Monday, January 11, 2010

The War on Terror

I think my full views and thinking on this matter have not been explained well, so this is my attempt to correct a few misconceptions, as well as explain why I think the way I do.

Disclaimer- just because I don't want to fight two useless wars in the Middle East with the terrorists, does not automatically mean I am 'with' the terrorists. I believe there are better, more cost-effective, less bloodthirsty ways to go about reaching a solution.

I am for national defense. I just do not think that, in this case, the way we went about national defense was the most effective way, as evidenced by our failure to accomplish anything significant (besides a mountain of debt and hundreds of thousands of deaths) during the last eight years. The 'war on terror' we are fighting is unwinnable, pure and simple.

The number one reason for this is because we cannot fight terrorists as if they were a conventional enemy.

By 'conventional' I mean one with a uniformed, organized military, located and based in a central area, constituted by a country or other boundary. The terrorists are not a conventional enemy, making them a unique target for us. This is the first time we, the US, have faced an enemy of such a nature. Their power is indirect, exerted from so many different places, it's impossible to pin them all down. They have proponents all over the world, from Brooklyn to London to Kabul to Beijing.

The reasoning for the men who use the tactic of terrorism is as varied as Americans' reasoning for disliking Obama. Some reasons are as simple as the incentive of the seventy virgins myth says they will receive if they are martyred. Others are more prosaic; they have had friends and family killed by the Americans, and wish to wreak their revenge. For others is a matter of nationalism: we have repeatedly invaded their lands, occupied their countries, and they're sick of it.

These reasons are firmly believed in, no matter who the men are. Some don't fully ascribe to the doctrinal beliefs of al Qaeda or the Taliban, but the two groups seem to know what they're doing, so they go along with it. On the other hand, some of the men stuck in the Taliban and al Qaeda were forced to join. Quite regularly, men are impressed into service via threats against family members, or physical harm to themselves. Still others merely want the money and loot they might be able to pick up if they stick around.

Another reason we will never get rid of these terrorists with our current tactics is because al Qaeda and like groups hide. Their main skill set is in hiding. They are of such a temperament that they must hide, or die. And so, they hide.

Our military, on the other hand, is used to going out, proverbial banners waving, acting macho and facing an organized military of the same caliber as they. And so, they are wholly inadequate to our current conflict. But I do not blame them for these 'wars'. They are merely doing what they are supposed to: follow orders. These 'wars' are the fault of our politicians, and a bit indirectly, our fault for letting them get away with their power-grabbing ways.

Another reason I believe we cannot win, and never will is because of the innate nature of terrorism.

Terrorism is a tactic. It has been used by militaries, yes, by countries, of course, but the tactic is still just that; a tactic. You cannot fight a tactic via conventional warfare, as I explained briefly above.

One more reason, on the tack above, is that the groups that use the tactic of terrorism are resilient, adaptive, and highly tenacious.

We utterly destroyed the Taliban. Or at least, we thought we did. But within weeks after we 'destroyed' them, they were back, their resolve strengthened by their initial defeat.

In this vein, we also often hurt our own cause. bin Laden's primary argument against us is that we are imperialistic. That is also the complaint of many of the Middle Easterners, including the Taliban. And when we act in a way that fulfills his opinion of us, we give he and his cronies yet more reason (not to mention propaganda material) to dislike us. In the same way, when we destroy what we thought was a 'military' target, and it instead turns out to be a civilian target, we enrage the Middle Easterners more, and give bin Laden and his ilk that much more ammunition to throw at us.

It is a good rule of thumb for both the economy and our present circumstances- when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Another reason we will not catch these terrorist groups if we keep going the way we are is because effective intelligence cannot be gathered.

The CIA, the FBI, and the NSA have all acknowledged that their high-tech SIGINT (signals intelligence) and COMINT (communications intelligence) gathering equipment is virtually useless in the medieval-like atmosphere of Afghanistan and Iraq. Unlike here, computers/internet, cell phones, or even radios are scarce. Satellite phones were in usage for a short time, but al Qaeda has ceased using them- with excellent results for them, but bad ones for us. We don't know where bin Laden is, nor where any of his top lieutenants are.

Our HUMINT (human intelligence) gathering efforts have also been sad. We get very little reliable intel from our captives or the people in the countries. Much of this is because a) the captives hate us, and b) the people hate us too. The captives have a vested interest in not telling us anything, especially if they're religiously motivated. If they hold out, Allah will reward them. More prosaically, many of them have friends and buddies in the organizations we try to get them to talk about, and they don't want to betray them. Also, for men used to the heavy-handed tactics of the Taliban, fear for retribution against their families if they talk could also figure in.

The people hate us because, quite frankly, we've ruined their countries. We've demolished their infrastructure, overthrown their governments, and become a bit tiresome. In fact, the Afghan people have begun calling us the "New Russians!"

Another reason we cannot win is because we cannot conquer the minds and hearts of the people...especially when we don't know their language.

Very few translators or Arabic-speaking individuals were sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. Leading up to the invasions, private contractors (in much the same fashion as for our hired mercenaries) were found to hire Arabic-speaking individuals to be quickly trained and sent with the military. This means that very few of our people over there can communicate in any intelligent fashion with the Iraqi or Afghan people, which can cause great problems.

This is also another reason our SIGINT, COMINT, and HUMINT efforts fail so spectacularly. Simply put, we do not have enough people who can speak the language, and so we cannot understand what they are saying. For all we know, we could have missed several excellent opportunities that the Iraqi and Afghani people afforded us, but the opportunity was lost because our soldiers simply did not understand what they were saying.

Because of all these factors, I believe that the 'war on terror', and the associated 'war' in Afghanistan is wrong. Our proclaimed goal- to fight terror- is something we will never accomplish.

In any case, even if our intentions are pure (which I'm sure, for some Americans, they are), we are still going after the wrong people. Pakistan is most likely feeding funds to al Qaeda, and isn't exactly disapproving of the Taliban. Saudi Arabia is a known sponsor of terror, not to mention the fact that they've given funds to radical Islamic and secular terrorist groups in the past. Afghanistan, in comparison, is (and was) merely a medieval-minded, Islamic loony-bin, for all intents and purposes.

On the subject of Iraq

Were we justified in taking our Holy War into Iraq? In a word, no.

Donald Rumsfeld, then secretary of defense, Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, and their friends Dick Cheney and George W. Bush used sketchy intelligence to push their case before the UN (a speech made by Powell) that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Of course, using such a tactic was merely a means to an ultimate end for him- right after he heard about the 9/11 attacks, he was convinced they were the work of Iraq, without intelligence, without even preliminary reports to go on.

Basically, Powell used two major things as argument in his speech:
1. Intercepted SIGINT concerning 'modified vehicles' (which turned out to be trailers to carry weather balloons), a message concerning the deletion of certain phrases from the files of the Iraqi government (which turned out to be just purging of extraneous information concerning their former chem-weapon program; the remaining information, mainly just references to certain kinds of weaponry, was purged pending the UN inspection so as to not give the US provocation or cause to attack), and another message speaking about unmanned drone tests (of all the intel, this proved to be the most sound; a prototype of a Soviet-style UAV was found, but its range didn't extend over the Iraqi border, and it was barely holding together as it was).
2. That Saddam Hussein had used chem weapons before- which was true, but UN inspectors had found no evidence of chemical or biological weapons in their inspection, and Hussein had repeatedly said he had none.

Saddam Hussein repeatedly said he did not have WMD's, and that he had not been planning to make them- yet we still attacked him.

A better, Constitutional Solution

I don't claim to have all the answers. But I do think there were better options available to us immediately after 9/11. For starters, we could have ensured every person here with an expired visa or green card left. The 9/11 hijackers were living here on expired visas, along with millions of other prospective terrorists. Second, we could tighten up the medicare system so that illegals cannot benefit from our taxpayer money, and potentially use it for illegal activities.

Third, we need to make an effort to tighten up our border security, both from Canada, Mexico, and on our coasts. A lucrative business is run in Mexico running in drugs, illegals (including Arabs) and other contraband material. If we were to close off that outlet, it would make it much more difficult for potentially dangerous people to get in.

Lastly, invest more money in the immigration process. To get into this country legally takes forever; hence why so many people try to get in illegally. If we had taken the money we spent in the wars, we could have easily accomplished this by hiring more immigration workers and giving them the tools they need to do their job.

In Conclusion

To sum up- our reasoning and our plan for executing this 'war on terror' is fundamentally flawed. Our flawed understanding of terrorists and what terrorism truly is cripples us, because it traps us in a conflict we will never win.

We will never win it because our actions are counter-productive, our intelligence-gathering nonexistent, and our mission statement too vague. Our reasoning for going into both Afghanistan and Iraq was sketchy at best, wrong at worst.

42 comments:

Einar said...

I must say that I am rather disappointed by the many assumptions you make about what we do or do not know. War is a battle of Intel as much as a battle of forces, and to expect that our government would tell us HOW they gained their Intel seems a bit naive to me.

Think about it, say we have a undercover agent who speaks Arabic, has a family in Iraq, and has spent the past ten years becoming firmly ingrained in the Taliban network there. He gives us a prime bit of information that allows us to make a preemptive strike and save thousands of lives, but in order to do so our generals are expected to present the information to all of America so they can judge it's validity, and then tell them it came from an agent in Iraq? How much sense does that make?

Our country is a Republic, not a Democracy. In a Democracy, ALL the people vote on ALL the decisions, like with Rome. With a republic, we elect representatives based on our opinion of their ability to lead, and then trust them to make the best decisions they can. This is ESPECIALLY true with military, we cannot possibly hope to allow America to vote on every decision in a war, or on whether or not to declare war, as our officials often know far more than we do about the subject.

I am NOT saying that we should trust our government blindly, but war is in its own category, this is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of strategy, of lives. To place the regulations required to ensure Americans would have their say on a war would be to cripple it with a bureaucracy that mirrors those that we have in every other area of government right now. A good step towards better Intel would be not crippling the CIA, and allowing techniques such as waterboarding (Oooh, scary evil word!) to FORCE unwilling captives to reveal secrets. Luckily for both us AND the terrorists, waterboarding is an incredibly effective method that leaves no physical or emotional scars, unless you count the knowledge that you reveals critical information to the enemy as “emotional scarring.” I notice you have condemned this method on this blog, and I wonder why after insisting we need better Intel, you would then seek to take away the tools we use to gather that Intel, and then prosecute those who were simply doing their duty to defend their country.

I agree with you that our borders should be more secure, but that should be in addition to, not instead of, a strong offensive maneuver against nations that covertly support terrorism. Do you really mean to tell me that you believe Saddam was not helping the Taliban and Al Qaeda? Terrorist groups need weapons, money, transportation, and supplies, they do not pull them out of thin air. In my opinion, we should already be in both Iran and Pakistan, rooting out the last vestiges of support they have after we hunted them down in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In short, I find your lack of perspective disappointing Liberty, which is saying a lot since I agree with you on so many other subjects.

suntzusays said...

The intelligence experts involved at the FBI and the military have also denounced waterboarding, stress positions, etc as unnecessary and counterproductive in order to gather credible and actionable information. It's not merely people like Liberty who value civil liberties but also the people conducting the fight on the front lines who have done so in other words.

"Forcing" people to tell you things through torture does not mean you will gather credible information. You will also gather meaningless information that way, ie, things you "wanted" to know rather than the things you actually needed to know. What we "wanted to know" allows us to create links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda even when any credible analysis would suggest that these two agents are in two entirely different worlds and thus incompatible. That is an example of bad intelligence. It came from: waterboarding captured terrorist suspects until they produced information that we wanted to hear. If you want to discuss these techniques as providing some viable benefit (which it is extremely tenuous logic to suggest that you can ONLY get credible intelligence by torture and not from any other form of interrogation or coercion), then you must also realize that these methods have negative costs associated with them, such as the likelihood of surrender by enemies in combat or to arrest and detention by police and intelligence forces, the quality of information and leads we get, willing cooperation of local sources, enemy propaganda, not to mention that it is extremely hard to tie down such methods to a specific time and place (the so called ticking time bomb scenario popularized by Jack Bauer) and restrict them to only such times and places as are deemed acceptable in the form of a broad legal policy advocated by state actors. We saw this at work in the release of information documenting the atrocities committed not only at Abu Ghraib but also at sites around the world and at Guantanamo prior to the abolition of torture as acceptable state policy for information gathering.

After all, if it is deemed acceptable to get critical information, why not some other more mundane information about the structure of terrorist training cells, or why not simply for prisoner control?

suntzusays said...

PS, Pakistan funded the original Taliban in Afghanistan as a check against India. So yes, they're not exactly concerned with them. They're at least a little worried about the Pakistani Taliban in the northern parts of their own country but I think they figured if the battle stays up in Afghanistan, the refugees and associated terrorist cells will go up there to fight instead of bothering the Punjab government. This seems to have backfired (not surprising).

So I am not sure you could claim they're funding al Qaeda with evidentiary support, but they're definitely funding and supporting the Taliban. Curiously, Iran was the state actor backing the guys we fought alongside initially (Northern Alliance). I like how we mismanaged the potential for an alliance of convenience AND left Iran in a stronger position regionally by expending our resources on two pointless occupations. Good work that.

Liberty said...

Einar- I do not advocate giving away everywhere we get our intel from; such actions would put in danger the sources that ARE willing to cooperate with us. My comments regarding intel above were merely based on my own understanding of how we gather it, as well as the abilities and disabilities that are placed on our people not only because of humanitarian concerns, but also because of the situation they are in.

I am not saying make the government tell us all their sources, but I would like to know what they're doing with the information they get from said sources. Let's say the information is used to kidnap someone and take them to a CIA black site- such a use would, in my opinion, be wrong.

Something I find interesting- during WWII, the Japanese used waterboarding techniques on our soldiers. Then, it was categorized as torture. But now, when we do it, it is no longer torture, but simply a meek 'enhanced interrogation technique'. What is up with that?

And as Sun Tzu pointed out- just because we force people to tell us the 'truth', doesn't mean we'll actually get accurate information. They'll just tell us what we want to know so they will escape further pain.

Do you really mean to tell me that you believe Saddam was not helping the Taliban and Al Qaeda?

I believe that it was unlikely he was aiding al Qaeda. Taliban, I haven't studied much, but from what I know of both groups, I doubt they would accept help from Hussein's Iraq, and here is why.

Saddam ran a Ba'ath regime- a patently secular regime which while it allowed religion, was not inherently religious. Hence, Saddam's regime would be the national equivalent of a kfir or heretic. Given this, no, I do not think there were any links between Hussein and al Qaeda.

Liberty said...

Sun Tzu- I know I have heard that the Israeli army doesn't resort to physical means, but instead uses clever questioning and psychological pressure in extreme situations for interrogations. Haven't studied it, so I'm not sure of the details, but it seems they get good results; even better than ours.

I also think we wasted a valuable ally in the Afghan people themselves. They weren't exactly the greatest fans of the Taliban (especially not the ethnic and religious minorities), and I've heard several people say that they were quite fond of the Americans when we first went in. Yet another wasted resource.

suntzusays said...

Israeli intelligence has sometimes used physical means and these are as popular there as they are here (which is to say that a majority people support them for reasons mostly unrelated to their actual effectiveness as judged by interrogation and intelligence operatives).

I'm pretty sure that the ARMY in both cases does not support them and does not use them against captured prisoners as a matter of policy. Prisoner abuse is instead something to be punished. It's the CIA and its related contractors that ran the torture programs and it is the FBI and parts of the army command structure that objected. Since it is the army (and to a lesser extent the police/security forces, like the FBI) that has the greater likelihood of being killed if they don't get good intelligence in both cases, I defer to them over the CIA and/or Mossad.

The most famous and often regarded as the most successful interrogator in the world was probably Hanns Scharff.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanns_Scharff
And he did not even raise his voice. I'm not sure how people can claim that you need to beat information out of someone when even the Nazis had people like this that they used instead when they needed intelligence during a far worse and far more damaging war for Germany than we are presently in.

Teresa said...

Saddam Hussein admitted in an interview here that he duped the world into thinking he had stockpiles of WMD's. Here: http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/fbi-files-saddam-hussein-faked-having

Plus, Here is detailed information regarding a variety of WMD's and how UNSCOM and the IAEA couldn't verify that Saddam had destroyed all the WMD's that he had admitted having in the past. Plus, Saddam hadn't let any inspectors into Iraq past either 1998 or 1999.

With the lack of verification or knowledge prior to the Iraq War that there were no WMD's in Iraq there is no possible way that the United States could have possibly known Saddam was lying to the U.S. about having WMD's, and that in reality since he didn't have WMD's, he wasn't an imminent threat.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/gunning/etc/arsenal.html

Liberty said...

Sun Tzu- OK I see about the Israelis. Like I said, I haven't actually studied it; my information was second-hand.

I had never heard of that German guy before. Quite amazing. We should learn from him. :P

Teresa- I concede- Saddam may have not exactly denied it- until he figured out we were going to attack him, even only on the basis of shaky rumors and sketchy intel.

In any case, a further study I did showed that Saddam was merely fabricating his WMD program to look tough for Iran. Iran was threatening them, and Saddam figured prevention was the best policy, hence the rumors of WMDs.

Hussein actually let inspectors in 2002/2003, when it appeared we really were going to attack them.

The point is though that we had no intelligence. The intelligence we did have was blown out of proportion, mainly because we didn't have any, and then we justified it all with "oh well, if he had had them, he would've used them!" Of course, how we can actually know that is a mystery to me, but it has seemed to work for the majority of Americans.

BTW Teresa- any thoughts on the rest of my post? :)

Teresa said...

Liberty,
Will get back to you later. I have classes today.

Have a great day :)

Teresa said...

I agree that we cannot fight the Afghan war 100% conventionally. We must allow other tactics such as the use of EIT's whenever in order to gain information to stop an imminent threat or a perceived imminent threat. Plus, the use of drones would be good to.

"By fall 1998 the Taliban controlled about 90% of the country and, with its scorched-earth tactics and human rights abuses, had turned itself into an international pariah. Only three countries—Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAR—recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan's legitimate government." http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107264.html?pageno=3

"The U.S. asked for the deportation of Bin Laden, whom it believed was involved in the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998. The UN also demanded the Taliban hand over Bin Laden for trial." (from same site)

Even before 9/11 both the U.S. and UN demanded The Taliban turn Bin Laden over for trial, but yet refused.

Then on 9/11 Osama Bin Laden commanded the Act of War that killing 3000 innocent lives. As a sovereign, the United States has every right to defend itself and fight back against our enemy. The since the Afghanistan government was illegitimate and Osama Bin Laden was hiding behind the cloak of an illegitimate government, practically nonexistent, than the U.S. has every right to invade a country in which a war criminal is hiding. Going after Al-Qaeda is justice. Plus, it is justice to go after a people, The Taliban, for hiding him and impeding justice from being handed down to Bin Laden.
If Hitler had hidden in Spain after being responsible for murdering many Jews and others, and he was hiding in Spain to get way from justice being served, do you think it would have been right for the U.S. or any of our allies to go after him?

"It imposed harsh fundamentalist laws, including stoning for adultery and severing hands for theft. Women were prohibited from work and school, and they were required to cover themselves from head to foot in public. By fall 1998 the Taliban controlled about 90% of the country and, with its scorched-earth tactics and human rights abuses, had turned itself into an international pariah." (same site)

If our U.S. soldiers can stop the cycle of forced indoctrination or forced membership into both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and U.S. troops stop the Jihadists than we can break the cycle of violence. If the troops help them with job training and help build up their infrastructure than we can break the cycle of violence being committed against us. Then, our troops can leave Afghanistan. We are helping to free these Afghanis from a brutal regime.

The article you pointed me to said"who are masters at the weapons-hiding shell game." Saddams regime were masters at hiding WMD's. Saddam only allowed the inspectors into certain areas of the facility.

But, just a thought- Do you think its possible that the CIA would make up evidence to make an administration look bad? I only think a few agents would put partisan politics over our security or the truth. But, they would probably be the decision makers at the top.

Liberty said...

Thanks for your thoughts Teresa. :)

The thing is, as Sun Tzu pointed out above, there are other more humane, and more effective ways to gain intelligence than automatically resorting to EITs.

How do we define an 'illegitimate government'? Is it a government we disagree with? A government that does things we don't like?

When a group of people come to power and institute a government, no matter our own thoughts on it, it is a government regardless. I will say that the Taliban did many bad things, and their major fault was that they were more concerned with 70 virgins and a 'pure Islamist' caliphate, to the detriment of more physical concerns, such as food and jobs, but that is a fault anyone can fall into.

We cannot invade an entire country to get at one man. It is silly, not to mention a waste of valuable resources, most notably human resources. If we are fighting a war to, ultimately, find one man, we're doing a pretty poor job of it.

Will continue later...Karate class then a political meeting. :)

Liberty said...

If Hitler had hidden in Spain, there would have been nothing we could have done about it. Spain was (I am fairly certain) a neutral country in WWII, and so we would have had exactly zero right to go into Spain to get him. We could have cooperated with the Spanish government, but if said government was not willing to help us, there would have been nothing we could do about it.

The thing is that the way we're trying to stop this cycle isn't working. In fact, more people are joining al Qaeda and the Taliban willingly, mostly because of the atrocities we've committed!! We are shooting ourselves in the foot with our actions in the Middle East.

The CIA has cherry-picked evidence before to make an administration look good. It isn't that much of a jump for them to cherry-pick it to make an administration look bad. I'm not sure they would outright make stuff up, but who knows?

suntzusays said...

Spain was only marginally neutral. There was a brigade of Spanish volunteers who served on the Eastern front and marched around, basically to mollify Hitler's support of the Franco regime in the first place, but no official state support (and plenty of refugees or POWs who escaped there). As far as going in after Hitler in that circumstance, Israel essentially went around the globe to round up Nazi expatriates after WW2 (Eichmann most famously in Argentina). I don't recall that they used declarations of war to find such criminals nor full scale invasions but rather used good human intelligence to find them and coordinated with local assets to capture them. Because of international pressures, it is likely that a Franco-era Spain would either 1) turn over Hitler or 2) have internal dissidents who would cooperate in such an effort to find and capture him who we could work with. There is not a hypothetical reason to declare war on Spain for harboring a war criminal. All one has to do to see that there is not is look at the historical extradition, or more precisely non-extradition, of various international villains (Idi Amin for example) to see that one such effect of harboring criminals like this is that it neutralizes their base of power and ability to do anything meaningful and threatening anyway.

Use of drones or cruise missile strikes may be approved and sanctioned by most Americans, but it is unclear what legal basis (in both domestic and international law) such things rest upon. I think it can be argued that attacking non-state actors with violent intentions with state military powers other than those of the state they are within is probably acceptable military use, though it is unclear that it is the best method of attacking such forces in all cases (for example, where such forces are embedded in non-combat areas with civilian populations who would be killed or injured, possibly against the will of the civilian population involved, it probably isn't cost effective to blow up the buildings that they're hiding in). The problem is that there is no clear authority granted to the military to do such things. War Powers Act and the Congressional authorizations of use of force against terrorist cells would have to be viewed as excessively broad powers of a unitary executive branch to make drone attacks in say, Pakistan or Yemen instead of Afghanistan or Iraq, stick legally. I am quite confident if we were to openly use such strikes in a country like China or France, someone would complain in a way that demands attention in a way that apparently attacking Muslim countries with their relative lack of international power and connections does not.

Teresa said...

@Liberty

I could see your point about whether to classify Afghanistan as having a legitimate government or not if it was just the U.S. or the U.S. and only 2 other countries claiming Afghanistan's government was illegitimate but when only 3 countries in the world recognize the legitmacy of a country, and that being Afghanistan in this case, that's different. It seems that there was an overall concensus from the World.

When there is time to use more humane tactics I am all for that. But, when those tactics don't work or the threat is imminent I believe that EIT's should be considered as an option and possibly used.

We are trying to kill more than one terrorist in Afghanistan so waging war there is appropriate. Both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are working together in Afghanistan and we must stop them. Plus, there are 24-45 nuclear warheads in Pakistan that our troops are protecting so that they don't fall into the hands to either Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

Liberty said...

Sun Tzu- thanks for clarifying the Spain thing. I really wasn't sure about whether or no Spain was neutral. :)

I do agree with the rest of your comment as well. It seems to be a sad fact that, apparently, the fact that we're hurting the Muslims more than we're helping them (or, that the 'Muslim Lobby' isn't big enough) for alarm bells to ring in enough people's heads.

Teresa-
I still think that other countries' approval/disapproval of a regime is not a measure of whether or not it is 'legitimate'. You're opening yourself up to all sorts of horrid things then. What if a majority of countries decide they don't want to 'recognize' America's government anymore?

Torture techniques do have their time and place, most notably in the Middle Ages and the Spanish Inquisition. But there are two things wrong with it. One, the intelligence we gain from it is notoriously inaccurate. Two, we slam other countries for using torture techniques, then strenuously defend our own policy of torture. Hypocritical much?

I have not heard of any indications that the Pakistani warheads will fall into the hands of radical groups. But then again, the ISI (Pakistani intel services) were the ones that took our money and fed it to Gulbuddin, a notorious anti-American radical, during the Afghan War. But then again, Gulbuddin didn't like al Qaeda, so if we follow the path of association, we could say that the Pakistanis are no more a fan of al Qaeda than they are of America.

Teresa said...

@Liberty
I think helping people when they are being denied certain rights and being indoctrinated, forced to to join rogue organizations or armies, or their are just plain abuses being committed against the people, then helping them would be a good thing. Some example are Afghanistan, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sudan.

The government being considered illegitimate didn't depend on approval or disapproval of a people. Where Afghanistan was concerned there was no type of government setup at all. I mean a people cannot just call something government. There are certain requirements that any type of government must abide by.

As you know, I have shown you before that EIT's did produce some accurate information. Here is an article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/20/AR2009042002818.html

But, we can agree to disagree on that point. That's fine with me.

Liberty said...

Helping people is all well and good, but it isn't our government's place. What, are we going to turn into the world's Robin Hood, on top of their tax collector/conscience/legislator?

The Taliban did set up a 'government'. Perhaps not a terribly efficient or effective one, but a government nonetheless. And who decides these 'requirements'? Us? By whose authority?

Yes, you have shown me sources, and I think you. (But I must say that that particular link doesn't inspire much confidence; it is much akin to quoting an Obamabot about the beauty of healthcare reform...it won't be exactly the most unbiased report out there.)

But my point still stands that we can produce as accurate, if not more accurate intelligence by using less harsh methods; eg.- the actions of the German Sun Tzu pointed me to. That man accomplished wonders, all without even raising his voice!

And in any case, that is largely beside the point. It is still wrong. Torture is still wrong. Saying it's OK if we get results is like saying it's OK to beat your kids half to death so long as they behave better. The latter is, I think we can both agree, far from true, and I believe the former is as well.

But I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree, as you said.

Liberty said...

Oops. Up above it should be 'thank' not 'think'. >.< Lousy fingers... :P

Teresa said...

@Liberty Trying to fain information to stop a terrorist attack is far different than and on a different plane than abusing your innoecnt child. A terrorist is not innocent.

The U.S. government is far from the only government to declare Afghanistan's so-called government as illegitimate- 99% of countries around the world did not recognize Afghanistans's claim of having a government as being a legitimate form of government.

Look here: http://www.photius.com/wfb2000/countries/afghanistan/afghanistan_government.html

But do you think that the U.S. has an obligation to help Haiti? Or do the costs outweigh the benefits as you claim with regards to helping other countries in times of need?

I believe that there is no difference in helping people break away from corruption and abuses and helping people after a natural disaster.

Teresa said...

Fain is a typo. I meant find

Slip of the fingers too.

Liberty said...

My analogy of the child was just that- an analogy. But I would like to say that when kids get spanked, its because they did something (or, at least, it should be). I've seen some kids that have, quite literally, acted like terrorists towards their poor parents, siblings, and those around them. 'Holy terrors', anyone?

But my point still stands- just because what we do is "not as bad" as what some other country does (e.g.- waterboarding) or that it's "for a purpose" (the 'EITs') does not change the fact that it is wrong.

The link you pointed me to merely means this- A) the Afghans didn't adopt a 'democracy'. So? B) They were ruled by Islamists. So? None of those things mean anything really; it merely means the UN doesn't/didn't like them.

No, I don't think the US Government has an obligation to help the people of Haiti. In fact, they can't. Goodness knows we're blowing enough money. Furthermore, the Constitution does not give the federal government authority for such measures.

Now if private citizens want to donate money through the Red Cross or whatever, more power to them. That is their right. But it is not our GOVERNMENT's place.

Secondly, helping people "break away from corruption from and abuses" is not our government's job either, unless it's their own corruption. The business of other nations is not our concern.

NSPalmer said...

Thanks for a remarkably intelligent and thoughtful analysis. It's quite amazing, especially considering your youth. One note: the "terrorist menace" is not new. It's essentially a rerun of the "Communist menace."

Teresa said...

@Liberty

Question: Does the Constitution prohibit the U.S. from helping or aiding other countries?

Liberty said...

Noah- thank you! :) That is an interesting point. I think it is interesting to see how Muslim terrorism has supplanted the 'Soviet menace' so neatly...

Teresa- before I can answer that question, I must explain the nature of the Constitution. In the first article, the Constitution enumerates every power the federal government has. Our Constitution is called a 'positive Constitution', which simply means that it is shorter to enumerate the powers the government does have (positive) then the powers they don't. (There's the opposite too, a 'negative Constitution', where the reverse is true.)

In this framework, any power that is not explicitly named in the Constitution is not part of the Federal government's responsibility.

Now, the case could be made that state governments are permitted to help foreign states (tenth amendment), but state governments are in turn bound by their state Constitution, and so the power automatically reverts to the people, where it should properly rest. People should help people; it is the ultimate safety net.

There is nothing against an American citizen going and helping foreign countries, whether in the capacity of aid workers, fund raisers, or even mercenaries (so long, of course, as our country's national security issues are safe). That is their right as private individual citizens.

I hope that helped. ;)

suntzusays said...

If you want a way to help Haiti within the context of the constitutional mandate, push for broader acceptance of immigration, especially from failed nearby states like Haiti. Border control and therefore immigration policy (or the free movement of labourers across a border) is arguably a function of the federal authorities under the purview of national defense. And Haitians are probably far better helped by either leaving their conditions behind or leaving those conditions and sending money and aid themselves in the sense that they will know far better the precise needs and wants of their people than centrally planned foreign aid commissions. Of course, send money yourself to organisations on the ground if you want (and can).

As to the previous debate over illegitimate governments, there's the little matter of Hamas and Hezbollah to consider. They both have had democratically elected representatives and even leaders in their respective territories in both cases, selected in relatively free and fair elections (certainly in contrast to any elections we have run in Iraq and especially Afghanistan). Are those illegitimate governments simply because they have wings of their agencies and radical imams who support them who fund terrorist actions? Because they followed the same basic concepts we claim to want nations to follow in order to attain their power. Conversely, the Mubarak and Musharaf governments in Egypt and Pakistan were no more "legitimate" than the Taliban was prior to our invasion in the sense of having a government representative of their people. Musharaf took power from a coup even. I don't think I see where the failed state idea is a good way to set down which states can be invaded and which can not. Still looks pretty much like we make up the reasons as we go along, or at least, there must be some appeal to compelling state security interests for us to bother with sending in the Marines. For another problem with that critique, there's at least a dozen places in Africa that that logic applies to in any given year. Other than maybe Somalia, I don't see us doing jack about any of them. Given that our most recent visitor came from Nigeria via Yemen and wasn't a failed state flunkie in either place but a fully educated elite who was disaffected by our policies in those invaded failed states, it's even harder to make the case that we need to play whack-a-mole on illegitimate governments. And besides, the chaos of a civil war or dysfunctional government is not exactly in our ability to repair in all cases, usually we will succeed in adding to the tensions on the ground or, at worst, placing the target on ourselves to get attacked instead. We can certainly help, even through our tax dollars, when there's a disaster somewhere or a famine. It's pretty hard to do much of anything when the disaster is man-made other than maybe sit both sides down and try to mediate.

Teresa said...

Their is no indication that our most recent visitor was dissaffected by our policies. That just simply isn't true. That is a cop-out. He was radicalized by Muslims because that is the lifestyle he chose. Stop using the bash America, and promoting hating America policies mantra. Put the blame where it lies. These Muslims want to have a Caliphate in the World. They want a "pure" Muslim religion and no other "outsider religions" because that's what Allah tells them in the Koran and other materials. These Muslim Jihadists do not want to share the World with Christians and Jews.

There is nothing in our Constitution that prohibits our government from helping other nations when they are in need of our assistance.

Adding more cuntries or groups that could be considered illegitimate doesn't mitigate the fact that ALL but 3 nations did not recognize the Taliban's government as legitimate. The United Nations didn't even recognize their so called government as legitimate. Their is a thing called national interest and none of their political or religious factions in a large en masse way either attacked us or aided or promoted the killings of innocents and more killings of innocents afterward the 9/11 attack.

Liberty said...

Sun Tzu- excellent points. ((My mother likes you LOL))

Teresa- Actually, yes, the Nigerian's reason for bombing was retaliation for the bombing attacks on Yemen. He did not like US policies. I would greatly appreciate it if you would stop just assuming that these terrorists are all irrational automatons; it is not true, far from it, and these men do have reasons, just as you have reasons for what you believe.

"These Muslims want to have a Caliphate in the World. They want a "pure" Muslim religion and no other "outsider religions" because that's what Allah tells them in the Koran and other materials."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, well, I doubt they're going to get that anytime soon. Forget us. Do you know how many different branches of Islam there are?

First we have Sunni, Shi'ite, Ahmadiyya, and Sufi. Then, below those (and inside those), there are Salafi Muslims, and Wahhabi Muslims, and Barelwi Muslims, and Deobandi Muslims, and Imamiyyah Muslims, and...I could go on, but it would take up more space than I have here.

My point is that Muslims are too busy fighting about doctrinal and theological issues amongst themselves to bother with anybody else. In fact, they fought quite nicely for several hundred years, until we went in and got involved with Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. And hence was created the cycle of violence we see today; a cycle that has no foreseeable end.

"There is nothing in our Constitution that prohibits our government from helping other nations when they are in need of our assistance."

You're right. It doesn't say that. But did you even read my last comment? I explained why foreign aid was not in the Constitution. Maybe you should go recap. ;)

"Their is a thing called national interest and none of their political or religious factions in a large en masse way either attacked us or aided or promoted the killings of innocents and more killings of innocents afterward the 9/11 attack."

I'm confused. But it seems to me that you're saying that the Taliban and Afghanistan didn't attack us.

Teresa said...

I was referring to all the other countries Suntzysays was saying may not be legitimate governmeents. Al-Qaeda attacked us and the Taliban aided them after thefact and are helping al-Qaeda now.


You did not provide any references in the Constitution that specifically prohibits the United States from helping other nations in need with aid.

Your assumptions are wrong about the terrorists and about the underwear bomber. Yemen has been a breeding spot for terrorists for many years. It is not due to Anti-American sentiment, at least with regards to military actions overseas. By promoting that ideological hate as the left has done and promoting and spewing it over and over again has clearly brainwashed the terrorists and encouraged them to further their cause against the country both you and I live in, while helping the terrorists promote their hate anyone that isn't Muslim agenda. But, you go ahead and keep on promoting those hate America policies. The anti-American sentiment isn't due to our fighting for freedom and helping other countries, it is due to the left spewing hate America policies and egging on the Muslim Jihadists to fulfill their prophecies to Allah, to kill all who don't believe in "their God" Allah.

Liberty said...

"You did not provide any references in the Constitution that specifically prohibits the United States from helping other nations in need with aid."

And you will not find one, just as you will not find a reference against oh, health care, or stimulating the economy, or auto bailouts, or bank bailouts. I explained why this was- our Constitution is a positive Constitution, not a negative one, and the powers our government does have are enumerated.

The point is simple- if it ain't there, they don't got it.

"Your assumptions are wrong about the terrorists and about the underwear bomber."

What assumptions? I am not assuming anything. I have been studying this subject in detail.

The terrorists are not irrational or mindless. They have reasons for why they do what they do, and sadly, many of their reasons actually have a leg to stand on. That is OUR fault. It is not the terrorists fault. It is OURS.

You are mistaken if you think it is only the Left that has been spewing hateful rhetoric. And I do not hate America. I do not know how many times I am going to have to reiterate this. I love America. I am thankful for my freedoms. God knows, if I didn't have them, I wouldn't be able to come on here and criticize my politicians' policies. How can I hate the very freedoms and systems that give me the ability to give my opinions to the world?

I am criticizing my politicians actions because I think they are wrong. This is my way of attempting to effect change. I can't vote, so giving my opinion and the facts that go along with said opinions is an easy way for me to try to make things change, for the better hopefully.

I have explained why I think the way I do. I have explained, several times, why I think these wars are wrong. I have explained, multiple times, why the terrorists are not merely irrational. I have explained multiple times why they hate us. Yet I reap only name-calling and political labels from you.

suntzusays said...

@liberty. I'm not entirely sure why she would/should, but okay.

@general There is substantial evidence of the causes of radicalization of Muslims toward a violent jihadist interpretation as being things like America's attacks in Yemen or elsewhere or the use of these EITs that people are so gung ho about. Go ask people who have recruited for these organisations what the high watermarks were; the use of torture, the invasion of Iraq for no apparent reason, the continued presence of Gitmo/detained prisoners without constitutional rights or even POW rights. In some cases people are walking right in after these things happen. And then ask what the low watermark was: 9-11. Terrorism is in fact "successful" by doing nothing more than allowing America to do what it has been doing, and it "fails" when it succeeds in killing innocent people in large numbers. It's an amazing paradox.

As Liberty points out however, the problem isn't merely limited to Wahhabis versus America (al Qaeda's bailiwick), it's a general civil war over the nature of the Muslim's world that incites a good deal of what appears to be random anger to the America observer before we even arrive at the problems that America's imperial foreign interventionism causes. When one examines as an outsider the nature of Christianity, it would make little sense to define as universal the rantings of some relatively obscure and more or less fundamentalist sect, say Pentecostals or Seventh Day Adventists, versus the overwhelming behavior of Christians or their overwhelming membership in usually far less extreme versions of their religious beliefs, and rendering so broad the interpretations and practices of their shared underlying faith as to make it impossible to make any generalizations effective. I don't understand how people arrive at making such sweeping assumptions about the nature of Islamic beliefs or the Muslim peoples on the basis of the beliefs and practices of Wahhabis. But since it persists in happening, and since it continues to define a substantive critique of how we should run our foreign policy, and since it defines any attempt at understanding our enemies (ultimately essential if we want to defeat them), I can only assume that there must be some other motivations for the desire to fight such people than that "they attacked us". I see hints at such motivations when people defend the practice of torture as necessary. They are not hints of a decent and respectable people who have some marginal concern for others and respect the rule of law, which tends to be the image that most Americans want to project. Hypocrisy is my most damning pet peeve. I think that explains why I have so much trouble with these concepts and practices being held as common beliefs and why I see fit to argue against them vociferously as wrong-headed, inconsistent, and ultimately self-defeating notions of who we are and who are enemies are.

suntzusays said...

I meant to say "since it defines any attempt to define our enemies..." as "America hating".

Got caught up in the fact that defining your enemy is sort of important strategically speaking to operational warfare and forgot the politics for a second.

Teresa said...

@Liberty
What books, authors and papers on Islam and terrorism have you studied?

Liberty said...

Sun Tzu- agree totally. But I will say that radical Islam is neither merely advanced by Wahhabis, nor is it all Wahhabis that think that way. If I am not mistaken, Qatar, which is a Wahhabi state, is actually quite moderate, whereas Saudi Arabia (also Wahhabi) is more fundamentalist. Then, of course, you have people like bin Laden, who are absolutely loony with their beliefs.

Teresa- I've been studying the subject for about a month now, and am planning to go more in depth, but here are the books I've read so far:

* Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power by Joseph Margulies
Absolutely amazing book. He is a bit liberal, but his analysis and research is very good.
* Osama by Jonathan Randall
Another good book. Gives a good overview of both Osama the man and Osama the near crazy-guy. But, Randall does make sure to stay away from just dismissing him under "Oh he's just crazy" and like labels.
* Engaging the Muslim World by Juan Cole
Not all the way done with this one yet, but I do like it. He gives a good overview of Middle Eastern life and politics in general.
* Hunting bin Laden by Rob Schultheis
Written by a guy who was actually in Afghanistan during the Afghan-Soviet war, and has been there since. Very compelling account of his experiences.
* Holy War, Inc. by Peter Bergen
Gives an overview of radical religious terrorism, period, focusing mainly on Muslim terrorism.
* Warriors of God by James Reston, Jr.
Actually about the Third Crusade, but is a good way to get a feel for the Middle East and events that have, in a roundabout way, led up to current events.

Like I said, I intend on continuing this study. I also make a point, if one book doesn't make something clear, I either get another book on that one subject, or I check it out online. My curiosity likes to be satiated. :)

suntzusays said...

No indeed it is hardly a monolith. The analogy, carried to its full conclusion, would find that not every fundamentalist Christian holds a particular worldview either, or that people who consider more modest versions of their faith do not take them more seriously and so on. The point was that taking a single perspective which accounts for many (though by no means all) of the problems of the Islamic world over the past century and then attempting to extend that singular worldview as applicable to all Muslims is the mindset of many Americans. Most Christians find it incredibly enraging when Hitchens or Dawkins compare their somewhat modest religious faith with that of literalist fundamentalism. While literal fundamentalists are a vocal and powerful minority of Christianity, they're not exactly representative, in my experience anyway as an outsider, of what it means to be a Christian either. Pat Robertson was roundly rebuked by the general public and media for his statements on Haiti for this very reason.

It is not hard to find sympathetic voices in the Islamic world who would condemn and stridently oppose the actions of people like Osama bin Laden. Islam does not actually have a rich traditional history of asymmetric warfare (certainly not against innocent civilians like 9-11) and then citing religious scripture to support it. That's a recent development and thus one that is often as unpopular as the politics of such groups themselves. The problem such necessary outspoken voices have is that we too often weaken their hands by doing paternalistic things with our foreign policy. Such as support abusive tyrants rather than allow nation-states some measure of national freedom and independence of action. Islamic scholars and theologians have enough trouble conducting debates over the meaning and value of their faith as it applies to their people and nations without us mucking up the water.

This attribution error is a serious problem as it continues the impression that we are waging a campaign against Islam itself (al Qaeda is only too happy to indulge us on this point). It allows us to overlook potential allies in the region, such as factions in Iraq and Afghanistan and previously Iran. Even allies of convenience would be more helpful than a proposition that Americans know best what the Iraqi people want or the Afghani people or Muslims everywhere and can thus disregard the opinions and demands of sources of local power. If this message is the central theme of recent democratic trends in our own country, it's hard to see why that stops applying in a society many thousands of miles away. Because they're not Christians? Because they grow opium or have oil? Sure some of their people are hostile. That's entirely different from treating their entire country as blight. What precisely is the justification to overturn local knowledge and to presume, against any evidence in the history of the world, that we can instruct in a few short years other societies with no experience in the institutions of republican and democratic freedoms on the nature of those freedoms AND keep them from finding our meddling as abhorrent as we find their local practices or treatment of women? That argument is necessary. It is impossible to conduct when people want to claim that it "weakens America" or "emboldens our enemies" or that raising such questions implies a hatred of America. Those are the arguments that Islamic states used to prevent their scholars in the heyday of Islamic empires from studying the European Christians. That did not work out so well for the Ottomans and Moors when they were driven out of power and their lands conquered by those same European states. I would suggest it is no less patriotic to want to see your nation not do foolish and wasteful things with its power, and in particular to avoid doing dangerous things where possible.

Teresa said...

Not all factions of Islam are extremists or fundamentalists but when you have a country like Afghanistan where 80% of the country is made of the Taliban and it aids in a relgious faction such as Al-Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11 then there is cause for us to go into Afghanistan.

Have you ever thought that in Iraq people really didn't want to live under Saddam's brutal regime but were too weak to rise up against him? I mean he gassed and murdered thousands of his own people. He authorized his sons and others to rape women whenever they felt like it. Saddam forced people to join into his military.

Iran may have the capability to produce nukes soon and have threatened both Israel and the U.S. in the past and that doesn't give you any cause for concern?

I am not saying that all Muslims are evil or terrorists but as a nation, the United States must look out for its citizens safety and look the reality in the face and say there are Muslim extremists out there that do want to destroy the West.

Liberty said...

Sun Tzu- excellent points. I do find that many, Christians especially, don't take into account that the Muslims' and their religion is just as varied and sectored as their own.

Teresa-
"Not all factions of Islam are extremists or fundamentalists but when you have a country like Afghanistan where 80% of the country is made of the Taliban..."

I do not believe so. 80% of the population is not Taliban. May I ask where you are getting your stastics? Because if 80% of the population was fighting, we'd have quite a few women joining up.

Neither did 80% of the population, at least in its heyday, approve of the Taliban. They outlawed every single recreation activity! Not the way to make yourself popular.

However, if you are saying that because Taliban took over %80 of the land, and the people living there were now 'Taliban'...don't see how that works either. That's like saying that the lands Hitler took over were automatically Nazi.

"Have you ever thought that in Iraq people really didn't want to live under Saddam's brutal regime but were too weak to rise up against him?"

I still do not see how this was any of our concern. Yes, I feel for the Iraqi people...as a private citizen. My government cannot, Constitutionally, go 'free' a country...just for the purpose of oil and enstating a puppet government.

Did you know that the moment Rumsfeld heard of 9/11, he was convinced it had been Iraq's doing. Did you know that, in 1991, Cheney was against and Iraq war- very much so! His entire arguement was that we would get caught in a too-long war, that would sap our resources. You know what changed between 1991 and 2001? Cheney became the CEO of a Halliburton oil company.

Did you know that Bush was looking for ways to invade Iraq in early 2001? That was before 9/11. That was before we even had an inkling (or supposedly didn't) of 9/11. Yet he was already looking to invade Iraq. Why? To institute a more America-friendly regime. Oh, and he was also an ex-oil man. All that oil wouldn't hurt. (Iraq has very extensive oil reserves, untapped and unused.)

If the Iraqi people are so much better off now, how do you explain that they hate us? And that their Christian population has plummeted? And that there are hundreds of thousands of them living in refugee camps? And that hundreds of thousands more of them are dead? How are they better off? At least under Saddam, they had homes!

"Iran may have the capability to produce nukes soon and have threatened both Israel and the U.S. in the past and that doesn't give you any cause for concern?"

They have said they don't have nukes. And no, it really doesn't concern me that much. Who cares if they have nukes? WE have nukes. And need I remind you, WE are the only country that has ever used nukes. Let's also consider the fact that the possibility using nukes now- US using nukes- has been bandied about, very casually, by then-candidates for President (Hillary and Obama)!

Liberty said...

When have we looked the reality of our situation in the face? Yes, there are Muslim extremists out there. And you know what, they've proven that they're going to do whatever they want, regardless of our actions. In fact, we shooting outselves in the foot with our actions! By doing what we thought we had to do to prevent what we feared, we are causing just what we feared to come about.

9/11 was the last gasp of a dying organization. al Qaeda was getting to the end of its life. The former Mujahideen who had fought during the Soviet-Afghan war were getting old, and few new recruits were coming in. If we had merely left al Qaeda and done the Constitutional thing, it would most likely have died out within a few years. Yet we had to make things worse.

This is a hey-day for al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Taliban fell. And then you know what we did? We continued to occupy, and continued to bomb, proving we were no better than the Taliban. And the Taliban came back, newly refreshed, with recruits pouring in every day.

The same with al Qaeda. When we went over there, they began getting recruits by the dozen.

By doing what we think will stop them, we are merely strengthening them. So why do we keep doing it? "Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over...and expecting a different result."

"I can't fight the Americans on the American mainland. It is too far. But if I succeed in bringing the Americans where I can find them, where I can fight them on my own terms, on my turf, this will be the greatest success."
- Osama bin Laden, to British-Arab journalist Abdel Bari Atwan, 1996

Teresa said...

So, your words prove that you are against the United States helping people in any way, shape, and form regardless of how much the people are under tyranny or are in physical need.

You are FOR TYRANNY. You are for everyone else's power being imposed on the United States and everyone elses national interests being taken care of but the United States's.


Some Iraqis still hate us. But, we have helped them start a new government, build up their infrastructure, people find employment and start businesses so many Iraqis have come to like the soldiers and the United States after the initial invasion, and especially after the surge.

If we helped no countries at all when they were in need as you wish than the United States would be considered the most selfish country in the world and not the beacon of freedom as it is today. People would not want to risk their lives to come to the United States.

Regardless of whether Bush was planning to enter Iraq before or after 9/11 doesn't matter because being the compassionate man that he is he wanted to spread freedom to Iraqis and not have them live under a brutal dictator, as you would have them live.

Ignoring our national security interests is stupidity. It is obvious that you don't favor our national security interets and our safety as a nation.

Liberty said...

I am not against the US helping people. You misunderstand me.

Let us go to the Constitution. Nowhere does it say that the Federal government has the power to render 'aid', either militarily or economically, to other nations. And, as we discussed either, if it isn't there, then it is not a power that the Feds have.

". You are for everyone else's power being imposed on the United States and everyone elses national interests being taken care of but the United States's."

....Wait. I thought I didn't care about other nations.

There is a flaw in your logic. If I do not care about other nations, then it is logical that I only care about the US. Unless, of course, I care only about other nations, in which case I do not care for the US.

But neither statement is true in my case. Personally, I care both about the US and about other people. In fact, I wish to be a missionary someday. And so, your claim that I do not care about other peoples and nations is not true.

But I also care for the US. I love the US, and the freedoms I have here. And so your claim that I do not care about the US is also false.

What I am for is Constitutionality in our country. We are not supposed to impose Constitutionality upon everyone else, as you yourself have stated. Neither should we impose a Republic upon other people, and certainly not through warfare, as Sun Tzu pointed out.

I do not want to impose my beliefs on other people, which is the essence of tyranny. And so your claim that I am 'for tyranny' is also inaccurate.

SOME Iraqis still hate us? They think we're the worst thing since Saddam Hussein. We are no better than him. The government we have instituted is a puppet government that can't do a thing (can't even run elections right!) because it's so inefficient. We build infrastructure, then we summarily bomb it.

"...United States would be considered the most selfish country in the world and not the beacon of freedom as it is today..."

The world hates us. They don't view us as a 'beacon of freedom'. We're arrogant imperialist snobs, so high on our own opinions of ourselves that we can't even see the truth- that imposing our beliefs on other people, even if it is a belief like a Constitutional Republic, is the worst kind of tyranny. That we are not helping a single person in the world by attacking them and instituting our own version of how the world should work.

"Regardless of whether Bush was planning to enter Iraq before or after 9/11 doesn't matter because being the compassionate man..."

Regardless of whether Hitler killed millions of Jews, he loved his family and his country. He was a compassionate man, and that cures all ills, and because of that, we can overlook all crimes.

Teresa said...

Your words show that you are for all other country's power and means to protect their sovereignty, but you do NOT give that same just due to the United States.

Bush did not authorize the mass murder of INNOCENT civilians. Wars and military actions have always had collateral damage and that unfortunately kills some innocent civilians but that is far different than targeting innocent civilians like Hitler did. Your Hitler saying goes beyond absurd.

Liberty said...

I really don't want to go down this road with you again.

But.

I am for protecting our own sovereignty. That is why we cannot go wantonly attack people. Eventually, it will merely come back to bite us in the rear. I can guarantee it.

He didn't? Oh no? What about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians that have died as a consequence of his 'war on terror'? Yes, there will be collateral damage.

But there doesn't have to be.

If we had just minded our own business and done what we Constitutionally could, instead of waging two wasteful, unconstitutional, idiotic, farcical wars in two countries that are not of our concern.

It is the same reason our soldiers do not have to go and die.

Could you please explain why my Hitler statement is absurd?

suntzusays said...

http://www.amconmag.com/larison/2010/01/25/jihadism-anti-jihadism-and-palestine/

More fodder. Doesn't appear that convincing many Americans is a likely option because it serves some quasi-religious/quasi-political end for them to preserve the mythological ideas of why Americans are attacked by hostile jihadists around the globe.

We will need to find more fence-sitting people who are looking at this entire situation quizzically and wondering why bombs keep going off and why the people doing them keep talking about Gaza and places like Yemen rather than Iraq or Afghanistan (or even New Jersey or Kansas.)