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U.S. Shuts Down Somalia Internet Access 799

BrianGa writes: "This article reports that Somalia's only internet company and a key telecom company have been forced to close because the United States suspects them of terrorist links."
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U.S. Shuts Down Somalia Internet Access

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  • Suspects?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RedOregon ( 161027 ) <redoregon.satx@rr@com> on Friday November 23, 2001 @01:56PM (#2603815) Homepage Journal
    Suspects? No proof... we just _think_ this is the case? This bothers me...
  • Evidence? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by czth ( 454384 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @01:58PM (#2603821) Homepage

    A little evidence would be nice before one goes and cuts off a whole country from the 'net. The fact that they denied it is irrelevant; anyone would deny it, especially knowing that the US is on the warpath. But it's pretty hard to see the US having an ulterior motive for shutting them down; Somalia isn't exactly a force to be reckoned with. Unless the motive is to use Somalia as a "test case" to see how the world reacts to US/Europe flexing its muscles a little....

    OTOH, this doesn't affect me personally at all... no servers I use are in Somalia, I don't even know any sites there.

    But it's a disturbing precedent.

  • by Joey7F ( 307495 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @01:58PM (#2603826) Homepage Journal
    The US and the UK gave them access. They (we) can take it away.

  • by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:02PM (#2603858) Homepage

    Great Firewall in China and Saudi Arabia

    US shuts down Somalian ISP


    What next ?

    France DOS-ing sites that trade Nazi memorabilia

    Muslim countries attacking sites that advocate women's rights


    Eventually, each and every country will attack the sites that it considers offensive ...

    The Raven.

  • My thoughts... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eadyb ( 211458 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:03PM (#2603861)
    I think Somalia has more presseing problems to worry about than worring about the few hundred lucky Somalians who have internet access.

    IMHO feeding starving people is more important than checking email, reading /. etc...

  • Not good. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by exceed ( 518714 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:04PM (#2603870)
    Imagine what the Somalians think now to hear that the United States has shut down their two major communication companies? This will just create more anti-American tension within the world of Islam.
  • Re:Suspects?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:11PM (#2603899)
    The US state dept.,( as reported by CNN), has now admited that they bombed the Red Cross center in Afghanistan, multiple times, * knowing that it wasn't a military target* because Taliban members and troops were *suspected* of pilfering some amount of food from it.

    At the same time, of course, the US was randomly dropping food supplies all over the place, for anyone to pick up, including Taliban troops.

    This bothers me a good deal more. It is not only the targeting of a known civilian humanitarian aid station, but smacks more than just a bit of hypocrisy.

    The shutting down of an ISP hardly compares to killing civilian aid workers on *suspicion* that the opposition might be able to snag some Hershey bars from them.

    The arrogance is the same in both cases though, although, of course, as everyone knows, the Internet "belongs" to the US, so I guess they can just do what they please with it.

  • by zulux ( 112259 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:13PM (#2603910) Homepage Journal

    Al-barakatt is the Somali version of Western Union - they take money and 'wire' it over to Somalia for delivery. Unfortunatly, the terrorists are taking a cut of all transfers:

    US Government View
    [] 71 1.htm

    Al-barakatt is an ISP, kind of like how the mafia is a security firm.

    I imagine the "Blame America First" crowd it running around gleeful: Look America is crushing open communication in Somalia.
  • by Cally ( 10873 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:20PM (#2603943) Homepage
    With the over-reliance on technological solutions pedalled by pork-barrel defence contractors over good-old-fashioned human intelligence already acknowledged as a factor contributing to 9/11, and the long-awaited acceptance that the "terrorist facility" in Somalia that was attacked with cruise missiles in 1996 was a perfectly legal pharmaceutical factory making (mainly) antibiotics - one of the few in the country, or indeed region - they carry on making the same mistakes. This will just alienate even more people who were previously neutral in "The War Against Terrorism". As the BBC correspondent says: very, very depressing, and hif (he) had a stronger word he could use, he'd use it.

    Please don't mod this as a troll; I really do think this is a straightforward tactical mistake.

    Off-topic: there seem to be very few posts today, anything to do with Quest's DSL network going down? in the same week as BT's national network went down? I don't believe in coincidences like this. Someone has a zero--day sploit against the network hardware - something from Cisco is my bet...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:22PM (#2603955)
    What gives the right to US people to shut down and interfere with the internals of another country? If there was NATO or UN or something like that, behind a *request* for a shut down, then yes, it would be somewhat appropriate. But USA? Shutting down? Without asking permissions? PLEASE!

    A Greek person (I have nothing to do with Somalians or Afgan people, but still...)
  • by swilcox ( 171376 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:22PM (#2603959)
    I love it when flaming liberals bring up Cuba. We are the ONLY nation on this planet that doesn't trade with Cuba and yet the US gets blamed for the sad state Cuba is in. Ever thought it might be the fact that the government is COMMUNIST! Sheesh. Every other nation is free to trade (and alot do, France, China, Canada) with Cuba but the US continually gets blamed for Cuba's state of affairs by the more ignorant among us. As far as Somalia goes, what are we suppose to do? If there is a company that is aiding a terrorist organization you shut it down if possible. Hmmmm, lets see. Internet access for a third world nation or less resources for terrorist organizations. I know what I choose.
  • by edgrale ( 216858 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:38PM (#2604051)
    I guess that's a thing of the past?
  • by Sonicboom ( 141577 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:41PM (#2604077) Journal
    From the article:

    The two firms, Somalia Internet Company and al-Barakaat, both appear on a US list of organisations accused of funnelling money to the al-Qaeda network.

    Pres. Bush has declared war on terrorism, in particular the al-Qaeda network. The al-Quaeda network is very active in Somaila.

    So what's the problem?

    I'm not about censorship... but if those companies are using their PROFITS to funnel money into the hands of terrorists then I see no problem in shutting them down!

  • Re:Wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:43PM (#2604085) Homepage Journal
    We're not a bunch of self righteous bastards who whink we can do whatever we want to the rest of the world, we're a bunch of self righteous bastards who KNOW DAMN WELL we can do whatever we want to the rest of the world.

    Yet people like you wonder why people are willing to die to give Americans a taste of what they live with daily due to the self righteous, do what we DAMN WELL like foreign policy decisions of the American government.

    WHO THE HELL CARES what they think of us? You can't fight the actual individuals who are working towards the kind of attacks that we have been the successful and unsuccessful targets of. You can't threaten to bomb them -- they expect to die. All you can do is start making life as difficult as possible to live (or impossible to live in the case of those who end up under one of our bombs) for those guilty-by-association (and unfortunately those innocent people who have chosen to stand by and allow the guilty to operate). We can't stop terrorists directly with threats or direct actions, but if the threat of suffering and death makes the people around them take action and prevent their actions, then so be it. Good for us for having the ability to do that.

    All this does is make more people mad enough at America that they are willing to die for revenge. What you suggest is a self perpetuating cycle of violence that will most likely turn the US into a totalitarian police state in efforts to prevent terrorism while alienating most of the world because of the US's seemingly imperialist policies.

    As for expecting poor, starving civilians to change the policies of armed governments or pseudo-militia that is as ridiculous as Bin Laden thinking that terrorist attacks against the US would turn the American populace against the US government and make them change their foreign policy instead of uniting them in hatred against a common enemy (kinda like how the Iraqi sanction situation has ended up).
  • Re:Suspects?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by strAtEdgE ( 151030 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:45PM (#2604095)
    It's the american way! Mom, apple pie, and killing anyone who stands in the way of 'furthering the cause'.

    The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

    It's funny how americans block out the bigger picture, thinking somehow that when they commit terrorist acts, they aren't terrorists.
  • Re:Suspects?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fobbman ( 131816 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:48PM (#2604103) Homepage
    Lest we forget, the United States has yet to deliver proof to it's own citizens that bin Laden even masterminded the attacks on the World Trade Center.

    Color me flamebait, but right now us US citizens have only been told "We have proof he did it, and that's all you need to know".

    I'm sorry, but there are large groups of people (many Muslims, in fact) who don't accept this as enough proof. He's widely considered to be not sophisticated enough to come up with such an attack on his own.

    Do I know who did it? Of course I do. I have proof, but I won't tell you what that proof is. Just trust me.

  • by Joe Decker ( 3806 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:54PM (#2604135) Homepage
    The US harboured terrorists for 4 years before said terrorists blew up the WTC.'

    You're using two different meanings of the word harboring. The terrorists lived in the US for four years, without US knowledge.

    Usama Bin Laden lives or lived in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, with the understanding and support of the Taliban, and rejected the (powerless) United Nations attempt to extradite him from Afghanistan under United Nations Resolution 1267 (1999) [] for the murder of hundreds of individuals in embassy bombings.

    It's one thing to have a murderer hiding without your knowledge in your basement. It's quite another thing to hide the murderer in your basement with intent.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2001 @03:04PM (#2604192)
    You people make me sick the way you think you can police the world. I personnally would give my life to drop bombs on your civilians in an effort to go after the major world terrorist called "George Bush". Christ, the mans probably killed more women and children than any terrorists ever did. At least your country is completely fucking itself over, sold out to corporations, land of the free yet its the least free country i can think of. So proud of the constitution and the right to vote, yet the man in power sued his way in, and lost the election (pretty typical of your populous). You never take any responsibilty for your own actions. You fall in the street and sue the government because you werent looking where you wer going. The amount of arab hatred your causing should make you scared, very scared. These people wont give up till your all dead. And im ashamed to say i support them.
  • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett&gmail,com> on Friday November 23, 2001 @03:50PM (#2604277)
    I am in full support of this war effort, even if it means some internet access is taken down for a while.

    Yeah, its easy to volunteer someone to lose their freedom(s), but, how about your own?

    Give up your Internet access the duration of the "war". How about it? I mean, you are in full support of the war, right?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2001 @03:57PM (#2604304)
    > We didn't try Hitler, nor would we have even considered it if we captured him

    errr, we did try high ranking nazi officials, and many were executed. Also Americans might not know about this, but Slobodan Milosovic is currently being tried in a UN court. So, yes, we do try the leaders of countries that we go to war with. If the USA starts executing foreigners without trial, Americans will have no right to expect any better treatment from other governments.
  • by Joe Decker ( 3806 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:10PM (#2604348) Homepage
    No, that is not the article. I'm beginning to doubt there was one.

    The article the previous poster claimed that the US bombed those targets knowing that it wasn't a military target and that the US State Dept. admitted such.

    Whether the US did bomb those intentionally or did not, the article includes no such admission by the State department, and in fact specifically states that the buildings targeted were believed to house Taliban military equipment.

    I quote: Although details are still being investigated, the ICRC warehouses were among a series of warehouses targeted by U.S. forces because the Taliban used them for storage of military equipment. Military vehicles had been seen in the vicinity of these warehouses. U.S. forces did not know that ICRC was using one or more of the warehouses.

    Read the articles being referred to before accusing someone of newspeak.

    The bombings of the Red Cross centers was tragic. The loss of telephone access (even more than net access) in Somalia is tragic. But that's no excuse for misreading "mistakenly" as "intentional".

  • by cockroach2 ( 117475 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:19PM (#2604379)
    i mostly agree. the current murdering of thousands of people all around the world in a "fight against terror" lead by the most stupid person ever in such a powerful position is simply awful. if that's what "civilization" is about, we should abandon it... (i do not agree that killing more american civilians would be good, but i'd _love_ not to see that "w" person anymore)
  • by cuyler ( 444961 ) <`moc.noivilbofoegdeeht' `ta' `todhsals'> on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:38PM (#2604464)
    > We didn't try Hitler, nor would we have even considered it if we captured him.

    I believe many people in his party had some troubles with some "Crimes against humanity" charges at a wee event called the Nuremberg Trials. These were crimes committed during a war yet they were still charge.

    Of course they would have tried Hitler, it was a big show to prove the war was justified. It was a huge disappointment (with respect to the trial) that Hitler went out and shot himself.
  • by imrdkl ( 302224 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:45PM (#2604503) Homepage Journal
    This ain't a war, friend. At best a manhunt, or perhaps a "menhunt". Congress has not declared war, and therefore it is not a war.

    None of the words or meaning in the Constitution has changed, either. It still guarantees Justice to All. This includes a fair trial, just as much as it includes the lethal injection as punishment.

    Hold onto that. Treasure it, and dont let it go, no matter the pain you feel. Patriotism sometimes hurts. But our country, and what it has Always stood for, is more important, even than our pain and loss. Patriots all down through our history have understood this, and it has not changed one bit with the location of the attack.

  • by krazy_kc ( 300758 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:46PM (#2604507)
    I'm sick of seeing all this anti-american activity in the US government.

    In the past 2 months we've seen

    • Mass round-ups by federal agents, hidden in secrecy and unwilling to tell even how many have been nabbed.
    • The Congress of the United States cowed into passing a resolution that allows the president to wage war without any more congressional oversite.
    • The CIA bragging about anti-terrorist activities in Albania where they were only party to torturing 1 wrong person out of 6 people nabbed.
    • Federal agents given power to enter your home without ever letting you know.
    • A military campaign where we are proud of the fact that we are supported by China, Pakistan, and an alliance of warlords in Afghanistan.
    • Implementing racial profiling as anti-terrorist mechanism while the US justice department admits that they believe the most recent terrorist attacks (antrhax in the mail) are from home grown terrorists.

    I don't care if you have a flag decal on your car, if you believe that the United States stands for censorship, bullying, military tribunals, and people being dragged away secretly because of their religious beliefs, you are no patriot, you are a traitor.
  • by totenkopf ( 215542 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:49PM (#2604517)
    I think more than a few people here are having trouble distinguishing between "rights" and "privileges".

    Somalia does NOT have a "right" to a damn thing outside what they are capable of generating for themselves (which, aside from kat and drive by shootings from "technicals", isn't much of anything).

    The fact that they were given access to the international communications infrastructure by the United States is a privilege.

    Remember what happened when the United States went in to feed the Somalis? It ended with 17 dead Rangers and Delta team members, after we went after Adid. And to short circuit the leftist Chomsky idiots, we went after Adid because his forces massacred 24 Pakistani peacekeepers.

    The fact that Somalis were starving because of a 4% growth rate and systemic civil warfare does not give them the "right" to U.S. food aid, especially when they turn around and start shoot the people giving out the food.

    In places like this and Afghanistan, a shallow grave is the place where leftist idealism meets the real world. For you American leftists, you need to get a grip and realize that your ideas are killing people every day. Your intentions may be pure, but your effects are disasterous.

    Give me greedy ambition, evil intentions, and a good result any day over the gift you guys have given the world during the 20th century, and continuing on today.
  • by Maurkov ( 524624 ) <dschaefer AT bco DOT com> on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:51PM (#2604530)

    "Where's the proof?" or "What's next, America shutting down dissident sites?"
    Your peacetime rules don't apply, so don't pretend to think that they do.

    So you're saying that since this is war, things like proof and constitutional rights dont matter?

    Sometimes ya gotta feed the trolls.

    Rules should apply, especially in wartime. It is specifically during times of great stress and urgency when they become important. My government is engaged in a protracted war with an 'ism' for an enemy. Bush said that the war on terror will end when "every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated," which is basically never. When should we expect our rules to start applying again? Is there a point to having rules if they only apply when expedient?

    Here's an idea: Lets put all Middle Easterners into internment camps until this whole thing blows over. &lt/sarcasm&gt

    whose opinions are less valid because he doesn't have a thought provoking quote in his sig.

  • by cjpez ( 148000 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @05:05PM (#2604574) Homepage Journal
    Urk. Why is criticism (sp?) of American policies "Anti-American?" Every citizen has the right to disagree with the actions his/her government is taking. It's what makes the country strong! Now is not the time to rally behind a government body and proclaim absolute servitude to whatever actions it takes; now is the time to dissent as much as possible. When I say, "the United States' bombing campaign against terrorism is both insane and unproductive," I'm not saying that America itself is some evil empire. I'm just saying that the current administration has its head up its ass.

    I'm not petulatly threatening to leave the country in a huff because "it's all gone downhill," I'm just saying that I disagree. And it's this dissent, not some fake "unity" crap, that keeps the country together. Ideas gone unchallenged stagnate and degrade; we need the dissenting opinions to keep on growing as a nation!

    So just because some of us are highly critical of the way our government's handled the situation doesn't mean that we've given up on the country as a whole . . .

  • by mickwd ( 196449 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @05:17PM (#2604617)
    "...countries like Somalia and Afghanistan, that harbor terrorists, and going down. One after another, like dominos, until we have accomplished our task"

    I shouldn't really rise to this, but here goes....

    Taking down whole countries now are we ? How many innocent people will this kill ? How many people will become sworn enemies of the USA as a result ? How many of these will want to take direct action to avenge the deaths of their innocent loved ones ? How many more innocent Americans will die as a result ?

    Just getting angry and shouting your mouth off might make you feel good, but it isn't going to help anyone.

    Yes, the US should go after Bin Laden and co (if they're sure they were responsible for Sept11), but going after people who just happen to live in the same country as terrorists is not sensible.

    After all, you might be living in the same country as someone who's causing terrorism with Anthrax.

    I do hope this doesn't appear "clueless" or "knee-jerk" in response to your reasoned post.

  • by kindbud ( 90044 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @05:31PM (#2604661) Homepage
    I'm sick of hearing all of this anti-Americanism on Slashdot.

    Then stop reading it.

    Every post I read seems to be something along the lines of "Where's the proof?" or "What's next, America shutting down dissident sites?"

    Well, where IS the proof? It was promised before the campaign started, then the promise was withdrawn. And, what IS next? These are legitimate questions.

    Well, I'll have you know, we're in a war here.

    So I'm told.

    The rules have been changed.

    That much is obvious. There are questions as to whether it is justified, and even as to whether it is legal.

    It's like those people who shout "We must bring Usama back and try him in our courts!" That's absolutely ridiculous. We didn't try Hitler, nor would we have even considered it if we captured him.

    How do you know that? Hitler shot himself. The Nazis that managed to be captured were tried. What makes you think Hitler wouldn't have been tried as well?

    It's wartime, the rules are changed.

    You said that before. Funny thing about propaganda is that the people who spread it don't think of it in that way.

    Somalia is just as bad, if not WORSE than Iraq in its harboring and promotion of international terrorists.

    How do you know this? Do you believe it because important men on TV say it is so? Can you point to Somalia on a map? Who are the principal political forces within Somalia, and which ones should we hold responsible for harboring or supporting terrorists?

    Remember, this is a war. Your peacetime rules don't apply, so don't pretend to think that they do.

    You continue to repeat yourself over and over, but that does not change the fact that Congress has not declared war on any nation, nor is there much provision in the Constitution for declaring war on a person, or on a group of persons, or on an organization, or on an ideology. This "war" on terrorism is a war in name only, like the "war" on drugs, the "war" on poverty, the "war" on cancer, and so on.

    Let me ask you something: In light of the Bush administration repeatedly stressing to the public that the "war" on terrorism will never come to a decisive conclusion, that it will take a concerted effort for an indefinite period of time; given that the new laws authorizing drastic curtailment of due process, habeas corpus and other legal protections, co-mingling of domestic law enforcement and overseas intelligence operations and other unprecedented actions that were not even considered in the wake of Pearl Harbor, were passed with no meaningful debate, with few if any dissenting votes, at a time when public feedback was hampered by the extraordinary anthrax infestations; given that, in this country and others going back to antiquity, the overwhelming tendency of those in power is to accumulate more and not relinquish it easily, and that even a cursory examination of the history of the world validates this conclusion with example after example; in light of all these things, do you really expect me to accept that it is unreasonable to even raise a question about what the hell is going on?
  • by statusbar ( 314703 ) <> on Friday November 23, 2001 @05:54PM (#2604748) Homepage Journal
    Anyone who does not believe that this is true is naive. It happens, I've seen it.

    Within a week after Sep 11, there was an interesting interview the CNN's Wolf Blitzer had with a former CIA director. He said that people are overlooking the possible involvement of Saddam Hussein in the terrorist attacks.

    Within 3 hours, the article was deleted. But the link on's front page wasn't. It was a broken link. Even today, the article is nowhere to be found on the site.

    Read regularly. Read between the lines. Learn about what they are not saying and what they delete.

  • USA vs TERRORISTS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @06:36PM (#2604906) Homepage
    If you can't make a moral distinction between the events of September 11th and our actions in Afghanistan, you are truly lost.

    We are fighting to destroy al-Qaida and those (especially the Taliban) who harbor them. Calling our actions "terrorism" is disgusting.

    This war is to ensure the security of our homeland. We didn't start the fighting, they did, right in the heart of New York City!

    Wake up people!

    As for the Afghan people, a LOT of them are enjoying freedoms that haven't had in FIVE YEARS!

    P.S. If you hate the US so much, nobody is forcing you to stay.

    P.P.S. I'm not a shill for the US gov't. I have been critical of many of their decisions (DMCA, etc). I do know when it is time to stand together against evil.

    P.P.P.S. Oh yeah, when the raids of the ISPs happened right before September 11, I had a feeling that the USA gov't was in the right (a dn did say so right here on Slashdot), even though I am usually a strong civil libertarian. And then September 11 happened.
  • Re:Suspects?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @06:38PM (#2604913)
    I'm afraid I don't. I saw it reported on CNN television live, as it came " hot off the wire."

    That's why I put my source, and put it in parenthsis, in my original post. I cannot refer to it, and seems not to exist on the CNN web site.

    In a time when the federal governemt is trying to get libraries to destroy existing public documents that dosn't exactly surprise me.

    If I were to go looking for it I'd start with the BBC or The Federalist.

    As often happens in times of war we likely won't have clue what's actually going on right now for several years, at least.

  • I read that the terrorsts sometime use cars to drive to their meetings. We should stop all oil shipments to the country.

    One could presume that terrorists get sick. Stop any medical shipments, less we want to allow those terrorists to remain healthy.

    And, when you think about it, those terrorists are crafty devils. They breathe oxygen, a gas created often by plants, just like us. Plants can't grow without sunlight, so lets block all the sunshine allowed into the country.

    These may seem harsh to you, but think for a moment, who's side are you on?
  • utterly wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samantha ( 68231 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @08:20PM (#2605201) Homepage
    If we are ever to spread democracy and more opportunity and well-being throughout the world modern communications is utterly essential. If we can't talk to them, they can't learn of anything from outside and they can't even talk to one another in any modern way, then there is no way their situation can ever improve. Cutting off money coming in is also especially damaging.

    In the rush to "do something" about terrorism we are stomping on a lot of rights and a lot of peoples lives. It is not money that makes terror. It is oppression, hatred, hoplessness, and rage. If we really want to cut "funding" to terror we must clean up its true funds by doing what we can to end oppression and to give hope.

    We are headed in precisely the wrong direction.
  • Re:Suspects?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Watts Martin ( 3616 ) <layotl@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday November 24, 2001 @01:22AM (#2605927) Homepage

    His "warped position" is that terrorism can be defined as "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons." Personally, I'd simplify the definition to: "committing an act of war against non-combatants."

    Tell me how the hell the legitimacy of self defense has anything to do with that definition.

    Bluntly, what you're offended by isn't the definition, but by the unpleasant truth that an objective reading of what terrorism is sometimes condemns the good guys, too. You don't want to hear it.

    The war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda is probably the closest to a "just war" that we've fought, at least since World War II. Get over the idea that we're spotless and wonderful, though. Yes, Americans are blocking out bigger pictures. We condemn the idea of killing innocent civilians for political ends, but we go on the record as saying that thousands of Iraqi children dying a month from sanctions is an acceptable tactic to try to overthrow Hussein (not that it's doing any good). This goes back to our actions in World War II as well as the enemy's: by all reasonable definitions, killing tens of thousands of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was terrorism. Don't kid yourself into thinking anything else. The entire point was to send the message, "If you don't surrender, we will kill not your soldiers but your families, your wives and your children, with weapons more terrifying than you can possibly imagine."

    People seem to be under the apprehension that those of us pointing out that America sometimes does Bad Things are excusing having Bad Things done to us. We're not. We're saying that two wrongs don't make a right. And we're saying that if we're going to set a moral example for the rest of the world--and it's not American arrogance to say that given our position as the only superpower, we damn well better be willing to set that example--we've got to be moral. We can't be doing this "situational ethics" shit anymore, can't act like "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" does us (or anyone else) any good, can't loudly praise democracy while quietly supporting fascist dictators who are open to foreign investment--and even helping them overthrow democratically-elected governments that seemed a little too socialist.

    Maybe in your eyes it's "warped" to talk about America's foreign policy failures. If so, what you want isn't patriotism--it's jingoism. I hope for our country's sake that enough people understand the difference. True patriotism isn't "my country, right or wrong." It's helping your country do what's right, and trying to prevent it from doing what's wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 24, 2001 @04:27AM (#2606236)
    Reading this thread I find myself confused. I find it hard to believe some of you live in the same country as myself...

    Who is the wise scholar that defined terrorism? Hmmm, you can keep your definition, because if you think about it from a little more objective position, you will realise you missed a key concept - provocation. Our attacks on Afghanistan are wholly justified because we were provoked by a cowardly enemy that intentionally targeted innocents. When our bombs kill innocents it is very sad, but we typically pay the families reparation, and rebuild the nation we've defeated.

    You are granted freedoms in this country, but walk softly. Please think before you abuse the freedoms that others are so valiantly protecting in your place. What I'm really saying is shut your cake hole. Part of wisdom is having something to say, and knowing when not to say it.

  • by Mudge Pinkerton-Bott ( 529980 ) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @05:13AM (#2606290)
    I find it a bit sad that the general tone of the postings on this thread seems to represent a level of jingoistic hysteria which we only seem to hear from the US and other third-world countries :-), and general approval of any action taken against other nations on the most circumstantial evidence. At the same time, we hear loud squeals of protest when governments or industry bodies encroach on our personal liberties (privacy online, copy-protected CDs, etc etc...).

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito