Re: Aid for Afghanistan

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Thu Jan 03 2002 - 11:14:54 MST

From: "Spike Jones" <>
> Not *as* poor and ignorant, *more so*, far more, for then they would
> look successful in comparison. They wont stop hating us for dropping
> food on them either. That may stem the tide of mass starvation, but we
> can be sure the militant muslims will be all the more eager to slash our
> throats at the very first opportunity.

I think you're right...
So, as I've said before, we won't move into a better future until we debunk

> Another take on this: the African continent is watching all this
> play out. They must be asking themselves: do we want to be like the
> faithful wretches starving and cowering in caves? Or do we want to
> be like the great satan up there in jets blasting away in complete safety
> at their leisure? We'll take... satan for 500 please Alex.

First they probably need to find a cure for AIDS.

> The African masses will surely be drawn westward, which will
> enrage the militant muslims ever more. If there is a way to resolve
> this without appalling bloodshed, I sure havent thought of it. spike

I don't know about the African masses, but I agree that we need resolution
rather than conciliation.
Hmmm... people die of AIDS without bloodshed don't they?
Please disregard that last remark.


From: "Geraint Rees" <>
> This is a funny use of the word 'expose'. US involvement in Afghanistan in
> the 80s had three important effects (1) It provided military training to
> individuals including bin Laden, who later engaged in unanticipated
> terrorist actions against the US

The US has provided military training to many individuals, but only bin Laden
and his minions used this training in unanticipated terrorist actions... Hence
the actions did help to expose the terrorists, who might not have been so
brazen without the US training.
It's rather like giving small caliber side-arms to youngsters to see if they
can be trusted with more lethal ordnance.

> (2) It provided a very large quantity of
> arms, initially to further the anti-Soviet fight, but later used locally by
> the Taliban (and others) against the US

Yes, the US has provided arms to many individuals, but only bin Laden and his
minions used this in unanticipated terrorist actions... Hence the actions did
help to expose the terrorists, who might not have been so audacious without
the US
It's rather like giving small caliber side-arms to youngsters to see if they
can be trusted with more lethal ordnance.

> (3) It deliberately fostered a local
> culture of militant Islam, initially directed against the Soviet occupation.

If the local culture is susceptible to "militant Islam" and so crazed as to
allow itself to be "fostered," then "fostering" it helps to expose that
What a brilliant method of flushing out crazies.

> To this extent, US foreign policy contributed to the current situation;

The current situation (elimination of the Taliban and Al Quaida) is probably
much improved over what it might have become if the terrorists had not been
exposed (and eliminated).

<snip> in what sense
> did US involvement in the 1980s lead to the terrorists being exposed?

The US provided the means to test the trustworthiness of groups whose
trustworthiness was unknown before they exposed themselves as anti-American
terrorists. Good thing they were exposed before they got their hands on some
ICBMs or something even more powerful.
Now, if the rest of the world remains ignorant about the malignancy of true
believer terrorists who want to bring about Armageddon, then it may actually
So, the 9-11 attack should serve as a wake-up call for civilization: Either
debunk this malicious religiosity, or welcome to the End Times.

> My point was that the original risk assessment in the 1980s was
> faulty, in the sense that it fostered the conditions that led to the present
> circumstances.

It's probably not wise to try to second guess the US military or US foreign
(Did Clinton *have* a foreign policy in the 80s?)

> Note that this doesn't in any way imply US responsibility for
> terrorism, but does suggest that we should pay attention to the root causes.

Yes, always pay attention to the insane jealousy and envy of religious
fanatics and terrorist losers.
Better yet, pay attention to getting rid of them once and for all.

> My
> point was that the *original* action by the US in the 80s appeared to have a
> positive short term gain (fight the Soviet Union). But with hindsight it
> turned out to have extremely negative long term implications (fostering
> militant Islam).

"militant Islam" was fostered long before there ever was a United States of
(Or perhaps you've never heard of "Holy Wars")

> Thus actions can have unanticipated consequences;

Right -- the actions of the terrorists have resulted in the unanticipated
elimination of the Taliban and Al Quaida... and we may have prevented the
religious fanatics fulfilling their idiotic biblical prophesies of
Armageddon. Pretty nice, eh?

> foreign
> policy should therefore seek to learn from such experiences. That's all I'm
> suggesting!

Well, thanks for the suggestion... and all I'm saying is that the situation
has probably turned out better as a result of what the US has done.

<snip> I'm using 'military' vs 'politics' as a shorthand here for
> 'killing people with marines' versus 'helping set up democratic
> institutions' or similar.

I doubt that democracy appeals much to terrorist groups. This is a job for the
Marines, not for the politicians. As the Marines are fond of saying, "It's up
to Allah to forgive Osama bin Laden. It's up to us to make sure they meet."

> (BTW, whatever happened to the 'no ad hominem attacks' policy that I was
> told about when I recently joined the list?!).

I've not made an ad hominem attack here, and I find offensive your
implication that I have.

> This is a misrepresentation of my position. I'm making a very simple point;
> that the foreign policy of the US in Afghanistan in the 1980s had
> unanticipated consequences.

Unanticipated by whom? You can't know whether the consequences of US actions
in Afghanistan in the 1980s have been anticipated or not. That's conjecture on
your part.

> This does not imply any form of US
> responsibility for thhose consequences. Nor does it imply I don't support
> the current US actions (I do). However, I do believe that all of us benefit
> from considering the unanticipated consequences of our actions, in order to
> consider modifying our behaviour in future to prevent such undesirable
> consquences occurring. That's all.

To the extent that's good advice, it ought to be shared with religionists who
unwittingly contribute to horrible consequences by failing to anticipate the
consequences of their belief systems.

> > Today the world is a safer place due to US action against terrorists.
> We'll see. I certainly hope so, but I am not optimistic.

If you're not optimistic, you may be on the wrong list.

> However I don't see
> that anything else could have been done right now, given the circumstances.

But you implied that we weren't "given" the circumstances. You've said that
the circumstances resulted as a consequence of what the US had done back in
the 80s.
AFAIC, the US is doing exactly the right thing, and needs to do more of it.
As Mike Lorrey has said, we're bombing Stone Age Afghanistan into the 20th

> > If the kind of passive denial that you advocate were to prevail, the
> > terrorists would go on terrorizing the whole world, and by now they might
> > have carried out their vow to destroy Israel. But then, perhaps that's
> > you secretly want to happen.
> I'll ignore this ad hominem attack if that's all right by you.

What you have ignored is the fact that I wrote **perhaps** and it was neither
intended as an ad hominem, nor do I believe it to be so.


From: "Randall Randall" <>
> I was arguing that it is important to
> find out whether it is more efficient to continue the course or to change
> one's behavior, before one takes irrevocable actions.

That definitely fits the Subject line: "Aid for Afghanistan"
They sure needed to consider whether is more efficient to continue their
course or to change their behavior... but, they've already taken irrevocable


From: "Mike Lorrey" <>
> While I'd not dispute that some US policies contributed to motivations,
> they did not make anyone do what they did, so your claim that we are
> 'causative agents' is false, as usual. Do you believe that those people
> are mere automatons, unable to exercise independent thought or action?

Excellent question, Mike. But of course you're only feeding the trolls.

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment, malevolent AI,
non-sensory experience, SETI

We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.

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