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War on Terror: helpful or disastrous?

Living in a country named Pakistan which is badly hit by terrorism and has been a center stage in the infamous War against terror, I know that this country has suffered a lot. Since we've entered the Afghan war against USSR and the War against Terror, virtually no Pakistani is safe from the militants who are ready to blow this land up.

Being a part of this War against terror, Pakistan has been suffered heavy casualities. We have not only suffered huge financial losses but also 30K plus men and women who lost their lives and a large number of them were innocent. These militants which drone attacks target are most probably the Pakhtun people of the KP province. Because of this hatred and anger against Americans and Pakistani government, these Pakhtuns(who are very brave) vow to take revenge against the Americans and Pakistanis and of course, its the Pakistanis which suffer the most thanks to the suicide bombings which have literally blown the hell out. I don't think there is any way of success against them other than holding talks because no military power can change their thinking and mindset of hatred.

I am not taking sides with the militants in this case because they're not the friends of Pakistan but people of both sides have been taking foolish steps. America should stop all this because this war cannot be won. This war has greatly tarnished Pakistan's image in the western world. Pakistan has suffered huge losses of around $50 billion while the aid it has got was only around $20 billion.

These drone strikes & operations against the militants and suicide bombings will never end unless talks are held by both sides and I think in this case, America should take the step towards peace first. If they consider themselves to be a friend of Pakistan and the world, then they'll have to take this step. They must wrap up this War on Terror as quickly as possible.

(Please watch the TED Talk of Malcolm Gladwell 'The strange tale of the Norden bombsight' too)

  • Sep 4 2012: A lie.
    A disastrous lie.
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    E G

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    Sep 6 2012: It depends on the place you have , for it hasn't a direct relevance .
  • Sep 5 2012: The 'War on Terror'. Hollow word, absolutely volatile, and very maleable. Everyone can be tagged a terrorist at the whims of the accuser. It is like the witch-hunts in the old days. It is an a 'War' that cannot be won. As you will see, those that oppose the interests of authority can be automatically tagged terrorists, even if the cause of the rebelling party is 'justified'. A war breaks out, when both parties have 'just' causes to fight one another. I undoubtedly think each country should determine their future. But is is greater than 'Terror'. You have wars taking place at every societal level: Economic warfare, ideological warfare, religious warfare, Cyber-warfare, and so on...

    Amongst the hollow undetermined, maleable words we can observe: 'War on Terror', 'War on Drugs', 'War on Poverty'.
    It is difficult, you see, we live currently in a modern imperialist world, the face invisible, but its sword very visible: money.
    Take profit out of war, take profit out of exploitation, and this 'terrorists' will slowly fade away into the midst of an educated world. Shift from competition to cooperation, and slowly the hierarchy of warfare will fall on its own weight of ignorance.

    So ask yourself, who has something to gain, by promoting such 'War on Terror'?
    • Sep 5 2012: I think that there can't be a second opinion about suicide bombings are terror? There is also nobody to talk to, or would you really say that some groups of suicide bombers are able to speak for millions of citiziens? If so, i could wrap a bomb around me and the world would have to talk with me? And you and anyone else would have to live according to my fantasies, even though you never heard of me before and do not share my opinion?

      I think it is very dangerous to glorify terrorists by considering these might have a right to speak and to be heared. They do not. Specially because they do attack third persons, but not their true enemy. Seen on the example of Pakistan, they terrorize Pakistan to set the USA under pressure. Nobody called them to do this, Pakistan people did not, and who do these terrorists represent other than just themselves? There is nobody other they represent.

      And on which base do you want to cooperate, and with who? Would Pakistans people benefit from cooperation with terrorists? I don't see a benefit, i would just see them lose their national authority to a bunch of imported radicals.

      And not everyone who opposes is a terrorist, it depends on how he opposes. I do not see America call Europe a terrorist area, and they oppose a lot and daily. Also i do not see europeans commit suicide bombings in Canada to protest against America and Canadas cooperation with the US. While Canadians would sure want to talk with european suicide bombers and change their way of life for the foreign killers?
      • Sep 5 2012: Lars,

        It seems you have misunderstood the standpoint from where I was arguing. The 'terrorists' believe it to be a just cause, not me. I certainly did not mean to say that their cause is just, and that they represent millions of people, absolutely not. Those that oppose violence, by the means of violence, generate even more violence. Suicide bombings truly are an atrocious act, as are those that impose economic sanctions on countries, thus bankrupting the economy of that said country. The 'terrorist' word in itself is a highly dangerous word. Perhaps you have heard of the NDAA bill passed by Obama. It allowed the government to label any american a terrorist and detain them indefinitely without trial. So, I could also venture to state that to being an act of terror itself. Stripping its own citizens of any right for trial, under the guise of fighting terror? Perhaps the controlling class are the terrorists in society. But it seems to me Lars, you have the idea that 'terrorists' are those who strap themselves with bombs and blow up a crowd of individuals. What can you tell me about Iraq? The military of the US intended to 'democratize' that country... by invading it. What democracy! And on the issue of Pakistan, what makes you think the 'terrorists' are doing it to put the US under pressure? What gave you that idea? Perhaps too much mainstream media? As I firmly repeat myself, take money out of war, and most of the problems plaguing the middle east, and the 'War on Terror' will phase into finding out the real issues regarding the atrocities taking place in that part of the world. Truth has no sides in a War. So I ask another question: What is a terrorist?
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    Gail .

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    Sep 5 2012: Sometimes I am ashamed of America.
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      Sep 5 2012: TED Lover, Your shame is misplaced. The Administration and Congress make these decisions. While the Administration and Congress bad mouth the military and our involvement in the wars, they continue to fund the effort through Congress (The Senate funds this effort ... notice both are Democratic led). Wars are easy to stop .... do not fund them.

      If you are ashamed of AMERICA .. LEAVE. If you are ashamed of the Administration .... VOTE.

      I fought for your right to say these things. However, I do not have to agree.

      All the best. Bob.
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        Gail .

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        Sep 6 2012: You didn't fight for my right to say these things. You fought because you chose to fight. I am a pacifist, so unless you were unwillingly drafted (Viet Nam) you are part of my shame. You drank the Kool Aid.

        This November will mark the very first election since 1972 - primaries and run-offs included - that I will not vote. My (new) state is one of those states that prohibits write-in votes, preventing me from voting my conscience. A vote for either party is a vote against me and YOU and a vote for more shame of what America has come to stand for.

        America is not about love it or leave it. It's about love it or make it better. Though I am no longer able to do that through the voting booth, I am working toward my vision for America.
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          Sep 6 2012: That you are ungrafiful and uninformed does not change facts. The blanket of security you live under is provided by the soldier.

          That you chose to move to a state that does not cater to you, is your problem. That you choose to not vote is indeed a shame.

          The next time a mugger attacks you, you are car jacked, or another emergency confronts you please do not call a policeman as they are not pacifists and will work to resolve YOUR problem that would probally cause you more shame.
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        Gail .

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        Sep 6 2012: Some time ago, I discovered the POWER of peace. I used it 2ce to defend myself from what would have been lethal force. I now trust it far more than I trust violence. I have learned how to manifest my reality according to my conscious desires, and I do not desire violence in my life.

        It is not MY shame that I will not vote this November. Seeing as both candidates basically agree with you, I have no other choice. I'm not complaining. Just stating. There are other more effective ways of being heard anyhow.

        I understand that you do not understand how I could say what I said. I cannot change that.
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    Sep 4 2012: Instead of fighting a war against terror... Fight a war against fear. Confidently stride forward, aware that violent psychopaths will always exist, and they will always be... Wrong. On both sides. Train MMA, learn to use a non violent weap that is legal, a knife, a taser, even a pepper spray gun... and just know, "I'm as safe as I can be".

    A group of crazy people will always be able to defeat you, if their intent is pure violence... Those people thus, cannot be feared, they must be treated like a natural disaster, a hurricane, or typhoon, you do the best you can, but you simply can't be prepared. When your government is enforcing laws on groups of crazy and violent people, you and the people in your community should support them... If your government is that violent group of crazy people, you should ignore them, and give them as little of your money as possible.

    You cannot win a war against terror. You can win a war against fear.
  • Sep 4 2012: IMO, this war cannot be won by anyone other than the people of Pakistan.

    If the people of Pakistan cannot gather the will to destroy the terrorists, this war will go on forever.

    If the people of Pakistan can gather the collective will, the USA will help provide the ability.

    (I am not suggesting that the way the USA is conducting this war is correct, ethical, moral or even effective. I disagree with much of what is being done by my government. Just stating the sad situation as I see it.)
    • Sep 5 2012: This is what I am arguing. You can't simply destroy the terrorists because this is the same thing we have been doing unsuccessfully for the last 10 years. If we have haven't succeeded until now, how can we succeed in the future? Holding talks is the only thing that makes sense right now since drone strikes and armed forces only increase their anger.
  • Sep 4 2012: As a US citizen I'm sad at the destruction and losses this war has cost - to all the people & places involved. I'm aware that despite all the suffering and destruction we are not near a resolution to any of the essential conflicts driving the losses and destruction.
    I do have immense respect for the people who put their lives,their futures, and their personal safety at risk to protect what they hold dear and I heartily wish these conflicts would be resolved peacefully so that survivors could come together and build better on the ashes of what's been destroyed.

    I wonder why all the leaders pursuing these conflicts don't recogniza a few simple truths:
    * You can't shoot an idea.
    * You can't bomb an idiology.
    * Death raining down from the sky doesn't simply kill or destroy targets, it enrages the survivors who will never forget what happened and will not forgive the perpetrators - at least, not for generations.

    I keep hoping somebody will start countering idiologies of hatred and destruction with the basic ideas of the great religions, including Muslim, Christian, Bhuddist, etc.
    "People of the book" the Bible, supposedly recognize 2 Great Commandments:
    *Love and respect God above all, and
    *Treat other people as you would want to be treated yourself.
    Also the 10 Commandments including "Thou shalt not kill." This is a very simple and direct command, no exceptions, no conditions, no "if's and's or but's." Yet how often this commandment is ignored by peoples who claim allegiance to the God of Abraham!

    I imagine a campaign of " God says 'Thou shalt not kill' and Satan is the Father of Lies - and war is Satan's playground." shouted, sung, written, tweeted, painted on walls, and held up as banners as people march together down main streets in cities around the world. I wonder if such a campaign might help us find better ways to resolve these terrible conflicts that cost so much and resolve so little.
    • Sep 5 2012: I think you bring up a very valid point about not being able to physically destroy ideologies. That is very true; I think that your simplification of the great religions is not representative of the actual situation though. The major religions of the day do stress peace, but a detailed look at histories shows a much more complex issue. Take for example the Hebrew law that you were referring to. There is a commandment that states "do not kill," but Moses, the person who first wrote down the ten commandments, watched as the Israelites battled different groups while entering their promise land. Joshua, Moses's successor, was a military leader who took over many different people. Samuel, a priest of the Israelites, struck down a captured king when King Saul refused didn't strike down the king. All of these involve killing, but they are also sanctioned by the Judaism. It is complex.

      Christianity has a similar situation with the Crusades. It basically was conquering, but it was sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church. It may not line up incredibly well with the specific teachings of the religion, but the followers of the religion at the time believed that it was the right thing to do.

      A similar situation is developing with militant jihadist. People will take specific sections of the Koran to religiously justify this war against Western society. It doesn't really line up with Islam which is a predominately peaceful religion, but it still has an incredible amount of influence. If a leader is able to convince a person that a war is divinely inspired, the convinced person will have an incredible amount of passion for it. This is where the determination of suicide bombers comes from. The thing is, this ideology or method of thinking is very strong; it makes negotiation very difficult. Some manipulate religion to reach their own goals, but that does not diminish the power of belief.
      • Sep 5 2012: Hi Noah, I think you've said what I meant better than I did. Yes, people have always found exceptions or excuses to sanction killing. I myself find it near impossible to say "Well, just do non-violent protest and sooner or later right will win over might." The current situation in Syria is a prime example of what can happen to peaceful protesters who come up against a vicious opponent.
        My thinking is that those who follow leaders that bastardize religious faith (and I certainly include the Popes who sanctioned the original crusades) by using it to perpetrate violence might be more inclined to think for themselves when the basic tenets of their religion are called to their attention frequently and forcefully. Converting some jihadists rather than trying to kill all of them could have a better impact than simply relying on military might to stamp out the movement.
        We humans find it much easier to let someone pursuasive do our thinking for us, but perhaps exposure to the waste and suffering of war + reminders of basic tenets of faith would prompt some to embrace peace and reject war.
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    Sep 4 2012: You contradict yourself in your own topic post. On one hand you say there is no chance of changing the minds of the terrorists. Then you say America (and I assume you would have to imply any other country) should try to use Diplomacy ("talk to them"...negotiate a settlement) instead of using military force.

    You can't have it both ways. If you can't eliminate an enemy's WILL to stop fighting against you, you have no other choice but to eliminate their ABILITY to fight against you. That takes the use of force.

    That is how you "win" or "end" a war. The terrorists know that too. They have the same problem, but only in reverse: "We don't have the means to go head-to-head militarilly to eliminate their ABILITY to keep fighting us, so it would be absurd for us to try and do that. We can't "storm their beaches"...we'd get destroyed. So we have to eliminate their WILL to fight back using hit and run tactics that will force their population to just give up. If their own population can force their own government to stop, then we win."

    If Pakistan can't stop the "terror" within it's own borders against itself, and that terror is being propagated around the world to other countries from terror groups that exist within your own border, do you REALLY expect all the other countries having terror conducted against them to just say, "Oh well...we'll just leave them alone and suffer through more terrorists attacks againstr us."

    Not a realistic expectation.
    • Sep 4 2012: I've cleared everything on that post sir.
      " So we have to eliminate their WILL to fight back using hit and run tactics that will force their population to just give up"
      Here's what I said in post: "These militants which drone attacks target are most probably the Pakhtun people of the KP province. Because of this hatred and anger against Americans and Pakistani government, these Pakhtuns(who are very brave) vow to take revenge". YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY FORCE THEM TO SURRENDER.

      And Sir, as far as that contradictory thing is concerned, you should look at your comment:
      "On one hand you say there is no chance of changing the minds of the terrorists. Then you say America (and I assume you would have to imply any other country) should try to use Diplomacy ("talk to them"...negotiate a settlement) instead of using military force."

      This is exactly what I am saying. You can't win by gun now because both sides will suffer. You've got to try with your tongue. Hope you'll understand.

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        Sep 4 2012: Quote from your topic post: "I don't think there is any way of success against them other than holding talks because no military power can change their thinking and mindset of hatred."

        You said it was impossible to change their "thinking and mindset of hatred". That means you can't change their WILL to stop the terrorism. Doesn't matter if you can't change their will using military force or diplomacy. If you can't change their will in any manner, you only have the other option...change (eliminate) their ability.
        I don't disagree with you that in a physical conflict, both sides will suffer. But if you want the conflict to end from ONE side, and you can't change that one side's will to stop, you have to enter the conflict on THEIR terms of conflict resolution at that point. Both sides will suffer, but eventually the conflict will end (historically).

        If I'm missing something in your explanation, my apologies.
        • Sep 4 2012: A saying goes like: If you can't fight your enemies, join them(sorry if I wrong because I am not good with quotes). Mr. Rick, we, or should I say USA should atleast try. No one likes to see a relative or a close friend die in severe pain infront of his own eyes. USA has killed far more innocent people than militants or Taliban(according to some surveys). What will happen if all of this continues to happen? More dead bodies. More missiles. More losses.

          I know militants aren't good, forgiving or peace-loving people either because they'll take revenge at their first opportunity. Since USA seems to be in a better position, it will be a huge decision in favor of the people of both Pakistan and America if it decides to hold talks with these militants instead of the failed tactic of throwing grenades.

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    Sep 4 2012: If you set aside citizen deaths etc and tactical failures etc and look only at the principles of it. Yes the war on terror is possibly the most important fight of this century