The Implication of Homegrown Terrorists Working With al Queda

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We are a country whose ideals and ideology are based in freedom, so of course we have a few nut cases out there who are “free” to hate their own country, to wish to destroy its government or even its people, and who take advantage of the freedoms to plot and carry out terror attacks. The Unabomber was an interesting case, this super intelligent yet apparently paranoid with some psychosis or other man mailing bombs to people for 18 years and writing his very own rambling and a bit crazed manifesto. The Oklahoma City bombing was traumatic for all of us, I think; it is certainly the first big terror event that I remember. The abortion bombers and snipers who blew up abortion clinics in some sort of religious zeal and fervor that said it’s okay to kill the pregnant woman, the doctor, and (of course) the fetus along with them. But somehow and until 9/11 these homegrown terrorists didn’t “feel” threatening, they felt like the necessary negative side of a free country, like blips on the radar screen of American life, like an entry in the relatively short “con” column of a free and open democracy.

The 1993 World Trade Center bombing got coverage, but not much, and certainly not as much as it should have; that was the “heads up” we should have paid attention to, that was al Queda coming out of the woodwork and showing itself to the American public, and we missed it. But then 9/11. In the aftermath of 9/11, when we first went to Afghanistan to roust Osama bin Laden, we found an American kid (about 20, I think) over there, training in the camps alongside the religious zealots who would destroy our way of life. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t remember the details about this kid, but the implication of finding him there, of seeing what he might do remained with me, and we know that where there is one such person, there are and will be others. Some of our own citizens have such hatred for their country that they would join forces with these terrorists in order to destroy us. Or perhaps it’s not hatred of country, maybe they’re rebelling against mom and dad, maybe they want to be “famous,” maybe they’re bored. I do vaguely recall that this kid testified that he would be unable to function as a suicide bomber (which may have been his intended role), and this does not surprise me.

Our culture “gets” dying for our country, patriotism on steroids, but we don’t “get” anyone willing to blow themselves up to kill a few folks waiting for a bus. In fact, this lack of understanding of that sort of commitment (for lack of a better word, we are committed but not stupid, and we see suicide bombings, etc. as stupid. Anyway, our lack of understanding of that sort of thing) didn’t work well for us in World War II; we didn’t “get” the Japanese kamikaze pilots, we didn’t believe that anyone would do this horrible thing to themselves, and we kept not believing it until we had nothing but evidence to the contrary.

One of the things that has caused so much confusion on the part of the American public is the cultural gap between U. S. and them. This confusion makes it impossible for us to understand that someone would want to wipe us off the face of the earth in a holy war, or in something posing as a holy war but likely tinged with outrage at our past actions and a strong desire for revenge for some of the perceived (and real) harms our policies have done in foreign countries, particularly those in the Middle East. So we don’t get it, and we perhaps never will. Instead, we make faulty comparisons . . . 9/11 was “like” Pearl Harbor, only there is little, if any, comparison to be made: Pearl Harbor was a nation’s direct attack on one of our nation’s military installations during a World War, which granted we’d been only dipping our toe into at that point. But it was clear who attacked. And it was clear that it was an act of war. And it was clear what we had to do in response. Not so with 9/11. On any point.

Another comparison we hear is that the “war on terror” is “like” the Cold War, only there is little, if any, comparison to be made: the Cold War was a stand-off between near equal powers, certainly between powers each of which could do very real and very significant harm to the other. The Cold War had clearly defined participants and clearly defined bystanders (some hoping to hop in, some hoping to be overlooked). Yes, the Cold War was in large part a clash of cultures, or more pointedly, a clash of political ideology, but it was clear who was doing what to whom, and it was clear what sanctions could be placed on whom for what length of time and for what reason. Not so with the war on terror. Terrorist organizations are everywhere, sleeper cells are believed to be in every major city in the U. S. and in some not so major ones. There is no country to sanction, there is no nation to stand off against. You can’t go to war with “the nation of Islam,” there are non violent non fanatic Islamic people all over the world, just as there are the fanatics using the cloak of jihad to terrorize and destroy us. This time in history is not “like” any other, there is not a “like” situation to compare it to nor to use as precedent. And while it is certainly human nature or at least in our nature as westerners, as Americans to need to make a comparison, to force a pattern on chaos, to make neat and tidy the unimaginably messy and disordered, this tendency does us far more harm than good. We don’t see what we are actually dealing with because we are so busy peering into the past for something that might be “like” it.

Whatever 9/11 is or isn’t, was or wasn’t, one thing seems pretty clear, it had an impact on us, it changed our global and domestic policies practically overnight and seeped into our consciousness in ways we aren’t fully aware of on a daily basis, but it’s there, looming over us, a dark place in our hearts and minds. Who doesn’t go to the airport an hour or more earlier than we used to, start taking off our jackets, sweaters, shoes without prompting or question? Who among us hasn’t relinquished a sewing kit, disposable lighter, or toenail clipper, tossing it into the bin along with the hundreds of others that travelers forgot to check in their suitcases? There would have been a shouting match between airport security and any citizen whose possession was being confiscated prior to 9/11; arrangements would have been made for the person’s item to be returned to them either on the other end of the flight or once home. No more. And who doesn’t get on a subway or city bus and not for one second at least give pause, perhaps look around at oth
er passeng
ers? Who doesn’t see a lone suitcase or briefcase sitting unattended and suspect a bomb of some sort? Who doesn’t hear news of a train derailment and think ‘terrorism’ (even for a second)? Who doesn’t think “terrorism” when a fire drill takes place? For that matter, who among us would return to our desks if our building was being evacuated and our bosses told us to continue working? And who, now, hearing that our plane had been hijacked would believe that we would be taken to some destination, held, and eventually released? That is not what “hijack” means anymore, right? These are the after shocks of terror, and we’ve all felt them in one way or another and will continue to do so because we now know that we can be significantly harmed right here at home.

And I think that the arrest of seven homegrown terrorists, five of whom are American citizens, brings this point home. When we have our own terrorists doing their terrorist thing, we are appalled, sickened, and bring swift and immediate justice to them: Timothy McVeigh is dead; the Unabomber is rotting in prison, as is Eric Rudolph (one of the more famous anti-abortion terrorists). But we aren’t shaken to our core; our values and self concept (as a nation) are not threatened. These things happen, right? There are bound to be a few nuts out there, that’s why we have laws and prisons.

But when our own citizens join forces with al Queda (or attempt to as in the case of these seven morons), we do not get it. And the arrest of these men, men who thought they were plotting with al Queda to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and a federal building in Miami, brings the scattered and uncontainable nature of this “war on terror” home. ANYONE could be plotting with al Queda, ANYONE could be planning to blow up this building or that train. And if we want to sit back and think we’re safe in our cozy homes and should be restricting our government’s attempts to get a handle on fighting this very different, very sly, very intelligent enemy, multi faced multi headed multi talented, then we are making a huge mistake. We are not paying attention to the reality of the situation, we don’t “get” it, and like the battles lost to kamikaze pilots in WWII, the battles lost to terrorist organizations will add up. Part of the problem with the “round up” of Japanese Americans during WWII occurred because we didn’t pay attention to our enemy; we didn’t try to understand them or fight them in ways they would understand. Instead, we lashed out at innocent people in fear, confusion, and misunderstanding . . . and lived to regret the shameful episode. The same thing, the spirit of the same thing, is building here now. We don’t understand the terrorists, their mindset, what they are willing to do or why; instead, we impose our belief system, our limits and morals on them, and then wonder why we’re not being as effective as we feel we should be by now. If we need to learn from the past, let’s learn that we don’t have the answers, that we don’t know exactly what we are dealing with, and that we better find out fast.

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For government information on terror, including what citizens can do to help combat it: http://www.firstgov.gov/Topics/Usgresponse.shtml

For background on some of the terrorist attacks that have taken place in America: http://americanhistory.about.com/library/fastfacts/blffterrorism.htm

For the Sears Tower page: http://www.thesearstower.com/index.html

For the story on the home grown terrorists just arrested: http://articles.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20060622202009990005&ncid=NWS00010000000001 and http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=578&u=/nm/20060623/ts_nm/security_usa_dc_4 and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/5108546.stm

For information and links concerning Tim McVeigh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_McVeigh

For information and links concerning the Unabomber: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unabomber and for the full text of his Manifesto: http://www.thecourier.com/manifest.htm

For information and links concerning Eric Rudolph: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Robert_Rudolph

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32 thoughts on “The Implication of Homegrown Terrorists Working With al Queda

  1. Fuzzy – I disagree with you on a couple of points. First off, I disagree that Al Quada is a great threat to our country along the lines of the enemies we’ve had in the past. I’m NOT belittling the deaths of 4000 Americans on 9/11 – but I am saying that in proportion to the # of people we have living here – we are more likely to be injured or killed by a passing American stranger than by an act of terrorism.

    However, I can certainly understand why our government (and I include both major political parties here) would want us all to feel threatened and unsafe. People who get and retain the power associated with a political office are generally strongminded, decisive folk who are certain of their path and don’t like to be questioned or second guessed. When you know that you are right, its frustrating to find your hands tied by another branch of government…..or by existing law…..or by the media questioning your decisions.

    And so when I read some of what you’ve written I become concerned that we the people appear to be willing to give up our hard won liberties to our government in return for an unrealistic promise of being safe from harm.

    Foreign terrorism on US Soil is nothing new…..let me list just a few occurances from http://www.closeup.org/terror.htm#america
    1972
    Fraunces Tavern Bombing. Four people die in this bombing at a historic tavern in downtown New York City. The Puerto Rican nationalist group FALN is blamed for the attack, one of 49 bombings in New York attributed to them between 1974 and 1977.
    1975
    LaGuardia Airport Bombing. Eleven are killed, 75 are injured, in this attack by Croation nationalists at this New York City airport.
    1981
    Kennedy Airport Bombing. One man is killed when a bomb planted by a group calling itself the Puerto Rican Armed Resistance goes off in a men’s bathroom at New York City’s international ariport.

    As you can see – there is nothing new about American citizens cooperating with “foreign” terrorists as two of these attacks were made by Puerto Rican separatist organizations.

    Domestic terrorism is nothing new either – you mentioned some recent occurances, but of course in the 1970s we had Weather Undergrown, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and the Black Panthers.

    Although you don’t see much of an analogy with the Cold War Era – I do.
    First off, as you said yourself – the basis for the threat was a clash of ideology – communism vs democracy. Here, we again have a clash of ideology between the radical Islam of Al-Quaedas followers and the Judeo-Christianity of the United States.

    Next, we have a situation where Americans are afraid enough of the menace that they are willing to give up many of their liberties in order to feel safe. I see our government extending its powers to pry into American’s lives with the reasoning being that they need to do this in order to find and stop terrorist supporters who happen to be American citizens.

    This is exactly the reasoning used when McCarthy went on his communist witchhunts back in the 1940s. I know that Anne Coulter holds him up as a bit of a hero and insists that he was correct – but in this instance, she’s chosen to rewrite history. The nation was gripped in anti-communist hysteria and many innocent lives were ruined in the quest to protect our country from the “red scare”.

    Like you I don’t want to see that happen again….because I don’t think the answer to combating terrorism is by going into other countries and kicking ass – the bad guys will just go somewhere else and use our attack to gain more recruits. Generally people who are content with their lives, who have a place to live, enough food, and useful employment are less likely to be influenced by the Bin Ladens of the world.

  2. correction – 1960s – not 1970s was the era of those domestic terrorist organizations such as Weather Underground.

  3. You go, Girl! Love it when you get all riled up, Auntie Em. And I think it’s great that you have such strong points, and you do make me think. But I guess that at the end of the day, we have a basic difference in the way we view al Queda type terrorism; you think it less of a threat, and I see it as more of a threat. I think it’s a mistake to underestimate their resolve, their resources, and their goal, and while I do agree with you that our government sometimes heightens the rhetoric to achieve its own ends, I also think that they down play the rhetoric to ensure that we don’t “cave” or lose our will, our American-ness.

    The key difference between the Cold War and the one against terrorism is that there is no nation to attack, to sanction, to stand off against. It’s a pretty significant difference.

    McCarthy was a moron. Who gives a damn if Coulter thinks he’s a hero?

    And I never said, nor advocated going into any country and kicking any ass; what I said was that we need to understand the enemy, their ideology, their view, their religion, and their motivation. That has nothing to do with barrelling around Afghanastan steam rolling everything and accomplishing nothing, and it has nothing to do with what’s happening in Iraq, that is only tangentially related to the war on terror, after all. Once the wmd weren’t there, never were, well . . . end of terrorist connection, so the rhetoric shifted to a free Iraq. Not what I am talking about.

  4. Gosh, Em, I really need to respond to your last line, too. Sorry! You say that people who are content with their lives, have enough food, shelter, useful employment are less likely to be influenced by the bin Ladens of this world, and I couldn’t disagree more. I don’t pretend to understand the mindset of a religious zealot or “warrior” in a jihad, but it does seem clear that upper class and middle class citizens (those having all the comforts you mention) are lining up to join bin Laden. Hell, bin Laden himself is a multi-millionaire. They are not interested in living well or getting by or being comfortabel, Em; they don’t seem motivated by hunger or desperation. This is very illustrative of what I meant when I said that we sometimes and understandably impose our own belief structure onto these terrorists and terrorist sympathizers. We cannot understand them or their motivations because they are so alien to our own beliefs, morals, etc.

    As always, I respect your views and think you’re an awesome person and a good friend, so please don’t take my response the wrong way! Huggs.

  5. Amber walks into the room…scratches her head and decides this on is just too far over her head for comment! Decides to let the two scholars hash this one over…and checks for any Hilary Clinton buttons or memorial plaques….then leaves the room….

  6. Amazingly well written Fuzz. I am just so impressed and jealous…of your presentation and the time you took to research!

    Gregg->

  7. Yeah, Greg…why do you think I ran in and out so fast…anything I wrote would pale in comparison to these two! LOL!

  8. I need some more info, Fuzz, please on these upper and middle class people joining Bin Laden. My understanding of the network is that it tends to be pretty much like any other cult – the guys at the top get rich off the worker bees who tend to be poor, unemployed (or under employed) and really see their only hope for the future to be in their next life. At least thats how the Palestinian terror organizations operate – and I guess it was my bad to assume the same of Al Quaeda. Any sources you can point me to would be great, because you are right – that’s always been my paradigm – that it is easy (or easier) to manipulate people who feel oppressed and have little, if anything to lose in this life.

    And when I was referring to kicking ass – I wasn’t referring to your ideas of how to proceed, rather I was referring to the course our country is taking. We do need to understand the whys behind the terrorism of today – and I guess I’ve been painting it in the context of history….these fanatic Islamists are in many ways, reminiscent of the gorier parts of the Old Testament…as well as reverting to the beginnings of their religion, where Islam was spread through the conquering of other lands.

    I’m glad you agree that McCarthy was an ass and I do understand where you see the difference in one nation vs another in the Cold War. Again, my perception is that the world of radical islam consists primarily in an area in the Middle East much as the Soviet Empire was more than one country – but I do see where you are coming from on that now.

  9. Aw, thanks Amber and Gregg . . . though Amber, you KNOW you are more than capable of voicing your opinion! Smiles and huggs.

  10. A couple things, Em, first WE are not in a holy war (it’s not Christians against Islam, at least not from our perspective and I honestly don’t believe it is so from theirs, not purely). Second, we are NOT at war with the Middle East or with any single nation regarding terrorism (no, not even Iraq); there is no “terrorist nation” that we can fight or whatever, that is a significant problem to my mind. There is nothing religious, usually, about these terrorists (or at least the ones we’ve id’d and interviewed) UNTIL they get involved with al Queda and its associated and not associated terrorist groups; that’s all misinformation, and partly the press is to blame but mostly (I believe) our cultural differences make it hard for us to understand what is going with them.

    And yes, I’ll happily give you resources on the “class” base of known terrorists; here’s a sampling from Marc Sageman, a newly appointed FPRI Senior Fellow, was a CIA case officer in Afghanistan between 1987–89 and is now a forensic psychiatrist. This essay is based on his FPRI BookTalk on October 6, 2004, which doubled as one of our regular Situation Reports on the War on Terrorism, held every two months. His book, Understanding Terror Networks, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press earlier this year.
    The Data
    The 400 terrorists on whom I’ve collected data were the ones who actually targeted the “far enemy,” the U.S., as opposed to their own governments. I wanted to limit myself for analytical purity to that group, to see if I could identify anything different from other terrorist movements, which were far more nationalistic.

    Most people think that terrorism comes from poverty, broken families, ignorance, immaturity, lack of family or occupational responsibilities, weak minds susceptible to brainwashing – the sociopath, the criminals, the religious fanatic, or, in this country, some believe they’re just plain evil.

    Taking these perceived root causes in turn, three quarters of my sample came from the upper or middle class. The vast majority—90 percent—came from caring, intact families. Sixty-three percent had gone to college, as compared with the 5-6 percent that’s usual for the third world. These are the best and brightest of their societies in many ways.

    Al Qaeda’s members are not the Palestinian fourteen-year- olds we see on the news, but join the jihad at the average age of 26. Three-quarters were professionals or semi- professionals. They are engineers, architects, and civil engineers, mostly scientists. Very few humanities are represented, and quite surprisingly very few had any background in religion. The natural sciences predominate. Bin Laden himself is a civil engineer, Zawahiri is a physician, Mohammed Atta was, of course, an architect; and a few members are military, such as Mohammed Ibrahim Makawi, who is supposedly the head of the military committee.

    Far from having no family or job responsibilities, 73 percent were married and the vast majority had children. Those who were not married were usually too young to be married. Only 13 percent were madrassa-trained and most of them come from what I call the Southeast Asian sample, the Jemaah Islamiyya (JI). They had gone to schools headed by Sungkar and Bashir. Sungkar was the head of JI; he died in 1999. His successor, Bashir, is the cleric who is being tried for the Jakarta Marriott bombing of August 2003; he is also suspected of planning the October 2002 Bali bombing.

    As a psychiatrist, originally I was looking for any characteristic common to these men. But only four of the 400 men had any hint of a disorder. This is below the worldwide base rate for thought disorders. So they are as healthy as the general population. I didn’t find many personality disorders, which makes sense in that people who are antisocial usually don’t cooperate well enough with others to join groups.
    Full text available: http://www.fpri.org/enotes/20041101.middleeast.sageman.understandingterrornetworks.html

  11. Other resources:

    A 2005 Congressional report on the al Queda threat: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RL33038.pdf

    Another 2005 Congressional report on the structure and ideology of al Queda: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RL32759.pdf

    Check out for those and further links to government reports at: http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/ladin.htm

    For an interesting article on redefining the war on terror as against Islamic radicalism: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Features/NationalSecurity/tst021606a.cfm

  12. And remember, too, that suicide bombers, like the kamikaze pilots in WWII, are not acting out of desperation, it’s not a case of “well, I’m going, might as well take a few others with me.” I don’t understand it, certainly can’t empathize with it, but it’s hard wiring, some deep seated core belief that they have, either for God or country or both, that makes them see these acts not as “I don’t have anything to lose but I’ve everything to gain in the next life” but as some sort of real and meaningful sacrifice. The idea that they are giving up A LOT rather than a little, that they are beyond dedicated to the cause . . . I don’t know, it’s something I can’t grasp, but it’s not traditional suicide, and I don’t believe it works on the same premise or from the same psychiatrict mechanism. I’m not saying what I want very well here, mostly because I can’t understand it, but that, I guess, is my whole point in this post: we don’t understand the and pretending that we do or imagining that they think, feel, or believe as we do is a huge mistake.

  13. Thanks, Fuzz – working for a defense contractor I am familiar with most of the Congressionally sponsored reports – in fact, we’ve had a number of terrorism experts and military leaders speak at colloquiums on campus. But I hadn’t heard about Marc Sageman’s research and its fascinating stuff – something I need to take some time with (I briefly skimmed it)
    Rather than put all your blogreaders to sleep – I’ll message you once I’ve digested it all 🙂

  14. Hail to the Chief….Fuzzy for President! And Em for Vice President! And Amber you thought a woman could not rule with anything but her emotions……I rest my case after reading this blog.

  15. Sounds great, Em. 🙂

    And roflmao at you, Mavis!! If any emotions were at play in this dialogue, they were (I believe mutual) great respect and concern to keep a friendship in tact. (hehe, and isn’t that at the heart of diplomacy! lol)

  16. Actually…I do have something to say…Fuzzy and EM talk a good talk…of course they due they are educated woman! Woman are not stupid or fools jut could they hold their own around a table fool of men and decided whether or not to to go for war!

  17. I don’t know whether or not its so much “educated women” so much as its clear this is a topic close to our hearts. It’s close to mine because I grew up near Washington DC and politics was a common dinnertable conversation in my household (my mom was a bit of an activist). Mix my liberal parents with my grandmother who insisted on taking me to Kennebunkport every summer so I could worship at the Bush shrine (from a distance of course as they don’t let commoners on the estate)……and you can see why I try so hard to be diplomatic.

  18. If anyone ever wanted to join and online debate, just read the Fuzzy and Em blogs. This is just too good. More info than we get on the local news thats for sure. I wouldnt even think about getting in the middle of this one. Its so freakin far over my 5’3″ head I just walk right under it. You go ladies!

  19. Gee, Em, and here I was thinking we were being diplomatic in order to preserve our friendship in blogland. Shrug. BTW, commoners are not allowed on or near (or even on the road leading to) the Kennedy estate in Hyannis, nor probably on any other upper class, highly political and visible person’s or family estate on either side of the political fence. But I’m sure this comes as no surprise to you, Em, given your own governmental and political connections.

    But I do find it rather ironic that my position in this post is basically liberal, yet you seem to think I hold Ann Coulter as a beacon of political truth. My advocating understanding of the culture, background, ideology of the people who have declared war on us is very liiberally minded, very left wing, just the sort of thing that would make Coulter roll her eyes and shoot off some scathing comment.

    lmao at Amber and Spartonmom, you two are too funny! You just don’t want to “pick sides” and that’s all good. I’m just saying what I believe based on what I’ve read and heard and how I’ve put it together, and I’m glad that you guys find it informative (not to mention entertaining!). Huggs.

  20. informative…yes…
    Entertaining….OMG Yes!
    Over my head….I am walking under the same bar as spartmom and we are half way across town!

  21. My first response to this is, who has time for all this politics nonsense while the World Cup tournament is going on?

    The only other comment I want to make is about the idea that we can’t go to war against the Nation of Islam because it is a small minority of the crazies who are responsible. That is true, but if islam were not a religion but a country – let’s say Canada, just for fun, and if a small minority of Canada gained power and declared a policy of terrorism against the US, would we really not go to war against Canada because no all of its citizens were responsible? Not all Germans were responisible for Hitler.

    The real reason we can’t declare war on islam is because it goes against the very principle of separation of church and state – the US does not declare war on religious groups. (And yes, also because islam is not located within the boundaries of one country and is thus harder to target without killing people who are neither a member of the religion nor the country.)

  22. Oh, Max, good to see you! I just added you to my friends list on livejournal . . . turns out that yahoo reserves the rights to our blog posts (including the right to change, use, and profit from our posts), so I thought about your blog, and knowing you as I do, I figured you wouldn’t be on a site that did that, so I signed up. Sure enough, livejournal leaves the copyright with the author! Huggs for being you. So . . . I’m not moving to livejournal, but I am moving some of my posts over there . . . providing a link in the original here and leaving all comments, etc. Anyway, just so you know!

  23. oh, and as to your point about power . . . whomever has the country’s power has the country. We went to war with Germany, not Hitler. And we would certainly go to war with Canada if its government were overthrown by a terrorist group who set their sights on us. Wars don’t distinguish between individual ideology; we are one of the countries that allow the freedom to hold individual politics, ideology, etc., but not all countries allow that of their citizens . . . subversives in some countries, such as Iraq while Sadam was in power, were publically executed. I mean we don’t go to war with Germany and only fight the willing believers in and followers of Hitler, how would we know? I don’t get it. But I’m dense about stuff sometimes.

    And I’m pretty sure that you can’t go to war with the entire Islamic world and its adherents when the recognized leaders of Islam distance themselves from the terrorists, denying that Islam is a violent or vengeful religion, and asserting that the terrorist jihad and the fatwas bin Laden has handed down are all bunk–bin Laden is an engineer not a religious leader. I mean if we draw comparisons that would be like declaring war on the Catholic Church because some zealots declared war on us even though the Pope, the Vatican, and all the Cardinals (or whatever) adamantly reject any such affiliation or war

  24. As to your second comment, that’s kind of what I was saying – that whoever is in control of a country is in power and we therefore are willing to declare war (knowing there will be civilian casualties as at least some are always unavoidable), but you can’t do the same for a religion. But a country, same as a religion, can take the official stance of “we do not condone terrorism” while still allowing it to go on, perhaps even privately condoning it. I’m not saying that we should go out and declare war on religions, only that there’s a slight hipocrisy to the statement that we can’t attack islam because not all of them are responsible for terrorism (and I agree completely – they are not all responsible), but that we can attack a nation for its policies when not all citizens are responsible for them (and sometimes when hardly any of the citizens are responsible, in the case of monarchies and dictators).

  25. I’ve certainly not said that we can’t attack this group but we CAN attack that one, for its policies or any other reason. I’ve no where condoned attacking anyone for any reason in any way, shape, or form.

    But honestly, if that’s what you got out of what I wrote, perhaps I should revisit it at a later date (when I’ve some distance between what I think I did and what you are reading). I definitely respect your interpretation of what I’ve written, I know your background and training (like I know my own . . . lmao).

  26. Hey Fuzz – for the record – I didn’t think you worshipped at Coulter’s (or anyone elses) altar. I just remembered the post about her comments about the 9/11 widows – and she’s spent quite a bit of ink explaining why McCarthy was right – so I wasn’t sure how much of her ideology you agreed with.
    Now, I don’t think believing that understanding the background of Al Quaeda is key to defeating it is a “liberal” or “leftwing” position….in fact you’ve provided a link to the conservative Heritage Foundation in your sources. A left-wing position would be more along the lines of what you’d find at commondreams.org – the theme that US policy has created these terrorist organizations.

    I’d never tried to see the Kennedy compound, so I’ll take your word that its inaccessible – I didn’t mean to leave the impression that Republican estates were less accessible than those owned by Democrats….the point was that my grandmother felt that the Bush family could do no wrong…….while my father felt they could do no right….hence my desire to please both sides.

  27. I see her point about the 9/11 widows, and I see some of your points, too, as I’ve said. Seeing a point does not mean that I agree with her (or you, of course) on everything, that’s ridiculous to assume. And vice versa, you’ve certainly agreed with me on more than one issue, but I neither expect nor particularly want agreement on all my points. You make me think about things, probably more deeply than I otherwise would.

    What I meant by saying that it was a basically liberal position should be clear, but if it’s not, that’s okay, too. If we did indeed create these organizations, then it would make still more sense to understand that, to understand the creature we’ve created, no? Or should we just self-flaggellate and let them succeed in their goal? I NEVER said I was bleeding heart liberal. There’s a difference.

    And btw, I provided the heritage foundation link because you asked me for more resources . . . it was not one of my sources, most of that came from my own opinion (obviously based in reading, etc.), the facts I needed as I was writing, I got, and provided the links in the original post. Yes, I did know that al Quada terrorists were not the bottom of the barrel desperados you imagine them to be, but I mostly garnered that from the post-9/11 coverage, from the event itself (that was not a car bomb or a malatov cocktail, that took amazing intellect, planning, money, patience, and who knows what emotional resolve), and from listening to the “terror experts” on tv. You asked for evidence, I had to go and find it. So I did.

    Well, worshipping at the Bush altar from afar because they don’t allow commoners there just seemed to imply that you felt that it was only the Bush estate that was off limits to whomever wanders by. I’ve personally never tried to visit either the Bush estate or the Kennedy estate, my wild guess is that I would not receive a warm welcome at either, but I wouldn’t take it personally, nor would I take it as indicative of their politics. Probably just common sense not to have random people wandering in of the street (or the beach) no matter who you are, but especially if you are among the elite (in terms of money, power, prestige, etc., those pesky things by which we measure “elite,” and the elite head both parties.) But living close to the Cape, there’s always local coverage of this Kennedy shin dig or that one, and the press seems to report that it’s not open house down there.

    As to ANYONE not being able to do any wrong or ANYONE not being able to do anything right . . . maybe absolutes don’t work; some of my opinions are liberal, and some of them are conservative, and others are hybrids; I think both sides have something to offer, and I am not going to disregard something that I think makes sense just because it comes from the “opposition.” I like to listen to it all, weigh it all against my own sense of things, and then blog it without getting too caught up in whether or not something I agree with or something that makes me think about things from another angle came from someone of the correct poitical affiliation. That just isn’t how I think.

    And Em, I tried to back off on all this in several earlier posts, but if you want to keep going ’round and ’round, let’s go. This is fun to me! I enjoy a good debate.

  28. Yikes……….I didn’t think I was going round and round or arguing or doing anything other than apologizing for thinking that you might agree with Coulter on another issue – and for you misunderstanding my statement about “commoners and rich politicians estates”

    So I’m going to tiptoe out quietly with zipped lips- sorry about any confusion.

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