Sunday, December 19, 2004

You write, "Alright, now you are willing to go into a bit more detail. That is good. Originally, I commended you on being willing to talk about these matters, and I go back to that. It is commendable that you try to dialogue about these things. That is unusual and that is good.

First thing, you correct me in my statement that you are arguing that Bin Laden was justified. Let me see if I follow you. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that: (a) Bin Laden was wrong to use terrorism, because terrorism is wrong;


You write," but (b) Bin Laden's grievances are justified."

The grievances are not just bin Laden's. I think it clarifies the situation to refer to the grievances as the grievances of most of the people in the Middle East. The objections to specific foreign policies are the grievances "viewed as legitimate, indeed laudable, in much of the Muslim world." ( REPORT OF THE JOINT INQUIRY INTO THE TERRORIST ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 ? BY THE HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE AND THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE p194 )

It is important to be as clear as possible because some people are eager to paint those that point out the facts as supporters of the terrorist attacks. An easy and cheap and dishonest way to derail debate by painting a person as a "terrorism supporter" when they are not.

You write," In short, you agree with his political agenda, but disagree with the way that he is carrying out. Yes?"

No. I agree that the grievances are legitimate, as far as his political agenda, that is not a simply objection to the policies. He has that as the main task and this is what he focuses on and unfortunately takes to acction with terrorism. There is more of course although he has not given details. But the general idea is a very orthodox Islamic state as far as I can tell from what he has said. His complaint is in part that the Saudi Government is not abiding by religious principles and that they are corrupt. I don't agree that a society should be engulfed in a religious dogma. His views as far as religiosity is concerned do not garner widespread support in Saudi Arabia either. In fact although many people agree that the undemocratic Saudi Government does not respect their views, bin LAden only gets about 5% support when Saudis are polled when asked if they support him as a political figure to run Saudi Arabia.

An analogy would be that many people could see that slavery was wrong but that doesn't mean people agree with Nat Turner's terrorism nor does it mean they believe that Nat actually saw signs from God in the sky signaling him to plan the attacks.

You write,", it is not good form to continually berate the other guy for being a dim wit and an illiterate."

I don't think I do that. "continually"? I think not. Even sometimes? I don't think so but if you could quote me an example I will look at it. My asking "did you read that" is meant to confront you with what I see as avoidance on your part. I didn't write "can you read that", I asked "did you read it". My intention is not to insult.

You write,"You go totally off the point of the Bin Laden discussion to try to make the general point that US foreign policy is immoral."

Where did I do that? I am pointing out that you don't seem to appreciate the evil of specific US foreign policies. I then gave you a specific example, a very dramatic one. I must tell you that I think you are avoiding it. If what a laid out in that post was not horrifically wrong then what is? If there was someone who helped put the Nazis into power and handed over the names off Jews to be killed would you be arguing "context"? what are you doing when you argue "context" with me? Is there a context in which the specific actions I described and gave sources for would be OK? Would dead Jews be more serious end result than dead Iraqis if we substituted Jews for Iraqis for the people whose names it was that US officials handed over for killing to the Baath party which they helped put into power? Does the events and the people involved deserve more attention that dismissing it as an isolated case of the US having "done the wrong thing"? Shouldn't the people involved brought to justice? Seriously, have you given any thought about how we cab work to bring the people responsible for these crimes to justice? You dismiss these crimes with " But guess what? So has everyone else." Even a serial killer in the US can always point to others and say he isn't the only one that has done it. You clearly strike me as someone willing to let the people responsible for these horrific crimes to go unpunished.

I was giving you specific examples of US policy makers doing horrible things to people in the Middle East. I did not argue a "general point that US foreign policy is immoral" That appears to be a strawman you put together.

I will continue with my response later. Until then.

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