May 01, 2005

Unintended consequences

Posted by Mary Madigan

The next installment of neo-neoconís thoughts on Vietnam and political conversion A Mind is a Difficult thing to Change, is up.

This particular post was sparked by a comment by Dean Esmay, found on this thread. His comment is as follows:
What continues to confound me is how many people who were staunchly against the Vietnam War still have not confronted the brutal reality of what our leaving that conflict wrought. The death camps, the millions of refugees who barely made it out alive, the horrors perpetrated on the people by Ho Chi Minh once he was victorious
I'd like to try to tackle the difficult question implicit in Dean Esmay's comment, which, as I see it, is, "Where were you in the mid- to late-70s, oh bleeding-heart Vietnam War protesters? Didn't the terrible aftermath of the Vietnam War convince you that you had been wrong to work so hard for US withdrawal? And, if so, why not?"

I think this is an excellent, although difficult, question (perhaps all excellent questions are difficult?) I don't pretend to have a definitive answer--the situation is extremely complex--but this post is my attempt at a response.

The difficulty of facing unintended consequences..

Dean responds...

Posted by Mary Madigan at May 1, 2005 07:27 PM

Comments

"Didn't the terrible aftermath of the Vietnam War convince you that you had been wrong to work so hard for US withdrawal?"

After having interviewe several of the "no blood for oil" crowd, nothing has yet convinced me that these war protesters are capable of thinking beyond what is immediately visible.

To those who believe the US is the source of all the world's problems, it is inconceivable that problems would exist after we began minding our own business - why think about it further? If there are still problems, the protesters think we are still, somehow, involved.

Posted by: Joel (No Pundit Intended) at May 1, 2005 07:58 PM

Unintended consequence? Just another "mistake"?

If someone supports murder thru ingnorance and sheer stupidity I don't think you can call it unintended consequence. The only good reason I could see at the time not to support the war was the "who gives a shit argument": sure, tyranny and repression are in the cards, it ain't our country and none of our business, so who gives a shit. Cold, yes, but a perfectly valid argument. The folks chanting Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh were either of a totalitarian mindset -- communists and such -- or simply idiots, mostly the latter. I was always amazed at the utter historical ignorance of my generation. Sorry, cohorts, but that's the way it was.

Posted by: chuck at May 1, 2005 09:23 PM

The Communist tyrants primarily won in Vietnam because of the liberal establishment in the United States. Ho Chi Minh’s terrorists did not win it on the ground, but on the pages of the New York Times and within the activist ranks of the Democratic Party. The South Vietnamese never had a chance once America lost its will to continue the struggle. Historians like Victor Davis Hanson are convinced that we were winning the war, but the MSM (remember Walter Cronkite?) falsely reported the actual results of the fighting. The same thing can happen in Iraq. We must make sure it does not.

The Daily Kos, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean---and Pat Buchanan are never going to threaten the Iraqis with direct violence. Only a total idiot would suggest such a thing, and I’ve never even hinted that this was likely. No, what these individuals might do is demoralize us regarding the prospects of the new Iraqi government.

Posted by: David Thomson at May 2, 2005 12:50 AM

It's not at all fair to blame the horror of SE Asia in the 70s on liberals or Democrats; after all, Richard "Peace with Honor" Nixon signed a treaty with an opponent with no honor, and Gerald "Falling for You" Ford was at the helm when the helicopters took off for the last time for Saigon. I seem to recall that Congress was controlled by the Dems at the time, but its the President's job to lead, and Nixon in particular was a lousy leader. (Ford's biggest stumble was actually taking the job; on the other hand, someone had to do it, and I'm not sure the tag team of Jesus Christ and Alexander the Great would have been able to do a whole lot better after Watergate.)

And of course, Ford was followed by Carter, which just shows that no matter how bad things are, they can get worse.

John F. Kennedy was shot a week before I was born, and for most of my youth I thought he was the most overrated President in hisory. After all, Kennedy was the one who turned up the heat in Vietnam, he was responsible for unleashing CIA black ops world wide (Bay of Pigs, anyone?), he nearly got us nuked in the Cuban Missle Crisis, etc. etc. He launced a space program that got us to the moon, but instituted a model that ultimately proved unsustainable.

But he was a leader. The next four men in the office were hacks and tecnhocrats without anything anyone would call a vision, and the country suffered mightily for making those choices.

The Bush Doctrine, whether it works in the short term or not, is breathing life into the idea that oppressed people in the Middle East can become free. I would posit that as a good thing. Admire him or despise him, Bush is keeping Americans focused on what we can do and what we should do in the world. I would also suggest that this debate is a generally good thing for the country.

Somebody out there is going to make a lot of money with a book comparing and contrasting JFK and W, painting both in a positive light. (Benjamin/Samuel, are you still out there?) The usual suspects will have seisures seeing Saint Kennedy paired with BeelzeBush. But that book would appeal to a lot of people who understand that it's better to have a President who focuses on what we can do than one who focuses on what we can't.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 2, 2005 07:02 AM

There are many positions in life, that once taken, it becomes psychologically impossible to reverse course.

If a person was "anti-war"(a poor phrase...not many people think war is a good thing) during Vietnam then changing course would require admitting a lot. It would also carry a tremendous amount of guilt.

Was it right to treat that 20 year old kid, who had experienced first hand, the worst of humanity, as a drug crazed baby killer?

How does a liberal left person, a champion of compassion and humanity rationalize their actions in hind-sight?

They hold on to the evil military-industrial complex concept. To do otherwise, would mean they are not compassionate, they are not champions of humanity.

Posted by: Soldier's Dad at May 2, 2005 08:02 AM

I have been wondering all this week why there has been so relatively little coverage about the tremendous surge of refugees who left Vietnam in terribly dramatic circumstances, and who were resettled in the US (and other places). I was working with a volunteer resettlement group and I heard so many stories... but all I heard this week on NPR was a travelogue to Vietnam today and some obligatory flogging of the My Lai dead horse. My conclusion is, as I wrote at "The Daily Brief", anything touching on that is a reproach to everyone who thought we should get out, and leave them to their own devices, and that everything would work out OK, and what difference would it make to the average Vietnamese where their bowl of rice came from? I have seen the figure of 2 million Vietnamese leaving after 1975, so it seems that it mattered very much, after all.

Posted by: Sgt. Mom at May 2, 2005 08:04 AM

When the US gets into wars of prevention and strategy without a direct assault, the results are like Vietnam -- or Korea, or Iraq. It's hard to rally the troops on wars based on strategy, that are not simply a reflex response to a direct attack like Pearl Harbor.

And yes, we were attacked on 9/11, but indirectly. Lots of fog there to get lost in.

One thing I will grant the Boomer generation: They were the first generation to have to absorb the meaning of nuclear war. While western adversaries were devising MAD, survival strategies were touted by government presses and films about Duck and Cover. The insanity of it all impressed Boomer kids first -- the idea of global obliteration was impressed into pre-teenage minds for the first time in history. Just about anything seems palatable in comparison to planetary fission -- leading to an affinity for 'anything but our culture' fantasies.

That the nuclear arms race came off as a cruel hoax to those kids was no joke. Yes, they were naïve, and got sucked into powerful ideologies that were self-destructive. But I really believe the core of the self-hate we see in today's western societies boils down to our ability to destroy on a totalizing scale. It's not surprising that the ideologies that evolved in opposition to Armageddon centered on self-hatred.

Posted by: Marcus Cicero at May 2, 2005 08:11 AM

“It's not at all fair to blame the horror of SE Asia in the 70s on liberals or Democrats; after all, Richard "Peace with Honor" Nixon signed a treaty with an opponent with no honor, and Gerald "Falling for You" Ford was at the helm...”

You overlook a very important distinction. Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford may have committed errors in judgment----but they believed that the United States represented the good guys and the North Vietnamese were the bad guys. America was the land of the free and Communists were the enemy of all that is decent and noble. This often was not the case with the Democrats. Many of them looked upon their own country as something vile. We were the oppressors of the planet who must be stopped. There were admittedly Scoop Jackson, Hubert Humphrey, and a number of other Democrat leaders who were proud of their country. However, they rapidly were being opposed by the radicals of their party.

Posted by: David Thomson at May 2, 2005 08:56 AM

But I really believe the core of the self-hate we see in today's western societies boils down to our ability to destroy on a totalizing scale.

That's true. I think most peace activists think Dr. Strangelove was a documentary. They see every US president, and every American as a potential Slim Pickins, riding an A-bomb and mindlessly cheering Armegeddon.

Destructive "peace" activists are the blowback we still suffer as a result of Hiroshima. They're uncomfortable with our postition at the top of the political food chain. They want us to be the krill.

Posted by: mary at May 2, 2005 09:26 AM

But I really believe the core of the self-hate we see in today's western societies boils down to our ability to destroy on a totalizing scale.

That's true.

I don't think so. I think it is false. I think the self hate came from pursuing the ideal of replacing liberal western civilization with socialism. In the process the old civilization needed to be discredited. Unfortunately, the "new" civilization didn't amount to much: in the west it amounted to free nooky, in the former colonies and undeveloped nations it amounted to a cargo cult approach to industrialization and the spread of wealth. The failures are legion: poor Russia, poor Africa, poor Vietnam, poor Cuba. No matter how much blood is sacrificed to appease the Gods of History nothing succeeds. But what the hey, the folks who promoted these disasters meant well; that justifies everything I suppose.

Posted by: chuck at May 2, 2005 09:47 AM

I am the Socialist Boogyman! Boogy boogy boogy boo! In my thrall I hold vast armies of lazy undergrads who believe they're socialists because they read some stuff in a history class! Don't forget Ward Churchill, my Grand Field Marshall, who people totally cared about and listened to before Bill O'Reilly started talking about him! And some more guys that no one cares about and will never amount to anything!

Woooooo! Did I scare you? Good, I hope so, because if you're not careful and tax rates go above a magic limit, I will automagically take over the world!

I'm not dead. I'm totally alive. I swear!

Posted by: Socialist Boogyman at May 2, 2005 09:55 AM

I am the Socialist Boogyman! Boogy boogy boogy boo!

Sounds about right, you sure got the intellect part down pat.

Posted by: chuck at May 2, 2005 10:50 AM

Socialist boogeyman,

it seems you're not really a boogeyman at all.

Why America needs to be Defeated in Iraq:

"For myself, I can say without hesitation that I support the insurgency, and would do so even if my only 21 year old son was serving in Iraq. There’s simply no other morally acceptable option."

full

http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_17271.shtml

In the words of Charles Johnson at LGF, you’ll never read a better statement of the far left’s diseased, inverted reality.

Posted by: spaniard at May 2, 2005 12:26 PM

Indeed. My strength grows by the minute. Every nutjob posting on Indymedia, every fringe article written, every washed-out hippie organizing a meeting of the 5-person tri-state chapter of the vanguard party - they each feed my bottomless appetite for power!

Every time a socialist meeting ends with the group splitting over some archana, do not be fooled. The party does not become weaker simply because they have 2 members each. Nay, it simply means that there are two parties! The Judean Peoples' Front and the Peoples' Front of Judea!

Just because my followers are relegated to the far left does not mean that my fringe appeal will not someday take over! Deep in the hearts of every patriotic, freedom loving Liberal lurks....ME!

Boogity boogity boo!

Posted by: Socialist Boogyman at May 2, 2005 12:33 PM

Man oh man, this comment section is deteriorating. Come home soon Michael.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 2, 2005 12:43 PM

Why America needs to be Defeated in Iraq:

Yes, because a single blog post by some guy none of us has ever heard of is so, so representative of "the left."

Bullshit. No liberal supports Islamic fascism. If they say they do, they're not a liberal.

Posted by: Steve at May 2, 2005 02:08 PM

“No liberal supports Islamic fascism.”

But do some liberals so despise their own country that deep in their guts that want the Islamic nihilists to win? Are they secretly gleeful when something bad happens in the Middle East? That’s the real question.

Posted by: David Thomson at May 2, 2005 04:58 PM

Peering into my magic mind-reading crystal ball, I'd reckon that the rate of American-hating extremism is probably about the same on the Left and Right. Of course, since my magic mind-reading crystal ball is pretend, like most of the discussions that take place here, I guess we'll never know. But every time someone publishes article X by extremist Y and waves it around shouting "since X is critical of the same things that my political enemies are, my political enemies are just as crazy as X!", we're lowering the level of discourse. Just a bit.

My opinion: Republicans are much better at dominating political discourse than are Democrats, so it's been much easier to point at crazy Leftists and say that all liberals are just like them - when equally crazy things are being said by your average far-right wacko on freerepublic.com. So we have a situation where, whenever a liberal wants to say something, we must first go through the whole process of condemning liberals for hating freedom, the liberal has to prove he or she hates tyranny, the liberal has to condemn Ward Churchill, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah....

Posted by: The Commenter at May 2, 2005 05:11 PM

The post was addressed at Socialist Boogeyman.

I wouldn't say it represents the Liberal view, but it does represent the far Left view-- and socialists are far Left.

Posted by: spaniard at May 2, 2005 05:12 PM

I wouldn't say it represents the Liberal view, but it does represent the far Left view-- and socialists are far Left.

Ah, the political wisdom of the commenter now known as Spaniard, the living expert on all things Left. Nasty leftists, twirling thier waxed moustaches and giggling their leftist giggles.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 2, 2005 06:56 PM

Mary, good post; and thank you, thank you, neo-neocon & Dean. Vietnam is really important, and evaluating the results of a policy followed are crucial.

Allow me to note that I called Kerry on the "Moral Superiority" War about Vietnam when the Swifties came out. http://tomgrey.motime.com/1093629194#330293

I said before that the US should apologize to the Vietnamese -- for not winning; for not learning how to do Vietnamization, right. (Starting with supporting THEM in doing security?)

I note in neo-neocon's excellent list of excuses, no mention of Nixon -- I think the Watergate scandal, "Nixon's the one", allowed most folk to blame ALL the bad outcomes on Tricky Dicky.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at May 2, 2005 07:06 PM

But do some liberals so despise their own country that deep in their guts that want the Islamic nihilists to win? Are they secretly gleeful when something bad happens in the Middle East? That’s the real question.

Once again: look up what "liberal" means. If you want the Islamic nihilists to win, consciously or not, then you are by definition not a liberal.

Spaniard- Far left and liberal are as different from each other as night and day.

"Commenter"- You're spot-on about the Article X/Extremist Y thing. If Sean Hannity weren't allowed to use that one, he'd have about two minutes of material per day.

Posted by: Stephen Silver at May 2, 2005 07:45 PM

DPU,

you're no great mystery. Some of the Left's strongest and most vociferous opponents are ex-Libs and Leftists themselves.

Posted by: spaniard at May 2, 2005 07:48 PM

you're no great mystery. Some of the Left's strongest and most vociferous opponents are ex-Libs and Leftists themselves.

Possibly because many leftists have the personal disposition to question their own ideas and challenge the dogma of the left as well as the right. I suspect that would be unlikely from deep thinkers like yourself.

Although I'm pleasantly surprised to see a number of conservatives, obviously unencumbered with a lot of personal crap disguised as politics, who are honestly and thoughtfully questioning some of the actions of their political creed in the last two of years. Some commenters here included.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 2, 2005 08:13 PM

DPU,

notice each and every time I go after the Left, you go after me personally.

Kimmit and FC did the same thing.

Deep thinking indeed.

Posted by: spaniard at May 2, 2005 08:17 PM

notice each and every time I go after the Left, you go after me personally.

Kimmit and FC did the same thing.

Deep thinking indeed.

I have no problem with you or anyone else going after the left, as the left has as many mistakes and episodes of shameful history as any political ideology on that's ever existed.

You just go after it in such a stupid drooling way that it's hard not to say something. Maybe Kimmit and FC felt the same way. I find it especially childish that you think you can go around saying the most insulting things about people's political beliefs and then not expect to get called on it, and can't receive a few jabs in returns without insinuating that I'll be banned because of it. That, I believe, is Michael's role. He sets the tone here, not you, and if I receive warning from him that I'm making comments that he doesn't care for, then I'll change my tone if I wish to remain commenting here. You, on the other hand, can kiss my left-wing posterior.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 2, 2005 09:38 PM

As for the whole Leftist/liberal issue, I think the problem is the conflation of a small, marginalized fringe with that side of the political spectrum in general. We're not going to take the writings of some "God's Army of Whiteness" group and hold them up as an example of conservative ideology, so there's no need to do the same for liberals. Extreme Leftists, the kind we're talking about here - the "socialists", the "we heart Islamic radicalism", the "down with America, close all the barber shops" types - these people are not only marginalized within American politics, they're marginalized within the left wing of American political discourse. No one takes themselves seriously except for themselves and, apparently, conservative blog commenters.

As for the Vietnam issue: I admit, I'm not expert on the situation. I post-date the war, so I can't say much for the motivations of the anti-war crowd, but I can speculate (after all, what are blogs for if not totally uninformed speculation passed off as analysis?). It seems to me that people who opposed the war did so because they believed the continuation of the war and of American involvement in it were worse than a victory by the North. Considering that over a million Vietnamese died in the course of our involvement and our alternative to the North was a series of unpopular dictatorships in the South, the Vietnamese people were damned either way. There was simply no good outcome for that one.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 05:57 AM

Two points: I'd love to see concrete examples of the Left policing it's own bad actors instead of seeing stories like this from the supposedly politically-neutral AP:

BOULDER, Colo. - Stacks of papers sit on a sun-drenched table in the home of University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, some full of praise and others full of dark threats and unprintable insults.
In one message, liberal scholar Noam Chomsky calls Churchill's achievements of inestimable value, while an e-mail in another pile warns: "If you ever come to Florida, I will personally bash your (expletive) brains in."

(Sorry for the link to my own site; the Yahoo! link to the original story has expired.)

Now, to your casual reader of the news, these opening graphs make it sound like the knuckle-dragging right is yet again persecuting some poor academic who dares step outside the cultural norms of beef, Jesus, and doilies. ("Liberal scholar Noam Chomsky" as a character reference. Holy cow.)

Or, for a compare and contrast example; David Duke is radioactive to the Right; Al Sharpton gets to share debate time with real Democratic Presidential nominees.

Next point: saying the Vietnamese were damned either way kind of misses the point; if our allies were ill-served by our measures, we had a responsibility to change those measures, not to abandon our allies. And your central thesis is open to easy refutation; Vietnam didn't produce boat people until after the North took over. (Poling's Rule: Watch the direction of and rate of refugee flow to find out which side has the bad guys and how bad they really are.) Now, if you're saying we couldn't have won, that argument I can respect; if you're saying winning wouldn't have been any better than losing, that I can't.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 3, 2005 06:47 AM
Re: Ward Churchill. I believe the best liberal/left-wing response to the Ward Churchill walking strawman was from The Apostropher:
Ward Churchill has proven to be a completely inadequate foil for the right, because the uniform response of everybody on the left was 1) "Who the fuck is Ward Churchill?" followed immediately by 2) "Oh, I see: an idiot."
Personally, I'd like to move on, as I'd never heard of this loon before, and plan to forget about him as soon as possible. But he's such a delight to the right -- he confirms the worst possible mental image of the left that some hold, and they just aren't going to abandon him. Rather than his actual identity as a marginal flaky professor spouting off extremist imaginings tarted up as political discourse, I think there are many convinced that he's the intellectual center of some enormous leftist cabal.

News Flash - he isn't.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 09:01 AM

Oops, and note to Mark, I know that you were already saying that he was a marginal character.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 09:13 AM

Well, just to be fair (and for all those nice people who asked) I thought I'd come back through and see if I had overblown the level of idiotic discourse that has taken over.

blink

Wow, Mike still takes great photography and writes nice travel reports.

Everything else?

ick.

Don't say I didn't try,

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at May 3, 2005 09:22 AM

C'mon back into the mosh pit, Rat. Just watch out for the head butts.

Or is that the other way around?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 09:24 AM

What a delightful study of mental framing we could make of that little comment you make, Mr. Poling.

I imagine, yes, that if your "mental frame" for "newspapers" was something like "newspapers portray conservatives badly", then we could infer that this was another example of such a thing. That is, if you assume bias, you will see it.

However, if you step back and look at the quote, it goes something like this: a professor receives some support and some criticism.

Hm...

Note also that the one person mentioned in support is labled as a "liberal", while the political leaning of the (murderous) critic is not mentioned. I suppose that you could infer that the (murderous) critic's political leaning was conservative, if only for symmetry's sake, or if your "mental frame" for murderous critics implied conservative. However, if not, then the labeling of Churchill's supporter as a "liberal" draws a connection between support for Churchill and liberals that did not previously exist.

The article also does not refer to Chomsky as a "character reference" - it simply states that Chomsky offered his support. Considering that most liberals haven't heard of Chomsky or Churchill, it seems an unnecessary connection to draw between the two (and liberals, implicitly).

So, I suppose that if your mental frame was to seek anti-liberal bias in the piece, it would be just as easy to find that - a connection between two marginalized extremists and liberals that didn't exist but is stated. No such connection is explicitly made between conservatives, murder, and expletives.

I suppose that if you're willing to pretend that there are things in that quote that aren't - that the second writer is a conservative, that Chomsky is offered a character witness - then you can also pretend that there is anti-conservative bias here. If you would simply like to read the words that actually exist, you find a "liberal" supporting someone that can only be considered a liberal if you believe that "if someone is critical of X, then he or she is representative of all people critical of X for any reason".

I'm not a fan of Al Sharpton either. I'm also not a fan of wildly popular conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, who once wished that all liberals could be rounded up and killed, or Ann Coulter, who has called for a global Crusade (in the very medieval sense) against Muslim-majority countries. I'm not a huge fan of the fact that Christian fundamentalists have access to Bush and help shape Republican agendas.

In general, I'm not happy about a lot, I suppose. But them's the breaks.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 09:26 AM

DPU: I find it especially childish that you think you can go around saying the most insulting things about people's political beliefs and then not expect to get called on it, and can't receive a few jabs in returns without insinuating that I'll be banned because of it. That, I believe, is Michael's role. He sets the tone here, not you, and if I receive warning from him that I'm making comments that he doesn't care for, then I'll change my tone if I wish to remain commenting here. You, on the other hand, can kiss my left-wing posterior.

DPU,

Go do another name search on me, see what other dirt you can dig up. It's for the cause, and if you're a Lefty you can do no wrong for the cause.

Contrary to your bloviation above, the only ones asking for Michael to come back and "take control" is you, and the ones accusing others of being trolls was FC, not me. I'm not into enforcing speech codes or banning hate speech (not that I even believe in hate speech). I simply address someone's post, or I ignore it.

I've simply noticed your responses (unlike say Marcus's) are personal, that's all. And I would say that's common the farther Left you go on the spectrum, the more it becomes about personal attacks.

So fire away with the personal attacks DPU. The only reason the things I say get under your skin is because I'm right on the money.

Fire away with the last word-- you're famous for them.

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 09:28 AM

Noticed you stayed away from that whole Sharpton thing....

No, seriously, the Left has every reason to try to sweep Ward Churchill under the rug, but he's so conveniently symptomatic of the Ivory Tower's moral blindness within certain spectrums. Praise terrorism publicly? Not a peep from within the ivy-coated walls. Postulate that their may be qualitative differences between the sexes? Off with his head!

The mind reels. You'd think people who supposedly actually read Orwell would recognize some of the signs.

Finally DPU, you want to move on? Promise never to bring up TANG again and I'll promise never to bring up some talking point more than a month old.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 3, 2005 09:32 AM

Fire away with the last word-- you're famous for them.

David! You're back, how delightful to see you again. You just disappeared just after Carlos started posting, what happened?

As far as "personal attacks" go, if some troll here started spouting off about Chimpy McHitler, I think they would be deserving of a few shots, don't you? Your characterizations about the left are equally simplistic and insulting. If you want to start a critical dialog on socialism based on actual issues, then please be my guest. But I don't have much hope of it going much beyond a farce, as you haven't demonstrated much knowledge of political issues as either David, Carlos, or Spaniard.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 09:36 AM

Promise never to bring up TANG again and I'll promise never to bring up some talking point more than a month old.

Um, okay. What's TANG? Did I bring it up at some point?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 09:38 AM

Clarification: 'Twixt starting my last comment and clicking "post" a whole lot of stuff hit the thread. Sorry for any cognitive dissonance, and I'll try to keep up next time.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 3, 2005 09:38 AM

In Vietnam, the dilemma was this: how many Vietnamese lives, and how many US lives, and how much money, was it worth losing in a war in which vital US interests were PROBABLY not at stake, but in which we POSSIBLY may have been able to bring a better life to the Vietnamese in the event we prevailed?

These were questions on which reasonable people could differ, and did. The people calling for "victory to the vietcong" were a tiny minority of the antiwar movement.

"David Duke is radioactive to the Right; Al Sharpton gets to share debate time with real Democratic Presidential nominees."

Well, Duke is a much much more extreme figure than Sharpton. He hangs out with neo-Nazis, sells neo-Nazi literature, openly embraces all the key tenets of white separatism and antisemitism. He's a bona-fide blow dried fascist, who got 60% of the white vote when he ran for governor in 1990. The national Republicans, to their credit, have distanced themselves from him.

I'm not a Sharpton fan at all, but he's no longer the race demagogue he used to be. I know all about Tawana Brawley and Crown Heights, but since his 1994 race against Moynihan, he's pretty consistently become just another typical black, liberal New York City politician.

The left-wing equivalent of Duke would be a Churchill, or a Louis Farrakhan, or LaRouche, who most certainly were not invited to the Democratic debates.

Posted by: markus rose at May 3, 2005 09:39 AM

Texas Air National Guard.

I'd have to do a search, but I believe that at some point during the last election cycle you made a few references to draft-dodging Presidents, and I don't remember it being about Clinton.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 3, 2005 09:40 AM

Oh wait, I remember, the Texas nationa guard thing. I did talk a bit about those memos, both here and on my own blog. Here's a link.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 09:40 AM

Commenter, ever hear of Leni Riefenstahl? Framing counts.

The AP article I cited was a pure puff piece ("Stacks of papers sit on a sun-drenched table...") profiling a teacher of University students, who just happened to say the people in the WTC got what was coming to them.

Originally we were talking about the Left doing a poor job of keeping the creeps and the freaks out of the house. Saying "don't mind that guy with the AK-47 behind the podium" isn't going to make him go away. And tut-tutting about some story painting him as a martyr does... not... help.

Marcus Rose:
I'm not a Sharpton fan at all, but he's no longer the race demagogue he used to be. I know all about Tawana Brawley and Crown Heights, but since his 1994 race against Moynihan, he's pretty consistently become just another typical black, liberal New York City politician.

Too true... I'd just leave out the "black" qualifier though. True, but not significant to the story. Sigh.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 3, 2005 09:59 AM

I agree with Mark P. - the liberals/democrats, and the MSM too, do a poor job of marginalizing the extreme Leftists. This makes liberals easy targets since the distinctions between the reasonable people and fringe elements are continually blurred. Losing an debate with a liberal? Just start attacking them with quotes from Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand, and Noam Chomsky.

David Horowitz describes it this way in his piece Liberals and Leftists in a Time of War

It is this amalgamation of forces on the left – both liberal and radical – that makes the present task of distinguishing patriots who disagree with the policies in Iraq from anti-American radicals who want to bring down the “empire.” This latter group rarely expresses its goals as candidly as Professor DeGenova did at the Columbia teach-in. That is because it is aware that its revolutionary goals constitute an outlaw agenda the vast majority of Americans would reject.

It would be far easier to separate this anti-American left from patriotic critics, if the patriots would do some of the separating themselves. It is difficult to establish such a separation, for example, when leaders of the Democratic Party are embracing unsavory figures like Michael Moore, or when anti-American radicals become Democratic Party legislators. It is difficult when prominent figures in the Democratic Party embrace MoveOn.org radicals who opposed the war in Afghanistan and allow them to become one of the principal funders of the Party’s campaigns. Further complicating the task of clarity is the existence of an entire Internet industry, funded by liberal donors, whose agenda is to smear conservatives as “rednecks,” “racists” and “witch-hunters” whose agenda is to tar any criticism of the war as unpatriotic.

Posted by: markytom at May 3, 2005 10:14 AM

Your characterizations about the left are equally simplistic and insulting. If you want to start a critical dialog on socialism based on actual issues, then please be my guest. But I don't have much hope of it going much beyond a farce, as you haven't demonstrated much knowledge of political issues as either David, Carlos, or Spaniard.

DPU,

I quote you a Leftist who says that he wants the insurgents to win, and that makes you mad at me, not him. That's supposed to reflect on my knowledge, says you. So if you, DPU, can discredit me personally, goes the thinking, then you can make the words of the Left, which I quote, vanish into thin air without you having to address them. Neat trick, or maybe you're just a naive ignorant? I doubt the latter.

Not that ignorance is a sin. Yet in your visceral reactions to my own purported ignorance, one would think that it is a sin. You protest too much, DPU, you protest too much. Too much emotion in you DPU. I'm hitting a nerve.

So essentially you're mad because I quoted the Left. Or perhaps you're mad because this Leftist I quoted is an isolated voice? He isn't. He's all too common. And instead of making the case that he is an isolated Leftist moron, you go into ad hominem mode against me to silence me and make it all go away? It's not going to vanish into thin air, DPU. I'll continue bringing you free of charge any and all Leftist lunacy that I find out there.

You, DPU, have been on this blog hitching a ride on the backs of American Liberals-- wishing to be taken seriously, as they still are. But you aren't one of them. You are nothing but a socialist, a hard Leftist, a blame America firster. In other words, pretend as you may, you're no Marcus. In fact, you sanctimoniously proclaimed yourself an orthodox socialist. You're exactly the Left I'm talking about, not the Marcus Libs. The pro-insurgent Lefist I quoted is all yours.

Which is why what I say about the Left slides right off the backs of Marcus Liberals, but it sticks in the craw of DPU Leftists. Shows I'm right on the money.

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 10:15 AM

Mark,

I'm not sure how to break this to you, but...

It doesn't matter what Churchill was saying. It does not matter for the following reasons:

1) Churchill is a fringe lunatic. Everyone except for fringe lunatics acknowledged this until he became Bill O'Reilly's poster-boy for liberals everywhere. Let me emphasize this: he only matters so long as people care what he has to say, and the only people listening, apparently, are conservatives.

2) No one forces a student to attend a university, to take a class, or (and this is the most important part) to listen or care what the professor's viewpoints were. Considering that half of Americans voted for Bush, the effectiveness of the vast evil-liberal-university-indoctrination-program is called into question. That, or its existence.

3) Churchill is not a man with a gun. He is, let me repeat, a man who says words to which no one listens. There is a huge, huge number of nutjobs in the world saying a variety of crazy things. The best thing in the world is to simply ignore them - you feed them by giving them attention. Makes me wonder why I comment here...

You can interpret the article as a "puff piece" if you want. You can compare the AP to a Nazi film maker if you want. You can, if you want, get your panties into a bunch over Ward Churchill. I have to warn you, though, you're the only one who will be.

That reminds me of something, slightly off topic. Think of homophobes - not the average, run-of-the-mill type, but the ones who run around with signs that say "God Hates Fags" and stuff like that, or who spend years of their lives dedicated to banning gay marriage. These people, they hate gays so much that they are consumed by them - you'd have to think about gay sex an awful lot to actually lobby your government to make gay sex illegal. That takes a lot of effort. So we've got a bunch of people who hate gays so much that they cannot stop thinking about gay sex.

I shall now draw an anology: Ward Churchill is a nobody, except to the people who hate him so much that they can't stop thinking about it.

Mark, considering the enormous number of crazies in the world, and the volume of craziness they say and write, the best thing - for everyone involved - is to ignore them. Churchill wasn't hurting anyone by being a jackass, but you're certainly hurting yourselves ("yourselves" = "conservatives") by obsessing over him.

One more thing: it is disingenuous to talk about "the Left doing a poor job of keeping the creeps and the freaks out of the house". By "Left" you either mean "fringe radical leftists", in which case, what does it matter? Or by "Left" you mean "liberals", in which case I call bullshit: Churchill has never been a part of my house. So stop suggesting that he is - that because I'm a liberal I have some responsibility to take care of him. There's not enough time in the world to "Sistah Soulja" every nutjob who dislikes the same things that you or I dislike.

That's what's so frustrating, I say again: to have a nutjob come out of nowhere and suddenly be told that because he dislikes some things that I also dislike, for different reasons, that he and I heart each other. Well, guess what, bucko? Since Prince Abdullah and George Bush made with the kissy, I now accuse you, Mark Poling, of having a hard-on for the Saudi Royal Family.

Mark Poling supports terrorism! Mark Poling wants to marry Osama bin Laden! Time for the Right to start cleaning house and kicking out all the terrorist-sympathizers.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 10:22 AM

You, DPU, have been on this blog hitching a ride on the backs of American Liberals-- wishing to be taken seriously, as they still are. But you aren't one of them. You are nothing but a socialist, a hard Leftist, a blame America firster. In other words, pretend as you may, you're no Marcus. In fact, you sanctimoniously proclaimed yourself an orthodox socialist. You're exactly the Left I'm talking about, not the Marcus Libs. The pro-insurgent Lefist I quoted is all yours.

Well now, here's the thing -- I haven't said anything pro-insurgent. Ever. And yet you keep trying to paint me with that brush. Why is that?

And yes, I'm a socialist, although I don't know about "orthodox", as that's a big field, and there is no official strain of that political creed. Doesn't really matter though, because you are so pig-ignorant about political theory in general that merely the label is enough to set you off on a screed. The fact that I'm pro-democracy, anti-authoritarian, pro-individual rights, pro-human rights, and pro-free market makes not a whit of difference to your minimal understanding of the term "socialist."

Eh, go ahead, keep up with your inner debates with demon leftists, David/Carlos/Spaniard, or continue with your bizarre on-line personality changes and cartoonish left-wing sock puppetry. You're too far out on the fringe for me. The last word is yours.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 10:42 AM

“I shall now draw an anology: Ward Churchill is a nobody, except to the people who hate him so much that they can't stop thinking about it.”

The heck with Ward Churchill. This is the bottom line: the Democrats who hold the veto power over that party’s presidential nominee are uneasy with American Exceptionalism. These are people who, first, last, and foremost, consider themselves citizens of the world. Their allegiance to the United States is of secondary importance. Never forget how poorly Senator Joseph Lieberman did in last year’s primaries. Do you want to see the new face of the Democratic Party? Well, all you have to do is visit the Daily Kos. The Dude rocks and takes no prisoners. Numerous Democratic politicians dare not displease him.

Posted by: David Thomson at May 3, 2005 10:50 AM

Double,

your fascination with online monikers is amusing. It borders on neurotic. Is "Double Plus Ungood" your REAL name? Do you reveal anything of yourself with your moniker that I don't? Do you see how insane your obsession is?

That's great you're "pro-democracy". Any Leftist moron cheering for the Iraq "minutemen" will say the same thing. In fact they do it BECAUSE they are pro-democracy, they say.

Not that I care what you, DPU, believe. My analysis of the Left is based on the general, not the specific, so what YOU personally believe is only of marginal of interest to me.

What arrogance of you to think that YOU are the standard by which ANYTHING should be judged.

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 10:50 AM

People, people...

I'm just as guilty of this as all of you, but please, please remember that fighting online is like competing in the Special Olympics.

Win or lose, we're just a bunch of retards. Let's all, myself included, just chill a little.

We won't win any battles, or change the world, or even change any minds, it seems, at the rate we're going. Nothing more vital is at stake than pointing out how stupid someone you've never met is? Than nothing is at stake.

Chillax, as the kids say.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 10:55 AM

This is the bottom line: the Democrats who hold the veto power over that party’s presidential nominee are uneasy with American Exceptionalism

David-

No matter how many times you repeat this lie (this is at least the 20th) it's still not true.

Posted by: Steve at May 3, 2005 11:15 AM

Chillax, as the kids say.

Chilled, as requested.

But, as you've pointed out, we're not here to convince others. It's primal scream therapy.

Besides, you're all figments of my imagination.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 11:29 AM

3) Churchill is not a man with a gun. He is, let me repeat, a man who says words to which no one listens.

Ward Churchill and the AK-47

Oddly enough, "Satya Magazine is a monthly publication focusing on vegetarianism, environmentalism, animal advocacy, and social justice." Guess the vegetables, wetlands, and bunny rabbits pay for the advertising. Or maybe it's privately funded by Batman.

Oddly enough, I believe that as a tenured professor at a University that receives a lot of funding, Ward Churchill is in my house, not just yours, and I don't like it. But I do like the roach analogy; just because I've seen one and done something about it, I don't think for a minute I've taken care of the whole problem.

Oddly enough, I called Bush to task for being too cozy with the Saudis in a different thread. And I'm sick and tired of the kowtowing to the religious right fringe groups by Congressional Republicans. So much so that I'm contemplating a vow to actively campaign AGAINST any Republican -- any -- in 2006.

Oddly enough, I never said (or even implied, I think) that you personally are a fan of Ward Churchill. But I will imply that you tolerate people who are.

And oddly enough, I think that's a problem for Liberalism, and oddly enough, as a Libertarian I think that's a problem for our country as a whole.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 3, 2005 11:31 AM

Satya Magazine

If you'd heard of Satya Magazine before today, raise your hand.

And keep it down, before pointing the finger at liberals for not "denouncing" it yet.

Posted by: Steve at May 3, 2005 11:34 AM

Oddly enough, I never said (or even implied, I think) that you personally are a fan of Ward Churchill. But I will imply that you tolerate people who are.

I think this is directed at The Commenter, but isn't that all tied up in something called freedom of thought or of expression, or something? I don't understand the use of the word "tolerate" here. I suspect that there are a great number of professors in the world that have opinions that I strongly disagree with. Are we all (left and right) supposed to hunt them out and pillory them? Why isn't it sufficient to just ignore them?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 11:41 AM

“David-

No matter how many times you repeat this lie (this is at least the 20th) it's still not true.”

Why take my word for anything? Who am I? Instead, you merely need to visit the Daily Kos. This guy is the real deal. The national Democratic revolves around him. Gosh, perhaps you don’t know how to Google. In that case, I will provide you with the link to his blog:

http://www.dailykos.com/

Ain’t I a nice guy? This guy can raise a lot of cash almost immediately. He cannot be marginalized. Money talks, and bull excrement walks.

Posted by: David Thomson at May 3, 2005 12:09 PM

In that case, I will provide you with the link to his blog:

http://www.dailykos.com/

Ain’t I a nice guy?

You may be a sweet guy, but your HTML skills suck. That's providing the URL, not the link.

Here's the link:

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 12:12 PM

You're all figments of my imagination. - DPU

True.

Why isn't it sufficient to just ignore them? - DPU

How are you suppose to ignore them when they go on a national tour to stir shit up? I'd be happy to ignore him if Churchill didn't come to my town to make love with the anti-Israel folks in Berkeley. Then we have Juan Cole on NPR radio spots essentially doing the same.

Posted by: d-rod at May 3, 2005 12:19 PM

DPU, I'm all for freedom of thought; what I'm not for is the idea that every thought is equally good, true, positive, or whatever valuation system you want to attach to it. (Well, I should qualify that as every thought that comes from not-Right....) I certainly don't want Ward Churchill to go to jail. I do want people in the street to spit at his feet. (Fortunately, in this regard I'm pretty well satisfied.)

It's not enough to just ignore his kind of poisonous crap. It's got to be socially painful to spout this stuff. And places where it's safe to spout this stuff should be identified and as agressively attacked, lest we get the hell shocked out of us someday, a la Timothy McVeigh, or worse, a truly effective terror network within our own culture. I'm not confident that such a thing couldn't exist; if it comes into being, it will be because reasonable people become comfortable with simply ignoring unreasonable people.

Odd that this thread got onto the Bogus Injun. Mary started it by talking about how our generation deals today with the consequences of the Vietnam experience. Churchill's whole persona is modelled on the domestic revolutionaries of the period. If you could look past the controversy about "little Eichmans", if you could just tune out his hateful words into "yada, yada, yada", Ward Churchill would seem, well, retro. Quaint. Harmless.

Sorry. I don't find this stuff amusing anymore. We got to 9/11 by being complascent. Never again.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 3, 2005 12:21 PM

d-rod, good to see you.

(1) What's with all the caps on your blog? And in my comments section? A new look, or has someone hacked it?

(2) I ignore people on national tour all the time. Is he advertising on TV or something? (Michael Moore advertised on his speaking tour here in Canada, but I haven't seen Churchill do the same, so I claim ignorance.) Even so, it can still be ignored, in the same way I ignore Fox News and televised sports.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 12:26 PM

Daily Kos. This guy is the real deal. The national Democratic [sic] revolves around him

What evidence is there of this, other than the fact that you say it does?

Let's go through this again: the radical far left does NOT have a veto over who the Democratic presidential nominee is. If they did, the nominee last year would've been Dean (or Kucinich, or Sharpton, etc.) If Kerry was their "compromise" candidate, then they must be so radical after all.

In fact, the far left wing of the Democratic party has been unhappy with the presidential nominee, well, every election since 1992, believing that Clinton, Gore, and Kerry were all too centrist.

The DLC has considerably more power in this regard than Kos ever has or ever will, which is why the nominee in '08 will likely be Edwards, Hillary, Biden, or Bayh. Liberals all, but none even close to where Kos is on the spectrum.

Posted by: Steve at May 3, 2005 12:26 PM

It's not enough to just ignore his kind of poisonous crap. It's got to be socially painful to spout this stuff. And places where it's safe to spout this stuff should be identified and as agressively attacked, lest we get the hell shocked out of us someday, a la Timothy McVeigh, or worse, a truly effective terror network within our own culture.

To my mind, that's the chain of thought that leads down a bad road. Here in Canada, we have certain laws the prevent freedom of speech should the speech be considered "dangerous." I find these laws ineffective and prone to misuse. Besides, when people are muzzled like this (or because they fear popular retribution), they take on the air of a martyr to freedom.

Screw that. The most effective way of dealing with opinions you disagree with is to ignore them. The fear that others will be swayed by them is usually unwarranted. And if it hadn't been for the big fuss made about this guy, he'd still only be preaching to the students flaky enough to take his class, or those reading obscure webzines.

If he's making threats, or inciting violent revolution, or making plans for terrorist attacks, then there are laws in place and law enforcement people to deal with it. If he's doing none of those things, then he isn't a problem. Declaring pure opinions or ideas to be dangerous is a problem.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 12:35 PM

Oddly enough, Satay magazine also features an interview with Ted Rall, who, in his current war against the world, is now pissing off the Zoroastrians.

The problem with many 'progressive' and activist organizations - they don't report homicidal threats or even actual murders to the police, as we saw with San Francisco Indymedia's reaction to the killing of policeman David Mobilio by an 'anti-corporate' activist.

Indymedia and their readers didn't report a murder confession because they were convinced that Ashcroft was watching them anyway.

Speaking of sociopaths, did anyone read the entire Satay interview with Ward Churchill? Here's a clip:
So if it takes eradication of the beast [the USA] from within, how would you see that happening?

Well, first the withdrawal of consent, people imbued with consciousness to withdraw altogether from an embrace of the state.

..I want the state gone: transform the situation to U.S. out of North America. U.S. off the planet. Out of existence altogether.

So what does that look like?

There’s no U.S. in America anymore. What’s on the map instead? Well let’s just start with territoralities often delineated in treaties of fact—territoralities of 500 indigenous nations imbued with an inalienable right to self-determination, definable territoralities which are jurisdictionally separate. Then you’ve got things like the internal diasporic population of African Americans in internal colonies that have been established by the imposition of labor patterns upon them. You’ve got Appalachian whites. Since the U.S. unilaterally violated its treaty obligations, it forfeits its rights—or presumption of rights—under international law. Basically, you’ve got a dismantlement and devolution of the U.S. territorial and jurisdictional corpus into something that would be more akin to diasporic self-governing entities and a multiplicity of geographical locations. A-ha, chew on that one for awhile.

I'd like to think that he was chewing on peyote at the time, but he always sounds that way. There's not enough peyote left to fuel that.

Churchill and his supporters do require some attention. They're doing a tour?

Posted by: mary at May 3, 2005 01:02 PM

Mary-

That sort of thing is so completely looney-tunes that yes, I believe it is best ignored. Because bringing it out into the open only brings Churchill into the "national discussion," where he doesn't belong.

Posted by: Steve at May 3, 2005 01:12 PM

The problem with that, Mary, is that Indymedia is also something I'd classify as a lunatic asylum. The conflation of "liberal" with "crazy lunatic fringe" is, you know, tiring and insulting. I'd say that Democratic Underground and Indymedia are the left-wing equivalents of Free Republic.

But, what about the original post that we're all supposed to be debating?

I think some people have pointed out the similarities between calls to pull out of Vietnam with current calls to pull out of Iraq. I'd like to point out that someone can make a principled case for withdrawal that has everything to do with fighting terrorism.

The Bush administration has pushed the line that to create a time table for withdrawal will "embolden" the insurgency in Iraq. There are plenty of reasons to think that Bush has already done plenty to embolden the insurgency, especially with his "bring it on" rhetoric, and considering the increasing rate of violence despite a number of steps to stop it (elections, etc.).

There has been little talk, however, of emboldening the people of Iraq. What little we know of Iraqi public opinion indicates that a large majority would like the US to leave. If we were to establish a timetable for withdrawal - stating that once certain criteria were met, the US would commence withdrawing - could offer the Iraqi people a greater incentive to achieve those criteria.

This isn't a call to withdraw - this is to point out that all of these arguments (withdrawal will embolden the terrorists, withdrawal will embolden the Iraqi people and cut support for the insurgency, and so forth) are attempts to read the future and people's minds, and as such are speculation. There's no use in pretending to call it "educated guessing" because, honestly, who here can claim to be able to predict accurately what millions of Iraqis would do under those circumstances?

Personally, I don't know where I stand on withdrawal - I'd like to see this thing through, though it seems like it will take the better part of a decade for the situation to resemble our goals. The threat of emboldening terrorists doesn't really strike me as all that important - don't the terrorists seem pretty bold already? A number of Iraqi tribal and Sunni leaders have said they would support the US if given a clear indication of when we'll be leaving - it seems like there might be more incentive for clearly demarcating a future withdrawal.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 01:19 PM

What's with all the caps on your blog? And in my comments section? A new look, or has someone hacked it? - DPU

Somebody whacked it. Hopefully, it will return to normal soon.

Posted by: d-rod at May 3, 2005 01:20 PM

Commenter - The conflation of "liberal" with "crazy lunatic fringe" is, you know, tiring and insulting. I'd say that Democratic Underground and Indymedia are the left-wing equivalents of Free Republic.

Indymedia is 'progressive'. As a 'progressive' magazine, they are linked to and respected by other 'progressive' journals like Common Dreams. Is 'progressive' equivalent to liberal?

I used to think they were, but now, I'm glad to realize that they are two entirely different entities.

Steve - I think we should be paying attention to these groups, to commenters like Lunacy who says:

So let me get this straight - he formed a corporation to take on another corporation and then settles for taking on a low-level lackey? Talk about shooting low.

What a baffoon. I mean, he provides his own answer in his small-minded, immensely generalized manifesto: you can't beat a financial machine through small-time physical violence.

or truth sayer who says:
for every pig offed by a person there are a hundred inocent people offed by pigs andy you are a hero and a patriot

Indymedia is not a lunatic fringe. These "progressives" are a hate group threatening and preaching violence, more equivalent to the KKK and the National Alliance than to the Free Republic.

It's never a good idea to ignore hate groups preaching violence.

Posted by: mary at May 3, 2005 01:50 PM

d-rod - All caps works pretty well with the Costa Rica photos

Posted by: mary at May 3, 2005 01:56 PM

Steve - I think we should be paying attention to these groups, to commenters like Lunacy who says: [...snip...] Indymedia is not a lunatic fringe. These "progressives" are a hate group threatening and preaching violence, more equivalent to the KKK and the National Alliance than to the Free Republic.

You can find the same level in intense hate and incitement to violence in the comments section of LGF on any day of the week. I just choose to not link to them.

There are extremists on every political side of the fence.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 01:58 PM

DPU - has there ever been a point in time where someone confessed to a genuine murder on LGF? Did the LGF commenters then cheer for the murderer? Did Charles of LGF fail to report the murder to the police?

..and when the murder confession turned out to be valid, did the commenters on LGF still cheer for the murderer?

When officer Mobilio's wife asked the Indymedia posters for compassion, several told her that her husband deserved to die.

This is the most extreme incident that has happened on Indymedia, but it's not the only one.

The two sites are not in any way comparable. The worst commenter on LGF is equivalent to the worst commenter on Kevin Drum's site, but I wouldn't call Washington Monthly a hate site.

Posted by: mary at May 3, 2005 02:09 PM

“You can find the same level in intense hate and incitement to violence in the comments section of LGF on any day of the week.”

That’s absolute nonsense. Some LGF commenters might be a bit excitable---but an Indymedia type actually murdered a police officer. There is simply no comparison between the two. Think not? Read the following:

http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2002/11/1545326.php

Posted by: David Thomson at May 3, 2005 02:16 PM

Some LGF commenters might be a bit excitable...

Well, there's an understatement.

Look, shake any extremist site hard enough, and all kinds of nutjobs are going to fall out. We can sit and compare them all day, but my point is is that both sides have them.

Or is your contention that there are no lunatics who associate themselves with right-wing politics?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 02:24 PM

I should also add that this murder is a quintessential example of MSM bias. Very few people are aware of this cop killing. Don’t believe me? Then ask ten of your friends what they know about it? My guess is that perhaps two of them have even heard of this horrifying incident. On the other hand, had this been a murder committed by a right winger---we would hear about it just every single day. A movie producer would be hurrying together a film project.

Posted by: David Thomson at May 3, 2005 02:25 PM

A movie producer would be hurrying together a film project.

Does that movie producer have a veto over who the Democratic presidential nominee is?

Posted by: Steve at May 3, 2005 02:28 PM

This is the most extreme incident that has happened on Indymedia, but it's not the only one.

I wasn't aware of this incident, and yes, I find it sick and contemptable. Need I say that I've never visited Indymedia?

However, I'm similarily sickened by the cheers of the LGF commenters on the news of Marla Ruzicka's death in an Iraqi car bombing, or the slanderous lies appearing about her in Horowitz's rag. More cheering on of murder, just from a different side.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 02:33 PM

Very few people are aware of this cop killing. Don’t believe me? Then ask ten of your friends what they know about it? My guess is that perhaps two of them have even heard of this horrifying incident.

Are you familiar (no Googling, now, play fair) with the name Maher Arar? How about Zahra Kazemi?

If you aren't aware of the two important incidents surrounding these names, should I conclude that there is a bias in the media? Or just that the news is another form of entertainment, and that they put on what they think people would like to watch?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 02:46 PM

I should also add that this murder is a quintessential example of MSM bias.

Yea yea, whatever. Have you noticed that Fox News hasn't touched this either, and neither of practically any conservative blogs besides LGF? There must be some reason for this- it does, after all, seem like an ideal five-days-a-week-on-O'Reilly story- but of course it's easiest of all to blame the evil monolithic MSM.

This cop killer was a loathsome individual who was stupid enough to confess to the crime on Indymedia. I'm not defending Indymedia, but does this somehow make them responsible for the crime?

Posted by: Steve at May 3, 2005 02:47 PM

The difference between the Right's lunatic fringe and the Left's is that the Right's aren't pro-jihadist traitors. That's all the difference in the world.

But to the Left, this is a distinction without a difference.

That's why they're on the Left.

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 03:08 PM

“This cop killer was a loathsome individual who was stupid enough to confess to the crime on Indymedia.”

A radical right winger would have been described by the MSM as the logical result of his group’s ideology. This leftist murderer is perceived as merely an isolated individual and not emblematic of the Indymedia social milieu. When is the last time the MSM have done serious stories about this organization?

"I'm not defending Indymedia, but does this somehow make them responsible for the crime?"

Yes, at least partly. Indymedia is not appalled by the crime. Many of its members were ecstatically happy. The policeman allegedly deserved to be shot.

Posted by: David Thomson at May 3, 2005 03:19 PM

Actually, Spaniard, when you have white supremecists cheering 9/11, I'd say you have some "pro-jihadist traitors" on the right as well. Not to mention people who, you know, blow up buildings and kill hundreds of people. Your difference is artificial.

And isn't that the point, folks? Back and forth, back and forth - your extremists are worse than our extremists! Isn't the point that they're extremists?

So every time I point out that commenters on Free Republic frequently talk about murdering people they don't like (usually gays, sometimes liberals, always Hillary Clinton), I'm told that oh, Indymedia is worse! Because, I guess, what's really important is making sure that liberals know how awful their side is, and how your side is, you know, so much better?

No, no, no no no. This should not be a partisan issue. It becomes a partisan issue when members of one political persuasion only talk about how awful the extremists of the other side are - then it's, again, about scoring political points. If we're going to talk about extremists, it should not be about how awful the other guy's extremists are. Sorry, I don't "have" extremists. I don't "own" Stalin, conservatives don't "own Hitler", to give a couple of extreme examples - but I don't "own" Indymedia anymore than Spaniard "owns" Free Republic. We bear no responsibility for what insane people on either site say.

And if you imply otherwise, you're either a) smart enough to know the difference and using it to gain points, or b) stupid or crazy enough to actually believe that you can actually have a discussion in which we say "my side's crazy nutjobs who talk about murder and genocide are better than your crazy nutjobs who talk about murder and genocide".

For the record, LGF's posters frequently talk positively about murdering people and using genocide as policy. I'd say the only difference between those people and Indymedia's is that LGF just hasn't gotten the opportunity yet.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 03:22 PM

DPU - I already said that Indymedia was equivalent to right-wing hate groups like the KKK and the National Alliance.

The people who run Indymedia were not responsible for the crime, but they were responsible for reporting it. Please don't try to claim that they don't monitor or censor their site, because there's overwhelming evidence that they do.

When a writer from the Liberal Willamette Week of Portland wrote about censorship in Indymedia, his life was threatened by commenters in Portland.

On mainstream sites like Kos and Washington Monthly people vent anger & cheer the death of their supposed 'enemies' all the time, but they're not equivalent to Indymedia.

Groups and academics like Churchill who claim to represent 'progressive values' are preaching hate. Americans who call themselves 'progressives' and 'activists' murder and preach hate in the name of their cause. They are equivalent to white supremacist organizations, and they share many of their views. This is not news, it's common knowledge.

From the Willamette Week:
On Nov. 17, police had to intervene to rescue KOIN reporter David Okarski, who, according to police reports, was attacked by a hostile mob of "peace" protesters in front of the Justice Center.

This is not the only apparent contradiction.

On March 15, as demonstrators took over three lanes of the Morrison Bridge, two "peace" protesters menaced an independent filmmaker until he turned off his camera. And KOIN cameraman Lory "Ole" Olson recalls that even as the crowd chanted "This is what democracy looks like," some demonstrators were telling him to get off the bridge. "They're not living up to their beliefs," he says.

If the Left could admit that their left-leaning 'progressive' activists are equivalent to right wing white supremacist groups, it would be a great step forward.

Posted by: mary at May 3, 2005 03:28 PM

A radical right winger would have been described by the MSM as the logical result of his group’s ideology.

That would be easy to prove, David. Can you point to an MSM article on Timothy McVeigh that claimed that? He was certainly an extremist right-wing mass murderer.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 03:29 PM

If the Left could admit that their left-leaning 'progressive' activists are equivalent to right wing white supremacist groups, it would be a great step forward.

When you say that "The Left" should admit this, who exactly do you have in mind? And by what method? I think that most liberal and let-wing posters here have already stated that they find these guys either looney or dangerously deranged. Are you looking for something more? It's not like we have access to the VLWC's media-control section or anything...

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 3, 2005 03:34 PM

Mary: "If the Left could admit that their left-leaning 'progressive' activists are equivalent to right wing white supremacist groups, it would be a great step forward."

I guess, if I have to label myself in this binary world view of yours, I'm a liberal. And I guess, in your categorization, that means that "left-leaning 'progressive' activists" are "my" extremists.

Yes, some of them are the equivalent of "your" "right wing white supremacist groups".

And the white-ring supremacists are yours, aren't they Mary? I mean that's the implication of the binary, either/or world view that you're trying to foist on us.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 3, 2005 03:55 PM

White-ring, right wing - you know what I mean anyhow.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 3, 2005 03:58 PM

After the cop killer story, anybody comfortable still saying we should just ignore the nuts?

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

Sorry, I'd be first or second on most IndyMediots' lists (second or thir for the Islamofascists; third or fourth on most McVeighlians') and
I
am
speaking
out.

DPU, I want society as a whole to protect me, not the US-version of the RCMP. I don't want to make any speech illegal. Instead I want to make it as hard to say "kill the [direction of choice]-wing bastards" in polite company as it is to say "kill the niggers." Don't you get that? And I don't want to get there by making it socially acceptable to say the word "nigger." (Or, for that matter, making "[direction of choice]-wing" an insulting term. The problem I have is with the "kill the-" or "screw the-" part of the sentence.)

Capisce?

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 3, 2005 04:19 PM

When you say that "The Left" should admit this, who exactly do you have in mind?

Some simple equations:

indymedia=white supremacists; both are organized and active hate groups

kevin drum loony commenters=lgf loony commenters; neither are organized or active hate groups

kevin drum does not equal david duke

charles johnson does not equal indymedia

if you say LGF = indymedia, and if I say kos = the KKK, we'll both understand why this is offensive.

I feel like I'm organizing a PC workplace seminar..

Posted by: mary at May 3, 2005 05:34 PM

This really has turned into the funniest conversation I think we've had here yet.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 05:44 PM

Casual observation would suggest that the violent tendencies of leftists are aimed almost exclusively inwards - at the U.S. - at the government, law enforcement, the military, capitalistic business interests, and even at religious conservatives - what might be loosely lumped together as "authority figures", or “the establishment” or “the system" (how's that for a 60's throwback?). Aside from the far-right wing neo-Nazi anti-semites, however, it seems that the wrath of the far right (use as an example the average LGF poster) is directed towards criminals, jihadists, and people who appear to despise the United States (which means they themselves as citizens of this country) - and that's why they lump the leftists in with the folks they hate. In other words, the right generally opposes the “anti-establishment” forces.

Which makes me wonder, how does one actually compare the 2 kinds of extremists? As an American I mean? Because the leftist extremists direct most of their hatred inward - at their own, while the rightist extremists seem to direct their hatred outward - at the "other" (but also inward, when they feel that their own citizens - the despised "leftists" or "liberals" would like to see them brought down in favor of the "other"). I think that's why the left is so vilified by the right - i.e. the likes of Ward Churchill - because he's attacking within, at his own people. Ditto Michael Moore - slandering Americans overseas. But meanwhile, the left seems to despise someone like say, Zell Miller, who mainly advocates closing ranks against an external enemy. Why do Indymedia folks despise him so? It has to be because he is siding with the establishment.

Personally, I think it all comes down to whether one thinks the US is really a force for good in the world or not. I recognize that the US does a great many bad things but I have no illusions about the alternatives. I can only conclude that many leftists DO in fact have those illusions and should they ever succeed in deconstructing the US and paralyzing it, they will be either bitterly disillusioned or dead. Too late then. I figure another “establishment” will simply replace the one we have and I seriously doubt it will be an improvement (it could well resemble the mafia, e.g.).

I also realize that the left utterly despises the “US vs THEM” mentality. In fact, the left generally champions what has been called “alienism” – or the tendency to regard the “alien” (the Other) as somehow morally superior to the "Us/me". I agree from a moral perspective that it is a good thing to dissolve the US vs THEM duality. But I get the impression it only works if the OTHER is on the same page. Otherwise it's pretty much a prescription for suicide.

I do think the U.S. is generally a force for good and I have no illusions about the superiority of the OTHER should the left ever succeed in deconstructing American society (which I think they may well succeed in accomplishing BTW). That puts me in the “pro-establishment” camp and it also, at a gut level, makes me MUCH more concerned about the extremism I see on the left than what I see on the right. Like I said, it’s just a gut instinct, a survival kind of thing. I'm not proud of it. In fact, I'm struggling with it. But it seems very hard to remain neutral, as "Krishnamurtian" as that might be.

Posted by: Caroline at May 3, 2005 05:44 PM

Commenter "This really has turned into the funniest conversation I think we've had here yet."

Actually I kind of liked that discussion we got sucked into with Mika where he was defending ethnic cleansing.

Posted by: Vinoveritas at May 3, 2005 05:54 PM

Indymedia is populated with socialists.

What more do you need to know.

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 05:59 PM

See folks? It's a laugh riot. Kos, who talks for a living, is equivalent to the KKK, which is responsible for the murders of, well, at the least hundreds and probably more likely in the thousands of people (and not responsible in the pretend "he's a traitor because he talks poorly about the US but in the real murder stab shoot hang sense) - and continues, every now and then to hang someone, or drag them to death. But hey, totally the same as writing a blog!

Oh, and I love Caroline's pseudo-pop-psychological analysis of extremists that allows her - conveniently - to left-wing extremists (who murder people every now and then) than right-wing extremists (who blow up buildings). I mean, nice!

My favorite is the notion that Indymedia is somehow organized. Those people couldn't organize themselves out of a paper bag - most are either pimply faced teens who are really pissed at their parents, smelly hippies, or pederasts who like hanging out with the first at their solidarity meetings. Seriously, have you ever seen these people in action? Apparently not, if you think they're an organized threat. I feel more threatened by an AARP takeover than I do from these jokers.

But, generally, I think it's funny when people say "I am legitimately worried about terrorism, I desire to fight it, and people who disagree with me are soft on terrorism", and then turn around and say "I think the extremism associated with my opponents is worse than the political extremism associated with my allies, and as a result I will ignore the political extremism associated with my allies, even though that political extremism has resulted in many more deaths than the political extremism of my opponents". Nothing says "I hate terrorists" than complaining about Indymedia while right-wing terrorists set off bombs in Atlanta!

Ahhhhh, sweet sweet bias.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 05:59 PM

Vinoveritas,

NO SOUP FOR YOU!!

Posted by: mika. at May 3, 2005 06:04 PM

"Oh, and I love Caroline's pseudo-pop-psychological analysis of extremists that allows her - conveniently - to left-wing extremists (who murder people every now and then) than right-wing extremists (who blow up buildings). I mean, nice!"

If that were a complete sentence, I might actually be able to respond to it. As it is, your objection to my comment isn't really clear, at least to me.

Posted by: Caroline at May 3, 2005 06:06 PM

Caroline,

your post at 5:44 is the single best post on this thread.

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 06:10 PM

Woops! My bad, and apologies. I should preview first!

My point was something like this: unless you've got a degree in psychology or, preferably, psychiatry, anything any of us say about motivations, or psychological profiles, or what it means when these people talk about US or THE OTHER or anything that is, well, pop psychology bullshit.

I just thought that it was nice that you came up with a fancy-schmancy fake psychological analysis of people you've never met that allows you to be more comfortable with violence associated with your end of the political spectrum than with political violence associated with the other end. I mean, it's so convenient!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 06:10 PM

Haha, and I love Spaniard's explanation: it's full of socialists! Right, every person on Indymedia is a "socialist", every "socialist" is out to get us - the Red Menace, right? - and so forth.

Does anyone remember the movie Clue, when Tim Curry says that he was being blackmailed because his wife was friends with....socialists? And everyone gasped? And he starts to cry and says, "well...everyone makes mistakes..."

Ahahaha, just like that. Except then it was a joke, and now Spaniard's serious. Which is funnier? We report, you decide.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 06:14 PM

"My point was something like this: unless you've got a degree in psychology or, preferably, psychiatry, anything any of us say about motivations, or psychological profiles, or what it means when these people talk about US or THE OTHER or anything that is, well, pop psychology bullshit."

Commenter - I've got an advanced degree in Psychology and I work in Psychiatry at a major American University. What say you now?

Well, truthfully, you should say that I know about as much as the next human being who seriously tries to understand these things. I despise the so-called "experts" myself.

Spaniard - if you are really Carlos in disguise - I missed you. :-) But I don't think so, unless you're a real quick-change artist...

Posted by: Caroline at May 3, 2005 06:22 PM

Commenter,

for some people, statements of fact get stuck in their craw (leading to personal attacks), and for others it's just "funny." Essentially, they are the same response.

Yet in neither case is the statement of fact, nor its implication, rebutted.

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 06:22 PM

Spaniard,

I just think it's funny. Gasp! Socialists! Enough said.

Sorry, it was just a little...overheated? Melodramatic? Couldn't help myself.

It's also funny because it assumes a world - like that in Clue - where the mere mention of the Red Menace is enough to give people the vapors.

Seriously though, you didn't really say anything, except a lot about what you believe.

After all, I could say "LGF - populated by Nazis! Enough said!" How do you refute a giant, sweeping assumption like that?

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 06:28 PM

Caroline,

Thanks, missed you too. You and DPU have an open invitation to contact Michael if you have any questions re my presence on this blog. Any more than that I'm not at liberty to say. Cheers ;-)

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 06:29 PM

Commenter,

saying LGF is populated by "nazis" is Leftist hyperbole.

saying Indymedia is populated by socialists is a mundane statement of fact.

See the diff?

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 06:31 PM

Commenter - the KOS=the KKK was included as an example of dopey bias. If you thought I meant it literally, you need to work on your reading skills.

Nick Budnick, the liberal writer whose life was threatened by local Indymedia readers took them seriously. Most nazis are disorganized pimply faced kids. That doesn't mean that they should be ignored.

This is interesting. You say:

I think the extremism associated with my opponents is worse than the political extremism associated with my allies, and as a result I will ignore the political extremism associated with my allies

I could be misreading this, but do you consider the extremists on the left to be your allies?

Posted by: mary at May 3, 2005 06:35 PM

Spaniard - that's the first thing you've said that makes me wonder if you aren't in fact Carlos - it was the same sense of humor. :-)

But now "Carlos the Jackal" comes to mind, and truthfully, I don't much like that thought:-)

Posted by: Caroline at May 3, 2005 06:36 PM

DPU: However, I'm similarily sickened by the cheers of the LGF commenters on the news of Marla Ruzicka's death in an Iraqi car bombing, or the slanderous lies appearing about her in Horowitz's rag.

But here's what Horowitz's Frontpage really says about Ruzicka:

"Unlike Rachel Corrie, who lost her life in Gaza serving a solidarity movement with terrorists and who consequently became a martyr for the anti-American cause, Marla Ruzicka was respected and mourned not only by the left but by supporters of the war who knew her, and even by members of the Bush administration and military whom she first harrangued and then petitioned and who ended up in a partially voluntary cooperation with her endeavors."

full

http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=17933

You owe Horowitz an apology.

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 06:40 PM

Spaniard,

See, silly billy, that's my point. Someone on Indymedia can say "I'm a socialist" while violating everything socialists are supposed to stand for. LGF posters can advocate genocide of subhumans ("Palis" or "Muzzies"), but claim not to be Nazis. I guess it's all a matter of perspective...idiots on the left talking about murdering cops, idiots on the right talking about murdering millions of people, they're all just extremist idiots who will never amount to more than just idiots (like us) yelling at each other via computer.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 06:42 PM

Commenter,

I see your point.

So forget what THEY say they are. What do YOU think they are?

Answer honestly.

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 06:44 PM

Oh no, Caroline. I believe we both made the mistake of mistaking sarcasm for admission. Woops!

Anyway, this is crazy, I'm out of here. Peace!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 06:44 PM

Caroline:
“Casual observation would suggest that the violent tendencies of leftists are aimed almost exclusively inwards - at the U.S. - at the government, law enforcement…”

And how does Timothy McVeigh fit into this paradigm?

“Aside from the far-right wing neo-Nazi…”

Oh I see – the “right” is allowed to exclude their wackos but the “left” isn’t.

“…But it seems very hard to remain neutral, as "Krishnamurtian" as that might be.”

Ah, what did we do before Google allowed us to become instant experts whenever we want:

“The core of Krishnamurti's teaching is contained in the statement…"Truth is a pathless land". Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.”

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 3, 2005 06:49 PM

Caroline, when Commenter tried to pull the "and who are YOU to talk about psychology" card (sort of the reverse of the Appeal to Authority) on you, I scrolled with pleasure awaiting your reply.

Always good to read your thoughts. The smackdown was pure bonus.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 3, 2005 06:50 PM

Ok, one more, just one more, I promise.

Spaniard, I think they're malcontent idiots who have seized upon a particular identity - the radical cool revolutionary rebel! Rock on! - that amounts to nothing in real life.

The average LGF commenter who calls for genocide by night probably leads a very similar life to the average Indymedia idiot who calls for murder by night.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 06:55 PM

I promised! I lied!

You're right Mark, Caroline totally spanked me. My bottom is still sore!

But seriously folks, go right ahead and play Make Believe! and pretend that you can, with accuracy, "analyze" the thoughts and intentions of fringe radical groups. Go ahead, it's easy! With Make Believe, anyone can be an expert on anything they want!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 07:05 PM

Woops, I must have missed your post, Caroline. I guess I was schooled.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 3, 2005 07:11 PM

Oh I see – the “right” is allowed to exclude their wackos but the “left” isn’t.

Not only is the Left allowed to exclude their wackos, they are encouraged to do so at every opportunity.

If an Indymedia commenter or if Ward Churchill says 'kill the pigs', and if the Left says, "move along, there's nothing to see here" or "just ignore them, they're harmless" - that's not excluding them and it's certainly not a condemnation.

Whacko progressives like Churchill aren't liberals and they're not allies of the Democrats.

Posted by: mary at May 3, 2005 09:15 PM

commenter,

agreed that they are all malcontents. Who isn't.

But I tend to take people at their word. If they say they're commies, then they're commies. If they say they're nazis, then nazis.

It's safe to say that most on Indymedia would claim socialism, and others communism, and a few others anarchism.

If Indymedia is the Leftist equivalent of the KKK, as you claim, then what does that say about commies and socialists.

Posted by: spaniard at May 3, 2005 09:54 PM

So killing Nazis make for Nazi?

I guess every cop is a criminal, and every criminal a saint. Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name.

Posted by: mika. at May 3, 2005 10:06 PM

Caroline, I fully agree with your view about Leftists more anti-American and Rightists more anti-jihadist (who are anti-American). The Left is angry that the US is not perfect; and they seek perfection and believe in the perfectability of humans.

Much of Left seems similarly angry against Christianity because humans are NOT perfect, and essentially reject God because ... evil exists, or disasters occur.

And Mary, the ANGER of the Left against the powerful (who are failing to create the Ideal) is louder, though perhaps less deep, than the anger of many on the right against MSM bias. The Left can't reject their wackos because the wackos merely honestly express many of the feelings so many Leftists have, though most understand expressing such feelings (i.e. kill the pigs) is not so good.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at May 4, 2005 07:30 AM

"The Left can't reject their wackos because the wackos merely honestly express many of the feelings so many Leftists have, though most understand expressing such feelings (i.e. kill the pigs) is not so good."

I suppose you could assume that someone on the Left wants to kill pigs, but knows that expressing a desire to kill pigs wouldn't go over well, so they keep their traps shut and tolerate crazy wackos who do say they want to kill pigs.

If I'm reading that right, you're saying that the average leftist is just as crazy, but is smart enough to keep quiet about it. Man, I can't tell you how much I love it when people accuse liberals of wanting to murder police officers. Nothing crazy about that!

Or, I dunno, you could assume that the average Leftist sees no reason to reject "their" wackos because they don't see them as "their wackos". I mean, if a crazy person were standing on a street corner shouting about how we should kill all Muslims because they're really Martians, and that George Bush is doing God's work by killing Muslims, would you feel a need to tell everyone that you reject "your" wacko? Are you responsible for the words of every person who might agree with you about something (like in this case, support for Bush and the war in Iraq) tangentially?

But hey, if someone wanted to pay me to do it, that would be great, because that would definitely be a 9 to 5 job, rejecting every crazy person that could tangentially be associated with some view or another that I hold.

Just wait until we get to the crazies who think that water flouridation is good because it kills demons!

Well, liberals, time to get back to work hating God and wanting to murder the police. It's a tough job, but I suppose somebody has to pretend-do it.

Posted by: Scooby Doom at May 4, 2005 08:05 AM

Oh, I have a good one. Mika apparently thinks that because some Muslims do bad things, then all Muslims are Nazis, so it's wrong to condemn people for advocating genocide (because, like, the Nazis totally never tried genocide) against Muslims.

I mean, wow. Good to know people like Mika are still around, right? Otherwise people might, you know, start to forget what real racist lunatics look like.

So, do you feel a need to reject Mika, who happens to also support Bush and fighting Muslim terrorists, but also wants to commit mass murder against innocent people because of their religion and ancestry? Hmmmmm?

Posted by: Scooby Doom at May 4, 2005 08:10 AM

Tom Grey:

"…the ANGER of the Left against the powerful (who are failing to create the Ideal)…"

As I recall, during the Clinton years conservatives were no slouches at anger against the powerful. (For the record I think Clinton was a very flawed human being, who nonetheless reversed years of fiscal irresponsibility and gave America balanced budgets - a legacy that Bush has squandered.)

"The Left can't reject their wackos because the wackos merely honestly express many of the feelings so many Leftists have, though most understand expressing such feelings (i.e. kill the pigs) is not so good."

Thank you Tom. You are an honest conservative. People like Mary and Spaniard will self-righteously lecture liberals about their responsibility to reject "their" wackos, but nothing a liberal can say is ever good enough. And even if it is once, twice, a hundred times - the next time a leftist wacko speaks up, the baying starts again.

So thank you for your honesty. It is revealing.

Posted by: Vinoveritas at May 4, 2005 08:12 AM

Vino,

Liberals use the Left to get at the Right.

That's not "rejecting your wackos."

Posted by: spaniard at May 4, 2005 08:34 AM

Scooby Doom,

Go practice your taqiya subterfuge somewhere else. Islamism = Nazism. And I'm all for killing Islam as a viable ideology. Pushing back Islamists does not make for genocide. Try again.

Posted by: mika. at May 4, 2005 09:03 AM

Mary! Spaniard! Liberty Dad! Caroline! After him! Don't let Mika get away with that!

He's the kind of guy that gives intolerance a bad name!

I'd do it myself but I'm too busy. I'm off to read the web sites of the commie-atheist-leftist web sites and give 'em hell.

That is my job isn't it?

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 4, 2005 09:15 AM

"Pushing back" = murdering innocent people. Hurray for euphamisms!

The Nazis didn't like to call it murder, either!

Conservatives, disavow this extremist! Until you do, we'll never be able to take you seriously!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 4, 2005 09:58 AM

Mary, you wrote:

"If an Indymedia commenter or if Ward Churchill says 'kill the pigs', and if the Left says, "move along, there's nothing to see here" or "just ignore them, they're harmless" - that's not excluding them and it's certainly not a condemnation."

Part of the problem is that very few people are probably even aware that Indymedia, Free Republic, DU, LGF, Ward Churchill, etc. even exist. People like us who use the internets to visit blogs and things like that remain a minority. And, as hyperaware as we are, I bet that there are many, many more extremists like Churchill, left and right, that no one knows about because they remain in the woodwork with miniscule, powerless audiences.

Seriously, ask friends, neighbors, people on the street, anyone out in the real world if they've heard of Indymedia, DU, Kos, LGF, or Free Republic. I bet they haven't. I bet the average person has some vague idea that there are fringe crazies out there, because there always have been and always will be, but does not know or care about the specifics - because that would require effort to seek them out and read their stuff, and that's a big part of what these people want - an audience outside their tiny little circle-jerks of extremist rhetoric.

In other words, people can't disavow something if it's so irrelevant to their lives that they don't even know it exists. Plus all the stuff I said before.

But we've all seen Mika in action! We all know about him. He has basically said this: people on LGF who write that they wish they could murder millions of people - including children - and advocate the use of nuclear weapons against civilians are not Nazis because all those people - including the children! - are "Islamists" who need to be "pushed back"!

Maybe we should give them "hot showers" first before we "cook" their corpses in our "ovens"!

Well, for the record, I reject Mika's extremism, and condemn it. Anyone else?

Posted by: The Commenter at May 4, 2005 10:15 AM

Commenter,

you're putting words in his mouth, so what's to apologize for.

Besides, like Caroline said, it's not the negativity of the Left that we object to, but rather the object of their negativity-- like all things American/West/Christian/Traditional.

THAT'S what the Left owes us an apology for.

If he wants to "push back" against our enemies, then I'm all for it.

Posted by: spaniard at May 4, 2005 10:19 AM

mika. - Your Reutersesque values-neutral approach to war just doesn't work.

In Algeria, the French learned that you can't fight terrorism with terrorism. The Serbs learned the same thing.

Nihilism, terrorism, ethnic cleansing and the direct targeting of civilians, as a military tactic ultimately and always destroys that state and its people. Look at the Palestinians.

Andre Glucksman said it best:
"…what do extremist ideologies like the communism or Nazism of yesteryear and the Islamism of today have in common? After all, they support ostensibly very different ideals – the superior race, mankind united in socialism, the community of Muslim believers (the Umma). Tomorrow, it could be altogether different ideals: some theological, some scientific, others racist. But the common characteristic is nihilism."

The root element is the attitude that anything goes, particularly when with regard to ordinary people: I can do whatever I want, without scruples. Goehring put it like this: my consciousness is Adolf Hitler. Bolsheviks said: man is made of iron. And the Islamists whom I visited in Algeria said that you have the right to kill little Muslim children, in order to save them."

Wherever you go, this belligerent hubris is considered lethal. In the huts of the Amazon, young men are taught to conquer this capacity for excessive violence. You can fight together, but you cannot fight in any way that comes to hand, and you don’t set out to fight just anyone. The same idea occurs in the teachings of the Greeks, the paidera. All European education is based on the same principle.

All European education used to be based on that principle. The indigenous tribes of the Amazon know that terrorism is taboo but you, like Reuters and others of their ilk, do not. Posted by: mary at May 4, 2005 10:20 AM

Thank you Mary =).

Posted by: The Commenter at May 4, 2005 10:23 AM

I have to admit though, the constant misuse of terms like "nihilism" and "existentialism" to refer to things like Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, Nazism, and Communism makes me sad.

=(

But that's a general complaint, and not directed at anyone.

PS Spaniard, Mika's done this before, justifying ethnic cleansing and mass murder. I'm pretty sure he's doing it again - saying that he wants to kill "Islam" (how one does that without killing Muslims, innocent and guilty alike, I'm not sure) and that "Islamists" (when the whole discussion so far has been about whether it's ok - it isn't! - to want to kill Muslims, not Muslim extremists) need to be "pushed back" (a cute little euphamism for mass murder and ethnic cleansing, practices that Mika has defended before). I'm pretty sure Mika is, you know, a racist extremist!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 4, 2005 10:35 AM

The term nihilism was Glucksman's. He's a philosopher and he's French, so I assumed he knows what he's talking about.

Islamic terrorists are organized, and they do have definite political goals, like the establishment of a government under Shariah law, but their tactics lean towards nihilism.

They are not existentialists, though.

Wretchard has an interesting esssay on the effects of terrorism on a society.

Posted by: mary at May 4, 2005 10:48 AM

Seriously, ask friends, neighbors, people on the street, anyone out in the real world if they've heard of Indymedia, DU, Kos, LGF, or Free Republic. I bet they haven't.

That's true, but San Francisco knows Ward Churchill. One of his books was displayed in the "City Lights" bookstore - it was about the corrosive effects of reservation life (written by a real Indian, don't you know).

After that terrible shooting in Minnesota, people might pick up that book thinking that it would help them learn more about reservation life. After reading through a few pages of Churchill's uninformed drivel, I'm sure most readers would say "now wait a minute..", but they'll have wasted their money. The perils of being uninformed..

Posted by: mary at May 4, 2005 10:55 AM

I totally know you feel. One day I decided to stop reading movie reviews before I went to see them, so as not to ruin the movie. Then I sat through all three hours of Alexander. Man, the perils of being uninformed, indeed.

But if we can agree that that's the biggest threat offered by Ward Churchill - that someone is inconvenienced by the time it takes to get a refund for his lame book they mistakenly bought - then I think we've finally come to understand the truly horrifying nature of the threat posed by that man and his ilk.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 4, 2005 10:59 AM

Commenter - I don't want to rile everyone up again, but it's just a fact that there are organized and violent hate groups on the Left.

They're not liberals, they're not existentialists, and they're not your allies, even if they promise to vote for Democrats.

Posted by: mary at May 4, 2005 11:08 AM

"And I'm all for killing Islam as a viable ideology." -- mika

"Mary! Spaniard! Liberty Dad! Caroline! After him! Don't let Mika get away with that!" -- Vino

Actually, mika is over the line. As anyone who actually knows any Muslims knows, there is a qaulitative difference between those who follow the Koran and those who follow bin Laden. mika, STFU with the anti-Islam stuff. Or at least be a LOT more precise in your language. Got a problem with Wahabism? Me too. But about a fifth of my company is Islamic, and they're good people. (None of course are from Saudi Arabia. Apparently nobody from Saudi Arabia actually works. The Kingdom would fall in a day if the guest workers went on strike.)

Lay off.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 4, 2005 11:47 AM

Ain't it grand. Commenter defends Islamists, the most inhuman hateful supremacist violent expansionist oppressive fundamentalist angry anti-freedom murderous criminals on the face of the planet today, and has the gall to call me a racist extremist for wanting them gone.

Posted by: mika. at May 4, 2005 12:02 PM

Good stuff guys, I appreciate it.

For the record, as a liberal, I absolutely loath and hate the radical Left, Indymedia, all those idiots. I mean real, visceral hatred - I've seen these people in action. They're more like cultists than "political" anything. I honestly feel that there's a common thread throughout history and other cultures, maybe something in the human psyche (Caroline?) that is fed by extremism. It doesn't matter what the veneer is - cults, totalitarian socialism, fascism, religious extremism, whatever. It's all the same, when you look at the people underneath.

For the record, I've never defended Islamic extremists. For the record, I've protested things like genocide and ethnic cleansing. Mika has a tendency to conflate "being Muslim" with "being a radical Islamic fundamentalist" and seems to believe the response to "being Muslim" is to use force to kill and drive them away. Thanks for recognizing that, Mark and Mary.

Bad Mika! No genocide for you!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 4, 2005 12:25 PM

Taqiya is a tactic of dissimulation used by Muslims against non-Muslims. It's very common practice for Muslims to lie about the war against non-Muslims. A believer can pretend to any statement as long as it's with the tongue and the "heart" is comfortable. The 9/11 terrorists lived in the US for years before the 9/11 attacks. Ask yourself, how did they acculturate? By the use of taqiya. Meaning: "Smile before you stick the knife in the back". The theological principle of Taqiya means hiding one's true beliefs/identity to confuse adversaries. (That is what Commenter has been doing). The principle of sanctioned lying for the cause of Islam bears grave implications. Muslim activists (such as Commenter) employ deception in their attempts to subvert and deflect criticism from Islam/Islamists. They unashamedly do so as they adhere to Mohammed who is quoted as saying "War is a deception". The Allah of Islam is described in the Quran as "the best of deceivers". Surah 8:30

Posted by: mika. at May 4, 2005 12:49 PM

Commenter, he has found you out! Time to make your escape. Use the gas pellet in your utility belt to create a cloud of smoke, and then run away in the confusion. Make sure to laugh sinisterly as you do so, so as to strike fear into the hearts of the nonbelievers as they run to and fro, asking "where did The Commenter go? He vanished in that cloud of smoke!"

Hurry, brother, before it is too late!

Posted by: Muslim Activist at May 4, 2005 12:53 PM

"Bad Mika! No genocide for you!"

Right. And Bush=Hitler.

Posted by: mika. at May 4, 2005 12:54 PM

Oh, fer crying out loud, mika. I've been going after Commenter because I think his ideas are wrong, but I sure don't think he's got a soft spot for guys in exploding underwear. I can see your point, I understand what you're saying about cultural programming in Islam (Mohammed was a warrior prophet, after all), but you're letting the tinfoil show.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 4, 2005 01:04 PM

Mika: "Muslim activists (such as Commenter) employ deception in their attempts to subvert and deflect criticism from Islam/Islamists."

Commenter, so does that mean a new name again? How about The Muslim Formerly Known As Commenter?

Ya had me fooled, Commenter. I thought deep down you had Jesus in your heart.

Keep up the good work, Mika. The more people who know what you stand for, the better.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 4, 2005 01:06 PM

Mark,

Their "ideas" are not born in a vacuum. Anyway, I have little patience for guys like Commenter and their traveling idiots. You wish to entertain them, that's your prerogative.

Posted by: mika. at May 4, 2005 01:32 PM

Mika, for the sake of decorum, let's discuss this.

(Personally, I think it's cute that you think I'm a Muslim activist.)

Anyway, I guess the crux of the issues comes down to this: I believe that Muslim extremists are a minority within the Muslim community. I feel that force can and should be used against Muslim extremists who wish to do harm to others. I feel that force should not be used against innocent people, regardless of their creed.

The commenters on LGF were not talking about using force against the minority of Muslim extremists. Instead, they were talking about using force to murder as many Muslims as possible and to displace them from their homes. They discussed using nuclear weapons against cities as a method of doing so. To me, this is genocide, since it would undoubtedly harm untold numbers of innocent civilians. To me, this is very similar to the rhetoric and goals of the Nazis - that is, to kill as many of an "undesirable" racial and ethnic group, including civilians (who are going to make up the vast majority of any state, ethnicity, race, whatever).

So, I criticized them - I think it is wrong to hurt innocent people.

You then defended the LGF posters, asking "So killing Nazis make for Nazi?"

The implication of this is that the people being discussed - the people that the LGF posters said they wanted to murder - were the equivalent to Nazis. Now, if the discussion had been about LGF posters who wanted to kill Islamic extremist militants, then we'd have a different discussion.

Instead, the discussion revolved around murdering every Muslim, or every Palestinian. If this was a misunderstanding, fine, end of discussion. I do not, however, think it was a misunderstanding. In the past you have written that you think it is morally acceptable to use force against - that is, to kill - innocent people in order to drive them from their homes.

You also went on to say that Islamism=Nazism. Fine, a fair comparison in many ways. But again, I don't think that you're making a distinction between Islamism - an extremist ideology held by a minority - and Islam as a whole, which you said you hoped to kill.

Finally, you said that "pushing back" Islam is an acceptable goal. However, "pushing back", in this case (whether what the LGF posters said was morally acceptable) means "the use of nuclear weapons against civilian populations".

From these, especially the last, I believe that you conflate "Islamism" with "Islam" and as a result feel that using murder as a tool to combat Islam/ism is acceptable, even if it means the deaths of innocent people who just happen to be of the same racial or religious group as your enemies.

Again, this could have been a misunderstanding of what the LGF posters said, but I doubt that - I think you know that the LGF posters expressed a desire to murder large numbers of innocent people because of their racial and religious identities, and you find that to be agreeable. You defended that. That makes you a racist monster. Ta-ta!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 4, 2005 01:48 PM

I don't encourage nuking muslim cities, but I'm in favor of aiming a couple of ICBMs at Mecca and Medina. Should another American city be attacked ala 9/11, we give them 3 days to evacuate their holy cities and then turn one of them into glass. Tit for tat. First Medina, then Mecca if we have to.

If we did that, we'd have no reason to fear for a nuclear 9/11-- guaranteed. This war would be over in an instant. That's what they say on LGF, and I agree.

Now, I know as well as you do how implausible this is, but it's implausible because of the likes of you and your ilk-- your votes. You simply wouldn't allow us to defend ourselves in that way.

Posted by: spaniard at May 4, 2005 02:07 PM

"You also went on to say that Islamism=Nazism. Fine, a fair comparison in many ways. But again, I don't think that you're making a distinction between Islamism - an extremist ideology held by a minority - and Islam as a whole, which you said you hoped to kill."

Yeah. I also want to see Communism dead. So I guess it means I also want a billion Chinese dead.

Posted by: mika. at May 4, 2005 02:09 PM

Spaniard,

And given that Mecca/Medina are located in Saudi Arabia, I'm not so sure we should even bother giving them a warning. It should be implicitly understood.

Posted by: mika. at May 4, 2005 02:16 PM

Mik a - I'm not sure where you're getting the notion that Commenter is a taqiyyah-practicing Muslim and I’m kind of curious as to how you arrived at that odd conclusion. Care to share ?

That said, however, I'm afraid I generally share Mik a's POV on this - but not on the violence part. I don't think this will all end until Islam is entirely discredited as a religion and seen for the expansionist, political ideology that it is. In other words, I agree with Mik a that Islam itself is the problem and not just "radical" Islam. But that shouldn't mean having to kill innocent people. However, it might well imply limiting Muslim immigration to the west until we see this evidence that Islam is going to undergo a "reformation" (which I'm not sure it can). Otherwise, violence WILL occur down the road and in the streets of Europe and America because people refuse to see what needs to be seen even if it is "politically incorrect". I've stated these views before and been called an American Firster for them. But the price of being wrong about this issue is very high. I think what people are failing to take into account is that Islam often does look peaceful and cooperative when it is in a position of weakness and becomes more militant as the power balance begins to tip in its favor. That’s the model of Muhammed and the abrogation of the earlier peaceful verses in the Koran by the later violent ones. We’ll see this happen in Europe 1st (notice already how it is the 2nd and 3rd generation Muslims there who are growing increasingly radicalized as their numbers grow?) but by the time it happens there it will be hard to turn back here because the Muslim population will be much higher. Now, some will call me a right-wing extremist for stating these views but I believe that addressing these things is what will prevent widespread bloodshed later on. Does this offend some Muslims? Perhaps. But you know – get another religion guys. Lots of folks do it. Why is it my obligation to show respect towards an insane ideology born of an insane mind? (Actually - not an insane ideology - quite deviously clever that Muhammed was.)

Posted by: Caroline at May 4, 2005 02:21 PM

>>>"Yeah. I also want to see Communism dead. So I guess it means I also want a billion Chinese dead."

mika,

that's apparently too "nuanced" a position for some.

Posted by: spaniard at May 4, 2005 02:32 PM

I love the notion that there is some monolithic "Islam" and that it is an "ideology" that causes lots of people to do bad things.

Folks, lots of people from all sorts of different religions do bad things, and frequently explain their bad behavior through religion. To single Islam out for this is, well, silly.

Consider that Jesus brought a message of radical love, tolerance, and acceptance - and consider the countless people that were killed in His name.

Consider that Hinduism and Buddhism are two religions that hold nonviolence as one of their highest ideals. Consider also that in Sri Lanka, Hindus and Buddhists regularly kill each other.

Consider that Islam was brought to many parts of the world by the sword - and also consider that Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo hold candle-light vigils on September 11 to honor the dead. Hey, consider my Bengali roommate from senior year in college, who was utterly and totally Americanized - but wouldn't eat bacon when I offered it to him one morning by mistake. He's a Muslim, yet the only threat he posed was that he'd drink too much and pass out on the floor.

Seriously, we're talking about a billion people who hold an incredibly diverse range of viewpoints. The same way that Christians can take the message "Jesus Is Love" and turn that into "God Hates Fags" - the problem isn't Islam, the problem is the urge to extremism - the same urge that motivates fringe radical leftists, white supremecists, right wing militia groups, and Osama bin Laden. Same behavior, totally different "dressing".

Posted by: The Commenter at May 4, 2005 05:50 PM

Mika,

I'm not sure how I can explain myself any more clearly. LGF posters said "we desire to commit genocide against innocent people". I said "those LGF posters are bad." You said "no they're not, they're good for wanting to kill those people".

Um, unless you misunderstood the LGF posters and thought they weren't saying what they explicitly said, you're basically saying that it's ok to kill people by virtue of their race or religion. Or am I missing something here? Seriously, lay it out for me - LGF posters say genocide good, I say genocide bad, you say LGF posters good...

Posted by: The Commenter at May 4, 2005 05:53 PM

Spaniard,

I suppose that's one way to turn this from fighting a small number of terrorists with the tacit support of a slighly larger number of Muslims into fighting almost every Muslim everywhere.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 4, 2005 05:55 PM

I’m surprised that people who read this site still believe that the religion of Islam is the enemy. We’ve seen pictures, descriptions and even videos of Lebanese Muslims who love democracy and who live peacefully with their Christian neighbors. I think by now we also know that most Iranians hate their extremist leaders.

The war is not Islam vs. the West. The war is Arab nationalists & Islamists vs. the rest of the world, The ‘rest of the world’ includes the larger percentage of moderate Muslims. The Ba’thists and the Islamists hope to establish governments based on a traditional fascist model. Their main motivation is to gain money and power, but religion will be used, as it usually is, to maintain the status quo.

The Lord’s Resistance army (LRA) in Uganda murders, enslaves and rapes women and children. They hope to form a government based on the Ten Commandments. The IRA blew up grandmas and little kids in local train stations. They claimed to base their actions on their Catholic faith. Would blowing up the Vatican in response have made these groups stronger or weaker?

The homicidal Saudi Wahhabis are equivalent to the LRA – they’re just more successful because they have land and money. Their power isn’t based on Islam, it’s based on money. Most Muslims believe that the Wahhabis are either dumb hillbillies or ‘parasite usurpers to the throne’. They hate them. Most Muslims might be willing to die to defend Mecca, but they wouldn’t lift a finger to defend the Saudis or the Iranian Mullahs.

Commenter – you mentioned some extreme comments on LGF. What were they commenting on? Do you have a link?

Posted by: mary at May 4, 2005 06:49 PM

Oh Lordy, it's been a while since I waded through that swamp. Have you ever seen the quiz?

Here's a poster who'd like to sterilize Muslims.

Here's a poster calling for sterilization and genocide.

Here's one calling for ethnic cleansing.

Here's one who'd like to use chemical weapons to commit mass murder.

Here are two posters discussing the merits of genocide vs ethnic cleansing for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

More genocide (plus the great question: "I mean, it's not like we're talking about human beings here, right?").

I dunno. I bet there's tons more; all I did was google through LGF for terms like "exterminate" and "sterilize".

Posted by: The Commenter at May 4, 2005 07:23 PM

I suppose that's one way to turn this from fighting a small number of terrorists with the tacit support of a slighly larger number of Muslims into fighting almost every Muslim everywhere.

Commenter,

We didn't have a beef with the majority of Russians either, but deterrence against their government worked wonders during the Cold War. The only difference here is that the Russians are caucasian-- always fair game if you're a Lib --while muslims are little brown folks and are apparently to be treated as an endangered species. Typical.

FYI, Jesus told the adulteress to sin no more-- hardly "tolerance" and "acceptance"-- and he'd say the exact same thing to "fags", as you put it.

Posted by: spaniard at May 4, 2005 08:10 PM

Mary,

Islam is not a "religion" - it is a philosophy of world domination even more evil than Nazism. We are practically and pragmatically at war with Islam. Until every Muslim realizes that they have something to lose, this war will not end.

Posted by: mika. at May 4, 2005 08:24 PM

Commenter,

I find your concern about Mika's desire to see islam and communism dead to be somewhat confusing given the Left's very same wish for christianity.

It's "genocide" in the former case, but not the latter?

Posted by: spaniard at May 4, 2005 08:38 PM

Hi Caroline,
Listen not only to what he says. Listen to what he doesn't say.

Posted by: mika. at May 4, 2005 08:46 PM

Spaniard,

I have a problem with it because he didn't just say "I would like for people who currently consider themselves Muslim to stop doing so".

He defended genocide against Muslims and then said he'd like to see Islam "killed". Without the first part it's not so bad. However, with the first part - defending genocide - it doesn't sound too good. When you say "genocide is good" and then "I'd like to kill Islam" it starts to sound, you know, bad.

It's sort of like this: if the LGF posters had expressed a desire to murder Jews, and I said "it's ok to use force against Jewish extremists, such as those who tried to blow up a school full of children", then we might say that there had been a miscommunication: LGF posters are real Nazis, wanting to commit genocide, while I just want to fight extremists who happen to be Jewish. Fine, miscommunications happen.

But if in the context of this - the question over whether someone is defending genocide against the Jews - I then said "I want to kill Judaism", well, it would probably be prudent to assume that there hadn't been a miscommunication, and that I was fully aware of the connection between calling for genocide against all Jews, advocating violence against some Jews, and saying that I wanted to "kill Judaism".

That's what Mika did: in the context of talking about genocide against Muslims, he said "I want to kill Islam". I'm comfortable making the assumption that he's not talking about using force against a small minority of extremists, especially since he's argued before that it's ok to kill innocent people to redress grievances that took place a thousand years ago.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 06:06 AM

Mary: "I’m surprised that people who read this site still believe that the religion of Islam is the enemy"

I am one of those people and I will again reiterate, the ideology of Islam IS the enemy. It is ludicrous, however, to suggest that what follows from that is killing all the people who believe in that ideology. But I cannot accept this false dichotomy between "real Islam" and "radical Islam" as it should be apparent by now that it is the radicals who are following the "true Islam" as expressed by the example of the religion's prophet. You can cite examples of violent Buddhists and Christians all day long but they are not inspired by those religion's prophets - they are simply deluded extremists. (E.g the Ugandan group you mentioned (which I've never heard of) killing people in order to set up a social order based on the 10 commandments? Ludicrous obviously, as the 1st commandment states Thou shalt not kill.)

I think people don't want to see the problem as being Islam itself because then they are afraid of the implication that it means license to kill any Muslim. That is a notion that should be dismissed out of hand but failure to properly frame the issue IMO makes wider bloodshed more likely in the long run, because the false dichotomy b/w "moderate" and "extreme" Islam perpetutates the LEGITIMACY of Islam as a religion deserving of tolerance and respect.

Poor Ali Sina is still struggling valiantly to get people to see that Islam itself is the problem. Here he is again today, apparently pissing into the wind...

The 2 faces of Islam?

"Instead of thinking of Muslims as two separate groups, moderates and extremists, think of them as one group gathered around a fire. Those who are farthest from the fire are the nominal Muslims. The nominal Muslims are the average Muslims whom we are most familiar with. They could be our coworkers, our business associates or our neighbors. They dress like us and live like us, their children play with our children and they are working hard to put food on the table, pay their mortgage and live a normal life. They believe in the six articles of the Islamic faith, some perform prayers, and some don’t. They may fast during the month of Ramadan and if they can afford, they go to pilgrimage in Mecca at least once in their lifetime but most don’t, even when they can afford it.

As you move closer to the fire you find Muslims becoming more attached to Islam, they meticulously perform their religious obligations, they read the Quran, regularly, go to the mosque, pay zakat, eat only halal food, dress Islamicly, believe in conspiracy theories about the Jews running the world, hate America, have not read Noam Chomsky but recommend his books, see the world divided in Muslim/kafir dichotomy, rationalize suicide bombings as legitimate fight against “oppression”, etc.

As you approach closer, you find the fanatics who are consumed by their zealotry and become terrorists and Jihadis. These people are all Muslims. The only difference between them is in degree of their adherence to Islam. There is no guarantee that a moderate nominal Muslim will remain moderate always. He can become attracted to the fire of zealotry and become a terrorist overnight. All it takes for nominal Muslims to become terrorists, is that they face a crisis. And if they are young, there is a chance that they become extremists and even terrorists. As long as Muslims look at Islam as the ultimate source of guidance, there is a risk that anyone of them become a terrorist in a heartbeat."

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 06:40 AM

Commenter,

Mika said "push back", which YOU called a euphemism for genocide. He didn't say genocide (that I can see). So basically you're arguing with your own strawman.

I must admit though that your post at May 4, 2005 12:53 PM was pretty darn funny :-)

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 07:09 AM

Caroline,

"Thou shalt not kill" is the 6th commandment, not the first.

The first is "Thou shalt have no other gods before me".

The first commandment concerns the issue of faith. The next several commandments concern how to live that faith. The issues of morality don't come up until the fifth commandment.

While I'm not dimminishing the importance of "thou shalt not kill" and other moral precepts, it's important to realize that faith, not morality, is the bedrock of religion. That being said, a religion that leads to poor morality is a poor religion.

I'm saying this because many people seem to want their religion to be subservient to their political beliefs. Religion and politics can, and should, inform the other, but don't confuse the two. "Render unto Caesar" and all that.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 5, 2005 07:53 AM

Spaniard,

It's not a strawman. When I said that LGF posters who called for genocide against Muslims were like Nazis, Mika came to their defense.

Caroline,

Throughout history there have been many people who have done terrible things in the name of their God or Gods. Many have done wonderful things for the same reason. The implication in this - that the same religious teachings can inspire one person to plant bombs in Atlanta and another to care for the sick - is that religious is a manifestation of a person's underlying behavior, not a cause of it.

Jesus said He was love, and yet people can still murder in His name (nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!). The Koran contains explicit instructions for respecting women and not targeting women and children for violence, yet we have al Qaeda. The vedas were brought by conquering tribes to ensure their own domination, Hinduism went on to become one of the world's most peaceful religions, yet we still have Hindus burning entire families alive in riots a few years back.

Religion isn't the key. The Bible contains "thou shalt not kill" as well as God ordering the Israelites to massacre the inhabitants of cities, including pregnant women, but sparing virginal girls to be taken as slaves. The Koran contains great violence, as well as exhortations to peace. Both religions have produced peace and violence.

If you're running an experiment to test the hypothesis that Factor X will produce Result Y, and one run-through does produce Result Y, but another run-through produces Results A, 7, and Susy, then the scientific method would encourage you to reject your hypothesis. When people do extreme good and extreme bad in the name of a religion, the religion is not the root cause of their behavior.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 08:14 AM

Commenter, good points.

The key, as I see it is that many people have a shallow faith, and as a result get caught in the rules, rituals and tribalism of their religion, whatever it is. (But maybe I'm just doing the kind of "mind-reading" that you rightly denounce.)

As Jonathan Swift said, most people have just enough religion to hate, but not enough to love.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 5, 2005 08:24 AM

Commenter, very nice argument in that last paragraph. I still think you're dead wrong about your prescriptions for dealing with the nuts, but I agree 100% that focusing on the religion of the zealots is counterproductive.

Mary, Caroline, Mika, you give me cause to despair. In particular, religious belief isn't something you change like a suit. Maybe the suggestion that all the moslems in the world should just get a new belief system was a joke; I got rousted out of bed too early this morning by my girlfriend because she was worried about the "bombing" in NY -- she works across the street from the slain planters -- so my sense of humor may be lacking. But I do NOT want to live to see a new Crusade. Let's work on mending the world, not ending it, shall we?

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 5, 2005 08:29 AM

Caroline – if we’re fighting a religion, then how do you explain ‘secular’ Syria’s support of Hezbollah?

Before we invaded Iraq, Saddam had incorporated many aspects of Shariah law into into the Iraqi legal system. He was spending millions of oil-for-food dollars to build giant mosques.

The Lebanese fight for independence was led by Muslims and Christians, working together. They've already proven that the 'blame Islam' theory is wrong.

We’re not fighting religious Islam, we’re fighting political Islam. Political Islam and its supporters are extreme, but they are also willing to work with the secular Ba’thists because their political beliefs, based on conquest and fascism, are similar. Those fascist beliefs and laws are what we're fighting.

If we ignore the alliance between political Islam and Ba’thism, and if we treat all one billion Muslims as our enemy, despite the fact that they are not, we could lose the war.

Posted by: mary at May 5, 2005 08:30 AM

Now, I'm not saying that religion can't be a justification or motivation for action. A person might be moved by their faith to dedicate their lives to charity, or compose the most beautiful music, and so forth. A person might also be moved to blow up buses full of children. The issue is underlying human behavior - what makes people of two different religions do similar things, while two people of the same religion might do something else? If I'm a bad person, it doesn't matter what my religion is - I can probably find a way, purposefully or not, to justify my actions through religion. Likewise, if I'm a good person, I might be more inclined to credit God than myself for my good works.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 08:31 AM

Commenter - Did I read the quiz?

Yes I did, and I did a parody of it that Charles linked to from LGF

Oliver Willis also linked to it, thinking that it was anti-LGF. That was kind of funny.

While I don’t agree with all of his political opinions, Charles at LGF is not a racist or a bigot. He spends a lot of free time letting people know about the hatred and racism that is churned out by many extremist publications. People need to know about this - we didn't know about pre-9/11, and we should have.

In many cases, he’s shown more compassion towards the Arabs and Muslims who are persecuted by the Islamists than left-leaning sites.

While the commenters at LGF are over the top, it might help to look at the root causes of their behavior. Before 9/11, I doubt that any of them knew much about Islam or Muslims, or the Muslim world. Many of the commenters are reactionaries, but most are not reacting to what Muslims are, they’re reacting to what Muslims do.

When a group slaughters thousands of Americans and claims to do it in the name of Islam, that tends to focus people’s attention. When that same group threatens to slaughter millions more in the name of Islam, and when that same group promises to target American children, that tends to create some resentment.

When Islamic groups like CAIR complain more about airport searches than they do about the terrorist groups making threats in their name, that tends to create more resentment.

I completely disagree with the notion that we’re fighting Islam as a religion.

As a strategy, “Nuke Mecca” is as stupid and destructive as the idea of peace at any price – but I think the anger at LGF is mostly a defensive, not a racist, expression.

Posted by: mary at May 5, 2005 09:07 AM
But what I really wanted to say is, after seeing months and months or photos of these almost-human bottom-feeders I have to wonder out loud "how in Christ's name is it possible for one race (i.e., Arabs) to be so hideously ugly?!"

I mean, seriously. They have got to be THE single most unattractive group of beings to ever disgrace the planet Earth. What's in their genes that makes them so terribly, grossly ugly?

...

And speaking of Middle Eastern chicks, have you ever seen ONE truly attractive Arab woman? And let's not count the recent spate of Lebanese hotties that've been popping up on this and other 'net sites lately. There's a lot of European blood in Lebanon, which explains the light hair and eyes of many. But as for the rest, puke-city! I truly believe that they're cursed by God, and with good, no...great, reason.
Verily, there is no racism amongst LGF posters. Verily, calling for sterilization of a particular ethnic group so as to exterminate it without killing a single person - truly enlightened, non-racist discourse!

For the record, I never mentioned Charles. I mentioned members of the community that use his website to discuss stuff like, you know, how Arab DNA makes them ugly and hey, can't we figure out a way of engineering biological weapons to exterminate them as a people?

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 09:30 AM

Vino V: "Thou shalt not kill" is the 6th commandment, not the first."

Geez - look where a Catholic education (including a Catholic University education) got me! I just realized I can barely even remember how to say the Lord's Prayer. Embarassing really.

But my point was that any person killing people in the name of Christianity (or Buddhism) is not following the example of Jesus (or the Budhha), whereas the same cannot be said of those killing in the name of Islam. Ditto for rape, theft, lying and so on. (I don't know enough about Judaism or Hinduism to comment). On what grounds do you want to claim that the jihadists are deluded extremists? Because the fact is that they are actually following their prophet's example. So if you think they are deluded extremists, that would imply that Muhammed himself was a deluded extremist, wouldn't it? So what does that say about Islam itself? The answer is obvious. And it's why much of the Muslim world can barely find a means to condemn the jihadists and why OBL is so widely revered. They're caught in a serious conundrum because their faith is based on a lie in the first place. Unfortunately the ones who are honest enough with themselves to figure this out, can't do anything about it because they risk being killed. Ali Sina constantly points out that the biggest victims of Islam are in fact the Muslims themselves. He also points out that the fact that so many Muslims are good and kind human beings (and there is no doubt about that) DESPITE their religion, is a testimony to the strength of the human spirit.

Mary: “We’re not fighting religious Islam, we’re fighting political Islam”. Fine, I don’t think grounds for separating the 2 is actually found in Islam itself , but if Islam can undergo a reformation that formally separates the two, I’m all for it.

Mary: “if we treat all one billion Muslims as our enemy, despite the fact that they are not, we could lose the war.”

Where does it follow that because I say that Islam is the problem, one billion people must be treated as my enemy? (or God forbid killed?). To the extent that each of those people adheres more closely to the actual teachings of Islam, then yes, I suppose they would be my enemy. But clearly there are a great many nominal Muslims who do not adhere to the teachings of Islam. That’s why they’re not a problem and not my enemy. And none of that changes what I’m saying – that Islam is the problem. In fact, it strengthens the very point I’m making.

Mark: “Maybe the suggestion that all the moslems in the world should just get a new belief system was a joke”

Not a joke. But how is that a Crusade? It is perfectly reasonable and nonviolent to work towards convincing people that their beliefs are deluded and mistaken. I’m not saying this is an easy thing to do but I have said nothing to advocate violence.

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 09:33 AM

Well, I would disagree about your assessment of LGF and Charles Johnson, Mary, but you know the guy and I don't, and I trust your judgement on the matter. Although as he's quite quick to ban commenters whose ideology he dislikes, I have to wonder why he doesn't do the same with the out-and-out genocidists on his blog.

I appreciate some of the thoughtful discussion going on here, and it's good to read some of the stuff that Mary and Mark are saying. Kudos from the other side of the political fence, guys.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 5, 2005 09:39 AM

Caroline,

You should remember that past Islamic societies - at a time when our cultural ancestors had descended into the cheerfully-named Dark Ages - were busy preserving Greek science and philosophy, developing algebra, expanding astronomy, writing poetry, and building some of the most tolerant societies in the world at the time. In many Islamic states, such as the caliphate that ruled Iberia, Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived prosperously side-by-side. When the Muslims were driven out, so were the Jews - tolerance left with the Muslims. During the Dark Ages, women in Islamic societies held many more rights than did women in Christian societies.

Now things are reversed - we're now the tolerant, prosperous, multicultural socities, while Islam is in its own Dark Ages. That does not mean that it has always been this way, or that it always will be. History is not destiny. To argue that Muslims who do bad things are just following orders from the Koran is like saying that Christian terrorists in this country are just following orders to kill idolators and other such fun things commanded by God in the Bible.

No, if we're looking at a common thread - Islam or Christianity - and seeing wildly different outcomes - the Spanish Inquisition versus America, al Qaeda versus algebra - then the common thread probably isn't the cause of the behavior. Unless you can think of a way by which a match, when struck, can sometimes cause a fire, and other times cause a hurricane.

There are something like a billion Muslims in the world. Don't you think that some of them might hold divergent viewpoints? Or are only Christians allowed to take a single text and create a trillion interpretations, many of which are radically at odds with one another?

Just as one Christian might choose to ignore Leviticus and focus on the Gospels, a Muslim might choose to ignore the killing-your-heathen-enemies part and focus on the love-each-other-and-show-respect-for-other-peoples-including-women part, and vice versa.

I have Christian friends, atheist friends, Jewish friends, Muslim friends, Hindu friends. No Buddhist friends, but I did eat Thai food with a Buddhist once. The common thread - amazingly enough - is that they are my friends, and that they are utterly, totally Americanized. I would never, ever expect or assume different behavior, except for minor and trivial details about religious observance, from any of them - it just wouldn't occur to me. They're all just people, just like me. By observing people of different religions behaving in similar ways, I have concluded that different religions will not produce different behaviors.

If I'm the kind of person who wanted to blow up children, however, I could find justification in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism. After all, there are adherents to all of those religions who have murdered innocent people - it's not the religion, it's the person.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 09:49 AM

Commenter: "You should remember that past Islamic societies - at a time when our cultural ancestors had descended into the cheerfully-named Dark Ages - were busy preserving Greek science and philosophy, developing algebra, expanding astronomy, writing poetry, and building some of the most tolerant societies in the world at the time. In many Islamic states, such as the caliphate that ruled Iberia, Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived prosperously side-by-side. "

Yes - the myth of the Golden Age of Islam

"The problem with turning this list of intellectual achievements into a convincing "Islamic" golden age is that whatever flourished, did so not by reason of Islam but in spite of Islam. Moslems overran societies (Persian, Greek, Egyptian, Byzantine, Syrian, Jewish) that possessed intellectual sophistication in their own right and failed to completely destroy their cultures. To give it the credit for what the remnants of these cultures achieved is like crediting the Red Army for the survival of Chopin in Warsaw in 1970! Islam per se never encouraged science, in the sense of disinterested enquiry, because the only knowledge it accepts is religious knowledge."

I can find numerous similar claims that Islamic societies flourished when they lived parasatically off their conquered hosts, until they succeeded in killing or driving off most of their dhimmies, at which point the Islamic societies turned into the kind of barren landscapes we see now in the ME.

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 10:22 AM

Mark,

Religion is just another "super tribal" identity. This identity CAN be changed 'like a suit'- to use your words as it were - if one is only willing to do so. The only question that remains is why would someone want to maintain this or that identity. In particular, why would anyone want to be a muslim. This is a question I'd be interested in having Commenter reply to.

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 10:25 AM

Caroline,

I base what I wrote on historians like Bernard Lewis, an acknowledged expert on the topic and certainly no friend to Islamic extremism.

There is no danger and threat in acknowleding that Islamic societies did achieve great things while Christian societies did terrible things - and vice versa.

For example, it was Islamic scholars who preserved Plato for us while European learning virtually vanished. Islamic scholars, who that article dismisses, made important contributions to math, astronomy, chemistry, and other fields.

Islamic societies afforded far more freedom to conquered Christians and Jews than Christian societies of the time did - look what happened to Jerusalem's Jews and Muslims during the First Crusade.

There is no glorification of Islam to report historical fact, and there is no condemnation of Western society to point out that in the past, our cultural ancestors weren't always so great.

Anyway, the article is a hack piece. Trifkovic would like to argue that since Greek literature was translated by a Christian, not a Muslim, that Muslims had nothing to do with preserving Greek literature. It's important to remember that it was a Christian living in a Muslim society - and for all the restrictions placed on Christians by Muslims, recall that no Muslim would have survived very long in Christian Europe. Except for when Azeem visited England and killed the witch.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 10:40 AM

Mik a "This identity CAN be changed 'like a suit'- to use your words as it were - if one is only willing to do so."

But of course. Doesn't Islam itself work hard to acquire converts to Islam? So, evidently Muslims themselves share the notion that one should be able to change one's religion "like a suit". That is quite evidently what they expect US to do! The west is certainly full of people who have abandoned Christianity and experimented with other faiths, including quasi new-age type spiritual quests. So why this tip-toeing around Muslims on this issue, instead of asking the hard questions about their prophet and asking them to examine the validity of a belief system that accepts that a man who killed, raped, enslaved, stole, tortured and so on - is a prophet of God? If that belief cannot be defended, the implication follows that it might be time to shop for some new clothes.

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 10:42 AM

Commenter - I agree that the extreme commenters on LGF should be warned. There are a lot more of them then there used to be.

but here's the rest of that comment you quoted:
"The only thing that can even come close is our own USA-bred Kerry voters, who seem almost to a person to have faces that could stop clocks dead cold. Seriously. Next time you see a Kerry bumper sticker on a car, look at the driver. Betcha its gonna be a really fat, ugly chick or a mousy, bearded old hippie dude. I think it must have something to do with hating the USA: if you hate the USA, then you're ugly. To wit, the French."
It's stupid, equivalent to French/Euro nattering about fat Americans, it's basically 'you hate me, then I hate you back', but it's not racism. Unless blue-staters are a race..?

Some of the commenters on that post are leaning towards Indymedia extremes, though.

Posted by: mary at May 5, 2005 10:48 AM

Commenter - I defer for now to your greater knowledge of these historical events. I would have to do a great deal of reading to have a truly educated opinion on this issue and it isn't my intention in any case, to defend the west on this point. I have noted in passing, however, that the issue appears to be coming under closer scrutiny recently so i do expect to see more open debates about it.

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 10:49 AM

Caroline,

Sorry to hear you left the Church as an adult. I came to it as an adult.

I took a one-semester comparative religion course once that included Islam, and I've had Muslim friends with whom I've observed the fast of Ramadan, but I do not in any way consider myself an expert on Islam.

But since that seldom stops people here, here goes!

Jesus explicitly rejected the role of a secular leader. That's the main thing that got him in trouble with Judas and the Zealots. (The original Zealots.) Mohammed did not reject the role of secular leader, and as a result had to make some pretty tough decisions in a harsh environment. Mohammed certainly let some military campaigns, but I'm not sure he "killed, raped, enslaved, stole, tortured" as you suggest. But I await your next post on the subject.

As a Christian, I look to Jesus as a better role model, but I can appreciate that someone with faith can be forced into some tough corners and have to make less-than-perfect decisions. Think Joan of Arc, or any Christian leader in a time of war.

It's easy to look at a religion from the outside, and make decisions on it based on a quick reading of their sacred texts, or their history. But no religion is that simple, and you have to look at it as it is lived out.

If you don't know any Muslims I encourage you to find some, get to know them as people and ask a lot of questions - and don't filter their answers through a pre-conceived paradigm.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 5, 2005 10:53 AM

Caroline, Commenter - speaking of Bernard Lewis, he's written this article in Foreign Affairs describing Islam's liberal basis, the later destruction of these beliefs by European & Wahhabi influences, and the possiblity that this liberalism can be revived.

Posted by: mary at May 5, 2005 10:53 AM

Mary,

He calls Arabs "almost-human bottom-feeders". The Nazis spent a lot of time talking about how ugly those hook-nosed subhuman Jews were, too. I can't say that it doesn't bother me that there are people who feel a need to defend these LGF posters when they're discussing genocide against "almost-human bottom-feeders" - to say that they're "leaning" towards Indymedia is almost kind to the point of perversion.

But thank you for the pointer to the Lewis article!

All right folks, let's get pumped! Not that many posts left before we reach 200! Let's make this the longest thread about nothing that achieved nothing!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 11:14 AM

DPU: Although as he's [Charles Johnson] quite quick to ban commenters whose ideology he dislikes, I have to wonder why he doesn't do the same with the out-and-out genocidists on his blog.

Again you resort to unsubstantiated slander, for which you would never apologize.

You spend zero to little time on LGF, and already you claim to be the expert. Anybody who has spends time on LGF knows that Charles Johnson only bans trolls, as all bloggers do-- not those whose ideology he "dislikes."

Apologize

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 11:25 AM

Spaniard,

DPU = The Commenter

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 11:31 AM

I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 11:32 AM

mika,

trust me, DPU is no Commenter.

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 11:35 AM

...I could find justification in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism. After all, there are adherents to all of those religions who have murdered innocent people - it's not the religion, it's the person. - Commenter

I'd add it's the fundamentalism and literalism combined with the individual.

Posted by: d-rod at May 5, 2005 11:40 AM

VinoVeritas,

The effects on societies due to Islamization are plain to observe. You don't need to befriend muslims to understand the inherent depravity of that ideological/political system. There were "good" people that were Commies/Nazis too I'm sure. So what.

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 11:40 AM

D-Rod,

Precisely. It's like there's a template in people's brains for fundamentalism. Some people do it, some don't. For those who do, you just have to hand them something - religion, politics, whatever - and suddenly you have a Nazi, a Communist, an Islamist, a white supremecist, whatever.

Mika, keep talking. Oh sweet Jesus, just let it all pour out.

Posted by: The Commenter Who Is a Muslim Activist and Also DPU at May 5, 2005 11:44 AM

Well, they're both just a slimy.

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 11:47 AM

No, really. We're the same person.

There's really only one Ur-Liberal, but I take many forms.

Ladies - most of those forms are pleasing to the eye, if you know what I mean. The line forms to the left (get it? to the left!).

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 11:50 AM

Hassan, is that you? :)

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 11:54 AM

Billy, is that you?

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 11:58 AM

Precisely. It's like there's a template in people's brains for fundamentalism. - Commenter

Not exactly. In West today we have a mostly liberal interpretation of Christianity being preached, while in the Middle East we have a mostly backward and destructive fundamentalism often advocating hate.

Posted by: d-rod at May 5, 2005 12:07 PM

Billy is busy modeling designer underwear on his head. He's planing to sell the pics to CNN and make a million.

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 12:09 PM

I can speak to the actual rates of extremism or fundamentalism - if they're the same or if one is greater - but certainly Islam's extremism has produced significantly more violence.

But let's not pretend that Christianity hasn't seen its fair share of extremists, intolerance, and violence over the years.

There are plenty of Christians who hate just as fervently as Muslims. I imagine if the situation were different - and I'm afraid that it would only take a very slight change - we'd see the same people with signs that say "God Hates Fags" blowing up people with regularity, instead of haphazardly.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 12:11 PM

I imagine if the situation were different - and I'm afraid that it would only take a very slight change - we'd see the same people with signs that say "God Hates Fags" blowing up people with regularity, instead of haphazardly.

We give you facts, you give us hypotheticals.

coulda shoulda woulda.

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 12:14 PM

And what, pray tell, are those facts?

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 12:18 PM

CNN is paying $1 million for underwear-on-the-head pics? I've been giving them away for free for years! I feel like such a dolt. =(

Posted by: Hassan at May 5, 2005 12:20 PM

Did you mention they're from abu ghraib?

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 12:23 PM

Re: Fundamentalism - I think that some people's thought processes tend to require an inner model of "the enemy", whether it be leftists, right-wingers, liberals, Jews, Muslims, atheists, or what-have-you. Nothing from the real world will dislodge this inner model or template.

For example, if the inner model says that all leftists favour statism or totalitarianism, and a real-life leftist says that they don't, then there's a mental contradiction that must be resolved. Three ways of doing this come to mind:
  • The leftist is lying, saying one thing and believing another.
  • The leftist cannot be a leftist, as they don't fit the inner model.
  • Ignore the input, as it's obviously faulty.
While it can be applied to explain certain forms of racism, it also goes a long way in explaining political fanaticism. And while I've used iterporetation of leftist attributes in the example, I've seen more than my fair share of it from exteme left-wingers as well. It's a non-partisan afflication.

Discussion with people who use this thought process is extremely difficult, as there is literally nothing that you can do or say that will cause them to change their internal model or template. Everything external will be bent or twisted so that the inner model remains intact.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 5, 2005 12:24 PM

Jane Fonda's bedroom, one year later:

http://blamebush.typepad.com/blamebush/2005/04/abu_ghraib_one_.html

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 12:43 PM

Caroline:

Mark: "Maybe the suggestion that all the moslems in the world should just get a new belief system was a joke"
Not a joke. But how is that a Crusade? It is perfectly reasonable and nonviolent to work towards convincing people that their beliefs are deluded and mistaken. I’m not saying this is an easy thing to do but I have said nothing to advocate violence.

Caroline, the last thing I would ever accuse you of is advocating violence. Your opinions are always well reasoned, eloquent, and humanitarian. Unlike you, I am not a psychologist, or for that matter much of an expert on anything except a few software packages.

But.

I think adults who can totally restructure their own belief system are rare beasts even in a culture deeply imbued with Enlightenment values (i.e. our own.) I think asking (at the very least) a large plurality of a different culture not-so-wedded to tolerance as an ideal to do so is a bit much.

I don't mean this to be a "why do they hate us" moment, but the violence against our culture by the jihadis feels like some kind of Jungian panic within their culture, a dread that they already face assimilation and negation. So we get Jihad from them. And if they push hard enough, and if we get scared or hurt enough, they will get Crusade from us.

Past clashes of civilizations have tended to be bloody and ultimately decisive, if my limited knowledge of history is any guide. Call me an optimist, but I'm hoping this time we can do it a different way.

The goal here, if this is a competition, a clash of civilizations, whatever, is to win without losing a lot of people on either side. (Or at least that's my personal preference.) I think advocating an overt assault on Islam as a belief system is a mistake, because a lot of people on both sides would just as soon not notice their minds being changed. What was the line Sullivan used to like? "Democracy! Whisky! Sexy!", I think.

In other words, I think we're winning, and I think the Wahabi Beast knows it. Let's not give it ammunition by giving it overt reason for paranoia.

So my prescription: kill the killers, defang or destroy the enablers, and let the most vibrant cuture that has ever existed do its stuff.

It might work.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 5, 2005 12:48 PM

Sweet! 200 posts. That's the limit I set myself for involvement here - the arbitrary number when I declare this thread officially to be theater of the absurd, an artifact of spectacle. Special thanks to Mr. Totten, for hosting this absurdity, Jean Baudrillard, for his insight into hyperreality, and Mika, for defending genocide, dismissing torture, and revealing to me that I'm actually a Muslim activist and a Canadian.

My parents have some explaining to do!

Peace out, homies!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 5, 2005 12:53 PM

Vino V: "Mohammed certainly let some military campaigns, but I'm not sure he "killed, raped, enslaved, stole, tortured" as you suggest. But I await your next post on the subject."

Vino - the facts about his life are pretty well documented and appear in books such as Sword of the Prophet and Prophet of Doom - which both rely on the koran, suras and hadiths.

Just a quick web search (sorry - I'm at work and struggling here!) - brought up this site by one pissed off Hindu:

Prophet of terror

Scroll down to his list of articles and read "Prophet of Terror and Religion of Peace" Parts 1-IV - because here he breaks down Muhammed's various military expeditions by historical date and describes the killing, looting, rapes and so on. I think there were roughly 70 some military expeditions.

In this one article at faithfreedom.org, Ali Sina has numerous links you can follow re Muhammed's life:

Ali Sina

It is clearly not enough to simply state that Jesus rejected a secular role and that poor Muhammed had to govern in a secular capacity and therefore can be excused for some of this stuff.
The guy is obviously a psychopath - meaning someone without conscience.

(after work I'll try to find other links that give a clear chronological picture of his deeds. This will have to do for now:-)

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 12:53 PM

So my prescription: kill the killers, defang or destroy the enablers, and let the most vibrant cuture that has ever existed do its stuff.

One analysist that I was reading recently put it this way - the Islamic cultures have been taking a back seat in the last couple of centuries. Empires have fallen, nations colonized, wars lost, etc. From a cultural perspective, that's a hard buscuit to choke down, I imagine, especially from a religious point of view. I mean, every religion is based on the belief that it is superior to all others, and Islam is no exception, yet here they've been getting screwed at every roll of the dice.

Some cultists have explained the fall from grace as because liberalism has infected Islam, and a return to orthodoxy is required in order to restore Islam to its former position of grace and power.

These guys are currently the minority within the Islamic community, but they're preaching to a demoralized culture, and the danger is that they'll gain recruits. After all, preaching a message of hope to a demoralized culture was what got both Hitler and Mussolini into power.

A "crusade" is the last thing that is needed. That would only confirm the message of the jihadists and gain them converts.

Did anyone notice the big fall-off of fundamenatists in Indonesia after the tsunami relief? American aircraft carriers carrying relif supplies and military helicopters flying into devestated muslim communities to give help went a long, long way in derailing the bad-guy image of the US that the Jihadists preach. Now, if people want to call that kind of thing a "crusade" of a different kind, then so be it. But it's unfortunate terminology.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 5, 2005 01:03 PM

"Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity." -George Orwell, 1984.

See ya later, Hassan!

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 01:04 PM

Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.

Ladies and gentlemen, irony is not dead.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 5, 2005 01:30 PM

caroline --
The Jewish bible is full of all sorts of divinely-sanctioned barbarism. This fact has not kept most practicing Jews today from embracing humane, civilized values. The Hindu religion that previously produced the caste system, annhilation of widows, and other madness.

Conversely, the exhortations of Jesus about loving enemies and turning cheeks didn't prevent the predations of the Crusades, the conquests of the Aztecs, Inquisition, witchburnings, etc..

What Muhammid did or didn't do is irrelevant, unless you (In the early days of desert storm, didn't the US military bring dozens of Iraqis out of hiding to be mowed down by insulting the Prophet over loudspeakers?)

All major religions have produced madmen and saints.

Stick to the true distinction: today, Muslim religion tends to have a much higher percentage of fundamentailists in it.

Posted by: markus rose at May 5, 2005 01:49 PM

Why is he calling you Hassan?

Posted by: Epitome at May 5, 2005 01:50 PM

Because he's insane!

Posted by: Hassan at May 5, 2005 01:51 PM

The Jewish bible is full of all sorts of divinely-sanctioned barbarism.

The Jewish bible isn't full of OPEN-ENDED sactioned barbarism, as is the Koran. No mission creep whatsoever. Canaan was given to them, not the whole damn world.

Big diff.

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 02:15 PM

That only establishes that Judaism isn't imperialist in nature (as Islam certainly is) much of the barbarity of Jewish tribal law and Moses Laws would fit right into an Islamic theocracy without much adjustment.

Posted by: Epitome at May 5, 2005 02:27 PM

The Jewish bible isn't full of OPEN-ENDED sactioned barbarism, as is the Koran.

2 Chronicals, 15:13: That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

No misson creep or open-ended barbarity there, folks.

Stand by for re-interpretation of scriptures so this just means spiritual death in 3, 2, 1..

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 5, 2005 02:47 PM

DPU,

I just have to chuckle in amusement at the taquiya deception you resort to.

That verse you cite precisely proves my point if you read the entire passage. It's talking about the conquest of Canaan. No interpretation at all-- just reading the whole chapter, instead of deceptively citing out of contexts verses.

Thanks for proving my point.

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 03:06 PM

DPU, taqiya deceiver,

and to dispel further deception on your part, the commenter known as 'Gordon,' -- a flaming Leftist-- has been posting on LGF for years without getting banned.

He has 21 posts on this thread alone:

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=15747_UT-Austin_Thug-_I_Am_a_Jackass#comments

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 03:15 PM

Hassan - Because he's insane!

Why do I hear that in Kryten's (of Red Dwarf) voice?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 5, 2005 03:21 PM

15:1 And the spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded;

15:2 and he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him: 'Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you, while ye are with Him; and if ye seek Him, He will be found of you; but if ye forsake Him, He will forsake you.

15:3 Now for long seasons Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law;

15:4 but when in their distress they turned unto the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found of them.

15:5 And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great discomfitures were upon all the inhabitants of the lands.

15:6 And they were broken in pieces, nation against nation, and city against city; for God did discomfit them with all manner of adversity.

15:7 But be ye strong, and let not your hands be slack; for your work shall be rewarded.'

15:8 And when Asa heard these words, even the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the detestable things out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from the hill-country of Ephraim; and he renewed the altar of the Lord, that was before the porch of the Lord.

15:9 And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and them that sojourned with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon; for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.

15:10 So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.

15:11 And they sacrificed unto the Lord in that day, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep.

15:12 And they entered into the covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul;

15:13 and that whosoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

15:14 And they swore unto the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with horns.

15:15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought Him with their whole desire; and He was found of them; and the Lord gave them rest round about.

Posted by: not a bible scholar at May 5, 2005 03:22 PM

Thanks for proving my point.

Mmm. Huh? Oh, sorry, I wasn't paying attention. I was wondering if Mika was another one of your sock puppets. And sure, sure, you're welcome.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 5, 2005 03:36 PM

DPU: "I was wondering if Mika was another one of your sock puppets."

DPU, can't you tell the difference? Spaniard is the one with the sense of humor, Mika is the ine with the suave European charm.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 5, 2005 03:48 PM

"Thanks for proving my point."

You must be from in a different universe.

Posted by: not a bible scholar at May 5, 2005 03:52 PM

"Thanks for proving my point."

You must be from in a different universe.

Posted by: not a bible scholar at May 5, 2005 03:53 PM

standard DPU-- ignore the merits, ridicule the poster. ho hum.

deceiver.

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 03:58 PM

DPU, can't you tell the difference? Spaniard is the one with the sense of humor, Mika is the ine with the suave European charm.

They're both charming, but in different ways. God, it's refreshing to encounter blog commenters who know their minds, and aren't afraid to air out their mental dirty laundry. Like a breath of fresh air.

I noted, though, that just as we had Spaniard's coming-out party as we realized his former secret identitites, that Mika arrived. And while both are refreshingly direct in their approaches to blog commentary, I think Spaniard comes off looking quite a bit better in the comparison.

Which may be the point.

But what do I know, I'm The Commenter's sock puppet. And there's so much switching of identities going on that I'm not even sure that I'm not you, VinoVeritas. And I think that the definitive hyperreal moment, don't you think?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 5, 2005 04:01 PM

Allah guides whom he wills and misguides whom he wills.

Posted by: embarassed virgin at May 5, 2005 04:08 PM

DPU: "And there's so much switching of identities going on that I'm not even sure that I'm not you, VinoVeritas."

Kind of like cross-dressing.

God, I find that wildly exciting.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 5, 2005 04:11 PM

Just for the record, I completely support the "stir the hornets' nest" tactic of dealing with muzzie terror and taqiya cross-dressers.

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 04:33 PM

Mark Poling - forget the psychologist thing. My biggest regret on this thread will no doubt be that I revealed that (Commenter set me up and it was hard not to go there). Trust me - I'm no expert on anything. Everyone is a psychologist. And if you want to know what a psychiatrist knows - read the DSM-IV!

You said: “the violence against our culture by the jihadis feels like some kind of Jungian panic within their culture, a dread that they already face assimilation and negation. So we get Jihad from them.”

Hey - You're doing a pretty good imitation of a psychologist yourself there! I do agree with you re the fundamental threat that the encroachment of the west itself represents to Islamic societies. I think one of the reasons that the radical left tends to align itself with Islam is because many of them feel the same sense of threat from modernism (empty consumerist culture in particular) and so they romanticize the traditional cultures of other societies in their search for meaning. Given that fact, don't forget that there are alot of converts to Islam in the west and that many of them are recruited for jihad, so the issue of being frank about Islam isn't just some cruel ploy to deprive traditional Muslims of their faith - it may also be necessary to inform western peoples themselves so they do not convert and go down that path.

Re pressing the issue of Islam itself as a belief system, something which Markus also brought up on another thread to the effect of - how can you expect someone to leave their belief system? - I encourage you both, if you haven't already done so - to spend several days reading Ali Sina's site faithfreedom.org. You will get a very clear sense of people struggling to come to terms with their faith in the face of Mr. Sina's rational assault. Of course Mr. Sina is himself a consumate humanist but he is also totally uncompromising. It makes for fascinating reading. The Muslim Comments section looks like massive rage unleashed - people very clearly feeling threatened. The "leaving Islam" testimonies reveal a range of emotions. Many converts who thought Islam was one thing and then found themselves trapped in a nightmare, traditional Muslims who struggled hard with Mr. Sina's facts until they finally conceded on rational grounds, many express a great feeling of release and freedom, some have abandoned their faith but know they will have to pretend to be Muslims for the rest of their lives in fear. People come in there to valiantly debate him and prove him wrong and then throw in their cards in the end. Some become even more militant in the face of his assault. Some feel the need to replace Islam with another religion - often Christianity or Buddhism, others want to dwell in the realm of 'not knowing' for awhile. Like I said - fascinating reading. But one thing is for sure - Sina never treats any of them like babies who need to be coddled and protected from the facts. He treats them like mature human beings and he expects them to debate their faith on rational grounds. Isn't that precisely the assault on rational grounds that ultimately transformed Christianity?

I’m not saying it’s the main approach to fighting the WOT. Obviously there’s killing the really bad guys (your approach), there’s bringing democracy to the ME, there’s the PR aspect, as DPU points out re the tsunami aid; our own state department is even building mosques throughout the world to encourage moderate Islam. No doubt many Christians are taking the “conversion” approach. Confronting the validity of Islam itself from a rational perspective is just one more approach. Killing a billion Muslims most obviously is not a valid approach, no matter what freaked out vitriole the LGF posters hurl about.

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 04:38 PM

"DPU: "And there's so much switching of identities going on that I'm not even sure that I'm not you, VinoVeritas.""

The above thread is pretty funny but if everyone starts switching identities and name-jacking, the thread might quickly acquire the reputation of Kevin Drum's site.

FWIW - Spaniard - when you referred to the "little brown people", I thought you must be Carlos but I swear your posting style is not the same - Carlos was far more direct and insulting. Are you perhaps Carlos trying hard not to go over the edge? You said go ahead and email MJT but I'm not actually going to email him and ask him if you really are Carlos.

So instead - how about that old game show "To tell the truth"? Do you know who the following people are?

Ged of Ethsea?
Downtown Lad?
Neodude?

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 04:55 PM

Carlos was far more direct and insulting.

Caroline,

True, and that's exactly what got him into trouble. If he were back, he would be trying to turn over a new leaf ;-)

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 05:01 PM

Spaniard: "True, and that's exactly what got him into trouble. If he were back, he would be trying to turn over a new leaf ;-)"

Welcome back Carlos!

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 05:12 PM

Mary: "Caroline, Commenter - speaking of Bernard Lewis, he's written this article in Foreign Affairs describing Islam's liberal basis, the later destruction of these beliefs by European & Wahhabi influences, and the possiblity that this liberalism can be revived"

Mary - thanks for that article. I finally got a chance to read the whole thing. I agree with and also found interesting many of his points, some of which we've discussed here before.

One of them concerns the transformative power of the communications technology in the ME - something I had high hopes for but which as BL points out - is being equally exploited by the forces of hate and propoganda. Another interesting point is ME's becoming aware of what rowdy democratic debate looks like (through these same technologies) but also making them aware of how backwards they are. He makes some of the points about Iraq's relative advancement in civil society - namely middle class and women's rights -that many of us understood to be a prime reason why Iraq was the perfect place to launch the democracy project in the first place but he also clearly sounds the warning bell about the reasons why fundamentalists might have a relative advantage in acquiring power in democratic elections. Hey - who said this would be easy? He presents many reasons for optimism nonetheless.

But I note one very salient point in his article that is presented as a positive point - on page 1 - but which sounds warning bells to me.

"The reference to equality was no problem: Egyptians, like other Muslims, understood it very well. Equality among believers was a basic principle of Islam from its foundation in the seventh century...."

Equality among believers. That's great. I have no doubt it bodes well for Muslims's capacity to develop democratic societies...among themselves. Mr. Lewis never once in that article addresses the fate of nonbelievers. Which means he fails to address any of my real concerns about Islam as an ideology. Rather cold comfort that.

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 05:49 PM

Mary: "The Lebanese fight for independence was led by Muslims and Christians, working together. They've already proven that the 'blame Islam' theory is wrong."

Mary - they've made an excellent start. It's why Michael pointed out that some of the young folks in the tents felt that they were engaging in something very very important - as peace brokers in the "clash of civilizations" (I assume that Michael feels the same way) - and for very good reasons. Because they are. From small seeds acorns grow (or is it oaks from acorns?). Lebanon is the place to watch. Thank you again Michael. :-)

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 06:10 PM

Caroline,

The Egypt that Lewis was describing in that particular passage was, of course, the Egypt of the late 18th century. For comparison's sake, remember that most Jews of Europe were not emancipated at the time, and would only become so as a result of Napolean's invasion.

In other words, while Islamic societies afforded some protections and some restrictions for non-Muslims, Europe wasn't exactly a cakewalk for its own religious minorities.

For a very long time, Islamic societies allowed religious minorities - at least Christians and Jews - far more freedom than contemporary Christian societies allowed even Christians of other sects, much less Jews (who faced pogroms) or Muslims (who didn't even exist as members of European society outside the Balkans).

Sadly, many Islamic societies failed to progress from this point or regressed, while Christian societies became much more tolerant. But the point of the discussion is, I think, the nature of Islam and the behavior associated with it.

In other words, if you're uncomfortable with the level of equality offered in an 18th century Muslim society, how do you feel about contemporary Christian societies that offered even less equality? And again: if Islamic societies were more tolerant than Christian societies, and now the situation is reversed, can Islam really be the root cause of the behavior of radical Muslims?

Posted by: Hassan at May 5, 2005 06:11 PM

I guess a better way of putting it is this:

Intolerant Christian societies (remember fun things like the Thirty Years War and other fun wars of reformation!) from the past produced modern tolerant societies. Muslim societies were, in many ways, more tolerant than contemporary Christian socieites. Lewis is suggesting that modern intolerant Muslims societies look back to their tolerant past. If intolerant Christian societies can do it, why would you worry so much about the fact that their tolerance wasn't perfect, when it was even better than that of our cultural ancestors?

Posted by: Hassan at May 5, 2005 06:15 PM

Okay Hassan - this is getting interesting but really no more bizarre than the herd of deer that just ran across my suburban lawn while I was out smoking a cigarette. From by brief re-reading of the above thread's shape-shifting I shall guess that you are in fact the poster formerly known as Commenter but I really have no way of knowing, so I shall assume that you are in fact Hassan (which would validate Mik a's assumptions, which would mean that he wasn't wearing a tinfoil hat after all :-)).

Fine.

"The Egypt that Lewis was describing in that particular passage was, of course, the Egypt of the late 18th century"

Is the old man still around? Cause I got the impression that he was pretty much up on very current events. Still no mention of the prospects for unbelievers from any reading of Islamic history as it applies to current historical trends within Muslim societies. Like I said - cold comfort, especially considering the rather unprecedented number of Muslims immigrating to the west in the past 30 years.

" In other words, if you're uncomfortable with the level of equality offered in an 18th century Muslim society, how do you feel about contemporary Christian societies that offered even less equality? And again: if Islamic societies were more tolerant than Christian societies, and now the situation is reversed, can Islam really be the root cause of the behavior of radical Muslims?"

Are you intending to imply that 18th century Muslim societies were more progressive than 18th century Christian societies? I don't think so. But I think you're missing my point. I am not trying to make some century by century argument that compares Muslim vs Christian societies to prove who is better and to try to convert one to the other on their relative merits. I can’t even recall the Lord’s Prayer for Christ’s sake.

“If intolerant Christian societies can do it, why would you worry so much about the fact that their tolerance wasn't perfect, when it was even better than that of our cultural ancestors?”

Show me the money. I don’t care about the past. I care about the present. I don’t pretend to be an historian. The catholic church was obviously fucked up. Why do you think I’m not a Catholic? So why shouldn’t I worry about Islam? Like I said – show me the money. Show me the evidence that Islam as a whole is capable of moving into the modern world – accepting nonbelievers as equal citizens, accepting separation of church and state as a principle of civil governance, accepting apostasy, tolerating blasphemy of the prophet, granting equal rights to women, relinquishing Sharia law, relinquishing hatred of Jews and others and so on. Relinquishing Jihad as a theological tenet for God’s sake!. Why shouldn’t I worry until I see evidence that all of these things are gone from Islam? Do you expect me to get by on a wing and a prayer?

Sorry Hassan. The burden of proof isn’t on me – it’s on Islam. I’m quite sure you would expect the same degree of wariness in the face of such an ideology on the part of any member of the human race who didn't share your beliefs. I would quite expect the same of you, if I happened to subscribe to such an ideology and you didn't.

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 07:29 PM

Yes. Mika was able to use his enormous powers of the mind to divine my real nature. Jedi mind trick or something. True story.

Anyhoo, the reason I made all those references to the past was that, if you missed, the whole point of Lewis' article was that Islam has a liberal past, that its current state is of recent origin, historically, and that Islam can and should turn to its liberal history - including the reference to equality in 18th century Egypt.

I'm not sure how you can say "I like the Lewis article" and then say "Islam's past doesn't matter". The whole point that Lewis was trying to convey was that Islam's past can and should matter. Right?

Posted by: Hassan at May 5, 2005 07:36 PM

The whole point of Lewis's article was that Islam has a liberal past - for BELIEVERS, which most certainly bodes well for said believers in the future. But we already knew that didn't we? Islam means "peace" (well actually submission but let's not quibble shall we?) - peace for "believers" - for the members of the ummah. Please find a quote in that article that suggests that this "liberal" past implies any hope for us kafirs in the future.

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 07:59 PM

Hassan,

The founding documents of Islam, the Koran and Hadiths, explicitly and implicitly negate the capacitance for progressive influences under Islamic law. Islam is designed as an ossifying ideology. This point is of primary importance for you to acknowledge. Any historical illusions to the contrary (i.e. any progressive/ liberal/ tolerant reflections) are really a mirage - dying reflections of a society that once was.

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 08:05 PM

Caroline,

I'm not really sure what the problem is. Islam has a past in which believers were accorded equality.

Christianity has a past in which believers were accorded equality - and in which heretics were, you know, slaughtered.

How to convey this best, hmmm....

Following Lewis, we look to Islam's past for a liberal example to follow in the present. We find a society that accorded equality to believers. You find this to be bad. Sure - if extended into the future. In Christianity's past, equality was extended only to believers (and only in a very limited sense of "equality").

If I read your fears correctly, you're worried that Islam's historical (limited) equality - if used as a template for the future - will lead to a future society in which believers are equal, but unbelievers are not.

However, we have an example of a society in which a very limited notion of equality became our present notion of equality. Ergo, I conclude that the scope of a historical sense of equality is irrelevant - the important thing is the sense itself, which can be extended or contracted in whatever way its holders please.

Mika, I try to make it a point only to mock you, not address you directly, but I'll make an exception this time, because this is something that we can clear up very easily right now.

The Koran says many things. These things are irrelevant.

In the same way that the Bible promises punishment for people who wear outfits consisting of two different fibers, yet people have no problem with poly-cotton blends. In the same way that Jesus forbade divorce, yet lots of Christians get divorced - but can't stand that all those gays are busy sinning. In the same way that Christians can take different parts of the Bible and use them to justify what they already wanted to do, or ignore them, Muslims can and do choose which parts of the Koran they wish to accept as justifications for behaviors they've already chosen, and which to ignore.

Seriously - if you get divorced, straight to hell, right? So why do we have an proposed amendment to ban gay marriage, but not straight divorce? Because people have a goal and have wrapped it up in religious words. So I have a difficult time in caring whether the Koran and Hadiths oppose innovation - Muslim jurists spent centuries arguing over and interpreting the Koran, in effect changing how its ossified words are interpreted.

P.S. You stink. Explicitly and implicitly. Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it.

Posted by: The Commenter Formerly Known as the Commenter Formerly Known as Proud Conservative But Now Called Ha at May 5, 2005 08:24 PM

Caroline:

“Are you intending to imply that 18th century Muslim societies were more progressive than 18th century Christian societies? I don't think so.”

And

“…Islam has a liberal past - for BELIEVERS, … - for the members of the ummah. Please find a quote in that article that suggests that this "liberal" past implies any hope for us kafirs in the future.”

As I recall America was pretty liberal towards its ummah (white guys), while enslaving its kafirs right up until 1865. In fact lynching kafirs was common into the 1920’s, with the last kafir lynching occurring, I believe, in the early 1950’s in Florida. And as late as the 1960’s, there were murders of American kafirs who demanded equal rights. As I recall there was a kafir leader, whose birthday is celebrated in February, assassinated in 1968.

And that’s without even mentioning the ethnic cleansing jihad that conquered the continent and displaced the original inhabitants.

But I believe that in the past 30-40 years America has looked into itself and drawn on the best of its traditions, and has changed for the better. Will Muslim societies do the same? I don’t know. But is there reason for hope, as you demand? I believe so.

Posted by: VinoVeritas (verily) at May 5, 2005 08:49 PM

Hassan,

Don't be cross. My criticism of Islam as an ossifying Ideology isn't limited to Islam. Though much more pronounced in Islam, this criticism applies to Judaism and Christianity as well. You know me well enough to know my views on this. Anyway, religious literalism is MUCH more widespread in the "Islamic world" and among Muslims than it is in "Christendom" or Israel. How do you propose that will change?

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 08:51 PM

Commenter - you must be pissed off to expand your moniker so. Does this mean that you weren't Hassan after all?

Okay - with what's gone on with this thread in terms of shifting and anonymous monikers - I will adopt my own new moniker just so I can ask some ignorant questions as an entirely new person.

When I return, I shall be Melanie - my beloved little hound dog.

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 08:53 PM

"The Koran says many things. These things are irrelevant."

So I go back to my original question to you. What compels you to maintain your identity as a Muslim? I'm really curious.

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 08:58 PM

Commenter - please explain to me how the Christian religion (that's the New Testament right - no Leviticus, no Deutoronomy?) - i.e. the Gospels - endorses death to nonbelievers.

Vino V - please explain to me how white American slaveholders justified this practice on the basis of the New testament (the Christian Gospels). Please explain especially, how MLK was viewed as a "kafir" on the basis of Christian New Testament scripture.

Posted by: Melanie (little red ignorant hound dog) at May 5, 2005 09:01 PM

"When I return, I shall be Melanie - my beloved little hound dog."

On second thought, given where this thread has gone in the last few posts, I think perhaps Caroline shall do just fine. The thread, let alone the site, could certainly use a little less confusion, all things considered. Good night all:-)

Posted by: Caroline at May 5, 2005 09:26 PM

Has anyone claimed....

Posted by: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at May 5, 2005 09:45 PM

Mika,

Commenter isn't a muslim. He's a dhimmi, which is why you've confused him for one.

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 09:48 PM

Sorry Spaniard, but dhimmis don't practice taqiya.

G'Nite Caroline.

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 10:01 PM

244 comments - about Islam, underwear and cross-dressing? I'm guessing that someone found the tequila while I was gone. Can't leave you alone for a minute.

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Posted by: mary at May 5, 2005 10:02 PM

Sorry Spaniard, but dhimmis don't practice taqiya.

Mika,

that was DPU, and he's a socialist.

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 10:28 PM

Spaniard,

Both are practicing taqiya. Socialist/Leftist is just a front. Neither wants to admit to being a Muslim, although it should quite obvious by now. That's why I figured they were both the same person. Btw, I'm still inclined towards that premise.

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 10:39 PM

Mika,

I know DPU sounds like a sock puppet, but he's a full blown Indymedia-dwelling commie compared to Commenter. They are not the same person.

Posted by: spaniard at May 5, 2005 10:43 PM

Spaniard,

You could be right. But they both speak jive.

Posted by: mika. at May 5, 2005 11:04 PM

Watchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis? Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, everyone!

See, I can talk jive!

I used the name "Hassan" because I think it's funny. I think it's funny that Mika is insane enough to not only have decided that I am a Muslim activist, and that DPU and I are the same person, but he also made up a Muslim name for me.

Let that sink in for a while, folks. Is he halucinating, or just a dumb shit? We report, you decide.

Anyhoo, Caroline, white slave owners in America frequently referred to the Bible as a source of justification for slavery (last time I checked Christianity still includes the Old Testament too - you know, that whole God creating the Universe thing?). Among many other bad things that happen in this country. Some of the most devout Catholics in this country are members of the Mafia.

The point is, I guess, that both the Christian Bible and Muslim Koran contain good things and bad things, and people basically pick and choose which parts they will follow and which parts they will use to justify their actions. No one lives their life by every word in either book - divorce rates by religious group are highest among evangelical Christians in America!

So if the concern is: why are Muslim extremists more prone to blowing up things than are Christian extremists? I don't know. Is it commanded by their religion? We've been over this - I think it's a red herring. Is it cultural? Is it an historical curiosity? I have no idea, really. But if you're interested in changing the situation, looking to convert people away from Islam doesn't seem like the answer. After all, no one's trying to convert the IRA or the Mafia away from Catholacism.

And what's with all these Arabic words being thrown about? Mika, with his talk of taqiya? Spaniard, with his talk of dhimmi? Who's the evil Muslim terrorist here? Not I, sweet prince.

Not I.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 05:48 AM

Hassan,

Don't play with their heads. I got to ask you, seriously now, when you ride about with your iPod, do you receive instruction signals from the mother ship? I'm just curious to know how far advanced technologically you guys are, and if you caught up with the ZOG masters yet.

PS, any word on whom the Boca Raton chapter of Jews for Buchanan are endorsing?

Posted by: mika. at May 6, 2005 07:19 AM

Mika,

Do you really think I'm a Muslim?

Do you really think my name is Hassan?

Does it put the lotion in the basket?

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 07:23 AM

Melanie Cathydottir:

"please explain to me how white American slaveholders justified this practice on the basis of the New testament (the Christian Gospels). Please explain especially, how MLK was viewed as a "kafir" on the basis of Christian New Testament scripture."

I wasn't saying that America was, or is, a Christian Ummah. I was using Muslim terms to describe American history in the hopes of forcing you into a paradigm shift. America was, and to a lesser extent still is, an ummah of white guys (and also gals in the past 75 years or so).

Nonetheless, check out Timothy 6:1-2. Also Paul's letter to Philemon. And as Commenter pointed out, Christians have always viewed the old testament as part of the canon. From what I know, American slaveholders and South African whites both used biblical passages tojustify their pracitces.

I'm sure there are some Protestants out there who know the bible better than this poor Catholic, and can come up with other examples.

The modern Chritian view, of course, is that Galatians 3:23-28 trumps Timothy and Philemon.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 6, 2005 07:26 AM

Hassan,

Do you really need to ask.

Posted by: mika. at May 6, 2005 07:29 AM

So it does put the lotion in the basket?

Seriously, I think you're a fucking nutjob. My name is Alowicious, I live in Washington, and I belong to a fairly obscure sect of Christianity called "Haberdashery". You couldn't be more wrong, Mika. Or should I call you Alabaster????!??

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 07:33 AM

"Or should I call you Alabaster????!??"

Call me Lucifer. I'm in need of some respect.

Posted by: mika. at May 6, 2005 07:37 AM

Alabaster,

Nice try, but two can play at this game!

Honestly though, did you actually conclude that my name actually is "Hassan", or did you just randomly pick a Middle Eastern name and hope it would stick?

Though I suppose that it might be possible to conclude that someone was a Muslim from what they wrote. I was, after all, able to conclude that you put the lotion in the basket or else it gets the hose again, just from reading what you wrote.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 07:39 AM

Commenter,

Pay no attention to the sock puppet behind the curtain.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 6, 2005 07:42 AM

Hassan:

AM I THAT AM I
.
.
http://www.permuted.org.uk/WSBpage3.htm

Posted by: mika. at May 6, 2005 08:05 AM

Alabaster,

"Rub it in! Or you'll get the hose again. Yes, it will, Precious, won't it? It will get the hose!"

http://www.allmoviescripts.com/scripts/20760459513f5ec0916ddef.html

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 08:16 AM

Well, Doktor. Shall we begin?

Posted by: mika. at May 6, 2005 08:23 AM

AM I THAT AM I

hmmmm...reminds me of this book

Vino V - looks like I'm gonna have to break down and buy a Bible, although this is one book I want to read. I think it will make Christianity make alot more sense to me. BTW - what's with the "Cathydottir"?

Posted by: Caroline at May 6, 2005 08:25 AM

Alabaster, how did you know I went to evil medical school?

You really must be psychic!

What shall we begin?

Oh, by the way, that link you sent me? I think maybe you gave the link to the rough draft, because I don't know who could take such a disjointed, nonsensical attempt at an essay seriously. Do you have a link to the real essay?

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 08:26 AM

Commenter: "I was, after all, able to conclude that you put the lotion in the basket or else it gets the hose again, just from reading what you wrote."

That was one seriously funny post.

Posted by: Caroline at May 6, 2005 08:28 AM

Hassan,

Don't be so quick to flaunt ignorance. Btw, did you volunteer or did they pick you up?

Posted by: mika. at May 6, 2005 08:35 AM

Alabaster,

Oh no, silly, you don't volunteer or get picked up for the evil Muslim cause. You're born into it. Unlike those sneaky gays, always recruiting...

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 08:38 AM

So how do we unborn you?

Posted by: mika. at May 6, 2005 08:41 AM
Oh, and Alabaster? I was genuinely confused. Such prose as:
This is a story. It's about the Word, the Virus and the Magician. Crossing Time and Space, transcending cultural boundaries. It is about disguise and dissimulation, transmission and dissemination. It begins at an end, and ends at a beginning. Full circle, cycling through the ages, turning through 360 degrees and all points in between. It is a story about magic and codes, about dreams and reality; above all, it is about the Process.
I mean, I thought for a minute I was reading something written by a French grad student studying sociology, not words of wisdom! But then I remembered that this is Alabaster, and Alabaster wouldn't set me wrong. So I had to ask if this was the rough draft. And then there's this:
'Nothing is True. Everything is Permitted' produces 360 distinct formulations, completing each degree of the circle. The beginning is in the end, and the end is in the beginning.
Is this an article on geometry? I'm so confused. Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 08:43 AM

Alabaster,

Easy. First you must construct the flux capacitor, which is what makes time travel possible. Then you must achieve a speed of 88 miles per hour. Once you are in the past, you must prevent my mom from falling in love with my dad at the "Under the Sea Dance" which is where they had their first kiss. Once that happens, you'll be able to track my unborning by watching me fade from a picture you have of me and my brother and sister.

Watch out for Biff!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 08:46 AM

Commenter: "looks like I'm gonna have to break down and buy a Bible, although this (link) is one book I want to read. I think it will make Christianity make a lot more sense to me."

I don't know anything about that book, but the mystical and the institutional parts of religion are both important. So read that book, and the bible, and also some other modern writers. Your soul is not yet lost.

"BTW - what's with the "Cathydottir"?"

My poor attempt at humor. In Iceland all the boys' surnames are DaddysName-son, and all the girls' are MommysName-dottir. And Melanie was briefly the nom de plume of Catherine.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 6, 2005 08:48 AM

dottir=daughter

Posted by: spaniard at May 6, 2005 08:50 AM

Hmmm,..

And your parents were Zoroastrians?

Posted by: mika. at May 6, 2005 08:50 AM

Caroline, my apologies. I thought your post was from Commenter. And my poor confused brain mixed up Caroline and Catherine. I do that kind of thing. Dyslexia is a horrible affliction.

BTW, did you hear about the amnesiac agnostic dyslexic who lay awake all night wondering if there was a dog?

(And your soul is not yet lost either.)

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 6, 2005 08:53 AM

Alabaster, how did you know? My God, what can't you deduce from what I write?

Vino, you would do well to remember that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon, and that the only way your soul will be saved is if you become a haberdasher. Don't make me evangelize!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 08:57 AM

Just for those keeping score, here's a list of what Alabaster has claimed about me:

- that I'm a Muslim (I'm not, I'm a haberdasher)

- that my name is Hassan (it's not, it's Alowicious)

- that I am the same person as DPU (I'm not, I'm much better looking than he is)

- that I'm a Muslim activist (I'm not, I'm way to lazy to be an activist-anything)

- that my parents are Zoroastrians (they're not - they're haberdashers too)

- it puts the lotion in the basket, or else it gets the hose again (that ones totally true)

- that I'm practicing taqiya (I'm not, I'm practicing trombone)

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 09:03 AM

No, no. Really you give me too much credit, Hassan. I was just wondering how far we need to go to have you unborn. :)

Posted by: mika. at May 6, 2005 09:03 AM

Not amnesiac, INSOMNIAC.

That's it, I'm gone for the rest of the day if my brain is that addled.

And Commenter, maybe your sould IS lost. ;-)

(The ;-) is for others. I know you get it.)

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 6, 2005 09:04 AM

Vino - took me a few seconds to get your joke but it's a cute one. Don't worry about the name confusion - markus has called me catherine several times (he has an old GF by that name or something). Thanks for explaining the dottir thing (I didn't know if it was a veiled insult or something). Learn something new every day :-)

Posted by: Caroline at May 6, 2005 09:04 AM

Vino,

Accept the dandy in the ruffled shirt as your personal savior! Repent! Repeeeeeeent!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 09:06 AM

Looks like the recess bell has rung.

Posted by: mika. at May 6, 2005 09:08 AM

"I was just wondering how far we need to go to have you unborn. :)"

Ah, no matter how much bluster you can muster in defense of genocide, we still have to use euphamisms for murder. Because that's what we do to strangers we've never met and know nothing about but disagree with in a blog comments section, right?

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 09:11 AM

Commenter: - that I am the same person as DPU (I'm not, I'm much better looking than he is)

Then you must be pretty damn good looking.

David/Carlos/Spaniard, this is your attempt to reform? Geesh.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 6, 2005 09:34 AM

DPU,

what part do you consider to be only an "attempt"?

Let's see if we can discuss this without the usual ad hominems.

Posted by: spaniard at May 6, 2005 10:05 AM

what part do you consider to be only an "attempt"?

Okay, let's see. Comment sections can be used for two things, discourse or venting. Venting we need not discuss, as we all know what it's for.

Discourse, on the other hand, is an exchange of opinions. The basis of the exchange is that the other person is sincere in what they say, as no discussion can occur if people go on to treat it an insincere. While I enjoy venting and trading shots as much as the next guy, I also enjoy discourse. I like the exchange of ideas with people that I agree and disagree with.

Michael's comment section sometimes breaks down into discourse, but generally, it's a place to vent.

Generally I find that the basis of your political beliefs isn't what you are, but what you aren't - on the left. The problem with that approach is that when you attempt to debate, you end up attacking the other person's beliefs simply because of polarity of their beliefs instead of discussing those beliefs. For example, your most popular attack used on me is that I'm a socialist. It seems enough to compare me to "a full blown Indymedia-dwelling commie" despite the fact that I've never been to Indymedia before two days ago, and am not a communist, or Marxist, or Troskyist, or Stanlist, or Maoist.

Instead of discussing the political issues, you use the term "leftist" like a club. That only leaves barbs and jibes as a response, and any hope of discourse is flushed away.

Another example. You present strawmen, proceed to to attack them, and associating the strawmen with others on the comment board. When people object to these crude caricatures, you claim that you're right on the mark because you've annoyed someone, so the label must fit. So others are left with the choice of being represented by a strawman, or having you claim accuracy because it pissed them off.

I could go on, but this is long enough. I hope that I've avoided the usual ad hominems.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 6, 2005 10:32 AM

The problem with that approach is that when you attempt to debate, you end up attacking the other person's beliefs simply because of polarity of their beliefs instead of discussing those beliefs.

DPU,

Congratulations. You did it.

On the contrary. I do discuss those beliefs.

The problem is that you don't like what I have to say about those beliefs. So instead of refuting what I say, you immediately go into ad hominem mode againt ME-- not what I say about those beliefs. If your beliefs reflected back at you are so offensive, then maybe you should re-evaluate those beliefs. There's more than a kernel of truth to what I'm saying.

So debate what I say about the Left. Prove me wrong. If I'm wrong, or too blunt, then it should be that much easier to prove your case. But you don't. The best you've done is say that you, DPU, aren't like that. To which I say fine. But I don't debate from the specific, but from the general.

For example, your most popular attack used on me is that I'm a socialist. It seems enough to compare me to "a full blown Indymedia-dwelling commie" despite the fact that I've never been to Indymedia before two days ago, and am not a communist, or Marxist, or Troskyist, or Stanlist, or Maoist.

I've never considered it an insult to be accused of being a rightwinger. People call me that all day and think they're hurting my feelings. Why should it? I am a rightwinger. Yet you are a socialist-- statement of fact-- yet you take offense? That's your problem, not mine.

If I accused you of dwelling at Indymedia, then I was guilty of hyperbole, and I apologize for that.

Posted by: spaniard at May 6, 2005 10:50 AM

Hassan: "Is this an article on geometry? I'm so confused"

Did you read the rest?

This has been the way of the oppressed throughout time. Utilise words, disguise, encode, indicate with hints: an oral tradition to be decoded through action. ... In the semitic languages of the mystics there are no vowels. Meaning depends on HOW you say the word, not how it is written. This is the root of the division of occult and mystical schools. Truth resolved on the sound of the word. Hassan i Sabbah knew this.

"Everything acts as its own mirror. We are turning circles in Time."

Posted by: akim. at May 6, 2005 10:57 AM

I don't know, Alabaster. All that talk about "roots" and "division" and "circles" - it's been a while since I've done math.

Posted by: THe Commenter at May 6, 2005 11:00 AM

Damn that Michael Totten! Those damn pictures posted are causing "Hustler Magazine" induced carpal tunnel to act up on me again. I'll be back later.

Posted by: mika. at May 6, 2005 11:09 AM

So debate what I say about the Left. Prove me wrong.

Okay, let's try.

In response to a silly socialist boogyman - I wouldn't say it represents the Liberal view, but it does represent the far Left view-- and socialists are far Left.

Strawman. No discussion of politics.

you're no great mystery. Some of the Left's strongest and most vociferous opponents are ex-Libs and Leftists themselves.

Nothing to debate here, as this is a simple your-side-sucks-my-side-doesn't. Nothing about economics, individualism, the role of the state, planned economy, liberty, or what these opponents of the left are saying.

It's for the cause, and if you're a Lefty you can do no wrong for the cause.

Strawman caricature. Nothing to discuss.

The only reason the things I say get under your skin is because I'm right on the money.

A contention that if someone gets angry, it's because you're right. Flawed logic.

Which is why what I say about the Left slides right off the backs of Marcus Liberals, but it sticks in the craw of DPU Leftists. Shows I'm right on the money.

Ditto.

You, DPU, have been on this blog hitching a ride on the backs of American Liberals-- wishing to be taken seriously, as they still are. But you aren't one of them. You are nothing but a socialist, a hard Leftist, a blame America firster

Ad hominem.

In fact, you sanctimoniously proclaimed yourself an orthodox socialist. You're exactly the Left I'm talking about, not the Marcus Libs. The pro-insurgent Lefist I quoted is all yours.

What's to debate? I said that I wasn't sure that there was such a thing as "an orthodox socialist", and the rest is ad hominem.

That's great you're "pro-democracy". Any Leftist moron cheering for the Iraq "minutemen" will say the same thing. In fact they do it BECAUSE they are pro-democracy, they say.

Here you've identified that there is literally nothing I can say that would lead you to believe that I was pro-democracy. Again, this completely undermines the basis of political discourse. If I don't refute what you say, then you take that as validation. If I do, you say I'm lying, and you take that as validation. Nothing to debate.

Not that I care what you, DPU, believe. My analysis of the Left is based on the general, not the specific, so what YOU personally believe is only of marginal of interest to me. What arrogance of you to think that YOU are the standard by which ANYTHING should be judged.

Here, you indicate that the actual opinions of leftist don't really matter to you, as you have preconceived notions about what the left represents. Agian, you kick out the feet of any possible discussion.

The difference between the Right's lunatic fringe and the Left's is that the Right's aren't pro-jihadist traitors. That's all the difference in the world. But to the Left, this is a distinction without a difference. That's why they're on the Left.

Strawman.

Indymedia is populated with socialists. What more do you need to know.

Strawman.

There's probably more, but I'm getting depressed by this.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 6, 2005 11:40 AM

DPU,

calling everything a "strawman" is a strawman.

Posted by: spaniard at May 6, 2005 11:42 AM

I think this illustrates the outcome of attempting to take you seriously.

Feh. If I want discourse, there are other blogs that enforce posting rules. Troll away, Spaniard.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 6, 2005 11:49 AM

Spaniard,

I have a feeling that he referred to all these things as "strawmen" because in each case you made an assertion but did not try to prove it in any way. It's very easy to take for granted things that we assume are true, but for someone with different assumptions it is not as easy to see your chain of thought.

For example, he quoted you saying:
The difference between the Right's lunatic fringe and the Left's is that the Right's aren't pro-jihadist traitors. That's all the difference in the world. But to the Left, this is a distinction without a difference. That's why they're on the Left.
I seem to recall that there were some far-right groups that praised the attacks of September 11. That would seem to indicate that the right's lunatic fringe is just as capable as the left's of being pro-jihadist traitors (though I use the term "traitor" loosely, since that one gets used a bit too often). Your thoughts?

Furthermore, what's the use in pointing out that a particular fringe - especially one associated tangentially with your opponent - is worse than the one tangentially associated with you, except to make your opponent look bad because of a tangential association with an extremist?

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 11:58 AM

The terrorist bone is connected to the criminal bone.

The criminal bone is connected to the drug dealer bone.

The drug dealer bone is connected to the hippie bone.

The hippie bone is connected to the LLL bone.

Posted by: wassah mattah at May 6, 2005 12:19 PM

Commenter, you may as well talk it over with a cat.

The entity known at various times as David, Carlos, and Spaniard has some deeply-held notions about the left that are immovable. He's not here to debate, he's here to be heard. If you actually start making sense, he'll change the channel, as it's obviously pretty important for him to maintain his inner demon leftists. Sometimes the only way of holding up a weak structure is to have it push against something else. Leave him that. The worst we have to suffer is some lost time.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 6, 2005 12:24 PM

DPU,

you're not here to debate, you're here to talk about me. Notice your obsession with my moniker/s.

Posted by: spaniard at May 6, 2005 12:26 PM

Meanwhile, we hold these principles to be self evident: that only the followers of Allah are created equal; that they are endowed by Allah with certain unalienable rights; that among these are the spreading of taqiya, death, slavery, and the pursuit of misery.

Posted by: wassah mattah at May 6, 2005 12:35 PM

wassah mattah,

LOL! classic.

Posted by: spaniard at May 6, 2005 12:36 PM

Verily, this thread is a work of art.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 12:42 PM

Insh'allah. There's far too much un-Islamic immodesty around here. I vote for "No burkha, No Noble Qu'aran, No Entry"!

Posted by: wassah mattah at May 6, 2005 12:51 PM

Insh'allah. There's far too much un-Islamic immodesty around here. I vote for "No Burkha, No Noble Qu'aran, No Entry"!

Posted by: wassah mattah at May 6, 2005 01:02 PM

Alabaster, is that you, you sly devil?

Posted by: The Commenter at May 6, 2005 01:10 PM

Sorry for double post, but it's damn near impossible to get a double mocha half-caf soy matte Latte Grande in the Gaza. Now, where's akim!?

Posted by: wassah mattah at May 6, 2005 01:11 PM

Ahaha ooohooo, there's nothing funnier than the fancy coffee stereotype! Ahaha oohoo!

Posted by: Idiot at May 6, 2005 03:10 PM

Look everyone! It's Prince Nikolaievich Myshkin, back from the Swiss Alps!

Kak diyla, Tavarish Comrade!

Posted by: wassah mattah at May 6, 2005 03:29 PM

Oh, sorry! You're not The Idiot. You're just an Idiot. A thousand pardons!

Can I still call you Tavarish Comrade?

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Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

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Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

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Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn