Long Island Liberty, with BAM
2004/5/11

NOT an "easy" question.

(1/9/11 Commission - investigating what could have been done to pervent the attacks that killed 3000 civilians?) WHAT IF: What if the only way to have prevented the attacks of 1/9/11 would have been to act upon information that WAS available within the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc. and then
Conduct a calndestine, covert operation sending CIA spies, or US Special Forces, and/or Sean Connery & Arnold Schwartzenegger, or WHOEVER was most capable,
to do the following:
  1. Kidnap selected identified conspirators, (approx 1/2 dozen of them);
  2. Cart them off, secretly, to someplace like Guantanamo Bay, or Antarctica, or Diego Garcia, or the Falkland Islands, or WHATEVER;
  3. Interrogate them to uncover the plot;
    When it turns out that Sodium pentathol & other drugs won't work, and ordinary torture doesn't work, then
  4. Stack them up naked, in a pyramid;
    snap photos of women holding them with leashes;
    Have dogs bite them;
    force feed them with bacon & snails.
    In short, take careful note of their culture and religion, and what sorts of things they find most-humiliating (like the rats, in Orwell's 1984!)
    Do all sorts of things that disgrace and humiliate them, in the eyes of their co-conspirators and co-religionists;
    Do similar things, to get some to talk.
  5. Also, release some of them, to warn the others what will happen to them if an attack takes place.

Now, if the above actions - despicable as they may be - was the ONLY way to stop an attack that

Under such circumstances, I'm not 100% sure that I know the proper answer.
If you said there is only one answer, then I'd say you have not really taken the question seriously.

The question is: Given only two choices:

If there are only 2 choices, I say only that this is NOT an easy question.
I don't claim to have the right answer.

Put the question to the families of the 1/9/11 victims.
Put the question to the Congress.
Put the question to the voters.
Put the question to yourself.

Granted, these are not the sort of questions that any self-respecting, Allah-worshiping Baathist party member would waste even one second on.

I don't think a Sunni Sheikh or Shiite cleric would waste time pondering such a question.
he would instantly select a "Hadith" (from among the thousands he has memorized) to justify the tortures.

Mullah Omar would laughingly dismiss such a question.
So would Sadr, who murdered another cleric, and is now holed up in Fallujah.


That does NOT, however, mean that Americans (and others who share our so-called "Western" values) should therefore adopt the opposite answer.

As I said, this is NOT an easy question.
Not if you accept the premises: i.e., only 2 choices exist.


Now, it is very easy to DUCK the question, by saying it is hypothetical.

Yes, it's UNFAIR to torture people with hypothetical questions.
That's why I would not ask someone to publically answer a hypothetical question of this sort.
It IS a guestion for PRIVATE thought.
It IS a guestion to prompt quiet self-analysis.

One might say it is a question for philosophers.



Here are some more questions, to prompt serious thought:

I really don't know the answers to such questions.
All I say is that if you can answer such questions quickly, either way, then you are not really thinking about them, seriously.
Meanwhile, US policy is to avoid attacking "shrines".
Even when that adds risk to the lives of soldiers AND civilians (who are within firing range, of the shooters inside the mosques).
Is that wrong? Well, probably NOT. (It is a cost we bear, for the values we hold.)

But here is another, more difficult question:
Does this policy (of not attacking shrines) gain us RESPECT (among Muslikms, among Iraquis, in the Arab world)? -- probably not.

Does this policy aid those whose sworn goal is to kill innocent civilians? Probably yes.

(That's why it's called asymmetrical warfare!

Most of the asymmetry comes from cultural differences, difference in fundamental values, difference in what we believe civilized human beings should and should not do.

Those who have scriuples are alwasy at a disadvantage.

(this was found out by Brits facing Ghandi, Hawaiians near Pearl Harbor, ++++)