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  #1  
Old 09-17-2011, 01:16 AM
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Default Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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  #2  
Old 09-17-2011, 05:04 AM
chainlink chainlink is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

Wright's "Above all, don't do anything" strategy against Islamic terrorism seems to have been cribbed from Pakistan's military and intelligence community--or has he, perhaps, served them as some sort of consultant? Either way, it doesn't seem to have worked: Pakistan has for several years been experiencing a pretty much uninterrupted crescendo of terrorist violence, despite the fact that the state responds to it unenthusiastically and belatedly, and where at all possible looks intently in the opposite direction (Wright loves this sly manoeuvre).

Far from discouraging the Pakistani Taliban, though, it seems that this subtle policy feeds their frenzy: they assume Allah has befuddled and enervated their enemies--proof that he has guaranteed them victory.

I think that perceived inaction on our part would have exactly the same result. The only way I can see to demonstrate to them that Allah isn't on their side is to destroy their organizations and balk their plans. Unless Muslims were to decide that we are stronger than Allah, the most obvious conclusion would be that he wasn't supporting terrorists. Even if the average recruit comes to Islam by the back door, and is looking as much for glory as for paradise, he is still asserting a specifically religious identity, and would be unlikely to seek glory in a foundering cause.
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  #3  
Old 09-17-2011, 05:38 AM
opposable_crumbs opposable_crumbs is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

Quote:
Originally Posted by chainlink View Post
Wright's "Above all, don't do anything" strategy against Islamic terrorism seems to have been cribbed from Pakistan's military and intelligence community--or has he, perhaps, served them as some sort of consultant? Either way, it doesn't seem to have worked: Pakistan has for several years been experiencing a pretty much uninterrupted crescendo of terrorist violence, despite the fact that the state responds to it unenthusiastically and belatedly, and where at all possible looks intently in the opposite direction (Wright loves this sly manoeuvre).
Pakistan is an obvious victim of the War on Terror strategy that Bush headed. It pushed militants and militancy from Afghanistan into a, relatively speaking, peaceful Pakistan.

As for Pakistan's own role in the war, they have lost 4000 men, lost 10,000 civilians, tens of thousands injured, and millions of displaced as refugees.

Last edited by opposable_crumbs; 09-17-2011 at 05:53 AM..
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  #4  
Old 09-17-2011, 03:58 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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Originally Posted by opposable_crumbs View Post
Pakistan is an obvious victim of the War on Terror strategy that Bush headed. It pushed militants and militancy from Afghanistan into a, relatively speaking, peaceful Pakistan.
Considering the ISI's role in creating and running the Taliban as a strategic asset, it seems to me that pushing militants into Pakistan is exactly proper, even if the stakes become higher.

Of course, Pakistan as it has existed from 1980 to 2001 can't continue as it has while retaining nuclear weapons. Presenting it with the consequences of its choices seems like the best way to teach it to be a better actor.
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  #5  
Old 09-17-2011, 10:49 PM
aajax aajax is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

Don't know what planet you've been living on for the past five years if you think Paki hasn't done anything. It may not be as much as the US wanted, but it was more than enough to stir the hornets nest over there.
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  #6  
Old 09-17-2011, 08:30 AM
Abu Noor Al-Irlandee Abu Noor Al-Irlandee is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

chainlink,

The notion that Pakistan's military and intelligence strategy regarding terrorism has been "do nothing" is utterly bizarre. Pakistan's intelligence community has been deeply involved with militant groups, often supporting them and at other times, as opposable_crumbs points out fighting against them at great cost. About the only thing that it is false to say about the Pakistani approach is that it has been to "do nothing."
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:38 AM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Atran's Lincoln 'Quotation'

"I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends." is categorized under 'Misattributed' by Wikiquote. Can Mr. Atran provide a credible source for the quotation?
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  #8  
Old 09-17-2011, 12:18 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Atran's Lincoln 'Quotation'

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Originally Posted by Abdicate View Post
Who cares? A political aphorism like this either makes sense and illustrates a truth about the world or it doesn't.
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  #9  
Old 09-18-2011, 12:24 AM
BornAgainDemocrat BornAgainDemocrat is offline
 
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Default Re: Atran's Lincoln 'Quotation'

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Who cares? A political aphorism like this either makes sense and illustrates a truth about the world or it doesn't.
Good point. It is the kind of thing Lincoln would have said whether he actually said it or not. As a matter of fact he did say friendly things about the South in the course of the conflict -- among others that the people of the North would feel no differently about slavery than the people of the South if they were in their shoes. As President he also famously ordered "Dixie" to be played on a festive occasion during the war. It was a favorite tune of his.
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  #10  
Old 09-18-2011, 12:19 PM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Atran's Lincoln 'Quotation'

Yes, upon reflection it was quite fussy of me to bring up The Truth. Very uptight on my part.
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  #11  
Old 09-17-2011, 03:25 PM
BornAgainDemocrat BornAgainDemocrat is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

Great, fantastic, fascinating. The U.S. leadership comes off as such idiots. There's hope, because idiocy doesn't have to continue forever. But also despair and disgust: my God, what have we done? The facts alone justify this diavlog. I had no idea the Taliban were ready to put Ben Laden on trial for the ship they blew up. Who was president then? Was it Clinton? Was he too busy trying to ward off the Republican attack machine to give it his serious consideration? And W.? Worst thing that ever happened to the United States of America. Makes Benedict Arnold look good. I hate the guy.
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  #12  
Old 09-17-2011, 04:11 PM
ledocs ledocs is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

Now this was a very interesting dv.

1) Author interview
2) Interview of independent academic, probably with tenure, who does his own research and is beholden to virtually no one
3) Important topic
4) Author not terribly widely known, not on the PBS author-interview circuit.
5) Voice almost certainly worthy of wider attention
6) This kind of dv would, in my opinion, likely win many new repeat visitors to the site, if only they can be wooed for the first time.

This is not intended to be a critical review of what Atran said here or of his book, which I would like to read. I read the Lawrence Wright book with "Inferno" in the title, which was OK. I am in no position to judge Atran's work or his prescriptions.

This is the kind of thing I, at least, would like to see much more of. Another good thing was the "pushback" Atran got from RW.

Highest rating. Two thumbs up.
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Last edited by ledocs; 09-17-2011 at 04:14 PM..
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  #13  
Old 09-19-2011, 05:23 PM
Bima Bima is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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Originally Posted by ledocs View Post
Now this was a very interesting dv.

1) Author interview
2) Interview of independent academic, probably with tenure, who does his own research and is beholden to virtually no one
3) Important topic
4) Author not terribly widely known, not on the PBS author-interview circuit.
5) Voice almost certainly worthy of wider attention
6) This kind of dv would, in my opinion, likely win many new repeat visitors to the site, if only they can be wooed for the first time.

This is not intended to be a critical review of what Atran said here or of his book, which I would like to read. I read the Lawrence Wright book with "Inferno" in the title, which was OK. I am in no position to judge Atran's work or his prescriptions.

This is the kind of thing I, at least, would like to see much more of. Another good thing was the "pushback" Atran got from RW.

Highest rating. Two thumbs up.
I agree, best DV in months. I've spent a few hours reading Mr Atran's writings on the internet and he has gained a new reader.
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  #14  
Old 09-17-2011, 04:46 PM
chamblee54 chamblee54 is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

If the enemies of BHO were to learn of this poll... where young men in an Arab country want to be like BHO... then these enemies would publicize this poll result to create ill will towards BHO.

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  #15  
Old 09-17-2011, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

Excellent discussion if somewhat demoralizing considering the course of events.

Scott Atran has an impressive resume. He worked with Margaret Meade (among other accomplished feats).

Encore!
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  #16  
Old 09-20-2011, 05:51 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
Excellent discussion if somewhat demoralizing considering the course of events.
Agreed. Like others have said, this is the kind of diavlog I am really glad to have. I'm going to check out Atran's book, too.
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  #17  
Old 09-17-2011, 10:34 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

What indication was there, exactly, that the Taliban would have given into some sort of sanctions regime? This war has shown that the Taliban subsists on the porous Pakistani border. It does this while subject to US attacks. It would have been in much better shape had it faced the same situation without US troops decimating them.

Between sympathetic Pashtuns and ISI elements, the Taliban could have sat in their lines across from the Northern Alliance until bin Laden died of kidney failure. It would have been a crystal clear example of an impotent superpower.
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  #18  
Old 09-17-2011, 10:57 PM
aajax aajax is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

Great and surprising dv. Atran confirms everything a dear Muslim friend has been trying to tell me for years and in which I have been interested but highly skeptical. I think I owe my friend an apology.
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  #19  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:10 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Could War on Afghanistan have been avoided?

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Great and surprising dv. Atran confirms everything a dear Muslim friend has been trying to tell me for years and in which I have been interested but highly skeptical. I think I owe my friend an apology.
What part surprised you? I thought the real bombshell (so to speak) was the suggestion that the whole war on Afghanistan could have been avoided, and might have been, had we had a smarter, less hysterical and inherently bellicose White House.

The comparison to Kennedy (a more cerebral person, a veteran of war and a better diplomat) during the Cuban Missile Crisis was interesting. I'm not sure Obama (who has claimed Afghanistan is the "right war" as opposed to wrong-war Iraq) was the hypothetical president Scott had in mind. OTOH, maybe he just meant a generic Dem. or Anybody-but-GWBush, including Bush the Elder.
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:16 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Could War on Afghanistan have been avoided?

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What part surprised you? I thought the real bombshell (so to speak) was the suggestion that the whole war on Afghanistan could have been avoided, and might have been, had we had a smarter, less hysterical and inherently bellicose White House.
You notice that no realistic explanation is given as to how. The Sudan actually is a more complicated and advanced state than the Taliban's Afghanistan circa 2001, as hard as that is to believe. It also had more connections to the Arab world. You don't just swap out "National Islamic Front" with "Taliban". They're different.

Also, Pakistan hasn't been able to close the Afghan border in a time of war. How exactly do you think they would manage that in a time of peace?
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  #21  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:07 PM
aajax aajax is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

It is a shame how America's response to any perceived threat is pre-scripted by the militarist DNA that has evolved into our body politic. Even an enlightened and shrewd president who knew better would be forced to follow the script despite knowing that his actions would be counterproductive. If he didn't do so, he would lose all support, or perhaps succumb to impeachment or assassination.

The military industrial complex and the rich have won the battle for political supremacy in this country, for all the good it will do them when we go broke fighting their wars.
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  #22  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:12 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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It is a shame how America's response to any perceived threat is pre-scripted by the militarist DNA that has evolved into our body politic. Even an enlightened and shrewd president who knew better would be forced to follow the script despite knowing that his actions would be counterproductive. If he didn't do so, he would lose all support, or perhaps succumb to impeachment or assassination.

The military industrial complex and the rich have won the battle for political supremacy in this country, for all the good it will do them when we go broke fighting their wars.
This isn't rational. History isn't a conspiracy. This has all happened before; and it happens for the same reason. It is contrary to the proper of order of things to allow foreigners to slaughter your people, and not subject them to the ultimate penalty.

Thus the Romans rightly cleansed the Mediterranean of pirates. We rightly did the same eighteen hundred years later. The Austrians were within their rights to demand the extradition of the Black Hand without condition. The United States was within its rights to violate Mexican borders in pursuit of Poncho Villa, and had they found him, would have been perfectly reasonable in hanging him.

This Internationalist Pacifism is like a religion. This idea of enemies as some sort of fair actors, whose violence against you is more like a political critique. You folks make category errors; you confuse all peoples with Western members of the academy.
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  #23  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:48 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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Even an enlightened and shrewd president who knew better would be forced to follow the script despite knowing that his actions would be counterproductive. If he didn't do so, he would lose all support, or perhaps succumb to impeachment or assassination.

The military industrial complex and the rich have won the battle for political supremacy in this country, for all the good it will do them when we go broke fighting their wars.
I wouldn't remotely go that far.

As Scott suggested, there were plenty of things Obama could have done without getting impeached, much less assassinated. He could have really shut down Gitmo as promised, could have held Bush government war criminals accountable for their crimes, and could have refrained from escalating Afghanistan, supporting Netanyahu, bombing Libya and droning at will in the rest of the world.

Perhaps taking unpopular contra-militarism measures would have cost him his majority in the House or his re-election in 2012. Oh wait a second: he lost the House in 2010 anyway and will probably lose the '12 election as well. Fat lot of good continuing Bush policies did him.
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  #24  
Old 09-18-2011, 12:21 AM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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I wouldn't remotely go that far.

As Scott suggested, there were plenty of things Obama could have done without getting impeached, much less assassinated. He could have really shut down Gitmo as promised, could have held Bush government war criminals accountable for their crimes, and could have refrained from escalating Afghanistan, supporting Netanyahu, bombing Libya and droning at will in the rest of the world.

Perhaps taking unpopular contra-militarism measures would have cost him his majority in the House or his re-election in 2012. Oh wait a second: he lost the House in 2010 anyway and will probably lose the '12 election as well. Fat lot of good continuing Bush policies did him.
Why don't you take us through how he unilaterally could have shut Gitmo?

Oh wait, here's the answer:
Not anymore likely than your fantasy.
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  #25  
Old 09-18-2011, 12:37 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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Why don't you take us through how he unilaterally could have shut Gitmo?
If it wasn't doable, he shouldn't have promised to do it.

"As President, I will close Guantánamo."

Barack Obama, August 2007
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  #26  
Old 09-18-2011, 12:44 AM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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If it wasn't doable, he shouldn't have promised to do it.

"As President, I will close Guantánamo."

Barack Obama, August 2007
I guess aspirational only suits you when it's coming from the likes of Ron Paul. Unite!
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  #27  
Old 09-18-2011, 01:09 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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I guess aspirational only suits you when it's coming from the likes of Ron Paul.
As you well know, this has nothing to do with me or Ron Paul. Don't make it personal, and don't change the subject. Both tactics are weak.
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  #28  
Old 09-18-2011, 01:13 AM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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As you well know, this has nothing to do with me or Ron Paul. Don't make it personal, and don't change the subject. Both tactics are weak.
I beg to differ. Politics is personal. And I'm on point.
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  #29  
Old 09-18-2011, 12:44 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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If it wasn't doable, he shouldn't have promised to do it.

"As President, I will close Guantánamo."

Barack Obama, August 2007
It seems to me that he made a pretty credible effort toward that goal. It was New York Democrats who nailed that coffin shut.
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Old 09-18-2011, 01:04 AM
piscivorous piscivorous is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

That coffin was always nailed shut. It was only those whose chose not to see reality who believed otherwise.
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  #31  
Old 09-18-2011, 10:43 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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That coffin was always nailed shut. It was only those whose chose not to see reality who believed otherwise.
Would you care to provide an argument supporting that?
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:47 PM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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That coffin was always nailed shut. It was only those whose chose not to see reality who believed otherwise.
this is a bit exaggerated, but I think somewhat on point. I don't necessarily blame Obama making a lot of promises that probably weren't going to happen. Maybe a little bit, but campaigns are campaigns, and he wanted to be elected. But there did seem to be an inordinate number of people who really expected Barack Obama to somehow impose his will upon the political process, and this was profoundly naive. You get this with the people who now pine for Hillary Clinton, who think that just being "stronger" and more of a "fighter" makes a substantial difference in political outcomes. Look, there are things you can quibble with in this regard, but ultimately I'm pretty sure it would have only made a difference at the margins.
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  #33  
Old 09-18-2011, 05:14 AM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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It is a shame how America's response to any perceived threat is pre-scripted by the militarist DNA that has evolved into our body politic.
Amazing how any one could perceive a threat in what happened on 9/11 isn't it?
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  #34  
Old 09-18-2011, 10:38 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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Amazing how any one could perceive a threat in what happened on 9/11 isn't it?
But that's not really responsive to the comment, which seemed to be about the nature of the response, not about whether a there was a threat to respond to. And, cripes, better analysis of the actual threat and a bit less mendacity in regard to structuring the response wouldn' have too much to ask for, I think.
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  #35  
Old 09-18-2011, 05:41 PM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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And, cripes, better analysis of the actual threat and a bit less mendacity in regard to structuring the response wouldn' have too much to ask for, I think.
This is certainly true. No one is opposed to better analysis and less mendacity.

The quality of any analysis can only be assessed in light of the information available at time the analysis took place.

Mendacity is inherent in the politics necessary to achieve a response in a democracy. At its most acceptable level, as an overemphasis on one particular view of a situation which, in itself, easily lends itself to a variety of views. Such mendacity in the means is usually based on a sincere (even if necessarily, biased) analysis of the problem and its solutions. And the mendacity becomes acceptable, perhaps even celebrated, to the degree that it is perceived that the problem was solved with efficiency and little cost relative to the benefits.

But less mendacity in politics would be nice, I agree. Especially for those over on the other side of the aisle.

Last edited by whburgess; 09-18-2011 at 05:53 PM..
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  #36  
Old 09-18-2011, 06:19 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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Mendacity is inherent in the politics necessary to achieve a response in a democracy. At its most acceptable level, as an overemphasis on one particular view of a situation which, in itself, easily lends itself to a variety of views. Such mendacity in the means is usually based on a sincere (even if necessarily, biased) analysis of the problem and its solutions.
We're talking mega-mendacity in the Bush administration lead-up to the Iraq invasion and occupation, which was a direct result of the 9/11 hysteria Scott discusses. Here is a good listing of the major lies. What is most striking and scary is that all the liars were on robotic message: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice.*

These lies led to unspeakable horror and the death (i.e., murder, if you believe, as I do, that the war was a criminal endeavor) of at least 100,000 persons.

In short, you can claim that all politicians lie, and I won't argue with you, but lying in order to wage war is qualitatively far worse than "ordinary" political fibbing.

* Do I think that Bush and company actually believed their own lies? In other words, were they more deluded than deliberately mendacious? Tough call. At the end of the day, Bush-Cheney's psychology and motivations are a mystery. The decision to wage war on Iraq was so monstrously stupid as to remain forever incomprehensible.
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  #37  
Old 09-18-2011, 06:57 PM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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In short, you can claim that all politicians lie, and I won't argue with you, but lying in order to wage war is qualitatively far worse than "ordinary" political fibbing.
A person will believe this to the degree that they think war is always the worse possible response to any situation. I disagree with that, sometimes its the best response.


Quote:
* Do I think that Bush and company actually believed their own lies? In other words, were they more deluded than deliberately mendacious? Tough call. At the end of the day, Bush-Cheney's psychology and motivations are a mystery. The decision to wage war on Iraq was so monstrously stupid as to remain forever incomprehensible.
I don't think your position on this is unreasonable. But I do completely disagree. My easy comprehension of the decision and acceptance of the stated motivations of the actors does not mitigate, for me, any stupidity or bad consequences of the action.
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  #38  
Old 09-18-2011, 07:43 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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Originally Posted by whburgess View Post


I don't think your position on this is unreasonable. But I do completely disagree. My easy comprehension of the decision and acceptance of the stated motivations of the actors does not mitigate, for me, any stupidity or bad consequences of the action.
Fair enough. Perhaps "mysterious" was a poor choice of words. I just mean that Bush and Cheney are complex characters (in the novelist's sense of "character"). Being complex in that way does not preclude being astonishingly shallow. For example, I think there is a kind of pathetic simplicity to the war lies. One or more of the authority figures decided it was good enough to assert with great conviction very dubious speculation: "I think it must be so that Evil Saddam has nukes. My gut tells me it's true, so -- fuck it -- I'll just put it out there as a fact. My guys will defend it, and my belief will trickle down the chain of command like gospel. It will inspire the timid to do the Right Thing. "

If the thought process works like that, it's shallow and stupid (Consequences? I'll deal with those next election, or better yet, never), but it's still complex to the extent that it reflects our underlying values, our leaders' deep character flaws, our response to crisis, our capacity for delusion, and our national "malaise," as Jimmy Carter would put it..


People are fascinated by characters like Dick Cheney or Dick Nixon precisely because they're such damaged liars. When the stakes are high enough, our villains become Shakespearian. The lies rise from Clintonian farce ("Ah did not have sex with that woman") to epic tragedy (the Iraq holocaust).
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  #39  
Old 09-18-2011, 08:19 PM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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Fair enough. Perhaps "mysterious" was a poor choice of words. I just mean that Bush and Cheney are complex characters (in the novelist's sense of "character"). Being complex in that way does not preclude being astonishingly shallow.
Agree.

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For example, I think there is a kind of pathetic simplicity to the war lies. One or more of the authority figures decided it was good enough to assert with great conviction very dubious speculation: "I think it must be so that Evil Saddam has nukes. My gut tells me it's true, so -- fuck it -- I'll just put it out there as a fact. My guys will defend it, and my belief will trickle down the chain of command like gospel. It will inspire the timid to do the Right Thing. "
I think what you do here is a very rough caricature that ignores the situation that GWB was in at this point as well as ignores many other factors that I don't care to reiterate here because I think you already know about them, but would rather not consider them. Again, I understand this; the horrors of war can drown out a lot of considerations.


Quote:
People are fascinated by characters like Dick Cheney or Dick Nixon precisely because they're such damaged liars. When the stakes are high enough, our villains become Shakespearian. The lies rise from Clintonian farce ("Ah did not have sex with that woman") to epic tragedy (the Iraq holocaust).
I don't see Cheney or Clinton as villains because there was so much at stake relative to any moral compromises they may have made. I see Nixon more so because there was so little at stake (his own re-election) compared to the moral compromises he made.

I'd point out here also, that while I would come down against your repeated calls in this forum for trying Cheney/Bush for war crimes, I completely understand them. As I understand it, you are not calling for a guilty verdict but for a trial.

I would oppose because I think the costs to the country would dramatically outweigh the benefits of such a trial. However, my solid belief that Bush and Cheney are both very decent human beings is not a factor in how I come down on this. The way I see it, if I, or anyone else, is willing to accept the collateral damage of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of decent human beings in a war, then we certainly should be able to accept the collateral damage of a decent man personally suffering the consequences of his well intentioned, but catastrophic war policies.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:05 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Lessons Learned: The Creation of Terrorists (Robert Wright & Scott Atran)

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As I understand it, you are not calling for a guilty verdict but for a trial.
Right, but the defense attorney should definitely reject me during voir dire
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