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Re: Yes it's off topic but who cares right now.

  • From: Vadim Antonov
  • Date: Thu Sep 13 19:16:13 2001

Randy - you may not like it, but this is not a conflict of nations; this
is a conflict of ideologies ("religions", if you wish).  On the one side
is secular Western societies which are considered perverse, unclean and
sinful not just by mujaheedin ("fanatics", "crazies", etc) but by majority
of believers in the Middle-East.  On the other side is Western society
which considers religious states oppressive and their disregard for human
lives absolutely abominable.

Framing the conflicts in national (US vs Afganistan, etc) or racial
(whites vs arabs) categories is very unhelpful.  Anyone who tracked what's
going on in, say, Chechnya, knows that Islamic militants have no problems
using foreign mercenaries, particularly from Eastern Europe. They pay
well.  (BTW, the suicide bombers are not "doing that for pure idea" --
their families are usually very well paid, and for most families from the
poorest regions this is the only way to wealth).

In other words, we _are_ in a religious war, of sorts.  And, i'm afraid,
this is us or them situation, because by the very nature of their belief
they cannot stop. (Again, Western media seems to be very shy about showing
what mujaheedin tell about their beliefs themselves.  I personally heard
from a Chechen that they will not stop until they kill all filthy Russians
and then go and kill all filty Americans and Israelis -- it was said
chillingly matter-of-factly.  In a daylight, on a Moscow street.)

Since the all-out no-holds-barred war aimed at wiping the idea out
together with carriers of that idea (i.e. "civilian" population) is very
out of fashion nowadays (somehow nobody cared about German civilians in
WWII, to put it into perspective) - the most likely scenario will be
protracted suppression of Islamic states.  This may have two outcomes:
either their beliefs mutate to become more benign (like Christianity did,
crusaders were no better than today's Islamic fanatics; and Islam, like
Christianity _does_ teach peacefulness - read Koran to see for yourselves;
principles of any religion may be interpreted as applying to "true
believers" only); or that they manage to produce a particularly virulent
strain resistant to Western defenses.

Pushing epidemological analogy further, the ways to deal with the
situation are: exterminate infected population (or isolate, and let it die
off on its own), go after transmission vectors (TV, radio stations,
newsprint, religious leaders, etc pushing the militant ideas), drain
parasite's nutrient supplies by direct means (i.e. strangling financial
inflows into the region by developing alternative oil sources; in this
respect Western policy in regard to dealing with oil fields in Russia
seems particularly boneheaded), or by introducing competition for the
resources from the benign entities (i.e. promote and support Western way
of life in the regions).  Note that i'm not passing moral judgments here.

The worst thing which could be done is to keep infection going for a long
time while doing sporadic bouts of suppression ("antibiotic", i.e.
military).  This nearly guarantees evolution of resistant strains. The
suppression must be permanent until the very idea dies off (when infection
rate is below rate of reproduction), alternatively, carriers of the idea
must be kept in check by physical elimination (local wars,
"anti-terrorist" actions, epidemia or famines) - indefinitely (a chronic
form of illness).

The third option is, of course, for us to forget the liberal ideas and
learn to say "alla akbar" without noticeable accent. Population dynamics
is definitely on _their_ side.  That option definitely has an advantage of
keeping our liberal consciences happy.

Chose whatever course is there to deal with the situation, but, please,
get your head out of sand.  This is not an isolated group of fanatics; and
you don't win wars by hating enemies - but by being pragmatic and
clear-headed.  And any human society so far was built on violence - real
or threatened (police is there to do violence, to those who don't behave;
_any_ law has behind it a threat of violence to offenders), so I wouldn't
declare it absolute evil.  In fact, without intra-species agression (aka
violence) there couldn't be any frienship or love (see the book by the
famous etologist, Konrad Lorenz, "On Agression" for a painstakingly
detailed explanation).


On Thu, 13 Sep 2001, Randy Bush wrote:

> > For those with a Christian background, don't you consider it an insult to
> > your religion to have a suicide bomber called a martyr after Saint
> > Stephen?
> no, i consider it a consequence of the self-righteousness that religion
> often nurtures, i am better than you because my god is better than yours.
> add fanaticism, and there will always be fanatics of every stripe, and you
> get the escalating cycle of violence and hate.
> resist the cycle of violence and hate.
> randy