Terrorism

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by DrFree, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. DrFree

    DrFree In Pluribus Unum

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    If you listen to the political debate in America today, you'd think that the only question is when and how to withdraw from Iraq. Some, especially those that opposed the war from the outset, want to get out soon; others say we have to stay the course.

    Opponents to the war talk of its costs, in lives (both American and Iraqi) and money. Advocates claim that, having started the war, we have an obligation to bring it to a stable conclusion. "You break it, you bought it!"

    Now I want to make it clear: I hate this war. It was unequivocally wrong from the outset. I lost a grandson to the war, after seeing him on leave so traumatized that he could barely function. The face of war these days is so terrible that it should only be considered in response to a direct attack (Iraq did not attack us on September 11), or by consensus of the international community (not be a "coalition of the willing"). But I don't want to discuss the war in Iraq in this thread.

    The question I have is how to deal with the fact that certain groups around the world use terrorism as a means to impose their demands. Al Quaeda, Hezbollah and others attack anybody anywhere to achieve their ends. They are well funded and well organized; they're not to be defeated by merely rounding up a group of brigands. Ordinary criminal procedures are not sufficient (though they are necessary). Moreover, it appears that they are at least feared, maybe tolerated, possibly supported by some governments.

    What I don't hear from war supporters is how we can deal with international terrorism when we are barely able to make inroads into the Iraq insurgency. What I don't hear from war opponents is how they expect us to deal with international terrorism if we don't have the social stamina to deal with limited war.

    Does anyone really think that we can deal with international terrorism without prolonged military involvement?

    Does anyone really think that we can deal with international terrorism depending only on prolonged military involvement?

    I have this romantic liberal notion that most people will choose economic stability over war, at least when stability with dignity is perceived as a real option. (If this is not true then Armageddon is upon us with a war of extermination.) An investment in stability with dignity may ultimately dry up the resources on which terrorist organizations depend.

    But it is clear that many Muslims have a different concept of stability with dignity, and it includes respect for their religion and their culture. Imposing American ideals of democracy and human freedom is seen more as imperialism than freeing them.

    What I would like to see discussed in this thread are some concrete ideas about establishing peaceful relations between Muslim and non-Muslim. I would like to stop investing in war. I would like to be able to visit the middle east safely, to visit historical sites and to engage in dialog with people there. What can be done to make this happen?

    Namiste.
     
  2. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    Heavy thread starter. Thanks. It's Saturday night and I am about to watch a scary movie about a haunting, but I like this thread you have proposed. I have some half-formed ideas, not answers, that have been bubbling around in my live-and-let-live head for years. Don't worry, they relate to the topic. Basically it has to do with how communication, investigation, and yes even negotiation with terrorists are all more fruitful options than blind rage and smashing other people's property and lives. Compassion as well is a prominent feature. I think Thich Nhat Hanh also had some insightful words on how to approach terror in the days after 9/11. At that time, not many people wanted to listen. I wonder if more people are willing now?
     
  3. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    "others say we have to stay the course."
    That's a very misunderstood expression: the usage of "stay" in the nautical term "stay the course" is like in "a stay of execution", or when a court "stays its judgment" pending what the appeals court might say; to "stay" a course means to STOP going the way that you were going. It is just like Bush to have glommed onto a phrase that actually means the direct opposite of what he thinks he is saying.
     
  4. Eclectic Mystic

    Eclectic Mystic Member

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    All I know is that I'm more likely to get struck by lightning than be killed by a terrorist-- with or without Lord George and his policies to protect me.
     
  5. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    US hesitation on attacking Muslim countries would probably be a good start.
     
  6. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    We should take a no tolerance approach. We think a country harbours Muslims, I mean terrorists, we should nuke em and nuke em hard!! And eskimoes , they dodgy lookin too. And while we are at it we could solve the Africa problem!! Lets push some buttons!!

    Vote the Reverend Downy Duane Christianson, your republican candidate!!
     
  7. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    Thich Nhat Hanh:

    There are people who want one thing only: revenge. In the Buddhist scriptures, the Buddha said that by using hatred to answer hatred, there will only be an escalation of hatred. But if we use compassion to embrace those who have harmed us, it will greatly diffuse the bomb in our hearts and in theirs.

    So how can we bring about a drop of compassion that can put out the fire of hatred? You know, they do not sell compassion in the supermarket. If they sold compassion, we would only need to bring it home and we could solve the problem of hatred and violence in the world very easily. But compassion can only be produced in our own heart by our own practice.

    America is burning with hatred. That is why we have to tell our Christian friends, "You are children of Christ." You have to return to yourselves and look deeply and find out why this violence happened. Why is there so much hatred? What lies under all this violence? Why do they hate so much that they would sacrifice their own lives and bring about so much suffering to other people? Why would these young people, full of vitality and strength, have chosen to lose their lives, to commit such violence? That is what we have to understand.


    These were rare, wise words in the immediate aftermath of September 11th. Even now, after so much time has passed, they have not lost their rarity and wisdom. We need to look deeply and ask the difficult, powerful questions: how are we, as Americans and westerners in general, responsible for the rise of terrorism as a political option? Do we also terrorize, or do our governments terrorize in our name? How are we complicit in this terror?

    These are questions that we as individuals can ask. Unfortunately, the official government of the people is not willing to consider these questions. We must ask them ourselves, of ourselves and of our nation. If in our communities we could consider these questions, we would begin to move in the right direction, I think.
     
  8. Leafblade

    Leafblade A spirit fox

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    I heard that terrorism was first used as a tactic during World War 1. I'm a little fuzzy on the details (tired) but it seemed like an effective method to deal with an invading force. On second thought, it might not be terrorism but the suicide bomber that was used.

    I also heard that there's a relatively effective terrorist rehabilitation program going on that is used to help in the releasing of former terrorist so they won't be a threat to themselves and the public. This is certainly not a war that can be fought with guns and soldiers alone, it has to be fought with ideas.
     
  9. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    Does anyone really think that we can deal with international terrorism without prolonged military involvement?

    No, I do not, but... I do not think the rabble of young and usually inexperienced boys which make up our armies are in a position to do the work that is needed.

    Terrorism by design, is difficult to root out. Military strategy is useless when fighting an enemy you cannot see. So, to fight terrorism- simple really. Secret service infiltration. It's the only way. It's difficult, but it's effective. Single embedded operatives, the new local halal food supplier, a new school teacher who starts at the mosque, get them in, and they simply feed intelligence back to their commanding officers. You need to do this from the top down- try and get in as high as you can, and from the bottom, to gather soft intel and again, try to infiltrate.

    M16 had the same idea- but unfortunately they could not get enough Muslims on board- it's true! But... they did get some. So, as we speak, there are M16 agents already living and walking and breathing alongside oblivious communities, making their notes, and passing on their info...

    The only other suggestion: pay people for intelligence on terrorists. Make it policy. If a man phones you with information and that information leads to a conviction: reward the caller. He'll definately do it again if you pay him the first time. Exploit the greed and petty jealousies of human beings- they will use you as you use them! It worked for the DWP and their "shop a benefit cheat" hotlines...

    The only other option: how about a policeman in every home! Work on the children! Get them to tell tales on their parents and families. It worked with the Hitler Youth, it also worked in Russia with the Little Spies.

    While there is oppression, there will always be terrorists. The best way of all to fight them would be, of course, to not create the conditions for terrorists to thrive in, but will that happen?
     
  10. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    That is totally untrue. Terrorism is an exceedingly rare response to oppression. What makes a handful of cultures respond in this way when most cultures respond to oppression in more sane ways is a difficult question.
     
  11. Eclectic Mystic

    Eclectic Mystic Member

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    "Come on now, you know that Ragheads will never be capible of discovering love... and thus, ultimately, choosing for themselves not to kill."
     
  12. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    C'mon EM, as a practicing mystic I find the above statement to be very inciteful and racist. I know that you can do better than that. Your vibrations tell me so.

    flow....:rolleyes:
     
  13. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Despite choosing the heptagon as your avatar you continue to state only one side!! For a self professed liberal, a democrat....wooooooooo a free thinker (!).. you show any invariable ability to look beyond republichrist doctrine.

    Tao
     
  14. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Well I do not know that he can but agree it is unwarranted and disgusting. There are plenty forums for cheap racist jibes.... i hope this aint one of them.

    Tao
     
  15. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    I now have to write a wee poem called the fascist Buddhist!! OMG!!!
     
  16. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Politeness Man hurls his steel hanky. I dunno, the epithet is appropriate to the cut of the satire I presume. It makes a point.

    Chris
     
  17. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Terrorism is just a tactic. It's not an honorable way to fight according to our sense of military tradition, but if one considers only the body count in terms of collateral damage, it's pretty clear who kills more innocent civilians, and it ain't the terrorists. And really, their fight isn't with us. They attack us for street cred, but the fight for them is really at home in the ME. Insofar as we, and I mean the US and whoever wants to join us, involve ourselves in these volatile regions we're going to be a bigger target. We want stable oil production. The ME has oil. But the ME is also home to dictatorial governments which we wind up having to support. So we wind up taking the side of the evil tyrants against the people. And then...Surprise! We get a little taste of the homegrown resistance.

    Chris
     
  18. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hi Chris...I think that we're all overlooking a fact that has a lot to do with ME societies proclivities towards terrorism. You might wish to rent a copy of the film, Lawrence of Arabia. That was the time when the British attemped to unite Arab monarchs under the Saudi King to repel the Turks who were an arm of the Kaiser in the ME during WWI. It couldn't really be done (despite the help of Anthony Quinn and Omar Sharif) because the culture was thoroughly tribal oriented and governed, and their legal frameworks were tribal in nature with familial blood ties and revenge as the primary motivators for short term change.

    Lawrence failed in his attempts because tribal cultures, as they are structured, simply cannot organize themselves very well to run large cities and cohesive national governing structures. Some progress towards the transformation of nomadic mindsets and tribal governance structures over the decades since WWI has taken place, but even with the huge injections of wealth and educated individuals into their societies from Western nations through tourism and trade, the cultural mindset of tribalism still predominates on the streets. And it is now an acknowledged fact that U.S, forces knew more about Arab culture when they were over there during WWII than they did when they were sent there in the early 90's and once again in 2003.

    And now people are resorting to terrorism because of the forced changes which have been imposed upon the ordinary people there over the past 75 years or so, when such transformations from one such mindset to another formerly took centuries of natural change to occur. Don't ever forget that all that is coherent in our technical and scientific heritage and history was preserved mostly by Arabs while Europe decayed in the dark ages until Europeans were "ready" to progress.

    The issues the West has with that entire situation has prompted the West to declare a global War on Terrorism (thanks to our current Administration), and to somehow associate the need for this with the Islamic religion. This seem to be just another exercise to label people and nations into submission before the Western-Capitalist-Urban mindset.

    9/11 was tragic, but it was/is not the cause of all this. It was the trigger that started all of this, and, IMHO, it still isn't very clear just who or what pulled that trigger on 9/11. The real cause is that you can take people out of their culture over the short term, but you can't take a culture out of the people unless it happens over the long term.

    politeness man (flow)....;)
     
  19. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    Is this a problem? It seems to me that large cities and 'cohesive national governing structures' are often problematic for an enduring civilization. Some people might claim that I inhabit a revisionist fantasy land, but I do wonder if we could all benefit from a healthy dose of decentralization and anarchy in the world in general.

    Sometimes I think we mistake imposing a certain kind of 'civilization' and governing over people as progress.
     
  20. Eclectic Mystic

    Eclectic Mystic Member

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    Oh.
    My.

    God.



    At least Chris got it...
     

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