Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Sh*t List Doctrine

Warning: This one is pure politics and, perhaps, slightly out there. You be the judge.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The inside jacket copy of Ron Suskind's terrifying, but gripping, new book, The One Percent Doctrine, reads:

You may think you know what the "war on terror" is, But to know it truly you must read this book.
That is an epic example of understatement.

I spent the first half of reading the book nodding and mumbling to myself, "Yup, that's what we were saying back then...stupid lying jerks." I'm spending the second half with my jaw in my lap wondering how on earth we've gotten so lucky with regards to not being attacked again. Don't get me wrong...I'm not crediting the Bush Administration with saving us, although I can see now why some folks feel they have (much like the collapse of the Soviet Union is not directly the result of his father's doing [or even the President's before him], the lack of attacks on the US since 9/11 is mostly something that has happened despite W, not because of him). But giving credit where it's due, we've had some remarkably close calls, and Bush does seem to have been obsessed with stopping them (which would be easier to praise him for if only he had listened to those saying invading Iraq would make that harder).

Most of the near-misses were aimed at New York City (which makes it all the more unconscionable that the Homeland Security Department would steer money away from the Big Apple to protect instead some
beach at the end of a street or what have you in the middle of the country) and are simply too scary to repeat here (support such efforts at truly educating the nation...buy the book). But inspite of my reluctant appreciation for Bush's post-9/11 obsession with our nation's security, there's a part of the thinking guiding the choices he's making (or, well, that Cheney's making and letting him take credit for) that strikes me as short-sighted and ultimately too timid.

The reasoning that's faulty in my opinion is the notion that because bin Laden and his ilk are stateless (they're a power without an identifyable [i.e., accountable] country to bomb in response to attacks on others) that deterence measures are useless. Cheney uses this reasoning to argue that we have to act against "them" offensively, even in lieu of any evidence, because waiting until the threat is imminent is waiting too long. The theory goes you can't threaten them into rethinking their actions because you can't harm them any way other than killing them individually, which they're already prepared to do themselves (or have done by others, actually) in suicide attacks. So, the thinking goes, deterence is useless. But this is where the theory is based on shallow insight, in my opinion.

Each major terrorist organization in the world actually has an eventual idealized state as its primary goal. Bin Laden wants Saudi Arabia and then a Middle Eastern caliphate (some say his ambitions are more global, but if so, they're horribly unrealistic). Other terrorist groups too want definable geographic states that they control and that operate under a predetermined set of principles. Jemaah Islamiyah wants an Indonesian caliphate, ETA wants an an independent socialist state for the Basque people in the Basque Country, the PKK wants an independent, democratic unified Kurdistan, etc. etc.

If the stable nations of the world wanted to stop terrorism as a political means toward such ends, I feel a new doctrine, adopted universally via the United Nations or similar body, might be a better step in that direction. I know this is going to sound far flung, but I've been thinking about it for some time now and can't find the faults in it (that's where you come in) and, as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures, so....: I think deterence might actually work if applied through what I'll call the Shit List Doctrine (or SL for short...and tastefulness).

The SL Doctrine dictates that any state that comes into being through terrorist actions that kill innocent civilians in other states will immediately upon inauguration be blown to smithereens by an international force of united nations. In other words, should al Qaida succeed in overthrowing the House of Saud, the day bin Laden (or his puppet) is coronated is the day the missles rain down on his new capital, wiping it off the map. There will be no normalization of relations with leaders who come to power through killing innocents outside their own domain. Ever. On the contrary, as soon as they have a state of their own to bomb, the bombing begins in earnest.

No terrorist organization will ever see its dream state realized. One terrorist act against innocents of another state puts your organizaion and all its members permanently on the list. Should any of them ever rise to power, that state becomes an immediate target. Of course a line must be drawn to avoid having to retroactively take out a whole slew of current leaders, but you have to start somewhere.

I believe this will work toward two ends. First, if the primary goal of each terrorist organization (a state) become unrealizable via terrorism, then terrorism becomes a less attractive avenue toward that goal. More immediately and effectively, however, the populace of the geographical area intended for the new state will distance themselves from (i.e., not help) the marked leaders of the hoped-for state, knowing that proximity equals certain annihilation. No population, no support network, no state, no external terrorism.

It's too much, I think, to obliterate the new government of a state that came to be via civil war, so I'm not advocating this doctrine for "terrorists" who attack their own. (The forefathers of the US would, potentially, be incriminated via that guideline.) But the idea that you can't deter terrorists is an ADD-induced falacy, IMO. Those at the top of such organizations can be deterred (Suskind notes how al Qaida leadership [who are notably not so keen on suicide as an option for themselves] decided against flying the 9/11 planes into nuclear power plants [an original consideration] for fear things would get out of hand, suggesting they wanted a measured response to their actions, suggesting they can indeed be deterred, if only in terms of not doing what prevents them from achieving their goals). The mistake the current thinking reveals is not looking down the road at their long-term desires for what will deter them.


It's a theory anyway...I invite you to rip into it.

50 Comments:

Blogger Bill Gusky said...

Well, your idea is bold at a time when it seems only the terrorists are really bold --

It's become almost universally recognized (hasn't it?) that the UN is corrupt pretty much from top to bottom -- think 'oil for food,' 'Koffi's kid,' --- you'd almost need a different organization. I'd be astonished if the current UN would be capable of setting up as decisive a structure as your idea presents.

And boy does our intelligence really stink or what? The CIA couldn't find its butt with both hands and a flashlight. I wonder if they could even finger the hoods in question, let alone help take them out. Is any other country's intelligence much better?

8/02/2006 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger chrisjag said...

Ed,

Entertaining idea. Too bad that neither logic, nor the threat of violence seem to carry any weight in the middle east.

8/02/2006 01:32:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

any state that comes into being through terrorist actions that kill innocent civilians in other states will immediately upon inauguration be blown to smithereens by an international force of united nations

I don't know, Edward, I somehow doubt that this would be a deterent, and on top of that you'd end up killing all the innocent people of the country that just got taken over. Plus you've got situations like Lebanon where a terrorist organization isn't the official government, but acts as if it is. Or places where a terrorist organization gets voted in, like Hamas or, well, the Republican party. And good luck getting an international group of nations to agree on anything.

The terrorists may say they want political control over geographic areas, but it seems to me that they are willing to keep the world in a perpetual state of terror out of spite even if they know they'll never achieve their stated goals.

Here's my proposal. Cripple their recruiting efforts by convincing all their prospective martyrs that there is no afterlife. If they want virgins they'll need find them here on earth.

8/02/2006 03:15:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I don't know, Edward, I somehow doubt that this would be a deterent, and on top of that you'd end up killing all the innocent people of the country that just got taken over.

The idea is to get the innocents to join in the battle against them, knowing that to join them means death. Even terrorist need a base of popular support to operate.

The terrorists may say they want political control over geographic areas, but it seems to me that they are willing to keep the world in a perpetual state of terror out of spite even if they know they'll never achieve their stated goals.

I disagree...everyone of them has a stated goal that represents an eventual stabilization. Who wants to fight forever?

8/02/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous BeeNonny (bnonymous) said...

Edward, I 'm sorry to say I think your proposal sounds as if it were cooked up by Cheney himself. I was going to list david's objections, but he covered it all first. The error in your thinking, imo, is like Cheney's: that immense unilateral violence can solve a problem, even a medium-to small-size problem like terrorism. Using violence for good seems to engender more unintended consequences than any other kind of action.

Bush and Cheney's "obsession with security" is not good. I keep wondering what things would look like if Gore had been elected. I see a smart, internationally cooperating police force. They'd keep very quiet, use their brains, and dog the terrorist organizations. What do terrorists want? I don't think it's territory at all. I think it's publicity and, from it, power. I can even imagine special international laws that would bend individual nations' sovereign civil rights that would enable an international FBI-type thing to do its job ruthlessly, which is the most Cheney thing I can bring myself to utter.

8/02/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

The error in your thinking, imo, is like Cheney's: that immense unilateral violence can solve a problem, even a medium-to small-size problem like terrorism.

It's not unilateral. The doctrine dictates an international response. Perhaps the majority of the bombs would be American, but the response (if it ever actually had to happen) would be collaborated by a coalition of other stable nations.

The problem with "a smart, internationally cooperating police force" is that they don't act as a very strong deterent. Perhaps we'll never see a deterent against terrorism as strong as the one between the USSR and US during the Cold War, but if you can't find some deterent, you'll never convince the Jacksonian Americans that pre-emptive strikes are unwise. Cheney is only the embodiment of a widely held belief, not a singular madman.

Using violence for good seems to engender more unintended consequences than any other kind of action.

The goal of a deterent is obviously to never have to use it. The beauty of a deterant in this case is that it actually serves to nullify the pre-emptive arguments as well (you can't argue that no evidence is needed to strike pre-emptively if a deterent can be used instead).

What do terrorists want? I don't think it's territory at all. I think it's publicity and, from it, power.

Reading their statements, Bnony, indicates that whether the leadership actually wants a state or not, they all claim they do. This serves, of course, to convince more supporters to fight for them (what are people most willing to die for in war, ideals or a "homeland"?...I'm convinced it's a "homeland"). Take out that possibility (i.e., even if the leaders tell the followers they'll give them a homeland, the followers will understand that homeland is a future parking lot if they commit terrorism).

The most impressive fighting force the world has ever seen in my opinion (Alexander the Great and his army) eventually tired of conquest and wanted nothing more than to settle down, build homes, and raise families, etc. etc. It's human nature. Terrorists don't want to fight perpetually...they simply want to effect change. They get others (usually less clever than they are) to help them by promising them some future homeland where life will be beautiful (seriously, what are Hamas and Hezbollah fighting for? their idea of a homeland). Some deterent is needed to nullify that promise.

8/02/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous jec said...

I have to agree with those who are saying your idea is Cheneyesque.

First, the concept that "innocents" would also rise up against the terrorists leaders in their new "country" is unrealistic. For one thing, there's a decent chance that the terrorists have a decent amount of their support, especially if the territory is one where those people were in any way oppressed (which includes a great deal of the Middle East). These terrorist organizations use violence and spew anti-US and anti-Israel propaganda, but that is not the main reason for their local popularity. They provide an option for the oppressed, as well as, in many cases, needed social services.

Second, haven't we proven by now that violence against Muslim forces only creates more terrorists? The cycle would continue, being fueled by our actions (as it is being right now). You can say that a UN attack on the terrorist nation wouldn't be unilateral, but it would be seen as such by the Muslim world.

8/02/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Ashes77 said...

I'd have to go with a "what would Canada do?" solution. Attacking crime with the military is and always was an overblown solution cooked up by military profiteers, not by anyone interested in solving the problem. Diplomacy and good policy, including actually understanding other countries, is a far better solution.

8/02/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

OK, well now I feel compelled to point out exactly how non-Cheney-esque this idea is.

Cheney's doctrine dictates unilateral (truly unilateral, with no interest in international cooperation or approval) action against even the hint of a threat. Deterence is seen as pointless, so preemtive strikes are mandatory. This leads to chasing shadows, and calculatable callous collateral damage.

His doctrine does nothing to curb recruitment either, as it ignores the source/promise of terrorist activity.

The SL doctrine is focused on deterence, not pre-emption, and would be universal as well, not singling out Muslim terrorists in any way, so even though it may come to pass that it needs to be enacted on some new Muslim terrorist state (although it might be a nonMuslim state), the stable Muslim nations of the world would be cosignatories on the action against that state. I believe, faced with family-wide execution, the House of Saud would sign on.

Attacking crime with the military is and always was an overblown solution cooked up by military profiteers, not by anyone interested in solving the problem.

This is not a doctrine aimed at attacking criminals/terrorists (not sure how it was read as such, actually). It's aimed at eliminating the terrorists' promise to supporters, essentially neutralizing their stated goal and, hence, strongest recruiting tool. It's an attempt to make violence on their part much less attractive.

8/02/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous bambino said...

I am right by your side Ed

you count on me :)

8/02/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Hi Edward, I totally appreciate your bold ideas. Dennis Miller agrees with you. He has said that the middle east is ruining our good common sense and we should blow the whole thing up and turn it into a marble.

I think that we must try to focus on what crerates a terrorist. Alienation, disenfranchisement...it helps to read both the introduction and the novel itself...by Joseph Conrad called The Secret Agent.

A terrorist is a nihilist. Plain and simple. Right now terrorism is the new mohawk. Young people feel a sense of community, rebellion and power by turning to idea motivated group dynamics.

Unfortunatly those idea motivated group dynamics can be within a terrorist motivated mentor or group.

Even ina peaceful country we have seen terrorism reach out because of nihilism. Before 9/11 the largest death rate from a terroist act was in Canada. The Air India bombing in 1985 killed 325 people. The trial for the attackers was held in Vancouver last year and thrown out of court for lack of evidence.

Okalahoma bombing was a terrorist action within a peaceful country.

There is something wrong with our economic structure and the culture that dominates most countries. Countries are not separated by culture or race or religion. In fact the dominating culture in the world is totalitarian agriculture. The mere structure of taking food that exists FREE and locking it up and selling it back to ourselves has created a culture that will sell and hoard everything from water to real estate to human labour and energy.

We have made a grave error ten thousand years ago.

We need to look to other economics found within hunter-gatherer communities to bring that sensibility and ethics to our major economic structure worldwide. we need to examine the work we do, the consummer products we obsess about, the way we treat human life and all other life on earth, and the way we hoard energy and redistribute it.

The way we make a living is not conducive to community and will constantly manufacture alienation and nihilism.

Hey, I hope the heatwave is letting up in your neck of the woods and you are doing okay.
Cheers,
Candy
http://gnosticminx.blogspot.com/

8/02/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

thanks Bambino, but I think we're in the minority.

The thing is, terrorism is currently working. Ideas are needed that address its source and its promise. Simply policing actions after they occur, across the entire globe, is phenomenally inefficient. There are currently plans (very good , very doable plans) that can wipe out thousands of New Yorkers in horrific attacks. As Suskind notes in his book, anyone who knows what those plans are stays as far away from Grand Central Terminal as possible.

The current ideas that we must either 1) live in a police state to prevent them or 2) only address them after they happen are both unacceptable. The SL Doctrine may not work, but ideas like it (that look very long term and attack the source of terrorisms attractiveness) are needed, IMO.

I totally appreciate your bold ideas. Dennis Miller agrees with you. He has said that the middle east is ruining our good common sense and we should blow the whole thing up and turn it into a marble.

That is an awful misstatement of my idea here.

8/02/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Terrorism really only means a very few madmen.

The problem is religious fanaticism and how that is used to
control the people that support these terrorist acts.

These fanatics are likely to be the ones that would inhabit the countries you would be attacking.

By attacking them you justify that you are the devil and must be destroyed even through death, stimulating the acts of a new bunch of madmen, which may occur within your own country: people fed up by the news.

I cannot see myself flying over the world dropping bombs and hence have no reasons to recommend other people doing so. Call this is theological-philosophical struggle, but... being an agnostic and all, my version of a God would condemn anyone pulling a trigger
(except in strict personal defense). I strongly believe in personal freedom. I strongly believe that in the worst case of endoctrination someone can find the guts to decide make their own mind. That is why I sort of let fanatics be who they want to be. And when one attacks me I consider them for their indiviual acts. I never think "oh you're one of them" because in my mind these people "think they are part of them" when in fact they are truly on their own.

So my way of seeing the world is a little strange but I sort of responsabilize every individual for their acts, including those I send pushing bombs for me. So when I'll want to throw a bomb, I'll take it that I have to do the job myself.


Thank you,

Cedric Caspesyan

8/02/2006 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

gosh that last phrase sounded like a terrorist speaking...scary..lol

Cedric

8/02/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

That is why I sort of let fanatics be who they want to be. And when one attacks me I consider them for their indiviual acts.

I used to feel that way Cedric, but it's not something I expect the leaders of nations to endorse, because it leaves the public open with targets on their backs. The response has to correspond to the threat, I agree, but my thinking here hinges on the fact that should a standing country attack another nation like we were attacked on 9/11, no one would blame that attacked country for striking back forcefully.

The conventional wisdom is you have to throw such responses out the window with stateless terrorists, but my argument is you simply put that response on ice, in case they actually do get the state they're fighting for. If they do, then you respond as if the attack were yesterday. I think psychologically this will eat away at their followers, who will see that they'll never achieve their promise land.

8/02/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Edward, I understand your desire for a deterent, and in some ways it makes good sense. But there are a few problems with it IMHO.

a.) Whatever we (this international group) tell the residents of these countries, the terrorists will tell them something else. There's no reason to think they would believe us over them.

b.) Whatever international group you formed, there would be countries that chose not to join it, and would in fact oppose it. The two groups would end up fighting each other.

c.) The Islamic State that the terrorists propose operates as a carrot on a stick. While they may, in fact, want it, I don't think that's their whole agenda. Much of what they are doing seems to be the result of general hatred of anyone who opposes their religious views, and rage against the spread of western civilization. Their ongoing fight against the west elevates the leaders of these groups to hero status in the eyes of many in the Muslim world.

d.) From what I understand, the people who sacrifice themselves for this cause are promised a better existence in the afterlife. I was only half-kidding when I said debunking that myth would hurt their recruiting efforts. Not that they would believe us, of course.

e.) Threatened punishment only works to deter reasonable people who can weigh the consequences of their actions and make a choice about how to act. The death penalty that exists in many of our states hasn't put a stop to murder.

f.) The only way I can think of to blow a state to smithereens is to drop lots of atomic bombs on them. This doesn't really seem like something you would seriously suggest.

This last part is pure conspiracy theory, but I've got to put it out there. There's a rumor going around that the Chelsea branch of Starbucks has been secretly tripling the amount of caffeine in their coffee. Have you noticed anything suspicious lately?


PS The Word Verification that your blog has generated for me to type in is "oilzgd". (oil is god?) Is that spooky or what?

8/02/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Thanks for engaging me seriously and thoughtfully on this David. In response to your points:

a) The only thing the terrorists could tell them here, that I can see, is that we wouldn't really follow through. Would you take that chance?

b) That is a strong possibility, I know. Reading Suskind's book, however, it was impressive how quickly nations went from reluctant to enthusiastic partners once the CIA showed them what the terrorists were plotting.

c) I read a psychological analysis of bin Laden once that convinced me he's your garden variety opportunist. He wants power for himself, and all the rest is propaganda. He and his top circle will be affected by such a doctrine, I'm sure. Leaders fight for resources (including land) or glory...but mostly resources. If those resources are unattainable, why fight?

d) If the leaders who send the suicide bombers out there believed that themselves, they too would volunteer. But even the suicide bombers tend to leave notes suggesting they hope for a better life, here on earth, for their families. This suggests to me they're buying the promise land sales pitch.

e) Most of the important followers of terrorists organizations (the finacial and strategy types) are reasonable.

f) That is the weakest part of my idea, yes. Perhaps a sustained precise bombardment over a period of time is the best implementation of the counter-attack. Targeting legislative buildings, homes of the leaders, etc. The idea is that they will never know peace, and their government will never be recognized among the stable nations. They will pay from day one, and continue to pay until their populace turns against them (which they will after enough of that).

There's a rumor going around that the Chelsea branch of Starbucks has been secretly tripling the amount of caffeine in their coffee.

;-)

I'm not panicked, but I am alarmed. One of the attacks that had been ordered, and would very likely have succeeded had al Qaida not called it off (supposedly because they have something bigger in the works) would have unleashed cyanide on the subways of New York during rush hour, killing hundreds, if not thousands, in truly gruesome fashion. Thinking about my loved ones travelling via the subway has heightened my sense that not enough is being done here.

I was asked to let the police search my bag while entering the subway recently. I refused and walked instead. I won't live in a police state. But simply hoping for the best and policing the attacks that do happen is not good enough. We need better ideas in all this.

8/02/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger The Artist Extraordinaire said...

Is the SL Option so abstract that it would not take place at all? IE, as a “deterrent” there aren’t any states right now that you would immediately bomb if the SL was enacted? Or is there one you would annihilate (nihilism) to prove your point?

Would SL include places like Ireland?

Does the idea of homeland imply what Hezbollah wants? I believe Hezbollah, as they proclaim, is primarily interested in the destruction of Israel. Any land seems secondary.

Dos the SL doctrine state that, for example, Palestinians, or Basques, don’t deserve their own land? Or just that it should not be gained through war?

There is no way you, a Western superpower, could incite the civilians to uprise against the terrorist regimes. This was one of the US’s fundamental flaws with Iraq. In the case of revolution, it has to be the people who want it, and enact it. It will never succeed otherwise.

So how do you get people to want to uprise? That is the million-dollar question. And I think you can’t set out to do it. It only works out on its own. Many experts cite a key factor in the fall of communism was TV and radio broadcasts that E Europeans received. Not the intentional propaganda, but just the regular stuff. They saw for themselves how the other side lived. Saw that the Soviets were lying to them. And saw that the enemy wasn’t so bad. So something like this would have to happen in order for real change to occur. And forcing it would backfire, I believe.

In order for SL to have a chance of working, you would have to include nations in the Middle East. Egypt, Syria, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and so on. Otherwise, it would be considered, and quite possible would be, an anti-Muslim doctrine.

The UN would NEVER EVER do this. Look how difficult it is to get them to make a resolution, let alone enforce it? If the UN actually did effectively police the world, if “peace keeping forces” actually meant something, things would be much better.

8/02/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous a.s. said...

E: this will eat away at their followers, who will see that they'll never achieve their promise land.

Then what? After you've taken away their hope (assuming you could), do you think they will just renounce violence and return to their oppressed lives dictated by state-sanctioned violence?

The only solution your plan provides is that it legitimizes the use of state (or coalition) military force as the only acceptable form of international violence -- I think we've all seen how well that idea plays out. Justice enforced by the barrel of a gun will always lead to oppression and more violence.

And don't be so kind to your "Founding Fathers" -- the genocide they perpetrated on Native Americans was far worse than anything any terror organization could possible imagine. We're the most glaring example of an illegitimate state power. If the U.N. is going to start disbanding nations for the way they came into being then it should start right here.

Isn't it possible that terrorism is a symptom of a greater evil? After all, if you examine the historical record of terrorist groups, they are largely motivated by what most of us would agree were horrible acts of injustice.

Is there really a significant moral difference between Palistinean car bombs and the bombing of innocent women and children by the Israeli army? They merely use different tactics to achieve similar results -- the large scale deaths of innocent people and a perpetuation of more violence. Both are disgusting.

8/02/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Great questions, Extraordinare

Is the SL Option so abstract that it would not take place at all?

The hope is certainly that it wouldn't have to.

IE, as a “deterrent” there aren’t any states right now that you would immediately bomb if the SL was enacted?

Not now. Like I noted you can't start bombing retroactively. The entire process of buy-in and signing etc would take place over time to give plenty of notice and allow for just this type of debate and clarification of what the parameters are.

Or is there one you would annihilate (nihilism) to prove your point?

No. And "annihilate" was hyperbolic. The government is the target, not the population.

Would SL include places like Ireland?

If the IRA attacked a third party, as part of their attack on Britain, then yes. SL doesn't apply to occupied countries fighting back, though, only to those who use violence against the innocents of other nations (third parties). Which is only a clarification, not any type of excuse for the IRA, who I personally despise.

Does the idea of homeland imply what Hezbollah wants? I believe Hezbollah, as they proclaim, is primarily interested in the destruction of Israel. Any land seems secondary.

Hezbollah is, in my opinion, a tricky example, but here are my thoughts. Their original goal, to get Israel out of Southern Lebanon would not apply (as the Israelis were occupiers...other doctrines should apply here), but after Israel pulled back and Hezbollah crossed their into borders, then the SL doctrine is arguably back on the plate. What makes this so tricky though is that Hezzbollah technically already has a state, so any attack by them on another state could be seen in the context of older doctrines of self-defense. Hating your neighbors is not the same as attacking some third party to further your conquest goals. I'm not suggesting here that Hezbollah isn't a problem, just that they aren't a problem I think SL could help with.

Dos the SL doctrine state that, for example, Palestinians, or Basques, don’t deserve their own land? Or just that it should not be gained through war?

That it should not be gained through terrorism on third parties.

In order for SL to have a chance of working, you would have to include nations in the Middle East. Egypt, Syria, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and so on. Otherwise, it would be considered, and quite possible would be, an anti-Muslim doctrine.

I agree.

The UN would NEVER EVER do this.

Probably not, which is why I suggested some other body might be needed. A body of stable countries who have seen third-party terrorism on their shores.

A.S.

Then what? After you've taken away their hope (assuming you could), do you think they will just renounce violence and return to their oppressed lives dictated by state-sanctioned violence?

I'm not saying they can't fight their own oppressive governments, just that they can't attack the innocents of third parties as part of that fight.

Isn't it possible that terrorism is a symptom of a greater evil? After all, if you examine the historical record of terrorist groups, they are largely motivated by what most of us would agree were horrible acts of injustice.

I don't agree. Terrorism is a calculated weapon against an overwhelmingly strong opponent. It cannot be justified under any set of values I'll subscribe to, though. Not when it includes the killing of innocents.

Is there really a significant moral difference between Palistinean car bombs and the bombing of innocent women and children by the Israeli army?

That is a question beyond my abilities, but it falls outside the scope of the SL doctrine, as it doesn't involve a third party.

8/02/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Amos Newcombe said...

So, does the USA get off the hook because natives and slaves had no "state" behind them? In that case you're basing the slaughter of large numbers of people on historical accident and the precise parsing of words.

Or do we get off the hook because it all happened so long ago? In that case you are proposing tests for others (where failure = death) that you are not willing to apply to yourself.

Or do we not get off the hook at all? Then you are committing suicide.

8/02/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger The Artist Extraordinaire said...

For a long time I have felt one of the reasons Israel has support of Western nations is that they use an acceptable form of terrorism: tanks and troops.

It is the gold standard way to go. But on the thread above, about what starts "terrorists" or rebellions, and how they work. The early Americans were terrorists. They didn't "fight fair" in the standard way of the time. IE, troops lining up in an open field and shooting eachother. The patriots used guerilla warfare tacics, small assaults, picking off enemies from the woods.

As far as America's roots, I feel bad about it, but there is no place on earth who's hands are clean. And maybe that is the pessimistic attitude to take towards "world peace:" It ain't gonna happen.

In the words of David Cross: "Declaring a war on terror is like declaring a war on jealously. At no point are we ever going to say, 'ah, got em all, everybody loves us again.'"

Further quoting, from Get Your War On:
A: Did you hear we declared war on terror?
B: Awesome! Remember how we declared war on drugs and now can't get drugs anymore?

8/02/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Amos,

While I appreciate that the US has a laundry list of sins, the SL doctrine is not about fixing the past, but rather hopefully shaping a better future. Dragging history into it, as if it has to account for every past atrocity, is the same as doing nothing, which is unacceptable. If any doctrine has flaws, they should be addressed, but burdening it with fixing everything all at once is unproductive, no?

Again, it's not retroactive. Should the US eventually fall to terrorists who attacked a third party in order to take over here, then we too would be targets of the doctrine.

8/02/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Should the US eventually fall to terrorists who attacked a third party in order to take over here, then we too would be targets of the doctrine.

Some might claim that's what's happened.

8/02/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous danonymous said...

While thinking ahead and having all the answers is applaudable, we are dealing in an arena where we have to "create" answers and then see if they work. Unfortunately.
I agree that it would take a consolidated "will" of an international group to support the SL doctrine...and forget about the UN. Sheesh.
But there is a NIMBY mechanism at play (not in my back yard). When ISraeli commercial airplanes were hijacked in the 60's and ISraeli passengers targeted, the world said "ooooh, but at least they are not our planes and people) and did nothing. It was only when American, British, French planes that were hijacked came about, that the world realized...uh-oh it's our problem too.
I think the terrorism is only now being dealt with because it reached outside the Middle East into the Western sphere. So we are not experienced enough to deal with it....yet. And horrible mistakes will be made in the process of learning. Of course terrorism in places that are Third World has never been a problem since we don't recognize it as existing. (Even Darfur type places, Hutu tuttu killings, Tibet, etc).
But an interesting thing is the powerof these fundamentalist organizations and Fundamentalist societies they come from, that have oppression and force against innocents as a normal way of life.
So it's not just the terroists, but also the countries they come from and their oppression of individual rights, protections, oppression of women, etc.
Having said that, it is interesting that a lot of what has been driving American politics and policies has been the same fundamentalism, right wing, republicanism, American style.
Fundamentalsim is a major danger, here and abroad. Of course, it doesn't look quite as bad dressed up in Armani And Prada.

8/02/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

In the words of David Cross: "Declaring a war on terror is like declaring a war on jealously. At no point are we ever going to say, 'ah, got em all, everybody loves us again.'"

I disagree. Terrorism is not an emotion, like jealousy (i.e., a part of the human condition), it's a highly effective, carefully calculated weapon used toward a goal. No more likely to pop up automatically than a tank is.

The current thinking on terrorism clearly needs an overhaul. First of all, the notion that the terrorists hate us because of our freedoms or whatever is so assinine that any politician offering it should be stripped in public and spat upon.

On the other hand, the notion that you have to target the root causes of terrorism is only half the solution, in my opinion. You have to make it an ineffective weapon. As long as it works, desperate folks will use it.

How you neutralize it, IMO, is to focus on its longer-term goals and ensure they won't materialize. Those who use it will never be recognized as legitimate.

8/02/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

What you are proposing is war, Edward, and that is a knife with two edges.

You assume your enemy is unable to defend or ripost.

It might some day.


I doubt a caliphate would be put anywhere far Makkah so I presume terrorist Islam actually want Saudi Arabia. So I guess that is your target given on a silver plate
(Iraq or Pakistan being merely "temporal refuges").


As far as what muslims believe,
they believe in livind "humble" lives and material poverty is seen as enlightening.

So the leaders of islam terrorist take this opportunity to enjoy muslim's money by proposing to "be" their caliphate, so to speak. They are confusing narcissism and their ego for power with an obsession for a cause so it is possible they also believe in Islam but are just totally self-dellusioned as being the new Mohamed, Abraham whatever.

The traditional muslim doesn't seek power. He is more like..err..St-franciscain whatever..he urges you to save your soul and abandon materiality
and desire. In a sense you could even link some of it to buddhism what I find surprising as for me buddhism is almost like the "purist", "better" religion when islam is like the "evil" one. But Islam wasn't always as drastic and warful a religion as it is now.



Anyway, destroying a land because terrorists are taking control over it sounds like what Israel is doing to Lebanon.

They are way too many people and infrastructures to make these attacks ethically viable. It would be like attacking Paris because the nazi take over.

Some arabs would say that the jews were given Israel by taking arab lands. Of course we all know Israel cities have jewish names
since millenaries and that arab took them over by medieval ages,
which makes Israel totally legitimate especially that it was invented by international agreement, but... Since we north americans also stole land a few centuries ago... Who are we to tell arabs they are wrong???


This is how fucked up you can get with these topics.



Cedric Caspesyan
centiment@hotmail.com


PS: at least we dont just kill natives anymore, for a start.

8/02/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Ok forget my last comment (about country invasions).


Actually I know what's wrong with middle east in 2006.


It's that though we also once were evil, in less than 200 years we were able to develop a sense of multiculturalism in the west when in middle east it is still "predominantly this" or "predominantly that" (religion or race) since millenaries.


Frankly I am afraid we are doing better.


Cedric Caspesyan

8/02/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous BeeNon said...

Edward,

More thoughts on deterrence. David, I think, argued that deterrence has been documented to not work in the case of US murders (okay, don't ask me for a citation). I agree. It's the same reason many people don't save enough money, can't lose weight, etc. They are not far-sighted and disciplined. I would guess murders are impulive and poor planners. You said bin Laden is a "garden variety opportunist." This sounds plausible and not the kind of person subject to deterrence.

I think another fallacy is holding up US-USSR deterrence as a reasonable example of anything. A long peace was the least likely outcome of years of military build-up. I don't think it was planned or predicted. Also the forced quiet of the standoff is still erupting all over the world, so it's hard to call deterrence an unqualified success.

Yet another problem is that while I appreciate that you would never want to blow up a country new or old, you are willing to, civillians and all, to deter the relatively small threat of the terrorists. It's very important if you're a victim, of course, but how do you justify even the resources we've wasted already, when you could, with the same money, fight AIDS in Africa or re-eradicate malaria (I love Bill Gates for seeking to help the greatest number of people, even if they're not white suburbanites). In other words, even if I conceded your proposal had merit or was workable, it's out of proportion, as is current US policy on terrorism.

To sum up. AAAAGH, there are to many smart postings here and I'm getting confused and running out of time to read them all!

8/02/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Terrorism is not an emotion, like jealousy (i.e., a part of the human condition), it's a highly effective, carefully calculated weapon...You have to make it an ineffective weapon. As long as it works, desperate folks will use it.

I agree that it's not an emotion. It's a tactic, but it's specifically a label we use to characterize the tactics of our enemies. I guess one very broad definition of it could be "inflicting harm on innocent people." But that's where you run into problems in getting everyone to agree on who the terrorists are. Clearly someone who flies a passenger plane into an office building is a terrorist, or someone who plants a bomb on a train. But what about someone who drops a bomb from a military plane that kills innocent people? Can "shock and awe" be considered terrorism? Certainly our country is responsible for many deaths and much suffering in a country that didn't attack us.

Perhaps the best thing to do is forget about a war on terror, and just consider it a battle between us and specific enemies. If we focused on going after them instead of starting wars in uninvolved countries (like Iraq) maybe we'd have more success and create fewer new enemies.

8/02/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

What you are proposing is war, Edward, and that is a knife with two edges.

What I'm proposing is a response to an act of war already committed, just delayed. It will not come as a surprise to the new nation that they are on the sh*t list. It's not the start of new actions, but the justifyable response to previous attacks.

Also the forced quiet of the standoff is still erupting all over the world, so it's hard to call deterrence an unqualified success.

The absence of any deterence option, though, lies at the heart of Cheney's justification for his pre-emptive doctrine. I'm not suggesting SL is perfect...but it's an improvement over the 1% Doctrine, IMO.

8/02/2006 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous a.s. said...

E: I'm not saying they can't fight their own oppressive governments, just that they can't attack the innocents of third parties as part of that fight.

I think there is a problem with your notion of 'third parties.' Your SL doctrine is essentially saying that it would be permissible (from the standpoint of the SL coalition) if Saudi terrorists, in the proces of taking control of the oppressive Saudi regime, were to blow up only Saudi civilians. But what if the local state power is merely a puppet regime for the real nation holding the oppressive strings -- namely the U.S.?

The admonition of your SL doctrine would then seem to be: take control of your own state by any means, and then if a third party state is oppressing you, engage in state v. state war.

But state v. state war always results in the deaths of innocent civilians, as does terrorism. So it would appear that the SL doctrine opposes not violence against civilians itself, but the methods used.

Of course, are you not opposed to one tactic over the other because, at present, terrorism is the only tactic capable of killing U.S. civilians, while 'traditional' militaristic state-sanctioned warfare is not (due to our awesome military defenses).

E: I don't agree... It cannot be justified under any set of values I'll subscribe to, though.

I hope you're not implying that I have justified terrorism -- I'm opposed to all forms of violence.

8/02/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Your SL doctrine is essentially saying that it would be permissible (from the standpoint of the SL coalition) if Saudi terrorists, in the proces of taking control of the oppressive Saudi regime, were to blow up only Saudi civilians.

That would be a civil war, for which we already have mechanisms (mostly through the UN) to address them, so such actions would not necessitate the enacting of the SL doctrine.

The admonition of your SL doctrine would then seem to be: take control of your own state by any means, and then if a third party state is oppressing you, engage in state v. state war.

That is correct.

But state v. state war always results in the deaths of innocent civilians, as does terrorism. So it would appear that the SL doctrine opposes not violence against civilians itself, but the methods used.

Not exactly. State v. state war has built-in thresholds because both parties have defined boundaries and defined resources that serve to limit what they're willing to lose in the fight.

The SL doctrine specifically addresses violence against civilians in third-party states, making it a special case, yes.

Of course, are you not opposed to one tactic over the other because, at present, terrorism is the only tactic capable of killing U.S. civilians, while 'traditional' militaristic state-sanctioned warfare is not (due to our awesome military defenses).

I'm not sure I follow "are you not opposed to one tactic over the other"...can you restate? As for terrorists having no other options for killing civilians, well, I'll count that as a positive side effect in my general opposition to violence as well. (and no, there was no implication toward you in that last statement, simply a declaration that I consider terrorism out of bounds in all contexts...when it's intrastate, however, I don't see where it's the international community's business to intercede without being asked to do so by one side).

8/02/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous a.s. said...

E: I'm not sure I follow "are you not opposed to one tactic over the other"...can you restate?

I'm saying that your preference for 'state v. state war,' as opposed to terrorism, is a methodological one, and that the reason for your preferred methodology is that the United States has the greatest military force in the history of the world.

In other words, by setting the rules for how power is to be challenged, your plan would stack the deck in the U.S.'s favor, since our superior military will always (probably) win in any "state v. state" conflict. The impetus for the distinction is tactical (while disregarding morality), because its intention is to assure victory, not lessen civilian casualties. Further, it perpetuates the historical trajedy of "military might equals right" and only encourages a frenzied stockpile of militaristic weaponry.

What I'm proposing is a condemnation of all violence against innocent civilians, not a declared preference for one tactic of killing civilians over the other.

E: Not exactly. State v. state war has built-in thresholds because both parties have defined boundaries and defined resources that serve to limit what they're willing to lose in the fight.

Are you serious? "Thresholds" that "limit what they're willing to lose in the fight"? What was the threshold in WWI or WWII? Is that really somehow more humane? Anyone have the statistics on the number of civilians killed in state v. state wars compared to those killed by terrorism? I'd be willing to bet that the civilian casualties caused by the current Iraq war alone are greater than the total number of civilians killed by all recorded acts of terrorism.

8/02/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I'm saying that your preference for 'state v. state war,' as opposed to terrorism, is a methodological one, and that the reason for your preferred methodology is that the United States has the greatest military force in the history of the world.

Your assertion that I have a preference for how folks should be killed is poorly considered.

There are already international conventions and standard practices that work to keep war crimes at a minimum for state v. state conflicts. Even for civil conflicts, such tempering measures apply (remember the scene in Hotel Rwanda where the hotel manager convinces the general that he'll need friends who will vouch for his humanity once the conflict is over and the war crime trials began...these matters are not lost on the players in state v. state conflicts...why do you think Bush has Gonzales working round the clock protecting his ass...the dust will settle and the stable nations will investigate...and the criminals will, hopefully, be held accountable). I'm not seeking to elevate state-sponsored war over terrorism, as much as develop new conventions that close the loopholes in the current conventions that terrorists exploit and that leaders of stable nations exploit to cover other actions.

8/02/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

as if right on cue, Andrew Sullivan posts this.

8/02/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Anonymous a.s. said...

Your assertion that I have a preference for how folks should be killed is poorly considered... I'm not seeking to elevate state-sponsored war over terrorism

Really, then what does "any state that comes into being through terrorist actions that kill innocent civilians in other states will immediately upon inauguration be blown to smithereens by an international force of united nations" mean?

How is "an international force of united nations" blowing up a terrorist-formed government not "state-sponsored war"? Surely the new terrorist government will shield itself with civilians (as Hezbollah has been accused of doing). They're not going to sit all alone in some huge isolated government biulding with a red target on it, just so you can have your clean act of moral violence.

What will your coalition do then, when this new government mixes among the civilian population? Will you use your coalition of state military power to blow up the innocent along with the guilty? Sounds exactly like what we've done in Iraq (and what Israel is currently doing), which is why some have branded your SL doctrine Cheney-esque.

8/02/2006 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Let me try again.

If there were some way to deter the terrorists before they attained a state that was vunlerable, that would be preferable, obviously. But there currently isn't. The SL doctrine is concieved to address that. The biggest benefit of it, something that one would assume you'd support considering your comments here, is that it shuts down Cheney's doctrine of pre-emption.

I know it uses threat of force to deter, but that's no different from our current threat of force to existing states.

Your questions about after the response are seemingly valid, A.S., but all the scenarios you cite of why violence is bad also pertain to existing states, and yet, they still use the threat of retaliation to curb violence against them. Deterence works. The red target you note mockingly would be painted across any nation that stated it wouldn't retaliate against an attack. I'm simply playing with time here to expand the curbing potential of that deterence. The alternative, in specific terms, would be to accept bin Laden as the new leader of Saudi Arabia and start buying oil from him the day of his coronation. That example will guarantee more terrorism.

8/02/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Anonymous jec said...

Ed

Sometimes I can't tell when you're just playing the devil's advocate and sticking to your guns to keep the debate lively and when you really, truly and strongly (stubbornly?) believe what you are saying ;)

Maybe it's a bit of both.

8/02/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

in the blog it's generally a bit of both. my general philosophy about blog posts is there's little point in presenting an iron-clad argument, because that doesn't lead to debate, which is the joy and pleasure of blogs, IMO.

I don't think the SL Doctrine is watertight as a concept. I do think a more three-dimensional conceptual model of fighting terrorism is required. Other than nebulous calls for addressing the underlying causes, which few agree on, little is done to address it in the long run. I do know that every human has something worth living for, something you can manipulate them by threatening to take away (to be grossly blunt about it).

To heat it back up again, though, I feel we play this moronic game with terrorism (consider how the US accepted Gaddafi's compensation to the families of the Lockerbie victims and then readmitted him to the circle of respectable nations...it's a farce).

The SL doctrine demands zero tolerance for such sh*t. Gaddafi's governement (if not him personally) ordered the murder of those folks on that flight. He should NOT be accepted back into the society of stable nations under any circumstances. He should be hunted down and killed like the mangy rodent he is.

Now, I know that doesn't serve the US's best interests according to some people. We're told to accept that sometimes we're forced to hold our nose and make amends with terrorists like Gaddafi (and not notice that he has oil). The signal that sends, though, is that perhaps one day we'll find ourselves forced to make amends with bin Laden as well.

Since the line is impossible to draw where you'll comfort or please everyone (how do you think the families of the Lockerbie vicitms feel...other than rich, I mean?) the best approach is to draw it at zero. One act of terrorism against innocents and you're on the sh*t list forever. Once you have something worth taking, we're coming for it too. And we won't forget.

8/02/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger John Morris said...

As you said ed, almost all the states in the world would be outlawed by this definition. I do think it's always proper to state that a lot of today's "pacifists" seem only to be against state on state violence.

The issue should always be about the role of all violence in human life.

8/02/2006 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger This Broad said...

I join everyone who has commended you for your boldness, Ed.

I propose something altogether different: I have wondered for a long time why we didn't just outperform Bin Laden, Hamas etc. at their own game of persuasion. I have read over and over again that the major way terrorist organizations win over populations' loyalty is through their humanitarian work, helping the poor and building schools, hospitals, etc. Why didn't we five years ago (it seems impossible now, but perhaps it's not) take a fraction of the $250 billion or whatever it's up to now we've spent thus far waging destructive and counterproductive war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and instead (while going after the actual terrorists through international police action) send metaphoric armies to terrorist breeding grounds to start building infrastructure, teaching people better methods of farming, training doctors and artists, etc? It'd have to be through an international body (The UN? NGOs? there are probably some legal hurdles to get over but hey, it's better than war). The old 'hearts and minds' thing, but if we actually put real resources into it, and we weren't killing civilians with our other hand, why couldn't that work over time?

Obviously it would face armed resistance, but that armed resistance wouldn't have the wide support or validity it has now so could be more easily squashed. How could it have been worse than what's going on now?

PS thanks for the scary reminders, Ed. Can't wait to take the subway to work in Rockefeller Center tomorrow. As a friend says, "gotta keep the target shiny!"

8/02/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger John Morris said...

Why don't you just face it. The gorilla suit can only take you so far. Why don't you join the fun? This is how stuff works these days.

8/02/2006 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I have wondered for a long time why we didn't just outperform Bin Laden, Hamas etc. at their own game of persuasion.

I think that's solid. I suspect it's not enough on its own, but I certainly would endorse it as part of a better effort than we're making now. Part of the problem though would be when that same money ended up paying for bombs, like it does in worldwide charities currently.

PS thanks for the scary reminders, Ed. Can't wait to take the subway to work in Rockefeller Center tomorrow.

I have the same thought from time to time...then I think, why should only the Republicans benefit from plausible deniability?

8/02/2006 09:53:00 PM  
Anonymous jec said...

I have wondered for a long time why we didn't just outperform Bin Laden, Hamas etc. at their own game of persuasion.

I like your proposal very much. Maybe, as Ed says, it's not enough on its own, but we don't really know since we haven't tried it. Unfortunately, we now have decades of bad behavior of our own to counter. Instead of making possible gains in the "hearts and minds" battle, we've set ourselves back in a way that's hard to imagine recovering from.

sigh.

8/02/2006 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger painterdog said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/02/2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger painterdog said...

This is all very interesting, a kind of armchair diplomacy.

Can I remind all who have ventured into this black hole of Middle eastern politics that you have Muslims, Arabs, Persians, Christians, Jews, Shiite, Sunni, Turks, Egyptians, and Kurds. Now sort all that out first.

Try to get an understanding of all the cultures and divisions and then we can begin to have a conversation about the Middle east.

Oh I forgot colonialism which is at the root of a lot of the troubles in the area.

They are also from various tribes and sects in the muslim world, Sunni and Shiite. I don't know about the rest of you people but its interesting to me how a Sunni suicide bomber can kill a bus load of Shiite school children, and not one word from the Muslim press as far as I can see.

The Israeli’s in their recent blunder in Lebanon have killed children as well and all of the Arab and Iranian press and governments are crying foul.

Why is that?

8/03/2006 12:26:00 AM  
Anonymous jec said...

its interesting to me how a Sunni suicide bomber can kill a bus load of Shiite school children, and not one word from the Muslim press....Why is that?

I think this will come. At some point in the future, could be sooner, could be later, there is likely to be a bigger battle between sunnis and shia. Right now all of the focus is on us and on Israel. We've done a lot to make make sure the attention and blame are on us.

There are scenarios where this change could occur. I imagine that if we left Iraq now, the country's state of civil war would become severe and unquestionable. Also, if Iran really manages to become a major power source in the region, Sunni countries would be in a bit of a panic. Either of these would probably lead to a more public division between the sects and criticism in the Arab press.

But hey, I'm no Middle East scholar (though I do have an advanced degree in International Relations; maybe that counts for something?)

8/03/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger John Morris said...

I see a lot of parallels between this period and the history of europe in the late middle ages and reformation. The end result of centuries of this stuff was a certain period of burnout with the idea of religion. That was when America was formed.

The one thing that they at they arived at was the idea of the separation of church and state. This only happened after centuries of pure crap.

The extremely negative thing today is that very powerfull weapons are so widely available so the chance of surviving a several hundred years of lunacy is not high.

8/03/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

I am sorry if the only comment I made earlier that struck you was the paraphrase of Dennis Millers...Edward, that was not my intention.

I think the world of your blog and my brief impression of you Edward is of an incredible thinker and philosopher and nice person. I am loathe to offend you in any way by misunderstanding your argument. Sorry if it sounded like I did.

I still stand by that you are bold to take this argument on and I appreciate it.

John Morris and The Broad have articulated my comments further and with so much more clarity and eloquence than I was able to muster.

My point was that it is alienation that creates nihilism...and nihilism is the personality of a terrorist.

We need to focus on enhancing our communities. Humanitarian acts are THE WAY TO GO...and to allow people a chance to feel they are able to live and so are their family and friends.

For another example, deterrents do NOT WORK. They don't work for our North American lifestyle even if we used detterents of crime. Crime rates dropped because women were allowed to decide if they were ready to have children or not. Crime dropped because the criminals simply were born and raised not because of attempts at deterrents. (if you don't believe me read Freakonomics)

Encouragement and community works and the compassion to understand that every person wants the same thing out of life. We all want the best for our family and friends. The more a community allows for the freedom of comfort and economic options the population rate drops and so too do alienation and nihilism. You can define community by a country or by a planet. We need to see the connections between both views.

We have a planetary ethical and spiritual crisis occuring, and we must change our econimic habits and extend humanitarian principles and practices.

Thank you John Morris and The Broad for helping me to understand in a new way my own response to this post.

This has been an incredible experience reading all these comments and I am really pleased to have been able to hear all the perspectives. THIS IS A HELL OF A BLOG!

Candy
http://gnosticminx.blogspot.com/

8/03/2006 03:44:00 PM  

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