Brad Aisa

Student gets 20 years prison for speech in Afghanistan

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A student generously had his death sentence commuted to 20 years in prison in Afghanistan. His offense? Asking some questions in a class at university, that were considered to be blasphemous.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081021/ap_on_...ournalist_trial

It is completely wrong that we would invade a country and liberate its people from tyranny (regardless the fact our own motives were to rid us of an objective enemy) and then fail to insist that the new government be conducted on civilized principles.

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It is completely wrong that we would invade a country and liberate its people from tyranny (regardless the fact our own motives were to rid us of an objective enemy) and then fail to insist that the new government be conducted on civilized principles.

Our moral obligation ends with the elimination of our enemy (which still hasn't been done). It can be argued that replacing the Taliban with a proper government is in our interest, but it is not our obligation; it is not wrong to fail to provide those animals with freedom. To live free, to have individual rights protected, is something Afghanis need and should want. That is their motivation to make it happen. The fact that we have to kill the killers that they let run around their helhole does not give them a claim on our ability to institutionalize civilization. Yes, we were wrong to treat a mix of Taliban and tribal rule as a legitimate government, but the damage is to ourselves, not to them. They were animals before and they're animals now, and there's nothing we're obligated to do to change that.

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They were animals before and they're animals now, [...]

Different "animals" than the ones who will vote Obama into office?

It would not be so difficult to set up a properly run government in Afghanistan - it would be far cheaper and more effective than the half-assed nonsense that's gone on for the past 7 years. What the U.S. did in Japan should work just as well. The problem is that the U.S. has lost all semblance of a proper political philosophy for itself and as a result, has no guidance to offer any other country.

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Our moral obligation ends with the elimination of our enemy (which still hasn't been done). It can be argued that replacing the Taliban with a proper government is in our interest, but it is not our obligation; it is not wrong to fail to provide those animals with freedom. To live free, to have individual rights protected, is something Afghanis need and should want. That is their motivation to make it happen. The fact that we have to kill the killers that they let run around their helhole does not give them a claim on our ability to institutionalize civilization. Yes, we were wrong to treat a mix of Taliban and tribal rule as a legitimate government, but the damage is to ourselves, not to them. They were animals before and they're animals now, and there's nothing we're obligated to do to change that.

I completely disagree. While I am not an advocate of "nation-building", and I agree that we do not owe the Afghan people for the damage we did in our self-defense, to allow this kind of flagrant totalitarianism to go on under American supervision is outrageous.

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A student generously had his death sentence commuted to 20 years in prison in Afghanistan. His offense? Asking some questions in a class at university, that were considered to be blasphemous.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081021/ap_on_...ournalist_trial

It is completely wrong that we would invade a country and liberate its people from tyranny (regardless the fact our own motives were to rid us of an objective enemy) and then fail to insist that the new government be conducted on civilized principles.

We do not have the manpower or the patience for an effective invasion, conquest and occupation. We do have the means of exterminating the population, though Here is a rule of thumb. After four or five years a war becomes unpopular. Do you think we can do what should be done within four or five years? I don't.

ruveyn

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[...] Yes, we were wrong to treat a mix of Taliban and tribal rule as a legitimate government, but the damage is to ourselves, not to them. They were animals before and they're animals now, and there's nothing we're obligated to do to change that.

I completely disagree. While I am not an advocate of "nation-building", and I agree that we do not owe the Afghan people for the damage we did in our self-defense, to allow this kind of flagrant totalitarianism to go on under American supervision is outrageous.

I don't see anywhere in the article that the laws as they exist currently have been protested or voted against by the Afghan population. In rendering the judgements, neither level of court has has the authority to enact or change existing laws. If you read observational reports about Legal Aid in Kabul funded by the ILF (International Legal Foundation) and ICDAA (International Association of Criminal Defence Attorneys), and read about the lawyers' daily work, the main problem criminal defense lawyers face in their work is a lack of access to case law when making their written and oral arguments, rather than a lack of an ability to put forth a defense. The fact that there are three independent bodies, the judiciary, the Saranwal (Department of Justice) and the defense, all made possible due to the American attack, does not change the politico-religious (as opposed to an actual philosophy) actions of individuals who participate in Afghan elections. If there is any information that shows American institutions or individuals can control the enactment of federal laws, or somehow can control the appointments to the Supreme Court, but do not do either, I'd like to know about that.

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They were animals before and they're animals now, [...]

Different "animals" than the ones who will vote Obama into office?

I don't know. There will be plenty of animals that will vote for Obama, yes. There is a difference, though. We are not yet at the point where people form gangs that revolt against the government or form regional pockets of complete lawlessness that the government gives up on trying to control. Those are the norms of life in Afghanistan.

It would not be so difficult to set up a properly run government in Afghanistan - it would be far cheaper and more effective than the half-assed nonsense that's gone on for the past 7 years. What the U.S. did in Japan should work just as well. The problem is that the U.S. has lost all semblance of a proper political philosophy for itself and as a result, has no guidance to offer any other country.

I can't imagine how a rights-respecting government could be established in Afghanistan. It could be set up, for about five minutes, until the population dismantled in it in a tribalistic frenzy. We could impose martial law indefinitely, but I can't see why we would want to do that. We can't make Afghanis take responsibility for their actions and want to leave others to live their own lives, and that's what it takes to have a proper government. You can't make a society respect rights at the point of an occupying nation's gun; all you can do is keep them from killing you.

I agree in condemning what we have done; it's far worse even than nonsense. I think the civilizing of Japan was possible because of a rationality and sense of personal honor and responsibility that existed underneath the militaristic Japanese that does not exist in the totally primitve Afghani. Even were it possible, it's not up to us, it's up to them. The Japanese took the ball we gave them and ran with it. I see no such reason to hope for the same in any Islamist hole.

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Our moral obligation ends with the elimination of our enemy (which still hasn't been done). It can be argued that replacing the Taliban with a proper government is in our interest, but it is not our obligation; it is not wrong to fail to provide those animals with freedom. To live free, to have individual rights protected, is something Afghanis need and should want. That is their motivation to make it happen. The fact that we have to kill the killers that they let run around their helhole does not give them a claim on our ability to institutionalize civilization. Yes, we were wrong to treat a mix of Taliban and tribal rule as a legitimate government, but the damage is to ourselves, not to them. They were animals before and they're animals now, and there's nothing we're obligated to do to change that.

I completely disagree. While I am not an advocate of "nation-building", and I agree that we do not owe the Afghan people for the damage we did in our self-defense, to allow this kind of flagrant totalitarianism to go on under American supervision is outrageous.

I agree that to allow their totalitarianism to go on under our supervision is outrageous, because we simultaneously sanction it, under the aegis of "democracy", and act helpless to suppress it, taking only the most masochistic half-measures to kill a few bad guys once in a while. It's outrageous because we didn't crush the enemy and let the people know that they'd better knock it off, but instead let the Taliban re-organize, grow, and participate in the new government. It's our unwillingness, and in fact, inability, to name the enemy and crush him that is outrageous, not our inability to set these animals free from themselves.

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It's outrageous because we didn't crush the enemy and let the people know that they'd better knock it off, but instead let the Taliban re-organize, grow, and participate in the new government. It's our unwillingness, and in fact, inability, to name the enemy and crush him that is outrageous, not our inability to set these animals free from themselves.

Sure, a prerequisite would be a crushing and completely demoralizing defeat of any opposition - which was exactly the case with Japan.

Anyway, expecting rational action from the U.S. government in 2008 is itself irrational.

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It's outrageous because we didn't crush the enemy and let the people know that they'd better knock it off, but instead let the Taliban re-organize, grow, and participate in the new government. It's our unwillingness, and in fact, inability, to name the enemy and crush him that is outrageous, not our inability to set these animals free from themselves.

Sure, a prerequisite would be a crushing and completely demoralizing defeat of any opposition - which was exactly the case with Japan.

Anyway, expecting rational action from the U.S. government in 2008 is itself irrational.

No argument there.

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We do not have the manpower or the patience for an effective invasion, conquest and occupation. We do have the means of exterminating the population, though Here is a rule of thumb. After four or five years a war becomes unpopular. Do you think we can do what should be done within four or five years? I don't.

We could have done what should have been done within four or five months, or even four or five minutes, but regarding that matter I defer to PhilO's excellent observation.

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We could have done what should have been done within four or five months, or even four or five minutes, but regarding that matter I defer to PhilO's excellent observation.

You mean that we should nuke them? A year and half of fire bombing did not break the will of the Japanese to keep on fighting. It took two nuclear weapons. Conventional bombing is simply not sufficient to break the will of fanatics. As I pointed out we have the means to physically exterminate (not conquer, not occupy, but to wipe out) our enemies. Question: do our leaders have the will to do it? Please keep in mind that if we nuke the Muslims thoroughly the fallout will kill the Israelis. Should we let that deter us?

ruveyn

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You mean that we should nuke them? A year and half of fire bombing did not break the will of the Japanese to keep on fighting. It took two nuclear weapons. Conventional bombing is simply not sufficient to break the will of fanatics. As I pointed out we have the means to physically exterminate (not conquer, not occupy, but to wipe out) our enemies. Question: do our leaders have the will to do it? Please keep in mind that if we nuke the Muslims thoroughly the fallout will kill the Israelis. Should we let that deter us?

Whether or not to use nukes would primarily be a decision for military strategists. The point is that the goal should be to eliminate the threat as quickly as it's sensible to do and at the lowest cost that gets the job done, then stop. We tell what's left, "One more peep out of you and we'll do it again," then we get back to our lives, keeping watch all the while in case we do need to do it again. If it's a country that's the problem, we wipe out that country's ability to do us harm. If it's little pockets of terrorists in hidey-holes, we wipe out as many as we can, play whack-a-mole with the rest, and destroy anyone who supports them in a way that leaves whoever remains utterly unwilling to risk supporting them again.

We essentially subdued Afghanistan and Iraq in a matter of months, yet here we are years later fcensored.gifing around. It should have been: ka-BOOM! "Youz got a prollem wi'dat?" (Sorry--I'm Italian. :blink:)

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I probably should have been more clear: I meant that we should not invade and overthrow an enemy and then not set up a proper government, because that is pointless--it will very likely just devolve again into tyranny. If we would have a properly strong and aggressive military philosophy AND not stand for non-free governments afterwards, we could largely avoid all these wars. (Of course that is probably preaching to the choir here...)

And people are being too dismissive of the Afghanis--it doesn't matter that "the great unwashed masses" may be ignorant or whatever, they are never a critical component, it is the middle and upper classes, the educated people, who matter (just like in Iran.) And *those* civilized people are the ones who are most morally deserving of our support, even if our primary purpose is to establish a civilized regime that will not further threaten us. For example, if a student can be thrown in jail for 20 years (or sentenced to death!) just for expressing ideas, how in the world can such a regime possibly fight the remaining Taliban and Al Queda, morally??? They can't--in fact the Taliban are, on those terms, much more consistent, and have the moral upper hand.

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They were animals before and they're animals now, [...]

Different "animals" than the ones who will vote Obama into office?

I don't know. There will be plenty of animals that will vote for Obama, yes. There is a difference, though. We are not yet at the point where people form gangs that revolt against the government or form regional pockets of complete lawlessness that the government gives up on trying to control. Those are the norms of life in Afghanistan.

It would not be so difficult to set up a properly run government in Afghanistan - it would be far cheaper and more effective than the half-assed nonsense that's gone on for the past 7 years. What the U.S. did in Japan should work just as well. The problem is that the U.S. has lost all semblance of a proper political philosophy for itself and as a result, has no guidance to offer any other country.

I can't imagine how a rights-respecting government could be established in Afghanistan. It could be set up, for about five minutes, until the population dismantled in it in a tribalistic frenzy. We could impose martial law indefinitely, but I can't see why we would want to do that. We can't make Afghanis take responsibility for their actions and want to leave others to live their own lives, and that's what it takes to have a proper government. You can't make a society respect rights at the point of an occupying nation's gun; all you can do is keep them from killing you.

I agree in condemning what we have done; it's far worse even than nonsense. I think the civilizing of Japan was possible because of a rationality and sense of personal honor and responsibility that existed underneath the militaristic Japanese that does not exist in the totally primitve Afghani. Even were it possible, it's not up to us, it's up to them. The Japanese took the ball we gave them and ran with it. I see no such reason to hope for the same in any Islamist hole.

What is the basis for assuming that the Afghani people are in fact "animals?" This smacks of racism to me -- not saying you are, but the statement certainly sounds like it. There are lots of people in Afghanistan trying to build a democracy -- they are held hostage by Islamic militants funded by outside forces (including many here in the US).

I do agree though that we have no obligation there. But I am not sure on what basis you say that Afghanistan is full of animals????

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We essentially subdued Afghanistan and Iraq in a matter of months, yet here we are years later fcensored.gifing around. It should have been: ka-BOOM! "Youz got a prollem wi'dat?" (Sorry--I'm Italian. :blink:)

All of our vaunted military might does not stop the IED and the suicide bomber. The way you deal with a population in which a few fanatics can operate is to wipe out the population. It is like a bacterial infection. One does not do to kill -most- of the germs. One must kill -all- of the germs. Unfortunately our leaders do not have the stomach, heart and spleen for doing a thorough job. We are dealing with fanatics. If we let up one bit, the fanatics will take that as confirmation of our weakness.

ruveyn

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We could have done what should have been done within four or five months, or even four or five minutes, but regarding that matter I defer to PhilO's excellent observation.

You mean that we should nuke them? A year and half of fire bombing did not break the will of the Japanese to keep on fighting. It took two nuclear weapons. Conventional bombing is simply not sufficient to break the will of fanatics.

The Muslims are fanatical cowards. That's why they resort to terrorism and killing women and children. Faced with any kind of armed opposition, they tend to run and hide.

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I probably should have been more clear: I meant that we should not invade and overthrow an enemy and then not set up a proper government, because that is pointless--it will very likely just devolve again into tyranny.

So what? As long as we make sure the tyrant du jour is scared to death of meeting the fate of the last tyrant, we have nothing to fear from his tyranny.

And people are being too dismissive of the Afghanis--it doesn't matter that "the great unwashed masses" may be ignorant or whatever, they are never a critical component, it is the middle and upper classes, the educated people, who matter (just like in Iran.) And *those* civilized people are the ones who are most morally deserving of our support,

I'm all for sympathetic Americans and ex-patriot Afghanis giving moral, financial, and even military support to the best people in Afghanistan as long as they do it privately and with their own money. The only business of the government is eliminating military threats to American citizens.

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The Muslims are fanatical cowards. That's why they resort to terrorism and killing women and children. Faced with any kind of armed opposition, they tend to run and hide.

I don't think resorting to terrorism and killing women and children are good examples of their particular sort of cowardice; lots of non-Muslims take those actions as well. In some forms of the Christian faith at least a man was involved in doing some things, being part of something huge - he was not purported to be a mere mortal telephone for a higher being. In Islam, cowardice is exemplified in both the desire to completely erase the idea of a man being the son of a higher being (it is logical if one wants to get humans to submit to the idea that man is more worthless than other things created), and the transgression of creating images of humans.

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In Islam, cowardice is exemplified in both the desire to completely erase the idea of a man being the son of a higher being (it is logical if one wants to get humans to submit to the idea that man is more worthless than other things created), and the transgression of creating images of humans.

An interesting observation, as usual.

Given the self-abnegation involved, I wonder if Muslims will end up being some of the most ardent supporters of environmentalism in the future.

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The Muslims are fanatical cowards. That's why they resort to terrorism and killing women and children. Faced with any kind of armed opposition, they tend to run and hide.

In the war between Afghanistan and the late and unlamented Soviet Union, the Afghani Mujihadeen (warriors) and their Wahabi buddies were totally fearless. They had no regard for their own lives. Martyrdom was their occupation. This is insanity, but it is NOT cowardice. That is why devout Muslims are so dangerous. They don't give a damn about their own earthly physical lives. The main thing for them is getting to Paradise. The kind of fearlessness shown by Muslim warriors is entirely perverse.

Our kind of brave people do value their lives. They value their lives so much that they will sometimes risk their lives to make their lives worth living. In order to live like a human being it is sometimes necessary to place one's self in harm's way. So they overcome their fear of death in order to make it possible for themselves and their loved ones to live.

ruveyn

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As long as we make sure the tyrant du jour is scared to death of meeting the fate of the last tyrant, we have nothing to fear from his tyranny.

That depends on the premise that tyrants are rational, which they axiomatically are not.

I'm all for sympathetic Americans and ex-patriot Afghanis giving moral, financial, and even military support to the best people in Afghanistan as long as they do it privately and with their own money. The only business of the government is eliminating military threats to American citizens.

Back in the days when Men were Men and Armies were Ruthless there was such a thing as total surrender, followed by occupation, followed by withdrawal. You are much better off setting up a proper government before you leave--it will save you being at risk again, and will add to the net world freedom and trade, all benefits. Without this intervention, the most likely result is just more tyranny which necessarily always devolves into war.

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Back in the days when Men were Men and Armies were Ruthless there was such a thing as total surrender, followed by occupation, followed by withdrawal. You are much better off setting up a proper government before you leave--it will save you being at risk again, and will add to the net world freedom and trade, all benefits. Without this intervention, the most likely result is just more tyranny which necessarily always devolves into war.

I think this is true if the vanquished have some degree of rationality, but with emotional fanatics, I'm inclined to think that one should destroy them, then leave, with the warning 'behave yourselves, or we will be back'.

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I think this is true if the vanquished have some degree of rationality, but with emotional fanatics, I'm inclined to think that one should destroy them, then leave, with the warning 'behave yourselves, or we will be back'.

People have a tendency to try to get away with whatever they can. In the last 60 years, our military and foreign policy has been so permissive and irrational, that other countries have been able to get away with almost anything. Under a sterner and more rational foreign and military policy, the potential thugs of the world would have a much clearer idea of what to expect. This is Betsy's "big stick" theory. I think there is a good balance to be had in here: being very tough when need be will intimidate some and keep them from being too tyrannical; for the more irrational, invasion and replacement is the cure.

I think our last (almost) fully rational military response was to Japan. If we had continued rational policies on to defeat the Communists, then maintained thereafter, the world would be a vastly saner place today. "Just War" theory has been a textbook example of the power of morality and fundamental ideas.

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If we had continued rational policies on to defeat the Communists, then maintained thereafter, the world would be a vastly saner place today.

I've heard that Patton wanted to keep fighting after the collapse of Germany: to push on into Russia and finish off the communists. Too bad that Washington had already been effectively taken over by Moscow. Fortunately times have changed and we won't have a President who hates everything good about the country. :blink:

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