War on Terrorism, is it really?

I don’t know if this has been asked and answered, and I’m not a political animal that follows every nuance and press release with fervor. I’m a paper skimmer, cnn.com skimmer, and that’s it for my news.

With the “War on Terrorism” why is the US, or Bush, or insert favorite hated political figure here, focusing on Muslim terrorists? Why don’t we have peacekeeping troops on the ground in say, Ireland, seeking out and destroying IRA sympathizers?

Just thought it intersting, and would like to see some opinions on it.

For the same reason we don’t care about despotic leaders in Africa who kill their own civilians with either weapons of mass destruction or just plain guns.

Because it’s not about the terror, the WMD, or anything like that. Is the IRA sitting on large oil reserves? No? Maybe that’s something.

Exactly. As long as there are unidentifiable individuals willing to die for a cause, there is no way to define the enemy in a so-called “war on terrorism” (that’s why they call it terrorism). It can’t be a deterrent (we’ll kill you if you do this) because they are already willing to die, and you don’t know who the enemy is until after they have completed an attack. I guess in a sense you could take the funders of these efforts out of commission but they don’t need huge amounts of money to perpetrate attacks.

I don’t really think so. If the IRA (or the Basques, or the Radical Wing of the Boy Scouts of America for that matter) carried out terrorist attacks against the United States which killed 3,000 people, I think we’d take serious action against that group. Granted, Islamist groups oppose U.S. policies which are in turn formed in part on the basis of protecting the West’s access to Middle Eastern oil reserves; but we’re not fighting Al Qaida for oil, but because they’ve shown themselves to be our deadly enemies.

Officially, I believe we’re now at war with terrorists “with a global reach”, which wouldn’t necessarily include every local terrorist movement (just like France doesn’t really care about the Hazzard County Sovereign Citizen’s Militia setting off a pipe bomb in the sheriff’s mailbox), but we would in theory go after any movement with the resources and determination to carry out large-scale attacks across continents and oceans. For the most part, these days that means Islamists; historically, it would probably also include the more ruthless secular nationalist Palestinian terrorist groups, but nowadays Palestinian nationalist terrorism has pretty much merged with Islamist terrorism. If they were still active, I imagine old '70’s leftist groups like the Baader-Meinhof Gang, Red Brigades, and Japanese Red Army (which also had ties to the secular nationalist Palestinian terrorist groups) would be targets. Certainly it’s murky, and in fact various other countries would love to involve the U.S. in their campaigns against assorted terrorist, revolutionary, national liberation, and dissident groups under the guise of the War on Terrorism, which presents all sorts of decisions and problems and headaches for U.S. policymakers.

I also think the current U.S. policy of moving towards war against Iraq is a separate matter, and may have separate motives from the campaign against Islamist groups.

Incidentally, there is still officially a cease-fire and peace accord in Northern Ireland, and the IRA is not listed on the U.S. government’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations for that reason; a breakaway rejectionist faction called the “Real IRA” is.

I don’t usually post long items, but the following was sent to me by email a while back. I have not checked out any of the facts on this, but it’s interesting, and seems relevant to the OP:

Violet, would you care to elaborate on exactly how your forwarded spam is relevant to the OP?

** Sublight**, I don’t see it as spam, but I reported myself to see if the mods agree with you. And I asked them to delete the above if they think it’s spam.

The issue seems apparent.

So, what is your opinion on the OP?

our war on terrorism seems to be more of a pretext to make war wherever this administraion choses.

Seems to me Violet’s post answers the OP’s question of why we don’t focus on other groups. How is that spam? You can choose to disagree with the premise, Sublight, but just dismissing it as spam is uncalled for. One opinion in this forum is as good as another.

Violet, I love that!

Re OP, I can scarcely credit that anyone would actually wonder about this. If A declares war and inflicts terrible damage on B, isn’t it utterly self-evident that B is going to do it’s damnedest to pay A back, with interest?

And why should B give two hoots if C beats up on D? It’s nice if B’ll help it’s pal D out, and vice versa, but B doesn’t HAVE to do that. A nation will always look after it’s own interests first.

Maybe you want to hear Bush say “It’s all because we hate darkie ragheads” or somesuch, because then it’ll fit in so much nicer with the media’s ceaseless whining about racism, but really it’s because THEY have declared war on YOU.
Iraq OTOH seems to be more of a personal vendetta.

Violet, since you offered no other commentary with your post, I can only assume it coincides with your own beliefs. If not, just substitute “anonymous writer” for yourself.

As for your argument in favor of racial profiling, what percentage of muslim males do you believe to be involved in terrorism? Somehow, I’m guessing that you’re not part of the 99.99% that you feel it’s ok to pull aside and needlessly interrogate on a regular basis.

I have to admit I have personal feelings about this, as I’ve been stopped on numerous occasions by the police as a result of racial profiling. Some local cop sees a furriner walking through his all-Japanese neighborhood, does a little mental math (foreigners commit 1% of the crimes, but have 0% of the protection against unwarranted search and detention), maybe even does a little selective remebering similar to your questionnaire, and I end up having to stand there for another 30 minutes (longer if he doesn’t have any pressing matters to attend to, or if he thinks that I do) politely (demanding to know why I’m stopping you? ooo, that’s another half hour) giving my entire life history four times over (gotta check for inconsistencies, you know, 'cos those criminals/terrorists/foreigners are always making stuff up). But hey, it makes the neighborhood safer, right? So anyone against it must just be some fuzzy-wuzzy self-hating liberal who’d rather see his country wiped out than see one ‘criminal’ be offended.

You have that happen to you five or six times, and then tell me how good an idea (or just plain effective) you think racial profiling is.

Also, as for my ‘spam’ remark, doing a Google search for “Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40” and “Nope, no patterns anywhere to justify profiling” brings up over 100 hits and separate addresses.

DesertGeezer, I didn’t dismiss it, I asked for elaboration.

Violet, that spam is very focused. A list of atrocities could be made about pretty much any group you care to mention (even Buddhists). I don’t see the relevance.

And as for my views of the OP, however the war on terror may have started, it appears that the administration is now trying to use it as an open-ended (when is the war over? when everybody loves America?) War Powers Act, with any criticism being countered with “You’re aiding the terrorists” and “The Senate evidently isn’t interested in the security of the American people.”

I am one of the few left in this country that actually believes what the government is trying to do. President Bush is not going after oil reserves. We aren’t suffering egregious prices, or a lack of supply at all. If this was China, that would be a different story altogether.

But since we live in a representative democracy, and not an entirely different government, it seems to me that the choices that are being made are done so by our own representatives. Sounds simple, you say? Of course.

The war on terrorism is all about eliminating the threat of regimes all over the world. Why are the muslim terrorist groups being targeted? Because they are our biggest threat right now. Sure, the US has been known to be the “Policeman of the World” from time to time, but we still have to put our own interests first. After the atrocities that terrorists have inflicted on the US, both in NYC, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, and many of the foreign embassies and properties over the years (USS Cole, 2000), we are protecting the interests of our own. Secondarily, we are protecting the cause of freedom.

I believe it was John Locke who first expressed that we all had certain rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and the ownership of property. Of course, Thomas Jefferson went with that type of idea in our very own Constitution.

This whole war may be considered just a way to make the US have much more lenience on deciding their enemies, but I assure you that it is not just circumstantial evidence, such as “you support our enemies”. The US is doing its best to act on hard information, and not just hearsay. Weapons inspectors, for example. The US is not going to go into Iraq and demolish everything if they have no good cause. If we can prove beyond reasonable doubt, then I say bomb the SOB’s. Until then, we have to figure out what exactly the situation is.

Could it be that we are targetting Iraq because of Saddam’s track record? That in the 80’s he gassed thousands upon thousands of his own people, the Kurds? Could it be that we do not want an enemy of ours joining with another enemy (Al Qaeda?)

I think that whether we like it or not, we are going to war with Iraq, and anyone else who stands in the way of freedom and democracy.

I think the rest of the world would understand US foreign policy if Bush et al came out and said what Stccrd said. But Bush says things like “America is a peaceful country”. It clearly isn’t.

The IRA may not have ever attacked the US but it bombed the shit out many UK cities Belfast, Manchester and London to name but a few. It also killed a important member of the Royal Family and tried on several occasions to kill the British Cabinet. Serious attacks I think you will agree.

The UK looked for support from the US in areas like limiting Sinn Fein’s moneymaking power in the US and to withhold visas. Some of this the US did some it did not. Why did the US not do want its ally wanted. Self interest or maybe it felt it could more good the other way. It doesn’t really matter the fact is that the US made its own decision when it came to how to deal with the IRA.

Now the world is told by the US that its way is right. If you’re not with us you’re against us etc. Strange how the US can’t see that other countries get to make their own mind up as well and the decision doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re Anti-US in the same way the US were not anti-UK when didn’t do everything the Brits wanted them to do.

Since when have we redefined “spam” to mean “opinions we don’t agree with”? Violet has merely reposted information she once received via e-mail that she thought pertained to the conversation, and I’m sure that if she remembered the source of the e-mail, she would have told us.

Anyway, this thread has wandered into Great Debates territory, thus the move.

Don’t you think that should read ‘eliminating ** terrorism** all over the world.’? If it really was a war on terrorism.

For those insistent on nitpicking semantics, that would be a poor choice of words.

Welcome to GD welby and thank you for the invitation to share a wholly subjective European primer:

The phrase ‘war on terrorism’ has no meaning at all in an international context and is purely for domestic (US) consumption.

The primary reason he uses the phrase with US audiences is that it better enables/justifies Bush’s use of Executive Mandates/Orders – something the public generally (and wrongly) associate with 'war type scenarios. Just looks better.

With those powers he can - and has - detained people without charge and otherwise generally create a ‘war like’ atmosphere – don’t need no UN, don’t need no Congress…but I might just see what both have to say before acting…

And while the people are in that mood it gives him greater freedom to act (generally) and especially with regard Congress and political opposition objections – all of which becomes ‘unpatriotic’ in this ‘perspective change’ Bush has generated.

It’s a nonsensical characterisation (‘war’ on drugs ?) as any European country that’s fought terrorism in recent generations knows. Nonetheless, the ‘war’ on terrorism serves his purposes with US audiences.