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Perspective fram an Afghani in the U.S.


Henry

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Art,

The UN report from the Secretary General in the article I linked is indeed older than yours, but in many ways is far more comprehensive regarding the overall situation. And it is obvious from that article that a quid pro quo was reached between the Taliban and the UN - eradcication of the poppy crop in return for UN funds.

Basically, the world pays the Taliban not to grow poppies.

One wonders what would happen should those funds dry up.

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Kurp, reply within....

"Ok Art, lesson learned. I guess that's to be expected of a "waterboy". You continue to twist your arguments to serve a narrowly defined point."

The point is not narrowly defined. The point is that the Taliban has gone about eradicating the production of poppy plants in their country. I know this precisely the same way you know Afghanistan has previously been the world's top supplier of the plant, and No. 1 producer of heroin. The U.N. is the source for both of us. I just use THIS year's data and you have used previous year's data in the present tense. As the U.N. has reported THIS year, "A survey team led by the UNDCP regional office in Islamabad visited 80 per cent of the known poppy growing areas in the 51 districts known to have produced 86 per cent of last year's crop. The team found less than 30 hectares of poppy which were later eradicated. This signals the potential reduction of opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan by at least 70,000 hectares this year".

What's this mean? It means that in the area that produced 86 percent of last year's crop, NONE OF IT REMAINS. Zero. Total zip. NONE. Could there be more elsewhere? Yeppers. But, we know the Taliban appears to be serious about drug production and use in their country when the U.N. reports that NONE of the crop exists in an area that produces 86 percent of the crop. That's a pretty serious victory in the war on drugs by the Taliban if you ask me.

"Now Art, it's been awhile since I've sat in a debate class but my skills have not eroded to the point where I fail to recognize my own point, even if you do. The issue here is the income the Taliban derives from the opium drug trade. "

The Taliban, as I've said, has benefitted by the drug trade. It has taxed crops and fostered an atmosphere that allowed the drug to be produced and sold. You wrote the Taliban presently derives great profit from this trade and I wrote that the Taliban has gone about eradicating totally the production of the plant. If my point is true, as the U.N. suggests, then, it would be impossible to presently benefit from the sale of a drug produced by plants that no longer exist. It's not hard to grasp. It really shouldn't be. If you believe the U.N. is wrong now, but previously had been right, you then believe that the Taliban still grows and benefits from the crop. If so, I won't argue with you other than offering the same evidence we all have. According to independent observers from the U.N. the Taliban has wiped out ALL poppy production from an inspected area KNOWN to produce 86 percent of the country's crop. If so, there's no present plant to harvest to profit from.

"You chose to assume that meant the Taliban is active in the cultivation of opium."

I don't assume it to be so. You SAID it's so. Now you are trying to tell me the words, "The Taliban not only are funded in part by Bin Laden, but receive an enormous amount of income from the opium drug trade." are somehow not read as present tense. If you meant to put a d at the end of received, your point is taken and I apologize for reading you incorrectly.

"You then continue your misdirection by referencing an article that coincides with your misdirected point. I, along with a number of other posters, pointed out that the Taliban is *dealing* drugs and using the proceeds to buy

arms."

You point out that the Taliban is *dealing* drugs. I point out that NONE of the plant required to make drugs is reported to exist. How then IS the Taliban making money by dealing drugs? Even the worst criticism of the Taliban doesn't suggest it makes the drugs out of the plants, but, I could be wrong there. Perhaps they do. I really don't know that. I do know that they have gone about a total eradication of the plant that makes the drugs. And, to me, that by definition means they aren't presently doing a lot of drug dealing. Your point is meaningful in that they have previously done this.

"The last time I checked, *growing* and *dealing* MAY be mutually exclusive."

Perhaps. But I'm not sure that growing means dealing either.

"Yet you continue to insist that you are right and everyone else is wrong. However you fail to grasp that your accusations of incorrectness are on an entirely different point."

Again, the point that you can make money selling the drug produced from a plant that doesn't presently exist in a nation seems to be a stretch. I don't know whether the Taliban government has previously produced the drug or not. I know they've allowed the plant to be grown and the drug has been produced, but, either way, in order to make money selling drugs as a nation, one must have the raw materials to create the drugs. Whatever else we know, we know that at present, there don't appear to be any of the plants required to produce the drugs this group is presently profiting from.

"Now Art, I'm starting to realize that sometimes you're not even clever in using misdirection to make a skewed point. However if you're so inclined, how about humoring me anyway?

How in the hell do you pin a date of 1995 on my statement?"

You said the U.S. government assisted the Taliban's rise to power. That rise to power concluded in 1995. At that time neither George Bush nor George Bush were President or in position to give money to the Taliban, a government in which neither Bush recognizes. You wrote in your piece that after the Soviets were expelled, the U.S. turned its back on Afghanistan. A paragraph later, you write the U.S. is largely responsible for bringing them to power. Then you write Bush has given millions. Are you making a series of non-sequetors? Sentences that don't follow or fit into any meaning? You explain what you meant if you are able.

"The fact is Art, the Bush (current George W.) administration has given $43 million dollars to the Afghanistans this year. Of that, $10 million was directly earmarked for the Taliban to fight opium production. Although I hesitate to divulge that bit of information since you'll once again pull your misdirection pistol from its holster and say, "See, I told you the Taliban was against drugs!""

And, yes, you are correct then stating the present U.S. government has given money to the Taliban. In fact, I have often wondered if any of that money was used to finance the attacks. But, that doesn't constitute assisting the Taliban in rising to power, which is the sequence you wrote this charge. Perhaps you meant assisting the Taliban remain in power. If so, be more clear and we'll debate that point.

"Again, I've learned a lesson that every "waterboy" after me will no doubt learn in time as they participate in this board. A debate with Art is like stabbing mercury with a fork. Every time you try to make a point he scatters his argument in every direction except in direct response."

Oddly, I'm the one who cuts and pastes my response in a debate with your words. Yet, somehow I'm the one who scatters in opposite directions rather than directly responding. I can't help it that you are writing points that don't fit in the sequence you are using them. Perhaps we differ in how we view present tense drug profiteering and reconciling that with the inability to produce drugs to profit from. But, either way, I'm responding using your words. Directly. That's fairly clear.

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Doom is in the box.

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Terry, you make a great point. But, the Taliban has been asking for International assistance to stop the growth of poppy since 1997. The world community has stepped up and offered this assistance, and you've seen this country do something with that assistance. I'd very much like to see Columbia do the same smile.gif. Of course, the government there would ask for help, but they don't control the fields.

But, your point is exceptionally fine. I find it likely that without help from the world, it's probable the Taliban government would continue to allow the growth of the plant and continue profiting from taxing it.

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Doom is in the box.

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Yusuf, sorry I missed your response at the top of this page. I've seen the same story in not only the Post, but on ABC News and other sites. It very well could be the case that the Taliban is attempting to create a better price for the product. To be honest, I wouldn't know and I'm not sure how to factor in the speculation of others with the known facts. Certainly though it's a compelling thought.

Kurp, if you are interested, here's an outline of the millions we've given Afghanistan. Like the millions we gave last year, it seems to be for a cause we should applaud. Still, here's a snippet. I edited this to show an AP article on the topic, and it would appear we haven't funded the Taliban as you've stated and I feared afterall. But, rather, we've funded internation aid workers in this country. We're an awfully nice country if you ask me.

Powell Announces Afghan Aid Program

.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Calling Afghanistan a crisis area, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced Thursday a $43 million program of emergency assistance for that drought- and war-plagued country.

Powell told reporters that the lives of nearly 4 million Afghanis are at risk, and he warned that a widespread famine could be in prospect.

``If the international community does not take immediate action, countless deaths and terrible tragedy are certain to follow,'' he said.

Powell noted that the crisis stems from three years of drought coupled with a devastating civil war that has lasted more than 20 years.

The new commitment raised the U.S. assistance total for the year to $124 million, compared with $114 million for all of last year.

The donation includes 65,000 tons of wheat, as well as vegetable oil and blended foods like corn-soy blend, which are particularly useful in feeding the sick and undernourished. Funds also are being earmarked for health and shelter programs.

U.S. aid to Afghanistan bypasses the ruling Taliban militia, which controls the bulk of the country but has no official relationship with the United States because of its alleged role as a sponsor of terrorism.

There are no U.S. officials in Afghanistan managing the aid program. The assistance is donated through international agencies of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations.

According to U.N. officials, more than 200,000 Afghanis have fled to neighboring Iran and Pakistan, joining more than 2 million who had fled there earlier because of the war. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is expected to issue an appeal to donors for additional aid to Afghani refugees in Pakistan.

About a half million Afghanis are internally displaced, with refugee camps in Herat in western Afghanistan growing by an estimated 1,200 a day.

Leonard Rogers, a top official of the Agency for International Development, citing estimates by U.N. agencies, said the crop shortfall for Afghanistan is estimated at 2 million tons this year, about twice the figure for last year.

Rogers said precise information about the depth of the problem is hard to obtain because war-related security problems inhibit in-depth assessments. ``We have imperfect understanding of what's going on there,'' he said.

The new aid commitment was welcomed by the Feminist Majority Foundation, which has been urging an increase of humanitarian assistance to Afghanis, especially to women and children.

The Foundation said in a statement that the ``Taliban's barbaric rule'' was partially responsible for the uprooting of many Afghanis from their homes.

The group, working through its Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan, has been especially critical of the Taliban because of its policy of denying rights to women and girls.

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Doom is in the box.

[edited.gif by Art on September 18, 2001.]

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the comment that 'we really don't know what is going on there' is about as fair a statement as I have seen so far.

It has been 4 months since I was in the region and I can say that in the past two weeks a lot has changed both politically and economically.

I used to work for a UN-specialized agency and I can tell you that there is a lot that is seen that never ends up in official reports for political and other reasons.

It is not so much that lies are told as uncomfortable truths are not revealed if they are still largely hidden behind a veil.

I don't know how to convey that sense of it to others, only to say that you need to be close to the ground to understand the situation fully in any case.

It was that way in El Salvador and Guatemala during the years of the death squads and "dirty war" and it is the same way now in Afghanistan as well as other trouble spots around the globe such as Indonesia, Zimbabwe and Colombia.

Americans tend to categorize people easily as good or evil whereas what you are often looking at is simply a collection of victims, barely discernible from one another as a result of the tragedy that has befallen them.

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Interesting Bulldog. One of the things I forgot to point out in my prior post on why the Afghans may have not risen up en masse against the Taliban is one of the simplest. That is that after the British, then the Soviets, then years of civil war they just might d@mn well be tired of fighting!!! What a novel thought.

For all that they've done, the one thing that the Taliban have brought to the country is a measure of stability and peace--albeit at a heavy cost. The Northern Alliance has been largely relegated to a tiny slice of the country and is by and large an afterthought. For the first time in many, many years, they have the ability to walk outside (provided you don't step on a mine) in relative safety without having to worry about artillery barrages, infantry assaults, etc. etc. etc.

So, I think they've just heaved a collective sigh and decided that what they've given up is, as it always seems to be in such cases, temporarily worth the cost so as to have a little peace. However, left to their own devices, I suspect that the Taliban would go the way of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Pressure over time would have built for more freedoms and either change would have ensued or violence would have.

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Nod. I've seen more and more rumors of that. It's a great point you've made here and I think you may have offered PRIOR to it being published, but I'm not sure smile.gif. Either way, it will prove quite a good read of a situation for you if it turns out that they turn him over as could, I suppose, happen.

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Doom is in the box.

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Which raises the question: from the U.S. perspective, do we even WANT Osama bin Laden "turned over" to a 3rd party nation at this point? Does our present mobilization against terrorism at large, which we are trying mightily to gear up both here and internationally, suffer a serious blow to its momentum if the poster child for terrorism is suddenly sitting in a jail in Pakistan?

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Thanks for the link, Kurp.

Again, it confirms what was stated earlier. The convention of muslim clerics, or shura, has not yet endorsed defying the US, nor has it said it would turn over bin Laden to us.

This either represents a split in an otherwise seemingly monolithic group, or the very real fear of annihilation at the hands of the US if they don't comply.

I assume they'll go along with the Taliban eventually, but there might be a schism there that we can somehow exploit.

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Interesting Kurp. You've obviously spent a lot of time educating yourself on the point of view of the Afghans. I'm less concerned about that, not because I'm not concerned about the Afghans, or even yet convinced we'll attack the nation. I just prefer looking at our point of view. Such as, "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

This is America's point of view. From the Declaration of Independence. You see, Americans do hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

As a nation, we believe very strongly that the people of a nation are ultimately responsible for the government of a nation. Some 220 years ago we rose up and lived to the truths we as a country find so evident. It is the duty of a people to overthrow a government of such abject Despotism that no other means of existence can be allowed.

And, in one of the very articles on the page you put up, it talks about an Afghan anti-Taliban refugee who left the country, but who will return to defend the government if we attack to fight us, rather than returning to free the people from that government. You may no longer believe in the truths Americans find self evident, Kurp. I still do.

And this attack just drives home how correct and remarkable our founding fathers were. While I realize that you struggle mightily to find away out of any confrontation at all, hoping your name is called to sit jury duty for the next trial of the century involving Bin Laden, all so we do not dare harm any "innocent" people, I'll tell you again, it is a people's duty to topple an oppressive regime.

And, our kindness will be, should we find the need to attack, which I'm not saying we will, that we won't bomb the borders where the innocents are trying to escape to. Oh, I'm sorry. I'm being insensitive again, eh? smile.gif

What I'd like to see more out of you Kurp is a little inspection of OUR point of view. How about a little inspection of some of our innocents who've died? And if it turns out they were killed by a state sponsored terrorist, I know you don't want to go after that state, because that means someone may have to die. When a government wages war against us, sometimes people of the nation die to answer for that government's actions. It's how things are Kurp.

And, yet, despite that, as a nation, one who has granted the people of this nation great gifts in food and aid assistance, we will strive very hard to help the people live up to their duty and their rights. The same we lived to. They'll be given a choice as the Iraqis were, and there, we even gave their soldiers a choice. That's how we do things. But, if push comes to shove, I'd like you understand the values this country is based on still drive how this country responds to overt acts of war by a foreign government.

Hell, even if Bin Laden didn't do it, the Taliban has declared war on us. But, don't sweat that. Let's look at it from their side. Our side is irrelevant. I see this now.

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Doom is in the box.

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Art,

You seem to have ascertained my beliefs, thoughts, and level of patriotism. No small feat given I've only posted on this forum some 20 odd times. My sisters who've known me 40+ years have yet to figure me out. Thus I find myself applauding your rather remarkable talent for erudition in the absence of having ever met me.

Let me see if I can respond in kind - althought I doubt I will come even close to matching the level of acumen you've revealed in your characterization of me.

You've stated that you do not prefer to know or study the point of view of the Afghanis or even the Muslims with regards to this crisis. Why? It's obvious to me that in your case, ignorance begets blissfulness. You've arrived at a conclusion (although I've spotted a softening in your rhetoric lately) and with the aid of blinders you believe your stance is infallible. I cannot argue that from an emotional standpoint, this is by far the easier route to take. You've already figured out who the enemy is (again, no small feat in itself) and any additional information simply clouds the picture for you. You prefer not to put a face on Middle Easterners because to do so would give them human qualities. Better not to confuse the issue by acknowledging that people, regardless of where they live, are shaped by their environment and experiences, eh?

At the risk of exposing myself to a cyber virtual stoning at your hands for not adhering to your definition of patriotism, let me explain that I prefer to take the more difficult path. I happen to believe, aided by wisdom, that actions in response to a given situation are far more effective when they're founded in knowledge. Paradigms, emotions, and beliefs shaped by one's personal experiences are in many cases, counterproductive in evaluating a situation and formulating an appropriate and effective response. Thus, I attempt to begin with a clean slate by studying a situation, as best I can, free from emotion, prejudice, and preconceptions. This means evaluating ALL the available information without bias. Something you're either unwilling to do or unable to do.

Unlike you Art, I don't profess to have all the answers. I posted the link for those who, like me, want to attempt to learn about the complex variables that dictate what the outcome of any U.S. response will be, or should be.

You'll have to forgive those of us who don't have the obvious intellect you inately possess. Some of us struggle through life and rely on seeking knowledge rather than having it divinely bestowed upon us as you've been so fortunate to have.

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"The Kurp"

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Kurp, I enjoy the fighting spirit my friend. Reply within....

"Art,

You seem to have ascertained my beliefs, thoughts, and level of patriotism. No small feat given I've only posted on this forum some 20 odd times. My sisters who've known me 40+ years have yet to figure me out. Thus I find myself applauding your rather remarkable talent for erudition in the absence of having ever met me."

You are welcome. Of course, I merely thought since you've labelled me repeatedly as insensitive, mongering, supporting indiscrimant killing (which I've not said), racist and the like, I assumed you must, likewise, be the opposite. Of course, if you prefer not to draw conclusions, especially incorrectly as you have, I will consider not drawing them myself, whether they are correct or not smile.gif. Or, is it only ok for you to do this but no one else has that right?

"Let me see if I can respond in kind - althought I doubt I will come even close to matching the level of acumen you've revealed in your characterization of me."

Doubtless and correct I'm sure smile.gif.

"You've stated that you do not prefer to know or study the point of view of the Afghanis or even the Muslims with regards to this crisis."

Yes. I just did state that I don't. I even answered the question you ask now.

"Why?"

Because I care about OUR point of view. I don't need another nation's point of view to help direct our righteous response. We don't need to temper ourselves because someone else may think we're fussy and mean. I think we should focus on OUR nation. Our people. Focus on the beliefs OUR country holds dear. You prefer to look to what others think of us. Why? Perhaps it's because no matter the offense given us, nothing merits a response, in your view.

"It's obvious to me that in your case, ignorance begets blissfulness."

If only I were ignorant. I'm the one talking about how we can't go bombing this country, if that's where were going, because there's nothing to bomb. We have to keep ourselves focused on the known enemy in this battle because there's little else to see. And, I seem to have a far greater understanding of the history of Afghanistan than you do, as demonstrated earlier in this thread and your repeated contradictions from paragraph to paragraph. Meanwhile, I've been able to maintain, from the beginning, that we will bring forth a myriad of efforts that highlight the power of this nation in all manners from military to political to economic. Which is what every single leader of this nation is now saying. I've consistently said we will take this fight to all nations that harbor terrorists and REQUIRE they adhere to our beliefs on the topic. Precisely what our leaders are saying.

I'm saying the very nature of our effort will wind up killing people who want no part of this effort, and while terrible, despite ever effort made to avoid this, it will happen. Our leaders have said similar comments. Since I've been talking like this prior to information from our leaders about potential long term plans, I assume you are not actually upset with me, but, with our leadership, because if you read right close, you'll discover I'm saying the same thing.

"You've arrived at a conclusion (although I've spotted a softening in your rhetoric lately) and with the aid of blinders you believe your stance is infallible."

You've not noticed any softening in anything I've said. I've consistently said the same thing from day one. We will strike at many nations of the world. We will, first, give them the ability to avoid that strike. But, when we strike, the nature of our effort will lead to the demise of innocents. Whether by bombs or by cruel starvation. Our actions will kill innocents as we fight a war that spans a region and nations beyond. And when we enter a city, should that happen, if people are there, those people are going to die, because that's what happens in war. And, as happens in war, people evacuate where there are attacks.

My stance is infallible. My stance is the U.S. must now make war on any nation that harbors a terrorist group knowingly helping that group carry out their plans. We also must make war with all groups that do this. As long as the world unites against terrorism, civilian casualties will be limited. Once countries start complaining about the pressure we are putting on them, and our focus shifts to that nation, the world changes and war of a conventional, terrible manner will start. And, this is pretty much precisely what we are hearing from our leadership.

Your stance is somehow this can be conducted totally in the shadows leaving every "innocent" unbloodied. You are peaches and cream. Reality is something different. I don't relish the reality forced upon us. I just recognize it. You ignore it. Blinders indeed.

"I cannot argue that from an emotional standpoint, this is by far the easier route to take. You've already figured out who the enemy is (again, no small feat in itself) and any additional information simply clouds the picture for you."

When have I figured out who the enemy is? The enemy is any group that conducts terrorism. It's not a specific enemy. I don't know, nor do I care, if Bin Laden is responsible for this attack. In my view, all groups that utilize this type of attack are responsible. That appears to be how we are taking to this task as well. I've never said we are going to attack Afghanistan. I've never said they are guilty. I still think we are giving way too much information about one guy and one country for it to be this obvious and I still wouldn't be surprised if we went elsewhere when we strike. But, in fact, I've answered your hypothetical question of how we'd conduct a war with a country YOU named. I generally am still communicating in a fashion that remains skeptical about whether we'll go after a country or a person. And, when I fail to write, "if" or "should this be where we go", or "and I'm not convinced we'll go there", I'm generally speaking in the assumptive given known information, and an inferred if should be attached.

Perhaps it will assist you if I publically state I don't know or care who's guilty in this. This is not all we are going to correct. I believe we'll kill 10 terrorist organizations and presume we got the group that did this in the mix. You, however, provide information from an Afghanistan point of view. Does this suggest you believe the Afghan people are somehow involved? Is it possible you've come to the emotional conclusion that Afghanistan is the country responsible, since you mention it as if it were the case, and supply us with information from these people's points of view? Hmm, pretty impressive you've figured out who did this when we as a nation haven't said that at all. How do you do it Kurp?

"You prefer not to put a face on Middle Easterners because to do so would give them human qualities. Better not to confuse the issue by acknowledging that people, regardless of where they live, are shaped by their environment and experiences, eh?"

Did you put a face on Middle Easterners or did you put a face on Afghanistan? I'm the one who wrote on this board that I went to a Saudi national and offered him support and help if he ever needed it in this time of crisis. What have you done? You simply provide information that tries to lump a people into an unwanted group if innocents. Interestingly that same page shows a person who would return to fight against us because we're us.

I don't, though, need to know how the people in the Middle East or Afghanistan feel. I see how they feel when I see them dancing in the streets of Iraq or the West Bank. I see how they feel when the governments of their nations tell us they will help us wipe out this scourge. I see all of what I need to know of how they feel by which side they pick. And, trust me, when they pick our side, the world lets out a gasp of relief. I just find it fascinating you've taken to posting articles that attempt to inspire sympathy for a people we haven't even TOUCHED when you seem to bypass any sympathy for OUR people who have been.

Perhaps if you focus on our sadness and the crimes against us it will humanize OUR suffering and get you so mad you will be blinded by the crimes against OUR humanity and inspired to strike out at the devils that did this? Perhaps? And, again, Kurp, I don't buy the liberal point of view that a people are shaped by their environment. I believe a people excel despite their environment or they fail because of it. I believe a people establish their environment. I believe a people create a better place. I don't believe a place create a people. Liberals do. Liberals enjoy assigning blame to the environment people live in rather than simply asking why people don't decide to live in an environment that's better.

You complain about starving Afghanistanis. This is terrible. Yet, isn't it odd that Afghan farmers were planting drug plants up until this year instead of planting seeds to feed their people? Why not create a different environment? Why not make a better life? Oh, because they can't. Obviously, the government had to force them to plant wheat for food. They can't do this on their own with the 65,000 tons of seed we send there and they are given by the aid workers. I see your point. How foolish of me to believe a people can aspire and create. I had no idea an environment was a static and unchangeable thing that people have nothing to do with.

"At the risk of exposing myself to a cyber virtual stoning at your hands for not adhering to your definition of patriotism, let me explain that I prefer to take the more difficult path. I happen to believe, aided by wisdom, that actions in response to a given situation are far more effective when they're founded in knowledge."

I won't stone you for this Kurp. But, as is typical of a democrat in an argument, they tend to be happy about saying what they are against and fighting against it, but you have YET to say what you are for. What is this thoughtful, non-emotional, difficult path you suggest. Give me a point to consider rather than simply considering you keep saying you prefer something else without defining it.

I've defined how I'd handle this crisis. You've simply defined how you disagree with me and how there's a non-emotional, thoughtful difficult path out there that's better than mine. What is it?

"Paradigms, emotions, and beliefs shaped by one's personal experiences are in many cases, counterproductive in evaluating a situation and formulating an appropriate and effective response."

This is a cumbersome sentence that has no meaning. I already know you believe personal experiences don't shape a person because above you said an environment shapes a person, not experience. But, what is this appropriate and effective response you are formulating? You've said my thought of military strikes against the Taliban and terrorists in Afghanistan, as well as a closing of the borders, political and economic pressure being applied is the wrong path. What's the right one?

"Thus, I attempt to begin with a clean slate by studying a situation, as best I can, free from emotion, prejudice, and preconceptions. This means evaluating ALL the available information without bias. Something you're either unwilling to do or unable to do."

You are a great Vulcan my brother. Yet, I'd argue that your repeated insistance that we can't dare kill an innocent person is very emotional. My response that this country is founded upon the belief that people are responsible for their government and grant the government the power to rule seems much more free of emotion and prejudice. Your posts about the plight of the Afghani smack of some emotion. But, I realize you are just being logical, talking about your clean slate, total freedom of personal bias, lack of judgement based upon what you know, and you prefer something else. What? Do tell?

"Unlike you Art, I don't profess to have all the answers. I posted the link for those who, like me, want to attempt to learn about the complex variables that dictate what the outcome of any U.S. response will be, or should be."

Unlike me, you don't profess to have any answers but that someone elses answers are wrong. You haven't provided any answers. Or maybe I missed it reading about the point of view from the Middle East while I was reading the point of view from our dead innocents. Perhaps that's how I missed your solution. Our entire conversation though hasn't been a give and take of ideas. It's been one debate on my idea as you have offered nothing but counters to it, while circling around what you'd do instead. And since I'm almost parroting the nation's leaders, both prior and since we've been given a clue as to what to expect, it would seem you aren't really debating me. You're debating what we must do while not offering any understanding of what you would do.

"You'll have to forgive those of us who don't have the obvious intellect you inately possess. Some of us struggle through life and rely on seeking knowledge rather than having it divinely bestowed upon us as you've been so fortunate to have."

You are Buddha. You are the guy on Kung Fu. I bow to your superior rationale. Now, bless me with the tidbit of your gleaned and inspired unemotional answer. It doesn't have to be a correct answer, it just has to be an answer about what Kurp is for. Not what Kurp is against. It's EASY to stand against something. It's hard to be for something. Let me know what you are for, Kurp.

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Doom is in the box.

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Art,

In your desire to provide another rather lengthy rebuttal you've missed my entire point.

So let me state succinctly, "I DON'T HAVE ANY ANSWERS." That's why I continue to read and digest the information from as many sources and perspectives as I can. I'm not as smart as you. You've figured this whole thing out and you've got ALL the answers.

For the most part I'm playing devil's advocate in response to your statements. I'm having trouble fathoming how you seem to know it all and have come up with all the right answers. Perhaps therein lies my weakness. I should just bow out to you Art and forget about trying to make sense of this on my own. You ARE the man!

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"The Kurp"

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And there you have it Kurp. You don't have any answers, except that any answers offered by others are the wrong answers. I don't know that you can possibly have any problem with our conversations or to even attempt to accuse me of presuming to have all the right answers. In terms of our conversations, whether I'm right, or whether I'm wrong is irrelevant. I'm the only one answering. So, in our conversation, since I'm the only one with an answer, it's more right than you.

You can be paralyzed by indecision and fear of consequence and you may inspect eight sides of every argument for 444 days and become Jimmy Carter for all I care. There was a smart man too, who was so intelligent he couldn't make a decision because every problem was so complex and there were so many variables, he was unable to ever act in any decisive manner.

The very fact that I'm the only one providing any answers when we talk gives me a higher ground in which to yell from the mountaintop. Because, unlike you, I'm telling you what I'm for and why I'm for it while you cop out by just letting us know what you aren't for because you can't decide what you are for. It's EASY to be against something. It's easy for you to sit back and judge others for their words because you refuse to let anyone know what you think. It's easy to pretend you are being unemotional, thoughtful and rational by being unable to conclude how to respond while others more able to ferret through a situation and decide what to do are knee jerk, bigots lacking your big picture brain and contemplation. It's easy to find a flaw with something. Hell, I acknowledge there's a flaw to everything I've said about this. But, absent any substantive contrary stance, you've decided to just be against.

When you let that big brain of yours mull over this topic for a few years, you get back to us, because I'm fascinated to hear what the rational, unemotional, unbiased mind comes up with after the decision has already been made. Congratulations, you've now put yourself squarely in position to second guess the decisions made for the rest of your life, always able to say, "I wasn't for that at the time," because you aren't for anything except being against anyone who is. So, like the President, Congress and 91 percent of Americans, who are for responding to this in a decisive way, you are simply above the fray, capable of governing your thought process and rationing out a reasoned solution to any insane problem.

Stand for something Kurp. Not just against others who are. And while you formulate this thesis and write up 15 differing, competing views, we'll just do nothing as a country, that way, you can factor in the next attack we suffer into your thinking, never acting, never stopping, never fighting back until you come up with that logical reasoning. We'll be waiting.

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Art, you seem to be under the illusion that what you think we should do will have any impact on Washington. Unless I'm mistaken, you're a systems admin for a broadband company. Or do you double as one of Bush's advisors?

The only say I have in how the U.S. responds to these terrorists is in how I vote come next election. Therefore my ONLY option, and I'm sorry to inform you it's your only option as well, is to react and formulate opinions AFTER the U.S. responds. It's kind of like believing that anything you have to say here on this forum will have an impact on Marty's game plan for Green Bay. Take a sip of reality.

Your whole diatribe on my lack of a stance is pretty useless in the whole scheme of things. For whether you have a stance or not, it doesn't really make a damn bit of difference does it? President Bush and his team will decide what to do and carry out those actions without yours or my input. Deal with it.

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"The Kurp"

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Just got this via e-mail. Seems mildly apropos:

* The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

* The New York Times is read by people who think they run the country.

* The Washington Post is read by people who think they ought to run the country.

* USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't understand the Washington Post because it has long sentences and no graphs.

* The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country if they could spare the time between facelifts.

* The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country.

* The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country.

* The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country, as long as they do something scandalous.

* The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure that there is a country, or that anyone is running it.

* The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country.

* The Orlando Sentinel is read by people who think Mickey Mouse is running the country.

And, lest we not follow this to its logical conclusion:

* ExtremeSkins is read (and populated by) people who ...

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"Art, you seem to be under the illusion that what you think we should do will have any impact on Washington. Unless I'm mistaken, you're a systems admin for a broadband company. Or do you double as one of Bush's advisors?"

Kurp, I'm not under any illusion that what I think should have an impact in Washington. I know what I think has an impact in Washington, because that's how this country works. The government derives it's power from the governed. They represent us. You may have gotten bogged down on page 234 of the Koran, but, you might want to read up on American History. Washington does, sometimes, listen to the will of the people. Clinton was a master at listening to the will of the people. And, I'm a system admin at a backup software company. My station in society is equal to yours, or to a homeless person, or to any member of society other than a convicted felon. We matter here. Our voices dictate policy here. I don't have to speak directly to the President to make a difference. As a citizen of this nation, we all make a difference.

"The only say I have in how the U.S. responds to these terrorists is in how I vote come next election. Therefore my ONLY option, and I'm sorry to inform you it's your only option as well, is to react and formulate opinions AFTER the U.S. responds."

You're crazy Kurp. Perhaps as a card carrying member of the Republican Party I recognize that as a citizen I have the power to write my senator and congressman. Perhaps I realize as a citizen they have a right to speak to me. I've spoken to mine. Sunday in St. Paul, at a rally for this country, a lot of citizens spoke to our representatives. Even the socialist whiners like I have to tolerate listen to the people. They know what the country wants. They hear the country. The President hears the country. And the people who brought down those buildings will hear us too. I've heard that somewhere before. I wonder what it means.

You are an American brother. If you don't think you matter, you are wrong. If you don't act like you matter, that's your own foolishness to fail to comprehend your importance.

"It's kind of like believing that anything you have to say here on this forum will have an impact on Marty's game plan for Green Bay. Take a sip of reality."

Nothing I say will impact the game plan for Green Bay. Something I say or do may impact the tact this nation takes in responding to this attack. You may be jaded about what this government is. Perhaps your extensive information-gathering interviews with Muslim Clerics limits your appreciation of what you mean in an American democracy. The people are more than what lever they pull. The governed grant the government their authority. I've heard that somewhere before. I wonder what it means.

"Your whole diatribe on my lack of a stance is pretty useless in the whole scheme of things. For whether you have a stance or not, it doesn't really make a damn bit of difference does it? President Bush and his team will decide what to do and carry out those actions without yours or my input. Deal with it."

Kurp, you are the one who feels useless. I personally don't care if Bush and the leadership hear my specific calls or not. You are the one not participating in the solution. You've given up. Perhaps because your soil content measurements of land from Saudi Arabia are diminishing your ability to comprehend what you do have in this nation.

But, I'm under no illusions about my station in America. You, sadly, are. When you finish that pilgrimage to Mecca to better understand one concept of this issue, perhaps you can devote some time to disillusioning yourself. You, as all of us, do make a difference. You've just decided not to. More is the pity.

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Doom is in the box.

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FWIW, Monday through Friday I read the USA Today, Washington Post, St. John Times, V.I. Daily News, and the Dallas Morning News.

On Saturday and Sunday I read the Orlando Sentinel.

I guess that's why Art finds me so exasperating. Hard to categorize me although I'm sure Art thinks he already has. Also an FYI for Art, although you on more than one occasion referred to me as a Democrat, I'm registered as an Independent (or if you will, as having "no affliated party"). In the Virgin Islands, I was registered with the Independent Citizens Movement. The second ever elected governor of the V.I., Cyril E. King, was an ICM party member elected in 1975.

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"The Kurp"

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No worries Kurp. I don't find you particularly exasperating. That last post was bothersome to read from an American citizen on so many levels, but, beyond that, I saw you to be a well-spoken, enjoyable debate, and I was pointedly attempting to push you into offering an answer of your own as I was quite interested in hearing what you thought was more reasonable or thoughtful than what you've seen from this nation's leadership and here from me.

I will leave it at that rather than mentioning my thoughts on those who say they are Independent smile.gif. I look forward to continuing dialog on any number of topics with you on this board in the future.

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Doom is in the box.

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Uh, Art, you've already stated your thoughts on what those of us who call ourselves independent believe.

"An Independent believes in nothing, or, whatever's convenient smile.gif." - Art

I won't open up a big can of worms here as the result would likely be much wasted time with no movement. Suffice it to say I consider myself an independent precisely because of my beliefs and the fact that they don't always conform to one party or the other. I'm free smile.gif!

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