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This is how we fight terrorism

 
 
littlek
 
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2003 06:49 pm
Cosmic Rays vs Terrorists - Sounds like a post terrorist era sports event. Scientists have found a way to utilize cosmic rays to find small chunks of nuclear material that might be hiding in car trunks or freight cargo.

Cosmic Rays vs Terrorists
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,987 • Replies: 16
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2003 07:17 pm
um are those generated by "Pyramid power" music by John Tesh with vocals by Yani.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2003 07:32 pm
huh?
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gezzy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Mar, 2003 04:07 am
Whatever works.
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JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 03:37 pm
I didn't know Yani sang too!
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 03:48 pm
Un huh. I remember visiting a patent jail in Silverton, CO, from the late 1800's. The thing was absolutely escalpe proof, yet there are still jail breaks today. Technology helps, but just when the system looks foolproof, along comes a better fool.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 03:52 pm
Don't mean to be a killjoy -- but right now, the United States is not FIGHTING terrorism -- it is simply ENGAGING in terrorism in one of its many forms.

Reduce this to a schoolyard scenario:

One kid is an obvoxious son-of-a-bitch -- and although the prinicpal and teachers have been trying to rein the kid in, they have been only marginally successful.

Essentially the kid has been stopped in his tracks -- he's a rather puny kid in any case, but he still makes threats -- and still scares many of the other kids in the yard, because he's been known to tote a weapon on occasions.

One kid -- the biggest, baddest kid in the school -- takes it upon himself to deal with the situation. The "problem solver" out-weighs the trouble maker by over a hundred pounds -- and he (the problem solver) has several huge buddies helping. They are taking turns hitting the trouble maker with claw hammers.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 04:43 pm
frank - Okidokie artichokie. I'm on your side. Just simplifying the headline using a key word for hits....
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gezzy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2003 06:24 am
I hear that Frank!
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JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2003 07:40 pm
Frank Apisa,

Your schoolyard analogy, if it were to be a valid comparison of the world national and political system, would have to be a closed system.

This implies that the authorities (teachers/UN) that have the responsibility to impose and maintain order have abdicated that responsibility (if indeed they originally possessed it) and there is no longer a higher authority.
This now becomes a "wild west" or lawless situation. So, as it stands, the SOB (Saddam) is able to impose his will upon everyone and his "weapon" enables him to threaten and extort not only his schoolmates (Iraqi citizens and other nations) but also those in authority (UN).

Can this possibly continue? Well yes, it certainly can, until another entity decides it finds the situation intolerable and works together with other schoolmates (Brits) to affect change. Because of the SOB's weapon and the constant threat that it will be used upon any and all who oppose the SOB the "Problem Solver" (U.S), along with any allies he can gather, decide to change the situation.

The "problem solvers" realize that any action taken must be swift and decisive with no holds barred. Some schoolmates decide to help, others decide to caste their fate to the wind and hope for the best by staying out of the conflict. They will, of course, have little or no say in their own future.

In this example neither side seems "right". The SOB inherently seems wrong because of his tyranny, threats and use of violence. Alternately, The "problem solvers" seem wrong, not because they decide to do something about the intolerable situation, but because of their drastic methods. The "Problem Solvers" opine these methods are necessitated by the failure of the authorities (UN) to deal with the situation or even because the authorities actions actively fostered the intolerable conditions over the last 12 school years.

Those who decide they cannot change the situation and chose inaction are locked into their fate. The "problem solver" faces a true conundrum.
If one is the only Big kid in the schoolyard possessing the ability for remedy AND professes morals and ethics, must he act? If action must be taken, when and how must change be affected? The Big kid's decision is daunting and his position truly forlorn.

However, what is really important is not so much the exact method of terminating intolerable regimes but how the terminator uses the power he then possesses afterwards.

Respectfully,

JM
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2003 08:15 pm
James Morrison, we could use you on the political threads. But, then again, I wouldn't wish them on anyone.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2003 08:40 pm
JamesMorrison wrote:
Frank Apisa,

Your schoolyard analogy, if it were to be a valid comparison of the world national and political system, would have to be a closed system.


<giggles>. this is getting fun, isnt it? OK, lemme try too:

JamesMorrison wrote:
This implies that the authorities (teachers/UN) that have the responsibility to impose and maintain order have abdicated that responsibility (if indeed they originally possessed it) and there is no longer a higher authority.

This now becomes a "wild west" or lawless situation. So, as it stands, the SOB (Saddam) is able to impose his will upon everyone and his "weapon" enables him to threaten and extort not only his schoolmates (Iraqi citizens and other nations) but also those in authority (UN).


But in the case we are describing, only the kid wo calls himself the problem-solver believes the little SOB is indeed able to threaten the teachers as well as the other kids. The teachers themselves, on the other hand, say they have actually found a way to deal with the little SOB, that they have already achieved some success, and they just need a little bit more time - "not weeks, not years, but months".

Now the "problem-solver" doesn't actually sit anywhere near the little SOB, he sits way over at the window. The SOB hasn't actually ever bullied him at all, but the "problem-solver" was hit in the face by another kid a few times, and he thinks the SOB was behind that. He has this hunch. He thought he'd seen the two talk together in a corner of the school square they called "prague", but he turned out to have imagined that.

In any case, he's demanding the teachers to expell the SOB from school right now, with no more of their finicky procedures, and if they don't, he will throw him out himself. The kids who are sitting near the SOB are all saying, no, he may be a little SOB, but we don't want you interfering here, we manage OK here and we dont trust you - but they're also just puny kids, and the "problem-solver" says he doesnt need their permission.

Now the teachers didnt want to abdicate any authority at all - in fact, they said, we'll expell him from school when we think its needed, and we are just asking for a few more months to gather the evidence. But the "problem-solver" happens to be bigger even than the teachers, and he has more money too, so he says he doesn't care what the teachers say, because he happens to know, on the basis of intelligence he can't share, that this little SOB really is a lot more dangerous than the teachers believe. They almost believed him for a moment when he showed a photo of the SOB buying a catapult, which are forbidden in the school, but that turned out to be a forgery.

So in the end he calls his best friend who always follows him, and together with their latino friend and some little kids from 1st grade, they go up to the SOB to beat him up. The other big kids in the class try to stop them, but they push them aside. The teachers try to stop them, but they push them aside, too. Lots of kids go out on the school square to protest, because they are now more afraid of the "problem-solver" than of the little SOB, but they push those aside too.

Finally, they are beating up the little ******* SOB, whom indeed noone will miss when he's gone. They do it in the name of freedom. But all the other kids are really scared about what will happen to the school afterwards, now that the teachers have been bullied and the strongest kid in the class has taken over, and is saying he'll keep on taking any pre-emptrive strike, as he calls it, at any time he feels like it, and the teachers should just listen to him ...

<grins>
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JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Mar, 2003 12:51 pm
nimh,

I am a citizen of the U.S. located in the Mid-Atlantic states and stated some of my concerns about our present administration's lack of diplomatic prowess on another forum back before the initiating of hostilities in Iraq on 7 March, 2003. Strangely enough it also contains a reference to a schoolyard analogy. Since you are in the Netherlands I have posed a question for you at the end of this post, the answer to which I consider important for Americans to take note.

BEGIN

" As it stands presently I feel that we as a nation have little
choice but to go to War against Saddam and take him out of power
and disarm Iraq.

However, it did not have to be like this. Even after 12 years of
sanctions against Iraq and Saddam's rope-a-dope diplomacy I still
feel that with the help of the world Iraq could have been
neutralized.

The Bush administration has generated a self-fulfilling prophecy:
" The U.S. will disarm Iraq one way or another".

It was truly unilateral in the beginning, the above statement
appeared before we even had made sure the Brits would throw-in
with us. The threat of unilateral action in the beginning assured
that most of our allies would be alienated and eventually allowed
France the opportunity to appear relevant upon the world stage by
assuming the role of power balancer. From that point on President
Bush was viewed as an irresponsible "cowboy" in world affairs.
This attitude was thrust upon him and fostered by his senior
advisors and made America look like they did not care about the
rest of the world. The administration's don't care attitude
became manifest early when it ignored the Kyoto agreement and
told the Russians we were going to trash the ABM treaty. Foreign
policy went downhill fast after that.

Some say that this callous posture was also exhibited towards
most American citizens when the administration proposed a tax
package that gave tax relief to wealthy Americans while foregoing
the economic stimulus needed to the economy by refusing to extend unemployment benefits to those Americans who not only needed the money but also would actually spend it. All these tax cuts being proposed when the threat of War hangs over us. (Previous tax cuts have evaporated the surplus that the administration started with, so they have solved the problem of how best to use that money.)

All these shortsighted actions are very concerning to me. We are
surely economically and militarily the most powerful nation on
earth but this perception of arrogance that this administration
exudes must change. Polls show that most of the world likes
Americans but hate our president. He and his administration just
do not seem to work and play well with others.

President Bush has now cited the goal of installing a democracy
in Iraq and using it as a model to the Arab world. But what are
the Arab peoples to think when the U.S. rejects its long time
allies out of hand and subjects them to shoddy treatment when a
disagreement presents itself?

Any action against Iraq taken by the U.S. could set a dangerous
precedent. "Coalition of The Willing" is a nice term and seems to
give legitimacy to America's actions in Iraq but I am not
surprising anybody when I state that this can certainly be viewed
as just a "Unilateral Action". If one doubts this, all one has to
do is envision any separate Coalition member carrying out an
invasion of Iraq by itself. Can one envision Bulgaria or any
other Eastern European country goose-stepping into Iraq on its
own? Sounds like fodder for late night comedians doesn't it?

So what do we say to the French tramping around The Ivory Coast sans UN backing as we speak? How can we confront Russia about Chechnya? What happens when the Russians have a problem with the Georgians? Do we let the Russians label those fighters for self-determination terrorists and then join the Russians in their "War Against Terror"?

Proponents of this action say that the invasion of Iraq will have
a beneficial side effect of showing other Arab states that we
mean business. Implicit in this argument is that if these Arab
states don't do our bidding that they will be subject to the same
type of "discipline" that President Bush threatened our ally
Mexico with when she said she could not support military action
against Iraq. What form would this "discipline" take?

We must start mending fences and making new friends. We cannot go around the world as if we are the biggest kid in the schoolyard
and coerce the actions of wayward nations into compliance to our
way of thinking. Some in the world would view this as the
intolerable actions of a mere bully.

Just as we as a nation must behave like an adult, the United
Nations must also mature and take responsibility for its own
actions. How can any self respecting despot take seriously the
resolutions of a international institution when its repetitive
response to a country's violation of said resolution is to pass
another resolution and then behave like a doting grandmother
towards the offending nation: "There, There, we know you didn't
mean it. You can come down to dinner if you promise to..."? "

END

I feel that French actions, that are interpreted as obstructionist by U.S. Citizens, are equally at fault for us going to war. If the allies had stood shoulder to shoulder in the beginning we could have presented Saddam with a strong united front encouraging him to disarm. France has had a different agenda, however, which has little to do with world peace. Indeed, just a few days ago French President Jacque Chirac stated that his nation would veto any UN resolution calling for aid to help Iraq rebuild itself. Those interested in world peace would normally not have a problem supporting such a resolution unless they were entertaining other designs upon the world stage.

My Question for you is this:

Are Europeans afraid of or concerned with America in general or are their concerns more focused on George W. Bush and his administration? If the former; how long has Europe felt this way and in either case why?

Respectfully,

JM
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Mar, 2003 02:00 pm
JamesMorrison wrote:
My Question for you is this:

Are Europeans afraid of or concerned with America in general or are their concerns more focused on George W. Bush and his administration? If the former; how long has Europe felt this way and in either case why?


Quite a question ;-).

First of all 'Europe' is a container of contradictions. Poland, Germany, Holland and the UK are different worlds when it comes to attitudes towards the war in Iraq, and towards the US in general. Especially between the current EU members and the new member nations in Eastern Europe differences are big.

But also around here. A German friend was visiting me last week, and said that everybody she knew was against this war. Here in Holland, opinions are much more mixed, nuanced. Now that the war has started, 40% supports it, more than before. On the Q who they consider to have the greatest responsibility for the current crisis, opinion is evenly divided over Hussein, Bush and both. Only the argument that troops will be welcomed is not bought (Q: "Do you think the Iraqi population is glad about the start of this war, A: Yes, 29%, No, 52%).

Dutch TV is in fact leaning towards the supportive. On the day the war started, for example, the current affairs programme after the news immediately focused on one thing only: what dangers could Iraqi retaliation, in the form of terrorism with biological or chemical weapons, pose to the US? Note: the news of the day was that the US army had just opened the attack on Iraq, but instead of highlighting what forms this attack could take and what risks could be involved for the Iraqis, the focus was immediately shifted to the speculative dangers of future retaliation. America as victim.

Still, anti-Americanism is clearly present and on the increase, and is more widely felt in the population (according to the polls) than is represented by politicians and the media. Is it new or a tradition? Both.

There is a tradition of anti-Americanism here, of course. In the eighties, resistance against NATO's cruise missiles wasn't dubbed "Hollanditis" for nothing. Almost a million people demonstrated in 1983, four million people (one in four Dutchmen) signed a petition two years later. Compared to that, present resistance is limited - only 50,000 people demonstrated last month.

There is also a very strong Atlantic tradition, however. Even Labour PMs have always steadfastly supported NATO and the US. In that sense we've always leaned more towards the Brits than towards the French. The balance between these two traditions shifts depending on who's in the White House. Clinton was very popular here. Bush was distrusted from the start. His behavior in international politics has increased that distrust exponentially.

You've got to remember: only one and a half years ago, after 9/11, sympathy with the US was complete. There was a minute of silence at noon, and on the streets people stopped, cars stopped, and it was silent. Nothing like that had ever been done for war or terror victims abroad before. (In France, the left-wing paper Le Monde ran the headline: "We are all Americans now".)

All that has been almost completely destroyed by the Bush administration's behaviour. Things like Kyoto, or the International Criminal Court, may have been trivial to most Americans, but had an important impact here. The US resistance to the ICC was particularly disturbing, since it's established here. One official US statement in the heat of that debate declared that the US would storm The Hague to free US soldiers if they were ever held there. You can imagine the reaction to that: US officials talking, in however speculative way, about a miliitary intervention in Holland, the trusted NATO ally?

The Dutch are very loyal to the institutions of international order. NATO remained popular among the silent majority even in the eighties, EU integration has cause hardly a ripple in public debate, but the UN, too, is almost collectively respected. It is both the UN itself and the principle of multilateral decision-making that is held dear. The way Bush has passed by the UN last week, blatantly ignoring what the majoiry opinion in the SC would be, has greatly weakened his case.

Other countries, other issues, altogether. Perhaps we should invite some people from elsewhere in Europe to contribute.

In Spain and Italy, turnout at the demonstrations was massive (over a million each) where in the 80s it had been relatively small. This must partly be because their governments go so drastically against public opinion. A government, which - in Italy - is already notoriously controversial, really hated by a 40% minority, because of the PM's proven corruption, suspected Mafia links, government coalition with the former neo-fascists and the 'Northern League' separatists, and personal ownership of the main commercial TV stations (in a country where the public stations are controlled by the government in any case). In Britain, the demonstrations against Bush are also demonstrations against Blair, with all the bottled up dissapointment about "New Labour" coming out. Et cetera.

But that is not to say that the anger, fear and distrust against/about the US of George Bush in these demonstrations is not sincere. These demos mobilse the protestors of the 80s, but also a wholly new generation. After the apathy of the 90s, here an entire new generation of high school and university students is schooled on the street in expressions of anti-Americanism. The communist parties are dead and buried, but I've never seen so many Che flags and T-shirts. That will work through in the years to come, way after Bush has dissapeared again. The whole Cold War unease about America had gradually eroded in the Clinton era of multilateral action and humanitarian interventions; now it's bigger than ever.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Mar, 2003 03:47 pm
JamesMorrison wrote:
I feel that French actions, that are interpreted as obstructionist by U.S. Citizens, are equally at fault for us going to war. If the allies had stood shoulder to shoulder in the beginning we could have presented Saddam with a strong united front encouraging him to disarm. France has had a different agenda, however, which has little to do with world peace. Indeed, just a few days ago French President Jacque Chirac stated that his nation would veto any UN resolution calling for aid to help Iraq rebuild itself. Those interested in world peace would normally not have a problem supporting such a resolution unless they were entertaining other designs upon the world stage.


I think the French, almost collectively - from left-wing to very right-wing - simply disagreed with the necessity for war with Iraq at this time. They were not alone, either - government and public opinion found each other in a reasoned disagreement with the US case for war in Germany, Belgium, Finland, too.

There is a lot of talk in the US now about the "ulterior motives" the French allegedly have, but I don't see why their position could not simply be one of as sincere a disagreement on how to "encourage Saddam to disarm" as that of the Germans or Belgians. It is ultimately like German Foreign Affairs minister Joschka Fischer said: "we are of a generation that needs to be convinced [of the need to go to war]. I am not convinced." The US administration made it clear from the very start that it wasn't solely out to "encourage Saddam to disarm" - it was explicitly out for "regime change". Now that was an ulterior motive that, unwarranted by any UN resolution as it was, could never be accepted by most European governments. The "allies didnt stand shoulder to shoulder" with the US simply because they disagreed. There is no reason why they shouldn't have.

If the US had shown slightly more concern for the various compromise solutions, they might still have prevented a split as outright as this one. If they would have accepted the last-minute compromise of the small states (Chile, Mexico, Angola, etc), for example, they would have made it very hard for the French to reject it as equally out of hand as the Americans now did.

I haven't heard about Chirac stating he'd veto "any UN resolution calling for aid to help Iraq rebuild itself" - sounds improbable - but one discussion thats starting to emerge here in Europe now is what the response should be to the new British appeal for continental Europe to at least be involved in the post-war reconstruction effort.

That effort is necessary, and it's probably sensible not to leave it to the Americans - but considering the Americans won't be too generous with funds for it in any case, the question is whether we really want to take on the costs for mopping up after a mess they created - when they did it against our express disagreement in the first place. I'm sure "we" will come around, but I can well understand the instinct to say: you do it yourself, then.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Mar, 2003 07:35 pm
That's it, I'm moving to the netherlands....

You guys are great, thanks for this informed and funny dialogue.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Mar, 2003 07:59 pm
JM and NIMH, you both make good points. It's nice to see an intelligent dialogue on the subject.

I haven't had a chance to think about the last few posts, but my reaction to an earlier question on the schoolyard analogy, is that it isn't accurate enough to really measure the situation. One major flaw in the schoolyard analogy comes from the use teachers and students, which implies a greater level of control and understanding on the part of the teachers in comparison to the students, which in the real world case is not accurate.

The other major flaw comes from a misrepresentation of the potential danger from the weapons involved in the schoolyard. Before 9/11, most people would have belittled the idea of an attack by fanatic extremists which would have destroyed the world trade center, damaged the pentagon and come close to eliminating a large segment of congress (maybe not such a bad thing Wink. And many people are fogetting that a teaspoon full of anthrax shut down a portion of the postal system and several federal buildings. Iraq has not accounted for tons of this type of material. And I get the distinct feeling that most people are blinding themselves to the idea of subway nukes and weaponized smallpox, just the way we blinded ourselves to the possibility of 9/11 style attacks.

It should be clear by now that doing nothing is not an option. The ultimate soluton is to defuse the animosity which drives the fundamentalists, but these things are deep rooted, bred into the populations at a very young age by extremist schools funded by the dollars we pay for oil, and by our "allies" the Saudi's (among others). Even if we fix US foreign policy, and solve the intractible Israel/Palestine problem, how do we survive the generation of angry fanatics who have already been given their marching orderrs. And when even this problem is solved, how does humanity survive when even small isolated extremist factions can harness biological weaponry capable of devastating the population of the planet? Even in a perfect world of political stability, there will always be insane people in our populations.

As an emerging global culture, it seems inevitable that we will have to make defense against these weapons a part of our lifestyle. All countries will have to do this, or their lack of vigilence and adherence to a standard of behavior will threaten the whole of humanity.

Diversity of culture is attractive and valuable, but in this way at least, the world must unite, or eventually, we will all pay a heavy price.

Best regards,
0 Replies
 
 

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