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Old 05-03-2011, 11:55 AM   #1
Gorgeous George
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The Cost of Revenge

'Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.'

- Confucius


In the 'Martin Luther King...' thread in the General forum, the issue has been raised and discussed about the appropriate reaction to an enemy, to being wronged, and to getting what we perceive as justice; so I would like to hear peoples' views on that here (as Jun sees this as off-topic in the other forum).

Are you familiar with the Spielberg film Munich?
It is about the murder of Israelis by pro-Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 olympic games in Germany, and the subsequent Israeli response: they spent years, and much money in getting a team of assassins to murder those who were behind these murders, and get revenge.
What I recall, is that the message of this film, I thought, was that it was an endless cycle, and that the quest for revenge absolutely destroyed those engaged in it: they were away from their families; their lives were passing them by; they became paranoid; they had to deal with the guilt of killing innocent people, and with the ethics of just killing any person - guilty or not; and some ultimately perished in the attempt to gain revenge for this atrocity.

Here's what I said in the other thread:

Two countries (directly) invaded; hundreds of thousands dead; over one billion people pissed off (indeed: most of the human race.); hundreds of billions of dollars spent...and finally, Mr Bin Laden is dead.

I'd love Spielberg to make a 'Munich' of this.


What are your thoughts?
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Old 05-03-2011, 02:25 PM   #2
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote:
In the 'Martin Luther King...' thread in the General forum, the issue has been raised and discussed about the appropriate reaction to an enemy, to being wronged, and to getting what we perceive as justice; so I would like to hear peoples' views on that here...
Hi Graham -

When I was a year or two out of high school and still living at home I owned an Austin Healey Sprite. One morning I awoke to find that the bonnet had been lifted off the car during the night. Being in those days somewhat hot of temper, thoughts of revenge occupied my time even though I had no hope of recovering the missing part or finding out who stole it.

However, against all odds, we did actually discover who performed the rip-off. I was all for having the cops called and rousting the bugger, throwing the book at him, tossing away the key... you know the drill.

Anyway my father, who was a very peaceful man, contacted the kid's parents, informed them of what he had done and arranged for him to return the pilfered bonnet. Hot headed me, lusting for revenge at the outrage the kid had perpetrated, let my father know that his response was anemic, to say the least. As a reward for honestly expressing my feelings in the matter, I was allowed to help the thief remount the bonnet on my car. Pop was grilling that day and invited the kid and his parents to lunch afterwards. I never saw the kid again so I don't know if he learned anything beneficial as a result of my father's compassion. I do hope so though.

I learned a valuable lesson that day ( though it took years of maturity for it to sink in) regarding the nature of measured responses to given situations. My father resolved the conflict in a way that saw the stolen goods returned (justice served), while sparing the person who stole the bonnet and his parents the necessity of having to deal with law enforcement and taught me the value of measuring my response to match the severity of the situation.

Best,

Ron

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Old 05-03-2011, 03:14 PM   #3
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

While I would like to make it clear I recognize the limitations of my vantage point, I would say the two wars were not worth it. While there is a lot more to those wars than revenge for 9/11, I think the cost of life, the cost of subsequent emotional and physical damage of those involved directly, and the economic costs, far outweigh the benefits. I think, as usual, only a handful of people gained real benefit at the cost to the majority.
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:26 PM   #4
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
While I would like to make it clear I recognize the limitations of my vantage point, I would say the two wars were not worth it. While there is a lot more to those wars than revenge for 9/11, I think the cost of life, the cost of subsequent emotional and physical damage of those involved directly, and the economic costs, far outweigh the benefits. I think, as usual, only a handful of people gained real benefit at the cost to the majority.
Dear Matthew,
Is it not the case that wars only bring death, destruction , pain and loss to countless numbers?When are we as a society going to realise that violence breeds violence, that greed especially corporate greed brings conflict.The Middle East with the oil reserves are classic examples.Thankfully no son of mine is being sent to potentially pay the ultimate price in some far off land or come home a broken man.
Of course somebody makes money, the weapons makers, oil companies etc.Not to mention Mr Bliar [Blair ][envoy for peace in the Middle East -what a laugh, if it was not to much of a tragedy].
I ask myself who was the real villains in the invasion of Iraq Saddam or Blair/Bush etc?As I understand it in Afghanistan the Taliban [while I dont agree with their ideaology ] were considered to be less corrupt than the present Government.
Cheers, Joe
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:05 PM   #5
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Matthew,
Is it not the case that wars only bring death, destruction , pain and loss to countless numbers?When are we as a society going to realise that violence breeds violence, that greed especially corporate greed brings conflict.The Middle East with the oil reserves are classic examples.Thankfully no son of mine is being sent to potentially pay the ultimate price in some far off land or come home a broken man.
Of course somebody makes money, the weapons makers, oil companies etc.Not to mention Mr Bliar [Blair ][envoy for peace in the Middle East -what a laugh, if it was not to much of a tragedy].
I ask myself who was the real villains in the invasion of Iraq Saddam or Blair/Bush etc?As I understand it in Afghanistan the Taliban [while I dont agree with their ideaology ] were considered to be less corrupt than the present Government.
Cheers, Joe
Hi Joe,
Part of what makes me so unhappy about all this is how easily some people seem willing to engage in warfare, conventional or otherwise. Mine is a country long recognized (from within, no less) for its affinity for violence and I believe we have, in many ways, adopted the modality of colonialization we've come to superficially denounce. The difference seems to be in how we define it. Wealth is the new royalty. I'm a firm believer in the seperation between church and state, and I'm coming to the view that perhaps we ought have a seperation between wealth and state for similar reasons.
Corporations and the like are treated as people these days. As I see it, this only means some people are given additional powers in government, and when I consider the military industrial complex and their potential role in all this, I cannot help but be suspicious.
I am a proud American with a proud family legacy that goes back almost 400 years (never mind my Native ancestry). I love my country; I love the military for what I perceive to be its role in securing freedom, but on the whole I am very disapointed in how we've been handling our end of things.
It's easy to be tough in the face of an enemy. I want to see more tough thinking and open debate instead of the crap our politicians sell us with empty emotional pandering.
These last few months I've been seeing my passion for these topics swell so I could probably prattle on forever...
Take care, and may we all better learn the nature of peace,
Matthew
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:48 PM   #6
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Hi Joe,
Part of what makes me so unhappy about all this is how easily some people seem willing to engage in warfare, conventional or otherwise. Mine is a country long recognized (from within, no less) for its affinity for violence and I believe we have, in many ways, adopted the modality of colonialization we've come to superficially denounce. The difference seems to be in how we define it. Wealth is the new royalty. I'm a firm believer in the seperation between church and state, and I'm coming to the view that perhaps we ought have a seperation between wealth and state for similar reasons.
Yes, well...follow the money.

Here's an article you might like to read. It was written in 2003 in response to the Iraq War by Robert Merkin, a novelist and Vietnam vet. In it, he talks about the difference between who wants to start a war, and who gets sent to fight it.
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:54 PM   #7
David Orange
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

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Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
[b]Two countries (directly) invaded; hundreds of thousands dead; over one billion people pissed off (indeed: most of the human race.); hundreds of billions of dollars spent...and finally, Mr Bin Laden is dead.

What are your thoughts?
Graham,

My thoughts are that all you describe (invasions, death, etc.) had virtually nothing to do with bin Laden. Bin Laden was Bush's excuse to send good people to death, to set the middle east on fire and enrich the richest people in the US at the expense of everyone else.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 05-03-2011, 10:09 PM   #8
Gorgeous George
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Graham,

My thoughts are that all you describe (invasions, death, etc.) had virtually nothing to do with bin Laden. Bin Laden was Bush's excuse to send good people to death, to set the middle east on fire and enrich the richest people in the US at the expense of everyone else.

David
I'm equally sceptical, David: knowing what little I do about the CIA, PNAC, and the US government in general, I am under no illusions about the motives of those in power.
That quote was directed more towards those people who have celebrated Mr Bin Laden's murder as though it is somehow worth all of this.

Hell: even Mr Obama - a figure who once symbolised hope for those who regard themselves as somewhat progressive - was on TV, talking about how killing a man was 'justice' (I had visions of that sobering Stalin-attributed quote 'Death solves all problems: no man, no problem.')...and then went on to reference this 'God' character, in the context of the Christian religion.

I doubt Jesus would have shot Bin laden's wife in the leg, then shot the fifty-something invalid in the head when he wouldn't come quietly.
Bizarre.

Oh: good luck to Barack Obama on his re-election campaign, by the way...not that Osama Bin Laden was the victim of a political assasination or anything.
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:48 AM   #9
sakumeikan
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Yes, well...follow the money.

Here's an article you might like to read. It was written in 2003 in response to the Iraq War by Robert Merkin, a novelist and Vietnam vet. In it, he talks about the difference between who wants to start a war, and who gets sent to fight it.
Dear Mary,
Read the article.If true or even partially true this is shocking.To blackmail young kids to sign up for potential action is disgusting.
A bit like the press gangs in the old days . Hope you are well,
Cheers, Joe.
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:39 AM   #10
David Orange
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Mary,
Read the article.If true or even partially true this is shocking.To blackmail young kids to sign up for potential action is disgusting.
A bit like the press gangs in the old days . Hope you are well,
Cheers, Joe.
That's the story.

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:43 AM   #11
David Orange
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
That quote was directed more towards those people who have celebrated Mr Bin Laden's murder as though it is somehow worth all of this.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not sorry OBL is dead. I'm just sorry we wasted eight years of vast warfare when the same guys could probably have taken him out in six months after 9/11 if Bush hadn't been more of a mind to enrich his creditors. Of course, we wouldn't have had OBL if not for Bush's father....

It stinks all around.

I still have more hopes with Obama than with Palin/Bachman/Newt/Trump/Romney/Huckabee. It's still a sad state of affairs.

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 05-04-2011, 01:00 PM   #12
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Mary,
Read the article.If true or even partially true this is shocking.To blackmail young kids to sign up for potential action is disgusting.
A bit like the press gangs in the old days . Hope you are well,
Cheers, Joe.
Regrettably, it is all true.

During the Vietnam era, the relevant song was "Fortunate Son". Today, it's "Light Up Ya Lighter". It's the same story.

There are also ironic similarities between the situation in the United States and the countries that are the focus of the so-called war on terror. In both case, you have young people picking up a gun, for the most part, because of a lack of other options. Maybe we should be a lot more worried for our future than we are.
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:48 PM   #13
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

For some, the soldier's life has long been an escape from other difficulties...for thousands of years. It's practically a tradition, regardless of what romantic commercials (walking or otherwise) will tout.
I remember a few years ago, a very small pulse of news describing the many low-handed tactics recruiters were employing, but it's definately nothing new. It's hard to compete with crap like the Jersey Shore and people don't like hearing the unpleasant truths which run counter to their sacred views...and soldiers are sacred ground for the sacrifices their jobs entail, and rightfuly so.

Going back to the idea of this cost of revenge, until we stop excusing the excesses of our own, how can we demand "they" do the same?
"It's easier to put out the fire in your neighbor's house than to put out the fire in your own."
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:05 AM   #14
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Going back to the idea of this cost of revenge, until we stop excusing the excesses of our own, how can we demand "they" do the same?
Oh, it's easy to demand a standard of conduct of others that we don't want ourselves held to. It's the easiest thing in the world. Like a lot of behaviors that lead to nowhere good, it is very easy. It's just another form of gratification.

There was a story that was widely circulated a few days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, that illustrates our dilemma. A Native American grandfather was speaking to hsi grandson about violence and cruelty in the world and how it comes about. He said it was as if two wolves were fighting in his heart. One wolf was vengeful and angry, and the other wolf was understanding and kind. The young man asked his grandfather which wolf would win the fight in his heart. And the grandfather answered, "The one that wins will be the one that I choose to feed."

- Pema Chodron, "Taking the Leap"
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:04 AM   #15
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
While I would like to make it clear I recognize the limitations of my vantage point, I would say the two wars were not worth it. While there is a lot more to those wars than revenge for 9/11, I think the cost of life, the cost of subsequent emotional and physical damage of those involved directly, and the economic costs, far outweigh the benefits. I think, as usual, only a handful of people gained real benefit at the cost to the majority.
If the only goal was to see one man dead ( Bin Laden) I would agree that two wars were not worth it.

If the goal is to dismantle the organization of terrorism that Bin Laden was a part of for the future lives and safety of the targets of their terrorism , I wouldn't.

dps
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:09 AM   #16
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

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Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post

[b]Two countries (directly) invaded; hundreds of thousands dead; over one billion people pissed off (indeed: most of the human race.); hundreds of billions of dollars spent...and finally, Mr Bin Laden is dead.
You are mistaken if you think it is about revenge on Bin Laden.

dps
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:37 AM   #17
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

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You are mistaken if you think it is about revenge on Bin Laden.

dps
Read the thread, dude.

RE: the destruction of Al Qaeda - an organisation which gains adherents on the basis of US injustices perpetrated against muslims - via the perpetration of injustices against muslims...sounds like an effective, well-thought-out plan.
How's that going?
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:41 AM   #18
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
You are mistaken if you think it is about revenge on Bin Laden.

dps
Didn't GWB state that OBL would be hunted down and be got 'dead or alive'? isn't that revenge for what he instigated?

Will it be revenge when supporters of OBL attack and kill innocent victims, which they almost inevitably will?

what will we do in response?

cutting off one of the heads of the Hydra, does not dismantle the organisation that supports it.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:42 AM   #19
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

PS: wasn't Afghanistan invaded, and the ongoing ten year war with the Taliban started, because it was about Mr Bin Laden?
...I won't even go into why Iraq was invaded, ha.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:11 AM   #20
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
If the only goal was to see one man dead ( Bin Laden) I would agree that two wars were not worth it.

If the goal is to dismantle the organization of terrorism that Bin Laden was a part of for the future lives and safety of the targets of their terrorism , I wouldn't.

dps
I may be wrong, but it seems to me those wars have done quite a bit for the organizations of terror. Pure speculation, but I think Bin Laden wanted Bush re-elected and that's why he put out a video right before his second election. I think of all the money and resources which were poured into both wars and cannot help but assume some or much of it was diverted against us. So my hypothesis is that we not only added to the "moral" support by way of collateral damage, etc., but also directly through our funding of those who proclaimed to be helping us, but were in fact not. I have no idea of the proportions of this, assuming my guess is in any way correct.
I'm still hopeful that we've done a lot toward ending terrorist strengths in the region, but the best I can conceive of for how this may have happened comes in Scortched Earth principles, which are dubious at best, in my opinion. In the beginning I was skeptical, but wanted to be swayed. Now I'm mostly cynical. This doesn't mean anything is a lost cause, but I believe it does mean we're probably in a deeper hole than we began with immediately after 9/11. Time may tell. Whatever the case I'm greatful for those who would risk their lives, but for a number of reasons I'm rather angry at those would make them have to do it...particularly considering some of them had the option to fight in the past but clearly didn't want to. Everyone's entitled to a change of heart, so I don't mean to imply that makes them hypocrites, but it does cast a lot of doubt in my mind as to how much they are able to fully appreciate the costs of war.
My two bits, at any rate.
Take care, David,
Matt
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:15 AM   #21
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
PS: wasn't Afghanistan invaded, and the ongoing ten year war with the Taliban started, because it was about Mr Bin Laden?
...I won't even go into why Iraq was invaded, ha.
I think that's what sold it for a lot of people...he was the poster-child, for sure. I believe it was terrorism at large which was the main cause...and much like our entry into WWI and WWII it took us some time and personal loss before we started taking serious actions...again, as far as this civi can guess.
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:24 PM   #22
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I think that's what sold it for a lot of people...he was the poster-child, for sure. I believe it was terrorism at large which was the main cause...and much like our entry into WWI and WWII it took us some time and personal loss before we started taking serious actions...again, as far as this civi can guess.
I doubt it was terrorism at large: the US is the biggest proponent of terrorism there is.

The US, after those planes were flown into the World Trade Center, demanded - without providing evidence - that the government of Afghanistan hand over a person in their custody...it refused - as well it should - and surprise surprise: the military-industrial complex/CIA/the private businesses which had funded the US governmeny, got a load of money, and the chance to increase global instability.
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:03 PM   #23
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

While "US injustices perpetrated against muslims"[sic] does no doubt provide a lot of fuel to the fire, for the purposes of completeness, it's worth noting that injustice was not Osama Bin Laden's inspiration.
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:23 PM   #24
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

I should have been more clear: terrorism aimed at us and our friends (most notably, us). We've supported lots of terrorists in many ways when "we" thought it suited our purposes, which were both ideological (fighting them "Reds") and economic (which I suppose could be an ideology as well).
In our fight with communism I believe we looked very long into the abyss.
Also, I think Bin Laden's sense of justice (one I disagree with of course) fueled his actions. Justice to him was not having infidels on holy land, among some other things, some probably more personal than he'd care to have admitted...again, as I perceive it.
...or perhaps I should ask what you mean specifically, Mary.
...er...what do you mean specifically?

Last edited by mathewjgano : 05-05-2011 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:44 PM   #25
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Re: The Cost of Revenge

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I doubt it was terrorism at large: the US is the biggest proponent of terrorism there is.
I understand the view equating state violence with terrorism, but it does redefine "terrorism" in the sense that Matt was using the term and the way the issue was seen by those who supported the invasion of Afghanistan.

Even if those folks were "wrong" or myopic in their understanding of the world, that doesn't rebut the statement that this was the idea behind their support.

Quote:
The US, after those planes were flown into the World Trade Center, demanded - without providing evidence - that the government of Afghanistan hand over a person in their custody...it refused - as well it should - and surprise surprise: the military-industrial complex/CIA/the private businesses which had funded the US governmeny, got a load of money, and the chance to increase global instability.
Sorry, but this seems a stretch:
>>I understood Bin Laden took responsibility/credit -- isn't that enough for you? Shouldn't it have been enough? Do you doubt that Al Qaeda was running training camps in Afghanistan? Why?

>> Bin Laden was a guest of the Taliban, but I don't think he was in "custody."

>>No US president, past or present, and very few members of Congress, could have avoided taking a dramatic response given public sentiment in this Country at the time. In fact, living where I do, I sometimes have to be remineded the strength of feelings of people who lived in the NY and DC areas.

One certainly can decry this sentiment or the response taken as barbaric, irrational or short-sighted (given, e.g., the example of what happened to Alexander, the British, and the Russians in Afghanistan), but this is a different question in my view from the idea that this sentiment was manufactured on the spot by special interests. (As you say, Iraq is a different story, on a number of levels.)

>>Do you have evidence for this claim of direct corporate manipulation of the decision to invade Afghanistan, or is it an a priori claim based on your general world view?

>>What "private businesses" that "fund[] the US government" are you talking about -- surely not large corporations, many of which pay no taxes at all? Maybe we should infer it was the Chinese who demanded we invade, given their ownership of a large portion of the national debt.

>>Many large corporations have an obscenely oversized role in policy decisions in this Country (as in your own, I'm willing to bet). I would be surprised to learn this political clout related to the amount of taxes paid rather than, for example, campaign contributions to elected officials and lobbying.
.

Respectfully,

David H

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