Law School Discussion


Are we wining the war on terror?

4 (26.7%)
7 (46.7%)
Don't know
4 (26.7%)
Don't care
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 9



« on: August 14, 2004, 02:04:21 PM »
Wudya think?

by the way you can change your vote.


Re: Terror
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2004, 05:07:53 PM »
Winning, maybe,

But the left sure loves wining about it


Re: Terror
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2004, 06:35:01 PM »
Vote darn ya


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Re: Terror
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2004, 05:14:42 AM »
It's hard to say.  In general I think that the following things are true:

  • Al-Qaeda is less dangerous now than it was prior to 9/11.  Despite what is likely an increase in the sympathy for their cause in Islamic societies, the pool of experienced, trained opperatives is undoubtedly smaller.  Given the resources that they've had to expend just to avoid being killed or captured, I think it's unlikely they are anywhere near as potent a force as they were 3 years ago.

  • Iraq has made the US less safe in the short term.  Saddam Hussein was an evil, corrupt dictator who ruthlessly oppressed his own people, but he wasn't interested in painting a bullseye on himself by launching a massive terrorist attack against the US.  The lawless areas in Iraq may now function in much the same way that the terrorist camps in Afghanistan did by providing a place for young jihadis to cut their teeth and learn the ins and outs of terrorism.

  • If Iraq stabilizes and becomes a relatively free society (and remember, it doesn't need to be free like Delaware;  Free like Turkey would be fantastic), it has the possibility to be an enormous strategic gain in the long-term fight against Fundementalist Islam. (Which is why I'm so dismayed that Bush and Co. have done such a piss-poor job of rebuilding the country, and even more dismayed that Kerry talks like he's going to pull all of our troops out as soon as he's elected).

I believe that what we know as "The War on Terrorism" is the first stage in a much larger struggle to drag much of the Islamic world into the modern era.  Sharia and western-style liberalism aren't compatible.  As such, I think that one of three things will happen over the next generation(s).  They are, in the order of likelihood: 

  • Islamic society will moderize itself (with or without external help and pressure)
  • Islamic societies and the western world will reach an accomdation wherein we don't muck around in their affairs provided they don't terrorize our societies.
  • Western societies concede to implement Sharia.

I think that Arab/Islamic cultures will be able to succeed in joining the modern world over the next 30 - 100 years, but the damage they inflict on the rest of the world, and the damage that the rest of the world inflicts on them, is going to be (partly) a function of how effectively we're able to offer incentives for joining and disincentives for continuing to teach jihad.

In a struggle that's just beginning, the scope and terms of which are barely defined, it's hard to know who's winning.


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Re: Terror
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2004, 10:27:59 AM »
jeffjoe and others,

Read this when you have a chance and post what you think about it. I personally think the guy is a genius and is right on with his ideas, but I'm interested to hear what a fairly liberal person has to say about it.

Don't worry, the article (which is from a book that is awesome) is very non-partisan and doesn't play electoral politics.

cm burns

Re: Terror
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2004, 11:19:46 AM »
I lurk on this board an awful lot, and hardly ever do I post, but I had to respond to this thread. This is lengthy but about as succinct as I can make this. Sorry.

1. I think it is quite obvious that we are losing. One example would be the manipulation of official government reports on the number of terrorist acts throughout the world. Why lie and mislead if we are winning? For example, read this:

Then read how the media portrayed it:

"The figure marked a 45 percent decrease in attacks since 2001, but it did not include most of the attacks in Iraq, because attacks against combatants did not fit the U.S. definition of international terrorism." Do those attacks on civilians count?

Iraq was officially occupied by the US. That means that the territory was under the jurisdiction of the US, so obviously the exclusion of those attacks from the State Department report was in error:

Whether the error was intentional or not is open to interpretation, but assuming that the US Dept of State officials do not know how to compile data properly is awfully hard for me to accept.

They were called on it by Congress, but not after the average person was told by the media and the government that the number of attacks had decreased. Thus the illusion that "We are winning the War on Terror" and "The American people are safer..." even though we ratchet up the color-coded warnings and are told to purchase duct tape, plastic bags, and to be vigilant (whatever that means).

This created a false impression in the public, much the same way that the Bush Administration never said Saddam was responsible for 9/11, but the public believed it anyway because of the impression intentionally given by the Bush Administration:

Sadly, Al Qaeda's recruitment has swelled because of Iraq:

I guess people really don't like having bombs dropped on them during their imposed liberation.

Now of course I did not particularly enjoy watching people jump to their death on 9/11 either. But if innocent life is worth a lot here, it should be worth more than "collateral damage" elsewhere IMO.

2. GentleTim: Of course they may not be experienced fighters, but how many airplanes had the 9/11 terrorists flown into buildings prior?

3. GentleTim: Why has the Bush Administration screwed up the occupation/reconstruction? Have you seen this data?

Compare that with this:

Correlation? Cause and effect? IMO this war is lining pockets whether they manage the country or screw it up.

4. How about some of our allies in the war on terror? How can we speak of modernizing Islamic countries and be taken seriously?

5. We are fighting against an enemy that is responding to decades of internal interference by the CIA, whether it was US policy towards Iran:

US policy towards Iraq:

US policy towards Afghanistan:

US policy towards Nicaragua:

US support for the Saudi Royal Family:

I could go on. See a pattern?

Can we accept that other have the right to self-determination? Because once we accept that, even if they disagree with us, we have to demand that our intelligence agencies stop murdering people around the world. Terrorism is a last-response from oppressed people with unpopular views to overwhelming force.

Example: We revolted against an "oppressive dictator" for various reasons. The actions of our "founding fathers" were treasonous, according to the British. Things would have been much different had Spain or France "liberated" us IMO. (This last statement is similar to a Bill Maher quote I was unable to find; I am not clever enough to come up with that on my own).

If Hussein was as bad as we were told, why did the people tolerate it? Why did we support Iraq financially and militarily during the Iran-Iraq War in the 80's when Hussein was committing these atrocities? And I think the argument that the people were starved, tortured and beaten into submission is fallacious, esp. when one reads about the battle conditions our soldiers braved against the British during the American Revolution.  

6. John Kerry is against complete withdrawal. He is for increasing the international presence in Iraq until they can police themselves. I am about as peace-loving as one can get and even I am against troop pullout. We are, sadly, stuck there for a long time.

I did a huge research project on this last semester, in case anyone was wondering how I knew where all of this *&^% was.

Thanks for reading :)

Looking forward to the debate.

cm burns

Re: Terror
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2004, 11:21:09 AM »
Um, I guess I would qualify as a "liberal minded" person   :D

Let me read this article and get back to you


Re: Terror
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2004, 12:28:57 PM »
I have a problem with our who defense paradigm.  The entire 'defense' department is designed to defend us overseas.  the idea being that we stop them over there before they can get over here.

I don't know if it ever worked,but it surely did not work on 9/11.

Let me toss this idea into the fray.  We have involved ourselves militarily around the world to make us safer.  Perhaps it has put us in greater danger, because the locals just don't like people coming into their countries.  That's the simplified version, but I think you get the idea.

What if we stay home -- it's a lot cheaper -- and defend ourselves?

cm burns

Re: Terror
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2004, 12:42:22 PM »
I think you are absolutely right, Jeffjoe.

As for the article:

"Our next war in the Gulf will mark a historical tipping point—the moment when Washington takes real ownership of strategic security in the age of globalization."

Read some of my links above and ask yourself if we have been doing this for decades.

"The problem with most discussion of globalization is that too many experts treat it as a binary outcome: Either it is great and sweeping the planet, or it is horrid and failing humanity everywhere. Neither view really works, because globalization as a historical process is simply too big and too complex for such summary judgments. Instead, this new world must be defined by where globalization has truly taken root and where it has not."

I agree with this statement, although I would recommend a close examination of how good globalization has been for Multi-National Corporations v. how good it has been for the people. My research indicates that it benefits some regions substantially (some areas around central Mexico produce a large chuck of the world's blue jeans, for example) and others are hopelessly repressed (child labor in Bangladesh for instance).  The oppression is a result of inadequate government services and a power vacuum filled by MNC's who are only concerned with the dollar.

The non-integrating gap he refers to later illustrates a perfect example of why I think globalization is not particularly good. By having MNC's proliferate around the globe, many times on government subsidy from the Export-Import Bank, we are relocating to regions with something to offer financially. We are not relocating to the Sudan because it has no natural resources worth the effort. Yet the Sudan is in the non-integrating gap by any standard. His solution does not answer this question as far as I can tell.

"If we map out U.S. military responses since the end of the cold war, (see below), we find an overwhelming concentration of activity in the regions of the world that are excluded from globalization’s growing Core—namely the Caribbean Rim, virtually all of Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and much of Southeast Asia. "

In other words, mostly countries too poor to defend themselves worth a *&^%. Notice how tolerant we are towards Communist China even though they have forced abortions, forced sterilization, and many military officials on the record as considering the US a threat.

"Think about it: Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are pure products of the Gap—in effect, its most violent feedback to the Core. They tell us how we are doing in exporting security to these lawless areas (not very well) and which states they would like to take “off line” from globalization and return to some seventh-century definition of the good life (any Gap state with a sizable Muslim population, especially Saudi Arabia)."

The US aided the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan during the late 70's. Bin Laden was a member of this group and was directly assisted financially and militarily by the CIA. The result? Instead of Afghanistan being a puppet regime of the USSR during the 80's, it is now a puppet regime of the USA.

"Work the seam states to firewall the Core from the Gap’s worst exports, such as terror, drugs, and pandemics;"

This is two years after the invasion. Remember that the Taliban fought opium production just as rigorously as they fought against women's rights.

"The Middle East has long been a neighborhood of bullies eager to pick on the weak."

Agreed. Israel and the US have been doing so for decades. BTW How many nuclear capable countries are in the Middle East? And Hussein as "the bully" is laughable.

"Show me a part of the world that is secure in its peace and I will show you a strong or growing ties between local militaries and the U.S. military. Show me regions where major war is inconceivable and I will show you permanent U.S. military bases and long-term security alliances. Show me the strongest investment relationships in the global economy and I will show you two postwar military occupations that remade Europe and Japan following World War II."

This is mistaking cause for effect IMO. Perhaps countries that go along with the US do not get crushed militarily.


Re: Terror
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2004, 12:45:05 PM »
Maybe we are winning, but we are still fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and Baathists in Iraq.

We have to be on constant guard in the US.

Plus we have a shortage of first responders in the US because so many are serving with their reserve units in Iraq.

If this is wining.....

Let's get our people back here and worry about America for a change.