From Phreadom to kirstenandersenfanclub. 2:15 pm (1 minute ago)
I can't help but comment on this.
My response is aimed at Kathleen Parker, who I'm sure will never read this... but I'll write it anyway.
Let's see how concise I can make this.
Miss Parker, the very same wide reaching, rights infringing powers you feel the need to give our government at the cost of our liberties are the same kind of powers that the government has been using anyway in the past both foreign and domestically which have led us to the very point we are now at.
CIA black ops and the like on foreign soil... military actions in foreign countries for the monetary betterment of our country, costing the lives of thousands of innocent civilians... assassinations of democratically elected foreign leaders to be replaced with military dictators that were more in line with our goals. The setup of drug networks to fund illegal arms trades and military actions etc.
Frankly one of the biggest causes of modern middle eastern based terrorism is our involvement with Israel. Almost every speech I've seen where they (rarely) actually tell you what Osama himself said, refers to our involvement in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict... and how our backing of an illegal occupation and genocide to the tune of $15,000, 000.00 per DAY is driving Muslims to feel that they are being persecuted and need to defend themselves by whatever means necessary. We're funding the Israeli military, selling them military equipment and bulldozers etc... so they can fly around in their helicopters firing missiles into the cars and houses of suspected Palestinian "terrorists" etc. And what can those terrorists do in return? Throw rocks? Shoot at the tanks with their rifles?
It's not our supposed "Freedom" that they hate... it's our government's reckless and blind action as a Big Brother rogue nation stomping all over the rest of the world... and particularly on the third world type countries that can't do much to defend themselves. If a country was funding your enemy to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars per year in aid and military hardware, to be used in wiping our your people... even though the world courts had almost unanimously convicted your enemy of war crimes, with your country being the ONLY dissenting vote in 2 of the 3 votes... would you not hate that country?
Or how about watching that country then attack another nation under the excuse of them having Weapons of Mass Destruction, although they were NO THREAT WHATSOEVER to the United States... while leaving your enemy, convicted of illegal occupation and war crimes, to sit on an arsenal of 400 Nuclear Warheads?
Or how about watching them kill HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of innocent civilians... men, women and children as a result of this illegal war... mostly children.... and then watching them have the gall to call it an outrage when you kill A SINGLE PERSON from their country. And then teach their soldiers to pass out toys and candy at important strategic locations to draw crowds of children, to discourage "terrorist" attacks by using the resultant crowds of children and human shields... and then calling the "terrorists" monsters and evil when they finally strike anyway.
It takes an astounding level of ignorance and a pervasive lack of understanding to justify the kind of sheepish drivel that Miss Parker has written below. The very government she advocates, to the detriment of our most basic freedoms and liberties, is the very government whose same actions have caused the very "terrorist threat" that we now face. The answer is NOT the further erosion of our freedoms and rights, but instead a matter of calling our government to be accountable for it's past and present actions which have at the very root fueled this present "terrorist" boom... pardon the pun.
The answer is not in fervently avoiding the blame that lies very squarely here at home, and killing thousands more innocent civilians abroad under the banner of a Christian nation... which only throws fuel on an already raging fire... but in taking a look inward... taking a look at our own actions... and trying to understand how rebranding our country in the 1950's as an expressly Christian nation in opposition to the "godless heathens of communism", in violation of our most basic founding principles... and proceeding to wage a secret imperialistic war the third world countries over the next 50+ years while funding the number one enemy of the arab nations under the excuse that a 3,000 year old book and imaginary sky god gives them the right to come in and displace and slaughter anyone else who happens to be already living there and disagrees. And then labeling anyone who fights back against those imperialistic actions as a "terrorist" and justifying their further persecution and genocide.
How would you feel if some other country or group came into your home under the banner of some other religion and killed a bunch of your people while claiming a divine right to do so and sought to displace you from house and home and replace you with their own people, government and belief system?
Think about it.
And before you snap off a response, do yourself a favor and read this:
Maybe you'll start understanding a bit of how and why the rest of the world REALLY doesn't like us... and not because of the bullshit excuse that they "hate our Freedom".
On 12/31/05, William Kistler wrote:--
If you've got nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear. Papers please, citizen.
President Bush has said that the terrorists hate us because of our freedoms, so he is getting rid of America's freedom so that the terrorists don't hate us anymore.
Kathleen Parker weighs in on the chicken little watch by The New York Times
Jewish World Review
December 30, 2005 Author: Kathleen Parker
I've been trying for several days now to get upset about the National Security Agency's eavesdropping program. No, wait, make that President George W. Bush's illegal, warrantless, domestic spying scandal.
That sounds more darkly nefarious, more richly conspiratorial and, most important, more impeachable. But is it true? Is Bush spying illegally on Americans? As usual, it depends on whose head is talking and how one spins the yarn.
"The president has authorized a domestic spying program without court approval" sounds like Big Brother is breathing down all our necks. "The president has authorized national security agents to wiretap suspected terrorists" sounds like common sense.
Thus, try as I might, I can't muster outrage over what appears to be a reasonable action in the wake of 9/11. As a rule, I'm as averse as anyone to having people "spying" on me. I'm also as devoted to protecting civil liberties as any other American.
But the privilege of debating our constitutional rights requires first that we be alive. If federal agents want to listen in on suspected terrorists as they plot their next mass murder, please allow me to turn up the volume.
Meanwhile, unless I start placing calls to Peshawar using phrases such as "I want my 72 virgins now," then I figure I'm safe to make my next hair appointment without fear of exposure. OK, fine, so I highlight.
I'm not making light of legitimate concerns about government power over private lives — vigilance is critical and debate worthwhile, but this seems like a manufactured controversy. It also reminds us yet again that America's decency may be her greatest weakness.
It is our nature to project onto others the principles, values and qualities we hold dear. But it is our enemies' nature — and their strategy — to take advantage of those same principles. If not for our open-heartedness toward diversity and our generous spirit in welcoming all comers to these shores, Sept. 11, 2001, might never have happened.
Instead, 19 terrorists traveled freely and lived among us undetected because we were too fat, dumb and happy to imagine that anyone would want to kill us. We were innocent then, but no more. Now we look for dots and try to connect them. We use sophisticated technology to track calls, collate data, and match suspicious-sounding words with names and numbers to create a mosaic of potentially murderous intent.
Sometimes we might get it right and prevent another attack; sometimes we might mistakenly eavesdrop on an innocent conversation. What we save — possibly thousands of lives — compared with what we lose (mostly the exposure of our embarrassingly dull lives) would seem sufficiently self-evident to preclude the meme-driven hysteria now clotting airwaves: Bush lied; Bush spied. And, oh yes, People Died.
Or maybe not. Maybe people didn't die because federal agents acted in the moment and wiretapped someone they thought might be a threat to U.S. security. Maybe thousands didn't get blown up on the Brooklyn Bridge as Iyman Faris had plotted because agents wiretapped Faris' phone.
Now we learn that Faris, who pleaded guilty in October 2003 to working with al-Qaida, is prepared to sue Bush for illegally wiretapping him. The crux of his case would be that Bush's NSA policy violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires a warrant from a special court before an American citizen can be wiretapped.
That, at least, is his attorney's position. Other legal authorities assert that Bush is well within his constitutional authority to pursue foreign intelligence and to monitor communications without a warrant. For more on this, read "Unwarranted Complaints" in the Dec. 27 New York Times (nytimes.com/2005/12/27/opinion/27casey.html) by David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey, both lawyers who served in the Justice Department in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.
However the fine legal points are resolved, the current tenor of debate seems out of tune with events. In theory, I don't want to be wiretapped without due process, no matter how unlikely it is that anyone would want to know the shade of my highlights.
But in practice, the task of getting scores or hundreds of warrants to wiretap terrorism suspects mid-conversation seems impossible to imprudent.
More to the point, I want the government to connect all the little dots it can in order to prevent another slaughter on American soil. How rich that Bush should be treated as a criminal for trying to prevent another 9/11 attack, while a known al-Qaida terrorist could be set free on a technicality.
Our decency may kill us yet.
YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
-- Philip K. Dick
UPDATE: This was followed up in the #phreadom chat channel with some (expected) "feedback" from proc, being an Israeli Jew himself, after I mentioned that I had posted a rather heated rebuttal on the mailing list and then posted the above copy of that post here.
<proc> Israel was doing just fine without the US until then.Also, Sean tried to comment on this as well, but blogger for some reason wouldn't cooperate with him. Here is his comment:
<proc> while the US voted in favor of the UN's palestine partitioning plan, they were a reluctant suporter
<proc> it was the USSR who initially were rather pro-Israel
<proc> but when they saw that Israel wasn't anywhere near subservient enough, they quickly moved to the arab side.
<proc> haven't finished reading phreadom's thing
<phreadom> that seems to follow a logical progression in a number of ways.
<proc> also, if you read Osama's stuff, the thing that catalyzed him was the action in Lebanon
<proc> NOT ANYTHING about the palestinians.
<proc> in particular: Sabra and Shatila.
<phreadom> proc: I agree.
<proc> something Sharon is personally responsible for.
<phreadom> I was going to clarify that, but couldn't remember the exact stuff.
<phreadom> his vision of the towers falling etc.
<phreadom> could you point me to some links etc?
<proc> I have no problems with your arguments, except some inaccuracies
<phreadom> so write a comment and correct me. :)
<proc> on OSama's speeches?
<proc> don't have time
<phreadom> that too... the stuff about Lebanon etc.
<phreadom> okee doke.
<proc> you can post my things
<proc> the lebanon stuff is IN his speeches
<phreadom> right, that I know.
<phreadom> I just can't find the speeches offhand.
<phreadom> they're not very widely "printed" from what I've seen.
<phreadom> I'd have to dig on Al Jazeera or something.
<proc> another thing: shooting missles in houses and cars: they are not "terrorists". The controversy is that the terrorists surround themselves with their children on purpose.
<proc> the problem is the mild collateral damage
<proc> if anything, Israeli intelligence is impecable.
<proc> yes, mild.
<phreadom> maybe as far as Israel vs Palestine.
<proc> you don't fucking go around masterminding guerilla operations, and then go hang out with your family.
<phreadom> that sounds like an excuse.
<proc> it isn't an excuse
<proc> there's one answer to guerilla warfare
<proc> and that's what Israel is doing.
<phreadom> "he shouldn't have been living in his home, with his family, trying to resist an illegal occupation. it's HIS fault that we blew up his family."
<phreadom> yeah. yep. uh-huh.
<proc> here, I'll rephrase that.
<phreadom> and in the case of Lebanon, I was under the impression that that was a US military action?
<phreadom> or am I wrong there as well?
<proc> "He was an enemy combatant in enemy territory controlled by a semi-hostile foreign body (the PA), he was slated for elimination."
<proc> no, Lebanon was an Israeli action.
<proc> one which I personally do not approve.
<proc> It served very little strategic purpose.
<proc> It galvanized resistance and cost many soldiers their lives.
<proc> Though, the partial occupation of Lebanon kept the Hezbolla at bay
<proc> now they can lob mortars right into Israeli land.
<proc> they can, and do.
<phreadom> proc: by a small twist of that definition, Osama is justified in killing Americans?
<proc> I'll contrast the two different "illegal occupations". The arabs are a direct immediate violent threat.
<proc> Oh, he quite is.
<phreadom> considering that we are supporters of enemy combatants in a hostile foreign body, slated for elimination.
<proc> Though, he's executing a revenge operation.
<proc> His ultimatums are very vague
<proc> and offer no place for negotiation.
<phreadom> right. also, he's been doing a lot of blowing his own people up lately... or at least people claiming to be allied with him have been.
<proc> I'm not some slinky lefty trying to defend his stupid beliefs while trying not to be a hypocrite.
<proc> he has his justification.
<proc> I just happen to be on the other side.
<proc> Guerilla is very hard to deal with.
<proc> especially when there's very strong international pressure, as there is on Israel.
<proc> The best way of dealing with guerilla would be taking over the source.
<proc> In this case, putting pressure on their families.
<proc> But that would be a PR catastrophe.
<proc> Israel ain't doing well in the PR dept as it is.
<phreadom> Israel moving into the middle east is what started this shit... that and the US meddling.
<phreadom> I say kick the fucking Israeli's out. move em to France or something.
<proc> before Israel, the land was controlled by the British
* phreadom ducks and covers
<proc> whom neither the arabs nor the jews liked.
<phreadom> that doesn't say a whole lot.
<proc> before them it was under turkish rule
<sig11> heh yeah. I was suprised to learn that Israel had to fight teh brits too
<phreadom> the british controlled most of the fucking earth at one point.
<proc> it was NEVER under arab rule.
<phreadom> marching around planting flags with imperialistic glee.
<phreadom> sort of like the US seems to be doing lately. ;)
<proc> the closest you go is when the Caliphate controlled part of it.
<phreadom> little flags with "democracy" written on them.
<phreadom> the turks were muslims, were they not?
<phreadom> it may be a matter of semantics, sure.
<proc> yes they were, but they are completely different anthropologically
<proc> and they all hate each other
<proc> the Turks opressed the native arabs more than either the british or the jews did.
<sig11> the "democracy" flags didn't come until after WW I
<phreadom> sig11: didn't we go back to being isolationist between WW1 and WW2 ?
<proc> phreadom: religious division is not the right way. what these people care about is the "race"
<proc> they don't say "jews" they say "zionists"
<phreadom> proc: ?
<phreadom> that sounds backwards.
<sig11> oh I was thinking British
<proc> as I've said before, the arabs hate each others' guts so bad, they only hate the jews more.
<phreadom> I would consider the jews the race... and the zionists the religion.
<sig11> I'm off to lansing. BBL
<proc> what they means is that you'll hear an arab say something "I don't hate the jews (as in, the religion), I hate the zionists"
<phreadom> sig11: the british didn't have a reason other than "let's rule the world." fuck democracy... it was a BRITISH flag. ;) heh
<proc> (I'm parphrasing a quote I heard multiple times from multiple arabs)
<phreadom> feh. I still think of "jew" as the "race" and "zionist" as the "religion"... and those are looser words than Madonna's pussy to be sure.
(16:31:30) Sean: Sometimes you go off on huge rants, and I get tired of reading them.
This is a fine exception, and i think you describe well the problem facing the perception of our countries actions.
I find it sad that people so easily justify resorting to anything because of a blind fear of possible terrorism, and blanked excuses like "in the wake of 9/11".
It is often chirped that if we allow terrrorism to change our lives then the terrorist have won. I agree with this except that those the chirp it most just seem to associate changin our lives with our style of living. How about the Rights we hold so high as our own Freedoms to not be encroached on by our government? Not having to prove you are not a terrorist, or plaquate yourself that it does not matter because you are not doing anything wrong. Our lives and world have changed greatly since 9/11 and sadly that is more our fault then the terrorists. Our reaction to terrorism has been short sighted and over handed. Sadly the majority of Americans support this, or just do not care. I have no answer for how to make people care that the fundamentals of our country are changing for the worse, until this effects everyone enough to care I sadly see no change.