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[culture] The Boston bombings - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2013-04-16 05:47
Subject: [culture] The Boston bombings
Security: Public
Tags:boston, culture, media
First and foremost, my heart sorrows for those caught in the Boston bombings of yesterday. The dead, the injured, their friends and loved ones, the first responders and volunteers; everyone. The date and venue of the attack is just a twist of the knife, I suppose.

I don't consume broadcast media other than the odd snatch of NPR in the car, or watching online videos of segments which for some reason have been recommended to me or caught my eye. My understanding of the bombings thus far has been from a mix of (mostly) liberal blogs and the some news Web sites, as well as secondary commentary from those sources.

While I have my own private views of what is likely to be uncovered about the perpetrators, I am the first to acknowledge those views are currently not grounded in any facts whatsoever. Therefore I decline to speculate in public pending reliable evidence emerging.

What I will say is this: I hope for swift justice tempered by mercy. I likewise fervently hope that we can avoid another national paroxysm of retributive anger like that engendered by 9-11. Despite our manifold imperfections, we are a nation of laws, and a people who value a moral and orderly world. Our internal disagreements are for the most part about what those ambitions mean.

Please, let America be lawful and orderly in our response to this terrible event.

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jordan179
User: jordan179
Date: 2013-04-16 14:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I likewise fervently hope that we can avoid another national paroxysm of retributive anger like that engendered by 9-11.

I don't remember any such "paroxysm." A few idiots became violent against foreigners at home, committed crimes and were promptly arrested and sentenced to prison. This was hardly something like the Red Scare of 1918-20, where the government itself deputized vigilantes to abuse dissidents.

Well, we went to war against the perps of the attack, but that was a good thing -- if it turns out that the Boston bombings were backed by a nation-state or large-scale NGO, I seriously hope that we go to war against that enemy -- otherwise we'll suffer many more such attacks in the future.
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Jay Lake: politics-upsidedown_flag
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-04-16 14:32 (UTC)
Subject:
Keyword:politics-upsidedown_flag
I realize that I'm talking to the wind trying to engage you on this topic Jordan, but you do understand that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 whatsoever? Nor did 99.999999% of the people in Afghanistan?

We've spent over $1,000,000,000,000 and directly killed over 100,000 people in combat and indirectly killed over 1,000,000 people as collateral damage or through other means. All this in order to avenge 3,500 deaths that all but a handful of those 1,100,000 people had no involvement with.

Not to mention doing far more damage to our world image and ability to project diplomatic and military power, as well drainage to our national treasury and erosion to our own civil liberties and rule of law, than al-Qaeda could have done to us in their wildest dreams.

George W. Bush was by orders of magnitude the most successful operative Osama bin Laden ever had.
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russ: quo vadis
User: goulo
Date: 2013-04-16 16:41 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
Keyword:quo vadis
Not to mention that the US government HAS been illegally surveilling, arresting and holding without charges, abusing, and otherwise persecuting Arabic & Islamic US citizens (and continues to do so).

But I think you are indeed talking to the wind, Jay. Many of even the most fervent supporters of US actions after 9/11 which I've seen acknowledge that rather obviously there was a huge amount of anger and desire for violent vengeance - I'm baffled how anyone could have NOT noticed it.
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mevennen
User: mevennen
Date: 2013-04-16 16:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If the US, and the UK, should have gone to war with anyone, it ought to have been Saudi, but that's not going to happen anytime soon due to the obvious.
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jordan179
User: jordan179
Date: 2013-04-18 05:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What act of war did the Saudi government commit against the United States of America?

(Mind you, I despise the Saudis, but you seem to be unaware that Osama bin Laden was a rebel against that regime, rather than one of its supporters. No, they're not all just an indistinguishable mass of Brown People -- they have factions and politics just as do we Real Folk in America).
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jordan179
User: jordan179
Date: 2013-04-18 14:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I originally thought Jay meant "at home" -- that he was alluding to some sort of storm of lynchings and attacks on American Muslims, on the scale of something like the Red Scare of 1918-20. Nothing like that happened.

I wasn't aware that he considered our going to war against the people who attacked us (in the case of Afghanistan) to have been an overreaction. Or that he assumed that the reason we went to war against Iraq was that we blamed Saddam for 9-11.
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jordan179
User: jordan179
Date: 2013-04-18 04:59 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
I realize that I'm talking to the wind trying to engage you on this topic Jordan, but you do understand that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 whatsoever?

I'm well aware of that: the acts of war which Iraq committed against us, which justified our 2003 invasion, had little or nothing to do with 9-11.

Nor did 99.999999% of the people in Afghanistan?

Since 0.000001% of 30 million people would be 3 people, and Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan on 9-11-2001 between them had considerably more than 3 members (indeed, each organization numbered in the tens of thousands in-country at the time), your statement is very factually incorrect, if taken literally.

I do get your larger point that the majority of the population of Afghanistan was not composed of active Taliban and Al Qaeda supporters. Alas for Afghanistan, the Taliban was the organization which formed the actual government of Afghanistan, and which chose to remain allied with Al Qaeda even after Al Qaeda chose to attack the United States of America. The population of a country may indeed wind up suffering in a war started by its government, and this is unavoidable given the lack of magic evil-seeking weapons in the arsenals of our or any other Power.

We've spent over $1,000,000,000,000 and directly killed over 100,000 people in combat and indirectly killed over 1,000,000 people as collateral damage or through other means.

100 thousand as a body count for all the Terrorists plus members of Saddam's armed forces killed in both countries seems about right. 1 million collateral deaths inflicted by American arms seems suspiciously large: are you sure that you are not conflating these with civilians killed by our ENEMIES in these conflicts?

All this in order to avenge 3,500 deaths that all but a handful of those 1,100,000 people had no involvement with.

It was to defeat the factions in Afghanistan which chose to launch the 9-11 attack, and the government of Iraq which chose to violate the terms of the truce ending the 1991 war. As for the disproportion of suffering between us and our foes, that is a good thing: as a rule of thumb, when one suffers much less in a war than does one's foes this is a sign of victory; the reverse, of defeat; and if both suffer roughly as much, this is a "stalemate."

Stalemates are terrible (though not as bad as defeats). If you want to see what a stalemated war looks like, consider the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980's, or even better, World War One on the Western Front from 1915 through 1917.

You seem to be hoping that, if a foreign Power or NGO was behind the Boston attacks, we do not prosecute against them the war that they would have thus started.

I suggest that you have not considered the consequences of such a craven response -- consequences which might well fall directly upon those groups in the West whom the Muslims hate the most.

One such group I belong to: Jews.

The other such group is women.

Are there any women who are important to you? Have you considered what their lives might be like in a world where Muslims were free to roam about inflicting shari'a, and we were too cowed (or too misguidedly humanitarian) to fight back?
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When life gives you lemmings...
User: danjite
Date: 2013-04-16 17:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Meanwhile, at the same time as the Boston Marathon...
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jordan179
User: jordan179
Date: 2013-04-18 05:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're right! We should just submit to having our civilians killed by foreigners on purpose, because our bombs occasionally go astray! This makes perfect sense, especially when one considers that all non-Americans are just one huge undifferentiated mass!
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