August 02, 2005

Fisking Juan Cole: A Photo Gallery

Professor Juan Cole, President of the Middle East Studies Association, doesn’t think we are really at war.

War on Terror Over

The Bush administration is giving up the phrase "global war on terror."

I take it this is because they have finally realized that if they are fighting a war on terror, the enemy is four guys in a gymn (sic) in Leeds. It isn't going to take very long for people to realize that a) you don't actually need to pay the Pentagon $400 billion a year if that is the problem and b) whoever is in charge of such a war isn't actually doing a very good job at stopping the bombs from going off. [Emphasis added.]
I don’t know what to say. So I won’t say anything. I’ll just post some photos instead. Let’s see if they jibe with the professor’s “four guys are the enemy” theory.

911.jpg

September 11, 2001


911_Tower.jpg

September 11, 2001


Nairobi Attack.jpg

U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, after Al Qaeda attack


Wounded in Nairobi.jpg

Among the wounded in Nairobi


Taliban Execution.JPG

Taliban execution in Kabul


Taliban Execution in Herat.jpg

Taliban execution in Herat


Assasination of Election  Workers.jpg

Election workers assassinated in Baghdad


bali_aerial.jpg

Nightclub in Bali after Al Qaeda attack


bali-bombing.jpg

Nightclub in Bali after Al Qaeda attack


Beslan Woman.jpg

Woman mourning her murdered baby in Beslan, Russia


11.tanzania.buildings.jpg

American Embassy in Tanzania after Al Qaeda attack


Casablanca Restaurant Destroyed.jpg

Restaurant in Casablanca, Morocco, after Al Qaeda attack


Daniel Pearl.jpg

Daniel Pearl


Gays Executed in Iran.jpg

Young gay men executed for being gay in Iran


Hamas Rally.jpg

Hamas


Hezbollah.jpg

Hezbollah


Hezbollah 2.jpg

Hezbollah


Madrid_Bombing.jpg

Train in Madrid after Al Qaeda attack


nick-berg.jpg

Nick Berg


Throat Slit Victim in Algeria.jpg

Algerian civilian after his throat was slit by Salafis


Darfur.jpg

Village in Darfur under attack by Islamists


Cleansed Village in Darfur.jpg

Ethnically “cleansed” village in Darfur

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2005 12:31 AM
Comments

Thank you. But other writers have been down this road with Juan before. If he stays true to form, he'll become completely hysterical, inappropriate, call you a monster, and rant and rave at you with completely insane intensity and misplaced righteous indignation until you're overcome with disgust.

Expect him to claim that you're the next eichman, hitler and pol pot rolled into one and so on....

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at August 2, 2005 12:44 AM

Michael,
That really puts things into perspective.

It's amazing that people can be so deluded as to believe that the US does not need to fight terrorism. In fact, it isn't delusion, it is anti-Bushism. When Clinton was in power, the Republicans screamed and cried about the Afghanistan and Sudan bombing campaigns. You can argue that he didn't do enough, but that's not what they did at the time. There were plenty complaints about him taking the action.

John Kerry lost all credibility with the people of Lebanon. But not before the election.
The first country he visited after losing the election was Syria. SYRIA! Why didn't he just run off to Iran, Libya, or better yet, North Korea?

Some Lebanese American friends of mine saw him walking into the Umayyad mosque. One yelled, "I voted for you."
He walked up to them and asked, "What are you doing here?"
Even he acknowledged that Syria was not the most friendly place to be for an American, and yet he was buddying up to Bashar al Assad. No condemnations of Syria's actions. Nothing of the sort.
He was having cordial meetings with a country that supports the murder of American troops in Iraq. It makes absolutely no sense to me.
I wasn't the biggest Bush fan before, but I can tell you that Kerry really pushed me in the other direction.
Now, all I can say is, Thank God he lost.

Posted by: lebanon.profile at August 2, 2005 01:01 AM

Now, all I can say is, Thank God he lost.

I remember arguing with you about this in Beirut. Looks like I've been a terrible influence. :)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2005 01:08 AM

I'll believe this is a real war when the president can publicly name the enemy (as a political movement or identifiable enemy and not as abstractions like 'terror' or 'violent extremism').

As far as I can tell the only things the exhibits in your impressive photographic display have in common are political violence and Muslims. If that's the enemy, then by all means let's say so and rename this thing the "War on Violent Political Muslims" or the "War on Muslim Political Violence". I might be persuaded to get on board with that one.

I agree that Muslim Political Violence is a serious problem and needs to be dealt with by civilized societies (including Muslim ones) but to do so we need clarity and not unparsable codewords.

And in your rush to miss Cole's point, you kind of make it for him, there are at least 10 different political actors represented in your display and a lot of them don't have that much to do with each other.

And his hardware/software analysis seems pretty valid, wanna fisk that?

Posted by: Michael Farris at August 2, 2005 01:43 AM

Michael Farris,

We are at war with Islamists. (Or, if you prefer, Islamofascists. The words are different, the meanings are the same.)

Just because the president is too stupid or inarticulate or politically correct to say so doesn't mean you shouldn't have been able to figure it out by now for yourself.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2005 01:55 AM

Farris (again): I agree that Muslim Political Violence is a serious problem and needs to be dealt with by civilized societies (including Muslim ones) but to do so we need clarity and not unparsable codewords.

I agree.

And in your rush to miss Cole's point, you kind of make it for him, there are at least 10 different political actors represented in your display and a lot of them don't have that much to do with each other.

All of them are Islamists.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2005 01:58 AM

"We are at war with Islamists."

Okay, now we're getting somewhere. Care to define the term "Islamist"? That's not snark (not much, anyway) since learning (and getting in the habit of) defining one's terms can save a lot of pointless arguing.

My own definition of "Violent Political Muslims" (warning: done on the fly and not well thought out) Muslims who use organized violence (chiefly against civilians and very often against other Muslims) to achieve some sort of political aim and who justify their violence on religious grounds. I might tweak that later, but it'll do for a start.

Whether this religious justification is sincere or opportunistic isn't especially important in terms of their effects on civilians.
However, recognizing if a specific entity is sincerely religiously motivated (taliban, van gogh killer) or opportunistically religiously motivated (chechen rebels, baathists) or some unholy mixture (london bombers) is important to effectively counteract it.

Posted by: Michael Farris at August 2, 2005 02:30 AM

Very powerful, MJT.

Michael Farris' argument is at the nub of what we have to figure out. My sense is that the Islamists around the world are indeed very connected. If you look
at Mary Habek and others, you get the idea that this is not about disconnected opportunists - they have been having discussions about a global strategy for over 30 years.

I still think Professor Mary Habek's analysis is one of the best.

To many observers the jihadis seem to have no strategy at all. Attacks around the world appear random or even counter-productive, and there is, apparently, no over-arching strategic vision driving their project. Dr.Habeck argues quite the reverse – there are coherent strategies behind the seeming randomness of the jihadist war on the West, strategies that only make sense within the ideologies of the various extremist groups.

http://www.zwickinc.com/phportal/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=47

Others are posing this spontaneous combustion argument (again) since London 7/7, it seems ostrich-like to me.

For me it is enough to take the Islamist's at their own word. Try Google of "at their word", +xxxxxx and vary xxxxx between Islam, Islamist, terrorists, and Jihadis, etc.. Pretty instructive as to where world opinion is heading, I think.

To repeat my earlier post, as many as 30% of all muslims are Islamist (politically aggressive) and I believe they at least tacitly support the 1% or less that make up the jihadi pool.

Also, remember, wars are usually fought by a rather small percentage of a population. It doesn't mean that the non-military wing isn't part of the problem.

Posted by: jdwill at August 2, 2005 03:24 AM

We are being attacked by Muslims who use extreme violence to impose their political will on others, including us.

The use of violence for political gain is the very definition of war; therefore I think it is fair to call this a "war".

Posted by: charons_oar at August 2, 2005 03:31 AM

Devastatingly effective.

Posted by: Robert Mayer at August 2, 2005 04:10 AM

Zionist stooge.

Posted by: Moonbat_One at August 2, 2005 04:31 AM

Michael, good idea to refute Cole pictoricaly, of course he will now become hysterical... It'll be fun to watch!

Posted by: GM Roper at August 2, 2005 04:44 AM

Congrats on yet ANOTHER Instalaunche -- well deserved. Fantastic selection. If this isn't war, what is?

Islamofascists -- those wanting to impose a gov't by death squad inspired by the Koran.

It's a subset of all death squad gov'ts, including China's, Sudan's, and Mugabe's (Zimbabwe).

The world will never again be "safe" from terrorism -- because of the huge increase in empowerment of individuals. Yet it can become much safer from such ideologically derived terror movements.

The world becomes safest by supporting democracy in ME countries. Even if the democracy and human rights are initially imposed by a military.

Leb.prof -- remember that the Bush-hating Left doesn't really care about Arabs (or Vietnamese). Their protests are mostly about THEMSELVES, first, and looking for sticks to use to beat those they disagree with. Juan Cole, who speaks Arabic, is just one of the loudest. Unreal Perfection is their usual, unspoken alternative.

[Michael, can you write in Arabic, yet?]

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 2, 2005 04:45 AM

But my professor said all this war stuff was about oil. And Jews. Or Jewish oil. Or something. Didn't really pay attention - gotta get to the mall.

/channeling moonbat student of Cole

Posted by: Patrick at August 2, 2005 05:18 AM

Putting Darfur in this list is a very dishonest rhetorical move. Darfur is pure ethnic cleansing of the type which can be found, unfortunately, in a number of African countries - Congo, Nigeria, etc. You may as well add Kosovo to the list if you want to lump every evil action by Islamists together as a united movement. Iran hanging gays is Islamic terror? Mugabe does the same thing and there are Christians, especially in Africa, who sympathize with that kind of action. This list does not do one thing to address Cole's point, it's just a hysterical response. I usually expect a lot better from this site.

Posted by: vanya at August 2, 2005 05:29 AM

Weren't those two gay guys hanged because they raped a 3 year old boy?

Posted by: Vincent at August 2, 2005 05:36 AM

> However, recognizing if a specific entity is sincerely religiously motivated (taliban, van gogh killer) or opportunistically religiously motivated (chechen rebels, baathists) or some unholy mixture (london bombers) is important to effectively counteract it.

That's arguably true, but the benefits don't imply that the costs aren't greater, and there are costs in suggesting that parts of Islam are the problem.

Farris one of the people imposing those costs? For example, did he rant when Bush used the word "crusade"? Does he think that we need to understand "root causes", that we need to either help them economically, somehow change our Israeli policy, or otherwise "feel their pain"? If so ....

Posted by: Andy Freeman at August 2, 2005 05:39 AM

My question is did the US State Department, sometime around 1992 or 1993, make an agreement with Islamic nations that US statesmen/presidents would never make reference to, associated with, or even utter the words Islam and terrorists in the same sentence? If true, this would explain why any US statesmen/presidents have never spoken the word Islam and terrorism in the same sentence.

I heard this at a lecture given regarding the state of the US State Department sometime last year but unfortunately cannot remember the name of the speaker. I am not trying to inject any sort of conspiracy theory into the discussion but seriously, I would like to know if the US State Deartment has anything to do with the reason why the words Islam and terrorism are never used in the same sentence when US statemen/presidents speak on the WoT.

Posted by: syn at August 2, 2005 05:49 AM

In addition to the pics, perhaps Chapter 9 from the Qu'ran could be linked for everyone to read? How about the Al Qaeda training manual?

I must apologize for not linking myself as I admit ignorance regarding linking procedures but it might be useful to read the Jihadist book of warfare in order to clarify our enemy's ambitions.

Posted by: syn at August 2, 2005 05:59 AM

Darfur is perfectly appropriate. It is a misnomer to say it is 'ethnic' cleansing, considering the difference is not ethnicity, but religion. If these people were Muslim they would not be targetted with such ferocity.

Posted by: Mark Buehner at August 2, 2005 06:28 AM

Cole likes Hezbollah, and he agrees with a lot of the goals of Hamas, so I doubt you're about to persuade him with those pics - or any others, actually.

Sad propagandist, him. It's a waste too, because he really is a sharp guy - just blinkered by his ideology.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 2, 2005 06:30 AM

The second picture titled "Hezbollah" says it all... People should be reminded of the relationship between Arafat's uncle and Hitler's regime (http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_mandate_grand_mufti.php)

People who refuse to see Islamofascists as the enemy, seeing only a "resistance" against the Jews and their supporters... they must follow their logic to the end and proclaim the right of the "true British" to slaughter all those of Norman blood as "unlawful occupiers"...

The sins of the father and all...

Posted by: Nihimon at August 2, 2005 06:33 AM

I remain stunned that people still give Cole's rants any credit at all. He has been so thoroughly Fisked so many times that I am beginning to think that the word Fisk should be changed to "Juaned".

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at August 2, 2005 06:36 AM

Mark Buehner re Darfur: "It is a misnomer to say it is 'ethnic' cleansing, considering the difference is not ethnicity, but religion. If these people were Muslim they would not be targetted with such ferocity."

Both sides in the Darfur conflict are Muslim. I don't know if there's a sectarian aspect, but I think there is a racial one. Another terrible war in Sudan (in the south) is between local animists/christians and the Muslim government (maybe better described as Arabist rather than Islamist)>

Posted by: Michael Farris at August 2, 2005 06:37 AM

Mark Buehner,

If these people were Muslim they would not be targetted with such ferocity.

But Mark, they are Muslim. Most of the violence and killing of the Islamists is directed at Muslims.

Posted by: chuck at August 2, 2005 06:42 AM

So who decided to put Cole as the main example of a blogger in Microsoft Encarta 05 in the article on blogging? Hmm....? Worldwide exposure and all those impressionable schoolkids!

Posted by: Dave t at August 2, 2005 06:54 AM

You may as well add Kosovo to the list if you want to lump every evil action by Islamists together as a united movement.

Good point. Add it. Also add East Timor to the list of muslim wars on their non-muslim neighbors, and the Phillipines, and Kashmir, and Nigeria (did I miss any?).

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 07:01 AM

Micheal F. and Vanya,

It seems to me that you are purposely missing the point and hoping that, by picking out nits, you can invalidate a much wider point.

Michael F. writes:

"I'll believe this is a real war when the president can publicly name the enemy"

So, lethal attacks by Muslim extremists in New York, Washington, Bali, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Spain and England won't convince you that a war is raging but if the words "Violent Polital Muslims" pass the lips of one man, THEN you'll be convinced?

Why don't you just say "Of course I recognize we are in a war but I just gotta make trivial political points because I really, really must prove that I hate Bush?" Obviously, the political classes are trying to avoid making things worse by inflaming PC cultural passions (which may or may not be effective as Syn and Micheal T. point out). Does this change, in any substantive way, Michael T's point?

And no, Vanya, including Darfur is not a "dishonest rhetorical move" in the least. Just because ethnic cleansing occurs in other contexts does not change the fact that Darfur's cleansing is animated by the same Islamic extremism as the other violence Michael T. has illustrated.

Unroll it folks. Going back to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the works of al-Qutb, there has been a systematic rejection of Liberal Democracy in all of the important Islamic philosophical works. The extremists of the brotherhood merged easily with the Nazi sympathizers in the Arab world (such as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and his followers) and fed on the copious Marxist/Rousseauian/Fascist critiques of the West. Islamism's appeal is to a sense of the world gone wrong from too much freedom, a fixation on grievances, an ignorance of history, and a desire to "fix" things by the imposition of strict Islamic law. JDWill makes the point that as many as 30% of Muslims buy into political Islamism. This isn't surprising in the least: the propagandists of the movement have had a century to learn the propaganda techniques developed by the anti-liberalists in the West and an entire people crushed under the thumb of despots as their audience.

The stunningly ironic thing today is that the so-called "liberals" in the West share so much of the world view - the incoherent and reflexive opposition to liberal Democratic Capitalism - underpinning Islamic extremism. So much so that it is simply de rigeur to hate Bush for his predictably imperfect and sometimes downright tone-deaf attempts at liberalizing the political culture of the Islamic world.

Michael F. and Vanya, I don't particularly care if you wish to wrap yourselves in trivialities, smug in your own "intellectual superiority." You'll have plenty of friends with which to share your hatred of Bush. Meanwhile, the rest of us can try to claw out some semblance of a response to this latest violent incarnation of anti-Westernism. In 20 years, however, please don't act like you were really behind the effort all along.

Posted by: WildMonk at August 2, 2005 07:04 AM

Lumping all Islamists together is repeating the same mistake we made in the Cold War when people thought Communism was a monolithic movement. As it turned out Communist China and Mao had very divergent interests from the Soviet Union. Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Kim Il Sung were all facistic nationalists at heart - Marxism just provided an ideological framework they could use to justify their actions. In the same way Hizbullah, Hamas and the Saudi Wahabis all pay rhetorical lip service to the same God but they have divergent interests and have not hesitated to stab each other in the back when the occasion called for it. Lumping the Shi'ite Iranians in the same boat as the Saudis is really pure ignorance.

Posted by: vanya at August 2, 2005 07:06 AM

Syn: "My question is did the US State Department, sometime around 1992 or 1993, make an agreement with Islamic nations that US statesmen/presidents would never make reference to, associated with, or even utter the words Islam and terrorists in the same sentence?"

Syn - Paul Sperry made claims like that in his book Infliltration, discussed here:

Infiltration - interview with Sperry

"I cite a number of examples of how various security agencies are committing politically correct suicide in the section of the book called IN ALLAH WE TRUST, but the FBI is the most egregious example. Director Bob Mueller is so politically correct he's cut a deal with Muslim pressure groups to never use "Islamic" and "terrorism" in the same sentence. Muslim leaders don't want the link made for obvious reasons, and he's gone along with their whitewashing. But Mueller's own agents feel demoralized by his pandering. They wonder how they can defeat Islamic terrorists when their own boss can't even talk honestly about what's motivating them.

FP: Why isn't the White House cracking down on Mueller?

Sperry: Because the president has made the same pledge to never describe terrorism as Islamic -- you'll never hear him say "Islamic terrorism" either. Mueller's just taking his cue from the Oval Office. The tone is set from the top. The president never fails to remind us Islam is a "religion of peace" and one that we have to "respect." He even suggested at the last inaugural that the Qur’an is somehow part of our American heritage and culture."

Posted by: Caroline at August 2, 2005 07:07 AM

SoCalJustice
Cole likes Hezbollah, and he agrees with a lot of the goals of Hamas

Care to substantiate this? What goals do he and Hamas share? You said "alot" so I expect an extensive list of the shared goals with specific quotations. Also provide evidence that he "likes" Hezbollah. Again specific quotations please.

Posted by: Joel at August 2, 2005 07:10 AM

Spaniard: "(did I miss any?)."

Beheading Buddhists in Southern Thailand.

Posted by: Caroline at August 2, 2005 07:11 AM

Thanks, Michael. Cole like a large portion of academics living insular lives is an idiot, an articulate and well educated idiot but an idiot nonetheless. I hesitate to reiterate Orwell's comment about some things so preposterous that only an intellectual could believe them, but damn it's appropriate.

Posted by: Zacek at August 2, 2005 07:14 AM

Lumping the Shi'ite Iranians in the same boat as the Saudis is really pure ignorance.

Vanya,

we aren't interested in the theological nuances between shiites and sunnis and wahabis, etc.-- that's for Juan Cole's classroom lectures.

U.S. foreign policy deals with facts on the ground. If China and the USSR were treated differently, it wasn't because of the subtle differences in their respective flavors of communism-- it was because of facts on the ground. One country was trying to take over the world, the other one was not.

Take a second look at those pictures and tell me the facts on the ground are all that different for the victims of islam.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 07:18 AM

If we're so 'obviously' at war, can you please simply point me to the Congressional declaration of war? I haven't seen one yet. I'm not tying to pick nits, as this isn't a semantic distinction. Our country CANNOT be at war without a declaration. We can be fighting, we can be performing 'peacekeeping duties', we can be in a 'police action', but it's the declaration of war that makes it war. There really isn't any point in arguing about whether we are at war, since without a declaration of war, we are provably not. The bigger questions is why have we not declared war?

Posted by: p-dawg at August 2, 2005 07:24 AM

Putting Darfur in this list is a very dishonest rhetorical move. Darfur is pure ethnic cleansing of the type which can be found, unfortunately, in a number of African countries - Congo, Nigeria, etc.

Taking Darfur off of the list would be a very dishonest rhetorical move.

Most Africans call the ethnic cleansing and enslavement in Africa "Arabization". It may or may not have anything to do with the war in the Congo, but Arabization is totally responsible for the ethnic cleansing in Mauritania, Nigeria, and the Sudan.

Simon Deng, a former Sudanese slave, says:
It is important to bear in mind that by definition the African Christians of the Southern Sudan are the victims of jihad Islamism. The war against us (I should add that the word “war” is misleading because it has not been conventional war we have experienced but a genocidal war of extinction) has been and is being conducted in the name of jihad. According to the murderers, rapists and slavers – they are engaged in a holy war in the name of Allah. The Sudanese jihadists have a simple-minded, cruel, binary worldview. If you are not a Muslim you are a khoufar, an infidel, an enemy, a human being with no right to life who may be treated with terrible inhumanity. The jihadists in Khartoum have a great challenge in Sudan, the Land of the Blacks...

It is very painful to say this, but we Sudanese victims can not avoid uttering the truth, at least among ourselves: we are black, and therefore nobody cares about us. We are the ultimate victims of a global racism that continues even in the new millennium. We also have the great misfortune to be the victims of Arabs who slaughter and enslave us in the name of jihad. And everyone sitting here surely knows that when it comes to the ideology of jihad, open discourse at the Commission for Human Rights is muted. People refuse to speak the truth because no one wishes to be seen as anti-Islamic, especially not at the UN.

In the words of one former slave:
since the Arab world realized .. that the African continent was ripe for the taking they have been trying to Arabize it and dominate it since... the Saudis are controlling the Mosques more and more with their money and that they are driving the blacks out of the country that don't agree to their policies and influence through direct/indirect policies... hundreds of thousands have fled to neighboring countries already.

..if no one stops it the African Continent will be overrun by Arabization soon.

Juan Cole is a full supporter of this program of Arabization.

Posted by: mary at August 2, 2005 07:25 AM

A propos semantics, see Michael Young's latest.

As for Darfur, I've slammed Cole several times at how he 1) completely ignored the conflict, and 2) when he did mention it once or twice, he -- in his typical professorial majesty -- pooh-poohed the idea that it was an ethnic conflict (see one of posts here, scroll down.)

The guy is a joke; a bad one at that.

Posted by: Tony at August 2, 2005 07:35 AM

It may or may not have anything to do with the war in the Congo, but Arabization is totally responsible for the ethnic cleansing in Mauritania, Nigeria, and the Sudan.

Mary,

This reminds me of a comment I heard a non-Arab muslim make about radical islam. His view was that islam has been Arabized, and that the current jihad is an Arab phenomenon, not a muslim one. His view is that non-Arab jihadists have been Arabized.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 07:36 AM

WildMonk's on the beam. Vanya and Farris should take their heads out of their self-satisfied asses for a moment and read things like Qutub's Milestones or Azzam's Join the Caravan. If they deigned to read up on the history of the Islamic Revival, it might illuminate the issue so that even they would understand.

In fact, if they just read....

Posted by: ahem at August 2, 2005 07:37 AM

WildMonk's on the beam. Vanya and Farris should take their heads out of their self-satisfied asses for a moment and read things like Qutub's Milestones or Azzam's Join the Caravan. If they deigned to read up on the history of the Islamic Revival, it might illuminate the issue so that even they would understand.

In fact, if they just read....

Posted by: ahem at August 2, 2005 07:37 AM

wildmonk (to meeee): "So, lethal attacks by Muslim extremists in New York, Washington, Bali, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Spain and England won't convince you that a war is raging but if the words "Violent Polital Muslims" pass the lips of one man, THEN you'll be convinced?"

Yeah, considering he's the guy who DECLARED the "war" without naming an enemy. Political discourse is debased when policy is carried out by codewords and innuendo. I'm not going to pretend I'm in on what the president is "really" saying/means.

Posted by: Michael Farris at August 2, 2005 07:52 AM

You can compare the War on Terror to the civil rights movement. Was there a central organization that coordinated efforts to deny blacks the vote or prevent them from achieving a decent standard of living? Of course not. While the KKK was the standard bearer of racism, discrimination was practiced by individuals in every state, in every industry and every profession without the need of a governing assembly or uniform code of operating rules. The results of this commonly held belief, that blacks were inferior, were devastating and undeniable and combating the mindset required a new kind of multifaceted and perpetual warfare that is still being waged.

It's not a cookie-cutter fit but Islamism is no different than the racist insanity that gripped western societies in the past. The idea that infidels/unbelievers can be discounted is analogous to racial discrimination and the terror bombings and murders are no different than the lynchings and beatings used to terrorize people in the past. Same war, different people and now on a global scale. Either Juan isn't 'nuanced' enough to see this or he's one of them.

Posted by: Dwight at August 2, 2005 07:56 AM

His view is that non-Arab jihadists have been Arabized.

Iran and al Qaeda have been working together for years. It's such an obvious fact, even the MSM is talking about it.

Many Iranians call the puritanical Iranian Mullahs "Arabs". The Mullahs' severe, intolerant beliefs are closer to Saudi Wahhabism than Persian culture.

The Arab/Islamist campaign of ethnic cleansing is a political movement - it has about as much to do with Islam as the KKK has to do with Christianity, or the Nazis with patriotism.

Posted by: mary at August 2, 2005 07:57 AM

Mr. Ferris:

The declaration of war you should be looking at was issued by Osama bin Laden, long before the phrase "War on Terror" was issued by Bush.

Posted by: pk at August 2, 2005 08:05 AM

Re: whether we're at war and a declaration of war.

Consider this emphatic statement by Democratic Senator Joe Biden, then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with regard to the Use of Force resolution he authored and was passed nearly unanimously by Congress after September 11, 2001. In response to a question from the floor following a speech (given October 22, 2001 and shown on CSPAN), the interchange went as follows:

Question: "My question is this, do you foresee the need or the expectation of a Congressional declaration of war, which the Constitution calls for, and if so, against whom?"

Senator Biden: "The answer is yes, and we did it. I happen to be a professor of Constitutional law. I'm the guy that drafted the Use of Force proposal that we passed. It was in conflict between the President and the House. I was the guy who finally drafted what we did pass. Under the Constitution, there is simply no distinction … Louis Fisher and others can tell you, there is no distinction between a formal declaration of war, and an authorization of use of force. There is none for Constitutional purposes. None whatsoever. And we defined in that Use of Force Act that we passed, what … against whom we were moving, and what authority was granted to the President."

Thus, the United States certainly is at war. One might also check out Constitutional law Professor Eugene Volokh's comments with regard to whether the U.S. can indeed be legitimately at war even without a formal declaration of war (answer: yes), here, here, here, and here.

Posted by: Michael McNeil (Impearls) at August 2, 2005 08:16 AM

Michael:

I'm amused that you would attempt to engage me. Do you know how many tax districts existed in the Caliphate under Suleiman the Magnificent? Can you detect the slight difference in Arabian peninsula spoken Arabic vs. Egyptian spoken Arabic? Can you describe (in general) the series of battles leading to Mohammed's conqering of the peninsula?

Unless you have mastered these (and countless other) details regarding Arab/Islamic civilization, you're not qualified to fisk me.

You see, I use my extensive education as a fortress from which to protect myself from the reality that 60%-70% of my conclusions on current events in the Arab world are incorrect or at worst, dangerous.

Posted by: Juan Cole, PhD, Responds at August 2, 2005 08:20 AM

What a cheap and tawdry "fisking". Lets use a series of emotion-laden pictures as a substitute for any articulation of an idea, or for any honest attempt to deal seriously with an issue.

The point of Cole's comments of course is that it is the Bush administration that is moving away from the concept of a "Global War On Terrorism" to a "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism" (GSAVE), according to the terminology of Rumsfeld.
And why would that be?

Its always a bit tricky to parse out the underlying themes of a marketing campaign when it is still in its early stages, but some things seem pretty clear. Bush needs to lay out the conceptual groundwork that could support a withdrawl of substanial numbers of troops in time for the 06 elections. And aside from Iraq, and mountains of southern Afghanistan, there are precious few places where the war/struggle can be waged with military forces.

Whether one wants to admit it or not, and clearly conservatives have a real problem with this reality, the war/struggle against global islamists really is something that requires things like human intellegence, international information sharing, communications surveillance, and disruption of small local cells. In a word, a sophisticated international police effort.

It is obvious to anyone with at least half a brain (except Michael Totten apparently, who does have a full brain but sometimes doesnt use it), that Cole was not saying that the problem is only four men. He was saying that the problem exists on the scale of groups of a few men - i.e it is not a massed army we are fighting, it is a loose network of small cells in widely scattered places, often in the midst of our own cities. The ties that bind them are ideas and the use of communication networks - not things that can be dealt with by military forces.

We all know that. A wise set of policies would have used these past two or three years to advance a focussed effort at the problem as it exists, on the scales that it exists, in the places that it exists. Instead, we got a military response to an entirely different problem, and the result is that the real effort, the war/struggle against the islamists has become more difficult as the "groups of four men" phenomenon has metastisized around the globe. Any serious advancement of the war/struggle is going to have to be undertaken with mainly non-military means. And that is why the Bush admin. is easing off on the "war" rhetoric.

And yes, the Darfur references are absurd.

Michael has a bug up his ass about Juan Cole it seems, but I find his "fiskings" to be entirely unpersuasive. Interesting that MJ still seems to be reading Cole with close attention. I would recommend that as well.

Posted by: IP at August 2, 2005 08:21 AM

It would seem appropriate for a photo-Fisking of Juan Cole to include a photograph of the USS Cole.

Posted by: Diane Wilson at August 2, 2005 08:30 AM

Islamofascist goals are political in nature (e.g., establishing a Caliphate; imposing sharia). Some Islamofascists are using violent means against the USA in pursuit of these goals. These facts make it clear that at least some Islamofascists are actively engaged in war against the USA. Likewise the US military is clearly engaged in war against Islamofascists.

However, the USA has not legally declared war against the Islamofascists. In fact, one could argue that it is not possible to legally declare war on the Islamofascists as US and International laws governing war (e.g., the Council of Vienna, Geneva Convention, US Constitution and UN Charter) are all founded on the premise that war is conducted between nation states. There simly is no legal basis for declaring war on a landless entity.

One could argue (and DoD does) that this makes the question of a declaration of war moot. From an international law perspective this is a sound argument (imho) as Al Queda and "4 guys in a gym in Leeds" are certainly not signatories to the Geneva convention, the UN charter or any other currently binding international treaty.

However, from a US Constitutional perspective one could argue (and I do) that the Senate's oversight responsibility includes not only the formal declaration of war against a nation state but oversight of the conducting of war. In this regard I believe the Senate is negligent in its duties.

"War is nothing but a continuation of politics by other means" - Karl Von Clausewitz

Posted by: charons_oar at August 2, 2005 09:07 AM

I'm sorry that they're lynching gay men in Iran just like I'm sorry they used to lynch black men in the South, but what does that have to do with anything?

Has Congress declared war yet or not?

If Congress hasn't declared war, then I'm sorry, we're not at war - the Constitution makes that pretty clear.

Posted by: LOL at August 2, 2005 09:09 AM

And yes, the Darfur references are absurd.

Why don't you tell that to all of the Sudanese and Mauritanian ex slaves who claim that the Darfur references are very pertinent.

Why don't you tell them that the Islamist armies who are massacring blacks by the millions in the name of Arabization consist of "a few men" who must be appeased or cajoled with non-military means.

Simon Deng and others often speak out against slavery, Arabization and the UN/Arab League's refusal to do anything about the problem in the interests of "peace". Deng and others are part of the American Anti-Slavery group, and they attend many rallies around the country.

It's funny - at the rallies, everyone speaks out against slavery and Arabization, but no one is willing to support Cole's pro-Arabization platform. If you did so, your voice would be the first.

Posted by: mary at August 2, 2005 09:13 AM

LOL,

If Congress hasn't declared war, then I'm sorry, we're not at war - the Constitution makes that pretty clear.

Sort of like Vietnam and Korea weren't wars? Or the Indian wars weren't wars? You are just playing with words, a rather trivial pastime I think.

Posted by: chuck at August 2, 2005 09:13 AM

I'm sorry they used to lynch black men in the South, but what does that have to do with anything?

We went to war with the South, remember?

I know, that was just rhetorical claptrap, but one turn deserves another.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 09:14 AM

Sort of like Vietnam and Korea weren't wars? Or the Indian wars weren't wars? You are just playing with words, a rather trivial pastime I think.
Posted by: chuck at August 2, 2005 09:13 AM

****

Yes it is true that people sometimes ignore the law, but if we just struck down every law that got ignored we wouldn't have any left.

Presidents are only in office for 4 years, but the constitution has served us well for much longer.

***

We went to war with the South, remember?

***

We went to war with the Southern states in the the 1960s? Wow, that's amazing, somehow my history teacher never tought me that.

On a related note, Iran is still a sovereign country and not an American state - there actually is a difference, y'know.

Posted by: LOL at August 2, 2005 09:21 AM

I think, perhaps, Mr. Cole was trying, inarticulately, to make the point that this is not a War in any sense we've experienced in the past. While we are fighting some enemy in Iraq, we aren't sure that the enemy in Iraq is actually the enemy who bombed London and dropped the WTC. The Defense Dept. with its planes and bombs and missles and ships and etc. seem useful when we're involved in an "on the ground" war (the questions becomes, is the War on Terror, really an On The Ground War)....

The Defense Dept and traditional War were useful in ousting Saddam from power. They were useful in invading and taking over a nation.

In the media, political rehtoric and the minds of many Americans, the Insurgency and The War On Terror appear as the same thing. This seems, to me, unfortunate. The Insurgency in Iraq may be fueled by the same type of hate that has been expressed by AQ, but to equate the Insurgent as analogus to the terrorists who bombed London seems likely to confuse. Mosbunall Americans I talk to about AQ and the WoT seem to consider reality as the following:
---------
Bin Laden is an evil criminal mastermind (I think they make him out to be 007's new nemesis). He has spent years plotting and creating a vast network of soliders and generals and suicide bombers. Now, he directs the attacks, the bombings, the beheadings etc. etc. etc. (again, just like 007's enemies). It makes sense to be 'at War' with some nemesis like that
--------
This doesn't seem to jive with what we think we really know about AQ and its operations. In reality, it seems that Bin Laden actively encourages terrorism, by training individuals to become terrorists and to design attacks (and throwing some seed money their way). It appears that Bin Laden himself, occasionally pulls off his own stunts and acts of terror, but may not have working knowledge of mosbunall of the individual acts... there's some indication that he may not even have any sort of contact with mosbunall of the disperate groups who are pulling off these acts of terror. On top of that, Bin Laden acts as a hero and role model to many crazy Islamists. They too may become terrorists, without ever meeting or having any actual connection to AQ.

This, I think, was Cole's terribly articluated point. The DoD is useful for defined enemies which are gathered together in a central location. If the flypaper idea actually worked, then the DoD would have been useful. However, it doesn't appear that the Flypaper idea worked, it doesn't appear that our actions in Iraq helped, hurt, or otherwise affected the decision for the individuals in London to bomb trains. We can give the DoD $85,000,000,000 and they can build bombs and jets and IED detectors, but they still won't provide a useful buffer against attacks like we saw in London.

Terrorism isn't an enemy... it's a tactic. The "War On Terror" is a commercial title, designed to be catchy and hip. It's a marketing ploy. Currently, Islamists are using the tactics of terror to achieve their goals. A War on Terror would involve an active War against all forms of terror... shall the DoD start going after the local gangs that demand protection money in exchgange for not blowing up the shop? That's terror, the same mindset, the same toolset, only the ideology is slightly different. (I want a bribe vs. I want a Caliphate).

The Dept of Defense has been useful in the War on Terror, only because of the Iraq/Afganistan gambit. They were useful in hitting a hornets nest which had just stung us (and took out the tree next to it, just in case they tried to make a new nest).

I think that the marketing behind this WoT reflects the pathetic situation of our country overall. We have become consumers, swallowing any marketing line fed to us... including this one.

There has yet to be any factual correlation between our actions in Iraq and any reduction in the acts of Terror perpatrated by Islamic extremists. When people hear 'war' they see two armies fighting. The army that does more damage wins. We did a lot of damage in Iraq, therefore many Americans think we're winning. Yet, this may not be the case. Bin Laden is still at large, a major attack was successfully implemented and once again the western world has been 'terrorized' (and while we know it probably made OBL very happy... we don't know that he had any clue, before it was reported on CNN).

Terrorists don't need a network. The first recorded terrorists (The Vikings) didn't have a heavily coordinated network. They were mostly autonomous groups whicch used similar tactics in order to take advantage of the psychological effect on their victims. The 18th/19th century anarchists who comitted acts of terror in Europe weren't a network of coordinated groups... they were anarchists, working on their own, noiminally tied together to increase their psychological advantage. We have no evidence that the terrorists who bombed the WTC, the terrorists who bombed London and the terrorists who bombed Balli, have any association at all (except for a similar ideology). The Dept. of Defense seems less than useful once we focus on ending an ideology as opposed to an army.

Too, we must think of 'enemy' as something different now, as well. An individual, no moatter how much hate and rhetoric they've swalloed, is not a 'terrorist' until they've comitted an act of terror (which, by then appears too late to do anything... esp since they usually off themselves at the same time). The boys in London may have appeared as harmless, simply individuals going their way... until it was too late.

A Nazi was a Nazi as soon as he put on a uniform. He may never have shot a person, he may never have tortured a Jew or homosexual... but he was an identifiable enemy. The Islamist appears no different from a fundamental follower of Islam, until they act.

We might say that this is a war on Islamists, or Islamofascists. But these appear as more buzzwords, blogspeak, marketing and demonization. What is an Islamofascist? In what way are they fascist? What is an Islamist? How does the Islamist differ from a fundamentalist Muslim in an identifable way? What identification could we have made on the London bombers, before the act was done?

We have become so used to using words as emotional stimuli, that it seems to me that we tend to ignore what the words actually mean.

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at August 2, 2005 09:23 AM

Here are some photos you may want to add of what they have been doing to non-Muslims in Indonesia for years: (warning, graphic photos, especially under the 'Head Hunter' category)
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Senate/9388/index2.html

Posted by: TS at August 2, 2005 09:23 AM

Were we at war at noontime, December 7, 1941? Pretty obviously yes. But war had not been officially declared yet.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at August 2, 2005 09:25 AM

Cole's attempt to deny the blatantly obvious fact that the perpetrators of the global genocidal terror so graphically illustrated in the photos above are all MUSLIMS is beyond pathetic. Hey Juan, the proctologist called, they found your head.

Posted by: Muck DeFuslims at August 2, 2005 09:29 AM

We went to war with the Southern states in the the 1960s?

I do recall Federal troops marching into a certain city in the South during the 1960s to enforce desegregation laws.

Anymore rhetorical claptrap to aggravae my carpal tunnel syndrome with?

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 09:31 AM

Were we at war at noontime, December 7, 1941? Pretty obviously yes. But war had not been officially declared yet.

***

The US officially declared war on Japan on Dec 8th, 1941 - the very next day in fact.

Why haven't we declared war this time? The Repubs control both houses, they have the time and energy to rename Freedom Fries and Freedom toast, but they can't declare war?

Riddle me that, Batman.

Posted by: LOL at August 2, 2005 09:35 AM

charons_oar writes:
However, the USA has not legally declared war against the Islamofascists. In fact, one could argue that it is not possible to legally declare war on the Islamofascists as US and International laws governing war (e.g., the Council of Vienna, Geneva Convention, US Constitution and UN Charter) are all founded on the premise that war is conducted between nation states. There simly is no legal basis for declaring war on a landless entity.

Such knowledge of the Constitution -- Not! As the Constitution specifically says (Article I, Section 8):

"The Congress shall have Power... To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations...."

Thus, the Constitution does envision "war" against stateless entities such as pirates other like war criminals -- which fits the definition of Islamist terrorists to a "T".

Moreover, since the Democratic Chairman at the time of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden, who drafted the Use of Force resolution -- aka the declaration of war -- which authorized the global war on terror, specifically stated (which I've quoted above) that war has been legally declared, saying it hasn't is what has "simply no legal basis."

Posted by: Michael McNeil (Impearls) at August 2, 2005 09:37 AM

Why haven't we declared war this time?

Why didn't we declare war during the Korean War?

The answer to both: who cares.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 09:38 AM

I do recall Federal troops marching into a certain city in the South during the 1960s to enforce desegregation laws.

---------

You are still confused here, my friend.

Louisiana, Georgia etc are states in the US - they aren't sovereign countries but part of a Republic, the same way that Alberta is a province of Canada.

Iran is an entirely separate country - we don't vote in Iranian elections, our citizens don't hold office there, etc.

Really, it's true - check out the CIA factbook.

That's why teh honorabvle congressman from New Jersey doesn't get to decide whether or not minors should be tried as adults in Iceland, or whetehrr Nigerian homeowners are allowed to purchase automatic weapons with credit cards - separate countries!

Posted by: LOL at August 2, 2005 09:42 AM

"I do recall Federal troops marching into a certain city in the South during the 1960s to enforce desegregation laws."

Spainard, I thought we were talking about war? would you consider federal agents, enforcing federal laws to be war? Or police action? ;-)

"Were we at war at noontime, December 7, 1941? Pretty obviously yes."

Err, no we had been attacked by noontime on Dec 7th. But, we were not yet "at war". The statement "We are at war" implies action. December 7th saw only the action of trying to recover from an attack. On December 8th we took action and then by our actions were 'at war'.

I wish that our federal government was more concerned about articulate discussion of the situation, as opposed to 'talking points', marketing and buzzwords. However, with the average American attention span shrinking faster than Ron Jeremy at a Coney Island Polar Bear Club outing.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at August 2, 2005 09:43 AM

Well done. Surely even Juan Cole would admit that those four guys from Leeds really get around.

My favorite part of Juan's article was his point about how this wasn't really about religion.

One wonders if Juan believes his own rhetoric... if he does, it's quite a feat of self-delusion.

Posted by: David F. at August 2, 2005 09:45 AM

Is Jihad war? I think that's what it means "holy war", but I could be mistaken. And unless I'm mistaken, a lot of islamofascists seem to speak a lot about jihad against America (among other apostates) and have for, oh, decades now. So on the principal that it only takes one side to declare a war to make it a war, why the hell should anyone get their panties twisted by Bush calling the set of our varied responses to the various jihads a "war" on terror?

P.S. I think there's a conscious desire on the Administration's part to not bring the term "Islam" into rhetorical play, because they have a very real desire not to protect innocent muslims from induced bigotry. In my opinion, a noble goal and not a sign of poor communication skills. Quite the contrary.

Posted by: Mark Poling at August 2, 2005 09:45 AM

And the War isn't going all that badly, either:

U.S. General: "The Name of the Game was Whoop-Ass!"

Posted by: Solomon2 at August 2, 2005 09:47 AM

The answer to both: who cares.

-----------

Most elementary and junior high schools no longer teach basic civics, so if you try to tell twenty-somethings nowadays about the Bill of Rights or the Constitution or the rule of law, you'll only get a blank stare - they've literally never heard of any ofthese things.

So I won't try to argue with you my friend as it would simply be an exercise in futilty.

Posted by: LOL at August 2, 2005 09:50 AM

I have a post on this here. If I've misunderstood the nature of the "photo-Fisking" I'm sure someone will point this out to me.

Posted by: Fontana Labs at August 2, 2005 09:50 AM

It seems to me that the tenured class is, generally speaking, addicted to abstraction. The prosaic escapes them; everything is predetermined by their egalitarianism and their complete lack of appreciation for the concrete.

Personally, I have my doubts as to whether or not the tenured class is capable of understanding the war on terror at all.

Posted by: slack at August 2, 2005 09:51 AM

"We never declared war in Vietnam."

"We never declared war on LIbya."

"We haven't declared war in Iraq."

As if just mentioning this proves that those wars were/are invalid.

Several people have posted excellent answers to the questions of legality/illegality of war and how congress and the president play into this.

All you ankle biters (LOL)have have been answered. Please stop with this silly line.

Posted by: deesine at August 2, 2005 09:52 AM

As if just mentioning this proves that those wars were/are invalid.

--------

If you don't understand the purpose of having laws and a constitution then I can't explain it to you.

Posted by: LOL at August 2, 2005 09:54 AM
Rat:
"Were we at war at noontime, December 7, 1941? Pretty obviously yes."
Err, no we had been attacked by noontime on Dec 7th. But, we were not yet "at war".

I respectfully disagree. Japan made war against us, therefore we were at war. The formal declaration was merely a rhetorical (if you wish, propagandistic) flourish. Likewise, refusing to call the Korean Was a war (it was a "police action") didn't make it not a war.

So I repeat: The islamofascists make war against us, they routinely declare they are at war with us, so whether some of us would rather cover our eyes and say "nyah nyah nyah" at the tops of our voices or not, we are in a state of war.

Posted by: Mark Poling at August 2, 2005 09:55 AM

Here's an explanation of exactly who the enemy is and why Juan Cole, Brian Leiter, and others like them are just plain wrong:

http://goodandtheright.blogspot.com/2005/07/ut-austin-professor-confuses-derrire.html

Posted by: Jim Sias at August 2, 2005 10:03 AM

"I think there's a conscious desire on the Administration's part to not bring the term "Islam" into rhetorical play, because they have a very real desire not to protect innocent muslims from induced bigotry. In my opinion, a noble goal and not a sign of poor communication skills. Quite the contrary."

I respectfully disagree, I don't know why the president won't name the enemy in human terms but I don't think that's it. Especially if the naming is done precisely. Innocent Muslims have more to lose from the free ranging imaginations that policy by codeword and inference give rise to.

"So I repeat: The islamofascists make war against us, they routinely declare they are at war with us, so whether some of us would rather cover our eyes and say "nyah nyah nyah" at the tops of our voices or not, we are in a state of war."

I want the administration to speak up clearly and unambiguously and name the enemy. If they can't/won't do that, then how serious about this whole thing are they?

Posted by: Michael Farris at August 2, 2005 10:09 AM

Why haven't we declared war this time?

Why didn't we declare war during the Korean War?

The answer to both: who cares.

Well, I don't recall the Korean terrorists who blew up American buildings. I don't recall the Vietnamese attack on US soil. Why should we have declared war in those situations? This time we were directly attacked, and the proper response is a direct declaration of war. If you aren't willing to declare war, why are you calling it war?
We can set up a whole new department of secret police in response to the attack on our soil, one which takes more from American citizens than from foreign radicals, and yet we can't be bothered to declare war? But it's still supposed to be a war?
That does not make sense. I don't care about the obfuscation between 'war' and 'use of force' since it's pretty clear they aren't the same thing. Do you believe everything every senator says? If so, you have much bigger problems than believing we're at war. Vietnam and Korea were much more legitimate to the Vietnamese and Koreans (respectively) than they were to Americans. This time, American soil has been violated. Yet, there still hasn't been a declaration of war. If congress authorizing the use of force is functionally the same as declaring war, why didn't they just go ahead and declare war, too? Did they just overlook it? Couldn't be bothered? Had too much golf to play or too much money to rake in? There is a reason, and we just want to know what it is. Don't bother to respond if you can't answer this question: Why have we not yet officially declared war?

Posted by: p-dawg at August 2, 2005 10:09 AM

Most elementary and junior high schools no longer teach basic civics,

You couldn't care less about civics or the Bill of Rights. Your concern is only rhetorical point scoring.

The current non-declaration of war is no more alarming than any of the previous non-declarations.

If you would care to make an argument to the contrary I'd be happy to engage you.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 10:13 AM

Well, I don't recall the Korean terrorists who blew up American buildings.

Do you recall that we were directly attacked by the N. Korean military? Yet we didn't declare war.

But you demand we "declare war" on a shadowy organization consisting of isolated believers of a religious cult. Bizarre.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 10:17 AM

Seems to me the problems with the photo array are the same problems with the "GWOT/G-SAVE". Too widespread and scattershot to suggest any useful course of action.

The single binding theme in these horrors (violent Muslims) is also significantly different from the threat the U.S. has allegedly been focussed on (global terror, of the nondenominational variety). If Mr. Totten bought into the war's stated aims, there would also have been images of non-Muslim terrorist acts in there. The fact that even supporters can't swallow the government line as stated only highlights the problem here.

Prof. Cole's main point, that we may have reached the limits of what military force can do about this problem, however it's defined, remains unrefuted. Indeed, it's probably been reinforced. No army can avenge or prevent all of the horrors Mr. Totten has pictorially listed here.

Posted by: BruceR at August 2, 2005 10:17 AM

Not to mention we were also attacked by the Chinese military. I don't recall we declared war on China. So what point are the "declare war" hysterics trying to make? I truly don't know.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 10:24 AM

I want the administration to speak up clearly and unambiguously and name the enemy. If they can't/won't do that, then how serious about this whole thing are they?--MF

And pray tell, in your unbiased opinion, what exactly are the administration's motives, if they are not 'serious about the whole thing'?
What other reason would they have for the actions they have taken? In order to posit bad faith in the first place, you surely must have some useful ideas on this .

I can hardly wait to be informed.

Posted by: dougf at August 2, 2005 10:24 AM

Why don't you tell that to all of the Sudanese and Mauritanian ex slaves who claim that the Darfur references are very pertinent

Gee sorry Mary, I missed all the comments by the ex-slaves congratulating Michael for including Darfur shots and making the claims you attribute to them.

The Darfur genocide has nothing to do with al-Q inspired jihadism. It is an effort by the military dictators in Khartoum to suppress, in the most brutal way possible, a revolutionary uprising out in the provinces.

The fact that they are muslims seems to give people like you all the excuse you need to try to use this horror to gin up a war of civilizations. Not buying.

Posted by: IP at August 2, 2005 10:25 AM

Gentlemen,

The "four men in a gym in Leeds" require several things to become a threat force. First they must have motive; second they must have skill; third they must have resources; and finally they must have a defined target.

Terrorism is a tactic used in warfare and criminal enterprises - fundamentally identical operations with slightly different goals.
The neutralization of Afghanistan and Iraq served multiple purposes, most of which were ignored or suppressed. Foremost the actions denied resources and skills aquisition by possible motivated individuals. Note the fizzle bombs in London on 21 July - lack of expert knowledge averted a second serious terror attack. Had the men been better trained, they would have known about explosive degradation. Second, the actions influenced other nations to restrict overt support for non-governmental combatants. The support is still there; it is not so blatant and is somewhat diminished. Third, the actions focus enemy perception on a specific target region; I wear the uniform not to blend in, but to protect non-combatants. Finally (for this post, at least) and most importantly from my point of view as a Military Intelligence professional with Counter-Terror training, the actions denied material acquisitions, to include biological, toxin, and chemical, by non-governmental hostile forces. With a lab in place a chemical or toxin agent can be produced from precursor agents in under 72 hours for use. The hard part is the lab and the knowledge. Elimination of institutional knowledge by removal of leadership and nation-state sponsors reduces the level of threat.

The action (war, invasion, occupation, whatever) in the Middle East was a military action designed to eliminate major sponsors, including two nation-states, and to intimidate or neutralize other nation-state sponsors in the region. Period.

No, we can't use military force to chase "four men in a gym in Leeds". We can use military force to destroy, intimidate, and reduce the support structure for those four men. Further, the actions taken on smaller scale by less-organized groups are able to be countered by police forces to some extent; elimination of professional training in counter-intelligence and security operational issues will make the job easier for police. One must cut down the tree before digging out the roots and tendrils; no new seeds will fall from a tree that has been removed. Yes, there are many trees in this forest; two of the big ones have been chopped down and others have been pruned so their branches will not fall on the roof of civilization. Getting all the roots out of the sewer line will take some time.

SGT Dave

Posted by: SGT Dave at August 2, 2005 10:29 AM

Those of you tossing out the "we didn't declare war" meme might want to address Michael McNeil's first post. You seem to have conveniently missed it.

Posted by: TomB at August 2, 2005 10:34 AM

You've taken a four word headline and extrapolated from that that Cole does not believe there is a War on Terror, missing the entire point of Cole's post; that it is impossible to fight a War on Terror in the traditional military sense of waging war.

In fact, the administration itself has declared as much, with their rebranding campaign.

It is a fundamental question: how do you fight a "war" against guerillas without the cover of a nation-state. As someone pointed out earlier, it takes intelligence, cooperation across national borders, and disruption of small terrorist cells. The military is not a useful tool for these actions; policing agencies are.

On a final note, you are using the same technique used by the Islamists to drum up support: emotional and graphic images of suffering at the hands of the enemy. Al-Qaeda recruitment videos, for example, intersperse graphic images of children killed in Iraq with recruits training at a camp.

One is meant to react to these photos without rational thought, which I guess is the point. It is an appeal that fosters rage at the injustice of it all; one would expect more intellectual rigor from you, Mr. Totten.

Posted by: The_Truth at August 2, 2005 10:35 AM

I know, "God, Guns, Guts, All to Glory" and all but get your collective head out of the flag for a second and read what Cole wrote, again.

Who did the latest bombings in London? Some group named Al Qaeda in England (or Britain, or something like that). In other words, Al Qaeda isn't a central unit. What did the authorities have to say about the group? Never heard of 'em. Cole is right in this, any four morons can get together and plan, and perhaps succeed, to blow up stuff and hurt people if they think they have enough of a good reason.

How big was the conspiracy behind Oklahoma City? (Beyond the morons who think Iraq was somehow behind it.) It was just a few people. That's what Cole is getting at, folks. You can take out Bin Laden, you can take out all the insurgents in Iraq, you can turn Saudi Arabia to glass, it won't end the terrorism. As the war in Iraq, it will only produce more of it.

Oh, and if you want to call it a war, then I suppose you're ready to acquiesce to the notion that the nice boys in Gitmo are POWs and should be treated according to the Geneva Conventions?

Posted by: Kirill Nils Senior at August 2, 2005 10:35 AM

Just a thought experiment... someone said here that Juan Cole's real point was that the Islamofacist fight as small, four men in a gym, teams that do not/cannot be fought by billion dollar armies in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Ok. Can anyone imagine what the left would have thought about small, four men in a van outside the gym, FBI and Special Forces using Patriot Act powers to tap their phones, track their bank accounts, and follow their cars... I dont mean one or two of these opperations, but hundreds of thousands, every year. Wouldnt they be screaming just as loud about the Police State?

Posted by: sean at August 2, 2005 10:38 AM

IP,

The fact that they are muslims seems to give people like you all the excuse you need to try to use this horror to gin up a war of civilizations. Not buying.

Playing that old racist/bigot card, no? Looks like you lost the argument.

Posted by: chuck at August 2, 2005 10:39 AM

Amazingly inane comments, Sean and Chuck. Chuck, ever heard of the Southern Strategy? It's a valid point.

Sean, sounds like an argument for finding another solution to the problem, i.e., finding out the source of the problem, and trying to wipe that out instead of just blowing up stuff.

Posted by: Kirill Nils Senior at August 2, 2005 10:46 AM

The fact that they are muslims seems to give people like you all the excuse you need to try to use this horror to gin up a war of civilizations. Not buying.

Who are "people like me"? Americans? Women? Jews/neo-cons? Ex-slaves like Francis Bok? Tell us who we are.

The Darfur genocide has nothing to do with al-Q inspired jihadism. It is an effort by the military dictators in Khartoum to suppress, in the most brutal way possible, a revolutionary uprising out in the provinces.

Please do some research on these subjects before you talk about them.

Winds of Change on the Sudan/al Qaeda connection
Al-Qaeda is so merged with the Sudanese government that it even runs a number of official government agencies for the NIF including the Islamic Security Agency (secret police), the al-Amn al-Sawri (counter-intelligence), and the People's Defense Force (a paramilitary group along the lines of the SS). The first high-ranking al-Qaeda defector the US ever got ahold of back in 1994, Jamal al-Fadhl, was serving as the assistant director of the Revolutionary Security Service, the evolutionary predecessor of the Islamic Security Agency.

The Sudanese military helped al-Qaeda to conduct (unsuccessful) chemical, biological, and radiological weapons experiments at the Hilat Koko military base with the help of government scientists.

Al-Qaeda shipped $300,000,000 in gold from Afghanistan to Sudan in the wake of the US victory over the Taliban.

None of this is truly any great secret and most of it can be found in reading the court documents from the trial of the 1998 embassy bombers…

And al Qaeda in Africa

The Telegraph on the Sudan/al Qaeda connection

If you haven't bothered to learn anything about Islamist groups, how can you comment intelligently about them?

Posted by: mary at August 2, 2005 10:49 AM

By the way,

I am due to rotate out to the sandbox on 1 September - I am a National Guardsman. If you are unwilling to put it on the line, please understand that I really could care less about your opinion. I serve; if you are doing nothing other than criticism you are serving nothing but your own ego. Terrorism/extremism/fascism are all reflections of a single piece of humanity. They are images of the worst of ourselves. All the pictures are of the same crime, writ in different script. While I hear the protests, I rejoice that the protests are voiced. Each time I hear the accusations against the current administration, I know the system and its current leaders are doing their job. When the media was quiet about abuses by the 42nd President, I grew uneasy. When Amnesty does not denouce Cuba, Sudan, Syria, Iran, and others, I distrust their motives. If the current administration were as evil as many claim, we would hear no protests at all. When I observe attacks on people because they voice dissent, I am enraged. The attacks are coming from those who have the most to lose; academics, entertainers, and civil protesters. One would think that those supporting free thought would have supported an attack on the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq; your actions tell me you wish freedom for yourselves and the rest of the world can go to hell. You can say what you wish - as can I if I agree with you. If I differ in opinion, I should be silenced and removed (military recruiters, boy scouts).

"Yet I will defend to the death your right to say these things." - I wish I could believe that many on the left might do the same for me.

SGT Dave

Posted by: SGT Dave at August 2, 2005 10:51 AM

Kirill,

...finding out the source of the problem, and trying to wipe that out instead of just blowing up stuff.

Hats off, gentlemen a genius. Talk about inane. So, Kirill, any thoughts at to the source of the problem?

Posted by: chuck at August 2, 2005 10:53 AM

Mr. McNeil,

Great Biden quote. He is certainly more of an expert than I.

You stated that the Constitution empowers Congress to declare war on non-state actors. Quoting Section I Article 10 as an example. I disagree with you.

Article I Section 10, in its entirety reads: "To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;"

I interpret setcion 10 as enabling Congress to authorize police actions (hence the use of the term 'felonies' rather than the term 'war').

It is the very next clause, number 10, that grants Congress the power to declare war. In its entirety, "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;"

There is a difference between policing and war. War implies (imho) the use of force to exert ones political will; crimes, such as piracy, do not.

You can see how our argument on semantics bears on the larger question of how to relate to Islamofascism. If Islamofsacism is a few nutbags "doing some crimes" without political agenda then a police action is warranted. If it is an armed (albeit stealthy) force attempting to dictate political terms through violence then war is warrented.

I admit there is a grey area, Do you declare war on Ted Kazinski?, the Weathermen, Bader Meinhoff gang, SLA? Certainly they were all politically motivated.

Posted by: charons_oar at August 2, 2005 11:00 AM

"And pray tell, in your unbiased opinion, what exactly are the administration's motives, if they are not 'serious about the whole thing'?"

I don't know what their motives are, that's why I want clearer talk. I'm up for idle speculation just as much as anyone (and certainly I indulge in a lot of it) but I don't mistake it for reasoned public discourse. Too many people are sure they know what the administration thinks/intends when the fact is they have no clue and are indulging in wishful thinking.

"I can hardly wait to be informed."

I hope you're not too disappointed.

Posted by: Michael Farris at August 2, 2005 11:01 AM

Michael J. Farris deludes only himself with his "Muslim Political Violence" claptrap.

Those who use "violence to achieve" a "political aim" are terrorists. That's the definition put forth by the USDOJ during the Billary years - and is appropriate today when the US is actually doing something to fight these bastards.

Posted by: Ron Ackert at August 2, 2005 11:02 AM

Juan gives new depth and breadth to the term "asshole."

Posted by: Newshound1 at August 2, 2005 11:03 AM

Sgt Dave,

"We can use military force to destroy, intimidate, and reduce the support structure for those four men."

Do we have any evidence that the "four men in a gym in Leeds" made use of the support structure in Iraq or Afganistan? If they did, then it would seem to indicate, to me, that our war didn't break the back of the support structure. If they didn't make use of a support structure, then it would seem to indicate to me, that destroying the support structure won't necessarily stop terrorism.

Either way there's some logical inconsistencies.

Spaniard,

"I respectfully disagree. Japan made war against us, therefore we were at war. The formal declaration was merely a rhetorical (if you wish, propagandistic) flourish. Likewise, refusing to call the Korean Was a war (it was a "police action") didn't make it not a war."

You're still not speaking in a clear manner. One is not 'at war', simply because they are attacked. For a nation to be 'at war' the nation must act, as a nation we acted on Dec 8.

I think we really are 'at war' at this point... the posters who are quibbling simply miss the fact that Congress rolled over and just gave the power to the Pres. Ergo, the Congress, not Mr. Bush, circumvented the standard operating proceedures as outlined in the Consitution, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court (did the uphold it, or just refuse the case, I don't remember). We invaded a soverign country... in fact, we've invaded two sovrign countries, declaration or not, we have started two wars, as for the WoT, I still think it's a marketing ploy, more than a useful descriptor (like the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty).

Using the wrong word often leads to confusion.

Ratatosk

Posted by: at August 2, 2005 11:04 AM

It is a fundamental question: how do you fight a "war" against guerillas without the cover of a nation-state. As someone pointed out earlier, it takes intelligence, cooperation across national borders, and disruption of small terrorist cells. The military is not a useful tool for these actions; policing agencies are.

There is no proof that policing agenices are capable of fighting Islamist terrorism. There is overwhelming proof that they aren't.

The 1993 terrorist attack against the World Trade Center was treated as a civil crime, and terrorists were tried and convicted.

The British police arrested hundreds of people under their anti-terror legislation.

Extremist groups reacted to this by threatening murder:
..because of post-September 11, 2001, anti-terrorist legislation [means] "the whole of Britain has become Dar ul-Harb," or territory open for Muslim conquest. Therefore, in a reference to unbelievers, "the kuffar has no sanctity for their own life or property."

The response from the Muslims will be horrendous if the British government continues in the way it treats Muslims," explicitly raising the possibility of suicide bombings under the leadership of Al-Qaeda. Western governments must know that if they do not change course, Muslims will "give them a 9/11 day after day after day!"

That statement was made in January, 2005.

Posted by: mary at August 2, 2005 11:07 AM

Mary,

I agree that police action hasn't stopped terrorism... but then I would also argue that overt millitary action hasn't stopped terrorism either. So anyone who makes statements about either, seem to base them, not on evidence, but on perception. As such, I think that either side may have some problems with delusions.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at August 2, 2005 11:10 AM

The enemy is fairly well defined not by the color of their uniform but, in a word, their Arab-ness. Therefore, profiling is appropriate. Our success in fighting the enemy is dependent on our willingness to offend and our willingness to prioritize. Winning, to me, is more important than avoiding hurt feelings. I realize that this makes me, in the words of C.S.Lewis, "terribly practical". Ok.

Yes, we will have to sift through a lot of innocent swarthy guys (not all Muslims are terrorists, etc.) to get the bad guys, offending all in the process. I apologize in advance, but when someone dies and leaves me in charge, prepare to be offended.

Posted by: Bryan at August 2, 2005 11:14 AM

I wrote:

As if just mentioning this proves that those wars were/are invalid.

--------
LOL wrote:

If you don't understand the purpose of having laws and a constitution then I can't explain it to you.

I didn't ask for you to explain anything to me, you self righteous prik. Oh, and nice way to respond to the posts that answer your "No Declaration of War" meme.

Posted by: deesine at August 2, 2005 11:21 AM

I think it would be a nice gesture if everyone dropped Juan an email (jricole@yahoo.com) and let him know how much you appreciate his sympathy for terrorist organizations,.

Posted by: Conrad at August 2, 2005 11:22 AM

I agree that police action hasn't stopped terrorism... but then I would also argue that overt millitary action hasn't stopped terrorism either.

As always, there are more than two solutions to a problem. There's military action, there's police action, and there's the private sector.

There are also community groups. More Guardian Angels are patrolling the subways now. New York residents were volunteering to help the police search backpacks.

Fighting terrorism is like fighting our oil dependence. It's probably best to apply many solutions/alternatives at the same time.

Posted by: mary at August 2, 2005 11:26 AM

The formal declaration was merely a rhetorical (if you wish, propagandistic) flourish.

-------

There you have it folks - the rule of law is just so much "rhetorical flourish"

Why not just rescind the Consitution and officially replace it with the Law of the Jungle?

If we have no interest in maintaining the legal traditions that make this country unique (and it would appear that most here see themn as simply so many fancy words to be jettisoned the second they become incovenient) then at least be honest about what you're advocating.

Posted by: LOL at August 2, 2005 11:35 AM

Mary,

Once again, you and I find a common foothold in this crazy climb. ;-)

A wide variety of tools must be used, if we hope to end this mess. To suppose that police action or outright war are THE solution, seems myopic to me.

Juan Cole makes a point that the "War on Terror" cannot be fought and won like the war on Nazis or Communists or Gooks or whatever. Others have made the valid point that we cannot rely on 'police action'... and sombunall people in the middle, get confused and assume that we're dealing with an exclusive or situation... damn Aristotle!!!

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at August 2, 2005 11:37 AM

LOL wrote: Why not just rescind the Consitution and officially replace it with the Law of the Jungle?

-----

Who exactly is your beef with? Bush (who took us to war), Congress (who turned over war making powers to Bush), or the Supreme Court (who hasn't ruled any of this illegal) ?

Is that all you got? Several people have responded to your absurd "No Declaration of War" meme in detail. And you resort to teenage hyberbole! Good job. Quite the intellectual.

Posted by: deesine at August 2, 2005 11:45 AM

Those of you tossing out the "we didn't declare war" meme

-------

The Repubs control both houses.

They can spend the taxpayers' time & money renaming French Fries, but they can't be bothered to declare war when we've been attacked?

I think this shows how serious they are - not very.

BTW, the three branches of government are not just window dressing or a decoration as you seem to imply here. You need to go back to highschool and take Intro to American History - the founders developed all of these things for a reason.

"A Republic if you can keep it" - not likely judging from some of you!

Posted by: LOL at August 2, 2005 11:45 AM

LOL,

you are simply repeating yourself without addressing a single response to your rhetorical claptrap.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 11:46 AM

Ratatosk,

The "four men in Leeds" do indeed have connections: ideology, possibly training, and definitely motive. The failure of the second wave of bombs is a result of the severance of the institutional knowledge. The London bombers received material and moral support from local mosques tied to extremists.

SGT Dave

Posted by: SGT Dave at August 2, 2005 11:50 AM

You're still not speaking in a clear manner. One is not 'at war', simply because they are attacked. For a nation to be 'at war' the nation must act, as a nation we acted on Dec 8.

Tosk,

I agree. But my point is not that we are at war simply because we are attacked-- my point is that we made no formal declaration when we were attacked.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 11:52 AM

Congress rolled over and just gave the power to the Pres. Ergo, the Congress, not Mr. Bush, circumvented the standard operating proceedures as outlined in the Consitution, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court

----------

Bingo.

People here seem to arguing that we've entered a new era where we no longer need three branches of government. As one posters so eloquently put it "who cares?"

Really, who cares about the rule of law? Nobody here it would appear - the Constitution is just so much "rhetorical claptrap"

Feh. I would ask what you all thought about the recent eminent domain ruling but I suspect I'd rather not know.

Good luck guys.

Posted by: LOL at August 2, 2005 11:57 AM

LOL,

the Korean War? .......still waiting.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 11:59 AM

Feh. I would ask what you all thought about the recent eminent domain ruling but I suspect I'd rather not know.

LOL,

I would ask what you think about the fact that it was the Libs on the Court who ruled in favor in that case, and the conservatives who dissented.

Any thoughts? I bet you didn't even know that. It's not something you'll hear about on Kos or Atrios, that's for sure.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 12:02 PM

SGT Dave,

Well, as it stands now (as far as I am informed on the situation which is obviously less so, perhaps than someone actively involved in the investigation), we have no direct evidence that these individuals were trained by AQ. We have no evidence that they were a sleeper cell for AQ, we have no evidence that they had any connection to AQ.

The ideology does appear similar, but this ideology seems rampant in many groups aside from AQ, Afganistan or Iraq. Indeed, it's possible that they were induced into these acts by the local mosque, which may or may not have had ties to AQ.

As for the lack of education and sophistication... are you talking about the same terrorists who flubbed the Cole bombing? The same ones who tried shoe bombing with Richard Reid?

My point is that, for the most part, AQ hasn't pulled off extremely competent, well defined and highly sophisticated attacks. For the most part they seem to haul some highly explosive stuff around and blow themselves up. The attack on the WTC, from what I've been able to determine, seems to be their most sophisticated attack and quite different than their usual MO.

Do you see it differently?

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at August 2, 2005 12:02 PM

You threw everything in but Natalee Holloway's corpse and some photos of Auschwitz survivors to make your point, that there are mean people in the world. I don't see what it has to do with the Administration's change in terminology.

I think Cole's point is reasonable in this case: that we can't stop terrorism by randomly dropping bombs on unfriendly countries, when the problem often lives amongst us, and that hawkishness has proven to be a failed policy in stopping these sorts of attacks. You usually are above such cheap rhetorical devises.

Posted by: Steve Smith at August 2, 2005 12:05 PM

Kirill Nils Senior wrote:
Oh, and if you want to call it a war, then I suppose you're ready to acquiesce to the notion that the nice boys in Gitmo are POWs and should be treated according to the Geneva Conventions?

Nonsense. It is perfectly possible to fight a war without having as an enemy opponents who obey the laws of war -- which, according to the Geneva Conventions, are the only armed combatants who warrant their protections. Al Qaeda and its adherents most assuredly do not obey the laws of war, and by the Geneva Conventions could simply be shot, much less deserving of the protections of honorable soldiers who obey the rules governing warfare.

Posted by: Michael McNeil (Impearls) at August 2, 2005 12:10 PM

Congress rolled over and just gave the power to the Pres. Ergo, the Congress, not Mr. Bush, circumvented the standard operating procedures as outlined in the Constitution, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court

----

LOL wrote:
People here seem to arguing that we've entered a new era where we no longer need three branches of government.

----

Who here is arguing that? Seems like the three branches of government are working just fine.

How many Democratic dissent votes came up in Congress, when it voted to give war making powers to Bush? Did Congress not fulfill its duties?

The Supreme Court hasn't ruled any war making maneuvers illegal. How exactly has the Supreme court not fulfilled its duties?

Can you answer those questions without feigning woe about how all of us want to do away with the constitution?

Posted by: deesine at August 2, 2005 12:12 PM

I'm an undergrad student at the University of Pennsylvania. I sent Prof. Cole a polite but firm e-mail questioning his opinion.

He wrote back saying that I should read Gen. Myers comments (which I have) and claimed he was being ironic. Perhaps I didn't take that class yet, he suggested. My response to the Northwestern alum: we don't have classes on irony in Ivy League, so no, I haven't taken any.

Posted by: Scott Kahn at August 2, 2005 12:19 PM

This is a perfect refutation of Cole's head in the sand philosophy.
There is no doubt that the civilized world is at war with the barbarians, and the sooner everyone realizes this, the better.

Posted by: Zamir at August 2, 2005 12:19 PM

Ok Joel (since you "expect" it):

Cole writes: "*Emile Lahoud, the president of Lebanon, rejected US Secretary of State Colin Powell's demand that the Hizbullah militia in south Lebanon be replaced. He said that Hizbullah is a legal political party, and expressed satisfaction that its guerrilla actions had gotten the Israelis back out of south Lebanon after 18 years.

The Israeli and Zionist Right has it as a principle that they should never give back up land once they manage to grab it, so Ehud Barak's 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon was widely seen by them as a mistake. In the Arab and Muslim worlds, however, it was seen as only right that the Israelis leave Lebanon, where they had no business in the first place. Some fear Ariel Sharon has his eye on the waters of the Litani River in Lebanon, and that Sharon has a history of sticky fingers and aggressive acquisitions."

Aside from being obvious where his bias lies in those paragraphs, I guess he forgot that it was a Likud government that gave away the Sinai. I suppose if someone reminds him of that fact he'll probably say that the "the Israeli and Zionist Right" doesn't have principles to begin with, and he should have never asserted that they did, even if it was an evil principle.

That's Hezbollah - preventing evil Zionists from getting their hands on the waters of the Litani river since 2000.

Cole on Hamas: "Likewise, Hamas (the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood) turned to terrorism in large part out of desperation at the squalid circumstances and economic and political hopelessness of the Israeli military occupation of Gaza."

I guess it would have been more accurate to say that Cole shares some of the goals of what he perceives Hamas' goals to be. Anyone who is paying attention know that they seek the destruction of Israel entirely, and are not just seeking an end to the "Israeli military occupation of Gaza." But that graph sets up a complete, blameless excuse for Hamas' genocidal rhetoric and activities. Just because they don't have the means to pull it off, doesn't mean they don't speak about it every day, have it in their official documents, and act murderously every chance they get.

As for your "expect"ation of an "extensive list" - that seems an odd and unnecessary request. He routinely calls Israelis "fascists" and never blames Arab intransigence or terrorism for any of the ills of the I/P conflicts.

Hamas terrorism - in fact, al-Qaeda terrorism even - in his eyes - is all the Israelis fault.

So much so that he even blamed 9/11 on the Israelis raid of Jenin, even though it happened after the attack on the WTC/Pentagon. That was a neat trick, even for those crafty Zionists.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 2, 2005 12:23 PM

Steve Smith,
"I think Cole's point is reasonable in this case: that we can't stop terrorism by randomly dropping bombs on unfriendly countries, when the problem often lives amongst us, and that hawkishness has proven to be a failed policy in stopping these sorts of attacks"

Sure, it's a reasonable point. But it has absolutely no relationship to what the situation has been for the past 20 or so years.
Randomly dropping bombs on unfriendly countries? When did that happen? Hawkishness has proven to be a failed policy? Since when? Are you assuming that since there are still terrorist attacks, that the "hawkish" policy hasn't stopped any?
Hey, there is still pollution, so that means that all the EPA laws and policies are failed.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at August 2, 2005 12:29 PM

Ratatosk,

I agree that the Cole, WTC, and to some extent the 7/7 attacks were a sophisticated, coordinated terrorist activity. I do not mean to imply that our opposition is stupid or simple. What I do mean is that there is a level of institutional knowledge that appears to have degraded over the past five years. As a military person and amateur historian, the ability to retain lessons from conflict is the most important part of an institution. By eliminating sponsor states and havens for groups, one limits the ability to share and develop complex strategies. Our opponents are capable and adaptive; by destroying their ability to draw on outside experts (sponsors) and larger group resources (funding by AQ and others) we limit their abilities to conduct complex actions. The London attacks would have been more devastating using a better type of explosive - the 7/21 attacks failed because the group lacked information on degradation of home-made explosives. We cannot destroy every small group; that is not the purview of a military. We can, however, keep them from gathering in larger groups or gaining sponsors that allow them to become a greater threat than the sum of their parts.

At the end of it all, the military is responsible for finding, fixing, and destroying logistics, leadership, and training facilities provided by state and larger non-state activities. Police forces are responsible for neutralizing small groups within a nation (nominally counter-intelligence agencies; the FBI in the U.S. has the charter for this mission).

The military was not able nor responsible for stoppping the 7/7 attacks. In my opinion, the damage the military wrought on AQ and its adherents in Afghanistan and Iraq were at least partially responsible for the failure of the 7/21 attacks. Loss of knowledge followed the removal or intimidation of technically capable sponsors.

The enemy is smart and capable. By eliminating resources of materiel and knowledge, we limit his ability to use that intelligence and capacity. We won't destroy him by this method; we restrict him. It becomes a battle of attrition: we destroy centers of knowledge and support for the terrorist, he attacks our political resolve. Eventually he loses enough institutional knowledge that he makes an error, allowing us to infiltrate and eliminate his base or we decide to give in to his demands and either become slaves to his ideology or enablers allowing him to inflict terror on ourselves or another victim.

Guess you know where I sit on that one, eh?

"Millions for defense but not one penny in tribute!"

SGT Dave

Posted by: SGT Dave at August 2, 2005 12:29 PM

Yep. Photo montages totally prove that we're at war, administration pronouncements notwithstanding (what, no Oklahoma City?) Surely the traitorous Cole and his fellow travelers in the Bush administration cannot possibly maintain their stance in the face of such an airtight syllogism.

Posted by: Big Worm at August 2, 2005 12:34 PM

Yep. Photo montages totally prove that we're at war, administration pronouncements notwithstanding (what, no Oklahoma City?) Surely the traitorous Cole and his fellow travelers in the Bush administration cannot possibly maintain their stance in the face of such an airtight syllogism.

Posted by: Big Worm at August 2, 2005 12:38 PM

Perhaps it's a bit difficult to understand simple sentences. Professor Cole seemed to be making a statement in response to the administration playing some funny propaganda games, i.e. the change from our actions in response to 9/11 being called a Global War on Terrorism to a Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism.

However, his real point is that the use of the word "war" in this struggle has no place in achieving the goals that everyone wants. At no point does Professor Cole think that terrorism is a good thing or that we should roll over and ignore the threat. He is trying to separate the wheat from the chaff in the discussion of this "worldwide" condition. Remember, terrorism is a technique, not a person, not a state, not an enemy.

I'll speak slowly now so everyone can understand and try to answer me:

The word war implies a military action against a definable enemy. Implicit in the concept of a war is the concept of winning or losing and most definitely an end point.

Can anyone tell me when this war will be over? Can anyone actually describe the conditions that need to be satisfied to constitute victory (or defeat)?

I am reminded of that other great war we are fighting domestically, viz. the war against drugs. That's another police action that has been transformed into a "war" merely for propaganda effect. Can such a war ever be won? Can victory ever be declared if even one person still "abuses" drugs?

It is the administration that only now, after we are mired in actual military conflicts unrelated to the "struggle", has decided to face reality a bit more by referring to a struggle (which can go on forever), but which isn't as sexy (and constitutionally really doesn't permit the wide-ranging domestic attacks on our civil liberties) as a war.

It is those who think by puffing up our chests and shooting first at anything that moves who have their collective heads in the sand; especially if they think that such actions will advance the "struggle" or even win the "war".

Posted by: eddie at August 2, 2005 12:45 PM

This photo montage totally proves we're at war. Provided "war" doesn't really mean anything more than that there are bad people who do bad things.

Posted by: Big Worm at August 2, 2005 12:47 PM

9/11 - not "war."

Truck bombing our Embassies - not "war."

Killing civilians in all manner of speaking - not "war."

Just bad people doing bad things.

Bin Laden issued a fatwa in 1996 entitled:

Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places.

I'm sure he meant to call it a Declaration of "bad things" against Americans....

Slight oversight - probably lost in translation.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 2, 2005 12:57 PM

eddie wrote:

Can anyone tell me when this war will be over? Can anyone actually describe the conditions that need to be satisfied to constitute victory (or defeat)?

----

Could anyone have predicted when the Cold War would end? Do you deny that was a war?

We'll win this new war (called whatever you want: war on terror, war on islamic extremism) when fanatical Muslims stop blowing up people in the name of Allah. Or, at least when the number of those incidents are below a certain threshold, say once every 5 years.

We will win this war, but it will probably take another 10-20 years. Perhaps longer.

Posted by: deesine at August 2, 2005 01:00 PM

I thought we were using precision guided bombs more and more

Now I learn that we are "randomly dropping bombs on countries"

Wow - this is a serious problem

Has Iceland been hit yet? Or Canada? Or Vatican City ( technically a country! ) by this US policy?

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at August 2, 2005 01:03 PM

Um, SoCal? "Killing civilians in all manner of speaking," to the extent it even makes sense (shouldn't it be "killing civilians in all manner of killing"?) isn't necessarily war. Civilians get massacred all the time, every such instance isn't a war. War means a state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties. If you want to shoehorn in the current state of affairs via a broad definition of "parties," make your case, but simply posting a bunch of pictures of various atrocities doesn't do much more than place emotion over reason; use of the term "war" where it may not be warranted tends to have the same effect.

Posted by: Big Worm at August 2, 2005 01:19 PM

We will know we won the war when you see women in bikinis on the beaches outside Mecca.

Very simple and easily measured. And a lot goes into that simple stroll on a beach in a speedo...

Posted by: buffpilot at August 2, 2005 01:20 PM

Big Worm,

If you are so against emotion over reason you should make sure all pictures from Abu Garib (sp?) don't get shown. Right? We know what happened and showing them would just be for emotional gratification.

Posted by: buffpilot at August 2, 2005 01:23 PM

Um, Big Worm?

Please ALSO respond to the attacks on 9/11 (which included the Pentagon), the attacks on our Embassies in Africa - throw in the U.S.S. Cole for good measure - and the fact that OBL actually "Declared War" (rather than just "Declared Bad Things) against "Americans" - not just the U.S. government, anyway.

Also, thank you in advance for your highly anticipated answer on why attacking official U.S. government/military installations merely constitutes "bad things" and not "war."

You completely ignored that those issues in your last post, hopefully you will not in your next.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 2, 2005 01:26 PM

SGT Dave,

Good Answer :)

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at August 2, 2005 01:27 PM

In 1998 the President(D) and the US Congress declared war against Iraq and Saddam Hussein.
Why the need to re-declare an already declared declaration of war?

Of course, a declaration of war cannot be issued against that which does not exist under any one-nation therefore, a declaration of war cannot be issued against Islamic Jihad because no such nation called Islamicjihadistan exists.

Posted by: syn at August 2, 2005 01:29 PM

Big Worm wrote:

[U]se of the term "war" where it may not be warranted tends to have the same [place emotion over reason] effect.

----

Three thousand New Yorkers killed.

An unambiguous message coming from Islamic extremists that they want to kill us (all non Muslims, and especially Americans).

What more do you need to call this a war?

Posted by: deesine at August 2, 2005 01:29 PM

And worrying about whether terrorist attacks specifically designed to kill as many civilians as possible should not be labeled "war" (in addition to all the other clear acts of war you ignored in your last post) - I guess if you feel that's an important use of your time, by all means, be my guest.

They think they're at war with us. They declared it (see link posted at 12:57).

But I feel much better knowing that in actuality, they only really declared "bad things" against us. What a relief.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 2, 2005 01:34 PM

Here's a question to choke on...

Why do Muslims see the American effort to stop terrorism, genocide, totalitarian oppression, human rights abuses, and other violations of international law as an attack on Islam itself?

Because they know Islam best, perhaps?

Posted by: Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit at August 2, 2005 01:35 PM

deesine,

There were Muslims in the WTC. And in the Morocco bombings, the Turkey bomgings, the Riyadh bombings - even the latest attacks in London.

They kill plenty of Muslims too - and some of those killings are plenty intentional.

They've declared war on everyone but themselves and whomever they deem to be their temporary allies.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 2, 2005 01:36 PM

Big worm wrote - "Civilians get massacred all the time, every such instance isn't a war. War means a state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties."

What would you call killing the repeated, calculated killing of civilians and military for the express political purpose of establishing a new nation state?

I'd call it a revolutionary war. The fact that AQ isn't using traditional military techniques is just a change in tactics.

Posted by: charons_oar at August 2, 2005 01:42 PM

SoCalJustice:

They've declared war on everyone but themselves and whomever they deem to be their temporary allies.

----

I absolutely agree. And I believe this will be a major factor in their undoing: kill enough "moderate" Muslims, and eventually they'll stop being supporters.

For argument's sake, I was just keeping things simple.

I believe you and I, and several others here have given this "No Declaration of War" meme a sound thrashing. It's amazing, the mental gymnastics that some people go through in trying to show that Bush and his supporters are idiots, and we're not really at war.

Posted by: deesine at August 2, 2005 01:44 PM

Put together a bunch of pictures showing disparate Westerners partaking in violence, taking drugs, engaging in sex, abusing prisoners, vomiting, etc, and you'll just about have what you have here: propoganda, images that are meant to enflame passions rather than instruct. How is this different than the low-grade stuff put out by Al Qaeda?
And would you even care about problems in the Muslim world had the first picture not been shot in New York?

Posted by: Scot at August 2, 2005 01:48 PM

...desperation at the squalid circumstances

I hope Cole includes the corrupt and incompetent terrorist leadership of Arafat and a squalid and foolish ideology among the circumstances. Indeed, I would hope he goes further and includes apologists and ideologues such as himself among the unfortunate root causes. The Palestinians are screwed, but they have been complicit in their own downfall.

Posted by: chuck at August 2, 2005 01:48 PM

Scot wrote:

Put together a bunch of pictures showing disparate Westerners partaking in violence, taking drugs, engaging in sex, abusing prisoners, vomiting, etc...

----

...and you'll have not even come close to trying to show an ideology that is bent on killing non-adherents.

Have you forgotten the reason MJ posted these images? It was in response to the absurd claim by Mr. Cole that the war is over and we're only fighting four men in a gym.

Islamic extremists declared war on us, not the other way around. That part of the solution is freeing some of them from a dictator and spreading democracy, is hardly a reason to charge us with not caring about them in the first place!

Posted by: deesine at August 2, 2005 02:00 PM

You forgot the photos of the Murrah Building in OK City, and of Olympic Park in Atlanta.

Oh, that's right: it's only terror if it's committed by Muslims. I forgot.

Posted by: DocAmazing at August 2, 2005 02:02 PM

Doc Amazing wrote:

You forgot the photos of the Murrah Building in OK City, and of Olympic Park in Atlanta.

Oh, that's right: it's only terror if it's committed by Muslims. I forgot.

----

Showing those photos would not advance the point that we are indeed fighting extremists who want to kill us due to a certain ideology.

The fact that you would include those photos shows that you consider both acts of terrorism. Which helps disprove the absurd notion that we are not at war.

Unfortunately, it also shows that you are missing probably the biggest point here: that people want to kill you, not because of anything you've done, but because of what you haven't: convert to Islam.

You see Doc, it's not American Ultra-nationalist fanatics who are doing most the killing, in case you haven't noticed.

Posted by: deesine at August 2, 2005 02:13 PM

DocAmazing,

You're brilliant. We've all been tricked into believing that Islamic extremists are dangerous. You make a great point. How can we really be threatened by Islamofascists if we have whackos like Tim McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, Jeff Dahmer, Ted Bundy, etc. running around? You're right, it's all a big stupid joke. You really are amazing!

Posted by: 2Slick at August 2, 2005 02:14 PM

Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph are terrorists. All members of the "Christian Identity Movement" or "the Order," (or KKK, or whatever it's called), self-styled or otherwise, are terrorists.

One difference in terms of the present debate, though, is after an abortion clinic bombing or the OKC bombing, the majority of Americans did not have a lengthy discussion of the "root causes" and try and blame Roe v. Wade or "the Jews/ZOG" (or whatever) for McVeigh and Rudolph's insane, murderous actions.

That is not the case here. OBL has gotten more "root cause" legitimacy than any terrorist in history.

I think (almost) everyone would be totally disgusted if any such efforts were made on behalf of McVeigh or Rudolph.

Or do people think we should overturn Roe v. Wade simply to prevent the bombing of abortion clinics, or not allow Jews to run for political office so as to not offend the delicate sensibilities of the "Christian Identity" white supremacist freaks?

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 2, 2005 02:22 PM

"I'm not listening! I'm not listening! La-la, la-la; la-la, la-la; Elmo's world..."

/progressives in denial

Posted by: The Sanity Inspector at August 2, 2005 02:26 PM

Charons_oar,

What you state may be an act of war. Unfortunately, Totten's photoessay includes groups such as Hamas and the Janjaweed in Sudan, as well as acts of Al Qaeda. These groups may be barbaric and follow Islam, but that doesn't mean they should all be lumped together with no distinctions made. That was why I objected: Totten just threw up a bunch of images of various groups perpetrating various atrocities, and the only real connection between them is that they are Muslims. If you want to say we're at war with Al Quaeda, fine, but then what are the pics of Hamas, Hezbollah, and those Iranian executioners doing up there? Or, is it the case that, as SoCal appears to think, "they" declared war on us, and that's good enough, no need to worry about who, exactly, "they" are?

Another objection to the "But we're at war!!!" theme is that it legitimizes the strikes on the Cole and the Pentagon, raised by SoCal. If this is really a war, then those attacks are just like any other military strike, not terrorism.

deesine,

You seem to have missed the memo. The Bush administration itself has declared that this is not a war, so if anyone is going to great links to make the Bush administration and its supporters seem stupid, it's the administration itself.

Posted by: Big Worm at August 2, 2005 02:30 PM

> Three thousand New Yorkers killed.

That was horrible, but for example innocent polish civilians endured hundreds of times worse things in WW2 so I'd keep things in proportion.

9/11 was nothing compared to their suffering, it just was the first time America was attacked in its own soil. With box-cutting knives. And panic ensued, along with reactionary war in Iraq. Afghanistan was on the other hand unavoidable.

I'm sure Bin Laden isn't unhappy about how things turned out.

Posted by: Pangolin at August 2, 2005 02:30 PM

"We are fighting extremists who are bent on killing us due to a certain ideology."
Again, how are you going to convince the moderate Muslim world that this is anything other than propoganda when Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, etc., uses exactly the same language against the West?
Because if you don't do that your middle eastern freedom will not spread.

Posted by: Scot at August 2, 2005 02:37 PM

DocAmazing, do you have any compassion for the suffering and death associated with the photos that are shown? For me they bring tears to my eyes.

Posted by: Roger at August 2, 2005 02:39 PM

we aren't interested in the theological nuances between shiites and sunnis and wahabis, etc.-- that's for Juan Cole's classroom lectures.

Or, you know, anyone who may actually be interested in winning this war. Or struggle, or whatever you prefer to call it.

Michael, it takes an apallingly ignorant rant to put me in the same camp as Juan Cole -- I've butted heads with the arrogant ass a number of times and still have the pompous email responses from him to prove it.

But I would never accuse him of not caring about terrorism or taking it seriously enough -- I just think his proposed solutions are dead wrong.

Michael, if you had bothered to read past the first four pragraphs of Cole's post, you would see just how asinine your photo-fisking is, and how unfair it is. In truth, it resembles the kind of intellectual bullying that Cole engages in himself incessantly.

Cole's point here, beyond the snarkiness-masquerading-as-irony, is that it's about time that the Bush administration has come to realize that this struggle won't be won by soldiers -- the CJCS has said as much himself.

But what they both fail to realize is that soldiers will still be doing the heavy lifting, even if only a small part of that effort will be actual combat.

We don't really have a Department of Struggle, and the State Department isn't really constituted to do much of what needs to be done (public diplomacy, nation building). So soldiers will have to do.

I just wish the $400 billion budgets -- to say nothing of doctrine -- would reflect that. Read Dana Priest's book for more on that. The chapters on Kosovo will make your Wilsonian blood boil.

Posted by: Bill Herbert at August 2, 2005 02:47 PM

Again, how are you going to convince the moderate Muslim world that this is anything other than propoganda when Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, etc., uses exactly the same language against the West?

Scott,

AQ, et al, doesn't use the "exact same language" that we do. In fact they say quite the opposite:

In Islam there are no innocent civilians:

"The term 'civilians' does not exist in Islamic religious law. Dr. Karmi is sitting here, and I am sitting here, and I'm familiar with religious law. There is no such term as 'civilians' in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not..."

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/007125.php

For the factually challenged Libs out there, Dar Al hab is a nice way of saying infidel. Infidels are by definition not innocent.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 02:48 PM

Big Worm wrote:

The Bush administration itself has declared that this is not a war

----

No it has not. They're DOWNPLAYING the use of the word. No declaration that there is NO war.

----

Pangolin wrote:

That was horrible, but for example innocent polish civilians endured hundreds of times worse things in WW2 so I'd keep things in proportion.

----

Compared to the events of WWII, most any atrocity today seems like a truffle. So what's your point? That when looking at current wars/struggles and trying to judge their impact, we should always look back to WWII for comparison. Has WWII become the gold standard of wars and struggles: if an event doesn't seem to measure up to the standard then it's not worthy of attention?

Question: how many American civilians need be murdered by Islamic extremists before you'll admit there's a problem?

10,000?

1,000,000?

Posted by: deesine at August 2, 2005 02:51 PM

Cole's point here, beyond the snarkiness-masquerading-as-irony, is that it's about time that the Bush administration has come to realize that this struggle won't be won by soldiers

Yeah, Cole is a bit slow. Everyone else knew this years ago, including the Bush administration.

One point that Cole overlooks is the thrill warfare holds for young, inexperienced men. Especially if they think they are on the winning side. Nothing like rape, pillage, and playing the hero to set the blood on fire. Playing on the losing side is not so much fun, especially if your tactics begin to sour with the audience. War has its place, that is not going to change anytime soon.

Posted by: chuck at August 2, 2005 03:02 PM

You are right Spaniard, I probably did overstate my point with the word "exactly".
But you have also lost me with yours since the phrase I was considering did not include the word civilians.
You see I wasn't trying to do a comparative study of Jihadist Arabic and the Romance languages. Nor was I trying to flaunt my Google skills and fend off possible future critics.
I'll leave that to you.

Posted by: Scot at August 2, 2005 03:07 PM
If Congress hasn't declared war, then I'm sorry, we're not at war - the Constitution makes that pretty clear.

I eagerly await news of the lawsuit intended to stop this "war" that was never declared and at least force Congress to honestly and properly declare war on someone/something instead of perpetrating this expensive charade.

Posted by: h0mi at August 2, 2005 03:08 PM

Juan Cole has responded with his own photo montage.

Posted by: Dave Schuler at August 2, 2005 03:09 PM

Wow. He's even more of an asshole than I'd thought. And up until now, the whole Millenium-Plot-foiled-by-Clinton bit was the least intelligent thing I'd ever seen posted by someone with Ph.D after their name.

Not counting Atrios, but who does?

Posted by: Slartibartfast at August 2, 2005 03:26 PM

Cole is a complete and total idiot in saying the Pentagon and military is useless against terror, since he has to stick his head in ass to ignore the obvious:

*Terrorists need a base for training and support to be dangerous.

The 1998 Embassy bombers, Cole, 9/11, Bali, 7/7 attackers all training at either Afghanistan or Pakistan. The four men from Leeds went to violent madrassas in Pakistan. Diplomacy, law enforcement, UN resolutions are useless. However, a whacking great military (which we don't have) can go in and smash things, kill people, and make the killing stop.

Invade Pakistan, kill enough of the enemy, they will stop fighting. Same for Darfur, Iran, and many other trouble spots. The only limits on our military action is the ability to gather political support for the costs in money and blood, and our own reluctance to kill on a wide, industrial scale. Neither of those last forever.

Liberals/Leftists and academic idiots project the Cold War model of limited proxy wars with clearly defined limits as the future into infinity. Just pure stupidity.

Inevitably we will slide into nuclear strikes on our cities as Sam Nunn has warned, and counter strikes on a strategic level. Ugly. I wish academics could wake up to reality and lead discussions of the rational threat facing us (broadly speaking the wish of Muslims to establish the fantasy state of the Caliphate and compete/destroy the West without adopting the West's attributes of modernity, secular rationalism and scientific materialism).

Easier to hug rainbows, unicorns, and fuzzy multi-culti PC nonsense.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at August 2, 2005 03:28 PM

Sgt. Dave, great work.

Eddie -- the "war" will end when we have a World Without Dictators. Though most might stop calling it a war before then. Gov'ts are either by democracy, or by death squad.

Death Squad ruled China, now entering their National Communist Fascist stage, will need another decade or two of Cold War (we hope) before they decide on democracy. Hopefully without war over Taiwan.

Sometime in the next decade, Saudi Arabia will become a lot more democratic, and there will be less SA oil money going to pay for Islamic/ Arab jihad talk. That will be one big pillar of terror support removed. It might take a US+Iraq invasion/ regime change to produce this change.

Similarly, Iran will be forced to accept either non-nuclear status, or free press & fair elections, if not both. I suspect the Iranians desperately want a nuke before Iraq's Constitution is approved, and they get a fully democratic gov't.

Cole's main point is: Bush not perfect, Bush bad, bad, baaad, baaahhh baaahhh. Irrespective of Cole, whose supporters seem more clear about what he meant than he, it was good for Michael to show us the evil we are fighting, again.

The world will never be without some terror incidents. It might well be without gov't sponsors of terror, when all countries are democracies with a free press and free religion.

If the US, UK, Australia, Japan, India, S. Korea; maybe some other democracies would start a Human Rights Enforcement Group, exclusively with democracies willing to shoulder some international "world cop" duties, that would help. The UN, including China and other non-democracies, can not now be such an international org.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 2, 2005 03:32 PM

Notice something strange about Juan Cole's photo montage? He injects a lot of words and without references too. If you remove all the words, the pictures portray something else entirely. The photos on this page need no words; each picture tells a sad ugly chapter in one growing book.

Posted by: Roger at August 2, 2005 03:37 PM

Yes, it's nearly self-fisking, if one only has a smidgen of a clue. Example:

In the meantime, Saddam, whom the US had built up as a major military power, invaded Kuwait.

Amazing. We built up Saddam, using Soviet arms? How'd we get those? Must have had something to do with Ollie North, I guess.

Posted by: Slartibartfast at August 2, 2005 03:44 PM

"We went to war with the Southern states in the the 1960s? Wow, that's amazing, somehow my history teacher never tought me that."

Wow, I'm not amazed that you had an idiot for a history teacher. Federalizing the Arkansas National Guard out from under the Governor was a pretty radical miltary response, backed up by the strength of what was still the Union Army under a popular war veteran president. The South knew all along that it stood to get fucked very hard if it didn't start acting like a part of the US. Having that Irish Yankee succeed Ike just sealed the deal.

Posted by: Jim at August 2, 2005 03:50 PM

Usually, when Professor Cole gets into these blog wars, he ends up looking the worse for wear (a too sensitive soul, perhaps).

But his response to Mr. Totten (http://www.juancole.com/2005/08/fisking-war-on-terror-once-upon-time.html) is priceless, indicating quite clearly the difference between someone who knows what they're talking about -- the history of a conflict, the factors that cause it to come into existence, realizing the world does not operate in a vaccum --and someone who would appeal to base emotional instinct.

It is, in a sentence, the difference between an academic and a demagogue.

Posted by: The_Truth at August 2, 2005 04:18 PM

> Question: how many American civilians need be murdered by Islamic extremists before you'll admit there's a problem?

I see there is a problem, but in worst case scenario I would see that terrorists were able to get their hands to kiloton class suitcase nuclear explosives, which certainly will not happen unless Russia wants it to.

Proportionally even "small" nuclear explosion would still be much less horrific concerning casualties than, for example, car accidents (if around 40,000 casualties/year in US is correct, please correct me if it isn't).

I personally see development in Russia and partially in China much more dangerous to world security than terrorists. I see terrorism mostly as hot air, not a real threat to western society.

Posted by: Pangolin at August 2, 2005 04:49 PM

Some of you are honestly asking the question: How do we deal with an enemy who doesn't live in one country, isn't of one ethnicity, and is guided by an ideology?

Dr. Cole uses the analogy of hardware and software in trying to understand the cause of Islamic terrorism and the solution for dealing with it. The terrorists are the hardware, and Islamic extremism is the software. How then, do we affect the downloading of this software and compete with others who are doing the opposite?

Software that is bug and virus ridden needs to be rewritten. Islamic doctrine needs to be purged of it's intolerant attitude towards non-believers. The writings, fatwas, and interpretations by it's scholars and teachers are what so easily allow Imams to convince young aspirants of the righteousness of killing the infidel.

Of course Bush and our government's actions abroad haven't been perfect and in some instances have actually made things worse. But I can't help believe that if it wasn't the United States, then it would be some other government those Imams would be pointing out as Islam's worst enemy. Isn't this already happening? No government has a perfect record dealing with Islamism.

So we try and encourage, convince, and force members of one of the world's largest religions that they need to reject doctrine being used to excuse violence. What a task! Is it even possible? I have hope, but my practical side tells me the chances are very slim.

The bottom line seems to me, what number of civilians killed in the name of Allah will we as a nation, and we as the world accept? Obviously the number is too high right now.

Posted by: deesine at August 2, 2005 04:52 PM

Pangolin, you're saying a nuke that murders 42,000 people is equivalent to accepting 42,000 deaths a year due to traffic accidents? Isn't there something you are overlooking? And you find it to be acceptable losses? But too many soldiers are dying while defending their country? An unacceptable number?

Posted by: Roger at August 2, 2005 05:02 PM

"Juan Cole has responded with his own photo montage.

Too bad Dr. Cole didn't respond with a better timeline.

The "radical Muslims" in Afghanistan (Taliban) whom Mr. Reagan supposedly armed didn't take the field until 1994, five years after the Soviets had withdrawn (and five years after Reagan left office) and two years after the Soviet puppet regime collapsed . The resistance to the Soviet occupation and the puppet Najibullah regime formed largely along ethnic and regional lines, as did the civil war that broke out when the Soviets withdrew. Just because the various militias and warlords happened to be Muslim (Afghanistan is a majority-Muslim country, after all) doesn't make them by definition "radical".

The picture of the Mujah with the Stinger was particularly funny -- twenty-year-plus-old rocket propellant is as much a threat to the gunner and anyone standing near him as to his intended target.

--furious

Posted by: furious at August 2, 2005 05:21 PM

raymondshaw said...

Well this is way OT, but thought I'd make this deposit here anyway. Googled Bahá'í a few days ago in relation to another blog, and found reference to an academic Juan Cole as being a member. Bahá'í is a more recent off-shoot of the tree-limb that is Islam. Centered in Iran, if I recall correctly.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/bahai5.htm

Footnot 5, about 1/3rd down page. It seemed interesting, somehow.

Posted by: raymondshaw at August 2, 2005 05:26 PM

Juan,

The article 8-2-05 on your website, downplays any connections of the terrorists in any unifying way to each other. You use the hardware software analogy to great effectiveness. Unfortunately, every incident you mention, and every act of terrorism over the past 15 years has one common thread you seemed to overlook. All the software is muslim, all the software is jihad, all the software works effectively in very similar hardware. Little old white ladies are not wired to accept and utilize such software. Just like PC and MAC hardware needs different software to run.
Also the hardware, software analogy is a very subtle way to dehumanize and objectify the terrorist actions so that the victims (all of us), do not emotionally react to these despicable and dangerous killers and in a fit of rage and anger, attack the root causes of the terror. As you cynically know ,the root cause of these atrocities is muslim in origin and goes back to the very roots of Judeo-Christian-islam history.
Your emasculated, psuedo-intellectual, appeasing of murderers, thugs, and religious bigots is dangerous and self-defeating. It will make you feel better in the short run, but will destroy all of us in the long term. Unless harshly dealt with, muslims will not stop until islam is the religion of all no matter what the cost. Please wake up and feel the human, struggle that is taking place here.

Posted by: photodog at August 2, 2005 05:29 PM

raymondshaw, I find that fascinating. Thanks!

Posted by: Roger at August 2, 2005 05:29 PM

Send this to Gary Trudeau of Donnesbury fame who likes to be current on events, but doesn't believe that Islamic Terror exists. He doesn't know what sharia is etc.

Posted by: jd at August 2, 2005 05:29 PM

You are right Spaniard, I probably did overstate my point with the word "exactly".

Scott,

Yes, you did. And had you instead used the phrase 'remotely similar' you still would have overstated your case. The fact is the language used by us and our enemies couldn't be more different. I didn't need gooogle to figure that one out.

Posted by: spaniard at August 2, 2005 05:40 PM

Steve Smith@12:05: “I think Cole's point is reasonable in this case: that we can't stop terrorism by randomly dropping bombs on unfriendly countries, when the problem often lives amongst us, and that hawkishness has proven to be a failed policy in stopping these sorts of attacks.”

Except that that isn’t Cole’s point. He doesn’t think the problem “often” lies amongst us at all. He says: “As for the jihadis, who do wish us harm, former CIA analyst Marc Sageman estimates the number of radical Muslims who can and would do significant harm to the US in the hundreds. That's right. The old "war on terror" was a war of the world's sole superpower on a few hundred people.” That’s what Cole says. A few hundred people. That's what he apparently understands to be the scope of the problem. How do a few hundred people constitute a significant "problem"?

Syn@1:29 “Of course, a declaration of war cannot be issued against that which does not exist under any one-nation therefore, a declaration of war cannot be issued against Islamic Jihad because no such nation called Islamicjihadistan exists”

So yes - its something totally new for us. But something called “Islamic jihad” most certainly does exist. That’s obviously what we’re fighting. We’re fighting a defensive war against the great 21st century Islamic jihad. UBL may have formally declared it recently but its been going on for the last 1400 years. We don’t have the language for it yet. Our laws of warfare have been developed to fight nation-states – not Holy War. Although, the jihadists do belong to a nation of sorts – the Muslim ummah. But it’s a transnational “state”. Again – its something new. That’s why everyone is struggling so hard to define what we’re up against.

Mr Beamish@1:35: “Why do Muslims see the American effort to stop terrorism, genocide, totalitarian oppression, human rights abuses, and other violations of international law as an attack on Islam itself? Because they know Islam best, perhaps?”

Yes. Methinks you answered your own question.

Bill Herbert@2:47: “Cole's point here, beyond the snarkiness-masquerading-as-irony, is that it's about time that the Bush administration has come to realize that this struggle won't be won by soldiers -- the CJCS has said as much himself”

Cole doesn’t even acknowledge the global jihad. If he did - if any of us did – including Bush – we would be forced to recognize that the jihad takes many forms. Terrorism (a method) is merely one. Demographic jihad is another. Cole won’t go to the heart of the problem - ever. He can only flounder around it. He apparently thinks that that there are only a few hundred “jihadis” in the world. What can one possibly say to that other than that the man is in a massive state of denial.

He is incapable of seeing the overall pattern. I will venture a guess that it is his antipathy to Israel that blinds him to the scope of the overall problem. He is so invested in his perspective on Israel (he has quite a bit of professional security and reputation staked on his perspective, does he not?)- that he is incapable of seeing the I/P conflict as part of the global jihad. From that core denial, the rest follows...

Posted by: Caroline at August 2, 2005 06:14 PM

... he is incapable of seeing the I/P conflict as part of the global jihad

The Israeli-Palestinian problem as part of the global jihad? What are you, crazy? The displacement of the Palestinians, and the illegal confiscation of their lands has been going on for over 30 years now. This must be the ultimate Likudnik wet dream; to convince America that the Palestininas are our enemy, because al-Q attacked us.

This does seem to be the theme of your comments. That Dr. Cole is "in denial" because he doesnt jump on the "war of civilizations" bandwagon. Well, sorry, but I think it abundently clear that he is the sane one here.

Posted by: Roberto C. at August 2, 2005 06:38 PM

Roberto C: "Well, sorry, but I think it abundently clear that he is the sane one here"

You are free to think as you please. And I am free to think that you too are in denial.

Posted by: Caroline at August 2, 2005 06:45 PM

I only read about half the comments, but wasn't OBL living in the Sudan a few years ago? Now we have packs of Muslims running around throwing babies into fires. Someone might suspect that there could possibly be a link.

Posted by: Mike #3or4 at August 2, 2005 06:53 PM

A joke someone told me last night while boozing:

So my parents divorce, it is just like the problem between Israel and the Palestinians. My Mom tells me to tell my dad that she wants the house after the divorce is final. My Dad told me to tell my mom to fuck off. When I told my Mom what my Dad said she went and blew herself up in the kitchen. :)

Posted by: Mike #3or4 at August 2, 2005 07:01 PM

Islam is the Enemy. Bush doesn't want to admit it. The Media don't want to admit it.

Hell's bells, I don't want to admit it. But they have told us that this is the case so many times that we are fools if we ignore it.

Until they lay the corner stone to the first Synagogue next to the First Baptist Church of Mecca we need to accept that while the West isn't at war with Islam, Islam is at war with the West.

And deal with it accordingly.

Posted by: None at August 2, 2005 07:06 PM

No, Caroline, you are the one in denial here.

The Israeli-Palestine conflict predates the rise of Islamism by a couple of decades. Some of the first Palestinian terrorists were Christians, and the blind hatred of Israel in the Middle East crosses religious lines to this day.

Some of the ugliest anti-Israeli rhetoric you can read in the Arab press is in the more secular, Baathist press, and even those in the Arab world who despise Islamists hate Israel even more.

The rise of Hamas and Hezbollah certainly give that conflict a religious dynamic today, but it can still be -- and really has to be -- separated from the struggle against jihadis.

As for Cole, I suggest you read his post again, if you bothered to read it at all the first time. He most certainly does recognize that this is a global phenomenon. His proposed solutions are wrong -- namely, that altering our "biased" policy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the solution to all our troubles. But he certainly recognizes that Islamic terrorism is a global phenomenon. His main criticism of our policy in Iraq is that it has delivered the country to Iranian-style theocrats, for one thing.

He just doesn't believe that Islamism and Islam are the same thing. And neither do I.

Posted by: Bill Herbert at August 2, 2005 07:08 PM

It is, in a sentence, the difference between an academic and a demagogue.

LOL. This is Cole's "response"? Reagan did it (with the help of Israel and the CIA)

What an ass.

Or, I could be wrong. If you're a fan of Cole's, you must know an awful lot about the history of the Middle East and Islam.

I'll bet you know all about the violent history of Quranic literalists, the relationship between the Wahhabis, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, al Qaeda, Unitarians, and Al-Ikhwan. I'll bet you know what Qutb's definition of jahiliyya is. Because, you're like, so informed and all. Tell us what you know.

Posted by: mary at August 2, 2005 07:11 PM

Until they lay the corner stone to the first Synagogue next to the First Baptist Church of Mecca we need to accept that while the West isn't at war with Islam, Islam is at war with the West.

How about a synagogue or mosque in the Vatican City while we're bullshittin'? Because that's essentially what you're asking of the Muslims.

And it will certainly come as a surprise to someone like you, but most other Arab/Muslim countries do allow churches and synagogues on their territory. I've visited Christian churches in a number of Arab countries myself.

And most Arabs I've met share my view of the Saudis as intolerant twits, and would certainly take issue with being lumped in with them.

Posted by: Bill Herbert at August 2, 2005 07:23 PM

Are we at war? Yes.

My evidence follows:

February 23, 1970, Halhoul, West Bank. Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorists open fire on a busload of pilgrims killing Barbara Ertle of Michigan and wounding two other Americans.

March 28-29, 1970, Beirut, Lebanon. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) fired seven rockets at the U.S. Embassy, the American Insurance Company, Bank of America and the John F. Kennedy library.

September 14, 1970, En route to Amman, Jordan. The PFLP hijacked a TWA flight from Zurich, Switzerland and forced it to land in Amman. Four American citizens were injured.

May 30, 1972, Ben Gurion Airport, Israel. Three members of the Japanese Red Army, acting on the PFLP's bbehalf, carried out a machine-gun and grenade attack at Israel's main airport, killing 26 and wounding 78 people. Many of the casualties were American citizens, mostly from Puerto Rico.

September 5, 1972, Munich, Germany. During the Olympic Games in Munich, Black September, a front for Fatah, took hostage 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. Nine athletes were killed including weightlifter David Berger, an American-Israeli from Cleveland, Ohio.

March 2, 1973, Khartoum, Sudan. Cleo A. Noel, Jr., U.S. ambassador to Sudan, and George C. Moore, also a U.S. diplomat, were held hostage and then killed by terrorists at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. It seems likely that Fatah was responsible for the attack.

September 8, 1974, Athens, Greece. TWA Flight 841, flying from Tel Aviv to New York, made a scheduled stop in Athens. Shortly after takeoff, it crashed into the Ionian Sea and all 88 passengers were killed, including 32-year-old Steven R. Lowe, husband Jeremiah Michel and wife, Kathrine Hadley Michel of Poughkeepsie, NY, Frederick and Margaret Hare of Bernardsville, NJ, Ralph H. Bosh of Madison, CT, Seldon and Etan Bard of Tuckahoe, NY, Dr. and Mrs. Frederick Stohlman of Newton, MA, Don H. Holiday of Mahwah, NJ, and Jon L. Chesire of Old Lyme, Ct; all of which were Almerican citizens. An investigation of the crash conclusively established that it was caused by explosives set in the rear cargo department of the plane.

June 29, 1975, Beirut, Lebanon. The PFLP kidnapped the U.S. military attaché to Lebanon, Ernest Morgan, and demanded food, clothing and building materials for indigent residents living near Beirut harbor. The American diplomat was released after an anonymous benefactor provided food to the neighborhood.

November 14, 1975, Jerusalem, Israel. Lola Nunberg, 53, of New York, was injured during a bombing attack in downtown Jerusalem. Fatah claimed responsibility for the bombing, which killed six people and wounded 38.

November 21, 1975, Ramat Hamagshimim, Israel. Michael Nadler, an American-Israeli from Miami Beach, Florida, was killed when axe-wielding terrorists from the Democrat Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a PLO faction, attacked students in the Golan Heights.

August 11, 1976, Istanbul, Turkey. The PFLP launched an attack on the terminal of Israel's major airline, El Al, at the Istanbul airport. Four civilians, including Harold Rosenthal of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were killed and 20 injured.

January 1, 1977, Beirut, Lebanon. Frances E. Meloy, U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, and Robert O.Waring, the U.S. economic counselor, were kidnapped by PFLP members as they crossed a militia checkpoint separating the Christian from the Muslim parts of Beirut. They were later shot to death.

March 11, 1978, Tel Aviv, Israel. Gail Rubin, niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff, was among 38 people shot to death by PLO terrorists on an Israeli beach.

June 2, 1978, Jerusalem, Israel. Richard Fishman, a medical student from Maryland, was among six killed in a PLO bus bombing in Jerusalem. Chava Sprecher, another American citizen from Seattle, Washington, was injured.

May 4, 1979, Tiberias, Israel. Haim Mark and his wife, Haya, of New Haven, Connecticut were injured in a PLO bombing attack in northern Israel.

November 4, 1979, Teheran, Iran. After President Carter agreed to admit the Shah of Iran into the U.S., Iranian radicals seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 66 American diplomats hostage. Thirteen hostages were soon freed, but the remaining 53 were held until their release on January 20, 1981.

May 2, 1980, Hebron, West Bank. Eli Haze'ev, an American-Israeli from Alexandria, Virginia, was killed in a PLO attack on Jewish worshippers walking home from a synagogue in Hebron.

July 19, 1982, Beirut, Lebanon. Hizballah members kidnapped David Dodge, acting president of the American University in Beirut. After a year in captivity, Dodge was released. Rifat Assad, head of Syrian Intelligence, helped in the negotiation with the terrorists.

August 19, 1982, Paris, France. Two American citizens, Anne Van Zanten and Grace Cutler, were killed when the PLO bombed a Jewish restaurant in Paris.

March 16, 1983, Beirut, Lebanon. Five American Marines were wounded in a hand grenade attack while on patrol north of Beirut International Airport. The Islamic Jihad and Al-Amal, a Shi'ite militia, claimed responsibility for the attack.

April 18, 1983, Beirut, Lebanon. A truck-bomb detonated by a remote control exploded in front of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 employees, including the CIA's Middle East director, and wounding 120. Hizballah, with financial backing from Iran, was responsible for the attack.

July 1, 1983, Hebron, Israel. Aharon Gross, 19, an American-Israeli from New York, was stabbed to death by PLO terrorists in the Hebron marketplace.

September 29, 1983, Beirut, Lebanon. Two American marines were kidnapped by Amal members. They were released after intervention by a Lebanese army officer.

October 23, 1983, Beirut, Lebanon. A truck loaded with a bomb crashed into the lobby of the U.S. Marines headquarters in Beirut, killing 241 soldiers and wounding 81. The attack was carried out by Hizballah with the help of Syrian intelligence and financed by Iran.

December 19, 1983, Jerusalem, Israel. Serena Sussman, a 60-year-old tourist from Anderson, South Carolina, died from injuries from the PLO bombing of a bus in Jerusalem 13 days earlier.

January 18, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. Malcolm Kerr, a Lebanese born American who was president of the American University of Beirut, was killed by two gunmen outside his office. Hizballah said the assassination was part of the organization's plan to "drive all Americans out from Lebanon."

March 7, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. Hizballah members kidnapped Jeremy Levin, Beirut bureau chief of Cable News Network (CNN). Levin managed to escape and reach Syrian army barracks. He was later transferred to American hands.

March 8, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. Three Hizballah members kidnapped Reverend Benjamin T. Weir, while he was walking with his wife in Beirut's Manara neighborhood. Weir was released after 16 months of captivity with Syrian and Iranian assistance.

March 16, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. Hizballah kidnapped William Buckley, a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Buckley was supposed to be exchanged for prisoners. However when the transaction failed to take place, he was reportedly transported to Iran. Although his body was never found, the U.S. administration declared the American diplomat dead.

April 12, 1984, Torrejon, Spain. Hizballah bombed a restaurant near an U.S. Air Force base in Torrejon, Spain, wounding 83 people.

September 20, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. A suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in East Beirut killed 23 people and injured 21. The American and British ambassadors were slightly injured in the attack, attributed to the Iranian backed Hizballah group.

September 20, 1984, Aukar, Lebanon. Islamic Jihad detonate a van full of explosives 30 feet in front of the U.S. Embassy annex severely damaging the building, killing two U.S. servicemen and seven Lebanese employees, as well as 5 to 15 non-employees. Twenty Americans were injured, including U.S. Ambassador Reginald Bartholomew and visiting British Ambassador David Miers. An estimated 40 to 50 Lebanese were hurt. The attack came in response to the U.S. veto September 6 of a U.N. Security Council resolution.

December 4, 1984, Tehran, Iran. Hizballah terrorists hijacked a Kuwait Airlines plane en route from Dubai, United Emirates, to Karachi, Pakistan. They demanded the release from Kuwaiti jails of members of Da'Wa, a group of Shiite extremists serving sentences for attacks on French and American targets on Kuwaiti territory. The terrorists forced the pilot to fly to Tehran where the terrorists murdered two passengers--American Agency for International Development employees, Charles Hegna and William Stanford. Although an Iranian special unit ended the incident by storming the plane and arresting the terrorists, the Iranian government might also have been involved in the hijacking.

June 14, 1985, Between Athens and Rome. Two Hizballah members hijacked a TWA flight en route to Rome from Athens and forced the pilot to fly to Beirut. The terrorists, believed to belong to Hizballah, asked for the release of members of the group Kuwait 17 and 700 Shi'ite prisoners held in Israeli and South Lebanese prisons. The eight crewmembers and 145 passengers were held for 17 days during which one of the hostages, Robert Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver, was murdered. After being flown twice to Algiers, the aircraft returned to Beirut and the hostages were released. Later on, four Hizballah members were secretly indicted. One of them, the Hizballah senior officer Imad Mughniyah, was indicted in absentia.

October 7, 1985, Between Alexandria, Egypt and Haifa, Israel. A four-member PFLP squad took over the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, as it was sailing from Alexandria, Egypt, to Israel. The squad murdered a disabled U.S. citizen, Leon Klinghoffer, by throwing him in the ocean. The rest of the passengers were held hostage for two days and later released after the terrorists turned themselves in to Egyptian authorities in return for safe passage. But U.S. Navy fighters intercepted the Egyptian aircraft flying the terrorists to Tunis and forced it to land at the NATO airbase in Italy, where the terrorists were arrested. Two of the terrorists were tried in Italy and sentenced to prison. The Italian authorities however let the two others escape on diplomatic passports. Abu Abbas, who masterminded the hijacking, was later convicted to life imprisonment in absentia.

December 27, 1985, Rome, Italy. Four terrorists from Abu Nidal's organization attacked El Al offices at the Leonardo di Vinci Airport in Rome. Thirteen people, including five Americans, were killed and 74 wounded, among them two Americans. The terrorists had come from Damascus and were supported by the Syrian regime.

March 30, 1986, Athens, Greece. A bomb exploded on a TWA flight from Rome as it approached Athens airport. The attack killed four U.S. citizens who were sucked through a hole made by the blast, although the plane safely landed. The bombing was attributed to the Fatah Special Operations Group's intelligence and security apparatus, headed by Abdullah Abd al-Hamid Labib, alias Colonel Hawari.

April 5, 1986, West Berlin, Germany. An explosion at the "La Belle" nightclub in Berlin, frequented by American soldiers, killed three--2 U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman-and wounded 191 including 41 U.S. soldiers. Given evidence of Libyan involvement, the U.S. Air Force made a retaliatory attack against Libyan targets on April 17. Libya refused to hand over to Germany five suspects believed to be there. Others, however, were tried including Yassir Shraidi and Musbah Eter, arrested in Rome in August 1997 and extradited; and also Ali Chanaa, his wife, Verena Chanaa, and her sister, Andrea Haeusler. Shraidi, accused of masterminding the attack, was sentenced to 14 years in jail. The Libyan diplomat Musbah Eter and Ali Chanaa were both sentenced to 12 years in jail. Verena Chanaa was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Andrea Haeusler was acquitted.

September 5, 1986, Karachi, Pakistan. Abu Nidal members hijacked a Pan Am flight leaving Karachi, Pakistan bound for Frankfurt, Germany and New York with 379 passengers, including 89 Americans. The terrorists forced the plane to land in Larnaca, Cyprus, where they demanded the release of two Palestinians and a Briton jailed for the murder of three Israelis there in 1985. The terrorists killed 22 of the passengers, including two American citizens and wounded many others. They were caught and indicted by a Washington grand jury in 1991.

September 9, 1986, Beirut, Lebanon. Continuing its anti-American attacks, Hizballah kidnapped Frank Reed, director of the American University in Beirut, whom they accused of being "a CIA agent." He was released 44 months later. September 12, 1986, Beirut, Lebanon. Hizballah kidnapped Joseph Cicippio, the acting comptroller at the American University in Beirut. Cicippio was released five years later on December 1991.

October 15, 1986, Jerusalem, Israel. Gali Klein, an American citizen, was killed in a grenade attack by Fatah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

October 21, 1986, Beirut, Lebanon. Hizballah kidnapped Edward A. Tracy, an American citizen in Beirut. He was released five years later, on August 1991.

February 17, 1988, Ras-Al-Ein Tyre, Lebanon. Col. William Higgins, the American chief of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization, was abducted by Hizballah while driving from Tyre to Nakura. The hostages demanded the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon and the release of all Palestinian and Lebanese held prisoners in Israel. The U.S. government refused to answer the request. Hizballah later claimed they killed Higgins.

December 21, 1988, Lockerbie, Scotland. Pan Am Flight 103 departing from Frankfurt to New York was blown up in midair, killing all 259 passengers and another 11 people on the ground in Scotland. Two Libyan agents were found responsible for planting a sophisticated suitcase bomb onboard the plane. On 14 November 1991, arrest warrants were issued for Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima and Abdel Baset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi. After Libya refused to extradite the suspects to stand trial, the United Nations leveled sanctions against the country in April 1992, including the freezing of Libyan assets abroad. In 1999, Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi agreed to hand over the two suspects, but only if their trial was held in a neutral country and presided over by a Scottish judge. With the help of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah, Al-Megrahi and Fahima were finally extradited and tried in Camp Zeist in the Netherlands. Megrahi was found guilty and jailed for life, while Fahima was acquitted due to a "lack of evidence" of his involvement. After the extradition, UN sanctions against Libya were automatically lifted.

January 27, 1989, Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey. Three simultaneous bombings were carried out against U.S. business targets--the Turkish American Businessmen Association and the Economic Development Foundation in Istanbul, and the Metal Employees Union in Ankara. The Dev Sol (Revolutionary Left) was held responsible for the attacks.

March 6, 1989, Cairo, Egypt. Two explosive devices were safely removed from the grounds of the American and British Cultural centers in Cairo. Three organizations were believed to be responsible for the attack: The January 15 organization, which had sent a letter bomb to the Israeli ambassador to London in January; the Egyptian Revolutionary Organization that from out 1984-1986 carried out attacks against U.S. and Israeli targets; and the Nasserite Organization, which had attacked British and American targets in 1988.

June 12, 1989, Bosphorus Straits, Turkey. A bomb exploded aboard an unoccupied boat used by U.S. consular staff. The explosion caused extensive damage but no casualties. An organization previously unknown, the Warriors of the June 16th Movement, claimed responsibility for the attack.

October 11, 1989, Izmir, Turkey. An explosive charge went off outside a U.S. military PX. Dev Sol was held responsible for the attack.

February 7, 1991, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Dev Sol members shot and killed a U.S. civilian contractor as he was getting into his car at the Incirlik Air Base in Adana, Turkey.

February 28, 1991, Izmir, Turkey. Two Dev Sol gunmen shot and wounded a U.S. Air Force officer as he entered his residence in Izmir.

March 28, 1991, Jubial, Saudi Arabia. Three U.S. marines were shot at and injured by an unknown terrorist while driving near Camp Three, Jubial. No organization claimed responsibility for the attack.

October 28, 1991, Ankara, Turkey. Victor Marwick, an American soldier serving at the Turkish-American base, Tuslog, was killed and his wife wounded in a car bomb attack. The Turkish Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

October 28, 1991, Istanbul, Turkey. Two car bombings killed a U.S. Air Force sergeant and severely wounded an Egyptian diplomat in Istanbul. Turkish Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

November 8, 1991, Beirut, Lebanon. A 100-kg car bomb destroyed the administration building of the American University in Beirut, killing one person and wounding at least a dozen.

October 12, 1992, Umm Qasr, Iraq. A U.S. soldier serving with the United Nations was stabbed and wounded near the port of Umm Qasr. No organization claimed responsibility for the attack.

January 25, 1993, Virginia, United States. A Pakistani gunman opened fire on Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employees standing outside of the building. Two agents, Frank Darling and Bennett Lansing, were killed and three others wounded. The assailant was never caught and reportedly fled to Pakistan.

February 26, 1993, Cairo, Egypt. A bomb exploded inside a café in downtown Cairo killing three. Among the 18 wounded were two U.S. citizens. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

February 26, 1993, New York, United States. A massive van bomb exploded in an underground parking garage below the World Trade Center in New York City, killing six and wounding 1,042. Four Islamist activists were responsible for the attack. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the operation's alleged mastermind, escaped but was later arrested in Pakistan and extradited to the United States. Abd al-Hakim Murad, another suspected conspirator, was arrested by local authorities in the Philippines and handed over to the United States. The two, along with two other terrorists, were tried in the U.S. and sentenced to 240 years.

April 14, 1993, Kuwait. The Iraqi intelligence service attempted to assassinate former U.S. President George Bush during a visit to Kuwait. In retaliation, the U.S. launched a cruise missile attack two months later on the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

July 5, 1993, Southeast Turkey. In eight separate incidents, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) kidnapped a total of 19 Western tourists traveling in southeastern Turkey. The hostages, including U.S. citizen Colin Patrick Starger, were released unharmed after spending several weeks in captivity.

December 1, 1993, north of Jerusalem, West Bank. Yitzhak Weinstock, 19, whose family came from Los Angeles, CA, was killed in a drive-by shooting. Hamas took responsibility for the attack

Sometime in 1994: near Atzmona, Gaza. U.S. citizen Mrs. Sheila Deutsch of Brooklyn, NY injured in a shooting attack.

October 9, 1994. Nachshon Wachsman, 19, whose family came from New York, was kidnapped and then murdered by Hamas.

October 9, 1994: Jerusalem, Israel. Shooting attack on cafe-goers in Jerusalem. U.S. citizens Scot Doberstein and Eric Goldberg were injured.

March 8, 1995, Karachi, Pakistan. Two unidentified gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles opened fire on a U.S. Consulate van in Karachi, killing two U.S. diplomats, Jacqueline Keys Van Landingham and Gary C. Durell, and wounding a third, Mark McCloy.

April 9, 1995, Kfar Darom and Netzarim, Gaza Strip. Two suicide attacks were carried out within a few hours of each other in Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. In the first attack a suicide bomber crashed an explosive-rigged van into an Israeli bus in Netzarim, killing eight including U.S. citizen Alisa Flatow, 20, of West Orange, NJ. More than 30 others were injured. In the second attack, a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in the midst of a convoy of cars in Kfar Darom, injuring 12. The Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Shaqaqi Faction claimed responsibility for the attacks. U.S. citizens Chava Levine and Seth Klein were injured.

June 15, 1995: Jerusalem, Israel. U.S. citizen Howard Tavens of Cleveland, OH was injured in a stabbing attack.

July 4, 1995, Kashmir, India. In Kashmir, a previously unknown militant group, Al-Faran, with suspected links to a Kashmiri separatist group in Pakistan, took hostage six tourists, including two U.S. citizens. They demanded the release of Muslim militants held in Indian prisons. One of the U.S. citizens escaped on July 8, while on August 13 the decapitated body of the Norwegian hostage was found along with a note stating that the other hostages also would be killed if the group's demands were not met. The Indian Government refused. Both Indian and American authorities believe the rest of the hostages were most likely killed in 1996 by their jailers.

August 1995, Istanbul, Turkey. A bombing of Istanbul's popular Taksim Square injured two U.S. citizens. This attack was part of a three-year-old attempt by the PKK to drive foreign tourists away from Turkey by striking at tourist sites.

August 21, 1995, Jerusalem, Israel. A bus bombing in Jerusalem by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) killed four, including American Joan Davenny of New Haven, CT, and wounded more than 100. U.S. citizens injured: Chanoch Bleier, Judith Shulewitz, Bernard Batta.

September 9, 1995. Ma'ale Michmash. American killed: Unborn child of Mrs. Mara Frey of Chicago. Mara Frey was injured.

November 9, 1995, Algiers, Algeria. Islamic extremists set fire to a warehouse belonging to the U.S. Embassy, threatened the Algerian security guard because he was working for the United States, and demanded to know whether any U.S. citizens were present. The Armed Islamic Group (GIA) probably carried out the attacks. The group had threatened to strike other foreign targets and especially U.S. objectives in Algeria, and the attack's style was similar to past GIA operations against foreign facilities.

November 13, 1995, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A car bomb exploded in the parking lot outside of the Riyadh headquarters of the Office of the Program Manager/Saudi Arabian National Guard, killing seven persons, five of them U.S. citizens, and wounding 42. The blast severely damaged the three-story building, which houses a U.S. military advisory group, and several neighboring office buildings. Three groups -- the Islamic Movement for Change, the Tigers of the Gulf, and the Combatant Partisans of God -- claimed responsibility for the attack.

February 25, 1996, Jerusalem, Israel. A suicide bomber blew up a commuter bus in Jerusalem, killing 26, including three U.S. citizens, and injuring 80 others, among them another two U.S. citizens. Hamas claimed responsibility for the bombing. U. S. citizens killed: Sara Duker, of Teaneck, NJ, Matthew Eisenfeld of West Hartford, CT, Ira Weinstein of Bronx, NY. U.S. citizens injured: Beatrice Kramer, Steven Lapides.

March 4, 1996, Tel Aviv, Israel. A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device outside the Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv's largest shopping mall, killing 20 persons and injuring 75 others, including two U.S. citizens. Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing. U.S. citizens injured included Julie K. Negrin of Seattle, WA.

May 13, 1996, Beit-El, West Bank. Arab gunmen opened fire on a hitchhiking stand near Beit El, wounding three Israelis and killing David Boim, 17, an American-Israeli from New York. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, although either the Islamic Jihad or Hamas are suspected. U.S. citizens injured: Moshe Greenbaum, 17.

June 9, 1996, outside Zekharya. Yaron Ungar, an American-Israeli, and his Israeli wife were killed in a drive-by shooting near their West Bank home. The PFLP is suspected.

June 25, 1996, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. A fuel truck carrying a bomb exploded outside the U.S. military's Khobar Towers housing facility in Dhahran, killing 19 U.S. military personnel and wounding 515 persons, including 240 U.S. personnel. Several groups claimed responsibility for the attack. In June 2001, a U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, identified Saudi Hizballah as the party responsible for the attack. The court indicated that the members of the organization, banned from Saudi Arabia, "frequently met and were trained in Lebanon, Syria, or Iran" with Libyan help.

August 17, 1996, Mapourdit, Sudan. Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) rebels kidnapped six missionaries in Mapourdit, including a U.S citizen. The SPLA released the hostages on August 28.

November 1, 1996, Sudan. A breakaway group of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) kidnapped three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), including one U.S citizen. The rebels released the hostages on December 9 in exchange for ICRC supplies and a health survey of their camp.

December 3, 1996, Paris, France. A bomb exploded aboard a Paris subway train, killing four and injuring 86 persons, including a U.S. citizen. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but Algerian extremists are suspected.

January 2, 1997, Major cities worldwide, United States. A series of letter bombs with Alexandria, Egypt postmarks were discovered at Al-Hayat newspaper bureaus in Washington, DC, New York, London, and Riyadh. Three similar devices, also postmarked in Egypt, were found at a prison facility in Leavenworth, Kansas. Bomb disposal experts defused all the devices, but one detonated at the Al-Hayat newspaper office in London, injuring two security guards and causing minor damage.

February 23, 1997, New York, United States. A Palestinian gunman opened fire on tourists at an observation deck atop the Empire State building in New York, killing a Danish national and wounding visitors from the United States, Argentina, Switzerland and France before turning the gun on himself. A handwritten note carried by the gunman claimed this was a punishment attack against the "enemies of Palestine."

July 30, 1997, Jerusalem, Israel. Two bombs detonated in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, killing 15 persons, including a U.S. citizen and wounding 168 others, among them two U.S. citizens. The Izz-el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, claimed responsibility for the attack. U.S. citizens killed: Mrs. Leah Stern of Passaic, NJ. U.S. citizens injured: Dov Dalin.

September 4, 1997: Jerusalem, Israel. Bombing on Ben-Yehuda Street, Jerusalem. U.S. citizens killed: Yael Botwin, 14, of Los Angeles and Jerusalem. U.S. citizens injured: Diana Campuzano of New York, Abraham Mendelson of Los Angeles, CA, Greg Salzman of New Jersey, Stuart E. Hersh of Kiryat Arba, Israel, Michael Alzer, Abraham Elias, David Keinan, Daniel Miller of Boca Raton, FL, Noam Rozenman of Jerusalem, Jenny (Yocheved) Rubin of Los Angeles, CA. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

October 30, 1997, Sanaa, Yemen. Al-Sha'if tribesmen kidnapped a U.S. businessman near Sanaa. The tribesmen sought the release of two fellow tribesmen who were arrested on smuggling charges and several public works projects they claim the government promised them. The hostage was released on November 27.

November 12, 1997, Karachi, Pakistan. Two unidentified gunmen shot to death four U.S. auditors from Union Texas Petroleum and their Pakistani driver as they drove away from the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi. Two groups claimed responsibility -- the Islamic Inqilabi Council, or Islamic Revolutionary Council and the Aimal Secret Committee, also known as the Aimal Khufia Action Committee.

November 25, 1997, Aden, Yemen. Yemenite tribesmen kidnapped a U.S citizen, two Italians, and two unspecified Westerners near Aden to protest the eviction of a tribe member from his home. The kidnappers released the five hostages on November 27.

April 19, 1998, Maon, Israel. Dov Driben, a 28-year-old American-Israeli farmer was killed by terrorists near the West Bank town of Maon. One of his assailants, Issa Debavseh, a member of Fatah Tanzim, was killed on November 7, 2001, by the IDF after being on their wanted list for the murder.

June 21, 1998, Beirut, Lebanon. Two hand-grenades were thrown at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. No casualties were reported.

June 21, 1998, Beirut, Lebanon. Three rocket-propelled grenades attached to a crude detonator exploded near the U.S. Embassy compound in Beirut, causing no casualties and little damage. August 7, 1998, Nairobi, Kenya. A car bomb exploded at the rear entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. The attack killed a total of 292, including 12 U.S. citizens, and injured over 5,000, among them six Americans. The perpetrators belonged to al-Qaida, Usama bin Ladin's network.

August 7, 1998, Dar es Sala'am, Tanzania. A car bomb exploded outside the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Sala'am, killing 11 and injuring 86. Osama bin Laden's organization al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the attack. Two suspects were arrested.

November 21, 1998, Teheran, Iran. Members of Fedayeen Islam, shouting anti-American slogans and wielding stones and iron rods, attacked a group of American tourists in Tehran. Some of the tourists suffered minor injuries from flying glass.

December 28, 1998, Mawdiyah, Yemen. Sixteen tourists--12 Britons, two Americans and two Australians--were taken hostage in the largest kidnapping in Yemen's recent history. The tourists were seized in the Abyan province (some 175 miles south of Sanaa the capital). One Briton and a Yemeni guide escaped, while the rest were taken to city of Mawdiyah. Four hostages were killed when troops closed in and two were wounded, including an American woman. The kidnappers, members of the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan, an offshoot of Al-Jihad, had demanded the release from jail of their leader, Saleh Haidara al-Atwi.

October 31, 1999, Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States. EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed off the U.S. coast killing all 217 people on board, including 100 Americans. Although it is not precisely clear what happened, evidence indicated that an Egyptian pilot crashed the plane for personal or political reasons.

November 4, 1999, Athens, Greece. A group protesting President Clinton's visit to Greece hid a gas bomb at an American car dealership in Athens. Two cars were destroyed and several others damaged. Anti-State Action claimed responsibility for the attack, but the November 17 group was also suspected.

November 12, 1999, Islamabad, Pakistan. Six rockets were fired at the U.S. Information Services cultural center and United Nations offices in Islamabad, injuring a Pakistani guard.

September 29, 2000. near Jerusalem Israel. Attack on motorists. U.S. citizens injured: Avi Herman of Teaneck, NJ, Naomi Herman of Teaneck, NJ.

September 29, 2000, Jerusalem, Israel. Attack on taxi passengers. U.S. citizens injured: Tuvia Grossman of Chicago, Todd Pollack of Norfolk, VA, Andrew Feibusch of New York.

October 4, 2000, near Bethlehem, West Bank. U.S. citizens injured: An unidentified American tourist.

October 5, 2000: near Jerusalem, Israel. Attack on a motorist. U.S. citizens injured: Rabbi Chaim Brovender of Brooklyn.

October 8, 2000, Nablus, West Bank. The bullet-ridden body of Rabbi Hillel Lieberman, a U.S. citizen from Brooklyn living in the Jewish settlement of Elon Moreh, was found at the entrance to the West Bank town of Nablus. Lieberman had headed there after hearing that Palestinians had desecrated the religious site, Joseph's Tomb. No organization claimed responsibility for the murder.

October 12, 2000, Aden Harbor, Yemen. A suicide squad rammed the warship the U.S.S. Cole with an explosives-laden boat killing 13 American sailors and injuring 33. The attack was likely by Osama bin Ladin's al-Qaida organization.

October 30, 2000, Jerusalem, Israel. Gunmen killed Eish Kodesh Gilmor, a 25-year-old American-Israeli on duty as a security guard at the National Insurance Institute in Jerusalem. The "Martyrs of the Al-Aqsa Intifada," a group linked to Fatah, claimed responsibility for the attack. Gilmor's family filed a suit in the U.S. District Court in Washington against the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, Chairman Yasser Arafat and members of Force 17, as being responsible for the attack.

December 31, 2000, Ofra, Israel. Rabbi Binyamin Kahane, 34, and his wife, Talia Hertzlich Kahane, both formerly of Brooklyn, NY were killed in a drive-by shooting. Their children, Yehudit Leah Kahane, Bitya Kahane, Tzivya Kahane, Rivka Kahane, and Shlomtsion Kahane, were injured in the attack.

March 28, 2001, Neve Yamin. Bombing at bus stop. U.S. citizens injured: Netanel Herskovitz, 15, formerly of Hempstead, NY.

May 9, 2001, Tekoa, West Bank. Kobi Mandell, 13, of Silver Spring, MD, an American-Israeli, was found stoned to death along with a friend in a cave near the Jewish settlement of Tekoa. Two organizations, the Islamic Jihad and Hizballah-Palestine, claimed responsibility for the attack.

May 29, 2001, Gush Etzion, West Bank. The Fatah Tanzim claimed responsibility for a drive-by shooting of six in the West Bank that killed two American-Israeli citizens, Samuel Berg, and his mother, Sarah Blaustein. U.S. citizens injured: Norman Blaustein of Lawrence, NY.

July 19, 2001, Hebron, West Bank. Shooting attack. U.S. citizens injured: An unidentified woman from Brooklyn, NY.

August 9, 2001, Jerusalem, Israel. A suicide bombing at Sbarro's, a pizzeria situated in one of the busiest areas of downtown Jerusalem, killed 15 people and wounded more than 90. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. U.S. citizens killed: Judith L. Greenbaum, 31, of New Jersey and California, Malka Roth, 15, whose family was from New York. U.S. citizens injured: David Danzig, 21, of Wynnewood, PA, Matthew P. Gordon, 25, of New York, Joanne (Chana) Nachenberg, 31, Sara Shifra Nachenberg, 2.

August 18, 2001, Jerusalem, Israel. Shooting at a bus. U.S. citizen injured: Andrew Feibusch of New York.

August 27, 2001, near Roglit, Israel. Shooting attack. U.S. citizen injured: Ben Dansker.

September 11, 2001, New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania, United States. During a carefully coordinated attack, 19 Islamist extremists hijacked four U.S. jetliners and forced them to crash into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In all, 266 people perished in the four planes, and more than 3,000 people were killed on the ground. U.S. investigators determined on the basis of extensive evidence that Usama bin Ladin's al-Qaida group was responsible for the attack. The first plane, American Airlines Flight 11 en route from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into the World Trade Center's north tower at 8:48 a.m. Eighteen minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175, also headed from Boston to Los Angeles, smashed into the World Trade Center's south tower. At 9:40 a.m. a third airplane, an American Airlines Boeing 757 that left Washington's Dulles International Airport for Los Angeles, crashed into the western part of the Pentagon where 24,000 people worked. The fourth plane, a United Airlines Flight 93 flying from Newark to San Francisco, crashed near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, most likely before it could hit its target. Hundreds of firefighters, police officers and other rescue workers who arrived in the site after the first plane crash were killed or injured.

Even OBL states it.

Even the former leader of Hizbollah, Hussein Massawi, states it.

According to them we are at war, the mere suggestion it takes our Congress to define when we are at war is intellectually shallow and ignorant.

Are you really willing to ignore their declaration for some sense of "right" that you might possess?

I'm not.

Posted by: jcrue at August 2, 2005 07:27 PM

Anyway, Joel - he of the expectations - never came back.

But Cole's "response" is fairly replete with plenty of Hamas/Hezbollah/al Qaeda talking points.

Enjoy, Joel.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 2, 2005 07:31 PM

Juan Cole is the voice of sanity? Compare this statement made in 2002:

The obstacles were formidable. Al-Qaida had 40 large and well equipped training camps in Afghanistan, with which it had turned out thousands of committed operatives expert in explosives, secret cell organization, and other tools of the terrorist trade for actions against the U.S. It had millions of dollars in contributions to play with, sent by radical or gullible Muslim sympathizers made rich by oil wealth or by business ventures in Europe or the U.S. It controlled, and received the support of, the fundamentalist Taliban government of Afghanistan.
With these statements in 2005:
"It is not a war. It is counter-insurgency.... That's right. The old "war on terror" was a war of the world's sole superpower on a few hundred people. (I exclude Iraq because it is not and never was part of any 'war on terror,' though the incredible incompetence of the Bush administration has contributed to the ability of terrorists to operate there.)"

Uhhh...Doc? What happened to the "thousands of committed operatives"?

It really is sad to see an obviously deluded person continue to shout to the world "I'm a Bush-hating nut!". Seriously, the man makes some interesting points about treating this as a counter-insurgency (even if he misses the need to suppress extra-territorial support centers) that are completely lost because Juan Cole has absolutely no qualms about contradicting himself from day to day. That isn't the action of a man who has all his sandwiches in one picnic basket.

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at August 2, 2005 07:36 PM

Bill Herbert, you're talking apples and oranges. Vatican City is roughly the same size as the compound of the Great Mosque in Mecca. And I agree with you that it would be excessive to expect a Christian church or a Jewish synagogue within the compound—or even immediately adjacent to it.

The proper comparison is Vatican City to the compound of the Great Mosque and Rome to Mecca.

There are both Protestant churches and a Jewish synagogue in Rome. It would not be excessive for there to be a Jewish synagogue or Christian church in Mecca. Or in the KSA. But there aren't any.

Posted by: Dave Schuler at August 2, 2005 07:42 PM

Big Worm writes: Or, is it the case that, as SoCal appears to think, "they" declared war on us, and that's good enough, no need to worry about who, exactly, "they" are?

Read the link. There is a "need" to worry about who they are. Hezbollah and Hamas both enjoy burning American flags and screaming "Death to America." In October 2003, Palestinian terrorists bombed an American delegation in Gaza that was going to interview students for Fulbright scholarships, killing 3 people.

And "us" is not just America - even though the fatwa I linked to is specifically about America. There have been others, which include both specific locations like Norway, Italy and Denmark (for example), as well as those that just generally deal with "infidels" of which you, like it or not, are one.

So is Cole, even though he occasionally seems to channel a true believer.

I guess it's fun playing semantic games with you - but the fact is, when we weren't attacking al Qaeda, but they attacked us - hitting military and civilian targets - it's both "war" and "terrorism." They are not necessarily mutually exclusive terms. There are elements of both in this battle.

Al Qaeda operatives have referred to themselves both as terrorists and, obviously, warriors (of the holy variety).

So what? They kill American soldiers and civilians (as well as government and military officials/civilians of other nationalities) - and will kill as many people (again, military or civilian) as they can operationally achieve.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 2, 2005 07:58 PM

Bill Herbert: "He just doesn't believe that Islamism and Islam are the same thing. And neither do I."

Cole doesn’t appear to think that it has anything to do with Islam at all (that would include “islamism”). He says: “It isn't about religion, except insofar as religion is a basis on which the recruiter can approach his victim. Islam as a religion forbids terrorism.”

Righto. Does he even read what the terrorists themselves say and how they back it up with endless statements from the islamic holy texts, including the example of their prophet? There are plenty of honest Muslims out there who are more than willing to tell the truth.

What I really love is how Cole proceeds from there to talk about the “software” installed that causes terrorism (the software appears to consist of a bunch of grievances) and sort of then throws in a few bones to the effect that of course none of this “software” is actually true but then concludes that the way to defeat terrorism is: “You adopt policies that make the story the software tells implausible”, thereby implying that the grievances have merit and that the software tells a very plausible story. Never mind that meanwhile Cole himself is busy programming the software and feeding the grievances. If Cole does think this is a global problem, evidently he thinks this has nothing to do with jihad. He thinks there are only a few hundred “jihadis”. Rather he is trying to make the point that our policies are creating the “software” that cause terrorism. I’m sorry but I flat out disagree. There is a global pattern going on , much of which has nothing to do with our policies. The grievances du jour are merely a pretext for the everlasting jihad that has been going on for hundreds of years and which clearly predates the I/P conflict.

“And it will certainly come as a surprise to someone like you, but most other Arab/Muslim countries do allow churches and synagogues on their territory.”

Yes, I’ve noticed the rising number of Jews and Christians in all Muslim countries over the past decades. Please…

Posted by: Caroline at August 2, 2005 07:59 PM

Awesome post, Michael.

I started to read this thread this morning, sorry I'm late...no offense, but to still be parsing the meaning of Islamist or terrorism, like Farris and others, to avoid dealing with the actual problem seems like some sort of attention seeking behavior. In another decade or two, when you have it clarified, let the president know, will you? If the country is still here, I mean.

And Cole, too, is slipping. Where is the apochryphal photo of Rummy shaking hands with Saddam?! I mean, that proves we're guilty! It's all our fault!

Posted by: Patricia at August 2, 2005 07:59 PM

Bill,

Exactly which Arab nations have you visited Christian Churches in? I am curious. Certainly not Saudi Arabia, or the Sudan. How many Synagogues have you visited in the Judenrein Arab world?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Look, I respect you. I think you know who I am, as we have talked in the past. But as long as the Muslims say that the world isn't big enough for the both of us, I agree with them.

If it is any comfort, when they decide it is big enough for the both of us, I'll also agree with them.

Both of 'em, if that's what is required.

Posted by: None at August 2, 2005 08:03 PM

Uhhh...Doc? What happened to the "thousands of committed operatives"?

Uhhh... we captured or killed most of them. He goes on to say that in the rest of this 2002 piece, which was actually quite complimentary of the Bush administration's "impressive successes." He even noted, way back then, that there were only "a few hundred" al qaeda operatives in Europe after we rolled up most of the cells. He doesn't give a remaining figure for the rest of the world, but he makes it clear that we had done a stellar job of eliminating them.

And your selective editing of his recent post omits the fact that he was quoting someone else for the "few hundred" figure. Pretty misleading.

Dave Schuler: no, it's not really apples and oranges. Muslims view Mecca the way Catholics view the Vatican, not Rome. Speaking as a Catholic, there isn't that much religious significance to the latter city to me.

Your own comparison relies on square footage (puh-lease!), rather than the institutions and symbolic meanings. Sorry, but I think I'll go with mine.

Posted by: Bill Herbert at August 2, 2005 08:10 PM

Those who kill random human beings in every country in the world because they believe that this is a just fight in the name of their G-d, Allah, are called Muslims.
Those that believe in a system of centralized authority under a absolute leader; stringent controls on society; the suppression of all opposing views through terror and absolute censorship; and a belligerent ideological philosophy, are called fascists.
Those that claim that Death is to be desired in the name of their ideology, for both themselves and all others, are called Death Cultists.
Islamic Fascist Death Cultism is a philosophy based on the teachings of radical Islamic Jihad clerics dating from Taqi al-Din ibn Taymiyya in the 13th century through Muhamad ibn Abd al-Wahhab in the 18th century to today's Death cultists such as bin Laden and Zarqawi.
All of the earlier practioners of this Jihad death cultist philosophy were eventually imprisoned or executed by the Islamic governments (Caliphates) that they tried to overthrow or destroy.
This radical Jihad philosophy is anachronistic in that it denies a thousand years of the history of Islam and the Caliphates and claims that the only true Islam is that of the earliest generations of Muslims, the Salaf.
The Islamic fascist death cultists are currently in vogue due to an ignorant (as in uneducated and unread) Muslim response to the perceived powerlessness of "Dar Islam."
Declaring War on Islamic Fascist Death Cults has been an historically effective way to deal with radical Islamic Jihad, but there was also always, historically, a more stable, powerful, Islamic regime to supplant the Jihaddists.
That is not true today.
Today, it is necessary to support, encourage, and otherwise empower strong, anti-Jihad Muslims who may also wish for Islam to dominate the Earth, but who see the value in proclaiming Islam peacefully... (so that, in their eyes, the "natural truth and beauty of Islam" will be obivious to a wayward world.)
This is the solution to Islamic Fascist Death Cults; or Islamists; or Islamo-fascists; or radical Jihad Muslims....

Posted by: Moishe3rd at August 2, 2005 08:41 PM

Exactly which Arab nations have you visited Christian Churches in? I am curious. Certainly not Saudi Arabia, or the Sudan. How many Synagogues have you visited in the Judenrein Arab world?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Well, you thought wrong, None. I've been to churches in Bahrain, Jordan, and Dubai. I actually have visited a synagogue in Bahrain. Haven't visited any others (haven't really looked for them either), but I have it on good authority that they exist in quite a few of them, apart from the obvious exceptions of Sudan and KSA. And like I said, most Arabs and Muslims I have met don't think very highly of the Saudis or Sudanese.

So, I've sort of made a deal with my friends who happen to be Muslim: I don't judge them by the actions or statements of a Bin Laden or Hasan al Turabi, and they don't judge me by the statements of ignorant people like you.

Caroline: I certainly agree with you that Cole is wrong when he argues for changes in our policies as the answer to fighting terrorism, and I've already said as much.

But he is certainly right that this is more political than religious, and that religion is used as a pretext.

Your own understanding of the religion and the region's history is quite ignorant. Middle Eastern "grievances" certainly do not fit a uniformly religious pattern. Many of them are material, and most are political. They've had foreign domination, secular tyranny, socialism, and now a religious revival. To view all of this experience as part of a "jihad" is simply idiotic.

Interestingly, Islamism has never won a mass following in places like Kosovo or Bosnia, despite the Muslims-persecuted-by-infidels formula. The reason is that these were quite different circumstances, and the nonsense spewed by Islamists about Western depravity simply didn't resonate among Muslims who had lived with it.

As for your last snide remark, bite me. I've been there, and don't need someone like you telling me what I did or didn't see.

Posted by: Bill Herbert at August 2, 2005 08:42 PM

And these photos prove? Nothing that I can see.

Somewhere out there is an Islamist site posting a bunch of photos of the bloody tangled bodies of innocent victims of Israeli and U.S. bombs. Just as incoherent as your post here. And with the same purpose: to get people to set aside their rationality.

Posted by: MQ at August 2, 2005 09:14 PM

Somewhere out there is an Islamist site posting a bunch of photos of the bloody tangled bodies of innocent victims of Israeli and U.S. bombs. Just as incoherent as your post here. And with the same purpose: to get people to set aside their rationality.

Yup, I'm sure there is a website out there. But how does that help prove the 2nd point you are trying to make - that this post is incoherent and causes people to set aside their rationality ?

There is nothing incoherent about these photos. Its quite clear that Al-Qaeda and other Islamists have an inhuman and barbaric set of values. None of these outcomes portrayed are at all accidental. These are the outcomes that the enemy has, does, and will continue to pursue.

Posted by: Jono at August 2, 2005 09:51 PM

Declarations of War?

The first Land Military Action by the United States after the Revolutionary War was against a Muslim NGO called the Barbarry Pirates.

Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and the Congress of the day, debated over whether a formal Declaration of War was required Constitutionally.

They decided that while a formal Declaration of War would be required to INITIATE a War, whereas our shipping and our Sovereignty had been attacked we WERE at a State Of War with the Barbarry Pirates and no formal declaration was required.


Satisfied? p-dawg or do you think the Cogress of
1801
Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton knew less than you about the Issue?

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at August 2, 2005 10:01 PM

I'm not quite certain, but I believe Dr. Cole lifted the Afghan portions of his "response" to this post directly from a copy of Pravda, circa 1986.

(sarcasm)

It would be a wonderful thing if the left in this country could become a legitimate opposition, with intelligent, plausible ideas based on a coherent, honest view of history and human interaction. Instead, the left has standard-bearers like Dr. Cole.

Posted by: at August 2, 2005 10:33 PM

None: Islam is at war with the West.

Some Muslims are on our side. The Kurds, for instance. (They are more pro-American than other Westerners are. Hell, they are probably more pro-American than America is.) Also most people in Iran who want to hang the fascist mullahs from cranes.

Treating friends as enemies is truly one of the dumbest things you can possibly do in a war.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2005 11:22 PM

Um, if you actually bothered to READ Juan Cole's poast (rather than engaging in primal grunt reactions: "Ook ook bad"), he was commenting on the Bush administration's dropping the term "war on terror." So if anyone thinks the war is over it's Dear Leader (after all, wasn't the "Mission Accomplished"? a long time ago)

Posted by: zen_more at August 3, 2005 12:40 AM

Um, if you actually bothered to READ Bush's speeches (rather than engaging in primal grunt reactions: "Ook ook bad Mr McChimpy"), Bush is still saying the same thing ("global struggle against violent extremism"), nor does that mean that the "war on terror" is no more or Bush believes it is won - in fact the particular speech says exactly the opposite. So if anyone thinks that Bush says the war is over it's Juan Cole and the knee jerk leftist (after all, wasn't the "Mission Accomplished" in response to the overthrow of the Iraqi Govt and not what the anti-war zealots would have you believe?).

Ah, but does any of this matter to you anyway? Of course, being part of the well informed reality based community you have actually read what Bush said, right? Better to spin spin spin in a hope that if you throw enough out there something will stick.

Posted by: strcpy at August 3, 2005 12:53 AM

Bill Herbert: "As for your last snide remark, bite me. I've been there, and don't need someone like you telling me what I did or didn't see."

Bill - I'm not denying that you've seen churches and synagogues. I'm talking about the fact that religious minorities are rapidly vanishing in all Muslim dominated lands. Your personal sighting of some churches and synangogues is rather irrelevant to the overall picture, wouldn't you agree?

Disappearing Christians in the ME

"At the present rate, the Middle East's 12 million Christians will likely drop to 6 million in the year 2020"

Jews endangered in the ME

"The number of Jews in the Muslim Middle East stood at 1.5 million after World War II. Today it stands at 40,000, of which fewer than 5,000 remain in Arab countries."

The Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh aren't faring much better. Hindus made up roughly 20% of Pakistan in 1947 and have dwindled to nil currently. They have shrunk from 30% of Bangladesh's population to less than 10% currently.

Posted by: Caroline at August 3, 2005 03:47 AM

Please don't forget a
Van Gogh reference in your
excellent photo gallery!
Yeah, it's a real war.

Posted by: pete goddard at August 3, 2005 04:03 AM

oh NOES!!! We're at War with all Islam! Somebody go to the White House and let the President know!

Bring a crowbar. You'll need it to pry Dubya's lips offa Abdullah's ass.

Posted by: W. Kiernan at August 3, 2005 04:37 AM

Wow MJT, Huge response!

I went back and ... just ... looked ... at the photos. Especially Nick Berg.

I've also finished rereading the thread and want to share what I noticed about a lot of the posters who complained that the photos were going to substitute emotion for reason and so on.

For example:
"Killing civilians in all manner of speaking," to the extent it even makes sense (shouldn't it be "killing civilians in all manner of killing"?) isn't necessarily war. Civilians get massacred all the time, every such instance isn't a war. War means a state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties. If you want to shoehorn in the current state of affairs via a broad definition of "parties," make your case, but simply posting a bunch of pictures of various atrocities doesn't do much more than place emotion over reason; use of the term "war" where it may not be warranted tends to have the same effect. Posted by: Big Worm at August 2, 2005 01:19

Well, maybe I want to get emotional when I see a picture of a guy with a knife at his throat and hooded figures standing around waiting to get their thrill when the blood flows. Maybe I don't want to be lectured about the constitutional nits of declaring war or its definitions. Maybe I don't want to get grammar lessons from what smells like a pedant from some university while the important point is sidestepped.

I think some of these posters are disturbed and frightened by the potential of these photos to galvanize people and elicit an action response. I think they would like to be able to get everyone to sit quietly while they spin a spell of nuance and tell us that we are not smart enough to understand what is going on. Only the leftist academic experts can tell us how to interpret the factions and rivalries within militant Islam.

The rest of us are told we are only capable of "ook ook, bad".

Well, I think some are showing the power of the your post by the volume and length of their criticism against it.

And then Cole wants us to believe:
As for the Mad Cheney scenario whereby a state gives nuclear weapons to terrorists to use on the US, puh- lease. Even my five year old niece wouldn't believe that whopper. States don't share nuclear bombs with terrorists; and it is not as if a bomb's provenance could not easily be traced.

There you have it, pronouncement from a position of authority, with a requisite sneer. Never mind about AQ Khan, nothing to see here.

Just go back and look at the photos and then go read the fatwa . Its just that simple.

Posted by: jdwill at August 3, 2005 04:38 AM

All this talk about if we are at war with Islam or Islamofascists or just a name. People are even dodgy about calling it a "war." We so often forget that we are at war with anyone who thinks they are at war with us (whether we like it or not), be it Imperial Japan, OBL AQ et al, the Mulahs in Iran, the office vulture, or Crazy Ned the Wino.

And as far as OBL goes, he says/said he's at war with us as the West. And with that his fellow travlers dogpiled on with him, and at war with them we also are. And so on. Whether we like it or not.

Posted by: Bill at August 3, 2005 07:16 AM

ook ook bad = "Dear Leader" and "Mission Accomplished"

Posted by: dcb at August 3, 2005 07:37 AM

Amusingly, it's our friend "zen more" who's showing abysmal reading comprehension skills when he insists on repeating the Mission Accomplished bit of nonsense. Sometimes context is key, and questions such as what mission, and whose mission it was may provide some meaning that to date you've failed to see.

I'm keeping my hopes low, though, based on past performance.

Posted by: Slartibartfast at August 3, 2005 07:41 AM

You're all still missing the point!!!

Cole doesn't deny the reality of a "struggle with extremism". His core argument is that "war" is a poor term to describe this because it implies a situation that can be addressed by military means. His opening paragraph points out that it's hard to see how military techniques could have stopped the London bombings.

Seems reasonable to me...

Posted by: AndyS at August 3, 2005 08:46 AM

It would be possible, I'm sure, to assemble a collection of photographs, equal in length to the one above, of Iraqi civilians horrifically killed and maimed as "collateral damage" of American military action.

If the photographs above prove something, what might my hypothetical collection prove?

Posted by: AndyS at August 3, 2005 08:50 AM

The U.S. is not at war with Islam.
The U.S. is at war with Al Qaeda, a radical Islamic group that needs to be destroyed.
To effectively destroy al Qaeda, we first need to isolate the group, politically, or we may end up targetting potential allies, setting off an all but unwinnable global war.
It's really that simple.

Posted by: Scot Donaldson at August 3, 2005 10:51 AM

"People should be reminded of the relationship between Arafat's uncle and Hitler's regime...

The sins of the father and all...:

Are you aware of the Bush families relationship with Nazis in the WWII era?

The sins of the grandfather and all...

The response to Juan Cole was not only weak, but it had two additional flaws, at least.

1. It had a disengenuous straw man, pretending Cole was arguing ONLY the four men in London were the enemy, when clearly that was not his point. Perhaps the later reference to 'hundreds' who can and would hurt the US should be a clue.

2. The use of the images demonstrates to me the lack of a rational response.

The use, rather the misuse since they have some use when done in context, of such photos shows the base technique of 'inciting a riot' by fanning the violent flames of passion as any demagogue does to a mob against 'the enemy'.

It's easy to get people to support war, unfortunately.

Posted by: Craig at August 3, 2005 10:54 AM

So is there going to be a
concerted right wing
attack on Juan Cole or
not? I'd think it over.
Cole is a rational
systematic thinker.
Calling him a raving nut
won't work. Better stick
to easier targets, like
that guy in Boulder,
what's his name.

Posted by: Hattie at August 3, 2005 11:29 AM

Cole's rational thought, however, frequently leads him to absurd conclusions. Like the whole idea that Clinton had anything at all to do with foiling the Millenium Plot, citing a seried of newspaper articles that actually contradict that point.

Should idiocy be ignored when committed by smart people? Not in my book.

Posted by: Slartibartfast at August 3, 2005 01:33 PM

Bill - I'm not denying that you've seen churches and synagogues. I'm talking about the fact that religious minorities are rapidly vanishing in all Muslim dominated lands.

OK, Caroline, congrats for successfully refuting an argument I never made. I'm certainly not saying that the Middle East has a commendable record on religious freedom and tolerance. I was simply responding to the common myth that churches, synagogues, or other overt expressions of non-Muslim worship, are verboten throughout the Muslim world, as they certainly are in KSA.

But whatever. The important point here is that your calculation of this as a Christians/Jews/other non-Muslim vs. Muslims conflict is dead wrong.

The real enemy here has to be the tyranny that exists in these countries, and the dictators who cynically use the Islamists against their own enemies, while alternately persecuting the same adherents. Case after case has already proven that increasing democracy, freedom, and the liberal values of limited governmental power, has taken the wind out of the sails of the Islamists.

Making the religion itself the focus of our efforts is not just wrong, it's stupid. Most Muslims are decent people who, however distorted their view of the world may be, do not harbor designs on the world or ill will toward nonbelievers.

So, all this horseshit I read here and on other blogs about Islam being the real enemy (or, "the only good Muslim is an apostate," and that kind of thing) really just helps drive more Muslims into the arms of fundamentalists, who, as Cole correctly points out, are telling their followers on a daily basis that this war/struggle is really against all Muslims. Not a smart strategy, if you ask me.

To get back to the real point -- if there even is one -- to this whole thread, Juan Cole is wrong about a lot of things. And yes, he's an asshole. But he at least understands who the real enemy is. His post made that pretty clear, even though his proposed solutions are dead wrong. Honestly, even he deserved better treatment than this demogogic, pot-shot of a fisking.

Posted by: at August 3, 2005 02:56 PM

I'm talking about the fact that religious minorities are rapidly vanishing in all Muslim dominated lands.

They certainly are rapidly vanishing in Iraq, since we invaded it.

I hear a number of Christians have fled Iraq. To Syria.

Posted by: kc at August 3, 2005 07:32 PM

Do you think any of that was done by the little girls and grandmothers that the airport screeners randomly check while they pass over real possible murderers?

Posted by: Woody at August 3, 2005 08:17 PM

Bill Herbert:

"Well, you thought wrong, None. I've been to churches in Bahrain, Jordan, and Dubai. I actually have visited a synagogue in Bahrain. Haven't visited any others (haven't really looked for them either), but I have it on good authority that they exist in quite a few of them, apart from the obvious exceptions of Sudan and KSA. And like I said, most Arabs and Muslims I have met don't think very highly of the Saudis or Sudanese."

But they seem to think quite a bit more highly of the Sudanese than the Israelis, despite the fact that Sudan has slaughtered 10s or 100s times as many innocent Muslims as Israel (not to mention hundreds of thousands of Christians). And I'm sure the Saudis have hardly any influence with their Muslim brethren, just because they happen to be in control of the world's largest supply of oil.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at August 3, 2005 10:21 PM

Islam is indeed the enemy. Listen to the terrorists; they state explicitly that they are motivated by the teachings of their religion. A terrorist is simply a sincere, serious Muslim practicing his religion as he has been taught.

Granted, the Quran has contradictory passages. It says, "Slay the infidels whereever you find them." and "We shall put terror into the hearts of all non-believers." It also says, "There is no compulsion in religion." There is no objective way to prove that one of these points of view is a "more valid" version of Islam than the other. Thus, the terrorist's claim that they are the "true Muslims" is every bit as valid as the claims of the so-called moderate Muslims.

Any ideology that breeds this many mass murderers is obviously hideously flawed and must be fought physically and ideologically. Nothing less will do, and you are kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

A recent Pew survey of 6 Muslim countries showed that 16.9% of the Muslims SUPPORT suicide bomb attacks against civilians. That represents nearly 90 MILLION Muslims in those six countries alone. And THIS is what Cole characterizes as "four men in Leeds"? Dangerous and foolish nonsense.

Posted by: Michael Smith at August 4, 2005 05:31 AM

KC: "They certainly are rapidly vanishing in Iraq, since we invaded it. I hear a number of Christians have fled Iraq. To Syria."

Well, according to Bill Herbert, the fundamental conflict has nothing to do with Muslims vs Christians/Jews/non-Muslims. It has nothing to do with Islam at all. So I really have no explanation as to why Christians should be fleeing Iraq. (nor why the Kurds blocked the Assyrian Christians from voting in the Jan election.)

Posted by: Caroline at August 4, 2005 06:33 AM

The width of the comment text entry section is so narrow, and wraps so far to the right that I mostly can't see what I'm typing. Otherwise I'd bother to leave a substantive comment.

Perhaps one of the internet gurus can explain why the right 2/3rds of the text box disappears? (I use the Firefox browser.

Posted by: Demosophist at August 4, 2005 06:36 AM

Maybe a few more than four men in a gym[n]?

Posted by: Slartibartfast at August 4, 2005 07:32 AM

Islam is indeed the enemy. Listen to the terrorists; they state explicitly that they are motivated by the teachings of their religion. A terrorist is simply a sincere, serious Muslim practicing his religion as he has been taught.

I could make the same argument about people like Eric Rudolph being every bit as legitimate a representative of Christianity as Billy Graham. There is, of course, a large difference in degree: guys like Rudolph certainly don't pose the same level of threat as Islamist terrorists, but neither represent a majority -- or even close to a majority, of their respective religions.

Despite your appalling ignorance of Muslims, you do have a valid point that there is no way to "prove" one interpretation of Islam being more valid than another. But you can say the same for Christianity or Judaism. The reality is that religion is what people choose to make of it.

Funny you should mention the latest Pew poll. As you note, a total of nearly 17 percent of the populations of these Muslim countries. That should alarm everyone, but to judge a religion by the views of 17 percent of its adherents is pure bigotry.

Something interesting I found in that poll is this: support for suicide bombings (and confidence in bin Laden) is highest in Jordan. But that same country ranks at the bottom of those surveyed when asked whether Islam plays -- or should play -- a greater role in political life. Support for terrorism can't be tied to religious piety, or even support for a greater political role for religion in society.

I'd also be interested to see the difference in support for terrorism between Christians and Muslims in Jordan (unfortunately, Pew appears to have only asked those questions of Muslim respondents).

But as I've said before, the most overt support for terrorism I've seen in Arab media actually comes from those aligned with the secular, Arab nationalists in the mold of Nasser. Some have argued those who support terrorism are a minority even among Islamists. I think the jury is still out on that one, but it is clear to me that they are a minority among Muslims as a whole.

Well, according to Bill Herbert, the fundamental conflict has nothing to do with Muslims vs Christians/Jews/non-Muslims. It has nothing to do with Islam at all.

Of course, I said nothing of the kind, Caroline. Either you still don't understand the point I was trying to make, or you have consciously chosen to distort it, seeing that as the only way to win the argument. Either way, I can see I was far too generous in responding to you as if you were interested in engaging in honest debate.

Posted by: Bill Herbert at August 4, 2005 11:44 AM

This is incredibly obtuse. Cole's point---obvious to anyone who isn't deliberately looking to mistake him for the sake of a talking point---is that we're not at war with terror, not that we're not at war at all. And of course he's quite correct in this; you can declare war on a country, but not a tactic, as was emphasized by a general a while back.

This lamentable piety of would-be serious thinkers, this insistence that "We're at war!" and the ridicule of any who would call our goal what it is, viz., law enforcement, has been a particular embarassment, although a cold comfort to liberals who were reminded that we really are smarter than conservatives.

My question is: What did Cole say that pissed you off so? He obviously got to you. But what he said was relatively uncontroversial, so I'm confused why it is that you're so mad.

Posted by: Tony the Pony at August 4, 2005 12:17 PM

Breathlessly stupid.

I wouldn't think it would take a Rhodes scholar to see that the intent of Cole's post is that our enemies in this struggle are small, independent cells of people ... rather than some bearded cabal sitting around some dark terrorist boardroom with little figurines of suicide bombers positioned where they plan to strike next.

The real question here is ... how can you fisk a post you don't understand in the first place?

Posted by: Captain Salty at August 4, 2005 03:12 PM

Bill Herbert : “Of course, I said nothing of the kind, Caroline. Either you still don't understand the point I was trying to make, or you have consciously chosen to distort it, seeing that as the only way to win the argument. Either way, I can see I was far too generous in responding to you as if you were interested in engaging in honest debate.”

My apologies Bill. I was, as you say “snarky” . But I can assure you if I wasn’t interested in honest debate I wouldn’t spend so much of my time following and posting comments at this site. In my defense, I suppose everyone can have a bad day. But you are right to call me on it , nonetheless.

“OK, Caroline, congrats for successfully refuting an argument I never made”

Bill – the reason I cited the declining numbers of Christians, Jews and other non-Muslim minorities in the ME is this: You responded to another poster who said “Until they lay the corner stone to the first Synagogue next to the First Baptist Church of Mecca we need to accept that while the West isn't at war with Islam, Islam is at war with the West.”, with the reply, “And it will certainly come as a surprise to someone like you, but most other Arab/Muslim countries do allow churches and synagogues on their territory. I've visited Christian churches in a number of Arab countries myself.”

The reason I cited the statistics about the declining non-Muslims in Muslim dominated countries was to suggest that perhaps the poster was in some sense correct. If one takes a macro view, it is difficult to deny that wherever there are a lot of Muslims, other religious minorities gradually disappear. If this fact has nothing to do with Islam, then what is the explanation? This is why I also had a snarky reply to KC’s post this morning about the flight of Christians from the new democracy of Iraq. (Snarky, for the reason that I take KC to be a leftist who would also be the sort of person to infer that Islam has nothing to do with this, although that is no doubt unfair to KC as I don’t know his or her total perspective on this.) I supported the war because I also thought that democracy would be a good thing. The first red flag went up for me when the Kurds blocked the Assyrians from voting. The 2nd red flag when I heard about the Christians (so few already) being driven out and the 3rd red flag with the recent news that Iraq may incorporate Sharia into the constitution. I knew very little about Islam when we first went into Iraq. I believed all the people who assured us that “Islam is a religion of peace.” I don’t believe that any more, both because of what I’ve learned about Islam since then and because of what I’ve seen every day in the headlines over the past few years, which confirms ‘on the ground’ so to speak, what I have learned about Islam.

“The Israeli-Palestine conflict predates the rise of Islamism by a couple of decades”

This was your response to my stating that Cole was in denial that the I/P conflict was part of the gobal jihad. If one only sees this about “Islamism” then your point would have merit. However, if this conflict implicates Islam itself, from a macro-historical POV, then yes – the I/P conflict can be most properly understood in the context of the global jihad, which itself predates the I/P conflict by hundreds and hundreds of years.

Bill Herbert: “But he is certainly right that this is more political than religious, and that religion is used as a pretext.”

I see the opposite – it is more religious than political and political grievances are used as a pretext for the global jihad. I derive that from the macro perspective – the history of Muhammad (revered as the most perfect man by Islam), the real-world consequences to all religious minorities that exist in Muslim-dominated societies or regions (e.g. Israel), as well as what the jihadis themselves say and how they back it up from Islam’s sacred texts.

None of this refutes your claim – that of course the majority of Muslims are wonderful, nonviolent people. But I would refute that argument (as a defense that this has nothing to do with Islam) by agreeing with you! And saying that the peace-loving Muslims are not particularly true to Islam. The jihadis are. The jihadis are the most faithful followers of the example of the very founder of the religion itself. Frankly, it doesn’t make any sense to me to claim that Islam is a great religion and in fact a religion of peace, and then to condemn its adherents who obviously follow the religion’s prophet most faithfully. This is hypocritical. I actually think most Muslims know this. But are trapped. They’re human beings after all. But yes – Islam is the problem. Please don’t assume from that that I think that most Muslims are the problem. Because I don’t.

Posted by: Caroline at August 4, 2005 06:33 PM

Tony the Pony: I'm confused why it is that you're so mad.

Who said I was mad? I thought what Cole said was silly. I'm not mad at him for it.

If he had not said the following I wouldn't have bothered responding at all: you don't actually need to pay the Pentagon $400 billion a year if that is the problem

You do need to "pay" the Pentagon quite a bit of money if you think this requires more than merely police action to stop handfuls of cells. You do agree that Afgahnistan needed to be invaded and occupied, yes? That's no job for cops.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 4, 2005 06:49 PM

Mikey boy, you just got your ass handed to you on a platter by the poor-man. I would expect you to respond, but you'll probably just post a bunch of pictures for your preschool audience. By the way, I was a lot closer to some of those atrocities than you have ever been, and let me tell you that you don't speak for me.

Posted by: jack at August 4, 2005 07:05 PM

> Pangolin, you're saying a nuke that murders 42,000 people is equivalent to accepting 42,000 deaths a year due to traffic accidents?

What?!

I haven't said that.

Regaring casualties this worst case hyphothetical scenario would maximally be the same than automobile accidents in a year in US. I said terrorists aren't much of a threat.

I really hope Iraq war goes well. I supported that heartily and when rheroric changed from WMD:s to Freedom! I just decided that US government are just lying sonofabitches.

War might still bring good concequences there and I'd like nothing better than have US as my ally. I just don't trust US anymore while I have been the one who has been defending US from those assholes who just think you are evil fuckers.

I still think you are better than rest of the civilized world, but if I were citizen, I'd take with grain of salt anything about terrorist "threat".

I said that poles took hundreds of times much more that. WTC was really nothing, someone said why should I compare to WW2? Lets compare to that 100,000 casualties Tsunami last December then.

WTC was nothing, london strikes were nothing.

If media makes you think otherwise, it is just what those who made the strikes want.

Posted by: Pangolin at August 4, 2005 08:05 PM

Terrorists aren't going to be pull off a strike like 9/11 again.

If there is suitcase nuclear bomb strike, it isn't terrorists, it's russians who want to hurt you. They don't slack with their most sophisticated weapons, believe me.

Those terrorists who might cause some damage in US on their own would have to rely on good old TNT and then be caught or killed on suicide strike after crossing an ocean for hatred of you.

Fools!

Posted by: Pangolin at August 4, 2005 08:16 PM

As an european, I read that 300 pages of what our constitution would have been. It had things like everyone should be guaranteed acceptable living standards and socialist stuff like that.

Then I recalled US constitution, elegant piece of work. Then I saw how molested US was now, it's not nearly as socialist as we are, but don't compromise on it. Again, if I was american, I would not vote on democrats or republicans, latter just follow FDR:s princibles which destroyed the old, ideal US.

I'd place my vote on constitutional party. I truly hate my current state, US could have been the pillar of freedom, miniscule government, no taxes, free enterprise.

But you fucked thing up!
http://www.sobran.com/tyranny.shtml

Posted by: Pangolin at August 4, 2005 08:56 PM

Articulation errors are just because I am dead drunk right now, sorry Michael.

Posted by: Pangolin at August 4, 2005 08:59 PM

And saying that the peace-loving Muslims are not particularly true to Islam. The jihadis are. The jihadis are the most faithful followers of the example of the very founder of the religion itself.

I find it interesting that you would make such a pronouncement, even after admitting that you knew very little about the religion before we invaded Iraq. And now you think you know better than the vast majority of Muslims (including clergy and scholars) what "true" Islam is?

It's probably pointless to respond to your reasoning here, and this thread is already long enough without rehashing the "dueling suras" debate from Islamic texts. But some could make the same arguments that Eric Rudolph is being more true to Christianity than I, or that the nut who shot up the bus with Israeli Arabs was being truer to his own religion than, say, Shimon Peres. That also would lead to simple restatements of positions ad nauseum.

But I would like to know on what you base your conclusion that most Muslims "know" that their own religion is the problem, but feel "trapped" by it. How many Muslims do you really know? Or is this solely based on the headlines you've read?

But from a practical standpoint, I just have to ask you, or any of the other commenters who think that "Islam" is the real enemy ... OK, so how do we win this war/struggle? Is it your aim to stamp out the religion? Do you foresee some sort of deterministic process by which the average, peaceful Muslim, eventually matures into the "true" Muslim jihadi, and then we have to engage him or her on the battlefield?

Or do you have fantasies about being able to reform the religion (but based on your definition of what is "true" Islam, how would that even be possible?) from the outside? Just what is it you want to see happen in the Middle East over the next generation or so?

My desired endgame is pretty simple: promote liberal democracy in these corrupt dictatorships, even at the short-term risk of Islamist electoral victories (preferably after we help them develop strong institutions of liberty that would limit what the nutcase could do, even if elected -- but that's a whole other issue). Once Muslims start to reap the benefits of freedom and governance that is accountable to the governed, the Islamists quickly lose their luster, and clerics who preach hate get no more of a following than, say, this asshole. And, of course, we have to continue to use both military and legal tactics along the way to capture or kill those already enlisted as jihadis. This strategy doesn't ignore religion, nor does it deny that the enemies are, indeed, Muslims. But it puts the focus where it belongs: on the dysfunctional political culture that breeds this extremism. More importantly, it empowers the Muslim masses, rather than treat them like hapless schmucks who are "trapped" in a religion they know is fatally flawed, but just can't do anything about it.

So that's my vision. What's yours? I'd really like to know, because frankly, you're scaring me. And I don't scare so easily.

Posted by: Bill Herbert at August 4, 2005 09:12 PM

Bill - if I'm scaring you I must assume that's because you imagine that my stating that Islam is the problem means I have genocidal tendencies or something. That is so insane I'm not even going to respond to it. I didn't say that Islam is the "enemy". I said it was the "problem". My statement that the jihadis are the true Muslims is based on the facts of Muhammad's life. He is the perfect man whom Muslims are to emulate. I assume you are aware that he mass murdered people, had people assassinated, robbed, took slaves and so on. Whatever it took to spread Islam. There are numerous critics and apostates from islam, including many current Muslims who make the same point, including the terrorists themselves. If you don't think that this poses a central problem to the religion itself I don't know what to say to you. This is a false religion I'm sorry to say. If you find it offensive for me to say that I am sorry. The fact that blasphemers and apostates are killed backs that up. I am an ex-Christian myself so it is not my intention to defend Christianity but Christians have a much stronger case to make that someone like Eric Rudolph is not anything like Jesus (and hence not a true Christian) than Muslims who claim that the terrorists are not anything like Muhammad and that their actions are unIslamic.

"Do you foresee some sort of deterministic process by which the average, peaceful Muslim, eventually matures into the "true" Muslim jihadi, and then we have to engage him or her on the battlefield?"

It appears to be quite common that formerly peaceful, rather secular Muslims suddenly "get religion" and become "devout" Muslims who become jihadis. But no, I don't see it as a deterministic process. I just anticipate that it will continue to happen on some regular basis, even among Muslims living in the west. No doubt there are many psychological factors - including a sense of alienation from western materialism and culture that are required to explain why this happens to some Muslims and not others.

"Or do you have fantasies about being able to reform the religion (but based on your definition of what is "true" Islam, how would that even be possible?) from the outside"

Of course I have hopes about the religion being reformed. Since there is no central authority in Islamm and since true reformers often wind up dead or in prison or running in fear for their lives, I don't know how this is going to happen. It may take a hundred years or longer for all I know. But if the religion slowly faded away under a rational assault of its foundations (that means Muhammad) I wouldn't shed a tear.

"My desired endgame is pretty simple: promote liberal democracy in these corrupt dictatorships, even at the short-term risk of Islamist electoral victories (preferably after we help them develop strong institutions of liberty that would limit what the nutcase could do, even if elected -- but that's a whole other issue). "

I supported the war in Iraq so obviously I agree with that goal. I am more worried than you are though about the risk of Islamic victories.
Mostly, though, besides what you recommend - I would set strict limits on Muslim immigration into the west, or else we are going to have a situation in which our involvement in the ME causes anger and resentment yet we have a large number of Muslims living here amongst us. If the short term effects of our intervention are islamist-type governments, then we are effectively allowing the expansion of Islam in both the east and the west (through immigration) simultaneously. That is a recipe for western suicide. I am not genocidal, as you seem to infer, but neither am I suicidal. If you don't see islam as being any problem, then you will not appreciate the need to restrict immigration while this whole game plays out. That is my reason for pointing out the problems with Islam itself.

"Once Muslims start to reap the benefits of freedom and governance that is accountable to the governed, the Islamists quickly lose their luster, and clerics who preach hate get no more of a following than, say, this asshole. "

I would like to think so, but then you need to explain the formation of jihadis (and the money raised for them) among Muslims living in or even raised in the west. Surely they have reaped the benfits of which you speak, yet still turn to radical Islam.

Posted by: Caroline at August 5, 2005 04:17 AM

Totten:

Ah, forgive me. One usually doesn't expect a fourteen-photo montage involving, you know, 9/11 without some emotion behind it. Perhaps you are the exception to the general rule.

As for Cole's "you don't actually need to pay the Pentagon" quote. Please, please, please, sit down and think hard. Dig deep. You need to try and understand this: The "war" on terror is only a metaphor. There's no country named "Terror" whose parliament can accept terms of surrender; there's no political entity named "Terror" that can be disbanded; there's no army of "Terror" that can be ultimately destroyed. "Terror" is a concept; the "war on terror" is equally conceptual and represents certain political objectives figuratively, not literally. The President has conceded this a few times, with the "you can't 'win' it, exactly" quote before the election and the recent name change to the "struggle against violent extremism."

Now, ready? You got that much down? Okay, take a deep breath (and your finger out of your nose) and let's proceed: The English language employs something called the "subjunctive mood," which is used with (this is important) eventualities that are conditional or contrapositive. It allows people to say things like "If I weren't so A, I would B." But notice that such a statement doesn't logically entail "I would B"; in fact, it suggests quite the opposite, that I won't B, and the reason for that is that I'm so A.

Good? That was a hard one! You should be proud of yourself. Let's continue: When Prof. Cole says (I'm paraphrasing out of laziness) "you wouldn't need an army if_you_were really at war with terror," that doesn't mean that you don't need an army. In fact, it suggests that you do need an army, but that the premise is faulty, and thus shows that you are not, in fact, at war with terror.

Compare this to your red herring, that we need more than cops to invade Afghanistan. Can you identify the logical problem? No? Well, all of your classmates have their hands up, so let's just get it out there: We actually were at war with the Afghan government. We had a foreign government we could defeat there, so we used our army and went to war and defeated them. Dig?

Okay, so you see my confusion? You don't actually have a disagreement with Juan Cole, as you've explained yourself. You just didn't understand the words that he's using, but we've fixed that now, so you can read him again and realize, Oh! What you thought was an offensive statement was merely his employment of a rhetorical device that he learned in the 9th grade and you didn't. But getting worked up enough to post a lot of pictures from September 11 (this New Yorker wishes you people would be a little more reluctant to employ our tragedy for your punchline) because of a rhetorical confusion seems a little overblown. Don't you agree? So although you insist you're not mad at Professor Cole, it really looks from the outside like you're pretty pissed. Care to offer another explanation?

Posted by: Tony the Pony at August 5, 2005 07:35 AM

Wow. You really are a little bit odd in the head. I'm sure the Janjaweed will be pleased to hear they have so much in common with the Beslan siege. In fact, I'm sure they'll be pleased to hear that the Beslan siege even took place.

Posted by: misterpc at August 5, 2005 02:22 PM

I thought you 'fisked' Cole, but all you did was post pictures. SO, any desire to actually take on his arguments or just sending on more scare pictures? I could find ya some ugly pictures of atrocities in Pakistan btw...or Saudi Arabia...big deal...proves nothing and doesn't remotely address Coles' arguments that the Bush administration has gotten itself and the US and Iraqi people into a real lousy tragic mess.

Posted by: jose at August 5, 2005 05:14 PM

Hi. I'd had a discussion with a person who works for NPR who was telling me how they'd like to go to Baghdad. This person mentioned Juan Cole as their singular source for insight on the Middle East.

My story is here.....

http://wigglyworld.blogspot.com/2005/08/conversation-with-npr-employee.html

Posted by: Vladimir at August 6, 2005 10:13 AM

This is why I also had a snarky reply to KC’s post this morning about the flight of Christians from the new democracy of Iraq. (Snarky, for the reason that I take KC to be a leftist who would also be the sort of person to infer that Islam has nothing to do with this

You'd be wrong, because I understand that the reason for the flight is that our invasion of Iraq unleashed radical Islamic elements in Iraq which are now quite free to terrorize women and Christians.

Btw, I take you to be a rightist who thinks the invasion of Iraq was a good thing 'cause now, you know, women can vote, even though they could vote before we invaded Iraq.

Posted by: kc at August 6, 2005 01:42 PM

KC: don't forget the rest of my comment which was: "although that is no doubt unfair to KC as I don’t know his or her total perspective on this.)

And now you've got me wrong. I'm not particularly partisan at all. I was never much interested in politics but considered myself a liberal and always voted a straight democratic ticket - until 2004. I might have given the impression I was a rightist by calling you a lefty but that is only because I vaguely recalled your comments at this site to be leftist in perpective. (As an aside, most lefties I know will brook no criticism of Islam whatsoever.)

Up the thread, I clearly said that I supported the war in Iraq (and that was for traditionally left of center reasons - humanitarian mainly) but my alarm bells have been going off ever since, starting with the elections themselves, when the Kurds blocked the Assyrians from voting. Even back then, in January, I stated on this blog that I didn't support the invasion of Iraq so that the newly freed Iraqis could turn around and suppress the Christian minorities. I also stated earlier in the thread that I knew very little about Islam back in March 2003 when we went in. I have learned a great deal since, which makes everything that has unfolded comprehensible.

In fact, I wonder if the great moderate Sistani - hasn't in fact been a master at taqiyyah. All his assurances that he endorsed the separation of 'church and state' and supported democracy. Now it appears that he wants Sharia law to form the foundation for the new constitution. I'd say we've been had.

Does that mean I regret us going into Iraq? Well, no - not exactly. It's quite interesting to reflect on the fact of what we have learned since going into Iraq in the past 2 years. Things that were heretofore secret and hidden and seldom discussed and yet occurring nonetheless, below the radar. (And we might ask ourselves whether these things would have come to light absent the beheadings, and the killing of aid workers, and the killing of Iraqi children and along with it all, a chance for everyone to oberve the western media coverage of the whole affair). The Iraq conflict has shined a spotlight on all these things, including: Islam! (first and foremost), the viablity of the idea of multiculturalism, the average westerner's awareness of the mass migration of Muslims into the west (one of the largest migrations in human history that was quietly occurring under the radar), the political left and what it is about, the state of western mass media, the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (which many people, myself included, now view as part of the larger global jihad), the state of western civilization itself and what it stands for, the role of the Catholic church in western civilization, especially the fallout from Vatican II, the implications of the ascendance of liberalism since the 1960's, the long-term implications of the west's dependency on oil, the state of our higher institutions of learning, the relationship between Europe and America since the end of the Cold War. Well - I could go on. Another parlor game. But it does seem to be the case that the Iraq war has galvanized all of these issues and brought them into focus for everyone in a way that might not have happened otherwise.

I don't mean to sound flip by suggesting that the loss of our soldiers in Iraq over the past few years makes these lessons worth the price. But it is a distinct possibility when you consider what is likely to unfold over the next 30 years in terms of the number of human lives likely to be lost in the west defending against the jihad and how the war in Iraq has forced us to confront so many assumptions that would otherwise never have been questioned, until it might well have been too late.

If Iraq turns into the satellite state of Iran that it appears poised to become, suffice it to say that Americans are unlikely to assume again that Islam and democracy are compatible at least in the foreseeable future. Americans will conclude that democracy is not the be all and end all solution and we are unlikely to venture out again to "build nations". But simultaneously, red flags will have been raised about the west's ability to successfully assimilate all the Muslims that have immigrated to our shores over the past 30 years. And if Iraq has served as a 'watershed moment' as it were, to seriously evaluate that question, if it has served to galvanize a debate regarding the basic assumptions of liberalism and multiculturalism that have been the unquestioned dogma of the west for 3 or 4 decades, then I am hard-pressed to regret my support for the war. I supported the war with the best of intentions - liberal intentions really, in the truest sense. Now I will seek the silver lining in the cloud, so to speak, and move on, as I hope we all will. Liberals and conservatives in the west are in most respects, completely indistinguishable. I predict that in the aftermath of Iraq, liberals and conservatives, Americans and Europeans, will find their common ground as it becomes increasingly apparent what the west is, in fact, really confronting - the reality of Islamic jihad. There was a brief respite for westerners in the past 75 years. Enough of a respite for so many of us to imagine that the 'end of history' had arrived. Unfortunately, no such luck.

P.S. Ridiculously long post. But on a dead thread, who really cares.:-)

Posted by: Caroline at August 6, 2005 03:32 PM

KC: "'cause now, you know, women can vote, even though they could vote before we invaded Iraq."

Whoops KC - missed that. But now feel compelled to correct you. No - they could not vote before we invaded Iraq. (Voting for Saddam doesn't count. Everyone voted for Saddam - a bad sign). But I'd be the first to admit that our intervention has (apparently) succeeded in replacing one kind of tyranny with another. I didn't expect that people who had lived with tyranny for so long would democratically choose another tyranny. But that appears to be what has happened.

Posted by: Caroline at August 6, 2005 03:46 PM

So we liberated women so they could vote for Chalabi or Allawi instead of Sodom. Wow!

Posted by: jose at August 6, 2005 08:56 PM

The Declaration of War argument is a red herring. War or Peace in the formal sense is a legal relationship like marriage. While declaring it does have some effect internationally, mostly by canceling existing treaties, the practical purpose is that it triggers a change in the governments domestic legal position. Under a state of law a series of actions and powers are triggered. The Congress has explicitly covered most of the territory concerned in the Patriot Act and the Auothorization to Use Force Resolution. The courts have already recognized the legality of current administration actions under those provisions. Most of those calling for a "Declaration of War" are unaware of what additional powers the government would aquire. They would probably be very unhappy with the results. In fact they probably are only throwing out this tendentious argument because they erroneously think that the power to issue a formal Declaration has been transferred to the United Nations

Posted by: Gotham City Veteran at August 7, 2005 06:42 AM
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