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Afghanistan

GUEST 23 May 01 - 05:36 PM
Murray MacLeod 23 May 01 - 06:11 PM
GUEST 23 May 01 - 06:24 PM
harpmolly 23 May 01 - 06:42 PM
SeanM 23 May 01 - 09:38 PM
GUEST 24 May 01 - 12:38 AM
GeorgeH 24 May 01 - 06:10 AM
Grab 24 May 01 - 08:11 AM
Mrrzy 24 May 01 - 10:47 AM
IanC 24 May 01 - 10:57 AM
GeorgeH 24 May 01 - 11:37 AM
Grab 24 May 01 - 11:52 AM
Mrrzy 24 May 01 - 02:08 PM
Murray MacLeod 24 May 01 - 06:33 PM
Dave the Gnome 25 May 01 - 05:02 AM
GUEST,RiffRaff 25 May 01 - 02:54 PM
Art Thieme 25 May 01 - 11:28 PM
Lepus Rex 26 May 01 - 03:57 PM
harpgirl 15 Sep 01 - 01:33 AM
Ebbie 15 Sep 01 - 04:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Sep 01 - 04:58 PM
Paul from Hull 15 Sep 01 - 05:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Sep 01 - 06:55 PM
Paul from Hull 15 Sep 01 - 07:09 PM
Gareth 15 Sep 01 - 07:26 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Sep 01 - 07:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Sep 01 - 08:43 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Sep 01 - 09:29 PM
DougR 16 Sep 01 - 12:48 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 16 Sep 01 - 01:25 AM
Terry K 16 Sep 01 - 03:08 AM
kendall 16 Sep 01 - 09:15 AM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Sep 01 - 10:26 AM
Charley Noble 16 Sep 01 - 10:30 AM
Ebbie 16 Sep 01 - 11:43 AM
Steve in Idaho 16 Sep 01 - 11:47 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 16 Sep 01 - 12:19 PM
ScottyG 16 Sep 01 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,colwyn dane 16 Sep 01 - 12:47 PM
Justa Picker 16 Sep 01 - 12:54 PM
Amos 16 Sep 01 - 12:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Sep 01 - 02:48 PM
Amos 16 Sep 01 - 11:46 PM
Amos 17 Sep 01 - 09:20 AM
Amos 17 Sep 01 - 09:41 AM
ScottyG 17 Sep 01 - 09:40 PM
Lepus Rex 17 Sep 01 - 10:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Sep 01 - 06:39 AM
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Subject: Afghanistan
From: GUEST
Date: 23 May 01 - 05:36 PM

TALIBAN PLAN IDENTITY LABEL FOR HINDUS—(Kandahar, Afghanistan) The Taliban rulers, worldwide pariahs for their harsh treatment of Afghan women and Buddhist statues, are planning to force Hindus to wear a yellow identity mark on their clothing to distinguish them from Muslims. Taliban officials insist that the scheme is actually a harmless effort to safeguard Hindus from harassment. United News of India said it obtained a copy of a decree saying that Hindu families would be required to put a two-meter yellow cloth on their houses, Hindus and Muslims would not be allowed to live together, and Hindus would be barred from building new places of worship. (New York Times, May 23)


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 23 May 01 - 06:11 PM

Nothing that Islamic fundamentalists decree surprises me anymore. This is very reminiscent of Nazi Germany, isn't it?

Of all the offensive stances that Margaret Thatcher took during her time in office, her support of the so-called "freedom fighters" of Afghanistan ranks as the worst.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: GUEST
Date: 23 May 01 - 06:24 PM

You all might be interested in a petition to the UN which is going around at the moment. PLease sign and start your own petition?

Background information Petition to the United Nations Madhu, the government of Afghanistan, is waging a war upon women. Since the Taliban took power in 1996, women have had to wear burqua and have been beaten and stoned in public for not having the proper attire, even if this means simply not having the mesh covering in front of their eyes. One woman was beaten to death by an angry mob of fundamentalists for accidentally exposing her arm(!) while she was driving. Another was stoned to death for trying to leave the country with a man that was not a relative.

Women are not allowed to work or even go out in public without a male relative; professional women such as professors, translators, doctors,lawyers, artists and writers have been forced >from their jobs and restricted to their homes. Homes where a woman is present must have their windows painted so that she can never be seen by outsiders. They must wear silent shoes so that they are never heard. Women live in fear> of their lives for the slightest misbehavior. Because they cannot work, those without male relatives or husbands are either starving to death or begging in the street,even if they hold Ph.D.'s. Depression is becoming so widespread that it has reached emergency levels. There is no way in such an extreme Islamic society to know the suicide rate with certainty, but relief workers are estimating that the suicide rate among women must be extraordinarily high: those who cannot find proper medication and treatment for severe depression and would rather take their lives than live in such conditions. At one of the rare hospitals for women, a reporter found still, nearly lifeless bodies lying motionless on top of beds, wrapped in their burqua, unwilling to speak, eat,or do anything, but slowly wasting away. Others have gone mad and were seen crouched in corners, perpetually rocking or crying, most of them in fear.

It is at the point where the term "human rights violations" has become an understatement. Husbands have the power of life and death over their women relatives, especially their wives, but an angry mob has just as much right to stone or beat a woman, often to death, for exposing an inch of flesh or offending them in the slightest way. Women enjoyed relative freedom: to work, to dress generally as they wanted, and to drive and appear in public alone until only 1996. The rapidity of this transition is the main reason for the depression and suicide; Women who were once educators or doctors or simply used to basic human freedoms are now severely restricted and treated as subhuman in the name of right-wing fundamentalist Islam. It is not their tradition or 'culture', but it is alien to them, and it is extreme even for those cultures where fundamentalism is the rule. Everyone has a right to a tolerable human existence, even if they are women in a Muslim country.

If we can threaten military force in Kosovo the name of human rights for the sake of ethnic Albanians, citizens of the world can certainly express peaceful outrage at the oppression, murder and injustice committed against women by the Taliban.

STATEMENT: In signing this, we agree that the current treatment of women in Afghanistan is completely UNACCEPTABLE and deserves action by the United Nations and that the current situation overseas will not be tolerated.

Women's Rights is not a small issue anywhere, and it is UNACCEPTABLE for women in 2001 to be treated as subhuman and as so much property. Equality and human decency is a fundamental RIGHT, not a freedom to be granted,whether one lives in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

PLEASE COPY this email on to a new message, sign the bottom and forward it to everyone on your distribution lists. If you receive this list with more than 300 names on it, please e-mail a copy of it to: sarabande@brandeis.edu

Even if you decide not to sign, please be considerate and do not kill the petition.

Bob & Pat Panzer 12306 Dermott Dr. Houston, TX 77065-2514 Tel. No. (281) 469-4494


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: harpmolly
Date: 23 May 01 - 06:42 PM

I noticed this on salon.com yesterday. Especially after having watched the very moving Anne Frank special the night before (not to mention working at a Jewish community center, where this sort of issue is a very hot topic), I was immensely troubled.

I really have to confess that, although I consider myself a relatively easygoing person who tries to maintain that everyone sees the world differently, I just don't understand these people (the Taliban). Their priorities, their rationale, everything about the way they conduct their government is profoundly alien to me. I fully own up to my ignorance, and even worse, I admit that I have very little wish to understand them.

Possibly the most disturbing thing about the article I read is that, apparently, the Taliban claims they are instituting these measures to "protect" the Hindus. How do you figure that, I wonder?

Sigh...

M


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: SeanM
Date: 23 May 01 - 09:38 PM

Ever get the sickening feeling of watching a horrifying train wreck happen, but not being able to do anything about it?

Not to be a wet blanket on needed activism, but this is one of the situations where all the good will in the world won't do a damn bit of good. Look at how much massive multinational appeals to keep them from destroying the ancient Hindu sculptures did.

Unfortunately, the Taliban doesn't care what the 'international community' thinks. They don't even care what nations professing Muslim beliefs think.

Hopes and prayers. That's about all anyone can do. And that's about all that will work, short of starting a major war.

M


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 01 - 12:38 AM

I just wish they would produce more Hash like in the 70's


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: GeorgeH
Date: 24 May 01 - 06:10 AM

Ignore the so-called petition . . it's been going the rounds for at least two years and has absolutely no legitimacy; at least two "home addresses" for it have had their internet accounts terminated for abuse of their "terms" - and rightly so. Given that the flaws in the petition were made quite apparent to its original supposed organisers it's probably fair to assume its perpetuation is someone's idea of "fun".

There must be Afghan support groups in every corner of the Mudcat world . . if you are concerned about these issues then find one and get involved through there. In my (geographically limited) experience of such groups they present a much more accurate picture of the situation than is presented in the usual sensationalist reporting.

I wonder what the provenance of the New York Times "News" report is? (Phrases like " worldwide pariahs for their harsh treatment of Afghan women and Buddhist statues" suggest that journalism in the US is in as severe decline as it is in the UK).

Without wishing in any way to minimise the worst excesses of the Taliban, it has said that the "standard" Western reporting of the Afghan situation is highly inaccurate and misleading. There is not a uniform Taliban rule across the whole country; the situation varies widely from area to area. If you simply take the question of the role of women (the subject of the bogus petition), it seems likely that overall the position of women in Afghanistan is little different from many other parts of the Muslim world; it is hard to see why such emphasis is placed on Afghanistan.

I'm not saying "don't protest" - just that there's no point in protest which is ill-informed.

George


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Grab
Date: 24 May 01 - 08:11 AM

The United News of India apparently is wrong on this - the Taliban say that there's no requirement for Hindu-owned houses to have yellow flags.

Even so, it's all very disturbing, as are most cases where religion and state overlap. A friend who was in Saudi during the Gulf War told us about a woman soldier who had to pull a gun on two Saudi religious policemen when they threatened to kill her for being a woman and not wearing the "correct" clothes - she didn't actually shoot them, the threat of violence stopped them (stereotypical bully behaviour), but she got disciplined for it. All cultures with strong religious beliefs (including parts of the US) frighten me greatly - it shows how thin the veneer of humanity and rationality is when religious doctrine can be used to justify violence against others.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 May 01 - 10:47 AM

The treatment of women in other moslem nations can't hold a candle to what the Taliban is doing in Afghanistan... African moslems, in contrast to Middle Eastern ones, for example, don't veil their women at all, and women work outside their homes, and have education, all of which the Taliban denies. The trick is that extremism can give even a central cause a bad name. There is nothing inherently worse about Islam than Christianity or Judaism in the basic attitude towards women. But the extremes to which the Taliban carries things is worse, in most people's opinion worldwide, apparently.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: IanC
Date: 24 May 01 - 10:57 AM

Can I just protest a bit about strong religious beliefs. I have some of these. They stem from the idea that "There is that of God in all people" and include

The belief that people shouldn't be killed
The belief that whoever you are you have something of value to contribute
The belief that love is the most important force in the universe

Please don't castigate me for these beliefs, along with people who appear to be using religion to get their own way.

God bless you!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: GeorgeH
Date: 24 May 01 - 11:37 AM

Mrrzy: The veil is not the worst imposition upon women; my understanding (I've not checked this thoroughly and so am working "from memory") s that genital mutilation is probably more predominant in some African cultures than anywhere else in Islam.

Also not all Middle Eastern Islamic nations require woment to "take the veil" - Iraq is particularly "moderate" in this respect. Just as not parts of Afghanistan are as bad in their treatment of women.

IanC - there's a difference between strong religious beliefs and that which is generally understood by fundamentalism (which seems to involve inflicting ones own beliefs on others who don't share them, by extreme force if necessary). I certainly share your beliefs, if not your religious basis for them.

G.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Grab
Date: 24 May 01 - 11:52 AM

IanC, you're right there. I'm just not sure how else to phrase it.

The thing is, if you _know_ that your religion is the best thing there is FOR YOU, then I've no argument with you on that. But if you believe that your religion is the best thing there is _without_ that qualifier, then that places an obligation on you to make sure that everyone else follows the principles of your religion. And at that point, as the Middle East, Afghanistan, US anti-abortion terrorists and all the rest have demonstrated, you can kiss any kind of humanity goodbye.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 May 01 - 02:08 PM

GeorgeH, you may be right about genital mutilation. As an aside, why isn't that the term for male circumcision as well?

IanC, I am all for strongly held beliefs. The trick is to remember that they are just that - beliefs. Not facts of life which can be imposed on others who don't share them, even if it is "for their own good" - which is where religion comes in, usually.
Christians have a DUTY, by most interpretations, to attempt to *convert* nonbelievers. Moslems have a similar "obligation" (by some interpretations) to *kill* nonbelievers. Jews, I think, can leave the nonbelievers alone. Given that, I find Judaism the least imposing (on other faiths, including atheism) of the monotheistic cults. Not that you, individually, are being obnoxious in your post or yourself! I mean to refer back to the Taliban.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 24 May 01 - 06:33 PM

Ohmigod, I can just see the thread title now. "How Many Mudcatters are Circumcised?" LOL

Murray


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 May 01 - 05:02 AM

Is this the same guest that posted the "Saudi Arabia" thread? Looks very similar in that the opening post is just lifted from a news report. If so, what are you trying to achieve? Anti Islam feelings? Can you let us know why you just keep giving us news that any of us are capable of reading anyway? Can you let us know your views instead of just pretending to post impartial news reports? Apologies if I am wrong. No offence intended.

Cheers

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: GUEST,RiffRaff
Date: 25 May 01 - 02:54 PM

This is so horrible I just don't know what to say. the worst part is that we know our governments are just going to stand there and watch it all happen again


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Art Thieme
Date: 25 May 01 - 11:28 PM

Just like Spain 1937----we let it happen. Franco took over and Hitler's Luftwaffe practiced there until he had honed his blade to an ultimate sharpness. By the time the world got around to reacting to his scalpal slicing through Europe, it took a stupenendous herculean effort to stop him. And the seeds were sewn then for the hateful neo-Nazis we all must deal with now. And when we do "deal with them", the anti-government scum come out of the woodwork, somehow take it personally, and bomb Oklahoma City and/or hole up in Waco with their guns and their kids as hostages---and all in the name of God. Then the morons get pissed if the necessary force used goes wrong when the assholes set themselves on fire and become martyrs in order to perpetuate their misguided perverted causes.

And the beat goes on...
"May you live in interesting times."

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 26 May 01 - 03:57 PM

I'm not even going to get into THIS Afghanistan thread. I'm in half a good mood, and uninformed, semi-racist, anti-Islamic propaganda tends to change that. Too many stupid, stupid statements not worth justifying with a response... And besides, several non-idiots have already made some corrections. No offense to the idiots, by the way. :)

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: harpgirl
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 01:33 AM

...trying to understand these differences seems important...


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 04:27 PM

A quick correction: I'm surprised that no one responded to Mrrzy's question comparing women's genital mutilation and male circumcision. I'm sure that on further reflection Mrrzy realized that there is no comparison to be made between the two.

If the genital mutilation consisted only of the removal of the labial tissue, rather than of a clitorectomy, you might compare the two. Otherwise, you must compare the clitorectomy to the removal of all nerves in the penile area.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 04:58 PM

As I understand it there are a whole range of varieties of genital mutiliation, some up the "mild" end of the spectrum, coparable, as Ebbie said, to male circumcision.

As for male circumcision for religious purposes, I'd have thought the right thing with that would be to leave it until people are old enough to decide for themselves. I cannot conceive of allowing that to happen to a infant of mine, no matter what the traditions of my religion might be.

But this is rather radical thread drift.

So far as I can see the only people who might have the ability and the motivation to liberate Afghanistan with some hope of being seen as liberators would be Iran, where the Taliban are not well liked at all. I'm surprised that Bin Laden hasn't been subject to a fatwa as a heretic and blasphemer, which he clearly is.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 05:24 PM

You spotted that too, DtG.... interesting indeed that the ONLY controvertial posts on this thread are from GUESTs.

Now I WISH I could find another report I saw not long ago that the HINDUS had asked if the wearing of yellow insignia could be made an OFFICIAL recognition symbol for them, as many of them wished to do, so that they were not constantly stopped & ordered to show identification, simply because they were not dressed as Moslems dress (this actually made no male/female distinction, as I recall).

I've not remembered it very well, & have not therefore ben able to explain it very clearly, but the article seemed more than plausible to me at the time.

Of course, it could still be the case that its slanted, & not fully representative of the situation.

I fear we are going to see a LOT more of this sort of thing in the coming weeks & months, whether it be accurate or no...


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 06:55 PM

Thee's a very big difference between having a form of dress that you choose to wear that identifies you as a member of some minority, and being compelled to wear it.

For years I took pride in always wearing a CND peace symbol - but if there'd been some law requiring me to wear it I would have felt decidedly uncomfortable.

Having said which it is true that a lot of the true things that are said about the Taliban regime restricting the freedom of women and persecuting non-Muslims are true of some otber countries - especially in fact some of the ones that are most favoured by our governments, such as Saudi Arabia. Iran and Iraq (where one in 5 of the population are Catholics) on the other hand are much more easy going on such things.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 07:09 PM

True, true...

I'm just a little concerned at peples justifiable anger being fed by MIS-information....wittingly or not.

Its not just the Military/Politicians/Intelligence Gatherers/etc that need accurate information..we ALL do, if we are going to do this thing right.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Gareth
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 07:26 PM

Kipling had some thing to say on this :-

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!

Catters Rudyard Kipling is a much underated poet.

For the full text < a href="http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/kipling_ind.html"> Click here and go to "The Young British Soldier".

I beg to submit a browse through that website might be in order.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 07:46 PM

Mrzzy, the only thing holding back the primitive fundamentalists in Northern Africa are the determined efforts of the governments (including Gadaffi's; remember we tried to bomb him?) and a decreasing majority of the people. Nigeria has largely succumbed in the northern, Muslim part of the country. Large scale policy changes are needed to stem the tide and reduce the threats of long term terrorist actions.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 08:43 PM

I don't think that there's any indication that militant fundamentalists in Northern Africa are particularly primitive. I think it's more an urban phenomenon.

Of course fundamentalists can mean an awful lot of diffeent things. Just think of it in Christian terms. Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, some Pentacostalists, Billyn Graham, Ian Paisley, Tridentine Catholics... Not much of a united agenda there! And in the Islamic world there's an equivalent diversity.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 09:29 PM

McGrath, I was referring to the Muslims in northern Nigeria who are beginning to impose severe Koranic laws on the populace. We don't think of Mormons as fundamentalists in the United States. They are in the unnoticable majority except for the fact that they eschew all stimulants including alcohol (Caffeine-free Coca-Cola is OK). They have a few more prophets, as I understand it and The Book of Mormon which is the only home-grown American addition to the Bible. By primitive fundamentalists, I meant the My Way or No Way types. You are correct, I shouldn't have used the word fundamental. I think Jehovah's Witnesses are nuts, but they seldom do more than hold up The Watchtower in front of you as you walk down the street. In some ways they are like Christian Scientists. Some pentacostalists, Graham, Falwell, Robertson and their ilk are closer to my definition because they demand the Lord's Prayer and other Christian observances in the public schools, which I feel impose restraints on my freedom to dissent. Ian Paisley, of course, is an opportunist and a scoundrel.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: DougR
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 12:48 AM

Dicho: we didn't TRY to bomb him did we? I think we did. Unfortunately we missed him.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 01:25 AM

DougR, it is a good thing we missed him. He may turn out to be a help in the days to come. His recent statements condemming the WTC action perhaps signal his worry about the rise of extremists in his realm, who could topple him and institute an Iranian or even Taliban-like government. His loss could destabilize North Africa west of Egypt. The European nations do business with him. The USA has committed other stupid acts in Africa; the bombing of an innocent pharmaceutical factory in the Sudan because of faulty espionage hurt us in Africa and is quietly joked about in Europe.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Terry K
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 03:08 AM

Yes you missed him, but as I recall Gaddafi's baby daughter was killed in the bombing & strafing raid on Tripoli. It has always worried me that Gaddafi didn't yet exact any revenge. If it were true and not merely propaganda, I wouldn't be looking for too much help from that quarter


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: kendall
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 09:15 AM

If we could just eliminate ALL organized relegions


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 10:26 AM

I suppose Mormons really have the same relationship to Christianity as Muslims, with the Book of Mormon instead of the Koran. And they were seen as terrible people one time, and some of them did terrible things. (And others had terrible things done to them.)

It'd be very easy to imagine an alternative history in which they'd be seen as the great enemy. All it would have taken would have been people doing the wrong things at crucial points along the way.

The terrifying prospect is that the wrong decisions now could turn this into some new Crusade, with the whole Muslim world becoming the enemy.

Here is an extract from an article in today's Observer (London) by a Muslim writer, Ziauddin Sardar - and I do urge people to click on this link and read the whole article, which clears up a lot of the distortions and half truths we are seeing about Islam.

The Koran says: 'Even if you stretch out your hand against me to kill me, I shall not stretch out my hand against you to kill you. I fear Allah, the Lord of the World.' I paraphrase the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad: the murder of one innocent person is akin to the murder of the whole of humanity. I tell them that the Prophet forbade the killing of civilians, women and children, the old and infirm, the wanton destruction of property, burning of crops and slaughter of animals, even in a full-scale war.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 10:30 AM

You know, Kendall, even a good atheist needs to drop into a congregation now and then. See you at the Chocolate Church.;-)


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Ebbie
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 11:43 AM

McGrath, thank you for that article. It appears the perversion, the corruption, of a religion is far more dangerous than the pure thing.

It occurs to me that the one element in common in the perversion of any religion is the utter belief that the practitioner knows the answers, that humility is utterly lacking. And therein lies the danger.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 11:47 AM

SOMETHING TO CONSIDER ABOUT Bin Laden and the Afganistan people.

From an Afgan who has lived there, Tamim Ansary =================

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."

And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing. I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan.

When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.

Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care. Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time. So what else is there? What can be done, then?

Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people.

Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by?

You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West. And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants.That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view.

He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that?

Bin Laden does. Anyone else?

Tamim Ansary

Elizabeth Britten Nilson
Depression Research Clinic
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford CA 94305-5723


I don't know if this is real or not - if not Joe can delete it. But it makes a lot of sense. I remember the U.S. saying that the Societs had finally found their Viet Nam when they were fighting there. No matter what - this is not going to be easy or quick. Peace - Steve


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 12:19 PM

Thank you, McGrath and Norton, for compelling reading. Mr. President, are you listening?


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: ScottyG
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 12:31 PM

I agree with Dicho. EVEN Gaddafi, with a grudge to bear against America, perhaps justified, has expressed his sympathy and horror at this terrible tragedy, and has renounced the actions of those who brought it about.

On another issue, one thing I wish the media would refrain from is publishing headlines that read:

"AFGHANISTAN WARNS OF RETALIATION AGAINST PAKISTAN"

The Taliban uttered that warning, not the people of Afghanistan. As I understand it, virtually none of the Afghani population supports that government. They're stuck with it. I heard several Afghani exiles speak out against the Taliban on TV last week. One old gent said that, to be there now was like being in jail. Such headlines as the one I quote above give the world the wrong impression. Blow the Taliban away, but spare the common people in that already beleaguered country.

Speaking of headlines, one Los Angeles newspaper (I'm not sure which) apparently ran a one word headline the day after the attacks - "BASTARDS!", centered over pictures of the destruction. I liked that one, because it's exactly what I said when my wife called me at work to tell me about what had just happened.

One more point, then I'm off my soap box. I was just watching "Face the Nation" on CBS, and some woman was saying that we are mistaken when we refer to the likes of Bin Laden and his minions as insane, irrational fanatics. She said they are not insane. They are indeed fanatics, but they are rational, intelligent, and educated. Hello! Rational fanatic????? What an idiotic thing to say.

Scotty


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: GUEST,colwyn dane
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 12:47 PM

If it is the Afghan Taliban that is to reap the whirlwind for the terror attacks on the US then by looking at the geopolitical map of West Asia
it would appear that the set-up there is not all bleakness for US led coalition forces.

In Afghanistan the Taliban, led by Mullah Mohammed Omar(who is related to Osama bin Laden by marriage),
has about 45,000 men supported by Pakistani military advisers and it is also friendly with Saudi Arabia.
Along side them are about 3000 followers of Osama bin Laden, mainly Arab volunteers.

Against them in different parts of Afghanistan are: -

50,000 mujahideen irregulars of the Iranian supported Islamic Unity Party.

Jamiat-e-Islami led by General Bismallah can field 15,000 front line men. This is the force, which was heavily backed by the West during the USSR incursion.
The fly in the oinment here is that the former leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud,
who was the glue that held the Northern Alliance together is no longer around - he was the victim of a suicide bombing on Sunday last.


The National Islamic Alliance led by General Adbul Dostan has about 10,000 men.


The Taliban was a Pakistani/Saudi supported movement for use in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the idea being, in the event of a successful Indian offensive,
the Pakistani forces had an extra option of retreating into friendly Afghanistan and using that space to stabilise and counterattack or engage Indian forces in irregular warfare.

The Taliban would also be used to help the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front in the fight against India in Kashmir - apparently there are now Israeli military advisers in New Delhi helping the Indians in that campaign.

The Taliban is assisting the Chechnya and Daghestan independence movements against Russia.

The Taliban is active in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on Afghanistan's Northern borders.

At the time of writing India has apparently offered the use of facilities to the USA and Pakistan has agreed to the full list of US demands.
Maybe it will be a US-India plus Afghani irregular's coalition with passive support from Russia,Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
I, IMHO, would expect Pakistan to close their border with Afghanistan and withdraw their military advisers.
It would make sense to get the Afghani guerrilla forces to do most of the ground fighting with aerial and logistic support from the US et al.
The trick would be to get them all pulling together in the same direction.

Unfortunately folks as my balls are not made of crystal events will most likely unfold a helluva lot differently.

Colwyn.




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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Justa Picker
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 12:54 PM

This makes for a good read too.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Amos
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 12:54 PM

Interesting and thanks, Colwyn. So, what ARE your balls made of then?

From another thread, this thought:

I concluded based on a number of discussions under Cointreau last night that what Bush should do is not declare war. After all he has no nation to declare war against.

What he should do instead is announce to the woirld that for the sake of humanity he is going to exterminate a vicious antisocial cult.

And furthermore, that one of the reasons and benefits for so doing will be to return the name of Islam to those who are true to its actual tenets and undo a group which sullies the name of Allah by diverting it to criminal purpose.

This would put 80% of the East on his side, and would pull the rug out of the jerks such as the leader of Afghanistan, who made the claim that Bush's war was about Islam as much as it was about terrorism. Someone needs to defuse that line right now, because it is untrue and because it is a dangerous lie. This approach would give the lie to it; Dubya could go on TV with a Koran and read from it.

I think it would be masterful PR stroke -- saving Islam from the vipers. And it really is true that the enemy is not a nation, but a distorted maniacal cult.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 02:48 PM

I can't see there is anything inconsistent in the expression rational fanatic. History is littered with them. The Nazis were extremely rational about all kinds of things, brilliant technologically, remarkably efficient at tactics and strategy.

If you assume your opponents are not rational you fall into the trap of thinking they aren't as clever as you, and that is likely to be fatal. And it is a trap that people often fall into.

I suppose people noticed that the main Afghani force opposed to the Taliban are "50,000 mujahideen irregulars of the Iranian supported Islamic Unity Party" - so what do I see when I put on the TV just now but Newt Gingrich lumping Iran in with Afghanistan as one of the target states? I'd think it is time to try to mend fences with Iran, where a lot of things have changed over the last few years.

Meanwhile of course it is Pakistan, where the Taliban are very popular, that is the chosen intermediary and staging post for action against Afghanistan, with the highly likely outcome that there could be a pro-Taliban regime come to power in Pakistan, armed with nuclear weapons.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Amos
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 11:46 PM

A very informative interview can be found at this site which gives sopme interesting perspectives on conditions in Afghanistan and their political situation.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Amos
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 09:20 AM

From the CIA's page listing terrorist organisations, the name of ben Laden's holding company and other data:

al-Qa'ida a.k.a. al Qaeda, "the Base," the Islamic Army, the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, the Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places, the Usama Bin Laden Network, the Usama Bin Laden Organization, Islamic Salvation Foundation, The Group for the Preservation of the Holy Sites.

Description: Established by Usama Bin Ladin about 1990 to bring together Arabs who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet invasion. Helped finance, recruit, transport, and train Sunni Islamic extremists for the Afghan resistance. Current goal is to "reestablish the Muslim State" throughout the world. Works with allied Islamic extremist groups to overthrow regimes it deems "non-Islamic" and remove Westerners from Muslim countries. Issued statement under banner of "The World Islamic Front for Jihad Against The Jews and Crusaders" in February 1998, saying it was the duty of all Muslims to kill US citizens, civilian or military, and their allies everywhere.

Activities: Conducted the bombings of the US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on 7 August that killed at least 301 persons and injured more than 5,000 others. Claims to have shot down US helicopters and killed US servicemen in Somalia in 1993 and to have conducted three bombings targeted against the US troop presence in Aden, Yemen in December 1992. Linked to plans for attempted terrorist operations, including the assassination of the Pope during his visit to Manila in late 1994; simultaneous bombings of the US and Israeli Embassies in Manila and other Asian capitals in late 1994; the midair bombing of a dozen US trans-Pacific flights in 1995; and a plan to kill President Clinton during a visit to the Philippines in early 1995. Continues to train, finance, and provide logistic support to terrorist groups that support these goals.

Strength: May have from several hundred to several thousand members. Also serves as the core of a loose umbrella organization that includes many Sunni Islamic extremist groups, including factions of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Gama'at al-Islamiyya, and the Harakat ul-Mujahidin.

Location/Area of Operation: The Embassy ombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam underscore al-Qa'ida's global reach. Bin Ladin and his key lieutenants reside in Afghanistan, and the group maintains terrorist training camps there.

External Aid: Bin Ladin, son of a billionaire Saudi family, is said to have inherited around $300 million that he uses to finance the group. Al-Qa'ida also maintains money-making businesses, collects donations from like-minded supporters, and illicitly siphons funds from donations to Muslim charitable organizations.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Amos
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 09:41 AM

The legal puzzle of declaring war without a named target nation is precedented. See following notes from Slate:

Under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, Congress is constitutionally empowered to declare war on terrorists and is not obligated to name a host country. Article I authorizes Congress to "define and punish Piracies, Felonies committed on the High Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations." Piracy was such a significant threat at the time of the founding that the power to punish pirates is explicitly laid out in addition to the congressional power to declare war.

There is also historical precedent for congressional action against terrorists. For instance, in 1801, President Thomas Jefferson was authorized by Congress to send the Navy to the Mediterranean to curb the depredations of the Barbary pirates operating along the coast of northern Africa. These Corsairs--in the manner of terrorists everywhere--persecuted innocents while working in league with existing nation-states. The lack of a Barbary national anthem or embassy was not an obstacle.

Regards,

A.


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: ScottyG
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 09:40 PM

McGrath,

I know you guys created the English language, but I get my definitions from the New World Dictionary of the AMERICAN Language. Here are a couple:

rational - 1. of, based on, or derived from reasoning
2. able to reason; reasoning; in possession of one's reason
3. showing reason; not foolish or silly; sensible

fanatic - 1. unreasonably enthusiastic (hmmmm, interesting); overly zealous; also fanatical-n. a person whose extreme zeal, piety, etc. goes beyond what is reasonable; zealot

Duhh, yup, them there terrorists are purty reasonable fellers, ain't they. They're a bunch of fucking lunatics, that's what they are, and so was Hitler, for that matter. Better yet, they're nothing more than animals, and as far as I know, animals do not possess reason. "Rational fanatic" fits together about as well as "dead survivors."
Now that I've got that off my chest, I'd better stop before I get personal. Have a nice day.

Scotty


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 10:05 PM

Remember, Scotty, you're an animal, too. (Or perhaps a very clever plant...)

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: Afghanistan
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 06:39 AM

The definition of "rational" that seems most relevant her, to me, is "having the faculty of reasoning". That is the kind of thing you have to have in order to build a bonb or fly a plane.

Unfortunately people who are sensible, reasonable or humane are not the only people who have that faculty, and have acquired those skills. Otherwise there wouldn't be a problem.


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