June 28, 2006

Israeli Warplanes Say Hello to Assad

Syria's Bashar Assad was home when Israel sonic boomed his house in Latakiyya. He only continues to breathe because Israel feels like letting him continue to breathe. It must be nice to have morally superior enemies.

UPDATE: Speaking of morally superior enemies, Israel has arrested 60 Hamas members, including ministers in the Palestinian government. The French foreign minister condemned the arrests, but he's just posturing. When you murder civilians this is what happens to you if you're lucky. France wouldn't treat an anti-French terrorist organization so lightly, and neither would any other country. France deports imams for far lesser offenses. Russia is gearing up for a "hunt and destroy" mission in Iraq.

The al-Aksa Martyr's Brigades says they fired a chemical weapon at Israel, which Israel denies. Israelis could, if they felt like it, use that as a pretext for a brutal response. But they aren't.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 28, 2006 08:52 PM
Comments

I dunno, there are days when I feel that vaporizing Bashar Assad would be the moral thing to do...But clearly they feel that, for now, it would be the wrong move.

Posted by: John Tillinghast at June 28, 2006 10:02 PM

And now Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Fatah, claims to have fired a Bio-weapon tipped rocket from Gaza into an Israeli town... and they say they have more.

Link

Posted by: sean at June 28, 2006 10:39 PM

I'm pretty sure Israel is more concerned about a) what follows in Syria if they kill Assad, and b) "international", although especially US, perception of them.

Their "moral superiority" is constantly being threatened -- though I don't hear much talk by UN/ "international law" supporters of whether the Palestinian attack was an act of war, or not.

The Palestinians need to surrender and let Israel live -- the problem is the Palestinian unwillingness to lose. Until they accept that they've lost, and the World pushes them to accept that, there will be a huge problem.
In Palestine, because of the Palestinian attitudes. Increasingly it is their choice, their problem -- they need to change.
(And I've stopped calling them Palis but I wish there was a shorter word for them.)

Surrender is an alternate form of mercy -- the past becomes the past, and the focus of the present is more on the future.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Libertay Dad at June 29, 2006 12:20 AM

Tom, just call them Arabs. That is what they were before Palestine was co opted by them in 67.

Posted by: Jauhara at June 29, 2006 01:12 AM

"And now Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Fatah, claims to have fired a Bio-weapon tipped rocket from Gaza into an Israeli town... and they say they have more."

Sounds like a chicken with avian flu....

Posted by: maor at June 29, 2006 02:48 AM

The Palestinians can't build rockets for sh*t but they can build chemical and biological weapons and a delivery system? They are so full of crap!

Its probibly a cointainer full of A-1 Steak Sauce.

Regarding the kidnappings, the attack against the soldiers, while I am not happy about, at least was a military operation and not against innocent civilians (for once). A prisoner exchange (military prisoners only, not terrorists) seems reasonable.

The two other kidnaps (18 years old student and 60 year old man) WERE terrorists attacks and no negotiations are acceptable.

Posted by: JordanR at June 29, 2006 02:59 AM

Tom: The Palestinians need to surrender

They don't need to surrender. They just need to stop fighting. If they stop fighting they will get more of what they want because negotiations will then take place. If they keep fighting, then Israel will dictate terms as if they had surrendered in war, even if they do not actually surrender. Their friends need to help them understand this.

Jauhara: Tom, just call them Arabs. That is what they were before Palestine was co opted by them in 67.

Most Arab countries are recent 20th century creations. That does not mean "Arabs" are all one lumpen mass. You're buying into the lie of Arab Nationalism - which is really just National Socialism for Arabs - when you say stuff like this. The idea of "Arab" as a category is itself a recent development. That's the real bogus category.

Palestinians are not Lebanese are not Yemenis are not Moroccans.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2006 04:08 AM

Let's hope Israel stops doing what it's done for the past 30 years:

buzz Assad and bomb the lowly help in Lebanon (usually at the start of the tourist season).

How about reversing that pattern just kicks??

Posted by: JoseyWales at June 29, 2006 04:30 AM

In order to win a war, you need to convince the other guy that he's lost the war and must give up his aims. Israel refuses to do what it needs to do to create that reality in the minds of its enemies.

It doesn't help that the rest of the world, with a few notable exceptions, enables these nut-jobs with sympathy and cash. Neither of which they deserve.

Posted by: Steve in NYC at June 29, 2006 04:55 AM

The israelis want total domination and all the resources in the region. America supports them. Noone in the MSM will call them what they are, racist imperialists.
As long as america supports their brutal and chauvanistic repression and humiliation of these people, the palestinians, Israel will do whatever it can get away with.
Its very simple.

Shame on you intelligent people to be so blind and supportive of one of the greatest and longest running oppressions in our times.
Shame on you all.

Posted by: kevser at June 29, 2006 05:29 AM

The Hamas leadership will be sent to Tunisia, probably.

Posted by: Fabian at June 29, 2006 05:51 AM

Thanks for the correction, Michael. I forgot that the Bedouins are some of the staunchest allies that Israel has. And the Christians in the West Bank, what of them there are left, wouldn't like to be marginalized either. I think the fact that we see so many Islamic radicals is enough to confuse and daze the majority of us. Nothing is simple in the Middle East, but after wasting a good hour (waiting for the weather report in Penna.) And not hearing a single word about the kidnappings or the arrest of Hamas leadership...not a fricking word from the network morning news shows, I now am convinced that the only source for news is sites like yours, Michael. Time for me to hit the tip jar again.

Posted by: Jauhara at June 29, 2006 06:02 AM

What lessons can we learn from the fact that the al-Aksa Martyr's Brigade is BRAGGING that they have fired chemical and biological weapons into Israel?

What does it say about the population in which they are trying to gain popularity?

Posted by: A Berman at June 29, 2006 06:19 AM

Michael, I disagree. Hamas and the PLO need to surrender. They need to say so officially and have their noses rubbed in it. No "signals," no "implications." Their surrender needs to be spelled out starkly and in humiliating terms. And they need to apologize. Anything less will be viewed by the Palestinians as some sort of victory.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 29, 2006 07:00 AM

The last supporters of Pan-Arabism in the Middle East are the Israeli left and the Israeli right.

Posted by: Micha at June 29, 2006 07:01 AM

Can't we just hope the kid gets home safe and people can try - even a little bit - to get something resebling a peace process back on track (at least until the Fence is complete)?

There are too many people above who seem almost giddy - or at the very least, glib - about what "comes next."

Michael, btw, is absolutely right about everyone cooling out and hammering out the best available deal. However one feels about the conflict, it is indisputable that maximalist approaches have consistently hurt the Palestinian people. The problem is that even if only 5% of the Palestinian population is radicalized and insists on maximalism, then 100% suffers.

Posted by: Chris at June 29, 2006 07:15 AM

Regarding the kidnappings, the attack against the soldiers, while I am not happy about, at least was a military operation and not against innocent civilians (for once). A prisoner exchange (military prisoners only, not terrorists) seems reasonable.

But the attacks against the soldiers happened inside greenline Israel, on Israeli territory. By your logic, it is perfectly acceptable for al-Qaeda terrorists to kill any American soldier walking around anywhere in America.

Or, according to your logic, a terrorist group could kidnap American soldiers on U.S. soil and then use them as legitimate negotiating tools, not withstanding the fact that Palestinian prisoners in Israel are treated humanely and allowed family visits, etc, whereas Israelis kidnapped by Palestinians are almost always murdered and not afforded any sort of geneva conventions.

Posted by: semite1973 at June 29, 2006 07:16 AM

kevser, you are, truly, an idiot.

Posted by: heinlin at June 29, 2006 08:07 AM

Both left wing Haaretz and the right wing Jerusalem post are reporting that the kidnapped teenager was killed shortly after being taken and that the prisoner exchange was therefore a farce.

Posted by: David at June 29, 2006 08:29 AM

"They don't need to surrender. They just need to stop fighting."
You're mostly wrong--the internal Palestinian feelings of "injustice" can only be overcome by some form of surrender. It is the "injustice" which "justifies" the use of violence, and requires fighting (for honor?).

They can't actually "stop fighting" until AFTER they "surrender". (Now that I write this, I recall the Japanese who "never stopped fighting" until after they are told the Emperor surrendered.)

I think a referendum on explicitly recognizing Israel's right to exist is one form of surrender that could allow Hamas to stop fighting.

It might even be now, as Israel picks up and detains all the Hamas / Palestinian leadership, and the PR folk of Hamas complain about all the attention given to "one Israeli soldier". Perhaps Israel won't let them go until they recognize Israel's existence? Perhaps they'll try the Hamas leaders as accessories to the murder of the two other soldiers killed?

Posted by: Tom Grey - Libertay Dad at June 29, 2006 08:34 AM

Seymour, I argued with Michael that the Israeli pullout from S Lebanon would be spun as a "victory" for the Palestinians and would lead to an uprising. So, I do not say the following lightly... they should not be forced to apologize or have their faces rubbed in their defeat. People who go through this tend to turn into NAZIS, literarly. I would be fine if they simply grudgingly recognized their military inferiority and got on with accepting Israel as a state alongside their own. The situation right before Oslo failed was fine with me. Let's get back to there. Isnt that sad? What year was that? What a waste the last few years have been... except now maybe the Palestinians can say they tried armed resistance, and failed.

Posted by: sean at June 29, 2006 08:35 AM

BTW, if Russia says they are authorizing Spec Ops to "hunt and destroy" the Iraqi kidnappers... they best look out. These are the folks who famously mailed the testes of a Volga ganster's son to him after a similar exchange.

Posted by: sean at June 29, 2006 08:38 AM

Kevser: The israelis want total domination and all the resources in the region.

Look out Dubai! The Joooos are gonna getcha!

Calm down, Kevser. Try to get a grip in reality.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2006 09:06 AM

"The israelis want total domination and all the resources in the region. America supports them. Noone in the MSM will call them what they are, racist imperialists."

Good call! I forgot "imperialist" in my liberal dictionary.

http://citizenleauki.joeuser.com/index.asp?aid=81628

I have "racist". I should add "total domination", I suppose. What does it mean?

Is it "keeping a small piece of land for the Jewish population"? Or is it more generally "not accepting random attacks"?

Would you use the same term for, say, Syria, if Jewish terrorists kidnapped a soldier and Syria invaded Israel? (Do you use the same term for Arab countries invading Israel?)

I need to know.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at June 29, 2006 09:35 AM

Sean: I do see your point; history might even argue for it, like the horrible Versailles Treaty, making Germany into a victim, leading to the rise of the Nazis.

But I think the situation in the ME is different, for several reasons. First, the Palis, as are many (most?) Arabs, infected with Nazi-like views toward Jews. So, regarding your point about making them into Nazis, you're too late.

Also, the Arabs seem to thrive on unclarity. Witness this b.s. about their Prisoner's statement. Says nothing really, but many want to pretend it means something. If the Palis aren't forced into abject surrender, with unambiguous statements of surrender, they will be able to claim victory and later on believe their own hype.

I'm not in Israel. So, I feel it's a little disingenuous for me to urge certain policies on the Israelis, since I will not feel any consequences. However, I do have opinions and I feel the Palis need to be punished. They've lost electrical power; they should lose more. The greater the destruction and pain visited on them, the more likely they will learn a lesson.

Someone once said (I think about Arabs or Germans, but it certainly applies to Arabs) they are either at your feet or in your face.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 29, 2006 09:43 AM

Andrew Bream,

For your analogy to work, the Israeli government would have to refuse Syria's right to exist, routinely massacre civilians in Damascus, Aleppo, Hama, Homs, and Latakiyya, and threaten to conquer and annex those cities forever.

Syria would be well within its rights to invade Israel under such conditions.

It seems Kevser believes something like this is actually happening.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2006 09:44 AM

"For your analogy to work, the Israeli government would have to refuse Syria's right to exist, routinely massacre civilians in Damascus, Aleppo, Hama, Homs, and Latakiyya, and threaten to conquer and annex those cities forever."

I know. I am just trying to figure out what all the words he used mean to him. The dictionary is a joke!

"Syria would be well within its rights to invade Israel under such conditions."

Of course.

"It seems Kevser believes something like this is actually happening."

Probably. I was only wondering if he would use the same words if the roles (in his version of history) were reversed. I doubt it.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at June 29, 2006 09:52 AM

The problem is the militant groups, which are heart and soul the creatures of Syria and Iran, and it's long past time we all stopped pretending things are in any way otherwise.

The proper response would be to level Assad's palace, preferably with Assad inside, and give notice the government centers in Damascus are next if their Palestinian proxies keep lobbing explosives into Israel. And Iran should be warned that if Hizbollah is not held in check, Tehran is not inviolable either — and worst-case, neither are its oil fields. If these regimes want to wage war against Israel, they should be made to suffer the consequences themselves rather than cruelly using the Palestinians to buffer the blowback.

Would it work? Ask Gaddafi. He's been pretty quiet since Reagan hit him where he lived.

Ask yourself this, too: what would the U.S. do if Mexico demanded we return Texas, started referring to it as "the occupied territory," and began arming Hispanic separatist groups who fired missiles into our cities?

Posted by: TallDave at June 29, 2006 10:27 AM

Seymour,

The only thing you get right is that the ME is different from Germany circa 1919. Good going on that one.

You wrote: "First, the Palis, as are many (most?) Arabs, infected with Nazi-like views toward Jews. So, regarding your point about making them into Nazis, you're too late."

That is some of the most ignorant, racist BS I have ever heard in my life. Palestinians/Arabs = Nazis?!?!?! Are you kidding?

You wrote: "Also, the Arabs seem to thrive on unclarity. Witness this b.s. about their Prisoner's statement…. If the Palis aren't forced into abject surrender, with unambiguous statements of surrender, they will be able to claim victory and later on believer their own hype."

First of all, the prisoner was not taken hostage by "the Arabs," as you clearly suggest by using the word "their." If you can't tell the difference between an "Arab" and a "terrorist," then you are a First Team All-World Bigot. Second, why don't try – for a second at least – to see it from the perspective of a run of the mill Palestinian. Maybe a family of farmers who lost their homes when Israel expelled them in 1948, or maybe some Palestinian kids just trying to go to school and make a better life for themselves but get detained at checkpoints for 5 hours a day (sometimes more) because of the actions of radical militants they've never met. Whatever one thinks about the right of Israel to exist, it did just sort of show up on the Palestinians doorstep due to a situation in Europe they had nothing to do with, and whatever you think about the post-1948 history of state-level conflict in the region, the trend has clearly been that Palestinians have lost land and Israelis have gained land. This is not to make a value judgement either way, but to make clear that when you talk about forcing Palestinians into "abject surrender," you are talking about the worst kind of victor's hubris. You are talking about taking a people that have not been treated well by the last 60 years of history, and you are talking about rubbing their nose in it and pouring salt over some very open wounds. You could at least afford them the dignity of their correct name- the Palestinians – instead of slurring them with "the Palis."

Posted by: Chris at June 29, 2006 10:41 AM

The extremists should just accept Israel is here to stay and will never be "an Islamic waqf".

That's all there's to it.

But there are loads of people supporting the 1. judenrein independent Palestinian state, and 2. a "return" to houses left 3 generations ago in Israel idea.

That, obviously won't work. And, it just doesn't seem like they wanna give up.

Tse.

Posted by: tsedek at June 29, 2006 10:42 AM

"Second, why don't try – for a second at least – to see it from the perspective of a run of the mill Palestinian."

What makes you think that Israelis are not trying to do exactly that?

They might just arrive at a different conclusion because of their own experience.

For example, the majority of Israelis are children and grand-children of Jews that were thrown out of Arab countries, perhaps even farmers.

In contrast to the Palestinian Arabs they were never told that they could return once their original home country was "liberated". And in contrast to Palestinian Arabs they have never been treated as refugees by the UN, and they have no hope of compensation.

I believe that these Israelis understand the situation of the Palestinian Arabs very well indeed.

But very few of them support attacks on Arab civilians in Iraq or Egypt or whatever country they had to leave.

"That is some of the most ignorant, racist BS I have ever heard in my life. Palestinians/Arabs = Nazis?!?!?! Are you kidding?"

You don't know the connection between Arafats uncle and Hitler on the one hand and between Arab nationalism and German nationalism on the other? That is possible, but that doesn't make your opponent "ignorant" or a "racist".

I put it to you that you used these words INSTEAD of looking up the connection. Isn't that true?

"If you can't tell the difference between an "Arab" and a "terrorist," then you are a First Team All-World Bigot."

He could be an Israeli. Considering that 80% of Palestinian Arabs supported the most extreme of the terrorist groups (while the rest voted for the moderate terrorist group), the difference is perhaps hard to tell.

"Palestinian kids just trying to go to school and make a better life for themselves but get detained at checkpoints for 5 hours a day (sometimes more) because of the actions of radical militants they've never met"

Hardly Israel's fault. If the terrorists would not (ab)use children for their ends, Israel would never have considered detaining children at checkpoints. It's too expensive and serves no possible good (for the Jews) purpose.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at June 29, 2006 10:54 AM

I like TallDave's observations. I used to share some of Kevser's hallucinatory delusions about the rights of the Palestinians, but then the reality of Arafat's kleptocratic rule and his refusal to accept four/fifths of a loaf finally removed the scales from my eyes. On my road to Damascus, I also realized that the Syrian Baathist Alawite oligarchy was more "imperialist" than any other state in the region---and its de-facto alliance with Iran makes it a continual threat to peace in the Levant.

The Israelis should mount an Entebbe raid on Damascus---or at a minimum a targeted assassination---of the Hamas terrorist HQ in that capital. Syria has to be held accountable for its support of terrorism---even if it is buying US forbearance by trade-offs vis-a-vis Iraq.

Bashir is a pale incompetent optometrist, and should either move back to London or grab control of his own governing elites---including the five intelligence services that make the country a nest of terrorists.

Posted by: dave's world at June 29, 2006 10:54 AM

You wrote: "'Second, why don't try – for a second at least – to see it from the perspective of a run of the mill Palestinian.'

What makes you think that Israelis are not trying to do exactly that?"

I didn't say they weren't. I was clearly responding to Seymour, who clearly does not try and take that approach.

You wrote: "For example, the majority of Israelis are children and grand-children of Jews that were thrown out of Arab countries, perhaps even farmers."

That is empirically and demonstrably false.

You wrote: "'That is some of the most ignorant, racist BS I have ever heard in my life. Palestinians/Arabs = Nazis?!?!?! Are you kidding?'

You don't know the connection between Arafats uncle and Hitler on the one hand and between Arab nationalism and German nationalism on the other? That is possible, but that doesn't make your opponent 'ignorant' or a 'racist'."

First of all, I was addressing a comment made by Seymour saying that Palestinians and the majority of Arabs have been "infected" by Nazi ideology and transformed into Nazis. That remark speaks for itself. Second, "the connection between Arafat's uncle and Hitler" does not mean the Palestinians/Arabs are the same as Nazis. Neither does pointing out the similarities between Arab and "German" nationalism.

Andrew,

You wrote: "'If you can't tell the difference between an 'Arab' and a 'terrorist,' then you are a First Team All-World Bigot.'

He could be an Israeli."

That is irrelevant. Nationality doesn't give you a free pass for equating "Arabs" and "terrorists."

Posted by: Chris at June 29, 2006 11:11 AM

"You wrote: "For example, the majority of Israelis are children and grand-children of Jews that were thrown out of Arab countries, perhaps even farmers."

That is empirically and demonstrably false."

Nope.

But I would be curious as to how you would demonstrate that it's false.

"First of all, I was addressing a comment made by Seymour saying that Palestinians and the majority of Arabs have been "infected" by Nazi ideology and transformed into Nazis."

So what is your counter-argument? If one claim is that Arab Palestinians have been infected by the Nazi ideology (of nationalism and anti-semitism, I think), and that the connections between the Palestinian leader and the Nazis as well as their Arab allies and the Nazis are (some of) the arguments; what are the arguments for the counter-claim?

"That is irrelevant. Nationality doesn't give you a free pass for equating "Arabs" and "terrorists.""

Nationality is irrelevant, location is not. I assume that if you live in Israel and actually see Palestinian Arabs voting for terrorist parties, the disctinction between "Arab" and "terrorist" is not quite as clear as one might want it to be.

What percentage of Palestinian Arabs do you think are not supporting the terrorists and what is the argument for that thesis?

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at June 29, 2006 11:18 AM

Chris,

That is some of the most ignorant, racist BS I have ever heard in my life. Palestinians/Arabs = Nazis?!?!?! Are you kidding? ... "Second, why don't try – for a second at least – to see it from the perspective of a run of the mill Palestinian."

In fact, the Nazi analogy actually pretty apt. Most Nazis were ordinary Germans, duped/coerced into following evil leaders and carrying out evil acts by clever propaganda and violent repression.

It's hard, I think, for Westerners to appreciate just how pervasive and destructive the influence of Iran, Syria, Egypt, etc., is. From cradle to grave, schoolroom to newspaper to mosque, Palestinians spend their entire lives steeped in hate propaganda. It's brainwashing -- and it's paid for by the people who have a direct interest in fomenting conflict.

Posted by: TallDave at June 29, 2006 11:33 AM

It is absolutely ridiculous to go on claiming that the "majority of Israelis are children and grand-children of Jews that were thrown out of Arab countries." It is empirically and demonstrably false, and I would point you in the direction of any survey or census done on Israeli demographics in the last 5 years. How about this: you show me a legit census proving 50.0001% or more Israelis have or had relatives who were thrown out of Arab countries, and I'll post a YouTube video of me eating my hat?

My counter argument to the statement that the majority of Arabs and Palestinians have been "infected" by Nazi ideology, and are themselves an updated version of Nazis, is the millions and millions of Arabs all over the world who have not taken any part in a grand project to wipe all Jews off the map. Seymour committed a blatant fallacy by assigning the ideology of the radicals who get on the news to all Arabs and Palestinians. Equating Nazis and Arabs is ignorant, racist garbage.

One more thing for Andrew. I criticized Seymour for equating Arabs to terrorists, and then you tried to excuse him by saying he might be "Israeli" and therefore might have a privileged perspective over this argument. I responded by saying nationality doesn't give a free pass for equating Arabs and terrorists, racism is racism, yada yada yada. You respond – like a complete idiot – by saying "nationality is irrelevant, location is not." Then why did you use the word "ISRAELI"!?!?!?! Why didn't you say "maybe he lives in Israel"?

I don't want to put words in your mouth, but clearly you believe that racism is justifiable if you are an Israeli, which is just sad.

Posted by: Chris at June 29, 2006 11:56 AM

Israeli moral superiority is precisely why this war is still raging going on 60 years after it started. The jews need to learn from us gentiles how to win a proper war and finish off their enemies for good. Essentially Israel needs to pound their enemy into the dust to such a degree that surrender and peace will come to the Arabs as a sweet merciful relief from the misery of war. Much like we did to the Nazis and Japs. These dopey morally superior jews have never done that, and they're paying for it. They will always pay for it as long as these Arabs crave war more than peace. And why shouldn't they crave war? Israeli threats ring hollow in the ears of their enemies.

Posted by: Carlos at June 29, 2006 11:57 AM

Chris, I think others have replied to some of your points rather well, especially about the Arab (really nowadays Moslem)-Nazi connection. It is wide and deep. Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are big sellers in Arab countries; Egyptian TV broadcast a multipart series based on the Protocols; blood libel stories abound on Arab TV, as do Nazi-like cartoons. And of course during the Nazi period, there was close cooperation between leading Arabs (principally Arafat's uncle, the Grand Mufti) and Hitler. So, I think the Nazi analogy is very apt and correct. Moslems and Arab Moslems in particular are very steeped in Nazi-like views of Jews. This is taught in Moslem schools, as has been well documented.

Frankly, that alone for me is sufficient to cancel out any sympathy I might have for them. Purveyors of Nazi thinking deserve no consideration whatsoever. The world is a better place without them.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 29, 2006 11:59 AM

Oh, by the way, I'm American, living safely in NYC a few short miles from the World Trade Center. Apart from greater familiarity, I don't think nationality grants privilege for any view.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 29, 2006 12:02 PM

Seymour,

I don't think anyone here is denying that the likes of Hamas (and the Baathists) can be fairly compared with the Nazis in some ways. But let's not conflate Hamas with Arabs in general.

Arabs are not a lumpen nationalist mass.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2006 12:30 PM

The love of all things Nazi among Arabs (principally, Moslem Arabs) speaks volumes. People actually name their children "Hitler" in the Palestinian terrorities. Nazi imagry pervades the Arab press and (gradually) the non-Arab moslem press. The roots go back to the 1930s. None of this could exist in a hostile environment for so long. For Arabs (again, mainly Moslem), Jews are the root of all evil. You can read this in 100s of sermons by imans.

During the Nazi years, there were many Germans who opposed Hitler. In WWII, we also killed a lot of them as well. There are a few Moslem Arabs who have published articles decrying the Arab hatred of Jews, but theirs are very few and far between.

As far as I'm concerned, unless some poll (and the Pew polls bear out my assessments: Jordan, for instance, is 100% anti-Semitic, the only country which hit 100%) shows otherwise, Moslem Arabs are deep into Nazism and as such deserve no sympathy at all.

There is a detailed and great study about the Nazi-Arab connection, which I think is on my home computer. If I can find it, I'll put it in a comment. The depth of the connection was amazing to me, as it continues to this day, with a host of Holocaust deniers roasted and hosted by Islamic groups.

They paint themselves with the Nazi brush. This is their choice.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 29, 2006 01:00 PM

Seymour: Moslem Arabs are deep into Nazism and as such deserve no sympathy at all.

Well, some of them are and some of them aren't. Some of them are pro-Israel. Most are somewhere in between. Mileage varies according to nationality, type of education, religious sect (Sunni, Sufi, Shia, Wahhabi, etc.), personal disposition, and other factors.

Reading the Arab press mostly tells you the party lines of the dictators. The only real exceptions are Lebanon and Iraq.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2006 01:09 PM

I do appreciate your comments about this. I read a lot each day on the web, comment and articles, MEMRI-transcribed speeches and sermons, news reports, etc. What I have encountered is amazingly ugly. The Pew polls back up my conclusion, as well (as I mentioned). Not to say that individuals you might encounter cannot be good people.

It is not easy, however, to elicit true feelings about sensitive subjects from anyone, let alone when you are visiting a foreign country.

In the 1930s sociologists visited Communist-controlled China near where Mao was hiding out from the Nationalists. They interviewed peasants on a variety of topics, especially how life was under Communist rule. Now, life may have been wonderful, but the peasants, although illiterate, were not idiots. There was nothing to be gained by telling foreigners what they thought, if they hated the Communists.

Simliarly, although I'm only guessing, Moslem Arabs probably know how most Westerners feel about Nazis and overt anti-Semitism, and so avoid expressing it. There was a piece on this by a reporter in Iraq who said that anti-Semitism was like the air, it was everywhere. (I've read where the Iraqis often refer to the Amerians as "Jews").

As an atheist Jew, my feelings about such people are the same as they are for the Nazis: get rid of them. Why should I feel any different?

Their religion itself instructs them to hate and kill Jews. Can we afford to pretend this dosesn't exist?

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 29, 2006 01:40 PM

Seymour,

You have written the two following statements today:

1. "First, the Palis, as are many (most?) Arabs, infected with Nazi-like views toward Jews. So, regarding your point about making them into Nazis, you're too late."

2. "As an atheist Jew, my feelings about [Moslem Arabs] are the same as they are for the Nazis: get rid of them."

Are you advocating "getting rid" of "the Palis" and "many (most?) Arabs"?

Posted by: Chris at June 29, 2006 02:09 PM

History has shown that the only way you can defeat a pernicious idea is to utterly defeat the proponents of that idea. The Palestinians have yet to suffer the true implications of what they have been begging for -- a war with Israel.

They want a war. They voted for Hamas. In the words of Roy Orbison, "Baby, you got it."

Posted by: SWLiP at June 29, 2006 02:24 PM

Chris and the others who are arguing against you:

Fact is, you DO have to look at it from the Palestinians' perspective... the people not the corrupt leadership. Read that last line again.

We should all realize that all leaders in this conflict (that includes Israeli, Syrian, Palestinian, etc...) are out to grab more power and resources for themselves and/or masters. The people at the top are all rich and fat while their people suffer. They want it that way.

That's as basic as it gets. The people on all sides are generally decent like any bunch of human beings. Their leaders are imposing and prolonging the dire situations that lead to desperation and extreme acts of violence. The Palestinain people (not leaders) have lived with a boot on their necks for the last 60 years after having their land and homes stripped from them. HOW THE HELL DO YOU NOT EXPECT THEM TO "LOSE IT" AND COMMIT THESE ACTS OF TERROSISM? This, they have been told, is their only way of "fighting back" or "dealing with it". They are a product of nurture, not nature. We should blame all the leaders on all sides for this.

As for the Isrealis, same goes. Don't blame the people. They see a bus blown to bits with people on it torn to shreds. HOW THE HELL DO YOU EXPECT THEM TO REACT? At least for the Isrealis, they have a recourse for "dealing with it"... they let their army do the talking. Otherwise, I suspect that they, like any other bunch of human beings, would do whatever they can to "fight back", that is resort to violent acts terrorism.

Summary: People good. Leaders bad. Don't need to go any deeper.

Posted by: Nadim at June 29, 2006 02:48 PM

Nadim: HOW THE HELL DO YOU NOT EXPECT THEM TO "LOSE IT" AND COMMIT THESE ACTS OF TERROSISM?

I don't expect the Palestinians to emulate Ghandi. But perhaps they could learn something from Iraq's Kurds. The Kurds had it far worse under Saddam than the Palestinians have had it under the Israelis. And yet the Kurds of Iraq do not deny the Sunni Triangle's right to exist, nor do they massacre civilians in Tikrit and Baghdad.

The Palestinian terrorists (Hamas, at any rate) lay claim to Tel Aviv and Haifa. I expect better, and they will continue to get their asses kicked until they stop it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2006 03:00 PM

Michael,

Good point. Of course, it also helps that the Kurds also aren't the victims of decades of tyrant-sponsored brainwashing.

I found your revelation that the Lebanese Palestinian camps are worse more than a little startling. I mean, it's one thing to realize the Palis are being used, but it seems like their ostensible benefactors don't really even pretend to help in any way that doesn't hurt Israel.

Posted by: TallDave at June 29, 2006 03:19 PM

Nadim: What a load of b.s. The people on all sides are generally decent like any bunch of human beings. Oh, right! That's why the "generally decent" Palestinians voted for Hamas and why they celebrate all attacks on Israel and Jews. In fact, due to their being "generally decent" they celebrated the attacks on 9/11. Please. The Palestinians voted for Hamas and knew exactly was it was when they did that. They are getting exactly what they wanted: a war with Israel. They are a remarkably stupid people.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 29, 2006 03:20 PM

Michael, the Kurds also have their own reasonably large fitting state, they have something to identify with, they have a country.

Cheers

Posted by: Lira at June 29, 2006 03:54 PM

نديم

لا تتعب نفسك مع أشخاص مثل سايمور

فهو لا يعرف غير لغة الحقد في قاموسه

Posted by: Lira at June 29, 2006 04:01 PM

I'd be interested in the justification for the thesis that the majority of Palestinians voted for a terrorist party.

Accepting, for the sake of the discussion that Hamas is a terrorist organization. But I suspect you could make a much stronger case (if you actually troubled to talk to Palestinian voters) that what they actually voted for was a party which was not as massively corrupt as Fatah and had done a demonstrably competent job of running various Palestinian towns.

To take a parallel you may be able to grasp: I know a fairly large number of fiscal conservative, life-long Republicans (me included), who are voting for Democrats this fall. Not because they have any use for that party's view of the world. But just because they cannot stand the corrupt and incompetent administration the United States has at the moment.

Posted by: wj at June 29, 2006 04:10 PM

Lira, thanks for your supportive comment.

Seymour, your comment shows that you are "intentionally stupid" and Michael "has contempt for (intentionally) stupid people"... just so you know my friend.

I refer to the fact that you believe that a whole people can be indecent by nature as your post implies. This is a racist belief.

I believe that any two large groups of people will behave in the same way if nurtured (treated, educated, etc...) in the same way. I am contending that the Palestinian people's treatment by their own, Arab and Israeli leaders has led to their "extreme" behaviour (substitute any of the exanples you mentioned for "extreme").

That's it. Simple. If you need a simpler example to wrap your mind around, think of a child raised in a broken home with a single drug addicted mother who beats and abuses him. How do you expect the child to turn out as an adult? Pretty f'd up, no? Now, substitue Palestinian people for child and the above mentioned leaders for the mother.... ahhhh is it coming together for you now?

Sorry to write in a condescending manner, but I like MT, have contempt for stupid racist people.

Posted by: Nadim at June 29, 2006 04:16 PM

Lira: Michael, the Kurds also have their own reasonably large fitting state, they have something to identify with, they have a country

Actually, they don't have a country. They have semi-autonomy in Iraq. When they did not have that semi-autonomy they fought honorably even though they were outnumbered and outgunned by a militarily superior genocidal enemy that erased 95 percent of their villages from the face of the earth.

It's too late for the Palestinians to emulate Iraq's Kurds. But it is not too late for them to stop murdering civilians on purpose and negotiate a settlement like civilized adults.

They're in a horrible position, and I sympathize. Really, I do. But I cannot sympathize with those who want to conquer all of Israel and who murder children for Allah.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2006 04:37 PM

Nadim,

the lousy thing about democracy is that we get the leaders we deserve. The palestinians deserve Hamas because that's who they voted for. They have no excuse.

The palestinians don't want a two-state solution. And that means perpetual war. And perpetual misery for the palestinians. It couldn't happen to more deserving people.

Posted by: Carlos at June 29, 2006 05:04 PM

Actually, Carlos, polls show that a majority of Palestinians do want a two-state solution. The party they voted for does not.

They had a truly hideous set of options.

The best thing that can happen in the short term is Hamas gets a punishing reality check that has been a long time coming. Arresting 60 of them in one swoop is a great start. Now if only Israel will hold them for the duration of the conflict, and continue rounding them up until they change their attitude or are all in leg irons.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2006 05:11 PM

I agree with Nadim.
Tse.

Posted by: tsedek at June 29, 2006 05:23 PM

Carlos:

++++++++
The Peace Process in the Post Hamas’ Victory

* 75% want Hamas to negotiate peace with Israel
* Majority supports the implementation of the Road Map and a majority supports a mutual recognition of Israel as the state for the Jewish people under conditions of peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state in a two-state solution
+++++++++++

http://www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2006/p19e.html

Posted by: tsedek at June 29, 2006 05:26 PM

Carlos,

The vote for Hamas was another example of "extreme" behaviour brought on by 60 years of desperation and mistreatment. Do you think that if Palestinians were prosperous they'd support Hamas? I hate to keep repeating myself, but what the heck to you expect of a desperate people. You cannot sit in your ivory towers and pass judgement on a whole population without walking a mile in their shoes. Any group of people, of any ethicity would have reacted similarly had they been treated like the Palestinians for 60 years.

It's so simple that it infuriates me when people don't get it and start passing moral judgements. Of course we should all deplore violent acts, of any kind. All I'm saying is what the f*** do you expect? You poke a cute friendly puppy with a stick enough times and he will turn vicious (guys I am half Palestinian but never been there, the puppy is just to illustrate an example :) ).

Treat the cause, not the symptom. And so on... how many tired cliches and analogies must I bring up before the blind will see??!!

Posted by: Nadim at June 29, 2006 05:28 PM

There will not be peace until the Palestinians come to grips with their past. They have been screwed over by their leaders for decades, and when the do, they will realize they will have a true ally with Israel, the other outcast in the middle east.

Posted by: bill at June 29, 2006 05:45 PM

Here is an article from Daniel Pipes,(its mainly a analysis of the Pew poll) which I suppose strengthens the claim mentioned above about the nazification of the within the Moslem community.

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/3706

Posted by: Yukel101 at June 29, 2006 05:47 PM

Awww, Nadim. Let's just hug it out! Maybe you're right, the Palestinians just need some nurturing and love, perhaps a kind caress, a kiss, even. Yeah, that's right. Give them a kiss and they'll stop killing. What's that phase: All you need is love?

People are nothing by nature, aside from genetic dispositions of some sort. The Palestinians have been raised in a horrific environment, largely of their own making. But that doesn't excuse a thing.

But what say you of the Palestinians spiritual ancestors, the Nazis. Who raised them bad? And what about the other Moslems, like the Taliban, AQ, the Moslem Brotherhood, basically all of Saudi Arabia, the Nigerians in the north of Nigeria? What made them all horrible? Well, actually, there is an answer: Islam.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 29, 2006 05:56 PM

If the palestinians truly do want a two-state solution, then I stand corrected, and I am encouraged by that. It didn't seem that way based on their electing Hamas. But they really show lousy judgment in who they chose as leaders. Are times tough all around? Sure they are. But who chose to reject the U.N. partition plan in the first place? That plan was quite generous compared to anything Oslo would have given them. Yet they rejected it. It seems they've been making the wrong call ever since, over and over again. Yes, it sucks to be palestinian, but whose fault is that? Whose fault is it that Israel is going to reoccupy Gaza? The answer seems obvious to me.

Posted by: Carlos at June 29, 2006 06:16 PM

Seymour,

Based on your hateful points of view, I think you can use a few hugs and kisses yourself. You and Carlos should consider getting together and hugging for a while. It would help us all....

I agree with you when you say "People are nothing by nature" which is what I have been trying to say. However, I disagree with the "largely of their own making" bit. Come on! Let's pass the blame around where deserved.

I wish you'd read my posts more carefully. I do blame all the Arab leaders and "organizations" you mention (and many more). They're all assholes feeding on their people. But to them I add Israeli leaders and Western leaders (who prop up the Arab despots). As to who's worse (Western, Israeli or Arab leaders), well, that depends on when and where, so no sense in discussing that. It evens out. They're all essentailly equal in blame.

As for your Islam theory, how many Moslems do you know? I myself am not one, but have lived in a mostly Moslem society all my life. Though I don't subscribe to all their beliefs (nor to any religion's), I have to tell you, that's not it!!! No seymour, listen, just Listen. Religion is simply the most effective tool that can be used to herd a largely uneducated, impoverished people. You can substitute any religion here. It so happens that these people are Moslem.

Posted by: Nadim at June 29, 2006 06:29 PM

Well, you can't substitute any religion for Islam and get the same results. Nearly no one wants to move to a Moslem country (except Michael). Every one is a rather rotten place to live, including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Turkey; and of course all the Arab states, Iran (which hung two young gay men for being gay), Afghanistan (where a mob tried to kill a man because he became a Christian), Pakistan (where Christians are under constant attack), Egypt (again, heavy discrimination and attack on Christians), Iraq, a total basket case, Bangladesh, Northern Nigeria (where a mob stoned a 20-year-old girl to death recently), and so on. The one thing these miserable places have in common is Islam. And in Europe, where Moslems are concentrated, like Malmo in Sweden, Swedes and especially girls, are in jeopardy; the police and emergency services have constant problems; of course Jews are under seige. Moslems bring misery, mob violence, murder, fundamentalism whereever they go.

As for your excuses for the wretched behavior of the Palestinians, they are just that: excuses. Like saying a murderer should be excused because he had a lousy childhood. Since 1948, when faced with a choice, the Palestinians have made the wrong ones. Their lives are total shit and they've brought this on themselves. The Israelis, finding a desert, made a garden, by themselves, while facing implacable enemies. The Moslems, finding a desert, basically defecated on themselves and then blamed others for their mess.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 29, 2006 09:46 PM

Seymour,

Have you ever been to the places you're talking about? Do you really think Turkey, for instance, is a rotten place to live?

I realize I may be a bit weird, but even my typical suburban mother loved Lebanon.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2006 10:17 PM

Personally, I think statements like "I believe that any two large groups of people will behave in the same way if nurtured (treated, educated, etc...) in the same way." are ethnocentric in the extreme as it supposes that all people value the same things and think the same way.

If all men valued sexual opportunity the same way, why are some men faithful to their wives and some men not.

If all women valued children the same way, why do some women have children, yet others pursue careers.

If all people valued each other the same way, why do some people rape and kill and some console and heal.

And why do these different people frequently come from the same families, an environment about as identical as one can get in this world.

Now, given that individuals within the same families are different, how exactly do you intend to show that persons from vastly different cultures aren’t different? Western cultures are guilt based and Eastern cultures are shame based and the behaviors that follow from that are and always will be very different.

The slaughter of Jews by Palestinians (or even Palestinian persons accused of collaborating the Jews or even French, American, or Romanian people visiting the Jews) is perfectly natural in a shame-based culture. Beating to death Jewish soldiers and waving your bloody hands in the air to boast and celebrate the fact is perfectly natural in a shame-based culture. Shooting a woman and 4 children in the head at close range and posting their dying pictures on the Internet is perfectly natural in a shame-based culture.

Why? Because in a shame based culture the onus is never on you to stop yourself from doing something "bad". The onus is on the victim to be strong enough not to let it happen. Actions are only bad if you get caught and a stronger tribe/family knows on whom to retaliate (again, only in a tribal sense, as killing your cousin, who was miles away from the rape scene, is as perfectly acceptable as killing you, the actual rapist, for example).

Since western rule of law usurps retaliation to law and war (and the rules, thereof, observed only by us and never them), the Palestinians have long learned they have nothing to fear, and as such, no barbarity is beneath them. This statement has nothing to do with contempt for or hatred of Palestinian; it is the logical conclusion of behaviors of shame-based cultures.

The idea that Palestinian genocide is necessary, has very little to do with hatred or contempt of Palestinians, although, many people do hate them. Genocide is the only factor strong enough to cause a behavioral change to shame based cultures, as the tribe is no longer strong enough to prevent retaliation.

Therefore negotiation with the stronger - genocidal - tribe is actually desirable; not just window dressing. The negotiated settlements will be immediately discarded however, upon the recovery of the tribe to sufficient numbers as to retaliate unless a replacing behavior has taken strong enough root within the tribal culture itself. One of the reasons that tribal warfare was usually total as that it was the only way to insure that victory remained decided.

Under the current situation, the average Palestinian has not prospered, although many posers like Arafat have. However, in terms of numbers, the Palestinians as a tribe has mushroomed. They have no reason to desire an end to the situation. Tribally speaking, it has never been better. So the death of 1000 cuts against Israel will continue until 1) the Israelis are dead or 2) the Palestinians are dead or are a small enough tribe they can no longer make war.

There are no alternatives. There never were any alternatives. But romantic notions die hard.

A quick note for those unfamiliar with anthropological analysis: I am speaking statistically. Guilt-based cultures contain shame-based sub-cultures, families, and individuals; shame-based cultures, the reverse.

Posted by: Adriane at June 29, 2006 10:34 PM

Michael -

Cuba is a great place to live...

If you just happen to be fidel.

Posted by: Adriane at June 29, 2006 10:41 PM

Sometimes I really hate writing about this subject.

Adriane, am I reading you right? Are you advocating a policy of genocide against Paletinians? It would seem so, but please correct me if I'm wrong. I do not want to get something like this wrong.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2006 01:11 AM

MJT said: Actually, they don't have a country. They have semi-autonomy in Iraq. When they did not have that semi-autonomy they fought honorably even though they were outnumbered and outgunned by a militarily superior genocidal enemy that erased 95 percent of their villages from the face of the earth.

Drawing a parallel, how hard would it be for the Palestinians to form an Army that will square off with the Israeli Army in the streets of Gaza and the West Bank?

Posted by: Lira at June 30, 2006 02:26 AM

Lira,

It would be impossible so there is no point trying.

There is also, fortunately, no need. The Palestinians do not have to beat the Israeli army unless they want to conquer all of Israel. (And some of them do.) All they have to do is stop fighting and say yes and they will have more than what the Kurds of Iraq have right now.

Israel is not like Saddam Hussein's Iraq. It is a much easier country to deal with. Jordan doesn't have any problems with Israel anymore for a very simple reason: King Hussein decided he was tired of fighting.

Israel is tired of fighting. When the Palestinians get tired of fighitng the war will be over. They can stop it any time they feel like it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2006 03:04 AM

Thank you for responding to me.
I have to admit that i didnt express myself as well as i wanted to.

What i wanted to say was, that as long as there is a very clear and orchestrated media bias in favor of israel, and american supports them regardless of their actions, then there can never be a fair solution.
(Of course there are some nazi types here who speak of destroying these people, i cannot argue with you if you are of this disposition.)

I have said it before i'm sure, but it bears repeating. In almost any conflict when a third party interferes or guarantees unconditional support for one side, no solution is possible.
Why should Israel make any compromises when they dont have to?
This is the situation as i see it.
And in order to sell this state of affairs to a wider international audience, there exists a very concerted effort to show the palestinain people as
uncivilised, self destructive and evil.
While Israel is constantly given the benefit of the doubt, its internal reports are presented as objective, and there is a massive underreporting of the daily humiliation and oppression of the palestinain people.
I dont see my position as racist or uninformed. (Michael, your jooos comment was entirely inappropriate)

Posted by: kevser at June 30, 2006 03:12 AM

I really liked blade runnerr too!
I wish there were more well made sci-fi flicks out there.
ou could count them on three fingers.

Posted by: kevser at June 30, 2006 04:08 AM

Adriane, am I reading you right? Are you advocating a policy of genocide against Paletinians? It would seem so, but please correct me if I'm wrong. I do not want to get something like this wrong.

Dunno about Adriane, but it's pretty clear to me that the problem is that the palestinians (or possibly just their leaders) don't know they're beaten, and keep thinking that if they keep fighting, this time it'll be different.

The palestinians need to be defeated so soundly that the fantasies of pusing Israel into the Med are utterly dispelled. Fighting of the intensity and scale necessary to accomplish that will have consequences for civilians, even if they are not targeted directly.

The alternative is accepting that the palestinians will continue to pull this low-level terrorist insurgent crap for the rest of time.

The palestinians are lucky they have morally superior enemies. A lot of other nations have been in similar positions, and resolved it in ways that weren't morally superior- but they didn't have the problem any more.

I have a great deal of respect for the Israelis. I know my own government would not be nearly as restrained if it was in a similar position.

Posted by: rosignol at June 30, 2006 05:11 AM

Michael: No, I've never been to Turkey or Lebanon or anywhere in the ME or Moslem world. My travels are restricted to the US, Europe and China (I was an interpreter and commerical rep there a long time ago). Then again, I don't have to visit North Korea to be pretty sure it is a hell hole.

Perhaps I was over the top regarding Turkey. It is a big tourist draw so many people enjoy a brief stay there. BUT, Christians are continually under attack there, which does not auger well. Their history, of course, is one of horribly cruelty. I know you visted the Kurdish area. It is not for tourists and probably not someplace to live.

As for Lebanon, I know that Beruit used to be considered wonderful.

This played recently on Lebanese TV:
http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1180

basically an attack on the Holocaust.

So, Jew hatred is obviously not a bad thing, there.

Perhaps some parts of Lebanon are wonderful, as you documented (and it was a totally fascinating and unique read), but much of it is a hellhole (Hez.) Living there seems like living next to an active volcano.

As a gay Jew (by heritage only), I think I would be risking my life visiting the rest of the ME or really anywhere in the Moslem world.

I read hours a day about these events; not an expert, but not naive, either.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 30, 2006 06:00 AM

I have been following this for a while and need to post on a few issues.

1. Kevser: You ask why Israel would negotiate if it backed by America and act as if American support is an impediment to solving the problems in the ME. I will tell you why Israel would negotiate even in light of American support: Becaue it wants peace! That is why it gave back conquered land after the '56 war (only to re-conquer some of that land and give it back again), '67, '73, as part of the Camp David accords, and again as part of the Oslo process, in addition to the disengagement from Gaza (whose reprcussions are now on view for the world to see). I would ask you to name another country in the world, that has given up so much territory (as a percentage of its mass) in the hope of peace, without being defeated on the battlefield. Also, am I to assume that you think that the support of the EC and all countries in the ME except for Isreal for the Palestinian Authority is also an impediment to peace in the ME?

2. To those of you who defend Palestinian atrocities because of the crappy conditions under which Palestinians live, I am reminded of a poingnant point made by Benjamin Netanyahu on Nightline about 25 years ago (I know that Netanyahu will not be a favorite of those to whom this is directed, but he made a great point nonetheless). He said: "Every terrorist has a cause, not every cause has a terrorist." Yes, Palestinians have gotten the short end of the shit-stick since 1948 (ironically before Israel's indpendence, the term "Palestinian" was used to refer to Jews in the area), but there are a whole host of people, nations, etc. to blame for that. While Israel is on the list, there are many other with more responsibility. But I ask you, is every person (or group of people) who has a legitimate grievance entitled or justified in armed response often directed at civilians? Notice that Israel's reaction is not based upon the attack upon a military base, Israel seems to accept such a risk. It is in response to the kidnapping of a soldier that Isreal now reacts. Given the situation with other Israeli MIAs, who have been missing for over 20 years (after having been captured alive), Isreal's response is entirely justified.

Posted by: A different Michael at June 30, 2006 09:23 AM

A Different Michael,

You have created a massive straw-man here. Because there are some here – myself included – who raise points about the conditions under which Palestinians live and the way history has been unkind to them, does not mean that those same people feel Palestinians are "entitled" or "justified" in attacking civilians. We are doing so because it would be hopeless to try and solve a problem you don't understand entirely, and there isn't a single sane person anywhere who thinks a peaceful solution can be reached without addressing the wretched poverty that exists in the WB and Gaza and the checkpoint situation. Another straw-man you create is to attribute the actions of the terrorists to the other 99% of the Palestinian people. You could, of course, cite polls showing Palestinian attitudes toward anti-Israel terrorism, but it is one thing to support the idea in the abstract, and another thing entirely to act on it.

There is also a huge difference between the situation over the last few days (where Israel's posture is entirely justified/expected), and the general situation of the conflict (where Israel's posture is over-bearing an oppressive). Yes, you could say that Israel is acting in self-defense, but there are way to do that which don't involve destroying the Palestinian's economy and, with it, all chances for a middle class to build the moderate political institutions to combat extremism and fundamentalism.

Posted by: Chris at June 30, 2006 09:58 AM

Blaming Islam for the things done by people who claim (perhaps dubiously) to act in its name is a bit much. After all, while Seymour might find it a strain due to sexual orientation, the same would have been generally true anywhere in the world a mere 50 years ago. And still is in a lot of places where Islam is almost entirely absent.

Likewise, nobody with sense would have wanted to move to Europe during the Middle Ages -- living under Islam was far, far better . . . and got better still if you were above the lowest levels of society. Was the problem Christianity then? No again. The problem was the people who were using their religion to support behavior that we, here and now, would regard as crazed.

Every major religion (by which I mean to include almost any one which has managed to outlive its founder and last a couple of generations), whether as old as Hinduism or as new as Mormonism, enjoins good behavior on its members. And every one (even one as pasifistic as Buddhism) has been used to motivate people to fight and kill.

The problem is not with any specific religion, but with the uses (more accurately, misuses) which are made of it. And, lest Seymour or someone similarly inclined bring it up, I suspect that the only reason that atheism, per se, has not been so used (and I don't actually know that it hasn't) is simple lack of organizational structure -- atheists, unlike agnostics, are every bit as fervent in their beliefs as any religious believer.

Posted by: wj at June 30, 2006 10:09 AM

Seymour,

You don't know if a Muslim country is worth living in if you only read the newspaper reports. You have to visit in person and stick around for a while. The nice things about these places never make the news, and the bad things appear larger than life from a distance. If it bleeds, it leads.

Some Muslim countries are obviously awful. Libya, Gaza, Afghanistan, etc. Turkey, Tunisia, and Lebanon (35 percent Christian) are very nice places for the most part. Egypt is certainly overrated. God, I would hate living there.

My brother lived in Malaysia for a while, missed it, and went back as a tourist.

If you want a better sense of these places than you get from newspapers, and you don't want to visit, read travel writing. Travel writing is important. It is not mere literary diversion. (Although it can be that, too.)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2006 10:39 AM

Michael:

I have absolutely no desire to find out first hand anything about Moslems or Moslem countries. I'm sure, if you go as a (non-Jewish or gay) tourist, one-on-one, as you have written, it can have a certain appeal.

But, after reading what's published on MEMRI, and on Islamic web sites, and have done this since 9/11, I have more than enough information to make my conclusion. Nothing I've read or seen since has done anything but reinforce that conclusion: Islam is an extremely cruel, Nazi-like religion, founded on hate and death and its practioners are the same as that.

Yes, you can have a range of views, etc., etc. I came across something on another web site, a quote I found encapsulates my utter distrust of Moslems:

If a person believes Mohammed was the Prophet of Allah, and believes that Mohammed's teachings are divine imperatives, how does that person sustain this belief while simultaneously rejecting those who enact Mohammed's teachings, often verbatim?

Those teachings are: kill non-Moslems whereever you find them, until they submit.

In a rationale world, the West would unite to destroy this evil cult. Perhaps someday, it will wake up.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 30, 2006 12:57 PM

"I have absolutely no desire to find out first hand anything about Moslems or Moslem countries."

Talk about close minded.

"Those teachings are: kill non-Moslems whereever you find them, until they submit."

There is plenty of fire and brimstone in the Bible, too.

Don't judge people you aren't even willing to meet based of some stuff you read on a website. Geez.

Posted by: Chris at June 30, 2006 01:06 PM

The Palestinian terrorists (Hamas, at any rate) lay claim to Tel Aviv and Haifa. I expect better, and they will continue to get their asses kicked until they stop it.

And if for some reason Israel caved in to international pressures and stopped "kicking asses" would you stop "expecting better" of the Palestinian terrorists?

Posted by: Solomon2 at June 30, 2006 01:24 PM

Seymour,

In Beirut my roommate was Jewish and one of my best friends was gay. They both love the place and have had a grand total of zero problems.

Those teachings are: kill non-Moslems whereever you find them, until they submit.

The Koran is just a book, Seymour. An important book, but still just a book. Most people in Muslim countries have never read it. It isn't software that dictates human behavior in the real world.

I lived in a Muslim neighborhood of West Beirut. None of my neighbors tried to kill me or force to submit to any damn thing. They were all warm lovely people who welcomed me into the community.

When I told them where I was from three of them said "God bless America." I encounter a lot more hostility in Europe. That's because I encountered no hostility whatsoever in a single place I went to in the Middle East - including the West Bank - with the sole exception of Hezbollah. But I went way out of my way to seek them out and deal with them repeatedly.

An Israeli I interviewed, who can't stand the lazy and axe-grinding foreign correspondents who work in his country, said "There is Media Israel, and then is Israel." I think you instinctively know what he means, and the exact same thing applies to the Muslim countries.

As far as I can tell, everything MEMRI publishes is accurate. But it is only one small limited piece of the story.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2006 01:49 PM

Looks like collective punishment can do some educating, look at this from the BEEB;

Most here say they support Sunday's attack on an Israeli military post by Palestinian militants but that they wish they hadn't brought a captive Israeli soldier - and all this trouble - back with them to Gaza.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5131228.stm

Posted by: yukel101 at June 30, 2006 01:54 PM

Typo correction: "He said there is Media Israel, and then there is Israel." Or something to that effect. I am quoting from memory, but you get the gist.

Media Israel is a cartoon. Media Lebanon and Media Iraq are cartoons, too. The information that dribbles out from those places is extraordinarily limited. It is just impossible to get the whole picture or even five percent of the picture if that's all you have to work with.

Almost all the military people who have been to Iraq will tell you this, and I say it's true of every single one of those countries.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2006 01:54 PM

Michael - You are so Frickin cool. I love you man. Seriously. If I couldn't be me, I'd want to be you.
Seymour - I'm as adamantly opposed to the Islamofascist as you bud, but you should really listen to Michael here. You sound more like "them' than "us" when you overgeneralize. Be more sophisticated in your analysis. You have important things to say about the danger of Islamism, but you'll have no credibility unless you show yourself to be a discerning thinker. The world has precious little room for sloppy thinkers right now.

I love the reference to Media Israel and actual Israel. How true! Haven't been to Beiruit yet, but when I do I'm going to hook up with some old friends who live there - and who don't hate Israel! Seymour I kid you not.

Posted by: Sully at June 30, 2006 02:19 PM

The information that dribbles out from those places is extraordinarily limited.

Often on purpose. During the Vietnam War many draft-dodgers got jobs in the already-biased but rapidly growing mainstream media. Once there, they only let their own ilk through the door. Then you get results like this:

"...stories that are filed by reporters in the field very seldom reach the American public as written. An anecdote from Col. McMaster illustrates this dramatically. TIME magazine recently sent a reporter to spend six weeks with the 3rd ACR as they were in the battle of Tal Afar. When the battle was over, the reporter filed his story and also included close to 100 pictures that the accompanying photographer took. TIME published a cover story on the battle a week later, allegedly using the story sent in by their reporter. When the issue came out, the guts had been edited out of their reporter’s story and none of the pictures he submitted were used. Instead they showed a weeping child on the cover, taken from stock photos. When the reporter questioned why his story was eviscerated, his editors in New York responded that the story and pi ctures were “too heroic”. McMaster had read both and told me that the editors had completely changed the thrust and context of the material their reporter had submitted."

Perhaps it is all very simple: these editors were and are cowards. They will never allow anyone who thinks the the U.S.A. is worth defending with armed force to be seen as a hero. They could never sustain their own self-image (or that of their idols) as heroic draft-dodgers otherwise. The End.

Posted by: Solomon2 at June 30, 2006 02:22 PM

The problem is bigger than that, Solomon.

Part of it is the "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality. But there is something else, too.

I wrote an article for one of the big three American newspapers that was recently rejected. I am now re-writing it, blog style, and will post it here shortly.

The article cast a more positive light on Muslims than we're used to seeing. It directly countered the prevailing opinion about Muslims in the United States. It was a hugely counter-intuitive piece about some people who surprised me a great deal. And yet it was rejected for not being "groundbreaking enough."

I've had on-spec pieces rejected before. It happens to every freelancer for a variety of reasons. But I never got the sense I had been lied to before. I could, if I wanted, argue that the editor was simply uninterested in anything that made Muslims look reasonable. The real reason, I think, it because it made some Iraqis look reasonable.

Left-wing media bias can distort the American view of the Middle East in ways that feed the worldview of the bigtoed right as well. (Not saying everyone on the right is bigoted, but some are.)

I'm serious when I suggest reading travel writers as well as journalists. Their depiction of the region is far far far more accurate.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2006 02:38 PM

Michael -

No, I am not advocating the genocide of Palestinians. I do not desire the genocide of Palestinians, nor any other culture.

I am however, stating the only thing that will make a significant impact to their behavior is genocide. That is and always will be true for genocidally aggressive* shame-based tribes/cultures, families, or even individuals. {See British Raj, Thugs; as an example.}

Shame-based cultures know this very well, about each other, hence the Persian saying "Mercy to the wolves is cruelty to the sheep."

And it is why tribal warfare goes all the way down to the bashing of male babies in arms against the ground so that no future army raising will be possible.

But, now that the world has become so very crowded and there no longer is anywhere to run away too, we have the intersection of a shame-based and guilt-based cultures. Whose rules apply?

In hoping that genocide against the Palestinians has options, you are, in my opinion, indulging in romantic notions about the inherent worth of individuals, like the ones you met during your travels. No argument there, the inherent worth of individuals even those of a very different culture, is the basis of guilt based cultures. And in seeking a solution with a warring, fellow, guilt-based culture, you would very probably have some leverage.

It is not me who disagrees with you. It is the Palestinians, themselves. They do not recognize the inherent worth of the individual. Hence the selection of family members to become suicide bombers knowing that the death of the individual will reward the family, usually to the tune of $25, 000.

Would you ask your child to die for $25, 000? Would you ask your child to kill for $25, 000? Palestinian families do it all the time. They do not even recognize the inherent worth of an individual they are related too, let alone an individual outsider.

Hence again, the Hamas charter which has in it the goal of complete destruction of Israel. Would you continue to live in the US if the American Constitution was amended to include, say, the complete destruction of the Soviet Union as a national priority? Palestinian families do it every day - and no - many do not continue to live there because they have nowhere else to go. They continue to live there because they enjoy being part of the machine that kills Jews, American diplomats, tourists, schoolchildren, Olympic athletes, Navy divers, collaborators, et cetera. Killing is a measure of tribal strength, not a crime. And, the more barbaric the killing, the greater the display of strength.

As long as Hamas desires the destruction of Israel, as long as they remain the tribal power, as long as they remain locked in shame-based behaviors, and as long as there are WMD available for sale, no questions asked: one day the genocide against the Palestinians may commence because the alternative is the complete destruction of Israel, and very possibly, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt.

Since I am not an Israeli, and the decisions made toward the Palestinians do not effect me on a daily basis, I have absolutely no say in the matter. If those that do have a say in the matter - the democratically elected leaders of the US and Israel - chose genocide, I support the decision, as it matches my own conclusions that no other avenues of survival are possible.

{I make the point as guilt based cultures enjoy the protection of leader who make the decision of genocide, but usually reject their further leadership out of guilt of what was done in their name. See Vlad the Impaler, as an example.}

I am not going to be dancing in the streets and passing out candy if the decision is made. I will mourn what might have been and try to do better next time.

Any policeman caught up in a suicide-by-cop incident will know exactly what I mean, although, I am not a policeman, so I do not presume to speak on their behalf.

  • Hamas has already stated that there will be no Jewish Palestinians, so genocide is a given here.
Posted by: Adriane at June 30, 2006 02:45 PM

The Koran is not just a book in that it is taken as the literal word of god for hundreds of millions of Moslems and has been the reason for the deaths of millions of people since the 7th century. It is the primary source, if you read the statements of jihadis now and in decades past, of their inspiration. The Koran and the Sira and Hadiths are considered literal models to follow, unlike Jesus and the Jewish Prophets.

As I said before, not everyone is a true believer. That was also true of the Nazis. As with Moslems, not every Nazi was constantly frothing at the mouth, killing every Jew he could find.

But if you went back to the 1930s, visited Germany then, and met and hung out with Nazis who were Party members just for the personal benefit (to them), how would you feel? Would you think, hey, these guys are just like me, no less likely to kill than me? Or would you feel: these guys are potentially dangerous, regardless of how nice they are to me.

I'd incline to the latter view.

There are few mass demonstrations anywhere in the Moslem world against fundamentalism. The only protest I've heard about was in Jordan, when Moslems were killed.

People have voiced all kinds of excuses why the "moderate" Moslem is so silent. But I think I know why: because they are as rare as hen's teeth.

Michael: I'm not a fool. I've studied and speak 6 languages; was working toward a ph.d. in Chinese history; am a senior programmer at a large company; I've had a long and intense education. So I'm capable of making judgments about things.

After 9/11, I started looking into Islam. Before that, I really couldn't have cared less about it. I was puzzled when I read explanations from Islamic leaders and scholars constantly saying that Islam doesn't condone the "killing of innocents." That phrase was uttered over and over and lead to me to start investigating. I came across an English-language Islamic scholarly web site where many things, mostly obscure to me, were debated. Among which was that phrase. Debated in great detail: Did Islam condone taking innocent lives.

The judgment of those scholars (the site was taken down early in 2002) was that, yes, if the cause is just, killing is justified.

That really didn't comport with the notion that Islam is a "relgion of peace" and ran counter to my idea of religious leaders, mostly Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist, who universally preached the sacredness of life.

With that as a starting point, I dug a little deeper into Islam and the more I learned, the more I certain I was that Islam was, at its heart, a religion of suffering and killing.

Yes, adherents take what they want, but they can only take what is offered.

You can point out all the great personal interactions you have with Moslems. I, too, have them, with colleagues at work, Lebanese and Pakistanis (besides the many Indians, Chinese, Russians and Nigerians, and more, of course).

I feel sorrow for those good people; they cannot fight this and they will be forced to take sides. But they cannot escape the fact that their core beliefs, which define their culture, are evil and hateful.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 30, 2006 02:50 PM

Seymour, you have the intelligence of someone who has read many things on this subject but has experienced little. You're a right-wing version of the insulated ivory tower leftist professor.

I do not mean to insult you, so don't take that harder than I intend it.

I'll tell you why you never read about moderate Muslims. If it does not bleed, it does not lead. Moderate Muslims don't make headlines and pretty much never will.

Muslims in the Middle East are far more moderate than Muslims in the West. You have to travel - or read travel writing, or take my word for it - to realize this. Journalists don't help, for the most part, because explaining this is not part of their job description as they see it.

Want to find a moderate Muslim? Go to Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morroco, Kurdistan, Algeria. Talk to any random people. Heck, just open your eyes. See the unveiled women, the drinking of alchohol, the eating of pork, the open availability of strip clubs and prostitutes. Moderate Muslims are all over the place in the countries I mentioned. They are the mainstream. (Egypt is different, as is Saudi Arabia obviously.)

I try to convey this in my writing as best I can, but I'm not a wire agency hack and I obviously can't convince you all by myself.

Go to Kurdistan and Muslims will hug you, not kill you. They will praise the Israelis and damn the Palestinians. Even the Islamists there detest religious authoritarianism.

The Koran is a book. Some people take it seriously. Most don't. You wouldn't think you can understand modern France by reading the Bible, would you? If not, don't read the Koran and think you understand Turks or even Iranians.

Every Westerner I know who has been to these places is shocked upon arrival. My mother and I went round and round like this for six months until I all but forced her to visit me in Lebanon. She was shocked shocked shocked every five minutes for a week solid. The distance between reality and what she expected cannot be overstated.

If you refuse to experience that for yourself, it's your loss. For now, I need to move on. Work beckons.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2006 03:12 PM

And yet it was rejected for not being "groundbreaking enough."

I sometimes think editors use that excuse to ward off the truly talented who they feel may threaten them professionally. Could that be the case, rather than any bias towards implying that Iraq is working out?

Posted by: Solomon2 at June 30, 2006 03:35 PM

Clarification -

Since as soon as I write "choose genocide" the image of some future US president ordering the construction of railroads, cattle cars, and zyklon B cannisters will sprout up somewhere.

What I should have said was "chose to finally go to war". That the war will be genocidal in nature is due mostly to the nature of war in shame based societies that make no distinction between warriors and civilians.

Hamas hides behind children to both throw rocks and fire rockets. Hamas uses the evacuation of the wounded to kill again. Hamas uses the delivery hamanitarian relief supplies both to kill and to take hostages.

Eventually, war with such a society will be a quarterless, and merciless war.

{Unlike Iraq, were large number of the insurgents are foreigners and therefore undesirable to the Iraqis (despite press reports to the contrary), the majority of both Hamas and Fatah are home born and receive the support of their families and neighbors.

They also receive the unwilling obedience of some of their neighbors due to their barbarity. Again, I am speaking of statistics, not individuals.}

Posted by: Adriane at June 30, 2006 03:44 PM

Solomon: I sometimes think editors use that excuse to ward off the truly talented who they feel may threaten them professionally.

I would be an arrogant ass if I said so. I don't even think that's the case.

Could that be the case, rather than any bias towards implying that Iraq is working out?

I don't think it was a bias against Iraq "working out." Rather, I suspect it may be a bias against the Kurds. But it's hard to say. All I can do is guess. What I do know is that "not groundbreaking enough" was a bullshit answer at a time when almost every American thinks Islamic civilization as a whole is against us. Even liberals were spooked by the Dubai Ports deal, which I think is just pathetic.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2006 03:46 PM

Interesting comments, Michael. About being right-wing: Perhaps, but only on the subject of Islam. For the rest, strictly Democratic, all the way, which leaves me belonging to no one's club.

The people you write about might be passive believers and all that, but they do nothing to oppose the rise of fundamentalism. You might say that the majority of Iran's population hates the clerics and likes America. But it means very little. There is a sizable Iraqi middle class which, I assume, wants nothing more than to live in peace and enjoy life. They will not get their wish either (but they are extremely anti-Semitic, at least according to reports and polls). None of these so-called moderates has stood up for anything. Now, the forces against them are fanatical and the issues may not seem of great moment. But in 1948-50 when pogroms drove nearly all the Jews out of Arab countries, no one stood up then.

Good luck with your writing. I certainly look forward to reading your report on moderate Moslems.

They may exist but they are on the shores of the river of history.

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 30, 2006 05:19 PM

Michael,
I think you may be overstating just a bit when you say "almost every American thinks Islamic civilization as a whole is against us." Certainly there are those (Seymour is not the only one) who think exactly that. But I know an enormous number of Americans who think nothing of the kind; and even more who, while they sometimes say things similar to that, are absolutely conscious that they are using an inaccurate short-hand . . . and will admit it instantly if someone calls them on it.

Unfortunately, as you pointed out above, the noisy people get the attention. Which is as true of American Islamophobes as it is of Islamic America-haters. And doesn't make either one representative, no matter how much they both wish to make the world believe that they are.

Posted by: wj at June 30, 2006 06:21 PM

Fair enough, wj.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2006 08:23 PM

Adriane: Since as soon as I write "choose genocide" the image of some future US president ordering the construction of railroads, cattle cars, and zyklon B cannisters will sprout up somewhere.

Well I'm glad you cleared that up.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2006 08:26 PM

Hello again.
But what about my point that as long as the us backs israel uncnditionally and allows them to get whatever they can, then the israelis will and do try and take as much as they can?
And to hide this reality, there exists a massive and concerted campaign to hide the conditions which prevail in these occupied areas?
All the so called liberal blogs are deafeningly silent on this issue.
The subject has been ignored like an elephant in the room, and the only comment allowed are vilifications of hamas and the resistance to this ocuupation and humiliation.

Injustice breeds frustration. The lack of recognition of this injustice breeds hopelessness and disillusionment.
The results are there for all to see. But how can anyone see them when they are deliberatly ignored?

Posted by: kevser at July 1, 2006 04:40 AM

Michael,

A question.

So when we see crowds chanting "death to America", passing out candy on 9-11, etc., who are those people?

Is it possible some people 'change state' (in the chemical reaction sense) under the influence of incitement? Is the Islamic sense of ummah tied up in this?

I am really trying to understand.

Posted by: jdwill at July 1, 2006 06:27 AM

jdwill, who was Timothy McVeigh and does it make all inhabitants of Pendleton suspects? Does he represent the Irish community of America?

do the soldiers of abu ghraib represent the entire american army? should we generalize like that? what about the palestinians that did not celebrate on 9/11? what about those that were horrified like many others while seeing such pictures?

did you even read michael's comments on the over-mediatization of extremism and the lack of coverage for the moderates?

Posted by: Lira at July 1, 2006 08:47 AM

by the way, i watched blade runner and fail to see what's so special about it :)

sure it's a nice sci-fi movie, harrison ford is cool and there's a romantic plot in addition to the action, i guess that in 1982 that was a great movie, however while comparing with all the stuff that has been produced ever since, blad runner ranks as good, not that good

my 2 cents

Posted by: Lira at July 1, 2006 08:49 AM

jdwill,
Perhaps an example a little closer to home: in the late 1960s, there were crowds ("rioters," if you will) in American cities who were burning American flags and screaming that America was committing genocide. (Any VietNamese from the time will tell a very different story, but they weren't represented there.) Did that mean all Americans thought that? Not even close! Just look at the election returns from 1972 -- Nixon wasn't exactly re-elected by running on an anti-war ticket.

But, and this is the relevant point, if you had just looked at the TV news, you would have thought that the entire country was in flames and the government was about to collapse. Just as the TV news today could make you think that entire countries across the Middle East were totally, rabidly anti-American.

Posted by: wj at July 1, 2006 08:59 AM

Lira, Wj,

The question I am trying to get to is a better appraisal of who's who in the war between the globalizing community (the West, if you will) and radical Islamist reactionaries. I’m looking for data to populate the spectrum that ranges from full blown supporters to deploring bystanders. Within the Muslim Ummah, that is.

Trotting out Timothy McVeigh just doesn't get it for me. That is facile and disingenuous.

The 60’s are closer to home for me and partially illustrate my question. I started in Ann Arbor participating in demonstrations (half heartedly, trying to meet girls), then got drafted, and wound up serving in the Army seeing it from the other side. You could say that I changed state.

As to the use of the word genocide in this thread, I don’t think anyone has used it correctly. I think words like this should be reserved for the real thing, lest we trivialize the horror of Auschwitz, The Balkans, Rwanda, and now Darfur.

I suppose if the Palestinians could implement the Hamas Charter that would constitute genocide (or would it be ethnic cleansing? – there should be a distinction between displacement and extermination). I don’t think it is likely they can, but military strength could be secondary to will.

Posted by: jdwill at July 1, 2006 09:30 AM

Oh, BTW Nixon was elected on "Peace with Honor", AKA a secret plan to disentangle us from Vietnam.

Posted by: jdwill at July 1, 2006 09:32 AM

jdwill: So when we see crowds chanting "death to America", passing out candy on 9-11, etc., who are those people?

Assholes, for starters.

I'm not saying these people don't exist. Obviously they do. But they aren't the norm, at least not everywhere.

If you go to the Middle East you can find the assholes if you want to. I did. I would not suggest a visit to Zarqa, Jordan, on your next holiday. But you won't run into someone like that at the Starbucks.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 1, 2006 10:39 AM

jdwill,

Also, lots of people in the Middle East have weirdly contradicting opinions.

For example, my friend Hassan in Lebanon. He is a Shia from the south, and he supports Hezbollah's violent "resistance" against Israel. But he is not anti-Semitic. He wants peace and an open border. He is sort of pro-American. He just doesn't trust that Israel will leave Lebanon alone if Hezbollah disarms.

He's wrong about Israel. He saw horrible things when he grew up and he is uninformed. He only knows the dark side of Israel, as Iqbal Ali Muhammad only knows the dark side of Arabs. (I am not comparing Israel's occupation of South Lebanon with Saddam's genocide against the Kurds.)

But he is open-minded about it. He promised to read every word I wrote about Israel on my blog and take it seriously. He didn't give me any grief at all when I told him I was going down there.

He is not a bad person, not a threat to anybody. But if he showed up as a mere data point in a poll or a demographic breakdown he would look like a terrorist. So I would be careful with data points. They can conceal as much as they reveal.

I also met two Shia lawyers in Beirut who support Bashar al-Assad in Syria and hoped Syrian occupation of Lebanon continued. (This was more than a year ago.) But they also thought neoconservative US foreign policy would be a good idea if, as they put it, the neocons really believed what they said. They think democracy promotion is just a big lie. In their experience, it is normal for powerful countries to invade weaker countries, exploit them, and lie about the reasons. That's what Syria had done to them, after all. They were just going with what they knew.

The reason they wanted Syria to stay in Lebanon is because they feared the consequences (chaos) of a withdrawal, not because they're Baathists. So here you have two supporters of a Baath Party dictator who are simultaneously open to the philosophy of Paul Wolfowitz.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 1, 2006 10:53 AM

Michael,

Priceless stuff. Thanks. And I have seen the PO Box and will respond.

So the lawyers are realpolitik stability junkies – similar to our paleo-cons.

Would it be a fair assessment that the perceptions of the people you have interviewed could be in effect their reality? Would they act on their perceptions and thus create a tragic turn in events? For example, do you think Palestinians would have voted Hamas into power if they understood Israeli’s better?

What I am trying to glean from various sources is what percentage of people in the Muslim areas will:

1. Actively or fiscally support Jihadi activity (both near and far Jihad)
2. Support political Islamist activity, but disavow terrorism
3. Acquiesce to Islamist takeover of the local government, but are indifferent to its dogma
4. Just Folks, no participation either way
5. Hope for and vote for non-Islamist reform, but remain essentially passive
6. Vocal and political activity for progressive solutions (secularism, separation of C&S)

I am fully aware that all of these people are individuals with many facets, but when aggregate activity is considered, they may contribute to outcomes they didn’t really desire. I am simply wondering what the future holds.

Posted by: jdwill at July 1, 2006 11:34 AM

Allow me to say that what I really appreciate about jdwill is that, unlike some others who have cropped up in this thread, he looks to be seriously trying to get some facts to build opinions on. Thank you, it really elevates the level of disucssion. (And I say that as one who has, I realize, had some less than gracious responses here myself. Sorry.)

Posted by: wj at July 1, 2006 11:57 AM

wj, Thank you.

Posted by: jdwill at July 1, 2006 12:31 PM

"Shame-based cultures know this very well, about each other, hence the Persian saying "Mercy to the wolves is cruelty to the sheep.""

I don't think this idea only occurs in shame-based cultures, since it is at least in part a poetic expression of the idea that the weak should be protected, and violence and cruelty punished. Isaiah Berlin said much the same thing -- "Liberty for the wolves is death to the lambs" -- and he wasn't a product of a shame-based culture!

Posted by: Marge at July 3, 2006 05:26 AM

Collective punishment is "morally superior"?

The problem with all you zionists, jewish and gentile alike, is that you seem to believe that Jews in general and the state of Israel in particular, don't necessarily need to adhere to normal principles of dignity and humanity.

Also it is very obvious that Michael Totten has sold his soul to the children of Satan. Even if a jew shat straight into his face he'd probably describe it in excusing terms; "Gee, that was uhh... a very BROWN experience! Refreshing!"

So sad to read these psychopathological excuses for the most nazi-ish regime in the world, Israel.

Michael, God sees you.
He sees everything.
What you do is truly evil.

Posted by: Big Bad Wolf at July 7, 2006 04:29 PM

liming 07年08月30日

wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow gold
wow gold
powerleveling
powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
power leveling
power leveling
wow power level
wow power level

rolex replica
rolex replica
beijing hotels
beijing hotels
shanghai hotels
shanghai hotels
rolex replica
rolex replica
china tour
china tour
hong kong hotel
hong kong hotel
beijing tour
beijing tour
great wall
beijing travel
beijing
beijing
china tour
china tour
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
猎头
猎头
货架
搬家公司
搬家公司
北京搬家
北京搬家公司
北京搬家公司
搬家
搬家公司
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
北京搬家公司
搬家公司
北京律师
营养师
营养师培训
喷码机
铸造模拟软件
激光快速成型机

搬家公司
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
北京搬家公司
google排名
google排名
监控
监控
激光打标机
软件工程硕士
集团电话
集团电话
激光打标机
激光打标机
打包机
打包机
拓展训练
塑钢门窗
网站设计
机票
机票
网站建设
数据采集卡
美国国家大学
在职研究生
呼叫中心
交换机
激光打标机
激光打标机

磁控溅射台
磁控溅射台
淀积台
淀积台
镀膜机
镀膜机
匀胶机
匀胶机
溅射仪
溅射仪
刻蚀机
刻蚀机
pecvd
pecvd
去胶机
去胶机
康王
康王
康王
康王
康王
喜来健
喜来健
喜来健
喜来健
喜来健

Posted by: 三红西水 at August 30, 2007 12:24 AM

货架
货架
货架
货架
货架
货架公司
货架公司
货架公司
货架厂
仓储货架
仓储货架
仓储货架
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘
仓储笼
钢托盘
堆垛架
钢制料箱
物流台车
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼   
仓储笼 
折叠式仓储笼 
托盘 
钢托盘 
钢制托盘 
仓库货架 
阁楼货架 
货架厂 
重型货架 
仓储货架 
重型货架 
货架公司 
轻型货架 
堆垛架 
仓储笼 
折叠式仓储笼 
托盘 
塑料托盘 
托盘 
铁托盘 
铁制托盘 
托盘 
钢托盘 
钢制托盘 
求购货架 
货架求购 
货架制造 
贯通货架 
货架 
悬臂货架 
仓库货架 
阁楼货架 
货架厂 
重型货架 
货架公司 
中型货架 
仓储货架 
轻型货架 
仓储货架
轻型货架 
角钢货架 
货架厂 
重型货架 
货架公司 
中型货架 
货架制造 
悬臂货架 
托盘 
塑料托盘 
仓储笼 
折叠式仓储笼 
托盘 
钢托盘 
钢制托盘 
求购货架 
货架求购  
货架公司 
轻型货架  
仓储货架 
中型货架 
货架厂 
重型货架 
仓库货架 
阁楼货架 
货架 
悬臂货架 
货架 
模具货架 
托盘 
钢托盘 
托盘 
钢制托盘 
托盘 
塑料托盘 
仓储笼 
折叠式仓储笼 
堆垛架 
钢制托盘 
仓储笼 
模具货架 
仓库货架 
货架厂 
仓储货架 
货架公司 
货架   
仓储笼 
登高车 
手推车 
塑料托盘 
货架  
货架 
货架 
轻型货架 
货架 
中型货架 
货架 
重型货架 
货架
阁楼货架 
货架 
悬臂货架 
货架 
模具货架 
托盘 
塑料托盘 
钢制托盘 
仓储笼 
货架
货架 
货架公司 
货架厂 
仓储货架 
货架厂家 
托盘 
钢托盘 
钢制托盘 
木托盘 
轻型货架 
中型货架 
重型货架 
模具架 
中型货架
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
折叠式仓储笼
折叠式仓储笼

Posted by: huojia at November 14, 2007 07:52 PM

货架
货架
货架
货架
货架
货架公司
货架公司
货架公司
货架厂
仓储货架
仓储货架
仓储货架
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘
仓储笼
钢托盘
堆垛架
钢制料箱
物流台车
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼   
仓储笼 
折叠式仓储笼 
托盘 
钢托盘 
钢制托盘 
仓库货架 
阁楼货架 
货架厂 
重型货架 
仓储货架 
重型货架 
货架公司 
轻型货架 
堆垛架 
仓储笼 
折叠式仓储笼 
托盘 
塑料托盘 
托盘 
铁托盘 
铁制托盘 
托盘 
钢托盘 
钢制托盘 
求购货架 
货架求购 
货架制造 
贯通货架 
货架 
悬臂货架 
仓库货架 
阁楼货架 
货架厂 
重型货架 
货架公司 
中型货架 
仓储货架 
轻型货架 
仓储货架
轻型货架 
角钢货架 
货架厂 
重型货架 
货架公司 
中型货架 
货架制造 
悬臂货架 
托盘 
塑料托盘 
仓储笼 
折叠式仓储笼 
托盘 
钢托盘 
钢制托盘 
求购货架 
货架求购  
货架公司 
轻型货架  
仓储货架 
中型货架 
货架厂 
重型货架 
仓库货架 
阁楼货架 
货架 
悬臂货架 
货架 
模具货架 
托盘 
钢托盘 
托盘 
钢制托盘 
托盘 
塑料托盘 
仓储笼 
折叠式仓储笼 
堆垛架 
钢制托盘 
仓储笼 
模具货架 
仓库货架 
货架厂 
仓储货架 
货架公司 
货架   
仓储笼 
登高车 
手推车 
塑料托盘 
货架  
货架 
货架 
轻型货架 
货架 
中型货架 
货架 
重型货架 
货架
阁楼货架 
货架 
悬臂货架 
货架 
模具货架 
托盘 
塑料托盘 
钢制托盘 
仓储笼 
货架
货架 
货架公司 
货架厂 
仓储货架 
货架厂家 
托盘 
钢托盘 
钢制托盘 
木托盘 
轻型货架 
中型货架 
重型货架 
模具架 
中型货架
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
仓储笼
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
折叠式仓储笼
折叠式仓储笼

Posted by: huojia at November 14, 2007 07:53 PM

上海网站优化
上海网站建设
复印机租赁
硼氢化钠
消防泵
真空泵
同步轮
化工试剂
化学试剂
大众搬场
铁艺
制服
攻丝机
流量计
保洁
上海公兴搬场
上海保洁

http://www.ce-r.cn
http://www.jx-net.net
http://www.shjxwl.cn
http://www.oameibang.com
http://www.kuanhao.cn
http://www.chinasongjin.com
http://www.shlutong.com.cn
http://www.pujiangvacuum.com
http://www.longzhaobelt.com
http://www.ce-r.cn
http://www.cesupp.com
http://www.dzbc114.com
http://www.china-glare.com
http://www.shgeya.cn
http://www.kangking.com
http://www.changen.net
http://www.shanghaizhenan.com
http://www.56771242.com.cn
http://www.shgx88.cn
http://www.66513369.com.cn

Posted by: Jing-Xian-Wang-Luo at December 9, 2007 10:25 PM
Post a comment













Remember personal info?






Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn