> Greg Burch writes:
> > Last night, an unmistakable
> > line was drawn between things that are good and right and things that are
> > evil. Although it was done in a distinctly American way in a distinctly
> > American voice, the call went out to the world to make a clear-cut choice.
> I wish I could agree, but it seems to me that in many ways the U.S. is
> increasing its commitment to immoral actions in foreign policy.
> The most obvious is the proposal to remove 1970's era restrictions on the
> CIA which prevent them from using criminals as operatives.
This is untrue. The CIA has only had such restrictions since 1995 under
a Clinton administration 'holier and stupider than thou' policy ruling
in response to revelations about CIA paid informers (who were also
members of their own country's anti-terror and anti-guerrilla forces) in
central american nations who did not behave like Good American
Mirandizing and Be Polite To The Criminals law enforcement officials,
particularly in the area of how they dealt with Americans who were
aiding and abetting leftist guerrillas (wittingly or unwittingly).
Since '95, any informant, spy, turncoat, etc who might have an other
than sterling criminal record has been routinely rejected by the pencil
pushers in DC and Langley. As a result, human intelligence has wasted
away to near nothing. Almost everything we get in that area is
information shared with us by intelligence services of other countries.
> VP Cheney
> and several others have said that we can no longer afford the luxury
> of working only with people who are honest and peacable. In order to
> infiltrate thugs and murderers, we are going to hire thugs and murderers.
Obviously the old maxim "set a thief to catch a thief" is falling on
deaf ears here. People who know the information we need are not going to
be in the positions necessary to get such information if they are girl
scouts and choir boys. If that worked, the Pope would be our best intel
> Those 1970s limitations were put into place after decades of abusive
> behavior by the CIA. US sponsored thugs commited terrible acts which
> continue to hurt the American image overseas. We are opening the door to
> returning to that pattern of behavior. It is very questionable whether
> this will advance the long-term interests of the US.
The only limitations imposed in the 1970's were the presidental
directive against assassinating rulers of foreign nations (neither bin
Laden or the Taliban is such), and a prohibition against the CIA spying
within US borders.
> Another moral issue is our continued support for repressive governments
> in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. President Bush singled out those
> three countries in his speech last night, I believe. These are our
> "friends" among the Arabs. But they are among the most authoritarian
> regimes in the region.
Jordan is hardly that. Egypt and Saudi? Yes, they are authoritarian.
Jordan has had a major problem with terrorist groups for almost as long
as Israel, by people who are not native to their country, groups that
are supported by Iran, Syria, etc.
A major problem with democracy in the muslim world is that in any event
that muslims have free elections, they always seem to vote for radical
fundamentalists who agree only on one thing: Death to America. It has
taken Iran more than 20 years to reach a point in its political
development where it is even minimally behaving in a manner that would
lend it to resuming relations with civilized nations on a normal basis
of free trade, travel, and communication, and even that is tenuous, with
the Ayatollahs retaining the ability to oust any government they feel is
leaning too far toward the west.
We don't have 20+ years to withstand more and more terrorism if suddenly
the muslim world went democratic overnight. We should have to stand for
it, and we wont.
> Likewise we are backing away from criticism of Russia over its actions
> in Chechnya, we are supporting the Pakistani strongman who currently
> runs the country, and we are undoubtedly going to mute our criticism of
> Chinese human rights violations as we look for support from the East.
> All of these are countries where the US previously took a strong moral
> stance of disapproval. But in a war we can't afford to antagonize those
> whom we hope to keep as allies.
One thing they are making clear is that they don't need to maintain ONE
coalition. They say 'coalitions' because they clearly expect countries
to pull out once bin Laden is dealt with and we focus on groups that
With Chechnya, the only thing I fear is that enough idiots will follow
the likes of bin Laden against us that such devastation may be necessary
elsewhere to ensure a peaceful future.
> In short it looks to me like the pressures of war are forcing us to
> take a number of moral shortcuts. The point of morality, I believe,
> is to provide a set of heuristics that will tend to advance long-term
> interests over short-term expediencies. We seem to be moving in exactly
> the opposite direction as we gear up for the coming fight.
On the contrary, the moral fight being fought is that foreigners have no
right to use terroristic acts against a government or its people. Bush
has clearly demonstrated a delineation between national and
international terrorism. He recognises that native insurgency rebel
groups are too often labeled 'terrorists' by an oppressive government,
based on how easily many US Democrats in the 90's labeled law abiding
Americans 'terrorists' because they disagreed with liberal ideas on gun
control and religious freedom.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:56 MDT