Re: Impact on history

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Fri Sep 14 2001 - 02:35:38 MDT

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> Samantha Atkins wrote:
> >
> > "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> > >
> > > If the US does do anything real, militarily, it will probably involve more
> > > death and destruction than was caused by the destruction of the World
> > > Trade Center, dozens or hundreds of bombs instead of two planes, dropped
> > > on some dirt-poor country far less capable of dealing with the disasters
> > > resulting from each and every bomb impact, and the only real end result
> > > will be more hatred of the United States. I don't expect that will stop
> > > the United States from doing it anyway.
> >
> > Are you saying we should not respond to an act of war as such?
> That is exactly what I am saying. A futile response is worse than no
> response. We should respond only if we can find and successfully target
> the people who were actually responsible. We should not launch a
> spasmodic, useless, civilian-killing military attack on a randomly
> selected country just because "we have to do something".

False dichotomy. No one is advocating picking a country at
random. We are not helpless to find who did this or to go after
them. We have no shortage of groups that have planned and
executed attacks on us or of governments who threaten us. It is
now obvious that the threats are quite serious matters that
cannot be ignored.

> Terrorists don't strike at the US because they think they can get away
> with it. Terrorists strike at the US because they hate the US and feel
> that "they have to do something", no matter what the cost is.

I disagree. The people who support them and set them lose are
not willing to pay the cost if it is too high.

> > How exactly would this make future terrorism using suitcase or
> > larger nukes or a bioweapon less likely than if we took out as
> > many major terrorist cells as we can find?
> Neither one will make it less likely, so we may as well focus on trying to
> reduce some of the underlying hate by actually obeying international law
> for a change. A moderate, lawful response by the US at this point, a
> response that doesn't involve invading other countries just because we can
> get away with it, might have a real emotional impact in the minds of the
> countries that believe, correctly, in the arrogance of the US. That's how
> Martin Luther King scored his victory. Following international law even
> after a major bombing would send a message that the US is willing to
> choose to play by the same rules imposed on non-superpowers. It wouldn't
> halt terrorism but it might decrease the growth rate.

I totally disagree with this attitude. International law? It
already has been broken. Utterly. War has been made on us.
There is nothing lawful about it. Arrogant? We deserve to be
righteously angry and dig out those who did this to us.
Arrogant? Our system IS better than that of most of the
pestholes that hate us and threaten us and our citizens at every
opportunity. Or don't you care to notice the distinction?
Arrogant? We very seldom "throw our weight around" really.
With our power most nations would really be arrogant and
extremely expansionist. But we are not. We often don't even
use our power when we despearately need to. We will not play by
rules that require us to be nice to those who play by no rules
at all. What you suggest will not halt the growth rate of
terrorism. It will radically increase it because the "Great
Satan" has no bite and may be attacked with impunity except for
some long-winded legal procedures than in today's irrational
political climate may not result in any real justice at all.
> Can you imagine the righteous indignation if Afghanistan were to mount a
> military attack on the US under similar circumstances? That is the

It, or a similar band of hooligans ALREADY HAS! Or did you miss

> essence of the United States's arrogance - a double standard backed up by
> superior military force. It is that unbearable unfairness which creates

Eliezer. If you look at history with an open mind you will see
that we very, very seldom throw the weight of our military force
around at all that arrogantly. We have gone out of our way, to
our own detriment, many times not to throw our weight around in
the way you have the nerve to accuse us of.

> the burning hatred and the willingness to attack, regardless of the
> consequences, just because it's so unbearable to think that the Americans
> can bomb and bomb and never be touched themselves.

I have nothing more to say to you right now. You are in fantasy

- samantha

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