Al Quaeda's Aims.

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Al Quaeda's Aims.

Postby Bluesprite » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:13 pm UTC

The United States and Al Quaeda are presently locked in a global war, one which was declared by Al Quaeda in 1993. The United States declined combat for 8 years until 2001, when it took the war to Afghanistan.

The conflict has raged since then all over the world, most notably in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

But typically one does not go to war without some kind of goal. I'm curious to know what people think their motive for prosecuting the war is. What do you folks think?
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Postby 3.14159265... » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:37 pm UTC

In 1979, Russian troops were invited to Afghanistan, to protect the communist regime from what was begining to be a religious uprising. This uprising was then given financial resources and weapons by the USA so as to create a "vietnam" for the USSR.

Osama Bin Laden was just one such person, who was sent directly at the request of the CIA to Afghanistan, to help build this insurgency. Osama Bin Laden's CIA code name when he was working for the CIA in the 1980s and receiveing weapons from them was "Tim Osmon".

Just wanted to put in that historical perspective in there.
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Postby fjafjan » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:10 pm UTC

All around the globe?
As far as I know, it has been faught
1 attack in north america
0 attacks in south america (as far as I know)
1 attack in Europe, though I am unsure if that was really related to al Quaeda
0 attacks in asia
0 attacks in.. whaddya call it? Australia and fellow nations
0 atacks in africa (at best organizations with "relations to" which is an incredibly vague phrase, at best the nations in africa near the middle east
Note, I separated the middle east from asia, as it could be missleaing to say that there is a large Al Quaeda problem in the worlds two largest states, which there isn't.
I wouldn't call it a global battle, i'd call it a battle in the middle east, but ofcourse like all wars there are smaller reprocussions around the globe, the world wars were in reality european wars, with Japan and China involved, and one attack on american soil. Oh and they were also in northern africa a bit, forgot that. But in reality it was not a world war. But I digress.

Where is this massive global war that you talk of? Where are the victims? TBC is a far more deadly killer than terrorists...

I say what I say in the war on terrorism thread, there is an organization in the middle east, whose policies are really only related to the middle east.
They have no desire to rule the world, nor to kill civlians, but see it as a necessary means to reach their objectives, To stop foreign meddling in the middle east, to destroy Israel and to establish a Muslim state.
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Postby Rorgg » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:20 pm UTC

0 attacks in.. whaddya call it? Australia and fellow nations


Usually referred to as "Oceana" but I think you're off by at least one. There was a major terrorist bombing in... I want to say Bali, a few years back.

Also, I think:

to establish a Muslim state.


Is understating it significantly. The stated goal of these organizations is to organize a pan-Muslim Caliphate from Morocco to the Philippines under Islamic law.

While I think the U.S. is going about it in an incredibly stupid, myopic, and ham-handed manner, that is a goal worth working to oppose.

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Postby Bluesprite » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:44 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:Where is this massive global war that you talk of? Where are the victims? TBC is a far more deadly killer than terrorists...


A map of recent attacks can be found here:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... lQaeda.png

It leaves out a few things, like the Nairobi bombings, and doesn't clearly indicate that WTC was attacked in 1993 as well.

It also doesn't mention that jihadist forces are engaged in pitched battles with the US in Afghanistan.

What's TBC?


They have no desire to kill civlians


You couldn't be more precisely wrong. They explicitly target civilians. In fact they always aim to maximize civilian casualties.

Back on topic:

To stop foreign meddling in the middle east, to destroy Israel and to establish a Muslim state.


Leaving out the destruction of Israel, what do you mean by a muslim state?
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Postby fjafjan » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:20 pm UTC

Bluesprite wrote:
fjafjan wrote:Where is this massive global war that you talk of? Where are the victims? TBC is a far more deadly killer than terrorists...

A map of recent attacks can be found here:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... lQaeda.png


Recent? 10+ years, and a total of 20 or so isolated locations, it's alot less global than say Malaria.
Them attacking once in america hardly means they are fighting a war in america, nor are they fighting a war in Brittain.



What's TBC?


Tuberculosis, in 2004 killed around 1.3 million people. How many were killed by terrorists?

You couldn't be more precisely wrong. They explicitly target civilians. In fact they always aim to maximize civilian casualties.


That is classic strategic warfare tactics, employed by America in a number of wars. I think you missunderstand me though, I'm saying it's more the means than the point, their agenda is not "kill people", but a means to get to that goal.

To stop foreign meddling in the middle east, to destroy Israel and to establish a Muslim state.


Leaving out the destruction of Israel, what do you mean by a muslim state?[/quote]

Caliphate.
Ofcourse I don't support this goal, goverment and religion should be as separated as possible, but it is not this goal but the goal to "kill every fucking body" which one might get listening to "the media".
Last edited by fjafjan on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:29 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:43 pm UTC

Others have basically said this, but I'm throwing it in anyway.

Al Qaeda's goals seem to be ending US influence in the Middle East, most notably by eliminating Israel, which they see as some kind of US-Zionist collaboration against Islam. They then want to establish a (fundamentalist) Muslim state spanning the area currently occupied by predominantly Muslim countries.

Also, in addition to Pi's bit of historical context, it's worth noting that the only reason we decided 2001 was time to go into Afghanistan was because suddenly a man who might have connections to a terrorist attack in the US was thought to be hiding there. He was not from there, but rather US ally Saudi Arabia. Same goes for most of the hijackers who actually carried out the attacks. Much of their money therefore comes from US oil purchases, and bin Laden's training came from the CIA.

When one also considers the immense amount of support we gave Saddam Hussein in the 1980's, not to mention dozens of similar situations all over the world, one arrives at a simple moral: Perhaps the US should consider a bit more carefully the kind of people it supports in furthering its own goals, whatever they may be at the time...
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Postby Yakk » Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:00 pm UTC

Al Quaeda is nothing more than a nuisance. So long as they are restricted to terrorist-style attacks, they can't cause significant damage at any distance from their support base.

As an example of what constitutes significant damage: car accidents cause significant damage.

As the British and Israeli have demonstrated, it isn't that hard to live under threat from terrorist-style attacks. It isn't pleasant, but it isn't anything to get your panties in a bunch over.

Terrorist tactics are a sign of frustration and powerlessness, not something to be feared.

As an example, the attack on the WTC: killed fewer people than died in car accidents in NYC that year. The attack vector was easily plugged (tell people to not cooperate with terrorists who try to take over a plane).

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Postby Peshmerga » Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:57 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:They have no desire to rule the world, nor to kill civlians, but see it as a necessary means to reach their objectives, To stop foreign meddling in the middle east, to destroy Israel and to establish a Muslim state.


As far as I see it, there are 2 groups within Al Quaeda. The smart and articulate powerful leaders at the top of the chain, and the dumb, easily controlled religious fanatics who've known nothing else in life than to die for radical Islam.

I believe that while the lower echelon truly believe they are saving their land from foreign infidels, the guys in control will do whatever it takes to gain more power. If it means acquiring, selling, or even using nuclear weapons, they would do it.

And I remember your previous argument "Isn't that what America is doing?" Americans (at least the great majority) do NOT condone nor believe killing civilians is right in any sense of the word. Nor do American leaders. America has no desire to rule the world, and no one will rule the world. But people will always aspire to be powerful, and where opportunity shines, they will strike out to reach for it.

Fanatic religious fundamentalists like Al Quaeda have no qualm about riding a bus of explosives into schools, hospitals, cafes, and other civilian targets. This is NOT warfare, this is terrorism. Should they change their directives and target PURELY military positions, then you could call them an honorable enemy. But since that is not the case, I cannot give them the benefit of the doubt.

Americans should not (and rarely do) seek and destroy civilian lives if there is no military advantage. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are obvious counter points to this claim, and was a less than desirable result of a long war. However, it did the end WWII. Al Quaeda, however, sparked war through civilian casualty, breaking every moral, ethical, and legal rule there is in the book.

They cannot be ignored even if considered but a splinter, for wounds the sizes of pin drops can get infected by the most vile of diseases. To argue they have no great effect on the world, and that the civilian deaths at 9/11 were negligible is fucking disgusting. Those were people's family and loves. How many lives will you accept from terrorist actions before it outweighs car accidents?

How do you excuse one's actions by claiming another is just as guilty of it? Should we all take up arms against the United States, looking down on them from our moral high ground? Everyone makes mistakes, but at least the American military is proud enough to rebuild, fund, and support every country they've ever waged war against. Do you see Al Quaeda giving back to Iraq? Afghanistan? Do you see them handing out walkie talkies to civilian community leaders or importing glass for schools? Parachuting food to the helpless? Infact, most (if not all) conventional armies do this. And so what if their intention is for keeping a clean record? I doubt very much victims of catastrophe care why they are receiving aid.
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Postby space_raptor » Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:02 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:All around the globe?
As far as I know, it has been faught
1 attack in north america
0 attacks in south america (as far as I know)
1 attack in Europe, though I am unsure if that was really related to al Quaeda
0 attacks in asia
0 attacks in.. whaddya call it? Australia and fellow nations
0 atacks in africa (at best organizations with "relations to" which is an incredibly vague phrase, at best the nations in africa near the middle east
Note, I separated the middle east from asia, as it could be missleaing to say that there is a large Al Quaeda problem in the worlds two largest states, which there isn't.
I wouldn't call it a global battle, i'd call it a battle in the middle east, but ofcourse like all wars there are smaller reprocussions around the globe, the world wars were in reality european wars, with Japan and China involved, and one attack on american soil. Oh and they were also in northern africa a bit, forgot that. But in reality it was not a world war. But I digress.

Where is this massive global war that you talk of? Where are the victims? TBC is a far more deadly killer than terrorists...

I say what I say in the war on terrorism thread, there is an organization in the middle east, whose policies are really only related to the middle east.
They have no desire to rule the world, nor to kill civlians, but see it as a necessary means to reach their objectives, To stop foreign meddling in the middle east, to destroy Israel and to establish a Muslim state.


There's been plenty of attacks around the world that you are ignoring. Whether they were definitely al-Qaeda, or other muslim terrorist groups, seems irrelevant to me. Efforts should still be made to find them and stop them.
Offhand, there's the Madrid bombing (that's TWO in Europe, jeez dude) bombings in India(some Indian guys I know really like Bush, because al-Qaeda bombed a school in India a while back), Bali in Indonesia, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia.

That said, yes, I think their goals mostly are related to the middle east. Their goals are horrifying to me, though. So I think the west should fight them, if possible. You saying that their goals are not to kill people is kind of odd to me, considering all the times they have killed innocent people. I say hunt them down and throw them in a hole for the rest of their lives.

I think I have just realized what you are pissed about, though. You don't think that they are as big of a threat as the media makes them out to be, right?

Well, I would agree there. I think that some measures that have been taken to fight "terrorism" are completely wrong. I also think al-Qaeda has been made out to be the generic boogyman, and that they are not as dangerous as they are made out to be. But I don't think we should ignore terrorism altogether.

Yakk wrote:Al Quaeda is nothing more than a nuisance. So long as they are restricted to terrorist-style attacks, they can't cause significant damage at any distance from their support base.

As the British and Israeli have demonstrated, it isn't that hard to live under threat from terrorist-style attacks. It isn't pleasant, but it isn't anything to get your panties in a bunch over.

Terrorist tactics are a sign of frustration and powerlessness, not something to be feared.

As an example, the attack on the WTC: killed fewer people than died in car accidents in NYC that year. The attack vector was easily plugged (tell people to not cooperate with terrorists who try to take over a plane).


Yakk, I am kind of disappointed that you're comparing 3000 deaths, the WTC collapsing, and a plane crashing into the Pentagon to car accidents. Are you advocating we make everybody ride their bikes from now on? I think there's a term for this kind of argument, but I don't know what it is offhand. A red herring, maybe, cause it's completely irrelevant?

I sure don't think we should live under threat from terrorist attacks. 9/11 proved that terrorists can cause lots of damage. They killed thousands, caused billions in damages, and came close to doing more. What if Flight 93 had crashed into the White House, or the Capitol Building? What if a hundred congressmen and senators had died that day? That came very close to happening. Would you still think that they were not a threat then?

I am very much against the social controls that are being used to fight "terrorism", and against fear-mongering by the press. But I still believe in vigourous international action to bring terrorists to justice. I don't think it's acceptable to let them keep killing at will. They should be pursued, but not at the expense of civil liberties.

If you want to argue that preventing another attack is not worth giving up civil liberties, then I'll agree. But just ignoring the problem seems a little fatalistic. I also think that al-Qaeda's goals are directly in conflict with a lot of what I believe in, and they should be dealt with if possible.
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Postby VannA » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:15 pm UTC

The idea of a fundamentalist caliphate is terrifying.

Have a look at the history for Islamic expansionism. Then compare the Islam of then to the current trends of expansionist and fundamentalist Islam.

Current trends are more hardline. A *lot* more hardline.

It would not be a nice place.

Given that I believe that is at least the superficial goal of Al Quaeda-like groups, I think it is completely fair to be working against them.

I think it's completely wrong that the USA is doing it, and that the UN is incapable of working against it.. but it would probably be against the UN charter.

I think that any sort of fundamentalism should never be given power, anywhere. Were the Catholic Church to set out on a repeat of its expansionist phase, I'd be giving the same responses.
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Postby Yakk » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:23 pm UTC

They are congressmen. Their lives are worth a bit more than yours or mine are, but they can be replaced. That is the point of a government for the people and of the people.

Pesh:
How dare you insult the 10s of thousands of people who die every year from car accidents by saying their deaths have less meaning than those in the WTC. They left behind dead loved ones who loved them as much as the WTC victems.

People who accept car accidents, desease and cancer as "acceptable deaths" just because they are used to them... Show some respect for the loss of life that exists, and don't fall into the trap of "oh, this is an unusual kind of life loss, that makes it special".

They are murderers -- mass murderers. And they,a nd their supporters, should be brought to justice. But this is a problem that is smaller in scale than car accidents, which is smaller in scale than cancer and heart desease and AIDs. It is a side-show.

The scale of response being thrown at it is knee-jerk, on top of it being stupid and badly executed.

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Postby space_raptor » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:59 pm UTC

I think if the government of the United States had been badly hurt on 9/11, the world would be a very different place today. I think there would have been stealth bombers over half a dozen locations in the Middle East within a week. I think the consequences to the economies of several countries would have been much worse. I think the people of the US would have taken it to be an act of war, not terrorism, and responded in kind. The country would have been thrown into disarray, and around the world people would have taken the opportunity to damage US interests.

Of course the congressmen could be replaced. I doubt the consequences would have stopped there.The other government representatives would take shit a lot more seriously, and I think the US military would have killed a bunch of people who even had a possibility of being connected with the tragedy. Guantanamo Bay would be a vacation spot compared to the kind of thing that the FBI and CIA would have, with congressional blessings.

Something can be done about al-Qaeda. How do you propose to do something to stop car accidents, cancer, and heart disease?
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Postby VannA » Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:17 pm UTC

space_raptor wrote:Something can be done about al-Qaeda. How do you propose to do something to stop car accidents, cancer, and heart disease?


Hehe.

While the general goal of al-Qaeda is not rooted in dissatisfaction with americanism, it does make it easier to recruit.

A lot of the pressing social problems that Cancer, Heart disease and Car accidents are components of should be the target of heavier focus than the current level of unrest. Both globally and locally.
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Postby fjafjan » Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:31 pm UTC

As far as I see it, there are 2 groups within Al Quaeda. The smart and articulate powerful leaders at the top of the chain, and the dumb, easily controlled religious fanatics who've known nothing else in life than to die for radical Islam.


I agree with this analysis, however I think the top rulers can not get away with anything, they still have the goals of ridding the middle east from foreign influence. BUt ofcourse, I do not support that goal, nor the goal of establishing a Muslim state, that would be even worse than letting the church run stuff over here, but it is a much more human cause than "kill all the infidels" which is what people think their goal is.
Goal, not way to that goal.

And I remember your previous argument "Isn't that what America is doing?" Americans (at least the great majority) do NOT condone nor believe killing civilians is right in any sense of the word. Nor do American leaders. America has no desire to rule the world, and no one will rule the world.


Yet it is a fairly large bit of the warfare they are involved with, torturing people for confessions, which will inevitably mean torturing innocent for false information, and it is obvious that a number of civilians have died in the Iraq war. Because civilians die in war.
You might say "but those are incidental to the goal" but so is the terrorist attacks aimed at civilians simply sometihng that must be done in order to reach their goal. It is infact in modern wars when they do occur between states on not states and some kind of milia (and even oftn then) commonplace to target the civilian populance especially, the last time this was done at a truly large scale since it was the last large war of that kind war WWII where civilian food supply, buildings etc etc would be bombed. This tactics was not employed against Iraq since there was "no fight" so to speak, but still there was no general or commander who was not aware that a certain number of civilians deaths was inevitable.


Fanatic religious fundamentalists like Al Quaeda have no qualm about riding a bus of explosives into schools, hospitals, cafes, and other civilian targets. This is NOT warfare, this is terrorism.


And yet I believe it was in the war in Balcan in the 90s american bombs were targeting schools, hospitals... Terrorism, or warfare?

Should they change their directives and target PURELY military positions, then you could call them an honorable enemy. But since that is not the case, I cannot give them the benefit of the doubt.


Why it seems you give the US military no benefit of the doubt... Which I do, after all their aim is more defendable and generaly they do have SOME scruples, but doing the "bad guy good guy" dun work. Only works with UN troops really.

Americans should not (and rarely do) seek and destroy civilian lives if there is no military advantage. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are obvious counter points to this claim, and was a less than desirable result of a long war. However, it did the end WWII. Al Quaeda, however, sparked war through civilian casualty, breaking every moral, ethical, and legal rule there is in the book.


Well since Al Qaida do not have a military in a traditional sence they cannot get militaric advantages, they can however have tactical and political advantages, such as 9/11 which probably made them fairly popular in some camps. And ofcourse unpopular in others.
Anyhow, they do fight dirtier, simply because they do not have the means of not doing so, and because they don't know any better, but they are much closer than you might think.



They cannot be ignored even if considered but a splinter, for wounds the sizes of pin drops can get infected by the most vile of diseases. To argue they have no great effect on the world, and that the civilian deaths at 9/11 were negligible is fucking disgusting. Those were people's family and loves. How many lives will you accept from terrorist actions before it outweighs car accidents?


Yet they were, ofcourse a counter act was unavoidable, but there is a difference in doing SOMETHING and doing ANYTHING.
But yeah, 3000 people is pretty negligable, I feel sorry for the family of those who died, but they should get sympathi not revenge, you don't go killing 30 000 innocent people vaguely related to the victims
How do you excuse one's actions by claiming another is just as guilty of it?


No no, I don't, I am merely pointing out that another IS just as guilty, if you said "AQ kills civilians they are evil! go et em!" I might say that others do aswell, and while it is sitll bad, it is hardly unique or deserve of such "special treatment".

Should we all take up arms against the United States, looking down on them from our moral high ground? Everyone makes mistakes, but at least the American military is proud enough to rebuild, fund, and support every country they've ever waged war against.


This is true, and it is to be commended, I do wonder if they rebuilt Vietnam? Ofcourse a counter balance to that would be the wars where america supported the enemy of the Soviets, such as Afghanistan, which was perhaps not that succesful.

Do you see Al Quaeda giving back to Iraq? Afghanistan? Do you see them handing out walkie talkies to civilian community leaders or importing glass for schools? Parachuting food to the helpless? Infact, most (if not all) conventional armies do this. And so what if their intention is for keeping a clean record? I doubt very much victims of catastrophe care why they are receiving aid.


Well it should be noted that Hizbollah did give out aid and help people afted Israel invaded them, but then they are not nearly as much a terrorist organizatoin as people call them, they are pretty honourable, in the Lebanon war definatly more so than Israel, and really have defentable goals, unlike Al Qaida (they want to get back the land which Israel took from them)


There's been plenty of attacks around the world that you are ignoring. Whether they were definitely al-Qaeda, or other muslim terrorist groups, seems irrelevant to me. Efforts should still be made to find them and stop them.


Certainly, the question just is how important this should be, I am all for stopping crime, but I don't think we should have the military bombing the ghetto chasing down gang members.

[Quute]Offhand, there's the Madrid bombing (that's TWO in Europe, jeez dude) bombings in India(some Indian guys I know really like Bush, because al-Qaeda bombed a school in India a while back), Bali in Indonesia, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia. [/quote]

And it's still incredibly insignificant. Just because the murder is done with a bomb does not actually make it worse than a knife, or a gun, because I bet my ASS more people have died in normal murders in those nations, perhaps even cities, since then, yet there is no uproar, because that is just the old fashioned crime.

Something can be done about al-Qaeda. How do you propose to do something to stop car accidents, cancer, and heart disease?


Improve traffic safety, it's not that impossible, eliminating it completely, pretty hard, but there are alot of easily avoidable traffic deaths, people no wearing seatbelts, drunk driving etc
Cancer, Have more regular checks for it, if you find a cancer tumor quickly it can usually be removed without serious damage
Heart attack, Get people off their fucking couch and make them stop eating fat all the time, have more gym class in school, mandatory, make sports fun, buy people wiis. Loads of ways
Even easier would be TBC and HIV/AIDS

Anyhow, about the topic, I think everyone is ideallogically opposed to Al Qaida, however from that and placing anti terrorism at the top of the daily business is a long ways away, and it's pretty BS.
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Postby space_raptor » Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:05 am UTC

fjafjan wrote:
Something can be done about al-Qaeda. How do you propose to do something to stop car accidents, cancer, and heart disease?


Improve traffic safety, it's not that impossible, eliminating it completely, pretty hard, but there are alot of easily avoidable traffic deaths, people no wearing seatbelts, drunk driving etc
Cancer, Have more regular checks for it, if you find a cancer tumor quickly it can usually be removed without serious damage
Heart attack, Get people off their fucking couch and make them stop eating fat all the time, have more gym class in school, mandatory, make sports fun, buy people wiis. Loads of ways
Even easier would be TBC and HIV/AIDS

Anyhow, about the topic, I think everyone is ideallogically opposed to Al Qaida, however from that and placing anti terrorism at the top of the daily business is a long ways away, and it's pretty BS.


... Ok, I'm amazed. You solved car accidents, cancer, heart attacks, and AIDS.
...

Well, if the people who are killed don't matter, what about the economic consequences? The WTC was worth billions. The economic contributions of the companies inside was probably worth more. Airlines lost billions in the ensuing years. Tourism to America dropped. This all has an effect worth much more than the cost of the car accidents in NYC that year. Certainly this must mean they are worthy of attention.

If you want to say the war in Iraq is not justified, fine. If you want to argue against U.S. policies in the Middle East, fine. But you seem to be saying al-Qaeda, and therefore I presume terrorism in general, is not a threat. That we should accept that people will be killed by terrorists, and we don't need to guard ourselves from it at all.

That's what I have an issue with.
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Postby fjafjan » Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:10 am UTC

Guard people form it corresponding to it's actual threat, and do so in a way that is actually productive.

And no I did not solve cancer, traffic related deaths aids or anything, I suggested ways in which you could reduce the number of deaths, these are hardly from my imagination, they are well known ways to prevent these things, there is however a minor cost assosiated with them which people are unwiling to spend.

As for financial damage caused by 9/11 is was prety great, but ironicaly I am pretty certain the Iraq war aswell as the Aghanistan war has cost alot more.

It is a threat, but it is a very minor threat, and the attention spent on it is completely unproportional.
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Postby space_raptor » Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:21 am UTC

So. Really, you're just against the Iraq war, aren't you? If you can call it a war. I think of it as just a big clusterfuck, really. But, while part of the justification for being there is to fight al-Qaeda, there's other reasons that the US military is there. Fucked if I can explain it all, though.

Personally, I am totally for intervention in Afghanistan. As far as I know, so is the government of Afghanistan. There's plenty of good reasons to be there, as far as I'm considered. Not least of them is that the Taliban are evil fucking dudes, and I think they should be fought against.

Guard people form it corresponding to it's actual threat, and do so in a way that is actually productive.


Well, this makes sense. I would prefer it if threats were dealt with proportionally too.
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Postby fjafjan » Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:15 am UTC

No I do not just oppose the war in Iraq, I oppose the war on terror in it's fundamental practises, the fact that you brand someone a terrorist and then any means of fighting them is okey, Al Qaida is one of the least sympathic groups, Hizbollah and Hamaz are alot more likable.

I think nearly everyone who is critical of Bush and the war on terrrism is so because of the scale and execution etc, rather than that they really like Al Qaida.
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Postby Vaniver » Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:47 am UTC

Perhaps the US should consider a bit more carefully the kind of people it supports in furthering its own goals, whatever they may be at the time...
The thing, though, is the U.S. has two choices.
1) Establish puppets. We can train them, we can fund them, but we cannot control them. History shows that they will turn on us (like Osama and Saddam) if it is beneficial for them to do so.
2) Establish another state or dependent ally. This is what we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq, at considerably more cost than the retribution of Osama or Saddam. This has more benefits than #1, but it's significantly more expensive.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki are obvious counter points to this claim, and was a less than desirable result of a long war.
And, anyone who actually researches this can tell you that the costs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki pale in comparison to the costs of a land invasion, and then dividing Japan like we divided Germany. The impact of a Tokyo Wall would have been as devastating as the loss of two cities, not to mention the millions of civilians who would have fought our invasion (as they were training to do).

But this is a problem that is smaller in scale than car accidents, which is smaller in scale than cancer and heart desease and AIDs. It is a side-show.
Really?

Is it fair to compare terrorist deaths per year and car crash deaths per year, if the number of terrorists and number of cars are different? Is it fairer to compare deaths per terrorist attack and deaths per car crash?
If we talk about drugs, is it fair to consider some detriments side effects and others poison? I will take pills that have a side effect of possible death if they significantly lengthen or improve my life (one can see cars as lengthening the valuable portion of ones life by decreasing travel time, or the valueless portion). I will not take a pill that has a chance of killing me that does me no good (like, say, a terrorist attack).

Because civilians die in war.
But, do the same number or proportion of civilians die in all wars? Can our attempts to minimize civilian discomfort and death be measured or applauded?

And yet I believe it was in the war in Balcan in the 90s american bombs were targeting schools, hospitals... Terrorism, or warfare?
Just because a building is a school does not mean it does not disperse propaganda or hold soldiers. Just because a building is a hospital does not mean it contains only innocents.

As for financial damage caused by 9/11 is was prety great, but ironicaly I am pretty certain the Iraq war aswell as the Aghanistan war has cost alot more.
And if facts were air, that opinion would leave you asphyxiated.
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Postby Owijad » Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:11 am UTC

Yakk wrote:They are congressmen. Their lives are worth a bit more than yours or mine are, but they can be replaced. That is the point of a government for the people and of the people.


By what possible measure can you quantify the value of a human life that makes a congressman's life worth any more than yours or mine?
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Postby Vaniver » Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:18 am UTC

By what possible measure can you quantify the value of a human life that makes a congressman's life worth any more than yours or mine?
Any realistic one?

For example, their income. Their influence or world events or the lives of others. Their fame. Intelligence is probably the only one where we might have a leg up on them.

Lives are not priceless. Not everyone is equal.
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Postby fjafjan » Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:29 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
By what possible measure can you quantify the value of a human life that makes a congressman's life worth any more than yours or mine?
Any realistic one?

For example, their income. Their influence or world events or the lives of others. Their fame. Intelligence is probably the only one where we might have a leg up on them.

Lives are not priceless. Not everyone is equal.


It's nice of you to state that how much money you earn directly corresponds to your human value, clearly making Slavery and Murder ranches not only excusable but even moral!
Hey, they are paying for them!

And, anyone who actually researches this can tell you that the costs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki pale in comparison to the costs of a land invasion, and then dividing Japan like we divided Germany. The impact of a Tokyo Wall would have been as devastating as the loss of two cities, not to mention the millions of civilians who would have fought our invasion (as they were training to do).


Historians disagree on this, and I am of the opinion that it was not necesasry at all, the country was dying anyway.


Is it fair to compare terrorist deaths per year and car crash deaths per year, if the number of terrorists and number of cars are different? Is it fairer to compare deaths per terrorist attack and deaths per car crash?


In terms of lives lost certainly, you might want to look at some even more easily prevented deaths, like Starvation or Illnesses with cures available, I believe there issomething like 1-2 million people in america who can not or barely afford food.

But, do the same number or proportion of civilians die in all wars? Can our attempts to minimize civilian discomfort and death be measured or applauded?


Yes, they can, but the best way to avoid them is to not go to war at all, which Bush seems not to be too fond of, and overall when studying how careful the American army is in not killing civilians I usually end up thinking "trying a bit, but not nearly good enough". That and general fuck ups, like how they treat Iraqis in prison throwing them in piles and raping them with sharp objects etc.

Just because a building is a school does not mean it does not disperse propaganda or hold soldiers. Just because a building is a hospital does not mean it contains only innocents


"only innocent"? So wait, how many soldiers is it okey to have then?
because I sort of thought that you weren't supposed to attack field hospitals or such, because you know, they are pretty much civilians at that point. But the fact that "there could have been" or "they thought there were" doesn't really excuse anything, if you bomb a hospital full of innocent people you have done it, and why you did it does not change that.

And if facts were air, that opinion would leave you asphyxiated.


According to the Guardia the costs would be somehwere around 45-50 billion dollars. That is significantly less than Iraq + Afghanistan.


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Postby gmalivuk » Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:47 am UTC

When you talk about the economic impact of destroying the WTC towers, you're talking about the loss of a building. Big deal. Buildings can be replaced, while lives can't.

We have already lost more soldiers in Iraq than the total number of people who died in the 9-11 attacks. Yes, they are soldiers and not innocent civilians, they signed up for a risky job. So there is a difference, I understand that. But what about the number of Iraqi civilians who have died in the conflict? Even more than our soldiers, and they're just as innocent as the WTC victims. Similarly, they're just unfortunate enough to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Vaniver wrote:The thing, though, is the U.S. has two choices.
1) Establish puppets. We can train them, we can fund them, but we cannot control them. History shows that they will turn on us (like Osama and Saddam) if it is beneficial for them to do so.
2) Establish another state or dependent ally. This is what we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq, at considerably more cost than the retribution of Osama or Saddam. This has more benefits than #1, but it's significantly more expensive.


How do you figure 2 is more expensive? It costs more to start with, sure. But establishing Saddam as a puppet has cost us about 400 billion dollars this time around, plus whatever the first Gulf War cost. Plus the thousands of deaths. Funding bin Laden cost us the World Trade Center, part of the Pentagon, and thousands of lives.

In the long run, 2 is probably quite a bit cheaper, and certainly less dangerous. The problem is that we rarely concern ourselves with the long-term consequences of our foreign policy.
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Postby Owijad » Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:48 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
By what possible measure can you quantify the value of a human life that makes a congressman's life worth any more than yours or mine?
Any realistic one?

For example, their income. Their influence or world events or the lives of others. Their fame. Intelligence is probably the only one where we might have a leg up on them.


Realistic?

Their income is only relevant if you define "value of a human life" as "capital" which is a useless definition from a moral standpoint.

Fame is irrelevant to anything besides how much they influence the lives of others.

And since they represent the people, they are exactly as influential as the people they represent.

If every congressmen died, the effect it would have would be almost entirely psychological. Besides people's feeling of security, the greatest effect it could reasonably have would be damaging the economy briefly. Congressmen aren't the people making decisions- WE are. They're interchangeable.

Lives are not priceless. Not everyone is equal.


Well, that's just like, your opinion, man.
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Postby Vaniver » Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:48 am UTC

It's nice of you to state that how much money you earn directly corresponds to your human value, clearly making Slavery and Murder ranches not only excusable but even moral!
Hey, they are paying for them!
I think you're taking that leap a bit further than is justified. How are slavery and income connected? One assumes that humans are property, the other is a value related to the value of what one produces (keeping in mind that everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it). If someone produces two hundred thousand dollars of value a year, wouldn't it make sense to pay more to keep them alive than someone who produces two thousand dollars of value a year?

Historians disagree on this, and I am of the opinion that it was not necesasry at all, the country was dying anyway.
I do not see this as sufficient refutation of my argument, and thus will continue.

In terms of lives lost certainly
I think you missed my point. Deaths due to terrorism and deaths due to other things are apples and oranges.

the best way to avoid them is to not go to war at all
If you honestly believe this, you are sadly mistaken. It doesn't take two entities to start a war; just one.

That and general fuck ups, like how they treat Iraqis in prison throwing them in piles and raping them with sharp objects etc.
Abu Ghraib was horrible, and few condemned those responsible more than Americans. But, when you think about it, was Abu Ghraib better under Saddam, or worse?

"only innocent"? So wait, how many soldiers is it okey to have then?
because I sort of thought that you weren't supposed to attack field hospitals or such, because you know, they are pretty much civilians at that point. But the fact that "there could have been" or "they thought there were" doesn't really excuse anything, if you bomb a hospital full of innocent people you have done it, and why you did it does not change that.
My point is that just because a building was a hospital doesn't mean it always functions as one. It's easy to kick out the doctors and set up a military HQ, or better yet, keep the doctors in the hopes that your enemy will be too soft-hearted to fire on it.

Intentions matter. We avoid hospitals when possible. We are not fighting a total war here, and if we were, Iraq would be a sheet of glass. Do not pretend we are not using restraint.

According to the Guardia the costs would be somehwere around 45-50 billion dollars. That is significantly less than Iraq + Afghanistan.
Allow me to quote your own source at you.
Estimated cost of attacks to US based solely on property losses and insurance costs: $21billion
Estimated total losses to the world insurance market from the World Trade Centre: £25bn-£50bn (note that those are pounds)
Together, the minimum from those are around $75 billion.

Now, let's look at a another Guardian article. The damage just to the state of New York was 95 billion.

Now, let's look at wikipedia. Not as credible as I would like, but it's got everything together.
Stocks lost $1.2 trillion in value. This is somewhat larger than the total cost of the war on terror. But let's keep on going.
The lost office space in Manhattan is worth billions, but they don't quote a number.
The damage to the health of people in the area due to the smoke and airborne debris is not quantified, but again, is probably large and significant.

[edit]I'm too slow! People posted while I was.

Big deal. Buildings can be replaced, while lives can't.
Lives can very easily be replaced, otherwise we would have run out of people a very long time ago. It's not the same life, sure, but it's also not the same building.

As well, I like to look at other factors, like quality of life, rather than just quality of lives. Should we care more about the 3,000 dead or 300,000,000 wounded (financially, psychologically, and in other ways as well)?

How do you figure 2 is more expensive? It costs more to start with, sure.
That's pretty much exactly why I think it's more expensive. As stated in other threads, I'm a fan of imperialism. Don't just meddle in foreign lands, control them. It's generally a win/win situation.

Their income is only relevant if you define "value of a human life" as "capital" which is a useless definition from a moral standpoint.
Hardly. It might be useless from your moral standpoint, but I'm a realist. My morals are based on the principles of scarcity, objectivity, and self-love (and no, the last two aren't contradictory).

And since they represent the people, they are exactly as influential as the people they represent.
So, by your argument, a Representative is worth 690,000 people, or at least 690,000 multiplied by whatever constant we chose to determine the value of influence plus one?

Well, that's just like, your opinion, man.
True, it is an opinion. But I see little reason to believe that my opinion is further from reality than its opposite (well, duh. Otherwise I wouldn't believe it :P)

Lives have value. If anything has value, that value can be quantified. Some lives are more important to us than others. How much would you spend on medical bills to keep your mother alive? How about that child in Darfur? They're different numbers, and if you think they aren't but aren't in a volunteer organization working in Darfur, you're not living what you think.
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Postby Peshmerga » Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:58 am UTC

I'm strongly opposed to the sentiment that the value of human or animal lives can be quantified in any way other than biological and chemical compositions.

As for the willingness to spend more money on different people, that's completely irrelevant to the conversation at hand, as that involves actual intrinsic personal connections (not to mention family ones).

Comparing buildings to life is also a bit drastic.
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Postby Vaniver » Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:45 pm UTC

I'm strongly opposed to the sentiment that the value of human or animal lives can be quantified in any way other than biological and chemical compositions.
How do you quantify value like that?

As for the willingness to spend more money on different people, that's completely irrelevant to the conversation at hand, as that involves actual intrinsic personal connections (not to mention family ones).
I don't think it's completely so. It's a justification of the idea that different lives have different value, which is important as a justification of some arguments for animal testing.

Comparing buildings to life is also a bit drastic.
Sure, but not all that much more drastic than the belief that lives have a dollar value; it's just an extension of it.
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Postby Bluesprite » Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:56 pm UTC

So, the conversation is seems to be spiralling out of control.

In an attempt to refocus the debate, I'm going to summarize what seem to be the two most prominent theories of Al Quaeda's aims:

1) To reestablish the Caliphate.
2) To end US influence in the mid east.

I posit that 2) is a means to 1), and that 1) is in fact their goal.

What do you think?

If AQ's goal is to establish a Caliphate and you think that they might have a chance at doing this, how do you think the US should respond?

That is to ask: what do you think a morally scrupulous United States leadership wishing first and foremost to protect legitimate US interests abroad should respond, assuming for the moment that one were in power?
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Postby space_raptor » Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:49 pm UTC

I think the Caliphate would be very bad.

I think the US and the rest of the "west" should use all the diplomatic, economic, and other tools it has to influence the countries in the Middle East to encourage basic human rights and secular government. Saudi Arabia should be told in no uncertain terms to start treating it's people as if there were laws and government accountability. The plight of women and minorities under fundamentalist regimes should be pushed in the United Nations, and the international media.

Edit: I picked Saudi Arabia because I think that Saudi Arabia is an ally to the US, and it is easier to change your allies than your enemies. I think if the US threatened to pick up it's bases and leave, the royal family would BEG us to stay.

More importantly, western countries should make economic and political overtures to these fundamentalist countries that will influence them to become more humanitarian, and to turn over terrorist operatives. If that doesn't work, I think we should support regime change. Particularly in Iran. I think if these countries support terrorism and conflict, there should be heavy consequences. I don't advocate all out armed conflict, but I think that there is plenty of other ways to convince people to help you. I think we should start giving over-the-top amounts of aid to places like Lebanon, where the conflict between legitimate government and Muslim fundamentalists is most visible. We have to convince people that hardline, right wing fundamentalist Islam is not the answer to their problems.

I think there is a not so cold war against Wahhabism and similar movements, and that Wahhabism is against the basic principles that western countries stand for. I say we try to fight for these principles.

Unfortunately for all of us, the Middle East seems to be one big giant clusterfuck, so this is easier said than done.
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Postby Rorgg » Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:53 pm UTC

Wasn't the real lesson of the Cold War that the best way to destroy authoritarianism is via the lure of prosperity?

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Postby space_raptor » Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:03 pm UTC

That's kinda what I meant, to some degree. With the helping Lebanon, and influencing the Saudi royal family to actually do things for it's people.

Fight may have been the wrong word. The main point I was trying to make is that we should help countries out in exchange for them embracing more humanitarian policies, and if they aren't toeing the line, we should take those economic and political incentives away.

But in places like Iran, I don't think that will work very well, and I'm just kinda hoping they have another revolution there.
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Postby Bluesprite » Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:17 pm UTC

Rorgg wrote:Wasn't the real lesson of the Cold War that the best way to destroy authoritarianism is via the lure of prosperity?


Well yes and no. What you're forgetting is that it was a battle of economic systems.

Our economic system was better. It was our economy that won the war. In that sense, prosperity was key.

The lure of prosperity, however, wasn't particularly essential. We got some defectors. It helped some. But the basic key was that the USSR went bankrupt and couldn't assert that communism was a superior economic system anymore.

Space_raptor:

So if we're accepting that AQ's goal is the Caliphate, and that we'd be willing (albeit nonplussed about it) to accept the possibility of war to prevent it, then where does that leave us?

The question is really, what are the odds of AQ bringing about a Caliphate?
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Postby space_raptor » Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:28 pm UTC

Bluesprite wrote:Space_raptor:

So if we're accepting that AQ's goal is the Caliphate, and that we'd be willing (albeit nonplussed about it) to accept the possibility of war to prevent it, then where does that leave us?

The question is really, what are the odds of AQ bringing about a Caliphate?


Dunno. For me the more important question is, how many people in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Palestine, and elsewhere are going to suffer because al-Qaeda and groups like them are gaining influence? How many people are going to be jailed for their political and religious views? How many artists have to have their hands cut off?

For me the threat is not al-Qaeda themselves. It is that they might foment fundamentalist takeovers in places like Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. I don't think al-Qaeda has the physical resources to establish a Caliphate themselves, but they can influence a lot of people. I just think we should start influencing back.
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Postby Bluesprite » Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:53 pm UTC

space_raptor wrote:For me the threat is not al-Qaeda themselves. It is that they might foment fundamentalist takeovers in places like Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. I don't think al-Qaeda has the physical resources to establish a Caliphate themselves, but they can influence a lot of people. I just think we should start influencing back.


I think you're right: influence is the key, but not quite in the way that you think.

OBL is (was) in a position of great influence in Saudi Arabia, particularly among wahabis.

If they were able to destabilize Saudi Arabia, then there is a good chance they could topple it. Once toppled, the wahabis would be in a position to sweep control of the country, and OBL would be in a position to control them. I'm not sure how long a shot it is, but it was certainly a threat. A threat made more pressing by the fact AQ suddenly killed 3k Americans, don't you think?

Also, why this fixation on Iran, in particular?
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Postby space_raptor » Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:05 pm UTC

Bluesprite wrote:I think you're right: influence is the key, but not quite in the way that you think.

OBL is (was) in a position of great influence in Saudi Arabia, particularly among wahabis.

If they were able to destabilize Saudi Arabia, then there is a good chance they could topple it. Once toppled, the wahabis would be in a position to sweep control of the country, and OBL would be in a position to control them. I'm not sure how long a shot it is, but it was certainly a threat. A threat made more pressing by the fact AQ suddenly killed 3k Americans, don't you think?

Also, why this fixation on Iran, in particular?


Could you expand upon the Saudi Arabia thing, I'm not sure I understand your point.

I agree the wahhabis are a threat. I think the possibility of them taking over Saudi Arabia is very real, and that's why I think we should pressure the Saudis to be a better government. I think if the people of Saudi Arabia are unhappy with the House of Saud, they will look for a strong leader elsewhere, and relgious fundamentalists are gaining influence. That scares me.

Iran is a powerful country, and they are ruining Lebanon by supporting Hizbollah. I know several people who immigrated to Canada from Iran. Great people, all of them. And they know people whose hands have been cut off. They were scared to continue living there. One of them knows somebody who got his hand cut off for playing guitar in a band in an "unapproved" manner.

I think Iran could be a pretty kickass country, if some decent people were in charge. But if religous fundamentalists gain more power in it's government, I think it could turn into a very scary place to live, and a scary enemy to have.
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Postby Bluesprite » Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:42 pm UTC

space_raptor wrote:Could you expand upon the Saudi Arabia thing, I'm not sure I understand your point.

I agree the wahhabis are a threat. I think the possibility of them taking over Saudi Arabia is very real, and that's why I think we should pressure the Saudis to be a better government. I think if the people of Saudi Arabia are unhappy with the House of Saud, they will look for a strong leader elsewhere, and relgious fundamentalists are gaining influence. That scares me.


I'm saying that Bin Laden (OBL) is a figurehead for the Wahhabi movement. If they took power, he would have good odds of being in charge. If AQ were able to sufficiently destabilize Saudia, the Wahhabis could take power. And there you have the beginning of your Caliphate.

How much effort would AQ really need to make to destabilize Saudia? I dunno. They seem to be containing AQ now. But it was no isolated rebellion, there was some serious fighting.
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Postby space_raptor » Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:49 pm UTC

Bluesprite wrote:I'm saying that Bin Laden (OBL) is a figurehead for the Wahhabi movement. If they took power, he would have good odds of being in charge. If AQ were able to sufficiently destabilize Saudia, the Wahhabis could take power. And there you have the beginning of your Caliphate.

How much effort would AQ really need to make to destabilize Saudia? I dunno. They seem to be containing AQ now. But it was no isolated rebellion, there was some serious fighting.


I would agree. I think that OBL, and the Bin Laden family in general, is a big deal in Saudi Arabia. I know someone who has travelled in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and he mentioned that a lot of the construction signs he saw said Bin Laden Construction, or something along those lines. The Bin Laden family is huge and influential. In SA, Osama bin Laden is not an obscure terrorist, as he is viewed in North America. He is a political figure.

Some people think that the US is in the Middle East just for oil. I think it is way more complicated than that, but I think the situation would crystallize if AQ took over SA. If Saudi Arabia was run by AQ, and they decided to cut the infidels off from the oil, I think it would cause a global crisis. I can't begin to imagine what the consequences would be, but I think somebody - probably the US - would intervene militarily, under the guise of defending the royal family. And then all hell would break loose. The US military fighting in the land of Mecca would cause the proverbial shit to hit the fan.

I think the House of Saud is way closer to the brink than we realize. I think they are asking for trouble. The normal people in Saudi Arabia do not receive the benefits from the insane amount of oil money that the country receives. Instead it goes to arms, the military, and the extended royal family's luxuries. I don't think that can go on indefinitely.

In the sixties JFK pressured the Saudis to end the practice of slavery. They did so. I think they can be pressured again, to start sharing wealth with the people of Saudi Arabia. If they continue the way they are going, I think a revolution is only a matter of time, and then we're all SOL.

To really answer your question, I think the possibility of al-Qaeda taking over in Saudi Arabia is very real. The idea scares me. And I think we are looking at a similar situation to what happened in Iran in 1979, where there was a US supported regime, which was oppressing the people, and then fundamentalists took over, forming a country which is a distinct enemy. I think we should try to avoid that happening in SA.
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