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Author Topic: I could just puke!  (Read 23013 times)
GermanNightmare
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Mmh - interesting!
« Reply #60 on: April 02, 2003, 05:54:07 pm »

Wow, Death_999, that really made me thinking! It's really hard to define "terrorism" as such - that's why it makes people so afraid... It's a threat you can't really put your finger on until something happens.

I'd have to disagree with Ereklich though (nothing personal, alright?):

Your definition would also include each and every intelligence personnal to be terrorists! NSA, CIA, Secret Service, MI6 - They don't run around in uniforms but wanna blend in and therefore use civilian disguise although they often enough are involved in military conflicts (like the CIA guy killed in Afghanistan)...

Terrorism is what terrorizes the people. That would also include large bombing campaigns, nomatter whether you target "military only with a couple of stray shots" or if you intend to terrorize civilians by "Shock and Awe".
The Allies tried that in WWII and all it did manage was to make the civilians unify behind their leadership, even though our cities already lay in ruins. "Jetzt erst recht" - something that could be translated as "Especially now" could be heard amongst many, the resentment and determination increased the more the tide turned against them.

Two weeks of war in Iraq managed to accomplish what Saddam couldn't do in 20 years of reign (or better: dictatorship): to unify his people against a common aggressor. Guess that one didn't work out the way it was planned  Sad

I personally do not consider it ever necessary to target civilians under any circumstances. But - as soon as they carry a weapon or gun, they become something like militia or armed political party members (the SS was not a military organisation but one of the party!).
Suicide attacks using civilian disguise works for a moment, but it makes the lives of ordinary civilians a lot harder (as the killings in the days after that taxi-bombing show).
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #61 on: April 02, 2003, 07:15:42 pm »

Oh wow, I totally forgot about intelligence agents!

ummm.... lessee... they're spying, not killing people... yeah, that's it!   Tongue

I think maybe we are also missing a key question in our definition here:  what is the intent behind the action?
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #62 on: April 02, 2003, 07:46:12 pm »

Regarding intelligence agents not killing people: what about Bond?

As for intent, just let me tell you a fact about Portugal. One of our national heroes is a baker. The story goes like this: after being routed during an attempt to invade us, a few Spaniards hid away in her oven. When she came to work, she found them and finished them off with her baking shovel. Now, this was a long time before the Genebra Convention and I don't support her actions towards enemies that were already defeated, but when you invade someone's country you are bound to find resistance from both civilians and military. I don't know much of American History but similar episodes must have happened during the Independence War. The intent, then as now in Iraq, is to defend your country from invasion.

But is terror a legitimate means to that end? The Macmillan Encyclopedia defines terrorism as "The use of violence and intimidation to achieve an objective that is usually, but not always, political". It seems to me that all acts of war, as well as 'muscled diplomacy' (comprising the idea of an ultimatum) fit to this description. So, keeping to this strict definition, everybody, from states to playground bullies and parents disciplining their children, does it. We're all terrorists; as a noun, it could replace 'mankind'.

Though technically useless as a way do discriminate between people, the term is still widely used. Why? Because it questions the legitimacy of the other guys - generally the weak ones - fighting back. I recall that when we, the Portuguese, were fascist and the oppressors a good chunk of Africa Embarrassed the term 'terrorism' was used to designate the same guys that, by the standards of the international community, were freedom fighters. It's a dirty name, that's all. You call it to people you don't like. Especially if you are oppressing them and they have the nerve to fight back.
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #63 on: April 03, 2003, 06:22:05 am »

Quote
1)Suicide attack?  2)Targeting civilians?  3)Using civilian disguise?
conventional warfare: no no no
kamikaze: yes no no
iraqis mortaring basra: no yes no
shofixti charging and blowing up a passenger liner: yes yes no
Viet Cong normal operations: no no yes
USS Cole bombing: yes no yes
old-school airplane terrorists: no yes yes
sept 11 hijackers: yes yes yes
Of these, which would we call terrorism?

Hmm... One of the factors the the Geneva Convention used to determine whether or not something was a war crime was whether or not the action put civilians to adverse risk.  
Anything with 2) (assuming they are not collateral damage, but are the main target) is terrorism in my book.
Anything with 3) where humans are indiscriminately targetted (thus avoiding covert ops assassinations).  This even applies to groups of soldiers.  If a group of soldiers cannot determine between an enemy they know will shoot at any of their group and a civilian, the actions of the enemy place the civilians into adverse risk.

Thus:
conventional warfare: no
kamikaze: no
iraqis mortaring basra: yes (only if the Iraqis are aiming for civilians)
shofixti charging and blowing up a passenger liner: yes
Viet Cong normal operations: yes (not counting focused assassinations)
USS Cole bombing: yes (assuming this was not a specific assassination)
old-school airplane terrorists: yes
sept 11 hijackers: yes

I know that I added a couple more variables, which should expand our results base, but I'm too lazy to find any other examples except for covert ops assassinations.
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #64 on: April 03, 2003, 08:16:02 pm »

Well, we are certainly getting a lot of definition on terrorists here. I'll just add my 2 cents worth...

Anyone striking at civilians is a terrorist, and even though collateral damage can be claimed, it then has to be investigated thoroughly. Someone will have to pay.

Striking at military targets out of civilian clothing doesn't really count as terrorism. This all depends on your point of view, are they freedom fighters or terrorists. It is simply the way smaller groups attempt to fight bigger ones. It is simply guerilla warfare.

A civilian striking at the military automatically becomes a military target. If you want to defend your homeland, fine. But you should then be aware of the fact that this makes you an official enemy. If you gun down a few enemy soldiers, don't expect them not to shoot back just because you aren't in the army.

As for the UN comment I made earlier: Yes RR, there are indepedent goverments in (most) countries in the world. But the UN, ineffective as it has been, has been a way of making legitimate decisions between countries. If the UN says so, people may grumble and complain, but they'll end up doing it or paying for it, and noone else will intervene, because the UN has decided. But the UShas broken this arrangment. If North Korea suddenly invade the South, why should they care if the UN criticizes this. They don't have to play by the rules anymore.

And as a more realistic example, any african dictator who decides to invade anywhere else can do it freely. Yes, they did it before, but they were hampered by UN threats, that managed to get close by countries to warn them off. Who's going to even try and control them now? the Commonwelth? The French? not likely.
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #65 on: April 03, 2003, 09:01:42 pm »

Lukipela -- remember also that Saddam has repeatedly ignored the UN.  I'm telling you, the UN only has the athourity (sp?) that a country lets it have -- both the US and Iraq have repeatedly proved that.  And that is the biggest problem with the UN.  If they cannot back up what they say, then they are defunct as a ruling body.  And if they are not a ruling body, what are they doing telling Iraq to disarm and telling the US to join the world court?

If all we want from the UN is a "country club" (pardon the pun) then it needs to stop telling people what to do.

If we want a ruling body, then we need to have a NEW body, which countries join voluntarily, a la the EU...
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #66 on: April 03, 2003, 09:08:18 pm »

As to the EU, UN thing. Rememebr, the UN was once the thing to join, now in europe it's the EU. Don't get your hope up too high on that either, even though the EU still works, the machinery is beginning to show considerable strain. It remains to be seen what happens after this crisis is over, and when the new states join. and anyway, isn't EU just another version of the US? Same principle, no?

And the problem with the UN is that it can't enforce what it decides, I agree wholeheartedly on that. However, when we already have an organsiation, set up in almost every country in the world, wouldn't it be easier just to give it more power, to give it the power to enforce it's decisions, to reform the security council into something more "Eu-Like"? Instead of starting from scratch...
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Objection, your Honors!
« Reply #67 on: April 04, 2003, 02:40:50 am »

Guys, guys guys: Waaaiiiiit a minute!

I hear repeatedly that the U.N. is a RULING body. It's NOT!

It is a forum almost like this one, a platform countries talk to before they go to war or do anything else stupid.
It is not a ruling body - see it more like a tool to unite the peoples' different goals (health, food, children).

The ability of the U.N. to enforce its decisions (e.g. made in the Security Council) are dependend on countries who are willing to do so (most of the time in the form of those "Blue Helmets"). One of the great examples are the latest U.N. members (Switzerland and the peacefully joined East-Timor - thanks Aussie Blue Helmets!).
Being neutral doesn't mean you can't be in the U.N. because it is an organization to address things, and East-Timor wouldn't be a free, peaceful country if it weren't for the U.N. - had they had oil, they'd probably been "peacified" a lot sooner.

As for the E.U. - change is not only coming but definitely needed, because decision-making will become a lot harder with so many (not saying too many!) countries as members. But I'm confident that "We can work it out..." (The Beatles)
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #68 on: April 04, 2003, 04:14:03 am »

Okay, here's the part that gets me...

"Not a ruling body..."

"power to enforce its decisions..."

If it is not a ruling body, it should have NO power to enforce anything, just as we here on this board have no say in the process of porting UQM.  (gah, just realized the pun...)  And yet, people act like it has athourity.  It either is or it isn't; you can't have it both ways.
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #69 on: April 04, 2003, 06:56:39 am »

Quote

"power to enforce its decisions..."
is dependend on countries who are willing to do so.

The U.N. does not have any troops or executive forces! Countries volunteer to contribute to the common good. By funding someone who executes the decisions or gives the U.N. the necessary troops (Blue Helmets) to do so.

They act with the authority of the U.N., but the U.N. itself is not a "world-government" of any kind...

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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #70 on: April 06, 2003, 04:56:29 pm »

I think GM puts it quit nicely there. this is how the UN works, and also the reason it deosn't work. In an ideal world, the leaders of all countries would come together here, figure out the right thing to do, and then do it. However, as we all know, things don't really work that way. It is an idealistic idea, nice but impractical.

To sum up a bit, this is where me and E go onto different racks. We both recognize that the UN in it's present form doesn't work. However, while you would prefer to disband the entire thing, and start from scratch, i would rather salvage what I can, and let the UN grow into a more powerful presence in the world. correct me if I got you wrong will ya? Wink

I just feel that the disbanding of the UN and the subsequent founding of a new international EU-like body would be a huge waste of resources we also have. also, the EU isn't at current as equal as it could be. Big countries decide a lot of what happens. And it is as GM so correctly sated, a union with a goverment, while the UN isn't. The question of wether we should have a world goverment or not is something I leave for another day.

I mean, we already have the UN infrastructure. If the rules could be changed a bit, to give it a bit more punch to put behind it's decisions, we'd have a working system. (As long as noone too powerful rocks the boat anyway).
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #71 on: April 07, 2003, 02:30:50 am »

LP, I agree with you.

One thing that sort of hinders the E.U. from being really effective is that the different European countries still don't speak with a single voice. What they're trying to install right now is something like a "double leadership", president and foreign minister of the E.U. - a good idea if you asked me.
The big "BUT" (no pun intended!) would be that once one of those two makes a decision, all would have to comply.
A problem which would arise in conflicts like this would be that the German "Grundgesetz" (our "basic law" or equivalent to the Constitution) absolutely forbids the preparation or realization of an "Angriffskrieg" (offensive warfare). We have learned from our mistakes and even if a war might be justified (like the one in Yugoslavia), it still is a great undertaking to be part of it as Germany.

Another thought on the E.U.: Right now all the different countries' votes count equal in the European government (if I'm not mistaken) - no matter how large your population is. I don't really know a solution for that, but being in the largest country (over 80 million) I find that kind of, well, miss-balanced. On the other hand, if the vote of a smaller country counts less, they'd have a hard time too...

As for the U.N. - not only has Iraq not fulfilled many (14?) of the U.N.'s resolutions, but another country in the region has willingly ingnored the U.N.'s decisions as well: Israel.

Why should anyone expect a "bad guy" like Saddam Hussein to comply with the U.N. if the supposedly "good guys" like Israel won't do it? Only because the U.S.A. back them up doesn't make it right, or does it?
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #72 on: April 07, 2003, 02:48:46 am »

LK: Nope, you got it exactly right.

GN: The prohibiton on agressive warfare is interesting... unless I completely misunderstood what you are saying, Germany's "constitution" forbids it from going to war except in self-defense.  (Yes? No?) If this is the (utterly fascinating) case, when did this restriction come about?  Did post-WWII Germany get tired of being slapped down by the rest of the world, or did people like Hitler justify their actions as "self-defense" somehow?  (Also, if that sounds anti-germany it isn't intended to be...)

As for the UN:  Israel can get away with defying the UN because the US lets them.  And here is my conundrum with the UN!  If we are saying that Israel defies the UN that means the world expects the UN's statements to carry weight; ie is has real and legitimate athourity (sp?) over member nations.  This implies, to my mind, that the UN acts as (note that I did not say is) a ruling body.  If this is the case, it needs to enforce what it says.

On the other hand, if we do NOT believe that the UN has real athourity, ie it makes "suggestions" then the opposite conundrum appears -- if it is not acting as a ruling body, then member nations are not in any way bound by it's edicts!  Thus, countries like Israel, the US, and Iraq can do whatever they want, and while it may piss off some nations, the UN can't do anything about it.

Basically, the sticking point for me is this:  Does the UN have real and actual athourity or not?  Should the UN have real and actual athourity or not?  I do not like the current, "in-between" state it seems to operate in.

As a side note, the US declaration of war on Iraq is not inherently related to the fact that Iraq may or may not have been defying UN edicts -- in many ways this is just Bush's excuse to eliminate what he sees as a threat to the US and the Iraqi people.
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #73 on: April 07, 2003, 06:38:09 am »

Quote
Did post-WWII Germany get tired of being slapped down by the rest of the world, or did people like Hitler justify their actions as "self-defense" somehow?


The former... perhaps aided by the allies, much as Japan's constitution was helped along by MacArthur...
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Re: I could just puke!
« Reply #74 on: April 07, 2003, 07:00:02 am »

All that is quoted from ErekLich is inverted (I still haven't figured out how to do multiple quotes with my reply in between...)

LK: Nope, you got it exactly right.
Glad to hear that!

GN: The prohibiton on agressive warfare is interesting... unless I completely misunderstood what you are saying, Germany's "constitution" forbids it from going to war except in self-defense. (Yes? No?)
YES. (Unless our gouvernment votes with a 2/3 decision which i.e. took place when German Forces were involved in the peace-making and/or peace-keeping campaign in Yugoslavia.)

If this is the (utterly fascinating) case, when did this restriction come about?
May 8th 1949 - exactly 4 years after the unconditional capitulation of the 3rd Reich. The men and women who created our constitution started from scratch and included almost everything important. Some changes were added by a 2/3 parlamentary vote (like the changes made after and for the Re-Unification).

Did post-WWII Germany get tired of being slapped down by the rest of the world, (just you wait!  Grin) or did people like Hitler justify their actions as "self-defense" somehow?  (Also, if that sounds anti-germany it isn't intended to be...)
No insult taken. Post WWII-Germany really started from scratch and they wanted to improve on everything and learn from all that which went wrong in our first Democracy, the Weimar Republic. (And of course the 3rd Reich including all the atrocities and injustices).
Interestingly enough, Hitler did indeed use the term of self-defense when Germany invaded Poland on September 1st 1939 (Not to mention Germany's interference in Spain between 1936-1938 where the Armed forces made a "test run" of their capabilities).
"Today, for the first time, Poland has operated with regular troops on German territory. From 5:45 a.m. on, we are now shooting back!" (Hitler's speech on the beginning of WWII). So indeed he has used the term of "self-defense" although the whole thing was staged and those Polish soldiers were disguised German special forces...
The campaign "Barbarossa" (June 21st 1941) against the USSR (an ally of Germany in the first two years of the war!) was also based on the assumption that Stalin was assembling troops and the German attack on Russia was only a "pre-emptive strike" about three weeks before the Russians were supposedly about to attack the Reich.

As for the U.N.:  Israel can get away with defying the U.N. because the U.S. lets them.  And here is my conundrum with the U.N.!  If we are saying that Israel defies the U.N. that means the world expects the U.N.'s statements to carry weight; i.e. it has real and legitimate authority over member nations.  This implies, to my mind, that the U.N. acts as (note that I did not say is) a ruling body.  If this is the case, it needs to enforce what it says.
Well, as soon as you as a country become a member state of the U.N. you accept its Charta and therefore, yes, the U.N.'s statements and decisions do carry weight. This happens voluntarily though, and member nations are the ones who are to make sure that other members conform with the rules of the U.N. - maybe to make it clearer, the U.N. doesn't really act like a ruling body but more like a really strong advisor backed by other nations (although that's not really it...).
Take this example (not really fitting, but a nice picture): Imagine an ice-hockey match. You (a country) are part of a league (the U.N.) which has certain rules. The umpire or referee (the U.N.'s Security Council, the U.N. diplomats or who else has that kind of role) sees you breaking the rules amongst the players by committing a foul.
So far, everything is easy and fine (well, maybe except for you committing that foul!). The ref' calls your 2 minutes. If you are a good player and go conform with the rules, you will take your brake and then return to the field.
But what happens if you decide not to leave the ice? Who is to carry you off-field and make sure you stay there?
The ref' doesn't have any means to throw you out (he himself can't really use force against you, 'cause you are a brute). Either your fellow players can persuade you to go off the ice or the other team's players will take you off the ice with force (which in itself is again a violation of the rules).
The ref' might threaten you with additional time or even throw you out of the game completely (not sure with the U.N. right here!), but all he really can do is make the call, not enforce it!
That is pretty much what the U.N. does and can do. It is up to the other players to make sure you follow the call. If you don't, someone more powerful will have to make you follow the rules (and thereby will break the rules himself). In the world, there is no manager who stops paying your salary or kicks you out of the league... You might have to pay a fee though (sanctions).

On the other hand, if we do NOT believe that the U.N. has real athourity, i.e. it makes "suggestions" then the opposite conundrum appears -- if it is not acting as a ruling body, then member nations are not in any way bound by it's edicts!  Thus, countries like Israel, the US, and Iraq can do whatever they want, and while it may piss off some nations, the U.N. can't do anything about it.
Exactly. (And I did have to look up conundrum)

Basically, the sticking point for me is this:  Does the UN have real and actual athourity or not?
It has the authority the member countries give to the U.N. and let the U.N. have.
Should the UN have real and actual athourity or not?
Well, I myself consider the U.N. an authority. So does Germany. So should the U.S. who are a founding member AND host to the U.N. headquarters in N.Y.C. - although I sometimes get the feeling that the crusading Bush doesn't give a damn... All those Americans who worked for the establishment of the U.N. will definitely be turning in their graves. Turning? Rotating, faster and faster each and every day! (Nothing personnal, right!)
I do not like the current, "in-between" state it seems to operate in.
It's not an "in-between" state - it's the way things go when some players start ignoring the book o' rules...

As a side note, the U.S. declaration of war on Iraq is not inherently related to the fact that Iraq may or may not have been defying U.N. edicts - in many ways this is just Bush's excuse to eliminate what he sees as a threat to the U.S. and the Iraqi people.
Don't be mistaken about it: An ultimation does NOT mean that the U.S. have publicly declared war on Iraq. It is the same as it was in Vietnam. It's a military conflict but not a "real" war... There is a jurisdictional difference somewhere - although the folks dying on either side probably don't care!

As for our German "Grundgesetz" ("basic law", our Constitution):
Article 26 (Peacekeeping)
(1) Actions which are suitable and are made in the intention of disturbing the peaceful coexistance of the peoples, in particular the guidance and preparation of a war of aggression, are unconstitutional. They are to be placed under punishment.
(2) Weapons specified for warfare may onlay be manufactured, carried and marketed with permission of the Federal Government. A Federal law regulates the details.

What that means right now? The American Abrams M1 (no matter which serial number) uses a German-built cannon and ammunition that we made for our Leopard IIs. Our Federal Law should inhibit us from supplying spare parts because the tanks/weapons are used for a war of aggression. The U.S. airplanes use German-built optic systems (infra-red, missile guiding what-not stuff). Again, we mustn't supply any spare parts. Why do the U.S. use German technology? Well, first of all, it's "Made in Germany". Then, we still build the best Panzers in the world. And on the optic-sector, few could beat us... Why we still supply spare parts to the U.S. although our Constitution should actually inhibit that transfer? "Don't ask me, I don't know!" (Well, that's a quote from Ozzy, but it fits!)

Have a good start into the week, I'll talk to you guys later  Wink
[Edited for typos and not for content! GNM]
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