Kipling's "A Young British Soldier"

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Thru December 2001: Kipling's "A Young British Soldier"
By Timk on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 03:17 pm: Edit

Its nice to know that you are capeable of coming up with original, relevant insults, how refreshing.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 07:49 am: Edit

While you, Kelvinator, would like to grow up and develop an attitude, any attitude. And you have no friends except your hairy palmed right hand, and he talks about you behind your back.

By Timk on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 06:58 am: Edit

Don, you must have lost many friends, presuming you ever got past the acquaintance stage with your poor attitude.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 05:26 pm: Edit

Luvlite, if I thought TimK was representative of 'my customers' I'd quit and write off the investment, NOW.

But he isn't. He's a pinhead.

By Luvlite68 on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 03:25 pm: Edit

"When, poor Don, will you learn that pissing everyone off is not the best way to go about things."

Maybe when he realizes that his $50,000 investment cannot be recovered by insulting his customers.

By Timk on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 02:50 pm: Edit

Why thanks for your concern Don, I shall be sure to pass it on to her.
My grandmother seems to be better now, she is going in for some tilt table test, as they think it may be Neurally Mediated Hypertension - anyone know anything about this?

By Verawench on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 10:58 am: Edit

"No one is dawdling"

See, that's all I wanted to know.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 03:49 am: Edit

Hey, Kelvinator, how's granny? Still ailing is she? She may live longer than you.

By Aion on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 12:44 am: Edit

Tim,
if you want to see a fight, watch CNN.
A.

By Timk on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 12:21 am: Edit

"I can assure you, you don't want to annoy me."

Don, that statement is neither intimidating, nor threatening coming from you, as i presume was the intent. When, poor Don, will you learn that pissing everyone off is not the best way to go about things.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 11:42 pm: Edit

Or to put that another way:

I have expended the last 18 months of my life on Jade, every cent of my income, bled my other business dry, impoverished my wife and child, all to advance the date of rollout of Jade. So I think my personal commitment to this project ought to be rather well demonstrated.

However there are larger issues abroad in the world, and they are impacting both the delivery of Jade and the likely timing of rollout. These factors are way beyond Ted's ability or mine to influence and way beyond the borders of this Kingdom for that matter.

I do NOT appreciate any insinuation that anyone is dawdling. No one is dawdling. I trust that is crystal clear?

Other than that I thank you for your impatience. Anxiousness is most gratifying.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 11:22 pm: Edit

Vera, you confuse me with someone who gives a damn. Are you paying for the startup of jade? No. I am. I'm bleeding money for it. About $50,000 at the moment. And working my ass off into the bargain. So, kindly don't tewll me how to relax, or more precisely, don't insinuate that I dare not waste time relaxing. That would really annoy me, and I can assure you, you don't want to annoy me.

By Verawench on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 10:06 pm: Edit

I wonder how many of these words = one minute closer to Jade wasted

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 09:50 pm: Edit

Or would that be against the Rotterdam Protocol on Pastis of Mass Destruction?

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 09:29 pm: Edit

I suppose we COULD drop thujone on the Taliban. Winter IS approaching and at least it would be good for their chest colds.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 09:10 pm: Edit

"The Thread's Word Count to date: 39148

Congratulations! "

And, Vera, you have to factor in that the word "thujone" has not been part of the thread... even more amazing!

By Etienne on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 07:05 pm: Edit

Hey Don, need any help running that whorehouse? I CAN relocate!..I look great in a frilly pink tou-tou... Paid in Jade? Career potential? I'm here!

By Mr_Rabid on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 06:58 pm: Edit

Let's go for 40,000 people!

COME ON! WE CAN DO IT!

By Verawench on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 06:39 pm: Edit

The Thread's Word Count to date: 39148

Congratulations!

By Timk on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 06:11 pm: Edit

"you are just another selfrighteous asshole moralist like TimK. And I'm not surprised. You Reds were always priggish bastards. Probably want the State to own the means of (re)production."

Don, you motherfucker how is it doing down at the whorehouse? You managed to pluck up the courage to go get that frilly pink tou-tou washed yet, or does it still reek of your unwashed self?

By Mr_Rabid on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 05:58 pm: Edit

Note to self- never, ever let Hobby babysit if I have kids and it should come up.

By Etienne on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 05:38 pm: Edit

LordH;

Thanks for your post, always a pleasure to talk. There is little real justification for most wars, simply seems something that the species cannot do without. However, as in our personal lives, I think, there seem to be things that can't be overlooked. We have tried treaties, conferences, etc. They don't work. Damn that reality again.

Interestingly, we agree completely on paragraph 1. The wellbeing of the Afgan people has nothing to do with what's going on. No one gives a tinkers damn about the Afgan people. Politicians spew shit. That's what they do for a living. This SHOULD be about bringing a small group of people to justice...guess what...damn that reality again. That business about larger issues you know. BTW, no government will EVER be brought down over human rights issues, they make good press, but in the long run they just don't matter.

What frightens me more that Bin Laden are the "global coalitions" that you like to speak of. NATO and the ever popular UN. I honestly feel that these are the biggest threat to freedom on the planet today,but that's another discusion, isn't it?

You should be proud of your Grandfather, I would be were he mine. Be proud of any man who has the guts to stand up for what he believes in.

By Head_Prosthesis on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 04:00 pm: Edit

LH,

GOOD GOD MAN!!!

Babies don't drink cock-milk!!!
Human Male and Human Female babies throughout the ages were nutured on titty milk. I'm fairly confident that the Females of the Forum have at the very least a respect for titties. If not a silent and personal love of their own "mammalian protruberences"(-F.Zappa).

By Luger on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 01:06 pm: Edit

"The Soviet military agent version has been enhanced to make it easier to"

and

"First case of a known military pathogen in USA in 25 years at same time as the WTC"

I admit I know nothing about this, but do you mean that these are exactly the same kind?
Please elaborate!

(If so: Scary!)

Luger


Luger

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 12:09 pm: Edit

I too have said my piece on the matter and like everybody else will be waiting and hoping.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 10:18 am: Edit

Well, the talking is over.

Allied strikes are now under way.

For my part I've said all I have to say.

It's time to watch. And see.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 09:49 am: Edit

The Russians (not just Stalin, who as I am sure you know was a Georgian not a Great Russian anyway) always distrusted those who went abroad -- even those who they themselves SENT abroad -- and many of these were purged, internally exiled, sent to the gulags, or worse, upon their return. The KGB and its predecessors and military equivalents always had a shitty retirement plan for their people who were posted overseas.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 08:32 am: Edit

And Don, yes I am proud of my grandfather, I am proud of his part in the Spanish Civil War, I am proud to be a Socialist and I am proud to sing the Internationale.

Everyone on the forum knows I'm a 'Lefty' (and I'm not alone here), I've never pretended anything different.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 08:20 am: Edit

Ettiene,

Thanks for your post. I am not a history teacher and my degree is in a science subject, but true, there has never been a war that has been free of innocents deaths. However this fact doesn't in itself give justification to every war just because innocents have always died in war. The whole motivation for this war should be to apprehend those responsible for what happened in New York. It is a lie for people (not yourself) to pretend that the well-being of the Afghani people plays any part in the motivation for this war. The fate of the Afghani people is incidental to those (on both sides) engaged in this war. The West do not want to remove the Taliban because of their attrocious human rights record.

I am not a pacifist but beyond the aims of apprehending Bin Laden I do not believe this war is justified.

A global coalition to defeat governments (regardless of their political persuasion) that hideously violate the human rights of their citizens, now that would be a coalition to support. That would indeed be a just war and the Taliban (and many others who are our allies in the current war) would and should be up there in the 'firing' (although not always necessarily literaly) line.

We will probably not agree (on the first 2 paragraphs of my post anyway) but I suspect we might find some agreement (or perhaps not) in the 3rd paragraph. Anyway you have my respect.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 08:05 am: Edit

Don,

My grandfather was certainly not a Stalinist (not that you suggested this) and Stalin turned his back on the Republican cause in Spain, (as did most other countries) and Stalin had many Republicans shot. The Internationale Brigade did have a large share of Trotskyites, hence Stalin's animosity. My Grandfather's political persuasion would not have been to your liking (he was a 'Lefty' for sure) and he was a man who fought passionately for what he believed. He fought in the Irish war of Independence and fought in the Irish Civil War (including alongside Liam Lynch in the Knockmealdown mountains of Tipperary). He then with his brother joined the Internationale Brigade to fight Franco in Spain. He didn't fight in WWII but his brother did and although survived came back mentally shattered from North Africa. My grandfather lived out the rest of his life doing what he loved best, tending his handful of cattle and sitting in the evening on a dry-stone wall, smoking and looking out over his small farm. Remember Don, not all 'Reds' are scum.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 06:52 am: Edit

Bibliography: just in case anyone thinks I am seeing Reds under the Spanish Loyalist bed.

Carr, Edward Hallett. The Comintern and the Spanish Civil War. New York, Pantheon Books, 1984. 111 p.
Book call no.: 946.081 C311c

Cattell, David Tredwell. Communism and the Spanish Civil War. Berkeley, CA, University of California Press, 1955. 290 p.
Book call no.: 327 C153u v.4

United States Army Combined Arms Command. Soviet Army Studies Office. The Spanish Civil War and the Politics of Future War: The Red Army's Assessment of War Experience and the Fate of the Theory of Deep Operations, by Jacob W. Kipp. Fort Leavenworth, KS, 1990. 24 p.
Reviews the role played by the Soviets in the Spanish Civil War.
Doc. call no.: M-U 43829-81

Richardson, R. Dan. Comintern Army: The International Brigades and the Spanish Civil War. Lexington, KY, University Press of Kentucky, 1982. 240 p.
Book call no.: 946.081 R524c

Cattell, David Tredwell. Soviet Diplomacy and the Spanish Civil War. Berkeley, CA, University of California Press, 1957. 204 p.
Book call no.: 327 C153u v.5

And finally for balance:

Stradling, Robert. Franco's Irish Volunteers. History Today 45:40-47 Mar '95

Irish men fought and died on BOTH sides.

But Irish involvement in Spain goes a long way back, to the Wild Geese, and just as an example, that's why de Valera has a Spanish sounding name. His ancestors fought for Spain against England. And were enobled by the Spanish crown.

The classic works of Spanish literature on the Civil War are "The Cypresses Believe in God" and its sequel, whose title escapes my memory at the moment. As does the name of the author. Heavy going.

By Etienne on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 06:44 am: Edit

LordH;

I understand your concern for the innocent, however I feel that your position is based in a rather hopless idealism.

Throughout this discussion, I have felt that Don's opinions on the issues have been based in a hard, cold assesment of reality. I believe in humanitarianism, with no wish to see anyone innocent harmed. That, however, is not what is going to happen.

This is going to be a military action of some kind, and as a teacher, I wish that you could show me one war in history where the innocent weren't harmed. Sad, not something to wish for, but that's the way it is.

The innocent always get in the way. That's reality. The larger issues involved make this an unfortunate neccessity.

Idealism can be a grand thing, but after a time it can also become a self indulgent fantasy trip.

With respect;
Stephen

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 05:33 am: Edit

LHH:

There is an Irish history of the (about 200) Irish men in the IB, Joe Monks' "With the Reds in Spain".

Enough said.

Incidentally, I do not mean to impugn your grandfather, he may very well have been a Socialist rather than a Stalinist or a Trotskyite. He was most likely a fervent anti-fascist, probably a romantic, and he was probably ill used by the Stalinist bastards who used the IBs as cannon fodder.

(Incidentally, in the Abe Lincoln Brigade were quite a few people who later served in the OSS, and who may or may not have eventually ended up in CIA. The political inclinations of the personnel of CIA were and remain, predominently liberal Democrat. Some, like Cord Meyer, were targeted by McCarthy, but Allen Dulles was never intimidated by McCarthy and though Cord had a bad time of it he stayed on to become the #2 to the Deputy Director of Plans -- and was almost certainly Deep Throat. Later he became a nationally syndicated columnist. Incidentally he was the brother in law of Ben Bradlee, Woodward and Bernstein's editor.)

It remains however that the Loyalist side and the IBs were a rum bunch in terms of their leadership and (Moscow COMINTERN) backing. And Franco was a bastard, and had Axis backing. The Civil War was a proving ground for German equipment and tactics.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 04:23 am: Edit

Grand-dad served in the Internationale Brigade on the Royalist side in the Spanish Civil War, did he now?

Well, now we know where you get your politics from.

Surely there are enough historically inclined people on this forum that I don't need to point out just what the International Brigade was and who/what was behind it?

(The American contingent was the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.)

Hint: they weren't Neo-liberalists.

Hint: they SANG 'The Internationale'.

C'mon, Haw Haw, you're PROUD of it aren't you?

Was it is SOCIALIST International that organized the Internationale Brigade? No.

And who was big daddy to the COMINTERN at that time? Well, his name was Dzershvergly but the world knew him better as Stalin. The Boss. Uncle Joe.

How interesting. Nice to know you have a pedigree. And I thought you were just a mongrel.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 04:07 am: Edit

The 'military and strategic' aims of the WORLD now require that the Allied forces win and keep the support of the Afghani general population, if not for themselves (difficult, as 'foreign invaders') at least for their bedfellows and clients the Northern Alliance and whatever is left of the mujahideen (bad timing, the death of Masood.) I have my doubts about the role of the former King. He is in his mid 80s. Has been out of the country since '73 when he was deposed, and no one seems to have much missed him. Proponents of this (who doubtless will be called 'revanchists', as Haw Haw seems to have absolutely memorized the phrasebook of obsolete Comintern jargon) seem to be grasping for the Sihanoukist model in Cambodia, but that was less than a success, except as make-work for HRH Snookie's North Korean bodyguards, and his son, the suly elected (under UN auspices) PM, was overthrown by his own co-PM, the ex-Khmer Rouge Hun Sen, long turned to bootlicker of the Vietnamese. Not much of a model for an Afghani monarchist revival.

Both a meticulous need to avoid harm, as much as possible, to the civilian population, and the imperative for (probably Pakistani managed, but Allied supervised, at a distance) nation building and civil operations on a long term basis AFTER the Taliban has been excised (along with OBL and minions) is obvious. Indeed that roadmap is in the Richard Kidd document I posted several daysa go, and he wrote that for his West Point classmates, after having been Deputy PM for the UN Mine Action Project in Afghanistan until departing in '93.

I add my hope that something very much like Richard Kidd's outlook permeates the mindset of the planners and executors of Allied operations, because if it doesn't, we will have problems.

The tactical problem is finding and striking the balance between our presence and what the population will tolerate, in order to see the last of the Taliban 'arabs' (that's what the Afghanis call them) and this won't be easy.

Anyway, you can expect whatever is going to hapen in the opening gambit to take place in the next 3-5 weeks before all operations in Afghanistan become problematic for the duration of the winter.

And all that might happen is that we set the stage by various highly limited strikes, for a more significant offensive next summer.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 03:21 am: Edit

Tlautrec,

"Hopefully, when we go in there to root out Osama and his thugs, the Afghani people will join us and rise up against their worst oppressors, "Mullah" Omar and Taliban."

I hope so too.

I also hope we don't treat Afghani human lives as expendable (colateral damage). I also hope we don't turn our backs on them as soon as we have fullfilled our own military and strategic aims in their country.

But somehow I don't have faith in Bush or Blair to act much beyond the interests of their own nations. I do hope I'm wrong though.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 03:14 am: Edit

Haw Haw, you are going to pretend that you have not given as much as you have taken and are therefore a hypocrite on this as well as on every other subject within the scope of your posts?

And now that you are marginalized by your own words you seek shelter in ETIQUETTE?

Is this now the Jane Austen Forum?

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 03:10 am: Edit

Tlautrec:

The urgency of making terror a too-too-costly tactic forever more is increased by the obvious fact that OBL has upped the ante for terrorism to be media worthy (and being media worthy is pretty much the be-all and end-all for terrorists.)

Future terrorist acts will either "see and raise" the events of Sept 11 or be consigned to obscurity, unworthy of the attention of the media. Hijackings per se will be barely noteworthy unless they are turned into suicide flights crashing into world icons somewhere. Disco bombings and truck bombings the stuff of small sidebars on page 11, not the front page. So, the terrorists must escalate, and escalate again, to stay newsworthy.

So either the world needs to submit to mass murder and psychological manipulation and extortion by these nutballs, or, they need to be stopped once and for all. One logical step might be to impose a news blackout on terror attacks, but as we live in a free society we can't do that can we? Too bad because it would save a lot of lives if we could, or if the news media would police itself and stop treating terror attacks like a juicy train wreck and behaving like vultures after a medieval battle. Our society is just not designed to deny terrorists the means to terrify a global audience. C'est dommage.

Therefore we MUST dismantle their networks and dismember their organizations and deny them any aid or shelter, anywhere.

Incidentally those Lockerbie bombers you mentioned were professional intelligence officers within the Colonel's own Libyan Intelligence. They were not hirelings or puppets. That is why he took so long to give them up, but he did give them up, and they were tried, and they were convicted, I think they were treated all together too fairly. There was a time for due process. That time, for the terrorists, has passed.

And the people who took down the terrorists on the 'Achille Lauro' were Seal Team Six, whose commander, former Captain Richard Marsincko USN, is an old friend of mine. Yeah, the heroic terrorists managed to murder one crippled Jewish American who had the nerve to talk back to them, by shooting him where he sat in his wheel chair and pushing it and him overboard. There's freedom fighters for you.

I wish we had a hundred Dick Marsinckos right now.

It was his men who put the fear of Allah into the Colonel, not the FB-111's. They used to pay irregular visits to Libyan territory, hell, they practically needed residence permits.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 03:00 am: Edit

Don,

You last post has just shown you up as what you really are. I suggest that you read this Forum's guide to ettiquete and conduct and suggest that you follow it. My post to you reiterates nothing more than that which is outlined in it. If you can't stick to the guidelines for conduct set down by the forum then I suggest you find somewhere else to post.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 02:55 am: Edit

Tlautrec,

"let's not wring our hands in a premature paroxysm of guilt and Angst over the fact that a few poor, unfortunate, innocent Afghans may get killed in the necessary actions we'll be taking to root out Osama and the Taliban."

It's not a case of wringing our hands in angst and the cost in innocent Afghani lives is likely to be huge (not a few). Would we be so keen to attack if the cost in lives to our own civilians was likely to be anything like this? Afghanis feel pain just like you and I, they are human beings equal to you and I, they are as innocent as you and I.

As for WWII, it was the threatening of national borders by Hitler and his plans for global domination that was the reason the Allied governments stood against him. It was nothing to do with his facism, what about Spain? Franco didn't threaten our security so our governments didn't intervene against him. If Hitler had been hapy to keep his facism within the German borders then he would have been tolerated. WW II was a war of self-defence, not a crusade against Evil (although the perpetrator was indeed evil).

I will accept that while our governments did not act in WW II out of a motivation to rid the world of Evil, many individual soldiers on a personal level did. My Great Uncle (who along with my Grandfather had not long come back from fighting Franco in Spain as part of the Internationale Brigade) and many other Irishmen went against their national instincts and joined the British army precisely to do their bit to rid the world of facism. He ended up in North Africa and although he survived the war WW II really did take it's toll on him.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 02:46 am: Edit

To the Bullshit Artist Formerly Known as Lord H:

Now that you have marginalized yourself, you want to make a deal?

I don't make deals with scum.

By Tlautrec on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 02:40 am: Edit

"...the impending action against Afghanistan is likely to result in millions of innocent Afghani people starving and homeless."

Hob-

Unfortunately, millions of innocent Afghani people are ALREADY starving and homeless, and none of their existing misery is in any way the fault of the US or the British governments. Blame the drought if you will, but mostly, blame the Taliban. Hopefully, when we go in there to root out Osama and his thugs, the Afghani people will join us and rise up against their worst oppressors, "Mullah" Omar and Taliban.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 02:37 am: Edit

Since nobody has so far mentioned the views of Amnesty International on the crisis I would just like to quote from Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK. The quote is from a letter dated 26th September 2001.

"...Principled leadership is crucial to ensure that anger does not lead to retaliatory injustices and other human rights violations. There must be Justice, not Revenge. The international community must therefore pursue every measure possible to bring the perpetrators to justice before resorting to armed intervention.

At the time of writing, plans for an international military response apprear to be gathering pace. In the event of military action, Amnesty International affirms that it is vital to maintain the highest respect for human rights and international Humanitarian Law. In particular, direct or indiscriminate attacks on civilians and attacks on military targets that have a disproportionate impact on civilians must be avoided at all costs.

The fear of military attacks on Afghanistan has already caused a mass movement of people towards borders, an unfolding humanitarian crisis which must also be taken into urgent account. The poor, the innocent and the voiceless must not be made to suffer further..."

By Tlautrec on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 02:33 am: Edit

Quote: "It was not a conflict started by the powers of 'Good' to rid the world of Nazism."

Hob-

I'll have to agree with your literal wording here. On its face, your point is unexceptionable: the "good guys" didn't START World War II. However, you miss the bigger point. The "bad guys", i.e., the Nazis, in their despicable and arrogant pursuit of "Lebensraum", STARTED that war when they brutally and without provocation attacked Poland (Vera - where are you here?). It was this attack, and nothing else, that prompted the "humanitarian crisis" caused by the war. (The Japanese would never have bombed Pearl Harbor if the European war wasn't already raging.) Contrary to the subtle implications of your post which included the above-quoted statement, once the conflict was started, the "powers of 'Good'" were unquestionably and absolutely committed "to rid the world of Nazism".

The millions of innocent deaths - all of them, and on all sides of the conflict - directly and proximately result from the Nazi's initial act of Evil. Moreover, after the "bad guys" started the war, the "good guys" had no choice but to do everything within their power - even if that meant bombing Berlin, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasake flat in the process - to try to win it. Thus, the contribution of the Good Guys to the "humanitarian crisis" of the war was an inevitable and unavoidable consequence of the Evil at the core of the Nazi ideology, and of the necessity to fight to the death against that Evil. War is horrible, and many innocent people die in it, but in some cases, like WWII, IT IS NECESSARY for innocent people to die in war, I'm afraid.

Until Osama and his sickoids arrived on the scene, a more pernicious, twisted, hateful, insidious and big-E Evil ideology than Nazism has never existed on this planet, as best as I can tell from my knowledge of history. It HAD to be stopped - at whatever the cost - because if it had not been stopped, the Nazi monster would have sucked the very lifeblood out of civilzation as we know it. However, for similar reasons (namely, the survival of civil society as we know it), Osama and the Islamist terrorists also have to be stopped, and the costs of this necessary war will no doubt be not inconsiderable.

So let's not wring our hands in a premature paroxysm of guilt and Angst over the fact that a few poor, unfortunate, innocent Afghans may get killed in the necessary actions we'll be taking to root out Osama and the Taliban. All of our leaders, on both sides of the Atlantic, have made it abundantly clear that we'll be doing everything possible to minimize the risks to the innocent, long-suffering Afghan people. Heck, we're gonna be sending them even more food aid than we were before September 11!

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 02:20 am: Edit

Tlautrec,

But in making it costly for terrorists our actions must not result in the greatest cost being borne by ordinary innocent civilians. Targetting Ghadafi's living quarters is one thing (sadly his young innocent daughter was killed) but the impending action against Afghanistan is likely to result in millions of innocent Afghani people starving and homeless. The Taliban on the other hand will still be eating hot meals long after their people are starving. The cost of terrorism should be borne by the terrorists and not the innocent people who have already suffered under these terrorists.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 02:08 am: Edit

Don Walsh,

Your opinion of me is of no concern to me and your opinion of me mirrors my opinion of you. However for the interests of others on this forum I propose the following:

1. When we end up engaging in discussions of politics etc. upon which we disagree we cease from making personal insults against one another, our occupations or our families.

2. We do not use the offensive terms such as terms scum, quisling, facist, war-monger, commie, supporter of terrorism etc.

3. Attack the points made by each other but not attack each other.

4. Refer to each other by our handles and not be any other term unless the other party has given permission (you may call me LH, Lord H, Hobgoblin, Lord Hobgoblin, Hob).

5. Do not make derogatory remarks about each other in posts to others.

6. Respect the right of each other to hold and express a differing opinion, be that opinion left-wing or right wing, on the issue of this forthcoming war and on other issues.

7. Conduct our discussions in a civil and decent manner.

I'm sure that others on this forum would appreciate it if we stuck to the above suggested code of conduct.

Hobgoblin

By Tlautrec on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 01:35 am: Edit

Quote: "I suggest instead that we do something POSSIBLE and that is to eliminate the practicability and profitibility of terrorism -- to make it so costly, in every way there is, to engage in terror that no one will ever resort to terror again."

The other night, I was watching a show on Frontline (PBS's usually left-of-center political muckraking series) that dealt with America's experiences in dealing with terrorism in the 80's, in particular during the Reagan administration. The conclusion reached at the end of that show was quite revealing, and strongly supports Don's point (quoted above). Please bear with me while I try to summarize to the best of my recollection the gist of the show's argument.

In the early 80's, as the older among you will recall, America sent troops into Lebanon to protect American interests that were being attacked by Hezbollah (which was in turn supported by Iran, then our number one bete noir on the international scene). For various reasons, neither our military nor our intelligence services responded vigorously to a series of increasingly brazen and brutal attacks by Hezbollah on our troops. The ultimate result of this was that after a year or so, our troops were withdrawn. This incursion was ultimately seen as a defeat for the US, and as a result, Hezbollah and their ilk saw the US as weak and unwilling to take decisive action against terrorism. So, the terror continued and escalated on various fronts. One of the leaders in these continuing "terror initiatives" was Col. Khaddafy of Libya. There was the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro (and the murder of an innocent Jewish-American passenger). American shipping in the Mediterranean was assaulted by Libyan planes, etc. Finally the Reagan/Bush administration did get its act together and decided that enough was enough. We launched an air attack on Libya, specifically targeting Khaddafy's living quarters. He was nearly killed, and at least one member of his immediate family was killed in these raids. Although he survived, and railed against the evil America in his public pronouncements, this attack obviously did put the "fear of God" in him, because Libya-sponsored terror attacks ceased forthwith. The Lockerbie tragedy is no exception; although various persons responsible for that atrocity were Libyans, and/or were hiding in Libya, Khaddafy ultimately coughed them up a couple of years ago.

So, I would have to second Don's very important point here. The only way to stop the terrorists is to make it so costly for them to engage in terror that they will not dare to continue to do so.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 08:55 pm: Edit

Dr O and Blackjack:

Tell me something I dunno. However, politics is the art of the possible, and it isn't possible for a US administration to be too tough on the frigging Israelis even when they well deserve it. This is not a situation that I applaud. Remember, AIPAC considers my publisher to be The Enemy. In other words, I agree with you, but it's jkust not an option, given the Jewish lobby's influence in the US.

Anyway, you are confusing Islamic irritation with Israel with the motives of bin laden. THESE ARE NOT THE SAME. OBL doesn't give a shit about the Palestinians and never has, regardless of what he dishes out as propaganda. He's after Mecca and Riyadh and don't forget it. 99.999% of Moslems worry much more about Islamic fundamentalist extremists than we do -- because THEY live in the countries those people want to take over.

Imagine that the Jehovah's Witnesses had guns and bombs and were terrorists. How representative of the Christian world would they be, in terms of their dogma and ideology? Or let's change this, say to the Branch Davidians. Replace OBL with David Karesh, and how much support would he be getting from say, the Lutherans or the Methodists much less the Anglicans or the RCC? Well, Islam is just as fractious and the extremists are just that far out from the mainstream.

This isn't about Israel and never was. That's a smokescreen. This isn't about legitimate Palestinian grievances, which are real enough, although the Palestinians have provided the Israelis with quite a few grievances of their own. (Now that Hamas and Hezballah and PFLP are officially terrorist groups (were they ever not?) things will get interesting within the PLO...) but that it not what THIS is about.

Of course the Israelis would prefer you to think that they ARE what this is about, central to the struggle, but that's simply a lie. And they know it.

The Islamic world is WITH US. Let's keep it that way. And the Islamic world cares little about the Palestinians. They regard the Palestinians the way Americans regard, say, Salvadorans. Good for busboys and dishwashers and maybe taxi drivers. (Apologies to any Salvadorans here. Any such example I plucked from the air was going to offend someone.)

The Israelis have to be restrained but so do the Palestinians and so far the Palestinian Authority has failed abjectly to do so. How can they when the PLO umbrella covers terrorists?

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 08:35 pm: Edit

Lord Haw Haw:

1. Churchill was out of power till the situation was well along; Chamberlain was in power and linked his name forever with Appeasement. Had ANYONE stood up to Hitler early on things may well have gone differently. Instead Britain's leadership was riddled with overt Nazi sympathizers.

Roosevelt was leading a country mired in depression and isolationism. He and Churchill well understood what the wise of Hitler meant and they manuevered behind the scenes to prepare two nations that were loathe to prepare for the coming conflict.

The lesson of appeasement's rewards is one you apparently have not learned. Well, everyone else has.

2. You think you can irritate me with your 'pimp/whorehouse' remarks? I'm proud of this business and its success. In the end you are just another selfrighteous asshole moralist like TimK. And I'm not surprised. You Reds were always priggish bastards. Probably want the State to own the means of (re)production.

So go back to your singing of the Internationale, commissar Haw Haw. You remain scum.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 12:11 pm: Edit

"1. Those are small tactical fission type satchel charge devices we are talking about. They are atomic demolition charges. Sure, they are about equal to a Hiroshima or even a Nagasaki but, that's it. These are not thermonuclear. We are talking single to low double digit kilotons here. "

Don, I have to quote Juliet here, telling her nurse: "Well, thou hast comforted me marvellous much."

ONLY like Hiroshima. Well, that baby killed people in the low 6 digits there. Imagine it in Manhattan, SF, LA or Hong Kong.

Disestablish Israel? No. But neither let Israel'
s interests overtake ours.

I don't give a flying fuck if Bolivia, Burkina Faso and Whogivesashititstan disagree with the U.S. But when EVERY civilized nation in the world wants to censure Israel and we are the ONLY ones opposing it...well, buddy, maybe we are in the wrong.

Blowing up teenagers at a disco is wrong. Building settlements on occupied territory is also wrong.

We should oppose BOTH. Strongly.

As far as the neutron signature, wouldn't an one inch lead cover take care of it?

And if you want a surefire way to smuggle one of those in the U.S., all you have to do is hide it in a bale of marihuana....

By _Blackjack on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 10:12 am: Edit


Quote:

Shall we disestablish the state of Isreal?



No, but we can certainly tell them to piss off until they start giving some regard to human rights, especially since Sharon all but violated Godwin's Law Thursday by comparing us to those who placated the Nazis...

By _Blackjack on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 10:03 am: Edit

The Aum Shinrikyo TRIED to release anthrax and botulism on a couple of occasions but failed to produce any deaths. Even their Sarin attack only killed a handful.

The problem with anthrax is that you need to get the spores aresolized in particles small enough to remain airborne, but large enough to get lodged in the lungs, which makes it rather tricky.

As far as the old fellow in Florida (who has now died), well, I have seen enough bizzare coincidences to be willng to assume this is one until proven otherwise. The CDC is all over this case, and has yet to come up with another person who tests positive in 2 states. Even if his infection was deliberate, it doesn't appear to have been widespread.

Here is the AMA's consensus report on the anthrax danger:

http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v281n18/ffull/jst80027.html

On the subject of "suitcase" nukes, an oft neglected point about them, on top of their obvious neutron signature, is that theigh weigh several hundred pounds. Just look for the guy with the REALLY heavy suitcase...

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 08:48 am: Edit

Head

"People that don't like Titties are just unnatural."

What about the straight women on this forum? I feel bad excluding them from my last post. Like yourself I am now in danger of being branded non-PC.

"From the Titty comes the milk of life"

Perhaps some prefer the taste of cock-milk?

Tit milk or cock-milk surely is it not all the same, just a question of the degree of viscosity?

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 08:38 am: Edit

Secret Sam,

"Churchill and Roosevelt did sit around and discuss the necessity of doing something about Hitler."

The war had already fucking started by the time they sat around doing this. They did not sit around and say "Let's start a war to rid the world of the evils of Nazism". The war in Europe was a war to defend national boundaries against an aggressor. It was not a conflict started by the powers of 'Good' to rid the world of Nazism. If Hitler had been happy to keep Nazism within the confines of Germany and not invaded his neighbours there would not have been a WW II. The war also started well before the USA joined in, (your revisionism is really showing here). The humanitarian tragedy that followed WW II was borne by those who had fought (often in vain) to defend their boundaries and the cause of this humanitarian tragedy was Hitler's military aggression into countries not under his legal jurisdiction.

Anyway my post was directed at Ettiene (who addressed me in a civil manner) and not at yourself, so get back to your whorehouse and kindly stay out of other people's conversations.

Hobgoblin

By Head_Prosthesis on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 06:33 am: Edit

BAD Monkey!!! Ok, the editing is back off-line...

What I meant to say was:
"It's a matter of taste, if you like it, by all means lap it up"

AHAHAHAahh ah mmm uugghhh...
how miserable...

By Head_Prosthesis on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 06:02 am: Edit

LH,
I have no reason to alienate the Forum's Homosexuals. It's a matter of taste in my opinion. If you like it, by all means live it.

"Free your mind, and your ass will follow" -Last Poets (?)

My "Titties and Beer comment" did not exclude the titties of the "Transgendered, Hermaphroditic or Guys Winning Bets By Getting Breast Enhancements"

People that don't like Titties are just unnatural. From the Titty comes the milk of life. If you don't like a Titty. You don't like life.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 04:26 am: Edit

The anthrax accident in USSR was April 2, 1979 in Sverdlovsk at their Compound 19 faciulity; estimated deaths run 60-100.

The Russian government did not admit that this even happened till Yeltsin more than a decade later.

However, there's worse.

"Abbekov Anthrax" is a military strain invented by a Soviet scientist who later defected to the US.

But we don't need to look to the Soviets when wondering where OBL might have ibtained anthrax.

Iraq. Iraq produced thousands of liters (estimated 8500) or anthrax and weaponized c.6500 liters in artillery shells. Even today they retain an estimated capacity to produce c.350 liters a week.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 02:39 am: Edit

Is that supposed to be good for 'their' cause?

If you think everyone is pissed off about NYC and Arlington, just how far do you reckon the gloves would come off if anyoen were foolish enough for what you suggest?

Also a few technical quibbles.

1. Those are small tactical fission type satchel charge devices we are talking about. They are atomic demolition charges. Sure, they are about equal to a Hiroshima or even a Nagasaki but, that's it. These are not thermonuclear. We are talking single to low double digit kilotons here.

2. Those devices have a neutron flux signature. Enough said. They are remotely trackable and detectable. There is a team called NEST that does just that.

Non technical quiblles:

You speculate that some terrorists might have such supposedly missing devices and in your opinion will use them sooner or later. So you suggest doing nothing.

I suggest doing something double quick, if you are right. But I think you are not. I think you are being alarmist, even by the standards of my biological speculations below.

Further you suggest 'eliminating the causes of terrorism'. How, exactly?

Shall we disestablish the state of Isreal?

Shall we remove our forces from the Mideast?

Shall we allow a Saddam or a bin laden to assume the leadership of the Islamic world?

Surely you jest.

I suggest instead that we do something POSSIBLE and that is to eliminate the practicability and profitibility of terrorism -- to make it so costly, in every way there is, to engage in terror that no one will ever resort to terror again (and if they do they will be universally anathema and crushed and obliterated without mercy.) To make terrorism utterly Pyrrhic, futile, useless, a non-option.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 02:11 am: Edit

Don, whether I'm "right" or not on this thread is kinda immaterial.

Some time ago the Generalissimo of Russian Armies, General Lebed, said that there were 100 suitcase size nukes missing. I know, I know, he was exagerating. There were ONLY 10 missing...

The fact is, unless Palestinians and Arabs get to an agreement soon...some city is going up in smoke..

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 01:52 am: Edit

I'll give you a difference, Dr O.

The VC and NVA didn't kill 6000 Americans and others on American soil.

The 'Viet Nam Syndrome' doth not apply. The American people have blood in their eye and videotapes of Allied POW's being beheaded or tortured or flayed like Bill Buckley in Beirut (by the same scum as we are now after -- bin Laden's #2 DID that one and yeah, he videotaped it) is just going to turn up the volume on that growl till it is an inchoate roar.

I already said this, but, were I on the ground in that place, I would not let myself be taken alive. Go back and see how this thread started.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 01:44 am: Edit

The post by Mr. Kidd was excellent. Well thought of. The problem is that it won't work.

We like clean. Clean people. Clean wars. We like to see bombs going cleanly through windows. We like to win a war where we kill 100,000 Iraqis and... we didn't see a single dead body.

Nintendo War, someone called it.

I'm not in any way criticizing the Gulf War. It was a good war, Saddam Hussein is a nasty motherfucker.

But I don't think America is going to accept a long war with no victories and video tapes of GIs' throats being slit.

Since we are virtually powerless to stop terrorism (last time I flew to South America I had in my carry-on luggage two walkie-talkies, one GPS receiver and a bottle of absinthe. Switch the absinthe for nitroglycerin, a walkie-talkie for a detonator....)we should try to stop the reasons for terrorism.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 01:22 am: Edit

Head:

Love tittes.

Love beer.

Hate Haw Haw and all his works.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 01:18 am: Edit

Dr O, I think Haw Haw is a waste of entropy.

Nor does he seem to know much about the history of WWII.

Churchill and Roosevelt did sit around and discuss the necessity of doing something about Hitler.

And when the opportunity came, they did what was needed.

Germany didn't attack the US. But the US didn't just fight Japan.

Your revisionism is showing, Haw Haw.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 01:17 am: Edit

Head,

I'm surprised at you. Your post insults the forum's homosexuals.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 01:09 am: Edit

Blackjack, you are missing the point. There's anthrax, quite literally garden variety (you can almost certainly find it in your back yard, it is all over the place) and there's PULMONARY anthrax. Same pathogen, but, how it enters the body is different. Pulmonary anthrax is very very very rare; this is first case in the US in 25 years (1976 to 2001).

The Soviet military agent version has been enhanced to make it easier to catch and spread and aerosolized to make it easy to spread on the wind.

So, we have a concatonation of coincidences?

First case of a known military pathogen in USA in 25 years at same time as the WTC and Pentagon attacks and at same time as one of the dead hujackers was known to have been inquiring about cropduster aircraft rental and specifications less than 50 miles away from where this poor fellow (a tabloid editor) comes down with the AIRBORN and incredibly lethal, incredibly rare form of anthrax?

Coincidence. Uh-huh. Coincidences like this give me a nasty itch.

By Head_Prosthesis on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 01:04 am: Edit

Do we all agree here, we like titties and beer?

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 01:04 am: Edit

Etienne,

A very good and difficult question and I will answer in a spirit of freindship. I'm more than happy to have a discussion with those (like TLautrec and yourself) who have a differing opinion to my own as I know your response will not be to attack and brand me as defender of murderers.

The humanitarian crisis resulting from World War II was borne by those who were indeed the victims of Nazi invasion and who fought against Nazi invasion. Those people had no choice but to fight and defend against Nazi invasion and the subsequent crisis was the result of a war to defend themselves. WWII was not a war to stamp out the evils of Nazism, no powers sat around before the war and said "we'd better do something about the evil Nazis" and then started bombing Germany. WWII was a war by people who had no choice but to resist invasion and the humanitarian crisis was the result. The humanitarian crisis was borne by those who resisted and was a result of Hitler's military actions aginst them. Hitler's bombs and guns caused that humanitarian crisis.

The imminent war on the Taliban will result in a humanitarian crisis of vast proportions and those that will suffer in this crisis will suffer as a result of our bombing of their country. In WWII those that suffered the crisis (i.e. the people of Europe) were those who fought bravely against Hitler. In the crisis that will ensue in Afghanistan millions of innocents will suffer as a result of our bombing of their country. Would we be so quick to bomb if the result would be millions of our own people in starvation? This is not a war motivated by a desire to defend the human rights of the people of Afghanistan.

If we really want to stamp out odious regimes that violate the basic human rights of their people then let's form a global coalition for these aims. Lets not just pick the odious regimes that it suits our political aims to stamp out. Let's set down very, very basic minimum criteria of human rights that people are entitled to. Then endeavour to stamp out regimes that fall below this, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Colombia, Nicaragua, China, Indonesia, The Phillipines (oh dear many of these people are our allies), Burma etc. etc. But this just isn't going to happen is it because our governments only (at best) care about the rights of it's own people. Who are they trying to kid that they give a stuff about what the Taliban are doing to the people of Afghanistan?

Hobgoblin

By Dr_Ordinaire on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 01:02 am: Edit

As Chairman Arafat said: "Enufff eeesss enufff..."

Don, no more dancing around the subject!

What do you REALLY think about Hob?

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 12:57 am: Edit

Hey, Blackjack and Tlautrec, pls bear in mind that Haw haw is a SOCIALIST not a Neo-Liberalist. You see, like all of his ilk, he really despises Liberals even more than he hates conservatives.

Scratch his sort and you'll ultimately discover a cryptofascist, left and right go in a circle and meet at totalitarianism. And you'll find our Haw Haw close to that juncture, you can picture him waiting for Moscow Centre to signal that it's notw the party line to attack the Taliban. Only the Centre isn't thre anymore. Poor Haw Haw. Rudderless and adrift, without his master's voice to guide him.

What an asshole!

And he never did answer Etienne's polite if embarassing question did he?

Was the 'humanitarian crisis' of 1937-45 worth expending to expunge the Nazis (and the Axis?)

By Dr_Ordinaire on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 12:55 am: Edit

"Anyway, anthrax is a bloody difficult thing to spread"

BJ, can you explain this further? A dilution of the pathogen seems to be an easy thing to spread, just using one of those thingies that spray insecticide on trees.

The Japanese sect used nerve gas, not anthrax, I believe.

By _Blackjack on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 12:49 am: Edit

Well, considereing that about half of the previous anthrax cases in the US in the past 50 years have been in Florida, I'm not TOO worried about that. It's creepy timing, but if it had happened 5 weeks ago,it wouldn't have made the papers. Anyway, anthrax is a bloody difficult thing to spread. Ask the Aum Shinrikyo. It is probably technologically easier to make a nuke than an effective means of distributing antrax spores over a wide area.

The Crimea-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever has me worried. Even if the outbreak isn't anthropogenic, it's a REALLY unpleasant disease and probably the only thing that could make life WORSE for an Afghan refugee.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 12:44 am: Edit

Haw Haw, you're no ordinary forumite. You're a piece of shit ultraleft asshole who hasn't the sense to know when to shut up.

You post no credentials to back up your opinion because you don't have any to post. Your opinion is just like your asshole: everyone's got them both.

But I get paid to write my 'opinions' becasue my opinions are based on expertise. I'm a Bureau Chief for ten nations that comprise about halfa billion people, including the nation with the largest Islamic population in the world. And I was asked to be a journalist because I was already an expert, I'm not some hack copyboy on some Fleet Street rag whose salary couldn't keep me in cigars.

So: opinions of equal weight?

Not hardly, you ridiculous Marxist dinosaur. Your kind have mostly dies off because your brains were too small. The world is waiting for your carcasses to turn into oil. Take your class struggle and shove it up your ass. Inexorable momentum of history was it? Well, history has passed you by, you and your worthlkess EVIL ideology, and you are on the scrap heap of that selfsame History. With nothing to show for your less than a century but a large mound of dead at your leaders' hands, mostly their own people. That's the heritage of your sort, shithead: society as abbatoir. You, Haw Haw, ought to be proud, Mr.Humanitarian. Lickspittle of Beria, asskisser of Kruschev, intellectual inheritor of Marx, Marcuse, and therfore Pol Pot and Mao's Great Leap Forward and the purges in Soviet Union in the 30s. You stand waist deep in the blood of those who dies for your supposed ideals at the hands of their alleged class heroes.

You are scum.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 12:30 am: Edit

Vera,

Your humorous interjection into this thread is much appreciated.

Cheers,

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 12:27 am: Edit

So Secret Sam,

Pardon us ordinary forumites if we don't bow down and automatically accept the superior knowledge of Secret Sam who is in his own opinion 'more equal' than the rest of us on issues of world affairs. What a fucking big head.

You're a journalist, a 'gentleman' of the press, so fucking what? I suppose as a result your word should be taken as fact.

"I trust the newspaper. The newspeople are very intelligent, and if they are giving the story, it must be true." said the gentleman from Pakistan after his newspaper told him that the Jews were responsible for the attack on the twin towers.

No doubt you spent your time spouting right-wing propaganda (as you do still).

So you've sat at a table with an SAS man and a GSG-9 man. Big deal, I've met Tony Blair but that also means fuck all. I've socialised with ex-cabinet ministers, that also means fuck all. You were the house guest of the Curator of an arms factory, so what?

As for your arms dealing, no wonder you are so keen on war. War is good business is it not?

As for my occupation, I'd rather be teaching children than catering for the needs of dirty old men who pay to get their bottoms spanked or their mouths pissed into.

I do have some homework to mark so I'd better get back to marking it. Hadn't you better get back to the Bangkok whorehouse that you run?

Hobgoblin
(Oh and as to the things that you are not permitted to tell us about your past career. How bloody convenient. A bit like the scores of supportive private e-mails you can't show us isn't it?)

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 10:59 pm: Edit

I'm still hoping I am wrong.

But.

Synchronicity on this scale is unlikely.

And ask yourself how the government and media would handle the matter, at least at first.

I've said enough on this, you people can educate yourselves. DO look into the 'biological Chernobyl' that the Sovs perpetrated on themselves with pulmonary anthrax in the 80s (as I recall). They were the experts on this agent. They took it farther than the US or UK ever did.

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 10:48 pm: Edit

The CDC isn't being entirely candid. Suggesting that pulmonary anthrax might be more common but previously has often been misdiagnosed is a deflection of the question.

Go read the Merck Manual and you will see that someone who dies of pulmonary anthrax is not likely to go unnoticed as a simple respiratory infection. For sure an autopsy would reveal the responsible pathogen and if it takes that long, all the MD's around the case ought to have their licenses lifted.

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 10:38 pm: Edit

That quote by the way was from Medline.

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 10:35 pm: Edit

"During the 20th century, only 18 cases of inhaled anthrax have been reported in the United States, the most recent in 1976."

So. 25 years since the last case. How interesting.

Anthrax spores produce pulmonary anthrax only if inhaled and the individual also has an acute respiratory infection.

ORDINARY anthrax is cutaneous (acquired by handling infected livestock) or gastrointestinal (from eating meat from infected animals --this is usual vector in my part of the world.) There is also a very rare oral form.

The Associated Press coverage of the Florida index case has been very poorly resaearched. One AP article says "anthrax organisms cause pneumonia" This is an egregious mistatement. What the author meant was that pulmonary anthrax often is diagnosed late (thus often -- almost ALWAYS fatal) because it is insidious becasue it mimics influenza,

By Head_Prosthesis on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 10:28 pm: Edit

http://www.nandotimes.com/healthscience/story/123693p-1301206c.html

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 10:01 pm: Edit

And oh yes, I'm an organic chemist too, although once trained as such at a graduate level, I didn't much make use of that education except for some consulting regarding countermeasures against possible (and at that time mostly theoretical) terrorist exploitation of chemical weapons.

And I will toss out a freeby here:

I did NOT work in the biological field, but I did have to learn a little about biowar, and I can tell you that two pathogens in the news lately -- pulmonary anthrax in Florida and Crimea-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever in South Asia, specifically among Beluchi refugees in Pakistan -- are biological agents of very definite military interest. Anthrax is NOT ordinarily airborn vector. You might want to go back and look at a very nasty Soviet accident involving a leak of their militarized (aerosolized) pulmonary anthrax spores in the 80s.

Pandora's Box may already be open.

The apparent index case in Florida just had returned from North Carolina. How interesting.

Hopefully I am wrong. This is one I pray to be wrong about.

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 09:46 pm: Edit

Not all members of John Q.Public are created equal.

This member has been since 1990, Bureau Chief for ASEAN, The Estimate newsletter (washington DC) which specializes in politico-military and economic intelligence analysis on the Islamic world.

This member was, prior to that, from 1983 to 1990, Infantry Weapons Editor for Defense & Foreign Affairs Publications.

This member has published and lectured extensively on a variety of specialist topics concerning military special operations equipment and tactics; holds major patents in the field, was president of Interrand Corporation, contractor for the US military, agent in USA for Singapore's arms industry for 4 years, and in Thailand, as a Director of CSD Co.,Ltd, agent for Spanish and S.African and US arms manufacturers until 1995.

This member of the public was a Faculty Member of the Special Operations Conference in 11/86 at Artillery Hall, London, where I was seated at the head table flanked by the famous 'Man of Mogadishu' (an SAS Lt.Col) on my left and General Ulrich Wegener, founder and commander of the GSG-9 antiterrorist unit of the Border patrol Police of the German Federal Republic. While attending this conference I was staying nightly as houseguest of the Curator of the (MOD) Pattern Room at the Royal Small Arms factory, Enfield, Mr Herbert Woodend, a Northern Irishman actually formerly of the RIC.

This member of the public has appeared on CNN Special Assignments documentaries, 60 Minutes (Australia) features, and articles about me and my work have been published in Soldier of Fortune, Gung Ho, and a number of firearms periodicals; while my own articles have been published widely. J.David Truby's "Modern Firearms Silencer" book devoted a chapter to my LARAND sound suppressor system.

So you see, Haw Haw, some opinions ARE more equal than others, although I am quite sure you know far far more about wiping the runny noses of schoolchildren than I do.

And of course, not only is all of the above limited to what I CAN comment about, I will steadfastly deny that there is anything that I can't comment about, as I am not presently disposed to do so.

Don't you have some homework to correct?

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 09:23 pm: Edit

Edit function is not working.

In my last post, should read:

"Socialist my ass."

not

"Neo-liberalist my ass"

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 09:11 pm: Edit

Good question, Etienne. I can tell you what the truthful answer would be, for you will NEVER get the truth from old Haw Haw.

The truth is that like the French Communist Party, Haw Haw would have been anti-war right up till the time Hitler invaded the rodina and new orders came down from Moscow Centre.

And then he would have suddenly turned into a lifelong bloodthirsty anti-Nazi warrior.

Ireland was a natural satrap for nazi spies and saboteurs in the early years of the war, till the British Secret Service and security service routed them out, jailed them or turned them or killed them.

And that was in both the North and in the Irish Republic, where the Brits have never been shy about operating illegally.

So Irish quislings like our own Haw Haw here are nothing new.

Neo-liberalist my ass. Haw Haw stinks of Old Left rhetoric, he flings around epithets like 'fascist' and 'war-monger' willy-nilly (as Vera can attest), he's a twit of the Old Left who hasn't gotten the message that the God That Failed has also Died.

What a clown!

By Etienne on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 08:38 pm: Edit

LordH;

A question which I intend in a most friendly manner:

Would you have also considered the "humanitarian crisis" that resulted from World War II to have been too great a price to pay for eliminating Hitler and his group of playmates?

I am sincerely interested in your thoughts.

By Verawench on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 11:33 am: Edit

Don't you be talkin bout my mama!

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 11:17 am: Edit

Secret Sam,

"I don't think Haw Haw is in a position to categorize the motives of the US administration or those of how own government."

And neither are you. Anyone would think you were a CIA agent the way you mouth on, when of course you are not and never have been. You do not have the ear of the White House and Downing Street does not call you for advice. The fact is you are merely Joe-Fucking-Public, just like the rest of us, your opinions on such issues carry no more weight than anyone else here.

I have no intention of hiding and fortunately I do not have to. I will not just shut up and disappear just because my views are 'left-wing'. I agree that Bin Laden should be taken out but I don't agree that once this should involve a full scale military onslaught against the government of Afghanistan. I shed no tears for the death of members of the Taliban or Bin Laden's network, but the horrendous humanitarian crisis that will result from the war against Afghanistan is not worth the cost. And pardon me for not believing that the intentions of Bush and Blair are primarily humanitarian in nature. My views on this war are not extreme, they are in fact in line with the views of over 50% of the British public (unless you believe MORI polls to be left-wing propaganda).

The fact is that you believe that anyone with left-wing views (i.e. socialist and not 'New-Labour' neo-liberalist) should not be given the opportunity to air their views.

As to me being further left of the British Labour Party, well that isn't hard the British Liberal Democrat Party are now further left of the Labour Party. Blair believes that the difference between him and the Conservative Party is management techniques and not political philosophy. Blair is about as much a 'lefty' as Bill Clinton.

So Don you can slander and smear me all you like. You can falsely accuse me of supporting the Taliban all you like. You can insult my mother (a woman whom you know nothing of) all you like. But the fact remains that I am here, I will not shut up and I will not go away, and I will always be proud to be 'left-wing'.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 10:52 am: Edit

Tlautrec,

I am in agreement with much of what you say. We should have a purge on regimes that hideously abuse the human rights of their people (however our politicans, at best, care only for the abuse of their own people's human rights). The Taliban certainly do fall into this category but they are not alone. China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and many others fall into this category (as do Colombia and Nicaragua). A global coalition to stamp out these regimes (as well as the Taliban) would indeed be well worth supporting.

What I don't go along with is the portrayal of the imminent war against the Taliban as a war to defend the human rights of the Afghani people. The human rights of the Afghani people don't figure in the motivation to take out the Taliban. At least we should be honest about the motivations behind the war and not try to build in additional justifications for it. If the war against the Taliban is as just as those that wish to wage it say it is and the reasons they are going to war are justified then surely there is no invent further justifications. The argument as to whether a war agianst the Taliban is one thing, but Western governments are not going to war out of concern for the human rights of the Afghani people. Let's not kid ourselves.

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 09:49 am: Edit

When she heard about the food aid (and the extension of unemployment benefits for those who have lost there jobs this month), a friend of mine replied "Am I becoming a Republican or are they becoming us?" So far, I am amazingly pleased with the way things are going, considering.

Another thing to keep in mind about the Taleban is that a lot of their soldiers are conscripts who are fighting only because the Taleban has threatened their families if they don't. If that threat could be nullified, they would lose a lot of their manpower.

This piece that Don has posted is interesting in that it mirrors the same basic facts which I have heard from very anti-war commentators who also have close knowlege of Afghanistan, which is that the Afghans largely view the Taleban as an OUTSIDE force whose hold on the country is facilitated by fear and foreign money.

I hadn't considered the point he makes about women soldiers before, but it is worth considering.

One other thing: the Taleban's treatment of women isn't its only human-rights stain. They have also engaged in wholesale slaughter of thousands or tens of thousands of ethnic Hazaras.

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 03:19 am: Edit

Long post but worthwhile - DW

Subject: Grunt Special
*IMPORTANT * READ*
To: undisclosed-recipients:

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT READ. PLEASE GIVE IT MAX CIRCULATION. TRY TO GET THIS > > DOCUMENT IN THE HANDS OF THE POLICY AND DECISION MAKERS.

KNOWING YOUR ENEMY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT KEY TO WAR. THIS LETTER WAS WRITTEN BY A VERY BRIGHT AND AFGHANISTAN STREET-SMART WEST POINT GRAD TO HIS CLASSMATES. HE KNOWS THE TERRAIN, THE ENEMY, AND THE WEATHER IN AFGHANISTAN FROM BEING THERE, NOT FROM BOOKS.

BURN HIS WORDS AND ADVICE INTO YOUR BRAINS. WE'LL WIN -- IF WE ALL HANG IN THERE UNTIL IT'S OVER OVER THERE.

HACK __________________________________________________________CLASSMATES:

Many of you are probably not aware that I was one of the last American citizens to have spent a great deal of time in Afghanistan. I was first there in 1993, providing relief and assistance to refugees along the Tajik border, and in this capacity have traveled all along the border region between the two countries.

In 1998 and 1999, I was the Deputy Program Manager for the UN's mine action program in Afghanistan. This program is the largest civilian employer in the country with over 5,000 persons clearing mines and UXO. In this later capacity, I was somewhat ironically engaged in a "Holy War," as decreed by the Taliban, against the evil of landmines; and by a special proclamation of Mullah Omar, all those who might have died in this effort were considered to be "martyrs" -- even an "infidel" like myself.

The mine action program is the most respected relief effort in the country, and because of this I had the opportunity to travel extensively without too much interference or restriction. I still have extensive contacts in the area and among the Afghan community and read a great deal on the subject.

I had wanted to write earlier and share some of my perspectives, but quite frankly, I have been a bit too popular in DC this past week and have not had time. Dr. Tony Kern's comments were excellent and I would like to use them as a basis for sharing some observations. First, he is absolutely correct. This war is about will, resolve and character. I want to touch on that later, but first I want to share some comments about our "enemy."

Our enemy is not the people of Afghanistan. The country is devastated beyond what most of us can imagine. The vast majority of the people live day-to-day, hand-to-mouth in abject conditions of poverty, misery and deprivation. Less than 30% of the men are literate, the women even less. The country is exhausted, and desperately wants something like peace. They know very little of the world at large, and have no access to information or knowledge that would counter what they are being told by the Taliban. They have nothing left, nothing that is except for their pride.

Who is our enemy? Well, our enemy is a group of non-Afghans, often referred to by the Afghans as "Arabs" and a fanatical group of religious leaders and their military cohort, the Taliban. The non-Afghan contingent came from all over the Islamic world to fight in the war against the Russians. Many came using a covert network created with assistance by our own government.

OBL (as Osama bin Laden was referred to by us in the country at the time) restored this network to bring in more fighters, this time to support the Taliban in their civil war against the former Mujehdeen. Over time, this military support along with financial support has allowed OBL and his "Arabs" to co-opt significant government activities and leaders. OBL is the "inspector general" of Taliban armed forces; his bodyguards protect senior Talib leaders and he has built a system of deep bunkers for the Taliban, which were designed to withstand cruise missile strikes (uhm, where did he learn to do that? [ed note from Don: SADDAM HUSSEIN]). His forces basically rule the southern city of Kandahar.

This high-profile presence of OBL and his "Arabs" has, in the last 2 years or so, started to generate a great deal of resentment on the part of the local Afghans. At the same time, the legitimacy of the Taliban regime has started to decrease as it has failed to end the war, as local humanitarian conditions have worsened and as "cultural" restrictions have become even harsher.

It is my assessment that most Afghans no longer support the Taliban. Indeed the Taliban have recently had a very difficult time getting recruits for their forces and have had to rely more and more on non-Afghans, either from Pushtun tribes in Pakistan or from OBL. OBL and the Taliban, absent any US action, were probably on their way to sharing the same fate that all other outsiders and outside doctrines have experienced in Afghanistan -- defeat and dismemberment.

During the Afghan war with the Soviets, much attention was paid to the martial prowess of the Afghans. We were all at West Point at the time, and most of us had high-minded idealistic thoughts about how we would all want to go help the brave "freedom fighters" in their struggle against the Soviets.

Those concepts were naive to the extreme. The Afghans, while never conquered as a nation, are not invincible in battle. A "good" Afghan battle is one that makes a lot of noise and light. Basic military skills are rudimentary and clouded by cultural constraints that no matter what, a warrior should never lose his honor. Indeed, firing from the prone is considered distasteful (but still done).

Traditionally, the Afghan order of battle is very feudal in nature, with fighters owing allegiance to a "commander," and this person owing allegiance upwards and so on and so on. Often such allegiance is secured by payment. And while the Taliban forces have changed this somewhat, many of the units in the Taliban army are there because they are being paid to be there. All such groups have very strong loyalties along ethnic and tribal lines.

Again, the concept of having a place of "honor" and "respect" is of paramount importance and blood feuds between families and tribes can last for generations over a perceived or actual slight. That is one reason why there were 7 groups of Mujehdeen fighting the Russians. It is a very difficult task to form and keep united a large bunch of Afghans into a military formation. The "real" stories that have come out of the war against the Soviets are very enlightening and a lot different from our fantastic visions as cadets.

When the first batch of Stingers came in and were given to one Mujehdeen group, another group -- supposedly on the same side -- attacked the first group and stole the Stingers, not so much because they wanted to use them, but because having them was a matter of prestige.

Many larger coordinated attacks that advisers tried to conduct failed when all the various Afghan fighting groups would give up their assigned tasks (such as blocking or overwatch) and instead would join the assault group in order to seek glory.

In comparison to Vietnam, the intensity of combat and the rate of > > fatalities were lower for all involved.

As you can tell from above, it is my assessment that these guys are not THAT good in a purely military sense and the "Arabs" probably even less so than the Afghans. So why is it that they have never been conquered? It goes back to Dr. Kern's point about will.

During their history, the only events that have managed to form any semblance of unity among the Afghans, is the desire to fight foreign invaders. And in doing this, the Afghans have been fanatical. The Afghans' greatest military strength is the ability to endure hardships that would, in all probability, kill most Americans and enervate the resolve of all but the most elite military units.

The physical difficulties of fighting in Afghanistan, the terrain, the weather, and the harshness are all weapons that our enemies will use to their advantage and use well. (NOTE: For you military planner types and armchair generals: around November 1st, most road movement is impossible, in part because all the roads used by the Russians have been destroyed and air movement will be problematic at best). Also, those fighting us are not afraid to fight. OBL and others do not think the US has the will or the stomach for a fight. Indeed after the absolutely inane missile strikes of 1998, the overwhelming consensus was that we were cowards who would not > > risk one life in face-to-face combat.

Rather than demonstrating our might and acting as a deterrent, that action and others of the not so recent past, have reinforced the perception that the US does not have any "will" and that we are morally and spiritually corrupt.

Our challenge is to play to the weaknesses of our enemy, notably their propensity for internal struggles, the distrust between the extremists/Arabs and the majority of Afghans, their limited ability to fight coordinated battles, and their lack of external support. More importantly through is that we have to take steps not to play to their strengths, which would be to unite the entire population against us by increasing their suffering or killing innocents, to get bogged down trying to hold terrain, or to get into a battle of attrition chasing up and down mountain valleys.

I have been asked how I would fight the war. This is a big question and well beyond my pay grade or expertise. And while I do not want to secondguess current plans or start an academic debate, I would share the following from what I know about Afghanistan and the Afghans.

First, I would give the Northern Alliance a big wad of cash so that they can buy off a chunk of the Taliban army before winter. Second, also with this cash, I would pay some guys to kill some of the Taliban leadership, making it look like an inside job to spread distrust and build on existing discord. Third I would support the Northern alliance with military assets, but not take it over or adopt so high a profile as to undermine its legitimacy in the eyes of most Afghans.

Fourth would be to give massive amounts of humanitarian aid and assistance to the Afghans in Pakistan in order to demonstrate our goodwill and to give these guys a reason to live rather than the choice between dying of starvation or dying fighting the "infidel." Fifth, start a series of public works projects in areas of the country not under Taliban control (these are much more than the press reports) again to demonstrate goodwill and that improvements come with peace. Sixth, I would consider very carefully putting any female service members into Afghanistan proper -- sorry to the females of our class but within that culture a man who allows a women to fight for him has zero respect, and we will need respect to gain the cooperation of Afghan allies. No Afghan will work with a man who fights with women.

I would hold off from doing anything too dramatic in the new term, keeping a low level of covert action and pressure up over the winter, allowing > this pressure to force open the fissions around the Taliban that were already developing -- expect that they will quickly turn on themselves and on OBL.

We can pick up the pieces next summer, or the summer after.

When we do "pick up" the pieces, I would make sure that we do so on the ground, "man to man."

While I would never want to advocate American causalities, it is essential that we communicate to OBL and all others watching that we can and will "engage and destroy the enemy in close combat." As mentioned above, we should not try to gain or hold terrain, but Infantry operations against the enemy are essential. There can be no excuses after the defeat or lingering doubts in the minds of our enemies regarding American resolve and nothing, nothing will communicate this except for ground combat.

And once this is all over, unlike in 1989, the US must provide continued long-term economic assistance to rebuild the country.

While I have written too much already, I think it is also important to share a few things on the subject of brutality. Our opponents will not abide by the Geneva conventions. There will be no prisoners unless there is a chance that they can be ransomed or made part of a local prisoner exchange.

During the war with the Soviets, videotapes were made of communist prisoners having their throats slit. Indeed, there did exist a "trade" in prisoners so that souvenir videos could be made by outsiders to take home with them.

This practice has spread to the Philippines, Bosnia and Chechnya where similar videos are being made today and can be found on the web for those so inclined. We can expect our soldiers to be treated the same way. Sometime during this war I expect that we will see videos of US prisoners having their heads cut off.

Our enemies will do this not only to demonstrate their "strength" to their followers, but also to cause us to overreact, to seek wholesale revenge against civilian populations, and to turn this into the world-wide religious war that they desperately want.

This will be a test of our will and of our character. (For further collaboration of this type of activity please read Kipling).

This will not be a pretty war; it will be a war of wills, of resolve and somewhat conversely of compassion and of a character. Towards our enemies, we must show a level of ruthlessness that has not been part of our military character for a long time. But to those who are not our enemies we must show a level of compassion probably unheard of during war. We should do this not for humanitarian reasons, even though there are many, but for shrewd military logic.

For anyone who is still reading this way too long note, thanks for your patience. I will try to answer any questions that may arise in a more concise manner.

Thanks,

Richard Kidd

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 02:39 am: Edit

I don't think Haw Haw is in a position to categorize the motives of the US administration or those of how own government. Now that Tony Blair has published the UK intelligence dossier in sanitized form, on OBL and friends, I don't think there is any room for doubt and certainly no place to hide for quisling shits like Haw Haw.

The best assessments I have seen indicate that the Afghani people would have eventually defeated and dismembered the Taliban INVADERS on their own hook, and that the Allied strategy will consist of financial and materiel aid to the Northern Alliance, but sufficiently remotely as to not tar them as disqualified to be independent; the fracturing of the Taliban; and such military operations, special and otherwise, that we can carry out between now and the onset of the unrelenting Afghan winter in about 4-5 weeks.

The denouement will be next summer or the summer after that.

Anyone who expects a quick finish (including me) isn't reckoning on the weather, nothing is passable in the winter, what winter-capable roads the Sovs had have long since been cratered quite deliberately for precisely that reason.

But I can also tell you now with authority that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are done for, and NEITHER is Afghani, BOTH are foreign fictions, BOTH are living off the fat of the heroin business, and they have a complete symbiosis going, they live of each other, and they will die the same way, together and indivisible.

By Tlautrec on Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 09:06 pm: Edit

Quote: "The treatment of the Afghani people by the Taliban is not a factor in the decision to take out the Taliban."

Perhaps it is not (at least not explicitly), but in a moral universe, it damn well should be. No regime should be allowed to treat at least 50%of its own population (women) in the utterly despicable and oppressive way that the Taliban treats its own. This on-going atrocity alone should prompt the uprising of all civilized nations of the world to unite to send all those Taliban bastards to the hell they deserve (but which their twisted leaders have deluded them into believing to be heaven). Unfortunately, however, Realpolitik being what it is, I'm not holding my breath until this happens.

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 07:49 pm: Edit

that is "ten million dollar bombs"
not a million ten dollar bombs...

damn that fuzzy math

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 07:48 pm: Edit

I think or leader said something like "We aren't going to use $10 million bombs on $20 tents"

By Perruche_Verte on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 07:41 pm: Edit

So they have to flee Afghanistan to be fed? That's mighty convenient, considering the borders to all neighboring states are currently closed to refugees.

Nonetheless this is the first Don has written about food and it's a welcome change from the loving descriptions of high explosives.

Speaking of which, I wonder what the budget for those will be? A little more than $100 million?
It's so cheap to feed people, and so damned expensive to kill them.

By Chevalier on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 06:45 pm: Edit

This tragedy has been an education for me, a gringo expat living in South America. Two examples:

-- A weekly newsmagazine, edited by "a prominent Chilean leftist". On the cover, seen from every newsstand: a large picture showing Pres. Bush's cowboy-hatted head. Next to him, of equal size, is Osama bin Laden's turbaned head. Above them both, in bold red, is the title "TWO EXTREMISTS CLASH". Bush = bin Laden? Bullshit. Irresponsible bullshit that incites people to violence. It has done so in the past, and it can do so again.

-- A columnist in one of Chile's Internet newspapers, "El Mirador". He claims that Latin Americans should feel free to support Uncle Sam without feeling too much guilt. Why? Because soon Latinos will be the majority in the U.S. ... and because many Latino illegal immigrants (office cleaners) were killed in the WTC attacks. This columnist assumes that all Latinos are brothers and sisters, ready to embrace each other in panamerican solidarity. Bullshit! A Chilean living in Santiago and a Bolivian living in La Paz (let alone in New York City) have little to unite them and much to fight over. The way that Chileans treat their immigrant "brothers and sisters" from Peru -- most of whom end up working as maids and laborers -- is disgraceful.

After all this and more, I'm taking non-Yanks' views with a grain of salt. Can you blame me?

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 06:08 pm: Edit

The Bush administration is seeking Congressional approval as I am writing this, for $100 Million in food and other humanitarian aid to Afghani refugees fleeing to neighboring countries ahead of the iminent strikes on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

That's us heartless warmongers for you.

What are you going to do for them, Haw Haw? Send them a pair of your old levis?

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 03:12 pm: Edit

Good, Lord Haw Haw. Defend our enemies. Embrace the Taliban. Why not go there and offer yourself as a human shield?

That's about all you are good for, anyway.

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 01:59 pm: Edit

Secret Sam,

Fuck you.

I'm just quoting the results of a MORI poll on how the UK public feel about this war. They support the taking out of Bin Laden but not extending the aims further to take out the Taliban. But then you probably think MORI polls are run by a bunch of Reds controlled by international terrorists. You dick-head! Anything that doesn't fit with your view of how things ought to be you label propaganda.

You think that anyone who doesn't hold with the view that you have a right to bomb Afghanistan to oblivion is a 'Red'. You are full of shit. You're an evil bastard who doesn't care a stuff about who and how many people will die so long as they aren't American. You thrive on war and death. You love it.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 01:48 pm: Edit

Tlautrec,

I'm just quoting a poll that reflects how people in the UK think.

Most support the taking out of Bin Laden but not the extension of the war after this. Taking him out is the aim of this war.

Despite the hideous nature of the Taliban, this is not a war to defend the human rights of the Afghani people. There are many other hideous governments in existence that murder and torture their people (one of which is trying to gain membership of the EU) and we are not trying to take them out. We have ignored China's treatment of Tibet (we have virtually told the Dalai Lama to fuck off) and we welcome Turkey and Saudi Arabia as stalwart allies and freinds.

The treatment of the Afghani people by the Taliban is not a factor in the decision to take out the Taliban.

The UK government have taken a harder line than the general population. It remains to be seen if the population will be behind it when the shit really hits the fan. Unfortunately I am no good at reading crystal balls but I suspect Blair will have a tough time ahead trying to keep the UK public on board.

Hobgoblin

By Tlautrec on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 11:55 pm: Edit

Tonight, as recorded on the BBC, Tony Blair expressed his total commitment to the fight for Civilization that the USA and England and all the other civilized countries have embarked upon together. Hail Britannia!! Hoorah for Tony!!!

The fact that a small handful of British (and, let's not forget, American) fascists and reactionaries admired and/or supported Hitler in the years before September 1939 proves nothing more than the truism that there are a few rotten apples in every barrel, or, to put it in more graphic terms, a handful of assholes in every national group. It is unconscionable even to suggest that the existence in England before the war of the British Union of Fascists and a few sympathetic misfits (even if one of them was the Crown Prince and, for a mercifully few months, King) in any way detracts from the noble and courageous fight that that the British people as a whole put up against Adolf and his thugs.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 07:21 pm: Edit

Geoff, the actions of the British government and military will speak far more effectively than the babblings of a few despicable quislings like Lord Haw Haw here who are way too left for the (ruling) Labour Party.

The British are with us. The Queen didn't play the American anthem before the British one for nothing (an unprecedented show of solidarity.)

The world is with us, but the British are out in front of the world.

By Chevalier on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 05:18 pm: Edit

Before 1940, plenty of Brits -- prominent ones, too -- tolerated Der Fuhrer's face. Not to mention the numbers of Frenchmen, Hungarians, Americans, etc., etc.

By Tlautrec on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 04:05 pm: Edit

Quote: "A recent poll showed that while a majority of people in the UK agreed that the aim should be to apprehend or kill Bin Laden, a majority were opposed to the destruction of the Taliban being an aim of this imminent campaign."

What??? Have the Brits - who resisted the Nazis so valiantly in the 1940's - become so wishy-washy that more than half of them (and I assume that this includes the women) are willing to tolerate the despicable repression of women practiced by Taliban? Would the women of Britain be willing to be forced into purdah? I seriously doubt it. Taliban - and everything they stand for - must be resisted with the same courage and tenacity that was required to eliminate the Third Reich, and I'm sure that most intelligent English folk would agree with this once they understood what was at stake.

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 12:44 pm: Edit

"I trust the newspaper. The newspeople are very intelligent, and if they are giving the story, it must be true."

So the Pakistanis believe the shit spread by their media just like we believe the shit spread by our media. We're all getting pumped with propaganda and just like them we believe that a large percentage of what we are told is fact. The media is the same the world over. It gives us a diet of what those who control it want us to believe. We should examine the interests of those who control our media as this will determine what we are told and what they want us to believe. It has nothing to do with a desire to tell us the facts.

Hobgoblin

By Mr_Rabid on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 12:23 pm: Edit

Speaking of propaganda, here is a good one from the LA times via Pigdog.org


http://latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-092901rumors.story

By Maxpower on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 11:57 am: Edit

with the propaganda the public is being spoon fed public opinon is so damn screwy,the other day i saw the results of a poll that said 85% of people polled belive we(america)should destroy bin laden,and the taliban,even if they had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11.gotta love the out and out hatred proven by that poll

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 11:30 am: Edit

"...events are about to overtake anything we say"

At least I can agree with this statement.

The die has been cast, now we, along with the innocent people of Afghanistan, and the rest of the world await the outcome and fallout of the horror that is about to start.

I was watching TV the other night when concerned reporters were talking about the negative effect this 'war' could have on the currently rising UK property market. Fuck that, the cost of real estate or the prospect of increased taxes is the very least of what these people have to worry about. It seems that people here live under the illusion that their lives will be safe and that only people far away will die. When this starts many more people will start dying and not only in Afghanistan.

A recent poll showed that while a majority of people in the UK agreed that the aim should be to apprehend or kill Bin Laden, a majority were opposed to the destruction of the Taliban being an aim of this imminent campaign. If the majority of the UK population feel opposed to waging a war against the Taliban regime now, how enthusiastic will they be when the body bags filled with British soldiers start coming back and when many civilians die in the UK as a result of this conflict?

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 07:07 am: Edit

I don't write op-ed pieces, in particular not for the Times.

Anyway events are about to overtake anything we say.

By Chevalier on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 06:28 am: Edit

Don, Hob,

You're reaching a tiny (forum) audience with virtually no influence over world policy. In short, small potatoes. Why not spread your messages where they count? Instead of hundreds, reach millions -- and the pulse-searching fingers of policymakers -- through an op-ed piece in the New York Times. The conviction behind your words insists on it.

By Luger on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 09:57 pm: Edit

I have not found any first hand sources about the clean steel, but here are some individuals that discuss it:

www.smug.adelaide.edu.au/~wfbrodie/deadbeef/879.html

Luger

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 07:47 pm: Edit

I've been told that the only proper measure is a water-displacement test...

By Mr_Rabbit on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 06:27 pm: Edit

Vera, bring your saussage.

Wait till they get a load of my Vienna!

By Verawench on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 05:50 pm: Edit

Not sure what to bring, a yardstick or a thimble.

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 05:18 pm: Edit

I say we all just whip 'em out and settle this once and for all.

By Verawench on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 03:34 pm: Edit

They're going to rip each other's pigtails off if they keep at it...

By Mr_Rabbit on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 02:18 pm: Edit

Don! You called me 'Mr Rabid!'

I may change my profile name. I like that.

BJ, we obviously aren't going to agree on this- we are citing different primary sources, and we have differing ideas. I can find scientists who say what I think, and you can find scientists who say what you think.

If and when someone does blow up TMI, well- I tell you what. I will go and live in your house, and you come live in mine.

If it's no worse than a chest x-ray, well hell, we'll have a laugh about it.

If I am correct, please leave a will taped to your fridge or in another, easy to find location :-)

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 01:19 pm: Edit

Secret Sam,

You are well out of date regarding the use of Kevlar kneepads. 'Kneecapping' in Ireland today usually involves a bullet through the fleshy part of the thigh, avoiding the bone. I have no fear of being 'kneecapped', sorry to disappoint you.

I suppose you don't care much for Afghani opium but I guess you prefer Nicaraguan cocaine (or even a little from Colombia).

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 11:28 am: Edit

BJ that was directed at Lord Haw Haw, not at you.

I have no quarrel with you.

I have a quarrel with those who whine and pule on behalf of those mass murderers you also detest.

Hey, Haw Haw, your own govt today froze 90 millions in Taliban assets. Well, actually they seem to have done so BEFORE Sept 11, which is interesting, and the amount os 88.4 millions, hmmm just where d'ya reckon all that money came from?

Scraping resin off small slits in poppy bulbs is my guess.

Better a mongerer than a mongrel, and you, sirrah, as a stupid son of a mangy bitch.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 11:20 am: Edit

It's a pleasure to be insulted by such a trog as yourself, you proletariat smegma. Crawl back to your hole, you Morlock licker of other people's botties.

Still tender round the knees are you? I told you that Kevlar kneepads work wonders for craven informers like yourself.

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 10:39 am: Edit

Secret Sam,

You seem to assume you're the only one who has received supportive e-mails. I have received a number of these and I'm not talking about those from the forum's 'lefties'. But as far as I'm concerned these play no part in any discussion on this forum and I sure as hell am not going to use un-substantiable private e-mails to back up my arguments.

It's too easy (and convenient) to say you have been supported by many unsubstantiated private e-mails whilst not being able to show this support or it's nature. You also make the erroneous assumption that your supportive e-mails outweigh those to your opponent. Therefore any such e-mails play no part in any discussion on this forum and the only views that count in the discusson are those that are made openly, in public and available for all parties involved to read and make up their own mind.

Oh and fuck you too you narrow-minded, war-mongering piece of shit.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 10:38 am: Edit

Double post

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 09:46 am: Edit

Yes, but not at each other. All-in-all, I've found my tolerence for people whose intentions aren't, y'know, mass-murderous, to be mcuh greater in the past 3 weeks. Sure, I may disagree with people, but so long as they aren't crashing airliners into populated buildings, I find it hard to hold a grudge.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 09:17 am: Edit

And well we ought to.

By Geoffk on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 07:02 am: Edit

Well, hey it may be the end of the World, but that's no reason to stop politics. "Bipartisan" my ass...

Glad to hear there's no hard feelings about all the harsh words. People got pretty riled up right after Sept 11.

-- Geoff K.

By Marc on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 03:35 am: Edit

geoff,
you cynical piece of shit. the world is about to self destruct and you're playing sleazy mind games. I love you anyway.

By Geoffk on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 03:20 am: Edit

There's a great old T-Shirt from the 80's:

"More people died at Chappaquiddick than at Three-Mile Island"

I think that pretty much says it all.

-- Geoff K.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 11:40 pm: Edit

I don't have a clue as to why old steel is better (for some applications) than new steel. Surely any difference due to the effects of manmade radiation are trivial.

When we talk about radiation we mean radioisotopes which emit either aplha particles (He nuclei), beta particles (electrons), or gamma rays (photons of a particular wavelength). Or combinations of these. Plus radiation of cosmic origin.

Before the 20th century all of the elements and their isotopes present on this planet were of natural origin, the unstable (radioactive) ones being decay products of larger nuclei. Uranium's unstable isotopes for example decay slowly to lead. We have very slightly complicated things by introducing small amounts of artificial isotopes, and elements, most of which have half-lives like mayflies, but some of which are long lived like Pu-239 (20,000 years for 50% decay).

There is some nice free software that maps the nucleides, available from the Lawrence Berkeley Labs at UC Berkeley.

Since all isotopes have chemical properties that depend entirely on their atomic number, they interact with living creatures and the food chain in a great variety of ways from basically not at all to severely. Just measuring how many particles and waves are flying around (like a Geiger counter) is a very partial piece of data. Gamma-spectroscopy identifes specific isotopes and this is how operators of research and commercial nuclear piles surbey their surroundings for evidence of emmissions.

I find it VERY odd that the single and isolated epidemiological paper cited by Mr Rabid, ignores the thyroid cancer rate as opposed to leukemia and lung cancer. That's a telling and selective focus, as thyroid cancer features very prominently in the Chernobyl aftermath, due to release of radioactive iodine isotopes whicha ccumulate in the thyroid gland.

In any case I suggest to you all that epidemiology is not an exact science but a statistical one and we certainly know the old epigram about lies, damned lied and statistics.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 11:35 pm: Edit

Keep in mind, 20% of all deaths, everywhere, are cancer-related...

By _Blackjack on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 11:32 pm: Edit

OK, a quick intro to epidemiology: since it is impossible to isolate all of the variable when comparing disease data, the only way that causalit can be determined from simple prevelance within a population is if there is a statistically significant increase. The standard for most situations is a relative risk of 2.0, meaning the risk of a particular condition is twice as great in the specific population than it is in the general population.

This may sound like a rather high standard, but keep in mind that for risk-factors which play an obvious causal role in disease, the RR is usually much higher. Ther relative risk of lung cancer among cigarette smokers, or asbestos workers, is between 10 and 30. Not twice the risk, but THIRTY times. The risk for asbestos workers who also smoke is between 50 and 90. You see my point here.

So, if the average population has, say, 10 cases of a particular cancer per 10,000, and those downwind from TMI have 18, that is not probative of a direct causation, simply because there are enough other risk factors and variables involved, and th cohort is too small, for the difference to be significant.

You certainly can find a few people who claim the data for TMI is more probative, but if you go to the primary sources, you will find the consensus of most studies is that the accident did not have significant negative impact on health, except for an increase in stress-related and psychiatric illness, caused by people being more afraid than they needed to be.

Some primary sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10856029&dopt=Abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8491625&dopt=Abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=2389745&dopt=Abstract

By Luger on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 09:38 pm: Edit

"All steel made since
then has a little extra radiation. The Swedes, however, have a cache of non-irradiated steel, from the captured
U-boats scuttled just offshore"

Hmm, I thought no subs were scuttled on Swedish water, but I'll ask a friend who spends his time diving wrecks.
Anyway, It's true that non radiated steel is very expensive, that's why they raise pre-45 wrecks all over the world. IIRC the space industry wants such steel. The thing is that making steel requires large amounts of Oxygene (air), and even small amounts of man-made isotopes are too much for these purposes. The levels are so low that they are not an argument for or against nukes though.
Anyone that knows more about exactly *why* they need such clean steel?


I find it very charming that the steel that was used on "Voyager" may originate from a ship that was at the battle of Jutland :-)

Luger

By Mr_Rabbit on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 08:50 pm: Edit

And here's an article for ya:

Exposure to high doses of radiation shortly after the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island may have increased cancer among Pennsylvanians downwind of the plant, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say.

Dr. Steven Wing, associate professor of epidemiology at the UNC-CH School of Public Health, led a study of cancer cases within 10 miles of the facility from 1975 to 1985. He and colleagues conclude that following the March 28, 1979 accident, lung cancer and leukemia rates were two to 10 times higher downwind of the Three Mile Island (TMI) reactor than upwind.

A paper Wing and colleagues wrote appears in the January issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, scheduled to appear Feb. 24. They first presented their findings last July at the University of Portsmouth in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, at the International Workshop on Radiation Exposures by Nuclear Facilities.

"I would be the first to say that our study doesn't prove by itself that there were high-level radiation exposures, but it is part of a body of evidence that is consistent with high exposures," Wing said. "The cancer findings, along with studies of animals, plants and chromosomal damage in Three Mile Island area residents, all point to much higher radiation levels than were previously reported. If you say that there was no high radiation, then you are left with higher cancer rates downwind of the plume that are otherwise unexplainable."

Co-authors of the report are Dr. Douglas Crawford-Brown, professor of environmental sciences and engineering, and Dr. Donna Armstrong and David Richardson, former and current doctoral students in epidemiology, all at UNC-CH.

The new study involved re-analyzing data from a 1990 report that concluded the nation's worst civilian nuclear accident was not responsible for slightly increased cancer rates near the plant because radiation exposures were too low. Wing and colleagues re-examined data from that report using what they believed were better analytic and statistical techniques.

"Several hundred people at the time of the accident reported nausea, vomiting, hair loss and skin rashes, and a number said their pets died or had symptoms of radiation exposure," he said. "We figured that if that were possible, we ought to look at it again. After adjusting for pre-accident cancer incidence, we found a striking increase in cancers downwind from Three Mile Island."

The scientists do not believe smoking and social and economic factors were responsible for the increased cancers found in the downwind sectors.

Many earlier researchers, as well as government and industry officials, accept as fact that only small amounts of radiation were released into the atmosphere, Wing said. But it is known that plant radiation monitors went off scale when the accident started. Plumes containing higher radiation could have passed undetected, he said.

Findings from the re-analysis of cancer incidence around TMI is consistent with the theory that radiation from the accident increased cancer in areas that were in the path of radioactive plumes, the scientist said.

"This cancer increase would not be expected to occur over a short time in the general population unless doses were far higher than estimated by industry and government authorities," Wing said. "Our findings support the allegation that the people who reported rashes, hair loss, vomiting and pet deaths after the accident were exposed to high level radiation and not only suffering from emotional stress."

The UNC-CH scientist said he found it ironic that U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia Rambo dismissed more than 2,000 damage claims filed against the power plant by nearby residents last year citing a "paucity of proof" to support their cases.

"Judge Rambo spent a year or more throwing out scientific evidence presented by the plaintiffs," he said. "After she threw out the evidence that people had been injured by the accident, including part of our work, then she ruled that there wasn't enough to proceed with the case."

He also noted that the court gave attorneys for the nuclear industry the right to review the earlier health effects research before it was made public. "I think our findings show there ought to be a more serious investigation of what happened after the Three Mile Island accident," Wing said.

Limitations of the new study, like the earlier work, include the continuing difficulty of determining precise wind direction for several days following the accident.

By Mr_Rabbit on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 08:47 pm: Edit

So, even though the cancer rate increased markedly, because it did not double, that wasn't why?

I shall reassure the residents in our cemetaries that it must've been something else that caused the increase.

I will also tell the farmers that although there were animals born missing pieces which had to be destroyed, there must've been another reason.

Even though that doesn't generally happen around here.

What would you say is the likely culprit?

I don't care if causality cannot officially be shown.

If a 767 hits that motherfucker tomorrow, I will be dead, officially or not.


Three Mile Island owners Metropolitan Edison faced 11 charges of falsifying leak rate data to the NRC. Falsifying the reactor leaks allowed TMI Unit 2 to continue operating when it should have been shut down for repairs. Just before the accident, the leak rate increased dramatically. The federal grand jury found TMI had falsified leak data from October 1978 to March 28, 1979 - the day the accident began. The NRC said it could find no evidence of criminal conduct. But, federal prosecutors filed 11 felony charges against TMI in 1983 at the completion of their investigation.
Metropolitan Edison plead guilty to one count and no contest to six other charges. The federal prosecuting attorney said, "the facts are going to follow the company wherever it goes."

The timing of the plea was important because the NRC was about to rule on the restart of Unit 1. United States Senator John Heinz (PA) said, "The NRC should feel no hesitation in fully investigating each and every allegation that employees at TMI engaged in conduct which endangered the health and safety of residents."

By _Blackjack on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 07:37 pm: Edit


Quote:

It did give people cancer, and it did cause miscarriages, and it did cause mutant livestock.



Um, no it didn't. That is to say, epidemiologically speaking, the incidence of cancer and misscarriage was not significantly enough higher for a causal relationship to be drawn. Just because 1) there is a nuclear accident and 2) somebody gets cancer, it does not mean that 1) caused 2). You need to show a major increase in prevalence (usually a 100% increase) before causation can be inferred.

The radiation which reached the environment would have been equivalent to getting a chest x-ray. Again, that's less than you get from the bedrock.

By Mr_Rabbit on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 03:49 pm: Edit

First off, I am not saying nuclear power plants cause environmental damage during normal operation. Nuclear power, aside from the waste, is clean, and safe, and efficient. Its a fuck of a lot better than fossil fuel.

Unless someone uses a truck bomb, or a 767, to breach the containment. Or causes a meltdown, which our own government has proved is possible, with no weapons and some training. This is my concern. They were built with safety in mind, which is to say, they won't kill anyone under normal use.

They were *not* built with people blowing them up on purpose in mind.

Second, "3. The 'worst' accident at a Western nuclear power reactor, TMI, resulted in zero deaths and the release of radiation at levels consistent with background radiation. "

That, Don my man, is pure propaganda. I live here. It didn't kill anyone right off, that is true. It did give people cancer, and it did cause miscarriages, and it did cause mutant livestock. The radiation levels were a fuck of a lot higher than 'background radiation.'

You want to know where that radiation level data came from? From guys with UNCALIBRATED geiger counters. You know how you can turn the dial on a geiger counter so it clicks like mad at background levels? Or turn the dial the other way, so it won't go off unless you drop it into a bucket made out of Uranium?

The dials on those geiger counters were set so that they would not register higher levels of radiation than the background. They wouldn't have clicked at all at normal radiation levels.

TMI was a bit like the Exxon Valdiz. The scientific data says 'it wasn't that bad.' In both cases, the data collection was altered from normal methods, and the reports carefully ommited the fact.

For the Valdiz, they used squares marked on the shore to count the number of organizms and the type. Standard practice. The report showed that there were actually more animals, for instance, in the squares than before the accident.

Which would lead one to beleive that the accident actually helped the environment. What the report did not mention, but some of the scientists who had quit did, was that the squares were twice the size that is standard, and that the number of species present was down from several hundred to the single digits. Mostly they were carrion eaters left, of one species (I think they were grey mussels.)

NEVER EVER trust data on an industrial accident generated by the industry responsible.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 03:45 pm: Edit

Maybe I am repeating myself, but: I share bjacques' ambivalence, I just do it for valid reasons having to do with less than fully resolved issues about long term entombment of decommissioned reactors and long term stotage of high level wastes. The technology exists for the latter; vitrification and geologic storage. But no one wants the geologic storage in THEIR state so thi is just another political football.

When 'long term' storage means 50,000-100,000 years, I think we can safely say we are dealing with fatal pride (hubris). We are bequeathing deadly pandora's boxes to the next 3000 generations.

A better solution is to launch this stuff into the sun, but this awaits cheap (really cheap) orbital lift and still requires a somewhat optimistic assessment of the safety potential...like, 100% failsafe.

Continuing to generate waste while working to resolve these issues is another exercise in optimism. There is a point when 'can-do' becomes an unacceptably risky attitude.

All that being said, the anti-nuke crowd usually just barfs out a lot of arrant nonsense.

Being right for the wrong reasons is not being right.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 03:07 pm: Edit

I find that a little spurious, considering the VAST majority of background radiation comes from the the bedrock and from cosmic rays. Antrhopogenic radiation makes up a tiny percentage of the total, to the point that even a large increase would be within the normal range of fluctuations of the major sources.

By Bjacques on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 01:38 pm: Edit

I'm ambivalent about nuclear power, so I'll stay out of this one. Here's a fun fact, though. I got it from someone on the Viridian list. Between 1945 and about 1962, the world's background radiation jumped up quite a bit--first Hiroshima and Nagaski, then all those aboveground tests and that orbital Starfish test in '61. All steel made since then has a little extra radiation. The Swedes, however, have a cache of non-irradiated steel, from the captured U-boats scuttled just offshore, before V-E day. So if you need really clean steel, that's the place to go.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 11:41 am: Edit

The risks and loss of life involved in nuclear power are less than those involved in the use of fossil fuels. Far more people died in the Soviet coal-mining industry during the period of Chernobyl's full operation than even the worst estimates claim died because of Chernobyl.

And fossil fuel plants emit more radioactive materials into the environment than nuclear ones by an order of magnitude. Really. Burning fossil fuels, especially coal, releases radon and strontium-90. Check into the disease rates of those living near an old coal-fire plant if you want to see real danger.

By Luger on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 09:02 am: Edit

"Don is absolutely correct. As an attorney, I've seen the engineering that goes into a modern reactor and it is
simply beyond belief. "

Yes I think he is correct, and as an engineer, I've seen the engineering that goes into,,,,,
Attorneys are good at talking, I don't argue with that.
Anyway, Who said I was against nuke reactors?
Well, I'm not. I prefer it to fossil fuels.

Luger

By Geoffk on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 07:00 am: Edit

Don is absolutely correct. As an attorney, I've seen the engineering that goes into a modern reactor and it is simply beyond belief. They have emergency steam release valves that weigh as much as a truck, but which will seal off steam in the event of a breach in a matter of seconds.

tAs Don said, the problems with reactors are entirely economic and political. The capital investment and bad publicity have basically killed the reactor business in the US.

In Japan, where all fossil fuels are imported, nuclear power has long been a key policy point. About 70% of Japan's energy is nuclear. Although there have been some minor incidents, for the most part it's clean safe and efficient.

I'm always amazed that "environmentalists" would rather burn coal or erect acres of windmills, rather than build a compact, safe nuclear facility.

-- Geoff K.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 04:51 am: Edit

A couple of pregnant points need to be underscored here.

1. Light water reactors are inherently much safer than air cooled reactors like Chernobyl, and the West does not use air cooled reactors. Despite this fact and Chernobyl, the Russians still do.

2. The public is incredibly ill prepared to understand the technical issues involved. And they are afraid of radiation, afraid of technology, this is basically a Luddite position.

3. The 'worst' accident at a Western nuclear power reactor, TMI, resulted in zero deaths and the release of radiation at levels consistent with background radiation.

4. Background radiation is out there, it was out there before Rutherford and the Curies, it is not man made. It was out there long before Homo sapiens. Radon, hey, man didn't make it. Depending on where you live, you may get a little or you may get a lot, it depends on the geology of your region.

Scare tactics (calling nuclear power reactors 'bombs' etc.) is just Luddite bullshit.

If you want to oppose nuclear power do it for the right reasons and arm yourself with the FACTS not third rate crap.

The weak points of this technology are high capital investment, finite life, and horrible unertainties associated with the need to cocoon and safeguard the integrity of decommissioned reactors for scores of millenia.

It is hubris, pure hubris to proceed on that basis.

The longterm safe storage and disposal of high level waste is another thorny issue that is technically feasible but politically a hot potato.

So, Mr Rabbit, gird yourself with the facts and not your little homespun paranoia. Be right for the right reasons, don't cloud peoples' minds with utter gibberish.

Fact is, the problems were surmountable once upon a time, but the irrational anti-nuclear lobby has made nuclear power so expensive with lawsuits and political action that despite the success on technical grounds, the politic-economic outlook is gloomy. All this does is make us more dependent on coal and fossil fuels that are so much more devastating to the environment than nuclear it isn't funny.

It isn't nukes that make acid rain or greenhouse gases.

By Luger on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 01:21 am: Edit

Just to quote a scientist doesn't mean it is failsafe.
Some Swedish scientists say *no* people will die in Sweden because of Chernobyl. Some say that about 300 will die in the upcoming 50 years because of Chernobyl.
Who should I believe?
The chief of the medical security of a nuclear plant I visited some months ago, supported the "zero theory". Could it be that he said so because it would be in the interests of him and his employer to say so?

The link you showed us was great, but what did you expect them to say? "It is bad, close them down!"??? Probably not .

Did you notice that they said "Cancer caused by the Chernobyl disaster" ??
That means that they only count cases that are prooved to be caused by Chernobyl. That may or may not be the actual number.
How do you *prove* that your cancer was *definitely* caused by Chernobyl/Crossroads? Not easy. And the officials of course want to close the case, and shut you up.


Actually the link originates from the same country that said that *no* cases of cancer was caused by "Operation Crossroads". The same country that says that *no* natives from the pacific islands have got cancer because of the tests.
The same country that said there is no such thing as a "gulf war syndrome".
It all boil down to responsibility. If you refuse to recognize that something has been done wrong, then your conscience is still clean.

So who should I believe?

( And I just found your post somewhat curios. It should not be seen as an argument wheter 767s are harmful to nukeplants :-) )

Luger

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 12:58 am: Edit

I sure as hell see no posts supporting you, you worthless piece of shit. Fuck you, Lord Haw Haw. The people who wrote to me privately know who they are, and they know why they chose to post emails to me privately rather than here. Having you deny their existance won't win you any points with them, but then you aren't winning many points with anyone with your endless far-left rant.

You have the moral authority of a dust mite and the following of a Typhoid Mary. As Tlautrec said: get a life.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 12:47 am: Edit

Secret Sam,

"...more and more (some of them I am sure to their own surprise as well as mine) find common cause with me."

"There are quite a few people who have privately expressed appreciation and support but choose not to post."

Sure Don. Just like when you twice in short succession announced you were leaving, 'dramatically' quoting Shakespeare as you went and accusing several forumites of betrayal. No 'please come back Don' thread appeared, but conveniently enough scores of forumites e-mailed you privately begging you to come back (and so you of course had no choice but to return). How convenient for you.

When other forumites have decided to leave, many people have posted openly and threads have started asking them to stay (and unlike you they have had the balls to stick with their word and leave despite this.) Perhaps you wanted to be publicly begged to stay? Go back and read the posts made openly by forumites about your rantings and personal insults to me at the time you announced your 'departure'. They don't read like the writings of the 'Don Walsh Fan Club'.

Perhaps the multitude that you say are e-mailing all this support to you in private are too ashamed to admit their support for you in public.

Anyway this is a Public Forum and only views expressed by forumites on this forum carry any weight here and I don't see many posts in support of you here Don. Referring to supposed private e-mail to back you up is pathetic.

Despite your huge ego you really are of no more importance to this forum than anyone else here.

Hobgoblin

By Mr_Rabbit on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 10:28 pm: Edit

Blackjack, I will do my best to dig up the sources of my information, but it has been quite awhile... and I am lazy. Expect it to take awhile (but eventually happen, when I have a free saturday :-)

I will scan in bibliographies (low res) and email em to you, as soon as I can find the reports in my closet.

Its just that I happen to live in an area that has had what everyone agrees was a very minor containment leak, initially plugged by a basketball covered in duct-tape. And that in my area, there were freaks O nature, increased cancer, etc, etc. So I tend to beleive the worst case scenario of Chernobyl.

Official reports cite the amount of gamma radiation released here. They don't mention that the instruments used to measure it were never calibrated before they were put in place, though several of the people using them came forward in subsequent weeks.

You see where I would take the word of a local farmer, doctor, etc, over a website, don't you?

Our DMV building (the old one, since blown up) had a toxic chemical incident. There were barrels of something in the basement corridors. My mother works there, but I still don't know what it was and neither does she.

No instrument calibration there either. In fact, the testing equipment was never removed from the packaging! Odd, ain't it, that they still acheived acceptable results? The thing is, one of the fellows that works with her used to work for the EPA, or the DNR (I forget which as this was a few years ago) and pointed it out to one of the techs.

He left, quickly. They tried to sell filming rights of the demolition to Hollywood, but no one bought them. Absentee rates due to illness more than doubled, according to mom's estimate. For her part, her hands turned bright red and developed spontaneous blisters on and off over about 3 months, until they moved her to a new building. This all started when one of the barrels caught fire.

This, among other things, is why I do not take the official stance on any such incedent at face value.

Like our prison riot- I knew guards, and prisoners, at the Camp Hill state penitentiary.

The state police were picking prisoners off like it was a video game. The prison report showed something like 68 dead of gunshot wounds.

The press reported, initially, 15.

Later revised to 7.

The number of inmates reported dead of illness, on the other hand, such as AIDS related complications, skyrocketed over the next month. Lead poisoning, it must have been.

I don't beleive the sky is blue if the government or the news media tells me it is.

When I lived in Charlotte, NC, one day a girl I worked with told us about a shooting in her neighborhood. A crazy, crack tweaking guy was robbing houses, in a gated community. He was in a bad way- he robbed about four houses in the same block over the course of an hour or so, and wasn't trying to get away (lost track of the time?)

So a guy came out of his house, and shot him dead.

The news, that night, reported that the assailant was armed and refused to drop his weapon.

The police, the reporter told us, were forced to shoot him or be shot.

According to the eyewitness I worked with, he was unarmed. He was also black, in the wrong neighborhood, robbing houses.

When the gubmint tells you that 2+2 is 4, you can be sure there are at least 2 of whatever they are hiding up his sleeve, and that he has reported a division problem as an addition problem, to further confuse the issue.

So I tend to take a dim view, you see, when I see a report telling my that incidents like Chernobyl actually weren't really that bad. Hell, it probably helped preserve the food of the local residents! Yeah! Thats it! It was a governmental program to combat food spoilage.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 05:16 pm: Edit

There are quite a few people who have privately expressed appreciation and support but choose not to post.

Yes, the absinthe making proceeds.

By Perruche_Verte on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 04:05 pm: Edit

Considering there are about six persons still taking part in this "discussion", others tiring of it or mocking it not-so-subtly, that's less of an achievement than you might imagine, oh Cincinnatus of the still.

You are making the green stuff while you find time to wax bellicose here, I hope? I'd hate to see its release delayed further.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 04:00 pm: Edit

Blackjack:

"As a basic rule, if both Don and I agree on something, it's probably because it is an empirical fact, not up for philosophical debate."

ROTFL!

I love this new epistomological litmus test for empirical truth...I wonder if the Jesuits would sign off on this?

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 02:56 pm: Edit

And all of us, Lord Haw Haw, will be pleasantly deprived of your cretinous, ludicrous spew of hatred for everything Western, and most especially anything American.

BTW it is fun to watch you get more shrilly strident as fewer and fewer agree with you, and more and more (some of them I am sure to their own surprise as well as mine) find common cause with me.

By _Blackjack on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 11:20 am: Edit


Quote:

Chernobyl? The radiation reached in a circle around the Earth. Every one of the hundreds of cleanup workers is dead now, of cancer. Most within 5 years of going there.



Sources, please? That just ain't so. I'm sorry, but science is not on your side here. First of all, there were 200,000 clean-up workers involved. Secondly, only a few died from cancer, rather quickly, and the cancer rate among them since the accident has been no higher than the baseline population.

As a basic rule, if both Don and I agree on something, it's probably because it is an empirical fact, not up for philosophical debate.

http://www.ans.neep.wisc.edu/~ans/point_source/AEI/apr96/effects.html

"No deaths occurred among the 140 hospitalized people with exposures below 2 Gy."

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/chernobyl/inf07.htm

"Not even leukaemia appears to be increased, even among clean-up workers where it might be most expected. However, these workers do remain at increased risk of long-term cancers." (emphasis mine)


"The most recent and authoritative UN report has confirmed that there is no scientific evidence of any significant radiation-related health effects to most people exposed to the Chernobyl disaster. The UNSCEAR 2000 Report is consistent with earlier WHO findings. The report points to some 1800 cases of thyroid cancer, but "apart from this increase, there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure 14 years after the accident. There is no scientific evidence of increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality or in non-malignant disorders that could be related to radiation exposure." "

"These have confirmed a rising incidence of thyroid cancer among exposed children. Late in 1995, the World Health Organisation linked nearly 700 cases of thyroid cancer among children and adolescents to the Chernobyl accident, and among these some ten deaths are attributed to radiation from it. " (emphasis mine)

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 09:56 am: Edit

Well then at least I won't have the misfortune of reading your moronic, jingoistic, hypocritical rantings.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 09:04 am: Edit

Lord Haw Haw, your head is so far up your own ass, you will soon disappear entirely to a mathematical abstraction.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 04:10 am: Edit

Secret Sam,

"...illegitimate use of force or threat of force..for political ends...against innocent targets...for purpose of creating fear in an audience not same as the target(s) attacked"

Which part of this definition did I not read?

As you well know the methods of many organisations supported by the West (including governments) fall into the above definition. We choose not to classify them as terrorists or 'rogue states' because we agree with their political aims (or it suits our interests to tolerate them). This 'war' runs the very serious danger of the West justifying their selective hammering of any organisation or state whose political aims are at odds with their own.

You're just itching for a chance to get rid of organisations or states that don't bow down to the West. Go peddle your own misinformation and self-induced blindness elsewhere.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 02:29 am: Edit

Lord Haw Haw, you didn't read the definition.

But then I didn't expect you to.

Mr Rabid, you know less about nuclear physica than you do about philosophy, or maybe, the other way round; either way you know surprisingly little about both.

A 'neutron bomb' is a fission bomb surrounded by a fusion bomb, i.e., a thermonuclear bomb without the outer, fissionable layer.

No LWR satisfies any part of the criteria for that.

Go peddle your antinuclear-power hysteria elsewhere. There ae credible critics of nuclear power out there, but you aren't one of them. You don't want to be confused with the facts. So fuck off.

As to your philosophy, I defacate in its general direction.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 01:29 am: Edit

Dyslexic troops have surrounded Selfridges in Oxford Street. They've heard that Bed Linen is on the second floor.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 01:05 am: Edit

"They kill us. We no like that. We kill them! HA! Them dead now."

Exactly.

The same old motive that has existed since the time of cavemen. All that changes is the gloss put on it and the bullshit justification invented to give the killing of people we don't like some sort of Higher purpose.

If we portray people as the embodiment of metaphysical Evil then anything we do to kill them is OK and any innocents (apart from our innocents of course) who get caught in the cross-fire then that's "regrettable" but OK too (we'll use the term 'collateral damage' as joe-public gets a bit squeamish about the thought of innocent body parts splattered all around). After all we are the Good guys nobly battling against the forces of Darkness, how can anything we do in our quest be wrong? A crusade is the right word for this 'war', the Templars no doubt took a similar view.

Hobgoblin

By Mr_Rabbit on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 12:37 am: Edit

Hobby- Fuckin A Right.

As for the Good Vs Evil argument- I define spiritual Good and Evil as seperate, indeed almost unrelated to, what most people call right and wrong.

Right and wrong come down to this: Did I want them to do that, or not? Was that a thing I approved of?

Good and Evil, again, do not come into this.

Right and Wrong? Whatever. Fish or Chips, Mazda or Ford.

Bullshit. Bullshit, bullshit.

This is about: They kill us. We no like that. We kill them! HA! Them dead now.

Good and Evil in a spiritual sense CANNOT be defined by actions. They must be defined by intent, which practically speaking, is not possible to anyone but the person acting.

Good and Evil do not concern us.

To tell ourselves that we are Good and they are Evil is the worst sort of dishonesty, the kind that led to the crusades. To the second world war. Name it. It leads to the death of innocents. Because the assholes in charge called it GOOD. And called the other side EVIL.

NO! It is Mcdonalds VS Burger King. The Rams VS the Cowboys. Your Dad VS my Dad.

If you have ever felt what Good and Evil are, for the love of Bob, you know that this conflict cannot be defined in those terms.

By Mr_Rabbit on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 12:23 am: Edit

Rightey O.

Perhaps I should have said 'we are surrounded by neutron bombs.'

Most information about TMIs little 'problem' in the 70s has been suppressed.

I live within sight of it, so let me lay this on you.

There were, for about 5 years after the incedent, cats, livestock born without eyes, miscarriages that I will not describe, and the cancer rate (roughly) tripled.

You can find these things out if you dig deep enough in the local libraries here. Not, of course, if you look elsewhere.

It's sort of like when I lived in Florida, when the Challenger shuttle went down. On our local news, we heard, that day, that the astronauts knew they were doomed after 'Launch!' was called.

Which is true, but wasn't reported elsewhere until years later.

Chernobyl? The radiation reached in a circle around the Earth. Every one of the hundreds of cleanup workers is dead now, of cancer. Most within 5 years of going there.

The NRC has fed you boys a line, and you bought it.

If a 767 hits that motherfucker tomorrow, then I won't be posting any more. And you can take that to the fucking bank.

Because a leak will be enough to make my local area unlivable for at least 10 years.

But I wasn't talking about an airplane. I was talking about the fact that terrorists ( according to CNN the very same group that did for the towers) trained less than 100 miles from where I am typing this, and did practice assaults on electrical stations.

The fact that Americans were able to reproduce the Chernobyl 'pull all the control rods and hit GO' scenario at the reactor I can see every day on my way to work WITHOUT A FUCKING PLANE, ON FOOT.

ON. FOOT. NO. GUNS. Just by themselves.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 12:12 am: Edit

The problem with defining terrorism is when is someone a 'terrorist' and when is he a 'freedom fighter'?

An organisation struggling to overthrow an oppressive regime will not be able to act within the law as the laws that govern it will have been designed to protect those in power. It will have to act illegaly. Does that make it a terrorist organisation? Were the French resistance terrorists? Was Geronimo a terrorist? Were those who overthrew British rule in the USA terrorists? Also many Western governments act illegaly (and are doing so as we speak). When international law doesn't suit, powerful governments simply ignore it. Do we say 'might is Right'.

As for targetting innocents. Was the deliberate bombing of London by the Nazis a terrorist act? Or the bombing of Dresden by the British? Or the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? All of these acts deliberately targeted vast numbers of innocent civilians. Was not one of the intentions of these acts to create fear in the audience? What was the point of Hiroshima or Nagasaki if not to put the shits up the Japanese (or in reality probably the Russians). Or do we say that 'those who drop the big bombs are not terrorists but those who plant little bombs are'.

As for the use of force for political ends, almost all acts of 'war' do this.

The fact is that whether you define someone as a freedom-fighter or a terrorist (or indeed a 'rogue state') largely boils down to whether you agree with their political aims or not. I believe that this is ultimately how a potential terrorist or state supporting terrorism will be judged in this pending 'war against terrorism'. It gives justification to attack whoever disagrees fundamentally with our political standpoint or our view of how society should be structured.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 11:29 pm: Edit

Tlautrec

"The problem between us here may ultimately
resolve itself to a basic metaphysical disagreement... This is an argument that we shall, I'm afraid, never resolve."

You are correct in this and we would go round in circles discussing this, there was a thread in the past that did just this with those on both sides having a good discussion. But at least such a debate would probably be less nasty than the '"the USA is right bomb the bastards and if you don't agree then you're a supporter of terrorism" / "the USA needs to examine it's own foreign policy as this has contributed to the cause of the current situation"' type discussion.

As for Buddhism, I have a very great respect for Buddhism. It does not believe in Metaphysical Good or Evil, it doesn't believe in the existence of Sin, God, the Soul or the Self. It's focus is on self-development following the 8-fold path of Right understanding, speech, thought, action etc. It's the only guilt free Major religion that puts the responsibility for Man's actions entirely with himself and takes God and the forces of Good and Evil out of the equation. IMO it is far more in touch with reality than belief in Metaphysical forces, Heaven and Hell, the Devil and omnipotent Gods.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 05:37 pm: Edit

Bismallah!

I have been reviewing some of the think-tank and 'center-for' postures on the definition(s) of terrorism and sadly there is little agreement over specifics. There are many candidate definitions and there are official working definitions used by various agencies. The ones that I prefer focus on:

-- illegitimate use of force or threat of force
-- for political ends
-- against innocent targets
-- for purpose of creating fear in an audience not same as the target(s) attacked (a recognition of Lenin's old maxim.)

I am not proposing these shards as a cohesive definition but I am saying that for me, these elements are quintessential.

Modern mass media have greatly empowered the ability of terrorists to terrorize an audience of even global proportions as was certainly the case this time around.

"I dunno abstract Evil but I know it when I see it."

Terrorism is both a criminal act and a political act. I don't think there are many of us, excepting perhaps Mr Rabbit, who would fail to regard an illegitimate attack on innocents, for rhe purpose of frightening a larger audience for political ends, as evil. Very evil. And I see nothing wrong with uprooting any and all those who would employ this tactic. Terrorism was a 20th century concept and we need to bury it as early as possible in the 21st as we can, and stomp it back down whenever it tries to re-emerge from the nether regions.

By Tlautrec on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 03:26 pm: Edit

Quote: "I expect the fall of the Taliban to be swift."

Inshallah!!

By Don_Walsh on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 02:10 pm: Edit

I expect the fall of the Taliban to be swift.

The total destruction of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network will take some time and will not be confined to Afghanistan. And much of the effort will take place in the shadows -- secrecy even in success. Thus it has always been.

I doubt that the Taliban has many Stingers left at this point, the US was more parsimonious with them toward the end of the campaign against the Soviets, and that ended 12 years ago. These will be protecting their main centers, which will be softened up no doubt in advance, and perhaps the spec ops people will have a go at these and the known caches in a bid to reduce their Stinger capability. Anyway, the Navy airdales and USAF know how to neutralize Stingers. Also I suspect they have an IFF functionality (Identify Friend or Foe).

By Tlautrec on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 12:21 pm: Edit

P.S.

I never said the George W. Bush is the embodiment of real Good. Nor would I ever make such a foolish statement. After all, I voted for Al Gore, and would do the same again if the election were tomorrow.

My point was that real Good does exist and has occasionally been embodied by great saints. The fact that the US has been thrust into the position of having to fight embodied Evil does not make us, the American poeple and our allies, the embodiment of Good. It merely makes our cause a just and Good one.

Unfortunately, our efforts in this cause will be led by imperfect humans like you and me. In order to minimize the potential negative consequences of the actions they will have to take, let's pray that these leaders are blessed with wisdom and good judgment.

By Tlautrec on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 12:12 pm: Edit

Quote: "Good and Evil don't exist they are all just positions along the same continuum and depend on a person's ideology, prejudices, point of view and self-interest."

Hob-

I must radically differ with you on this one. I would agree that MOST - and maybe even NEARLY all - human behavior and manifestations of human thinking do fall somewhere along a continuum between Good and Evil. However, unlike you, IMHO, that continuum does have a set of real end points. There is Good, and there is Evil. Moreover, these absolutes have ontological existence. This notion is, of course, at the core of all the world's great religions (except maybe Buddhism, which fundamentally denies the ontological existence of what we perceive as reality, although the actual practice of Buddhism requires a conscious effort on the part of the practitioner to model what we in the West might reasonably call the Good). The problem between us here may ultimately resolve itself to a basic metaphysical disagreement: I happen to believe that there are certain absolute, immutable standards that govern all creation and human life, and from your posts, I would have to conclude that you do not. This is an argument that we shall, I'm afraid, never resolve.

By _Blackjack on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 11:09 am: Edit


Quote:

And they really do use single shot bolt action rifles.



They also use mortars and shoulder-fired antiaircraft missles. It is easier to get a Kalashnikov in Afghanistan than it is to get a meal, and it's easier to get a Stinger than it is to get electricity.

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 10:54 am: Edit

Tlautrec,

"Rather, I was trying to make a more general point about the metaphysical existence of real Good and real Evil, and to suggest that some individuals can come to embody the one or the other."

Is George Bush Junior the embodiment of real Good? Is the US administration the embodiment of real Good? Is the USA the embodiment of real Good? You cannot surely believe this.

This is not a war between the Good forces of Light and the Evil forces of Darkness. It's just another sad example of one tribe fighting another. The same old thing has been happening since the dawn of mankind with both sides thinking they are Good and the other side is Evil. Good and Evil don't exist they are all just positions along the same continuum and depend on a person's ideology, prejudices, point of view and self-interest.

There are no people who represent the true forces of Good or Evil involved in this 'War', just a bunch of arseholes on either side who want to grab as much power and influence as they can without giving a shit about the innocents who get caught in the crossfire (so long as they're not 'their' innocents).

Sure the Northern Alliance are being used now, but if the USA really wanted rid of the Taliban before now then they would have supported the Northern Alliance before now. And they really do use single shot bolt action rifles.

As to the fate of the Taliban, my prediction is that this will be a nasty, mess and long drawn out war with a lot of innocent deaths on both sides. The end result will be a 'victory' for the West with the Taliban still (intentionally) left in place but severely waekened, and support for anti-Taliban rebels dropped. The Taliban will still be in place but Afghanistan will be even more fucked up than it is now. After this the Taliban will still be eating regular hot meals but even more innocent Afghanis will be starving and dying.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 10:14 am: Edit

Thanks, BJ, you saved me the trouble of overcoming my exasperation in order to reply to the 'nukes' (in LWR sense) post. Basically, the outer containment might be breached, but not the primary, and the reactor would SCRAM, there would be no meltdown, no Chernobyl, no China Syndrome.

By Alphasoixante on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 09:37 am: Edit

O Superman.
O Judge.
O Mom and Dad.

Well, you don't know me,
but I know you.
And I've got a message
to give to you.

Here come the planes.

So you better get ready.
Ready to go.
You can come as you are,
but pay as you go.

And the voice said:
This is the hand,
the hand that takes.

Here come the planes.
They're American planes.
Made in America.
Smoking or non-smoking?

And the voice said:
Neither snow nor rain
nor gloom of night
shall stay these couriers
from swift completion
of their appointed rounds.

Cause when love is gone
there's always justice.
And when justice is gone,
There's always force.
And when force is gone,
there's always Mom.
Hi Mom!

So hold me Mom
in your long arms.
In your automatic arms.
Your electronic arms.

So hold me Mom
in your long arms.
Your petrochemical arms.
Your military arms.

--laurie anderson

By _Blackjack on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 02:42 am: Edit

Nuclear power plants do not blow up like bombs, at least, not if they are designed in the fashion of those in the US. And while they would likely not be able to continue operation if hit by a 757, and there would be some potential for contamination, it would not likely be a horrible disaster. Even a worst-case scenario of a reactor breach is not going to put enough radioactive materials (mostly in the form of steam and water) into the environment to be a major killer. I would be more worried about the fire from the crash itself, and about the loss of power.

Keep in mind that Chernobyl, which goes far beyond the worst case possible in the US (really, they had the Ukranian equivalent of Mr. Burns in there, seeing what would happen if he shut off the fail-safes during the tests of a poorly designed reactor), only had an initial death toll of 31, most from fighting the fire, and another dozen or so died later of its effects. There have been various estimates regarding the "extra deaths" (a delightfully grim bit of demographic jargon) that may have been caused by secondary exposure, but the numbers aren't strong or consistant enough to be sure. The only thing that appears to have happened was a minor increase in the rates of usually non-fatal thyroid cancers in children.

If you want to kill a bunch of people, there are better things than nuclear power plants to crash a plane into. Which is somewhat moot, since I doubt any crew or passangers are going to let anybody get away with hijacking a US plane for a long time. Your ability to control people is greatly diminished when they realize you are going to kill them regardeless of what they do...

By _Blackjack on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 02:24 am: Edit


Quote:

These terrorists were not, IMHO, evil. They were trying to do the Right Thing, and their definition of that is different than our own.



Let's be fair. There definition was pretty fucked up. I mean, when Qaithaffi and Arafat say you've gone to far, well, HAVEN'T you?

I've been accused of moral relativism a lot lately, and it's just no the case. Moral relativism isn't something the liberals invented just to make things difficult. Moral relativism began the first time somebody decided that it was OK to do something to somebody else, but not OK for somebody to do it to them. It has only been in recent years that people have tried to turn it around for the benefit of the victim.

I am not going to be a moral relativist about this. I'm wiling to give some slack when it comes of customs and ethnic relations and even the role of women (tho not as much slack as the Taleban wants...), but I am willing to be absolutist when it comes to mass-murder. It is never "right" to kill a bunch of innocent people, especially in a very cruel and terrifying manner. It is very occasionally the only alternative to greater loss of life, and it may even be an unavoidable consequence of self-preservation at times, but it is never "right."

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 11:57 pm: Edit

Whoops, the author's name is McCarry not McNarry, and the book was called 'The Better Angels'. The film version, Wrong is Right, came out in 1981 and did poorly at the box office, but is is a scream, and highly prophetic of current events.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 10:50 pm: Edit

I recommend the Sean Connery film "Wrong is Right", a black farce about Arab suicide bombers in the USA, a mad Bedouin terrorist leader, the news media, the US government, and a missing weapon of mass destruction. Culminating in a US invasion of the fictional oil rich mideast country...

Based on the novel by Charles McNarry, also author of "The Tears of Autumn" and "The Last Supper", McNarry is America's answer to Le Carre and yeah, he used to work just off the G.W.Parkway.

By Head_Prosthesis on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 09:34 pm: Edit

Enrico Fermi "D'oh!"

By Geoffk on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 09:34 pm: Edit

Rabbit

The delemma you've outlined is basically the legal insanity defense. Say I kill an innocent child because I believe he's the spawn of Satan. Now this is a bad thing, because the child didn't really do anything wrong, wanted to live and had a perrect right to. So what I did was wrong (and illegal). Any sane person would conclude that it was an evil at. To assess whether I knew it was evil (and hence I am sane) there are two versions of the test:

(Durham rule--not generally used) There is something mental or physical problem that caused or contributed to me doing it.

(M'Naughton Rule--Usual Test) There is a mental or physical problem such that I didn't know what I was doing or failed to understand that what I was doing was wrong.

The highjackers KNEW that murder is considered illegal and wrong. They took steps to avoid being caught and they knew that many in the US woul condem them. They KNEW that they were committing murder and that many would die. Therefore, they were not legally insane.

Yes, they had a justification: "These are evil sinners". But that's not their judgement to deliver--that's God's judgement. Killing people--civilians--outside of wartime who have committed no act of aggression or crime is wrong. Period. That's the same kind of crime that causes us to conclude that the Nazis were evil or Idi Amin.

O course, not all Muslims are evil or even all Nazis. But ALL of the Nazis who knowingly partiipated in killing innocent Jews were evil and all of the terrorists who contributed to WTC are evil. Since they are/were not legally insane, there is no way that their beliefs can excuse what they know to be evil ations.

-- Geoff K.

By Mr_Rabbit on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 08:50 pm: Edit

When concerns were raised about the safety of nuclear power plants, the response was that they are built to withstand things like airplanes crashing into them.

No mention was made that they are rated for airplanes up to 7 tons or so.

A 767 weighs, what, 150 tons? 200?

There is (or was at least) a program where little groups of people went in on foot to test the security of nuclear power plants. The plants security failed and failed, even with advanced notice. The team was able to do things that (had they really been doing them) would have caused full on, Chernobyl level meltdowns.

The power plants said 'hey, look, your tests are too hard. Let us make up our own tests, OK?'

We are surrounded by bombs.

They are being guarded by Hello Kitty and the Care Bears.

I wish they would move to alternative sources and shut the damn things down and fill them with lead and concrete since even a shut down reactor will release enough radiation to kill little old me...

Happily right now, you cannot get close enough to do more than look at our local plant (TMI) from a good, long distance. I know a guy who has to drive about 30 miles out of his way each day because of the roadblocks.

God bless you, little roadblocks.

But dammit... the potential risk is too great. There was a team of the damn terrorists who trained near here, and did simulated attacks on an electric substation.

Lets see- one meltdown would be enough to make my state a softly glowing memory, and there are how many such plants in the US?

That can be taken out by some guys with a fucking training manual and ninja outfits?

It drives me to drink, which is it's only good point.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 08:02 pm: Edit

Not that it matters, but the Aum only managed to kill, as I recall, 8 or 9 people with that GB (Sarin) attack. Fortunately they were much better at making the stuff (which is easy) without killing themselves (which is hard) and not at all good at weaponizing it (which technology they can't get out of the open literature.)

I was personally involved with forecasting such an attack all through the 80s, working with Jack McGeorge, and a little more distantly with Dr Joe Douglas of Edgewood, and Neil Livingstone, the authors of "The Poor Man's Atom Bomb," one of the earliest and farthest-seeing warnings of terrorist and subnational exploitation of NBC/CBR technology.

One of my friends, Frank Augustine, if off in Japan cleaning up leftover from Aum: precursor chemicals and actual chemical agents incl GB and VX. It's a government contract. When told Frank had gotten this assignment, my comment was "I'd rather waltz across Cambodia wearing snowshoes." And there are, you understand, c.20 million landmines in Cambodia.

By Mr_Rabbit on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 07:41 pm: Edit

The Nazis?

Some of them were most certainly evil. Most were not.

I quite agree that there really are such things as Good and Evil in the world, but the terms are thrown around way to much.

Ultimately, Good and Evil cannot be ascertained by the actions of a particular person. The way to hell is paved with good intentions, and most Nazis probably had those.

These terrorists were not, IMHO, evil. They were trying to do the Right Thing, and their definition of that is different than our own.

People who do what they know to be wrong becuase they revel in the misery of others, in the destruction of all that is beautiful, these people are Evil to me. This is a spiritual thing, however, not a moral thing at all.

Take Aum Shinryu (sp?), that Japanese cult that nerve gassed all those people in the subway. Were they evil? NO! They really did beleive that was the only way to save those people's souls. They were Good, spiritually. They just did stuff we didn't like.

Picture a guy pissing on your favorite painting. If he is doing it because the voices in his head tell him the painting is corrupting the young and leading them to hell, he is not evil. He is good and fighting for what he beleives in.

Now, if he is pissing on it because he wants to destroy all happiness in the world and this is a good way to start, he is evil.

But you wouldn't be able to judge that just by the pissing.

So IMO you must go by practicality, and kick his ass to save your painting in either case.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 07:39 pm: Edit

Thankee, Vera, you wench you, I'll have a Montecristo #1 and a large noser of Camus XO, although it is a little heavy on the bombois.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 07:37 pm: Edit

There are lots of components to this wquation.

We don't want to see anything happen that enhances the power and prestige of Iran in the Islamic world, for one.

We don't want to alter the balance of power between Pakistan and India.

We don't want Russian clients running Afghanistan again (and neither does Palostan) because all Afghanistan is to the Russians, historically speaking, and that means also looking to the possible future, is a domino (if you will pardon the term) on the way to Pakistan and a warm water port in the Indian Ocean as they have wanted fore centuries. You may recall that part of the problem for the British in India was czarist adventurism in...wait for it...Afghanistan, in the 18th and 19th centuries.

(FYI the Chinese are close to achieving naval force projection in the Indian Ocean via Burma and the Andaman Sea, a headache for India and Pakistan -- and Thailand -- while the Indians have been playing kissy kissy with the Vietnamese to counter this).

The Pakistanis and the Chinese square off up in that narrow strip in the far northeast. And the CHinese can't be too thrilled that bin Laden is training Moslems from Sinkiang, just who d'ya reckon they plan to fight? The PLA of course.

So the Pakistanis seem to be the only choice for a state sponsor of an Afghani government that achieves all of these aims. Who else? They are the 'right' religion for Afghanistan, and share some cultural values with at least some of the tribal groups. They are contiguous to the place, and have experience at it. Maybe we just need to have them invent a kindler gentler version of their present instrumentality, but not so kind and gentle that they will be toppled by an Iranian or Russian (i.e., Tajik) client. Maybe the Pakis can be convinced that running the major opium producing region of the world via proxy is not a cool thing to be doing. Maybe under these conditions Afghanistan can return (minus Al Qaeda and Taliban) to its normal workaday level of feuding and fussing.

But then again maybe pigs will fly. It does seem an awful lot to ask.

"So shines a good deed in a weary world."

By Verawench on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 07:33 pm: Edit

Freshen your brandies and cigars, gents?

By Mr_Rabbit on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 07:30 pm: Edit

Geoff, what I am saying is that your position and theirs are arbitrary.

So is mine, but I think it important to recognize the fact, otherwise you will never understand your enemy, and how then can you fight it?

'Morally equivalent' is an oxymoron. Is a '78 Chevvy Nova equivalent to an Emu? An apple to an orange? It makes no sense to compare morals.

Good and evil do not come into this. Their ethics are different than our own.

Is it wrong to kill 7000 people who are all of them the children of Satan and doomed to hell?

If it had been 7000 child molesters, 7000 Jeffrey Dahmers in that building, would you be as sad and angry that they are dead?

How about 7000 international terrorists?

That is how a muslim extremist, morally speaking, thinks of you and me. As evil. And by their own ethics, we *are* evil. No. Not evil, Evil, capital E.

By Tlautrec on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 07:25 pm: Edit

Mr. Rabbit-

My point was not simply that "we are the good guys, and they are the bad guys" (although from the standpoint of objective reality - if such a thing exists - I believe that to be absolutely true). Rather, I was trying to make a more general point about the metaphysical existence of real Good and real Evil, and to suggest that some individuals can come to embody the one or the other. This may not be a popular viewpoint, as it is at odds with the fashionable and popular relativism and skepticism that is at the core of so much popular thinking these days. Perhaps, as you imply, my thinking on this may place me on some kind of an ideological slippery slope that devolves into nothing more meaningful than "us" versus "them". However, I'll take that intellectual risk.

IMHO, not all ideas are equally valid, and not all ideologies are equally meritorious. There really are such things as ontologically "evil" ideas and ideologies. Nazism comes to mind as one obvious example. How do you explain what the Nazis did if not as some manifestation of intrinsic Evil in the world? Some historians might explain the rise of the Third Reich as a reaction of the conservative German bourgeoisie to the social strife and severe economic dislocation that resulted from the Versailles treaty (there's perfidious Albion for you again), the hyperinflation of '23, and ultimately the Depression. However, none of that sort of traditional historical analysis can explain away the extermination camps. WW2 was not simply "us" versus "them". We WERE, for all our mistakes, the good guys. They WERE, despite that fact that not all Germans embodied the Nazi ideology, the bad guys.

As to the deeper question, namely, WHY does a supposedly all good and all loving Supreme Being allow Evil to exist, I'll leave that one for the theologians to answer. Suffice it to say that it does exist. Our job, I guess, is to wisely and humbly recognize it as such, and, to the extent necessary, to oppose it, and those who embody it, with all our strength and all our will. In the case of Osama and his evil crew, we MUST oppose them. It is a moral imperative, as well as being something necessary for our civilization's long-term survival.

Independent of whatever metaphysical point I am laboring to make here, however, I totally agree with Don that taking those bastards out is NECESSARY. On that, I trust, you and I can agree.

By _Blackjack on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 06:12 pm: Edit

My comments abut Pakistan's nukes weren't meant to imply that we shouldlet them have thier way. I'm just worried that, if the Pakistani government plays TOO nice with us, there are some very unpleasant people who would use that as an excuse to take over. THOSE are not people I trust with WMDs.

But, like Don, I don't think there is much danger that Pakistan are going to be our real allies anytime soon.

By Geoffk on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 06:07 pm: Edit

Also Rabbit, maybe, possibly, to you watching MTV's Spring Break and buying Playboy is morally equivalent to killing 7000 people.

I don't personally agree. Especially since we're not forcing Playboy and MTV on them at gunpoint.

Ergo, I think we are right, they are wrong. We are good, they are evil. They deserve to die, we didn't deserve to (but many more probably will doe anyway, thanks to them).

-- Geoff K.

By Mr_Rabbit on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 05:55 pm: Edit

Don, you got it man.

Of course, if I did consider retaliation 'wrong' I would not want it done.

Doing the right thing to me is necessity itself, and if it does not coincide with survival, well shit, life is more than mere survival, innit? Besides, that game's rigged for the house in any case.

But that is moot- it isn't wrong to retaliate (to me.)

Were my name, say, Jesus or Ghandi or King... then I might see it differently.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 05:29 pm: Edit

Mr Rabbit, it matters not at all.

What matters is not whether they die but whether they are prevented, permanently, from doing what they did, or anything like it, again. Ever.

If that means they die, then, hey, tough shit. It does cut down on the recidivism rate.

As Hemingway said "The soldiers came to fight. The dying was accidental."

I am not interested in right or wrong; as you say, this is subject to viewpoint.

What matters is that it is NECESSARY.

By Mr_Rabbit on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 05:19 pm: Edit

tlautrec, you said "Both armies may think that they have God on their side, but I'm afraid that in this case, at least, they're wrong and we're right."

Listen to yourself man! They said that. Just before they did what they did.

This isn't good vs evil. This is us vs them.

Consider: they have done something you find morally unacceptable. For this (I apologize if this assumption is incorrect) you beleive they should die.

You have done something they find morally unacceptable (living the lifestyle of the Great Satan.) For this, they beleive you should die.

"us, and them, and after all it's only round and round again..."- Pink Floyd

This is cat vs dog, shirts vs skins.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 04:49 pm: Edit

By the way as to the earlier 'the Pakis have nukes' argument, i.e., we will have to compromise with them about the survival of the Taliban, here's the dilemna:

The Indians also have nukes.

Shall we have to always say yes to both India and Pakistan because they have invensted in small tactical nuclear arsenals in order to potentially annihilate each other?

Untenable. We can't appease two mutually antagonistic neighbors, and we can't take sides.

What I really want to know about pakistan is, where are the 50 or so high level Pakistani advisors to the bin Laden now (identified to the UN last May by the Russians at request of the Security Council)?

The list includes Pakistani diplomats and Pakistani Army generals.

Where are the thousands of Pakistani recruits to bin Laden also identified? In short, if pakistan is now our ally, is there a fifth column within the Pakistani government that is outside of the control of the chief of state? If so this poses a grave security risk to our forces and to our operational security as well.

We must ensure that the government of Pakistan is entirely forthcoming about this matter and that all such Pakistani advisory assistance, materiel and intelligence support has been withfrawn from the Taliban and bin Laden.

Mere civilian extremist opposition within Pakistan is the responsibility of the Pakistani government to suppress, but how can it do so if the government itself is divided or if the invisible government of ISI is duplicitous?

In Pakistan I'd keep someone busy watching our backs.

The

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 04:36 pm: Edit

Quite right, BJ, and there hangs the entire dilemna for any policy maker pondering who if anyone to help and how much to help them, and it's a mess.

We may well make use of the Northern Alliance as a counterweight to the Taliban, but leave it to the propagandists to pain them as heroic freedom fighters and saviors of the Afghan people. Basically there are no Afghan people, there are merely tribes and the tribes have been enjoying a round robin blood feud for millenia.

In order for any external state or coalition to 'do good for the Afghan people' one must first FIND SOME Afghan people who aren't homicidal maniacs, and then somehow magically dispense with tribalism in Afghanistan forever. Does that sound likely?

Failing that, it will be sufficient to oust the present band of thugs (from Pakistan) and destroy the terrorist base (The Base, Al Qaeda) and let the 'Afghan people' aka tribes of thugs go back to slaughtering each othe as has been their wont for thousands of years. Incidentally it might be nice if we got them out of the poppy farming business forever. Paraquat anyone?

By _Blackjack on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 04:03 pm: Edit

Just keep in mind that the Northern Allience/United Front is simply _another_ bunch of extremist thugs. They're just the Russian-backed Uzbek and Tadjik thugs who teamed up with the Iran-backed Hazzara thugs so they could take on the Pakistan-backed Pushtun thugs. Now, they may be the least reactionary band of thugs in the area, but that's kinda like being the least opinionateb liberal...

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 02:54 pm: Edit

At a time when the western world and the Islamic world are united to rid the planet of the Taliban, Lord Haw Haw just proceeds with his tiresome threadbare anti-US tirade.

It's pitiful and it's old, Haw Haw. Give it a rest and give the forum a break.

When the allies decided to leave Saddam in place (for want of a decent alternative) I didn't like it, even though I could see the logic of it. The devil you know etc. But it was predictable that this policy would have consequences.

This error will be rectified and certainly in the case of the Taliban, will not be repeated.

Saddam invaded Kuwait.

bin Laden (coddled by the Taliban) effectively bombed NYC and the Pentagon, on top of bombing two US embassies and holing a US warship, plus misc bombings within Saudi Arabia.

They are history. Gone. BYE. Adios. Sayonara.

Half measures will not apply this time.

By Tlautrec on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 02:47 pm: Edit

I would also note that yesterday, the governments of Kazakstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kirghizia all committed their support to the US-led coalition. This is particularly important, because not only do these countries have military bases close to the Afghan border, but the people of these countries, especially the Tajiks, have many ethnic brothers in Afghanistan. The support of these countries and their governments should make it a lot easier for us to carry out the sort of measured, well-planned and appropriate military responses that will be necessary to take Bin Laden and crush the Taliban with, hopefully, minimum adverse impacts on the long-suffering Afghan people.

By Tlautrec on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 02:38 pm: Edit

Hob-

Today's papers here in the US indicate that the US government is going to be providing financial and tactical support for the Northern Alliance, as well we should.

By Tavarua on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 02:28 pm: Edit

“Where is the help for the anti-Taliban forces currently at war in Afghanistan? Non-existent as the USA doesn't and never has wanted them to succeed in overthrowing the Taliban. They're still fighting with single shot bolt action rifles.”

I haven’t really been keeping up with this debate, but I do have to disagree with this statement. Lord, what about the missile attack in Afganistan, by Anti-Taliban forces right after the attack on the U.S. Where do you imagine a people with the budget for only bolt action rifles got guided missiles. I do know that this was a retaliation for the Taliban’s assassination, but isn’t it funny how the Northern Afgani rebel forces appeared to get the hardware right after the attack.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 02:19 pm: Edit

Haw Haw, milord, you have no point which anyone can grasp.

The Taliban is going going GONE and so is Saddam, who was actually behind the whole affair (wait and see).

You are so trapped in your b.s. rhetoric. You are pathetic.

By Tlautrec on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 02:15 pm: Edit

Quote: Instead of dividing people up into groups of "the Good" and "the Evil," I say we divide ACTIONS up into "right" and "wrong", and then do what is necessary to stop people from DOING wrong things. Because it is the ACTIONS of people which are wrong, not some inherant quality in the people themselves."

(P.S. How do you do that indented "Quote:" thing that many of you use?)

BJ-

I often agree with you, but I think that what you said, quoted above, misses the mark. It is true that most people are neither inherently "bad" or inherently "good" and that it is typically bad "actions" of flawed (but not intrinsically evil) people that are the cause of much of the world's suffering. However, my life experience, as well as my reading of history (and theology), has led me to believe that there are objectively real "good" and "evil" forces in this world - whatever their metaphysical derivation. How else can one explain the Hitlers, Stalins and Pol Pots?

Little Adolf Schickelgruber may have grown up without a daddy and without one of his testicles, but all the Freudian, Jungian, post-structuralist or what-have-you analysis in the world will never convince me of anything other than that at some point in his life, for whatever reason, he became so warped that he internalized Evil - he invited Evil into his soul, if you will - and he became Evil incarnate. The same can be said for Osama bin Laden.

Of course, the opposite phenomenon was manifested in Moses, Jesus, Buddha, and yes, probably even Mohammed, not to mention the thousands of saints and bodhisattvas who have inhabited our poor benighted planet.

Thus, I do not back down from my characterization of Bin Laden and his nest of vermin as Evil incarnate. Perhaps this plays into their hands in some vague way, but I don't see how, because their view of the rest of us (i.e., the civilized world) is already so perverted by their sick ideology that nothing we say or do is going to change it. Both armies may think that they have God on their side, but I'm afraid that in this case, at least, they're wrong and we're right.

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 02:06 pm: Edit

And Don do you really believe that Bush want's to get rid of the Taliban? Bollocks, he wants to weaken them but ensure that they still remain in place, just like Sadam Hussein. Where is the help for the anti-Taliban forces currently at war in Afghanistan? Non-existent as the USA doesn't and never has wanted them to succeed in overthrowing the Taliban. They're still fighting with single shot bolt action rifles.

God help the poor people of Afghanistan if the ongoing fate of Iraqi civilians is anything to go by. At the end of it all they'll still be ruled by a bunch of monsters but their living conditions will be even worse than it is now.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 01:58 pm: Edit

Don,

"Lord Haw Haw is back...Then you have the gall to deny that this was shifting blame from the terrorists to the US...No one believes you."

Again you fail to grasp the point. You believe that anyone who doesn't accept that the USA is the defender of the World's freedom is automatically a defender of terrorism. You believe that anyone who does not support US foreign policy in the middle East is automatically a defender of terrorism. You believe that anyone who doesn't accept that Bush is an heroic defender of freedom is a defender of terrorism. That anyone who suggests that the USA's previous involvement in Afghanistan was less genuine than it appears on the surface is a defender of terrorism.

Are you really so narrow minded that you believe only 2 positions can exist on these matters? The question to ask is whether anyone believes you are this narrow-minded or whether they believe you are spouting jingoistic rhetoric for your own propaganda purposes. Personally I don't believe that 'Secret Sam' the almost CIA man, is as narrow-minded as he appears.

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 11:55 am: Edit

I mean, if we realy do wipe out terrorism, and can do so with minimal innocent deaths, our actions would likely be a good thing. But I suspect we are only going to be going after those groups which are specifically unfriendly to the US. Do you think we're going to try and hold Israel accountable for its sponsorship of terror in Lebanon? And somehow I can't imagine us going after the Basque sepertists...

And I am REALLY uncomfortable with people's putting things in terms of good and evil. Absolutes like that tend to create false dichotomies. Calling someone "evil" makes it far too easy to justify anything you chose to do to them. That's how the hijackers managed to justify their mass murders, after all. Evil sounds too much like an imutable, inherant quality.

Instead of dividing people up into groups of "the Good" and "the Evil," I say we divide ACTIONS up into "right" and "wrong", and then do what is necessary to stop people from DOING wrong things. Because it is the ACTIONS of people which are wrong, not some inherant quality in the people themselves.

By _Blackjack on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 11:40 am: Edit

For the record, I am not displeased with the way the administration is handling this. They may be waxing a bit more jingoistically than I like, but the fact is, they seem to be treading very carefully and trying to find a course of action which will actually accomplish something. Enough time has passed that we won't be acting simply out of rage. They seem to be aware of the potential to make things worse, and are trying to ameliorate that danger.

I fear cozying up to Pakistan will come back to bte us on the ass, however. If they are willing to turn on the Taleban when it is expedient, I don't doubt they'll do the same to us. And I would also like to do as little as possible to destabilize any nuclear power with a vocal extremist faction among its people. I'm pretty sure Musharaff isn't going to do anything suicidally stupid, but I'm not so sure about some of the badass motherfuckers who have been eating bugs and broken glass in Kashmir for decades...

I am also pleased by W.'s humility. Unlike Clinton or Nixon or Kennedy or even his father, I don't think he is likely to take action out of a desire to prove himself right or to look tough. Very few presidents have had the presence of mind to realize that they are in over their head.

The weirdest thing is, I am also finding myself liking Fucking Giuliani, whose name I have cursed for years. He needed a crisis, I guess. I suspect one of the reasons he seemed so extreme before was that he was looking for a problem to fix, he was treating public urination and tasteless art like THEY were a crisis.

I fear the people are going to appoint him Consul for Life, tho, and you kow where that leads...

By _Blackjack on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 11:19 am: Edit

Well, Don, the thing of it is, we didn't help the Mujahedin because we gave a shit about whether the Soviets massacred them or not. We did it because it hurt the Soviets. We have certainly stood by and allowed other massacres to take place, especially if they were being performed by nations we considered valuable to our interests. We were perfectly willing to tolerate Saddam Hussein's use of WMDs, as long as they were aimed at Iranians (or his own people). I have seen no consistant desire to stop all volations of human rights, or to topple all despots (not that we could). If we do good, at least as far as military/political intervention goes, it tends to be as a side effect. Collateral benefits, you might say.

And, as I pointed out, if we cared about the fate of the Afghan people, we would have tried to help them reach some level of stability. I understand what you are saying about their not WANTING us to take a hand in "nation building," as the buzzword seems to be. However, we certainly could have helped with things like agriculture and infrastructure, and they'd have accepted gratefully.

I guess what I keep saying is that, if we are going to interfere, it should be with the specific goal of doing good for the people involved. If we are going to do a half-assed job, or only help when it is to our advantage, then, well, I'd rather we just stayed home.

I mean, are the people of Iraq better off than they were in 1989?

The India reference was more directed toward the whole of the Middle East, and our position as the only stablizing force preventing things from from getting much worse, as the British were in India. We are the frying pan keeping them out of the fire. I am not able to decide if it's better to be cooked or to burn oneself up. I am hoping there is another option to be found.

Maybe we can be the spatula. Or at least a fork.

By Zman7 on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 11:10 am: Edit

Tlautrec,
I completely agree with your assertion that bin Laden and his ilk need to be put to an end. This is a war between good and evil. As a former U.S. Marine, my heart and prayers go out to our men and women who will be put in harm's way to protect not only the U.S.'s freedom, but the freedom of our world.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 10:52 am: Edit

Right ON! Tlautrec

(mostly)

Cheers

D.

By Tlautrec on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 10:44 am: Edit

Don & Bjacques-

Do not doubt that it is possible for people to be liberal-to-progressive on social, economic and cultural issues, to fundamentally agree with the criticisms of corporate and mass media globalization that were articulated by those who protested in Seattle, Genoa and elsewhere, AND to be fully supportive of the efforts of the US government and its allies - yes, even with W in command - to take all actions necessary, even if that means a new war with Iraq, to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism.

This is NOT a Left versus Right thing; it's really about civilization versus barbarism. Bin Laden and his ilk are every bit as evil as Hitler; they MUST be stopped. Advanced modern civilization, in particular its American manifestation, certainly has its warts, and I for one have always been the sort of person to advocate the removal of those warts. But let's face it, warts and all, what we've got, and now need to protect, is immeasurably better than the alternative that would result if the terrorists are allowed to have it their way.

In this regard, even though I am proud to call my self a "liberal", a "progressive", and even a "Democrat", I am ashamed of my Congresswoman, Barbara Lee (who represents Berkeley - hotbed of the new "peace" movement), the one person in Congress who voted against this necessary war on behalf of civilization against evil incarnate. What do she and her minions think? Oh, yes, peace is good; peace is better than war. That's a truism. But the principles of "turning the other cheek" and "loving one's enemies" do not abrogate the need for creatures, and societies, to defend themselves when attacked by predators. This basic law is built into the very core of our fleshly existence. And we should make no mistake about it, the Bin Laden crowd are the very worst sort of predators, who must be defeated, at great cost if necessary, if we are to preserve the existence of our civilization.

Thus, even though I agree with many - nay, most - of the criticisms that have been directed at America's many misguided foreign incursions in the past 50 years (the removal of Arbenz in Guatemala, of Mossadegh in Iran and of Allende in Chile, Vietnam, Grenada, Somalia, etc.), at America's persistent socio-economic injustices, and at the mind-numbing inanity of American pop culture and consumerism, I have no doubt that this new war is morally justified and ultimately necessary for our survival, and for the survival of civilization as we know it.

My son is 19 years old and at college. He and his peers will be the ones who have to fight this new war. He is studying International Relations, and I have told him that he should start studying Arabic or Farsi. I hope he does, and I hope that he can do his part in this necessary war. His grandfather was a Marine officer who fought on Guadalcanal, on Peleliu and on many other islands during WW2. He was wounded and decorated and was was a hero for his times. Perhaps my son will get to be a hero in this new war. Do not doubt it; we're going to need such heroes.

So, with regret, but no reservation, I must say to the new peaceniks out there: you jerks are friggin' out of your mind, get a life!

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 10:16 am: Edit

BJ, you aren't suggesting (are you?) that is what somehow 'wrong' to assist the mujahideen to expel the Soviet invaders, when the Soviets were using weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, and directed energy) against both mujahideen and civilian targets?

The mujahideen leaders we did work with were happy to get our materiel, esp the ones that let them neuter the Soviet air power, but were slow to trust our personnel, and most certainly did NOT want American involvement in the civil war that was sure to follow an eventual Soviet withdrawal. The US never had any intention of picking a faction to install, nor did the mujis want us to; if we had done so that faction would have simply replaced Najibullah (the Sov puppet) as the common, foreign backed enemy.

Of course AFTER the Sov pullout various disappointed wannabe leaders of just such factions turned on the US for NOT acceeding to their newfound interest in being the US version of Najibullah. This led to effectively what were and are, feuds. But basically, Afghanistan IS the oldest established permanent floating feud game in the world.

That's Afghani gratitude. Imagine Klingons without much technology and there you have it.

BTW India was a walk in the park compared to Afghanistan.

Kipling and George McDonald Fraser can testify to that.

Incidentally that old 'Islamic students' line a la Taliban's origins is one that has been used many times before. Remember the Iranian hostage crisis? The people who seized the US Embassy were supposed to be 'students' too, but they were not. This is a buzzword, something to feed the media, that's all. The same tactic is used in Thailand. There's an open university here, 70,000 students. But whever there's a mass uprising, the ranks of the 'students' are suddenly swollen with all sorts of rather long in the tooth individuals who have no student ID cards and who have never attended a class...

Now the Taliban are calling themselves 'clerics' but the problem is that in Sunni there are no clerics. Only the laity. The faithful. No clergy, no priests. Only Shi'a has clergy, and the Taliban are Sunni.

In short it's a pose.

By _Blackjack on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 09:49 am: Edit

Don is right that the Taleban, specifically, is far more a creation of elements within Pakistan than it is of the CIA. Keep in mind that the Taleban, as an entity, is fairly young, only beginning to emerge towards the end of the Soviet conflict, and only rising to significant power in the 90's. Contrary to the legend they have tried to erect, neither Mullah Omar nor bin Laden were particularly major players in the war against the Soviets. Far from being the mountain-man soldiers they are protrayed as, they were originally a student mvement. They simply took advantage of the post-Soviet chaos and were able, with the help of a large number of Pakistani "volunteers" (apparently Kashmir wasn't enough of a desolate, war-torn hell hole for them) to displace whatever unstable vestiges of a government had emerged.

The CIA did, however, pump a lot of money, effort, and Stinger missiles into the various groups of Mujahedin during the 80's, and a lot of those who benefitted from this are NOW part of the Taleban. More to the point, however, we supported them only so long as it was politically advantageous to us, and once the Soviet threat had diminished, we left Afghanistan to flounder in chaos. We were perfectly willing to help them expell the Soviets, but we had little interest in helping them rebuild or find stability.

I know I seem to want it both ways: I condemn our interference, and then I condemn our abandonment. This is also how I feel about the Gulf War. If we _are_ going to intervene in the affairs of other nations, we should at least be doing so for the good of the people of those nations. We shouldn't be satisfied simply to protect our interests.

The problem is, at ths point, we are so extracated into the whole mess that the results of a pull-out would be worse than the results of our interference. We are propping up corrupt dictatorships, sure, but it's not like perfect republics would appear if we didn't. There would be, essentially, a whole bunch of Afghanistans.

I am reminded of the Urban Legend about the guy who fell between the platform and the subway train. He survived, but the train was the only thing that was holding him together. They knew that if they moved the train, or tried to pull him out, all his guts would fall out.

I am also reminded of the British in India.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 09:06 am: Edit

Of course an ex-ISI guy would say that 'Pakistan' wants the Taliban to stay. It's ISI's creature. However, I don't think Pakistan's desires and those of the ISI are so completely synonymous.

'Pakistan has (not many and not large and no strategic platform) nukes' but Pakistan can suddenly lose those nukes. Pakistan is NOT willing to commit national suicide to protect the Taliban. The rest of the Islamic world wants the Taliban to go, and so does the Western world. The ex-ISI fellow is fighting a retrograde position, but in fact he has already lost his asset. The Taliban is finished, ISI will need to creat a new puppet if they wish to control Afghanistan and 70% of the world's heroin supply. And that, gentlemen and ladies, is exactly what they have been doing. It's a huge cash cow.

By Bjacques on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 05:28 am: Edit

Yeah, I heard that too. I've stopped noticing; it's a sideshow. The President may be a boob, but the office of the Presidency (and certainly the party that holds the Executive Branch) can still take care of business, business I don't like.

The story about $43 million War on Drugs aid to the Taliban is wrong. Actually, I investigated it after Don evinced skepticism when I posted it here. It's *food* aid and it was supposed to *bypass* the Taliban (how is unclear). Robert Scheer (With Enough Shovels) wrote the article that got it wrong and everyone quoted it. Predictably, the right had a field day with this. I've been trying to quash it wherever I find it.

It's time to take the longer view. I'm not especially worried about a second Vietnam. Give the military *some* credit. Powell and Rumsfeld repeat the mantra about "a long, drawn-out war," but politics demand they avoid one. Napalming terrorists abroad and civil liberties at home won't get them re-elected if it doesn't buy a quick vistory. They're already softening the rhetoric. An ex-ISI guy last night on CNN basically admitted that Pakistan wants the Taliban to stay. Pakistan has nukes.

War or no war, we're left with a government that's mostly for sale, traded back and forth between two parties that between them disgust almost everybody. After the "war" ends or settles to an equilibrium point, it'll be business as usual: criminals on the payroll, sanctioned money laundering for dirty tricks, and protection for global corporate rape. Unless...

The guys aboard the fourth airplane got it right. They made a difference when they got together and did something.

By Etienne on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 05:24 am: Edit

You can probably thank an illiterate speech writer for that one.

By Absinthedrinker on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 02:59 am: Edit

I was quite disturbed to hear the CIC of the US army use the word misunderestimate three times in his speech to the CIA last night.

By Geoffk on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 12:02 am: Edit

I know the Pearl harbor analogy is getting old, but what the heck:

Pearl Harbor - 2500 die, mostly military. Japan was heavily provoked by US blockades etc.

WTC/Pentagon - 7000+ die, mostly civilian. The terrorists were not much affected by the US prior to the attack.

I don't know anyone who thinks the Pacific War should never have been fought. I absolutely, positively don't know anyone who thinks that we were unjustified in (counter) attacking Japan.

Under what possible justification would we NOT go to war over this, assuming we know who to attack?

-- Geoff K

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 10:19 pm: Edit

Kallisti, I don't have any problem with that.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 10:16 pm: Edit

Blackjack, you compared yourself (in a fashion) to Spock earlier on; actually the Vulcans never figured out that logic is a poor substitute for reason.

Anyway after reading your latest post I suggest that the more apt analogy would be to one of those Star Trek computer-beings that Spock (or Kirk) usually ended up trapping into a really superficial and trivial paradox and obliged it to fly up its own tail and melt down.

However you have the self-awareness of your limitations, so that that you admit that you manage to think yourself into complete inertia, stasis, inaction, like a molecule at absolute zero.

I am hoping that the removal of the Taliban will be a swift one, and that we can accomplish this without falling into the errors of the Soviets. To understand the Soviets in Afghanistan one must realize that Stalin only completed the subjugation of Central Asia including the states adjacent to Afghanistan in the post WWII period (late 40s) and that he did so with his usual disregard for the lives of his troops or of the population.

I recommend David Isby's two books on the Soviets in Afghanistan, David and I are old friend, and still in communication, we worked together in the 80s when he was with the Committee for a Free Afghanistan. Now he is a frequent Talking Head on national TV on matters pertaining to Afghanistan.

By Admin on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 10:14 pm: Edit


Quote:

You think ideology is hereditary? It isn't.




No, of course not. It's just my way of being facetious. And I also don't mean to chicken out of my own ideology, which could be read into my statement. I firmly believe in my own belief system. And I also don't believe that my ideology beats your ideology (or anyone's), hence my general avoidance of ideological arguments. So I scurry to the comfortable security of The Onion to put the salve on my ideological wounds. They seem to offend/annoy everyone.

And another article that reminds me of some of our wrastling:

http://www.theonion.com/onion3734/point_americas_response.html

But my parents and teachers were all very much like Marc, from the same socio-political background, and I've had my own demons to fight in that regard. But I am grateful for the questioning and distrust it has instilled when digesting political rhetoric and/or media blitz. I usually turn to alternate sources to back up the media spoon feed.

Though, when watching those 10-15 years younger than myself, youngsters brought up much like myself, they don't seem to question the distrust in authority, saying things like "cops are pigs" and "war is bad" and "two wrongs don't make a right" and not know what the hell they are talking about, and mostly, what they actually feel about it.

It doesn't matter what your upbringing, as long as somewhere along the line you are able to make up your own mind about things.

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 09:39 pm: Edit


Quote:

Clinton was capable of an ineffectual show of bluster. Had he been resolute, we would not have to go this now, and a whole bunch of people in NY and Arlington would be alive.



Except for the ones who would have died in the protracted war which would have followed. But we're going to get that anyway, I guess...

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 09:34 pm: Edit


Quote:

Again you accuse me of something I have not said. I repeat I AM NOT SHIFTING THE BLAME FOR THE TRAGEDY FROM BIN LADEN ONTO THE USA. Do not try repeatedly to accuse me of something I have not said.



LH, I figured out the problem here. There is a incompatibility between the basic premises upon which you and Don base your conclusions. This is the logic by which many people conclude that those who criticize US policy must believe that the US deserved to be attacked, as near as I can figure:

a) Countries which kill innocent people indiscriminately should be brutally attacked.

b) The US was brutally attacked.

Therefore:

c) Saying that the US has killed innocent people indiscriminately is the same as saying the US deserved to be brutally attacked.

The problem is, these people are assuming that a) is a given, that there can be justifications for brutal violence. I assume no such thing. Since I do NOT beleive that brutality can be justified, be it directed against the US, or against Palastinian refugees, or against Kurds in Iraq, or against Christians in the Sudan, the assertion that anything I say is a justification for what happened is absurd. In order to understand my position, one must be willing to consider that there are people who DON'T consider that it is POSSIBLE for it to be "ok" to blow up a building full of tousands of people.

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 08:41 pm: Edit

Ideology is half the battle

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 08:16 pm: Edit

Kallisti, I was raised by antiwar liberal Democrat Catholic parents who used to have Fathers Daniel and Philip Berrigan over for dinner and a fast poker game quite frequently. The Berrigans were outspoken Jesuit activisys who liked to pour blood on Selective Service files etc etc.

So what the hell does that have to do with anything?

Did you think I was raised by neo nazis?

You think ideology is hereditary? It isn't.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 08:11 pm: Edit

tomjoad, that the terrorists are Moslem is incidental. So are many of our allies and supporters. I doubt that they would care for our using pig products as weapons.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 08:08 pm: Edit

Lord Haw Haw is back.

Look, Haw Haw, bin Laden is a MILLIONAIRE many times over and needed/needs no CIA 'payroll'.

Indeed some in the press are saying bin Laden 'funds' the Taliban. While doubtless they get some money from him, that is wrong. The Taliban is funded by HEROIN.

Yes the US supported some mujahideen factions against the Soviets, but not all. And some of those factions turned against the US afterwards.

You are wrong about the ISI and CIA. And

Clinton failed to take final and decisive action against bin Laden after the embassy bombings and the Yemen bombing. He failed in his capacity as Commander in Chief to defend the UNited States. Because Al-Qaeda was allowed to continue, these attacks resulted. The link in time is <5 years.

You assert that the attacks resulted from supposed CIA support of bin Laden in the 80s. The link in time is almost 20 years and the premise is false.

Go back and read your own post. You said what you said.

"It is unfair to entirely blame Clinton when the administrations before him helped set the Taliban up in power and then payrolled Bin Laden. If they had not done so then perhaps those 5000 New-Yorkers (and others) who were murdered last week would still be alive today."

The CIA did not put the Taliban in power, the Paki ISI did and there is NO love lost between the two services.

bin Laden needed a CIA paycheck like the Atlantic needs someone to piss in it to be wet.

You posit a causal link between things that you claim were done, that were NOT done, and say that had they not been done, the dead in NYC and DC might be alive.

Then you have the gall to deny that this was shifting blame from the terrorists to the US.

No one believes you.

By Tomjoad on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 07:04 pm: Edit

Would dropping pigs from overhead be considered biological warfare?

By Chevalier on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 03:02 pm: Edit

You know what's truly evil? Some folks -- your neighbors? your friends? you? me? -- are going to ENJOY the "fun" that's coming. Smart-bomb cams, explosions, firestorms, TaliBAM!

Bloodlust, mainlined from the heart of darkness.

By Admin on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 03:02 pm: Edit

and I should clarify that "retard" refers to:

being ironic does not make one a fan of the sixth sense (lordy!), or have anything to do with doubting that death means "really dead".

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 03:01 pm: Edit

"Hey Mr Tally-Ban give me back my Dollars"

By Admin on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 02:57 pm: Edit

oh, and here's that retard time article:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101010924-175112,00.html

By Admin on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 02:49 pm: Edit

for a little levity from The Onion:

God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule

And Don, don't go reading the rest of their site; it is ironic, leftist, liberal, pro-smarmy material that will just make you mad. I, on the otherhand, appreciate the much needed lightening up from the "bomb the fuckers", flag waving attitude everywhere.

Don't hit me. Remember, I was raised by people like Marc.

Smooches.


Quote:

Report: Gen X Irony, Cynicism May Be Permanently Obsolete

AUSTIN, TX— According to Generation X sources, the recent attack on America may have rendered cynicism and irony permanently obsolete. "Remember the day after the attack, when all the senators were singing 'God Bless America,' arm-in-arm?" asked Dave Holt, 29. "Normally, I'd make some sarcastic wisecrack about something like that. But this time, I was deeply moved." Added Holt: "This earnestness can't last forever. Can it?"



Much needed after all the RIDICULOUS articles being run on the death of irony. Stop gloating, fuckers. Righteous bastards are sooo unattractive. heh.

For you, Hob, also from The Onion (don't look Don!)


Quote:

Bush Sr. Apologizes To Son For Funding Bin Laden In '80s

MIDLAND, TX— Former president George Bush issued an apology to his son Monday for advocating the CIA's mid-'80s funding of Osama bin Laden, who at the time was resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. "I'm sorry, son," Bush told President George W. Bush. "We thought it was a good idea at the time because he was part of a group fighting communism in Central Asia. We called them 'freedom fighters' back then. I know it sounds weird. You sort of had to be there." Bush is still deliberating over whether to tell his son about the whole supporting-Saddam Hussein-against-Iran thing.


By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 02:44 pm: Edit

Don,

Again you accuse me of something I have not said. I repeat I AM NOT SHIFTING THE BLAME FOR THE TRAGEDY FROM BIN LADEN ONTO THE USA. Do not try repeatedly to accuse me of something I have not said.

Indeed it seems that it is OK for you to blame a former US President Clinton for the tragedy but not OK for anyone else to mention that the probable culprit behind the masacre was in fact payrolled by the CIA a decade ago. Islamic nations are right to turn their back on the Taliban, they are an abomination.

Let's not engage in voluntary memory loss. You know that the CIA payrolled Bin Laden, this is indisputable. You know that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were the USA's strongest Islamic allies and that it was only when the Taliban looked like they were going to take Kabul that the CIA changed it's tune.

Where was/is the USA's (and the West's) support for the anti-Taliban forces in the ongoing war in Afghanistan? Does Bush want to topple the Taliban? No.

I am not spreading propaganda for the terrorists. But I do not agree that we should pretend that the USA has not had a hand in Bin Laden and the Taliban's success. You know they had.

Just because I'm not prepared to sing the Star Spangled Banner alongside Bush doesn't make me a supporter of terrorism despite your clumsy attempts to portray me as such.

THE TALIBAN ARE SCUM. BIN LADEN IS A MURDERER. But I don't think Bush or the USA is the saviour of the world's freedom.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 02:40 pm: Edit

"Come, Mr Tally-Ban, give us all your Saudis!"

By Artemis on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 02:33 pm: Edit

and Tally My Banana.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 02:24 pm: Edit

And let's not forget:

TaliBANNED

and

TaliDISBAND

and

TaliGONE.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 02:23 pm: Edit

Sorry about the typo, but actually, it is a worthy one. Consider:

TaliBAM!
TaliBOOM!
TaliBANG!
or perhaps TalisilencedMP5-SD3intheface

I'm still waiting for them to proclaim 'The Mother of all Battles'. Hahahaha.

And slightly later:

"We couldn't see the Americans, and then our tanks blew up."

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 02:17 pm: Edit

Clinton was capable of an ineffectual show of bluster. Had he been resolute, we would not have to go this now, and a whole bunch of people in NY and Arlington would be alive.

Contrary to Lord H's persistant, if garbled, attempts to shift the blame for this tragedy onto US shoulders, the terrorist attacks on the WTC and Pentagon were NOT:

-- because the US supported the mujahideed against the Soviets

-- because the US and its allies including most Islamic nations, prevented the annexation of the sovereign state of Kuwait by Saddam, which would have been a stepping stone to an invaion of Saudi Arabia, where the US is obliged to assist the Saudis in their defense to this day, as is the UK;

-- because the US supports Israel. If you take a look, cloth-eyes, you will discover that MANY Moslem nations trade extensively with Israel, including so called confrontation states.

You should be ashamed to repeat the propaganda of the terrorists at a time when the UK is preparing to spend its soldiers' lives to scour the earth clean of terrorism.

EVERY MOSLEM NATION has turned its back on the Taliban, every one of them has withdrawn their diplomats and severed relations, save the Pakistanis, and the Pakistanis are allowing the US and its allies to use Pakistan as an unsinkable aircraft carrier against the terrorists.

The Talibam is isolated and friendless, excepot for your small shrill hysterical whine.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 02:04 pm: Edit

Lord H, sorry. The Taliban was created, trained, financed and installed by the Pakistani ISI, which is NOT a CIA client.

Indeed, ISI probably assassinated their own PM, Zia, who WAS a CIA client, and incidentally killed the American Ambassador, the US Defense Attache, and a whole lot of the Pakistani high command, by engineering the crash of two Pakistani airplanes into a mountain (some analysts suspect, by applying carfentanyl to the steering wheels.)

Does that sound like the work of a CIA client? As far as I know they (the CIA) were and are not killing our own ambassadors.

Go peddle your disinformation elsewhere.

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 09:45 am: Edit

And let's not forget that Clinton was more than willing to, shall we say, broadly interpret, international law in order to strike back against Bin Ladin. He lobbed missles at Afghanistan and Sudan. It isn't that he didn't have the balls; he just didn't have very good aim.

I have already admitted that Gore would probably have ended up like me in this situation; thinking himself into a logical corner. You'll notice, you don't see a lot of Vulcans in command of starships...

No, I think the trained monkey we have in the Oval Office now is probably about what we need. If they give him enough bananas, he does a good job of looking sincere for the camera. He is a pleasing facade to cover the ugly things which are going to be going on behind the scenes in the next few years.

BTW, the cape (the piece of land) was only called Cape Kennedy for a very brief time, and most Floridians never called it that at all. The reason the name was returned to Canaveral was that historians and local residents wanted to keep the 400-year-old name of the cape, not because they didn't like Kennedy. The space center located ON the cape was, and still is, called the Kennedy Space Center.

Don, you know they were considering moving Ireland's Own a few years back, but the tenants near the new proposed location protested, fearing that the place would attract drunken Irish? Really! So Pat Troy just bought up an adjoinding space and expanded. They changed the name, too. It's now just "Pat Troy's."

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 08:56 am: Edit

Not wishing to become embroiled in a vicious row, but let's not forget which President was in power when the Taliban were helped in their push for power in Afghanistan? Who was in power when the CIA payrolled Bin Laden a decade ago? (Also not forgetting the $43 in aid that was given to the Taliban regime 4 months ago.)

It is unfair to entirely blame Clinton when the administrations before him helped set the Taliban up in power and then payrolled Bin Laden. If they had not done so then perhaps those 5000 New-Yorkers (and others) who were murdered last week would still be alive today.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 08:09 am: Edit

JFK's sex life (with anyone but Jackie) was truly amazing, esp considering his bad back. Frankly, I think this was one of his more admirable traits. And he did like good cigars.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 08:05 am: Edit

If Clinton had been fit to be Commander in Chief we would have taken out bin Laden's network before or after he bombed our embassies in two African nations and blew a hole in an American warship in Yemen.

Had this happened we wouldn't have 5000 ore more dead on US soil and billions in property damage today.

Instead Clinton inherits the Jimmy Carter Award, what the Latin Americans call La Mujer Bionica, the Bionic Woman. All that power, and...no balls.

By Bob_Chong on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 08:02 am: Edit

Formerly Cape Arbuckle

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 08:01 am: Edit

In fairness, the 20th century Anglo-American relationship has been far superior, and the 21st Century is shaping up nicely. The stalwart British support for the fight against terror (and from a Labour govt to boot) is a good sign.

Geoff, you must have been in a time capsule. I used to drink with Teddy K. and there's nothing slow, or new about his deterioration. He's been a drunken bum for decades. A waitress at Ireland's Own (Irish pub in Old Town Alexandria VA) once told Teddy that if he wanted to run a tab, as opposed to paying for his drinks one by one, he'd have to move further away from the exit. But she was new, and from Ireland, and honestly didn't know she was speaking to Himself.

Furthermore Cape Canaveral changed its name back from Cape Kennedy more than a decade ago.

By Geoffk on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 07:17 am: Edit

Any day now for JFK. You notice how NASA is back to launching from Cape Canaveral again? The revelations of him as a real horndog (with Marilyn et al.) haven't helped either.

I always thought the Kennedys were a very bad choice for an American royal family. As Teddy slowly bloats into a drunken parody of a senator, people are slowly realizing this.

-- Geoff K.

By Bob_Chong on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 07:13 am: Edit

GeoffK:

I like the cut of your jib re: FDR, and you barely touched on his domestic failures. Keep up the good work. Funny thing is, it isn't shitting on someone's legacy when all you're doing is telling the truth.

I am waiting for the day when the world takes a good, cold look at JFK's "presidency" and "Camelot." Have we mourned long enough yet? Can we talk about what was actually done (and not done) before he was killed?

BC

By Geoffk on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 07:04 am: Edit

I'm sure that everything you say is correct, but it's not much of an excuse. If Roosevelt was too sick to stand up to Stalin, he should have resigned and let Truman take over sooner. And he has no excuse for the Ponzi scheme of Social Security, the court packing plan or any of other numerous sleazy schemes.

There was an old joke:

"What's the problem with the new Roosevelt postage stamp?"
"People keep spitting on the wrong side."

-- Geoff K.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 05:19 am: Edit

To be fair, Roosevelt was dying by the time Eastern Europe got carved up, the world was exhausted and no one except Patton wanted to turn on the Russkies.

As to starting WWII, well, the China lobby helped a lot, which was a lot of churches and missionaries and Henry & Claire Boothe Luce (TIME/LIFE now WARNER) and their friends the Sungs, the Kungs, and Chiang Kai Shek. In fact decades of abject misunderstanding of the Japanese had a lot to do with it and the racist exclusionary policies of the US were no help.

Some British sources notably Stirling Seagrave in his LORDS OF THE RIM, accuse FDR of being too quick to assist the Chinese becasue of guilt feelings about his family's (supposed) involvement in the opium trade. Well, perhaps, but a Brit accusing an American of such a thing requires a degree of hypocrisy that I find astonishing, given that the opium trade was basically state policy, the East India Company was mostly owned by the Crown, and the American share of the trade was miniscule in comparison. What the opium trade was about was (a) balancing the payments for the silver bullion that the Chinese Emporer demanded for tea, and (b) corrupting the Chinese people in preparation for conquest, NO MATTER WHAT THE COST IN HUMAN MISERY FOR SCORES OF MILLIONS. It wasn't the Yanks who built Hong Kong on the opium-silver-tea triangle, it was Jardine, Matheson, the East Asia Company, Parliament, the British crown, with the direct support of the Royal Navy who prosecuted not one but two wars to secure it. Oh, and incidentally, everyone got to make a pile of money in the process, and even be pious about it by sending in the missionaries to further destabilize the Middle Kingdom.

Quite exactly what Japan had cleverly managed to avoid having the colonial powers do there, by imposing 4 centuries of total isolation unless you count the tiny Dutch toehold in Nagasaki.

To the credit of the British is was also they who eventually abolished the opium trade, but, perhaps it was by then, no longer as profitable as it once had been nor as useful an instrument of statecraft? One wonders.

This is similar to the British establishment of, profit from, and later abolition of the slave trade -- only AFTER it was of little use to them any longer. And oh how righteous they were to the Americans who still had, in the South, an economy built upon it. Perfidious Albion indeed.

By Geoffk on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 12:56 am: Edit

Al Gore, Commander in Chief
Bill Clinton, Commander in Chief

THAT'S really gonna scare the terrorists.

I think when we elect Presidents, we might want to consider the possibility that they might need to lead the country in wartime.

Franklin Roosevelt "lead the country" during WWII. On the other hand, he also sold Eastern Europe down the road at Yalta and collaborated with Stalin--who was worse than Hitler in some ways. Roosevelt practically started the Pacific war by blockading and provoking Japan and later he basically started the Cold war by accomodating the USSR. Korea, Vietnam and our current problems with China are all essentially Roosevelt's fault, in that he could have prevented them and didn't. Not to mention his creation of the current US high-tax/semi-socialist, big government state.

I'd say it matters who the US chooses.

-- Geoff K.

ps. And you're right. Gore lost fair and square and he was a VERY sore loser about it.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 11:37 pm: Edit

I had forgotten the connection to the Gore family. But then I am trying hard to forget Al Gore.

Any damn it, he DID lose the national election. The Florida papers tallied the ballots to find out, and he would have lost Florida in any case, if the Supreme Court had not stopped the recounts. So, you can argue the Supreme Court decision, from now till hell freezes over, but in effect all it did was save the country six months or more of futile wrangling -- Bush won anyway. It was the Democrats who first sought relief in the courts, and they were wrong to do so. Then when the courts went against them, they piss and moan.

Now, if you are arguing instead that the Electoral COllege system is unfair and that the popular vote is what ought to predominate, at least you will be on safer ground and in a fairly manistream tradition with some history behind it.

But I'd still side with the Framers against this, for the very reason they distrusted the popular vote: dictatorship of the big population centers at expense of the small and thinly populated states. The system of checks and balances they devised have withstood the acid test of several such close elections, and are sanctified by tradition and hallowed by time. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

By Chevalier on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 12:05 pm: Edit

Vidal's nonfiction writings. Essays, mostly.

'Homage to Daniel Shays: Collected Essays 1952-1972' (1972)

'Matter of Fact and Fiction: Essays 1973-76' (1976)

'The Second American Revolution: And Other Essays 1976-82)' (1982)

'United States: Essays 1952-1992' (1993)

By Tlautrec on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 11:27 am: Edit

Some of you may recall that Gore Vidal ran in the Democratic primary for the US Senate from California - against Jerry Brown (!) - in 1982, I believe. Vidal ran to the LEFT of Brown, who, at that time, at the end of his 8-year gubernatorial term, was generally known out here as "Governor Moonbeam." Brown won the primary, and lost the general election to Pete Wilson. For all I know, Vidal ran his senatorial campaign from his villa in Rome!

IMHO, Vidal's historical novels are among the best written and most politically insightful works of that genre. Don, could you refer me to any of his non-fiction writings (which I'm not specifically aware of)?

And yes, he is related by marriage to the Kennedys, through Jackie's mother's side, I believe (as I understand it, Gore and Jackie spent a great deal of time together when they were growing up), as well as to the Gores (as in Al, our late lamented "losing" Presidential candidate).

By Don_Walsh on Monday, September 24, 2001 - 05:49 pm: Edit

Try reading Gore Vidal (essays as well as his thinly disguised satirical poelics in the form of historical novels about Rome, and America) on the subject of the fall of the Republic and the creation of the National Security State post WWII. Particularly fascinating are his arguments with Jack Kennedy about this (he was a peripheral member of the entourage, if I recall correctly he was a relative of Jackie's).

Do you find it surprising that having served the State for so long that I now prefer to live outside of it and deny it my services? Familiarity breeds contempt.

However in wartime I suspend this attitude.

By Chevalier on Monday, September 24, 2001 - 05:14 pm: Edit

Insights large and small can flash from the most unlikely places. "Statemanship", South American-style:

"One always picks the easy fight;
One praises fools, one smothers light;
One shifts from left to right;
Politics -- the art of the possible."

Tim Rice, "Evita"

Absolutely right on.

By Tlautrec on Monday, September 24, 2001 - 11:28 am: Edit

Quote: "And the National Security State of post WWII that is still very much with us and is now, thanks to bin Laden, achieving criticality.

"This is not a happy event for the Republic."

Hear, hear, Don...

An especially powerful work of art that evokes the horror and pity of WWI is Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, in which the liturgy of the requiem mass is interspersed with sung poems by Wilfred Owen. It sends chills up and down my spine just thinking about that music.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, September 23, 2001 - 06:04 pm: Edit

Kipling rings so so true, he is timeless.

A friend and I last night were just going over 'Mandalay' last night, and enjoying hoe succinctly he expressed emotions that we feel but could never have voiced so well.

"I've a neater, sweeter maiden,
in a cleaner, greener land."

"Post me somewhere East of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there ain't no Ten Commandments, and a man can raise a thirst..."

On the other hand he took a few liberties with geography. Since when is China 'cross the bay' from Mandalay? Mandalay is well inland...oh well.

By Etienne on Sunday, September 23, 2001 - 04:09 pm: Edit

Don, thanks so much for posting that. I'm very fond of Kipling and that is one of my favorites. I and one of my best friends won a night of free drinks in a local pub by reciting Gunga Din to an inebriated patron. That poor man had no idea who he was dealing with when he made that bet. :-)

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, September 23, 2001 - 09:03 am: Edit

Kipling is a brutal satirist of the foibles and follies of the military, which have changed littlke since his day. He is a harsh critic of the 'tail' and a staunch defender of the 'tooth'.

As to the trenches that was a quantum leap in futile butchery and proved little, the Great War lacked even the moral certainty of WWII as the Wilhemine forces were not Nazis, and in fact, many of them were Jews. (I have Jewish friends deeply involved in WWI re-enactment and scholarship in case anyone wonders about this, references available). WWI was a spasm of the series that included the Nap;oeonic and Franco-Prissian Wars, and WWII was its aftermath.

Hence the Lost Generation. And the National Security State of post WWII that is still very much with us and is now, thanks to bin Laden, achieving criticality.

This is not a happy event for the Republic.

By Chrysippvs on Sunday, September 23, 2001 - 08:13 am: Edit

There is a great war poetry tradition out of england. I choke up sometimes reading some of Sasson(sp?) or Wilfred Owen. After reading those in my earlier youth I now have to thank any veteran I see in passing...I am very lucky that I didn't have to suffer in those trenches...

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, September 23, 2001 - 07:17 am: Edit

For those who don't care for martial poetry skip to the last paragraph.

The Young British Soldier

When the 'arf-made recruity goes out to the East
'E acts like a babe an' 'e drinks like a beast,
An' 'e wonders because 'e is frequent deceased
Ere 'e's fit for to serve as a soldier.
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
So-oldier OF the Queen!

Now all you recruities what's drafted to-day,
You shut up your rag-box an' 'ark to my lay,
An' I'll sing you a soldier as far as I may:
A soldier what's fit for a soldier.
Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .

First mind you steer clear o' the grog-sellers' huts,
For they sell you Fixed Bay'nets that rots out your guts --
Ay, drink that 'ud eat the live steel from your butts --
An' it's bad for the young British soldier.
Bad, bad, bad for the soldier . . .

When the cholera comes -- as it will past a doubt --
Keep out of the wet and don't go on the shout,
For the sickness gets in as the liquor dies out,
An' it crumples the young British soldier.
Crum-, crum-, crumples the soldier . . .

But the worst o' your foes is the sun over'ead:
You must wear your 'elmet for all that is said:
If 'e finds you uncovered 'e'll knock you down dead,
An' you'll die like a fool of a soldier.
Fool, fool, fool of a soldier . . .

If you're cast for fatigue by a sergeant unkind,
Don't grouse like a woman nor crack on nor blind;
Be handy and civil, and then you will find
That it's beer for the young British soldier.
Beer, beer, beer for the soldier . . .

Now, if you must marry, take care she is old --
A troop-sergeant's widow's the nicest I'm told,
For beauty won't help if your rations is cold,
Nor love ain't enough for a soldier.
'Nough, 'nough, 'nough for a soldier . . .

If the wife should go wrong with a comrade, be loath
To shoot when you catch 'em -- you'll swing, on my oath! --
Make 'im take 'er and keep 'er: that's Hell for them both,
An' you're shut o' the curse of a soldier.
Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .

When first under fire an' you're wishful to duck,
Don't look nor take 'eed at the man that is struck,
Be thankful you're livin', and trust to your luck
And march to your front like a soldier.
Front, front, front like a soldier . . .

When 'arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,
Don't call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;
She's human as you are -- you treat her as sich,
An' she'll fight for the young British soldier.
Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .

When shakin' their bustles like ladies so fine,
The guns o' the enemy wheel into line,
Shoot low at the limbers an' don't mind the shine,
For noise never startles the soldier.
Start-, start-, startles the soldier . . .

If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white,
Remember it's ruin to run from a fight:
So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
And wait for supports like a soldier.
Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!

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