Terrorism Discussion V2

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Ender Sai, Mar 7, 2005.

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  1. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Well, it's coming up to 4 years since 9.11, and Osama bin Laden is still at large.

    I thought it'd be an idea to kick discussion off with a news story from the Taipei Times:

    Europe, US still at odds over approach to `terror'

    AFP , WASHINGTON
    Tuesday, Mar 08, 2005,Page 7
    A year after the Madrid bombings that shook Europe, questions remain in Washington over to what extent the US and its European allies are on the same page in the "war on terror."

    While publicly praising cooperation, US officials are still concerned about what they call cultural and legal hurdles to boosting intelligence-sharing, prosecutions and other assistance with Europe.

    More fundamental is a trans-Atlantic perception gap. If Washington has given the terrorist threat paramount attention since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, much of Europe sees it as just one serious problem among many.

    "Addressing the factors that reduce long-term CT [counterterrorism] effectiveness in Europe will be a long-term process," Cofer Black, then State Department counterterrorism coordinator, said last year.

    "Differing legal cultural and historical traditions and practices will complicate and slow progress," Black told a Senate subcommittee three weeks after the Madrid train attacks that killed nearly 200 people.

    A Pew Research Center poll conducted shortly after the Madrid bombings showed 57 percent of French thought the US was exaggerating the terrorist danger.

    Forty-nine percent of Germans and even one-third of Britons agreed.

    If US officials hoped the carnage in the Spanish capital would fire up Europe to redouble cooperation, they were disappointed.

    For various historical reasons, and still smarting from the US decision to invade Iraq in March 2003, many European officials shy away from referring to the fight against terrorism as a "war."

    They also worry that the US focus on terrorism has eclipsed efforts to deal with a host of other pressing global issues such as poverty, malnutrition, disease and education.

    US officials and analysts have not seen any quantum leap in European willingness to share data on stolen passports, implement biometric indicators on visas or take major steps to protect their own cities.

    "In terms of new policy and new initiatives and international cooperation on monitoring travel and that sort of thing, from what I understand there hasn't been the big new burst of energy we would have hoped for," said Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution.

    The Americans recognize the Europeans have lived longer with terrorism, even if they have not experienced a Sept. 11.

    They appreciate moves such as the 2003 EU-US extradition treaty and the naming of a EU counterterrorism czar. But fears persist that European laws and customs are preventing a full crackdown on the terrorist support networks on the continent.

    William Pope, the State Department deputy counterterrorism coordinator, cited inadequate anti-terror legislation, loopholes in asylum laws, open borders and strict standards of evidence that made detaining suspects more difficult.

    "We are concerned that some European states have at times demonstrated an inability to prosecute successfully or hold many of the terrorists brought before their courts," Pope told US Congress last September.

    He also acknowledged "differing perspectives" on the line between legitimate political groups and terror sponsors. For instance, Washington has long branded the militant Islamic organization Hezbollah as a backer of terrorism, while the EU has balked.

    With US President George W. Bush pledging to repair trans-Atlantic ties frayed by the Iraq war, his administration has taken a less martial tone in its campaign against al-Qaeda and other groups.

    Bush did not use the word terrorism in his inaugural address in January, and officials have stressed the importance of "soft power" such as development aid or relief assistance as a component of the anti-terror drive.

    "I
  2. Loopster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2000
    star 4
    I think the US will and has used the threat of terrorism as an excuse for furthering it's own agenda in the middle east.
  3. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    OK...

    Care to expand though? Offer up why you feel this way?

    E_S
  4. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    The action we took in Iraq is starting to look like it's having somewhat of a domino affect in the Middle East.

    Syria out of Lebanon.

    A peace deal with Israel and the Palestinians.

    Successful elections in Afghanistan.

    Opposition party on the ballot in Egypt.

    Elections (albeit without women) in Saudi Arabia.

    These are the first steps in hopefully a better future for the area, and change from within (the people taking the power) is the only way that terrorism will truly ever be dealt with. When these individuals realize that they can have control over their own destiny (as the Lebanese are now), things can certainly change.

    If we would have followed the advice of the EU (or the UN for that matter) and done nothing, things certainly would have been no better and probably actually worse. The terrorists would have no fear of reprisal due to inaction and appeasement.
  5. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Care to post something supporting your claims about the UN, DM? First, check out UNSCR 1373...

    E_S
  6. J-Rod Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 5
    I'm not sure what this article is trying to say....

    Look at this line...

    A Pew Research Center poll conducted shortly after the Madrid bombings showed 57 percent of French thought the US was exaggerating the terrorist danger.

    Forty-nine percent of Germans and even one-third of Britons agreed.


    Now, if you average those numbers out, more than half of the Europians from those countries believe America is not exagerating the threat.

    Now, if we use our own election results as a rough estamate, those numbers look even better than they would here in the states.

    EDIT: Also look at this line...

    They also worry that the US focus on terrorism has eclipsed efforts to deal with a host of other pressing global issues such as poverty, malnutrition, disease and education.

    Hasn't the war on terror helped these issues, at least in the Middle-East?

    And if not, doesn't it have the potential to help?

  7. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Not whilst money that should be spend on preventative measures - like tackling those issues by building infrastructure - is being wasted on a grossly inflated defence budget, no.

    E_S
  8. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    Maybe you can give me some evidence about what effect the UN had on what is going on now, E_S.

    I simply submit that previous strategies were inadequate, and current methods (that the US is taking) are having a more profound effect.

    I don't believe the situation in Lebanon would have been possible at all without what we did in Iraq (or Libya giving up its weapons program), and the other opportunities arising in other nations wouldn't have been possible, either.

    However, I have serious doubts that the US and the EU, even together, will be able to stop Iran from doing what it's doing. However, there is a democratic movement within the country (as you obviously know), so let's hope the US and EU can work together and foster such a movement and not let it down if it rises up to overthrow the Ayatollahs.

    Let's not forget E_S that all it would take is one horrific act of terrorism with a WMD to dispel any prior notion of 'exaggeration'.

    Better to be prepared than to be sorry in the end.
  9. J-Rod Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 5
    Not whilst money that should be spend on preventative measures - like tackling those issues by building infrastructure - is being wasted on a grossly inflated defence budget, no.

    When I look at our aid, I see us giving people a fish.

    In Iraq and Afghanastan(SP?) we are teaching people to fish. Sure, it is more expensive initially, but it will give us more bang for the buck in the long run, IMO. Imagine if poverty were only cut in half in the Middle-East...

    All, while at the same time, handling an issue of our own national security. 'Cause even if you believe the threat is exagerated, most people realise that there is a threat.
  10. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Ah, misunderstanding about the UN.

    The problem I see DM is that the US sees trees but appears to miss the forest.

    E_S
  11. severian28 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2004
    star 5
    The ramifications of what we are doing in the middle east wont be fully realized for years. Freedom IS a great thing and some of those countries in the Middle East are long over due for some enlightenment, but I wouldnt let the recent election and the call to Syria to get out of Lebanon cloud my vision to Americas true agenda over there - and thats the control of the oil.
  12. J-Rod Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 5
    but I wouldnt let the recent election and the call to Syria to get out of Lebanon cloud my vision to Americas true agenda over there - and thats the control of the oil.

    Oh, come now...

    If I can keep from breaking bad about the UN, you can keep from slapping down the US, can't you?
  13. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    Nah, I think the UN is lost in the forest of beaurocracy and ineptitude in matters of global security in the modern era, E_S.

    Just my $0.02

    Without our intervention the Iraqis nor the Afghanis wouldn't have been able to vote in elections. The Lebanese probably would not have risen up to free themselves of the Syrian yoke.

    Who's lost in the trees, I wonder?
  14. severian28 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2004
    star 5
    I dont care for the UN's behaviour of late either, J-Rod and I just call it like I see it. Im not even saying that trying to control the oil is a bad thing, either. Should finding an alternative energy source be a bigger agenda for the US? Of course, but for now this is how we do. Hey look, even though Iraq didnt attack us Im starting to realize that smacking around a few of the archaic, women hating countries over there isnt the worst thing for our country or the world at large. Im mean it would be good if everyone, liberals and conservatives, to realize what region of the world that our enemies come from and laying waste to a few of the more despotic countries may very well be whats needed. Ive noticed that Saudi Arabia is really beginning to get into the cross hairs of the American mainstream media(finally). Just because I dont like the current administration by no means indicates that I dont love this country.
  15. Jabba_on_a_unicycle Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2005
    star 2
    Anyone played Knights of the Old Republic. Remember the part when on the wookie homeworld you discover an ancient computer and it asks you questions.

    Well on of the questions was if you were to allow one of your cities to be attacks by your enemies even if you knew about it. Well if you let your city be attacked it will make the people afraid, drive them behind you.

    This is so similar in my belief to what happened on 9/11. The government after the attack had full support, even though just before Bush's ratings were dropping. The attack appeared to be something that boosted him, not by his actions aftwards but by his simple presence. Also the fear factor of the ludicrous 'terror alert' which jumped from red to orange.

    Reminds me of Homer Simpons line. "Stop being so unsafe, you there, safen up"
  16. JediTre11 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Do people agree with the notion that the US exagerates terrorism?

    I think so. But I really can't say why for sure. It just feels that way, I am in no way scared of terrorism. What I can say, with some degree of support is that whatever threats are out there, the public doesn't know enough about them to really know how serious the threats are. While there are plenty of nightmare scenarios like nukes in ports or anthrax in drinking water supplies, how capable people are or how close people have come to doing this is unknown. It seems to me that if the threat was not exagerated then we wouldn't need nightmare scenarios, we'd have nightmare news reports.
  17. SlackJawedJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2004
    star 4
    A peace deal with Israel and the Palestinians.

    I don't think you can draw any direct connections between any possible success that the current peace deal in Israel acheives and the US's War on Terrorism. To be honest, it just seems to be something that every US administration has a crack at. Some have succeded a little better then others, and if you're lucky, this one might go for a few years. If you're unlucky, a few months.

    Apart from Arafat's death, the situation seems the same as it's always been... (though perhaps the Arafat thing will make a difference... though I doubt it.) Israel has promised to withdraw from the Gaza strip before, and sometimes it even has followed through; but everytime, they end up right back there again.

    I'm just operating from my hazy memory of the 90's, though, so if I'm making some gross historical errors, feel free to correct me. :D

    Personally, I'm less worried about being killed by terrorists then I am getting hit by a bus. Sneaky buggers that they are, always keeping you on your toes. Not really worried on a national level, neither (about the terrorist thing, not the bus thing. I'll always be wary of bUstards).
  18. Jabba_on_a_unicycle Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2005
    star 2
    May i digress in regard to the terror alert. What is it's purpose? I know it's real purpose, but what is it's offical purpose?

    If you raise the alert does it mean that joe soap living in is little backwater village in Utah should keep an eye out for that guy who lives down the street who doesnt talk to anyone. Also does it mean that when you are flying you should be watchful for terrorists (you know those crazy arab guys (not the saudis of course), as if you wouldnt anyway. If the FBI have specific information why dont they either keep it to themselves in order to catch the guys or tell people to stay way from Boston Airport for example, why this obscure green-red alert?
  19. Bant428 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2002
    star 4
    The action we took in Iraq is starting to look like it's having somewhat of a domino affect in the Middle East.

    Not really. We still support the lousy Saudis without looking at their human rights violations, and many of the world's worst dictatorships still exist. Saddam was very bad, to be sure, but there were and are still worse, especially in Southeast Asia.
  20. Jabba_on_a_unicycle Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2005
    star 2
    Anyone explain to me the reasoning why the Saudis (Bin Laden Family included) were able out of the US on 9/13/2001 and everyother plane was grounded?

    Things are changing in the Middle East for sure but a crusade for 'freedom' or one to promote democracy in the Middle East are ideas which not sit well with me.
  21. Cyprusg Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2002
    star 4
    Anyone explain to me the reasoning why the Saudis (Bin Laden Family included) were able out of the US on 9/13/2001 and everyother plane was grounded?

    Every other plane wasn't grounded, that's why.
  22. IkritMan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 2002
    star 5
    I'm sure it was a diplomatic agreement. I still don't see why it's such a big deal.
  23. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    Firstly of course the US government exagerates the threat of terrorism. That's what governments (and most politicians in general) do, they exagerate threats and play on fears, all that changes is the subject.

    Secondly DM's list of domino effects.

    Syria out of Lebanon.

    Let's wait and see what actually happens and what the consequences are before welcoming this.

    A peace deal with Israel and the Palestinians.

    The current 'ceasefire' is a long way from a peace deal and was more brought about by the death of Arafat and the subsequent election of Abu Mazen than anything in Iraq.

    Successful elections in Afghanistan.

    While Afghanistan is in a better state than under the Taliban the country is still ruled by the warlords.

    Opposition party on the ballot in Egypt.

    Allowing a second name on the ballot does not in itself mean much. We will have to wait and see how far towards democracy this moves goes. I would wager that it won't be very far.

    Elections (albeit without women) in Saudi Arabia.

    The elections will not do anything to remove the country from the iron grip of the house of Saud.
  24. MajorMajorMajorMajor Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2001
    star 2
    More fundamental is a trans-Atlantic perception gap



    Precisely. Everyone in the west is more or less on the same 'side' on these issues...it is a difference in importance, in threats and courses of action, and of danger tolerance.

    This became strikingly clear within the first year, if not much quicker, after 9-11. And not to say that the American approach is 'better' or 'worse', it is different, and it is different not because of realpolitik or power politics or 'realism', but because of fundamental perception, which includes everyone from the policymakers to the philosophers to dillitants to the people buying coffee at dunkin donuts every morning. Americans, Left Wing or Right Wing, tend to think differently and perceive the world differently than other westerners, and that's why there are arguments.

    It's less about who is doing things right or wrong (in general), and more about missing each others points. Granted, in specific examples there ARE points of view that are more right or more wrong.


    The perception gap is one we have to address, becuase it's not going away. See: Robert Kagan.




    EDIT: as to the rest of the posts...glad to see everyone is hopping on their hobby-horses, and delving into the minutia and details that cloud the big picture. Tit-for-tat and namecalling and conspiracy mongering is oh so entertaining. [face_plain]
  25. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    I do believe that the U.S. government is exaggerating terror, but terror of a particular kind. I'm curious: Has anyone seen or heard an official policy statement concerning U.S. efforts to "combat" terror (You cannot physically fight an ideology, imho) in other parts of the world? Africa? South and Central America? Eurasia? Given the question about perception, my perception is that we seem to be focused solely on the Middle East, rather than on long-standing terroristic practices in other parts of the world. Why the selective attention?
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