Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Live your dream, die in someone else's

In the post Unintended Consequences I noted that there was a Syrian subplot within the wider cartoon crisis drama.

The cartoon crisis shifted course ever so slightly as the White House held Syria responsible for the burning of the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus. ... embassy burnings in Syria provided the opportunity for the White House to re-secularize what was rapidly becoming a religious and cultural conflict. The White House seized the chance to point out these arsons were not religious outpourings but deliberate acts of a State -- the Assad regime to be exact -- a State with bitter enemies throughout the Islamic world, thereby harnessing the charged climate of public opinion to advance its strategic agenda. It's reasonable to surmise that the first victim of the frisson that ran through Europe has already been Iran. Opposition within the IAEA to referring Teheran to the Security Council over its uranium enrichment program suddenly collapsed -- almost unnoticed -- as the furor over the cartoons rose to a screeching pitch.

Lee Smith at the Weekly Standard has some thoughts along the same line, but he puts it in context of the larger game between Europe and Middle East-based terrorist organizations. He asks what's behind the organized attack on the Danish and Norwegian embassies in the Syrian sphere of influence.

Muslims all over the world are so angry about a series of cartoons poking fun at the Messenger of God that by now pretty much every Danish and Norwegian flag in the Muslim world has met its fiery end. And yet only in Damascus and Beirut have institutions--embassies or consulates--representing Denmark and Norway been attacked. Are Lebanese and Syrian Muslims angrier than other Muslims? Or, what's going on here?

Since nothing happens in Damascus without government approval Smith thinks Syria is trying to send a message to Europe consisting of three points.

There are at least three possible reasons: (1) To prevent the international community from bringing down Syria's ruling regime; (2) To raise money for Hamas; (3) To warn against interfering with the Iranian nuclear program. ...

The Muhammad cartoon conflict, as silly as it sounds, is about our war for freedom and liberty and our way of life. ... But the response to the cartoons is also about the real war, the one that involves, among others, Syria, Iran and Palestinian terrorist organizations.


Of all of Lee Smith's observations, the most striking is his idea that Middle Eastern terrorist organizations had to remind Europe to remember that it was their b..ch. Why else would they strike the countries which had been most generous to them in the past full in the face?

However, like many political bodies in the Arab world ... only knows how to express itself through violence. ... In the '70s and '80s Yasser Arafat's PLO found an especially attractive venue in Europe. The continent was light on security and fat in the wallet. ... Europeans would be wise to remember what Arafat's shell game cost them because right now, leaders all over Europe are being reminded of what can happen when you try to de-fund Palestinian terrorists. The argument will look something like this: The "moderate" and responsible wing ... needs to be empowered to take on its radical members who only want to kill nice Europeans. It's a protection racket. Damascus and Beirut are serving as rehearsal spaces for what might happen if the European Union stops signing checks.

I think this time the terror puppet masters have miscalculated. They should have remembered that the key to every successful protection racket is keeping your own muscle from making independent demands and maintaining the rate of extortion low enough to make it less trouble to pay than to fight. Unfortunately the air of intimidation by what passes for "Islam" creates an atmosphere in which ambitious Imams and thugs -- seeing how the game is played -- aspire to become playahs. The Danish radical Imams took a look and maybe decided to stir up trouble independently to create their own shakedown rackets. This incentive is why terrorist organizations, whether in Iraq, Kashmir or Mindanao proliferate: everyone wants a slice of the pie, from welfare payoffs, token political offices or brute collections from kidnapping.

But the cartoon crisis made protection too expensive. It may have been OK to pay Arafat a few billions but it had got so that any two-bit preacher could work up locals in his own "mosque" to become the Big Man in his ville, like Cap'n Hook Hamza. When extortion goes out of control the citizens start to push back and business goes bad for the established playahs. Damascus' attempt to b...h-slap the Scandinavian countries could backfire. Be nice if it does.


Blogger Mike H. said...

The Alert Level has just been raised Muslim Offense Level

2/07/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...


I'm not as sanguine over the odds of Europe "coming to" as a result of this cartoon business. The moment it dies down for a few days (and I'm assuming it will - even radical islamists are limited to how much emotional capital they have to spend on responding to the latest "outrage")... look for most of Europe, especially the elite, to mutter "Whew" , wipe their collective brow, and go back to whatever they prefer to do over coming to their own defense.

This is without doubt a significant overreach by the islamists, but it won't be enough. It'll take the Eiffel Tower crashing to the ground to finally get them to engage.

'Till then, I hope they'll stand aside sufficiently to allow us to do what must be done... and resist the impulse to throw marbles under our feet.

2/07/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I agree the European elites will want to "move on". The problem is why another demand should not be presented by the playahs. I'm convinced yet another concession to "respect" and "dignity" will soon be required. The strength but also the weakness of Islam is decentralization. No one to talk to, and no one to really put the lid on.

In that environment the Islamists will over-reach again and yet again. I don't think the Eiffel Tower coming down is particularly far-fetched.

2/07/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger dave bones said...

"the response to the cartoons is also about the real war, the one that involves, among others, Syria, Iran and Palestinian terrorist organizations."

and its not about any of the dictatorships in Islamic countries your government is supporting whilst shouting "freedom" for Iraq.

You look like hypocrites to them. This will radicalise them. They will consider you a target. Its not rocket science.

Americans under a dictatorship backed by a foreign democracy would probably get radicalised too no?

2/07/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger cjr said...

I have to agree on the muslim world on this one:

-Our love of liberty has blinded us to the fact that the cartoon are, in fact and objectively speaking, disgusting and insulting.-

Let me repeat:

-Our love of liberty has blinded us to the fact that the cartoon are, in fact and objectively speaking, disgusting and insulting.-

The overwhelming western response was to ignore this important fact and only assert a freedom of speech justification. While freedom of speech is an important value that should be defended, we, as human beings, we should also acknowledge that the muslim world has a legitimate reason to be angry. Not acknowledging this makes it easy for a large number of muslims to think that the radical islamists are right and moderates are wrong: western values are screwed up.

What should have happen is that western media(and us) should be putting in as much effort expressed their disgusted of the cartoons as they did expressing their defence of freedom of speech.

2/07/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger LizK said...

Not just Beirut and Damascus--Tehran. The Danish and Austrian embassies there were attacked. Austria is head of the EU.

2/07/2006 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Your analysis makes me wonder if perhaps the Europeans are so vulnerable to terrorism because they truly know what kind of actions will be required at home to control it. Some in the U.S. go nuts over monitoring of inbound calls from suspicious phone numbers, but the Europeans have experienced true repression, if not from the Nazi and Soviet occupiers then from their own governments. They had more terrorists running around during the Cold War and before than we can realize - and you still can't own a gun in much of Europe.

Having been there, they want to avoid it at all cost - having achieved Paradise, by the stadards of most of their history.

A little threat goes a long way over there.

2/07/2006 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

To his credit, Dhimmi Hewitt (-; is going to let Medved have a piece of him in the next hour:
Should be good.
KRLA 830 .com
Also Kyle pretty well called him on his indiscriminate throwing the label "nativist" around at anyone who disagrees with him on matters concerning Mexico/The Border.
(Didn't attack him, just folks that throw it around ala "racist, homophobe, sexist etc.)
Would be nice to take on that Urgent National Security Matter on this forum from time to time.

2/07/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Spengler at Asia Times:

It is not a good thing to come late to the table of globalization.

India remains behind China but has good prospects for success. Against these formidable competitors, few countries in Western Asia, Africa or Latin America can hope to prevail....

In a world that has little need of subsistence farmers and even less need of university graduates with degrees in Islamic philosophy, most of the Muslim world can expect small mercy from the market....


Radical Islam only wins if we give up. 'Fear itself' is what we must flee from.

2/07/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


It's not just the terms of the deal but the stability of the deal itself that is often important. If one assumes the Europeans have a deal with the terrorists; an implicit appeasement policy, what are the incentives to cheat? To keep within the deal?

What we're beginning to see demonstrated is that there is no incentive for the Islamists to moderate their demands for so long as a reward is forthcoming each time they jerk the lever. So they'll jerk it again and again, whatever the deal. And whatever the elites in Europe imagine that situation is not a stable one and I think it will so prove.

2/07/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Triton, W,

The Europeans cannot just move on. If we know what future awaits them, they know it too.

See what Sarkozy in France has just done here.

Threatening to stop the jizya to the Palis is just a first step in Europe's War on Terror. Wait until they actually do stop it, now that the Islamoids have given them the justification.

The front is broadening.


2/07/2006 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

At the very least, people are becoming aware. We now know these Danish imams are guilty of incitement. We now know that corrupt Middle Eastern regimes used the cartoon issue in a cynical bid for political leverage.

Such knowledge, widely disseminated, is perhaps our best ally; that is why it is so important not to back down and give in to any demand that we limit free speech.

This issue is not about religion, it's about manipulation and power. Too bad most of our media thinks it's only about not offending Muslim sensibilities.

2/07/2006 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

cjr claims:

"-Our love of liberty has blinded us to the fact that the cartoon are, in fact and objectively speaking, disgusting and insulting.-"

No they are not.  (The picture competition over at Retecool is another matter.)  There is nothing whatsoever offensive about e.g. the self-caricature of the artist in a turban, holding a stick-figure drawing of an unidentifiable arabic-looking person.

The only one of the Jyllands-Posten pictures which could legitimately and objectively be taken as insulting is the drawing of Mohammed wearing a bomb-turban, and that only if the implied comparison to a terrorist had no justification.  It is highly justified, and those taking offense should instead feel guilty for their transgressions, the greatest being their adherence to a religion and ethos which excuses such matters and considers speaking the truth to be worth someone's life.

2/07/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Joe Carter and Hewitt's "argument" is absurd, as is cjr's.
All you have to do is extrapolate the trends of
Western Behavior V Islamic Behavior, for the past 20 years and you cannot avoid seeing that where you end up is that it was those
Christian Girl's FAULT
that they were beheaded, because walking to a Christian School is an offense to Islam.
Prager brought up the absurdity of him imposing his Kosher habits on the rest of us.

2/07/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

CJR, I never saw the cartoons prior to last week and I was expecting vulgar disgusting things. They were neither. With all respect, I don't care about hurting the feelings of a muslims existing in a zombie like self delusion.

From a technical POV you are correct, some were insulted. From a realistic point of view it is not too different from what we all must deal with in the world as it is today.

Even with all the inherent negatives of modern society, how many of us would truly choose to 100 percent isolate ourselves and children, in a cultlike way, from malicious people?

To those who quickly raise their hand and shout 'I would', I would bring up the perspective that much, if not most, abuse comes from people we know, not from strangers.

People are mean, vicious, manipulative and sometimes evil. The Pan-Islam community has a values and right/wrong deficit that even mountains of sand cannot hide. What they need is capitalism and a mirror.

2/07/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"From a realistic point of view it is not too different from what we all must deal with in the world as it is today"
I agree, and it is an important point.

2/07/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Ngo Dinh Diem hit that lever too many times, and we had him removed. When his country collapsed and Communism threatened, we were forced into a war.

The Shah also hit the lever too many times, but it wasn't us, it was Khomeini's revolution, that removed him.

Saudi Arabia uses the Islamist Potential to extract concessions and a blind eye from America. Assad uses it too.

My bet is that Hamas winning the election scared the beejebus out of Assad for precisely the same reason it scares us: Islamists are the beneficiaries of our democracy agenda. If we tolerate Islamists winning elections, if we believe that democracy really is the long-term cure no matter what happens in the short term, what other cards does he have to play?

I think the only card left is European fear of their Muslims, which he needs a non-secular regime like Iran to provoke. With them already up in arms, however, Assad's spent.

2/07/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

The burning of the Embassies crosses the secular line that Embassies are sacrosanct and are to be afforded the protection of the law in all lands.

By allowing this to line to be crossed, the host nations have shown that they will not uphold their laws nor international laws, and that some segments of their population - either private or state-sponsored - are beyond control.

This implies that no agreement, no matter the interests of the host nations, will be honored nor will persons or properties of the Embassies' nations be protected.

This is why a breach of Embassies or an attack Diplomatic staff has been considered an Act of War for many centuries.

If this were to have occurred to a US Embassy under similar cicumstances, there would be rage in the USA. No doubt, there is such in the hearts of the affected EU nations citizens.

The problem with the EU is that in asking people to become Europeans, and not Dutch nor French, means that normal allegiances, which served as defense mechanisms, are short-circuited by belonging to something that has little material manifestation to trigger a defense reaction.

As such, France and Denmark, are the most Nationalistic - they rejected the EU on several levels - so may have to most violent of reactions to being crossed.

The publishing of works of art - paintings, cartoons, and literature - has had 4GW effects in the past.

For an American, THE singular work similar to the Dutch cartoons was Uncle Tom's cabin, which hardened Northern Abolitionists while inflaming Southern Apologists.

Uncle Tom's cabin energized both bases and which was followed by the Raid on Harper's Ferry - which was the physical provocation for the South.

The Civil War in the US was not about state sponsored violence - it arose out of a fundamental conflict of cultures where individual actors and provocations built up a huge divide which gave birth to political events which led to the War.

The Lincoln-Douglas debates can be seen as a parallel to the discussion today about what to do about Islamofascicm - although the debate is really within the GOP and the EU leaders and the Bloggers/Talk Radio, with the Democrats largely irrelevant.

And this is a shame. The historical Underground Railroad can be seen as a parallel to helping women escape Islamic oppression - and this would be a natural outreach for the Democrats and Liberals - yet it is not underway.

There will be more small and large provocations - both physical and ideological.

Now that Iran and Syria have shown they are beyond the pale, it seems the future is pre-ordained. A Harper's Ferry is around the corner and when that occurs there will be no turning back.

2/07/2006 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Exactly. The Long Term Plan can be perfect, but if you aren't there to implement it, it doesn't really matter.
I keep trying to get that point across concerning our extreme energy vulnerability.

2/07/2006 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

-Our love of liberty has blinded us to the fact that the cartoon are, in fact and objectively speaking, disgusting and insulting.-


You want disgusting? Try a cartoon showing a traumatized Anne Frank in bed with a gloating Hitler.

I challenge you to find anything in any of these supposedly "disgusting" cartoons that comes even close on the revulsion scale. And now Iran is sponsoring a contest to provoke even better displays of aggressive insensitivity towards victims of the holocaust. And to what end? Because Jews are somehow responsible for some overly-sensitive Muslims getting their feelings hurt?

One of the cartoons shows a line of suicide bombers lined up to get into heaven, only to be told: "We are all out of virgins." I put it to you that this cartoon is a legitimate commentary on today's world. And if that offends some people, I for one am not sorry at all.

2/07/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

In other words, the Islamic Facists are not "honest" brokers.

One bribed they don't stay bought.

Wonder how Austria, the Czechs, the Slovaks, and the Poles view this process? As the head lady of Germany said the other day, it all looks disturbingly familiar.

2/07/2006 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


There's an ecology to crime. That's why gangs have turf and fight to keep it. The real frustration in dealing with Arafat and the PA was that they couldn't deliver. Our "Partners for Peace" couldn't hold back their boys, who had a habit of whooping it up Friday afternoons and firing the rockets into the border towns.

Jizya only works if the Sultan has exclusive rights to collection. But once every storefront Imam can run his own grift then what's the point of paying off the Sultan? Might as well run them all off. That's the problem with the Al Qaeda business model with its terror franchises and decentralized C&C.

2/07/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

In addition there is a simple fact that we must face that the Iraelis have for so long:
Sometimes there is no rational other than the hate inspired by this cult that turns people to action:
Take the killing of the Priest in Turkey by the young boy, for example.

2/07/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Europe and much of the West suffer from the gross disease of affluence. It's symptom is the pragmetism we see where the attacks on embassies of fellow NATO member nations go without punitive response.

Until we shake the disease and start acting like healthy organisms that can fight the bacteria of miltant Islam, the west's health will continue to decline.

I don't see any western leader yet courageous enough to begin our treatments.

2/07/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...


I agree, and the weakness of any long-term plan is that sooner or later your own commitments can hold you hostage.

The Berlin Wall comes to mind. So does the Taiwanese nuke scare.

If our commitment is the 'power of the people', the only thing to blackmail with is the character of the people. This 'argument' is what keeps Mubarak in power, and the Saudis, and Musharaf, etc.

However, if we decide Islamism is an acceptable risk at the polls, then all the cards are ours. No more lever, no more blackmail, just good old fashioned power politics.

And oil (for a little while longer).

2/07/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Tibore said...

Our love of liberty has blinded us to the fact that the cartoon are, in fact and objectively speaking, disgusting and insulting.-

Perhaps they are... perhaps not. Not everyone's saying they find them offensive:

"You know that those cartoons were published for the 1st time months ago and we here in the Middle East have tonnes of jokes about Allah, the prophets and the angels that are way more offensive, funny and obscene than those poorly-made cartoons, yet no one ever got shot for telling one of those jokes or at least we had never seen rallies and protests against those infidel joke-tellers."


I'll withold my own opinion regarding the offensiveness of those drawings.

I do agree, however, that it's stupid and irresponsible to needlessly provoke groups, beliefs, or philosophies held by many. But I think it's improper to state that people criticising the reaction by the protesters are ignoring the insult some of the cartoons may have delivered. I can't speak for everyone, but I do know that my own opinion, and the ones of many close to me, liberal or conservative, is that being offended is not the problem. You can argue either way whether they're justified in that or not. It's the overreaction that we're criticising. As offensive as those cartoons may have been taken by some -- and I'm tempering my opinion of just how offended many really were given the quote above -- it's very, very much out-of-bounds to call for or commit murder, or vandalize property in response to it. As said here:

"Anyone offended by the content of a publication has a vast choice of democratic and respectful methods of seeking redress. The most obvious are not buying the publication, writing letters to the editor or expressing their opinions in other venues. It is also possible to use one’s free choice in a democracy to conduct a boycott of the publication, and even a boycott of firms dealing with it."

Now cjr, this post isn't a shot at you. I agree with your statement that the fact that insult may have been delivered should probably be addressed. As I've noted elsewhere, Freedom of Speech does not automatically bestow Freedom from Consequences, and being offended, while hardly a "right", is indeed a potential consequence of any display of art or speech. But as said above, there are other more respectful methods of "seeking redress", or at least of voicing displeasure. It's one thing to call for a boycott; I personally think that's overwrought, but at least that's a peaceful attempt to express displeasure. It's another thing to resort to murder and arson; that's simply beyond the pale. Offense at a cartoon simply cannot justify that. And criticism of the overreaction isn't necessarily ignoring the potential insult.

2/07/2006 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I will remind that the original event that triggered the idea for the cartoon contest, is that they wanted to publish a children's book with illustrations that included muslims:

They could find no takers because the artists valued having their heads connected to their bodies, unlike Theo Van Gogh.

Such was the
Serene and Perfect State of Play
PRIOR to the publication of the cartoons, that our apologists will sacrifice anything to maintain.

Insanity, anyone?

2/07/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

Just pray our Harper's Ferry isn't an A bomb attack. We have allowed Iran far too long to work on nukes. My fear is a bomb in Israel triggers a Samson reflex, that directly or indirectly kills 100 million.

At that; it is still an order of magnitude less than the third conjecture. We pass into dark uncharted waters. In February 1914, who could have imagined the coming horrors. We may look back on today's thoughts as the babbling of naive innocents.

While we are at war, it is more like World War II in June 1938, when only China, Austria & Ethiopia had felt the heel of the jackboot. The rest of the world thought it was at peace.

2/07/2006 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

So we see that one of the diversionary tactics employed by the appologists is to attack the originator of the contest, even though in truth his decision was not made with malice in mind, from all appearances.
Anything to avoid reality,
avoid holding the perpetrators accountable.

2/07/2006 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

sirius_sir said...

One of the cartoons shows a line of suicide bombers lined up to get into heaven, only to be told: "We are all out of virgins." I put it to you that this cartoon is a legitimate commentary on today's world. And if that offends some people, I for one am not sorry at all.

I did not look at it this way before but perhaps in reality that cartoon is speaking to those of us wealthy enough to click and see it more than the tools and fools handed Danish flags to burn. They drool in response to the bell, we act like virgins with a stutter and dumb look, trying to convince anyone listening that we never saw things like that before (I refer to all of foolish hoops we have jumped through since 1979, some since 1948, to deny reality of what we fight).

2/07/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger dave bones said...

yeah, I was filming with Hamza and co for most of their protest. He has some very nice friends. THIS was Hamza's "head of security" THESE were the guys either side of him.

THIS was the feeling on the street if you try to understand with a camera rather than trying to accuse with one.

2/07/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Ozymandias said...

Dave Bones:

you Europeans are already dead. We know it, the Muslims swarming into and displacing you in your own ancient cities and your maternity wards know it.

You are perfectly willing to ankle bite Americans - because its safe. But you are unwilling to defend your own culture either by standing up to Muslim bullies or by raising children. You merely hope these Muslim immigrants will be eager to abandon their culture in favor of being "European" (which, in your arrogance, you hold to be self-evidently superior to anything the darkies might come by on their own) and thrilled to work themselves to the bone to support you in your old age on the lavish pensions you've voted yourselves.

Frankly, you will be lucky if it is your pensions rather than your throats which are slashed.

So, Dhimmi Dave, sit down and shut up whilst those of us with children have our discussion for grown ups.

2/07/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Radioblogger.com will have both the transcript and audio of the Carter/Medved/Prager/Hewitt conversation about the Cartoon Jihad.
Also John Kyle interview.

2/07/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger sammy small said...

Anyone who hasn't yet read Dr Sanity's article on Muslim shame needs to do so. It puts the problem in a very understandable light.

What we have here is not only a failure to communicate, but truly a clash of civilizations.

2/07/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger gokart-mozart said...


What is wrong with you? The 12 cartoons are extremely mild, only one is even conceivably offensive (to an intellectually challenged paranoid, that is).

Compare these to Piss Christ, for example. Would you be sympathetic to Christians ransacking the American Embassy in France, or howling for Serrano's death,over that?

If not, using your reasoning, why not?

2/07/2006 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


according to this, the 'youth' was running a prostitution racket that the priest was trying to stop.


2/07/2006 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

So it WAS the Priest's fault after all.
So Sorry.
Allah Akbar, and etc.

2/07/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

If this whole affair is just a clever ruse which is state sponsored (or sponsored by terror organizations) then neutralize the state sponsors. The quicker it is done the better.

2/07/2006 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

that it's stupid and irresponsible to needlessly provoke groups, beliefs, or philosophies held by many...

Given the horrifically high level of illiteracy in Arab/Muslim countries, as it occurred how unlikely it would be for these provoked crowds to have actually read a Danish newspaper on their own to become provoked in the first place?

I wonder how many of the rioters have actually seen the cartoons in question, and if they have seen them how many of them could read Danish to know what they said.

In other words, all the Muslim rioters in the various countries around the world have REALLY had to have gone out of their way to become insulted, to the point of having to throw themselves under a passing cartoon train because otherwise the Major Big Insult simply wouldn't have entered their lives at all, let alone affected them.

Which makes me think the cartoons that are being feverishly created on-line right now with the intent upfront to viciously insulting probably won't matter since no one in the target audience will ever see them. I'm pretty sure Al-Jazeera, for example, isn't going to pull them off the internet and publish them for their audience of neanderthal Arabs who don't have computers or internet access.

2/07/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

okay, so which dog hasn't barked? At least, not very loudly? Iraq? Maybe, W was right.

Aah, probably not.

2/07/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

I see it as a clash of cultures, with the moslem holy men revulsed by ours, and us oblivious to our offense to them...
...but, it boils down to a basic fear of the marketplace. That is, as the world shrinks, and free trade reigns, emmigration is the norm, etc, the mullahs and the dictators feel their power slipping through their fingers...
...but they're no fools; they realize that in every country they have allies that are opposed to the integration of outsiders (fundamentalists, skinheads, etc.). They also realize that to incite these groups to act would be to cripple our policy of seeking out the moderate moslems; they also realize that it will consolidate their power on their own turf - especially among the uneducated masses.
I agree with Wretchards original assessment that any way they take the cartoon uproar it is ultimately detrimental to their cause. I think they are going for broke, hoping that something is touched off that changes the equation; our hope should be that they will overplay their hand and that the hypocrisy of extending political correctness to oppressive societies in which they live will become apparent and gradually weaken their position.

2/07/2006 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


There is a hint in your post (and many others) that the enemies of the West are possessed of superior understanding of all things, especially the West. Just like Allah, AQ is supposedly all seeing, all powerful, just, forgiving.

Sometimes, I must admit, it looks like it. But I don't believe it. They're just a bunch of bungling thugs on the make. They will continue to bungle.

They are not going for broke, they are reacting as Bedouin tribesmen have reacted for 2000 years. They will continue doing this until they become Westerners, which is their ultimate destination. Spengler's post (above, from Arthur Dent) is a good read for why they'll continue to bungle along for quite some time yet.


2/07/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nahncee avoids the obvious sacrifice these folks are willing to endure for their religious beliefs:
How can one doubt their sincerity when all those Denmark Flags they spent so much time and money to acquire are sacrificed at Allah's Alter for out sins?
Peace be unto the RoC.

2/07/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

You are assuming the West does not initiate negotiations for our Unconditional Submission, of course.
Time is short, Jimmah won't live forever.

2/07/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

8:10 PM - OUR sins, of course.

2/07/2006 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


There are NO other sins.


2/07/2006 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Concur yr analysis: It's a protection racket! with subroutines of GoodCop/BadCop written in...

But too many Usefull Idiots wanted THEIR share of the booty...

2/07/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I do not agree with "cjr"'s viewpoint. He is entitled to that opinion, but it just does not make it a correct one. Why is criticizing, even through cartoons, Islam off limits when Christianity and Judaism are NEVER off limits? Obviously, he has not read the Qur'an, ahadith, or the Sira. If he had he might have a tad more respect for the freedom of any non-Muslim to use any method they are competent with to criticize Islam.

"Our love of liberty has blinded us to the fact that the cartoon are, in fact and objectively speaking, disgusting and insulting.-" cjr

I've seen them and I hardly agree that they are "disgusting and insulting." Moreover, he does not tell us why they are so. The facts of history are that non-Muslims have suffered far more at the hands of dar al Islam than Muslims have taken our full measure. I refer you all to Andrew G. Bostom, M.D. "The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims," 2005, Prometheus Books. Sadly, the very people who would most benefit from this thoroughly researched and scholarly work are the very same people who are least likely to read it. There are several book written by Bat Ye'or on the subject of dhimmitude, as well as her most recent work ("Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis"). Thus, going forward the public policy debate is going to be bogged down in these unresolved matters of the nature of Islam and the real history of its existence has entailed. Many centuries ago Europeans were not ambivalent at all as to the nature of the threat. However, over three centuries of a somnolent Islam, mated with recent changes in historical methodology have induced torpor and indecision.

2/07/2006 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Anointiata Delenda Est,

Visited the link you posted - very interesting...

I hope you are correct re the front, but what I'm assuming (with all the potential for embarrassment that entails), is that the elite in Europe still feel relatively insulated from any downside of islamic rage. They've managed to create a governmental aristocracy over there (EU), one that seems utterly indifferent to the desires of the people over whom they rule (consider, for example, the relatively popular support for the death penalty among common Europeans as compared to the near universal dislike of it among their elected officials).

Unless and until common Europeans feel threatened in their homes and persons to the point that they turn their attention to electing leaders that will deal with the problems instead of planning the next junket to Davos, it's gonna take their own 9/11.

I'd like to be shown to be in error on this point... there's NO joy in being right about something like this.

2/07/2006 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Juan Golblado said...

Great blog, Wretchard. Invaluable analysis. But when you use "bitch" and "bitch-slap" the way pimps do, you do a disservice to women. I know you're far from the first or only one to talk like that, but I hope you'll reconsider.

Otherwise, keep up the good work!

2/07/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger dave bones said...



No Muslims are bullying me.
I went and asked the ones who stood next to Abu Hamza when the subject came up as I was told they want me dead. They said they didn't want to kill me.

I'm not fighting someone elses culture by raising children,
neither do I expect anyone else to abandon their culture

I don't hold "european" to be superior. I haven't got a lavish pension.(I must have missed that vote) I am not European. I am a citizen of the planet.

Dhimmi what?

2/07/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Wm_Edwin said...

cjr posited:

"-Our love of liberty has blinded us to the fact that the cartoon are, in fact and objectively speaking, disgusting and insulting.-"

Its worthwhile to spell out how it is sentiments like this one fail by omission, because I've seen dozens just like it over these days past.

The great mistake of such equivocators as cjr will prove to be their failure to grasp that you have to have your own standards before you can understand the standards, and the taboos, of another person - or people.

1. Say it: "Standards are obsolete. The only legitimate test of our liberty is the scope, and solely the scope, of protected speech, regardless of who it offends or why it they deem it offensive."

2. Or, "I am dismayed that we so casually dismiss the outrage of the world's Muslims... maybe we went wrong somewhere.
"Maybe liberty, *in our society,* is stronger in the measure that it respects what men hold holy."

Pick one. Either is worth respect, but you can't show respect for *another* culture's standards without championing the standards of your own.

2/07/2006 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"They said they didn't want to kill me."

Exactly, Skeletal Dave! Muslims have a POLICY called taqiyyah which involves consciously and deliberately dissembling and lying to the enemy, to non-Muslims, therefore to YOU.

You can argue that THOSE PEOPLE, THERE may not have been actively seeking your death, or else you'd be dead, but that doesn't eliminate such a desire for your death in the macro-picture.

Let the pieces fit, Dave.

2/07/2006 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Skeletal Dave, (ht KKKaridine)

I hold "American" to be far superior.
I haven't got a lavish pension.
I expect barbaric 13th century cultures to get their just deserts.
I am a citizen of the USA.
I live on planet Earth.

2/08/2006 03:40:00 AM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...


what a read; that is the earlier Spengler article

it helps put the whole thing in perspective, and helps explain a number of things...maybe Iraq wasn't a bad first choice; I had heard that they had a high percentage of college educated in the workforce...

however, sounds like there's not much leeway from the collision course the two cultures are headed down...

thanks for the tip

2/08/2006 03:45:00 AM  
Blogger gokart-mozart said...

Dave Bones 10:41 PM

" I am not European. I am a citizen of the planet."

Unfortunately for you, amigo, there is no political community called "the planet" of which you can be a citizen.

Citizenship is a function of a national community. There are a number of such national communities on the planet which might offer you citizenship.

There are also vast swaths of land inhabited by illiterate barbarians, practicing heathen religions, who would slit your throat as they would that of a pig. You share nothing with them, certainly not imaginary planetary citizenship.

2/08/2006 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Juan Golblado said...
"Great blog, Wretchard. Invaluable analysis. But when you use "bitch" and "bitch-slap" the way pimps do, you do a disservice to women. I know you're far from the first or only one to talk like that, but I hope you'll reconsider."


I see it differently. Although I generally disdain the use of that kind of language, it does have its right and proper place here. Those words, as objectionable as they are, are part of the analysis because more than any others they paint a chilling picture of the mindset of the people promoting this violence and how they view their targets. IMHO, sterile, clinical language wouldn't have the same impact.

Finally, as you must have noticed, the actual words didn't appear. Several letters in each were elided. As of comment 56, only you have actually spelled out the words in their entirety. ;-)

2/08/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Orbit said...

...we're about to find out if Russia and China want to finish WWII or not...

2/08/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger dave bones said...

yeah Mr. Mozart. they threatened me al over Pakistan. they called me Kaffir! Infidel! Malung! and almost dragged me off once. In the same towns others shook my hand and welcomed me.

2/09/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger dave bones said...

So if i ask them if taqiyyah means they can lie to me and they say no they could still be lying to me?

2/09/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Moron99 said...


you said that there was no rationale behind the violence other than hatred. I would like to suggest that there is definite rationale. The radical imams promise to bring power, status, wealth, and prosperity by building a caliphate that will rule the world someday. They make these promises to people who have had no wealth or power for centuries and see no hope of developing it. In the third world, where these radical imams thrive, government is organized like mafia. It establishes authority by brute force and enforces compliance through fear. When a jihadist blows himself up, the important thing is not the jihadist. It is not the dead people. It is the fear that the imam create amoung the survivors. That fear gives the radical imam power and the radical followers who see no hope will be drawn to this power. The radical imam promises them power and when they see frenchmen tremble at the sight of a carbeque then they know that the imam is living up to his promises.

The only thing Islam has to do with it is twofold. Back in the third world there are only two places where people may gather without government secret police - jail and mosque. In the first world Islam provides them with broad legal protection under the guise "freedom of religion".

The west, and our media in particular, has been duped. They declared holy war and we believed them. We bought it hook, line, and sinker. It's not about religion. It's about power.

2/09/2006 03:05:00 PM  

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