All of you are raising excellent points. And I was scared I would get flamed for my book-length posts.
BTW It would be the ICC, not the ICJ. My international law professor would punch me for f-ing that up.
This is going to sound asinine, but I do not think Al Qaeda is nihilistic. So far, when countries have pulled out of Iraq because of kidnappings, they have kept their word. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/040317/325/eotq9.htmlhttp://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20040629_266.htmlhttp://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/E5DC03C9-E88F-4665-84BD-83E1D73C777D.htmhttp://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L21196569.htm
Last night while trying to go to sleep I kept trying to compare the IRA with Al Qaeda. The religious component is there (Catholics v. Anglicans). I think the demands are similar (pullout of our lands). The idea that Al Qaeda wants us out of their holy lands makes much more sense than Bush's "They hate us for our freedoms" line. And Bin Laden has actually said that.
BTW If you haven't read House of Bush, House of Saud, I recommend it.
We are agreed that terrorism as a tactic is reprehensible. But we could also probably agree that it is effective. However, one thing about 9/11 has always bothered me. If they are nihilistic, why did they attack our symbols of government, globalization and freedom? Why not try to kill as many people as possible? I can think of many better targets than two buildings full of rich people and a building full of war-mongers (their perspective, not mine). Why not bomb the Alaskan Pipeline? Why not fly a plane into the NYSE? Or Fort Knox? Or the Hoover Dam? Or bomb the credit bureaus a la Fight Club? Or bomb the IRS? See my point? These targets would kill hundreds of thousands and/or wreck our economy for decades.
The best analogy I ever heard about IGOs and their effectiveness would be to compare the United States to the UN. I live in KY currently, and I used to live in Illinois. These two states fought bitterly over jurisdiction of the Ohio River a few years ago. If you stepped into the water from Illinois to cast a fishing line, you could conceivably be cited by KY gaming officials even though you are one step into the river on the Illinois side. This pissed off a number of fishermen. Two examples o how it could have been solved:
1. The US Foreign Policy way: This issue was settled through a bitter war of attrition whereby Illinois sent in right wing death squads to murder civilians until KY conceded defeat.
2. The US domestic policy way: This issue was solved through Federal mediation and a peaceful resolution was achieved.
Just a thought.
Off the record, I think the UN Oil for Food program was intentionally corrupted by the UN because of the massive starvation of Iraqi children. Being familiar with Human Rights Watch would lead me to believe that you also know that the economic sanctions were crippling that country. The No Fly Zones were totally against all established international precedent, and by patrolling these areas we dropped bombs on civilians for about a decade illegally. I think that pissed off a number of western countries (because the West rules the UN) and France, Germany, Russia, etc. wanted to alleviate the suffering of those kids. The corrupt Oil for Food program has been portrayed in this Country as being done for Hussein's benefit. I just disagree with that idea.
What really sucks is that the economic sanctions were tied to weapons inspections. When Hussein kicked out the inspectors in 1998, people thought he was ramping up his programs again. That was not true. Western intelligence agencies were using the inspections to gather intelligence for an upcoming invasion. Have you seen this?http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1665.htm
This has been in the works for years. All they needed was a tragedy. Now, before I get flamed, I DO NOT think Bush or his administration planned 9/11 or was responsible for it in any way. Anyone seeing how he froze in that classroom could tell he was taken by complete surprise. I do think they used 9/11 as an excuse to do what they said they would in the cited article.
The legitimacy of the UN is based solely upon the consent of the governed. Sounds familiar, I know. My point is that when the big boy doesn't play by the rules, why should we expect anyone else?
International law is developing at a whirlwind pace. The world will no longer be the wild west, per se, when some group brings law and order to the masses. That is why I love it when Bush plays the cowboy. I can just imagine one of his ancestors in the 1800's riding on a horse, shouting "yee haw" as he shoots a bunch of native americans and takes their cloths. Eventually, though, the cowboy will disappear and law and order will prevail.
"I just don't see this being an effective clearinghouse for fighting radical Islam. In fact, I don't think this is an effective organization for doing much of anything beyond some of the admittedly-worthwhile humanitarian projects that it takes on"
Well, this is the best we have right now, and it would have worked in Iraq to keep us out of war. And we did have UN support to go into Afghanistan, if my memory serves correctly. That is the purpose of the UN: to find a peaceful resolution whenever possible. And remember, the biggest stumbling block to an effective UN is the US' belligerent attitude toward it and insane amount of vetoes used by us in the UNSC.
International law is made to be generic because of the broad applicability of it. States are free to approve treaties with reservations, but treaties are supposed to be binding. If you study IL, you should see a pattern of US attitude towards it: when it works in our favor, we are the most law abiding nation on earth, but when it works against us (Nicaragua v. US, ICJ case from 80's), we tell them to go f--- themselves and nothing happens. Who will be stupid enough to sanction us?
Kerry has about 20 years of experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. When Bush came to power, he had been in government a total of around 6 years. Granted, he had more experience than actor and former muscleman Governor Schwarzenegger, but nobody hammered home Bush's lack of experience in 2000.
What scares you about Kerry's voting record? The "most liberal senator" charge? As a member of the Senate leadership, he really only needs to show up for votes that are important or close. this skews both his and Edwards' voting records to the left since they are voting against conservative issues. His "vote for the war?" This has been portrayed in the media falsely. He voted, based on erroneous intelligence provided by the CIA, to authorize the president to use force IF NECESSARY to topple the Hussein regime. His later vote against the 87 billion supplemental bill after Bush misled us to war was in protest to the heavily skewed dollar amount away from the soldiers and towards defense contractors such as Halliburton/KBR.
"Develop effective disaster prevention and crisis management systems domestically. No more of this ambiguous "orange alert" bull."
Absolutely. I also liked that I should fight terror by going shopping.
"Do our best to cut the funding to radical masadrahs."
This means cutting off the Saudi Royals, which will never happen with Bush in the White House.
"Rebuld Afghanistan and Iraq. None of this relativistic crap about Iraqis and Afghanis being better off than they were. They clearly are, and I think that in all likelihood both of these invasions produces improvements on the prior regimes."
They are not right now primarily because Hussein at least kept the water and lights on. But even a "rabid left wing commie pinko" like myself holds some amount of joy in seeing Hussein removed from power. I just do not think this will end up in a good place.
"We need to remove governments which harbor or sponsor terrorism"
Prepare for never-ending war, then. I am sorry but this will never happen. We approach the problem this way, then we will inevitably f--- up again and remove another Hussein who we thought was a terrorist funding tyrant but really was not. The cycle will continue unless we can work through the UN under existing IL. Just a difference of opinion here, and probably the true point of contention.
"Do a *much* better job of buying up loose nuclear material from the former Soviet Union."
We missed our chance at stopping a lot of nuclear proliferation after the fall of the USSR. Had we had a Marshall Plan for the USSR, the world would look a lot differently for sure and we would be safer. To be fair, Clinton missed his chance at a wonderful legacy because of this oversight.