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So, where IS Osama Bin Laden...

Discussion in 'Serious' started by modgodtanvir, 9 Nov 2008.

  1. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

    9 Feb 2004
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    Good, so we agree on that.

    I was under the distinct impression that we had, still are, and will continue to do this [the precarious political situation in Pakistan not withstanding]

    PS did you realise that, not only was it Pakistan that started the Taliban on their way, it was one of Benazir Bhutto's political partners that masterminded it all. Just remind me which party is [currently] in power?

    Yes, and perhaps they might like a pat on the back for the great work they are doing, rather than face the accusation that they are merely digging for oil/killing civilians/empire building.

    Help For Heroes

    OK, but perhaps you will like to skip this point until it actually happens.

    Well, we all know that the US has a mixed record on their approach to allies and civilians, but this is largely irrelevant. Until either a) the Americans change their approach or b) Canada deploys more troops(!), we are stuck with what we have. However, this is not a US-bashing thread (or it wasn't until now).

    The actual breakdown of troops is as follows: ISAF Troop Placement

    The BBC noted:
    So it appears that ordinary Afghans less concerned than you about the Americans. [On the other hand, if you were mischevious, you might conclude that the third of Afghans who don't support the ISAF are the very people in contact with the US third of the Force! :)]

    Perhaps the Afghans tormented by the Taliban would recognise and respect your dont-get-involved sensibilities, but the indicators are that they want us there.

    If we are trading platitudes:

    Edit: No, Edmund Burke hasn't joined Bit-Tech; I just don't know how to avoid the 'originally posted by'!

    We are not talking about Iraq.

    Who do you propose to stop supplying weapons to? The Afghan Army? The Pakistanis? The Taliban? The Iraqis? The French? Today's ally is tomorrows enemy, particularly when it comes to the French. Obviously there have been some really stupid deals done in the not so distant past, but most are fairly sensible. That said, I'd support the idea of a UN-led blacklist - let the world agree on who shouldn't be supported militarily rather letting us all use our 'discretion'.

    But other than the Pakistan suggestion, I haven't heard much about what we could be doing differently...
    Last edited: 11 Nov 2008
  2. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

    23 Oct 2001
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    Yeah, and a good job we are doing too. Not to mention selling military hardware to India.

    I think the latter point bears dwelling on. A few years ago, when Pakistan was seriously contemplating a nuclear exchange with India, so serious in fact that the UK Home Office was actually consulting experts on estimated fall-out regions so they could withdraw UK staff based in both countries, so serious that the UK government went there on a peace mission. But it was actually using the same trip to sell military hardware to both sides on behalf of BAE (it is a standing arragnement in government protocol). Way to go.

    I also note that you skipped the detail of the US and UK funding the Taliban training grounds in Pakistan.

    Sentimental rubbish. What they need is to know that they are risking their lives for a good and just cause. What they need to know is that the people back home won't tolerate their lives being wasted on bad political causes.

    Here is my link.

    OK, we will pick this up in 12 months. :)

    I guess some people vote with their guns. But after all the polling is said and done:
    Yeah, that's why we're doing so well.

    Here's mine:
    We might as well be. You're just not looking back far enough.

    How about: everyone? Pakistan? Sold nuclear tech on to the highest bidder (Saddam was offered, but he didn't buy). Taliban? Did that, didn't work out too well. Afghan army? Read previous sentence. The Iraqi? Turned them back on us in Gulf War I. The French? They're not buying --they have better weapons than us.

    But BAE wouldn't stand for a weapons trade embargo --bad for business, and we have a recession going on. Your UN blacklist already exists, and it is useless.

    It is a fallacy to reason that a bad course of action should be persisted with because you can't think of a better one.

    But here's some alternatives:

    Afghanistan is a huge country and one of the poorest countries in the world, 174 out of 178 in the human development index, with extraordinary levels of illiteracy and a life expectancy of 43 years (dropped from 44 last year). Millions of Afghans, particularly in rural areas, still face severe hardship. Consequently the amount of land under opium cultivation rose sharply last year, so that the total area in use in Afghanistan alone is now larger than the poppy-growing acres in all the countries of Latin America combined.

    In fact, we could buy the poppies from them at Fair Trade market prices for the pharmaceutical market. The path away from fundamentalism and towards democracy is education, and the road to education is wealth. And the road to wealth is people earning a decent living.

    The next step is to focus on education, in particular of women. By Islamic tradition, for a Muslim to become a Jihadist, he needs to receive the blessing of his mother. Research shows that educated women are less likely to extend this blessing, and that a community with educated women as a result produces fewer terrorists. Remarkable, but true. Educated people also make more sceptical, better voters. The way to reach them is through maternity and health care services. In a country with an infant death rate of 15.5% that would be appreciated.

    The next step is to gradually diversify argiculture and industry. give Afghanistan favoured trading status; allow it to export value added goods. Allow it to export IT and engineering services like India already does. This sets the ground work for an industry which will allow Afghanistan to access and use its own mineral wealth.

    You start all these changes in the relatively peaceful North, where there is most public support for ISAF, and then gradually work your way South. Be prepared to spend decades on it. Less fighting, more building. Recruit Pakistan and India into it as a mechanism to get dialogue and co-operation between the two. Stop selling them weapons to fuel their mutual conflict.

  3. yodasarmpit

    yodasarmpit No longer the other Brett.

    27 May 2002
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    The UK has proposed a scheme to pay Afghan farmers to not produce poppies and to produce other less profitable crops instead
    I do like the sound of the Poppies for medicine campaign, however we then fall into the trap of selling weapons to your enemy, remember that the poppy trade heavily funds the Taliban.

    As you say though, if you increase the quality of life then you stand a better chance of winning over the hearts and minds.
  4. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

    9 Feb 2004
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    India and Pakistan are both sovereign nations that are entitled to defend themselves. If we don't sell them stuff, they can easily buy it elsewhere.

    I would agree that selling them first strike equipment might not be a good idea (nor land mines, cluster weapons etc) , but beyond that, you are naive if you think the sale of bayonets, land rovers and hawk trainers are going to unsettle the region.

    You might even argue that we are promoting the MAD principle by maintaining equilibrium.

    I would agree that we shouldn't be selling weapons to countried that pass them on to non-sovereign militias (e.g. the Taliban, the Tamil Tigers, The Real IRA etc).

    How on earth will selling small arms and equipment have a bearing on a nuclear exchange??

    I did. I said that today's ally is tomorrow's enemy. Sure we are all wishing we hadn't in hindsight, but then again, would you rather have the USSR still running Kabul.

    Besides, we funded the Mujahadeen - the Taliban drew from the Mujahadeen fighters but they were formed in 1995 - a long time after we cut our ties with them.

    You can't always anticipate the future, you just do the best you can at the time. If we hadn't
    provided arms, someone else would have done.

    But you have already conceded that we *should* have gone in:

    How far do we look back?

    The Argentinians (1982)?
    The Koreans (1950's)?
    The Germans and Japanese (WWII)?
    The French? The Spanish? The US?
    The Danes (Vikings)?
    The Italians (Romans)?

    We've fought lots of people over the centuries, but things move on. Not learning from history is foolish, but equally, remaining rooted in the past is too.

    Iraq was a monumental cock-up but a) it is not related to the situation in Afghanistan b) it came *after* Afghanistan. You could reasonably argue that when considering Iraq we didn't look back to the lessons we (should have) learned in Afghanistan two years previous.

    No arms sales to anyone? Good look mate!

    Who will sell arms to us? If we don't sell arms to others, we won't have any arms industry in this country. It's threadbare as it is. So who will sell to us?

    Did we sell the Pakistanis the nuclear technology that they sold on? No.

    Worked out great at the time - it prevented USSR from settling in the country. That was our objective at the time.

  5. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

    23 Oct 2001
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    That is positively the lamest (or most sociopathic, I haven't decided yet) argument I've heard so far. "If we don't do it, someone else will..." and "Hey, we promote MAD". I guess that was the logic behind selling to Iraq and Iran in the 1980s. At least a million people were killed. Are we winning hearts and minds yet?

    That would be almost every country then. And we don't seem to picky about regimes' human rights records either.

    Let me refresh your memory of what was actually sold:
    Yup, "small arms and equipment".

    We also funded the Taliban (do you actually read my posts?).

    Sociopathic reasoning is not a valid moral argument.

    We should have gone in with forethought and a plan beyond just dropping some bombs on the bad Arabs. Again, parallels with Iraq.

    Try 1953 onwards. The reason we remain rooted in the past is because we keep repeating it.

    Before Afghanistan and Iraq was Iran. That ought to have taught us a few things.

    Yeah, it's all good business. Really good business. I wonder if BAE supports the our lads in Afghanistan too. I guess not --they're dying due to lack of military hardware after all. Still, business is business, right?

    What? No love for us from the Americans? :p In any case, the British arms industry is far from thread-bare. BAE alone has made billions on the recent Iraq war and assorted conflicts around the world. But is the British army getting any of that action? Does it benefit the defense of the British Nation? I think not.

    My bad, that was China.

    No, that was the Mujahedin. I'm talking about the Taliban, which, as you point out above, came onto the scene later.

    The Allied forces were more concerned about the chemical warfare and state-of-the-art landmines that we had sold Iraq earlier. That money is ultimately paid for with "our heroes'" blood.

    Is it a reasonably good course of action? Show me the results.

    All I get is the argument that "If we didn't do it, someone else will sell the guns, and we can use the money". Is this the moral high ground from which you want to convert the Afghan people from the Taliban cause to the Western one?

    Let's not romanticize us: we're involved in Afghanistan for short-sighted, selfish reasons, bred through ignorance and trading in the weapons that will ultimately kill our own soldiers so that our weapons industry can make another billion.

    No, but their potential followers amongst the Afghan population still do.

    No, people are only just starting to realise that this is the way to go. Waging war against Afghanistan has always been of a lower priority for the US and UK government than the war in Iraq. There was no real plan and there has been no international commitment. After seven years it is starting to dawn that this is not a problem of showing a bit of superior firepower to some barefoot backward religious fanatics with a few old AK-47's. Too late.

    Let's find out what the locals think. These poor, barely literate people seem to have better ideas than we seem able to come up with.
    Last edited: 11 Nov 2008
  6. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

    9 Feb 2004
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    Look, at best you would be called naive or idealistic. You are back in your cynical anti-US/anti-UK/anti-Western rut again.

    We're only involved in the wider world for personal gain; if we do something wrong it's proof of our clumsy imperialist conspiracy; if we do something right, it's too little, too late. If I call up election results and ISAF documentation, you respond with the Daily Mirror and BBC's Have Your Say.

    It's a battle I can't win. Every time I score a hit, you move the goalpoast (excuse the mixed metaphor).

    Sales of nuclear weapons? - Ah, Jagaur aircraft! [*ANY* ground attack aircraft (including the Hawks you mentioned) would suffice.]

    What should we be doing? - Educational, agricultural, industrial and infrastructure programs. But we are already doing that. - Yeah but we should have done it earlier.

    What has Iraq got to do with it? - We should learn from the past.
    But Iraq came later - Well, we should learn from Iran then.

    Which countries should we sell arms to? None.
    None? We can't sell arms to anybody?? - No because every nation sell arms along to undesirables and besides, they might be our enemy in future.

    Anyway the UK/US didn't fund the Taliban, it was the Mujahadeen. - Yeah, then later it was the Taliban.

    Well I've done a quick bit of research, and I've found accounts about Iran funding the Taliban, Russia funding the Taliban and Pakistan funding the Taliban, but not the US. I did note that the US sent aid for refugees to Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, and indeed in 2001 they paid Afghanistan (i.e. the Taliban) $43m as a reward for halting opium production. However, they had merely agreed to a halt in production because they were producing so much opium that the price was dropping. Exports through Tajikistan grew considerably that year - as they Taliban continued to export their huge stockpiles.

    I don't know whether you believe all this crap or are just trying to save face, but I suspect something is wrong when an otherwise capable professional psychologist call somebody a sociopath. A long distance diagnosis?

    Anyway, I've taken this argument as far as I can. I'm not going to convince you, it's only going to get acrimonious, and besides, we've scared everyone else off.

    I'll see you on the next thread. ;)
  7. modgodtanvir

    modgodtanvir Prepare - for Mortal Bumbat!

    28 May 2007
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    Lol, thats like saying that a drug dealer should never be arrested since the junkies will find some other dude somewhere anyway. Following on from this, you suggest that selling cannabis is a bigger crime than selling heroine. :)p Druggs are bad, mmmkay)

    And on that note, the Poppies for medicine idea was quite an interesting one which I have never stumbled across... though Yoda is right in saying that the poppies give the Taliban a big turnover, which would of course hurt our interests.

    Having come into this argument a bit late, I'll ramble on with my own points, but I must say that cjmUK and Nexxo both have some valid points.

    I think we will both agree that 'our side' has ****ed up majorly in the past, and are continuing to do so in the present. However, moving away from the past and onto the present:

    Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, at a stage in its development comparable to 16th Century England (perhaps even further back). The majority of people there do not appreciate having their country occupied - all they see is burly white men blowing things up, trying to force ideals upon them that they simply do not want. Why do you think a group of sad mountain dwellers like the Taliban have remained strong over the years? They lack strength or administrative power. Compared to ANY western nation, their military strength is as sophisticated as Sarah Palin.

    But as Nexxo said, the people see security in the Taliban. The Afghan's support of the Taliban is almost exactly the same as the American's previous support for the Bush administration - they are all brainwashed to feel scared, and no matter how backwards the regime, they want the good old days back. A similar thing is going on in Pakistan, with the upheaval of Musharraf- not by the parliament - but by the people, who practically forced him to resign. And in favour, they brought the PPP, who are 'good old Pakistan', nice and anti-western, strike loving, non-negotiating hardball players.

    So what do we do? There would be little sense in trying to force ideals upon people who do not want them, however much the BBC may suggest they do. Whilst it is true that I am solidly against war - especially war for the greedy purposes we have demonstrated over the past century, and I don't think we should be destroying anyone's country, I feel for our boys out there who are risking it - fighting for their country, against something they perceive to be a threat.

    Today is 11/11, and at 11 o'Clock today, I stopped what I was doing and thought long about the souls who have fought for our great nation over the years. I thought long after the trumpet stopped echoing, and I realised that I, and indeed the world owes so much to the brave soldiers who have lost their lives on the battlefield - be they wielding Enfields or M-16s. Though it is due, I don't think cynicism and criticism will stop the current wars - we need action from the people at the top. And as for the people at the top... God knows what they're thinking...
    Last edited: 11 Nov 2008
  8. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

    23 Oct 2001
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    I could argue that you are in your Great White Father Western Imperialist mode. Afghanistan is screwed so we are going to make it better? Talk about a God complex. How is it up to us to 'save' other countries? What makes you think that we can?

    You are deliberately distorting the argument now. You argued that we're in Afghanistan for their greater good and that we are doing a good job. You argued that we only sold small arms to Pakistan and India. I'm offering you documented proof to the contrary. You may sneer at the sources, but the facts don't lie.

    Iraq came before Afghhanistan. I told you to go back to 1953. How did Saddam get into power again? How did a fundamentalist regime seize control in Iran? You're just refusing to connect the dots because you don't like the picture. It is your ignorance that you are exposing, not mine.

    I'm glad you got that now.

    They funded both. Keep them separate.

    You forget the $125 million in humanitarian aid already provided to the country in the same year, making the US the world's single largest donor to Afghanistan. Rest assured the money went straight to the Taliban, and not to the impoverished, starving population.

    In the 80's, the US funded an "education programme" for Afghanistan which supplied it with millions of schoolbooks preaching and teaching Islamic militancy (the U.S. Agency for International Development gave $51 million in grants to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies to develop these texts that preached the glory of jihad and guns). Books were filled with violent images of war; primers from which boys learned math by counting pictures of soldiers, tanks, guns and land mines. The Purpose: Create a generation of militant Islamic freedom fighters who would rise up and run the godless Soviet communist forces out of Afghanistan. Which they did. Then they stuck around.

    Those texts went on to become the Taliban's schoolbooks of choice, but we didn't find out about it until the Washington Post broke the story in 2002 ("From U.S., the ABC's of Jihad; Violent Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate Afghan Education Efforts" by Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway. That source reputable enough for you?). The books were still being shipped to Afghanistan until President Clinton's advisers halted the program in 1994. In January, 2002, the United Nations education agency, UNICEF, finally began printing new demilitarized textbooks.

    Meanwhile the CIA encouraged Islamic groups from all over the world to come to Afghanistan. The US provided $3 billion for building up these Islamic groups, and it accepted Pakistan's demand that they should decide how this money should be spent --which was poured into the Pakistan Madrassas of Afghan refugees that were the birth place of the Taliban.

    Now stop throwing a paddy just because I have a rebuttal for each of your arguments. And yes, "It's OK to do this harmful act because if I don't, someone else will anyway" is sociopathic reasoning. Whether that makes you a sociopath is for you to decide. What I'm considering is how it makes us look to the people in whose best interests we claim to be acting, and who we are trying to convince that we are morally better, more trustworthy and more caring than those psychopaths called the Taliban. Hearts and minds: are we winning them yet?
    Last edited: 12 Nov 2008

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