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Children as Political Hostages


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News of over 300 children being held hostage in Beslan must have shocked everybody in the world. It seems the final taboo has finally been broken. Terrorists are now resorting to bargaining the lives of children in order to obtain their political demands. Politicians all over the world are encouraging Vladimir Putin not to give in to these terrorists. He probably will take this advice and most of the children will be killed.

The Chechen terrorists will get little support for their actions. However, that is not their intention. The message is loud and clear. “We are willing to resort to any tactic, including the killing of innocent children, in order to gain our political objectives.” There is noting really new in this statement. In fact, ever since the 1930s political leaders have taken this stance. Hitler was probably the first to do this, but others, including Winston Churchill, Tony Blair, George Bush and Vladimir Putin have followed his example. Anyone who orders air attacks on civilian areas knows that innocent children will be killed. It is believed 30,000 children in Chechnya have died as a result of Putin's policies. The only difference is that the Chechen terrorists are purposely selecting children as targets.

Other terrorists are likely to follow the example of the Chechen terrorists - whatever the outcome of the events in Beslan. If this tactic is employed for long enough, every country occupying another, will be forced to withdraw its troops. This was always the logical conclusion of the use of suicide bombers. Once you have people willing to die for a political cause, you only have to find a target that will have an impact on the leaders of the occupying power.

Living in a democratic country in the west makes it difficult to understand why people are willing to commit suicide in order to gain political objectives. However, an awareness of the history of Chechnya, provides insights into this tragedy. Chechnya was conquered by the Russians in 1858. The Russians defeated soldiers led by Imam Shamil who was trying to establish an Islamic state in Chechnya.

The Chechen refused to accept the authority of the Tsar or the communist rulers who gained power in 1917. Stalin, who had been given responsibility for the region as minister of minorities in the early 1920s, was determined to defeat them. In 1944 he attempted to deport the entire population of the region.

This was only successful in the short-term. In the years following the war the Chechens returned to their homeland. Ruling these people from Moscow was never easy. However, on the collapse of communism in 1991, Dzhokhar Dudayev, declared Chechen independence.

In 1994 Russian troops invaded Chechnya. They stood no change against the Red Army and over 100,000, mostly civilians were killed. This included incidents that suggested that the Russians were committing genocide against the Chechens. However, with modern terrorism, victory is impossible to obtain. In 1995, terrorists seized a Russian hospital and killed 100 hostages. Other acts of terrorism followed. Many of these acts were carried out by women who had watched husbands and brothers being tortured and killed by Russian soldiers. As Muslims they believed that by dying for their homeland they will enter paradise and rejoin their dead family members. It is a problem that will only be solved when the Russians withdraw from Chechnya.

My grandson goes to school for the first time next week. His parents have brought him up to be aware of what is going on in the world. Today they have been busy keeping him from hearing or watching the news. How are older children coping with this news? Is it possible to stop them from hearing that they are no longer safe in school?

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Your comment of others following in the Chechen terrorists footsteps, here's some more info. I have a close friend that is a police officer here in the U.S., who recently underwent "terrorism" training. He informed me that the U.S. government believes that terrorists were planning to attack schools, and sporting events were children were present. They are ordering all off duty police officers to carry their guns in order to prevent these types of events from occuring. Looks as if the government was right. The question is, could this type of event have been avoided had the governments told their citizens. I can't believe that these governments would not have shared this information.

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99% of the media indignation against terrorism is synthetic.

It feeds off the very real sympathy which parents feel when they imagine their own children being the victims.

A similar percentage of the hysteria in the United States (and to a lesser extent in the UK) is intended to create an atmosphere of fear in which civil liberty can be destroyed. "It is necessary to destroy liberty in order to save it."

It consciously creates fear in the population so that torture by the state and imprisonment without trial will be accepted.

You might like to think about how torturing people until they confess to terrorism, imprisoning people as a consequence of such confessions or declaring war on states which are demonstrably not concerned with the terrorist attacks could possibly possibly prevent such outrages from taking place.....they haven't worked so far.

Have a nice day.

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Let us not forget the 50 (+/-) kindergarten children which were killed by a 'madman' entering their school in Scotland - this was not too many years ago; I was attending the 50th Annual Highland Games in Enumclaw (near Seattle), Washington, USA - when they trooped the clans and read aloud the names of those who had died the previous year; when they read the many names and gave the ages: 5years old, and it went on and on - I thought (at first) "...WHOA, what a bad year to be a kid in Scotland...!" - then when the announcer was finished with THAT role-call - they brought to our rememberance the event that resulted in so may children being slaughtered....then, I shed my tears of sorrow....

Being a mother, I agree with the fact that the "mini-prop" news services DO play upon our sympathies for our own children' we then translate that to the tears and heartache of "relating" to the parents of these other children....

:ice Children are children the whole world over...they should be loved, protected and nurtured, no matter where they live or WHAT their parents' belief system may happen to be!!

I am appalled at the deliberate targetting of children by these "terrorists" - (who's going to be around to pay taxes for THEIR social security program?) A bit of whimsy - in an otherwise deadly serious "game" - all for a piece of ground, a political "ideal" (if THAT'S an "ideal", NO THANKS!), or any other agenda...this madness must stop. :angry:

I've heard it said that it's "terror" when it happens to you - that it's HORROR when you watch it happen to others...and I am horrified at the thought of the deliberate targetting of children.

As teachers, we have a responsibility to educate these children in TRUE ideals - Beauty within, Truth throughout and Love toward all, and to NOT foment and foster hatred toward ANYONE, whatever their creed, color, religion, belief system OR difference in culture. It may take a generation or two to accomplish this goal, but I believe that THIS is why we are here and what we are here to do....

Niave? perhaps; Idealistic, maybe!! Radical...MOST DEFINITELY!

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is the google found definition of terrorism as defined by the FBI, "the unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives". This definition includes three elements: (1) Terrorist activities are illegal and involve the use of force. (2) The actions are intended to intimidate or coerce. (3) The actions are committed in support of political or social objectives.

It seems clear that actions in the neighbouring country of Chechnya clearly fit in this definition of terrorism. But surely the hypocracy of the defintion screams at everyone when we compare this defintion to our actions over the last three years in Middle East and indeed the last thousand years with our interaction with the rest of the world.

In a very purverse way I admire terrorists the who walk into a bus station and blow themselves up. If T. Blair and G.Bush had enough courage in their beliefs then clearly we would have seen them on the frontline in Iraq. As it is, we in Britian are all terrorists, because we don't actively take action against the known terrorists in this country, which is our government, as according to the FBI definition of terrorism. I keep informing the FBI via e-mail that I know the exact address of Britain's biggest terrorist, but they don't seem interested in searching Number 10. I think they might find some conclusive evidence of terrorist acts. As Malcom X said, "If your not part of the solution, your part of the problem."

Yes - 300 dead children is not a special day to remember, but how many bombs that I've paid for in tax have killed children this week in Iraq? No-one knows, or really cares. You start to care when it's your child that has just been blown to bits, as September 11th clearly shows.

Definitions are clearly misleading these days. "Blue on Blue" No a collosial error of judgement.

How is war is terror won when we are not targeting terrorist, but countries we in our judegment claim are terrorists? To rid the world of "evil-doers" and "not let evil stand." When we still are supplying "evil-doers" with arms and guns. But not the best arms, because we keep them for ourselves when we need to attack these "evil doers."

If we attach immoral attributes to terrorists, which we then act upon in manner that causes innocent loss of life, we must examine ourselves with the same moral standard we judge others by. A simple enough mantra.

Edited by John Kelly
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This is the google found definition of terrorism as defined by the FBI, "the unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives". This definition includes three elements: (1) Terrorist activities are illegal and involve the use of force. (2) The actions are intended to intimidate or coerce. (3) The actions are committed in support of political or social objectives.

It seems clear that actions in the neighbouring country of Chechnya clearly fit in this definition of terrorism.  But surely it the hypocracy of the defintion screams at everyone when we compare this defintion to our actions over the last three years in Middle East and indeed the last thousand years with our interaction with the rest of the world. 

In a very purverse way I admire terrorists the who walk into a bus station and blow themselves up.  If T. Blair and G.Bush had enough courage in their beliefs then clearly we would have seen them on the frontline in Iraq.  As it is, we in Britian are all terrorists, because we don't actively take action against the known terrorists in this country, which is our government, as according to the FBI definition of terrorism.  I keep informing the FBI via e-mail that I know the exact address of Britain's biggest terrorist, but they don't seem interested in searching Number 10.  I think they might find some conclusive evidence of terrorist acts. We turn our eyes away, avert our gaze and think about Mangament Points and narcoticise ourselves with flat screen T.V's, Gardening programmes and two beers at last orders.  As Malcom X said, "If your not part of the solution, your part of the problem." 

Yes - 300 dead children is not a special day to remember, but how many bombs that I've paid for in tax have killed children this week in Iraq?  No-one knows, or really cares.  You start to care when it's your child that has just been blown to bits, as September 11th clearly shows. 

Definitions are clearly misleading these days. "Blue on Blue"  No a collosial error of judgement. 

How is war is terror won when we are not targeting terrorist, but countries we in our judegment claim are terrorists?  To rid the world of "evil-doers" and "not let evil stand."  When we still are supplying "evil-doers" with arms and guns.  But not the best arms, because we keep them for ourselves when we need to attack these "evil doers." 

If we attach immoral attributes to terrorists, which we then act upon in manner that causes innocent loss of life, we must examine ourselves with the same moral standard we judge others by.  A simple enough mantra.

By the definition of terrorism you use, Saddam Hussein was surely a terrorist. He certainly used actions to intimidate and coerce his own people, as if we need reminding. We should be grateful his reign of terror in Iraq is over.

Tony Blair (and George Bush) do not deliberately target innocent civilians to further their political and social objectives. That is exactly what Osama Bin Laden and his followers in Iraq do on a regular basis. Kidnapping and executing civilians is barbaric. Blowing up and firing bullets at screaming children is similarly so. When was the last time Tony Blair used biological and chemical weapons against his own people?

Your admiration for the 'brave' suicide bombers is actually quite sickening. Governments make mistakes and innocent people get killed in wars. That's why we should always strive as hard as possible to avoid conflict. Sometimes it takes some moral courage to stand up to barbarism and say 'enough is enough'. These decisions are tough, but sometimes necessary.

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Tony Blair (and George Bush) do not deliberately target innocent civilians to further their political and social objectives. That is exactly what Osama Bin Laden and his followers in Iraq do on a regular basis. Kidnapping and executing civilians is barbaric. Blowing up and firing bullets at screaming children is similarly so. When was the last time Tony Blair used biological and chemical weapons against his own people?

Your admiration for the 'brave' suicide bombers is actually quite sickening. Governments make mistakes and innocent people get killed in wars. That's why we should always strive as hard as possible to avoid conflict. Sometimes it takes some moral courage to stand up to barbarism and say 'enough is enough'. These decisions are tough, but sometimes necessary.

I your dislike of terrorists of all hues and have no time at all for the fallen regime in Iraq Chris, but beg to differ with your interpretation of the the motives of Bush and Blair.

Rather stupidly Bush and Blair believed that they could gain control of the oilfields of Iraq by labelling Saddam Hussein "as the same as" Osama Bin Laden, (crassly stupid and wholly transparent), and invading the country in the name of "protecting our liberties". There was nothing brave or tough about these decisions they were just abysmally poor decisions. The trumped up justification of the "weapons of mass destruction" would be hilarious if the consequences of the folly that followed were not so grave.

Iraq is now in a state of USA/UK created lawless chaos. Tens of thousands of new extremists have been created by the actions of our respective elected idiots, and the world is a far less safe place. Let us not pretend that the current situation in Iraq is anything more than something of which Britons and Americans should be utterly ashamed.

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When I say the admiration is perverse please take it with slice of satire and a pinch of truth. I have several points to raise with you about your response.

1. Why are you grateful that that Saddam's reign of terror is over in Iraq? He was a terrorist, but for a long while he was Capitol Hill sponsered terrorist, which by definition becomes something along the lines of "rules a lawless country with a iron fist." "Pro-active in use of force against militants." Or other such terminology. He was also very much liked in the U.K as he gave us a barrier against the 'evil' Iranians. I would also argue over the idea that as you say "he gassed his own people." Gas incidently that was bought from the West and was sanctioned by the West for deployment against the Iranians. I feel sure that the Kurdish minorities would certainly argue that Saddam was not at that point "their leader." And I would also highlight the point that the Iranians then must have been sub-human when we sold Saddam the gas, because we happy to him to use that gas in the eight year war. If gas is so inhumaine, why do we still sell it countries around the world?

Tony Blair has not gassed his own people, but if this the yard stick by which you measure a good and bad leader then your standards are quite low. "Sharon is not as bad a Hilter."

But how does this impinge upon your life? Quite clearly the world is not a safer place with Saddam gone, it has got worse. The worsing of world safety was not established by one small Middle Easten dictator, but by a bullish British and American foreign policy towards a very complicated problem, which was never to be solved by invading a oil rich tin-pot dicator country. The point I was trying to make is that you cannot win a war on terror with carpet bombs as modern terrorism quite clearly is about more covert means of operation.

2. "Thats why we should strive as hard as possible to avoid conflcit." This is the point I'm stressing, we not striving as hard as possible to avoid conflict. Why did most of Europe vote not to attack Iraq, they were striving hard to avoid conflict, while our country was backing America all the way. One million people marched on the streets to avoid the war, the government lied to us about the motivation behind going to war, this is all very important when we consider that a terrorist acts to further his political or social agenda. If you don't believe that Bush and Blair have a political and social agenda in invading Iraq, I fear there is no common ground between our viewpoints.

3. Do you really think becoming a sucide bomber is "easy" way out, regardless of religious indoctrination. They are fighting a personal war, sometimes out of necessity, such as the Palestinians. Israeli has constantly broken U.N resolutions but the rest of the world gives no support to the Palestinians. Iraq allegedly breaks one resolution and this becomes grounds for invasion? And yes as I orginally stated, I do have a certain sense of admiration for a person who is willing to take their own life in the belief that they have a just cause. And as for Bush, he dodged the Vietnam war, he has no right to sending troops in battle.

4. "Some times it takes courage to stand up to moral barbarism and say enough is enough." Your statement is far too simplistic. Iraq was not a threat to us, that has been now proven, so attacking a country whose army was no match to the combined military might of America and Britain is not in my opinion an example of courage. And if as you say we must stand up to these countries, why has nobody invaded North Korea? The answer is North Korea is a nuclear power and will use those weapons if attacked. The message sent out to terrorists is, if you can arm youself with bigger weapons than us, then we'll basic allow you to do what you like.

Who are you to define what moral barbarism is to other people in the world? Why are your beliefs so special and should be observed around the entire globe? Infact I see nearly every excess and example of greed and human suffering in the West. People who eat until they are too fat to move. Kids who shoot other kids because of video games. People who are "pro-life" killing doctors. MacDonald destroying our Rainforests for 99p burger deals. Music so devoid of any intelligence or creativity that boy bands cover other boy bands music. A government that lied to its population. A moron in charge in the White House, who believes that Nigeria is big continent. We are not bringing the light of democracy to the heathens of the Middle East or morally crusading around the world wiping out all the "evil," we are in the case of Iraq a new breed of robber barons.

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I would like to jump in here with a bit of "fiction" that was written by Tom Clancy a few years ago - 'The Dragon and The Bear' - within the pages of this tome are some very surprising 'prophecies' which have become all too real in more recent years.

Aside: Mr. Clancy's "finger on the pulse" has been telling us for years that there is more to the "wars" (in Iraq and Iran) than meets the eye - give this book a read if you can handle more than the 'faux' News soundbites and really dig into a puzzle.

There is gold and oil in Russia - and we - the U.S., now being their 'friends' (i.e.: exploiters, as we are EVERYWHERE when there's an Almighty Dollar to be had!) are attempting to help the Russians gain ground in order to get their oils reserves out of the ground and on to the world market - transparent motives, indeed.

If we can conduct our little skirmish in Iraq and gain (i.e.: STEAL) the ground from the oil fields to the Caspian Sea and to the Gulf in order to help them build the pipelines they need - we, being their FRIENDS (!) will no doubt take full advantage of the availability of the neweslt oil "glut" on the world market.

Give that book a read and tell me that you don't see some very "prophetic" truths now unfolding....my views may seem simplistic in light of the very real problems in this world - but there IS something within those pages which resonates with US foreign policy and with the current events.

Jewels

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By the definition of terrorism you use, Saddam Hussein was surely a terrorist.  He certainly used actions to intimidate and coerce his own people, as if we need reminding.  We should be grateful his reign of terror in Iraq is over.

Tony Blair (and George Bush) do not deliberately target innocent civilians to further their political and social objectives.  That is exactly what Osama Bin Laden and his followers in Iraq do on a regular basis.  Kidnapping and executing civilians is barbaric.  Blowing up and firing bullets at screaming children is similarly so.  When was the last time Tony Blair used biological and chemical weapons against his own people? 

Your admiration for the 'brave' suicide bombers is actually quite sickening.  Governments make mistakes and innocent people get killed in wars.  That's why we should always strive as hard as possible to avoid conflict.  Sometimes it takes some moral courage to stand up to barbarism and say 'enough is enough'.  These decisions are tough, but sometimes necessary.

It is noticeable that supporters of Blair and Bush always refer to Saddam Hussein use of chemical weapons against his own people. This he definitely did and should be condemned by everybody for it. However, is it really any worse than using chemical weapons against people from other countries? Of course it is not. The reason why Blair and Bush do not say this is that they know both the US and UK have a long tradition of using chemical weapons against foreign people. UK for example, used chemical weapons against the Iraqis in the 1920s. The US used chemicals like Agent Orange with devastating effect in Vietnam. Thousands of children in Vietnam are still being born deformed as a result of these chemicals.

Blair and Bush might not actually target women and children but their policy of ordering bombing attacks on civilian areas has resulted in far more of them being killed than those achieved by suicide bombers. In some cases, as in the use of cluster bombs, the strategy is to terrorize the civilian population. In my book, Blair, Bush and suicide bombers are all repulsive creatures. In all cases they justify their behaviour by linking it with their belief in God. It is enough to make anyone an atheist.

In terms of numbers killed, Blair and Bush are far worse than suicide bombers. They are also far more dishonest than conventional terrorists.

Nor are they against all forms of terrorism. They are highly selective in the terrorists they condemn. For example, in October, 1973, the midair explosion of Cubana Airlines plane flying out of Barbados killed all 73 people aboard. This included all 24 young athletes on Cuba's gold-medal fencing team. Police in Trinidad arrested two Venezuelans, Herman Ricardo and Freddy Lugo. Ricardo worked for Posada's security agency in Venezuela and admitted that he and Lugo had planted two bombs on the plane. Ricardo claimed the bombing had been organized by Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada. When Posada was arrested he was found with a map of Washington showing the daily route of to work of Orlando Letelier, the former Chilean Foreign Minister, who had been assassinated on 21st September, 1973.

Herman Ricardo and Freddy Lugo were both sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. In 1985 Posada escaped from a Venezuelan jail as a result of a bribe from Jorge Mas Canosa, the head of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), an organization created under Ronald Reagan.

In 1987 Bosch was freed with the help of Otto Reich, the White House's leading adviser on Latin America. Bosch entered the United States, where he was granted asylum. He was eventually pardoned by President George Bush on 18th July, 1990.

Posada gave an interview to the New York Times (July 12th, 1998), where he admitted to planning a series of bombings in Cuba. He also revealed that he had been receiving US government funding via the Cuban American National Foundation.

Once released, Bosch and Posada continued to take part in terrorist attacks on Cuba. In 2000 Posada, Guillermo Novo, Gaspar Jiménez and Pedro Remón, were arrested and imprisoned after trying to assassinate Fidel Castro at the University of Panama.

You might be interested in this story that appeared in a recent edition of the New York Post:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/col/story/...9p-203507c.html

Terrorists Welcome - If They're Anti-Castro.

by Albor Ruiz

Let's see if we can make sense out of this: On Tuesday, Washington denied visas to a number of Cuban scholars - I repeat, scholars -- who had been invited to participate in an academic conference in Las Vegas.

Yet, in what amounted to a suspension of the war on terror, a few weeks ago, Pedro Remn, Guillermo Novo Sampol and Gaspar Jimeniz - three Cuban-Americans with long and proven ties to terrorist activities in this country and abroad - were given a celebrity welcome to the U.S.

Terrorists yes, scholars no? It doesn't make any sense.

On Sept. 28, the U.S. Interests Section in Havana informed the Cuban authorities that they had turned down the requested visas of every single one of 61 Cuban scholars who were supposed to take part in the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) convention in Las Vegas Oct 7-10.

Such action was based on Section 212, an executive order issued during the Reagan administration that allows denial of visas on the grounds that it is not in the interests of the U.S. to grant visas to persons who are employees of the Cuban government and/or members of the Cuban Communist Party.

"In short," said Michael Erisman, a political science professor at Indiana State University and a member of LASA, "it is a blanket authorization to deny visas, since practically all Cubans, and certainly all Cuban academics, are government employees, just as those of us in the U.S. who work at public institutions are government employees."

Yet Remn, Novo and Jimeniz, who along with former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles had been in a Panamanian prison, accused of plotting to assassinate Fidel Castro at a summit of Latin American leaders in 2000, had no problems with federal authorities.

The fact that, according to the charges, they were planning to use 33 pounds of explosives to assassinate Castro at the University of Panama did not raise any red flags with immigration authorities. Those authorities happily looked the other way when the three men returned to the U.S. through the Opa-Locka airport in Florida.

Officials in Washington did not seem to mind that the explosives the men intended to use were enough to destroy an armored car, damage everything within 220 yards and kill not only Castro but dozens of Panamanian university students as well. Recently, the men had been sentenced to seven to eight years in prison for endangering public safety.

But on Aug. 28, they were pardoned by outgoing Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso, who many believe was pressured to do so by Washington. And, outrageously enough, the trio arrived in Florida to great fanfare just in time to commemorate the third anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil. It seems that for all its rhetoric about democracy, what really scares this administration the most is a free exchange of ideas.

"We expected some casualties, but never a blanket denial of visas," said Erisman. "This case is, at least to the best of my knowledge, the most extreme application - and abuse - of the Section 212 provisions in terms of the size of the group that has been denied visas."

Terrorists yes, scholars no. Whatever happened to the war on terror? Call it opportunism or call it hypocrisy -- it doesn't make much difference. The fact is that this is an election year and Florida must be won. And candidate Bush seems willing to go very far to woo the ultraconservative Cuban-American vote. Last time I looked, this was called hypocrisy.

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A few comments re John Kelly's last post:

1. I am grateful Saddam's reign of terror is over in Iraq because he was one of the most brutal dictators of the post-war era. I would not classify Blair in the same bracket as Saddam not only because the former, unlike the latter, has not gassed his own people. As for the Kurds, I am sure they would have preferred Saddam not to have claimed jurisdiction over them in the 1980s. The fact that he did resulted in his use of chemical and biological weapons against them. You refer to Blair and Bush as terrorists in your earlier post, but can you tell me just how much chemical and biological weaponry these two men supplied Saddam Hussein? Mistakes made by previous UK and US administrations can hardly be blamed on either Bush or Blair.

2. Where did I say that the war on Iraq was part of the 'war on terror'? That might be what George Bush believes, but I do not follow his line. You can believe the war was justified on moral grounds without thinking that it was going to solve the problems of world terrorism. The opportunity to get rid of Saddam was not taken at the time of the first Gulf War and how the Shi'ites in southern Iraq paid the price for that in the reprisals which followed. I can still justify the war on Iraq on moral grounds and thus do not believe either Bush nor Blair should be classified as terrorists. To read some of the posts in this thread, it appears that Tony Blair has been as demonised as those that committed the atrocities in Beslan. I cannot accept that.

3. It is a moot point about whether the government lied to us as the Hutton and Butler inquiries have demonstrated. At best, Blair was misled by faulty intelligence. The government's reasons for going to war may well have been genuine at the time. Assuming he lied because no WMD have been found is misleading.

4. By your own admission once again, you have a certain "sense of admiration for a person who is willing to take their own life in the belief that they have a just cause". Does this extend to the terrorists who commited the atrocity in Beslan? Does Bin Laden not think he has a just cause? If so, were his henchmen "admirable" in their actions on 11 September? In my book, the end does not always justify the means. I have a great deal of sympathy for the Palestinian cause and wish the Americans would do more to reign in Sharon, but I will never cease to condemn suicide bombings. It is often stated that Israel constantly break UN resolutions, but, there are UN General Assembly resolutions, (non-binding recommendations) and then there are UN Security Council resolutions. Resolutions affecting Israel are not self-enforced by Israel alone; they require a negotiated settlement. The resolutions imposed upon Iraq required Iraqi compliance and were not dependent on any negotiated settlement.

5. If Bush had no right to send troops into battle because he dodged the draft, was Bill Clinton correct to launch NATO airstikes against Milosovic? Was his removal from power justifiable? Did Clinton not risk the lives of servicemen despite the fact he too dodged the draft?

6. Why should we invade North Korea and thus risk nuclear holocaust? Negotiation is clearly the best option with that rogue state. Hardly double standards, but realistic given the circumstances.

7. You obviously have little time for western culture. The right to vote, trial by jury and freedom of speech are liberties we take for granted in the west. Nobody is saying UK/US democracy is perfect but I'd take fat, greedy, computer playing kids any day over the use of biological weapons by the head of state against people living in his own country.

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  • 2 weeks later...
a person who is willing to take their own life in the belief that they have a just cause".  Does this extend to the terrorists who commited the atrocity in Beslan? Does Bin Laden not think he has a just cause?  If so, were his henchmen "admirable" in their actions on 11 September?  In my book, the end does not always justify the means.

I think we must ask ourselves a fundamental question: how can we define a just cause? Removing Saddam and Milosevic were just causes, and in the latter's case eventually strongly supported by the International Community (maybe not at the time). Did that justify killing civilians whom 'we' were trying to save from the totalitarian genocidic menace that S Milosevic represented? I suppose in a few years' time, historians may say that it did, what at what cost?

History is punctuated by a lot of those 'just causes'-events and in retrospect they may be justified, but what is as important is the here and now. Is the suffering of the families who have lost a son, a husband, a brother in a conflict justified by the fact that some tyran has been removed from power? I'm sure most would agree that it probably is, I just wonder whether the families would see it that way. Their pain is real and is happening now. Many people live their lives guided by their emotions (even more so in the case of 'unjust' bereavement). Can we blame them for not seeing the bigger picture? I don't think so, I think that's the way Mankind works: emotionally.

This brings me back to my main point, how can we differentiate a jut cause from an unjust one?

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