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Astrophysicist
 
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Quote Astrophysicist Replybullet Posted: 07 July 2005 at 8:49am

Originally posted by Whisper

Brother wish there were just a few more like you to spread a bit of peace in that land of nuerosis where everyone feels that everyone in the world is ot to get them. Is it because we think everyone else to be just exactly as we are?

I have it it said to me on this site several times, quite explicitly, that Islam is superior to all other religions and that all must submit to it. This attitude is not confined to just a few crazy people. So I am not being neurotic. You are in denial of what many of your fellow Muslims believe.

1. We each bring the Universe into being in the act of perceiving it, but perception is not reality.

2. The medium IS the message, so a true religion of peace cannot be spread by threat of war.
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Quote Astrophysicist Replybullet Posted: 07 July 2005 at 9:13am

I found a few more minutes for responses.

Originally posted by Whisper

For goodness sake, please, at least don't pray for me.

 

Why not? It's just a way of asking God to help me understand you and you to understand me. Is that so bad?

 

Originally posted by whisper

I promise you I am just a silly innocent Afghan. I don't deserve any American kindness!! They have ever been so kind to us all these few decades.

 

I guess that for your sake, then, we should regret having helped you to oust the Russians. Sorry about that.

 

The sanctions on Iraq were there as long as Saddam did not abide by the terms of his surrender and allow a specific UN inspection regimen. Bush proved that the US did not control the UN when he could not get it to approve of Saddam's ouster. Saddam had bribed UN leaders as well as the French, Russians, and Germans and so had made himself, in essence, their quasi-colonialist puppet. Look into the "Food for Oil" scandal, which does not seem to be getting much press. The US and Great Britain are not responsible for the continued sanctions. The "Food for Oil" criminals are.

 

You people are amazingly good at hiding your own defects and deflecting blame. Saddam is ultimately responsible for ALL those deaths, and he was helped by mostly by the French, who have been betraying Arabs since they threw Faisal out of Damascus after WWI. But they have mutual bribe and corruption policies with all the right people, so they don't get any blame.

 

Look, you have a lovely string of "facts" but many inaccurate and all taken out of context. And your "reasoning" is all fallacious: mostly either "post hoc ergo propter hoc" (Latin for "after this therefore caused by this") or "ab hominae" (Latin for "from the man," meaning that an argument is being accepted or rejected because of who has made it rather than because of its own intrinsic merits.)

 

I don't have time to put right all your wrong views. I think that the greatest failing of the American government is probably that we (as in "we the people") have not made more of an effort to counter these sorts of foul misrepresentations of us. Many governments and other groups of the world have a lot to gain by focusing attention on us rather than their own faults.

 

Iraqis as a whole are much better off without Saddam and would be far better off still if the terrorists (they are NOT "freedom fighters") would leave them be, let the Americans finish the humanitarian projects that the likes of Saddam, Annan, or Chirac did not allow, let a representative goveernment exist (as Aristotle pointed out, democracy is the best form of government for protecting the lives and rights of the citizens) and let us leave the country in peace and friendship, which is ALL WE EVER WANTED TO DO, despite what your crazy imams and conspiracy-theorists and socialist/communist plotters and tyrannical regimes tell you.



Edited by Astrophysicist
1. We each bring the Universe into being in the act of perceiving it, but perception is not reality.

2. The medium IS the message, so a true religion of peace cannot be spread by threat of war.
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Quote Whisper Replybullet Posted: 07 July 2005 at 9:59am

Welcome back my friend.

I accept your Japanese scenario to be correct in good faith. But you will have to agree that this particular war "was sold to the Americans people like a prospectus of some bogus company(not my words but a piece from a well respected serious American publication)

Yes, you are right perceptions can be flawed.

But Ansari and I have simpley listed actual facts as documented ny global bodies and, in some cases, by your own mainstream media. You are welcome to show us that these facts are lacking in exactness or in their authenticity and I will not just stand corrected but even apologise to you in person.

Can't the number of resolutions US has vetoed be just verified at the UN? Or, the tonnage of explosives dropped by the U s through the First Bush War be tallied just from Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf's very own press briefings?

We have listed solid facts - not perceptions. Why not come up with counter facts instead of swiping these facts as flawed.

I have no idea what the the Islamic or the US fundamentalistas love or hate. I fail to understand this mindset. I love and respect all religions. I hold each and everyone in this world to be a better and a more loveable person than I myself am.

Is it beacuse you are seething with such venom for the Prophet that you have come to feel that everyone in this world must be like you and and as hateful of all other prophets and their people.

Or, is it only because we refuse to accept your invasions and occupations lying down?

Sir, it's your President who is trying to spread his reigion (or, democracy, the same difference) with a huge army and that great art of killing women and children from 52,000 feet. Not us.

You seem to be dishing out very interesting and powerful compliments to Islam today. But your killing machine and your admin's actions are sufficient just on their own to turn anyone into killers, bombers and all else. They do not need any assistance from Islam or anyone else for that matter.

Just by the way, is this just my perception below:

So, Mr Bremer, where did all the money go?

At the end of the Iraq war, vast sums of money were made available to the US-led provisional authorities, headed by Paul Bremer, to spend on rebuilding the country. By the time Bremer left the post eight months later, $8.8bn of that money had disappeared. Ed Harriman on the extraordinary scandal of Iraq's missing billions


Thursday July 7, 2005
The Guardian

When Paul Bremer, the American pro consul in Baghdad until June last year, arrived in Iraq soon after the official end of hostilities, there was $6bn left over from the UN Oil for Food Programme, as well as sequestered and frozen assets, and at least $10bn from resumed Iraqi oil exports. Under Security Council Resolution 1483, passed on May 22 2003, all these funds were transferred into a new account held at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, called the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), and intended to be spent by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) "in a transparent manner ... for the benefit of the Iraqi people".

The US Congress also voted to spend $18.4bn of US taxpayers' money on the redevelopment of Iraq. By June 28 last year, however, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA had spent up to $20bn of Iraqi money, compared with $300m of US funds. The "reconstruction" of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan - but the US government funded the Marshall Plan. Defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the "liberated" country, by the Iraqis themselves.

The CPA maintained one fund of nearly $600m cash for which there is no paperwork: $200m of it was kept in a room in one of Saddam's former palaces. The US soldier in charge used to keep the key to the room in his backpack, which he left on his desk when he popped out for lunch. Again, this is Iraqi money, not US funds.

The "financial irregularities" described in audit reports carried out by agencies of the American government and auditors working for the international community collectively give a detailed insight into the mentality of the American occupation authorities and the way they operated. Truckloads of dollars were handed out for which neither they nor the recipients felt they had to be accountable.

The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. They have also discovered that $8.8bn that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it has gone. A further $3.4bn appropriated by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance "security".

Although Bremer was expected to manage Iraqi funds in a transparent manner, it was only in October 2003, six months after the fall of Saddam, that an International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) was established to provide independent, international financial oversight of CPA spending. (This board includes representatives from the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.)

The IAMB first spent months trying to find auditors acceptable to the US. The Bahrain office of KPMG was finally appointed in April 2004. It was stonewalled.

"KPMG has encountered resistance from CPA staff regarding the submission of information required to complete our procedures," they wrote in an interim report. "Staff have indicated ... that cooperation with KPMG's undertakings is given a low priority." KPMG had one meeting at the Iraqi Ministry of Finance; meetings at all the other ministries were repeatedly postponed. The auditors even had trouble getting passes to enter the Green Zone.

There appears to have been good reason for the Americans to stall. At the end of June 2004, the CPA would be disbanded and Bremer would leave Iraq. There was no way the Bush administration would want independent auditors to publish a report into the financial propriety of its Iraqi administration while the CPA was still in existence and Bremer at its head still answerable to the press. So the report was published in July.

The auditors found that the CPA didn't keep accounts of the hundreds of millions of dollars of cash in its vault, had awarded contracts worth billions of dollars to American firms without tender, and had no idea what was happening to the money from the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), which was being spent by the interim Iraqi government ministries.

This lack of transparency has led to allegations of corruption. An Iraqi hospital administrator told me that when he came to sign a contract, the American army officer representing the CPA had crossed out the original price and doubled it. The Iraqi protested that the original price was enough. The American officer explained that the increase (more than $1m) was his retirement package.

When the Iraqi Governing Council asked Bremer why a contract to repair the Samarah cement factory was costing $60m rather than the agreed $20m, the American representative reportedly told them that they should be grateful the coalition had saved them from Saddam. Iraqis who were close to the Americans, had access to the Green Zone or held prominent posts in the new government ministries were also in a position personally to benefit enormously. Iraqi businessmen complain endlessly that they had to offer substantial bribes to Iraqi middlemen just to be able to bid for CPA contracts. Iraqi ministers' relatives got top jobs and fat contracts.

Further evidence of lack of transparency comes from a series of audits and reports carried out by the CPA's own inspector general's office (CPAIG). Set up in January 2004, it reports to Congress. Its auditors, accountants and criminal investigators often found themselves sitting alone at cafe tables in the Green Zone, shunned by their CPA compatriots. Their audit, published in July 2004, found that the American contracts officers in the CPA and Iraqi ministries "did not ensure that ... contract files contained all the required documents, a fair and reasonable price was paid for the services received, contractors were capable of meeting delivery schedules, or that contractors were paid in accordance with contract requirements".

Pilfering was rife. Millions of dollars in cash went missing from the Iraqi Central Bank. Between $11m and $26m worth of Iraqi property sequestered by the CPA was unaccounted for. The payroll was padded with hundreds of ghost employees. Millions of dollars were paid to contractors for phantom work. Some $3,379,505 was billed, for example, for "personnel not in the field performing work" and "other improper charges" on just one oil pipeline repair contract.

Most of the 69 criminal investigations the CPAIG instigated related to alleged theft, fraud, waste, assault and extortion. It also investigated "a number of other cases that, because of their sensitivity, cannot be included in this report". One such case may have arisen when 19 billion new Iraqi dinars, worth about £6.5m, was found on a plane in Lebanon that had been sent there by the American-appointed Iraqi interior minister.

At the same time, the IAMB discovered that Iraqi oil exports were unmetered. Neither the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organisation nor the American authorities could give a satisfactory explanation for this. "The only reason you wouldn't monitor them is if you don't want anyone else to know how much is going through," one petroleum executive told me.

Officially, Iraq exported $10bn worth of oil in the first year of the American occupation. Christian Aid has estimated that up to $4bn more may have been exported and is unaccounted for. If so, this would have created an off-the-books fund that both the Americans and their Iraqi allies could use with impunity to cover expenditures they would rather keep secret - among them the occupation costs, which were rising far beyond what the Bush administration could comfortably admit to Congress and the international community.

In the few weeks before Bremer left Iraq, the CPA handed out more than $3bn in new contracts to be paid for with Iraqi funds and managed by the US embassy in Baghdad. The CPA inspector general, now called the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (Sigir), has just released an audit report on the way the embassy has dealt with that responsibility. The auditors reviewed the files of 225 contracts totalling $327m to see if the embassy "could identify the current value of paid and unpaid contract obligations".

It couldn't. "Our review showed that financial records ... understated payments made by $108,255,875" and "overstated unpaid obligations by $119,361,286". The auditors also reviewed the paperwork of a further 300 contracts worth $332.9m: "Of 198 contract files reviewed, 154 did not contain evidence that goods and services were received, 169 did not contain invoices, and 14 did not contain evidence of payment."

Clearly, the Americans see no need to account for spending Iraqis' national income now any more than they did when Bremer was in charge. Neither the embassy chief of mission nor the US military commander replied to the auditors' invitation to comment. Instead, the US army contracting commander lamely pointed out that "the peaceful conditions envisioned in the early planning continue to elude the reconstruction efforts". This is a remarkable understatement. It's also an admission that Americans can't be expected to do their sums when they are spending other people's money to finance a war.

Lack of accountability does not stop with the Americans. In January this year, the Sigir issued a report detailing evidence of fraud, corruption and waste by the Iraqi Interim Government when Bremer was in charge. They found that $8.8bn - the entire Iraqi Interim Government spending from October 2003 through June 2004 - was not properly accounted for. The Iraqi Office of Budget and Management at one point had only six staff, all of them inexperienced, and most of the ministries had no budget departments. Iraq's newly appointed ministers and their senior officials were free to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars in cash as they pleased, while American "advisers" looked on.

"CPA personnel did not review and compare financial, budgetary and operational performance to planned or expected results," the auditors explained. One ministry gave out $430m in contracts without its CPA advisers seeing any of the paperwork. Another claimed to be paying 8,206 guards, but only 602 could be found. There is simply no way of knowing how much of the $8.8bn has gone to pay for private militias and into private pockets.

"It's remarkable that the inspector general's office could have produced even a draft report with so many misconceptions and inaccuracies," Bremer said in his reply to the Sigir report. "At liberation, the Iraqi economy was dead in the water. So CPA's top priority was to get the economy going."

The Sigir has responded by releasing another audit this April, an investigation into the way Bremer's CPA managed cash payments from Iraqi funds in just one part of Iraq, the region around Hillah: "During the course of the audit, we identified deficiencies in the control of cash ... of such magnitude as to require prompt attention. Those deficiencies were so significant that we were precluded from accomplishing our stated objectives." They found that CPA headquarters in Baghdad "did not maintain full control and accountability for approximately $119.9m", and that agents in the field "cannot properly account for or support over $96.6m in cash and receipts". The agents were mostly Americans in Iraq on short-term contracts. One agent's account balance was "overstated by $2,825,755, and the error went undetected". Another agent was given $25m cash for which Bremer's office "acknowledged not having any supporting documentation". Of more than $23m given to another agent, there are only records for $6,306,836 paid to contractors.

Many of the American agents submitted their paperwork only hours before they headed to the airport. Two left Iraq without accounting for $750,000 each, which has never been found. CPA head office cleared several agents' balances of between $250,000 and $12m without any receipts. One agent who did submit receipts, on being told that he still owed $1,878,870, turned up three days later with exactly that amount. The auditors thought that "this suggests that the agent had a reserve of cash", pointing out that if his original figures had been correct, he would have accounted to the CPA for approximately $3.8m more than he had been given in the first place, which "suggests that the receipt documents provided to the DFI account manager were unreliable".

So where did the money go? You can't see it in Hillah. The schools, hospitals, water supply and electricity, all of which were supposed to benefit from these funds, are in ruins. The inescapable conclusion is that many of the American paying agents grabbed large bundles of cash for themselves and made sweet deals with their Iraqi contacts.

And so it continues. The IAMB's most recent audit of Iraqi government spending talks of "incomplete accounting", "lack of documented justification for limited competition for contracts at the Iraqi ministries", "possible misappropriation of oil revenues", "significant difficulties in ensuring completeness and accuracy of Iraqi budgets and controls over expenditures" and "non-deposit of proceeds of export sales of petroleum products into the appropriate accounts in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1483".

In the absence of any meaningful accountability, Iraqis have no way of knowing how much of the nation's wealth is being used for reconstruction and how much is being handed out to ministers' and civil servants' friends and families or funnelled into secret overseas bank accounts. Given that many Ba'athists are now back in government, some of that money may even be financing the insurgents.

Both Saddam and the US profited handsomely during his reign. He controlled Iraq's wealth while most of Iraq's oil went to Californian refineries to provide cheap petrol for American voters. US corporations, like those who enjoyed Saddam's favour, grew rich. Today, the system is much the same: the oil goes to California, and the new Iraqi government spends the national wealth with impunity.

· Bremer maintained one slush fund of nearly $600m in cash for which there is no paperwork: $200m of it was kept in a room in one of Saddam's former palaces

· 19 billion new Iraqi dinars, worth about £6.5m, was found on a plane in Lebanon that had been sent there by the new Iraqi interior minister

· One ministry claimed to be paying 8,206 guards, but only 602 could be found

· One American agent was given $23m to spend on restructuring; only $6m is accounted for

This is an edited version of an article that appears in the current issue of the London Review of Books



Edited by Whisper
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Quote Whisper Replybullet Posted: 07 July 2005 at 12:32pm

Astro, I haven’t the foggiest who or what you are talking about?

Please show me just one sentence in which I have claimed to be a Muslim or even implied that Islam was the best thing since the 4th of July or Halloween for that matter?

 

I believe in the messages of the Creator. And, I believe that all these are linked unlike some trained consumers who may prefer one to the other.

 

I promise upon my scout’s honour, these Imams would be absolutely helpless without your admin’s “Full Action” support and their “state of the art” butchery devices. Their sermons would drop on deaf ears if the listeners saw anything even slightly different than what they were saying.

No?

 

Let’s be friends now that we hold that rare chance and accept that the US would not have got involved into a war we had already started to win BUT for their own geo-political interests. We stand grateful to all the help we had from any corner.

 

But, sadly, the Afghans do feel insulted since the U S planted an ex-Burger Joint owner (CIA operative) as our President. Wish you had found at least some ex-Classy Restaurant owner for us. But then it seems your admin has only this quality of people in stock. Perhaps the legitimate quality people refuse to collaborate with them.

 

On Sanctions; I will check the title of the book (written by an American field worker) with the Harpers and place it with you. That may clear who controlled the sanctions. But I do admit that it is a murky situation.

 

Can we blame just the French for their corrupt dealings and shady colonial policies? The Brits and the Americans hold an angelic record at that?

 

I never look at the man in any such matters.

I am a systems trained person and I only examine the situation as it stands or as it stood in any political clime.

 

Shall we be honest just for a few moments? Is America’s role really been made in heavens but just for these “foul misrepresentations”?

 

If you really wish to leave the country in peace and friendship and that’s ALL YOU HAVE EVER WANTED TO DO then why spend Billions on the 14 largest bases in Iraq?

 

Let me again assure you that no one has any taste of listening to any crazy imams, conspiracy-theorists and socialist / communist plotters and tyrannical regimes if the reality on ground is ever slightly different.

 

If you rise above being an American just for a few moments and look at the situation with an open heart you will see that the American troops are the problem, not the solution of this painful drama of your president’s choice.

 

It’s not our fault and I always feel sad for your "just past their teens" young army men when they are hit and the Iraqis gather around the burning humvee cheering the successful hit.

 

I am a humanist.

You seem to be measuring me against some familiar fixed yardsticks of your own choice. It's not my or anyone else's fault that your admin lied to you to take you to war. Today, it's again not my fault that they are lying to you about their occupation and the reasons for prolonging their stay there.

It’s a far bigger lie than all their other reasons put together.

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Quote Astrophysicist Replybullet Posted: 07 July 2005 at 2:02pm

Hello, again, friend:

Originally posted by Whisper

Welcome back my friend.

I accept your Japanese scenario to be correct in good faith. But you will have to agree that this particular war "was sold to the Americans people like a prospectus of some bogus company(not my words but a piece from a well respected serious American publication)

Thank you for giving me the benefit of any doubts regarding WWII, Whisper. I appreciate that. I assure you that, though the use of the A-bombs is still debated to this day, my account is accurate. As a young man, I had the priviledge of being the driver for a elderly professor who -- among other amazing things, like knowing Sigmund Freud personally -- had helped Truman write his memoirs. So, I have the inside scoop on how the decision was made. As a private but informed citizen, I was for ousting Saddam within the first two years of Clinton's presidency, the moment it became cleaer that Saddam would not abide by the terms of his surrender, wriggle out of them, and so make it unwise for the UN sanctions to be lifted. Think of it this way: were Saddam allowed to get out of the terms of his surrender, then rearm and overrun Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, not making the same tactical and strategic mistakes that he made in 1990, who would be called upon to oust him then? And the job would be much more difficult. Would the political will to do it be there? We could have had a genocidal communist tyrant in control of more than half the proven oil reserves and hence, of the global economy. So, is it not clear that the sanctions could not be arbitrarily lifted? Saddam knew they could not, but because he controlled the media and automatically had the sympathies of Arabs -- despite his horrendous character -- he could blame America and get rich an comfortable as his people suffered and died. Chirac and everybody else, including Clinton, knew the sanctions could not be arbitrarily lifted. So, each did what what financially and politically expedient for themelves, not what was just. Clinton, for example, had not guts and no will of his own. He was weak, ruled by polls, and could not do what what just and necessary. He also knew that no matter what America did, lots of you folks would find a reason to hate us. So, it was better to just do nothing, as far as he was concerned.

Immediately after the 9/11 atrocities and months before Bush's "axis of evil" speech, I wrote a nine-page essay called "Axis of Terror: Fundamentalists Hijack Islam" and sent a copy to the White House enclosed with my daughter's contribution to the Afghan Children's Fund.

I doubt anyone of note saw it or that it in any way contributed to the decision. I am a nobody. Surely other people in more influential positions knew what I knew and saw what I saw. The point here is that, in this essay, written in September of 2001, I called for the ouster of Saddam as a central part of the war against Islamofascist terrorists. So, you see, I saw the logic and necessity of this mission of justice and charity long before Bush announced his intent to do it. No, I was not "sold." The need for this action is so obvious and clear that I was for along time astounded that there was any argument at all about it.

In my view, arguments for the Iraq mission of justice and charity are unassailable. Conspiracy theories about ulterior American motives are foolish distractions.

But many in the American media -- for their own reasons like abortion or government payouts ("welfare" and such) or corporate tax policy and so on -- do not want Republicans elected to the presidency or Congress in the next election cycle. So, they try to undermine confidence in Republicans like Bush with these ridiculous conspiracy theories and "American imperialism" trash. We are there on a mission of mercy, pure and simple, and we will get out when the Iraqi people are safe. Then the French and Russians can make their oil deals, not with the likes of saddam, but with the Iraqi people -- who probably will want not war machines and rape rooms but the necessities of life and good lives for their children and children's children.

Originally posted by whisper

[Yes, you are right perceptions can be flawed.

But Ansari and I have simpley listed actual facts as documented ny global bodies and, in some cases, by your own mainstream media. You are welcome to show us that these facts are lacking in exactness or in their authenticity and I will not just stand corrected but even apologise to you in person.

I would like to meet you, Whisper, and it certainly would be easier to talk than write. I doubt that it is practicable, though.

I wish I had more time to go into details. Just what I have written so far has taken more time than I really have today! I have dealt with many of these "facts" in other posts throughout this site. I am a private citizen with a business and a household to attend to. To me, all these accusations of evil intent on the part of America are just so obviously wrong but so numerous I don't know where to begin.

So, last time, I picked one, the Japanese/American experience of WWII, that I felt I could get through in a reasonable period of time. this time I have, so far, picked the Iraq mission.

Originally posted by whisper

Can't the number of resolutions US has vetoed be just verified at the UN? Or, the tonnage of explosives dropped by the U s through the First Bush War be tallied just from Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf's very own press briefings?

We have listed solid facts - not perceptions. Why not come up with counter facts instead of swiping these facts as flawed.

The problem that I have with these facts is that, in my view, you are not seeing them in context. I am sure you know how frustrating it is when someone selectively cites facts but does not include the context that makes them understandable. Again, I have addressed at least some of them before. I will try to get to each when I can.

Tonnage of bombs, for example, doesn't necessarily tell us much. We know that the Soviets, who supplied Saddam with most of his weaponry, also had sold him the latest in hardened-bunker design and construction and other defensive measures that require more bombs to get through than older defenses.

Originally posted by whisper

I have no idea what the the Islamic or the US fundamentalistas love or hate. I fail to understand this mindset. I love and respect all religions. I hold each and everyone in this world to be a better and a more loveable person than I myself am.

I am glad to hear that. I used to feel that way. Since about 9/11 (actually a little before, when I first started reading posts from the sort who think that the world must be forcibly converted to Islam and who approve of and do these sorts of atrocities), I feel that way about every religion except Islam. I am just being honest here, not politically correct. I know and love lots of Muslims. It is the philosophical basis of the Muslim religion itself -- not Muslim people -- for which I have lost almost all respect.

Originally posted by whisper

Is it beacuse you are seething with such venom for the Prophet that you have come to feel that everyone in this world must be like you and and as hateful of all other prophets and their people.

Please understand that my Christian upbringing teaches me the exact opposite of this. Jesus says, "It becomes us to fulfill all righteousness." I have practiced Zen Buddhism, had lots of Jewish friends, dated many Jewish girls (nearly married one) and have always been facinated by the Hindus (who are the orginators of what we call "Arabic numerals"). I have long been a great admirer of the great Chinese sages, like Lao Tzu and Confucious, to name a few. And of course, the ancient Greeks are an inspiration to me as much as they have been to many a devout Muslim over the millenia.

My experience on this web site is that it is a great number of Muslims -- not Americans (we are open to all religions and races here) -- who claim that THEIR prophet is the only true prophet, the one to whom all must submit. It is that very attitude that, to me, is evidence of one of the great flaws of Islam.

But I will let you in on a little secret: all my in-laws are Muslims. I have been to the mosque many times and am a friend of the Imam. But he is a sane and reasonable person --  most of the time, anyway . Yes, Whisper, I married into a Muslim family. So, you see, here is yet another of your perceptions that is in error. That is why I first started going on Muslim web sites and where I fisrt learned that not all Muslims were warm and sane people like my in-laws --  that, in fact, a large number of them are in my opinion, completely and dangerously out of touch with reality.

Originally posted by whisper

Or, is it only because we refuse to accept your invasions and occupations lying down?

By collaborating with and protecting bin Laden and refusing to turn over him and his henchemen, the Taliban made Afghanistan equally guilty and an outlaw regime. So, what were we supposed to do, let them keep attacking from Afghanistan and pretend we didn't know where these homocidal lunatics were? We are not occupying Afghanistan. We are helping the people reestablish a civilization that can protect the rights and lives of the people. It is doubtful that people who want peace and prosperity will tolerate the presence of someone like bin Laden.

Same thing in Iraq. Or "Eyerak," if you prefer.

The U.S. did not invade Saudi Arabia. We were invited by the Saudi government to help protect it and its people from the brutal and rapacious Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein. How quickly people forget!

Originally posted by whisper

Sir, it's your President who is trying to spread his reigion (or, democracy, the same difference) with a huge army and that great art of killing women and children from 52,000 feet. Not us.

Democracy is not a religion. It is a system of government that permits common people to defend their interests. Eyerak and Afghanistan can be Muslim and democratic. My Muslim inlaws love our democracy and are free to practice their religion here. Islam and democracy are not exclusive of one another. In fact, many Muslims here will tell you that democracy fits perfectly with the ideal society that they think the Qu'ran envisions.

The American military, unlike your terrorists, tries as much as is humanly possible to avoid civilian casualties. Saddam put military installations in populated areas and forced civilians into military installations. Your terrorists are no different when they fire from mosques and polupated areas, or when the fight wearing no uniforms. They abide by no codes of decency, making it difficult to fight without some civilian casualties. It seems that they want civilian casualties for propaganda purposes.

Originally posted by whisper

You seem to be dishing out very interesting and powerful compliments to Islam today. But your killing machine and your admin's actions are sufficient just on their own to turn anyone into killers, bombers and all else. They do not need any assistance from Islam or anyone else for that matter.

The Afghanistan mission was to break up al Queda and the outlaw regime that sponsored and protected it and to install a decent and civilly responsible government that could protect ALL Afghanis and prevent al Queda from infesting the country again.

The Iraq mission is one of justice and charity, two words that sadly seem to have lost any practical meaning in your world. I hope that in time you will see it for what it really is and welcome it.

Originally posted by whisper

Just by the way, is this just my perception below:

So, Mr Bremer, where did all the money go?

I am still looking into this issue as I can. The problem is that the leftist American media and propaganda machines of various goverments have so muddied the waters that it is difficult to tell what is true and what is not. Most stories will also have stories that counter them. I can tell you that efforts to rebuild Iraq are costing us in many ways, including taxes. The cost of plywood here in the U.S., for example, has gone way up because so much is going to Iraq! I've had to put off building a garden shed for my wife . But that's okay. I'd rather that schools and hospitals were being built for Iraqi kids, moms, and dads and all.

We are not evil, and neither is the Bush Administration, Whisper. I think that the problem here is one of perspective. You assume the worst and then find evidence to support your beliefs, ignoring that which conflicts with your prejudice. You find ways to fit these out-of-context "facts" into your prejudgments. It is human nature to do this. We all do it. Judges have to warn juries about this psychological phenomenon so they don't just listen for evidence that confirms their prejudices and ignore the rest. Your "fact" sheet condemning the U.S. would never stand up in a fair court of law.

Be well!

Astro



Edited by rami
1. We each bring the Universe into being in the act of perceiving it, but perception is not reality.

2. The medium IS the message, so a true religion of peace cannot be spread by threat of war.
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Quote Astrophysicist Replybullet Posted: 07 July 2005 at 7:57pm

I am just one person and don't have time to reread all the posts from all participants in all the threads. So, perhaps I am responding in the wrong thread, but I do have two more comments.

Perhaps it was not in this thread that someone spoke degradingly of English, calling it a language unsuited to artistic and poetic expression. While that could be true, it is more likely the face of bigotry showing itself again. My experience tells me that the power and beauty of a language, like that of a religion, comes from the people who use or practice it. I can recall reading how some writers not born to the English language felt that it was the best language for poetry. And Shakepeare, whom many people in many parts of the world regard as among the finest poet ever, wrote in English. I really don't know and really don't care. It is the language that I was born to, and it is quite capable of being used artistically to convey the myriad wonders of the universe. I never mastered French, Spanish, or German, but I do recall that during the time that I studied them, they did not appeal to me as much as my English. My in-laws love their Albanian tongue. Wonderful! How could any tongue but that of one's birth, of one's every memory, convey as much to one's soul? Is it helpful to insult my language? Is it necessary? No.

Second, ...hmmm... I've forgotten! It will come to me, and I will write again. For now, a pleasant everning to you all. I am tired and going to bed.

Astro

1. We each bring the Universe into being in the act of perceiving it, but perception is not reality.

2. The medium IS the message, so a true religion of peace cannot be spread by threat of war.
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Quote rami Replybullet Posted: 08 July 2005 at 12:01am
Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

"U.S. as a Vessel of God’s Goodness"


2. The medium IS the message, so a true religion (message) of peace cannot be spread by threat of war.

You are either with US or against US.

Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.
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Quote Whisper Replybullet Posted: 08 July 2005 at 4:28pm

Astro, I am in transit and would reply to your other post as soon as I touch base. My position keeps me on the airports more than anywhere else.

I am sorry. I didn't mean to run English down or anything like that at all. The sheer fact is that when I was growing up I thought no end of Shakespear and my day would be baren without a few lines from Byron. I even changed my 21st Jan to 22nd January in the school register, just to share my birthday with Byron's.

But then I grew up and learnt other languages and realised the limitations of English. Just for an example; how many English words do we have for the various aunts in a family? How many "aunts" are there in Arabic or Punjaubi? There is a long list of situations which have as yet not developed in this language.

English is good, straight language. It's the best language for legal documents and business letters. It does pale when forced into some other functions. Just for an instance if Spanish weren't what it is, wouldn't we have Flamenco in every other language? Spanish was created for poetry and "cantas". The day you come to understand the Spanish soul, all else pales.

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