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Old 12-12-2001, 10:02 PM   #31
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Originally posted by sv:
Anthony -
I agree I wasn't clear enough on my point. I was contrasting the terminology used by the government and U.S. media to describe the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ("sneaky") with the terminology used to describe U.S. bombing raids on Afghanistan (the pilots are generally referred to as brave, not sneaky). My point is that this double standard in terminology is no accident, and it has important and negative effects on how Americans (in this case) perceive the perpetrators in each case.

The term "sneak" encourages us to think of the Pearl Harbor attack as cowardly and immoral (which it was), and of the Japanese as untrustworthy (and for many years this was a dominant American perception of Asians). But many Americans do not consider the bombing of Afghani cities cowardly and immoral (which it is), and I would argue that the media's linkage of the "bravery" concept with American bombing raids contributes to this. And it is a major problem for the world when U.S. citizens sanction the murder of civilians in other countries.SV
Thanks for clarifying that, sv (you have the same initials as my best friend) and you raised some very valid points. However, I do think that the reasonable person is smart enough to discern between a 'sneak' attack and 'damn those sneaky Oriental folk!' I think the element that made the Pearl Harbour attack 'sneaky' was that it was unprovoked. As for the bombing of Afghanistan, I wouldn't call them SNEAKY, per se. I wouldn't call them brave, but I wouldn't call them sneaky either - simply because they are attacks of retaliation, they were provoked.

I understand your point, but I wouldn't use Afghanistan as an example. I'd use the napalm attacks in the Vietnamese jungles as sneaky, but then again, there is no point to bring up the horror and stupidity of the American involvement in the Vietnamese war.

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Old 12-13-2001, 01:04 AM   #32
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Anthony, first of all, good to see you posting again.

I'd agree with you about Afghanistan. Reportedly, the people of Afghanistan knew the bombings were forthcoming and many picked up their belongings and made a beeline for the border. So our bombing of Afghanistan was no surprise, i.e., it wasn't "sneaky." (I realize your reasoning is different than mine, but we come to the same conclusion).

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As for PC, to hell with it. I hate it, its arrogant and patronising, and was merely invented to satisfy self-righteous and self-important people with loud mouths.

Ant.
I have a serious question for you. Do you belive that people are inherently good, or inherently bad?
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Old 12-13-2001, 12:22 PM   #33
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Originally posted by pub crawler:
I have a serious question for you. Do you belive that people are inherently good, or inherently bad?
When I was younger, I thought people were inherently good. During my early teenage years, I thought people were inherently bad. Now, I believe that people are both inherently good and bad, that both exist within the human soul - without darkness there can be no light, and, in the same way, without evil, there can be no goodness.

Both co-exist, but it is upto the quality of humanity to put such a conflict of natures to better use. Just because I believe that duality is a human quality, doesn't mean that I believe it to be an EXCUSE for evil. I do believe that we are more than the sum of our parts; it is upto the individual to make the best out of what God made and gave him. Also, there is also the way we are bred and raised by our family, friends, life-style and experiences in life, this will determine how much of which side (the good or bad) we use, a person's individual nature is made up of such distinctions.

So, does that answer your question? What do you think?

Ant.
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Old 12-13-2001, 12:23 PM   #34
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Yeah, I agree Vietnam is a better example . . . though it was hardly honorable to announce, "we're going to bomb you in cowardly fashion tomorrow and order surrounding countries to shut their borders to you", then do it.

And regarding Afghanistan (this is a slight change of topic direction), I strongly dispute the idea that the U.S. was "provoked" by the Afghani people. The U.S. was provoked by a band of criminals who happened to hole up in Afghanistan and were supported by an illegitimate government. (In fact, one could reasonably argue that the U.S.'s funding of Bin Laden & friends in the 1980s and early 1990s was a major provocation against the Afghani people and others.) There is no evidence that the people of Afghanistan approved the decision to train terrorists there. Therefore, Afghani civilians were no more complicit in the 9-11 attacks than you or I. Therefore, the U.S. had no right to bomb them, even in pursuit of the culprits.

U.S. actions in many situations (Afghanistan for example) ignore this distinction, and in other situations actually seem to suggest we're at war with the civilians (Saddam Hussein thrives, while we have been murdering his people for 10 years by continued bombing and economic sanctions). And we continue to funnel economic support to brutal regimes around the world.
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Old 12-13-2001, 01:40 PM   #35
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I never said Vietnam was honourable, it was one of the worst instances of human stupidity ever.

I will agree, however, that the Afghanistani people did not provoke the attack, however, you have to remember that the large majority of the Afghan population is Pashtun, and the Pashtuns were the ones who put the Taliban into power. I am not saying that the Afghan people supported Al-Qaeda, but I do think that they supported and, after a view years of knowing what they meant, were either indifferent or starting to realise that such a cruel government was not working; the point is, the Taliban didn't just appear and magically put themselves into power, they represented what at the time was a majority and what the majority wanted. THIS is where the blame is placed on the West, for me. Had the West taken responsibility after the Cold war and tried to help Afghanistan, we would not have the problems we do now.

As for Saddam Hussein and Iraq, all I can say is the people of Iraq by a vast majority not only support Hussein, but they idolise him; he is Hitler to their impoverished pre-Nazi Germany. My compassion for the people of Iraq only goes so far, to the extent of the innocent children, but the case reamins; they are only too happy to have Hussein in power. They're only too happy to take over Kuwait, they're only too happy to do whatever they want, and I'm sorry, but sanctions on Iraq are the next best thing to actually going in there and finishing the job.

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Old 12-13-2001, 04:30 PM   #36
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damn sv you raise some seriously solid points. this is really interesting stuff. good job all of you.
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Old 12-14-2001, 03:40 AM   #37
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*sigh* The attack on Pearl Harbour was probably not a complete surprise. As for dropping two atomic bombs, before condemming the US government for it perhaps one should do a bit of research. I, for one, would most likely not be here today if the US would have launched a ground invasion of Japan. Both of my grandfathers were waiting in the pacific to start the attack. Next, the United States and its allies were extrememly naive when it came to the effects of using nuclear weapons. Think duck and cover. They were aware of the destruction but not the long lasting consquences.
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Old 12-14-2001, 03:51 AM   #38
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I think our signals were crossed again - my "honorable" comment referred to Afghanistan, not Vietnam. Your feelings on Vietnam are clear, and I agree with them.

But I think you are incorrect in concluding that the Taliban rose to power by some kind of vote or consensus of the Pashtun majority. The Taliban TOOK power from the mujaheedin (another band of saints) through force of arms, and instituted a draconian set of laws that the majority of even the male population do not seem to agree with. If we include the female population in the count, I think it is safe to conclude that the majority did not want the Taliban. But because life under the mujaheedin was filled with pillaging, rape, and lawlwessness, some Afghani males were indeed glad that someone, anyone, had restored any kind of order whatsoever. The option of a peace-loving government was not present to be voted upon - it was take this thug or that thug.

But there's no evidence to suggest that the common Afghani people had any idea that international terrorism was being fostered there, or that they had any power to do anything about it. I suspect they were more concerned with surviving from day to day in a society that has been ravaged for over 20 years by constant warfare.

The people of Afghanistan, with the exception of a tiny minority who knew what was going on, are not to blame. They are victims of international terrorism (Bin Laden's and ours) just like those in the World Trade Center.

Likewise, the people of Iraq have no choice in the matter. Even the slightest public dissent against Hussein's regime is met with torture and death. The people FEAR him - they do not idolize him. There's a big difference.

We really need to separate the actions of leaders from the desires of the citizens. Leaders often do what serves their own interests, not that of their people.

Also, I object to the idea that the death penalty should be applied to those who make mistakes in who they support with their votes. Even if the Iraqi people voted Saddam into power (they didn't), they don't deserve death. If you think they do, then do all American citizens of the late 1960s and early 1970s deserve to be murdered in judgement for voting in the leaders that murdered 3 million Vietmamese?
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