Vivian Salama at PostGlobal

Vivian Salama

USA/Middle East

Vivian Salama is an award winning reporter, producer and blogger. Currently based in Lahore, Pakistan, she has reported for various publications from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, the United States and North and South Korea. She has also appeared as a commentator on the BBC, France24, South African Broadcasting Corp., TVNZ, NPR and as a reporter for Voice of America radio. Her byline has appeared in numerous publications including Newsweek, USA Today, the International Herald Tribune, the National, Jerusalem Post, and the Daily Star. Salama has an MA in Islamic Politics from Columbia University and she previously worked as a lecturer of international journalism at Rutgers University. Close.

Vivian Salama

USA/Middle East

Vivian Salama is an award-winning reporter, producer and blogger. Currently based in Lahore, Pakistan, she has reported for various publications from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, the United States and North and South Korea. more »

Main Page | Vivian Salama Archives | PostGlobal Archives


Give and Take Can Strengthen Moderates

Governments that are willing to negotiate may make more progress by getting a foot in the door than by shutting terrorist groups out.

» Back to full entry

All Comments (93)

Loanser:

Hi!i glad to see U!
.levitra viagara

JOSEPH:

Jack Palancing

JAYDEN:

Hand over fist

ANDREW:

Mum's the word

BAILEY:

Pie - as easy as

AUTUMN:

Christmas card verses

ABIGAIL:

Knock on wood

SOPHIE:

Heebie-jeebies - The

TRISTAN:

Homonyms

TRISTAN:

Homonyms

GINGER:

Red-handed (caught)

JUNIOR:

Pigeon-chested

ASHLEY:

Last but not least

PEANUT:

Heads up

CALLIE:

Clue - don't have a

AUSTIN:

Soap-dodger

AUSTIN:

Soap-dodger

BAXTER:

Cart before the horse - Put the

NATHAN:

In like Flynn

CHRISTOP:

Turn the tables

SIERRA:

faxless cash advance no fax payday loan Fine as frog's hair

TABITHA:

delta dental insurance usa Devil and the deep blue sea

Rick:

So let's recap:

The question is: Should we negotiate with terfrorists?

The answer is maybe, depends on the situation.

Islam is not a violent religion, but it does reserve the right to defend itself from the world's one and only terrorist nation, US_Israel.

Therefore, the message to the world's one and only terrorist nation, US_Israel:

Stop your Holy War on Islam.

Vacate the occupied Muslim holy land in Palestine and Iraq.

Vacate the 5 Million jews from Palestine and bring them to Texas.

Don’t worry so much, you will love Texas. We will partition it so that your half is contiguous, while the other half is divided into separated quarters.

You will have the prime real estate including the Dallas-Fort Worth and Crawford areas.

You will have control of the fresh water supply.

You can keep your Army, Navy, Air Force and nuclear weapons. We will back you up with the full power of the world’s last remaining super power.

We will immediately stop all federal aid to the native population, while continuing your $3 B annual aid.

Feel free to launch all the settlements that you wish in the native half’s real estate.

Assassinate the opposition leadership to create chaos on the other side.

See, it will just be a Grand Old Party.

I’m sure that you will get along famously with our Dear Leader and World Class Hypocrite in the White House.

Cayambe, Philo, CA-USA:

Vivian,

I just have to tell the truth. You are absolutely beautiful. Stunning is the proper word.

You wrote:
“To consolidate this response, I will treat all “terrorists” as one – though we can certainly break down the meaning of “terrorist” and further complicate a complex matter. Western democracies’ logic is essentially never to bow down to violence, nor to reward terrorists for using it.”

My advice to thee is to eschew the term “terrorist” whenever possible, since there is no general agreement on what it actually means. The question facing South Korea was whether to negotiate with the Taliban over the hostages. Once upon a time, we (the USA) faced a similar quandary with Iran. Like the South Koreans, we chose to negotiate, once under the Carter administration and once again under the Reagan administration (Iran/contra).

Terrorists founded the State of Israel. The PLO made wide use of terror, not just in Israel but also throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. It is an exercise in asymmetric warfare, something the Israeli’s might remember from their days resisting British rule in 1947-8. We are not above the use of it ourselves. I don’t know what could be more terrifying than the two A-bombs we dropped on separate Japanese cities. More recently, what do you suppose the phrase “Shock and Awe” was supposed to convey, if not terror? It is not just terrorists who use violence, or is it? Is that your definition of a terrorist, anyone who uses violence?

I certainly agree with you with respect to the main thrust of your points regarding Hamas. I would, however, quibble with your characterization of Hamas as a “terrorist group”. The inconvenient truth, to borrow a phrase, is that they are primarily a charitable organization providing a range of social services (very effectively we might note) to the Palestinian people. Once upon a time, before Hamas came along, the PLO provided such services, until they were banished to Tunisia from Lebanon. Since then their specialty has become corruption. Certainly through their militant wing, Hamas has sponsored some suicide attacks against civilian targets in Israel, as has the PLO through their militant wings. It’s a nasty business.

The Palestinian people freely expressed their political will in their free and democratic elections with perfect good sense and intelligence. From their point of view it was a matter of voting for good governance to replace bad governance, for services and against corruption. Nor was this wishful thinking on their part. Hamas had already won a goodly number of municipal elections and had already established an enviable record of reform and good governance at that level. This is what Democracy is supposed to deliver, is it not?

I believe we would have been far better off to have accepted the results of the election and to have cooperated in an effort to improve Palestinian governance and services, which was the clear desire of the Palestinian people. Instead, we set about doing everything we could to force Hamas to fail, primarily by cutting off all funds, thereby unbearably impoverishing the whole budding nation. These are not the actions of a great nation, or a wise one, or a compassionate one. As an American, I have a hard time accepting it.

You are correct to point to a level of internal tension within the Hamas organization, although this has nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism. We might recognize that even within the highly disciplined ranks of the Bush Administration there have been some fierce internal battles. Hamas is somewhat torn between its rather fruitless ideology and the day-to-day imperative for practical results, for improvements in living. So yes, there are a wealth of practical things all parties would be well served to negotiate and well suited to begin building a level of mutual trust. It would, I believe, have been a better course than fomenting a civil war.

It is interesting that you mention North Korea in this context (terrorism). I wonder just how North Korea got on the terrorist list in the first place. There is no doubt that they certainly terrorize their own population. But apart from kidnapping a few Japanese for the purpose of teaching language skills to Koreans, I’m unaware of what you could call “external terrorist activities” by North Koreans. Certainly they have sold arms to anyone with the money to pay, but who doesn’t do that?

I would just repeat my initial advise; leave the word “terrorist” to those who specialize in meaningless political rhetoric. What say?

Faramarz Fathi, formerly Fred, Bos:

American Observer:
Fred Bos said:

"My comment was directed at 2ndtour whom I assume is serving in military and everyone least politically informed would confirm the priority on everyone's mind in Fallujah is to fight the
occupiers before anything else."

American Observer replies:

If that is what you were saying to 2ndTour, then you were telling a lie, and you know it. The first priority of the insurgents in Fallujah is to murder so many Shia civilians that the killings will provoke the Shia to massacre the Sunni in turn, thus provoking a war between Sunnis and Shia which is so bloody that Sunni powers like Turkey and Saudia Arabia will get involved and help the insurgents conquer the Shia. You should have told 2ndTour that the insurgents are traitors to the people of Iraq, and the best thing he can do for the Iraqi people is to gun down the insurgents like the wild pigs they are.

This is quote from 2ndtour "Go stand on a corner in Fallujah and negotiateand find "Some common ground." I've been there, Good Luck. Idiot. " End of quote.

Again, the priority for those in Falluijah is to resist the occupiers first and foremost. this is corroborated by the Jordanians I have met here who have met the Iraqis in Jordan who have either immigrated to Jordan or took temporary refuge there and what I hear from them is quite unlike what we hear or seldom see in media over here. the infighting between the Sunnis and Shias are engineered by the US. They used to coexist there before for all those many reasons there are and they do coexist in different parts of the world at moment too. Further, I have personally heard from two service men who have returned from Iraq that the dissent is very high among the servicemen. They both said they have never felt they belong there and their stay only aggravate the situation on grounds there.

Before I go any further let me correct you on a specific word such as INSURGENT you have used here. Saying that, I understand how popular or is the only word they use here to portrait the all sorts of factions who have armed themselves with a reason different from the next one, the US faces there. However, if you look at the meaning of the INSURGENT in the dictionary and possess the least clue to what is actually happening on ground in Iraq you will arrive with a different description for all armed group over there. No one has claimed there is only one group there to oppose any specific body. There are several with different agendas but the priority on their list remains to fight the aggressor .

I am sorry I could not and can not tell the 2ndtour or anyone else for that matter that all the armed factions over there are traitors. this is against my culture and conscience too for I, not only, do believe there are many out there who oppose the occupation and aggression imposed on them and are trying to recapture their country as well their natural resources but I would do the very same thing if my own country came under attack. Needless to mention, this is the most absurd thing I have heard through my entire life.

Quoting "The US is there because America spent a dozen years in a trap, and Bush -- in his pride and folly -- thought he saw a chance to break out of that trap.

The basic history is simple. As you recall, the dictator of Iraq led a war of aggression against the nation of Kuwait, and America led an international coalition to chase the Iraqis out of Kuwait. We then encouraged the people of Iraq to overthrow Saddam and replace his regime with a government which could lead a united Iraq back into the community of nations. Many Iraqis tried, but the Ba'ath defeated them; and America imposed the no-fly zone to keep Saddam from killing millions, as he could well have done; and we kept sanctions on Saddam to stop Saddam from rebuilding his army and threatening his neighbors or his own people again. End of quote.

The US gave Saddam the green light, remember the American ambassador saying the US has no objection, to go to Kuwait. The US has been the sole instigator of regional conflicts over there and has always come out the sole winner too while there have been loss of lives of no importance to it.

The neocons tried very hard but unsuccessful in convincing the Clinton to go Iraq for no reason other than having access to the worlds second largest known oil reserves and of course strategic permanent Air bases in that particular terrain that ensures and solidifies an American military might as well as a quick response to an emergency in the gulf region.

I saw Bush to campaign in 1999 and 2000 and during an interview by a reporter from channel 7 here in Boston he was unable to answer all the questions asked by the reporter. I gave him no chance and had still a little hope in American people till the very night when the Supreme Court with the help of two of the judges whom were appointed by his father, refused to hear the case or another words referred the case back to FL which essentially had earlier determined the winner over there. On that night, I was shocked and lost all my hopes for democracy in this country permanently. And thereafter, I have continuously witnessed American people have little say in electing most of their local, state country leaders meaning they are offered a selection of candidates to choose from not necessarily one who is good for all people.

after successfully installing Bush they immediately started to work and finished bringing in the very cabinet members suiting their needs. For you to spend that much time and take that much space here with materials that are void of any rational anyone can use to justify or reasoning why US went to Iraq I ONLY NEED TO DRAW YOUR ATTENTION TO ONE STATEMENT Mr. O'NIEL,THE FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY MADE. THE IRAQ AGENDA WAS ON TABLE SHORTLY AFTER JANUARY 20TH.

I for one never ever believed there were WMD nor Saddam was involved in any kind of terrorism against US. If anything, I always believed the US knew the exact number of bullets in the Iraqi army let alone the WMD. The Scot Rittor you mentioned has a different opinion than the one you have mentioned here. They did not find anything of the significance relating the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Needless to mention, they asked for the Israeli assistance too. Let me share with you something I learned more than 20 years ago. When the US was engaged with the former Soviet Union in arms reduction negotiations the Russian were playing hard balls before the US team played the voice of late Brezneve ordering his lunch to his chef. The Russians were stunned and of course embarrassed too and immediately injected themselves with some reality doses and continued negotiating. The very same thing happened before when Kruschev was in power. Their negotiating team were playing low numbers of ICBM when the US team offered them satellite pictures. The US is far too capable in knowing who is who and who has what.

I found most of your material here incorrect and misleading but one thing that made me laugh is when you wrote quoting "the Iraqis are more interested in killing each other in the ancient Arab way than in enjoying the freedom we have given them." End of quote. This is the most infantile statement I have ever hard in my life. The US giving Iraqis freedom. Someone dropped from another planet, someone woken up from a come for the past fifty years, could have done a lot better. Please allow me to project what the at least Middle east would look like if the people had freedom over there with the exception of Iran and Israel. The people would immediately depose many dictators who solely look to US for protection and their survival and regain their countries and therefore their natural resources too and consequently and all of sudden the US would be cut out of many lucrative agreements which favor the US immensely. Oh wait a moment please. Did I mention the number of people in the region with the freedom who find the Israeli's foreign policies acceptable would not exceed the number of fingers on one of your hands ? Please, don't say the unthinkable.

Lee Holmes:

LOGICAL: Your thinking is plainly illogical. In every test made upon the Israeli people to offer roads leading to peace,the PLO has rejected all of them out of hand. It was not Barak that torpedoed the Clinton-brokered peace accords but Arafat. It is not Jewish leaders who have stolen billions from their own people and then blame others for the catastrophe of poverty that affects the ordinary Palestinian. It was Arafat and his PLO rackateers. Indeed,even movements that are not even organic to ''Palestine''that include Egypts Islamic Jihad and Iran/Syrias HEZBOLLAH have invaded a second nation,Lebanon,to attack a third,Israel,based upon no legitimate goal[any more than they had traveling all the way to Argentina to murder Jews there],other than to destroy the Jewish people.
Finally,any claim that unites the Palestinian people in the seeking of a just solution was wrecked by both HAMAS and FATAH decsending into open warfare between the two groups with Palestinians being caught square in the middle. Israel had nothing to do with formenting this state of affairs between the two Islamic wings. You will also observe that Israel has less,not more land,and that the thanks that Olmert got was to have more rockets rained down on his people by the terrorists of Gaza. In addition,you forget that the old hatreds of Arab and Jew in this portion of the Middle East predate this conflict. Even before WWII,the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,made common cause with the Nazis in seeking the ''eradication''of the ''Jew''.[Assisted by no less a figure than Obersturbamfurher SS Adolf Eichmann,who called upon the Mufti in 1939]. Your ''reaction to action''makes little to no sense when we see that the one action of Jews leaving the West Bank should have caused a reaction of at least a ''wait and see'' attitude,or in the lack of this,more diplomacy. But it did not. Within days after leaving the West Bank the rockets again began to fall and bombers again began their reentry into Israel.

logicaldoubtofhumansanity:

Lee Holmes:

Israel has plenty of faults to speak of, not only to the initial creation of the PLO but also to the rise of Hamas. Please look into the bloody history of Israeli independence and explain to me how the initial residents of Palestine wouldn't detest the Israeli. To every action there is a reaction, PLO and Hamas didn't rise out of nothing. The current Islamic hatred against Israel is distilled into its current form through 45-50 years of Palestinian-Isreali conflict. Don't cheapen the conflict by using the current Islamic extremism as an excuse to decades of Isreali exploitation and thug diplomacy. The jewish bombing of the King David Hotel is the start of the bloody creation of the Isreali nation, and it is still shedding other people's blood in its bid for more land.

Zuni:

Lee Holmes : Well written and rational post !

Montague Kern:

Ms. Salama brings knowledge, and logic to a discussion which all too frequently is riven by emotion, and harsh, unforgiving judgment. I hope that American audiences will, increasingly, be exposed to views such as hers. The concept of "stakeholder" is a central one in democratic thought, and Ms. Salama brings it into play in a timely fashion.

Montague Kern:

Ms. Salama brings knowledge, and logic to a discussion which all too frequently is riven by emotion, and harsh, unforgiving judgment. I hope that American audiences will, increasingly, be exposed to views such as hers. The concept of "stakeholder" is a central one in democratic thought, and Ms. Salama brings it into play in a timely fashion.

Lee Holmes:


Unobserved in all of the sturm und drang over the usual faults attributed solely to Israel[but never to the Palestinians],is the failure by Vivian and others to notice that it was not the Israelis that launched the two wings of Hamas and Fatah into internecine warfare,but those of the Palestinian leaders themselves in a fight for the supremacy of who gets to hold the late Yassar Arafats purse strings and which side will garner the most from taking over Arafats structure as the beneficary of western largesse.
In this light,it is helpful to observe [Vivian patently ignores this fact,due largely to preconcieved biases on her portion],that Arafats PLO structure ripped off hundreds of millions of aid dollars from their own people. Arafats widow is considered to be one of the worlds richest women with a personal worth approaching if not exceeding a billion dollars,every cent of it,denied to her own people in order to stash into Swiss bank accounts for their own Arafatian fortune.
Supporters of the Palestinian factions,if not its people,foolishly support in-tandem,the total removal of womens,religious,gay, legal and childrens rights readily afforded Jews across the border in Israel. In that nation,presidents come and go at the voters whim, much as they do in the West. This years ''Bulldozer'' Sharon can become next years Dovish Barak or-other. In the Palestinian territories,strongmen are made dictators-for-life.
In Tel Aviv,one will observe gay rights parades no differant than those held in San Francisco,complete with cross-dressing skits and drag-queen competitions.
In Gaza they would beat a gay man into a bloody pulp and hang him on a gibbet as a warning to passerby to maintain the alleged ''purity''of Islam.
In Jerusalem,one may see dozens of ''peace and reconciliation''organizations made up of Labour and secular-leaning Jews urging their government to make peace and seek compromise with the Palestinians[in America,they are wrapped under an umbrella of anti-war groups such as ''United For Peace''and include Orthodox as well as secular Jews].
In Gaza,you would be stoned to death in the most medieval fashion as a ''collaberator'' or ''traitor'' for daring to find common cause with these Jewish persons and groups. Those who get out alive have prices placed on their heads wherever they move in the world and are targeted for death.
In Israel,children are taught in the neccesary disciplines of mathematics,agriculture,civics and government,history[including world],literature[international],and physics in order to create a nation that is a world leader in medical and agricultural sciences,much as Islam was over a thousand years ago.
In Gaza,children are taught to hate with fury. There is no other calling worth teaching. They are brainwashed in a manner no differant than what was practiced upon children during the Third Reich. Textbooks at even the second and third-grade level are filled with anti-Semitic diatribe with exaggerated cartoon parodies of ''The Jew'',lessons that infer that the ''Jew''is a thief,a murderer,a rapist,and the ''drinker of the blood of children''[the old blood libel that transcends the centuries reaching its apogee in the Middle East today and in Germany during the 1930s-1940s].
Palestinians use childrens programming to instill racial hatred. Again,cartoon characters are used as the device to engender this obscene brainwashing. Disneys Mickey Mouse is ripped off to become the teacher of ''martyrdom'',taught to four and five -year old children.''Farfour Mouse'',as well as ''Romper Room''figures in cheerful animal costuming show children how to strap on bomb vests to use against ''The Jew'' on televsion shows watched by Palestinians across the region.

There can be no defense whatever that may be used to excuse these horrors. Each and every behavior that runs directly counter to liberal principles is utilized as official policy,rather than isolated incident. Rampant homophobia,religious intolerance,racial hatred,the brainwashing of children,the outright theft of an entire national treasure by thugs and bagmen,whom these blighted western liberals see as ''freedom fighters''and members of ''legitimate resistance''. How anyone in any nation can attach ''legitimacy''to these Nazi-like behaviors is beyond the understanding of this writer. Further,none of these aspects in any way,shape or form,advances any cause of ''peace''that can even be remotely compared to what the Irish achieved in their own nation,what has occurred in the Balkans,South Africa and the end of its apartheid regime,or any other place on earth. The very fury and hatred we see here will not be abated even one whit by giving all that the Palestinians ask or demand. The only desire,as through the march of the long centuries,is to destroy the Jewish people. That there are those who shield themselves in strange,weird masks of ''peace'' and ''compromise''and yet allow these horrors to continue apace shows that they seek neither condition in the end.

Logicaldoubtofhumansanity:

To American Observer:

To the Taliban and Al-Queda, the US already has a very specific policy concerning their fate: Surrender or Die. We don't have any other policy than that. Reasonable, concise, and perfectly legitimate as they have attacked us during peacetime while we did not start any type of aggression against them. We don't negotiate with people who attack us at peacetime.

To the Iraqi debacle: this is a more thornier than the Taliban/Al-Queda debate. We invaded the country, it is only legitimate that someone who is fed up fights back. We have occupied the country without improving their lives and we are getting their oil, which pisses off people to no end. Perfect spawning ground for terrorists, but we do not have the legitimate reasoning to go after these people. Now some of these pissed off people can be talked to, just look at Anbar province (and fyi, the surge has nothing to do with the success of Anbar, our free guns did). Negotiation here, as long as it is under the table, helps us more than hurts us. As long as it serves American interest, backdoor diplomacy should be considered as a first line option.

American Observer:

Robert James says:

"I guess that the USA was absent from class on the day that its history teachers discussed the lessons to be learned from Vietnam and Ireland."

American Observer replies:

And what lessons are we supposed to learn from Ireland, James? Should we learn from the way the British have defeated the insurgents in Northern Ireland? Or, should we learn from the way the British defeated the Communist insurgents in Malaya?

Robert James says:

"The USA would have had a better chance of winning if it went to the peace table and negotiated outcomes with people that it does not like."

Oh? And what deal should we offer to the Taliban or to the Al-Qaeda in Iraq? The Taliban and the Al-Qaeda want to make sure that no little girl goes to school; the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda want to bury every homosexual underneath a brick wall; and the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda want to create an Islamic Caliphate across the Moslem world, from Pakistan to Morocco, and impose the laws of the Koran. Tell me, Robert, how do we negotiate that? How do we split the difference?

Robert James:

I guess that the USA was absent from class on the day that its history teachers discussed the lessons to be learned from Vietnam and Ireland.

Put simply, the USA cannot win against a determined group of locals who oppose a foreign invader, that's the USA,because they can thwart the US offensive with home made bombs and a strong desire to expel the invading force (that's the USA).

The USA military is designed to win on the battle fiels of WWII all over again. However, it is unlikely that WWII will be fought again.

The USA would have had a better chance of winning if it went to the peace table and negotiated outcomes with people that it does not like. Alternatively, it could have given all of its opponents $1 million in exchange for peace. Either approach would have been successful and cheaper than George The Village Idiot's proposal to stay the course forever.

American Observer:

To clarify, I just pulled this off the Washington Post server.

Quote:

Iranian Unit to Be Labeled 'Terrorist'
U.S. Moving Against Revolutionary Guard

By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 15, 2007; Page A01

....

The Bush administration has chosen to move against the Revolutionary Guard Corps because of what U.S. officials have described as its growing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as its support for extremists throughout the Middle East, the sources said.

....

For weeks, the Bush administration has been debating whether to target the Revolutionary Guard Corps in full, or only its Quds Force wing, which U.S. officials have linked to the growing flow of explosives, roadside bombs, rockets and other arms to Shiite militias in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Quds Force also lends support to Shiite allies such as Lebanon's Hezbollah and to Sunni movements such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

...

Unquote

You can read the entire article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/14/AR2007081401662.html

Nauseous:

I hate to nit, but logicaldoubtofhumansanity said something in a post last night that didn't quite do justice to what the Revolutionary Guard is and does.

"8. Stop labeling people you don't like as terrorists. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard in Iran isn't a terrorist organization, its a legitimate Iranian military force. Labeling them as terrorists is just stupid. Catch a couple of Iranian Revolutionary Guards inside Iraq and claim them as terrorists as they have no business in there anyways. Labeling an entire military branch as terrorist is nonsense. Its like saying the US Marines is a terrorist organization."
------------------------------------------

I can agree that it's a bit awkward to have labeled the Revolutionary Guard as such. Be mindful, though, that the Revolutionary Guard answers to and operates at the direction of the ayatollahs, not the political puppet theater they call a government and the state military. The Revolutionary Guard has been linked to a number of terror attacks over the last 25-30 years, including the embassy bombing and Marine barracks in Beirut by providing training, material support and personnel to more localized terror organizations. The analogy of calling the Marines terrorist doesn't quite work in this regard because of it.

A better analogy would be if in our system of government, the legislative, judicial, and executive branches were ancillary and subordinate to a supreme religious council that was responsible for the violent overthrow of our democratically elected government and continues to exist for the purpose of maintaining the religious hold on the country, and independent of the 3 branches of government (including the Defense Dept.) maintained its own highly funded, heavily armed, fully indoctrinated group of militia men to make sure all the political theater plays out according to the councils script and than the process to which we've grown accustomed. If we were to call that militia the USMC, that would be a more apt analogy.

Maybe calling out the Revolutionary Guard is merely a hair-splitting exercise, perhaps there's no worthwhile distinction to be made anymore between the ayatollahs and the Iranian government, but this construct allows the US to sling mud at the Iranians (OK, yeah, actually do more than sling mud, but you get the drift) without actually declaring war.

American Observer:

Nauseous,

Your message was intelligent and well-written. Thanks for sharing it.

Nauseous:

So, the men behind the 9/11 atrocities, exactly what freedoms were they fighting for when they enrolled in flight schools and later boarded those planes at IAD, BOS, and EWR?

How about Ramzi Yusef and "the Blind Sheik?" Exactly what were the freedoms they fought for when they truck-bombed the WTC?

I try to be as even-handed as they come, but I call BS on the notion that the terms "freedom-fighter" and "terrorist" are interchangeable. The Islamofacists don't want to propagate freedom - that want to impose a caliphate - the opposite of freedom - and sharia law. You can't credibly equate those fighting off an invasion or struggling for independence for the pursuit and/or preservation of freedoms, for liberty, with stateless and evidently franchised entities engaging in terrorist acts for the sake of bringing about oppressive totalitarian and theocratic regimes.

What's one major difference? There's a possibility that a treaty could be struck with so-called freedom fighters. How on Earth do you come to such a resolution with a band of terrorists that seek not to repel you but to destroy you?

Afam:

Would you negotiate or talk peace with the man who killed your child, mother, or father? If in killing your child he only wanted to make a statement or be recognized? And if you do, is there a garauntee that any other time he doesn't have your attention he will not kill another member of your family? Blackmail is one thing but murderous blackmail is entirely on a different level.
The truth be told we do not negitiate with people who commit crimes. Criminals go to jail. In Islam criminals pay a price for their crimes according to the religion of Mohammed.
Once upon a time the world had a disturbing problem of pirates on the high seas, the world stood together against piracy and the rest is history. Please let us not listen to this kind of nonsensical jargon about negotiating with people who perpertrate violence in our societies to make a point. It is called a shake down.
When they the terrorist organization(s) are ready to take a different turn or signal that they are ready to be peaceful then may be those considerations will be made. North Korea's case is different. There was a humanitarian need involved too, etc.
The answer to these terrorist acts is easy, the world must stand united and crack down on these senseless murderers. They should be punished for brainwashing those who commit suicide for the sake of making a political or religious statement.

Juhi:

I just can not imagine what this world would be like if Muslims are able to carry out all of their terror plots. Thank Allah for the good work of police, otherwise we all could be dead.

Afam:

Would you negotiate or talk peace with the man who killed your child, mother, or father? If in killing your child he only wanted to make a statement or be recognized? And if you do, is there a garauntee that any other time he doesn't have your attention he will not kill another member of your family? Blackmail is one thing but murderous blackmail is entirely on a different level.
The truth be told we do not negitiate with people who commit crimes. Criminals go to jail. In Islam criminals pay a price for their crimes according to the religion of Mohammed.
Once upon a time the world had a disturbing problem of pirates on the high seas, the world stood together against piracy and the rest is history. Please let us not listen to this kind of nonsensical jargon about negotiating with people who perpertrate violence in our societies to make a point. It is called a shake down.
When they the terrorist organization(s) are ready to take a different turn or signal that they are ready to be peaceful then may be those considerations will be made. North Korea's case is different. There was a humanitarian need involved too, etc.
The answer to these terrorist acts is easy, the world must stand united and crack down on these senseless murderers. They should be punished for brainwashing those who commit suicide for the sake of making a political or religious statement.

Afam:

Would you negotiate or talk peace with the man who killed your child, mother, or father? If in killing your child he only wanted to make a statement or be recognized? And if you do, is there a garauntee that any other time he doesn't have your attention he will not kill another member of your family? Blackmail is one thing but murderous blackmail is entirely on a different level.
The truth be told we do not negitiate with people who commit crimes. Criminals go to jail. In Islam criminals pay a price for their crimes according to the religion of Mohammed.
Once upon a time the world had a disturbing problem of pirates on the high seas, the world stood together against piracy and the rest is history. Please let us not listen to this kind of nonsensical jargon about negotiating with people who perpertrate violence in our societies to make a point. It is called a shake down.
When they the terrorist organization(s) are ready to take a different turn or signal that they are ready to be peaceful then may be those considerations will be made. North Korea's case is different. There was a humanitarian need involved too, etc.
The answer to these terrorist acts is easy, the world must stand united and crack down on these senseless murderers. They should be punished for brainwashing those who commit suicide for the sake of making a political or religious statement.

Afam:

Would you negotiate or talk peace with the man who killed your child, mother, or father? If in killing your child he only wanted to make a statement or be recognized? And if you do, is there a garauntee that any other time he doesn't have your attention he will not kill another member of your family? Blackmail is one thing but murderous blackmail is entirely on a different level.
The truth be told we do not negitiate with people who commit crimes. Criminals go to jail. In Islam criminals pay a price for their crimes according to the religion of Mohammed.
Once upon a time the world had a disturbing problem of pirates on the high seas, the world stood together against piracy and the rest is history. Please let us not listen to this kind of nonsensical jargon about negotiating with people who perpertrate violence in our societies to make a point. It is called a shake down.
When they the terrorist organization(s) are ready to take a different turn or signal that they are ready to be peaceful then may be those considerations will be made. North Korea's case is different. There was a humanitarian need involved too, etc.
The answer to these terrorist acts is easy, the world must stand united and crack down on these senseless murderers. They should be punished for brainwashing those who commit suicide for the sake of making a political or religious statement.

Afam:

Would you negotiate or talk peace with the man who killed your child, mother, or father? If in killing your child he only wanted to make a statement or be recognized? And if you do, is there a garauntee that any other time he doesn't have your attention he will not kill another member of your family? Blackmail is one thing but murderous blackmail is entirely on a different level.
The truth be told we do not negitiate with people who commit crimes. Criminals go to jail. In Islam criminals pay a price for their crimes according to the religion of Mohammed.
Once upon a time the world had a disturbing problem of pirates on the high seas, the world stood together against piracy and the rest is history. Please let us not listen to this kind of nonsensical jargon about negotiating with people who perpertrate violence in our societies to make a point. It is called a shake down.
When they the terrorist organization(s) are ready to take a different turn or signal that they are ready to be peaceful then may be those considerations will be made. North Korea's case is different. There was a humanitarian need involved too, etc.
The answer to these terrorist acts is easy, the world must stand united and crack down on these senseless murderers. They should be punished for brainwashing those who commit suicide for the sake of making a political or religious statement.

American Observer:

Fred Bos said:

"My comment was directed at 2ndtour whom I assume is serving in military and everyone least politically informed would confirm the priority on everyone's mind in Fallujah is to fight the
occupiers before anything else."

American Observer replies:

If that is what you were saying to 2ndTour, then you were telling a lie, and you know it. The first priority of the insurgents in Fallujah is to murder so many Shia civilians that the killings will provoke the Shia to massacre the Sunni in turn, thus provoking a war between Sunnis and Shia which is so bloody that Sunni powers like Turkey and Saudia Arabia will get involved and help the insurgents conquer the Shia. You should have told 2ndTour that the insurgents are traitors to the people of Iraq, and the best thing he can do for the Iraqi people is to gun down the insurgents like the wild pigs they are.

Fred Bos said:

"It comes as no surprise to me you have not mentioned any reasons at all why the US is there to begin with and exactly who is engineering all these bloodshed against each other..."

American Observer replies:

The US is there because America spent a dozen years in a trap, and Bush -- in his pride and folly -- thought he saw a chance to break out of that trap.

The basic history is simple. As you recall, the dictator of Iraq led a war of aggression against the nation of Kuwait, and America led an international coalition to chase the Iraqis out of Kuwait. We then encouraged the people of Iraq to overthrow Saddam and replace his regime with a government which could lead a united Iraq back into the community of nations. Many Iraqis tried, but the Ba'ath defeated them; and America imposed the no-fly zone to keep Saddam from killing millions, as he could well have done; and we kept sanctions on Saddam to stop Saddam from rebuilding his army and threatening his neighbors or his own people again.

Well, how well did that work? Badly. Saddam did everything he could to preserver his nuclear,
chemical, and biological weapons programs, and though Scott Ritter and the other UN inspectors
finally removed them, it took more than seven years to finish the job; and Saddam had been so duplicitous for so long that even when the weapons were gone, nobody could be sure they really were gone. We allowed Saddam to sell oil for food so the Iraqi people would not starve, and the Iraqi people remained alive, but the sanctions strangled the economy and the entire nation stagnated, while Saddam stole the food money and used it to build palaces. At the same time, ruthless powers like the Chinese and the Russians kept trying to lift the sanctions against Saddam, which might have benefited the Iraqi economy, but would have allowed Saddam to buy the weapons he needed to massacre his own people and plot against his neighbors. And so, a dozen years went by and nothing got better. America and the Iraqi people were both in a trap, and nobody could figure a way out.

And then Bush thought he saw a way out. After the aggression against America on September 11, 2001,
the entire American nation was angry and in a mood for war. Against all expert opinion, Bush choose
to believe that Saddam still had biological and chemical weapons, and against all expert advice, Bush choose to believe that the people of Iraq would embrace democracy the way the Poles had done. Of course, Bush was wrong. It is now obvious that those seven years of work had paid off, and the United Nations inspectors had succeeded in stripping the Iraqis of weapons. It is also clear that the Iraqis are not Poles; Poland is an intelligent and civilized nation, while the Iraqis prefer to solve their political problems the way that Mohammed solved his political problems, with violence. Of course, Bush made many other mistakes as well; for example, it never occured to him that the Iraqis would loot their own city, so Bush never protected the city core, and so forth; and Bush sent Arthur Bremer to impose his idiotic flat tax. Nonetheless, the basic problem with Iraq is that
the Iraqis are more interested in killing each other in the ancient Arab way than in enjoying the
freedom we have given them.

Are there any other questions?

Tom:

You negotiate with reasonable people.

They have much more then a different world view us, they want us dead or to "submit" (Islam means submission) to their 14th C. beliefs. Good people tend to think that all people are basicly good. Those of us who have lived and worked in the Islamic world have sceen the hatred these people have for anyone who does not agree with them. Remember they kill their fellow moslems more than they kill us. They kill over cartoons. They murder and rape for the crime of teaching girls how to read and write.

J. Worthington Edwards, III:

Ms. Salama is terribly confused. All Israel has done is give, give, give to the Arabs and all the Arabs have done is Kill, Kill, Kill. THERE IS NOT MODERATE PART OF HAMAS; unless you think that delaying the intended genocide of the Jews by a fews years qualifies as a "moderate" position. These Islamist, including the ones that supported Hamas in the election, must be dealt with and or eliminated because their goal is genocide and war. They say so opening and you folks that refuse to listen only get laughed at by the terrorists you are supporting.

And by the way, voting in a terrorist government does not constitute good government. The goal is not democracy, the goal is liberty and freedom.

And as for Oslo, well since the Israeli government foolishly agreed with the child murderer Arafat and his group to have discussions, the situation has only gotten worse. The Islamists want world domination and will accept nothing less, therefore they must be extinguished. Read today UK Times stating quite clearly that half or more of the muslim mosques in England are espousing violent overthrow of England and stating that any muslim that is friends with a Christian or a Jew are defying their faith.

Grow up Ms. Salama, or is it the case that you are an Islamo-fascist like the muderers of Hamas??

GOLAM ARSHAD:

Hi Vivian,

True! Adversaries are not always virtual enemies. British negotiated with political adversaries in India : result Freedom for India:Pakistan then Bangladesh. What the British got in return: a British Empire i.e 192 years of British Rule and the trendsetter of post modernism of that of what today's is : Globalization and certainly English ..the virtual language of all time. Vivian you are Right.. Who knows how Peace and Progress be in Future... Do you know?

Reality Check:

Negotiate???? Are you kidding me???

Next week is the anniversary of 9/11. I invite you to attend some of the remembrance ceremonies and present your position of negotiating

This site is a complete joke

All these "scholars" are stuck in their ivory towers and have no clue what goes on in the real world

Reality Check:

Negotiate???? Are you kidding me???

Next week is the anniversary of 9/11. I invite you to attend some of the remembrance ceremonies and present your position of negotiating

This site is a complete joke

Hemant Gandhi:

I agree with Vivian. We must keep open all communications with terrorist groups (to some and freedom fighters to others). One must realize that the same issues we face, face them, too, if they have to talk to official state organizations, e.g., how can they trust us, being forced to recognize the legitimacy of the state, etc. A point that is unique to their distinct disadvantage is the fact that negotiations means they have to come out into the open, exposing their identities, their offices, their families, etc.

Jack:

Bottom Line:

If the narcissistic idiot in the White House didn't start this war, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

We had the World behind us when we began to eliminate the Taliban in Afghanistan, and then the buffoon thought he was invincible.

Negotiate with the terrorists? It’s too late; what does the United States have to offer at this juncture? (Other than the elimination of ALL infidels)

The Fool has us stuck in a war that was waged hundreds of years ago, and will now continue for hundreds more. The only difference is that it will now include the blood of our own countrymen.

To the military contractors of our county; I guess it was worth your effort, you’ve worked your way into a “Lifetime Contract” with the US Government.

Harry Bosch:

Someone above said this was a mediocre discourse, and boy was that right. The discussion and its participants are not worthy of the attention of this newspaper's more intelligent readers.

Jack:

Bottom Line:

If the narcissistic idiot in the White House didn't start this war, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

We had the World behind us when we began to eliminate the Taliban in Afghanistan, and then the buffoon thought he was invincible.

Negotiate with the terrorists? It’s too late; what does the United States have to offer at this juncture? (Other than the elimination of ALL infidels)

The Moron has us stuck in a war that was waged hundreds of years ago, and will now continue for hundreds more. The only difference is that it will now include the blood of our own countrymen.

To the military contractors of our county; I guess it was worth your effort, you’ve worked your way into a “Lifetime Contract” with the US Government.

Jack:

Bottom Line:

If the narcissistic idiot in the White House didn't start this war, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

We had the World behind us when we began to eliminate the Taliban in Afghanistan, and then the buffoon thought he was invincible.

Negotiate with the terrorists? It’s too late; what does the United States have to offer at this juncture? (Other than the elimination of ALL infidels)

The Moron has us stuck in a war that was waged hundreds of years ago, and will now continue for hundreds more. The only difference is that it will now include the blood of our own countrymen.

To the military contractors of our county; I guess it was worth your effort, you’ve worked your way into a “Lifetime Contract” with the US Government.

Anonymous:

Islam is like the Borg. To believe otherwise is to find yourself assimilated, or, in todays vernacular blown to bits.

AL:

Staggering how mediocre the discourse in this is. Starting with 'just the facts' Asim ... who wouldn't recognize a fact if it bit him.

Applying logic to terorists is a risky approach. After all, many of the roots of terror are irrational ... to a surreal extent. Terror is a tactic. The Mafia understood how to apply it just as well as anyone. But their business was business, not religion.

First, we should understand where to place our anger. For example, South Korea should blame the kidnappers, and no one else. 9/11 was Al Qaeda and not Iraq. In both cases, we should look at each policy and determine how that can undermine this awful group. And the way to undermine terror is through enlightenment. At the core of terror is bigotry. Now making bigotry go away is not simple. But enlightment undermines the basis for terror. Unfortunately, a sizeable chink of Islam is currently caught up in some of the most baseless and intense bigotry in history. But that process can be slowed, if not stopped.

Fred, Bos:


sandor BIDERMAN:

It is very convenient to call one a moron.
However, if you are unwilling or incapable of reasoning it it could very well be a reflection of yourself.

tasawar:

WOW so many comments.. some nut jobs some sober some misinformed some just my way or the high way etc
it is not that the us does not know all the things you are saying but the fact is that it does not suit their financially, politically, militarily, policy to have peace ,, as long as their is some kind of gripe some where the USA along with China France etc oh and lets not leave out the Brits will be able to sell arms ,technology, and so on . And you know if their was peace in this world, they wouldn't let it last that long. its called the "golden rule" no no it means he who has the gold makes the rule.. my two cents

Fred, Bos:


James Buchanan:

Coming from you is a compliment.

Patrick Smith:

I only have a couple of questions, but I feel these are quite important to this discussion.

1 - Does Hamas have a "moderate" wing, and if so, who within that wing should we negotiate with? Please name names.

2 - By the same token, who are the "moderates" of Hezbolah, Islamic Jihad, and Al-Qaeda? And can we also please have the names of those among those groups you suggest we negotiate with?

I am afraid you are equating a bunch of guys carrying Kalashnikovs and building car bombs in their garages with the sort of folks we in the US have who join their local Democratic or Republican party organizations.

It must be pointed out that these guys are not handing out leaflets and "voters guides". Instead, they are killing anybody who disagrees with them, and anybody else who happens to be in the way, quite literally.

What we are dealing with here are criminals, not politicians. These folks do not call what they do "politics". They call it "war".

Not only do they call it war, they call it "God's war". Do you really believe that people who think they are doing "God's will" are open to negotiation?

If so, how do you like living on our planet so far?

Fred, Bos:

American Observer:

My comment was directed at 2ndtour whom I assume is serving in military and everyone least politically informed would confirm the priority on everyone's mind in Fallujah is to fight the occupiers before anything else.
It comes as no surprise to me you have not mentioned any reasons at all why the US is there to begin with and exactly who is engineering all these bloodshed against each other but very quick to express your feelings towards staying and leaving.
My thoughts are if you had any heart you would question why the US went in to begin with and if you have any conscious you would argue and favor the current administration to be tried for war crimes.

Anon:

Always talk to terrorists but when you find them ask no questions and kill them.

YSCUM:

...and ASIM, how is anything you wrote relevant to anything in Ms. Salama's blog. Please, explain.

jami:

Do justice give the people their rights freedom and liberty and then no need to talk to any terrorist. When you plan and play games,for you own interests and exploit the wealth of other nations then you call for trouble, which cannot be hided by pack of lies and massive propaganda.

YSCUM:

logicaldoubtofhumansanity makes some good points, but I don't think he really read what Vivian was saying. She is not arguing that governments, at high levels, should sit down for a photo op with terrorist organizations and negotiate with them. She is saying that under the table, covert talks with terrorist organizations may be necessary and warranted for national interests and security. She gave the example of Israel, who negotiated with the PLO while it was a terrorist organization. Remember, these talks were very secretive and resulted in mutual recognition, etc.

She also wrote that it may not always bee worth it, citing Hamas as an example. The point is that discretion is necessary and blanket policies are ridiculous and just rhetoric. Every Western country talks with terrorist org's. Hmm... I wonder how Alan Johnston was released?

Anyhow, read the entirety of what is written in these blogs prior to commenting. Would do wonders here....

YSCUM:

logicaldoubtofhumansanity makes some good points, but I don't think he really read what Vivian was saying. She is not arguing that governments, at high levels, should sit down for a photo op with terrorist organizations and negotiate with them. She is saying that under the table, covert talks with terrorsit organizations may be necessary and waranted for national interests and security. She gave the example of Israel, who negotiated with the PLO while it was a terrorist organztion. Remember, these talks were very secretive and resulted in mutual recognition, etc.

She also wrote that it may not always bee worth it, citing Hamas as an example. The point is that discretion is necessary and blanket policies are ridiculous and just rhetoric. Every Western country talks with terrorist org's. Hmm... I wonder how Alan Johnston was released?

Anyhow, read the entirety of what is written in these blogs prior to commenting. Would do wonders here....

Nauseous:

"Labeling terrorist organizations as "evil" is juvenile."
--------------------------------------
AHEM... Evil, defined by Websters, as follows

1 a : morally reprehensible : SINFUL, WICKED b : arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct
2 a archaic : INFERIOR b : causing discomfort or repulsion : OFFENSIVE c : DISAGREEABLE
3 a : causing harm : PERNICIOUS b : marked by misfortune : UNLUCKY

I wish someone would enlighten us all as to how murder, kidnapping, torture, extortion are not evil deeds, and the terrorists that carry those deeds out not evil as wll.

James Buchanan:

Negotiate with moderates, annihilate terrorists. Simple enough. Now if the moderates would be so kind as to disassociate themselves from terrorists, we'll stop killing them.

In the interim, prepare to meet Allah...in Hell.

PaulR:

Yeah, right - Terrorists just need a big HUG and someone to tell them they are loved!

Corwin Smith:

Vivo,

Excellent piece. Very proud of you.

Corwin Smith
American Red Cross in Greater NY

sandor BIDERMAN:

You my dear are a moron!

logicaldoubtofhumansanity:

Perhaps US education about the roots of terrorism is too shallow and off base for any rational discussion about how to deal with terrorists. Our knowledge about specific terrorist organizations is so limited, and the bias against these organizations is so strong, that any attempt to engage into a civilized debate about this matter becomes a 2 sided shouting match (traitor vs fool)

Terrorist organizations exist for a reason, remove that reason and it will collapse. Look onto the IRA, as soon as a political compromise is reached the IRA disbands. Hell, look onto our Founding Forefathers. The US Revolution was completely based off terrorist attacks and guerilla warfare, with plenty of terrorizing going against both Loyalist and Revolutionaries. The initiation of armed militias against British soldiers and the pirating of British goods off the high seas by US boats was considered terrorist tactics durign those days, and the British retaliated in kind. Once the Revolutionary War spelled out American victory, these attacks against the British ceased.

Labeling terrorist organizations as "evil" is juvenile. The Protestants did that against the IRA, and that netted decades of bloodshed that in the end, could have been prevented. Backdoor diplomacy should be engaged more often. Diplomatic overtures should start once a rogue organization gains legitimacy through a fair democratic election (Hamas and PLO).

If Israel dealt with EITHER Hamas or PLO, the current bloodshed would have abated. After Oslo, violence between the Palestinians and Isrealis dropped. With the reneging of Oslo by Ariel Sharon, the 2nd Intifadah started. Israel invited the bloodshed, probably even provoked it, and gained legitimate reason to finally build the great Apartheid Wall and destroyed any hope for a stable Palestinian state. I would even go so far as to accuse Israel the fostering of Hamas, a much more radical group than the PLO.

With the invasion of Lebanon, Isreal further destabilized the region and jeopardized the 2nd true democratic arab country in the region, and legitimizes Hezbollah as a potent political force in Lebanon politics. Isreali actions have endangered US interests, and incited a further escalation into Islamic extremism. In addition, Isreal is creating a 3rd generation arab population with radical islamic tendencies and risk further destabilization of the region. Oddly, there is no American outcry of such blatant disregard of US interests within the US House, Senate, or White House.

Statistically, Isreal has killed at least 3 times as many arabs per 1 Isreali death, and one can almost argue a 10:1 ratio. Isreal has driven Palestine into destitution, forced Lebanon and Syria to deal with incoming Palestinian refugees, destabilized the whole Middle East through the fostering of islamic radicals with its pigheaded policy of arab exclusion and land stealing, and endangers US interests around the region. Isreal has disregarded numerous UN resolutions and has relied upon US vetoes on numerous other UN resolutions. If you ask me, this is THE PERFECT PETRI DISH for any radical group to pop up as long as they sign the song "death to Israel". American support of Isreal supports these groups' assertion that US is only looking out for Israel and is fair game for terrorist attacks.

For the continued US interests in the Middle East, I would propose the following:

1. Stop cuddling Israel, its a big boy with lots of fangs and probably has a couple of nukes under its belt. Its time to let go.

2. Stop giving Arabs an excuse to hate us. Deal with the Isreali-Palestinian issue as a neutral third party.

3. Stop building long term bases in Iraq, it only gives the impression that we are neo-imperialists.

4. Force the Israelis to stop their foolishness about that Apartheid wall. Pray that its not too late for the Palestinians to forgive Israel.

5. Stop giving free money to Israel. If other countries have to earn our money, so does this nation. Its rich enough in its own right anyways

6. Give Legitimacy to the Palestinion people. Either recognize Hamas or PLO (or Fatah if you like) and start giving them humanitarian aid, to BOTH West Bank and Gaza. Pray that its not too late for the Palestinians to forgive

7. Drive Al-Queda to the dust. No one likes them anyways. Shift our focus into rooting out the terrorists that attacked us and no one in the world would want them in their backyards.

8. Stop labeling people you don't like as terrorists. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard in Iran isn't a terrorist organization, its a legitimate Iranian military force. Labeling them as terrorists is just stupid. Catch a couple of Iranian Revolutionary Guards inside Iraq and claim them as terrorists as they have no business in there anyways. Labeling an entire military branch as terrorist is nonesense. Its like saying the US Marines is a terrorist organization.

9. Bush needs to stop making stupid statements about democratization of the world through military force. We tried that in Vietnam, it didn't work. We tried that in Korea, it only worked half way. The Marshall Plan worked beautifully in Europe without a war with Russia, and it was based off money.

I am gettign a little tired, so the last couple of paragraphs weren't as eloquent, but I think people will get my point

highwayscribery:

Good for you Vivian Salama. How can the cycle of violence end when those responsible for a portion of it are branded as "other" and beyond the pale? Far as the scribe can tell, Al-Qaeda wants U.S. bases out of Saudi Arabia. Not too a high a price to pay for "going back to what we were before 9/11," which Rudy Giuliani says we can never do. Why not? Why should we live in perpectual fear because you are too manly to talk with terrorists whom, by the way are other peoples' freedom fighters? Why should we vote for you when terror is your political calling card and ticket to power? Grow up. To a certain degree the terrorists have us over a barrel. Their tactics reflect our overwhelming might. We should talk and give them some of what they want. That's not appeasement. It's peacemaking.

American Observer:

Fred Bos said:

"....the Iraqi resistant fighters who just want their country back for themselves..."

American Observer replies:

Actually, your statement is nonsense. The Sunnis want to restore their rule over Iraq, and the Al-Qaeda want to create a regional conflict that will suck in Iran and Turkey and Saudia Arabia, and give them a chance to create 'a new Islamic Caliphate' and the rule of Koranic Law from India to Morrocco. The Shia, on the other hand, want America out of the way so they can get revenge on the Sunni for centuries of abuse. If we leave, the ordinary people of Iraq will die by the millions, but if we stay, Americans will continue to die to protect two races of vicious Arabs from each other. My conscience tells me to stay and protect the innocent, and my heart tells me to leave and let the Arabs feast on their own blood in their ancient manner.

Nauseous:

Countries like the US don't negotiate with terrorists because doing so legitimizes heinous terrorist tactics - murder, kidnapping, torture, extortion. So, we should provide these monsters a seat at the table and TRUST them as a good faith negotiating partner????

The only think that negotiating will get you is a bigger problem because now you'll have every radicalized organization out there recognizing that by threatening to destroy innocent lives, they can fulfill their own disgusting ends. You have to know that refusals to "negotiate" (and when has a successful terrorist negotiation ever been seen as anything other than one party capitulating to terrorist demands?) come at a cost - folks may die as a result - but isn't the cost of negotiating greater? You've heard the expression "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile," haven't you?

Isn't the use of terrorism inherently evil anyway? Why would we ever want to shake hands with the devil?

I mean, you don't have to be talking about a clash of Western and Middle Eastern civilizations here. All of this applies just as much to any conflict in history where terrorism was rolled out as a tactic. For all of you stuck in the Islamo-facist terrorism paradigm, there is no limitation on who uses and has used terrorism in history. Sheesh. Try Northern Ireland (Muslims were involved how, exactly?) Try Khmer Rouge. Try Cali cartel. Try KKK. I am sick and tired of hearing how Muslims are evil. There is good and there is evil, and there is mankind which chooses either or.

Hank Whatever:

During debate, Obama indicated he would negoiate with anyone. I think there are pre-conditions such as civility and sanity which are foundations to implication of civil order remedies such as negoiation.

Who does not like McCain except the Swiftboaters(well they would say they are just doing their job and no hard feelings). Point being old warriors understand violence and war like no others. There are alternative methods to ending conflicts. And even at that, cost effective regard was, "Hey we got troops in the region, why not invade Iraq ? ". In the long run, not one year as suggested, that may have been a cost defective decision.

I was amazed people said it was only a matter of time until Hussein Regime machine re-aquired wmds. Commerce dictated Iraq remain wmd free for civil, social and economic development of Iraq. And Libya successfully made the transition to a more globally acceptable society some years earlier.

Deducting from the chaos model, an expert today suggested that a draw down of troops is important to getting away from the occupier image. I fully support the idea of give and take resolutions. Except it flys in the face of political Cowboy contract and Diplomatic negoiations. That fact takes us back to certain higher orders of civility needed for resolution.

Fred, Bos:

2ndTour:

The writer above certainly did not mean to imply to negotiate with the resistant fighters.
What you have referenced here is the Iraqi resistant fighters who just want their country back for themselves as you would, if another country for no reason came and invaded you in order to loot your only natural resources you own.

Simple Observer:

Louis G. Davis - The primary reason for the failure of negotiations has been the absence of a fair broker. The US has repeatedly sided with Israel, or turned a blind eye towards their actions. The UN has been made impotent by repeated US vetoes or veto threats. None of the Arab nations are strong enough to act as a protective agent towards the Palestinians, or they are too focused on their own internal affairs to give them fair attention.

Had the US been even-handed, provided equal support to both parties, and enforced previously negotiated settlements, a lot would be different now. Much of the radicalization of the Palestinian population stems from the hopelessness of their economic and political situation. When there was hope for a settlement (immediately following the Oslo Accords for instance) there was a significant reduction in violence. As the hopelessness rises, so does the violence. Unfortunately, no less than 3 generations have grown up in the territories, and may be irrevocably radicalized by their abject poverty and lack of hope for a brighter future. It's hard to be willing to negotiate when you have no job, little food, limited chances for your children, and the constant threat of violence.

Asim :

Rory,
yah...yah..right...poor jews being drowned in the Mediterranean ...but no mention of the Palestinian children drown in their own blood...shed every day by the "holocaust survivors..."

Look my post above is a statement of facts that you can not challenge or contest by your recycled propaganda-that simple.

Louis G. Davis:

Ignoring the anti-Israel (probably anti-semetic) commentary here, if the Israeli-Arab conflict was resolvable through negotiations with Hamas, the PLO, or whomever, I am fairly confident that would have been done. If the parties want to come to some peaceful solution, that would have been accomplished. 50 years of this tells me that the extremists would rather have war than peace, and that there are enough extremists that negotiation has been, and will be, a failure.

Sorry folks, the Israel-Palestinian-Arab conflict is going to have to play out indefinitely, until a reformation occurs because people are tired of fighting. That is probably 100 years off at least. It is one of those situations where not only is there no easy answer, there is no answer that does not involve anniliation of one party or the other, which is just not going to happen. It will just take another 100 years to see that.

Louis G. Davis:

Ignoring the anti-Israel (probably anti-semetic) commentary here, if the Israeli-Arab conflict was resolvable through negotiations with Hamas, the PLO, or whomever, I am fairly confident that would have been done. If the parties want to come to some peaceful solution, that would have been accomplished. 50 years of this tells me that the extremists would rather have war than peace, and that there are enough extremists that negotiation has been, and will be, a failure.

Sorry folks, the Israel-Palestinian-Arab conflict is going to have to play out indefinitely, until a reformation occurs because people are tired of fighting. That is probably 100 years off at least. It is one of those situations where not only is there no easy answer, there is no answer that does not involve anniliation of one party or the other, which is just not going to happen. It will just take another 100 years to see that.

Simple Observer:

I'm forced to agree (in general) with logicaldoubtofhumansanity. Negotiations with a terrorist organization is a very dangerous game. It seldom leads to a fruitful outcome, and encourages the terrorists to repeat their actions.

Failing to negotiate with the Hamas-led government after the Palestinian elections, however, was a significant mistake. Once the organization became a duly elected entity, they had all the legitimacy they needed. Negotiation would not have provided more. It would have been a means of finding a peaceful, constructive means of dealing with Hamas. Instead, the US and Israel did everything they could to starve the Palestinian government of money. The impact on the common man was devastating, and only reinforced the commonly held belief that the US and Israel had no sympathy for their plight.

Nice going "W". Once again you proved the fundamentalists right. They won! Had you used some forethought, you could have helped those people and scored some points for our side.

Simple Observer:

I'm forced to agree (in general) with logicaldoubtofhumansanity. Negotiations with a terrorist organization is a very dangerous game. It seldom leads to a fruitful outcome, and encourages the terrorists to repeat their actions.

Failing to negotiate with the Hamas-led government after the Palestinian elections, however, was a significant mistake. Once the organization became a duly elected entity, they had all the legitimacy they needed. Negotiation would not have provided more. It would have been a means of finding a peaceful, constructive means of dealing with Hamas. Instead, the US and Israel did everything they could to starve the Palestinian government of money. The impact on the common man was devastating, and only reinforced the commonly held belief that the US and Israel had no sympathy for their plight.

Nice going "W". Once again you proved the fundamentalists right. They won! Had you used some forethought, you could have helped those people and scored some points for our side.

Druvas:

Logicalofhumansanity,very nice assesment. Everyone knows, even though this knowledge is usually wasted, that you do not negotiate or deal with terrorists. While Hitler was the Chief of a State, he was the ultimate terrorist. It took signing over a handful of other States to him before the powers that be had the moral courage to do the right thing which was fight him. Are we now going to hand over a few States to the militant Muslims to "appease" them? Probably, and it will all happen because the same camp (the liberals) that handed others freedoms away to Hitler will do the same thing to the Iraqis, Sudanese, etc. As far as I am concerned, if you are faced with a terrorist holding a hostage, you aim for the terrorist. If you hit the hostage in the process, you mourn for that hostage and his/her family. But, at least that terrorist is no longer alive to take another hostage.

FunTravelAdventure:

Yeah, get our foot in the door and throw in a couple of grenades.

Rory:

Asim, that is the most ridiculously one-sided description of the history of the State of Israel I've ever read, and I've been to Saudi Arabia. Yes, yes, it's always the Jews' fault. Wherever they go, from Russia to German, they are the root cause of all evils. Indeed, if we could just drive them back into the sea from "historic Arab Palestine" (but stop before driving the Arabs into the see also and replacing them with Romans) I'm sure all the Palestinian terrorists will immediately drop everything and become gardeners and podiatrists.

Back here in the real world, your very post is a classic example of why it is foolish to negotiate with terrorists: their world view is so laughably warped that you can't even be sure you are talking about the same thing. South Korea wanted its citizens back, while the Taliban probably think they now have a basis for a fatwa against any South Korean Christian who ever leaves South Korea (or, eventually, refuses to convert to Islam inside South Korea).

The root cause of terrorism is Islam, things like Israel and the invasion of Iraq are just temporarily convenient excuses. Giving terrorists what they want just leads them to demand something else - we've been down that road before and we know where it ends. Thankfully, unlike the Germans, no Muslim army has stood up to anything beyond a few fleeing Christian or Buddhist civilians in a hundred years, so we're just looking at more random car bombs and general thuggery.

2ndTour:

Go stand on a corner in Fallujah and negotiateand find "Some common ground." I've been there, Good Luck.

2ndTour:

Go stand on a corner in Fallujah and negotiateand find "Some common ground." I've been there, Good Luck. Idiot.

logicaldoubtofhumansanity:

Negotiation requires the recognition of legitimacy among the 2 parties, the good faith of both parties to conduct and behave in a civilized manner during the negotiation, and for both parties to trust that the final negotiated deal will be implemented. Do you see the problem already if a State starts negotiating with a terrorist organization?

A State that formally negotiates with a terrorist organization will, by definition, recognizes that organization as a legitimate organization. Therefore, a State that announces, as a policy, that it will negotiate with terrorists will not only legitimize them, but also elevate them.

In a terrorist held hostage situation - which now happens quite often, the State is in a bind. To formally negotiate would mean that the State is lending legitimacy and credibility to that terrorist organization, whereas not negotiating will endanger its hostage citizens. In addition, negotiation will also create the perception that the State is weak, and therefore it is possible to blackmail that State by continuously capturing hostages. Do you see the dilemma now? Its a lose-lose situation for the State.

For the terrorists, the goal is to force the State to negotiate. Killing the hostages further discredits the organization, and brings no further gain other than the "youtube moment". In a way, killing hostages is like destroying your pocket aces. If you force a negotiation, you win. If you kill all the hostages, you lose.

In these 2 situations, the final player is the State. It can either decide to negotiate, which will give the terrorists a win, or not to negotiate, which may screw both sides. The terrorists are completely dependent upon what the State dictates, and then it can decide to either punish the State by killing the hostages, a lose, or freeing the hostages - so that the organization wouldn't look quite as barbaric, a semi-win.

In addition, even if the State does negotiate, there is no guarantee that the terrorists will hold onto the end of their end of the bargain, allowing the hostages to go free, and therefore bargaining may not net the State any additional benefit

Your post is well thought out on the diplomatic side of the equation, after all without appropriate communication it is impossible to understand the demands of rogue organizations. I am presenting the side of a more... cynic view. I agree wholeheartedly that diplomatic relations should be more broad than the current myopic view advocated by this administration, but I would not endorse a total diplomatic shift towards terrorist organization either

As you can see, the options are stacked more against the terrorists if the State doesn't negotiate. The terrorists have 2 hard choices if the State refuses to play,

HeyYOU:

If the terrorists are in a room and all you can do is get your foot in the door. The make the most of it and use that foot in the door to lob a hand granade in. Take foot out of door. Wait for dust to settle. Repeat.

Andre of DC:

ASIM:

No, man. It isn't justice. It's power. The powerful do whatever they please. And the powerless are obliged to salute.

You keep being strong, brother!

VIVIAN:

Hey, Cutie!

Asim:

Vivian,
Whole heartedly agree with your analysis-but let us remember the background for the conflict:

Israel is clearly an Apartheid racist militaristic Jewish theocracy in Palestine with a brutal 60-year old military occupation of all of Arab historic Palestine. It is and those who support it are starving Palestinians to surrender and submission,incarcerating over 11,000 eleven thousand Palestinian men, women and children for no reason except resisting jewish occupation-as a collective puishement for freely and democratically electing HAMAS and Abbas too. American democarcy is not for export!!

The problem is that "Israel" never ever recognized the existence of the indigenous owners of Palestine: the Palestinian people.Golda Meir once said "What Palestinians?"

Israel never implemented a single UN resolution since its anomalous and questionable creation including 181 which created it-by devouring large chunks of the would be Palestine state in 1947.

Jews introduced terrorism to the middle east: Jewish terrorist gangs such as Haganah, Palmach, Shtern and Argun, lead by,among other jewish leaders,Menahem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir,Ariel Sharoun etc.. used extreme violence to ethnically cleanse Palestinians and destroyed over five hundred Palestinians villages to prevent their return as per UN 194-which 60 years later Israel still refuses to implement. Israel was built on and continues to survive on State terrorism.

No land or resources left whatsoever for a Palestinian state: Israel occupied 78%of Arab historic Palestine in 1947/8 and 22% in 1967 (West Bank, Gaza and most importantly Jerusalem which was built by the Canaanite Arabs long before there ever were Jews on earth) AND again Israel annexed-slowly but surely by implanting settlements in full day light- over 50% of the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem-leaving 10% of original Arab historic Palestine for a Palestinian state??? Is that Israeli justice?

What about israel’s Apartheid Wall built on Palestinian land and tore to shreds the very same Palestinian families and devoured their ancestral land? Is this justice?

Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and others were created in response to the extremely lengthy 60-year old brutal Israeli military occupation; Hezbollah was created in response to Israeli occupation of Lebanon from 1982 to 2000 when Israel was evicted by from Lebanon by Hezballah.

The issue is simple and clear: chronic brutal inhuman military Jewish Occupation of all of Arab Palestine for sixty years which have and continues to torment Palestinians and drive them to despair...

Justice is one secular democratic state -like the US-for all Arabs and Jews to replace the racist Apartheid exclusively Jewish militaristic theocracy. A regime change in “Israel” is urgently in order.

But what motive does israel have to live in peace? Non:its proirity is devouring land and it has the US support,money, arms,a nuclear arsenal,a divided Arab world world ruled by despots, AIPAC as well as forty three jewish members of congress.There is no motive for peace.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.