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Think. Question. Analyze.

Published by marco on

Former U.S. secretary of labor, Robert Reich, published How to Be Tough on Terrorism on AlterNet. He recommends a more reasoned approach, avoiding the far-right or far-left fanaticism that has polarized political discussion recently.

<q>The right dismisses this [U.S.] sordid history as irrelevant to the current crisis and accuses anyone on the left who dwells on it as “blaming America” for terrorism. Both sides are wrong: the left for suggesting that this history should make us any less determined to fight Islamic extremism and the right for assuming that this record has no bearing on why much of the third world is hostile toward us. Of course, we must proceed against terrorists with full force. Yet it’s also important to understand that our checkered history has shaped the understandings of many poor nations whose cooperation we need in order for that force to be effective and many of the world’s poor who are both attracted to radical fundamentalism and repelled by American bullying.</q>

Is Questioning War Naive? (also on AlterNet) takes a harder line, deriding the hyper-patriotic, ‘with us or against us’ mentality that equates deliberation with terrorist sympathy.

<q>To be realistic is to think that pummeling one nation — in this case Afghanistan — will have some appreciable effect on the thugs in al-Qaeda, despite the fact that the group operates in sixty-four countries including many allies whom we have no intention of bombing. To be naïve is to point out that terrorists aren’t reliant on one, or even several countries to operate, and as such, we could eradicate every member of the Taliban tomorrow without delaying by so much as a day any future attacks on our shores.</q>

Members of British Parliament are starting to respond to the plea to at least think about what they are doing (also on AlterNet). It would be nice to see at least a few U.S. representatives expressing opinions that aren’t just wholesale support of the executive branch.

These articles provide a critique of the divisiveness of opinion regarding the War on Terrorism. Now is the time for reasoned debate and thought about the issues, not wholesale capitulation and unthinking devotion, one way or another. It is very difficult to discern moral reasons for the bombings in Afghanistan. Questioning the morality or efficacy of these attacks is not support of terrorism.

It’s an age-old debating trick. Both parties agree that a problem exists. Party [A] suggests a solution. Party [B] points out that the proposed solution causes new problems and doesn’t even address the problem. [A] immediately accuses [B] of not caring about the problem and possibly being sympathic to the creators of the problem. It’s the same rhetoric that has fueled support for the drug war.

Ron Paul (a Texas Representative) writes a critique called War On Terror? It’s As Bad As War on Drugs at CounterPunch of the U.S. drug war and the upcoming War on Terrorism.

<q>Without some understanding why terrorism is directed towards the United States, we may well build a prison for ourselves with something called homeland security while doing nothing to combat the root causes of terrorism. Let us hope we figure this out soon. We have promoted a foolish and very expensive domestic war on drugs for more than 30 years. It has done no good whatsoever …</q>

In other news, When Did They Ever Stop? by William Blum (CounterPunch) discusses the recent announcement by the U.S. administration that the CIA was “once again” granted powers of assasination, while Plastic hosts an excellent discussion concerning Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s recent statement that “Responsibility for casualties in this war rests at the feet of Taliban and al Qaeda…”. I recommend using a filter level of 2 (this shows only the more descriptive comments).

Finally, The Silent Genocide on CounterPunch (again) has the sort of hard rhetoric that the rest of this post has warned about, but still contains some interesting information about Anthrax and domestic connections and Joe Lieberman’s demands that we attack Iraq “Whether or not Saddam is implicated directly in the anthrax attacks or the horrors of Sept. 11…”.