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Osama Bin Laden is Dead


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#1 Meursault

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 05:27 AM

As mentioned, Osama Bin Laden was killed by US special forces in Pakistan in the last 24 hours. This event should have ramifications on both US foreign policy in regards to the Global War on Terror and the future of Al-Qaeda.

It is my opinion that his death will allow for the scheduled withdrawal from Afghanistan to go ahead as planned, but there will still be continued presence in the Middle East to win the war on terror. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda will suffer a loss in leadership but will not lose too much. Al-Zawarhi and Al-Sadat (nos. 2&3) are capable leaders for Al-Qaeda and thus will be able to handle this loss without Al-Qaeda falling to pieces. What will be interesting is how this will affect (effect?) domestic politics, if at all.

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#2 soleo

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 09:10 AM

Against a tactic, a logistic strategy such as, the war on terror, how can or how is victory defined?
...an uplifting representation of human life as a damn shame...
...only that which has no history can  be defined...

#3 DaveT

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 10:08 AM

Donald Trump: "The President is lying about bin Laden's death to boost his ratings. If, as President Obama claims, Osama bin Laden really is dead, then why does he not show us his death certificate?"

This is why Trump is a British colloquialism for fart.  <_<
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#4 DaveT

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 10:37 AM

The Navy Seals are starting a transport service - you'll arrive at your destination nearly a decade late, but you'll get there eventually.
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#5 DaveT

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 10:40 AM

Al Qaeda are responding to the death of bin Laden by upping their propaganda game. Expect to see Bin Laden: The Musical coming to a theatre in the Middle East in 2012. I look forward to the White House scene, in which the American government sing, "Must die must die, bin Laden must die!"

Seriously, I'm actually considering writing some songs now...
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#6 The Heretic

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 01:55 PM

Via twitter:

I expect Obama to announce that Osama bin Laden died from autoerotic asphyxiation.

Donald Trump started a new movement: Deather. Wants to see Bin Laden's Death Certificate.


#7 soleo

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 07:52 PM

History repeating itself? The end of being able to distinguish between the 'real' and the 'unreal'? Who knows...

New York Times 2002
CNN 2002
CNN 2002
BBC 2002
World Tribune
Fox News 2001
CBS 2002

Et cetera.
...an uplifting representation of human life as a damn shame...
...only that which has no history can  be defined...

#8 Parody of Language

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 08:09 PM

It's good to be skeptical soleo, especially concerning anything like this where there are so many powerful interests involved.  I would have been skeptical when something like this happened during Bush's term, so I should be skeptical during Obama's term.  That said, I would like to hear from more informed skeptics than myself.  Right now it seems that all of the news outlets as well as the US government are convinced that Obama is indeed dead.  I guess I don't think that the news agencies themselves are without skepticism on something like this.
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#9 Stummel

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 08:12 AM

View PostParody of Language, on 02 May 2011 - 08:09 PM, said:

It's good to be skeptical soleo, especially concerning anything like this where there are so many powerful interests involved.  I would have been skeptical when something like this happened during Bush's term, so I should be skeptical during Obama's term.  That said, I would like to hear from more informed skeptics than myself.  Right now it seems that all of the news outlets as well as the US government are convinced that Obama is indeed dead.  I guess I don't think that the news agencies themselves are without skepticism on something like this.

Freudian slip? ;)
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#10 Scotty

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 01:30 PM

I do have to admit I got tired of the constant joking about Bin Laden yesterday from my office mates.  The constant news coverage.  People saying how God made it all possible and how Osama was in hell now.  How wonderful.  

My imaginary friend wants you to burn in an imaginary dungeon of my making because somehow this is justice.

As a note I find it funny that people complain about things that other people do, but do the same things themselves but don't see it as bad when they do it.

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#11 Stummel

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 07:32 PM

I am continuously amazed how many people online have decided that he "deserved to die" in such a manner, and that "justice has been served". This is exactly the same rhetoric used by some Western-hating preachers, and killing a man because he killed others is so hypocritical.
I guess we don't really need courts, judges, and international laws, because apparently your average Joe on the street knows exactly what justice is and how it should be executed. How relieved I am that lots of those people celebrating an assassination by their government also own guns...
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#12 soleo

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 11:06 PM

Not entirely convinced how far one could go with this, but some of the recent reactions portrayed made me think immediately of Orwell's 2 Minutes Hate description. I've cut the chapter down, but I hope it still does justice.


George Orwell: The Two Minutes Hate said:

…they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and grouping them in the centre of the hall opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes Hate....

As usual…the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. [He]…was the renegade and backslider…had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been condemned to death...

All subsequent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies...

[The enemy of the people] was delivering his usual venemous attack upon the doctrines of the Party - an attack so exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling…He was abusing BIG BROTHER, he was denouncing the dictatorship of the Party…

Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room.

He was an object of hatred...despised by everybody, [and] although every day and a thousand times a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, in books, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were - in spite of all this, his influence never seemed to grow less. Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by him. A day never passed when spies and saboteurs acting under his directions were not unmasked by the Thought Police. He was the commander of a vast shadowy army, an underground network of conspirators dedicated to the overthrow of the State....

In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices...

The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic...

Edited by soleo, 03 May 2011 - 11:07 PM.

...an uplifting representation of human life as a damn shame...
...only that which has no history can  be defined...

#13 Parody of Language

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 04:34 PM

Well, Stummel, I look at it this way.  When it is your interest, interest trumps principle; when it is someone else's interest, principle trumps interest.  I don't generally trust that people will act according to principle.

But then principle is rooted in interest.  I used to be one of those people who bent to principle, and to a large extent I still am.  But I realized that most of my time I spent trying to figure out principles, I was doing nothing but rationalizing other people's interests.  It was around that time that I realized that justice isn't about principles, and it isn't about law.  It isn't about not looking hypocritical, it isn't about treating everyone the same.  It isn't about justifying your actions, or only acting in such a way that you can justify your actions to others.  It isn't about appealing to other people's sense of what is okay for you to do.

Justice is about being nibbled on by fish at the bottom of the sea.  If this isn't justice, then there is no such thing.  Justice requires hypocrisy.
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#14 DaveT

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 08:23 AM

Interesting perspective from Haim Baram in Haaretz

http://www.haaretz.c...-votes-1.360116

Quote

The ethical aspect is unequivocal. The humanism that is officially accepted by the U.S. too, requires its leaders not to murder political opponents or military enemies, and mainly to refrain from murdering people who have no connection at all to terror. U.S. President Barack Obama ignored all the ethical criteria, and murdered bin Laden in order to achieve success at any price in advance of the elections. Even someone who prefers Obama to his opponents has good reason to fear the cynicism that Obama demonstrated in the bin Laden affair.

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#15 Peter

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 10:01 AM

"Amen" to that.

View PostDaveT, on 06 May 2011 - 08:23 AM, said:

Interesting perspective from Haim Baram in Haaretz

http://www.haaretz.c...-votes-1.360116

Quote

The ethical aspect is unequivocal. The humanism that is officially accepted by the U.S. too, requires its leaders not to murder political opponents or military enemies, and mainly to refrain from murdering people who have no connection at all to terror. U.S. President Barack Obama ignored all the ethical criteria, and murdered bin Laden in order to achieve success at any price in advance of the elections. Even someone who prefers Obama to his opponents has good reason to fear the cynicism that Obama demonstrated in the bin Laden affair.


#16 Scotty

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 02:11 PM

That all seems rather bleak to me.  If it were the case that it was only done for political reasons, then it was something that the previous president could have done too and didn't.  Even though he signed the "law" that said it was okay to do these things (not that I agree with assassinating people).  I don't like that thought, if Obama's only thought was votes then that is a pretty scary judgement to make.

In terms of "collateral damage" killing of women/children to get to Osama, shouldn't there then be outrage at all of the wars we (US) are currently in?  That collateral damage is amazingly high.  It just seems like the radical right has taken over every aspect of these events.  Killing is good, assassination is good as long as it keeps the resources flowing.

Can't wait for China to use all the rights for resources they have been buying over the years.  When we want something, we just go to war to show those other countries they better be friendly with us or else.

-Scott

#17 DaveT

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 02:47 PM

View PostScotty, on 06 May 2011 - 02:11 PM, said:

In terms of "collateral damage" killing of women/children to get to Osama, shouldn't there then be outrage at all of the wars we (US) are currently in?  That collateral damage is amazingly high.  It just seems like the radical right has taken over every aspect of these events.  Killing is good, assassination is good as long as it keeps the resources flowing.

That is something that has irked me, too. He might as well have died more than five years ago, and whether he had been killed, captured, or found dead, I don't think it was worth the price that thousands of people paid. :(
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#18 Hugo Holbling

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 04:56 PM

View PostParody of Language, on 05 May 2011 - 04:34 PM, said:

Justice is about being nibbled on by fish at the bottom of the sea.  If this isn't justice, then there is no such thing.  Justice requires hypocrisy.

I don't want to derail this discussion but I'd be interested to know how you justify these claims, which strike me as incoherent; after all, according to most conceptions, justice is about all the things you say it isn't. What you refer to as justice seems more like vengeance, which - even if you don't mean that - is probably the confusion at the root of the rejoicing in bin Laden's murder.
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#19 BDS

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 05:19 PM

The reaction to Bin Laden's killing continues to astound me.  Here Charles Krautheimer (a conservative but mainstream columnist) claims that we meant to assassinate Bin Laden (contrary to the administration's claims), that we were justified in doing so, and that our successful assassination justifies our policy of torture.  Give me a break!

http://www.registerg...r-sept.html.csp
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#20 DaveT

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 05:23 PM

View PostHugo Holbling, on 06 May 2011 - 04:56 PM, said:

View PostParody of Language, on 05 May 2011 - 04:34 PM, said:

Justice is about being nibbled on by fish at the bottom of the sea.  If this isn't justice, then there is no such thing.  Justice requires hypocrisy.

I don't want to derail this discussion but I'd be interested to know how you justify these claims, which strike me as incoherent; after all, according to most conceptions, justice is about all the things you say it isn't. What you refer to as justice seems more like vengeance, which - even if you don't mean that - is probably the confusion at the root of the rejoicing in bin Laden's murder.

Potential new thread? The nature of justice/revenge, and how blurry is the line between them?
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#21 Stummel

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 08:25 PM

I am member of another forum which consists of mainly women, and they have a thread on the killing. Everything else I have read pales in comparison. Most of the posters announce gleefully that he deserved to die or "had it coming", plan bbq's to celebrate, at which they want to serve fish caught in the pacific ocean, and that the Navy Seals were merely defending themselves from an armed Osama who probably had bombs strapped to himself in his own house. They called me naive when I tried to suggest that there are ethical and political implications, and seem to actually believe that there is no question of legality or ethics, since "this was war" and civilian ethics or morals don't apply there. Apparently he also deserved no human rights or decency. I actually give up, in the face of such widespread nonsense. I'm just really, really sad, and despairing of humanity.
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"People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest. "

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#22 DaveT

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:07 PM

View PostStummel, on 06 May 2011 - 08:25 PM, said:

I'm just really, really sad, and despairing of humanity.

So am I, but that happened a long time ago. I guess that's why I like solitude, but don't feel comfortable in crowds. What I've come to realise is that humanity is like the philosophy sites/forums on the internet. Most of them are crap, but there is a minority that make keeping philosophy forums alive.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that TGL is a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of sites out there. Oh, and when humanity starts to get you down, concentrate on the few good (wo)men, and forget the rest; they're just beasts that won't leave a mark when they're gone.
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#23 DaveT

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:22 PM

And now for a paraphrase of part of The Football Factory

So this c*** attacks your country, kills hundreds of people, and wrecks your pride, right; in response, you spend ten years at war with two countries, bombing the fuck out of a load of people, and killing thousands of people, many of whom never did no harm to nobody. At the same time, dozens of your own soldiers, good and bad, the brave and the bastards, are killed, and hundreds of families on both sides scream out to a God that won't tell them why. After all that, you finally corner and murder the c***. All that's left is to look at the guy's body and ask yourself, "Was it worth it?"

Probably not.
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#24 Parody of Language

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 06:52 AM

View PostHugo Holbling, on 06 May 2011 - 04:56 PM, said:

View PostParody of Language, on 05 May 2011 - 04:34 PM, said:

Justice is about being nibbled on by fish at the bottom of the sea.  If this isn't justice, then there is no such thing.  Justice requires hypocrisy.

I don't want to derail this discussion but I'd be interested to know how you justify these claims, which strike me as incoherent; after all, according to most conceptions, justice is about all the things you say it isn't. What you refer to as justice seems more like vengeance, which - even if you don't mean that - is probably the confusion at the root of the rejoicing in bin Laden's murder.

Sorry Hugo, I shouldn't have been obscure.  This is probably because I don't really know what justice is.  I can't pin point a good definition that satisfies me.  But I would like to point out that no one here has said that Osama Bin Laden should not have been killed.  Some disagree with the methods, that he shouldn't have been assassinated, implying that some other method would have been far suitable.  It seems that the strongest disagreement has been against the reaction to Bin Laden's death, which should be clearly separated from any evaluation on whether he should be alive or not.  And the disagreement has been that our reaction has been too barbaric, too gleeful, and too enthusiastic.  I don't know if people are really surprised at how barbaric people can be, or if you guys think that accusing barbarism of being uncivilized is a good way of combating it.  For my own opinion, I just like to know how people really are.

I might be one of the ones who Stummel commented about, I wrote that justice has been served on my Facebook page.  I guess I admit that part of the reason for me writing that was to offset the other comment I made in the same post, that I take no pleasure from the death of any man.  I don't know if, for this reason, I was being dishonest, or even a bit of a coward; but I could clearly imagine myself, if someone handed me the weapon, if I could in good conscience pull the trigger and end his life, I think I could.  And you're talking to someone who has never ended a life.

If justice isn't vengeance, then it doesn't make sense to me that justice, instead, should be considered civilized vengeance.  It isn't the vengeance we allow ourselves after we have obeyed every principle we have made about what is right and wrong, and have done it in a way that looks polite and decent.  I think the people who disagree with the methods are probably more cowards than I am, they don't think he should have died at all, but would never dare to say that.  Otherwise, it would have occurred to them as absurd that we should have found a more polite way to kill him.

I text messaged a friend after I learned of his death.  He replied, "I didn't think people still cared this much.  I guess I stopped..."  I feel like he was being honest.  No one mentioned this at work, or in town, either, at least not in earshot of me.  So, by abduction, it seems at least plausible to me that people aren't all that satisfied at his actual death, and maybe Americans are making a big deal about this because of a sort of social signaling.  People feel that they ought to enjoy that this country's greatest enemy has been killed, and so they don't hesitate at the opportunity to express themselves as if they did.  On the contrary, I've found that whenever people express themselves of some deep-seated emotion, they usually don't express it immediately, because from experience they know they usually can't control themselves once they do express it.  So they hesitate, collect their thoughts, and only express themselves when they notice that no one else has expressed their thoughts for them.  They wait.  They express themselves only because they have to, not because they want to.  This, for example, is the way Arizonans express themselves about Mexican immigrants.  But this is just speculation.

Vengeance seems to me to be a sort of consolation.  Something important is taken from somebody, someone is killed or harmed, and this makes that person suffer.  To console him or herself, he places the blame on someone, someone he takes to be the cause of his suffering.  I don't necessarily think that we suffer from Osama Bin Laden anymore, I don't think we have for a long time.  I think my friend is right.  I think we took vengeance on Iraq, who wasn't actually the cause of the suffering, but I suppose that isn't strictly needed for consolation.  Believing that this is the cause might be good enough.

So maybe the problem isn't that we killed Bin Laden because we are too barbaric, but because we are too civilized.  Did we kill him only because we thought we ought to?  "For the sake of the families of 9-11?"  (I hope I'm not the only who thinks this expression is strange.)  Just to complete the circle?  "For closure?"  Maybe we just thought we had to prove a point.  I think for most people it's really like a military success.  We've made terrorism more difficult for al-Qaeda.  We've also made it more difficult for our government to ram stupidity into our heads, for this we should all be a little bit grateful.  We've destroyed a symbol.  I guess that's the only sort of victory that a war on terrorism could ever have.  Not that it means anything.

But why would I pull the trigger?  I guess I believe I'm doing it out of justice.  I don't have any desire that the man actually die.  But justice is supposed to be of intrinsic value, so I shouldn't shoot him for any convenient consequences, like trying to stop terrorism or what have you.  I also don't think that justice should be a negative thing, like pulling a veil of indifference over Bin Laden's form, and shooting at the veil.  It isn't civilized vengeance, it isn't trapping vengeance in a spider's web of principles, and calling it justice when vengeance finds its way out.

Justice and vengeance should, however, share one quality: it should be something that a person actually wants to do.  It shouldn't be done out of a sense of duty, or because a person believes that he ought to do it.  It shouldn't be done to appease spectators and bystanders.  Justice should be something that a person hesitates to speak about.

But beyond that, I don't know what justice is.  I don't know if there will ever be such a thing.
"Equally opposed to both light and darkness, we have become more gray." --Who Are the Discontent?

#25 Parody of Language

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 07:00 AM

Oh, sorry.  I realize I didn't justify my claim that justice requires hypocrisy.  I guess I associate with hypocrisy when you act contrary to your principles.  I think it should be clear that I believe that justice is quite a bit independent from our principles.  And I think it is common, in this day and age, that we accumulate so many principles, that we can't help but find justice contrary to our principles.  Therefore, to act with justice, we must break our principles.

And, I retract my statement that killing Osama Bin Laden is justice.  I can't defend that claim.
"Equally opposed to both light and darkness, we have become more gray." --Who Are the Discontent?




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