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Ben's old chestnut

 
 
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 07:33 am
In a different thread I quoted what I called, Benjamin Franklin's "old chestnut" warning not to trade liberty for security. It goes like this:

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"

But I thought it would be important and topical to discuss this (what has almost become a slogan of the left-Liberals, and certainly a motto of the ACLU in its prodigious efforts against homeland security. The latest issue concerns airline safety.

It seems to me that the truth of what Franklin says lies in the notions of essential liberty, and temporary safety. Is the liberty we give up when profiling, essential? And is the safety we secure by giving it up, only temporary (or, maybe more importantly, worth-having)?
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salima
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 09:03 am
@kennethamy,
are we profiling already?

well, let's see...how many terrorists plots have we so far thwarted with the new security methods?

i think if it made anyone safer i would be happy to stand in a separate line because of my being muslim while they double searched all my things and whatever it is else they have planned. but i dont believe it would, any more than i believe it helped anyone that i had to leave my one and a half inch cuticle scissors (a very fine make by the way) in geneva. apparently besides checking every airline's and government's restrictions and warnings we also have to check each individual airport as well.

really, is this the best we can do? (we meaning the whole world)

how big do you really think the threat is of being blown up in a plane? take a look at what is going on in pakistan and how the government is totally helpless if indeed they are paying any attention. it isnt happening on planes...what should they do? they can hardly profile can they? what would we do if it started happening here like that by some weirdo skinhead group? profile bald people in convenient food marts?

if people want to live their lives afraid, they will end up staying in a closet until they die, probably starving to death because they are afraid there is poison in their food. i know this isnt a very philosophical answer, but i feel it is a practical one. it is fear that terrorism thrives on, and if all our attempts to stop it are based on fear, it will fail. in fact the fear only means that they have already won...whatever the hell it is they are trying to prove.
housby
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 09:28 am
@salima,
We are treading on thorny ground with this one I think. Of course we all want to be safe from lunatics of any description (be it race, religion, gender etc.) and there will have to be, for the forseeable, regulations to stop them from killing indescriminately. However the issue of freedom is also important because, as was suggested many years ago here in Britain when we were being blown up by the IRA, if we start to put normal life on hold because of these people they have won. I also worry about the issue of terrorism being "used" by the authorities to curb freedoms for their own purposes. I suppose I could be described loosely as one of the "liberals" described above and believe passionately about personal freedoms but, not surprisngly, I don't want to be blown away either. There is also the problem of perspective: is the threat of terrorism as great as the fear of it? But if we assume that are we then guilty of underestimating the threat?
This will be a good debate I think.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 10:24 am
@housby,
housby;116882 wrote:
We are treading on thorny ground with this one I think. Of course we all want to be safe from lunatics of any description (be it race, religion, gender etc.) and there will have to be, for the forseeable, regulations to stop them from killing indescriminately. However the issue of freedom is also important because, as was suggested many years ago here in Britain when we were being blown up by the IRA, if we start to put normal life on hold because of these people they have won. I also worry about the issue of terrorism being "used" by the authorities to curb freedoms for their own purposes. I suppose I could be described loosely as one of the "liberals" described above and believe passionately about personal freedoms but, not surprisngly, I don't want to be blown away either. There is also the problem of perspective: is the threat of terrorism as great as the fear of it? But if we assume that are we then guilty of underestimating the threat?
This will be a good debate I think.


It is, I think, obvious that the two, security and liberty have to be balanced, and I think that current policy is not balanced. That there is too much weight on the liberty side. There are always extremists on both sides of this kind of issue, and the ACLU has become an organ of the far left, and a powerful weapon in its hands. They have become fanatics, and, as the philosopher Georges Santayana wrote, "A fanatic is someone who redoubles his efforts when he has forgotten his goals".
housby
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Jan, 2010 07:20 pm
@kennethamy,
You are right of course about balance but this is a tricky thing to achieve. We have to ask ourselves how much liberty we want to give up in order to keep our liberty. Sounds like a silly question but that is exactly what is being asked. Of course the main threat from terrorism currently seems to come from Islamic extremism but terrorism has always been there (the IRA in the seventies in Britain). It may seem easy to point the finger of blame in one direction and act accordingly in the direction of those who we see as responsible (or potentially so) but what if they are not so easily recognisable? And what if the threat is from within? It is possible that a government may invent an enemy in order to achieve the goal of control or to introduce unpopular measures in the name of public safety or national security. It has happened before, most notably by Hitler who whipped up anti-semitic hatred by blaming the Jews for just about everything. I'm not saying the Islamic extremists are blameless, far from it, but the question is, is the threat as serious as has been suggested by the west (mainly the USA & Britain) and, without straying into the realms of conspiracy, is it possible that some "attrocities" have been carried out by those who wish to inflame an already unstable situation? It is with these very serious questions in mind that I think we must ensure we know who our enemy is before curbing the rights of freedom.
Incidentally we must also remember that nothing happerns in a vacuum. There must be a reason that these extremists hate the West so much. We may be the victims of our own actions. I don't want to go into history lessons but there is much to be learned from actions of the past.
Emil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Jan, 2010 07:24 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;116868 wrote:
In a different thread I quoted what I called, Benjamin Franklin's "old chestnut" warning not to trade liberty for security. It goes like this:

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"

But I thought it would be important and topical to discuss this (what has almost become a slogan of the left-Liberals, and certainly a motto of the ACLU in its prodigious efforts against homeland security. The latest issue concerns airline safety.

It seems to me that the truth of what Franklin says lies in the notions of essential liberty, and temporary safety. Is the liberty we give up when profiling, essential? And is the safety we secure by giving it up, only temporary (or, maybe more importantly, worth-having)?


Slightly off-topic but: It's not certain that that is a quote from Franklin. It is only a historical maybe.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Jan, 2010 07:28 pm
@housby,
housby;117455 wrote:
You are right of course about balance but this is a tricky thing to achieve. We have to ask ourselves how much liberty we want to give up in order to keep our liberty. Sounds like a silly question but that is exactly what is being asked. Of course the main threat from terrorism currently seems to come from Islamic extremism but terrorism has always been there (the IRA in the seventies in Britain). It may seem easy to point the finger of blame in one direction and act accordingly in the direction of those who we see as responsible (or potentially so) but what if they are not so easily recognisable? And what if the threat is from within? It is possible that a government may invent an enemy in order to achieve the goal of control or to introduce unpopular measures in the name of public safety or national security. It has happened before, most notably by Hitler who whipped up anti-semitic hatred by blaming the Jews for just about everything. I'm not saying the Islamic extremists are blameless, far from it, but the question is, is the threat as serious as has been suggested by the west (mainly the USA & Britain) and, without straying into the realms of conspiracy, is it possible that some "attrocities" have been carried out by those who wish to inflame an already unstable situation? It is with these very serious questions in mind that I think we must ensure we know who our enemy is before curbing the rights of freedom.
Incidentally we must also remember that nothing happerns in a vacuum. There must be a reason that these extremists hate the West so much. We may be the victims of our own actions. I don't want to go into history lessons but there is much to be learned from actions of the past.


I think we have had ample evidence that the threat of terrorism is real, and that no government is inventing it. And I think that we know quite well where that threat is coming from: radical Muslim extremism. And the threat is serious, and ongoing.

There is no doubt some cause of Muslim extremism. So, there was a cause of Hitler, and Hitler Germany's behavior. And Stalin's behavior. And, doubtless, the behavior of Ghengis Kahn and Attila the Hun, and the murderous Thugees of India. But, so what? We can go into that when they are eliminated. But first, they must be eliminated.
salima
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 12:31 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;117459 wrote:
I think we have had ample evidence that the threat of terrorism is real, and that no government is inventing it. And I think that we know quite well where that threat is coming from: radical Muslim extremism. And the threat is serious, and ongoing.

There is no doubt some cause of Muslim extremism. So, there was a cause of Hitler, and Hitler Germany's behavior. And Stalin's behavior. And, doubtless, the behavior of Ghengis Kahn and Attila the Hun, and the murderous Thugees of India. But, so what? We can go into that when they are eliminated. But first, they must be eliminated.


kenneth, i think you might want to specify who you mean by 'they'. do you mean all muslim extremists? do you mean all terrorists? (after a trial?) by eliminated i gather you mean executed? after a trial?

my own brother said to me he thought the world would be a better place if there were no muslims, and it was within a context where he without any doubt meant that if they all died it would be a good thing. now i am a muslim. people get very mad and perhaps say things they dont quite mean?

if the world wishes to execute convicted terrorists that is one thing. personally, i dont think we can eliminate all terrorists. i just want them stopped.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 12:39 am
@salima,
salima;117589 wrote:
kenneth, i think you might want to specify who you mean by 'they'. do you mean all muslim extremists? do you mean all terrorists? (after a trial?) by eliminated i gather you mean executed? after a trial?

my own brother said to me he thought the world would be a better place if there were no muslims, and it was within a context where he without any doubt meant that if they all died it would be a good thing. now i am a muslim. people get very mad and perhaps say things they dont quite mean?

if the world wishes to execute convicted terrorists that is one thing. personally, i dont think we can eliminate all terrorists. i just want them stopped.


By "they" I am referring to dangerous Muslim extremists. By "eliminated" I mean either killed or put out of action in some way. Not after a trial if we can catch them in their training camps or in some other way.

You are not a young male Muslim, and you are not dangerous or a terrorist. What has this to do with you? Indeed, I would think that you would also be nervous if a group of young male Muslim got on a plane you were taking. Just like me.

One way of stopping them is eliminating them. I am willing to listen to other effective suggestions.
salima
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 01:23 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;117591 wrote:
By "they" I am referring to dangerous Muslim extremists. By "eliminated" I mean either killed or put out of action in some way. Not after a trial if we can catch them in their training camps or in some other way.

You are not a young male Muslim, and you are not dangerous or a terrorist. What has this to do with you? Indeed, I would think that you would also be nervous if a group of young male Muslim got on a plane you were taking. Just like me.

One way of stopping them is eliminating them. I am willing to listen to other effective suggestions.


i gave you some other suggestions.

and no, i would not be nervous on a plane with a group of young male muslims. even if they turn out to be terrorists or highjackers-in fact i would attempt to persuade them that they were doing the wrong thing and hopefully convince them to give up before any violence occurred. i would be the most likely candidate to be able to do it if anyone could.
housby
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 07:08 am
@salima,
Kennethamy.
I fully understand your anger at the actions of terrorists, there is a real and present danger, but I can't help feeling that your reaction comes from the fact that the USA has only relatively recently come under direct attack from terrorism. Britain and Europe have had this for far longer. Seems to me that you are ignoring some facts with regard to the actions of these people. It is an old and hackneyed phrase but still true: one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. As I said in my last post there has to be an underlying cause for these actions. The USA and Britain (my own country so I am not being biased) "invaded" Iraq on pure lies (which I never believed) about weapons of mass destruction. It is my belief that the real reason was to get a foothold in an oil rich nation, which incidentally had previously had no truck with terrorists (Saddam was considered a bad Muslim). Afghanistan is another great "cause". We are trying to instill democracy on a nation that has never had it, never wanted it and will never accept it. Democracy doesn't always work and is not the be all and end all of running a nation. Prior to and above all this is the fact that there has been tension in the middle east ever since the creation of Israel by the west. The west, and the USA in particular, have whole heartidly supported Israel in their actions against the Arab states and it could only be a matter of time before there was a reaction.
All this is not to say that the terrorists are right, they are not, but a little more understanding of why they do what they do would go a long way to helping stop it.
Singling out Muslims at airports for special attention can not and will not help this situation. And if you think that they are trying to destroy democracy in the west you should also read a good book about the downfall of a democraticly elected government in Chile in 1972. The USA wasn't so hot in defending democracy then.
Please don't take all this as personal, either against you or your country, it is not. I have simply made observations based on years of watching the actions of governments and extremists. I am actually quite cynical with regard to all governments, East, West and Asian and I believe that most of them will stop at nothing, legal or otherwise to defend vested interests.

By the way, I won't even go into the widely accepted theory, even in the states, about the possibilty of the twin towers being carried out by the US government as an excuse for the "war on terror". Anything goes though.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 07:45 am
@salima,
salima;117603 wrote:
i gave you some other suggestions.

and no, i would not be nervous on a plane with a group of young male muslims. even if they turn out to be terrorists or highjackers-in fact i would attempt to persuade them that they were doing the wrong thing and hopefully convince them to give up before any violence occurred. i would be the most likely candidate to be able to do it if anyone could.


I would be nervous because I would fear they would be terrorists. But, if even they were terrorists, you would not be fazed, then I must admire your sang froid. But, of course, it I (your sang froid) has nothing to do with the issue. (I must admit, though, that in a detached way, I would like to watch you try to persuade those men that what they are doing is wrong, and that they should give themselves up).

---------- Post added 01-06-2010 at 09:02 AM ----------

housby;117648 wrote:
Kennethamy.
I fully understand your anger at the actions of terrorists, there is a real and present danger, but I can't help feeling that your reaction comes from the fact that the USA has only relatively recently come under direct attack from terrorism. Britain and Europe have had this for far longer. Seems to me that you are ignoring some facts with regard to the actions of these people. It is an old and hackneyed phrase but still true: one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. As I said in my last post there has to be an underlying cause for these actions. The USA and Britain (my own country so I am not being biased) "invaded" Iraq on pure lies (which I never believed) about weapons of mass destruction. It is my belief that the real reason was to get a foothold in an oil rich nation, which incidentally had previously had no truck with terrorists (Saddam was considered a bad Muslim). Afghanistan is another great "cause". We are trying to instill democracy on a nation that has never had it, never wanted it and will never accept it. Democracy doesn't always work and is not the be all and end all of running a nation. Prior to and above all this is the fact that there has been tension in the middle east ever since the creation of Israel by the west. The west, and the USA in particular, have whole heartidly supported Israel in their actions against the Arab states and it could only be a matter of time before there was a reaction.
All this is not to say that the terrorists are right, they are not, but a little more understanding of why they do what they do would go a long way to helping stop it.
Singling out Muslims at airports for special attention can not and will not help this situation. And if you think that they are trying to destroy democracy in the west you should also read a good book about the downfall of a democraticly elected government in Chile in 1972. The USA wasn't so hot in defending democracy then.
Please don't take all this as personal, either against you or your country, it is not. I have simply made observations based on years of watching the actions of governments and extremists. I am actually quite cynical with regard to all governments, East, West and Asian and I believe that most of them will stop at nothing, legal or otherwise to defend vested interests.

By the way, I won't even go into the widely accepted theory, even in the states, about the possibilty of the twin towers being carried out by the US government as an excuse for the "war on terror". Anything goes though.


It is clearly not true in the least that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. First of all, terrorism is a means to a goal. But freedom, (or what some like to call "freedom" although they would not know freedom if they tripped on it) is the goal. So, the same person can be both a terrorist and a freedom fighter (for whatever he thinks of as freedom). In the second place, a terrorist is someone who intentionally targets innocent non-combatants in order to spread terror (of to satisfy his hate). George Washington was a freedom fighter, but no one ever accused him of intentionally targeting helpless civilians, especially little children. But terrorists do that all the time. So, that phrase, "one man's terrorist...." is not only false, but is mindless like so many other slogans ("guns don't kill people, people kill people") which some people like to repeat because they find it very hard to think.

We did not invade Iraq "on pure lies". Being mistaken and lying are two very different things. And we had a host of justifications for the invasion that had nothing to do with WMDs. But, you really should not say that people lied when all the evidence is that they were mistaken.

Chile has nothing to do with what we are talking about. It was a different administration.

And I am glad you are not bringing up (although you did) the preposterous theory that 9/11 was done by the United States government. It is not at all "widely accepted". It is accepted, or even given credence, by conspiracy galoots, and like other conspiracy theories there is no real evidence for it, and I can't help remembering that I saw the planes hit the towers. Am I supposed to forget that?
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 10:28 am
@kennethamy,
One 'Allegedly' Too Many



By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ

Shocking though it was, the Christmas Day terror attempt by a 23-year-old Nigerian has only hardened Americans' awareness that they confront an implacable enemy in a war whose end is nowhere in sight. It is a hard-won new sense of reality and an invaluable one, achieved event by embittering event. The holy warrior assigned to blow up that passenger plane and who almost succeeded has, we learn, been granted the chance to strike a deal. His attack effort had come on the heels of the all-too-successful terror assault by that other Soldier of Islam, Maj. Nidal Hasan who murdered 13 fellow members of the American military. This, even as it was becoming clear that the number of our homegrown jihadis involved in terror plots, or who had enlisted in training toward that goal, had increased markedly.
It wasn't always easy to preserve a healthy sense of reality about terrorism in the years since 9/11, as the comments of ethical counselors, privacy advocates and civil liberties sentinels aghast at the possibility of government snooping have reminded us in the last week. They were around in force for media interviews, equipped as ever with a variety of arguments for the sanctity of privacy rights, warnings against surveillance that threatened the rights of citizens in a democracy. Day after day came the same breezy assurances-we had only to balance our security needs with privacy rights. As though, in this deadly war or any other, sane people could consider the values equivalent. The latest threat to privacy rights, advocates charged, was the use of full body scanners: the technology that would have immeasurably decreased the chances someone like Umar Abdulmutallab would have been able to get past security wearing his terror panties-intimate underwear, that is, in which 80 grams of PETN had been concealed.
It was that prospect of images revealing intimate areas of the body that apparently disturbed Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican and sponsor of a House measure banning the use of full body scanners other than as a "secondary device"-i.e. to be used on select subjects. He didn't think, he told a New York Times reporter, "anybody needs to see my 8 year old naked in order to secure that airplane." A useful bit of reassurance, that, for the plotters of terror assaults who have in the past shown no compunction about the use of children as suicide bombers.
Another argument we heard frequently held that no matter what technology was put in place, our dauntless enemies would find ways to get around it. The picture was clear. With an unbeatable, ever resourceful enemy working night and day devising ingenious strategies, what point could there be in developing better detection capacities? Historians of the future may one day well ponder the powerful streak of defeatism in the U.S. in the era of its terrorist wars-and the superhuman characteristics Americans ascribed to their enemies in that 21st century battle against terrorism: a view in no small way nurtured in their media and political culture.
No guardians of privacy rights had weighed in earlier against the body imaging scanners than the American Civil Liberties Union. In October, 2007, the ACLU issued a statement decrying the use of this technology as "an assault on the essential dignity of passengers." "We are," the agency declared, "not convinced it is the right thing for America." This reasoning is clear. The right thing is for America to reject the scanners. Its citizens may then face increased risk of being blown up in mid-air but their privacy would remain inviolate to the end. Who could ask for anything more?
It took the president a second speech to weigh in on the issue of the security, or lack thereof, that had nearly led to tragedy. The first speech, two and a half days after the event, was in its own way noteworthy. In it the president observed that a passenger on the plane had "allegedly tried to ignite explosives. . . ." Mr. Obama's use of a familiar legalistic evasion would, it was soon clear, raise hackles-though the term is one routinely used in crime reporting. No matter. It was one "allegedly" too many in the world, jarring coming from the president in this circumstance.
Consider the justly famed speech an enraged American president delivered the day after Pearl Harbor. Then try imagining that address by Franklin Roosevelt-a leader to whom Mr. Obama has been compared-as it would sound in Obama language.
"Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces allegedly from the Empire of Japan . . . Yesterday the Japanese government allegedly launched an attack on Malaya. Last night Japanese forces allegedly attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces allegedly attacked Guam . . ."
Still it wasn't the president's comments but those of Janet Napolitano that reverberated. It wasn't the first time the Homeland Security chief's struggles to utter the kind of views she understood to be fitting for an Obama administration official ended in trouble-this time with interviews in which she made her now famous assertion that the airport security system had worked. She followed up, the next day, with retractions and clarifications that ended, as such things do, sounding worse than the original.
Asked in an interview with the German magazine "Der Spiegel" last March why she had avoided using the word "terrorism" in her testimony to Congress, she explained that she had instead preferred to use another term: "man-caused disasters." That choice of words demonstrated, she said, that "we want to move away from the politics of fear." The idea now, she added mysteriously, was to be prepared for all risks that could occur. There was nothing mysterious about the intended point. In the new forward looking administration she served-its leader had after all travelled far tendering apologies for his country's past sins and arrogance toward other nations-emphasis on terrorism was to be dispatched, along with the words war on terror and terrorists. The use of such references was to be equated with the low, the deceitful, the politics of fear, with indeed, a false claim of danger.
Ms. Napolitano would go on in other ways to prove the potency of man-made disasters-of which she was clearly proving one. In April, she issued a report seeming to target military veterans as potentially dangerous right-wing extremists. She soon apologized. In the same month she managed to suggest that the 9/11 terrorists had entered the U.S. through Canada, which appalled Canadian leaders. Apologies and clarifications followed.
Mr. Obama can't be happy with his Homeland Security chief. It's fair to say no president deserves an appointee so extravagantly unequipped for her job. Still there is much in Ms. Napolitano's attitudes and pronouncements, including talk of "the politics of fear," that reflect with glaring accuracy the Obama team's values, ideology and prime political targets. In her disastrous and raw way she is its voice revealed.
Terrorism will continue to provide its hardening education, though not entirely from terrorists themselves. We have before us now the spectacle of Jihadi Abdulmutallab, lawyered up, with full rights as though a U.S. criminal defendant. The impossibly expensive, dangerous, and unavoidably chaotic trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and associates still lies ahead, slated for a Manhattan courtroom. Even now a majority of Americans can't fathom the reason for their government's insistence that the agents chiefly responsible for the 9/11 attack be tried under the U.S. criminal justice system with all due rights and constitutional privileges, instead of in a military court. That insistence itself is answer enough-an unforgettable testament to the ideological drives and related evasions of reality that shape this administration's view of the world.
-Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of the Journal's editorial board.
housby
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 05:00 am
@kennethamy,
Kenneth,
The freedom fighter thing is true. The Germans in Poland, France, Holland, Belgium etc. considered the resistance in those countries to be terrorists even though they weren't directly targeting "innocents". I suppose you believe that the people killing western soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are terrorists even though they are not attacking "innocents"? These people are defending their countries against aggressors! As far as the invasions are concerned I am surprised to find that you don't believe we were lied to, you will find precious few people in Britain who agree with you. The British and US governments have even changed tack in the last year or so (based on the "people have short memories" idea) by saying the invasion of Iraq was to "liberate" the people from the tyrant Saddam. This is simply and blatantly untrue!! The invasion was because of the WMD, clearly stated at the time. The proof of a lie is when a person or indeed a government changes it's story in order to justify an action after it has been carried out. There was no "mistake".
I brought up Chile only to illustrate the selective action carried out by governments when it comes to supporting freedom and democracy. Chile's downfall was allowed (even aided) by the US government of the time because the elected government of Chile was socialist.
Whatever your politics are Kenneth, and I respect whatever they are, you must not allow that to cloud your judgement with regard to your government, I certainly don't with mine. Incidentally, the party in power currently in Britain and which took us to these unjust wars I have been a supporter of all my life. Because of my feeling about these invasions I did not vote for them at the last election. So I am not being politically biased in any way.
salima
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 07:14 am
@kennethamy,
sorry kenneth, still not scared.

there are some terrifying stories about alien abductions too.
still not scared.

i used to be scared...that is how i found out that it makes a person unable to think rationally. also it taught me that the scariest thing we have to face on earth is a scared animal, whether it is human or otherwise. it is the reason i got rid of my gun.
housby
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 07:38 am
@salima,
I agree, Salima. The only thing to fear is fear itself. Another old but very true statement. Almost any threat you care to mention, be it terrorism or just plain old crime, is almost never as bad as the media and most governments would make it out to be. In Britain nobody would walk out the door if we believed everything we read in the papers.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 08:13 am
@housby,
housby;118082 wrote:
Kenneth,
The freedom fighter thing is true. The Germans in Poland, France, Holland, Belgium etc. considered the resistance in those countries to be terrorists even though they weren't directly targeting "innocents". I suppose you believe that the people killing western soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are terrorists even though they are not attacking "innocents"? These people are defending their countries against aggressors! As far as the invasions are concerned I am surprised to find that you don't believe we were lied to, you will find precious few people in Britain who agree with you. The British and US governments have even changed tack in the last year or so (based on the "people have short memories" idea) by saying the invasion of Iraq was to "liberate" the people from the tyrant Saddam. This is simply and blatantly untrue!! The invasion was because of the WMD, clearly stated at the time. The proof of a lie is when a person or indeed a government changes it's story in order to justify an action after it has been carried out. There was no "mistake".
I brought up Chile only to illustrate the selective action carried out by governments when it comes to supporting freedom and democracy. Chile's downfall was allowed (even aided) by the US government of the time because the elected government of Chile was socialist.
Whatever your politics are Kenneth, and I respect whatever they are, you must not allow that to cloud your judgement with regard to your government, I certainly don't with mine. Incidentally, the party in power currently in Britain and which took us to these unjust wars I have been a supporter of all my life. Because of my feeling about these invasions I did not vote for them at the last election. So I am not being politically biased in any way.


What the Germans, or anyone else consider terrorists is one thing. But whether they are right to consider them as terrorists is a different thing. Suppose I considered you a terrorist, would that make you a terrorist? It makes no difference what anyone thinks you to be, what matters is what it is you do. Did the resistance intentionally target innocent civilians? No. They targeted German troops, and transport, and so on. That isn't terrorism. That is guerilla warfare. The resistance. I don't think that those attacking Western troops in Iraq or Afganistan are terrorists. They are called insurgents or millitants by our government, and that is what they are. But many of them do target innocent civilians (as you know they do) and when they do that, they are called terrorists because that is what they are, terrorists.

The evidence is that not only did American intelligence believe there were WMDs in Iraq, but so did British intelligence, and French intelligence, and Russian intelligence. It turns out that Saadam was trying to make the world believe he had WMDs because he was afraid of Iran, and wanted to make Iran think he had WMDs. And he succeeded in the deception.So, yes. It was a mistake on our part to think he had WMDs. And honest mistake. But that was not the only reason for the invasion. There were others, and better reasons for it. But the WMD's was the best reason because it was the one that most people could understand. The others were too abstract, although they were good reasons for the invasion. So, the WMD reason, which Bush and Blair believe was true, was the most publicized reason. Unfortunately, it seems to have not been true.

It is important to know the facts in these issues, and to think clearly.
housby
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 09:27 am
@kennethamy,
Kenneth,
Perhaps you would be able to tell me when exactly our respective governments said,"We wish to liberate the Iraqi people from Saddam" as they later claimed? It's all very well to claim there were "abstract" reasons other than WMD but there is absolutely no doubt that that was the reason given. Did the US media make you aware of the clear what was later called the "sexing up" of documents certainly in our country by our government in order to get the whole of parliament on it's side. I'm not saying you are wrong Kenneth, it's just that we seem to have had more to doubt this side of the Atlantic. Almost everyone here seems to agree that there were lies to a varying degree. I have already admitted to being a cynic with regard to the media and governments and that may indeed colour my judgement but, with respect, I think you are also coloured by your own beliefs and this, to me, makes your view a little naive. But of course, as with all things, I could be completely wrong.
As with all debates of this kind, there is no intention to offend.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 10:09 am
@housby,
housby;118130 wrote:
Kenneth,
Perhaps you would be able to tell me when exactly our respective governments said,"We wish to liberate the Iraqi people from Saddam" as they later claimed? It's all very well to claim there were "abstract" reasons other than WMD but there is absolutely no doubt that that was the reason given. Did the US media make you aware of the clear what was later called the "sexing up" of documents certainly in our country by our government in order to get the whole of parliament on it's side. I'm not saying you are wrong Kenneth, it's just that we seem to have had more to doubt this side of the Atlantic. Almost everyone here seems to agree that there were lies to a varying degree. I have already admitted to being a cynic with regard to the media and governments and that may indeed colour my judgement but, with respect, I think you are also coloured by your own beliefs and this, to me, makes your view a little naive. But of course, as with all things, I could be completely wrong.
As with all debates of this kind, there is no intention to offend.


Yes, it was the most publicized reason given, and it was not a lie. But there were other reasons, just as good. 1. To protect the West's (and Japan's) oil supply without which we could not functions as an economy. 2. To demonstrate that we could not be trifled with. 3. To attempt to reverse the course of tyranny, and relieve the festering boil of the Middle East so that some semblance of democracy could spread. And there were other reasons too, besides the WMD reason.

What people believe is one thing. What is true may be a very different thing. As in the case we discussed of whether someone is a terrorist or not. I really do not care what the people in Britain believe about the Iraqi invasion. What interests me is what is true, and what the evidence shows is true.
Pyrrho
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 10:15 am
@salima,
salima;116878 wrote:
...

well, let's see...how many terrorists plots have we so far thwarted with the new security methods?

i think if it made anyone safer i would be happy to stand in a separate line because of my being muslim while they double searched all my things and whatever it is else they have planned. but i dont believe it would, any more than i believe it helped anyone that i had to leave my one and a half inch cuticle scissors (a very fine make by the way) in geneva. apparently besides checking every airline's and government's restrictions and warnings we also have to check each individual airport as well.

really, is this the best we can do? (we meaning the whole world)
...



Quite a few of the regulations are silly, and do nothing to promote safety. I am sorry for your loss of cuticle scissors to this stupidity. Either those in charge of such things have no clue what they are doing, or they know they are doing many things that are irrelevant to actual safety, for some undisclosed motive. I don't know which possibility is more disturbing.
 

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