A Long, Long War Away

Regret the Error provides a screen capture of a whopper from the Web site of Canadian broadcaster CTV, where an article describes one of the controversial cartoons of the prophet Mohammed as featuring a "Soviet star" and crescent.

Obviously, the crescent and star combo found of the flags of many Muslim countries is not the same thing as the Communist hammer and sickle and its accompanying gold star.

For the record, the mistake has been fixed in the original story, as was the right thing to do. But it's nonetheless a telling slip. Have we finally conflated the War on Terrorism with the Cold War in our collective subconscious?*

Over time, a people tends to conflate its enemies. 1984 provided a perfect illustration of this, as Eurasia and Eastasia faded into one another (with plenty of assistance from the government, of course) for the citizens of Oceana, who were operating in a perpetual state of war against an amorphous enemy.

This echoes the reality that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld officially recognized earlier this week.

Rumsfeld, who laid out broad strategies for what the military and the Bush administration are now calling the "long war," likened al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin while urging Americans not to give in on the battle of wills that could stretch for years.

Fellow Post blogger William Arkin is on top of this story, calling Rumsfeld's change of course "a monumental admission that something -- anything -- might have gone wrong in the Iraq war."

So how to handle this "long war"? Read the full article for more details, but among other things, the "strategy does call for devoting resources to accelerate a long-range strike capability directed at hostile nations," something the government has been studying for a while now. The Congressional Research Service released this report back in September, explaining the rationale.

In recent years, analysts both inside and outside the government have suggested that the United States deploy conventional warheads on these missiles. This would provide the United States with the ability to strike promptly anywhere in the world, regardless of the presence of overseas bases or nearby naval forces.

At the end of the report, the researchers examine the risks, warning that

these weapons might provide the United States with more capability than it needs under most circumstances, while, at the same time, raising the possibility that their use might be misinterpreted as the launch of nuclear weapons.
...
If it takes longer for the United States to acquire and use that information than it would take for it to launch and deliver a ballistic missile, or, as has often been the case, if such precise information is unavailable, then the United States may not be able to benefit from the unique characteristics of long-range ballistic missiles. Bombers would take longer to reach their targets, but this added time might provide the United States with the opportunity to acquire the needed intelligence.
...
Most analysts recognized, during the Cold War, that long-range land-based ballistic missiles could prove destabilizing in a crisis, when nations might have incomplete information about the nature of an attack, and too little time to gather more information and plan an appropriate response. Faced with these circumstances, a nation who was not an intended target [or even one that was an intended target], such as Russia, might choose to respond quickly, rather than to wait for more information.

Bloomberg news, in a report about rearming nuclear submarines with conventional weapons, paraphrases one analyst as saying "the U.S. would have to work out notification procedures with its allies as well as China and Russia to prevent a nuclear misunderstanding." Agreed, but I'm not sure how much safer a bilateral agreement would make us in the face of a potential nuclear "misunderstanding."

Of course, there are also questions about accuracy of intelligence -- when sending out a ballistic missile, you want to be darn certain you're hitting the place you intend to hit -- and worries over setting an example for other countries.

Debaters, care to weigh in on this idea of rearming ballistic missiles with non-nuclear warheads? More generally, what are your thoughts on this concept of "the long war"?

*Just for fun: Go to this partial transcript of a Q&A with NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin and you'll see just how pervasive the idea of the Soviets as our enemy still remains. Griffin said: "I know that humans will colonize the solar system and one day go beyond. And it is important for me that humans who carry -- I'll characterize it as Western values -- are there with them. You know, I think we know the kind of society we would get if you, for example, carry Soviet values. That means you want a gulag on Mars. Is that what you're looking for?"

By Emily Messner |  February 4, 2006; 1:47 PM ET  | Category:  Misc.
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1. On arming Tridents with conventional missiles: It makes sense to use already bought military assets with long remaining operational lifetimes for a different mission. As long as the Russian know a launch is not a threat (China lacks early warning technology). The idea of knocking out a cluster of Islamoid leadership or a secret plutonium reprocessing facility found in Iran has a certain appeal. However, the Rise of China makes other usage of America's declining sub fleet perhaps more urgent. Conversion of Tridents to fast attack subs or better, a Kursk-like anti-ship missile boat carrying Sunburn-like missiles that could penetrate and take out a good part of a Chinese invasion force seizing Taiwan or portions of the Philippines would give the Chinese major heartburn. Our biggest potential future enemy is China - not the fixation over Islamoids politicians focus solely on today...

2. It is a Long War. Only the silliest on the Left still think the War will instantly be over if we "get a few misguided criminals on the loose who give the Religion of Peace a bad name".

Multi-Culti is growingly seen as not the acceptance and mutual tolerance of different peoples views but a creed that calls for one-sided, unreciprocated tolerance of others intolerant faith or culture. Which has sought to desperately gloss over profound differences that have led to the construction of unassimilated groups in multiplural nations that have only promoted violence, disharmony, crime, Balkanization of nations, and attacks and intimidation against the culture perceived as "more tolerant, thus weaker than us - who are strong enough to never compromise".

The cartoon controversy is another example of multi-cultis caving once again in the face of intimidation. "Ooooo! People threaten us with violence! It must be our fault at a root cause level for giving offense - let's appease a little more..."

Charles Moore of the Telegraph had a very good article today. Here is an excerpt and a link. It focuses in the excerpt on Christians being easier to bash than "seething, angry, retaliantion-prone" Muslims under multi-culti, so they of course ARE bashed more as "safe to be bashed", but of course Moore's point is far broader:

"On the Today programme yesterday, Stewart Lee, author of Jerry Springer: The Opera - in which Jesus appears wearing nappies - let the cat out of the bag. He suggested that it was fine to offend Christians because they had themselves degraded their iconography; Islam, however, has always been more "conscientious about protecting the brand".

The implication of the remark is fascinating. It is that the only people whose feelings artists, newspapers and so on should consider are those who protest violently. The fact that Christians nowadays do not threaten to blow up art galleries, invade television studios or kill writers and producers does not mean that their tolerance is rewarded by politeness. It means that they are insulted the more.

Right now, at the fashionable White Cube Gallery in Hoxton, you can see the latest work of Gilbert and George, mainly devoted, it is reported, to attacks on the Catholic Church. The show is called Sonofagod Pictures and it features the head of Christ on the Cross replaced with that of a primitive deity. One picture includes the slogan "God loves F***ing".

Like most Christians, I find this offensive, but I think I must live with the offence in the interests of freedom. If I find, however, that people who threaten violence do have the power to suppress what they dislike, why should I bother to defend freedom any more? Why shouldn't I ring up the Hon Jay Jopling, the proprietor, and tell him that I shall burn down the White Cube Gallery unless he tears Gilbert and George off the walls? I won't, I promise, but how much longer before some Christians do? The Islamist example shows that it works."

Link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml;jsessionid=0PBCCPKXHTLQBQFIQMGSFGGAVCBQWIV0?xml=/opinion/2006/02/04/do0402.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2006/02/04/ixop.html

4. OT Super Bowl prediction and hope:

A. I remember the Rams Patriot Game where the media pronounced the Rams the Golden Team and made it all about certain Rams players "inevitable destiny", like they are doing with Pittsburgh. Bitch was that the Patriots won. The Seahawks are a very good cohesive team well outside the major media markets lacking the media favorite players - I give an edge to Pittsburgh - but the game could easily go to Seattle, and I hope it does. Pittsurgh by 3 but I'm rooting for the nameless Seashmucks..

B. Whoever wins, I root more for a good game. Not another blow-out. Or worse a boring, conservative Toilet Bowl or Stupor-Bowl with brainless announcers spouting brainless cliche's by rote as that idiotic "Tra-la-la-La-l-laa-la-laaah!" 40-year old NFL theme plays incessantly. Next year I hope the game is in NOLA, at the old Stupor-Dome, asuming it is cleaned up after Katrina and New Orleans worst denizens turned it into a real Toilet Bowl.

5. This just in. Former Communist Party worker and activist Betty Freidan died. Though she came from a wealthy Jewish family and married into wealth, she was a wise spokes(person) for the downtrodden Brown graduates wishing to have an exciting career over a family. Stalin sheds a little tear for her work in organizing Feminism on his model. *Sigh* I wonder if the International will be played at her funeral and the 30 million human fetuses aborted in part from her efforts will be mentioned as one of Betty's accomplishments.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 4, 2006 04:31 PM

Sometimes a long range military strike is a shot in the dark. You hit your intended target, but sometimes you miss and kill innocent people, thus creating more problems. We should "Ready, Aim, Shoot" and hopefully avoid "Ready, Shoot, Aim".

Posted by: John | February 4, 2006 04:34 PM

Emily wrote:
Debaters, care to weigh in on this idea of rearming ballistic missiles with non-nuclear warheads? More generally, what are your thoughts on this concept of "the long war"?

Emily, I think it is a lousy idea. Aside from the risks associated with the unexpected appearance of our missiles to our fellow MAD competitors, you have to ask in exactly what kind of circumstances would we propose to use them on what kinds of targets? What are we looking for here, the ability to launch a surprise attack, a la Pearl Harbor maybe? I just don't see the need for it.

I don't like the "Long War" any better than I like the "War on Terror". Its just another use of modern marketing techniques (i.e. propaganda). More basically, I also don't like to see it characterized as an ideological war between Islamic values and Western values. As we see today in the fires burning in Damascus, this serves to unify Muslims as it serves to unify Western nations, casting them into two competing enemies. This serves the politicians on both sides, but it hardly reflects the realities that actually spawn terrorism of the kind we all deplore.

This is not a recent innovation. We have seen it here, years ago, in the Weathermen and other such groups. The PLO practiced it extensively throughout the Mediterranean, when they were a stateless terrorist organization. Europe has seen much of it from the "Red Army" through the Basque terror groups and everything in between. We've seen it extensively in Northern Ireland, bound up with religion I might add. The only thing that is really new is that we have been hit, and hit hard, within our own borders once, and are over-reacting to that, because this is how you stay in political power these days.

This is no more of a real war than the war on poverty, on AIDS, on civil liberties, on corruption, on forest fires, on cancer, or any of the other things we like to marshal support for by misusing that term. It is the Luntz doctrine at work.

I'll leave it there because I don't feel like ranting on about the idiocy of seeing things in terms of apocalyptic visions. But if this must be termed a "long war", we are sure decades late in joining it.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 4, 2006 05:49 PM

I say yes, good idea. Publish the targets, change them occaisionally and re-publish, causing them to spend money on relocating installations and freaking them out. Also, leave a few nukes there for backup.

A long war is something that I knew from the beginning. It will last for at least a good part of a generation. It may sound Orwellian, but eventually the richer ones will win.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 4, 2006 07:33 PM

to call it a war at all....


we invaded a country that hasn't attacked us...


legitimizing an invasion is not the same thing as being at war....


war powers simply allow laws to be passed without oversight....


'course little boys get to feel like big ones by talking tough....


and that's important...


to the little boys.


course, cowboys and indians is not much different than muslims and christians is it??

and the indians what did they do, oh yeah, they lived on our land....sounds familiar.

Posted by: It seems rather ridiculous to stretch the credulity of the american people | February 4, 2006 08:11 PM

Friends, one and all --
I first read Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-four" (why don't we have italics or underscore?) in 1964, when it was generally considered science-fiction or fantasy. Over the past several years, however, I introduced the book and it's now-and-future concepts to my English Composition I students. Each term, it took them some time to get into the story, but it wasn't long before they started extracting parallels to today's bizarre events and behaviors.
We have wars against nebulous foes in distant and seemingly insignificant lands, suspension of civil rights for the sake of the state and security, deterioration of cities, towns, roads, transportation (particularly public) - there is a long list. At the same time, government, "The Party" takes stronger control of all aspects of life (what kind of "science" is taught?). If you haven't read it lately, I suggest you pick up a copy. You may just find it unnervingly familiar in too many places. Did I mention domestic spying? I think I did have a reference in a recent comment.
Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney, and their power-backers are largely out of control. This is what the founders feared when drafting the Constitution. How long will it be before the reality of a "fair election" will fall before the hyper-funded onslaught of political propaganda? Some will immediately (reflexively and without any serious consideration) that this cannot happen here. I say, look back over the last several elections, when middle, lower middle, and lower class voters chose a power image over their wallets, over their own economic and social self-interest.
It is somewhat heartening that there have been stumbles by this radical (and it is indeed radical) right wing juggernaut. But we Americans have not secured our precious liberty yet. We have to start immediately looking deep into the issues and with the best of our minds electing to power those who we trust to continue the spirit of the founders.
Last week we were worrying about whether Hamas will direct the fate of Palestinians to a brighter future. Our worries should be much closer to home. We need to understand the purpose of our Constitution, the real dangers to free citizens for which it was conceived. We have to live the principles for which our Constitution stands. That means that if our belief is that no one should be deprived of liberty without due process, we must act at home and abroad with that respect. Christians, it's your golden rule, isn't it?
I am often amazed at what people dare to write on this and other blogs. I grew up in a time when, if a person was ignorant of things then on those subjects they kept quiet. It is not enough to have some limited understanding of one or two aspects of societal interaction. If my neighbor has no health coverage and he becomes ill with a communicable disease, how long will I be safe in health? Is it not, then, in my best interest that he and I (and all others) have access to medical services? Will not that make the healthiest society? Or should I say "I'm not paying for that 'deadbeat', I'd rather die when he infects me instead"?
Well, it wasn't my intent to get wound up, but honestly, some of this banter is profoundly frustrating. The truth of most matters is before our eyes. Sometimes we have to abandon myths that we have been taught and taken to heart to do so. But the world run on truth would be a much better one than one run on lies. And it should help to know that all societies have their own cherished lies. But we needn't have so many fears and hold dear so many false perceptions here. Our Constitution protects us to think freely, and so we should do. Cheers!

Posted by: Jazzman | February 4, 2006 09:19 PM

Oh, thank you Jazzman for educating me. I read that too about 35 years ago and it is burned into my memory.

I do realize the parallels here and now with Winston's reality of "1984". It stinks. However, what would you offer in the alternative. Doing nothing? Tightening the borders? What about Iran, who today pronounced that they will no longer allow inspectors access? Should we expand a dialog with the madman running that place? Please let me know how you feel about the missles being reconditioned and retargeted?

Get off the soapbox and let me know what should be done. I do not intend these as rhetorical questions because I really do want to hear some ideas.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 4, 2006 09:40 PM

Poster Cayumbe has it right. There is no war, but areas where the faith of Islam must be respected, and certain limits.

If there is conflict, it is from lack of understanding by Westerners of what offends Islam and must not be said or done. Islam has long tolerated any unbeliever who simply observes those limits and observes certain polite behaviors.

To call these misunderstandings by the West and especially ignorant people like Bush, a "war", is a grave error. There is no war, only a need for those who offend to recognize and correct their beliefs and behavior so violence is not forced as the only recourse.

To avoid real, totally legitimate war, or the just anger that has not yet become true war in the eyes of the people of Islam - Western reporters and academics must learn what is permissible and what is non-permissible to say, to properly honor the Qu'ran and the words of blessed Prophet. Patience can only go so far, as Usama has demonstrated. Peace is always the goal, but the patience of believers is tested.

Posted by: Ibrahim Halad | February 4, 2006 10:27 PM

Mr. Halad, the war is not on Islam. Rather, it is on Islamic terrorists.

Please explain what you mean by the US failing to be polite and respect Islam prior to the US being attacked in several instances, prior to and leading up to the 9/11 attacks. Is it the US's support for Israel?

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 4, 2006 10:43 PM

Ibrahim Halad,
"If there is conflict, it is from lack of understanding by Westerners of what offends Islam and must not be said or done."

"There is no war, only a need for those who offend to recognize and correct their beliefs and behavior so violence is not forced as the only recourse."

I don't think so. I am a free man, free to speak my mind as I see fit. I am offended that you would force me to honor the Quran and your Prophets words. It is your job to do that, not mine. As offended as I am by your arrogance, I cannot compel you by force or other means to alter your silly mindset, for you are also a free man entitled to believe as you will. But it is not you who decides what is permissible to me and this is something believers must come to understand.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 4, 2006 10:57 PM

LOL! Do you see what we are dealing with here? Mr. Halad is offended by the fact that we exist and have no plans for converting.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 4, 2006 11:05 PM

"Mr. Halad is offended by the fact that we exist and have no plans for converting."

Not really Johnnyg. He is offended by insults to his religion, which he takes very seriously. We have seen the same kind of offense taken by devout Christians at some of our more controversial Jesus movies. They don't get to decide what is permissible to me either. And Jews weren't all that happy with Gibsons portrayal of them in his movie either. To all of them I say tough, get over it. With freedom comes the freedom to offend.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 4, 2006 11:54 PM

Cayambe, your analysis ignores the other statements:

"To call these misunderstandings by the West and especially ignorant people like Bush, a 'war', is a grave error. There is no war, only a need for those who offend to recognize and correct their beliefs and behavior so violence is not forced as the only recourse," and "Patience can only go so far, as Usama has demonstrated."

What is that supposed to mean? His comments are not merely about recent cartoons in some Western papers.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 5, 2006 12:04 AM

Anyway, I hope his post and name are genuine. Moreover, I hope he lives here.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 5, 2006 12:08 AM

A Long War, huh? I wonder if I should invest in war bonds or Halliburton stock...

Posted by: ErrinF | February 5, 2006 12:26 AM

Central to the Five Pillars of Islam is "Zakat," or responsibility for sharing your assets, be they financial, intellectual, spiritual or physical. The word is more comprehensive and complex than simple charity or giving. I am not a Muslim, but when I hear or read comments from people of faith, I try to understand them within their context, not mine. Christians may suspect proselytizing by other religions because they do so much of it within the myriad sects and cults under the banner of Christianity. Cayambe had a good, open minded response to Halad. Johnny filtered the words of Halad through his own doctrines and preconceived ideas. As long as a gulf of understanding and misunderstanding seperates the people of the book, this will indeed be a "Long War." A first plank in bridging that gulf may be to learn and understand the difference between a greater jihad and a lesser jihad.The difference is as great as that between the war on poverty, or drugs, or terrorism - and the war of American independence or civil war, or world war. Understanding that may require enlightenment, but that comes another day, another way.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 5, 2006 06:38 AM

To JohnnyG:
I think I was pretty clear on what I recommend. That starts with putting all the known (true) facts on the table. From there, we must realistically assemble the possible actions and outcomes. It's not hard to enter into a "long war." What is much more difficult - what has rarely been achieved in revenge-motivated human conduct - is a "short" or "no" war. To do the latter, we must be willing to go much farther than you seem to want to travel.
Wars waste money, time, lives, property, resources. Wars have an anti-productive effect on the world society. Wars create - even in the "best" of circumstances - lingering bitterness and barriers to human intercommunication. But so many people say they want war.
If a country were to seek to avoid war, then that nation must be willing to find out who their "enemy" is. In the present instance, it would seem, the enemy is no particular nation. It has (or had) some known voices/faces. Those have been labeled "terrorist" and we cannot therefore talk with them. Nor, it seems, can we find them. Rather than try to destroy the phantom, I would suggest that an intelligent approach would be to understand that this "enemy" has some goal or interest.
The interest would not be the overthrow of the U. S. Consider what that in actuality would require. So the objective of this strung-out but focused group must be something else. Or perhaps it's to make countries like the U. S., G. B., etc. "pay" for past "offenses" by now running around like scared cats so that the "enemy" can stay close to the ground and laugh.
I can't walk you through this. My message above that prompted your call for answers was really about our being open to ways of seeing. I'm glad you're here and beginning to tap into that concept. Keep asking questions.

Shiloh:
Thanks for that insight. We do indeed need to stand in the shoes of others and to clearly see their paths.

To all:
There's light (really) at the end of the tunnel. If the current images are bad, there must be better. Patience and logic will lead where our ordinary eyes fail.

Posted by: Jazzman | February 5, 2006 07:21 AM

Thank you, Jazzman. As the former op/ed columnist for a small Florida weekly I wrote a column about Eric Blair's "The Last Man In Europe," the original title, as you no doubt know, of Orwell's 1948 novel titled "1984." My column was titled "Newspeak," and I don't know if The Cedar Key Beacon, which recently changed hands, has kept archived columns on line, but if you would like a copy, I'd be happy to forward it. Your comments here are well taken.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 5, 2006 08:04 AM

It seems that Mr. Halad's post reveals a mindset similar to one that existed in this country during the late 18th and early 19th century. Namely the concept of "honor" being so important to a "gentleman" that if it was injured and the offender did not offer proper apologies, then a duel was called for.

This was a type of self absorption based on a twisted definition of honor - as if someone else could damage a persons honor (seen as synonomous with reputation) through an insult, and that to be in error or to make a mistake damages honor beyond repair. Many "Gentlemen" in those days would rather kill the offender or die trying instead of trusting in:

a) the good judgement of people not to believe all they hear or read,

b)the forgiveness of people,

c)their own capacity to grow and rise above whatever error they might have made that brought on the offense.

In short it was a type of fanatacism. It is the same fanatacism that Japanese samuri had related totheir honor, that the kamakazis had, and that suicide bombers and terrorists have. With Islamic extremists the fanatic sense of honor has a religious basis.

I saw a documentary on History channel on dueling in the early days of the U.S. and it said that it was only the civil war that finally brought about an end to the practice of dueling in this country.

Question for all: Is it the same sort of mentality that motivates Islamic extremists to turn to terrorism or to justify it as an answer to insult if westerners do or say the "wrong things"?

Posted by: DK | February 5, 2006 08:12 AM

When a 21st century hip hop teen justifies an assault on another person because "He disrespected me," it is simply an echo of a past code of honor. It is not unique to any culture or time, but to the family of man, however expressed at diffent times and for different reasons. Language is fluid, changing over time, just as what may have been dishonorable conduct or speech in one era, may no longer be of issue, as another issue becomes disrespect in another era. Respect for respect needs to be relearned in every generation. It is our institutions, governmental and religious, educational and social, that should know that, live that and teach that.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 5, 2006 08:39 AM

The only thing looking like it will last longer and inflict more pain than the GWOT is this BLOG.

Emily,

Have you tried prunes?

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 5, 2006 09:09 AM


otherside123.blogspot.com
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info

Send Me Your Health Care Horror Stories... an appeal from Michael Moore

Friends,

How would you like to be in my next movie? I know you've probably heard I'm making a documentary about the health care industry (but the HMOs don't know this, so don't tell them -- they think I'm making a romantic comedy).

If you've followed my work over the years, you know that I keep a pretty low profile while I'm making my movies. I don't give interviews, I don't go on TV and I don't defrost my refrigerator. I do keep my website updated on a daily basis (there's been something like 4,000,000 visitors just this week alone) and the rest of the time I'm... well, I can't tell you what I'm doing, but you can pretty much guess. It gets harder and harder sneaking into corporate headquarters, but I've found that just dying my hair black and wearing a skort really helps.

Back to my invitation to be in my movie. Have you ever found yourself getting ready to file for bankruptcy because you can't pay your kid's hospital bill, and then you say to yourself, "Boy, I sure would like to be in Michael Moore's health care movie!"?

Or, after being turned down for the third time by your HMO for an operation they should be paying for, do you ever think to yourself, "Now THIS travesty should be in that 'Sicko' movie!"?

Or maybe you've just been told that your father is going to have to just, well, die because he can't afford the drugs he needs to get better - and it's then that you say, "Damn, what did I do with Michael Moore's home number?!"

Ok, here's your chance. As you can imagine, we've got the goods on these bastards. All we need now is to put a few of you in the movie and let the world see what the greatest country ever in the history of the universe does to its own people, simply because they have the misfortune of getting sick. Because getting sick, unless you are rich, is a crime - a crime for which you must pay, sometimes with your own life.

About four hundred years from now, historians will look back at us like we were some sort of barbarians, but for now we're just the laughing stock of the Western world.

So, if you'd like me to know what you've been through with your insurance company, or what it's been like to have no insurance at all, or how the hospitals and doctors wouldn't treat you (or if they did, how they sent you into poverty trying to pay their crazy bills) ...if you have been abused in any way by this sick, greedy, grubby system and it has caused you or your loved ones great sorrow and pain, let me know.

Send me a short, factual account of what has happened to you - and what IS happening to you right now if you have been unable to get the health care you need. Send it to michael@michaelmoore.com. I will read every single one of them (even if I can't respond to or help everyone, I will be able to bring to light a few of your stories).

Thank you in advance for sharing them with me and trusting me to try and do something about a very corrupt system that simply has to go.

Oh, and if you happen to work for an HMO or a pharmaceutical company or a profit-making hospital and you have simply seen too much abuse of your fellow human beings and can't take it any longer - and you would like the truth to be told - please write me at michael@michaelmoore.com. I will protect your privacy and I will tell the world what you are unable to tell. I am looking for a few heroes with a conscience. I know you are out there.

Thank you, all of you, for your help and your continued support through the years. I promise you that with "Sicko" we will do our best to give you not only a great movie, but a chance to bring down this evil empire, once and for all.

In the meantime, stay well. I hear fruits and vegetables help.

Yours,
Michael Moore
michael@michaelmoore.com
www.michaelmoore.com

Posted by: che | February 5, 2006 09:13 AM

Lonemule:
As you persist in acting like your namesake, it causes us to wonder if our ancestors' were not right in saying that the only thing to redirect a recalcitrant mule was a stroke with a stout stick across the hindquarters. If one were so close to its father-ass, it might be expedient not to so openly bray one's general obstinacy.

Posted by: Jazzman | February 5, 2006 09:19 AM

Halad has the insolence to demand non-Muslims subjugate their beliefs and expressions to only those thoughts that do not offend Islam. He can suck my cock. At best, Halad is an intimidator. "Please don't make me or others like me have to hate you and kill you."

No, 2 choices lay in the future. Either the Islamoids can continue to demand the West bring it on, or they can adopt the sage wisdom of the Sarge - "Lighten up, Frances."

If they continue to butcher, the West will eventually bring it on, and not the kids glove version the US is trying - but real war where we tell the ACLU to back off or face sedition charges and we no longer attempt to be Geneva Convention-observing Boy Scouts to an Islamoid enemy that violates all laws of warfare. Geneva was never envisioned to be one-sided, despite Lefty assertions that we are "morally obligated" in the post-WWII era to "uphold precious values" in lieu of defeating an enemy slowly destroying those values because our response has been half-assed.

The polite thing to say is "it's rude to mock someone else's religion." That the whole "Prophet" thing was a misunderstanding. I was originally raised to be polite, so over the years while I've watched muslims kidnapping, hijacking, beheading, suicide bombing, raping Western girls while calling them sluts, ramming our jets into our skyscrapers, and so on, the urge to be polite and "open-minded" continues to exert itself. Most Euros and Americans are reared with the idea that "tolerance" is a cardinal virtue. We want to be polite. We don't want to unnecessarily cause strife.

But those times have passed. Can we Westerners be honest and say that in all frankness, Islam is an evil religion on the par with the Aztec and Thuggee Cult?and patent nonsense?

I'm sure there are passages in the Koran that say sweet and nice things about love and caring for people, etc. So what! The violent, repugnant parts of it that cause Islam to try and exterminate every faith or culture it comes up against by violence and enslavement and intimidation more than cancel that out.

The same people that are burning and raging about the "offense" to their delicate sensibilities regularly run cartoons of torturing American troops prominantly displaying crusader crosses and drunk, Western women as sluts and prostitutes, blacks as savages, and as for Jews, cartoons the Nazis would be proud of. The "Prophet" controversy is just another pretext for Islamoids to seeth and destroy. As usual, the "moderate Muslims" such as they are, if many actually exist, are silent.

It is a nice bit of Schadenfreude, though, to see Euro Lefties who pretended that the only thing blocking Western-Islamic harmony was the Bush-Hitler's invasion of the Religion of Peace's most tranquil outpost, Iraq, now seeing their embassies and consulates burn and lives threatened. All over cartoons 1/100th as offensive and the anti-Semitic cartoons the Islamoids regularly publish or anti-Christian anti-Jew screeds proclaimed daily on Air Mullah.

It's time we start moving away from talk about "respecting beliefs" and "moderate muslims" and towards honest discussion of the pernicious, hateful beliefs of these people that pose a direct threat to our civilization. We cannot survive as a civilization if we do not openly and honestly say, as our ancestors did, that Islam is a dangerous and noxious false belief that does not only deserves no respect, but must be actively excluded from our Western world in any serious form if we are to keep our liberty.

Like it or not, Sherman's march through Georgia was part and parcel of American values. He realized the most merciful war was fast, total war.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 5, 2006 10:13 AM

respect and tolerance cannot be one-sided. all religions have hordes of poor, under-privileged and malnourished people, but then they do not go about attacking others for 'insulting' their beliefs. terrorism today, and islamic terrorism at that is now as much an industry as the american military-industrial complex. if all poor people of the world were to take to arms, then the world would cease to exist. however, i feel the corrective mechanisms must evolve from within islam. learned and moderate voices within islam arer conspicuous by their absence. these people must speak out and try to make their brethen understand the meaning of tolerance. however, at this point of time i am not very optimistic about such a thing happening.

Posted by: satyameva jayete | February 5, 2006 11:19 AM

please correct my name- it means 'only truth shall be victorious' in sanskrit, an indian language.

Posted by: satyameva jayate | February 5, 2006 11:23 AM

Jazzman wrote:

"Those have been labeled 'terrorist' and we cannot therefore talk with them. Nor, it seems, can we find them. Rather than try to destroy the phantom, I would suggest that an intelligent approach would be to understand that this 'enemy' has some goal or interest."

"The interest would not be the overthrow of the U. S. Consider what that in actuality would require. So the objective of this strung-out but focused group must be something else. Or perhaps it's to make countries like the U. S., G. B., etc. 'pay' for past 'offenses' by now running around like scared cats so that the 'enemy' can stay close to the ground and laugh."

I see no middle ground with these people, who constantly speak in bullshit allegories. If you cannot get to the point with your complaint, then you must be hiding some more sinister motive. This crap with the newspaper editorial cartoon just happened last week. WTF does that have to do with everything that happened before.

So we should "find out" what is upsetting them. Well, Halad mentioned that "the West" is disrespectful and impolite. In response, I say those like Halad can go fu** themselves. I cannot recall any kind of institutionalized mechanism of impoliteness and disrespect in the US prior to 911 that would warrant such a attitude like Halad's. I believe the basis for this whole "dissing" BS is our support for Israel.

Phantom menace is an apt term for terrorists. We are killing lots of them in Iran (estimates I've seen are over 40k), but I agree such an approach is expensive. In a past blog here at the WP, I was ridiculed for suggesting a large, quick and fearful campaign against those who support these terrorist groups. As Chris Ford alludes to with his mention of General Sherman, such an attack would not only be quick, but also adjust the psyche of these bad people and make them learn to accept us in the world for what we are.

I still would like to see the US strike quickly and harshly at countries such as Syria and Iran, rather than sustain a long war. Unfortunately, I don't think US citizens would support such actions. Thus, a long war appears to be the only choice if one had to choose between types of war. If we are to prosecute this long war, we should do it right.

Jazzman, try not to be so condescending. For one thing, I am not a Christian (although raised one) and could give a rat's ass what a person believes in, as long as society remains protected from that belief.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 5, 2006 11:53 AM

Edit: should be "Killing lots of them in Iraq ..."

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 5, 2006 12:30 PM

Emily,

Have you tried "FiberCon"? How about Exlax? Somethings gotta work!!!!!!

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 5, 2006 02:18 PM

Lonemule [sic]:

I know mules. Mules are friends of mine. You're no mule. Mules are intelligent and honorable, and they don't try to hurt those who do not intend them harm.

I suggest you chjange your name to "Lone Yankee", 'cause you have the manners of a Yankee.

Posted by: MikeDeal | February 5, 2006 02:29 PM

This blog is taking on the tone of some of the radical-right forums, such as Aryan Nation, Stormfront and WAR (White Aryan Resistance). Stormfront was an early and now leading radical-right wing forum and now has over 50,000 members. Many of them are KKK related, others are associated with known terrorist who are U.S. citizens like Timothy McVeigh, Matt Hale, leader of the neo-Nazi World Church of the Creator; David Wayne Hull, an adherent of the anti-Semitic Christian Identify theology and imperial wizard of the White Knights of the KKK; and Demetrius "Van" Crocker, who openly admires Hitler and has said "it would be a good thing if somebody would detonate some sort of weapon of mass destruction on Washington D.C."* Clearly OBL and Islamic fundamentalists do not have a stranglehold on terrorism. America has its share of freakoids. *Crocker quoted from "Intelligence Report," a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 5, 2006 02:55 PM

How does this proposed first strike capability square with the United Nations Charter (the US is still a member, right?) regarding war? http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/

I thought the Nurembourg trials basically set the precedent that "pre-emptive war" was a war crime. Nazi Germany used that excuse for invading Poland and it was not permitted to stand as a rational argument.
If the US determines that it must have first strike capbility using conventional warheads/etc then doesn't that violate international law (specifically, UN charter)? And of course the correlary qestion, if a missile launch goes awry and takes out a civilian target, isn't that just as much a crime as the attacks of 9.11?

Posted by: gonzo | February 5, 2006 03:01 PM

1. As to conventionally armed ballistic missiles, presuming the warheads can incorporate recent advances in computing (you'd be surprised at the relative lack of sophistication in most military systems, due to a lethal combination of FARS contracting and the need lag behind "proving" commercial technical improvements are suitable for military use), its about time. We'll need them even more for the eventual war with Communist China (in order to disrupt ChiCom C3 capabilities in the early stages) as for actions against terrorist organizations. If we had had this capability during the Clinton Administration, Osama would have been toast years (well at least 9 months) before 9/11.

2. As to the "Long War", I too am suspicious, given the Bush Administrations failure to clean out Afghanistan and Pakistan. Note that the Bush Administration was fairly certain as to whom by the evening of 9/11, but did not give an ultimatum until 9/20, and did not start overt operations until 10/7. In otther words, Bush gave UBL and his cadre plenty of time to exfiltrate and set up shop elsewhere. Only the connonfodder and the expendables among the cadre got caught or killed. And the cell system guaranteed that any leaders killed or captured had replacements waiting (Al Qaeda believes in "succession planning" just like they teach in business schools).

Posted by: MikeDeal | February 5, 2006 03:06 PM

Here we go again, accusations of racism. Why don't you stick to the topic and answer any of the points made by posters. If you don't like what some have to say, counter it with your own point of view.

I certainly would not like WMDs in Washington DC because I live here, along with my black, white, hispanic and yes, even Muslim brothers and sisters.

And may I also point out that living at the other ground zero tends to make one more aware of and take seriously these dangers you mention, as well as those abroad.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 5, 2006 03:13 PM

THe UN CHarter does not require that one nation wait until it receives an attack. The traditional law of self defense contemplates that a nation may strike first if another intends o attack, and that attack is imminent, and an effective defense "will not admit of delay". In fact, the classic precedent, "The Caroline Affair", is instructive for modern times. It involved an attempted terrorist attack by religious zealots, this time Irish-Catholic from US territory, against British Canada, and the successful interception of a vessel they were planningto use to effect the attacks. British interception of the vessel before the commencement of the attack by the Catholic terrorists was considered lawful and appropriate. The key is whether the unlawful attack pre-empted is imminent and whether the circumstances warrant the use of force in order to prevent or mitigate the unlawful attack.

Posted by: gonzo | February 5, 2006 03:19 PM

Just pointing our, Johnny, that you are probably more at risk from American terrorists targeting Americans. Since Oklahoma City about 60 right-wing terrorist plots have been uncovered that involved American terrorists plotting to destroy American targets. The War on Terrorism begins at home, and it has been and will be a Long War.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 5, 2006 03:24 PM

Agree with that point Shiloh. I guess we are doing a pretty goog job on the domestic front, since OK.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 5, 2006 03:28 PM

The success on the domestic front has driven most of the right-wing radical groups underground, or more specifically, into the woods. I live in a rural area of the South and hear rumblings about the goings on at hunting camps that are more like training camps. But yes, I think the feds have a handle on it, as long as they are not too distracted from the domestic fundamentalist front by the Islamic fundamentalist front.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 5, 2006 03:36 PM

O.K....O.K...How 'bout some Ducolax? It should loosen things up.

Emily...Something's gotta give!!!!

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 5, 2006 04:00 PM

Mules STINK.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 5, 2006 06:07 PM

Conservatives are hoping to indoctrinate a virus in the body politic. They want people to view the war on terrorism as being at the same stage as the war against Marxism was in 1881. That is simply not true and self serving nonsense by a feculent political enterprise that is addicted to the "war in terror." Yes, we have threats to our national security and best solution is to drain the swamp rather than add more kerosene to the fire. Let us not forget that we DID HAVE PLENTY of warning about 9/11. This President and his incompetent administration opted to ignore them.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | February 5, 2006 07:07 PM

It's time we start moving away from talk about "respecting beliefs" and "moderate muslims" and towards honest discussion of the pernicious, hateful beliefs of these people that pose a direct threat to our civilization.
Posted by: Chris Ford | Feb 5, 2006 10:13:16 AM

Maybe we could have an honest discussion about how your pernicious, hateful beliefs differ little from the pernicious, hateful beliefs of the Muslim extremists, Chris Ford. Respecting beliefs and relating to moderates is something you moved away from long ago.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 5, 2006 07:09 PM

Gonzo -

A."If the US determines that it must have first strike capbility using conventional warheads/etc then doesn't that violate international law (specifically, UN charter)?"

No. And you should read the UN Charter sometime rather than blindly speculate. And, a sub-launched conventional missile salvo is a very expensive way of delivering a certain type of attack - little or no warning - on a limited number of what targeters consider "premium, high value targets". And all a Trident system does is augment the same sort of force that can be delivered by another sub-launched missile system - the Tomahawk.

B."And of course the correlary qestion, if a missile launch goes awry and takes out a civilian target, isn't that just as much a crime as the attacks of 9.11?"

You need to read Geneva vs. blindly speculate. A war crime exists if civilian lives are deliberately targeted, purely for the sake of killing civilians. Geneva allows hitting civilian targets of military value - such as electric plants, munitions factories, telecomm centers. Geneva also allows killing of civilians when they are in close proximity to the enemy as a consequence of targeting soldiers who fail in their own duty to separate from and be distinguished from the civilian population. So our troops are absolutely sanctioned to take out an Islamoid's family if they are dumb enough to travel with the guy, or hose down a crowd that RPG gunners are using as cover to attack American soldiers from. The war crime is with the terrorist or guerilla, not with the US soldier that has to cut down a few woman and children to get the RPG threat using them as shields. Geneva also says that responses must be "proportionate", a term the commanders, lawyers and politicians have to wrestle with. Basic level? You can't destroy a town of 10,000 with massed artillery because 12 enemy soldiers are there. But you can use a missile to kill 20 civilians in an apartment 10 enemy are fighting from to save 3-5 of your own troops.

And the US has fought well below the limits Geneva has allowed in an attempt to win Muslim hearts and minds and because 3,000 deaths + 2300 military ones just hasn't been enough blood shed to get Lefties to endorse harsher war prosecution within Geneva, but lots tougher than we have been so far. Make no mistake - fighting with velvet gloves and "measured force" so far HAS cost additional American lives to wage "war lite".

MikeDeal -

A. "As to the "Long War", I too am suspicious, given the Bush Administrations failure to clean out Afghanistan and Pakistan."

ToraBora will be considered a big failure in latter years and I think the reluctance to "take" American deaths in combat in the initial phases of the "Long War" lies at the heart of the strategic failure at ToraBora. We failed to encircle and many enemy escaped. But as for invading Pakistan and starting a major war with a nuclear-armed nation to "get" a few Al Qaeda and "bring AQ Khan to ACLU lawyers" - I submit that 9/11 just wasn't enough American blood being shed to make the Democrats serious about taking American military casualties in a wider war than what they thought then and still insist now is "a war to simply find a few "criminals" behind 9/11. If you doubt that, request your Rep introduce a Bill to declare war on Pakistan on the premise that it is necessary to bring "Mr. Evil - bin Laden" to meet his ACLU defense team. Dems make a lot of noise about how Binnie is paramount - like they made a lot of adulatory noise about Murtha's proposal to withdraw - then caved 400-3 when they were told to put their votes where their mouths were. A Dem vote to declare war on Pakistan and invade to get the "arch evildoer" wouldn't even get 3 votes. It's all about unserious Lefties running theur mouths off.

B. "And the cell system guaranteed that any leaders killed or captured had replacements waiting (Al Qaeda believes in "succession planning" just like they teach in business schools)."

The intel we have interrogated out of key Al Qaeda leaders, over the squeals of protest from the ACLU and milksop Dems HAS disrupted the organization and prevented certain attacks but at a cost to US reputation in "Weenie" eyes. It is definitely better to have a blubbering his heart out Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in US custody or a spattered Mohammed Ateh in a crater - but correct - the Jihad is designed to live on after the capture or death of leaders. "Getting" bin Laden and the "brains" Ayman al-Zawahiri - will be nice, like when we got Saddam - but have little impact on the ideological conflict between radical Islam and the rest of the planet.

Shiloh -

"Just pointing our, Johnny, that you are probably more at risk from American terrorists targeting Americans. Since Oklahoma City about 60 right-wing terrorist plots have been uncovered that involved American terrorists plotting to destroy American targets."

You sound like the seditious scum at CAIR, who still play the "white right-wing people are a greater threat than the few misguided Muslims acting on their just grievances" card.

It sounds good to say "evil right-wingers" are a bigger threat than Islamoids seeking to use WMDs on us to other Lefties, but most people in America if polled would consider it absolutely insane to characterize either violent Lefty environmental kooks or some right wing coalition of nutcases a bigger threat to American lives than the Islamoid Jihadis.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 5, 2006 07:13 PM

"To avoid real, totally legitimate war, or the just anger that has not yet become true war in the eyes of the people of Islam - Western reporters and academics must learn what is permissible and what is non-permissible to say, to properly honor the Qu'ran and the words of blessed Prophet."


If this is a typical moderate muslim`s view then islam is incompatible with the West. People who threaten violence against free speech should move from free countries to lands that are more in agreement with their beliefs.

Posted by: bender | February 5, 2006 10:20 PM

"This is no more of a real war than the war on poverty, on AIDS, on civil liberties, on corruption, on forest fires, on cancer, or any of the other things we like to marshal support for by misusing that term."

Who`s misusing the term?

War: the waging of armed conflict against an enemy; "thousands of people were killed in the war"

Posted by: | February 5, 2006 11:31 PM

Errin gets personal:

"Maybe we could have an honest discussion about how your pernicious, hateful beliefs differ little from the pernicious, hateful beliefs of the Muslim extremists, Chris Ford. Respecting beliefs and relating to moderates is something you moved away from long ago."

So, I get personal in response.

ErrinF - you are an enemy sympathizer and an Islamoid ball-licker. Who can trust your ilk? It all comes from you starting with self-serving partisan propaganda that "Bush is worse than terrorism" as a threat to American lives, then actually lapsing into being insane enough to believe it.

Then adding your moron moral equivalency arguement that the average mainstream American is no better than the average Jihadi - then, ..as a true Leftist hater of America and Western Civilization, saying that the views of America's defenders are no different than the murderous Jihadi butchers. Presumably tarring the troops, too as "no different than the heroic enemy".

Gurwitz: "The controversy over domestic National Security Agency surveillance provides the latest evidence that, as regards national security, the Democrats just don't get it. Democrats are ebullient about upcoming hearings on the eavesdropping program. Some are even deliriously muttering the "I" word -- impeachment, betraying their motive, which is not to improve the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to meet the exigencies of the war on terror and strike a better balance between civil liberties and security. Instead, it's to engage in a game of "gotcha!" with the White House on civil liberties at the expense of security."

Part of ErrinF's problem is Lefties like her become so addicted to the ideological notion that the Evil Bush-Hitler and mainstream to conservative Americans are a greater threat to their lives than Islamoids. She compounds that error by confusing the values and motives of conservative, mainstream, or otherwise patriotic Americans with "her people" and their Islamoid friends.

Do ordinary Americans, much less conservatives????

1. Threaten to kill ErrinF, slit her throat if she draws an offensive cartoon about them?
2. Kidnap and eventually kill her helpless journalist sister to advance terror propaganda?
3. Seek to invade a school where ErrinF's kids are and butcher them? Or, seek wider murder by use of WMDs?

No regular Americans, even in the era of an incompetent President, wish to see enemy sympathizers like ErrinF - operating under a guise of " defending sacred enemy rights and civil liberties" - succeed in running offense for what the Islamoids wish to do to us. Instead, they see seditious Americans, even overt traitors, on the Left - are simply a 5th Column that can best be dealt with by effective removal from the few remaining bastions of power quasi-traitoroius Lefties still rule in - not, by Commie or Islamoid style - executions or Gulags. But by purging their quisling butts out of postions of influence through the peaceful democratic process and pursuing "aid and comfort to the enemy" charges through the judicial system.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 5, 2006 11:33 PM

Emily,

Please, if I look at you one more day with that "I've got a brick in my colon look" I'll cry!!!

Drink some green tea, eat some bran, go to IHop...Something has to work!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 5, 2006 11:48 PM

Does anyone else think it is insane that someone would post in an American periodical's website imploring that we learn to play by their rules? That Halad has the pleasure of our company is only due to the fact that freedom of speech won in the country that Washington DC resides in. Asking us to abandon that principle here, of all places, is hypocritical. And stupid.

To say that endorsement of absurd multiculturalist Religious sensitivity is not the same as Sharia law is, in this case, to make a distinction without a difference. If we abandon free speech because it offends dangerous Islamic folks (it's a damn good thing Christians don't kill people for defaming their god because we'd all be dead by now) we might as well start dusting off our Qurans and boning up on Islamic law, because our expressive and religious freedom really *is* at stake here.

Or maybe the Christian Nutjobs in the United States should take a page from Islamic Radicalism: If you are willing to actually kidnap, kill, or set on fire people who would dare defame your religion, then the liturgical sensistivty you've screamed was lacking might just somehow resurface. Great message we send to Islam with this whole deal: If you burn down enough embassies (that'll teach those stupid Chileans in Syria to put their embassy in the same building as those offensive Danes) we will apologize for insulting your God, who we must apparently respect because he is... well... yours. And you are willing to kill people over that fact.

Infidel and proud of it,

-Will

Posted by: Will | February 5, 2006 11:57 PM

Then adding your moron moral equivalency arguement that the average mainstream American is no better than the average Jihadi
Posted by: Chris Ford | Feb 5, 2006 11:33:11 PM

Since when are you the 'average mainstream American', Chris Ford? Your whole 'enemy sympathizer' rant just goes to show how much hatred you have dwelling within your 'beliefs'. As usual, I can count on you to discredit yourself, which is fine with me, as your views are way out and wrong, not too mention thoroughly un-American. A right wing extremist like you knows nothing of the 'average mainstream American'. The average American wants Osama bin Laden caught; You could care less if OBL is brought to justice justice. The average American cares about their civil liberties; You abhor our civil liberties and denounce them as dangerous. The average American is not obsessed with imaginary enemy sympathizers; You are. Your average American does not view their fellow citizens as the enemy in the War On Terror; You do.
Chris Ford an 'average mainstream American'? Hardly... more like an 'ugly American'. The rest of us Americans are better off without him.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 6, 2006 12:14 AM

Errinf, don't you understand, when at war, you actually do hate your enemy. Do you think that those on the front lines have any compassion for those with whom they are about to battle? I believe that the most Americans do hate the Jihadists. Additionally, I believe most Americans are in denial of the hideous force we are dealing with. Mr. Halad, in his own creepy way, was kind enough to give you a small taste. Try to digest that, and if you have trouble, seek out the Lonemule for help.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 6, 2006 12:32 AM

I want to go back to what Mr. Halad posted because it seemed very revealing to me. Its probably a mistake to subscribe too much significance to a lone post in a single blog, but I got the impression from the post that Mr. Halad considers himself a fairly mainstream Muslim attempting to reach out and explain to U.S. bloggers what it is that makes the radical Muslims hate us to the point of making us targets for terrorist strikes. His post doesn't quite indicate support for their actions, but it does indicate sympathy with their motives as he sees them.

Let me match the things he says with what Osama Bin Laden has said in the past as reasons to attack Americans.As I recall, Bin Laden's biggest beef was that U.S. troops came to and were stationed on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia, even after the first Gulf war was over. The other factor may be (though I can't recall Bin Laden ever specifically mentioning it) is that the U.S. has always supported Isreal.

Other factors may be the level of sex and independant minded women evident in our culture as depicted through movies, TV shows, magazines, etc.

I agree with other bloggers that say we need to seek first to understand, and that is what I am trying to do with this post and my one before it.

Therefore.....Please comment:

1) What are the things that the U.S. (government or other institutions) said or did pre-9/11, U.S.S. Cole, and embassy bombings that caused Al Qaeda to carry out those attacks on the U.S.?

2) What do other bloggers see as the level of sympathy for Al Qaeda and similar Muslim terrorist groups among "mainstream" or "moderate" Muslims

3) Has the level of sympathy grown for the terrorist organizations among mainstream/moderate Muslims over the past 10 years? If so, Why? (Please note - I'm not talking about government policies, I'm talking about individual opinions)

4) What implications does the level of sympathy for terrorists among mainstream/moderate Muslims have for the prosecution of this "Long War" as it is now being called?

5) In the U.S. we often talk about our patriotism. What type of "patriotism" do Muslim people have? Does it tend to be focused on country or Islam?

Posted by: DK | February 6, 2006 12:49 AM

DK,
The core of the terrorist problem may be less our policies than the religion itself.


"Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)

"Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)


"Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

"The Day of Resurrection will not arrive until the Moslems make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: 'Oh Moslem, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!'" (Sahih Bukhari 004.52.176)

"Seek out your enemies relentlessly." (Surah 4:104)


"Men take authority over women... As for those who are disobedient, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them." (Surah 4:34)

Seems pretty straight forward...

Posted by: bender | February 6, 2006 01:35 AM

And we thought our fundamentalist Christians are wacky. Forgive me Allah, but I could not help from chuckling at the talking rock and tree.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 6, 2006 01:52 AM

Shiloh wrote:

"Respect for respect needs to be relearned in every generation. It is our institutions, governmental and religious, educational and social, that should know that, live that and teach that"

Shiloh, thanks for commenting. I think you are correct, although I wish you had leftout the hip-hop reference. Not everyone into hip-hop thinks or behaves that way.

What I would like to add to what you said is that no one can damage the honor of an individual or organization through an external slight or gesture of disrespect. Only that individual or organization can bring dishonor to themselves through errors of judgement they may commit. If those real error(s) of judgement are pointed out by someone, then it is not that someone that brought the dishonor, it is the individual or organization that commited the error. That is where the concepts of forgiveness and growth play a part in restoring honor. If someone makes a false accusation or merely disrepects without a valid reason, then the honor of an individual or organization remains intact, since honor is something that is maintained from within. This is why I can't reconcile the idea of physically fighting or attacking in the name of honor, to avenge a slight, an insult, or any type of disrespect. Fighting is for self-preservation or the preservation of others only.

So human nature concocts twisted definitions or codes of honor to justify attacks against those they perceive as insulting them. How do we deal with this? If we respect these twisted codes or definitions of honor, don't we just enable their unconstructive beliefs, while we hinder our own? And yet to show contempt for these twisted beliefs triggers the violent behavior. This is especially a problem when living life according to our normal lifestyle is seen as contemptuous toward the individual or organization holding the twisted concept of honor.

We can either avoid dealing with such people or if forced by circumstances to deal with them we have to devise a strategy to hold tight to our freedoms while convincing them that we don't threaten their way of life or their core beliefs.

Posted by: | February 6, 2006 02:21 AM

JohnnyG in NE DC -

ErrinF is a broken record. In her mindset, we ARE NOT at war, but are pursuing a few misguided "criminals" that, if only caught and given ACLU lawyers, will magically bring us back to 9/10/2001.

In the interim, she believes that nothing shows "how good America is" to innocent followers of the Religion of Peace better than compassion and zealous defense of what has never existed previously in American history - a concept of full enemy rights and sacred enemy liberties. ErrinF is one of the Lefty partisans that thought that a cynical construction of a hypothetical "slippery slope" where acts that "offend" the enemy would inevitably lead to Amerikkka's long dark night of Fascism and US troops killing soccer moms and locking up Gore supporters. Then they really went nutso and actually became not cynical, but palpable in their fever swamp belief that sacred enemy civil liberties existed and must be fought for.

Remember, nothing matters to creatures like ErrinF more than defeating the evil Bush-Hitler.

That is why she appears in such deranged denial that evil Islamoids are afoot, and a global Jihad is indeed underway. Because acknowledging this in any way gets in the way of the political imperative to defeat the Bush-Hitler, conservatives, and comically, "Viewers of Fox".

And ErrinF is a gift in that way.

To her political enemies.

It will be a long, long time before Americans forget this latest denial by the Left that there really are Islamoids trying to kill Americans and other infidels, and that their bloodlust is in no way "America's Fault". Lefties simply cannot be trusted to be sane and serious about defending America from Islamoids.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 6, 2006 02:23 AM

Hmmm, now I'm reading what Bender wrote. I'll say that its interesting (and alarming)stuff with the caveat that it is very easy and sometimes misleading to take verses out of context from the Koran as well as the Bible. Be that as it may, we may need to consider the possibility that there is no way to, as I said before

"devise a strategy to hold tight to our freedoms while convincing them that we don't threaten their way of life or their core beliefs."

because some aspects of simply living our lives according to our beliefs of freedom and equality is seen as an affront to their beliefs. Still, in spite of the Koran verses, I think its more than just that. I think their problem with us is not just our lifestyle, its that our lifestyle is in their face at every turn through news media, entertainment, music, marketing, products, franchising, the pervasiveness of our language, our money and the influence it gives us to drive policies in other countries, and our huge appetite for consumption of resources. All those things have come to us as the result of our belief in freedom and equality, our combination of capitalism and democracy, and our willingness to constantly renew ourselves with immigrants that believe in the American Dream. The question is would our culture be so pervasive throughout the world if there weren't people clamoring for our products, our marketing, our franchises, our entertainment. We don't force people to buy our products, listen to our news, or enjoy our entertainments, but just as people in other cultures complain about it at times and feel powerless to do anything about it, so too do some consumers in the U.S. who complain about too much violence or sex in our entertainments, that news media is biased (liberal media or right wing talk shows), that our franchises serve up unhealthy, and addictive junk food ....

The price of freedom is the need to examine options and to exert self-discipline when dealing with all our choices. It is our freedom that ensures our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but it is also freedom that opens the door to behavior that can be questioned by some as immoral, while considered acceptable by others. Americans and other western cultures are used to these contradictions. When other cultures come in contact with that phenomena stress results and there are misunderstandings about what Americans and western cultures stand for. The thing is that Christianity is a religion based on choice as well. Jesus never preached that people should be forced to follow him, in spite of the crusades, the Spanish inquisition, and other misguided efforts (to say the least) by the Christian church. Simply put if you choose to follow, you receive your reward in heaven and if you choose not to you won't. I don't know how that compares to Islam, because I don't know enough about that religion and I don't make judgements based on verses taken out of context.

So what does this diatribe mean? I'm not sure, but maybe we as a nation need to do a better job of expressing the nature of freedom to the rest of the world on a deeper level than we typically do. Maybe we need to think about how our collective choices as a nation reflects on our character as a nation in the minds of our own citizens as well as the rest of the world. Maybe then our freedom will be more attractive to other cultures.

At the turn of the milenium, then President Clinton gave a speech. I only remember one line:

The 20th century was the century of freedom, lets hope that the 21st century will be the century of freedom used wisely.

Posted by: DK | February 6, 2006 03:54 AM

Good Morning USA! A quotation for Chris and Johnny in particular:

"The fundamental source of all your errors, sophisms, and false reasonings, is a total ignorance of the natural rights of mankind. Were you once to become acquainted with these, you could never entertain a thought, that all men are not, by nature entitled to a parity of privileges. You would be convinced, that natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator, to the whole human race; and that civil liberty is founded in that; and cannot be wrested from any people, without the most manifest violation of justice." - Alexander Hamilton

Posted by: Shiloh | February 6, 2006 05:36 AM

For unsigned blogger at 2:21:14 AM:

I meant no disrespect to devotees of hip-hop, nor intended to in any way disparage their moral code or imply that they were predisposed to pugnacity. It was simply an illustrative juxtaposition to earlier forms of codes of honor and the language of different times. Thanks for your additions and observations.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 6, 2006 06:20 AM

Comments of DK, Shiloh, and others have responded to Mr Halad's thoughtful remarks already. I would like to add this, as it goes to the heart of not only this discussion but several others in which we've engaged over the recent weeks.
The idea of freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental and precious values recognized in the U. S. Constitution. Through this means, citizens are guaranteed the RIGHT (not privilege) to remark on or criticize any aspect of life. We comment on politics and political leaders, on business and business leaders, and - yes - on religion and religious leaders. These comments are not always polite, not always respectful, not always understanding. However, our formative document and our understanding of the history of governance has brought us to the conclusion that any stifling of thought or expression has the negative effect of allowing unreason and injustice to prevail. The balance is not without exposure to conflict, as in the present case.
It must be noted, however, that the remarks - in this instance, a cartoon that is arguably (arguably) in poor taste comes from a citizen of a nation that has adopted the ideas and principles incorporated in the first amendment to the U. S. Constitution. We have agreed that civil principles, not religious nor family line inheritance, shall govern our laws and actions. (I realize that I am trying to encapsulate a great deal here in a few sentences.) The effect is that we hold that any citizen is free to practice their faith (or lack of same) providing that they reasonably observe the civil laws.
During a period of scandal and shame within the Catholic Church here in the U. S., a good many cartoons and articles were published that showed that church's clergy and hierarchical structure in uncomplimentary light. Some, indeed, may have been in poor taste. Bishops, priests, even Catholics as a group might have been put out by some of those comments. But we hold that this is part of society's way of examining and questioning the nature of that institution with respect to the society at large. And we hold as an essential element of a free society that these examinations must continue.
That is why we sometimes see and hear strong differences of opinion, even personal attacks of one commenter against another.
Our approach is a mere 250 years old, compared to views in other parts of the world that are much, much older. Nevertheless, in our society that prizes those liberties (see Shiloh's quotation from A. Hamilton, above), we see these rights as the foundations of our society. And in general, we take it askance that someone from outside our society would say: "That behavior does not accord with our point of view, so you must change your ways to satisfy us."
While I personally believe that the present issue is being completely blown out of proportion (probably by entities that believe they have something to gain by doing so), it also points out a general ignorance of a religion that claims many followers around the world. Is it possible in the near term to reconcile the views and interests of nations following our lead in governance and the expectations of some religious practitioners? That is a story that is still playing out.

Posted by: Jazzman | February 6, 2006 08:17 AM

Reading comments from the constantly hippocritical Chris Ford is always good for a laugh. Reason to hate-Chris is there. Jumping to conclusions and assumptions, that is our Chris. Hateful Racist name calling narrow minded religious hate based propaganda. That is Chris. I see Chris Ford as an embarrassment to democracy, he has a put down for anyone who wants to practice democracy, Leftie he calls them.
Who will take you seriously Chris Ford? You are no different than the Islamoids you are constantly rallying against, you are small minded and seem to see religious based arguments as democratic arguments. Name calling as political discussion? No the name calling and constant reference to Christianity is irritating. The seperation of church and state, did you hear about that in your democratic world? I doubt it.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | February 6, 2006 09:02 AM

Thoughts in response to Jazzman:

The advent of the global economy or "household," the shrinking of the planet in travel time and communications, and the recognition of shared concerns, such as global warming and the depletion of energy resources, have created an unprecedented paradigm in interpersonal and international relations.

Reconciliation of cultural variables, including religion, moral codes and world views may call for a syncretic ecumenism that embodies the earliest American credo, "e pluribus unum," or its equivalent, as applicable to the world. That is to say, that one world out of many people, many religions, many socio-political systems can recognize both individuality and soverignity without sacrificing global unity.

Change and resistance to change will always be with us. The American experiment is young. It may change and become something different, more akin to older, more enduring civilizations - and those other societies may simultaneously move towards the "natural rights of mankind" as envisioned by Hamilton. Only time will tell.

It is a never ending story that will continue to play out as long as mankind endures. The greatest danger is reversion to obsolete forms of the human condition and forms of government - and forgetting the past.

In his "Dissertation on First Principles of Government" Thomas Paine wrote: "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 6, 2006 09:06 AM

all the world is in danger from islamic extremism, not only the US. at the same time, it must be emphasised that the peculiar habit of the US of looking askance when it suits her interests has led to a rise in islamic fundamentalism. for instance, the US is even now not doing much about the nuclear program of pakistan, and it is willing to go to bed with musharraf as it believes that UBL will be delivered as a result!! what a joke! there must be consistency in policies. similarly, israel can get away with murder while the arab states get squeezed for far lesser crimes! similarly, the autocratic regimes of the gulf are not asked to account for the mindless financing of terrorist groups, for the sake of oil. if the US is really serious about ending terrorism it ought to take a holistic view and flex its muscles in an appropriate manner.
how can one delve into the mindset of a people who are so unmoved by this mayhem and anarchy that is all around us? most of the nations from which terrorists spring are so poor that they cannot survive without aid from the West. terrorism indeed seems to be like a flame which doth mock the meet it feeds on! however, i think that the ideal approach must be a combination of military and financial/educational/cultural. will love and patience win this war? do we have the time even to wait for an answer?!!!

Posted by: satyameva jayate | February 6, 2006 09:50 AM

Thanks for your post satyameva jayate. I believe the "combination of military and financial/educational/cultural" is what the neo-cons are trying, albeit clumsily. Unfortunately, by the time the US hones its skills in this matter, the population will not want to embark on anothers for at least a generation.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 6, 2006 10:02 AM

Does anyone know how to get Emily some help? She can't go on carrying the burden of chronic constipation much longer!

Adopt a slogan. Chant with me now!!!

NO POOP...NO PEACE...NO POOP...NO PEACE!!!!

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 6, 2006 10:03 AM

Speak Out - And you are an embarassment to the manly men of Canadian history that definitely would not behave like a submissive dog with his tail tucked between his legs every time an Islamoid speaks sternly to the Northern cur. How sad that Canadians think their path to higher civilization is to downsize their military to a force smaller than Belgiums, leaving them no choice but to be fearful postmod ersatz Euroweenies obsessed by fear of giving offense by being "racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted against the Religion of Peace", and fear of being impolite about accepting the values of other cultures (except America's), because it is proper to rail on Canadian men for being sexist, but not on Islamoid men - because, dear gosh, that would be judgmental...PS: How's your new PM?

Shiloh -

Any one with any grounding in political philosophy knows about natural law, and the thousand or so pithy quotes you can muster. But that is not wisdom. It is regurgitation. The real debate is not over the existence of natural law in the Western European Christian tradition, it is over the extent that natural law must be curtailed in order for a state to be ruled effectively and optimally for the individual interest. Since absolute expression of natural law with no check, no law, no security - would invariably lead to trammeling of liberties of some by others. No philosopher taken seriously disputed this. Not Hobbes, not Locke, not Rousseau, not Jefferson, not Paine, not Hamiltion. Hamilton, who you quoted so approvingly, was as strong for a powerful executive - to balance unchecked expression of natural law, as Hobbes was.

In the context of the debate, I'm not sure if you are trying to extend natural law to a culture that does not subscribe to it, preferring the law of the Koran and Hadiths instead. Or, just saying that Hamilton was a great guy, and you approve of his position on where natural law fits based on his Federalist Papers conclusions.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 6, 2006 10:11 AM

This is all pure rubbish! The only people on this planet served by this emergent "cold war thinking" are those within the military industrial complex whose economic interests are served and those within the neoconservative community of ideologues who yearn for another gigantic moral, cultural and economic conflict that ensures their political interests for decades to come.

Think back to the early months of the Bush administration before 9-11, 2001. Was terrorism on the radar screens of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the community of neocon ideologues who had become largely irrelevant since the fall of the Soviet Union and fairly ached for a cold war with China? Of course not. They considered terrorism as simply a historical nuisance, the cost of doing business as a consequence of our historical relationship with Israel in the overarching conflict between good and evil.

The people behind the war on terror are crusaders looking for another long. protracted moral and military crusade against what they perceive as "evil". They cannot flourish absent such a crusade. And that crusade involves economic, religious, cultural and social domination on a world scale as well as military domination.

That is what this is all about more than ant real threat posed to the security of the "free world". It is not the security of the so-called free world that is at risk here. It is those who do not accept the dominating influence of American, European, and Judaeo-Christian belief systems in the world that are most at risk.

Posted by: Jaxas | February 6, 2006 10:34 AM

Chris: In order for the executive to have unfettered power, it is first necessary to have the mutual consent of the governed. And an executive who relies on fear to motivate the governed is undeserving of that power. Both the founders who feared unchecked power, and Hobbes himself, said as much; and the circumstances of the day indicate that the former is failing and the latter is prevailing.

And I much prefer the regurgitated wisdom of the founders and those who precipitated their thinking, to the rant and bile of decidedly misdirected thinkers.

However, in the spirit of Voltaire (attributed): "I may not agree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it." Regurgitate that.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 6, 2006 10:57 AM

I do not quibble with Bender's commentary on the hatred, bigotry and mindless zealotry of certain Islamic sects. But, the history of Christianity has not always acquitted itself so nobly as well. The very same hatreds, persecutions and violence has been a part of the history of western religions. No one can read that history and not sympathize with the Mormons who were so brutally mistreated not only by reval religious sects but also the Federal and State governments of 19th century America.

And anyone who has listened to the outrageous commentary of certain American religious leaders knows that the sort of mindless adherence to fanatical belief systems that characterizes radical Islam is not unique to their religion. The very same darkness that threatens Islam has come upon Christianity as well. All manner of reliances upon Scripture have been used in all major religions to justify their own existences.

In my opinion, religion has a value in our life insofar as it equips us with certain moral guidelines. But, it fails miserably when it is used by its more zealous practitioners to dominate and control the lives of human beings and force them into one belief or another. And it has been shown by advances in knowledge and the sciences to have been a complete failure as an explantaion on the Creation of man and the universe.

Posted by: Jaxas | February 6, 2006 11:05 AM

For once, Jaxas, I almost completely agree with your statements.

These damn religions are the cause of most of the problems we are discussing.

However, to fall into the mindset that our hands are not clean because of things done in the past, is non-productive. We wife used to try and use that tactic on me when I was lecturing my kids about something they did or should avoid. She used to blurt out, "listen to the hypocrite." It was painful to me that she did not understand the damage she was doing with such statements.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 6, 2006 11:18 AM

I find myself in the rare position of agreeing with Chris Ford.

While I think Shrubco's so-called GWOT is probably one of the most misguided blunders in American history (and one that looks like a simple war of aggesssion to anyone not blinded by red white and blue American exceptionalist bullshit), if we aren't willing to fight extremists who burn down buildings because someone published a cartoon, who the hell will we fight?

Posted by: Mr. X | February 6, 2006 11:44 AM

"...who the hell will we fight?" Ourselves, Mr X, ourselves. I see that as a clear tactic of the extremist fundamentalists of every order. Most civilizations decay and fall from within. The fanatics and zealots are little more than termites that nibble away at the fabric of social order. It serves their purpose: to emerge on top of the anthill that collapses on itself because those who should have been shoring up the foundations of social order have instead been fighting among themselves.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 6, 2006 12:13 PM

Jaxas-

You said: "But, the history of Christianity has not always acquitted itself so nobly as well. The very same hatreds, persecutions and violence has been a part of the history of western religions. No one can read that history and not sympathize with the Mormons who were so brutally mistreated not only by reval religious sects but also the Federal and State governments of 19th century America."

That your best example of Christian religious zeal is over 100 years old is simultaneously too revealing and not revealing enough. Certainly many of us would sympathize with those poor souls tortured under the Spanish Inquisition, or Witch Trials, or countless other crimes against humanity predicated on one religious belief or another.

Let's take this historic comparison to its logical conclusion. The reaction by the Muslim world over a cartoon does have a medievil feel to it. Burning down embassies seems a bit overreactive to us Westerners.

It is emberrasing that people like Pat Robertson are the American face of Christianity (for Christians and America). One key difference between Pat Robertson and Cartoon protestors, though, is that Pat Robertson hasn't actually kidnapped anyone or set an embassy on fire. More importantly, Pat Robertson's team frequently loses fights with the United States Supreme Court when it tries to expansively define Freedom of Religion as Christian Statehood. The beauty of the American system is that even the most overwhelming majority of Christians in America cannot suspend the first amendment, which is why Americans are forever free to insult Jesus or Mohammed in political cartoons.

Islam never fear, however, because this situation can change. As Western Governments relent and tacitly encourage self-censorship for "sensitivity", the lines distinguishing our own unique American legal institutions and those of Sharia Law blur.

You say: "And anyone who has listened to the outrageous commentary of certain American religious leaders knows that the sort of mindless adherence to fanatical belief systems that characterizes radical Islam is not unique to their religion."

But their overwhelming willingness to take lighters to buildings and delayed condemnation of violence from the theocratic leaders in the middle east *is* unique to Islam. And the West's reluctance, in this case emphasized by your reaction to this whole thing, to categorically condemn Religious censorship (that is unless said religion is Christianity) is unique to Islam and Judaism.

Another unique difference is that, typically, countries in the 21st century with majority Christian populations happen to have Constitutions that specifically protect minority religions, whereas countries in the 21st century with majority Muslim populations happen to have Legal and Political Institutions that enforce Islamic law. This seems a bit too coincedental, eh? To use perhaps an inappropriate cliche given the current condition of Danish embassies around the world, where there's smoke, there's fire.

"In my opinion, religion has a value in our life insofar as it equips us with certain moral guidelines. But, it fails miserably when it is used by its more zealous practitioners to dominate and control the lives of human beings and force them into one belief or another. And it has been shown by advances in knowledge and the sciences to have been a complete failure as an explantaion on the Creation of man and the universe."

And this is where we completely agree. But you need not limit the scope to explanations of creation, Religion has proven time and time again a failure in preventing ill on society, and further has zealously promulgated ill on societies.

Christians are, essentially, harmless. The Supreme Court has them in check. This does not mean we should ignore the radical Christian menace, but I'll reserve my weary glances for them when they start burning down embassies.

I appreciate your points, however. Dogmatic zealoutry needs to be stomped out anywhere and everywhere. Our receptivity and sensitivity to religious umbrage seems to be misplaced: it is brave and lawful for an artist to put a crucifixition in a jar of urine, but we should tread softly on Mohammed because it is offensive. So we reward the groups most likely to kill people over a cartoon by aquiescing? Does this seem like the right message to send the Islam world?

Posted by: Will | February 6, 2006 12:29 PM

By the way, did anyone else notice the President's brilliant plan to cut the deficit in half by 2009? First step: Increase the budget deficit in 2006 by 100 billion (another record setting deficit!) by their own projections.

Again I say...

HARRRUUUUH?

Posted by: Will | February 6, 2006 12:39 PM

Termites and fire ants occasionally swarm, especially when stirred up by a stick plucked, in the case instant from a Danish newspaper, and used as a firebrand by zealots. You cannot quell the sting by stomping on the ants, nor by stripping the tree, but must douse the zealot firebrands.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 6, 2006 01:41 PM

Hey, Sully, hey Jazzman you ain't getting the point. Chris Ford and his buddies have the skeleton of the answer to ALL these problems - it just needs joining up.
Lets start with Iraq; pretty good score there - and I'm sure that Chris's figures are modest he only claims 40,000 - I bet the true figure is way over 100,000. That is 100,000 bearded maniacs with their Kalashnikovs, the women who feed them ammunition, and the children being brought up to be the next generation of terrorists (many of them throwing stones at US troops!) - and all that for not much more than 1,000 dead Americans.
But when you REALLY do the sums, recognising that an American death is equivalent to around 1,000 Muslim the score card doesn't look so good.
So what went wrong? The Baghdad fireworks were great, took the buggers out with no problem and no dead Yankees. Sending ground troops in was the problem, you risk loosing one of your men for every 50 infidels - not good. There's millions of those bastards out there, carrying on in that way leads to a "Long War", which may never be won.
And remember it is not just the Ayatollahs that have to be dealt with, there's also the bloody Commies - and the Russian Pseudo-Commies.
The suggestion of a "Short War" seems far more sensible. But it would be pretty stupid to replace nuclear warheads with conventional ones, conventional stuff just ain't got the clout - and it will be needed.
What is required is an all out pre-emptive strike on ALL nations threatening the US; obviously Iran, North Korea and Libya - but also, surely, China, Russia. And Pakistan is Moslem - and has nukes. And what about India?
Come on you liberal anti-Americans, think about it. This would be a War for Peace, and should be named that - then how could you object?

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 6, 2006 01:57 PM

"Christians are, essentially, harmless. The Supreme Court has them in check."

Will, the House passed 3 "court stripping" bills last year, bills forbidding the Supreme Court from ruling on legislation. They have been slowly working on making SCOTUS irrelevant, and if Alito's not conservative enough we may still see more of this.

Further, the only thing that makes the President and Congress abide by SCOTUS decisions is the infamous Rule of Law. If the Prez decides he doesn't like their decisions, and he controls the Military, what weight do SCOTUS decisions have if he laughs at them (oh, excuse me, decides they don't sufficiently protect us from his perceived threats)? He can be impeached, but that's a joke given the lockstep control over a House that's been busy passing court stripping bills.

And finally, FISA specifically regulates "international" calls when one end of the call is in the US - read the law, its in there. So, Bush has shown us that he intends to flout Rule of Law.

Without respect for Rule of Law and with contempt for separation of powers, how much protection do you think SCOTUS really gives us from fundamentalists?

Fundamentalist Christians in this country are complaining they are under seige and are getting feisty. No, they're not burning embassies....yet. But they're only bitching about what we call the December 25 holiday or whether we can put religious symbols on public lands. No one has yet told them they can't wear crosses on their bodies or must alter the dress they consider religiously modest/appropriate, or sent in armies bent on their destruction, er, control, because of the idiocy of Pat Robertson praying for God to strike his enemies dead and Christianity to rule the globe.

The political "middle' in the Muslim world has been deafeningly silent. Before 9-11 it was a game to poke Goliath in the eye now and then, and was encouraged by their governments to give them a common enemy. After 9-11 a lot of support for terrorism dried up. Then our President announced a Crusade. We invaded a country not involved in 9-11 to remake it in our image, killing twice as many of theirs as 9-11 killed ours, and since then hundreds of thousands more. And the Great Bully had great plans to move on to Syria.

People are sheep, whether or not they are Americans responding to neocon fearmongering by offering to cast aside down the civil rights their forefathers died defending, or whether they are Muslims watching the bombs fall on their religous brothers while they are incited with horror stories about the bullies. Yes, they feel their religion is under seige. We lost the hearts and minds thing.

We are on our way to a legal dictatorship. If Canada invades us to free us from the neocons, will the American insurgents who fight them be patriotic freedom fighters or terrorists? Which side will you be on? American intends to "shock and awe" their countries into our image. What did you expect them to do?

Posted by: patriot1957 | February 6, 2006 02:00 PM

"What did you expect them to do?"

Who is "them" and what is it they "do"/did/will do?

Posted by: Will | February 6, 2006 02:20 PM

Wouldn't count on canada coming to save us, patriot. Apparently, even their border guards aren't allowed to carry firearms.

http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2006/01/24/borderguards060124.html

Posted by: RD66 | February 6, 2006 02:27 PM

Canada is a girly-man country. Ha. Ha. We would bury them! They look over their balcony with envy when they see the party below.

Posted by: | February 6, 2006 02:38 PM

Do confused englishmen use the term "ain't"

Posted by: | February 6, 2006 02:42 PM

Chris wrote:
The real debate is not over the existence of natural law in the Western European Christian tradition, it is over the extent that natural law must be curtailed in order for a state to be ruled effectively and optimally for the individual interest.

Here, in one word, "curtailed" we get to the very heart of the matter. I rewrite part of your sentence to illustrate......
"it is over the extent to which our individual rights under natural law must be ceded to the state in order for the state to effectively serve the common interest.

At its heart it was about the tradeoff between the common interest and each individuals liberties and they ever so carefully circumscribed the common interest and the state created to represent that. Not a single one of them would assert the need for an all-powerful state. After all, that is what the revolution was all about.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 6, 2006 03:51 PM

Will -

You're right, my hastily written post jumped subjects there.

When you're under the bombs, are you going to listen to the people telling your they're bombing you for your own good, or the people telling you they can make the bullies go home? When they're invading your country under false pretenses, killing thousands of innocents, and then other countries start banning your clothing and talking about "squashing" you, what would you do?

Its not that I think we shouldn't be attending to our interests. But maybe we could walk softly and carry a big stick instead of swaggering arrogantly beating Muslims with our stick.

Posted by: patriot1957 | February 6, 2006 03:55 PM

The only problem with walking softly and carrying abig stick is that you have to be willing to swing that big stick, more importantly, you have to convince the other guy that you'll do it. Europe has tried the walk softly approach for years...as Victor Davis Hanson points out, "Muslim minorities were not asked to assimilate at home and Islamic terrorists abroad were seen as mere militants or extremists rather than enemies bent on destroying the West. . . . More importantly, despite distancing themselves from the United States, and spreading cash liberally around, the Europeans are beginning to fathom that the radical Islamists still hate them even more than they do the Americans--as if the fundamentalists add disdain for perceived European weakness in addition to the usual generic hatred of all things Western."

Posted by: | February 6, 2006 04:18 PM

Sorry, that was mine.

Posted by: D. | February 6, 2006 04:19 PM

Irrelevant to the debate, but confused Englishmen use the term "ain't. The ones who aren't (prounounced aunt) so confused and bemoan the loss of the British empire don't say much - something to do with inbreeding and Opium.

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 6, 2006 04:26 PM

But seriously; you have wars because you are the most powerful nation in the universe (and us dick-heads seem to get involved in them). OK when we thought we were the most powerful state we were the same sort or bastards.
Wouldn't it be great to go in a different direction and say "Hey man, we could use this power to stop these wars?"

Posted by: Confused Engishman | February 6, 2006 04:33 PM

You know, for a nation of 30 million or so, you guys did cause alot of trouble in your day.

Posted by: D. | February 6, 2006 04:36 PM

Patriot-

No debater recognizes the "why" of the question more than me. I find nothing exceedingly unreasonable about Islamic hate and distrust for the United States so I am not surprised by their actions.

But this most recent fracas between the West and the Muslim world is not just another Flag-Burners anonymous meeting, or Death to the Infidels Drum Circle. It represents a fundamental difference between countries that hold dear Western ideals like the freedom of religious expression, and countries that hold dear Sharia Law.

The shock and outrage from the Muslim world should be a wake up call for the rest of us. It isn't *just* the Americans they hate (a now apparently shallow interpretation of the West-Muslim conflict that even I am guilty of touting) it's anyone who dares express themselves in ways that are not in accordance with the Qu'ran. In simpler terms, their outrage is that we are not yet bound by Islamic Law.

This particular conflict is not a "heart's and mind's" battle. The widespread protest (which is itself an interesting view of the failing's of Islamic law... has anyone else noticed a single woman protesting?) represents a fundamental disagreement that cannot be solved merely by being polite to the Islamic world. In fact, that kind of response seems *precisely* wrong: we should not send the message that gross intolerance for (even the really nasty) views of others is ok so long as the people you insult won't burn your embassy down or kill people. The sooner the Islamic world recognizes that the Qu'ran has as much binding legal power in the West as the Bible -which is to say none- the better we all are.

"But maybe we could walk softly and carry a big stick instead of swaggering arrogantly beating Muslims with our stick."

One only has to turn on a television *right now* and witness Muslims running around with big sticks (not the proverbial kind either).

I agree with you that our foreign policy needs a swift change. But I do recognize that this conflict is a difference of idealogies that cannot merely be blamed on the evils and excess of the West.

Ameer Alito, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, asks this revealing rhetorical question: "Which is more important, to preserve the freedom of speech or to antagonise one-fifth of humanity." Ameer seems perfectly willing to frame this as "Either you agree with freedom of speech or you want to incite the Muslim world." Ok. So we can either preserve our freedoms and incite, or we can aquiesce.

I choose the former. To me, choosing the latter is substantively no different than deciding that Sharia Law rules us all. Thoughts?

Posted by: Will | February 6, 2006 04:43 PM

You get the point D, it's not a history I'm comfortable with. Wouldn't I love it if you guys learned from it.

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 6, 2006 04:43 PM

OK Will, I also would also say - you can have your Koran but don't shove it in my face.
Sadam was a shit, but Ba'ath had given Iraq something far more like a Secular State than most of the neighbouring countries (including "friends" like Saudi. Iraq will now also become a fundamentalist state - with the encouragement of the invaders. What is that about?

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 6, 2006 04:58 PM

Personally, I think we should go for winning the hearts and minds of the rocks and trees. Onced gained, you can be safe behind one, without having it yelling about and giving up your hiding place. Sorry, I have to go now and beat my ten wives. This will take some time, as one of them burned my toast this morning.

Posted by: | February 6, 2006 04:59 PM

First, there was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire, so it's own contributions to unfavorable history is not limited to present size.

Second, another fifth of the world population would see a "middle way" and that is a path worth pursuing.

Just as freedom of speech is limited in the United States, for example, by not shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, and by libel and slander laws, or proscriptions on sedition, a middle way can accomodate both sides of the same coin.
That is not appeasement, but reality, sanity and diplomacy. If that doesn't work, we can bomb the hell out of each other and the survivors can reconsider.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 6, 2006 05:12 PM

Confused Englishman-

History might count that one of many blunders in Iraq. For all the "principled" reasons that showed up after the invasion for why Saddam needed the boot (he murdered people, tortured people, etc.) it wasn't clear that anyone thought about the practical consequences.

Here was a professed enemy of Islam because he was an essentially secular dictator who viewed religious dissent as a threat to his rule. By all indications he will be replaced by a theocratic democracy. As the Muslim world increasingly views the West (and this includes England by the way) as inconsolably evil and infidel-ish, history might recognize that people like Saddam were precisely the type of road blocks we needed.

I'm not going to apologize for anything the Bush administration did. I'm voicing my reaction to the Muslim world's protest... It's absurd that a cartoon is enough to kill someone over, and the complete indignation from some of the Islamic clerics and leaders that we would allow newspapers in our countries to excercise their religious and expressive freedoms --not to mention the overwhelming protest in virtually all Islamic countries, and the arrest of Islamic journalists crazy enough to publish the cartoons, and the embassy burnings...-- suggests that this is not such a "radical" Islamic response. That Sharia Law should trump freedom of speech is not a "radical" position in the Islamic world, apparently, is obvious (to them at least).

The question is, when protesters start kidnapping and killing people over cartoons, when countries fail to condemn the violence for days, when clerics in the Muslim community call for capital punishment for cartoon drawings, when countries criminalize publishing the cartoons, when embassies burn, when the President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Clerics starts asking us to sacrifice our expressive freedoms or risk the Muslim world's heart's and mind's... when do we recognize that the West and Islam might have a few inconsolable differences?

What substantive difference is there, if we aquiesce to the violence, between operating under the Constitution of the United States and operating under Sharia Law? If we should be expected to voluntarily censor our speech in so far as it violates Islamic law, why don't we just go the whole nine yards and start boning up on our Islamic holy texts?

Posted by: Will | February 6, 2006 05:19 PM

anonymous wife-beater,
I was reading some koranic passages yesterday and you sir, are in violation. 3 or 4 wives is the suggested maximim. In addition, I suggest you read up on islamic protocol regarding bestiality. It`s okay if you sodomize your livestock, but the animal must be killed immediately after the completion of your union. Selling the meat to your neighbors is forbidden, but you may sell it to strangers. Google it up...I`m serious.

Posted by: bender | February 6, 2006 05:19 PM

Shiloh-

"Just as freedom of speech is limited in the United States, for example, by not shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, and by libel and slander laws, or proscriptions on sedition, a middle way can accomodate both sides of the same coin.
That is not appeasement, but reality, sanity and diplomacy."

So the only reasonable measure of what is "appropriate" and "inappropriate" is the likelihood that those offended will take so much umbrage that they will kill someone?

It is ok to burn an American flag... unless that action will cause actual Americans to kill Pakistanis. There is no "diplomatic" reason to sacrifice our fundamental principles of free religious expression.

If ever there was a Faustian bargain... we sacrifice our ability to protest Islamic rule for what? So we don't upset them? And what happens when they start protesting because we let our crazy women-folk drive cars? Where would your diplomatic solution be then?

Who could blame the Islamic world for taking that one more logical step, seeing as how violence and fire forced our hands the previous time. What happens when Islam demands we convert? Do we sacrifice our religious freedoms so as not to upset 1/5th of the world?

Shiloh, at what point, exactly, do you decide that what we are asked to sacrifice is not worth sacrificing for *anything*? I happen to think that our first amendment rights happen to be the kinds of things we don't bargain with the Islamic, or Jewish, or Christian communities with. Do you disagree?

Posted by: Will | February 6, 2006 05:25 PM

It's a slippery slippery slope to start agreeing to discuss with FOREIGNERS how we should conduct ourselves within our own country. It is one thing if WE were human rights abusers etc.

I would rather fight to the bitter end, if necessary, and would destroy it all if it seemed that we were to lose it all, so nothing would be left for the survivors, much less any survivors. I'll see you in hell Osama.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 6, 2006 05:27 PM

The fundamental principle that the
Muslims seem to be missing, at least the ones we see agitating now is that no one can dishonor you, you can only dishonor yourself. Is this really a characteristic of their religion? What do the mainstream/moderate Muslims think? Does anyone have a sense of that?

Posted by: DK | February 6, 2006 05:27 PM

D. makes a good point to the America or Bush-haters like "Patriot"1957 that constantly write that Islamoid antipathy is somehow All About Us and Our Mistakes and Slights towards the People of Peace.

"Patriot"1957 writes as part of his Amerocentric spiel: "After 9-11 a lot of support for terrorism dried up. Then our President announced a Crusade." Ergo, cause and effect. Islamoid anger is a pure function of misguided American policy - ergo - listen to the America-haters or Bush-bashers and the problem goes away.

As D. properly notes, "patriot"1957 and others assertions are stupid. Euroweenies are shocked, just shocked that despite their generous welfare and multi-culti affirmations of the nobility of All Things Islamic - all their atempts to reason and sing Kumbaya --they are reviled by Islamoids in Europe. Weak, deserving of being predated upon, women of Euroweenie weaklings simply sluts with no honor to be raped if they are found in a vulnerable place or condition...It has nothing to do with America, but with Euros being seen as weak and corrupt and the cause of thousand year-old grievances. Where no amount of Euroweenie groveling or apology can repair such a blood and honor debt....

The millions killed by Islamoids in the 20th century were killed because they COULD be killed - they were weak - and nothing to do with America. It is a cliche`, but a true useful cliche` that Muslims respect the strong horse. At a time when Turks were butchering several million Chaldeans, Orthodox Greeks, Balkan Christians, and of course the Armenians - an American or English family could tour the Ottoman Empire unmolested and unharmed because the Pashas knew all too well the shit we could bring down on them.

Children of Beslan - Americas doing? No. Easy marks is all. Same with the 500K unbelieving Chinese killed by Jihadis in 1965. The 1/3rd of East Timorans butchered by Islamoids (a greater portion of population lost than Pol Pot managed). Weak, vulnerable people best slaughtered by Islamoid gun, sword. Rape as a centrally directed tactic of war pioneered by Islamoids in the Greek minority still going into the 1900s. The slave trade Islamoids developed still was going on into the 20th Century against weak and defenseless people. Millions of Christian and animist blacks killed in Africa. Continued "reduction" efforts against minorities in Muslim lands - Copts, Assyrians, Bah'ia. While the media only covered the chucking out of the last Jews in many countries, the largest Islamoid slaughter of the 20th century was of Hindis. Which like 99.9% of Islamoid murdering, had absolutely nothing to do with American policy.

Satyameva Jayate perhaps can return and educate further on the chilling numbers of the Indian Holocaust that has gone on sinced the invaders of the Religion of Peace first poured into the Indian subcontinent. The 20th Century was a "light" century of Islamoid slaughter of their neighbors, but still well over 5 million from Islamoids moving on Hindis in opportune times where the Hindis were seen as vulnerable in Assam, in Partition, in East Pakistan, and the butchery in Kashmir. The subcontinent ran with even more blood in previous centuries. Any time rivals of Islamoids were weak or not seen "worth" the taxes they paid to Mogul rulers, mass murder recommenced.

The India case shows the thousand year-long utter inability of Islamoids to live side by side with people not reduced to the 2nd class citizenship of Dhimmitude. See, as Satyameva would confirm, Hindis were not Euroweenies or Euroweenie wannabes - they had great warriors and fought back against the Religion of Peace people.

In other regions like the Levant, Anatolia, Indonesia - Islamoids pursue "purification". Meaning no peace until the land is pure, or near-pure with minorities doing only certain jobs deemed beneath a Muslim. Egypt and Turkey went from 90% Muslim to 99% "pure" in the 20th Century. Pakistan means "pure nation", pure as in no infidels allowed to live freely...with Saudi Arabia...not defiled by a single breathing Jew or a single church and infidels only allowed in as useful guest workers...the inspiration.

In the end "patriot"1957's proclaimations that Islamoid violence is "all about us" is insultingly Americocentric and uttrly ignores murderous Islamoid belavior elsewhere (99% of Muslim victims) which are not linked to the USA or it's policies in any way. The Hindis show the only people the Islamoids respect and avoid killing or subjugating are the strong. The weak are just targets.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 6, 2006 05:32 PM

An understanding, Will, of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism are essential to an understanding of how each governmental system of laws evolved and came to be what they are. Without that,no rational argument can proceed. May I suggest as a primer, Schopenhauer's "The World as Will and Representation" and "The World as Will and Idea."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 6, 2006 05:42 PM

I'm asking a more fundamental question. You seem to be implying that this whole misunderstanding is an err on the European publishers. If they understood and appreciated the sensitivities of Islam, this whole thing would've been avoided, yes?

If one of the grievences Islam has with the West is that the west allows its citizens free religious expression (for example, the freedom to insult their God) then this would be an inconsolable disagreement between the West and Islam, yes?

If instead you are saying that for our conversation to continue I must read from your booklist, then fuck you, sir/madame.

Have a good day.

Posted by: Will | February 6, 2006 05:55 PM

A delightful response, Will. But you infer more than I imply and interpret that within your own mindset. You and Chris could broaden your minds.

I am reminded of the old monk and acolyte of a contemplative Buddhist order that eschewed contact with the outside world.

Happening upon a young woman at the ford of a stream, the lady expressed her fear at crossing. The old monk invited her to hoist herself on his back, crossed the stream to the other side, put her down safetly and proceeded on his way with the acolyte in the beauty of silence cherished by their community.

Hours later, as they settled into a wayside inn for the night, the acolyte said "Sensei, our community forbids outside contact, but you carried that beautiful young woman across the stream."

The old monk answered "Yes, and I put her down on the other side, but you have carried her all these many miles."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 6, 2006 06:32 PM

You have a lecturing tone and I am in no mood to be lectured, which is why I responded so harshly to you. If I've inferred too much, why don't you just up and tell me which inference was incorrect?

Never has someone posted so much without any substance. What do you proscribe? Should we apologize and forbid cartoons that depict Mohammed to appease Sharia Law? Should we require all Westerners to read the two books you think explain the issue sufficiently? Why couldn't you just explain Schopenhauer's point?

You have not addressed anything specifically, really, in this entire thread. Though you are surely a treasure trove of useless prose and obscure and cryptic stories, this is a debate blog. People come here to argue positions. You are welcome to pine on and on about Monks and Acolytes and Schopenhauer and whatever you may like (because the owners of this website are not Islamic Clerics) but I strongly encourage you to engage the actual debate. You clearly can put words together, and you clearly have an opinion regarding this matter. So why not do us all a favor and tell us what your position is instead of condescending to us with your rhetoric.

Posted by: Will | February 6, 2006 06:42 PM

How 'bout a "high colonic" cleansing?

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 6, 2006 06:43 PM

Dead right Shiloh, our loss of power prevents us being bastards - except when we get in bed with the US. I suspect most of the worlds population would prefer ANY middle way. But those with the weapons, economic, political or religious power don't play those games.
My only objection (unless it was tongue in cheek) was your final solution of bombing the hell out of - it ain't each other, you've got just about all of the bombs.

Will - the hypocrisy of the Muslim clerics about those stupid cartoons makes me sick. And their most demented followers will kill westerners - and that is murder. But they'll never score like the Baghdad fireworks did.
There is something else wrong here - how cheap we in the west regard the lives of Arabs (Score chart again; deaths in Iraq; 1100 US, 200 other westerners - 40,000 (or more likely 100,000 plus) Iraqis.). The concern about the occupation? - western deaths.
If you were an Arab would you be pissed off?

Johnny G in NE; Sorry you ARE human rights abusers. You actually don't do so bad in the US - but you blow shit out of real people who were already having a hard time.

And my real mate - Chris Ford. Any answers on my earlier scorecard? Or to broaden it; how many US citizens have been killed in the last 5, 10, 20 years (you make the choice) by Muslems - and in the same timescale how many Muslems killed by US action?

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 6, 2006 06:49 PM

Confused Englishman-

While military action in Iraq might explain Islamic hatred in the US (as Chris Ford pointed out this is hardly an exhaustive explanation for Islamic grievences with the west... much of their hatred has nothing to do with the United States or Iraq, in fact, the Muslim world didn't run planes into Bagdhad just because Saddam killed a few hundred thousand Muslims) it doesn't forgive it.

I'm not asking whether or not the Muslims have a right to be pissed at America, I'm asking what we need to do about it when the Muslim religious community starts asserting that my constitutional rights are secondary to Sharia law. That is what we are discussing.

Posted by: Will | February 6, 2006 06:55 PM

Will, you make some good points.

But this cartoon did not make fun of the people who pervert Islam to violence, like maybe one of OBL in hell saying "what do you mean, no virgins". It made fun of the Prophet. An analogy would be the difference between a cartoon poking at the Catholic church for their mishandling of the sex abuse issues, vs depicting Jesus sodomizing a child. Or a cartoon poking at the Pope over banning gay priests,vs Jesus on the cross with a hard on seeing the 2 naked guys next to him. Its a whole different level of offensiveness.

Now maybe the followers of Pat Robertson et al who have comfortable jobs and incomes and otherwise feel respect for their persons wouldn't riot about the Jesus cartoon. But them storming the offices of the paper that printed it isn't all that farfetched to me.

But it would be hard to find a US newspaper that would print the Jesus cartoons - most editors would reject them as in bad taste. Because we understand how offensive that would be. What does it say about respect for Islamic persons that this was published?

The problem seems so simple when its "over there". "They're animals, just squash them. They don't respect life and liberty like we do just get rid of them and feel as guilty as squashing an anthill" What I'm saying is that maybe that's overly simplistic.

Where do riots come from? What sparked off the riots in LA and the Rodney King thing? What makes people who never stole a thing in their lives loot the stores not of the enemy, but of their neighborhood shopkeepers, or turn over buses? Where does that kind of anger come from? Are all urban blacks evil and crazy. Why not just bomb our inner cities and make the problems (i.e. the people, the poverty, the injustice) there just go away? That's what we're advocating doing to the Middle East.

Posted by: patriot1957 | February 6, 2006 07:03 PM

Confused Englishman:
"Johnny G in NE; Sorry you ARE human rights abusers. You actually don't do so bad in the US - but you blow shit out of real people who were already having a hard time."

Yes we do. When provoked we blow the shit of out the provokers, along with some other stuff in the way. They should not have taken their grievances and hardships out on us.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 6, 2006 07:04 PM

Will; you already know the answer; no way are you going to allow Sharia law to get in the way of your constitutional rights. And, in fact (although the idiots are causing some damage) they are simply not powerful enough to threaten your rights.
I thought the discussion started off about the some sort of puzzle on naming the war the US was presently engaged in. Love your first parragraph though (I thought I was confused!)

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 6, 2006 07:11 PM

DK,
Pretty good questions. I'll give you my views.

1) What are the things that the U.S. (government or other institutions) said pre-9/11, U.S.S. Cole, and embassy bombings that caused Al Qaeda to carry out those attacks on the U.S.?

First and foremost, it was stationing our military forces in Saudi Arabia post Gulf War I. Mind you, pre-war. Osama offered to provide protection to Saudi Arabia himself, an offer declined by the Saudi's. Beyond that, our unconditional support for Israel rankles them all and our long-term support of friendly dictatorships has not gone unnoticed.
2) What do other bloggers see as the level of sympathy for Al Qaeda and similar Muslim terrorist groups among "mainstream" or "moderate" Muslims
I frankly don't know. He clearly has a great deal of support among the bearded traditional set and T-shirts with his face on them sell pretty well with the younger set, but I remember the days when Che was the favored face gracing T-shirts among my contemporaries here in the US so I'm not sure it means that much.

3) Has the level of sympathy grown for the terrorist organizations among mainstream/moderate Muslims over the past 10 years? If so, Why? (Please note - I'm not talking about government policies, I'm talking about individual opinions)
I think its probably a very mixed bag. It seems pretty clear that they don't have much sympathy for the kind of thing Zarquawi just did here recently in Amman, or is doing to the Iraqis in Iraq. On the other hand, the stuff done in Israel is seen in a different light. Lets face it, its about the only effective method the Palestinians have against a far stronger and more capable opponent. This is the reverse of David and Goliath and terror is the Palestinians equivalent of a sling-shot.

4) What implications does the level of sympathy for terrorists among mainstream/moderate Muslims have for the prosecution of this "Long War" as it is now being called?

I would think that the level of sympathy will depend on the extent to which terrorists are seen as supporting their common interest. This is a problem when the war is seen as Islam against the West (typically encased in Chris Ford's kind of rhetoric), as a clash of civilizations. This latest Danish thing feeds right into that framing, as does our ambiguous and nebulous terms for the conflict we are now waging. These things tend to unify both the western community and the Muslim community around their common interests, not necessarily for the better as it broadens the conflict. In reality, there are deep divisions between Muslims who would incorporate Sharia into the state and Muslims who would prefer a secular state. It is my view that we shouldn't care, it is a national choice each nation should be free to make on its own, but we tend to insist that they must be a secular state as we are, except for the Pope of course.

5) In the U.S. we often talk about our patriotism. What type of "patriotism" do Muslim people have? Does it tend to be focused on country or Islam?

Islam first, country second. But this only goes so far. The Muslim world is a far more complex quilt than we choose to see. Malaysia is Muslim, and a thriving democracy. Indonesia is Muslim, and democracy there has been pretty well established. Despite being an Islamic Republic (with a constitution) it is also multi-cultural with freedom of religion, within certain bounds. There are democratic elements in the Jordanian structure, the Kuwaiti structure, etc. Lebanon has a democratic structure.


I think it is extremely unwise to frame this as a clash between the West and Islam as Chris and others often do. It is this that leads towards WWIII between the West and Islam, a long war indeed. In truth we must cope with culture clash at many levels. Are the French ready to war with us over McDonalds, over the erosion of French culture by our language, our music, our films? The clash between the RBA's (red-blooded Americans) and the Euro-weenis; over the death penalty, healthcare, franken food, etc.? We have Red states and Blue states with different ideas about what is right and good and what isn't. Tolerance at this level means allowing different groups of people to incorporate their own history and culture into the choices they make, including their choice of a governing structure. This should apply to the Hamas victory and to the Iranian constitution which lays out a structure we don't like. Tough, it was their choice to make, not ours. We have no more right to monkey with theirs than they do with ours.


JohnnyG, did you chuckle equally hard at the "burning bush" in the Old Testament? :o)
I must say, I must be missing something in my makeup somewhere because it seems so ludicrous that otherwise sensible people really believe all this nonsense, but obviously billions do. I really don't get it.


Shiloh,
"A quotation for Chris and Johnny in particular"

I admire Hamilton, a lot. But I don't always agree with him. Here is my problem with your specific quote. He says:
"You would be convinced, that natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator, to the whole human race; and that civil liberty is founded in that; and cannot be wrested from any people, without the most manifest violation of justice."

Sounds great, but, I don't suppose he thought black folk were part of the human race, or Indians, or women, or renters? Our constitution is so fine because none of these fine men wrote it, it is because it reflects what they could agree on.

Now lets move to Paine:
"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

Were the President a literary man he might well have used this in a speech justifying our invasion of Iraq. But there is always another opportunity, so maybe we will hear it from him when we go for the throat in Iran.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 6, 2006 07:16 PM

And, of course JohnnieG you do even better than that - you blow the shit out of those bastards just in case they may provoke you later. You call it a "pre-emptive attack"

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 6, 2006 07:24 PM

Well said Cayambe.

But I worry about this part "We have Red states and Blue states with different ideas about what is right and good and what isn't. "

I come from a family of Red Staters. When push comes to shove, I don't think we really are all that different - I think our differences have been masaged and magnified. We have many of the same goals, but differ on how to accomplish them.

Both sides think personal responsibility is important, but us liberal weenies can't watch the kids starve whose parents can't or won't be responsible. Both sides think it would be a good idea if we weren't so oil addicted - one side wants to drill more, the other to use less - in truth at this point we need to be doing both.

Its time for a real 'uniter' in the White House. I can hardly think of who that might be - maybe McCain?

Posted by: patriot1957 | February 6, 2006 07:29 PM

Cayambe - I love, and approve of the Paine quote. The trouble is that the invasion was not done to fight oppression, and actually has increased oppression. If you are going to blow poeples brains out to make the world better - you have to be a damn sight purer than the Bush administration

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 6, 2006 07:31 PM

"JohnnyG, did you chuckle equally hard at the "burning bush" in the Old Testament? :o)

"I must say, I must be missing something in my makeup somewhere because it seems so ludicrous that otherwise sensible people really believe all this nonsense, but obviously billions do. I really don't get it."

YES!, and this is coming from a former alter boy, church tour guide, 12 years of catholic shcools, with REAL mean and nasty nuns in the first 8. (I also loved Mel Brooks as Moses coming down the mountain with the 15 er I mean 10 commandments.)

Posted by: | February 6, 2006 07:33 PM

Then let us, Caymbe, write a constitution of the world, let us draw together all men and women of ideals-tempered by the collective agreement - and go foward. That is a mission, a responsibility and a salvation.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 6, 2006 07:41 PM

Good on you Shiloh - just remember that there's 6 billion of them out there and hardly any of them are Americans. In fact the majority of them are not Westerners, nor do most of them live in what we call "Democracies".
I think something called the "United Nations" was aiming for something along these lines. But - OH HELL the greatest Democracy ever to have existed has always rekoned this a BAD idea.

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 6, 2006 07:55 PM

Confused Brit,
I wouldn't say it has increased oppression, yet. They don't come much more oppressive than Saddam was. My real problem with Paine's idea is that it creates a hunting license based on one cultures view of another. What is Errin to think, to do, when Osama invades us to free us from the oppression of the the Bushy Republican party?


Patriot,
Sorry, no can do. I admire the Senator a lot, but he is front and center on an interventionist foreign policy and I just can't go there. Of course I can't know if the Dems are going to give me any better choice. What the hell do I do if it comes down to McCain vs. Lieberman, or some hapless dolt like Kerry or Al Gore? I hate to say it, but we could sure use a Richard Nixon these days, at least for foreign policy. Please, please put Howard Dean at the head of the Dem ticket.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 6, 2006 07:59 PM

Errinf, don't you understand, when at war, you actually do hate your enemy. Do you think that those on the front lines have any compassion for those with whom they are about to battle? Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | Feb 6, 2006 12:32:43 AM

What you fail to understand, johnnyg, is that your fellow American is not as influenced by hate as you and Chris Ford are. What you two are also way too hateful to understand is that you play EXACTLY into the hands of the terrorists by letting your hate get the better of you. Terrorists would love us to be full of too much emotion and hysteria (terrorists operate psychologically as well as destructively, something you are apparently too dumb or immature to understand), but that doesn't mean the solution is to give into hate and become as monstrous as our enemies. You and Chris Ford's reckless desire for violent vengeance will lead America down a path we don't want to follow: Stare into the abyss long enough, and you become the very monster you are fighting. Thing is, it's rather obvious that you two are the minority here, and that your hatemongering is not supported by most Americans.
America has a serious War On Terror to fight; Johnnyg and Chris Ford can take their anger issues elsewhere.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 6, 2006 08:14 PM

"Then let us, Caymbe, write a constitution of the world,"

Shiloh, forget that one. It was hard enough writing one for a measely 13 states with a relatively uniform history and culture. I would rather each nation do its own well enough that they follow it for at least a few decades. Having a constitution is not enough, its the living within it thats hard.

Confused Englishman,
Yup, we like the UN when it serves our purpose, and don't when it doesn't. The reality is that the big players aren't about to cede enough national authority to give it the necessary power. Hell, look what happened to the European constitution here recently. If they can't pull it off, how do you expect the world to?

Posted by: Cayambe | February 6, 2006 08:19 PM

Where then are your ideals, Cayambe; in a space past or between or looking up and forward? If we do not aspire to ideals, and make them real, we aspire to nothing. The middle way candidates, Clark and Edwards, Bayh and Barak, have promise and may come again or newly to the front line.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 6, 2006 08:31 PM

What is Errin to think, to do, when Osama invades us to free us from the oppression of the the Bushy Republican party? Posted by: Cayambe | Feb 6, 2006 7:59:28 PM

Ah, Cayambe. That rod up your butt really has a rod up it's butt when it comes to me (that one was for the colonically obsessed Lonemule).
As usual, Cayambe's cowardly attack from the sidelines (do we even debate, Cayambe? I get nothing out of you but these snide comments) is complete nonsense. He must have confused me with Chris Ford, as I want Osama bin Laden captured and brought to justice, unlike Ford.
Oppression by the Bushy Republicans? Hardly... just incompetent leadership from a corrupt party. Being that Congress is going to shift to the Democrats come election time this year, Osama is a moot point as far as removing the Republicans from power. Although, if our current GOP government can actually catch him before Election Day, Osama won't be such a moot point.
Anyway, it'd be nice if Cayambe could address one of my posts specifically rather than the usual snarky comments I get from him. And I'd still like to know why he holds me to a double standard that he does not hold other debaters to. On second thought, save your breath, Cayambe; Your Miss Manners bit doesn't do much for me when it's coming from a hypocrite like you. Last thing I'm going to do is take 'etiquette advice' from somebody who deliberately misrepresents my views. So, by all means, continue with your cheap potshots at me, Cayambe. I'll continue to respond to them on the defensive, and will not attack you out of the blue like you constantly do with me.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 6, 2006 08:41 PM

Well, Cayambe, the opinion amongst Iraqi's seems to be that they are under worse oppression than they were before the invasion.
Amnesty have always reckoned that Saudi (let alone a few other good friends of the west) had far worse records than Iraq.
Do you read the world press as intensely as you read that of the US?
And if your problem with Paine's idea is that it creates a hunting license - surely the invasion of Iraq is a demonstration of that.
Reality is reality, and Osama (like anyone else) has no hope of invading the US. You are a rare country to get the hunting licence
And if your attitude to the UN is that it is only worth a toss when it's a tool of you'rs - well you've said it. You want to control the World. The games in the European community are painful and slow going, but they have probably ruled out any more wars between the demented players who caused the two world wars.
Can't you just see the worth in backing of from national interest for a safer world? Or do you seriously think that US force will give us a better hope than a consensus?

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 6, 2006 08:48 PM

ErrinF - as you are not some demented maniac like JohnnyG or Chris Ford, can you explain to me what the point of a War on Terrorism is? I accept that there is a need to improve security to reduce the risk of terrorism (it's a popular belief that if the US security forces had had their act together the 9.11 bombings would not have happened). But why a war - it just seems to kill lots of foriegners, and encourage more of them to become terrorists.
Can you help me with this confusion?

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 6, 2006 09:16 PM

And if your attitude to the UN is that it is only worth a toss when it's a tool of you'rs - well you've said it.
Posted by: Confused Englishman | Feb 6, 2006 8:48:25 PM

Well put, Englishman. Americans behaving like a bunch of droogs that could give a toss about the rest of the world is sheer bobbins. Though I'll be gobsmacked if some of the punters here will ever stop acting like the tosspots they are.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 6, 2006 09:19 PM

While we obsess over terrorism which could be handled relatively cheaply (see Terrorism below) we ignore some pretty big problems that will have much more sweeping consequences for our lives shortly.

Demographic changes in world political mix:
Europe is turning Islamic at an accelerating rate, not because of terrorist activity but because of the success of abortion/contraception in limiting the expansion of Christian peoples. The Islamic people tend to ignore birth control issues. Their numbers grow while other groups decline. Note the recent appeal by Germany's Chancellor.

The U.S.A. is very rapidly becoming a country that does not produce anything of value on the world markets while China is mushrooming into the next superpower. What seems to be being ignored at the policy level is that the loss of industrial jobs, capacity, and capability is having immediate spill-over into a looming loss of scientific capability. The old aphorism, "we learn by doing" has broader application than may be appreciated. It is on the factory floor that we make the money to support research and also where most of the important technical questions come from.

When an immense power like China outproduces us in manufactured goods and in scientific advancement it will not be long until the pressures of the cold war are felt again. However this time we will be the one playing catch-up, not out communistic opponent.

TERRORISM: If we arm all citizens who are physically able, have not demonstrated civil irresponsibility, and are willing to spend the time to be properly trained, there will be no opportunity for terrorists to do us significant harm.

Sure, they could sting us -- but we are big enough to take a punch, aren't we? If 25% of civilians are likely to be armed, trained marksmen who have spent 2 hrs/week at a government sponsored firing range, most terrorists will recognize a lose-lose situation and terrorize elsewhere, or get a job. The cost of such a program would be tiny compared to what we spend now and would be in the spirit of American citizenship. Spying on citizens is not.

The question of social responsibility of armed citizens is easily answered. If you shoot the wrong guy (say a bearded, dark-complected citizen) then, without reliable witnesses to testify to the truely provactive acts by the person you shot, you may face criminal charges. Even witnesses will not ensure that you don't face civil or criminal proceedings. You shoot, its serious. Be sure of your target, wound if possible (and necessary), urge surrender.

It is not going to be easy, but we are a tough people and we can do this. If we sit back and demand a police power great enough to keep us safe and secure, we will have to learn to live in a police state. It is that simple.

Posted by: David R King | February 6, 2006 09:36 PM

China is not our biggest threat. Period.

Our biggest threat is the group of hapless white racists and their drones who have taken over the Republican Party - druggie Limbaugh, Lotts, Shawn Hannity, Rumsfeld, Alito, Roy Blunt, Duncan Hunter, etc. etc.

China is a force for good. May be one day China will arrest all these racist thugs and put them on trial for crimes against humanities.

Posted by: Amun Royston | February 6, 2006 09:47 PM

ErrinF - as you are not some demented maniac like JohnnyG or Chris Ford, can you explain to me what the point of a War on Terrorism is?
Posted by: Confused Englishman | Feb 6, 2006 9:16:58 PM

Well, I'll try... I don't blame you for being confused, though, as the War On Terror seems to adapt and shift to the whims of manipulative American politicians. In fact, one wonders at this point if the War On Terror was anything more than a political strategy to divert attention from our government failing to prevent 9/11, what with Osama still free and Iraq changing nothing as far as international terrorism goes.
I have gone under the assumption that the point of our War On Terror is to aggressively go after Al Qaeda and to diminish the capabilities of other such terrorist organizations. That seems valid to me. That it has ended up involving the Iraq war, torture, and domestic spying is wholly invalid to me. America could conduct an effective, efficient War On Terror, but instead we are conducting a 'Long War' that apparently gives our political class carte blanche for accomplishing everything except actually capturing and killing the terrorists.
Let's see... in recent weeks, the US failed to kill Al-Zawihiri, was reminded that Osama bin Laden is still free, and now the man who masterminded the terrorist attacks on the USS Cole has escaped. No wonder you're confused about what the hell the War On Terror is all about, Englishman, what with the terrorists apparently not effected by it.
What I'd be curious about is an englishman's view of the Abramoff scandal, particularly in the context of the War On Terror. For instance. how do corrupt Republicans strengthen the USA's national security? Does the GOP corruption scandal make you more or less skeptical about the validity of the War On Terror? Is it telling that those politicians most vocal on waging the War On Terror were the same politicians that engaged in corrupt practices during that very War On Terror?
Talk about confusion... we have Republican politicians taking free junkets to Scottish golf courses while a supposedly all-consuming War On Terror is going on. Last I checked, there is no Al Qaeda presence whatsoever on the golf courses of Scotland; If those politicians were really serious about the War On Terror, they would have been spending their time A LOT better than they have been.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 6, 2006 10:03 PM

ErrinF to JohnnyG -
". Thing is, it's rather obvious that you two are the minority here, and that your hatemongering is not supported by most Americans. America has a serious War On Terror to fight; Johnnyg and Chris Ford can take their anger issues elsewhere."

1. Only a clueless woman or a "always on the bottom" gay salami smoker refers to war between enemies as "anger issues".

2. Hate to break the news, Errin, but the WP blogs are not representative of America or Congress. Your kind are no longer trusted with power here, in Europe, and Canada. That power is slowly slipping from your fingers on a variety of fronts as the people wake up and realize leadership by anti-Westerner, PC-driven weaklings is dangerous for our civilization and culture.

3. Leftists remain utterly unserious about the ideological conflict between the rest of the world and radical Islam. To Lefties, it is a criminal justice matter easily resolved if only a few misguided Islamoids are caught and arrested and brought to jail. And the same Lefties who got their panties in a wad over Iraq idiotically demand we invade a nuclear-armed nation of 120 million or whatever it takes to get their partisan White Whale - bin Laden.

4. Speaking of salami smokers, how's our smug little poofter, Confused Englishman doing after his ilk got a triple kick in the balls?
A. The Palestine Peace process just ended.
B. He has to watch what he says or righteously angered Islamoids may seek to take his life if he "offends".
C. The reasoned, diplomatic approach is failing with the Islamoids of Iran - to the shock of the Euroweenie Left - who wonder what concessions or apologies can entice the Iranians to change course. When we all know the only thing an Islamoid understands is power and those willing to use it.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 6, 2006 10:15 PM

There really cannot be a war on terrorism. Maybe being on guard against terrorism/terrorists. Maybe a world-wide coordinated search for terrorists. The war analogy is and was a mis-direction. Motivation and objectives for such a ruse can be speculation (as we learned when discovering conspiracy theories). Clearly, if the most powerful forces in the world, after nearly four years and the economic resources poured into this "war" have not made people feel more secure nor unearthed the powers and forces behind this round of terrorism, something is being done wrong. The idea of a war that has no clear end point, no specific military objectives is not a war any reasonable fighting person will willing engage.

Posted by: Jazzman | February 6, 2006 10:33 PM

Patriot-

"But this cartoon did not make fun of the people who pervert Islam to violence, like maybe one of OBL in hell saying "what do you mean, no virgins". It made fun of the Prophet. An analogy would be the difference between a cartoon poking at the Catholic church for their mishandling of the sex abuse issues, vs depicting Jesus sodomizing a child. Or a cartoon poking at the Pope over banning gay priests,vs Jesus on the cross with a hard on seeing the 2 naked guys next to him. Its a whole different level of offensiveness."

How about Corpus Christi, a gay retelling of Christ that has Jesus and Judas shacking up anally. Would that qualify for your level of insult, because that is a real play really preformed in real America in 2003, and I don't remember hearing about anyone dieing as a result.

It was in poor taste for newspapers to print Mohammed in the first place. Newspapers have Constitutional rights to do things in poor taste. Nevermind that the original printing was in September, they did not publish just to incite they published to send a very necessary message. In the Western world no religious law supercedes our free religious expression rights. The longer we aquiesce to the Muslim world on this point the more aggressive their future response will be.

"Now maybe the followers of Pat Robertson et al who have comfortable jobs and incomes and otherwise feel respect for their persons wouldn't riot about the Jesus cartoon. But them storming the offices of the paper that printed it isn't all that farfetched to me."

Well... American Andres Serrano released Piss Christ in 1987, a picture of a crucifix in a jar filled with the "artists" urine. This would seem to qualify as more offensive to Christians than a picture of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban... yet no one had to die as a result of this artwork. One should note that Pat Robertson did not, in fact, storm any offices as a result of this artwork.

"But it would be hard to find a US newspaper that would print the Jesus cartoons - most editors would reject them as in bad taste. Because we understand how offensive that would be. What does it say about respect for Islamic persons that this was published?"

It wouldn't be hard to find a newspaper that would do so; it would be impossible. That is because in countries that happen to have majority Christian populations we already have freedom of speech established in our constitutions. There would be no point in publishing an aggressive portrayal of a religious icon to challenge religious expression censorship because such censorship does not exist in the West to the degree it does in the Muslim world.

"The problem seems so simple when its "over there". "They're animals, just squash them. They don't respect life and liberty like we do just get rid of them and feel as guilty as squashing an anthill" What I'm saying is that maybe that's overly simplistic."

The fact is they *don't* respect liberty like we do and they are damn proud of that fact. I am not making an evaluative cultural claim when I say that, I am making a factual claim about Religious fundamentalism. Islamic Clerics admit they have little respect for a Western post-christian culture that allows women to show their faces in public and publish cartoon depictions of Mohammed. I don't think this depiction of Islamic culture is so much simplistic as it is demonstrably accurate. I'm not saying they are animals but... they will burn down an embassy because of a cartoon. They will riot (not peacefully protest) in multiple countries with the tacit approval of Religious and Political leaders. And people will die as a result of this. Am I getting my facts mixed up?

I am not advocating a war against Islam, I'm just expressing my support for newspapers that push the envelope and also rejecting the idea that Western cultures should respect the umbrage taken by a religious group only so far as that group is willing ot take a knife to someone's chest (Vincent Van Gogh died for this miscalculation)

I respect your point, patriot, and I respect that the majority (I hope) of muslims do not riot or light things on fire, just like Pat Robertson neither represents the majority of Christians nor the majority of Americans.

Posted by: Will | February 6, 2006 10:55 PM

Given all the elements that lead to a logical course of action, people are the only animal that will choose to do otherwise :0o

Posted by: John Wayne on Laxatives | February 6, 2006 11:03 PM

Obviously I was talking about Theo Van Gogh. Sorry.

Posted by: Will | February 6, 2006 11:12 PM

O.K...O.K..How 'bout a good 'ol fashion hot coffee enema? Cleans you out and wakes you up!!!

Emily, don't worry. We'll come up with something!

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 6, 2006 11:31 PM

"Our biggest threat is the group of hapless white racists and their drones who have taken over the Republican Party - druggie Limbaugh, Lotts, Shawn Hannity, Rumsfeld, Alito, Roy Blunt, Duncan Hunter, etc. etc.

China is a force for good. May be one day China will arrest all these racist thugs and put them on trial for crimes against humanities."


Yep. Tiananmen Square proved that the Chinese government knows how to handle "crimes against humanities". They did a great job on Google recently, too.

Posted by: bender | February 6, 2006 11:33 PM

you're being sold something...


like a radio jingle....


"see the USA in a Chevrolet"

oh, they don't even have those anymore do they?

we're protecting you from terrorists, that's why we had to lower your social security medical payments by $30 bucks a month....right....


and that's why we can't let you shop in canada or mexico for those same drugs....terrorism....

us against them.....but the us is the affluents and the "thems" is you...


and you're the ones taking the bullets in this sham...

and you've got you're big boys saying, fightin's good, it makes me feel strong, and powerful....you ought to, you got enough nuke clear war heads to destroy the world...


but isn't it really about making sure that the oil market is predictable?

oh well, as long as you say "war on terror" even if it's bullshit....


if enough people hear it, they assume it's true....this is the land of 30 second attention span, being led by a chimpanzee right?

there is no war on terror....


our borders are completely undefended, that's an effing fact....


4.5 million ILLEGAL ALIENS a year, you'd think that at least 2 or 3 could set off some M-80's or something wouldn't you?

how many chicanos do you see working in fairfax, or in college park, near embassy row or in takoma, or in dc proper....


and you really need to get this, I don't care so much that they're coming in, it's just that IF ANYONE ELSE WANTED TO THEY COULD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT....


IT's FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!

THAT's what the 9/11 Commission report said.

war powers:

IT GIVES the affluent THE RIGHT TO DO ANYTHING THEY WANT AND SAY IT's BECAUSE OF THE WAR!!!


Look at the patriot act, is it patriotic?


or is it the rape of the Bill of Rights...


Halliburton detention camps, $385 million homeland security dollars given to Halliburton subsidiary to establish them....who's going into them, you, your aunt? the chinese? the middle easterners, the jews, the lame, do they have ovens in them?


see yah?

Posted by: we're not obsessing about anything.... | February 6, 2006 11:42 PM

Cayembe,

Thanks for the responses to my questions. I ask these questions because it seems that so much of what we hear and see of the Islamic world is tainted by radicalism. Moderates are either laying low and keeping their mouths shut, trying to speak out without being listened to, or they simply don't exist. I have to believe they exist - I have known a fair number of Muslims in my life - through college, grad school, and work - all of them have been good, decent, and gentle people. I also spent some time (about 5 months) in Qatar during the mid-nineties for some consulting work. There I met many hospitable and friendly Muslims, both through the work I did there, and just on the street. People that at the drop of a hat would invite me, a complete stranger, to sit and enjoy tea with them, even though they only spoke broken english and I no Arabic.

On the flip side I do remember going to a police station to take a driving test so I could get a drivers license. While I was sitting in a corridor in the station a uniformed police officer began berating me about religion in poor english. He was fanatical. He kept pointing his finger at my face repeating over and over there is only one God! You think there are three (a reference to the Christian trinity of the father, son, and holy ghost, I believe), but there is only one! It was a scary moment since I was alone and didn't dare respond considering my circumstance. I just shook my head, shrugged my shoulders, and pretended I couldn't understand. After a few minutes of that he eventually walked away, disgusted.

Another time I ran into two Qataris at the souk (an outdoor maze-like marketplace). They had been educated in the U.S. They were quite friendly and invited me to go with them to smoke a hookah pipe (I doubt I'm spelling that right). I declined, but was impressed by their friendliness. Another time I was with a friend at a small town on the sea where a few fishing boats called dhows were tied up. We met one of the fishermen who spoke nothing but a few words of english. He took our picture for us,then through hand gestures he invited us onto his boat for tea. We went aboard and spent about 20 minutes sipping tea with he and two of his friends in a cramped cabin. Our conversation was nothing but speaking whatever stray words we knew in each other's language. He kept repeating over and over "California! California!" with a big smile on his face. We finally figured out that he and his friends were from Oman.

I relate these episodes to say that people are people anywhere in the world - even Muslims. Not all are good and not all are bad. I believe there must be a set of moderates out there somewhere. Those that don't accept literal interpretations of the Koran, just like there are many spiritual and religious people in this country that don't literally interpret the Bible. If someone wanted to go hunting for Bible scriptures to be taken out of context and placed in a blog as evidence of Judeo-Christian hypocracy and immorality, I'm sure someone could do it, much the same way that Bender has posted short Koran passages.

Its the moderate Muslims I wonder about. the ones that are not inclined to join the radicals. Do they sympathize with their radical brethern due to a perception of western hostility? How do we reach those folks and establish trust and rapport with them, while we simultaneously resist and seek to isolate the radicals.

After 9/11 there were many documentaries and newpaper/magazine articles on Osama bin Laden that sought to explain his rise and his motives. The gist of many of these
articles was that bin Laden seeks to unite the Muslim world back into the caliphate that ruled the Islamic world at its height. He wants to purge the Islamic world of its corrupting influences and restore it to its original Islamic purity.

That is a vision many radical Muslims may be getting behind. My concern is that as we westerners don't distinguish enough between bin Laden and al Qaeda, and other Muslims that may be angry at western policies, but are not terrorists. Over time will the use of a broad brush to paint these terrorists and people that support them, prove detrimental to the effort we need to first isolate, and second close in on al Qaeda and similar terrorists inspired by bin Laden?

Posted by: DK | February 7, 2006 12:24 AM

Shiloh wrote:
Where then are your ideals, Cayambe; in a space past or between or looking up and forward? If we do not aspire to ideals, and make them real, we aspire to nothing. The middle way candidates, Clark and Edwards, Bayh and Barak, have promise and may come again or newly to the front line.

I actually like the ideals I find in our constitution and its amendments, as well as some of the thinking that underlies it. I do wish that they had enumerated a couple more rights in the Bill of Rights, mainly a right to privacy and a right to autonomy, and clearly incorporated if you please, so we don't have the structured ambiguity of the 2nd amendment. These amendments to protect us from the religious freaks of various flavors that lay claim to the souls of all unborn and want to meddle in how any of us might choose to die. My time is going to come and I would rather be making my own decisions about it thank you, so do me a favor and butt out.

My pre-eminent ideal is my own freedom. I wish to cede as little as possible to the common interest. That is what makes me an arch-conservative, i.e. conservative of my personal freedoms. I recognize that a common interest exists, indeed one such interest is the necessity of protecting our personal freedoms. For this we need a government and to that government I must cede some of my freedoms, as few as possible. If it becomes a common interest that no one be offended, I will have ceded my right to free expression. The larger the group you contemplate bringing under this government, the more you have to cede. The federal government has already inched its way over time into circumscribing more and more of my freedoms. Do I want yet another layer on top........NO THANK YOU!!!

My ideal for the rest of the world is that each people, each nation, should make for themselves such government as they think they need to protect their freedoms and cede what they will to that government for that purpose. It is not for us to meddle in their choices, not for them to meddle in ours. From this point of view, the validity of executing a policy of "regime change" by force of arms just isn't there. I can accept a response, a vicious response, to any actual attack on us but that is simply not what put us into Iraq. What we have actually done is to destroy the government they had (admittedly a terrible thing it was) and are now trying to put one together more to our liking. The jury remains out on this, but it doesn't look all that promising so far. The long and the short of it is that the Iraqis have to work out how they will protect their own freedoms for themselves and this we cannot do for them. Nor can the UN, nor can the "international community". Ideally, to be a nation a people must find their own common interest and decide what must necessarily be ceded to a government which serves it. No one else can do this for them, it is their responsibility and cannot be given or taken away from them. One simply cannot evade the responsibility to protect one's freedom.

Thanks, but I'll pass on Clark and Edwards. Bayh I have respect for but haven't really heard from on the issue that matters to me right now. Obama has actually been pretty impressive, that was one hell of a speech he gave at the convention. And what little I've seen of him in the Senate has been pretty impressive as well. I like guys that do their homework, and every time I've seen him open his mouth he knows what he is talking about and quite reasonable about what he knows.

Confused Englishman,
You are confused indeed,
"Do you read the world press as intensely as you read that of the US?

I can't say I do, but I do read a lot of the South American press, some Australian, Thai, British, Singapore, Indian, and Hong Kong press.

"And if your problem with Paine's idea is that it creates a hunting license - surely the invasion of Iraq is a demonstration of that."

Absolutely, that is why I am and have been so implacably opposed to this very invasion.

"Reality is reality, and Osama (like anyone else) has no hope of invading the US"

I know, I was just illustrating the how Paine's words might be used in unanticipated ways.

"And if your attitude to the UN is that it is only worth a toss when it's a tool of you'rs - well you've said it. You want to control the World."

I wasn't really speaking to my personal attitude, I was speaking to our national attitude. I use we in that context because whether I agree with our national attitude or not, I cannot escape taking responsibility for it as a citizen of the nation. I have precisely the same quandary with our invasion of Iraq. My personal opinion of the UN is that it is, by design actually, rather ineffectual and will stay that way for the foreseeable future.
No, I do not want to control the world. If you will read my comments to Shiloh above you will see how adamantly I am opposed to that very idea.

"Can't you just see the worth in backing of from national interest for a safer world? Or do you seriously think that US force will give us a better hope than a consensus?"

Oh, I go much further than that. I draw precise distinctions between National Defense, National Security, and National Interest. In my opinion National Defense exclusively justifies our use of arms, i.e. an actual attack or the truly imminent threat of one, plus mutual defense treaty commitments we have made and have been ratified by the legislature. National Security is the forward planning necessary to have a National Defense and the intelligence/counter-intelligence necessary to use it and protect it. National Interest is everything else that matters to us.

A "better hope" of what? A consensus on what?

Posted by: Cayambe | February 7, 2006 12:36 AM

in your imagination.


6 foot four inch diabetic...


I could write you a profile if you were an operative and then plant the information to make it real....


this is childish crap....


al queerda....yes you should be very afraid, afraid that you can't tell if the light is on or off in a dark room at night.


good-ness gracious sakes alive, literacy, the ability to think....holy bejezzus...


what has happened to intelligence in the united states....


next thing you know they'll be voting based upon homophobia, or fearmongering or appealing to emotion, or nationalism....

das home-lund....heil sig heil....catch a clue.

Posted by: Osama Bin Ladin....is a comic book character... | February 7, 2006 01:04 AM

1. Only a clueless woman or a "always on the bottom" gay salami smoker refers to war between enemies as "anger issues". Posted by: Chris Ford | Feb 6, 2006 10:15:57 PM

What a shocker that Chris Ford is also sexist and homophobic. You've got serious anger issues that have nothing to do with the War On Terror, Chris Ford. What a pathetically paranoid hate-filled crackpot you are.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 7, 2006 01:32 AM

like they're not....


.

Posted by: little boyz always talk... | February 7, 2006 01:43 AM

DK,
You actually have had more direct contact with the ME than I. I've spent time in both Malaysia and Indonesia but that is pretty much the extent of my personal contact with Muslim culture so I appreciated your stories very much.

They are very similar to what I have found in every place in the world where I have spent time, and I have spent time in a lot of places, not all certainly, but a lot. I was raised as a boy in Ecuador. I spent time in Panama, Colombia, and Mexico. I spent a lot of time in various parts of Asia; China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia. Even went gambling a few times in Macao. I spent a little time in England, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and Sweden. Nowhere did I ever find uniformity in peoples character or opinions or attitudes; more uniformity is to be found here actually. There was always a wide range.

The two places which have most informed my opinions on the matter of governments and their formation and operation were, Singapore and Hong Kong. Both are islands, peopled largely by Chinese, colonized by the Brits during the days of Imperial Empire, and both were wildly successful and prosperous trading and financial centers. Still, Singapore could not have been more buttoned down and strictly regulated, Hong Kong could not have been more free and unregulated. Singapore was run by a very wise strongman/quasi dictator; Hong Kong by a laid back British colonial governor. Go figure. 90% of the Singaporeans I met in Singapore supported their government and were proud of it, including that medieval practice of caning. 90% of the Chinese I met in Hong Kong loved their freedom from government on the island and were ever so eager to sell anything, where literally anything goes.

So even with similar populations in terms of ethnicity and culture as well as similar historical origins, you can have very different governments develop with equally successful results. Singaporeans ceded a great deal more of their personal liberty than was the case in Hong Kong, or if you prefer, the government took more of their personal liberty in Singapore. Still, each population was equally content with their result. What it taught me was that you just cannot know what will work best for a given people. It is something that has to be worked out within each society.

You really don't have to go far to understand what unifies Muslim's. I've kind of been expecting Chris to take on our euro-weenie British friends on that one as he is a lot more qualified for that than I. You have to go back in history and see it as Muslims do. It is really the British who created this mess years and years ago when they arbitrarily drew the boundaries of most of the middle eastern states we see. Modern day Iraq is a British creation which packaged together the three separate populations we see trying now to form a cohesive government, all Muslim mind you, and all at some odds with each other. You don't have to go far to see splits within the Muslim community, and nasty ones at that. Another British creation is the state of Israel, promised back in 1917 and finally brought to fruition by the UN in 1948. The Muslim world is united in seeing this as having been imposed on them, which it was. To this day, they deny its legitimacy. So when you ask them to accept Israel's right to exist you are asking them to accept the legitimacy of this imposition and frankly, they just don't. When President Nutcase of Iran talks about wiping Israel off the map, this is what he is talking about, literally. When he talks about sending back the Jewish refugees to Europe he is talking about those Jews who were shipped by the boatload (willingly) from Europe in the immediate postwar period with the purpose of building up the Jewish population in this land for the purpose of taking it. Don't forget, Palestinians lived in this land too, a fair amount of them still do, in Israel. Even more had to flee in the immediate aftermath of Israel's creation. Their grandchildren are Hamas and Al Aqsa Brigade etc. etc.

It reminds me of the place I grew up in. In 1943 Peru had a short war with Ecuador and took possession of a large chunk of the Amazon basin up to the Brazilian border. For the next 40 years all of the maps of Ecuador in Ecuador refused to show Ecuador's postwar boundary line with Peru. Every reference to Ecuador was followed by Paiz Amazonico, Amazonic Country. Every political campaign promised to get it back. The final boundary didn't get negotiated until just a few years ago. Still, I guarantee you, this will linger on for another 50 years at least. These things have staying power. Look at the Turks and the Armenians, the North and South Koreans, China and Taiwan. The Kurds still dream of a Kurdistan, and I doubt that the dream of Greater Serbia will entirely disappear before the next century, if then. How long have the Basques been at it in Spain?

Muslims have a point of view here that does actually have some merit. We are unwilling to recognize that, to listen to it, unwilling even to discuss it. Just read the blog threads here. Our knee jerk reaction, almost uniformly, is to defend Israel and condemn the Palestinians. Of course it drives them nuts. Of course they see us as unfair, extremists and moderates alike. We are.

My point here is not to defend the Muslims of this world. My point is we won't be able to make sense of their behavior unless we are willing to actually listen to their point of view from their perspective. That doesn't mean we have to agree with it, but at least it makes them understandable as human beings and not just as nutcases. You got to remember that Ayatollah Pat once made a serious run for the Republican presidential nomination. We might end up with a President Nutcase ourselves. It could happen. There are some people around who think it already has.

The Israeli/Palestinian issue is going to get settled, it will be a two state solution, we just don't know how long it is going to take. Israel has never been so secure, its neighbors haven't the might to take it on and they know it. The Palestinians haven't the means to do much more than limited terror operations at best, and Israel can exact a terrible toll on the Palestinians anytime they choose. We should just get out of it and let them find their own way to make terms with each other in their own good time. Israel doesn't really need our help at the moment.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 7, 2006 04:16 AM

Cayambe -

The read you have on the Brits is true in the facts, but the facts you detail don't tell the whole story. In many places, where the people were receptive, they got a heck of a lot out of being part of the British Empire or being strongly influenced by it (Meiji Japan)- than hurt by the British role in bringing them to a higher civilization and standard of living. Even India, after 4 decades of whining and blaming every failure of their idiotic socialist system on the "damn British" finally grew up and abandoned excuses and are now coming on strong. Most Asian and European stocked ex-colonies of the Brits are prospering.

Black-run ex-colonies are a mixed bag and sadly some have steadily declined ever since the Brits left, but some have done OK - certainly better than the African nations made independent by other Euros.

The Muslim countries outside the British outcome in Malaysia are sad stories, failing not just in multi-culti Iraq but ethnically and religiously coherent locales like Egypt, Yemen, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Bahrain, Aden, Dubai, the UAE, and Qatar work - but it's mostly oil wealth at work..

Iraq was set up that way because it made geographical and economic sense to the Brits to construct it as one nation and hope that the different factions would gell like India did. And both the Hashemites the Brits initially installed and the subsequent Baa'thists worked on National unity (until Saddam's later years when it was a Tikriti Sunni thugocracy), even while favoring the Arab Sunni as rulers since the Kurds were considered a backwater and the Shia not as well educated and not trusted due to close links to Persia, which wasn't welcomed by anyone in moving into the Western half of the Gulf. My read is it will work again.

Israel is one of the British Empire's greatest fuck-ups, but one they didn't have much choice in as they were bled white by WWI, the finance system back then was not amenable to large gov't debts or currencies not backed by gold...so they had to use the superwealthy Jewish financiers to survive and agree to the demands of Zion as quid pro quo. The aggressive N European Jews and the initially laid back, unsophisticated Arabs mixed like oil and water - and were both a nightmare for the British rulers from 1920 onwards. The Brits could't wait to dump the place off. The situation got worse after 1948, when the Jews initially promised resolution of the refugee problem they created with mass cleasing as a condition of UN entry, then backed out and out of cheapness refused to pay a single shekel.

Through all of that though, the Palestinian Muslims have also screwed up royally blowing every opportunity to advance within Palestine or move out and be the true professional class of the Muslims. They are a very smart but fouled up people. Not surprising because many descend from Jews and Christianized Jews, plus Greeks, and Mesopotamians - that converted to Islam - and are the true survivor stock of 5,000 years of civilization in the Levant. Pals do well in higher ed and in commerce, and cadres of Palestinian scientists, merchants, and doctors are all over the globe, including large numbers in the USA due to our insane "village reunification" immigration laws. But like Jews, Palestinians are ill-versed at making friends. They work in Arab countries but develop a reputation as treacherous, self-serving people of loyalty only to their own - so they regularly get chucked out and get sent back to the camps..When Islamoids are not whining about the "dear Pals" they use as a pretext for bashing Jews for triggering Arab insecurities, they slam the Pals as "The Cousins" to the Jews. (a deadly insult)

To the dismay of both the arrogant Jews and the arrogant Pals, Y-Haploid genetic studies do indeed reveal that Separdic Jews and Pals are indeed true "kissing cousins", the closest in Semetic ancestry...with greater genetic drift seen in the Ashkenazi Jews, the Lebs, Syrians then the even more genetically distant Saudis, Iraqis. Futher removed from genetic ties are the Egyptians, Persians, Kurds. The Ethiopean Jews are as genetically distant to the true people of Canaan as the Chinese are.

While a big mistake, blame only goes so far to the Brits. Jewish financiers had them by the balls. And some peoples and cultures just are not amenable to living side by side. America has no Midas touch either. We never made Puerto Rico into a paradise. And, in just 60 years, cultural and political power changes have transformed over 30 once flourishing and wealthy Northern cities in America into squalid, dangerous, poor 3rd World shitholes.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 7, 2006 05:36 AM

Chris Ford
I am amazed your perception; from my few postings you have already worked out my size and my sexual orientation. The latter had never occurred to me (but us men are like that) - perhaps that's why I'm so confused
I hope the peace process in Palestine has not just ended - I find it sad that you delight in such things.
And these lunatics revelling in an excuse to attack the west are, of course out of order. But as far as my fear of being killed by one goes - I'm more likely to be run over by a car or strangled by a future boyfriend now I have discovered my true sexuality.
I don't think understanding is what you put across when you drop bombs on poeple; you kill poeple, cause hatred, and make them want to kill you. "We would hate Iran to develop Nuclear Weapons, but if they are not trying to they are crazy". This comes from an Israeli Jew who understands full well the need for deterrents when you are threatened. Threats of violence seriously encourage their program.
With your proven understanding of the history of the middle east, and your admission that America has no "Midas Touch" I can't see where how you get to the conclusion that bombing shit out of them all (although perhaps it may be fun) would improve the situation.

Posted by: Smug little English poofter | February 7, 2006 07:35 AM

Chris Ford is to be ignored as many have tried but new people to this blog do not know yet: he is hateful, homophobic, racist, hates and disrespects women, and jumps to easy conclusion based on his hate based values. He is a dispicable example of the "ugly american." His views are skewed in line with his hate based values but don't expect logic. White supremecists are not logical, extremely emotional "scaredy cats" scared of change scared of their environment just scared. Also irritating and hateful. Pretty disgusting humans that show us the true ugliness we can become if we lose touch with ourselvs.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | February 7, 2006 08:00 AM

Thanks SpeakoutforDemoncracy;
Perhaps what we must all try to do is get Chris in touch with himself - maybe find his feminine side?

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 7, 2006 10:59 AM

I hope Islam wins. One of the main advantages tyrants have in establishing their dictatorship is that people over estimate the human spirit and the effects of their deadly, blind fanatical worship of nationalism. A healthy national pride is good and normal, but, a fanatical national pride is both dangerous and easily manipulated, as we saw with Hitler's manipulation of German nationalism AKA Nazism. Just as Satan's biggest lie is to convince us he doesn't exist, the tyrants biggest lie is to convince us everything he is doing is for our good and our countries good, while leading the lambs to the slaughter. While plans are being established to subjugate the masses most people respond by brave and boisterous talk, but little or no action. The majority simply say "It doesn't affect me, I am a patriot" as with Germany under Hitler and the Soviet Union under bloody Stalin. By the time a few would have the courage to resist the movement into a dictatorship it is already too late, the gates have closed. Tyranny begins in the inner circles of power, strategic steps are taken, alliances are established and the forces of control are carefully put in place, then with all the resources at their command the move to control the masses, either by intimidation (fear tactics) or by force (martial law). The sheep (masses) will do the bidding of the masters, they will follow any bell that rings, just as the churches (Christians) in the coming days will have their own brothers and sisters put to death and think they do God's service, having believed the lies and propaganda. We see this from the first grade of school, right on through life, the crowd follows whatever is popular at the moment. Only the few, the brave, the informed will dare stand alone and resist the enemy. Only after the fight is over and the danger has passed will the masses join the fray and attempt to take credit for the victory (historical fact). As far as depending on securing an "Army of resistance" from among those "angry souls" who have been cast into concentration camps, this would be another pipe dream. Feeding of the imprisoned would be the last priority of the dictatorial government. On the contrary, with holding food and medical treatment would quickly take the fight out of those in the camps. Daily torture and humiliation would be their lot in life now, this serves to dehumanize them and remove all thoughts of resistance. Trust in our fellow man soon breaks down and we do not know friend from foe. This move began with "Neighborhood Watch" a planned spy program and now causes neighbor to distrust neighbor. This has evolved in our own government spying on all of us as citizens. When hunger sets in poor health soon follows, sickness and disease are the copartners of hunger. When one is sick and hungry the will to fight quickly diminishes, a man then sells his soul for a piece of bread. Every well prepared Army fights on its stomach, this is a well documented and historical fact. If people are going to protect and defend their freedoms they are best equipped to do so while they are free and healthy and have the means to resist, not after being imprisoned and armed UN soldiers standing over them with weapons. No one has bothered to think about who will be guarding these concentration camps. It certainly wont be American soldiers, although most military personnel are now totally brain washed just as the Nazi military was and would kill American civilians at the command of their owners the "Corporate/Military complex." It will be UN soldiers who guard the concentration camps and enforce martial law, these wont think twice about placing a bullet in our heads because most have no love for Americans. I believe it is time for American's to start thinking logically and forgetting the dream that 250 million Americans would rise up and fight the coming terrorism of the present dictatorship, the present trend betrays that belief. As is evident, these "master minds" of our destruction already have the nation divided into two components of "red" and "blue" factions. Stalin had over seventy-million of his own Russian comrades murdered, most ordinary citizens and innocent of any wrong doing, in order to eliminate any resistance. Hitler had all of his opposition eliminated, yet the masses followed these bloody tyrants in patriotic fervor, out of fear and for bread (food). They both, Stalin and Hitler, hurriedly surrounded themselves with ultra loyalist (sound familiar)? Why would we expect Americans who can't even get along with each other and now have the entire world hating us to respond any differently? If the American people were concerned, the first thing they would do would be to eliminate every incumbent in Washington and continue on down to the State level until every self serving and special interest crook has been replaced and start all over with a new government slate, one who doesn't consider our constitution as "just a G-D piece of paper." I don't mean trust the false and illegal "voting system" I mean send those in power now back to their homes, or to jail and replace them all. Out of almost three-hundred million American citizens, why do we always end up with "only" two or three of the same candidates from the same rotten pot every election? Why do we always end up with a choice between an "Eastern Diamond Back rattler" and a "Western Diamond Back rattler?" That is like telling us we have two choices, they are, shut up or be quiet. America needs to wake up and get out of our dream world and face reality for a change, sadly, it is almost too late now. Surely there are enough capable leaders in this nation to provide a better choice than we've had, why do they all come from the Masonic order, the Skull and Bones, or the Illumnati? Why do we have to "settle" for the "Bush's" or the "Clinton's," or the "Kennedy's?" Why do they all somehow prove to be blood kin? Isn't there something very wrong with this picture when we leave the same crooks in office year after year after year, and place the same ilk up for election every four years? No, we Americans wont fight, we wont resist, that would mean risking our big homes and expensive cars and boats, that would mean taking a personal stand and risking pissing the boss off and losing our prestigious job or title, that would mean getting away from our pornography and materialism and actually committing to something important. We learned a valuable lesson by watching the masses fall for the official story of the attacks on 9/11, a story more full of holes than a block of Swiss cheese. Many Americans are on the government dole, such as military and government employee retirees and would in no way risk that lucrative retirement check. Loyalty is spelled m-o-n-e-y. Makes one wonder, and appreciate the early fighters for freedom who gave up homes, finances and personal wealth, and their very lives to fight for their freedoms, the freedoms we have enjoyed for over two hundred years now. They are no doubt turning over in their graves with shame at modern America. We will believe anything that comes over the one eyed (politically controlled) monster called television and sworn to by the propagandist of the evening news. We have (as Orwell put it) been assimilated. Prove me wrong America. I would love to believe I am wrong. By the way, the framers of our "G-D Constitution" (as our leaders dubbed it) were by definition "terrorist." They resisted and fought against the Empire of the original King George. Finally, I am totally incensed at an American politician, especially a pResident, calling our Constitution "just a G-D piece of paper." That is tantamount to calling our flag just a G-D piece of worthless cloth when millions of American men and women have shed their precious blood for both for that piece of cloth and are shedding their blood today in an illegal war in an attempt to serve our nation, albeit having been lied to. We shouldn't blame these young men and women, they too believe they are doing America a good service in obeying a questionable leadership and being loyal to their sworn duty. One day they will come to terms over what they are doing. Millions of vets sit in their homes, or on the streets, or in nursing homes cripple, both physically and mentally from defending that wonderful piece of paper and that wonderful piece of cloth of red white and blue which represents all that is good in America, that represents the common man and woman in every small and large city and town throughout this great land. The very stripes on that flag represents the blood shed for this nation and the sacrifice of Mom's and Dad's and grandparents who gave up their children that we may continue to resist people like those who now control our highest offices of government today, those who would steal our liberties and freedoms. This alone is enough to throw these gangsters out of the country as hostile enemies. Even with all of our faults in America, a land of people who have historically been the first to respond to the people of the world when disaster strikes with money, food and medical aid, when that flag passes in review it still brings tears to one's eyes and chills of pride up our spines (I am not ashamed to say it does this to me). This (tears and pride) is out of respect for all who have paid the price for the freedoms that are now being stolen away in Washington, not out of nationalistic fanaticism. Just who are these cretins who dare defame our nation and beliefs, or freedoms? Bottom line is, we resist while we have the means to resist, not after the fact when the enemy has control. It is easier to fight from the protection of woods and trees (with like minded friends/patriots and resources) than from behind barbed wire fences on empty stomachs and armed guards watching every move. The signs are hitting us all right in the face today, we will be without excuse. As the saying goes, we can't see the forest for the trees. Think people, think! I'm not advocating violence, I am suggesting we utilize our democratic weapons of government, by the people, of the people, and for the people, to make needed and drastic changes. I asked a guy if he thought ignorance and apathy were our biggest problems here in America, he said, I don't know and I don't care, as he slumped back in front of his computer with his beer and chips, sending cute little porno jokes and spiritual greetings to his Internet friends. Talk about Nero fiddling while Rome burned. That about sums it up.

Posted by: the shiite ayatollah of rock and roll ah | February 7, 2006 01:23 PM

To those of you labeling English people as 'poofters' (Chris Ford) or Euro-weenies (Cayambe; btw, nice etiquette, hypocrite):
Have you ever actually been to England or met many English people? They are hardly the fey race of girly men you try to portray them as. For one, I defy any of you Brit bashers to walk into a pub in England and tell the people there that they are a bunch of poofters; You'd quickly learn what 'having a go' means. If you really want to be brave, challenge them to a drinking contest: You'll end up passed out on the pub floor while the rest of them are just getting started. And, for the truly foolhardy, take a trip to Basra, Iraq, and tell the British troops there what poofters they are; Maybe then you 'ugly American' types will learn to appreciate our English allies more.
And to our Brit debaters here, I apologize for rude, xenophobic Americans the likes of Chris Ford and Cayambe. They probably have met few English people, and simply bash anybody who is not American, ally or otherwise. I for one appreciate your input here, as do most of the debaters; The Brit bashers here are a very small minority that do not represent the vast majority of Americans who are mutually appreciative of our longtime English allies. I would even go so far to say that we Americans are very fortunate to have the English as our closest allies; We have benefitted so much from having them as our friends that it is way out of line to be derogatory towards them. As far as I'm concerned, the Ugly American is the Ungrateful American when it comes to England.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 7, 2006 02:09 PM

Thanks Chris. I was sure you would have a far more comprehensive grasp of this history than I do.

The genetic information is actually interesting. The term Jewish is always ambiguous; one doesn't know whether it defines a persons race or their religion, quite different things. Does "anti-semitic" imply racial intolerance or religious intolerance? Rhetorical question.

In any case, I tend to see the conflict as an interfamily feud, between brothers or cousins; often the most intractable kind of conflict to settle, if ever. It always strikes me how much the Hamas leadership physically resembles Orthodox Jewish Rabbis in appearance and manner. Its pretty remarkable how effectively they have managed to split a large part of the world into two camps so passionately supporting each side. It reminds me of the sign my wife put up in the kitchen. "If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy".

To the rest of you....
Your responses remind me of exactly the point I was trying to make earlier about listening to the Muslim point of view. You just don't listen very well. Whether you like or dislike Chris's tone, word selection, attitude, biases, or whatever, his facts and actual assessments (stripped of emotional baggage) are almost always impeccable, thorough, and stripped of any illusions. I often come to different positions than he does, but when it comes to the details of the political history of peoples and states as we see them today he has a level of knowledge and understanding far deeper and broader than any one else on this blog. Also, if you read carefully enough, you will find that he does in fact listen quite well himself. That's how he acquired such a depth of knowledge. So don't cheat yourselves. Don't bother with the small stuff, try and see through to the important stuff.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 7, 2006 02:34 PM


Dear Mike M.,

When first I sent the links out to individuals on my email list, the intent was intended to honor our fallen. There was no political intent and no one other than your self took it that way or was offended by it, that I am aware of. With exception of one person, our mutual cousin, Tim; you do not know anyone on my email list and it was poor etiquette to originally involve them in the discussion you initiated from you, either mistakenly or purposely. As always I am more than happy to personally engage you in a political debate in the proper forum. And to a fault I have never been one to back down, and I don't care if you go off or not. However Mike and, anyone else who might enjoy our exchanges, from this point forward I will not do it with my email friends list. And fortunately I did not put everyone on the original email. For those who found this invasive, I apologize. I do sometimes post comments in the Washington post, where the entire world can read them or not, in a forum that is not invasive into personal email accounts. And the following link has my entire response to you: http://costofwar.com/wrappedindex.html Mike, please follow the link to the comment column and respond to me. You will find six additional paragraphs responding to your views with all emails to this point. Everyone's personal email addresses is edited out. If you do not respond then I take it you agree with me on everything.

I'm sorry to hear about your brother in law. The man who masterminded the 911 attack is unfortunately still out there, somewhere? My CONSERVATIVE LOGICAL view point is that it was right to invade Afghanistan and we should have kept all the military focus on that country until we caught or killed all of them and shown no mercy to those involved in 911. The other prominent two that supported the 911 attack, were mostly citizens of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Iran, already at the time with known nuclear weapons of mass destruction (WMD) plans obtained from a Pakistani, did have limited terrorist training camps, mostly focused on training Iraqi Shiites to over throw Sadam.

Mike, as I said earlier "all Americans support the troops". Not supporting politicians does not make you unpatriotic and is an entirely different matter. Mike, speaking out is a fundamental Constitutional right, it's what America is about, it's what many Americans have fought and died for from the beginning of this country. I'm very sorry that right upsets you so much, so if you need to go off, then that's your right, no one for the liberal side or conservative side has the right to stop you from "whining". And as an American Citizen, I 100% support your right to "whine".

There is no connection between 911 and Iraq. Before the Iraq war there were no terrorists in Iraq, training or otherwise, but there are now after the invasion! Sadam was the number one Arab leader on Osama Bin Ladin's hit list. Bin Ladin came to prominence in the Arab world during the first Gulf War trying to raise an Arab army, with America's help, to over throw Sadam, because Sadam was anti Islamic. His request was fortunately denied and he his influence was kept out of the Iraq at that time. There were no WMD's in Iraq, that is a proven fact now. September 2005, Colin Powell was asked about the UN speech where he supported the invasion of Iraq for WMDs during an interview with Barbara Walters and responded that it was a "blot" on his record. He went on to say, "it will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now." [1] He also said in February 24, 2001 before the invasion "The sanctions exist -- not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein's ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction ... And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq ... ". And on October 17, 2004 Colin Powel caution President Bush on invading Iraq "You break it, you own it". Colin Powel was correct, we broke it and now we own it. And now I have friends in Iraq risking their lives.
Another CONSERVATIVE view of mine is; I hope all countries have Democracy and freedom to choose, but if that freedom and Democracy brings about an Anti-American government freely elected by its people that is out to destroy my America. Then I don't care if they have Democracy or not and I don't care who knows it. Democracy does not unconditionally guarantee a friend. And it did not in Palestine last week. And in Iraq a Conservative Islamic Constitution and Conservative Islamic politicians have been freely elected by its people.

My ECONOMIC CONSERVATIVE VIEW is we won the cold war by out spending the Soviet Union and essentially bankrupting their country. The terrorists also consider economics as a battlefield and knowing what we are spending in the Middle East (ME), we are not doing very well. It has been estimated that nearly 50% of the money spent in Iraq has been squandered, some even siphoned off to the insurgents to kill American military and civilian personnel. Latest estimate of total American dollars spend thus far is $240,000,000,000, that's almost $120,000,000,000 wasted. The two biggest financers of our American debt are our biggest economic competitor China and the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia. This gives these two countries foreclosure power over America; they are buying America and they are buying us.

My LIBERAL view is Iraq crippled our response to Katrina; most of the Louisiana National Guard and their trucks, generators, and other equipment needed for rescue were in Iraq and with the exception of personnel will be left in Iraq. Department of Home Land Security reduced FEMA ability to respond by taking funds and personnel from FEMA. The war has causing cuts to the elderly, education, and so on. Due to the cost of the war benefits to the elderly are being cut in the new budget. I don't like calling my mother a dog, so my mother in this fight is eighty years old, suffering with severe rheumatoid arthritis and living with my youngest brother who was handicapped at the age of eight by a cancerous brain tumor. My father, who passed away when we were children, served with distinction in WWII ETO, he volunteered on the 4th of July 1940 and was decorated with two Bronze Stars. He did his patriotic duty and worked hard all his life till his death, so his wife and family would be secure in the future. Benefits he thought would be for his wife and youngest handicapped son are being cut. At a time when baby boomers are beginning to retire in unprecedented numbers entitlements to those who need them most it is actually being cut.

Take Care

David F.

Mike Wrote:

WELL THAT'S MORE LIKE IT! I was afraid that I would have to go off about the importance of what is going on. Fanatic religious groups no matter who they are are oppressive. I have a dog in this fight as my brother in law was in the World Trade Center that day and he didn't come out. I am grateful to our persons in uniform for doing a job that needs to be done. So, don't just drop a site on us. give us a hint as to your purpose. I live in OR. And I'm so sick and tired of everyone whining just to whine about something. I guess I've become skeptical of everyone's intentions.

Sincerely,

Michael

From: David
Date: Sun Feb 05 14:16:42 CST 2006
Subject: Re: Re: See the links

Dear Mike,

To answer your question, the links are released by the military to numerous sites, to honor our fallen soldiers, lest they not be forgotten for their ultimate sacrifice for our country.
For example: http://www.militarycity.com/valor/index.html All Americans, Republican, Democrat, Liberal, conservative, moderate,
Christian, Jewish..have a true patriotic appreciation for our troops and it does not matter if you agree with the war or not. As for my
Political leaning, I am a moderate and very proud of it. I may be liberal on one issue and conservative on another. I am often accused of
being liberal and sometimes of being conservative, I only take these
comments as an indication of how polarized we are becoming. All too far
politically to the left or all too far politically to the right is very
bad for America and democracy. No matter what party you belong
to you're still human, have the same human weaknesses, and are no
closer to God than anyone else. That is my opinion and I don't care who
knows it, but I do want that open opinion coming from me and no one else.

We are fighting a war against Conservative Religious Islamic
Terrorists and I deplore everything about them. I am outraged by Conservative Religious Islamic Leaders who bait the followers of Islam into hating and attacking my country for nothing more than to expand their greedy power in the Middle East. And I think giving them the name terrorist is far to kind, they are murderous criminals who kill innocent babies, children, women, men, and elderly of all countries or religions.

Have a good Day

David

Mike wrote:

Yeah! Whats your point? your liberalism
is showing. You can't put that up and not leave a statement. Michael
=====================

=====================
From: David wrote
Date: Fri Feb 03 08:24:16 CST 2006
see the links:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/iraq/casualties/facesofthefallen.htm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/custom/2005/10/26/CU2005102601695.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/casualties/facesofthefallen_freedom.htm
David

Posted by: David F | February 7, 2006 02:39 PM

Cayembe; I appologise for the inference about your reading; it was inexcusable,and pointless.
Errin, thanks for the defence; but the insults don't hurt - it does sadden me that these clever men get caught up in their anger though.
Just let me saythat, althoughfond of my country and so many of it's inhabitants I am no Patriot. My country is right OR wrong; I love it when we get it right - but have no respect for my country when we get it wrong.
And we should only be your allies when you get it right.

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 7, 2006 03:19 PM

Confused Englishman,
"And we should only be your allies when you get it right."
Indeed, and if only you all had gotten it right, we might have been spared the agony of being wrong as well; not that you all led us into being wrong. We managed to do that on our own.

David,
You are my kind of conservative. Go forth and multiply. :o)

Posted by: Cayambe | February 7, 2006 03:43 PM

To right Cayembe; we were the buggers who set the worst patterns in North America; set the precedent for destroying the earlier Natives, shipped over kidnapped Afro-Carbibeans to work as slaves - thus ensuring the corruption of their bosses. So when you had the sense to kick us out you inhereted so much of our worst behavior. We didn't MAKE you do wrong but we sure passed on some bad habits.
When I say "we" I mean some of the ancestors of myself and others around me. I will not be condemned for the sins of my fathers.
Nor will I be condemned for the sins of my country - except where I took a part in those sins. As I say - I'm not a patriot.

Posted by: Confused Englishman | February 7, 2006 05:16 PM

"When I say "we" I mean some of the ancestors of myself and others around me. I will not be condemned for the sins of my fathers.
Nor will I be condemned for the sins of my country - except where I took a part in those sins. As I say - I'm not a patriot."

"Patriot" and "patriotism" are terms I can do without. Its enough for me to distinguish my own personal opinions from the policies of my country which may or may not reflect mine. In a sense I have to take responsibility for both. That creates a real quandry in Iraq, which I did not support but my country did. While I did not, we have done the damage we have as a country and I can't really escape the responsibility for ameliorating the damage we have caused, just because I was against it in the first place.

In my case the ethics of citizenship are not nearly as simple and straight forward as I would like. So I find myself still arguing against the stupid thinking that led us into Iraq, because this is necessary to avoid a similar error while at the same time arguing the necessary conditions we must reach in Iraq to leave it at least no worse than it was before we stuck our noses in. In many ways I think we would have been wiser just to go in and take down the regime, clear out what little WMD there actually was, and then get the hell out and let them sort out the next regime by themselves. I would have been against that too, but at least it would have minimized the damage.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 7, 2006 07:38 PM

Patriotism - its a concept we take for granted, but in these times I think it is something that needs some examination. I believe patriotism takes many forms, not just between citizens of different countries, but among citizens of any single country.

Cayambe, in an earlier post I asked what patriotism of Muslims is based on. You answered first Islam and country second. Your answer was:

Islam first, country second. But this only goes so far. The Muslim world is a far more complex quilt than we choose to see. Malaysia is Muslim, and a thriving democracy. Indonesia is Muslim, and democracy there has been pretty well established. Despite being an Islamic Republic (with a constitution) it is also multi-cultural with freedom of religion, within certain bounds. There are democratic elements in the Jordanian structure, the Kuwaiti structure, etc. Lebanon has a democratic structure.

If you ask an American why he is a patriot, you will get as many different answers as people you ask, but there will be a trend toward listing the ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Those ideals are based on writings of Enlightenment philosophers, and put into practical application by the founding fathers. There is also liable to be an element of military pride based on our wars for 1) independence - the Revolution, 2) preservation of the Union - the Civil War, and 3) preservation of the world - WW II. These 3 wars most typify the prototype American war hero based on the stands we took, the odds we overcame, and the blood and guts it took to win. And why shouldn't we be proud? Those were all struggles where our ideals were threatened. We as a nation deemed those ideals worth fighting for. We fought hard, sacrificed much, and in the end emerged with our ideals intact and we were stronger than we had been before.

Those ideals have served us well over the years. They promote freedom of religion through separation of church and state, freedom of expression, and other rights explicitly safeguarded in our constitution through the Bill of Rights. We Americans have learned to live with the consequences of our freedoms, developing a great tolerance for differing opinions, and the paradoxical situations where we sometimes protect the offensive and the rights of the offenders.

Now contrast our version of patriotism with an Islamic version. As with us, their patriotism is based on the founding principles of their civilization - submission to God's will as revealed to the prophet Mohammed and written in the Koran. Instead of the Constitution they have Sharia - Islamic law. there is no Bill of Rights guarenteeing separation of church and state or freedom of expression, and no Declaration of Independence asserting an inalienable right to life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but they are just as passionate and convinced of the righteousness of their way as American patriots are of their own. They can also claim a military/domination aspect to their heritage. Lets not forget -the Muslim world was, at its height, all one empire similar in size to the Roman empire. It stetched from Spain in the west to India and Afganistan in the east. Of course Islam made its way to parts of southeast Asia and Indonesia, but I'm not sure if those lands were ever under direct control of the caliph in Baghdad. Come to think of it, at its height, the Islamic empire probably covered a greater area than Rome ever did.

I should be careful. As Cayembe points out I shouldn't assume all Muslims connect to the values and heritage described above with a high level of intensity, but I believe that many do. Is it any wonder that the protests and violence over political cartoons of Mohammed are as volatile as we've seen? What is seen by us as nothing more than freedom of expression at work, is viewed by Islamic "patriots" as an affront to God. Whereas we are familiar with the concept of tolerating an offensive cartoon (even if we're mad about it), these people don't separate their church from their state, and freedom of expression doesn't have as much meaning to them, especially when the subject is God or his prophet. I'm not trying to defend them or accuse them. I'm just trying to state the situation as I see it.

So what! These are interesting musings, but what practical application can they have to the dilemas we face in this crazy, mixed up world?

If we, as President Bush has said, want to promote freedom and democracy in the middle east, we need to lay some groundwork. Our nation was established at the tail end of the Enlightenment era of the 18th century. Ideas abounded and were discussed by educated people of the day. Ideas of Enlightenment philosophers were honed by the founding fathers, many of whom were philosophers in their own right. Those men found a way to create a practical application of those philosophies to create the United States and its Constitution, still the greatest governing document that exists.

Unfortunately I think that we as a people put too much focus on the great document itself, and not enough on the great process that the founding fathers went through to create it.

Before viable democracies can be established in the middle east, middle eastern people must wrestle with the concepts that democracies are based on. they need to develop their own philosphies regarding freedom and understand how it relates to their closely held Islamic faith. I believe it is possible for them to do that. If nothing else, in spite of all the blunders of the Bush administration, even I must admit they have tapped into an enthusiastic level of interest and curiosity related to voting for representatives and giving people power over their governments. Still, that will not be enough over the long term. Old ways die hard. Philosophical discussions need to take place in an environment of contemplation and reflection rather than deadline and pressure. The Bush administration should seek to facilitate such dialogs by leading a process in the middle east where the ideas of freedom and Islam can be discussed separate from current issues. Over time if middle eastern scholars, and leaders come together to discuss issues related to reconciling the concepts of freedom and all its consequences with Islam, specific isues will begin to be addressed. They need to make that move. They can't be pushed by the U.S. What I am suggesting is that the U.S. design a series of "Freedom Summits" These will start out being very theoretical and philisophical in nature with an emphasis on how freedom reconciles with religious doctrine. The U.S. should not lecture to these Muslim scholars and leaders. We should be careful to play a facilitator's role. The process will take a long time, but if we are to successfully realize President Bush's goal of spreading freedom and democracy throughout the middle east and the world, the essential ingredient of philosophical groundwork must be laid, and that philosophical groundwork must take Islam into account. Please note: this is not appeasement. We must and will hold firmly to our ideals, and we will make no apologies for freely expressed ideas.

The question is after we have done so much damage to our integrity in the world through certain means we have used to conduct the war on terror and the war in Iraq (our own human rights abuses) whether America still has the credibility to lead such a process remains to be seen, but it will be worth it to try, and maybe in the process we will gain back some of our lost integrity.

Posted by: DK | February 8, 2006 02:20 AM


Whether you like or dislike Chris's tone, word selection, attitude, biases, or whatever, his facts and actual assessments (stripped of emotional baggage) are almost always impeccable, thorough, and stripped of any illusions. I often come to different positions than he does, but when it comes to the details of the political history of peoples and states as we see them today he has a level of knowledge and understanding far deeper and broader than any one else on this blog.
Posted by: Cayambe | Feb 7, 2006 2:34:59 PM

Ya right, Cayambe. Chris Ford's historical analogies are rife with distortion and misrepresentation. His facts are 'factoids' that fall apart when double checked. How you can be so blind to his extremism and hatred is beyond me... such a twisted individual as Chris Ford is anything BUT impeccable, thorough, and stripped of illusions. Apparently, Cayambe's fallen in love with Chris Ford, but most debaters here see him for what he is: a hatemongering crackpot. Now excuse me while I laugh my ass off at Cayambe and his one man Chris Ford fanclub. GMAFB!

Posted by: ErrinF | February 8, 2006 04:37 PM

LIE-L@G M@NTR@S

(for Slavoj Zizek)

Whenever They say it,
it's no-longer still True;
They rely on lie-l@gs &
They s@p you w/them:
You fall for m@ntr@s:

Jobs will B technic@l;
Jobs will B @bund@nt.
Jobs will B find@ble:
Many jobs in Indi@!
More jobs in Chin@!
Job-boom, cyborgs!
Job-boom, n@nobots!

W@r will B victorious.
W@r will B glorious.
W@r will B cert@in.
W@r begins 2morrow.
W@r m@y B ongoing.
W@r m@y never end.
W@r's @lw@ys On.

De@th is just inevit@ble.
De@th will B conquered.
De@th will B postponed.
De@th will B endur@ble
De@th will B be@r@ble.
De@th wasn't so b@d.
Dea@th's inevit@ble


(29 JAN 06; PST Santa Clara CA)

Posted by: Bill Costley | February 8, 2006 07:19 PM


"Yep. Tiananmen Square proved that the Chinese government knows how to handle "crimes against humanities". They did a great job on Google recently, too."

Look, Bush Murdered over 100,000 men, women, and children in Iraq. Bush is also torturing hundreds of people - most of whom are just kidnapped victims of bounty hunters.

Tiananmen was tamed by comparison. A protest that went badly with a couple of hundred of casuaties,

China is a force good. Only China is strong enough to bring the hapless whites (hiding in the Republican party) to justice. It will be great day when Karl Rove and his his NAZI cohorts are put on trial by the Chinese for crimes against humanities.

Posted by: Amun Royston | February 8, 2006 09:35 PM

The Conservative Sins of the Father

The father invaded Iraq with a brilliant battle plan and failed to dispose of the dictator and he continued to rule Iraq. The Father said "Read my lips no new taxes", but failed and raised taxes. The Father lost his re-election.

The son invades Iraq with a poor battle plan and disposes of the dictator to erase the conservative sin of the father. The son cuts taxes to erase the conservative sin of the father. The son gets re-elected.

The Country gets bogged down in an unwanted war. The budget deficit grows.

Posted by: John | February 9, 2006 12:55 AM

THE REAL CASUS BELLI: THE IRAN OIL BOURSE

Much of the real urgency of the Anglo-American attack on Iran comes not from nonexistent nuclear devices, but from the planned March 20 opening of the Iran oil bourse, the first international exchange since 1945 where buyers and sellers of oil can conduct their oil transactions using a currency other than the US dollar ­ in this case, the euro. The Iran oil bourse threatens the number one pillar of US-UK world domination ­ the global hegemony of the dollar, as anchored in the dollar's central role in oil and other raw materials transactions. With the Iranian oil bourse, as much as $1 trillion of central bank reserves may flee the US greenback into the euro, the yen, and other currencies. The concomitant exodus of hot money from Wall Street would then puncture the US stock bubble, the US housing bubble, and the US bubble economy generally, leading to a collapse of the dollar in international exchange and the dumping of hundreds of billions of dollars in US treasury bonds now in the hands of the Chinese and Japanese. The transition from today's outmoded and obsolete dollar-based system to a dollar-euro-yen system of fixed parities, gold settlement, and high-technology exports to the developing sector could be easily handled by peaceful negotiations, but this is exactly what the neocons are determined to prevent. Ironically, the neocon obsession for general war to preserve dollar dominance, by almost guaranteeing the closure of the straits of Hormuz, will lead to an even more catastrophic dollar collapse and world depression than the peaceful Iranian oil bourse ever could. The neocons, in other words, are playing a losing hand. Only fools would join them.

BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH

When might the new hostilities begin? General Sharon, before he was incapacitated, had told the Israeli Defense Force to be ready to strike Iran in March. The former US Iraq weapons inspector Scott Ritter says that the attack order has already been given. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the maverick Russian politician, thinks that the most likely date is March 28, coincident with the Israeli elections. Zhirinovsky has longed served as an auxiliary to Russian President Putin, and his estimate may benefit from the insights of the Russian special services. Whenever the attack comes, it is clear that the NATO logistics and manpower infrastructure ­ the German railways, the French air force and navy, the Italian ports and air bases ­ will play a vital role. Without these, the US could hardly operate in the Middle East at all. Today, the US neocons may be offering occupation rights in various secondary target countries, like Syria, to tempt countries like France or Italy into joining the war. When Hitler attacked the USSR in June 1941, he was joined by troops from Italy, Romania, Hungary, Finland, Spain, and other European states. These auxiliaries had received promises of their own, but they fared poorly. The parallel is suggestive for the path some Europeans wish to tread today.

RATTLING THE CAGES OF OFFICIAL WASHINGTON

Last Wednesday, a Home Depot in the Washington DC suburb of Gaithersburg, Maryland was evacuated because of suspicious package emitting a strange smell, which turned out to be a harmless videotape recorder. Last Friday, the Rachel Carson Elementary School in the same community, which is part of the region where many federal officials and bureaucrats live and have their families, was evacuated because of another suspicious package which a local official claimed looked like an Improvised Explosive Device or Iraq-style roadside bomb. It was "something like you might see in a war zone," said the spokesman of the Gaithersburg fire department said to the radio and television that afternoon. The school is typically attended by the children of federal employees. But the "IED" also turned out to be a big nothing. Early this evening, the Russell Senate Office Building was evacuated because of a nerve gas alert that also proved to be groundless, a complete false alarm. But a dozen senators had to flee. This escalating pattern of incidents likely to provoke hysteria among US government officials betrays the intent of the invisible government to overload the circuits and facilitate the stampeding of this government into a wider war full of incalculable danger.

MOSLEMS: DO NOT ACCEPT PROVOCATIONS

Our advice to the Moslem world: DO NOT FALL FOR PROVOCATIONS. From Count Thurn's 1618 defenestration of Prague to Bismarck's Ems telegram in 1870, big wars have often grown out of staged provocations. For years former Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Mohammed of Malaysia, an astute Moslem observer who knows how the Atlanticists operate, has been telling his co-religionists that the greatest vulnerability of the oppressors is located in the weakness of the US dollar. Mahatir's argument has long been that it is time to stop complaining and dump the dollar. The fall of the dollar will entail the fall of the International Monetary Fund and of Wolfowitz's World Bank, the greatest engines of global oppression. Those who burn the embassies of European countries or attack their citizens risk becoming dupes serving as recruiting sergeants for the NATO armies and air forces that are about to strike Iran, currently the leading Moslem state, plus Syria and others. It is time to break ideological profile, and respond unpredictably on the international monetary front, where the chances for success are the greatest.

REFUTE THE BLOOD LIBEL OF 9/11

In terms of the battle of ideas, the other great task for the Moslem world and for persons of good will everywhere is to contribute to the utmost to the dismantling and discrediting of the ultimate blood libel against Islam, the fantastic Atlanticist myth surrounding the events of September 11, 2001. The international 9/11 truth movement has shown how rogue networks inside the Pentagon and CIA organized those events. Since the basis of every attack on Islam is 9/11, it is incumbent on Moslems to join in refuting the myth. This will have the additional effect of eroding Bush's fanatical political base, and preparing his fall.

WORLD PEACE

In my address to the Inter-Religious Conference in Khartoum, Sudan in October 1994, I pleaded for a platform of ecumenical and irenic cooperation among the world's great faiths based in the comprehensive scientific, technological, and economic development of all nations. This is the call of Christianity, with its imperative of charity (agape) and faith expressed through good works, as in the second great commandment: love your neighbor. This is the call of the doctrine of social solidarity in Islam. This is the call of Confucian benevolence and the related need for rulers to promote prosperity and education. These are the ideas reflected in similar impulses prominent in Buddhism, Judaism, and other faiths. These are ideas readily accessible to persons of good will whose outlook is purely secular, whatever their political persuasion. Humanity must act now to neutralize war provocations, and thus to prevent the horrors of war itself.

Posted by: END OF THE WAR GAME | February 9, 2006 10:52 AM

Will, I point out the historical excesses of Christian zealots not to rationalize or justify the excesses of radical Muslims, but rather to point out that Christianity reached the general state of felicity and moderation that characterizes it today not because they were whipped into line by some superior military force, but rather overe years and years of progressive government doctrines and enforcement of human rights laws.

It is evolutionary change that brings about constructive change, not military action. Military action should only be undertaken to defend ourselves against an enemy that is a clear and present danger. It should not be an agent for imposing a transformational change in culture or civilizations.

Islam should be left alone to work out its own problems and we should only involve ourselves with them as a defense against being invaded or attacked. Military action certainly has not been successful at catching the guily perpetrators of the 9-11 attack. But effective, legal, law enforcement has been successful for the Spanish anfd the British in capturing far more terrorist than we have through military means. In fact, military action in Iraq has only inflamed terrorists and enhnced their recruitment.

Posted by: Jaxas | February 9, 2006 11:02 AM

Jaxas,

I agree with your assessment of how moderation will evolve in Islam over time, but couldn't we foster and facilitate that process by seeking out the moderate voices among Muslim scholars and leaders and bringing them together in conferences that are focused on developing concepts of freedom and human rights as well as dealing with the consequences of protecting freedoms in Islamic societies? These approaches to incorporating freedoms and human rights in Islamic societies must be figured out, as you say, by Muslims, and they have to reach their solutions in the context of repecting Islamic doctrine and Sharia.

Unfortunately, it seems that right now those moderates are tiny voices crying in the wilderness of radicalism, suspicion, and resentment of the west. There are, as Cayembe points out, some Muslim countries that are already democratic and more moderate in nature than the radicals that make most of the headlines.

Somehow we need to diffuse the tension in the world today, and begin giving Muslim moderates a focal point for them to rally and begin having influence.

Easier said than done, I suppose, but we need to try.

Posted by: DK | February 9, 2006 01:16 PM

DK ........ This post is a real pearl. I wish I had written it myself.

"The question is after we have done so much damage to our integrity in the world through certain means we have used to conduct the war on terror and the war in Iraq (our own human rights abuses) whether America still has the credibility to lead such a process remains to be seen, but it will be worth it to try, and maybe in the process we will gain back some of our lost integrity."
Posted by: DK | Feb 8, 2006 2:20:23 AM |

The only thing I would add has to do with the "damage to our integrity in the world". This really begins right here at home. On the front page of the WP today is a story about squashing the views of NASA scientists who didn't support the President's Global Warming position in some way. It is all about controlling the message, shaping the message, selecting facts coherent with the message, and marketing and selling the message. So our political debates are no longer real debates, they are wars between messengers using messages as weapons. Can there be such a thing as integrity in this world of perpetual spin? Not until we require better and stop admiring and rewarding the most skillful spinmeisters, currently the Republican crop, with the Democratic crop back taking refresher courses. It doesn't work quite so well worldwide. They don't see us through the rosy glasses of spin; they are not quite so conditioned to it as we are. They see us pretty much as we are, based on what we actually do, not what we say. Looking at that there is ample reason, ample difference between doing and saying, to question our integrity as a nation, well beyond just the Abu Graib kind of incidents and occasional human rights abuses. We have lost a great deal of trust in the world. We are losing a great deal of trust at home, as the BA is slowly discovering with the NSA mess. We are not going to get it back abroad until we significantly change our behavior abroad and we are not going to get it back at home until we significantly change our behavior at home.

Nations have to find their own way to democracy. We can and should encourage, advise, and help them do that in constructive ways, seen by them as constructive ways. Not very many nations have done that in the time frame we did, not very many nations are favored by the unique circumstances we had. It takes time, a whole lot of time. South America has been working on it for almost 200 years now, and it keeps getting closer and closer. Somehow we have to get over the sheer hubris that we are the Almighty's designated angel to bring democracy to the planet forthwith, even at the point of a gun. Don't push the river, it flows by itself.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 9, 2006 05:33 PM

Cayembe,

People act (and vote) based on their perception of reality, rather than reality itself. Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and others of the White House inner circle understand that as well as anyone ever has. They are, as you say, the ultimate spinmeisters. They have taken spin to new heights by not just reacting to news with spin but by being proactive to ensure that the news itself is spun when it comes out. Thus the tactics you read of in the WP story.

Those tactics may work to neutralize the opposition and allow them to acheive their goals, but there is a problem that ultimately arises for them when they rely on those tactics too much. The problem is that when people live too many aspects of their lives according to an alternate reality, they become dysfunctional. Their behavior is not calculated to respond to the truth of a situation. This results in problems not properly solved and in many cases problems made worse. If this goes on too long, the problems beget more problems which beget still more problems and a snowball effect takes place.

As it goes with individuals, so it can go with a nation. The Bush administration has in too many cases based their actions on incorrect premises, and they have controlled the information that reaches the public so that they will get the public support they need to enact the policies they have already decided on prior to any research or investigation.

This is a pattern that can be seen with the Bush Aministration time and time again. Our actions in Iraq have been chock full of these errors in policy-making.

A large reason they have been able to get away with these tactics is that Congress has been, in my opinion, derelict in their duty to check the executive branch. Its telling that the President has been in office for over 5 years now and has never had to use his veto.

Lately there have been some cracks of daylight. More congressional leaders have been questioning the President, and I hope and pray that they will rein him in on this warrentless wiretapping stuff. The President himself has even admitted some mistakes here and there notably making reference to Abu Ghraib as a mistake that we made that makes it more difficult to champion human rights and the cause of freedom in the world. In his SOTU address I was pleased to hear him admit that we as a nation are addicted to oil and that we need to reduce our consumption. Hopefully there will be actual follow up on these statements and policy shifts will take place.

As for fostering the spread of freedom and democratization, its high time like-minded freedom-lovers of the world begin exploring anew the ideas of freedom and human rights. People must learn how to apply those ideas in the middle east so that they will be accepted for the long term. I'm not sure that it will be possible in middle eastern societies the way we do things in the west. The separation of church and state, a concept we hold so dear, may not fly in much of the middle east. Freedom of expression it seems has its bounds as evidenced through the recent cartoon debacle. Still, freedom of religion, which we connect so closely to separation of church and state, has been known to take place in some Muslim countries. In Iran and Iraq and some other Muslim countries Jews and Christians have lived and worshipped according to their faiths for hundreds of years.

Perhaps these Internet blogs are the perfect venue for the kind of free-wheeling discussion needed to explore and push the ideas of freedom and human rights to the point of acceptance and implementation by Muslim countries.

Posted by: DK | February 10, 2006 01:05 AM

IMPEACH GEORGE W. BUSH, MAKE HIM THE EX-PRESIDENT OF U.S.OF AMERICA!

Posted by: Concerned American | February 10, 2006 08:46 PM

As for these blogs. I don't know. They are not the most efficient things from my point of view. It takes a lot of filtering to find good arguments, observations, and relevant facts. But I am still trying so it must be worthwhile to me. :o)

Posted by: Cayambe | February 11, 2006 12:47 PM

DK
"Those tactics may work to neutralize the opposition and allow them to achieve their goals, but there is a problem that ultimately arises for them when they rely on those tactics too much."

There are really two problems here as I see it. They are skilled enough at the tactics to get us well down the path of really rotten short-sided policies. As the public begins to discover what the tactics hid, mistrust grows. You can't fool all of the people all of time. Their problem in Iraq is that tactics got them what they wanted, but they didn't get what they expected, so we are in for a rough ride there.

I agree with you about Congress, but I'm not so optimistic. It would of course be very helpful if the Democrats took one or the other legislative branch later this year, but there are not all that many members of both branches who are personally all that impressive. I am pleased that a few Republicans are showing signs of getting their principles back, Dewine, Lindsey Graham. And McCain never lost his, although I couldn't vote for him because of his foreign policy outlook. I like Feinstein, Feingold, Jane Harmon, Barney Frank, and a couple of others on the other side of the aisle. Still on the whole it is not an outstanding bunch compared to what we have seen in prior times. The Executive branch would certainly be more limited in domestic policy it the democrats can take at least one house, but they would still have a hard time stopping Bush in foreign policy being so split on that themselves.

"As for fostering the spread of freedom and democratization, its high time like-minded freedom-lovers of the world begin exploring anew the ideas of freedom and human rights."

I think this is just a bit dangerous. The EU and the UN are apparently coming up with something which would in effect give religion the protection of law by limiting the freedom of speech by the press; i.e. a religious sensitivity protection act. I want no part of it. No doubt the death penalty would be considered as a human rights issue, and immigration, asylum, health care, monogamy, etc. etc. I would prefer something that just started very simply, like all people are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All people have the right to choose their form of government and to change it if they wish to. Every person is entitled to practice his or her religion without interference.

We should only those things for which a consensus can be achieved and learn to tolerate those things for which there is no consensus.

"People must learn how to apply those ideas in the Middle East so that they will be accepted for the long term. I'm not sure that it will be possible in Middle Eastern societies the way we do things in the west."

I agree with you here also. But I think it will take a very long time and it is not something you can force feed, which is exactly what Bush thinks he can do. And you are right to recognize that religion plays a different role in the Middle East and yet a different role in Muslim Asia. If you look at Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia, you see something quite different than Jordan, Iran, Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. All of the latter look to a king (Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia), a strongman/quasi dictator (Mubarik) and an Ayatollah (Iran). Malaysia is probably the best model for this first group of countries to look at. But we have to remember that they started on their journey back in the 50's, first beating back a communist guerrilla campaign.
OOPS.....the prior post was supposed to be the end of this one.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 11, 2006 12:51 PM

Cayembe,

"As the public begins to discover what the tactics hid, mistrust grows. You can't fool all of the people all of time."

You're right about the trust issue. There is a growing mistrust in the Bush administration, and it hurts all of us because people stop believing in their governmentand in the global arena, other countries tune us out and stop cooperating with us.

"I agree with you about Congress, but I'm not so optimistic. It would of course be very helpful if the Democrats took one or the other legislative branch later this year, but there are not all that many members of both branches who are personally all that impressive. I am pleased that a few Republicans are showing signs of getting their principles back, Dewine, Lindsey Graham. And McCain never lost his, although I couldn't vote for him because of his foreign policy outlook. I like Feinstein, Feingold, Jane Harmon, Barney Frank, and a couple of others on the other side of the aisle."

I like McCain and Feingold as well, and Biden seems good too. I want to see what happens with Obama - he seems to have talent, but what's he going to do with it? I've been fairly disappointed in Hillary Clinton lately. At first I thought she was doing pretty well as a senator, but lately she seems to be more interested in building some moderate credentials and is not risking anything with any strong stands against some of the Bush Administration abuses. Russ Feingold had a good speech against the warrentless wiretapping. You may have already seen it, but heres the link anyway:

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Feingold_President_breaking_law_0207.html

At this point I'm pinning my hopes on Mark Warner for the dems in '08, and if I could choose a Republican, it would be McCain. I know he was for the Iraq invasion also, but I believe he would have been more disciplined and objective about evaluating the intelligence before he made the decision whether to go or not. Maybe in light of that he would have decided differently - or maybe not.

Other senators I respect, even I I don't always agree with them: Chuck Hagel, Dick Lugar (because they were both willing to criticize Bush on Iraq before the '04 election), Barbara McCulski, Patrick Leahy

"I think this is just a bit dangerous. The EU and the UN are apparently coming up with something which would in effect give religion the protection of law by limiting the freedom of speech by the press; i.e. a religious sensitivity protection act. I want no part of it."
I, being a freedom lover would look askance at that specific example as well, but I still think democratic societies based on tenets of freedom and human rights have tended to rest on the laurels of the Enlightenment philosophers and the founding fathers too much over the years, instead of engaging in the process of questioning and reasoning that led to those ideas in the first place. Maybe there's more than I think, and I'm just missing it. The debates that do occur seem to be associated with Supreme Court cases, and are therefore framed by specific portions of the Constitution as they relate to the issue being deliberated. There don't seem to be many college courses that focus on the ideas of freedom outside of philosophy cirriculums. Even in high school those ideas could be presented and discussed in more depth than I remember them being presented. I could be off-base. Maybe things have changed since I went to high school and college (late seventies and early eighties).

"We should only those things for which a consensus can be achieved and learn to tolerate those things for which there is no consensus. "

What did you mean to say between only and those?

Does the toleration part include provisions to restrict access or compartmentalize certain activities if they are considered immoral or dangerous by some, but not considered illegal by society? Does it represent all the gray area about censorship, rights of criminals vs. victims, choice vs. life and just about any of the aspects of practical limits on human liberties that allow societies to function?

Posted by: DK | February 12, 2006 05:07 PM

amX1ZDTAbDMSK7 OOjU5vxQlFy9 8Z66ZNZ78DLGa

Posted by: yHBJ57jmsV | February 23, 2006 12:03 AM

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