Al Qaeda and the depth of human barbarity


by Jai
8th February, 2008 at 11:00 am    

As most of you may know, members of the Al Qaeda cult (I am not going to dignify them by associating them with the organised religion of Islam) used two women with Down’s Syndrome as suicide bombers in Baghdad about a week ago, resulting in over 90 fatalities. The explosives were detonated by remote control, and in one case the head of one of the women was subsequently found nearby. Both attacks occurred in areas where pets were being sold, especially birds.

During the past few years, the possibility of such terrorist groups using increasingly unorthodox “delivery methods” to bypass suspicions surrounding the more stereotypical suicide bomber profile has been extensively discussed, especially in the West due to the attacks which have also occurred here. I also remember reading unconfirmed reports that the two women involved in this case may not necessarily have been entirely aware of what lay in store for them. Either way, I am sure that, like myself, many of you were shocked and disgusted at the sheer scale of barbarity which has yet again been demonstrated by the members of this cult. Just when you thought they couldn’t get any worse.

Hopefully, it should also serve as a warning signal for anyone who has sympathies towards Al Qaeda’s cause and, in the more extreme cases, may even be considering signing up, including our homegrown wannabe jihadis. At the very least, it should provide clear signs of exactly what kind of people are already involved.

I think this disturbing development provides further evidence of Al Qaeda’s moral bankruptcy and is an indication of some of the worst excesses of psychopathic human behaviour. It also hammers yet another nail into the coffin of their claims for divine justification of their chosen methods of warfare and their “struggle” as a whole.

Furthermore, it also makes one wonder what is next – the use of severely physically and/or mentally handicapped human “mules” ? Babies ?

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  1. Random Guy — on 8th February, 2008 at 11:54 am  

    Only a completely sick f**k would consider doing something like this. It almost puts them at the same level as the UK and US government, and thats pretty bad.

    If this post is meant to be a speculation on how far asymmetric warfare tactics can be taken, my guess would be that they will never use children, but as long as the situation in Iraq remains unresolved, we can only guess as to how ‘they’ will go.

  2. bananabrain — on 8th February, 2008 at 12:02 pm  

    it shouldn’t be surprising at all – for many years the israelis have had to cope with the tendency of islamic militants of all stripes to hide armaments in schools and smuggle bombs in ambulances. this is simply another version of it.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  3. Ravi Naik — on 8th February, 2008 at 12:07 pm  

    Only a completely sick f**k would consider doing something like this. It almost puts them at the same level as the UK and US government, and thats pretty bad. If this post is meant to be a speculation on how far asymmetric warfare tactics can be taken, my guess would be that they will never use children, but as long as the situation in Iraq remains unresolved, we can only guess as to how ‘they’ will go.

    By that logic, forget children or people with mental disabilities, Al Qaeda will cross the line when they use a vermin like you to do their bidding.

  4. Random Guy — on 8th February, 2008 at 12:11 pm  

    A vermin like me?

    Which part of my comment didn’t you like? Spell it out before you start talking out of your ass please…

  5. cjcjc — on 8th February, 2008 at 12:37 pm  

    Some mistake surely.

    According to Seumas Milne of the Guardian these guys are the noble resistance.

  6. Sofia — on 8th February, 2008 at 1:49 pm  

    this is disgusting..i was wondering if anyone on pp was going to cover this…

  7. Ravi Naik — on 8th February, 2008 at 2:29 pm  

    “Hopefully, it should also serve as a warning signal for anyone who has sympathies towards Al Qaeda’s cause”

    Jai, calling Al Qaeda a cult seems very appropriate. Make it a psychopath cult.

    As one can witness from this thread, there seems that Al Qaeda can go as low as they want, and there are still people who believe they are fighting an asymmetric war, making them less barbaric than whatever the US/UK are doing. So as long as there are people who are gullible and easily brainwashed by the more intelligent psychopaths, you will always have suicide bombers.

    However, Al Qaeda is not targeting American soldiers. It is actually using Iraqis to kill Iraqis, and that includes children, babies, women, old people and whoever is in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, using babies, children or people with disabilities is as rotten as what they have already done.

  8. Random Guy — on 8th February, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

    Look, I am not going to get in a pissing contest with you Ravi. If your brain cannot cope with the enormity of the screw up that the US and UK have perpetrated in Iraq and the Middle-East since 9/11, then you need your head checked.

    Its easy for you to pass moral judgements from your ivory tower, and not truly think about what is happening in that country. As a westerner, your time would be better spent in thinking about how to fix the mess that the government, whose actions you seem to support, has created.

    My comment in that initial post was made half in jest, just to give you a taste of that thing we call ‘moral relativity’, and put into your head an idea that may not have been there before. If you think I support AQ, then fuck-you-very-much thank you. If you think I support AQ, then you may as well be accused of supporting the filthy bastards who initiated this war, in the full knowledge that innocent men, women and children would pay the price in their blood.

    You do know what that makes you right? Yes, thats right, a supporter of fucking baby killers, lower than any other form of human life. So save your moral high horsing for someone that actually gives a damn. Asshole.

  9. Ravi Naik — on 8th February, 2008 at 3:19 pm  

    “My comment in that initial post was made half in jest, just to give you a taste of that thing we call ‘moral relativity’, and put into your head an idea that may not have been there before. If you think I support AQ, then fuck-you-very-much thank you. If you think I support AQ

    I didn’t say you supported Al Qaeda. But moral relativity? Can Al Qaeda tactics of purposely killing the great number of Iraqi civilians which includes babies, children, women and old people indiscriminately ever… ever be considered a just fight for the Iraqi people? And you even mention suicide bombings as warfare tactics? Are they attacking soldiers? No, they aren’t. It’s bloody murder in the most cowardly and foul way. And despite everything…
    you say, oh Al Qaeda would never use children (#1).

  10. Roger — on 8th February, 2008 at 3:37 pm  

    “Furthermore, it also makes one wonder what is next – the use of severely physically and/or mentally handicapped human “mules” ? Babies ?”

    Why not? The perpetrators believe that they are giving the “mules” a free trip to paradise so it’s perfectly justifiable behaviour.

  11. Sofi — on 8th February, 2008 at 3:41 pm  

    Alright boys for goodness sake don’t get your kncikers in a bloody twist. Youre both on the same side regarding the barbaric manipulation of the physically disadvantaged.

    How low can these people go? Reading about it again makes normal (I’m a muslim!) people like me really very sick. Not much else to say.

  12. Random Guy — on 8th February, 2008 at 3:46 pm  

    You fail to understand – this is not about a just fight ffs. Killing civilians is the anti-thesis of Islamic teaching. It just cannot be done. How the hell anything along those lines can be called just is beyond me. Do you understand me now?

    What I am saying is very clear: I consider the UK/US government and AQ kith and kin. In my opinion, the UK/US foreign policy makers are below AQ in terms of abhorrence (and AQ deserves hellfire for actions like this imo) because they are the agressors, the initiators, and the liars. If you consider whose actions have killed more ppl, you will find the facts bear this out. Nothing you say will make me change my mind about this.

    My reference to asymmetric warfare should be taken in the context of the wider question that I was referring to in the post. Killing civilians is murder, a war is fought between armies. And about using children, are you saying that they used have used children as delivery mechanisms for explosives?

  13. Bartholomew — on 8th February, 2008 at 3:55 pm  

    Actually, this first happened three years ago: the victim was Amar Ahmed Mohammed, and when he failed to follow the terrorists’ instructions properly they blew him up anyway. I once worked for Mencap so it stuck in my mind.

  14. Anas — on 8th February, 2008 at 4:25 pm  

    Al-Qaeda are willing to kill innocents to achieve their nefarious aims, that’s not even worth debating. If anyone thinks Al-Q are freedom fighters, they’re clearly utterly deluded. The US/UK/Israel are more than happy to kill and harm innocents (witness the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Gaza) to achieve their nefarious aims, that seems a lot harder for people (in the West) to process/accept. If anyone thinks our governments are doing anything for humanitarian reasons they’re clearly deluded.

  15. Ravi Naik — on 8th February, 2008 at 4:28 pm  

    “In my opinion, the UK/US foreign policy makers are below AQ in terms of abhorrence (and AQ deserves hellfire for actions like this imo) because they are the agressors, the initiators, and the liars.”

    Yes, it is far more abhorrent to try to stabilise the country, minimise violence and ensure peace, then to blow up markets full of innocent civilians. Your point is remarkable.

    And about using children, are you saying that they used have used children as delivery mechanisms for explosives?

    No – but I really want to know what makes you think they would not use children, given all they have done. And please don’t say that Islam forbids children to be suicide bombers.

  16. Random Guy — on 8th February, 2008 at 4:36 pm  

    Give it a rest, Ravi. I’ve said all I have to say on the topic.

  17. Ravi Naik — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:03 pm  

    “Give it a rest, Ravi. I’ve said all I have to say on the topic.”

    I honestly want to know why you said in your first post that Al Qaeda would never use children as suicide bombers. They didn’t use women or mentally handicapped before either. Furthermore, they have no qualms in killing children, babies or anyone for that matter.

    So, I am curious as to why you would say they would never cross that line.

  18. Ravi Naik — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:04 pm  

    (I was wrong to call you a vermin, I do apologise for that)

  19. Kesara — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:47 pm  

    The LTTE/Tigers used a pregnant suicide bomber to get at a target. As far as most terror groups are concerned all is fair and in war…and that is why they are pretty damn hard to defeat – because they’ll go to any length to achieve victory and answer to no-one.

    Down with the evil occupying colonist forces in Iraq! May more bird-parts rain down upon them!

  20. Muhamad [peace be upon me] — on 8th February, 2008 at 7:09 pm  

    Even if one refrains from dignifying them with one’s impositions and inanities about them, it isn’t going to diminish in any way the arenose wellspring from which they have sprung out.
    Ought one to demarcate those who adhere to a given type of superstition and those who don’t (assuming one wants to give serious consideration to psychopathology)?

  21. Jai — on 8th February, 2008 at 7:11 pm  

    Ravi,

    Jai, calling Al Qaeda a cult seems very appropriate. Make it a psychopath cult.

    Well, I’ve made this statement before on another related discussion. Having thought the matter over, I don’t really think there’s much difference between them and (for example) the “Thuggee” cult that used to exist in India, various other historical groups around the world that engaged in human sacrifices, or indeed the notion of witch-doctors pushing virgins into volcanoes.

    Al Qaeda is a cult — with its very own David Koresh in the form of OBL — that has hijacked various Islamic concepts and terminology and is using it for its own twisted agenda.

    In some ways — and this actually connects to a conversation here on PP between you and I a few days ago — this is also pretty similar to some of the Nazi high command’s pseudo-religious beliefs and the justification they used for both their political aims (including territorial expansion) and the horrific way they treated those they deemed to be subhuman. They certainly didn’t think there was any conflict between their own actions and the presumed viewpoint of God (or their “gods”).

    No – but I really want to know what makes you think they would not use children, given all they have done.

    Another recent development has been footage of AQ apparently recruiting child soldiers and training them to kidnap & kill. The Times had an article on this matter too a few days ago.

    I also don’t see why AQ would not scrape the barrel even further and start using children — both teenage and pre-pubescent — as suicide bombers. And remember my original remark about them potentially even using babies. Based on all this, along with what happened in Baghdad and the increasing use of women in general too, they are now increasingly developing a history of exploiting the most vulnerable sections of the population and using them as cannon fodder.

    If they are capable of tricking women with Down’s Syndrome, then as far as I’m concerned all bets are off.

  22. Kulvinder — on 8th February, 2008 at 7:13 pm  

    It might sound a tad callous to say so, but the fact that close to 100 people were killed is more saddening and shocking than the method by which they were killed.

    Obviously there is a sense of repulsion that the disabled were used in this way but once you set out on a path to kill as many people as possible the method by which you achieve it doesn’t really concern you. After all i doubt Al-Qaeda and their sympathisers would have regretted their actions if those two women had been one of the 90 innocent bystanders whilst someone else carried out the bombing.

  23. Jai — on 8th February, 2008 at 7:14 pm  

    The LTTE/Tigers used a pregnant suicide bomber to get at a target.

    I know, that was mind-numbingly horrific too. The differnce with AQ, though, is that they are also using religion as a justification and a motivation for their actions. As far as I know, the LTTE/Tigers have no religious angle to their ideology.

    As far as most terror groups are concerned all is fair and in war…and that is why they are pretty damn hard to defeat – because they’ll go to any length to achieve victory and answer to no-one.

    Having thought the matter over, several nightmare scenarios involving AQ would be for them to either sneak in a baby with explosives hidden under the pram or a really severely mentally handicapped person (especially if he/she is also physically handicapped and is in a wheelchair) who is completely either unaware of what is happening or is not in any position put up enough of a fight to prevent himself/herself from being used this way.

  24. Ros — on 8th February, 2008 at 7:19 pm  

    I totally agree with Random Guy.
    The horrors of Al Queda suicide bombers are a joke compared to atrocities inflicted by missiles, helicopter gunships, tanks, cluster & DU bombs used by UK/US/Israel on innocent civilians in the Middle East.
    Happy to provide evidence if needed.

  25. Muhamad [peace be upon me] — on 8th February, 2008 at 7:40 pm  

    I beg to differ Jai. AQ isn’t a cult, it’s no more no less a cult than Shii’at Ali.

    Not impressed with this disquisition.

  26. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 8:00 pm  

    Ravi,

    “They didn’t use women or mentally handicapped before either. Furthermore, they have no qualms in killing children, babies or anyone for that matter.”

    Come yaar, you seem much more intelligent than this. Why are you blowing off state terrorism? Surely you know how many innocents have died from military actions by states?

  27. Don — on 8th February, 2008 at 8:00 pm  

    Muhamad,

    ‘Cult’ can be defined in several ways. AQ certainly meets the criteria for some generally accepted usages.

  28. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 8:05 pm  

    Ravi:

    “Yes, it is far more abhorrent to try to stabilise the country, minimise violence and ensure peace, then to blow up markets full of innocent civilians. Your point is remarkable.”

    Ravi, seriously. I mean, it seems almost nonsensical to provide you with examples about how US missiles blew up markets in Iraq because they have been widely reported.

    “there seems that Al Qaeda can go as low as they want, and there are still people who believe they are fighting an asymmetric war, making them less barbaric than whatever the US/UK are doing.”

    I don’t think Random Guy (or myself) is going “soft” on AQ when we point out the assymetricalness (word?). Pointing out state terrorism isn’t to diminish terrorism by other groups, but it’s to not let state terrorism and/or military campaigns off the hook.

    Don’t disappoint me with further comments that downplay military campaigns, Ravi. I suspect that you are brighter than that.

  29. Don — on 8th February, 2008 at 8:16 pm  

    We recently had an article on the CIA use of torture. Number of comments pointing out the atrocities by AQ et al = nil.

    An article on AQ atrocities. Number of comments pointing out the iniquities of the occupying force = 6.

    Moral relativism seems to be a one-way street, no?

  30. Muhamad [peace be upon me] — on 8th February, 2008 at 8:32 pm  

    Thanks Don, for your faternalistic/paternalistic reminder of the definition of “cult”. If one is permitted, I think the gist of what I said still holds.

    I’m against violence, regardless of the perpetrator, e.g., CIA or AQ, the State.

  31. Don — on 8th February, 2008 at 8:44 pm  

    You’re welcome. And of course one is permitted to hold one’s gist.

    I just didn’t see how #25 went beyond ‘No, it isn’t.’ I’m sure you could expand on that.

  32. Random Guy — on 8th February, 2008 at 9:12 pm  

    Ravi, apology accepted, and apology given on my part for losing my cool and causing any offence to you by means of insult.

    I don’t believe they will use children because in my head that is a line they won’t cross.

  33. Adnan — on 8th February, 2008 at 10:28 pm  

    #32 Random Guy.

    I think that they (and others in the conflict) have become so debased that they would use children if the opportunity arose. After all child soldiers have been used to commit unspeakable atrocities in countries in places like Sierra Leonne.

    Also, the Sunni-Shia side of the conflict is pretty darned sick taking AQ into account, and there were probably the “right” people to do that in Iraq anyway. There does not seem to be any compunction in killing children e.g. the suicide bomber who tried to blow up US soldiers, but ended up killing a load of children nearby. I also read of a case where some kids were playing football and some guys came with a heavy machine gun and mowed them down because they belonged to the wrong community.

  34. Adnan — on 8th February, 2008 at 10:28 pm  

    cjcjc #5 – what a load of wank.

  35. Ravi Naik — on 8th February, 2008 at 10:35 pm  

    “Don’t disappoint me with further comments that downplay military campaigns, Ravi. I suspect that you are brighter than that.”

    Mia cosa dolce… I am disappointed… You should know me very well by now to overstimate my capabilities. :(

    “Ravi, seriously. I mean, it seems almost nonsensical to provide you with examples about how US missiles blew up markets in Iraq because they have been widely reported… Why are you blowing off state terrorism? “

    I am aware of the mess that the US has brought to Iraq. I just think it is completely unhinged, a complete distortion (although fashionable and politically correct) to caricature the US and the UK as evil terrorists who go on and try to kill as many civilians as they can, you know, like Al Qaeda.

    The fact is that the US/UK are trying to maintain peace and stability in Iraq, and Al Qaeda’s goal is destroying, dividing and killing as many civillians as it can to achieve that. So, how can anyone say that Al Qaeda is less barbaric and attrocious?

    Mind you, there is nothing to be proud that the US/UK are trying to bring stability to Iraq – they were reduced to that mission after one of the most disastrous foreign policy decisions ever.

  36. Ravi Naik — on 8th February, 2008 at 10:42 pm  

    We recently had an article on the CIA use of torture. Number of comments pointing out the atrocities by AQ et al = nil.
    An article on AQ atrocities. Number of comments pointing out the iniquities of the occupying force = 6.
    Moral relativism seems to be a one-way street, no?

    Heh. As always, Don, you hit the nail on the head.

  37. Ravi Naik — on 8th February, 2008 at 10:46 pm  

    Ravi, apology accepted, and apology given on my part for losing my cool and causing any offence to you by means of insult.

    You don’t have to apologise, as you were far more courteous than I deserved.

    I don’t believe they will use children because in my head that is a line they won’t cross

    I hope you are right. I wonder why are they using people with mental disabilities. Are they running out of people willing to suicide?

  38. douglas clark — on 8th February, 2008 at 11:10 pm  

    Still and all, it does take the idea of assymetrical warfare to a level of barbarism that perhaps only states were allowed in the past?

    What, for instance, was morally different about the Kamikaze guys of Japan, who, presumeably were sane and rational, except for the imprimature of state approval? Would it not be harder to subvert the concience of an allegedly sane human being than it would be to either con or subvert someone weaker? Perhaps that is what states are better at. Which is maybe why warfare is so prevelant.

  39. Bert Preast — on 9th February, 2008 at 1:59 am  

    Japan’s kamikazes didn’t fly into Filipino marketplaces. To have done so would have been considered a waste, rather than a shower of glory.

  40. douglas clark — on 9th February, 2008 at 2:15 am  

    Bert,

    Point. But flying into American Aircraft Carriers was a shower of glory, from the states point of view, I mean? You have got to have a ridiculous grip on folks’ psychology to get them to do anything like that.

    My point being, merely, that states, have, up until recently, almost had a monopoly on aggression.

    Now it is different, and as Jai posted, now it is even more disgusting.

  41. Bert Preast — on 9th February, 2008 at 2:32 am  

    I don’t like suicide bombers. Not my idea of making war fun at all, to be frank. If they manage to vapourise themselves on a military target I’ll grant them some grudging respect, but tooling up and bimbling down the shops – nah. They’re just exploding retards, nothing more.

    This case is of course different, in that the brave shaheeds actually were retards so I’m not going to hold them responsible for their actions or feel anything but a sort of weary and tragic sympathy. It’s beyond belief. I can only hope some of the victims’ brothers catch up with those who planned this little scheme, and seriously go to town on them. If we catch them, I’ll be honestly disappointed.

  42. Desi Italiana — on 9th February, 2008 at 2:58 am  

    Ravi,

    “Mia cosa dolce… I am disappointed… You should know me very well by now to overstimate my capabilities.”

    Er…”mia cosa dolce” is not a very nice thing to say in Italian, very few people say it, and when they do, they come off as sexist perverts, FYI.

    Besides that, I am sorry I said “Don’t disappoint me.” That was very matronly, and not nice to say to someone I’ve never met :)

  43. Desi Italiana — on 9th February, 2008 at 2:59 am  

    “I’m against violence, regardless of the perpetrator, e.g., CIA or AQ, the State.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with Muhamed [peace be upon him]. His comment is the most consistent here.

  44. douglas clark — on 9th February, 2008 at 7:22 am  

    Bert @ 41,

    Yup, we are going to hell on a handcart. Which I think was more or less Jai’s point. But I do think that when a state glorifies the, so called martyrs, it does, kind of, encourage this sort of nonsense. Did our dead hero Saddam, not pay out money to the families of suicidal maniacs? A kind of incentive scheme.

  45. Ravi Naik — on 9th February, 2008 at 10:30 am  

    Er…”mia cosa dolce” is not a very nice thing to say in Italian, very few people say it, and when they do, they come off as sexist perverts, FYI.

    Heh. That’s what happens when you make off-the-shelf translations to a culture you hardly know. :) Thanks for letting me know.

    Besides that, I am sorry I said “Don’t disappoint me.” That was very matronly, and not nice to say to someone I’ve never met

    You did reminded me of my mother, though you were a bit nicer. ;)

  46. Rohin — on 9th February, 2008 at 10:39 am  

    Down’s Syndrome is now Down Syndrome.
    Asymmetricalness…asymmetry?

    Don’s comment at 29 was spot on.

    I find it odd we are expending breath (typing breath) on such an odd debate. If one examines what you are arguing about, it’s who is meaner. Surely the salient point is that death is the result in both cases. Those who suggest the US/UK army has moral high ground lost that right some time ago. Those who suggest AQ has the moral high ground are insane.

    Jai I think it’s a bit disingenuous to say:

    the Al Qaeda cult (I am not going to dignify them by associating them with the organised religion of Islam)

    I know what you mean. But they are, quite patently, associated with Islam.

  47. Saqib — on 9th February, 2008 at 11:42 am  

    Sid:

    Here is an example of a state where the clergy work with the autocratic state http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7236128.stm.

    Women are finally allowed to wear the hijab it seems in universities in a country whose population is 99% Muslim. rather backs up my point about the complexities of power dynamics within the Muslim world.

  48. Saqib — on 9th February, 2008 at 11:43 am  

    Opps…sorry…wrong thread.

  49. Ravi Naik — on 9th February, 2008 at 2:23 pm  

    “I find it odd we are expending breath (typing breath) on such an odd debate. If one examines what you are arguing about, it’s who is meaner. Surely the salient point is that death is the result in both cases.”

    Well, death is also the result of living – if you want to look at it in the most philosophical of ways. :)

    “Those who suggest the US/UK army has moral high ground lost that right some time ago. Those who suggest AQ has the moral high ground are insane.”

    It is not a question of who has the moral high-ground or meaner – that is subjective, but the goals of each of the parties. And moral relativity means that Iraqis have the right to fight against foreign occupation, but what we see is a bunch of foreign psychopaths (AQ) who have moved to Iraq and are specifically targeting Iraqi civilians to destabilise peace, rule of law and order.

    Hence, framing UK/US with the same terms as AQ is in my view wrong – and that was the discussion starting from #1.

    Again, I know I am saying something very politically incorrect in Left-wing circles, but unlike right-wingers, I have no sympathy for this war since the beginning, and I would like to see George W in a war crimes tribunal at some point.

    “I know what you mean. But they are, quite patently, associated with Islam.”

    They have associated themselves with Islam. There’s a subtle difference.

  50. Jai — on 9th February, 2008 at 5:54 pm  

    Don,

    We recently had an article on the CIA use of torture. Number of comments pointing out the atrocities by AQ et al = nil.
    An article on AQ atrocities. Number of comments pointing out the iniquities of the occupying force = 6.
    Moral relativism seems to be a one-way street, no?

    To echo Ravi in #36, you’re absolutely spot on.

    I wonder what the reaction would have been if I’d turned this around and written an article about CIA torture, Gitmo, extraordinary rendition, “collateral damage” etc whilst repeatedly referring to AQ’s atrocities in an effort to explain & rationalise these actions (especially the torture and collateral damage) if not necessarily justifying them, and subsequently making allusions to moral equivalence.

    I think we all know what the reaction here would be.

    Which, incidentally, was also my point on Sunny’s recent cow-killing thread (last paragraph, post #41).

    It appears that criticising (and depending on the situation, even ridiculing) any other groups is perfectly fine and dealt with on an objective case-by-case basis, but point the finger at anyone associated with Islam and Muslims — even terrorists like AQ — and the immediate reaction is outraged indignation and, as in this case, counterattacks referring to other parties who are claimed to have engaged in equally bad/even “worse” crimes.

    It’s quite revealing about how people’s minds sometimes work. Less hypocrisy and less double-standards would definitely be a good idea.

  51. Muhamad [peace be upon me] — on 9th February, 2008 at 5:54 pm  

    Desi @ 43
    Thanks.
    “there’s no greater reverence than reverence for life.” Mahavira

    Ravi @ 49
    Everybody’s identity is by association (as Rohin astutely points out), and, if we reason as such, we’d be compelled to say that “there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross;” the rest are merely by association. Such is the nature of what the French might call ‘the existential marinade’. :-)

  52. Jai — on 9th February, 2008 at 5:59 pm  

    The paragraph in #50 between “We recently had an article on the CIA….” and “one-way street, no?” should obviously be in red font as it’s a quote from one of Don’s previous posts. Someone bring back the preview function, please.

    Ravi, apology accepted, and apology given on my part for losing my cool and causing any offence to you by means of insult.

    You don’t have to apologise, as you were far more courteous than I deserved.

    Random Guy and Ravi, thank you both very much for clearing that up in such a civilised and mature manner.

  53. Muhamad [peace be upon me] — on 9th February, 2008 at 5:59 pm  

    Jai @ 50
    It’s interesting Jai. What you are saying reminds me of an Israeli psychologist who tested some Israeli children with different historical characters using the same situational template.

  54. Jai — on 9th February, 2008 at 6:18 pm  

    Rohin,

    Excellent post by you, re: #46.

    I know what you mean. But they are, quite patently, associated with Islam.

    Ravi’s subsequent response is a good point. AQ are violating multiple core tenets of Islam, particularly in relation to injunctions involving warfare, and just because they claim that their actions and ideology are “Islamic” it doesn’t mean this is actually the case.

    The more I think about it, the more I feel that they’re just extracting whatever they feel is useful from Islam as an organised religion, distorting it to suit their own personal & political purposes, adding whatever else they need to further their agenda (and to draw new recruits & “inspire” those already present), and claiming to act as pious Muslims in order to give their ideology the veneer of religious authenticity — even if they are simultaneously actually violating multiple principles of the very religion they claim to represent.

    I made this analogy a couple of months ago here, but to reiterate, I don’t see much difference between some Aztec “priest” hauling a prisoner to the top of a pyramid and killing him in front of the assembled masses, and a member of AQ decapitating a prisoner in front of a live internet feed which is also being watched by large numbers of viewers. Both cults claim divine sanction and both are essentially performing human sacrifices.

  55. Ravi Naik — on 9th February, 2008 at 6:22 pm  

    I wonder what the reaction would have been if I’d turned this around and written an article about CIA torture, Gitmo, extraordinary rendition, “collateral damage” etc whilst repeatedly referring to AQ’s atrocities in an effort to explain & rationalise these actions

    Well said, Jai. Because that is exactly the reasoning behind Bush-backers.

    Everybody’s identity is by association (as Rohin astutely points out), and, if we reason as such, we’d be compelled to say that “there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross;” the rest are merely by association

    I don’t think you can be associated to an organisation unless your beliefs and actions are accepted by the mainstream. Otherwise, that’s like you being automatically invited to any party just by showing up.
    Is that the case of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in relation to Islam?

  56. Jai — on 9th February, 2008 at 6:35 pm  

    <blockquoteI don’t believe they will use children because in my head that is a line they won’t cross

    As I mentioned in #21 (3rd paragraph, URL to another Times Online article), apparently they’re already using children as soldiers now. Since AQ don’t have a problem with the concept of suicide bombing, it wouldn’t necessarily be a huge leap for them to use children in this way too.

    I hope you are right. I wonder why are they using people with mental disabilities. Are they running out of people willing to suicide?

    I’ve wondered about this too. Maybe it’s for the publicity and/or “shock value”, or even as some form of twisted emotional blackmail to try to force their adversaries to capitulate. Eg: “We know how horrific you find this, so you’d better desist/surrender/etc otherwise we’ll keep doing it”. Playing on their opponent’s moral outrage, basically.

    Or maybe it’s just a matter of them finding easy victims to use as cannon fodder, as I mentioned before. Adnan’s remark in #33 about AQ steadily becoming increasingly debased is an excellent point; it probably also has something to do with the psychology of being on a morally downward spiral and “pushing the boat out” by engaging in more and more depraved actions, if one is getting away with it, if one feels one is being successful, and if one feels that one is sufficiently justified (or can rationalise/excuse it to oneself). Blaming the victim for allegedly placing you in a position where you have to resort to increasingly nasty behaviour is a common phenomenon, and possibly also applies here.

    ************

    Someone over on Sepia Mutiny recently linked to an online article analysing the psychology of jihadis. I’ll try to track it down (can’t make any promises as it will involve trawling through their recent archives_, but if anyone else here also reads SM and knows exactly which post I’m referring to, please feel free to post the URL of that article here.

  57. Desi Italiana — on 9th February, 2008 at 7:05 pm  

    I think Saqib’s comment #47 is spot on.

  58. marvin — on 9th February, 2008 at 7:09 pm  

    We really shouldn’t be surprised. This is no precedent, Palestinian terrorist groups regularly recruit the vulnerable for detonation.

    Arguably, anyone who is so naive and misguided to think they will go to heaven for killing yourself and other innocent people is vulnerable, gullible…

  59. marvin — on 9th February, 2008 at 7:13 pm  

    *not necessarily naive/misguided as this case proves – just sadly incapable of defending themselves against this people or even the ability to understand the situation

  60. Sunny — on 9th February, 2008 at 7:58 pm  

    We recently had an article on the CIA use of torture. Number of comments pointing out the atrocities by AQ et al = nil.
    An article on AQ atrocities. Number of comments pointing out the iniquities of the occupying force = 6.
    Moral relativism seems to be a one-way street, no?

    A good point, as ever Don. But I think thats partly because we don’t have any AQ defenders on here and it would be completely stupid to do so. On the other hand, there are far too many people who seem to keep defending US/UK foreign policy as if its always ethical or driven by moral considerations. It’s not.

    The use of cluster bombs during the Israel/Lebanon war (only as a very recent example, not because Israel is alone in this) and the complete silence on that by our govt and the pro-war crew is example of this. Our silence on China’s human rights records, Indonesia etc… and unwillingness to do anything serious (economically) about Burma and Sri Lanka is further example. There is still far too much state terrorism and too many of its defenders.

    On other points – I’d say the LTTE is perhaps the craziest and most bloodthirsty terrorist group around. This does not incl governments. On that I’d probably nominate the Chinese.

  61. Desi Italiana — on 9th February, 2008 at 8:08 pm  

    Is everyone equating the extent of a group’s violence to the violence executed by a state? I mean, states have way more weaponry and sophisticated means of mass destruction, not crude bombs, homemade missiles, and suicide bombers at their disposal.

    Again, I agree with Muhamad (p.b.u.h) that for me death by any group/individual/state is implorable, but to equate the degrees of violence and its consequences as enacted by groups vs. states is not really accurate.

  62. Desi Italiana — on 9th February, 2008 at 8:16 pm  

    Rohin:

    “If one examines what you are arguing about, it’s who is meaner. Surely the salient point is that death is the result in both cases.”

    Absolutely. But there are people who either excuse, or worse, justify state terrorism, when state terrorism can arguably unleash way more destruction and death than any group can. And people excuse the state’s actions because they are…well, the state, and we see them have having the legitimacy to practice the monopoly of violence/power. I, however, believe that states should be held just as accountable as any group. This is at least what I am thinking when I bring up state terrorism.

  63. Desi Italiana — on 9th February, 2008 at 8:26 pm  

    “We recently had an article on the CIA use of torture. Number of comments pointing out the atrocities by AQ et al = nil.
    An article on AQ atrocities. Number of comments pointing out the iniquities of the occupying force = 6.
    Moral relativism seems to be a one-way street, no?”

    There might be unspoken indignation about the state ABUSING its legitimate monopoly of violence precisely because of the autonomy of that right.

    BTW, no one has mentioned this here on the thread, but AQ wasn’t in Iraq until the little US/UK invasion/occupation of Iraq.

    http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/11/iraq-war-al-qaeda-extended.html

  64. marvin — on 9th February, 2008 at 9:32 pm  

    BTW, no one has mentioned this here on the thread, but AQ wasn’t in Iraq until the little US/UK invasion/occupation of Iraq.

    That’s quite correct. It had Saddam’s totalitarian dictatorship under the guise of Baath socialism. Saddam knew how torture and execute. The young these days. Trying to teach an old grany how to suck eggs.

    AQ aren’t a patch on his regime. On one day at Abu Grahib prison, 600 prisoners were summarily executed on Saddams orders.

    AQ using chlorine bomb to kill and maim handfuls of people at a time? Pah!

    Saddam gased 180,000 using mustard gas. the nerve agent GB, and Sarin in just 3 months. AQ in Iraq, your are really are fanatic amateurs compared to Saddam.

    Nope. AQ aren’t a patch on Saddams terror.

  65. Ravi Naik — on 9th February, 2008 at 11:42 pm  

    A good point, as ever Don. But I think thats partly because we don’t have any AQ defenders on here and it would be completely stupid to do so. On the other hand, there are far too many people who seem to keep defending US/UK foreign policy as if its always ethical or driven by moral considerations

    Not sure what kind reasoning you are using. If one were defending US/UK foreign policy and methods as much as you claim, then a thread about CIA torture would bring up AQ as some sort of an excuse. However you found no mention of AQ, actually I do not think anyone agreed with torture against its prisoners of war – including AQ suspects (not sure if Morgoth was around though). But a thread talking about Al Qaeda and its barbaric methods inevitably brings up US/UK, and not acknowledging the US/UK as a terrorist state brings… as I have learnt… disappointment to some. Which leads me to the next point.

    “There is still far too much state terrorism and too many of its defenders.”

    How do you define state terrorism? Any state that performs military intervention – where deaths and violence occur – is by definition a terrorist state?
    Is the UK a terrorist state?

    Is everyone equating the extent of a group’s violence to the violence executed by a state

    No, clearly not – as Al Qaeda is winning in Iraq. Why is that? With all the planes, bombs and so forth, how come the US is losing the war against – as you say – just a group of people with little more than being able to mix with civilians and bomb them?

    One would think that a terrorist state – given its might and power – could learn the winning tactics of the terrorist group, and the results would be much far more succesful, no?

  66. marvin — on 9th February, 2008 at 11:56 pm  

    It’s funny that all those people who think that the UK & US commits ‘state terrorism’ deny that Hamas is a terrorist organisation, and tend to go to ‘anti-war’ marches with signs saying “We are all Hizbollah now”…

  67. Ravi Naik — on 10th February, 2008 at 1:01 am  

    “The use of cluster bombs during the Israel/Lebanon war (only as a very recent example, not because Israel is alone in this) and the complete silence on that by our govt and the pro-war crew is example of this. Our silence on China’s human rights records, Indonesia etc… and unwillingness to do anything serious (economically) about Burma and Sri Lanka is further example. There is still far too much state terrorism and too many of its defenders.”

    So, you do believe that the UK should intervene against dictators and rogue states. But I am unware of any rogue state that has be toppled by economic sanctions or by being vocal about it, have you?. At most, it is the people that live under it that suffer, not the dictator or the government elites. So these people suffer in both ways: the economic embargo and the rutheless regime. So, all these actions are at best symbolic and meaningless.

    The only serious action is military intervention – but that would mean violence and deaths, and according to this thread becoming a terrorist state. So, it seems that rather than defending a terrorist state, a more consistent, and perhaps pragmatic position, is to defend no intervention at all, no matter how ruthless a dictator is.

    I don’t want to mischaracterise anyone’s position here, but I would prefer if people could get out of their moral high horses, and admit that there are no easy answers when it comes to dealing with rogue states. Perhaps we should move beyond the “you are pro-Iraq war you defend a terrorist state”/”you are anti-war you defend Saddam” narrative, as the reality is much more complex.

  68. Bert Preast — on 10th February, 2008 at 3:05 am  

    AQ were in Iraq during Saddam’s time. And he knew they were. It was all rather sneaky beaky mind, and I’m in no way saying he colluded with them on 9/11 or anything. In many ways they disagreed so would never have trusted each other at that sort of level – but in other ways their aims were the same and I can’t see why it’d be considered strange they’d work together.

  69. Bert Preast — on 10th February, 2008 at 3:06 am  

    Always a chuckle those who reckon the CIA worked with AQ but Saddam’s lads would have nothing to do with them.

  70. fugstar — on 10th February, 2008 at 3:11 am  

    “is to defend no intervention at all, no matter how ruthless a dictator is. ”

    i think that should be britains policy coupled with a begging for forgiveness for past sins and calculation and return of stolen wealth they called revenue (incl inflation). also a ban on brit mercenaries messing up already existing messes, refusal to allow nasties to hold bank accounts here and refusal to promote rubbish/cowboy universities in the developing world.

    south asian specifics include return of tipu sultant tiger, sword and the kohinoor to their sites of theft.

    this is a moderate position that will allow britain to get over its dirty past and move forward in a less harmful more sustainable way. there is no way of recovering a lot of what was destroyed, these is the least a former empire can do. and then the colonial angst card can be incinerated.

  71. Desi Italiana — on 10th February, 2008 at 3:22 am  

    Bert Prest:

    “AQ were in Iraq during Saddam’s time.”

    You are incorrect about this. The 9/11 Commission came to the opposite conclusion, and you can read the 9/11 report online.

  72. Desi Italiana — on 10th February, 2008 at 3:23 am  

    Bert Preast:

    “but in other ways their aims were the same and I can’t see why it’d be considered strange they’d work together.”

    Not sure if you are bringing up two thoroughly discredited propositions that you have brought up here just to be cute, but again, the above assertion is false, it’s in the 9/11 Commission report.

  73. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 5:03 am  

    Out of curiosity what are you all arguing about?

  74. Ravi Naik — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:45 am  

    Out of curiosity what are you all arguing about?

    #47 sums up nicely.

  75. soru — on 10th February, 2008 at 11:07 am  

    You are incorrect about this. The 9/11 Commission came to the opposite conclusion, and you can read the 9/11 report online.

    Err, if you read that report, you will see Bert is correct. The point the report makes is that those al-qaedaesqe groups, who were involved in regular suicide bombings of Kurdish targets, had no particular connection to 9/11.

    The fact that suicide bombings kicked off shortly after the invasion obviously also demonstrates this – there would have been no time for a group starting from scratch to have set up operations, recruited and trained up bombers, etc.

  76. Ravi Naik — on 10th February, 2008 at 11:27 am  

    “You are incorrect about this. The 9/11 Commission came to the opposite conclusion, and you can read the 9/11 report online.”

    Bert is right – they were active in Iraq against Kurd forces. Page 61 of the 9/11 report, Desi.

  77. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 11:44 am  

    Jai wrote:
    Hopefully, it should also serve as a warning signal for anyone who has sympathies towards Al Qaeda’s cause and, in the more extreme cases, may even be considering signing up, including our homegrown wannabe jihadis. At the very least, it should provide clear signs of exactly what kind of people are already involved.

    I don’t think these abuses by al-qaeda, “al-qaedaesqe groups”, jihadists, former Ba’ath secret police or whatever you want to call them has any bearing on recruitment figures to these groups within Iraq. It is very possible that they view the lives of the women who were used as detonating carriers to have been put to good use because they benefit twofold: they are headed to ‘janna’ because they are now martyrs (as opposed to murdered) and secondly, they have sacrificed their lives to the freedom of Iraq against the invaders.

    The US army similarly will not experience any drop in recruiting numbers because of, say the abuses at Haditha that was committed by their numbers.

    This is because either side assumes the ‘monopoly of legitimate violence’, the absolute restriction of powers of forcible restraint to those who administer statutory law.

    And in the absence of any one group or adminsitraive body excercising absolute statutory law in Iraq, abuses commited by both sides such as this incident or Haditha, will continue without impunity.

  78. Jai — on 10th February, 2008 at 12:32 pm  

    Muhamad,

    It’s interesting Jai. What you are saying reminds me of an Israeli psychologist who tested some Israeli children with different historical characters using the same situational template.

    Exactly. The disparate reactions to allegedly similar scenarios is quite curious. Perhaps in some cases it’s also an indication of where a person’s primary sympathies actually lie.

    ******************

    Ravi,

    #47 sums up nicely.

    Either a post was deleted during my absence or presumably you’re actually referring to Rohin’s post #46. Have I missed something overnight ?

    How do you define state terrorism? Any state that performs military intervention – where deaths and violence occur – is by definition a terrorist state?
    Is the UK a terrorist state?

    Good question. Still awaiting an answer from the parties that query was aimed at.

    One would think that a terrorist state – given its might and power – could learn the winning tactics of the terrorist group, and the results would be much far more succesful, no?

    Exactly. It’s also worth pondering that, although the terrorists are apparently using every tactic and resource at their disposal (and becoming more and more depraved as time passes), the same is not the case with Western forces. This doesn’t mean that there haven’t been grave abuses on their part too — as has already been well-documented and discussed — but they are not quite going for an “eye for an eye” approach and are not using all of the weaponry, resources and methods they have available (if you really think about it).

    *************

    I don’t think these abuses by al-qaeda, “al-qaedaesqe groups”, jihadists, former Ba’ath secret police or whatever you want to call them has any bearing on recruitment figures to these groups within Iraq.

    What abour recruitment within the UK ?

    Which also brings us to a partinent point — the notion of homegrown jihadis being further “inspired” by AQ in Iraq and deciding to duplicate the methods we have been discussing here (especially in my main article) in order to attack civilians in the UK.

  79. Jai — on 10th February, 2008 at 12:41 pm  

    Which also brings us to a partinent point

    “Pertinent”, of course.

    - the notion of homegrown jihadis being further “inspired” by AQ in Iraq and deciding to duplicate the methods we have been discussing here (especially in my main article) in order to attack civilians in the UK.

    …..ie. use of the disabled, children etc.

    Paranoid ? I certainly hope so.

    Improbable ? Not sure anymore. Is it ?

  80. soru — on 10th February, 2008 at 12:54 pm  

    I think the ‘perfect symmetry’ argument would be rather more persuasive if al qaeda arrested and tried any of their members found to have killed civilians, then made and distributed films condemning them.

    On an individual, moral level, killers of the innocent are equally bad. On a rational, strategic level, you have to ask which path might just lead to a situation where there is the peaceful rule of law, and which path won’t. Different people from different backgounds will have different views on that. Last years big development in Iraq was that some significant groups seem to have changed their judgement on that issue.

    One thing that seems clear to me is that it is not going to be exactly 50/50, evenly balanced, too close to call…

  81. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 1:04 pm  

    Except that in the case of Haditha, the US army never “arrested and tried any of their members found to have killed civilians, then made and distributed films condemning them.”

    Rather, it was Time magazine reporter’s questions who prompted the US military to open an investigation into the incident. The investigation claimed it found evidence that “supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot civilians, including unarmed women and children”.

    You might instead ask for “accountability” from al-Qaeda to the US media. But if you’re going launch an illegal invasion of a country based on lies, you will have to be prepared to abide by the principle of ‘eating your own dogfood’. The US have realised that they no longer enjoy the ‘monopoly of legitimate violence’ which I’m sure many wish they still did.

  82. Jai — on 10th February, 2008 at 1:30 pm  

    Someone over on Sepia Mutiny recently linked to an online article analysing the psychology of jihadis. I’ll try to track it down (can’t make any promises as it will involve trawling through their recent archives), but if anyone else here also reads SM and knows exactly which post I’m referring to, please feel free to post the URL of that article here.

    Found it:

    Main discussion thread on SM.

    Specific comment I was referring to.

    …..and the URL of the analysis of AQ terrorist psychology which he linked to (it’s another article by the Times). Very interesting reading.

  83. Ravi Naik — on 10th February, 2008 at 2:10 pm  

    And in the absence of any one group or adminsitraive body excercising absolute statutory law in Iraq, abuses commited by both sides such as this incident or Haditha, will continue without impunity.

    How does the following facts fit into your little narrative?

    a) The goal of AQ in this incident was really to kill as many civilians as possible, b) The US soldiers who committed the attrocities in Haditha did it on their own not on US directives, and c) the main perpetrator is now facing 12 counts of murder?

    This is the first time that I remember that I have been defending the Americans. With so much to criticise about this administration and its foreign policy, it seems totally unhinged to put the US and Al Qaeda on the same boat.

  84. Ravi Naik — on 10th February, 2008 at 2:13 pm  

    “The US have realised that they no longer enjoy the ‘monopoly of legitimate violence’ which I’m sure many wish they still did.”

    In what conditions does anyone have the monopoly of legtimate violence?

  85. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 2:16 pm  

    Well in essence, a government grants it’s military the right to legitimate violence prior to launching a war. This is why Lord Denning’s legal advice to Blair had to be watertight. We later found out it wasn’t.

  86. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 2:26 pm  

    Sorry, not Denning, I meant Goldsmith. I’m just reading a <a href=”http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lord-Denning-Discipline-Law-Alfred/dp/0406176051/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202653443&sr=1-1″biography of Denning I nicked off someone.

  87. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 2:27 pm  

    Sorry, not Denning, I meant Goldsmith. I’m just reading a biography of Denning I nicked off someone.

  88. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 2:36 pm  


    a) The goal of AQ in this incident was really to kill as many civilians as possible, b) The US soldiers who committed the attrocities in Haditha did it on their own not on US directives, and c) the main perpetrator is now facing 12 counts of murder?

    These are all categorically true.

    The difference between AQ and the US Army strategies is that AQ wantst to be seen to be as killing as many civilians as possible. This is, after all, what terrorism’s fundamental aim is. Whereas a modern army must be seen to kill as few civilians as possible and even be made to suffer punitive measures if found guilty of crimes against civillians.

    This is why the US army tried its best to cover up Haditha and it wasn’t until Time magazine uncovered it that the world got to know about the details.

    We can only speculate how many Haditha type incidents have happened without our knowledge in the last 5 years in Iraq.

  89. Anas — on 10th February, 2008 at 4:01 pm  

    From giving a brief glance to some of the entries on the thread I can recognise this as the same argument I’ve had on PP countless times before. It reminds me of the title of one of Noam Chomsky’s books, Culture of Terrorism. It’s as if most of us are so immersed in Western propaganda having successfully internalised its basic precepts, are so willing to credulously swallow everything we’re fed, that gaining some kind of perspective is near impossible.

    Terrorism isn’t just about strapping bombs to people with learning difficulties, essentially it’s about generating in a population through violence or the threat of violence: in other words do what we want or else you’re gonna get it. And basically that’s what going on in Iraq/Afghanistan. Much as people would like to equate the resistance in Iraq with AQ, it’s just not the case. Anyone who thinks the coalition’s shock and awe tactics (with their innumerable civilian casualties, which we all happily write off as mere collateral damage) aren’t intended to send a terrorist message to any Iraqi who’s unwilling to accept the US has a god given right to be in his country probably still thinks Saddam was behind 9/11.

    And yes I agree AQ are human scum, but to constantly set up this ‘us’ ‘them’ dichotomy where we can safely point our fingers at ‘them’ is often in a way of having to avoid acknowledging our own barbarism. That we can invade and destroy countries with little regard for their populations, engineer situations which will inevitably lead to death and disaster, torture and horror, prop up the most despicable regimes, aid the destruction of Palestine… well that’s not barbarity, that’s just us protecting our interests. It’s rational, our leaders get no pleasure from being responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, therefore it can’t be barbarism.

    I mean take the case of Palestine — sorry to bring out the focus of my monomania as Jagdeep put it way back when — but I like bringing it up precisely because it exposes our double standards re: terrorism. I mean once again most of us were so immersed in the Western culture of terrorism that we couldn’t see how collectively punishing the whole population of Gaza, effectively attempting to starve them into submission, isn’t barbarism writ large. Isn’t an act of sheer terror. The classic example has to be Madeline Albright’s reponse to an interviewers asking her about the death of 1 million Iraqi children due to US sanctions, which was basically “it was worth it”.

  90. Jai — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:56 pm  

    I honestly want to know why you said in your first post that Al Qaeda would never use children as suicide bombers…..So, I am curious as to why you would say they would never cross that line.

    Before I say the following, I should mention that I’m well aware that the Taliban and AQ are not necessarily interchangeable (despite the historical overlaps between the two, especially re: OBL). However, according to today’s Sunday Express, the Taliban in Afghanistan are already training children to be suicide bombers.

    Main article here.

    First two paragraphs:

    “The ominous story of the Afghan boy trained to be a suicide bomber but now at a British state school is a terrible sign of the times.

    The boy, who is only 12, was tutored by Taliban terrorists. His mission was to blow himself up and kill as many British soldiers as possible. It was to be an act of revenge for his father who was killed fighting with the guerrillas.”

    So I guess that line has indeed already been crossed.

  91. Desi Italiana — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:29 pm  

    Ravi:

    “Bert is right – they were active in Iraq against Kurd forces. Page 61 of the 9/11 report, Desi.”

    I stand corrected, this is true. It also says that Saddam had no Islamist agenda.

  92. Desi Italiana — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:33 pm  

    Anas #89, I agree with you.

  93. soru — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:05 pm  

    The difference between AQ and the US Army strategies is that AQ wantst to be seen to be as killing as many civilians as possible.

    Yes, the first thing to understand is that it is not the case that some fraction of the human race is significantly more or less moral, more cruel, more heroic, than any other. People are, pretty much, people.

    The second if that systems matter, and a system under which massacres cannot be done publically, cannot be argued for, justified, arranged, kills a lot less people than one in which they are broadcast and boasted of, used as a spur for fund-raising. Sometimes, that killing advantage can overcome inferiorities of numbers and technology.

    If that open-massacre system works in Iraq, or is seen as having worked, it will work here, or at least be tried. Very likely by political actors much more significant than a few Bradford kids – successful military innovations are always adopted by the other side in a war.

    As much as I try to avoid being judgemental, I am really not keen on that prospect.

  94. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:11 pm  

    If that open-massacre system works in Iraq, or is seen as having worked, it will work here, or at least be tried. Very likely by political actors much more significant than a few Bradford kids – successful military innovations are always adopted by the other side in a war.

    There’s a leap of moral equivalence in that statement. Or perhaps even the willful refusal to note that the killing is happening not in Bradford, but in Iraq, and not all of it by AQ.

  95. soru — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:18 pm  

    There’s a leap of moral equivalence in that statement.

    I am trying to avoid making this about morality: either someone recognises that using the mentally disabled to massacre a marketplace full of civilians is wrong, or they don’t. If they don’t, no argument of mine is going to persuade them.

    Or perhaps even the willful refusal to note that the killing is happening not in Bradford, but in Iraq, and not all of it by AQ.

    I think it is important to try to avoid thinking about these things solely with the part of the brain that is hard-wired to process things in terms of ‘us against them’. If those are the only concepts available to someone, they end up with a stark choice of two options, defensive ‘us against them’, or Chomsky-style advocacy of ‘them against us’.

    There are words for different systems of economics: capitalism, socialism, corporatism. At least some of the time, those allow people to discuss those things without handing over control to the part of the human brain that is forever a monkey in a tree flinging poo at the monkey-tribe in the next tree.

    Of course, there is a small foolish minority who can’t do that, can’t talk about about Stalinist labour camps without feeling compelled to mention the homeless in New York, or vice versa. That’s classic monkey-poo logic.

    There needs to be something similar for matters of war and peace, who can kill who instead of merely who owns what.

  96. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:32 pm  

    I’d have more respect for advocates of the asymmetrical nature of anathema of the conflict if the were not accompanied by a blind spot that grants impunity to statutory violence when has clearly lost its right to be unquestioned. No one doubts that it is appalling to see live munitions strapped to disabled women on. Either on this thread or anywhere else.

    I think if there is one reason I support Obama, its because he doesn’t have this blind spot nor the baggage that compels him to support the US in Iraq simply because that looked like a good political choice in 2003 and damn all else.

    Its for USA to pull out. And I trust Obama will achieve that.

  97. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:40 pm  

    It is high time the USA pull out of Iraq. And I trust Obama will achieve that.

  98. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:43 pm  

    Sid:

    ‘It is high time the USA pull out of Iraq. And I trust Obama will achieve that.’

    Yes, although judging by a speech he gave last year, those US troops may be moving into Pakistan.

  99. Adnan — on 10th February, 2008 at 11:42 pm  

    Ravi @65:

    are AQ winning in Iraq? Surely, the two disabled women indicates desperation (as well as depravity)?

    Also, saying AQ are winning in Iraq, IMO, seems to say by implication that AQ ** are ** the opposition to the occupation, which I don’t think is true. AQ is not the only problem for stability. The Sunni-Shia conflict (ignoring AQ) itself is hugely brutal.

    One last thing, I guess the AQ-like group they talk about is the Kurdish group Ansar-Al-Islam. I’d guess that Saddam would’ve put up with them because they fought against the main Kurdish parties, but hardly evidence of a strategic link with AQ as the neo-cons were painting it.

  100. Anas — on 11th February, 2008 at 1:41 pm  

    Corr:

    “Terrorism isn’t just about strapping bombs to people with learning difficulties, essentially it’s about generating *fear* in a population through violence or the threat of violence: in other words do what we want or else you’re gonna get it”

  101. Ravi Naik — on 11th February, 2008 at 5:46 pm  

    Also, saying AQ are winning in Iraq, IMO, seems to say by implication that AQ ** are ** the opposition to the occupation

    But they *are* the opposition to the occupation since the beginning, and as far as I understand, the majority of Iraqis did support the ousting of Saddam in the beginning of the invasion, before it was evident how things would go very wrong (the shia and kurds are the majority and are obviously anti-Saddam).

    And AQ is definitely winning – just consider the goals of the Americans and AQ, and see who has accomplished the most.

  102. Jai — on 11th February, 2008 at 7:22 pm  

    Anas,

    “Terrorism isn’t just about strapping bombs to people with learning difficulties, essentially it’s about generating *fear* in a population through violence or the threat of violence: in other words do what we want or else you’re gonna get it”

    That’s stretching the definition quite a bit, because it implies that any kind of military action (justified or not) against an opponent can be classified as terrorism. What you are referring to is actually “unjustified aggression” with the intention of using violence or at least the threat of it to cause the adversary to capitulate.

    Violence (actual or potential) against aggressive parties in the spirit of self-defence or (in the military context) retaliation does not fall under this umbrella, even though both do involve violence — or at least the threat of it — to prevent the other party from continuing their aggression or even considering it.

    Terrorism is about attacking civilian non-combatants (and non-military targets per se) off the battlefield. Plain and simple. At least in my own view.

    And yes I agree AQ are human scum, but to constantly set up this ‘us’ ‘them’ dichotomy where we can safely point our fingers at ‘them’ is often in a way of having to avoid acknowledging our own barbarism.

    Not sure what you mean by “our” barbarism, buddy. See the next response.

    That we can invade and destroy countries with little regard for their populations, engineer situations which will inevitably lead to death and disaster, torture and horror, prop up the most despicable regimes,

    I do not support any of the above actions and am therefore not responsible for them, and certainly do not share the “barbarism” it may involve. The same applies to many commenters on PP and absolutely huge numbers of other ordinary people in the West, including the UK and the US.

    Therefore, I do not see why any of us have any obligation to “acknowledge our own [non-existent] barbarism” before we presumably have the right to criticise and condemn the actions and ethos of AQ.

    I understand the spirit and context of your thoughts here, but it comes down to the notion of collective guilt. Just because we live in Western nations which may have acted in certain negative ways, it does not mean we share personal blame for these sins. In the same way that by no means do all Muslims or residents of Muslim-majority countries share the blame or responsibility for the crimes of AQ.

    The counterexample would be someone based in one of those countries criticising Western foreign policy against Islamic groups/nations, and one of his fellow Muslims immediately saying “But what about AQ, what about *our” barbarity, and what right do we have to criticise Western nation X without simultaneously condemning the actions of AQ ?”.

    Flip this around and think it over, because it’s one of the things Ravi, Don and myself have been alluding to on this thread.

    Unless you want to imply that *all* the residents of Western countries share the blame and responsibility for their government’s international misdemeanours, regardless of whether they support those actions at all, just because they are all citizens of democratic nations. That’s the same logic that AQ uses to justify atrocities against Western civilians, whether we’re talking about 9/11 or the events of 7/7 right here in the UK.

    It’s as if most of us are so immersed in Western propaganda having successfully internalised its basic precepts, are so willing to credulously swallow everything we’re fed, that gaining some kind of perspective is near impossible.

    Given the near-unanimous condemnation by pretty much everyone on PP and (plenty of people in the real world) of the nasty activities I mentioned in #50, and the fact that a recent PP thread dealing with some of these issues did not trigger responses mentioning the atrocities of AQ etc in an attempt to either “explain” those actions or to “provide balance”, it may be worthwhile mentioning that perhaps people are not as “immersed in Western propaganda” as much as you think. Indeed, the term “Western propaganda” itself is a misnomer, because whilst some members of some governments may have attempted to justify those activities using clever semantics and self-rationalising logic, there has been an absolutely huge degree of condemnation in many sections of the Western media (albeit not the Fox News-type outlets and people/groups with a similar mindset) and in wider society as a whole.

    Looking at this another way, one could also say that some people (both here on PP and in the real world) are so immersed in promoting or at least safeguarding & defending the interest of Muslims per se that they cannot stand any criticism of negative actions committed by Muslims (or, as in the case of AQ, people claiming to be Muslims) without making knee-jerk simultaneous retaliatory condemnations of the supposed misdemenours of any groups perceived or alleged to have opposed, threatened, or attacked the interests of other Muslims.

    The above is a general statement and not necessarily aimed at you personally, although your post #89 does veer worryingly close to this reaction.

    Like I said before, it’s an interesting indication of where a person’s primary loyalties and sympathies actually lie; especially if it appears that no group who happens to Muslim can be criticised or condemned by non-Muslims without generating simultaneous “Tu Quoque” finger-pointing, regardless of how genuine and justified the original criticism may be. It’s obfuscation to say the least.

  103. Ravi Naik — on 11th February, 2008 at 7:56 pm  

    That’s stretching the definition quite a bit, because it implies that any kind of military action (justified or not) against an opponent can be classified as terrorism.

    Yes, and this thread has been quite illuminating in that sense: people who brought out terms such as “state terrorism”, “monopoly of legitimate violence” or even lecture us about how wrong is to kill someone, have not said a word about how one defines state terrorism, or if intervening militarily against a ruthless dictator is always terrorism.

    I don’t have an easy answer for that question. Part of me thinks it is almost criminal for the West to mind its own business or give a symbolic lecture while people in some countries are suffering, being killed, and being oppressed. Yes, military intervention will involve violence and death, but cannot be always called terrorism, can it?

  104. Sid — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:26 pm  

    not always, but an illegal war is an illegal war. Iraq is now a broken nation, traumatised and probably looking at the loss of at least 2 generations before it becomes fully functional again. And that even if it doesn’t splinter into 2 maybe 3 countries. Just because that cannot be defined as terrorism, should it remain unspoken?

  105. Anas — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:59 pm  

    That’s stretching the definition quite a bit, because it implies that any kind of military action (justified or not) against an opponent can be classified as terrorism. What you are referring to is actually “unjustified aggression” with the intention of using violence or at least the threat of it to cause the adversary to capitulate.
    Violence (actual or potential) against aggressive parties in the spirit of self-defence or (in the military context) retaliation does not fall under this umbrella, even though both do involve violence — or at least the threat of it — to prevent the other party from continuing their aggression or even considering it.

    OK maybe I didn’t make it absolutely 100% idiotproof clear: terrorism is about generating fear in a population (which I wrote before) in order to achieve some political or military gain — but I *did* use the term “population” before to indicate the indescrtminate nature of terrorism. It is explicitly about achieving military gains through terrorising a *population* (and not just combatants other soldiers/fighters) which includes civilians, in other words children, the elderly, non-combatants is unproblematic — which is what you yourself define it as (except you don’t allow for the effectiveness of the mere threat of violence), so you probably misread what I wrote.

    I do not support any of the above actions and am therefore not responsible for them, and certainly do not share the “barbarism” it may involve. The same applies to many commenters on PP and absolutely huge numbers of other ordinary people in the West, including the UK and the US.
    Therefore, I do not see why any of us have any obligation to “acknowledge our own [non-existent] barbarism” before we presumably have the right to criticise and condemn the actions and ethos of AQ.

    So in your opinion in our nominally democratic state, we the citizens have absolutely zero say and therefore no responsibility over the actions which are carried out in our name across the world, absolutely no power to influence decision making procedures at least insofar as foreign policy is concerned. Wow how cynical is that?
    Personally I believe that even if we don’t agree with the position our government takes, even if we didn’t vote for the government in power, even if we didn’t vote, we still bear the responsibility of attempting to do everything in our power to alter policies of our governments which are immoral — obviously through peaceful legal means, before some arsehole accuses me of terrorist apologetics. To just wash your hands of what is happening and claim “it’s nothing to do with me” just seems either utterly cowardly or beyond cynical.

    As for what you were saying re the many commenters on PP, but I’m not entirely sure it would qualify as the majority. Nor would I say that these absolutely huge numbers constitute a clear majority (though maybe they are a majority).

    At the end of the day the issue of whether we should have an obligation to recognise and acknowledge our own moral failings, or at least those moral failings over which we have more of a say over and above eg, those of a terrorist organisation to whom none of us belong, seems ethically completely unproblematic.Unless you think we have as much effect on AQ’s terrorist campaigning as we do on our government’s tactics in illegal wars abroad.

    I understand the spirit and context of your thoughts here, but it comes down to the notion of collective guilt. Just because we live in Western nations which may have acted in certain negative ways, it does not mean we share personal blame for these sins. In the same way that by no means do all Muslims or residents of Muslim-majority countries share the blame or responsibility for the crimes of AQ.

    Again the cynicism about our democratic system — and even the mere prospect of influencing the actions of a government who operate under an allegedly democratic mandate — is overpowering here. Even I don’t think things are that hopeless. This is my central point, which you probably don’t get: in the end the extent to which we’re responsible for any event is the extent to which we’re able to change things, and I’m not yet prepared to give up all hope of changing things as you seemingly are.

    The counterexample would be someone based in one of those countries criticising Western foreign policy against Islamic groups/nations, and one of his fellow Muslims immediately saying “But what about AQ, what about *our” barbarity, and what right do we have to criticise Western nation X without simultaneously condemning the actions of AQ ?”.

    But AQ don’t operate under a democratic mandate, (unless you think the whole electoral system is a complete sham, a myth designed to subdue a potentially restless population — and that the only basis on which we can therefore criticise our governments’ actions is on the basis that we’re both Western). Therefore why should any Muslim feel any real sense of responsbilty for AQ’s actions at least in the way that an adult of voting age should for those actions which hir government commits in hir name? I’m not claiming we should feel a collective sense of shame *just* because we’re Western, and the West is perpetrating these attrocities — though maybe there is a feeling of that, as there is with Muslims who feel ashamed about AQ’s actions.

    Unless you want to imply that *all* the residents of Western countries share the blame and responsibility for their government’s international misdemeanours, regardless of whether they support those actions at all, just because they are all citizens of democratic nations. That’s the same logic that AQ uses to justify atrocities against Western civilians, whether we’re talking about 9/11 or the events of 7/7 right here in the UK.

    No it’s not the same logic at all, because their logic has the extra assumption that noncombatants/civilians are fair game .Which I reject as a moral abomination — and as I think we both agree this is the fundamental axiom of the terrorist.On the other hand your logic seems to imply that the population of a relatively free liberal democracy has little or no responsibilty for the actions of their government — which goes against pretty much every notion of Western democracy there is..

    Indeed, the term “Western propaganda” itself is a misnomer, because whilst some members of some governments may have attempted to justify those activities using clever semantics and self-rationalising logic, there has been an absolutely huge degree of 0condemnation in many sections of the Western media (albeit not the Fox News-type outlets and people/groups with a similar mindset) and in wider society as a whole.

    Problematic assertions, but to go into the issue of the (whole of the mainstream) media’s systematic bias would make this a longer post than anyone could tolerate to read, so I’ll just mention its presence. Lenin’s Tomb does a pretty good analysis of these issues if you’re interested.

    Like I said before, it’s an interesting indication of where a person’s primary loyalties and sympathies actually lie; especially if it appears that no group who happens to Muslim can be criticised or condemned by non-Muslims without generating simultaneous “Tu Quoque” finger-pointing, regardless of

    If by this and your previous statements you’re
    referring to me, then I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood the sentiments behind my post completely. Seriously though dude if you want to avoid ad hominem when replying to my posts, imagine it’s not a Muslim writing, imagine it’s a non-Muslim, an atheist, a christian, whatever. If you still think the points you’re making in attacking me hold and are valid, then it’s not ad-hominem, if you have to bring in my background to criticise what I write, it probably is ad hominem and you should perhaps put a second or two’s more thought into it.

  106. Jai — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:59 pm  

    people who brought out terms such as “state terrorism”, “monopoly of legitimate violence” or even lecture us about how wrong is to kill someone, have not said a word about how one defines state terrorism, or if intervening militarily against a ruthless dictator is always terrorism.

    Flipping this around again, one wonders what the response would be if criticism of the West (or any group which may have opposed a Muslim group in any given situation) repeatedly triggered automatic retaliatory criticism of actions by Muslims, a distortion of the facts, or even outright denial.

    One could, indeed, propose that such a person either had a grudge against Muslims or (perhaps more accurately) a grudge against any group which threatened the interests and standing of the West/non-Muslim group.

    Again, it’s an illumunating indication of people’s priorities and biases.

    Just because that cannot be defined as terrorism, should it remain unspoken?

    No. Not at all. Dishonest, unscrupulous, or generally nasty behaviour should always be condemned, regardless of who perpetrates it and even if we share some kind of affiliation with the guilty party. One has to be ruthlessly honest and objective about such matters (again — as I mentioned on a previous occasion — in the interests of maintaining intellectual & moral honesty). And as previously mentioned by Don and others such as myself, I do not think there has ever been a history on PP of someone (at least in terms of regulars) attempting to sweep negative actions by Western groups in the so-called “War against Terror” under the carpet or attempting to excuse/justify/”explain” them.

    However, if someone repeatedly responded to references to such illegal actions with remarks about actual/alleged abhorrent actions by Muslim groups, even if the prime focus of the discussion is actually about the aforementioned illegal actions, and they were comparatively silent about criticising/condemning those actions, then it would indeed raise questions about what underlying agenda or mindset is involved here (eg. disproportionately/irrationally pro-Western and/or anti-Muslim).

  107. Sid — on 11th February, 2008 at 9:08 pm  

    Well I don’t have any “underlyig agenda or mindset” about my convictions about the Iraq war. I also think its a little simplistic to trivialise it as a “Muslim issue”. I’m pretty sure whether you support the war or not, creating pigion holes of affiliation by religion is one of the more stupid ways of analysing the war I have yet to see.

  108. Jai — on 11th February, 2008 at 9:15 pm  

    Anas, you and I have a history of writing long counterarguments at each other on PP ! Thanks for taking the time out to respond at such length, and apologies for the far-too-long length of my own previous post addressed to you (I hadn’t realised it was that long until I submitted it — which is another reason why someone needs to revive the Preview function).

    You’ve raised some pertinent points in #105 and I do have some further thoughts, but in the interests of not wishing to hijack my own thread I will allow other commenters to respond to the last few posts (including yours) before getting back to you.

    In the meantime I do wish to clarify the following:

    If by this and your previous statements you’re referring to me, then I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood the sentiments behind my post completely.

    Not entirely and certainly not primarily; I made this clear in the penultimate paragraph of post #102. It was more of a general observation.

    though maybe there is a feeling of that, as there is with Muslims who feel ashamed about AQ’s actions.

    Muslims who do not support AQ’s actions have absolutely nothing to feel ashamed about. Nothing whatsoever.

    Regardless of our backgrounds or affiliations (religious or otherwise), as human beings we are only responsible for our own individual sins and crimes, no-one else’s.

  109. Sid — on 11th February, 2008 at 9:28 pm  

    Well I don’t have any “underlying agenda or mindset” about my convictions about the Iraq war. I also think it’s a little simplistic to view this war through a “pro-Western and/or anti-Muslim” lens.

    Whether you support the war or not, by creating pigeon holes of support based on religious/cultural affiliation, as means to analyse the war, is one the more stupid things I have seen on PP or indeed anywhere.

    Furthermore, its ridiculous to try and force Anas into this pigeonhole, when he has said himself that he doesn’t feel any shame or share any sentiment with the AQ.

  110. Jai — on 11th February, 2008 at 9:30 pm  

    I’m pretty sure whether you support the war or not, creating pigion holes of affiliation by religion is one of the more stupid ways of analysing the war I have yet to see.

    Indeed. Something that should be remembered by anyone who automatically exploits a discussion focusing on AQ’s atrocities to make retaliatory counter-allegations about the West.

    And no, Sid, that is not directed at you (and neither were my previous comments).

  111. Sid — on 11th February, 2008 at 9:41 pm  

    Why shouldn’t people discuss the US abuses and atrocities in Iraq in a thread about the suicide bombings by AQ/ex Ba’athist secret police in Iraq? Why should one be penalised for talking about America when the subject turns to America’s war in Iraq?

    Unless, of course, you were either partisan, ahistorical, an appartchik of the pro-war left, or hung up on religious and ethnic motives for every fricking thing in your life from the way you wipe your arse to what side you support in the Iraq war. Get over it.

  112. Jai — on 11th February, 2008 at 9:44 pm  

    Furthermore, its ridiculous to try and force Anas into this pigeonhole,

    I refer you to the sentence under the first red blockquote in #108.

    when he has said himself that he doesn’t feel any shame or share any sentiment with the AQ.

    There have been no references to Anas’ personal “feelings of shame” whatsoever in this entire thread, either by him or myself.

    The bold-font paragraph in #108 was a direct response to Anas’s own remark (in the red blockquote), referring to Muslims who feel ashamed about AQ’s actions. Again, there is nothing in my response to imply that I was referring to Anas specifically, (particularly as he had said absolutely nothing to indicate that he shared those feelings). It’s quite a leap of logic to infer otherwise.

  113. Jai — on 11th February, 2008 at 10:03 pm  

    In case you haven’t noticed, Sid, the aim of this thread is primarily to discuss AQ’s escalating degeneracy in relation to their actions, and the possibility of this being duplicated by their members worldwide (including here in the West). Not about the Iraq war.

    Academic discussions and counterarguments concerning the definitions of state terrorism vis-a-vis terrorism per se are fine. However, if you want to discuss atrocities and abuses by both sides specifically in relation to the Iraq war or indeed want to exhaustively debate the crimes of the West, write your own article and save the arguments for that thread.

    And keep the verbal abuse, condescension, and presumptory allegations to yourself. I really don’t give a damn and I will not have you bring that aggressive inflammatory nonsense here yet again, especially on my thread. Either keep things civilised or take it somewhere else.

  114. Desi Italiana — on 11th February, 2008 at 10:24 pm  

    Jai,

    “Academic discussions and counterarguments concerning the definitions of state terrorism vis-a-vis terrorism per se are fine.”

    IMO, defining “terrorism” as well as “state terrorism” is not an “academic discussion” and shouldn’t be treated as such.

  115. Sid — on 11th February, 2008 at 10:31 pm  

    You would have every reason to call a person an idiot if they came to this forum and suggested that people have an “underlying agenda or mindset” when it comes to supporting water-boarding and Guantanamo because they happened to be Protestants.

    Why is it acceptable to infer a person’s support for AQ and detonating women because they’re of muslim extraction, backed up with turgid, patronising posts exhorting them to feel unashamed of not supporting AQ?

    Perhaps I am getting a little tired and bored of this culture of second-guessing one’s political affiliations or motives based on their religion and culture. And I don’t think I’m the only one.

  116. Desi Italiana — on 11th February, 2008 at 10:32 pm  

    I know for many PP’ers, it’s an intellectual exercise and desire for debate (but for some people, only a debate within certain parameters, I see!) but it’s not a scholarly interest for the folks who have lived through state terrorism. It is something very real, and it should not be a sidelined discussion, I think. As Muhamad [p.b.u.h] said many comments ago (#30), violence carried out either by the state or AQ should be equally condemned and held to account.

    End of story, nothing inflammatory there.

  117. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 2:11 am  

    Jai:

    In response to:

    “people who brought out terms such as “state terrorism”, “monopoly of legitimate violence” or even lecture us about how wrong is to kill someone, have not said a word about how one defines state terrorism, or if intervening militarily against a ruthless dictator is always terrorism.”

    You responded:

    “One could, indeed, propose that such a person either had a grudge against Muslims or (perhaps more accurately) a grudge against any group which threatened the interests and standing of the West/non-Muslim group.”

    What on earth are you freaking talking about? What does your reply have to do with what you quoted?

  118. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 2:32 am  

    Ravi:

    “Yes, and this thread has been quite illuminating in that sense: people who brought out terms such as “state terrorism”, “monopoly of legitimate violence” or even lecture us about how wrong is to kill someone, have not said a word about how one defines state terrorism, or if intervening militarily against a ruthless dictator is always terrorism.”

    Do a quick Google search (assuming you have a computer): you can check the UN, (American Society of International Law) ASIL pages for this. The definitions are contested, especially with state terrorism and when it involves the US (ie US and Nicaragua). There is no international consensus on it, as some believe that there is no such thing as state terrorism, whereas others point out there there IS such a thing–for example, Turkish state terrorism against the Kurds in the 1990′s; US in Nicaragua which the former hotly denies; Pinochet in Chile, etc. The list goes on and on, and not only in the Middle East.

  119. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 2:52 am  

    Jai:

    “However, if someone repeatedly responded to references to such illegal actions with remarks about actual/alleged abhorrent actions by Muslim groups, even if the prime focus of the discussion is actually about the aforementioned illegal actions, and they were comparatively silent about criticising/condemning those actions, then it would indeed raise questions about what underlying agenda or mindset is involved here (eg. disproportionately/irrationally pro-Western and/or anti-Muslim).”

    Please forgive me, but you are reading things that are not there and then using this non-existent stance to argue against. No one on this thread is an apologist for AQ, we know that AQ is messed up, and violence against civilians is inexscuable and falls under the def. of terrorism. Who here is “comparatively silent” about AQ atrocities? Pointing out that state terrorism should be noted does not mean undermining the effects of AQ. Recognizing terrorism carried out by either groups or state governments is not mutually exclusive or either/or.

  120. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 2:58 am  

    Ravi and Jai:

    “people who brought out terms such as “state terrorism”, “monopoly of legitimate violence” or even lecture us about how wrong is to kill someone, have not said a word about how one defines state terrorism, or if intervening militarily against a ruthless dictator is always terrorism”

    I can see why you think that commentators who do not follow up with their comments (like myself) are either ignoring what you think are contradictions and/or have a “hidden agenda.”

    Speaking for myself, I know that for a while now, I’ve been posting hit-and-run comments on PP, but I don’t think this should be mistaken as backing out or commentators employing double standards (though see my comment above; I think both Ravi and Jai are sort of arguing with themselves, based on false assertions that they are assigning to commentators). Admittedly, it’s probably better to not post any comments if you can’t be a constant participant, haven’t done good research or whatever because then occassionally, some boo-boos come up (like my referencing to the 9/11 report and making an incorrect claim) but not everyone has time to keep following up.

  121. Kulvinder — on 12th February, 2008 at 3:39 am  

    Generally thread detractions are frowned upon – unless they’re exceptionally interesting (yours aren’t).

    This isn’t a thread about ‘state terrorism’.

  122. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 5:20 am  

    Kulvinder:

    “Generally thread detractions are frowned upon – unless they’re exceptionally interesting (yours aren’t)”

    I wasn’t the first one to bring up state terrorism; please see beginning of comments.

  123. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 5:23 am  

    “This isn’t a thread about ’state terrorism’.”

    OK–

    AQ is really bad, shame on them for doing what they did.

  124. Saqib — on 12th February, 2008 at 7:52 am  

    Desi Italiana:

    ‘Speaking for myself, I know that for a while now, I’ve been posting hit-and-run comments on PP, but I don’t think this should be mistaken as backing out…’

    Don’t worry Desi, keep on posting however you deem fit, your posts are always appreciated.

    I must admit, I do wonder sometimes whether some of the people actually work on this thread…perhaps, they are just more resourceful.

  125. Jai — on 12th February, 2008 at 11:03 am  

    Why is it acceptable to infer a person’s support for AQ and detonating women because they’re of muslim extraction, backed up with turgid, patronising posts exhorting them to feel unashamed of not supporting AQ?

    None of which has any relation to what I actually said to Anas or the actual context of my remarks. Incidentally, for the record, I am on very good terms with him and have been so for quite a while, irrespective of whether I may disagree with him on any given issue. Nice attempt at divide & rule there, though.

    You would have every reason to call a person an idiot if they came to this forum and suggested that people have an “underlying agenda or mindset” when it comes to supporting water-boarding and Guantanamo because they happened to be Protestants.

    Perhaps I am getting a little tired and bored of this culture of second-guessing one’s political affiliations or motives based on their religion and culture. And I don’t think I’m the only one.

    Sid, I know that patronising people comes easy to you once you get on your indignant high horse and suffer yet another of your faux-sanctimonious rage attacks, but coming from someone who is on record here as (for example) angrily responding to criticisms of excessive off-topic references to the Israel/Palestine issue by stating that it is perfectly justifiable and understandable for Muslims to become upset about injustices suffered by fellow Muslims elsewhere in the world, your hypocrisy is as clear as day.

    And considering the fact that there is an Everest-sized mountain of evidence right here on this blog that you also are certainly not free of your own partisan biases and prejudices, given that your own responses and viewpoints vary dramatically when addressing synonymous scenarios involving different groups, it would be very wise for you to refrain from accusing other people of “pidgeonholing” or viewing everything through some kind of “ethno-religious” prism.

    Especially given your long, long, long history of crying wolf and deliberately levelling false accusations at others whenever it suits your purposes to do so.

    Stating a lie repeatedly and aggressively does not make it true, regardless of how often and belligerently you state that lie. I am very bored indeed of your dissimulation, repeated deliberate misrepresentations of other people’s remarks and positions, general paranoia, and attempts to act as the swaggering playground bully. I also know for a fact that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    Others may allow such tiresome diversions in the name of politeness or free speech; me, I’m a straight-up thug when it comes to dealing with this kind of behaviour, and have zero tolerance for someone who does not have the requisite honesty and integrity to refrain from throwing their toys out of the pram whenever their neuroses kick in and the tantrums begin.

    Broadly stick to the core topic, be ruthlessly honest & truthful about the facts, debate in good faith and in a polite, respectful manner (regardless of how much one may disagree with the other party), and absolutely everyone is welcome to participate on this thread or any others I host, regardless of how controversial the issue or their own remarks may be. The same applies to any conversations with me on threads moderated by other people. But if they resort to underhanded behaviour and dirty debating tactics, attempt to belligerently bully others into silence, use gutter language and have the maturity, emotional self-control and anger-management issues of a hormonal teenager, well…..they know where the door is.

  126. Jai — on 12th February, 2008 at 11:37 am  

    Speaking for myself, I know that for a while now, I’ve been posting hit-and-run comments on PP, but I don’t think this should be mistaken as backing out

    That’s fine Desi, I think plenty of people here are in the same boat. Speaking for myself, I tend to only have a couple of minutes free at a handful of intervals during the day, which is why I have a habit of submitting a small number of relatively long posts instead of more frequent short comments. I remember being accused of “suspicious silence” on another debate quite a while back too and Rohin had to intervene and mention that “not everyone lives in front of their computers”.

    Thank you also for clarifying a little while ago that you tend to post a series of small posts for the same reason and are not necessarily engaging in deliberately “ranting” via multiple posts; you know that some participants in online blogs/discussion forums use a “clusterbomb” approach where they fire lots of comments in quick succession at anyone they disagree with in an attempt to “pile on” and force them to capitulate, so it was good to hear that this was certainly not your own intention.

    Personally I think that breaking a potentially long post into a series of shorter comments also makes it much easier to read, and it is something I should also make more effort to do, given my history of writing PhD-length comments here. Fortunately the latter only occurs because I’m an extremely fast typer, and not because I actually have a huge amount of time to spare !

  127. Jai — on 12th February, 2008 at 12:10 pm  

    Anas,

    So in your opinion in our nominally democratic state, we the citizens have absolutely zero say and therefore no responsibility over the actions which are carried out in our name across the world, absolutely no power to influence decision making procedures at least insofar as foreign policy is concerned. Wow how cynical is that?

    Not necessarily cynical, more a case of being realistic. People in positions of power (in any situation in life) will do whatever they want to if they are sufficiently corrupt, can find ways to justify their actions, and can generally find ways to get away with it. Irrespective of any objections. The events of the last few years should have made that clear.

    Personally I believe that even if we don’t agree with the position our government takes, even if we didn’t vote for the government in power, even if we didn’t vote, we still bear the responsibility of attempting to do everything in our power to alter policies of our governments which are immoral — obviously through peaceful legal means,

    Absolutely. (Your caveat in the final sentence was also a wise move on your part).

    Using the same logic, let me flip this around: Do you think that it is the responsibility of members of Muslim communities in the UK and elsewhere to do as much as they possibly can to identify and root out AQ members and sympathisers within their population, and that – if this involves “close-knit” populations and social/family networks – not being able or sufficiently willing to do so it is a failure of the Muslim population concerned as a whole ?

    This is a genuine question. I am not playing Devil’s Advocate, and neither do I personally necessarily agree with the concept proposed here; not just because of the dangers inherent in pursuing such a stance, but (speaking anecdotally) also because I myself have experienced accusations from non-Asians of “being responsible” for the actions of Asian Muslims who are (or perceived to be) religious extremists or even actually homegrown jihadis, purely by virtue of our shared ethnicity; being on the receiving end of that kind of unjustified condemnation is a pretty nasty experience. So I’m just wondering what your own stance and thought processes are in this situation, since we’re discussing notions of collective guilt and responsibility.

  128. soru — on 12th February, 2008 at 12:34 pm  

    Unless you think we have as much effect on AQ’s terrorist campaigning as we do on our government’s tactics in illegal wars abroad.

    If anything, the opposite is true, at least for any defintiion of ‘we’ that is usable on the internet.

    Governments, democratic or not, fund wars by mandatory taxation. Terrorists and other non-state armed groups generally operate on voluntary subscription. In other words, they use a free market model, though so far they haven’t the technology to set up a pay-per-bomb payment system. Typically, these groups make use of either nationalistic or religious branding, and use advanced networking marketing techniques to raise considerable funds and donated labour.

    If you look at Tesco versus a government-funded shop like a Post Office (if you can find one), it is pretty obvious which is more responsive to their customers. If people stop paying for photos of Paris Hilton, the press will stop stalking her. If people stop paying al qaeda to bomb Iraqi marketplaces, those marketplaces will remain unbombed.

    For US-style libertarians, it is a matter of unquestioned doctrine that all crimes are those of the state, and the only legitimate form of political action is criticising those crimes. The free market, whether it is in cattle future or car bombs, can do no wrong.

    It is wierd to see liberal, even far-left, europeans following them down this path.

  129. Ravi Naik — on 12th February, 2008 at 4:20 pm  

    “There is no international consensus on it, as some believe that there is no such thing as state terrorism…

    I can see why you think that commentators who do not follow up with their comments (like myself) are either ignoring what you think are contradictions and/or have a “hidden agenda.” “

    Sorry, I don’t think it is good enough.

    You quickly joined the fray on “state terrorism” on this thread, and giving a lecture of how violence is always bad. Yet you continue to refrain from giving your interpretation of what “state terrorism” is while admitting there are many definitions of it. I mean, isn’t it stupid for people to argue here whether the US or UK is a “terrorist state”, if as you admit, it has different meanings? Jai has given his definition in #102 (third paragraph), which I agree. I still do not know in what terms you consider a state as terrorist.

    You also refrained to say whether military intervention is always terrorism, or whether the West should just give symbolic lectures or economic sanctions to rogue countries with ruthless dictators who engage, for instance, in ethnic killings, etc. – as any military intervention results in violence and killing.

    When you say you are against violence no matter who does it and why, aren’t you saying we should capitulate to anyone who engages in violence and extremism, and ignore atrocities in parts of the world – so that we don’t dirty our hands?

  130. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 4:30 pm  

    Ravi:

    “You quickly joined the fray on “state terrorism” on this thread, and giving a lecture of how violence is always bad. Yet you continue to refrain from giving your interpretation of what “state terrorism” is while admitting there are many definitions of it. I mean, isn’t it stupid for people to argue here whether the US or UK is a “terrorist state”, if as you admit, it has different meanings? Jai has given his definition in #102 (third paragraph), which I agree. I still do not know in what terms you consider a state as terrorist.

    You also refrained to say whether military intervention is always terrorism, or whether the West should just give symbolic lectures or economic sanctions to rogue countries with ruthless dictators who engage, for instance, in ethnic killings, etc. – as any military intervention results in violence and killing.”

    Sweetie, do you honestly think I have time to sit on PP and answer and/or give my opinions and thoughts on every single aspect or pre-empt other issues that comes up in every single comment, most of the time 100 comments?

    Yes, I joined the “fray” in pointing out state terrorism. No, I was not the first person to initiate that discussion. But yes, I don’t see anything wrong with pointing out state terrorism. What’s your point? Every one here has roundly denounced AQ terrorism.

    “When you say you are against violence no matter who does it and why, aren’t you saying we should capitulate to anyone who engages in violence and extremism, and ignore atrocities in parts of the world – so that we don’t dirty our hands?”

    Again, your own extrapolation. What on earth are you talking about?

  131. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 4:34 pm  

    “I must admit, I do wonder sometimes whether some of the people actually work on this thread…perhaps, they are just more resourceful.”

    Yaar, I ask myself this all the time :) People here go Ph.D length out, and it reminds me of grad school– that you’re expected to respond and/or anticipate this and that issue buried in one of the comments, and then accuse the person of being stupid and/or giving answers that are “not good enough.”

    Then I always wonder whether people look at my back-to-back posts and ask, “Does she have a full-time job?” :)

    Some PP’ers seem to be full time commentators…

  132. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 4:37 pm  

    Ravi–

    Out of curiosity, are you a student?

  133. Ravi Naik — on 13th February, 2008 at 1:57 am  

    “Governments, democratic or not, fund wars by mandatory taxation. “

    Isn’t Bush trying to get tax cuts? :)

  134. Ravi Naik — on 13th February, 2008 at 3:21 am  

    Again, your own extrapolation. What on earth are you talking about?

    You must know what I am talking about, or you would not have said that I am extrapolating. But more than extrapolating, I am just infering from your previous comments that violence is bad no matter who or what justification.

    Sweetie, do you honestly think I have time to sit on PP and answer and/or give my opinions and thoughts on every single aspect or pre-empt other issues that comes up in every single comment

    I understand, it is far easier to make superficial assertions and castigate those who don’t see it black/white, then to actually understand the complexities of issues, because that obviously requires a PhD and a lot of time. But you know what? I am glad you still have time for…

    Ravi–Out of curiosity, are you a student?

    … chit-chat and questions that bear little to this discussion.

  135. Sunny — on 13th February, 2008 at 3:35 am  

    Isn’t Bush trying to get tax cuts?

    While increasing ‘defence’ spending.

  136. Anas — on 13th February, 2008 at 2:12 pm  

    ♫

  137. cjcjc — on 13th February, 2008 at 2:27 pm  

    “Isn’t Bush trying to get tax cuts?

    While increasing ‘defence’ spending.”

    Excellent.
    A double-whammy fiscal stimulus; just what we need.
    Pity the government’s at its borrowing limit here – well done Gordon!

  138. Anas — on 13th February, 2008 at 3:40 pm  

    Corr:It is explicitly about achieving military gains through terrorising a *population* (and not just combatants other soldiers/fighters) which includes civilians, in other words children, the elderly, non-combatants — which is what you yourself define it as (except you don’t allow for the effectiveness of the mere threat of violence), so you probably misread what I wrote.

    As for Jai’s points:

    Absolutely. (Your caveat in the final sentence was also a wise move on your part).

    (I’d like to say I shouldn’t have to add that caveat, it should have been understood, but I knew from previous discussions on PP I have to SPELL OUT EVERYTHING)

    Using the same logic, let me flip this around: Do you think that it is the responsibility of members of Muslim communities in the UK and elsewhere to do as much as they possibly can to identify and root out AQ members and sympathisers within their population,

    Members, yes; sympathisers, no — although personally I like to verbally challenge anyone who presumes to sympathise with AQ, unless they’re big and scary, just the same as I do with anyone foolish enough to defend Western Imperialist policy. Seriously though, anyone who is hiding the fact that they are aware of terrorist activity going on has pretty much no excuse, under any reasonable system of ethics whether it’s Islamic Shariah, or British law.

    and that – if this involves “close-knit” populations and social/family networks – not being able or sufficiently willing to do so it is a failure of the Muslim population concerned as a whole ?

    *If* the Muslim population was not sufficiently willing to do so, that would be failing, yes. But, IMHO, to suggest it isn’t willing to do so except in a few isolated deluded cases is a sheer lie and a libel on the whole Muslim community.

    Ultimately the point I’m trying to put across is that given the nature and justification of the political system under which we live — supposedly a liberal democracy — we share enough responsibility for the actions undertaken by our elected officials that, morally speaking, we have an obligation to give those actions higher priority than others committed by, for example., terrorist groups operating autonomously. I mean even if you didn’t vote for the current incumbents, you still have numerous opportunities to influence the course that is taken by the goverment, through, e.g., organising protests, forming interest groups, gathering publicity for your cause, etc. So that you still bear a certain level of responsibility for your government’s actions — though of course morally speaking your obligations wouldn’t be the same if you lived under a totalitarian system, or if you were a minor or incapable of making rational decisions (I will refrain from making a sexist joke here). That’s where the collective responsibility comes in.

    Now, I accept that the Muslim community as a whole does have a responsibility to correct any misguided notions that some of its members hold re: terrorism — which IMHO it has taken seriously and has fulfilled(similarly I believe British Jews have some responsibility to challenge and condemn the ongoing occupation of Palestine). How many times do Muslims (including pretty much every senior figure) have to give explicit rulings against terrorism, to utterly condemn it with reference to the Islamic scriptures, for certain people to give up this reflexive assumption of there being some widespread reluctance to do so? Christ, is this Harry’s Place or something?
    I do however see a certain reluctance on the part of many in the UK+US to directly confront or even acknowledge our own desperate moral failings and there is no contradiction with my “stance” on the responsibility of British Muslims re:the terrorists in their midst. For example, how many posts have there been recently condemming what is happening in Gaza, or drawing attention to the coalition’s tactics in Afghanistan/Iraq on PP, tactics that — and I’m being more generous that is warranted about the motivations behind these tactics — appear to hold a complete & murderous disregard for the lives of civilians who happen to find themselves in the path of this great bloody war juggernaut? It’s the same with the mainstream media.

    So I’m just wondering what your own stance and thought processes are in this situation, since we’re discussing notions of collective guilt and responsibility.

    Ultimately they’re the same as everyone’s

    Bring back preview!

  139. Desi Italiana — on 13th February, 2008 at 5:27 pm  

    Ravi #134—

    Chill out, yaar. Seriously.

  140. Desi Italiana — on 13th February, 2008 at 5:37 pm  

    Ravi:

    “You must know what I am talking about, or you would not have said that I am extrapolating. But more than extrapolating, I am just infering from your previous comments that violence is bad no matter who or what justification.”

    No. You are creating a strawman’s argument, and I am telling you that no one here implied such a thing. And so I am asking you where you extrapolated such a thing. You are not just “infering;” you are actually ascribing opinions to people where those opinions do not exist.

    You might be looking for some all-out boxing match, but it’s no fun when someone is shadowboxing in an uppity and high-minded manner, telling off people that they might have time to post 3-4 comments which probably take around 5 minutes as opposed to reading all 100 plus comments and answering to every single one of your shadow arguments which would take people much, much longer. People post comments when they can or want, and some people have lives (not implying that those who post really long comments don’t have lives). Relax, it is a blog, Ravi, not a debating society.

  141. Desi Italiana — on 13th February, 2008 at 5:51 pm  

    Ravi:

    “I understand, it is far easier to make superficial assertions and castigate those who don’t see it black/white, then to actually understand the complexities of issues, because that obviously requires a PhD and a lot of time. But you know what? I am glad you still have time for… chit-chat and questions that bear little to this discussion.”

    Really, Ravi. That’s pretty presumptuous for you to make judgment. Would it be fair for me to say, “Ravi posts really long comments on numerous posts and then posts comments duking it out with opinions that he himself read into; he must be a loser to have such time on his hands and no life because he takes PP so damn seriously”? No. It’s not.

  142. Ravi Naik — on 13th February, 2008 at 7:30 pm  

    but it’s no fun when someone is shadowboxing in an uppity and high-minded manner, telling off people that they might have time to post 3-4 comments which probably take around 5 minutes

    Er.. I am not sure why you keep on giving this sorry arse excuse considering there are only two questions and they were neatly summarised in one single message #129, which you have obviously read, but declined to answer.

    The questions are a) whether violence performed by a state is always terrorism, b) is it always wrong for a state to intervene militarily in missions that involve oppressing governments, and whether that constitutes state terrorism.

    But ok, you don’t have time to read these two questions, let alone answer them. Fine. :)

    Really, Ravi. That’s pretty presumptuous for you to make judgment. Would it be fair for me to say, “Ravi posts really long comments on numerous posts and then posts comments duking it out with opinions that he himself read into; he must be a loser to have such time on his hands and no life because he takes PP so damn seriously”? No. It’s not.

    Why would it not be fair? Seems like you have all the evidence you need to prove that I am a loser and that I do not have a life. However, it has nothing to do with the topic at hand, and it would be fair to say you are resorting to ad hominem attacks, had you hypothetically brought that up. ;)

  143. Desi Italiana — on 13th February, 2008 at 9:42 pm  

    Sigh, Ravi…it seems like you are shooting at whatever moving targets.

    “Seems like you have all the evidence you need to prove that I am a loser and that I do not have a life.”

    I am saying that:

    1. If I tell you that because I have little time at my disposal to read all comments, pre-epmt all issues that come up with AQ, etc, and you respond that I do have time because I ask you if you are a student, then this judgment on your part is ludicrous;

    2. It is equally absurd for me to come up with something like, “You post 50 billion posts, a lot of them about arguments that no one else has said, but you conjuring up on your own based on ‘silences’ on the part of commentators, so you must have no life and be a loser.” I can’t permit myself to say that, much as you can’t either. It’s a fucking blog, people post as much as they want to when they want to.

    “Er.. I am not sure why you keep on giving this sorry arse excuse considering there are only two questions and they were neatly summarised in one single message #129, which you have obviously read, but declined to answer.”

    You know what? I don’t want to answer your questions, because frankly, I don’t give a flying rat’s poo anymore. I said what I wanted to, and that’s it. You want to make up arguments that I never said? go ahead. I don’t to read all of your comments, and I haven’t read every single comments of yours, because I’d rather be enjoying the beautiful San Francisco weather with my friends than respond to you!

  144. Ravi Naik — on 14th February, 2008 at 10:27 am  

    “You know what? I don’t want to answer your questions, because frankly, I don’t give a flying rat’s poo anymore.

    You have been very active in this thread, and you have repeatedly said that violence is wrong no matter who does it, but when asked two simple questions about it (#142) – you know – to go beyond the superficial and get more substance, you have said that you rather not get out of your moral high horse, and answer them,
    as the weather of S. Francisco is too nice for that.

    I have been in S. Francisco around this time, and I have to say I would too rather enjoy the weather than to write to an obnoxious little twat like myself.

  145. Anas — on 14th February, 2008 at 6:29 pm  

    Here are some quotes that are relevant here:

    “The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the deity to regenerate our victims while incidentally capturing their markets, to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.”
    John_T._Flynn

    “How many does it take to metamorphose wickedness into righteousness? One man must not kill. If he does, it is murder…. But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is not murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent. But how many does it take?”
    Adin Ballou – The Non-Resistant, 5 February 1845

  146. Ravi Naik — on 14th February, 2008 at 7:23 pm  

    “But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is not murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get people enough to agree to it”

    Is that always the case, Anas?

  147. Anas — on 17th February, 2008 at 12:57 pm  

    yes

  148. Jai — on 17th February, 2008 at 6:39 pm  

    “But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is not murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get people enough to agree to it”

    Is that always the case, Anas?

    yes

    But that’s been standard for aggressive invading armies throughout history, guys, even if they haven’t necessarily been (formally or informally) associated with a state or nation in the modern sense of the term.

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