dollars worth of food and medical supplies to Afghanistan this year. One ponders those omissions and wonders about Roy's objectivity.
Roy fails to mention that the reason that the U.S. STILL hasn't responded militarily to the attacks that occured more than three weeks ago is that America is trying to get this right. Trying to make sure that they hit their targets, that they don't indiscriminately butcher the innocent. But that approach is so incongruous to Roy's perceptions of American evil that he probably can't begin to process it, much less comprehend it. Roy and others of his ilk will look for examples of American bad behavior. If they can't find any they will be forced to invent some because their belief that it is coming is so fundamental that it cannot be denied.
Roy makes reference to heartbroken, frightened and angry American citizens talking about bombing Afghanistan into the Stone Age and then somehow makes the fantastical leap into thinking that that is American foreign policy in this matter. Eh?
Has Bush made any comments along those lines? Has Vice President Cheney? Has Secretary of State Colin Powell? Has Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld? Have any of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? No? But Roy has an excellent source in Joe Citizen from Brooklyn who lost a cousin in the World Trade Center attacks and is hurt, bewildered and full of vitriol. Give me a break.

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Old 10-05-2001, 02:47 PM   #6
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Ol' Roy is apparently a professional writer; Matthew_Page2000 is an accountant. But Matthew_Page2000's reply tears that of Ol Roy to shreds. Maybe Ol' Roy needs to buy some encylclopedia sets from the encyclopedia salesman pictured below.

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Old 10-05-2001, 02:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest:
Good grief. Haven't we argued enough about this?

[This message has been edited by 80sU2isBest (edited 10-05-2001).]
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Old 10-05-2001, 08:17 PM   #8
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I actually think that there is a lot of wisdom contained within Arundhati Roy's writing (who, for your information Matthew_Page2000, is female) which is merely being dismissed as 'bias against America'. This is not the case, she summarised her words in a nutshell at the end; it is not a choice anyone should have to make'.

The bottom line is that no one innocent should have to suffer, but her main criticism is that Bush doesn't have a clear target, he doesn't have an army of bad guys to liquidate; all he has is a bunch of shits hiding in the midst of very frightened people fleeing for their lives. As she put it, 'Witness the Infinite Justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death, while they're waiting to be killed.' This is not bias, it is merely fact. The problem is that no one can say or promise me that innoncents, nay, thousands of innocents will die and have died already. You can't tell me that for every American that has died already, there have been 50 odd Iraqi and Afghan children die. The attacks on America have ceased for now, but innocent people are being terrorised as we speak.

I am not saying that we should do nothing, like Arundhati Roy, I merely state that Bush should be careful, as he HAS been so far. I only thank God that he hasn't bombed anyone yet. What I want most in the world, what I long and pray for, is that some higher Power
can tell me that the suffering will stop, that children wont die and that mothers won't cry. But there is no one. Things are not BLACK and WHITE, there is no GOOD and EVIL, and there is no RIGHT or WRONG when it comes to 'war'. The issues are very shady and very complicated, and they require thought, meditation and a consideration of the humanitarian loss at hand. I want Bush to go into the battlefield with a flash-light so that he can see who he's shooting at, not to shoot blindly and kill the innocents who did nothing wrong except being born the wrong people in the wrong country.

I am all for action, just not blind action. That is what Roy is saying. She merely pointed out that Bush may not be going about it in the right way, though, in his defence and in favour of argument; he IS the president of the USA, he can't be expected to just sit there and look contemplative. I do think he has been adequate in the way he has handled everything, I hope he keeps it up, for all our sakes.

And as for Tony bloody Blair, a word or two. I am labour. I have always voted for Labour, and will always vote for Labour. I love Labour. I am a Labourite, seeing as I am a Socialist.

However, Tony Blair is the biggest dipstick on the planet. He is not only a wet rag of a man who I despise for not speaking like a proper Prime Minister should, but he single-handedly endangered Britain by pushing it right up America's backside, which, to give the situation due credit, has always been there for the last few decades.. heck, its been brown-nosing that area since the second world war.

When Bush proclaimed war on terror, I hoped he would support the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. These brave souls are heroes who do fight for their country and don't deserve the fate that probably awaits them; however, it is clear that Bush's priority is NOT to help restore freedom in Afghanistan, but to get Osama Bin Laden for the atrocities in the USA. I disagree with this perspective, and I think it selfish to call your war a 'just' war when all you're doing is seeking redemtpion. If Bush wants revenge of 'justice', call it revenge and democratic (some would argue 'American') justice, don't call it a war that is there to 'restore and protect freedom and what is right'. The truth is Bush doesn't really give a dingo's kidney about the Northern Alliance, except that they will support him.

Now, all that Blair is doing is giving Bush and America a blank cheque, which I totally disagree with. London has never had an attack from the Taliban or Al-Qaeeda, but it sure as hell will now if America strikes Afghanistan, all because of Blair and his bloody big mouth.

Support is one thing, putting yourself at the front line is quite another.


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Old 10-05-2001, 09:54 PM   #9
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Ant, Ant, Ant. Even if you agree with Roy you have to admit that her rhetoric is extremely one sided and biased. Presumably, most people would acknowledge that terrorism is bad and that people who blow up buildings full of innocent people are bad? At least as bad as the insidiously evil U.S. right?
And yet, AND YET, Roy goes on and on and on
and on and on about how awful America is (generously excepting firefighters and artists. Very considerate of her.) but fails to criticize the terrorists at all.
I'm going to quote a lot of material here but I ask that you actually read it before replying, ok?
This is what Roy had to say about the terrorists in the above article:

"We won't know their motives...they're not glory boys...they could not scale the enormity of their rage to anything smaller than their deeds."

Roy acknowledges that we can't know their motives but speculates that they had good reason to do what they did. They just couldn't "scale the enormity of their rage." Rather understated and understanding of her don't you think? She certainly didn't bother to take the time to express any horror at their actions.

Now let's examine what she has to say about the U.S. shall we? If she's not biased as you assert we ought to expect to find similar language, similar understanding and similar understatement shouldn't we? Let's see what we find:

The U.S. media guilty of, "rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric."

Imagine that, publicity and rhetoric after the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world.

"The rest of the world filled with "tired wisdom of what comes around goes around.""

In other words America had it coming.

There is an American commitment to, "Military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide."

Well that's odd. She certainly wasn't that impassioned and scathing in her examination of the terrorists.

"Witness the Infinite Justice of the new world, innocent civilians starving while waiting to be killed."

She seems pretty certain that we'll attack and kill civilians after we're done starving them. It's funny, I could have sworn we just started sending 320 million dollars worth of aid to the Afhans in the form of food, clothing and medical supplies. Hmmm...

U.S. goverment will "Use climate of war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, deny freedom of speech...harass ethnic and religious minorities..."

That's odd. None of this has happened yet. It sounds more like she's hoping this will happen.

"...the attacks are a monstrous calling card...signed by the ghosts of victims of America's old wars."

Wow!! This quote could have come from Hamas, the PLO or Bin Laden himself. If we kill thousands of innocent Afghans will Roy write a sorrowful sequel to this essay saying that the bombs fired by American planes were a "monstrous calling card signed by the ghosts of the American dead at the WTC?" Somehow I really, really doubt it.

"The world has been laid waste to by America's foreign policy: its gunboat diplomancy, its nuclear arsenal, its vulgarly stated policy of 'full spectrum dominance', its chilling disregard for non-American lives, its barbarous military interventions, its support for despotic and dictatorial regimes, its merciless economic agenda..."

Ahem. The irony is that I actually agree with some of what Roy has to say here but anyone who can't see the vitriol, the outrage and the anger and bias against America in the above quote is either A) illiterate or B.) lying to themselves.
Again, WHERE WAS THIS OUTRAGE WHEN SHE WAS WRITING ABOUT THE TERRORISTS??? If she's as unbiased as you claim Ant then why is her vitriol expressed at America alone?
I know this is tiring but I have lots more quotes so keep reading if you will:

Bush and Bin Laden are "doppelgangers" or "Dark Twins blurring into one another."

Now, I didn't vote for Bush and I'm not a fan of his policies (I'm a liberal if you'd believe it) but this is a bit much. Really now.

Now let's examine Roy's desciption of American might as opposed to Bin Laden's might:

America is armed with, "The nuclear arsenal of the obscenely powerfull."

Not what I would call a positive outlook. I wonder if she considers the nuclear arsenal of her country, "The nuclear arsenal of the benevolent Indian people?"

And Bin Laden's might?:

Bin Laden and his ilk armed with the, "incandescent, destructive power of the utterly hopeless."

Uh, huh. Not quite so negative is it? Poor helpless fellows armed with "incandescent, destructive power." Sorta poetic. It also manages to blatantly ignore that fact that Bin Laden is a spoiled mulit-millionaire
and that most of the terrorists on the planes that crashed in the WTC and the Pentagon were from Saudi Arabia, a wealthy country.

I've ignored at least half a dozen other quotes that expose Roy's bias because I actually have a life and am strongly considering an evening of orgiastic capitalistic spending and maybe a decadent romp in the hay with a corn fed, imperialistic wench. I've been fired from my company, a travel and expedition firm, because people are afraid to travel right now but that won't stop me from propagating what capitalistic evil I can on my limited budget.

MP







[This message has been edited by Matthew_Page2000 (edited 10-05-2001).]
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Old 10-06-2001, 12:18 AM   #10
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This is true of Matthew_Page2000 being a liberal; I recall being opposed to him in a debate about the tax refund checks.

But keep on, Matthew_Page; you are saying many of the things I wanted to say when I first read this post.

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Old 10-06-2001, 03:10 AM   #11
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Maybe you're right!

Maybe we should take another look at why we declared war against the Nazis? Maybe Adolph Hitler had a legitimate complaint against the Jews...

Or better yet, maybe we should take a better look at why Lucifer and his demons were cast out of heaven. Maybe God was overreacting...

It makes just as much sense!

All I can do is agree with my new HERO!! Tony Blair!! He is AWESOME!!

"Think of the cruelty beyond our comprehension as amongst the screams and the anguish of the innocent, those hijackers drove at full throttle planes laden with fuel into buildings where tens of thousands worked.

They have no moral inhibition on the slaughter of the innocent. If they could have murdered not 7,000 but 70,000 does anyone doubt they would have done so and rejoiced in it?

There is no compromise possible with such people, no meeting of minds, no point of understanding with such terror.

Just a choice: defeat it or be defeated by it. And defeat it we must.

Any action taken will be against the terrorist network of Bin Laden.

As for the Taliban, they can surrender the terrorists or face the consequences and again in any action the aim will be to eliminate their military hardware, cut off their finances, disrupt their supplies, target their troops, not civilians. We will put a trap around the regime.

I say to the Taliban: surrender the terrorists or surrender power. It's your choice."


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Old 10-06-2001, 01:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Matthew_Page2000:
Even if you agree with Roy you have to admit that her rhetoric is extremely one sided and biased.
I won't deny her rhetoric is biased (Take also notice when she compares the Pakistan situation with the Indian one). But then again, we all have some sort of bias in our views and actions. And to me she doesn't seemed too biased.
I can also agree that she gives a rather one-sided view of the past. But I think she uses this article as a 'calling card', to use it as self-examination. I want to support this with two quotes from her essay:
Quote:
Because then it falls to the rest of us to ask the hard questions and say the harsh things. And for our pains, for our bad timing, we will be disliked, ignored and perhaps eventually silenced.
...
Whatever remains to be said, must be said quickly.
So maybe the message will be clearer this way instead of condemning everything the terrorists do without giving proper emphasis to the central question: Why?

Quote:
This is what Roy had to say about the terrorists in the above article:

"We won't know their motives...they're not glory boys...they could not scale the enormity of their rage to anything smaller than their deeds."

Roy acknowledges that we can't know their motives but speculates that they had good reason to do what they did. They just couldn't "scale the enormity of their rage." Rather understated and understanding of her don't you think?
But to the terrorists themselves they had a good reason! Why do they hate the USA? Why do they hate the USA even so much that they want to kill for it? Why is their hate so big they want to die for it, they want to massacre for it, they spend years planning for it?
Their actions are monstruous, horrible, beyond comprehension. It may be that we think their reasons are silly, not in line with the results of their actions. But they must have very strong reasons.
I mean, if I give you 1 million dollars with the purpose of destroying the Swiss government because that country has such a high standard of living and prides its neutralism you'd say that it's ridiculous and you'd refuse to do that. Especially when you learn that you won't survive the mission. But what if the offer is the death of Osama Bin Laden and you will be successful (even though you have a very high chance not surviving it)? If you hate Bin Laden enough you might even consider it. So when the hatred is big enough one might want to sacrifice one's own life to achieve the goal of wounding/killing the other.
So the terrorists must have reasons to do so. By finding out what those reasons are the USA can maybe take actions to prevent the growth of even more hatred.

Quote:
She certainly didn't bother to take the time to express any horror at their actions.
Quote:
of the unconscionable September 11 suicide attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center
...
And what they did has blown a hole in the world as we know it.
...
The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card from a world gone horribly wrong.
Quote:
The U.S. media guilty of, "rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric."

Imagine that, publicity and rhetoric after the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world.
I have to correct you here. She didn't say US media, but the US government.
Quote:
Before it has properly identified or even begun to comprehend the nature of its enemy, the US government has, in a rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric, cobbled together an "International Coalition Against Terror", mobilised its army, its airforce, its navy and its media, and committed them to battle.
Now there is more and more evidence that Bin Laded is the person behind these attacks. But just after the attacks nothing was certain. Yet, fingers were immediately pointed to Bin Laden, Iraq and Palestinians, forgetting that there might have been other parties (a new Timothy McVeigh or so).
There has been much talk about annihilating terrorists, 'those who do not support us are against us' and launching a 'crusade' against terrorism. Given the actions before September 11 that can be a bit embarrassing at times (why not started earlier with it?).

Quote:
"The rest of the world filled with "tired wisdom of what comes around goes around.""

In other words America had it coming.
The USA should have expected that sadly no country in the world is immune to terrorism and war. That actions in other parts of the world can have consequences at home. Here in the Netherlands we've had troubles (hijacks, assassinations) because of our actions in Indonesia (and later the passivity regarding Indonesia). France has problems with Algerian terrorists. And Moscow had some bombings because of the situation in Chechnya. Why is the USA different?

Quote:
There is an American commitment to, "Military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide."

Well that's odd. She certainly wasn't that impassioned and scathing in her examination of the terrorists.
Please look at my points and quotes above.

Quote:
"Witness the Infinite Justice of the new world, innocent civilians starving while waiting to be killed."

She seems pretty certain that we'll attack and kill civilians after we're done starving them. It's funny, I could have sworn we just started sending 320 million dollars worth of aid to the Afhans in the form of food, clothing and medical supplies. Hmmm...
I think the article was written before the aid was sent. She also talks about 'Infinite Justice' while that term has been discarded since. She mentions the September 20 speech of Bush, but not much information of anything after that date is given.
But for the "civillians starving while waiting to be killed," that danger is still present. The food situation is precarious. And the Afghans themselves still fear a mass attack on their country. They don't have the information we have. No foreigners (and certainly no Western civilians) are allowed in the country, there is no TV and all radio is controlled by the Taliban. So when they say they have to prepare themselves for a war as the USA will strike, they fear getting killed.

Quote:
U.S. goverment will "Use climate of war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, deny freedom of speech...harass ethnic and religious minorities..."

That's odd. None of this has happened yet. It sounds more like she's hoping this will happen.
It is happening. As she stated in the full quote:
Quote:
The US government, and no doubt governments all over the world, will use the climate of war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, deny free speech, lay off workers, harass ethnic and religious minorities, cut back on public spending and divert huge amounts of money to the defence industry.
The new defense bill passed the House and the Senate without much difficulties. More money is going to defense (and anti-terrorism in particular). There is talk about a mandatory identification card (at least, here in the Netherlands). At this moment there is ethnical profiling for security reasons. So some of the things are already happening. Hopefully it will not happen on a scale Roy fears.

Quote:
"...the attacks are a monstrous calling card...signed by the ghosts of victims of America's old wars."

Wow!! This quote could have come from Hamas, the PLO or Bin Laden himself. If we kill thousands of innocent Afghans will Roy write a sorrowful sequel to this essay saying that the bombs fired by American planes were a "monstrous calling card signed by the ghosts of the American dead at the WTC?" Somehow I really, really doubt it.
If she writes about any future attack I think no doubt she (and all other writers) will mention the massacre at the WTC. Oh, and why couldn't these attacks have come from another country?

Quote:
Again, WHERE WAS THIS OUTRAGE WHEN SHE WAS WRITING ABOUT THE TERRORISTS??? If she's as unbiased as you claim Ant then why is her vitriol expressed at America alone?
Everybody knows the terrorists are devils, beyond evil and frightingly sadistic. But the USA is no saint either. And the actions the USA takes do cause anger to some, fear to others and irritation to yet another party.

Quote:
Bush and Bin Laden are "doppelgangers" or "Dark Twins blurring into one another."

Now, I didn't vote for Bush and I'm not a fan of his policies (I'm a liberal if you'd believe it) but this is a bit much. Really now.
Nice misquotes there Matthew:
Quote:
[Bin Laden] is the American President's dark doppelganger.
...
the twins are blurring into one another
Nowhere in these quotes does she refer to George Bush as evil. She calls Bin Laden a 'dark doppelganger' and not just a doppelganger. In fact, she starts by saying Bin Laden is the opposite of Bush, the savage twin who is against all that is beautiful, etc. (Hence the name DARK doppelganger).
As for the second quote, she is pointing out that both use the same rhetoric. So your point of view will determine who you'll support as both are saying the same things. (Thankfully, most of the world does see the evil of Bin Laden and that his organisation has to be wiped out)

Quote:
Now let's examine Roy's desciption of American might as opposed to Bin Laden's might:

America is armed with, "The nuclear arsenal of the obscenely powerfull."

Not what I would call a positive outlook. I wonder if she considers the nuclear arsenal of her country, "The nuclear arsenal of the benevolent Indian people?"

And Bin Laden's might?:

Bin Laden and his ilk armed with the, "incandescent, destructive power of the utterly hopeless."

Uh, huh. Not quite so negative is it?
That is your opinion. I'm quite afraid of the fanaticism of those terrorists. Their undying will to die for either just a slight upheavel of the situation or mass destruction. The stealthliness of their actions. The inability to discern such a zealot from your benevolent neighbour. Maybe it is poetic to some, but I think it's terrifying for many others.

This article (and the responses) have quite a share of doom and gloom. Hopefully the world will see a brighter day soon ("may we all live 2 see the dawn" to paraphrase a great but little man).

Marty


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I try to kick the truth, not just to make friends

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[This message has been edited by Popmartijn (edited 10-06-2001).]

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Old 10-06-2001, 06:03 PM   #13
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Matthew_Page2000,you are quite correct in many respects, and the war of rhetoric which you claim is quite ironic, since essentially I agree with what you're saying.

It is true that some of Roy's rhetoric is quite biased, then again, she is an Indian writer with an Indian background and a different perspective on everything, from afar, she sees America and studies it in a more cold (possibly inhumane as you put it) manner. She has dissected the situation and laid blame on America, and that to some will seem disasteful; however, she is onto something.

I don't believe America had it coming, or indeed, deserved it, but I do believe her argument is valid. I have read your response and I will ask you to reciprocate your request.

'My fundamental point was that Roy's essay focused on American wrongdoing for the most part to the exclusion of terrorist wrongdoing.'

Indeed it did. However, everyone knows that the terrorists were wrong, we don't have to concentrate on their wrongdoing. What Roy is doing is dissecting the politics of it all and analysing (albeit coldly) the how and why. America's government, as stated before, is no saint.


'ou also can't deny that she seems considerably less concerned (if she is concerned AT ALL) with the acts of terrorism that were committed on 9/11.'

Indeed, but you see, I think its more of Roy's dissection of the situation that leads her to think about the most important role in the scenario; America. The question on everyone's mind is how America is going to react, why is it going to react the way it will, and how did it ever get into this mess in the first place. What Roy is essentially saying is that 'It is terrible what has happened, but we need to concentrate about how the rest of the world will deal with it. Its not just about America'.

This might come across as cold-blooded, but it is far more logic, and logic is needed at this point in time.

Though I agree that this is no time to lecture Americans, it is time to bring a lot of things to their attention. America has spent a lot of time lecturing to other countries, it would be useful if it spent some time taking stock of what has occured and ask itself WHY it happened, it needs to reflect as it has been doing so, and understand that it is not the only victim.

'You certainly won't catch me lecturing ignorant Iraqi's of their governments misdeeds when they turn to me with tears in their eyes.'

Its a shame that others don't have your sensitivity, I certainly don't. Its not a question of lectuing, though, its a question of acknowledging that things are not black and white, that everyone is suffering, that no one should be called upon to judge anyone. Life is made up of contradictions, we must accept the duality of everything, particularly war.

'ven capitalistic pigs are people.'

Roy's angle is that even Islamic terrorists are people too; does your humanity expand to those who caused the incident? Does your heart feel compassion for those warriors of the Jihad, most of whom were brainwashed into it? How far does your humanity go?

Ant.
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Old 10-06-2001, 06:17 PM   #14
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Matthew,

Don't fear a long flame war It appears we disagree on the tone/bias of the article. While I think she is sometimes very critical towards the USA (and Pakistan) I agree with the basic message she wants to give. Maybe I try too much to read between the lines, taking in account the source of the article (India). Apparently you disagree with her more.
Still, I do hope the USA will find out the real reasons behind this horrible attack so they can prevent it from happening in the future. And I hope they take the long term effects more in consideration (although we're talking now about cultural idiosyncracies).

As I said, I really don't want to start a big argument as it seems this is a case of a yes/no, agree/disagree stand-off. I only want to quote you once to explain the different points of view.

Quote:
Where I come from kicking someone when they are down is considered shameful behavior even if they are a bully.
My view is that this article wants to say "I give you a hand, but then you have to stop bullying (or realising what you've done)."

Marty


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Old 10-06-2001, 09:30 PM   #15
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Popmartijn and Ant,

This has certainly made for some interesting debates hasn't it? The irony is that I could see the three of us agreeing on a great deal under different circumstances.

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