Older blog entries for mjs (starting at number 103)

Here are some facts (with citations) I have attempted to dig up about Osama bin Laden's motivations (his organization being the prime suspect un the recent attack). Rather than stating my opinions (opinions just seem to get people mad) I'll let folks draw their own conclusion.

According to this article, the main thing that angers bin Laden is the US troops stationed in Saudi Arabia at the request of the Saudi government. He believes that Islamic scripture forbids the presence of non-Muslims in the Arabian peninsula (citations for this in Islamic holy writings I have seen include Hadith Vol. 5:716 and Qur'an 4366, but these were found on sites that aim to discredit Islam so I cannot vouch for how these verses are interpreted by Muslims in general). This is one reason his organization tries to destabilize the Saudi government and attacks the US military presence there. Second on his list of grievances is US support for Israel, and third are US alliances with the more moderate Arab governments (such as Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc).

In this rare interview, bin Laden expresses these views (all the references to liberating the Ka'aba are to the US presence in Saudi Arabia). He also seems upset at alleged support the US gave to the Serbs in slaughtering Bosnian Muslims; and later in the interview, for a plan he believes exists to split Saudi Arabia into three countries.

He also specifically includes Britain, along with Israel and the US, in the "crusader-Jewish alliance" that he opposes.

I strongly suggest reading the article and the interview to those interested in these issues.

(The reference to crusaders is particularly interesting since the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in 638 was used by the Catholic Church to instigate the Crusades, which resulted in the slaughter of many Jews and Muslims. An amazingly sad and violent part of history.)

yakk: I still find it ironic that you criticize US intervention in some cases and US inaction in others, whichever better suits your agenda of making the US look bad. Not that the US hasn't done bad things, but your comments paint a wholly one-side picture.

I have the US to thank in part for saving my grandparents from the Nazis and my parents from the Communists (if my family hadn't been able to come to the US my dad would have had a short and unpleasant career as a uranium miner in Siberia). And I am grateful for this, despite the fact that the US sold my country out to Stalin at the Yalta conference (I'm Polish by origin for thosw who don't know).

Maybe you should think about the fact that if the US hadn't entered World War II, Australia would be a Japanese colony right now.

And even right now, when broad, unjustified anti-Arab feeling in the US is at perhaps an all-time high, I would rather be an Arab in the US than an American in any Arab country.

While the US has made some poor decisions and done some bad things, I frankly think much anti-American sentiment in the world is jealousy. In particular, the casual anti-Americanism seen in countries such as Canada, Australia and France, even as they guzzle Coke, snarf down Big Macs watch American movies and make the US one of their top trading partners, is largely because these countries cannot stand their relative irrelevance on the world stage. I get by just fine without ever drinking Coke or eating Big Macs, so I don't think anyone is forcing them at gunpoint.

Or look at Mexico; there is considerable anti-Americanism, yet their top goals with regards to the US are to let more of their people come here and have more American factories go there (both of which I endorse, BTW - I believe in free trade and open borders, unlike many anti-globalization activists).

15 Sep 2001 (updated 15 Sep 2001 at 23:13 UTC) »

yakk: Good thing the US eventually decided to intervene and send military forces to Rwanda. Thank goodness for US imperialism.

I have a feeling the US won't want the help of anti-terrorism experts from a country that can't account for a good 5-10% of it's own nukes, but it's kind of them to offer.

update: Here is a good article about the whole Rwanda story. Thanks, telsa for pointing this out to me. A very sad story all around. (I didn't vote for Clinton. (Or for the current Bush.))

effbot: It's good to hear Sweden offered help.

aelman: We are a nation of heroes, and we prove that every time a natural or man-made disaster hits in our country. But that's the problem: in our country.

Actually, the US has sent volunteers, financial assistance and medical supplies to the site of nearly every major natural or man-made disaster in the world over the past 60 years. When is the last time you have heard of another country sending financial or human assistance to the US? The US has also interceded in many world conflicts that might have otherwise ended in genocide. I won't try to say the US hasn't done bad things in the world, but I don't think the balance sheet is nearly as one-sided as some people try to imply.

I won't bother to answer most of the other stuff posted here recently.

Do you, or links you are posting sound like this?

To everyone who is taking this tragedy as an opportunity to get on their soapbox and expound on his or her pet political issues: fuck you.

This includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • extreme views on gun control
  • the evil of multinational corporations
  • the evils of islam
  • the evils of religion in general
  • the evils of patriotism
  • smug, self-righteousness about how the US is a "hypocritical global bully" that has been rightly punished by "brave" people for its "imperialism"; especially when accompanied by a ghastly, barely contained shadenfreude ineffectually disguised by occasional claims of sympathy for the victims.

Please have some decency already.

That really sucked. I am also amazed that people can keep up a flamewar at a time like this. At least wait a couple of days.

I made dinner tonight for roommates Steph and Nick, and guests Mark and other Nick. The menu:

  • A chardonnay/sauvignon blanc blend wine
  • Carrot risotto with leeks and shallots
  • Asparagus with chantarelle and porcini mushroom sauce
  • For desert, gorgonzola and champagne grapes drizzled with honey
  • An after dinner drink of grappa for those who wanted it

It all came off pretty well, particularly considering that I'd never made risotto before.

In other news, I've been hacking on bonobo-activation, gnome-vfs and nautilus a bunch lately. It's pretty fun. GNOME is much more fun to work on without having any personal corporate baggage associated with it.

Only 4 days til I'm a quarter-century old. I should probably have a party or something sometime. The job search is proceeding,

I got a couple of new CDs today despite the overall goal of not spending money.

I guess life is pretty boring. Being unemployed sucks.

94 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!