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Thread: Random AI thread

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    Leading Seaman sailor jack's Avatar
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    Default Random AI thread

    Note to Mod: Trash this if you dont find it suitable for this forum, but I was just interested to see where things would go.

    The phrase Armchair Intelectual to me brings up images of on-the-spot, quick-fire, develop-as-you-go argument, not necessarily arguing for something you belive in, but just arguing for what comes into your head. My best experiences with argument have been in pubs whilst (relatively..) drunk, moving from topic to topic and occasionally finding a common theme or philosophy through the entirity of one's argument.

    So with this thread, I hope to create a similar environment, in which absolutely anything can be discussed and no-one can use the (oh-so-common) "lets not get off topic" excuse in avoiding a question or theme.

    I want to start the ball rolling with this: The Taliban has implemented a government in the Swat Valley region of Pakistan which has done more good than harm, freeing the people of the region from "an ancient fuedal rule" (Thomas Alitzer, in Slavoj Zizek's First as Tragedy, Then as Farce pg.7) which has created a huge economic boost to the region. Whilst the Taliban have been responsible for many Allied deaths in the Iraq/Afganhistan wars, it os important to remember that there are divisions within the group that we Westerners call "The Taliban" and that we must recognise the fualt of individuals and sub-groups, rather than the group as a whole. I have previously compared it to the IRA, where the Provisional IRA have carried out attacks not condoned by the Real IRA and vice versa (although I realise in both cases, neither group has demonstrated "acceptable" behaviour by Western standards. What are your views on the Taliban as 1) A terrorist orginisation. 2) A political orginisation. and 3) a military force.?
    Do you think their actions are legitimate, as a whole or when divided?
    YO HO YO HO

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    feel like funkin' it up gwahir's Avatar
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    Just stopping by to give this thread the Gwahir stamp-of-approval, so other mods don't trash it (just in case). I'm always willing to see out a new idea.

    what other mods?
    Last edited by coqauvin; 01-04-2012 at 10:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sailor jack View Post
    I want to start the ball rolling with this: The Taliban has implemented a government in the Swat Valley region of Pakistan which has done more good than harm, freeing the people of the region from "an ancient fuedal rule" (Thomas Alitzer, in Slavoj Zizek's First as Tragedy, Then as Farce pg.7) which has created a huge economic boost to the region. Whilst the Taliban have been responsible for many Allied deaths in the Iraq/Afganhistan wars, it os important to remember that there are divisions within the group that we Westerners call "The Taliban" and that we must recognise the fualt of individuals and sub-groups, rather than the group as a whole. I have previously compared it to the IRA, where the Provisional IRA have carried out attacks not condoned by the Real IRA and vice versa (although I realise in both cases, neither group has demonstrated "acceptable" behaviour by Western standards. What are your views on the Taliban as 1) A terrorist orginisation. 2) A political orginisation. and 3) a military force.?
    Do you think their actions are legitimate, as a whole or when divided?

    Has the Taliban committed any real terrorist attacks? And by real I mean situations across national boundaries where they claimed responsibility. I believe they terrorize their own people and Pakistan frequently, so in my opinion they are terrorists. As a political organization, they are absolute monsters. If you think Afghans have benefited from the Taliban because there is no "feudal rule," then I would ask you if a brutal theocracy is any better. However, when the Taliban was in control of Afghanistan, there was absolutely no opium production. Now with the US presence, Afghanistan has taken its place again as the world's largest producer of heroin. So maybe some would see this as a positive aspect of the Taliban, but I think the Afghans should cultivate the opium poppy because it is way more profitable than any other crop they could potentially grow. As a military force, their actions resisting the US are legitimate. Regarding other aspects of their military, I am no expert, but I am guessing there have been too many atrocities and religiously motivated be-headings and stonings to be legitimate in the slightest. Their military doctrine is probably based heavily on extreme Islam, which is perverted and 'justifies' all kinds of horrendous acts.
    Last edited by mrbazoun; 03-26-2010 at 01:22 AM.

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    Leading Seaman sailor jack's Avatar
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    I'm not suggesting they have improved living conditions for people in Afganhistan (their activity such as bombings in the recent General Election shows their terror being implimented in Afganhistan). But is Swat Valley different? Is it the same Taliban responsible for both the good and bad aspects of the regions governance or have we just created an unfair umbrella which includes a legitimate governing organisation?
    YO HO YO HO

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    Well I didn't know what Swat Valley was, so I Wikipedia'd it, and the first things I read were about how the Taliban "banned education for girls and have bombed or torched more than 170 schools along with other government-owned buildings" in Swat Valley.

    What were some of the good aspects of their capture of Swat Valley? I can't imagine there being many.

    In my opinion, any respectable politician or governor who associates himself with the Taliban is grouping himself with a terrorist organization. The Taliban has already delegitimized itself beyond repair, and nobody who has a choice should collaborate with them.

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    Leading Seaman sailor jack's Avatar
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    But that is my point. It isnt the politicians that are trying to be respectible that are bombing schools, its probably i minority within the group that chooses this course of action and unfortunately it is that minority which controls the group itself (in the eyes of the western media, which focuses on the extreme examples). The peasant majority of the Swat valley are extremely poor and the Taliban rule has removed the feudal system that was keeping the population so poor. Rather than the totally anti-Taliban approach which brings destruction to the area, would it not be better to treat them as a legitimate orginisation, negotiate, grant them their right to their own culture (sharia law, including not educating girls) for the time being to bring stability to the region and let them destroy themselves through gradual compromises?
    YO HO YO HO

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    Yeah, usually totally ignoring a group or country out of principle doesn't work out well. That's why I favor negotiations with Iran. I suppose it could be advantageous, but I don't think the US would look good doing it considering the Taliban is an ally of bin Laden who is still at large.

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    The Taliban actually severed all links with Al Qaeda and bin Laden in 2008 and 2009, so isnt now the time we have all been waiting for. Instead or western mandated regime change shouldnt we be looking for mutual understanding and regime cooperation?
    YO HO YO HO

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    I suppose so. But I doubt the Taliban will ever integrate into a democracy.

    Another topic:

    Is a totally laissez-faire government a bad thing? Surely some parts of the market should be privatized and run by the people, but what about areas like health care, or the pharmaceutical industry? Or maybe energy? Aren't some industries not designed to be run by corporations who will extort as much dough from the people as possible? Or do you think it's a slippery slope? That when some industries are socialized others will follow, and pretty soon we will be living in the USSR? I don't really buy that argument.

    Maybe the problem with American 'capitalism' is that it is anything but that. It could be that we have become a corporatist society.

    Corporatism - Political system in which power is exercised through large organizations (businesses, trade unions, etc) working in concert with each other, under the direction of the state.
    en.wiktionary.org/wiki/corporatism

    Here's a great video by the respectable Cenk Uygur titled 'The Difference Between Capitalism and Corporatism' - and I'm not sure how to make a hyperlink to YouTube without posting the actual video. Sorry
    Last edited by mrbazoun; 03-26-2010 at 01:20 AM. Reason: fuckin vids n links

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    Senior Member Syme's Avatar
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    On the topic of the Taliban in Swat: Before we start talking about how we should deal with them, let's bear in mind that it's not us who is dealing with them at all, but the Pakistani government. So sailorjack, your comment about whether "we" should be going for "Western-mandated regime change" is a bit off the mark. This isn't a question of whether the West or the US should institute "regime change" in Swat, it's a question of what approach the Pakistani government should take towards a part of their own territory where their effective control/authority has been usurped by a rebel group.

    So, with that noted, my own opinion would be that no, the Taliban in Swat should not be treated as a legitimate governing organization at all, and they should not be negotiated with or compromised with at all in the hopes that their rule there can later be gradually weakened or moderated. They should be removed--driven out, hunted down, exterminated--by the Pakistani government which has lawful authority over Swat district.

    If the Taliban presence in Swat existed with the popular support of the region's inhabitants, if it reflected the will of the people of Swat, I would be more sympathetic of the idea of negotiating with them. In such a situation, violently expelling the Taliban would probably be politically unproductive and perhaps counterproductive for the Pakistani government (it would probably do nothing but intensify the popular attitudes that invited/supported that presence in the first place). But as I understand it, the Taliban presence in Swat is not particularly popular, and exists largely due to the Pakistani government's bungling and it's ineffective policing of the northwest frontier province. As I understand it, the Pakistani government's weak grip on Swat basically allowed Taliban groups to begin opportunistically slipping into the district and setting up their own parallel local governments based on gun-law rather than any broad popular support. (To a certain extent, they enjoyed some popular support initially based on their Pashtun makeup and their imposition of Sharia in a what is a deeply religious region which the central government had not been serving well in terms of law and order, but most of what I've read has suggested that this popular support declined pretty quickly as people in Swat saw the full picture of what the Taliban are about.)

    Aside from the total inappropriateness of a national government coming to terms with a militant group which have taken advantage of government weakness to set up their own state-within-a-state inside the country's borders, I don't think that the basic character of the Taliban 'government' in Swat makes it realistic to hope that they'll eventually compromise or moderate themselves out of existence if temporarily catered to. This is an organization in which leaders or factions who are seen as too moderate or too willing to compromise are constantly being supplanted or hedged out or shifted towards irrelevance by more radical elements that stop listening to them when this perception arises. As long as the overarching Taliban movement is being supplied with radicalized young militants, this is going to happen and their local branches or affiliated groups are going to stick close to the more extreme end of the ideological spectrum. We can see this in the way that Sufi Muhammed (the guy who founded the Taliban group that took over Swat, no less) has lost influence and authority in the eyes of the younger fighters under Maulana Fazlullah as his views have moderated.

    This, combined with the fact that their ideology explicitly rejects most of the elements of modern states and societies, along with many things that most people (including Pakistanis) would consider elements of normal everyday life, suggests to me that trying to reach terms with the Taliban in Swat isn't a good policy for the Pakistani government. I'm not generally opposed to the idea of governments pursuing a negotiated settlement with rebel/insurgent/whatever groups in the interest of avoiding bloodshed and destruction, but in this particular case, due to the particularly radical and intractable nature of the group involved, I would say it's a dead end and no good would come of it. The Taliban have simply got to go, they have got to be beaten and destroyed.

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    Leading Seaman sailor jack's Avatar
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    Fuckin balls i forgot about this thread.

    But this is good shit and it should carry on.

    So all this talk about the Taliban in Pakistan is interesting, but what about al-Qaeda (Osama bin Laden)? Is the Pakistani government, or the ISI, complicit in harbouring a terrorist or is it criminally negligent? I believe the latter is probably true, but there is a nagging feeling at the back of my mind that simply wont believe it. bin Laden must have been in the country for a while for him to be so lost.

    I also see the US actions as moral crimes. What does this say about international security with regard to leniancy or blind eyes (blind like Pakistan with bin Laden?) and what is your response to Pakistan being elected as temporary members of the UN Security Council?
    YO HO YO HO

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    ))) joke, relax ;) coqauvin's Avatar
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    I have nothing to say except that I miss pansophist
    Quote Originally Posted by Nermy2k View Post
    yeah obviously we'd all suck our alternate universe dicks there was never any question about that
    Quote Originally Posted by Atmosfear
    I don't know if Obama did anything to make that happen, but I do know that he didn't do anything to stop me from blaming him.

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    A very manly muppet Mad Pino Rage's Avatar
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    Cool

    I really enjoyed reading the posts here especially Syme's, and I learned a lot about the Taliban.

    Quote Originally Posted by sailor jack View Post
    Fuckin balls i forgot about this thread.

    But this is good shit and it should carry on.

    So all this talk about the Taliban in Pakistan is interesting, but what about al-Qaeda (Osama bin Laden)? Is the Pakistani government, or the ISI, complicit in harbouring a terrorist or is it criminally negligent? I believe the latter is probably true, but there is a nagging feeling at the back of my mind that simply wont believe it. bin Laden must have been in the country for a while for him to be so lost.

    I also see the US actions as moral crimes. What does this say about international security with regard to leniancy or blind eyes (blind like Pakistan with bin Laden?) and what is your response to Pakistan being elected as temporary members of the UN Security Council?
    I am glad the American government was able to kill Bin Laden, but I don't know how I feel about how we went into another nation's territory with much of a notice or consent even if it would have compromised the mission. I really never thought of anything or knew much about Pakistan until this event, and as far as I would think there is heavy corruption in the Pakistani government because someone or some people high up had to know and protected Bin Laden.
    Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
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    Leading Seaman sailor jack's Avatar
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    I was going to post about the potentially upcoming peace talks, but then I saw some idiots urinate on some corpses and thought "ain't nothin' like peeing on dead guys to get the Taliban angry".

    But then I saw this: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...80A2D720120112

    Is this a sign of a more progressive Taliban (who are apparently aiming to set up a political office in Qatar soon)? Should we be seeking peace talks if the Taliban begin to reject militancy?
    YO HO YO HO

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    A very manly muppet Mad Pino Rage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sailor jack View Post
    I was going to post about the potentially upcoming peace talks, but then I saw some idiots urinate on some corpses and thought "ain't nothin' like peeing on dead guys to get the Taliban angry".

    But then I saw this: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...80A2D720120112

    Is this a sign of a more progressive Taliban (who are apparently aiming to set up a political office in Qatar soon)? Should we be seeking peace talks if the Taliban begin to reject militancy?
    I don't think so. I was going to say Burhanuddin Rabbani before he was assassinated, but it turns out he opposed them in earlier decades. I guess he was working on a peaceful arrangement with them.

    Burhanuddin Rabbani - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I'm interested in learning more about the Middle East, the religion of Islam, and a lot of people who opposed the Taliban. I find it kind of sad nobody really ever reports on the various other sides that oppose violent religious extremist. I found this guy, Ahmad Shah Massoud, to be an interesting read. Maybe if a lot people who worked with him and Burhanuddin hadn't been assassinated by Al Qaeda and the Taliban things would have been different.

    Ahmad Shah Massoud - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
    Albert Einstein

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