August 17, 2005

300 Bombs Explode in Bangladesh

Islamist terrorists prove once and for all that they are not primarily motivated by legitimate grievances against "Western imperialism" or any other such nonsense. It takes nothing, nothing at all, to whip these bastards into murderous rage against even their own fellow Muslims.

At least two people have been killed and 50 others injured in a series of small bomb blasts across Bangladesh.

Officials say more than 300 explosions took place simultaneously in 50 cities and towns across the country including the capital Dhaka.

An outlawed Islamic group, Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, says it carried out the attacks.

Police say that more than 50 people have been arrested in connection with the blasts.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia condemned the attacks as "cowardly".

"The attackers are enemies of the country, people, peace, humanity and democracy," she said.
I'm sorry to say I told you so, but I told you so.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 17, 2005 10:39 AM

Comments

I don't know about you, but I am pretty sure Israel had something to do with it. Somebody get Sy Hersh on the case.

Posted by: Mike#3or4 at August 17, 2005 10:56 AM

At this point that Pape guy exits stage left.

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 10:59 AM

See, this just proves that what we need to do is get our troops out of Iraq, and Israel out of Palestine, and that will put a stop to terrorism.

Posted by: TallDave at August 17, 2005 11:09 AM

Unfortunately, it prolly won't be "once and for all" -- but if not, it's idiots like Pape who won't change their view just because of inconvenient facts.

Thanks for noting them, and their relevance.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 17, 2005 11:17 AM

I didn't know these acts of terrorism were being committed in Iraq before the invasion of Iraq and the present US occupation of Iraq.

Posted by: royoiko at August 17, 2005 11:37 AM

royoiko,

9/11 was committed before "Iraq". Bet you didn't know that.

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 11:41 AM

yes, i did. i also know that the invasion of iraq by Bush Jr. had nothing to do with 911.

Posted by: royoiko at August 17, 2005 11:44 AM

i also know that the invasion of iraq by Bush Jr. had nothing to do with 911.

But everything to do wth preventing the next 9/11.

Posted by: TallDave at August 17, 2005 11:48 AM

royoiko,

but if terrorism was a constant before Iraq, then why do you cite Iraq as causation?

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 11:50 AM

oh yeah, i see, all the death and destruction in Iraq is helping prevent another 911. talk about wishful thinking.

Posted by: royoiko at August 17, 2005 11:54 AM

Actually, all the bodies in those mass graves lead me to believe a fair amount of terror was felt in Iraq pre-invasion.

I'm sure that was all because of the sanctions though, so rest assured royoiko, you can still blame it on the U.S. (and even a Bush, for that matter....)

Posted by: Mark Poling at August 17, 2005 11:56 AM

spaniard:

It's simple, really. All terrorism post-Iraqi-liberation are the fault of the Iraq war (and the elections, and the new freedoms, etc.). All terrorism pre-Iraq is the fault of... um... the Crusades or something.

Also, Don Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand 20 years ago means everything Saddam did is America's fault.

Posted by: TallDave at August 17, 2005 11:56 AM

all the death and destruction in Iraq is helping prevent another 911. talk about wishful thinking.

Wishful thinking?

Posted by: TallDave at August 17, 2005 11:59 AM

royoiko, personally I believe promoting democracy does make another 9/11 less likely, but I could be mistaken, or there might be a more efficient way of approaching the job. I'd be more than willing to listen to other risk-reduction strategies, because this one takes long term commitment and investment in blood and treasure.

Got an alternative?

Posted by: Mark Poling at August 17, 2005 12:00 PM

Nope.

Ask Cindy Sheehan. Get the U.S. out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and this wouldn't have happened.

And don't just ask her.

Ask David Duke, Justin Raimondo, Juan Cole, Robert Pape, Pat Buchanan, Ken Livingstone, and Michael Scheuer.

Just don't ask Michael Moore, because, according to him, there is no terrorist threat at all.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 17, 2005 12:01 PM

MJT: I'm sorry to say I told you so, but I told you so.

So who disagreed with you?

The point of jihadist terror is to effect regime change in MidEast nations, and to gain recruits among the politically disaffected. Pakistan, as I've said repeatedly, is probably the most dangerous nation in the region right now, as the nation, the military, the intelligence service, and the government are riddled with bin Laden fans. And five minutes after Musharraf is shot, they'll have nukes.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at August 17, 2005 12:04 PM

Actually, Pape did not argue that terrorism is "caused by" America, or the invasion or Iraq, or anything like that.

What Pape wrote was that suicide terrorists have as their goal to end an occupation by a democracy.

Do you see the difference between a goal and a cause, or between all terrorists and a subset of those terrorists?

Osama bin Laden and his ilk appear to be motivated by a combination of religious extremism and desire for political power. People like him will never give up, regardless of what the US does, because of their fanaticism.

Many people have noticed that bin Laden and other leaders of these movements never actually put themselves in harm's way. Instead, they recruit young men (and sometimes women) and send them off to die. I'm in the middle of Jessica Stern's Terror in the Name of God, in which she interviews a number of terrorist leaders who consider themselves too important to go off and die (they're fighting their wars through words and recruiting others and blah blah blah). She also interviews a number of recruits, usually confused young people who find meaning and identity through these groups. Most telling, she reports on a Hamas leader who describes the ideal suicide bomber as being a youth who has courage, but few other skills. Hamas doesn't waste its time training these people; they pressure them into attacking, strap a bomb to them, and send them off. They're canon fodder.

So, imagine for a moment that Pape was not in fact saying what your strawman said, but rather what he actually wrote: that most suicide bombers have as their goal an end of an occupation by a democracy. Perhaps bin Laden was able to recruit the September 11 hijackers with arguments about the US presence in Saudi Arabia. Perhaps Hamas would have more difficulty recruiting young people if there were no Israeli troops in Gaza or the West Bank.

There would always be, of course, bin Laden. But bin Laden doesn't risk his own neck. Instead, he sends canon fodder. What if he couldn't recruits so many, or hardly any at all? Would it be worth it then to at least pursue ways of mitigating the reasons why he is able to recruit? Would it be worth it to reconsider certain policies, including our presence in Iraq?

I know it seems counterproductive...how can we kill jihadis if we leave Iraq? But what if, by leaving Iraq, there were fewer jihadis in the first place? Fewer enough that it would make fighting those left even easier, or diminishing their numbers so much that their ability to threaten us would decrease sharply? Would it be worth it then to at least consider this?

Posted by: The Commenter at August 17, 2005 12:09 PM

What Pape wrote was that suicide terrorists have as their goal to end an occupation by a democracy.

I didnt' know Bangladesh was occupied by a democracy. I hope it is.

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 12:15 PM

Spaniard,

I asked:

Do you see the difference between...all terrorists and a subset of those terrorists?"

I just checked the BBC story to which Michael linked. The terrorist attacks do not appear to be suicide attacks, based on this article at least.

I guess your answer to that question is "no".

Posted by: The Commenter at August 17, 2005 12:20 PM

Would it be worth it then to at least pursue ways of mitigating the reasons why he is able to recruit? Would it be worth it to reconsider certain policies, including our presence in Iraq?

Sure. And if we want to totally end the threat, we can all convert his sect of Islam.

I was all for the idea. But I asked my girlfriend, and she said she is SO not wearing a burka just because us menfolk are too weak-willed to fight a few terrorists. So I guess that's out.

Seriously, it's a bad idea to start asking questions like "What can can we do to make the terrorists less angry at us?"

Posted by: TallDave at August 17, 2005 12:23 PM

Again, perhaps I didn't make myself entirely clear.

This has nothing to do with making terrorists less mad at us.

If we could stop doing something, at little cost to ourselves, that meant fewer people hated us and wanted to fly planes into our buildings, would it be worth doing?

Posted by: The Commenter at August 17, 2005 12:26 PM

To be absolutely clear: I was, and am, only talking about new recruits. That's why I kept talking about new recruits. Just like Pape, when he was talking about suicide terrorists, kept talking about suicide terrorists. I assume when he talked about suicide terrorists, he only meant suicide terrorists.

Posted by: The Commenter at August 17, 2005 12:28 PM

I guess they're trying for an Islamic coup?

Posted by: Patricia at August 17, 2005 12:30 PM

The terrorist attacks do not appear to be suicide attacks,

Commenter,

my answer is indeed 'no' because it's irrelevant to me whether a terrorist dies with his own bomb or not. The foiled London bombs weren't suiciders. The first attack on the twin towers weren't suiciders either.

Speaking of "occupied", I've made this point before, I'll make it again. A British-born muslim isn't setting off bombs because his country is "occupied."

Re "new recruits", all wars make new recruits. Yet even those wars have to be fought. Just like all wars kill innocent civilians, and still those wars have to be fought. I'm so tired of slapping down simplistic Leftist red herrings.

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 12:36 PM

If we could stop doing something, at little cost to ourselves, that meant fewer people hated us and wanted to fly planes into our buildings, would it be worth doing?

Of course it would. That's why we send billions in foreign aid to poor countries and make every effort to respect Islam and the Koran even as we fight Islamic terrorists.

But the thing that's really going to end new recruiting is freedom and democracy, not appeasement.

Posted by: TallDave at August 17, 2005 12:36 PM

So, Spaniard, why did you even bother to bring up Pape when he's clearly talking about something different from what you're saying?

Anyway, you're right, Britian isn't occupied by anyone. Then again, radical political Muslims aren't arguing that, either. They're arguing that Britain has troops in Iraq, and that they don't like it.

Anyone else want to play the Semantics Game?

Posted by: The Commenter at August 17, 2005 12:45 PM

Perhaps bin Laden was able to recruit the September 11 hijackers with arguments about the US presence in Saudi Arabia.

The US wasn't occupying Saudi Arabia. US troops were there at the request of the Saudi government.

If the US was occupying Saudi Arabia, then the US is also occupying Germany, Britain, Italy, South Korea - we have over 200,000 troops stationed in 144 countries and territories. We also have 20,000 sailors and Marines on Navy ships.

If we were to follow Pape's thesis, all of those troops would be capable of spontaneously generating suicide terrorism and all should be removed. What do you think would happen to South Korea then?

The main fault with Pape's thesis is that he assumes that the only way to deal with suicide terrorism is to run away from it. He sees it as an unstoppable weapon. Just the possibility of suicide terrorism is a pants-wetting event for Pape.

Suicide terrorism is just an update of earlier terrors, like the biplane bomber was in the 1930's. According to the Belmont Club
The destructive capacity ascribed to the biplane bombers of the day approached that later attributed to nuclear weapons during the Cold War and so terrified politicians that it fueled the policy of appeasement
We know now that this was the wrong reponse. We should deal with the tactic of suicide bombing by working to develop effective counterattacks. That's how you win a war. Appeasement is how you lose it.

Posted by: mary at August 17, 2005 12:46 PM

Commenter asks:

"If we could stop doing something, at little cost to ourselves, that meant fewer people hated us and wanted to fly planes into our buildings, would it be worth doing?"

Sure, if that thing exists, but what is that thing? It sounds like you are heading down an isolationist road to me. You mention the fact that our troops in Saudi Arabia provided recruiting fodder for Osama. Probably, but those troops were there to prevent Saddam from running roughshod over the region. Should we have simply allowed Hussein (or whoever has the least scruples when it comes to using ruthlessness to get their way) run free? Do we simply withdraw from the world in a Buchanan-esque manner?

Also, I think the distinction you are trying to apply to Pape's writing is irrelevant. I mean maybe it would matter if our only goal was stopping sucide bombers, but we really want to stop all bombers. It doesn't matter much to me if I am annihilated by a bomb strapped to a guy's chest or one that he left in a backpack before exiting the train.

Posted by: Paul at August 17, 2005 12:47 PM

"But what if, by leaving Iraq, there were fewer jihadis in the first place? Fewer enough that it would make fighting those left even easier, or diminishing their numbers so much that their ability to threaten us would decrease sharply?"

That's a nice "what if", but hardly less speculative than the Bush Doctrine, and if anything less well supported by the data. After all, Jihadi recruitment seemed to be going well prior to Iraq, and obviously prior to 9/11.

And of course, the linkage between Bangladesh and Iraq is crystal clear only in the minds of the people with an itch to blow people up.

One way, I suppose, to indirectly guesstimate if Jihadi fervor was incited by the War in Iraq would be to somehow get enrollment trends for foreigners in the madrasses of Pakistan prior to the recent expulsion. (This assumes some correlation, of course, between number of students enrolled and number of terrorists graduated. And yes, I know not every madrass student becomes a terrorist, but a lot of terrorist do seem to have treated the madrasses as finishing schools.)

Posted by: Mark Poling at August 17, 2005 12:50 PM

Mary, you wrote

"The main fault with Pape's thesis is that he assumes that the only way to deal with suicide terrorism is to run away from it."

Actually, no. What Pape wrote was: the majority of suicide terrorists have as their goal ending an occupation by a democracy.

This is descriptive, not prescriptive.

What he did was, and this is very simple, but he took lots of data from lots of suicide attacks, and looked for patterns. And then he described those patterns.

Pape's argument does have strategic implications, in that a large number of the terrorist "foot soldiers" fighting us in Iraq (and elsewhere) might not be doing so if we didn't have troops in Iraq.

I don't think Pape is advocating a withdrawal. Hell, I don't even advocate a withdrawal. But rather than deal with the data Pape has produced, you'd rather create a strawman and then reject the strawman. A lot of the discussion about Pape says more about you guys than it does about Pape.

Posted by: The Commenter at August 17, 2005 12:55 PM

So, Spaniard, why did you even bother to bring up Pape when he's clearly talking about something different from what you're saying?

Because Pape's distinction is illusory and irrelevant, as the foiled bombings in London illustrate. Pape's thesis is that suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective-- to compel western democracies to withdraw from muslim territory.

Who is occupying Bangladesh?

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 12:57 PM

Commenter: I don't think Pape is advocating a withdrawal.

Yes, he is. Read my article. Follow the link to Pat Buchanan's filthy magazine where Pape is interviewed. He wants us to withdraw from the region completey and "secure our interests in oil" from a distance.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 17, 2005 01:04 PM

Nobody is occupying Bangladesh.
The explains, according to Pape, why there were no suicide attacks.
It also helps explain why, according to reports, most of the bombs were filled with saw dust rather than nails.

Posted by: Scot at August 17, 2005 01:15 PM

Spaniard,

I'm confused as to why you keep asking these questions.

Pape very clearly focused only on suicide attacks, and drew his conclusions from that specific data set. Since the attacks in Bangladesh were not suicide attacks, they are outside his data set.

You understand this, right?

Posted by: The Commenter at August 17, 2005 01:26 PM

It also helps explain why, according to reports, most of the bombs were filled with saw dust rather than nails.

Proof that it's a religion of peace?

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 01:29 PM

You understand this, right?

I understand that it doesn't make a lick of difference, just like it didn't make a lick of difference that the attack on 9/11 used suiciders but the attack in '93 didn't. It's just a "tactic", remember?

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 01:33 PM

Commenter: Since the attacks in Bangladesh were not suicide attacks, they are outside his data set.

That's part of my critique of him. His data set is too small. Did you read my article?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 17, 2005 01:39 PM

Pape's article is a bunch of hooey. Suicide terror is a false category. How can you equate Tamil Tigers and the 9/11 hijackers? Because they both use suicide terror? How perfectly idiotic. Their objectives are completely unrelated. Pape arrived at his conclusion of appeasement a priori, and then went looking for statistical patterns to support it.

This is a perfect example of what Lee Harris talks about in his book. We can only explain Al Quaida's motives with respect to ourselves. If only we stop doing whatever it is they don't like, they'll leave us alone. This is like saying if we only do what the serial killer tells us to do, he'll let us go free. Lee put forth a different motive for Al Quaida - to create a heroic mythology for themselves that will allow them to live with their vast inferiority vis-a-vis the west.

The Tamil Tigers are a national liberation movement. Al Quaida is not. Al Quaida, like Nazi Germany, is based on a nutcase, metaphysical ideology which can never fulfill itself, and will therefore wreak death and destruction before it is finally hunted down and destroyed. You cannot appease it.

Posted by: MarkC at August 17, 2005 01:51 PM

I wouldn't say that Spaniard.
But the Bangladesh attacks do appear to suggest that either the bombers were highly incompetant in their efforts to kill their fellow countrymen (only two people died in 120 bombings) or that their intent was not to kill people (which does not fit the Al Qaeda m.o.)
My guess is that this is something of a copy-cat attack by homegrown terrorists with political agenda, who have been emboldened by world events and wish to show solidarity with similar movements in nearby Pakistan and beyond, without alienating too many people in Bangladesh, which is primarily Muslim and peaceful.

Posted by: Scot at August 17, 2005 02:01 PM

Actually, no. What Pape wrote was: the majority of suicide terrorists have as their goal ending an occupation by a democracy.

Surely that's wrong? What he actually studied was suicide bombings, not suicide terrorism, with the interesting but essentially misleading result that most such bombings were part of a war of occupation.

This is similar to studying the use of plastic explosive, finding out that most of it is used in quarries, and so concluding quarrying, not terrorism, is the real problem.

soru

Posted by: soru at August 17, 2005 04:05 PM

Scot: "My guess is that this is something of a copy-cat attack by homegrown terrorists with political agenda, who have been emboldened by world events and wish to show solidarity with similar movements in nearby Pakistan and beyond, without alienating too many people in Bangladesh, which is primarily Muslim and peaceful."

I think the situation in Bangladesh has been proceeding quietly under the radar for quite some time. I'm no expert on Bangladesh by any stretch (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night - har har. Yeah, OK, last time I'll use that joke I promise) but I did read some alarming articles at faithfreedom.org a while back (the site has apparently been down all day) and in the meantime I did find:

systematic persecution of religious minorities in Bangladesh and

the destruction of Buddhism and hinduism in Bangladesh

As a poster on a previous thread pointed out to me - a little googling can be a dangerous thing and it's a point well taken. But pardon me for pointing out that this appears to be a common pattern wherever large numbers of Muslims congregate. Whenever people point out that X and X country is "largely Muslim and peaceful" - say, e.g. Turkey (98% Muslim if I recall) - pardon me if I laugh. Of course it's "largely" peaceful if the vast majority are Muslims. Islam means "peace" afterall (heh) - just don't inquire about how the place GOT TO BE majority Muslim or how peaceful things are for that shrinking minority of non-Muslims surrounded by the majority.

This is what bothers me so much about Pape. The global jihad marches relentlessly onwards and has for centuries. As others have pointed about, who the hell gives a crap about SUICIDE terrorism? The only thing that distinguishes suicide terrorism from other forms of aggression against infidels in the global jihad (including 'infidel' Muslims deemed insufficiently Islamic) is that the homicidal maniac also goes up in smoke. Good. More of these murderers ought to have the common decency to eliminate themselves. But what does that have to do with anything? Does Pape want to claim that the global Islamic jihad is strictly and everywhere manifested in response to occupation by democracies? Cause obviously it isn't. This has been going on for 1300 years. There were no liberal democracies until a short time ago. So if that's not the cause of the global Islamic jihad - what does the perpetrator's death have to do with the price of eggs in China? I don't get it.

Posted by: Caroline at August 17, 2005 04:33 PM

Caroline,

I mostly agree. But do try to remember that Muslims were attacked today, and they aren't happy about it. The jihad is directed against them, too. Where "large numbers of Muslims congregate," as you put it, only a minority of them are jihadis. The rest are potential or actual victims, and that means they are potential or actual friends and allies of ours.

If these sort of attacks keep up long enough we may find that the places where "large numbers of Muslims congregate" are more pro-American than places where large numbers of Westerners congregate. Laugh if you want, but there's nothing quite like being terrorized by Islamists to make people re-think anti-Americanism.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 17, 2005 05:05 PM

MJT: Where "large numbers of Muslims congregate," as you put it, only a minority of them are jihadis. The rest are potential or actual victims, and that means they are potential or actual friends and allies of ours.

Michael - you persist in thinking that a small number of Muslims are jihadis. If that is the case, then how do you explain from an historical and geographical perspective, that there ARE so many places where large numbers of Muslims congregate?

It's really that simple. Think about it. I know that we live in the 21st century and that it is incredibly difficult to step back and view ourselves as so insignificant, as though we've stepped BEYOND history in a sense, because we're so incredibly sophisticated and because of all the particularities that make up our individual stories - our incredible capacity to write everything down and tell our stories about the nice people we meet along the way and so on, but if you simply take the bird's eye view of things, from the point of view of our complete and utter individual lack of significance in the face of thoussands of years of human history - then you will be forced to recognize that there is a global jihad against non-Muslims. The fact that some Muslims are incidental casualties along the way does not alter that central fact. Those imperfect Muslims may make temporary alliances with infidels but I don't think you can possibly entertain the idea that they have any intention of resisting the global jihad the way infidels would be motivated to do. Because if that were the case - if they thought like you do - then the global jihad couldn't possibly have converted so many people to Islam across the globe and over the centuries and still be continuing today at such a ferocious pace.

Posted by: Caroline at August 17, 2005 05:34 PM

MJT,
You say that only a small number of Muslims are jihadis. That is true, but that ignores the fact that a significant minority of Muslims support/agree with that small number of jihadists.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at August 17, 2005 05:42 PM

Okay, this just about makes me want to cry...

Go to cnn.com and try to find information on this. It isn't even on their main page.

Go to nytimes.com and do the same. All you'll find is a small headline under the international section with the words "dozens of small bombs" in it.

No need to devote any attention to this, I guess. The leaflets found at all the blast scenes read, "There should not be any other laws except Allah's...it's a pity that Allah's rules are not implemented," but that's got nothing to do with America, right?

WILL WE NEVER FUCKING LEARN?!

Posted by: Grant McEntire at August 17, 2005 05:49 PM

And what is it here with people always trying to turn every subject into a polemic on the merits of Islam?! Seriously!

Who the hell cares. This isn't a fucking holy war we're trying to fight. It's a war against totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is the enemy. Islam is just the excuse. And you know what? Even if a majority of Muslims do ideologically agree with the enemy, I very much doubt they like being terrorized and blown up on a daily basis.

Most the arguments you guys get into here make me want to pull my hair out. Liberalism is under assult. Religious fundamentalism is the culprit. It's not that goddamned complicated.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at August 17, 2005 06:01 PM

but that's got nothing to do with America, right?

ah, no, it doesn't have anything to do with America.

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 06:02 PM

Hi Michael,

Ok so slowly repeat after me:

They are not angry, they are not mad (in an emotional sense), they are not in a rage.

Repeat over and over please....

People who pursue bombings like this believe that they are following a superior philosophy. They need to be dealt with generally the way you want to deal with them, but its not emotional (for them).

People who ask "Why are they mad at us or others?" are asking an irrelevant question.

Repeat again. They are not mad, they are not angry, they are not in a rage.

James Becker

Posted by: James at August 17, 2005 06:07 PM

Liberalism is under assult.

Then start acting like it.

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 06:08 PM

exhelodrvr: "You say that only a small number of Muslims are jihadis. That is true, but that ignores the fact that a significant minority of Muslims support/agree with that small number of jihadists."

It is a basic miconception to separate out the 2. The passive Muslims are also jihadis. They're just not actively violent. But they believe in the goal of spreading Islam. Jihad is a fundamental Muslim tenet. SPREAD ISLAM. Sure, maybe only a few are actively violentat times but others convert people through Da'wa (using a whole lot of taqiyyah about what Islam is really about, and then see what happens to you when you figure it out and try to get out!), or by outpopulating the non-Muslims (demographic jihad, as is happening in Europe right now). Eventually, when their demographic numbers are sufficient, they will presumably use democratic elections to advance the jihad. But it is certainly fool-hardy to imagine that once the infidels are in the minority, a bunch of Muslims will come and lay their lives on the line to defend them against violence. Sorry, but it ain't gonna happen. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to do something like that. Didn't you see Hotel Rwanda? Remember how the main character's Hutu co-worker sold him out? Hell, half the non-Muslims in the world right now are already prepared to sell out the Jews. It's so easy to focus on every one of their transgressions while ignoring the larger picture of the jihad which is determined to wipe them out. No - there's not a whole lot of courage in the world, and if you expect that courage to come in the form of Muslims defending minority infidels against the jihad, then you're gonna get a rude awakening. It's simple human nature. I'm not even sure we can blame the Muslims. They know what they believe in after all. I am inclined to think that more of the blame should rest with ourselves and our own self-delusions and cowardice. Hell - this isn't even polite conversation. It's rude to discuss. That's how pathetic we are.

Posted by: Caroline at August 17, 2005 06:10 PM

It's got everything to do with America, Spaniard. The goal of the jihadists is to implement totalitarian Islamic law. Everywhere. In Bangladesh. In Boston.

Though I thought 9/11 made it perfectly clear, let me spell it out for you: We're on their hitlist, too.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at August 17, 2005 06:11 PM

Spaniard...

Fine. I'll do my best to convince my fellow liberals we're under assult. You do your best to convince your fellow conservatives that:

a) "Christianizing" them is not the answer.

and

b) Promoting democracy in alot of these places at the expense of liberal rights and freedoms is probably not the best idea.

...and we'll call it even.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at August 17, 2005 06:17 PM

It's got everything to do with America, Spaniard. The goal of the jihadists is to implement totalitarian Islamic law. Everywhere. In Bangladesh. In Boston.

you got no argument from me. Now go tell your buddies that.

But I'm not sure what you mean by "christianizing" them, though I bet that would actually help.

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 06:36 PM

Caroline: The passive Muslims are also jihadis.

Oh, please.

Is Omar at the "Iraq the Model" blog a jihadi? Give me a break!

Some liberals have a hard time knowing an enemy when they see one. Some conservatives have a hard time knowing a friend when they see one.

Christ, I don't know why I even bother sometimes.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 17, 2005 07:09 PM

I didn't know these acts of terrorism were being committed in Iraq before the invasion of Iraq and the present US occupation of Iraq.

Posted by royoiko at August 17, 2005 11:37 AM
************************************************
Well DUH! of COURSE not, that is where they had a training camp, complete with jet airliner to practice hijacking. We took that, and some other nice toys away from them, only natural they should be a little peeved that their sanctuary got invaded.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at August 17, 2005 07:25 PM

oh yeah, i see, all the death and destruction in Iraq is helping prevent another 911. talk about wishful thinking.

Posted by royoiko at August 17, 2005 11:54 AM
*************************************************
Removing sanctuaries and training facilities will not "prevent" terrorism, just makes it harder, instead of making it easier like some seem to want. Too bad your side is getting kicked around.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at August 17, 2005 07:27 PM

Every society produces its Carolines. Them that wish to generalize their enemy list in the broadest terms. Thats how you end up with people who feel solemnly justified in murdering innocents. Thats how so many of the worlds great outrages and tradgedies get committed. They're all guilty, them blacks, them jews, them muslims, them infidels etc. etc. And you wimps who try to separate them out, you are pathetic.

Profoundly revolting, in the deepest sense.

Posted by: Observer at August 17, 2005 07:31 PM

But what if, by leaving Iraq, there were fewer jihadis in the first place? Fewer enough that it would make fighting those left even easier, or diminishing their numbers so much that their ability to threaten us would decrease sharply? Would it be worth it then to at least consider this?

Posted by The Commenter at August 17, 2005 12:09 PM
*************************************************
They want all infidels out of the Waqf Al Andalus too, think we should accomadate them?

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at August 17, 2005 07:32 PM

Michael - of course the Fadhil brothers are not jihadis. And if we all put our heads together, no doubt we could collectively come up with another million names. But it's not enough. If Iraq descends into civil war, I will lend my support in any way I can to bringing them here - to the U.S. - some of the other Iraqi bloggers too, who have so courageously risked their lives in support of our efforts to bring liberal democracy to Iraq.

"Christ, I don't know why I even bother sometimes."

I know the feeling. But at least you get to come off as the good guy while I get to come off as a total piece of shit. What - you think I enjoy it?. You know you can show me the door anytime you like. And don't think I haven't been tempted to walk out of it voluntarily anyway and spare you the hassle, not because of you obviously, but because this whole fucking thing totally sucks and I cannot help myself from pointing out that there is a very strong possibility that Islam itself is the problem. And who the hell wants to honestly confront that possibility or deal with the hostile reactions of other people when the topic is even broached. Noone. Death by politeness. I predict that's how the west will go down in the end.

Posted by: Caroline at August 17, 2005 07:38 PM

You people haven't linked this to Bush yet?
C'mon!
It's like your heart isn't in it anymore.

Cue Capt. Kirk:
"RRRRROOOOOOOOOVE!!!!"

Posted by: Swede at August 17, 2005 07:44 PM

Never mind. After reading Observer's comment I'll just let myself out the fucking door.

Posted by: Caroline at August 17, 2005 07:54 PM

Michael, I think Caroline's point is there aren't enough Omars.

What is "beyond the pale" for a culture, I think, is important. Our culture puts things like driving over crosses labeled with dead soldiers' names beyond the pale, and I guess that's a good thing.

When Al Jezera et. al. (fer god's sake, the Beeb) start treating the "insurgents" who bomb Mosques as beyond the pale, I'll believe we're making progress. Until then, I think Caroline's doubts are healthy, all-in-all.

Posted by: Mark Poling at August 17, 2005 08:07 PM

And when did fundamentalist Islamists first murder Muslims who were not sufficiently "correct" in their interpretation or practice of Islam? According to the New York Times of yesterday, fundamentalist North African (Berber) Muslims sacked Medina Azahara in CE 1010 because Cordovan Islam was too "modern." Leif Ericson had just found America and in 450 or so years Columbus would re-find it. Over 300 years after that the United States became a nation. Maybe the radical Berbers were REALLY PRESCIENT and already hated what they knew would be a future "pro-Zionist" United States policy supported by a Christian Spain.

Posted by: Tom Roland at August 17, 2005 08:21 PM

Caroline: Michael - of course the Fadhil brothers are not jihadis. And if we all put our heads together, no doubt we could collectively come up with another million names. But it's not enough.

Like I've said before, go visit a Muslim country sometime. You'll find plenty of Omars and proto-Omars with ease, just as it was easy to find anti-Communists inside the Soviet Union. This is especially true in Kurdistan and Iran. I'll bet it's true today in Bangladesh, too.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 17, 2005 08:42 PM

They're just not actively violent. But they believe in the goal of spreading Islam.

Caroline,

but a jihadi is violent, that's the difference. And folks are welcome to try and spread their religion through peaceful means because it's a free country. It's the marketplace of ideas, remember? That's the American way (or at least until the ACLU decided to hijack the marketplace of ideas through the court system).

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 08:49 PM

Totten writes: "It takes nothing, nothing at all, to whip these bastards into murderous rage against even their own fellow Muslims."

Actually, it was a lot more than nothing. There was incitement, and I think we should feel encouraged by the nature of the incitement.

Bangladesh has been quietly turning into yet another inspiring textbook case of a mostly-muslim nation traversing the rocky territory from typical corrupt developing-country rule to something like reason, moderation and relatively secular government. Another 95%+ Islamic nation, Indonesia, has been doing much the same, if not quite as quietly (if anything, dangerously overstating its successes), and I take encouragement in this. The largest single mostly-muslim country is also one of the world's largest liberal democracies, even if it's not a liberal democracy that's functioning very well yet, one that may well stumble and backslide in its climb. It's the kind of good news that doesn't travel very fast, especially in America, where the average citizen probably isn't too sure of the difference between Indonesia and India, and who might read story Totten notes, and wonder if Bangledesh isn't somewhere in sub-Sahara Africa.

"Nothing at all"? To diehard ultraconservative Islamists, the ongoing liberalization and modernization of Bangladesh IS an incitement. 300 bombs going off almost simultaneously is, at best, proof only that somebody in Bangladesh is pretty well organized. It is NOT proof that this act will have much political traction with devout muslim Bangladeshis on the street, however. I predict that Bangladeshis -- even the more devout among them -- will react to it with revulsion, and that any aboveground radical Islamist political tendencies in Bangladesh will have trouble recovering full political standing no matter how many public denunciations of these attacks they issue.

As for how Pape's analysis applies to this incident: as others have already pointed out, it doesn't. This wasn't suicide bombing. It was hardly even a serious bombing (two killed out of 300 explosions, one of the hapless victims being a boy who picked up one of the tiny improvised devices, none of which had much firepower). Before you go off half-cocked with a "See? SEE? Pape is wrong!", make sure you you know what Pape actually said. For his theory of terrorism, he's saying something very specific. He's also drawing a distinct foreign policy conclusion from (1) his specific theory, and (2) the supposed desideratum of reducing America's profile as a target of suicidal terror. You can draw a different conclusion if you assume that absorbing the occasional suicidal terror attack is simply the price of what you regard as a more positive, engaged policy, without disagreeing at all with Pape's theory of suicide bombing. (That's an alternative position I might respect as courageous and principled, even if I think it might also fall down on practical grounds in specific political circumstances.) If you say "Pape is wrong because his reactionary, cynical, paleoconservative-leaning foreign policy recommendation is wrong," you're missing the excellent theory which forms only one of two bases for his policy conclusion.

Caroline writes: "The only thing that distinguishes suicide terrorism from other forms of aggression against infidels in the global jihad (including 'infidel' Muslims deemed insufficiently Islamic) is that the homicidal maniac also goes up in smoke. Good. More of these murderers ought to have the common decency to eliminate themselves."

Must beg to differ. We'd all be better off if suicide bomber terrorism ended -- except, of course, those behind the movements that rely on it so heavily.

There are at least two huge differences between bombing and living to see the smoke versus going up in your own smoke. One is the propaganda value for those who might sympathize with the cause. Who can doubt the sincerity of the "homicidal maniac"? (Actually, sometimes a meek young female college student who, until the minute of her death, seemed indistinguishable from any of their fellow students, as in the case of Palestinian who blew herself up in Christian Arab Israeli restaurant popular with Jewish Israelis, last year in Tel Aviv.)

The other point of propaganda value in suicide bombing is what might be called "group auto-demonization". If a seemingly normal person of another identifiable grouping could literally be the transport system for a bomb, you look at that kind of person quite differently -- especially if you are standing next to him or her. It's almost impossible not to. (I felt essentially no fear of Arabs until after 9/11, and it's taken me quite a while to get back to what I think of as normal.) Alien-human-as-bomb tends to decrease sympathy (if there is any in the first place) for the alien group, on the part of those who have been targeted. However, for the political groups who employ suicide bombing as a strategy, that decrease in sympathy works. After all, the more Israeli Jews who come to fear muslim Arabs, the worse for all Arabs in Israel, and the more Arab Israelis will feel that the Palestinian cause might be the more just one after all. Likewise, Tamils who might have lived peaceably in the southern areas of Sri Lanka will abreact (understandably) to phobic treatment of them by other Ceylonese citizens, might finally emigrate north, and/or might become Tamil nationalist/Marxist bomb-fodder themselves.

These Bangladesh bombings have been called "cowardly". That, they most definitely were. However, no suicide bomber is a coward. Depraved? Maniacal? Evil? Yeah, well, whatever. At some point, however, piling on the epithets transgresses reason, and when we transgress reason, we start to resemble what we most fear. Whatever you might think of suicide bombing, you have to admit: it still takes courage to do something like that. And convictions. And that courage and those convictions are going to inspire some admiration among those who might be predisposed to the cause, and will also inspire greater fear among those in the target group. To political movements using suicide bombers, these two reactions are of a piece, they work together synergistically toward the same political end.

If you can't work all this out for yourself, if you continue to respond phobically to it all, then ... well, guess what? You're part of the problem. You're part of the reaction that the terror sponsors have calculated works FOR their purposes. And why would you want to be led down THAT road?

Here's a little quiz question for you all. You're in a crowd of people in some Mideast nation. Too late to do anything about it, you see a teenager next to you open his jacket to reveal explosives packed into a vest and start to pull the cord that will send him up in smoke and turn everyone within yards around him (including you) into hamburger. Do you (1) frantically struggle to put as many other living human bodies between you and the explosion as you can, or do you (2) throw yourself on top of the suicide bomber in hopes of sparing as many innocent lives as you can, even it it vastly increases the chance that your body will account for about half the human hamburger?

I don't think it's given to everyone to realistically answer with #2. In the moment, who knows how God really divides us up? Maybe many who would honestly answer with #1 are really in category #2, and many who would boldly put themselves in category #2 are really answer #1 types. This is why my own answer is, "I couldn't honestly say."

But let's say your answer is #2. Or even that you THINK you might have it in you to react that way.

Now ask yourself this: are you really absolutely sure that if you'd grown up as that teenager had grown up, if you had been subjected to the same influences, that you yourself wouldn't be very susceptible to being recruited into wearing that very same explosive vest? Are you sure that your relatively greater willingness to sacrifice your own life couldn't have been perverted by the kinds of causes to which suicide bombers are recruited? If you are the kind of more-inherently altruistic person who would sacrifice his or her own life for the benefit of people you don't even know, what makes you so sure that your distinct, innate tendencies toward hatred couldn't also be stoked to make you suicidal bomb-fodder as well?

With questions like these, I'm with the truly Christian point of view. "Hate the sin, love the sinner." To which I might add, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." To take any other point of view is, I think, to choose other stances that ultimately dehumanize suicide bombers and those in sympathy with their chosen causes, and to make those choices in a way that actually works, politically, for the sponsors of the terror. And why would ANYONE want to go down THAT road?

Posted by: Truly Mindless Moron at August 17, 2005 09:32 PM

Now ask yourself this: are you really absolutely sure that if you'd grown up as that teenager had grown up, if you had been subjected to the same influences, that you yourself wouldn't be very susceptible to being recruited into wearing that very same explosive vest?

omg. This is parody, right? PLEASE tell me this is parody. Somebody, clue me in here before I go bananas.

Posted by: spaniard at August 17, 2005 10:05 PM

I knew Commenter would figure a way to blame it on the Jews.

Spaniard, it's beyond parody, especially the part where the guy describes suicide bombers as "altruistic". Then again, he did sign himself as "Truly Mindless Moron".

Posted by: Gary Rosen at August 18, 2005 12:26 AM

Spaniard,
You have already gone bananas, a long time ago.

Posted by: at August 18, 2005 12:32 AM

The only way you are going to convince some people that we cannot appease our way out of this would be to give in to the basic demands, i.e. Iraq, Afghanistan, Jews into the sea, which some people can somehow rationalize as reasonable, and then wait for the other shoes to drop. Especially when they demand something that is a cherished Left wing cause like: return East Timor to Indonesia.

Women's and Gay rights will not cut it unless they are referring to those rights in the USA - then you might get a little concern.

Posted by: Aaron at August 18, 2005 02:35 AM

TM Moron (really Commenter?) is at least correct in this: suicide killers are not cowards. Willingness to die for one's belief is usually the strongest evidence of conviction; and so many people have so many doubts about so many things that conviction, and sincerity, are prized and respected. (George Burns on acting: "If you can fake sincerity, you've got it made.")

Your nation-state; your religion; your Great Leader -- what is worth dying for? And there is a big difference between "risking death", like so many US torpedo planes at Midway (4 of 30 survivors in one group?) (or Luke Skywalkers' fellow rebels against the Death Star), and seeking death like the Japanese Kamikaze. There's a big difference in Christian oriented Western Civilization. But perhaps not so much in Japan; nor in Islam.

Michael, I'm pretty sure there were a LOT of S. Vietnamese type Omars, until the US left and let the N. Viet commies murder them. By the thousands and hundreds of thousands; and Pol Pot decided anybody who had ever talked to any foreigner might be one, so ... 2 million murders.

How many Tutsi "Omars" were there, before they were murdered?

Observer, you say: "Profoundly revolting, in the deepest sense." about, and against, good Americans who generalize. Implying you would be against demonizing the N. Vietnamese, and thereby fighting to win ... implying you support the US leaving, and the commies winning, and their genocide and their murders.

What's revolting is not looking more honestly at the likely alternative policies, and their likely outcomes.

(Caroline, don't go!)

Demonizing might well be unfair. But the question should be, does it increase or decrease the murders? (or just the deaths? Are 2 thousand soldiers fighting and dying less bad than 2 thousand unarmed civilians being murdered by the non-Christian local totalitarians?)

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 18, 2005 04:58 AM

Spaniard, You have already gone bananas, a long time ago.

Because you people have driven me bananas, and the truly mindless moron is perfect example. Moron, if that wasn't parody then you're f-ing nuts. I knew reading your post that after all the "terrorists aren't cowards" bit, we'd get to your real point-- we have to "understand" the terrorists. boo hoo hoo!!!! Moron.

In answer to your question, who gives a flying f-ck if I, or you, or joe blow would become a suicide bomber too if "subjected to the same influences". The day I get recruited to be a suicide bomber is the day I hope some rational warmonger puts six bullets in my head and puts me out of everybody's misery. If instead I get some blubbering panty waste Liberal like you trying to "understand me" I hope I'll have the good sense to give you a big fat hug of gratitude just before I pull the chord and make hamburger of both of you.

Posted by: spaniard at August 18, 2005 05:14 AM

So far, by people commenting on this blog, I've been accused of being an Iranian, of being Double Plus Ungood, I think of being the squirrel guy, and now TM Moron.

Who is he? I don't know! Is that him over there? He could be anywhere! Or anyone! The Commenter, Master of Disguise...

Posted by: The Commenter at August 18, 2005 05:35 AM

Hey, you know how it is: you all look alike...

(Except for the fuzzy-tailed guy...)

Posted by: Mark Poling at August 18, 2005 06:41 AM

It occurred to me that the reason the Bangladesh bombs were filled with dust is that they were a rehearsal for the real event. Where will the real event occur?

I agree somewhat with Caroline that large numbers of people are in sympathy with jihad, but I think the fervor has reached its crest. Reminded me of a story I heard: a WWII soldier tells of being friends with the Japanese shopkeepers in Manila before the war. One day the shopkeepers were chatting as normal; the next day they showed up in uniforms with rifles and bayonets to turn against their "friends." They were swept away by ideology.

If nothing else, this war brings out the jihadis' true nature. Jihad, or fighting for a divine emperor, sounds exciting on paper but gets awfully bloody once it begins. Winning in Iraq, and consensual government, will destroy the movement.

Posted by: Patricia at August 18, 2005 08:14 AM

If you are the kind of more-inherently altruistic person who would sacrifice his or her own life for the benefit of people you don't even know, what makes you so sure that your distinct, innate tendencies toward hatred couldn't also be stoked to make you suicidal bomb-fodder as well?

Do you remember where the phrase "going postal" came from? Middle-class losers would walk into an office fully armed, they'd murder a few of their unarmed co-workers and then they'd blow their own brains out. Some of these homicidal morons worked for the post office, so post office workers were forever tarred by the association.

Why didn't the Left join together to sing the praises of these brave martyrs? Why didn't Bill Maher tell us that they were more courageous than American soliders? Why aren't you telling us to respect, nay, love these sinners, because they're oh, so courageous.

Oh, now I remember. People who went postal weren't anti-Bush. They were pretty apolitical. But if they were anti-Bush, they would have been Leftist heroes. If flesh eating viruses were anti-Bush, they'd be Leftist heroes.

Islamist terrorists share a lot in common with the 'gone postal' type - they're middle class losers who hate themselves and want to die. Like the 'gone postal' types, they're not motivated by altruism, they're motivated by hate.

Here's a fun fact that might surprise you - all murderers are motivated by rage and hate. Homicide is not a form of altrusim.

If this fact surprises you, then I can understand why you call yourself a moron. But I can't figure out how you've reached the point where you can read and write. Is your nurse typing this out for you?

In any case, the only difference betwen the two groups is that the Islamists are trained and supported by millions of dollars in Saudi and Iranian oil money. These supporters are the weakest link in the terrorist chain, and they would be our easiest targets, if we were fighting terrrorism.

Posted by: mary at August 18, 2005 08:41 AM

I dont find your points convincing Mary. First off, hate for what you percieve as your enemy is not inconsistent with performing altruistic acts.

Perhaps the word altruism is used in different contexts. My own experience with the word comes from the world of sociobiology, and human and animal behavior. It refers to acts done for the benefit of others with no immediate benefit for the actor, or even negative consequences for the actor. The "others" - those who benefit, does not equate to "all mankind", or every other living creature. In fact, the overwhelming majority of cases of altruistic behavior are done for the benefit of ones genetic kin, ones family, or ones social group - ones tribe. Given that most of life is competitive, advancing the intersts of ones tribe is often to the detriment of other tribes, or other groups with which your group is competing.

Hate is a pretty broad category. The term is often used in our political discussions when referring to social deviants who hate broad groups of people, and do nasty things, or oppress them for what we observers would consider no good reason. But on an individual level, people have hate-feelings all the time, and many of those feelings are not surprising or remarkable. If you are a soldier, even an American soldier, out in the field, fighting a canny and viscous enemy, you might feel hatred to those enemies. Along with many other feelings. Nothing remarkable or wrong about that. It doesnt delegitamize the cause you are fighting for. Or legitimize it either.

The terrorist might feel hate, but to insist that that is all they are about is to underestimate ones enemy - and that is never a very smart thing to do. All of the evidence that we have makes it very clear, I think, that there is a hell of a lot more going on with these people then some simple blind hatred. They have what they see as a positive agenda. You cant go on and on about their ambitions regarding a global caliphate and the imposition of their sacred law, and then pretend that nothing motivates them except hate. That is absurd.

And also dangerous. The manner in which you concieve of your enemy is pretty determinate of how you will go about fighting them. An enemy that is defined in starkly simplistic terms, as a hater, pure and simple, leads to a strategy of simply killing as many of them as possible. What else can one do? How do you cure pure hatred?

Fortunatly, wiser heads, who try to "understand" the world they live in, can see pretty clearly the ideological and religous principles that are motivating the terrorist, and can thus address the real problem. People can learn and adopt new ideologies, and be set on a better course - happens all the time. We have hundreds of millions of people raised on a commie ideology in China who are now becoming our fiercest captialist competitors. We have millions of people in our own country who were raised to see the world in a racist paradigm who now have let that go and embraced real equality. The real battle is not over the binLadens of the world - the leaders - they should be simply eliminated. The real struggle is over the masses of people who could get sucked up in his worldview, or in ours. If you intend to kill those people, they and their kin will end up in his camp.

Based on experience, I better repeat that point. The terrorist leaders wont be persuaded - they need to be fought and killed. Their potential recruits however need to be our recruits. And some of them may be hating us right now, but that doesnt mean that hatred is what they are all about.

I dont know what comes first with you, or people who think like you. The sincere belief that the enemy are cartoon figure haters - with the strategy of kiling them all being deduced from that. Or a visceral urge to kill them all comes first and the definition of their motivation being trotted out as a justification.

(Maybe thats unfair to you personally Mary, one tends, in these discussions to address a general sense coming from a certain direction - I cant recall exactly what positions you have taken on all these issues).

Posted by: Observer at August 18, 2005 09:37 AM

... until the US left and let the N. Viet commies murder them. By the thousands and hundreds of thousands; and Pol Pot decided anybody who had ever talked to any foreigner might be one, so ... 2 million murders.

Where to start.
First of all, reports of mass killings in Vietnam after the war are simply not true. You are referring to Cambodia. Pol Pot was not Vietnamese, he was Cambodian.
They're all Commies right? Yes, and the Vietnamese were so tight with their Commie brother to the west, the first thing they did after the U.S. pullout was to invade Cambodia and go after the China-backed Pol Pot. And it wasn't for a pat on the back.
Also, Pol Pot's rise to power came largely as a result of Western colonialism and the mass recruits he gained after the U.S. bombing campaign in Cambodia.
And what about China, Vietnam's so-called Communist brothers to the north? They seized on the U.S. pullout and invaded Vietnam.
So much for the Red Horde.

My point is that this kind of "clumping" of disparate groups into one coordinated mass may sound sexy-scary. And it's good for getting people worked up, selling weapons and launching wars.
But it also leads to blindness, paranoia and ultimately failure.

Posted by: Scot at August 18, 2005 09:47 AM

Observer - you seem to be very angry with me for "underestimating" the altruistic goals of mass murderers.

Why don't you tell me how you think we can placate this enemy. Do you believe that terrorists are equivalent to American soldiers? Who are the bombers trying to help? What American policies make them so homicidal (in a perfectly altruistic way, of course)?

Posted by: mary at August 18, 2005 09:51 AM

The essential difference is not religion, but state tolerance of religious fascism. For instance, we routinely get ant-religious lyrics like this in popular music, mostly to yawns:

So Lord I see you grinnin
Must be grand always winnin
How proud are you being able
To gather faith from fable

Meanwhile, religious nuts in Iran issue fatwas calling for Salman Rushdie's murder. If a church anywhere in the West did that, they'd be charged with incitement to murder.

This is why freedom and democracy are so important: there are religious nuts in every faith. But a free and democratic gov't will tend to restrain them. Tyrannies like Saudi Arabia and Iraq tend to buy them off or use them against other states instead; in the case of the Taliban and Iran, the religious nuts are the gov't.

Posted by: TallDave at August 18, 2005 10:38 AM

The sincere belief that the enemy are cartoon figure haters

Is there some proof they aren't?

Jesus Christ, these people are sawing off heads and massacring civilians with the goal of creating a worldwide religious fasist regime. How much more evil do they have to be cartoonishly evil?

Posted by: TallDave at August 18, 2005 10:43 AM

Heavily waxed handlebar mustaches, TD. Also, it would help if they were of Scottish/Irish or German descent, and spoke with Appalachian accents.

Posted by: Mark Poling at August 18, 2005 10:59 AM

First of all, reports of mass killings in Vietnam after the war are simply not true.

Actually they are true. But the number of innocents genocided was rather modest for an atheistic Leftist government-- only 1.7 million.

http://www.vietpage.com/archive_news/politics/2002/Feb/15/0060.html

Posted by: spaniard at August 18, 2005 11:09 AM

Spaniard,
When I wrote the words "after the war" I was referring to the period of time after the war.
According to your link the number of people killed in Vietnam in that "after the war" period was "perhaps 95,000 dead".
Perhaps maybe. Perhaps not.
Most reasonable accounts put the number of dead in this period at around 10,000 which doesn't exactly qualify as genocide. Unless you conflate that number with the 2 million Cambodians killed by Vietnam's enemy, Pol Pot.
But why cook the statistics?

Posted by: Scot at August 18, 2005 11:46 AM

Jesus Christ, these people are sawing off heads and massacring civilians with the goal of creating a worldwide religious fasist regime. How much more evil do they have to be cartoonishly evil?

TallDave,
First off, I am not jesus christ.
Will there ever come a time when you become interested in having a grown up conversation, as opposed to just slinging propaganda jibes?

I was not discussing evil. I was not calling the representations of them as "cartoonishly evil", as opposed to real-live evil. I said that some people here were representing them as cartoonish in the sense of being single-dimensioned characters whose only motivation is pure hatred.

Even you seem to recognize that they have a goal - to create a worldwide religous order. Clearly they have other motivations beside hate. In fact, hate is clearly rather derivative. Like many people who passionatly desire some outcome, they hate those who stand in the way of its realization. They are not single-dimension haters. That doesnt make them any less evil.
Is this too complicated for you?

Posted by: Observer at August 18, 2005 11:59 AM

Spaniard,
How many non-combatant Vietnamese did the US kill?

Posted by: at August 18, 2005 12:03 PM

Scot,

my numbers are less cooked than your claim that stories of mass murder in Vietnam aren't true.

AFTER the war "only" 653,000 were genocided by the commies:

Vietnamese concentration camps, called "re-education camps," left perhaps 95,000 people dead. Deportations to "new economic zones" left some 48,000 people dead. The number of people simply rounded up and shot for whatever reason has been estimated at 100,000, with much higher estimates coming from various sources.
Perhaps the best way to gauge the true nature of the murderous peace in Vietnam is the vast number of people who, having tolerated decades of war, risked their lives to flee the unmitigated brutality of communist rule. The "boat people," refugees who attempted to escape by sea, numbered in the millions. An estimated 500,000 of these people drowned trying to escape.

I dare you to try to minimize that after all the bullcrap we've endured from the Left about innocent casualties in Iraq-- a TRIFLE in comparison.

Posted by: spaniard at August 18, 2005 12:06 PM

How many non-combatant Vietnamese did the US kill?

After the war? ZERO

Posted by: spaniard at August 18, 2005 12:11 PM

ZERO

duh.

How about during the war? Or does that not count? Killing innocent people is OK if it takes place place in the context of a larger political struggle. Oh wait, they were in a larger political struggle too. Maybe it just doesnt count if WE were doing it, eh?

Bottom line. Our little noble adventure there caused the death of two or three MILLION people who would not have died otherwise.

Posted by: at August 18, 2005 12:31 PM

and Scot, I wasn't trying to cook the numbers, or else I wouldn't have given you my link. I was just careless, like you were in your comment about no mass murder after the war.

Posted by: spaniard at August 18, 2005 12:47 PM

How about during the war? Or does that not count?

Actually, no. It doesn't count.

Posted by: spaniard at August 18, 2005 12:50 PM

Spaniard,
You are still missing my point.
By "cooked" I was referring to the conflation of Vietnamese killed by North Vietnam after the Vietnam War with the number of Cambodians killed by Pol Pot in the Cambodian civil war.
The number taken from this conflation is a statistic which is often cited by American conservatives as a consequence of the U.S. pullout.
However, as the U.S. was not in Cambodia (officially) it could not have stopped the slaughter of innocents at the hands of Pol Pot. So to blame the 2 million dead in the Killing Fields as a consequence of the U.S. withdrawl in southern Vietnam is simply misleading.
Mind you, this statitical conflation is a separate point from the number of after-war Vietnamese killed that you have cited (or plucked from the internet)which in itself is highly debatable.

Posted by: Scot at August 18, 2005 01:17 PM

About certain reactions to my recent post, Observer writes: "Perhaps the word altruism is used in different contexts. My own experience with the word comes from the world of sociobiology, and human and animal behavior. It refers to acts done for the benefit of others with no immediate benefit for the actor, or even negative consequences for the actor."

Even sharper, and more to the point:

"The "others" - those who benefit, does not equate to "all mankind", or every other living creature. In fact, the overwhelming majority of cases of altruistic behavior are done for the benefit of ones genetic kin, ones family, or ones social group - ones tribe. Given that most of life is competitive, advancing the intersts of ones tribe is often to the detriment of other tribes, or other groups with which your group is competing."

Observer gets the sense in which I was using the word altruistic EXACTLY RIGHT. Yow. My faith in the intelligence of human beings is starting to register a pulse again.

Hypothetical scenario: you're a PT boat captain in the Pacific theater. One day in the 1925, your CO gathers hundreds of PT boat captains you together and makes the following announcement.

"Our government has developed a secret bomb that can destroy entire cities. Unfortunately, their attempts to reduce its size to the point where it can be carried by a bomber aircraft have failed, sharply reducing the range of application and general efectiveness. We are falling back on our earlier plan -- to continue the regular firebombing of Japanese cities using convential incendiaries, while delivering this particular bomb by boat into the harbors of coastal cities, where we hope it will do at least a significant fraction of the job. The problem is, unfortunately, that if you undertake this mission, you won't make it back. Do I have any volunteers?"

[Historical note: this was a contingency that was actually planned out at one point in WW II.]

Did you mentally raise your hand? Well, congratulations -- you've got what it takes to be a suicide bomber terrorist.

You're devoted to your cause, you are certain that it's right, you're willing to take the lives of noncombatants not just incidentally ("collateral damage") but as the primary targets, and you're capable of facing the prospect of certain death. That's the kind of altruistic person you are.

There's no point in spluttering something about how WW II was a "just war", that the Japanese were in the wrong, they sneak-attacked Pearl Harbor, raped Nanjing, blah blah blah. None of the Japanese children that got roasted in napalm in the firebombings against Japan (of which the atomic bombings were only a natural continuation) were responsible for bombing Pearl Harbor or raping Nanjing. Terror bombing of Japan was the accepted warfighting policy at that point, and if it had turned out that the A-bombs could only have been delivered in a suicide mission, we'd be honoring the inevitable volunteers today, as heroes, for their altruism, for their willingness to snuff out their own young lives in the name of some greater good. But also, of course, for their willingness to snuff out other young lives, from those still in the womb on up to those just below Japanese Army draft age. Among other noncombatants. Many others, as it turned out. Hundreds of thousands of them in fact.

If you mentally raised you hand in answer to my trick question, you're not a monster. If you didn't, you're not necessarily a saint. Either way, you're just a human being.

Posted by: Truly Mindless Moron at August 18, 2005 01:46 PM

Heavily waxed handlebar mustaches, TD---MP

LOL. What a great image that would be on the newshour. Osama or some other of the assorted nutbars twirling the ends vacantly as he explained how all infidels must die.

Snidely Bin Laden, your time has come.

Posted by: dougf at August 18, 2005 02:20 PM

Mary, in a post dripping with hatred, writes of my viewpoint: "Here's a fun fact that might surprise you - all murderers are motivated by rage and hate. Homicide is not a form of altrusim."

If a kidnapper raped and mutilated my wife before my eyes, and I took several lethal gunshot wounds in the process of charging at him and wresting a gun away from him so that I could blow his brains out before I bled to death, my homicide (a defensible one, I think, in this case) would be motivated by rage and hatred -- but it would also have been made possible by altruism, in the particularly extreme form of a willingness to sacrifice even my own life for only the possibility of improving the lot of others with whom I sympathize. This feature is not available in all species, please note. Probably not found in scorpions, for example, who eat their own young when they're feeling a bit peckish.

"If this fact surprises you, then I can understand why you call yourself a moron."

If you are unable to see that the motivations involved are not mutually exclusive, pardon me for entertaining certain doubts about your own intelligence.

"But I can't figure out how you've reached the point where you can read and write. Is your nurse typing this out for you?"

Actually, I'm this old Marvel Comics character, Doctor Doom, and I have perfected an apparatus making it possible for me to force my minions to type telepathically-communicated messages into blog comment sections, after I've gained total control over their central nervous systems. Whether it was, in this particular case, my nurse, is a question I can only answer by telepathically commanding my system administrator to check the Doctor Doom MindServer log files; last I checked, the IP addresses are dynamically assigned. Was it my nurse? Let me get back to you on that one.

In the meantime, Mary, you might concern yourself with how to penetrate my citadel with a bomb, to be hand-detonated, by you, in front of me, after much witty repartee, ending with my laughing in a truly evil manner ("BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA--*blam*"). Of course, in the process, you'd be taking out quite a few of my citadel-staff mindslaves, all of whom were very nice people -- real medical doctors, in some cases -- before the tentacles of the Doctor Doom MindServer wormed their evil way into their cerebellums. C'est la guerre, the greater good, and all that.

Posted by: Truly Mindless Moron at August 18, 2005 02:24 PM

One commenter: "Perhaps bin Laden was able to recruit the September 11 hijackers with arguments about the US presence in Saudi Arabia."

Another: "The US wasn't occupying Saudi Arabia. US troops were there at the request of the Saudi government."

To a group convinced that the Saudi government is a corrupt, illegitimate government propped up only by American support for it, and more specifically, to a group convinced that the Saudi royal families adherence to an extreme form of Islam is competition with their own extreme form of Islam which they see as the rightful heir to the Muslim Holy land, the distinction would seem academic. Saudi princes stroll hand-in-hand with George W. Bush, while framing policy together. End of story, as far as they are concerned.

Really, I would have thought this would be obvious. But the quality of postings on this forum has me wondering just what IS obvious, anyway? Here's a little quiz for you all, to help me get a handle on that.

First, read the following sentence from the Pape interview.

"[S]uicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland."

Read it over several times. Commit it to memory as much as possible. OK, now answer the following question, WITHOUT looking at what you just read. Don't peek, now!

Question: "Which of the following answers is closest Pape's theory of suicide terrorism?"

Choose one of the following answers.

A. Suicide bombing is a tactic used by movements seeking to compel democracies to withdraw military forces from territories that the movements claim.

B. Terrorist bombing is caused by military forces in territories that are, um, ... what was the question again?

C. That's not the point!

D. I don't give a flying fistfuck at the moon whether it's suicide bomber terrorism or regular terrorist bombings because hairsplitting distinctions like these don't make any difference to my personal skin when it's getting raked by bomb shrapnel.

Please e-mail your answer to me personally. Thanks for taking the time.

Posted by: Truly Mindless Moron at August 18, 2005 02:48 PM

Commenter: I don't think Pape is advocating a withdrawal.

Totten: Yes, he is. Read my article. Follow the link to Pat Buchanan's filthy magazine where Pape is interviewed. He wants us to withdraw from the region completey and "secure our interests in oil" from a distance.

Me: NO HE DOESN'T. READ THE FRIGGIN' INTERVIEW ALREADY. Pape is actually opposed to a complete withdrawal from the region. (The word "distance" does not even appear in the article.) Pape thinks (and I suspect he's wrong) that having bases near the region (for easing logistics and making local petrostates feel safer), and having a large naval presence IN the region, could revive the "offshore balancing" formula that seemed to serve U.S. interests so well for decades. Here is the relevant passage, verbatim.

"For us, victory means not sacrificing any of our vital interests while also not having Americans vulnerable to suicide-terrorist attacks. In the case of the Persian Gulf, that means we should pursue a strategy that secures our interest in oil but does not encourage the rise of a new generation of suicide terrorists.

"In the 1970s and the 1980s, the United States secured its interest in oil without stationing a single combat soldier on the Arabian Peninsula. Instead, we formed an alliance with Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which we can now do again. We relied on numerous aircraft carriers off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and naval air power now is more effective not less. We also built numerous military bases so that we could move large numbers of ground forces to the region quickly if a crisis emerged.

"That strategy, called “offshore balancing,” worked splendidly against Saddam Hussein in 1990 and is again our best strategy to secure our interest in oil while preventing the rise of more suicide terrorists."

Now, you might tell us why this "offshore balancing" strategy wouldn't work now, or why it never really worked, merely bought us some time in a region that was headed south no matter what. Or you might argue that merely securing vital national interests is a morally bankrupt position in today's world, and tolerating some terror attacks for the duration is a reasonable price to pay for spreading liberal democracy so globally that the terrorists' causes no longer have any appeal -- i.e., your definition of "victory" is different from Pape's. Well, whatever.

But if you want to have a reasoned debate about Pape's arguments, misrepresenting his theory and his policy position is a really poor place to start. It leaves you open to being criticized as intellectually lazy, at best, and to being prone to intentional distortions, at worst.

Really. I wonder why I bother.

Posted by: Truly Mindless Moron at August 18, 2005 03:18 PM

The Commenter writes: "So far, by people commenting on this blog, I've been accused of being an Iranian, of being Double Plus Ungood, I think of being the squirrel guy, and now TM Moron."

I found that last comparison vaguely insulting, Commenter. I don't make nearly as many typographical errors as you do, for one thing. What could these people be thinking?

By the way, I left a message for you at your Commentariat e-mail address. No reply yet. Drop me a line.

Posted by: Mindless Moron AKA Doctor Doom at August 18, 2005 03:35 PM

"The Tamil Tigers are a national liberation movement. Al Quaida is not."

Actually, bin Laden has been quite clear that toppling the Saudi regime is his primary objective. He wouldn't mind getting the rest of the peninsula and Egypt in the bargain, and even establishing a New Caliphate (though it's unclear how many of these vaulting ambitions are simply internal propaganda for stirring his own base). However, there is no document I've run across suggesting that his ambitions extend beyond the muslim world. (Just plenty of clueless people repeating that theory, even after he himself went public last year saying if we just leave the muslim world alone, they'll leave US alone.) Would he like to extend the muslim world? Probably. Evangelical Christians want to extend the Christian world, nothing new (or unique) there.

You might ask, what does 9/11 have to do with these relatively limited al Qaeda ambitions? If they want Saudi Arabia, why attack us? Well, here we are, in Iraq. Where, as Pape points out, the non-Iraqi Jihadis flocking to the fray are primarily Saudi subjects. Thus his army builds, ever closer to the cherished, coveted homeland. 9/11 timing: perfect. 9/11 targeting perfect. Reaction by the U.S. to 9/11: as good as it gets for al Qaeda's strategy.

It's not time for them to go after Saudi Arabia, though -- that'll take either a mass uprising they can join and steer, or more liberal democracy there, exposing more soft white underbelly (you know, like freedom from indefinite detention, freedom of speech and assembly, fair trials, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, maybe even a nominally nonviolent party in the legislature, fronting for his violent movement, a la Sinn Fein -- in short, all those weaknesses that make liberal democracies such vulnerable targets for suicidal terror attacks?) The problem with going up against police states is that they are so well policed, after all. Better to wait, the way Saudi Arabia is now. Time is on their side anyway.

Doesn't it make you feel like your hatred is being ever-so-slightly used by the very enemy you hate so much? Well, no, it doesn't. Because you reject out of hand any reasonable premises that would suggest that you have been duped by al Qaeda into exactly the popular reaction that works for them. You think these people don't understand how liberal democracy works, including where it's weak? The relevant weakness being, in this case, that the Voice of the People, when those people are panicked and fearing for their lives, is usually the Voice of Average People with Little Attention Span, Education or Native Intelligence, Easily Manipulated by Opportunistic Politicians, Inexpert Media, and Flaming Demagogues. You think they don't understand that? They do. They aren't stupid. Though they might find it convenient for you to think so, at times.

Posted by: Mindless Moron AKA Doctor Doom at August 18, 2005 04:02 PM

mindless moron -

can you tell me why you use such a dismissive tone while commenting here?

I assume that you consider yourself to be more educated and intelligent than this assumed-to-be conservative crowd.

Fair enough. If you're smarter than us, prove it. Since you seem to think that you understand suicide bombers more than we do, you must have done extensive research on their history, the philosophy that motivates them, and their organizations.

Do you think suicide bombers are influenced more by their tendency to classify us as najis, or by Qutub's theories concerning jahiliyya? Which group has more influence over them, Hizb Al-Ikhwan, Hizb ut Tahrir or the Muwahhidun? Are they Unitarians, or are they financed by Unitarians?

All Islamist suicide bombers are motivated by their committment to Shariah laws. Can you tell me the difference between Hudud, Qisas and Ta'zir offenses? Which ones are divine?

I'm willing to bet that you can't answer these questions without looking stuff up, and I'll bet "expert" Pape couldn't either. Which means that your and his ideas about what motivates suicide bombers are based on projection and guesses, nothing more.

You've told me a lot about what would motivate you to blow up a bunch of schoolchildren, but you've told me nothing about your average Islamist suicide bomber. Hate isn't just the philosophy that motivates them, it's their law.

Posted by: mary at August 18, 2005 06:19 PM

Why should we give a crap what motivates suicide bombers. It's an exercise in intellectual masturbation, and Pape is the chief masturbator. It's your classic Lefty red herring rabbit trail.

If we find out "it's our fault", are we going to change for them? Of course not, that's ridiculous. If we decide to change our ways/policies, we'll do it for our own reasons, not theirs.

Similarly, if Liberals discover that supporting the social radical agenda here at home is losing them elections, are they going to ditch the gay lobby just to please conservative voters? Of course not. It's the same thing. You follow your principles and you see them through to the end. If we have to kill terrorists in the process then that's what we'll do.

That's what gets me about the whole "terrorists hate us because of Israel" red herring. Who cares? f-ck em. If we change our Israel policies we'll do it for our own reasons, not Osama's.

Posted by: spaniard at August 18, 2005 06:59 PM

mary writes: "can you tell me why you use such a dismissive tone while commenting here?"

THIS, from the person who asked ME if my nurse was typing my comments for me?

"You've told me nothing about your average Islamist suicide bomber."

Since I pretty much align with Pape's theory, the fact that a suicide bomber is Islamist isn't of much more relevance to me (from the point of view of trying to understand the phenomenon) than the bomber being a Marxist, or a Chechen nationalist for whom being a Muslim is secondary to being free of Russian dominance. (Caveat: Pape addresses how religious differences can make a difference -- see the original article.) The point for me is, they have a True Believer cause associated with turf that they feel is dominated by a power that, being a liberal democracy and not a police state, is that much more vulnerable to suicide bombing.

We can talk about whether Qutb's commentaries on the Koran are relevant -- commentaries that, curiously, seem to be an even greater inspiration for the studiously NON-violent Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, commentaries that writers like Paul Berman have quoted at some length but never persuasively tied to any endorsement of suicidal violence (most likely for the simple reason that Qutb never endorsed any such thing.) By all means, let's talk about that. But only AFTER you've demonstrated pretty solidly that Pape's theory of how almost ALL suicide bomber terrorism works is fundamentally flawed.

Until then, you might also explain to me why, if it's all about Islamism, and only Islamism, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, al-Zarqawi, can issue a manifesto openly declaring war on Shi'a Islam, and foment terrorist attacks against Shi'ites, with no protest of that statement emanating from al Qaeda Central? It's not just Islamists against peace-loving muslims -- now it's Islamist vs. Islamist. I assume it's because the al Qaeda goal is really political: Saudi Arabia state capture, with perhaps others to follow. And because, if a war within Islam (really, a renewal of an old religious war that split Islam in the first place) happens to work for that political goal, then al Qaeda is all for it. Even if it means fighting other Islamists the way they used to fight Marxists in Afghanistan. Whatever gets them there. And brewing chaos definitely is getting them there.

"You've told me a lot about what would motivate you to blow up a bunch of schoolchildren ...."

Actually, I've said only that I couldn't honestly say how I'd answer that question, if I were a PT boat captain in a meeting calling for volunteers to take a nuclear-armed boat into Hiroshima or Nagasaki harbor on a suicide mission. Again, you feel you have to distort my position, and apparently only because you can't tell me why my thinking is wrong.

"Hate isn't just the philosophy that motivates them, it's their law."

Hate isn't a philosophy, it's just an emotion. If it's their law, can you quote me chapter and verse, please? I suppose it's in the Koran somewhere, eh? (Probably in some section inspired by the Old Testament, itself full of incitements to hate thine enemy, IIRC.)

After all, the "law" of all total warfare is: hate thine enemy. If I were that hypothetical PT boat captain, and if I were full to the brim with the racist propaganda against "the Japs" being peddled to Americans during that war, hatred further stoked by having lost buddies in combat, my concern about nuking schools in Hiroshima or Nagasaki with classes in session might have been considerably eclipsed, even nonexistent. I might have come to regard even the enemy's children as subhuman creatures motivated only by hate, hate not just as their "philosophy," but as their "law."

If so, I'd hardly be thinking straight, would I? But that's war, and war is madness. A necessary madness at times, but madness all the same.

A few manage to stay above the madness -- Henry Stimson, among others, held out for some demonstration of the power of the atom bomb, not for its use against civilians. He has also been found, from recently declassified documents, to be have been rather scornful of and disappointed in the American public for condoning the firebombings of Japanese civilians (of which, as I've pointed out, the nuclear bombings were only an extension.) I suppose as a relatively intelligent and educated American, Stimson should have taken into account how powerful a dose of hate-speech propaganda against the Japanese had already been administered to Americans by the very government he served. Certain kinds of propaganda campaigns under certain conflict conditions can make vicious genocidal maniacs out of otherwise ordinary, relatively civilized people. [Scholarly reference to support this statement: much of the history of warfare in the 20th century.]

I'd like to think that if I were in the hypothetical PT boat about to nuke a Japanese city, I'd be off in a corner of the ship, praying for my own soul, the souls of my shipmates, AND the souls of the Japanese human beings I was about to send to the afterlife to be judged by their Creator as He saw fit. (That's assuming I'd even volunteer for such duty, and I'm not sure I would have.)

But I'm only human, and maybe I would have been cracking a bottle of champagne with my fellow sailors, and crowing about all the "Japs" we were about to ... well, to toast? (Heh. Pun not intended, it just came out that way.)

And maybe Mohammed Atta, in the cockpit of that airliner nearing the Twin Towers, took a toke off a proffered hash pipe, praised Allah, thought of the virgins waiting for him in Paradise, but ALSO consoled himself, as his heart pounded more fiercely and his palms sweated on the stick, that his death would be part of creating a better world. Did he screw a lot of prostitutes and drink a lot of booze in the months prior? I'm sure he did. Just as I'm sure a lot of U.S. GIs on the psychological track toward volunteering for suicide missions in WW II did much the same, even if they had been good, chaste, churchgoing teetotalers back home.

Posted by: Mindless Moron AKA Doctor Doom at August 18, 2005 07:21 PM

MM - Yes, lots of projection. You should do a film about your visions of evil warmongering propaganda-spewing Americans and the poor, poor Japanese who were victimized by yankee paranoia. Maybe you could end it with a typical American cowboy, riding the nuke that will ultimately destroy those poor, poor victims, screaming yee-ha.

Oh wait, that's been done.

So, you know zilch about Shariah and you get most of your info from CNN. No surprises there.

..and you don't follow links. If you'd read the article that Michael linked to about the bombings in Bangladesh, you'd have seen this paragraph:

Leaflets from the Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh have appeared at the site of some of the blasts.
"It is time to implement Islamic law in Bangladesh" and "Bush and Blair be warned and get out of Muslim countries", the leaflets say.

Shariah is the Islamic Sacred Law that they're talking about. These aren't religious text, they're the current laws that are applied everyday in nations Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria, and the Sudan.

All Islamist terrorists have the implementation of Shariah as their goal. That's what they're fighting and dying for.

The basics of the Shariah laws, which are on the books in Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, etc. are:

1. Offensive, military jihad against non-Muslims is a communal, religious obligation;
2. A person who is ignorant about Islamic legal opinion must follow the legal opinion of a scholar;
3. The penalty for a Muslim apostate (someone who no longer believes in or no longer follows the tenets of Islam) is death;
4. When slaughtering animals for food, a knife must be used to cut the windpipe and gullet;
5. A woman is only eligible to receive half the inheritance of a man;
6. Marriage may be forced on virgins by their father or father’s father;
7. A non-Arab man may not marry an Arab woman;
8. A woman must seek permission from her husband to leave the house;
9. A Muslim man cannot marry a woman who is a Zoroastrian, an idol worshipper, an apostate from Islam or a woman with one parent who is Jewish or Christian, with the other being Zoroastrian; a Muslim woman cannot marry anyone but a Muslim;
10. A free Muslim man may marry up to four women;
11. Retaliation is obligatory in most cases when someone is deliberately murdered except when a Muslim kills a non-Muslim, a Jew or a Christian kills a Muslim apostate or a father or mother kill their offspring;
12. Non-Muslim subjects (Ahl al-Dhimma) of a Muslim state are subject to a series of discriminatory laws – “dhimmitude”;
13. The penalty for fornication or sodomy is being stoned to death;
14. The penalty for an initial theft is amputation of the right hand. Subsequent thefts are penalized by further amputations of feet and hand;
15. A non-Muslim cannot testify against a Muslim in court; a person who is “without respectability” cannot give legal testimony; a woman’s legal testimony is only given half the legal weight of a man’s (and is only acceptable in cases involving property); to legally prove fornication or sodomy requires 4 male witnesses who actually saw the act;
16. The establishment and continuation of the Islamic Caliphate (by force, if necessary) is a communal obligation;
17. Sodomites and Lesbians must be killed;
18. Laughing too much is forbidden;
19. Musical instruments are unlawful;
20. Creating pictures of animate life is forbidden;
21. Female circumcision, which includes the excision of the clitoris, is obligatory;
22. Slavery is permitted;
23. People may be bribed to convert to Islam;
24. Beating a rebellious wife is permissible; and,
25. Lying is permissible in a time of war (or jihad).

These laws are the basis for an apartheid system of government. They are also the justification for the current genocide in the Sudan, and for the global jihad. If an organization promotes Sharia laws, (civil and hudud) they are an Islamist organization.

So, tell me, which force do you think is more dangerous to 'world peace'

1. a nuclear-armed America operating without the "restraint" provided by the international community

2. Islamist terrorists

Posted by: mary at August 18, 2005 08:02 PM

I just heard a deputy assistant Secretary of Defence speak, and do you know what he said?

He said that the more difficult task than simply killing terrorists was understanding their motivations, but that this was far more important than simply killing them. He said that we need to understand their political, religious, and philosophical motivations.

He later said that we must understand their ideologies, because if we do not we cannot counter their ideologies, and if we cannot counter their ideologies, we have no hope of undercutting the legitimacy they have in their societies, when their goal is perceived to be so important that it justifies the use of terrorism as a tactic.

When will the Department of Defense knock off this touchy-feely "we have to understand the terrorists" bullshit? When will the government of the United States of America stop appeasing terrorists?!?!?!?!

Posted by: The Commenter at August 19, 2005 10:10 AM

And Mary, are you suggesting that the US didn't use racist propaganda against the Japenese, or that no innocent people were victimized by American racism?

Posted by: The Commenter at August 19, 2005 10:24 AM

Commenter,

there's a difference between understanding terrorists for the purposes of defeating them or better killing them VS "understanding" terrorists for the purposes of indicting America (or Israel). Stop pretending Lefties aren't all about the latter.

Posted by: spaniard at August 19, 2005 11:47 AM

Stop pretending Lefties aren't all about the latter

I.e. Stop messin' with my little head or I'm gonna go bananas. They gave me this nice little script to believe and you're just confusing things.....

Posted by: at August 19, 2005 12:11 PM

the "script" comes from the Left itself:

"Let's mourn, let's grieve, and when it's appropriate let's examine our own contribution to the unsafe world we live in."

~~Michael Moore, just after 9/11

Posted by: spaniard at August 19, 2005 12:31 PM

"No one should doubt that hatred for the United States likewise draws, in some degree, on real-life terrible things that America has done to the Muslim world."

Paul Berman,
Terror and Liberalism

Posted by: Scot at August 19, 2005 02:10 PM

Mary writes of me: "You should do a film about your visions of evil warmongering propaganda-spewing Americans and the poor, poor Japanese who were victimized by yankee paranoia."

Hey, Mary, I already wrote that I might have volunteered to deliver a nuclear bomb on a suicide mission in Japan in WW II, if given the choice. Even if NOT brainwashed by the racist propaganda purveyed by my government at the time. Maybe it would have been the right thing to do, regardless of that propaganda. Believe it or not, Mary, I was not being facetious there. Maybe those A-bombs did help end the war, did help save lives in the end, did help bring about a better world, and if a suicide mission had been the only way to deliver those bombs ... well, Mary, tell me this: would YOU have volunteered under similar circumstances?

"So, you know zilch about Shariah and you get most of your info from CNN."

I actually don't watch CNN. Also, I do know slightly more than zilch about Shariah. I had long discussions with my Michael Phillips (quite the neo-con, always a Republican, and an ardent defender of Israel) while he was in Tokyo earlier this summer, and at my suggestion, he blogged about Shariah's prohibition against charging interest. You can find it here:

phillips.blogs.com/goc/2005/06/

Thanks for the long list of Shariah laws. As it turns out, the only one I hadn't heard about was the one prohibiting a muslim Arab from marrying a non-Arab. Could you find this one for me? I've looked pretty hard now. This, of course, is your only possible basis for asserting that Shariah is a recipe for anything like an apartheid-style state. As far as I know, Shariah is not race-specific about anything. But feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

I've also heard that clitoridectomy is dictated by Shariah. I don't believe this is the case however, and not very many people looking into that assertion believe it either:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/fem_cirm1.htm

Female genital mutilation is practiced in quite a few Christian African countries. Is it far from routine practice in Pakistan, a formal Shariah state:

http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics%3B102/1/153http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics%3B102/1/153

No form of female genital mutiliation is required under Sharia, as far as I can tell. The worst (if you want to call it that) is one cleric's expressed preference for "removal of the prepuce of the clitoris" AKA clitorodotomy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shariah#Circumcision

I'm not sure whether it was this particular Shariah cleric's intent, but there are fans even in the West for this practice, they consider themselves quite sexually avant-garde, they do NOT consider it FGM, and their reason for promoting the practice is that it's thought to improve the prospects of orgasm for women who have trouble reaching it.

www.geocities.com/hoodectomy/hoodectomy.html

If the above-cited cleric is hoping the clitorodotomy will keep his daughters from becoming sex maniacs, I guess he's got a surprise coming. (Or maybe he's one of those closet liberals found even among islamic legal scholars, like the ones in Bahrain (?) who wearily ruled that stoning a woman to death for adultery truly was, after all, the Koranic way, but that any conviction for adultery required four adult male eyewitnesses measuring at least one inch of vaginal penetration. There hasn't been an execution under this law, as far as I know. And as far as I know, there hadn't been any executions for breaking that law in a very long time anyway.)

Well, what a refreshing little foray we've had today, into yet another interesting aspect of Shariah law. Unfortunately, I had to do it all on my own -- Mary told me nothing about Shariah I didn't already know, and a couple of other things about it that appear to be wrong. About par, I'd say.

Posted by: Doctor Doom AKA Mindless Moron at August 19, 2005 02:45 PM

A probably-futile postscript: Mary will probably now accuse me of being a proponent of Shariah, given the above. To be utterly clear: Shariah, while not racist, is to me unacceptably sexist, unacceptable in its treatment of other religions, blah blah blah. I'm firmly in favor of a seperation between Church and State in any case -- if I thought I belonged to the perfect religion, I still wouldn't promote it as the basis of government.

Returning to somewhere near the original point: I know of nothing in Shariah that condones suicide bomber terrorism, or terrorism at all, or suicide at all (which, as in Christianity, is a sin in Islam.) Somehow, Mary's long list of laws didn't turn one any such requirement. And I have no doubt that a quick Google search would turn up more than a few Shariah clerics telling us all why it's not permitted under Shariah.

As for the relevance of Shariah to this discussion -- well, if the question is whether Pape is wrong, then you have to show how there's something specific to Shariah that promotes the use of suicide bombing, irrespective of the conditions Pape described for adoption of the practice. Why did suicide bombing as a strategy spread not from Middle East to Sri Lankan Tamils, but rather from Sri Lankan Tamils to the Middle East? If there's something Shariah-specific to suicide bomber terrorism, why didn't Shariah-adhering Islamists invent it first? Why did Tamil Marxists (who, as good Marxists, don't even believe in an afterlife, much less some prize bootie in the form of virgins in Paradise) first take up the practice routinely?

C'mon, kids, put yer thinkin' caps on! You can do it! I know you can!

Posted by: Doctor Doom wearies of your ilk at August 19, 2005 03:01 PM

"No one should doubt that hatred for the United States likewise draws, in some degree, on real-life terrible things that America has done to the Muslim world."

List them.

(here comes the obligatory "mossadeq")

Posted by: spaniard at August 19, 2005 03:38 PM

It would be presumptuous for me to speak for Berman. Perhaps you could venture a guess.

Posted by: Scot at August 19, 2005 04:11 PM

"As for the relevance of Shariah to this discussion -- well, if the question is whether Pape is wrong, then you have to show how there's something specific to Shariah that promotes the use of suicide bombing, irrespective of the conditions Pape described for adoption of the practice."

Truly Mindless Moron - please explain to me why we should care about suicide bombing per se - as Pape and obviously you yourself - appear to be so obsessed with, rather than the much larger issue that concerns us all - which is folks who are working very hard, in whatever their capacity, to spread Sharia law. Personally - I must admit - I don't care about "suicide bombing". Frankly, I woud rather go up in smoke than live my life under Sharia law. It's the ultimate aims to impose Islam and Sharia law and dhimmitude and everything that goes along with this complete totalitarian system aimed at subjugating us all that bothers me more than this one particular METHOD that the Islamists have adopted in recent times, namely suicide bombing, to work towards those larger aims. Again - it's the bombings in the service of beating everyone down and forcing them to capitulate to Islamic dominance that bother me - not "suicide bombing". Actually - to tell the truth - the suicide part is totally fine with me. Apparently you're into the psychology of these folks. If you could tell me how we could convince them to just commit suicide - on a fast track to heaven - I'd be more than happy. A whole lot of folks would be, I assure you.

Posted by: Caroline at August 19, 2005 04:34 PM

"No one should doubt that hatred for the United States likewise draws, in some degree, on real-life terrible things that America has done to the Muslim world."

To which Spaniard rejoins: "List them."

How about its long-standing support of the venal, corrupt, torturing Saudi regime, for starters?

And the U.S. didn't do the muslim world much of a favor when it sheltered and sponsored Saddam Hussein when he was a young Ba'athist would-be assassin in the 50s. (That episode hardly being the end of support he got from us over the years.)

Bin Laden claims, as partial inspiration for his obviously-false claims of higher moral ground, the distinctly cowardly practice of U.S. gunboats standing off from the Lebanese coast, and shelling civilian areas inland. (The consequent suicide bombing that killed about 200 Marines, prompting the withdrawal of U.S. ground forces from Lebanon, was described by Reagan as a "cowardly" attack, IIRC. Gee, what's more cowardly, pummeling small towns from a great distance, and pulling out when the kitchen gets a little hot? Or personally driving a truck right into an enemy compound on a suicide mission?) Not exactly our finest hour, morally.

Or take Afghanistan. Please! William Casey, as head of CIA, just lo-o-oved muslims, so much so that he commissioned a shipment of Korans to be smuggled through the Khyber Pass, the better to butter up the counter-Soviet insurgency. But after the Soviets were driven out, did we pick up our moral responsibility for helping Afghanistan get back on its feet and liberalize? Nope. And within a few short years, armed teenagers who couldn't even READ the Koran they were so illiterate were invading the offices of university professors, telling those professors to remove all books from their office shelves except the Koran, but also asking them (because they were illiterate) exactly which books those were. The movement in whose name they committed these crimes? It was called the Taliban, if memory serves. Wow, what a great favor we did Islam in that sorry chapter. (Didn't work out too well for ourselves, either, did it?)

I suggest these more as starting points for categories rather than as a comprehensive list.

Posted by: Doctor Doom at August 19, 2005 04:46 PM

Doctor Doom - weep on my friend. It is Islam that is the cause of the complete backwardness of the "Muslim" world. ISLAM. Ockham's razor and all that...

Posted by: Caroline at August 19, 2005 05:14 PM

The terrible things that America has done. Who kept the Arab middle East in a slave like system and kept the Arab community in a pre-industrial state while the rest of the world progressed? Turkey and the Ottoman empire. What country set up the series of minority led kingdoms that suppressed the minority populations/ The British, this was their standard system of keeping countries under their thumb, because the minority leaders knew they could not controll the majority populations. One could go on about the awfull Americans but why are they ignoring those Muslim leaders who regularly torture and imprison their Muslim brothers. And when these leaders are overthrown, like the shah, why are the Muslim governments that replace them worse then the regimes that they replace.

The Muslim warriors are not fighting for a more fair and just Muslim league of governments. They are fighting for a return to the 12th century. And many in the west are giving them intellectual support in their drive for a rejection of modernity by rationalizing the most ugly practices by aiding them in their illusion of victimhood. The fact that the centuries old Crusades are used on a regular basis to justify intentionally targetting women and children is absurd. My Roman Catholic ancestors were forced off their land in Ireland by religous laws and intentional stealing of land by the British but if I tried to use this fact to rationalize a suicide bomb attack on 10 Downing Street I would be considered a nutter. But when the crusades are brought up there is this sympathetic shaking of heads that seems to say "Yes, Spain should be a Muslim territory and Torquemada is a rational reasoning for todays violence." The Protocols of Zion are considered a historical document in vast regions of the Arab world and this is not considered a sign of a sick culture by many who are determined to remove all responsibility for the Jihadists.

America has made many terrible mistakes in it's middle east policy. But the "hatred of America" is being used by many Middle eastern leaders to deflect their own murderous actions. What did the Arab League do about Saddam and the Taliban? What are they doing about Sudan? Do they ever take responsibilty to police their own? Everything boils down to the Jews and America. The Arab treatment of the Palestinians is example number one. They have not lifted a finger to improve the standards in the refugee camps. There was no talk about a Palestinian state among arab leaders until they lost enough wars to Israel to quit that tactic and then they intentionally allowed generations of palestinians to rot in those camps because it is a cheap way to produce human weapons to attack Israel with. discus America's mistakes, that is great, we need to examine them so we will not repeat them. But quit using them as the cause of all problems in the Middle East, it is a bogus no fault intellectual dodge.

Posted by: kevinpeters at August 19, 2005 05:20 PM

I realise it's of no consequence, but I've posted a reply to this. In short I simply can't uderstand your intellectual narrowness on this issue. Why must all terrorist be the same? Why must Islamist terrorist be seen as an entirely homogenous group? Why does the existence of one reason disprove all others? Why does one (or even many, even most), attack unrelated to western interests disprove the possibility of others which are? Why must it be that nothing we could possibly do inflame terrorist sympathies, especially at the margin, further?

Posted by: Jeremy at August 19, 2005 05:21 PM

How about its long-standing support of the venal, corrupt, torturing Saudi regime, for starters?

slim pickins considering it only pisses them off because it gets in the way of their Caliphate.

And the U.S. didn't do the muslim world much of a favor when it sheltered and sponsored Saddam Hussein.

Now they're mad at us for toppling him? boo hoo hoo, cry me the proverbial river.

What else you got.

Posted by: spaniard at August 19, 2005 05:32 PM

Me: How about its long-standing support of the venal, corrupt, torturing Saudi regime, for starters?

Spainiard: slim pickins considering it only pisses them off because it gets in the way of their Caliphate.

Wow, that was a quick change of subject, wasn't it? What we were talking about is general muslim resentment of the U.S. for past sins, but suddenly spaniard thinks it's only the Jihadis we were talking about. A nice evasion of my point. In fact, most of the population of the largest muslim country in the world (Indonesia) despises the U.S. for its support of the Saudis, even as they get pissed off at their own government for tolerating corruption, rigged elections, and being a little soft on islamic terrorism.

Me: And the U.S. didn't do the muslim world much of a favor when it sheltered and sponsored Saddam Hussein.

Spaniard: Now they're mad at us for toppling him? boo hoo hoo, cry me the proverbial river.

Would that "they" include the overjoyed Muqtada al-Sadr whom Totten has recommended assassinating (but who continues to resent the U.S. for supporting the very regime that assassinated his father)? Or the Shi'ite majority in Iraq generally, whether liberal or Islamist? Yeah, they may be happy we got rid of Saddam, but their next order of business seems to be getting rid of us. They don't trust us. I don't blame them.

Spaniard: What else you got.

Since nothing from me will convince you, how about a sentiment from G.W. Bush that you'd probably be willing to take at face value. He said a few years back it was a mistake for the U.S to have supported all those despotic regimes for so many decades, just for access to oil. That impressed Totten so much that he was able to forgive and forget about Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam and inking a new military cooperation deal after Saddam gassed a Kurdish town. Was Bush acknowledging no sins whatsoever, in your view? Try making a little sense here, dude -- be consistent even within your own world view. (My assumption: you agree with Totten on this point. Forgive me if I've gotten you wrong.)

Posted by: Mindless Doctor Moron Doom at August 19, 2005 05:55 PM

Spaniard writes: "Why should we give a crap what motivates suicide bombers. It's an exercise in intellectual masturbation, and Pape is the chief masturbator. It's your classic Lefty red herring rabbit trail."

Yeah, damn straight! And it's made possible by the kind of unquestioning doctrinaire leftist rags that feature the works of this kind of masturbator. Lrags eftist like ... what was the one that Totten linked to?

Oh. "The American Conservative." Started by a former speechwriter for Richard Nixon.

Well, anyway, when Leftists say "understand", what they really mean is "offer therapy to." Right?

I've searched high and low on the web for a leftist saying that. The web is the vanity press of last resort for kooks, so that's the place to look. Didn't find it. So who was Karl Rove talking about? Liberals that he made up, in his own little mind.

Suicidal terrorism IS different, like it or not. Suicidal terrorism is harder to fight, inspires more fear of the group perpetrating it, and convinces more people on both sides of how strongly held the convictions of its perpetrators are. Almost anybody can make a bomb. Quite a few are capable of planting one and exiting the scene. It's a rare sort who can go up in their own explosion. The pyschological impact on both sides is dramatic. And it's the added pyschological impact that is very much the point of doing it that way.

Of course, if you're the sort of basically cowardly, and basically self-absorbed, person who fears only for his own skin and not for the souls of others, and who can't understand why suicidal terrorist motivations are qualitatively different and stronger than other kinds, then I suppose this distinction will always be lost on you. It's not lost on Pape, who realized that it's a new phenomenon, one that was made technologically possible decades before it actually became prevalent, who wanted to understand why it was different, and who actually studied the issue and figured something out. I think that's worthy of some respect. And I don't hold with the criticism that says "his data set was too small because he only looked at suicidal terrorism." That's like criticizing an astrophysicist for his conclusions about supernovae because he didn't also look at brown dwarf stars.

We SHOULD give a crap about motivations. If you don't know what makes your enemy tick, you're at disadvantage. This is an enemy that takes a licking and keeps on ticking, and there's more ticking going on all the time. Do you disagree with Pape's foreign policy conclusions? To be clear: I think I do too. He defines victory as ending suicide bombing attacks on the West while maintaining access to foreign oil. I don't think the military stance he recommends would be enough, these days, even with that definition of victory. And I don't think his stance is a moral stance -- I think it's just a pure Kissingerian realpolitik stance. But if you disagree with Pape's theory of how suicide bomber terrorism works, it's incumbent on you to say why, not just dismiss it as "masturbation." If you don't have the brains to do it, and keep on foisting off your know-nothing opinions on others anyway, guess who the REAL wanker is?

Posted by: Doctor Mindless Moron Doom at August 19, 2005 06:27 PM

Try making a little sense here, dude -- be consistent even within your own world view.

Doom,

I agree with Bush that it was a "mistake". I would agree with ALL OF YOU that it was a "mistake" to support what could only be considered "despotic" regimes, all of which are hellbent on distroying our only democratic ally in the middle east! That's why it was a mistake.

But whether or not it was the kind of "mistake" that animates current jihadism is an entirely different question. It's not.

Here's an example. It was a "mistake" to topple Mossadeq. I'll give you that freebie because I know he's a socialist darling to you Lefties. But that doesn't animate jihadis. In fact, the ayatollahs were doing all THEY could to topple him too! So no love lost for Mossadeq by the jihadis, get it? They couldn't give two shits about Mossadeq. See what I mean by "mistakes" that don't animate jihadis? It only animates you Lefties, and then you project that onto the jihadis and then you hallucinate that it has caused resentment among jihadis. It hasn't.

If supporting despotic governments (a relative term in the middle east) was so bad how come they hate America more than those very despotic regimes? How come they hate us for supporting Saddam, but now they're crying for his return? Answer this question now.

Gimme a f-ing break. You wanna know why they hate us? I'll tell you. Here's the teacher's edition answer. THEY HATE US BECAUSE WE SUPPORT SECULARIST DESPOTS, NOT ISLAMIC DESPOTS (THE CALIPHATE).

That's our "mistake". F-ck em.

Posted by: spaniard at August 19, 2005 06:58 PM

Yes, you have to examine their motivations. And you also have to decide whether their motivations are the sign of a rational mind. Do blindly accept their stated motivation as valid without examinig it is just as stupid as ignoring it. Their stated motivation is not just U.S. troops out of the middle east. It is also the elimination of Israel. The caliphate is their intention and it is not just for the middle east. France strongly fought against the Iraq war. When the attacks on Jews increased their government decide to ban all religous wear in public schools, of both Jews and Muslims. I thought it was a stupid solution but that is another argument.. But france was instructed that if they tried to implement it they would be bombed. This is what we are dealing with. You have Muslims in the U.K. who fled repressive Arab governments and were given shelter by the brits. They were allowed to practice their religion,something that some of them could not do in their countries of origin. they were allowed to become citizens. Some embraced the generous gift and thanked the British. Some took this gift as a sign of stupidity and decided to attack the people who saved them. One Imam publicly stated that if he found out about another 7-7 style attack he would not turn in his Muslim brothers and sisters. He had motivations. He is sick. He is dangerous. Milosevic was partially motivated by historical grievences. That didn't make them valid. And very few on the left went on about examining why he hated muslims. Very few tried this excuse to or rationalize his actions. Because his reasons were not acceptable. And neither were his goals. Maybe we had no right to interfere with his internal politics. Maybe we deserve Serbian reprisal for our arrogant interference. Think about the deaths of civilians that were caused. But that war was Kosher. We were loudly attacked for letting Rwanda happen. maybe we were right. What right did we have for getting involved in a sovereign countries internal politics.Think of the memories of european Imperliasm getting involved would bring to these Africans. Oh, that was genocide. I see. If you kill 800,000 in one month we should get involved. If you kill a million and a half over a decade then we don't. Makes sense

Posted by: kevinpeters at August 19, 2005 07:03 PM

DMMD: "Suicidal terrorism IS different, like it or not. Suicidal terrorism is harder to fight, inspires more fear of the group perpetrating it, and convinces more people on both sides of how strongly held the convictions of its perpetrators are. Almost anybody can make a bomb. Quite a few are capable of planting one and exiting the scene. It's a rare sort who can go up in their own explosion. The pyschological impact on both sides is dramatic. And it's the added pyschological impact that is very much the point of doing it that way."

"Suicidal terrorism is harder to fight"

How is it harder to fight than a random knapsack left lying somewhere with no human being attached? Actually, its not harder to fight if we would simply PROFILE.

"and convinces more people on both sides of how strongly held the convictions of its perpetrators are."

You say that like you think suicide bombers are entitled to some extra degree of moral respect or something. Quite the contrary my friend. I am aware that suicide bombers do what they do because they see themselves as martyrs - which means they imagine they have a fast track to heaven. What could be more disgusting and contemptible than that? Killing people cause you think you'll make it to the front of the line at the Big Gate? It is simply impossible for me to imagine a more selfish motive for murder than that. Those "convictions" of which you speak are unspeakably selfish and disgusting.

"It's a rare sort who can go up in their own explosion."

On the contrary, the one who goes up in their own explosion is a total coward. How would you like to be the one 5 yards away who survives the explosion but is blinded or has their arms blown off or loses their legs?

Where the hell are you coming from anyway Mindless Moron. What kind of sick f**ck are you?
Perhaps the kind of sick f**ck who would change their moniker every few minutes and wander off into bizarre soliloquies and then sign themselves off as Doctor Doom?

Posted by: Caroline at August 19, 2005 07:16 PM

Regarding the myth that saddam was created and set up by the Americans. saddam was a soviet client for most of his reign. According to the swedish Institute of Peace he recieved the bulk of his weapons from China, Russia, France and germany with about 2 to 4 percent from America.There was a brief period where we gave him limited aid during the Iraq, iran war when we were still smarting from the Iranian Hostage crisis. But to imply that he was our client is wrong.

Posted by: kevinpeters at August 19, 2005 08:20 PM

kevin,

oh but we MADE Saddam, and we MADE osama.

Leftist claptrap.

Posted by: spaniard at August 19, 2005 08:35 PM

Spaniard:

Of course, America is the root of all evil, and we are controlled by our puppetmasters, the Jooooooos!

Posted by: kevinpeters at August 19, 2005 09:01 PM

Me: "Suicidal terrorism is harder to fight"

Caroline: "How is it harder to fight than a random knapsack left lying somewhere with no human being attached? Actually, its not harder to fight if we would simply PROFILE."

A random knapsack attracts suspicion, increasingly. I tend to keep my distance from apparently-abandoned luggage, while on travel. Also, if you see someone leaving their napsack on the train, you don't run after them to give it to them? (Well, I do, anyway.) It's hardly a foolproof method of delivery, if the bomber aims to get away.

Profiling isn't the answer. Muslims come in all shades, al Qaeda itself is quite the Rainbow Coalition, and if profiling is instituted widely, not only will the terrorists just start recruiting from other minority groups that don't look "Middle Eastern" (Chechens don't, to me; nor do Balkan muslims, who I think of as "white", nor do Nigerian muslims). And in the meantime, sympathy for the terrorists will be stoked by the resentment of the minority groups profiled.

Me: "and convinces more people on both sides of how strongly held the convictions of its perpetrators are."

Caroline: "You say that like you think suicide bombers are entitled to some extra degree of moral respect or something."

No, I say it as a simple fact. Just as I say that suicide bombing is altruistic, in the technical sense of the word. Because it is, in the technical sense of the word. It's self-sacrifice for supposed group benefit.

Caroline: "Quite the contrary my friend. I am aware that suicide bombers do what they do because they see themselves as martyrs - which means they imagine they have a fast track to heaven."

If they've been brainwashed to think so by some perverse brand of islam, certainly so. It doesn't explain the Tamil Tiger suicide bombers, who, as good Marxists, are taught that religion is the opiate of the people. There may be an added degree of attraction to the practice on the basis of faith in an afterlife, but the fact remains: they are doing something requiring facing their natural fear of death, in the service of what must be a good cause (in their view); after all, Allah rewards it so richly, doesn't he? Clearly, belief you'll be bedding virgins the next moment is not a necessary condition, given that the largest single grouping of suicide bombings in the world so far have been perpetrated by people who are ideologically atheists.

Caroline: "What could be more disgusting and contemptible than that?"

How about blowing up the same number of innocent people from a safe distance, while thinking that you've done something God approves of? No shortage of that, and some of it has been perpetrated by Americans against "Godless Reds", "Heathen Japs", and in the slightly-exceptional case of the bombing of Cambodia, "Buddhist gooks".

Caroline: "Killing people cause you think you'll make it to the front of the line at the Big Gate? It is simply impossible for me to imagine a more selfish motive for murder than that."

Possibly so, but to varying degrees, it's been a practice associated with every nation that has ever sent volunteers on suicide missions "for God and country." And that's been quite a few of them.

Caroline: "Those "convictions" of which you speak are unspeakably selfish and disgusting."

The people who brainwash poor (and in one notable case feeble-minded) Palestinian teenage boys who have been made to feel that they are such losers they feel they'll never get laid except in heaven, and send them into Israel with explosives-packed vests -- yes, THEY are unspeakably disgusting, I'll grant you that. Perhaps selfish too. Those kids, though, are just part of the victim list when you get right down to it. Nobody should do that to another human being. Especially someone too young to make their own decisions.

The fact is, however, if we had sent a PT boat into Hiroshima or Nagasaki harbor on a suicide mission to incinerate what were mostly noncombatant Japanese, and the young ship's captain had left behind a note saying that he felt his Christian God would be on his side, every step of the way, for his part in defeating that evil, heathen Japanese empire, he'd be regarded as a wonderfully self-sacrificing hero to people like George W. Bush. The fact of it being a self-sacrifice would probably even have muted later criticism of the act by the Japanese. ("See? He was just like us -- willing to die in a cause he fervently believed in! Entirely separate issue from whether the cause had merit, of course ....")

Me: "It's a rare sort who can go up in their own explosion."

Caroline: "On the contrary, the one who goes up in their own explosion is a total coward. How would you like to be the one 5 yards away who survives the explosion but is blinded or has their arms blown off or loses their legs?"

Being maimed in an explosion doesn't make me a hero per se. But carrying the bomb and detonating it while it's on my person would make me a person of considerable physical courage, even if I was otherwise the most despicable human being alive. Courage isn't equal to "good." Warriors who acquit themselves courageously in battle can also go on to commit the worst atrocities. I'm surprised this is so hard for you to understand.

Caroline: "Where the hell are you coming from anyway Mindless Moron."

A certain cold rationality, I guess.

"What kind of sick f**ck are you?"

Ask that of the ghost of Curtis LeMay, while you're at it.

"Perhaps the kind of sick f**ck who would change their moniker every few minutes and wander off into bizarre soliloquies and then sign themselves off as Doctor Doom?"

I have it from my infallible religious patrons that this practice will get me into heaven, slam-dunk. Please show a little more tolerance of my faith.

Quite honestly, the vitriol you pour on me has me speculating, Caroline. Imagine there were some society populated almost entirely by sick f*cks like me, who tend to face a threat by thinking in behavioral-science terms rather than by applying an attitude of demonization to the threat (so convenient to the terrorists' cause, as I've noted.) Imagine that there were an entire nation of sick f*cks like me. Obviously, to people like you, we represent a mortal danger to the entire human race; perhaps we're a weak strain of the species gaining influence at a time when, facing potential nuclear terror, we all need to be strong.

So, given that admittedly-extreme hypothetical, answer me this, Caroline: Do you think you could find it in yourself to carry a bomb into our sick f*ck midst, and detonate it by hand, if that seemed to be the only means left to fight an entire nation of sick f*cks like me? And even if you couldn't muster the courage, would you still regard anyone who could carry out such an attack as being wonderfully courageous and morally worthy in their attack against The Republic of Sick F*cks, such a mortal threat to the entire human race, to civilization, to All That Is Good?

Just curious. Coldly, scientifically curious. Personally, I think you've got it in you, Caroline, to at least condone such an act, to praise it. I don't say that as any kind of value judgement, by the way. It just seems like you have the requisite intensity of hatred, the requisite certainty that you're right, and the requisite fear of the consequences of letting my kind run around loose -- worse, organized on a national level.

That's the scientific rationalist in me speaking of course. The Christian in me wants to drop to his knees and pray for your soul. Well, I'll put it on my to-do list, anyway. Fair enough?

Posted by: Sick Fuck AKA Doctor Doom AKA Mindless Moron at August 19, 2005 11:18 PM

"It just seems like you have the requisite intensity of hatred, the requisite certainty that you're right, and the requisite fear of the consequences of letting my kind run around loose -- worse, organized on a national level."

Oh - here we go again. I call you a sick f**k and now you've got me pegged as a suicide bomber - the kind of person who would wipe out my fellow citizens no less. That is completely ridiculous. So I use foul language sometimes. I guess that means that half our citizens are prepared to blow up everyone they disagree with. Better keep a close eye on Chris Rock especially. I say that we may have to consider the possibility that Islam itself is the problem and people infer from that that I'm calling for genocide against a billion people, instead of the more obvious possibility (which I've stated repeatedly) that it is not a good idea to keep an open door policy of Muslim immigration into the west cause if it isn't just a tiny minority of Muslims who share the dream of us all living under an Islamic state and Sharia law, the west WILL face widespread bloodshed and civil war - starting in Europe - in probably 20 years or so. But acknowledging that people may have different beliefs as to what is the GOOD - and to say without equivocation that I am totally opposed to the other's beliefs (which Mary outlined nicely earlier) - gets me labeled a genocidal maniac and a Nazi. We're prepared to go running around the world 'bringing the fight to the enemy' instead of starting with the one, nonviolent, and most logical (and humane) step - minimize the potential number of enemies within the gates.

Your entire argument amounts to trying to make us understand that the suicide terrorists do what they do for reasons that they think are good. You claim that in their minds they are being altruistic. You point out that we would hail as heroes people on our own side who did such a thing against our enemies. Ergo - there's no difference between us and them. Violence is violence. It's all the same. It evidently makes no difference from an objective point of view what you're fighting for. The communists killed millions of people for what they thought was the good. So did the Nazis and so on. So do people killing to spread Islam. So do we. So we're all human in believing what we believe and are willing to fight for it. You keep trying to get us to see that in their minds they are doing what they think is good. Well Duh! Is that supposed to be a brilliant insight or something? If you apparently see no difference between what we're fighting for and what the Islamists are fighting for, then I don't know what to say. The rest is simply irrelevant.

Posted by: Caroline at August 20, 2005 08:36 AM

Profiling isn't the answer. Muslims come in all shades,

Rubbish. 98% of them come in the Arabian nationality, color brown. When we waste resources to search blond, blue-eyed 13 year old girls it's not because she's a suspect, it's because we're playing at Lefty politics.

How about blowing up the same number of innocent people from a safe distance, while thinking that you've done something God approves of?

Save your philosophysing for the impressionable freshmen, the grownups have a war to fight.

Posted by: spaniard at August 20, 2005 08:46 AM

I call you a sick f**k and now you've got me pegged as a suicide bomber

How lame. He did not claim that you have what it takes to be a suicide bomber based on your use of the word f**k.

people infer from that that I'm calling for genocide against a billion people

No. Only 999 million. I recall you stating explicitly that you could imagine drawing up a list of 1 million who might earn dispensation.

acknowledging that people may have different beliefs as to what is the GOOD - and to say without equivocation that I am totally opposed to the other's beliefs... gets me labeled a genocidal maniac and a Nazi

Once again - dishonest and lame. The label comes not with you acknowledgment of differences, but from your attitude toward what to do about those differences.

You point out that we would hail as heroes people on our own side who did such a thing against our enemies. Ergo - there's no difference between us and them

Everything after "ergo" is YOUR projection. It is not something that I have seen the multi-named one write. It is the standard argument, once again - completely dishonest and propagandistic - that one hears from the "moral equivalency" whiners. To say that there is no difference in the levels of courage and altruism exhibited by foot soldiers on either side of a dispute does NOT equate to saying that there is no difference in what they are fighting for. Nor does it lead, in any way, to a lessening of ones commitment to fighting for what one believes in.

If anything, it is probably the more lazy or cowardly types who need to dehumanize their enemy in order to fight them. We see that in the war propaganda that most every society develops when they face an imminent crisis. In order to gin up support for a conflict, efforts are made to equate any and all of those on the other side with some lower form of humanity - thus overcoming the peoples natural inclination not to kill. You seem to be wholly wrapped up in that process and to have internalized it.

Are you really unable to state your principles and manifest a determination to fight for them while at the same time maintaining a clear-eyed honest understanding of who the people are on the other side - in all their humanity? Are you unable to pull the trigger on someone who you understand to be a full human being, like you - such that you need to see them as a demon before you dispatch them?

If so, then you need to understand that not everyone is like that. Some of us are capable of fighting and killing for our beliefs while understanding fully the great human tradgedy we partake of. As an added benefit, we do not have the danger of being sucked up into genocidal attitudes - something that history shows can flow rather easily from the demonization and dehumanization of the enemy.

It also helps to differentiate between the real enemy, and the average person who is prone to get swept up on one side or the other, given the circumstances around them. In the current effort against islamists, these potential recurits or potential allies are key. Following from your mindless hatreds, these people will inevitably end up on the other side. We should hope to avoid that.

Posted by: Observer at August 20, 2005 09:32 AM

"How lame. He did not claim that you have what it takes to be a suicide bomber based on your use of the word f**k."

Yes he did.

"No. Only 999 million. I recall you stating explicitly that you could imagine drawing up a list of 1 million who might earn dispensation."

Dispensation from genocide? When did I ever mention genocide? Genocide has never once occurred to me. Show me where on this site I ever mentioned such a thing. The question is - why does such a thing occur to you?

"If anything, it is probably the more lazy or cowardly types who need to dehumanize their enemy in order to fight them. We see that in the war propaganda that most every society develops when they face an imminent crisis. In order to gin up support for a conflict, efforts are made to equate any and all of those on the other side with some lower form of humanity - thus overcoming the peoples natural inclination not to kill. You seem to be wholly wrapped up in that process and to have internalized it."

How am I dehumanizing the enemy by acknowledging that they have different beliefs than I do? I have zero inclination to kill anyone. If I point that there is a strong possibility that 999 million Muslims believe in the ultimate goodness of Islam and spreading it (not directly by violence but by supporting that violence through funds or general passivity in the face of terrorism or by immigrating into the west with the express purpose of populating and demographically overwhelming the native populations) - how is that demonizing anyone? It is YOUR assumption that I point these things out to dehumanize people in preparation for genocide. I have stated the contrary numerous times. That by ignoring that other people have different beliefs - which may not be reconcilable with ours - we are precisely setting ourselves up for bloodshed in the future. I am trying to AVOID bloodshed – not facilitate it.

“Are you really unable to state your principles and manifest a determination to fight for them while at the same time maintaining a clear-eyed honest understanding of who the people are on the other side - in all their humanity?”

Of course I am. I am completely aware that the suicide bomber and the Islamists believe they are fighting for the Good. I also think their ideas of what constitute the Good are utterly abhorrent and basically amount to totalitarianism. I happen to think Islam itself – as it exists NOW – seeing as how it has never undergone an enlightenment – is itself a totalitarian system. I oppose it. I do not want to be assimilated. The Islamists want me to be assimilated. I don’t want them to be anything. I am not trying to force them to accept my belief system. I just want them to leave me alone. How am I dehumanizing them by stating that and recognizing that Islam has a long history of conquering and assimilating people to its totalitarian ideology?

“Some of us are capable of fighting and killing for our beliefs while understanding fully the great human tradgedy we partake of. As an added benefit, we do not have the danger of being sucked up into genocidal attitudes..”

What a lot of baseless assumptions you are making about me. You don’t think I recognize that this is a tragedy? Would it help if I beat my breast and cried out, “Can’t we all just get along??!”. Would that admit me into the sacrosanct tent of the morally righteous? How arrogant you are. You mouth such empty platitudes – as does MM – pointing out the obvious that the Other is human like we are, that the Other believes that they are doing the Good – like we do. And this is supposed to pass as great insight? Does it occur to you that some of us might just find this too obvious to even point out?

“It also helps to differentiate between the real enemy, and the average person who is prone to get swept up on one side or the other, given the circumstances around them. In the current effort against islamists, these potential recurits or potential allies are key.”

You tell me how to differentiate friend from foe. Is CAIR friend or foe? Is MCB friend or foe? Is the knighted Iqbal Sacranie friend or foe? Are the millions of Muslims flocking to the mosques here and in Europe, which some estimate to be at least 80% under the control of extremists, friend or foe? What percent of Muslims in the west would ultimately want to see western liberal democracies Islamicized? What percent passively support the islamists aims? Tell me how to distinguish the ones who do from the ones who would fight with all their might against it.

“Following from your mindless hatreds, these people will inevitably end up on the other side. We should hope to avoid that.”

I find it utterly amazing that raising the issue of how many Muslims support the goals of the Islamists, or raising the issue that it might be prudent to limit Muslim immigration to the west in order to avoid bloodshed and the prospects of civil war in the future – somehow gets equated with expressing “mindless hatreds.” You point out to me where I have ever even called Muslims derogatory names.

CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG??!!! Gee, I feel so much better about myself now. I actually feel morally righteous. And it was so easy I wonder why I never thought of saying it before.

Posted by: Caroline at August 20, 2005 11:16 AM

Some of us are capable of fighting and killing for our beliefs while understanding fully the great human tradgedy we partake of.--Observer

Oh the sad humanity of it all !!!

How extra special nice to be you. How very objective . It must be ever so difficult to exist on the same plane as those who find it not so much necessary as convenient to view an existential enemy as something that needs to be eliminated without any concern for his 'humanness'. Frankly you know perfectly well that the principle of warfare is NOT to concentrate on the 'great human tragedy', but on the quick and dirty means to get the job done in the most efficient manner. I submit, despite your self-congratulatory assertions to the contrary, that it is virtually impossible to fight a sucessful conflict UNLESS the enemy is the ENEMY . It's just the way it is in normal world. Otherwise the Armed Forces would have sensitivity training in place of boot camp.
This has been an interesting spectacle,and essentially repeats an argument that I made on another blog to the effect that 'virtues'such as courage and dedication exist independently of their application. I still feel that way and believe that Caroline is not correct in denying that Islamic scumbags may in fact possess a degree of courage. The courage is a good thing; the rest of the package needs to be disposed off in the most efficient manner.
However I always get the nagging little feeling, when guys like SFAKADDAKAMM make points such as this, that it is not a mere exercise in philosophical musing.It always, myself absolutely excluded, seems to be attached at the hip to other values and beliefs that appear to oppose efforts to actually do something about the monsters running amok in the world. Must just be coincidence.

So while I believe that Caroline might not be right in denying any 'virtues' to the enemy, I believe that she is 100% correct in saying that the only way to view the enemy in this struggle is as the ENEMY . Well we "more lazy or cowardly types" do anyway.

Posted by: dougf at August 20, 2005 11:40 AM

Caroline,

you're trying to justify how "good" you are to the very people many of whom make it a career to attack christians as the "American Taliban"? Why do you even bother. F-ck them and their hypocrisy, and their faux morality about how "suicide bombers are good people too" insanity. I couldn't give a crap if suicide bombers thought they were mother Teresa.

Posted by: spaniard at August 20, 2005 11:41 AM

Ah, the courage of the suicide bombers. Most suicide bombers are young, they are submerged in propaganda and religous dogma that tells them that there life will become so much better then their current life, often living in poverty and misery, will become a perfect state, that a life of pleasure awaits them. A single moment of pain,lasting 2 or 3 seconds at the most, compared to a eternity of bliss.You are given a free pass from the judgement of Allah. If you buy that bill of goods it sounds like a great deal, not bravery.

Posted by: kevinpeters at August 20, 2005 01:02 PM

Kevinpeters - I agree. I wouldn't even count on a few seconds of pain. I have never experienced a completely traumatic injury but have read studies that the more traumatic an injury - the less pain. It takes the brain a little while to process what has even happened. In the case of suicide bombing, the person would be dead before the brain had time to process any pain. I don't know this for a fact maybe somone who has a had a limb blown off could comment. I still maintain that to blow oneself up in the process of murdering other human beings because this is the act that makes one a "martyr" and hence gives the fast track to heaven and the carnal pleasures of the afterlife - is the most despicable and selfish act imaginable. It seems to me to take more courage to kill at a distance, because one is fighting for the freedom of your fellow man, even though many christians who do so are explicably taught that murder is a sin and may have to live with not knowing precisely how they will be judged for it in the afterlife (speaking here from the perspective of those who believe that they will have to face their maker and be judged for their actions). In other words, tough moral choices and making decisions of personal conscience and having to tolerate moral ambiguity and the uncertain fate of one's soul seems to me to require more courage than a painless exit for an assumed fast track to an afterlife of guaranteed hedonistic pleasure.

Posted by: Caroline at August 20, 2005 01:37 PM

With this new definition of bravery the followers of Jim Jones were brave for drinking the kool-aid.

Posted by: kevinpeters at August 20, 2005 01:39 PM

Frankly you know perfectly well that the principle of warfare is NOT to concentrate on the 'great human tragedy', but on the quick and dirty means to get the job done in the most efficient manner

Thats right Mr. Bullshitter. Which is why I did not, in any way, shape, or form claim that an awareness of the humanity of ones enemy is what one concentrates on when in the midst of battle. I said, quite clearly, that it is simply not something that all people are required to submerge or deny in order to go into battle.

it is virtually impossible to fight a sucessful conflict UNLESS the enemy is the ENEMY

I guess you think that there is some heavy truth lurking beneath the surface of this truism. Bit I dont see how it contradicts anything I said.

Otherwise the Armed Forces would have sensitivity training in place of boot camp

Once again, you set up a strawman by trying to invert what I said. There is no need, in my worldview, for the Armed Forces to engage in sensitivity training. I was referring to the need that some people have for DEsensitivity training, in order to pull the trigger. And I claim no moral highground by asserting that many people, myself included, do not need desensitivity training in order to kill an enemy. A fully human enemy.

_ 'virtues'such as courage and dedication exist independently of their application. I still feel that way and believe that Caroline is not correct in denying that Islamic scumbags may in fact possess a degree of courage. The courage is a good thing; the rest of the package needs to be disposed off in the most efficient manner_

And in the end, you agree with me, and state pretty much what I was saying all along. So what the f is your problem anyway?

It always, myself absolutely excluded, seems to be attached at the hip to other values and beliefs that appear to oppose efforts to actually do something about the monsters running amok in the world. Must just be coincidence.

Not coincidence. Just the script that you follow.

Posted by: Observer at August 20, 2005 01:49 PM

Me: "Profiling isn't the answer. Muslims come in all shades..."

Spaniard: "Rubbish. 98% of them come in the Arabian nationality, color brown."

Approximately 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. 2% of 1.5b is about 30 million. So, Spaniard, you're saying that all but 30 million muslims in the world are of "Arabian nationality"?

Indonesia:
Population about 241 million, 88% muslim, therefore already we have it there are at least 212 million muslims in the world look like the South East Asians they happen to be.

India:
About 1 billion people, about 13% muslim, most of them looking like Indians of various shades, not Arabs, so there's another 130 million for you. Lessee, we're up to 370 million out of 1.5 billion muslims.

Bangladesh:
140 million people, 83% muslim, so let's add another 100 million or so who don't look Arab (unless "brown" counts as "looks Arab".) Up to about 470 million out of 1.5 billion muslims who don't "look Arab".

And we haven't even gotten to Malaysia, Brunei, points around southern Thailand, where your average muslim looks like your average South East Asian, or any place in Subsahara Africa, where your average muslim will basically be black. While I'm sure your profiling would include Pakistanis, Pakistanis don't look very Arab to me. Iranians also look distinctly different from Arabs, in case you haven't noticed. There's a reason for that: they aren't Arabs. Kurds (hey, our kind of Sunni!) also don't look Arab, because they aren't. Have I mentioned the Turks? (Don't count them out of the terror threat -- Turkey polls as #1 or #2 in terms of dislike of America.)

In other words, profiling on the basis of "looking Arab" misses an overwhelming majority of muslims -- unless, of course, your criterion is "brown", in which case the overwhelming majority of those profiled will not be muslims, but will be pretty pissed off about being under suspicion for terrorism just because of the color of their skins.

As usual, Spaniard, you don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about, do you?

Posted by: Sick Fuck Plain and Simple at August 20, 2005 02:51 PM

Caroline writes: "Oh - here we go again. I call you a sick f**k and now you've got me pegged as a suicide bomber - the kind of person who would wipe out my fellow citizens no less."

Actually, no, I only went as far as to say that I suspected you'd be the type to approve of suicide bombing against people like me, if we happened to be organized as a nation, impeding progress against the fight against Crazed Muslims Out to Nuke Us All, and if that were the only way to fight us. Try my entire hypothetical on for size, before you go jumping to conclusions. You really woudn't think "serves the sick fucks right!"?

And before you answer even that extreme hypothetical, tell me why you think I'm a Sick Fuck. Or take it back, and apologize. Either way.

Posted by: Sick Fuck Plain and Simple at August 20, 2005 03:04 PM

Observer: "I was referring to the need that some people have for DEsensitivity training, in order to pull the trigger. And I claim no moral highground by asserting that many people, myself included, do not need desensitivity training in order to kill an enemy."

For someone who objects so to demonizing the enemy, you sure have a way with demonizing your fellow citizens. You were awfully quick up the thread, for example, to assume that I was advocating genocide and to call me "profoundly revolting, in the deepest sense."

Yes indeed, you do claim the moral high ground. Both you and MM are very quick indeed to demonize conservatives, imagining them to be dumb, rah rah - get behind the flag - hicks, incapable of ascertaining what you imagine to be deep and insightful truths such as - "We are all human beings" and "It is important to understand that the "Other" fights for what he understands to be the Good too", imagining that such enlightened notions have never occurred to the "Nazi" conservative who is merely foaming at the mouth, waiting for the orders from on high to "blow up them there ragheads". And you and MM - having assumed yourself to be morally superior to us dumb conservative hicks feel us to be in need of your "staying hand", in need of your deep moral insights, that are in fact banal as hell, to the vast majority of Americans, even those of the lowly conservative stripe.

Meanwhile, I hope you don't mind my pointing out, although no doubt you will accuse me of demonizing the enemy for doing so, that the suicide bomber is indoctrinated from birth - by Islam - to divide the world into Muslim and non-Muslim, and is taught to so demonize the other that he actually imagines that KILLING the "other" for simply BEING the "Other" gets him on the fast-track to paradise. Might I suggest, then, that you be so bold as to take your deep moral insights to those folks? It is entirely possible after all that they might benefit mightily from them. Cause the unfortunate fact is that this whole "Can't we just get along" thing only works if both sides are on the same page.

Posted by: Caroline at August 20, 2005 03:20 PM

"A single moment of pain,lasting 2 or 3 seconds at the most, compared to a eternity of bliss."

Never having attempted suicide suicide bomber myself, I nevertheless believe that, prior to any pain from the explosion (very unlikely, I agree), the hours and minutes leading up to the self-immolation are still hours and minutes that are usually filled with fear -- the fear of death. Overcoming this fear of death requires courage. The cause might be wrong, but that doesn't mean courage isn't required.

But let's work it from the other angle: let's say some suicide bombers go fearlessly to their deaths. Studies of soldiers in combat show that about 1/10 of a given body of troops experiences battle without feeling fear. (And these are often the more effective soldiers, unsurprisingly.) My favorite film treatment of this phenomenon isn't from a war movie. It's the scene in The Godfather, with Michael Corleone, standing on the steps the hospital where he's intuited that assassins are coming after his father. He lights a cigarette for a friend of his, whose hands are shaking in terror. The flame on the match in Michael Corleone's hand is unwavering. You see him looking at his own hand. And you see him thinking, "this is what got me decorated in battle over in Europe -- not what most people think of as courage, but simply my lack of fear in situations where others naturally feel it. That's a personal asset that's going to help me save my father's life in this situation."

As our sympathetic reaction to the character of Michael Corleone shows -- he is, after all, a crook, profiteering on the weakness and misery of others, so why should we care? -- this fearlessness, too, is a trait ordinary people tend to admire.

Either way, we call it courage. And so do the people who approve of suicide bombings for their particular causes.

Filmic treatment isn't exactly irrelevant in considering Islamist terror. Indeed, some Islamist terror groups make sure that a film biography of a given suicide bomber terrorist is on the video racks in the Palestinian territories the very day after the bombing. (Hey, you want to talk about your sick fucks, try that department first, don't lay into me!)

All I'm trying to do is understand the phenomenon, the better to figure out how it ought to be fought. Blind hatred just gets in the way of that task. So does calling people who want to fight it "sick fucks", as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: Sick Fuck Plain and Simple at August 20, 2005 03:29 PM

Spaniard writes: "Save your philosophysing for the impressionable freshmen, the grownups have a war to fight."

Go shop your soldierly moral superiority somewhere else, Spaniard. As a civilian contractor working in logistics support group at a national laboratory during Gulf War I, I walked through a gate every day that was guarded by troops against a possible terror attack. I didn't have to. I could have quit. I didn't. (One day, distracted and stressed out of my mind, I walked past a checkpoint forgetting to flash my security badge, heard yelling behind me, turned and saw a guard with his hand on the butt of his pistol. I guess that would have been a "friendly fire" case, eh?)

"Grownups"? I was in my mid-30s at the time. I'm seriously pushing 50 now. How old are YOU, Spaniard? You sound like you might be young enough to sign up and go over and fight in Iraq. Except when you sound MUCH younger.

Posted by: Sick Fuck Plain and Simple at August 20, 2005 03:37 PM

Sick Fuck,

It must do wonders for your carpel tunnel to write so much and say so little. Vast pages of it. I couldn't care less is muslims came in pale green and white checkers. I insinuated we should profile Arabs-- the great majority come in some shade of brown, and also usually come with passports identifying them as such-- 98% of which are committing the acts of terror. They come with names like "mohammed" and "mustafa" and "ali", NOT Sven and Soren and Tabitha. Get the picture?

More importantly, I prefer leave it up to law enforcement to decide who fits the profile, not you sick fuck Lefties who would prefer frisk some little anglo-saxon girl and her grandma so as not to violate your sick fuck Leftist concept of "civil liberties".

Posted by: spaniard at August 20, 2005 03:41 PM

MM: "Actually, no, I only went as far as to say that I suspected you'd be the type to approve of suicide bombing against people like me, if we happened to be organized as a nation, impeding progress against the fight against Crazed Muslims Out to Nuke Us All, and if that were the only way to fight us. Try my entire hypothetical on for size, before you go jumping to conclusions. You really woudn't think "serves the sick fucks right!"?

Yeah - I know what you thought. You made assumptions about the type of person I am. I don't need to try your hypothetical on for size. It is utterly ludicrous.

"And before you answer even that extreme hypothetical, tell me why you think I'm a Sick Fuck. Or take it back, and apologize. Either way."

I called you a sick f**k because I had too much to drink at Friday happy hour and because my husband was yelling at me as he does alot and because I was premenstrual and in a rotten mood and because it actually hurt my feelings what Oberver said up the thread and because you've adopted a mocking and condescending tone to nearly everyone at this site from your very first post and because people like you and Observer seem more intent on bashing down your fellow citizens and trying to morally enlighten us than trying to morally enlighten our enemies, who believe me, need it more than we do. I am sorry I called you a sick f**k. PUI inhibits the social graces but once you hit the post button you can't take it back. I generally do try very hard at this site to be civil and to avoid ad hominum attacks and I think I have a pretty good track record overall after over a year of posting. So I both apologize for it AND take it back AND deeply regret it too. The truth is, though, I don't think that will make one iota of difference to either you or Observer with regards to the conclusions you have formed about me. Nor sadly, to the host. The world seems to have been so turned upside down that our enemies can shout loudly from the rooftops that we infidels are scum and deserve to die but those of us who have the audacity to speculate that this problem may be more widespread than we think and may have something to do with Islam itself, are instantly labeled despicable human beings, Nazis, and advocates of genocide. I have heard it from family, from friends, and from posters online. At times I find it deeply hurtful and at other times I find it infuriating and insulting. I'm sorry you got in the way of my emotions du jour. But from my use of foul language it is ludicrous to assume that I am the sort of person to kill anyone, let alone my fellow citizens. And in any case, if you are so willing to make such assumptions about me based on 2 words (sick f**k), then what do you make of the endless stream of nonstop hateful rhetoric coming out of the Middle east and the mosques in the west with regards to the infidels and the Jews?

Posted by: Caroline at August 20, 2005 04:08 PM

Both you and MM are very quick indeed to demonize conservatives, imagining them to be dumb, rah rah - get behind the flag - hicks,

So now you want to hide behind the "conservative' crowd? I made no mention of flags, or hicks, nor did I make any generalizations about conservatives. I was talking about YOU.

this whole "Can't we just get along" thing only works if both sides are on the same page

You are the only one who speaks of "cant we just get along". Nothing I or anyone else said here has anything to do with that.

Posted by: Observer at August 20, 2005 04:10 PM

Caroline writes: "If you apparently see no difference between what we're fighting for and what the Islamists are fighting for, then I don't know what to say."

I never said that. If I said anything remotely like that, it's that there wouldn't be any significant difference between how they fight and how we would fight if we were in similar circumstances. They have suicidal warriors throwing themselves into battle against an enemy they see as threatening civilization. We have had suicidal warriors thinking the same. They think God is on their side. G.W. Bush would say that God is on OUR side -- and in fact, he has. They take mass civilian casualties on purpose, strategically, and so have Americans, in past wars, even in situations where there seemed to be strategic alternatives. They use hate-based propaganda, we have used hate-based propaganda. I see differences in degree, stemming from differences in degree found in historical circumstances. I also see that, in a few short decades, the U.S. has largely moved away from such practices. But underneath, we're not any more or less human than they are, and it's only through relatively recent institutional and cultural evolution that we've improved, under circumstances (some of them pretty mortifying, in retrospect) that favor such institutional improvements. Nobody has rewritten our American DNA in the meantime, to be a genome somehow morally superior to that of the enemy's.

As for the supposed difference of being "indoctrinated from birth" is supposedly-Islamic terror principles, the fact is that many Islamist suicide bombers are late-life converts.

Is it rooted in Islam per se? Little homework assignment for you, Caroline: turn up the names of a number of muslim clerics in Iraq who, over the past few years, have decried suicide bomber terrorism, and terrorism in general, as inimical to the Koran's teachings. Imagine YOURSELF as such a cleric -- can't you feel the assassin's crosshairs creeping across your skin? In that political context, it takes guts for them to tell what I suspect is the truth, which is that the Koran does not condone such practices, in fact classifies suicide AND the intentional killings of civilians in war as sins against God.

Homework assignment #2: find the supposed scriptural support in the Koran that Islamist terror organizations use to support the practice.

Homework assignment #3: Tell me how the two interpretations seem to stack up against each other.

I'll be happy to change my views if, in fact, you find that those brave clerics inveighing against terrorism and its more suicidal forms are lying to their mosque members and to the public, misconstruing and distorting the Koran. However, what you'll be left with, I think, is Koranic teachings saying that warriors against those who attack Islam are granted special dispensation in getting into Paradise, if they die in battle. That might be markedly more militaristic than any Christian teachings on the proper conduct of war. But I think that's pretty irrelevant when so many Christian leaders of various largely-Christian nations at war have rationalized both suicide missions and attacks against civilian targets in terms of their nation's cause being God's cause. Time was, it was Christian Europe that was the backward, fanatically-religious sending its children on suicide missions, as emissaries of the Prince of Peace. (And ironically, in the very first Crusade the civilian "infidels" they fell upon and slaughtered happened to be Christians of the Byzantine Empire. How moronic and brainwashed can you get?) Circumstances matter.

And speaking of circumstances, I agree with Pape's view on the role of religion in suicide bombing terrorism -- it's not the religion per se, but the fact that a religious difference between the contestants can be played up for purposes of demonization, among other differences, both cultural and racial. His statistics are convincing. And, his foreign policy prescriptions aside, he's made a serious and useful contribution to understanding the enemy.

Or so my sick-fuck mind tells me.

Posted by: Sick Fuck Plain and Simple at August 20, 2005 04:20 PM

"Both you and MM are very quick indeed to demonize conservatives, imagining them to be dumb, rah rah - get behind the flag - hicks."

Wow. This is what I get for approving of a theory (Pape's) laid out in a conservative journal of opinion? Talk about incoherent. I'll have to confer with my good friend, and neo-con scum, and die-hard pro-Israeli cryptofascist, Michael Phillips

http://phillips.blogs.com/

next year when we're hanging out and shootin' the shit again in cafes in Tokyo. Maybe he can explain.

Posted by: No Longer a Sick Fuck I Guess at August 20, 2005 04:31 PM

Caroline writes: "So I both apologize for [calling me a 'sick fuck'] AND take it back AND deeply regret it too. The truth is, though, I don't think that will make one iota of difference to either you or Observer with regards to the conclusions you have formed about me."

Believe it or not, it does. Extenuating circumstances and all that. It even reminds me that I've been yelling at my wife too much recently, and should really apologize (while pleading mitigating circumstances myself, because there have been quite a few recently, not a few of them stemming from her own behavior.)

"...instantly labeled despicable human beings, Nazis, and advocates of genocide."

Well, you haven't heard that from me. What you have heard from me is that I think you might have it in you to respond, in a certain highly hypothetical situation, to a suicide bomber attack on people like me (if organized nationally) in an approving manner. Very much as those who greeted the news of the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo abuses with "serves them right!" (The unfortunates abused, not the abusers.) And you heard that from me because of a conclusion I leaped to when you called me a "sick fuck" after persistently misinterpreting what I've been saying.

"Can't we all get along?" No, I don't think we can. And I never said that. If I have message, it's "Can't we figure out what's going on, and thus stop being manipulated into self-righteous hatred by these terrorists (which only works for them), figure out what makes them tick, and somehow co-opt their base into something more like OUR cause, which, if not perfect, is at least better?" I don't think Islamic teachings are at the root of what's going on. I think distorted Islamic teachings are feeding the phenomenon.

The avowedly-faithful muslim I knew best here in Tokyo in most recent years was a lovely young Indian woman who like to dress in sexy clothes and was hoping to save up enough from teaching English here to go to the U.S. and earn an MBA at Stanford. Bizarrely, she also knew the Koran verbatim. Yes, you got that right. She had memorized it.

Before that, the most avowedly-faithful muslim I knew best in Tokyo was a young Bangladeshi man, studying Japanese with me in the hopes of landing a job localizing Japanese software into English and other languages. Once, when I asked him why Bangladesh had a serious overpopulation problem, he answered "Too much fucking!" That's the kind of guy he was. The racism of Japan eventually repelled him to the point where he moved to ... wait for it ... America, a country he loves greatly, last I heard from him. (But that was pre-9/11.)

A lost opportunity for close friendship with a muslim: we had a former al Jazeera correspondent staying with us, a very intelligent, educated young man who, post 9/11, couldn't stand the hostility toward him as an Arab at the Texas University he'd been studying at. Occasionally, during his stay with us, I'd overhear him talking pleadfully with a friend on the house phone, begging the friend not to fall prey to hatred of the West just because some ignorant bigots were treating him coldly. He himself hoped to find warmer treatment in Britain. Then Britain signed onto the invasion of Iraq. My last contact with him left me feeling like he was headed over to the other side. I wished I could have done more, but post-9/11, I was having phobic reactions to Arabs, and couldn't thoroughly disguise them in conversation with him. I think I'll regret this to the end of my life.

We don't need more demonization of Islam. What we need is more muslims like the above, a more welcoming attitude toward liberalized muslims wherever we find them, a desire to create the conditions for fostering more muslims like this, in a productive way. (It so happens that I don't think the invasion of Iraq was, or will be, productive toward this end, but that's another debate.) Even Daniel Pipes has said as much, and I agree with him, much as I disagree with much of what he has said (verging on hate-speech at times) on this whole question.

Are we getting any clearer, Caroline?

Posted by: Readmitted to the Human Race at August 20, 2005 04:51 PM

Whatever your name is now - with regards to your many homework assignments - go spend a year reading every thread on jihadwatch.com and then get back to me. Until then I have no comment.

"As for the supposed difference of being "indoctrinated from birth" is supposedly-Islamic terror principles, the fact is that many Islamist suicide bombers are late-life converts."

Late-life converts to what? Figure that one out and then get back to me.

Me: "If you apparently see no difference between what we're fighting for and what the Islamists are fighting for, then I don't know what to say."

You follow that with a lengthy paragraph detailing how the enemy is exactly like us. We do this....they do that. We think this....They think that. We are human....They are human. Our genome is not morally superior to their genome. My response to your paragraph? DUH! How banally obvious can you get. And in response, I will repeat my original point, "If you apparently see no difference between what we're fighting for and what the Islamists are fighting for, then I don't know what to say."

Observer: "So now you want to hide behind the "conservative' crowd? I made no mention of flags, or hicks, nor did I make any generalizations about conservatives. I was talking about YOU."

Oh - pardon me then. My mistake. You were talking about ME. I evidently said something to make you conclude that I was advocating genocide. I stand alone then, accused of my crime. I plead NOT GUILTY sir.

Posted by: Caroline at August 20, 2005 05:04 PM

"Whatever your name is now - with regards to your many homework assignments - go spend a year reading every thread on jihadwatch.com and then get back to me."

I suggest you go to any and all sources that might help you, not just one source. Religions are almost entirely a matter of interpretation, as even Daniel Pipes points out concerning the Koranic prohibition against compelling faith:

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2110

"[the remarkable range of interpretations] shows that Islam - like all religions - is whatever believers make of it. The choices for Muslims range from Taliban-style repression to Balkan-style liberality. There are few limits; and there is no "right" or "wrong" interpretation. Muslims have a nearly clean slate to resolve what "no compulsion" means in the 21st century."

In other words, if there's some supposed global Jihad out to conquer the West by force (though I have yet to turn up the al Qaeda document that actually proposes a global takeover rather than just "defeat", which has other possible interpretations), there's some other global Jihad out to convert it peacefully (probably several, mostly arguing with each other rather than converting us), and dozens of local Jihads aimed at defense of muslims locally, as well as others that are on the attack, and ... well, it goes on and on, doesn't it? Just as I'm sure you'll find many interpretations of the Bible and the use of those interpretations in issues of conflict and conversion, some of which rationalized global takeover by Christendom, others that forswear the use of violence entirely. To settle on the interpretation taken by one author is dangerous.

Worse, I suspect that if you're drawing your conclusion that Islam is the problem from that one author, you've missed some important things he's said, among them which are:

"I encourage any Muslim individual or group who is willing to work publicly for the reform of the Islamic doctrines, theological tenets and laws that Islamic jihadists use to justify violence."

and

"Islam is not a monolith, and never have I said or written anything that characterizes all Muslims as terrorist or given to violence. I am only calling attention to the roots and goals of jihad violence. Any Muslim who renounces violent jihad and dhimmitude is welcome to join in our anti-jihadist efforts."

Both from Robert Spencer himself:

http://jihadwatch.org/spencer/

Do some Islamist terrorist organizations claim support from the Koran directly. Obviously. So what? I've heard Biblical literalists rationalize the complete destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by Jehovah by saying that these cities were offered the opportunity to join the right faith, and declined -- yet somehow, Jehovah was OK with torching babies who couldn't even understand their parents' language yet? Well, whatever -- I try to tolerate Christians like that, when I'm around them, because they are often very perceptive Bible scholars on other issues.

Posted by: Oops Human Race Membership Was Provisional After All at August 20, 2005 05:50 PM

"You follow that with a lengthy paragraph detailing how the enemy is exactly like us. We do this....they do that. We think this....They think that. We are human....They are human."

Have trouble with the past tense, Caroline. What I said was more like "We HAVE done this...they do that. We HAVE thought this (and some of us still do) ... and they aren't much different from how we were then (and how some of us are now) ... etc."

I didn't say they were identical to us. In fact, I pointed out that circumstances have made them different, though not so different from the way most of us have been in times past, and how some of us still are now.

Try again.

Posted by: at August 20, 2005 05:56 PM

"Late-life converts to what? Figure that one out and then get back to me."

Late-life converts to Islamist terrorism, as would be clear in context to anyone reading with a clear mind. Just as I suppose there have been late-life converts to suicidal terrorism in the name of a greater Marxist Tamil Homeland in Sri Lanka.

Posted by: Human Race Membership Seriously Slipping at August 20, 2005 06:01 PM

Caroline, we seemed to be on the verge of some understanding for a moment, now you're slipping back into the diatribes. You don't like homework assignments? OK, you don't like them. As some attempt at positive engagement, please tell me what you think of the paragraph I wrote above starting as follows:

"We don't need more demonization of Islam. What we need is more muslims like the above, a more welcoming attitude toward liberalized muslims wherever we find them, a desire to create the conditions for fostering more muslims like this, in a productive way." [Note the personal context above that paragraph.]

Answer me this -- do you think that goal is too much to hope for? Do you think we have to vanquish Islam, get rid of the religion somehow, because the seeds of terrorism and desire for global domination in it (which you seem to see as inherent) are, in a world of proliferating WMD, simply too dangerous? Or if you won't go so far as to promote eradicating the religion, what's your solution? Sequestering any and all believers so that they can't possibly access the technologies required to wreak destruction on us?

I'm in no hurry for your answer, especially since waiting for you to dry out, get over your period, and not get yelled at by your husband might be a matter of several days. I'd prefer the most sober answer you can muster.

Posted by: Sick Fuck After All I Guess at August 20, 2005 06:14 PM

Spaniard writes: "I insinuated we should profile Arabs-- the great majority come in some shade of brown, and also usually come with passports identifying them as such-- 98% of which are committing the acts of terror."

Which could be read as "98% of Arab bearing passports are committing acts of terror." But now that I understand how incredibly sloppy you are with the English language (you weren't "insinuating", Spaniard, you were simply "saying"), I can see that you meant "98% of the acts of terror on U.S. soil are being committed by Arabs [who reached U.S. soil with a passport permitting entry.]" This is a pretty far cry from the demographic ignorance so obviously on display from this exchange:

Me: Profiling isn't the answer. Muslims come in all shades,

Spaniard: Rubbish. 98% of them come in the Arabian nationality, color brown.

How, in context, could "them" be anyone but "Muslims"?

Especially since there ARE terrorist in other countries where Al Qaeda is recruiting, not to mentioned heavily based. Ever seen a Somali? Do they look Arab to you? They look Ethiopian to me.

Well, Spaniard, this sort of misunderstanding is why I write "reams and reams", risking "carpal tunnel syndrome" -- I try to be as clear as possible. For all the good it does me with sloppy readers like you and Caroline. Caroline says she called me a "sick f*ck" in part because she was drunk, and had PMS, and her husband had been yelling at her. Ah, that's human, and understandable, I guess. But what's your humanly-understandable excuse for your sloppiness and your abuse? Since there are female Spaniards, after all, feel free to cop a PMS plea if you have to, for the abuse. I'm a forgiving sort. As for your sloppiness, hey, maybe you ARE a Spaniard, maybe English isn't a language over which you have much command. I dunno, sounds pretty idiomatic to me. Just rather short on logic.

Posted by: One Truly Sick Fuck Says Spaniard at August 20, 2005 06:46 PM

I'm in no hurry for your answer, especially since waiting for you to dry out, get over your period, and not get yelled at by your husband might be a matter of several days. I'd prefer the most sober answer you can muster.--SFAAIG

Classy.

Posted by: dougf at August 20, 2005 07:25 PM

Way back there, Caroline writes of me: "Doctor Doom - weep on my friend. It is Islam that is the cause of the complete backwardness of the "Muslim" world. ISLAM. Ockham's razor and all that..."

I suppose it was Islam's backwardness that gave Spain its gaslit streets, which curiously disappeared after a certain fanatical religion swept through the Iberian region muslims then controlled, and which were not to reappear in Europe for another two centuries. When bin Laden said that the Andalusia expulsion was a tragedy that should never be repeated, I have to suppose that some Jew being tortured during the Inquisition got to that sentiment first, since Jews had, after all, enjoyed considerable tolerance under the Caliphate.

Ockham's Razor: "One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required
to explain anything."

Yes, but ... attributed to Einstein (and also to Yogi Berra, and a host of others): "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."

As Pape points out, one of the most Islamist regimes in the world is in Sudan, and yet there have been no Sudanese suicide bombers. As he also points out, suicide bombing correlates extremely well with movements that seek to compel a liberal democracy to yield territory they claim as their own, and very poorly with degree of Islamic conservatism alone. Thus, if you explain Islamist suicide terrorism by resorting to a religious explanation, and explain Tamil suicide terrorism by resorting to a merely political one, you are violating Ockham's Law, not observing it, because you are "increas[ing], beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required
to explain [it]."

If Pape's theory has a problem, it would only seem to be that some people's short-term memory isn't large enough to contain the entire hypothesis for more than a few seconds, if at all, especially since it refers to some abstractions, like "liberal democracy". The simplest explanation for a phenomenon will always be too complicated for somebody. I learned a lot of physics in college, but I never did completely figure out Einstein's theory of relativity, and can only take the word of physicists that it's really as simple as it can possibly be. On the face of it, of course, that theory is nonsense, because it's obvious that time doesn't slow down when you go faster in your car, and nobody has ever seen gravity bend light rays. Ridiculous on the face of it! Well, so much the worse for the face of things.

Posted by: Truly Sick Fucks Cannot Resist Redundant Parting Shots at August 20, 2005 07:28 PM

How, in context, could "them" be anyone but "Muslims"?

Sick Fuck,

ARABIAN muslims, braniac. But if you want to profile Somalis too that's cool with me. I prefer Morrocans myself. Any nationality with a penchant for blowing bombs in our cities is on the shit list. The more the better. Yet even that would be NARROWING it down from the current demented mentally retarded Leftist PC 13-year old anglo-saxon girls and grandma random shit.

For all the good it does me with sloppy readers like you and Caroline.

Who are you to accuse anybody of being a sloppy reader, when you had to write a ten page response about "muslims" when I clearly wrote "Arabs". That takes some nerve, Sick Fuck.

And what "abuse" are you referring to? I've not abused you.

And what "sloppiness" in my writing are you referring to? I'm as tight and concise as they come (lest I aggravate my carpal tunnel). You on the other hand require us to slog through about 99% masturbation before we get to 1% of a cogent point. And the cogent point usually turns out to be something criminally stupid like suicide bombers are sweet people too. Pathetic.

Posted by: spaniard at August 20, 2005 07:58 PM

"Who are you to accuse anybody of being a sloppy reader, when you had to write a ten page response about "muslims" when I clearly wrote "Arabs"."

Here, once again, is what you "clearly wrote", Spaniard.
----
Me: Profiling isn't the answer. Muslims come in all shades,

Spaniard: Rubbish. 98% of them come in the Arabian nationality, color brown.
----
Really, how is any reasonable person supposed to interpret that as anything but "98% of muslims come in the Arabian nationality."?

"And what "abuse" are you referring to? I've not abused you."

Oh? What about this:

"More importantly, I prefer leave it up to law enforcement to decide who fits the profile, not you sick fuck Lefties who would prefer frisk some little anglo-saxon girl and her grandma so as not to violate your sick fuck Leftist concept of "civil liberties"."

Calling someone whose actual political leanings you don't know (I'm probably more Libertarian than anything else) a "sick fuck Leftie" is not abusive? Hm, lemme chew on that one a while.

"And the cogent point usually turns out to be something criminally stupid like suicide bombers are sweet people too."

Gee, anyone still in doubt that Spaniard is a sloppy reader (or sloppy writer)? I might have mentioned something about some poor feeble-minded kid who got sent into Israel with an explosive vest, maybe he's just generalizing wildly from that. Wouldn't be out of character for him, exactly, would it?

Posted by: Sick Fucks Cannot Resist at August 21, 2005 04:28 AM

"Have trouble with the past tense, Caroline. What I said was more like "We HAVE done this...they do that. We HAVE thought this (and some of us still do) ... and they aren't much different from how we were then (and how some of us are now) ... etc."

The only possible relevance "past tense" could have to this whole discussion is if, like us, the enemy HAD done this....the enemy HAD thought like this and so on. But the fact is that they think and do these things NOW. So the rest of your attempts to draw equivalence are completely irrelevant. I cannot understand why you feel the need to state 100 times, in a hundred different ways, that they are human too.

"What you have heard from me is that I think you might have it in you to respond, in a certain highly hypothetical situation, to a suicide bomber attack on people like me (if organized nationally) in an approving manner....And you heard that from me because of a conclusion I leaped to when you called me a "sick fuck" after persistently misinterpreting what I've been saying."

And you never answered my question. If you would draw that conclusion about me from calling you a sick f**k once (you're the one who has brought it up repeatedly since then) - then what conclusion do you draw from the almost nonstop hateful rhetoric coming from the mosques not just in the ME but all over the west as well. Millions of people sit in those mosques listening to this stuff. The logical extension of your quick inference about me is that there are millions and millions of people who would respond to suicide bombings on infidels and Jews in an approving manner.

"Worse, I suspect that if you're drawing your conclusion that Islam is the problem from that one author, you've missed some important things he's said, among them which are: "I encourage any Muslim individual or group who is willing to work publicly for the reform of the Islamic doctrines, theological tenets and laws that Islamic jihadists use to justify violence." and "Islam is not a monolith, and never have I said or written anything that characterizes all Muslims as terrorist or given to violence. I am only calling attention to the roots and goals of jihad violence. Any Muslim who renounces violent jihad and dhimmitude is welcome to join in our anti-jihadist efforts."

I haven't missed those points about Spencer at all. But if you had bothered reading his site for a year you would have detected by now his great disappointment that there are so few prominent Muslims willing to come forward and renounce jihad and dhimmitude as formal Islamic doctrines. Sure, there are a great many Muslims who deny that terrorism has anything to do with Islam, but none of them can back it up with the actual Islamic texts - which include not just the Koran but the sira and hadith as well.

"What we need is more muslims like the above, a more welcoming attitude toward liberalized muslims wherever we find them, a desire to create the conditions for fostering more muslims like this, in a productive way."...Answer me this -- do you think that goal is too much to hope for?"

Of course I agree with the goal of liberalizing Islam. Who the hell doesn't? But wishing doesn't make it so. One of the goals of going into iraq was to create the conditions for liberalizing the islamic world and we appear to have wound up with an Islamic state instead. There are prominent Muslims (and ex-Muslims) like Salman Rushdie and Hirsi Ali who have called publicly for the reform of Islam just in the past month and they both have to rely on bodyguards for their lives.

“Or if you won't go so far as to promote eradicating the religion, what's your solution? Sequestering any and all believers so that they can't possibly access the technologies required to wreak destruction on us?”

I have stated repeatedly that while we wait out what is likely to be a long bloody struggle for the reform of islam, it would be a good idea to set strict limits on Muslim immigration into the west, or else there is going to be civil war, starting in Europe as the Muslim population reaches a tipping point. A great many people seem surprised to find that 2nd and 3rd generation European Muslims are more radicalized than their docile immigrant parents. I would predict that they will become more radicalized yet as their numbers increase (which will happen rapidly anyway given their high reproductive rate even if Europe stopped all immigration today). This scenario is predictable simply based on the model of Muhammad’s journey from mecca (powerless and peaceful) to medina (powerful and more aggressive). Furthermore, if the European leaders keep pretending that Europe faces no threat from its growing Muslim population, then the everyday Europeans are likely to turn to hard-right fascist governments and things will get mighty ugly indeed.

“I suppose it was Islam's backwardness that gave Spain its gaslit streets,…”

Streetlights huh? Good one.

“As Pape points out, one of the most Islamist regimes in the world is in Sudan, and yet there have been no Sudanese suicide bombers.”

Pointing to the lack of Sudanese suicide bombers merely reinforces the irrelevancy of Pape’s focus on suicide bombing per se vis a vis the overall problem of global Islamic jihad. I don’t think southern Thailand has been tormented by suicide bombings as much as they have been by a lot of Buddhists getting their heads chopped off. But Thailand is still part of the global Islamic jihad.

“I'm in no hurry for your answer, especially since waiting for you to dry out, get over your period, and not get yelled at by your husband might be a matter of several days. I'd prefer the most sober answer you can muster.”

Feel free to change your moniker to “patronizing twit”. I promise I won’t object.

Posted by: Caroline at August 21, 2005 05:43 AM

Sick Fuck,

"Them" being TERRORISTS. 98% of terrorists (THEM, THEM, THEM) are of the Arabian persuasion. We profile ARABS because most terrorists are Arabs. We clear now?

If you prefer to talk about grammar, that's fine, but I'll assume you have no rational argument against profiling besides your silly bleats about "civil liberties".

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