Thursday, February 16, 2006

The wisdom of crowds

Consider the new Lara Croft from Bethnal Green, the constituency of George Galloway.

Karima Adebibe, a 20 year old from Bethnal Green, will be playing the video game industry's iconic heroine. To prepare for her role as Lara Croft, Karine will have to undergo SAS (Special Air Service) training and survival program.

Bloggledygook carries the story of a German Muslim group that has dared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp and deny the Holocaust there.

By denying the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad not only denigrated the Jewish victims of the genocide but also the 200,000 Roms and Arabs murdered in the "gypsy camp" of Auschwitz-Birkenau and other camps, the institute spokesman said. The fact that the president of an Islamic state repeated Nazi anti-Semitism was harmful to the image of Islam and "a disgrace for all the world’s Muslims", he added. The Berlin-based institute, founded in 1927, is the oldest Muslim body in Germany.



There's a saving power in the ordinary world. German Muslims who can see Jews as neighbors and those who can see Karima Adebibe as Lara Croft can never be truly lost. The greatest blows against the fantasy ideologies occur when ordinary people stand up for daily things which aesthetes have held themselves above. Tolkien well understood to what airless places men are led in the quest for solitary power --  "no taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me," was Frodo's description of the arid sustenance of the Ring. The struggle against the unremitting stupidity of Political Correctness or the remorseless hatred of Osama Bin Laden are both at heart an effort to reclaim ordinary life -- with its laughter, pity and guiless admiration -- from the faded wraiths who envy our mortal humors.


Blogger desert rat said...

Doubt that the invitation is accepted or the trip made.

Gotta be in Havana come Hurricane Season, sixty days of so prior to US elections.

Ms Adebibe gives sonia a run for her money, that's for sure.

2/16/2006 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The man is obsessed I tell you, and I don't be talkin Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, yo.

2/16/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Political Correctness is a Worldly Pleasure unto itself. the minds of the believers.
If one follows it strictly enough.
The exquisite pleasures of unbounded denial.

2/16/2006 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report said...

There are German Muslims who accept us? I must have missed something.

2/16/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

When the Glory of God, Baha'u'llah, seized power from the kingly caste and from ecclesiastics, He didn't hold it for Himself, but gave 'power to the people...'

What Wretchard quotes here, and the real-world manifestations quoted here (
are but different expressions of the same dynamic:

"I have given Power to the People!"

2/16/2006 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Mercy sakes, Wretchard, that is a good post.

2/16/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

And what if those ordinary people are succored from a text that so alters their imaginations and desires that its very necrophilic message dulls the sensibilities from which spring forth a love for life, love, compassion, mercy, tolerance, liberty, and the pure joy of never having to be perfect or in control of all and everything?

2/16/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

Having read the Qur'an, Muhammed's pleasures were perverse and utterly selfish. And they were fiendishly projected on to the Divine.

2/16/2006 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Army of PC Zombies:
Muhammed's acolytes in training.

2/16/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/16/2006 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Acolytes (Marvel)
These renegade mutants follow Magneto as if he were a shepherd and they the herd.
They have adopted his belief that humans and mutants cannot peacefully coexist and have sworn to live and die by his command.

2/16/2006 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

"How many Muslim comedians are there?"

There you have it.

2/16/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

I have often thought that Bill Cosby and Flip Wilson did at least as much to build a bridge between the races as did Martin Luther King, if not more so.

They always displayed themselves as ordinary guys who just happened to be black. I don't think anyone could laugh with them - or even at them - and still think of blacks as subhumans or animals to be exterminated.

And yet we have an MLK day, and not a day to honor people who simply made us realize that we are all human.

Perhaps the greatest sociological achievement of the West is that we allow such people to be successes.

How many Muslim comedians are there?

2/16/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Lara looks good, and so does the QDR.

Aviation Week & Space Technology reports with "Seismic Shift" (p.30, AWST, 2/13/06).

When the MSM last reported on the Quadrennial Defense Review, it was a negative puff-piece insulting Rummy. Why? Wtf does Rummy have to do with the next 25 years - he's not going to be in office.

Which leads to the main variable: what if some weak-assed, nutty, Judy-Garland-style-politician like Bill Clinton manages to mislead the World's Last Hope?

If that happens again in the next two decades, the world will be denied the World's Best Peacekeeper's best efforts. This QDR speaks of capabilities that seem like Kelly Johnson dreams. But just like Kelly's Blackbirds, America has a history of creating new technology that overcomes other countries' war-like notions.

Seismic Shift (AWST article on the QDR

2/16/2006 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If the Clinton team got religion
(Maybe a dirty nuke at Chappaquidick or some such)
and switched over to our side,
they'd still F... It Up out of sheer incompetence, inability to choose good people, and meddling with those good men that were left over from previous admin.

2/16/2006 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cosby's current preachments are priceless, but are as pearls to the swine to the dumbed-down products of the NEA, mass culture, and the welfare state.

2/16/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraq? Pakistan? Change in Afghan militant tactics raises fears about new help:

The Afghan government's anti-terrorism chief, Gen. Abdul Manan Farahi, said al-Zarqawi is believed to have trained at an al-Qaida base in Afghanistan before U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in 2001, but he doubted that the terror leader would return.

There have been some 25 suicide bombings here in the past four months. Before that, such attacks -- commonplace in Iraq and also carried out by Islamic militants in Pakistan -- were rare in Afghanistan.

Change in Afghan Militant Tactics

2/16/2006 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jamie's Link from Previous Thread
The Logic of the "Peace Process"

2/16/2006 09:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us not forget Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong who were welcomed into Americas living room much earlier yet. The multi-cultists have decided not to build upon our society but to burn it down completely and start over making society over in their own hateful image.

No, yuuuur the one that hates, uh ah, you’re the one.

By-the-by, I grew up as a young lad in the 60’s and listened to the many albums by Bill Cosby, “Why is there air?”, Fat Albert, et. al. Later, Laugh-In brought us Flip Wilson and Liberace, who not black, but gay as a blue-jay. And I’ll never forget ol’ what’s his name… Paul Lynn. A generation later and we are lectured by humorless snots who would see us brainwashed to meet their satisfaction. I no longer try to go along to get along. I am just done with the browbeating and tsk-tsking. My father had many black friends and we’d vacation together with Indian friends, Jewish, Italian friends. I’d of never known that a bunch of cultists would spend the rest of my adult life rubbing my nose in their sh!t. Who in the ‘f are they to tell me how to behave. Be careful, wouldn’t want to offend someone I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire, but let me be the one to lead the congregation, we should all feel ashamed of ourselves. Blah blah blah.

I hope the Muslims can step up to bat and defend their dignity and show their disunity with murder and hate mongering.

2/16/2006 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

According to Debka, Israel's own Lara croft, Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsour, declared his party’s platform aimed for an Islamic state headed by a caliph to replace the Jewish state.

Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsour is head of Unified Arab Israel list. The list is a merger between Sarsour’s Raam and Ahmed Tibi’s Taal party.

2/16/2006 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Pretty much the Reformation died in France in 1572 during the infamous St Bartholomew Massacre

The reformation died in England with the restoration under the reign of William and Mary of Orange in 1689.

In Germany the reformation died a slower death first at the hands of the 18th century pietists and then at the hands of the 19th century ariens.

but in all cases the caste system of the middle ages that had been broken apart by the changed ideas and technologies of the 1500's--that ancien caste system was restored again over the next several hundred years in Europe--only to be destroyed again on the battlefields of WWI.

What is happening now is that these ancien caste systems are being restored again across europe and russia. And of course china still holds to her nomanclatura.

And the middle east has always had its impermiable ruling classes.

The wierd anti american behavior of so many American elites comes not from anti americanism but rather to changed loyalties. These are not loyalties to "we are the world we are the children" but rather loyalties to ideas or casts/classes or ideas of casts/classes that cross national boundaries--ie the transnational elites. these are the clever people who conspire to inflict on the american people unlimited liabilities in return for nothing.

They believe in things they don't understand and we suffer.

It was here in the USA that the calvinist ideas of the reformation were put into practice as it was the prebyterian form of government that served as the model for the US government. It is this jewel of good governance that drives so many of the world's ruling elites ca ca.

A place like Downtown Manhattan has more in common with downtown london paris or berlin than it does with a small town 50 miles up the Hudson river.

but a place like downtown manhattan controls a great deal of the media output of the USA.

this not something lost on moslems.

The UAE bought a 2% control over TimeWarner today.

2/16/2006 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pretty sad that your story is one experienced by many our age willing to admit it, and therefore able to assert:
" I no longer try to go along to get along. I am just done with the browbeating and tsk-tsking."
To which the maggot Naggin would reply:
"Oh, You don't know how to make Hot Chocolate (whitey)"
Laura Ingraham compared soundbytes of Naggin with the Mayor of (equally or more devastated) Biloxi, and refreshingly enough, they are polar opposites.
Not once did the honorable mayor cast blame as he detailed the seriousness of the situations and the complications facing all those tasked with fixing it, from POTUS on down.
Seems Naggins only "qualification" for office is the color of his skin.
Similar losers have been elected in Hawaii when they were put into office on a straight ethnically decided vote.
Don't know if you saw my post referring to a WSJ article that said Two Hundred and Fifty thousand has been spent PER CAPITA for Katrina victims! Politicians going along to get re-elected, ...on our dime.

2/16/2006 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


I going to disagree with you.

There's no such thing as a good Muslim. As there's no such thing as a good Nazi. You are either a Nazi or a Muslim, or you're not. You either subscribe to these expansionist supremacist hegemonistic blood cults, or you don't. The choice should be made clear so people that are affiliated with these cults and that seek their protection are forced to bear the consequences as to whom they give their allegiance.

2/17/2006 01:32:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

PC is about power, the attempt by little people to control you. The method does not matter, it can be through totem, it can be through taboo, it can be through priestly insight.

A good example is through the ability to see witches. I think it was the Witches of Salem movie that had the scene where, after the witch detectors had had their 'magic' shown for what it was, the next time they 'saw' witches, the local population refused to see them also. Once debunked, they lost their power over the population.

The people have seen through PC, just that the 'seers' can't see it yet.

To be under control, you have to submit. Now where have I heard that word before?


2/17/2006 01:57:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I think the better comparison to Muslims is Germans, or if you prefer, Japanese. They'll always be that yet not always be your enemy. It would be fair to assert there is no such thing as an innocent in al-Qaeda. But as to Muslims in general there are thousands risking their lives in American service right now. You are born into Islam and can't help it; but you choose to be in al-Qaeda.

As a practical matter there are certain Muslims I know who I could trust implicitly. Why? Because I've trusted them with my life in situations where it would cost them nothing and gain them much to put me over the side. And there are certain Americans, some of the leftist persuasion, who I wouldn't trust at all.

Just my way of thinking, that's all.

2/17/2006 02:01:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

W: You are born into Islam and can't help it.

That's a false assertion, or rather the implication flowing thereof. If one is of age to make a decision to be in the army, one is certainly of age to make a decision as to whether one still wishes to subscribe to the ideology of Islamism or that of Nazism.

Why should we be timid in putting that question forward? Why should we not ask, why do you still subscribe such an ideology?

2/17/2006 02:29:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

As a matter of fact there are a number of Muslim comedians, at least in North America, though no famous ones as far as i know. Whether they are truly or typically Muslim or on the road to assimilation and/or apostasy i don't know. But they are out there because they need to joke as a way of dealing with the tension between the culture of their forebears and the new world. I don't know if they're funny; i've only seen clips on tv that didn't strike me as hilarious as far as i can remember.

2/17/2006 02:31:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Charles, 10:06:

Good post.

Also, Saudis recently bought a large share of Fox News.

Definitely, something to be aware of.

2/17/2006 03:43:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Ah, look at this:

The BBC is reporting Musharraf's crackdown on cartoon protests in Pakistan. Good for him, if it's real.

The most interesting part of the article is the last paragraph:

But correspondents say many of the targets attacked in Pakistan have nothing to do with the cartoons and the demonstrations have been more of a show of strength by the country's hardline Islamic parties.

2/17/2006 04:01:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


The slide to total war is the process of moving from individual to group accountability. In peacetime we judge people according to their individual acts; in wartime we shoot people according the color of their uniforms. Saint, genius, blackguard ... none of that matters. An article of clothing provides all the information we need.

History keeps us from having any illusions about what we are: capable of anything. Civilization consists in recognizing it. Pacifism is the art of forgetting everything we know about ourselves, not out of ignorance but from pride.

I think what you are asking is: if Islam is the enemy why is not every Mussulman the foe? Sentiment aside. My short answer would be: because the cause of individual accountability isn't lost yet. We still have the power to punish the guilty without including the innocent, though pacifism has done everything in its power to hinder that. The world is not in uniform yet -- with all that implies -- though the time grows short.

2/17/2006 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

anonymous: I was thinkinbg the same things, about Sammy Davis Junior, and I probably should have thought about Louis Armstrong, Stevie Wonder, and quite a few others.

But as singers, dancers, and musicians they clearly were exceptional people, and thus could be placed in a special category. Not only that, but they were black and based so much of their presentations upon black culture.
The later black comedians, Richard Prior, Eddie Murphey, Chris Rock were black, acted proud of that fact, and emphasized their differences as compared to "white" culture. They also could be set aside in a special category, "entertainers" just as sports stars are.

But Cosby and Wilson were just ordinary guys who for the most part did not call attention to the color of the skin or claim some unique culture. MLK was the same way. So is SECSATE Rice, or for that matter, Gen Powell.

Is it any wonder that Bill Cosby, after seeming to turn toward radicalism for a while in the early 70's, is now one of the harshest critics of what passes for black culture today?

Where is his equivalent in Muslim culture? Or for that matter, where is his equivalent south of the border?

2/17/2006 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

The left has painted themselves into a corner on the multiculturalism issue WRT Islam. Unfortunately they are, as usual blind to this fact.

I know many left leaning card carrying Dem's who are still blaming every problem created by their policies on Bush and they are literally loosing their sanity.

2/17/2006 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Many of the "Muslims" in US service are actually Christian Arabs. One isn't automatically Muslim because one is Arab. And if it weren't for the absolute violent intolerance of apostasy in Islam, more Arabs would forsake Islam. Islam does not want agreement, it wants submission. When an individual submits to an intolerant, violent creed, he puts not just his soul but his life at risk from those of his creed's enemies who won't go quietly to the grave. The Islamic crowd is not wise at all, but ignorant and fearful.

2/17/2006 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

"Where is his equivalent in Muslim culture? Or for that matter, where is his equivalent south of the border?"

Those Muslims in Poland who have challenged Ahmadinejad did not just pop out of the graound. They have resided in that country, developed their independence and are now speaking courageously against the flow of their radical contemporaries. To think they do not have leaders is naiive.

In our instant gratification society, we rarely take the time to get to know thaose who are not seeking their own 15 minutes of fame.

2/17/2006 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It has taken a while, but now even our Host agrees, the Policies of JFKerry expoused in "04 in regards the WoT are now those of the US

" ... the cause of individual accountability isn't lost yet. We still have the power to punish the guilty without including the innocent, ... "

The GWoT has devolved into a giant Police Chase, it is certainly not a War.
Terrorism, well now that has become a "problem", something to be "managed" like Prostitution, Gambling & Drug running, how special.

How post modern.

2/17/2006 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When, do you think we will be punishing Osama, Dr Z or their Iraqi cohorts?

When will Pakistan be punished for founding the Taliban?
When will Pakistan be punished for continuing to support the Taliban?
When will Pakistan be punished for giving aQ Sancturary in Warizistan?

The US has proven, it does not have the Power you describe. We cannot reach out and touch the Individuals responsible.

That is why there was, and still is, a need for a War.

2/17/2006 06:01:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When will Pakistan be punished for providing Iran with Nuclear technologies.

Anyone that believes the Dr Khan was acting as a "rouge" in establishing that Network is not thinking clearly.

The Military leadership in Pakistan knew what the good Dr Khan was up to. That is why he is free and US agents are not allowed to speak to him.

As a fall guy he is even less believable, to be the Responsible Party than Col North was.

But that's the story, their stickin' to it.

2/17/2006 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Some guy that's coming out with a big scary novel about terror actually said:
"A few guys that learned microsoft flight simulator" pulled off 9-11 in an interview in the last few days.
...that was a perspective shared by my son when he was 16.
It didn't take too long for me to disabuse him of his naive fantasy by bringing up all the other things they did that took actual money, time, planning,commitment, and BACKING.

2/17/2006 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Kahn just looked up a few things on the internets, printed them out, got an airline ticket, and VOILA!

2/17/2006 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Then coordinated all those Army trucks to haul the centrifuges to the port of embarkation, load 'em onto ships or planes, and send them on their way to the many untold destinations around the World.
With out the Internal Security guys in Pakistan knowing, or caring.

In a Military Dictatorship.

Those Generals were playing pretty footloose and fancy free with their Nuclear technology.

You see, doug, it was not really all that important to them.

There was a terrorist raid into Kashmere to plan.

2/17/2006 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

6:37 AM - Left out Training and Practice.
In REAL Simulators, and REAL Airplanes.

2/17/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Tibore said...

"How many Muslim comedians are there?"

At least one that I'm aware of:

Link to IHT article on Danish satirist Omar Marzouk.

"I don't care if my jokes bomb. They go straight to heaven where they get 72 virgin jokes"

2/17/2006 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

If we had had the technological ability in '43 to take out Hitler would we have played it "smart" for two more years instead? many little hitlers does that apply to now, in addition to the genuine article in Tehran?

2/17/2006 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Muslim Humor:
Stoning a teenage rape victim *before* beheading her.
Ha Ha.

2/17/2006 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Reality Home TV footage of teenage Gay boys in a cage before Hanging.
Ha Ha.

2/17/2006 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Terrorism Works.
State Sponsored Terrorism REALLY works.

2/17/2006 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Why can't anyone spell "Yamamoto" anymore?

2/17/2006 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gator said...

"How many Muslim comedians are there?"

Dave Chappelle, for one.

2/17/2006 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

>> The slide to total war is the process of moving from individual to group accountability. In peacetime we judge people according to their individual acts; in wartime we shoot people according the color of their uniforms. Saint, genius, blackguard ... none of that matters. An article of clothing provides all the information we need.

To a large extent, it's more of a sorting-cost issue. The problem is that the process of evaluating whether an individual is a saint, or a thug pretending to be a saint, involves costs. It takes time and effort.

In calm and peaceful times, it is viable to spend the time and effort to evaluate whether a particular individual is a saint or a thug, and deal with him accordingly. We can decide to demand that any evaluation be beyond a reasonable doubt before taking action to remove the person from society. The cost of being very careful in doing so does not threaten the stability of society.

A characteristic of war is that the sorting-cost has been judged to now be unacceptably high. When you see somebody in a particular-colored uniform, taking the time to chat with him and evaluate whether he's the sort of person who really wants to do you harm is likely to get you killed. So you don't bother. You see the uniform, you shoot.

The uniform acts as a moderately reliable indicator of intention, as well. Somebody wearing a uniform can be considered to be in agreement with the aims of the leadership that issued him the uniform. Otherwise he would take it off and wave a white flag to positively signal his desired status as a non-combatant

One important issue for the current conflict is how to reliably distinguish between hostiles, friendlies, and hostiles who want to pretend to be friendlies until we turn our backs. If the conflict heats up any more, there will be no getting around a need for friendlies to take positive action to assure the rest of us of their status, by taking very positive actions to differentiate themselves from the hostiles

2/17/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The 14 April 1943 message schedule for C-in-C of the Combined Fleet Admiral Isuroku Yamamoto’s visit to Ballale and Buin was immediately recognized by Hypo traffic analysts and given to Marine Major Alva Lasswell, who worked on it most of the night. The first decrypt was hand carried by Commander W. Jasper Holmes to Layton, who immediately notified Nimitz. Nimitz passed the information to Halsey, who forwarded it to his subordinate air commanders. Further decrypts of this and a supplementary message were also made by navy stations. Rear Admiral Marc. A. Mitscher, Commander Air Solomons advised Halsey that Army Air Force P-38’s on Guadalcanal had the range to interdict Yamamoto’s flight. Halsey and Nimitz approved his recommendation. Early accounts that Washington, including Secretary Knox or Roosevelt, had to approve the shootdown attempt are unsubstantiated and have been discounted.

2/17/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Wretchard, your concise post and sensible follow-ups were a joy to begin my day with. You veddy wise man.

Charles also made a thought-provoking comment above. He might be interested to know that 100 miles up the Hudson River there are so many Manhattan exiles that in the last election, left-of-center democrats ran as Republicans in my city, and the extreme left (as in: you can't get more extreme and still be called law-abiding) took over the Democrat ticket.

The latter group SWEPT the election, and my small city's government is now a tiny piece of that transnational Manhattan you were lamenting.

Here's the good news: the two groups of progressive-liberals who dominate the area won't talk to one another. There are intense hatreds among people you and I would consider hopeless "lefties" right in my immediate neighborhood. Their collective trait of unthinking intolerance is eating them all up every day.

As for me, "if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine" (Dylan). That's why I need venues like Belmont Club...

2/17/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"I think what you are asking is: if Islam is the enemy why is not every Mussulman the foe? Sentiment aside. My short answer would be: because the cause of individual accountability isn't lost yet. We still have the power to punish the guilty without including the innocent, though pacifism has done everything in its power to hinder that."

I don't think individual accoutnability as a guiding principal is mutually exclusive of regional war, which I think this situation requires and will result in in any case. If our enemies' conventional forces remain hopelessly outdated and their nations' populations remain intimdated and Asiatic-indifferent, our way of war will not return to the mass-casualty 40 division Barbarossa, nor will it need to. This conflict cannot be characterized as nationals vying for independence; where the Iraqi insurgnecy is sectarian and anti-occupation, it is also tribal and intermural. Both the nation and imam's throne are viewed ultimately as prizes for domination dependent upon the personalities who occupy them, not as neutral dispensations subject to multi-layered sovereign regulation. As a given of the region's political imperatives, then, it would seem crippling communications then annihilating certain targetable nodes would be sufficient to devestate a present enemy. Only in an indiscriminate war, I think, do we face the prospect of mass uprisings that would require us to rely on draft-sized, mass-casualty strategies.

Of course we do need to play much more to the enemy audience and do responsible things like kill al-Sadrs immediately, without warning or apology. This is the way of the region, and restraint in this respect has born its obvious fruits.

The other factor compelling a targetted, discriminate approach is the fact that, frankly, the problem with attacking barbarians is that they are not as subject to attrition as a more modern society would be. What does it mean to an opium farmer that the country's main oil pipeline or its country's electricity has been knocked out? What does it mean to a family that lives on bread and the goats in the yard and on the wife's and daughters' rug-weaving? What does it mean to a populace living in cities like Bam that can be completely annihilated by a 6.5 earthquake? We could not bring ourselves to kill the number required for submission. My fear - and secret hope - is that we would be hesitant to launch an indiscriminate nuclear retaliation if one of our cities were hit by a terrorist's tanker-borne 10 kt atom bomb. Do you really want to kill 50 million Persians? I don't.

2/17/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dan, 7:45 AM
But if we dick around long enough, something as pleasant as that, or worse, is BOUND to happen.
Even if Madame Hillary is the one to hit the switch.

2/17/2006 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"What does it mean to an opium farmer that the country's main oil pipeline or its country's electricity has been knocked out? What does it mean to a family that lives on bread and the goats in the yard and on the wife's and daughters' rug-weaving?"
There were quotes almost identical to that in a piece I linked a few days ago:
People on the street said:
"We carried on our daily lives through the Iran/Iraq War,
What's the big deal?"

2/17/2006 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Doug: What's the big deal?

That's the point. We need to make it a big deal, otherwise the problem is never going to go away. People need to be forced into making an informed decision. This statistic of a billion plus and growing, fast, needs to be reversed.

2/17/2006 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Exactly. But I favor a we-break-it-you-still-own-(some of)-it,-barbarian approach.

I don't think we're at the "Egypt the Prize" point quite yet. And besides, without a nuke attack in the USA, the Socialists will eat our bowels out from under us if we were to try it now.

2/17/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

For example, we lost, what, 110 guys on our trip up to Baghdad?

Why would adding 300,000 to that invasion force really provide additional force - unless of course you need it for logistical, supply purposes?

Iran is definitely a big country, but Tehran is pretty close to the Iraq border.

But I defer to you guys about military planning. I obviously know little about it. Where can one get such information?

Anyone know the status of any forces around the Caspian Sea, by the way?

2/17/2006 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

A place like Downtown Manhattan has more in common with downtown london paris or berlin than it does with a small town 50 miles up the Hudson river.

but a place like downtown manhattan controls a great deal of the media output of the USA.
The way to understand this is to understand that many countries that are represented in the UN really consist of one city that has no jurisdiction outside of the capital for that country.

The countryside behaves independently of the capital.

Similiarly you have immensely powerful cities like new york or london or paris or berlin that have have more cultural affinities to each other than to the towns and villages that surround them. Nor do these mega cities actually exercise civil control over their countryside.

2/17/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger fred said...

So, according to Dan, MAD would not work against a Muslim nuclear power. Thus, if we do not pre-emptively destroy their capability we might as well forget the whole idea of there being consequences for their acts. That sets a bad precedent, as our other enemies will take note of our enervation. The world is not entirely a civilized place and to assume the opposite; or wish it were so, does not obviate reality.

For us to use strategic nuclear weapons there would have to exist the most dire of scenarios. We are developing the capability to miniaturize tactical nukes to burrow underground and do the job that needs to be done. Inflicting massive casualties on the enemy is not always "the one-size fits all."

MAD is an option I would not take off the table a priori. Granted, it is in extremis, but it also assumes that some last shred of rationality might just exist in the back of the mind of that madman in Tehran.

2/17/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


Retired Maj. Gen Robert H. Scales, a former commander of the Army War College wrote this in the Wash Times.

It covers the basic US options, overtly military, in Iran.

While not the final word, it is an excellent primer

A strategy for disarming Iran

" ,,, In war, geography counts. Iran has avoided hundreds of years of colonial regime change because of its formidable natural defenses. The country is enormous, perhaps three times larger than Iraq. Vast deserts shield the interior. A thousand-mile chain of the Alp-like Zagros Mountains effectively blocks any easy landward advance from Arab counties toward Tehran. ... "

2/17/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Doug: They did consult the JAGs before launching the mission to shoot down Yammamoto, in order to make sure that it was a legitimate act of war. Hard to believe, in the usual context that we think of WWII.
But only a couple of years later Truman had to give his approval for the atomic attacks, but I don't think that any lawyers were consulted.

By that time the Japanese had demonstrated that they cared nothing for their own lives, and that was enough for us. And the Islamic Facists demonstrated that on Day One.

2/17/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Look, MAD remains on the table, I agree. But we have to look at the longer term, too.

In other news, Karachi's been shutdown by protests.

I smell insurrection there, and I wonder whether Musharaf's number is finally up.

al-Qaeda engineered an India-Pakistan stand-off with 5 morons with AK47s and grenades - as obvious a feint in the larger conflict as Massoud's assassination. Now, "al Qaeda" is stirring up the masses to put nuclear Pakistan in play just as Iran is coming into play.

Regional war may be shortly upon us. We better get interested real fast in killing plenty of Muslims. I think nuking them en masse, however, is at least dishonorable without sufficient provocation.

With sufficient provocation, though, by all means, lets kill them all from orbit and have done with this idiotic clash of civilizations, which frankly is beneath us (speaking of which, I wonder what we can do to finally kill Russia off...). Maybe a war is exactly what Europe needs to snap out of its postwar haze. But just consider what That would actually look like as you consider what a nuclear crater would look like at Broadway & 42nd street.

2/17/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Charles, my reply wasn't meant as a tweaking of your idea at all. I just seized on an opportunity to talk about the weird goings-on in a town on the Hudson north of Manhattan.

But your last post does frame the power struggle taking place in my own city in terms of the traditionally American tension between urban and rural constituencies.

Manhattan liberals who've flooded the Hudson River valley since 9/11 (thus making the traditional denizens into minorities) seem to come in two varieties:

- those who are at least willing, albeit grudgingly, to admit that that the rural types who preceded them may not have been totally unreasonable in the solutions they arrived at to meet local challenges,

- those "progressives" who see the locals as troglodytic baboons, as untouchables.

The latter group swept the elections, as I mentioned, and their first campaign was to make sure that this city of circa 7500 in population will now meet all of requirements of the Kyoto Treaty!

How's that for transnational b.s. on the Hudson?

2/17/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


I find it a sufficient provocation, them just being affiliated with that murderous blood cult. Why don't you?

2/17/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"A ground invasion into oil-rich Shat al Arab region of southern Iran would be painfully pyrrhic. An American presence on Iranian soil would induce a massive national uprising by hordes of irregulars that would dwarf today's war against Iraqi insurgents. Saddam knows this well. He spent 10 years and hundreds of thousands of lives to gain only a few square miles of Iranian swampland during his war against Iran during the 1980s."

I understand Scales' caution. But what about the fact that the Islamic Revolution was at its height at the time of Hussein's invasion? That, according to the History Channel anyway, Iran quickly had to rely on its brigades of suicide teenagers armed only with the Koranic verses on their green headbands? And, again according to the History Channel, Hussein, on his initial drive, was actually well within striking distance of Tehran and would have likely taken it had he not paused for apparently no good reason - rather like the British at Gallipoli.

I'm not saying this refutes Scales' case by any means, I just find it hard to believe the America that conquered Afghansistan and Iraq couldn't find a way to do Tehran. Granted, they've rarely been conquered from the West, but Afghanistan was supposed to be unconquerable too.

But it sounds crappy, undoubtedly. The guys in the Atlantic wargame article seem less skeptical though. Have you read that one, rat? Do they have a plausible analysis?

2/17/2006 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Mika said...

"There's no such thing as a good Muslim. As there's no such thing as a good Nazi."

During the late 1930s shortly before the Anschluss, this joke was popular in Vienna:

God in his wisdom had granted mankind three basic attributes. However God required that a single person could only possess two of the three attributes. The three basic attributes were:

1) To be moral
2) To be intelligent
3) To be a good Nazi

A good Nazi could be intelligent. A good Nazi could even be moral. However there was no such thing as a good Nazi who was both intelligent AND moral.

2/17/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

If you accept even the possibility that history has a direction that direction would be towards political, economic and social organization that provides an improving standard of living for the greatest number of human beings. The historical trinity is liberal democracy, free markets and institutions that promote free association and expression.

The 20th century was an egregiously violent period of history during which the historical trinity confronted the last vestiges of monarchism and the particularly virulent anti-historical forces of fascism and communism within a relatively brief time frame. Although I don't believe that historical outcomes are preordained I also don't believe it an accident of history that the polity that singularly best represents the historical trinity emerged from 20th century as the dominant conceptual and material force on earth.

Islam is also an anti-historical force. Islam has its benign spiritual elements but they are too inclusive and too tightly wrapped in a political shell to define it as a religion. I recently heard a lecture/discussion with a Sufi college professor. He described spirtual Islam, the relationship of man to God, in terms I easily understood and identified with from my Judeo-Christian perspective. When he spoke of the man-to-man relationship in Islam he used many examples from the Koran and from history to demonstrate that Islam was tolerant, educative and progressive. The professor never made the connection, and the moderator never brought it up, but every contextual reference from the Koran and every historical example given by the professor occurred AFTER political conquest.

What I took from that lecture was that even from the most mildly mannered, well educated, spirtual aspect of Islam that conceptual terms like justice, tolerance and love have an entirely different meaning. From the Islamic perspective it is an injustice that Sharia does not define the political structure, tolerance is only for the subjugated, love and mercy are only for fellow believers.

That is not to say that all Muslims are bad people. Far from it. Humans are too complicated to catergorize them so broadly. Islam itself, however, is pernicious. I don't know if it's possible to separate the spiritual from the political, or if anybody even thinks it's desireable. But before I would even consider the seriousness of a "moderate" Muslim's conversation I want to know where the Constitution and the Bill of Rights fit into the equation, and for how long.

2/17/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mika - because their mere barbarism isn't sufficient provocation for a holocaust. It may be an Invitation, but c'mon. It's certainly resulted in sufficient provocation for war, in my opinion. A nuclear strike would barbarize us, however, and it's just not necessary.

I am completely sympathetic to your views though, and think we need to strike Iran and Syria suddenly and without warning, accompanied by a move on al-Sadr in Iraq. I want this thing pushed towards its crisis point. The current Phony War is only a boon to the jiahdis and their fellowtraveller opportunists.

Watch Pakistan.

2/17/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I agree Islam itself is pernicious.

That's just the way it is.

2/17/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Not that particular piece, no.
There are other viewpoints then General Scales.

My own solution would be a radical departure from staying the course or invading Iran.
The US was attacked by Wahabbi Mohameddans, based in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Government of the General President is by no means secure.
The 48 Nuclear Warheads that exists in aQ's Homeland, those are the first and foremost threat to Civilization.

I would go to the heart of the matter, leaving the Iraqis to sort out their internal problems internally.

2/17/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Dan, trimming a population of 1.2 billion by a few million does not make for a holocaust. How many atomic bombs do you think it would take to have people decide as to whether they really believe in mahmud's supremacy cult?

2/17/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) -- Iran's foreign minister called for the immediate withdrawal of British forces from the southern Iraqi city of Basra, saying Friday their presence had damaged security.

Manushehr Mottaki issued the call after meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh.

''We believe that the presence of the British forces in Basra has destabilized security in this city and has had some negative effects in the form of threats against southern Iran recently,'' Mottaki said. ''The Islamic Republic of Iran demands an immediate withdrawal of British forces from Basra.''

2/17/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Look, anyone who thinks we should avoid a war with and regime change is Iran is a fool. Period.

2/17/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Iran must be undercut to save Iraq and strike at the heart of known Terrorism.

We have to be bold here. Pakistan must be dealt with too, I agree. But how? Do we team up with India? Or what?

2/17/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

To say such a thing about Mr Bush and Mr Cheney, dan, that sure is a switcher-oo for two.

Right out of the Wahhabist Saudi's play book. They attack US, we attack their greatest Enemies, one after another.

While their Proxies in Pakistan stand ready. Any bets on how deep Saudi influence is in Pakistan, both with the Holy Warriors and the Army General Staff?

Who ever said the Sauds couldn't play the Great Game?

2/17/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

PeterBoston, 8:59:

Exactly, Islam is antithetical to Western Civilization. To argue otherwise is foolishness or ignorance. When the muslim population reaches a critical mass Sharia becomes the law of the land. Examples of non-Sharia countries are the aberration. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the resurgence of fundamentalism, the Islamic world is returning to the "Word." Anything else will be apostasy. While the great majority may not believe, they must submit or die. This is what we are seeing. The Mullahs are exerting themselves. Islam could be at a fork in the road. One direction (the easy road)leads back. The other fork is forbidding and fraught with the unknown but at the end is freedom but at the same time is contrary to everything they have been taught about Islam and Allah. Which path will they take?

2/17/2006 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Fair enough. But we have to play the game accordin to the pieces given us. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are the heart of the Sunni insurgency, I grant you. Downing Iran would weaken us by committing many forces, and gratify Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (especially Saudi Arabia). Pakistan is a seething mass of Islamism, Saudi Arabia is its fountainhead. Allowing Iran to capture Iraq, at least institutionally, however, only reshuffles the regional deck and intensifies the terrorist/tribal conflict we're attempting to reduce. The war won't end with Iran's dispatch. But how can we manage a Pakistan strike in a nation of 130 million Muslims, the original Islamic State, and also prevent Iran from creating a Shiite crescent from Lebanon to Iraq to Iran? I grant you al Qaeda is the number 1 enemy, but Iran's networks include al Qaeda support.

Obviously, this is a big mess. But the place is a big mess, and it was prior to our arrival and will be after our departure, though hopefully improved. Attacking Pakistan - who is after all somewhat distracted by its own conflict with India - now would ruin Afghanistan, Pakistan, and allow Iran a much freer hand in its designs on Iraq. Or not - and why not? Pleasing Pakistan and Saudi Arabia just doesn't strike me as the worst of all possible outcomes at this point in the Game. After all, we cannot even nominally bargain with Iran.

2/17/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Wretchard writes: ... as to Muslims in general there are thousands risking their lives in American service right now. ... I've trusted [certain Muslims] with my life in situations where it would cost them nothing and gain them much to put me over the side.

whit writes: Islam is antithetical to Western Civilization. To argue otherwise is foolishness or ignorance.

How do we square these two statements?

whit (et al), I thought we'd dispensed with your brand of bigotry in the "Past as Prologue" thread:

2/17/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

The strategy is to deny them their support strategy. Without its roots, the fruits will whither on the vine...
The support structure mostly includes the autocracies that maintain these closed societies. These closed societies have taught that doubting is wrong, and have fostered the mentality that no one outside the clan is to be trusted; but, everything from a fellow clan member is right.
The people must be brought along, the minimally educated masses in these countries must crawl before they can walk. Getting back to the theme of this post, they must expand their horizons; right now, the vast majority may live hand to mouth, with their greatest pleasures taken in things that do not cost much: the family get together, going to worship, the Ramadan feast. These may be the only things that hold them together; help the "maintain".
Perhaps depression era Germany was similar.
These things are so important to them because they offer solace in the present and a hope for the future. Threaten to take any of this away and it's easy for them to slip into a mob mentality.
What is to be done about this mentality? We need to build on what they do know and understand; for instance, I think deep down most Iranians recognize that separation of church and state is better. We should also accentuate what we have in common; for instance, we make thought out, principled decisions that reflect a sense of core values - any God fearing people will respect this.
Eventually, the H.M.I.C.(Head Mullah In Charge)will crack down on the multi headed western influences penetrating their closed societies; our hope is that we will have brought them far enough along, that they will be independent minded enough, to do something.
As an adjunct to the mental battle for the masses, the QDR is a step in the right direction, and flexible enough to be used as a template as we move forward. A point which struck me was the modelling aspect of moving towards outcomes; to me it's kinda like believing what you hope to see. In some ways, the Rumsfield briefings at the beginning of the war reminded me of this - he presented the facts as he saw them; those that were behind the war appreciated what he had to say knowing where he was coming from and what the desired outcome was (winning), and detractors, generally, those that never supported the war, saw him as a disturbed liar. Important to the QDR, and modelling, is that you are moving forward in some direction - moving targets are tough to hit.
Like justice being doled out, the QDR will need to have proportional responses to stand in the court of public opinion. This will require vigilance to guard against knee jerk reactions by those that can't see through their own prejudices. If we pre-judge people as being homogenous haters that need to be killed, there is no hope; the modelling will help us to isolate, see shades of gray, and ultimately disperse the terrorist to be dealt with until their ways collapse as a viable way of thinking.
The wild card in all of this is of course WMD's. To whom do you proportionately respond whan a terrorist sets off a nuke? To his credit, GWB has done a good job of laying the groundwork, and sending notice to those sponsoring states, which have not denied the fact, that they can expect retaliation. Surprisingly, the French let it be known, if they were attacked w/WMD, they would be shooting back at sponsoring states with a shotgun, not a rifle.
Hopefully, those presently sponsoring states with WMD will grow up and act responsibly until suck a time as more moderate leaders arise and the major support networks of the terrorist can be dissolved.

2/17/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

whit - you were posting at the same time that Wretchard and Mika were having this same conversation above - between 2 AM and 5 AM - and said nothing at the time.

Do you suppose that Wretchard, who mut be either "foolish" or "ignorant" by your account, is not reading the thread now?

2/17/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Of course Islam is antithetical to Western Civilization, Op. I think that's pretty irrefutable. For a contemporary perspective, I listen to what Muslims say - a good indication is go on Islamic youth chat boards and read what they say to eachother about us and themselves. From a historical perspective, I haven't run across much suggesting cross-culture comity except in the nature of expedient treaties, which are after all very unreliable reflections of their authors' deeper motivations and predilections. I don't wanna revisit that exchange, which I vagugely remember; just gimme the greatest hits, as you see them.

2/17/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

'Mut', precisely!

2/17/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

That leaves only the airborne "coup de main" option, doable with help from a robust international coalition and only remotely possible if we have reliable intelligence about the location of Iranian nuclear warheads, missiles and launchers. A takedown of Iranian nuclear capabilities would begin with special operations, light infantry and air transported light armored units arriving by an aerial bridge to establish forward operating bases, essentially secure but temporary enclaves, deep inside Iran near known nuclear facilities.

I agree that this is the most likely scenario, if we decide to use the military.

I'm not sure we will, though. I think our current game is judo and misdirection.

For better or worse, I think Bush and Condi will make a long-term strategic maneuver that will, in the short-term, look like weakness. It might even be weakness, political or constitutional or whatever. It might be based on blinkered thinking, or on vain hopes. But I no longer think we will see a unilateral military expedition in Iran.

What's left, when you take the military option off the table, is creativity, cleverness, and grand strategy.


If we are to win with diplomacy (in the long run), I think we are going to have to give the Mullahs what they want: nuclear capability. I also think that we will need some way of validating their possession at the UN. Such validation would serve both parties: the Mullahs gain legitimacy and the UN retains a modicum of relevancy. If that was all we gain, of course, it would not be enough. Without more, the Mullahs would be able to credibly claim to have defeated the West. They would look like winners and we would look like losers.

But, I think, that might be the point. The Mullahs might have placed so much emphasis on winning this particular battle that they are prepared to accept typical 'Western' garnish on the deal.

I started thinking about this as a possibility upon reading about the history, and effect, of the Helsinki Accords on the Soviet Union (and remember, Condi is a Soviet and Cold War guru). The Helsinki agreement was thought to be a huge failure for American diplomacy, because it formally recognized and legitimized for the first time Soviet control of Eastern Europe. Senator Jackson condemned it as an act of weakness, as did many others.

For the same reason, Brezhnev thought he won a major victory. Here, he told his people, was validation for all our sacrifice. Here was the international respect and legitimacy for which the Soviet nation had sacrificed so much. Here was progress.

But embedded in the agreement was the now famous statement of human rights. The Soviets, in their obsession with 'legitimacy', bought and swallowed a poisoned apple, and gave fuel to the fire that would eventually consume them. After all, they could hardly hide the human rights clauses while trumpeting the agreement as a success in international law. Dissidents were given hope, and the great unraveling began to speed up. It is a great example of how what appears to be a short-term defeat can bring about a long-term, and final, victory.

Note that it was the Western Europeans who championed the human rights clauses. Note that Brezhnev thought it was typical Western garnish, irrelevant and inconsequential. Note that giving Brezhnev what he wanted most led him to accept what he needed least. Note that the Soviet Union no longer exists.

History never repeats, but it does have some amazing similarities. I would not be surprised if something like this was our play against Iran.

We can always destroy, and we are powerful enough to withstand almost any storm. It might be time to test our strength by showing weakness.

2/17/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I say this, of course, out of one side of my brain. I am also perfectly capable of supporting and backing a military intervention.

The post was, if anything, food for thought.

2/17/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


Those statements are not in conflict. Islam is an ideology. Individuals are, well, individual. Many individuals are Muslim because one or both parents were Mulsim. Many individuals who identify themselves as Muslim probably don't think much about it beyond the basic spiritual aspects, it at all. There is a world of possibilities for each individual.

2/17/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That Mr al Sadr is a major force in Iraqi politics is a direct result of US Actions. His ability and power is part and parcel US Policy.

We could have easily set Mr Allawi or Mr Chilabi up as President with an adequate Force to maintain them, if Stability had been Policy.

Our Policy has not, however, been one of Stability, but of Radical Change.
We have invited the Iranian influence in Iraq, indeed our actions have evcouraged it.

Whom are the British in Basra protecting the Iraqis from, other then themselves?

2/17/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

'How do we square these two statements?'

Wretchard is looking at individual Muslims, whit is looking at the religion as a whole (as currently practiced/proclaimed by it's leadership.)

I think that the real question is how much do you water down your struggle against the group (in this case the religion of Islam, as currently practiced) as a whole in an attempt to avoid targeting the "good" individuals.

With a secondary question being (if you are looking at this from the "big picture" perspective) are individuals who allow the rest of the group (of which they are a part) to act in this manner "good", and worthy of worrying about? (This obviously excludes those relatively few Muslims who have spoken out against the fanatics.)

2/17/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

dan - I'm also loathe to revisit that exchange. Let's try something a little different, which begs the term "irrefutable".

To refer briefly to the 'Past as Prologue' thread, I'd given some very real examples of Christian sectarian violence that were in the news that very day (though not in the US news, of course), and eventually my challengers disappeared one by one. (One poster named 'ash', apparently writing from the left, tried to give me the slip; I intend to hound him for now on.)

Unless you believe that Western Civilizations's Greek foundations are notwithstanding, Islam was once not only not antithetical to Western Civilization, but its greatest thinkers and translators preserved and furthered our own heritage while we were struggling to free ourselves of our own murderous barbarism. That's pretty irrefutable, yes?

Expecting to find essence of Islam by listening to what some Muslims - yes, way too many - are saying nowadays is only a way to plumb their ignorance! Ask any one of them who Averroes is and how his genius altered Christendom at its foundations? They haven't heard of him.

Not to seem rude or anything, but who here even knows who I'm talking about?

Who would ever expect to plumb the essence of a thing by studying its "contemporary perspectives" only?

Do we learn about the essence of Christianity by studying peterboston, who is satisfied to reduce one of the world's great religions to being nothing more than an "ideology"? I don't think so.

2/17/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

That will work if there is reasonable assurance that they won't use the nuclear weapons, and/or provide them to someone else to use. In that aspect, I think that North Korea is actually more trustworthy than Iran (although I still wouldn't "bet the house" on Kim being rational) because I question whether current Iranian leadership is thinking "long term." Are we willing to "bet the house" that they are?

2/17/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"As a direct result of US policy," though is an incomplete explanation: yes, only Saddam's removal and our deference to local tribal jockeying has resulted in the present political mix. Our failure to kill, then to arrest and try al-Sadr, even with a warrant, has allowed him to exploit the magic-minded ghetto Arabs and their patrons among the Shia. But are you saying, in pursuant of really radical transformation-from-above, that we intended al-Sadr in power, as a puppet of Iran? Moreover, I'm pretty sure we resisted the temptation to directly install and defend an Iraqi leader on the theory that it would only aggravate and possibly fatally undermine US pretensions to be midwife of democracy - a consideration that, for all its dignity, has definitely caused us to defer too much to fears of local mobs at many critical points. Or do you think our policy has been just to be more hands-off than that, in sort of a bad faith way, and that That's why our policy caused the current dynamic?

2/17/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I would argue that Averroes and Avicenna and the others were part of a lot more of an instrumental effort than a true synthetic effort a la Albert / Aquinas / Bacon / Scotus and the rest, their near contemporaries & indeed beneficiaries. The very Dome of the Rock was built by the Byzantines at the invitation of the Caliph. Why? They needed a Dome yo. Moreover, the trajectory of development virtually ends with those writers in the Muslim world. There is nothing like even a Thomist theory of liberty, via Aristotle and St. Paul, for example, in all of Islam that I'm aware of.

Hold on - I'm in Evidence class.

2/17/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

I think her thighs are too fat...

2/17/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Doug said...
Political Correctness is a Worldly Pleasure unto itself. the minds of the believers.
If one follows it strictly enough.
The exquisite pleasures of unbounded denial.

5:21 PM

...experiencing was terrible suffering or exquisite pleasure ... imagine the pleasures you are going to experience. Pain beyond comprehension ... -- Hellraiser

2/17/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

exhelodrvr, because you missed our thread the other day you also missed the knee-jerk tendency of my more ignorant interlocutors to turn me into something I'm not: a multi-cultural liberal apologist of contemporary Islam.

My concern is practical, first of all. We're going to talk as if we're waging a holy war? Against how many Muslims at current count? Now who's being apocalyptic?

Furthermore, we'd be waging this holy war on specious grounds: the supposedly essential conflict between Muslims and Westerners could be a passing thing if we keep our heads level and know the history (theirs and ours).

the idea that individual Muslims who are "good" are only good by virtue of their ignorance about their bad religion is insulting and repugnant (other than that, what a great way to win friends and influence people!).

You put your finger on something when you distinguished "the religion of Islam, as currently practiced" from, I suppose, the nutjobs who turn Islam into a murderous ideology.

Dan - Averroes and Avicenna as "instrumental"-ists?

Whatever you mean by that, you oppose it to a "true synthetic effort a la Albert / Aquinas / Bacon / Scotus".

I'll grant that great minds such as Averroes and Avicenna and their brilliant inquiries were seemingly the last of their kind in Islam (as far as I know), but at their sloppiest, people here have been talking in terms of the essence of Islam (and that's also the point I'd say that the definition of 'bigotry' really' kicks in).

Of Avicenna's Platonism, I'd say that you do have a nearly syncretic faith which is still practiced by contemporary Sufis and especially Muslim Kurds.

We are foolish and wrong to denigrate those traditions' histories, even if their contemporary practitioners are foolish and wrong enough to forget them themselves.

2/17/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Isn't dealing with Islam primarily a political problem for us rather then a problem that can be addressed militarily? Can we really bomb them into thought change? I think not. In fact an attack from US is more likely to deepen the political problem, make it more radical, as opposed to alleviate it.

Doug wrote:
"But if we dick around long enough, something as pleasant as that, or worse, is BOUND to happen"

Why is it (Islamists nuke US) BOUND to happen? Wasn't this the fear of the a nuke armed Soviet Union? It is quite a stretch to think it is inevitable and to predicate action upon that prediction.

Desert Rat,

A few threads ago you posed the question as to why Iran's pres was interested in getting bombed. An interesting article in Asia Times on this:

2/17/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

fred said...
Having read the Qur'an, Muhammed's pleasures were perverse and utterly selfish. And they were fiendishly projected on to the Divine.

6:44 PM

So Muhammed == hellraiser...

2/17/2006 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...


That's the $64,000 question. Will the Iranians use or disseminate the nukes, once they have them?

I have no special insight on this question, but my gut instinct is that the answer is a function of time. I believe the Iranians will use or disseminate their weapons eventually, but I don't believe it will happen right out of the nuclear gates. In fact, I think front-loading a big Iranian victory in this process makes use/dissemination less likely. Deftness at one game usually does not lead one to quit the game. Revolution in strategy and paradigm does not follow success, it follows failure and crisis. If we give them a diplomatic victory, I think they will stick to that game until their options are exhausted.

Of course, this depends to a large degree on them not being collectively insane.

I think I know what they want. I think they want power and prestige more than they want martyrdom. I think they will pursue this over the short and medium term. I also think this gives us an opportunity to do a judo flip. In short, I think the center of gravity here is the Iranian people, and we still have time win diplomatically and morally.

It's a gamble, sure. But so is becoming the world's most hated hegemon.

In the end, the Mullahs will be gone and America will still be standing. All that's left is to fill in the detail.

2/17/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Sorry exhelodrvr, you did partake in that thread, and we even agreed with your estimate that: "the main problem is not that members of a movement use their religion to justify violence. The main problem is that a very significant percentage of the leaders of that religion support the violent actions of those members."

You weren't uncivil towards me, but I do remember scratching my head wondering why you'd think I'd disagree with those words?

2/17/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

An instrumental effort - they were sincere, but were also mostly concerned with Medicine. Aquinas goes to Locke; Bacon goes to Newton.

Sufism is precisely that a syncretistic faith. If that's what you're referring to, I agree but we're not at war with them insofar as your characterization is correct and they are not an effective counterbalance to the traditional Sunni and Shia, and the currently ascendant revolutionary Shia and Wahhabists. Islam in its essence, though, surely is directly and explicitly opposed to Christianity and Judaism except as dhimmi, theoretically, and captive sources of tax farming, slaves and favored but subservient merchants, architects, and so on. In its essence, Islam clearly incorporates little of the Greek genius; nor has that tradition found much except for barren ground in the Islamic imagination - except in the period to which you refer. Of the 4 jurisprudential tradition, only the Maliki, who favor reason above revelation as the basis of legal interpretation, has much commerce with Rationalism, and it's in any case overshadowed by the other tradition, especially Hanbali, which is the most revelation-based of the 4.

As far as I understand their history,and I've been doing my best to read as authoritative uncompromised sources as possible, Muslims have, rather like the Soviets, sort of stolen the sceintific, technical innovations of the West for the purpose of improving their ability to wage war and administer their state(s), but have been little affected by the kind of ethical and metaphysical thought by the kind of Western defining traditions - maybe evolution would be a better term - that I think Whit and certainly I am referring to.

2/17/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

ash - Nice way to get back to people ('Just to Sing ' thread, 1:28 PM).

I noticed that you were still posting after I thanked you for your candor about "getting us off the track" (at 12:39) from a conversation that wasn't going well for you.

When you found out that I wasn't among those who shouted down MSM lefties as "treasonous" you dropped that conversation, and ignored my charge that by equating and conflat[-ing] "inoffensive cartoons aimed at the enemy and images of US soldiers killed by that same enemy - show[-ed] your confusion."

I added that "you're not sure who the enemy is. As far as I'm concerned that makes you a liability.

As I say, nice way to duck a challenge. Real honest.

2/17/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

opotho said...

Charles, my reply wasn't meant as a tweaking of your idea at all. I just seized on an opportunity to talk about the weird goings-on in a town on the Hudson north of Manhattan.
its worth noting that the founders wanted all their state and federal capitals to be away from all the financial and commercial centers because they believed that the urban centers didn't promote morality.

Thats the reason that the capital of New York is Albany and not NYC or the capital of California is Sacramento and not LA or San francisco

2/17/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

opotho: The main problem is that a very significant percentage of the leaders of that religion support the violent actions of those members.

Why not go after the ideologues and their power base(s). That is, why not nuke 10 major centers of islamic power and historical significance (Makkah, Yathrib, Najaf, Karbala, Qom, Isfahan, Cairo, etc.) and raze all other minor structures by conventional means. Wouldn't that put a cork on this movement?

2/17/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

But I guess I should stress that I don't think it is Beyond Muslims to make a leap into the modern world - their own traditions, though they are in my opinion as I have sketchily described them, have certain loci classici that could provide bridges: the early admiration of Heraclius, the Peoples of the Book relationship generally prior to the "kill the Jews behind the trees" crap, the Translation period. I wonder whether Islamic audiences would accpet the fact that it was largely the British that allowed the Ottoman Caliphate to exist as long as it did by fending of Russian designs at least after 1850ish. Probably not. But as another matter of fact perhaps we could point out the relative prosperity of India, ruled by Britain for at least a couple centuries, and Iraq or Egypt, ruled only briefly and contingently by the British. Also probably not. Maybe just appeal straight up to the simple desire for fun trinkets like cell phones and satellite dishes and movies? The thing is I hear you that there must be some way to reach these people in some empathetic relationsihip. I'm sure that there are aspects of Islam which, isolated from their Quranic revelation (the status of the Quran is a really a big barrier between us), could provide points of conversation. I know there are in Sufism as I understand it (a friend of mine in college was a Sufi - did all that dervish stuff on Thursdays? Fridays? Maybe it was Tuesdays and Fridays - I forget).

2/17/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The Islamic paradigm is monological, existing separately from, and often in spite of, reality. It is a static structure of beliefs and imperatives. It is based entirely on revelatory truth.

The Enlightenment paradigm is dialogical, existing in response to, and in anticipation of, reality. This makes it dynamic and responsive, and therefore adaptable. It is based on discovered and tested truth.

One of these is inherently unfit to survive evolutionary pressures and crises. One of these, on the other hand, is structured on the principles of evolution and can withstand such forces.

If Islam is to survive, it will have to put away certainty, and pick up curiosity and adaptability.


2/17/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Thanks Charles, i didn't know that about our state capitals.

And thank you for your reply dan. By your updated account (oops, I see you've written another now) I would disagree that Avicenna, in particular, was "mostly concerned with medicine". All I can do at the moment is to direct you to the studies of Avicenna, et al, in the works of comparative philosophy by Henri Corbin.

I can get back to those Greek references if you'd like, though I originally intended to do something else with the day! As for any Islamic interest in science though, they've only totally forgotten their own once-great heritage. I don't think it behooves anyone that we forget it too. Judging from some of the current and huge engineering projects around the region, I don't think it's impossible that some of them don't genuinely love technological application for its own sake. But I can't be sure about that either.

Sufism is not the only syncretistic expression under the umbrella of Islam, but as I'm sure you'd rush to emphasize - and so would I - they're among the most frightened of their more maniacal Muslim brethren.

As I understand it, some Shi'a are not only not hostile to Sufis, but often are themselves Sufis. There are so many more sects in Islam than there are in Christianity that we are so ready, in our justifiable impatience and exasperation to conflate them all into 'an essence'. A good example of the tendency to underplay these differences is that I've never come across any authoratative discussion about the religions of the Kurds at Belmont Club. Most of them are Muslims, so shall we incinerate the Kurds with the rest? Certainly not.

I would rather pursue the truth and take the chance that it could help us win this war sooner rather than later.

Wahhabism and too many other sects of Islam are "surely ... directly and explicitly opposed to Christianity and Judaism except as dhimmi".

mika - seems a bit extreme, but you and I agree that "the ideologues and their power base(s)" are at their best when they're dead. I would even say that that requires some measure of collateral damage. Our big difference is you that you suggest your plan would "put a cork in it".

2/17/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

If Islam is to survive, it will have to put away certainty, and pick up curiosity and adaptability."

Absolutely! (I mean, er ...)

2/17/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

dan, I like your thinking and also share the perplexities of your 11:24 post.

2/17/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


I agree with Wretchard’s notion that we can still hold individuals accountable as opposed to writing off the whole group. I do not think that the entire Muslim world is the enemy and hence they all must be killed. In the same vein I think that showing images of the fallen and cartoons offending Muslims both can be freely ‘expressed’. Simply because you maintain that “they” are the enemy does not then mean I am not free to express a thought. Similarly by declaring us the enemy have ‘they’ no more rationale for constraining our freedom of expression. I think you are unnecessarily constraining freedom of expression in the name of an ill defined broad never-ending war that is a war more in the sense of “war on drugs” then in the sense of nation states in conflict.

2/17/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

If you had the responsibility of assessing the potential impact of European monarchies on the extension of liberal democracy and free markets over the next several generations would you recite your interpretation of 500 year old history or would you evaluate the contemporary situation?

Bin Laden and Zawahiri have written about 30 discourses over the past few years. It's probably fair to say that their writings are reflective of the contemporary thought of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islam's most pervasive political movement, and perhaps more broadly these writings are reflective of the political aspirations of pan-Islamic Salafism. If you have an argument that Salafism should not be synonomous for Islam in the current landscape I would like to hear it.

2/17/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

wretchard said...
because the cause of individual accountability isn't lost yet. We still have the power to punish the guilty without including the innocent...
... though the time grows short.

...and the time is getting close enough to be measured with an eggtimer.

Once Iran actually get's the bomb, their cities will burn -- innocent with the guilty.

2/17/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

If I disappeared the other day it was because I found the exchange tiring. I'm not one to beat my head against a wall.

I think my post involved observations of Islam under the sway of fundamentalists. What is your understanding of fundamentalism?

Perhaps you could direct me to a "reformed" Mosque?

2/17/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Predator Style:
Screw the "collateral" damage.
Fellow Animal Followers.

2/17/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Dan, more Islamic history and data.

2/17/2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I've got a link two threads back on Mexican-Punjabi-Americans in CA who for the first 50 years became more and more assimilated. they won't go to the churches anymore, since the new arrivals from Pakistan are taking them back to the 13th Century AGAIN.
Money quote is a Mexican-Punjabi Pioneer doing his version of Pryor:
"Those Indians Are Crazy!"

2/17/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"MAD is an option I would not take off the table a priori. Granted, it is in extremis, but it also assumes that some last shred of rationality might just exist in the back of the mind of that madman in Tehran. "
After a few Demo Prequels, it would work with the people if not the mad*men* (plural) in charge.

2/17/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Opotho: mika - seems a bit extreme,.. Our big difference is you that you suggest your plan would "put a cork in it".

Why do you disagree? Was I being too modest in applying the correct force to achieve this goal. Actually, now that I think of it, it might be better to nuke 40 or 50 cities, (say, a mil per nuke) just to be sure we're not too modest in applying the correct force. My only regret in all of this, is thinking of all the wonderful scientific and intellectual heritage to be lost along with those madrases.

2/17/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

whit - our definitions of "fundamentalism" are probably close enough. My patience wears thin when people start spouting on about "the essence" of this or that. It was a great way to win WWII, but no way to win this war.

mika - I appreciate any and all facetiousness, but to be serious, I don't think your ideas are going to put a cork in anything.

ash - Your reply is appreciated.

I agree, emphatically, that holding individuals accountable is best, but I fail to see how that is in any way "in the same vein as" comparing outrage over the publication of the Danish cartoons with consternation at home about publishing images of our fallen? ("consternation" mind you, not embassy burning).

In looking for any similarities between "images of our fallen" and the Danish cartoons, I don't begin with an assumed body of universal points of justice against which I measure each particular instance. Rather, in this as in all things I look for the rightness of each particular response and choice from within the context at hand. And please recall that the general context of strife that we find ourselves in was initially foisted upon us (... unless you don't believe that?)

That is how, in a time of war, I can see no sensible equation between permitting the showing of images which may embolden the enemy, on the one hand, and not showing pictures (the cartoons), which non-act will also embolden our enemy.

To your notions of what constitutes "principles", you are justified in saying that I am "unnecessarily constraining freedom of expression". To me and mine, we're busy fighting a war.

2/17/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I saw that post the other day. It illustrates what I'm talking about. But what do I know? I'm just a biggot.

2/17/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

The "strife that we find ourselves in was initially foisted upon us ... unless you don't believe that?"

If that's the problem then we are wasting each other's time, ash.

2/17/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

"This is a unanimous decision by all imams (prayer leaders) of Islam that whoever insults the prophet (ed. Danish cartoonists) deserves to be killed and whoever will take this insulting man to his end, will get this prize," Qureshi said.

Rather than believe that this nut job's words actually mean something the Danish cartoonists should assess the risk by grabbing their history books to compare Islam and Christendom in the year 1280.

2/17/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

peterboston, if that was truly a unanimous decision then I'd have to change my tune and join you. Of course you're not so simple to believe that that's true (are you?).

The address you posted to that article is buried in the thread's margin. and is not visible on my browser.

2/17/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

desert rat,

A Japanese newspaper reported that after September 11 President was offered, perhaps in a pro-forma way, the nuclear option, which he rejected. That's a reminder that the path to total war has always been open to the US. The Global War on Terror is an attempt to resolve the issue with limited war by narrowly employing force against state sponsors of terrorism.

In the specific case of Iraq the idea was to punish Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath but not Joe Iraqi. The Left and pacifism are doing everything in their power to oppose limited war and to substitute in its place the ludicrous notion of a police operation. We must get warrants to wiretap Al Qaeda. We must mind our P&Qs when interrogating Hambali. We must allow the agents of the Jihad, disguised as Holy Men, to organize cells in our midst. Pacifism, by these acts, will make limited war fail. But the alternative is not as they imagine a police operation but an increasingly total war.

2/17/2006 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


The origin of the conflict is not an issue for me. The notion of what is taboo, and offensive is. For some reason so many of 'them' find the cartoons offensive. Similarily many here in the US find images of our own dead soldiers offensive. To both I say, well, sorry, but hey, that's life, feel free to feel offended. But somehow you are bringing in this grand War thing as a justification for suppressing the freedom of expression. Why, will our offended populace be demoralized and our will sapped and our soldiers fail to fight? This undeclared war against an undeclared enemy which is a looooong war justifies the suppression of a freedom we cherish? That is far to Orwellian for me.

2/17/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


An ill-contrived question is not redeemed with affectation.

2/17/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But now we are not even fighting a Limited War, that is the point. Whether the cause is Lefties, Moonbats, poor Army Doctrine, the MSM or any combination there of, we are in the midst of a Police Operation.

No where are the Allies on the Offensive. The Terrorists are on the Offensive and have the big Mo'.

Ms Rice went to Congress to get $75 Million USD for the Propaganda War. Just a couple of weeks ago, DoD asked for $75 Billion to continue Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

One tenth of 1% of the Military's Budget is not nearly enough to fight the War of the Mind.

But no ones fightiing a War, except the few men on the ground and, of course, their families.

2/17/2006 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Meteor Blades said...

Maybe just appeal straight up to the simple desire for fun trinkets like cell phones and satellite dishes and movies?

Perhaps a visit to one of the Islamic countries would demonstrate that such "trinkets" are widely available already. Still, better to shower these than the 50 city-busters that jokester mika is proposing. Give Ann Coulter a call for her next stand-up routine, I'm sure she'll pay for that comedic gold.

The state capital comment is a tangent on a tangent, I know, but while Albany and other capitals may well have been chosen for their distance from commercial centers to avoid "immorality," the choice of wild and wide-open Sacramento, which was a major commercial center in 1854 when the final selection was made, had nothing to do with such considerations, but rather because the mining districts of Sacramento and San Joaquin elected more than half the legislature, the fact that San Jose - the first choice - was rife with rain and cholera, and the bribe of luxuries, free accommodation for lawmakers and free municipal land that the elected leaders of Sacramento offered. Immorality, indeed.

2/17/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

ash - fair enough about the war's origins.

Never mind the official reasons, I never thought that a potential 'offensiveness' or tastelessness was really at the root of the government's prohibition of showing images of our fallen. I suppose that's where I'm not able to yield to any equation between that story and the mere and alleged 'offensiveness' of the cartoons.

War is a perfectly good time to exercise a "suppressing [of] the freedom of expression" "Loose lips sink ships, remember?

Among the reasons that this is already a longer war than it had to be is that there seem to be whole continents of people who think like yourself in ideal terms only, and who don't know any better than to encourage an enemy they grossly underestimate at every opportunity they can.

2/17/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No, dear optho, the extended length of this War has not been due to the dissenters.

It is due to the Policies implemented by the Bush Administration and by the Military. With the Military being in charge of the Operations. Or at least that is the Public Face of it.

The Generals have not been slowed by either the WaPo or Dan Rather, but by their own Training, Doctrine and Institutional CYA.

The lack of Victory is always the responsibility of the Commander, not the onlookers nor the comments made by pundits, fools, jesters or Calypso singers.

2/17/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

see optho this is where we disagree. I don't think it is idealism that I propound but rather the problem stems from the simplistic notion that there is a military solution to what is primarily a political problem. Invading and occupying Iraq has done little to move us toward our goal of a free and democratic middle east. In fact it has been counter productive.

2/17/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Wretchard writes: ... as to Muslims in general there are thousands risking their lives in American service right now. ... I've trusted [certain Muslims] with my life in situations where it would cost them nothing and gain them much to put me over the side.

Islam is antithetical to Western Civilization. To argue otherwise is foolishness or ignorance.

How do we square these two statements?

whit (et al), I thought we'd dispensed with your brand of bigotry in the "Past as Prologue" thread.
You evidently dispensed with it in your mind only, Opotho.
I find throwing the bigot word around like that offensive, your superior knowledge of the great religion of Islam notwithstanding.

*I* thought comparisons of Christianity of the past with Muhammedism as practiced today were dealt with in the first few months after 9-11.
The fact that they are trying (and succeeding to some extent) to impose sharia on others BEFORE they are in the majority and when their military might is negligible means NOTHING, *TODAY?*

What the Hell are you thinking?
ex-helo and Boston make a lot more sense to me than you do.

What good is a discussion of history when it is at the expense of the immediate present?

Islam + Political Correctness = Suicide

2/17/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

desert rat,

But now we are not even fighting a Limited War

It's starting to look that way. From here on there are two ways to go. We can enter a period of paralysis from which we will be woken only by a new and probably larger disaster; or create a new sense of urgency from the post September 11 experience.

In my more optimistic moments I think we are in the latter. We are so much better informed and experienced today than four years ago. And some I daresay, angrier. The question is whether we can harness the experience to the anger to renew the limited war more effectively.

The shrillness and sheer mendacity with which the old appeasers defend their cause suggests to me that while they appear fierce, they are actually on their last legs. I think there's still hope for the world but we are going into the fourth quarter.

2/17/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat 1:53 PM,
Given that it is the second term, time is running out, we have no idea what will come next, even though I would normally argue,
I won't.

Lack of Decisiveness is a Decision, and the costs of can-kicking are unknowable.

2/17/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

opotho said...

As for me, "if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine" (Dylan). That's why I need venues like Belmont Club...

7:44 AM

I lived on 112St & RSD for about 17 years. I left in 1991. You won't become a free man until you figure out why it was that Melville began his book "Call Me Ishmael" ie the story of a guy who leaves New York.

2/17/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Can it be reasonably argued in retrospect that the monsters that put a price on Rushdie's head, the sponsers of Stethem's murderers, etc etc should not have been dealt with soon after the assaults on humanity occured?
Religion is as Religion Does.

2/17/2006 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Addition to 1:59 PM:
There is also that minor issue of daily calls to incinerate Israel, the Great Satan, and etc.

But far be it for me to take that seriously, or worse, call it bigotry.

2/17/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Invading and occupying Iraq has done little to move us toward our goal of a free and democratic middle east. In fact it has been counter productive.


So what you're saying here, if I can tweak it out, is that the Middle East is less free and democratic than it was in 2002? So by liberating a country and bringing democracy we somehow enslaved a country and took democracy away? Or am I missing some nuanced point, here?

Ash, you must understand why many of us here do not take you seriously, even while we spend time trying to bring you around. You would have us believe that bringing democracy is tantamount to taking it away. You would have us believe that an Iraq with Saddam was somehow more free and democratic than a Iraq with a popularly elected democratic government.

Read Michael Totten. It might open your eyes (not holding my breath).

2/17/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

W should rename his previous entry, "I Am Spartacus" to "I Am A Bigot". And for the record:


2/17/2006 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Hope not off topic but had an early morning thought before starting up the expresso maker:a donkey theme for 2008.They can change their name to the Dhimmicrat party and run Al Gore and Jimmie Cahtah.
Campaign ads:FDR promised a chicken in every pot.We promise to be pot smoking chickens.JFK said "Ask not what your country can do for you,but what you can do for your country"We say"What's a country?"Clinton said...Oh never mind.

I can name three Muslim comedians.
The Pakistani guy who set himself on fire burning an American flag,the joker who was dancing around the burning Ronald McDonald statue and a lifetime award to Yasir Arafat for his amazing impersonation of a bowel movement wearing a headscarf.

2/17/2006 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

aristides if you want to treat democracy in the narrow sense, that is as simply voting, then yes we have made Iraq more democratic. This, however has done little toward our larger goal of reducing terrorism and fighting the rise of Islamofascism.

2/17/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger fastfoodnationalist said...

brb, narrow sense

lol @ ash

2/17/2006 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


Sometimes you can do a rain dance all year long, and nada. And then, come New Year, it would pour.

Personally, I would not have bothered with the "rain dance". I have no moral compunction in following the recipe I described above. But for some people, W Bush and yourself being an example, doing the rain dance gives them an important emotional relief. The rain dance however, is irrelevant to whether it's going to rain, or not.

2/17/2006 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Democracy is a process. Often a messy process as we've seen from its development in the world's oldest democracy. Not only has Iraq had national elections which were well paricipated, they have a written constitution and functioning institutions which operate within the constitutional framework. There is a free market in many areas of the economy and a vigorous, independent press.

To suggest that Iraq is not more democratic than it was under Saddam is an absurdity. If you want to set perfection as the standard have at it but mix in a little common sense please.

2/17/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

charles - I was the one who commented on your Ishmael observations elsewhere when I told you that the introduction to my edition was penned by the loathsome Edward Said. Give me more on Ishmael if you please, I'm all ears.

Well desert rat, I'd certainly answer "them too".

But I do believe that the war in Iraq, as one front in the GWOT, was worsened and therefore lengthened by several "cultural" and non-military factors. I believe that at very least the extreme left gave the MSM plenty of reason to amplify stories about the "insurgents" (even naming them that) at the expense of anything positive, or even meaningful about our being there to begin with. Indeed, I know that you remember the discussions we had on whether the AP wasn't even hiring terrorists and calling them stringers? Our intelligentsia seemed almost greedy to convey a picture of Americans as a weakened and terrified, Bush-hating audience-of-everything. To me, that was 100% succor, if not outright aid.

So it's not my argument that "the generals have been slowed" (though they may have been slow), but that too many civilians made such a gaudy show to the enemy that they figured they only had to wait us out, and millions of weak Muslims everywhere asked why Howard Dean wasn't right.

ash - don't see how a military solution vs. a political problem relates to what we were talking about, but then, pace my reply to desert rat, I also don't see how they're such separate things.

Sorry Doug - but bigotry is a very real thing. I don't ever remember "throwing it around" lightly. indeed I've gone to great length to explain just why I've used the term here.

I had cited the ongoing controversy in and about Northern Ireland as a prime example of murderous Christian sectarianism in our own time. Someone correctly guessed that I had Ian Paisley in mind when I used the word "bigot". Now how do you suppose they guessed that? (A: It's because everyone knows Paisley's the perfect bigot.)

Your confusion about how I'm to dealing with the present comes from supposing that arguing about "essences" of this or that is in any way helpful. In my experience, it never is, but if you think ex-helo and Boston make more sense with such pronouncements then go knock yourself out.

"What good is a discussion of history when it is at the expense of the immediate present?"

Hey, I'm out there ahead of you when it comes to the equation Islam + Political Correctness = Suicide, but I think you're currently using too broad a brush for your/our own good in the effort to bring this war off successfully.

What good is it to deny, as aristides does, that there's no context for dialectic in Islam if that wasn't always true? About the cartoons, where are the learned discussions IN THE WEST about the importance of humor and irony in the Islamic tradition? (For that matter, irony is only operational as an interior dialectic). Are those aspects of the past absolutely irrelevant? No one here - in our MSM I mean - is even able to report on the differing opinions in Islam regarding depictions of Mohammed. Don't you think such a discussion might have helped a little? And why should Muslims be allowed to forget their own ancient principle of Ijtihad? Let's help Irshad Manji revive it, not help bury her.

Our ignorance is no excuse for failing to win over the moderate Muslims, unless of course this is all just a military operation.

2/17/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Never mind the Wikipedia reference, which is pretty boring and doesn't deal with present developments in the notion of Ijtihad,

Here's an interesting website I just discovered titled "Ijtihad, A Return to Enlightenment."

2/17/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"Ijtihad narrowly understood is a juristic tool that allows independent reasoning to articulate Islamic law on issues where textual sources are silent. The unstated assumption being when texts have spoken reason must be silent. But increasingly moderate Muslim intellectuals see Ijtihad as the spirit of Islamic thought that is necessary for the vitality of Islamic ideas and Islamic civilization. Without Ijtihad, Islamic thought and Islamic civilization fall into decay.

"For moderate Muslims, Ijtihad is a way of life, which simultaneously allows Islam to reign supreme in the heart and the mind to experience unfettered freedom of thought. A moderate Muslim is therefore one who cherishes freedom of thought while recognizing the existential necessity of faith ..."

- Muqtedar Khan

2/17/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

What does "win over" the moderate Muslims mean? The US had made it clear by its small footprint in Afganistan and Iraq that conquest and destruction are not its intention. By its intervention in Kosovo and by its massive humanitarian aid contributions it's clear that the beneficiaries of American might and largesse are not culturally selected. Instead of jailing the board of CAIR they get invitations to the WH. The list goes on.

By win-over do you mean give-up something? What shall it be? Israel? Freedom of the press?

2/17/2006 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I really thought then, and think now, that bringing up Ireland is almost halfway there to those that bring up McVeigh as an "argument" about how and where to find terrorists.
Seems like the FBI pretty well dealt with domestic terrorists already (except for some Greens) whereas we have a LONG way to go with the Mohammedans.

To me to compare PRESENT predilections of Mohammedan ruled populations wrt violence and desire for domination to "Christian" nations around the world is absurd.

...and you did not address my point about them trying/succeeding in getting others to submit WHILE they are still in the MINORITY.
Can't think of too many Christians worldwide that are doing that by means of violence or threats of violence.

2/17/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Perhaps be more sensitive in your utterances as they air their next Beheading Snuff Video.
(and their "street" cheers)

2/17/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

A Danish ham says a lot more about the progress of humanity than Muqtedar Khan ever will.

2/17/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

By win-over do you mean give-up something?

I certainly don't mean any such thing. I'm talking about educating ourselves and practicing the arts of persuasion, even though we didn't volunteer for the job.

In order to "win over" what I believe are vast ignorant masses of Muslims I guess we need to 'give up' knowing as little of their own history as they seem to.

Wouldn't it have been useful if Bill Clinton, traveling somewhere in Asia today, had informed Muslims about their own differences of opinion on depicting Mohammed, than having agreed with them as he did that publishing the cartoons was an offensive act? Same goes for the President, who could have made that an easier task for Clinton, or even an unavoidable one!

Is that really "giving something up"?

2/17/2006 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Oh well, I tried.

2/17/2006 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

People are won over by (1) taking the boot off their necks, and by (2) contributing so far as possible to the creation of free markets and institutions that promote the dignity of the individual. Lecturing Muslims on Islamic jurisprudence would not be my first strategy.

2/17/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

boston - I'm only adding a third prong to your excellent first two, and it costs us nothing. I even believe it gains us in terms of the length of the war. Let's use their own texts, teachings and traditions against their own worst inclinations. Isn't that what propaganda does best?

Doug - I know you're just goading me when you seek to diminish the relevance and lessons of Ireland here.

Of course you're now having fun exploiting the disadvantage I'm at when I have to simultaneously defend 1. the essence of a religion against it's current practitioners whom 2. I agree must fail, until 3. it looks like I'm defending them in my effort to fight the war on a front you haven't considered, 4. at which time you make me into something I'm not before the lesser lights at Belmont Club.

Nice one. Thanks.

"Comparisons of Christianity of the past with Muhammedism as practiced today" may have been "dealt with in the first few months after 9-11" in the USA, but not where i was, in Ireland. As I've tried to make you all aware on countless occasions, that crucial conversation never happened in Ireland, and probably not anywhere in Old Europe either. I still think it's a huge part of the story that you never learned about (and don't grasp the significance of either. No one seems to).

As you're well aware, my current mention of Christian sectarian violence has to do with the idea that such things are in Christendom's past, which is factually untrue. That goes to the aggrandizing of our own essence claims. If it's unfounded then people should knock it off.

But to the immediate challenges and strategies, your point of "them trying/succeeding in getting others to submit WHILE they are still in the MINORITY", etc.... well, I know you've read my words closely enough to know that we're of one mind about that, so please don't encourage the eejits Doug. The challenges for a free-thinker are difficult enough on these threads.

2/17/2006 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

peterboston - I want to reiterate that I'm very impressed with your two strategies above. I'm looking for any way to make those very approaches that much more doable, realistic, and viable.

2/17/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Opotho, I think that version of jihad is well-known throughout the tradition and has been highlighted by CAIR and other less compromised parties virtually since 9/11.

If you're convinced resuscitating or creating a primacy of that interpretation of jihad would contribute to a cultural exchange, I don't doubt it. What I doubt is that such a tradition - undoubtedly issuing from Maliki jurisprudence - can contend with the more hallowed version, which issues out of the hallowed period of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, finds endless justification in the Quran and hadith, and has the difficult-to-interpret-away support of the Arab Conquests, a holy event.

2/17/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

at which time you make me into something I'm not before the lesser lights at Belmont Club

Would that something be a horse's ass?

2/17/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

right dan. But I often feel like I'm talking to liberals here when I ask for a viable alternative to speaking to something that Muslims might just recognize, while still keeping up the pressure on them. It's as if there's something "wrong" by even knowing about such things as the history of Islam.

For that I'm turned into a Muslim apologist, I suppose that some people hope to practice their hatreds in a Reason-free environment.

peterboston, there are others here. You don't have to run with and focus on the negative always, do you? I just agrred with you on your two points.

Now I'm going to watch a movie.

2/17/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...


re: the denial of a dialogical element in Islam.

As you have pointed out, it was not always so, this Islamic monological insistence, and I do not think I have ever said it was. It is enlightening, for our purposes, to juxtapose the periods of Islamic success with the periods of Islamic intellectual curiosity.

It is the case, however, that Islam is currently intellectually hermetic, subsisting entirely on revealed truth, except at the margins. Islam is as Islam does, after all, and right now it is not looking so good for Islam.

But I think we are arguing two sides of the same coin. I say Islam in its present iteration must evolve or go extinct. You say it is salvageable. We both assert the same thing, I've just characterized 'why'.

2/17/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Jihad has many meanings, of course, all of them 'true' in the sense they are directly supported by authority and history.

I'm not sure what non-Muslims can do in this interpretive battle except eliminate those who advocate jihad as war.

2/17/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

It is enlightening, for our purposes, to juxtapose the periods of Islamic success with the periods of Islamic intellectual curiosity.

Ah! Thank you aristides.

And I'll wager we both agree that what's bad for Islam is bad for us.

I just wish we'd figured out a long time ago how to incorporate a knowledge of Islam into an effective propaganda tool. Really, I don't even think we've begun to do that. I know we'd be a further way along the road of dividing, let alone conquering.

We are certainly arguing two sides of the same coin.

2/17/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Yes, in the meantime we must continue to try and "eliminate those who advocate jihad as war".

2/17/2006 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

If we'd been armed with a knowledge of the self-criticism, irony and the intolerance of sanctimony throughout Islam's history we could have used the whole cartoon kerfuffle for its enormous pedantic potential. We're nowhere near doing this even now, which to my thinking is an inexcusable lapse.

2/17/2006 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I'm not sure either. In a way our problem is made more difficult by Islam's decentralized nature.

There is not just one leader we can convince, we must convince individuals. Convincing individuals is much more complex, because everybody is his or her own unique receiver. A particular strategy may work on, say, 15 year old girls from Afghanistan that live near the cities, but not on 15 year old boys in Pakistan who live in the mountains. Etc. Etc.

It's a shame, because if nothing changes, it is going to be those types of Muslims that suffer, i.e. the innocents.

We are also battling public opinion on our side. The pacifists are not really a concern, because if we are attacked their voices will be marginalized. But the hawks will demand blood if we get hit again, and their mantra will be "better them dead than us."

There is no defeating that logic, and whole cities will be pulverized. I'm afraid this is what we are sleep walking towards.

2/17/2006 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Islam's decentralized nature is the whole crux of the thing, the most unprecedented part of it too, by my reckoning.

If I learned nothing else from Ireland and Irish history it's to get the factions to argue with each other while you stand back and make the next plan at your leisure.

Lloyd George knew that when he made his infamous offer to Collins: 'Take half of it or none.' A bloody Civil War ensued; George knew what he was doing.

In our case I agree that we're the ones who are sleepwalking towards disaster, and all for want of a little knowledge and a tincture of cleverness.

I take no pride whatsoever in pointing out that I'm apparently the only person in the entire blogosphere who is making such an argument. That's a pretty sad comment.

2/17/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


Your basic approach is the same as that of Ash. What you both fail to understand is that it's not up to us to convince these people that this cannot continue, it is for them to convince themselves. And they are never going to get there by the approach you're subscribing.

2/17/2006 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger bilgepump said...

Islam was Heinrich Himmler's favorite religion, I don't believe any Muslims were intentionally killed at Auschwitz or any other Camp administered by the NS regime.
Why does such a dumbass blog get so many comments? I think it has something to do with the MSM(including FNC) brainwashing machine.

2/17/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


" it is for them to convince themselves. "

And if they don't? so what? This kind of highlights the military solution vs. the political solution. How can we employ military force to "convince them" of the rightness or our position? We can't. Like a rebellious teenager if you bring the hammer down you are likely to lose the battle. Similarily applying the boot to the neck is unlikely to convince them of the error of their theistic ways.

So, we can't convince them with our guns. Why bother trying? To date, the few real military clashes we've had amount to a few skirmishs in historical context. The worst was done on 911 and the 'them' that hit us is a quite intangible thing. Not a nation state by any means. Sure, Iraq and Afghanistan has been quite the fight, but we invaded 'them'. Our aggressive actions have yielded little result while a passive but defensive posture (look to Israels latest approach) has a better chance of 1. protecting our nation and 2. allow our superior ideas to prevail. Invading occupying and 'taking the battle to them' to very little toward advancing our larger goals (i.e. advancing democracy and perpetuating the american ideal) unless you view securing oil supplies as a paramount goal.

2/17/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I think both us and the Muslims are sleep walking towards disaster.

I understand what you are saying Opotho. I agree that it would solve the problem. I also think teaching Constitutional Law to the masses would solve a lot of the Supreme Court problems we have.

The problems are the same. On the one hand you have to have an interested audience, and on the other hand you have to have an intelligible and penetrating message. Having the answer is only part of the solution. Communicating it to a receptive audience is much more difficult.

2/17/2006 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...


That is largely correct. One is not interested in teaching metaphysics when the student has a gun to one's head.

2/17/2006 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

aristides - we're agreed again, and I like the analogy with Constitutional law and history here.

But I also believe that the challenges you mention in your last paragraph apply more to here than there. Islam is long overdue for our propaganda potential. The administration can barely communicate its messge to us, how does anyone expect that we're doing a good job overseas?

Add to that our general ignorance about Islam and our unwillingness to learn about it, even when it's our enemy!

mika - I can't imagine why you'd stand on any point that might expedite this war for us.

"Not up to us to convince" anyone? Your fixed on some idea that it has to be someone's responsibilty, so you totally miss the opportuntiy and the point.

bilgepump - I've read that 200.000 Muslims were intentionally killed at Auschwitz. Of course for some Auschwitz never happened. Sounds like that might be your school?

2/17/2006 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"One is not interested in teaching metaphysics when the student has a gun to one's head."

No offense aristides, but I see this repeated assumption here that we can only do one thing at a time.

Is that what Rummie is trying to address too?

2/17/2006 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Just a comment for Aristedes. You contrast the monological nature of revealed knowledged with the dialogical nature of enlightenment reason. But there can be no reasoning in abstracto; one can only reason out, or on top of, a pre-existing revelation, whether a false or true revelation into the nature of reality.

The Enlightenment gave us many false or Gnostic revelations and reasoning, see e.g. the Nazi mind. Whether or not there is hope for Islam to make something of its founding revelation, something that is suited to the modern world will not depend on their rejecting revelation for reason, but better grasping the relationship between the two. (If you don't like the reasoning you're mired in, get a new revelation.) The reason of the west, e.g., has evolved from the truth of Judeo-Christian revelation.

2/17/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

I understood aristides to be referring to the dialectical excercise of reasoning devised by the ancient Greeks.

2/17/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Opotho: mika - I can't imagine why you'd stand on any point that might expedite this war for us.

LOL! Sorry, but I fail to see how nuking fifty of their cities will expedite a war on us. What it will do however is help mahmud expedite reevaluation of his universe his jihadi belief system and survival strategy. As I said earlier, it is not for me or you convince anyone of anything, it is for them to convince themselves.

2/17/2006 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

sorry mika, I always forget that you're today's answer to Curtis LeMay.

Revelation and dialectics are very definitely the story of the west.

2/17/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Maybe i misunderstand Aristedes, Opotho, for which apologies. Still, it is possible to mix revelation with dialectics. THat's the story of the west.

2/17/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Ash, I already told you. I'm not interested in your rain dance.

2/17/2006 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...


Agreed, and perhaps I was unclear. In referring to Islam as monological, I had a particular meaning in mind (I've been reading Mikhail Bakhtin's The Dialogical Imagination). (Also, as a side note, Bakhtin goes to great effort to separate the concept 'dialogical' from 'dialectical').

A dialogical utterance is simply one "link in the chain of speech communication". It's defining characteristic is responsiveness or "addressivity", which is its relation to other utterances.

What's lost in monological utterances is its response to, and anticipation of, other utterances. Islam in this sense is monological, almost unmatched in its "one sided seriousness". Islam is not simply one link in a non-linear chain. It is meant to be the alpha and omega, the capital letter and the puncuation.

In other words, Islam speaks to reality, rather than with reality.

2/17/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Forgot about Bakhtin and will look for that distinction he made. Thanks.

2/17/2006 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Opotho: sorry mika, I always forget that you're today's answer to Curtis LeMay.

Wiki: "LeMay commanded B-29 operations against Japan, including the massive incendiary attacks on sixty four Japanese cities. This included the firebombing of Tokyo on March 9 - March 10, 1945. For this first attack LeMay removed the armaments on 325 B-29s, loaded each plane with firebomb clusters and ordered the bombers out at 5 - 9,000 feet over Tokyo. The first planes arrived over Tokyo just after midnight on March 10. In a three hour period they dropped 1,665 tons of incendiary bombs killing more than 100,000 civilians and incinerating 16 square miles of the city.

On December 7, 1964 the Japanese government conferred on him the First Order of Merit with the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun."

Why do you suppose they did that?

2/17/2006 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

LeMay's plan was brilliant for Tokyo but not so good for Moscow.

But by that same logic I suspect you're right mika (unfortunately). It probably is a fitting strategy to gain Muslim respect, as I believe it was for Imperial Japan.

This is what makes you a latter-day LeMay to me.

2/17/2006 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

In other words, Islam speaks to reality, rather than with reality.

-yes, I have even been led to think that Islam thinks it is reality, that any suggestion that there is some difference between the world of true Koranic signs and the world as it is is scandalous. BUt i'm sure i'm not making any sense...

2/18/2006 01:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

If it sounds like a horses ass, and smells like a horses ass...

2/18/2006 03:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"As you're well aware, my current mention of Christian sectarian violence has to do with the idea that such things are in Christendom's past, which is factually untrue.
That goes to the aggrandizing of our own essence claims. If it's unfounded then people should knock it off.
You may think I'm toying/goading, but I'm not, it's simply that I have no idea where you get off comparing the worldwide problem Mohammedan Governments have getting along with ANYBODY, as compared to Christianity, which may have problems, but except in your rather exceptional example, do not seek violent solutions and promise death to those who offend them.
Upshot being, I sincerely have no idea wtf you are talking about.
(but then I am one of the great unwashed dimbulbs out here unable to recognize true brilliance, sorry.)

2/18/2006 04:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

While it may be "factually untrue,"
and this ain't horseshoes, it is close enough as compared with the RoP to qualify as enlightened in my book.

2/18/2006 04:08:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

doug - please don't be sarcastic about "the great unwashed", it's an important distinction.

If, for the sake of conversation, you don't know the difference between an attribute and an essence, between an essential and an accidental property, then you're only going to muck up some of the already difficult things that you're trying to enter into. That's what you've done here.

Allowing for those distinctions, the Ireland reference is not interesting as an exception to a current rule, but it is very instructive as a remnant of an older one. Your fixation on the frequency of things can only confuse a discussion that specifically concerns the essence of things (in this case, two religions). Now that's true whether or not "essences" really exist, because I'm talking about the rules for even discussing the matter. In discussing properties in philosophy, it would be utterly meaningless to begin by conflating everything, but that is what posters at Belmont are routinely doing.

If you don't understand something, why not bow out in future, or just listen? Believe me that I realize you don't know what I'm talking about, but are you immune to learning?

You have a bad habit of being unhelpful in conversations that are outside your cliche zone, I think due to an obsessive focus on deciding whether someone is in or whether they're out.

2/18/2006 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"Islam is antithetical to Western Civilization. To argue otherwise is foolishness or ignorance." says Whit.

Then Opotho says Whit is bigoted, and quotes Wretchard AS IF Wretchard had said he trusts Islam, when in fact Wretchard said, "As a practical matter there are certain Muslims I know who I could trust implicitly."

Opotho, GROK the difference between Islam (the religion, the ideology, the meme, the influencing culture) and Muslims (the humans, individuals and people MORE or LESS affected BY) Islam!

Seeing the distinction is a sign of rational intelligence.

2/18/2006 05:35:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

karridine - Yeah, I get the difference for you between Islam-the-religion and Muslims. The latter are potentially wonderful but certainly horribly mistaken individuals who will only be saved when we make them understand the grotesque error that is their very faith.

That's a pretty bad plan for saving the West. Real rational too.

By supposing a faith is identical with its most literalistic adherents you believe that you are being rational, and by making fine distinctions between individuals and their faiths you allow yourself to believe that you're not being hateful.

I will add to the usual b.s. of Muslims that I'm not terribly impressed by your total and absolute rejection of their faith either.

Should I reject outright whatever ridiculous b.s. happened for you in 1844, if only because I see you as someone who promulgates hatred?

2/18/2006 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Good question, Opotho.

But it rests on your first independently investigating, in a rational manner, the events that DID happen immediately prior to and since May 23, 1844.

You've done a simple Google search, no doubt, or soon will, in order to ascertain 'whatever b.s.' actually came to pass on the day the telegraph was publicly introduced and our modern Day of electronic communication and vast enlightenment began.

THEN you can ASK informed questions of me OR make informed comments about the only World Community and how it got to be what it is...

Until then, you run the risk of appearing... uhm... a bit prejudicial.

2/18/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Karridine - nothing rests on my "first independently investigating, in a rational manner, the events that DID happen" in 1844, to know that your assessment of Islam doesn't rely on any such rational investigation. Going on my knowledge of Islam, I'd say that your conclusions are over-hasty and too universalizing for your investigations to be considered "rational".

If I don't give a rat's ass what happened in 1844 then I'm not being "prejudicial". I simply don't care.

I'm just saying that if I based my opinion of your own faith (Mormon, or Shaker, or whatever the heck it is) on your own pronouncements about Islam (and I know that Islam is not by definition what you say it is), then I'd bear a striking resemblance to those very people you say you detest.

If I'm bored and stuck in an airport someday you can tell me all about 1844, and I'll be glad in that situation to be able to add something to my knowledge base.

For now though, I'm sorry to say that I'm not all that impressed (which is indeed how prejudices begin).

2/18/2006 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

The road to Al Qaeda isn't through Tehran. They're one enemy, but they're not that enemy, though they might work together.

So far as 1980, yes it was in the midst of Khomeini, but in 1980, Khomeini was not yet the sole ruler in Iran. The country was in the midst of civil disturbances and infighting even heavier than that today, the revolution had just happened and the Islamic fundies were trying to ditch their former leftist allies. It was after the invasion that the Islamic fundamentalists were able to wield authoritative control and focus all Iranian energy against the hated invaders.

As for being on the verge of The Iraqis focused on the Southwestern portions of Iran, never attempted to capture Tehran, they were just looking for a limited landgrab while their opponent was in disorder, moving towards Tehran would have ruined that.

This is not to say that Iranian nuclear weapons aren't a big problem, but going after them isn't going to touch Al Qaeda, only make them happy by removing their ideological enemy, and making our task in Southern Iraq more difficult.

The thing that worries me is that there really isn't an Plan B if the US proves unable to entice Islam to purge its own demons, we can't manage 1.2 billion people and killing them is only a last ditch option that might kills us morally as well.

A possible plan B - if another big attack creates Trish's extraordinary circumstances - seize the Saudi oil fields in the East, telling the world to shove it in the process (and stay away from Mecca and Medina in the West). If the Russians, Chinese, and Europeans think a war with us is worth it, better now then later. Unlikely, anyway, if we make a show of putting it under international management. We'll get plenty of bad press, but we can't buy good press anyway nowadays, and they aren't giving us anything anyway.

The only reason the world puts up with those Arabian hicks is their oil, I couldn't care less about the actual oil itself. Let them try and spread their hate around the world on their camel rearing revenues. Pakistan's still a problem, but that'd go a long way to cutting off the spigots to radical Islam. Anti-Americanism will flourish, but that's a lesser problem, the European hate us, but don't blow themselves up getting to us.

Just some thoughts...

2/18/2006 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"Our aggressive actions have yielded little result while a passive but defensive posture (look to Israels latest approach) has a better chance of 1. protecting our nation and 2. allow our superior ideas to prevail. Invading occupying and 'taking the battle to them' to very little toward advancing our larger goals (i.e. advancing democracy and perpetuating the american ideal) unless you view securing oil supplies as a paramount goal."

The Israeli approach is complete enforced seperation, for the record. No student visas, no immigration, just one big wall.

2/18/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I think that is why the Army is still in Iraq, to be honest.

If all else fails, drive south.

Split the proceeds with the effected group, the Global Free Market continues apace.

The spice, it's got to flow.

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

No Desert_Rat, the spice does not have to flow. The Arabs, the Muslims are the oil addicts.

It works both way. Actually I'm being polite, it works OUR way. The US can cut energy consumption by at least 25% if we were asked to try. At least IF WE WERE ASKED TO TRY. If we really do not want to try we can cut use by five percent.

Pan-Islam cannot make a muffler, a memory chip, grow an orange, build a toaster, without the West.

2/19/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The US can cut energy consumption by at least 25% if we were asked to try"
W/NO loss of GNP "Conservative" Dogma to the contrary.

2/19/2006 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But 'Rat knows,
Where there's not a will,
there's not a way.

2/19/2006 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Cobalt Blue said...

Those faded wraiths put me in mind of Tennyson's Lotos-eaters, who sing:

Hateful is the dark-blue sky,
Vaulted o’er the dark-blue sea.
Death is the end of life; ah, why
Should life all labor be?
Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast,
And in a little while our lips are dumb.
Let us alone. What is it that will last?
All things are taken from us, and become
Portions and parcels of the dreadful past.
Let us alone. What pleasure can we have
To war with evil? Is there any peace
In ever climbing up the climbing wave?
All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave
In silence—ripen, fall, and cease:
Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease.

2/20/2006 06:01:00 AM  

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