Monday, October 16, 2006

Freedom And Fear At War

From the beginning, our nation's policy in the war on terror has been clear. On September 20, 2001 President Bush stood before Congress and addressed the country. He declared,

"Our war on terror begins with al Queda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated."

He then reminded us that the attacks nine days previous were more than an attack on our nation. He said,

"Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom- the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time- now depends on us."

A few months later, President Bush again addressed the nation. He spoke of American values of service and freedom; freedom from fear, and freedom to be educated, to practice religion, and to determine one's own destiny. These are the values and rights of mankind. People the world over yearn for these liberties, regardless of race, religion, or nationality.

Then President Bush promised,

"America will take the side of brave men and women who advocate these values around the world, including the Islamic world, because we have a greater objective than eliminating threats and containing resentment. We seek a just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror."


Charles D said...

Bush has good speech writers, but how they can keep a straight face while turning out such utter nonsense is beyond me.

There cannot be a "war" or terror. Terror is a method, not an enemy. There is a country named Terror, and no terror army. Terror is a method employed by those who feel they have no other way of getting what they want and do not care whom they hurt in the process. It is a very bad thing, but you can't actually declare war on it.

You cannot find "every terrorist group of global reach" because they are continually in a state of flux. It's like playing Whack-a-Mole, if you neutralize one group another appears. Ask the Israelis, who have been trying to root out terrorist groups only within a small terroritory for over 50 years and are no closer now than they were when they started.

Freedom and fear ARE at war. The Fear that Bush is peddling to American citizens is designed to enable him to remove our freedoms. We are rapidly losing the very freedoms our forefathers fought and died for, and the greatest weapon used to rob us of those freedoms is the fear of terrorism.

Bush talks of the values of service but calls for no sacrifices from the wealthy or the corporations in a time of supposed "war". He talks of freedom to be educated, but cuts funding for education. He talks of freedom to practice religion, but clearly favors (with government funding and handouts) one religion over others and one variant of that religion over others. He speaks of a just and peaceful world but then refuses to permit the United States to be judged by the same standards we apply to other nations, insists that the US is an exception to every international law or treaty, and launches unprovoked attacks on other nations which have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings - just and peaceful world?

I trust this post was intended as the sarcastic irony it obviously is.

Cameron said...

Let's not quibble about what we call things. Terrorists attack us, we attack them. I call that war.

"Freedom and fear ARE at war."

How can one wage war on Freedom? Freedom is an ideal, a state of being, not an enemy. There is no country named Freedom, and no Freedom army. Freedom is an ideology that makes mankind happy and prosperous. It's a very good thing, and terrorists have declared war on it.

Charles D said...

No, you can't declare war on freedom either and no one has. The reason the US is a target of terrorism is our foreign policy, not our freedom. No one in Al Qaeda cares whether you or I have freedom of speech or religion or press or whatever, they are concerned about Israel, US interference in the affairs of Arab nations, and the presence of US troops on Arab soil.

The idea that they are willing to commit suicide attacks because someone they do not know on the other side of the world has rights they don't even want - that idea is ridiculous. The fact that anyone in the US has bought that line of hokum for one minute is a testament to the effectiveness of propaganda.

Cameron said...

"There cannot be a "war" on terror..."

"Freedom and fear ARE at war..."

"No, you can't declare war on freedom either and no one has..."

All written by you.

Charles D said...

And all true. Do you not agree?

A war on terrorism is like a war against the use of guerilla tactics or a war against bombing. Terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy.

The idea of a war on freedom is so laughable that it's hardly worth discussing.

If you think otherwise, I like to hear what you think about it. What you have posted is pure unadulterated White House propaganda - and you seem unable to defend it.

None said...

"Freedom is an ideology that makes mankind happy and prosperous."

Umm.. Its kinda funny that ignorance has lead people to be happy and, In the case of China, prosperous. Right, its a generalization, just like the quote.

The President said.. if I had a nickel for every exagerated, idealistic comment by an elected official. It might help to search for quotes outside the bubble, just an idea.

Cameron said...


You obviously don't see the irony in your words that I do. Oh well.

Moving on...

Nine days after September 11, President Bush put forth his strategy for fighting terrorists. One part is to kill them, prevent them from pulling off more 9/11's, shut down their traiing camps, and hold responsible the nations that support them.

The second part of the president's policy, a policy announced nine days after September 11, is to promote democracy around the world. The tactic that terrorists use, terror, is an afront to democracy. It is an attack on freedom. Therefore, as you assert, freedom and fear are at war.

Charles D said...

So nine days after 9/11, Bush announced that he would act as policeman, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner for the world and pursue and kill the perpetrators of 9/11. Then he went into Afghanistan, killed lots of probable terrorists, locked up hundreds more and has held them without trial for years, and allowed the leaders of the group to escape. In January 2002, Bush said "As I say, we haven't heard much from him[Bin Laden]. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."

The tactic that terrorists use is not an affront to democracy. The official US definition of terrorism is "the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature...through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear." Terrorism is an affront to humanity, not just democracy. Democracy, unfortunately is not a guarantee against terrorism since by definition, terrorism is a tactic democratic governments (such as our own) have used directly or indirectly against their perceived enemies.

The cure for globalized terrorism is not to impose democracy at the point of a gun - that will only increase terrorism, as the daily news from Iraq reminds us. The cure for globalized terrorism is to address the issues that give terrorists their credibility - US foreign policy. That is something Bush will never do because it involves admitting he has made a mistake - and he is much to small a man to do that.

Cameron said...

I'm going to make a list of your arguments and address them one by one.

1) bin Laden is still at large. President Bush said, "I truly am not that concerned about him."

First off, I appreciate you using more than just the one line in your comment. Many wouldn't have, as pulling it out like this has much more effect.

But why would the president say this? There are terrorist cells around the globe, some affiliated with al Queda, some not. We are fighting them all. In Afghanistan, bin Laden found that the US would finally fight back. Bin Laden has been hunted and hounded, dozens of his leadership have been killed or captured, and his ability to control terrorist cells has been limited to sending out press releases. In fact, he might already be dead.

2) "Terrorism is an afront to humanity." Agreed.

3) "The official US definition of terrorism..."

First, please link to the source of this definition.

Second, terrorism is more than just violence or threat of violence. That would make your local police force terrorists.

To equate democratic governments with terrorists is dumb. People in the US, France, UK, Germany, Japan or Uruguay aren't strapping themselves to bombs and rushing into crowded shopping centers in order to kill old ladies and children. And none of their governments are paying them tens of thousands of dollars to do so.

4) Impose democracy at the point of a gun..."

Imposing democracy at the point of a gun is what Saddam Hussein did. In his Iraq, everyone voted, and shockingly everyone voted for him. His "democracy" was a sham. After being freed from Saddam, the Iraqi people were able to elect their own leaders, and more Iraqis voted in their elections than US citizens do in ours, despite threats of violence by terrorists opposed to Iraqi democracy at all costs.

5) "he is much too small a man to do that..."

President Bush's foreign policy did not create the past decades of terrorism. That would make him a large man indeed.

We've discussed what terrorists want, and you seem more than willing to give it to them.

I don't think that's very good foreign policy.

Charles D said...

Well, let me tat for each of your tits.

1. So if bin Laden is dead or at least his effectiveness has been limited to press releases, then why not declare victory and bring our troops home? The others in the world who use terror as a tactic are not actively threatening the United States so why should our sons and daughters die in a vain attempt to kill them?

3. Check paragraph 3.

4. If you define democracy as the form of government Iraq "enjoyed" under Saddam, then that must be why you support Bush's effort to bring that form of government to the United States. I am thinking of a more Lincolnesque Democracy: a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Is that what Iraq had under Saddam? Is that what they have now? Given the sentiments of the Iraqi people today, is that what the Bush administration wants?

5. The reference to the smallness of Bush is due to his inability to admit mistakes. It takes a big man to admit he has been wrong, particularly when his errors have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

What the terrorists want is not the issue. We need to address the legitimate concerns of the people of the Arab world. It is those concerns, those perceived injustices, that enable the terrorists to operate freely. Without popular support, the small bands of global terrorists would be much easier to apprehend.

Cameron said...

Your source reveals that "Even within the US government, agencies responsible for different functions in our current fight against terrorism use different definitions." It then lists the various definitions used, including those by the Department of Defense, the FBI, the Department of State, the United Nations, and Great Britain. The definition you chose as the "official" one is the definition used by the Department of Defense and actually reads, "the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological."

Examples of terrorism cited by your source includes the 1972 Olympics when the Black September Organization murdered the Israeli Olympic team. Your source also uses as an example of terrorism the Beirut bombings in 1983, when 241 US military were killed and over 100 more were wounded. Sadly, no US "terrorist" action made the list. Interestingly, your source reveals that the Beirut killings were viewed as a success because the US withdrew from Beirut.

I wish you would have brought up these points when you "quoted" your source. It's always wise to link to your sources, but maybe not so much if you haven't actually read the whole thing.

Speaking of which, you should have read the entire paragraph about Saddam's "democracy". I called it a sham, and I gave you the reasons why.

You keep asserting that it doesn't matter what the terrorists want, yet you continue to advocate giving it to them. Unfortunately "addressing the concerns" of terrorists doesn't stop terrorism. The US left Beirut after terrorists murdered 241 people. Did that stop terrorism? No. Quite the opposite. Terrorists have cited the numerous times that the US has run away from terrorism as proof that it works and they should do more of it. If we were to "declare victory" and go home as you suggest, it would embolden the terrorists further.

Charles D said...

You are correct that the US cannot stop terrorism by simply walking away from the fight as Reagan did in Lebanon in 1983. The US cannot stop terrorism by military force either, a fact that the Israelis have proven by 50 years of fruitless policy.

The reason terrorism continues to flourish is that we absolutely refuse to examine the root causes of terrorism. We are fed idiotic propaganda like "they hate us because of our freedom" or other such nonsense, because searching for the truth requires reflection on our own behavior.

There will always be a few who resort to terrorism - the Oklahoma City bombing shows that. Even in a free and democratic nation like ours, there are some who will seek to engage in terrorist tactics. The difference is that in the US, the crazies cannot get significant popular support. They don't enjoy majority support for their efforts, and most people think their world view is ridiculous.

In the Arab world, that's not the case. When Zawahiri talks about US interference in the Middle East and how we prop up oppressive regimes, the man in the street says "Yes, that's true." When he talks about US unquestioning support for Israel in spite of their actions in the occupied terrorities, people say "Yes, that's true". When he talks about US trade policy that is designed to put Arab natural resources under the control of US corporations, they say "Yep, right again." When the terrorists need a place to hide, they find it because people believe in their cause. When they need money, they get it and they even get men and women willing to strap bombs to themselves.

What the Bush Administration has done, particularly with the Iraq war, is reinforce Zawahiri's message. They prove his analysis to be correct. They anger more Muslim people and create more suicide bombers and increase donations to the terrorist's coffers.

Since that obviously is not working and will not work, why not try the obvious? Let's withdraw our troops from the Middle East and Central Asia. Let's hold the Saudis to the same human rights standards we apply to Castro for example. Let's tell the Israelis that they will not get another dime from us until they obey UN Security Council resolutions and withdraw from the occupied terrorities. Why not let Arab oil, like Venezuelan oil, be owned by the people who are live on top of it, and purchase it on the "free market" that we claim to believe in so deeply?

Such actions would not harm American citizens but would pose a death blow to the Islamic terrorists. Their popular support would dry up and they would either drop the use of terrorism as a tactic or become as marginalized as Timothy McVeigh.

Cameron said...

"Such actions would not harm American citizens but would pose a death blow to the Islamic terrorists. "

No it wouldn't. Running away from the Middle East because the terrorists tell us to will not help the Middle East. If we leave Iraq now, its democracy will end. The terrorists will become the rulers and will use Iraq as a staging point for further aggression in the region and the world as a whole.

That is the end result of your foreign policy.

The reason the McVeigh's get no traction in this country is because the US is a democracy. The way to stop terrorism in Iraq is to ensure their democracy has a chance to thrive.

Charles D said...

So here's an early report on how much Bush loves democracy in Iraq.

That and his idiotic statement that he was never for "stay the course" in Iraq shows that our President is a pathological liar.

Cameron said...

Another day, another splendid source from Democracy Lover. This time it's aljazeera.

I was actually wondering how long it would take you to jump on the "stay the course" bandwagon. True to form, you didn't read the entire interview. In fact, you didn't even read the entire sentence. Let me illuminate:

STEPHANOPOULOS: The casualties are going up.

BUSH: … if that's the definition of success or failure, the number of casualties, then you're right. But that's what the enemy knows. See, they try to define success or failure.

I define success or failure as to whether or not the Iraqis will be able to defend themselves. I define success or failure as whether the unity government's making difficult — the difficult decisions necessary to unite the country.

I define success or failure as whether schools are being built, or hospitals are being opened. I define success or failure as whether we're seeing a democracy grow in the heart of the Middle East.

Because a democracy in the Middle East, a society based upon liberty, will be a defeat for the terrorists, who have clearly said they want a safe haven from which to launch attacks against America, a safe haven from which to topple moderate governments in the Middle East, a safe haven from which to spread their jihadist point of view, which is that there are no freedoms in the world; we will dictate to you how you think.

I know some Americans don't think that is a threat. I view it as a threat because — and the reason it's a threat is I can conceivably see a world in which radicals and extremists control oil. And they would say to the West: You either abandon Israel, for example, or we're going to run the price of oil up. Or withdraw…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the government format to your standards right now?

BUSH: The government is — look, I think the guy's been in office for about four months, Maliki. In my judgment, Maliki has got what it takes to lead a unity government.

But what you're seeing is a new form of government actually beginning to evolve after years of tyranny.

I'm patient. I'm not patient forever. And I'm not patient with dawdling. But I recognize the degree of difficulty of the task, and therefore, say to the American people, we won't cut and run.

On the other hand, we'll constantly adjust our strategy to…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Exactly what I wanted to ask you about, because James Baker said that he's looking for something between cut and run…

BUSH: Cut and run and.

STEPHANOPOULOS: … and stay the course.

BUSH: Well, listen, we've never been stay the course, George. We have been — we will complete the mission, we will do our job and help achieve the goal, but we're constantly adjusting the tactics, constantly.

None said...

Just stop. You’re making things worse.

“I define success or failure as to whether or not the Iraqis will be able to defend themselves.”
Well, they can’t do that either.

“…whether schools are being built, or hospitals are being opened.”
Things are so bad, they cant even tell you where these new hospitals and schools are for fear they will be destroyed.

“I can conceivably see a world in which radicals and extremists control oil.”
Does he know there are alternative solutions?


“Well, listen, we've never been stay the course, George.”
Technically, there is a period in there. But, the president seems to confuse tactics and strategy. So much so, in fact, that Tony Snow banged his head on the podium the other day. “Stay the Course” is the strategy GW & Co. tried explain to the American people for the last couple years. Now with the election, GW has decided to explain his constantly changing “tactics”. Yeah, clear as mud. So, like DL said, “our President is a pathological liar.” But, honestly, that gives him too much credit. I think he’s just a politician who’s ego is way out of control and now he’s out of options.

Have you ever seen a dead duck? Look for one early next month.

None said...

"Another day, another splendid source from Democracy Lover. This time it's aljazeera."

Are you scared of mid-east news sources? You do realize they help shape the "hearts and minds" of the people living in that area of the world.

Charles D said...

Here's another news item that tells us how much the Bush Administration hates democracy.
In the
we read that the Organization of American States has had to tell Washington to stop interfering in the election in Nicaragua. The Bush Administration has spent millions of dollars to back one set of candidates and sent official spokesmen to Managua to warn of dire consequences should another candidate win the election. This is outright interference in the democratic process of another country. It is clear that Bush doesn't want democracy in Nicaragua.

As for the bias of Arab media, most of the Arab satellite news networks are a great deal more professional and non-partisan than Fox News and I don't see much criticism of that outlet here.

What exactly was the point of quoting that whole interview? He still said that he was never "stay the course" although he said he was over and over again for the last 2 years. Either he lied then or he's lying now, or he is always lying - take your pick. The "explanation" he gave on ABC is just a rehash of talking points that are all easily proven to be either outright lies or PR spin.

I tend to believe the Al Jazeera report that the Bushies are so desparate they are looking for a military strongman to take over Iraq and give them cover to cut and run. I hear Saddam's available.

Cameron said...

Are you scared of mid-east news sources? You do realize they help shape the "hearts and minds" of the people living in that area of the world.

Not scared, just disappointed in people with lots of opinions but no reliable sources to back it up. It's become a common theme here with DL sharing an opinion, being proven wrong, and then diverting attention by saying, "yeah well, well... Bush sucks!"

Here's another news item that tells us how much the Bush Administration hates democracy...

Case in point. DL touts US "interference" in a foreign country's elections, but though he seems to have used a halfway decent source this time, as is usually the case he forgot to read all of it and think critically before forming an opinion. The US opposes a candidate in Nicaragua because that candidate is communist. Do you support him, DL? Not only is he communist, but he was an integral part of the bloody civil war in that country a couple decades ago. According to your source, some of our officials have reminded Nicaragua of this and told them that having a civil war-leader, communist president might affect foreign relations, just as it has in Cuba and Venezuela. Now, I suppose telling people what will happen if a certain party is elected could affect the outcome of that election, but it is hardly undemocratic to do so. Especially if our very own lover of democracy here is doing the same thing.

Charles D said...

The point of democracy and national sovreignty is that the people have the right to choose their leaders. Now and then, people make bad decisions, but it is their decision to make. I don't particularly support Ortega, what I support is the right of the people of Nicaragua to choose anyone for the leader without interference from the United States or any other nation.

That's what democracy means - it is not a perfect system, sometimes people choose really bad leaders (the congressional Republicans provide several examples), but it is the best system we have.

When we have a US political party that works to suppress the votes of those who disagree with them, who work to impose voting machines so that close elections can be easily manipulated and recounts are impossible and who spend millions of our tax money to interfere in the elections of other nations -- that is a party that hates democracy, hates freedoms, and hates American values.