Another response to Terrorism: "Good" vs. "Evil":
Dr. Sunera Thobani: "Women's Resistance: From Victimization to Criminalization" (conference in Ottawa, 10/1/01)
Your Webmaster Takes on Sunera Thobani
>> Globalization is taking place centuries after the New World and Australia were colonized. And what does one have to do with the other? <<
I think that's why Thobani (correctly) used the phrase "rooted in." If something is rooted in something else, that first something is quite possibly a root cause. Things with roots generally stem from those roots.
>> What do you propose take the place of Western domination? If nothing, you're a nihilist. If something else, what do you have to choose from? <<
Try the model in Scandinavian countries like Sweden, for starters. The terrorists aren't blowing them up, although the Swedes are Westerners also. Plenty of Western countries don't feel obligated to impose corporate, capitalist values on the rest of the world.
>> Eastern cultures where women are forced to wear beekeeper outfits <<
You really don't want to sound this ignorant, do you?
>> Egalitarianism is a Western ideal. <<
Wrong. Or imprecise. More precisely, egalitarianism is valued highly in Europe and less highly in America. Americans value success-oriented individualism much more than the "equality" they pay lip service to.
>> Unity based on accident of birth, gender, blood, race, are pagan Eastern ideals. <<
Uhh, you forgot religion, which is the actual "ideal" around which Islamic fundamentalists have united. Perhaps that's because you're a fundamentalist Christian and you don't want to admit your similarities to other fundamentalists.
I'd have to rate this as the stupidest line in your rebuttal. I've already listed the many, many ways white Christian Americans "unite" themselves based on religion, race, class, or other social factors. I guess you're totally incapable of addressing the point, because you've punted it every time I've made it.
How many country clubs is Bush a member of based on the accident of his birth, to give just one example? How many churches, fraternities, and business associations? Let me know when he eschews all his corporate connections and espouses the Western "ideal" of egalitarianism.
As for "pagan," you're misusing the word now as much as you misused it before. Even if you're using it as synonymous with "non-Christian," it's idiotic. Check how many Christians are living outside the traditional "West"—in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Then drop the word, fast.
Or continue to paint yourself as a bigoted Christian. It makes little difference to me.
The path soaked in blood
>> From Chile to El Salvador, to Nicaragua to Iraq,
Past tense -- please stop shifing tense
the path of U.S. foreign policy is soaked in blood. <<
Her sentence refers explicitly to the path leading to the present. The path was soaked in blood in the past, as with those four examples, and remains soaked in blood.
Iraq isn't past tense, by the way. Nor are all the Palestinians killed—3/4 of the total dead during the intifada.
>> Whose blood? <<
The innocent people whom we killed, obviously. Whose blood do you think?
>> And why didn't you include Bosnia and Kosovo where Clinton backed KLA terrorists who were being helped by bin-Laden? <<
Perhaps for the same reason she didn't include Grenada, Panama, Somalia, or Haiti. Lack of space? Trying to give examples rather than be all-inclusive?
Or perhaps she was distinguishing between cases where our aims were noble and where they were ignoble. Overthrowing a legitimate government, as in Chile, was clearly ignoble. In contrast, our aims in Bosnia and Kosova were noble.
That's probably why Clinton's actions received bipartisan support, including support from his 1994 opponent Dole. The question is why you continue to ignore this bipartisan support. And why you ignore Bush's continuation of Clinton's policies with little or no change. Your harping on this point when you can't defend it with a shred of logic makes your argument look foolish.
I guess if Bosnia was Clinton's war, World War II was FDR's war. If you expect Democrats to take the sole blame for Bosnia, I guess we'll take sole credit for WW II. Another great accomplishment for the Democratic Party...thanks!
>> What? We should give the Nobel Peace Prize to Saddam Hussein? <<
You dodged the point. 200,000 [actually 500,000] dead...what's your response? If I were judging this debate, I'd give her major points for making a claim you couldn't and didn't touch.
Correspondent feels pain of dead children...or not
>> No, I don't. I DO, however, feel the pain of all the children who are being deliberately starved by one of the most depraved dictators to hit the world stage since Hitler <<
I don't think you need to tell us you're totally lacking in compassion for anyone but white, Christian Americans. That goes without saying. But how is Saddam deliberately starving anyone when our sanctions prevent the delivery of food and medicine?
I thought you conservative/libertarians believed the person who pulls the trigger is the only one responsible for a crime. Now you're looking to extenuating circumstances to explain bald-faced homicide (bomb drops => innocents die)? Once again, you stick to your principles except when abandoning them is more convenient.
>> Quick quiz. How many democracies in the Middle East allow Arabs the full right to vote and participate in free democratic elections? One. Israel. How many Middle East countries allow Palestinians to live there in relatively unrestricted numbers? One. Israel. <<
Quick quiz. How many multiples of Palestinians have died compared to Israelis? What's the cumulative UN vote on which side is morally correct in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute? How many Native Americans did white, Christian Americans kill while exercising "free democratic elections"?
Your argument is irrelevant to the point, again. Try addressing Thobani's claim rather than raising a claim that's only marginally related to hers.
>> U.S. foreign policy is soaked in blood.
You're being repetitive <<
True, but I don't think you get many debate points for pointing out her stylistic flaws while ignoring her substance.
>> Calling the perpetrators evil-doers
Just because they massacre 6,000 people <<
How many people did we massacre in Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Bosnia, and now in Afghanistan? Is it more or less than 6,000 [actually 3,000]? Give us a raw estimate or forfeit the point.
Next, explain how dead Americans are worth more than dead people in these other countries. And make your explanation good. I've yet to hear any right-wing doofus defend the point, but perhaps you can be the first.
If you're willing to admit Americans are "evildoers" just like Al Qaeda terrorists are, then we're finally getting somewhere. So everyone is capable of doing evil, as America's history has proved a hundred times over. If that's your point, I'm sure Thobani will concur.
"Crusade" means crusade
>> The terms crusade, infinite justice, cowboy imagery of dead or alive posters, we all know what they mean.
Now you're just being paranoid <<
Don't think so. I think she means that Americans think themselves the keepers of noble, even holy, ideals. And deem everyone else a "pagan" with inferior values, cultures, and worth. But I don't have to think it. You've stated explicitly how little you regard non-Western cultures.
>> They reveal a thinking, a mindset.
Of course, you've had our president subjected to a thorough psychological examination <<
I'll give you a point there. Bush may be ignorant rather than malignant. There are mountains of evidence to support that view.
>> They reveal the thinking, and the thinking is based on dominating the rest of the world in the name of bringing freedom and civilization to it.
You say that like it's a bad thing <<
As currently practiced by the US, it is a bad thing. Stop the stupid posturing and look at the world. Are the Palestinians "free" to live on the land stolen from them by illegal conquest? Are AIDS patients in Africa "free" to take low-cost drugs to alleviate their condition? Are child laborers the world over "free" to eschew their economic burdens and go to school?
>> Again, by whom? <<
By people espousing the same American values and "ideals" as you. Read the news rather than ask rhetorical questions.
>> And it is due to the strength of anti-racist organizing that Bush has been forced to visit mosques <<
That's the straight truth.
>> You've been saying we're all racist, that there is popular support for lynching Middle Easterners. <<
No, that isn't what she was saying.
Bush can't support Muslims?
>> If true, Bush would be an idiot to commit political suicide by sticking up for Muslims and other Middle Easterners <<
He isn't up for election now. I'll be very surprised if he proclaims his support for a Palestinian state in 2004. He didn't in 2000, since he's a pandering politician, and I don't expect anything to change.
Incidentally, Bush would be an idiot if he woke up in the morning...but that's another story.
>> Uhh, guys who behave, you know, like terrorists? <<
Officials aren't targeting people who behave like terrorists. They're targeting people who look like terrorists, or who have backgrounds similar to a terrorist's background. Which are three different things.
Gee, Thobani is really kicking your butt here. Maybe you should quit while you're behind.
>> You're confusing the behavior of a bunch of rednecks with supposedly official government policy. Of course, you're not being bigoted <<
I believe she was referring to the conference and airport officials—e.g., the security guards—not her fellow attendees and passengers. Of course, official government policy has 1,000 people locked up without due process of the law, in violation of the Constitution. But you have nothing to say about that because you're a joke as a "libertarian."
>> We cannot keep calling this an understandable response.
Even though it is <<
The response is understandable just like the attacks were understandable. That doesn't make either one moral or justified. Check your Bible for what Jesus deemed moral and immoral if you're confused on the point.
>> Polls show "bloodthirsty vengeance" winning 9 to 1 <<
Polls also show Americans believe in God, angels, UFOs, and astrology in overwhelming numbers. So much for polls determining what's wise or just.
(S)elected by the Supreme Court
>> who stole the election
Not according to any of the newspapers that reviewed the results <<
Again, you misunderstand the point. I'll repeat it for your edification. It doesn't matter what the outcome would've been since Bush acted to short-circuit it.
Here's an analogy that may help you. A guy steals a painting from a museum. It turns out he loaned the painting to the museum and it's really his. Does that mean no crime has occurred?
If you can't figure that one out by yourself, I'll be glad to find a competent lawyer to explain it to you. Just let me know.
Actually, the most comprehensive study of the ballots shows Bush winning under some scenarios and Gore under others—including the fairest scenario, a review of all Florida's ballots. Again, Bush short-circuited this process by relying on his lawyers, not the people and the ballots they cast. That makes him a hypocrite and the president-select.
>> That, of course, explains why you want to protect the Taliban in the current situation <,
I don't recall Thobani saying anything about "protecting" the Taliban.
>> The Taliban took over on their own in 1996, seven years after the Soviets (were they Western or Eastern?) finally pulled out <<
Nice try to rewrite history. The Taliban took over "on their own" after years of US support and training.
>> One word in Washington and millions of people are forced to flee their houses, their communities, right?
On which planet, and in which parallel universe? <<
Quite a few people in Afghanistan are fleeing their homes after Bush gave the word to start killing. Whether there are "millions" or not isn't the point.
>> How do you propose we do this? Are you willing to abandon your home in Canada to whatever First American nation lived in the area before 1492? <<
An agenda similar to that proposed by the Democratic Party would suffice.
Terrorism is slaughter, but war isn't?
>> Why are you equating the elimination of mass murderers with the "slaughter" of "people into submission"? <<
Because large numbers of innocent people will die in each case, obviously. Why are you equating a police action against murderers with what's actually happening: a war against non-terrorists in which innocents will inevitably die?
How many innocent people died the last time the LAPD rounded up a mass murderer—your Sirhan Sirhan or Richard Ramirez? I'm guessing a lot fewer than will die in Afghanistan.
>> 1) Do you believe in the concept of a just war? <<
Barely. A war is "just" after a country has pursued all other avenues of redress—according to the religious experts the LA Times quoted recently. WW II may have met that standard. This war didn't come close—especially since Bush admitted he was going to war whether the Taliban turned over Bin Laden or not.
>> 2) bin-Laden did not attack the WTC, Pentagon and Pennsylvania countryside because of our past racist colonizing behaviors. <<
Why do you think he did it: because he's "evil"? Of course, you've had Osama bin Laden subjected to a thorough psychological examination.
Yeah, right. Your "expert" opinion on the matter is less than compelling. Read Bin Laden's own pronouncements on his goals.
>> Even if your conclusory and overbroad indictments of the birthplace of modern democracy had a kernel of accuracy to them, how are they relevant to this simple fact? <<
Your "simple fact" isn't a simple fact, so this question doesn't deserve an answer.
>> 5) And, professor, in the slight chance you read this, understand you this: You are a product of Western civilization. You are where you are, doing what you are doing, eating, drinking and breathing what you are eating drinking and breathing because of Western civilization. Do you hate yourself that badly? <<
Wow. Tough choice, but I'll pick this as the second stupidest thing you wrote. What does someone's background or ancestry have to do with hating themselves? If I tell you my Grandmother Gertrude or my hometown Podunk were rotten, does that mean I hate myself? According to this asinine "logic," if you criticize anything about your culture or environment, you must hate yourself. Because everything in your culture and environment helped shape you.
You've criticized Clinton and Reno as much as Thobani has criticized US foreign policy. Clinton arguably had a greater influence on your present life than US foreign policy has had on some Canadian woman. Given your scathing criticism of the Clinton administration, do you really hate yourself that much?
I'll give the debate to Thobani, even though she didn't get a chance to respond to your points. I'm sure she would've responded much as I did. And I just kicked your butt.
Finally, it's pretty damn funny to see you linking to Tamin Ansary's letter. I don't see him advocating a war against anyone in Afghanistan, whether "just" or not. I guess you're so openminded that you included a viewpoint radically different from yours, eh?
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