I don't for a second think that pudge's views are invalid. I disagree with them, but that doesn't invalidate them. Besides, I'm not naive enough to believe that most (or even many) people agree with me. From what I'm seeing, pudge represents mainstream opinion here.
What should we do? Well the US government can start by taking a long hard look at its policies over that last fifty years and work out just what it is they are doing that makes them so disliked in certain parts of the world. They can consider whether those policies are worth the risk that someone will react in the way that Bin Laden has. Pudge refuses to accept that withdrawing from the Middle East is a option. I think it should be seriously considered.
If it was a nation that was attacking you, then you might (only might) be justified in attacking them. But it's not. Destroying Afganistan won't help. Al-Quaida will still exist. Even if you capture or kill all the leaders, the beliefs will still be there. Others will take their place. Other organisations will spring up with the same agenda. Have you listened to these people talk? They have their own warped logic. The believe completely that they will win because they have God on their side. You can kill all of them, and the people that take their places will not have learned anything from seeing it happen. You'll only strengthen their resolve to carry out more atrocities. These attacks will achieve nothing other than enabling our leaders to say that they did something.
I didn't say that 6000 people had been killed in Afganistan. I only commented that there is no information in the Western press about how many might have died. Pudge believes that it will be a very small number of civilians. He obviously has far more faith in US and UK military intelligence and technology than I do. I don't believe half of the propaganda that we're fed about a) our ability to identify appropriate targets or b) our ability to hit only those targets once identified.
I can see that people's patriotism is very important to them, but I really can't understand it. I've never understood how people can get so attached to an artificial construct like a nation. And I can't see any positive effects of being patriotic.
Yes pudge, I did read to the end of your piece. And I do understand your arguments. I just can't agree with them. I'd just like to add that no matter what our differences are on politics, I have great respect for the work you do for Perl and appreciate the fact that we can have this debate in such a civilised manner. If we're all still here, I'll buy you a beer at the next Perl Conference.