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Can the USA win the "War" on terrorism ?
Yes 4%
No 18%
Terrorism will end when the global Islamic Khalifate has been established 13%
Which terrorism are you talking about ? Irish Nationalist ? Basque Seperatist ? US Imperialism ? 63%

Votes: 22

 The War on Terror - is it winnable ?

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Sep 04, 2002
Not according to Stella Rimington ex chief of the UKs hated and feared secret service MI5.

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Admittedly she has a book to promote, but isn't the timing of her statement just a little bit insensitive ? I think the USA should seriously consider whether we can really trust the British to support us in this war whilst dissent like this is openly permitted.


Another Englisher doesn't get it (5.00 / 1) (#1)
by Adam Rightmann on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 06:56:42 AM PST
So what if a large number of Arabs were taking lessons at flight schools. In America, unlike Britain, a private individual can own a plane, and a private individual can get a pilot's license. Twenty Arab flight school pupils are but a drop in the bucket compared to the huge number of students taking flight lessons, and given the large size of various Arabian states, with the lack of a decent automobile infrastructure, makes quite a bit of sense.

Perhaps this Stella should spend some time in the United States, and see how the freedom to fly and own a plane, shoot and own a pistol, and own a piece of property without ridiculous council restrictions makes for a more free society. She would probably cower at our freedoms, and hop the first 747 back to United Kingdom of Great Nannydom.

A. Rightmann

I'd suggest her... (none / 0) (#2)
by The Mad Scientist on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 07:31:08 AM PST select an Airbus over a Boeing, especially for a transatlantic flight.

Airbus means solid European engineering. Boeings tend to lose parts during the flight. Of course, what we could expect from a corporation named after the sound of an impact.

Yes, for computers never crash (5.00 / 1) (#3)
by Adam Rightmann on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 07:44:34 AM PST
and composite laminate rudders never, ever delaminate. Yes, nothing would fill me with more confidence than knowing my skilled pilot, a veteran with thousands of hours of flying experience in all sorts of weather, can be instantly overruled by a computer programmed by a geek who can't even trust himself to fly a model airplane. And of course, computer OSes never, ever crash.

I'm sorry, but I trust humans more than computers, for humans have been endowed by our Creator with a desire to live, and I trust good old aluminum alloys more than newfangled carbon composite laminates, for we know how aluminum fatigues. Please keep your Airbii in Europe, where life is cheap and unvalued.

A. Rightmann

European Engineering (none / 0) (#4)
by Icebox on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 08:58:03 AM PST
Yes, Solid European Engineering. Hopefully the designers have not made the fuel tank skins out of the same material we Americans use for our disposable beverage cans.

If that were the case I would expect some minor problem, maybe a tire blowout, could cause the whole works to become engulfed in flames, then slam into the ground and kill all aboard.

Tire blowout (none / 0) (#5)
by The Mad Scientist on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 09:10:18 AM PST
I expected this comment. The blowout was caused by a strip of metal that fell off an American airplane that took off from that runway before.

Maybe Boeings would need some duct tape?

If the De Gualle runway sweepers were not striking (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by Adam Rightmann on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 09:19:24 AM PST
for 20 hour work weeks and subsidized prostitution, they would have been able to do a FOD check of the runways, instead of leaving the rich tourists to their doom.

Then again, they were mostly German tourists, so I doubt the French runway sweepers even cared.

A. Rightmann

Yeah, come on... (none / 0) (#18)
by gordonjcp on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 02:45:32 AM PST
... how long can it take to do a FOD check, even on a runway that size? You're looking at a fairly big chunk of metal that fell off the plane, a big strip of titanium. Not hard to spot. Even a quick spin up and down my 770m tarmac strip only takes around 5 minutes, although a proper sweeper would be better than my car. All I ever find are damn cockle shells anyway, the seagulls dig them up and drop them on the tarmac to break them open. The resulting shards chip the props really badly, and aren't exactly friendly to turbine engines either.

Give it time. (none / 0) (#8)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 10:37:04 AM PST
We'll see how your precious Airbus jets do when they're thirty years old.

Go on. Change the subject from engineering to maintenance. That wouldn't be at all predictable.

Maintenance (none / 0) (#9)
by The Mad Scientist on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 10:47:43 AM PST
If we will take Concorde as an example, they as far went pretty well. Only one crash in over 30 years of duty, and even that one caused by an external event.

Just hope the beancounters will not replace the engineers. When money rule, technology suffers.

Boy Howdy (none / 0) (#10)
by Icebox on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 12:04:57 PM PST
And when technology rules, the whole economy suffers.

Not too good with the numbers, are you? (none / 0) (#11)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 06:12:25 PM PST

If the Concorde has one crash in thirty years, then who has the better safety record when viewed as the percentage of hull failures over all aircraft sold: Boeing, or BAC/Aérospatiale?

Hint: Even the 727 is doing better than the Concorde.

Hint 2: It gets even worse for the Europeans when you look at total hours in the air.

Apples and Oranges I'm afraid. (none / 0) (#12)
by dmg on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 06:53:01 PM PST
Much as I hate to admit it as an American, but we have not yet come up with a SUPERSONIC passenger jet yet. I always feel ashamed when I pass through JFK and see the sleek supersonic Concorde parked next to the big fat 777s and 747s. Let's face it, Europe kicked our asses here for once in their pathetic lives.

It's about time the US Govt started funding a double supersonic passenger jet. Our standing in the international dick-size war depends on it.

time to give a Newtonian demonstration - of a bullet, its mass and its acceleration.
-- MC Hawking

No worries. (none / 0) (#13)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 07:05:07 PM PST
How many people have the Europeans sent to the Moon and back?

No need. (none / 0) (#14)
by because it isnt on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 11:46:40 PM PST
Europe didn't need to swing it's dick and show it had a bigger cock that Russia. -- because it isn't

Not an easy thing to do... (none / 0) (#19)
by The Mad Scientist on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 02:54:59 AM PST
...when you took all our German rocket scientists.

Rebuilding the cities after the raids of trigger-happy Allied bombing raids took quite some resources as well.

Yes, the Marshall Plan was quite effective in (none / 0) (#21)
by Adam Rightmann on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 03:45:09 AM PST
rebuilding western Europe. Gosh we Americans sure are generous.

A. Rightmann

Did you see Kosovo? (none / 0) (#22)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 04:06:39 AM PST
The military imperative was to destroy essential infrastructure (bridges, power plants, etc.) rather than explicit military targets. The kindly European-financed rebuilding program became quite lucrative for many big European construction firms -- some of whom make big donations to political parties, would you believe!

If the Western world were just more politically honest, it would save a lot of bloodshed and misery -- for example, if Bush just directly gave a $7 billion government grant to McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, it would save having to proxy the money via supporting Israel's "war on rightful owners". -- because it isn't

You do not understand politics. Or economics. (none / 0) (#24)
by dmg on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 05:46:40 AM PST
if Bush just directly gave a $7 billion government grant to McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, it would save having to proxy the money via supporting Israel's "war on rightful owners".

Government subsidies on big business are in effect acts of war against the countries who are in competition with them. If Bush did this, the Europeans would slap tarrifs on Boeing products, and the end result of trade tarrifs is almost always a real war.

time to give a Newtonian demonstration - of a bullet, its mass and its acceleration.
-- MC Hawking

It's too late. (none / 0) (#26)
by because it isnt on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 03:29:27 PM PST
There are already protectionisms, trade wars, subsidies, etc. going on. All I'm saying is you don't need to disguise any of these by laundering the money through pointless wars. -- because it isn't

I don't think it's winnable. (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 4th, 2002 at 10:10:04 AM PST
I think we have to be realistic and face the fact that Ossama bin Laden's enormous charisma isn't enough to stop a line of tanks in their tracks or divert a missile in its flight. I'm afraid we're going to have to go undercover until the China decides to show her hand. Maybe this is a good time to watch MacGyver reruns.

Stella made a good point. (none / 0) (#15)
by SpaceGhoti on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 01:52:27 AM PST
Is it possible to win a war where even civilians are trained to fight? Where fanaticism is the rule rather than the exception, and any child could be trained to carry a bomb?

Terrorism is based on emotional feedback with promise of riches and rewards in the afterlife. All the guns and planes in the world can't hold back an army like that. Even nuclear strikes can't hit every single terrorist because you can't be sure where to find them all. Unless you remove all personal freedoms and impose a crippling level of security and oversight on every aspect of our lives, terrorists will always have the means to strike at us.

The War on Terror cannot be won. Not by either side. All that can happen is that everyone's lives become that much more miserable.

A troll's true colors.

Cut, paste, think (none / 0) (#16)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 02:24:09 AM PST
The war on Almighty God - is it winnable?

Figure it out for yourself.


Exactly. (none / 0) (#20)
by SpaceGhoti on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 03:31:57 AM PST
You can't destroy something that's already intangible. The Romans discovered this when they tried to assimilate the Hebrews. The Romans normally went to a conquered race's temples and destroy their idols, demonstrating their superiority before going on to explain that their gods were really Roman gods as well. When they came to the Hebrews, there were no idols to destroy. They couldn't wreck something they couldn't get their hands on.

A troll's true colors.

Of course it's not winnable... (none / 0) (#23)
by gordonjcp on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 04:28:33 AM PST
Look at the conflict in Northern Ireland. The Republican terrorists only stopped bombing the absolute fuck out of England, NI, and Eire when the British government pulled the troops out. Of course, it was one of those stalemate things where neither trusts the other enough to make the first move, but now we've got things quietened down nicely.

How? By taking the soldiers out and leaving the people alone.

You USians need to learn that not every country wants you poking about in their affairs. Leave Iraq alone. You got your arses kicked last time, and you'll get them kicked again.

Kicked arses (none / 0) (#25)
by SpaceGhoti on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 02:15:34 PM PST
I was with you there right up to the last.

Um...the US got their arses kicked the last time they went into Iraq? I seem to recall more damage incurred by friendly fire than from Iraqi forces. Do you have any documentation for this bit of fantasy of yours?

A troll's true colors.

That's pretty much what I meant... (none / 0) (#27)
by gordonjcp on Thu Sep 5th, 2002 at 05:41:42 PM PST
You kicked your own arses, and you kicked our arses too. And we're supposed to be on the same side. If there's ever a war involving the US, you're safer being the US's opponents.

Friendly fire (none / 0) (#28)
by SpaceGhoti on Fri Sep 6th, 2002 at 04:57:27 PM PST
Okay, point taken. The old maxim states that friendly fire isn't.

However, to state that it's safer to be the US's opponents than allies is to stretch that image just a little too far. The fact that Iraqi forces were decimated by US and allied fire cannot be denied.

Human error can never be entirely removed from the equation, which is where friendly fire comes in. We're a lot more sensitive to it than we used to be because our ability to gather and share information has reached unprecedented levels. The only difference between war in 1991 and war in 1941 is that in 1991 the opposition was massively outmatched to the degree that the best they could hope for was for the US military to accidentally drop a nuke on their own toes.

A troll's true colors.

Not very friendly, no... (none / 0) (#29)
by gordonjcp on Sat Sep 7th, 2002 at 01:47:24 AM PST
The fact that Iraqi forces were decimated by US and allied fire cannot be denied.

And fleeing civilian refugees, on the Basra road. Nice idea, strafing a traffic jam. Wonder who came up with that little gem?

What are we discussing? (none / 0) (#30)
by SpaceGhoti on Sat Sep 7th, 2002 at 04:16:54 AM PST
Nice idea, strafing a traffic jam.

No argument. It certainly deserves an enquiry from the UN for possible war crime indictments (yes, I am American). However, what does this have to do with the topic we were on, namely the misnomer of "friendly fire?"

A troll's true colors.


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