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Old 09-21-2001, 09:08 PM   #1
Yorick
Very Mad Bird
 

Join Date: January 7, 2001
Location: Breukelen (over the river from New Amsterdam)
Age: 45
Posts: 9,226
Yesterday my father-in-law Ralph sent me this email about an essay online. As it was sent to 82 people, I wrote a response and sent it to those 82 people.

An email that thinks it's a forum? A forum disguised as an email?
Anyhow here's the email and below is my response. Let me know what you think. Disagree with me if you must as well, but let's remember we're all friends here. I'm posting just to share.... (gooey feeling radiates)


************************************************** **************

This is an interesting piece, not the stuff heard on CNN. Its from the
>lead singer of the band "System Of A Down". They have recently cancelled
>or postponed their "Pledge of Allegiance" tour in light of the WTC bombing.
>
>System Of A Down singer Serj Tankian posted a controversial essay on the
>band's web site, systemofadown.com, regarding the recent tragedies in
>American and past events in the Middle East. The essay has since been taken
>off the band's web site, no official reason for the decision has been
>announced. It is currently unknown whether the band's record label,
>Columbia Records, or the band decided to take down the piece. Here is
>Serj's essay in its entirety:
>

>Understanding Oil By Serj Tankian

>
>The brutal attacks/bombings this week in New York, and Washington D.C.,
>along with threats of attacks there and elsewhere in the country have
>changed our times forever. While the mass media concentrates on the details
>of the destruction, and the blanketed words of politicians, I will attempt
>to understand and explain the events from the fence.
>
>BOMBING AND BEING BOMBED ARE THE SAME THINGS ON DIFFERENT SIDES OF THE
>FENCE.
>
>Terror is not a spontaneous human action without credence. People just
>don't hijack planes and commit harikari (suicide) without any weight of
>thought to the action. No one in the media seems to ask WHY DID THESE
>PEOPLE DO THIS HORRIFIC ACT OF VIOLENCE AND DESTRUCTION?
>
>To be able to understand the answer to this, we must first look at our U.S.
>Mideast Policy. During most of the 20th century, U.S. businesses have
>worked on attaining oil rights and concessions from countries in the Middle
>East and Eastern Europe. After WWI, secret back door deals by our State
>Dept. yielded oil rights from then defeated Turkey to fields in what is now
>Iraq and Saudi Arabia, in return for looking the other way at a crime
>against humanity, the Genocide of the Armenians by the Turks. Oil profits
>have been the motivating factors behind many attempts at counterinsurgency
>of democratic regimes by the CIA and the U.S in the Middle East (such as
>Iran in the 1950s, where the Shah replaced the Prime Minister who refused
>to give up oil rights to the U.S., and since the people couldn't deal with
>the Shah, an extremist government headed by the Ayatollah Khomeini
>ultimately prevailed).
>
>During the Iran-Iraq war, America supplied both sides with weapons and
>advice. These are not the actions of a rich superpower wanting peace.
>Let's not forget that Saddam Hussein, before being America's vision of the
>Anti-Christ, was a close ally of the U.S., and the CIA. So what was the
>firm belief system of consecutive American administrations that caused all
>this to occur ? PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST WILL LEAD TO HIGHER OIL AND
>GASOLINE PRICES.
>
>Let's not also forget the power of the Arms industry, disguised as defense,
>that still sells billions of dollars of weapons to the area. Therefore it
>has not been in the short-term economic interest of the U.S. to foster
>Peace in the Middle East. Using the above reasoning, the U.S. has
>encouraged extremist governments, toppled democracies, as in the case of
>Iran to replace it with a monarchy, rigged elections, and many more
>unspeakable political crimes for U.S. businesses abroad. Let's not also
>forget the Red Scare. During the war between the then Soviet Union and
>Afghanistan, the U.S. armed and supported the Taliban, a fundamentalist
>Muslim organization, and allowed them to export opium and heroin out of
>their country to pay for those weapons. Therefore the Taliban rose to
>power and control with the help of the U.S.A. Today, the bombing of Iraq
>still continues, no longer covered by the media, the economic embargo still
>remains, killing millions of children, and recently, while the world and
>the U.N. General Assembly have cried out to bring in peacekeeping forces
>into Israel and Palestine, to end the escalated war and recent
>assassinations, the U.S. has vetoed the rest of the Security Council ! and
>has halted the possibility of peace, there, in the most volatile place in
>the world.
>
>People in Serbia, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan to name a few have
>seen bombs fall, not always at military targets and kill innocent
>civilians, as the scene in New York city yesterday. The wars waged by our
>government in our names has landed smack in the middle of our living
>room. The half hour of destruction closed down all world financial
>markets, struck the central headquarters of our military, and had our
>leaders running into bunkers, and our citizens into fear and frenzy. What
>scares me more than what has occurred is what our reactions to the
>occurrences may cause. President Bush belongs to a long generation of
>Republican Presidents who love war economies. The media has only
>concentrated on the bombings, if you will, and what type of retaliations
>are looming for the perpetrators. What everyone fails to realize is that
>the bombings are a reaction to existing injustices around the world,
>generally unseen to most Americans. To react to a reaction would be to
>further sponsor the reaction. In other words, my belief is that the terror
>will multiply if concrete steps are not taken to sponsor peace in the
>middle east, NOW.
>
>This does not mean that we should not find the guilty party(s), Bin Laden,
>or whoever they may be, and not try them. Put simply, as long as a major
>injustice remains, violence precipitates to the surface of life. Native
>American folklore, the Bible, Nostradamus, and many other major religious
>beliefs point to this era with the visuals of yesterday's disasters, and
>conditions of ecological disasters we experience daily in our lives today.
>War, rumors of war, famine, long burning fires, etc., are at our doorstep.
>We can prevail over this possible vision with the power of the human
>spirit, understanding, compassion, and peace. IT'S TIME TO PUT OUR NEEDS
>FOR SECURITY AND SURVIVAL, ACHIEVED ONLY THROUGH PEACE, ABOVE AND BEYOND
>PROFITS, ESPECIALLY IN THESE TIMES.
>
>SOLUTION: The U.S. should stop sidestepping the U.N. Security Council, and
>allow U.N. Peacekeeping troops and missions to the Middle East. Stop the
>violence first.
>
>Stop the bombing and patrol of Iraq. With today's gains in the use of
>alternative fuels, develop them to full usage with autos and other
>utilities, to make the country less dependant on an already depleting
>natural reserve, oil. By initiating peace, we would have already shaken
>the foundations of support for Bin Laden, and/or all those that sponsor
>activities like those we saw yesterday, and break the stronghold of
>extremists on the world of Islam. On the other hand, if we carry out
>bombings on Afghanistan or elsewhere to appease public demand, and very
>likely kill innocent civilians along the way, we'd be creating many more
>martyrs going to their deaths in retaliation against the retaliation. As
>shown from yesterday's events, you cannot stop a person who's ready to die.
>

************************************************** ************************


Ralph,

It was probably pulled off because it's in error. These U.S. policies explain hatred, rage and disdain, but hardly explain the willingness of humans to lay down their lives in following a man who has thus far not been willing to lay down his, and murder hundreds of people from Britain, India, Pakistan etc, as well as thousands of American citizens. Serj has a good call for peace in the middle east and finding lasting solutions to the problem of terrorism, but I personally get sick of hearing of arguments of this sort of tone. In Union Square Manhattan, we have these sort of debates going on, perpetuated by those often ignoring the sensativities of people going there to grieve lost loved ones, and find calm amidst internal storms. Strong words of internal criticism are not what's needed to heal the gaping spiritual and emotional wounds the devastation has left.

Thankfully most of us here are pulling together. An act of destruction has enabled expressions of love, comfort, brotherhood, unity, public praise to God and desires for peace as well as sharing a sense of community hitherto lacking or dormant within the city of New York.

America's policy did NOT cause this destruction. Those that commited it chose to react of their own volition. They chose to use the human spirit to achieve a destructive and dark end. By definition, enacting ones own agenda at the expense of anothers life is Evil. Islamics themselves need to look at why they allow such a terrible misuse of their faith to manipulate the minds of those under such as Bin Laden, the Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad. "Islam" of course means "The way of Peace". Ironic don't you think?

There is the saying that until the Palestinians love their children more than they hate Israelis there will be no peace.

Oh another error in this piece is that the US did NOT fund the Taliban as mentioned in by Serj. The US funded and supported the Mujahadeen in the war against the Soviet Union. The Taliban overthrew the Mujahadeen after the Soviets had left.
Also I disagree with the notion that peace in the Middle East would lead to higher oil prices due to the trends that have shown oil prices rising when war or threats of war occur. Oil prices rose in the US after word of the attacks, as they did during the Gulf War. How can he speculate a contrary trend? On what economic evidence is he basing his theory?

Also Serj fails to note that Iraq went to war with Kuwait over oil export policy. Does not Kuwait possess more oil than Iraq? I could be wrong...
In any case, Saudi Arabia and other oil rich Gulf states do not have the same negative relationship with the US as the states Serj mentioned. Serj's argument has the eiree ring of paranoia in my opinion. It relies on the pure speculation that the Republican "lovers of war economics" are heartless and disregarding of human life. I take the stand of innocent until proven guilty on that matter.

Anyhow, I hope you have a great day. I pray you notice the little things in this life that we can take for granted, and cherish every sinlge moment as a bonus. The ride could stop at any time, and I'm just glad to be on it. Praise God.

Cheers

Hugh

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Old 09-21-2001, 10:32 PM   #2
Grand-Ranger
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Posts: 2,130
I agree with most of your statments, Yorrick. Well actually all. But most people dont see Bin Laden as "guilty" yet, and I do.

I dont know if you do or not, I get the feeling you dont find him guilty yet. I could be wrong though

------------------


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Old 09-23-2001, 04:35 PM   #3
Yorick
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Join Date: January 7, 2001
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A response to my email from George Halicki:

__________________________________________________

Hugh,

Although I do not know you, I wish to add a perspective to your comment which I respect - as I do anyone's, as we all have the right to our views.

I believe the intent of Serj's message is to put into perspective, why people did this horrific act to try and make the American people understand, this is a reaction to many things the American government has been involved in over the years. Many of the things the American govt did covertly, were 'greed' based while they ignored the other human issues which could have improved the quality of life for so many. I believe Serj is trying to balance the current perspective of 'revenge' currently perpetrated by the govt and supported by the media. I think it needs something like this to make people sit up and think for themselves. Make them think about - why does America veto in the UN security council, peace keeping forces into Israel - Palestine, why did they not want to really get involved in Timor where mass killings were a certainty YET, they wish to prevent China getting into the World Trade Organisation because of human rights abuses - ah, forgot to mention, it would harm the American businesses and economy too.

The piece was written the day after the WTC disaster and too early to acknowledge the bravery of the firemen and the heart pouring support Americans have found between each other - which is very positive. This common ground also is an avenue for revenge to be carried and if we stop and think, why did this happen in the first place and how would God want us to react - before America starts with strong arm tactics, then mankind might evolve towards peace and harmony which is the way God wants us to live.

Now is the time more than ever, we must move forward carefully. The result may still be the same whereby America goes after who is responsible, but as long as they understand why it happened and take appropriate steps to ensure they do not give such terrorists any reason to attack then again. That would be the more human and christian thing to do.

God bless, George.



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Old 09-23-2001, 04:38 PM   #4
Yorick
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My response to George:

___________________________________________

George,

Thankyou for your response brother. Good health to you.

I appreciate your view but I fail to see how■your response■contradicts my reply. Serj's piece contained misinformation and was reliant on pure■speculation rather than fact. There are more than enough "balanced views" around. If it was indeed written the day after, (in which the "bravery of fireman" that you■mentioned was already apparent) it shows a willingness to use a national tragedy as a platform to express political views, manifested in opposition to American foreign policy.

Let's look at the situation unfolding in Pakistan. In an effort to bring Bin Laden to justice,■America has asked for Pakistani help. To repay that help sanctions are being lifted and loans are being made.

If the situation hypothetically occured that the pro-Osama dissidents protesting in Karachi (currently numbering about 15% of the population) were to sieze control of the nation and use their nuclear arsenal against America, would people like Serj proclaim that America's backing and assistance■of Pakistan created the situation?

My point was not that American foreign policy was without error, but that those that commit atrocities do so of their own volition. They choose to respond in the fashion they do. There is no justification for that kind of mass murder and■extreme vandalism. The plague of terrorism is an evil that must be denounced and rid from the world if peace is to be attained. This is not to say the solution is war or mass retaliatory destruction, but that an■internationally co-ordinated response preventing the practice must occur.■

Regarding your speculation on Serjs motives, I have a different impression - strengthened by the pieces apparent removal.■Before the disaster, it seemed views of■his kind were "hip" for US artists to hold. In light of the disaster the views have been retracted. Where is the strength of conviction?

Yes, I concur that■it's a cynical impression, but still, discussion of American foreign policy should be seperated■from the tragedy if Americans are to look honestly at it. It's hardly the climate for aggresive■self criticisms to be effectively absorbed. Apart from■my aforementioned■criticisms, the tone alone prevents true reception and thus mass change in attitudes.

Look at Bushes answer to "Why do they hate us?" in his speech in congress. There was no mention of Kyoto, or riding roughshod over world opinions, or the situations you mentioned. Rather, it focussed on ideas that would unify the nation and solidify it's resolve. As well as being expected it's also possibly what the nation needs. Unless there is a reasonable internal peace, how will the US respond■with minimal agression?

Also do we really understand why Bin Laden did this?■Both you and Serj■are applying western reactionary rationale to his actions. Surely to understand why his followers are willing to lay down their lives in such fashion, we must also understand the thinking relevant to extreme Wahabi Sunni Islam, to which he belongs. In all possiblity a Jihad, the scenario of Islam vs the West is his desire. If this is the case an excessive American response plays right into into his hands.

Regarding the "Christian response", in light of events such as this, one can realise the enormity of "turning the other cheek." Truly it is so difficult, so contrary to human nature, and yet so necessary for peace -■both between two individuals and between two nations.

I hold the hope that the Taliban will yet excercise their option in maintaining peace and agree to the American demands. Indeed peace -■as does conflict -■needs two parties desire of it to exist.

Peace■is something I pray for.

Thanks George

God bless you too,

Hugh

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Old 09-23-2001, 04:46 PM   #5
Yorick
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Georges response:

____________________________________________
Hugh,

My turn. This is turning into a bit of a saga and I would really love to meet you and discuss this directly.■I always relish an intelligent conversation and one with you would be most interesting, something lacking where I am at the moment with few English speaking people around.

-----Original Message-----
From: Hugh Wilson [mailto:hughdwilson@hotmail.com]
Sent: 23 September 2001 01:00

George,

Thankyou for your response brother. Good health to you.

I appreciate your view but I fail to see how■your response■contradicts my reply. Serj's piece contained misinformation and was reliant on pure■speculation rather than fact. There are more than enough "balanced views" around. If it was indeed written the day after, (in which the "bravery of fireman" that you■mentioned was already apparent) it shows a willingness to use a national tragedy as a platform to express political views, manifested in opposition to American foreign policy.


[George Halicki]■ While you highlighted some errors in Serj's essay, there can be many facts■brought forward to highlight the US govt's hypocrisy in its foreign policies. I■did not intend to contradict your reply, I only■wanted to ensure■people are aware of the angle he was coming from■which■is worth contemplating.■Whenever any of us assess a situation, we gather all available information and views to ensure we make the best possible decision to go forward.

I have heard so much anger, as has my brother in the US about bombing the hell out of them but as my brother says "who are you going to bomb?" and■he gets the reply "I don't know but we should just bomb the s...t out of them". It is this sort of angry reaction we need to temper and calm people before they react. ■

Let's look at the situation unfolding in Pakistan. In an effort to bring Bin Laden to justice,■America has asked for Pakistani help. To repay that help sanctions are being lifted and loans are being made.

[George Halicki]■I will not argue that this suits Americas purpose right now.

I do need to contemplate on, why America put the sanctions there in the first instance and did they get some form of guarantee on how■arms will be used in the forthcoming sales■that are part of the sanctions being lifted. As in Americas previous support of Iraq then the same weapons and training were used against American soldiers later, a guarantee from Pakistan today does not mean they will abide by it forever. Has America thought this through properly. Could the sanctions being lifted exclude arms deals?

If the situation hypothetically occured that the pro-Osama dissidents protesting in Karachi (currently numbering about 15% of the population) were to sieze control of the nation and use their nuclear arsenal against America, would people like Serj proclaim that America's backing and assistance■of Pakistan created the situation?

[George Halicki]■No, I do not think they would. I for one and similarly for many I know, would not say that.■

Where people get upset, is at the hypocrisy and counterinsurgent activities of the US govt via the CIA■. A prime example is the back door deal by■US turning the other way while Turkey dealt with their 'Armenian problem'■ as the US gained rights■to the oilfields of what is now Iraq and Saudi after WW1. Why turn their back on this, while they raise it now with China to try and prevent China's entry to the World Trade Organisation.

My point was not that American foreign policy was without error, but that those that commit atrocities do so of their own volition. They choose to respond in the fashion they do. There is no justification for that kind of mass murder and■extreme vandalism. The plague of terrorism is an evil that must be denounced and rid from the world if peace is to be attained. This is not to say the solution is war or mass retaliatory destruction, but that an■internationally co-ordinated response preventing the practice must occur.■

[George Halicki]■I fully agree, there is no justification whatsoever for this type of mass murder/vandalism and I do not think Serj agrees with it either. The many people I know are horrified and are appalled at what happened.■

I believe Serj, like many others I know, just want people to realise why people are so angry with the US. While they have reasons, none justifies the actions taken last week.■

I have lived in the Middle East for a number of years in the 80's and to these people, God is everything. The laws of these countries■are purely based on the Koran and Islam - which means 'peace'.■Sadly, those that generate hatred of the west and highlight their faults,■misguide followers who are prepared to die for God in a Jihad which is a guaranteed path to heaven. I have met many good Muslims who are saddened by the actions of some (e.g. Osama Bin Laden)■ who misguide■peoples faith in God to the extreme■expression of dying in a Jihad, or in reality, satisfying their own personal hatred of the west. Doesn't this sound similar to what the world has seen before.

While■I lived in the Middle East, my colleagues always criticised the Arabs for their hypocrisy. I took a look at our own society and saw the same. Who them is without sin can cast the first stone - neither society would have been justified to step forward.■There is no doubt, the extremists are being exploited by the fear generated by the few, who blame the west for undermining the way of Islam. Sadly, none of them THINK for themselves. They are human and if they really thought about being■good Muslims, they should turn away from temptation and help others to shun temptation, not generate a hate and desire to destroy the society it comes from.■

Regarding your speculation on Serjs motives, I have a different impression - strengthened by the pieces apparent removal.■Before the disaster, it seemed views of■his kind were "hip" for US artists to hold. In light of the disaster the views have been retracted. Where is the strength of conviction?

[George Halicki]■I think it is appropriate for everyone in America, especially the artists and actors, to be among those leading America in solidarity to strengthen the feeling of brotherhood and helping one another. It is good to see the focus on a positive benefits arising from■this tragedy.■

Your reference to its apparent removal, I believe the original essay was attached to my response. To ensure nothing is lost and I keep everything in context, I decided it is better to reply this way.

Yes, I concur that■it's a cynical impression, but still, discussion of American foreign policy should be seperated■from the tragedy if Americans are to look honestly at it. It's hardly the climate for aggresive■self criticisms to be effectively absorbed. Apart from■my aforementioned■criticisms, the tone alone prevents true reception and thus mass change in attitudes.

[George Halicki]■Yes, the tone was strong, but countering the massive media focus■which only generates anger. I think we have to be careful of the media, as CNN showed Palestinians rejoicing at the■tragedy, but it was Palestinians celebrating something else about 10 years ago.

While I agree this is not the time for aggressive self criticism to be effectively absorbed, it has to be done sometime. However, now is a good time before we go too far. I am not saying the resulting action would not be the same, but we should consider it. Therefore, I cannot see it being separated as the extremists are striking back at who they see as aggressors and destroyers of their faith.■Difficult to absorb and consider as we both agree.■

Look at Bushes answer to "Why do they hate us?" in his speech in congress. There was no mention of Kyoto, or riding roughshod over world opinions, or the situations you mentioned. Rather, it focussed on ideas that would unify the nation and solidify it's resolve. As well as being expected it's also possibly what the nation needs. Unless there is a reasonable internal peace, how will the US respond■with minimal agression?

[George Halicki]■I read Bush's speech■and yes, any leader wants to unify the nation and solidify its resolve. Good on him for doing that.■The stronger the support now, the longer it will take■to dissolve as brave soldiers return home in body bags or people out of work worry about how they will feed their families. I do not envy Mr Bush and I pray for his good guidance of his nation.

I don't quite understand the point of Kyoto, but Mr■Bush has stated his priority of putting■American■businesses■first,■over the■welfare of spaceship Earth where we all live.■■■■

Also do we really understand why Bin Laden did this?■Both you and Serj■are applying western reactionary rationale to his actions. Surely to understand why his followers are willing to lay down their lives in such fashion, we must also understand the thinking relevant to extreme Wahabi Sunni Islam, to which he belongs. In all possiblity a Jihad, the scenario of Islam vs the West is his desire. If this is the case an excessive American response plays right into into his hands.

[George Halicki]■The west is seen as the destroyer of their faith by all the temptations available in western society. While I lived in the Middle East,■ I could see the influence of the west compared to their original lifestyles and a gradual undermining of their society values. The extremists are acting out of fear to protect their old way of life.■In Afghanistan today, professional women are not allowed to work unless it is in a hospital for example. A woman lawyer must now stay at home, her place in the old Islamic way of life.■ Different to what I am accustomed to but we all must respect each others view and way of life.■

As I said earlier, Osama would be better off promoting good Muslim practices of avoiding temptation rather than destroying the society and killing so many innocent people. He intent to destroy the west and all it stands for, was demonstrated not only with the unforgivable act he undertook, but also what■they actually hit.■

Regarding the "Christian response", in light of events such as this, one can realise the enormity of "turning the other cheek." Truly it is so difficult, so contrary to human nature, and yet so necessary for peace -■both between two individuals and between two nations.

[George Halicki]■Agree.■

I hold the hope that the Taliban will yet excercise their option in maintaining peace and agree to the American demands. Indeed peace -■as does conflict -■needs two parties desire of it to exist.

[George Halicki]■Wouldn't it be good if the Americans asked the Talibans to sit down at the table and discuss this with them,■showing them the evidence they have to link Osama to this tragedy. Radical, not really but in reality we can only hope and pray this might just happen.■

Peace■is something I pray for.

[George Halicki]■As do I and no doubt all those who read this.■


[George Halicki]■Perhaps we may meet at Ralph's one day which would be a real pleasure. ■

God bless you too,

Hugh


[George Halicki]■God bless, George

PS I had trouble sending this so I have deleted the long distribution list - please circulate at■your respective discretion


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Old 09-23-2001, 05:03 PM   #6
250
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US policy is responsible for the existence of Osama bin Laden
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Old 09-23-2001, 05:09 PM   #7
Yorick
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Quote:
Originally posted by 250:
US policy is responsible for the existence of Osama bin Laden
I'd say Wahabi Sunni Islam is. If it wasn't America then whoever else was number 1 in the west would be his enemy number 1.

Britain had a hand in creating Palestine for example.

Also Bin Laden gets his money from Oil doesn't he? The whole world buys oil.

How are you anyway Leo?

Grand Ranger, In my book Bin Laden is guilty.



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Old 09-23-2001, 05:16 PM   #8
Moridin
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
I'd say Wahabi Sunni Islam is. If it wasn't America then whoever else was number 1 in the west would be his enemy number 1.

Britain had a hand in creating Palestine for example.

Also Bin Laden gets his money from Oil doesn't he? The whole world buys oil.

How are you anyway Leo?

Grand Ranger, In my book Bin Laden is guilty.

I don't know where bin Laden gets his money now, but he got rich from construction!

I also believe that our (the US) involvement with supplying bin Laden during the Russian/Afghan war was the lesser of two evils.

Plus I heard that his top 2 reasons for hating America are

1)Our troops in Saudi Arabia
2)Our backing of Isreal


------------------


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Old 09-23-2001, 05:28 PM   #9
250
Horus - Egyptian Sky God
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:

How are you anyway Leo?


feeling like shit, thx for asking
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Old 09-23-2001, 05:40 PM   #10
250
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moridin:


Plus I heard that his top 2 reasons for hating America are

1)Our troops in Saudi Arabia
2)Our backing of Isreal


I heard you are a gay

sorry, just an extreme example here, of course, you are not. but since I am not you, I cannot eliminate the possibility that you are

so we can assume bin Laden was motivated by oil, it could be one of the many reasons
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