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Old 12-12-2001, 12:19 AM   #21
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I dunno, I can kind of see where the term "sneak attack" might be problematic. If you say the Japanese executed a sneak attack, you might be implying that Japanese people are "sneaky" in general, or your words might be perceived that way despite your intentions.

I do have somewhat mixed feelings about it. I am sometimes a little annoyed by the PC police but I always try to put myself in the place of those who say they feel maligned. Once I do that, my annoyance usually fades away.

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Old 12-12-2001, 12:25 AM   #22
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Originally posted by pub crawler:
I dunno, I can kind of see where the term "sneak attack" might be problematic. If you say the Japanese executed a sneak attack, you might be implying that Japanese people are "sneaky" in general, or your words might be perceived that way despite your intentions.

I do have somewhat mixed feelings about it. I am sometimes a little annoyed by the PC police but I always try to put myself in the place of those who say they feel maligned. Once I do that, my annoyance usually fades away.

Do many Japanese people really feel this way about the term "sneak attack"? I've often thought that some terms were branded insensitive by the PC police because they were bored and had nothing better to do, not because it upset a particular group of people.

As an example, "Oriental" is said to be derogatory because it, being the opposite of "Occidental," supposedly refers to an old Western-centric view of civilization. I'm Korean and I find this explanation to be nonsense.
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Old 12-12-2001, 09:28 AM   #23
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Japan's imperial military brass designs an attack on Hawaii's Pearl Harbor; it is considered a "sneak attack." That doesn't lead me to consider Japanese people "sneaky."

Sorry, Pub Crawler, but I think that is stretching it a bit. Using a term for a specific event doesn't translate to a blanket generalization.

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Old 12-12-2001, 11:22 AM   #24
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Originally posted by U2Bama:
Japan's imperial military brass designs an attack on Hawaii's Pearl Harbor; it is considered a "sneak attack." That doesn't lead me to consider Japanese people "sneaky."
Er, uh, I'm not saying it does. I'm not saying you personally consider Japanese people sneaky (I was using the generic "you" in my post above - sorry if that wasn't clear). I'm speculating as to the reason why "hypersensitive speech police have been warning American educators and the media not to use the term 'sneak attack.'"

I don't know if Japanese folks are offended by such a term. However, my feeling is the term "sneak attack" could possibly engender a stereotype.

Now, the question is, would it ever have occured to me that this term could be deemed offensive had the PC police not told me so? I think this is where the mild annoyance comes in.... the idea that someone is telling me how I need to think. On the other hand, do I completely dismiss any objection to the term "sneak attack" just because I'm a little annoyed with the PC police? Questions, that's all.



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Old 12-12-2001, 12:31 PM   #25
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The subtle use of language is very important in influencing people to form stereotypes about people. For instance, term "Islamic terrorist", which has been constantly used in our media for many years now, is clearly biased, and negatively influences many Americans' views of peaceful Muslims. In years of coverage on the conflict in Northern Ireland, I've never once seen the term "Christian terrorist" applied to any of the factions there.

So there is a basis for considering the term "sneak attack" racism-tinged, as it does influence Americans to think of Japanese as less trustworthy (and indeed many did from 1941-1970 especially). When the Germans rolled into Poland, it was not called a sneak attack, it was hailed as "blitzkrieg", a major scientific advance in military tactics. The U.S. often tells the media to maintain silence to preserve "an element of surprise" for our attacks. I gather these are not considered "sneaky".

And as for bombing . . . when the U.S. bombs countries (there are too many to name at this point) and causes civilian casualties, the "bravery" of the pilots is lauded as heroic. Were the Japanese pilots of 1941 brave?

What's brave about flying where no one can reach you, dropping a payload that murders thousands of people, then flying away? I would say if anything, that's equivalent to stabbing someone in the back and running away - an act of cowardice, not bravery. Wherever it happens - Hawaii or Afghanistan.

I don't want to heap too much blame on the soldiers, since they are victims of government propaganda even worse than what civilians are subjected to, but I certainly can't consider them heroes. I understand that many of them believe that they are doing the right thing, because in their training the "enemies" of the U.S. are demonized. I suspect that many of these young people would do the right thing (i.e. not kill) if they were given accurate information. But really, the whole idea that you have the right to murder someone because your government tells you to is asinine. Even if goverments could be trusted to tell the truth.
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Old 12-12-2001, 01:10 PM   #26
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Originally posted by sv:
I don't want to heap too much blame on the soldiers, since they are victims of government propaganda even worse than what civilians are subjected to, but I certainly can't consider them heroes. I understand that many of them believe that they are doing the right thing, because in their training the "enemies" of the U.S. are demonized. I suspect that many of these young people would do the right thing (i.e. not kill) if they were given accurate information. But really, the whole idea that you have the right to murder someone because your government tells you to is asinine. Even if goverments could be trusted to tell the truth.
What are you saying? I really don't get your point. The angle from where some of us were coming from was that dropping atomic bombs is not necessarily brave, but leans more to the barbaric side; no one called the Japanese bombing brave. However, I don't see your point. Please explain.

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Old 12-12-2001, 01:50 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by pub crawler:
I dunno, I can kind of see where the term "sneak attack" might be problematic. If you say the Japanese executed a sneak attack, you might be implying that Japanese people are "sneaky" in general, or your words might be perceived that way despite your intentions.
Not at all, pubcrawler. The attack was cowardly and truly horrific, there was nothing nice or good about it - it WAS sneaky. Whats so difficult about that? That doesn'mt imply that the Japanese are sneaky by nature at all. I think the US dropping the atomic bombs was barbaric, but I don't think the US to be barbaric.... the entire Nazi regime and the Holocaust was really just pure evil, but that doesn't mean that Germans are evil. See where I'm coming from? It isn't a racial slur, its an observation of an action.

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.

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Old 12-12-2001, 02:13 PM   #28
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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.

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Old 12-12-2001, 06:06 PM   #29
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Originally posted by brettig:
Ive heard promos for the pearl harbour dvd trying to sell off the anniversary...
Isn't that sick?

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Old 12-12-2001, 09:19 PM   #30
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Geez. Thats pretty twisted.

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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).

Quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:

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.

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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?

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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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