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Re: OT: 9-11

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  • se_mof@yahoo.com
    First, I would like to thank all those who responded (both positive and negative) to my last post on this. I would like to have responded to each and every one
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 21, 2001
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      First, I would like to thank all those who responded (both positive
      and negative) to my last post on this. I would like to have responded
      to each and every one of you individually, however this is off topic
      on many of the lists it was posted to and I don't want to clutter up
      space with more of an off topic discussion than necessary; so I will
      not respond to any response on the following unless it is made via my
      personal email (which I also welcome.) The truth is that when I sent
      the last post, I had no intention of following it up; it was merely
      sent to encourage people to think before coming to whatever decision
      they would ultimately make. However, some of the responses from
      certain lists made a basic false assumption that I feel needs to be
      addressed; specificaly, that I advocated a policy of inaction. I
      still can not find where I wrote that; I did write that I did not
      feel that we should go to war, but I never said what I think we
      should do or the real reasoning behing choosing it over it's
      alternatives. I'm going to attempt to rectify that here. It is such a
      rare occasion that my reason and emotions agree with one another
      completely that I consider it highly significant and think that the
      following must be said.

      There is a time and a place for War, Conflict, and Violence; this can
      be stated as when it will be effecting the safeguard of individual,
      community, and national freedom and liberty (more on this concept
      later.) More specifically (and from a military perspective) it is
      applicable in a number of ways (not just military action) when it can
      be reasonably expected to succeed at it's stated mission (in this
      case, the elimination of world terrorism...or was President Bush just
      exagerating and only refering to Middle Eastern terrorism?) To be
      even more specific, this can be applied when the attacking action
      (military or otherwise) will at least cripple its intended target to
      the point that it cannot retaliate if not destroy it outright.) That
      stated, the first steps toward creating an effective strategy for
      success are: 1. Determine the specific mission objectives (stated, in
      this case, that further terrorism and the harboring of it will be
      eliminated from the world scene....or are our leaders exagerating
      their intentions again?...I will not go into the debate over whether
      modern warfare is a form of terrorism at this time as it is
      irrelevent to the main topic of this post) 2. Know and understand the
      nature, strengths, and weaknesses of those entities your strategy is
      to be targeted against, and 3. Formulate your plan using your
      resources at hand and eliminating those strategies which have been
      shown to be ineffective against the identified target while using the
      target's weaknesses to your full advantage (or more simply, play to
      your strengths and your target's weaknesses.)

      We have already accomplished stage "1"; despite not knowing the exact
      perpetrators, we have stated a policy of ENDING WORLD TERRORISM, so
      onto phase 2. Much has been said about terrorist groups, and those of
      the Middle East in particular, some true and some very false, so I'd
      like to go into the subject of terrorist groups in general a little
      further. Like any fanatic group, they tend to spring up around
      charismatic leaders; the main difference is that there tends to be
      more than one "leader" and these groups have a tendency to link up
      into large networks, which makes dealing any kind of "deathblow"
      particularly difficult. Also, like other fanatic groups, the majority
      are willing to lay down their lives at any time for their cause; in
      this case the difference lies in their willingness to
      accept "collateral damage" to strike at their percieved enemy (sound
      familiar?) Also in common with other groups, is the source of there
      numbers and support; namely those who feel an extreme sense of
      opression, poverty, hoplessness, and other similar wrongs they may
      have felt in a very real way (in this case, correctly or not, they
      see the US as the primary cause and supporter of these ills.)
      Terrorist groups always rise up from people who feel opressed and
      unheard by local or outside forces; with no other means to strike at
      these forces they resort to a type of "collateral" guerilla warfare
      meant to evoke a fear response from the populace and the retaliation
      from authorities which is hoped will show the populace the tyranic
      nature of the terrorists true "enemy" (in this case US political,
      military, and business interests.) This particular enemy (terrorism)
      is spread throughout the civilian polulations of the majority of the
      nations of the world. Many, though not all, terrorist groups have
      benefitted from military and/or intelligence training (as well as
      arming) at some point in their early history and there is no reason
      to believe that these skills have not been passed down to this day.
      While some terrorist groups are supported (or hosted) by local
      governments, most do in fact have there own outside means of support
      and are not wholey relient on the support of host nations, being
      generaly prepared to fight with these as well if need be (remember
      that most initialy rose in response to local concerns.) Terrorist
      groups have the strength of stealth, unknown numbers, often
      independent rescources, a virtually limitless recruiting range and, a
      certain level of popular support among the opressed, effective and
      looseknit leadership, a fanatical drive, a willingness to accept an
      infinate number of casualties on both sides, a great knowledge of
      the "battleground", and the human shield of the civilian populace'
      amongst which they are ensconsed. They are, however, almost entirely
      dependent on being able to draw support from the wide populations
      from which they draw there numbers (more on this below.) If you
      haven't yet, I would strongly encourage you to read the bin Laden
      interviews from '93 and '98 as well as the letters sent out by Saddam
      Hussein since 9-11. If nothing else, the render several insights into
      the minds and motivations of these types of factions.

      For phase "3", it is necessary to closely, identify one's own
      strengths and the details of the enemie's weaknesses, as well as rout
      out those actions which have been proven to be unworkable given all
      of this gathered information. Our strengths are easily noted, a
      massive (if waivering) economic and military base, generaly powerfull
      and widespread political allies, and a freedom and justice loving
      vocal populace (a shared trait with other "wealthy" nations...the
      populations of the world may, generaly, be freedom and justice
      loving, but there dare not speak out about it...this is the
      difference.) The weakness of the enemy however, is oddly the same as
      one of it's key strengths. It is much like the mythical Hydra; wound
      it and two more heads spring up more venemous than the first. The
      body is the source (opressed populations), the heads its means of
      attack (terrorist groups), and it's wounds the means of gaining
      further strength (further supression of and attacks against the
      populace in the name of routing out terrorists, resulting in further
      resentment and martyrism of those "punished", which always leads to
      more terrorist groups.) However, historicaly speaking, when justice
      has been brought to or seemed on the horizon for these people
      (cauterizing the hydra's wounds) the popular support for terrorist
      groups has always dwindled and terrorist attacks subsequently dropped
      until the people were once again opressed and unheard (wounding the
      hydra's body) leading to a full renewal of terrorist groups and their
      activities. With all that in mind let's go through the various
      options of "attack" against this particular enemy (terrorism) and
      whether they can achieve the mission objective (ending world
      terrorism) starting with the various military options.

      Standard Military Assault: Such attacks have been tried repeatedly,
      throughout history and in recent times and has been an abject
      failure. The most current example would be the "invasion" of
      Palestinian towns by the Israeli military in the month or so before 9-
      11. Did this stop terrorist attacks? No. If anything, they were
      stepped up in the methods of their planning and gained even more
      popular Palestinian support than they already enjoyed. A military
      assault can be made on the governments and nations which actively
      harbor terrorist groups (again bearing in mind that this includes
      most of the Middle East and a large portion of other nations around
      the world, without even considering whether or not the accusations
      that the CIA is a terrorist organization are true or not.) However,
      while it may cow the governments of these nations it will inevitably
      bring yet more harm to the populace resulting in yet more resentment
      and support for terrorists (when you have nothing left to lose, can
      the might of all the world frighten you into submission?) The best
      that can be hoped for in either of these situations is a temporary
      reprieve while the groups reorganize; in the long term though, we
      will have failed in the objective and thus "lost".

      "Surgical" Strikes: These come in two colors; Special Forces ground
      actions and Targetted Bombing campaigns (sometimes with the ground
      forces acting as "spotters".) The situation is the same here as
      above; with the bombing leads to more discontent and the best special
      forces can hope for is non-violent arrest which creates martyrs (as
      the arresting parties were foreign with unrecognized authority.)
      Again, this only serves to further agravate the source of terrorist
      strength.
      Every time "surgical" strikes have been used against terrorist groups
      (particularly in the Middle East) local popular support for these
      groups has grown. Another failure.

      Assassination: In some situations this works (specifically when
      dealing with a single group or force), however it always creates
      martyrs. Further, when applied to several similar targets and/or
      loose networks and leadership, it's effectiveness decreases
      exponentialy. Given the nature of the leadership chain within
      terrorist organizations (or at least what we know of them) the
      effects of this would be reduced to the point of absolute futility
      and stir up yet more sympathy and support for the terrorist group.
      Another loss.

      Genocide: Out of all possible military recourse, this is the one with
      the potential to succeed because it adresses the key
      strength/weakness of the enemy, the downtrodden populace. Of course,
      it is questionable whether the countryies government would allow it's
      population to be exterminated and in most cases we would have to
      eliminate them as well. No problem. Ok. Now consider that, at the
      very least, we are talking about most (if not all) of the nations in
      the Middle East and much of the rest of the world (Ireland, Spain,
      several African Countries, most Southeast Asian Countries, a few in
      South America, and the list goes on...) Even if the stated objective
      is an exageration, and is only meant to apply to militant muslim
      terrorists, we are still talking about virtually the whole of the
      Middle and Near East. Even if this is a possible action, is it really
      even an option? Is America ready to prove that everything the
      terrorist groups say about our nation is true? (Not even discussing
      the general moral implications of such a course.) If this action were
      taken that is exactly what we would be doing; the terrorists would
      have been proven correct and thus been victorious even in death.
      While acheiving the key objective, we still lose through the ultimate
      justification of our enemy.

      Internal Policing Actions: On the surface, this is a tempting
      prospect, but it's historical success rate must be called into
      question. Have such actions succeeded anywhere in the "War On Drugs"?
      No. Criminal drug use is at an all time high in countries that employ
      this policy. Have the recent laws passed in England had any possitive
      result in routing out terrorists? No. (It should be pointed out that
      these are very new and have not had the "test of time" as yet....just
      to be fair.) Have Israeli policing actions lowered the number of
      Palestinian terrorist attacks? A resounding NO! The only thing that
      has been accomplished so far by these policies and others has been a
      systematic stripping of rights in the name of a security that the
      policing actions do not provide. This inevitably either exacerbates
      existing fealings of powerlessness in the populace and further
      support for terrorists or reason for terrorst type groups to arise
      where there were none before (take the, as yet, small groups within
      the US that have formed with the ongoing "virtual" removal of the 4th
      amendment...a course set ostensibly in the furtherence of the various
      wars on crime and increased security for communities...these groups
      are a prime, and reletively recent, example of this phenomenon.)
      Again, an exacerbation of the source of the enemy's strength will
      result in ultimate failure.

      "Doing" Nothing: Do I really need togo into this? Suffice to say that
      being generaly ignored is a large part of what draws these people to
      terrorist leaders and so to ignore this and do nothing would only
      further exacerbate the problem. We lose.

      Diplomacy: For the more peacfull minded, this is a tempting option.
      However, it must be called into question for it's past failures with
      regard to terrorism. The key reason for this is that terrorist groups
      will not negotiate with the enemy, populations have no one to
      represent them other than terrorists and the local government, and
      the local government (who we negotiate with in the end) is often as
      not party to the problems which led to the power of the terrorst
      groups and thus widely unpopular among the local masses. What the
      local Government agrees to rarely has any effect on the support base
      of the terrorists because there actions tend to follow the patterns
      which caused the problem in the first place. The only time, in recent
      memory, when such a course nearly worked was during the
      Israeli/Palestinian negotiations involving Yitzakh Rabin. The reason
      for this was that words were not solely relied upon; instead
      occupation of the west bank ceased and Israeli Military actions were
      suspended. This gave the Palestinians hope and Terrorists had
      difficulty garnering public support, resulting in a drop in terrorist
      activity. This, of course, failed when Rabin was assassinated and
      Israel resumed its course of colonization of the west bank; terrorist
      activity has risen exponentialy in Israel since that time. Within
      this short incident lies the key to accomplishing the mission
      objective; to stop world terrorism.

      We have eliminated the obvious optionsand now come to the option that
      has been put to the test and found to at least have the potential for
      success where the others have none. The key to terrorist strength is
      the pain of the populace from which it recruits and draws support.
      This pain and feeling of seclusion inevitably draws them into the
      mindset the terrorists need. It must be understood, that the US is
      hated above all other capitalist nations (and even their native
      governments) for a reason. Whether this reason has a basis in reality
      or not is irrelivent to the situation; only these people's perception
      is relevent, and that is that THE US IS THE TERRORIST. They believe
      that US military global actions, apparent monetary and political
      support of virtual dictatorships, and percieved occupation of many of
      their lands as the key source of all their woes (To argue the
      relative truth of these statements would take far longer than any of
      our lifetimes and as I said, irrelivent to the situation of the
      source of terrorist strength.) In the short term these perceptions of
      the US and her allies must be changed, and in the long term these
      people must be given the voice and hope that they do not have at
      present time. It has been said (and rightly so) that the US always
      comes to the aid of other nations. What has not been said, however,
      is that a large portion of this in the poorer nations is given to
      that nations government by ours with roughly 75% then being used by
      the local governments on arms rather than relief for it's people (run
      a search, the documentation on this practice is not that hard to
      find.) This attempt at being the "good brother" we like to see
      ourselves as (with regard to our national entity) only serves to stir
      yet further anti-US sentiment as it is percieved that we are giving
      already represive governments money for weapons while the poeple
      themselves continue to suffer. Further, our attempts to help out by
      policing poor countries against those who would harm them are often
      as not seen as invasions by the mostly uneducated populace creating
      even further hatred. Regardless of our best efforts to be the "good
      brother" we always come out seeming more and more like the enemy. The
      answer is deceptively simple. Bypass the Local Governments entirely
      and bring aid directly to their people. The potentials for this move
      were well exhibited after the erection of the Berlin Wall when we
      airlifted in food and supplies to the populace despite Soviet threats
      not to. The people of East Berlin never forgot that and passed the
      memory on to their children and children's children along with the
      hope that they might one day join with the great and generous west.
      While it took long years to overcome the Cold War fears of the
      populace of the rest of the Soviet states, it had already been
      accomplished in East Berlin by that simple act. It is a simple and
      PROVEN method of achieving popular support among foreign peoples
      (incidently, it is also cheaper than carrying out an extended
      military campaign of any sort) by giving them hope and showing
      yourself to be the bringer of that hope. In the long term we must
      reverse the foreign policies which are percieved to support
      suffering. Rather than calling for the imprisonment of suspected
      terrorists, we must call for the local infratructure and policy
      changes which would result in increased freedom and self motivation
      (as well as an active voice) for the people of these nations. Allowed
      there own government (and a voice to and within it) and the means to
      be self-supportive, the support for Terrorism quickly fades from the
      popular mind (when was the last time a local terrorist group rose up
      against Norway?) With there support gone, all that is left is empty
      and embittered old men spewing there hate to people who will not
      listen. Can you think of a better justice or punishment? (Death, in a
      sense, is a release for these people, so no it is not justice or
      punishment.) This course at least offers a slight glimmer of hope for
      the stated mission objectives.

      All that said, the point is rather moot at this time. The decision is
      made. The course is set, like it or not. What then can we do? What
      should we do now? First I would say, individually we move forward
      with a greater sense of our the priorities in life. If nothing else
      this has been an awakening to that and we need to learn that lesson
      well. On that topic, I would ask the question "Is a questionable
      promise of safety worth giving up our Liberty for?" My response to
      this is a resounding NO! This has been tried and always leads to
      Dictatorships (Rome, Hitler Germany, Mussulini Italy, and the list
      goes on...) To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, there is no better hand
      with which to safeguard our Liberty than an informed citizenry. The
      very oath of citizenship and pledge of alegience require us to an
      alegience to the Freedom and Liberty of our nation, and that requires
      us to defend our individual Liberty and the Liberty of our fellow
      Americans WHEN a threat arises (as opposed to after it has already
      struck) even at the cost of our own live; for WE ARE THIS NATION, AND
      OUR LIBERTY AND IT'S LIBERTY CANNOT BE SEPERATED ONE FROM THE OTHER.
      We have been taught for to long to regard our own lives as more
      important than our Liberty (Of what value if Life without Liberty?)
      and to instead rely on the protection provided by others. If this
      methodology truly worked, would we not be free of crime by now? I
      commend those, on the flight which crashed in PA, who brave enough to
      overcome this social training and stand up for their Freedom and
      Liberty when the threat arose. Would that the rest of the nation
      would do the same! (The 9-11 tragedy would not have been able to
      occur otherwise...imagine a planefull of people attacking six men
      with knives or dousing them with pepper spray!) Yes, I do know what I
      am asking. I have been threatened with knives. I have had guns
      pointed in my face. Despite never being armed, I never backed down
      from such blatant disregard for my Liberty and never will; not under
      any threat. I would urge everyone to "take up arms in defence of
      their Liberty" (not necessarily with actual weapons as detailed
      below.) Learn self defense methods (Aikido is a perfect alternative
      for the pacifist) and be resolved to use them in the defense of
      yourself and others. If you believe in it, get defense "weaponry"
      (pepper spray and stun guns come to mind) and actively train in their
      proper use. If you want a gun then TRAIN in every aspect of your
      weapon and teach those who live with you a proper RESPECT for it. As
      Ghandi said, "while it is preferable to be non-violent, if given a
      choice between being violent and allowing a great evil to occur,
      violence is the only choice" and "It is not possible to be non-
      violent without possessing the capacity to be violent" (Note that I
      am paraphrasing these as I do not have the original text with me here
      at work.) Finally, stand up against any legislation which will rob
      you of your rights in the name of safety, because in the end you are
      your own best guardian, and the loss of our national Liberties have
      been shown to lead to the conditions under which terrorist groups
      arise in the first place. For US citizens, it is our duty to defend
      our individual and national Liberty, even if it means standing up to
      our own government. (Please note that I am not advocating
      Governmental overthrow, simply that we speak out as a nation against
      the loss of those very principles which we have sworn to uphold.)
      Beyond resuming our duties as US citizens and regaining some sense of
      priority in our lives, we must continue the commendible ggod will and
      cooperation that most of our nation has been showing in the last
      week. It is truly incredible and inspiring, something we've all
      needed. If we can keep that spirit, then there is some hope of
      enduring the days to come and the terrible events that are sure to
      come upon us with the "War on Terrorism."

      May Courage, Wisdom, Love, and Liberty be yours,
      Shawn S.

      P.S. There was a suggestion that I should publish the original post.
      In my own small way, I am doing just that by that act of posting
      these. With in mind though, I would like to give my personal
      permission for anyone to copy, send out, or otherwise use these in
      any way they wish; just so long as I am given original credit for the
      work.
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