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  1.  (9829.201)
    Personally, I will withhold my celebrating until the last TSA goon is hung by the entrails of the last DHS bureaucrat (following, of course, their trials for treason against the U.S. Constitution). Until then, it's same-old, same-old.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2011
    I'd argue that a boogeyman, in the context we're using the term, can be a real threat (such as Communism/Communist Russia in the '50's and '60's)

    Apparently I once said, in the early 70s, that it was the US and not the USSR that was "greatest threat to world peace". My Dad reminded me of that, a year or two ago: I think he told me that events had proved me right.

    The one thing I used to ask of the American president, when I was young, is that he not press The Button. So far even Bush has managed that.

    Yeah. The CIA *did*, kind of literally, create Osama bin L.: his first gig after leaving college was to arrive in Pakistan, to be trained (using CIA money and weapons) as a mujuhideen to attack the Soviets in Afghanistan. It was there, in Afghanistan, that he founded al-Qaeda, "where it was agreed to join bin Laden's money with the expertise of the Islamic Jihad organization and take up the jihadist cause elsewhere after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan".

    @Apathy - There are supposed to be three 'poisons' at the centre/hub of the Wheel of Life: ignorance, attachment, and anger (represented by a pig, a bird, and a snake). I suppose you're saying that, to the extent that everyone is guilty of these three 'sins', no-one is 'innocent'. Perhaps you're hurt by wishing that the world were better than it is.

    I'd like to say that I don't approve of killing. I'm a vegetarian, because I don't approve. But for Obama who lived by the sword to die by it seems ... well, to me, it does seem like justice. I'm afraid that it (killing him) won't promote world peace in the way that turning the other cheek might, theoretically, but it's quite consistent with how I expect people (the American armed forces) to react.

    It's actually a part of how I react too. I remember: when I was in (boarding) school, there was an evening where the new boys gathered for some kind of initiation ceremony, a tiny part of which included chanting "Sieg Heil" to the prefects: in a totally ironic/mocking way, of course. But I found that experience, of chanting/shouting in unison to be quite memorable, taking me out of myself ... surprisingly attractive, invigorating, and therefore disturbing. I think I learned something about myself, that I'm able, perhaps that 'we' are able as humans for neurological/psychological/sociological/emotional reasons, to participate in group behaviour. Anyway that's what I'm reminded of, when I hear "U-S-A, U-S-A" ... or, a sports chant.

    In terms of innocence, I'm not sure what to suggest. Getting ready for your own death, I suppose, not entirely a bad thing. Trying to live a 'harmless' or 'low-impact' life, as much as you're able, is something that some people recommend. Others say that the ends (e.g. peace) justify the means (e.g. killing). Buddhism (getting back to your 'koan' talk) suggests that in fact the "means" are the Eightfold Way. The Eightfold way doesn't really tell me a lot about what sort of job to have, about how to earn my living. Or at least, it does tell me but I don't find what it tells me to be very difficult/restrictive: the only scruple I've needed is to avoid applying for jobs in the 'defence' industry, and that's another check-mark: I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people (working in the WTC, or flying) might claim to be 'innocent' by that standard.

    I'm afraid there's a lot 'wrong' with the world but blaming people, blaming the victim, seems immoderate or unskillful.
  2.  (9829.203)
    But for Obama who lived by the sword to die by it seems...

    Oh noes! FoxNews fan! ;)
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2011
    You're right (that that was a slip, not that I watch FoxNews). I used to watch CNN but switched it off a few months after 9/11.
    • CommentAuthorErisah
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2011 edited
    @William George: *groan* I see what you did there.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2011
    No pictures eh? You know what that means... I need to go and buy some thicker tinfoil.
    Seriously though, there's no way they can win with this one, pictures are trophies or evidence of savagery or photoshopped. No photos, well, like i said... This one's going to run and run.
      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeMay 5th 2011
    Something that needs to be cleared up here.
    The US, under the Reagen administration, sent millions of dollars to the Mudjahedin in Afghanistan, but not directly. There were very few field operatives on the ground. Most of the money went to Pakistan, who sent the money to Mudjas-- most of which were not remotely like the Taliban, none of whom agreed on anything other than hating the Soviets.

    Osama bin Laden was nominated or volunteered (sources vary) to go to Afghanistan to give the Mudjas an 'attaboy' from the Saudi's. Bin Laden wasn't royalty, but he was the next best thing, and none of the royals would be caught dead more than a mile away from a decent golf course. While in Afghanistan, it's unclear if bin Laden was directly trained, or the extent of his training, but we do know he didn't stick around for too much of the fighting. He was a money man-- he funneled money from the Pakistanis, the Saudis, and anyone else who had a few million bucks to burn. In the process, he became very well connected.

    It's disingenuous to say that the 'US created bin Laden'. Maybe in a wishy-washy 'created an environment he could exploit' way, but the man made his own decisions.

    Saddam, on the other hand--we totally propped that guy up. Pretty much kept his presidency afloat back in the late 70's. Given, he hated Iran, and in the late 70's, Iran was being just a peach internationally.
    • CommentTimeMay 5th 2011
    What Jon Wake said.

    Taliban !=Mujahideen. The US supported rebels in the 1980s, unfortunately the most violent and crooked ones (like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar). When the occupying Red Army used Hind gunships to hunt them down, the US supplied Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, via the sticky-fingered Pakistanis. But once the Soviets pulled out, the US immediately lost interest. The more successful rebels established themselves as warlords and went back to their traditional pastimes of "robbery, blood feuds and murder-for-fun," as the once humorous humorist P.J.O'Rourke once put it.

    The Taliban came later. In the mid-1990s, Pakistan cultivated and supported the Taliban, whose harsh but stable rule the locals (well, not the women) considered an improvement over the arbitrary whims of the local warlord. It's why the Taliban were able to govern Afghanistan more thoroughly than anyone else had managed to.

    Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda and the Taliban got along, but not as closely as people think. Bin Laden was a city slicker while the Taliban were barely literate rednecks. The Taliban were on the point of throwing al-Qaeda out in 2000 or 2001, but bin Laden bought his way back into their good graces by arranging a hit on a particularly troublesome warlord. That relationship would explain somewhat the aggrieved Taliban reaction to US demands to hand over bin Laden after 9/11. They didn't like him much, but hospitality is sacred there. Since then, the Taliban and al-Qaeda might as well have been joined at the hip.
      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeMay 5th 2011 edited
    About the 90's Taliban, the Pakistanis basically *were* the Taliban. There was only about 14,000 Afghans in the Taliban, the rest (40,000-60,000) were Pakistanis sent there by Pervez 'oh shit, bin Laden was in my rotary club?' Musharraf. The Saudis and Iran were supporting the Western Alliance, and the Northern Alliance was swinging on its own, led by the very well-liked Ahmad Shah Massoud.

    On September 9, 2001, Massoud was assassinated by Bin Laden's operatives in exchange for security from the impending manhunt he knew would come on the 11th.
  3.  (9829.210)
    A rundown of the latest information, regarding how the SEAL team actually dealt with the men and women in the compound. Basically adds up to, yes, they went in having already decided to kill Bin Laden instead of capturing. Him in particular not being allowed to surrender doesn't bother me but I understand it's a bit of an issue for others. What does bug me is the total tally of unarmed who were shot dead immediately. But it is what it is. Thousands upon thousands of unnecessary deaths have already happened because of Bin Laden's attack and America's reaction to it. This sounds horrible, but a handful more doesn't make me feel critical of the operation to take him out.
  4.  (9829.211)
    Republican-dominated House refuses to honor Navy SEALS who nailed bin Laden. Gee, this couldn't have anything to do with partisan politics, could it?
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeMay 5th 2011 edited
    On the Pakistani sovereignty issue - this is one of the things I actually find most clear cut about the whole deal:

    If you're looking for a terrorist mastermind, who has been evading you for a decade, and it turns out that for at least several years he's been living comfortably in same place, in the heart of a country that is:
    a) nominally an ally
    b) long suspected to have been sheltering and supporting various other terrorists
    c) deeply corrupt, with the army/intelligence services frequently overwhelming the democratic government
    then yes, absolutely, violate that country's sovereignty to achieve your goal.

    If it had been another country, I think there would be questions about it. But I really think that cooperating with Pakistan would have automatically fucked the whole operation.

    @Jon Wake
    Pervez 'oh shit, bin Laden was in my rotary club?' Musharraf.

    I genuinely LOL'd.
    Also, thanx for the insight on Afghan/Pakistani politics.
  5.  (9829.213)
    I think everyone's had enough time to get this out of their systems now.

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