Monday, January 11, 2010

Anything Goes

--Maus, Art Spiegelman

The world has gone mad today
And good's bad today,

And black's white today,

And day's night today

--Anything Goes
, Cole Porter

Columnist Eugene Robinson recently asked, Why is Cuba Odd Man Out Among Terrorist Nations? Why is Cuba and North Korea on the list of countries sponsoring terrorism?

When was the last time a terrorist operating against the U.S. had any proven linkage to either of these countries?

Now think about our erstwhile allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Why are they not on the list?

Before terrorism can be countered (but not,
defeated), it must be appropriately defined and understood. Unlike President Obama's declaration at his Peace Prize acceptance, terrorism is not an evil to extirpated like so many vermin.



Blogger Unknown said...

You would think that such a simple thing like putting the appropriate countries on the list for state sponsored terrorism would be easy when we are testing "mind reading" devices at airports. Unfortunately no such luck.

Kind of like at basic training when everyone thinks they are ready to graduate and go on to better things but they still can't quite grasp the concept of no talking in formation. If you can't do the simple things right, you'll never get the more complicated things done...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 9:28:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the focus, and the money are being mistakenly poured into the military when the focus with terror should rightly be law enforcement.

sending troops, and spies, and drones, and bombers and all that rot ennobles the bog simple fucking criminals that they are.

before the spooks and gyrenes got to all stomping around and muddying the waters the FBI was very close to cracking the USS COLE case, with the cooperation of the yemeni and saudi gov'ts.

i wish our leaders would concern themselves less with "protecting the american people" and do more protecting and defending the constitution of the united states.

if the leaders hold true to the oaths they swear and protected and defended the constitution i think that they would find the american people are quite capable of defending themselves thank you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 4:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will play devil's advocate here; if for no other reason than just to see where it leads us.

Answer: Neither of the official governments of Pak or Saud are official sponsors of terrorism nor declared - actual or de facto - enemies of the US.

In fact, both of these governments would like to see AQ and associates eradicated, just as we would. Enemy of my enemy is my friend...and all that.

The governments of Cuba and NoKo are a different matter. They have expressed hostility to the US.

Tho' even in my role of D'sA I find the inclusion of Cuba to be goofy, anachronistic and generally back assward.

But this is the gist of difference.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 6:05:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Talking of hostility-didn't the US sponsor an invasion of Cuba and concurrently didn't the POTUS authorize assasination of Castro?
The Terror that has us shaking in our boots often originates in the banks /madras of SA and the backgrounds of PAK. Just saying.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 10:17:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we have definitely screwed Cuba in the past; mafia, Batista, Bay of Pigs, embargo.....

We did wrong there as we have in many other countries now - understandably in many cases - unfriendly and/or dangerous.

Mistakes were made and damage done.

But, what's done is done and we have to deal with things as they are.

Today's threats are todays' threats regardless of their history.

I will add, though, that it would be nice if 1. we would learn from the etiology of these threats what we can do to not produce more of them in the future 2. If we would make friends with Cuba.....like I said even as Devil's advocate I struggle to defend the US position on Cuba at this point.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 7:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

What i'm beating around the bush and not saying is- the US has committed more acts of state sponsored terrorism than has Castro's Cuba.
If 1 stops to think about it the 1st airline hijackers were Cuban nuttoes escaping the island, and what did we do? Did we return them?
But when it started biting us on the ass then we cried like little babies about the problem.
As my friend Rob Valentine used to say-it depends whose ox is getting gored.
We've written numerous arts on the Cuban topic in days gone by.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 10:42:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm willing to stipulate that the US is one of - if not THE - biggest state sponsor of terrorism. Has been going back to the beginning of our thing versus the native inhabitants. I know this as well as you do.

But it's Our Thing; our Ox. Most or all of us here have put on a uniform and picked up a weapon to defend it. Why stop now? What's different?

Is there some other boss out there that you think will lead us to a more enlightened way? From my travels, all bosses look the same at the end of day; just as all the bullshit they spread smells the same.

So, again, I don't see where US historical culpability matters too much in assessing and addressing current external threats.

If a man intends me immediate grave bodily harm I am going to do my all to cause him to cease now; whatever it takes. I'm not going to pause to contemplate what I may have done in the past to contribute to his motivation to attack. Nor, should I be unable personally to defend myself, do I want my sworn protectors to indulge in such contemplations at the critical moment.

I guess I extrapolate this thinking to the country and the body of citizens; including us.

asking the why's and examing the history is for after the threat is eliminated with the hope of avoiding similar situations in the future (if possible).


Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 8:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I reckon what you say is valid, and i get carried away with useless words.
The key point is that we don't agree on the nature of the threat.
BTW, we may have carried rifles and killed people, but that doesn't mean that we were defending the country.

Friday, January 15, 2010 at 7:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, I reckon there is much truth in your words too. Sometimes I think it just doesn't matter. Sometimes I wonder why I even follow wordly affairs at all. History repeats itself. I know how this ends and begins again.

As devil's advocate I was attempting to defend those who are trying, albeit in half-assed politically thwarted measures. If not for them we'd really be way up shit creek.....maybe we are anyhow.

There has to be a balance, but the best and wisest don't lead because our system, based on $s, is corrupt to the core and wisdom is foresaken and replaced with greed.


Friday, January 15, 2010 at 7:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

hen i was a young boy Former Pres. Truman used to walk by daily and wave into the studio of the Dave Garroway Show/Morning News. This was before we elevated our leaders to god status and beyond normal human bounds.
Leadership is not about what you get but what you give.
I have flashes and know the words before they're said.And yes, the outcome is predictable , if not certain.
btw - do you follow milpub? I think you fit over there.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 10:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, for the record, I not only agree with you that placing NoKo and Cuba on the list of terrorist states is beyond meaningless and stupid, but that, furthermore, given the nature of today's terrorism, I think the entire concept of the list is a sham.

Terrorist groups can and do come into being and operate in any country. Official state sponsorship or not.

Back in the days of the silly, yet occassionally dangerous Bider Meinhoff, did we put Germany on a terrosist list? Of course not.

If state sponsorship by the official government is the criterion for inclusion on the list (as I suggested), then where is the evidence that either NoKo or Cuba has indulged in such policy?

The only serious official state sponsors of terrorism in recent years - as far as I know - are afghanistan pre-US invasion and Iran. Iran does not sponsor terrorism against the US. So, I personally, am not worried about that country. What they do to Israel is Israel's problem; and largely one of Israel's own creation. Afghanistan is up in the air at this point. If we withdrew all troops and all other forms of aid tomorrow I'd say it's a 50/50 probability that they'd go back to being a safe haven for anti-US groups in the following decade.

Finally, I sincerely hope you don't mind too much my stringing out arguments from time to time. I'm really not trying to be a stubborn contrarian. Rather, when I find someone who I think I can respect and can relate to, I like to learn more about how they think.


Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 11:08:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Milpub? No, never been there. I actually do not follow blogs too much. Just recently a little bit.

My son is an Army 2nd Lt (engineers). He is going over to Afghanistan next month. My daughter is Naval Intel and she may be going over there as well in the near future, though she will be well protected; not out in the field.

The reality of them going into harms way is what has prompted me to spend some time on the net. It is some sort of stress relief therapy for me, I guess.

I was a Marine. Bulk fuel unit in the reserves and then intel after I graduated undergrad. I am proud of that. But I am not a brainwashed jar head type. I chose to not make a career out of the service because I really didn't fit in in many ways.

But I guess if Milpub likes a free thinker like you, then they would probably tolerate me. I'll check it out some time. Thanks.


Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 11:22:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

We have many friends at milpub.
They are listed in our links.
Best of wishes for both of your young lions. No sarcasm intended.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 11:25:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

There are too many linkages to ignore PAK as a sponsor.
If ISI is a govt resource then the govt is playing fast and loose with AQ and Taliban groups.
As you know, i don't give a flip about the Taliban, but there is too much written and documented that indicates that UBL flew out of Tora Bora on an ISI helocopter.
What does that tell us?

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 11:30:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Groups like Bader Meinhof may actually be healthy for a society b/c they show that fringes have legitimate claims and thus the government must moderate policies.
In our society we had the BLA,Black Muslims and Panthers, the WUO, Symbionese Liberation Army. The BM's were not T's nor were the BP's but they did imply the use of force to achieve their goals.
These were often/sometimes Terrorist type organisations but they had valid points later incorporated into our society.
The RAF/RB/AD were indig grps and cross fertilized and posed little real danger except when handled and directed by State sponsors such as Stasi, Bulgarian and KGB alliliations thru cut outs and linked to Palestinian issues. None of these groups posed existential threats but yet somehow today we seem to want to believe the elevation of non state sponsored groups as being a larger threat than were the 60-late 80's groups.
This is strange thinking imho.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 11:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UBL's Tora Bora escape baffled me at the time it happened and continues to do so to this day.

My understanding is that Intel had UBL located in Tora Bora with a high degree of certainty. SOP would have been to conduct a block and sweep operation. From what I have read there were a sufficient number of Marines available to have done this by the book.

But it wasn't done. Why the hell not? Furthermore, there are several means by which an ISI helo moving into the area should have been detected. In fact, the helo could have been used to lead us to UBL's exact position.

If I was prone to conspiracy thinking, I might almost conclude that someone in our own administration colluded with the ISI to assist in UBL's extraction. Why? Maybe because a crazed villian on the lose is more useful to imperialist designs than a dead villian (game over). There are other theories I could come up with.

To your point, though, an alternative perspective is that there are elements within the ISI that are covertly at odds with official Pak gov't policy (i.e. the ISI has been penetrated by AQ/islamists). Which would mean that Pak does not meet the criterion of official state sponsor.

All speculation on my part, of course, but we are all engaged in guess work to some extent concerning this topic.


Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 2:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Of course all said on this topic is speculation , but at least neither of us are basing policy on this garbage.
How do we know , for instance, that the gov't of PAK doesn't support ISI comlicity with extremism?
Same cmt.for Saudi's.

Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 11:42:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't know and I agree that can't assume (or shouldn't) that they aren't.

There are webs within webs.

The big picture was always well above my pay grade.

Then there is politics. To the extent that Pak is giving lip service to helping us out, we can't put them on the terrorist list.


Monday, January 18, 2010 at 9:13:00 AM GMT-5  

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