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Passions in Poetry

Trying to Clarify, not Justify

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Sunshine
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25 posted 10-22-2001 05:09 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine


I thought our country was terrorized by use of our own planes which had literally been turned into bombs, having full tanks of gas, we were victimized by having our own people hijacked, and the terrorists became martyrs.  

bin Laden will not sacrifice his own self to go to glory, as they see it, but he will lead others to their demise by promoting same...

it would be a nice, clean package if we could just pick up bin Laden AND his entourage of followers.  Unfortunately, that will not happen.

Even more unfortunately, I do not care to see anyone get hurt, but this is the real world.  And no religious war ever occurred that people weren't harmed and/or killed by it.

I could do with less use of "clean aphorisms" and call it what it is.
Interloper
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26 posted 10-22-2001 05:36 PM       View Profile for Interloper   Email Interloper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Interloper

Too simplistic, Severn?  What is simplistic about any war?  

People running from a war that is not their own?  Whoa!  

C'mon, you don't believe that ... or do you?
Denise
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27 posted 10-22-2001 09:08 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Yes, Brad, I know the timeline was for Jerusalem. I brought up the Israeli/Palestinan situation because that seems to be one of the major reasons that the U.S. is hated, at least according to the interviews of those in Arab nations that I've read or listened to, because we are allies of Israel. The finest minds in history, capable of understanding both sides and all the issues involved, haven't been able to resolve the conflict between them. I seriously doubt that I could add anything to help along those lines. No, I really don't think that our disecting it further would do any worthwhile good. But if you can figure out, in your studies, why the PLO is still allowed to call for the destruction of the State of Israel in its charter and the U.N. says nothing about it, I'd really appreciate any insight on that. And no, I can't blame the British for trying, they haven't been the only ones who have failed at trying to gain peace in that area. Who knows, things could have been even worse if they hadn't.

I don't believe that my saying that "sometimes war is the only way" is equivalent to someone saying that "Islam, in most instances, is against the killing of women and small children". The statement wasn't qualified with "during a war, sometimes innocents are killed, which is tragic", it just says "in most instances" (or mostly, I forget the exact wording). My questions still remain, what is that about? And what about men and no-so-young children? That statement gave me the chills because it wasn't further explained. I'd like to know when Islam is not against the killing of women and small children and why men and children in general are not included in that original statement.

No, I wouldn't argue that the killing of Afghanistan civilians is necessary. I'd say that the killing of any innocent civilian, anywhere, is tragic. As I said before, you won't find anyone here dancing in the streets upon hearing of innocents being killed accidently. People here are crying, myself included, at every report. We don't want innocents to die. I find it tragic that anyone has to die. Unfortuanely, there are those in this world whose sole intention is to kill as many innocent civilians as they possibly can, and they are still doing it to us here. Two more postal workers died suddenly today, most likely from anthrax. Two additional postal workers in D.C. have inhalation anthrax and are hospitalized, not to mention the one who died in Florida, and a second one hospitalized in Florida with inhalation anthrax and numerous others with skin anthrax, in four states, not to mention the 5000 + killed here last month, most whose remains are still buried beneath the still burning rubble. An act of war has been perpetrated upon us, not the other way around. We did not wreak this havoc upon them, they came here and did this to us. They are still here among us, poisoning us, planning future catastrophic events. How do you reason with that? I'd really like to know. I've heard bin Laden's demands. They are unacceptable by any stretch of the imagination. You can't reason with unreasonable people. We did try another option before we sent our military over there. We asked the Taliban numerous times over the course of three + weeks to hand over bin Laden, the members of Al Qaeda and the members of the other known terrorist networks. The answers were "No" (sprinkled with a few insincere attempts at stalling, calling for negotiation on the matter). We are doing what we have to do, we were left with no other choice. Our military response could have been avoided if the people we were dealing with were capable of being reasoned with.  Yes, I believe sometimes war is the only way, unfortunately. This is one of those times.

Kamla ~ I'm on my way! I love cats! Do you have room for me, my husband, my kids, my grandkids, my sons-in-law, my sisters, my brother, assorted spouses and offspring? We're a really nice bunch!    

Karilea ~ My thoughts, exactly. bin Laden and his crew are very good at brainwashing others to sacrifice their lives for the 'cause' and yet they hide in caves like the cowards that they are.

Interloper ~ You hit the nail on the head regarding intent. It is not our goal to kill innocents, unlike Al Qaeda, et al.




[This message has been edited by Denise (edited 10-22-2001).]

Jamie
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28 posted 10-22-2001 11:32 PM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

As with Vietnam, the sanctions that followed the  Gulf War have been infinitely more damaging, causing fifteen times the number of casualties.Some say the sanctions against Iraq are genocidal conduct under the law, according to the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide - which, by the way, the United States refused to endorse until 1988 and explicitly refuses to comply with to this day. The sanctions against Iraq have killed more than 1.5 million people, more than half of them children under the age of five, an especially vulnerable segment of the population. Particularly in their first year, children are more susceptible to disease and malnutrition, and to the malnutrition of their mother. Many Iraqi mothers are now so malnourished that they cannot produce milk. They try to give their children sugar water as a substitute, but because the United States destroyed the infrastructure, the water is contaminated: within forty-eight hours, the child is dead. And that child could have been saved by a rehydration tablet that costs less than a penny, but is not available because of the sanctions. This is in a country that once produced 15 percent of its own pharmaceuticals: now it can't even get the raw materials. We have, in an act of will, impoverished a whole population.

So the next time you see the word sanctions and think they don't do real harm, think about this.

ps...it used to be that 2 million casualties was the accepted number for Vietnam, but I've noticed that people now say 3 million without much criticism. Yet that war was nothing compared to the effects of twenty years of sanctions, from 1975 to 1995, which brought the Vietnamese people - a people who had proven to be invincible when threatened by physical force on their own land - down to such dire poverty that they were taking to open boats in stormy seas, and drowning, to get to a refugee camp in Hong Kong. They went simply because they saw no future in their own country.
gleaned from an interview with Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the US

There is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar.
byron

Brad
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29 posted 10-23-2001 12:14 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Jamie (got it right this time, didn't I?),

Wow, my previous statements and thoughts concerning sanctions seem positively callous when explained in that way. I confused the achievement of the goal (ousting Saddam Hussein, destablizing the Vietnamese government) with what actually happens. That is, sanctions don't achieve the stated goal and therefore aren't effective.

From what you say, they are all too effective.

Thanks for that.

Denise,

I agree it is a vague statement and can therefore be used to justify a variety of appalling actions but I see your statement just as vaguely as you see the Muslim comment. It can be used to justify any war at any time. It needs more clarification.

I'm a little confused by your necessary/tragic distinction. The killing of innocents can be both necessary and tragic. This doesn't mean you want to kill them, it means that the goal, the military target, is more important than civilian lives. As a result, the death of civilians is unavoidable. If you believe these bombings are necessary and that the bombings will kill civilians then you believe that killing civilians is necessary (you believe in the attacks as opposed to alternative methods). I wasn't trying to get you to agree to something like you WANT to kill innocents.

Sorry about that.

Gotta go but I'll post something in Philosophy on possible alternative ways of seeing the Israeli/Palestine problem in a few days. You can rip me apart there if you like.  

You bring up intent in a number of ways so I want to focus on that next time. I still believe the results are more important than the intent but we can, I think, give some plausible scenarios for determining a good decision from a bad one.

Brad

PS Religious war? What religious war?

Denise
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30 posted 10-23-2001 11:17 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Hi Brad, well we definitely disagree over what is more important, intent or results. But I guess that depends quite a bit on what is being discussed, the context in which those words are being used. Religious war? No, it's not, at least not on our part. I wasn't the one who made that comment. It is a religious war, though, I think, in the minds of some muslims, unfortunately.

[This message has been edited by Denise (edited 10-23-2001).]

BrightStar
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31 posted 10-23-2001 01:40 PM       View Profile for BrightStar   Email BrightStar   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for BrightStar

Jamie, I think you have a few facts mixed up.  Sanctions imposed upon Iraq did not kill X number if civilians.  SH killed them by not allowing food to get to the people.  he chose to starve the poeple, and get the world to blame America, while feeding his military and himself.  Looks like you bought the propaganda hook, line, and sinker.

The only reason Iraq that is impoverished is the actions of its leader.

You stated that the Vietnamese people were proven to be invincible and they left their country only when conditions became too bad to stay.  Well, there was once two Vietnams.  North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam and conquered them.  If you want to say the North Vietnamese have proven invincible (yet to be seen), then I might agree.  Furthermore, the conditions only deteriorated after Ho Chi Minh occupied South Vietnam.  Sanctions had very little to do with hurting a country that produced almost 100% of their nutritional needs.  They left due to their treatment by the Communist regime.
Local Rebel
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32 posted 10-23-2001 03:16 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Well I'm not sure what the alignment of the planets and stars is today because I just agreed conditionally with Interloper on a thread in Philosophy and I'm about to do the same with Brightstar here.

The refugees fleeing Vietnam are, by and large, leaving to escape communism -- just as refugees from Cuba have left there to escape Castro's communist regime.

However, it's important to look at what the intent of economic sanctions are.  We impose sanctions in an attempt to influence the people of a nation to rise up against their government.  How?  By depriving them of the necessities of life.  Plain and simple.  Starve the people, deprive them of things like medicine -- they will look at their situation and change it.  We could equally be dropping bombs on them and killing them and say -- it's not us -- it's your leaders that are responsible (but wait -- that's what we're doing in Afghanistan eh?)  It doesn't really matter the method -- the end result is the same -- the death of the innocent.

Do we expect Saddam Hussein to care about the starvation of his people?  No.  We know he doesn't because he treats them brutally anyway.  So it really isn't fair to point to him and say he is responsible.  We have a choice -- why haven't we bombed Iraq with butter and medicine too?

Osama bin Ladan points to the death of 6500 innocents in America and likewise says -- it's not his fault -- it's the fault of a corrupt American Government -- all we have to do is get rid of our corrupt American Government and he'll stop.... right?

Severn
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33 posted 10-24-2001 03:43 AM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

Actually - I do. I mean the people striving to get into Pakistan...you know - the citizens...

Is that truly not clear enough?

K

p.s - I can fit anyone into my lounge k?
Interloper
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34 posted 10-24-2001 12:47 PM       View Profile for Interloper   Email Interloper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Interloper

Wait, Reb ... Ah, that defibrillator did the job    

=================================
Do we expect Saddam Hussein to care about the starvation of his people?  No.  We know he doesn't because he treats them brutally anyway.  So it really isn't fair to point to him and say he is responsible.  We have a choice -- why haven't we bombed Iraq with butter and medicine too?
=================================
The reason we haven't dropped food to the people in Iraq is due to the significant difference in the situation.  With regard to Iraq we were in combat with what was considered to be a major military presence and it was being fought as a conventional war (except for some possible chemical warfare on Hussien's part).

The war on terrorism is totally different and it is only humane that we help feed the people fleeing the Taliban.

Or did I miss the point?

[This message has been edited by Interloper (edited 10-24-2001).]

Brad
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35 posted 10-24-2001 05:08 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Two scenarios:

1. After 911, Bush and his cabinet discussed multiple options for dealing with terrorism. While Bush continued to use excessive rhetoric in public (you are with us or against us), he was not influenced by his own words (we know that countries can contribute in different ways, we'll work with real governments and come up with real solutions), but worked actively to gather intelligence and create a flexible but goal oriented stategy that should show results quickly. The first step in this strategy is the deposing of the Taliban while the killing and starving of civilians is a horrible thing, the long term consequences of this action will be a more stable world, a better world for America but also for the world itself.

--Regardless of the result, that would be a good decision.

2. Frustrated, tired, and angry, Bush and associates scramble frantically to come up with something to do. As the rhetoric continues to escalate, the need to back up that rhetoric becomes imperative in order to maintain political integrity. There is no real plan as of yet but the need for action overtakes the need to perform the right action (Are we just going to talk them to death?).  Bush and associates, listening to the American people and profoundly moved themselves, take an action with no integrated strategy. Get rid of the Taliban because it's something we can do rather than something we should do.

Killing civilians, killing innocents, someone might ask. The response is not to forget that our civilians have been killed as well.

--This would be a bad decision regardless of the results.

In either case, or in something quite different from this, the results will ultimately determine whether it was the right decision or not. My nuetrality on the issue, it should be pointed out, is a form of trust, a closet support if you will. I very much want to believe that Bush and associates have indeed followed the former scenario (and there is some evidence for this) but there is also a lot of evidence to indicate the latter.  

Right now things seem to be getting worse as a result of the Afghanistan invasion, perhaps they will get better, I don't know, and I like to think that the administration is actively planning for contingencies and so forth but my increasing anxiety is that they believe what they say and are following the American tradition of vigilanteism.

That's just not a good idea.

Brad
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36 posted 10-24-2001 07:57 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Brad -- I'd have to say that it's been a mix of the two all along -- ends justifies means thinking will always permeate throughout policy.

Interloper -- what difference does it make what kind of weapon we kill someone with?  Conventional forces vs. Special Ops, Violence vs. Starvation -- the means don't change the situation or the consequences -- it's all about apeasing coalitions -- and the Arab world (with the exception of the fundamentalist whacko's) have said -- ok... you can starve the people of Iraq -- but you can't bomb them.  You can bomb the Taliban -- but feed Afghanistan.  You can have Osama Bin Laden -- but by the way -- what about that Palestinian state?
Brad
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37 posted 10-25-2001 01:48 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Yes, of course, it's probably both. I wasn't trying to represent what actually happened/happening. I was trying to give scenarios of what I consider a good decision and a bad decision.

But knowing full well that this doesn't always determine good or bad results.

I just think the odds are better if we make good decisions.
----------------------------
I don't really understand the sanctions issue here. If economic sanctions are killing people AND they aren't working, doesn't it make sense to end them?

Or do people think, they are working -- but not in the ways that we originally intended?

None of this 'fault' stuff makes any sense to me.

I guess I'll come back to that later.

Brad

Brad
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38 posted 10-25-2001 02:57 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I found this article that takes quite a different view of the Bush administration's approach:
http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2001/10/21/stiusausa01006.html?

If only for a moment, it made me feel better to think that my assessment (my leaning to an assessment) may be just plain wrong.  

And I always thought the Churchill quote was, "Don't worry. The Americans always do the right thing -- after they have tried everything else."

Brad
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39 posted 10-25-2001 03:54 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

The sanctions have never worked -- they've always been an attempt to be doing 'something' in the face of damned if we do, damned if we don't kinds of situations.  Once implemented we don't back down because it would be a show of weakness on our part -- and -- the predators strike at the weak.

I'm not advocating it -- that's just the thought process that goes into it.

Policy can be changed though without appearing weak -- even Orwell knew that.

I think the administration has done fairly well, so far, they've carried the bombing thing a tad far though -- but it's part of the show -- and the play is the thing...

They've done pretty much what I've been saying all along (which is a surprise) and I even heard Colin Powell mention the word 'special envoy' the other day -- so they may be gearing up for my final reccomendation -- which has been our diplomatic secret weapon we've kept in the scabbard far too long (and special shame on Bill Clinton) -- we need to send Jimmy Carter to negotiate the Isreali/Palestinian conflict -- but that may be another thread.
Interloper
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40 posted 10-25-2001 07:49 PM       View Profile for Interloper   Email Interloper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Interloper

Reb, I guess you're right, dead is dead.  I guess dropping THE bomb would be an option, then (nudge ... tongue firmly planted in cheek ... wink).

You know, there is no "clean" way to fight a war whether it is popular or unpopular.  People on both sides are going to die.  Families are going to grieve and folks like us will debate ... but nothing changes except the methodolgy of war.  The lowest common denominator of war, any war, is death.

That is just EXACTLY what bin Laden wants, only he's not getting it his way.
 
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