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Re: Yes it's off topic but who cares right now.
Randy - you may not like it, but this is not a conflict of nations; this is a conflict of ideologies ("religions", if you wish). On the one side is secular Western societies which are considered perverse, unclean and sinful not just by mujaheedin ("fanatics", "crazies", etc) but by majority of believers in the Middle-East. On the other side is Western society which considers religious states oppressive and their disregard for human lives absolutely abominable. Framing the conflicts in national (US vs Afganistan, etc) or racial (whites vs arabs) categories is very unhelpful. Anyone who tracked what's going on in, say, Chechnya, knows that Islamic militants have no problems using foreign mercenaries, particularly from Eastern Europe. They pay well. (BTW, the suicide bombers are not "doing that for pure idea" -- their families are usually very well paid, and for most families from the poorest regions this is the only way to wealth). In other words, we _are_ in a religious war, of sorts. And, i'm afraid, this is us or them situation, because by the very nature of their belief they cannot stop. (Again, Western media seems to be very shy about showing what mujaheedin tell about their beliefs themselves. I personally heard from a Chechen that they will not stop until they kill all filthy Russians and then go and kill all filty Americans and Israelis -- it was said chillingly matter-of-factly. In a daylight, on a Moscow street.) Since the all-out no-holds-barred war aimed at wiping the idea out together with carriers of that idea (i.e. "civilian" population) is very out of fashion nowadays (somehow nobody cared about German civilians in WWII, to put it into perspective) - the most likely scenario will be protracted suppression of Islamic states. This may have two outcomes: either their beliefs mutate to become more benign (like Christianity did, crusaders were no better than today's Islamic fanatics; and Islam, like Christianity _does_ teach peacefulness - read Koran to see for yourselves; principles of any religion may be interpreted as applying to "true believers" only); or that they manage to produce a particularly virulent strain resistant to Western defenses. Pushing epidemological analogy further, the ways to deal with the situation are: exterminate infected population (or isolate, and let it die off on its own), go after transmission vectors (TV, radio stations, newsprint, religious leaders, etc pushing the militant ideas), drain parasite's nutrient supplies by direct means (i.e. strangling financial inflows into the region by developing alternative oil sources; in this respect Western policy in regard to dealing with oil fields in Russia seems particularly boneheaded), or by introducing competition for the resources from the benign entities (i.e. promote and support Western way of life in the regions). Note that i'm not passing moral judgments here. The worst thing which could be done is to keep infection going for a long time while doing sporadic bouts of suppression ("antibiotic", i.e. military). This nearly guarantees evolution of resistant strains. The suppression must be permanent until the very idea dies off (when infection rate is below rate of reproduction), alternatively, carriers of the idea must be kept in check by physical elimination (local wars, "anti-terrorist" actions, epidemia or famines) - indefinitely (a chronic form of illness). The third option is, of course, for us to forget the liberal ideas and learn to say "alla akbar" without noticeable accent. Population dynamics is definitely on _their_ side. That option definitely has an advantage of keeping our liberal consciences happy. Chose whatever course is there to deal with the situation, but, please, get your head out of sand. This is not an isolated group of fanatics; and you don't win wars by hating enemies - but by being pragmatic and clear-headed. And any human society so far was built on violence - real or threatened (police is there to do violence, to those who don't behave; _any_ law has behind it a threat of violence to offenders), so I wouldn't declare it absolute evil. In fact, without intra-species agression (aka violence) there couldn't be any frienship or love (see the book by the famous etologist, Konrad Lorenz, "On Agression" for a painstakingly detailed explanation). --vadim On Thu, 13 Sep 2001, Randy Bush wrote: > > > For those with a Christian background, don't you consider it an insult to > > your religion to have a suicide bomber called a martyr after Saint > > Stephen? > > no, i consider it a consequence of the self-righteousness that religion > often nurtures, i am better than you because my god is better than yours. > add fanaticism, and there will always be fanatics of every stripe, and you > get the escalating cycle of violence and hate. > > resist the cycle of violence and hate. > > randy >