Re: [unrev-II] Fwd: [issues] thoughts on the crisis...

From: Pedro M. (
Date: Mon Oct 01 2001 - 15:13:57 PDT

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    And (3) We cannot use un-democratic systems, countries and persons to protect democracies ( like Bin Laden before in the comunist Afganistan ) ;(

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Jack Park" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Monday, October 01, 2001 4:01 PM
    Subject: [unrev-II] Fwd: [issues] thoughts on the crisis...

    > >From: Paul Werbos <>
    > >
    > >It seems that this crisis re Bin Laden is severe enough... that we really
    > >can't just let go of it
    > >right now. For myself, there seem to be two lessons: (1) we cannot withdraw
    > >into our own independent
    > >lives and activities.. in general.. so much as we might be inclined to; our
    > >thoughts, however fallible, are an essential part
    > >of the overall system; (2) yet we must expect to make mistakes... and
    > >correct them.. which is part of the inevitable price of
    > >trying to think about something so tricky as this present situation.
    > >
    > >And so... here are some thoughts which I do not endorse, but may be worth
    > >thinking about....
    > >
    > >
    > >FIrst, could it be that we have made a fundamental mistake here in
    > >declaring war on terrorism just now?
    > >Should we instead have declared war on drugs?
    > >
    > >People have made a lot of comments here that "systems thinking involves
    > >real awareness of multiple points of view...
    > >like shifting the actors and seeing what things would look like from
    > >different vantage points."
    > >
    > >OK, when Al Capone claimed to represent a poor people's Catholic revolution
    > >against "the real mafia -- the Rockefellers etc."...
    > >the mafia tried hard to project that message for decades, because it is
    > >convenient for them.
    > >The message didn't get all that far in the US, because of the large
    > >law-abiding Catholic population... which was able to outweigh the
    > >large and significant but smaller population that did go along with
    > >Capone's message. And now Osama Bin Laden has really convinced
    > >most of the West that the base of his motives is a truly religious - if
    > >fanatic and distorted and aberrated -- quest.
    > >And even some Moslem leaders have argued, in effect, "He is well meaning
    > >but slightly ignorant. He simply never understood
    > >that part about jihads and the innocent." It would be as if a Catholic
    > >priest said of Capone "He is truly Catholic and
    > >part of our community... he just never heard about that obscure clause in
    > >the footnotes about 'Thou shalt not kill.' "
    > >
    > >Likewise, all this hopeful discussion of Taliban giving up Bin Laden ...
    > >may be an exercise in fuzzy fantasy.
    > >
    > >Let's try some different metaphors here... one crude, and one better.
    > >
    > >Would Taliban give up Bin Laden? Well, would Hitler give up Rommel? It's a
    > >matter of understanding the
    > >relationships... Rommel was not just a guest!
    > >
    > >A better analogy: there has been much debate about the US war on drugs in
    > >Columbia and its neighbors.
    > >Yet... it is interesting to ask... if this clumsy war on drugs had not been
    > >so extreme... is it not possible that
    > >Columbia (or neighbor...) today would be very similar to what Afghanistan is?
    > >
    > >Last night, the TV news stated (I assume correctly this time...) that the
    > >Taliban zone of influence includes more
    > >than half the production of raw heroin in the world. Taliban has made
    > >noises about stopping it...about as honest
    > >and sincere, I assume, as their noises about turning over Bin Laden and
    > >being true Moslems and such.
    > >In fact, it is their government's primary source of income... and the
    > >original source from which their various
    > >security operations flow.
    > >
    > >The Latin American drug cartels learned long ago the benefits of buying out
    > >various "people's liberation" movements,
    > >which have turned into nothing but shock troops for their operations. Many
    > >of the fighters on the front lines still
    > >believe what they started to believe... there is a big psychological and
    > >practical barrier to admitting even to themselves the
    > >horror of what they have become. But the midlde level people, who interface
    > >between those troops and the people who
    > >pay them and set priorities... know full well the whole picture... and know
    > >how to manage a more conscious psychopathology.
    > >
    > >In a way... Taliban is a kind of experiment... what happens when one
    > >DOESN'T do a full-fledged war on drugs.
    > >
    > >And then one might ask... if the US went into Columbia, why was this
    > >Taliban drug cartel -- not a nation-state but an well-organized
    > >drug cartel -- left alone for so long? What can we learn from all this?
    > >
    > >On the US side, there are undoubtedly many factors. For example, cocaine
    > >has been a far worse threat to US society than heroin,
    > >for the past decade or two. Heroin has been more of a problem for Europe
    > >and Asia -- suggesting that perhaps Europe and Asia
    > >should take care of that half of the world's hard drug problem.
    > >Furthermore, the centers of heroin production have been more
    > >in the zone where European and Asian powers have influence and capability
    > >to act.
    > >
    > >There are tremendous difficulties in defining what is "terrorism," if one
    > >insists on being infinitely broad about it.
    > >Sometimes those who insist on being infinitely broad before acting end
    > >being infinitely dead instead. Sometimes
    > >it is important to proceed one step at a time, as the next small step
    > >becomes clear. The word "heroin" is
    > >a lot easier to define than the word "terrorism." And it is the greater
    > >part of what really killed those people in
    > >New York.
    > >
    > >Perhaps the greatest need at this time would be for the other members of
    > >the UN Security Council to ask the US
    > >to put its resources and energy behind a new internationalized version of
    > >the war on drugs... slightly modifying and
    > >extending what has been done to help nations in Latin America, and working
    > >to do something similar in Afghanistan.
    > >And a first stage might be a UN ultimatum for Afghanistan BOTH to turn over
    > >bin Laden and his lieutenants, AND
    > >to burn out the poppy fields themselves... or else be prepared for the
    > >international community to do it themselves.
    > >
    > >---
    > >
    > >People on this list have at times proposed "bomb them with food." Normally,
    > >this is not a sensible approach...
    > >for a long-term approach to global problems... certainly the US is not
    > >physically able to feed the entire world...
    > >but certainly I hope the US military have studied carefully what might be
    > >possible on these lines.
    > >
    > >Perhaps the ability to drop food, and burn out poppy fields, should be
    > >getting the highest priorities right now,
    > >in terms of large things that involve the military. (Not to downgrade the
    > >important efforts to apprehend the
    > >various criminals, and assist others.)
    > >
    > >As for timing... who knows? There are many, many pros and cons...
    > >
    > >Best of luck,
    > >
    > > Paul W.
    > >
    > >P.S. Speaking of the Capone analogy... some of my own staunch Catholic
    > >ancestors proposed fighting
    > >the Capone phenomenon by abolishing Prohibition... something which did
    > >help, to a significant extent.
    > >Many have argued that something like the British system of "registered
    > >addicts" might also help.
    > >I tend to agree that some form of that system could be a great help in the
    > >global war on cocaine
    > >and heroin. (Until Taliban and Bin Laden wnet so far... maybe I would have
    > >said just cocaine for now...
    > >one could start there...). But that is not an ALTERNATIVE to doing what
    > >needs to be done in Afghanistan
    > >here and now... and it may take some time to work out the details... and,
    > >in all fairness, to overcome the political taboos
    > >associated with the subject...
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
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