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Re: What is going on here?
Posted By: Ellmyruh, on host
Date: Friday, September 21, 2001, at 21:46:22
In Reply To: What is going on here? posted by Philbee on Friday, September 21, 2001, at 12:43:32:

> I just saw the evening news on a few channels, and it appears that President Bush has mobilised the American army. Now, if the army is going off to attack the terrorists, and only the terrorists, fine. I have no problem with that...for whatever reason, the actions of those very few last Tuesday were absolutely unexcusable.
> Now the bit I'm unhappy with. Although Bush didn't say in his speech that the army was going to Afghanistan, it now looks extremely likely that this is where they're going. And why? Because the Taliban refuses to hand over Bin Laden. Now, here is where most news reports stop. That's all they say.

Actually, this statement surprised me because, as far as I know, it's inaccurate. For those who don't know, I work in the news industry. Our weekly paper has a circulation of 12,000, and its audience is primarily college students. However, I work there full-time, and even in my free time, I read the news. The events on Sept. 11 -- the morning our paper was supposed to go to press -- caused us to go into high-speed and completely change a large part of the paper we'd been working on for nearly a week. We might be a college paper, but we've been following the national news, just like every other newspaper in the nation (and the world) has been doing. Just before our staff meeting today, I learned that the Taliban had refused to turn over Osama bin Laden. We talked about it at our staff meeting, because it was news.

So what is my point? My point is that, before I told people the news about the Taliban, I checked several sources. Each source I checked DID, in fact, report that the Taliban refused to turn over bin Laden "**until concrete proof of his guilt is provided,**" as you said in your post. I'd like to know what sources you were looking to for information.

Here are some sources carrying the information you claim the news media left out:

- From (fourth paragraph from the top)

- A headline from the New York Times: "Without Evidence, the Taliban Refuses to Turn Over bin Laden"

- From the Washington Post (the second paragraph, no less): "The Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan said his government wants proof that bin Laden was involved in last week's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon before considering whether to extradite him."

- From Reuters, a credible wire service, this headline: "White House Rejects Taliban Request for Evidence"

- From the Associated Press, the largest news wire service in the world: "[Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam] Zaeef insisted that the United States has provided no credible evidence that bin Laden was behind the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon."

- From the BBC: "US Secretary of State Colin Powell has told the BBC that there is enough evidence to bring Saudi-born militant Osama Bin Laden before an American court for crimes against humanity." (Also read the seventh paragraph to see the media reporting that Afghanistan demands proof.)

> If the Taliban haven't handed over Bin Laden, it would appear that they have not received any proof of Bin Laden's guilt.

Osama bin Laden is a terrorist; he's on the FBI's Most Wanted Fugitives list. (See the list at From the CNN article I cited above: "There is already an indictment for Osama bin Laden," [White House spokesman Ari] Fleischer said. "There's an indictment in the case of Tanzania, Kenya, the bombings in East Africa, indications that the al Qaeda organization and Osama bin Laden were involved in the bombing of the Cole." Also note the BBC quote above.

He's a wanted man who needs to be brought to justice.

> I imagine the US would much rather solve this problem with diplomacy than war, so if the Taliban hasn't received proof of Bin Laden's guilt in these attacks it's a fair bet that the US does not have this proof.

You honestly think the CIA and the FBI are no better at gathering evidence than the Taliban? This is the largest investigation in U.S. history, and thousands of FBI agents are working solely on this case. Since when have the FBI and the CIA disclosed all evidence they have, just to prove that they aren't making up the whole story? I don't think America would make such a grave error, especially at a time like this, where all eyes are on the United States.

> In short, the US is going to launch an attack on a poverty-stricken country, in which ONE PERSON is the target, on the basis of some guesses and analysis of style.

I myself am still not entirely comfortable with attacking a country where innocent people have done no wrong, but you did make another incorrect statement in that sentence: Bin Laden is not the only target. He has a whole group of people (called al-Qaeda) working for him.

> And the US accuses the terrorists of having no regard for the sanctity of human life.

I understand where you're coming from with this, but there's another side, too. In standing back and doing nothing, this will prevent innocent people from being killed. HOWEVER, in standing back and doing nothing, other innocent people will instead be killed. At some point, the number killed while we stand back and do nothing will become greater than the number killed while defeating the killers. Yes, it's a great cost, but there must come a point where someone steps in and says, "Enough. No more."

> Phil-"Yes, this post is extremely controversial, and there's a chance I'll get flamed, or banned, or accused of anti-Americanism. I just feel it's something that needs to be said."-bee

I tend to see both sides to a lot of issues, and I didn't see your post as being extremely anti-American. I read it as coming from someone who is actually trying to understand things and think about them, rather than jumping to a conclusion and refusing to budge.