First War of the 21st Century: Day 2

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Thru December 2001: First War of the 21st Century: Day 2
By Chrysippvs on Monday, November 26, 2001 - 06:58 pm: Edit

For anyone interested (I think Blackjack mentioned an interest) I am done with my paper in which I assert that the essential nature of Mormonism and the American Holiness Movement is essentially gnostic. Just drop me a line and I will mail you a copy.

over and out...

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, November 02, 2001 - 12:25 pm: Edit

As a book of the New Testament its even more out of place. Its a bit strange sitting alongside Matthew's Gospel etc.

Anyway it makes for good Rasta quotations in Reggae songs. Where would Reggae be without Revelation, Babylon and the Seven Seals?

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Friday, November 02, 2001 - 11:24 am: Edit

Justin--

I'd be interested to see the paper when it is done. I think Mormonism, specifically, falls very distinctly within the gnostic tradition.

By Chrysippvs on Thursday, November 01, 2001 - 07:20 pm: Edit

I have never liked the Apoc. of John. It seemed to be a lesser of similar literature being produced by Gnostics at the same time. The authorship is totally unknown. It is though it was composed while John was on Patmos but it could be anyone with a similar name including Gnostics (take for instance the Apocryphon of John found in the Nag Hammadi library). It going into the cannon almost totally rested with the weight of St. Athanasius during the Arrian controversy. As a matter of fact more early church fathers and early churches fell the Shepherd of Hermias (sp?) in significatly higher regard than the Apoc. of John.

The book, IMHO, was actually composed by a member of the Ebonite sect, commonly referred to as the Judaizers. The book seems to talk at length about very Jewish notion of the messiah and the war to come (compare the Sons of light vs the sons of belial in the Dead Sea Texts). I am doing a paper know on the role that the Gnostics played in the development of western thought and I am arguing that all evangelical (southern Baptists, Pentecostals, etc...) and American religions (Mormons, Adventists, watchtower, etc..) are essentially Gnostics. This should raise some eye brows. One of my points is the heavy use of apocalyptic literature in the formation of these sects and the use of the "Holy Spirit" which is another form of apocalyptic thought....

I totally love seeing the diagrams mapping out the path of the end of the world. Boy are they going to be shocked. I can see it now:

Feb. 10 2034, the end of the world

Pastor: "Hey God, you were supposed to send down the bowls of your wrath before sending the angel Apollyon."

God: "Whoops...sorry about that. I guess I am going to just have to start over..."


- J

By Etienne on Thursday, November 01, 2001 - 06:49 pm: Edit

I think it was the last book to be accepted into the canon, wasn't it? I've been told that the authorship was questioned, but I wonder if it wasn't something deeper. Try to describe something which cannot be visualized. Any thoughts Justin?

By _Blackjack on Thursday, November 01, 2001 - 03:09 pm: Edit

Revelation is in the New Testement, is heavily derived from the OT book of Isaiah, and is totally consistant with the previous two centuries of apocalyptic literature. It is just the apocalypse which made it into the canon. There are several, much weirder apocalyptes (like Buffy says, it's not a good sign when you have to know the plural of "apcalypse") in the Qumran library.

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, November 01, 2001 - 12:47 pm: Edit

Revelations is by far the most interesting book of the Bible.

It's so 'far-out' and interesting it just doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the Old Testament, either in character or sequentially. It's as if someone came across it and said "this is weird stuff, it's nothing like the rest of the Old Testament books at all and it doesn't fit in with the flow of the other Old Testament books, but it's just far too cool to miss out so we should stick it in anyway".

The author of Revelation must have been on something when it was written, maybe he was a dark age Rasta smoking really top quality Herb.

Hobgoblin

By Perruche_Verte on Thursday, November 01, 2001 - 05:31 am: Edit

Thanks for your generous assessment of my country's educational standards, Heiko.

Many people read that in American Lit classes - it's a classic Puritan text - but I doubt 1 in 10 could identify it.

By Bjacques on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 - 06:55 pm: Edit

I might have recognized it if you'd quoted a different bit, like the part about "bow of God's wrath." I had to read it for English class ages ago. And to think this was 50 years *after* the Salem witch trials (qualifying heat).

It's almost as good as the part in Revelation where John describes God as being as of jasper, having no face, around whose throne sit four beings with eyes in front and back. In the Eighties, Jerry Falwell and others were big on the Book of Revelation, but never seemed to mention this part. They urged the Israelis to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, which meant paving over the spot where Muhammad ascended to Paradise, which would lead to a pan-Arab final strike and toe-to-toe with the Rooskies in nuclear combat. In short, Armageddon. The people who believed this crap were no friends of the jews, since the Final Conflicty would have left only 144,000 of them alive, making Jesus II worse than Hitler. Who knows whether this was the idea all along, but then again, most such attempts for fulfill Millerite Biblical prophecy was on a level of "let's see what this red button does."

Even Reagan wasn't that crazy.

By Heiko on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 - 02:59 am: Edit

Sorry, forgot to mention the author for us Europeans - I guess all Americans knew where it was from ;-) (sorry for this stereotypical assumption...)

Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, 1741
(full text)

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 - 02:10 am: Edit

Where is that quote from?

By Heiko on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 03:41 pm: Edit

...and always remember before you are bad boys and girls:

"(...) He will crush you under his feet without mercy; He will crush out your blood, and make it fly, and it shall be sprinkled on His garments, so as to stain all His raiment. He will not only hate you, but He will have you, in the utmost contempt: no place shall be thought fit for you, but under His feet to be trodden down as the mire of the streets."

By Head_Prosthesis on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 03:19 pm: Edit

I wasn't going to get in the middle of this, however...

You are all good people too.

But sometimes I would like to knock all your heads together.

Stay safe and Have a Nice Day.

By Geoffk on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 03:07 pm: Edit

Cat on a keyboard is one analogy. My analogy would be this. You're in a coffeeshop having an intelligent discussion with a friend about politics/religion/culture etc. A gal you know, who's usully pretty friendly wanders in and decides to break up your conversation, just for the hell of it. She sits at your table, spills your drinks, sticks her fingers in her ears and shouts "I can't HEAR you!!" and generally acts like an asshole. Eventually, you and your friend get up and leave, since it's too much trouble to try and continue.

Is this trollish? Yes in the sense that it's trying to stop something constructive by obnoxious methods. Certainly, if she's not being a "troll" she's being a "boor", or to be a bit more Anglo-Saxon about it, an "asshole". Yes it's, just empty space, but it's annoying, empty space, that makes it difficult to follow the thread and respond. You can debate whether it was inserted "playfully" or "maliciously", but you can't debate that it was obnoxious.

So feel free to defend her. She's a nice person. But good behavior doesn't excuse bad behavior.

-- Geoff K.

By Head_Prosthesis on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 01:36 pm: Edit

"It's the one's that aren't quite sold on the whole thing that are the most attractive."
-St. Peter

By Head_Prosthesis on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 01:34 pm: Edit

I'd like to say a prayer for all of you, to the God who I occasionally doubt.

By Bjacques on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 01:25 pm: Edit

Whatever's bothering Vera (I hope it works out ok) sounds a lot worse than the annoyance of having yet another politics & religion thread briefly interrupted. If it helps, think of her as the cat who jumps on the desk while you're charting the course of Cold War Two and knocks your orange soda onto the keyboard, causing you to throw yourself backward to avoid further soiling your least filthy T-shirt. You look around an notice for the first time in awhile how messy your room or office is, and how nice a day it is. Take a break.

Anyway, I grew up in Texas, the buckle of the Bible Belt, and still remember Blue Laws. Some friends live in DFW, where you join the First Babtist Church, or leave town, or go nuts, or take the Fourth Option--Praise Fuggin' "Bob" and see you at Disturbathon.

In other words, yeah, 95% of Americans consider themselves religious, the air was choked with guardian angels in the '90s (and so were the airwaves) and the fundies have their own news, tv shows and movie industry and theme parks. So what? That doesn't make the U.S. the Republic of Gilead from "The Handmaid's Tale." Move to a big town (as long as it's not Indianapolis, Boise or Cincinnati) and you don't have to worry about it.

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 12:11 pm: Edit

Bob,

I admit I have never been to the USA and I guess it all depends on your definition of fanatically religious. But by Western European standards a country where practically everybody believes in God and where the vast majority attend a place of worship, is indeed a fanatically religious country. Over here hardly anybody gives a second thought to God, let alone believe in one. The most attended places of worship are Mosques (and Muslims are a minority group here). For the vast majority of people here religion does not enter their lives at all (even in a very small way).

On paper the largest religious group is the Anglican Church of England but in reality this means nothing. The Church of England is the English state religion with the Queen (our official Head of State) as its head. English people who never thinks about religion, never attends a church, and couldn't care less put this down as their religion because the Church of England does have some nice churches if they ever need to get married in one and let's face it a nice church makes a better backdrop to wedding photos than a drab registry office.

So in comparision to Western European countries the USA is fanatically religious. I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, there is too much apathy over here.

And Geoff,

As for the Jewish thing on TV. I've no problem with Jews being succesful in the media. It's just that every third character on American TV programmes is Jewish. They have a great sense of humour for sure but over here from watching TV you'd think that the USA was a third Jewish. It's like thinking that a third of the population of the UK was Hindu.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 11:26 am: Edit

Gentlemen, Vera is not a troll. A troll is out there, but it ain't Vera. She may be wasting Kallisti's free electrons, but who among us is not guilty of that?

A troll has a very specific definition and acts in very specific ways and merely setting out to kill a thread and making it scroll way too long does not count.

By Heiko on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 09:51 am: Edit

Should we announce Vera troll of the month?

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 09:31 am: Edit

Chong, Vera, sorry for butting in a private argument.

I did too much "quality control" last night...

By Mr_Rabid on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 01:57 am: Edit

Vera, you cannot kill this thread. Nothing can, short of decapitation, fire, or sunlight.

"..."faith" is superior to reason--using your head just gets you in trouble..."

I forgot who said that on my way back up here past Blank Land. But anyhow- faith is not about believing something to be true with no evidence.

Faith is like love (true love, I'm talking about here.) It is a force, a power. Something that just IS.

If I say I can prove Jesus was really a robot sent back in time... that doesn't invalidate his message. If I can prove the Buddha was a wife beater, that doesn't mean he didn't speak wise words.

If one of those infinite monkeys with a typewriter wrote the meaning of life, it would be no less meaningful because it came from a random collection of keystrokes.

Faith is one step beyond that. A very crucial step, akin to a million miles. Faith is ineffable, it is a thing you cannot explain to someone who doesn't get it, just like true love. It asks no proof, and cares for none.

Faith is an act of magic.

It is a spiritual, not an intellectual or emotional thing. It involves those, but they can be called side effects.

I say this not because I have faith- I passed it on the way to where I am now, so to speak... but it is real.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 11:57 pm: Edit

Geoff, Chonger, it's only EMPTY space...

It's not really a big deal. Certainly not to call OUR Vera a cunt, is it?

I mean, if she goes away...do you want to get stuck with the boring Swiss doctors, the even-more-boring chemists, the even-more-more-boring-you-know-whos...?

C'mon...

By Geoffk on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 11:37 pm: Edit

Be that as it may, in this particular instance I think she was probably acting in a bitchy, provocative and trollish way--and trying to break up an active and (for me) interesting thread. The fact that 99% of the time she is a legitimate and interesting poster doesn't mean that everything she does must be excused. I mean, being a great husband 99.99% of the time doesn't excuse my beating my wife right now.

-- Geoff K.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 11:17 pm: Edit

Monsieur le Chongeur:

I don't want to start an argument, but, according to what I've seen so far, Verushka and Headmeister are, by far, the most creative entities in this Forum.

You fuck up with her, it is you who's going to receive her bloodied ear in the mail...

By Bob_Chong on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 11:07 pm: Edit

DocO:

Maybe you didn't scroll down far enough (i.e., because the Cunt cunted it up too much to make it worth trying), but in her own cunty words, she admitted:
"I'm on a mission. I want to kill this thread."

There's no joke. It's just her being a bored bitch. Or more accurately, a fucking troll. Trolling for a response, provoking legitimate posters. Move it along, Cunt.

BC

By Dr_Ordinaire on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 10:59 pm: Edit

Chong, there is a big difference between making a joke that most people don't get (me included) and being a cunt. I'm sure you can appreciate that.

By Bob_Chong on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 10:48 pm: Edit

A few things:

1. Vera, why are you such a cunt? You are no better than a whole flock of trolls. Trying to provoke someone? Mission accomplished: you win. Go shit on another thread.

2. Geoff K: regarding the Simpsons and religion, read the book, The Gospel According to the Simpsons. You'll see that Blackjack knows what the hell he's talking about.

3. "Separation of church and state" are words which appear nowhere in the Consitution...

4. As for the relative fanaticism of this country, stereotypes notwithstanding, I could see how BJ would think this place is a hotbed of fanatics. But to me, it's a hotbed of apathy. The way I see it, this is a worldly country full of people who have no business with God. (The diff. between what BJ says and what I say? Think of Annie Hall's view of how much sex she is having vs. Alvy's view. Same amount, different lens.)

5. RE: Hanukah stuff in school. I wasn't debating the importance of Hanukah or Kwaanza. All I meant was there are hardly any Jews in this country, percentage-wise (there are probably more Lesbian Eskimo Transvestite Quakers than there are Jews). I didn't have any Jewish friends until I was 9 or 10: there were no Jews in my town. But there sure were a shitload of Stars of David in my public school come every December. Growing up, I would have thought the US were *half* Jewish, not the 2% it really was.

BC

By Perruche_Verte on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 10:03 pm: Edit

Just begging for a crude response, aren't you, Vera?

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:57 pm: Edit

I know, Vera. I'm just hankerin' for a spankerin'.

By Verawench on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:42 pm: Edit

Oh, you!!! Can't you see I'm trying to rebuild the Towers???

upandupandup
upandupandup
upandupandup
upandupandup
upandupandup

By Geoffk on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:40 pm: Edit

BJ,

I see what you're saying, but I still can't see the Simpsons as being positive on religion, any more than they are positive on Nuclear power (and how many other shows have nuclear power plants in them either)? Of ourse, as a satire, it's fine.

I understand the seperation of Church and state idea. I do feel that it's overextended sometimes nowadays, to the extent that a purely voluntary religious group (for example a student club) may be prohibited from using public (i.e. school) facilities. While I'm not a fan of religion, I don't think the constitution calls for it to be actiely suppressed. And to allow a gay/lesbian group to meet and prohibit a bible study group from doing so for "Constitutional" reasons, seems a little counterintuitive.

Finally, you're right, there's a lot of "throwaway" religious elements in TV/movies that people often don't notice. Still, this as much cultural or artistic as religious (a church wedding is much more "cinematic" than a Justice of the Peace's office). When Hollywood really calls attention to religion, it's as often negative as positive. And highly religious people tend to be portrayed in a negative way.

-- Geoff K.

By Verawench on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:40 pm: Edit

Teehee.

Naughty Naughty.

By Verawench on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:36 pm: Edit

ohyeah
ohyeah
ohyeah

By Geoffk on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:33 pm: Edit

Hey Vera, Whatever you're trying to do, it doesnt seem to be working. Unless, you trying to insert annoying blank spaces, in which case, it's working just fine.

-- Geoff K.

By Verawench on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:25 pm: Edit

MUAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! ONE MORE


ohyeah
ohyeah
ohyeah
ohyeah

By Verawench on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:23 pm: Edit

ohyeah
ohyeah
ohyeah
ohyeah
ohyeah
ohyeah

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:21 pm: Edit


Quote:

It's not so odd when you consider that Flanders and just about every other explicitly religious person, Christian, Jew and Hindu, (including God and Jesus) are pretty much held up as objects of ridicule.



Well, ALL of the characters on the show, excpt perhaps Lisa (who has made many statements of faith), are objects of ridicule. If pay attention, while Ned is a booon, he is never prtrayed as a malicious, mean-spirited or ill-willed character (well, except the episode where he went nuts.) Ditto for Apu.


Quote:

If they were respectful about it, it would be out of character, but, as it stands, it's just one more thing that they make fun of.




No moreso than they make fun of everything else, including their own writers and the declining quality of the show. Take it from a real non-believer: if anything, the Simpsons (like the movie Dogma) comes of as too PRO-religion for my tastes.


Quote:

I certainly wouldn't imagine anyone becoming more religious after watching the show.



That depends on what you mean by "religious." If you mean "become more self-rightous and judgemental," then you're probably right, but it certainly puts forth a message that religion has value in people's lives.


Quote:

One reason American media is so secular is because of the separation of Church and State in the US Constitution. Originally, this just banned an "Official National Religion",



Well, Jefferson called for a "Wall of Seperation" between church and state in the VA colonial constitution. It wasn't just about not establishing a church; it was about keeping the government secular.


Quote:

but now it's widely used to prohibit most kinds of religious organizations or practices in any kind of public sphere (Bible clubs in public schools, Town Christmas displays etc.).



As well it should be. Try being the only atheist at a South Carolina public school kindergarten in 1978, and gettin rapped on the knuckles with a ruler for not knowing the Lord's Prayer and you'll see why.


Quote:

The liberal Hollywood establishment doesn't want to be accused of promoting any one kind of religion (in preference to some other one), so they just avoid the issue by eliminating references to religion altogether.




Nope. Don't see it. Again, this is from the perspective of a non-believer, but you see little references to religion, and Christianity in particualar, in every bit of our media. When was the last time you saw a wedding in a movie performed at a courthouse? Or a TV funeral without a clergyman? Does anyone blink an eye when somebody in trouble starts to pray? Of course not. And try making a movie that even flirts with a negative, or even unconventional, portrayal of Christianity...

I'm not complaining about this, mind you. It's realistic. Most people in the US are Christians. I just don't buy arguments that the media somehow shy away from these things.

By Verawench on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:17 pm: Edit

ohyeah
ohyeah
ohyeah

By Geoffk on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:14 pm: Edit

It's also worth keeping in mind that America is not monolithic. Most of the Midwest (and South) is religious to an extent that would make cynical New Yorkers or LA residents laugh and cringe. Outside of big cities like Detroit And Chicago, the Midwest is also has many fewer minorities than other parts of the country.

Coincidently, it's the most boring part of the country, bar none.

-- Geoff K.

By Verawench on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:09 pm: Edit

I'm on a mission.

I want to kill this thread.

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:06 pm: Edit

America is fanatically religious relative to a lot of North-Western Europe, where Christianity has become rather blase. There are more practicing Muslims in England than there are practicing Anglicans. And America is also fanatically PROTESTANT, which is fairly unusual. Most of the highly-religious Christian nations are Catholic or Orthodox. This accounts in no small part for our prudish hangups about sex.

It's all a sliding scale. For a highly educated, wealthy, industrialized nation, we are unusually religious, but we are certainly a bunch of heathans compared to much of the developing world.

As far as the presence of Jews in entertainment goes, keep in mind that a great deal of our TV shows and movies are set in urban areas, where Jews are a much stronger presence. Every fifth person you meet in New York IS Jewish, and LA, Chicago, Philadelphia and much of Florida are similar. They're where the action is, so to speak.

What _I_ don't understand is how the people on Friends can live in NYC without ever running into a black or Latino person, since whites aren't even the plurality anymore...

By Verawench on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:05 pm: Edit

Sandals...
Consumerism...
Things you see during a bad trip...

By Geoffk on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:04 pm: Edit

BC,

Hannukah is not traditionally a big holiday for Jews. It celebrates a rather minor miracle that didnt make much impact in the long term. However, it happens to fall right around Christmas, which is when Christian kids (in the US anyway) get loads of toys and stuff (as well as trees, cool house decorations etc.) In order to "compete" and so Jewish kids don't feel punished for not being Christian, American Jews made a much bigger deal out of Hannukah.

As for Kwaanza, this was the explicit invention of a Black university professor, fabricated entirely out of whole cloth so American black kids could have a "holiday of their own" around Christmas. It has even less historical and cultural foundation than the big Hannukah celebrations (none whatsoever, in fact) and it's amazing that anybody takes it seriously at all. This is doubly true since many Kwaanza celebrants don't have any problem with celebrating Christmas.

As for the disproportionate representation of Jews in American media and culture, the fact is that Jews have been very successful, in spite of discrimination against them. Media, medicine, finance, law and University faculty are all overrepresented with Jews--Blue collar and unskilled professions are underrepresented. Since these people tend to be more influential and get more exposure, the overall number of Jews is probably overestimated. For what it's worth, the same thing happens to Asians nowadays. In some fields (science, engineering) Asian-Americans are already the dominant figures and in others (law, medicine) they are coming up fast. I think most people would also overestimate the number/percentage of Asian-americans.

-- Geoff K.

By Verawench on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 09:02 pm: Edit

onceagain

I can't help myself, it's just that this picture works so well in so many different contexts.

Baseball, Christianity, art, pedophelia, inappropriate sports attire...

By Geoffk on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 08:52 pm: Edit

> It's very odd to think that the Simpsons is one
> of the few American TV programs where the
> family regularly attends church...

It's not so odd when you consider that Flanders and just about every other explicitly religious person, Christian, Jew and Hindu, (including God and Jesus) are pretty much held up as objects of ridicule. If they were respectful about it, it would be out of character, but, as it stands, it's just one more thing that they make fun of. I certainly wouldn't imagine anyone becoming more religious after watching the show. (Mind you, I don't think Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell would inspire me to become more religious either).

One reason American media is so secular is because of the separation of Church and State in the US Constitution. Originally, this just banned an "Official National Religion", but now it's widely used to prohibit most kinds of religious organizations or practices in any kind of public sphere (Bible clubs in public schools, Town Christmas displays etc.). The liberal Hollywood establishment doesn't want to be accused of promoting any one kind of religion (in preference to some other one), so they just avoid the issue by eliminating references to religion altogether. When they don't, other religions besides Christianity are often are portrayed for "equal time" type reasons (like the token white on a "Black show"). Even the Simpsons does this (with Abu the Hindu, etc.).

I can't decide which I prefer, phony Hollywood reverence (e.g. The Ten Commandments, The Robe, Touched by an Angel), or phony Hollywood religious cynicism (e.g. Priest, Godfather 3, Leap of Faith). Maybe the last word can come from "Bull Durham":

"I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn't work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there's no guilt in baseball, and it's never boring...

which makes it like sex."


-- Geoff K.

By Bob_Chong on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 08:28 pm: Edit

Lord H:

I disagree that the US is "fanatically religious." Have you ever been here, and for how long at a stretch? We're not fanatically anything, as a whole. Well, I suppose we fanatically ended the world wars twice in the 20th C., but hey...

Regarding the whole Jew thing, I agree that it is far overrepresented in the US culture in relation to the Jewish population (which has been a stable 2% for the past 100 years). Growing up, we'd see so many Stars of David and so much stuff about Channukah in school that you'd have thought that the country was teeming with Jews. Man, was I surprised to find out the truth, many years later. I would guess that more people in the US celebrate Kwaanza, in earnest, than Channukah.

BC

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 01:35 pm: Edit

It's very odd to think that the Simpsons is one of the few American TV programs where the family regularly attends church...

On the other hand, there are entire TV networks specifically devoted to religious programming. Remember, Pat Robertson has his own channel...

By Heiko on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 12:42 pm: Edit

I think American TV programs represent life in Hollywood much more than life in the USA.
In an area where the average woman weighs 80 pounds, where plastic surgery is a must, and where "the self" and "success" are the only things people believe in, what TV programs could we expect to be produced there?

What I find funny is the "quota minority" that appears in all shows. Take a black show and you have one white guy to play the funny idiot. Take a white show and you got the nice black neighbour who is the most friendly person in the world.

One more thing is weird about this: In Germany, people were very much influenced by what they were seeing on TV and in the movies. For a long time they were thinking that every American must be a long-haired biker or a freaky surfer. Somehow, this has changed Germans' acceptance to weird outfits and all that stuff more than it has changed most Americans' acceptance (they always knew it was only a movie or a show and not reality).

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 11:47 am: Edit

It amazes me how fanatically religious the USA is and how this is not at all relected in American TV programs.

From American TV programmes you'd think that the USA was just as dis-interested in religion and as atheistic/agnostic as Western Europe (where most people never set foot inside a place of worship). American TV programmes also give the impression that about 30% of the population of the USA is Jewish.

Hobgoblin

By Heiko on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 03:45 pm: Edit

"For comparison, about 95% of Americans, in general, beleive in some kind of supreme being, with 67% believing in a personal god."

In Germany, about 95% of all people believe that they are themselves the most supreme being...

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 01:02 am: Edit

Tim,

"Its really about probablilty, its more probable that the Earth orbits the sun than that I will be reincarnated as a goat next time around."

Yes you are correct here. But this still doesn't mean you (if indeed you exist as you) still may not be reincarnated as a goat. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

There is no automatic conflict between religion and science. Is there an automatic conflict between science and philosophy? There is just as likely (in fact probably more so) to be conflict between differing scientific views and theories than between 'religious' and 'scientific' views.

We go round and round in circles but I guess your argument with religion is that you believe it expects people to 'believe' in 'holy' scriptures rigidly and accept that the 'law' has been laid down by a greater authority and is therefore indisputable.

I too share your critisism of this approach, but not all 'religions' take this approach. Some religions have no God, no creeds that should be accepted on blind faith and no required acts of worship. Some religions require their 'followers' to find their own path based on experience. Not all religions believe their own 'teachings' to be the only way, or even the 'best' way. Some religions actively encourage criticism.

Any person (or creed, secular or religious) that holds that their favoured method (and their's alone) of interpretating the world has all the answers is wrong. All methods and views (religious, scientific, philosophical and otherwise) should be assessed positively and critically. By binding ourselves to one method only (and also wasting valuable energy pontificating that our way is the only way) and outrightly rejecting (on a point of 'principle') other methods (without often even having a knowledge of the methods rejected) we will continue to fumble around in the darkness ocassionally tripping over a lump of truth. The use of many torches (rather than just one torch) will make it easier to find your way through a dark forest.

Hobgoblin

By Head_Prosthesis on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 01:45 am: Edit

My neighbors, Ed Gein, John Wayne Gayce, Henry Lee Lucas( and Earl), Ted Bundy, John Norman Collins, Orenthal and Torquemada say that you all's neighbors are suck ass, posers...

Well? I think it's time for a Royal Rumble. Let's have my posse call your posse and do a drive by.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 01:29 am: Edit

Geoff,

I may well believe that my neighbour is wrong to believe that he is Napoleon but it is not my business to go around and convince him that I am right. It is up to him to find out the truth for himself. If he's doing you no harm then you should just leave him be. Unless of course you believe yourself to have a personal mission to spread what you believe is the 'truth'. I suspect you have a proselytising streak within you.

Hobgoblin

By Timk on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 12:27 am: Edit

"Therefore nothing can be 'proven' to be a fact because in order to do so you would have to be able to 'prove' everything."

Its really about probablilty, its more probable that the Earth orbits the sun than that I will be reincarnated as a goat next time around.
When someone has to resort to trying to prove the sun orbits the earth, well...

By Verawench on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 06:24 pm: Edit

The God article, when I read it a few weeks ago, made me cry.

I was kind of shocked when the Onion put out its "Holy Fucking Shit" edition but one can't be mislead by their headlines - the articles are equally sincere in anger and sadness and great Onion satire.

By Petermarc on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 06:06 pm: Edit

http://www.theonion.com/onion3734/god_clarifies_dont_kill.html

By Petermarc on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 06:02 pm: Edit

http://www.theonion.com/onion3734/hijackers_surprised.html

By Verawench on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 11:46 am: Edit

Me, i have a fouchette fetish.

By Verawench on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 11:44 am: Edit

Pornography 101

grays

By _Blackjack on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 09:46 am: Edit

I have to admit, I kinda find the "tenticles and testicles" genre of hentai kinda hot. I'm sure this is not a good sign...

By _Blackjack on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 09:43 am: Edit


Quote:

Look at how many scientists who deal with physics, astronomy and even genetic engineering say they are strong believers in one or the other religion (mostly christian) - it's, from what I've seen so far, a higher percentage of them than amongst other people.



Um, actually, no. Scientists are statistically less likely to be religious, especially physicists.

From http://http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheism1.htm :

Quote:

"Of those, 40% expressed belief in a deity, while nearly 45% did not. Larson's survey also discovered that physicists were less likely to have such faith, while mathematicians were significantly more likely to believe in a supreme being, as defined by Leuba...When queried about belief in "personal god," only 7% responded in the affirmative, while 72.2% expressed "personal disbelief," and 20.8% expressed "doubt or agnosticism."




For comparison, about 95% of Americans, in general, beleive in some kind of supreme being, with 67% believing in a personal god.

By Bjacques on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 06:56 am: Edit

Eeewwwww! There's some pretty gross stuff from about 150 years ago, by an artist named Yoshitoshi, stuff like pretty girls being trussed up and sliced up by female ogres. In a society so closely ordered, I've always assumed such artwork was just how they let off steam. Still, Yoshitoshi would be hard pressed to beat the Legend of the Overfiend.

I wish I had a copy of the Disney orgy. Wally Wood did it in the 50s and for some reason, maybe parody, it was legal. Paul Krassner reprinted it in "The Best of the Realist." I even saw a few copies on the internet, a couple of years ago. Disney must have bypassed Fair Use by bigfooting ISPs, because I can't find them now.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 04:35 am: Edit

Verawench:

One has to take Japanese hentai-anime in context, it is a mistake to take these images for granted. Many of them are spoofs of very popular anime characters, with comic intent, much like that poster that used to go round in USA with Disney characters in a clusterfuck. These are professional and sometimes amateur anime artists letting off steam.

This kind of anime ranges from the merely erotic to the graphically sexual to the kinky and very kinky, to an entire subgenre of blood & guts stuff that can be quite gross. I suspect the cartoonists are trying to just gross each other out, it's competitive one-upsmanship.

There is a sub-sub genre of (cartoon) girls and sometimes ladyboys, with multiple amputations, that is what you are referring to. Often the fully shorn female is a lesbian captive and is being converted into a uniquely Japanese style of doll. Sometimes hard points are added for bondage/suspension purposes. So there are issues of control, absolute control, in the psychology of these cartoons.

Suffice it to say that the Japanese have a unique psychosexual profile.

By Heiko on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 04:29 am: Edit

"Our secular science does NOT have all the answers."

Look at how many scientists who deal with physics, astronomy and even genetic engineering say they are strong believers in one or the other religion (mostly christian) - it's, from what I've seen so far, a higher percentage of them than amongst other people.
One of the example was my physics teacher in school - he had a doctor's title in math (and of course a master in physics) but was very open to anything others would laugh about right away - like that some people might have telepathic abilities or that certain crystals might have certain powers. He used to say "the fact that we can't prove it today only means that we might prove it tomorrow - nothing can be considered impossible until we can definitely prove it to be impossible"

I mean, it's clear that if you find new surprising facts in nature every day, facts that are maybe against all the "laws" that seemed to be perfect until now, you'll probably start to believe that we know shit about what's happening in our universe.

By Geoffk on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 02:42 am: Edit

LH,

That's definitely a tolerent viewpoint. Still, if my neighbor thinks he's Napoleon, *I* believe that he's wrong. Refusing to acknowledge that he's wrong is just plain stubborn. Or else you're as crazy as he is.

And I do think that there are true facts, which have been verified beyond any reasonable doubt (example: the world is basically round). If someone has a competing point of view (i.e.: the Earth is flat) than he's wrong. Period. Yes, philisophically all reality is subjective. But my way lets me "subjectively" launch a satellite that stays in orbit.

By the way, did you ever hear this joke? A guy goes to a mental ward and asks an inmate "who are you?" The inmate says "I'm Napoleon." The guy asks "How do you know You're Napoleon?" and the inmate says "God told me."
The inmate in the next cell shouts "I DID not."

-- Geoff K.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 02:10 am: Edit

Tlautrec,

Anyone who ties his mind to any one particular viewpoint and sticks rigidly with it is a lazy man with an enslaved mind. The point is to attempt to find the truth of things not to simply just to identify yourself with one approach.

If I want to cross a river, there is always more than just one means of crossing it. If I built myself a raft and was crossing the river and a passing speed-boat stopped to give me a lift would I say "Go away I have my raft and my raft is the only and true way of crossing the river"?

Then on crossing the river would I walk around forever with my raft strapped to my back? No I'd probably break it up to make a fire to cook a meal. Then I'd look for another suitable item to help me continue on my journey.

If a particular doctrine or theory suits your purpose and helps you along a part of your journey then embrace it and use it. When it doesn't help you then use something else. The greater the diversity of vehicles available to you the better chance you have of completing your journey. What matters is where you are going and not how you get there.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 01:50 am: Edit

Geoff,

If one of my neighbour believes he's Napoleon and the other believes he's Hitler then so long as they didn't interfere with me getting on with my life then I'd have no problem with them and I'd make no attempts to try to convince them otherwise.

You say you want to encourage people to believe what's true. It is not possible to know what is true. Secular society taking the position that its 'scientific' view of the world is true (this outlook is not even scientific) and that others should be encouraged to think likewise is no better than one religion trying to spread its message to others.

None of us have the answers, live and let live.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 01:41 am: Edit

Tim

"I can prove to you that the Earth orbits the sun, can you prove to me that there is a god?"

Again you keep on making the same blanket assumptions about religion. Not all religions believe in the existence of a God.

But anyway can you even prove the existence of your own self? And can you personally really prove that the earth orbits the sun or have you just read books that tell you that others can do so?

It is impossible to prove anything absolutely and anyway scientific theory (despite common misconceptions) depends on the ability of a theory to be proven false. If a theory cannot be proven false it is not a scientific theory. If a scientific theory cannot be proven false then there could have been no scientific progress and we'd still be scraping around in the dirt believing the earth was flat.

It all depends on the assumptions you make and what you already accept as fact. If I start with the assumption (which seems obvious from my observations and experience) that the Earth is stationary (and I could provide evidence to support this assumption) then I could demonstrate and provide evidence that the Sun travels around and over the Earth in an arc from East to West.

Ultimately everything on the Earth and in the Universe is inter-related and inter-linked, there is no such thing as an independant anything. Therefore nothing can be 'proven' to be a fact because in order to do so you would have to be able to 'prove' everything. Science cannot 'prove' anything to be a fact indeed science relies on the 'fact' that nothing is an absolute 'fact'. All science can do is make its best attempt.

But science actually never claims to prove anything as an absolute fact (a common misconception), all it does is make its best attempt to try to make sense of the world around us.

Religion, philosophy and science are all just approaches and attempts by Man to try to make sense of the world in which he lives. It is self-induced blindness to take accept only one approach. You outrightly reject all 'religious' approaches without even having an understanding the viewpoint of that particular religious doctrine. That is as bad as some 'religious' people rejecting all science, saying "all religion is bullshit" is like saying "all science is bullshit". Each religious, philosophical and scientific viewpoint must be assessed on its own merit before you can choose to reject it and since there are uncountable religious viewpoints you cannot logically reject all of religion (unless you act from a position of ignorant prejudice).

Hobgoblin

By Verawench on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 09:15 pm: Edit

I was inquiring about girls without limbs in particular to find out if they are found in greater numbers in Japan.

I just think they're cool. I once wrote a short story about a boy who loses his mind after making love to a blind girl with no arms or legs.

By Head_Prosthesis on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 08:27 pm: Edit

The Japanese have a fetish for everything

By Verawench on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 08:04 pm: Edit

Do the Japanese really have a fetish for girls with no limbs?

By Head_Prosthesis on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 07:53 pm: Edit

They might not be religious (the Japanese) but they sure know how to party on New Years Eve...

With a Golden Pushbroom you'll be the Belle of the Ball.

By Geoffk on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 07:49 pm: Edit

I agree that acceptance of diversity is great. That was one of my biggest criticisms of Christianity and Islam. On the other hand, it would be nice if we encouraged people to believe what's true, or at least discourage belief in what seems to be false. If my neighbor believes he's Napoleon and my friend believes he's Hitler, I don't want to encourage the "diversity" of their beliefs.

Most religious beliefs have no discernable basis in reality. We accept that because we feel religion doesn't have to be "real" to be "true". I don't think religion should get such a big free pass.

-- Geoff K.

By Geoffk on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 07:43 pm: Edit

BC,

I know many, many Christians and quite a few Japanese as well. Every Japanese I've met isn't terribly religious and hasn't given it much thought. Religion is something that doesn't make a lot of sense, but is an accepted convention--kind of like a necktie on a suit.

The Christians had a much wider range of attitudes, but they tend to confuse Biblical scholorship with intellectual discourse. The fact that the Bible says it's true doesn't mean that it really is. Most Christians couldn't identify Mithras, the Essenes, the Gnostics, or any of the political and religious ideas that formed their religion. Likewise, most have a very hazy idea of religious philosophy and the various proofs and justifications there. Catholics tend to at least know of people like Augustine, but their attitude is usually "great, it's proven--I believed it anyway, but now I can relax." There are exceptions of course. Some of the great Tubungen theologens basically debunked most of the New Testament as mythology, but found that it didn't disturb their faith. But they're just that--exceptions.

My experience with Muslims is less involved, but what I've read tends to confirm that they mostly just study the Koran and associated writings rather than truly critical historical and philosophical scholership.

No religion encourages people to find the weaknesses and flaws in it's belief system or to examine the convoluted way in which those beliefs actually arose. Most of them actively discourage such inquiry and tell people that "faith" is superior to reason--using your head just gets you in trouble. Appealing to the heart instead of the head is a sound strategy and it has served religion well for millenia.

So I'll take my golden pushbroom and frame it. It's not the most insulting award I've received here.

-- Geoff K.

By Tlautrec on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 05:37 pm: Edit

"Diversity of belief is a very positive thing, it encourages us to question and re-assess our own beliefs."

Hob, I couldn't agree more. There are most certainly 80,000 doors to the Dharma. But how do we address/confront/rebut the arguments of the intolerant fundamentalists who vehemently deny this (to me, and obviously also to you) evident truth, and who claim that there is only ONE WAY (theirs, of course)? What can be done other than to shake one's head, Yoda-like, and to smile sadly at their unfortunate ignorance? And does it somehow make US intolerant and "prejudiced" to look at them in such a condescending, if also compassionate, way?

By Timk on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 05:30 pm: Edit

Also, prejudice with regards to voluntary actions or voluntarily held beliefs, is different from being prejudiced towards someone for something that is not voluntary, i.e. their skin colour, though it is arguable that they are also not responsible for their beliefs either.

By Timk on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 05:25 pm: Edit

I can prove to you that the Earth orbits the sun, can you prove to me that there is a god?

Though I disagree with most religious beliefs, disagreement is not the same as prejudice, to paraphrase a quote "I will disagree with your opinion until death, but I will defend with my life, your right to put forward your opinion"

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 01:55 pm: Edit

Tim,

"Additionally, believing in something either not known, or not known to be false, is not the same as believing in something known to be, or proveably false."

For a man who seems to dislike prejudice, you display very strong prejudice against religions. For someone who does not know the theological doctrines of all religions, you tar them all with the same brush and proclaim them all to be false.

Surely this is no different than tarring all people who have the same skin colour with the same brush? A bit like saying "I once knew this black guy and he was a right obnoxious, thick, lazy bastard, therefore all blacks must be just like him."

Proclaiming all religions to be based on falsehood (despite being unaware of their beliefs) is prejudice pure and simple. Prejudice is prejudice, whether its against race or Religion makes no difference.

Because you are a secular person does that give you the right to hold prejudices against those who do not hold your secular views? You're a bit of an extreme intolerant radical secular-fundamentalist I'd say. You probably think others should ditch their religious beliefs and become like you, beacuse after all secularism is the one true way of looking at things.

Hobgoblin
(Diversity of belief is a very positive thing, it encourages us to question and re-assess our own beliefs.)

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 11:25 am: Edit

TimK,

"Additionally, believing in something either not known, or not known to be false, is not the same as believing in something known to be, or proveably false."

Are you really suggesting that the beliefs of all religions are false and that you can prove so. Bullshit. There is more than 1 way to interpret the world.

Years ago people believed the Earth was flat because of course it appears so obviously so. People believed that the Sun travelled around the Earth because the evidence was there, the Sun rose in the East, travelled across the sky and set in the West. The evidence was there for all to see. And if someone suggested that the Earth was spinning around at a vast speed, they'd have been laughed at. Perhaps you believe that mankind is not as foolish now as it was then and that today, unlike back then, we KNOW that our way of interpreting the world IS correct. Scientists have always believed this and they have always been wrong.

There is more than one way to view the world around us and the predominant scientific view at present is not the only right way to view the world.

In India (at around the time of the Buddha) one religious thinker put forward a theory very similar to the current accepted atomic theory (I forget who he was, I'd have to look him up again). He approached this from a religious framework. There is not necesarily a conflict between 'religious' and 'scientific' thought, this conflict is only a recent development.

My experience with religious people of all faiths has been on the whole very positive. Unlike our liberal-secular society religion does not encourage selfish indvidualism. Without wanting to patronise you, I suspect you are a young man rebelling against religion. I too rebelled against religion (mainly because I didn't want to be told that screwing around was wrong, and I'd rather sleep off a hangover than go to Sunday morning Mass).

Why then is this 'Marxist' jumping to defend religions? Probably because I do not like the constant religion-bashing and ridiculing of groups of genuine, well-meaning groups of people. Our secular science does NOT have all the answers.

Also I feel I must declare an interest here. For the past 12 months I regularly frequent a Therevada Buddhist temple, meditate and attempt to observe 4 of the 5 precepts (the 5th precept I have given up even trying to observe). So sometimes I view myself a a Marxist-Buddhist and sometimes as a Buddhist-Marxist (which probably means I can't really be a true Marxist anyway, probably a 'quasi-Marxist-Buddhist-Atheist-Red')

Geoff made a good point. If you think that most religions try to convert others then you are wrong and you are not thinking beyond Christianity and Islam. Jews, Sikhs, Hindus (with the exception of The Hare Krishna sect) and Buddhists (seeking converts is not compatable with Buddhism) do not try to spread their religion by actively converting others. I also believe that Christianity and Islam seek to spread their message motivated by homourable intentions.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 10:52 am: Edit

"Buddism, in some of its forms, can be a relatively non-theistic religion."

This is not the case. Buddhism is entirely atheistic/non-theistic. There is no place for a God in Buddhism. God and Buddhism are not compatable. Buddhism holds that the concepts of God, the eternal Soul and also the Self are entirely man-made concepts. There is nothing at all about us or anything else that is eternal. There is no God, no Soul and no individual Self in Buddhism whatsoever.

Buddhism is not a 'religion' in the normal sense of the term, rather it is a system that attempts to explain the world around us.

Hoboblin

By Verawench on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 10:35 am: Edit

Uh... was that an insult?

By Bob_Chong on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 10:15 am: Edit

"It is rarely something chosen (or maintained) after any kind of reasoned discourse."

And the winner of the Golden Pushbroom Award is...GeoffK!!! Congratulations, your sweeping generality, disguised as fact, has won you all the acolades afforded a man of your ignorance. Kudos for seeing what you want to see and parading it around as the way, the truth, and the life!

BC

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 09:56 am: Edit

Well, Buddhists can hardly be expected to get married in the temple, because basically funerals are the only repeat ONLY ceremonials involving the laity at a Buddhist temple. (There are some exceptions; I once was married at a Nichiren Shoshu temple in Silver Springs, Maryland...but Nichiren Shoshu (which was my ex-wife's idea of a religion NOT mine) is not exactly mainstream Buddhism even in Japan.

In Thailand Buddhists get married at home, in a ceremony where the monks are guests not officiators. It's basically a family feast. Thai Christians get married in churches. Wealthy Thais of any denomination/religion, often have elaborate Western style receptions repleat with wedding dress, tuxedo, cake, punch, hundreds of guests, all in an expensive hall at a major hotel. Outfitting and catering to these events is a big business. (Also true in Japan).

By Absinthedrinker on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 09:46 am: Edit

I had a similar experience in Kathmandu many years ago. I think the Nepalis must hold the record for the number of religious holidays, combining Hinduism and at least two varieties of Buddism. On one day I went out and all the dogs were wearing little strings of marigold flowers around their necks and had dye daubed on their heads. It was quite surreal, and no I had not been over enthusiastic on the temple balls the night before. When I asked why, I was told that it was the day for honouring dogs. Two days later it was the turn of the cows to get the flowers and paint, then brothers were being honoured by sisters, sisters by brothers and it just when on like this. Religion was really closely linked to everyday life and there was always some aspect of life to celebrate. The most awesome sight I have ever seen was the festival of light or Laxmi. I was staying in a house on a hill just outside Kathmandu and went up onto the roof after sundown. Every balcony, window ledge and roof terrace in Kathmandu was lined with candles and the electric lights had been turned off all over town. One of those moments that are simple unforgettable.

By Heiko on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 08:44 am: Edit

"Buddism, in some of its forms, can be a relatively non-theistic religion."

Nietzsche called Nihilism "Europäer-Buddhismus" - "European Buddhism" ;-)


My only real experience with an asiatic polytheistic religion was in Bali. I was amazed by the deep religiousness of people there, yet they were still very reality-oriented. We were invited to a religious event, the teeth-cutting (most important ceremony, you must do this as a Hindu) by a Balinese girl - and it really was not a tourist event. We were probably the only tourists who had ever found that village and we were kind of an attraction to the people there, so it was "the real thing". In the temple, everyone was smoking, drinking coffee, chatting, eating. The ceremony took very long, but it was worldly enough to be a real nice party.
Even those people took it very seriously (no one would want to die without their teeth being cut, you'd be reborn as an animal!) it wasn't bad to take photos, they actually encouraged us to come closer and take photos (they all would have done that excessively if they had had the money for a camera...) - a mix of religion and modern life that was very interesting.

Just like the rice and flowers they lay down everywhere for "the other people" ('ghosts' we cannot see but who live amongst us and like to play tricks on us) - if you step on these flowers because they lie in the middle of the road, it doesn't matter. What counts is the good will of the one who laid it there.

I consider this religion a very good thing - it is a strong belief, yet none that makes your life difficult in any way.

By Heiko on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 07:47 am: Edit

"One consequence of that is that people will
get married in a Christian church, bless their baby in a Shinto shrine and have a funeral in a Buddist temple."

Polytheistic religions have always been like that, I think. That's why the Romans never had a problem with religions other than their own - they just added gods they didn't have yet, or found that the others just had another name for the god of war and the two were combined. Then came the Jews and later the Christians who told the Romans that their gods were all fake and their one and only god who's not at all "a foreign instance of Jupiter" was the only right thing. That wasn't nice, so to speak, not at all...

If you look at it this way, the Romans and all the other folks were pretty open minded regarding religion - the only narrow minded idiots were the monotheists.

By Geoffk on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 07:18 am: Edit

Starting an atheism thread is a bit of a waste, given the vast quantity of excellent material available online. I would start with www.infidels.org and check out additional links there.

I was raised as a Christian (despite my now notorious support for Israel), and went to Catholic high school. I also have extensive experiance with Judaism, Buddism and Shinto (Japanese religion). I would agree that the more theology and Christian history you learn, the less likely you are to take Christianity seriously. As I've grown up, I increasingly feel that religion is used by people either as a good-luck charm, a cultural signifier/element or a means of elevating one's self above "non-believers". It is rarely something chosen (or maintained) after any kind of reasoned discourse. (One exception is Buddism. The philosophy of enforced pacifism and elimination of desire is somewhat misguided in my opinion, but it could reasonably be adopted on an intellectual basis. Buddism, in some of its forms, can be a relatively non-theistic religion.) The kind of fanaticism associated with religion is seen in very few other areas. National patriotism, familiy loyalty,sports teams and operating system choice are the only ones that spring to mind. Even here, I doubt many Windows-haters would fly a hijacked jet into Redmond WA. Do we really need this level of crazyness in the modern world?

As a side note, religion is used almost entirely in a cultural/good-luck kind of way in Japan, and is not taken very seriously. One consequence of that is that people will get married in a Christian church, bless their baby in a Shinto shrine and have a funeral in a Buddist temple. hey don't see any reason why there should be a conflict there. As usual, I'm very comfortable with their attitude here.

To my mind, the really objectionable element of both Christianity and Islam is that 1. Both religions compel followers to proslytize and actively recruit new members. At the same time, both religions disparage other, competing religions and tell followers that no other religion is acceptable. This combination of intolerence and greed has ensured that neither Christianity nor Islam can easily co-exist with each other (or with anyone else). Again, this isn't seen in Judaism, Hindu, Buddism, Shinto etc.

-- Geoff K.

By Heiko on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 05:56 am: Edit

"Any rligious text must surely be taken as a whole, thats the point of it, otherwise man creates the religion, and not God."

Absolutely! Of course I don't say I won't obey any of the things in the bible just because some other things are bad and contradictory. Not killing people has proven to be a very wise and helpful rule, for example.

But then, it's just a book of historic philosophy and not a religion.

That's the difference between followers of a philosophical school and believers of a religion. The philosophers don't even WANT anybody to obey and believe word by word - philosophic texts are supposed to be criticized and interpreted, re-thought, maybe. Religion has always been a set of absolute truths to be followed - if this changes and people start changing and interpreting it differently, it's not religion anymore, but philosophy. Therefore, you can't strictly believe in it anymore.

By Timk on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 03:11 am: Edit

Any rligious text must surely be taken as a whole, thats the point of it, otherwise man creates the religion, and not God. Yes the old and new testaments were written by many different people, but hthere are so many instances of God doing terrible unjust, spiteful theing that it cant just be a result of the age, the writers having different interpretations, etc. It was meant to be that way.

By Mr_Rabid on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 08:55 pm: Edit

Anyone who takes a 'take it or leave it' attitude to a body of wisdom, like the bible, just because of some contradictions is depriving themselves.

If you like 7 out of 10 songs on an album, do you refuse to listen because of the three?

What I mean is, if you read a book and there are good ideas there, take the good ones. Leave the rest. But don't avoid the whole set of ideas because a few aren't to your liking.

People who think a set of storys written over thousands of years must be non-contradictory... they paint themselves into corners.

I think it's pretty obvious that God did not dictate these passages to his prophets as if they were cosmic secretaries. If that were the case, there would be no apocrypha, no differing versions of the bible.

I saw this guy on the TV once, he said (and he was not joking) "If the King James version of the bible was good enough for Jesus Christ, then it's good enough for me!"

He was a preacher. Southern baptist. But something tells me, he was much closer, with all his ignorance, to the truth and beauty in his religion than all the guys who argue angel per head-of-pin ratios. He has the spirit of the thing- the words don't matter. This man doesn't give a fuck where Galilee is or whether Jesus was an Essene. And he shouldn't.

All that being said, I should also mention that I am not a christian (most of them would burn me at the stake, I think...)

Just playing devils... um, wait... God's advocate.

By Tlautrec on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 06:24 pm: Edit

"Today, people say they follow Jesus but behave like the original Philistines."

Amen, brother Heiko.

"A university education in theology plus a strong belief make you capable of explaining with many, important words how you must understand and interpret certain bible passages until everything fits together."

However, a university education in theology at an elite liberal university (Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Gottingen, etc.) plus a strong belief in an open, non-dogmatic, pluralistic version of the faith, might make you a progressive modern theologian who understands that the Old Testament was written by divers hands over many centuries, and that it is in no way the literal "Word of God", and even (horrors!!) that Jesus was a great teacher and rabbi, perhaps the greatest, but certainly NOT the biological "Son of God" begotten of the Virgin Mary, etc. etc.

Religion is the slipperiest of slippery slopes.

By Head_Prosthesis on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 05:37 pm: Edit

Yeah, keep it clean.

By Heiko on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 02:53 pm: Edit

Right. How can I believe in christian religion when it has changed its face so often? It will change again and again, until at some point people will do totally different things in the name of the same religion and damn my generation for our misinterpretations.

How could I say "the bible is my holy book of rules but those passages here and there have to be ignored because they don't fit into modern society" or "I'm a believer, but premarital sex is ok because *insert some bla bla*" ??

Either follow the rules, or don't. I don't - I'm my own priest when I want to be spiritual.
I feel every set of strict rules cannot be the right thing. Religion is, indeed, opium for the masses (while all attempts of communism were heroin for the masses...)

By Timk on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 02:20 pm: Edit

The other thing that gets me is people doing in depth studies on passages from books like the bible, but not in the original language in which they were written, this leads to a lot of confusion and misinterpretation.

The bible is indeed contradictory, but i do not feel the need to study it in depth, I can get a general sense of what it is about, and to be honest, I dont really like what I read, there are many aparrent contradictions, many things I cannot believe, many things that do not apply to modern society, and many 'God sanctioned' things that make the Terrorist attacks on America look like a day at the park.

By Heiko on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 01:23 pm: Edit

A group of German neonazis recently said they would, under certain circumstances work together with islamic terrorist groups against the jewish/leftist americanization of our society. These circumstances would be that the islamists don't want to live in Germany but go back to their own countries. Frightening.
But what would they do with the nazis in America, then? Or the leftist Germans? Or the racist Turkish guys in Germany? (There are really Turkish muslim youth who call you a "nazi" if they don't like you, but would vote very rightwing parties to get rid of "leftist punks" and "lazy asylum seekers".
In the end, it all comes down to stupid vs. us ...


"Frequently I find that the bible is contrary to what is nowadays considered Christian behaviour"

The bible is often even in itself contradictory because what Jesus said was more or less revolution against the powerful priests. Today, people say they follow Jesus but behave like the original Philistines. A university education in theology plus a strong belief make you capable of explaining with many, important words how you must understand and interpret certain bible passages until everything fits together. amen.

By Perruche_Verte on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 01:01 pm: Edit

WRT Blackjack's black Nazi skinhead acquaintance:

One thing I've noticed a lot about people who are avowed, straight-up racists (as opposed to unconscious, outwardly "liberal" racists) is that their racism is often directed at groups, not individuals, with lots of individual exceptions. They will bitch your ear off about the goddamned blacks and Mexicans and then go have a beer with Ben Williams and Manny Ortega from work, who are OK because they know them.

Didn't the Klan even claim to have some black and Latino members at one point? They were trying to support the claim that they make to the public, which is that their ideology isn't about personal hatred but about what's "best for society".

You will also hear them argue that it's really about culture, not race. Since black skinhead lady seems to have pretty much adopted some real or imagined version of Germanic culture, there's no reason she'd be a threat to Nazis. She helps make their point.

By Timk on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 12:24 pm: Edit

Additionally, believing in something either not known, or not known to be false, is not the same as believing in something known to be, or proveably false.

By Timk on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 11:27 am: Edit

Lets rephrase it then.

It can be proven that racism is illogical.

Racism comes about from either direct negative experiences with individuals of another race / culture, or it comes about as a result of outside influences on the racist, from parents, piers, role models etc.
The same person raised in a different environment, or with a different set of experiences to draw on would likely not be racist.


Religious conviction comes about from either a direct experience which leads the follower to believe in god, i.e. a car accident, saved from death etc. Or, it comes about as a result of upbringing, parental influences, influences from piers etc. Or alternatively an individual attempting to explain his / her existance by finding a philosophy that appears to fit their current experiences, or the way they view the world.
Again, the same person with a different upbringing, different experiences etc. would likely have a different religion.

No one can logically be blamed for their religion, their beliefs, their outlook, as most of it is the direct result of outside influences on the person during their upbringing, either unintentional, intentinal, or based on the persons own experiences of the outside world

If you had been born in a predominantly Islamic country, you would most likely believe in Islam instead of Christianity. In this case, is this your fault?

According to your current religion, you would be damned:
"When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance of them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord"

"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods . . . thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people . . . If thou shalt hear . . . Certain men . . . have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods . . . Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants ofthat city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword”

Therefore, in your opinion, it must be entirely reasonable to be prejudiced towards someone because of their beliefs, and not actions, your own God is.

Frequently I find that the bible is contrary to what is nowadays considered Christian behaviour.

By _Blackjack on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 11:10 am: Edit

No, I mean "respect" as in they look up to her. Or at least fear her wrath. It is really really bizzare...

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 01:10 am: Edit

"What's really odd is that she is very well accepted by white supremacists"

They obviously think she 'knows her place' in their scheme of things.

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 05:52 pm: Edit

I cannot begin to speculate on that. The workings of that child's mind are the Lord's own private mystery.

By Mr_Carfax on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 05:48 pm: Edit

I'm confused, if she has strong views about race-mixing, are we talking culturally/socially or biologically?

As you describe it, it appears to be a bizarre melting pot of tolerance amongst a melting pot of intolerance....

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 04:26 pm: Edit

What's really odd is that she is very well accepted by white supremacists and does a good business doing rune carvings.

Of course, the Vikings were no more national socialists than Jesus was blonde-haired and blue-eyed, but these aren't people known for their acute critical thinking skills...

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 03:26 pm: Edit

Blackjack,

I suppose that just about sums her up.

No offence to any other devout Wotanists present, only that you're about 1100 years out of date and you can play the 'Ride of the Valkyries' as often as you like but the fact is that the Vikings were not National Socialists.

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 03:07 pm: Edit

The black Nazi skinhead girl I know? She's a devout Wotanist.

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 02:57 pm: Edit

Blackjack and Tim,

I'm with you Blackjack on judging people by there actions and not there beliefs.

Tim, as for racism and religion being so closely linked??

What are the religious affiliations of the BNP. Have you ever had a chat with a skinhead about religion? Does he give a shit about religion? Only insofar as it give him the excuse to bash some 'paki-raghead-muslim' or 'jew-boy'. Have you ever met a religious skinhead? What about Hitler? Did he persecute other races out of a religious conviction? What about Milosevic? Did he act out of religious conviction?

Religious groups are usually the victims of racism (not the perpetrators). Religious groups are usually the innocent party. Blaming religion for racism is like blaming the victim of a mugging for being mugged.

Sometimes it can appear that religion is involved but this is usually just a case of 'tribal identity' and it might just as well be the 'Chelsea Head-hunters' against the 'Millwall Bushwackers' (UK soccer thugs for those outside the UK).

There are for sure some racists who are 'religious' but there are more racists who are 'secular'. Secular political philosophies and their followers have been responsible for far more racism than religious philosophies have been.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 02:39 pm: Edit

Perruche,

I was not intending to cast a slur on that particular site. It's political leanings are not that unlike my own particular slant of 'leftism'. There are also good articles on this site from people such as Tariq Ali and Eamonn McCann whom I respect. Personally I think this is a very interesting and valuable site with a lot of good articles.

But I am by nature very sceptical about the motives of those with an interest in politics (including my own) (verging on paranoid it has been said by those who know me).

But all political sites have an agenda and an axe to grind so ultimately they're all propaganda (that doesn't mean they're not factual or honourable). Though with sites run by known groups it's easier to understand just what angle the site is coming from as opposed to sites of private individuals. With known groups you can understand where the prejudices (and we all have them) are coming from, with private individuals this is not the case.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 02:22 pm: Edit

Timk,

By your argument therefore any belief or thought pattern that is not based on concrete fact is similar to racism.

Do you believe in anything that cannot is not at this moment in time proven absolutely? I do not believe this, this is not possible.

If mankind only put value on ideas that are evidently factual then we'd still be scraping around in the dirt and being eaten by wild animals. All substantial progress requires ideas and hypotheses and a 'leap of faith'.

I suspect that you are an atheist who has an axe to grind against religion (as opposed to other belief systems, liberalism etc.). Therefore you choose to single out religion and link it to racism (which I presume you also object to). If you think racists are wrong to believe one race is superior to an other, then surely it is also wrong to believe that one race is not superior to another. Neither can be proven, both boil down to what you believe.

It is not possible to go through life believing in nothing unless it is proven at that particular moment in time. And anyway what is proof? Proof is relative. Many cite proof for reincarnation, the afterlife, angels, visions of God and saints etc. When it comes right down to it 'proof' of anything beyond that which is extremely mundane is all about belief. Prove the existence of right and wrong. I'll kill my neighbour to steal his wallet, try to give me absolute proof that that is wrong.

Hobgoblin

By Timk on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 11:51 am: Edit

"By beginning your statements with "I believe" you have taken them out of the realm of arguement. "I believe" is a statement of personal opinion. We all have a right to that. It's not as though someone were saying "we should do....". As BJ says opinion and action are two completely different things"

You miss the point, i was not commenting on whether judgement on the belief of personal belief was right or wrong, but merely on the parallels between religion and racism

"I believe" is a statement of personal opinion."
Both religion and racism are personal opinions

By Tlautrec on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 09:51 am: Edit

Today's news:

"BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Oct. 23 — In a dramatic break with its armed history, the Irish Republican Army declared today that it had started to dismantle the arsenal of weapons and bombs that sustained its decades-long war to try to evict the British from Northern Ireland.

"Some 24 hours after the leaders of the I.R.A.'s political party, Sinn Fein, publicly urged the move, the clandestine guerrilla force said it was acting to rescue the Northern Ireland peace agreement from imminent collapse."

If only Sharon and Arafat could now manifest a comparable degree of statesmanship!!!

By Perruche_Verte on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 10:14 pm: Edit

Don, condolences on your father's death. I hope it was not a bad one.

My mother died in 1999. We were not on speaking terms. I have since learned at my leisure that it's impossible to win arguments with dead people.

Lord H., I don't see how a website's being owned by a private individual rather than an organization casts any slur on its contents. In the case of small leftist groups, many of them get websites "donated" by volunteer site owners and webmasters.

By Verawench on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 07:37 pm: Edit

Word count to date: 15,538

Congratulations!

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 07:05 pm: Edit

Tlautrec and Lord H:

I wasn't so much trying to open a thread, or tangent, on the history of Zionism and its schisms as I was just trying to get a handle on the degree of skepticism I need to read IRON WALL. Now that I have your comments, and have carefully read a few chapters it looks to me like the polemical and dialectic bits are pretty easy to spot (there are some real jewels there, e.g. "The real empowerment of the Sephardim working classes awaits the demise of Zionism." But unless one is so impressionable as to boggle the mind such snippets can be ignored, what I am after are the facts, as opposed to analysis, opinion, or propaganda. Brenner annotated his text, references his sources, and they are there to be examined and accepted or rejected as they can be verified or not. As such I accept this writing as only mildly polemicized history, and a valid starting point.

It is worth noting that Brenner appears to admire Prof.Y.Shahak's works as much as Gore Vidal does, and that's a good sign. When a Marxist agrees with a liberal-intelligentsia sort like Vidal, atch out.

Tlautrec, reportedly Ben Gurion's first deed upon becoming Israel's first PM was to hang a portrait of Jabotinsky on the wall behind his desk. So the progressive/Revisionist split seems less visceral than say the Revisionist/Irgun or the Irgun/Stern split, marginally. Anyway, all this is quite new to me. Previously my reading on the subject was limited to Leon Uris novels a long time ago, I always accepted the popular (incl Hollywood) treatment of the subject and saw the founders of Israel as victims turned soldier-saints, and never investigated their real backgrounds. This was of course naive, but only in say the last 20 years have I felt any need to question such (dare I say?) brainwashing, and only now have I applied my modest skills as a researcher and analyst to the task of deprogramming myself.

The progressive WZO and Jewish Agency evolved into what Brenner refers to (patronizingly) as the "Ashkenazi labour bureaucrats". He could have just as well capitalized Labour and meant the Alignment, the Labour Party dominated coalition. The Revisionists evolved into Herut and Likud and have mostly been led by the old Polish Betaris, like Begun, Shamir and Sharon, also Ashkenazis but mobilizing the Sephardic population for their support. (For the benefit of the rest of us, Betar was the Polish Exile Army, a Jewish paramilitary group that was for along while sponsored/financed/trained by Mussolini's Fascists, and was itself Fascist in the strict, technial sense, not the contemporary usage meaning as 'totalitarian reactionary' but strictly speaking, followers of Mussolini's ideology. To be fair, this was before Mussolini turned on the Jews but, still!!

(Nothing to do with Brenner's book: having been many years an advisor on various matters for a Thai law professor/Senator, a few years ago I was asked to study a classic volume on electoral engineering, as the Thais were drafting yet another Constitution and this time the academics were pushing for proportional representation and various other elements of such 'engineering'. Well, there are many flavors of such and usually, the details will disclose to the sharp-eyed and informed student, the political or social intentions of the advocates. And one of the classic, classic examples of less than fortunate implementations was the changes to the Israeli electoral system that brought about Netanyahu's victory -- I don't mean so much that Netanyahu himself was so bad, but just that the results of the constitutional tweakings were apparently so unexpected. They needn't have been.)

Anyway gentlemen, thanks for helping me set my feet in the correct direction. This is going to be an interesting intellectual journey.

By Etienne on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 04:57 pm: Edit

Tim;

By beginning your statements with "I believe" you have taken them out of the realm of arguement. "I believe" is a statement of personal opinion. We all have a right to that. It's not as though someone were saying "we should do....". As BJ says opinion and action are two completely different things.

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 04:03 pm: Edit

Yes, but the first two hae to do with real human beings, so the implicit actions one might take because of those beliefs are likely to have more direct efect on the lives of others.

Now, honestly, I do think that people should be judged on their actions, no their beliefs, even if those beliefs are distasteful to me. A person who has racist felings, but who realizes that these feelings are irational and does not act on them is not deserving of the same kind of mistrust as a person who performs racist acts. A person who thinks all non-Christian religions are from the devil, but does not prosthelytize or try to impose their beliefs on others, would probably not want to be my friend, but I would have no ill will towards them.

I know a girl who is a Nazi skinhead. And she's black. No, it doesn't make any sense to me either, but she's like 6' 4" and I'm not about to tell her otherwise. But the thing is, as much as she believes that race-mixing and homosexuality and such are wrong, she is a perfectly nice person to every kind of people and won't really bring the subject up unless pressed. Now, she is not someone with whom I will ever be very close, but she has no desire to force her opinions on the world or go out beating up people or anything like that, so I can't put her in the category of "bad person".

By Timk on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 03:13 pm: Edit

A racist holds beliefs that are not based on known fact, as does any member of most religions, at a basic level, it all comes down to false beliefs,
A racist prescribes to a specific set of beliefs, as does any mamber of a religion, that is a parallel

"I believe all black people are evil"
"I believe all members of Islam hate America"
"I believe in reincarnation"
"I believe God is good"
"I believe God sent his son to die for our sins"

All false or unsubstantiatable beliefs, If racism and religion are so incomparable, why are the two always so closely assosciated?

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 12:29 pm: Edit

The trouble with the Reds Die Roten site is that it appears to be the private site of an Einde O’Callaghan (most certainly an Irishman) and is not the site of a recognised leftist organisation. Although he is a member of a group linked to the IST but "the IST are not responsible in any way for the contents of this site".

There are some very good articles on the site, a few on the Irish conflict including a short but interesting article on James Connolly, hero of the Irish 1916 rebellion

http://www.marxists.de/ireland/doherty/jcon.htm

(and a couple of others Irish articles by the well respected Eamonn McCann).

Hobgoblin

By Tlautrec on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 10:23 am: Edit

"...the leftist nature of WZO and its components...."

Actually, although Jabotinsky started out as a Marxist, he quickly became a right-winger, a "classical liberal" in his economic views and a crypto-fascist in his political views. He admired and consorted with Mussolini, and negotiated with Hitler to have the German Jews transported to "Eretz Yisrael."

In any event, the important fact that the discussion on this issue here on the Forum appears to have missed so far is that Zionist movement split into two opposing groups: Jabotinsky led the right-wing advocates of a "Greater Israel" (which would have included Jordan) into a new, separate organization, whereas Ben Gurion, Abba Eban and Golda Meir, who formed the backbone of the Labor Party, continued to maintain progressive and socialistic ideals of the original World Zionist Organization. Obviously, both of these groups were looking forward to the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. However, whereas the progressive Zionists were willing to accept the sliver of land accorded to them in the 1947 partition and to live in peace with the Arabs, the right-wingers, led by Jabotinsky, had an expansionist and exclusionary view, which was much more hostile to the Arabs. It is a serious mistake to either believe or assert that all "Zionists", i.e., people who support the existence of a Jewish state, wish either to exclude Arabs from the Holy Land or to deny the Palestinians their legitimate right to self-determination. The noble efforts of Rabin and Barak to achieve a lasting peace with the Palestinians, which efforts were strongly supported by the progressive half of the Israeli populace, certainly give the lie to such erroneous views.

That being said, "Iron Wall" article, which exhibits the fascistic element in the thought of Jabotinski and his circle, is certainly disturbing. Although I AM Jewish, I've always been revolted and offended by right-wing Israelis who aspire to "Greater Israel," just as I'm revolted and offended by the religious right here in the good ol' US, and by irredentists of all stripes throughout the world.

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 10:21 am: Edit

Tim,

"In principle, racism and religion are quite comparable - i.e. a personal belief, or subscription to a certain mindset."

With all due respect this is nonsense, unless you mean that holding any belief or any idea whatsoever is comparable to racism. Because racists believe something and I believe something therefore we are comparable is poor logic.

Racism is based on the hatred of another group of people purely on the basis of who they are. Religious beliefs are based not on the hatred of another particular group of people but on the belief in a religious doctrine. The ethos of Islam, Judaism, Christainity, Hindiuism, Buddhism, Jainism, Shinto, Taoism, Sikhism etc. etc. are all positive in nature and are not based on hatred. This of course does not mean that all followers of these religions are lacking in hatred, just as non-religious people are not all lacking in hatred.

As for Islamic fundamentalism. There is nothing wrong with Islamic fundamentalism. An Islamic fundamentalist is quite simply a Muslim who adheres very strictly and rigidly to the teachings of the Koran. But then since strict adherence to the Koran, Bible, Talmud etc. is not in line with the accepted 'liberal' values of our society we are taught to distrust, mock and ridicule such people. So much for our liberal 'tolerance'. Since there is nothing in the Koran that presents a threat to us then Islamic fundamentalism is not a threat to us.

Islamic fundamentalism is not about waving a Kalashnikov over your head and shouting "death to the USA", our media are guilty of painting this picture of Islamic fundamentalists. We mix up the terms fundamentalist and terrorist.

Hobgoblin

By Timk on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 09:48 am: Edit

I did not equate Islamic Fundimentalism with Catholicism, merely used it to draw an example,
cat is to paw as fish is to fin

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 08:05 am: Edit

Tim,

"...BinLaden's version of Islam is not representative, just as Orthadox Catholicism is not reperesentative of Christianity"

Do you not think you're being unduly harsh on Catholics here. What have people got against Catholics? It's not as if Catholicism (of any 'sort') is going to incite the murder of innocent people. My mother was a strict Catholic, I was raised as a Catholic, I grew up amongst Catholics.

What exactly is an Orthodox Catholic? There is only one branch of Catholicism following the same set of rules. Do you mean those Catholics that follow the 'rules' strictly as opposed to those who willingly break the rules of Catholicism?

As someone who was raised as a Catholic (and is married to a Catholic) I get pissed off with all the Catholic-bashing from the liberal media. So they have a different viewpoint from that favoured by the liberal establishment, but they represent no threat, just leave them alone. Just because their religion is opposed to abortion (this rule is followed by a majority of Catholics) and contraception (followed by a minority of Catholics), the liberal media slate them. They're ordinary folk just like you, they're entitled to their point of view. Or is it because our society does not want to tolerate points of view that differ from curent liberal thinking, that Catholics get slated? Judaism, Islam, Catholicism and most non-conformist Protestantism agrees on both these issues (and Buddhism agrees on the abortion issue).

Anyway on to the point about Bin Laden. Bin Laden happens to be a terrorist who happens to be a Muslim. There is no Bin-Laden-branch of Islam just like there is no IRA-branch of Catholicism. It just so happens that Bin Laden selectively uses Islam to justify his actions. The Koran however does not justify his actions but then when do terrorists let little details like this get in their way.

Even though I do not support the current action it is not a war against Islam, it is a war in part) against a terrorist who happens to be a Muslim.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 07:35 am: Edit

Don,

A very interesting piece of writing. Some of it is quite shocking but didn't really surprise me.

Whether its propaganda or history, your guess is as good as mine. You need to bear in mind that Lenni Brenner is probably not exactly the biggest fan of Zionism and he has written a lot along similar lines of sympathy.

Thanks for the article, sorry I can't really help out here.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 02:05 am: Edit

Lord H: pls see:

http://www.marxists.de/middleast/ironwall/

which is Lenni Brenner's "The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky through Shamir"

Zed Books, London, 1984

Part of the REDS site. Apparently a scholarly history of the Revisionist movement in and out of the World Zionist Organization, which was led by Jabotinsky, whose protege was David Ben Gurion, first PM of Israel; and another of whose proteges was Menachim Begin. The Irgun was an offshoot of the Revisionists and the Stern Gang, a splinter of the Irgun. Jabotinsky also founded the Haggenah. Both revolutionary armed struglles were significant because they provided the core for the structure of the Isreali Defense Forces and so a study of their political thought, doctrine, etc and esp their actions in the 20s, 30, and 40s up to the creation of Israel, is certainly of interest in order to understand the mindset of the Israeli leadership of the last 45 years all of whom came from these organizations.

What I need from you, pls, is your asssesment of the reliability of the author and the quality of scholarship of his work. Is this propaganda or history? If the former it can be dismissed. If the latter, I believe you will find it deeply disturbing. Not because of the leftist nature of WZO and its components, something hardly likely to upset you, or to surprise either one of us! but of the OTHER aspects, which are so little known.

BTW I don't have your email address, else I would have written to you privately.

Anyone else, feel free to have a look at this material, but do so with caution until Lord H renders his verdict.

By Geoffk on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 06:13 pm: Edit

Don,

I certainly wouldn't describe myself as an expert on Israel, but I'm familiar with all the things that you mentioned anyway. I specifically mentioned the (well-treated) arab minority in Israel in an earlier post and I know that Israel is largely secular. For example, the 21 Russian teenagers who were killed in Tel Aviv by one of Arafat's suicide bombers were at a disco. The Hamas terrorist who rigged this bomb was recently found and executed by the Israelis.

Arafat is in a real box right now. The radical factions that he's been stringing along have grown impatient, and the recent Minister's assasination was purely intended as an incitement to Israel. If Israel retaliates (as they must--it's a slap in their face) and Arafat is sufficiently discredited, the radical elements hope to take over and start a real war. Arafat must turn over the killers to placate Israel, but can't do it, beause the radicals would accuse him of collaborating and selling out. The Intifada has failed to do anything except impoverish Palestinians and enrage Israelis. Even the rare ceasefires that Arafat tries occasionally no longer seem to work. The unity among the Palestinian groups os disappearing and Arafat may not be able to hold on to leadership much longer.

If Hamas and the other radical Palestinians take over the conflict, than Israel will have a green light to clean up the leadership. It would be hypocritical for the US to attack "terror" in the Mideast and not let Israel eliminate self-declared terrorist groups.

So, in the short term, I actually expect that some of the progress that the Palestinians have made in self-governance may be rolled back by necessity. What happens in the long term remains to be seen. Israel is not going to permit terrorists to operate, though and is certainly not going to commit national suicide on behalf of the Palestinians. It's a very interesting situation.

-- Geoff K.

By Mr_Rabid on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 03:36 pm: Edit

Geoffk, you said

"I think the Isrealis = Nazis comparison is just a little teeny bit insensitive. You know, considering that Holocaust thing and all."

That is exactly why I said it. Because they seem to have missed that bit themselves. Sensitivity? Fuck sensitivity. People are dying.

Blackjack- I agree, the Nazi's are often used in comparison to demonize, and it is generally lazy.

In this case, I did it- because I find the tactics Israel is using to be very much like what the Nazi's (specifically the Brownshirts) used in the early days.

Harrassment. Curfews. Brutal policing tactics. No say in government, little economic power. No freedom of movement. Herded into ghettos.

This is what happened in Germany, in Poland.

I think my comparison, rabid and incendiary as it may be, is a valid one.

By Timk on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 03:11 pm: Edit

"in New Zealand"

As i understand it, the only reason people go to New Zealand is for the weed, girls and bungee jumping, so thats a biased example :)

By Heiko on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 02:30 pm: Edit

"However the VAST majority of Israelis are secular, nonreligious people who eat pork (pardon me, 'white steak' as it is known in Israeli restaurants and supermarkets) and otherwise don't keep kosher."

A friend of mine once met two Israelis in New Zealand (he has been there for half a year). They travelled together for weeks and never talked about politics, religion or anything like that. I think they only cared for weed, girls and bunjee-jumping (at least from what he told me).

I guess there's a lot more people like them in Israel who just can't stand all that warfare anymore, who ignore it and party till dawn in some house club in Tel Aviv.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 02:24 pm: Edit

Minorities - Demography

Although Israel's population is predominantly Jewish, there is a significant Arab minority, and smaller numbers of Druze, Circassians, and others. Most of the Arabs are Muslims; however, most Christians in Israel are Arabs, too.

Since independence, the minority population has risen more than sixfold, from 160,000 in 1949 to 992,500 in 1993 - 13.6% of the total population of the country in 1949, 18.6% in 1993. Several factors account for this tremendous growth in numbers. In the first decades of the state, Israeli Arabs had one of the highest birth rates in the world, averaging 4% annually in 1950-1967 and peaking at 4.5% in the 1960s, when Muslim women were producing an average of 9.9 children each. The birth rate dipped perceptibly after the Six-Day War, and even more so after 1977. As the importance of agriculture receded, so did the need for child labor. Higher education provides the social status formerly earned by large families. Awareness of contraception and family planning has increased. Nevertheless, Arabs still have a much higher rate of natural increase than Jews.

The mortality rate among Muslims, 8 per thousand in 1955-1959, fell to 3.1 by 1993, due to improved health care. This, and rising standards of living, have increased life expectancy among minorities in Israel to 72.4 years for men and 75.5 for women (1992 data).

The vast majority of Israeli Muslims are Sunni, including some 3,000 Circassians. More than half the Christians are Greek Orthodox or Greek Catholic. Many of the Christians are not Arabs; the non-Arab Christians include European, Ethiopian, and Coptic clergy and monastics, the small Armenian community in Jerusalem, and, increasingly, Christian relatives of Jews.


— Israel Yearbook and Almanac 1995, p. 248

By Don_Walsh on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 02:11 pm: Edit

Geoff:

Contrary to your statement, there are many ethnic Palestinians who do lawfully reside in Israel, work in Israel, pay taxes in Israel, their kids go to schools in Israel. This was true before each of the various Israeli land grabs although these certainly have impacted Israel's demography, as has immigration -- and emigration, as something like 10-15% of the Israeli population, and I am talking sabras not dual nationals, now prefer to live somewhere other than Israel.

The major Israeli political parties are divided along ethnic lines, i.e. European Jews vs Oriental Jews, the minor parties (which often have a disproportionate voice since neither major party can form a government by itself) include a lot of theocratic radical nationalist elements who have stymied the peace process.

However the VAST majority of Israelis are secular, nonreligious people who eat pork (pardon me, 'white steak' as it is known in Israeli restaurants and supermarkets) and otherwise don't keep kosher. Secular Israelis are as horrified of the (distant) prospect of a rabbinical, Jewish only, theocratic state -- as are the vast majority of Islamic people when they contemplate a (unlikely) fundamentalist takeover in their own countries.

I mention all this because you really don't seem to actually know very much about Israel -- do you?

By Timk on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 01:04 pm: Edit

"We should condemn people by their actions alone and not by their beliefs."

Therefore, do you believe that it is wrong to be prejudiced against people who hold racist views?
In principle, racism and religion are quite comparable - i.e. a personal belief, or subscription to a certain mindset.

By Timk on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 01:00 pm: Edit

We can agree to disagree on the point of acceptable prejudice, though i agree that BinLaden's version of Islam is not representative, just as Orthadox Catholicism is not reperesentative of Christianity

TimK

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 12:59 pm: Edit

Blackjack,

"The UUP and DUP pulled their ministers from the coalition government last week, but Gerry Adams seems to be serious about decomissioning the IRA's weapons, so it's not dead just yet."

Yes but the UUP will be back (and the DUP will have no option but to reluctantly follow if they want any say in how N. Ireland is run). It's all about negotiating and manouevering to get a better deal for themselves. Sinn Fein have also been dragging their heels over decomissioning since the process began, again to try to get a better deal. Every side will use whatever cards they are holding to their own advantage, but at least it's a lot better than shooting each other.

With the exception of one notable Loyalist terrorist group (who has kept on murdering innocent Catholics) and the 'Real' IRA (who in truth are a bit of a non-entity) the peace has held. You can't expect to solve decades (some would say hundreds) of years of hatred to be solved quickly.

Hobgoblin
(I appreciate your genuine concern. You're a man of compassion.)

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 12:49 pm: Edit

TimK and Tlautrec,

There is no "Bin Laden" version of Islam. Bin Laden uses Islam to justify his actions. A war on Bin Laden is not a war on Islam or any version of Islam.

It is the actions of people that deserve contempt and punitive action. Belief alone never killed anyone.

We would be right to ban a religion if membership of this religion required all it's followers to kill others etc. This would be a matter of public safety and would not be an act of prejudice towards that religion. A nation has a duty of care towards it's people. It would be the criminal act of killing that would be the wrong-doing here and not the fact of belonging to such a religion.

If we accept that it is OK to be prejudiced against a religion if we deem it's beliefs unacceptable to us then where do we draw the line? We end up drawing the line where we think the line should be drawn. Recently I've seen decent Muslims attacked by people who have drawn the line where they believe the line should be drawn. Hitler drew the line where he thought it should be, he believed he was right to do so.

We should condemn people by their actions alone and not by their beliefs.

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 12:44 pm: Edit


Quote:

It has happened in Northern Ireland, it's not easy, but it can never be reached if both (or one) side wants only victory.



Well, I hope so anyway. The UUP and DUP pulled their ministers from the coalition government last week, but Gerry Adams seems to be serious about decomissioning the IRA's weapons, so it's not dead just yet.

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 12:30 pm: Edit

Geoff,

"Palestinians aren't Israeli citizens and they don't want to be. Or does universal sufferage mean non-citizens get to vote too? "

So Geoff what nationality are these Palestinians? Every person on this planet is legally entitled to a nationality. Were they not born in the land you call Israel? If so then they must be Israeli citizens, if not then they must be citizens of a nation called Palestine. A nation selectively chooses to deny voting rights to a certain section of the people who were born there then it is not a democracy. Israel does not want these people (despite the land being the land of their forefathers) are you surprised that these people hate Israel?

As for 'irreconcilable' viewpoints of the Israelis and Palestinians, 'irreconcilable' viewpoints can reach agreement. It has happened in Northern Ireland, it's not easy, but it can never be reached if both (or one) side wants only victory. It won't be achieved if all you want to do is to deny the Palestinians any say in the running of waht is also their country and indeed drive them out.

As for using live rounds against what is considered to be "dangerous objects" thrown such as "large rocks" is a lame excuse. If the objects weren't dangerous then what would be the point of rioters throwing them? Do you expect the rioters to cotton wool balls? Petrol Bombs (molotov Cocktails) are dangerous but you don't need live rounds to control a riot where people are throwing them. Plastic bullets, (perhaps the odd water cannon if things get really busy) will suffice. Or are the Israeli police so poor at riot control that they are unable to control a riot without resorting to live ammo? You don't need to kill people to stop a riot. Unless the police think that these people ought to be killed anyway (one dead Palestinian child is one less Palestinian adult to worry about in later years).

As for your military superiority in the region, you owe this to the USA and to a lesser extent Britain. Without the Cold War you'd have had none of this. Without international support Israel would be just a small, weak and poor nation.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 11:18 am: Edit

OBL is not a head of state, therefore, he cannot 'declare war' on a soverign state.

OBL does not have 'millions of followers' he has thousands (the membership of Al Qaeda). Even if he had millions, this would not make him a head of state. Do not confuse his putative fans with 'followers'. He remains a (fugitive) Saudi national. He would LIKE to be Caliph but he is not.

Hijacking passenger airliners and crashing them into the Pentagon (as opposed to the WTC) remains an act of terrorism.

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 09:57 am: Edit

I don't really hold GeoffK's opinions against him, since he has clearly been sppon-fed the basic line of anti-Palestinian propeganda. How do I know? Because he has given the same arguments, almost word-for-word, that I have heard over a dozen times from others. It is what people are TOLD is the situation in Israel, and they just accept it as fact. The arguments are so well scripted that I actually found an FAQ on a pro-Palestine page which adresses every one of them, specifically.

I think comparing the Israeli government to the Nazis is poor rhetorical form, not because it is in bad taste, but because it is lazy. The Nazis have become the bogeymen of our culture, and it's too easy to invoke them in order to villify a group. The facts of the case are bad enough on their own.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 09:40 am: Edit

Geoff,here's another question to add to yours:

If the three airliners had crashed in the Pentagon, would it had been terrorism or an act of war?

1) There was a previous Declaration of War: ObL declared war on the USA long time ago.

2) He is a head of state: his followers number in the millions.

3) If there ever was a military target, the Pentagon is.

4) The passengers would have been "collateral damage", something we all accept.

So? Yes, your question of what is war and what terrorism is a very good one...

By Geoffk on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 07:36 am: Edit

Rabid,

I think the Isrealis = Nazis comparison is just a little teeny bit insensitive. You know, considering that Holocaust thing and all. Not that you're the first person to have made it...

Can anyone else distinguish between terrorism and war? Is it like pornography: "You know it when you see it"? Or is terrorism always equivalent to a declaration of war? If so, nobody should complaim when troops get called out.

I think that there's a difference, but it's an interesting question. The Taliban said "George Bush is a terrorist" on the first day of the Afghan bombings. Were they right?

-- Geoff K.

By Tlautrec on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 02:06 am: Edit

Don-

Our deepest condolences from No. Cal. We lost my wife's mother not too long ago, and it was very hard. Vaya con Dios.

By Tlautrec on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 02:03 am: Edit

"....religious-prejudice...is every bit as nasty as racism. .... Hate is hate, prejudice is prejudice, it's all nasty and unacceptable, people are people there's as much good and bad in all peoples regardless of colour or creed."

No argument from me on this point, Hob. But do not think that ALL religions are equally acceptable and worthy of tolerance. I think that this brief exchange (about 24 hours ago) between Timk and Don said it all:

Timk: "Therefore for arguments sake, let us say thet there is a religion that dictates its followers must kill a small child every year in order to appease the gods, would it not then be right to be prejudiced against every follower of that religion?

Don: "Regarding your hypothetical, you are of course correct. Any devout and obedient follower of such a religion would be anathema."

The problem here, of course, is where does one draw the line? What is an "acceptable" faith that should be tolerated by all, and what sort of "religion" should be suppressed (or at least not be entitled to the normal legal protections) in an otherwise tolerant and diverse society? It would be presumptuous to try to answer this extraordinarily complex moral and political question in a definitive way, but I shall dare to suggest (and let the darts fly...) at least one general principle: a religion may reasonably be anathematized in an otherwise open and pluralistic society if it incorporates or includes criminal acts in its practice and ritual, or if it openly advocates the commission of acts of violence against innocent persons. Under this test, the Bin Laden version of "Islam" would certainly fail the test. So would Thuggee. So would Nazism (which was as much a religious as a political ideology to its inner circle). So would the version of "Christianity" espoused by the white suprematists in Idaho. So would the "Judaism" of Rabbi Meir Kahane. Oh well... The point is that in a democratic, open, civil society in which freedom of religion is a key value, it is not "prejudice" to seek to suppress, and to have contempt for the practitioners of, such evil "religions".

By Mr_Rabid on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 08:31 pm: Edit

As far as war vs terrorism, the purpose of war is to take territory, or stop an aggressor who makes your days shitty.

That is the ultimate purpose of terrorism. It's just sort of a DIY war.

The vicitms of a military conflict are determined by the goal of that conflict, and nothing else. Just like a terroristic conflict. You break the economy to help break the military. Bankers are not soldiers, but killing them is a great idea.

For examples, see the trail of tears, Sherman's march to Atlanta, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Serbia/Bosnia, the bombing of London, the bombing of Berlin.

Inflicting terror on civilians is a perfectly viable and often used military tactic. So is killing civilians, as well as military personell.

Here's a great paralell for you: Picture a country that views a portion of it's population as second class citizens. First, it makes it so those people can't participate in government, then it moves them into ghettos and harasses them on a constant basis by virtue of curfews, economic pressure, and the occasional killing.

Do Israeli uniforms come with brown shirts yet? Or is that next year's model?

By _Blackjack on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 08:30 pm: Edit

Etienne,

You're right, of course. My point was that a modern democracy should not function like a 19th century one.

GeoffK,

You have made my point for me. The Israeli army has killed more Palestinian civilians by a large margin than the Palestinians have killed Israeli civilians. The Israelis HAVE targeted civilians, with no regard for military objectives, for the purpose of intimidating the population.

None of this justifies the terroristic activities of some elements of the Palestinians. But it certainly makes it harder to find the "good guys" in the conflict.

By Mr_Rabid on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 08:24 pm: Edit

Geoffk,

Rubber bullets stop people throwing rocks just as well as metal ones, but they don't usually kill anyone. So do things like tear gas, hoses, etc. So why would you arm troops sent to stop kids from throwing rocks with regular bullets?

They don't want there to be a Palestine. If they could all be deported, the Israelis would do it. Failing that (where to send them?) they will gradually push them out and make them miserable, and push them into a situation where it's 'them or us.'

The Israelis are trying to goad the Palestinians into doing something really shitty, so they have an excuse to do what they really want to do, I think. I think they would like to settle the Palestinian question with a nice, final solution. And I don't think they give a shit if that means the Palestinians are all dead at the end of it.

Anne Frank would have to concede the point about people being basically good at this point, I think.

People suck.

By Etienne on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 07:35 pm: Edit

Blackjack;

On the theme of the American democracy, you are judging events of a century and a half ago by modern standards. From the standpoint of a historian, this doesn't work very well.

Whether or not Blacks or women were enfranchised to vote is not really relevant, such things simply were not possible at that time. By the standards of the time, the eighteenth and early ninteenth centuries,This was a democracy, and the only one available, I believe.

Stephen

By Geoffk on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 07:23 pm: Edit

One thing which I want to add. The biggest differences between war/military conflict (which I consider legitimate) and terrorism (which I condemn) are 1. the purpose of it and 2. the victims.

In real military conflict, the action is priarily between opposing military forces. Civilian casualties should be avoided as much as possible, unless the civilians are directly supporting the military effort (for example working in a plane factory). There may be partisans ("freedom fighters"), but they still have military targets in mind. The purpose of the conflict is well defined and all the participants (except for intelligence operatives) are professional and well-known. Suicidal missions are avoided and considered poor planning.

In a terrorist operation, the primary targets are unarmed civilians. The purpose of the operation is to cause maximum pain, suffering and fear. Miltary targets are dangerous--hence to be avoided if at all possible. The purpose of the terror may be declared, but there is no simple objetive. Changes in public attitude or simple protest are the primary motives. Religious or political fanaticism is often involved. the participant are mostly disguised and try to keep themselves secret. Suicidal missions are fairly common.

I leave it to you to decide which desription best fits the Palestinians.

-- Geoff K.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 07:14 pm: Edit


Quote:

The Palestinians HAVE a government of their own--the Palestinian Authority,



Which is basically powerless, since Israel places huge limits on their enforcement powers, and pays little regard at all to their territorial sovreignty. Israeli security forces remained in control of the plurality of the occupied territories, with the authority to override PA sovreignty if "security" called for it. Palestine is not treated as a fellow nation-state, but as a colony.

Would you want an army in your country that was not controlled by the government YOU elected?



Quote:

Unfortunately, the final phase of Oslo, which would hae established a full Palestinian state got rejected by Arafat. Apparently, under the final proposal, Israel still existed, so it wasn't acceptable to him.



Er, no, Israel froze action on they Wye agreement because they said the PA faled to comply with its security responsibilities. Arafat had already agreed to remove language in the Palestinian Authority charter calling for the end of Israel. None of this was going to establish a "full Palestinian state," however. They only set up small islands of varying degrees of Palestinian control and the protocols for further reduction of Israeli authority in the region.


Quote:

And yes, I think my definition of democracy is more flexible than yours. Or maybe you think Lincoln and Jefferson weren't democratically elected?



Well, there is the small matter of more than half the adult population being unable to vote on account of either having dark skin or no penises. I don't consider it democracy when the majority of those who are "represented" by the government cannot exercise power over it.

And in Jefferson's time, a great many states only enfranchised landowners. Sounds more like aristocracy to me.


Quote:

And we fought the Civil War for a (not really) republic.



We fought a civil war as part of our progress into a mature democracy, since as a result of it, black men were (nominally) enfranchised.

By Geoffk on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 07:08 pm: Edit

The use of Live ammo in riots is also controversial within Israel. The IDF claims that it is mostly firing warning shots or firing at people throwing dangerous objects (large stones, gas bombs etc.) The Palestinians contend that firing is deliberate, may include firing at unarmed co-demonstrators and that less-lethal means of riot control are available in any case.

This is clearly a case where the Palestinians' arguments have some possible merit. However, the fact remains that these are violent demonstrations which have been started by the Palestinians. If they didn't riot, they wouldn't have cause to complain about riot control methods.

If I was a young IDF recruit, and dozens of angry young Palestinian protesters were throwing softball-sized rocks and flaming petrol bombs at me, I would be tempted to shoot as well. And it wouldn't be an act of cowardice under the circumstances.

-- Geoff K.

By Mr_Rabid on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 05:54 pm: Edit

"On the other hand, while I consider the Taliban crazy, I don't consider them a bunch of cowards."

Revise your definition. They have been killing unarmed civilians, women and children and old folks included, since their inception. People who can't fight back.

Also, add the Israelis to your list of cowards.

Or did you forget the part about live ammunition versus rocks?

By Geoffk on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 05:50 pm: Edit

BJ,

The Palestinians HAVE a government of their own--the Palestinian Authority, which is responsible for all trade and maintaining order in the Palestinian-ruled areas established under Oslo. Unfortunately, the final phase of Oslo, which would hae established a full Palestinian state got rejected by Arafat. Apparently, under the final proposal, Israel still existed, so it wasn't acceptable to him.

And yes, I think my definition of democracy is more flexible than yours. Or maybe you think Lincoln and Jefferson weren't democratically elected? And we fought the Civil War for a (not really) republic.

-- Geoff K.

By Etienne on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 05:46 pm: Edit

I am also a strong supporter of Israel, but recently I have come to believe that they can't possibly come out on top with a conflict with the Palestinians.

When you are fighting a group of people whose members are willing to strap quantities of high expolsives onto themselves, walk into a public place and blow themselves into a red mist to cause you harm, how can they ultimately loose?

By Geoffk on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 05:45 pm: Edit

Rabid,

I'm sorry, but I think suicide bombing of women and kids is cowardly. Sure you aren't afraid to die, but nobody's fighting back against you either. On the other hand, while I consider the Taliban crazy, I don't consider them a bunch of cowards.

As for the Palestinians not having an army--they have an offical "Police force", which acts like an army much of the time. Of course, it wouldn't be a match for the Isreali army in real combat.

I'm a pragmatist too. The problem is that the Palestinians and Isrealis have mutually incompatible goals. The Isrealis want to grow, develop their country and maintain their borders. And the Palestinians want to kick them into the sea and take it all back themselves. And all this talk about 1948 borders and occupied terratory is a smokescreen.

-- Geoff K.

By Mr_Rabid on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 05:25 pm: Edit

Geoff, you said

"But I don't think the Palestinians would win a war against Israel, and neither do they. That's why, instead of a real war that they would lose, they hope to regain their country by cowardly terrorist acts that are difficult to fight or control."

And if your country were in that situation, what would you do? To call them cowards is foolish- these are brave men. Pussies do not strap bombs to themselves and blow things up.

They can't have an army, because they can't have a state. What you are saying here seems to be that if a group of people wish to make war, and lack the means to do so with an army and an organized, traditional military, they should roll over and submit like dogs.

Fuck that.

I tend to the pragmatic view- I think Israel should let there be a Palestine, and Palestine should let there be an Israel. But I don't think Israelis don't think of Palestinians as equals, say whatever you will. And the Palestinians are the same way about the Israelis.

I would say 'In the name of God, stop this foolishness!' but that is part of the problem, isn't it?

By _Blackjack on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 04:53 pm: Edit


Quote:

I think that the US was a legitimate democracy from the start.



Even back when people owned other people? Your definition of "democracy" is a lot more forgiving than mine, it seems.

Quote:

Or does universal sufferage mean non-citizens get to vote too?



It is a different matter when you plunk down your state on already-inhabited land. It's not like the Palestinians snuck in over the border. They were in there own country, then BOOM, suddenly they are disenfranchised foregners. The Israeli government's policies have a direct impact on the Palestinian population. Either they should allow the Palestinians the right to have a say in these policies, or they should allow the Palestinians a government of their own. To do otherwise is to deny their right to have a reresentative government, which is the very opposite of democracy.

As far as modest goals go, I think that not being forced at gunpoint from your home is a pretty modest goal too...

By Geoffk on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 04:00 pm: Edit

BJ,

I think that the US was a legitimate democracy from the start. And I still think Israel is a legitimate democracy too. Palestinians aren't Israeli citizens and they don't want to be. Or does universal sufferage mean non-citizens get to vote too?

As for all of your other points, all I'll say is that Israel has very modest goals. They want peace and national security within reasonable, defensable borders. They don't want to be the constant victims of internal terrorists and snipers. And the Palestinians have made those modest goals virtually unattainable for decades. I think it's reasonable for the Isrealis to be frustrated.

-- Geoff K.

By Geoffk on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 03:44 pm: Edit

Don, first off, my condolances about your Father. I'm very sorry for you and I hope it wasn't too bad in the end.

I'm amenable to reason. And I'm not Jewish. In fact, I'm not particularly religious at all. All I know is what I'm able to see with my own eyes.

There are Basque terrorists and Irish terrorists and Peruvians and Sri Lankens. But they usually seem to protest right at home. When you talk about big, widespread organized terror groups abroad, they always seems to be Muslim. Egyptian, Saudi, Palestinian--just about any country you choose. And yes, many of these countries are out "allies". But Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran and even Saudi Arabia are all hotbeds of terrorism. If we really want to clean it up, I don't know where we'll start. The only country in the area that's not a sponser of terrorism is a constant victim of it instead--Isreal.

I think the "my own" US State Department is way off base in many cases with respect to Israel. After the Pizza bombing, Israel bombed one empty building and occupied another in response. The US State department cautioned them. I think Israel underreacted, if anything. And the Clinton administration was notorious for pressuring Israel to make (ill-advised) concessions.

My support of Israel makes you sick? Well what makes me sick is Arabs equating Israelis with Nazis and perpetuating anti-semitic lies. Recently, the arabs in the UN refused to approve a condemnation of terrorism unless it also condemned the "terrorism of the Israelis against the Palestinians". The recent UN racism conference was hijacked by the Palestinians as well. Of course, Arab support of Palestinians doesn't extend to giving them money or letting their refugees in. But they're happy to join them in condeming Israel for every slight, real and perceived.

If you'd like to join the Arab world in condemning Israel than fine. The Arabs are the ones with the oil, so obviously, the US is respectful of their viewpoint. But Israel is probably the only country in the area whose citizens are really living in the 21st century. You're never going to convince me that we should just abandon Israel to its neighbors. And you're never going to convince me that the majority of the Arab world are just nice people who want to make friends. If so, they're doing a great job of hiding their true feelings.

-- Geoff K.

P.S. (This joke goes back to the Gulf War)
What's the anthem of the Saudi Army?
"Onward Christian Soldiers"

By Timk on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 03:38 pm: Edit

Oh well, nothing is cut and dry, so maybe we should revert to hypothetical examples

sorry to hear that Don, my condolances

Tim

By _Blackjack on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 03:11 pm: Edit

The Thugee are a complicated issue, because it is rather unclear how much activity attributed to them was actually religious in nature, and how much was regular old organized crime steeped in rural legend. Sleeman's own acounts include some remarkably paradoxical confessions from Thugee who claimed to be "Musulman" (Muslim), but also to kill for Bhowanee (Kali).

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 03:03 pm: Edit

BJ, thanks for your kindness. Dad in fact died yesterday. There will be a memorial Mass, in NOLA, but no funeral as he left instructions for his body to be left to medical science. Probably the obit will be in the Times Picayune Monday or Tuesday.

I will travel to NOLA sometime in the next month or two, to see my mother and sisters, and of course I will look in on Ted as well. If I get to DC (I may have to) maybe we can get together for a drink at Troy's or wherever.

By Timk on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 02:57 pm: Edit

Don, NP, its quite easy to loose perspective on a faceless forum, hope all goes well,

Yes, I couldnt think of an adequate real world example at the time, The Thugee is definitely the one to use, Lordh, what do you think?

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 02:56 pm: Edit

Blackjack, I have my doubts this chap G. is amenable to reason, whether it be liberal or conservative. As you have said before, when you and I agree on something, it's time to classify it as objective truth.

And despite my alarm at some of what I am finding out, and trying to verify, about some Zionists in the past, I remain a supporter of Israel, I just wish that Israel made my task a little easier by behaving itself, especially at a delicate juncture like this.

They did so during the Gulf War. It was in their interests. It is in their interests to do so now. But Sharon is an asshole, and he wants to placate the little right wing party whose minister was just assassinated. This party BTW wants to deport all Palestinians citizens of Israel. Uh, isn't that 'ethnic cleansing'? And if it is, why is it wrong when the Serbs want to do it, and almost mainstream Israeli policy -- not to be questioned less'n you want to be called anti-Semitic or a self-hating Jew -- when the Israelis want to do it? A pregnant question.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 02:56 pm: Edit

Don,

My earlier message never made it, but I wanted you to know how sorry I am to hear about your father. That really just sucks. My dad died about 2 years ago, and I'm araid I can't offer much more wisdom than that.

Tanke care

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 02:47 pm: Edit

Geoff:

I was not trying to question your loyalties so much as to determine where they lie. I know and have known quite a few Israelis, including a number of famous ones, and some of them still live there, some prefer to live elsewhere. I know several Americans of dual nationality and some of them have expressed opinions to me that I found offensive and alarming. But divided loyalties are inherent in dual nationality and that is why it is generally discouraged.

So what's your excuse? You have only the one passport, but while the US State Dept deplores the counterproductive actions of Sharon, you applaud those moves.

I have listened to you spew hatred at the Islamic world on this forum for more than a month, and have tried to patiently explain that this is not a religious war as you argue, that the vast bulk of the Moslem world is on OUR side, and that opinions like yours are terribly likely to erode that solidarity.

But you consistently put Israel's short term, internal political agenda ahead of both the interests of the US and our allies, and in fact Israel's genuine legitimate interests, and this causes me to question your judgement, of not your patriotism, and to wonder what is in your heart.

I am assuming you are Jewish, but that might not be a fair assumption. Some self styled right wing Christian 'conservatives', IMHO of the worst sort, take a hardline view akin to the right wing Israelis and find common cause with the Sharons.

PEOPLE: I advise you to go hit your browsers and search engines and investigate for yourselves the history and goals of Zionism.

I never did till now.

I will not report what I have learned as I do not wish to be called anti-Semitic or worse.

I recommend you stick to sites authored by Jewish writers, rather than Palestinian or other polemicists, as these will likely be more trutworthy. Nevertheless it is noi limitation as there is PLENTY to find written by perfectly respectable Jewish even Israeli authors that is highly critical of the origins, goals, deeds and plans of the Zionist movement and they have plenty of documentation.

Go look for yourselves what the dissident Jews say, as a non-Jew I do not wish to become embroiled in this any further. The tactics of the Jewish right against both Jewish and non Jewish critics are harsh. I am no antisemite but I am coming to deeply resent the lies and manipulation.

Go look and see what 'Eretz Israel' means on a map and go see what some of the Zionists leaders, such as Begin, were doing in the 30s and 40s, who they admired, who they cut deals with, how they tried and try to cover this up still today, and how hypocritical they are.

Don't take my word. Go educate yourselves. The truth IS out there.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 02:32 pm: Edit


Quote:

Still, the fact that the Palestinians don't get to vote doesn't mean thayt Israel isn't a democracy, and a fairly decent one at that.



Um, yes it does. Just like the fact that blacks and women didn't have the vote in the US meant it wasn't a legitimate democracy until the 20th century. So please don't use the American expansionism of the 1800s as a justification for what Israel is doing today. It isn't the 19th century anymore.

"Our government reperesnts the people--well, except the ones who don't get to vote, but they don't count..."


Quote:

So Israel has done a few dirty tricks over the years. So what? How about the US record in central america and elsewhere? In fact, some of the regeimes in the Middle East owe a lot to continued US support. Nobody said that real democracies always have to play nice and fair.



I think my opinion on the "dirty tricks" the US has engaged in is pretty clearly on the record. I don't think that real democracies should engage in activities which are contrary to the principles of representative government and human rights. But even when the US has done wong, I have trouble thinking of anything we have directly sponsored that was quite on the level of Sabra and Chatila. (If those places don't ring a bell, you are not qualified to discuss this subject.)


Quote:

As for the ratio of Israeli deaths to Palestinian deaths, I guess that this proves that throwing rocks at tanks and armed troops is a bad military strategy.



Aha. So it is OK to repress a people if they are too weak to fight back. A GOVERNMENT should show more restraint in its use of violence, not less, simply because its ability to do damage is much much greater.


Quote:

But you don't see too many Shawnee or Apachee terrorists bombing pizza restaurants in Manhattan.



But you have seen Indian groups engaged in peaceful and not-so-peacefull potest demanding that the US government honor its treaties, which is what the Palestinians are asking. They were PROMISED certain lands in 1948, Is it unreasoable to expect that those promises be fulfilled?


Quote:

And the Jews were there, historically, long before the "Palestinians" arrived.



Er, no. The Palestinians are, in large part, just as indigenous to the region, if not more, than the Jews. While there has been a great deal of admixture with varous other peoples who have moved through the area, there has ALWAYS been a large, non-Judaic, Semitic population in that area. Remember all those Canaanites and Moabites and Edomites that the Israelites had to slaughter when they got back from Egypt? The Hebrews were NEVER the majority in the area, and were only the primary political force for two brief periods, historically. Throughout most of time, that area has been a part of various empires, from the Hyksos to the Ottoman, and had been under muslim rule for the past 1300 years, far longer than the Solominic or Hasmonean dynasties combined.

The claim that the Israeli people have over the land is based on one thing: they are there, and have been there now for generations. It would be as unfair to try to remove them as it is to try and remove the Palestinians. However, that claim cannot justify their treatment of the Palestinians and expansion into their territory.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 02:28 pm: Edit

Tim, thanks for the kind words re Dad.

Regarding your hypothetical, you are of course correct. Any devout and obedient follower of such a religion would be anathema.

We don't need to go too far back for a concrete example. The Thugee.

Being 'prejudiced' again ritual murderers would hardly be prejudice at all.

By Timk on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 03:02 am: Edit

Therefore for arguments sake, let us say thet there is a religion that dictates its followers must kill a small child every year in order to appease the gods, would it not then be right to be prejudiced against every follower of that religion?

By Timk on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 03:02 am: Edit

Therefore for arguments sake, let us say thet there is a religion that dictates its followers must kill a small child every year in order to appease the gods, would it not then be right to be prejudiced against every follower of that religion?

By Geoffk on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 02:30 am: Edit

If a peaceful visit by Sharon to a place holy to his religion, within his own country, is sufficient provocation for near-war, than I think the idea of peace with the Palestinians is a pipe dream anyway. if it takes practically nothing to set them off, then how are you ever going to trust them or have any kind of national security?

I'm not at all convinced that Rabin would have succeeded where Barak failed. What would he have offered, that Barak didn't, which would have convinced Arafat to go along?

A lot has happened in the mideast since 1947. I don't think Israel is locked into those arbitrary borders at this time. Especially since they are indefensible and dangerous. And yes, I do think might makes right in most cases. The Serbs and Hitler got pushed back by more might--because they pissed off the owners of said might. They didn't get intimidated by anyone waving "international community opinion" in their face. It's tough--welcome to the real world.

-- Geoff K.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 01:13 am: Edit

TimK

"It is not however any more acceptable to dislike a group of people because they belong to a particular religion" - I would have to say that this is wrong, it must be judged on a per religion basis..."

You're wrong here and your argument gives the green light for anyone to justify their preudices against any followers of any religion. It gives us the OK to say "I'm not prejudiced against other religions but I take offence to the views of that particular religion so I dislike every person who follows it". Protestants can hate Catholics, Catholics can hate Protestants, Jews can hate Muslims, Muslims can hate Jews, the Christian Crusaders can hate Muslims, Medieval Catholics can hate the Cathars, etc. etc.

People should be judged by their own actions, if a person acts wrongly then he is responsible for what he has done. But to dislike individual people we have never even met or have not personally done us any harm is just plain predjudice, you can't tar people with the same brush.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 12:57 am: Edit

Geoff,

"I could care less that the "International community" wants Israel to give a big chunk of itself to the Palestinians."

The International Community doesn't want you to give back any of the state of Israel. When Israel was created (by the International Community, without whom you wouldn't have a state) the then existing state of Palestine was divided by the UN into seperate Jewish and Arab states. Have a look at the 1947 borders of these states. The state of Isreal as internationally recognised does not only include any of the West Bank or Gaza, but does not include any part of Jersualem or the surrounding area, infact a huge proportion of what you call the state of Israel (even excluding the West Bank and Gaza from this) was intended by the International Community as an Arab state within Palestine. This intended Arab state within what was the state of Palestine is double the size of the West Bank. More half of what you call Israel is the occupied land of other nation which Israel has taken illegaly.

Your argument is that it's just fine for a state to just march on in to someone elses country and take whatever territory it likes as long as that nation believes it's in their national interests to do so. International law and the international community can just piss off and mind their own business. After all might is right. I suppose the Serbs were just acting in their own interests (and also redrawing their national boundaries based on ancient history) when they took land from their neighbours? What about Hitler, wasn't he just acting in German national interests (and probably just claiming back areas previously controlled by Germanic leaders in dark age history)?

The fact is that Arabs and Israelis have to live together in that small piece of land that was once the state of Palestine, neither side are going to just dissappear or give up their aspirations. Both need to recognise that there is now no other way forward than having both a Jewish and an Arab state in Palestine.

Rabin brought peace within sight by his willingness to listen and compromise and then he was shot by hard-line Israelis. This arsehole Sharon will bring nothing but more war. So you reckon Sharon and other hard-liners had every right to provocatively visit Temple Mount? You really don't think he intended to bring down the Oslo Peace Process by this act? Do you think he's really that naive and innocent that he wouldn't know what would result from his visit?

In Northern Ireland Ian Paisley and his ilk maintain that they should be able to march through any Catholic area of Northern Ireland whenever they choose (regardless of the views of local populations). Why do they want to do this, for the good of their health? No, to stir up the shit, anger the Catholics and wreck any possibility a peace process suceeding in Northern Ireland.

Sharon knew exactly what he was doing and what the subsequent consequences of his action would be.

Hobgoblin

By Geoffk on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 08:03 pm: Edit

Lord H.

Yes, if the Palestinians reconquered Iseal by force, it would greatly sadden me, but I would recognize that they now own this piece of land. Since it's the Isrealis who "won" and the Palestinians who "lost", I don't recognize their claim, any more than I recognize the Indian claim on Manhattan.

I could care less that the "International community" wants Israel to give a big chunk of itself to the Palestinians. I'd like my neighbor with the big house to give me half his property too. Do you think he will? How much of the "ocuupied US" is going back to the Indians soon. What about Scotland or Ireland? Are they "occupied terratories" too?

You may think my position justifies terrorism. After all, if fighting a war is the only way to retake their country, then maybe it makes sense. And you'd be right. But I don't think the Palestinians would win a war against Israel, and neither do they. That's why, instead of a real war that they would lose, they hope to regain their country by cowardly terrorist acts that are difficult to fight or control.

-- Geoff K.

By Geoffk on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 07:54 pm: Edit

My sympathies too Don, I lost my Mom a few years ago, so I know it's painful.

However...

Lord H is absolutely right on the "Racist" canard, and the fact that I'm agreeing with him instead of you shows how off base you are here. Nowadays, racism is the MsCarthy Communist charge. "I have nothing to refute my opponant's arguments, so I will paint him as a racist and discredit his ideas by association".

By the way, in the last two days, you have implicitly questioned my patriotism and explicitly called me a racist. Ad hominem attacks are simply a waste of time. If Osama Bin Laden said "Socialism is bad and free trade is good", then he'd be right--about this at least.

It's not racist to point out that Rhodesia was a better-run country than Zimbabwe, that the Isrealis have built farms and cities where the Palestinians (and most of the arab world) had deserts and the economies and politics in most of the Middle East (and Africa) are a joke. Why isn't this racist? Well, because race has nothing to do with it. I love the US, which is a hugely racially diverse country. I think South Korea is great and North Korea is a hellhole--even though both are racially and culturally almost identical. I'm not a racist, I'm just a realist.

If I wanted to play the same game, I'd tar Israel's opponants as anti-semites. Some of them certainly are, but I'm not interested in bigotry on any side. I'm interested in rational arguments. Frankly, where the Palestinians are concerned, I just haven't heard much that sways me towards their point of view.

Sorry again. Best wishes.

-- Geoff K.

By Timk on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 03:27 pm: Edit

Many sympathies Don

By Timk on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 03:26 pm: Edit

"It is not however any more acceptable to dislike a group of people because they belong to a particular religion" - I would have to say that this is wrong, it must be judged on a per religion basis, however, the statement holds true for the major world religions.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 03:18 pm: Edit

Don,

Sorry to hear your bad news.

I've just myself come back from my mother-in-law's funeral.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 03:15 pm: Edit

Tlautrec,

"The problem with people on the Left is that if you don't agree with them, they simply tag you as a "racist.""

I don't tag people as racist if they disagree with me and I do not view you as such.

It is not however any more acceptable to dislike a group of people because they belong to a particular religion (not that I believe you do), than to dislike a group of people because of the colour of their skin. Most Muslims are non-white, but fair enough not all of them, so then perhaps the term religious prejudice would be a better term to use. I grew up in a part of the world full of religious-prejudice, it is every bit as nasty as racism. I am viewed as a fenian-bastard by a lot of people back home and others are viewed as orange-bastards. Hate is hate, prejudice is prejudice, it's all nasty and unacceptable, people are people there's as much good and bad in all peoples regardless of colour or creed.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 03:05 pm: Edit

Geoff,

"The fact that Indians owned Manhatten doesn't mean that we have to give it back to them now. If however, Indians retook Manhatten and their new
government was recognized, then the fact that they once did own it would make their government seem more legitamate to many people"

So if the Palestinians took over Israel, set it up again as Palestine and their new government was recognised then that would be fine by you.

As you know the international community is in favour of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinians have a reasonable claim here, the international community supports the idea of setting up a state here, so surely this is reasonable.

As to those who could have a claim on Israel, the Egyptians surely would have the strongest historical case for adding it as an extension to Egypt. They ruled the province of Palestine up to about 1300 BC. The actual historical state of Israel was only in existence for a couple of hundred years after Egyptian control and before the Persian Empire took it. Perhaps then the Iranians have a reasonable claim over Israel/Palestine?

I do have a lot of admiration for the Jews, how they thrived under persecution after the Christianization of the Roman Empire, how they were expelled from Christian Europe (the Islamic Ottoman Empire, Tunisia, Egypt and Arabia treated them kindly when Christian Medieval Europe persecuted them) and still thrived, and then of course the Holocaust. But this does not give them (with the aid of the international community) a right to boot Palestinians off their homeland and govern them against their will.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 03:04 pm: Edit

Geoff,

"The fact that Indians owned Manhatten doesn't mean that we have to give it back to them now. If however, Indians retook Manhatten and their new
government was recognized, then the fact that they once did own it would make their government seem more legitamate to many people"

So if the Palestinians took over Israel, set it up again as Palestine and their new government was recognised then that would be fine by you.

As you know the international community is in favour of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinians have a reasonable claim here, the international community supports the idea of setting up a state here, so surely this is reasonable.

As to those who could have a claim on Israel, the Egyptians surely would have the strongest historical case for adding it as an extension to Egypt. They ruled the province of Palestine up to about 1300 AD. The actual historical state of Israel was only in existence for a couple of hundred years after Egyptian control and before the Persian Empire took it. Perhaps then the Iranians have a reasonable claim over Israel/Palestine?

I do have a lot of admiration for the Jews, how they thrived under persecution after the Christianization of the Roman Empire, how they were expelled from Christian Europe (the Islamic Ottoman Empire, Tunisia, Egypt and Arabia treated them kindly when Christian Medieval Europe persecuted them) and still thrived, and then of course the Holocaust. But this does not give them (with the aid of the international community) a right to boot Palestinians off their homeland and govern them against their will.

Hobgoblin

By Admin on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 12:37 pm: Edit

I think you all are missing a point. Whether or not you think Israel has a right to a state in Palestine or not, Israel is in a state of OCCUPATION on Palestinian territory, over and above Israel's given borders.

Here is a small essay that details some facts., though it is biased to the Palestinian view point.

http://www.mcall.com/html/anotherview/comment_rightview827.htm

By Bjacques on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 11:54 am: Edit

I'm sorry to hear that, Don. May his last moments be peaceful.

Carl

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 11:29 am: Edit

Well, Goeff, maybe I would stay and bandy words with you, although I am increasingly convinced you are a racist slug unworthy of my discourse.

However as it happens my father lies dying tonight and I am absenting myself from felicity for awhile.

I am sure you won't mind.

By Geoffk on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 08:55 am: Edit

The historical argument for Israel isn't sufficient in and of itself, but it does give them some legitamacy now that they own the territory. Let me explain what I mean: The fact that Indians owned Manhatten doesn't mean that we have to give it back to them now. If however, Indians retook Manhatten and their new government was recognized, then the fact that they once did own it would make their government seem more legitamate to many people (as opposed to some totally unrelated party coming in).

The converse point is this. If the prior historical claims of the Jews are all extinguished now and of no consequence, why should we care about the equally prior, historical and extinguished claims of the Palestinians?

-- Geoff K.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 08:34 am: Edit

Geoff,

"And the Jews were there, historically, long before the "Palestinians" arrived."

So I presume you believe that the Native Australians are entitled to control all of Australia, the Maoris to control all of New Zealand, Native Americans to control all of North, Central and South America etc.

Actually all of Britain was Celtic before the arrival of the Romans and the Celtic Scots originated from Ireland (or so one respectable dark age history theory has it). Therefore that gives the Irish the perfect right to govern England and Scotland. (I'm also sure if I looked hard enough there would be an ancient historical justification for us to rule Wales also.) I'll just go round to my next door neighbour's house and kick him out as he's living on my land. I'm Irish so I'm entitled to take his home in 'England' as he's English. I think I'll take over the whole fucking street as I've a historical right to do so. They're all descedents of Anglo-Saxon and Roman newcomers and I'm a true Celt, we were here well before the 1st century BC and they weren't.

Why don't we all pick a time in history (the UN could pick a suitable time for us) thousands of years ago and redraw all the worlds political boundaries based on this?

The Jewish argument of who once lived in Israel/Palestine 2,000 years ago is an incredibly lame justification for a claim on a country.

Hobgoblin

And as for living in a country with riots and strife. I grew up in Northern Ireland in the 1970's and (with a few very notable exceptions) the police used rubber and later plastic bullets to contain riots (these also can kill but not like live ammo which is designed to kill). Shooting live ammo at kids throwing stones and petrol bombs (molotov cocktails to those outside the UK and Ireland) is not neccesary and is just evil.

By Geoffk on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 06:55 am: Edit

Where to start? First, Israel's "expansionism" basically consists of territory that it conquered by force and blood when it was attacked. The US has a few terratories in the Pacific (not to mention Texas) that we picked up the same way. In some cases, they have kept this territory, either for national security reasons (terrain etc.) or water rights. In other cases, they have returned captured lands in exchange (usually futilly) for "Peace" agreements (for example with Egypt). Restoring all of Biblical Judea is unlikely in the extreme right now, and no one is seriously suggesting that Israel try. Returning to a set of indefensable borders is another issue though.

Despite the disagreements with the "Palestinians", Israel is by and large a very tolerent state. There is a very large arab population with better treatment, higher income and more rights than almost any other arab group in the region. Christians are also welcome, and there are many in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Finally, Israel is a haven for persecuted Jews from all over the world, including Russia and Etheopia, just to name a few. After WWII, and with the obvious remaining antisemitism in the world today (cf, the recent UN "racism" conference), this must be considered an important issue.

Americans mostly support Israel becuase they sympathize with the dreams and ideals of the Isreali people, their values and standards. They are an important ally, trading partner, and friend. The Arab world should learn to bury their grudge against Israel and pay more attention to them. They could learn a lot.

-- Geoff K.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 05:51 am: Edit

Israel Shahak's Jewish History, Jewish Religion
Foreword by Gore Vidal [p. vii-viii]

"Sometime in the late 1950s, that world-class gossip and occasional historian, John F. Kennedy, told me how, in 1948, Harry S. Truman had been pretty much abandoned by everyone when he came to run for president. Then an American Zionist brought him two million dollars in cash, in a suitcase, aboard his whistle-stop campaign train. 'That's why our recognition of Israel was rushed through so fast.' As neither Jack nor I was an antisemite (unlike his father and my grandfather) we took this to be just another funny story about Truman and the serene corruption of American politics.

Unfortunately, the hurried recognition of Israel as a state has resulted in forty-five years of murderous confusion, and the destruction of what Zionist fellow travellers thought would be a pluralistic state - home to its native population of Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as a future home to peaceful European and American Jewish immigrants, even the ones who affected to believe that the great realtor in the sky had given them, in perpetuity, the lands of Judea and Sameria. Since many of the immigrants were good socialists in Europe, we assumed that they would not allow the new state to become a theocracy, and that the native Palestinians could live with them as equals. This was not meant to be. I shall not rehearse the wars and alarms of that unhappy region. But I will say that the hasty invention of Israel has poisoned the political and intellectual life of the USA, Israel's unlikely patron.

Unlikely, because no other minority in American history has ever hijacked so much money from the American taxpayers in order to invest in a 'homeland'. It is as if the American taxpayer had been obliged to support the Pope in his reconquest of the Papal States simply because one third of our people are Roman Catholic. Had this been attempted, there would have been a great uproar and Congress would have said no. But a religious minority of less than two per cent has bought or intimidated seventy senators (the necessary two thirds to overcome an unlikely presidential veto) while enjoying support of the media.

In a sense, I rather admire the way that the Israel lobby has gone about its business of seeing that billions of dollars, year after year, go to make Israel a 'bulwark against communism'. Actually, neither the USSR nor communism was ever much of a presence in the region. What America did manage to do was to turn the once friendly Arab world against us. Meanwhile, the misinformation about what is going on in the Middle East has got even greater and the principal victim of these gaudy lies - the American taxpayer to one side - is American Jewry, as it is constantly bullied by such professional terrorists as Begin and Shamir. Worse, with a few honorable exceptions, Jewish-American intellectuals abandoned liberalism for a series of demented alliances with the Christian (antisemtic) right and with the Pentagon-industrial complex. In 1985 one of them blithely wrote that when Jews arrived on the American scene they 'found liberal opinion and liberal politicians more congenial in their attitudes, more sensitive to Jewish concerns' but now it is in the Jewish interest to ally with the Protestant fundamentalists because, after all, "is there any point in Jews hanging on dogmatically, hypocritically, to their opinions of yesteryear?' At this point the American left split and those of us who criticised our onetime Jewish allies for misguided opportunism, were promptly rewarded with the ritual epithet 'antisemite' or 'self-hating Jew'.

Fortunately, the voice of reason is alive and well, and in Israel, of all places. From Jerusalem, Israel Shahak never ceases to analyse not only the dismal politics of Israel today but the Talmud itself, and the effect of the entire rabbinical tradition on a small state that the right-wing rabbinate means to turn into a theocracy for Jews only. I have been reading Shahak for years. He has a satirist's eye for the confusions to be found in any religion that tries to rationalise the irrational. He has a scholar's sharp eye for textual contradictions. He is a joy to read on the great Gentile-hating Dr Maimonides.

Needless to say, Israel's authorities deplore Shahak. But there is not much to be done with a retired professor of chemistry who was born in Warsaw in 1933 and spent his childhood in the concetration camp at Belsen. In 1945, he came to Israel; served in the Israeli military; did not become a Marxist in the years when it was fashionable. He was - and still is -a humanist who detests imperialism whether in the names of the God of Abraham or of George Bush. Equally, he opposes with great wit and learning the totalitarian strain in Judaism. Like a highly learned Thomas Paine, Shahank illustrates the prospect before us, as well as the long history behind us, and thus he continues to reason, year after year. Those who heed him will certainly be wiser and - dare I say? - better. He is the latest, if not the last, of the great prophets."

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 05:09 am: Edit

Yeah there was a state there before '47. It was called Palestine. It was a League of Nations mandate protectorate administered by the UK since WWI when the Allies (UK and France) took a lot of the Ottoman Empire and carved it up wily-nily as colonies and 'sphere of influence'. With pretty much the same disastrous results as happened in Africa.

There was also a small but vocal Zionist movement, since the 19th century, that inserted Jewish settlers into Palestine, and their was some ratrher vague and romantic British statement of principle called the Balfour Declaration.

WWII and the Holocaust provided the catalyst for world support (narrowly) for the creation of a Jewish state, but not necessarily in Palestine. What is now Uganda was also serious considered.

Nevertheless the UN went forward with the creation of Israel in '47 out of part of what had been Palestine.

Israel, however, has been expansionist ever since and has annexed substantial territory that was NOT part of the UN deal in '47 and THAT is something Geoff wants you all to forget. I remember talk back in the 80s about the expansionism as being justified because these were the "historic homelands of the Jews." Our publishing house always did a April 1 edition for in house only and that year we did a map showing Israeli historic homelands in NYC and Miami.

It should be clear that we can't start carving up the world according to the map prior to the Roman conquest of Judea or the Diaspora. Who's next? The native Americans, the Armenians, the Hittites, the Assyrians, the Carthaginians?

Like I said, I don't want to hear any more choruses of "This Land is Mine, God gave this land to me..."

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 04:54 am: Edit

Geoff, far beit from me to speak for PV but I suspect he's got you pegged as the Romantic and me as the Pragmatic, unless he is more confused than I think.

Actually the comparison of Isreal and the late RSA is an interesting one since the two states had a very close working relationship, despite a high prevalence of rabid anti-Semitism among the Boers. Israel licensed production of the Galil rifle to S.Africa's LIW -- who I used to represent -- and they improved it into the R-4. Basically it's an AK-47 made like Western Europeans would have made it in the 1930s.

More significantly the Israelis provided RSA with fissionables and nuclear weapons making technology from their not so secret facility in the Negev Desert, South Africa actually possessed the bomb, but decided to dismantle their nuclear and strategic-missile technology and industrial bases in the 1990s not long before the change in government. (My immediate superior Dr.J.J.Van Wyk was the engineer responsible for their world class missile test range in the Western Cape. Now a victim of the unwillingness of the US to admit new countries to even 100% peaceful space exploration, over concerns about military applications.)

By Geoffk on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 04:46 am: Edit

First off, I think Sharon has a perfect right to visit anywhere he chooses in his own country. I certainly don't think his visit is sufficient provocation for a years worth of riots, bombings and shootings. Maybe you do.

The Palestinians will never accept an independant state within Isreal's boundries which is also acceptable to Israel. Arafat basically proved that two years ago. Most Isrealis were outraged--not that he refused, but at how much he had been offered. It's just as well--any Palestinian state would have been just a home base for foreys and attacks on Israel, much as the current Palestinian-ruled areas are.

There are a lot of arab countries in the Middle east. There's only one democratic Jewish homeland. And the Jews were there, historically, long before the "Palestinians" arrived. If every Isreali packed up and they gave the land to Arafat, it would be just another poor, corrupt,a autocratic Muslim backwater in no time. So yes, I'm perfectly happy if the Palestinians never get a state of their own and just assimilate with all of the other arabs in the region. And I don't think that they have any particular right to a nation, just because they have chosen (in the last 40 years or so) to self-recognize themselves as a "nationality".

I don't want to deal with Arafat--I don't trust him for a second. I certainly don't want to deal with Hamas. Frankly, I think the whole bunch should be in prison. Failing that, they should just try to isolate them and disarm them as much as possible.

And as for Isreali riot control--they are trying to restore safety and order. I don't think you appreciate the level of violence in that region and scope of the situation they are dealing with. Maybe it would be best if Palestinians didn't bring their young children to full-scale riots when they start them.

-- Geoff K.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 03:34 am: Edit

Geoff

You state that the Palestinians have always been the aggressors in this conflict.

You speak as if the state of Israel was always in existence. Remember that the state of Israel was created against the will of the people already living on that land (the Palestinians).

"Moreover, he still refuses to even acknowledge Isreal's right to exist. How can you deal with anyone who explicitly is committed to wiping you out?"

Do you accept the right for a state of Palestine to exist? Did the people living in that land choose to have a state of Israel foisted upon them? How do you expect people to react when their land is confiscated and given to others and a nation not of their choosing is created on their homeland?

As for your implied support of the use of live ammo to respond to kids throwing stones, would you be in favour of this employing method of riot control in Japan or the USA? As for all the blame for the current crisis being laid at the feet of Arafat and the Palestinians doesn't that arsehole Sharon have something to do with it with his provocative visit to one of Islam's most sacred sites? Or was it just a coincidence that it really kicked off after that? What about the continuation of building of Israeli settlements on the West Bank? Sharon in particular should carry a very large part of the blame for starting this current crisis.

The fact is that there will never be peace in Israel/Palestine unless the Palestinians are given the right of self-determination, i.e. a Palestinian State. The Palestinians will also have to swallow the bitter pill that a state of Israel is here to stay. Both sides will need to wake up to this fact.

As Israel does and will exist on what was the Palestinian's soil an acceptance of this by a Palestinian leader is in effect an acceptance of surrender by the Palestinians of a large part of their homeland to people who took it from them. Arafat has accepted this fact in practice by his negotiations with Israel. Against this background and the fact that Arafat has the job of trying to keep together a fragmented Palestinian alliance(of which his own group only has about a third of popular support) of very different groups (including some very extreme groups who have significant popular support) is it surprising that he doesn't stand up and publicly declare his acceptance of the existence of the state of Israel? Of course he'd rather Israel didn't exist, he sees it as part of a homeland that was taken from his people without their consent.

If you don't want to deal with Arafat in Palestine then who would you rather deal with? Hamas, PFLP, or maybe Islamic Jihad? If you don't want to deal with any of them then the only future is to accept what is happening in Israel/Palestine as the status quo for ever more.

Hobgoblin

By Geoffk on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 02:41 am: Edit

ps. Am I the pragmatic right or the romantic one?

-- Geoff K.

By Geoffk on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 01:38 am: Edit

PV, I never lumped together OBL and the Palestinians, nor do I think all Palestinians are the same. OBL could care less about the Palestinians and just uses them as a rhetorical tool to beat the US over the head with. As for the Palestinians, although there is a range of opinions, that range is from "radical" to "horribly extreme radical", with only a few genuine moderates.

In a recent poll, 80% of the Palestinian public supported suicide bombings on the Isreali citizenship. Palestinian schools use vehemently anti-semitic materials that call for Israel's destruction. Even Arafat's speeches and lectures in Arabic are always more radical and violent than his speeches in English. Finally, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority are rapidly losing favor with the Palestinian public, partly becuase of their incompetance and corruption, but also because they are seen as too soft, moderate and accomodating of Israel.

-- Geoff K.

By Geoffk on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 01:10 am: Edit

>> Israel is a democracy period. They have
>> multiple parties with very real political
>> differences. The people vote and they elecyt
>> these people"

> Yes, so was South Africa during apartheid.

I explicitly compared Israel to South Africa, and the comparison may get closer in the years ahead. Still, the fact that the Palestinians don't get to vote doesn't mean thayt Israel isn't a democracy, and a fairly decent one at that.

> Have you ever, for a minute, put yourself in
> the shoes of a Palestinian whose grandfather's > land was taken by the U.N. to create Israel,
> whose father died in the intifada and who is
> growing up in a refugee camp? You would be
> cheering bin Laden...

Guess what...they ARE cheering Bin Laden. That doesn't help me to sympathise with them, though. The Palestinians had a chance to create their own state in 1948. They decided to fight Israel instead, and they've been fighting them ever since. Abba, the Isreali PM once saidf "Arafat never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity". The Palestinians plight is largely their own fault. Not to mention that of other Arab countries. For all the lip service paid by other Arabs, the only reason theer are Palestinians in refugee camps is because Jordon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen et al. refuse to admit any of them. There are probably more Palestinian refugees in NY than in Egypt.

Would the Palestinians like the Isrealis out of "Palestine"? Sure they would. I'm sure that the American Indians on reservations would be just as happy if the US had never been colonized by Europeans too. But you don't see too many Shawnee or Apachee terrorists bombing pizza restaurants in Manhattan. It's the good fortune of the US (and misfortune of Israel) that 100 years of Marxism have turned "Manifest Destiny" into "unlawful occupation".

-- Geoff K.

By Perruche_Verte on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 01:05 am: Edit

Interesting to see the romantic Right duking it out with the pragmatic Right on this issue.

I feel obliged to point out the inaccuracy, Geoff, in putting "the Palestinians and Bin Laden" into a single homogenous group, as though they formed one vast anti-Semitic and anti-American hive-mind.

Palestinians run the gamut from Dr. Edward Said (urbane and eloquent Columbia U. Prof.) to Yasser Arafat to the infamous Abu Nidal and the Hamas organization.

The latter could be called a case of blowback. People in Arafat's al-Fatah organization have long accused Hamas and the Israelis of working in collusion. This is undoubtedly because Fatah -- secular and (more or less) democratic -- represents much more of a credible Palestinian leadership than does Hamas, which is stuck in a pre-1948 posture of driving the Jews into the sea.

Israel cannot and will not be obliged to engage in any kind of diplomacy with those who advocate its destruction *as a serious political position* - not as a rhetorical device; there's a difference. But that doesn't include Fatah or most of the Palestinian leadership.

What do you think Israel stands to gain by obscuring that fact?

By Dr_Ordinaire on Saturday, October 20, 2001 - 12:37 am: Edit

Geoff:

"Israel is a democracy period. They have multiple parties with very real political differences. The people vote and they elecyt these people"

Yes, so was South Africa during apartheid.

"The Palestinians have always been the agressors in this conflict, through terrorism, riot and outright murder."

Have you ever, for a minute, put yourself in the shoes of a Palestinian whose grandfather's land was taken by the U.N. to create Israel, whose father died in the intifada and who is growing up in a refugee camp? You would be cheering bin Laden...

By Pantagruel on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 10:29 pm: Edit

What's that line from "The Onion"?...'it's not Middle Eastern Conflict, It's middle Eastern Culture...'

By Geoffk on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 07:41 pm: Edit

I would rather have a spy passing information to an ally than to an enemy, since it is much less likely to cause a problem for me in the future. Even so, spying is against the law and until the Isrealis catch one of the US spies in their country and do a trade, I guess Pollack is stuck. I don't want to debate the moral ethics of espionage. Spying is definitely not a job for a person who sees everything in black and white.

Israel is a democracy period. They have multiple parties with very real political differences. The people vote and they elecyt these people. Compare that to a quasi-monarchy like Syria or Iraq or a real monarchy like Saudi Arabia. The closest others to democracy in are Turkey (democracy but corrupt and ineffective) and Iran (elections but religious Mullahs really call most of the shots). It's worth preserving as a nation.

So Israel has done a few dirty tricks over the years. So what? How about the US record in central america and elsewhere? In fact, some of the regeimes in the Middle East owe a lot to continued US support. Nobody said that real democracies always have to play nice and fair.

As for the ratio of Israeli deaths to Palestinian deaths, I guess that this proves that throwing rocks at tanks and armed troops is a bad military strategy. The Palestinians have always been the agressors in this conflict, through terrorism, riot and outright murder. You might feel that the Isrealis overreact to what the Palestinians are doing to them. The Isrealis just want it all to stop. Would underreacting or doing nothing at all be a better response? What should they do?

-- Geoff K.

By _Blackjack on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 01:47 pm: Edit


Quote:

Besides, how many Isreali lives have American accomidation of Arafat cost Israel?



Go check the numbers. For every Israeli civilian killed by Palestinians, the Israeli government has killed four Palestinian civilians, including a great many children. The ratio is more like 1:10 in the occupied territories.

By _Blackjack on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 01:40 pm: Edit


Quote:

Prehaps it's because we Americans would like to see the only real democracy in the Middle East survive and prosper, in spite of the rampant hatred that surrounds it.



Last time I checked, "real democracies" didn't do things like, say, sponsoring Lebanese Phalangists as they murdered thousands of Palestinian refugees.

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 10:16 am: Edit

Pollard betrayed his oath and the trust of his colleagues and his country.

He's a traitor.

He's serving his sentence as a spy.

It is the job of the DCI to share/trade intelligence with our allies. Not the job of anyone else.

It's the DCI's job to protect sources and methods. Pollard compromised these.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 08:52 am: Edit

"I have mixed feelings about Pollard, but I suppose that the US has no choice but to be hard on spies--even those of our allies..."

Geoff, that's an argument I have never understood: that we should show mercy to Pollard because he was spying for an ally. For me the fact that he was spying for an ally is what makes his treason even more unforgivable.

I understand our enemies spying on us: it's their job. But our friends...?

By Geoffk on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 06:58 am: Edit

The Israelis have tried being nice and accomodating with the Palestinians and they've tried cracking down on them. Frankly neither approach has worked very well, so a lot of people are suggesting that they just try to seperate them out as much as possible--kind of a Mideast apartheid kind of idea. Isreal has much the same problem that South Africa had--a hostile, undereducated distinct subgroup which was actually a numeric majority over the dominant group. South Africa didn't have a good solution to the problem, and when they gave up on fighting, much of the country started going to hell--as Rhodesia/Zimbabwe has already done.

If you know what the Isrealis should do, then please don't keep it a secreat. They're dying for a solution that preserves their country and culture, without violence, and still pleases the Palestinians. I don't think you have an answer and, frankly they don't either. In the meanwhile, they're doing the best they can, which is to try to reign in some of the terrorism and maintain the security of their citizens. Just as the US is doing.

-- Geoff K.

ps. Going back to that dual passport thing--I don't think that supporting the interests of a US ally and true democracy over the interests of a bunch of current (and possibly former) terrorists is a sign that my patriotism is compromised. I'm not sure why you seem to think so...


s

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 05:25 am: Edit

You looking in the mirror, kelvinator, you little snot?

By Timk on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 04:14 am: Edit

"So don't sing 'Exodus' around me anymore."
I doubt i have ever met a more arrogant prick in my life

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

Fine. So Israeli troops go on shooting ball ammo (not rubber bullets, ball = Full Metal Jacket) into pre-adolescents who throw rocks. That's great.

While the whole world watches, the Israelis slowly reverse-metamorph from underdog butterflies into nazi-like caterpillars. They are becoming what they most hate and they are being led by a 'soldier' who would have been comfortable commanding an Einsatzgrupp. How many Palestinians flocked to the terrist groupos only after Sharon's little romp through the refugee camps, hmmm?

I used to be an unqualified fan of the Israelis, really. But watching them go through this transition from heros to bullies for the last 40 years, and getting to know some of them one on one, has obliged me to rethink things and adopt not an anti-Israeli position but at least one with a bit of balance.

And I'm not alone.

So don't sing 'Exodus' around me anymore.

By Geoffk on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 02:48 am: Edit

No, just the US passport I'm afraid. In fact, it's a strange paadox that many Americans--especially conservatives--seem to be more hawkish on the Palestinian issue than many Isrealis themselves are. Don't forget, Kahane was an American originally, as are a majority of the West Bank settlers. Prehaps it's because we Americans would like to see the only real democracy in the Middle East survive and prosper, in spite of the rampant hatred that surrounds it.

As for Arafat, I suppose that the Palestinian Authority is better to deal with than Hamas, but that's a bit like saying I'd rather have Ted Bundy for a neighbor than Charles Manson. Arafat simply cannot be trusted as numerous US Presidents and Isreali PMs have found out to their disappointment. Moreover, he still refuses to even acknowledge Isreal's right to exist. How can you deal with anyone who explicitly is committed to wiping you out?

It doesn't matter whether the US supports a Palestinian state or not. The Palestinians and OBL will never be happy as long as the State of Isreal exists and Jews are free to walk the streets of Jerusalem. Iseal will never agree to a better deal than the one Arafat was already offered--which he refused. The sooner the Isrealis and Palestinians stop chasing the Palestinian state pipe dream, the sooner they will be forced to deal with a realistic solution.

I have mixed feelings about Pollard, but I suppose that the US has no choice but to be hard on spies--even those of our allies. I don't feel that he is necessarily a bad person, anymore than the spies who work for the US are bad people. It was just his misfortune to be caught and made example of. As for the Liberty, I have no opinion on the matter, but it was a fairly desparate time for Israel and I'm sure that they did what they felt was necessary, just as the US has done so many times. Besides, how many Isreali lives have American accomidation of Arafat cost Israel?

-- Geoff K.

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 02:40 am: Edit

Sorry, it was 67 not 73.

"This web site is dedicated to the memory of thirty-four fine young men
who gave their lives on June 8, 1967, defending the USS Liberty
against a sustained air and sea attack by the armed forces of the State of Israel
During the Six Day War between Israel and the Arab States, the American intelligence ship USS Liberty was attacked for 75 minutes in international waters by Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats. Thirty-four men died and 171 were wounded.

The attack has been a matter of controversy ever since. Survivors and many key government officials including Secretary of State Dean Rusk and former JCS Chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer say it was no accident. Israel and its supporters insist it was a "tragic case of misidentification" and charge that the survivors are either lying or too emotionally involved to see the truth.

Israel claims they mistook our ship for the out-of-service Egyptian horse carrier El Quseir and that we brought the attack upon ourselves by operating in a war zone without displaying a flag. Not so. We were in international waters, far from any fighting, and flew a bright, clean, new American flag. The flag we flew is on display at the National Cryptologic Museum, Fort Meade, Maryland and can be seen there, or in the USS Liberty Images Archive.

Our commanding officer, Captain William Loren McGonagle, received the Congressional Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepedity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty during the attack. The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award our country can bestow. To avoid embarrassing our attackers, Captain McGonagle's Medal of Honor was presented in a quiet ceremony in the Washington Navy Yard instead of in the White House by the President as is customary.

The USS Liberty Web Page presents part of the story along with some historical information and links to other sources."

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 02:29 am: Edit

And that long memory of mine also encompasses the USS Liberty and a bunch of dead and wounded US military personnel killed with ammunition the US gave the Israeli Air Force, in order to prevent the US from learning that Israel was launching the '73 War. That's what I mean by biting the hand that feeds. 'Mistake' or 'pilot error' my ass.

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 02:24 am: Edit

Let me make it clear that I want to see Hamas, PFLP and Hazballah cease to exist, the hard way, but note that we have also declared the Kahane Chia beyond the Pale.

And that by supporting the creation of an independent Palestinian state, the US and UK have turned OBL's phony pro-Palestinian argument aside.

It is no time for Sharon to flex his flab.

Instead, it is time for Sharon to sit down and shut up so we can pressure Arafat to oblige his people to do the same.

Meanwhile the takedown of Hamaz, Hazballah and the PFLP will proceed. With those elements out of the way you will find the Palestinian Authority a whole lot easier to deal with.

Attacking them is just a way to ensure more spasms of attrition.

I think Arafat stinks, and I have a long memory, but I also know at the moment he's our bastard, and I'd rather see him in charge than Dr. G.Habash, for example.

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 02:13 am: Edit

You are a dual citizen, perhaps, Geoff?

One wonders where you stand on clemency for that ex ONI staffer who is serving time for espionage in the US? Jon J.Pollard.

Perhaps it's time for you to decide which passport you ought to keep and which one you ought to turn in.

Personally I am tired of arrogant Israelis and their government, which bites the hand that feed it. Time to turn off the money till Sharon ceases to be his usual fat fascist self, and behaves himself for a change.

By Geoffk on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 01:04 am: Edit

I believe that many Muslims take these "nutball conspiracy theories" much more seriously than you think. A lot of them don't get CNN or BBC and their news comes from the local Imam or newspaper. They think that Jews are all ridiculously powerful, sinister and easily capable of this. Even Reuters and other news agencies hae reported how widespread this particular belief is. In one common variation, 4000 Jews who usually work in the towers received a warning (from the conspiracy), so they stayed away that day and were safe.

As for Israel, I think that Sharon has been underreacting and not overreacting for a year or more at least. If black suicide bombers were blowing up New York Pizzarias, Harlem snipers were picking off white children on the Upper West Side, and schools and chuches in Harlem called for the death and expulsion of all whites from Manhattan, I daresay that Blacks in NY would not be rampaging, free from arrest or any consequences. What is Israel supposed to do when a cabinet minister is killed in cold blood? They have demanded that Arafat either produce his killers or step down so that law and order can be restored.

Arafat has shown that when he really really tries, he can enfore a ceasefire. This happeed briefly when Israel rolled it's tanks into Jemin a month ago. Since most of the time he allows killing, sniping, asassination and lawlessness to go on (and in fact allowed it to start in the first place), he obviously has no interest in peace.

Americans are just starting to live with the fear and frustration that Isrealis have known for decades. As the anger with radical muslims grows, Americans' residual sympathy with Arafat, the Palestinians, their tactics and their cause will evaporate very quickly indeed.

-- Geoff K.

By Don_Walsh on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 12:32 am: Edit

Geoff, Moslems are just as fond of nutball conspiracy theories as anyone else, but very few take such theories very seriously. Any more than many Americans really think alien abductions are real, for example.

I am much more concerned about Sharon's stupid over-reaction to the killing of an ultra-rightist cabinet member, which over-reaction is entirely for the sake of domestic Israeli politics, and which threatens to destablize matters. Which is WHY some Palestinian terrorists killed the guy, exactly to provoke this kind of stupid response, so Sharon is playing into their hands, against his own real interests and most certainly against those of the USA and the world, and he will have to be sat on, hard.

By Oxygenee on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 10:17 pm: Edit

For the definitive view of the fate of the hijackers:
http://www.theonion.com/onion3734/hijackers_surprised.html

By Geoffk on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 09:33 pm: Edit

Not so much humerous, as disturbing, is this interview. The Egyptian Sheikh Muhammad Al-Gamei'a, the Al-Azhar University representative in the U.S. and Imam of the Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque of New York City, was interviewed for the website www.lilatalqadr.com, an unofficial Al-Azhar University site, on October 4, 2001. Sheikh Gamei'a returned to Egypt after September 11 because he was being "harassed".

Basically, the Sheikh is convinced that the whole Sept. 11 plot was a Zionist conspiricy, done entirely by the Jews to cause trouble for Muslims. I'm sure that you've heard this theory before, but his interview goes into some detail, and it's a nice insight to what the Arabs on the street are hearing now and what they believe.

http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=8548

-- Geoff K.

By Geoffk on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 07:33 pm: Edit

If you want a good laugh, check out the cartoons on this web page:

http://www.mnftiu.cc/mnftiu.cc/war.html

It's not really pro or anti war, just funny.

-- Geoff K.

By Tlautrec on Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 11:59 am: Edit

Today's New York Times clearly points the finger at Iraq. Check this out.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/18/opinion/18BUTL.html?todaysheadlines

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 08:24 pm: Edit

BJ, CNN covered the USA Today incident and I'd be surprised if others didn't, too. If it was a false alarm I am happy for you.

Yeah the coverage is muddled. All this smarmy condescension and doublespeak...I recall in the 80s when circumlocutions like 'exposed to' were used to describe people infected with HIV. Well, people with anthrax spores in their nasal cavities are a trifle more than 'exposed to' anthrax. Which is why they are being loaded down with massive antibiotics. Have a peak at the literature and see what the antibiotic regime is like for this...20 million units of penicillin a day? Gee, Mom, is that a lot? No comment about people who are allergic to penicillin.

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 03:36 pm: Edit


Quote:

Blackjack, how are things at USA Today?



We had a little scare 3 floors up yesterday, and we moved everybody out of the Life area until we get tests back from the FBI, but I'm pretty sure they think it was a false alarm, since it only got a paragraph in our paper and I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else.


Quote:

3. A second AMI employee has confirmed pulmonary anthrax infection, not just exposure.



The CDC hasn't confirmed this, mostly because they are sticklers for scientific accuracy. They have not yet isolated the bacterium in his blood or spinal fluid yet, so they can't say for sure that he is infected with pulmonary anthrax. All they know for sure is that 1) he was exposed to anthrax spores and 2) he is displaying the symptoms consistant with pulmonary anthrax. Obviously only a technical distinction, and I mention it just because the information coming from the press is muddled.

He is improving, it seems, because of aggressive antibotic treatment, which is surprizing, since once pulmonary anthrax gets hold, that's usually it.

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 12:00 pm: Edit

The lyophilization work I've done leaves a very fine dusty powder (somewhat like Talc). The benchtop equipment I used was capable of lypholizing six 1L fermentations at a time. Using said equipment, one individual could easily lyophilize enough spores to account for those letters.

The danger of course, is that you will very likely infect yourself in the process.

By Timk on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 11:59 am: Edit

The question is surely, was this a weapon-grade strain of bacteria, or professionally WEAPONISED bacteria. Posting anthrax designed for airborne dissemination in a letter with no explosive or otherwise device fore getting the spores into the air is really rather stupid unless the intent is only to kill the person who opens the letter, and maybe a few others. If you really want to do damage, you need to effectively spread it.

By Mr_Rabid on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 11:54 am: Edit

Human life is not precious, unless it's your own.

Which is to say, the world as it stands is going to kill you, and every other living thing on the planet, because that is the way it is built.

Saying human life is precious is a human conceit. Like not crossing the double yellow lines on the road, it is an arbitrary concept of some, but limitied, practical value.

The reason for all the angst is that we don't want to die, or hurt. And most people don't want that to happen to anyone else, hence we try to keep the tide back as much as possible- we call life precious and make it illegal to murder, to steal. Our religions often teach us not to be jerks if possible.

But no matter how much we wish it wouldn't come up, the choice of kill or be killed keeps coming up.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 11:49 am: Edit

Ted, the tricky bit is control of particle size and elimination of clumping due to among other things static electricity generated during ball-milling. I won't post the micron sizes but they are in the open lit. They are small. But the optimum for airborn is on the low end of the range and clumping for any reason defeats that. Simple lyopilisation is not the end game.

While it is technically possible to produce locally in USA, the specific challenges involved are non-trivial.

We know that Atta met with Iraqi 'legals' in Prague twice. They were surveilled. We have reports that the Iraqis passed anthrax to him. We have the UN weapons inspector's opinion. The Iraqis are neck deep in the WTC and Pentagon attacks as they were in the original WTC bombing -- Ramsey Youssef was an Iraqui agent pure and simple. The Ames strain as you know has been isolated for 50 years and widely disseminated to researchers worldwide. I await word as to whether the strains are all the same which would be pretty conclusive. Meanwhile, I see no reason to prefer the notion that this was domestic terrorism. VP Cheney's got the right idea.

By Mr_Rabid on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 11:47 am: Edit

It could be both. It doesn't take a lot to transport enough weapon-engineered bacteria to start a culture.

It would be better to do the developmental work overseas and bring a little bit to your lab in Bumfuck Idaho.

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 10:48 am: Edit

The description of the material leads me to believe that it may be lypholized spores. It would not take a great deal of equipment to make such a product, but the equipment is specialized (can be purchased used from used lab equipment dealers). While I find it entirely possible that Iraq could be involved (perhaps in providing the initial inoculum), my first suspicion is that it was made right here in the U.S.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 09:55 am: Edit

Blackjack, how are things at USA Today?

Here are some snippets relative to the anthrax bioattacks:

1. The former UN weapons inspector for Iraq points a finger clearly at Saddam for the anthrax and says that Al-Qaeda could not produce this on their own.

2. 29 Senate staffers test positive for anthrax spoors in nasal passages after a much finer size anthrax, more suitable for airborn release, was distributed in the Senate offices of the Majority Leader. 1400 other Senate staff have been tested. House closes for 5 days for security sweep. Senate mulling whether to do same. Even allowing for false positive nose swabs, 29 is a lot.

3. A second AMI employee has confirmed pulmonary anthrax infection, not just exposure.

4. A 7 month old child of an NBC staffer was infected while visiting NBC.

5. AMI won't reopen their building, plans to sell and relocate. Who will buy it?

So, anyone still think I was being alarmist when I rang the bell at the onset of this attack?

My 'opinion':

It is bioterrorism, it is Al Qaeda doing it and it is Irag in back of them supplying the bugs.

By tlautrec on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 12:23 am: Edit

"The tarring of Islam as our enemy is racist."

Hob-
I agree with you that tarring of all of Islam would be inappropriate and unjustified if you are referring to the entirety of Islam. However, even if I didn't generally agree with you, I'm not sure how it would exactly be "racist"; after all, there are quite a few Caucasian Europeans who are Muslims. The problem with people on the Left is that if you don't agree with them, they simply tag you as a "racist." This sort of ad hominem argument is contemptible, and it is certainly beneath you, Hob.

"Calling Islam or even 'Radical Islam' the enemy is a cover for hatred."

You have obviously misunderstood what I said, so I will repeat here what I said in my post to Geoffk on 10/13: Unfortunately for the masses of decent, God-fearing Muslims in the world today, the current crop of hate-spewing monsters call themselves "Muslims" and call their perverted ideology "Islam". So, I'm afraid then that it's the world against "Islam".

Hob, the hatred is on their part, not ours. It is more in sorrow than in anger that we must take up arms against a phalanx of terrorists who wrap themselves in the banner of "Islam" and who, in the name of "Islam," have declared a jihad against us. But make no mistake about it, whatever these vile terrorists call themselves, they are the enemy.

"Islam is a broad church and Islam is not a threat to world peace. A bunch of power-craved maniacs who use the scriptures such as the Koran to justify their own ambitions are the threat to world peace."

No disagreement from me on this. However, don't forget that the "power-craved maniacs" claim to be "Islam" and are carrying out atrocities in the name of "Islam." Please try to recognize this distinction between Islam and "Islam" in quotes that I use in my posts.

By tlautrec on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 11:52 pm: Edit

"Are you saying that what I have said is not true or are you saying that it is true but for practical purposes we choose to ignore this fact. There is a very big difference between these 2 positions."

Hob-

I think that what I wrote was clear enough: "In the best of all possible worlds, your views would be unimpeachable, as well as beautifully true."

Let me say it another way: Your views are true, and I agree with them in principle, but in the very imperfect and problematic world we live in, we cannot expect such truths to be the basis for society's actions, even though, ideally, we should want them to be so.

Thus, however lamentable the fact that some innocent Afghans will be killed in this war, such deaths will happen. However, the fact that such unfortunate deaths will inevitably occur certainly does NOT mean that the US and Britain should NOT use whatever military means are necessary to pursue the goal of capturing bin Laden and ousting the Taliban (and hopefully, eventually, Saddam while they're at it).

The touchy-feely "peace at any price" gang has no credibility or legitimate moral stance in this crisis. Their sentimentalized and politically correct view that "every human life is so precious that we cannot take any action that might threaten even one such life" is the worst sort of moral relativism and hypocrisy. Bin Laden and his terrorist thugs, who unquestionably are, whether you like the use of the term or not, radical islamists, have viciously attacked our country and killed thousands in the name of "Allah." They hate our civilization to the bottom of their evil hearts and would destroy us all if they could. (Of course, if they gained the power they seek, they might let us live if we accepted their version of "Islam".) So they must be stopped, whatever the cost.

When hordes of barbarians with knives between their teeth come at you, what are you going to do, smile at them nicely and say, "Let's negotiate"??? Get real, man.

By Press Officer on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 02:03 pm: Edit

Press release.

With regard to the recent anthrax attacks, FBI enquiries have been making steady progress, only four minor questions now remain unanswered.

1. When the anthrax was produced?

2. Where the anthrax was produced?

3. Who was responsible for the attacks?

4. Why the attacks were carried out?

The nation can feel safe in the knowledge that the FBI is on top of the situation.

We are sorry for the mistakes in the previous two press releases, rest assured that someones head will roll for that.

By Press Officer on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 02:02 pm: Edit

Press release.

With regard to the recent anthrax attacks, FBI enquiries have been making steady progress, only four minor questions now remain unanswered.

1. When the anthrax was produced?

2. When the anthrax was produced?

3. Who was responsible for the attacks?

4. Why the attacks were carried out?

The nation can feel safe in the knowledge that the FBI is on top of the situation.

By Press Officer on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 02:01 pm: Edit

Press release.

With regard to the recent anthrax attacks, FBI enquiries have been making steady progress, only four minor questions now remain unanswered.

1. When and the anthrax was produced?

2. When the anthrax was produced?

3. Who was responsible for the attacks?

4. Why the attacks were carried out?

The nation can feel safe in the knowledge that the FBI is on top of the situation.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 01:26 pm: Edit

Is it fair to dislike and blame religious fundamentalists?

The vast majority of religious fundmentalists are happy to hold and practice a fundamentalist approach to their religion whilst not trying to forcibly impose their fundamentalism on others. Religious fundamentalists have my respect, they take their beliefs very seriously and try to live their lives according to their beliefs. Christian fundamentalists, Jewish fundamentalists and Islamic fundamentalists can and do peacefully co-exist within society and they represent no danger.

It is not the religious fundamentalists that present the danger but it is those who seek to manipulate religious beliefs in pursuit of their own power that present the danger.

The smearing of religious fundamentalism is just pure prejudice and results in decent, innocent people who take a fundamentalist approach to their faith (as is their right) being marginalised and attacked.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 01:15 pm: Edit

"I can't tell you how many Iranians I used to know who were horrified at the rise of the Ayatollahs."

But a hell of a lot of them were damn pleased to see the Shah go and like it or not the Ayatollahs receive much popular support amongst ordinary Iranians.

The Shah was a repressive bastard, he just repressed a different group of Iranians than those which are being repressed now.

Do we get into the argument of "my favoured repressive bastard" is better than "your favoured repressive bastard"?

Hobgoblin

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 10:38 am: Edit


Quote:

If I say that "Christianity is a fine religion, but fundamentalists are intolerant bastards" than who do I dislike?



That's easy: the ones who advocate that their religious beliefs should be imposed on people by the government, or who otherwise advocate use of violence or coersion.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 10:35 am: Edit


Quote:

The Shainsha fell to the fundamentalist mullahs not because he was too repressive but because he was dragging Persia into the 20th Centory, and he wasn't repressive ENOUGH, he forgot the basic tenets of Persian rule.



Now, now, give him some credit: he was PLENTY repressive. He was just repressing the more reactionary and anti-Western elements.

Quote:

I can't tell you how many Iranians I used to know who were horrified at the rise of the Ayatollahs.



No argument there. The only thing worse than a progressive tyrant is a reationary tyrant.

By chickenshit on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 03:17 pm: Edit

duh.....ISP?

By lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 01:26 pm: Edit

"If they seek to pervert and pollute Islam and to turn it into the sworn enemy of the West and of modern civilization, then we'll have to fight "Islam". Too bad, but that's the way it is."

If you fight "Islam" then you'll be fighting alone. No British government will ever get involved in a fight against Islam. There are millions of British Muslims (mainly of Pakistani origin). Muslims are part of mainstream British society, Islam is the largest practiced faith in the UK, more British people attend Mosques than attend Christian churches.

If you want a global coalition then you won't get one if you are fighting Islam. Islam is not unpopular in most countries, and certainly not seen as the enemy.

Hobgoblin

By ordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 11:26 am: Edit

Tlautrec,

""Human life is human life or do we have a sliding scale, American or European innocent life is valued at 100 points, the life of a third world innocent is valued at 10 points, and the life of an Afghai innocent is valued at 1 point? These people are just like you Heiko, they feel the same pain, they deserve to die no more than you do."

Hob- You have a beautiful soul, man, but --- like ---get real. In the best of all possible worlds, your views would be unimpeachable, as well as beautifully true."

Are you saying that what I have said is not true or are you saying that it is true but for practical purposes we choose to ignore this fact. There is a very big difference between these 2 positions. The second position I can have a tiny degree of sympathy with, but the first position is repulsive and facist. It holds that one nation, race, or people has more rights to live than another.

If you are saying my statement is not true then tell me which part of my statement is not true. If you believe my statement to be false then I also presume that you believe there are no such things as Fairness or Justice as these are only terms to use help justify our own self-interests.

Tlautrec, without 'soul' (meant in a non-religious sense of course as I do not believe in a religious 'soul') we are nothing.

Hobgoblin

By lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 11:01 am: Edit

I happen to agree with Don here, Islam is a tolerant, positive faith. Islam believes that their faith is directly descended from the Old Testament prophets and that every Christian is indeed a Muslim. Muslims believe that Jesus Christ was their second most important prophet. Islam is most certainly in no way anti-Christian.

It is false to believe that Sunnis and Shiites are radical sects of Islam, practically every Muslim in the world is either a Sunni or a Shiite. Just because the Taliban are Sunni's and the Ayatollah Khomeni is a Shiite we tar Sunnis and Shiites (in reality almost every Muslim on the planet) as being radical.

I have met and worked with a great many Muslims, men and women, both Sunni and Shiite, both liberal and orthodox in their interpretation of the Koran, and I have never met a Muslim fundamentalist, nor have I ever met a Muslim woman who feels repressed.

The tarring of Islam as our enemy is racist. Recently the family of a pupil of mine were held up with knives on their way home from school just because the mother wears the full Islamic head covering and the father has a long beard. These people were kind, caring, gentle 'orthodox' Muslims with no hate for anyone. Calling Islam or even 'Radical Islam' the enemy is a cover for hatred.

Islam is a broad church and Islam is not a threat to world peace. A bunch of power-craved maniacs who use the scriptures such as the Koran to justify their own ambitions are the threat to world peace.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 09:45 am: Edit

We haven't said any version of Islam is our enemy for exactly that reason; we are making was on terrorists. That they are Islamic, nominally so anyway, is tangential, although naturally they are trying hard to play that card.

However since most of the governments of the Islamic world are with us, and I say, so are most of their populations, it is absurd to argue that we are fighting a religious war against Islam.

Your analogy to Christianity's spectrum falls flat because you have stayed in the center; in order for you to cite a Christian sect as far out as Al-Qaida and the Taliban, you'd have to maybe try Jim Jones' bunch in Guyana, or the lot that torched themselves together, or the ex-priest and his followers who castrated themselves in order to be ready for the Hale-Bopp comet aliens to give them a lift (if they were even nominally Christian by then.)

Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians don't make it by a long mile.

BTW, follow your own advice and put in your own email address, geoff, just so we can know it's you. But thanks for telling off that asshole...

By dr_ordinaire on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 09:24 am: Edit

There is yet another possibility. The Taliban may be doing all this knowing full well that OsL is NOT in Afghanistan anymore.

Absurd? Think of the consecuences. We sustain a long and expensive bombing campaign, create a humanitarian crisis of African proportion (I can already see the pictures of Afghan children with swollen bellies and flies in their eyes, a la Biafra), alienate hundreds of millions in the Islamic continuum, send ground troops (and sustain casualties) and in the end... we come up empty-handed.

Half of the world would hate us, half would laugh at us.

What do we do then? Do we pick another country, say Iraq, and start the same process all over again?

I do hope someone upstairs has considered this alternative...

By geoffk on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 09:08 am: Edit

Oops, I think what you meant to type is "I'm a fake and I'm never coming out".

Next time, try posting blatently phony flames under your own name, chickenshit. Include your email address, so we can forward it to your ISP.

-- Geoff K.

By geoffk on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 04:31 am: Edit

Ok, well you can claim to distinguish "Radical Islam" from "Mainstream Islam" and say that one is bad and one is good. But I don't think the seperation is as clean as you make it out to be. Nor do I think that everyone in the Islamic world necessarily sees the distinction cleanly enough to matter.

If I say that "Christianity is a fine religion, but fundamentalists are intolerant bastards" than who do I dislike? What about Baptists (probably)? What about Prebyterians or Methodists? In fact, it would be almost impossible to tease out the people who I don't like by these kinds of labels. In fact, some of the ideas that I dislike (homophobia, love of censorship, distrust of evolution) may actually be widespread in many "mainstream" churches.

If we call "Radical Islam" the enemy--as we probably must eventually--then most of the Arab world is going to take it personally, whether we think they should or not.

-- Geoff K.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 01:21 am: Edit

Saying that America 'opposes Islam' because we oppose radical fundamentalist terrorists, is like saying we 'oppose Christianity' because the ATF busted the Branch Davidians. It's absurd.

Islam is a diverse, generally very tolerant, and truly major religion arising directly from Judaic roots just as did Christianity. Islam recognizes Abraham, David, Jesus and others as prophets and patriarchs.

The Sunni and Shi'a sects are not the only ones. There are Sufis and Alawites and many others. There is no unform interpretation of Sharia law, this varies greatly from one country to another and not all are very represive to women.

Indeed, the vast majority of Moslems living in the more liberal Islamic nations, as well as the vast majority in the more conservative Islamic nations, look askance at the radical fundamentalists, as they, the 'silent Islamic majority' have the most to lose if the radical fundamentalists gain power in their more liberal countries, and that's a fact. Lebanon used to be a highly westernized society, Beirut a world class playground for the wealthy and the cosmopolitan. Look at it now. Look at Iran. The Shainsha fell to the fundamentalist mullahs not because he was too repressive but because he was dragging Persia into the 20th Centory, and he wasn't repressive ENOUGH, he forgot the basic tenets of Persian rule. I can't tell you how many Iranians I used to know who were horrified at the rise of the Ayatollahs.

We'd best not forget how many Islamoc nations are overtly allied to us in this fight and how many more are also allied with us less visibly.

It is a simplistic error to characterize this as a religious conflict. This benefits only the bin Ladens of the world, as it is THEIR message and it is a LIE.

Their idea of Islam is Islamic totalitarianism with themselves as the Emirs and Caliphs (who are sort of Priest-Kings). Guardians of Mecca and wannabe wielders of the Pakistani nuclear sword.

They are about as 'Islamic' as Louis Farrakhan on PCP.

They are so far out on the furthest fringe that they might as well be Anabaptists.

By tlautrec on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 12:19 am: Edit

"We can't keep pretending forever that Islam is "just a religion" and "America doesn't oppose Islam" when it's patently not true."

Geoffk-

I take your point and share your concern. However, I resolve the issue in my own head by realizing that the core difference between us and them is that we are able to live with complexity and contradiction, and they are not. It's the difference between our civilization and their barbarism, between a modern, civil society and an archaic, absolute, ruthless tyranny.

Sixty years ago, the monstrous, hate-spewing, tyrannical barbarians called themselves "Nazis". Unfortunately for the masses of decent, God-fearing Muslims in the world today, the current crop of hate-spewing monsters call themselves "Muslims" and call their perverted ideology "Islam". So, I'm afraid then that it's the world against "Islam".

However, let's never forget -- it wasn't us who named the battle or who chose the sides. It was them. THEY told US that their holy "Islam" must wage a jihad against the evil West and its superpower, America. They started it by bombing our buildings, not vice-versa. They want to bring us down and replace our hard-won civil society with something that would make life in Europe during the Dark Ages look positively desirable by comparison.

So they must be stopped, whatever they want to call themselves. I don't care what they call themselves. We must pummel them the way we had to pummel Germany in 1942-1945. The forces of civilization, of tolerance for complexity and contradiction, and of a society that can live more or less comfortably with diversity and a contending multiplicity of ideas, must... must...must...stand up against and resist the forces of violence, brutality and hate.

The ironic and profoundly sad thing is the severe damage they are doing to their own religion. They call themselves "Islam" even though they are nothing but a pathetic, retrograde caricature of what Islam aspires to be. (Look to the great Sufi mystic poet, Rumi, for a more accurate view of the true soul of Islam.) However, there's not much we can do about this. If they seek to pervert and pollute Islam and to turn it into the sworn enemy of the West and of modern civilization, then we'll have to fight "Islam". Too bad, but that's the way it is.

By TLautrec on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 11:38 pm: Edit

"Human life is human life or do we have a sliding scale, American or European innocent life is valued at 100 points, the life of a third world innocent is valued at 10 points, and the life of an Afghai innocent is valued at 1 point? These people are just like you Heiko, they feel the same pain, they deserve to die no more than you do."

Hob-
You have a beautiful soul, man, but --- like ---get real. In the best of all possible worlds, your views would be unimpeachable, as well as beautifully true. Unfortunately, however, this ain't the best of all possible worlds....far from it. This is the main reason why, in the great political debate we've been having here, I have to side with Don and not you. Always remember, the "perfect" is the enemy of the good.

By _Blackjack on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 02:28 pm: Edit

Well, it seems there has been another anthrax infection. It's cutanious anthrax this time, which, if you're going to get anthrax, is the way to go. The victim is a staffer at NBC News in New York, and the suspicion is that she was infected by a white powder sent to her in a letter, tho that is far from confirmed. There has also been a report of a similar letter with white powder at the New York Times.

So it looks like they _are_ targeting news organizations.

Wheee!

Good thing I never get mail at work.

By mike on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 12:41 pm: Edit

Someone killed the Forum. Probably some little 16 year old pimple faced script-kiddie jerking off in his own little fantasy world

By Brainrot on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 11:49 am: Edit

To: TAFKATav and Max. Thanks you two for a commentary on the "evil" thing. Meant to add that earlier, but was distracted by various and assundary amusements. So thanks - your ideas are something else to mull over. Words are a subtle form of action. How well is Dubya holding them up is another question. The other side of the propaganda coin is "aren't your leaders self-righteous sheep dung who have been misleading you?"

By maxpower on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 11:41 am: Edit

hob,that line about the propaganda is right on the mark,i wish there was a way to really know what is going on,not a bunch of slanted propaganda shots.

By lordhobgoblin on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 11:29 am: Edit

Out of interest what is the legal status of Noraid in the USA? I hope it is illegal and it's organisers arrested treated as criminals.

Hobgoblin

By lordhobgoblin on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 11:25 am: Edit

Heiko,

" why the hell do we want our governments to be totally politically correct all the time?...them bad Americans killed some innocents with their latest attacks" - I say yes, they did, and I don't care"

Caring for the deaths of innocent people is not being politically correct, it is being just, fair and having a regard for human life. The people who died in the twin towers werre innocent civilians. Caring nothing about the deaths of innocent civilians is the reason they are dead. Do you believe innocent Americans lives are of more value than innocent Afghani lives? How can we expect countries across the world to give a shit about those who died twin towers if we have no regard for the innocents in other countries?

Human life is human life or do we have a sliding scale, American or European innocent life is valued at 100 points, the life of a third world innocent is valued at 10 points, and the life of an Afghai innocent is valued at 1 point? These people are just like you Heiko, they feel the same pain, they deserve to die no more than you do.

"For me they could show the true pictures of what is going on in Afghanistan right now...but I could absolutely stand the truth - it seems the general public could not. I mean it is so absolutely 110%"

The horrors of any war are too much to be shown on TV. Have you ever seen anything like this? Do you want to see people blown limb from limb, do you want to see the camera lense covered with blood and guts, people with no legs screaming in agony, bodies without heads. Mothers screaming for their sons, children with limbs torn from their bodies, people's loved ones dying in agony. Will you still care nothing for these innocent people? War is pure horror. The very nature of war IS the reason why we MUST care about the deaths of innocents. If we get to the point where we care nothing about the deaths of people other than our own then we are truly in a bad state. It is caring about the deaths of innocents that prevents war. War is sometimes necessary but to care nothing about the effects of war lowers the threshold for war. War is the very last resort. If you do not care about those who are going to bear the pain, torture and horror of your actions, then war is not being treated as the last resort.

As for the air-dropped food aid, it really is a minute drop in the ocean and does practically nothing to alleviate the situation. There are millions on the move towards the Pakistan and Iranian borders trying to flee from the war. How many food rations have we dropped in total? A few thousand. To make any difference millions of ration packs would have to be dropped daily and this is not at all practical. The only way to alleviate the situation is to sent food in by road from Pakistan, and this isn't going to happen for obvious reason. The air-dropping of food isn't motivated by humanitarianism, it is purely propaganda designed to show the folks at home that we 'care'. If we kill a load of innocents during the war then the folks at home will swallow it more easily because we have dropped a few bags of food from the air, nothing to do with being nice.

Hobgoblin

By don_walsh on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 09:02 am: Edit

Yeah, BJ, I'll sing them William Bloat as I blow them away.

By don_walsh on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 09:00 am: Edit

You're an unregistered poster with no right to be here. So, you come on here and insult me, and ask for an opinion. Fine.

Fuck you! That's my opinion: get off of this board. Or register. Take your choice.

By _blackjack_ on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 08:59 am: Edit


Quote:

I'm just an equal opportunity opponent of terrorists regardless of race, creed, sex, age, hair style or musical preferences.



Even if they like Seamus Kennedy?

By Brainrot on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 07:59 am: Edit

Don, you're so stuffy, you make me laugh so! Obnoxious blowhard that you are, you just addressed me. Now give me an opinion baby, you know you want to. And I want you too as well. It won't hurt. Promise. Seriously, your comments always make me think about stuff and usually go dig up facts as well. So kudos to you darlin'. Hey, do you ever sleep?

Wiping tears of laughter from my face and also thanking Newt Minnow.


Paula DuBos

By don_walsh on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 07:48 am: Edit

Sorry, I don't talk to posters who are taking advantage of the software disarray to hide behind phony handles and/or purloin other peoples' names.

I'm not a critic of speechwriters for presidents. I don't care about Bush's rhetoric, I care about his actions.

And the same for OBL and his friends and his ilk.

And for what it is worth I have nothing against Islamic people, nothing at all. I'm just an equal opportunity opponent of terrorists regardless of race, creed, sex, age, hair style or musical preferences.

By maxpower on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 07:29 am: Edit

i think by using these terms"evil""smoke them out of their holes"and all that rot is a propaganda technique to dehumanize the reiciving end of our bombs in the eyes of the american public.is it just me or in last nights adress bush looked like he was trying to stifle a grin sometimes?

By Artist formally known as Tavarua on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 07:16 am: Edit

I am not Don, but I can say that referring to someone who honestly believes that they are doing God’s work as the Evil One, and his following of Dicks as Evil Doers, would seriously piss him off and devalue his teachings to anyone who is on the fence, as to whether or not to heed him, Middle Easterners of course. Beside the fact that he is a fucking whack job, evil bastard.

By Brainrot on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 06:26 am: Edit

Actually Don, you were the one I was hoping that would answer my previous posting. I was interested in hearing your view on why Bush is using the word "evil" so often. Other than its a nice ground work for future at-home moral agendas like eliminating abortion.

Strange to see my earlier message actually posted since I got a message that it wouldn't go through. And brainrot? well, TV rots your brain. Thank you Fred Friendly for your comments.

By geoffk on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 05:46 am: Edit

Maybe, maybe not. If it's been hacked, it's a pretty ineffectual one, since people can still read, post and do whatever they want. It could just as easily be some kind of administrative error or even a software bug.

Hopefully Kallista will settle the matter when she notices.

In the meanwhile, the only real downside is that we have to take the attributions of posters (i.e who they really are) pretty much on their word.

-- Geoff K. (really)

By don_walsh on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 04:37 am: Edit

Someone has hacked the forum.

By Brainrot on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 02:34 am: Edit

"The Evil One" - Bush is using the words "evil" and "The Evil One" in referring to OBL and these acts of terriorism. Yes, there's that whole names have power issue and therefore, not using a name..., but does anyone know what "evil" translates out to in OBL's language? Is it a subtle religious slam? Anyone have thoughts on this? Why is Bush using the word "evil" so much. It's not a naturally occuring word in verbal communication. Falwell, Robinson & Bakker aside.

JChristo, I'm not confusing this with terrierisms, which has got a lot to do with pointy eared canines, maliciously eating shoes (especially my old leather thigh boots) and in general making a mess around the land chez moi.

By geoffk on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 01:32 am: Edit

I agree 100% with tlautrec, but it's important to see a potential problem here:

Do you hate muslims?
No just terrorists
Why do you hate the terrorists?
Because they do horrible things to civilians.
Why do they do that?
Becuase of their radical, intolerant Islam philosophy
So radical Islam leads to terrorism?
Yes
So you hate Radical Islam?
Basically yes
So you don't hate muslims and Islam unless they are too radical for you?
I guess you could say that
So ultimately you DO hate some muslims and Islam--in at least some of its forms--is also your real enemy?
In a way.
I KNEW it!! Filthy muslim-hating American dogs!!!! etc.

We can't keep pretending forever that Islam is "just a religion" and "America doesn't oppose Islam" when it's patently not true.

-- Geoff K.

By tlautrec on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 10:53 pm: Edit

"I think we are idiots if we DON'T try to figure out what
the terrorists want, not because we should GIVE it to them,
but because it allows us to understand how the mindset
develops and might allow us to intercede BEFORE they start
blowing up our buildings..."

Actually, BJ, we already understand them very well. The
article in last Sunday's New York Times that I posted the
URL for a couple of days ago provides a deeply insightful
and cogent analysis of what these people want and what
their mindset is. Even that usually tepid and superficial
rag, Newsweek, had an in-depth and right-on analysis in
the edition that just came out entitled, "Why They Hate
Us." This extended essay was written by Fareed Zakaria,
one of their best feature writers, who has travelled and
written extensively for years in and about the Middle East
and is of liberal Muslim background from India.

And that's just the popular press. The more serious students
of the subject have for years been saying many of the same
things that have been repeated in the recent articles in
the popular press. No, the problem is most assuredly not
our lack of "understanding" of the radical Islamic fundamentalists
and "what they want."

The problem is, if anything (and Don, please correct me
if I'm missing something here), that for the past 25 years,
as these groups have become more powerful and more assertive
throughout the Islamic world, we have consistently starved
our intelligence agencies of the resources and the ability
(i.e., the authority to undertake the necessary covert
actions) to deal effectively with these groups.

Secondarily, although this is also very important, in our
dealings with our allies in the Middle East, we have done
nothing to counter the rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism,
which these allies have either affirmatively encouraged
or negatively engendered. For example, we have looked
the other way as our dear friends, the Saudis, have lavishly
funded a dramatic expansion of reactionary Wahhabist Islamic
schools throughout the Middle East, and particularly, in
Pakistan. Where do you think all the rioters in Peshawar
and Quetta learned their Koran? For another example, we
sat by the side as our dear friend Mubarak in Egypt has
crushed all forms of political dissent, such that the angry
and disenfranchised urban masses have no outlet for their
grievances other than radical Islam. How about a little
democracy there, Hosni?

One could understandably object to the foregoing examples
on the basis that we might not have been able to do anything
to counter these dangerous trends, given the difficult
position we have in the Middle East to balance (1) our
strong support for Israel, (2) our need to be on good terms
with the sources of much of the West's oil, and (3)until
1989, at least, our pursuit of the Cold War. However,
that objection ignores the larger point, namely, that all
our best minds have been seeing this shit coming at us
for years, and we've basically been asleep at the wheel.


Now that we've been so rudely awakened, we have an awful
lot of make-up work to do, and it will be neither easy
nor painless. However, there can be no question that it
is work that we absolutely MUST do. The radical Islamists
MUST be stopped, just as the Nazis had to be stopped.


"The people who did this were not driven by a metaphysical
force..."

I must strongly disagree with you on this one, BJ. The
terrorists are most certainly driven by a metaphysical
imperative, albeit a twisted and sick one, namely, to impose
their reactionary, intolerant, bigoted, misogynistic and
hateful "religious" vision on all of the World that has
ever been under Islamic rule (and that includes Spain,
all the Balkans up to and including Budapest and most of
India, kids).

"Of course, I'm one of those fuzzy-headed liberals who
also thinks it's better to prevent crime than to lock people
up."

So am I, but I must wholeheartedly agree with Don's position
on this issue. "Prevention" is no longer an option. We
cannot afford to show any mercy to them. We have to extirpate
these vermin and make it virtually impossible for any terrorist
to commit similar atrocities in the future. If we do not,
5,000 years of civilization could well go down the tubes.

By Heiko on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 09:10 pm: Edit

I'm astonished how I suddenly think Don has just the right view of world politics - and even more I'm astonished that Blackjack is not far away from these views either. You two almost agree, that's good to see! Just like the German political parties all suddenly agree on some things (except for the foremost communists PDS - they're maybe still suffering from the hundreds of people that were killed at the Berlin wall under their command...). Then there are of course demonstrators on the streets (not many, but some) who want "peace, now" - in my opinion more because they don't want to cope with problems that are far away. It's easier to paint a sign saying "peace" than to face reality...

Backing out, not joining any party right now doesn't count, it's not possible to say "but I want peace" if war's already going on (well, only if you do something to stop it, which means walking for war for a while).

Another thing that makes me think a lot is why the hell do we want our governments to be totally politically correct all the time? Could we really imagine a government that acted PC all the time? "Oh my god, them bad Americans killed some innocents with their latest attacks" - I say yes, they did, and I don't care, I'm still behind them. There's two parties to join in this world right now - one has already started playing unfair, so what should the other party do? Say "please, stop it, please!"?

Reality is not politically correct, so please let our governments be unfair from time to time to be realistic. For me they could show the true pictures of what is going on in Afghanistan right now - not only that pc advertising crap we see all day long (planes taking off from the carrier, Afghans picking up sacks of rice and so on). I know that's not the whole picture, but I could absolutely stand the truth - it seems the general public could not. I mean it is so absolutely 110% pc that the US does supply the Afghans with food, being nicer than that would almost be ridiculous.

Leftist terrorism has been ended in Germany in the 70ies/80ies because of two reasons - the state's hard reaction and the fact that less and less people wanted to be terrorists because they just could see it led nowhere. This is how to end islamic terrorism (maybe, at least I hope so). Hard, even 'cruel' and 'unfair' (to whom?) punishment and not changing any of our values. At some point they must all see that no matter how many brainless idiots go suicide bombing, they just won't change anything and that they'd be better of learning some computer science and getting a good job.

By Head_Prosthesis on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 07:21 am: Edit

From the Drawers of WWH...

Buy War Bonds

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 06:27 am: Edit

Here's what TIME had to say about OBL's intentions, basically consistent with what I have been saying all along:

"After the infidels have been expelled from the land of Islam, bin Laden, like other Islamic radicals, foresees the overthrow of current regimes across the Muslim world and the establishment of one united government strictly enforcing Shari'a, or Islamic law. This vision harks back to the age of the caliphs, the successors to Muhammad who ruled Islam's domain from the 7th century to the 13th. What might a caliphate look like today? In bin Laden's view, it would look something like the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which he has praised as "among the keenest to fulfill [Allah's] laws." Bin Laden may imagine himself to be a potential new caliph. One of the titles he uses is "emir," which means ruler. However, he swears allegiance to (and thereby ranks himself below) the Taliban ruler, Mullah Mohammed Omar, so whatever political ambitions bin Laden may have are not yet on display.

Some bin Laden watchers speculate that he particularly has his eye on Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, as they possess, respectively, 25% of all proven oil reserves and the Islamic world's only known nuclear bomb. Bin Laden has referred to the Saudi oil fields as "a large economic power essential for the soon-to-be-established Islamic state." Asked by TIME in 1998 about reports that he was trying to acquire nuclear and chemical weapons, he replied, "If I seek to acquire these weapons, I am carrying out a duty. It would be a sin for Muslims not to try to possess the weapons that would prevent the infidels from inflicting harm on Muslims."

But for bin Laden, the game is not as simple as taking Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Says Daniel Benjamin, a former National Security Council staff member now writing a book on religious terror: "He is looking for a world in which Islam regains the dominant role, and naturally that would include oil and nukes. But to say it's about oil and nukes suggests it's not a metaphysical struggle, which it is for him. He thinks this is a big moral battle in which he's got Allah's sanction to attack the West." In a 1996 proclamation, bin Laden asked, "O Lord, shatter their gathering, divide them among themselves, shake the earth under their feet and give us control over them."

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 12:58 am: Edit

BJ, one of the main functions of our HUMINT and other intel-gathering (including overt collection, research and analysis) is to stay 'in with the outs' so that we do understand how they think and indeed how they arise. But despite all that knowledge, I don't know of any 'vaccine' against political alienation and sensitization. There are always winners and losers, ins and outs, the Game of nations is not zero-sum. Someone is always going to be pissed off at somebody, group-wise. Usually, low intensity conflicts stay localized, subnational, or at worst regional. Viz., one of Lord H.'s examples, I guess, East Timor. While the Indonesian takeover of E.Timor upon Portugal's withdrawal from this little enclave was reprehensible, and while the treatment of the Catholic population by Moslem Indonesia was atrocious, and while the more recent state sponsorship of W.Timorese Moslem militias to engage in what can only be regarded as 'ethnic cleansing' is truly horrible and worthy of condemnation -- it lacks a global reach. Now, if W.Timorese terrorists were crashing airliners into the Portugese Parliament or dusting Paris with tuleremia cultures, well, I'd say put them on the blkcklist and do what needs to be done, to them and to ther masters in Djakarta.

But they don't.

Instead a more appropriate response is in place.

We have loads of CIA psychologists who make their living writing psychological profiles of individuals of interest to the executive branch: politicians, military leaders, and most certainly terrorist 'superstars'. These can be useful in predicting which was someone is inclined to jump in any particular situation. These psychologists collate massive amounts of information collected by a greatly diverse assortment of 'sources and methods' and they are very good at figuring out what makes a person tick. Is this the sort of thing you are wishing for? We've been doing that for 50 years.

I still say the way to 'vaccinate' against terror is to demonstrate consistently and conclusively and forcefully that terrorists will NEVER prosper, they will NEVER be rewarded, they will die and their cause will fail.

Arafat, an ex-terrorist, has now denounced Al-Qaeda and the attacks in US as 'blind terrorism'. So, if OBL's cause, or part of it, is supposed to be Palestine, the leader of the Palestinian Authority doesn't want any of it, although I suspect that the fractious factions within his PLO that are PFLP. Hamas and Hezballah, or linked to these terrorist groups, would differ. Arafat knows that if he can hold things together a bit longer, and contain the entifada, he's going to have Washington's blessing for statehood, and that's what he wants. Washington has already said that the US was about to announce such support just before Sept.11th, so bin Laden has hurt the Palestinian cause rather than helped it.

Furthermore should Arafat fall and PFLP (good old terrorist asshole Dr George Habash). Hamas and Hezballah take control of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, there will be no Palestine. Not any time soon, and not under those folks, not ever.

By _Blackjack on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 12:17 am: Edit

Well, Don, I think we are idiots if we DON'T try to figure out what the terrorists want, not because we should GIVE it to them, but because it allows us to understand how the mindset develops and might allow us to intercede BEFORE they start blowing up our buildings or spreading pathogens in our less-reputable news organizations (that last one being of particular concern to me, as an employee of USA Today :) )

We need to understand the motivations just like we ned to understand the way a disease is spread. Sure, maybe now isn't the right time. Right now we may need to concentrate on aggressively treating the symptoms of the disease, to stay alive. But in the long run, if we don't learn how the disease is spread, what causes it, and how it can be prevented, we are never going to make any headway.

This is why I don't like putting the discussion in terms of Good and Evil. The people who did this were not driven by a metaphysical force, nor were all of them likely congential sociopaths. Somewhere along the line, their values and desires became so totally twisted that their own lives and the lives of thousands of others became meaningless. Since most people DON'T grow up to committ atrocities, and I don't think there is an atrocity gene, it MUST be possible to create environments where people don't want to do things like this.

I know you don't try to reason with a rabid dog, but after you put Ol' Yeller down, if you don't try to figure out where the rabies somes from, and don't invent a vaccine, you're just going to keep getting more mad dogs.

Of course, I'm one of those fuzzy-headed liberals who also thinks it's better to prevent crime than to lock people up.

I do acknowlege a clear moral difference between these terrorist attacks and most of the things the US has done (this century anyway). The US has directly caused a good nnumber of innocent deaths, and allowed many more to happen because it suited our purposes. I think that is wrong, but our intention was never SPECIFICALLY to kill innocent people. We didn't install Pinochet because we really hated Chile and the Chileans and thought he'd be just the guy to make them all live in terror. When we bombed Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it wasn't specifically out of a desire to kill as many Germans and Japanese as we could; it was to advance our war against those who attacked us and our allies (and to indimidate the Soviets...)

While I consider these innocent deaths to be great wrongs, the attacks on NY and Arlington were a whole different category, because the aim was, specifically, to kill innocent people. While they may have been deluded into thinking there was some political advantage in these attacks, the simple fact is that they were done with malice. They would not have crashed an empty plane into an unoccupied building if they'd had the chance. They WANTED innocent people to die. It wasn't an unavoidable side-effect, it wasn't even depraved indeference. It was a desire to cause as much death as possible.

We may kill innocent people, but only when it gets us something. We don't usually do it out of hate. The lesser of two evils, to be sure, but you takes what you can gets.

Incidentally, it seems several bombing runs were scrubbed in flight today because of too great a risk of civilian casualties. I'm not going to break my arm patting us on the back, but I am very glad to see we are at least trying.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 10:30 pm: Edit

Blackjack, you have missed the entire point.

I don't cate what the motives of these terrorists or any terrorists are. That isn't because I am uninterested in their motives, but because from a practical standoint it is simply irrelevent, UNLESS YOU WANT TO NEGOTIATE EITH TERRORISTS.

Now that the terrorists have escalated their 'art' to the level of the TWC/Pentagon attacks, the threshold of a 'succesful' terrorist attack has been forever raised. Raised, I say, to such an utterly unacceptable level -- not that I thought previous attacks were ever acceptable -- that the world has no choice but to preclude anyone from even WANTING TO utilize terror as an option, ever again. The only way to do that is to NEVER give terrorists what they want, NEVER allow them to find sanctuary ANYWHERE, and to ALWAYS track them down and slaughter them like the dogs they are, along with their hosts if any. This policy must be utterlu merciless and relentless in order to succeed.

One does NOT discourage, totally, terror as a viable option, by EVER concerning themslves with 'what the terrorists want'. For one thing what the terrorists SAY they want may not be their real objectives at all. For example they may SAY for public consumption that they merely want peace and security for the Palestinian not-quite-yet State, but what they really want is the utter extirpation of the State of Israel. Or they may not really give a flying fuck about Israel, they may really just want a go at beig the biggest voice in the Islamic world, with a view toward political power, a grab at Mecca. You can't assume that the terrorists are telling the world the truth. That would be so naive as to beggar description.

Once an alienated political body has made the transition to being a terrorist movement, and I mean terrorist in the strict sense, using the most widely accepted definitions, the world must NEVER AGAIN ever allow that movement to profit, politically, from terror. Instead terror must be terminated. When and only when the only fruits of terror path are annihilation and futility, will we ever be able to break out of the cycle of terror.

The world has to say ENOUGH! and the world has said that. Now the politicians have to stiffen their backs for a change and act like statesmen. Compromise with terror must never again be considered. Accomodation, appeasement to terror must be unthinkable. Terror must now be anathema. Beyond the Pale. Utterly unacceptable and unforgiveable.

Reject this, or accept it and fail in its implementation, and we can kiss civilisation goodbye.

I can hear Lord H readying his little speech again, about how China and Turkey and Saudi and Indonesia, etc, ought to be on the world's list of terrorist states, but that's a crock. I;d like Lord H to articulate, as if he could, just how Turkey and Saudi are terrorist states. As to China, well, I am less inclined to disagree, except that they just happen to be a full member of the nuclear club and possess the world's largest air force, and about 1.1 billion people, a cluster of bald facts that render bringing down the Communist Party of the PRC by force a rather impractical move. As to Indonesia I suppose he is referring to East Timor and maybe Irian Jaya; well, the UN peacekeepers are already in place in Timor (Australians and Thais as it happens).

But Lord H wasn't seriously proposing such a coalition, he was just attempting and failing to ridicule the present coalition as supposedly selective.

However I believe that the present and growing list of banned and targetred terror organizations is a good start -- if it is carried through. That requires political will. Further acts of terror against the US, UK, other Allies, will GUARANTEE that political will, if the atrocities already carried out in NYC, DC and maybe Boca Raton haven't already been sufficient -- and I think they certainly have been.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 09:21 pm: Edit

Thanks, Fromage, I NEEDED a good laugh...

By Cheese on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 09:11 pm: Edit

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view.php?id=33641

maybe we should sing kumbaya to them.....(click on "watch this movie")

By Perruche_Verte on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 09:08 pm: Edit

Nothing you wrote was idiotic, Dr. O. I was addressing the idea that we all just need to shut up, wave the flag and get behind the president on this.

By Perruche_Verte on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 09:06 pm: Edit

And that's so idiotic. Not addressing the motives of the terrorists only guarantees that the issue will keep coming back, again and again, no matter who's in power in Afghanistan or whether Bin Laden lives or dies.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 09:04 pm: Edit

I hear you, BJ.

My concern is that, because of the nature of this conflict, it's scary to let the government get away with murder.

It is a truism by now that the generals always fight the previous war (or words to that effect). This is usually not so bad, but with a war that is unlike anything the world has ever experienced, this can be very dangerous.

The first phase of this war has been just like the previous one, the Gulf War. We build an international coalition, we isolate them diplomatically, we "soften" them through air power and then...then what?

For how long are we going to be satisfied with pictures of the "before and after" of a "terrorist training camp" where we spent 10 millions in ordnance and logistics to raze to the ground 10 thousands in old shacks, while the Talibans are far away in the hills praising Allah and farting in our general direction?

I'm scared of what a government in need of "results" may do...

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 08:33 pm: Edit

It may not actually cause anti-American sentiment, but there are plenty who are AFRAID that it will. Look at the reaction in this forum to those who criticize US policy. There is a desire to silence the opposing viewpoint, in part to keep from sounding like these acts were justified, but also because some fear that dissent during war will weaken our resolve and make us vulneable.

I have heard quite a few journalists who have avoided, either by choice or editorial mandate, any serious discussion of the motives of the terrorists. The general feeling is that it just isn't appropriate, at hs time, to address these issues.

Simply put, the government does not want Americans thinking too hard about the issues which the terrorists claim to find important. I don't think this is out of a desire to outright censor or control people's thinking, or because our actions in this are not justified, but because they feel that, at this moment, they should avoid spreading doubt.

Remember, Psy-Ops isn't just about dropping flyers on the enemy.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 08:20 pm: Edit

BJ, what I read was that Bush asked for OsL's videos not to be broadcast IN THE USA.

"Encouraging Anti-American sentiment..." can hardly be the reason for that.

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 07:54 pm: Edit

Morrigan,

Either they publish the Enquirer on LARGE stock over there, or bin Laden's got some tricks up his sleeve we're not aware of.

It's the large print version for the short sighted.

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 06:50 pm: Edit

The real reason Bush doesn't want Bin Laden's speeches broadcast is that they encourage anti-American sentiment. This is the same reason Secy. Powell asked al-Jazeera television in Qatar to stop boradcasting material which might incite anti-American tensions.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 06:40 pm: Edit

Today I read that the President asked the networks to stop broadcasting OsL's videos, since they can be used to give commands to his people here.

A truly brilliant move by our Commander in Chief, but sadly it's not going to work. I'm going to tell you why, but I beg Forumites not to divulge this, since this is the kind of Top Secret information not even Don has access to.

I have learned (don't ask me how) that Osama bin Laden's operatives in the US have acquired some super-secret, hyper-tech equipment known as a "computer" which combined with what they call a "modem" allows them to contact an underground communications system that those in the know call the "Internet".

They are going to use this system (I don't know, it sounds so farfetched it might be a myth) to receive OsL's videos.

Now, this is so new and baffling that I cannot blame the Government for ignoring it. I have of course informed the pertinent authorities and I trust that in due course (2-3 years) something will be done about it.

OK, I had my fill of sarcasm. The end result of this boneheaded manouver is that, just like the cuckolded husband, the U.S. public will be the last to know.

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 05:48 pm: Edit

There is now a confirmed third anthrax exposure in Boca. Peachy.

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20011010/ts/attack_anthrax_dc_28.html

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 05:02 pm: Edit

bert

By Cheese on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 03:27 pm: Edit

BlackJack, assuming this is what you were posting, as all i got were mysql errors due to too many connections, you can see it a couple other places:

http://wired.com/news/conflict/0,2100,47450,00.html

http://www.plastic.com/article.pl?sid=01/10/10/1458231

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 02:45 pm: Edit

I have no illusions that military retaliation is going to help matters. I also have no illusions that the American people would allow the government NOT to retaliate. And I even doubt that changes in US policy, at this point, would even help. We're too deep in it already. If we totally isolated ourselves and had nothing to do with the Middle East, the chaos and violence there would get worse, and I somehow doubt that would make us less hated.

No good can come of this situation.

By Morriganlefey on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 02:44 pm: Edit

Head - your 'Shoppe work is inspiring. Either they publish the Enquirer on LARGE stock over there, or bin Laden's got some tricks up his sleeve we're not aware of.

I would've thanked you for your work sooner, but it got buried in all the Don-isms below, and I missed it first go'round.

- M

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 02:42 pm: Edit

This like works better:

http://www.lindqvist.com/bert.php

Poor fellow has been deluged with web traffic, but it's a DAMN funny picture.

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 02:25 pm: Edit

Blackjack,

"Am I the only one who took the al-Qa'ida spokesman's rant about "the storm of the planes will not stop" as an admission of guilt?"

I don't really think there's much doubt who was behind the attack (this just confirms it).

I do however think though that retaliation is the wrong way to solve the problem. Someone once said to me that "you can destroy your enemy but you can never destroy your enemy's anger" and that anger cannot be defeated by using anger in return. If we destroy Bin Laden and the Taliban and God knows whoever else, the anger will remain and will resurface again in time. We will then be back to square one. If someone hates you, there is always a reason for their hatred and often the person who is hated has contributed to the reasons why they are hated. If your neighbour starts throwing rocks through your window do you satrt throwing roacks back, then he throw bigger rocks, then you do etc? Pretty soon you both end up with wrecked houses. Perhaps it would be useful to stop and ask him why he is throwing rocks at your house. Better to try to make your enemy hate you less and perhaps at least you can both co-exist.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 02:11 pm: Edit

"Added Tali-bonus: tabloid paper is fundamentally scratchy."

But it also gives you an inky arse.

By Bjacques on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 01:43 pm: Edit

To lighten the mood...

(NOT Photoshopped. as such)

http://www.lindqvist.com/externsajt.php

I saw this and thought the local newhanger had faked it. He hadn't...

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 10:30 am: Edit

timk, you continue to waste Kallisti's electrons.

You define new nadirs of ignorance.

No, Not Ralph Nader. Nadir. Look it up, shitwit.

By Blygdon on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 09:28 am: Edit

* yawn *

By Timk on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 09:05 am: Edit

*"I dont think that they ever admitted that"
*"Do you have any proof of this incidents occurrance?"

Hmm, these sound like really positive comments from me - note the positive "I dont think" , also the bit at the end asking "Does anyone have proof"


*"Kelvinator: You stupid punk, Boris Yeltsin ADMITTED the entire affair 11 years later. Do your homework, asshole, or don't waste everyone's time and Kallisti's free electrons."

When it comes to wasting your time, I have no qualms. I do apologise that the last time I looked into the incident was before '92


*"So you see, people, Tim K the Kelvinator ends up looking even stupider than he is, by simply not having done his basic research, and having interjected himself into a rather technical thread where he didn't belong."

This is a public forum for discussion, a concept you appear to have abandoned, you wish to singlehandedly direct the course of discussion and have the arrogance to attempt the imposition of rules as to what can be discussed. I am not the only member of this forum who finds this unacceptable.


*"TimK however, hasn't been alive that long, and is too fat, drunk and stupid to equip himself with the odd factoid or two before jumping right in."

You soon get pissed off if anyone attacks your age, so please extend the same courtesy to me. Do you have to get up in the night to take a piss yet, or do just soil yourself and worry about it in the morning old man?


*"However, bullshit from know nothing little postadolescent mummers like Kelvinator will be met with venom laced FACT and cold derision, which is exactly what they deserve and inspire."

Don, just a little point of FACT, are you not post adolescant yourself, physically, obviously, as your mind quite obviously hasnt caught up yet


*"Don, you are one of a kind"

THIS IS BECAUSE INBREEDING HAS BEEN ABANDONED BY MOST CIVILISED PEOPLES

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 06:39 am: Edit

Thank you, Marc.

Khrup khun khup, Marc.

Domo, Marc san.

Appreciation in three languages to an old friend.

When are you heading this way for your winter retreat? We shall keep a paraffin candle alight in the wee window for you.

By Marc on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 05:17 am: Edit

There's two things I love in the morning:
the smell of napalm
and
the sparks shooting off Don Walsh's frontal lobe.

Don, you are one of a kind. keep on truckin'.

Marc

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 04:42 am: Edit

So you see, people, Tim K the Kelvinator ends up looking even stupider than he is, by simply not having done his basic research, and having interjected himself into a rather technical thread where he didn't belong.

Blackjack knows what he is talking about, even though all his personal instincts and prejudices pull him away from concluding this horror is real. Perhaps mine pull me the other way, but at least I have bothered to inform myself with a few facts (well, for about 25 years).

TimK however, hasn't been alive that long, and is too fat, drunk and stupid to equip himself with the odd factoid or two before jumping right in. As Dean Wormer said in ANIMAL HOUSE to Fred Dorfman (legacy at the Delta house), that;s no way to go through life.

If anyone thinks I'm being an intellectual bully, well, I am responding to a pseudo-nothing bushwacker. What is timk's track record on the forum? He's a nebish. Maybe a super-nebish. I'm sure there are enough Yiddish speakers around to translate the terms.

As I have demonstrated often, ask me a straight question and I'll give you a straight answer if I can. Most recent examples are in the 'Technical Question' thread. No fireworks there. Also no timk.

However, bullshit from know nothing little postadolescent mummers like Kelvinator will be met with venom laced FACT and cold derision, which is exactly what they deserve and inspire.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 03:37 am: Edit

Try this one from the CDC Atlanta:

Special Issue

Clinical and Epidemiologic Principles of Anthrax
Theodore J. Cieslak and Edward M. Eitzen, Jr.
U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Ft. Detrick, Maryland, USA

Background and Epidemiology
Anthrax is one of the great infectious diseases of antiquity. The fifth and sixth plagues in the Bible's book of Exodus (1) may have been outbreaks of anthrax in cattle and humans, respectively. The "Black Bane," a disease that swept through Europe in the 1600s causing large numbers of human and animal deaths, was likely anthrax. In 1876, anthrax became the first disease to fulfill Koch's postulates (i.e., the first disease for which a microbial etiology was firmly established), and 5 years later, in 1881, the first bacterial disease for which immunization was available (2). Large anthrax outbreaks in humans have occurred throughout the modern era—more than 6,000 (mostly cutaneous) cases occurred in Zimbabwe between October 1979 and March 1980 (3), and 25 cutaneous cases occurred in Paraguay in 1987 after the slaughter of a single infected cow (4).

Anthrax, in the minds of most military and counterterrorism planners, represents the single greatest biological warfare threat. A World Health Organization report estimated that 3 days after the release of 50 kg of anthrax spores along a 2-km line upwind of a city of 500,000 population, 125,000 infections would occur, producing 95,000 deaths (5). This number represents far more deaths than predicted in any other scenario of agent release. Moreover, it has been estimated (6) that an aerial spray of anthrax along a 100-km line under ideal meteorologic conditions could produce 50% lethality rates as far as 160 km downwind. Finally, the United States chose to include anthrax in the now-defunct offensive biological weapons program of the 1950s, and the Soviet Union and Iraq also admitted to possessing anthrax weapons. An accident at a Soviet military compound in Sverdlovsk in 1979 resulted in at least 66 deaths due to inhalational anthrax, an inadvertent demonstration of the viability of this weapon. The epidemiology of this inadvertent release was unusual and unexpected. None of the persons affected were children (7). Whether this is due to differences in susceptibility between children and adults or purely to epidemiologic factors (children may not have been outdoors at the time of release) is unclear.

Anthrax is caused by infection with Bacillus anthracis, a gram-positive spore-forming rod. The spore form of this organism can survive in the environment for many decades. Certain environmental conditions appear to produce "anthrax zones," areas wherein the soil is heavily contaminated with anthrax spores. Such conditions include soil rich in organic matter (pH 24 hours. This characteristic is not shared by conventional, chemical, and nuclear weapons and makes decontamination of infected persons admitted to hospitals days after exposure unnecessary in most cases. However, in certain cases, such as exposure to a threat letter involving an unidentified substance, where anthrax cannot readily be ruled out by Gram stain or other rapid diagnostic procedures, decontamination may be warranted. In such cases, decontamination may be accomplished by removing clothing, sealing it in a plastic bag, and showering with copious amounts of soap and water. Environmental surfaces and personal effects may be treated with 0.5% hypochlorite after the area in which the agent was released is investigated (19).

In summary, even though anthrax may be among the most viable of biological weapons, it is also a weapon for which a licensed vaccine and good antimicrobial therapy and postexposure prophylaxis exist. Given the relatively short incubation period, and rapid progression of disease, however, identification of the exposed population within 24 to 48 hours and employment of therapeutic and prophylactic strategies are likely to present a challenge. Good intelligence regarding the capabilities of terrorist groups, as well as heightened awareness of the threat on the part of clinicians, first responders, and public health personnel remains a cornerstone of bioterrorism defense.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dr. Cieslak is chief of Field Operations Department in the Division of Operational Medicine at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Ft Detrick, MD. Dr. Cieslak is working in the area of medical defense against biological warfare and terrorism.

Dr. Eitzen is chief of the Division of Operational Medicine at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and adjunct associate professor of pediatrics and of military and emergency medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. He has worked in the area of medical defense against biological warfare and terrorism for the past 8 years.

Address for correspondence: Theodore J. Cieslak, Operational Medicine Division, USAMRIID, 1425 Porter Street, Ft. Detrick, MD 21702, USA; fax: 301-619-2312, e-mail: Ted_Cieslak@Detrick.Army.Mil.

References

Exodus 9:1-12.
Pasteur L, Chamberlain C-E, Roux E. Compte rendu sommaire des experiences faites a Pouilly-le-Fort, pres Melun, sur la vaccination charbonneuse [French]. Comptes Rendus des seances De L'Academie des Sciences 1881;92:1378-83.
Turner M. Anthrax in humans in Zimbabwe. Cent Afr J Med 1980;26:160-1.
Harrison LH, Ezzell JW, Abshire TG, Kidd S, Kaufmann AF. Evaluation of serologic tests for diagnosis of anthrax after an outbreak of cutaneous anthrax in Paraguay. J Infect Dis 1989;160:706-10.
Report of a WHO group of consultants. Health aspects of chemical and biological weapons. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1970. p. 97-9.
Science Applications International Corporation. Effectiveness of medical intervention against battlefield levels of Bacillus anthracis. 1993.
Meselson M, Guillemin J, Hugh-Jones M, Langmuir A, Popova I, Shelokov A, Yampolskaya O, et al. The Sverdlovsk anthrax outbreak of 1979. Science 1994;266:1202-7.
Turell MJ, Knudson GB. Mechanical transmission of Bacillus anthracis by stable flies and mosquitoes. Infect Immun 1987;55:1859-61.
Titball RW, Turnbull PCB, Hutson RA. The monitoring and detection of Bacillus anthracis in the environment. Journal of Applied Bacteriology 1991; Suppl 70:9S-18.
Coker PR, Smith KL, Hugh-Jones ME. Anthrax in the USA. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Anthrax, Plymouth, England, September 7-10, 1998:44 [abstract].
Sidell FR, Patrick WC, Dashiell TR, editors. Jane's chem-bio handbook. Alexandria (VA): Jane's Information Group; 1998. p. 229-44.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summary of notifiable diseases, United States, 1997. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1998;46:74.
Gill DM. Seven toxic peptides that cross cell membranes. In: Jeljaszewicz J, Walstrom T, editors. Bacterial toxins and cell membranes. New York: Academic Press; 1978. p. 291-332.
Brachman PS, Friedlander AM. Anthrax. In: Plotkin & Mortimer, editors. Vaccines. Philadelphia (PA): W.B. Saunders; 1994. p. 730.
Abramova FA, Grinberg LM, Yampolskaya OV, Walker DH. Pathology of inhalational anthrax in 42 cases from the Sverdlovsk outbreak of 1979. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1993;90:2291-4.
Lightfoot NF, Scott RJD, Turnbull PCB. Antimicrobial susceptibility of Bacillus anthracis. Salisbury Medical Bulletin Suppl 1990;68:95-8.
Kelly DJ, Chulay JD, Mikesell P, Friedlander AM. Serum concentrations of penicillin, doxycycline, and ciprofloxacin during prolonged therapy in rhesus monkeys. J Infect Dis 1992;166:1184-7.
Friedlander AM, Welkos SL, Pitt MLM, Ezzell JW, Worsham PL, Rose KJ, et al. Postexposure prophylaxis against experimental inhalation anthrax. J Infect Dis 1993;167:1239-42.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bioterrorism alleging use of anthrax and interim guidelines for management-United States, 1998. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1999;48:69-74.
Sanchez R. California anthrax threats spawn costly wave of fear. Washington Post, January 11, 1999, section A, page 1.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 03:20 am: Edit

Here's what the pretigious Pugwash Review had to say about the scholarly book ANTHRAX by Jeanne Guillemin, published by the University Of California Press.

"IN early 1980 the press in Western countries reported that a fatal epidemic of anthrax had occurred in Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg) in the Soviet Union. Articles were published in Soviet medical and veterinary journals citing an anthrax outbreak among livestock south of Sverdlovsk city and that people had become infected after eating contaminated meat from these animals. Subsequently, an international debate developed as to whether the epidemic was a natural outbreak or a laboratory accident and, if the latter, whether it represented a violation of the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 (BWC) which the Soviet Union had signed and ratified.
Matthew Meselson, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University since 1961, has been an active participant in the series of over 40 Pugwash Workshops on Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW). In the mid-1980s he renewed previously unsuccessful efforts to bring independent scientists to Sverdlovsk to investigate the epidemic. In 1988 he succeeded in arranging for Soviet physicians involved in the epidemic to visit the USA to give their version of the outbreak. Their "contaminated meat" account seemed plausible to Meselson and his colleagues, but they felt that additional scientific evidence was needed. After numerous attempts, in 1992 Meselson finally obtained an invitation to go to Sverdlovsk with a team of experts.

Jeanne Guillemin, Professor of Sociology at Boston College, and also Meselson's wife, was a member of that team, in charge of interviews with the families of victims. She has now written a book drawing on field notes which she kept during the project. Her account will no doubt occupy a high rank in BW literature for its authenticity and insights as it is a meticulous report of the effects on a community exposed to the microbe anthrax.

In the course of her detailed description of the suffering and distress still evident some 13 years after the 1979 event, Dr. Guillemin's empathy with her subjects is moving. Her account is also greatly enriched by her references to Russian history and personalities taking into account both the great toll in human rights, as well as the social benefits obtained during the communist regime.

As Guillemin's account proceeds there is a dramatic build-up of evidence proving the thesis that a mishap at the military laboratory in Sverdlovsk on 2 April 1979 was the origin of the epidemic and resulted in 66 documented deaths, 11 cases of severe illness, and the infection of livestock up to 50 kilometers from the aerosol source, The thesis is buttressed by a paper published in Science in 1994 (vol. 266, pages 1202-1208) by Meselson, Guillemin and other colleagues on the team. This article, which ranks as a classic in epidemiology, relied primarily on Guillemin's interviews—which located the victims just prior to the outbreak—to identify the military base as the source of the anthrax emission. Anthrax reveals the scientific process that went into that article and also the expertise and tenacity required by the team of private citizens to reconstruct the highly-politicized event.

Guillemin's summing up at the end of the book merits careful study. It includes considerations of social and political dilemmas faced by governments and the public at large from the threat of BW by states and terrorists. It is thought-provoking and outlines reasoned action. It should serve as an antidote to the public and official hysteria and inappropriate or ineffective measures which could arise from exaggerated accounts and reactions to the dangers involved."

By the way far from being some sort of reactionary sounding board, Dr Meselson, the author's husband, has long been a nay-sayer about US government charges of Soviet breakouts of the BW Convention. He's the guy who tried to explain away tricothecine mycotoxin CABO attacks in Laos and Afghanistan ("yellow rain" as bee feces.

So if Meselson says Sverdlovsk was a military accident at Compound 19, fellas, you can take it to the bank. He's the last person who is going to fudge in this direction.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 02:59 am: Edit

Here's what the notoriously NON right wing US Public Broadcasting Service had to say about the accidental Soviet military pulmonary anthrax release in '79:


"On April 2, 1979, there was an unusual anthrax outbreak which affected 94 people and killed at least 64 of them in the Soviet city of Sverdlovsk (now called Ekaterinburg), roughly 850 miles east of Moscow. The first victim died after four days; the last one died six weeks later.
The Soviet government claimed the deaths were caused by intestinal anthrax from tainted meat, a story some influential American scientists found believable. However, officials in the Carter administration suspected the outbreak was caused by an accidental release of anthrax spores from a suspected Soviet biological weapons facility located in the city. The US believed that the Soviet Union was violating the Biological Weapons Convention signed in 1972 and made their suspicions public. But the Soviets denied any activities relating to biological weapons and at numerous international conferences tried to prove their contaminated meat story.

It wasn't until thirteen years later - 1992- that President Boris Yeltsin admitted, without going into details, that the anthrax outbreak was the result of military activity at the facility. During those thirteen years, while an intense debate raged within the international scientific and intelligence communities on whether the Russians were telling the truth, the Soviet Union continued its offensive biological warfare program unabated.

Around the time Yeltsin admitted the military facility was responsible for the incident, Russia allowed a team of Western scientists to go to Sverdlovsk to investigate the outbreak. The team visited Sverdlovsk in June 1992 and August 1993 and included Professor Matt Meselson.

Although the KGB had confiscated hospital and other records after the incident, the Western scientists were able to track where all the victims had been at the time of the anthrax release. Their results showed that on the day of the incident all the victims were clustered along a straight line downwind from the military facility. Livestock in the same area also died of anthrax. After completing their investigation, the team concluded the outbreak was caused by a release of an aerosol of anthrax pathogen at the military facility. But they were unable to determine what caused the release or what specific activities were conducted at the facility.

According to FRONTLINE's interview with Dr. Kanatjan Alibekov, former first deputy chief for Biopreparat (the civilian part of the Soviet biological weapons program), the anthrax airborne leak had been caused by workers at the military facility who forgot to replace a filter in an exhaust system. The mistake was realized shortly after, but by then some anthrax spores were released. Alibekov says if the wind had been in the opposite direction that day--toward the city of Sverdlovsk--the death rate could have been in the hundreds of thousands.

To this day, Western inspectors have not been allowed to visit this military facility.


Meselson, Matthew; Guillemin, Jeanne; Hugh-Jones, Martin; Langmuir, Alexander; Popova, Ilona; Shelokov, Alexis; Yampolskaya, Olga. "The Sverdlovsk Anthrax Outbreak of 1979." Science, November 18, 1994: 1202-1208.

Venter, Al J. "Sverdlovsk Outbreak: A Portent of Disaster." Jane's Intelligence Review, May 1, 1998: 36"

Jane's is a Swiss (Interavia) owned UK based and mostly UK staffed publisher of military reference books and periodicals. They are one of our competitors, but I happen to know Al Ventner, a South African, and he's no fool.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 02:44 am: Edit

What an asshole! repeating 80s Soviet cover stories a decade AFTER they were repudiated by the Russian leadership AFTER the fall of the Communist Party. A complete berk!

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 02:41 am: Edit

Kelvinator: You stupid punk, Boris Yeltsin ADMITTED the entire affair 11 years later. Do your homework, asshole, or don't waste everyone's time and Kallisti's free electrons.

By Timk on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 01:58 am: Edit

"the Sovs accidentally killed 100 people (at Smerdlovsk, April 2 '79, Compound 19) because they succeeded in weaponizing pulmonary anthrax of a military strain, not because they failed."

I dont think that they ever admitted that, they, as far as I know still say that the outbreak was the result of a batch of anthrax infected black market meat. As far as I know, that scenario was thought up in the US as a worst case scenario explanation of the outbreak. Do you have any proof of this incidents occurrance?

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 10:55 pm: Edit

I just spent a thoroughly frightening half hour reading the anthrax info on the CDC site. Projected fatalities for inhalation anthrax: 90-100%. And that's the plain vanilla bug not one of the military superbugs.

The DOD vaccinates military personnel against anthrax. This does rather beg the question of vaccine effectiveness against all strains, I'd think.

Anthrax vaccine and prophylaxis (no jokes pls -- this just means preventative medication -- are available for high risk personnel such as lab workers handling the bacteria or veterinarians travelling to parts of the world where infected animals are more common. Goat hair from infected goats is particularly infectious. Maybe because it is abrasive and produces microcuts, I dunno?

CDC is evaluating everyone they can find who has been in that office building for more than 60 minutes any time since Aug 1.

Good news: the lit says anthrax is not contagious. I am just a little uncertain about that, since diagnosis can be made by identifying the bacteria in nasal discharge...animals catch it from animals, people can catch it from animals, so why can't people catch it from people? I think they mean it isn't *very* contagioous.

But that 90-100% mortality rate for pulmonary anthrax is truly appalling.

By Head_Prosthesis on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 08:10 pm: Edit

"(can the Photoshop pro among us craft a humourous photo of this??!?!)..."

The "Photoshop Hack" will patronize you Fair Lady...

OBL reading NE

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 07:40 pm: Edit

Blackjack, it was on Thai TV and it was probably the Va. false alarm as you say.

Yes, man made strain does scare the shit out of me, but, it does appear, so far, the the man who made the strain didn't do a very good job of it. Thank you, God.

And maybe I was wrong about targeting of Jay Bush.

And maybe this is a domestic nitball.

Maybe we will see.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 07:34 pm: Edit

Wormwood: yeah I know all that. I also know that what the Brits and US were testing in WWII was not the microaerosolized pulmonary anthrax that the Sovs were messing with 30 years later.

What the Iraqis were and maybe are up to is a lot more like WWII biotech than 70s-90s Soviet biotech.

The British experiments off Scotland demonstrated that explosive dissemination destroyed too much of the agent and didn't distribute it all that widely. The fact that enough spores survived to make the island bioharadous still today is scary but irrelevant. Everything about BW is scary. Anthrax is not the scariest thing out there. It's one of the easiest in its crude common form and gets progressively more technically challenging as you move on up through the more modern military strains.

Here's the latest comment from the USG on Florida:

"Officials increasingly think that the presence of anthrax in American Media Inc., a Florida tabloid publishing house, was not an act of nature.

"The evidence is stacking up that indicates it is not environmental," said Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia."

Sounds like they are out of denial and into bargaining.

They also say that the strain does not match any known strain, and that the closest matches are a goat anthrax, and a laboratory-created strain.

That is interesting because it rules out the strain having come from a certain scientific repository on the Eastern seaboard -- not a military base -- which domestic terrorists have attempted previously to use as a source for samples of bacterial and viral cultures. The FBI arrested several American extremists in the 90s for possessing or trying to obtain things like ricin (a phytoagglutinin) and ebola (a deadly hemmorhagic-fever virus).

(Several of you probably know the name of this place but, I ask you restrain yourselves. Even the mass media doesn't broadcast the name of this facility any more. I know, you know. No need to brag.)

Anyway - ruling out this as source is interesting, becasue it means either the strain is foreign or the perpetrators isolated and cultured a strain from the soil.

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 07:24 pm: Edit

Am I the only one who took the al-Qa'ida spokesman's rant about "the storm of the planes will not stop" as an admission of guilt? I suppose he could have meant "whoever crashed those planes on you is mad at you, just like us, but it wasn't us," but I doubt it...

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 07:19 pm: Edit

Well, anthrax spores are very tough to kill. That's one of their major advantages as a weapon. The tricky part is keeping them airborne, and in the right size to get stuck in the lungs. I don't doubt there were spores sill on the island, but they would only have been deadly if you had started eating the dirt.

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 07:16 pm: Edit

Don's and Timks responses, when combined, make my point. It is dificult to aerasolize anthrax into a form that would facilitate widespread airborne infection. However, ATTEMPTING to do that poses significantly more risks than simply growing the culture, as the Russians figured out.

Yes, it can (and has) been done, but not by somebody in their basement, and not without significant risk.

Don, where did you hear of a third case? I'm literally sitting next to our wire system, and I haven't seen anything. Thre was a fellow in VA who was suspected to have been in te building recently who had flu-symptoms, but so far it doesn't appear he has any spores in his respiratory tract. And the second guy does not appear to have been infected, just exposed. We will probably never know for sure, however, since they are pumping him full of antibiotics.

The FBi is now saying that they believe it to have been a man-made strain, tho. Lovely.

The reason that anthrax could be misdiagnosed is that the patients often die from pneumonia before the pulmonary necrosis begins in earnest. If an old man with flu sysmptoms develops fluid in his lungs and dies, nobody is going to be too suspicious.

Gastrointestinal anthrax is a little more obvious, tho. There isn't much that will rot out you pancreas like that...

By Wormwood on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 07:05 pm: Edit

That is not true, it does not take countries with technical knowhow "years" to prefect a delivery system. The British did it in a few months with 1940s technology during WWII.

They built a huge anthrax cluster bomb (about 2000 lbs) which was capable of killing a large city during the war. One small bomblet from it was test fired on an island in northern Scottland and the spores were still deadly when the entire island was decontaminated in the late 1980s.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 06:57 pm: Edit

Blackjack, the Sovs accidentally killed 100 people (at Smerdlovsk, April 2 '79, Compound 19) because they succeeded in weaponizing pulmonary anthrax of a military strain, not because they failed. And they went on to perfect GMO-anthrax strains, Abbekov anthrax etc in the 80s and 90s. After they went public, details of some of the GM strains were published in the open-lit journal VACCINE, q.v.

Anyway the cases are goiong up, it's 3 now, and still early. These cases are very often misfiagnosed (it is said) as flu or pneumonia, although I question the competence of the attending physicians if they don't figure this out pretty fast. B.anthracis produces a toxin that necrotizes tissue (regardless of route of infection). The flu is unpleasant but it does not rot you from the inside out. It does not produces septicemia. Anthrax does (abdominal form anyway).

By Timk on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 03:33 pm: Edit

"I am skeptical that there is much "amateur" athrax culturing being done. Doing so successfully, without risking infection, would be pretty hard."

Why would it be pretty hard? In the bacterial form in a culture medium, it is pretty harmless, unless you swallow some or handle it without gloves, and introduce it into a wound. Infact if you wanted to be safe while handling it, all you need to do is observe basic laboratory precautions, and get your people vaccinated against Anthrax - easilly done, you just give the excuse that you are travelling somewhere that has had a recent outbreak. Even in the spore form, you would have to inhale quite a lot of it, and barring youi accidentally spraying the stuff about the room, you arent going to come to much harm. This is the main problem with delivering it, and means that for production purposes, anyway it is relatively safe. It is when you prepare it for delivery that it becomes a problem, and even then, it is not going to be too difficult to handle if low tech precautions are observed. It took the Soviet union, and the U.S. many years to perfect an effective means of delivery, as demonstrated by this incident, if it was a terrorist attack, it is pretty hard to do damage with it mainly because of difficulty effectively delivering a lethal dose.

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 03:03 pm: Edit


Quote:

The other big Arab beef is the State of Israel. Well, we can't deny that we solved the Jewish problem by plonking them on Arab lands.




I think the easiest solution is to repatriate all the Palestinians to to Northern Ireland and all of the Northern-irish Catholics to Israel...

Of course, I also advocate to my gay friends that they shour reclaim Sodom and Lesbos as their ancestral homelands.


Quote:

And pray nobody tell me that those were their lands in Biblical times,



Well, only because they smote all the Canaanites and Moabites and Edomites and Jezubites and such who were living there when they came back from Egypt.

A single, independent, Hebrew-ruled state in the Palestine has only existed a couple of times, for fairly brief periods, historically. Most of the time, the area was part of various empires, be it Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Seleucid, Roman, Byzantine, Fatimid, Malmuk, Ottoman or British.

By Chevalier on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 02:59 pm: Edit

Added Tali-bonus: tabloid paper is fundamentally scratchy.

By Chevalier on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 02:54 pm: Edit

"That seems silly. I can't imagine him (bin Laden) sitting in a cave reading the tabloids."

No, but I can imagine him sitting in a cave needing toilet paper (his left hand notwithstanding). Tabloids do the job nicely.

By Morriganlefey on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 02:27 pm: Edit

Why were these Al-Qaida people operating around Tallahasee (Boca Raton) at all? Random location? Or Specific targeting? If specific targeting, why?

The humourists' speculation is, that since the "specific target" hit in FL was the publishing headquarters of supermarket rags the 'National Enquirer' and 'The Globe' (which had published many recent nasty belittling slaps at bin Laden, including headlines screaming about his inbreeding and small genitalia) that the anthrax attack against them was a "back-atchya". When asked whether she believed her office was specifically-targeted, Globe copy editor Debbie Duckworth replied "That seems silly. I can't imagine him (bin Laden) sitting in a cave reading the tabloids."

Now THERE'S an image to lighten our days (can the Photoshop pro among us craft a humourous photo of this??!?!)...

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 02:17 pm: Edit

Blackjack,

I'm on the other side of the world from you, what's 70 miles? Over here the media mentions Tallahasee whenever they mention the Anthrax incident (beacuse at least some people over here have at least heard of Tallahasee). But we won't get into an argument over a nation's understanding of the geography of another nation.

To make a comparison, every time a terrorist attack is well and truly botched up by Irish Republican terrorists it invariably is not the work of the IRA but the work of a less efficient, less well trained and less professional smaller group of Republican terrorists. Well trained terrorist organisations such as Bin Laden's etc. do not tend to make such cock-ups. This is likely to be the work of an unprofessional, badly organised group and not the work of Bin Laden (or Sadam Hussein). Bin Laden's track record does not show him as being incompetent in what he does, which is why he is so dangerous.

Hobgoblin

By Chevalier on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 01:51 pm: Edit

Forgot to mention resentment and, to some extent, incomprehension, leading to full-blown intolerance.

By Chevalier on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 01:43 pm: Edit

Merely despising us is a luxury they can’t afford: their ideal world view doesn’t have the upper hand. Hatred fueled by fear and want: that’s what were facing.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 12:24 pm: Edit

Thanks for a great article, Tlautrec.

I disagree on one point. I don't think Fundamentalist Arabs hate us. They despise us, for sure, but why hate us? We are going to hell, they're going to paradise.

If the biggest beef of Osama is U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia, well, that shouldn't be a big problem. It's not that he's asking us to remove our base in Guantanamo.

The other big Arab beef is the State of Israel. Well, we can't deny that we solved the Jewish problem by plonking them on Arab lands. And pray nobody tell me that those were their lands in Biblical times, not unless you're ready to give back your house to Native Americans.

Hitler was an expansionist. So was Stalin. In a very simplified analysis of the matter, I think Arabs just want us to leave them alone.

By Tlautrec on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 12:23 pm: Edit

Chevalier -

Yes, I plowed through all 800-plus pages of it - one of the best general history books I ever read. Barzun is one of the truly great intellectual historians.

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 12:13 pm: Edit

Er, the anthrax cases are in Boca Raton, not Tallahassee. About 70 miles off.

I am skeptical that there is much "amateur" athrax culturing being done. Doing so successfully, without risking infection, would be pretty hard. If this was deliberate (and the circumstances are so bizarre that I'm not sure what to think) then somebody with a lot of money was behind it.

As for why it was botched, like I said, anthrax is not easy to weaponize. Aum Shinrikyo (who had the facilities to make nerve gas, and are rumored to havemade a nuke in Australia...) wouldn't pull it off, and the Soviets killed hundreds of their own people trying.

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 11:17 am: Edit

If the Tallahasee anthrax attack was orchestrated by the Sadam Hussein (or Bin Laden) would they have fucked it up so much? I was under the impression that their terrorist organisations were professional and well organised. The Tallahasee attack was a complete balls-up, it seems more like the work of an amateur with only half an idea of what he was at. Half-brained amateur is not exactly the term that comes to mind to describe either Saddam's or Bin Laden's organisations, if it was they wouldn't be considered as major threats.

Just my opinion.

Hobgoblin

By Chevalier on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 11:11 am: Edit

Thank you, Tlautrec. Have you read the historian Jacques Barzun's latest book, "From Dawn to Decadence"? He has a field day with the issue of religious fundamentalism.

By Tlautrec on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 10:33 am: Edit

Here's the URL of a brilliant article from Sunday's NY Times Magazine on the essential nature of the conflict we have entered into. To tempt your interest, its title is, "This is a Religious War."

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/07/magazine/07RELIGION.html?ex=1003607300&ei=1&en=b7425b6c8776371c

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 05:14 am: Edit

I leave the talking head role to my pals David Isby (Aghanistan expert and authority on Russian order of battle) and Harvey J.'Jack' McGeorge, ex-Secret Service WH Detail's point man on nuclear, biological, and chemical threats, still a consultant to other folks in DC. And Dr.Michael Collins Dunn, Islamic World specialist. All of these guys are frequently on the tube. Me, I just hang around the house and play with my herbs and yeast. I had my Warholian 15 minutes of TV fame twice in the 80s and that was enough for me.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 04:39 am: Edit

Don, you should be doing this on CNN...and making lots of moola in the process. But then, you wouldn't be able to speak freely.

Thanks for the great analysis. Pray keep doing it.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 04:10 am: Edit

1. Why were these Al-Qaida people operating around Tallahasee at all? Random location? Or Specific targeting?

2. If specific targeting, why?

3. Go read what former Director of Central Intelligence James Deutsch said a few days after Sept.11. This speaks directly to Iraq's intelligence service, its agent Ramsey Yousef who tried to bring down the WTC 10 years ago, and Al-Qaida's links to Saddam's spooks in the last 3 years.

4. Who likes to play with anthrax on a large scale? Saddam.

Admittedly this is still sketchy and speculative; I have no access and I'm a long way away from Washington.

However, the anthrax release in Tallahasee was not IMO natural in origin, which observation requires the question of motive. The known activitites of Mohammed Atta in that immediate area match up. Unless and until the FBI coems up with a better suspect, I'd say this is Iraqi anthrax. And that the best guess as to motive would be to attack the city where the President's brother/former President's son lives and is governor. Hopefully from the terrorists' point of view, to kill him along with as many Floridians as possible.

On the other hand, this seems to have been botched, unless, if Atta and friends failed to get their hands on an agricultural aircraft, they fell back on a postal (or other) attack as a last resort.

But that doesn't ring very true. Maybe there is another player out there. Maybe. And maybe we will find out. Maybe not.

Let's just hope that the resposible agencies don't find a whole lot more sick people.

By Marc on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 03:39 am: Edit

what are the connections?

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 02:47 am: Edit

Forgive me if I have been a little slow, but I have been pondering the Tallahasee incident, while still carrying on with the rest of my responsibilities, and watching the news coverage of the strikes in Afghanistan, so, I have not been devoting ym full attention to the anthrax release in Florida.

But just now I was briefing my Thai Senator friend, and it came to me, MOTIVE.

State capitol of Florida. OK, but why not Miami, why not Orlando?

Who's the Governor of Florida?

He's the son of the man Saddam (and probably OBL) hates more than anyone else in the world and the brother of the President of the United States.

JAY BUSH.

They released anthrax in Jay Bush's home city.

I'd say that's not a coincidence.

I'd say that's a message. A message for the Bushs.

I suspect they have gotten the message and are preparing a reply.

Bush Jr at the moment is reportedly hot as a pistol becasuse of Congressional leaks after classified briefings. Translation: he's pissed off at Jesse Helms, for talking to the press about US strikes against Saddam Hussein.

See any connectivity anyone?

I do.

By Absinthedrinker on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 02:36 am: Edit

By a strange coincidence UK Channel 4 TV screened a drama last night called (somewhat misleadingly) 'Gas Attack' which was about the deliberate release of anthrax amongst a Kurdish refugee population in Glasgow by a lone attacker. The program was two years in the making, so actual events had overtaken it and it was not linked to the current situation. In fact it was motivated by the nail bomb attacks in London two years ago against gays and asians by just such a lone madman; that bomber had taken his information from the internet and the premise was that the same could be done for dispersing anthrax. However it did show just how easy it would be to release spores into a confined environment such as a block of flats or offices, and how the inertia of a sceptical and bureaucratic health authority would allow most of those infected to die.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 11:53 pm: Edit

So far the bio-attack, if that's what it was, in FL does not appear to have been very effective, but there are precedents for incompetence in such matters.

1. The (Japanese) Aum managed to make a lot of GB (sarin) as well as VX, but didn't know how to weaponize them. An attempt to assassinate the head of another more mainstream Buddhist sect with a VX bullet failed when the Aum assassin accidentally poisoned himself with the nerve agent. Ouch. And the subway attack with sarin killed only a handful.

2. Back during the Iran-Iraq war of attrition some 'friends of friends' of mine recovered some artillery shells from there. I foget which side launched them. Anyway, these were supposed to be filled with Agent H - so called mustard gas, a blistering agent which can blind, scar, or kill (from pulomnary edema). However, the makers of this little chemical horror show had upgefucked. They were using the old German WWI method for making the stuff, which I won't detail here, but which produces a two phase crude reaction product. The heavier phase is the 'mustard', yellow orange heavy liquid; the lighter phase is water with a trace of the mustard and maybe unreacted precursors and soluble byproducts. The two phases don't look alike and they mix about as well as oil and water do. Ad so they are easy to seperate physically.

Guess which one was in the shells?

Yep. The WRONG one. Or so I was told. As I was the guy who the (US govt CW specialist) used to research the chemistry of such things, I was asked to explain this conundrum, and I did. And we all had a good laugh at the time.

CONCLUSION: Look, I dunno who put anthrax in the Florida building, but, at the moment it looks like 'ordinary' anthrax, not very effecient, thank you God, and not one of the specifically military strains or GMOs that the Sovs developed. Easy to find (dig in the dirt anywhere) and easy to culture, not easy to weaponize. Could be Mr Atta Mohammed did a bit of crop dusting; could be someone mailed it in to the Sun or Enquirer. Either way, so far, whoever perpetrated this isn't much of a mass murderer, but he has scared the shit out of a whole lot of people in and out of Florida, esp those who have a little knowledge on the subject or good imaginations or both.

Let's all pray that's where it stops.

If you want to not have a good night's sleep for a long while, under the circumstances, go read up on the career of Louis Pasteur, who was responsible for almost eliminating anthrax as a major animal and human pathogen in the civilized world. I remember the descriptions of the anthrax plagues before Pasteur. NOT a good death.

By Verawench on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 08:21 pm: Edit

Today's SPAM from the Wench's Inbox is brought you by...

"You never know when tragedy will strike!
There is a 100% chance of America being the target of more terrorists attacks!
You can't risk your families lives by not being prepared!
That is why we are offering this complete Emergency/survival kit to families
everywhere.

This exact kit has been sold out all over the country, but we have just received
950 kits, and will be selling them on a first come, first served basis.These
kits are hard to get!

Just call TOLL FREE 1-877-ready-46 9am- 5pm Eastern Standard Time
1-877-732-3946
The kits come with the following inventory:

Heater Meals- Hot meals without a stove or oven

Weather band/Wheather alert radio/flashlight- Works like as a wheather alert
radio. and a flashlight.

First Aid kit-Safety supplies that are physician recommended

Emergency water pack-Each person needs a gallon of water per day. Your family
needs clean water!

Water purification tablets-Each tablet will treat one liter of water.

Lite up sticks- No power? No problem, snap a glow stick and have light for
hours!

Emergency Blanket- Use it to stay warm and dry, or leave in the car during
winter months.

Swiss Army knife- A knife, file, bottle opener, and other tools just in case you
need them.

Safety gloves- Use during the crisis, and after. Most injuries happen during
cleanup.

Waterproof matches- For when you need a match even when it is wet.

Waterproof storage box- The box even floats, and protects your kit for years!
Each kit costs $59.95
Just call TOLL FREE 1-877-ready-46 9am- 5pm Eastern Standard Time
1-877-732-3946
Each kit costs $59.95
Buy 2 or more units and save on shipping costs (Only pay the shipping for 1
unit)
Be prepared for any emergency power outage-water contamination- First
aid-hurricanes-floods-tornadoes-snow storms!
Winter is coming have a safty kit in your car. The kit lasts for years, so
better to be safe than
sorry.

Once again, Just call TOLL FREE 1-877-ready-46 9am- 5pm Eastern Standard Time
1-877-732-3946
Thank you for your time."

By Mr_Rabid on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 07:57 pm: Edit

But are we going to avoid congregating or going into office buildings forever?

Because that is how long this will last, this threat of terror.

Unless it is possible to make the price too high or to eradicate the terroristic persuastion themselves. Either way, a long time.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 06:04 pm: Edit

One thing that blows my mind is ,while there is an almost certainty of a biological attack in Florida, the mayor of NY encourages people to congregate.

I mean, during the Blitz, the Queen of England certainly did not encourage Londoners to point flashlights up...

One thing is not bowing to terrorists, the other is to take unnecessary risks.

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

Pakistan's Musharref has also neutered (transferred to ceremonial or inactive posts) two of his senior generals who are close to the Taliban. Despite the fact that they were instrumental in putting him into power.

However I object to categorizing such actions and the house arrest of the fundamentalist leader as 'repression' because Pakistan's context has been objectively 'repressive' for a long time and these measures are simply good sense to try to maintain public order. And no more 'repressive' than what routinely goes on in Malaysia and Indonesia, two Moslem nations who are NOT supporting the US/Allied actions. You don't want to offer any of these as models of democracy.

By Chevalier on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 05:53 pm: Edit

Don, Hob: It's good to see you two agree on something!

To be fair, you've both agreed on some points since this whole sad mess began (the terrorist attack and its legacy, which includes the Don Walsh-Hobgoblin word brawl). And thanks to your exchange, I've learned a lot more about Afghanistan, terrorism, the Taliban, military tactics, Irish Republicanism, biological warfare, and the pitfalls of pride than I may have elsewhere. It seems to me that you're both teachers and fighters by nature. In between the attacks and defenses, some very worthwhile questions have been raised, positions challenged, and information given to chew on. This may sound strange, but ... thank you!

By Don_Walsh on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 05:22 pm: Edit

Lord H, you are right. There's no such thing as Nintendo War, except on video game consoles. Real war means real horror, and well it ought to.

While it is necessary for the Allied forces to do their best to avoid civilian casualties, anyone but a damned fool must realize that in the long run this just isn't going to be possible. Accidents happen. Remember the Chinese embassy in Sarajevo?

I say well it ought to because this element is part of the barrier to starting a war, and woe to the world if some barriers are lowered or removed. For just what reason would there be NOT to start a war, if it was all neat and tidy and no one got their hands dirty with innocent blood?

The terrorists don't give a damn about innocent blood, they target innocents. Who at the WTC was 'guilty'?

By Verawench on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 04:59 pm: Edit

Worst yet, the terrorists have now reached the ear drums of Rush Limbaugh! Those bastards deafened the greatest orator of the 21st century! The irony!

"Terror is not of Germany, but of the Soul" - Poe

By Wiz on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 04:28 pm: Edit

The anthrax was passed through a letter about Jennifer Lopez, a whole office infected so easily.

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 04:23 pm: Edit


Quote:

Curious logic, BJ. Yeah, I hit the old geezer over the head, cause if I didn't I knew Rocco was gonna do it, and Rocco, he don't have the soft touch like I do.



Well, I'm afraid that is sometimes how the world works. The lesser of two evils is still evil, but if those are the only choices, what are you going to do?

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 04:19 pm: Edit

I wasn't defending our policy in Iraq, nor do I have any illusions that the welfare of the Afghan people is our primary concern. I am simply saying that we are in a better position to bring down the Taleban with as few innocent deaths as possible than the United Front are. Remember, they were mortaring Kabul the day after the attacks. However small the US government's regard for the lives of the Afghan people is, it is probably greater than that displayed by the Taleban.

I've basically taken on a grim pragmatism about this. There is no scenario at this point which does not involve more innocent death and suffering in Afghanistan. Direct US military action is the scenario which seems to be the LEAST horrendous, at this point. Innocent people will die, but probably less than if we did nothing, or if we simply backed one of the internal factions and let them continue the civil war for another decade.

I don't like it, but it is what is going to happen. I can only hope that we do a better job of cleaning up afterwards than we did in Iraq.

By Perruche_Verte on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 02:11 pm: Edit

The "smart" weapons used in Iraq had a success rate of about 50% at best. As a friend said once, I wish they'd called me "smart" at school when I got 50% on a test.

That said, it does sound like some attention was paid to the risk to civilians, and reportedly a few targets were scratched from the list due to this. But targetting Mullah Omar's home, and the homes of other Taliban leaders, seems like assassination to me. Let alone the fact that we can't be sure who exactly might be living there.

By Mr_Rabid on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 02:10 pm: Edit

Now is also a perfect oppurtunity for anyone who would like to see very large numbers of Americans die to do something like spread anthrax, or poison the water supply of Gotham or whathaveyou.

Who will we blame? The Peoples United Front, or the United People's Front? The Russians? Space aliens? The Chinese? Pygmies?

Hell no. We will blame the Taliban and/or Osama.

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 01:58 pm: Edit

The term 'collateral damage' really upsets me. It sanitises the pain and misery caused by the death and injury of innocents, it gives the impression of a 'clean', 'technical' war devboid of human suffering (a 'Nintendo' war as someone on this forum once said). The term collateral damage really cheapens the lives of those who are killed, it robs them of their humanity. Why don't we just be honest and call it innocent deaths? Which after all is what it is. (Even the term 'unavoidable innocent deaths' would at least be contain a degree of respect for innocent people killed).

Blackjack, as for avoiding civilian casualities how do you think Iraq's civilians have fared under our benign approach? Was the war there as 'clean' as we were lead to believe? How have the people fared under our benign nature with our ongoing (non-military) action?

Whether the action is right or wrong is quite a different argument but to pretend that our governments are overly concerned about the welfare of the civilian populations of our enemies (insofar as it is not in our strategic or tactical interests to be concerned) is nonsense. Our governments (at best) care about the interests of their own civilian populations, not about the interests of the civilian populations of their enemies.

Hobgoblin

By Perruche_Verte on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 01:28 pm: Edit

Curious logic, BJ. Yeah, I hit the old geezer over the head, cause if I didn't I knew Rocco was gonna do it, and Rocco, he don't have the soft touch like I do.

By _Blackjack on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 12:31 pm: Edit

Welll, I must say the second case does decrease the likelyhood of pure coincidence, but, even if there was a deliberate attempt to spread it, it is not likely that there will be many, or any, other real infections, or the reasons I mentiond earlier. Keep in mind, the other fellow just tested positive for spores. The route from spres to infection is complicated, and usually requires a previously compromised respiratory system.

However, it DOES up the stakes a great deal if we can trace those responsible. Even the attept to use an uncontrolable weapon of mass destruction is a very, very dire crime.

I am increasingly of the opinion that, well, there were going to be years more of devistating war in Afghanistan regardelss of what we did. I can only hope that our actions will somehow shorten the civil war, and facilitate rebuilding in the long run.

I will point out that we are much more likely to avoid collateral damage than any of the parties WITHIN Afghanistan. Even if the United Front were so noble as to want to avoid civilian casualties (unlikely), they don't have the technology to do so...

By Perruche_Verte on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 11:39 am: Edit

Pakistan resorted to detaining the leader of their Islamic fundamentalist party. Apparently he is being held without charges so he cannot appear at demonstrations against the bombing.

They will probably get a good deal more repressive before this is over, and I suspect most members of their government will be lying low.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 11:28 am: Edit

The FL state health authorities have closed that office building in Tallahasee. Take it from me folks: this ain't Sick Building Syndrome. This is biological warfare by terrorists. Simple synchronicity being so unlikely, it must be the same bunch behind it.

Call me an alarmist and a Cassandra if you will, but events are going down in the direction I described. The poor dead fellow didn't catch a wild bug in North Carolina. He caught it in his workplace, and I can't construct any scenario that encompasses a natural outbreak of PULMONARY anthrax in an urban setting, so that leaves us only with an anthropogenic one.

I assume, of course, that there are no sheep grazing in the ventilation sustem.

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 11:00 am: Edit

One question.

Why is this called the "First war of the 21st century"? This is a daft name to use. It's not as if the world was at peace up until a few weeks ago. I was under the impression that wars were going on, and people were killing each other, all over the world.

A lot of the hits from last night's bombings would have been symbolic targets as the training camps hit would have been evacuated in advance. Anyway we will never know the true picture of casualties until after the war (if even then) as both sides will attempt to exert control of the media to their advantage (as is understandable in war).

I also believe that, as a result of the bombings, the Taliban will quickly give up Kabul to the Northern Alliance, who are within spitting distance of Kabul, and retreat into the hills. Then the difficulties will really begin.

The situation in Pakistan could also blow up if public opposition to the war grows and becomes more vociferous. So far the lid remains on the situation in Pakistan. The support of Pakistan is crucial to the US-led alliance. I would not like to be in the shoes of the Pakistani Prime Minister right now.

Hobgoblin

Hobgoblin

By Maxpower on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 10:19 am: Edit

that guy with the anthrax wasnt too far from where i live,and in hialieah,which isnt to far from where i work ,two packages containing white powder were found,when one man opened one he immediatly had an allergic reaction,hazmat crews were called in,and "ruled it out as being a harmful substance,but what it is exaclty is unknown".truly scary stuff.

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

Or maybe day 28 or so depending on how one counts.

1. Second case of anthrax: sort of. A co-worker of the Florida tabloid staffer who died a few daysa go of pulmonary anthrax has tested positive for anthrax spores in his nasal passages but has no clinical symptoms.

Air and other samples taken from the publishing company's office building -- these people publish several tabloids including The Sun and the National Enquirer -- had at least one sample turn up positive for anthrax bacteria.

While the CDC is playing it cool for the public, obviously, we are talking about an artificial release of airborn anthrax spores within an office building. 300 people work there and all are being tested.

I'd be looking at other office buildings if I was with the CDC's EIS (Epidemiliogical Intelligence Service). I think we can rule out a natural pop-up. Anthrax doesn't work this way in nature. Normally, anthrax is passed by contact with infected cattle (entering the body through skin lesions) or by ingestion of meat prepared from infected cattle. Neither of those results in PULMONARY anthrax and that is what we are talking about here.

The media connection is also a sinister indicator. Targeting a national-media publisher with a track record for sensationalism makes good sense to me, from the terrorist point of view.

Watch.

2. The military ops on Day One were clearly planned with the avoidance of civilian casualties in mind. Thirty targets, 23 away from populated areas, only 4 in Kabul, and only 3 others proximate to other populated areas?

The problem is that the Taliban will quickly figure out that they can play the 'human shield' card. They will herd Afghani (and whatever available westerners) civilians to military targets and dare the US to attack. Watch.

Anyway, this was just Pawn to King 4, folks. Opening move.

Administrator's Control Panel -- Board Moderators Only
Administer Page |Delete Conversation |Close Conversation |Move Conversation