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Author Topic:   War and Morality. Al Qaeda v USA
Phat
Member
Posts: 7196
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 61 of 175 (621632)
06-27-2011 3:58 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by crashfrog
06-27-2011 1:37 PM


Its Group Dynamics, Stupid.
I was all set to refute you, having earlier read that the Al-Qaeda organization was made up of young educated professionals. Surely they could not be so gullible! Then I read more from Marc Sageman, the so called expert. Understanding Terror Networks

It is religion! (Also due to loneliness...they attend the meanings as a social outlet, initially) Un-frickin-believable! Surely our own domestic example is organized Christianity...but beyond protesting an abortion clinic or some anti gay crap, it never seems as if many American Christian fundamentalists would ever dare kill themselves over a cause! (I was one and am a coward!)

But I read further....

So whats in common? Theres really no profile, just similar trajectories to joining the jihad and that most of these men were upwardly and geographically mobile. Because they were the best and brightest, they were sent abroad to study. They came from moderately religious, caring, middle-class families. Theyre skilled in computer technology. They spoke three, four, five, six languages. Most Americans dont know Arabic; these men know two or three Western languages: German, French, English.

When they became homesick, they did what anyone would and tried to congregate with people like themselves, whom they would find at mosques. So they drifted towards the mosque, not because they were religious, but because they were seeking friends. They moved in together in apartments, in order to share the rent and also to eat together - they were mostly halal, those who observed the Muslim dietary laws, similar in some respects to the kosher laws of Judaism. Some argue that such laws help to bind a group together since observing them is something very difficult and more easily done in a group. A micro-culture develops that strengthens and absorbs the participants as a unit. This is a halal theory of terrorism, if you like.

These cliques, often in the vicinity of mosques that had a militant script advocating violence to overthrow the corrupt regimes, transformed alienated young Muslims into terrorists. Its all really group dynamics. You cannot understand the 9/11 type of terrorism from individual characteristics. The suicide bombers in Spain are another perfect example. Seven terrorists sharing an apartment and one saying Tonight were all going to go, guys. You cant betray your friends, and so you go along. Individually, they probably would not have done it.

Group dynamics!!! That I could understand! When I was a charismaniac Christian, I felt accepted and part of a group. Had the Pastor told us that the government was of the antichrist, and provided circumstantial evidence, as a group who knows what we would have done???

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by crashfrog, posted 06-27-2011 1:37 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by Modulous, posted 06-27-2011 4:28 PM Phat has not yet responded
 Message 63 by crashfrog, posted 06-27-2011 6:00 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 6086
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 3.6


(1)
Message 62 of 175 (621634)
06-27-2011 4:28 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Phat
06-27-2011 3:58 PM


Re: Its Group Dynamics, Stupid.
Group dynamics!!! That I could understand! When I was a charismaniac Christian, I felt accepted and part of a group. Had the Pastor told us that the government was of the antichrist, and provided circumstantial evidence, as a group who knows what we would have done???

You might want to read WE FEW, WE HAPPY FEW, WE BAND OF BROTHERS, by J. Anderson Thomson, Jr for an interesting account of male coalitionary violence. A little more is needed than just religion, but religion does 'hijack' certain evolved traits that can lead to bad things.

quote:
A parsimonious formulation of suicide terrorism supported by the evidence is: Male bonded coalitionary violence, with lethal raiding against innocents is as old as our species, even older. The capacity is embedded in all males (Wrangham). The potential for suicide resides in all of us, both males and females. The evidence suggests two types of evolved suicide potentials: negative inclusive fitness (de Catanzaro), and retaliation bargaining (Hagen). The first arises from a sense of burdensomeness and animates female suicide bombers. The second originates from positions of humiliation and powerlessness and characterizes male suicide bombers. Religion is a cultural construct, a product of human minds. Many of the evolved cognitive adaptations which generate religious beliefs can be exploited to motivate suicide terrorism. This makes religion a powerful ideology which can simultaneously hijack the evolved capacities for lethal raiding and suicide.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Phat, posted 06-27-2011 3:58 PM Phat has not yet responded

    
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 63 of 175 (621651)
06-27-2011 6:00 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Phat
06-27-2011 3:58 PM


Re: Its Group Dynamics, Stupid.
but beyond protesting an abortion clinic or some anti gay crap, it never seems as if many American Christian fundamentalists would ever dare kill themselves over a cause! (I was one and am a coward!)

I grant you, it's deeply unnatural to most people to kill and die in service of a cause. I think that's probably a good thing.

But, consider this. If someone, or something, could convince you to fight for a cause, wouldn't it be most likely something originating from your religious community? Aren't those the voices you take most seriously on moral matters? If your pastor introduced a speaker one Sunday morning in church and told you this was somebody whose counsel and beliefs your pastor had enormous respect and admiration for, wouldn't you pay particularly close attention? Wouldn't you weigh those words particularly heavily?

I was a fundamentalist once, too. So I remember how it is you get there - how you start with a faith that you basically inherited, never really gave much thought to. You had a notion, however, that your faith was morally correct and that you were supposed to follow its tenets.

And then one day, somebody shows up and tells you it's not good enough. It's not enough to just be a good person - there's a spiritual war on, you're not just a regular joe, you're a soldier in a holy army. He's got the passages in the Bible to prove it. He's got the testimony of a few recent converts and they're just on fire. It's amazing! It's like they light up from the inside. You've never seen anything like it in your church, if you even ever went (which you don't, and feel guilty about), and you want more than anything in the world to feel that kind of certainty, that kind of faith, that kind of devotion. That kind of importance. Everything in your life seems unsure and maybe just a little insignificant. But here's your chance to be involved in the most important thing of all time and you won't be in it alone.

It doesn't matter what religion you are; you're already primed for this. You fell for fundamentalism just as soon as you decided that interpreting words in a book was congruent with making moral decisions, that there was a way to skip over uncomfortable moral deliberations and just look up the answers in some kind of "life's instruction manual."

Had the Pastor told us that the government was of the antichrist, and provided circumstantial evidence, as a group who knows what we would have done???

Yeah, exactly, Phat. You know exactly how it is. We should thank our lucky stars that, generally, the agenda of the average American religious leader is to get his church attendees to leave Chick tracts instead of tips when they go out for after-church brunch.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Phat, posted 06-27-2011 3:58 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
hooah212002
Member
Posts: 3087
Joined: 08-12-2009
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 64 of 175 (621656)
06-27-2011 7:11 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by Nuggin
06-27-2011 11:16 AM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
Now, there's what's supposed to happen and what actually happens. I'm not really talking about fog of war or bad intel or mistakes or even a psycho in uniform.

I guess you don't hear about the drones killing civilians, eh? There is at least a 10-1 civilian/"terrorist" kill ratio for every drone attack.

quote:
Critics correctly find many problems with this program, most of all the number of civilian casualties the strikes have incurred. Sourcing on civilian deaths is weak and the numbers are often exaggerated, but more than 600 civilians are likely to have died from the attacks. That number suggests that for every militant killed, 10 or so civilians also died.

Source

Have they stopped the drone attacks? How about Guantanamo? Waterboarding? Good ole America isn't always the good guy the patriots paint it to be.....


"Why don't you call upon your God to strike me? Oh, I forgot it's because he's fake like Thor, so bite me" -Greydon Square
This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by Nuggin, posted 06-27-2011 11:16 AM Nuggin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by Nuggin, posted 06-27-2011 7:43 PM hooah212002 has responded
 Message 68 by ProtoTypical, posted 06-27-2011 8:46 PM hooah212002 has responded

    
Nuggin
Member (Idle past 596 days)
Posts: 2962
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 65 of 175 (621658)
06-27-2011 7:43 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by hooah212002
06-27-2011 7:11 PM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
I guess you don't hear about the drones killing civilians, eh? There is at least a 10-1 civilian/"terrorist" kill ratio for every drone attack.

Sourcing on civilian deaths is weak and the numbers are often exaggerated

When YOUR source says that your sourcing is weak and exaggerated, it's time to stop using that source.

The fact that we try to target specific groups or places AT ALL is a HUGE advancement in warfare. The fact that we have rules of engagement that tell our troops not to fire unless fired upon is a HUGE change.

In WWII, we'd carpet bomb a city to try and destroy a factory. Or nuke a whole city to send a message.

Now we spend billions developing bombs specifically so that we don't have to carpet bomb and people still bitch.

Fuck it. If people are going to complain either way, I say go back to the old way. Pave Afghanistan and move in some Indians and Chinese. They need the space.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by hooah212002, posted 06-27-2011 7:11 PM hooah212002 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by hooah212002, posted 06-27-2011 7:59 PM Nuggin has responded

    
hooah212002
Member
Posts: 3087
Joined: 08-12-2009
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 66 of 175 (621659)
06-27-2011 7:59 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by Nuggin
06-27-2011 7:43 PM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
When YOUR source says that your sourcing is weak and exaggerated, it's time to stop using that source.

You're right. Coming by numbers of actual civilian deaths is tough, since the only intel we (the public) get is second hand. That's not to say it is justifiable the way the drones are being used. A LOT of civilians are dying due to them.

Now we spend billions developing bombs specifically so that we don't have to carpet bomb and people still bitch.

I'm "bitching" that we are there at all. I'm just saying that we aren't exactly the heroes people want to paint us as. It's not really "America, fuck yea!". That was a movie.....


"Why don't you call upon your God to strike me? Oh, I forgot it's because he's fake like Thor, so bite me" -Greydon Square
This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by Nuggin, posted 06-27-2011 7:43 PM Nuggin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by Nuggin, posted 06-27-2011 8:39 PM hooah212002 has responded

    
Nuggin
Member (Idle past 596 days)
Posts: 2962
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 67 of 175 (621663)
06-27-2011 8:39 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by hooah212002
06-27-2011 7:59 PM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
A LOT of civilians are dying due to (drone attacks).

Qualify that.

As compared to what?

On per armament or per engagement basis, how do drones rank up against bombers or artillery or foot soldiers?

If drones are twice as likely to kill civilians as a foot soldier, I'm okay with that. I'm okay with it if they are 10x more likely.

That's because they are 100% less likely to result in the death of a US soldier.

I don't think we should be there at all. I don't think we should have gone in. I don't think we should stay. I don't care if the country dissolves after we leave. If people can't rule themselves, that's their problem.

But, if we're going to be stuck there, I want one thing - Less dead troops. Period.

I honestly don't care if that puts thousands of "innocents" in danger. At this point, the people of Iraq and Afghanistan have had 10 years to get their shit together.

France didn't set up shop here for a decade while we got our shit together.

If the people in these countries want to ethnic cleanse each other over some bullshit disagreement about the religion they are all sharing, then let them.

These are countries only because EXTERNAL forces declared them countries. Before that they were tribes with no higher aspiration than killing the tribe on the next hill over.

The Kurds don't want to be Iraqi. The middle Iraqis don't want to be in the same country as the southern Iraqis. Why should we force them.

Indiana Jones once said "These Arabs don't mind if we kill each other, they aren't going to interfere in our business."

I say we flip the script and get the F out.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by hooah212002, posted 06-27-2011 7:59 PM hooah212002 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by hooah212002, posted 06-27-2011 8:59 PM Nuggin has responded

    
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1247
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 68 of 175 (621665)
06-27-2011 8:46 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by hooah212002
06-27-2011 7:11 PM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
Have they stopped the drone attacks? How about Guantanamo? Waterboarding? Good ole America isn't always the good guy the patriots paint it to be.....

No, they sure arent. Fortunately, we can say so without too many repercussions.

Have a look at the paragraphs surrounding your quote.

quote:
July 14, 2009
Killing terrorist leaders is difficult, is often ineffective, and can easily backfire. Yet it is one of the United States' few options for managing the threat posed by al Qaeda from its base in tribal Pakistan. By some accounts, U.S. drone activity in Pakistan has killed dozens of lower-ranking and at least 10 mid- and high-ranking leaders from al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Critics correctly find many problems with this program, most of all the number of civilian casualties the strikes have incurred. Sourcing on civilian deaths is weak and the numbers are often exaggerated, but more than 600 civilians are likely to have died from the attacks. That number suggests that for every militant killed, 10 or so civilians also died.

To reduce casualties, superb intelligence is necessary. Operators must know not only where the terrorists are, but also who is with them and who might be within the blast radius. This level of surveillance may often be lacking, and terrorists' deliberate use of children and other civilians as shields make civilian deaths even more likely.


I agree that the drone program is wrong in alot of ways. Somehow cowardly. I also think that there is something wrong with people who would hide behind their children knowing full well that they are putting them in harms way. But hey, minor details right. Like disparaging the policy of waterboarding people who would cut your fucking head off if the positions were reversed. Like crying foul when your country unintentionally kills civilians but ignoring the fact that your enemies deliberately target schools (the ones with no girls in them) and hospitals.

Having pointed these things out, I also want to say that we should and we do hold ourselves to a higher standard. In fact, can you point to any that are higher?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by hooah212002, posted 06-27-2011 7:11 PM hooah212002 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by hooah212002, posted 06-27-2011 9:05 PM ProtoTypical has responded

  
hooah212002
Member
Posts: 3087
Joined: 08-12-2009
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 69 of 175 (621666)
06-27-2011 8:59 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Nuggin
06-27-2011 8:39 PM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
Qualify that.

More civilians die as a result of the drone attacks than do militants.

On per armament or per engagement basis, how do drones rank up against bombers or artillery or foot soldiers?

I've no idea.

I agree with everything else in your post.


"Why don't you call upon your God to strike me? Oh, I forgot it's because he's fake like Thor, so bite me" -Greydon Square
This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Nuggin, posted 06-27-2011 8:39 PM Nuggin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 72 by Nuggin, posted 06-27-2011 9:31 PM hooah212002 has responded

    
hooah212002
Member
Posts: 3087
Joined: 08-12-2009
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 70 of 175 (621667)
06-27-2011 9:05 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by ProtoTypical
06-27-2011 8:46 PM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
Having pointed these things out, I also want to say that we should and we do hold ourselves to a higher standard. In fact, can you point to any that are higher?

Yea, how about NOT torturing and NOT indefinitely holding individuals who have been accused of NO crime and are not POW's or war criminals. Just because what the other guy would do is worse doesn't somehow make it OK for us to torture people.

but ignoring the fact that your enemies deliberately target schools (the ones with no girls in them) and hospitals.

Who's ignoring that? I sure as shit am not. It's just not what is being discussed.

Edited by hooah212002, : No reason given.


"Why don't you call upon your God to strike me? Oh, I forgot it's because he's fake like Thor, so bite me" -Greydon Square
This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by ProtoTypical, posted 06-27-2011 8:46 PM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by ProtoTypical, posted 06-27-2011 9:29 PM hooah212002 has responded

    
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1247
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 71 of 175 (621668)
06-27-2011 9:29 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by hooah212002
06-27-2011 9:05 PM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
Just because what the other guy would do is worse doesn't somehow make it OK for us to torture people.

I agree and that is why I made the higher standard comment.

In the real world, who conducts their wars with a higher regard for human rights and civilian casualties?

Yes we can and should do better. Just because we are not perfect doesn't mean we should ignore the fact that the enemy is worse by magnitudes.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by hooah212002, posted 06-27-2011 9:05 PM hooah212002 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by hooah212002, posted 06-27-2011 10:03 PM ProtoTypical has acknowledged this reply
 Message 83 by onifre, posted 06-28-2011 11:53 AM ProtoTypical has responded

  
Nuggin
Member (Idle past 596 days)
Posts: 2962
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 72 of 175 (621669)
06-27-2011 9:31 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by hooah212002
06-27-2011 8:59 PM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
More civilians die as a result of the drone attacks than do militants.

But that statement is worthless.

I'm making up these numbers to demonstrate:

Let's say that the kill ratio of drones is 10:1 innocents/militants.

That sounds bad.

But if the kill ratio of bombers is 25:1
And soldiers is 15:1
And artillery is 30:1

Then the drones are the only moral choice.

Simply saying "they kill innocents" is insufficient to judge them unless you put it in the context of the methods it's replacing


This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by hooah212002, posted 06-27-2011 8:59 PM hooah212002 has responded

Replies to this message:
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hooah212002
Member
Posts: 3087
Joined: 08-12-2009
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 73 of 175 (621671)
06-27-2011 10:03 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by ProtoTypical
06-27-2011 9:29 PM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
In the real world, who conducts their wars with a higher regard for human rights and civilian casualties?

Comparatively speaking, you are correct: we do.

Just because we are not perfect doesn't mean we should ignore the fact that the enemy is worse by magnitudes.

I never ignored this fact. All I was saying was that it it shouldn't matter what tactics the enemy uses. We ought to be the "bigger man" so to speak. If we are going to police the world and attempt to lead by example, we need to be an example worth following.


"Why don't you call upon your God to strike me? Oh, I forgot it's because he's fake like Thor, so bite me" -Greydon Square
This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by ProtoTypical, posted 06-27-2011 9:29 PM ProtoTypical has acknowledged this reply

    
hooah212002
Member
Posts: 3087
Joined: 08-12-2009
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 74 of 175 (621672)
06-27-2011 10:08 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by Nuggin
06-27-2011 9:31 PM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
Here is a link to a pertinent Wiki article. I don't have time to analyze it (at work right now). I will check it out when I get some down time, so don't think I'm saying "here, you do the research".

Civilian casualties caused by ISAF and US Forces in the War in Afghanistan (2001present)

Edited by hooah212002, : No reason given.


"Why don't you call upon your God to strike me? Oh, I forgot it's because he's fake like Thor, so bite me" -Greydon Square
This message is a reply to:
 Message 72 by Nuggin, posted 06-27-2011 9:31 PM Nuggin has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by Coyote, posted 06-27-2011 11:10 PM hooah212002 has responded

    
Coyote
Member
Posts: 4530
Joined: 01-12-2008
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 75 of 175 (621673)
06-27-2011 11:10 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by hooah212002
06-27-2011 10:08 PM


Re: Soft Targets vs Terrorism
Civilian casualties caused by ISAF and US Forces in the War in Afghanistan (2001present)

Remember this one?

(It was in all the papers.)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 74 by hooah212002, posted 06-27-2011 10:08 PM hooah212002 has responded

Replies to this message:
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