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Author Topic: Another perspective.
Animation Pimp
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I received this email from a friend and she asked me to pass it along:


I've been hearing a lot of talk bout "bombing
Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed
that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do
with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the
belly to do what must be done."

And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

I speak as one who deeply hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. My hatred comes from first hand experience. There is no doubt in
my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that
something must be done about those monsters.

But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the
government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a
political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you
think Bin Laden,think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps."

It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity.


They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone
would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.

Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt,
incapacitated, suffering.

A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled
orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying
these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

We come now to the question of "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age". Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took
care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level
their houses? Done.

Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done.
Eradicate their hospitals? Done.
Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.

New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at
least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban
eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide.
Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying
over Kabul and dropping bombs would not really be a strike against the
criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making
common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.

So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is
to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly
to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to
kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads
out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just
because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that
folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through
Pakistan. Would they let us?

Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going.
We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.

And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants.

That's why he did this. Read his speeches and
statements. It's all right here. He really believes Islam would beat the west.
It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and
the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to
lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong,
in the end the West would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for
that?

Unfortunately, Bin Laden does. Anyone else?

In Peace,

Tamim Ansary

null


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Dave is
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Chris, this is the best post you have written here, ever. It contains nothing but your feelings and no political undertone. I am actually proud of you ya big weenie. What do I do now. Pakastan has now pledged to assist the west. Just so you know. What is important is not that there is an attack but that the world agrees on what is right. That is happening. Have faith that the right thing will be done. It's no longer the sixties, the US is far smarter.
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Animation Pimp
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Dave...as much as I want to hug you right now...I must admit that I didn't write this...I did feel it was important to share though.

Chris


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dave gerry
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Now I'm not an expert, but I'd have to say that's the most level-headed and sensible viewpoint of this whole mess that I've read yet.
I'll be forwarding it to others.

Thanks, Chris.


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Nodah
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A.P., your friend is very correct. thanks for sharing it.
Taliban was birthed by the people of Afghanistan of neccesity, to throw off a government that didn't respect their rights or religion, and a Soviet invasion to prop up that government. That was 1979, I think. They've been fighting ever since. There is nothing left. The Soviets used a scorched earth policy, with anti-personnel mines disguised as toys, among other heinous tactics.
Power, and the mad lust for it, and for more of it, is to blame for what the Taliban and Al Qeada are now, not simply Islam.
Be sure to let your Arab-American neighbors know you understand that, and explain it to anyone who doesn't.
Maniacs have hitched their ride to power on to religion, like many times before, and mutated it into something ugly. Like patriotism into nationalism, or racism.
Would the regular people of Afghanistan welcome an invasion? I don't know.
That is almost certainly what would be required to fully accomplish the job. Our soldiers are ready, they know it may require their lives, but are willing to.
Can we avoid a wider war, and have the grace, the public will, to help rebuild Afghanistan, and show the Arab world we are a fierce foe, but a better friend?
I sure hope so.

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Charles
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All the more reason to pursue what must be done with patience, determination, good planning and a clear head.

In time of war, prepare for peace.

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neitherhere
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As in another thread, this topic is a nice change from the "Kill 'em all!!!" postings elsewhere on the 'net.

One thing though, I doubt anyone in the mid-east would "exalt" if we came in and "cleaned out" the Taliban. Seems that's more or less what got half the Moslem world pissed off in the first place. We thought we were helping the Afgan people fight off the Soviet invaders. Now it turns out we were just western imperialists ourselves. Go fig.

Seriously, I know that most Moslems wish us no ill - the minute of silence before the soccer match in Iran today was a particularly powerful statement of that - but a disturbingly large segement of that region's people would love nothing better than to see us (America) erased from the face of the Earth. Fortunately for everyone, the tide of American opinion seems to be turning away from "Kill 'em all!!!" in favor of a global hunt, where those who did this will be chased until they're caught, or die running.

As to what we do about the Taliban, I don't know. Probably nothing, except perhaps to help those who escape its grasp. Proxies and other half-measures would only fail again.

This whole topic is depressing. I'm gonna go draw something.


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Twedzel
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Pimp this is indeed the most sensibly written thing here, and I thank you very much for posting it... with or without your permission I will be forwarding it.
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Dave is
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I knew you didn't actually write the letter Chris but you posted it. It was honest and gave us a far fuller view of the Afghan people . Over the next few weeks a lot will be said and done so it is absolutely necessary to get these truths out. No misconceptions about who these people are and how they have already suffered. Myself I think it inspired Charles to write the wonderful "You can fight this war" thread. The only alternative to blame is openess. The Afghan people are not the enemy. You may still feel my hugs from there.
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Gagne Michel
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Thanks Animation Pimp for posting this letter. I used it in my What's New update on my site.

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Kevin
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Just so credit goes where credit is due, the "email" that Chris posted here is actually an article for the website Salon.com. They've had a variety of articles on the events of the week, many of which make good reading. Anyway, anyone who passes the article on should at least credit Salon.com, since they are the actual source.
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KitsuneStudios
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I'm almost afraid to post this, considering how perfect this original thought is. But for what it's worth...

I think America became enamoured with the advanced technology that was "proven" in Desert Storm. The smart bombs that looked so infallible on CNN in the nightly news clippings. So fuss, no muss, just blast them from afar, without any casualties on our side.

But following that, it seemed to become a universal solution to foreign policy problems: Iraq acts up, they drop in some bombs. The The attacks against Osama bin Laden proved ineffective, and one even went down in Pakistan. The attack on the pharmecutical company in the Sudan, which is now believed by many experts to have had no terrorist connections at all. Even in the Serbian/Croatian incident, while the ultimate effect of making the region safe for peacekeeping troops was achieved by the use of strategic bombing, it ultimately resulted in the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in addition to civilian casualties.

Perhaps the best method in Afghanistan is the Iron Fist in the Velvet glove: Remove the Taliban's influence by feeding the people, and helping to rebuild the country, while troops and missiles go for the heart of the Taliban.

We have removed the threat of other nations through international solidarity. This may just provide the opportunity to truely kill the Taliban and other Terrorist groups: by creating an environment free of the misery and fear they thrive on.

Ah well, Instant Philosopher, Just add Hot Topic and Stir. We now return you to your original thought patterns.

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Instant Philosopher: Just add hot topic and agitate!


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bronnie
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Quoting Kitsune:

"Perhaps the best method in Afghanistan is the Iron Fist in the Velvet glove: Remove the Taliban's influence by feeding the people, and helping to rebuild the country, while troops and missiles go for the heart of the Taliban."

That sounds like a good plan,I would love to think it could work....Unfortunately, I don't see how we can do these two things simultaneously. Flushing out the Taliban with missiles is going to involve much loss of innocent life,since chances are no one really knows exactly where that stronghold is,and Iran has sealed its Afghan border preventing influx of refugees. I'm sure that when the task is complete,America will,as she has done in the past, take on enormous reparations.

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I am not young enough to know everything- Oscar Wilde


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maggie davis
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Today I heard that the Afghan people were fleeing to the borders and Iran had to seal them. These people are really scared. I feel so awful about all of this. This war, I hope, will erradicate most of those terrorists. I can only hope that when its over the U.S. helps to put in place a government that is at least a positive thing in the lives of the Afgan people.
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Fooksie
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The waiting continues, and I pity the Afghanis.
I have no idea what it would be like to wait
with my family,expecting who knows what to happen.
Speaking for only myself, I want the guilty to be punished, but I fear for the innocents who will be caught up in the bloodshed.

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" Every move a picture! "
Buddy Love

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Gagne Michel
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Thanks Kevin for pointing out the source of the article. Lots of interesting reading on that site (Salon.com).

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Twedzel
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I was reading an article yesterday on the changing face of war, wars without battlefields... and seems this may very well be the first, not a war over territory... and very difficult to fight. Especially with the idea of using bombs and missels, as was used in the Gulf War. These tactics just won't work against a hidden enemy.

I hope that this act will cut off the financial and 'moral' support for terrorists world wide, and people see them for their true faces.


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Nodah
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Speaking of scary waiting, anyone see Larry King tonight? He had the authors of e recent book called "Germs"-Broad, Engelberg, and Miller, I think, three NY Times writers who seemed very well informed.
They said Chemical/Biological is relatively cheap and easy (the first WTC attack in 1993 tried to use Cyanide gas to kill everyone inside, but the blast incinerated it), and there was evidence via sattelite flyovers of numbers of dead animals near a terrorist training camp, suggesting testing of C/B.
I'm going to reserve this book from the library tomorrow.
If we don't get these terrorists, or try for a few months and then lose interest, they'll be back to kill 5 million instead of 5 thousand.

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Map
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I did.....I got abit freaked out about what they were saying..So I flipped to something light and fluffy...Like Mrs. Douthfire that Robin Williams film..This was on Fox...They put that film on...instead of what is said in the TVGuide...ID4..
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Dickie Crickitts
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Hey I saw that, too, and I also turned the channel to Mrs. Doubtfire!
While I was watching it though I actually thought maybe its a good idea to move out to some suburb instead of living in a big city. I also thought, and I know this sounds reactionary, that maybe its a good idea to start carrying gas masks in a backpack or bookbag from now on. Its so crazy to think that way, but maybe its a good idea just in case.
What do people think and where do you even get one of them?

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