Is the War on Terrorism Worth It?

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Is the War on Terrorism Worth It?

  • Yes

    Votes: 18 56.3%
  • No

    Votes: 14 43.8%

  • Total voters
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  • #76
russ_watters
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You've completely ignored one of the points made in that last part (civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan), yet deemed it irrelevant.
That's not what I was deeming irrelevant in the post, but since you asked, yes, I see it as being irrelevant. Why do you consider it relevant?
 
  • #77
mheslep
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  • #78
Gokul43201
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It shouldn't need to be supported, Gokul, as it is common knowledge that there has been but one Islamic terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11 and that was by a homegrown terrorist (the Ft Hood shooting).
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

I don't know - as I said, it isn't resolved. But I suggest you ask Obama - he's still fighting those battles: warrentless wiretaps still happen, and 'Gitmo is still full of foreign fighters who have not had a writ of habeas corpus. At the moment, the reality of the situation is that the Executive Branch is driving the situation by ignoring the Judicial branch.
This doesn't change the question of their legality. They were ruled illegal by the SC. If the same practices are carried out by Obama, then they are still illegal.

That's not what I was deeming irrelevant in the post, but since you asked, yes, I see it as being irrelevant. Why do you consider it relevant?
I consider it relevant because I think the lives of these people has some worth.
 
  • #79
russ_watters
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This couldn't be further from the truth - Part I:
Well, "further from the truth" is quite a stretch, but I'll acknowledge the idea that the war on terror had somewhat of a role in the stated reason for going to war with Iraq (and that I'd forgotten it). I'll explain.
The following are reasons provided for justifying an invasion of Iraq (from the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002):
That may be how Congress saw the issue, but the person who sent us to war was Bush and he's the one who gets to decide why we went. Here's his speech: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/oct/07/usa.iraq

Without actually counting paragraphs, I'd say its probably 3:1 about the WMDs vs terorrism and much of the terrorism angle is also about the WMDs. Because of that, I consider it a relatively minor part of the justification, whereas later on, with the flood of foreign fighters, it dominated the conflict. Nevertheless, he does make the connection:
Members of Congress of both political parties, and members of the United Nations Security Council, agree that Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace and must disarm. We agree that the Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons.

Since we all agree on this goal, the issue is how best can we achieve it?

Many Americans have raised legitimate questions about the nature of the threat, about the urgency of action. Why be concerned now? About the link between Iraq developing weapons of terror and the wider war on terror.

These are all issues we've discussed broadly and fully within my administration, and tonight I want to share those discussions with you.
Ie, primary issue: wmd. Secondary and somewhat related issue: terorrism.
Let me also point out that in this text of the Iraq War Resolution, whereas the words 'terror', 'terrorist(s)' and 'terrorism' appear a total of 19 times, Mr. Hussein is mentioned a grand total of ZERO times. I think the administration wanted to ensure they could have their war even if Mr Hussein choked on an olive and popped off.
Well, no, that's not right. It may not name him, but it references "the current Iraqi regime" four times. It is interesting that they didn't name him, but it is clear that that's who they are talking about. Regardless, it was Bush's decision to go to war and Bush refers to him by name 23 times in his speech.

How does this affect the discussion? Well, it doesn't - I was just trying to be fair by separating it. Iraq turned out to be the easier of the two wars and the current state of Iraq implies to me very strongly a long-term success and that it will ultimately prove to have been worth it.

However, if you like, I can break apart my opinion this way:
1. Intel/police actions were a very necessary and successful part of the war on terror.
2. Afghanistan was a necessary and based on the strict goals of toppling the Taliban and rendering Al Qaeda unable to attack the US populace, successful.
3. Iraq was not essential to the war on terror, but it helped and was successful in all of its goals, including the ones not at all associated with the war on terror.
 
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  • #80
Ivan Seeking
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2935001 said:
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.
- Jed Bartlet :biggrin:
 
  • #81
russ_watters
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Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.
Seriously? What do you actually believe the reason is then? Have we been lucky that Al Qaeda hasn't hit us? Has Bin Laden (despite his statements to the contrary) lost interest in attacking us? There have been a lot of failed terrorist attacks on the US in the past 10 years, Gokul and I'm sure you know that. Why do you think there have been a lot of failed attacks and no successful attacks by al Qaeda?
This doesn't change the question of their legality. They were ruled illegal by the SC. If the same practices are carried out by Obama, then they are still illegal.
Well then I guess Obama should be impeached then, shouldn't he? Gokul, yes, the courts say that they were illegal (and if that's all you wanted to comment on, fine, but I think there is more to the issue than you are acknowledging) and generally it is true that when the court declares something illegal, it is, because that's its job. But when tangling with the executive branch, it doesn't always work out that way. And in those cases, it so far has not.
I consider it relevant because I think the lives of these people has some worth.
Ok....well so do I, but what does their worth have to do with whether our war goals were met?
 
  • #82
BobG
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Fair enough. It shouldn't need to be supported, Gokul, as it is common knowledge that there has been but one Islamic terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11 and that was by a homegrown terrorist (the Ft Hood shooting).
Not only is there no support for cause and effect, the facts aren't even true.

2002

Luke Helder places pipe bombs in mail boxes to protest government interference into people's lives and to protest illegality of marijuana. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luke_Helder

Egyption gunman shoots Israelis at LA Intl Airport. http://articles.cnn.com/2002-07-04/us/la.airport.shooting_1_el-al-gunman-yakov-aminov?_s=PM:US [Broken]

The Muhammad-Malvo Beltway Sniper attacks (I'm not sure this really qualifies as a terrorist attack since there was no goal)

2006

March: Taheri-azar drives his SUV into a crowd. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Reza_Taheri-azar_SUV_attack

Aug: An Afghani-Muslim drives his SUV into a crowd (whether this was a terrorist attack or coincidence that the rampage occurred at a Jewish Center is up for debate). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omeed_Aziz_Popal_SUV_rampage

2005/2007: Fake grenades thrown at British consulate/Mexican consulate in NYC (small explosion with lots of smoke).
2008: Bomb explodes outside empty recruiting station in NYC. (similar to consulate bombings)

July 2008: David Adkisson shooting at Unitarian Universalist church aimed at killing liberals and Democrats. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knoxville_Unitarian_Universalist_church_shooting

At least 8 attacks, which are pretty typical for terrorist attacks in the US. Attacks like the Oklahoma City bombing and the World Trade Center/Pentagon are very rare. Having two attacks of that magnitude in such a short time span is more coincidence than anything else.

Or, if you're limiting strictly to terrorist attacks by Muslims, then 2 to 4 attacks.
 
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  • #83
mheslep
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I'm an active-duty Army officer in a combat arms branch....
Yes I was aware of your service hence the Army FM reference which I knew would not be oblique to you.
I'm familiar with the operations FM and standard defensive doctrine. The US military is an offensive force. We believe the key to winning any war is to gain and maintain and never give up the initiative. Make the enemy adapt to you. Keep moving. Never present a static target. Yada yada.
Yes, check, I'm also familiar from years ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop" [Broken] loops are another way of explaining the rationale behind 'gain and maintain', 'keep the initiative', which require continual contact with and pressure on the enemy.

What I'm advocating isn't in violation of that.
I suggest what you advocate - Delta Force, counter terror ops launched from well outside the theater, etc - is a direct contradiction to the FM definition (and your summary) of offensive operations. By definition, special operators are not meant to 'maintain' anything. SOF are meant for short term, limited scope missions. And generally the greater the tactical distance from the target, then the shorter the term, the more limited the scope. SOF (DoD, CIA, whoever) are therefore an agile and fast moving tool to be used effectively in advance of a larger force. When SoF is used to hit and run with no larger follow up, if the enemy has any roots and resilience at all it will frequently resupply, reorient and regain the initiative.

We certainly need to go after Al Qaeda and any other terror groups that might launch an attack against US interests. That doesn't mean we need to invade sovereign nations that are thousands of miles away with ten divisions of infantry.
Ok, perhaps not. I agree the costs are enormous and there are terrible downsides. So, in lieu of, the US does what?
We have offensive counter-terrorism units in the CIA, FBI, and even the military that are trained to conduct surgical strikes (there's even a division of the US Treasury devoted to freezing and intercepting assets used to finance terrorism). Aside from doing that, it's a question of how to most effectively acquire targets. I think cooperation with worldwide law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies
Clearly the US had all these capabilities before 9/11, and used them, but surgical strikes did not stop 9/11. Such strikes killed innocents and leveled some irrelevant factories, but did little to slow AQ. By way of intelligence the US gained from the pre 9/11 operations, relative to what it knows today, next to nothing on AQ. I grant there's better coordination now between the FBI and CIA (I'm told), Patriot Act is in place, yada, yada. I doubt seriously if those alone account for most of the security difference.

We can turn Iraq and Afghanistan into the next Germany and the next Japan and that won't eliminate Al Qaeda. It might not even weaken them. They don't need the nations they operate from to be friendly to them in order to effectively operate from them.
We disagree. 9/11 did not stem from 19 disaffected guys that met online or at the local radicalized Mosque, who then in isolation traded some emails and some phone calls. Rather, it was derivative of years of training, financial network development, and materials acquisition based out of the AQ camps in the Sudan and Afghanistan - leadership development, morale building, inculcation, tactics - all took place there. Bin Laden actually wanted to return to Saudi Arabia to pursue his fantasies but the Saudis refused to allow him to operate as before and remain alive. So I suggest it is nearly impossible to operate a terror group at that scale without the tacit complicity of a local government.

Heck, just look at one simple metric. Since 9/11, terror attacks worldwide are up.
Hmm, not since 2008 or so, instead I believe they are down substantially, though I'd have to check world wide. I know the attacks in many places, e.g. Israel, are way down from 9/11 until now.

Here's another metric: Despite being the most wanted men in the world, with no doubt endless special operations forces and counter terror ops sent after them [*], Bin Laden and Zawahiri remain loose, probably somewhere in Pakistan.

*Woodward says Bush put all of his best people on an all out effort to find them before leaving office.

Terror attacks in the US are non-existent. It seems obvious to me that our military efforts have not eliminated or even weakened the ability of terrorist groups to plan and launch attacks. However, our domestic law enforcement and intelligence gathering efforts have very clearly born fruit.
The US now has a great deal of intelligence about the AQ network, the Taliban, the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Qadeer_Khan#Al_Qaeda_and_the_Taliban" in Pakistan that it did not possess, and I argue it probably never would have possessed in a useful time period, before the Afghanistan invasion. That intel gets much of the credit, my view, for the prevention of further attacks.
Everyone that tried to attack stateside was caught.
Well all the public knows is that many attacks have been thwarted and attackers caught, not that all attempted assailants have been caught.
 
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  • #84
Gokul43201
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Well, "further from the truth" is quite a stretch, but I'll acknowledge the idea that the war on terror had somewhat of a role in the stated reason for going to war with Iraq (and that I'd forgotten it). I'll explain. That may be how Congress saw the issue, but the person who sent us to war was Bush and he's the one who gets to decide why we went. Here's his speech: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/oct/07/usa.iraq
So Bush himself describes the invasion of Iraq as a crucial aspect of the War on Terror. I don't see how that does anything but help make my point. Incidentally, that speech has 34 instances of "terror*" and 32 instances of "*weapons*.

Without actually counting paragraphs, I'd say its probably 3:1 about the WMDs vs terorrism and much of the terrorism angle is also about the WMDs.
Alternatively, one could just as well argue that the WMD angle was also about terrorists (after all Saddam had no missiles capable of reaching the US, so the primary WMD threat to the homeland would have to be by propagation via terrorist groups). But this misses the point. The argument here is not about whether WMDs were the primary justification or terrorism was (and I will gladly stipulate that WMDs were the primary justification). The argument here is about whether the Iraq War was labeled as a part of the War on Terror from the very beginning or if that only happened much later.

To re-quote the statement made by CAC: "The Iraq War wasn't part of the War on Terror, it was a separate issue that later came to be tied in with it."


Well, no, that's not right. It may not name him, but it references "the current Iraqi regime" four times. It is interesting that they didn't name him, but it is clear that that's who they are talking about.
This is a secondary point, and my guess for the rationale behind not naming anyone specifically in the authorization is just that - a guess. Not naming Saddam leaves open the option of invading Iraq were someone like Uday or Qusay to take over in the event of Saddam's death or resignation or some other clever political play. Presumably, such a transfer of power would still constitute a continuation of the existing regime, so using the broader term "Iraqi regime" simply provides a broader set of options.

Regardless, it was Bush's decision to go to war and Bush refers to him by name 23 times in his speech.
Speeches are not legally binding, hence the difference. Also, if I recall correctly, the Authorization bill that was finally signed was almost identical to the original version proposed by the White House.


Seriously?
Yes, definitely seriously.

What do you actually believe the reason is then?
I shouldn't have to provide one to defend myself. The onus is on the person who claims that A, B & C helped reduce terrorism to demonstrate how each of them did. For instance, how and to what extent did the warrantless wiretapping help?

And even if I should want to, I couldn't tell you what the reasons for a reduction in terror attacks are (assuming this is true), nor can anyone else who hasn't done or looked at some careful multivariate analysis. I could at best make some guesses. But for the sake of argument, how about any one (or to be a little more general, some subset) of those actions by themselves was dominantly responsible, make the rest of them mostly unnecessary?

Have we been lucky that Al Qaeda hasn't hit us?
It's possible. After all, in Richard Reid's case, his fuse failed to ignite because the flight was delayed by a day and the rainy weather during the wait day got his shoes damp.

Has Bin Laden (despite his statements to the contrary) lost interest in attacking us?
Lost interest. Lost health. Biding his time, waiting for the heat to subside.

There have been a lot of failed terrorist attacks on the US in the past 10 years, Gokul and I'm sure you know that.
How many in the 10 years before that?

Well then I guess Obama should be impeached then, shouldn't he?
I don't know. Has Obama denied any US citizen the right to habeas corpus? Hasn't the warrantless wiretap program been modified by Congress and the new version judged to be constitutionally sound? Is any of this relevant to the discussion?

Gokul, yes, the courts say that they were illegal (and if that's all you wanted to comment on, fine...)
Cutting off your quote there as that is all I wanted. If I recall correctly, this is not the first time that CAC posted something about actions taken by the Bush administration that were given the blessing of the courts.

In this particular case, the quote I was responding to was: "The actions taken by the Bush administration involved a lot of careful thought and planning and were not easy to make, and have been subjected to the court system."

And my response was that they were found to be illegal by that court system.

Ok....well so do I, but what does their worth have to do with whether our war goals were met?
I don't know - that depends on what the war goals are/were. But their worth is directly relevant to whether or not "the War on Terrorism is worth it", at least in my opinion. I think civilian lives lost should be counted as a cost. Use whatever metric is generally used to determine acceptable levels of collateral damage, but don't dismiss it as irrelevant.
 
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  • #85
BobG
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Seriously? What do you actually believe the reason is then? Have we been lucky that Al Qaeda hasn't hit us? Has Bin Laden (despite his statements to the contrary) lost interest in attacking us? There have been a lot of failed terrorist attacks on the US in the past 10 years, Gokul and I'm sure you know that. Why do you think there have been a lot of failed attacks and no successful attacks by al Qaeda?
At least 3 or 4 and of about the same magnitude as the successful attacks.

Which is a very good record! How in the world do you put up a safety net that protects against individually planned attacks as simple as an SUV rampage?

There is some value to limiting the discussion to just major attack attempts that had some actual planning and organized al-Qaeda support. Once you do that, the number of data points is so small it's pointless to say our effort was successful because we prevented attacks for x number of years. We don't have enough attack attempts to say what the average amount of time between attacks should be.
 
  • #86
Gokul43201
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I wasn't saying Hussein was equivalent to Hitler in being a military threat to the United States, I was responding to the notion that the U.S. has made the West look evil by toppling Hussein.
Okay. I'm fine with that.

I wouldn't say President Bush was "trashing" habeas corpus, as Hamdi was captured in Afghanistan. That said, he still was a U.S. citizen.
Fine, I will accept a different verb. But I'd like to point out that one usually doesn't have to worry about governments blatantly violating the constitution in benign situations. Their mettle is only ever tested when the going gets tough. No one is likely to violate your first amendment rights if you are walking down the street and exclaiming what a wonderful day it is - the test arrives when you show up near someone's funeral and hold up hateful signs.

From what I understand on the issue, the Bush administration never considered that non-state terrorists are entitled to the Geneva Conventions, that only uniformed soldiers fighting in a declared war are. Non-state terrorists who disguise themselves as civilians to murder civilians violate the rules of war, and the Geneva Conventions never were meant to be applied to them (as the original purpose of the GC was to disincentivize violating the rules of war; if terrorists, who routinely violate the rules of war, are allowed GC rights, it completely undermines the purpose of the GC; it says to them, "Do what you want, you still get GC rights.").
My point is simply that the Supreme Court disagrees with the Bush Administration.

It isn't warrantless wiretapping per se from my understanding, but rather a surveillance program for international signals. If the government wants to wiretap a person, they still need a warrant I believe. Obama has continued this policy however.
You've actually just got the facts wrong with this one. The government was in fact wiretapping actual communications without a warrant from the FISA court. Congress amended the FISA Act in 2006, making it legal to wiretap without a warrant in certain cases, but subject to a new set of checks and balances. So no, Obama has not done what Bush did.

Yes, considering we don't know what the nature of the attack would be.
I don't see how exactly this supports your argument (but I suspect I may be misunderstanding). After all, if the next wave or terror attacks are all say, cyber attacks, how did our spending billions/trillions of dollars and losing thousands/millions of lives on the War on Terror help?
 
  • #87
mheslep
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Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.
- Jed Bartlet :biggrin:
Yeah could be. I'm guessing Krauthammer night before last (prompted) the use here. Gokul? :biggrin:
 
  • #88
Gokul43201
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Neither, but I am a bigger fan of Bartlett (or even CJ) than I am of Krauthammer! I used to run into Krauhammer every now and then on WaPo, but it's been a while now.
 
  • #89
CAC1001
"The actions taken by the Bush administration involved a lot of careful thought and planning and were not easy to make, and have been subjected to the court system."
Just wanted to clarify, in having said this, I didn't mean the Bush administration was ultimately right or legal on everything, but that it didn't (at least as I saw it) just decide to ride roughshod over the Constitution. It had to think carefully on what it was doing, and the system of checks and balances in our government immediately went to work, with the courts shooting down certain things of the Bush administration, the wiretapping/surveillance program being modified, the Patriot Act being reviewed and debated and modified in certain ways, etc...

Fine, I will accept a different verb. But I'd like to point out that one usually doesn't have to worry about governments blatantly violating the constitution in benign situations. Their mettle is only ever tested when the going gets tough. No one is likely to violate your first amendment rights if you are walking down the street and exclaiming what a wonderful day it is - the test arrives when you show up near someone's funeral and hold up hateful signs.
True.

You've actually just got the facts wrong with this one. The government was in fact wiretapping actual communications without a warrant from the FISA court. Congress amended the FISA Act in 2006, making it legal to wiretap without a warrant in certain cases, but subject to a new set of checks and balances. So no, Obama has not done what Bush did.
Is not President Obama continuing the wiretap program?

I don't see how exactly this supports your argument (but I suspect I may be misunderstanding). After all, if the next wave or terror attacks are all say, cyber attacks, how did our spending billions/trillions of dollars and losing thousands/millions of lives on the War on Terror help?
Well as said I didn't consider invading Iraq as necessary to fighting the War on Terror. But I would consider the "War on Terror" to include fighting all aspects of terrorism, from bombs to cyber.

Neither, but I am a bigger fan of Bartlett (or even CJ) than I am of Krauthammer! I used to run into Krauhammer every now and then on WaPo, but it's been a while now.
I see Krauthammer on Fox News a lot and read his columns, who is CJ?
 
  • #90
CAC1001
Prior to the invasion of Iraq, there were only two true democracies in the Middle East: Lebanon and Yemen. In fact, they're two of the half-dozen countries ever to resolve a civil war by the opposing parties sharing power in a democracy.
Isn't Israel a liberal democracy...? Or is Israel different in somehow, or not part of the Middle East...? :confused:
 
  • #91
Ivan Seeking
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...who is CJ?
She was the White House Press Secretary under President Bartlet.

westwing04.jpg
 
  • #92
CAC1001
Ivan I don't get/understand your post...???
 
  • #93
Ivan Seeking
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Ivan I don't get/understand your post...???
:biggrin: CJ Cregg was the name of the character I mentioned, in a TV show called The West Wing, which was a show about a highly intelligent Democratic President Barltet, and the magical land where Democrats and Independents went to live when Bush was President.

The logical fallacy, post hoc, ergo propter hoc, was the theme and title of one episode.
 
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  • #94
BobG
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Isn't Israel a liberal democracy...? Or is Israel different in somehow, or not part of the Middle East...? :confused:
They're different somehow.

The reply was to a post that inferred that people in the Middle East would reject Islam if only they lived in a democracy and had a choice. That Middle East governments imposed a culture on Middle East people; that Middle East people would not choose that type of culture given a choice.

Or maybe I should have included Israel. If people really would reject Islam given the choice, then a single combined Israeli/Palestinian state should be no problem even if Palestinians outnumbered Israelis.

Or, perhaps, even if Palestinians weren't Islamic, you'd still have a problem in that Palestinians are Arabs. Maybe there's more to Arabic culture than just their religion.
 
  • #95
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No it is not after all Terrorism is an idea not some thing that you have to fight

Only education and Hope can stop it not war and advance arsenal

After all ideas are bullet proof

For example where I came from only 4% of people have university degree

That make them venerable to bad influence

Ok

Education what we can do

Start in the school support the teachers[ who have a university degree] financially and that will make them capable to do some damage to the idea of terrorism
 
  • #97
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Yes, a War on Terrorism is worth it. No, a 'Tip-toe around the issue and try to please both sides while Infantryman die on the ground due to lack of support' on Terrorism, is not worth it.
 

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