Wednesday, July 27, 2005

My final shots for a little while

" I know that gurufrisbee is going to on vacation soon and will be internet-less for a majority of August and thus may be handicapped in replying to me in a timely manner. I hope he will forgive me and be able to continue this discussion prior to losing his internet connection."

I only have internet access at work and today is the last day of summer school. In theory I can come up here on other non-work days, but as ExPat alluded to - on Saturday I'll be leading our high school youth group on our week long mission trip (not exactly a "vacation") and will have no internet at all. So I apologize in advance for being unable to respond to what I'm sure will be some terrific responses to this post and also for not being able to continue in the fabulous dialogues here at Page 132 for a while.

"However by saying that you will recognize that .01% of the time people are in conflict. It is that .01% of the time that is the subject of my inquiry. "
* Absolutely. And my belief is that you opt to not respond to that .01% with more violence and thus make it .02% (or .o5% or worse, since it does escalate), but that in those times the best options still remain that you try to return the status to the 99.99%

"Now, let's move to the War on Terror and the .01% of the time that we have conflict. I am arguing that America must have violence in its arsenal of options."
*Well I don't agree that there even is a "War on Terror", but I do agree violence is in the arsenal - as the absolute LAST option.

"The arguments put forward by gurufrisbee leave me still unconvinced that either Biblically or pragmatically non-violence will work as a foreign policy for a nation-state. "
* I'm left wondering if there actually is any answer that would convince you. The reality is still that the Bible is a book encouraging and endorsing peace and you know that. Why should a nation-state be exempt from Biblical principles? And you also know that the MAJORITY of the world lives peacefully and not targeted for violence by terrorists at all. You don't hail from a country in that majority or currently reside in one either - and both have been recent targets.

"The first is that Al-Qaeda doesn't have any acceptable political aims."
* No, I absolutely cannot accept that. I believe the facts of the history of this is that there are very definitely some countries that are the targeted and many, many more that are not and that the fundamental differences between the two lie completely in the differences between aggressive and selfish and invasive foreign policies and benign ones. We've never even begun as a nation to try to do anything to strengthen our position as being a non-threatening one or even to have serious discussions about what we as a nation could do to accomplish that.

"As Tony Blair said, "Of course these terrorists will use Iraq as an excuse. They will use Afghanistan. September 11 of course happened before both of these things, and then the excuse was American policy, or Israel. They will always have their reasons for acting, but we have got to be really careful of almost giving in to the sort of perverted and twisted logic with which they argue."
* Iraq is an excellent point for them! So is Afghanistan! So is American policy and so is Israel. None of that is perverted or twisted. We cannot sit around and beat our chests and cry out "9-11" or "7-7" and wage 'war' on these terrorists and then pretend they have no reasons and no history to back their positions. That is ego-centrism to a repulsive degree and it's untrue.

" They have dreams of grandeur that would establish a universal theocratic fascist regime."
* You'll have to show this MUCH better, because I see nothing that proves that. They don't invade other countries or take over governments. They have beliefs and they have extreme measures to fight against those who oppose them, but they don't actually do anything that is real evidence of an interest in even establishing a regime - that would take the pamphlet printing and door knocking you yourself pointed out they aren't interested in doing.

" Why should I allow their violence to make my decisions? As a liberal, it is unacceptable when my own government does that around the world, but why would I acquiesce to some other organization using the same tactics? "
* When your first response is to hit back, you've already let their violence make your decisions.

"The bombers here in London, Palestine, and Iraq haven't been involved in political parties, orchestrated rallies or doorbelling for votes."
* So how are they trying to "establish a universal theocratic facist regime"? Exactly.

" They have immediately jumped to violence."
* You really are going to have to work a lot harder to at least feign that you are trying to see this from all sides. That statement alone shows how dreadfully little responsibility for anything you are willing to put on the shoulders of the US and the little sister superpowers of the globe.

"Finally, America is not to blame for all the troubles within the Middle East and Islam. "
* No, but if you can't show better insight into this issue that what you've displayed here, then we have no discussion to have, because we aren't talking about the same thing at all. You're discussing a world where these terrorists have no way of believing they have just reasons for their actions and where the US and co. have done nothing to provoke any of these violent responses - and that's nowhere close to the reality I see.

"Finally, it comes down to this. Terrorists are criminals."
* First, a mild chuckle for the additional "finally". And I agree they are - which is exactly why we should do everything possible to NOT be acting in similar ways to them.

" Osama Bin Laden is mass murderer still at large and I firmly disagree with you that it should be the 8,000,000th priority of the Oval Office."
* He's one of thousands or murderers and millions of criminals who is at large. A great number of them still live in the US and every one of them is more of an immediate danger to Americans than bin Laden is. Other issues that are more important to Americans in general than bin Laden's capture would easily include environmental, education, taxes, abortion, gay marriage, drug abuse, and on and on. His arrest/death won't stop terrorism and depending on which sources you trust, it may not even slow Al Qaeda down in the slightest as his position in their organization is grossly overrated by us. By wrongfully putting Osama bin Laden ahead of those other things you give viability to this administration continuing to ignore or do wrong in those other areas as well as giving them permission to do things like invade Iraq - so long as they lie about their connection to 9-11.

" But I digress, terrorists are criminals and we allow the police to use violence to stop violent criminals."
* No, police are instructed to do whatever possible to not use violence and only to go to those measures when their own lives or the lives of other innocents are in immediate danger. You are not promoting the same standards.

"This is the battle that must be won, a battle not just about the terrorist methods but their views. Not just their barbaric acts, but their barbaric ideas. Not only what they do but what they think and the thinking they would impose on others."
* Then Tony Blair is full of it. Terrorist views won't go away because some of them get murdered. It will be a recruiting coup for them whenever that happens. What you keep missing - and so does Bush and apparently so does Blair - is that all that is happening here is that when terrorists attack, it's justifying us retaliating in the exact same fashion. NOTHING good is ever going to come from this "war on terror" when all it is doing so far - and all you are encouraging to see more of - is that now the "civilized nations" are simply acting like terrorists to combat the terrorists.

You are right - Al Qaeda is on the other side of that line. But you and I and everyone with a conscience knows that there are two sides of that line and one is wrong to be on and one is right. And you're advocating being on the wrong side of that line - right next to the terrorists.

You can have your Tony Blair's quotes - I've got two that quotes from two figures that run circles around him in terms of credibility and in life philosophy:

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. " - Mahatma Ghandi

"But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." - Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:39)