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Old 2004-01-10, 16:01   #1
Pablo the Duck
 
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Default Terrorism or Global Warming

Which do you think is the greater threat?
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Old 2004-01-10, 18:06   #2
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I am more worried about Mainland China attacking Taiwan and getting the US involved. In such a limited area, tactical nukes could easily be used.
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Old 2004-01-10, 18:17   #3
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Default Re: Terrorism or Global Warming

Quote:
Originally posted by Pablo the Duck
Which do you think is the greater threat?
Global climate change, of course.

The "war" against terrorism is a bigger threat than terrorism, because the war has taken away more freedoms than terrorism ever will. More people die in the unwinnable "war" agaist terrorsim than from terrorism itself.
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Old 2004-01-10, 19:55   #4
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They're both big threats, but in the U.S. and most other countries, global warming is the more immediate threat.
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Old 2004-01-11, 02:57   #5
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Personally I think both issues are overblown, but for different reasons. In this post I'll just deal with the "War on Terrorism". I need longer to marshal some facts for the global warming issue, but terrorism seems clearer on the surface (to me).

The thing that gets me about the war on terrorism is how the US government suddenly discovered it on September 11, as if they were the only victims of terrorism, and it hadn't been going on before. Sure, it was very bad terrorist incident, possibly the worst ever, but terrorism has been going on for at least 150 years (under that name) all over the world without the US government getting very heated about it.

We in Europe have long since had to learn to live with the threats and atrocities of the IRA, ETA, the Red Brigades and so on. Around the world, there has been the Shining Path in Peru, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the FARC in Colombia, the PKK in Turkey, to mention only a few, but I never noticed the US getting very concerned about the activities of these groups. Even now, after September 11th, what is the US really doing to help against any of these that I have mentioned?

All over the world, people have had to learn to live with terrorism as a fact of life, like crime, taxes (sorry Pablo) or cancer. We take sensible precautions, we trust and support our security forces to get on with the job of fighting terrorists with the minimum of publicity and we get on with life. Largely it is done under cover, quietly and without bombing or invading or threatening other countries.

Quite honestly it astounds me how the Americans can elevate this issue to such a panic status, and expect all the world to help them and support them with their specific terrorist problem. In the UK, many of us know and remember with bitterness how much of the funding for the IRA terrorist campaign came from collections within the Irish-American community. I wonder what you would have thought of us if we had threatened sanctions against the US for supporting the IRA, or had decided to bomb or invade the Republic of Ireland where so many of the terrorist attacks were based (in a country, let's remember, with a Constitution that laid claim to the whole of Ireland).

We never did those things. We worked in a mature and practical and non-spectacular way to defeat terrorism in Northern Ireland. It has taken decades. It's not over yet. But it's happening. The US is going to need to learn to grow up about terrorism and treat it like the rest of world does. Not a crusade or a political slogan or a pretext to invade countries who upset you, but just another kind of crime that needs ongoing patient police work.
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Old 2004-01-11, 16:21   #6
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Keith, repeat after me "Taxes are good..."

I don't think it's entirely fair to hold up the UK's approach to Ireland as a shining example of a "mature and practical" approach to dealing with terrorism when it has included; execution by hanging, use of paramilitary force, internment without trial, military occupation, opening fire on a civil rights march, quasi-judicial murder (in Gibraltar) and a "temporary" prevention of terrorism act that has remained on the statute books for 30 years or so.

But I can't wait to read what you've got to say on global warming so get and marshal those facts.

Last fiddled with by Pablo the Duck on 2004-01-11 at 16:23
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Old 2004-01-11, 22:57   #7
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Keith and Pablo. Good points.

I find it ironic when I hear the words "Septermber 11th changed everything." Maybe for America but not for the rest of the world. Ask if it changed anything for the thousands of victims in Peru, Sri Lanka, Turkey, India (Punjab/Kashmir), N. Ireland and UK and so on.

Countries and the people in them only pay attention to the problem when they aer the targets. Otherwise there has long been a nudge/wink attitude towards terrorists who attack other countries. The US is guilty in turning a blind eye to the IRA fund-raising activities and much more significantly the mujahideen in Afghanistan. The UK is guilty on the same count as respects the LTTE (Sri Lanka) and several other organizations. India and Pakistan same thing. Many Latin American countries likewise. And ditto for almost all the countries of the world, particularly those that find themselves victims now.

And an important fact that is often ignored by these "victims of terrorism" is that they (i.e., the governments of these countries) often use terror-like tactics to deal with these threats. As Pablo rightly pointed out, the UK, while not as panic-stricken as the current administration - which I suspect is mainly due to political reasons as nobody accused the Labour party in the 1980's of being soft on terrorism in the same way as the Republican party is doing to the democrats - the UK did commit its fair share of human rights violations. And so did India, Turkey, Per, Sri Lanka. Often, making terrorism worse as a result by driving more recruits into the hands of the terrorists.

Quote:
Republic of Ireland where so many of the terrorist attacks were based (in a country, let's remember, with a Constitution that laid claim to the whole of Ireland).
And pray what is wrong with that? After all, it is one island whereas GB is another, separate island which "conquered" Ireland back in the 12th century.

Last fiddled with by garo on 2004-01-11 at 22:59
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Old 2004-01-12, 00:30   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by garo
And pray what is wrong with that? After all, it is one island whereas GB is another, separate island which "conquered" Ireland back in the 12th century. [/B]
Nothing wrong with that at all. I can understand the Irish Nationalist point of view. I'm just saying that if a country with a terroroist problem supported from another country ever has a clear case for military attack, it's when the country where the terrorist are based enshrines taking part of your (claimed) territory in its Constitution. By comparison, the case for attacking say, Afghanistan, because some terrorist were based there seems much weaker to me.

And Pablo, I don't think that all of the UK's actions in Northern Ireland have been so great, but over 30 something years the approach has developed and paid off. I think the keys have been patience and general good sense by politicians in keeping out and letting professional security forces get on with a lot of low key operations that most of us have never heard about. Not whipping up some kind of holy war to make themselves look good and the other guys like demons.

I suppose my main point is patience. When I was at school (and that's a long time ago now), one of my friends was a boy whose father had been killed by a group of Israeli terrorists in Palestine fighting for a homeland. Terrorism in the Middle East has been going on a lot longer than most people seem to realize and it isn't going to go away because someone starts a "war on terrorism".
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Old 2004-01-12, 00:48   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by kwstone
Terrorism in the Middle East has been going on a lot longer than most people seem to realize and it isn't going to go away because someone starts a "war on terrorism".
I gotta say, I honestly don't get the point of that. That private little war has been going on for centuries. WHY? Because of the terrorism, the place has been scarred and some parts obliterated, so WHAT ARE THEY FIGHTING OVER? It's a big pile of dirt!
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Old 2004-01-12, 08:09   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by kwstone
The thing that gets me about the war on terrorism is how the US government suddenly discovered it on September 11,
It would be more accurate to say that _the current Bush administration-_ suddenly discovered it on 9/11/2001. A few years earlier, President Clinton convened a national commission, chaired by Vice President Gore, to study how the U.S. should prepare to defend itself against terrorism.

If the American public had cared about foreign policy and terrorism during the 2000 election campaign, Gore's superiority to Bush in that area would have been obvious.

Quote:
We in Europe have long since had to learn to live with the threats and atrocities of the IRA, ETA, the Red Brigades and so on. Around the world, there has been the Shining Path in Peru, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the FARC in Colombia, the PKK in Turkey, to mention only a few, but I never noticed the US getting very concerned about the activities of these groups.
Was the US supposed to gallop around as global cavalry to take on all those organizations, or what? Some US government people were quite concerned and knowledgable about terrorist movements around the world, but there was no public mandate to launch war on them.

Quote:
Even now, after September 11th, what is the US really doing to help against any of these that I have mentioned?
Well, we can't just send our armed forces out against all of them. What do you suggest the US do that would satisfy you?

Quote:
All over the world, people have had to learn to live with terrorism as a fact of life, like crime, taxes (sorry Pablo) or cancer. We take sensible precautions, we trust and support our security forces to get on with the job of fighting terrorists with the minimum of publicity and we get on with life. Largely it is done under cover, quietly and without bombing or invading or threatening other countries.
So which parts of those do you suggest the US do that it hasn't started doing? How much can be done without the bombing/invading/threatening that isn't already being done?

Quote:
Quite honestly it astounds me how the Americans can elevate this issue to such a panic status, and expect all the world to help them and support them with their specific terrorist problem.
Try seeing how that reads after substituting "the current Bush administration" for "the Americans". Still astounding?
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Old 2004-01-12, 22:24   #11
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Keith,
You are trying to claim equivalence between the Irish laying claim to all of the island in their constitution versus supporting activities that resulted in the deaths of innocent people.
Almost all of the Irish people I've talked to - including those that support reunification of N & S Ireland - DO NOT support the IRA's activities and killings. So claiming N Ireland in the constitution is not the same as condoning violence. This is a little different from the Taliban which though did not support Al Qaeda in its constitution - dunno if they even had a constitution - did provide material help.
The supporters of the right-wing extreme Irish nationalists were in fact much more in evidence in the north-east of the USA than in the Republic of Ireland.

That having been said, all of this detracts from your main point that the British reaction to the IRA was more measured than the Bush administration reaction to Sept 11th. It was far from perfect and there were many many human rights abuses but it does not begin to approach the hysteria generated by the Bush administration.
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