A Well Done!
..to the SEAL team that got 'im. First one's on me, lads.
Before Osama bin Laden knew that a squadron of US Navy Seals was approaching his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, their approach had been tweeted to the world by a 33-year-old IT admin, Sohaib Athar. Tweeting under the username shared by his personal blog, RealityVirtual, Athar reported on the unfolding "complicated situation …
Isn't there more than the tiniest possibility he's not dead, but is as we speak hooked up to an intravenous, sanity wrecking, dick shrivelling, truth serum in a deep dark hole where no one will ever find him. Its not as though anyone is going be able to rescue him or that there are many people in the world that would want to try or even know how to start. I for one won't be out on the streets demanding evidence due process has been followed. Why kill him if he has so much knowledge of operations around the world ?
> Given the body disappeared so quickly. Isn't there more than the tiniest possibility he's not dead, but is as we speak hooked up to an intravenous, sanity wrecking, dick shrivelling, truth serum in a deep dark hole where no one will ever find him, SuccessCase
And not only that, Navy Seals didn't ever capture him, it was a bunch of space aliens, the ones with secret underground bases in the Antarctic, the ones the Nazis used to develop anti-gravity and death rays ..
So you think you understand what the limits of the CIA's operations do you? I'm hardly asserting a wacky or outlandish conspiracy claim. Merely reflecting its not at all beyond the bounds of possibility. Asking a question does not a conspiracy theory make. Nor is it a conspiracy theory to reflect on the fact there is a possible ethical and a strong strategic argument for doing so. Indeed if a government were to deal strongly and privately with a self-confessed terrorist such as Bin Laden is, it would hardly count as a conspiracy at all; amounting to little more than a conspiracy to exercise practical discretion. But where I am asking a reasonable question and professing no knowledge, I guess you are so knowledgeable and certain I must be a fool to debate with you.
... the US have swiftly and decisively won the war on terror, in hardly any time at all, how soon are they going to be pulling out of Afghanistan, Iraq etc.
Not that I'm in the slightest bit sceptical that this occurred before the 10th anniversary of 911, or that the US will use this as an excuse to simply abandon the mess they've created in the middle east.
"The Middle Eastern and North African mess (TM) was created by Great Britain, France and Italy.
US and USSR only improved on a "stellar" piece of work"
No! The mess these countries are in today are created by *their* governments. It is wrong to try to blame GB, France, Italy for something which happened over 60 years ago. The middle east countries (and African dictatorships, which were once part of the British Empire) have had over 60 years to become the countries they are today. You need to be blaming individuals, the presidents, within these countries for the problems they have.
To quote LBJ:
"You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: Now you are free to go where you want, and do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please. You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, 'you are free to compete with all the others,' and still justly believe that you have been completely fair"
Proof is hard to come by, but there are a lot of former colonies to study.
I can't help comparing Vietnam with Zimbabwe. Vietnam was first colonised, then carpet-bombed by a super-power. Despite this (and a subsequent detour into communism) it's become a halfway decent country to live in. At least by comparison with Zimbabwe, which escaped the carpet-bombing. Then there's South Africa, which shares a very similar history with Zimbabwe, up until its first democratic election. Or Liberia, which never was a colony, and turned itself into hell anyway (or rather, a few of its people did so, with the rest powerless).
Looks to me like the influence of the former colonial power fades pretty quickly, compared to the influence of the politicians or megalomaniacs running the show afterwards.
"a lot of people are watching the twittersphere for words like 'explosion', "ground shaking", etc."
And how many million hits do they have to trawl through to find the ones that matter?
I think the OP has a fair point. None of these new media actually beat the old media to the punch, except with forensic levels of hindsight.
Not convinced this is going to change anything much tbh. It might be "one in the eye" for al-Qaeda but I'm sure they have equally clever types waiting in the wings.
Unfortunate that they couldn't take him alive ... that, and chucking his body overboard hours later, are sure to delight the conspiracy theorists and could even add a new dimension to his "legend".
Now's when I need that :| icon.
while over there teaching in the early 2000's. All the locals swore I looked like Bin Larden. I don't even have any Mid-east ancestry - a mix of Germanic, Norse and Celtic, so it may have been a case of "all foreigners look the same" though.
After WW-II, those who found themselves victors over the Nazis (the US and its allies), disposed of the remains of the most despicable and disreputable members of the Third Reich (after having been found guilty at the Nuremberg trials), by scattering their remains to wind and to water.
This ensured that devotees, zealots and remaining followers etc., had no martyr's shrine upon which to worship.
[Back in 1945/6, being found guilty by the Nuremberg war crimes trials was a prerequisite for a war criminal to be executed by the State. Seemingly, that's no longer the case: although the Nazis killed millions, they were afforded the proper judicial process of a trial; bin Laden who killed just thousands was deliberately and summarily executed without trial. In WWII, somewhere between 50 and 100 million people died as a direct consequence of Nazi/dictatorship aggression.]
"After WW-II, those who found themselves victors over the Nazis (the US and its allies), disposed of the remains of the most despicable and disreputable members of the Third Reich (after having been found guilty at the Nuremberg trials), by scattering their remains to wind and to water."
Except for the ones they let go to America without any legal due process at all during Operation Paperclip.
Surely let him have a grave somewhere with a camera pointed at it, and simply watch who comes to visit. Anyone who does is most likely a person you should be watching! There simples, weve identified all the terrorists!
What could possibly go wrong with this idea?
If one subscribed to certain "conspiracy" or "alternate news" theories (depending on ones level of belief) then:
a) He used his CIA "get out of jail free" card and is now off to a nice new life somewhere with a decent razor. (This relies on the idea his operation was created/assisted by the CIA when he was working with the original anti-russian fighters in Afganistan.)
b) He was killed to ensure that no "unfortunate" information leaked out after his capture. (See also the rush of serious illness amongst the displaced middle east dictators. None seem too likely live to see trial and/or embarrassing memoirs.)
If one gets at all "tin hat" there are far more complex and vaguely factual options and theories too. After all that list doesn't even consider "who setup 9/11" or why did Bush reject an offer to surrender him in 2001 (if true).
I watched Obamas announcement and was shocked at just how cocky he was about the whole thing. He must realise that by being such a cocky bastard about it, he's going to spur on terrorists to just continue fighting back harder.
Lately it seems like the yanks have simply given up on pretending they don't have a superiority complex. Barely making up excuses for their new oil wars, hijacking root DNS servers (the poker incident) for something that should have been kept local to their shores, the botnet incident.
Even in the announcement you can see obama pause and backtrack from nearly saying 'now there's no doubt that America can do whatever the fuck it wants' - which turned out to 'now there's no doubt that Americ [pause] will continue to lead in blah blah something along those lines'
I'm hoping someone will knocks America down a peg or two. They abuse their power to make money by taking over weaker countries and yet still run up a debt as a country.
"I watched Obamas announcement and was shocked at just how cocky he was about the whole thing. He must realise that by being such a cocky bastard about it, he's going to spur on terrorists to just continue fighting back harder."
It's almost like he has no interest in seeing an end to the War on Crime. Or Terror, or whatever they're calling it these days.
...then cease being an 'Anonymous Coward'.
The numerous and increasing numbers of gutless wonders who frequent these El Reg pages under the 'Anonymous Coward' guise really piss me off.
Right. I'm an irritable opinionated bastard--1st-class, but at least I post under my real name (and I don't post under an alias either).
P.S.: I agree with some bits of what you have to say--even if you are a slime-bag.
You do have quite a few namesakes out there. Care to post your address as well? I'll guess not.
I do post under a unique registered name, which any computer-savvy person might hack through to my true name. I don't volunteer my surname directly because I have few if any namesakes out in the real world.
/respect to them for taking this guy out of circulation.
10% of that to the Government that actually ordered it. 90% of that to the boys who actually had to go do it.
I heard there was a bounty on BIn Laden. If this is true, I hope the boys that had to do it get set up for life, and not the REMFs.
Please come in from the playground and join the 'adults' in acting childish. You can save the world today and next week be voted out of office. I think there was some guy named Churchill that found this out for one example.
Oh, and for a counter-example, try second term Bush. Seems the way to stay in office is to keep the wars going! +10 for term limits.
Sadly, you are likely correct. It certainly didn't hurt his chances, even though the mechanisms that actually GOT Bin Laden were put in place by GW, not the Messiah himself. The Pres is a real trooper tho, and he won't let silly things like facts keep him from taking credit for someone else's decisions.
Interestingly, he still blames GW for all his own failures, but he is really quick to lay claim to the Bushie's victories.
Let's think back to 1981. January 20 1981, to be precise.
2 things happened that day: 1) Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president. 2) *Minutes later*, the American Embassy hostages were released by the Iranians. Yet history, and I have no doubt you, would ascribe their successful release to Reagan, and their non-release to that point to the weakness of Carter. This is because they were released *minutes* after Reagan became president.
Yet now, 1 and a half years into his term, you say that Obama had *nothing* to do with this? Note: I am not saying that GWB did not make a contribution, of course he did. But your position that Obama *after all this time as president* had no contribution at all is disingenuous, at best. Remember that as chief executive, Obama could have called off the search for Osama, whether implicitly or explicitly.
I do not think Obama is the Messiah. He has been so far a disappointment. However, I think you need to spin the reality to your own perceptions a bit harder here.
Now people are saying Twitter is the new CNN because the news of the Bin Laden raid was tweeted there first. What absolute garbage.
If you have to look back and use hindsight to recognize relevant comments after the fact then that is neither journalism or news reporting. It is twaddle. Twitter was formed 5 years ago and this is the best it can do?
Huffington Post - "Indeed, this story was live tweeted (broken in old news terminology) by accident by Sohaib Athar http://twitter.com/#!/ReallyVirtual who lives in Abbottabad, Pakistan and now has over 11,000 followers and growing."
No, if you actually read the text he says a helicopter is flying over his house and later there was a blast and he had no idea of why. Wow, good story. Reliable news there. '11,000 followers and growing' too; I guess when the second raid goes off, lots of people will get the inside track.
Keith Urbahn Tweet - "So I'm told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn."
Gee, Washington Post level quality reporting there. Of course to be considered news it has to be CONFIRMED by a second source. Now, I just wonder how many people have typed those same words in Twitter over the last five years. Hmmm....
Wonder if there will be an Assange level inquiry / investigation to identify who the 'reliable person' was who blabbed. THAT would be news at least.
Twitter is nothing but the living embodiment of the 'thousand monkeys sitting at a thousand typewriters' adage. If you publish enough garbage, you will inevitably be accurate at some point. Well, not really accurate, just terribly vague.
Here is Christchurch NZ we had the twitterati reporting on the recent earthquakes. Much of what was said and was harvested by media was complete crap. Reports of certain buildings falling down that were unscathed and later had to be withdrawn.
At least reporters have some training and know to distinguish between rumour and verifiable reports but the unwashed masses don't care about that when trying to get their tweet out and be the centre of attention.
Of course at the end of the day it really does not seem to matter. News is no longer concerned with conveying fact. It is far more interested in drama and competing with other entertainment on TV etc. Poor young journalists who sign up to a career modeled on Woodward and Bernstein and end up just generating punchy headlines to attract clicks and eyeballs.
The twitter messages provided data, but not information. Where proper news agencies will always win out is in providing context* and verification** of data. Newspapers still do the best here. Sadly, in their efforts to compete, they're rapidly removing that advantage.
* This is one reason 24-hour cable news networks FAIL so hard -- they flit from talking point to talking point almost as quickly as twits do -- only in their case they tend to provide a surfeit of "context" and forget the actual data.
** and that's the other reason the networks FAIL...
One battle surely won, unfortunately but not the war.
Osama bin Laden may be gone but the cause of his and many other Arabs' animosity and hatred toward America and its allies probably remains with intensity unabated and it will so for a long time.
To have minds and hearts won over may take even longer.
I just wonder how long it will take the US to realise that they have already lost the war against terror. If you don't believe me, just consider how paranoid they have become - draconian regulations regarding air travel to and across/over US territory, mild to severe hysteria when something out of the ordinary happens with an almost knee-jerk reaction of "it was terrorists!", et cetera.
They are absolutely terrified of terrorists and see one behind each bush. And that is why I say that they have lost the war against terrorism: the aim of any self-respecting terrorist is not necessarily to kill and maim, but to strike terror in the hearts of the populace at large. Killing and maiming is just the means of reaching that goal (and very effective at that. You only need a couple of small incidents to get a whole country jumpy and scared out of their mind). There is ample proof that that goal has been reached some time ago already.
Secondly, Bin Laden's death will probably have the following two effects (at least):
- raising Bin Laden to martyr status
- a rash of terrorist attacks against American and/or Western targets across the globe.
The only way to win a war against terrorism is to sit around a table with the terrorists and negotiate on what the best way would be to remove the conditions that gave rise to the war in the first place - abhorrent as it may seem.
America's behaviour, unfortunately, was what gave rise to the war in the first place (this does not mean I agree with the Bin Ladens of the world - far from it!) and the sooner they realise that they cannot keep behaving like the 250 pound bully on the kindergarten playground, the better it will be for all of us.
But I despair of it happening anytime soon. I had hoped that President Obama would be a breath of fresh air, but unfortunately it has just been a case of more of the same old same old.
(Grenade for the spate of bombings that will inevitably follow, of course).
Hoooboy, it really is crawling with the uninformed here! I know it's fashionable to hate the Septics, but at least try and display your prejudice with an ounce of sense, please.
".....the war is already lost...." Really? Did I miss the bit where Sharia got instituted across the West? Where our women had to wear the burkha by law and all non-Muslims had to pay an extra tax for not thinking right? Strange, I remember hearing the local church bells last Sunday, but surely they'd all be stopped if Bin Liner and co had won? You completely failed to appreciate that Bin Liner and chums have one outcome - the World accepts Islam whether it likes it or not, no other choices, and definately no recourse to that nasty democracy stuff. Seeing as we seem to be having a wave of democracy across the Mid East and North Africa, you could say we're winning a lot more than the jihadis. Having to put up with tedious airport security checks seems a lot better than two in the head, so I think I can proclaim us the ongoing winners, thanks.
"....The only way to win a war against terrorism is to sit around a table with the terrorists and negotiate on what the best way would be to remove the conditions that gave rise to the war in the first place - abhorrent as it may seem....." Touchingly twee and naive, but also incredibly stupid. For Osama and co, the "cause" is two things - the existing Islamic states (such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, Turkey, etc) are "corrupted" and not unified into a Caliphate of "real" Muslim style (under the "inspirational" leadership of Caliph Osama, natch), and then that the uber-Caliphate has not subdued the rest of the World to their will. Anything short of that is job not done for the jihadis. All this gumph about just wanting Western soldiers out of Islamic countries is just stage one, not the jihadi end game. We could withdraw all out troops from Asia and the Mid-East tomorrow and it wouldn't make any difference. Chance is they would fail to take the existing Islamic states as many Muslims do not share the jihadis' desire for extreme Sharia and a return to the Dark Ages. And to give you an idea of what Osama wanted, the only country he viewed as correctly Islamic was Afghanistan under the Taliban.
".....America's behaviour, unfortunately, was what gave rise to the war in the first place...." How, exactly? Please provide even the flimsiest reasoning behind that accusation? Don't you think that extremist Islam had something to do with it? Please, before you embarass yourself any further, go and read up on some of Osama's background, including the people that influenced him such as Sayyid Qutb and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
"America's behaviour, unfortunately, was what gave rise to the war in the first place...." How, exactly? Please provide even the flimsiest reasoning behind that accusation? "
Ummm... why do you think Iran's view of USA changed from the most beloved foreign nation in, say, 1951, to The Great White Satan (TM) twenty years later?
Hint: Operation Ajax; financing and training men whose idea of dealing with political opponents was to tie them to a chair and cutting their eyelids off so they couldn't close their eyes when their daughters are raped in front of them; goading Saddam Hussein into attacking Iran and supporting him in that war; financing and supporting the Taliban who, when they came to power, dragged out and shot Iranian diplomats in Mazar-i-Sharif; shooting down a passenger airplane with 290 people (66 of which children), as US Navy obviously isn't trained to see the difference between an A300 Airbus and Mig-21.... you know, such tiny things.
".....Ummm... why do you think Iran's view of USA changed from the most beloved foreign nation in, say, 1951, to The Great White Satan (TM) twenty years later?....." Oooh, spot the agenda! What has this got to so with Sunni Islamist terrorists like Al Quaida, whom actually consider Shia Muslims like the majority of Iranians "non-believers"?
"....Hint: Operation Ajax..." Whilst it may have been CIA-funded, it was Iranians doing it to other Iranians, so other Iranians could stay in a position of power. Nice try at pretending it was all just us nasty Westerners.
".....goading Saddam Hussein into attacking Iran...." Ever stop to think that Saddam didn't need much encouraging? Or that Iraq already had disputes with Iran and other neighbours (hint - Kuwait) over boundary disputes? Once again, Saddam was not a Westerner, and those Iraqis that willingly supported him were not either. But, once again, don't let that stop you from absolving any one but the West of any guilt.
"....financing and supporting the Taliban..." The West actively supported many parties in Afghanistan to help them eject the Russians. After the Taleban rose to dominance and imposed their rule the West funded and helped the Northern Alliance (that would be native Afghans) in fighting the Taleban. Iran funded and assisted the Taleban, and provided a sanctuary and support for AQ operatives when they were driven out of Afghansitan. Iran is still funding and supplying arms to the Taleban and to "rebels" in Iraq, which are mainly used to attack local Muslims. Nice try, but more than a bit revisionist.
"....shooting down a passenger airplane with 290 people (66 of which children), as US Navy obviously isn't trained to see the difference between an A300 Airbus and Mig-21...." And yet more already debunked bilge! The A300, Iranian Air Flight 655, was not in range of eyesight, so it wasn't a matter of "seeing the difference". The A300 was using a dual civil-military transponder (because trigger-happy Iranian AA often shot down their own civil aircraft), which meant that electronically it "looked" like an Iranian jetbomber. The Airbus was sent up 27-minutes late, despite the Iranians knowing there was a possible incident ongoing in the Gulf, from a base that was also home to F-14s that did pose a threat to USN ships, and after the Americans had announced a protection zone around their naval vessels. The USS Vincennes, which fired the SAMs that shot Flight 655 down, was chasing Iranian patrolboats that had attacked an USN chopper, and was in the area to provide air-defence against Iranian jets. And then we have the whole reason the USN was in the area in the first place - because the Iranians had been using jets and boats to attack international tankers. The USN crew actually believed they were under attack when they accidentally killed those civillians, whereas AQ and the Taleban target and kill civillians by choice. A bit of context sure goes a long way, no?
The only way to win a war against terrorism is to sit around a table with the terrorists and negotiate on what the best way would be to remove the conditions that gave rise to the war in the first place - abhorrent as it may seem.
Absolutely. That's how we beat the Red Brigades. All hail our International Marxists overlords!
"The only way to win a war against terrorism is to sit around a table with the terrorists and negotiate on what the best way would be to remove the conditions that gave rise to the war in the first place"
Wow... that would be like looking at neighbourhoods in which the only way to succeed in life is to deal drugs, and deciding to raise literacy and employment rate, instead of spending decades just arresting drug dealers and putting them to jail. In other words, using intelligent approach.
Have you ever saw politicians using intelligent approach? Or do we always see "if the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail" approach?
"....Wow... that would be like looking at neighbourhoods in which the only way to succeed in life is to deal drugs, and deciding to raise literacy and employment rate...." Spot the handwringer! So, how do you explain away the fact that education is available to just about all kids in Western countries? Opportuinity is there, as shown by people like Sir Alan Sugar. My own Dad started out from a poor London area, was drafted as an infantry soldier, trained to be an engineer, worked hard and retired owning a large engineering firm. No-one gave him any more of a chance than anyone else in his neighbourhood, and he admits that in his youth he did some stuff that wasn't too bright, but he made the decision to try and better himself. Conveniently excusing all drug dealers of their ability to make choices is delusional. Same goes for those that CHOOSE to follow people like Bin Laden. Whilst I'm sure you mean well, you really need to get some perspective on human nature.
".....but the cause of his and many other Arabs' animosity and hatred toward America and its allies...." OK, I'll bite, seeing as I have no doubt the reply will lead to plenty of unintended humour. Just exactly what is it you think the West has done to excite all the Islamists? I'm assuming you think it must be something we've done, that we must all admit to and display our guilt publicly, for there to be an end to the hatred you are convinced it caused? I'm really on a solid bet when I also guess you think the Islamist beliefs and mindset have nothing to do with the problem!
I don't have the facility to précis an issue as big as that in just a few paragraphs but here's some points to consider.
Both trade and cultural imperialism have much to do with it. US cultural imperialism--music, movies etc. (they being some of America's most successful exports), threaten many whether they be Arabs, Europeans or whoever. American culture dilutes and disrupts local indigenous cultures, which in many cases, is already fragile. It's these perceived changes to one's culture that many find frightening.
For example, across English-speaking cultures, the seemingly trivial often causes offense. Even where I am in US-obsessed Australia, to hear a young mother call out to her child 'stay on the sidewalk' instead of 'stay on the footpath' grates with many, the adoption of 'sidewalk' being directly attributable to the overwhelmingly dominance of US shows and culture on our television. In societies that have a far more conservative or religious culture (such as Islam) such influences are often perceived as intrusive and offensive.
There are also big issues such as long-held Arab resentment as a consequence of Western powers directly meddling in middle-eastern affairs after WWI, these were further exacerbated 50 or so years later when the US marched in to clear Saddam out of Kuwait. Anton Ivanov is directly referring to this in his above post 'They did not create it, they improved it'.
Let's be clear on this, the border between Kuwait and Iraq was forced on the locals by outsiders after the fall of the 600-year old Ottoman Empire after WWI. Remember, we (the West) didn't let the Arabs sort this mess out for themselves which we should have (moreover, WWI was also partially responsible for the Empire's downfall in the first place). Instead, we bullyboys marched in and set artificial borders between newly-formed countries (Iraq etc.) as an expedient measure because we wanted their oil--not because those borders fell neatly down ethnic lines.
How would the US take it if some nation came along and forced all states west of the Mississippi to be seceded to Mexico? Right, it wouldn't--the difference being that the US could defend itself whereas the remnants of the Ottoman Empire could not. It's no wonder there's Arab resentment toward the West and the US in particular.
...And these few points are just for starters.
Thanks, Graham, well put.
Matt, a couple of things:
1. You misread what I said when I stated that the war on terror has been lost: America is currently absolutely terrified of terrorists and terrorist acts. The objective has therefore been largely met. The US of A currently live in a mental state of siege and not much needs to be done to cause an outbreak of panic. Just google on how many incidents have been falsely/mistakenly attributed to "acts of terrorism" since 2001.
2. You conflate "Islamic" terrorists with Islam. Islam by and large do not condone what Al Qaida has done. Calling all Muslims terrorists based on the acts of a couple of extremists is akin to calling all Christians racist bigots based on the actions of the KKK, for instance.
3. How does the call to convert "The World" to Islam differ from the Christian call to convert all the world to Christianity - whether they like it or not?
4. "Nasty democratic stuff" - do you prefer the American version of democracy, for instance? Where dictators and other unsavoury characters are courted and supported until it does not suit the USA anymore (Saddam and Bin Laden, for instance, were for many years supported by the USA)? Democracy that is accepted only as long as it serves US interests? And if the USA do not like the democratically chosen government, they replace it with a US-approved dictatorship that is more friendly towards US interests? Democracy like the stolen presidency by Bush junior? Please!
Lastly - "America's behaviour": I do not have time to expand on this further now, but let me give you just a couple of examples:
Two illegal invasions of Iraq, in the last instance based on trumped up charges (remember "Weapons of Mass Destruction"?).
Google "Yankee go home" to get some more examples, if you are still not convinced.
The problem is, the USA believes that "What is good for America is good for the world". Wrong! and that attitude gives rise to a whole lot of resentment.
You may not like what happens in other parts of the world (although, my understanding is that very few Americans actually know or care what happens in other parts of the world), but that does not afford a God-given right to the USA to self-righteously wade in with guns blazing in order to put things right.
"Speak softly and carry a big stick" has lately lost the speak softly bit. Unfortunately the US still has the biggest stick around and has proven to the world that it is not shy to use it in order to obtain its objectives.
I suggest you join Graham down the library, you both have a lot of catching up to do.
"....America is currently absolutely terrified of terrorists...." Really? I speak to many Septics through work, almost weekly. They all seem to be getting on with their lives, they're not hiding in bunkers. True, they do have some worries about terrorism, but they also worry about paedophiles, about car-crime, about taxes. They worry about many things but they're still enjoying life. I think it is that you WANT to think they are crippled by terror.
"....You conflate "Islamic" terrorists with Islam..." Nope, I merely don't agree with the idea that Islamic terrorist groups are purely a by-product of Western economic actions, I see that the main cause is just fundamental Islamism. I do not lump all Muslims in together, and I did not call all Muslims terrorists or say they all support AQ. In fact, I regulalry point out to you morons that AQ and the Taleban and other Islamic fundamentalists target and kill far more Muslims than they do Westerners, and that they do so because many Muslims are not supporting them.
".....How does the call to convert "The World" to Islam differ from the Christian call to convert all the world to Christianity..." Nice try at painting Christians as just as bad as AQ. But, in truth, they are equally bad ideals. The difference is Christians have (largely) given up on the idea since the Enlightenment (you really need to go read up on that one with Graham), whereas people like AQ want to impose that idea on not only others but also on the existing Muslim states and peoples. Just because AQ are whacky enough to believe it doesn't make it any less of a threat, and understanding what drives them will help you relaise that "solutions" like withdrawl from Muslim countries will not stop AQ and other fundamanetal Islamits trying to attack us, it just makes it easier for them to do so.
"....do you prefer the American version of democracy, for instance?...." I do, seeing as it at least gives us choice and rule by agreed and changeable common law, as opposed to rule by a minority based on a ruleset that cannot adapt or be changed as society develops. Democracy is adaptive, it can allow for change and differences in opinion, whereas the type of extreme Sharia used by the Taleban had no options and no room for change. Personally, I like the idea that we can change our minds as we grow, others see that as a threat to the control they would like to impose on society. And before you try and pretend that we don't have control, please go and tell that to Gordon Brown, Michael Ignatieff, Sergolene Royal, etc, etc.
"....Two illegal invasions of Iraq...." Oh, please do try and provide any proof that they were illegal! The first was with full UN support, the second was with carefully-crafted UN resolutions even if it didn't have full UN support. If either had been illegal then one of the far smarter handwringers in the States would have found a way to bring Bush, Cheney and co to court by now. Please give up on that very tired and completely debunked blather.
".....Iran...." What, just the country? Please at least try and supply an argument, or were you just skim-reading "Rebellious Themes for Dummies"?
".....Guantanamo Bay...." Once again, no arguments. I can supply arguments for and against Gitmo, you seem unable to do anything other than repeat buzzwords and catchphrases, probably no more than just secondhand ones too.
".....Google "Yankee go home"...." I think what is really needed is for you to do some real education, starting with some history reading, rather than blindly accepting what a Google search throws back at you. That's even if you got round to doing the Google searches yourself. I have a sneaky suspicion that all your "thougths" have been handed to you in a neat bundle of preconceptions.
"....The problem is, the USA believes that "What is good for America is good for the world"..." Actually, Afghanistan is a case in point for completely the opposite. After the Russians were ejected, the US and West left Afghanistan to its own devices. Afghanistan settled back into a mess of corruption and nepotism. It was then the meddling of Pakistan, paranoid that India would gain some form of ascendency in Afghanistan and "steal it like they did Kashmir", that led to the rise of the Taleban. If the West had stepped in at an earlier date and stopped the Afghan government deteriorating into the corrupt mess that let the Taleban rise, then we might have avoided the whole problem, but you same handwringers squealled and whined at the idea and the politicians didn't do it. The next time you accuse the Yanks of being "self-righteous", please consider what might have been if Western politicians had had the courage to stand by Afghanistan.
".....US cultural imperialism--music, movies etc...." What, so it's alright to blow people up because you don't like their music or movies!?!? Please, that's the biggest load of garbage going! What you didn't say was the music and movies might inspire repressed people (like the Afghanis under the Taleban) to want more than the uber-strict Sharia allows, which is why those that would seek to impose social control through Sharia see them as a threat. Why do you think countries like North Korea forbid their people from watching foreign TV? Why do you think so many countries used to ban the BBC World Service? It's kinda hard to convince people they're living the life of Reilly when they see better or hear different.
I know the Fwench get pretty annoyed about American "cultural imperialism", but I don't remember them flying jetliners into skyscrapers because of it. I think the way some people go on and on about French cuisine is overblown, but I don't suggest suicide bombers go blow up Parisian resteraunts. And don't get me started on ballet - if you want it, you go watch it, and you can fund it too, but I'm not going to kidnap you and hack your head off live on the Internet just because I think ballet is a waste of time.
"....trade...." Ah, this is the bit where we're supposed to feel guilty about being successful, more economically developed. Apparently, that whole "capitalist greed" thing is bad, no? So, the fact that the all those Western children in capitalist countries have access to education and medicine is bad and we should all return to the Stone Ages because some people want to live like it's 632AD? Please consider that at one point in history it was the predecessors to the Arabs that had the leading civillisations on Earth, had cities and trade that dominated a vast area, whilst places such as London and Manhattan were marshland. There will always be one country or group of countries that will have an economic edge over others, you just have to look at the current rise of China to see that. You may also want to consider that the rebels in places like Egypt are asking for the jobs and freedoms they see in the West, not a return to 632AD.
"....There are also big issues such as long-held Arab resentment as a consequence of Western powers directly meddling in middle-eastern affairs after WW1...." And whom did we "inherit" a large chunk of the Mid East from? The Ottoman Turkish Empire, an empire that rose to dominate the region due to superior economic and military prowess. Strangely enough, you never hear the Arabs moaning about when the Turks were in charge. Or about if it was unfair when the Arabs themselves conquered the Arabian peninsula, most of the Mid East and North Africa, when they were quite happy to do a little "cultural imperialism" then and repress all the societies and religions in the region. Seems more like sour grapes to me. Can I demand all the old colonial conquests be given back to England because it upsets my "cultural sensibilities"? Yeah, I'm sure you Aussies would go for that!
".... these were further exacerbated 50 or so years later when the US marched in to clear Saddam out of Kuwait....." At the request of the Kuwaitis, after Saddam invaded a sovereign state, and we had the military support of many neighbouring Arab countries. Oh, I see what the problem is - you only think it's "an illegal invasion" if it's done by us nasty, capitalist Westerners! I'm beginning to suspect there's a little bit of suppressed Aussie rage at being an ex-colony so dependent on another ex-colony (the States).
".....Anton Ivanov is directly referring to this in his above post 'They did not create it, they improved it'....." So there was never any strife in the Mid East before us Westerners got involved then? And everything since must be our fault? What a load of uneducated baloney! Ignoring the acquisitive conquests of the Greeks, the Romans, or even the Byzantium Empire, I suggest you go read up on the history of how Islam "spread", even in the Saudi peninsula. As a clue, it wasn't by knocking on doors and asking "Have you found Allah?" You may want to check out something called the Sunni-Shia schism and the impact it had on Islamic history, as well as the impact it is having today in modern Islamic states. I also suggest you read up on the more recent history of the Mid East, where countries like Egypt invaded the Sudan simply because they claimed it was historically under ancient Egyptian control. An all-Muslim affair, no Westerners involved, thanks. Actually I don't suggest it - getting some facts might be too much of a shock to you.
"....Let's be clear on this, the border between Kuwait and Iraq was forced on the locals by outsiders...." Neatly sidestepping the fact that Kuwait was a UN-recognised country, and that the surrounding Arab and Muslim countries (even Syria) sent military forces to help kick Saddam out of Kuwait. Also neatly avoiding the fact that borders are usually set by the controlling powers of the day - you just have to look at Europe and the borders that overlap ethnic groups. Want to "redistribute" Belgium, just to please the Flemish? How about Holland, you want to give bits of that back to the Germans? Poland, Finland, Spain, France - the list is endless. Or how about you grow up and deal with the realities of today instad of looking for excuses in the past?
"....whereas the remnants of the Ottoman Empire...." The Ottoman Turks sided with the Kaiser's Germany in WW1. They lost, they were beaten. I think you'll find that it's quite usual for the victors to set the agenda after a war. Please explain how you think it would have been better if we'd left the Turks in charge of the Mid East, considering the Turks weren't native to the area and were themselves an empire that had conquered the region by force? Even worse, in Islamsists' eyes, under Kemnal Attaturk they also had a policy of securalism as Attaturk recognised the burden that Islam had placed on development of the Middle East compared to the West. Our own Western development was hindered by religion, it wasn't until the Church was demoted from a position of supreme authority that we really got a scientific and economic revolution going. It was called the Age of Enlightenment - more reading for you!
"....How would the US take it if some nation came along and forced all states west of the Mississippi to be seceded to Mexico?..." Probably not well, especially as the US has recognised borders which mean international law would be on their side. They also have enough force to deal with it themselves. After all, as the saying goes; winners have jet bombers, whilst losers have suicide bombers.
That fact that someone in Pakistan watches Ted Talks is the only important information in this article. That means someone with brains is there, working and learning and striving to be a better person by acquiring knowledge. Maybe there is hope in the future. Maybe 4 or 5 generations from now the whole country can be like him. This is what is gonna make anyone safer in the West. Killing Osama is nothing compared to education when the topic is how to be safer.
"That fact that someone in Pakistan watches Ted Talks is the only important information in this article. That means someone with brains is there,"
Yes, like Kary Mullis - 1993 chemistry Nobel Prize winner - who later distinguished himself with quotes such as: "There's very good evidence that astrology is real" and stating that AIDS isn't caused by HIV virus but by gay orgies. It seems that there's more sanity checks on Twitter than on TEDx.
Regarding Usama bL, his death changes nothing. There are other - also USA-trained - religious fanatics out there making problems. Some of them are even Muslim.
"One swallow does not a summer make, neither does one fine day. Likewise, one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy." -- Aristotle (384 - 322 BC)
Similarly, one fool in the 'educated pack' does not undo the general principle that education benefits everyone. And, as is almost universally known--except perhaps by you, that a statistical sample of one is essentially meaningless.
Rombizio is absolutely correct. It's been known since before even Aristotle and Plato that a good solid broad-based education founded in languages, literature, history, mathematics, sciences, trades and geography of places and cultures not only benefits an individual but also it benefits society as a whole. Moreover, it's important that everyone in society be trained and educated to some acceptable minimal standard.
Without this 2500-year-old notion of education the Industrial Revolution would not have been possible, nor our modern society--not even the Internet!
The fact that comments such as yours keep surfacing over the years makes me acutely aware that we are always just one or two generations away from another dark age. Every generation--everyone--must be taught and educated, the process is one of continual renewal as new generations emerge, stop the process for even one generation and we'd all sink into an unthinkable abyss.
Over the past 30 or 40 years, we've had very strong hints at the calamity that awaits us if we take our eyes off the education ball. For the last three or four decades, we've seen what dumbing-down postmodernist thinking has done to our education systems where rigour in learning is not valued as it once was and where traditional core subjects have been devalued or substituted with ones of questionable value. The problem is especially acute in English-speaking countries where we regularly see university entrants who have difficulty in comprehending their textbooks, or who even have sufficient grasp of English to be able comprehend texts to about the level of El Reg news stories.
Few things will improve the world more than a good general eduction for everyone.
It's education that improves our skepticism and analytical thinking, it's education that will eventually 'tell and convince' the children and teenagers in any extreme society that it's absolutely nonsensical and morally wrong to strap on a suicide bomb and walk into a crowd of innocent people.
"one fool in the 'educated pack' does not undo the general principle that education benefits everyone. "
That's a fair point. :-)
See my distrust of TED talks as a symptom of my distrust towards all organisations bent on spreading the truth as they see it. Be it TED with Al Gore's skewed data on global warming, or religious organisations with "we know what God thinks, listen to us". Not as my distrust towards general education, to the contrary... if I had to bring one book to a deserted island, it would be Carl Sagan's "Cosmos".
I'm very much aware we're close to another dark age... not a generation or two away, but just one catastrophic event away. For instance, just an "al-Qaeda's detonation of a nuke in some USA or European city" away... I've lived through Croatian independence war, and know exactly how fast people descend into hatred during the crisis. And stay there long after the crisis has passed.
Dubya and bin Laden, unfortunately, aren't exceptions in modern world. That's why the assassination of bin Laden changes little. You've removed one man, but the underlying problems remain the same... European imperialistic drawing of Near/Middle Eastern borders created the problem, USA and Soviet interventions (especially USA, but just because Russians didn't try hard enough) just poured oil on that fire.
If someone has a workable idea how to redraw the borders without causing another war or three, and how to make Westerners meddling with Near/Middle Eastern politics and get the hell out of there... give that man billion dollars, ten Nobel peace prizes and *listen to him*.
"....if I had to bring one book to a deserted island, it would be Carl Sagan's "Cosmos"...." Whilst you may get a certain sense of snobbish moral superiority from being able to quote Sagan to the local flora and fauna, I would suggest something more practical, such as the "Wilderness Survival Guide for Dummies", would allow you to maintain your snobbery for a lot longer. But, don't let that stop you from skipping off to said island as you're adding little of value here.
"....You've removed one man...." No, the SEALs removed a figurehead that happened to be the brains behind the financials that keep AQ and sundry other nutters in business. Whilst others in AQ or their repsective groups may come forward, Bin Liner really was an odditty in that he managed to unite so many disparate grousp to his cause, even if he did so more in a franchise manner than as a single, tightly-wedded entity. Removing one footsoldier does little to change the balance, but killing the brains behind them has a much larger impact. Zawahiri and the other AQ goons have neither the charism nor the monetary links that Bin Liner had, and there's nothing to say internal rivalries won't shatter the alliances that Bin Liner made.
There's also the spiritual angle - it's hard for these nutters to see their leaders as the instruments of Allah's will when they get picked off by us "infidels". It casts doubt on the whole "Allah is on our side" routine. All in all, Bin Liner's death is very good news.
"...For two hours at the end of last month in Lahore, U.S. diplomat Raymond Davis was closely pursued by two visibly armed men on a motorbike. He noticed them tailing him from a restaurant to an ATM, and through the crowded streets of Pakistan's second city. They were close by when, in a crowded intersection, Davis produced his own handgun and fired seven shots..." Source Time mag: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2047149,00.html#ixzz1LE4xDMf0
I wonder how long it will take to link these two incidents conclusively? (It seems inevitable to me.) Even without the hindsight of the last 24 hours, given the circumstances, it seemed that the repatriation of diplomat Raymond Davis happened unusually quickly and with minimal flack.
For the US, having Davis still in a Pakistani slammer during the bin Laden operation, events mightn't have ended up with the same degree of satisfaction.
(No criticism of Davis here, if in the improbable event I'd been him then perhaps I'd have done the same.)
Regardless of what people in the 'west' believe, yes the very ones that were told by a US president that Saddam had nuclear missiles, most people in the 'backwards countries' that are regularly bombed, believed he wasn't alive in the first place, and many even thought he was just something created to bomb 'em back to the stone-age (if any of you have ever been, it's already there, then again, most of India looks similar, other than the nice rich pockets).
So a guy the local population thought was dead, or imaginary, has now been confirmed dead by the US. So it must be so, and saying he was so near a military training centre also means they can blame someone else, as usual, for not being able to man a border, which they couldn't despite all their aircraft carriers, stealth aircraft, smart bombs, navy seals, delta force, etc. etc. ad nauseam.
Oh hang on, they are scaling back their forces next month, that's some good timing there... maybe talk with the Taliban have gone better than expected.
"I hope that both Assange and Manning meet the eligibility standards."
For telling the truth?
...Or for helping Democracy stay on the straight and narrow?
...Or for exposing facts about complicit and deceiving governments (of whom we citizens are supposed to be masters)?
If I actually posted what I really thought of such utter hypocrisy and illogical double standards then I'd have a snowball's change of my posts ever being posted.
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The truth, I think, is somewhere in the middle. Yes, Bin Laden may have entertained plans as grandiose as world domination. However, US foriegn policy makes it all too easy to recruit more Hajis (now a derogatory term, used by ALL the US soldiers I've met - and I've met quite a few).
If you can find a copy, read the Ugly American (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ugly_American). Written in the late 50's, it's as relevant today as it was then.
...the sequel, "Sarkhan", also by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick.
And for anyone who's never read "The Ugly American", the title character is actually a good-hearted but (especially to the natives there) physically un-attractive U.S. citizen living among and doing volunteer work with the rural population of a fictional South East Asian country, and is only in about 20 or 30 per cent. of the book, and is decidedly nothing like what the phrase has come to mean. Sort of like Nick Charles wasn't The Thin Man.
"The truth, I think, is somewhere in the middle......" I sense a big "but" coming..... Sorry, didn't mean to imply you had a big butt! Ooh, there it is ".....US foriegn policy makes it all too easy to recruit more Hajis...." So, I'm betting there isn't a jihadi out there that can actually quote more than a few vague points of US policy, other than what they have been indoctrinated with. I'm betting you can't, seeing as you supply zero detail to back an argument that US policy is a cause of fundamentalist Islamism.
"....now a derogatory term, used by ALL the US soldiers I've met..." So what? Soldiers often seek to mentally-belittle their opponents by giving them insulting names, often without understanding the source of the name. "Towel-heads", "Gooks", "Huns", "Fritzes", "Jerries", "Eye-ties", "Frogs", "Limeys" - hardly groundbreaking. Please do pretend that every single US serviceman (and women), officers and all, would use the term"haji". I think you may find that the ones that do do not understand that a "haji" is someone that performs Haj. I think you would also find that most officers would sharply rebuke any US soldier using it, especially if they were in a Muslim country, as US servicemen are comprehensively taught what might offend their Muslim hosts. But don't let that stop you from painting all US soldiers as bigots.
That raid was the UK's SAS going after bin laden but thier sat nav went wrong.
The tom-tom then said you have reached your destination on the right. but TH was on the left.
Thats how the tesco was trashed.
The police and onlookers arrived about a minute after the SAS left and each decided the other was responsible for the mess, thats why the police heavy mob were late for the party.
War never changes. or does it?
The war has changed. Did it? The answer is no, unless it is yes!
No, of course it is. is war...yes? No?! Yes?!
And the soldier who shot Bin Laden will have got instant promotion to Sergeant of the Master Sergeants Most Important Person of Extreme Sergeant to the MAX!
Apparently they went for the house on the basis it had no internet connection, then given the rubbish service I get from BT and other ISPs which effectively means I dont have one either, should I, and in fact the whole of eastern England (in similar straits) be worried? Admittely I've got a landline phone but even that's patchy at times.
I'd hate to think that a small service outage would suddenly propel me onto the FBI's "10 most wanted".
Mind you, at least I can show I'm therefor not downloading illegally so that's one set of enforcers I shouldn't have to worry about.....
Symbolically that's important - but what really matters is his beliefs are being rejected by the ME.
And what's causing them to reject it? Things the West has - like the right to peaceful protest, the right to privacy - to not be recorded without cause or redress, the rejection of torture, the right to say what you want without being prosecuted, the right to go where you want without needing special permission.
All the things we ourselves are giving up to fight this dead man's dead ideology.
I was brought up on stories about where in WWII my father was on a naval vessel positioned between US naval vessels and the Japanese, and the story goes that it wasn't the Japanese that ship's company was scared of.
Stories abound about the US shooting first and asking questions afterwards and there are cases of that happening, but the bad old days of poor 'Nam training are long gone. Seals training is probably the most rigorous and professional in the world, bar none.
These guys are crack professions at their very best. (If you don't believe me check out a few videos on their training.)
"Yes, but... ...did anyone really notice until after the "real" news reports? If a story is broken but there is no-one to hear it, does it matter?"
Yes. I got a text from a friend of mine at 9:56 PM central time (10:56 eastern) on May 1 with the news. By the time the so-called "real" news mentioned it, I'd already had the news for 19 hours.
My worst fear that dumping Bin Laden's body in the sea won't help even without his body as in the movie Via Zapatta he may be more dangerous dead than alive and I hate to bring this up Christianity rest on the empty tomb. The compound were was killed will have to be destroyed like the Fuhrer bunker was after the defeat of Germany in WW2 to prevent that place becoming a place of pilgrimage for Islamic terrorist.
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