2007 Poster of Year Awards

January 4th, 2008

The 2007 Winners of Liberty News Forum’s Fifth Annual

Poster of the Year Awards

Political Forum Awards

Political Forum Poster of the Year

Solar

Conservative Poster of the Year

cclezel

Liberal Poster of the Year

LadyLawyer

Centrist Poster of the Year

Berggeist

Debater of the Year

RabbitReborn

Other Forum Awards

Christian Forum Poster of the Year

Mercy For All

Religion Forum Poster of the Year

jeff

House/Games/Crafts, Cooking, Home Economics Poster of the Year

HarleyWoman

Creative Writing Poster of the Year

Lintree

Entertainment/Sports Poster of the Year

CapitalistPig

Best Debate Opponents

Berggeist vs Coracao

Specific Poster Awards

Most Interesting/Thought-Provoking Poster

Berggeist

Most Humorous Poster

Bert

Friendliest Poster

HarleyWoman

Most Knowledgeable Poster

Berggeist

Grammarian of the Year

BookWorm

Controversial Poster

horselady

Antagonistic Poster

horselady

Newcomer of the Year

JulzChristine

Conspiracy Theorist

horselady

Drama King/Queen of the Year

Harry

Thread Awards

Most Interesting Topic/Series

Interviews by forgotten_centrist

Fastest Growing Thread

Ron Paul stuff

Most Volatile Thread

Tribes vs Civilization (Rob Larrikin)

Profile Awards

Best Screen Name

Bert, variations of

Best Signature Picture

HarleyWoman

Best Signature Quote or Personal Text

LadyLawyer – “Beware the people weeping.”

Ultimate Poster Awards

Male Poster of the Year

Coracao

Female Poster of the Year

LadyLawyer

Best Poster of the Year

***Demos***

Congratulations to you all!

January 10th, US time: An Essay by Kit

January 11th, 2007

AN ANNIVERSARY

Tomorrow is January 10th… again. Every year, for the past 36 years, this date becomes important to me. It likely means nothing to you, but it’s special to me and those 20 or so who were there that day. No earth-shattering event happened then, nothing of note, nothing of any notoriety or importance. It’s just the date on which two insignificant, un-heralded, un-important soldiers died.

January 11, 1971 (local time)

It’s early morning. The tropical sun leaps above the hills to the east, illuminating the fog which clings to our little hilltop in Antenna Valley, south and west of Danang. Everything not close by is obscured by the fog which now diffuses the suns’ light, the luminescence engulfing us without actually revealing anything. We know what’s out there beyond our foxholes because we saw it yesterday, but we can’t see it now.

SSG Leo “Pops� Rose and SP/4 Allen Gray are sitting in their damp, dank, wet foxholes for stand-to, like the rest of us. We were awakened by the last guard shift an hour or so before sunrise to tumble into our holes (which are remarkably like graves) in anticipation of a VC attack just as the sun rises. It’s their favorite time to attack. We do this every morning, like clockwork, but nothing ever happens.

That’s not to say it couldn’t. It could, and especially here in this valley. We’ve been here now for about 4 or 5 weeks, off and on. We did an operation here back in early December and another one later in the month, which stretched into the new year. We got a couple of bad guys and few from the other platoons have gone home on Dustoff’s. The usual stuff. Get some; lose some. It never ends.

Now, we’re back again and, like the previous operations, the signs of the enemy’s presence is everywhere. We’ve already made contact this time, in the Landing Zone (LZ) when we landed, but no one was hurt. We’ve also nearly fired up another platoon in this dense brush and 1st and 3rd platoons have had a firefight with each other. This place is thick with bad guys and the sense of ominous doom is heavy.

This morning, though, is quite. No movement, no clatter of distant small arms or even the “crump� of artillery. It’s almost peaceful, as if the whole world has decided to sleep in because of the fog. We wipe the dew off our faces with the nasty, filthy green towels which we wear around our necks to cushion the weight of our rucksacks and prepare for the day. Who knows what the day will bring? Will we live? Will we die? It no longer seems all that important. We are grunts, common Infantry, and our job is to die whenever, and wherever, our leaders think it appropriate or when God decides. We have no say in the matter.

(continued below)

January 10th, US time, cont’d

January 11th, 2007

But, today starts like any other. It’s monotonous, routine, predictable. We awake, sit in our holes, watch for the enemy who may come and hoping that he does not. Today, he does not. No screaming hordes of VC or NVA suddenly erupt from the brush just beyond our pile dirt. Well and good.

We fiddle with our stuff, searching through our over-burdened rucksacks for breakfast and tearing down our poncho tents, keeping a close eye on everything all the while. Is that movement there in the bushes? No, it’s nothing. Is that noise suspicious? No, it’s just an animal.

I’m not particularly hungry this morning, so I fish out a couple of C-ration packets of hot chocolate and dump them into my canteen cup. I mix in some powdered milk packets and a couple of packets of sugar (also from the C-rats) and try to make it as thick as I can. It seems a little lame and thin, but it’s the best I can do. Breaking off a chunk of C-4 explosive from a 2lb block of the stuff, I drop it into a used C-ration can which I’ve perforated with a “church key� and use as a stove. Lighting the C-4, which burns almost invisibly, I sit my canteen cup on my “stove� and await the boiling, which won’t take long.

Just as it begins to steam, my Squad Leader, SSG Jerry Tucker, comes by and says it’s time to go out and pick up our MA’s. An MA is a “Mechanical Ambush,� a Claymore mine rigged with a trip-wire which we use both offensively and as a defensive measure for our little NDP (Night Defensive Position). (“Booby traps� are illegal under the Geneva Conventions, so we call them “MA’s.�) The night before, we set out a few of them to cover likely avenues of approach and we have to go and retrieve them.

Normally, this isn’t something I would be involved in because I’m a member of the Machinegun crew. Dennis “Ching� Lau and I are the gunner and assistant gunner and our “Pig� normally stays right where it is when the other guys go out to pick up MA’s.

But, today, I feel compelled to go, so I offer to take the “Pig� for additional firepower just in case. Tucker accepts my offer, but “Ching� declines to go. No problem. Nothing is likely to happen anyhow and it’s no big deal.

I leave my steaming hot chocolate and join 3 or 4 others who have assembled for our purpose and Bob Jascek leads us to where he set out the MA yesterday at sundown. I throw my Machinegun up on a pile of dirt and aim down the trail toward where the MA is planted. Bob jerks on the battery wire, the Claymore tumbles backwards without incident, we retrieve it and return to the perimeter.

This is actually suprising. We’ve already had a couple of incidences of the enemy having sneaked up during the night, turning the Claymores around, and then making noise to encourage us to blow the mines in our own faces and at least one incident of a fragmentation grenade being placed underneath the mine. Today, though, nothing is remiss and I feel sort of foolish for bringing the “Pig.� It wasn’t needed and I only inconvenienced myself for nothing. As we said then, “It don’t mean nuthin’.�

When we get back to the NDP, my “hot� chocolate is cold, but I drink it anyhow. It’s just as refreshing.

Our Platoon Leader, LT Terry Haines, calls the Squad Leaders to a conference at his rucksack and the rest of us begin packing up. We know the routine too well: Pack it all away, walk to somewhere, hoping against hope that we don’t get ambushed, unpack it all, set up a tent and spend another night on some other hilltop pretending we aren’t going to die before sun up.

They decide that the platoons will split up this day, each squad performing a different mission, and re-joining later with the rest of the company. The CO has decided it’s much too “hot� around here for the under-strength platoons to be operating independently, so he wants the whole company together by days end.

(continued below)

January 10th, US time, cont’d

January 11th, 2007

The plan, as reported to us by SSG Tucker, is this:

1st squad (SGT Price) will go somewhere and do something. I don’t know because I wasn’t paying attention. I’m in 2nd, squad.

2nd squad will stay right here and organize an ambush of our NDP. The “Dinks� have a bad habit of following us around and picking up what we’ve dropped or discarded, so we’ll be waiting for them here if they show up.

3rd squad (SSG Rose) will move out and go back to a “hootch� (civilian grass shack) we’d visited the day before in hopes of catching the inhabitants at home. No one had been there when we searched it yesterday, but it showed signs of having been recently inhabited.

Those of us in the 2nd squad move our rucksacks into the bushes and hide them, then get down into positions covering the trail which bi-sects our NDP under SSG Tucker’s direction. He places Ching, our “Pig� and I in a position to see, and fire on, everything. I have visions of cutting some poor VC slob who comes to see what we’ve left behind in two and relish the thought.

The 1st squad saddles up and moves out down the trail toward the valley below.

SSG Rose and his 3rd squad put on their rucksacks, mill around a few moments, getting themselves into single file, and move off into the brush up the hill, with Gray walking point.

Tucker tells me to remove some junk I’ve placed under the camouflage band, such as a pressure bandage, and while I’m doing that, “Pops’� squad disappears into the bush. A few moments later, a VERY few moments, we hear a loud explosion and a burst of automatic weapons fire. A cloud of dense, white smoke slowly envelopes us from the bushes.

I’m lying there wondering what the hell that was, but knowing all the while what it was. Someone was dead.

Almost instantly, the radio near LT Haines comes alive. I can hear it, but I can’t understand what the voice is saying, though I recognize the voice as belonging to Charles Surface, my friend.

LT Haines, our Medic, “Doc� Yubeta, and Tucker grab their weapons and disappear up the trail, leaving the rest of us in suspension.

After this, I don’t remember it all in sequence. My memories are disjointed and unconnected, yet vivid. I recall seeing LT Haines sitting on a log and weeping, bitterly, while Doc Yubeta engulfed him in his arms. I can remember ashen faces and shock registered on someone’s face, but I can’t say whose or when, or where. I know someone came to where I was and said, “Pops is dead� but I don’t even know where I was at the time, but I’m sure it was SGT Larry West.

Tucker says now that he raced back to our perimeter, gathered up our squad, and took us to the ambush site to secure it, but I don’t remember that specifically, though I do remember peering into the spot in the bushes, behind a pile of dirt, from which the dink had blown the Claymore mine on Pops and Gray and I vaguely recall seeing a length of bamboo, with battery cells from a discarded American PRC-25 radio stuffed into it, end on end, which he had used to detonate the mine. I can remember hearing the Dustoff arrive, but I can’t remember watching it land. Maybe I wasn’t there. Maybe I was. I don’t know.

In the years since, I’ve tried to make sense of it, but I can’t. Yes, I know all the theoretical’s about sacrificing to prevent the spread of communism; of duty and honor and patriotism and service and all that other stuff, but I still can’t find any real, personal reason for their deaths. What did it accomplish? Did it affect the outcome of the war? Did it cause the enemy to do anything? Did it cause a change of any kind? No. “Pops� and Gray got up that morning, went through their personal routine, walked down that trail and died, forever. That’s all there is to it and nothing else seems adequate. Pops left behind a wife and a couple of teenaged daughters. Gray left a fiancé, I think. What have they endured for all this time and what had it all meant? I don’t know. I likely never will.

The only thing of value which anyone can take from the deaths of these two men is that they were there that morning, putting themselves, and their futures and lives, at risk. That day, they got unlucky, but that was a chance we all took and in that risk is the only thing of any importance. Both of them could have avoided Vietnam and the war, but they didn’t. Why? I don’t know. I only know they were there, they died, and it “Don’t mean nuthin’�

2006 End of the Year Awards

December 28th, 2006

2006 Poster of the Year Awards

Political Forum Awards

1. Political Forum Poster of the Year

CoolRam

2. Conservative Poster of the Year

cclevel

3. Liberal Poster of the Year

Kit

4. Libertarian Poster of the Year

Demos

5. Best Debate Opponents

Scirocco vs joe_christian

6. Debater of the Year ~ Tie

Scirocco AND FreedomLover

Other Forum Awards

1. Christian Forum Poster of the Year

Mercy for All

2. Religion Forum Poster of the Year

Mercy for All

3. House/Games/Crafts, Cooking, Home Economics Poster of the Year

HarleyWoman

4. Creative Writing Poster of the Year

Lintree

5. Entertainment/Sports Poster of the Year

Jasmine

Specific Poster Awards

1. Most Interesting/Thought-Provoking Poster

Berggeist

2. Most Humorous Poster

Harry Seldon

3. Friendliest Poster

Lintree

4. Most Knowledgeable Poster

Scirocco

5. Anal Grammarian of the Year

Book_Worm

6. Controversial Poster

LadyLawyer

7. Antagonistic Poster

Tokie

8. Newcomer of the Year

Harry_Seldon

9. Conspiracy Theorist (Tin Foil Hat Award)

madcowpolitics

Thread Awards

1. Most Interesting Topic/Series

Israel/Palestine Threads

2. Fastest Growing Thread

A Non Smoking State (Miss Kitty)

3. Most Volatile Thread

Any thread started by Jasmine

Profile Awards

1. Best Screen Name

PossiblyLogical

2. Sig Pic of the Year

HarleyWoman

3. Best Signature Quote or Personal Text

Lintree ~ “The impossible takes a little longer”

Ultimate Poster Awards

1. Male Poster of the Year

Mercy for All

2. Female Poster of the Year

LadyLawyer

3. Best Poster of the Year

CoolRam

Congratulations to all our winners!

Winner of Essay Contest IV

August 29th, 2006

Topic: How should the US address the spread of radical militancy?

Congratulations to ~

George

For the purposes of the essay, I am presuming to limit the definition to Islamist militancy, and particularly to militancy aimed specifically at harming Western states from within or without

The first and most obvious question which must be asked, before we delve into the practical particulars, is whether the United States, all by its lonesome, is so much as capable of checking the spread of “radical militancy.� While we as Americans hold a dominant position in the world, and can, should, must and will take a role of leadership, the question is a legitimate one, and should determine our strategy.

Some would argue that the best way to move forward is to seek to understand and address the core problems of terrorism. Permit me to agree, but also permit me to cite different “core problems� than the usual, shallow view about poverty.

In the Islamic tyrannies that form the backbone of the terror movement, free expression is stifled, and only the interpretation of religion favored by the ruling class is permitted. This leads to a stasis, a petrified inability of religion to mold itself after its better parts, instead favoring those facets that are pleasing to the ruler — the encouragement of the reformer, to submit to authority, to the poor, to accept their lot, to the oppressed, not to rise, and, to all men, the spreading of militant thought to serve the ruler in the raising of armies. This despite the purpose of true religion: to support the poor, embrace peaceful discourse, oppose injustice and endorse peace. The Christians saw this problem arise time after time, and in state after state, before the freedoms we hold as essential, found in the First Amendment, led to a Christendom-wide rejection of the secular rule over and by faith.

These are problems that can’t be solved from the outside. We cannot step in and forcefully separate church and state throughout the Dar-al-Islam. United States national policy, then, cannot directly prevent militant Islam from existing short of depopulating whole nations to do it.

How, then, to halt its spread?

In the short term, the answers are simple: go after and arrest terrorist leaders, disrupt terrorist cells when found, and attempt to dry up sources of terrorist funding. Developing a long term solution to actually break the concept of Islamist terror is trickier by far, a problem made worse by the lust for power by so many of our own leaders.

There is only one reasonable solution to the unreasonable problem of terror. That is to disrupt the basis that allows these movements to sustain themselves. That, unfortunately, involves interfering in a region where interference is not taken kindly. And we have to do so without fear of disrupting an order that we actually hope will be disrupted eventually. We have to steel ourselves to pass through the fire, because the best case scenario for us and for the Middle East both calls for it.

And we must ignore those who mistake or disguise the difference between “peaceâ€? and “the status quoâ€? as we do so, even though these voices lamentably include the United Nations. The status quo has been what fueled the terror movement for decades now — there are times that one must pass through the crucible of change in order for real peace to be possible. If we don’t conquer this problem now, on our terms, we’ll have to face it later, on someone else’s, after the problem has grown yet larger.

The problem with spreading freedom of religion in the Middle East is that the dictatorships and monarchies that currently occupy the territory are opposed to the idea so violently that they oppose it from within or without as soon as it rears its head, as we‘ve seen with Zarqawi in Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon. With so many in that region opposed, midwifing the birth of a new Democratic state in that region is a dubious prospect. It’s only the fact that all other prospects have proven even more dubious that leads me to believe that the policy of spreading democratic freedoms in the Middle East is our last, best hope to destroy the terror movement for good.

Essay Contest IV Runners-Up

August 29th, 2006

Note: The following essay was disqualified because of its length, but the judges feel it is still very much worth reading. LB

forgotten_centrist

In contemplating militant extremism, I first thought of a clear late-summer evening 5 years ago, when I watched the Pentagon burn from the roof of my apartment building. It was a sight I would never forget, and neither would I forget the feeling that America’s 2 oceans and 2 peaceful neighbors would no longer protect her from the low-level, at times almost imperceptible, war declared upon her by a tiny group of madmen a half a world away.

I also thought of another time when America “lost its innocence” at the hands of a tiny group of madmen right here in our own country — the day John F Kennedy was assassinated. The people involved or the motives and forces at play are far beyond the scope of this essay, but it is generally accepted at this point that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the lone gunman that the Warren Commission said he was. Therefore, madmen (plural).

These 2 cases are tangentially related, at best, but they share some common traits. They both involve attacks aimed right at the heart of America. Both were carried out after months or possibly years of careful planning, under the tightest of secrecy. And both involved small groups acting on radical agendas that were sharply at odds with mainstream society. The people behind these attacks, while completely unrelated, shared the idea that their world view was far more important than the lives of anyone who got in their way — and they embraced extreme violence as the only way to achieve their goals.

***

Since the end of World War II, America has lived a somewhat sheltered life. She fought in 2 major wars, several smaller conflicts, and prevailed in the long-running Cold War with the Soviets. But terrorism has been mostly absent. Far more so, at least, than in Europe, where a low level of terrorism has been active since colonial times. The Italians have had numerous governments unhinged by the actions of violent groups (often associated with organized crime), the French have had islamic groups light bombs under them since their ill-fated Algerian colony fell apart, and the ravages of the IRA on the streets of London are well-documented and widely known.

In pre-9/11 America, however, there was a sense of both innocence and vulnerability. We had not colonized and degraded other parts of the world, at least not on the scale that the Europeans had, and as such we simply hadn’t made many enemies. For decades, our only perceived foe was a communist bloc led by the Soviets, and while they fought us through their cold war proxies, they never engaged us directly in military action. Much of the world, in fact, looked upon the US as the shining light that would protect them from Reagan’s “evil empire”. And we felt immune to those few who did have an anti-American axe to grind. The bombing in the basement of the World Trade Center almost confirmed that — a giant bomb went off under one of the great symbols of our prosperity, and not only did it fail to bring it down, we caught the bastards who did it.

Of course, all that changed on 9/11. We instantly lost more civilians than Israel did during both Intafadas, with all the accompanying bus bombing. How? Why?

The mechanics of 9/11 are chillingly simple. A militant assessing our bustling infrastructure has an enormous array of choice targets to exploit, with precious little our open society can do to stop him. The hijackers assembled a big enough group (5) of men ready to kill themselves for their cause, and ready to engage in dirty close combat with unarmed civilians, to take control of a jet and turn it into a flying bomb. We were powerless to stop them — our fighter jets had no precedent to rely on and watched helplessly as 3 of the 4 flying bombs found their targets.

The motivations behind 9/11 are less simple, at least to american society. Whether it’s because our forward military stance and aggressive economic policies have estranged a segment of the third world elite, or that some people “hate our freedoms”, we are clearly the target of choice for any group that wants to attack the status quo. For some, it was as mystifying to learn of 9/11 as it was to see rioting demonstrators attending every meeting of the World Bank — what were they protesting and what was the big deal?? For others, 9/11 was easily predictable, in the face of a laundry list of injustices either initiated or perpetuated by the US.

Although we Americans may disagree over “why” we have been targeted, after 9/11 we can agree that we face a range of radical enemies who are ready to strike again. What can we do?

In any conflict, it is better to “act” than “react”. As such, we need to take an active role in fighting the radical militants who have chosen to target us. The invasion of Afghanistan was a good example of this. The invasion of Iraq? Debatable, but since we’re there, we’ll just take it as a given. How do we “act” against these enemies?

I believe we must fight them on all fronts. We cannot rely on a military solution, even though we must continue to pressure them militarily on any battlefield we can find them on. These are trans-national groups who are fighting an assymetric war. They will never attack our military formations head on, and will never willingly stay in a battle they know they will lose. Rather, they will fade back and attack us where we are weak. In doing so, they are sidestepping the old “rules of engagement” and are attempting to achieve their goals through terrorism. They are fighting outside the box, and are willing to fight dirty because it is the only kind of battle they can hope to hurt us in.

To counter this, and more importantly to remove them from the battlefield entirely, we must also fight outside the military box. We must interdict their funding sources, wherever they lead (ESPECIALLY when these funding sources may end up embarassing our close friends, such as Saudi Arabia.) We must foster close working relationships with the police forces and intelligence agencies of every country in the world, to better track their movements (the recent cooperation between the UK and Pakistan is a great example of this.) But most of all, we must take the wind out of their sails. For far too long, they have had a number of, well, let’s call them “wedge issues”, to exploit among large populations of uneducated and unemployed youth. This is how they build their most dangerous weapons (suicide bombers) and how they screen their cadre of elite fighters (with suicide attacks).

We can’t keep ignoring the wedge issues being used against us in the war for the hearts and minds of the near east. These issues fill their coffers, flesh out their ranks, and continuously inspire the will to fight. While we must fight them, we must also address the reasons they fight, or we will never see an end to terrorism. If terrorists can succeed with 19 thugs armed with knives, we simply can’t assume that we’ll end this war by military supremacy.

Does this mean we have to cut funding to Israel (plainly the biggest wedge issue of them all)? No, but it does mean we have to replicate the pacifying effect of money. Camp David was ultimately a payoff to Egypt to make peace, by guaranteeing them a share of foreign aid nearly equivalent to that which we give Israel. We must do the same for Lebanon, Jordan, and Afghanistan.

Does this mean we have to give southern Iraq over to Shiite fundamentalists? No, but it does mean we have to normalize relations with Iran very quickly and establish the large bounds of a potential “peace dividend” with them that will entice them to draw down their support for Hezbolah in favor of mutually beneficial trade and cultural exchanges.

Does this mean we have to stop propping up totalitarian governments that happen to support our geopolitical goals? No, but we must work aggressively to turn them around and spread the benefits of economic plurality, cultural openness, transparent government, and the rule of law.

Will all of this cost us a ton of money? Yes. But we’re clearly willing to pay exhorbitant sums for our security, as witnessed by the $300B+ spent so far in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the leading beneficiary of economic globalization, we have the most to gain from peace, and the most to lose from unending war. All these non-military options carry significant price tags, and will take years to fully realize any real reduction in the influence of militant extremists. But can we afford NOT to fight this war on ALL fronts?

Essay Contest IV Runners-Up

August 29th, 2006

JackoVance

How should the US address the spread of radical militancy?

First of all I want to say that the USA can’t be blamed for Al-Qaida, Hezbollah and all the others attacking civilian, hiding behind them and generally following the way of terrorism.
Even though there aggression might be justified the way they act can not be tolerated.
The reasons why I will only write about mistakes from the US government is not that America is entirely wrong and everyone else is always right, but because if you want to change something you have to begin with yourself.

I will try to answer this subject by replying to the following questions:
Who are the ones spreading radical militancy?
Why are they successful in doing so?
How can we put a stop to that?

So who are the ones spreading radical militancy? Extremists! Every country has them but in most of the western nations they are not successful to spread their venom.
Germany had the RAF, England had the IRA, Spain has the ETA, Israel had Jigal Amir and America had and still has a lot of extremists too. But those groups (with exception of ETA) have no big influence.

Why are the extremist in other places successful? In many places around the globe a lot of people have good reasons for hating America and the western nations.
Here are two of them:
On June 30, 1960 Congo became independent from Belgium. Under the reign of Leopold II King of Belgium 10 million Congolese were murdered according to Adam Hochschild.
After the independence Patrice Lumumba became legally elected prime minister.
Belgium supportet the rebells under Moïse Tshombe and Lumumba sought Soviet aid. After the Soviets were in Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to kill Lumumba and put an america friendly dictator in charge. And so nothing had changed in Congo for decades. If you were a Congolese, what would be your oppinion about america?

Another example: Iran. Your problems with Iran began 1951 when Mossadegh enforced the Oil Nationalization Act. British Petrol was taking 85% of the Iranian oil profits back then so I can understand why he did this. I would do the same.
However the British government said Mossadegh was turning towards the Soviets (there is still no prove for that) and Dwight D. Eisenhower was willing to remove Mossadegh under this false conditions.
America put the Shah back in charge and he turned the Iran towards the west. That was quite unpopular by some islamo fascists and without the help of President Carter the Shah was removed by an anti-west Government. The predecessors of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

There are many more examples and not all of them have something to do with America.

You might ask why they become terrorists simply by disliking us. It’s simple. Most of them have nearly nothing to lose. Of course poverty is no excuse but we should be aware that it aids the extremists. Somebody who has nothing to lose is probably more willing to become a terrorist than those who have something to lose.

Since we are fighting terrorism we created a new reason why the extremists are so successful in recruiting new members. While we fight we also hit civilians. We can’t even avoid it due to the coward tactics of the terrorist to hide behind civilians. Some of those civilians might look through this tactic but many blame those who dropped the bomb. They just don’t know any better.

Finally it’s time to provide a solution. The problem is that there is no easy way. To really fight the spread of radical militancy we need patience, endurance, a strong will and should accept that there will be casualties.

We can’t always meddle with some nation’s sovereignty just because one of our companies will lose profits. If we do this we should have a really good reason just as we had in Serbia a few years ago. To protect human rights we are obligated to interfere but not to protect someone’s profits. That’s not worth this problems we face today.

Another thing we have to do is to win the civilians and make it impossible for the extremists to reach anyone of them. Of course it is difficult and expensive but in the end it will work.
As long as we bomb them and terrorist organisations like Hamas or Hezbollah care for them, we have no chance to stop the spread of extremism.

We have to fight terrorism with full force I think we don’t have to argue about that. But on the other hand we have to show the civilians that our way of life will bring them peace and a better life. Then the extremists won’t have any success in spreading their poison.

Essay Contest IV Runners-Up

August 29th, 2006

Kiss

A radical is one who advocates fundamental or revolutionary changes in current practices, conditions, or institutions.

It has been said that our country’s foundation was built on New Testament Christian beliefs. The first American radicals were the Pilgrims, who were religiously and economically repressed by the Church of England.
Israel still holds to the teachings of the Old Testament of the Bible. The radical Israelites had been slaves of the Roman Empire before their exodus.
The Middle Eastern Arabs are Theocratic; governance based on the teachings of the Koran; Islam. Before Islam, the Arabs had played only a marginal role in the history of the Middle East, and they would have remained forever a nation of animists and shepherds if Muhammad had not provided them the focus and the stimulus that welded their scattered nomadic tribes into a purposeful driving force. He molded a “nation” out of a rough mass without basic structure. He invested the Arabs with a new dynamism, idealism and explosive creativity, and they changed the course of history. He created an entirely new mental and psychological ecology, and his work placed an emphatic period in world history; it was the end of one era and the beginning of another.

A militant is a fighting, warring, or aggressive person or party.

Islam and the ethics of war:

Islam sets down clear guidelines as to when war is ethically right, and clear guidelines as to how such a war should be conducted.
In brief, war is permitted:

in self defence
when other nations have attacked an Islamic state
if another state is oppressing its own Muslims

War should be conducted:

in a disciplined way
so as to avoid injuring non-combatants
with the minimum necessary force
without anger
with humane treatment towards prisoners of war

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/ethics/war/islam.shtml

Judaism the Old Testament view of war:

In the Old Testament we find that God not only permitted the Israelites to engage in war, he often commanded them to do so. Yet, these were not merely earthly wars. God often gave supernatural assistance to the Israelites in their battles, and He sometimes fought entire battles for them without their having to lift a sword. He specifically taught the Israelites to rely upon Him for their protection, and He punished them severely when they relied upon the strength of their armies or upon military alliances.

Christianity and the New Testament view of war:

God allowed the Israelites of Old Testament times to engage in many practices that were against His ultimate will for mankind. He therefore prohibited Christians from engaging in practices which had been permitted to the Israelites, such as polygamy and indiscriminate divorce. Apparently, war also fell into this category. Through the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, God breathed a new spirit of love and gentleness into the entire world.
Those were revolutionary teachings, and they were the opposite of what most Jews expected to hear from the Messiah. The Jews were expecting a Messiah who would lead them in a victorious war of liberation from the Roman yoke. For the Messiah to tell them to love their enemies and to turn the other cheek was more than many were willing to accept. Because of Jesus’ message of love and the miracles he performed in harmony with it, some of the Jewish leaders feared that the people would follow him and bring disaster on the nation. As certain Jewish leaders remarked: “If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation”. But Jesus not only taught against violence, he lived what he taught. He never used physical violence to defend himself or his disciples.
http://www.abc-coggc.org/_old_web/COGGC/gcpublications/jrad/JRAD1-3-5.ht m

What should the U.S. do about radical militancy?
Over the last 21 centuries, there have been changes in what some Christians, Jews and Arabs believe to be right as far as fighting or militancy. The United States has involved itself in wars against her own countrymen as well as other countries. We can no longer call our nation a Christian Nation. The Nation of Israel has waged wars on surrounding Arab Nations; but according to Jewish Law, this is sanctioned by God. The Arabic Muslims have divided themselves into several warring factions and fight among themselves. But the true Muslim teachings are those of peace.

When asked what we think the U.S. should do about radical militancy, we are actually being asked what we think we should do to stop the terrorist activity being waged by the radical Muslims in the Middle East. (Even though there is radical militancy of Muslims in many other nations at this time). As a Christian and an American, we should take care of our own household and let others take care of theirs. We should not align ourselves with people of other nations and beliefs, especially if those nations believe that war trumps peace.

Essay Contest IV Runners-Up

August 29th, 2006

Topic: How should the US address the spread of radical militancy?

Bob L

In order to address the issue of radical militancy effectively, we must first determine what the underlying causes of this phenomenon are and how we can address each of those issues. We must also understand that not all causes of radical militancy can be easily or effectively addressed. For instance, we know that one of the major causes of terrorism is the ongoing struggle between Israel and the rest of the Arab world. We also know that there is no easy or even readily available solution to this dilemma. Israel was carved out of the land by the Western powers without any thought given to the local and geopolitical forces which would take place there. The Arab nations not only resent the presence of Israel but forcefully oppose it’s existence. Much of the reason for this hatred stems from long held religious dogma and cannot be dismissed out of hand and also cannot be overcome using traditional methods of diplomacy.
Another point of concern which is probably the most problematic is that of extremist Islamic fundamentalism. There are, amongst (it seems) all Muslim nations, a faction which is ready at any time to wage war against any western or pro-western nation. Because this radicalism is spurned by religious beliefs that predate much of western ideology, they feel that it is their duty to spread the Islamic belief system to all nations and if those nations aren’t willing to capitulate then the people of those nations must die.
What allows these groups to wage their campaigns against the west, however, is something that can be dealt with – state sponsorship of terrorism. Without the funds or the weapons to wage war against their “enemies�, radical militants would be effectively prevented from using terrorism for political gains. The way to end state sponsorship of these groups is problematic but not an issue which can’t be effectively addressed. We know that Iran and Syria are two of the major sponsors of terrorist groups around the globe. The question now becomes, how do we end their sponsorship of these terrorist organizations? I believe the answer lies not in war, but in diplomacy. If diplomacy fails, then we can look at the next option. Syria, and Iran, like most nations, want a place at the global table. Iran is attempting to build nuclear devices just so that it will be taken seriously in the international community. By having nuclear weapons, the rest of the world will HAVE to take notice of Iran. Syria wants more say in regional politics. I think that both of these positions can be exploited for diplomatic purposes.
I think it would benefit the global community to negotiate a contract with Iran which will help them to build their nuclear technologies with the express goal of ending their sponsorship of radical militant groups. Many will disagree with me on this point but international relations are no different than say, playground dynamics. Iran is suffering from an identity crisis similar to that of a small child on a playground. It believes that it can overcome it’s obvious lack of standing by bringing something to the table which will make everyone else sit up and notice. They can look to North Korea as a prime example for what they believe. If not for the bomb, North Korea would be nothing but a footnote in international relations. Iran knows this and is attempting to exploit that information. It is incumbent upon the western nations to take advantage of this knowledge.
To make it short and simple – the best way to address the issue of radical militants and the terrorism that goes along with them is to address the methods of their funding. Certainly, there are other ways to get money but ending state sponsorship of their activities would seriously dent their ability to attack targets around the globe.