+Lucian Randolph, a friend sent me the link for this and asked me what I thought of it. I have to say, I did not even have a Google+ account but I made one specifically to address this post. As I told my friend, I do not disagree with your main premise about wanting to change the country in a peaceful way, but I do think you have framed your argument with a number of inaccurate and obfuscatory claims. If you were a CI analyst for the Army for 23 years, someone somewhere along the way should have told you that there are some basic things you have to do to maintain your credibility. One is that you must refrain from making emotionally charged statements if you want to be taken seriously, although I certainly agree that they are useful on certain occasions. Another is that you cannot make claims without backing them up with some kind of evidence. Doing these kinds of things damages your credibility with people who not only take the argument seriously, but who also take researching the argument seriously.
It is not enough to simply make a claim, call it a fact and offer no evidence whatsoever. Stating an opinion, which needs no justification as it's your opinion, is completely different from making the claim that something is a fact without citing evidence for it, especially when it flies in the face of what is commonly accepted as a fact. I could no more claim that the speed of light is no longer the speed limit of the universe without citing something (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8901001/Speed-of-light-broken-again-as-scientists-test-neutrino-result.html
) to back it up, than you should.
For example, you stated, "Anyone who tells you that the attacks of 9/11 were the worst and highest casualty terrorist attacks on American soil… is lying to you."
Your evidence to support this claim, that 3000+ people dying on a single morning in NYC is: about same number of people were killed over a 12 year period following the Civil War. Well, my retort is, by this logic, car crashes, burning to death and falling down are all individually more deadly on a yearly basis than al-Qaeda (see the link below for my evidence). This does not mean al-Qaeda is not a threat to our way of life, and I will address that momentarily. I simply do not see how anyone could argue or accept the notion that there has ever been a tragedy on the order of 9/11 perpetrated successfully against United States citizens on our own soil by a terrorist group. I am more than willing to listen to a credible argument against that, but don't try to draw a comparison between airplanes full of civilians being purposely flown into buildings and slavers shooting or hanging escaped slaves and sympathizers.(http://www.allcountries.org/uscensus/135_deaths_and_death_rates_from_accidents.html
Another claim you make is
"As you can tell, America has been the target of the same type of terrorist attacks and for much the same reasons as the current terrorism threat… at least for the last 150 years"
I understand that you are saying the method by which attacks are carried out, chiefly via bombings, has changed very little, but your argument that the reasons for the attacks you cite being similar in any way to those of al-Qaeda is way off base. The War of 1812 is, quite possibly. the only one that comes close. The Civil War, although it threatened to break the country apart, did not seek to significantly alter the way in which we lived our lives. In fact, the contrary would be more accurate, it sought to maintain the status quo, although the status quo was a horribly tragic existence for black Americans. Even WWI and WWII, although terrible, were remote threats until the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor, but the obvious argument here is these were not acts of "terrorism" as they were perpetrated by an attacking nation's military element and conducted against military targets. Now, if you want to re-define what is considered terrorism and what is considered a "legitimate war act," I would be willing to debate that, but that's for another time.
There is a WORLD of difference between the rebels in the Civil War and what they were trying to accomplish, (specifically to force the U.S. government to accept that the southern states wanted to continue to have slavery, or to break away) and the goals of the Islamic Jihadists, which are to establish a global caliphate and force the world to convert to Islam, or suffer the consequences. The consequences being your choice of taxation, as long as you live by the rules of Sharia Law, or death, if you choose not to. Don't take my word for it though, read and listen to what bin Laden said about the matter:
“Every Muslim the minute he can start differentiating, carries hate towards Americans, Jews and Christians, this is part of our ideology. Ever since I can recall, I felt at war with the Americans and had feelings of animosity and hate towards them,” said bin Laden in an interview with al-Jazeera Arab television in 1998.
I can find at least 25 more sources saying similar, and even worse, things about Americans, Jews and Christians. They do not hate us because "we attacked them," as Ron Paul likes to claim. They hate us because we exist. They do not want to coexist with us, they want us to convert or die. They do not believe in tolerance for anything that falls outside the rules of Sharia Law. Death is the punishment for almost every infraction, although some lesser infractions carry mere dismemberment as the penalty.
There has never been a threat to our way of life in the United States as serious or deadly as the Islamic terrorist threat, contrary to your statement "Anyone who tells you that the modern terrorism threat posed to Americans by such groups as al-Qaeda is something that the world has never seen… is lying to you." This is irresponsibly false. There has, in fact, never been a globally positioned, secretly funded and well-supported non-state actor that has had the capability to successfully conduct attacks on the scale with which al-Qaeda has in the past, and is actively planning in the future (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57408492/online-graphic-warns-of-al-qaeda-return-to-nyc/
). All the other groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, were minor actors and annoyances at best prior to the arrival of al-Qaeda on the scene. You, and many others, are dismissing a group that is responsible for maintaining an ongoing 10 year old war for Iraq AND Afghanistan against the world's preeminent superpower, and is still managing to conduct attacks in every corner of the globe. Now, how is that possible if there is no credible threat from these guys?
Not only are they a credible threat, their ability to prevent our conclusion of OIF / OEF has emboldened other groups, which have, over the last ten years, and are, even now, percolating up from South America and Mexico to kill us in our own country. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/apr/19/violent-mexican-drug-gang-expands-into-us/?page=all
) More than 35,000 people have been killed in Mexico since 2008. That's not a distant land, it shares a border with 4 of our states. Most people are unaware that the Colombian government had, for a time, actually ceded a 16,000 sq km portion of their of their country to the FARC insurgency. Do you know what happened during that time? A terrorist convention, the likes of which only Dr. Evil could have frikkin' dreamed up. And nobody seems to care that Middle Eastern terrorists and South American terrorists got together to exchange ideas about funding (via kidnappings, drugs, robbery, etc.) and operations (beheading suddenly became very popular again, as did all manner of grisly, gruesome murders, like machete massacres and chainsawing). And still nobody takes the threat seriously in this country. Have we become so complacent since 9/11 that we honestly believe it was a fluke?
Here's a Washington Times article on bin Laden's statements leading up to 9/11, and guess what? Nobody took him seriously then either.http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/truth-be-told/2011/may/11/why-did-osama-bin-laden-hate-americans-jews-and-ch/
Here's a UK Guardian article that is just the entire letter about why al-Qaeda attacked us, according to bin Laden:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/nov/24/theobserver
I know that some people will read this and get caught up in the idea that all his references to "attacks by the U.S." are, as he claims, unwarranted or unprovoked or even true. Some of them are, some are not, but all are useful justifications for a deranged sociopath to convince others that his cause is right and just and blessed by Allah.
I'm not saying I disagree with all your statements, but this key point you tried to make is just so outrageous that it is overshadowing any other significant point you might have otherwise made, which removes any credibility you may have otherwise had and seriously detracts from the veracity of the rest of your argument as it has been tainted by this false premise from the start.
I am going to read the rest of your posts, but I sincerely hope they do not follow this same style of framing some otherwise good arguments in a cluster of inaccurate and unfounded claims for which you offer no supporting documentation or evidence.
As a bit of an aside - something everyone needs to understand is that bin Laden BEGAN his career as a terrorist in the Muslim Brotherhood. You may recognize that group as the group that supported the overthrow of the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the Egyptian government last year. They are also the same group that now rules Egypt. They have spawned hundreds of smaller groups in many countries around the world, and all have been working toward similar goals of removing and replacing current governments with a more theocratic ruling authority. They have also called for the destruction of Israel since it was founded, as has al-Qaeda.
Part of analysis is taking the verifiable facts at hand and drawing a reasonable conclusion (usually called an assessment) based on those facts. That being said, it would be reasonable to assess that, if both bin Laden and the MB have called for the destruction of Israel, then either one of them got that ideology from the other, or they worked together because they had similar goals and ideals from the start. The next assessment is that it would be reasonable to conclude that the rest of the followers of al-Qaeda also subscribe to the idea that Israel must be destroyed, and that this may be the idea that brought bin Laden and the rest of al-Qaeda together to begin with. If those premises are true, then we must find the conclusion that al-Qaeda is more than a trivial threat to Israel, to be a reasonable one. Since al-Qaeda has said the same things about the United States, then it should be equally reasonable to apply this same conclusion for our situation. I do not understand the resistance to taking them at their word when they say they want to annihilate every last one of us.