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gek-opel
23-11-2006, 06:08 PM
http://leninology.blogspot.com/2006/11/al-qaeda-is-misunderstood_22.html

Lenin's Tomb on Mohammed Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou's "Understanding Al Qaeda: The Transformation of War." The central idea (that Al-Qaeda are not irrational by any means and are explicable as a political movement "embedded in geopolitical realities") I think is incredibly on the money. Thoughts?

swears
23-11-2006, 06:41 PM
I think they knew exactly what they were doing with 9/11. They knew it would provoke the US government into military action, stirring up anti-western sentiment from Muslims worldwide. Interestingly enough, the Neo-cons didn't have a fucking clue what they were getting into with the war on terror. I wouldn't try and justify either action, but who comes out looking more "rational". (In a strategic sense, rather than a "moral" one.)

gek-opel
23-11-2006, 06:52 PM
The rendering of Al-Qaeda into an irrational monster is a necessary slight of hand for the leaders in America and the UK, to create an enemy who fights without reason, who can never be negotiated with, which is pure poppycock. But of course, vital to allowing them to continue to pursue what amount to imperialist policies in the Middle East. In saying they must be, in effect, insane, there is an immediate closing down of any attempts to locate reasons for their activities, which whilst you may not agree with them (or view them as proportionate) do exist.

hundredmillionlifetimes
25-11-2006, 04:19 AM
The rendering of Al-Qaeda into an irrational monster is a necessary slight of hand for the leaders in America and the UK, to create an enemy who fights without reason, who can never be negotiated with, which is pure poppycock. But of course, vital to allowing them to continue to pursue what amount to imperialist policies in the Middle East. In saying they must be, in effect, insane, there is an immediate closing down of any attempts to locate reasons for their activities, which whilst you may not agree with them (or view them as proportionate) do exist.

Certainly (and as any CIA analyst will tell you, "Al-Qaeda" was a term coined by the CIA in the early-1990s as a blanket description of those groups positioned in Afghanistan opposed to US foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular reference to Bin Laden's efforts to have US military bases removed from Saudi Arabia. It was never a rigidly-controlled, hierarchical, "multi-national" organisation, but after 9/11 and the Afghan/Iraqi invasions it quickly became a grass-roots spontaneous mass movement).

Chalmers Johnson, one of the best analysts anywhere of US foreign policy, briskly described the basis for asymmetric terrorism (Blowback) like that of Al-Qaeda a few years ago: "Blowback" is a CIA term. It was first invented after the CIA intervention against the government of Iran in 1953 when we overthrew an elected government there for the interests of the British and American petroleum industries. Blowback refers to the unintended consequences of clandestine policies that have been kept secret from the American public. I think it's important to stress that any policy may have unintended consequences, but here we're talking about unintended consequences of policies that the public knows nothing about, therefore, has no context within which to place them, and ends up with a daffy president going around asking, "Why do they hate us?"

Johnson: "My analysis was that the things we had done during the cold war, and the first decade after the cold war, were generating almost uncontrollable blowback. I did not, obviously, specifically anticipate anything like 9-11, but I certainly did anticipate and predict terrorist acts against Americans-military and civilian, abroad and at home-and therefore, was not particularly surprised when the attacks came on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in September of 2001. At the time, I did not think that they were necessarily Islamic terrorists; I thought they could have been from Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, Okinawa, Greece, or any number of places on earth where we have carried out clandestine activities that unquestionably generate hostility toward the United States."

Chamers Johnson continues:

First of all, I think the obvious thing right now is our mistaken reaction to 9-11. It became almost taboo in this country after 9-11 to even ask what the motives of the attackers were. The public has now been so confused by lies from our government that they believe Saddam Hussein was the one behind it. Of course, we know he wasn't, and since there is no evidence that he could have been, the people have gotten that idea only from listening to the disinformationthat comes from the White House and the Pentagon.

September 11th was not an attack on America's values or America's democracy or America's wealth. It was an attack on American foreign policy and there were some fairly obvious things that should have been done at once which would have defused the situation. First, we should have withdrawn the troops at once that we had based in Saudi Arabia. Since the first war with Iraq in 1991, they were just exacerbating the situation rather than serving any real function. Second, we should have said that we do support the continuity of the state of Israel, but we do not support Israeli Zionist imperialism. And that until the settlements in the West Bank are closed-which are a cancer working on Israeli society in a destructive manner-we're going to cease our continued bankrolling of Israel, both financially and militarily. Last, we should have instituted at once a crash program of fuel conservation that could have easily eliminated our dependence on Persian Gulf petroleum imports.


We didn't do any of those things. Instead, we set out to use our massive military power against two peculiarly puny and defenseless targets-Afghanistan and Iraq-producing untold misery. This will without question generate and recruit more people committed to the idea of attacking the United States.

The Department of Defense has said for years that nobody can meet us militarily except in one of two ways: one, with the use of nuclear weapons, which would deter us; and the other is what they call, in typical Pentagon jargon, "asymmetrical warfare," meaning the weak attacking the super powerful via terrorism. There is every reason to anticipate that we will have more terrorism as we increasingly sink into the two quagmires that we have created in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A Note on Johnson: Chalmers Johnson served in the Navy during the Korean War. He earned his Ph.D. in political science at UC Berkeley and taught there and at UC San Diego until 1992. He served as chairman of the Center for Chinese Studies and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Chalmers Johnson is president and co-founder of the Japan Policy Research Institute (www.jpri.org). He has written numerous articles and reviews and twelve books on Asian subjects, including, Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power, MITI and the Japanese Miracle, and Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. His latest book is titled, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic.

DJ PIMP
26-11-2006, 10:49 PM
Read someone describe it as a war of attrition years ago and it stuck with me. And the US lumbered right into it. $345,658,310,904 and counting.
http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=182

More signs of the Necropolis...


But logic is beside the point: at the core of the urban security project is a highly visceral, emotional response to the destruction wrought five years ago. America was clearly victimized -- by whom is still unclear, and this very uncertainty is itself an essential component of the narrative, since "those who would do us harm" could be anyone, anywhere. Identifiable or not, however, they must be punished: their cities must burn, while ours must lie behind barriers, bollards and berms.

The City is thus being used to reinforce a politically expedient narrative of victimhood; and as Bruce Janz of the University of Central Florida notes in his paper, The Terror of the Place,

"Victimhood justifies its opposite, triumphalism...The terrorists are understood as invaders from another planet, not as residents of the same world as ours. Their place is no place, and so we imagine ourselves as defending our positive place from their placelessness. [As such] public spaces are becoming less about the encounter with those who might be different, and more about control so that such encounters are unlikely to occur. Again, this loss of space is rationalized as virtue, as the nation is urged to pull together. Boundary lines between 'us' and 'them' become starker, and are represented cartographically as 'blue states' and 'red states', designations that belie the fact that there can be diversity in a single household, let alone a state. The terror of the place is inscribed on our political state, as the us-them of the victims and the terrorists becomes the us-them of political agreement and opposition. The polarities that allow a superficial grasp of terrorism are written onto political relationships and also places."
http://blog.uwinnipeg.ca/ius/archives/cat_cities_and_geopolitics.html

vimothy
10-01-2007, 05:23 PM
Wow - I am continually shocked by stuff like this.

Mr. Tea
15-01-2007, 07:56 PM
Without wishing to sound like an American demagogue denouncing al-Queda as 'insane', 'barbaric' and so on, I think it's a mistake to think they'd simply stop their terrorist campaigns if only the US would force Israel to come to a reasonable settlement with the Palestinians, withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and so on. (I'm using the term 'al-Queda' here to describe any and all Islamic militants who identify with that ideology - I'm well aware there is no such single organisation.) The goal of bin Laden and those who follow him is nothing short of the destruction of America and the inception of a global Islamic theocracy: while America's fatally misguided foreign policy is obviously providing them with the best possible recruitment material, I certainly don't see this kind of thing going away even with a less rabidly imperialist/anit-Islamic US leadership.

crackerjack
15-01-2007, 09:17 PM
Well said Mr Tea. You're welcome round mine for a cuppa anyday.

Mr. Tea
15-01-2007, 11:02 PM
Hurrah for tea!

IdleRich
16-01-2007, 10:42 AM
It has to be that the make up of Al-Quaida consists of the whole range of people, from those who would wish death on America automatically to those who would have not given it a second's thought had they not been radicalised by the effects of US foreign policy. I think that most people would recognise that both types exist and that it's as disingenuous to claim that emnity to the US is entirely the US's fault as it is to claim that the US is entirely innocent, the question is surely to what extent the former is true and to what extent the latter. I tend to feel that US foreign policy in living memory has been greatly inflammatory and has acted to exacerbate the problems they face and greatly swell the ranks of their enemies from what could be a few nutters to a force to be reckoned with.

vimothy
16-01-2007, 10:58 AM
Without wishing to sound like an American demagogue denouncing al-Queda as 'insane', 'barbaric' and so on, I think it's a mistake to think they'd simply stop their terrorist campaigns if only the US would force Israel to come to a reasonable settlement with the Palestinians, withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and so on. (I'm using the term 'al-Queda' here to describe any and all Islamic militants who identify with that ideology - I'm well aware there is no such single organisation.) The goal of bin Laden and those who follow him is nothing short of the destruction of America and the inception of a global Islamic theocracy: while America's fatally misguided foreign policy is obviously providing them with the best possible recruitment material, I certainly don't see this kind of thing going away even with a less rabidly imperialist/anit-Islamic US leadership.

Go for it mate: al Qaeda are insane and barbaric. As for their name, well I have heard several explanations. One put about on intell websites is that al Qaeda is the shortened form of the name of a phone database in Pakistan used by jihadists to leave messages for one another. Most of the other explanations I've heard are covered here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_qaeda#Etymology_and_origin_of_the_name
I think that there is definitely an organisation headed by bin Laden and Zawahiri which is probably not a massive group with tendrils all over the world, but the vanguard of a Wahabi or Neo-Wahabi movement which franchises out its brand in order to co-opt other Wahabi mujahideen (al Qaeda in Iraq for e.g.), as well as providing ideological encouragement. So anyone can take up the name and cause of al Qaeda and strike the West (or Shia and non-Wahabi East), doubtless to the glee of the rest of the al Qaeda "ikhwan". Of course bin Laden wants the re-establish the Khilafa with himself at the head, and although he is without a state, having been booted out of al Jazeera by his bretheren (who are most responsible for the world-wide Islamist turmoil, IMO) and teachers, and out of Afghanistan by the Yanks, the teachings, his media presentation (always as one of the "companions", fighting jihad in the mountains, etc) and manipulation and the resentment and easy answers wave he's riding give al Qaeda a lot of influence, whether it exists or not.

Mr. Tea
16-01-2007, 12:26 PM
I think an ideology can be insane without the majority of people supporting it necessarily being insane; many of the infamous totalitarian regimes of the 20th century - Stalinism, (Godwin's Law time!) Nazism - bear this out.

I agree with Rich's point, too, about there no doubt being a 'spectrum' of al-Queda supporters, from die-hard jihadists to disaffected Muslims looking for something to identify with. Hell, the (almost certainly Bangladeshi) cunts who fire-bombed a pub in Brick Lane I go to sometimes probably fancied themselves as 'al-Queda'.

crackerjack
16-01-2007, 12:35 PM
I think an ideology can be insane without the majority of people supporting it necessarily being insane; many of the infamous totalitarian regimes of the 20th century - Stalinism, (Godwin's Law time!) Nazism - bear this out.

I agree with Rich's point, too, about there no doubt being a 'spectrum' of al-Queda supporters, from die-hard jihadists to disaffected Muslims looking for something to identify with. Hell, the (almost certainly Bangladeshi) cunts who fire-bombed a pub in Brick Lane I go to sometimes probably fancied themselves as 'al-Queda'.

I know that pub! The one with the Jewish landlady. I only went there once but she was quite offhand when I bought four vodkas with four different mixers. I'm sure she deliberately spilt some of the pint I also bought on my hand (although that might've been the weed-induced paranoia kicking in).

Mr. Tea
16-01-2007, 12:40 PM
Pffft. Enough crazy stoned goyim in my pub, already!

They sell some great beer, and almost certainly the best pork scratchings I have ever tasted. :)

vimothy
15-06-2007, 04:03 PM
BUMP: this thread deserves to be resurrected, for its title if nothing else.

EDIT: http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/little-girl.htm/

The picture in the above link shows Major Mark Bieger cradling a dying child (called Farah), killed when members of the "Iraqi resistance" detonated a car bomb near American troops surrounded by playing children.

I think this story shows the two sides of the war pretty well, the legitimate "nationalists defending their homeland" (Pilger) and the pro-democracy and pro-Iraqi self-determination Coalition AF (or rather, "IMPERIALISM DRESSED IN HUMANITARIAN CLOTHING").

Who misunderstands whom?

john eden
15-06-2007, 04:20 PM
In my experience, posting photos of maimed human beings as part of political arguments rarely leads anywhere good.

I would politely request that you remove it and replace it with a link.

EDIT: Many thanks.

vimothy
15-06-2007, 04:37 PM
I don't agree with John (on this issue) but I do think that the question of what should be shown, and what degree of horror should be represented is an important one worth careful consideration. Obviously I'm not really thinking about Dissensus, but about news media more generally. Most MSM sources heavily censor their own footage so as not to put any of their audience off their dinners and hopefully out of some respect for the victims.

Is this a good thing?

john eden
15-06-2007, 04:46 PM
I think it is worth having a discussion about (which is why I didn't alter the image myself).

personally I have seen discussion on the net degenerate to a point where people were just posing up images of dead children, all day long, from both sides of the conflict concerned.

I don't think it really helps understanding, personally.

nomos
15-06-2007, 04:49 PM
Most MSM sources heavily censor their own footage so as not to put any of their audience off their dinners and hopefully out of some respect for the victims.
Yes but the tendency on forums tends to be the opposite, turning into an equally desensitizing tit-for-tat of gore photos. Usually the quality of discourse declines in inverse proportion to efforts at producing shock.

vimothy
15-06-2007, 04:51 PM
I think it is worth having a discussion about (which is why I didn't alter the image myself).

personally I have seen discussion on the net degenerate to a point where people were just posing up images of dead children, all day long, from both sides of the conflict concerned.

I don't think it really helps understanding, personally.

Well, I wouldn't disagree with that. I don't think that repeatedly posting images of dead children in some sort of weird competitive way would further the discussion - that wasn't what I was going for and I wouldn't have gone down that road anyway - but I don't want to get caught up in something so pointless, or provide a pretext for it.

Still, I think there's arguments to be made, pity I have so much other stuff to post first, damnit!!

vimothy
15-06-2007, 04:54 PM
Yes but the tendency on forums tends to be the opposite, turning into an equally desensitizing tit-for-tat of gore photos. Usually the quality of discourse declines in inverse proportion to efforts at producing shock.

Aren't we capable of rising above that level of idiocy, though? I thought that the pic in question was pretty heart-rending and affecting, not some sort of knee-jerk gore-for-its-own-sake crap.

nomos
15-06-2007, 05:08 PM
Aren't we capable of rising above that level of idiocy, though?
Most of us, yes.

As John said though, I think this should open up a discussion rather than shut down your effort.

nomos
15-06-2007, 05:13 PM
For me, having spent a lot of time on, and working with, Indymedia a few years ago has made me wary of 'horrors of war (or police brutality, etc.)' image threads (which I realize you weren't trying to start) because they so predictably devolved into pointless, image bombing sprees. It was made worse by Indymedia's 'democratic' 'no moderation' policy which made that section of the site useless more often than not.

adruu
15-06-2007, 05:49 PM
other possible threads for vimothy to have fun in
"osama is your liberal girlfriends rape fantasy"
"Marx was fat, so what did he know about being poor"
"if there were no rich people, who would keep all of the money?"
"hummus is really good, could a caliphate be that bad?"

Guybrush
15-06-2007, 07:04 PM
My problem with images such as the one posted is that they invite rash, emotional responses when what is needed is thoughtful, cool responses. Which is why I broadly support the mainstream media’s shying away from broadcasting such material.

vimothy
18-06-2007, 12:30 PM
Have thought about this over the weekend and realise that John was probably right. It's better to have these discussions on the level of reason rather than emotion. There's little to be gained from partisan picture battles, and I can see how this could easily become a competition to see who can post the goriest picture that supports ttheir own particular view (like US soldiers executing jihadists, for e.g.).

However, this is a side of the war that is generally ignored by the media, who focus much more on the messed up state of Iraq and not on the efforts of the Coalition to put it right. There is a stereotypical image of (esp. American) soldiers as under-educated hicks who are only interested in guns and computer games, and who don't really give a shit for the people of Iraq.

But yeah, anyway, I'll post no more pictures like that.

vimothy
18-06-2007, 03:21 PM
"osama is your liberal girlfriends rape fantasy"

Funny you should mention that....


According to reports, Kola Boof, a Sudanese poet/novelist who alleges that Osama Bin Laden kept her as a sex slave after raping her a decade ago, also claims in her autobiography Diary of a Lost Girl that Bin Laden thought that Whitney Houston was the beautiful woman alive and wanted to make her one of his wives. Osama Bin Laden may not have danced to "I Want to Dance With Somebody" but he did want to make Whitney Houston his wife, even if it meant whacking Bobby Brown.

The Celebrity Cafe reports that Kola Boof writes about the whole Whitney Houston obsession, "He told me Whitney Houston was the beautiful woman he'd ever seen. The author goes on to say that "Osama kept coming back to Whitney Houston. He asked if I knew her personally when I lived in America. I told him I didn't." The book also claims that Osama Bin Laden discussed having Bobby Brown killed so he could get closer to Whitney Houston like "it were a normal thing to have women's husbands killed."


Kola Boof also claims to have found copies of Star and Playboy magazine in Osama Bin Laden's briefcase. And, in a story that could only get weirder, The Celebrity Cafe also reports that Kola Boof's book claims that Osama Bin Laden was also a fan of The Wonder Years, Miami Vice, and MacGyver.

http://www.thedeadbolt.com/news/111620/whitneybinladen.php