Osama Bin Laden Dead.

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Post by Rurudyne » Fri May 06, 2011 8:22 pm

Sir Auros wrote:1 - They're white.

2 - They're mostly Christian.
Actually, I would go with "They're not English" or even "They're Irish." depending on who is doing the dismissing. It's hardly a unique thing either and the diversity of "causes" in light of which people will excuse almost anything can be truly mind numbing — indeed, Africa has been torn apart at times (and it's been given a pass) simply because the local scumbag in chief spoke either French or English (again, depending on who was doing the dismissing).
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Post by Sixswitch » Fri May 06, 2011 9:38 pm

VERY IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I'm not talking of anyone specific here, and I realise that these people are a minority in America - however, they're a significant enough minority to have at least drawn the attention of this particular Brit.

That being said...

It is a strange phenomenon that some Americans can be supportive of the IRA in their 'fight for freedom' while decrying other terrorists as awful people.

But I've never fullly understood America's fascination with the Oirish in general. There are probably many more 'Irish' people in America than in Ireland!

A case of 'as long as it's not in my backyard' perhaps?

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Post by Rurudyne » Fri May 06, 2011 10:56 pm

I hear you.

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Post by Hound » Fri May 06, 2011 11:44 pm

Sixswitch wrote:But I've never fullly understood America's fascination with the Oirish in general.
It's the accent.

And let's just face it, redheads are just irresistably hot...

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Post by Big Daddy » Sat May 07, 2011 4:13 am

There's also the way both blow up innocent civilians.

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Post by Blaster » Sat May 07, 2011 4:38 am

Big Daddy wrote:There's also the way both blow up innocent civilians.
The hell?
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Post by inflatable dalek » Sat May 07, 2011 9:22 am

Hound wrote:It's the accent.

And let's just face it, redheads are just irresistably hot...

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Post by Blackjack » Sat May 07, 2011 10:15 am

Blaster wrote:The hell?
I think he's going for flippancy.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Sat May 07, 2011 10:26 am

Perhaps it's for the best if we stick, as Sades asked, to the topic at hand and leave the sorting out of the world's other terrorist organisations for another day.

In terms of retaliatory attacks, I'm not especially more worried than normal about the odds. They're theoretically always plotting to blow up stuff real good any chance they get, what this will do is make them rush something through before it's ready as a symbol of revenge, meaning they're more likely to screw it up, not less.
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Post by Big Daddy » Sat May 07, 2011 11:58 am

Blackjack wrote:I think he's going for flippancy.
Well, joking anyway - I thought that was okay, apologies if I misunderstood. I'm getting confused as to what does and doesn't fly around here, if it's okay to say that without getting some time away.

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Post by angloconvoy » Sat May 07, 2011 12:45 pm

I find it hard to get excited about Bin Laden's death. Obviously it's massive news (and therefore is cearly just a conspiracy theory to outdo the Brit's wedding nonsense), but I don't think it's something to cheer and sing about. That said, it's not something to condemn either.
I find it hard to say Bin Laden was a terrorist at this point. Maybe it started that way but by the end he was at war, and he died. That's what happens in a war. He was fighting for what he believed in (whether you believe that was religion, hatred, money or, power) and he lost. If you're of a bloodthirsty bent, then we are the champions is a perfect choice, given it's all just a contest to the bloodthirsty types.
As for people who say he should have been brought back alive, I don't think it's fair to expect any special forces to bring him back alive given the circumstances. For them, getting the job done without any casualties on their side has to be the priority in that kind of situation. Knowing what he would have faced had he been taken alive, I very much doubt Bin Laden would have let them take him in without taking at least a few of them down in the process.
As for dumping his body, again, it's war. People who choose to become involved in wars shouldn't expect any more than that. If you want a quiet life that ends in a funeral attended by family and friends, choose a different path.

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Post by Brandon2Marcus » Sat May 07, 2011 12:57 pm

Blackjack wrote:I think he's going for flippancy.
That day was great! Some stranger getting past for everyone. Great work of them they did this.

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Post by Sades » Sat May 07, 2011 3:02 pm

Big Daddy wrote:Well, joking anyway - I thought that was okay, apologies if I misunderstood. I'm getting confused as to what does and doesn't fly around here, if it's okay to say that without getting some time away.
Carrying on about subjects after being asked to stop repeatedly by more than one staff member is generally one of them. You want to reply to that, I have a PM inbox.
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Post by Big Daddy » Sat May 07, 2011 3:49 pm

Sorry, when I saw another staff member make a joke along the same lines I thought it was okay. I'm just trying to fit in, but I feel like I'm on some sort of hit-list here.

What's a PM inbox?

EDIT: Private Message inbox - sorry, took a minute (well, hour or so) to click.

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Post by Warcry » Sat May 07, 2011 4:41 pm

angloconvoy wrote:I find it hard to say Bin Laden was a terrorist at this point. Maybe it started that way but by the end he was at war, and he died.
I'm not sure the distinction between "terrorism" and "warfare" is a useful one at the best of times.

Is it terrorism every time you kill civilians? If so I've got some bad news for all of the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, because they've killed a lot more civvies in the last decade than al-Qaeda has... And does that mean Osama stopped being a terrorist when his minions tried to blow up the USS Cole -- a legitimate military target -- became one again with 9/11 and then danced back to the other side of the line when his men became an irregular army fighting against NATO troops in Afghanistan?

Is it terrorism because al-Qaeda isn't tied to a government like a regular army? Because not only is that not entirely true -- they had the support of the Afghan government pre-9/11 -- it means that most Western countries venerate a lot of their own terrorists as heroes.

It it because they are literal 'terrorists' and use fear as a weapon? Because if that's the case every military action ever was an act of terrorism.

It just seems like a not-very-useful label to me. The criteria seems to be "he's our enemy, so he's a terrorist", which doesn't really say anything. Osama clearly was the enemy of every single person on Earth who doesn't subscribe to his particular brand of Islamic fundamentalism and I'm not going to lose any sleep over his skull being ventilated, but it seems like the word 'terrorist' gets tossed around a lot these days to justify acting like Osama and his ilk somehow worse than a 'normal' enemy.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Sat May 07, 2011 4:50 pm

The most straightforward difference for me, if glib, is that military actions are taken specifically against military targets, any civilian casualties being the results of mistakes or screw ups. Terrorists specifically target the general public.

So yes, many armies who have deliberately targeted civilians over the years have effectively committed terrorist actions, though they're usually just called war crimes. And terrorists sometimes target legitimate military targets.
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Post by Big Daddy » Sat May 07, 2011 5:47 pm

I'm told there's a legal definition out there to do with declarations of war, recognised states and the like (e.g. Basque seperatists don't represent a recognised nation, and therefore cannot legally declare war on, say, the rest of Spain, therefore - politics aside - are defined as terrorists), but whether that's correct I don't know.

I suppose you could argue that even bombings of civilians in World War 2 had a military objective - striking at industries, causing the enemy to relocate resources to defend population centres, demoralising populations to force a surrender rather than a casualty-heavy siege and so on. I'm not saying any of that is correct, but you could argue it.

To take 9/11 as comparison to the Blitz, one involved a population who weren't at war by any real definition, involved hijacking civilian aircraft and indiscriminately killing thousands. The other involved a population at war being bombed by a country that had declared war on them, with warning and defence systems in place, and the operation had a military aim (putting aside the debate for a minute as to whether Hitler ordered the raids out of spite, it wouldn't be hard to construct one either way).

There's probably no hard and fast universal definition, but I think when you start looking at each case it's pretty easy to work out which column a particular incident fits into. Personally I think the word "terrorism" itself is inherently loaded when some acts in history now seen as correct could probably be defined as such, but my vocab isn't up to a more neutral one - activists?

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Post by Warcry » Sat May 07, 2011 6:46 pm

Big Daddy wrote:To take 9/11 as comparison to the Blitz, one involved a population who weren't at war by any real definition, involved hijacking civilian aircraft and indiscriminately killing thousands. The other involved a population at war being bombed by a country that had declared war on them, with warning and defence systems in place, and the operation had a military aim (putting aside the debate for a minute as to whether Hitler ordered the raids out of spite, it wouldn't be hard to construct one either way).
I think you need to take into account the 9/11 bombers' motives and objectives, though. They killed thousands, certainly, but not indiscriminately. They didn't just gun down random people on the street...they attacked the military and economic hubs of the US (and IIRC the plane that went down in Pennsylvania was meant for the White House, so the political hub too).

They see the West in general and the US in particular as an existential threat to their way of life, and frankly, they're right. The backward, medieval attitudes that have prevailed in the Middle East since the fall of the Ottoman Empire are slowly falling by the wayside -- as I think the recent spate of revolutions shows pretty clearly -- and Western influences are a big part of that. They also blame the West for propping up tyrants in places like Saudi Arabia or (until recently anyway) Egypt, which to be fair we are responsible for. And as the same time, they think we're plundering their natural resources (in terms of oil) at no benefit to anyone but the ultra-rich, Western-friendly elite in their countries.

So it's not like they're just blowing things up because they enjoy it. They're the enemy and we should definitely be doing everything we can to kill them, but at the same time we need to keep in mind why they're our enemy instead of just writing them off as 'fanatical terrorists'. Otherwise our attempts to stomp out this batch of enemies is just going to give rise to the next one.

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Post by Big Daddy » Sat May 07, 2011 8:56 pm

I don't know. While the Pentagon and White House would qualify as military targets, with the WTC it seemed to be as much about symbolic value as anything else - they can't really have been stupid enough to expect America's economy to fall apart completely as a result of hitting the towers. From a tactical point of view, they'd have got further doubling those planes on the other two targets, surely?

I don't think they're mindless monsters - if only; like it or not Al-Qaeda were tactically brilliant enough to mount the most harmful attack on mainland America ever, and it takes more than being a lunatic to manage that. However, I do think the towers were chosen for largely symbolic propaganda value - two huge shrines of consumerism in the middle of New York. It was an attack on Western values rather than resources.

Saying about all this, though, you have to wonder exactly what would have happened if the Pentagon plane had done more damage and the fourth flight had hit the Whitehouse.

EDIT: "Indiscriminate" is probably the wrong word for the WTC killings, as Al-Qaeda would have known the place would have been surrounded by people. But massive casualties were quite likely something they banked on, and that to me is what makes it terrorism - a lot of the plan seemed to be aiming for killing a lot of civilians and trying to scare the USA into submission by creating a feeling of nowhere being safe.

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Post by Notabot » Sat May 07, 2011 9:13 pm

I think the notion of target defining war or terrorism has some merit. Many cite the US Revolution as a form of terrorism as the colonials broke from the traditional rules of warfare and used guerrilla tactics instead of defined and declared lines. However, for the most part, they were attacking military troops and targets, people and places that knew of an inherent risk. Terrorism tends to target civilians, bystanders, and soft targets. The people going to work at the World Trade Center had no reason to expect an attack, whereas soldiers or people involved in a warzone have some expectation and preparation.

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