Author Topic: Economic Reparations from China?  (Read 2008 times)

GuitarStv

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #50 on: March 30, 2020, 11:27:59 AM »

I don't believe the US intelligence community has ever had an intent to keep the world safe from anything.  Mountains of historical evidence certainly doesn't seem to agree with that claim.


It is fairly clear that the FBI and CIA have partnered with allies to help prevent terrorist attacks. If you prefer to be selective with CIA/FBI history so you can hold in your mind a mustache twirling cartoon villain version of the US, so be it. But you should know that this same willful ignorance of inconvenient facts makes you no different than your ideological opponents who ignore their own set of inconvenient facts.


Which terror attacks in particular are you referring to that have been prevented?  Can you list them?  I'm quite willing to

Certainly, I don't think the US is an evil country on the whole . . . but the actions of the CIA in the world have been evil for a very long time - with an extensive history and pattern of overthrowing peaceful and/or democratic governments to institute brutal dictators who have committed atrocities.  Like not once or twice, or a dozen times.  It's a constant and regular pattern in  US history.  The US military currently commits acts of terrorism with impunity in northern Pakistan, regularly murdering civilians via drone strike in their attempt to "get terrorists".  The CIA was extensively involved in kidnapping innocent civlians from around the world and then arbitrarily detaining/torturing/raping/murdering them (a job currently taken over and run by the US military).

The reason I asked you to list the prevented terrorist acts is that nothing I've seen or read indicates they have come close to outweighing the damage caused.  But I'm certainly open to new facts or information if you've got some you would like to bring up.

Well, if you'd like a very specific example where the US received direct credit, here.

https://www.cnn.com/2016/04/21/politics/us-soldier-saves-denmark-school/index.html

OK.  So, how many people were in the school?  A hundred?  Does that outweigh . . . oh . . . I dunno . . . how about the time the US overthrew the democratically elected government in Chile and put Pinochet in power?  Not only put him in power, but made sure he stayed there with Operation Condor:

"a United States-backed campaign of political repression and state terror involving intelligence operations and assassination of opponents"  - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Condor

I can provide dozens of similar examples.  My argument wasn't that the US never does anything good . . . just that on the balance, I don't believe the CIA's actions have been an international force for good in the world.



But in general the way it works is that, similar to regular defense,  US intelligence plays an outsized role in global counterterrorism intelligence compared to its allies (our annual intelligence budget is about 60 billion compared to, say, Germany at just under 1 billion).

And since we track the movements of the terrorists we surveil, and we share pertinent information with our allied counterparts, it can be reasonably assumed there was significant contribution from US intelligence in many of these foiled plots.

The US definitely spends more money on any branch of it's military than any other country in the world - agreed.

A large chunk of this "anti-terrorism" money was at one point (or still is) spent running illegal torture facilities like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, kidnapping innocent people, etc.  You'll have to explain to me how that benefited anyone (other than those recruiting terrorist - it has certainly been a big boon to them.  Basically a whole bunch of free advertising and recruitment).



And what we do in Pakistan et all is NOT terrorism. Misuse of the word is getting tiring. You can make the point that the US kills innocent civilians as collateral damage when we target those we suspect to be terrorists. But the crucial distinction is that we ACCEPT some civilian casualties as opposed to intentionally targeting civilians, which is what would make it terrorism.

This isn't that difficult of a distinction to make. Perhaps it is not so much that the distinction is difficult to understand, but that the word is so negatively perceived that people have a motive to classify non-terrorist things they don't like as terrorism (such as US drone strikes) while rejecting the definition when it is accurately used to describe terrorism committed by a group they are sympathetic to such as the ANC/MK.

As Abe Lincoln said, how many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg? 4, because calling it a leg doesn't make it a leg.

I'm not sure if I've got your definitions correct.  You're arguing that the 9/11 attack on the pentagon was not an act of terrorism then?  It was after all, a military target.  People on the plane were collateral damage.

Personally, I'd have called it terrorism but I don't want to misuse the word.

J Boogie

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #51 on: March 30, 2020, 01:18:48 PM »
I'm not sure if I've got your definitions correct.  You're arguing that the 9/11 attack on the pentagon was not an act of terrorism then?  It was after all, a military target.  People on the plane were collateral damage.

Personally, I'd have called it terrorism but I don't want to misuse the word.

The Pentagon is a great example where you could make an good argument either way.

On one hand, the Pentagon is an administrative building full of administrative workers. Terrorism.

On the other hand, it's a very valuable target to aim for from a military perspective. Tactical warfare.

However given that it was part of a broader terrorist attack it becomes harder to argue that it wasn't terrorism.

nereo

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #52 on: March 30, 2020, 01:28:38 PM »
I'm not sure if I've got your definitions correct.  You're arguing that the 9/11 attack on the pentagon was not an act of terrorism then?  It was after all, a military target.  People on the plane were collateral damage.

Personally, I'd have called it terrorism but I don't want to misuse the word.

The Pentagon is a great example where you could make an good argument either way.

On one hand, the Pentagon is an administrative building full of administrative workers. Terrorism.

On the other hand, it's a very valuable target to aim for from a military perspective. Tactical warfare.

However given that it was part of a broader terrorist attack it becomes harder to argue that it wasn't terrorism.

The pentagon wasn’t an original target. Seems three hijackers just decided to “put it down there” (per the cockpit recorder) to kill a bunch of people symbolically.

By a fortunate circumstance the wedge they hit was almost entirely abandoned as it was completing renovations. Had they actually targeted an actively occupied section the casualties on the ground would have been several times higher.

To;dr - intent matters too.

J Boogie

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #53 on: March 30, 2020, 01:31:38 PM »
My argument wasn't that the US never does anything good . . . just that on the balance, I don't believe the CIA's actions have been an international force for good in the world.

..And I'd agree with that more or less.

But your statement was:

"I don't believe the US intelligence community has ever had an intent to keep the world safe from anything"

And you reference the misguided meddling and torturing we've done. We agree they have committed evil acts, but maybe at the heart of our disagreement is that I view humans in a more complex way. I think the vast majority of the CIA and FBI are acting with the intention of keeping the world safe from violent Islamists, violent Marxists, etc.

Or maybe there's something I'm missing. What do you think their intentions are?

J Boogie

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #54 on: March 30, 2020, 01:33:50 PM »
I'm not sure if I've got your definitions correct.  You're arguing that the 9/11 attack on the pentagon was not an act of terrorism then?  It was after all, a military target.  People on the plane were collateral damage.

Personally, I'd have called it terrorism but I don't want to misuse the word.

The Pentagon is a great example where you could make an good argument either way.

On one hand, the Pentagon is an administrative building full of administrative workers. Terrorism.

On the other hand, it's a very valuable target to aim for from a military perspective. Tactical warfare.

However given that it was part of a broader terrorist attack it becomes harder to argue that it wasn't terrorism.

The pentagon wasn’t an original target. Seems three hijackers just decided to “put it down there” (per the cockpit recorder) to kill a bunch of people symbolically.

By a fortunate circumstance the wedge they hit was almost entirely abandoned as it was completing renovations. Had they actually targeted an actively occupied section the casualties on the ground would have been several times higher.

To;dr - intent matters too.

You must think we have short attention spans to TLDR a couple sentences :)

But yes, it was a symbolic target and yes, intention is a key part of the definition of terrorism.

GuitarStv

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #55 on: March 30, 2020, 02:16:18 PM »
My argument wasn't that the US never does anything good . . . just that on the balance, I don't believe the CIA's actions have been an international force for good in the world.

..And I'd agree with that more or less.

But your statement was:

"I don't believe the US intelligence community has ever had an intent to keep the world safe from anything"

Fair enough.  That statement was hyperbole.  I could have chosen my words better there.


And you reference the misguided meddling and torturing we've done. We agree they have committed evil acts, but maybe at the heart of our disagreement is that I view humans in a more complex way. I think the vast majority of the CIA and FBI are acting with the intention of keeping the world safe from violent Islamists, violent Marxists, etc.

Or maybe there's something I'm missing. What do you think their intentions are?

Once you start doing evil things, intentions don't matter.  I don't think you can ever justify atrocity based on 'good intentions' . . . so don't really care what the intentions of the person committing the atrocity are.

Not to Godwin the thread here, but Hitler's Nazis had 'good intentions'.  They wanted to better their country and race.  When the US put Pinochet in power and then helped to assassinate and terrorize his political opponents to keep him in power they did it for 'good intentions', just as I'm sure the people who OK'd the raping and torturing of the civilians that America kidnapped and imprisoned in the middle east had 'good intentions' of stopping terrorism (somehow?) but those intentions don't change the fundamental wrongness of what was done.

Ends do not justify means . . . and certainly intentions don't.  You can call that simplistic if you want.  I'd argue it's a pretty defensible moral stance.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2020, 02:21:15 PM by GuitarStv »

runbikerun

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #56 on: March 30, 2020, 02:18:08 PM »
My argument wasn't that the US never does anything good . . . just that on the balance, I don't believe the CIA's actions have been an international force for good in the world.

..And I'd agree with that more or less.

But your statement was:

"I don't believe the US intelligence community has ever had an intent to keep the world safe from anything"

And you reference the misguided meddling and torturing we've done. We agree they have committed evil acts, but maybe at the heart of our disagreement is that I view humans in a more complex way. I think the vast majority of the CIA and FBI are acting with the intention of keeping the world safe from violent Islamists, violent Marxists, etc.

Or maybe there's something I'm missing. What do you think their intentions are?

I don't think the CIA give a flying fuck about keeping the world safe. They care deeply about keeping America safe, but would let the rest of the world burn if they thought it marginally increased American safety. They have a long and vicious history of actively supporting whatever murderous bastard they thought would keep out the communists, and following 9/11 they changed policies to actively supporting whatever murderous bastard they thought would keep Islamists out.

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #57 on: March 30, 2020, 03:05:52 PM »
My argument wasn't that the US never does anything good . . . just that on the balance, I don't believe the CIA's actions have been an international force for good in the world.

..And I'd agree with that more or less.

But your statement was:

"I don't believe the US intelligence community has ever had an intent to keep the world safe from anything"

Fair enough.  That statement was hyperbole.  I could have chosen my words better there.


And you reference the misguided meddling and torturing we've done. We agree they have committed evil acts, but maybe at the heart of our disagreement is that I view humans in a more complex way. I think the vast majority of the CIA and FBI are acting with the intention of keeping the world safe from violent Islamists, violent Marxists, etc.

Or maybe there's something I'm missing. What do you think their intentions are?

Once you start doing evil things, intentions don't matter.  I don't think you can ever justify atrocity based on 'good intentions' . . . so don't really care what the intentions of the person committing the atrocity are.

Not to Godwin the thread here, but Hitler's Nazis had 'good intentions'.  They wanted to better their country and race.  When the US put Pinochet in power and then helped to assassinate and terrorize his political opponents to keep him in power they did it for 'good intentions', just as I'm sure the people who OK'd the raping and torturing of the civilians that America kidnapped and imprisoned in the middle east had 'good intentions' of stopping terrorism (somehow?) but those intentions don't change the fundamental wrongness of what was done.

Ends do not justify means . . . and certainly intentions don't.  You can call that simplistic if you want.  I'd argue it's a pretty defensible moral stance.

Well, we're on the same page then. I am a firm believer that ends do not justify means as well.

You misunderstand me as believing that good intentions can justify evil actions.

To the contrary, I believe in taking a good close look at those who have done evil and refusing to write them off as inhuman monsters or cartoon villains. Rather, we can try to understand their intentions, imagine we are in their shoes, and try to identify any impulses and justifications that we are quick to make for ourselves that we would readily see as evil if they were to do it.




J Boogie

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #58 on: March 30, 2020, 03:20:57 PM »
My argument wasn't that the US never does anything good . . . just that on the balance, I don't believe the CIA's actions have been an international force for good in the world.

..And I'd agree with that more or less.

But your statement was:

"I don't believe the US intelligence community has ever had an intent to keep the world safe from anything"

And you reference the misguided meddling and torturing we've done. We agree they have committed evil acts, but maybe at the heart of our disagreement is that I view humans in a more complex way. I think the vast majority of the CIA and FBI are acting with the intention of keeping the world safe from violent Islamists, violent Marxists, etc.

Or maybe there's something I'm missing. What do you think their intentions are?

I don't think the CIA give a flying fuck about keeping the world safe. They care deeply about keeping America safe, but would let the rest of the world burn if they thought it marginally increased American safety. They have a long and vicious history of actively supporting whatever murderous bastard they thought would keep out the communists, and following 9/11 they changed policies to actively supporting whatever murderous bastard they thought would keep Islamists out.

I'd like to challenge your assumption.

I agree the CIA and FBI prioritize the safety of the US (as they should), but the idea that they're fine with the rest of the world (which includes our allies) burning is a completely unsupported claim. Your recollection of their history is not false, but it does not support the thesis that US foreign policy is purely self serving. In fact, it kind of invalidates it. It could much easier be argued that the US has tried so hard to fend off communism and islamism BECAUSE it regards these worldviews as detrimental to the wellbeing of people all over the world. Granted, things are better for the US if more nations practice democratic capitalism, but definitely not better to the tune of the hundreds of billions the US military has dedicated towards regime change and counterterrorism.

runbikerun

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #59 on: March 30, 2020, 03:49:50 PM »
That would be a reasonable argument in defence of a country which had accidentally supported one or two bastards over an otherwise unblemished record of positive foreign policy. It does not work as a defence of a country which has supported dozens of the worst leaders in modern history.

You think the US government really believed that the Argentine junta butchering fifty thousand of its political opponents was the ethical option? Or that it really believed the Shah of Iran would be better than Mohammed Mossadegh? Or that Salvador Allende was so awful that Pinochet was a more moral leader? Manuel Noriega? Baby Doc Duvalier? Batista in Cuba? The Contras? Castillo Armas in Guatemala? US diplomats providing a list of five thousand communists to Suharto in Indonesia for them to be killed?

You think the US pushed for the World Food Program to feed thousands of Khmer Rouge soldiers for a full decade after they'd murdered a quarter of the population of Cambodia because they want to keep everyone safe?

J Boogie

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #60 on: March 30, 2020, 04:20:34 PM »
If you find body counts to be a compelling factor, than perhaps the US can be somewhat vindicated in its overzealousness of opposing marxism.

The puppets the US has propped up truly pale in comparison to the death machines of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.

runbikerun

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #61 on: March 30, 2020, 04:38:20 PM »
If you find body counts to be a compelling factor, than perhaps the US can be somewhat vindicated in its overzealousness of opposing marxism.

The puppets the US has propped up truly pale in comparison to the death machines of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.

The US fed Pol Pot's army for over a decade after they'd butchered two million Cambodians. They even made sure that Cambodia's seat at the UN was taken by the Khmer Rouge after they'd been pushed out of Cambodia, and did everything they could to prevent food aid getting to Cambodian civilians.

The United States government actively supported, fed and financed one of the worst regimes in history well after their crimes were public knowledge purely because the Cambodian people had the effrontery to be rescued by the Vietnamese.
« Last Edit: Today at 06:09:18 AM by runbikerun »

PKFFW

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #62 on: March 30, 2020, 05:59:42 PM »
To the contrary, I believe in taking a good close look at those who have done evil and refusing to write them off as inhuman monsters or cartoon villains. Rather, we can try to understand their intentions, imagine we are in their shoes, and try to identify any impulses and justifications that we are quick to make for ourselves that we would readily see as evil if they were to do it.
Firstly, let me say, I am actually an USA citizen.  I believe the USA has done a remarkable amount of good in the world.  I also believe taking a "good close look at those who have done evil" and honestly admitting when one's own has done so, does not in any way absolve others who have also done evil.  It is not an either/or proposition.  The fact Islamists/Marxists/Stalinists/Communists/whoever, have done evil should not be used as an excuse to not acknowledge the evil done by the USA/UK/Catholics/Democrats/whoever.  Further, it is not a comparative contest either.  That is to say, that the USA may arguably have done less evil than Islamists et al, does not make the evil the USA has done any more justifiable or excusable.

I'm sorry but your comments clearly indicate that you have not taken "a good close look at those who have done evil....".

Whether you intend to or not, you are essentially giving a free pass to the USA because you believe their intentions are good.  The USA has a very long history of intentionally targeting civilians to further political aims.  South America is rife with examples of intentionally targeting political and civilian targets.

If that isn't enough, Hiroshima was specifically chosen as a target to drop a frigging atomic bomb on because it had not been previously targeted and therefore was still densely populated both structurally and with people.  The target selection committee minutes clearly indicate the two primary reasons were "to scare the Japanese population into surrendering and to show the world the power of the atomic bomb".  That goes far beyond "accepting civilian losses as collateral damage but having good intentions".  The USA deliberately targeted a densely populated civilian target specifically to instil terror, not only in the Japanese, but in the rest of the world.

I suggest you actually read a bit of history if you truly want to "take a good close look at those who have done evil.....".

GuitarStv

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #63 on: March 30, 2020, 06:52:20 PM »
I was wondering if anyone would bring up Hiroshima.  That was arguably the biggest act of terror ever intentionally inflicted on a civilian population.  Very rarely mentioned when we talk about terrorists though.

ender

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #64 on: March 30, 2020, 08:10:22 PM »
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

I'm curious what you all would define "terrorism" as because I'm pretty sure this whole discussion involves disagreement on that term.

PKFFW

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #65 on: March 30, 2020, 08:26:15 PM »
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

I'm curious what you all would define "terrorism" as because I'm pretty sure this whole discussion involves disagreement on that term.
I think the disagreement involves the changing definition to suit the circumstances and not that there is disagreement as to what terrorism is.

Eg:  Not terrorism if the intent isn't to directly target civilians.  When shown that the USA has intentionally targeted civilians, for example in many South American countries while overthrowing democratically elected governments and installing USA friendly dictators, the definition is changed to whether the intent is to keep the USA safe and whether more or less people were killed compared to some bogey man.

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #66 on: Today at 05:05:10 AM »
And what we do in Pakistan et all is NOT terrorism. Misuse of the word is getting tiring. You can make the point that the US kills innocent civilians as collateral damage when we target those we suspect to be terrorists. But the crucial distinction is that we ACCEPT some civilian casualties as opposed to intentionally targeting civilians, which is what would make it terrorism.
Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't it that there are no collaterals of drone strikes anymore since last year, as anyone killed by a drone strike is automatically a combatant?

And if you "ACCEPT some civilian casualties" how does it came that the vast majority killed by those attacks are civilians?
Why do you think it helps fighting terrorism to bomb weddings and funerals (yes, plural)?
And even if you believe that - in the world trade center 3000 people died. About 100 times more civilians have been killed by the US reaction, even more if you count ISIS in it (which came into power thanks to the US fighting Taliban, who were armed, trained and financed by the CIA btw).

Does that mean you think it is okay to kill 100 times more innocent people than your opponent as long as you are on the "right" side?


J Boogie

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #67 on: Today at 08:31:15 AM »
To the contrary, I believe in taking a good close look at those who have done evil and refusing to write them off as inhuman monsters or cartoon villains. Rather, we can try to understand their intentions, imagine we are in their shoes, and try to identify any impulses and justifications that we are quick to make for ourselves that we would readily see as evil if they were to do it.
Firstly, let me say, I am actually an USA citizen.  I believe the USA has done a remarkable amount of good in the world.  I also believe taking a "good close look at those who have done evil" and honestly admitting when one's own has done so, does not in any way absolve others who have also done evil.  It is not an either/or proposition.  The fact Islamists/Marxists/Stalinists/Communists/whoever, have done evil should not be used as an excuse to not acknowledge the evil done by the USA/UK/Catholics/Democrats/whoever.  Further, it is not a comparative contest either.  That is to say, that the USA may arguably have done less evil than Islamists et al, does not make the evil the USA has done any more justifiable or excusable.

I'm sorry but your comments clearly indicate that you have not taken "a good close look at those who have done evil....".

Whether you intend to or not, you are essentially giving a free pass to the USA because you believe their intentions are good.  The USA has a very long history of intentionally targeting civilians to further political aims.  South America is rife with examples of intentionally targeting political and civilian targets.

If that isn't enough, Hiroshima was specifically chosen as a target to drop a frigging atomic bomb on because it had not been previously targeted and therefore was still densely populated both structurally and with people.  The target selection committee minutes clearly indicate the two primary reasons were "to scare the Japanese population into surrendering and to show the world the power of the atomic bomb".  That goes far beyond "accepting civilian losses as collateral damage but having good intentions".  The USA deliberately targeted a densely populated civilian target specifically to instil terror, not only in the Japanese, but in the rest of the world.

I suggest you actually read a bit of history if you truly want to "take a good close look at those who have done evil.....".

I suggest you actually read what I've written here.

I have NOT communicated that the US deserves a free pass because their intentions were good. From the beginning I have simply rejected the illogical 2 dimensional view that the US intelligence community somehow would not regard itself to be a force for worldwide good.

I agree with most here saying the US has done loads of evil and it is not justifiable by good intentions.

My point is that we should try to UNDERSTAND the intentions of those who commit evil, and if they state them, not to dismiss them as lies without much thought.  I present this same argument when I debate neoconservatives who dismiss or never bothered to read Bin Laden's stated intentions for 9/11.

One reason for extending this understanding is to learn from the ethical and moral shortcomings of our predecessors, rather than simply repeat them in different circumstances. This understanding allows us to see that regular humans like us can wind up choosing evil if we don't think deeply about what we're doing.

I suspect the reason I might be coming off as blind to the atrocities the US has committed is tied in with my insistence on correct, dictionary based use of the word terrorism. My point isn't that the US has never committed terrorism. It's simply a rejection of the goalpost-moving that goes on between sides who like to use the word as a proxy to mean "the bad guys" and a very reasonable request that we use words according to their definition.

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #68 on: Today at 08:46:08 AM »
And what we do in Pakistan et all is NOT terrorism. Misuse of the word is getting tiring. You can make the point that the US kills innocent civilians as collateral damage when we target those we suspect to be terrorists. But the crucial distinction is that we ACCEPT some civilian casualties as opposed to intentionally targeting civilians, which is what would make it terrorism.
Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't it that there are no collaterals of drone strikes anymore since last year, as anyone killed by a drone strike is automatically a combatant?

And if you "ACCEPT some civilian casualties" how does it came that the vast majority killed by those attacks are civilians?
Why do you think it helps fighting terrorism to bomb weddings and funerals (yes, plural)?
And even if you believe that - in the world trade center 3000 people died. About 100 times more civilians have been killed by the US reaction, even more if you count ISIS in it (which came into power thanks to the US fighting Taliban, who were armed, trained and financed by the CIA btw).

Does that mean you think it is okay to kill 100 times more innocent people than your opponent as long as you are on the "right" side?

No, I'm not talking about okay vs not okay. I'm not talking about right side or wrong side. I'm not talking about the failures of US foreign policy and trying to gloss over them.

I'm talking about the dictionary and how it has a definition for a word. If the US intentionally kills civilians as part of a strategy to frighten and intimidate political enemies, then it is committing terrorism. If it creates a database of targets known to use violence or support those using violence against the US, and kills the civilians who happen to be nearby when the drone strikes the target, then it's not terrorism. I'm not making a moral judgment, I'm just attempting to describe things according to the dictionary.

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #69 on: Today at 08:51:48 AM »
I'm talking about the dictionary and how it has a definition for a word. If the US intentionally kills civilians as part of a strategy to frighten and intimidate political enemies, then it is committing terrorism. If it creates a database of targets known to use violence or support those using violence against the US, and kills the civilians who happen to be nearby when the drone strikes the target, then it's not terrorism. I'm not making a moral judgment, I'm just attempting to describe things according to the dictionary.


Given your insistence on correct, dictionary based use of the word terrorism . . . do you refer to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States as a terrorist act?  It was a targeted attack against civilians with the goal of achieving political aims (the surrender of Japan).

Or the US capture and illegal incarceration (without due process or evidence) of civilians (including children) from around the world?  That's a targeted attack against civilians, and all the actions taken by the US captors (religious/sexual degradation, rape, torture, murder) would seem to indicate that terror rather than information or military advantage was the goal.

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #70 on: Today at 09:24:50 AM »
I'm talking about the dictionary and how it has a definition for a word. If the US intentionally kills civilians as part of a strategy to frighten and intimidate political enemies, then it is committing terrorism. If it creates a database of targets known to use violence or support those using violence against the US, and kills the civilians who happen to be nearby when the drone strikes the target, then it's not terrorism. I'm not making a moral judgment, I'm just attempting to describe things according to the dictionary.


Given your insistence on correct, dictionary based use of the word terrorism . . . do you refer to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States as a terrorist act?  It was a targeted attack against civilians with the goal of achieving political aims (the surrender of Japan).

Or the US capture and illegal incarceration (without due process or evidence) of civilians (including children) from around the world?  That's a targeted attack against civilians, and all the actions taken by the US captors (religious/sexual degradation, rape, torture, murder) would seem to indicate that terror rather than information or military advantage was the goal.
There was a formal, legal war between two states, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki were actions by one State against another State it was at war with.  In legal terms that makes them a potential war crime rather than terrorism.

My father was a conscript in the Royal Navy and under orders to join the war against Japan in July/August 1945.  I am grateful he did not have to go.

J Boogie

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #71 on: Today at 09:37:04 AM »
I'm talking about the dictionary and how it has a definition for a word. If the US intentionally kills civilians as part of a strategy to frighten and intimidate political enemies, then it is committing terrorism. If it creates a database of targets known to use violence or support those using violence against the US, and kills the civilians who happen to be nearby when the drone strikes the target, then it's not terrorism. I'm not making a moral judgment, I'm just attempting to describe things according to the dictionary.


Given your insistence on correct, dictionary based use of the word terrorism . . . do you refer to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States as a terrorist act?  It was a targeted attack against civilians with the goal of achieving political aims (the surrender of Japan).

Or the US capture and illegal incarceration (without due process or evidence) of civilians (including children) from around the world?  That's a targeted attack against civilians, and all the actions taken by the US captors (religious/sexual degradation, rape, torture, murder) would seem to indicate that terror rather than information or military advantage was the goal.

Yes, probably, to the first, no, probably not, to the second. I don't think you can make a very compelling argument that extraordinary renditions are typically conducted to terrorize. Your claim seems to be that CIA/FBI officials' stated reason for "enhanced interrogation" techniques is not actually gaining intel, but rather terrorize.

You might be right about the effect, as no solid evidence has emerged that torture leads to good intel (and indeed, if there is no intel to gain, then you will certainly get bad intel from those wishing to make the torture stop). But given that the CIA/FBI have little to gain OTHER than intel using these renderings, there isn't much to support a theory that they are using extraordinary rendition to terrorize.

The difference might be that the US renders and tortures suspects, ie people they believe are likely to be violent insurgents who would have intel, whereas terrorism involves random civilians.

GuitarStv

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #72 on: Today at 10:08:47 AM »
I'm talking about the dictionary and how it has a definition for a word. If the US intentionally kills civilians as part of a strategy to frighten and intimidate political enemies, then it is committing terrorism. If it creates a database of targets known to use violence or support those using violence against the US, and kills the civilians who happen to be nearby when the drone strikes the target, then it's not terrorism. I'm not making a moral judgment, I'm just attempting to describe things according to the dictionary.


Given your insistence on correct, dictionary based use of the word terrorism . . . do you refer to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States as a terrorist act?  It was a targeted attack against civilians with the goal of achieving political aims (the surrender of Japan).

Or the US capture and illegal incarceration (without due process or evidence) of civilians (including children) from around the world?  That's a targeted attack against civilians, and all the actions taken by the US captors (religious/sexual degradation, rape, torture, murder) would seem to indicate that terror rather than information or military advantage was the goal.

Yes, probably, to the first, no, probably not, to the second. I don't think you can make a very compelling argument that extraordinary renditions are typically conducted to terrorize. Your claim seems to be that CIA/FBI officials' stated reason for "enhanced interrogation" techniques is not actually gaining intel, but rather terrorize.

You might be right about the effect, as no solid evidence has emerged that torture leads to good intel (and indeed, if there is no intel to gain, then you will certainly get bad intel from those wishing to make the torture stop). But given that the CIA/FBI have little to gain OTHER than intel using these renderings, there isn't much to support a theory that they are using extraordinary rendition to terrorize.

The difference might be that the US renders and tortures suspects, ie people they believe are likely to be violent insurgents who would have intel, whereas terrorism involves random civilians.

For the majority of the 50,000 inmates at Abu Grahib, credible evidence was never provided of any connection to terrorism.

Of the 775 put into Guantanamo Bay, 86% were not captured by American troops in any kind of battle . . . they were purchased by a bounty that the US offered.  Anyone in a poor country who wanted to make a few thousand US dollars could turn in someone they didn't like.  No questions asked.  Of all the Guantanamo Bay prisoners, only 8 have been convicted of anything (by illegitimate tribunals).  Of these 8, 3 were reversed.

The overwhelming majority of people in both cases were innocent civilians.


If the intent was not to terrorize, what exactly would the point of this be:






 . . . and a whole bunch of very explicit sexual torture and rape.  As you mentioned, there has been no report of actionable intelligence received by doing this.  It has been known for a long time that torture doesn't work to get intelligence anyway.  So why then was this done?

I don't believe it was an accident.  I don't believe the common/widespread taking and release of images was an accident.  That would imply a shocking level of stupidity/incompetence on the part of the entire US military.  I think the intent was pretty clear - it was to terrorize civilians with the aim of cowing the world into a fear of the US.

LennStar

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #73 on: Today at 10:21:12 AM »
Quote
From the beginning I have simply rejected the illogical 2 dimensional view that the US intelligence community somehow would not regard itself to be a force for worldwide good.

Instead you are suggesting that the many CIA employees all suffer under an immense cognitive dissonance while believing, contrary to blatantly visible facts, they do good?

Quote
and kills the civilians who happen to be nearby when the drone strikes the target, then it's not terrorism.

You are right. That is called a war crime. (Which may be the reason why the US is totally opposed to any international war crime or human rights legal institutions. Ever heard of the "Hague Invasion Law" (nickname) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Service-Members%27_Protection_Act

runbikerun

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #74 on: Today at 01:04:10 PM »
On the seventeenth of April, 1975, the Khmer Rouge marched into Phnom Penh, and declared at one o'clock that the city of two million inhabitants be abandoned. The sick and the infirm were forced from hospital beds at gunpoint; surgeons were forced to abandon patients mid-operation; orphaned babies were left abandoned in the Phnom Penh paediatric centre. This was the first day of Year Zero in what was renamed Democratic Kampuchea.

Over the course of the following four years, approximately a fifth of the population of Cambodia died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, led by Brother Number One, Pol Pot. People who lived in cities were executed as "economic saboteurs"; people with educations, people with more than one language were executed as "bourgeoisie"; people who wore glasses were assumed to be literate and therefore deserving of execution. What happened in Cambodia in those four years is almost without parallel in recorded history; survivors recall people being executed for smiling at each other. In Tuol Sleng prison, where seventeen thousand people were incarcerated over the duration of the Khmer Rouge's regime, twelve people are known to have survived. It wasn't a prison in any meaningful sense; it was a death factory. The entire population was forced into agricultural labour camps, where hundreds of thousands of people starved; anyone caught picking wild fruit was guilty of private enterprise and executed.

By 1978, as a result of waves of refugees fleeing into Vietnam, relations between the two countries collapsed, and Pol Pot ordered a preemptive invasion. Unsurprisingly, given that the Vietnamese had spent the previous decade or so fighting the United States military, they were battle-hardened and well equipped; it took them about a month to force the Khmer Rouge into the mountains near the Thai border.

This is where the United States comes in.

The new Vietnamese-installed government never took its seat at the United Nations; instead, the Khmer Rouge were officially classed as the legitimate government of Kampuchea by most Western governments, led by the USA and the UK. This continued until 1993; incredibly, when Vietnam proposed a full withdrawal in return for the exclusion of the Khmer Rouge from any government, the offer was rejected. Thanks to this decision, aid from the World Food Programme was handed over to the Khmer Rouge, to sustain their troops while their victims starved to death. Meanwhile, American government agencies disseminated stories to the effect that the famine killing people in Cambodia was the fault of the Vietnamese occupiers. All this was because the Cambodians had the misfortune to be rescued from the Khmer Rouge by the wrong people.

Fifteen years. Fifteen fucking years of feeding an army that committed one of the worst genocides in history while starving their surviving victims. It would have been a moral failure of historic proportions to side with the Khmer Rouge for a single day, and the American government did it for a decade and a half. Go and stand in the killing fields outside Phnom Penh, see the bone fragments coming up through the soil of unmarked mass graves, see the tree where the Khmer Rouge smashed in the heads of newborns, and then remember that the people who did this were fed at the orders of American government officials for fifteen years. Then see how comfortable you feel claiming that US foreign policy is driven by altruism.

J Boogie

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #75 on: Today at 01:49:31 PM »
. . . and a whole bunch of very explicit sexual torture and rape.  As you mentioned, there has been no report of actionable intelligence received by doing this.  It has been known for a long time that torture doesn't work to get intelligence anyway.  So why then was this done?

I don't believe it was an accident.  I don't believe the common/widespread taking and release of images was an accident.  That would imply a shocking level of stupidity/incompetence on the part of the entire US military.  I think the intent was pretty clear - it was to terrorize civilians with the aim of cowing the world into a fear of the US.

I think the excesses of these prisoner camps have a lot more to do with the damaging effect that a confusing and never ending war can have on the psyche of a soldier who is given official terms of engagement on one hand but tacitly encouraged to be a ruthless and relentless devil dog on the other hand. I think the official top brass doesn't look the other way because they think these atrocities are helpful to US interests; I think they look the other way because they know deep down inside the US has pulled a bait and switch on its soldiers. The recruiting methods are totally suspect: pre-game pageantry and video game violence.

So I disagree not only that the Abu Ghraib intent is intimidating the world, but that there was much intent there in the first place. I think the soldiers who committed those atrocities did so due to quite senselessly because their mental health had been completely depleted. The spread of the images occurred because these mentally ill soldiers regarded them as trophies, not because the top brass wanted to strike fear into the hearts of everyone in the Middle East.

I'd recommend reading any of the books of Andrew Bacevich.

J Boogie

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #76 on: Today at 01:52:36 PM »
Quote
From the beginning I have simply rejected the illogical 2 dimensional view that the US intelligence community somehow would not regard itself to be a force for worldwide good.

Instead you are suggesting that the many CIA employees all suffer under an immense cognitive dissonance while believing, contrary to blatantly visible facts, they do good?

Most people are under the impression they are having a positive impact. Even dictators. It usually requires something of a bogeyman to believe this.

You must not understand human psychology very well to believe that these 50,000 employees think their work is evil.

GuitarStv

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #77 on: Today at 02:25:17 PM »
. . . and a whole bunch of very explicit sexual torture and rape.  As you mentioned, there has been no report of actionable intelligence received by doing this.  It has been known for a long time that torture doesn't work to get intelligence anyway.  So why then was this done?

I don't believe it was an accident.  I don't believe the common/widespread taking and release of images was an accident.  That would imply a shocking level of stupidity/incompetence on the part of the entire US military.  I think the intent was pretty clear - it was to terrorize civilians with the aim of cowing the world into a fear of the US.

I think the excesses of these prisoner camps have a lot more to do with the damaging effect that a confusing and never ending war can have on the psyche of a soldier who is given official terms of engagement on one hand but tacitly encouraged to be a ruthless and relentless devil dog on the other hand. I think the official top brass doesn't look the other way because they think these atrocities are helpful to US interests; I think they look the other way because they know deep down inside the US has pulled a bait and switch on its soldiers. The recruiting methods are totally suspect: pre-game pageantry and video game violence.

So I disagree not only that the Abu Ghraib intent is intimidating the world, but that there was much intent there in the first place. I think the soldiers who committed those atrocities did so due to quite senselessly because their mental health had been completely depleted. The spread of the images occurred because these mentally ill soldiers regarded them as trophies, not because the top brass wanted to strike fear into the hearts of everyone in the Middle East.

I'd recommend reading any of the books of Andrew Bacevich.

I just can't buy into your theory - that the US military is incapable of discipline, the orders/will of military command are not followed in a wartime setting, and the military is incapable of controlling the large number of mentally ill sadists/sexual deviants in their ranks.

If this happened because of damaged psyches of common soldiers . . . why didn't the top brass put an end to it quickly?Instead, they explicitly authorized torture (that they knew wouldn't work for intelligence gathering), and were fully aware (if not actively condoning) of all the actions going on.  These actions went on for years at Abu Grahib and are still going on at Guantanamo Bay. Now, I may be crazy . . .  but that doesn't sound like something someone with the intent "to keep us and the world safe from terrorism" at all would do to me.

It does however sound a lot like what someone who wants to make Arabic people too afraid to consider attacking the US again would do.  That would explain why getting the right guy didn't ever matter, why there was no attempt to find justice for the people abducted, why the conditions and treatment of the prisoners didn't matter (indeed, the worse the better!), why the actions were so well documented, and why only a very few of the soldiers involved ever received any kind of punishment (and most of the top brass involved were rewarded in the end).

J Boogie

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Re: Economic Reparations from China?
« Reply #78 on: Today at 03:21:26 PM »
Well, perhaps my life experiences have caused me to find Hanlon's razor more convincing than the alternative.