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First off, we're outta here. We're confirmed to fly Tuesday for two weeks in Italy, barring further acts of terrorism or declarations of war. Hopefully we'll be in Italy if/when that happens 'cause I wouldn't mind being stuck there an extra week or three. We'll be back in October so please hold off on your emails. We get more than 50 emails a day and we'll be gone 14 days. Do the math, you're unlikely to get a reply from us. Hopefully we'll send an episode out while we're abroad but that depends on the availability of an internet cafe and motivation to use it.
When we return we'll do some polling to see if anyone is interested in a Halloween party this year. Last year kicked ass and personally I'd love to do it again.
Secondly, since we're skipping town for a while you don't mind settling in for a long, long episode do you? Good 'cause we got lots of great responses to last episode:
I agree with you 100% when you say that the Sept. 11 attack on NYC was
completely unlike the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As you pointed out,
the Japanese at least had the balls to INDENTIFY themselves, unlike the
faceless slime who assaulted the World Trade Center this week.
However, another point that you apparently missed is well worth noting here:
Until the Japanese attack took place on that fateful December morning long
ago, hardly any Americans had ever even heard of Pearl Harbor. When the news
broke, the most common reaction among our citizenry was, "Where the hell is
this `Pearl Harbor' that I keep hearing about?!"
It's unlikely that news of attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.
would provoke the equivalent reaction.
You mentioned that this is "the worst single act of violence in U.S. history."
I don't know about that, but it is the worst loss of life on American soil since
our Civil War. (I hate to call it THE Civil War as though ours is the only
civil war ever.)
I also appreciate and share your opinion regarding those responsible. In this
instance, we do not have a defined enemy - even if it's found that bin Laden is
at fault. His is a group - not a country or government. It's easy to say the
Taliban regime harbors bin Laden thus making themselves enemies of the U.S., but
that's anger and retaliation and revenge talking.
Possibly the most appalling thing to come of this is the response of American
citizens who are threatening Muslims and Arabs across this country. They are
NOT to blame. They are not responsible. Just because they share a common
ethnicity or share faint religious beliefs, they are not co-conspirators. If in
fact bin Laden and his Muslim fundamentalist extremist terrorist front are to
blame, what will happen next? Will the American government have to protect our
Arab-American citizens? I am reminded of the detainment camps for
Japanese-Americans during WWII.
But again, all this is speculation that bin Laden is our man. If he is not, all
the attention focused on him will detract from finding the true culprit. Could
bin Laden be the next Richard Jewell? More than likely he's the next O.J.
Simpson, but I doubt that this investigation would lead to his acquittal.
You also brought to the table the subject of locked, bullet-proof cockpit doors
on commercial jetliners. Yes this seems like the most sensible device, but
please remember that before Tuesday there was no precedent for using an airplane
as a bomb. In previous hostage situations, it would be important for the
cockpit crew to talk to the hijackers, to determine their demands, to calm the
situation and to negotiate. In the past, the lives of those on board were the
ones to be concerned about and the ones to protect. The threat to lives on the
ground (or in office towers) that a hijacked plane can inflict wasn't
considered. To suggest the idea of cockpit as vault in the past would be
ludicrous. Now that we have been introduced to a new form of terrorism, I'm
certain that the world air-transportation safety community will take necessary
steps to protect pilots as never before. After Tuesday, those locked cockpit
doors may become standard.
An interesting article, I'm sorry I haven't been respecting a culture that
executes women for adultery.
Jesse Jackson wants compassion for the people who did this??? I was always a
Hosea Williams fan myself...you know, the King lieutenant who didn't parlay
his relationship with MLK into a multi-million dollar organization.
This isn't an act of defiance like the Boston Tea Party, this is a heinous
mass murder ala the holocaust and Polpot's (?) regime.
Turning the other cheek is what has gotten us to this point anyway.
No, The U.S. is not squeaky clean by any means, but those thousands of
people didn't deserve to die because the leaders of Islam are sick of MTV.
Hell, I am, too.
They ARE sick of us backing Israel, the only democratic nation in the middle
east though. But, if this is Israel's enemy then we're on the right side.
My one big fear as a libertarian is, we will probably become much less of a
free society as the authorities use terrorism in place of the drug war as a
reason to put more limits on our civil liberties.
Just because we differ on the subject doesn't mean I'm a blind
patriot...Hell, I'm earmarked a dissenter already for subscribing to DP!
Found something else:
How do you bomb someone to hell,(Zell Miller), when they already live there?
As for the recent events, I am deeply saddened by the extreme loss of
I believe political arrogance has brought this on. We have meddled in so
many countries business while not taking care of our own that it was
inevitable that we would eventually piss off the wrong person. Osama Bin
Laden is only one man but he apparently has legions of followers. Killing
him will make him a martyr and make those that believe in him even more
In my lifetime we have gone from "We can do it" and "The buck stops here" to
a society consumed by placing blame instead of solving problems and someone
better do it for me before I sue. What we should be thinking is "What have
we done to create such intense hatred and how can we fix it?"
We need to remember that personal responsibility is not a dirty phrase. We
need to show up in the largest numbers ever to vote these cretaneous morons
out of office. We sanction Iraq for trying to grab land and control more
oil but we give the Taliban money to "fight the war on drugs" despite the
horrendous human rights violations. Our policies are skewed to preserving
the bottom line of international corporations and not in preserving the
quality of human life. When money is more important than people priorities
are screwed. I believe we could prevent more attacks most effectively by
changing our foreign policies, by admitting our mistakes, and trying to put
quality of life back in its proper place. What is more likely is that our
politicians will do more chest thumping and arm flexing and continue down
the path that got us here in the first place with a mob that smells blood
backing them up.
Now more ranting on the issue.
So W. is going to "rid the world of evil-doers"?
Where to start?
Obviously it would be easiest to start at home with organizations we can rid the world of, such as the CIA, but the timing on that is not so good since we need the intelligence organization to track down other evil-doers.
How about ridding the world of the nation that supplies more arms to other nations than the rest of the world combined? You've seen their flag waving a lot lately. That seems pretty evil to me, handing out weapons in trade for money and political favors, or just so they'll use them on people the nation in question doesn't like.
And what about corporations that poison the environment, use unfair business practices to eliminate the competition so that they can set up monopoly situations strictly for higher profits, resulting in fewer jobs and poorer products and services, only to find that the workers unionize so they take the jobs out of the country to a place where the labor laws, tax laws and environmental restricts are exceptionally profitable, at least to the CEO and stockholders...
I am NOT denying the evil actions of those behind the attacks of last week. But our president's language is of particular importance at this time. There is a very interesting article on salon.com about this:
The fact is if you call something a "war" then you have to pick a side - it's an us-against-them mentality. And I have to say as much as this country disappoints me, if another nation declares war on us and their tanks start rolling down my streets I'm going to be one of the first tossing firebombs.
On the other hand, if the international community brands someone in this country as a "mass murderer" and calls the actions "criminal" instead of "an act of war" it's a lot tougher to rally 'round the family. If the forces that come down my street are police forces instead of military ones, I'm a lot less likely to be perched in a tower with a rifle.
These may sound like subtle differences, but the language used in these situations is of dire importance. Everyone is paying close attention to what is said as much, if not more so, than what is actually done. Their reactions are based on these words.
And if we want a lengthy, expensive, brutal war and another hundred years of terroristic retaliations all we have to do is send in the "massive military action" that 58% of the people want, according to a CNN.com poll. Even "A quick tactical strike aimed at capturing or killing bin Laden" that another 24% favor is likely to yield a similar result. Apparently I'm in the 19% that think this is a time for caution and awareness rather than a brute force response.
Instead, Osama bin Laden should be brought before an international court to expose him to the world for what he is - at the very least a propaganda machine and financial backer for mass murder, if not a direct organizer and participant.
Apparently other world leaders agree. Germany's president Johannes Rau said the same thing on Sunday. Even NATO is being cautious with their language, "NATO's declaration of support referred not to an "Act of War", as President George W. Bush described the terrorist assault, but only to an "act of barbarism" after protests from some parties in the Belgian Parliament." says CNN.com. Again, notice the importance of language here, something our nation's leader has always had difficulty with.
Afghanistan is already a country of such extreme fundamentalism that it's citizens are denied what we consider to be basic human rights. They have been fighting a civil war since fending off an invasion by the USSR, and currently the most extreme of factions, the Taliban, controls most of the land while the exiled president still has the country's seat in the UN. The land itself isn't much to look at, particularly with the drought they've suffered the last few years. They lack the natural resources to ever become economically stable. The people are not allowed televisions so their access to outside information is extremely limited. Many of those that know of the situation are trying to flee the country. The place is a wreck. What good would bombing do? Knock over their shacks? Kill a few terrorists, if we're lucky, and who knows how many civilians? If we're VERY lucky we'd kill Osama bin Laden, but is this going to stop "evil doers" or inspire more? The only effect is going tobe a unification of forces against us. Even the ruling Taliban has fled the capitol, and the terrorist organizations they allegedly support are incredibly difficult to track, so just where do we bomb?
But it's obvious the average American doesn't want to hear this, they just want to see the bombs falling. Fortunately for them, the man in charge is saying exactly what they want to hear.
At least for now.
But as of Monday Afghanistan's ruling party, the Taliban, says it will let a grand council of Islamic clerics decide whether to give up bin Laden, according to several news sources.
If they hand him over what do we do then?
"Nuke them from orbit, just to be sure."
I hate to keep using that quote, but somehow it keeps coming up. But it's better than W.'s "it's going to take a long time to win this war." It sounds to me like he's getting us prepared for another Vietnam. Since the Gulf War a lot of folks have stopped using the word "Vietnam", but I can't help but think of it when W. says things like "the war to stamp out terrorism would be long and could be costly and might be short on the kinds of operations and obvious victories that are seen in traditional wars."
(Just out of curiosity, what the fuck is a "traditional war"?)
But if we're talking about a land war in Afghanistan I hope he's studied his history. Anyone remember a little country called the USSR? The Russians are still suffering from the aftermath of the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan in the form of rebellion and terrorism in Chechnya, supported in part by Muslim extremists.
DÈj vu all over again.
So here's a new take on an old song:
What are we fightin' for?
Don't ask me I don't give a damn.
Next stop Afghanistan.
And it's five, six, seven...
No, a full scale "traditional" invasion is not the way to go in Afghanistan. Instead the leaders and organizers of terrorism need to be hauled out and exposed to the world for what they are - murderers and criminals.
If you're one of those people that can't understand how an atheist like myself can survive day to day in this situation without some kind of beacon of artificial hope in the guise of a deity, there's an interesting article on Salon.com:
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