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What a nuisance

This has been feasted on by bloggers all over the freaking place, but The Bleat says it perfectly:

When I asked Kerry what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, he displayed a much less apocalyptic worldview. "We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance," Kerry said. "As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life."

Tony Soprano doesn�t take over schools and shoot kids in the back. The doxies of the Bunny Ranch don�t train at flight schools to ram brothels into skyscrapers.

A nuisance?

A nuisance? I don't want the definition of success of terrorism to be "it isn't on the rise." I want the definition of success to be "free democratic states in the Middle East and the cessation of support of those governments and fascist states we haven't gotten around to kicking in the ass yet." I want the definition of success to mean a free Lebanon and free Iran and a Saudi Arabia that realizes there's no point in funding the fundies. An Egypt that stops pouring out the Jew-hatred as a form of political novacaine to keep the citizens from turning their ire on their own government. I want the definition of success to mean that Europe takes a stand against the Islamicist radicals in their midst before the Wahabbi poison is the only acceptable strain on the continent. Mosquito bites are a nuisance. Cable outages are a nuisance. Someone shooting up a school in Montana or California or Maine on behalf of the brave martyrs of Fallujah isn't a nuisance. It's war.

But that's not the key phrase. This matters: We have to get back to the place we were.

But when we were there we were blind. When we were there we losing. When we were there we died. We have to get back to the place we were. We have to get back to 9/10? We have to get back to the place we were. So we can go through it all again? We have to get back to the place we were. And forget all we've learned and done? We have to get back to the place we were. No. I don�t want to go back there. Planes into towers. That changed the terms. I am remarkably disinterested in returning to a place where such things are unimaginable. Where our nighmares are their dreams.

We have to get back to the place we were.

No. We have to go the place where they are.
  • Current Mood: determined determined
Re: What does it take to feel safe again?
I think we DO have to have a combined military and political solution, and one success happened this week with the new elections in Afghanistan. Look at what the author of the blurb says in the first full paragraph. It's about promoting freedom and making the area politically inhospitable to terrorism. Maybe at one time the UN would have had the credibility to be a leader of that process, but they can't even be trusted not to try and make a buck for themselves while "helping people". I don't care about the blessing of "all nations" because all nations have their own agendas, and we can't run US foreign policy based on France and Germany's considerations.
Re: What does it take to feel safe again?

I am surprised by the one-sidedness of your argument. Don't embrace other nations' needs as your own. Good point, but show me that nation that does not despise terrorism and wants to fight it wherever it encounters it. France has its share of terrorism and just a week ago they arrested the political and militant heads of ETA, the bask seperatist organisation. I don't have to mention Russia and its Beslan tragedy. Germany just recently had Lybia to pay damages to the victims of the La Belle nightclub (frequented by US soldiers) bombing in Berlin. So, clearly all those nations do not condone terrorism and actively do something against it.

The question is more a "what to do". And the "war to end all wars" simply does not exist. Violence bears violence. Kofi Annan said that no nation should be above others. Iraqi prisoner abuse and Guantanamo Bay just doesn't gel well with muslim people. To fight terrorism you should never lower yourself to the same level.

Now, my biggest concern actually is that you seem to simply link Osama and Saddam as if they were the same person. They are not. Saddam IS NOT responsible for 9/11. He DID NOT support or harbor terrorists. Was he happy about it? Definitely! Maybe even the government of North Korea is happy whenever some Americans die.

But why did the US invade Iraq? Because of WMD? Sorry, they didn't exist for the last ten years. Because of the links to al Qaeda? Sorry, no links. Because of 9/11? Sorry, wrong guy. Because Saddam was a bad, bad man? Yup, that's it!

Well, there's plenty of bad, bad man out there in the world. Lyba's Gaddafi once upon a time was such a bad, bad man. Now he's the good guy... (go figure!). And Saddam was once upon a time in a long, long forgotten world... the good guy! He was fighting against Iran, state enemy number one! Let's give him some WMDs, so the whole thing will be over soon! Human waves? Fine, as long as it is Iraqis fighting Iranians!

And Osama? Good guy! Once upon a time he was fighting together with our friends the taliban against those evil, evil Russians in Afghanistan! Now in 2004 he's the baddie and the Russians are the goodies... go figure! (Talking of flip-flopping...............)

Want more examples? Arafat actually won the peace nobel price once upon a time, together with the Israeli prime minister Rabin. Poor Rabin! A fanatic Israeli just shoots him and that's the end of peace in the Middle East. A short while later Sharon steps onto the Temple Mountain to start the new entefada. And it worked.

gwemegil, you write about the intelligence report (I hope a better one than the "WMDs exist") It clearly states that, while there may not have been a "stockpile" of (WMDs)... Hussein was clearly maintaining his ability to create such threats. No. The report states clearly that there were no WMDs, not that "there MAY not have been a "STOCKPILE" ". And Hussein did not "clearly" maintain his ability to create them, he maintained the viewpoint that he should be allowed to create them. He maintained his intention, but without any means. He could not create such threats anymore, proof that the UN sanctions actually worked!

In other words, Saddam was no threat anymore, at least not to the USA. (He still was a bad, bad guy, but that is a different story!)

Al Qaeda on the other hand still was a threat. And thanks to the invasion of Iraq, which has not been seen favourably by all muslims it grew stronger. Someone with a slight hate for the USA who lost family members or a house suddenly was much closer the the recruitment efforts. Al Qaeda didn't even exist in Iraq before the invasion. But the gross miscalculation of Bush, the missing hoorays of the freed people of Iraq, the fear of Iraqis that their oil is stolen by Halliburton and the prisoner abuse scandals really made recruiting soooo easy.
Re: What does it take to feel safe again?

allisnow, you mentioned the elections in Afghanistan. I too am incredibly happy that there things are improving at a good rate. There are still every day bombs blowing up innocent people and death and poverty will stay in the country for many years to come. But it is an improvement. After 20 years of war with ever-changing enemies this country is finally starting to see calmer days ahead. Even though poppies are still the main produce of Afghanistan and drug lords still rule much of the country.

Why is Afghanistan a (I dare to say it) "success" and Iraq a disaster? Because the world as a whole supported the invasion of Afghanistan. The Afghan people don't feel dominated by one nation but helped by all. And if Iraq had been invaded under a UN mandate the situation would be the same. But as Bush realised such a mandate will not be given by the security council he simply went ahead instead of some well-guided diplomacy.

That's where Bush failed big time!
Re: What does it take to feel safe again?
Why is Afghanistan a (I dare to say it) "success" and Iraq a disaster?

Because they are two different countries in different situations with different pre-existing forms of government.

I think your opinion that "everything would be okay if only Kofi Annan had made his face to smile upon us" shows a serious lack of understanding.
Re: What does it take to feel safe again?
Yes, they are two different countries with two different systems of non-democratic dictatorships before the invasions. I am glad we agree on this part. Could you flesh out a bit why you think one was a relative success and the other a relative disaster? Simply saying they are different doesn't quite cut it, I'd say.

Oh, don't get me wrong! If Kofi Annan smiles upon us or not is not at all what I care about. But don't you think it would have been "nice" if the rest of the world would have seen the threat in the same way as Bush? Do you remember how Powell tried to convince the security council with words such as "clearly" and "it is obvious"? But the security council suggested to give the UN inspectors more time to find the WMDs.

Now, we all know by now that they couldn't find any WMDs as they simply didn't exist. We all know by now that Saddam simply wasn't an international threat anymore. In fact, his power had started to fade and simply by waiting one more year he might have disappeared all by himself - without the loss of any US lives...

Sooo... Bush still is to blame for going in without patience and against international law.
Re: What does it take to feel safe again?
Sorry, but your comments show an ignorance that's just too deep for me to bother going into specifics. It's astounding, actually.
Re: What does it take to feel safe again?
This has to be one of the funniest things I have ever read. It's full of so many factual errors it might as well be fiction. Priceless.
Re: What does it take to feel safe again?
... okay, so after Bush gets re-elected... shall we first invade Iran, then Syria, then North Korea? Or would you prefer a different order? And if so, why?

My reasons for this order are simple: Iran is actively pursuing WMDs or at least hasn't distanced itself enough to not be invaded. Plus, they took US hostages some time ago and we haven't paid them back yet. Plus, the region would be better off.

Then Syria, because it would create a wonderful corridor between the Mediterranean and the Gulf. We could pipe oil in any direction then....

North Korea... Well, they really should be first, having a madman dictator, totally unstable and pursuing WMDs... but where's the oil? A country of starving poor souls isn't really worth invading now, is it? Maybe we let them get away...

Oh, I just remembered Kuwait! Wasn't it great how that little country got liberated a while back? Finally democratic elections? Hang on... Nope, the women especially still don't have a say in anything. Oh well, democracy takes time I guess....

Re: What does it take to feel safe again?
"he did intend to create them as soon as the sanctions were lifted, and the sanctions were effective" - correct! And looking how long the sanctions against Lybia were in effect - they still are to this day - I am sure Saddam would have been very frustrated.

"From Saddam's perspective, UN sanctions hindered his ability to rule Iraq with complete authority and autonomy." - correct, so we agree that the sanctions were effective!

"He viewed the sanctions "as a form of economic war"" - correct, sanctions are a form of economic war and an effective one as well. The Food for Oil program did stop Saddam from developing WMDs. And it did cost not one drop of US blood! What's the body count of Bush's war up to today? 1,200? US soldiers of course only - the dead amongst the liberated Iraqi people is much much higher! Tell the families of these people why they had to die!

"Hussein maintained his ability to produce WMDs by retaining personnel with the ability to create such weapons." - if Saddam hadn't been a brutal dictator I would have said it's nice he kept his personell employed. Why doesn't Bush keep the Mid-West in employment...

"Iraq still posessed its most important BW asset, the scientific know-how of its BW cadre." - ahhm... Had Saddam killed them all, would you have been happier? What else can you do with a bichemical engineer or a nuclear scientist? Such a person could not easily be employed as a gardener and even then his knowledge doesn't just disappear. Are you suggesting decapitation to get rid of the knowledge? Fact remains that there were no MEANS to produce WMDs. And please don't talk about blueprints for "the bomb", as any school child could find them via Google.

"plans or designs for three long-range ballistic missiles with ranges from 400 to 1,000 km" - as above, a blueprint isn't a WMD yet. Now, please explain to me how a 1,000 km missile could be a threat to mainland USA? Even if it had existed it would only be a threat to Iran and Israel, but not to the USA.

"Saddam's continuing desire . . . for a long-range delivery capability." - I have no hesitation to believe that. I have the desire to be a multi-millionaire. But somehow I don't think it'll ever happen.

Fact is: the sanctions were VERY effective! The war wasn't and isn't!