Terrorism as "collateral damages"

Oh please, you believe RAW information? They are as bad as the CIA. If anything, the camps were conducted by the ISI if at all, the jirga system in Afghanistan is more effective, being local, than the useless government in Pakistan The Taliban are hardly equipped to train Saudis to fly airplanes into towers. Have you seen where and how they live? What did they do? Run their horses into caves as simulation?

Its too ludicrous to take seriously

As for the toes analogy, Rajiv Gandhis assassination is probably closer to the mark. He paid for Indian intervention in Sri Lanka with his life.

Were the video footage supplied by India concocted by the Indian government?

Also what about this?

July 2, 2003


A suspected Islamic terrorist on trial in Germany spent a day in the stand Wednesday giving testimony which depicted the harsh and at times violent life in an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.

The 26-year-old Palestinian, named only as Shadi Mohamed Mustafa A., told about being Osama bin Laden's bodyguard and also having met his deputy Abu Hafs and the man thought to have planned the September 11 attacks, Ramzi Binalsibh.

The defendant has already given a detailed confession to German prosecutors on charges of being a member of a group called al-Tawhid and on planning terror attacks in Germany and forging passports.

But his testimony, in which he has become one of the state's principal witnesses in other German trials of alleged Islamist terrorists, gave chilling account of life in an al-Qaeda camp.

He spoke of "brainwashing" in the camps, and anyone who contradicted the instructors or expressed doubts would be arrested as a "spy" and then tortured.


Is he also lying?

What about 9/11 attackers?

"Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi were both experienced and respected jihadists in the eyes of al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden. Mihdhar and Hazmi both had previous experience fighting in Bosnia, and had trained during the 1990s at camps in Afghanistan."


Everyone is lying? Even Muslims?

The same article with evidence coming out of India concerning your Omar:

"In the face of a new Taliban hostility, bin Laden sought to convince Mullah Omar that he had given his personal allegiance to Omar as a Muslim. In April 2001 bin Laden referred publicly to having sworn allegiance to Mullah Omar as the "Commander of the Faithful".

But al-Masri recalls that bin Laden had refused to personally swear such an oath of allegiance to Omar in 1998-99, and had instead asked al-Masri himself to give the oath to Omar in his stead. Al-Masri suggests that bin Laden deliberately avoided giving the oath of allegiance to Omar personally, so that he would be able to argue within the Arab jihadi community that he was not bound by Omar's strictures on his activities."

Even in summer 2001, as the Taliban regime became increasingly dependent on foreign jihadi troop contingents, including Arabs trained in bin Laden's camps, for its defense against the military advances of the Northern Alliance, Mullah Omar found yet another way to express his unhappiness with bin Laden's presence.

After a series of clashes between al Qaeda forces and those of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Taliban leader intervened to give overall control of foreign volunteer forces to the Tahir Yuldash of the IMU, according to a blog post last October by Leah Farrall, an Australian specialist on jihadi politics in Afghanistan.

In Late January, Geoff Morrell, the spokesman for Defense Secretary Robert Gates, suggested that the United States could not negotiate with Mullah Omar, because he has "the blood of thousands of Americans on his hands," implying that he had knowingly allowed bin Laden's planning of the 9/11 attacks."

So much for Omar
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No idea really. There are too many layers in these issues. What I do know is that Afghans are not interested in world domination and from all sources including US State Department, had isolated and banned terrorism in Afghanistan. After the embassy attacks they also met with US officials to negotiate bin Ladens handover in 1998.

Why didn't the Americans take him?

After 9/11, when Osama was implicated, he immediately went to the media and denied any involvement. He also stated that the Taliban had stopped his recruitment/training activities since 1998 which is why there were no more embassy bombings. At this time, the Taliban offered the US three options:

- give evidence of Osama's involvement and they will extradite him. The US refused
- hand him over to a neutral state for arbitration. The US refused

Finally, when Bush threatened to bomb them, they agreed to hand over bin Laden without conditions. Bush refused.


Also the premise itself is beyond belief. What were the Afghanis training the terrorists in? Dari? Flying planes? Getting through airport security? What?

A minor point. Osama never referred to his group as al Qaeda. He always took personal responsibility for his actions. So I tend to keep the two separate. Even if there is "al Qaeda" a shadowy organisation operating somewhere/everywhere, Osama himself has never associated himself with it.
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Well what makes you think that the average american is interested in world domination? Whatever you say it doesn't excuse the average Afghan of being the 'toes' of a larger unit. I mean that's your equation right? They trained them in terrorism tactics, planning and of course the necessary brainwashing.

As for Bin Laden:

After initial denial, in 2004 Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The attacks involved the hijacking of four commercial passenger aircraft, the subsequent destruction of those planes and the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, severe damage to The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and the deaths of 2,974 people and the nineteen hijackers. In response to the attacks, the United States launched a War on Terrorism to depose the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and capture al-Qaeda operatives, and several countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation to preclude future attacks. The CIA's Special Activities Division was given the lead in tracking down and killing or capturing bin Laden.


Its 'Afghans' (Afghani refers to their unit of currency:rolleyes:)

Again the Afghans were the toes of a government that harbored bin laden and allowed for training camps to produce terrorists that killed americans in 9/11 in addition to other attacks.

Bin Laden said he thought of the method of attacking U.S. skyscrapers when he saw Israeli aircraft bombing tower blocks in Lebanon in 1982.

"A tape aired by Al-Jazeera television Friday showed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden admitting for the first time that he orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and saying the United States could face more.

It was the first footage of bin Laden to appear in more than a year and came just days before voters head to the polls Tuesday after an extremely tight president race.

In the 18-minute tape, bin Laden, who appeared to be sitting or standing at a table against a neutral background, said: "Despite entering the fourth year after Sept. 11, Bush is still deceiving you and hiding the truth from you and therefore the reasons are still there to repeat what happened."

Bin Laden said he thought of the method of attacking U.S. skyscrapers when he saw Israeli aircraft bombing tower blocks in Lebanon in 1982.

"We decided to destroy towers in America," he said. "God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and inflexibility of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind."

Carter was a pacifist. Why do the Afghans allow for so many warlords? Why did they allow the Taliban to take hold and inflict so much pain, oppression and death on their own citizens?

Was this fake too?

In a videotape recovered by US forces in November 2001 in Jalalabad, bin Laden was seen discussing the attack with Khaled al-Harbi in a way that indicates foreknowledge. The tape was broadcast on various news networks on December 13, 2001.

What of this?

In the 2004 Osama bin Laden video, bin Laden abandoned his denials without retracting past statements. In it he stated he had personally directed the nineteen hijackers. In the 18-minute tape, played on Al-Jazeera, four days before the American presidential election, bin Laden accused U.S. President George W. Bush of negligence on the hijacking of the planes on September 11.

According to the tapes, bin Laden claimed he was inspired to destroy the World Trade Center after watching the destruction of towers in Lebanon by Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War.

In two other tapes aired by Al Jazeera in 2006, Osama bin Laden announces,
I am the one in charge of the nineteen brothers … I was responsible for entrusting the nineteen brothers … with the raids [5 minute audiotape broadcast May 23, 2006 and is seen with Ramzi Binalshibh, as well as two of the 9/11 hijackers, Hamza al-Ghamdi and Wail al-Shehri, as they make preparations for the attacks (videotape broadcast September 7, 2006)

So was Al Jazeera also duped by Bin Laden since it was they who aired the tapes in 2006? Why were the hijackers involved in the tape?
Like I said: I don't know. I don't know if Osama was involved in 9/11, but I have watched all the tapes after the 2001 interview with the Pakistani newspaper and I have seen no evidence that he admitted any complicity. He praised the hijackers for doing what they did, because he saw it as revenge for Beirut. He wanted to hurt the Americans for their role in Beirut and Gaza, just like the Palestinian turned Jordanian who recently turned against his CIA handlers and blew them up in Afghanistan.

But there is no evidence that the Afghans had anything to do with it. Apart from post torture, post rendition confessions, there has never been a single piece of evidence that links the Taliban to 9/11. Or even for that matter, Osama. Even his FBI warrant excludes 9/11. This doesn't mean he is innocent. He confessed to each and every embassy bombing he did.

al Jazeera is just a news channel. Anyone can mail in a video.
They have as much to do with it as Americans everyone being just 'toes' and all.

For fucks sake!

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The Arabic television channel Al-Jazeera said Saturday that it received the latest videotaped message from al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden at its offices in the Pakistani capital.

In the videotaped message, bin Laden claims full responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States and warns Americans that “your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al-Qaida. Your security is in your own hands"

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said U.S. intelligence analysts, who were reviewing the tape, believed that the message was authentic and had been produced recently.



And what about the guy being tried in Dusseldorf who admitted to being indoctrinated and trained in Afghanistan? Is he lying too?
I saw Osama in the 2001 tape. The rest of them are obvious fakes. Just see the guy speaking. he doesn't even look like Osama
I saw Osama in the 2001 tape. The rest of them are obvious fakes. Just see the guy speaking. he doesn't even look like Osama

Well then you have to show evidence that this is false:

"White House press secretary Scott McClellan said U.S. intelligence analysts, who were reviewing the tape, believed that the message was authentic and had been produced recently."

Its not enough to say that the Indian government are wrong and assume that Al Jazerra puts out false information. Again what of all the terrorists who were admittedly trained by al-aqeada? Are they lying too?
I'm sure there are. Not enough to convince the FBI to add 9/11 to his warrant
I'm sure there are. Not enough to convince the FBI to add 9/11 to his warrant

You would need an updated version of the US FBI top ten list of offenders. I mean once you have committed enough crimes to belong on the top ten there is no need to list the rest one does after they have already been added.


That wasn't enough for you?

Anyway, nice chatting, got to go. Pub time:D
An FBI warrant requires evidence. I put my faith more in evidence than in the words of politicians. Until 9/11 is added to his crimes by a body that requires sufficient evidence to consider him liable, I'll withold my conclusions
The obvious

Lucysnow said:

So the people were really 'toes' of the US government?

In a Hobbesian context, sure. And that means some of them would be toes.

So are muslims 'toes' of muslim terrorist activity? :bugeye:

Is terrorism a legitimate form of government?
My counterpoint to your correct assertion that terrorists are not automata was to refocus on the actual question.


When you focused on the hamster. Or the bit about terrorists and bullets.


It's the fundamental question you've been ducking. You know, because you were "feeling less than generous about this thread" because you "don't believe it was started for honorable reasons".

And if that's the case, then leave it be for the people who do find value in the question. That is, don't try to drag the thread down with fallacious comparisons of people and bullets.

I believe that you're seriously misreading me. And I think this comes down to context: reexamining the OP, I can see why you read it the way that you do. But I think you're missing a key bit of context, which is that this thread was started as a branch/diversion/whatever of another conversation I was having with SAM elsewhere, which centered around her supposition that terrorism is a purely reactive phenomenon; a mechanical response to the policies of other polities, absent political agency of its own.

I.e., the OP, to me, reads as:

Isn't [Al Qaeda] terrorism [directed against Westerners] also collateral damages of [American] political policies?

As opposed to:

[Aren't the casualties of] terrorism also collateral damages of [the terrorists'] political policies?

Which is what I understand you to be referring to. And which I don't consider controversial or particularly interesting, as I've tried to make clear. In any case Geoff seems to have covered the obvious point right up front: it isn't collateral damage if it's the desired outcome in the first place. And, no, that doesn't necessarily make much moral difference.

But the former assertion is a different beast. It's an attempt to expunge moral and political agency from the terrorists, and instead assign the blame to their victims. Hence the (admittedly obtuse) stuff about people and bullets.

As to which interpretation is "correct:" one the one hand, there's the above-mentioned context, the fact that at least a couple of others read it that way (see spider's early post referring to "blowback"), and the invocation of the phenomenon of terrorism itself - as opposed to the associated casualties and material destruction - as the "collateral damage." On the other hand, SAM seems to have quickly tracked into your dialogue, to the extent that she's continued to address the actual topic here. And, obviously, people did read it that way as well. Perhaps she'll deign to settle this via authority.

Either way, I hope that clarifies where I was coming from.
When they count the dead in Iraq, are those killed by IEDs not collateral damages? What about those killed by car bombs? Regardless of whether it is British men in Arab dress rigging the car bombs in market places or American, or other, are the casualties not collateral damages?

If the British car bombing victims in Iraq are collateral damages, what are the <unknown Iraq sympathiser> car bombing victims in London?

To take the remote example of Sirhan Sirhan the Palestinian Christian who shot Bobby Kennedy. Isn't Kennedy a collateral damage of American policy in Palestine? Don't Americans supply the weapons that kill Palestinians? Don't they support Palestinian occupation by Europeans?

And even then, what are the casualties of the USS Liberty called? Are they not collateral damages?

I was surprised to hear of Sirhan being Palestinian, it would be interesting to know how many terror attacks go back to Palestine/Israel.
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Pissing Against the Wind

S.A.M. said:

And even then, what are the casualties of the USS Liberty called? Are they not collateral damages?

No. They are, as I understand the situation, murder victims.

"Collateral damage" is a euphemism, or what I (taking after Christopher Cerf and Henry Beard) refer to as Bureaucratically Suitable (BS) language.

Back in the Politically Incorrect days, Bill Maher often espoused the motto, "Satirized for your protection". Which, of course, derives from, "Sanitized for your protection." And this, taken figuratively, is how Americans treat news and other vital information.

For starters, Wikipedia notes:

The USAF Intelligence Targeting Guide defines the term "[the] unintentional damage or incidental damage affecting facilities, equipment, or personnel, occurring as a result of military actions directed against targeted enemy forces or facilities. Such damage can occur to friendly, neutral, and even enemy forces". Another United States Department of Defense document uses "Unintentional or incidental injury or damage to persons or objects that would not be lawful military targets in the circumstances ruling at the time. Such damage is not unlawful so long as it is not excessive in light of the overall military advantage anticipated from the attack."

In the public relations context, this makes a big difference. Within the confines of the term, there is no real distinction between a building or a person. This is convenient for the military insofar as the people will generally grow weary of hearing about "innocent civilian death and maiming". But "collateral damage"? You get a considerably longer run out of that idea.

At the most superficial valence, collateral damage and terrorism is a sticky consideration. A suicide bomber targeting police trainees in Iraq or Afghanistan might also kill some civilians who were not directly targeted. This, in effect, could be called collateral damage. Applied to the 9/11 attacks, it's much more complicated. One could argue that the only collateral damage on that day was a field in Pennsylvania and some lightposts allegedly knocked over by a low-flying 757 immediately before it slammed into the Pentagon.

One might postulate that, a fully-fueled 757 being the impoverished warrior's F-16 or cruise missile, the passengers that day were collateral damage. This doesn't hold up, though. The WTC attack was intended to kill civilians, and, furthermore, it is believed that the first casualties on September 11, 2001, were Daniel Lewin, co-founder of Akamai Technologies, and two flight attendants, killed aboard American Flight 11 before it hit the North Tower. One cannot argue Lewin was a combatant and operational risk, because the decision was made not to steal an empty 757, but, rather, to hijack airplanes loaded with civilians.

At another valence, one might argue that terrorism itself is the collateral damage of exploitative economic and political policies, and here the question becomes whether or not we believe the effects of American institutional behavior were calculated—a far-flung, "Let them eat cake," attitude. Ignorance and apathy are, in my opinion, demonstrably the problem. The accountant working in the World Trade Center is not thinking about exploitation, but, rather, "feeding the family".

We can easily suggest that the Iraqi Bush Adventure was not, by any definition, a last resort; but in that context, we must also ask whether Osama bin Laden, in 1996, was premature in declaring his war against the United States. He told us he was coming; what he did not say, however, was, "We're coming. If you want to talk and see if we can avoid this, then let us do so." This notion need not regard 9/11 itself; Al Qaeda hit the U.S.S. Cole (a legitimate military target) and two United States embassies (quasi-legitimate targets)—the war was afoot.

Some would suggest that the idea of terrorism being a collateral consequence of American policy decisions reduces human beings to automata, but this argument presupposes that decent, responsible people would never object so strenously to perceived abuse that they would take up arms. Still, though, the manner in which one fights back is very much their own decision.

Given lax security concomitant to American postures of freedom, the 9/11 hijackers could easily have strapped bombs to themselves and attended Fleet Week in Portland, Oregon. Blowing themselves up in clubs in order to kill U.S. Navy personnel would allow a better argument that civilian casualties were collateral damage; assuredly, the collateral ratio would have been something less than the 9:1 ratio of American drone strikes in Pakistan or the infamous 207:1 (low end) ratio in pursuit of Baitullah Mehsud. But the hijackers chose, instead, to kill mass numbers of civilians according to a more figurative and removed culpability.

I think the basic rhetorical problem with this second valence of collateral damage is that it has no real limits. If, for instance, it could be definitively shown that a participant in the midnight basketball programs cancelled by the Republican-led Congress after the '94 election went on to kill someone in a gang shooting, what would Newt Gingrich's culpability be?

I've always found the $33 million wrongful-death judgment against O.J. Simpson a curious outcome. One would think acquittal by a jury would have been a sufficient response. Should we argue, then, that his kidnapping and robbery stunt, the resulting charges, and nine-year prison sentence upon conviction are collateral damage of a mourning family's bitter pursuit of money in lieu of the justice prosecutors were unable to achieve? Is Marcia Clark, who led an inept prosecutorial team, culpable in Simpson's Vegas stunt? How about Mark Fuhrman, the racist cop who helped blow the trial, or Andrea Mazzola, a forensic scientist who mishandled blood evidence?

At what point is Jim Denton, my elementary school principal, who told me when I was ten that the solution to racial antagonism was to try harder to fit in, responsible for anything I say at age thirty-six about racism in America? Or anything that I do at all? One could argue that his behavior contributes to my state of mind even today, but is he culpable in my use of drugs?

Is Barack Obama in some way responsible for racist rhetoric bandied about by Tea Party supporters because he won't guide the nation back to some Golden Age ("Give me back my country!") that never existed?

What are the boundaries of one person's behavior being responsible for another person's conscious decision to do harm?

It is a very difficult question. Quite clearly, generations of racism in American society have some role in limiting the options of young black men in the 1980s, but to what degree is that racism responsible for any one person's decision to join a gang, or act as wheelman for a drive-by?

After all, we can expect a certain amount of blowback related to certain behaviors. While it is tempting to use a hornet's nest metaphor, people aren't hornets. They're people. Behavioral sciences are not so refined as to be capable of demonstrating certain decisions as inevitable outcomes of remote factors°.

If the terrorist sets out to kill military personnel, then civilian casualties can be called collateral damage to the same degree our drone strikes in Pakistan kill innocents. But if the terrorist sets out to kill anyone they can, regardless of active combatant status, in order to make a political statement, there is no issue of collateral damage, except perhaps in a public relations context.

Of course, that consideration is complicated by increasing abuse of the words "terrorism" and "terrorist".

In the end, however we assess collateral damage, it may well require a case-by-case examination. It's not that definitions are inevitably variable between the cases, but that circumstances describe differently the nature of each act in question.

As such, I think it's fair to suggest that certain specific "terrorism" in response to American policies cannot be classified as collateral damage by any logic, since inviting them to the dance was part of the point. You know, like President Machismo declaring, "Bring it on," so that, "We fight them abroad so we don't have to fight them at home." I mean, really, did we expect them to wait for an engraved invitation? A public challenge by a head of state, backed with the presence of an invading and occupying army, seems sufficient.


° certain decisions as inevitable outcomes of remote factors — Consider swarm behavior in ants and bees. And then consider human beings in a riot. If there is a threshold at which humans inevitably lose their self-will and become part of a mob mentality, we have not the observational capabilities to determine a functional descriptive paradigm explaining the point of transformation, or what factors contribute to what degree or by what means.

Works Cited:

Wikipedia. "Collateral Damage". February 25, 2010. Wikipedia.com. March 5, 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collateral_damage

See Also:

United States Air Force. "Attachment 7: Collateral Damage". USAF Intelligence Targeting Guide. February 1, 1998. FAS.org. March 5, 2010. http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/usaf/afpam14-210/part20.htm
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Isn't terrorism also collateral damages of political policies?

Why isn't it treated like other collateral damages are?

I haven't read all the posts so I'm sorry if I'm repeating someone else.

Terrorism, as we in the UK would define it, is the deliberate murder of civilians for political or idealogical reasons. A simple case in point would be a bomb exploding in a busy shopping street in Northern Island. No attempt was made to hurt soldiers, it was designed to hurt civilians. You can argue the validity of such tactics in war....perhaps killing civilians is effective, but history doesn't show this.

I hate war as much as anybody, however I do understand the difference when a US missile hits a residential area by mistake. I don't like it of course, but there is a difference.
When they count the dead in Iraq, are those killed by IEDs not collateral damages? What about those killed by car bombs? Regardless of whether it is British men in Arab dress rigging the car bombs in market places or American, or other, are the casualties not collateral damages?

Whether or not they are "collateral damage" (an absurd term from the get-go) depends on the objective of those inflicting them. If it were, say, a Syrian planting bombs in a Sunni or Christian quarter just to kill civilians, one might then call those deaths "murder". If it were an Iraqi man planting bombs to blow up Iraqi policemen of another faith, then civilians killed in the attack could be considered "collateral damage". But the nationality of the perpetrator shouldn't matter, whether Syrian men, Iranians, Libyans, Pakistanis or even Malaysians. If there were any credible evidence that Americans or Brits had done so - unmodified by the political interests of the supposed observers - then that would be more properly called "false flag" overall, and would be murder. There is none, at the moment, of course.