Tuesday, January 27, 2009


JHD writes:

... what would a non-military, non-imperial, non-destabilizing solution to the "regional problem" of training camps persisting in this region, which is essentially autonomous from the Pakistani government, look like?

Well, I don't think there's an American alive who knows what to do about Pakistan. Although lobbing bombs at Muslims before the bodies are even cold in Gaza isn't gonna win hearts and minds.

I'd say as a start, pace Chomsky, the best way to reduce terrorism is to stop participating in it. So in addition to rolling back Bush policy on torture, the preventive war doctrine should also be rolled back and publicly repudiated. Clandestine bombing of sovereign territory is part of this doctrine. Imperial prerogatives should be abolished. The US must obey international law and repudiate exceptionalism.

Second, some serious arm-twisting should happen to resolve the India/Pakistan problem preferably under the aegis of the UN. This would free the Pakistani military to extend its monopoly of violence over its own territory and free up economic resources to actually raise quality of life and deprive rebels of community support.

Third, aid and development programs should be funded with the same goal.

Fourth, get the Palestinians their state. I'm not sure where I stand on two-state vs. one-state, but the occupation needs to end. More than anything else this would persuade the Muslim world that the pretty words directed toward them in the inaugural speech were sincere and that cooperation was a real possibility.

Fifth, put economic and political pressure on Arab regimes to democratize.

Sixth, denuclearize the globe. Not just halt proliferation, but abolish nuclear weapons. Jonathan Schell has some excellent writings and ideas about how to do this. It is not impossible.

Without popular support radicals become impotent. Sure there would still be some residual terror attacks in the interim, but as a rule the best way to stop people from fighting you is to take your boot off their necks and make sure they have something, a job, a house, a car, a family of non-murdered relatives, that they don’t want to lose.

OR you could just get the fuck out entirely and engage in non-coercive bilateral relationships with existing and emerging governments and pay reparations to the societies you've particularly destroyed. Or don't engage with their governments at all if they're too ideologically offensive. The US isn't bound by any rule to prop up the Pakistani government or solve all the problems in the Middle East or be Team America World Police. It is bound by law and morality to stop creating problems and killing and oppressing people. As bin Laden said, they're not attacking Sweden.

IF US elites actually believed the terror threat was so grave, then they'd actually be willing to mobilize public and international opinion to support a force that would actually put boots on the ground and be “precise” about fighting militant groups. Of course this would be costly in soldiers' lives, and you'd have to kill everyone in the zone, but if the threat is really that severe and existential then that should be an acceptable cost. The fact that they're not willing to do this tells you a lot about how grave they consider the threat of terrorism.

The fact is, they simply don’t care about it. It is useful to them and they’re basically safe from it. So you get bomb theater which everyone knows does nothing toward its stated goals and only makes it worse.


Well, I was wrong again! According to Article 2, Section 6 of the US Constitution the US Gov't is in fact obligated to form a "Teame America Planetarie Constabulary".

My bad. I retract all ideas above.


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