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TOTD 12 Sep 2001


Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.

-President George W. Bush

Well those that were *actually* responsible are dead now. They sentenced themselves to death in advance of the result, something so alien to the normally healthy Western mind that it appears to be mostly disregarded in favour of vastly more elaborate conspiracy theories, of which dozens have already appeared on TV news channels around the world. (...) The idea of the soldierly automaton doing this kind of thing in a specially trained trance and solely under orders (not responsible) ... with an evil-genius mastermind doing all the thinking in a desert backroom is a myth created by Hollywood, and basically absurd.

-Dave Hall

How many times on Tuesday did we hear someone describe the terrorist attacks as "cowardly acts"? But as misguided and despicable as they were, they were anything but cowardly. The people who committed them knowingly gave their lives for
whatever stupid beliefs they held.

But what about the American Presidents who order bombings of innocent people -- while the Presidents remain completely insulated from any danger? What would you call their acts?

-Harry Browne

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
vyoma
Sep. 12th, 2001 01:57 pm (UTC)
I've been wondering about the use of "cowardly" myself. I don't know many people who'd have the solid brass balls to fly a plane into a skyscraper for their beliefs, whatever those beliefs might be. The use of the word in describing someone to lay down their own life seems inappropriate.

On the other hand, whoever ordered these attacks is, indeed, cowardly. They had innocent people killed, perhaps by the thousands, without taking any responsibility for their actions. They sent others to their deaths to promote their agenda. That, to me, is an appropriate use of the word.
kmo
Sep. 12th, 2001 03:30 pm (UTC)
Well, I certainly don't plan to say anything in defense of the people who planned this act of mass murder.

As for ordering the death's of others from a position of safety, I would direct you to Harry Browne's comments on the topic.
jehosephat
Sep. 12th, 2001 02:13 pm (UTC)
I'm going to have to disagree with those last two statements. The men who committed the acts are dead but the ones who led them into committing those acts are not. A soldier will do as he's told because that is what he is trained to do. To obey the orders of his commanders without thinking because, in time of war, questioning of orders could cause the loss of a battle. You will find this even in our military because from day one that is pushed into your head. The men who hijacked those planes were soldiers acting on orders. They were trained to act as soldiers and to accomplish what had been assigned to them. And to obey those who led them without questioning. You can be assured that the one who commanded the individuals in the planes was not on either of those planes himself. No matter what you see in the movies, a leader of an army does not unduly put himself out in the front of the pack and into danger. It doesn't make sense. An army without a head dies and becomes disorganinzed. So what you have here are two people that are comparing apples to oranges and expecting to make a point. George Bush is our leader and there is a leader for those men that attacked the WTC and the Pentagon. Neither died with the soldiers even though they ordered the attacks but Bush at least is not hiding or can not hide from the fact of what he did. He announced it to the world and his reasons behind it. We can judge him all we want but you at least gotta give him that.
kmo
Sep. 12th, 2001 03:11 pm (UTC)
Hi Papa John Bear,

My friend Jim, in Missiouri, responded to today's TOTD by asking:

Is Dave Hall living in the same world as the rest of us?

To which I replied:

Hi Jim,

No, Dave Hall does not live in our comfy world. He lives in South Africa and he actually fought, on the ground, face to face with the so-called enemy, in one of the Cold War's innumerable proxy wars, funded and equipped by the CIA. He has a VERY different perspective from you and far better credentials when it comes to US foreign policy, having participated in it in a way that you and I cannot even begin to imagine.

If you knew Dave and what he's about, I think you'd admire him a great deal. His one consuming ambition; the goal that animates his every move is to create a civilian-based low-cost international commercial space program, and I think the progress he's already made as well as the international network of brilliant and dedicated technicians he's pulled together would astound you. He's certainly done more to make this a more peaceful and livable world than boy George ever will.

Take care.

-KMO


I don't know much about you, Papa John Bear. If you've killed people in the 3rd world on the behest of the CIA, then I will treat your comments on this topic with the same wieght I treat Dave's. My guess is that your opinions, like mine, are more accademic, anecdotal, and media inspired than Dave's.

As for George W. Bush, he is neither the architect of the US foriegn policy that has given so many people around the world ample reason to hate the United States, nor is he the author of the words that he reads so ineptly from the teleprompter. The only job on which I can fairly judge him is on how well he plays his Spudz McKenziesque role for his faction of the ruling party. In that respect, he has a lot of room to improve and could learn much from Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Even his whiney old man shines like a master orator compared to his dim light bulb of a son.

In my opinion.

Take care.

-KMO
jehosephat
Sep. 12th, 2001 04:14 pm (UTC)
My experience
I spent 7 1/2 years in the Air Force, working in the Intelligence community that somehow missed all this. My area of expertise was the Middle East so I can say I have a fairly broader knowledge of how that area works and the psyche of those people than your average person.
As for George Bush being the architect of our foreign policy, we're a democracy so everything done is to ensure that the American people are happy. George Bush is in the unenviable position (though he asked for it) of having to repesent us. He has to answer to us and the other branches of the gov't for everything he does. So what he says or does is done with that in mind. To maintain his power and position, he has to make us happy. Damn it! I have no desire to defend him cause I believe he's a lousy choice for President but he's there. And he is our leader and he does have to answer for any and all actions that he commits even if it's driven by other architects. You can call him inept but don't start insinuating that he's a coward standing behind his army. Bin Ladin (if he was responsible) has no one that he need to answer to for his actions. He controls and leads his people with fanaticism and is probably a lot more intelligent than you give him credit for. Hell I've got arab friends who tell me how well off he is and how successful he is in business. To be a successful businessman he can't be that much of an idiot. And he is willing to send men to their deaths for ideas that are his and his alone and then deny his actions in the light of their execution.
So don't go giving me a my source is better than anything you know cause I know hell of a lot more than you might guess and I've got more than one source to talk to. Thank you and good night.
kmo
Sep. 12th, 2001 04:32 pm (UTC)
Re: My experience
Do you want to continue the conversation? If so, lemme know, I'm game. If we continue, I suggest we take a day off before we resume.
ex_antisens
Sep. 12th, 2001 03:10 pm (UTC)
Georgey Dubya Dumbass spent the afternoon playing skee-ball with the Secret Cervix at Chuck. E. Cheese...
kmo
Sep. 12th, 2001 03:20 pm (UTC)
Putting Dave's Comments in Context
Here is the full text of the message from which I culled the Dave Hall quote I used in today's TOTD:

<
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<what's>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Here is the full text of the message from which I culled the Dave Hall quote I used in today's TOTD:
<blockquote>
<<What's interesting in this case is the sheer number claiming they arenot responsible.>>

My little personal opinion around the events of 11 September 2001 in the USA, to add to that rapidly growing mass out there in cyberspace ....

Well those that were *actually* responsible are dead now. They sentenced themselves to death in advance of the result, something so alien to the normally healthy Western mind that it appears to be mostly disregarded in favour of vastly more elaborate conspiracy theories, of which dozens have already appeared on TV news channels around the world. A press conference to deny involvement (making an instant jury out of the entire TV viewing population) is strategically the smartest thing a so-called rogue state can do for itself. The idea of the soldierly automaton doing this kind of thing in a specially trained trance and solely under orders(not responsible)... with an evil-genius mastermind doing all the thinking in a desert backroom is a myth created by Hollywood, and basically absurd. Most half-baked special operations type soldiers are selected for their ability to think almost entirely for themselves and improvise, much like an entrepreneur. The training only gives additional motivation and direction to what is already there, in natural form. And self-training is becoming pretty big and available at most paranoid militia outlets.

For all we know Bin Laden actually spends all his days wanking himself into a frenzy of hatred and unable to do much real thinking at all...
it's not like he gives tours of his residence, so everything known about him is what the Western Security Forces want the world watching TV to
know about him. On the other hand he does have a heap of money to throw around and probably does it with as much care as a VC in Boomtime, money
that can buy computers and internet connectivity in the USA. I doubt his Internet connectivity is all that great in Afghanistan, not with the
Internet actually being a sin in that place! The idea of moving into a new realm where virgin maidens are aplenty can be a sufficiently powerful motivator, just as money is a powerful motivator to those who work in Big Western Cities in sky scraping buildings .. and those ideologies and the people carrying them don't necessarily come from different Nation sates. Not any more.

IMO an alien observer, unaware of all of the subtle racial and ideological symbols at play within the minds of the human species (and nowhere else) .. all reaching for judgement and justice to experience the juice of revenge, a very human thing indeed, would be forgiven for
concluding that this is a case of individuals from the 'Have Not Ideologies' taking it out on the National 'Have Ideologies' in a technically simple way, with their own tools. This is perhaps more significant a change in 'Use of Violence' strategies since the original Trojan Horse concept. From here on in it's all out Meme Warfare, seen on your closet PC or TV screen, cos otherwise you'd have to read the newspapers to get the local consensual truth.

The world changes every day, in some places and on some days more so than others. Africa smells very good to me today... early Spring thundershower bringing some much needed moisture to the air. I wonder when I will be able to pull myself away from the TV and get on with my own life.

Dave
</blockquote>
kmo
Sep. 12th, 2001 03:25 pm (UTC)
Context on the Harry Browne quote:
Perenial Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate, Harry Browne, wrote:


When Will We Learn?

by Harry Browne

The terrorist attacks against America comprise a
horrible tragedy. But they shouldn't be a
surprise.

It is well known that in war, the first casualty
is truth -- that during any war truth is forsaken
for propaganda. But sanity was a prior casualty:
it was the loss of sanity that led to war in the
first place.

Our foreign policy has been insane for decades. It
was only a matter of time until Americans would
have to suffer personally for it. It is a terrible
tragedy of life that the innocent so often have to
suffer for the sins of the guilty.

When we will learn that we can't allow our
politicians to bully the world without someone
bullying back eventually?

President Bush has authorized continued bombing of
innocent people in Iraq. President Clinton bombed
innocent people in the Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq,
and Serbia. President Bush Senior invaded Iraq and
Panama. President Reagan bombed innocent people in
Libya and invaded Grenada. And on and on it goes.

Did we think the people who lost their families
and friends and property in all that destruction
would love America for what happened?

When will we learn that violence always begets
violence?

Teaching Lessons

Supposedly, Reagan bombed Libya to teach Muammar
al-Qaddafi a lesson about terrorism. But shortly
thereafter a TWA plane was destroyed over
Scotland, and our government is convinced it was
Libyans who did it.

When will we learn that "teaching someone a
lesson" never teaches anything but resentment --
that it only inspires the recipient to greater
acts of defiance.

How many times on Tuesday did we hear someone
describe the terrorist attacks as "cowardly acts"?
But as misguided and despicable as they were, they
were anything but cowardly. The people who
committed them knowingly gave their lives for
whatever stupid beliefs they held.

But what about the American Presidents who order
bombings of innocent people -- while the
Presidents remain completely insulated from any
danger? What would you call their acts?

When will we learn that forsaking truth and reason
in the heat of battle almost always assures that
we will lose the battle?

Losing our Last Freedoms

And now, as sure as night follows day, we will be
told we must give up more of our freedoms to
avenge what never should have happened in the
first place.

When will we learn that it makes no sense to give
up our freedoms in the name of freedom?

What to Do

What _should_ be done?

First of all, stop the hysteria. Stand back and
ask how this could have happened. Ask how a
prosperous country isolated by two oceans could
have so embroiled itself in other people's
business that someone would want to do us harm.
Even sitting in the middle of Europe, Switzerland
isn't beset by terrorist attacks, because the
Swiss mind their own business.

Second, resolve that we won't let our leaders use
this occasion to commit their own terrorist acts
upon more innocent people, foreign and domestic,
that will inspire more terrorist attacks in the
future.

Third, find a way, with _enforceable_
constitutional limits, to prevent our leaders from
ever again provoking this kind of anger against
America.

Patriotism?

There are those who will say this article is
unpatriotic and un-American -- that this is not a
time to question our country or our leaders.

When will we learn that without freedom and
sanity, there is no reason to be patriotic?

---

ex_renascenc648
Sep. 13th, 2001 12:46 am (UTC)
Re: Context on the Harry Browne quote:
As an American currently in Switzerland on business, I gotta agree with Harry.
kmo
Sep. 12th, 2001 03:37 pm (UTC)
Chomsky's Perspective
I culled all of today's TOTD quotes from items I found in my inbox this morning. I thought about using something from Noam Chomsky that also found its way into my inbox today, but didn't. Even though Chomsky didn't make the cut, I think his thoughts on the topic dovetail well with Harry Browne's (even though they come from very different regions of ideological headspace).

Chomsky wrote:


Today's attacks were major atrocities. In terms of number of victims they do not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and probably killing tens of thousands of people(no one knows, because the US blocked an inquiry at the UN and no one cares to pursue it). Not to speak of much worse cases, which easily come to mind. But that this was a horrendous crime is not in doubt. The primary victims, as usual, were working people: janitors, secretaries, firemen, etc. It is likely to prove to be a crushing blow to Palestinians and other poor and oppressed people. It is also likely to lead to harsh security controls, with many possible ramifications for undermining civil liberties and internal freedom.

The events reveal, dramatically, the foolishness of ideas about "missile defense." As has been obvious all along, and pointed out repeatedly by strategic analysts, if anyone wants to cause immense damage in the US, including weapons of mass destruction, they are highly unlikely to launch a missile attack, thus guaranteeing their immediate destruction. There are innumerable easier ways that are basically unstoppable. But today's events will, nonetheless, be used to increase the pressure to develop these systems and put them into place. "Defense" is a thin cover for plans for militarization of space, and with good PR, even the flimsiest arguments will carry some weight among a frightened public. In short, the crime is a gift to the hard jingoist right, those who hope to use force to control their domains. That is even putting aside the likely US actions, and what they will trigger -- possibly more attacks like this one, or worse. The prospects ahead are even more ominous than they appeared to be before the latest atrocities.

Noam Chomsky

toast
Sep. 12th, 2001 11:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Chomsky's Perspective
Thanks for posting this, I've been wondering if he had made any statements regarding the attacks.
ex_renascenc648
Sep. 13th, 2001 12:44 am (UTC)
Re: Chomsky's Perspective
Noam hit it on the head.

This is what I have been saying.

To attack a target, you don't need a long range missile. A guy with a briefcase, truck, or hijacked plane will do nicely.

At first, I was gung ho about the defense shield. I now realize that it is a complete waste of time and money.
saint_monkey
Sep. 12th, 2001 05:10 pm (UTC)
Hot Soup!
the thing i think is funny is this.... if you believe the bible, (Genesis 27, the names Jacob and Esau also can translate to Israel and Ishmael. The Israelites trace themselves to Jacob, the Muslims to Esau.) it's ultimately because of a bowl of soup.

SO BEWARE the SOUP.
kmo
Sep. 12th, 2001 05:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Hot Soup!
It's been a while since Sunday School. I don't get the soup reference. Would you bring me up to speed?
carocrow
Sep. 12th, 2001 05:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Hot Soup!
Actually, it wasn't soup, it was lentils. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentils (he was a big hungry idiot LOL).

The truth is, Jacob and Esau are not the correct forebears... Abraham (remember him?) had a child, Ishmael, before his old lady Sarah had Isaac (meaning laughter... she was 90 when she had him, and Abraham was 100).

The tribes of Israel come from Isaac's lineage, and the Muslims come from the bastard child Ishmael, who was cast without a reference into the desert after the legitimate son was born.

And the Muslims have had an attitude ever since.
saint_monkey
Sep. 13th, 2001 09:14 am (UTC)
sunday school
here is the story as i recall it. (i'm sorry about the bad israel and ishmael translation information.)

Abraham the father of all, had one son when he was very old, he was named isaac. ( you may recall that god tested abraham's faith by asking abraham to place isaac on a stone and kill him, then stayed his hand at the last instant.) When isaac grew up (he was forty) his barren wife prayed to god that she might have children. She became pregnant with twins, who fought ceaselessly within her womb. She one gain prayed, and asked god why the children fought within her.

God answered, as he was wont to do in those days:

You don't just have two children within your womb, but you have two entire nations. they will always be separate once they leave you, and they will always struggle with each other, one will always be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.

When she delivered the childen, one was born first, and he was very hairy and red. they named that child Esau, (hairy) but he was also called Edom (red.) As the oldest, Esau was to inherit his father's lands and goods. Immediately after Esau, Isaac's wife Rebecca delivered the second twin, and he came out holding onto the heel of his older brother. This child was named Jacob, which means "He grasps by the heel" or "deciever."

Esau became a hunter, and an outdoorsman, and the favorite of his father, while Jacob became a homebody, who stayed close to his mother. He learned to cook instead of how to hunt.

So once, when Esau returned from the wilderness, Jacob was cooking, and Esau asked him for some food. (Carocrow, we were both right, the bible says "Red Stew," in verses 29 and 30, and "Lentil Stew " in 34. Both are soups IMHO.) Now this isn't as clearcut as carocrow makes it sound. Esau was out in the wilderness, which in that land, Canaan, (which is Hebron in Israel now,) and as such, he lived and died by what he could find or kill out there. If he returned empty handed, then he was very likely famished, or near to death. Starving in the true sense of the word. Which he proceeds to tell Jacob.

Jacob, unmoved, demanded Esau's birthright in exchange.

Esau, seeing that his death was imminent without nourishment, and his birthright useless in that regard, agrees to the bargain.

But Jacob makes him swear an oath before he will feed him, and an oath was as good as law in those times.

So Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup.

Later on, Jacob's children inherited the fruits promised to Abraham, and Esau went out and married the daughter of Ishmael, (and two other women) Ishmael was indeed the bastard of Abraham and Hagar, his egyptian servant.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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