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UPDATE 11-Two Russian Planes Crash, Attack Feared
Reuters ^ | Wed Aug 25, 2004 03:44 AM ET August 25, 2004 03:44 EST | Oliver Bullough

Posted on 08/25/2004 3:44:35 AM PDT by mondoman

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Two Russian passenger planes crashed almost simultaneously late on Tuesday killing all 90 on board, and security officials said they were investigating a possible terrorist attack.

The planes disappeared from air traffic controllers' radar screens within minutes of each other and one, carrying 46 passengers and crew, sent a hijack alarm before crashing near the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.

President Vladimir Putin ordered the FSB security service to investigate the crashes, which came before Sunday's presidential election in Chechnya where rebel separatists have threatened to disrupt the poll with violence.

"The fact that both planes took off from one airport and disappeared from radars around the same time can show it was a planned action," the Interfax news agency quoted an aviation source as saying.

"In such a situation one could not exclude a terrorist act."

Witnesses on the ground heard an explosion on board the second plane, a Tu-134 carrying 44 passengers and crew, just before it crashed near Tula, 90 miles south of Moscow.

There were no foreigners on board the planes, which both took off from Moscow's Domodedovo airport.

"Around 11 p.m. (1500 EDT), give or take five minutes, there was this strange noise in the sky, then this torn-up book fell onto our garage," a local man told NTV television, holding up the book with its tattered pages.

HIJACK REPORT

News agencies quoted security officials saying they could not rule out a terrorist act, while Rostov prosecutors opened a criminal probe into the crash of the Sibir Airlines Tu-154 en route to the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"A minute before the plane disappeared from the radar screens the interior ministry received a report from an air traffic controller that there had been an attack on the crew," Interfax quoted an Interior Ministry official as saying.

A Sibir spokesman said: "We are considering an act of terror as one possibility, especially after we received an automatically generated telegram from the Sochi air control center that the plane had been hijacked."

CHECHEN VIOLENCE

The incidents came against a backdrop of mounting violence in Chechnya, where Moscow has been battling separatists for a decade. Rebels launched a major raid in the local capital Grozny last week and have promised more attacks.

Moderate Chechen separatists denied any role in the crashes.

"Our government has nothing to do with terrorist attacks. Our attacks only target the military. This is part of the Russian propaganda plan to besmirch the struggle of the Chechen people," Farouq Tubulat, a spokesman for Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov, told Al Jazeera television.

The plane which crashed near Tula, operated by Volga-Aviaexpress, came down after nearly reaching its cruising altitude. The company said the plane was in good shape and its passengers had undergone all necessary security checks.

"I rule out pilot error, because even in the most serious conditions which can affect this kind of plane, such as loss of control or fire, the crew always has time to pass on information to the ground," Yuri Dmitriev, director of Volgograd airport, told Russia's First Channel television.

An Emergencies Ministry spokeswoman said there was no chance of anyone surviving as the plane fell from 30,000 feet. Wreckage was spread over several miles with some pieces about the size of a car, TV footage showed.

Three minutes after the Volga-Aviaexpress Tu-134 crashed, air traffic controllers lost contact with the Sibir Tu-154. Its wreckage was not found until Wednesday morning.

Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu told Russian television that nearly all of the victims' bodies had been found, and flight recorders from both planes had been recovered.

He did not speculate on the causes of the crashes, but said Putin was being fully briefed on the crash investigation.

(Additional reporting by Maria Golovnina in Moscow and Miral Fahmy in Dubai)


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Russia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: chechnya; putin; russianplanes; sochi
Surprised there isn't more here in FR about this. This is truly a Global War.
1 posted on 08/25/2004 3:44:36 AM PDT by mondoman
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To: mondoman
This is truly a Global War.

The Chechen's have every right to despise Moscow. Russia has virtually annihilated Chechnya.

The fact that the Islamists have entered the picture is the problem.

2 posted on 08/25/2004 3:48:05 AM PDT by zarf
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To: mondoman

There are numerous threads on this, none active, apparently.


3 posted on 08/25/2004 3:48:16 AM PDT by js1138 (Speedy architect of perfect labyrinths.)
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To: Howlin; Ed_NYC; MonroeDNA; widgysoft; Springman; Timesink; dubyaismypresident; Grani; coug97; ...
You missed all the other threads on this, then.

Welcome to World War IV.

Just damn.

If you want on the list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...

4 posted on 08/25/2004 3:50:38 AM PDT by mhking (Why is every city in Iraq a "Holy City?")
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To: js1138

the original thread had about 400 responses, I cannot find it now.


5 posted on 08/25/2004 3:54:36 AM PDT by hadaclueonce (shoot low, they are riding Shetlands.....)
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To: hadaclueonce

Over on the Breaking News sidebar.


6 posted on 08/25/2004 3:55:58 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: hadaclueonce

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1198852/posts


7 posted on 08/25/2004 3:56:36 AM PDT by js1138 (Speedy architect of perfect labyrinths.)
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To: mondoman

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1198777/posts


8 posted on 08/25/2004 3:59:18 AM PDT by js1138 (Speedy architect of perfect labyrinths.)
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To: mhking
Welcome to World War IV.

I prefer Crusades II.

9 posted on 08/25/2004 4:00:03 AM PDT by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: mondoman

Chechnya = Sunni Muslims = terrorists = separatists = Islamists = Islam = murderers = subhuman scum.

Backgrounder:

http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Chechnya.asp


10 posted on 08/25/2004 4:00:51 AM PDT by 7.62 x 51mm ( Veni Vidi Vino Visa "I came, I saw, I drank wine, I shopped")
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To: mondoman

Not to worry. If Kerry is elected he will hunt these terrorists down and arrest them.


11 posted on 08/25/2004 4:01:06 AM PDT by Casloy
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To: zarf

< The Chechen's have every right to despise Moscow. >


I'm sorry. A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist...


12 posted on 08/25/2004 4:08:33 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (Those who preach tolerance seem to have the least for my views.)
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To: mhking

I hope this persuades the Russians to stop opposing us in the UN Security Council every time we go to bat against our enemies. If we could add Japan and/or India to the Council it might tip the balance in our favor to some extent. It's time for the free world (new members included) to realize that we have to crush this business before China gets any ideas about how weak our resolve is.


13 posted on 08/25/2004 4:22:31 AM PDT by risk ("Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error." --Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Casloy

"Not to worry. If Kerry is elected he will hunt these terrorists down and arrest them."

That's right - just like Clinton did.


14 posted on 08/25/2004 4:22:32 AM PDT by Old Grumpy
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To: mondoman

There is a lot here about the War on Terror.

Is this the same Russia that opposed our going into Iraq to fight the terrorists that havenow crashed two of their planes?


15 posted on 08/25/2004 4:23:04 AM PDT by stockpirate (Real issue is Kerry attended meeting where VVAW discussed killing 7 US Senators! 11/71)
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To: mondoman

I'm so sorry for the Russian people. They have my deepest sympathies. Take care, and may you find all the courage and strength you need to handle yourselfs in the coming days.


16 posted on 08/25/2004 4:26:59 AM PDT by risk ("Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error." --Thomas Jefferson)
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To: stockpirate

What, the USA went to Iraq to fight Chechens ? Because it's most probably Chechen groups that are behind these attacks...


17 posted on 08/25/2004 4:41:04 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend
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To: PBRSTREETGANG
I prefer Crusades II.

I've been calling it aAmerican-Islamic war III.

18 posted on 08/25/2004 4:59:35 AM PDT by magslinger (Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous. Thucydides)
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To: mondoman

I'm not so sure. Moscow's main airport Sheremetyevo, is run by the Russian mafia and was a complete disaster the last five times I flew out of it. Domodedovo is an up and coming competitor, and many airlines, sick of the Mafia's influence and cost, were trying to move flights to Domodedovo. I can see this as a warning to the airlines that are moving flight from SVO.


19 posted on 08/25/2004 5:00:16 AM PDT by rebel_yell2
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To: Casloy
Not to worry. If Kerry is elected he will hunt these terrorists down and arrest them.

Or maybe if Kerry is elected he will hunt these terrorists down and scold them.

20 posted on 08/25/2004 5:06:23 AM PDT by libertylover (The Constitution is a road-map to liberty. Let's start following it again.)
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To: mondoman
"...then this torn-up book fell onto our garage"

A garage? Must have been in the hoitski-toitski side of town.

21 posted on 08/25/2004 5:09:19 AM PDT by Hatteras
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To: Atlantic Friend

I read the article and I think I remember it saying that there are Muslums involved and terrorists.

You see terrorists are terrorists. Just like the Vietnam Veterans Against the War was a terrorist group, John Kerry's VVAW.


22 posted on 08/25/2004 5:15:08 AM PDT by stockpirate (Real issue is Kerry attended meeting where VVAW discussed killing 7 US Senators! 11/71)
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To: risk
risk wrote:

I hope this persuades the Russians to stop opposing us in the UN Security Council every time we go to bat against our enemies.

Yes, but it would be nice if we could return that favor.

If my memory serves me well, we've hammering the Russians with bilious rhetoric about their conduct in Chechnya the whole ten years.

Consider.

All the other former Soviet Republics declared their sovereignty without firing a shot.

What was different about Chechnya?

Why, Islam, of course.

The institution of Sharia law followed soon thereafter by the beheadings of Russian Orthodox and Catholic priests, protestant pastors, and missionaries.

There was also an upturn in the oppression of the Jews to far greater than former Soviet levels.

The Taliban from Afghanistan were active in Chechnya and enflamed their hatred of the Russians.

23 posted on 08/25/2004 5:18:40 AM PDT by Westbrook
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To: mondoman

Putin won't screw around. The Ruskies usually don't.

When I was in Kuwait in 99 and 00' we used to watch the Russians lob missiles into Chechnya.

I have a feeling that it will be raining hell on them again soon.

Hopefully this will cause the Russians to rethink their nuclear assistance to Iran.


24 posted on 08/25/2004 5:23:12 AM PDT by TSgt (What have you done for your country today?)
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To: MikeWUSAF

Find out who did and take out thier family's house and lock up the relatives....


25 posted on 08/25/2004 6:10:44 AM PDT by fooman (Get real with Kim Jung Mentally Ill about proliferation)
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To: fooman

Speaking of their family's house, this just in from Debka suggests Putin's vacation home may have been targeted:

"Russian president Vladimir Putin was faced with a tough dilemma early Wednesday, August 25: to shut down all of Russia’s airports and air space, or clear only the skies over the main cities, like Moscow and St. Petersburg, to prevent a 9/11 type assault.

By morning it was apparent that the two airliners which crashed within minutes of each other after takeoff from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, one bound for Volgograd the second for the Black Sea resort of Sochi, had been hijacked by terrorists. None of the 89 people aboard survived. Among them were 5 members of Russia’s Federation of Jewish Communities. Both pilots had sent hijack distress signals before their craft disappeared from radar. Russian security service sources, in their first reaction over Russian TV Wednesday, characterized the disaster as typical of al Qaeda’s mode of operation.

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources believe, in fact, that the Tupolev-154 which blew up in mid-flight near Rostov was destined for Sochi, further to the south, where Putin was vacationing at his holiday residence. The first doomed craft, a Tuopolev-134 that crashed near Bushelaki in the Tula province may also have been originally aimed at a Russian city and not made it.

Putin finally opted to clear the airspace over Russia’s main cities, not the whole country, on the assumption that the two-plane assault was the end of the current terror offensive. He hoped that the announcement of tightened security at Moscow’s airports would put off any more terrorists who might be heading there for further air hijacks. Russian Air force fighters scrambled to patrol skies across the country, armed with unpublished orders to shoot down any identified aircraft, even if it was a passenger plane. In addition, Moscow quietly asked neighboring Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to go on counter-terror air alert.

This request found the Central Asian republics well prepared already after receiving intelligence of an al Qaeda cell having infiltrated from Iran to unleash a campaign of violence on the lines of the offensive terrorizing Iraq.

DEBKAfile’s sources add that Russia’s overnight emergency triggered elevated levels of security at the international airports of Europe and Israel, focusing mainly on passenger planes incoming from Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Israel’s Ben Gurion airport security is also carefully screening flights from eastern and southern Europe, Turkey, Hungary and Bulgaria.

The United States too, three weeks after raising terror alerts in New York, Washington and New Jersey over a threat to its financial sector, has also instituted extra-special precautions. American security authorities decided to be on the safe side and act as though the Moscow hijackings were the start of a series in places other than Russia, especially in view of their timing – four days before Chechnya’s presidential election on Sunday, August 28 and five days before the Republican National Convention opens in New York to nominate President George W. Bush as party’s presidential candidate and Vice President Richard Cheney his running mate.

Al Qaeda has issued threats against both events.

US intelligence branches and its homeland defense department have been placed on the ready and air and naval patrols stepped up over and around American cities and seaports.

Putin’s decision may turn out to have been a dangerous gamble. Russia’s vast expanse is dotted with a myriad easy targets including hundreds of small airfields with scant security, thousands of railway stations, river boats and ferries. None are adequately protected against terrorists.

Putin and his security advisers will have correctly assumed that the big cities would most attract the terrorists. But this does not mean that out-of-the-way locations will not be targeted in the coming hours or days – if only in to catch the world’s security services unawares.

Whereas an unknown number of al Qaeda sleeper cells are known to have penetrated the United States and Canada, Russia is hemmed in on all sides by major al Qaeda networks, the largest based in the breakaway province of Chechnya. It is supported by Chechen and Muslim followers who live in many parts of Russia, providing an army of spies and terror operatives already in place.

The terrorists also count on Russian security services’ responses to terror being cumbersome and slow. Tuesday afternoon, a small explosive charge blew up at a bus stop on the road to Domodedovo airport, injuring three people. Witnesses at the airport describe the security authorities’ response as hysterical and muddled, which the hijackers must have exploited to slip through to the targeted airliners. The small blast should have prompted the sealing off of the airport and its approaches and flight cancellations for redoubled checks - as would have happened in New York or London. National security services might also have been expected to assume responsibility at Domodedovo from the private firm in charge there, although Russian security is reputed to be so riddled with corruption that terrorists have an easy time operating anywhere in Russia, including Moscow.

Security services in the West are now braced to see whether the double airline attack in Russia is followed by sequels anywhere else."


26 posted on 08/25/2004 6:21:54 AM PDT by Quilla
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To: mondoman
Surprised there isn't more here in FR about this. This is truly a Global War.

10 days ago a GIGANTIC underground salt dome used to store natural gas exploded right outside of Houston. I haven't seen anything on that ANYWHERE!

27 posted on 08/25/2004 6:42:17 AM PDT by houeto
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To: mondoman
Salt dome explosion!

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2751331

28 posted on 08/25/2004 6:46:43 AM PDT by houeto
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To: mondoman
Underground natural gas dome still burning. Flames ONLY 300 FEET TALL now. Down from 1000 foot tall!

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2751331

29 posted on 08/25/2004 6:49:17 AM PDT by houeto
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To: stockpirate

The Chechens are also heavily into mob schemes in Russia.
Hard to know whether this kind of action is payback for Russia's quasi-leveling of Chechnya (1 million supposed dead out of a population under 10 millions), Islamic terrorism against Western (or pro-Western) interests, or Chechen maffia turf.


30 posted on 08/25/2004 7:01:47 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend
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To: leadpenny

thanks, that was the only article I saw posted on this subject this morning.


31 posted on 08/25/2004 7:46:38 AM PDT by mondoman (The lack of Investigative reporting of John Kerry's Viet Nam Claims are ALL George Bush's Fault!)
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To: Atlantic Friend

9 million to go...


32 posted on 08/25/2004 7:48:16 AM PDT by null and void (KERRY'S A POODLE: He's French, A Rich Lady's Pet, Won't Protect You, and Spends lots on grooming...)
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To: Quilla

Back when Afghanistan was still at the top of the news, there was a discussion of the terrorists cells that might lose communication with AQ if we went after their leaders.

One interesting point was that the people who had been trained in Afghanistan would be gettin rusty if they were not used. Their skills would diminish with time, and the lack of communication would prevent them from updating their strategies.


33 posted on 08/25/2004 7:52:36 AM PDT by js1138 (Speedy architect of perfect labyrinths.)
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To: js1138

I would not be surprised if Russia soon reports that they have examined the wreckage and determined that the crashes were not due to terrorism.


34 posted on 08/25/2004 7:54:26 AM PDT by TBall
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To: TBall

I would be surprised. It's like two TWA 800s in three minutes.


35 posted on 08/25/2004 7:59:52 AM PDT by js1138 (Speedy architect of perfect labyrinths.)
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To: TBall

OK, i'm surprised.


36 posted on 08/25/2004 8:00:39 AM PDT by js1138 (Speedy architect of perfect labyrinths.)
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To: js1138

LOL, well at least the Russians do it in such a way that they know that you know they are lying.


37 posted on 08/25/2004 8:03:10 AM PDT by TBall
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To: null and void

Sorry, I won't bite this genocide bait.


38 posted on 08/25/2004 8:48:09 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend
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To: Atlantic Friend

No problem.

BTW, when they take over your country, they will eliminate viniculture as alcohol violates sharia law...


39 posted on 08/25/2004 9:03:47 AM PDT by null and void (KERRY'S A POODLE: He's French, A Rich Lady's Pet, Won't Protect You, and Spends lots on grooming...)
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To: null and void

Most certainly. But if it comes to invading my country, I guess I'll have more pressing matters than to just save the Saint Emilion grapes.


40 posted on 08/25/2004 9:07:44 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend
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To: Atlantic Friend

Indeed. Banning headscarfs is an effective first step, no?


41 posted on 08/25/2004 9:11:37 AM PDT by null and void (KERRY'S A POODLE: He's French, A Rich Lady's Pet, Won't Protect You, and Spends lots on grooming...)
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To: null and void
Banning headscarves is a step in the right direction, yes, as long as we're talking integration and not competition.

The way I see it, granting the headscarf recognition will lead to granting special classes for Muslims (because they could be shocked by gym, biology, and even History), which will lead in special powers granted to Muslim clerics, which will lead in the demise of this here Republic.

Should I live under your roof, I'd have to abide to your rules, and that is only fair. Should I begin to say, "heck, I live there, too, so I should have my say about how this house is kept and about which rules to abide", then it'd be high time to explain a few things to me, like how it's going to hurt me when you press the trigger.
42 posted on 08/25/2004 9:19:41 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend
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To: Atlantic Friend

YOU get it. I fear too many of your countrymen don't.

Time will tell. It's going to be a rough ride for civilization.


43 posted on 08/25/2004 9:28:00 AM PDT by null and void (KERRY'S A POODLE: He's French, A Rich Lady's Pet, Won't Protect You, and Spends lots on grooming...)
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To: null and void
Yes, it sure will be. To many people we are living the 1930s all over again. While this might be a sobering prospect, I also think that, if it's true, it has its silver lining.

You know, I read a lot about French politics before WW2. Basically, the country was run by a totally inept group of politicians, and only held together because of the corps of the civil servants maintained the internal structures of the Third Republic. Citizens despised the politicians, who could care less about the shadows stretching all over Europe because they were too busy playing their little games of power.

WW2 was catastrophic for France, economically. The country was occupied, and this means looted by the German war machine. But politically, I always found it was remarkable as how the political elites had been removed from office. A small minority was tainted by the collaboration with the Nazis, and was eliminated.

But even the vast majority of democratic bigwigs got booted out of office, and opened the way for younger, more able and more idealistic leaders. Jean-François Deniau called this the "Munich curse" : every Western politician who took part or supported the Munich agreement was eliminated, and sometimes in a very physical way.

In some horrible way, WW2 opened a moment of moral clarity in History, a moment which has not come to pass, but which has faded in our memories, perhaps. Today, we face the same mortal perils, from a different direction.

I sure hope Western nations will show the world our moral values have the same resilience as in these dark hours.
44 posted on 08/25/2004 9:45:05 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: Atlantic Friend

Good analysis. Thanks.


45 posted on 08/25/2004 9:49:14 AM PDT by null and void (KERRY'S A POODLE: He's French, A Rich Lady's Pet, Won't Protect You, and Spends lots on grooming...)
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To: null and void

Ah, just my two cents (a truly Western expression now we've swithced to Euro currency) !


46 posted on 08/25/2004 9:51:01 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: Atlantic Friend
What, the USA went to Iraq to fight Chechens ? Because it's most probably Chechen groups that are behind these attacks...

Most of the Zarquawi (sp?) attacks against US troops are being done by Chechens. This has been proven.

47 posted on 08/25/2004 9:55:39 AM PDT by killjoy (Democracy spawns bad taste)
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To: Atlantic Friend
Just 2¢ maybe, but it gives me some cause for hope. I don't get many opportunities for hope these days...
48 posted on 08/25/2004 9:57:36 AM PDT by null and void (KERRY'S A POODLE: He's French, A Rich Lady's Pet, Won't Protect You, and Spends lots on grooming...)
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To: Atlantic Friend
I sure hope Western nations will show the world our moral values have the same resilience as in these dark hours.

Bump, AF! I hope you run for higher office one day in France. You could be in a good position to influence us as well as your countrymen and fellow EU "citizens."

49 posted on 09/04/2004 1:56:35 AM PDT by risk
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To: risk
"I hope you run for higher office one day in France"

Ah-ha, watch out, for you might get what you're asking for ! LOL.

Politics have always interested me, especially international politics, which to me have more to do with moral rectitude, analytical capabilities and common sense than any other field of public activity.

But hey, even if in some grandiose fantasy of mine I presided over this country's destiny, I'm sure of one thing : I'd get blasted 10,000 times a day on this here Forum ! LOL

I'll strike a deal with you : should I get into politics full-time, I'll still lurk around here so I can be flamed and defend my positions.
50 posted on 09/06/2004 8:28:40 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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