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Usamah
A great man 35%
A dishonourable man. 64%

Votes: 53

 Kill Yr Idols: Usamah bin Muhammad bin Laden

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Sep 25, 2001
 Comments:
Usamah bin Laden is much in the news in the last few weeks, as bloodcurdling (& knowledgeable!) cries emanate from the soirees of the chattering classes, demanding his immediate annihilation. You probably know the sort of bore I am talking about — one of those fat, self satisfied fuckers pumping a cigar and opining about the 'evidence' stacked up against the mild mannered bin Laden, how he is at the helm of an organisation straight out of James Bond ( Al-Qa'ida, they self satisfyingly croak).

So who is bin Laden? Why must he really be destroyed? Adequacy gives you the answers.

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ORIGINS

1950's and 1960's.....USA overthrows elected government in Iran which threatened Western oil profits in favour of the Shah, a dictator who relied on torture....USA gives massive military and financial aid to the new state of Israel...USA ignores human rights and UN resolution violations by Israel....

The beginnings of the bin Laden phenomenon are difficult to track down. The bin Laden family first appears when Sheik Mohammed bin Laden, a native of the Sunni Hadramout, emigrated from Yemen to Saudi Arabia in the 1960's. The clan appears to have gradually congealed power around itself, and forged a close relationship with the Saudi royal family, being granted all rights to construction of a religious nature, whether in Mecca, Medina or the Holy Palaces of Jerusalem (until 1967). The bin Ladens renovated Mecca after the royal house was highly satisfied with their work on the palaces. In any event, the bin Ladens established a financial empire that now reaches far beyond mere construction work. The bin Laden clan and the Saudi royal house soon had a very close working relationship, one not just based on finances, but on friendship and shared secrets as well. When young Usamah was growing up, he was ensconsed in the Saudi establishment, going to the same schools and colleges as the luminaries of the Arabian peninsula. Indeed, bin Ladens went to Victoria College in Alexandria, the Eton of the Middle East, where they rubbed shoulders with such excellencies as King Hussein of Jordan and Omar Sharif.

Usamah was born in 1957 in Riyadh. His father took many wifes, and young Usamah was born to one of the last and least respected of them. He was the 17th son of a reported 50 sired by Mohammed. Mohammed's brother and partner sired 50 more, making the bin Laden clan and influence huge. The fact that Usamah came to outshine them all is a testament to his innate genius.


Usamah as a young boy, on holiday in Sweden aged 14. His 'pale good looks' shone through already. Click here to enlarge.

Earliest direct evidences of Usamah himself this reporter could track down are recollections by an old teacher, Brian Fyfield-Shayler. In 1969, whilst his decadent western peers were guzzling drugs and descending into an orgy of self, the callow bin Laden, just 13, was studying hard at Al-Thaghr, a school in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia modelled on the English public school system. Mr Fyfield-Shayler said (in this respected news source) "I remember him as quiet, retiring and rather shy. He was very courteous - more so than any of the others in his class. Physically, he was outstanding because he was taller, more handsome and fairer than most of the other boys. He also stood out as he was singularly gracious and polite, and had a great deal of inner confidence. He was very neat, very precise and very conscientious."

There can be no doubt that Usamah, an ordinary and pious young man, was deeply affected by his family's involvement in rebuilding the two holy Mosques in Mekkah and Madinah. We have already heard that his early teacher thought him a confident but reflective individual, so we shouldn't be surprised if he felt great pride that his family was involved in raising the glory of Allah in such spiritually significant places.

Throughout the 1970's Usamah spent his time studying and working for the family business. Doubtless he kept an eye on current affairs — the disgraceful behaviour of Israel and America during this period is remarkable — but he was determined to get his degree and be a credit to his family. In 1979 he graduated from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah with a degree in Civil Engineering.

BEGINNING OF THE LEGEND


Usamah as a handsome young man in the Mujahideen
Shortly after young Usamah graduated, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to prop up the failing Communist regime. The Mujahideen put out an international call for help, and Usamah was inspired to leave the dusty world of commerce for more noble pursuits. He packed himself and several family bulldozers off to Afghanistan, and later was quoted as saying "In our religion, there is a special place in the Hereafter for those who participate in Jihad. One day in Afghanistan was like 1000 days of praying in an ordinary mosque."

Usamah made a huge difference to the Mujahideen. At first he was an effective politician and strategist. He recruited thousands of Arab fighters in the Gulf, paid for their passage to Afghanistan, and set up camps to train them. He designed defences along the Pakistani border, driving a bulldozer himself and taking great risks from Soviet helicopter gunship strafings as a result. Such was the personal stake he felt that before long he had taken up a Kalashnikov and was fighting on the front personally. This personal touch emerged again in 1986 when he and a few dozen Arab helpers fought off a Soviet onslaught in a small town called Jaji, near the Pakistani border. This ignited the Afghani resolve, as it was the first example that the Russians could actually be beaten. Just twelve months later he turned the tide of the Afghanistan war with a brilliant offensive against Soviet troops in the battle of Shaban. The Mujahideen suffered heavy casualties in the vicious, heavy fighting, but thanks to bin Laden's superb generalship the Soviets were pushed out of the area for good and the end was in sight for the Communists.

Hamza Mohammed, a Palestinian volunteer in Afghanistan, recalls "He was a hero to us because he was always on the Front Line, always moving ahead of everyone else. He not only gave his money, but he also gave himself. He came down from his palace to live with the Afghan peasants and the Arab fighters. He cooked with them, ate with them, dug trenches with them. That was Bin Laden's way."

By the late 1980ís Usamah had established himself as a legend across all Afghanistan. It was at this time that his close personal friendship with the Taliban Mullah Mohammad Omar began. The Wahhabi brand of Islam they both share is somewhat similar to Protestantism, but in an Islamic context, and they are both very spiritual men. To this day they take reflective fishing trips in the backlands of their country, such is their binding friendship. Where the rest of the Islamic world has been corrupted by decadent Western ways, the Wahhabis stick to traditional Islam as taught in the Koran. They are amongst the very holiest and most pious of Muslims, their creed established in Saudi Arabia, to an extent, and also Afghanistan, which though not strictly a Wahhabi state is very closely modelled on one. A measure of his piety is that he selflessly rejected an offer from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to expand the Prophet's mosque in Medinah. This cosy little deal would have pocketed Usamah a lovely $90 million, but he refused as he correctly recognised it as an attempt to lure him from Jihad against the communists.

RETURN TO THE HOMELAND


Usamah today, careworn and wise with experience.
Usamah returned to Saudi Arabia in the late eighties, a celebrity throughout the Muslim world. Convinced by the words of the holy Koran, Usamah soon set aside his own personal, selfish best interests and began to campaign for the Saudi government to introduce Shariah (Islamic Law) and reduce its terrible corruption, an offence to Allah in the land of Mekkah. Although this was to get him into trouble with the corrupt authorities on several occasions, the real shakedown occurred when King Fahd decided to allow Western troops in the Kingdom during the Gulf War. Usamah criticised the Saudi regime for this terrible decision, and was promptly hounded with a harassment campaign. Before long, in 1991, he fled to the Sudan, and shortly afterwards was declared an outlaw by the Saudi regime, which stripped him of his nationality and put a price on his head. His loyalty to the word of the Koran and his conscience had cost him his home, and reduced him to a common bandit as far as his old circles in Saudi Arabia were concerned.

In the Sudan Usamah managed to expand his business interests considerably, and he continued his Jihad bankrolling. Always keeping a careful eye on ethical considerations, he made sure to only bankroll just causes, putting money on the underdog and the concept of right V might:

Chechnya. Here the Russians have sought to destroy all hope of Chechnian independance, but as usual bin Laden is involved, helping fund the Chechen guerrila fighters against the superior enemy. A noble cause.

Muslim Bosnians against the Serb overseers. Despite the justness of this cause, the US interfered, arresting the fighters he sent to help the cause of freedom against oppression. Nonetheless, bin Laden had a big impact there, as he does everywhere.

Palestine. bin Laden has always been outraged by the plight of the Palestinians. At a young age he came under the tutilege of a Palestininian man, Sheikh Abdallah Azzam, who was once a confidant of Yasser Arafat but had become disenchanted with the PLO. Some Usamah became intertwined with Palestinian politics and the cause.

Yemen. Usamah has long had links to the Yemen Wahhabi cause. He has also been involved in the struggle there - the bombing of the USS Cole was possibly an example of this (unlike the WTC, this bombing fits bin Laden's MO - the target was military, not involving innocent civilians.

Everyone of these causes was Just and right, and it is no wonder that Usamah's reputation only grew and prospered during this period — and no wonder that an assassination attempt was made at this time, though he escaped with only some injuries.

AFGHANISTAN ONCE MORE

In 1996 Usamah moved permanently back to Afghanistan. In despair at the terrible situation in both Saudi Arabia and the Sudan, he sought a more traditional and devout setting. After Saudi Arabia decided to imprison Islamic scholars and hundreds of Mujahideen youths, after the rape of the Holy Land by the West and the occupation of the two Holy Places by American troops, Usamah decided to make a stand. He issued his first Bayan, or statement, 'A Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places'. This document was seminal, and simple — a lucid warning instructing the Americans to leave the land of the two Holy Places or face military attack from the Mujahideen, the same Mujahideen that defeated the largest superpower in the world under his tutelage some few years before in Afghanistan.

"Muslims burn with anger at America. For its own good, America should leave [Saudi Arabia]." Usamah bin Ladin

Usamah is still in Afghanistan to this day. Despite the total lack of any evidence (The US claims to have evidence, but with it's usual broohaha is prepared to go to war rather than publically release it. It is so convincing they will give it to allies but not to the Taleban, from whom they expect an extradition with no evidence at all) relating him to the recent WTC attacks, he is castigated worldwide for this devilish act. Usamah may be no friend of the United States, and with good reason, but he has no record of attacking innocent civilian targets. He is an honourable man and an honourable fighter, with a long, proud record of fighting for the oppressed (but right) underdog.

So why must he die?

Because he must be martyred. It is my belief that Usamah has reached his peak. Already approaching his 50's, he canít continue his brave fight against Western imperialism forever. Already he is weakening, his judgement is failing and his body shrivels. Every Muslim who dies in Jihad is guaranteed a place in Heaven, and Usamah, in dying, can both guarantee his own elevation and strike a blow against the western imperial forces trying to paint him as some sort of extremist. If he martyrs himself, a thousand new and young Usamahs will be inspired by his legend and continue the good fight, and the truth about bin Laden will spread around the world, and so the simple peoples of this globe will hear of his valiant life and fight. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the USA boycotted the Moscow Olympics, western opinion was outraged, and President Jimmy Carter embargoed all exports to the Soviet Union. Contrary to popular belief, the USA did not funnel military or financial support to the Mujahideen, however. In this interview bin Laden recalls "Personally neither I nor my brothers saw evidence of American help", so we see that the Americans were all mouth but had no guts. Now that America has, with it's usual hypocricy, decided to attack Afghanistan, it is clear that Usama must take risks to ensure maximum damage is applied to the enemy.

WHAT USAMAH MUST DO


Symbolisation of the cause. Arabs must be free.
Firstly he must provide tantalising glimpses of himself, drawing the Americans into Afghanistan. He must make sure the common people of Afghanistan understand that the Americans are out to culturally reprogram the Afghanis, one of the last pure peoples of the Earth. He must extract maximum damage upon the enemy in exchange for his own life. No superpower, however strong, can, once entered, come out of Afghanistan with honour. Hopefully the plight of Afghanistan and the indiscriminate killing of civilians that will occur there will reignite the Wahhabi cause throughout the Arab world, but especially in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. There is a great, noble chance here for the Middle East to be reawakened in its old image.

Usamah made Afghanistan in his own image, it is thanks to his influence that it has steered a course away from the brutality and violence of communism, towards the status of a pure Muslim state. The Taliban, unlike the governments of Yemen, Iran and Saudi Arabia, is not corrupted by Western influence, and will not hand him over. The West knows it has a resolute enemy. Even in the unlikely even that they did decide to hand him over, they would be unnable to, and surely the Afghans would revolt and a new revolution would be needed.

The likelihood is that they shall be true to the tenets of Islam, and not hand over Usamah. Then, the US and other Western allies will be forced to invade Afghanistan, where they will meet a bloody end. Usamah must sacrifice himself in the process, for it is the best way of guaranteeing his place in heaven and exacting maximum pain upon the enemy.

It is my fervent hope that bin Laden realise his death is called for, that his own death is a weapon he can use far more powerful than any bomb. The legend will burn out brightly.

       
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Interesting (4.00 / 2) (#9)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 06:38:21 PM PST
I never thought bin Laden had so much going for him. It is true that the media treat him badly because of the WTC attacks (and with, come to think of it, no evidence that I have seen). It is nice to hear opposing views popping up from behind the parapet. This took courage, but sometimes the truth does.


 
Pure Islamic State (2.00 / 2) (#10)
by jp93023 on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 06:38:29 PM PST
"Usamah made Afghanistan in his own image, it is thanks to his influence that it has steered a course away from the brutality and violence of communism, towards the status of a pure Muslim state."

Brutality, violence, oppression, starvation, and a particularly unique hatred of women are the characteristics of a pure Muslim state?


If by pure you mean fundamentalist, then yes. (4.66 / 3) (#16)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 08:51:51 PM PST
After all, the Quran indicates that the correct punishment for theft is amputation, and the punishment for a woman who becomes pregnant out of wedlock is whipping.

Is this so unusual? Not really. Similar violence and hatred exist in the Bible, in which we find that a woman who has been raped but did not cry out is to be stoned to death. Despite the image you attempt to paint, hatred of women is far from being a uniquely muslim pursuit.

Indeed, hatred of women is alive and well in America's heartland, in case you had forgotten. The culture of America is decidedly anti-feminist, as can be seen in the fact that the culture of the United States has embraced pornography with more gusto than any other civilisation. 20% of american women experience some form of domestic violence in their life. Indeed, the US is one of the world's largest traffickers in women, receiving an estimated 50,000 women to be used as forced labourers, servants and prostitutes each year.

It is all too easy, in these trying times, to judge harshly those who least resemble us. It is attractive to concentrate on the perceived flaws in our alleged opponents, as an excuse to ignore our own hypocrisy.

The people of Afghanistan, Bin Laden in particular, have merely done what they believe their religion demands of them, and what their people need. It is unjust to judge them by the standards of the US. In order to adopt these standards, they would have to betray their people and their religion.


You should stop and do some research! (2.66 / 3) (#21)
by jwales on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 09:50:11 PM PST
The people of Afghanistan, Bin Laden in particular, have merely done what they believe their religion demands of them, and what their people need. It is unjust to judge them by the standards of the US. In order to adopt these standards, they would have to betray their people and their religion.

We aren't talking about a difference of opinion about what to eat or wear. We aren't talking about a legitimate difference of opinion on minor religious issues.

The Taliban regime is an extremist group of murderous thugs. In Afghanistan, football (soccer) stadiums that were built with Western aid money are not used for football, but for mass public executions of adulterers, homosexuals, critics of the state.

In Afghanistan it is a crime to educate girls beyond the age of 12.

It's all well and good to find things to criticize about the United States. But you have to keep focussed on reality. You have to remember the full context.

If you believe that the people of Afghanistan need vicious repression, I can't help you. But if you were simply mistaken, with a lack of knowledge of what has been going on there, then you need to think long and hard about whether you should be making loud public pronouncement in total ignorance of the facts.


You are applying a culturally biased view (5.00 / 3) (#22)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 10:10:15 PM PST
Don't forget that islam is a relatively young culture. What was christianity doing in the fourteenth century of it's existence? It was declaring holy wars on other religions (namely islam), and torturing and publicly executing homosexuals, blasphemers and witches in some nations. Why do we expect their culture to mature more rapidly then ours did, when we do everything we can to inhibit their growth?


No, not at all (none / 0) (#38)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 09:00:10 AM PST
Perhaps because Islam does not exist in a vacuum and people can learn from the mistakes of others's history - perhaps because a good portion of the world's Muslims live in the modern world and are 'already' beyond the heinous practices that the Taleban think are the will of God.

Besides, Islam is no younger than Christianity, Mohammed showed up a few hundreds years after the death of Christ, but a lot of what is Islam has been around since the time of Abraham and in many ways pre-dates Christianity.


 
No, you're mistaken on every count. (none / 0) (#40)
by jwales on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 10:24:56 AM PST
You should recognize that I'm also sharply critical of what Christianity was doing in the fourteenth century. It is wrong to declare holy wars on other religions, and to torture and publicly execute people for homosexuality, blashphemy, the teaching of girls, adultery, and so on.

Why do I expect their culture to mature more rapidly than our did? I don't have any expectations about that at all.

Contrary to what you seem to think (and for no apparent reason), I think that we should not do anything to inhibit their growth, and that indeed we should take positive steps now to further their growth.

Step one -- we need to help liberate them from this pack of murdering bastards. We can and should take immediate steps (including diplomatic, economic, and military actions) to remove the Taliban oppressors and replace them with a constitutional democratic republic administered initially by the U.N., with conversion to self-rule over the course of 5-10 years.

Step two -- we need to insure the stability and prosperity of this new more benevolent government with liberal funding to rebuild the infrastructure, help encourage solid domestic industries with ownership in the hands of the Afghanis themselves.

If you're against this, then what are you for? Are you going to join the pack of moral relativists who believe that no atrocity, no matter how large, can be criticized? I don't think so, because I've seen your writing here. You agree with me that some things are right and some things are wrong, although we more than likely do disagree on the details.

The things that the Taliban stands for are wrong. If this regime isn't wrong, then I don't see how you can use the word at all!

There's a really bad argument floating around these forums to the effect that unless the U.S. and her allies are morally perfect, they are unjustified in taking any action to help these people. I think that's obviously absurd.


You seem unable to view the US critically (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 03:04:29 PM PST
Your key assumption is that imprisonment is a less barbaric punishment for crimes than violence or execution. This view is merely a product of westernist thinking, and does not reflect a universal truth about human rights. In the West, we seek to punish the criminal's mind, whereas the Afghanistanis seek to punish his body. The only reasons we see the loss of a hand as more barbaric than a lifetime imprisonment are squeamishness and cultural bias.

Violent methods of correction are the only ones reasonably available to the taliban. They are a dirt-poor country; do you expect them to construct gaols to appease your sensibilities?

As for the dubious criminality of the people they execute, this is, once again, a matter of cultural bias. They would probably find the lengthy gaol terms given to paedophiles in our culture alarming.


Are you completely mad? (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by jwales on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 03:59:38 PM PST
Well, you win, I guess. I'm (almost) completely speechless. I had no idea that our educational system had fallen this far. Your staggering lack of knowledge is apparently only surpassed by your inability to think clearly about what little knowledge you do have.

Believe me, I can view the U.S. critically. But that's very much an entirely different matter.

The point here, that I'm quite sure you won't grasp today, or tomorrow, or until some point in the future when something somewhere happens to you to make you realize that cultural relativism is false... the point is that if you can't even bring yourself to call the Taliban evil, then you're going to be very hard pressed to mount a coherent critique of anything.

Are you critical of the U.S.? I am, and based on my view of the world, I have *reason* to be. But your position here is that no atrocity, no matter how stunning, can be called evil because, after all, it's just a matter of cultural prejudice. Right? Isn't that what you are saying?

If I'm critical -- as I am -- of religionists in America who proclaim that this happened because a lack of prayer in the schools has turned God against us, will you step forward to defend Jerry Falwell, claiming that I'm just being imperialist in my moral views?

Get a grip on yourself and stop and think what you're defending.

If the crazy mixed up jumble of the United States democratic process is no better than Afghanistan, if it's all just cultural bias, do you propose that perhaps we should, like the Taliban, dispense with the Bill of Rights and just start summarily executing people for various offenses? If not, then why not? Are you not just being culturally biased.

I have a feeling I shouldn't have written this much -- I don't think you're interested in reasoning about it at all.


Is this some sort of joke? (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 05:21:44 PM PST
So far, I have offered nothing but clear, unbiased argument. For this effort, I have received insults and derision, and the assertion that my lack of zeal against the culture of Afghanistan makes me ill-educated and lacking in reasoning skills! A lesser man would unleash a barrage of personal attacks in response, but the indomitable nobility of my character prevents me from demeaning myself in this fashion.

What you have mistaken for relativism is nothing more than a pluralist attempt to assess the ethics of two cultures without reference to any pre-conceived ideas about right and wrong derived from any culture. To make this perfectly cleat, I will state that I do believe that there exists an absolutely correct system of ethics. I am, however, willing to examine the possibilty that the United States is not closer to this than the Taliban. This analysis is a difficult thing to perform, and requires a great deal of introspection. I am aggrieved that you dismiss my efforts at assuming a neutral point of view as that most despicable of heresies.

Since an idle discussion such as this can have no greater effect than to challenge and enlighten it's participants, it seems that the most profitable course of action is to examine our own ideas about culture and morality, as well as those of our enemies. There is no great crime in confronting the notion that the value we place on human life in the West is particular to our culture, and somewhat unreasonable to expect of people for whom death is not a distant eventuality, but an everyday presence.


O.k., perhaps we're getting closer. (none / 0) (#64)
by jwales on Fri Sep 28th, 2001 at 09:59:38 AM PST
You say that you believe that there exists an absolutely correct system of ethics. Let's not discuss the relative merits of the U.S. and the Taliban. Let's just focus tightly on the Taliban. Later, after we've finished with the Taliban, we can talk about the U.S.

In your view of the absolutely correct system of ethics -- and I understand that you may not have fully formed opinions about all the details of the particulars of that system of ethics -- are you willing to say that the following are morally wrong?

1. Mass public executions for such crimes as adultery, homosexuality, and conversion from Islam to Christianity?

2. Jailtime for cutting your beard? (Unlike your ill-informed comments before, the Afghans don't just kill people because they can't jail them. They jail people, too! For astounding things like having the wrong haircut.)

3. Jailtime for education girls over the age of 12? (I'm not sure if this is a death penalty offense or not -- I can research if it matters to you.)

4. The total elimination of elections in favor of a theocratic dictatorship?

Are these things wrong? Are they wrong when they are imposed by a very small fringe minority on a disarmed population?

If so, if you're willing to say that those things are wrong, then I'll fully retract my charge of relativism.


Reading for comprehension: A dying art? (none / 0) (#68)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Fri Sep 28th, 2001 at 06:22:33 PM PST
In answer to your questions, No, No, No, and No.

You have completely failed to grasp the point that the absolute, correct system of ethics may not be based on US mores. Every single point you have made assumes that the a priori basis for and purpose of US morality is valid. This is precisely what we must avoid doing if we are to have a useful discussion.

If we were to switch to a discussion of US morality, we would soon see that, for all it's apparent high-mindedness, the USA fails on one point that the Taliban do not; the Taliban are not hypocrites.

As for "fringe minority", and "imposed on a disarmed population", I'll just assume you were fast asleep and dreaming when you typed that paragraph. The very statement indicates a tacit support for moral relativism, since you seem to think that the Afghan people have the right to adopt whatever morality appeals to them.

Is Afghanistan a disarmed population? Considering they are in a state of civil war, I find this a little difficult to swallow. If a portion of the population has taken up arms against the government, then they are hardly a disarmed population.


O.k. (none / 0) (#70)
by jwales on Mon Oct 1st, 2001 at 09:36:11 AM PST
You have completely failed to grasp the point that the absolute, correct system of ethics may not be based on US mores. Every single point you have made assumes that the a priori basis for and purpose of US morality is valid.

Well, you obviously just made that up, since not only did I not say it, I will vigorously disagree with anyone who does say it.

Let me be clear on this point: the "absolute, correct system of ethics may not be based on US mores." Period. If you think I'm saying anything different, then you just aren't listening.

As for "fringe minority", and "imposed on a disarmed population", I'll just assume you were fast asleep and dreaming when you typed that paragraph. The very statement indicates a tacit support for moral relativism, since you seem to think that the Afghan people have the right to adopt whatever morality appeals to them.

Again, you're just making stuff up if you think anything I said is support -- tacit or otherwise -- for moral relativism.

It is the policy of the Taliban -- and one that they are proud of -- to disarm the populace. They have been largely successful in this, although as you point out, there are still rebel groups who are not disarmed.


Maybe I've missed something.. (none / 0) (#71)
by elby on Mon Oct 1st, 2001 at 05:39:03 PM PST
I admit that I haven't read the top of this thread, but could you please confirm or deny for me that you are denouncing the taliban solely on the fact that Afghani citizens under the taliban don't have the equivalent of second amendment rights?

-lb


 
I am a hypocrite and I vote. (none / 0) (#72)
by Anonymous Coward on Tue Oct 2nd, 2001 at 06:59:09 PM PST
If we were to switch to a discussion of US morality, we would soon see that, for all it's apparent high-mindedness, the USA fails on one point that the Taliban do not; the Taliban are not hypocrites.

What is wrong with hypocrasy? Sure Amercans are hypocrites but this is what makes our country great! Part of this hyporcasy is that we americans love to denounce hypocrites. But surely you can't be so culture-bound to invoke this value to support the Taliban! I merely point this out because you seem to strive for the value of consistancy, which is not one of my values either. But I am not totally value free. I believe, for example in educating women, allowing free choice in beard size, and in allowing the obese to wear spandex. And so does my God, who assures me that my ethics are part and parcel of of the one true ethics. And yours are not. Sorry.
-- Support the home page homeless.

 
Beards? (none / 0) (#75)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Oct 6th, 2001 at 12:20:16 AM PST
>>>2. Jailtime for cutting your beard? (Unlike your ill-informed comments before, the Afghans don't just kill people because they can't jail them. They jail people, too! For astounding things like having the wrong haircut.) <<<

If the Taliban enforce jailtime for cutting off jailtime, how exactly are we to believe that the people whose photos have been released by the FBI as suspects are linked with the Taliban?

None of those people on the photos have beards!!!


By the way, please do not confuse the Taliban with the "Afghans". If you have a little clue about the region, you might know that the country has been torn apart by civil war, a sure indication that there are many Afghans who do not share, in any way whatsoever, the beliefs and practice of the Taliban.


 
I think you will find you are the mistaken one (none / 0) (#56)
by otak on Thu Sep 27th, 2001 at 04:52:25 AM PST
There's a really bad argument floating around these forums to the effect that unless the U.S. and her allies are morally perfect, they are unjustified in taking any action to help these people. I think that's obviously absurd.
Don't be ludicrous. The moral history of US foreign policy is relevant because the United State's previous disregard for morality (and human rights, and international law, and fairly elementary principles of fairness) throws doubt on whether it is actually taking military action in order to help these people.

Every time the US takes military action it is accompanied by the same cry from it's apologists - "This time everything's totally different. No - really".

cheers,
mike.


 
Culturally biased ? (none / 0) (#42)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 10:42:45 AM PST
> Don't forget that islam is a relatively young culture.

So that's the excuse ? We have to give them a few more hundred of years so they don't treat women like cattle, put scarlet letters among the infidels, and steal food from UN charitable organizations ?

So if I make up my own religion, and start a Theocracy that is self distructive and opressive, it would be OK and I would have a couple of millenia to get updated ?

Wow, what a wonderful apologist you are. Make sure you sign up and join "The Base", I'm sure Usuma would love to have you as the head apologist. That is, if he doesn't kill your infidel ass.


 
bullshit (4.66 / 3) (#25)
by jsm on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 12:05:35 AM PST
We aren't talking about a legitimate difference of opinion on minor religious issues

Who's to decide what's legitimate?

... the worst tempered and least consistent of the adequacy.org editors
... now also Legal department and general counsel, adequacy.org

To each his own (none / 0) (#37)
by theR on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 08:27:55 AM PST
When we're speaking of religious issues, I would expect that God is the ultimate judge of what are legitimate beliefs and actions, and what is not. In this case, I can honestly say, if God believes actions of the Taliban such as executing homosexuals, adulterers, and critics of the state, treating women as less than men, etc, are legitimate or even required actions, then God can send me straight to Hell when I die, because a woman is a person, indeed adulterers, thieves, and political activists or critics are people, and female children should have the same school opportunities that male children have. If God wants the world to act as the Taliban, or even only Afghanistan to accept all the rules the Taliban imposes, then it is not a God I will bend to, and I will happily accept my punishment in the afterlife.

Since God may or may not be actively participating, may or may not exist, I will stand up and say, "Yes, these specific things being done are wrong, yes, these specific things being done are not legitimate!"


It's all right to cry,
Crying takes the sad out of you.

-- Rosey Grier

 
Be serious, now. (1.00 / 1) (#39)
by jwales on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 10:14:10 AM PST
I wrote: We aren't talking about a legitimate difference of opinion on minor religious issues

You responded: Who's to decide what's legitimate?

Each person is responsible for his or her own thoughts and actions. I decide for myself, you decide for yourself. Take a deep breath, sit back, and think.

Is it really just a simple matter of opinion, with no right and wrong, to say that executing homosexuals merely for being homosexual is wrong? When we see that you can be arrested in Afghanistan for educating 13 year old girls, are we to simply smile as such a quaint custom? When we see children of single mothers starving to death because their husbands were murdered by the regime and because the mothers are forbidden to work?

I've read some of your posts on this site. You advocate things. You say, and quite rightly, that some things are right and other things are wrong.

Is your anti-American bias so great that you are willing to overthrow even the most rudimentary concepts of morality, in order to support and condone the actions of the Taliban regime, simply because they are opposed to America?

I don't think so. I think you're just posing.


Personal Responsibility.... (none / 0) (#62)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Sep 28th, 2001 at 07:34:12 AM PST
...is a myth.


 
Not you (1.00 / 1) (#43)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 10:44:58 AM PST
> Who's to decide what's legitimate?

Surely not you, you have zero perspective.

I'm sure the women in Afghanistan , and others opressed there could more than you though.


 
Women don't need education (none / 0) (#46)
by Logical Analysis on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 10:56:40 AM PST
In Afghanistan it is a crime to educate girls beyond the age of 12.

You talk like this is a bad thing. In fact, I'm hoping this is implemented in the USA! We too can learn from the successes of the Taliban.

For decades we've been hearing from feminists about how men are evil. However, the truth is that it is Men who have contributed the most to this society, not women!

Where would we be without the invention of computer programming, by the first computer programmer, Dennis Ritchie. Yes, you heard me right, Dennis, a Man.

And who can forget the discovery of Radium by Pierre Curie? Where would we be without the X-Ray? Heck, without the X-Ray armed terrorists could sneak right into our airports!!

Last but not least, we have all played with Barbie dolls during our childhoods. It is a little known fact that Barbie was invented by.. you guessed it... a Man: Samuel Speers.

Yes, it is true, almost everything good in the world was invented by Men. Ever since Eve first betrayed Adam, Men have been tormented and tortured by women. It is time Men take a stand:

Women really have one good use in this world, and that is in producing offspring. So we should encourage this behaviour, by establishing breeding factories where men can go to have sex if they so choose. Furthermore, women who are too old to reproduce can have a positive effect on the world by washing our clothes and making us dinner. It's a win-win scenario! Education will only make women bitter and lazy... we need to help them do what they do best: breeding, cleaning, and cooking!

Hey, you can call me a radical, or even an extremist. But they called Martin Luther King Jr. an extremist too, and today he is a hero! The best ideas are the most controversial!


 
The people of Afghanistan, Bin Laden in particular (none / 0) (#44)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 10:48:37 AM PST
> The people of Afghanistan, Bin Laden in particular

Laden is not from Afghanistan. He's just a foreign meddler that most likely most people in their country want gone.


 
Well.. (3.50 / 2) (#11)
by Husaria on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 07:19:45 PM PST
This was a very well written article, something you won't find in any Western media. I haven't seen such a well detailed article.
It does present him in a fairier light than the West has. Indeed, with Bin Laden's death, you will only piss off more people and you'll have millions of bin Ladens rising up. But, this is how its going to end up, a wild, bloody war which inevitiably we'll have nuclear winter.
Sig sigger

 
so sad (2.50 / 4) (#12)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 07:44:57 PM PST
This reminds me of the time when the Shah of Iran was deposed. The Iranians had so convinced themselves that the CIA and Mosad controlled everything that I had a great time telling some Iranians I knew that Kholemi was CIA also. So now I see the same paranoia amongst these "Islam fundementalist that I tell them that bin laden has always worked for the CIA and that his whole plan is a means for the CIA to control the wolrd.
Way to go bin laden. Without you the CIA's plan would have never worked.


 
Another viewpoint (3.00 / 4) (#13)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 08:14:05 PM PST
In the first place, since when was the Mujahideen an entirely united force, whereby each and every Mujahideen was allied, friend and supporter of Bin Laden? Has it already been forgotten that Afghanistan is a land of civil war and that there are opposition to the Taliban and Bin Laden? Has it already been forgotten that such oppositions were also very much Mujahideed as well? In his overty-enthusiastic praise of Osama Bin Laden, the author has forgotten that there are many, many Muslims who oppose Bin Laden. He was far from a "celebrity" throughout the entire Muslim world. Indeed, one would not imagine that the Saudi Arabian royal family who, according to the same author, reduced Bin Laden to a common bandit thought of him as a "celebrity". Contradictions are apparent.

Secondly, in what sense and criteria is the Wahhabi sect similar to Protestanism? The Wahhabi sect is of the most extreme right-wing variety of Islam, and as such, is far more akin to Catholicism than Protestantism, though the point is moot. The author is evidently trying to drum up support for Bin Laden by portraying him as far less of an extreme right-winger than he actually is.

It is also quite evident that the author is a Wahhabi Muslim himself, making such dubious and subjective statements as suggesting that the Wahhabis are "amongst the very holiest and most pious of Muslims" while the rest of the Islamic world having been corrupted by "decadent Western ways" - conveniently leaving out a definition for such a term for which one can measure the validity of such a claim. Ironically enough, the author then proceeds to call Osama Bin Laden a "celebrity" - a term which certainly brings to mind "decadent Western ways".

Of course, this is nothing new. As any educated Muslim and historian would know, the Wahhabis have long had a reputation of intensely despising other Muslims, tolerating only those other extreme right-wing varieties, such as the Taliban. Such characteristics are common in all right-wingers, regardless of religion.

These right-wingers also tend to have absurd viewpoints such as the notion that "Every Muslim who dies in Jihad is guaranteed a place in Heaven" - even though only Allah and Allah only knows who shall go to Heaven and who shall not. Nothing is guaranteed. Allah is the Judge, Jury, and Executioner - not you, not I, and certainly not Bin Laden.

Suggesting that the "USA did not funnel military or financial support to the Mujahideen" is a rather ridiculous claim. It is widely known that Pakistan has been the strongest military and financial supporter of the Taliban - but not all the Mujahideen in Afghanistan - and Pakistan receives their military and financial support from the USA itself. Bin Laden must have been blind if he did not saw any evidence of American help. This whole conflict is nothing more than right-wing elites in one country having problems with right-wing elites in other countries. What exactly is the difference between the corrupted and oppressive Saudi Royal family and the equally corrupted and oppressive Osama Bin Laden? They merely support different forms of corruption and oppression.

If the Americans are "are out to culturally reprogram the Afghanis, one of the last pure peoples of the Earth", as this author suggested, then can it not be said that the Talibans too, in alliance with Bin Laden, are also out to culturally reprogram the Afghanis, introducing laws that the Afghanis themselves do not support? As before, the author has conveniently forgotten or ignored the existence of many opposition groups against the right-wing extremists Taliban and Bin Laden. Are not the Taliban culturally repogramming, or at least trying to, these oppositions movements themselves?

The author says that the Taliban is not corrupted by Western influence - while yet again, choosing not to provide any definition of what is "western". Certainly, one can wonder whether the usage of military arsenal and financial support from the so-called "West" qualifies as being corrupted by Western influence. One wonders too whether legalising the game of cricket, which originates from Britain, while banning other sports, some of which originated outside the so-called "West", qualifies as such corruption.

One questions the strength of the author's own statement when he first says with certainty that the Taliban will not hand Bin Laden over before allowing himself an escape "in the unlikely event that they did decide to hand him over". If the author himself can visualise the possibility that the Taliban can hand him over, then how can the author's statement that they will not do so be regarded seriously?

Sweeping generalisation such as the statement that "bin Laden had a big impact there, as he does everywhere" points to the lack of credibility of this article. One can think of many places where bin Laden had little or no impact, including, of course, non-Muslim territories. Then again, this author likes to think that all Muslims are the same, and that there is only one interpretation of Islam, so who is to say that he doesn't believe that Bin Laden has had a big impact in New York, New York?

Ironic, isn't it?

S. Nasution - a Muslim himself.


I have to take issue with this (4.50 / 2) (#14)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 08:33:28 PM PST
Secondly, in what sense and criteria is the Wahhabi sect similar to Protestanism? The Wahhabi sect is of the most extreme right-wing variety of Islam, and as such, is far more akin to Catholicism than Protestantism ..

*blink*

Are you honestly suggesting that Catholics are more right-wing than Protestants? It's true that Catholics hold strong views about issues like abortion, birth control, etc. .. but the Protestants typically hold these same views and then some. The vast majority of "politically right-wing" Christians are Protestants (Southern Baptists being the worst offenders.)

Can you name right-wing Catholics that measure up to people like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Bob Jones, Fred Phelps .. all of whom are Protestants and detest Catholicism? Christian fundamentalism is something that is to be fought tooth-and-nail in the United States, lest we end up like the nations that we are currently deploying armed forces to. And on that front, the Catholics are the least of our worries.


To see Catholic prejudice, read adequacy (none / 0) (#32)
by Adam Rightmann on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 07:11:45 AM PST
certain posters seem to have a long standing axe to grind with Catholicism, even calling them by the hateful term Papist.


A. Rightmann

As well they should (none / 0) (#36)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 07:36:20 AM PST
No need to bash the religion. The practioners provide all the ammo we need.


 
re: I have to take issue with this (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 05:02:16 PM PST
Perhaps it is the different lingos that exist in different countries, but where I come from - which is certainly not America - the usage of the word Protestants does not refer to such ultra right-wing Christians as you just mentioned. Instead, we use the word Evangelical to refer to such figures, including the Southern Baptists.

There are some parallels here between Christianity and Islam. In the first instance, Catholicism has its analogy with Shi'ite Islam, as practiced mainly in Iran - both have a firm emphasis on a clerical organisation hierarchy. In the second instance, just as Evangelicals emerged as an extreme offshoot of Protestanism, so too did the Wahhabi sect emerged as an extreme offshoot of Sunni Islam.

The way I see it, given that Sunni Muslims take offence with any suggestion that the Wahhabis are also Sunni Muslims, so too would non-Evangelical Protestants - including, for instance, the Anglican Church in England, or the Lutherans in North Europe - take offence at any suggestion that the Evangelicals are Protestants. You might want to note that the Anglicans and Lutherans, for instance, are nowhere as right-wing as the Evangelicals or for that matter, the Catholics, and it could and would be rather misleading to use the same term to refer to such widely-varied people.

This is merely a case of semantics, apparently enough. I do agree with you on all counts.

S. Nasution


 
picky (none / 0) (#73)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Oct 3rd, 2001 at 06:36:27 AM PST
<i>Are you honestly suggesting that Catholics are more right-wing than Protestants?</i>
<p>Are you honestly suggesting that you can classify the pollitical beliefs of a whole swathe of people based solely on their professed religion?
<p>
<i>The vast majority of "politically right-wing" Christians are Protestants (Southern Baptists being the worst offenders.)</i>
<p>
Southern Baptists aren't protestants, they're southern baptists, duh!



 
he forgot other things too (none / 0) (#74)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Oct 4th, 2001 at 10:49:09 PM PST
The original author also didn't mention the huge amount of aid and training that the Mujahideen received from the CIA and the SAS. The Afghans were brave fighters, but they were being slaughtered by the Russians before they started getting help from the West. Even after that, the Russian special forces were still successful in fighting the Mujahideen. It is also a known fact that disease brought on by poor conditions killed more Russians than combat. The Russians got sick and tired of wasting men and material in this little country.

If it wasn't for the West's help, bin Laden and his men would have been dead long ago.


 
I hate you (2.00 / 4) (#15)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 08:49:06 PM PST
If Taliban state is by your definition "Purest Islamic state" then Islam should be exterminated as a doctrine creating such a fascist state.


Look in the mirror (4.75 / 4) (#18)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 09:03:57 PM PST
The current behaviour of the US resembles the early stages of fascism as much as the situation in Afghanistan does. Emphasis on national rebirth, national loyalty, enmity of communism and liberalism, celebration of symbols of masculinity, youth, unity and the regenerative power of violence; all are indicative of growing fascism.

The US is using perceived threats such as drugs and terrorists to unite the US people through fear. This is a uniquely fascist method. The growing shift towards stressing "traditional" USian values is another indication that fascism is gaining power.

Attempts to stabilise the US capitalist economy are subtly pushing the nation to the brink of fascism. The efforts of a corporatist republican government may well push it over the edge.


Wishing Eisenhower, Roosevelt had never bothered (4.66 / 3) (#26)
by lowapproach on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 01:57:47 AM PST
The current behaviour of the US resembles the early stages of fascism as much as the situation in Afghanistan does. Emphasis on national rebirth, national loyalty, enmity of communism and liberalism, celebration of symbols of masculinity, youth, unity and the regenerative power of violence; all are indicative of growing fascism.

Rather than restate all the ways in which Afghani and American political culture differ, it would probably suffice to say that America would allow you to offer your opinion in a public forum without the distinct possibility of being beaten to death by a corrupt theocracy's secret police.

In point of fact, Bush made a deliberate bow to China in omitting communism from discredited doctrines ["fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism"] with which he grouped the violent, reactionary Islam driving terrorist activities throughout the world. Insofar as the 'regenerative power of violence,' thirty-five thousand reservists are not being recalled to duty to satisfy masculine ritualism; it is to move the assets required to positions from which sites, installations and human beings associated with this cause may be struck.

The US is using perceived threats such as drugs and terrorists to unite the US people through fear. This is a uniquely fascist method. The growing shift towards stressing "traditional" USian values is another indication that fascism is gaining power.

If you think of tens of thousands of people dead [several hundreds of them non-Americans, for those of you capable of sympathy when the U.S. isn't involved] is a "perceived threat," I would like to know what criteria determines the actuality of a threat in your mind.

Additionally, I would like to see the sampling and poll guidelines that prove statistically a growing shift toward traditional values greater than any previous era or government, especially during a time of war. Otherwise, I will assume your statement to represent the lazy, glib generalizations of the U.S. popular among professional academics and cafe socialists everywhere.

Attempts to stabilise the US capitalist economy are subtly pushing the nation to the brink of fascism. The efforts of a corporatist republican government may well push it over the edge.

Subsidizing an industry to prevent from entering freefall is something that happens in every Western country, in at least one instance (i.e. Britain and coal during the Seventies and early Eighties, the U.S. and savings and loans banks during the late Eighties). I don't quite see the chain of logic connecting $15B in emergency aid to major airline companies and an America in brown shirts and polished boots, but our system of education in this country is lacking after all.


Are you blind? (4.66 / 3) (#28)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 03:07:24 AM PST
I think you are deliberately missing my point in your responses, so I won't respond to them. I advise you to think about what I have said, and how it applies to the government and media in the USA today. From a foreign perspective, it isn't hard to see that the US is moving towards a corporatist crypto-fascist society. It isn't a deliberate move on anyone's part, it just happens, because people are scared of media-created bogeymen, while remaining ignorant of real problems.

Scared people act irrationally, and demand from their government, amongst other things, stability. Corporations also clamour for stability, and protection from the free market. There is only one political system that can provide stability. While it is highly compatible with capitalism, it cannot also provide freedom.


 
well..... (4.75 / 4) (#29)
by jsm on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 04:53:54 AM PST
it would probably suffice to say that America would allow you to offer your opinion in a public forum without the distinct possibility of being beaten to death by a corrupt theocracy's secret police

A number of Arab-Americans might disagree with you on this one.

... the worst tempered and least consistent of the adequacy.org editors
... now also Legal department and general counsel, adequacy.org

Arab-Americans would disagree ? (1.00 / 1) (#41)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 10:37:40 AM PST
I didn't know we had a Theocratic police department. Is it Evangelical, Catholic , Buddist ? What is it ?

BTW, maybe you are referring to being beaten by a mob. We can't help it there are still bigoted idiots in our society, thankfully, that is the exeption and not the norm as opposed to primitive places like Afghanistan.

Trying to freedom of expression is restricted here like in Afghistan really says a lot about your lack of perspective.


infinite justice (none / 0) (#48)
by alprazolam on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 12:43:06 PM PST
maybe you are referring to being beaten by a mob. We can't help it there are still bigoted idiots in our society,

we can't help it that the first image that gets shown after the crash is an image of celebrating palestinians. we can't help it that the image of yassir arafat donating blood is left off tv, or called a pr stunt and used to infuriate people even more. we can't help it when arab americans are harassed and the police ignore it, or maybe yell at people to go home, without punishing those who terrorize the innocent. we can't help it that the national media immediately indites a man who is by all likelihood completely innocent in the planning of the affair, even when there are more likely suspects (milosevic?).


Gee (none / 0) (#50)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 01:13:35 PM PST
> we can't help it when arab americans are harassed and the police ignore it, or maybe yell at people to go home, without punishing those who terrorize the innocent.

Gee, I haven't read anything about the police ignoring violence against Arabs. Last time I checked, they've been arresting and even restricting people who are being hateful against them.

A man in Florida put a sign in his store saying "No Muslims here", and the police told him to take it off.

So don't give me that, "we're not punish people" crap.

BTW, do you think in Afghanistan you'd be treated better than here as a non Muslim ? I don't remember us putting scarlet letters to identify non-Muslims, and threatening with the death penalty people trying to convert others.

You can try your moral relativism all day, but at the end of it, there's no comparison between the modern world and the countries plaged by militant fanatical Islamic fundamentalists. Specially Afghanistan.


take your straw man bullshit home (none / 0) (#51)
by alprazolam on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 02:16:48 PM PST
if you notice i was replying to the following point:
maybe you are referring to being beaten by a mob. We can't help it there are still bigoted idiots in our society,

Where does this: You can try your moral relativism all day, but at the end of it, there's no comparison between the modern world and the countries plaged by militant fanatical Islamic fundamentalists. Specially Afghanistan.

come from? Nowhere in my entire post do I defend one god damn thing the Taleban or Afghanis have done. Because you "haven't read anything about the police ignoring violence against Arabs" and because you have one anectdotal story, you automatically assume that it can't/hasn't/couldn't happen?

Of course there's no comparison between western (modern is a label I like to avoid until you define it, because at least according to military technology, Afghanistan is just about as modern as anybody else) and fundamentalist theocracies. Whether Afghanistan is "militant fanatical" as you claim is entirely up to debate, although I would expect that after 20 years of war anybody would be a bit militant. What I don't subscribe to is the claim of some Americans, that because "Afghanistan is bad, and the USA is not Afghanistan (or anything like it) the US must be good in all that it does". In particular I don't think that there is any justification for violence against Arabs or bigotry in the US, which as I already pointed out, was the point I was replying to. We can and should "help it" that there is hatred in this country. As a matter of fact I believe those who terrorize innocent citizens based on their ethnicity/political beliefs should be prosecuted for terrorism, as viciously as we prosecute foreign terrorists. But that's a wholly seperate debate, and obviously one which is above your head.


zzz (none / 0) (#57)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Sep 27th, 2001 at 10:42:41 AM PST
> Because you "haven't read anything about the police ignoring violence against Arabs" and because you have one anectdotal story, you automatically assume that it can't/hasn't/couldn't happen?

It hasn't happened, I didn't say anything about couldn't happen.

There is NO report about police led or police sanctioned beatings/killings of arabs.


yyy (none / 0) (#58)
by alprazolam on Thu Sep 27th, 2001 at 11:32:45 AM PST
Offduty Philadelphia police officer pulled a gun on a Pakistani convenience store owner; Foreign-looking taxi drivers threatened (Philadelphia Daily News, 9/13)

I'll find you some more examples. It takes a lot of digging of course, because US media isn't exactly very supportive of muslims/arabs. Of course I shouldn't have to mention our official support of Israel policy of genocide.


 
China is communist? (none / 0) (#47)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 12:38:08 PM PST
In point of fact, Bush made a deliberate bow to China in omitting communism from discredited doctrines
I always thought China was state capitalist, You know, replacing the multitude of companies & bourgeois with a single state sponsered instrument of exploitation. Even so, its still capitalism, just not liberal "free market" capitalism like we are used to here in Europe/USA/etc, and it certainly doesnt approach what Marx would describe as communism.

Would be funny if Bush did discredit China though, I wonder how he'd explain discrediting capitalism as a violent, reactionary docterine...

--
Nick
Then again, it would probably go unnoticed. Gotta love the "free" press over there in the USA....


China is Communist (none / 0) (#59)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Sep 27th, 2001 at 01:44:35 PM PST
Capitalism means that the individuals make decisions for themselves. The government can't control things. China has a planned economy with an autocratic government. It bears no similarity with capitalism at all. If you really get down to it the U.S. & Europe are not capitalistic either. They allow some freedom but not nearly enough.


Capitalism (none / 0) (#60)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Thu Sep 27th, 2001 at 03:15:48 PM PST
Capitalism has nothing to do with freedom. It works best under oppressive dictatorships. It worked incredibly well for Mussolini and Franco.


Yeah! (none / 0) (#65)
by ucblockhead on Fri Sep 28th, 2001 at 03:27:42 PM PST
Thankfully, now that Franco is dead, Spain no longer dominates Europe economically.


Excuse me? (none / 0) (#67)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Fri Sep 28th, 2001 at 05:58:23 PM PST
Was that supposed to be some sort of sarcastic bon mot?

Spain's GDP as a percentage of US GDP rose constantly throughout Franco's reign. In case you have trouble interpreting statistics, I'll explain. This means that the spanish economy was growing faster than the US economy throughout those years.

Following the death of Franco, Spain's GDP remained roughly constant for over a decade as a percentage of US GDP, in a period in which the US GDP was not growing nearly as fast as it had been during the 50s and 60s.

So there.


 
Capitalism and More (none / 0) (#76)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Oct 6th, 2001 at 01:02:50 AM PST
Capitalism hardly means "that the individuals make decisions for themselves". Otherwise, even America would not qualify as capitalism.

If you would like to know, the center-wingers prefer a capitalist society where there is minimal amount of intervention by the Government.

The right-wingers prefer a capitalist society where there is maximal amount of intervention by the Government, including protectionist policies, government-owned enterprises, and government-runned corporations. In the past, this have included the Nazis and Fascist Italy. In the present day, the most illustrative example is perhaps Singapore, a country that is very much capitalist with a Government that is very much controlling that capitalist market.

This is essentially the difference between the right-wing capitalists and those opposed to capitalism. Both tend to prefer an economy that is controlled strongly by the Government, but whereas the right-wingers opt for a control of capitalism itself, the left-wingers prefer to abolish capitalism itself, or at least to modify it in such a way as to minimise the capitalistic tendencies within a certain economy. Controlling capitalism is not enough. Abolishing it is required.

Communism is, of course, the most famous of systems that have been thought of as a replacement of Capitalism. It is by no means the only one, however.

China, like the Soviet Union before them, have shifted drastically from a left-wing orientated beginning to one that is essentially right-wing. They are communist only in name, for with regards to their current economic regime and policies, they are more akin to countries like Singapore that enforce a "controlled capitalist" market.

That a left-wing country can turn right-wing is nothing extraordinary. In the past, the Soviet Union under Stalin betrayed the ideals of the revolution by adoption and enforcing many policies, economically, socially, and politically, that are at odds with left-wing viewpoints and more at home in right-wing ideology.

Of course, Cold War propaganda has meant that many people in the so-called West have failed to see such a transition in policies by both the Soviet Union and China from a left-wing point to right-wing one. After all, the essentially conservative American Government, and its propaganda machine, including, of course, the infamous Senator McCarthy, would rather its people believe that Stalin et al are manifestations of left-wing ideology in order that the American people would not shift from their essentially right-wing conservative background to a more left-wing progressive climate.

As such, they often find it difficult to believe the possibility that members of the Communist Party alone, in both the Soviet Union and China, could have been right-wingers and left-wingers. The classic difference is that between Stalin, a pompous, xenophobic nationalist who glorified military war, all not unlike Hitler, and Leon Trotsky, who was extremely opposed to nationalism and who wanted to see the Revolution continued to the rest of the world rather than just Russia and its satelite colonies.

Stalin had Trotsky assassinated. As he did with practically every other prominent left-wingers in the Soviet Union.

But the propaganda machine of the Cold War would have us believe instead that all Communists were the one and the same, just as all Muslims today are seen to be the one and the same, deliberately playing out the fact that there were many differences between Communists themselves - so much so that there was a civil war immediately after the revolution between different communist fractions: Bolsheviks and Mensheviks - and that there are many differences between Muslims themselves - so much so that there are mnay wars occuring between Muslims, including in Afghanistan.

Likewise, in China, where Marx's theories have had a harder time being enforced, since it is a country filled with agricultural peasants rather than the industrial factory labourers that Marx was concerned with, one can find an increasing shift among members of the Communist Party towards right-wing orientated policies.

Undoubtedly, some right-wingers will dispute the notion that left-wing ideologies can be used as tools for right-wingers, but examples are, quite literally, numerous, including, for instance, the Dadaist movement that emerged during the turn of the previous century as an attack against the bourgeois climate that dominated the field of art at the time, before being turned by those very bourgeois being attacked from being anti-art into art itself.

A more easier example to understand, particularly for younger people today, is the increasing usage of Che Guevara's face as a tool for commercialism, being used as it were in advertisements for all sorts of things that Che Guevara himself, an extreme left-winger revolutionary, would not have supported or condoned.

Unfortunately, the fact for the matter is that anything and everything can be used by the right-wingers as a tool for right-wing policies. This include religions, sex, drugs, entertainment, and indeed, even left-wing ideologies such as Communism, left-wing movements such as Dadaism, and left-wing personas such as Che Guevara, for ultimately, right-wingers can use these and everything else as a form of symbolism to maintain a conservative society.

S. Nasution


 
yes, interesting (2.50 / 2) (#19)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 09:08:29 PM PST
It does how the other side, which is nice to see. Obviously it does go too far to one side, but then so does the media here in the US to the other side. I am an american and i can understand why our morals would be corrupting, and i do know that human rights violations are greater in afghanistan in places outside taliban control. but it sure as hell aint no picnic.

In otherwords, dont let any reporting including this one influence your view. do your own damn research and figure it out for your own damn self. thats what your brain is for, you are not a flippin drone.


Why the US is doing this (none / 0) (#77)
by Hunsvotti on Fri Oct 12th, 2001 at 07:47:20 PM PST
The US is doing this to protect its own interests and the interests of its allies. The Taliban are in the habit of cutting people's faces off as a means of retribution for any perceived crime. They also treat women like cattle, prohibiting them from working (thus expunging half of their viable workforce), and slay them unless they wear coverings from head to toe that no man is demanded to wear. They are a hateful bunch, and use Islam as an excuse. Many people have used religious texts as a justification for horrendous acts, so this really isn't anything new.

Reagan made the mistake in the '80s of not crushing the terrorists in their own homelands. He stumbled around and let his own people get away from him. In fact, one of his people, without any approval, arranged a car-bombing in Iran that killed over fifty innocent people coming out of a mosque, while missing the intended target. This is the kind of thing that they remember over there, and is easily exploitable by the hate-mongers.

Bush studied Reagan intensely, and he knows about all this, and he will not likely make the same mistakes. We are sweeping up a mess that has existed for a very long time, and we are doing it because it simply must be done.

If we pull out every last troop and send all the Jews to Mars on a big rocket ship tomorrow, they will still hate us, and their goal will still be to violently subdue every free nation and impose Shaariya (or however it's spelled), i.e. strict Islamic law, over every nation.

al-Qaeda means "the base," and this is a very apt term. They wish to take over Afghanistan (again). If they are successful, they will build up strength inexorably until they have enough power to spread Taliban rule to neighboring states, such as Pakistan. They will use methods of subtle subversion, such as influencing professors at religious schools, and they also may use violence, such as a coup-de-etat (in which they would overthrow the Pakistani government in favor of a hard-line Islamic regime). That isn't just paranoiac ranting, either. That's already in the works TODAY. It cannot be tolerated. al-Qaeda and every organization like it and all of their friends must be destroyed utterly. It is a shame that their members will die, but it is for the greater good of the entire human race. If a US citizen goes into the Arab world and tries to practice Judaism or Christianity, they are persecuted, possibly slain. If an Arab comes into the US, they are free to practise their religion. (A large crowd attempted to march on a mosque in the state of New York on the week of 9/11, but this is one of a very few abberant acts, and was quickly quelled by police.)

I do not hate any of them - far from it. They believe they are doing the right thing. However, their beliefs lead them to think that they have a right to impose Islam on people who do not wish to practise it, including myself. And to them, Islam is not merely religion, but a method for running a state. Too many Europeans know all too well from reading our history texts that when a religion is used to run a state, a formula is in place for hypocrisy and heinous acts of cruelty against non-believers. And so I regard them the same way a surgeon regards a cancerous cyst - something which behaves out of innate characteristics and a desire to live, but which, nevertheless, is dangerous to the rest of the body and must be removed.

In closing, I would like to tell a story about a very close friend of mine. I would not know him if it were not for Muslim extremists like bin Laden. His family is from Iran, and practises the Bahai faith. Most Muslims in that area of the world keenly hate anyone who doesn't practise Islam, and so his family felt compelled to leave in order to avoid being imprisoned and killed. They left when they got word of the revolution being led by Islamic extremists, and never returned. Bahais are routinely executed in certain parts of the Arab world. Their crime: Being infidels in the eyes of the oppressive Muslim regimes.


 
You need some education... (1.00 / 3) (#20)
by jwales on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 09:43:42 PM PST
Usamah made Afghanistan in his own image, it is thanks to his influence that it has steered a course away from the brutality and violence of communism, towards the status of a pure Muslim state.
I can only imagine that the author either knows nothing of Islam, or nothing of the violence and brutality of the Taliban regime.


He needs to get offline quick (3.50 / 2) (#33)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 07:28:24 AM PST
Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement has banned the use of the Internet in the war-torn country to stop access to vulgar, immoral and anti-Islamic material, an Afghan news service says.

The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quoted Taliban Foreign Minister Maulvi Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil as saying the movement was not against the Internet as such but was opposed to obscenity, vulgarity and anti-Islamic ``stuff'' on it.

"We want to establish a system in Afghanistan through which we can control all those things that are wrong, obscene, immoral and against Islam,'' he said.

The ban also applies to government departments, AIP said.

It was not immediately known how many people or offices use the Internet in a country in which infrastructure is in ruins because of more than two decades of war. There are not many computers and most of areas do not have electricity.

Those who can afford to, including foreign aid agencies, log onto the Internet through the few telephone lines provided by neighboring Pakistan. Users, both official and private, log on to Internet service providers in Pakistan in the absence of such facilities in Afghanistan.

Muttawakil said the Taliban were unable to restrict or control the use of the Internet because access to it was through Pakistani telephone lines.

The hard-line Taliban movement follow a strict interpretation of Islam, not shared by other Muslim countries.

Muttawakil said the Taliban wanted to keep society away from trends promoting obscenity and immorality through the Internet.

AIP did not say Friday when the ban was imposed and how the Taliban planned to ensure that telephone lines were not being used to access the Internet.

But most Taliban decisions and edicts on conduct are ruthlessly enforced by their powerful religious police working under the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.










 
Thank you (5.00 / 3) (#23)
by CLaW on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 10:39:35 PM PST
I've read many articles on bin laden, but I could never really 'get' him, or why there is animosity. I figured Afghanistan was the USSR's Vietnam. That would have made the US a friend to bin-laden. In reality they where pumping money into oil interests and really didn't give a dam about what was happening in the area. Then, the gulf war just piled more shit on the US's image. Its small wonder we see things like the Cole. (And perhaps the WTC if he did it).

Why haven't we seen a release of all the evidence of Bin Laden's involvement in the WTC? Laying it out on the table would surely convince many around the world (Afghans, perhaps?) Sure he's #1 suspect, Wanted Dead or Alive and all that, but there has to be a level of deliberation here, in order to separate the terrorists from the non-terrorists. Right now all I see is duelling terrorists. One with bombs, one with air craft carriers.

I see it was the tint of each author's POV that was confusing me. This piece goes a long way towards understanding what's actually going on in the world. Corporate Media, in my eyes, just failed a MAJOR test. I don't think I will ever rely on it again for my news, unless I WANT the red-white-and-blue tar poured over my news.

Right now Right here I am in awe of the power the Internet brings to people. I've always mouthed the words 'freedom of speech', 'open', and 'unlimited' about it, but now I see with a new clarity what the Internet brings to me.

Once again, a hart-felt THANK YOU. And please please please, keep it up.



evidence (5.00 / 2) (#24)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 25th, 2001 at 11:55:32 PM PST
Why haven't we seen a release of all the evidence of Bin Laden's involvement in the WTC?

Because a long term policy of war without concrete aims requires pre-emptive and unremitting justification instead of the sort of probative evidence required to establish guilt in isolated crimes. The Bush administration is pumping out rhetoric and vague generalities because bin Laden is an ulterior, ceremonial target.

Besides, if they actually had as much evidence as they seem to let on, would the FBI have offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and capture of living conspirators? It's entirely possible they cannot confirm deductions inferred from the trail of the dead perpetrators, and there's likely a million ways to infer a million different deductions from what has been reported of that trail.


 
Why aren't there air strikes... (4.50 / 4) (#27)
by nobbystyles on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 02:08:43 AM PST
Against Saudi Arabia? They are heavily implicated in the WTC/Pentagon attack...

A lot of the hijackers came from that country according the 'evidence' presented so far and we are charging both a Saudi Arabian and a Saudi backed regime with terrorism and support of terrorism respectively.

The twisted form of Islam, Wahabbi, which is used for justifying this attack is the state religion there. The religious schools which produced the fanatics that run Afghanistan are funded by the Saudis. The most extremist mosques in the UK and USA which supported the terrorism are funded by the Saudis.




Because... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by finn on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 05:32:32 AM PST
Then they'll stop giving us all their lovely oil, or raise the price to $100 a barrel.

The Saudi's have the West over a barrel - if we go too far, they can do as much economic damage to us as we can to them. And probably the other Arabic oil producers would follow suit, intensifying the damage.

So there's not a lot USians can do. They just have to bend over and take it, or give up their SUV's. Presumably, though, there will be a lot of diplomatic pressure on the Saudi Government to put a stop to the financing and to limit the schools.
----------

Something I admire about the US (5.00 / 3) (#31)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 05:58:26 AM PST
Perhaps the most brilliant response the US government made to the 1973 oil shock was to provide various tax breaks and subsidies to US oil companies, in the hope that the companies would use the extra money for research and exploration to find new sources of oil.

The oil companies used the money to buy department stores.

Perhaps "admire" wasn't the word I was looking for.


dont you get it? (5.00 / 1) (#45)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 10:51:31 AM PST
Department stores are necessary in order to promulgate the liberal freedoms required by autonomous individuals pursuing private economic agendas of consumption and production without social molestation, interference or sacrifice. None of that is possible unless you live in a wealthy society bursting at the seams with department stores. You mock America without examinging the alternative: consumption will set you free and fill the existential void occupied by Islam in destitute Muslim countries and Catholicism in destitute South American countries. Do you want religion or shiny baubles at 10% off this week only?

Besides, petro management in Saudi Arabia has started to result in such omens as water flooding wells and the unforseen rapid depletion of stock due to Russian mismanagement of former Soviet oil production. What does this means to America's economic future? I'd tell you if I wasnt so busy growing a long, luxurious beard.


 
They are no more muslim than jeffery dalmer was (1.00 / 2) (#34)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 07:30:32 AM PST
The Taliban militia, committed to a radical fundamentalist form of Islam, swept to power nearly four years ago and now controls most of Afghanistan, although fighting against rival movements continues in parts of the country.

Since coming to power, the Taliban has barred women from attending schools or working outside the home. Women can only appear in public hidden in head-to-toe robes.

Routinely targetted by the world community for abusing women's rights, the Taliban on Wednesday marked International Women's Day for the first time, bringing around 700 women to a Kabul women's hospital in buses with dark curtains drawn.

But the UN report insisted the Taliban continued to enforce its severe edicts against women's participation in public life "with unabated severity."

It said the regime continued to deny women access to education, health and employment and quoted refugees relating stories "of the abduction of women, rape, infliction of the punishment of stoning, lashing and other forms of inhuman punishment."

The report by Hossain, who conducted several visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan, was based on a survey of internally displaced Afghans and refugees who left the country between the end of 1998 and third quarter of 1999.

The report was compiled in January and will be presented to the UN Commission on Human Rights during meetings beginning on March 20.

Hossain gave evidence that non-Afghans, including Pakistanis and Arabs, who are fighting alongside the Taliban, are also involved in the rights violations against women and ethnic minorities.

Fighting in Afghanistan intensified last year in the central highlands particularly in Bamyan and in the Shamali Plains north of Kabul.

Hossain related evidence of summary executions of non-combatants by Taliban forces, arbitrary detentions and forced labour.

"All these practices constitute grave human rights violations," he said.

"The actions, carried out by Taliban forces who were engaged in military operations, ran directly counter to assurances publicly given by the Taliban leadership with regard to the rights of the civilian populations," the report said.




 
Well Written Crap... (1.00 / 2) (#35)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 07:34:10 AM PST
...is all the above is. Read the following facts gathered by UNICEF, for if this is a pure islamic state, we shall gladly westernize them all.

- 22.1 million people live in poverty and substandard conditions

- Infrastructure in ruins from 21 years of war

- Systemic gender discrimination against women and girls

- Widespread human rights abuses based on ethnicity, religion and language

- Landmines

- 309,000 children under five years of age die each year; under-five mortality rate ranks fourth worldwide

- The education of girls is banned in over 90 per cent of the country.

- Only 17 per cent of population has access to safe water, and only 10 per cent to adequate sanitation

- Adult literacy rate is 27 per cent for men and 5.6 per cent for women

- Primary school enrolment for both girls and boys is low

- An entire generation of children has grown up amidst armed conflict

- The infant mortality rate measures 165 per 1,000 live births, while the under-five mortality rate is 257 per 1,000 live births.

- Diarrhoeal diseases and acute respiratory infections cause an estimated 42 per cent of childhood deaths.

- Poor access to obstetric care and a lack of reproductive health and family planning services contribute to the declining health status of women and children.

- One in five children present signs of acute malnutrition

- More than one half of women of reproductive age have never received tetanus toxoid (TT).

- The quality of education is poor, and school enrolment countrywide is low.





 
historical perspective (none / 0) (#49)
by alprazolam on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 12:54:52 PM PST
Once a good understanding of the philosophical tradition in Islam is achieved, it is easy to understand bin Laden and his power base. As has been pointed out, he draws the most fanatical members of a fundamentalist religious society, much in the same way the neo nazi 'christian' groups in the south draw their supporters from the followers of Falwell, Robertson, etc. However there is a significant difference, in that the American terrorists have not been trained by the CIA, supplied with weapons such as tanks and stinger missles, and introduced to financial supporters. This is why the American terrorists tend to be lone wolf or else moron followers of somebody with a lot of personality. When the leader dies, the group splits, and generally the course of one man's adult life is not enough to create a significantly powerful criminal organization. This is obviously not true in the case of bin Laden, who has enjoyed tremendous support from the US, both directly and indirectly through Saudi Arabia.

And also to say that Afghanistan is in somebody's image is to insult that person, even among Muslim fundamentalists.


 
This is a good article if you assume one thing. (none / 0) (#61)
by Kintara on Fri Sep 28th, 2001 at 12:41:10 AM PST
This article was well written and quite interesting to read if you take into account that this is almost a first-person viewpoint of Bin Laden's motives. I think that this whole article could be construed as an intellectual excercise in understanding how the "enemy" thinks.

I have nothing but contempt for his and the Taliban's religious viewpoints; I would think that the authors do too (Am I wrong?). Bin Laden can be as righteous as he wants, but that doesn't make his beliefs any more correct. Many people that we view as monsters had a strict moral code that was respected by many people of their time.

Regardless, I think that the major thrust of this article brings up my most dire concern. I think that if we (America) go into Afghanistan and wreak havok on innocent people (even the threat of out involvement is throwing the country into chaos), we will be contributing to the problem rather than supressing it. Then again, perhaps there is a chance that in the end we will collapse the wholly despicable Taliban regime and Afghanistan can be strengthened by a more open form of government.
--Kintara

Another possibility (none / 0) (#63)
by CaptainZornchugger on Fri Sep 28th, 2001 at 08:00:00 AM PST
Then again, perhaps there is a chance that in the end we will collapse the wholly despicable Taliban regime and Afghanistan can be strengthened by a more open form of government.

Furthermore, perhaps there is a chance that winged monkeys could emerge from our collective anii, and take care of the whole problem to everyone's satisfaction.



More likely (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Sep 28th, 2001 at 03:31:11 PM PST
It is more likely that we will collapse the wholly despicable Taliban regime and place an equally despicable one in its place.


 
"our collective anii"? (none / 0) (#69)
by jsm on Mon Oct 1st, 2001 at 12:45:12 AM PST
What in the heck is an anius?

... the worst tempered and least consistent of the adequacy.org editors
... now also Legal department and general counsel, adequacy.org

anius (none / 0) (#78)
by Hunsvotti on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 03:48:06 AM PST
He is pluralizing "anus" to "anii", kind of like pluralizing "virus" to "virii" or "focus" to "focii". Latin, you see. Not that I ever took it or anything.


 

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