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Old 12-18-2002, 12:42 PM   #1
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Thoughts on the Islamic World and Terrorism

I think what is difficult from a Western perspective is that the media and the government does tend to paint all Islamic nations as exactly the same. In some respects--the lack of democracy, for instance--is right on cue. In other respects, there are leaders that are more Marxist in philosophy (Libya comes to mind) and others that are more autocratic (Saudi Arabia comes to mind). Then you have nations like Iran that seem to have a populace wishing to emerge into a democratic nation, but are still run by autocrats.

All of this, of course, gets more precarious as we have to deal with vigilante terrorist organizations who wish to paint the Western world, specifically the U.S., under an equally homogeneous brush. We're waging our first, most thoroughly postmodern war, where there are no distinct enemy entities and media saturation is a key element. Bush certainly has tried to simplify it from an antiquated essentialist perspective (good vs. evil), but, as we have seen, "evil" is mutable. What makes a nation like Iraq the epitome of evil, while making Saudi Arabia a friendly ally?

Iraq, although likely having no real concrete ties to Al-Qaeda, is on the top of the list for scrutiny and, potentially, war. What has started as a war against these divergent terrorist entities after 9/11 has turned into a war against Iraq, not a war against terrorism. With distinct Al-Qaeda activity emanating in Southeast Asia and Africa, why aren't our energies there?

That is my concern over Bush's effectiveness to lead us through this so-called "war on terrorism." Call it revenge against Bush, Sr.'s failures of the Gulf War or the fact that Saddam tried to kill Bush, Sr. in the 1990s, but, please, spare us the essentialist observations. In the meantime, however, Al-Qaeda is still rebuilding while we send our attentions towards Iraq...

Melon
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Old 12-18-2002, 01:52 PM   #2
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I totally agree with you.
It's not a war of terrorism and did we ever really buy into that in the first place? He is dead set on going after Iraq and that's just that.
Revenge? perhaps...
Yet another way to push the fanatics closer to hating the US and it's policies? Hell yes!

It's just bad bad stuff.....I can only hope that karma exists and will bite the appropriate ppl in the ass instead of the collective nation getting bit in the ass.
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Old 12-18-2002, 02:01 PM   #3
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There's a program on PBS tonight I plan to watch..re this subject.

I remember GW saying that you would hear of some victories in the War On Terror, he also stated-"some victories you would not here of.."..meaning covert..

that said, Iraq = State Sponsered Terrorism and not an ally, therefore nothing covert here..

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Old 12-18-2002, 02:23 PM   #4
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I wouldn't equate the number of column inches devoted to a potential war with Iraq with the government's efforts to the "war on terror".

Any criticism of GHW Bush regarding Iraq is based on his playing by UN rules. Now we worry GW Bush won't play by UN rules.
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Old 12-18-2002, 04:19 PM   #5
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Though there are heavy sucpisions that Iraq does support terrorism they have not been proven to the public and the public support for an all out war is not there.

I dont think GWB has done a bad job againist the war on terrorism but we must relize that there is alot on the US menu for war. And there mouths are salivating for Iraq. They might be going after there biggest threats and they might have inside info. that Iraq is the biggest threat. Though i dont believe they are a bigger threat then a terrorist org. that is still operating and killing people.

Maybe the US is the overweight person that wants everything. There eyes are bigger then their stomachs?

I dont know if its smart for the Gov't to try to define every nations as seperate. It would definatly confuse people and make the public less likely to support a war. Revenge? Maybe its in the back of his mind but i wouldnt think Bush would put thousands of ppls lifes on the line just so he could please daddy. Bush seems like a realist and i couldnt seem him doing this. But like you said Melon the western world is painted with the same brush in middle-east nations as they are in our media. Media one day will be the death of us all. We should be on a need to know basis and people now-adays want to know everything and it is showing in the news we watch.
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Old 12-18-2002, 05:25 PM   #6
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I was going to suggest watching the PBS program on Islam also. Many of us have perceptions about Islam that may not be correct, it is always good to get more information.

Two thirds of the American people believe Iraq is connected to 9-11. The administration has done a good job blurring the lines. Most people who are informed on this subject know that Binladen considers Saddam an infidel.

For awhile now I have been thinking the Administration wants regime change in Iraq for better access to their oil. It was Saudi money that funded Binladen. Money that the west gave the Saudis for oil.
Iraqi oil will allow the U. S. to distance itself from the Saudis.

Bombing the hell out of the Afghanis did not stop anything but a few thousand lives. To kill a snake you must cut off the head.
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Old 12-18-2002, 05:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonoman


Maybe the US is the overweight person that wants everything. There eyes are bigger then their stomachs?

We should be on a need to know basis and people now-adays want to know everything and it is showing in the news we watch.
1. you under estimate the stomach size.

2. this administration has the public on what 'they consider we need to know' basis. the american people have turned over too much authority to the executive.
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Old 12-18-2002, 06:59 PM   #8
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everybody is now sleeping a bit better at night..\

thank u-
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Old 12-19-2002, 10:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by diamond
There's a program on PBS tonight I plan to watch..re this subject.




thank u-
(btw whos your daddy?)

DB9

I watched an hour of this, interesting but not overwhelming.
It was a bit too propagandaish..
but informative..

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Old 12-19-2002, 01:01 PM   #10
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I am glad the UN inspectors are there, however, I am continuously confused with our obsession with war against Iraq.

I agree our efforts should be in rooting out Al-Qaida or whatever you want to call those evil fuckers.

It is kind of nonsensical to me, using Iraq as a scapegoat, I mean North Korea has looked us in the eye and said, "yes we are trying to produce nuclear weapons" and we slap them on the wrist and say oh well.

Iraq continuously has denied any nukes, and we still have found no evidence to say this is not true.

Day by day I lose faith in this administration, and I am not saying that Democrats would be doing better, I just have not heard peep one about anything domestic, except for the recent Missile Defense system...

The whole thing sucks...
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Old 12-19-2002, 04:49 PM   #11
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Melon,

"What makes a nation like Iraq the epitome of evil, while making Saudi Arabia a friendly ally?"

Well lets see, has Saudi Arabia attacked and invaded four different countries over the past 20 years and invested massive sums of money to produce Nuclear/Biological/Chemical weapons against UN resolutions? Is Saudi Arabia in violation of 16 United Nations resolutions passed under Chapter 7 rules? The answer to these questions is no.

But put in Iraq for Saudi Arabia above and the answer to all those question is yes! Saudi Arabia was a strong supporter of US foreign policy during the cold war and the relationship has been strong for decades. Saudi Arabia has made up for Iraq when Iraq has refused to pump oil to prevent global oil prices from going up. This has a huge effect on the global economy.

It is true though that terrorist do exist in Saudi Arabia and there certainly seems to be support for Al Quada from individuals in Saudi Arabia, perhaps both government and private. But the government as a whole does not support Al Quada or the events of Sept 11, 2001. It is not in the interest of the Saudi government to see the USA in peril and its planes grounded for days. When the people restrict their travel and business in the USA, thats bad for Saudi Arabia that supplies a nice little chunk of the oil the USA uses. The Saudi's are capitalist and they don't benefit from Bin Laden's destructive actions.

Iraq is correctly on top of the list for scruitney because from a legal standpoint, the United Nations is currently at war with Iraq because of its violation of the 1991 ceacefire agreement. When Iraq signed those agreements back in 1991, there was no clause that said they could wait 12 years to comply with the conditions of the UN ceacefire agreement that stopped the 1991 Gulf War. Iraq's violations are serious and Iraq must be disarmed peacefully if it can be, but if that is not possible then war is necessary. It is unfortunate the the Clinton administration did not take a tougher line with Iraq when it threw out the inspectors in 1998. But this is a problem that has to be resolved regardless of 9/11. It is a problem that threatens the USA and other countries and must be resolved with war if necessary independent of 9/11 and the war on terrorism.

You claim that are energies are not being directed against Al Quada. That is simply not true. This divergence is a myth. Lets take SouthEast Asia for example. Were not going to send 3 armored divisions with several thousand tanks and other armored vehicles to track down Al Quada cells in Indonesia or the Philipines. Thats primarily the job of the FBI, CIA and US special forces. A force of 250,000 troops is what is needed for Iraq and over 99% of that would be conventional forces, Tanks, armored vehicles, Artillery, Attack Helicopters, an various types of ground attack aircraft. The war on terror is primarily an intelligence operation involving the intelligence services of the CIA and FBI. Iraq, if war comes is your more traditional war fighting situation.

Lets note to begin with that the operation in Afghanistan took 50,000 US military personal at sea, in the air, and on the ground in the region. Iraq will take 250,000. The USA currently has 1.4 million military personal on active duty. The USA if need be is prepared to fight Iraq, against a North Korean invasion of South Korea, a Chinese invasion of Tawain, and continue the war on terrorism. There are multiple threats to US interest all around the world and the US does not have the luxury of concentrating all its recources on just one of them. In addition many of the threats such as Al Quada vs. Iraq are very different in nature and require different resources to combat each one effectively. The resources used to combat each one are pulled from different area's and therefore are not a drain on one or the other.

The US has formed a coalition of 90 nations involved in helping to combat Al Quada. The CIA and FBI are aggressively going after Al Quada all over the world. But this is primarily a secret war and hidden war due to the nature of terrorism and the tactics that are used to capture and intercept them. It is kind of like how police in your local area track down a murderer except this is on a global scale and also not a blitzkrieg style military invasion designed for Iraq. The US has not diverted its energies from the war on terrorism, but it is developing the capability with other resources not involved and not needed in the war on terrorism to possibly address the Iraq situation.

Bush Sr. did not fail in his actions against Iraq. The Gulf War was the most successful military operation in the history of warfare and rather than inflaming the middle east help pave the way to the middle east peace talks in 1993. The coalition and United Nations support that Bush Sr. got for that war was impressive. In addition, Bush Sr. got Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait to pay the USA's entire cost for the war. The Gulf War stabilized the Gulf region and eventually the price of oil dropped to some of its lowest prices ever helping to support the economic expansion of the USA in the late 1990s.

Lets not forget that Bush's opponents, mainly the democrats in congress, did not want to push Saddam Hussian out of Kuwait. They thought the sanctions, still currently in place on Iraq, would change Saddam's behavior. It was difficult enough for Bush Sr. to muster support to remove Saddam from Kuwait. Lets remember that any criticism of Bush Sr. before the start of the Gulf War was that he was in fact going to war, NOT that the war plan did not involve going to Baghdad and unseating Hussain. Bush stayed within the United Nations mandate. Its unfortunate that Saddam was not removed in 1991, but the international and national support to go to Baghdad did not exist in 1991, and no one believed Saddam would still be in power within 2 years of the end of the war. Its not right to place all the blame on Bush Sr. for that fact when the opposition was trying to stop him from doing anything at all.

The only attention that has been diverted from Al Quada to Iraq is the attention of the media. Lets not forget that Saddam has been busy himself without UN inspectors in the country for the past four years. Al Quada has been trying to rebuild, but its efforts over the past year pale in comparison to actions by much smaller terrorist groups in past years. That certainly does not mean we have won, but it does mean that we have managed the problem. Terrorism is like Crime and fires, Police and Firemen never talk about winning the war on fire or crime for good. Management is a better term than winning. But if one can manage the problem to a certain degree, then I suppose one could claim they are winning.
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Old 12-19-2002, 05:01 PM   #12
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Sparkysgrrl,

The situation in Iraq is an extremely important national security matter and most be resolved whether or not Iraq has ever had any involvement with Al Quada now or in the past.

There are certainly those in the middle east who will use the possible invasion of Iraq in an attempt to get more recruits for terrorist actions but that possiblity cannot prevent the USA from doing what it needs to do to ensure national and international security in regards to Iraq. Iraq's violations cannot be swept under the rug. From a legal standpoint the United Nations is already at war with Iraq.

The Bush administration has been very careful in its mobilization of support for disarming Iraq. The United Nations voted 15-0 to support Bush's recent resolution on Iraq. It is Bush's firmness that has succeeded in getting inspectors back into Iraq. Iraq must be disarmed peacefully or with force if necessary.
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Old 12-19-2002, 05:30 PM   #13
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Bonoman,

Public support to disarm Iraq with force is there! CNN/TIME/GALLOP poll shows that 2/3s of American support disarming Iraq with force if necessary. The United Nations voted 15-0 in support of Bush's recent resolution on Iraq.

DEEP,

The USA is not concerned about having more access to oil in Iraq. They would like to have Iraqi oil be fully available on the global market because that would bring the global price of oil down which benefits the average consumer trying to pay his bills and in turn benefits the economy. Lower oil prices do not benefit oil companies obviously.

But thats not as big an issue as it would seem either because Iraq still puts a lot of its oil on the market for sale anyways. Of course they are only allowed to sale this oil through the UN oil for humanitarian supplies program.

Currently as of December 2002, the United States only gets 12% of all of its oil from the entire middle east. The reason middle east oil is important is not simply because the USA imports some of it but because with nearly 70% of worlds reserve's, middle east oil has a huge effect on the global price of oil. The USA, Europe, and the rest of the world want mideast oil to be widely available on the market because this competition and supply keeps the market price down which benefits the average consumer trying to make a living. When the price of energy is low, this gives a boost to the economy, as consumers are able to spend more of their money on other things besides heating their home and putting gas in their car.

The main concern of the USA and other countries about Iraq is its violation of 16 United Nations resolutions in regards to its invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and its violation of the Gulf War ceacefire agreement in 1991. Inspectors have not been in Iraq for four years now and are only slowly begining to check on things. They have a difficult task ahead and may not be able to find Iraq's WMD program do to Iraq's attempts to hide and secure them over the past four years.

Iraq has invaded and attacked four countries in the past 20 years in addition to using chemical weapons against civilians and Iranian soldiers. Its massive attempts to gain Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical weapons are not for show, but is clear evidence that Saddam has plans to use such weapons in some way sometime in the future. It is the combination of Iraq's behavior invading and attacking four different countries, its WMD program and violation of 16 UN resolutions and a ceasefire agreement, that warrent the attention, concern, and need to resolve this issue soon, with military force if necessary.
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Old 12-19-2002, 05:48 PM   #14
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Ouizy,

Iraq is a serious threat because of its behavior + its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Who has killed more human beings, Saddam or Al Quada? The easy answer to that question is Saddam. Saddam by a million miles! Iraq has invaded and attacked four different countries over the past 20 years. Iraq is in violation of 16 United Nations resolutions passed under chapter 7 rules. Iraq is in violation of the 1991 Gulf War ceacefire agreement which from a legal stand point means that Iraq is at war with the United Nations. These violations, plus Iraq's behavior in the past, are a serious threat to the international community and must be resolved.

North Korea is not an innocent lamb, but Iraq's behavior over the past 20 years does make them look holy comparitively. North Korea has not invaded or attacked any countries in the past 20 years! In fact, North Korea has not invaded another country in nearly 50 years! That is the massive difference between Iraq and North Korea. North Korea is bad, but they have not violated international law in the way that Iraq has. They have not violated 16 United Nations resolutions passed under chapter 7 rules. We do have to find a way to deal with North Korea, but they are a passive player when compared to Iraq. Indeed, as Bush has said, the threat that Iraq poses to the international community is large, dangerous and unique because of its pursuit of WMD + its past behavior.

It must be clearly understood that, it is not incumbent on the Bush administration to prove that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction! It is incumbent on Saddam Hussain to prove that he does not have weapons of mass destruction! That is what he signed on to do after the ceacefire of the 1991 Gulf War. Failure to abide by that agreement requires the international community to disarm him, with military force if necessary.
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Old 12-20-2002, 08:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by diamond

I watched an hour of this, interesting but not overwhelming.
It was a bit too propagandaish..
but informative..

DB9
I watched the whole thing, and I agree on both points. It was underwritten by many (and solely, I think) muslim foundations.

Three most interesting things that I gleaned:

-Mohammed condoned warfare when there was a clear case of persecution, then commanded his people to put away their swords and work for their goals with compromise

-The animosity between muslims and jews may have its beginnings in mohammed's decision to kill 700 jewish soldiers (and taking the women as slaves) because they sided with the meccans when they attacked mohammed's muslim community, even as some jews lived among them and were allies.

-many muslims have emigrated to america because they consider this country to offer them more freedom to practice their religion than many muslim countries (!)

I am not convinced the Al Queda movement is not more about political power (because they feel disenfranchised) than about religion. Ironic that muslims who come to the US feel liberated. Then again, if AQ can site clear examples of "persecution" they have a religious precedent to wage war.

If we're outside the muslim community we're "infidels" and it makes it tricky to start or maintain a working relationship (including routing out fanatics) because we will always threaten muslim purity. It's hard to tell how much all the varied muslim countries agree in their heart that the west and jews are being too intrusive.
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