December 13, 2004

Sick and Twisted

An American was murdered by an Iraqi because he "looked Jewish" and Professor Juan Cole (perhaps the most over-rated blogger in the world) blames, wait for it, Israel!

The Iraqi killer of Reserve Navy Lt. Kylan Jones-Huffman has been brought to justice in an Iraqi court. Although he has since changed his story, he at one point admitted to killing Jones-Huffman with a bullet through the back of the neck while the latter was stuck in traffic in downtown Hilla. The assassin said that he felt that Jones-Huffman "looked Jewish." The fruits of hatred sowed in the Middle East by aggressive and expansionist Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza against the Palestinians and in south Lebanon against Shiites continue to be harvested by Americans.
This from a guy who arrogantly calls his blog "Informed Comment."

Well, professor, I suppose you join a phalanx of "informed commenters" who blame the United States for the World Trade Center attacks. Nice company you have there. Do you blame black people for Ku Klux Klan lynchings and cross-burnings? Perhaps you blame the gay rights movement for the murder of Matthew Shepherd. I'm just assuming since you're a professor that you know how to apply a little consistency in your thinking, but I wouldn't know. I found this entry via Andrew Sullivan, who reads your blog so I don't have to.

UPDATE: Michael Kimmitt in the comments seems to think it's okay to blame Jews in one country for the murder of a guy who "looks Jewish" in a different country.
And precisely how many heterosexual babies were blown to pieces in collateral damage from gay strikes on heterosexual homes? Also, how long have gay occupiers administered the heterosexual US as a conquered territory without its denizens granted the basic rights of life, liberty, and property? I'm curious. Seriously.
I'll answer that question with another. Would it make sense if a Klansman lynched a black American and blamed it on the confiscation of white farms in Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe?

SECOND UPDATE: Looks like Juan Cole blamed Israel for the massacre of American contractors in Fallujah, as well.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2004 12:23 AM
Comments

Perhaps you blame the gay rights movement for the murder of Matthew Shepherd.

And precisely how many heterosexual babies were blown to pieces in collateral damage from gay strikes on heterosexual homes? Also, how long have gay occupiers administered the heterosexual US as a conquered territory without its denizens granted the basic rights of life, liberty, and property?

I'm curious. Seriously.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 13, 2004 12:57 AM

Kimmitt,

Okay, if you think this line of reasoning is okay on the geopolitical level, what would you say if a Klansman lynched a black guy and blamed it on the confiscation of white property in Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe?

I can play this game with you all day long and you will never win.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2004 01:06 AM

It's not blame, Michael, it's a straightforward statement of cause-and-effect.

Ever since September 11, the right has consistently and consciously used this "blame" meme to chill debate on the connection between U.S. and Israeli actions in the middle east and terrorism.

It's on the same intellectual level as accusing somebody of "blaming" the moon if they point out that they result from the lunar cycle ... except that the effect of this particular charge is to smear anyone who points out a simple cause-and-effect relationship between our actions or those of Israel and the scourge of terrorism as being unpatriotic, anti-Semitic or worse.

What is really "sick and twisted" is stridently advocating sending thousands of your countrymen to their deaths while employing nasty and unscrupulous rhetorical tricks to avoid an honest debate about why they need to be there.

Posted by: Mork at December 13, 2004 01:12 AM

Whoops - I meant to say "blaming the moon if they point out that the tides result from the lunar cycle".

Posted by: Mork at December 13, 2004 01:22 AM

Mork: It's not blame, Michael, it's a straightforward statement of cause-and-effect.

Racism and hate couldn't possibly have anything to do with it in your world? Are you a serious person?

Christ. And some people wonder why I'm not left anymore. This thread so far is a terrific example.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2004 01:22 AM

Cole really hit the pits when a while ago he termed Israel's West Bank settlement actions as "lebensraum". I suspect he experienced a little lascivious delight from that vile racist taunt.

Posted by: am at December 13, 2004 01:37 AM

Racism and hate couldn't possibly have anything to do with it in your world? Are you a serious person?

Spare me the friggin' piety, Michael. (It's funny, BTW, given the time that you've spent railing against expressions of "PC" how quickly you resort to it when you want a quick and easy smear).

All Cole was pointing out was that Middle Eastern hatred for Americans and Jews is the result of some specific historical events.

That's not endorsing it, that's not denying it's own hatefulness, it is a simple, factual observation, which you want to deny for ideological reasons.

Posted by: Mork at December 13, 2004 01:53 AM

"Middle Eastern hatred for Americans and Jews is the result of some specific historical events".

Mork, surely you must be embarrassed by that comment! It's so simplistic and naive to blame hatred for America and Israel solely on "historical events" (and I take it you mean only those events where blame can be neatly apportioned to just one side).
Haven't you been paying attention? Hatred for anyone who declines to prostrate themselves before Allah is common in the ME, as is hatred for western modernity and "decadence". You need to broaden your reading a little, I think!

Posted by: Fish at December 13, 2004 02:12 AM

You need to broaden your reading a little, I think!

You want to swap reading lists? Specifically, do you want to give me your source for the proposition that there was widespread hatred for America in the middle east prior to America's support for Israel?

Posted by: Mork at December 13, 2004 02:21 AM

It's so simplistic and naive to blame hatred for America and Israel solely on "historical events" (and I take it you mean only those events where blame can be neatly apportioned to just one side).

Read what I actually said, not what you would like me to have said in order to give you an opportunity to get on your high horse.

"Blame" is not the issue - if you want to take a moral approach, there is plenty of opprobium to go around.

My posts have only addressed cause and effect, and it is simply indisputable that Muslim anger towards America is largely the result of historical events - primarily the actions of Israel and America's support for them.

Posted by: Mork at December 13, 2004 02:25 AM

"Ever since September 11, the right has consistently and consciously used this "blame" meme to chill debate on the connection between U.S. and Israeli actions in the middle east and terrorism."

This does not surprise me in the slightest. Michael Totten needs to wake up from his dream world. Jew blaming runs rampant within the ranks of those who supported John Kerry. The anti-Israel theme is unofficially the dogma of the national Democratic Party. Welcome to the real world.

Posted by: David Thomson at December 13, 2004 02:41 AM

Learn how to fucking read, David. No-one is blaming anyone. You can take the view that everything that Israel has ever done has been a completely necessary and legitimate action to protect its citizens from destruction, and that would still not change the fact that certain of those actions have caused massive anger towards Jews and Americans in the middle east.

I mean, really, if you disagree with what I'm saying, then the counter-argument is that Muslims don't care at all about Israel or Israeli actions.

Is this what you all mean to say?

Posted by: Mork at December 13, 2004 02:50 AM

Michael-

Criticizing ol' Juan Cole (truly a merry ol' soul) has really brought out the Lefty braintrust, hasn't it?

I'm surprised Markus hasn't shown up to lecture you about Jewish Tribalism and what not.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at December 13, 2004 04:13 AM

Mind of Mork & Kimmitt: If someone is angry they must be correct and their actions are just.

It is the same mentality of a wifebeater who beats his wife because his job sucks or because his sports team lost.

Or maybe the mentality of the wife who is beaten?

This seems to be a root premise of Leftism - saction of the victim, blaming the victim for the actions of the criminal.

My question is: Why? Is it simple will to power? i.e. you gain power over the wife by creating justification for the wifebeater (or serial killer, or rioter, or totalitarian dictator, or terrorist, etc etc)???

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 04:59 AM

Near the end of the People can meet People thread, there was a good comment about the kids' view of Blame Canada.

When parents are looking to blame somebody for their kids' action ... blame the kids.

It wasn't Versailles that made Hitler do it; it wasn't the capitalists that made Stalin do it; it wasn't the imperialists that made Mao do it.

It is the evil (original sin? or later?) inside of those people, and their followers -- looking for an excuse for their evil.

"You want to swap reading lists? Specifically, do you want to give me your source for the proposition that there was widespread hatred for America in the middle east prior to America's support for Israel?"

Well, since Truman started supporting Israel since 1948, this is nearly meaningless. Like most Big Lies, there is a germ of truth -- the settling of Palestine by Zionist Jews was inconsistently regulated from the late 1800s (under the Ottomans fairly accepted -- it was mostly wasteland desert, after all), through British Occupation (Balfour and all that), and the WW II Shoah (Holocaust).

The creation of the Israeli state was not fully just. Nor was it fully unjust. A two state solution, then, seems fair to me.

Yet the Arabs around Palestine refused to allow the Palis to set up their own Pali state. This was Nasser and the new Cold War, and the new Oil Money flow to dictators (our bastards or theirs).

It was Arabs trying to beat Israel in wars, which Israel won instead -- the Arabs hate their defeat.

Defeat.

DEFEAT.

That's what they hate, Mork. Not America. Not Israel. Defeat. But victory for the Palis has, so far, meant an end to Israel.

And Arafat terror thugs in control of Palestine have never allowed "victory" to mean an independent Palestinian state (with some borders, without a right of return for those who fled the Israelis, whose war of independence DID include some massacres.) Peace will come when the Pali culture accepts an independent state as a "victory" -- and they can get this whenever they want. When they want to win, more than make the Jews lose.

The World's Jew hate is partly an understandable reaction against mild Jewish racism (no interbreeding), combined with a mild or strong destructive envy against the economic success of a "different" group, which hasn't AND WON'T assimilate to the majority cultures. Like Kerry's hate-the-rich undertone in the Dem opposition to Tax Cuts. Despite himself being rich; in fact, his own wealth empowers the envy rationalization. Destructive envy always looks for some excuse, some real or imagined "injustice", by which to justify the evil desire for destruction.

In Malaysia, the Malays hate the Chinese who own stores. Blacks in riots also hate the Koreans who own stores.

The Evil desire for destruction is the Pali problem.

Blame the Palis. It's the Palis that have to change their behavior. As long as the PC Press, and Juan Cole provide excuses to blame others, it is less likely for the Palis to change, and more likely for violence to continue.

I suggest starting with a free press -- there needs to be more Pali press freedom, criticizing the current leader-thugs.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at December 13, 2004 05:00 AM

ps: My post was not being rhetorical - I really want to understand the premise behind "blaming the victim."

Is 9-11 really just "divine punishment" for how Evil the US has been toward the Middle-East? Or punishment because we are rich and powerful and have not "shared" our wealth and power with the poor in the Middle-East? If so, how is the extreem Left any different from Jerry Falwell et al in their root premises?

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 05:59 AM

More proof that the far left = far right. Mork and Kimmmitt, meet Falwell. He's right next to you. Enjoy the company.

Posted by: Court at December 13, 2004 06:36 AM

Hey, mork, I'll step up on this one. Please meet Sayyid Qutb. Plewase go read his writings, note that many of them preceed the founding of Israel, and note the 'war against spiritual death' he urged on his followers - we in the West, of course, being the promoters of spiritual death.

A.L.

Posted by: Armed Liberal at December 13, 2004 07:16 AM

1. Individuals should be responsible for their actions. The Iraqi who shot the American is, in my view, completely responsible for the murder of that man.

I think we can all agree with that statement.

2. If America were not involved in Isreal/Palistinian/Iraqi/etc politics, it is unlikely (but of course not assured) that 9/11 would have happened, nor the Cole, nor any of the other terrorist attacks we've seen.

I think that we can agree that, at least, the likelyhood of attack would have been much smaller.

Terrorists are responsible for terrorism. Murderers are responsible for murder. Dogmatic political and religious ideals are responsible for the jihad.

America has done its fair share in the political realm to make enemies in the reigon. That doesn't aquit, or lessen the responsibility of those who commit acts of violence. However, anyone who believes that the flag waving, innocent victim is the true mantle of our nation, needs a colonic to clear out that nationalistic blockage.

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 13, 2004 07:25 AM

"No-one is blaming anyone. You can take the view that everything that Israel has ever done has been a completely necessary and legitimate action to protect its citizens from destruction, and that would still not change the fact that certain of those actions have caused massive anger towards Jews and Americans in the middle east."

Give me a friggin' break. The less politically-gifted members of the left have used this "blame" game with the explicit purpose of changing American policy. They are open and unapologetic about it. Why do you think that the anti-war left wants us out of Iraq? Partly, because they believe that American policy endangers us because it stirs up a hornet's nest of anger. Pat Buchannan makes the same argument. Far left meets far right, indeed.

Your silly argument that this "legitimite action causes anger" is not a "blame the victim in order to change the victim's policy" is ridiculous. The last remaining argument for being anti-war is that American action causes more trouble than it's worth. Of course, given the improving situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, that's a worthless argument as well.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 13, 2004 07:26 AM

Oh, and one more thing. The anger that exists in the Middle East over Israel has NOTHING to do with policy. It has more to do with a religious desire to exterminate the Jews than anything else. Islamism is the new Nazism, and yet we have people here attempting to "understand" and give excuses for the anger of anti-semetic actions. It's disgusting.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 13, 2004 07:29 AM

Mork - can you explain the Muslim Arab 'anger' towards black Africans in the Sudan?

Stacks of money pass from the Christian
foreigner to the Muslim trader, an exchange anxiously watched by a 13-
year-old girl with diamonds of sweat on her brow.

The Sudanese trader, his lap buried by currency worth $13,200, waves carelessly to free his merchandise - 132 slaves.

Akuac Malong, the young Dinka girl, is among them. She has spent seven years - more than half her life - enslaved by an Arab in northern
Sudan...

..In Kordofan, Akuac was sold to an Arab who made her wash clothes, haul water, gather firewood and help with cooking.

She survived on table scraps, and slept in the kitchen. ``I was badly treated,'' Akuac says.

Her master also tried to make her a Muslim - taking her to mosque and giving her the Arabic name of Fatima.

But Akuac says she maintained her Christian faith, praying and singing hymns in secret and never forgetting her true name. ``My name is my
name and nobody can change that.''

She does bear scars - in the local Muslim tradition, she was forcibly circumcised with her master's daughters when she was 11.

"It was very brutal. It is strange to our culture," Akuac says. "The
master told me, `If I don't circumcise you, I will have to kill you because
you will still hold the ideas of your people, and you will try to escape."

Her heart is scarred, too. Her older brother, Makol, was killed two years ago at age 13 while trying to escape.

Here, we're only discussing the slavery that's allowed by Sudan's Islamic laws. We're not even getting into the current genocide.

Saudi and Iranian funded paramilitary groups like Hamas and Hezbollah have expressed their desire to inflict this Islamic law on all of Israel. If they Israelis didn't have a decent military force, they'd be living like the Sudanese blacks.

So, is this Muslim 'anger' largely the result of historical events and 'humilitation?' Can you tell me what the Left's desire to blame the victim has done to help people like Akuac Malong?

Posted by: mary at December 13, 2004 07:32 AM

Oh Michael,

That's no surprise.

Juan Cole also blamed the Jews of the nefarious kingdom of Israel for the murder of the Four Contractors in Fallujah. Because, uh, Israel's policies made Zarqawi target the men, or, uh, some such...

Attempts to reproduce the logic don't work, because there was no logic to it, IMO. Although I guess it pretty much follows the script in this situation as well...

The fruits of hatred sowed in the Middle East by aggressive and expansionist Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza against the Palestinians and in south Lebanon against Shiites continue to be harvested by Americans.

Uh huh. Very reasonable.

See how much we American's suffer for our immoral support of the Zionist imperial entity!

Posted by: alcibiades at December 13, 2004 07:32 AM

What an odd line of argument from Mork and Kimmitt.

Prior to 1973, the largest supplier of arms to Israel was:

FRANCE!!

Yes, the IDF's tanks were AMX-13s, it flew Mysteres and Dassaults. Massive US support didn't kick in until the tail end of the 1973 War (and the US airlift to resupply the Israelis).

Soooo, by this logic, there should have been plenty of Arab/Muslim hatred for the French? After all, the French not only supported Israel militarily, but provided them with the nuclear reactor at Dimona and oppressed their own Muslims (in the form of Algeria).

Conversely, it would appear that aiding/supporting Muslims garners no benefit? The US ultimately stopped the Serbian genocide against the (Muslim) Bosniacs and helped stop the oppression of the (Muslim) Kosovars.

Did it not cross the murderer's mind that people like his victim saved Muslim lives in another far away place?

Sounds like rather selective distance-hatred, to me.

Posted by: Lurking Observer at December 13, 2004 07:34 AM

I think that it's clear that many Muslim extremists have hated the US since 1948. However, until the 1990's, the athiestic Soviet Union seemed to be the greater enemy for many of them. When that enemy disappeared, they turned to us.

Posted by: Ryan Booth at December 13, 2004 07:39 AM

Jew hatred has been endemic for 1,000's of years. Arabs were killing Jews since Muhammed's time, specifically the Queriyash tribe as an example. Arabs were killing Jews before there was a reborn Israel. The massacres of the 20's and 30's as an example,as well as the complicity of the British in helping the Arabs kill Jews.
When the UN decided that the Jews should be reunited with the country they have continuously lived in for over 3,000 years, the Arabs refused and launched a war of extermination, telling their people to leave and make room for the advancing forces so that they could kill all the Jews and take their homes. At this time the Arabs had already forcibly transferred almost 800,000 Jews from Arab countries taking their homes and property. Israel has had to fight 4 wars in which their extermination was the goal of their enemies. By miracles they survived. Mostly without American help. In several cases America was more of a hinderance than a help.
The Jews of Israel are not expansionist, unlike Muhammed who has made the subjugation of the world a goal of Islam. This has always been the goal of Islam and the Jewish state is proof that Islam is a false religion and therefore it is imperative that the Arabs destroy the Jews. This has never been about land, with millions of empty acres and millions in oil money, the Arabs refuse to take in the refugees because the goal, as always, has been the death of the Jews. Anti-semites, many of whom are Jews, have tried captiulation, land for peace, the peace of the brave and all they have to show for it are dead Jews. Israel is a convenient excuse for the Arabs to attack America. If Israel was gone, the hatred of the West would continue, nothing would change, it is not the compliance of the west they seek, it is the death of Christianity and the West that they want more than anything else.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 07:39 AM

I'm always amazed at the pious "think of the babies" invocation of the left. At what age exactly do you stop caring about people? When do the "babies" become expendable cannon or torture fodder for their despot-in-charge? 50 million Afghans and Iraqis would like to know.

Posted by: PJ at December 13, 2004 07:41 AM

The "I'm not saying, I'm just saying" game is so juvenile and hackneyed as to require no further comment.

Causality is a notoriously difficult problem, and I think Mork and Cole are far too free with their verdicts. One could say that without Iraq and its Arab neighbors funding the hardline terrorists (and Arafat if he doesnt fit that catagory) in the territories, there would have been a peace deal years ago. Does that mean the Iraqi should have shot himself? Wishful thinking I suppose.

The bottom line is that realistically, yes, Israel pisses off the Arab world, big newsflash. Would the deluded Arab street spoon fed from birth with Anti-Semite propaganda that would have made the Nazis blush hate Israel any less had they handled the territories with kid gloves (and absorbed many many more attacks)? Again, difficult question. The anti-Israelis seem to think Arab anger is an infinite scale. The Arab street can always hate Israel and the US a little bit more. I dont buy it. The deluded among the Arabs hate Israel as much as anyone can be hated, and would destroy the nation utterly in a heartbeat. The whole crux of this argument is that Israel should be catering to the whims of the irrational that wish their destruction. Good luck selling that arumuent.

Posted by: Mark Buehner at December 13, 2004 07:42 AM

Middle East double standard exhibit 432.

Arabs are expected to act in ways that non-Arabs would be harshly - and legitimately - criticized for.

This double standard has more to do with ME violence than anything else.

Posted by: Randall at December 13, 2004 07:43 AM

Besides Cole's horrible spellin' (sic) and even
worse grammer, his logic is so often faulty
that I'm convinced he isn't really a
"Professor of History" at a major University.

Of course it's obvious that academic standard
have fallen drastically since the 1960's. That
is when political reliability replaced
intellectual ability as the main hiring criteria.

One only needs to look what happened to the Soviet
Union to see the eventual fate of American
Higher Education. Credentialism run rampant.

It need not happen.

But when one brings it to the attention of the
"Academy", he is scornfully refered to as a
"Republican".

So Cole is about par for the course. Totally
PC and mostly ignorant.

Posted by: pragmatist at December 13, 2004 07:47 AM

"America has done its fair share in the political realm to make enemies in the reigon."

So what? The region is a cesspool of dictatorships and theocracies, boots stepping on the faces of average folks. I consider these thugs enemies, do you? I am sure we pissed off the National Socialists and Communists too.

Perhaps you need colonic to clear out that reflexive anti-nationalistic blockage.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 07:51 AM

"If America were not involved in Isreal [sic]/Palistinian [sic]/Iraqi/etc politics, it is unlikely (but of course not assured) that 9/11 would have happened, nor the Cole, nor any of the other terrorist attacks we've seen."

So what? If America didn't support a secular democracy against Islamic thugocracies, it wouldn't be America anymore. Ask yourself this: where in the whole of the Middle East would you rather be an Arab lesbian? It's possible that US support for Israel increases the likelihood of terrorist attacks. That's irrelevant. Obviously the US presence in Iraq makes them targets for revanchist National Socialist elements and Islamic theocrats. If fascists and mediaeval loonies attack you for doing the right thing, then them's the breaks. You just have to hunt down and liquidate the fascists and loonies, not run away saying, "it's all our fault". Isolationism worked oh-so-well in the thirties, didn't it? Your analysis is faulty anyway: bin Laden didn't even start imprecating against the US vis-a-vis Israel/PLOstan until after 9/11. This is a guy who still talks about 'the tragedy of al-Andalus' (aka the Reconquista). That was 1492. We've been fighting expansionist Islam since the 7th century. Just FYI, there's less time between the Moors being kicked out of Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella and the present day, and the Reconquista and the Battle of Tours (732 AD), which halted the northern expansion of Islam a hundred miles from Paris. This ain't World War Four. It's World War Zero. We're involved whether we like it or not.

As an aside: it's entirely possible that had it not been for US support during the Yom Kippur War, Israel would have lost. There'd have been a second Holocaust.

With the re-introduction of capital punishment in Iraq, I hope they find this guy guilty, stand him up against a wall, and machine-gun him.

Posted by: David Gillies at December 13, 2004 07:52 AM

What is it that caused the Arabs to attack the Christian Middle East, North Africa, and Spain? The land was largely part of the Byzantine Empire in the centuries prior to the Arab conquest. If I remember my history correctly, no one, not the Persians, not the Macedonians, not the Romans, not the Byzantines, ever tried to conquer the Arabian peninsula. Yet after Islam united the peoples of Arabia, they attacked all these locations. Why? What was the rationale?

Posted by: Greg at December 13, 2004 07:55 AM

Read Paul Fregosi's Jihad. 9/11 is just a continuation of the jihad started by Mohammed. It is ridiculous for any educated person to be taken in by the argument that the Israeli-Palestianian conflict is the root of the problem. As they say in Palestine "first Saturday, then Sunday." They mean first the Jews then the Christians.

Query: If Palestine is "the problem" what accounts for the Muslim violence in Thailand?
What accounts for Muslim violence in western China? As another poster noted, what accounts for Muslim violence in Nigeria and the Sudan? Ask some Sikhs and Hindus about trying to share a country with Muslims on the Indian sub-continent. Even after claiming their own Muslim countries immediately after independence from Britain, the Muslims have remained in a constant conflict with Hindus and Sikhs. No concession is enough for them.
Jihad accounts neatly for it all. Remember Osama talked wistfully about taking back Andulusia (sp?)=medieval Muslim Spain. Muslims have never given up their quest for world conquest.

Read the Koran is it full of fulminating hatred towards Christians and Jews and any non-Muslim.

Posted by: Athena at December 13, 2004 07:55 AM

Andrew Sullivan posted this comment last Friday; it certainly has relevance for this thread:

"Right now there are 22 active conflicts across the globe in which Muslims are involved. Most Muslims have not even heard of most of them because those conflicts do not provide excuses for fomenting hatred against the United States. Next time you hear someone say the US was in trouble in the Muslim world because of Israel, remember that things may not be that simple." - Amir Taheri, in his latest column, "What If It's Not Israel They Loathe?"

Posted by: kreiz at December 13, 2004 07:56 AM

Since nobody answered my question regarding the motivation of "blaming the victims," let me put out two theories:

1) The Cosmic Justice Theory - The US has done Evil in the past, so it deserves to be punished through 9-11. The US is Evil, so actions against it are Good.

2) The Will to Power Theory - The "blame the victim" bit is just a game to trick the vicitim into political submission. If we can trick Americans into thinking 9-11 was their fault, we can get them to vote on certain policies the way we want, etc.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 07:59 AM

Winger,

Don't forget another explanation: blame the victim in a delusional hope that all actions stem from a source other than Evil, and that if we can find the magic formula to appease those that do bad things, there will be no evil in the world.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 13, 2004 08:02 AM

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

Winston Churchill

Posted by: Mark Buehner at December 13, 2004 08:04 AM

"Christ. And some people wonder why I'm not left anymore. This thread so far is a terrific example"---MJT

My sympathies.Truly.I now won't argue,bebate,discuss,anaylse,or otherwise,in any way,provide any sense of legitimacy to these moral monsters.
As I have said I used to believe that well intentioned debate with LEFTISTS would arrive at the truth .Now it just seems a waste of time that could be more usefully employed by,for example,watching paint dry.
In any rational universe logic such as Cole's would be universally condemmed.In the leftist world view,it's just business as usual.Blame the VICTIMS ALWAYS .
On a lighter note ---- Congratulations on your crushing victory in the blog voting.Well deserved if only as compensation for threads such as this.

Posted by: dougf at December 13, 2004 08:05 AM

Attempting to explain the murderer 's actions is attempting to rationalize the irrational. As Michael said, he was sick and twisted, and as a result he did not value the life of the person whose life he was taking. Blaming such a wretched act on the Israeli subjugation of Palestinian Arabs, as Cole wants to do, or on Arab antisemitism, as other want to, is too pat, too facile, and begs the question of why 99.999% of his brethren have chosen NOT to kill people who look Jewish.

Posted by: Markus Rose at December 13, 2004 08:10 AM

"Specifically, do you want to give me your source for the proposition that there was widespread hatred for America in the middle east prior to America's support for Israel?"

Nasser (most popular Arab leader of his time) was very anti-American.
His economy relied on American aid. Eisenhower got Israel to leave the Sinai after Nasser supported one too many attacks on Israel. And Israel relied on French weaponry, as the US was very stingy towards Israel (Jordan got more US weaponry via the British than Israel ever got back then. Jordan "promised" not to use them on Israel).

Posted by: maor at December 13, 2004 08:10 AM

Attributing 9/11 to American support of Israel is a canard. Bin Laden's primary motivation was ridding the holy soil of Saudi Arabia of American infidels. That is why it was proceeded by the bombing attacks on the Khobar Towers. Bin Laden didn't even mention the Palestinian issue until considerably after 9/11, probably after some coaching from his PR people. I'm not saying that American support of Israel is irrelevant, but it is grossly unfair to cite it as a primary cause.

Posted by: MarkC at December 13, 2004 08:13 AM

MarkC,

It wasn't merely to rid Saudi Arabia of the Americans, but to transform all of Arabia into the new caliphate where the disease of the West would be expunged and the perfect Islamic society, with its theocracy and extremism, would rule. Think the Taliban spread across the whole of the Middle East. Getting rid of America, which represents the West, was the primary goal.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 13, 2004 08:18 AM

There seems to be a lot of generalized speculation about the "root causes" of the conflict between Islam and most of the rest of the world.

In the one corner, we have people claiming that it is all Israel, all about US policies, all grievances and rage and so forth.

In the other, we have people claiming that it's really the nature of the Islamic religion, it's because they're crazed racist monsters, it's a continuation of something that happened over a thousand years ago.

I tend to distrust people who claim they can peer into the thoughts of a group of people on the other side of the world, and declare that they are motivated by a single idea, or something that can be summed up in a few words.

Certainly the antagonism between Islam and others, especially the US, is the result of an incredibly complicated series of events and ideas. What is needed is less "they don't like us because of Israel, or because they want to reconquer Spain" and more serious study of history, politics, religion, and culture.

Islam as a religion, in my opinion, plays little role in this. For every command in the Koran to wage jihad against unbelievers, there is a command to charity, goodwill, tolerance and acceptance. Pointing to the Koran or Islam as a religion is about as useful as pointing to Biblical commands to conquer and kill, to enslave and rape. We can point out all we want that the Koran explicitly forbids mutilation, but that won't stop extremists from doing so. They don't care about religion beyond what they can selectively use to justify their own goals.

What we can learn about this conflict from Islam is that a specifically Islamic culture grew up around the religion, and that culture informs the behaviors of many Muslims.

Similary, there are likely some in the Muslim world who must hate Israel because they preceive the conflict there as one of extreme injustice. There are likely some who are racists. There are likely many who feel something in between, or something else.

I once lived with a Bengali Muslim. I asked him why, when Saddam had killed far more Muslims than Israel, was Israel the target and not tyrannical Muslim rulers. He answered: if you bully your sister, it's all right, but if someone else bullies her, you need to defend her. No matter how rediculous this is, this is what a lot of people probably believe. But my roommate was less concerned with repressing women, reconquering Spain, or waging jihad, and more concerned with finals, getting drunk on the weekend, and picking up girls.

He is, in every way, as Western as I am. He's also a Muslim. Does Israel define his thinking? Does his religion? Does any one thing? Of course not. He is motivated by the same complex process of culture, politics, religion, legitimate and illigitmate grievances, and whatever, that the rest of us are. We need to understand that and work from that, not two line declarations of thought-reading.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 08:20 AM

I would like to run with Athena's line of thinking. If it is religion that motivates these conflicts, then why is there a civil war in Sri Lanka? Of all religions, certainly Buddhists and Hindus would be the absolutely least likely to ever fight each other. Non-violence? Karma? What ever happened to those? Guess religion doesn't inform behavior, but is frequently used to justify it after the fact.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 08:24 AM

It has always seemed to me the the hatred from the U.S. is a little bit out of political reasons (i.e. support of Israel) and a lot out of religious reasons. We are a Christian country and the seeds of emnity between Muslims and Christians/Jews go back much further than the existence of Israel. Judaism and Islam are wired to be at odds with each other because of their teachings, histories, core beliefs. Certain large of denominations of Chritians in America believe that peace with Israel is important for religious reasons and this trickles up to the highest offices of U.S. gov't. Let's not forget that to all Muslims in the Middle East, this is a religious fight, and to try to make sense out of it politically will fail. That being said, it is kind of dumb to sympathize for Muslim murderers becuase of Israel.

I'm pretty sure there are no major religions that teach two wrongs making a right.

Posted by: John at December 13, 2004 08:25 AM

Why do people feel the need to overreact and thrown out sputtering incoherent outrage by comparing Cole's comments to the Klan and Gay rights. It's far simpler to undermine Cole's logic - if a man in Tennessee murdered a convenience store worker because "he looked Arabic," would Cole say "the fruits of hatred sowed in America by the aggressive and terrrorist policies of al Qaeda continue to be harvested by Arabs."? Somehow I doubt that would be Cole's reaction.
I'm probably one of the few who thinks that Cole is still worth reading despite his anti-Israel bias. He is indeed well informed on Arab attitudes and on many intricacies of Arab politics. You don't have to agree with him to find useful info. Unfortunately absorbing anti-Jewish attitudes and stereotypes appears to be an occupational hazard of studying Arab culture, dating back at least to the British Arab scholars in the late 19th century.

Posted by: Vanya at December 13, 2004 08:26 AM

It is politically correct to try and gloss over the crimes of the Islamic faith. There are many instances of Christian wars and persecution, especially against the Jews and indigenous peoples. However, the canard that for every verse encouraging Jihad there are verses extolling mercy and charity. If you read those verses carefully those verses refer to other Muslims, not Kafirs. The Tamil tigers in Sri Lanka are one of three groups in the world without a Muslim background, you neglected to mention the 35 others that are Muslim. Islam means "submission" to Mohammed and to Allah, by force if necessary. It is the goal of Islam, in the Quran to make Allah the "only" god worshipped in the world, and that the Jews and Christians, temporarily given "people of the book status" will eventually be converted or killed. Hindus, Buddists and other polytheic religious do not get that courtesy.
Muhammed was a warrior and Islam is a death cult. It's roots are in the pagan religons of the time who worshipped the moon god. Its goal, is to destroy the heretics, the Christians and the Jews and no amount of whitewash will change that.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 08:33 AM

But to take up more of Mr. Totten's comment space, I'll point out that while it certainly isn't religion informing this conflict, it's also not US policies, either.

See Barry Rubin's 2002 Foreign Affairs article, "The Real Roots of Arab Anti-Americanism", in which he lays out US policy towards the Muslim world over the last century. For every Shah, there's a Bosnia or Kosovo. The general trend has been pro-Muslim or at least neutrality. He cites US support for Muslims over non-Muslims, as in Bosnia or Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion; Arabs over non-Arabs, as in the Iraq-Iran war; and traditional or fundamentalist regimes over secular regimes, as in the first Gulf War or our support for Saudi Arabia. Rubin argues that our enemies are making a very selective case against us. It's a compelling argument.

The answers to why we are fighting and how to end the conflict seem to lie somewhere in between, and perhaps elsewhere all together.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 08:34 AM

How odd. I thought we were talking about Islamists -- you know, the guys blowing shit up all over the world.

Instead I get lectured how most Arabs/Muslims are not Islamists. Did anyone HERE make the claim that all Muslims/Arabs are Islamistics and blowing shit up all over the world? Did I miss that post?

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 08:37 AM

Michael --

What I think you're missing here is that we're talking about Jews. You know...dirty, stinkin' Jews? I mean, what can't one rationally blame on them? They're, you know, Jews.

Anyone? A little help here?

Posted by: Ken Begg at December 13, 2004 08:44 AM

Cybermonk,

Somehow, the argument that Islam is a "death cult" rings hollow to me. I certainly was never forcibly converted, despite living a room over from a dread Muslim.

The same Islamic religion and culture that produced bin Laden also produced the wonders of al Andalus and preserved and expanded upon the Classical learning that was forgotten in the West. The same Christendom that has produced our society turned out Hitler and Stalin.

It is important to remember that the vast majority of the Islamic world very likely just want to live their lives as best they can. The enemy that we face represents a tiny, extremist minority. If the billion-plus Muslims of the world really were members of this "death-cult", we'd have a lot more problems on our hands.

Yes, many of the admonishments in the Korean to treat others well refer to Muslims, but certainly not all. Take the injunction against mutilation - in order to get around it, eunuchs were "manufactured" on the borders of the Islamic empire.

Of course, Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple, and usury is just as forbidden for Christians as it is for Muslims. That doesn't stop most Americans from using credit cards or banks, does it?

Muhammed was a warrior who lived over a thousand years ago. bin Laden calls for a return of al Andalus. Palestinian children strap explosives to their chests and murder Israeli children. And the Iranian people stand in long lines to get visas to travel to the US. Something else is motivating one Muslim to hate and another to love.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 08:45 AM

Instead of saying,

"...The fruits of hatred sowed in the Middle East by aggressive and expansionist Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza against the Palestinians and in south Lebanon against Shiites continue to be harvested by Americans..."

It would be more accurate to say,

"...The fruits of genocidal hatred of Jews sown and fertilized by contempory Islamic leaders, justified in the Koran and ignored by academics and world leaders, continue to be harvested by Americans, Jews and civilized people everywhere..."

Posted by: mhw at December 13, 2004 08:50 AM

If nothing else, Michael has gotten all the moonbats to come out and post. LOL.

Posted by: DaveK at December 13, 2004 08:53 AM

The religious and cultural clash is just a symptom of the true 'root cause', the political failure of the Arab states. For a variety of reasons, the Left is terrified to talk about the abject failure of these states (unless in describing America's responsibility for it of course). Multi-cultural sophism, refusal to make the American system look good by comparison, etc.
We all know the Arab world is up there with the most backwards, fascist, uneducated, unprogressive, undemocratic regimes in the world. That is the only root cause here. The more progressive the nation, the less they seek scape goats such as Israel. The brilliance of the current Iraq strategy is in recognizing this fact. Until there is democratic reform in the Middle East, there will never be an end to Islamo-fascism. Whether the implimentation was effective or not is an open question, but the strategy is sound.
We have been dealing with symptoms for 40 years, we are finally starting to deal with the illness, a lack of representative government, which leads to progressivism and prosperity just as day follows night.

Posted by: Mark Buehner at December 13, 2004 08:56 AM

If America were not involved in Isreal/Palistinian/Iraqi/etc politics, it is unlikely (but of course not assured) that 9/11 would have happened, nor the Cole, nor any of the other terrorist attacks we've seen.

I think that we can agree that, at least, the likelyhood of attack would have been much smaller.

Your ability to mangle fact and oversimplify into stupid (evidently confused with the ability to sow discord) never ceases to amaze, D. Clyde. We cannot agree to any such thing...primarily because you have it wrong from top to bottom.

Were you actually conversant with the facts of the matter, you would know that OBL's stated rationale for the attacks upon the USA centered, first and foremost, on the "invasion and occupation" of Saudi Arabia. In translation, that relates to the USA basing troops in Saudi Arabia as part of the UN sanctioned Gulf War to eject Saddam Hussein's Iraq from the sovereign state of Kuwait, and the continued presence of USA troops in Saudi Arabia after that conflict, at the request of the sovereign government Saudi Arabia, to forestall an attempted invasion of that country by Saddam's Iraq.

And call me a nit picker, but your analysis really isn't helped by the fact that you can't correctly spell "Israel" and "Palestinian".

Duh.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at December 13, 2004 09:02 AM

to Blogtheist

It would be nice to assume that most Muslims are like your friend, however they are not. Any religion that promises those who kill themselves and infidels 72 virgin whores in paradise are a death cult. Imams who encourage women to sacrifice their children to the god Allah are members of a death cult. You say only a small percentage of Muslims are extremeists, if it is 20% that is 250,000,000 fanatics, plus another 500,000,000 who stand by and say nothing. Those are fomidable numbers. As you can see in Europe the Arabs and Moslems moving there want Sharia and do not wish (for the most part) to assimilate. They quash all criticism and threaten those who do speak out with death. Islam is not a tolerant religion, look at Saudi Arabia, there is NO freedom of religion, non muslims are forbidden on pain of death from entering Mecca. look up the word Dhimmi and see just how tolerant Islam really is. You are right about one thing we have a really BIG problem.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 09:06 AM

"The same Christendom that has produced our society turned out Hitler and Stalin."

Excuse me, but that is an OUTRAGEOUS slander. Hitler despised Christianity as a religion of weakness and he extolled the virtues of Aryan paganism. And Stalin was an athiest communist who also spat upon religion and murdered many just because they were believers. If you think Hitler and Stalin acted as they did because of some misguided interpretation of Christianity, you're a bigger idiot than anyone here has ever imagined (and that's the most charitable thing I can say about it).

"The same Islamic religion and culture that produced bin Laden also produced the wonders of al Andalus and preserved and expanded upon the Classical learning that was forgotten in the West."

Islam is a religion with bloody borders. It has ALWAYS been this way. It probably always will, until it is defeated or undergoes a massive reformation. For 700 years, Islamic armies conquered the Christian-lands of Northern Africa, Spain, the remnants of the Byzantine Empire, and up to the walls of Vienna. The Crusades were launched partly in response to this Islamic aggression. The Columbus voyages were also response to this, to find a direct route to India so that trading with the Muslim middlemen could be avoided.

All of Islam's gains throughout history have been accomplished with the sword. There is no history of any mass conversions like those spoken of in Christianity, no St. Patrick equivilent bringing the faith. Islam, despite claims of piety, is a bloody violent religion as currently practiced and understood. It rightly carries this stain, since its entire history has been that of war, enslavement, and forced conversion.

"Moderate" muslims are few and far between. Muslims living their daily lives might not want war, but it is forced upon them by their religious and political authorities. It might be far fetched to call Islam a "death cult," but it certainly is a cancer upon the world that must be defeated or cured internally. The world has seen Islamic violence ever since the religion began, and in an age of weapons of mass destruction, enough is enough.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 13, 2004 09:08 AM

"The World's Jew hate is partly an understandable reaction against mild Jewish racism (no interbreeding), combined with a mild or strong destructive envy against the economic success of a "different" group, which hasn't AND WON'T assimilate to the majority cultures."

This isn't racism. Thousands of people convert to Judaism every year, of all races. Jews marrying other jews is about perpetuating Jewish culture/civilization. It's a beautiful, meaningful, philosophically sophisticated way of life, and it needs a certain critical mass to continue. There are only 14 million of us in the entire world. So leave us alone.

Also, there are many other tiny minority cultures trying to preserve and perpetuate themselves, I don't see you calling them racists. You have said this before, it's inaccurate, and I would appreciate it if you would correct your misconception.

Posted by: Yehudit at December 13, 2004 09:15 AM

Some may disagree with me that Islam is a death cult, however, to listen to the Mullahs in Saudi Arabia, Iran and other captials of Islamic learning, you hear a different story.
Muslims are quick to say that they will win because Jews and Christians love life, and they (Islam) crave death. They are ready to sacrifice their bodies, and the bodies of their children to kill the infidel, 1,000's of mothers in Iraq, Gaza and elsewhere pray that they have more children who they can feed to their bloodthirsty god. Never in History has there been a more militant religion, even the Catholic church finally woke up to the fact that forcible conversion was not productive.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 09:16 AM

I love this line:
"It is important to remember that the vast majority of the Islamic world very likely just want to live their lives as best they can. "

I love it because it's wish-fulfillment at its best. We don't have any factual basis for such a belief, but people are just gosh-darned nice everywhere. So the polls that show overwhelming belief by Islamists that US/Israel are the source of everything bad & should be destroyed - well, those are just polls. My nice wish-fulfillment fairy dust cancels out those polls.

Posted by: steve miller at December 13, 2004 09:18 AM

I'm not going to presume to understand "root causes" because, let's be honest, there are many and noone can speak for all Arabs or all Muslims.

Question -- what if whites had said back in the early sixties after the "Mississippi Burning" murders "whites are getting murdered only because they're helping to enfranchise black people -- we should stop helping so the KKK stops murdering people." I assume we all agree that it's an odious argument -- but people are quite willing to make and accept the same argument vis-a-vis Israel. So how come???

[and to anticipate the follow-up, yes, one can question whether Israel is in an analogous moral position, but my larger point is, if you oppose US support for Israel, argue it on the merits, not on the basis of what some crazed Arab fanatics do].

Posted by: Eric at December 13, 2004 09:26 AM

Cybermonk,

The Arab word "dhimmi" connotes just that: tolerance. The original legal definition was that of religious minorities within an Islamic polity that were granted special rights and were to be free from harrassment.

Islam has a long and rich history of tolerance, just as it has a history of violence and intolerance. Over a thousand years and billions of people over time - this is too much to sum up with "tolerant" or "intolerant". For much of Islam's history, it was far more tolerant of religious dissent, both among Muslims and non-Muslims living within its borders, than was Christendom.

Islam's greatest failure is to have allowed this tradition to be usurped by its current state. But what is wasn't always, and though you can condemn the behavior of some, if you are going to try to generalize about the thoughts of billions of people, it's usually good to take a broader view.

And Sydney,

I was not, in fact, trying to imply that either Hitler or Stalin were acting out of religion. What was trying to say was this: in the same way that a particularly Islamic society and civilization grew out of Islam, so too did a particular civilization grow out of Christianity, and we call this Christendom. Just as Islam the society is not the same as Islam the religion, neither is Christendom the same as Christianity. The same society can produce saints and monsters, and because of this I tend to look less at the actual teachings of each religion to understand how each can produce such wildly divergent people.

Islam has always had bloody borders. Christianity has too, though most of the blood shed over Christ has been between his followers. Does Christianity carry the stain of the Inquisition, of the Wars of Reformation, of the conquest and genocide in the New World, of two thousand years of violence and intolerance? Do you bear the stain? Do you bear responsibility for the actions of ancestors long dead? If not, why does the average Muslim?

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 09:28 AM

if a man in Tennessee murdered a convenience store worker because "he looked Arabic," would Cole say "the fruits of hatred sowed in America by the aggressive and terrrorist policies of al Qaeda continue to be harvested by Arabs."?

Would Cole say this? No, because it's patently, utterly obvious. There's no reason to say what is completely clear. The difference is that we have some kind of authority over what Israel does, while the only authority we have over al Qaeda is the (so far sadly underutilized) power to destroy their capacity to harm.

Racism and hate couldn't possibly have anything to do with it in your world? Are you a serious person?

Racism and hate couldn't possibly have any historical antecedents in your world? Are you a serious person?

I thought it went without saying, but let's go ahead and say it anyway -- the person who is responsible for Lt. Jones-Huffman's murder is the Iraqi who did it. It might, however, be interesting to try to figure out why he did it, so as to possibly prevent future incidents -- "He did it because all of those towelheads are racist bastards who cannot be trusted." ...is neither particularly useful nor particularly consistent with the sunny view regarding Iraq that this blog consistently promotes.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 13, 2004 09:32 AM

Sydney, Cybermonk -- Re-reading your essay and replacing the words "Islam" and "Muslim" with "Judaism" and "Jew" reveals a post that sounds like it was copied from the the National Alliance website. Word for word, perhaps?

Michael, when someone on your site describes Judaism as a death cult and a cancer on the world, you ban them. To be consistent, you should ban these two clowns.

But actually, I hope that you don't: unlike antisemitism, anti-Islamism is an acceptable prejudice in America, gaining in popularity, and those peddling such ugly views ought to be exposed, and then refuted.

Posted by: Markus Rose at December 13, 2004 09:33 AM

Dhimmitude = serfdom. The "special rights" ammounted to taxes and second-class citizenship.

Comparing it to middle-age Europe is just a distraction from the fact that HERE and TODAY, Islam is a intolerent creed.

How odd you bring up stuff that was done in the name of Christianity a century or two ago (vidence for my Cosmic Justice Theory?) or by anti-Christians of 50 years ago - yet we all are talking about the injustice done by Islamists right this minute.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 09:34 AM

I wonder, if Islam is a "death cult", what to make of Muslims in Kosovo that carry pictures of US presidents in their wallets and mourn on September 11, and of Iranians who love America, and of Turks who are our NATO allies and are up for membership in the EU.

Are these tens of millions of death cult members just really bad at being death cultists? Do they need a refresher course on how to worship death?

Or is it possible that if they and Osama bin Laden are both Muslims, that there is some differnce between their beliefs? That they are informed by something else? That Islam is no more monolithic than the Christianity that produced both Mother Teresa and David Koresh?

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 09:34 AM

Winger,

A read-through of some of these comments would hopefully shed some light upon the discussion. Bringing up Christianity's foibles from the past was simply in reaction to people trying to explain Islam's current problems by pointing to the wars between the Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire.

That makes about as much sense as saying that Britan and France should be mortal enemies because they were busy fighting at the time as well.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 09:37 AM

Blogtheist: You can post all day about the "good Muslims" (who we have no problem with) - but what is that going to do about the Islamists blowing up marketsquares in the Phillipnes or machine-gunning school chidren in Russia? Or are you suggesting sticking our heads in the sands because your room-mate is a good guy? Most Germans were basically good people, including those in the Nazi party, but National Socialism was still a big problem.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 09:37 AM

"I tend to look less at the actual teachings of each religion to understand how each can produce such wildly divergent people."

So are the religion and society the same? My problem with linking Hitler to Christianity or Christendom or whatever you are gonna call it is that linking a secular dictator with anything religious fanatic is how W justified the war in Iraq. The truth is there are only rare connections between the two, both in the Muslim world and the Christian.

Posted by: John at December 13, 2004 09:39 AM

No, Winger, that's not what I am trying to say at all.

I am trying to point out that understanding Nazism takes more than saying "Germans are bad" or that Protestantism produces racist monsters. Along the same lines, understanding radical Islam takes more than saying "Muslims are bad" or that Islam produces racist monsters.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 09:39 AM

Perhaps blogtheist would not mind being a Dhimmi, but given the choice of the type of life this leads most people would pass.
"Since Muhammmed stole most of Islam from the Jews and Christians, he decided to allow them the status of "people of the book." This is not a tolerant attitude.
Throughout earliest Islamic history, the conquered peoples by advancing Muslim armies were given the choice of either converting, being killed, or living as a conquered people, a dhimmi. These subjugated people were suspended in time and space, for dhimmitude meant being barely tolerated in your dispossessed land.

Both Jews and Christians alike suffered the ignominious life of having their fate decided upon the whim of despotic rulers. Although a legal definition of the dhimmi exists, that they must pay various taxes and tolls, that they must live a second class life and give deference to their Muslim neighbors, much of their tragic existence depended on the whims of despotic rulers and frenzied Arab mobs who denied them even the little that was given to them through Islamic law.

Rules would be formulated to deny the dhimmi due process of the law. Discriminatory and restrictive dress and behavior codes would be enacted and severely enforced to reduce the dhimmi into a state of despair and poverty. Dehumanization of the dhimmi was not uncommon, and generally the rule. Various forms of physical abuse were common.

Many times distinctive dress was specified to identify a dhimmi that he would be unable to either mix with a Muslim or even walk in a Muslim area of a city. Other rules specified such demeaning dress codes as not wearing shoes or sandals, not using certain colors, wearing stars on their clothing. Dhimmis were often prohibited from working in many occupations. Even rules were made as to how a dhimmi could ride a mule to distinguish him from a Muslim.

The non-observance of these rules would entail a severe beating. Often passing a Muslim on the wrong side would begin a beating that could leave a dhimmi mortally wounded. Since the dhimmis were denied the ability to testify against a Muslim, there was absolutely no recourse."

This is not the tolerant paradise you envisioned is it? Given the facts, and a choice I believe most people would not want to live in this Islamic version of tolerance. Would you?

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 09:40 AM

Blogtheist: OK, but I don't think anyone here is saying "all Muslims are bad" or that "Islam produces racist monsters." We are talking about the Bad Muslims, who are also racist.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 09:42 AM

Michael,

Good article - found by way of Instapudit.

Reading the comments by some of the lefties here
reminds me why dialogue is almost impossible.

They are living in an alternate universe where facts simply don't matter.

Thanks for trying, however. You will reach others , like you, who have the intellectual honesty and the moral courage to confront their cherished beliefs - and slowly achieve adulthood.

Skeej

Posted by: Skeej at December 13, 2004 09:42 AM

Marcus Rose

I copied nothing, I write what I write. The above item on Dhimmi is cut and pasted, but everything else I have written is mine. You should be glad I am free to speak this way, in an Islamic country where Sharia was in force, a Fatwa would be put on my life. Does the name Theo Van Gogh ring a bell? Salam Rushdie?

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 09:47 AM

Winger,

Considering the discussion of Islam as a "death cult", I would have to respectfully disagree.

And Cybermonk, none less than Bernard Lewis, hardly an apologist for radical Islam, writes in his history of the Middle East that many dhimmi rose to high status in the Islamic world. Certainly, by the 19th century, most of the economies of the Muslim world were in the hands not of Muslims, but of Christian and Jewish minorities. And if you want to condemn Islam for its brand of tolerance/intolerance at the time, what do you say about Christendom, which boasted no Muslim minorities, and only a handful of Jews, most of whom had been driven out and had fled to...the Middle East.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 09:48 AM

Markus: "anti-Islamism is an acceptable prejudice in America.."

What do you mean by Islamism? Islamist is a term that refers specifically to the extremist, expansionst, political version of Islam. Search for the history of the word. It is distinct from "Muslim," since Muslim refers only to the religion and makes no distinction between those who practice it in America peacefully or those who do not. If you want to call me an anti-Islamist, I'm PROUD of that. Hell, we should all be anti-Islamist. But perhaps you had no knowledge of the term.

And furthermore, you cannot merely substitute "Jew" or "Christian" for Muslim in my prior post, since the discussion was necessarily centered around the historical context that Islam has bloody borders and that there is more to today's violence than mere disapproval with American or Israeli foreign policy.

Blogthiest, the average Muslim doesn't bear the stain of his predecessors, but he does bear the stain of silence in the face of today's Islamist aggression. The world is begging for moderate Muslims to heal that religion, urgently since September 11. It's been waiting for years now. What's it going to take?

I might note that even in the west, on internet forums populated by American muslims, you will have a hard time finding moderate muslims.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 13, 2004 09:51 AM

Blogtheist

It is wonderful that you disagree, that is your right, as it is my right to voice my opinion. You are clinging to the "golden age" of Islam, which lasted a short while. The status of Dhimmi's by and large has been a horrible one. Talking to a Muslim about your religion (whatever) would get you killed and also your friend.
You have read all the talking points from CAIR but yet you don't really know anything about the Koran, do you? Have you read it?
Murder, slavery,treachery, mutilation, conquest, war are the main themes in Islam. Please do not make limp claims that those things are in the Bible as an excuse for Islam.
In the Bible they are there to show us the frailty of the Human Soul and man's sinfullness. In the Koran and the Hadith they are examples of how Muhammed did things and how they should be copied and emulated. Big difference.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 09:58 AM

Why do I get the feeling Prof. Juan Cole is an example of the Progressive Left's intended consequences of Brainwashing 101.

Americans desperately need to address the practice of blacklisting ideas and beliefs in American university. David Horowitz's call for legislating a Student's Bill of Rights in all university policies is a good start. It is vital to our Republic that our educational system be freely open to all ideas by cultivating the platform that diversity of thought is as equally important as diversity of color.

Posted by: syn at December 13, 2004 10:04 AM

The dearth of moderate Muslims seems to be challenged by Bosnia, and Kosovo, and our NATO allies the Turks, and Iraq's Kurds, and the vast majority of Iranians, and all those Saudis who keep getting arrested because they want municiple elections, to the Northern Alliance that fought against the Taliban, to India's Muslim president...

But I seem to be missing something. Where does the neoconservative plan to reshape the Middle East by empowering Iraq's people stand? Wasn't that whole thing predicated on the notion that freedom and democracy are universal ideals, that ever oppressed people yearn for those, that all we needed to do was help Iraq along and the rest of the Muslim world would follow suit when they saw that they could have these things too? Wasn't it Bush who said that it was racist to believe certain browner peoples couldn't have democracy?

Unless I am mistaken, current US foreign policy is based on the notion that we are fighting a tiny minority that happens to be in charge of a number of countries, and that the populace of these places is most eager to be free.

After all, the Nazis and Communists were always small minorities, too.

But Winger, my point before was always that in order to understand our enemy, then we cannot rely on overly simplistic ideas: they hate us because of Israel. They hate us because they are a death cult.

Thinking like this doesn't win wars. Islam is more complicated and so should be our response.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 10:04 AM

Winger, regarding your question "why blame the victim" take a look at this paragraph from Kimmet:

Would Cole say this? No, because it's patently, utterly obvious. There's no reason to say what is completely clear. The difference is that we have some kind of authority over what Israel does, while the only authority we have over al Qaeda is the (so far sadly underutilized) power to destroy their capacity to harm.

It's all about control. Those doing the evil, we don't have much leverage with. We can kill them, subjugate them, but it's going to be hard to persuade the guy who puts a bullet into the back of a stranger's neck to be reasonable.

That's scary.

On the other hand, we can bully Israel. That's not scary.

I believe the Coles, the Kimmetts, and the Morks really would prefer to live in a world where humans didn't put bullets in the backs of strangers' necks. The would really prefer not to live in a world with a culture that produces such men, and worse yet, allows such men to become Supreme Leaders of whole countries. The Coles, Kimmetts, and Morks want to make that stop.

So in order to do something, they lash out at entities involved in these macabre death-dances. And since lashing out at the shooter is both ineffectual and scary, lashing out at the victim will have to do.

"Why were you in that car in Baghdad! Why are you a born a Jew! Why were you on the 97th floor of that tower! Your culture is an affront to those bad men! YOU make those men bad!"

In that short passage from Kimmett, I love the little aside about how we are underutilizying our capacity to destroy al Qaeda's ability to harm. al Qaeda brought down the twin towers by taking publicly available classes, making occasional telephone calls, and carrying box cutters onto airplanes. That's it. That's all it took.

The next atrocity might be as simple as getting a large perfume bottle across the Iranian border.

Scary stuff. And when stuff gets scary, it's usually safe to blame the Jews.

Posted by: Mark Poling at December 13, 2004 10:07 AM

Blogtheist: For all your bashing of Christendom, let's not forget it was the birthplace of liberal tolerence. The fact that this concept was NOT invented under Islamic rule is telling.

As for how we "understand" our enemy - I don't care about understanding him, only in defeating him. You are correct that we need to be sure we are really fighting the enemy and not hurting Good Muslims. But is anyone here talking about hurting Good Muslims?

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 10:11 AM

Forgive Professor Cole. He isn't hip to the politically correct neocon terminology. He should have copied the neocons and blamed "Judeofascists". You know, the way neocons blame "Islamofascists" or "Islamists" (or whatever their favorite term is now).
That way, when somebody accuses him of being against an entire ethnic group he's got some wiggle room to weasel out of any allegations of "racism".

Posted by: Joe Doaks at December 13, 2004 10:19 AM

Winger,

I was not aware discussing unpleasant historical events can be construed as "bashing" Christendom.

But yes, as far as I can tell, when people start referring to a billion people as a "death cult", then yes, I start to suspect that it's less about targeting our actual enemies.

But Winger, it is vitally important to understand our enemy. If our policy options are a) targeted violence against a small group and programs to promote and support other groups within Islam or b) kill the death cult, which do you think would have better results? Which is easier, more cost effective? Which requires that we understand who we are really fighting?

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 10:19 AM

Blogtheist

How many "good" Germans were in Dresden? How many "good" Japanese were in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Quite a few no doubt. Many who just wanted a good life, children, peace and harmony. It was Hitler and the National Socialists who manipulated the people, same with the Emperor of Japan.
However, these people did not rise up and overthrow the evil leaders they had. They stood by and allowed this to happen, and they paid the price in collateral damage.
The majority of Muslims do not speak up and criticze the Islamists. They help and support them, they do not speak up, some out of fear, others of not "belonging."
"Evil flourishes when good people do nothing."
Respected Imams all over the world preach hatred and Jihad against Jews and Christians and very few speak against them. There are some, but the numbers are very small. One such critic said that it was sad but that, "not all Muslims are terrorists but that most of today's terrorists are Muslim."
He is a small voice crying out in the wilderness.
Until then, Islam continues on its quest to conquer the world. First the Saturday people (Jews)then the Sunday people (Christians).

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 10:21 AM

Blogtheist, I'd be all for killing the few bad apples, if the tree didn't keep making bad apples. If Islamic societies don't do a better job of ridding themselves of their genocidal elements, eventually there will be an all-or-nothing scale clash of civilizations. That would be bad.

So we need an approach other than "cleanup on aisle six", IMHO.

Posted by: Mark Poling at December 13, 2004 10:31 AM

Blog: Methinks you are making a mountain of a mole hill. Nobody here is advocating genocide. I agree we should understand WHO our enemy is, but I could care less about understanding his motives.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 10:32 AM

Blogtheist

Perhaps you are not aware of the unrelenting preaching of hatred in the Madrassah's. The constant incitement to hatred in Gaza and the West Bank. Demonization of Jews and the West. The constant exhortations to Jihad.
Poverty has been ruled out by researchers as a cause of terrorism. It is not a political thing, even though it is many times claimed to be. It is not about land, the Arabs have immense areas of land, much of it empty. It's not about money, the Arabs have billions in oil money.
it is the incitement, where does the incitement come from? In The Netherlands, Thailand, Iraq, Iran, even here in the US, the Madrassahs. What do they study in the Madrassahs? The Koran and the Hadith, exclusively. Madrassahs are being opened by the 1,000's all over the world, funded by oil money, preaching hatred and Jihad. Unless we wake up and realize the threat we have, we will wake up one morning to the news of more American deaths, perhaps on a scale to make 9/11 seem small by comparison.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 10:40 AM

When an innocent woman is raped, there are those who will pass judgment on her actions: she should not have dressed that way, or been traveling alone, or been frequenting that establishment.

When terrorists highjack planes and slaughter thousands of innocent Americans, there are those who will pass judgment on America: it should not have been defending the existence of that particular nation, or the human rights of a certain group, or taken an opinion on some external matter.

Such people, in both cases, are easily dismissed.

Posted by: Jim at December 13, 2004 10:49 AM

Jim: Well said.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 10:51 AM

What if an Evangelical Christian mob went on a rampage against American Muslims and blamed it on the Arab-Muslim slaughter of the Dinka/Fur-Christian poplulations in Darfur?

I wonder if Juan Cole would accept that one.

Posted by: Christopher at December 13, 2004 11:02 AM

When a drug dealer gets murdered, there are some who pass judgement . . . the implicit statement that the actions of the US and Israel have always been morally pure if not always sensible is absurd on its face.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 13, 2004 11:03 AM

Kimmitt brings up that the US and Isreal are not "morally pure" - is this more proof for my Cosmic Justice Theory?

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 11:12 AM

Kimmit

Are you using moral relatisim here? Israel and America are pure and blameless so therefore they have no right to complain?

Americans don't have right to go to work and not have a hijacked airplane end their lives?
Jews don't have a right to ride a bus to school without being blown to bits by some idiot looking for virgins in paradise?
Unless we are morally pure we cannot condemn those actions and those who do them?
Tell me we are reading your post all wrong.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 11:13 AM

What if someone robs a liquor store and claims the fact that he's an alcoholic absolves him of responsibility?

Posted by: Christopher at December 13, 2004 11:24 AM

What if Michael Moore eats a box of jelly donuts and then blames his obesity on depression caused by people's visceral reaction to his smutty films?

Posted by: Christopher at December 13, 2004 11:25 AM

What if someone commits a homicide and then blames the government for allowing them to buy guns?

Posted by: Christopher at December 13, 2004 11:25 AM

What if a Tamilese American killed someone in the US because they "looked Sinhalese?"

Posted by: Christopher at December 13, 2004 11:25 AM

What if Madonna killed herself because her new found Judiasm conflicts with her older tradition of blaming the United States for supporting Israel?

Posted by: Christopher at December 13, 2004 11:26 AM

What if personal responsibility counted for something and Juan Cole wasn't such a relativist idiot?

Posted by: Christopher at December 13, 2004 11:27 AM

I'd like to second this post by Blogtheist: I wonder, if Islam is a "death cult", what to make of Muslims in Kosovo that carry pictures of US presidents in their wallets and mourn on September 11, and of Iranians who love America, and of Turks who are our NATO allies and are up for membership in the EU.

Are these tens of millions of death cult members just really bad at being death cultists? Do they need a refresher course on how to worship death?

Or is it possible that if they and Osama bin Laden are both Muslims, that there is some differnce between their beliefs? That they are informed by something else? That Islam is no more monolithic than the Christianity that produced both Mother Teresa and David Koresh?

Neither "Muslims" nor Islam are the enemy. Our enemies are Islamofascists, the followers of Wahhabism and Salafism. Everybody needs to remember that millions of Muslims all over the world are on our side against the fanatics. In some countries, such as Bosnia, Turkey, Tunisia, and (yes) Iran they are the overwhelming majority.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2004 11:27 AM

What is Juan Cole adopted a pro-Israel stance? Would he ever be invited to any university cocktail parties again?

Posted by: Zacek at December 13, 2004 11:28 AM

to Michael Totten:

To believe that the majority of Muslims are on our side is to suspend belief. Have you forgotten Turkey's refusal to help us in GW2? Turkeys recent warning that admission to the EU was expected and that if not given would result in severe consequences?
Islam is the problem, not just a few radicals running around "hijacking" a good religion. Study the Koran and then say what you want. This idea that Islam means "peace" is old hat. Islam means "submission" submission to the will of Allah and the teachings of Muhammed. Do I hate all Muslims? NO. However, unless Islam makes a 180 degree turn from its goal of conquering the world for Allah, then there will be a clash of civilizations and many will die, on both sides.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 11:42 AM

There are 1 billion muslims. If they were all in a death cult out to destroy us one would think we would be seeing significantly more trouble. They say if everyone in China jumped up and down similtaeously the shockwave would destroy civilization. Somehow it seems like if 1 billion Muslims were trying to destroy western civilization they could do better than car bombs and hijackings.

Posted by: Mark Buehner at December 13, 2004 11:51 AM

Americans don't have right to go to work and not have a hijacked airplane end their lives?
Jews don't have a right to ride a bus to school without being blown to bits by some idiot looking for virgins in paradise?

Of course we do, but that's just it -- so do Palestinians, Iraqis, and everyone else, and it isn't just us whose rights have been thus violated.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 13, 2004 11:52 AM

There were billions of German National Socialists and Russian Communists too - so was it taboo to ask about the consequences of the ideas they held? Am I "racist" because I would prefer 1 billion liberals living in those countries? (Liberals, as in the classical sense).

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 11:54 AM

Kimmitt: Indeed, the Palestinians and Iraqis are having their rights violated by terrorists, theocrats and Baathist national socialists.

Is that what you meant?

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 11:55 AM

Cybermonk: Study the Koran and then say what you want.

Would you like to hear my opinions about the Bible? If you're a Christian, trust me, you don't want to.

I choose to base my opinion of Christianity by the behavior of contemporary Christians instead of on some crackpot book from thousands of years ago. I afford Muslims the same courtesy.

If the majority of people in Bosnia, Turkey, and Tunisia were Islamofascists, something tells me we would be at least in a state of cold war with those countries.

The Turks didn't help us out in Iraq, but that does not mean they side with the Wahhabis and the Salafis.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2004 12:01 PM

Actually the Bible vs. Koran is an interesting debate (too bad Totten is to intolerent to discuss it).

The Bible was written over a thousand years by hundreds of authors. Even believers understand it was written by humans "inspired by God." Christianity and Judaism are both "living faiths" - their dogma includes thousands of years of tradition which has been influenced by the Greeks and others.

On the other hand, the Koran was written by a single man and assumed to be the literal "word of Allah." There is no single source of recognized dogma for Islam (the Church or rabbinical tradition). Holy men issue fatwa without institutional oversight. What little dogma there is (outside of the Koran or the fatwa-of-the-week) is based on totalitarian creeds of Marxism and national socialism from the early part of the 20th century.

As I said before, the fact Christianity spawned liberalism and Islam did not is telling.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 12:15 PM

Michael,

The Turks didn't help us out in Iraq, but that does not mean they side with the Wahhabis and the Salafis.

It's the classic "If they are with us, they must be against us" thought process. Of course, thats using the term 'thought' very loosly... ;-)

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 13, 2004 12:17 PM

Michael,

The Turks didn't help us out in Iraq, but that does not mean they side with the Wahhabis and the Salafis.

It's the classic "If they aren't with us, they must be against us" thought process. Of course, thats using the term 'thought' very loosly... ;-)

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 13, 2004 12:17 PM

err, sorry for the double post

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 13, 2004 12:18 PM

Winger,

I'm not too "intolerant" to discuss the Bible and the Koran. Comparing the two books is interesting and worthwhile.

What I don't think is worthwhile is judging modern Muslims by an ancient book. I went through a brief period where I judged modern Christians by an ancient book until I realized how bigoted and reactionary it was. So I stopped.

If you think Islam needs to be modernized (and I'd agree that it does) then you'll never notice if and when it actually happens if the only Islam you see is what's in the Koran.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2004 12:21 PM

Winger: As I said before, the fact Christianity spawned liberalism and Islam did not is telling.

Iraq's Ayatollah Sistani is a staunch advocate of democracy, and he bases his arguments on the Koran. That is nothing to shrug at.

You say liberalism grew out of Christianity and not Islam. And that is true, sort of. But before you give Christianity credit for everything, keep in mind how much of democratic Western civilization was first invented by Greek and Roman pagans. They didn't invent liberal democracy, but the idea of some form of democracy is much older than Christianity.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2004 12:27 PM

Looks like Juan Cole blamed Israel for the massacre of American contractors in Fallujah, as well.

Michael, when Yassin was assassinated and you posted approvingly of it, I commented somewhere, maybe here, that it was awful timing on the part of the Israelis because it was sure to inflame passions among the Iraqis, and would probably put American lives at risk and fuel the insurgency.

Was I too blaming Israel for the Fallujah murders? Can any analysis that says that Israeli actions like assassinations inflame passions in the region be then described as "blaming" Israel?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 13, 2004 12:29 PM

This isn't about judging or being a reationary bigot or whatever.

"Modernizing" Islam is going to be a tough sell. The advantage of the Bible is because it was written by so many people over so many time periods, it is easy to reinterpret it many ways.

Indeed, it is because the Bible is so easy to reinterpret that various institutions were created to decide the official dogma. It was probably these democractic processes that led to the understanding of liberalism.

Muslims believe the Koran is an earthly copy of Allah's Own Book. What you see is what you get. Any interpretations are compared with Muhammad's life (which involved conquering other people, keeping slaves, etc). There is not the same level of tradition or dogma (institutional checks) as what exists for Christianity and Judasim.

This is a problem that won't go away.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 12:38 PM

Michael:

Your comments on Islam, as well as mine would be punishable by death in any Islamic country. Although I was raised a Christian, I am a Jew on my mother's side, but I would love to debate the difference between the two. There is a huge difference.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 12:45 PM

RE: Greek and Roman pagans helping do develop liberalism -- I totally agree! But don't forget that the dogma of Christianity and Judaism borrowed heavily from Greeks and Romans. Why did this not work the same for Islam? I think it has to do with the nature of the Bible (vs. the Koran). But there are probably other factors too.

RE: Ayatollah Sistani -- what does he mean by democracy? What about liberalism?

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 12:48 PM

Winger:

Just what did the Jews borrow from the Greeks and Romans. I seem to remember somebody named Judah Maccabee who told the Syrian Greeks just what they could do with their culture and gods. Also Israel was the only "colony" that revolted against the Romans three times.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 12:54 PM

See, Cybermonk, it's comments like that which make it enormously difficult to take you seriously.

"Your comments on Islam, as well as mine would be punishable by death in any Islamic country."

In any Islamic country?

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 13, 2004 12:55 PM

Cybermonk: Just one example - Moses Maimonides and Aristotle. Not sure if Jewish thought includes much from the Romans.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 01:00 PM

Pick one a random and say what you said, if Sharia is the law of the land you're a dead man. If it isn't someone will issue a fatwa and have you killed anyway. Feeling lucky? why don't you try it in Friendly Turkey?

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 01:00 PM

Cybermonk: Your comments on Islam, as well as mine would be punishable by death in any Islamic country.

Not in any country, in some countries. In some Muslim countries the leadership is far more aggressively secular than I am.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2004 01:09 PM

Maimonides was doctor to one of the more liberal moslem Caliphs, most of his work was in Arabic. Even then the Arabs knew the Jews were good doctors. About the only thing we took from the greeks, other than the word synagogue and bible was the name Alexander. He loved the Jews and praised them and protected them, in return the Rabbi's made Alexander a greek name.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 01:09 PM

Michael: Tell that to Salaman Rushdie, a resident of England, and to theo van gogh, who is dead, muurdered in Amsterdam. Still feeling lucky?

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 01:11 PM

DPU: Can any analysis that says that Israeli actions like assassinations inflame passions in the region be then described as "blaming" Israel?

911 enflamed my passions, but you don't see me murdering people who look like Arabs. On the contrary, this whole conflagration lured me into visiting Arab countries so I could hang out and talk to regular people.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2004 01:12 PM

Cybermonk,

Rushdie and Van Gogh were threatened and attacked in the West, not in "any Muslim country." If I feared their fates would be mine I would write about something else.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2004 01:14 PM

Also Israel was the only "colony" that revolted against the Romans three times.

There were at least three revolts in Britain:
  • Boudicca in 61 AD, in Nero's reign;
  • The Brigantes rebellion in 117 AD, in Hadrian's reign;
  • And the Brigantes rebelled again in 155 AD, in Antoninus Pius' reign
I believe there were a far greater number of rebellions in France and Germany. Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 13, 2004 01:16 PM

911 enflamed my passions, but you don't see me murdering people who look like Arabs. On the contrary, this whole conflagration lured me into visiting Arab countries so I could hang out and talk to regular people.

That's good, but you didn't answer the question. Is anyone who says, as Cole has, and as I have, that Israel's assassination of Yassin has caused unrest in Iraq thereby excusing the Fallujan atrocities?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 13, 2004 01:30 PM

double+good
Up until the Bar Chockba revolt, Judea as it was known was known as a trouble spot and was notoriously hard to pacify, leading to the destruction of the 2nd Temple, the renaming of Jerusalem as Aeolina Captiolina. The third english revolt was after the Judean one. Jerusalem was especially hard to conquer and only with the help of traitors inside did Rome finally take the city, they were ready to give up. (unusual for Rome)

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 01:31 PM

SECOND UPDATE: Looks like Juan Cole blamed Israel for the massacre of American contractors in Fallujah, as well.

He also, in a separate post today, blamed the Mossad for "not alerting us" about 9/11:

This whole story may contain a clue to why the vaunted Mossad was not able to alert the US to the threat of 9/11, despite the tens of billions the US has invested in Israel's security apparatus precisely for the purpose of US security in the region-- Mossad just isn't that competent.

When I read that this morning, I couldn't help but think that Cole should tell that to Izz El-Deen Sheikh Khalil and his family.

I'm sure they'd appreciate his "informed comment" on the issue.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at December 13, 2004 01:35 PM

Michael:

you miss the point. Anywhere Moslems live, they feel is a Moslem country. Everywhere they settle, they take over little by little, they install Sharia, they take over whole neighborhoods, such as Malmo in Sweden, several large sections of Paris and London, places where police hesitate to go. You are not safe anywhere, if you insult them or question their religion you are a target. If you do it in Malaysia, or Indonesian, or even turkey, considered by many to be "moderate" countries, you have a good chance of being murdered, if you are not safe in Amsterdam or London, you are even less safe in a Moslem country controlled by Sharia.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 01:35 PM

Anti-Zionism isn't just a new form of antisemitism. It has effectively replaced antisemitism. In order to exterminate the Jews, it is now necessary to destroy the Jewish state. Whoever is for Israel is a friend of the Jews. Whoever is against Israel is an enemy of the Jews.

The left is an enemy of the Jews. As a Jew, I see no difference between the likes of Juan Cole and old fashioned antisemites like Father Charles Coughlin.

Posted by: The Fop at December 13, 2004 01:42 PM

"Israel's assassination of Yassin has caused unrest in Iraq"

I call post hoc ergo propter hoc on this. Cleary the unreast was caused by those who were rioting, blowing, shit up, etc., not by Isreal.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 01:42 PM

There are some 'facts' flying fast and loose around here.

"Indeed, it is because the Bible is so easy to reinterpret that various institutions were created to decide the official dogma...
Muslims believe the Koran is an earthly copy of Allah's Own Book. What you see is what you get. Any interpretations are compared with Muhammad's"

Which makes the fact that Wahabis are so busy fermenting civil war between Sunnis and Shiia exceeding strange, no? There are at least as many schisms between Muslims as between Christians, and as many interpretations of the Koran as there are Mullahs.

Your whole premise is suspect. The reasons liberal democracy sprouted in the West have been debated to death, and you wont find many historians crediting Christianity itself for it, except in one important tenet. "Give unto Caesar". In fact its the concept of Secularism that very likely is the leading difference historically (there traditionally was no seperation of political and religious leaders in the Muslim world). It was the ability of Europeans to ignore the Vatican that led to most innovations and ideas in Europe (as well as many wars spurred by angry Popes).

Islam is hardly A-typical of any world religion in this respect. The current clash isnt about religion, its about politics. So long as tyrants rule these nations, militant Islam will be their crutch to keep the people ignorant and angry.

To say that most Muslims have opposed the US lately is hardly meaningful (if true). Most of the world has opposed us. Does that make Canada a death cult?

Posted by: Mark Buehner at December 13, 2004 01:46 PM

Cole also accused the bloggers from Iraq the Model of perhaps 'getting some extra support from certain quarters'

"The MR posting brings up questions about the Iraqi brothers who run the IraqTheModel site. It points out that the views of the brothers are celebrated in the right-leaning weblogging world of the US, even though opinion polling shows that their views are far out of the mainstream of Iraqi opinion. It notes that their choice of internet service provider, in Abilene, Texas, is rather suspicious, and wonders whether they are getting some extra support from certain quarters."

Cole is the blog equivalent of Anna Nicole Smith at the American Music Awards. It's embarrassing to watch him.

He used to use hate in moderation, but now he's off the wagon.

Posted by: mary at December 13, 2004 01:46 PM

Winger:

Like the bombing on Sunday, alledgedly because of the "poisoning" of Arafat by the "Jews", it really doesn't matter what the Jews do. It's automatically their fault. Never have 6 million people been responsible for so many of the ills of this planet as have the Jews. They make up less than .0002% of the worlds population. If they would just disappear, everyone will love each other, Arabs will stop killing people and peace will reign supreme. "cough-gag"

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 01:50 PM

Cybermonk: if you are not safe in Amsterdam or London, you are even less safe in a Moslem country controlled by Sharia.

Yes, but Turkey is not ruled by Sharia. Ever heard of Ataturk and his aggressively secular state?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2004 01:51 PM

Winger: I call post hoc ergo propter hoc on this. Cleary the unreast was caused by those who were rioting, blowing, shit up, etc., not by Isreal.

And I call non sequitor on that - whether you agree with the statement or not, the question was whether someone who believes it is thereby excusing those who committed the atrocities in Fallujah.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 13, 2004 01:53 PM

I never claimed it was "fact" Mark. Just an idea.

And maybe you should actually read my post, as I never said "Christinity itself" was the sole cause. And I notice you slip an Argument from Authority fallacy in there ("historians crediting..."). Never mind that most of those who ignored the Vactican were motiviated by dogmatic Christianity.

I think politics is also a factor, but so is religion (or at least the ideas behind Islam).

And how to you explain the terrorism by Muslims in countries that are NOT ruled by tyrants? You want to dicuss this, or maybe throw some more fallacies my way?

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 01:55 PM

Mark:

The whole problem with Sharia in Islam is that politics and religion are intertwined. they are inseperable. One of the so called pluses of Turkey was that it is a secular Moslem country, as opposed to the others that are under various degrees of Sharia. To the Moslem, Allah is the ultimate authority and democracy is a foreign concept since it makes the majority the important part of any democracy instead of the Koran.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 13, 2004 02:02 PM

"Never mind that most of those who ignored the Vactican were motiviated by dogmatic Christianity."

Most? Galelio was motivated by dogmatic Christianity? Henry VIII? Napoleon? The Magna Carta? One might argue most of the greatest events were motivated in opposition to Catholic dogma.

"And how to you explain the terrorism by Muslims in countries that are NOT ruled by tyrants? You want to dicuss this, or maybe throw some more fallacies my way?"

First of all, citing authority is not alway a fallacy. If you want to know how to make bread, asking a baker isnt a bad idea. Secondly this is clearly an international problem. I would turn the question back on you, if Islam is the cause of terrorism, why is their terrorism in non-Islamic nations?
Terrorism has always existed and always will. It is international terrorism backed by states and state-like entities that is dangerous. These states and entities cant exist very long where democracy holds sway. Yes, they can take root in democracies and launch attacks, but not without outside funding and not for very long once the general populace tires of it.

Posted by: Mark Buehner at December 13, 2004 02:12 PM

Mork: It's not blame, Michael, it's a straightforward statement of cause-and-effect.

No, it's not. Cole's blaming the "aggressive and expansionist Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza against the Palestinians and in south Lebanon against Shiites" for that jew-looking man's murder.

That's not merely a "cause and effect", but blame.

You lay blame, but you do so behind a pretense of "obectivity", or "cause and effect." You don't even have the balls to do it openly and honestly, you intellectually dishonest coward. You Leftists DIGUST ME.

Posted by: David at December 13, 2004 02:14 PM

1. See...The Reformation

2. Here is an example of CITING an authority: "Strictly presented, an argument from authority will have two premises and a conclusion. The first premise claims the person is an authority on a particular subject. The second presents the claim made by the authority in the subject in question and the conclusion asserts that because an authority made the claim in her area of expertise, it is true"

(www.opifex.cnchost.com/ reasoning/inductive/authority.htm)

3. "if Islam is the cause of terrorism, why is their terrorism in non-Islamic nations?" - The fact it exists in both seems to be evidence that the main issue is the belief system of the terrorist, not their home country.

I agree that the fact they are backed by nation-states is part of the problem, but I disagree that it is the entire problem.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 02:19 PM

"To the Moslem, Allah is the ultimate authority and democracy is a foreign concept since it makes the majority the important part of any democracy instead of the Koran."

Except that there is no 'The Muslim'. There are a billion of them, and despite the misinformation being peddled here they have all sorts of different ideas. Democracy is not foriegn to Islam, any more than it is to Christianity of Judiasm. The Koran is not this strange static death manual some of you guys make it out to be any more than the Old Testament is. Muslim political leaders used to be chosen based on their ability to INTERPRET the Koran and apply it to society. Now that is how their religious Mullahs are chosen. Doesnt it bother you when facts fly in the face of what you are claiming? The most respected and powerful Shiia Mullah in the world supports democracy? Turkey is a Muslim nation, and is a democracy. Why havent they elected an oligarchy and taken on some form of Sharia law? Afghanistan, formerly the most intensely Muslim nation on Earth just elected a secular president. Pakistan (close behind Aghanistan) elected a woman a few years back.
How to you rectify all this in your thinking?

Posted by: Mark Buehner at December 13, 2004 02:20 PM

Democracy is not the same thing as liberalism.

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 02:25 PM

"The first premise claims the person is an authority on a particular subject. The second presents the claim made by the authority in the subject in question and the conclusion asserts that because an authority made the claim in her area of expertise, it is true"

Einstein is widely regarded as the most brilliant physicist of all time. Einstein claimed that Energy = Mass x speed of light squared. That is true.

Logical fallacy? What is this, 9th grade rhetoric class?

"The fact it exists in both seems to be evidence that the main issue is the belief system of the terrorist, not their home country."

Perhaps we have a disconnect between cause and solution. Naziism might have been the the belief system of the Germans, but destroying Naziism wasnt the key to winning the war. Destroying Germanys military machine was. Naziism was just a footnote ultimately, you cant destroy ideology. You can destroy the tools that make ideology dangerous.

"I agree that the fact they are backed by nation-states is part of the problem, but I disagree that it is the entire problem."

Its not the entire problem. Its what the problem springs from. The nazis never would have arisen without the dire economic and political conditions of Germany. It might still exist but be confined to beer halls in Vienna.
Islamofascism would never arise without the dire political/economic conditions of much of the Muslim world. The ideology would exist but not the means to impliment them.

Posted by: Mark Buehner at December 13, 2004 02:28 PM

Energy = Mass x speed of light squared is true regardless of Einstein said it. No more 9th grade rhetoric class - let's debate then, instead of shutting down debate because "historians" are so smart.

" You can destroy the tools that make ideology dangerous."

So why didn't we fight a nuclear WW3 with the Communist Soviet Union? We didn't need to because ideas also matter.

"The nazis never would have arisen without the dire economic and political conditions of Germany."

So are you a materialist? No, seriously, you don't think it was because many people actually thought National Socialism was both true and morally correct? Part of the reason National Socialism was destroyed from the face of the Earth was because its premises of racism was utterly destroyed by thinkers of the day. Same with Communism (though that is probably news to some here).

Posted by: Winger at December 13, 2004 02:36 PM

I've long been amused by the savage loathing toward Cole in the hawkosphere. It seems likely that he has achieved this stature in hawk demonology because he actually knew enough about Iraq to predict in advance that the Iraqi campaign would go awry, unlike the average pro-war blogger (or Bush Administration official, for that matter.)

But in this particular case, Cole really did make a comment that could be reasonably construed as anti-semitic. Or at least anti-Israeli to the point of blurring the line between the two terms. By gosh, I thought while passing through this site, Totten's finally got a valid point. Cole WAS wrong to insinuate that this act of pure bigotry had any direct connection to Israel.

But upon further reflection, the rest of your post only reconfirms my opinions about your commitment to reverse political correctness. Cole does not in any of his writings "BLAME" Israel for acts of anti-semitism. He merely draws an unwarranted connection between this isolated act of violence to the very real backlash against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Was he wrong to choose this occasion to make that point? Yes. But that's a far cry from genuinely "blaming the victim."

Your analogy is way off, because the Gay Rights movement wasn't seizing homes from straight people and forcing citizens of Wyoming to live under martial law with gay armed forces patrolling the streets, while conducting body cavity searches at checkpoints on I-80. Israel has been at war, hot or cold, with virtually the entire Arab world for almost 60 years. Whether or not one takes Israel's side in the matter, and I generally do, one must at least concede that the war exists, that both sides have legitimate grievances, and that acts of violence between Jews and Arabs are unfortunately going to be viewed through the lens of this conflict until it is resolved.

It is the failure to distinguish between the Israeli military and "some guy who looks Jewish" that makes Cole's statement unacceptable. Not the mere willingness to claim that Israeli actions have incited violence. And I'm quite tired of hearing any and all criticisms of the Likud Party or neoconservatives being painted as "anti-semitic" by the likes of David Brooks and Glenn Reynolds. It cheapens the meaning of the word.

There seems to be a boundless desire among Insta-Hawks to pretend that the choice to pursue an aggressive military policy has no real, tangible negative consequences, and that anyone who points out such consequences is a victim-blaming, America-hating bigot. In this worldview, concessions made for peace are signs of weakness that embolden our enemies. Appeasers can be blamed for "causing" violence. But when "tough" policies backfire by destroying cooperation and goodwill and inflaming guerilla warfare, nobody is allowed to acknowledge the connection without being tarred and feathered.
The natural outcome of such a climate, is to always err on the side of war. And err on the side of excusing and rationalizing acts committed by the white hats which in other circumstances would be deemed crimes. Meanwhile, the body count continues to grow.

Yours is just another self-serving variant of political correctness. Even sainted Israel must be held accountable for the outcome of her actions, both good and bad. All those checkpoints and bulldozers in the West Bank deployed for the sake of "security" have consequences, just as our "shock and awe" crusade has had consequences.

Posted by: Violet at December 13, 2004 02:55 PM

But that's a far cry from genuinely "blaming the victim.

No. Juan Cole actually BLAMES the "agressive" "expansionist" Israeli policies for that jew-looking man's death. And then he tries to use that to turn the U.S. against Israel by implying we're reaping the wind for those Israeli policies. Read it again. It's hardly objective or academic.

Not a peep about the pathological anti-semitism that is normal and accepted in the arab/muslim world. Disgusting. And I suspect you know it is too; that's why you're hiding behind pretenses of "cause and effect". You have to minimize it in order to avoid seeing the depths to which the arab world is sinking.

Let me ask you a question. If one of us goes out after the next 9/11 attack on this country and lynches an Arab will you also chalk that up to merely "cause and effect?" That was a rhetorical question obviously, because you most certainly will not.

You and Mork disgust me both.

Posted by: David at December 13, 2004 03:16 PM

Apparently, David is disgusted, but at least he's stopped using all caps to express it. Attaboy.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 13, 2004 03:32 PM

I just saw DareDevil on DVD (finally). (Little passion in the love story; a great fight, then first night sex; no more story. Spidey too MUCH better.)

Good line: "nobody is innocent." Also true in Harry Potter -- even though Harry is usually innocent of what he's being blamed for, he's not fully innocent.

Yehudit, I have, and will continue, to claim Jews are GUILTY of mild racism. But I'll agree that Catholics who want their children to marry Catholics (in N. Ireland); whites who want their kids to marry whites; Chinese who want their kids to marry Chinese -- all are mildly racist. Keep "US" genetically separate from "THEM".

This especially causes long term problems when there is a minority that refuses to assimilate into the majority language/ religion/ culture.

Does it justify the gas chambers? Certainly not.
And I don't think speeding justifies the death penalty. But I wouldn't say somebody speeding is NOT a little guilty.

See any number of Y chromosome studies. Jews have maintained their unassimilated genetics because of their marriage/ breeding customs (= racism).

http://tarkus.pha.jhu.edu/%7Eethan/jFAQ.html

Briefly, this work shows that Jews are a single ethnic group, in the sense that the major Jewish communities are typically more closely related to each other than to their neighbors. This does not mean that they share no ancestry with their immediate neighbors, but rather that intermarriage with their neighbors has had only a modest impact on the genetic makeup of most Jewish communities. That may be because the rate of intermarriage has been very low, or because intermarriage normally resulted in a loss of affiliation with the Jewish community. There are some Jewish communities which are an exception to this, and are probably descended mostly from local converts, the most obvious example being the Jews of Ethiopia (see below). However, the results are consistent with bulk of Jewish community having its origins in the Eastern Mediterranean. The results are not consistent with the Jews being descended solely from the inhabitants of the ancient kingdoms of Judah and Israel. The amount of mitochondrial diversity is comparable to what one would expect in a region the size of New Guinea, but not larger. This suggests that a number of maternal lineages were assimilated from neighboring regions prior to the diaspora.

I consider Jewish racism one of the many FACTS that anybody looking at the ME should be aware of. I remember Fiddler on the Roof's third daughter -- in love with a Russian, a Jewish daughter no longer.

Democracy and human rights in America are breaking that down, but it has been taking a few generations. Japanese, Chinese, and Blacks are increasingly inter-marrying, with Whites and others. I think this is good, and will help reduce the racism.

I don't think denying what was clearly there, historically, will reduce it -- and I suspect denial of mild Jewish racism increases anti-Semitism.

But the blame game of "who started it" isn't as important as: how to stop it now. And how should the future look like.

The Pali problem is that they don't accept democracy in an independent state as a victory.

[Maybe the Israeli occupation has been too weak? ]

Posted by: Tom Grey at December 13, 2004 03:36 PM

This debate has been fascinating to read.

One thing omitted by obliquely refered to is Arab Nationalism.

I've often wondered if that explains to some degree the lack of islamists in Turkey, Bosnia and other non-Arab nations.

CBK

Posted by: cbk at December 13, 2004 03:53 PM

Yo.Get your constantly updated MYRIAD fatwas right here !!.

Hot off the presses,a review of a somewhat annoying little problem the 'religious authorities'in Egypt appear to be having.It's very educational.

http://metimes.com/articles/normal.php?StoryID=20041210-044259-7319r

Posted by: dougf at December 13, 2004 05:56 PM

Kimmitt: Indeed, the Palestinians and Iraqis are having their rights violated by terrorists, theocrats and Baathist national socialists.

Yes. Which is why I consistently advocate the systematic destruction of terrorist networks and containment and eventual destruction of dictatorial one-party states of every stripe, and then advocate that we perhaps mention to Israel that we aren't thrilled about it when we send them $4 billion a year and they do the kinds of things we invade other countries for. It's all of a stripe. It's Michael Totten who wants to give the US and Israel a total pass on their actions, presumably because both countries are democratically governed and therefore morally pure, incapable of sin in thought or deed.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 13, 2004 07:35 PM

Seems to me that "hold Israel accountable" is exactly equal to "Israel is always wrong, and the poor sainted so-called 'Palestinians' are always right."

Is Israel perfect? No? Is Israel the main reason many Arabs/Islamites are irrational? No. (Please note the careful modifcation of "many," which is delightfully vague so that you can project your own racism into it.)

It would be a lot easier to think about things calmly if Israel and the US didn't get dragged into every argument that starts because some loony Islamite terrorist kills an innocent person.

Posted by: steve miller at December 13, 2004 08:34 PM

Michael, your blog isn't the only place where the Fashionable Intellectual Left has slithered out from under the crawlspace and put on their brown shirts. Check out this posting at That Liberal Media:

http://www.thatliberalmedia.com/#003221

and take a wander through the comments - especially those of the lovely soul known as "Tom Murphy", a Chomskyite true-believer with his own online shrine to the Great Man himself.

Since the election, watching the Left show its true sympathies (with the Islamofascists, against Israel; with the beheaders and bombers, against the soldiers fighting to stop them) has made me angrier than anything since 9/11 itself. Andrew Sullivan predicted after 9/11 that the Left might try to mount a pro-Islamist fifth column. He was widely excoriated at the time, and not just by leftists, IIRC. Well, folks, read these threads for yourself. The Fifth Column is very much alive, very influential and very dangerous.

Posted by: Jeff at December 13, 2004 09:52 PM

Seems to me that "hold Israel accountable" is exactly equal to "Israel is always wrong, and the poor sainted so-called 'Palestinians' are always right."

Is the moral compass of the conservative so rusty that it only points in one direction? Can there not be a situation in which there are neither saints nor devils?

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 13, 2004 09:58 PM

It's Michael Totten who wants to give the US and Israel a total pass on their actions, presumably because both countries are democratically governed and therefore morally pure, incapable of sin in thought or deed.

Kimmitt, you and the rest of the lefties in this thread are full of shit. Nobody in his right mind thinks ANY government anywhere in the world is "morally pure, incapable of sin in thought or deed". What every damned one of you oh-so-enlightened types are guilty of is holding one country - the one that just HAPPENS to have lots of Jews- to standards of perfection you refuse to demand of any other nation, culture or race. It's not that you're so irritated that they won't behave the way you want them to - you just don't want them to live, period.

Posted by: Jeff at December 13, 2004 10:03 PM

Cole made a cheap shot in a Hatfield-McCoy manner and shouldn't have. To follow the murder with a statement supposedly putting it in "context" was stupid at best.

Posted by: Curtis at December 13, 2004 11:20 PM

What every damned one of you oh-so-enlightened types are guilty of is holding one country - the one that just HAPPENS to have lots of Jews- to standards of perfection you refuse to demand of any other nation, culture or race. It's not that you're so irritated that they won't behave the way you want them to - you just don't want them to live, period.

This is the face of the modern Right; anyone who criticizes Israeli policy under any circumstances is a Nazi bent on genocide. This is the movement and mentality that Michael Totten not only endorses but mocks the opponents of.

I don't know what scares me more -- the fact that you people think the way you do or that you people have power of any sort.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 13, 2004 11:59 PM

Wow. Look what happens when you live on the other side of the world. You go to bed when the thread has about six comments, and wake up to find you have to trawl through 161. Worth the effort required, of course!
I don't see much point in answering Mork's challenge now, I believe it's all pretty much been said. Except, Mork, it shouldn't be up to me or anyone else to supply you with this kind of reading material. It's everywhere, if you care to look. Everyone is writing and talking about the so-called 'roots of the conflict', and no one with any nous paints it as simply as you or your mate, Juan Cole.
As an intelligent person engaging in serious discussion, you should have already researched what you appear to think you know so much about.

Posted by: Fish at December 14, 2004 03:00 AM

Kimmitt: Nobody here said Isreal or the US are morally pure, incapable of sin in thought or deed or Saints. But it seems to be you find it necessary to imply they are Devils.

Why? Because the US and Isreal are not morally pure, which makes them Evil? Or because you find it politically advantageous to convince us all that a man deserved to be shot because he "looked Jewish"?

Posted by: Winger at December 14, 2004 05:47 AM

:Can there not be a situation in which there are neither saints nor devils?--Kimmet

How reasonable a statement this appears to be.And how unrealistic it actually is.
The real question is : Is this a REAL WAR ,which we might LOSE,against a REAL ENEMY,or is this just a 'police action'? What drives these debates,IMHO,is the answer to this existential query.In WARS,the criteria for success usually cluster around 'effective'and 'acceptable',and not neccessarily around 'most objectively MORAL in a best of all possible world's'.
For me I am 100% in agreement with Jeff's 'angrier than anything since 9-11' observations.The left has its priorities firmly and entirely in the exact WRONG place.They are in the Wrong Place,for the Wrong Reason,at the Wrong Time.

Posted by: dougf at December 14, 2004 06:10 AM

For all those who call Jews "racist" for only marrying other Jews.

First of all Judaism is a religion, not a race. There are Chinese Jews, Yemeni Jews, Russian Jews, Morrocan, Iraqi,Ethiopian Jews, Indian (India) Jews. All live together in Israel peacefully. None are treated any differently.
My father was Italian, from Italy and he always insisted I only go out with Italian girls, definitely not Irish girls. Did that make him a racist?
Jews have survived centuries of persecution and hatred by sticking together, does that make them racist?
Threatening non muslims with death if they enter Mecca, is that racist? Threatening Muslims with death (according to the Koran)for converting, is that racist?
I think your choice of words is suspect, pretty soon, by calling any action you don't like, racist, is counterproductive.
Jews, Catholics and Baptists have a right to want to associate, marry and live with people like them, to call them racists because they do is nonsense.

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 14, 2004 06:55 AM

"The fruits of hatred sowed in the Middle East by aggressive and expansionist Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza against the Palestinians and in south Lebanon against Shiites continue to be harvested by Americans."

You gotta love this. Are these those same darned "aggressive and expansionist" Israelis that gave the entire Sinai back to Egypt? ...the same ones who abandoned southern Lebanon to Syrias proxy goon-squads? ...the same ones who keep giving more and more of their territory away in the name of peace? With THAT sort of aggressive expansion, Prof. Cole won't have to worry about Israel for much longer. If Israel ceased to exist today, the islamofascits (and the learned Professor Col...plus his horde of agent provocateurs posting above) would have no trouble hating us. It's what they do.

My advice: forgive them, for in doing so you will be heaping hot coals upon their heads.

Posted by: Pat Rand at December 14, 2004 07:40 AM

I know this one is going to make me really popular around here, but here goes...

In response to dougf:

Certainly this is a real war, against a real enemy. This enemy has the immediate goal of killing Americans (and our allies, both literal and philosophical), and generally attacking American and Western interests around the world. The enemy has a broader goal of driving the US and its allies out of the Muslim "realm", and an even broader goal of toppling the governments of various Muslim countries and installing themselves are rulers so they can implement their version of Shari'a law. A few, such as bin Laden, have the ultimate goal of global conquest and the forcible mass conversion of the world to Islam.

Ok. All that said - do you really think we could lose? I don't.

Certainly they have killed and probably will kill lots of Americans and our allies around the world. They have harmed and probably will continue to harm our interests. They might succeed in toppling a government or two and seizing control. They might even manage to acquire nuclear weapons and use them against us.

All of these are, obviously, bad, to put it mildly. But at what point do we say that we have lost? If we lose Iraq to Zarqawi, have we lost? If we lose Washington or New York, have we lost?

We can suffer setbacks, defeats, tragedies of untold magnitude. But the idea that these piddling groups with their fantasies of global hegemony and a reborn Caliphate, taking on the mightiest force the world has ever know - it's just that, a fantasy. We can and will bleed. We already have. But we did not lose on September 11, and if it happens again, we will not have lost, and if something worse happens, if we lose an entire city or more than one, there will still be an America a thousand times stronger than anything they can throw at us.

We want to fight them because we don't anyone else to be blown up; we want our economies to work; we want our allies to be secure; we would like the people of Iran and Iraq and Saudi Arabia to be as free as us. All of these are legitimate goals, and these (but especially the first one) are why we fight.

It puzzles me when I hear people talk about losing, as if we might turn on the TV one day to see the president kneeling before Zod, I mean, Osama bin Laden, presenting our surrender and pledging our conversion to Islam. This might be bin Laden's fantasy, and he will certainly try to kill many of us to achieve this. But, as far as I can tell, that's never going to happen.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 14, 2004 07:45 AM

"There were billions of German National Socialists and Russian Communists"

No, there were not.

Posted by: FactCheck at December 14, 2004 08:02 AM

Cole responds...

http://www.juancole.com/2004/12/have-arabs-or-muslims-always-hated.html

Cole's original comment was tasteless and insensitive, and displayed a distressingly casual attitude toward bigotry. But he has a point and he defends it well.

I'm still waiting for Totten or one of his acolytes to educate me on the historical events in which the NAACP and the Gay Air Force launched airstrikes against civilian targets, thereby making Arab anti-zionism "exactly like" American racism and gay bashing.

Violence committed against people "because they look Jewish" is never, never excusable. Only the racist who commits these acts is to blame.

Violence against foreign soldiers occupying one's own country, however, is not intrinsically wrong. Otherwise the USA and Israel would not have any right to defend themselves. The precise circumstances matter a great deal. Those who can't grasp this notion, and prefer to traffic in facile self-serving moral equivalences, should probably consider the beam in their own eyes before assaulting the mote in Juan Cole's.

Posted by: Violet at December 14, 2004 09:04 AM

"Violence against foreign soldiers occupying one's own country, however, is not intrinsically wrong"

It is if their intentions are tryanny and oppression of their fellow Iraqis and/or murder of jews.

Posted by: Winger at December 14, 2004 09:11 AM

"It puzzles me when I hear people talk about losing
-------------------------------------------------

Certainly they have killed and probably will kill lots of Americans and our allies around the world. They have harmed and probably will continue to harm our interests. They might succeed in toppling a government or two and seizing control. They might even manage to acquire nuclear weapons and use them against us.---Blogtheist

What you describe IS Losing !!!!
All that you fail to describe is the REVENGE attacks against any likely target that will surely be the response should the current WOT fail to establish a popular 'democratic(and somewhat 'liberal') alternative to the retrograde Islamist mindset now running amok in much of the world.
Iraq and the WOT are a 'considered'and 'measured' transformational response to Islamofascism,BUT there are other viable responses possible and the object is to prevent us from having to use them.Your cavalier dismissal of a potential or even probable nuclear attack on the US homeland indicates clearly that you have zero conception of how reality is likely to unfold.

Posted by: dougf at December 14, 2004 09:36 AM

(note: inadvertently posted this on another thread about nonperson-to-be Cole, thought I'd put it here too)

Cole suggested that a majority of Arab Moslems dislike Israel and America's support of same.
He further suggests that Americans, due to American support of Israel, will occasionally be targeted as a proxy target for Israel, which they can't directly attack.

Take away the hype, and that's what Cole wrote.
Regardless of what one thinks of Israel, how is any of this controversial?

But then you've spent a couple of weeks in Arab countries, and this Cole, what the fuck does he know about the Middle East?

Posted by: Michael Farris at December 14, 2004 09:49 AM

Is this a REAL WAR ,which we might LOSE,against a REAL ENEMY,

It's a real war against a real enemy, but even the Bush Administration is not so stupefyingly inept as to allow a Muslim theocratic state to conquer the US.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 14, 2004 09:56 AM

Cole:
"...when Ariel Sharon sends American-made helicopter gunships and F-16s to fire missiles into civilian residences or crowds in steets, as he has done more than once, then he makes the United States complicit in his war crimes and makes the United States hated among friends of the Palestinians. And this aggression and disregard of Arab life on the part of the proto-fascist Israeli Right has gotten more than one American killed, including American soldiers."

The bigger and under-reported story in my opinion is that this guy is the incoming president of the Middle East Studies Association. So these crackpot ideas will continue to propagate through academia having long-range unforeseen effects.

Posted by: Rob at December 14, 2004 10:09 AM

Everybody who wants their own children to marry others "like themselves", is a little racist.

If a tolerant society can't accept a little individual racism, it's not very tolerant. This is a problem.

Cybermonk -- look at the Y chromosome studies -- I'm not making it up. Just recently I read that mitochondrial studies indicate a "first Eve" of about 86 000 years ago, but a "first Adam" of about 59 000 years ago. My wife (Eva) suggested a "Noah" explanation, with his sons (same Y) but with the wives of the sons (different mitochondrial).

Why is it so terrible for Jews to admit to a little honest racism? Next you'll be telling me that IQ doesn't matter, and the The Bell Curve has been debunked ...

PC dishonesty is so intellectually flabby. There really ARE uncomfortable truths out there in reality. The Jews, hey I support Israel. They HAVE a democracy. Most violence is based on Pali and Arab dysfunction -- and humiliated rage. See NRO on Shame.

But the founding of Israel was not purely just -- this needs some justice compensation, maybe, in a peaceful settlement; maybe cross-compensation against illegal Arab wars against Israel should be equally forgiven. The point is to accept the bad of Israel, as well as the good -- and honestly compare it to the bad of the Palestinians, and the terrible. (Is there anything good about current Pali culture?)

The Palis are sick and need to change. The Jews, mildly racist or not, are democratic fairly human rights supporting -- I don't see them needing to change much.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at December 14, 2004 10:17 AM

Tom Gray

You are abusing the word "racist", I do not think it means what you think it means. There is no such thing as being 'a little racist'same with 'honest racism'

Please explain what you mean about the founding of Israel not being totally 'just'?
How about the British giving 75% of what was supposed to go BACK to Israel being given to the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. Israel agreed. The Arabs refuse to recognize even this and when the UN set up Israel, again the Jews lost land but agreed to take what they had been given, The Arabs refused and launched a war of EXTERMINATION.
The Pali's are itinerant Arabs, nothing more, their parents moved into the area from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and elsewhere to take advantage of the Jews turning the desert into productive farms.
They repaid the Jews by trying to murder them with massacres and three more wars of extermination.
Not to mention the 800,000 Jews thrown out of Arab countries in the 30's and 40's who lost everything they owned. Israel took them in. What about the 600,000 Arabs who VOLUNTARILY left Israel so that the Arab armies could massacre the Jews? Their Arab brothers leave them to rot in refugee camps and give them no rights or help. They serve no purpose but as a weapon against Israel. There is no Palestine, NO Palestinian people, no Palestinian culture and no justification for a 'right of return'

Posted by: Cybermonk at December 14, 2004 10:37 AM

I read through about 1/2 the posts earlier and cannot get through the rest before other obligations so will blindly chime in with my possibly irrelevant (or already stated) opinion, although I will state how happy I am to see these most critical issues discussed with such abandon):

To the extent that Christians display cruelty - they are not really Christians. They are Christians in name only (CINO's).

However, to the extent that Muslims eschew violence and outright reject jihad, conversion of non-Muslims etc( the so-called "moderate" Muslims who say, enjoy a beer and so on as stated by the experience of other posters) - they are actually bad Muslims - Muslims in name only.

Our only hope is to cultivate more MINO's - Muslim In Name Only.

The more Muslims deviate from the philosophy and mandates of Muhammed - the better people they are, and the worse Muslims. Other posters here have amply given the many reasons why.

Our only hope is the MINO's......

(Forget PC. It is the only hope for humanity. Words don't kill. )

Posted by: Caroline at December 14, 2004 06:33 PM

This is a bit on the relationship of the good prof. to Kylan.

All the stuff below is from the linked url.

==

KYLAN didn't support the decision to go to war in Iraq. But he believed that once begun, it was crucial for us to finish the job. He had a running email dialogue with anti-war University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, right up to a few days before his death.

Professor Cole had a personal correspondance with the murdered sailor, and didn't fucking mention it.

He doesn't have the simple decency to recognize - even in passing - the humanity of the murdered man. Why do that? It would get in the way of his ideologically sound point. Back in August, Kylan was a human being. Now he's a token in Cole's ideological game.

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Posted by: epart at December 23, 2005 03:27 AM

Great site. I do not think i would like to be over there right now and i wonder how did they treat you when you where over thier.

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Some people can justify anything no matter what. i thiunk most in middle east and nuts and some in the Usa like born agains lead by pat roberts are nuts just as much

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I think most religons have caused most wars or conflicts. Eveyone wants everyone to convert to thier religion.

Myabe budast and hindu not so bad but catholics and muslims have been at war for hundreds of years and try to convert everyone to thier ideas all along.

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They are all crazy just let everyone be what religion or not. Do not try to change everyone to yours.

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Great site. Nice to see some of the other side but still not sure if i would ever go to any of the countries myself.

Posted by: best paid email. best surveys. at January 12, 2006 03:08 PM

Very nice blog. Seems like you have fun over thier but not for me for sure.

Yes some people are idiots and maybe it was not jewish maybe they just like killing Us citizens. They have done it since 80s when hijackers killed some on planes.

Posted by: Framed Picture Golf at January 12, 2006 03:14 PM
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