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Old Sep 13, 2001, 11:27 AM
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What the terrorists are attacking

Its been said that the terrorists who attacked New York and DC are "attacking freedom itself."

This is an easily repeated and romantic view that may have significant truth at its core, but does not tell the complete story. Yes, it is easy to believe that such sinister people could actually despise a concept like Peace, Freedom, etc, but it also is a terribly simplistic way to look at the situation.

In a democratic culture we take our freedoms for granted so much that we cannot understand what it would be like to live in a closed society. We tend to accept many evils as the price of freedom. But imagine if we did not accept that premise.

An example of this might be best found in music, since it is a refleciton of popular culture and also something that is at times painfully free. As an example, very few Americans found "Cop Killer" to be a wholesome artistic expression. Though debates raged about the song, practically no one came forward to say that the track should be illegal. Instead, we concentrated on whether or not it should be played on the radio, or whether or not it was suitable for young children.

The Muslim Nations do not typically have this outlook. Islam is extremely concerned with sin and it is an assumption in a Muslim Nation that Islam's view of sin will be enforced.

Imagine for a moment that you grew up in a Muslim nation and were never exposed to the kind of influences we have in American culture. Imagine that you believed strongly in right and wrong and had never experienced a culture in which anyone question the established moral outlook. Things like drunkeness, perversities, fornication, etc were taken seriously by the entire society. You have been taught that God hates people who perform sinful acts.

Now use that outlook to judge the US: We are the largest producer of pornography, if you can't find enough titillation in our regular movies and music videos to suit you. We let murderers go free due to legal technicalities. We abort roughly 1/3rd of all the children we conceive. Our president commits adultery and his popularity increases. We use foul language. We drink, we smoke, we use drugs. We do more of it than anyone else on the planet. And we do our best to spread this "freedom to do what we want" as far as we can. Whether through our corporations, our military, or our political efforts, we expend tremendous resources to bring about US-style freedom as far and wide as possible, with the eventual goal of conquering the world with our outlook.

Don't get me wrong. I agree with the vast majority of readers of this post that America's strength is its freedom. I agree with Benjamin Franklin who said that evil must exist in America. I respect that for me to enjoy my freedom to worship God and speak my mind in the way that I want to requires that others be able to do essentially what they want as well. While I think abortion is a terrible wrong for example, and one that we will eventually regret as a nation, I respect greatly that my voice is one of many and we must resolve issues such as abortion with civil discourse that changes people's minds.

But my outlook is based on my pluralistic assumptions, which I would not have if I were raised in a different part of the world. I see America as a place where man is free to act according to his nature. But many people around the world judge our entire nation by what our vast media machine produces, and that output simply measures up poorly against what the Koran teaches.

The Shah of Iran was overthrown exactly because of the result of freedoms. When the Shah allowed western influences to affect Iran, the fundamentalists revolted. It was the freedoms that they were revolting against. Iranians today largely feel that every problem they have can be traced back to the period before the Shah was overthrown, when Western music, movies, dance, and general culture was assimilated into their society. In their minds, they have been trying to wash off the stink ever since. After overthrowing the Shah, a new constitution was created which makes further western influence nearly impossible.

This hopefully gives some perspective to comments about terrorists who "attack freedom itself". While we see freedom as a good thing, many see it as a bad thing. They see what we produce as evidence against us. They see concepts like "rights" are part of our collective depravity.

An assault on freedom such as what the western world has experienced may teach us that we often take our freedom for granted and abuse it through selfish excess. Too often we use our freedom to engage in wild speculation about our political enemies, to abuse our bodies with alcohol, to say hurtful things, or to commit any of hundreds of minor evils. When we start to feel the price for freedom, as the generations who secured it for us did, then we take more seriously the obligations we have to use our freedom wisely.

While we momentarily entertain grander notions of freedom, we also must understand the resolution that the terrorists felt and where that resolution comes from. There is a war to come and we should not mistake the reasons for it. Just as Israel will never successfully negotiate its way out of a war with Palestinians who desire that Israel does not exist, we will never negotiate a way out of war with people who believe our way of life is the source of the world's evil.

Jim
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Old Sep 13, 2001, 11:36 AM
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I haven't seen anyone explain exactly -why- this attack occured..
What was the point?
What was the goal?
How was it intended to modify the behavior of the United States?
.
I do expect that such inflight takeovers will not succeed in the future, with the obvious example of what a hijacker intends.
The persons who assaulted the hijackers on the plane that crashed in PA did the right thing!
.
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Old Sep 13, 2001, 12:42 PM
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The point and the goal is ultimately to destroy non-Muslim thought and influence in the world.

Jim
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Old Sep 13, 2001, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sparky Paul
I haven't seen anyone explain exactly -why- this attack occured..
What was the point?
What was the goal?
How was it intended to modify the behavior of the United States?
Sparky Paul,

Respectfully, and without wishing to inflame things;

It's been suggested by the European media (amongst many other theories, let me add), that the US is perceived to have a history of involving itself in foreign affairs, and then retiring to the safety of it's own shores, immune from any reprisal simply by virtue of geography.

Tuesday's atrocity halts this tradition. The BBC correspondent wondered if the US government would be less likely to assert itself in the rest of the world's politics in the future, now that the US's own people are vulnerable.

You asked.

tim
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Old Sep 13, 2001, 06:06 PM
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Historically, terror creates a firmer resolve in the attacked population.
WWII shows this. Neither Britain nor Germany buckled under to terror attacks by the other.
This current aberration has the same effect. An even firmer resolve to wipe out terrorism.
Unfortunately the target(s) are so small relative to what we are used to. Not even a "guilty" city, but an apartment or two in some nameless neighborhood.
The resolution of the difficulty can only be resolved by eliminating the source of the hatred which spawns the terror.
And that, sadly, isn't the terrorist. It's the culture that raised him.
How to address that problem?
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Old Sep 13, 2001, 07:13 PM
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The strength of our concept is that; one may pratice his belief's so long that one does not impose his belief on another who has a different point of view. How we co-exist is a work in progress.
One can look to our Civil War to see that this has not always been an easy thing to accomplish. we must continue to search for a way to find a way by which people can seek common goals while maintaining their own integrity and not imposing their will on ones with different concepts.
We must always remember that the elimination of a different view does not necessarly mean that our effort has moved foward.
GOD BLESS AMERICA1
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Old Sep 13, 2001, 10:07 PM
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Jim, that is a very sharp and well thought out assesment of the situation. What we have seen thus far is but the opening skirmishes of a war aimed at the annihilation of western culture. We are seeing the reopening of the Islamic jihad which started in the middle ages and extended the "Caliphate" as far east as Iran and as far north as Spain before it was eventually halted and pushed back by the European crusades.

In order to achieve our government's stated goals of stopping terrorism completely it would be nessesary to eradicate Islamic culture throughout the world. While this may be technically possible I don't believe that it is socially possible. Many people who are banging the drums and waving the flag now will certainly balk at the idea of levelling cities, decimating populations and driving millions of survivors into a stone-age existence. Nothing short of that will result in the death of the culture that spawns this evil incarnate.

The more probable result is that we will become a nation and a society of nations constantly at war and constantly fearful of shadowy enemies that we can't stop. It's extremely difficult to stop an enemy who's only requirements are a bag of rice and a box of bullets.
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Old Sep 13, 2001, 10:30 PM
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Capt Quirk,

Good points.

Ultimately we cannot seek to eliminate people who disagree with the nature of the US without first subjugating the ideology we are fighting for. It may be the best pragmatic course, but it is not consistent. For if we believe that we have the right to free expression, we must accept the rights of others to speak against that freedom. A strange paradox.

Jim
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Old Sep 13, 2001, 10:31 PM
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I no longer try to understand "WHY" people do horrible things to others. I just accept that they always have and always will. I was invoved in Law Enforcement and came across situations that I caused me alot of sleepless nights wondering just what in the hell this person was thinking. I recall a situation where a young man about 6 ft 4, 250 pounds severly beat an elderly couple in their 70s during a break in. When ask "why" he had to severely beat the defenseless couple who offered no resistance, the guy replied, " Cause they was home? I now just react to a given situation and deal with it.
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Old Sep 14, 2001, 11:49 AM
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Whatever we do, it will to some people, be the wrong thing.
If we just throw a couple of missles and try to find the terrorists, the "hawks" will say the US is soft. If we level a whole country (we don't even need nukes for this), then the "doves" will cry ala
Vietnam. So, its a no win situation no matter what we do.

Dave...
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Old Sep 14, 2001, 12:22 PM
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JBurke it sounds as if you have given it some thought, however I disagree with you on a few points.:
Not all people of Islam are out to destroy us or anybody else, that kind of assumption sounds a if it came from christian extremists.
You spoke of the Shah of Iran as if he were the leader of the free world. The Shah was a CIA puppet, placed into office with the help of $25 million of our dollars in the mid fifties. Throughout his rein many people lived in fear of his secret police.... there are many formal complaints against him from groups such as Amnesty International as well as other human rights groups. As you said he attempted to westernize Iran to be an image Of America. Just who do we think we are that we can Americanize the rest of the world?
The radical extremists of Islam are a small minority compared to the vast population who only want to live in peace. It sounds as if some of your thoughts came from a church pamphlet.
They are not out to rid the world of christianity, but to rid themselves of western influence. This also means influence from the U.S. What I am about to say may anger some, however it needs saying......It's time we had a close examination of our foreign policies regarding the middleeast. Unless we do this and make changes toward a goal that people can live in peace and not for cheap oil we will continue to have to deal with people likje these. Please do not condem all people of Islam they are not terrorists en masse, but they have a right to live in this world also.
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Old Sep 14, 2001, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Not all people of Islam are out to destroy us or anybody else, that kind of assumption sounds a if it came from christian extremists.
You are pointing out your assumptions, not mine.

I have no problem with anyone who is peace-loving. My comments are about nations that support terrorism. The government of Iran and the Taliban are examples of what I'm talking about.

I agree with your points about the Shah.

Jim
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Old Sep 14, 2001, 06:44 PM
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What is strange is that of the three religions, Judeism, Christianity and Islam, the latter was originally the most tolerant towards the others, considering them peoples of the book and reflecting the importance of their teachings in Islam. During the expansion of Islam in the VI - VIII centuries, they made little attempt to eradicate the other religions. For Spain, which I know best, it could be called a golden period. It was only after the Christian reconquest when religion got tied up with national unity that the inquisition started having a field day with both Jews and Moslems.
Perhaps it's time to see just how tolerant they could still be. Why on earth won't the main leaders of the three get together in their own UNO and come out wth some agreed resolution recognising what they have in common and agreeing to disagree on what they don't. The extremists would brand them heretics but to the millions of non-extremists, especially at this moment, it might rid their daily language of Jihad, Crusade etc. They are supposedly there to provide spiritual (moral?) guidance yet don't seem to want to make any effort to cure the festering wound.
ahh, time to wake up and return to the real world .....
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Old Sep 16, 2001, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by martin richards
(snip) Why on earth won't the main leaders of the three get together in their own UNO and come out wth some agreed resolution recognising what they have in common and agreeing to disagree on what they don't. The extremists would brand them heretics but to the millions of non-extremists, especially at this moment, it might rid their daily language of Jihad, Crusade etc. They are supposedly there to provide spiritual (moral?) guidance yet don't seem to want to make any effort to cure the festering wound.
ahh, time to wake up and return to the real world .....
I've been wondering that as well.

I freely admit that I know next to nothing about Islam (that will change I assure you), but if it does not teach hate and murder, then why doesn't the biggest leader (mullah, pope, CEO, see how ignorant I am) come out and denounce it?

-O Geoffrey
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Old Jul 13, 2006, 11:30 PM
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I just thought Jim's comments from way back when, were quite fitting for now.
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