Can We Win the War on Terror?





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Discus: College Confidential Café: 2004 Archive: Can We Win the War on Terror?
By Simba (Simba) on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 10:51 am: Edit

Today marks the day when 1,000th of our brave men/women have died. Not to mention 50,000 of Iraqis + 3,000 WTC + Spain + Israel/Plaestine + ......

I often wonder if this is the only way to eradicate terrorists? Is going after them with gusto (may be in the wrong country) the only way? How long can we live in a state of constant fear? Cynics would argue that the current administration uses the fear factor for their advantage. How much resources are we spending/wasting? Can those resources be used in a better way? Would a dialogue with them work? There has to be another solution.

By Allena (Allena) on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 03:04 pm: Edit

It's not possible to rid the world of terroists. We can make the situation a lot better, however it's impossible to get rid of every single (since there are pleanty of domestic terrorists) wacko with a gun or a bomb.

By Legendofmax (Legendofmax) on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 03:16 pm: Edit

Terrorism can be any form of sending a person or group into a state of fear... how can we stop the emotion of fear?

By Averagemathgeek (Averagemathgeek) on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 04:57 pm: Edit

I highly doubt we can defeat all of the terrorists. Nonetheless, we will spend trillions and lose countless soldiers finding out.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 05:06 pm: Edit

I think it will turn out like the drug war kind of. It's like shovelling water out of the ocean.

By Bunmushroom (Bunmushroom) on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 05:12 pm: Edit

I think it is possible to limit terrorism in the short run by what we are doing now. The administration has been successful so far. But for a long term solution to this terrorism, the only solution is in the hands of Muslim nations and Islam to change from within. The muslim nations cannot continue to be oppresive dictatorial theocratic monarchies who try to take the focus off their own failures by scapegoating the US, Israel, and the rest of the West. They must be reform. Secondly, fundamentalist islam must change. We cannot change the minds of people who hear their imam's tell them every friday and over the media that it is holy to murder civilians who they view as infidels. There has to be some courageous Muslims like an MLK in the region who stand up and say that terrorism is a desicration of islam. We also cannot let terrorism work, because that will breed more. We cannot do what spain has done and comply with terrorist demands like they did after that one bombing. They have to see and realize that terrorism is not the solution to their problems.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 06:03 pm: Edit

Terrorism against the US is rooted in US policies. Change the policies, end terrorism -- that's the only long-term solution the US has control over. Beyond that, it's out of our hands. Also it would help if the US stopped supporting these dictators you referred to.

By Titanz05 (Titanz05) on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 06:19 pm: Edit

How can one even define 'terrorist'? In actuality, American troops fit the definition of 'terrorist' to the Iraqis who supported Saddam's regime. As long as there are humans, there will be different ideaologies. As long as there are different ideaologies, there will be 'supporters'. And some supporters will be willing to die for their beliefs.
I'm a strong believer in the fact that humanity makes war and violence inevitable. 'Terrorism' has existed since the dawn of man, ever since the establishment of groups,barriers, and boundries. One nomad group would attack another nomad group for entering their territory. In my opinion, that fits the definition of terrorism.

I know my definition of terrorism is very ambigious, but I think a more important question would be "how do you define terrorism", then we can express if we can actually eradicate it or not.

Thanks guys.
p.s. give a hoot, dont pollute.

By Devious (Devious) on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 07:09 pm: Edit

"You can kill a man, but you can't kill a revolution."

By Averagemathgeek (Averagemathgeek) on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 10:14 pm: Edit

Titanz05,

Good questions, but the answer is simple. Terrorism is the use of violence to influence politics. War is by nature terrorism; thus, virtually all nations are guilty of the act. Despite this, the "War on Terror" is focused specifically on the Middle Eastern terrorists.

You also strike a good point with the US troops being terrorists in the eyes of militants of Saddam's regime. Terrorist is a word to sensationalize a cause. One could readily describe the terrorists as patriots, but would that have the same effect?

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 01:13 am: Edit

violence is not inherently moral or immoral. It can be used for good or it can be used for bad. We have to make judgements on how and what circumstances violence is moral. You cant just say that since every country and police force uses violence, some types are not worse than others. Saddam's intentional and tremendoues violence was evil. You cant give moral equivelency. Sept 11 was violence at its worst. Id say the use of violence agaist hitler and against murderers is moral violence.

By Paulhomework (Paulhomework) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 01:21 am: Edit

I don't think you can eradicate terrorism completely, but limiting it and stopping the spread of it is not impossible.

these are some of the solutions that i can see:

-strong US support for democratic reform in middle eastern countries, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. w/o direct military intervention, which will only lead to the recruiting of more terrorists

-Not blindly supporting Israel/Not vetoing UN rulings against Israel when every other nation in the world votes for them. US policy to support Israel's every action has served as a main recruiting cause for terrorists throughout the region

-Successful rebuildings in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq. This will go a long way to discredit the terrorist's anti-US propaganda in Middle East

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 02:13 am: Edit

It is an interesting philosophical issue Jlq3d3. I'm not saying I disagree with you but the other side is basically ...

Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?

It makes you think.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 02:39 am: Edit

no it doesnt. we dont do the same thing as them, even though it is the action of taking a life. A rape and sex are the same action, but they are to different things. You must differentiate between Murder and killing

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 02:55 am: Edit

I guess I am more responsive to all sides, and still find the thought interesting. Don't take this the wrong way, but what do you think the source of your philosophical/political ideology is Jlq3d3? I reiterate again not to take it the wrong way; I'm just curious because it differs from mine and it would be interesting to compare.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 03:13 am: Edit

Oh, I don't think the rape/sex analogy really works b/c the difference there is consent. I don't think there's too many people consenting to die. Also, it terms of killing or murder the intent is always to kill the person no matter what.

I do understand what you are saying in terms of differentiating, but it gets very, very gray and I don't think the analogy you picked out really works.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 02:48 pm: Edit

No, the variable isnt always the same. In rape and sex it is consent, but the point isnt that the variable is the same, and u know that. Ill give you another example. Murdering an innocent person, and killing the murderer. Both involve taking a life, and usually both the victim and murderer would choose not to be killed, but the circumstances are different. A terrorist intending to kill innocent civilians for a cause you think is immoral, is different than a soldier killing the terrorist(s). Just because there is a group of people who believe what the terrorists are doing is moral does not make the situation have moral equivelecny. There can be a moral and immoral side, even if both sides have advocates who say their side is moral. Hope you get my thing. It is a simple concept but hard to relate on a msg board.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 03:42 pm: Edit

Right, I understand that there is a differentiation, but I don't see it as clear (black/white) as you do. In reality, I do agree with you, but I am much less sure of myself.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 05:07 pm: Edit

There isnt just black and white. But there is a black white and gray. And a black cant be a white even if the black thinks they are white. There is a truth.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 05:14 pm: Edit

Is there really truth though? Or is everything just perception?

By Neo (Neo) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 06:43 pm: Edit

Whoa whoa whoa.

I don't believe there's much, if any certainty right now that what we're doing to the Iraqi/Palestinian people can be considered "taking the moral high ground."

Not at all.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 11:09 pm: Edit

That is irrelevant. I am saying that you cant just call their murders justified because they believe they are doing the right thing.

There is a truth, espessially if you believe in a higher power.

By Chavi (Chavi) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 11:11 pm: Edit

There is truth, Craig. But you'll have a difficult time discerning it until you start looking at situations more in terms of good and evil.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 11:30 pm: Edit

That is where I am different ideologically than you Chavi -- looking at everything in terms of good and evil is far to simplistic in my mind. It simplifies and distorts a complex world. This is my opinion -- I am by no means telling you how to think.

Jlq3d3, I am not saying that their murders are justified. I am questioning whether the killings of the US are? And if you say that thier murders are not justified b/c they believe it is the right thing then how are the deaths b/c of intervention?

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 01:54 am: Edit

First, I am not saying everything is black and white, good and evil. I am saying there is a white, there is a grey, and there is a black.

You cant judge based on intentions. Everyone from the best person to Hitler will say that they are doing good. One must say that their actions are wrong. For example, both Hitler and the Allies killed. But Hitler intended and somewhat succeeded in genocide and controling Europe, while the Allies were trying to prevent that.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 02:01 am: Edit

The first part was directed act Chavi, not you Jlq3d3 so no worries.

I don't really understand what you are saying with your second part, but I'll give it a shot. You say that killing someone cannot be justified by that person's perception/intentions. Then how do we justify any killings? How can we justify the deaths in Iraq b/c they are only justified by our perceptions/intentions? I may have missed your point though.

This is getting pretty philosophical but it's interesting.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 12:25 pm: Edit

We justify what we believe moral by a lot of things. Common sense, innate decency, the bible, koran, religion... I mean there are people who percieve the earth to be flat, but that doesnt give their view equivelence to the other view.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 01:44 pm: Edit

So how are the deaths in Iraq justified in a non-political sense? What makes these deaths justifiable?

Also, I wanted to note that religion (granted misinterpretation of religion actually) being on that list has created its fair share of problems.

Lastly, I understand your earth analogy but it gets much more difficult in dealing with more subjective issues. This meaningless trivia but I just thought of it: everyone knew the earth was round when Columbus was alive -- only morons thought it was flat.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 05:27 pm: Edit

"So how are the deaths in Iraq justified in a non-political sense? What makes these deaths justifiable?"

I dont want to argue this specific point, I just dont want you to accept the idiotic arguement "well we are doing the same thing as Saddam" just because we both have killed people (even though we have killed much much much less).

By Magoo (Magoo) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 06:31 pm: Edit

win?...no (at least not at this rate).

By Neo (Neo) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 08:25 pm: Edit

Jlg3d3:

I'm quite sure we've killed more Iraqis in the past two years than Saddam did in his last two years in power.

By Magoo (Magoo) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 08:57 pm: Edit

to say that we can 'win' the war on terror implies that there is an end to terrorism and violence in the world. these atrocities have been occuring since the begining of society...i do not think that we can 'win', however we might be able to slow down the threats that society...i do not think that we can 'win', however we might be able to slow down the threats that have encroached on mankinds quest for civility and equality for all.

I kinda feel weird about calling it the WAR on terror as if it were declared by some one, a single allied force thousands of miles away when I infact terrorism is an insidious faction that seeks to destroy happiness for attention, and revenge EVERYWHERE. Also calling it the war on terror paints all the situations around the world into black and white, maybe this is good for America (and our politicians) but I don’t know if it so good in the long run…see if you follow me, the kid who brings a gun to school and goes nuts is now comparable to the ‘rebel’ who is fighting against the establishment that seeks to oppress him or her. Now all of the sudden someone who doesn’t know the political, and emotional situation of the country now sees this person as the enemy just like the student who lost it….

I dunno, u can attack me If you want, but that’s just my two cents.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 09:46 pm: Edit

"I'm quite sure we've killed more Iraqis in the past two years than Saddam did in his last two years in power."

According to several warehouses that have been found with thousands of fresh unburied bodies, you are incorrect. And almost all those who have died during Saddams removal were those resisting it against the coalition.


I agree with Magoo's first line, second part lost me. I mean we (the world) has been at war forever. We cant eliminate terror, but we can reduce it as best we can. World war 1 finished, ww2 finished, the cold war finished. We arnt enemies with russia germany or most countries that have been at war. The only pessimism I have with this conflict is the values difference. This enemy now is fighting on the basis of something which they will never be able to reconsile with Islamic fundamentalism, a free western type society. Also, they do not have the same value for life and do not hesistate to kill innocents. They are guided by what they believe to be holy, and their Wahabiast (type of islam practice/mandated in places like Saudi Arabia) philosophy of Muslim rule and conquer is deeply rooted. The only solution is for the west to conform to fundamentalist islam or a change in their fundamental beliefs.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 10:07 pm: Edit

A good start would be to stop supporting governments that promote fundamentalism namely the Saud family. My other comment is that it is unfair to say that fundamentalists are anywhere near the majority. I just do not believe it. That means that there is something else (be it external or internal) driving Middle Easterners to fundamentalist leadership like Bin Laden. What that is can be speculated, but I do believe there is a solution out there to at least minimize conflict (war is not it though in my opinion). Taking on the way of thinking that you do Jlq3d3 (although it may be right for all I know) makes it appear as if the United States can do nothing to truly solve the conflict besides dealing with the symptoms.

By Magoo (Magoo) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 10:10 pm: Edit

"The only solution is for the west to conform to fundamentalist islam or a change in their fundamental beliefs"...

well, thank you for agreeing with me (at first) but are you serious with that last line!

The only solution is for the west to conform to fundamentalist islam or a change in their (islam?)fundamental beliefs....if this is what you meant this would imply that there is no compromise...if so i would agree to a certain degree.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 10:52 pm: Edit

"My other comment is that it is unfair to say that fundamentalists are anywhere near the majority. I just do not believe it"

I dont know if they are the majority, but they do control the majority of the governments and therefore much of the media, since those governments do not allow for a free media. The world is in a dilema. It is not like they love the Saudi's, but the alternative is an even more fundamentalist/western hating group. I am not defending the Saudies. I have read a very informative book by an Israeli govt advisor called "Kingdom of Terror" that describes the Saudi govt. But considering how important their oil is, we have to make a short term choice between bad and worse. The only good long term solution is a reform from within. Christianity did that since the times of the evil and brutal crusaders and stuff, hope the same happens to fundamentalist Islam.

By Magoo (Magoo) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 11:01 pm: Edit

im sorry but i think that the media controls fundamentalist groups...

terrorism is so popular these days because they use the medium of technology and communications. these groups wouldn't have the tiny bit of power that they had if CNN and FOX news didn't blast images of shouting people, violence, and bloody victims of thier attacks.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 11:19 pm: Edit

Al-Jazeera is not spreading fundamentalist propaganda and a lot of people in the Middle East have access to it via satellite. It's funny, Al-Jazeera is hated by just about everyone so it makes me believe that their coverage is pretty objective.

There is a reason that fundamentalists have control assuming that they cannot be the majority -- that is what needs to be addressed.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 12:34 am: Edit

I do think they have support of the majority. There have been polls in Saudi Arabia and if elections were help, an al queda type govt would result. It is because of their relgious beliefes. Every Friday they are told by imams that Israel and the west are the devil and that murdering any of them will bring eternal heaven with 72 virgins. Not all the mideast is dominated by this type to tyranical theocracy (turkey, israel, and lebanon a long time ago), but they do not practive Wahabiast Islam, so individuals there do not have the hatred towrds non-muslims that someone in Saudi Arabia might have

By Magoo (Magoo) on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 12:37 am: Edit

There have been polls in Saudi Arabia...did they poll every citizen that was able to vote or was it just a MINORITY.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 01:03 am: Edit

I agree that a theocracy is a possibility in just about every Islamic country. My question then is why is fundamentalist Islam turned so anti-West? The clash between Islam and the Western World has definitely heightened recently (pre 9/11). What is the reasoning?

Actually Iran is the only theocracy right now by definition.

I am not necessarily disputing your opinion by any means actually. What I am seeing in your argument is a great deal of fatalism. It makes it look like the United States cannot do a thing to truly solve the problem, which I see as counterproductive whether true or not.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 02:15 am: Edit

"There have been polls in Saudi Arabia...did they poll every citizen that was able to vote or was it just a MINORITY."

No, people cannot vote in Saudi Arabia. It is not a democracy by any means. It was a sampling I assume like any other poll.

Fundamentalist Islam has always been antiwest/antichristian/antijewish/anti-non muslims. Any time they border non-islamic ideals there is strife. Sudan, Israel, Pakistan, Europe centuries ago, Chechnia, the US relations with arab countries... Sept 11 wasnt the first. There have been many other terrorist attacks by fundamentalist muslims.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 02:28 am: Edit

I don't think it is at all fair to call Chechnya the fault of the Muslims and no one else. All of those conflicts really have been two sided with atrocities on each side. I'm not saying it's coincidental, but these conflicts have not been just because of fundamentalist Islam by any means. Actually the war in Sudan began without a religious connotation, and was just used by the government in order to get Arab Sudanese to die for a meaningless conflict (just finished that section in "Me Against My Brother" -- good book). You convieniently forgot the Balkans where they have been the victims for the large part.

I agree there have been other conflicts, but what is the reasoning for the heightening of tensions specifically with the US? Possibly the support of the Saud family, stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia after the Persian Gulf War, being diehard Israel proponents, etc.? My point is that fundamentalism was spurred on by something -- it might not have been much, but there is a connection to policy.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 03:27 am: Edit

Another thing about Sudan -- the genocidal offenses in the Darfur region actually have nothing to do with religion -- it is purely ethnic. Arabs are killing blacks (not sure if that is pc but do not know how else to say it) and both are Muslims. It's separate from the neverending (despite recent agreement in my opinion) conflict between the northern Muslims and southern Christians. So let's not pin that on fundamentalism.

And I got it in the right spot ... yes.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 01:48 pm: Edit

No, I dont think there has to be an outside reason for Islamic fundamentalism. It existed before there were any troops in Saudi arabia, and before the existence of a the non-muslim state of Israel in the midst of arab nations. Islamic Fundamentalism isnt political, it is a religious belief. And any ideals that differ from their beliefs are labeled as infidels who must be purged or maintained in the status of Dhimi at best (non-muslims who reside under muslim rule and have different rights). Basicly, fundamentalism didnt come about as a reaction, it has existed, and reacts to non-fundamentalist ideologies.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 02:11 pm: Edit

I didn't say that fundamentalism suddenly just came about. My comment was that actions by other nations have brought it into conflict with the West recently, whether those actions were right or wrong. There is definitely a heightening of the conflict that cannot be explained by fundamentalism because like you said, it has been around for awhile.

By Irishbird (Irishbird) on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 02:37 pm: Edit

Some scholars have offered that Militant Islamism has become bolder in its actions since the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan; to them it's a sign that they can be successful in defeating the US if they wage a sustained jihad.
Also some scholars will point to the erosion of prominence & power among Muslim countries from the late Middle Ages on toward the start of this century as resulting in the development of fundamentalism, (along with reformism) as a way of coping with or explaining their decline.


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