Domestic Terrorism (U.S.)

Nice MSNBC piece on domestic terrorism in the U.S.:

The sentencing of Eric Rudolph, who bombed abortion clinics, a gay bar and the Atlanta Olympics, ought to be a milestone in the Global War on Terror. In Birmingham, Ala., on Monday he got life without parole. Next month he’ll stack up a couple more life terms in Georgia, which is the least he deserves. (He escaped the death penalty only because he made a deal to help law-enforcement agents find the explosives he had hidden while on the run in North Carolina.) Rudolph killed two people, but not for want of trying to kill many more. In his 1997 attack on an Atlanta abortion clinic, he set off a second bomb meant to take out bystanders and rescue workers. Unrepentant, of course, Rudolph defended his actions as a moral imperative: "Abortion is murder, and because it is murder I believe deadly force is needed to stop it." The Birmingham prosecutor declared that Rudolph had "appointed himself judge, jury and executioner."

Indeed. That's what all terrorists have in common: the four lunatics in London earlier this month; the 19 men who attacked America on September 11, 2001; Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City, and many others. They were all convinced they had noble motives for wreaking their violence. Terrorists are very righteous folks. Which is why the real global war we’re fighting, let's be absolutely clear, should be one of our shared humanity against the madness of people like these; the rule of man-made laws on the books against the divine law they imagine for themselves. It's the cause of reason against unreason, of self-criticism against the firm convictions of fanaticism.

David Neiwert has some good commentary on the topic. He also points to this U.S. News and World Report article.

Posted on July 25, 2005 at 9:04 PM • 33 Comments

Comments

Davi OttenheimerJuly 25, 2005 9:47 PM

So does the following quote mean that the US is self-righteous in its justification of war on Iraq?

"the difference between rationalism and obscurantism should be underlined at every opportunity. And that’s not what’s happening. Instead, since the detour into Iraq it seems the intellectual compass of those who led us there has gotten lost in a fog of moral pieties, and sweet reason has surrendered to missionary zeal"

Did the US Administration argue that they "had noble motives for wreaking their violence"?

Sorry, but this is too vague to stand on its own. That was the argument McVeigh used to dismiss criticism for killing innocents, that he had prior been employed by the US Army to kill innocents abroad during the first war with Iraq.

I think the article misses the point that there is a HUGE turning point from being "very righteous folks" to "victims with no alternative but to strike back" (e.g. folks who are a credible threat). Justifying the cause for a strike is the contentious part of the situation, no? And that is why, as non-fundamentalist countries (so far) the US and UK need to seriously evaluate their war for *just* cause.

So while you are correct to say we need to stick to the "rule of man-made laws on the books" (justice), we need to realize that fundamentalists just prosletize faster if you say anything judgemental about (their) moral imperatives. To avoid this you must clarify that they are acceptable as long as they do not act out their threats. Without that key distinction you can be written off as a hypocrite (of self-righteousness or inferior morality) who will victimize your enemy, which can only be met/prevented with violent response.

And that should bring us right back to the need for less "moralizing" about imperatives and more "solid intelligence-gathering and threat assessment" within a system of international justice to detect and prevent violent acts against innocents.

Davi OttenheimerJuly 25, 2005 10:43 PM

My post above might not be clear, so let me put this a different way:

How do you judge the current US Administration, which appears to suggest that it is acceptable to legislate morality and "punish people for their sins"? Where do modern state leaders fall on your map when they bring religion to bear as a compass for waging war at home and abroad?

Take the drug war, for example. Bush appointed John Walters his Drug Czar in 2001. It has been widely documented that Walters openly stated that the solution to drugs is to fight "moral poverty" with "a widespread renewal of religious faith and the strengthening of religious institutions." In fact, he co-authored a book called "Body Count: Moral Poverty...and How to Win America's War Against Crime and Drugs"

Incidentally, Walter's faith-based approach has proven to be a disaster of epic proportions. It basically uses a 0 tolerance policy that radicalizes users and moves them to harder drugs -- federal figures show drug-related deaths jumped to 22,300 and hospital emergency cases to 670,000 in 2002, both record peaks. Walters is overseeing the worst drug crisis ever with fatality rates three to 10 times higher than Canada’s and Europe’s.

Don't take my word for it, though. Consider the same 0 tolerance policy Bush used against the Baathist party after occupying Iraq that I mentioned on earlier log entries. This "punnish the sinners" approach radicalized the Iraqi moderates away from helping rebuild the country and into criminality and violent resistance....

To be fair, the Whitehouse presents their own view of the war and Islam here, with some official quotes about the relationship to terrorism:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/ramadan/...

"We see in Islam a religion that traces its origins back to God's call on Abraham. We share your belief in God's justice, and your insistence on man's moral responsibility. We thank the many Muslim nations who stand with us against terror."

And there you have it. Does moral responsibility = moral imperative?

ChadJuly 26, 2005 12:29 AM

Davi – It is quite disappointing to see you comparing the bombings of buildings, subways, busses, and crashed planes with the war on drugs. These attacks ended with the deaths of the attack’s primary targets -- innocent people. In the war on Iraq, the US didn’t target unarmed civilians as the terrorists did. They target the people that should be held responsible the terrorist acts.

RalphJuly 26, 2005 1:07 AM

Chad - can it really be true, that we who are complicit in the deaths of many are innocent?

We can avert our eyes and refuse to see these people are our brothers.

We can attempt to wash our hands of that which is done in our name.

We can proclaim our righteousness and cast the first stone.

But I think God will find these responses insufficient - and our judges will the founding fathers, in whose name of 'democracy' we justify our actions.

All that you can do, must be done. That is the moral imperative here.

AxelJuly 26, 2005 1:45 AM

Chad: the US may not have targeted innocent bystanders, but by now quite a lot of them have died at the hands of the US forces.
I think Davi's reasoning is very sound - and it's a sad thing to see you neglect his point of view completely, namely if moral reasons are good enough to set the rules and start a fight.

Jacob AppelbaumJuly 26, 2005 2:32 AM

@Chad

Are you telling us that no one has died in the war on drugs? Is Davi somehow mistaken in his logic?

Certainly you're joking... Right?

It's all related.

Larry SeltzerJuly 26, 2005 7:29 AM

Davi: If you're going to imply a quotaton to someone (...the current US Administration, which appears to suggest that it is acceptable to legislate morality and "punish people for their sins"?) please source it. The quotation marks attempt to assign an authority to the statement that it doesn't deserve.

A. ReaderJuly 26, 2005 7:41 AM

What a debate -- I don't know where to put my oar in amoungst these many rushing currents. I'm not going to even touch the securlar vs divine justice debate nor the question of motives -- if you wan't to assert that law is the ultimate arbiter, then the USA should dissolve and return to being a colony because the war for independence was illegal and the founding fathers were traitors. I try to be a simple fellow and what disgusts me are the targets of the terrorists -- civilian non-combatants. I know that in any war, police action, etc, where modern weapons are hurled about, there will be deaths and maimings in the civilian non-combatant population due to error, proximity, faulty-intelligence and other factors in the general fog of war -- it's not right, I don't condone it but it happens. However, the civilian population is not the specific target (we can argue about the Allied strategic bombing campaign of WWII in another venue). Terrorists target civilian populations and institutions in a deliberate effort to kill and maim in order to accomplish their strategic objectives. I find this disgusting REGARDLESS of the motive touted as justification.

OttoJuly 26, 2005 8:30 AM

Two points on the "targeting" of civilians. First, while listed as unintentional or collateral damage, no one honestly believes that dropping bombs from airplains will never, ever kill unarmed civilians. So, even if the US military did not explictly target civilians, they entered into the bombing campain with full knowledge and forethought that civilian casualties would occur. These casualties are regarded as acceptable collateral damage.

Contrast this with the views of the other side. According to various places I've seen, including the documentary The Power of Nightmares (http://www.archive.org/details/ThePowerOfNightmares), the terrorists believe that they are only attacking legitimate targets.

So, which is worse, a military that knows that it will injure and kill thousands of non-combatants or one that attacks unarmed civilians believing them to be legitimate targets?

Tim VailJuly 26, 2005 8:34 AM

@Larry

Davi did provide the URL of the source he got the quote from before he gave the quote. See the paragraph before it. It might not be a formal citation where you put it at the end of the quote, but it is on that webpage.

AqualungJuly 26, 2005 9:00 AM

@Otto,

I would argue your point that "These casualties are regarded as acceptable collateral damage".
While the military accepts civilian casualties as a part of war, let's not forget the (probably) trillions of dollars that have been sunk into precision guided munitions (e.g. optical, GPS or laser-guided weapons) one of the key features of which is more precise targeting of military targets while sparing civilians nearby (contrast with the carpet-bombing strategies which stayed with us until Vietnam)

RvnPhnxJuly 26, 2005 9:22 AM

@Larry:
Begin grammar rant:
Quotes have multiple purposes in the english language--only one of those is to assign ownership of a phrase or group of phrases to another person. Another--which is how Davi used them--is to set off or to demarcate a statement which is meant to stand on its own but is not grammitically separate from the sentence as a whole. I know it is confusing, but most people wouldn't have understood him any better had he used single quotes (the only other tool available to work as he wanted it to).
End grammar rant;

@A. Reader: If you do your research you will find that the standing occupation of the colonies by white folk, and later by the English Army were in fact no more "legal" or "illegal" than the Revolution itself was. In fact, the King was given proper and due notification of what would likely happen if the situation were not remedeed and if colonists were to continue to be illegally un-represented in parliment (and other things). Granted, some terrorism did indeed take place on all sides--occupiers and occupied alike, "native" and European alike--and was even then considered to be reprehensible by the moderates. When treaties failed to function, or fair negotiations were not given a chance, war broke out (in more than just the revolution itself).
As for the proper consideration of the place of terrorism in the spectrum of things, I think that it is a lot closer to mafia crime and racketeering than to warfare. And as to the comment about the Allied bombing campaign, it was a case of actual Total War--something most western military folks have tried to avoid since William Tecumseh Sherman used it against the Confederate States' population in the US Civil War (also known over here as The War Between the States, which is a much more accurate title indeed). Total War, however, is not to be confused with state-sponsored terrorism--as the later is not work done by a uniformed military (as if that matters much to those whom suffer the wrath of attack)--hence the notion of "War Crimes."

OttoJuly 26, 2005 9:25 AM

@Aqualung,

Contrary to what the military publicizes, minimizing civilian casualties is a side effect of the precision bombs. The carpet bombing campaigns were hugely ineffecient in terms of bombs dropped to targets destroyed and in terms of assets committed to destruction of a single target. If it took, for example, 100 planes to destroy a target with a carpet bombing campaign, I put at risk 100 planes and their respective crews, in a reasonably dense airspace that will be well defended.

On the other hand, if it only takes one or two planes to destroy the same target, I can then destroy 50-100 targets with the same number of planes/crews, and since the planes-per-square-mile of space density is significantly reduced, it is more difficult for the air defenses to shoot down the plane. Furthermore, since each plane is carrying a smaller number of bombs, the planes can be smaller, lighter, and more manuverable than the old style bombers, further reducing the chances of loss of equipment/personel on our side.

Finally, even if the development of precision bombs was specifically geared to minimize civilian casualties, there still exists the reality that the military not only knew that the casualties would occur, but had studied what was expected, decided what "reasonable" civilian casualties would be, and killed them anyway. They knew for certain that "innocents" would die, and continued. And we lable the other side terrorists.

A. ReaderJuly 26, 2005 9:32 AM

I fear we're abusing Bruce's blog but I would make a comment on Otto's very true observation that there are two sides to any conflict -- IMHO, the very heart of the issue is that the intended targets are civilian populations and institutions not the target selection methodology. Perhaps it is a limt of my understanding but to me there is a fundamental difference between killing/maiming civilians as a UNINTENDED consequence of an action and killing/maiming them as the direct intent of that action (cf the legal distinction between manslaughter and murder). In both cases they are equally dead or injured but the intent of the attacker distinguishes the two acts.
I'm very aware that there are many doctrines of unconventional warfare that identify the civilian populations and institutions of the enemy as legitimate targets but I do not ascribe to them.

Rickard JohanssonJuly 26, 2005 9:40 AM

I think that this post works nicely toghether with the previous "Shoot-to-Kill". The police has in fact made themselves "judge, jury and executioner". They killed the Brazilian man convinced that it was the right thing to do, or to paraphraze the Eric Rudolph quotation: "Terrorism is murder, and because it is murder we believe deadly force is needed to stop it."

We will always have to live with the risk that a a crazy lunatic (or fundametal extremist) might randomly kill us. The risk can be reduced but not eliminated. But I would not like to live in a state where the government by use of its police force kills its citizens, no matter what the reason is. When the reasons for killling are as vague as "running while wearing a bulky jacket" the killings are just as random as the terrorists.

Mike SherwoodJuly 26, 2005 10:57 AM

@Rickard Johansson

That's an interesting point. The "good guys" are doing the same things as the "bad guys" for the same reasons. There's no way that situation is going to work itself out.

In that context, it's easier to understand why these people think they're the good guys. The people we call terrorists are called freedom fighters by their own people. We consider it an atrocity when they kill our civilians, yet we don't worry too much when we do the same to them and call it collateral damage.

This is a fight that started so long ago that no one remembers, yet everyone is still looking to get back at the other guy. Maybe after a few more years of this crap, we can all just grow up.

Dave MJuly 26, 2005 12:10 PM

@A. Reader

Your understanding seems fine to me. You are espousing the 'principle of double effect', first formulated by Aquinas.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/double-effect/

This states that undesirable side-effects of an action can sometimes be justified if they are merely forseen, but not if they are actively intended.

Davi OttenheimerJuly 26, 2005 12:25 PM

@Mike Sherwood

"That's an interesting point. The "good guys" are doing the same things as the "bad guys" for the same reasons. There's no way that situation is going to work itself out."

Ah, but there is an opportunity for distinction. It is akin to the search for "justice" within a system of "tolerance". Bruce is correct in that we have a system of laws that are meant to be followed above and beyond our relative interpretations.

The danger/warning signs of where absolutism/fundamentalism goes awry is when someone says they have become a 'victim' and therefore have a 'moral duty' to respond with force. This can not be accepted on faith alone, it must be worked out through a system of analysis that we often call a justice system. Need an easy example of what I mean? Consider that extremist fundamentalist Christians describe their faith as unfairly persecuted in America:
http://www.arkwebshost.com/ministries/onegospel/...

Ah, I still remember when people spoke of a system to address conflict in society that was meant to find a balance between ensuring community safety and safeguarding personal freedom. We could even go all the way back to the 1600s when "cogito, ergo sum" was meant to put to rest the question of whether we can operate as thinking rational humans who can set our own destiny or if we are just condemned to being operatives in a covert 'intelligent design' and conquer strategy.

Back to today's dilemma in America, there is some insightful political analysis about a transformation away from rational thinking in the US towards self-defeatist fear and victimization. Take a look at "What's the Matter with Kansas?" by Thomas Frank. It should make you wonder how far a self-proclaimed "moral majority" can go before there is neither community safety nor personal freedom left in America, all in the name of some trumped-up fear based on a 'good' fight against 'evil'.

Obviously, I am not saying that there is no evil worth fighting, just that the 'right to swing your fists end at the tip of my nose'. Clinton had to justify the NATO operation in Bosnia and was widely criticized for it because he used 'humanitarian' arguments. Bush tried to justify the (questionably) multi-lateral invasion of Iraq with a victimization argument, but it turned out that this was patently false. It only gets worse, not better, if he says he is acting on 'faith-based' moral principles since that effectively proves that his 'victimization' philosophy is based in fundamentalism, which seriously weakens any distinction from the people he can not tolerate.

I thought enlightenment meant that violence should be justified in legal terms that supercede relativistic interpretations of morality. But that's probably my own naivete. So I feel that we are really just left with the need to be able to tell the difference between a fundamentalist who talks about a need to uphold universal moral principles within a universally agreed-upon legal framework and a fundamentalist that says we are victims that must to join 'their' mission in order to defend 'our' way of life from imminent danger.

Time is absolute, but time zones are relative. So it does no good for someone in GMT to insist that everyone in EDT live on the same exact schedule, regardless of the day/night cycle. Instead they can both agree that time will be defined as 24 hours in a day, and it should be practiced relative to the sunrise/set in a location.

Ian MasonJuly 26, 2005 12:39 PM

@Aqualung

Just as many dollars have been plowed into developing cluster bombs which are area target weapons - high tech carpet bombing - and were used in Iraq, and were the cause of much of the "collateral damage"*. The desire of the military for precision weapons is to ensure that they destroy their targets rather than miss them. If their desire was to avoid "collateral damage" they would ONLY use precision munitions and not area target weapons like cluster bombs and Mark 77 "new environmentally friendly" napalm. The propaganda about precision in warfare is simply to hide the horrible messy truth from the folks at home who would start objecting if they saw the pictures of the shattered dead children.

If you have ANY doubt that this is about propaganda read about the "napalm" denials here: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/08/08/... and here: http://www.unknownnews.net/p0808-4.html. There are hundreds of other possible citations. Quibbling over a brand name to effect a denial of something that you KNOW would horrify the American public who still remember the famous photo of Kim Phuc?

*I use the euphemism "collateral damage" for clarity but you, dear reader, should read "slaughtered women and children" throughout.

Davi OttenheimerJuly 26, 2005 12:51 PM

@Larry Seltzer

Sorry for any confusion and thanks for the editorial suggestion.

I said "the current US Administration, which appears to suggest that it is acceptable to legislate morality..." because that is what a 'faith-based' moral justifcation coupled with with 0 tolerance enforcement for their war(s) 'appears' to be. Do you disagree?

But I understand your request for a more authoritative source on the subject. I cited the NewYorker in previous log entries about blindly punishing the Baathist Iraqis (http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/07/profiling.html), and I think it was FOX news that published the exact turn of phrase you are looking for with regard to the Bush Administration's appointment:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,24474,00.html

"'Everything about John Walters' past record suggests that he believes drug policy has nothing to do with science or public health. It's all about punishing people for their sins,' said Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Lindesmith Center, a New York-based drug policy research institute."

Davi OttenheimerJuly 26, 2005 1:01 PM

And to those who say the war on drugs is nothing like the war on terrorism, let me just point out that the core issue here is what distinguishes our leaders from the leaders of terrorism at every level of society. So I ask you, what's the distinction? Is it just that our US fundamentalist leaders that claim we are victims are better than their leaders, who claim they are victims, because we have 'shock and awe' and they have suicide bombers? Or is it because the US uses a system of justice that is built on enlightened concepts of tolerance and civil rights?

Bruce, can we please get back to the more mundane security issues now, like why encryption is so hard for people to design and implement properly?

markJuly 26, 2005 1:35 PM

Re: "Terrorists are very righteous folks."

For an expansive discussion of the issues of violence used for political purposes, "Rising Up and Rising Down : Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means" by William T. Vollmann is an interesting read. (The 750 page abridged version is also being remaindered all over so it's quite cheap - and a quicker read than the 3,000+ page full version.)

Mike SherwoodJuly 26, 2005 3:07 PM

@Davi

I was once offerred the idea that I must either accept or reject all laws. If that is true, then I must reject them all. Laws are worth no more than the people and institutions that back them up. Most are good, but there are always exceptions.

There are plenty of things more important than some poorly worded statements in some books most of us have never seen. I know it's illegal to make a radio broadcast on a frequency for which the transmitter lacks privileges. I also know that everybody has an obligation to ignore that law in an emergency. That's probably even written in the law. Should you ever run into that situation, are you going to look it up to make sure? Unless you're a total weasel, you're going to do what you believe is right and accept that there might be consequences if you're wrong. Most other people are going to recognize that there are times when following the law isn't the right thing to do. That's one of the reasons for having a jury.

The point here is that I think we all depend on our own personal ideas of right and wrong to govern our actions. I think this is a decent solution, it seems to mostly work. The danger comes when someone doesn't see a line being crossed when they decide to blow people up or shoot them repeatedly in the head. While the motivations may be entirely different, I see these as two expressions of the same fundamental problem. If you're looking for a boogeyman to go after, don't be surprised if you're the boogeyman at the end of the day.

RichJuly 26, 2005 3:25 PM

Davi asked "Bruce, can we please get back to the more mundane security issues now, like why encryption is so hard for people to design and implement properly?"

Although perhaps not mundane, I think the discussions of late are very appropriate. What if terrorism has nothing to due with Civilian vs. Military targets? If I feel I am wronged by a society, then won't I justify attacking that society? Military and Civilian become one.

Imagine an Iraqi citizen who never did anything to any Americans. But America, trying to punish my country's administration, enforces trade restrictions. Doesn'y seem to bother Sadam much, but sure makes my life difficult. And then Americans drop a bomb on my family. Do I not feel justified in fighting back? Do I care if my target is an 'innocent' American? Do I think George Bush cared if I was innocent or not?

If we are going to fight terrorism, we have to understand what causes terrorism. I tend to think it has to do with a desperation resulting from a perceived great wrong, with no other known recourse.

DavidJuly 26, 2005 5:14 PM

Just remember that the law said it was okay to enslave millions.

The law denied the vote to women, minorities and even whites who didn't own land.

The law created apartheid.

Many religious folks believe that "God's Law" trumps human laws, so this also is insufficient for radical groups.

Lastly, please don't confuse the law with justice. The law may aim for justice, but it operates on the rule of law, precedence, money, etc. Justice is NOT the main thrust, which is why those above mentioned laws were just fine with the people of the time, yet most can see they were not just.

In the end, most of the domestic terror was small scale, with only one or a few participants. This sort of terrorism is more closely aligned with criminality than the Al Qaeda type.

The Al Qaeda terrorists are international. They have been attacking for decades. They are loosely knit. They are driven by centuries of abuses in the region, both by the west and their own miserable tyrant rulers. They are also driven by a very radical interpretation of Islam, and they make use of a lot of suicide attackers, unlike the domestic kind in which they attacker kept a safe distance from any bombs.

We cannot stop all terrorism, but we do need to either stop Al Qaeda or at least drop them down to the "softer noise level" of our typical domestic terrorism.

Unfortunately, we cannot bomb our way out, and that's the only strategy in place now, hoping that "democracy" will solve matters despite the lack of democratic ideals, the desire of Islamic law to rule the nations, long-standing divisions among ethnic groups, poverty, corrupt governments (mostly driven by oil revenues), etc.

Davi OttenheimerJuly 27, 2005 1:23 PM

"Just remember that the law said it was okay to enslave millions."

This sort of comment is why I was hoping to go back to discussions of more technical, if not mundane, topics. We end up discussing the foundations of all law, the separation of church and state, and the intent to influence or modify human behavior...all very interesting, but somewhat academic to the issues at hand.

Can you separate the issues and say that laws fail in spite of or because of religious extremism? Take for example the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, who opened his jury sessions with clergy-led Christian prayers, and who prominently displayed a homemade rosewood plaque of the Ten Commandments above the dias in his courtroom. His campaign promises were to "restore the moral foundation of law". And in an act of pure defiance he installed a four-foot-tall, 5,300 pound granite monument to the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, in the middle of the night. What was his justification, especially for such covert action to install the monument? He said "It's not about religion. It's about the acknowledgment of almighty God."

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/religion/...
http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/...

He furthermore claimed that removing the monument (that he covertly installed) would be a violation of his oath of office...again, evidence of the victimization strategy of the fundamentalists.

And you wonder why laws can be written and subverted for evil purposes. Can you say "Spanish Inqusition"?

The argument that chosing laws should be all/none is totally meaningless since that is now how laws are meant to be written, approved, or changed.

The same is true of religion. You do not have to be forced to chose all/none. There are many interpretations, sects, variations, etc. that you can live within peacefully, all "under God" (according to the Supreme Court, which incidentally has a monument to the Ten Commandments itself). From a relativistic standpoint, you are free to chose a timezone, while always acknowledging a predominant understanding of time. Is there an absolute definition of time and does it really even matter, so long as we all agree on one that works? Open standards are best...

The all/none philosophy yet again feeds directly into fundamentalist thinking that says you are either supporting them or you are victimizing them. There is no peaceful coexistence for extremists, which is why they are so dangerous, even to international standards for law AND justice.

Davi OttenheimerJuly 27, 2005 1:28 PM

Sorry, typing too fast (or some sort of subconsious slip)...

This line:

"The argument that chosing laws should be all/none is totally meaningless since that is now how laws are meant to be written, approved, or changed."

Should read:

"The argument that chosing laws should be all/none is totally meaningless since that is NOT how laws are meant to be written, approved, or changed."

Davi OttenheimerJuly 27, 2005 1:33 PM

Here's an interesting perspective on the law and religion, and the differences between moderate displays of the ten commandments compared with fundamentalist prosletizing extremists' who wish to create a victimization strategy that justifies a 'call to action':

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/...

"The Texas display, a stone monument on the grounds of the state capitol, is a different matter. Its history is not especially evangelistic; it was the gift of a fraternal organization. It appears amid other monuments containing various symbols. It has also, as Justice Breyer notes in a key concurrence in the case, been there a long time, since 1961, without raising hackles. So while its purpose is not entirely secular, it is not part of any effort to force religion down nonbelievers' throats."

Davi OttenheimerJuly 28, 2005 3:50 AM

@Larry Seltzer

Here's even more evidence that the Bush Administration is pervasively intolerant of others and out to "punish people for their sins":

Frank Rich writes in the Sunday New York Times (Op/Ed, Eight Days in July, July 24, 2005) that Karl Rove is basically running the show and fostering "a pervasive culture of revenge in the White House".

Still need more information on how extreme the Bush Administration has been, especially towards the people they hate or decry as sinners? Take two more examples:

FDA appointment Dr. David Hager to head the Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. This is a man who wrote a book that says women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome should seek help from reading the bible and praying. Hager mission is so extreme that he says he is religiously motivated to refuse to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women. For what it's worth, his wife has accused him of repeatedly raping her basically around the same time that the Dr. was leading a successful campaign to block all access to the morning-after pill:
http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?...

And then there was the Education Secretary Rod Paige who was widely celebrated as a part of Bush's "Houston Miracle" until that turned out to be a complete fraud based on cooked books. Paige's response to these revelations was to claim that Houston was being victimized: "They come after you, not because of an interest in quality education, but because of where you live."
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/06/60II/...
http://www.sptimes.com/2003/12/07/news_pf/...

Paige stayed along with the Bush Administration until he "joked" that the Teachers Union is a "terrorist organization" (beyond sinners) because they politically oppose his (and the Bush Administration) views:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/...

Drug War OpponentMay 16, 2006 12:10 AM

Legislating morality and/or imposing religion is only effective as a method of radicalising people. At some point meth lab operators will use their skill to make chem weapon boobytraps. Do we want that? No. Boobytrapping clandestine production facilities (and crop fields) is a long tradition. Didn't anyone learn from Prohibition?

Worse, we have a regime bent on making America into a Christian Iran. No thanks. Religion is the real problem. Religious people are constantly trying to impose their morality onto everyone else. Eric Rudolph is a prime example of an extremist. And of course so are the 19 people who hijacked the planes to use them as truck bombs.

barry shreevesNovember 16, 2007 9:17 AM

was a resident of pekin illinois five years ago had fiance/loved with all heart and soul/local politicains would harrass us both/at work wal-mart 603 name gene tysdale/german descent/am jewish anti-semitism would call m eshow toon boy etc. to other workers.sexually harrassing me.like moa in china locals took her from me,have dyfunction due to childhood abuse which exists in real america..wanted children w/ her/adopt crack baby too.did talk..was getting to point where could three jobs 5000 bank,home,car, resources, had built nest,would like this hate crime and moral outrage investigated..have witnesses ready to talk.men of courage,faith, and hope..somebody out there please take uo this issue for me ....i beleive in the american vulue.china always been concern to me..this precedent very disturbing to me and freinds..

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