The Watering Hole, Wednesday, November 18, 2015: Fighting Terrorism

I’m Briseadh na Faire, and I’m running for President.

Today’s topic du jour: Terrorism.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Newton’s 3rd law of physics.

Yet this applies with equal, if not greater force, to social interactions, especially on the massed scale.

Terrorists act = governments react.

Both kill innocent civilians.

The equal and opposite reaction to anarchy is authoritarianism; to terrorism is torture; to drone strikes is suicide bombings; and the cycle continues.

The path is endless; oddly enough, perhaps necessary, at least until we address the problem of overpopulation. Poverty – lack of food, water, the basic necessities of life – is the stagnant pool from which terrorists are bred and recruited. The suicide bomber doesn’t hope in 72 virgins. He hopes in a better life for those he leaves behind. He has given up all hope in a better life for himself. So, in a perverse sort of way, these endless wars have a driving function to equalize population with available resources.

And therein lies the solution.

Fighting terrorists with authoritarianism, with bombs, with drone strikes, with tanks and boots on the ground never works. Terrorism is like the Hydra – cut off one head, two more grow in its place. It’s an ‘ism’ not a person, or even a group of persons. War, violence, extraordinary renditions, torture – these reactions by governments only create more terrorists.

(And terrorists, if they truly wanted to be revolutionaries – freedom fighters – would confine their attacks to military targets, thus garnering support instead of fear, from their civilian populations.)

To put an end to terrorism, we must first accept it will take some time. This cesspool was not created overnight – it will not be cleaned up overnight. We must take positive steps globally to address population control. And we must take positive steps globally to address the inequitable distribution of wealth.

We must live up to our ideals when it comes to the rule of law, and not cast aside protections for human rights for the sake of the illusion of security.

If a handful of people commit a heinous crime – does that justify turning away 10,000 innocent victims seeking refuge? If it does, we are the ones who have lost our way.

Once upon a time, we held the ideal that it was better to not convict 10 criminals than to send one innocent person to jail. Now, it seems to be better to send 10 innocent people to jail than release one criminal.

Governments react to terrorism with their own version of terrorism. While those in power stay in power this way (at least for awhile) it does not eliminate terrorism.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The true equal and opposite reaction to terrorism is love. Love balances hate. Tolerance balances rejection. Acceptance balances exclusion. Faith balances fear.

And by faith, I do not mean religious faith – but faith in a positive outcome. The masses have yet to embrace this level of faith – the level of faith necessary to overcome the ‘us against them’ attitude; the level of faith necessary to not see everything as an attack against their religion. The masses are still controlled by the messages propagated by the few empowered from birth by the wealth of their progenitors.

Fight terrorism with love. It’s not a new idea. It’s just one that’s not been tried since the son of a carpenter suggested it some 2000 years ago.

I’m Briseadh na Faire, and I’m running for President (all satire aside); a vote for me is a vote that won’t be counted, because the two-party system has rigged the process to prevent the counting of write-in candidates who don’t jump through their hoops.

Meanwhile, there’s this:


OPEN THREAD

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The Watering Hole, Monday, November 16, 2015: None So Blind

On Friday, November 13, at approximately 9:20 PM local time, a group of well-armed criminals began a mass murder of completely innocent people in Paris, France. There were people from many countries killed, including America. More than 120 people died, not counting the killers, at least two of whom detonated bomb vests killing themselves and one other person total. While suicide bombers attacked a stadium where the President of France was attending a football match, several kilometers across town gunmen opened fire on cafes and bars killing fifteen people. They got in their cars and calmly drove down the road where they got out and killed at least five more people dining in a restaurant terrace. Witnesses say they got in their cars and, again, drove away slowly, calmly. About a mile away they opened fire on an other establishment killing at least 19 people. A third group of attackers converged on a concert hall where an American rock band, Eagles of Death Metal, was performing. They began systematically shooting people and when the police arrived, they began a two-hour-forty-minute siege that ended with at least 89 innocent people losing their lives. Another suicide bomber detonated himself taking no one else with him. By about 12:30 AM local time (6:30 PM EST) it was over. In all, at least 129 innocent people were killed by these ruthless, deluded criminals. My heart goes out to their families and friends. I can’t pretend to know what going through something as horrific as this is like.

And, yes, I am calling them “criminals,” not the “t-word.” I refuse to frame these criminal acts the way the perpetrators want them portrayed. To do so would be to fight this conflict on their terms. They want people to be afraid, and the right wing in this country is giving them everything they want. They want the United States and its European allies to to begin flexing their military muscle and reign bombs down on millions of people, killing as many innocent people, preferably children, as possible. The bombing campaigns will then be used to recruit young, disillusioned, easily-brainwashed kids to become killing machines in an effort to exert more control over the people in the region. The recruiters are cowards, of course. They would never strap on a bomb vest and blow themselves up. They get others to do it. And, yes, they are systematically performing deadly acts meant to strike fear in a populace in order to effect political change and thus are, by definition, “terrorists.” Or so they claim. Either way, they are still criminals. And criminals are fought by the police, not by the army. You’ve heard the expression, “When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.” Well, in the same sense, when all you want to use is an army, everything happening around you starts to look like a war. This mindset has to stop.

Conservatives want to use nothing but the army to fight these criminals. They want us to constantly send our brave men and women in uniform (well, they would prefer the women stay behind, but that’s a topic for another post) off to fight fanatical criminals in faraway lands. People who, by the way, will almost certainly never be setting foot on our shores to do the things conservatives say they will do. They recruit other people to do that. The people we’re sending our troops to fight are terrorizing people in other countries. The only people being terrorized here are conservatives, especially the ones who watch Fox News Channel. And, as they so often do, they ignore history and reality to tell you not only who you should fear, but who you should blame for that fear. President Obama.

A little background before continuing. On September 11, 2001, a bunch of murderous criminals carried out a mass murder so effectively that we decided to forget we had a Constitution that gave us certain rights, and begin preparations for a military invasion of a country which had nothing whatsoever to do with those attacks. And to help convince the American people that this invasion was not only justified but absolutely necessary to the very survival of our own country, they used their friends at Fox News Channel to spread a few lies. By the time they were through, a majority of Fox News Viewers believed at least one, and sometimes all, of these three things to be true: 1) That Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction (which ones were never quite clear); 2) That Saddam had a working relationship with al Qaeda – the people whom we blamed for the attacks of 9/11 – and that he was prepared to pass of his chemical weapons to them; or, 3) That Saddam and Iraq were involved with the planning or execution of the 9/11 attacks. At least half of all Fox News Channel viewers believed at least one of those things to be true. Not one of them is. And to this day, some conservatives out there still believe at least one of those three false things to be true. Eventually, Saddam was captured, put on trial for killing about 150 people, found guilty and executed. Saddam was a brutal dictator but because of that there wasn’t a problem with groups of wannabe terrorists roaming the country killing people. Once he was gone, his less brutal replacements were unable to stop the infiltration of Iraq by al Qaeda. And the presence of al Qaeda in Iraq gave rise to groups like ISIS. It is an undeniable fact. Had we not invaded Iraq and removed Saddam from power, al Qaeda would never gave gained a foothold there, and ISIS would never have been formed from them. So when Fox News Channel starts spreading provable lies, I get concerned. And what are they saying now? That the attacks in Paris are Obama’s fault.

It started around 6:16 PM, before the events in Paris had come to a conclusion. Courtesy of Newshounds:

CHARLES PAYNE: Many Americans, Ambassador, are sort of frustrated here with the administration for perhaps being too reserved on this issue, for not calling out what everyone else suspects and thinks seriously is going on here and perhaps even emboldening these kind of attacks.

Less than an hour later, Megyn Kelly was “just asking” if Obama was to blame for not being more like Bush. Never mind that the primary reason we elected Obama was to have someone who was less like Bush. In many ways, he was less like Bush. Not all. Anyway…

After that it wasn’t long before more and more Fox Folks started throwing accusations around that if it weren’t for Obama not being Bush, maybe we wouldn’t be having all these problems with ISIS. Yet they will never see that if it weren’t for Bush being Bush, ISIS wouldn’t be around today killing people like the murderous assholes they are.

This is our daily open thread.

Across the Pond: January 20th, 2013 – Sunday Round Up

Right. Well, I’m up anyway, so let’s check the webs.

The Hostage Crisis in Algeria seems to be over. But it ended in a bloodbath. The situation is still not quite resolved while I am typing this, but one thing is clear: All attackers and the hostages remaining in the hands of their captors are dead.

The Algerian government seems to not have thought twice about getting this done, never mind the cost. It reminds me of the Beslan massacre where a hostage taking by Chechen rebels in a school was ended by the Russian forces without any consideration of the hostages’ fate.

“The terrorists were prepared to commit a collective suicide; the army’s intervention led to their neutralisation. Unfortunately, the hostages were executed,”

said El Watan a local newspaper. Well, the public will hear the truth about this at some point.

There is, of course, the war in Mali headlining over here in Europe. You can find a very useful summary of the players involved on the BBC News website. The French are involved in a situation, which, in my humble opinion, may land them in their own version of Afghanistan. Germans are discussing what kind of contribution they can make but there’s the fact that this is a super election year which will be kicked off today in Lower Saxonia. Chancellor Merkel will, obviously, not be getting into any military adventures this year if she can help it at all. President Obama does not show any inclination to get the US involved either. 

Neu ist, dass die USA nicht instinktiv zu einer Führungsrolle innerhalb einer solchen «Koalition der Willigen» drängen. Bereits im Libyen-Krieg hatten sie nach aussen hin den Franzosen den Vorrang gelassen. Die Amerikaner übernahmen damals aber, ohne dies an die grosse Glocke zu hängen, einen beträchtlichen Teil der Lufteinsätze und halfen den Europäern aus, als diesen die Munition ausging. Obama nannte dies «Führung von hinten», was ihm einigen Spott eintrug – aber um einen Führungsanspruch handelte es sich gleichwohl. Davon kann in Mali keine Rede mehr sein.

(It is new, that the US does not instinctively claim a leading role in such a “coalition of the willing”. In the Libya war they had already let the French have the leading role, at least outwardly. The Americans, however, have at that time without making any fuss about it taken over a considerable number of airstrikes and helped out when the Europeans were running out of ammunition. Obama called this “leading from behind” which caused some ridicule, but – nevertheless – included the will to lead. In Mali there is no mention of it. Translation by yours truly

When it comes to foreign politics, looking at it from our side of the pond, New Obama, is naturally a topic of interest. The sudden change in his handling of the Republican opposition does not go unnoticed:

After being widely criticised in his first four years for a lack of savvy during negotiations with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Obama has suddenly taken a much harder line. In debates over the so-called “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of last year, Obama’s team secured a deal widely seen as a victory. That tougher stance has also been matched by Obama staking out a strong position on forthcoming talks with the Republicans in Congress over raising the debt ceiling. Indeed, only days after Obama gave a speech on the issue marked by stern language the Republicans last week appeared to cave in and moved to extend the ceiling for another three months. (read the whole post here)

About time, I’d say.

Have you finished your coffee? Not yet? Well, there’s more for reading found in the old world:

Oil and the interests of Canada’s First Nations

Catholic Hospitals refuse Aid to Rape Victim (Germany has its own bible belt, methinks)

Boeing’s Dreamliner is grounded

and

The Swiss are fretting over what will happen to their banks.

I hope you’ll enjoy your Sunday Morning reading.

This is an Open Thread! Join in. What is important to you today?

Watering Hole – Monday, June 13, 2011 – While the Gotcha and Gossipy Media

Was focused on Weiner’s weiner, an important terrorist trial began in Chicago, IL.  David Coleman Headley, a confessed American terrorist and Pakistani spy, was testifying in the trial of Tahawwur Rana.  Headley is the star witness against Rana, his childhood friend.

Besides admitting to being one of the masterminds of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Headley also worked for the DEA.  So instead of facing the death penalty, Headley is spilling the beans.  Then again, Headley is a known manipulator and liar so the outcome of this trial will be dependent upon whether the jury believes Headley or not.

Here’s some interesting links to this story.  From The Daily Beast.  And from an interview on Here and Now on PRI.

UPDATE:  Since I originally created this post (Thursday afternoon), the trial of Rana Tahawwur has concluded.  Rana was found guilty on two charges and he was found not guilty for the Mumbai charge.  Seems like the jury didn’t believe Headley’s testimony.

This is our Open Thread.  Here’s your chance to Speak Up!  Gotcha and Gossip accepted.

Halliburton On The Hot Seat

Halliburton is charged with selling nuclear technology to Iran.  There is a loophole in the law that allows the foreign subsidiaries of American corporations that allows them to do business with countries like Iran, North Korea and Cuba.

(Thanks to Stranded Wind at DailyKos)