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News William Ayers interview.

  1. Nov 14, 2008 #1


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    So what's the big deal with William Ayers?


    Why is it such a big deal, other than of course to resurrect the politics of Joe McCarthy and demonize those that we don't agree with.

    I don't know exactly who the ABC nabob is that was pressing him so artlessly or whether he is looking to interview at Fox, but the presumption that knowing people in the neighborhood constitutes sharing ideological beliefs is on a par with that of the excuse for the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.
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  3. Nov 14, 2008 #2


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    It is a bit odd that ABC gave no credit to the interviewer.

    Edit; It was Chris Cuomo
  4. Nov 14, 2008 #3


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    McCarthyism was about demonizing people for their ideas. Ayers was a member of an acutal terrorist group that did real bombings and as he said, he is unrepentant and thinks they should have done more. That's pretty disturbing.
  5. Nov 14, 2008 #4


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    As he says it was a two way street.

    40K American lives slaughtered for what exactly? That was OK because that was US policy?

    And the students shot at Kent State? Those weren't terror acts? Those weren't the repressive acts of a Government against its citizens?

    I don't agree with his tactics in the least. But in the end the US Government didn't jail him for whatever his activities. His wife has paid her debt to society. They are citizens now in good standing.

    In the end there is no other way to see it than that trying to link Obama to Ayers is anything but an attempt to demonize Obama for the same thing that many were blacklisted after McCarthy - for doing little more than attending a meeting, or sitting on a community board directed toward inner city service.
  6. Nov 14, 2008 #5
    The attempt to connect him with Obama by saying "Obama has some connection with this guy... we can't tell you exactly what, but he's got a connection with this guy... and oh by the way his middle name is Hussein" was clearly invalid and was a completely despicable move by pathetically desperate Republicans who clearly demonstrated that any interest in morality spinelessly evaporates when their own interests get in the way.

    But there isn't any way to get around the fact that Ayers advocated violence to achieve his political objectives. Sure, he didn't mean for anyone to get hurt but obviously if anyone had they'd have been acceptable casualties.

    This is of course the same justification Bush used for the invasion of Iraq, that the people who would get killed - more than five thousand Americans, many Coalition troops, and tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Iraqis at this point - were acceptable casualties to achieve his objectives. Since Bush actually killed immense numbers of people, I would expect that anyone who has forgiven him for that would also forgive any of the Weather Undergrounders who never killed anyone except themselves.
  7. Nov 14, 2008 #6


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    Violence? ... Property crimes. A statue? Some steam pipes? Let's be careful to put them in perspective. Dangerous? Apparently only to them as they managed to destroy a townhouse in New York and wipe one group out.

    Within the context of the times it was far more symbolic than effective. And I can certainly sympathize without agreeing with their immature tactics given the fear that gripped many at the thought of being drafted to serve, only to be killed, in a war that so many felt was misguided, and ultimately was proven to have been.

    Should he have done more? Perhaps, though certainly not as far as bombing any more. Perhaps, if more people had done more in non-violent ways, then more would have been returned home, and fewer names would be carved in the Wall in DC and the world could have been a better place sooner than it became.

    But as to calling Ayers a terrorist, I'd say he was only a terrorist to an administration that was pursuing a foreign policy that tolerated no dissent, that was prepared to suspend the Bill of Rights, to order the people rather than lead them, to shoot them rather than tolerate dissent.

    What I find an interesting contrast is that those times also gave us Woodstock.
  8. Nov 14, 2008 #7
    the only thing i'm aware of that Ayers bombed was a statue. anything else?

    McCain, OTOH, actually participated in a genocide. and he can't ask for a pass on this because he was an officer. he even expressed regret for what he'd done after seeing the effects of the Forrestal incident, but kept on doing it anyway. i think that counts as unrepentant.
  9. Nov 14, 2008 #8
    Of course, since as you point out yourself...
    Three people got killed. I don't even get why you just tried to pretend it wasn't dangerous.

    Blowing things up to threaten people to achieve your political objectives. The logical gymnastics you'd have to go through to pretend that can't be called terrorism would not impress anybody nor persuade anyone of anything.

    The basic American mentality and values endorse a revolution against a tyrannical government, but there's no point in pretending it's not a revolution. Playing the mad bomber, even for the best of reasons, can always be called terrorism. Many acts taken by Americans during the Revolutionary War could validly be called terrorism.
  10. Nov 14, 2008 #9
    Okay, man, I think the Vietnam war was unjust and horrendous but it was by no means a genocide. You dishonor the victims of actual genocide to pull crap like this to try to win arguments on the internet. (Or IRL for that matter.)
  11. Nov 14, 2008 #10
    it was one of McNamara's quotes that defined it as such. i'll have to see if i can find it.
  12. Nov 14, 2008 #11
    Even if he said it that doesn't make any sense. There were a sizeable number of Vietnamese on both sides. It was essentially a civil war despite also being a proxy war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2008
  13. Nov 14, 2008 #12
    oh, you're saying the north don't qualify as an ethnic group.
  14. Nov 14, 2008 #13
    Yes... 3 of them got killed. Those were bombs, you know. But it's more dangerous to put a bomb in a crowded street than under some statue. Their goals clearly were to not harm anybody.

    Tell that to the people who were slaughtered in Vietnam.
  15. Nov 14, 2008 #14


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    I didn't say it was anything but an immature tactic. But to call it terrorism? It certainly doesn't meet my idea of terrorism. That term is overly broad and doesn't allow I think of the kinds of symbolic acts like blowing up a statute that is more an issue of expression of a political dissent than it was any attempt to terrorize. Because no one was scared by that.

    And so they killed 3 of themselves accidentally for their efforts. Hardly an act of terror.

    The whole attempt to characterize Ayers as a terrorist then as opposed to a radical dissenter - who resorted to inappropriate action as his expressions - I think has really been way overblown, and it has apparently been exaggerated wholly to concoct a more scandalous mud for slinging at Obama, who was neither ever involved nor has ever condoned any of it to begin with.
  16. Nov 14, 2008 #15
    I've never read anything claiming that the Communist revolutionaries were composed of a different ethnic group than Diệm's government, no. Have you?

    As far as I know it was a struggle between the existing government and a nominally Communist revolution funded by the Soviet Union who wanted to replace that government. Before widespread hostilities broke out they'd been calling for elections, among various other political activities.
  17. Nov 14, 2008 #16
    Like I said, neither were the the goals of invading Iraq to harm anybody. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    You know what genocide is, don't you? Twenty to thirty million Soviet citizens were killed during the Nazi invasion of Russia. Six million Ashkenazi Jews were killed in the Holocaust. One of them is a genocide and the other is not. Bloody slaughter of people is terrible and wrong but it does not make a genocide by itself.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2008
  18. Nov 14, 2008 #17
    I think it's exaggerated too. However, call it symbolic terrorism if you must but I see no point in trying to pretend that bombing public buildings for political reasons can't be called terrorism. It certainly wasn't just a prank or something and I wouldn't say it was immature; carrying out bombing campaigns like that can certainly achieve political goals.
  19. Nov 14, 2008 #18
    i'm not sure genocide only applies to ethnic groups, it also applies to cultures and belief systems. either way, whether the technical requirements of the term are met, the effect is the same. perhaps we can just agree to call it Terrorism.

    as for McNamara, he let the cat out of the bag
    McCain had himself been a part of Rolling Thunder, and he and other pilots criticized it.
    in fact, there was no attempt to take out hard targets for fear of provoking too strong a response. it all devolved into a tit-for-tat scenario designed to terrorize the people. in fact, it drove them all underground. this war on the civilians carried on for some time, with the government lying about the rumors of what was being done. not until this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phan_Th%E1%BB%8B_Kim_Ph%C3%BAc" [Broken] was published were they no longer able to deny it. now, the barbecued girl didn't happen until years after McCain was shot down, but he knew back at the Forrestal incident, just a few months before he was captured, that scenes like the above were what he was doing. in fact, his words:


    i think McCain genuinely felt bad about it all. i don't think he's evil at heart. but he must also have felt trapped and couldn't resign because of the dishonor it would bring to his family. but i'm convinced he realized what was going on.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  20. Nov 14, 2008 #19
    I don't think it is. I really think it dishonors (as in, the opposite of honoring someone - I'm not saying you're dishonorable) the memory of peoples that have been eliminated from existence out of hate to dilute the meaning of the term that way.

    Via Wikipedia, a quote from the guy who coined the term:
    Taking it to simply mean "really really bloody", which is then going to be used pejoratively all over the place, dilutes the meaning of it.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  21. Nov 14, 2008 #20


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    Irrelevant, because:
    Exactly. Two wrongs don't make a right.
    He is a citizen who supported and probably got away with crimes and wishes he had had the stones to do more. That makes him a bad person.
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