From: "Deacon Blues" <>
Subject: Your take on 9/11
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 11:05:04 -0400

Hi Mu, long time reader, anyway, I’d like to submit that you add a section on your response to the attack on NYC about possible U.S. nuclear responses to future attacks. We now have the capability to launch environmentaly "clean" (meaning little or no long term radiation, no nuclear winter, etc…) nukes with a relatively small (~25 Kiloton) payload that would destroy a small city without many long-term effects. My belief is that any further terrorist attack, esp those that use nuclear/bio agents, will lead to the nuking of one Afghani city after another until the Taliban complies with the U.S. Also regarding your "punish the families and friends of the terrorists" theory, while a good one and possible, will be much more difficult due to the fact that many of bin Laden’s peeps are recruited from other Muslim countries. The U.S. might not have such a free hand in, say, Egypt. Anyway thanks for bringing back the boards, I need a place to hang now that Lum’s has fallen into the hands of whiney babies.

PS. "jingoism"?


From: "Chris Botman" <>
Subject: Your Sept 11 Article
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 23:21:05 +1200 Hi,

I’m just one of your fans from the other side of the world (New Zealand).

I must say, I was surprised to see something so intelligent written by an American. This isn’t ment as a blatant insult (just a subtle one), but in light of many of the comments (somewhat understanably) being expressed by Americans recently, it’s always good to see someone expressing reason. Unfortunately, it’s not always the people who ‘count’ expressing the reasoning. =/

For some reason, I’m sharing my views with you. First off, you mention a large scale attack against Afghanistan. Would the cost really be worth it? At the moment America is angry, they want justice, in the form of revenge, but their thoughts are clouded with rage. Could America really handle another Vietnam? Because that’s what it will become.

I’m not sure how much you know about Afghanistan, it’s probly alot more than me, but keep in mind both Britain and Russia have suffered humiliating defeats by Afghanistan. Can America really fare any better?

If Desert Storm or Vietnam showed us anything, it’s that America doesn’t like getting ‘down and dirty’. Instead relying on superior technology, this is understandable. Why risk getting killed when you can get a machine to do the job for you? Attacking Afghanistan will be a gurilla war, denying America the ability to utilise it’s superior conventional weapons. Afghanistan lack any notable infostructure, so airstikes arn’t much use. Infact, BBC claim the Taliban have a mere 100 operational tanks.

This means the fights going to be fought with infantry. American troops have better equipment. The Afghans will have superior knowledge of the terrain, tactics (the Afghans are always fighting, if not a neibour then with themselves) and moral (fanatics). Simply put, a ground attack will be VERY costly.

This is kinda irrelivant now though, as I suspect the Americans and allies will rely on Special Forces instead.

Second, you yourself said you were dissapointed America didn’t retaliate within 24 hours. Dispite my general disliking of left wingers, I have to agree that they are right in this case. America shouldn’t act before it knows who’s guilty. This is one of the few occasions in recent history where America actually has the popular support of almost the entire wowld. If America had acted premiturely and sought revenge instead of justice, it would served only to fuel the beliefs of many that, well, America sucks.

Sure, it was probly Osama Bin Laden, but until you have proof, if you attack, your no better than the terrorists. Especially in the eyes of those being attacked and their sympathiesers (dunno how to spell that word :P). Sure, hit em, and hit em hard, just make sure you hit the person or in this case, people.

Thanks for reading my view. You can delete it now with a clear concious that you read all your mail. =)

Cya and good luck.


Posted On 09/25/01 03:46PM

hello, mu. random reader here. read your commentary, thought it was very interesting. thanks for writing it.

your points about terrorism using weapons of mass destruction are well taken are pretty scary. not like it’s something we all haven’t wondered about before, but the thought (for me at least) was always "well I’m kinda surprised that nobody’s used them, but nonetheless they haven’t. so maybe things are safe after all, although I don’t understand why." after 9/11, logic like that is pretty unconvincing.

i’ve spent a fair amount of time today trying to convince myself that some sort of WMD _isn’t_ likely to get used, or that if it was, that the result wouldn’t be all-out nuclear war. perhaps i am being paranoid. i’d like to think so. i do tend to overworry about things.

thoughts anyone?


Posted On 09/26/01 01:58AM

Funny I had a conversation with Max about this today. Though I’m still amazed at the limit of biological/chemical weapons use by terrorists (the only big uses recently were sarin in the Japanese subway and assorted gasses used by Hussein against the Kurds and Iran), the march of technology dictates that eventually people will be learning how to make these things in their basement. It’s like your grandfather being unable to figure out how to use a remote control while your kids are studying C in high school. And since fission is a necessary predecessor to hot fusion, which we are *hopefully* working on as a mainstream technology, nuclear physics will eventually become a high school technical elective. Pretty soon the knowledge and expertise to create a WMD will be commonplace enough that it will be impossible to keep it away from insane people if they have enough cash to study it, and to grab enough black market weapons-grade plutonium or anthrax.

In a pinch, though, mustard gas is pretty easy. You just need more of it.


Posted On 09/25/01 05:31PM

Excellent rant on this nation’s recent problem, Mu must be one of about a dozen people in this country that has an open holistic view. While the average idiot runs around trying to find one thing to blame (Air port security, lack of fighter protection over major cities, them funny speaking foreign people…) Mu can see the problem in its complete sense and how it fits with history. Good for him, I’d buy him a beer if I ever met the fellow in person.

On that Pearl Harbor comparison you made an excellent point, but I would also say that Pearl Harbor was part of a well executed plan to not only sweep the United States out of its Pacific holdings but was also an attempt to blunt any such counterattack to the region. To this they were partially successful, as the carriers that survived that attack replaced the destroyed battleships as the main striking force into the pacific. (Thanks for forcing us to modernize our naval doctrine Japan! All you accomplished was the destruction of your own navy, army and then got your home cities firebombed to hell! Eh hem…not that I am bitter…)

However, This attack of September 11th was more of a symbolic strike on our nation. By hitting the WTC, Pentagon (and other presumed strikes at the White House and Capital building) was meant to show that they can hit our economic, military (and political) heads as they please and to reveal our vulnerability and so weaken our resolve in world affairs. This will have the effect of really, really pissing us off instead and getting his ass kicked. I personally guarantee that a large military action against terrorism will follow after this. All Americans, that is all real Americans have felt the sting of battle and heard the call to arms, (Sorry I just love those Patton-esq. lines) and are ready for a worldwide crusade against all terror groups. That’s right, not just bin Laden and his pals, but also whatever nations support and harbor the bastard and his cell. We won’t stop at that of course, not with world opinion the way it is. The battle will continue into other nations and against other cells. We will locate, hunt down and eliminate every terrorist that has ever attacked the United States, has supported such an attack or has threatened such an attack. As long as Americans as willing to make the proper sacrifices in terms of combat losses and other considerations there is no reason why such a massive crusade will not fail.

Whew, any comments of my crackpot theories will be appreciated.

Charging the Panzer on a horse, hurrah!


Posted On 09/25/01 08:07PM

"All real Americans have felt the sting of battle and heard the call to arms"

What’s a real American? …one that feels patriotism only when 7000 people die?

I think anyone who is in the armed forces understands what being a real american is . . I came in years ago, but after the gulf war. I think it’s too easy to talk all this patriotism, and making sacrifices, but, when you don’t actually have to go and fight, you don’t have that on your mind. If you "suddenly" became patriotic because of the events on the 11th, you should be, but I think some before that date could not even define patriotism, they sort of follow the pack and really didn’t care until the country told them they should. Opinions were formed and changed fast, I found this quite interesting. I would define "real Americans" any one member of the armed forces. Not to say that you are anyone on the board is not really patriotic.


Posted On 09/25/01 09:31PM

“What’s a real American? …one that feels patriotism only when 7000 people die?”

No. The way I meant real American was someone who realizes that freedom is something paid for in blood and vigilance. I meant someone who knows that we had been attacked in a vicious manner and it will continue until the source of this attack is destroyed. While in Burlington VT I saw a protest march of student opposed to the upcoming military action. That display confused me, war had already come to us… why shouldn’t we fight back?
I wish that Americans felt patriotism before this time of crises, I wish that they would show proper respect for our military as the thin line between us and certain death, I wish that Americans had a full understanding at all times of how close we are to death and chaos and how our only hope for survival is as one nation. But life doesn’t work like that, I might as well wish that their were no extremists in this world and wars didn’t need to be fought, hell I might as well wish people were not so damn stupid.

“I would define "real Americans" any one member of the armed forces.”

Indeed, I would even go as far to say they are the “best Americans” but that’s of course just personal opinion. Some of us are too young or old for military service (I’m sure you guessed which category I fit into) but still understand the need for a military response and will support our nation at this time and any other time (including non-disastrous times) in anyway they can.

Good luck and God speed to you, kick some ass for us at home.

Posted On 09/25/01 10:21PM

In general the average Joe America doesn’t understand the armed forces. This leads to problems going both ways: on the one hand, people who despise the military and don’t understand its role in preserving the nation’s interests tend to always voice against it and military actions in general, influencing politicians who wind up influencing the commander in chief who winds up not using the armed forces properly. On the other hand, people who fail to realize that being in the military carries with it a sort of different citizenship (necessary due to the job description) get very weepy when, say, 3 U.S. soldiers are captured in Bosnia and held hostage (not an unlikely event), having the same effect on the aforementioned politicians and president, who then becomes overcautious, hamstringing the military arm.

The military does this to itself a lot too, when there isn’t a war going on. Almost every conflict starts out with a bunch of poor schmucks being killed on both sides because the tactics being employed by commanders are 2 generations old, like a bayonet charge into a machinegun nest in WWI, or bad terrain adaptation in Vietnam. Snipers are almost always out of fashion at the beginning of a conflict, then sparingly reintroduced, then hailed as gods of killing by the time the event is over, at which point they fall out of fashion again. Luckily this is changing a little, even if snipers are now relegated to destroying large pieces of equipment with a Barrett/MacAdams rifle instead of picking off key personnel at obscene ranges.

The military is there for a specific and important purpose, and should not be neglected or misused, either overzealously or with excessive restraint. Mao was right when he said, "All (political) power comes from the barrel of a gun." All the treaties and pacts in the world mean squat if there isn’t even the implied threat of force behind it, whether you’re dealing with domestic law or foreign policy. That threat of force in the international theatre means less and less the more we screw up with our military operations, either with bad planning, intentional self-sabotage for political reasons (re: Iranian hostage crisis, some dork decided not to screen the chopper intakes against sand), or by not finishing anything we start.

A problem with Joe America and the military is similar to the one that infests our police forces: there hasn’t been a large scale conflict recently, what with the advent of the fission bomb, and so we don’t have a big population of service-age people who can understand what it means to be at war. I say this is a problem with our police because before this happened, lots of cops came from the ranks of service personnel, or were the children of service personnel, and so had a certain perspective on things that made them suitable for the job. When I think of modern police, I think of the rookie I watched for an hour in the subway practicing his tough guy faces in the window, and the fact that the police are the enemy of the citizen by default in NYC. Not to mention their horrible performance at the pistol range. (I used to watch cops rapid fire into a target at 10 yards and miss with every shot at a range on Long Island.)

I don’t consider myself a patriot as much as a pragmatist. Military force is in my own personal best interests in this case, as I don’t feel like being killed by a big whopping cloud of sarin gas or having my country’s government collapse due to an inability to deal with a guy living in a cave. Luckily, in the United States, pragmatism coincides nicely with patriotism quite often, since even with all our problems we still lead the world in personal freedoms and self-determinism. I can bitch a lot about problems with the United States, but I can bitch openly, and for that very reason I’m all for the United States.

Posted On 09/26/01 08:16PM

I believe that the military (the navy in my case) has but one purpose, to prevent war from starting. That is our main purpose, we do not exist to kill, but if it gets to that point, we all know the oath that we took about all enemies foreign and domestic, and that if we are ordered by a superior, we will carry out that order. Noone likes war, even though I would really like to see some terrorist camps blowing up, I know that it is going to cost American lives, and that we willingly volunteer for assignments that are inherently dangerous. I came in because I don’t want things like Sept.11th to happen to my family, I don’t want them to have to worry about going to work and worrying about getting bombed. That is why I am where I am. I’ve always been patriotic, and shook my head at people always that did not like the government or military, your not exactly seeing alot of anti government/military demonstrations in the states right now . . .it just would not be ethical to do so at this time.

I would put myself in front of the barrel of an enemies gun to defend your right to bitch openly, even if I do not agree, even that person doesn’t like me, because I am defending everyone’s rights, and it’s sad that it took a tragedy such as this for so many people to realize that they take it for granted.


Date: 09/25/01 11:34:56 AM
Name: Max Longstreet

You know, I read your rant with the expectation that it would be reactionary and I’d disagree with a lot of it, but you know, it seemed quite sensible and almost moderate in outlook. I don’t know much about organic farming so I have no idea whether that would work, but the majority of what you wrote seemed quite sensible

I couple points I disagree with: 1) the idea that we had to react within 24 hours. The Clinton administration reacted to the Embassy bombing immediately, and that caused them to fuck-up: They bombed what was supposed to be a Bin Laden sponsored chemical weapons factory in the Sudan, and instead they ended up destroying most of the country’s pharmaceutical/medicine supplies, and no one seems to be able to produce this evidence that chemical weapons were ever made there. Other cruise missiles in this rushed attack managed to kill a bunch of Afghan civilians, but missed Bin Laden.

We can’t afford to be incompetent here–it just makes us look ineffective and cruel. We need to get it right, to actually find and destroy Bin Laden, his associates, and training camps, and probably the Taliban too, with the minimum damage to the poor chump goatherd who’s already starving. If the military needs a few weeks to get its information right and figure out what the fuck it’s doing, fine by me. People won’t forget what happened in that time.

The second concern I have with your suggestion is the one about completing the mission and instantly getting out. If we take out the Taliban as well as Bin Laden, then we’re committing to stay for some time. If we don’t, then we’ll be doing just what you said is a bad idea: propping up an oppposition regime with a bit of military/economic assistance, which probably will eventually result in another bad regime. If we take out the Taliban, my personal opinion is that we need to actually run Afghanistan for a while and completely rebuild the country from the ground up, Marshall Plan style. As costly as this would be, this would be the only way to assure a stable country as well as favorable world opinion.

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