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The price of freedom ??

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nutty 12 Sep 01 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,Genie 12 Sep 01 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Lanfranc at the orifice 12 Sep 01 - 04:27 AM
CarolC 12 Sep 01 - 04:57 AM
CarolC 12 Sep 01 - 05:59 AM
Jim Dixon 12 Sep 01 - 08:54 AM
Mrrzy 12 Sep 01 - 09:40 AM
GeorgeH 12 Sep 01 - 10:19 AM
Willie-O 12 Sep 01 - 10:40 AM
Midchuck 12 Sep 01 - 10:44 AM
kendall 12 Sep 01 - 10:55 AM
CarolC 12 Sep 01 - 05:43 PM
Burke 12 Sep 01 - 06:22 PM
Little Hawk 12 Sep 01 - 06:48 PM
Gareth 12 Sep 01 - 06:51 PM
Dave Wynn 12 Sep 01 - 07:16 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Sep 01 - 07:19 PM
Little Hawk 12 Sep 01 - 07:32 PM
Justa Picker 12 Sep 01 - 08:13 PM
Justa Picker 12 Sep 01 - 08:38 PM
sophocleese 12 Sep 01 - 09:20 PM
khandu 12 Sep 01 - 10:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Sep 01 - 10:16 PM
Amos 12 Sep 01 - 10:30 PM
Murray MacLeod 12 Sep 01 - 10:45 PM
Lepus Rex 12 Sep 01 - 10:51 PM
Troll 12 Sep 01 - 11:23 PM
Little Hawk 13 Sep 01 - 12:12 AM
Troll 13 Sep 01 - 12:37 AM
CarolC 13 Sep 01 - 02:59 AM
GUEST,chrisj 13 Sep 01 - 04:39 AM
GeorgeH 13 Sep 01 - 06:49 AM
Greg F. 13 Sep 01 - 08:22 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Sep 01 - 08:27 AM
GeorgeH 13 Sep 01 - 09:10 AM
Troll 13 Sep 01 - 09:11 AM
Greg F. 13 Sep 01 - 09:38 AM
Little Hawk 13 Sep 01 - 10:02 AM
Kim C 13 Sep 01 - 10:22 AM
catspaw49 13 Sep 01 - 10:23 AM
Skeptic 13 Sep 01 - 11:11 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Sep 01 - 11:42 AM
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sophocleese 13 Sep 01 - 07:22 PM
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Subject: The price of freedom ??
From: nutty
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 04:03 AM

It wasn't a dream , much as I wish that it had been
It was real unimaginable horror which won't go away for a long time.

Unfortunately it appears that freedom has a price and many people in America payed that price yesterday
Just as , if you leave your door unlocked ---- you risk being robbed
and
If you walk alone at night --- you risk being mugged
If you live in a free , democratic society ---- you are at risk from attack by every type of "nut" or "fanatic"

Its the scale of this atrocity that has shocked .... the slaughter of so many ......
and the apparent ease by which that slaughter occured

But the alternative is also unthinkable .... I don't want to live in a world where everything I do and everywhere I go is subject to crippling controls

Today is different to yesterday ..... today we must face this reality

My thoughts are with you all

Hazel


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: GUEST,Genie
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 04:20 AM

Right, Hazel. Of all the dreaded thoughts that came to my mind as I contemplated today's events -- the thought that there will probably be other similar events, the thought that there will likely be a biological- or chemical-warfare attack on the US in the next few years, etc. -- by far the most frightening is the thought that some folks will use these events to rationalize further erosion of our civil liberties. I fear terrorists, but I fear losing our rights to free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, etc., far more. Losing our rights to privacy and freedom of movement, etc., makes us vulnerable to a totalitarian takeover of our political system. I fear that a lot more than I do the terrorists' actions in and of themselves.

Genie


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: GUEST,Lanfranc at the orifice
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 04:27 AM

Still numb from yesterdays holocaust, I wonder whether it might diminish the enthusiasm of certain New Yorkers for funding the IRA?

Probably not. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

That's one of the problems we will have to learn to live with.

Alan


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: CarolC
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 04:57 AM

When I was in Canada last winter, while I was in the train station in Toronto, I saw a duffel bag sitting on the floor near one of the ticket counters. There was nobody near it. I kept looking at the bag and wondering when the security people would show up to make sure it wasn't a bomb.

Nobody did. After a while, a regular looking guy came and got it. He must have left it there while he went to the washroom. He just picked it up and walked away, and nobody seemed to think anything of it.

I was astonished. I turned to the person I was with and asked about it. He didn't seem to think it was any big deal. I told him that if something like that had happened in a major transportation hub in the US, the bomb squad would have come and they would have taken the bag away and they would have blown it up.

That experience was a bit of an eye-opener for me. It's a trade-off, I know. But we're tired here. We've had so many horrible images confronting us on our television screens in the last several years. And we've lost so many people to senseless tragedies. I don't want any of my fundamental freedoms taken away, but I would like to see more security in areas where we are vulnerable.

But I think I would also like to see us become more conscious of the impact that we, as a nation, have on the rest of the world, and to try to have more understanding of the problems that face other nations and other peoples. Especially when it comes to our practices of conspicuous consumption.

I know I'm rambling, but I think I needed to do that.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: CarolC
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 05:59 AM

Hope I didn't kill the thread.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 08:54 AM

CarolC: No you didn't kill the thread. It's just that I wasn't awake to see it when you posted it!

Not only in the US, but also in the UK, that bag would have been treated as a serious threat. In fact, the UK became vigilant about such things before the US did. At first, the US worried about hijackings but not bombs. I think the opposite was true in the UK: bombs came first, then hijackings, or the threat of them. In airports and subway stations, you still hear recorded warnings about unattended luggage.

Actually, it's nice to know that people in Canada are not troubled by such things (or weren't until now). It's kind of like visiting a town where people don't lock their doors.

I remember, years ago, having a friend who grew up on a farm. He told me how shocked he had been when, as a kid, he visited the city and learned about such things as bike locks. "Why would anybody want to lock up their bike?" he thought.

Every time a new kind of precaution becomes commonplace, we lose a little bit of freedom, and we hardly notice it.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 09:40 AM

US airports have lousy security, and it's always bothered me. I've been through Heathrow and Orly and they actually pay attention. I've had people at US airports put my bag on the luggage thingie (whence it was whisked away into the bowels of the airport) BEFORE even asking me if I'd packed it myself... and then there were the people (Americans without exception) who MINDED the security questions, which I thought the height of stupidity, or thoughtlessness at least. I guess I'm less worried about the loss of individual liberty than some other Americans, since I've always felt that the only way to have true individual liberty was to have tremendous social conscience, so that anybody's individual wants would ALWAYS come AFTER society's needs. We have great individual liberty, yes, but we have lousy social conscience and responsibility. Our wants tend to come before others' needs, and that is what needs to change. But that would require at least a generation of training. Maybe our children can achieve it, if the Gubmint doesn't decide that eliminating personal freedoms is the answer.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: GeorgeH
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:19 AM

Yesterday was, without doubt, unspeakably dreadful. One's heat goes out to all those affected, directly or indirectly, by it. But to attribute it as the price of freedom is pure nonsense.

Just as Britain can/could not hope to solve the "problem" of IRA "terrorism" without addressing the legitimate grievances of the Catholic people of (Northern) Ireland, so the US will never be free of attack by such "political terrorists" until she addresses the legitimate grievances of the millions of people around the world who feel something close to hatred for the USA. At times, and with some of those people, that hatred is so strong as to blind them to the suffering which has just been afflicted on so many of America's people. This is another layer of the human tragedy we see unfolding . . and is non too surprising, given the ease with which so many of American's citizens close their eyes to the human suffering cased, directly or indirectly, by the supposedly Christian government of the USA.

I realise the view expressed here is likely to be unpopular, and I am sorry that it will cause offence, but in my opinion it presents a truth which needs to be spoken.

My thoughts and prayers remain with all those suffering through these events.

George


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Willie-O
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:40 AM

Actually we have bomb scares and stuff like that all the time in Canada. And SWAT teams and security people coming in and closing things off and sending the little robot thingy in to blow things up. But usually a duffle bag is just a duffle bag. Just as in the U.S. though, security doesn't always catch things right away. Airport security is tighter than train or bus stations.

Don't they still have lockers in bus stations in the U.S? What's the difference? (You have to pay 50 cents to plant your bomb in a locker?)

I work in one of the largest highrises in uptown Ottawa, owned by Bell, and even though there were various scares, there was hardly any increased security. Didn't even have to sign in or out. They put a guard beside the elevators on our floor. Not sure why. Probably just in case there was an evacuation, so they could tell us not to use the elevators. (We know the drill, a couple of weeks ago we had a night where the bldg evacuated four times due to malfunctioning alarm in extremely humid weather. 19 flights of stairs down each time. Seemed like a crazy night at the time, feels like nothing now.)

Bill


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Midchuck
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:44 AM

George, the problem with your logic is that the use of terrorist tactics makes it less likely that the legitimate grievances of the group using those tactics will be addressed. If you try to deal with terrorist tactics by addressing the - possibly - legitimate complaints of the group using the terrorism, you have to be wary of sending the message that terrorism works. So you really have no choice but to defer addressing those issues until the terrorists - or their surviving supporters/organizers, in the case of suicide attacks - have been hunted down and punished. You have no choice, unless you want to encourage other terrorist groups.

So terrorism is worse than useless. It has an effect exactly the opposite of what the terrorists intend. Unless the victims panic completely.

I saw a quote somewhere from one of the Palestinians who were celebrating yesterday. He was saying something like, "Now the Americans will respect us, and not always side with Israel against us!" The poor stupid bastard! The effect is going to be just the opposite.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: kendall
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:55 AM

Hitler thought he could break Englands will with his v 2 rockets. He was wrong. We will not bargain with terrorists. My great fear is that they will try chemical weapons, and, if they do, well, it's too horrible to contemplate.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: CarolC
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 05:43 PM

GeorgeH, I agree with you. I think I was trying to say some of what you said in my post.

Willie-O, I hope you don't think I was in any way being critical of Canada. That was not my intention at all. Believe it or not, I was not very happy about having to leave Canada when the time came.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Burke
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 06:22 PM

Today three of my co-workers told stories of knife security/non-security in airports.

One said she & her husband were almost not allowed on a flight because of her husband's bowie knife. He always carries it, but it was the first time they'd ever flown so they had no idea it might be a problem. In the end they were allowed on and HE KEPT HIS KNIFE on the flight.

One said her father always carries a pocket knife & put it into the change container when going through security. Flying Toronto-London not a word was said. Back from London, it was taken away & returned at the end of the flight.

One's 15 year old son had a serious camping knife in his backpack, forgotten from camp. Going US to London (not sure of city), nothing was said. London->back whole family immediatly surrounded & high level security summoned. Forms were filled out for tracking purposes (don't make this a habit) & travel continued. I'm not sure who had the knife during the flight itself.

There are a lot of people who carry knives as a habit so I suspect the airport security people got tired of making a big deal. I see no problem with making it a little deal for everyone. Check your knife, please & it will be returned at your destination.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 06:48 PM

The word "freedom" is being used on the media (as usual) in a very glib and misleading fashion.

Everyone wants freedom. Everyone. Palestinians, Israelis, Canadians and Americans all want freedom.

The question is, how big is your definition of freedom? Does it cover only YOUR freedom to do as you please in your customary fashion or does it give equal consideration to the freedom of others...including those who are different from you?

Bush says the terrorist acts were an attack upon "freedom". Wrong. They had nothing to do with freedom in any way. They had to do with power and perceived powerlessness, with the "haves" and the "have-nots", and with revenge for past circumstances (a whole lot of them). I do not in ANY WAY consider such revenge to be sensible or justifiable, but be assured that those who committed it did consider it entirely justified. Otherwise, they would not have done it.

It is not true that you have to "give up freedom" in order to protect people. Putting sky marshalls on airplanes does not give up anyone's freedom. Armouring cockpit doors does not give up anyone's freedom either...it just costs money!

Every dictator in history has begun his dictatorship by assuring various unfortunate people that he is taking their freedoms away in order to "protect" them. That is a lie.

To increase security in calm and rational ways is not to give up freedom, but to descend into paranoia and jingoism is.

And to suggest that the "price of freedom" is to become vulnerable to attack is almost completely misleading! Did the lack of certain political and social freedoms that North Americans take for granted save Iraq from being devastated in the Gulf War...and since? Did it save Belgrade from being bombed? Did it protect Cambodians under Pol Pot? Has it ever kept any population safe from attack? Quite the contrary. You will find that the more authoritarian and lacking in freedom a society is, the more the ordinary person is terrified, and in great danger...from both within and without that society.

Never trust someone who tells you he must take away your freedoms in order to protect you. Protect your freedoms and extend them to others if you can.

- LH


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Gareth
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 06:51 PM

I am afraid this is something we have had to live with for 30 years in the UK - and yes I prefer to live with minor inconveniences - it's part of the price of combatting terrorism.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 07:16 PM

"What price freedom" ?. It's very high. The free world has known this for years. I am a post war baby and people paid the highest price of all for me so I could grow up and live in freedom.

I am 52 years old and remember those who gave their all so I didn't have to (every November). The good people who died in this attack should be added to the roll of honour for , mark my words , this was truly an attack on freedom and this time they were in the front line.

Sad Spot


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 07:19 PM

Speaking of knives and security:

I have always carried a pocketknife since I was a little kid. I used to think of it as essential equipment, like a handkerchief. Right now, I have one with a 1¼-inch blade on my key chain. In the past, I have carried bigger ones, for example Swiss Army knives with a 3-inch blade. Most of the time, I forget I have it, and it never occurs to me that it might be a security problem.

I even carried it (inadvertently) into Stillwater State Prison! I was a techie with a theatre group that went there to perform a play. We brought boxes and boxes of equipment, which the guards didn't bother to inspect. They didn't even tell us what we couldn't bring in. They happened to see one actor carrying a thermos full of coffee, and they said, "You can't take THAT in" - only because it happened to be out in the open instead of in a box or a pocket.

At one point, while setting up the equipment, I needed to cut a piece of twine that I was going to tie something up with, so I whipped out my case knife and cut it. There was a prisoner standing near me, and I'll swear I saw his eyes bug out. That's when it dawned on me that I probably shouldn't have brought it in. But he tried to act nonchalant and so did I. I put it back in my pocket and neither of us said anything.

When we were leaving, some of the prisoners wanted to give us something to show their appreciation. So they gave us some of their official "tin cups" (stainless steel, actually) that they drink coffee out of. We smuggled them out in our boxes of equipment. I still have mine.

Sorry for the thread creep, but if security in a prison is that lax, why would you expect anything tighter in an airport?


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 07:32 PM

Those good people who died were the innocent victims, but it was an attack on financial and military power and political prestige, not on freedom.

Nobody in this world can claim a monopoly on freedom, and suggest that his enemies are entirely unacquainted with the concept. Everyone seeks freedom to do what they think is right and proper, given their level of understanding. Just listen to their rhetoric. They ALL claim to be fighting for freedom. "Whose freedom?" is the question...and whose freedom to do what?

But that's only in my opinion, which is as fallible as anyone else's...so I'll consider your viewpoint, Spot, and you consider mine, and we'll see where it all goes as events continue to unfold.

- LH


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Justa Picker
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 08:13 PM

(Keep fiddling, Nero.....oops I mean Little Hawk.)


I don't know. Regardless of the response, and rest assured there will be one, it cannot be allowed to trigger WW III.

If, it turns out to be Bin Laden, and his henchmen, then every conceivable form of pressure short of military action must be put upon the Taliban to extradite him to the U.S. To go into Afghanistan militarily will be a colossal failure with extremely high casulties on the U.S. side.

Remember, the Soviets fought a war with these fanatics for 8 or 9 years, and at the time were pretty much matched with the U.S. in terms of overall weaponry and military capability, and they got their asses kicked, didn't win, and withdrew with their military in shambles and completely demoralized.

Fanatics will fight to the death and to every last man, woman and child old enough to fire a gun, or throw a stone.

It is also for this very reason that A-Bombs were dropped on Japan to end the war. It had nothing to do with all the speculative hperbole being tossed around on Mudcat lately. It first and foremost to save American lives.

There was a whole show about this on TLC a few weeks ago, about what would have happened if the U.S. had launched a full scale air, sea and ground invasion of Japan instead of using the A-Bomb, and they estimated that it would have taken 1 - 2 years to succeed at the cost in excess of 100,000 U.S. servicemen's lives.

That statistic, is what finally convinced Truman to order the A-Bombing. In retrospect, it was the right decision at the time, hard as it was/is to swallow. And I guess it was major payback for Pearl Harbor. But it was WAR!!!

Assuming the Taliban will not extradite Bin Laden, a complete Nato Blockade of the country and sanctions might be another option. But we already know that sanctions don't work as witnessed by Iraq. And the problem with implementing the blockade, is that Afghanistan borders on Turknmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, Pakistan, and, Iran. Not exactly tight little bed buddies with the U.S....willing to allow Nato and U.S. Troops on their soil.

Without the backing of China and Pakistan at the very least it could become a horrible mess, and could easily lead to a major world war as these countries would not want to be seen capitulating to the U.S. because of their own interests and stature in that region.

The country of Afghanistan is already pretty isolated from the world, and very mountainous making any sort of a ground battle, comparable to fighting the North Vietnamese. The Taliban know the terrain. The U.S. and Nato don't, and they'd get whipped, and humliated.

Problem with the U.S....and this has been an ongoing problem for years and years, is that they have put too much of their military intelligence money into hi tech spying via satellites, Awacks, etc.....and practically zero money into intelligence on the ground, including moles, infiltrators, and other ground intelligence apparatus. And they've been paying the price for it, which has resulted in patheticly sad lack of accurate and credible real-time intelligence within these rogue and enemy countries. This is why they're clueless about Iran, China, North Korea, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, (and the list goes on), except on the most general levels of intelligence that their hi tech spy satellites and cellular/microwave interceptors, can provide.

I am absolutely horrified and appalled with what happened yesterday, but at the risk of sounding momentarily dispassionate about it, I am frankly surprised that something on this scale did not happen sooner in the U.S. The country has never been any good at looking at the long range picture. They tend to plan things within the range of the next 5 - 10 years, instead of taking this, and adding another 20 or 30 years, onto the scenarios.

All the dooms day planners in the Pentagon, CIA, National Security, and Military were either in denial about the plausability of this type of an occurance, or it was sheer arrogance on their parts to not have had any elaborate security precautions in place.

The level of security you're now seeing around the country and Washington, as well as the re-deployment of Sky Marshalls aboard commercial aircraft, is something that should have been in place since the attempted WTC bombing in 1993 or at the very least after Oklahoma.

Until they have the precise location of Bin Laden, and assuming like Arafat and Saddam, that he doesn't change locations every 2-3 hours, there's little they can do, without reversing the more or less world wide sympathy they now have. So they'll really need to scramble and use all intelligence from all of their key allies, to coordinate and surgically do whatever they feel must be done.

The downside of all of this, is that to not retailiate is foolhardy and spineless and not the example that the world's only surviving superpower wants to demonstrate on the world stage and to their allies.

To retaliate, invites more terrorist attacks on the U.S. and it Nato alliance countries, as evidenced by what the Israelis having been dealing with. Definitely a big rock, and a big hard place. I don't envy GW, Powell or Cheney right now.

Conversely, if, this should turn out to be some militia groups within the U.S., then marshall should be declared in all counties and areas where their compounds, etc. are, and they should be either arrested, or if they refuse, they should be hunted down and shot like the derranged animals they are.


Justa-Ranter


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Justa Picker
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 08:38 PM

One more quick rant.

Thing is...freedom itself isn't free. It comes with a price and every so often the piper has to be paid.

Without the government, military, intelligence, etc. keeping a normally and reasonably quiet lid on things, day in day out and sure (maybe skirting an ammendment or two in the process) to safeguard your rights, you wouldn't have the freedom to sing your protest songs, rant about your leftist liberal philosophies, and anarchistic dreams of world peace.

Instead some of you (based on what I've been reading here these past 48 hours) would rather comfront your enemies and say, "Jeepers Mr. Terrorist, is there's anything else we can getcha?" ..or.. perhaps just bend over a little more for further optimum receivership.

Some here have conveniently lost sight of the price of freedom as you think you know it.

(But then again it's a folk forum and oh geez, what was I thinking?)


Rant-off


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: sophocleese
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 09:20 PM

Freedom also means that we have the option to NOT retaliate if doing so means a safer world for everyone. With all the talk of freedom going on in the Media they have forgotten that freedom, somehow it is no longer allowed.

Nothing that anybody has posted on Mudcat has convinced me that some kind of military "retaliation" would do anything other than inflame others. Whoever blasted the Twin Towers was probably retaliating for some perceived wrong done by the USA. Notice how effective the technique has been in calming things down.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: khandu
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:06 PM

"Find the Cost of Freedom

Buried in the ground.

Mother Earth will swallow you,

Lay your body down"


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:16 PM

There seems to be a sort of instinct in the part of politicians to say that kind of stuff: "This is an attack on freedom carried out by cowards".

As if the people who did this had any interest at all in whether or not the USA was "free" or not. Why should they care one way or the other.

And as if it made sense to describe a suicide bomber as "cowardly", as if that was the ultimate insult that has to be dragged in, however absurd. There are things far worse than being cowardly.

It's a way of filling in the space and saying something that sounds appropriate, but which doesn't make any kind of sense at all. The trouble is, that space could be filled by saying things that did make sense.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Amos
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:30 PM

I think we need to face squarely the truth of the old saw that freedom's price is eternal vigilance.

We are not up against a battle of batallions and brigades. We are up against a kind of effort we have precious little experience with -- managing a conflict with a diffuse, international network. We cannot identify the enemy with Afghanistan or Iraq or even Palestine. The enemy may have members in all those places, but like an international business organization, is a group unto itself, spanning nations and governments.

Therefore the battle we are beginning is a battle that calls less on overwhelming firepower, or even airpower as weapons platforms, but rather demands the exercise of great intelligence.

This means acquisition of intelligence, and it means the deployment of individual smarts. It means psy ops as much as it means Special Operations Forces (SOF) actions and "Military Operations Other than War (MOOTW) , intelligently conceived, planned, targeted and executed. And yes, military people really do talk like that!

It is unfortunate that this is our greatest need, because the hard fact is it is not our strong suite, so to speak. We're much better at technological overwhelm and deploying precision bombs and stealth aircraft and huge logistics coordinations like Normandy than we are at finding out who is really doing what to whom, and WHY. Let alone conceiving of a compelling and effective psychological operation.

We have a lot to learn very quickly.

A.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:45 PM

I haven't posted to any of the "disaster" threads so far, partly because of total shock, as half an hour before the first crash I had just made the final arrangements for my two sons to fly out fron Scotland to visit me, later this year, and I have been agonizing ever since over whether to cancel the visit.

In the event, they are coming, always assuming normal international flights are resumed in time. However, I bitterly regret that it will not, cannot be the vacation we had so eagerly anticipated. They are reeling from the shock and horror of this madness just as everyone else in the world is at this point. Their innocence is gone.

There is one point I would like to make, and if anybody at British Airways is reading this, please note. The probability of any hijacker being of any other ethnic background other than Middle Eastern is zero. Therefore I would propose that ALL passengers of Middle Eastern background should be subjected to special security treatment, yes, discriminatory treatment while on board an airliner. They should have to check in well in advance, undergo thorough body searches, and should be confined to one area of the airplane under constant supervision. Like having to piss with the door open.

How about it BA? Or would you be afraid of being labelled racist? Like I will be by some Mudcatters after they read this. Who gives a shit, just get my sons here in one piece.

Murray


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:51 PM

Ah, NOW I remember why I'm pro-choice...

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Troll
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 11:23 PM

Thank you, Amos.
Let me add that, if we don't retaliate when we learn who is to blame, we will be leaving ourselves open to blackmail by every pipsqueak group that can afford a cell phone
"Do what we say or we'll crash a plane into an elementary school."
Those who would use terrorist tactics against our country must learn that we will fight back.

troll

Do not equate peace with freedom. They are not the same thing.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 12:12 AM

Justa Picker - Which one of your buttons did I push? You do me a disservice to compare me to Nero. Nero was an emperor with absolute power, in command of the greatest military and civil forces of his day...a position somewhat analagous to that of George W. Bush at this moment, loosely speaking.

I am in command of: a very small one-man company, an automobile and a guitar, all located in a small town in Ontario, Canada.

What would you like me to do while New York burns?

I have recommended that the airlines put Sky Marshalls back on airplanes and provide sealed, armoured cockpit doors to protect flight personnel. Those are real, substantive things that could be done to help prevent such disastrous events being repeated.

Like you, I too "am frankly surprised that something on this scale did not happen sooner in the U.S. The country has never been any good at looking at the long range picture. They tend to plan things within the range of the next 5 - 10 years, instead of taking this, and adding another 20 or 30 years, onto the scenarios.

All the doomsday planners in the Pentagon, CIA, National Security, and Military were either in denial about the plausability of this type of an occurance, or it was sheer arrogance on their parts to not have had any elaborate security precautions in place." (direct quote of your own words) So we agree on that, don't we?

We probably agree on a few other things too.

So what's the point of dropping insults about Nero? It's just a nasty cheap shot, and has nothing to do with anything helpful whatsoever. You and I are doing the same thing about it at this point...we're talking to other people on the Net, and explaining ourselves as best we can, which requires a modicum of respect, right?

And as McGrath said: "There seems to be a sort of instinct in the part of politicians to say that kind of stuff: "This is an attack on freedom carried out by cowards".

As if the people who did this had any interest at all in whether or not the USA was "free" or not. Why should they care one way or the other?

And as if it made sense to describe a suicide bomber as "cowardly", as if that was the ultimate insult that has to be dragged in, however absurd. There are things far worse than being cowardly.

It's a way of filling in the space and saying something that sounds appropriate, but which doesn't make any kind of sense at all. The trouble is, that space could be filled by saying things that did make sense.

I agree with that assessment. The Islamic militants (and other people) who are angry at the USA have no concern whatsoever about the relative freedom or lack of freedom of American society...what concerns them is the military, financial and political power of America and how it affects their people in Palestine and elsewhere.

They were not attacking "freedom", they were attacking the financial and military symbols of a great power.

Bush is just saying the same tired cliches that politicians always say in order to sound tough, righteous, decisive, and in command. It's so predictable...my God, how many times have we heard this stuff before? A hundred? A thousand?

Just because you've heard a cliche, a piece of meaningless posturing repeated 85,000 times in your life does not mean it's true or even relevant to the circumstance. In this case it is totally irrelevant.

I'm not making comparisons here between freedom in America and freedom somewhere else...I am simply saying that "freedom" is not what was under attack here. To think so is to completely ignore the actual realities of the international situation. When people are willing to volunteer for suicide missions, it is a damned serious situation, and it did not happen overnight for no reason at all. It goes back for generations.

And no, I am not saying that that in ANY WAY justifies terrorist attacks on New York or anywhere else! Got that?

- LH


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Troll
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 12:37 AM

It DOES affect freedom, LH. Any tightening of security affects my freedom. Any time I have to worry about suicidal hijackers when I plan to fly affects my freedom. When the police department posts officers outside the Synagogue it touches my freedom. When a shop owner puts a sign that says "NO MUSLIMS" in his window, it damn well said affects my freedom.
The grievance that these people have is simple. They want the destruction of the state of Israel and the death of its citizens and they have so stated the same.
Since the USA is Israels strongest ally, we have to be out of the picture before they can carry out whateven final solution they have in mind.
The palestinains are nothing more than pawns. They have been pawns since 1948 when Syria and Egypt convinced them to flee to the refugee camps in Jordan and elsewhere prior to the declaration of the State of Israel and the war that followed. The Muslim states assumed that they would drive the infant nation into the sea.
They didn't and the Palestinian Arabs have been used as an excuse ever since. There are palestinians in the Knesset (parliament) and many are prominent businessmen.
I am not trying to whitewash the Israelis. They have plenty to answer for like the West Bank settlements which only inflame the passions of the palestinians as they are driven from their homes to make room for yet another settlement. The suicide bombers and car bombs are the Palestinians answer.
A solution? Make Jerusalem an international city under the governance of the UN and move the UN there. Then the Shi'ites could go back to fighting the Sunnis and the rest of us could go play music.

troll


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: CarolC
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 02:59 AM

Amos, could you please define for me the term "psychological operation"? Thanks.

Troll, that's an interesting idea about making Jerusalem an international city under the governance of the UN. Is anyone seriously talking about doing that?


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: GUEST,chrisj
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 04:39 AM

Terrorism is an abomination, a negation of all civilised behaviour. Yet there are always some willing to go to such extremes to get their point across. How can any nation counter such things and yet not abandon any of its dearly won freedoms or its respect for individual and civil rights? The terrorists must be isolated from the source(s) of their strength, the passive support of the populations in which they live. How is it done? By listening to the LEGITIMATE grievances of the moderates (always the great bulk of the disaffected). [It can be accepted that there are legitimate grievances to be addressed in the first place because few people are capable of being stirred enough to cause an on-going feeling of unrest without good reason]. There are always extremist fringes in any political movement and no doubt these groups attract their share of `madmen',`fanatics', etc, but they cannot last long if there is a genuine addressing of the problems that have created the upheaval in a society and a transparent process of dialogue involved. Remember that the extremists gained control of the parent movement (political or religious) because the moderates were unable to offer any real hope of alleviation of grievances to the bulk of the people. As has been quoted in this thread, `one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist'.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: GeorgeH
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 06:49 AM

McGrath touched on this . . But still no one has answered his point.

Can someone PLEASE explain what on earth this ghastly attack has to do with freedom? As far as I can see the "attack on freedom" claims are ENTIRELY bogus - good rabble-rousing rhetoric, but totally without merit.

Sadly, I am sure the US will "respond" to this attack, with a further round of violence. In doing so she will increase the hatred with which the US is viewed in so much of the world, and so will increase the chances of further attacks against the civilian population of the US. You may not like what I'm saying here, but that doesn't change its truth.

And as for the suggestion that such an attack could only be mounted by people of middle-eastern origin - you mean, in the way the Chicago bombing was perpetrated by an Arab . . .

Whatever the view of the good citizens of the US, one man's act of terrorism is another man's legitimate struggle for freedom and justice. Until you have the humanity to accept that fact you stand no chance of reducing the prospects of future incidents of this nature.

G.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Greg F.
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 08:22 AM

Reality check, folks: No sort of "retaliation" the U.S. could take is going to to make a single terrorist think twice about executing an attack on the U.S. or any other country in the future. Terrorists are by definition CRAZY FUCKERS- be they Islamic fundamentalists, Anti-Abortion wackoes, National Front or what have you. They are "true believers", convinced they are right in a "holy" cause- the last thing they are going to be is rational. Enough of this sophistry.

Best, Greg


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 08:27 AM

The probability of any hijacker being of any other ethnic background other than Middle Eastern is zero.

That just is not true. Any security arrangements that were based on that kind of assumption would be suicidal. Even if it turns out that what happened on Tuesday was Middle East related, that wouldn't in itself mean that all those involved would have been of Middle Eastern origin.

And in any case, there's the copy-cat principle - people from elsewhere with grievances, screwed up individuals. Including home grown Americans like Timothy McVeigh. They all know now that aeroplanes are potential flying suicide bombs.

As for freedom - sure, it affects freedom, having to worry about being targetted and taking precautions, but that's not what it's about. When Bin Laden and company were fighting the Russians they weren't the least interested in whether they were democratic or whatever.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: GeorgeH
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 09:10 AM

Yes, McGrath, I can see its possible effect on personal freedoms . . . but that's not the political spin I'm seeing . . this seems to being presented as some sort of an attack on the "free world", which makes no sense at all.

G.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Troll
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 09:11 AM

GeorgeH, perhaps you can explain to us how the destruction of the state of Israel (because that IS the ultimate aim of the islamic terrorists) is "a legitimate struggle for freedom and justice."
What is your point Greg? That we should do nothing because that won't stop future attacks? Why isn't true that if we do nothing it will
encourage future attacks.
Good points, Kevin.

troll


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Greg F.
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 09:38 AM

Not at all, Troll. The point, or at least a point, is that in the long run you can't stop killing by killing. e.g., pull out your old Fugs vinyl & listen to Kill for Peace May make the point for me.

The U.S. has been humiliated by this horrific incident, and striking out might make some feel better for a time, but will solve absolutely nothing in the long run. Should the people responsible be made to pay for their crimes? Of course. There are effective ways to accomplish this short of a mindless military strike which in all probability- if past experience is any guide- result in more civilian deaths than anything else, and will not "deter" terrorism one whit. "Retaliation" and "justice" are not synonymous.

Best, Greg


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 10:02 AM

I think we are beginning to get a little clarity here...

Troll - Of course it affects freedom. Undoubtedly. But that was not the conscious purpose behind this attack. Not in any way.

The conscious purpose was revenge and retaliation for assumed grievances too numerous to count at this point, depending on who you are, where you grew up, and what you believe because of it. If you had been born a Palestinian you might have been among those dancing in the street on Tuesday. People can easily be turned to hatred and forgetfullness of their common humanity.

It is a greater challenge to meet hatred with love than to just return more hatred...isn't it? I mean, try it sometime.

Every time someone says or does something hurtful to me it hurts, of course...but then I have a choice in front of me.

I will defend myself, but I choose not to hate. And if anger overcomes me briefly, then I step back, and I think, and again I choose not to hate.

By the way, it appears that passengers on one of the planes fought against the hijackers and caused the plane to crash without reaching its target. They are heroes! That's what I call defending oneself (and others). It has nothing to do with hatred, it has everything to do with doing what simply must be done in duty to common humanity.

- LH


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Kim C
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 10:22 AM

Reports on NPR say the FAA is considering "more" Sky Marshalls - inferring that there still are some. I never heard of them before Kendall mentioned it on another thread the other day. Mister and I have both agreed if the Sky Marshalls would have us, we'll sign up Right Now! I'm completely serious.

Some have made mention of giving up liberties. I say no. Absolutely not. I am willing to be inconvenienced, sure, but to me, it's not the same as giving up liberties. Who was it that said a society that will give up liberty for security deserves neither one?


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 10:23 AM

Reading this one, the most obvious thing is that all of you have the power to reason and that of presenting well thought out arguments. Maybe I don't because I can agree and disagree with every post.

The reality is that the the US IS going to retaliate and although some will fell better, others worse, it will probably have no effect on world terrorism. For every one that sees "we mean business," an equal number will see it as another superpower power play. We need to look way down the road and begin now to do things that will stop this crap.

I tend to think that the way to that is to gain a worldwide coalition of governments who will agree to not support or harbor these groups and to make it dangerous to any government that will. Yeah, this will probably involve some new wars and I may hate war, but I also believe in the greatest good idea. Sestroying the haed of terrorists groups will not kill them, they are multi headed beasts. Destroying their bodies will help far more. If you have no secure base to operate and no way of getting support for your training or a safe place to hide....................

I dunno' either. If we're going to shed blood and send our kids into the great maw, let's at least consider the potential success of the outcome.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Skeptic
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:11 AM

Little Hawk,

The purpose may have gone a little beyond that. Groups (and nations) where political power is based on a "cult of personality" may have difficulty understanding that our structure is less dependent on individual personalities than theirs. Even if it is understood intellectually, the underlying emotional belief may well still color decisions.

If this is true, then the intent of the attack was more than just revenge and simple terror. At some level was the hope that if they could take out the "leaders" the whole structure would collapse or be rendered in-effective in the long run. Can this then be seen as an attack on freedom? And if so, what is the response.

I agree that hate is not an answer but also believe that it does not automatically lead to hate. And I can respond in anger without it being hate.

However if I am dealing with someone who sees hate as valid and validating, if hate is ingrained in his or her culture as a "positive" or "good" value then I need to take that into account and gauge what I do based on the seriousness of the threat and what can be reasonable achieved. In this case, in a fairly short time.

I hope (probably a futile one), that we won't over-respond, that we will recognize and accept the consequences (intended and unintended) of some of our foreign policy and that this won't be used as an excuse by those who "view civil liberties as an inconvenience.

Spaw's is probably a goal we should reach for. But first the world needs to agree on a way to distinguish a terrorist from a freedom fighter.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:42 AM

I never like the words expressions "freedom fighters" or "terrorist". They both try to load the scales in advance of looking at what the people involved actually do.

All war involves terror as a method - but what is pevculiarly horrible is the use of terror against civilians, and that is probably the best definition of terrorism, the deliberate targetting of non-combatants. And in modern war civiians make up the overwhelming majority of casualties.

Terrorism in that sense is is not in any way restricted to paramilitary organisations. Aerial bombardment of civilians, destruction of communities by shelling or bulldozers, internment, torture and execution of hostages, assassinations - these are all terror tactics, and they are used by states all over the world, including those who are loudest in their condemnation of "terrorism".

And the enemy should be terrorism in all its forms, ruling out any posibility of the type of response which would involve terrorism. This could provide us with anm opportunity to see where meeting terror with greater terror it has got us, and reject it for ever.

But I'm not optimistic or naive enough to believe it will work out that way.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 06:13 PM

Kevin, let me spell it out clearly.

The overwhelming priority at the moment is to make sure that it becomes impossible for another airliner to be hijacked and used as a flying bomb. Draconian security measures such as I suggested might be distasteful, but they WOULD work. I am well aware however that no airline management would ever have the balls to implement them.

As ever in life, we have to operate in probabiliteis, and the probability that the next hijack is going to be carried out by men of Middle-Eastern origin is marginally higher than that it will be carried out by some Swede from Minnesota.

I am not concerned here about perceived racism, btw. I am the least racist person in tne world. I do however give a shit about getting my ass safely from A to B, and ANYTHING that will give me better odds is welcome in my book.

And why would such a measure be "suicidal ?" Economically? Let me assure you, if any airline DID implement such a policy in the US right now they could name their own price for seats.

Murray


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: nutty
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 07:12 PM

Despite the need for revenge this ,hopefully, will not be "war" as was seen in Vietnam ..... I hope America has learned from that .
This has to be much more subtle, much more carefully thought out.
The indiscriminate bombing of civilians in other countries would quickly cause any co-allition to fall apart. Before any action is taken, there must be irrefutable evidence as to the perpetrators and their where-abouts


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: sophocleese
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 07:22 PM

What about going by train? They're a little harder to hijack effectively. Walking is useful too.


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 07:42 PM

I have two sons coming here from Britain in a couple of weeks time. I should tell them to row?

Murray


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Skeptic
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 07:47 PM

Just heard part of an interview with Daschle? on Fox. Congress has debated, among otehr things, national identity cards.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: sophocleese
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 10:14 PM

I have crossed the Atlantic four times in my lifetime by ship Murray, it takes longer, and we were never asked to row. I fell in love with a young French boy called Paul. I was nine at the time and he was ten. Aaah shipboard romances.....


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 10:16 PM

You misunderstand me, Murray. I'm not suggesting it'd be suicidal to check up on people of Middle Eastern origin, I'm suggesting that it's also essential to check up just as thoroughly on the people of Middle Western origin, and all the other passengers as well. And I'm not talking about economic suicide or any crap like that.

If that slows things down in the air transport business, big deal. Being killed slows things down a lot more.

The probability that the next hijack is going to be carried out by men of Middle-Eastern origin is marginally higher than that it will be carried out by some Swede from Minnesota. But "marginal" isn't good enough. And the world is not just made up of Swedes from Minnesota and men of Middle Eastern origin.

And I find no difficulty whatsoever in imaginig that a Swede from Minnesota might be as screwed up as Timothy McVeigh, and think that crashing a jet on a Federal building was a really neat idea.

The issue here isn't racism, but safety, as Murray said. Fortunately in this case if you want to be safe, you can't afford to be racist.

As I said on another thread, if I have to fly I'd like to have an airline where they made all the passengers strip before flights and wear pyjamas issued by the company.

(But as for your sons, Murray, obviously you'll worry, but you really don't need to. There probably has never been a time when you can be more confident they'll be taking proper precautions, and they're pretty stringent on international flights from Europe already.)


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Art Thieme
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 10:55 PM

(This is a single-verse song that was sung in and all through a documentary I once saw at least 35 years back on the formation of the Ladies Garment Workers Union. Somehow it stuck with me. Robert Ryan (the actor) was the narrator.)

Freedon is a thing like a bird on the wing
It doesen't fall down like the summer rain,
You've got to live for it -- die for it
Night and day for it,
And every generation's got to win it again.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Troll
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:05 PM

The very idea of national I.D. cards scares the hell out of me. If we trade our freedoms for security, then we deserve neither.

troll


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:21 PM

I have to play devil's advocate here and suggest that the USA is already halfway to having Identity Cards. If you are stopped by a cop here, it is assumed that you will be ablke to produce some form of ID. That ID will normally be a drivers licence, and a computer check on that will reveal anything the authorities want to know, including previous out of state licenses held, previous addresses etc.

The all-pervasive Social Security Number is another symptom of American "Big Brother" which has no counterpart in Britain, for example, (where even the driving license does not have a picture of the licensee).

So it really isn't such a big step for the USA to introduce a National Identity Card as it would be in Britain.

Murray


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:28 PM

National ID cards I fear would simply be one more thing to counterfeit for the terrorist groups. OR you kill a gew folks and steal theirs.......Doesn't sound to me like anything that would solve any problem.

Spaw---Who is generally wrong


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:36 PM

If a Middle Eastern terrorist ever kills me and steals my ID card, he better have a really good make-up artist available ....................

Murray


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:40 PM

*G*


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Skeptic
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:42 PM

Spaw,

I agree that National ID cards wouldn't solve the problem. They could, potentially, create quite a few problems that have nothing to do with any "war on terrorism". They would be very appealling to the law and order at any cost crowd, for instance and that is probably the real danger.

Pictures would probably be lousy too.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Troll
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:45 PM

Murray, the point is that ID is not REQUIRED by law at this time but I fear any action that moves us one step closer to "that which is not compulsory is forbidden."

troll


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Subject: RE: The price of freedom ??
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Sep 01 - 12:35 AM

Kevin, you'd better watch what you say. Some of my best friends are Swedes from Minnesota....

Murray has a good point. We have to do all that is humanly possible to prevent airliners from being hijacked and used as flying bombs. Before Tuesday, such a hijacking was unthinkable. That's no longer the case, and there will be all sorts of Americans who will consider this as a possible way to express their political point of view. Many people were sure it was Arabs who were responsible for Oklahoma City. That wasn't the case, was it?

I hadn't heard of "sky marshals" since the late 1970's when I did security clearance investigations on several when this was a new program. Then came the Air Traffic Controller strike, which forever changed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). I was surprised in the early to mid-1990's when I did a security clearance on another sky marshal, the first I had seen in years. I wondered what had happened to the program, but never got any solid information.

I found a press release from the FAA, dated August 2000 here (click). I'll post it below. Apparently, the program has been running along quietly since the 1970's, and has recently been expanded. As I recall, the job required significant prior law enforcement experience - you just can't walk in off the street and get a job. The actual job title is Civil Aviation Security Specialist (Series 1801). I believe you can get into entry-level positions in that series through the FAA - but you won't go into the air right away.

-Joe Offer, retired investigator, U.S. Office of Personnel Managment-



Fact Sheet: FAA Federal Air Marshal Program

The Federal Aviation Administration's Federal Air Marshal program is an expansion of the Sky Marshal program of the 1970s designed to stop hijackings to and from Cuba. The current program was created shortly after the hijacking of TWA 847 in June 1985. During that incident, two Lebanese Shiite Moslems hijacked a Boeing 727 departing Athens and diverted it to Beirut where they were joined by additional hijackers. During a two-week confrontation, the hijackers demanded the release of Shiite prisoners held by Israel and murdered Robert Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver who was a passenger on board the plane.

In response to this hostage ordeal and the upsurge in terrorism in the Middle East, then-President Ronald Reagan directed the Secretary of Transportation, in cooperation with the Secretary of State, to explore immediately an expansion of the FAA's armed Sky Marshal program aboard international flights for U.S. air carriers. On August 8, 1985, Congress enacted Public Law 99-83, the International Security and Development Cooperation Act, which established the explicit statutory basis for the Federal Air Marshal program.

Since 1985, the Federal Air Marshal program has provided specially trained, armed teams of FAA civil aviation security specialists for deployment worldwide on anti-hijacking missions. The program is based on minimum use of force, but that force can be lethal. The FAA, therefore, sets a premium on the selection, training and discipline of this elite corps of employees. Those who volunteer for the marshals must first pass initial psychological screening and fitness testing. Those who make the force must then undergo sophisticated, realistic law enforcement training. All Federal Air Marshals must meet stringent physical fitness requirements and firearm proficiency standards. In addition, before every mission they fly, the marshals go through recurrent training and standardized preparation.

The Federal Air Marshal tactical training facility and operational headquarters is located at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J. The marshals' training facilities are extensive and include three different outdoor ranges with moving targets, a 360-degree live-fire shoothouse configured as both a narrow-body and a wide-body aircraft with computer-controlled targets and a bulletproof observation platform, an indoor laser disc "judgement pistol shooting" interactive training room and a close-quarters countermeasures/personal defense training room with protective equipment and dummies. The program also uses an inactive five-story air traffic control tower, a retired B-727 narrow-body aircraft and a retired L-1011 wide-body aircraft for on-board exercises, a modern classroom, a state-of-the-art fitness facility, and an operations center capable of secure communications worldwide.

As with most areas of civil aviation security, only limited information about the Federal Air Marshal program can be made public. The FAA will not reveal the number or identity of the marshals, the details of their training, nor the routes they fly. No one on board a flight will know an air marshal is present except for the pilot and flight crew. What can be said publicly is that the Federal Air Marshals are a full-time dedicated force that continuously deploys throughout the world on all the major U.S. carriers in areas where terrorist activities indicate the highest probability of attacks. Federal Air Marshals fly every day of the year.


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Mudcat time: 7 July 12:04 AM EDT

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