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Terrorism:  "Good" vs. "Evil"

Another response to Terrorism:  "Good" vs. "Evil":

>> In terms of rhetoric, I sure wish we'd stop "declaring war" on entire concepts (drugs, poverty, etc.) <<

Yes! We should declare war on declaring war!

>> this may be simply because I'm extremely literal-minded, but I would much prefer (even though it takes longer) for our government legal officials to say, "We are going to specifically do this, this and this to address the problem." <<

That'll never happen because it would force officials to be accountable. It's one reason Bush declared war on evil but settled on a war against terrorism. He can blow up whoever he can get his hands on, then say, "Those were the people I meant to kill. Mission accomplished."

>> In the case of terrorism — no matter what *anybody* thinks of the tactics — I think for once "declaring war" *is* an accurate description of what is being done. <<

But is it an accurate description of what should be done? I'd say no to that.

>> Whether they succeed in actually getting rid of any terrorists is something we'll see <<

A month after you wrote your message, we had no evidence we'd given even a single terrorist so much as a boo-boo on his knee. But you could be sure we'd hit one eventually—by accident, if nothing else. And so we have: Muhammed Atef, Al Qaeda's military commander. That's one terrorist down, hundreds or thousands to go.

>> And actually, *has* Osama bin Laden declared war on us? <<

Over the years, he's made a fair number of contradictory statements about his goals. Sometimes he wants justice for Israel and Iraq, sometimes he wants the corrupt US out of the Middle East, and sometimes he threatens a jihad against the US or claims he's fighting one already.

Would you consider this political rhetoric, or does talk of jihad constitute a declaration of war? Remember, his people supposedly bombed the WTC in 1993, a couple of African embassies, and the USS Cole. Has the war been in progress since '93? Or since '90, when we started killing civilians in Iraq?

>> But if I am reading press reports correctly, I understand that part of the "what to do next" issue the U.S. government is having is that no one has come forward to claim responsibility for the events of Sept. 11. <<

Bush isn't fighting a war against terrorism or terrorists, since he can't find any to fight against. He's blowing up the Taliban, although they only sheltered Bin Laden, because they're a sitting government and thus a sitting duck. So killing the Taliban is our feel-good proxy for killing terrorists, whom we've failed to eradicate.

That's why this war will be relatively short. Everyone's starting to ask the obvious questions. Why exactly are we killing Taliban and creating refugees when our primary goal is to get Bin Laden? What progress have we made toward getting him? Are we going to drop bombs around the world, indefinitely, until one accidentally hits him? How many innocent Muslims must die in the quest to destroy Bin Laden?

>> So, *literally* speaking, has bin Laden declared war or is he (presumably it's him) simply causing lots of people to be killed without an actual declaration? <<

I'd say the latter. But does it really matter to patriotic, bomb-loving Americans? The attack itself was a declaration of war in most people's minds. And if that wasn't enough, well, those people look funny, they abuse their wimmin, and they burn American flags. That's reason enough to kill them all.

The better question, which you implied but didn't state, is: Did the Taliban declare war on us? Right now we're blowing Taliban soldiers to bloody bits. Did these soldiers personally help a terrorist make a bomb or cross a street? What exactly was their moral crime vis a vis terrorism?

I'm not even clear on the culpability of the Taliban government. Some grunt soldier is at least one step removed from a government that didn't declare war on us, and at least two steps removed from the actual terrorists. Someone please tell me the morality of obliterating these human beings who have contributed less to the Taliban's existence than Bush and his foreign-aid gifts have.


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What happened:  results of the so-called war

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