Editor

Here is reaction to my editorial U.S. Should Declare War, and my response. If anyone would like their name attached to their letter, I will be happy to oblige. Yes, I'm an opinionated bastard, but I believe others have the right to be opinionated too.

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Dear Mr., Grygus,

I'm occasional reader of your website concerning news about various operating systems, etc.

Today I read your article."US should declare war". The responsible for the tragedy in NYC and Washington *ought* to be hounded down and brought to justice. Terrorism has to be fought with all appropriate means. Such things must not have a place in this world but the keyword is *appropriate*. However, if the US resorts to a solution like you propose, i.e. nuke'em if they don't cooperate and "There are no innocents to worry about", then you're exactly on the same level as the terrorists who destroyed the WTC and the Pentagon.

(Vienna, Austria)

-----------Response----------

Dear (*******):

You may rest assured I think it would be a very bad precident to actually use nuclear weapons in a war against terrorism, but it should be on the table. There is more than a little possibility of Islamic extremists using chemical or biological warfare. We have dismantled facilities to manufacture the means in Iraq.

The reaction of persons such as yourself attest to the power of the image. The threat of nuclear annihilation will certainly not deter the perpetrators, but it certainly should be a consideration for those who harbor them, protect them, supply them, and celebrate their victories.

The nature of war has changed, and we don't yet know how to fight under the new conditions. We're going to make some mistakes figuring it out and people are going to get hurt. For sure we will take no more hits like we took on 9-11 without extreme reaction. If those who harbor the ones who attack us (and celebrate in the streets when we are killed) think they are immune, they are very much mistaken.

If the rest of the world thinks it will be neutral and unaffected by this, they too are very much mistaken. This situation poses a very serious possibility of making World War II look like a family picnic. Many thought they'd be neutral and unaffected then too, and took no action. Telling us to sit still and take the hits isn't going to cut it. Work for peace or get caught in the cross fire.

##############################################

andrew grygus

you would do well to continue writing about technology about which you know something. you would do equally well to keep silent about politics - the old adage of keeping your mouth shut and being considered a fool rather than openingit and removing all doubt applies.

here are some words of wisdom from a fellow american, michale moore:

----------------begin quoted text------------------
"...Hey, who knows, maybe Osama bin Laden did it. But, something just doesn't add up. Am I being asked to believe that this guy who sleeps in a tent in a desert has been training pilots to fly our most modern, sophisticated jumbo jets with such pinpoint accuracy that they are able to hit these three targets without anyone wondering why these planes were so far off path?
Or am I being asked to believe that there were four religious/political fanatics who just happened to be skilled airline pilots who just happened to want to kill themselves today? Maybe you can find one jumbo jet pilot willing to die for the cause -- but four? OK, maybe you can -- I don't know.
What I do know is that all day long I have heard everything about this bin Laden guy except this one fact -- we created the monster known as Osama bin Laden! Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA! Don't take my word for it -- I saw a piece on MSNBC last year that laid it all out. When the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, the CIA trained him and his buddies in how to commits acts of terrorism against the Soviet forc^Aes. It worked! The Soviets turned and ran.Bin Laden was grateful for what we taught him and thought it might be fun to use those same techniques against us.
We abhor terrorism -- unless we're the ones doing the terrorizing. We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the 1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. That was our work. You and me. Thirty thousand murdered civilians and who the hell even remembers! We fund a lot of oppressive regimes that have killed a lot of innocent people, and we never let the human suffering that's caused to interrupt our day one single bit. We have orphaned so many children, tens of thousands around the world, with our taxpayer-funded terrorism (in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in Salvador) that I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised when those orphans grow up and are a little whacked in the head from the horror we have helped cause. Yet, our recent domestic terrorism bombings have not been conducted by a guy from the desert but rather by our own citizens: a couple of ex-military guys who hated the federal government. From the first minutes of today's (September 11) events, I never heard that possibility suggested. Why is that? Maybe it's because the Arabs are much better foils. A key ingredient in getting Americans whipped into a frenzy against a new enemy is the all-important race card. It's much easier to get us to hate when the object of our hatred doesn't look like us.
Congressmen and Senators spent the day calling for more money for the military; one Senator on CNN even said he didn't want to hear any more talk about more money for education or health care -- we should have only one priority: our self-defense. Will we ever get to the point that we realize we will be more secure when the rest of the world isn't living in poverty so we can have nice running shoes? In just 8 months, Bush gets the whole world back to hating us again. He withdraws from the Kyoto agreement, walks us out of the Durban conference on racism, insists on restarting the arms race -- you name it, and Baby Bush has blown it all.
The Senators and Congressmen tonight broke out in a spontaneous version of "God Bless America." They're not a bad group of singers! Yes, God, please do bless us. Many families have been devastated tonight. This just is not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who did not vote for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes' destination of California -- these were places that voted against Bush! Why kill them? Why kill anyone? Such insanity... Let's mourn, let's grieve, and when it's appropriate let's examine our contribution to the unsafe world we live in. It doesn't have to be like this... "
-----------------------end quoted text-----------------------

cheers,

(Sam Varghese)
--
It is extremely dangerous to put a match-box in the hands of a monkey. - old Indian proverb

-----------Response----------

As it stands, my proposal is pretty close to what the U.S. government is doing (minus a formal declaration of war, which only Congress can issue), and Islamic states are now jockying for which list they want to be on. Note also that no weapons have been ruled out.

I think a lot of people over there are surprised at what's going on. In the past we have shown restraint, which they have interpreted as weakness. In particular, I don't think the Taliban had any idea we'd be basing in Pakastan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, which now all appear possible. They're obviously squirming and looking for a way to weasel out, but there isn't one.

Most of the points in the quoted text have already been thoroughly refuted by the evidence, leaving only whining about how America is always wrong, wrong, wrong so it's no wonder everyone hates us that is standard fare among Berkeley students and faculty.

-----------Continuing Discussin with Sam Varghese-------

Those not familiar with usnet style indenting often find it rather confusing, so: the more | indents, the earlier the text. In other words, ||blah,blah would be a reply to |||blah, blah, and |blah,blah would be a reply to ||blah,blah.
In this particular discussion, ||| is his, || is mine | is his (no indent) is mine.

|||What immediate and drastic action will end the scourge of
|||international terrorism? Bombing Afghanistan back to the 
|||stone age?  You can't do that - it's already in the stone 
|||age, the Taliban have seen to that. 
|| 
|| Well, you're certainly correct about the Taliban and the 
|| stone age.  I agree with you there, and the Afghan people 
|| are suffering under yet another oppressor. The target there 
|| has to be the Taliban (mostly from Pakistan), which is a 
|| tough target, but they're the protectors of Bin Laden, 
|| not the Afghan people.  We may end up, once again, helping 
|| one dastardly faction (Afghan resistance) against another 
|| dastardly faction (Taliban), and will, of course, be blamed 
|| by "world opinion" for "backing the bad guys". Inevitable.  
|| Any side we back is by definition the "bad guys" no matter 
|| what the offences of the other side. 
|
|You're missing the point here. My question is about this "US
|assistance" to various governments/movements around the world.
|Why is the US there? It pulled the Soviets into Afghanistan,
|then supported the most fanatical of the lot (Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's 
|Hezb-i-Islami) to fight them and then left the Afghan question
|to sort itself out the moment Moscow quit. This isn't any figment
|of my imagination - Carter's national security adviser admitted
|as such to the Nouvelle Observateru a few years ago.

You forget. We were countering an empire that had stated 
right up front and in so many words "WE WILL BURY YOU". 
This empire held half of Europe by force, and a good part of 
the Mid East = by force.  An empire that had slaughtered 
tens of millions of it's own people, and had held other peoples 
in no better regard. So we defended ourselves, and in so 
doing we defended others. Sometimes the means were not 
ideal, but we use what was available. 

Maybe we should have just let them have the lot of you. 

Such is the power of the United States that any group 
we oppose is immediately absolved of all sin and will 
surely go to heaven. History is immediately rewritten to 
show how eveil we are and how faultless and brave our 
opponent was.  Bullpucky!

|Let's take the mess created after the Gulf war. The US initially
|supported the uprising by the Shias (and not Shiites as Yanks
|love to say) to topple Saddam Hussein. Then Georgie Bush got
|the shits when his advisers told him that a Shia government in
|Iraq could well form an alliance with the Shias in Iran and
|the US would be deep in the brown stuff. There was also unease
|expressed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, both countries where Sunnis
|are the majority. (FYI, these are the major sects of Islam). Presto, 
|Bush changed his policy on the run and allowed
|Saddam to fly his helicopters - despite there being a no-fly
|zone that had been imposed after the war ended - and knocked the 
|shit out of the Shias. The same thing happened with the Kurdish 
|uprising.

Oh, we are guilty of oppressing the poor Iraquis. I suppose the 
invasion of Kuwait never happened either, that was all a figment 
of America's fevered immagination.  And no, Saddam Hussein 
would not have been satisfied with just a few more oil wells. So 
we we are guilty of infringing Saddam Hussein's sacred 
sovereign right to assault his neighbors, and are also guilty of 
not stopping him from exercising his sacred sovereign right to 
assault his neighbors. What consistency. In other words, 
anything we do is wrong in the eyes of "world opinion", so we 
might just as well do whatever we please. We won't make 
anyone happy either way. 

|||Some of the alleged perpetrators - remember, no evidence 
|||has yet been presented, one has to depend on the "word" 
|||of the FBI - are from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi 
|||Arabia. Will the US also bomb these countries? No,
|||because it props up unpopular rulers in both these countries 
|||so that oil supplies to the US are guaranteed! Fighting for 
|||freedom or oil?
|| 
|| The FBI and other agencies have already stated many of 
|| the names used were false, however, they were the names 
|| by which these people can be tracked.  What general origin 
|| these people were of has been confirmed by the flight schools 
|| where they got their training - training, incidentally, only 
|| covering in-flight maneuvering, with no interest in takeoff 
|| and landing, the usual critical points to any serious pilot.  
|| Now the instructors know why. This will not happen again 
|| without being rported. 
|
|You haven't dealt with my question. Afghanistan is in line for
|a few missiles because bin Laden is seen as the organiser or
|ringleader. What about his vassals? Don't their countries take
|some of the flak? Would you deny that the US props up the
|totalitarian regimes in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ensure
|its oil supplies? Does the myth that the US supports "freedom"
|also hold good in the Gulf? Or is it different strokes for
|different folks?

Oh yes, anyone we support at all is automatically appointed as 
the bad guy, and everyone we don't support is automatically 
appointed for sainthood. Yes, we encourage stability in regions 
where we have an interest. You have yet to show in any case 
that the group that would overthrow the ones we support would 
be any better. In general, they would probably be worse. It isn't 
our fault most countries are being fought over by two or more 
bands of criminals - that's the fault of the people who live there, 
they're the ones who allow and encourage the criminals in the 
first place. 

|||No degree of airport security will prevent terrorism? Ask the
|||Israelis. After the events of 1970, has there ever been an 
|||incident on an El Al plane? How do they manage it? Maybe 
|||the US can get some value for all the billions it pours into 
|||Israel and hire Shin Bet or Mossad operatives to ride on US
|||planes and keep them terror-free.
|| 
|| This has been considered (but using our own security 
|| personnel, Israeli agents are considered a bit trigger happy 
|| for our taste). Major problem - you may not realize the 
|| difference in scale of air traffic in the U.S. compared to 
|| Israel.  We are talking several orders of magnitude here, 
|| and most traffic is domestic, where most traffic is 
|| international for Israel. 
|
|Yeah, I'm more than aware of it. But there are thousands of
|Mossad guys for hire - you can start with Victor Ostrovski
|(heard of him?) and he'll get you a battalion. The problem?
|Well, the Israelis are tough bastards and they would piss on
|any American who tried to act funny. And that is something
|that the Yanks can't accept - that someone else can do a job
|better than them.

Oh sure, everyone in the world thinks that since we have 
freedom and they don't, we should give up our freedom and 
be just like them. No thanks. You can have your Mossad all 
to yourselves. 

|||You talk of evidence. Where is it? One of the men named by the
|||FBI - Abdelaziz Al Omari - is alive and well in Jeddah, Saudi 
|||Arabia. He has filed a complaint with the US consulate there. 
|||Another of the alleged hijackers, Al Jarre, from Lebanon,
|||is, according to his parents, one who never went inside a mosque.
|||He is now said to have been motivated to give his own life in a 
|||so-called religious cause!
|| 
|| Names already covered above. Bin Laden's movement is not 
|| religious, it is political. His current hosts, the Taliban are 
|| religious fanatics, but that's not Bin Laden's bent - Islam is just 
|| a means to an end.  For sure he uses the promise of paradise 
|| to encourage suicide missions. Again, could be a false name, 
|| could be fanatic devotion to a political cause - a religion 
|| substitute for many.
|
|You missed the question again - where is the evidence?

No I didn't. The evidence is being collected and analyzed. 
When we are satisfied with the evidence we will take action 
as appropriate.  Maybe we should do as you do and just 
declare the evidence we want and go for it. "Kill them all, 
let God sort them our."

|||Can you tell me why the FBI was apparently clueless uptil 
|||the day before the bombing and then managed to come up 
|||with such a lot of names, documents and also organised 
|||raids in at least two other countries within a week after the
|||attacks? Could it be that they knew something was afooot 
|||and decided to let it go ahead in order that they would have 
|||a reason to launch attacks on bin Laden?  And could it be 
|||that they had no idea of the scale of the outrage planned?
|| 
|| Much was known in advance, though not timings  or details. 
|| Plans for an attack of this type were found during 
|| investigation of the previous bombing of the World Trade 
|| Center.  What many in other countries do not realize is 
|| that in this country the authorities are highly restricted in 
|| what they can do on suspicion alone. 
|
|Sure. Tell that to someone who is ignorant of the history of
|the FBI.

We are quit familiar with the history of the FBI, simply 
because we have to keep them under control. Yes, they 
do step out of line. Now compare them to the similar 
services of other countries. How about your heros, the 
Mossad?  They feel it's just fine and dandy to kill anyone 
in the world whenever they please. No, I don't think we 
want that here.  

|||Can you tell me why ABC has not put to air the footage it 
|||has of the second plane hitting the Trade Center, the one 
|||shot from an angle, the one which shows an F-16 in close 
|||pursuit? I'll tell you why - it hasn't done so because
|||this would make it plain that the fourth plane, the one which 
|||supposedly crashed in Pennsylvania, was shot down by a 
|||fighter plane. Wouldn't that be a scandal in the US - a civilian
|||airliner shot down by a fighter jet???
|| 
|| Not at all. This action by fighter jets is now fully authorized, 
|| and would not have been considered inappropriate at the time 
|| given evidence of the first impact.  Cell phone calls from 
|| passengers of the Pennsylvania plane, who had heard of 
|| the WTC hit over those same cell phones, stated they were 
|| going to rush the hijackers, so that is the most likely cause 
|| of the crash. Reports of these calls did not come from 
|| government controlled sources (reminder - the government 
|| does not control the press here).   As to the footage with 
|| the F16, that story isn't current in this country, so it must 
|| have been made up somewhere else.  There has been 
|| plenty of footage taken by various people from various 
|| angles (remember, just about everyone in New York that 
|| had a camera was pointing it at the WTC by the second 
|| crash) and no F16s have been seen. 
|
|Authorised, post-Trade Center bombings. It wasn't legal before
|this incident. This story isn't made up, it's from US
|sources. As always, Andrew, RTFM and STFW. 

The president is authorized to take extrordinary action 
under extrordinary conditions. That's why he is called 
"commander in chief".   An aircraft under control of a 
hostile force is no longer a "civilian aircraft" in any case. 

|||1990) to back up its claims of similar jubilation taking place 
|||in the Palestinian territories, until it could obtain current 
|||footage showing people cheering?
|| 
|| Gong! you're out cold on that one. Even the person who 
|| originally posted that claim has admitted he was wrong.  
|| The charge has been denied by CNN and others, and the 
|| fottage shows automobiles of later model than 1990.  
|
|Missed the bus again, Andrew. I watched right from the first
|attack. The first footage of the Palestinians cheering and
|the stuff that appeared later was totally different. There were
|no post-1990 cars in the first few hours. Later, it changed.
|I lived in the Gulf during the US war against Iraq. I've seen
|that footage hundreds of times.

|||Most countries hate the US - in that you are right. Ever asked
|||why this is so? Or would you rather address the effects and 
|||not the cause? You seem to still think that overwhelming 
|||firepower can solve an and all political problems. My dear 
|||man, this whole episode came about exactly because of the 
|||use of such force in the Gulf war of 1991.
|| 
|| Bull. This stuff was going on long before 1991.  I suppose we 
|| were to just let Iraq take over Kuwait. Then it would probably 
|| be Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, and we'd be blamed by 
|| "world opinion" for doing nothing while Iraq established an 
|| empire. It's always our fault, isn't it? 
|
|Come, come, Iraq would have been satisfied with just a few
|additional oil wells which it had been claiming before the
|invasion. Do you know that bin Laden lost his citizenship
|because of US pressure, after he criticised the Saudi rulers
|for allowing American troops into the country in 1990? Do
|you know how rich his family is? 
|
|Nobody would blame the US for anything if it were to keep
|out of other people's fights. But that isn't what the Americans
|do; no, they land up and come in bleating: "Y'all move out,
|we know how to handle this one, guys!" And they have handled
|it all right - in Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, Lebanon,
|Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the list goes on.

Oh sure. just bug out so "world opinion" can tell us all about how 
horrid we are because we stood by and did nothing. We tried 
that in 1938, and it didn't work out real well.  Once again, if we 
take action, whoever we support automatically becomes the bad 
guy and the other side is sainted in the eyes of "world opinion". 
If we take no action, "world opinion" says we are the bad guys 
because we took no action. 

|||Today we are in an age when a man can carry a nuclear bomb 
|||in a briefcase. Killing him would do more damage to his killer. 
|||Simplistic solutions won't come anywhere solving this problem 
|||- this is a political problem and military means will not resolve 
|||it. The sad thing is that many seemingly rational individuals - 
|||and I include you in that group - are reacting involuntarily. It will 
|||only make the problem worse.
|| 
|| So we should just sit around crying in our beer until the guy 
|| with the briefcase bomb comes and blows us up, and then we 
|| should appologize for being such a tempting target that we 
|| caused the poor man's demise.  We hear this continuously 
|| from "world opinion".  Then, of course, "world opinion" would 
|| tell us it was all our fault because we sat there and did nothing. 
|
|You have sat around for some time, haven't you? It took a shock of
|this magnitude to shake the estabishment out of its slumber. This
|isn't world opinion, it's bloody commonsense. You hear a lot from
|world opinion. It would be good to be a wee bit humble and listen.

Yes, the establishment has been shaken out of it's slumber. 
Some are about to find it's better to leave sleeping bears lie. 
Once again you are saying we are guilty because we do things 
to protect our interrests, and then you say we are guilty because 
we didn't do enough to protect our interests. 

|| Fortunately, at this point, making briefcase nukes is restricted 
|| to countries capable of very high technology, which leaves 
|| most of the Islamic world out of the picture (see "stone age" 
|| above),  Pakistan has about 20 (very large, messy) bombs, 
|| and we will be watching very closely to see that the Taliban 
|| doesn't get them. Expect a few B52 runs if that becomes 
|| likely.  Right now it seems Pakistan fears India and the 
|| Taliban more than it fears us, but we're still pretty untrusting 
|| of Pakistan and prefer to base in Uzbekistan. We know why 
|| they want the Taliban out and a stable government in 
|| Afghanistan.  It's called "oil". That's an obsession for the 
|| producers as well as the consumers. 
|
|Don't think that the US has a monopoly on brain power - if the
|American masses had any intelligence they would understand why
|the rest of the world hates them. They don't. Neither does 
|George W. who seems to have missed out when the good Lord handed
|out the grey matter.

Oh, so our "masses" are now stupider than the "masses" of any 
other country. Get a life. You are suffering from a massive case 
of inferiority complex. 

|| It is true that military means are problematic for political problems, 
|| but so are political means. There are too many people (and 
|| peoples) with their own agendas, and, of course,  "world opinion" 
|| would blame us for political medling in the afairs of other countries 
|| and tell us we deserved being bombed. 
|
|As long as a political solution addresses the grievance that is causing
|the friction, it will not be problematic. But when a solution is imposed
|from above - as was the "peace" agreement which Israel bullied Lebanon
|into signing in the 1980s - then it will definitely not last.

What a dreamer you are. The grievances are more likely 
than not that one group is pissed at not being allowed to kill 
another group.  

Anyway, I have a lot of work to do today so I have no more 
time to waste on this "America is always wrong" crap.  I 
suggest if you wish to continue you take it to a public 
forum. IWeThey has a few you may agree with. 
http://z.iwethey.org/forums/render/board/show?boardid=1 

|Cheers,
|
|Sam
|-- 
|(Sam Varghese)
|http://www.gnubies.com

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