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The Carmack 12/4/2012 | 7:50:48 PM
re: Wall Street Aghast at Tragedy (I don't have a link unfortunately)


The world is seeing America at its best. Those whom Britain honoured in London yesterday and will honour in Parliament today are Americans that Britons know and admire. They have a capacity for communal grief that does not neglect individual tragedy. They know the meaning of restraint. Their humanity is not outstripped by hysteria. Britain too has been a nation pounded by terror and can offer the sympathy of experience. The special relationship is bonded, if bond is needed, by the many Britons who also died on Tuesday.
But the world is apprehensive. It prays that it is not about to see a different America. That country is rattling every sabre and girding itself for war. Wretched people in wretched cities across the Middle East are burying themselves in bunkers. A global armada is on full alert. Nobody doubts AmericaG«÷s power to visit unimaginable violence on others. But to what end? Americans are angry but surely not stupid. They can distinguish determination from vengeance, caution from appeasement, acts of will from acts of idiocy.

What an argument looms ahead, what a ghastly parting of the ways. The debate over how to react to the Manhattan slaughter could yet hew Nato in half and unleash mayhem across half the world. The resulting carnage could even drive America, still global guarantor of democracy, back behind its borders for a generation. Such a catastrophe would be caused not by the perpetrators of this weekG«÷s outrage. They deserve no such place in history. The cause would be faulty analysis and reactive warmongering by the worldG«÷s most powerful nation.

In the aftermath of horror, heart rules head. But head must reassert itself. I could write this entire column in the current jargon of hatred, decrying the G«£evil, foul, mindless, criminal, sick, inhuman monstersG«• who committed these terrible acts. I could demand apocalyptic retaliation against every Arab suspect on earth. It would make a good headline and excite the BBC.

Yet listening and reading this past two days has left me appalled at the hawkishness of pundits, politicians and commentators. They are the true destabilisers, the menaces to peace. Of course they must struggle to reflect the disgust felt by powerless citizens. They must hear the cry for authority to reassert control and for justice to be swift. But the statesmanG«÷s job is not to rant but to think, to channel understandable emotion into reasoned action. It is weakness that jerks the knee and drops the bomb.

American and British leaders (though not Tony Blair) have sonorously declared that G«£democracy is at warG«•. This cannot be sensible. War is a G«£forcible contention between statesG«•. Neither America nor Britain, let alone worldwide democracy, is more at risk this week than last. Thousands have died, along with their murderers. Buildings are vulnerable, but not states and ideologies. What good is served by pretending otherwise? The same target G«Ų the World Trade Centre G«Ų was attacked in 1993 but failed to collapse. That act could have been equally lethal, but war was not declared. The success of an atrocity does not turn a terrorist into a warrior or his mob into a state.

The word is being bandied about because it sounds macho and may yet be used to legitimise an attack on a G«£harbouring stateG«•. But Britain did not declare war on America or Ireland for harbouring IRA killers. They caused more deaths, proportionate to population, than were lost in Manhattan. By elevating an atrocious act of well-funded killers into a campaign of global significance, Washington and Nato glorify Osama bin Laden and his like and fan the flames of anti-Americanism across the Middle East.

There is no coherent use for the mass of weaponry being mobilised by America and her allies in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has promised G«£more than a single reprisal raidG«•. Hundreds of dead Afghans will not right the wrongs of Manhattan, though it might spark a further round of tit-for-tat atrocities. Hawks such as Al Haig and BritainG«÷s Lord Powell of Bayswater demand an G«£overwhelming responseG«• as a means of G«£deterring these madmenG«•. Suicidal madmen are not deterred.

Politicians and editorials are demanding that the Taleban be ordered to extradite bin Laden under threat of massive missile attack, with the same threat visited on neighbouring Pakistan. What if these insecure regimes cannot deliver? It took the presence of a land army to defeat both Presidents Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic. America is unlikely to send a land army back to the Middle East, least of all to Afghanistan. AmericaG«÷s ordering Arab governments to do its bidding has been tested for more than a decade and has not worked. The region today is the worst possible advertisement for such coercion. It has produced the climate in which terror breeds.

Of course Herculean efforts must be made to bring to justice those responsible. But the pursuit of justice should be the essence of the strategy, building on the unprecedented sympathy shown to America throughout the region. That sympathy is a precious commodity. It took years to bring the Lockerbie suspects to book, years of failed aggression against Libya. Success came only when the West stopped ostracising Colonel Gaddafi and cut a deal with him. The best possible outcome of this crisis would be a new sensitising of Western diplomacy in the Middle East, as an essential preliminary to co-operation in countering regional terrorism. It will never be countered by main force.

Even the terrorist is a politician. He swims in a sea of hatred and clings to rafts of grievance. The Americans have reportedly been shocked at how widely disliked they are in the Middle East. They seem unaware of the impact on their image of decades of anti-Palestinian partisanship and of the bombing and impoverishment of Iraq. Until this dislike is tackled, the co-operation essential to rooting out terrorism is unrealistic.

A great assault on Muslim states from the air would be the answer to bin LadenG«÷s prayer. Fanatics would flock to his cause. To many Arabs it would seem to legitimise the Manhattan slaughter. Nato revenge raids would not only lower the West to the same barbarism as was shown by the terrorists. It could hardly be more counter-productive to the anti-terrorist cause.

These dreadful people seek neither wealth nor territory, only fame for their cause. They need sanctuary. But the Russians spent a decade trying to flush them from the Afghan mountains and were condemned by the West for their troubles. That conflict destroyed a moderate regime and created a fanatical one, from groups recklessly financed by the Americans. The British Empire met its Waterloo on the North-West Frontier. So did the Russian Empire. Are the Americans about to follow?

Nobody doubts AmericaG«÷s power. Doubt surrounds only its projection. On Tuesday the British Government offered Washington its immediate support, to establish a link and restrain possible hotheads in the Bush Administration. This was well done. There is already deep scepticism in Europe about AmericaG«÷s policy in the Middle East. Nato has invoked Article 5 of its Charter. This joins Europe with America in any military action but puts America under an obligation to consult its partners first. The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, yesterday emphasised that G«£Article 5 is not a blank chequeG«•. Any American response must be based on G«£evidence of its likely effectivenessG«•. But can he and Mr Blair deliver their manifest caution?

Nato is on its mettle. In any American-led escalation of violence, all Europe will be vulnerable to reprisal. From what we hear from across the Atlantic, America is on the brink of doing what the perpetrators of the Manhattan slaughter must want above all. Military retaliation would elevate their cause, idolise their leader, devalue moderation and validate fanaticism. If ever history needed a catalyst for a new and awful conflict between Arabs and the West, this could be it.

That nations triumphant in the Cold War should even contemplate taking such a risk beggars belief. It is not justified even by TuesdayG«÷s horror in Manhattan. It would be the victory of panic over reason, of brute force over common sense. Let us pray it is not so.
TurkishGuy 12/4/2012 | 7:50:48 PM
re: Wall Street Aghast at Tragedy Hi,
It is very nice message from you..This is what we really need to hear.

Thank you
TurkishGuy 12/4/2012 | 7:50:48 PM
re: Wall Street Aghast at Tragedy Hi,
It is very nice message from you..
Thank you
New_guy 12/4/2012 | 7:50:47 PM
re: Wall Street Aghast at Tragedy Great post. Thanks.

I, too, am concerned by the actions and possible outcome(s) of whatever response the US makes to these atrocities.
Hopefully all of the sabre rattling done by our media and (sadly) our politicians is to take advantage of good ratings and garner votes, but that they will have more common sense when it comes time to act.
The sight of our politicians climbing over one another to use this tragedy to push their own agendas only adds to the sickening feeling in my stomach that has been there ever since I saw the footage of the planes slamming into the buildings!
Thankfully, their public statements have been more tempered lately and it is good to see both parties working together.

My main points of concern are:
1. A rush to judgement- Within two hours of the attacks senators and congressmen were on television claiming "I was the first to bring Bin Laden to the president's attention ten years ago...it's time to take this madman out!"

Then on Wednesday morning one of the news anchors actually said "If we know that Bin Laden is in Afghanistan, why does Afghanistan exist this morning!?!" Unbelieveable!

It may ultimately turn out that Bin Laden's org is behind this and whomever it is must be dealt with in the harshest manner. However, if it is not Bin Laden then there is some other organization that is out there and operating without much scrutiny.
Remember these attacks were no surprise to them. Their next move was already planned.

2. No talk of fixing the causes of terrorism -
Granted, you cannot and should not try to negotiate with people that fly airliners into the WTC (I still can't believe it!) but after getting "our pound of flesh" we need to look at why the US is so hated. If we don't SERIOUSLY address these issues there will be more horrible attacks.

3. Having the patience to work with others to bring the terrorists under control -
We must tread carefully in how we deal with the other countries involved, enemy and allies alike.

Does the US have the might to invade Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, etc.?
- Of Course.

Can we find and stamp out ALL of the terrorists without the cooperation of locals familiar with the territory?
- Doubtful

Can the US protect our citizens without the cooperation of the rest of the world?
- Maybe, if we are all willing to stay confined within our borders and give up a lot of the freedom we enjoy now.

I guess all I'm trying to say is I hope the government looks at the big picture and the aftermath before they respond.
switchrus 12/4/2012 | 7:50:47 PM
re: Wall Street Aghast at Tragedy Future of the Industry.

I realize that now is a very emotional time given the events of the last week in New York City, but is now time to turn to a discussion of the future of this industry? What will be the long term effects on business, will there be less travel, more teleconferencing, what net effect will these events have on this industry?

This thread hopefully will not be seen as disrespecting those who suffered personal losses this past week, if taken as such, please excuse an attempt to begin a discussion of where we go from here.
LightWatchman 12/4/2012 | 7:50:46 PM
re: Wall Street Aghast at Tragedy I watch CNN and surf the web on WTC/911. Once in a while Ill check out Fox news. I cnnot believe the lack of journalistic quality, integrity, call it what you will. It scares me to see there reporters interviewing people that are terribly important to our future via sattalite links to Saudia Arabia.

This is no time for shock journalism, Questions to Nucleur weapons/War and so on.

I wish Steve could remove Fox from the Foreign Interview "Satalite Link List"

[email protected] 12/4/2012 | 7:50:46 PM
re: Wall Street Aghast at Tragedy I don't find it offensive to think it would be wise for us to begin to consider how we can best move forward. Business has to continue, people need to work in order to pay their bills, feed, cloth and shelter themselves. Services that provide for even basic quality of life need to be provided. Life goes on whether we show up for it or not. There is NO reason why this horror should stop us from moving ahead.

My other hope is that we allow wisdom and "understanding" guide us as we move forward. Dropping bombs on kids and other innocents makes us no better than those sick souls who did what they did. Hating people who we have known for years or who are American citizens just because they or their ancestors came from the middle East is a capitulation from reason and a crime against humanity. Why should little kids get spit on at school for what happened?

Our government needs to step up to the plate better than they have before. Attacking those that had anything to do with this crime or who pose a threat to us in the future is where we need to focus. If that means that the ACLU has to subvert their own fanatacism about the rights of the individual for a while, so be it.

This happened for a reason whether we choose to accept the validity of the reason or not. If we just react without consideration, we fulfill nothing but blind anger and even ego. If we fail to learn the larger meaning behind why this happened then I fear it will happen again.

The silver lining in this whole affair is that people are rediscovering a deeper respect for their country. The generosity of mankind has been allowed to come forth and express itself in ways that amaze the cynic in me. I have never been one to get into the tinsel version of patriotism & brotherhood but this week I have begun to experience humanity in ways that I have not seen or honestly been available for in a while.
The Carmack 12/4/2012 | 7:50:46 PM
re: Wall Street Aghast at Tragedy What is it about Fox News in particular that you consider a lack of journalistic integrity? I don't get Fox News here so I can't see for myself, but I heard they like to look at things from a more conservative point of view. They are considered (by some) to be the counterweight to the so-called "liberal media", which is what right-wingers like to call pretty much the rest of mainstream US media.
switchrus 12/4/2012 | 7:50:45 PM
re: Wall Street Aghast at Tragedy On Media Bias, not necessarly FOX or others.

HereG«÷s an example that illustrates why some conservatives view some media as biased, this is not an exact retelling of events that I have observed, but pretty close.

The event:

An anti-government riot breaks out in the streets of a country in Asia. Protestors hurl rocks and firebombs at police, and the public in general. One protestor hurls a firebomb at the police and scores a direct hit on one policeman. Other police who witness the events give chase after the protestor who scored the direct hit, catch the protestor and proceed to subdue the protestor with an extreme level of violence that is most likely illegal. All is caught on videotape.

The coverage:

Brand X, the G«£conservativeG«• coverage.

Talking head sets up the story, talks about the events leading up to the riot and introduces the clip. The clip is played almost in itG«÷s entirety, however the last bit where the police go beyond merely arresting the suspect to administering street justice is cut or at least cut short.

Brand Y, the G«£liberalG«• coverage.

Talking head sets up the story, talks about the events leading up to the riot and introduces the clip. The clip is played from the place where the protestor is chased down by police and continues through the full sequence of the police very violently subduing the protestor. Talking head comes back at the end of the clip and comments on the G«£reputationG«• of the police in this country.

Same story told two ways. Some would say G«£biasG«• in both cases; some would say the constraints of the time allocated to tell the story. Try to watch coverage of some event in the future from two different brands and see if you can spot the difference.

The truth is there, you just have to watch carefully and recognize the biases of the sources of information.
gardner 12/4/2012 | 7:50:45 PM
re: Wall Street Aghast at Tragedy You won't be hearing from ownstock much more. Hate messages clearly violate our terms of use.

What stops him from popping up under another alias to spew his bile?
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