Sunday, September 17, 2006

The near-irreparable breach

Two stories made the headlines a few hours ago. ABC News says "Pope Sorry for Reaction to His Remarks" and  from Reuters, "Italian nun slain in Somalia, speculation of Pope link". Before anyone gets too excited about either story, here are the lead paragraphs from the ABC News story.


Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he was "deeply sorry" about the angry reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, which he said came from a text that didn't reflect his personal opinion. "These (words) were in fact a quotation from a Medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thought," Benedict told pilgrims at his summer palace outside Rome.

The pope sparked the controversy when, in a speech to German university professors Tuesday, he cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam's founder, as "evil and inhuman." "At this time I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims," the pope said Sunday.

The Pope is sorry for the reaction to his remarks. He did not apologize for the remarks themselves, in which he argued that forced conversions were contrary to reason, and hence, to the Christian concept of God, though that distinction is hardly emphasized by ABC News. One of the reactions that Pope Benedict is probably sorry to hear about is the murder of an old Italian nun in Mogadishu. Here's the Reuters account.

Gunmen shot and killed an Italian nun at a children's hospital in Mogadishu on Sunday in an attack that drew immediate speculation of links to Muslim anger over the Pope's recent remarks on Islam. The Catholic nun's bodyguard also died in the latest attack apparently aimed at foreign personnel in volatile Somalia.

The assassinations were a blow to Mogadishu's new Islamist rulers' attempt to prove they have pacified one of the world's most lawless cities since chasing out warlords in June. The bodyguard died instantly, but the nun was rushed into an operating theatre at the hospital after the shooting.

"After serious injuries, she died in the hospital treatment room," doctor Ali Mohamed Hassan told Reuters. "She was shot three times in the back."

Commentary

Neither the Pope nor the Italian sister would probably care to start an argument with Islam, despite everything that's happened. After all the Pope had just made a point about the inadmissibility of violence in resolving matters of faith. And the Italian nun died in the line of a duty fully understanding that being killed was an occupational hazard in certain Islamic countries. Whatever the Islamic world may think, there is very little prospect of the Catholic Church calling for another Crusade. It's a simple fact that most Christians won't do that, as Christians.

But it would be untrue to say the recent controversy over the Islamic world's reaction to the Pope's remarks have no effect. Just as the public will probably read the Pope's sorrow for the reaction to his remarks as being sorry for his remarks -- that is, as an apology-- much of the simple public will probably regard the apology as as the product of a bullying Islamic world as abetted by the liberal establishment, of which the nun's recent death is an example. And while such sentiments are unlikely to manifest themselves in any large shift in the political proportions of Western countries, it will have the effect of hardening the attitudes of those who suspect they are being sold down the river by the liberals and the left. Not by any great measure, but by some small increment. Added on to the context of train bombings, airline scares and the ceaseless belligerence of militant Islamic preachers in the West, it will make unctuous remarks at how carelessly and insensitively the Pope has treated Islam just that much more nauseating. The New York Times for example says "Because the world listens carefully to the words of any pope, Benedict XVI needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology for his hurtful speech." The NYT may be playing to an audience, but not since the phrase "let them eat cake" has there been such an unwitting example of contempt for those outside the charmed circle. We have learned less from Pope Benedict's words then we have discovered from the reaction to them.

99 Comments:

Blogger Woman Catholic said...

The Pope claims infallibility when he teaches on faith and morals. Nothing is more relevant to faith and morality than condemning the conversion of unbelievers at the point of a sword. The Pope cannot retract his teaching, but he can express regret that the "Religion of Peace" has revealed its true colors once again.

9/17/2006 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

wretchard said...
“On the other hand we are fighting war by central planning. We have already made a fetish out of "getting things right from the beginning". Ok. We're on the right track now, but it's too late. In what universe did anybody get everything right from the beginning? The real test is to eventually get things right.”

I would argue that there’s a difference between not get everything entirely right in the beginning and starting out with a set of false assumptions, fantasy goals and a massive betrayal of first principles. How could an allegedly conservative movement and President embrace a program of spreading Wilsonian democracy through social engineering: a grand strategy of rebuilding Arab societies into pro-US democracies?

“We’re on the right track now . . .”?! If that track is building infrastructure, creating social programs, and training an army for a government of pro-Shiite Islamists in Iraq then we’re seeing two different realities! The US strategy was so terribly misguided and grandiosely liberal that it created a path dependency to the current fiasco. We have to re-travel all the way back to the beginning to find the wrong fork we went down. I suggest that fork is the concept of a peaceful, democractic, unified, liberal, secular Iraq that would be so easy to attain through American might. Read William Kristol’s later chapter on The War Over Iraq to revisit this insidious nonsense.

“To admit errors; make mid course corrections and be flexible. But politics has made that nearly impossible. To admit error, any error today is to face career death, and maybe invite a lawsuit.”

So then the resulting strategy is to never admit error, to never revisit your most obvious mistakes? This would explain much about the Presidency and, I’m sorry, pro-Iraq War blogs. Oh jeez! A lawsuit, as if that we’re our biggest concern instead of examining we’re we first went wrong in trying to turn Arab societies into New England Town Halls with just some big government magic. We can’t afford to cling to these illusions, these failed liberal nostrums, especially if the only costs is a rough time for a few bloggers and a pseudo-conservative President. Or even a few “lawsuits”.

9/17/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Reocon,

Experience comes from what was done. Wisdom comes from what was done badly. Safe to say, we all share your wisdom.

9/17/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

The New York Times sees itself as a kind of "sensibility coach" educating naturally-bigoted, racially-reactive America. Americans, you see, would flame into night riders - stealthy Muslim hunters - without the admonishments of the NYTs. To even notice that Islam and terror sometimes go together in the contemporary world is to reveal our inbred racism. Hell, our very existence causes Muslim violence.
Abasement, contrition, appeasement, apology...words to live by.

9/17/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

The New York Times ought to apologize to the civilized world for spitting on the grave of the nun martyred by the the practitioners of this bestial ideology.

9/17/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

The 'increments' continue to pile up. The Islamic world is enjoying the feeling of landing some hard punches on the Western world, which behaves like a heavy, old-fashioned punch bag. What they haven't figured out is that just a little while later the whole thing swings back and slams you to the floor.

9/17/2006 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"She was shot three times in the back."

So perfectly jihadi....

9/17/2006 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Sometimes Islam does seem more like "The Pirate's Code" than an actual religion (and remember, the code is more like guidelines, and open to interpretation by the leading pirates -- excuse me, scholars). Those outside the community of believers are pretty much fair game.

Islam takes a tribal morality and tries to apply it universally, and it is not a perfect fit. So the heads of many a round peg have to be chopped off before they will fit into the rectangular hole. Now, if you are a round peg, you may find this process "evil and inhuman" but -- let's face it -- you must admit to a certain bias. Looked at objectively, from the New York Times (or their god's eye) view, you brought it on yourself, baby.

9/17/2006 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger clint said...

Just let your mind dwell on the concept that a nun in somalia needs to have a bodyguard.

That really says it all, doesn't it?

9/17/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger nonomous said...

Anyone interested should read the lecture. It is very accessable.

The quotes getting so much attention were used as introductory comments to peak the audience's interest in what would follow. As such, the effort brought far more interest than he might have anticipated.

In my view, the lecture attacks contemporary western philosophies based on Kant and empiricism.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_en.html

9/17/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

ok reocon, i'll bite: your better approach (in 100 words or less, please) is?

9/17/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Wretchard said: "We have learned less from Pope Benedict's words then we have discovered from the reaction to them."

So true, Wretchard, so true.

9/17/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

The NYT may be playing to an audience, but not since the phrase "let them eat cake" has there been such an unwitting example of contempt for those outside the charmed circle.

Right on, brother Wretchard. You speak truth. The fascinating question is why aren't there people within the friendly confines of the New York Times editorial offices who understand this?

9/17/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

Our sophistication is so "amazing". I guess we will have to each have our own personal experience in order for it to sink in that the reaction of the RoP to the Popes comments (and past cartoons) compared to thier head chopping and mass premeditated murder activities shows the connectivity to their own purpose and our disconnectedness to it. Is the Internet/MSM connecting us or disconnecting us? Does heavy exposure to violence make us less excepting of it or just more used to it? Maybe we should just get behind the president until he or she's time is done.

9/17/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That was why the Knights Templar formed, clint, 'cause nuns do need body guards in Mohmmedanland, always have, always will.
It's just that Somolia was just recently lost to the Mohammedans by the US backed Warlords.

The Warlords had let the nuns do their thing, Mohammedans, they are not so liberal.

9/17/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Doncha just love it when Wretchard introduces a thread discussing the what the Pope said, Islam's reaction to it, and the NYT's apologetic white-washing, whereupon our current resident moonbat IMMEDIATELY picks it up, flips it over, and turns it into a harangue about the administration's policies? Can you spell "obsession"?

ANd, speaking of Muslim apologists, there's an interesting AP story this morning where they're whining about the American military holding one of their Iraqi photographers for FIVE WHOLE MONTHS, and they want the dude either charged or sprung:
http://apnews1.iwon.com//article/20060917/D8K6M3F81.html

As far as I can see, they're basing their conviction of his innocence on the fact that their "experienced photo editors" asked questions, and that out of all the hundreds of photo's he submitted *ONLY* 45 show him to be in collusion with Iraqi terrorists.

Yes, I believe these would be the same "experienced" photo editors as who have been approving the faux photo's staged by Hizbollah.

9/17/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

ex-democrat said...
"ok reocon, i'll bite: your better approach (in 100 words or less, please) is?"

This will be too brief but I must rush off, so this is intended to just start off a conversation: Nothing will sap the strenghth of Sunni Islamism and Shiite Islamism like a war between to the two. It already started in Iraq by our ally Saddam Hussein. Pull out and let them bleed each other for decades. This is premised on the notion that their differences, their political cultures, are irreconcilable, which seems a safe bet at this point. They both make totalizing claims that can not tolerate heresy, no? Why should we waste our blood and treasure on trying to reconcile syncretic political cultures?

9/17/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

"She was shot three times in the back."

So perfectly jihadi....


Well at least this time the media is attributing it to actual Jihadis and not saying it was three self-inflicted back shots to cover up for the praciticioners of the Religion of PEace.

9/17/2006 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Loved the phrase, Reocon. Not sure it got what you were reaching for.

From Webster's online:

syn·cre·tism
Pronunciation: 'si[ng]-kr&-"ti-z&m, 'sin-
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin syncretismus, from Greek synkrEtismos federation of Cretan cities, from syn- + KrEt-, KrEs Cretan
1 : the combination of different forms of belief or practice
2 : the fusion of two or more originally different inflectional forms
- syn·cre·tist /-tist/ noun or adjective
- syn·cre·tis·tic /"si[ng]-kr&-'tis-tik, "sin-/ adjective

9/17/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Old Dad said...

The Holy Father's remarks were brilliant, and I think, deliberatively provacative, but not intended exclusively for the jihadists.

The Holy Father has witnessed in his lifetime much of the horror of the last century, the cultural collapse of the west, the collapse of Catholicism in Europe, its eurabization--all common themes in his teaching.

I think the Holy Father has bravely stepped into the fray. I think we'll hear much more from him about the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of both radical islam and the decadent west.

Is the current situation analogous to the imagined medieval dialogue that he invoked in his speech. He clearly thinks so, and in surprising ways.

9/17/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Mr. K said...

Muslims to pope: "Islam is the religion of peace, and if you dare say otherwise, we'll kill you."

9/17/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Teresita - The Pope only claims doctrinal infallibility, and that only when he issues a Papal Bull.

What he did at Regensberg last week, was give a theological speech -not claiming infallibility - intended on promoting further debate in issues of reason, faith, and transcendence of God's actions and knowability...which is where his criticism, in a roundabout way, by quoting a Byzantine Emperor of 600 years ago lay. It was of Christians incorporating reason into the argument, even then. Whereas the Islamic mindset was not to reason, but interpret the literal word of God expressed through the Prophet, which leads - given human fallibility - to misinterpreptations in a civilization that puts belief separate from reason..

The Pope addressed these issues. He argued that, properly understood, there is no tension between faith and reason; the spirit of free intellectual inquiry at a university is perfectly compatible with belief in Christian faith. From the beginning, Christianity was a religion ready to engage with the 'breadth of reason and not the denial of its grandeur'. Faith and reason were mutually enriched.

The Pope reinforced his argument by saying that true belief had to be arrived at by a process of reasoned and voluntary reflection and could not be imposed, especially by violence. In fact, violence was incompatible with any religion.

The reaction of radical Islamists was testimony to the veracity of Benedict's observations.

And the Pope's point is clear. We cannot resolve the major issues between Islam and the rest of humanity unless there is discussion - not manufactured grievances, violent intimidation, attempts to control the Western media by Muslims claiming they alone will define what is permissable to speak of, and Muslims claiming discussion is "too hurtful and offensive" -as history's greatest Victims -to accept.

*********************
For the critics of reocon, is it or is it not true that the Bushies have made major strategic mistakes not just in Iraq but domestically -and compounded that damage by refusing to change course, re-evaluate,replace screw-up personnel, refuse to admit error?

It is a sign of bad leadership in the Administration, worsened by the Republican Party waddling over to the corporate feeding trough and never looking up the past 6 years, and the seditious Left. I was surprised that Michael Brown wasn't given a Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bush the same way Tenet was rewarded for his CIA's performance, Tommy Franks for "mission accomplished!", and Paul Bremer for "stabilizing Iraq and setting it on the road to complete stability, democracy, and prosperity."

I'll add onto reocons thought that we should not go for mass American casualties by putting American troops in the middle so they can be the targets rather than have "noble freedom-loving Shia killing Sunnis" - or vice versa.

LET them kill each other's men, wives and kids. The more the merrier. If 2,000 Iraqs are butchered by other Iraqis and we could have "saved" 1200 of them by loss or maiming of 20 Americans as gun and IED fodder, 20 is too high a price to pay. 10 is. Maybe even 5 casualties...

And that "no mas!" goes for future conflicts where we are expected to die and bleed treasure to save Muslims from Muslims while the rest of the world sits by with their thumbs up their butts and busies themselves taking potshots and trying to criminalize America and it's people for what any Leftist NGO or Islamist "spokesperson" has a beef about.

That should start with Darfur. If Europe, China, the Muslims, the "non-aligned" expect to sit back...we should, too. Lots of Muslims may die by other Muslims, but it is time to signal that America will not bankrupt itself and have several hundred survivors walking around with prostetic limbs for the privilege of being the global uncompensated 9/11 service/charity, Israel's trusty tool, or the whipping boy of every Leftist and NGO with a loathing of us.

9/17/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Holy Roman Umpire said...

After 9/11, I like many others, was willing to give Islam a chance to explain itself and to make its case in a reasonable and rational manner. That has not yet happened and I am now very pessimistic that it ever will. Which is a great pity because Islam as a religion has real moral content. As with any other human culture, the most dedicated/radical set the tone and direction and the rest tend to follow. Eventually the West will get fed up with Islamist BS and the counter blow will devastate Islam, both intellectually and physically. It really does not have to be this way, but it will because those "in charge" of Islam will permit no discussion, brook no opposition and admit no error.

9/17/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

reocon,

"Nothing will sap the strenghth of Sunni Islamism and Shiite Islamism like a war between to the two"

Did you ever hear of the Iran-Iraq war??? A long 8 year Sunni-Shiite killing orgy in the 1980's. General Chirelli briefed at the Pentagon last week about a single battle that left over 1 million dead.

I bet you really struggle to understand why the Iranians are hell bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.

Could it be that they fear some not so bright US president would encourage another war between Sunnis and Shiites?

9/17/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Tim P said...

Wrecheerd, in your comment you said,"it will have the effect of hardening the attitudes of those who suspect they are being sold down the river by the liberals and the left."

You are correct, but why should that be anything other than obvious. This episode of violent reaction to one man's words and in the final analysis, that's all they are, comes on the heels of the recent violent reaction to cartoons of Mohammed or some other imagined affronts or greivances, too numerous to mention here.

It has been said that one definition of character is how you behave when no one is watching. Well, shooting a nun in the back >for any reason makes you just a murderer. Approval or acquiecense of such actions makes you no better than a murderer.

This part of the world is a collection of failed or despotic states, whose main cultures are still medieval and tribal. Even under the facade of modernism that oil wealth has afforded the more fortunate countries of this region.

If these areas are allowed to continue rotting, they will only become worse and we in the west will suffer more also. Especially as some of these states strive to acquire nuclear weapons.

This is why it is imperative that we in the west do all that we can to help the people of this part of the world do everything within their power to shake off the mullahs and other despots and promote freedom.
Nobody said that it would be smooth, easy, happen on a time table or be bloodless. But it is self evident to any intelligent observer that it must happen. Any situation that allows individuals increased freedom and economic opportunity will be an improvement and lessen the odds of a larger war, whether they are 'US loving' or not.

That's why I found reocon's comments particularly shortsighted. First he condemns the present efforts (which he mis-characterizes and which have had their mistakes, but that's left for another discussion), but does not even pretend to offer any other course of action, other than implied inaction ofcourse. reocon's comments are simply coded political 'gotcha' talking points and playing politics with this conflict is a pathetic joke. I do not mean to imply that their can be no dissent, but if you are a serious person, articulate your criticisms and state your alternatives. Much of the hardening of political opinions in today's world stems from the fact that those like reocon, who are usually on the left do not engage in serious discussion, instead they prefer to just strike a pose on the moral high ground and condemn the failings, real or imagined of those who are actually doing something. All the while they will conveniently ignore offering any solutions of their own for examination or worse still, simply engage in name calling.

Additionally, I'd like to hear why reocon thinks that these people would be less suitable for living in freedom than we are. He certainly implies this.

I don't think that the Pope is stupid and I think that he was aware of the possible reaction to his comments. I won't speculate on his possible motivations here. That being said, it does not excuse those who react violently to the speech of others.

9/17/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Holy Roman Umpire said...

After 9/11, I like many others, was willing to give Islam a chance to make its case in a resonable and rational manner. That has not happend and I now very much doubt that it ever will. Which is a great pity because Islam is a religion with real moral content.

Like any other group or culture, the most dedicated (radical) tend to set the tone and direction and the rest follow. The people "in charge" of Islam will tolerate no challenge, brook no opposition and admit no error. You can't have a discussion with people like this. You can only submit to them or destroy them.

I will never submit.

9/17/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

tim p. wrote:

"Any situation that allows individuals increased freedom and economic opportunity will be an improvement and lessen the odds of a larger war, whether they are 'US loving' or not.

That's why I found reocon's comments particularly shortsighted."

Sure, increased freedom and economic opportunity is a good thing but the question is how to we go to such a point, or, how do we help others to get to that point. I have argued from day 1 that the administration's heavy handed approach, invasion and occupation, was a counter-productive method of acheiving such noble goals. It seems recent historare supports my position.

Looking forward, how do we help people acheive "freedom and economic opportunity"? Darfur, Iraq? The answer does not lie in American hubris (i.e. gee golly gosh lets partition Iraq into 3 parts) but rather in finding methods to allow those people to find a means to arrive at a consensus on how to advance toward these goals. It surely is not America's right or obligation to arbitrate and decide these things. The answer, though, is not to turn our backs and ignore but rather to participate and work with the international community toward a more judicious and impartial approach to adjudicating conflicts between communities. In Iraq's immediate case, the US should announce its pending withdrawal with carrots offered for peaceful coexistence of the combatants. In the end, they may end up doing as Recon depicts, if so, it'll be sad but at least we reduce our culpability somewhat (we can not make the water go upstream under the bridge again - hence we bear much responsibility for what occurs).

9/17/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Congrats C4, your recent post is 80% rational,if you could see your way to deleting political BS you would achieve 90%+ which is about as good as it gets around here.

The problem is that no one but a bunch of Kool Aid drinkers could ever be convinced that Gore or Kerry administrations would not have done very little and so avoided a lot of errors of commission, while committing vast erros of omission. In other words, those of us here who agree that the Bush administration has made many mistakes get cold chills at the prospect of the lunatics of the other party taking over. If the people up there wpould listen.... When has that ever happened?

9/17/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger MG said...

Reocon had to truncate his policy prescription, but I hope he will respond to the following observation:

The West / Israel are theatrical props within the setting of the intra -Islam conflict. To show that "Allah is on MY side", go kill Westerners (best) or apostates (okay, but trivially easy).

If Reocons suggestion of, "Get out, and let them kill each other off" were to occur, how do we contain that conflict so that it remains intra-Islam?

What about the Muslim innocents? They are the most vulnerable pawns in all this. Do we leave them to the tender mercies of the neck-slicers and the market-bombers?

9/17/2006 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Father DaSouza - "Catholics have for quite some time now confessed the sinful and wicked shadows that marked the Crusades, but any suggestion the whole affair was about rapacious Christians setting upon irenic Muslims must be rejected.

After all, the formerly Christian lands of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia Minor were not converted to Islam by Muslim missionary martyrs. Those lands were conquered by the sword.

The Crusader idea was that they could be recovered. Who wronged who first is a fruitless historical inquiry, but historical honesty requires an admission that Muslims wronged as much as they were wronged against.

The sword of Islam is carried today by self-professed jihadis. In most countries with Muslim majorities, Christians do not have the full freedom to practise their faith without fear.

Whether private harassment or state-sanctioned torture, Christians the world over know all too well that the sword of Islam has not been sheathed."

One lesson about the Byzantines was that they were prosperous, more numerous than their Muslim foes, deeply imbued with love of reason and open discussions (save doctrinal matters) of issues. Yer they fell to the Islamic foe. Historians say due to their allowing factional differences and disputes between regions sapping their strength. The same divisions prevented recovery of Spain from the Moors for almost 200 years. It was only when the 2 largets kingdoms united, the principalities threw out the collaborators and joined cause - that Reconquista was finished. In the 20th Century, the divisions within the Ottomans finally generated it's long-predicted demise.

Now we live in a divided West and a divided country. Each part vying for advantage and wealth of it's patrons. An intelligensia that feels post-mod multiculti means no values and division are best...Ample historical warning exists....

***************
Tim P - Additionally, I'd like to hear why reocon thinks that these people would be less suitable for living in freedom than we are. He certainly implies this.

I'm not reocon, but I'll answer. 7 times in the last 100 years we went into Haiti and failed to create a society and people suitable for living in freedom. The Muslims have lived as they live for 1200 years. What makes you think transforming them into "folks like us - prosperous, freedom lovers" is doable. We have 5 years of results of "nation-building and burqua freeing" to look at, in Afghanstan. The results are painful to see. And our Iraq adventure was full of similar neocon cluelessness about "noble, freedom-loving, democracy-hungry Iraqis aching for a secular, pro-Israel state."

Tim P the people of this part of the world do everything within their power to shake off the mullahs and other despots and promote freedom.
Nobody said that it would be smooth, easy, happen on a time table or be bloodless. But it is self evident to any intelligent observer that it must happen. Any situation that allows individuals increased freedom and economic opportunity will be an improvement and lessen the odds of a larger war, whether they are 'US loving' or not.


You cannot impose your desire for a culture to change if that culture is unwilling to change, by force of arms.

Without the decayed Islamic culture and the stultified retro nature of radical Shiitism and Salafism being reformed - freedom absent tolerance means freedom of a repressed people to kill their enemies, prosperity means more money is available to buy materials for suicide bombs and transport them, more money to indoctrinate children in Jihad.

Hitler (can't resist the tired WWII cliches this time!) brought great prosperity to prewar Germans and the freedom of many options previously denied - a bolstering of ability to move into new jobs no matter what station in life one had, to travel, new roads, air flight, a new freedom for German women - but all within rigid bounds that the national Socialists, like Islam all through it's existence prescribed.

The discredited Bush/Sharansky moronic remedy of freedom and then prosperity - led to the election of Hamas, and would have radical Islamists elected in Egypt, sitting on piles of Saudi money and piles of Pakistani nukes if "freedom" triumphs.

We have spent 491 billion on that recipe in Iraq, taken 22,000 casualties for "the Iraqi freedom-lovers" and continued, in part due to that, - lose our global competiveness and draw us nearer to a wastrel, debtor nation fiscal train wreck. We can't afford 4-5 more Iraqs.

Time to let 'em kill one another, set up our firewalls, control Muslims in the West, deter their nukes without occupying them, get energy independence....and let the plague burn itself out in quarantine...

And hope we get better elected leadership and that Europe wakes up, along with whatever "moderate" Muslims actually exist.

9/17/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

mg - If Reocons suggestion of, "Get out, and let them kill each other off" were to occur, how do we contain that conflict so that it remains intra-Islam?

We don't. It isn't even intra-Islam today. We can limit the intra-Islam aspect in the future by tigher controls or cleansing of Muslims in the West, and by deterring by communicating we will be brutally striking, but not occupying a nation that crosses us. And by hopefully setting the radicals that comdemn other radicals as Islamic heretics and apostates off, into killing one another, rather than us infidels. Presently, the nuts are spending more effort killing us than each other because we dumb infidels are dying to "save them from themselves". Iran's "global Islamic revolution" revolution, announced in 1979, was severely crippled by Saddam war killing them, and the USA-Saudis undercutting them internationally. They were able to do only a fraction of what the Iranian revolutionists intended to do.

The only good thing about killing them ourselves is so they aren't as free to cross our open borders and come here to butcher - but if they are killing one another, then their hands are full..and we don't have to piss away hundreds of billions and thousands of casualties a year for a near-permanent (where as usual the US does 95% of the work, sacrifice and expense) expeditional military and nation-building force to "uplift" people that hate us and resist change - for the next 15-60 years.

What about the Muslim innocents? They are the most vulnerable pawns in all this. Do we leave them to the tender mercies of the neck-slicers and the market-bombers?

Answer?

Yep.

Their choice to stand up and be counted, take the risk of fighting back - and take control of their destiny - or let evil others be the masters of their destiny. They haven't even tried to stand up to the radicals - and I think in large part because they think supporting and acquiescing to them is the "least risky" thing as long as they fantasize about the hated USA bailing them out, or the UN and Leftist NGOs rescuing them - if the radicals they permit to have power get "too awful" and begin doing the unpermissible - taking Muslim lives. Jordan was a nice example when the people were angry that terrorists weren't just acceptably murdering Jews & infidels, but crossed waaay over the line and killed fellow Muslims at a wedding party. If the same bombers had hit an Israeli wedding party there would only have been celebrating.

There are no Muslim innocents.

Only Muslim people that are creating the society they have to live in, and who should accept the repercussions of bad decisions they make. They have the choice to fix things, not be fence-sitters, covert Islamist cheerleaders, or risk avoiding pawns of extremists. It is their fate to choose. Not our job.

One disgusting aspect if Iraq is how little support and help we got from Shia "liberated" from Saddam's grip - even Sunni tribes that were on the "outs" and hated Saddam even more than the Shiites.

What we got was Iraqis not willing to lift a finger or make a phone call warning of ambushes and targeting "infidels". The basic response was - thanks for liberating us - and oh by the way, we hate you infidels and hope you all die...

9/17/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Ash 10:56:29 AM

Looking forward, how do we help people acheive "freedom and economic opportunity"? Darfur, Iraq? The answer does not lie in American hubris... but rather in finding methods to allow those people to find a means to arrive at a consensus on how to advance toward these goals. It surely is not America's right or obligation to arbitrate and decide these things. The answer, though, is not to turn our backs and ignore but rather to participate and work with the international community toward a more judicious and impartial approach to adjudicating conflicts between communities. In Iraq's immediate case, the US should announce its pending withdrawal with carrots offered for peaceful coexistence of the combatants. In the end, they may end up doing as Recon depicts, if so, it'll be sad but at least we reduce our culpability somewhat (we can not make the water go upstream under the bridge again - hence we bear much responsibility for what occurs). (Ash)

All we need are more committees, international conferences, pow-wows, brainstorming, methodology, cooperation, participation, consensus, conflict resolution, co-existence, hand-holding, candlelight vigils, rallies, talking things out around the kitchen table, empathy, lawyers and arbitration, incentives, diplomacy, dialoguing, Democrats in power, PC sensitivity, victims, grievances, identity groups, multicultural awareness, diversity, cultural exchanges, peace overtures, aid initiatives, human rights as defined by US antagonists, UN oversight, blue helmets, no wars, bloody peaces, NGO proliferation, terrorist rights, nuclear rights for enemies of our hubris besotted nation, moral equivalence, self-flagellation, American blame, Jew blame, Christian humility, secularism, Muslim appreciation, Islamist understanding, world love, and submission.

Did I leave anything out?

9/17/2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger woostershire said...

I laughed so hard reading this condemnation from Pakistan :

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry also called the pope's remarks "regrettable."

"Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/09/15/D8K592E00.html


Admission and denial in the same breath.

9/17/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Soldier's Dad said...
"reocon,
Did you ever hear of the Iran-Iraq war??? A long 8 year Sunni-Shiite killing orgy in the 1980's. General Chirelli briefed at the Pentagon last week about a single battle that left over 1 million dead."

And that was a fine state of affairs. I say, let it bleed. Let Radical Islam hacks itself apart until they learn tolerance. Why put ourselves in between two rabid dogs and pretend we can tame them both? 1 million Islamofascists dead in a single battle against each other? Sounds like a good start.

"I bet you really struggle to understand why the Iranians are hell bent on acquiring nuclear weapons. Could it be that they fear some not so bright US president would encourage another war between Sunnis and Shiites? "

I don't follow your logic here. If we're really concerned about a nuclear Iran, why turn Iraq over to them to increase their strategic power?! That's what we're doing and you know it. Instead we should have them spending resources that could go to research trying to fend off Sunni agression. Do you think Sunnis are happy with the an Iranian bomb? No, then what's standing between them and fighting Iran? How about a mis-guided peacemaking, nation-building mission by a hegemon they both hate and conspire to bleed from either side? That's the ridiculous status quo. Am I getting through to you?

3case, "syncretic" was the word I was aiming for and I hope my meaning was clear. We're trying to get the Sunni radicals and Shi'a radicals to sing Kumbaya together, and I don't belive we have the means. I don't believe in the means period. Since when did Bush become a UN reconciliation mission? What exactly is his dream for Iraq right now?

Nor would it be in our best interests. One thing that could unite them is a hatred of Israel -- even the Shiite faction we are backing is supporting Hezbollah!! Wretchard thinks we're on the "right track"? I need that one explained to me. Please?

9/17/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Yes, Catherine, you did leave out something, the ICC. We can either bow out, as per Cedarford/Recon and become isolationist building walls and firewalls or we can take part and build rule of law with enforcement. Seeing as we exist and thrive in a globalized economy to try to be so isolationist would be oxymoronic.

9/17/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

President Bush and his advisors did the world a great service exposing the "moderate muslim" fallacy for what it is. It's time to move forward. It's time put this at an end. An end to their expansionist ideology, an end to their 1400 years of expansionist gains.

9/17/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger R2K said...

Well muslims were such big fans of the Catholic church in the first place, so it is a big loss. Boo hoo. When you tell the truth about islam, you get blown up. Such mental super heros they are.

9/17/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Tim P said...
"This part of the world is a collection of failed or despotic states, whose main cultures are still medieval and tribal. Even under the facade of modernism that oil wealth has afforded the more fortunate countries of this region. If these areas are allowed to continue rotting, they will only become worse and we in the west will suffer more also. Especially as some of these states strive to acquire nuclear weapons.

This is why it is imperative that we in the west do all that we can to help the people of this part of the world do everything within their power to shake off the mullahs and other despots and promote freedom. . . .

That's why I found reocon's comments particularly shortsighted. . . .


I agree with part of your analysis as to the problem but I repudiate your liberal nostrums to fix it. You believe that through social engineering we can force these backward political cultures, helping them to evolve. I didn't think it would work and indeed it has failed. We cannot create institutions out of whole cloth and graft them onto Arab culture. As Gen. Abizaid has said, we are an anti-body in their system. In addition we are the inheritors of a colonial legacy, which they bitch about incessantly, sometimes with reason, I'll concede, but that queers our messianic mission from the getgo. It's done.


Additionally, I'd like to hear why reocon thinks that these people would be less suitable for living in freedom than we are. He certainly implies this.

Absolutely I believe this. I believe conceptions of freedom are culturally determined and defined. Please tell me, Tim P, what freedom means for a boy in Sadr city who grows up hating the US and Israel. Is he really concerned about his sister getting a college education or the right to drive? Does he really want the freedom that comes with religious tolerance? What about the freedom of gay rights? Or does he think that freedom means the absence of the US/Zionist Overlords who run through his neighborhood? Your critique lacks any sense of anthropology, which is why liberalism fails.

9/17/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

Islamic Logic:

“Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence.”

- Tasnim Aslam, a spokeswoman for the Pakistani foreign ministry,

9/17/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Leaving the Jihadis alone is not a satisfactory option, because as we have seen, they have armed and will continue to further try and arm themselves with nuclear weapons. What we need to do is simply and unapologetically start eliminating them and anything they regard of value.

9/17/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus:

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached ... Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death..."

The Pope:
"...not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature."

Islam's response:
"You have insulted and defamed Islam when you say that Islam uses threats and violence to spread the religion. This is a lie. Therefore if you do not "apologize" (which means to grovel and submit like a slave) then we shall threaten you with violence."

9/17/2006 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Yes, Catherine, you did leave out something, the ICC.

LOL, Ash, but surely the ICC, UNHRC, AI and such fall under the category I listed- "human rights as defined by US antagonists." I should have said "US-Israeli antagonists", but the enumeration of how to achieve peace in our lifetime was plenty wordy as it was.

The ICC would help the cause of downtrodden Muslims everywhere by prosecuting Bush, Blair and Olmert as war criminals. And then what? Maybe put the Pope on trial, too?

9/17/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

no Catherine, the mandate for the ICC is really quite narrow and intended for people incountries whose justice system is unable or unwilling to prosecute. The crimes to be prosecuted by the ICC are very serious, you know genocide and such. If Bush and Blair, or anyone else for that matter were to commit the crime of Genocide they should be prosecuted.

My main point is that instead of the US crawling into a hole of isloationism or prosecuting aggressive self interested interventions a rules base system is preferable. The ICC is a good start.

9/17/2006 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

Moonbat language from previous posts:

"...helping the cause of downtrodden Muslims everywhere..."
Laughable in lieu of current events.

Islamic culture is on the path to conquest. This is not a class war, the downtrodden muslims are not the concern of Islam, only of bleeding heart members of post-christian civilization.

Prediction: there will be more trouble.

9/17/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

for freedom said:

Islam's response:
"You have insulted and defamed Islam when you say that Islam uses threats and violence to spread the religion. This is a lie. Therefore if you do not "apologize" (which means to grovel and submit like a slave) then we shall threaten you with violence."


But is this the time the Left wakes up and smells the contradiction? No, because they hate the Pope more than the Arab Street does right now.

9/17/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

re Moonbat language from previous posts: "...helping the cause of downtrodden Muslims everywhere..."

Laughable in lieu of current events.
(for Freedom)

You're just being ironical about the originally ironical phrasing...yes?

9/17/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger DB2 said...

Any thoughts on wretchard's comment from September two years ago?

"In many ways, the Russian policy is exactly the reverse of the American. They are less squeamish about retaliating but lack the Bush doctrine of creating functioning democracies to replace the chaotic sinkholes of Islamism. To a certain extent, the Russian and French policies are identical. They draw a curtain over the putrefaction fermenting in certain societies, dismissing them as a natural state or in terms of cultural relativism, as situations in which civilization -- I use the word consciously -- would be ill advised to interfere. But it has become apparent that terrorism is an externality of rotting societies, an effluent, which if unchecked will poison the whole world. No cologne, not even French perfume, will long prevail against it. Civilization cannot hang back but must step forward, if not for love then for survival.

"Liberals, Democrats and critical conservatives may question whether President Bush's "forward strategy for freedom" has been carried out well or botched; but its conceptual rightness is indisputable and its undertaking long overdue."

9/17/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

Yes - Ironical is good ...

Also, a quote from Shakespeare would apply to the rampaging and violent muslims who can't stand it when the truth is placed in front of their noses:

"One doth not protest too much"

9/17/2006 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

Word Play.

Five years after 9/11, some words just seem to go together, tightly bound in a brief, harmonious expression of Truth.

"Blue Sky"
"Loving God"
"Artistic License"

and..

"Violent Muslim"
"Angry Muslim"
"Islamic Conquest"

9/17/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Ragnell said...

Wretchard,

The Pope may have had another purpose in focusing attention on the Byzantine Empire, a highly cultured, Christian- Roman civilization that pre-existed in the areas conquered by the Islamic Empires that replaced it. Not for Byzantine’s record for religious toleration, but rather by the consideration that several modern Islamic claims are contradicted by the historic evidence found from Byzantine’s very existence and final bloody ending. For example, that Islam has a legal and historical claim to enforce its religious control over certain regions.

The Byzantine emperor expressed fear and abhorrence of Islamic violence for valid historical reasons. His civilization was under brutal assault by the Islamic armies. He was not an ignorant, irrational bigot. His civilization was under brutal assault by the Islamic armies. Yet, I find few people know or remember the significant details of Byzantine's existence and final bloody ending.

Islamic leaders have a tradition of ignoring the prior claims of other religions and civilizations that pre-existed Islamic dominance. Part of the Imams' anger may have also been provoked by their consternation that Byzantine's long buried historical lessons has been brought to world attention.

If you are interested, I posted a more complete version of this argument: Islam Attempts to Silence an Historic Warning
http://loathlylady.blogspot.com/2006/09/imams-attempt-to-silence-historical.html

9/17/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

For For Freedom:

"Nigerian spam"

"Sudanese genocide"

"UN blather"

"Wahhibist overcompensation for inherently small 'attributes"

9/17/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

reocon,

I'm not entirely certain how a policy of inciting a war (if indeed it were incited) which kills a millon Muslims (the Iran-Iraq war) can be regarded as ethical and responsible diplomacy by those who hanker for the good ole' days while topping a genocidaire and trying to establish democracy in a country is a stupid war crime. And that's precisely my problem with this whole debate.

Saddam Hussein and the Iranians didn't need encouragement to go out and kill. It seemed to come naturally. Went out and hit Iran; invaded Kuwait. Darn near invaded Saudi Arabia but for the arrival of the 82nd airborne. Gassed the Kurds. Literally dried out the Garden of Eden. Dispatched the Marsh Arabs. Were we behind that? Well, if we were, bully for us, according to one line of thinking.

But go in there and try to organize an election and it's bringing chaos, hatred and violence to the Middle East. Either the policy of countenancing dictators in the Middle East has or has not got us into trouble. Recall that al-Qaeda came into existence because militants felt they were writhing under the lash of dictators. Every jihadi group had its genesis in opposition to the local dictator. Al-Qaeda was born in a pre 9/11 world. It was born in the world of our sophisticated containment policy. Still, some say we better off supporting dictators instead of toppling them. That may be, but I hope it's not wrong to point out we were down that precise road for years. And if we want back to "diplomacy" it isn't because we hope peace and love lie at the end of that road, but because we prefer that kind of catastrophe to the current kind.

And that's precisely the problem with the Pope's remarks. It's the philosophical analogue to bringing democracy to the Middle East. And frank talk between people, like democracy is, "as everyone knows", a recipe for disaster with the Muslim world. So we excoriate him for it. Ask him to deliver an apology for an insult he never delivered. Unless I'm gravely mistaken this is what the NYT is really saying. In talking to Islam, don't say what you think. Say what they want to hear. Lie if necessary. Whatever you smell, praise the delicate perfume of their underarms; whatever they say, admire the subtle construction of their rants; whatever the breeze, arrange the flecks on their beard. But on no account treat them as either human friend or enemy. We are being given a lesson in how to be nuanced. And I'm not that this nuance is anything but a crock.

9/17/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

Ragnell- Absolutely brilliant post! So true, so true!

I might add that in a sense there is so much evidence of the defamation and desecration of other religions by the mohammedans, that it is striking it is not more fully appreciated.
Look at the mosque built right on top of the old Temple of Jerusalem. Look at the Hagia Sophia, which was taken over from the Justinian Cathedral in Constantinople and turned into a mosque. Look at the Bamiyan Buddhas that were blown up. Everywhere the mohammedans go, they desecrate and destroy other religious and cultural buildings and artifacts.
No surprise they want to hide the history of Byzantium post-1453.

9/17/2006 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

The slaying of the nun by the brave jihadi warrior in Somalia was a Kodak moment,a freezeframe which stood in stark contrast radical islam and radical Christianity.
The nun was committed to radical self sacrificial love,laying down her life for "the least of these my brethren".She gained nothing in this world by applying balm to the festering wounds of arguably the worst third world hellhole on earth.Her only reward occurred yesterday at the gates of eternity where she heard those words"Well done you good and faithful servant.Enter into the joy of the Lord"
The Islamist was also radical,radically,fully commmitted irreversibly evil.He bears a true likeness of his father the devil .
Interestingly the word "radical" means going to the root.The nun acted out of a heart warmed by the love of God,the Jihadi out of a black heart of rage and malice.

9/17/2006 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

There once was a brave Pope named Benedict
who spoke up and got Muzzies quite ticked
Seems he dared to quote history
ruminating on faith, reason and ministry
making "peaceful" Muslims rampage and rage and self-contradict.

9/17/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the cause of peace in the Middle East is advanced by calling a spade a spade. There may be some disadvantages to the policy of treating people as sentient human beings but they pale in comparison to one of insulting patronization.

The more thoughtful people in the Islamic world know the Pope is making an intelligent point like Emmanuel's Persian interlocutor. By insisting the Pope speak in only phoney platitudes those who advocate an apology send the message that we are not interested in honest dialogue because we feel you are incapable of it. We are only capable of treating the Islamic world as an unstable and homicidal rabble, to be soothed like a wild beast instead of addressed as men.

And it's a safe bet that in that kind of weird PC environment, a person can be engaged in an intelligent conversation up to and until the moment he identifies himself as a Muslim, after which the enlightened start treating him like a retarded savage.

9/17/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Wretchard,

Retards don't amass the kind of landmass that the Jihadis amassed. These guys are very cunning, ruthless, and yes, savage. But they are not retarded. If anyone deserves that moniker it is us, not them.

9/17/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

"...sold down the river by the liberals and the left. Not by any great measure, but by some small increment."

Well of course Wretchard. They're Progressives. Two steps forward and one giant step back as they run for cover as "those outside the charmed circle" come under fire.

9/17/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

Wretchard- Your last post goes straight to an important point: the need for courage.
Those who (like the NYT) speak in "phoney platitudes" which are basically dishonest appeasement, or those who would retract an obviously honest and rational statement for the sake of not getting the muslims upset, are engaging in a form of double-speak which can only dilute or damage the West's moral and intellectual message.
If one were to weigh the total honesty versus dishonesty of the Islamic religion against that of the Christian, as both stand today, one can easily make a case that the Christians are by far the more honest and rational.
The problem is one of fear and courage. Courage is needed in the West to speak of truth, such as that mentioned by the Pope, in the face of violent threats.
But it should be clear that violence cannot resolve the power of the Pope's logic, or the power of the logic of Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus.
The Pope, thanks to a dusty old statement recorded in Byzantine history, has just dropped a Logical Nuclear explosion on the religious intellectual landscape:
If not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature, AND if to spread a religion by violence and threats is not rational, THEREFORE those who do are not acting rationally and are in fact acting contrary to God's nature.
So if the Islamics disagree with this logic, they must not believe in a rational God OR they are acting contrary to God's nature.
So either the Islamic God is quite different from the Judeo-Christian God or the Islamic religion is in self-contradiction.
Either way, no need to apologize since the LOGICAL contradiction will not go away.

9/17/2006 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

wretchard said...
reocon,

I'm not entirely certain how a policy of inciting a war (if indeed it were incited) which kills a millon Muslims (the Iran-Iraq war) can be regarded as ethical and responsible diplomacy by those who hanker for the good ole' days while topping a genocidaire and trying to establish democracy in a country is a stupid war crime. And that's precisely my problem with this whole debate.


Oh, Wretchard. Ethical? Responsible? It is far too late for that. The Iraqi Civil War already started. “Inciting”? It happened in ’03 and Iran is already involved and the Islamic Schism War is once again in full swing. Read the neocon Charles Krauthammer’s column in the Washington Post, even he admits it and says it was inevitable once Saddam was toppled, that a Sunni minority would not live under a Shiite majority. Ethics? Responsibility? If you really must bring in such terms then how ethical or responsible was it to invade a country and then let it slip into civil war by supplying too few troops? Legions of analysts predicted a civil war and if you buy into Colin Powell’s “Pottery Barn rules” then who is responsible?

Perhaps if we flooded the country with 600,000 troops and spent decades escorting Iraqi school children to school then we’d bear less of the blame when it inevitably went wrong. But Bush isn’t about to bust the economy to pay for half-hearted nation-building for a resentful Iraqi nation. Neocon maestro William Kristol and Buckley’s wayward heir, Rich Lowry, have taken up the first part of that point, arguing recently in the Washington Post that we desperately need to commit more troops to Iraq, a call I’ve not yet heard you echo. It is most instructive to read the NYTimes pet neocon, David Brooks who, after a recent interview with the President, concluded:

In other words, when Bush is strategizing goals, he is assertiveness on stilts. When he is contemplating means, he defers to authority.

And the sad truth is, there has been a gap between Bush’s visions and the means his administration has devoted to realize them. And when tactics do not adjust to fit the strategy, then the strategy eventually gets diminished to fit the tactics.
Or worse.


Ah yes, the NYTimes, that foul nexus between liberalism and neoconservatism, so slowly arriving at the long obvious! And what means of Bush’s exactly? Funding, defending, and supporting a corrupt, pro-Iranian Shiite Islamist gov’t in Iraq in the hopes that they turn into sensible moderate Republicans before the next elections? Wretchard, you seem unable to grasp the true nature of Iraqi gov’t led by Dawa, SCIRI, Sadr and Fadhila. Why should we defend this mad dog while getting bit by the Sunni one on the other leg? Let them have at each other: Pull out. Pull back. Let it Bleed!

Wretchard:
But go in there and try to organize an election and it's bringing chaos, hatred and violence to the Middle East.

Yes, because Iraq was not a real nation. T.E. Lawrence told his colonial boss, Churchill, that Iraq was really was three nations and would only be ruled under the barrel of a gun. Right then and still right. In Iraq, we were not dealing with a European style nation-state in which various European nations and ethnicities battled and contested until a state form evolved. We were dealing with an artificial nation, a colonial boundary, and disruption and civil war was well predicted. Read the political scientists Mansfield and Snyder for their analyses of how elections led to further violence and disintegration in Burundi, Somalia, Pakistan (Bangladesh), Congo, Georgia, Chechnya, Sudan and Yugoslavia. Elections can mobilize ethnic minorities that are not about to get their fair share by the majority, and then respond with violence up to civil war, secession or genocide.

Predictably, elections in the Arab world have not been in our favor. Liberal, secular parties cannot give vent to the Islamic world’s rage, their will-to-power, their desire to contest us. Liberal groups are too associated with the West and thinking that they would win was profoundly ignorant. I loath Chalabi for the treachery his has wrought on the gullible. Yes, for all these reasons, elections and liberal policies of nation-building have brought nothing “chaos, hatred and violence to the Middle East”.

Wretchard:
Every jihadi group had its genesis in opposition to the local dictator. Al-Qaeda was born in a pre 9/11 world. It was born in the world of our sophisticated containment policy. Still, some say we better off supporting dictators instead of toppling them. . . . That may be, but I hope it's not wrong to point out we were down that precise road for years. And if we want back to "diplomacy" it isn't because we hope peace and love lie at the end of that road, but because we prefer that kind of catastrophe to the current kind.

Close. We are relying on the very dictators the neocons want to topple. They torture for us and inform for us and even in the recent case of the Syrian embassy, defend us. Let us talk realpolitik: Elections have only resulted in Islamists. Do you prefer that or the dictatorships of Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan?

9/17/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

It's clear that Pope Benedict made a carefully worded non-apology apology. It would have been better if he made none at all.

Now to the NYT.

The President and the NYT have had their differences. In fact, some would say that the NYT is partisan and unfriendly towards the President. Which seems to be the case.

[The President jabs the NYT]

THE PRESIDENT: ...Let's see, New York Times, Sheryl.

Q Hi, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Fine. How are you doing?

Q I'm well today, thank you. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Did you start with, hi, Mr. President?

Q Hello, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, that's fine. Either way, that's always a friendly greeting, thank you.

Q We're a friendly newspaper.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. (Laughter.) Let me just say, I'd hate to see unfriendly. (Laughter.)

Q Mr. President --

[a little jab]

THE PRESIDENT: Want me to go on to somebody else, and you collect your [thoughts] -- (laughter.) Sorry, go ahead, Sheryl.

[Then the NYT dives into a partisan attack]

Q Mr. President... now find yourself in a situation where you have essentially an open rebellion on Capitol Hill led by some of the leading members of your own party, very respected voices in military affairs
...

Press Conference of the President, 75% down web page.

Follow-up on Wretchard's Murder on Haifa Street (sorry for the repeat if someone has posted it)

[Power Line]:

In a series of posts culminating in this one, we wrote about this photograph of Iraqi terrorists in the act of murdering two election workers. The photo appears to have been taken by someone who had no fear of the terrorists.

[Picture of election workers being shot in the head in Baghdad]

And what was the photographer doing within a few yards of the terrorists in the first place?
Are we supposed to believe that he just stumbled across them while they were in the act of committing murder or firing a mortar?

Of course not. The photographer was present at the invitation of the terrorists, who wanted the pictures taken for propaganda purposes.

All of these suspicions were confirmed today when the AP that the United States military has been holding Bilal Hussein for the past five months for "imperative reasons of security." The Army says that Hussein was captured in the company of al Qaeda terrorists
:

[AP]

The military said Hussein was captured with two insurgents, including Hamid Hamad Motib, an alleged leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. "He has close relationships with persons known to be responsible for kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and other attacks on coalition forces," according to a May 7 e-mail from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jack Gardner, who oversees all coalition detainees in Iraq...

[Power Line]

Incredibly, the Associated Press, rather than expressing any embarrassment that it has been publishing propaganda photos taken by an apparent associate of al Qaeda in Iraq, is campaigning for Hussein's release, saying that it is normal for journalists to have "relationships with people that others might find unsavory."

See: The Pulitzer Prize for Felony Murder, Part II

Also see: Michelle Malkin's CONTROVERSY OVER PULITZER-WINNING AP PHOTOS

And see: The Pulitzer Prize for felony murder, PL

9/17/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger Mister Ghost said...

Today was Oriana's burial. I was hoing the Pope would attend, but with security concerns and so soon after the recent brouhaha over the Pope's comments, an appearance at the funeral of Islam's sharpest Italian critic, probably wouldn't have been a wise thing.


Remembering Oriana Fallaci - The Largest Tribute In The Blogosphere

9/17/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

You reckon the Pope's comments have distracted muzzies from a real come-to-jesus-meeting delivered by the Australian multicultural minister, Andrew Robb?

Muslims Read The Riot Act In OZ.

"And because it is your faith that is being invoked as justification for these evil acts, it is your problem.

Dude's gonna need a cast iron neck if he keeps talking like that.

As they say, read the whole thing. Your soul will be warmed.

9/17/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Text of my letter to Bill Keller, managing editor of the New York Times:

Mr. Bill Keller, Managing Editor
executive-editor@nytimes.com
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
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Sunday 17 September 2006

Dear Mr. Keller,

Pope Benedict, leader of the world’s community of Catholics, has made a speech in which he makes the plain assertion that it is wrong to coerce conversion to Islam by the threat of death or torment.

In response, with a breath-taking example of supreme arrogance, the New York Times has the brass to chastise the Pope for stating the bleeding obvious. Meanwhile the animalistic thrashing response of Muslims around the world only confirms the fears of the rest of the world that we face a growing population of aroused demons. Defense or criticism of the Pope in this case are entirely beside the point. The response of the Mohammedans confirms the truth of his statement too eloquently to be negated by any amount of politically correct finger-wagging.

Mr. Keller, if you ever wonder why your once-respected news organisation is losing market share like Spinach growers in the midst of an E-Coli scare, I can tell you. It is the decades of mis-representations, distortions, and blatant partisan bias passed off as objective reporting.

It is the disrespect shown by your organization for the public it claims to serve.

For all my adult life your publication has conspicuously sided with the antagonists and opponents of the United States. You have repeatedly made and justified revelations that aid and comfort those adversaries by claiming that the U.S. public needed to know those details. Your publication inevitably defends outrageous behavior by the enemies of the West, and attributes evil motives to every act or gesture of any CONSERVATIVE American, while simultaneously minimizing and apologizing for the most spectacular venality of Democrats and so-called Progressives.

Your readers are finally waking up and realizing they have choices. If you believe your editorial and ethical behavior are without blemish, stick to your guns and God Bless you. But be prepared to find your readership dwindling to the small group of people whose leather straps still allow them freedom of movement to turn the pages unaided.

9/17/2006 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Phil Fraering said...

Close. We are relying on the very dictators the neocons want to topple. They torture for us and inform for us and even in the recent case of the Syrian embassy, defend us. Let us talk realpolitik: Elections have only resulted in Islamists. Do you prefer that or the dictatorships of Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan?

To answer a question with a question... can we rely on and trust the same dictatorships who created these terrorist groups as proxy agents to restrain them indefinately?

9/17/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Tim P said...

reocon said, "You believe that through social engineering we can force these backward political cultures, helping them to evolve. I didn't think it would work and indeed it has failed. We cannot create institutions out of whole cloth and graft them onto Arab culture."

That's not what I said. By freeing the peoples of this region, they are free to form their own institutions.
Read some Hernando DeSoto. I do not expect and indeed would be very surprised if their institutions mirrored ours. If you think that this is a recipe for disaster, I suggest you read up on events in northern Iraq and the Kurds. They are a textbook example of what good freedom can bring to the region.

Additionally reocon said, "In addition we are the inheritors of a colonial legacy, which they bitch about incessantly, sometimes with reason, I'll concede..."

Let me address these points in detail.

Yes, they are the inheritors of a colonial legacy. It goes back to Rome. More recently, they have been a vassal state to the Ottomans. In 1916 Britain and France penned the Sykes-Picot Treaty which created the present day national boundaries and is the source of much of today's problems. The religious and ethnic realities of the region were totally ignored.

The Kurdish areas span northern Iraq, northwestern Iran and eastern turkey. The Persians, who are the ruling ethnic group in Iran have most of the central portion of that country and the shia arab region is along the coast and on both sides of the Persian Gulf. The Persians have brutally subjugated and are engaged in a slow genocide of their Arab population, which incidentally is where most of the oil in Iran is. The talk of partition of Iraq into three entities is not so far fetched when you look at history. However, any partition must take the regions ethnic boundaries into account to have any hope of suceeding. Once the Persian control of the shia arab parts of Iran are broken, there is little threat from the shia arabs. The present instigation of violence is a product of the Persian regime.

reocon then goes on to say, "I believe conceptions of freedom are culturally determined and defined.."
Oh really, how post modern of you. Once the concepts of freedom that the west takes for granted were foreign to us too. It has been a long bloody strugle from the Magna Carta to the Bill of Rights. Hell, Hitler thought those concepts were full of crap too and he managed to convince many Germans of it. Many of whom are still alive today. Ask them about social engineering. Besides, I never said or implied that the male dominated medieval-tribal 'honor' culture of the mid-east should embrace the crass and empty materialism that afflicts much of the west today, but I do think that certain freedoms should extend to allpeoples and cultures. To wit, the right to speak freely without fear of violent reprisal, the right to worship as you see fit, the right for women to have rights at all. You see, 'antropologicly' speaking, it is their repressive culture, their brutal suppression of half of their population (i.e. women) that keeps them in a primitive state. There will be no hope for progress there until the cycles of violence and repression are broken. Besides, if these 'rights' you think are culturally defined then it logiically follows that you think no rights are inalienable and therefore all rights are negotiable, which logically followed extends to our culture as well. Now you're scaring me.

We in the west didn't just naturally dream up the current society out of whole cloth. If you look at your history, you will see that the peoples of that region did not always hold the beliefs they presently do and women had more rights under the Romans than they do today.

Today's brutal culture is the work of Islam. Islam was imposed on them by the sword and it must change itself from within as Christianity did, or have those changes imposed from outside. Drawing an arbitrary line in time and saying that 'this' is their real culture is a fruitless exceercise.

In a time when there is a real possibility that one of these islamic 'lunacracies' might lob a nuke at us, we cannot afford to ignore this problem. Neither can we afford to try to contain it, because it will not be contained. Look at the islamic situation in Europe and do some research on demographics.
Additionally, we cannot negotiate with the despotic regimes or the stateless islamo-fascist terror groups any more than we can negotiate with an angry dog. No treaty will stop it from biting you.

9/17/2006 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Wretchard:

I like your comments.

The problem with a "let them bleed" strategy is that it turns everybody within a region into an enemy. And as a rule, one's worst enemies are the folks who could have been one's friends. The problem with playing enemies against one another is that they eventually make peace and discover they have been bled by an outside power. They then vent their hatred against the outsider.

History is replete with examples of civil wars that led to keeping swords sharp and advancing military technology -- and civil wars ended that led to sharp consequences for those who used foreigners as cannon fodder.

Persia used a "let them bleed" strategy against Athens and Sparta. They wound up with Alexander. China used a "let them bleed" strategy against Mongols. They wound up with Genghis Khan. The Iroquois played the English against the French, yet wound up defenseless when France surrendered North America. And let's not forget how Rome's cavalier attitude toward using Goths as cannon fodder led directly to the sack of Rome in 410.

Let's not be so black hearted, tactless, and cynical that we find ourselves inciting worse enemies than we already have.

9/17/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger reoconnot said...

So recon, since you insist that the attempt to moderate extreme Islam by bringing democracy to the M.E. is doomed to failure, what is your proposal to deal with the fact of extreme Islam?

9/17/2006 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger reoconnot said...

Reocon,

In the interests of civilized dialogue let me apologize for the typo.

And I apologize if you have already explained how you would deal with this phenomenon. Or do you deny the threat it poses?

9/17/2006 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger reoconnot said...

tim p,

Excellent post, but I think you are attempting to engage in a serious conversation with a cynic.

Perhaps reocon will prove me wrong.

9/17/2006 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger Quig said...

And this from a moderate cabinet minister:
"These are legitimate questions for Muslims to answer given that the September 11 terrorists and those wreaking such havoc in the Middle East and elsewhere profess to kill in the name of Islam. For our part, non-Muslims can try to build even more cohesive societies and create a better security environment but we can't purge Islam of its extremists nor of justifications for extremism. Only Muslims can do that."

Read it in full here http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20428389-601,00.html

9/17/2006 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger reoconnot said...

the mad fiddler,

I salute you. Your lettter to Keller is inspiring. We cannot begin to confront the Enemy Without until we confront these dufusses within - who give them strength by the hour and by the day.

If you wanted to create a devastating propaganda armamentarium against the United States you need only collect one months NYTs front pages and editorials.

It remains to be explained why they are so intent upon committing suicide.

If our side had 10 % of the fervor of the enemy this war of civilizations would be over sooner than later. As it is, thanks to the efforts of the naifs at the NYTs, we are in for a struggle that will not begin to commence in earnest untli the next attack on the homeland is carried out.

Perhaps then Keller and the MSM will realize that the enemy is not Christian conservatives.

9/17/2006 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger John Dunshee said...

[T]he Italian nun died in the line of a duty fully understanding that being killed was an occupational hazard in certain Islamic countries.

"Certain Islamic countries"? And in which Islamic countries is it not a hazard?

9/17/2006 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

reoconnot said...


Perhaps then Keller and the MSM will realize that the enemy is not Christian conservatives.
//////////
not going to happen.

the NYT & the MSM are dominated by sodomites for whom christian conservatives are more of a threat than moslems.

9/17/2006 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

reoconnot said...


Perhaps then Keller and the MSM will realize that the enemy is not Christian conservatives.
//////////
not going to happen.

the NYT & the MSM are dominated by sodomites for whom christian conservatives are more of a threat than moslems.

9/17/2006 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Iraq, as a neo-Conservative mission, is a lost cause. Best bet is to use special forces to select certain tribes and prepare to support them against any Al Qaeda sanctuaries. Iraqi civil war is a reality, and platitudes and wishful thinking cannot erase the fact that Iraq is a failed nation filled with people both good and bad, but nevertheless incapable of making the jump to liberal democracy at this point of time. A statement that goes for most of the civilization. We can't manage their own Enlightenment for them, especially when they detest us, and take every opportunity to spite us.

"Their choice to stand up and be counted, take the risk of fighting back - and take control of their destiny - or let evil others be the masters of their destiny. They haven't even tried to stand up to the radicals - and I think in large part because they think supporting and acquiescing to them is the "least risky" thing as long as they fantasize about the hated USA bailing them out, or the UN and Leftist NGOs rescuing them - if the radicals they permit to have power get "too awful" and begin doing the unpermissible - taking Muslim lives. Jordan was a nice example when the people were angry that terrorists weren't just acceptably murdering Jews & infidels, but crossed waaay over the line and killed fellow Muslims at a wedding party. If the same bombers had hit an Israeli wedding party there would only have been celebrating."

About sums it up. Personally, I don't mind being the world's whipping boy so long as we're ultimately getting things done, but at the moment we're being undermined, internationally by the Russians, Europeans, and Chinese and domestically by the anti-American Left. Better to regroup and prepare for the much bigger war in the future, when the threat cannot simply be discounted because there's a Republican in charge.

There are no simple solutions, but that's not a reason to follow a failed policy of attempting to reform a region quickly that is so impervious to reformation, and giving power to mass populations that want to kill us and have no concept of responsibility for their own actions.

I do not want the average Arab or Pakistani to elect governments that reflect their views, because their views are ignorant, backward, and fanatical. And frankly, until we hold them responsible for their views, that is not going to change. Unfortunately, neo-Conservatism requires us to step around so many eggshells, that it is impossible to criticize them reasonably or hold them responsible for their actions. It is impossible even to explain to our own citizens the true state of the Muslim world, because to do so would cause outrage and violence that would undermine our very objections.

But frankly, when it comes down to choosing between keeping the Muslim world happy, and properly educating our citizenry about the true scope of the problem - I'll take the latter.

9/18/2006 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"It is impossible even to explain to our own citizens the true state of the Muslim world, because to do so would cause outrage and violence that would undermine our very objectives."

Personally I think Iraq will go down as well-intentioned (though poorly thought through) and farsighted, but ultimately too ahead of its time, and critically wounded by faulty WMD intelligence that badly delegitimized. Though I'll say that, in retrospect, if the Iraq War was intended as a Neo-Conservative enterprise (and I think it was), we should have sold it on that objective first and foremost. American governments underestimate their people's sophistication at their own peril.

9/18/2006 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Sorry for the long post, just been thinking about it for a while.

9/18/2006 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

A big question is what on Earth we're going to do when Turkey threatens to invade Kurdistan. Fight the Turks, or abandon the Kurds? If they leave Iraq (and why would they tie themselves to that sinking ship?) we've created a new Israel, reliant on us, and hated by its neighbors..

9/18/2006 12:53:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

Chirac: don't mix up Islam and radical Islam:

The pope says he is "deeply sorry" that he offended Muslims with a speech last week in which he quoted from a medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of Islam's founder as "evil and inhuman."

Benedict says those words don't reflect his own opinions.

Chirac's Comments

9/18/2006 12:59:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

reocon,

You write "the civil war in Iran has already started". And when Saddam was crushing the Sunnis and the Kurds it hadn't started? But back then you didn't have a Kurdish President, a Shi'ite Prime Minister and Sunni Minister of Defense.

The Iraq constitution has been explicitly designed for devolution. The legal eagles who drafted it sought advice from European countries with Federal structures. The key constitutional provision enforcing this is the recognition of regional militias, like the Peshmerga. To say this wasn't on the cards is not accurate.

However, it is true that civil strife is running high. And a full-scale civil war could occur if the US pulls out now. And by full-scale is meant something out the Saddam days. With a 100,000 Shi'ites, for example, fleeing into Jordan.

9/18/2006 03:11:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Tim P said...
By freeing the peoples of this region, they are free to form their own institutions.

They have but you are too liberal to see what they are: tribes, mosques, militia and Islamists parties (SCIRI, Dawa, Fadhila, Sadr, ad nauseum). Now, what institutions did the CPA create for the Iraqi people? What happens when when of one your liberal institutions, like an interior ministry, meet an indigenous Iraqi institution, like a Shiite militia? The colonial imposition is hollowed out by the native institution. Your liberal neocolonialism is pure folly.

If you think that this is a recipe for disaster, I suggest you read up on events in northern Iraq and the Kurds. They are a textbook example of what good freedom can bring to the region.

I wish Kurdistan the best but fear its history will be brief. The Washington Post has run several stories of the Kurd's engaging in ethnic cleansing in Kirkuk, and President Talabani has pledged to make this multi-ethnic city "Kurdish", which shows just how deep his committment to Iraqi unity runs. The civil war between the Talabani clan/party and the Barzani clan/party has not been resolved and the Turk awaits with sharp knives in the north. Does freedom mean freedom from fear? We shall see.

Oh really, how post modern of you.

That's Edmund Burke not some of your university trendiness.

Today's brutal culture is the work of Islam.

Tim P, I ask of you a favor. Please tell me what parties make up the United Iraqi Alliance that won last year's elections. What are their platforms and where did their leadership spend the Iraq/Iran War? Could you please tell me what the acronym SCIRI, Iraq's largest party, is an abbreviation of?

I never said or implied that the male dominated medieval-tribal 'honor' culture of the mid-east should embrace the crass and empty materialism that afflicts much of the west today, but I do think that certain freedoms should extend to all peoples and cultures. To wit, the right to speak freely without fear of violent reprisal, the right to worship as you see fit, the right for women to have rights at all.

You forgot gay rights, free gym memberships and gov't subsidized lattes. Do you believe that women's rights as you see them are shared by the majority of the Iraqi people? You can't be that deluded. Since your conception of women's rights are missing in Iraq, you want to impose them by force!. What you liberals fail to understand is that the ERA was rejected by the American electorate. So now you want it exported by our Marine Corps?

9/18/2006 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Reocon, help me understand how it is you can criticize U.S. policy for not continuing to coddle and support Saddam (because he was, to your lights, such a reliable and useful ally) and yet criticize Rumsfeld for shaking the man's hand back when.

I would suggest that betrays an irreparable breach in your logic or shows you would be a critic no matter what course we took in the mid-East. I think, at bottom, you are merely a supercilious wanker and whiner.

9/18/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

wretchard said...
reocon,

You write "the civil war in Iran has already started". . . But back then you didn't have a Kurdish President, a Shi'ite Prime Minister and Sunni Minister of Defense.



That Kurdish President is Jamal Talibai whose entire reason for assuming the office was Kurdish secessionism. He announced this at his anuagural when he vowed to make multi-ethnic Kirkuk a "kurdish city" and that the peshmerga would never disband. Fine for Kurdistan, not so hot for a unified Iraq.
Talabani is corrupt, too fat to be healthy, and, my sources say, increasingly senile.

Qader Obeidi (Abdul Qader Jassim Mohammed) is Iraq's Defense Minister. He was a general under Saddam Hussein and is backed by the Sunni Islamists, terror connected coalition known as the Iraqi Accord Front. Last week, one of Iraq's nine divisions was turned over to his control, the rest remain under coalition control.

And Mailiki? Dawa. Here's an image I think all the Belmonters should meditate on for a little while:

www.cctv.com/.../journal/20060914/101980.shtml

Wretchard, do you really have faith in this gov't? What do you think would happen if the training wheels came off?

However, it is true that civil strife is running high. And a full-scale civil war could occur if the US pulls out now.

Obviously you don't have faith in it. So what are you waiting for? For the pro-Iranian Shiites to more fully consolidate their hold?

9/18/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...
Reocon, help me understand how it is you can criticize U.S. policy for not continuing to coddle and support Saddam (because he was, to your lights, such a reliable and useful ally) and yet criticize Rumsfeld for shaking the man's hand back when.

I don't advocate "coddling" whatever that means, so much as playing both sides off the other when it is in our national interests. Important stragtegic distinction, and what galls me about Rumsfled is the utter hypocrisy of being a key part of that realist strategy and then denouncing it. Saddam was suddenly Hitler, and now to pull out of the failed strategy in Iraq was to appease Nazis! Meanwhile Rumsfeld drew down American troops in the midst of a Taliban offensive, replacing them with lesser, inexperienced NATO troops and the Bush administration cut funding to Afghanistan by a third. Rumsfeld is presiding over policies he knows to be failing, yet he lashes out at his critics as Nazi appeasers. It's not the earlier policy, which served us so well, that I denounce, it's Rumsfeld for abandoning it.

Even the neocons are calling for his head -- Kristol did so as far back as '04! -- all because he won't commit more troops for this failed policy. He's done.


I would suggest that betrays an irreparable breach in your logic or shows you would be a critic no matter what course we took in the mid-East. I think, at bottom, you are merely a supercilious wanker and whiner.

And I would suggest that this "betrays an irreparable breach" in your reading comprehension and understanding of basic conservative tenets. I think, at bottom, that you are a deeply confused liberal who is locked into a failed policy of bringing your agenda of "rights' to the Arab people by force. That attempt has resulted in a Shiite Islamist led gov't in Iraq that is pro-Iranian. Do you deny this? How do you think that happened? Forget about your opinion of me, how do you live with the contradictions? You have to know by now that Bush isn't going to break the bank to pay for imposing your liberal utopia on the resentful Iraqi people.

9/18/2006 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

An observation.
Using the term jihadi is analogous to the Europeans use of the word cowboy to describe Americans. I'm from the west, and even though I don't know one end of a horse from the other, I like the appellation. The term jihadi is an honorable term in their culture. The term hirabah on the other hand means sinful fighter. What better way to set off more riots than by using their words that are offensive to them.

9/18/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

...what galls me about Rumsfled is the utter hypocrisy of being a key part of that realist strategy and then denouncing it.

Maybe what galls you is that he learned long ago that Saddam was not to be trusted, and you have to this day failed to absorb the lesson.

I'm sure the Kurds are quite happy we chose not to pursue this 'realist' policy of yours to their extinction. I suspect they will make good allies for us in the region, despite what the Shiites or Sunnis might do. But in any case, I'm not about to write the rest of the Iraqis off quite yet, as you seem all too willing to do. Tell me, will it come as much a bitter disappointment as Rumsfeld's perfidy did if they also do not adhere mindlessly to the role you have assigned them?

9/18/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...

Maybe what galls you is that he learned long ago that Saddam was not to be trusted, and you have to this day failed to absorb the lesson.

Sigh. Sirius, I'm beginning to suspect that in addition to be unlearned in history and politics, you are not very swift. But I am growing fond of your thick skull and the tone it makes when rung. Nowhere did I say that we should fully embrace or trust Saddam, only engage him in those select spheres where our interests intersected. He was never going to get a state dinner or a special trade policy, but he could still be of utility. Did Saddam keep his own Shiite Islamists population in check? Was he a check on Iran? Did we share these interests?

Let me share an anecdote that should prove illuminating. At the end of the '91 Gulf War, Bush I encouraged an uprising against Saddam. Bush expected an internal military coup among the Sunni elites and was less than happy when the Shi'a rose up. The CIA and Special Forces reporetd that as cities fell to the Shi'a militants in Southern Iraq, posters of the Ayatollah Khomeini were being slapped up all over the place. Bush, realizing he did not want to tip Iraq over into a satrapy of Iran, allowed Saddam to stay in power. Since you've avoided all the questions I've posed to you that outline your incoherence, maybe you'll oblige me on this one: Should Bush I have let Iraq fall to the Iranian backed Shi'a in '91? Why or why not?

I'm sure the Kurds are quite happy we chose not to pursue this 'realist' policy of yours to their extinction.

The Kurds have a tough lot in life. In '91 Talabani rushed down to make peace with Saddam. Here's a picture of that love-filled moment:

http://vnexpress.net/Vietnam/The-gioi/Tu-lieu/2005/04/3B9DD05F/Jalal-Saddam.jpg

Yes, that's Jamal Talabani the current President of Iraq. Hardly looks like a campaign of extinction, does it? Saddam, at this time, was playing Talabani and Barzani off one another, and they were looking to him to counterbalance against each other. Tribal politics at its finest and I bet you knew nothing about it.

Perhaps you'd like to shed your liberal tears for the poor Chechens as well. The Russians have long oppressed and slaughtered them, and they could use a little championing.

Tell me, will it come as much a bitter disappointment as Rumsfeld's perfidy did if they also do not adhere mindlessly to the role you have assigned them?

This was syntactically a little challenging but let me see if I can hazard a response. Let us not argue about what role I have "assigned" the Iraqi Shiites so
much as the one they have assume of their own free will. Sound good? Then tell me, what parties did the Iraq Shiites vote overwhelmingly for in the last elections? What does SCIRI stand for? And why did so many vote for Sadr's party?
Now, you tell
me what role you think that is, I beseech you.

9/18/2006 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Tim P said...

reocon said, We cannot create institutions out of whole cloth and graft them onto Arab culture.

I guess by your logic that invalidates the cases where we have sucessfully grafted institutions onto other cultures. Especially our entire post WWII reconstuction effort in Japan. Let's not forget South Korea, another backward culture where our futile 'social engineering' as you call it failed. I suppose you don't want to discuss the transformation of a militaristic pre-war Germany either. Basically, your analysis is flawed. You would do well to study some history.

Hmm, where did your ideas ever pan out?

How would you explain much of eastern Europe (e.g. Poland, the Baltic states, etc.)? I remember people like yourself thirty some years ago trying to explain to me how 'those people' do not understand freedom in the same way that we do. Many tried to say that they were actually happier under communism. They just didn't know any better.

Ask yourself, by playing off one group against another to further short term goals, what are you trying to achieve? Security? Peace?
This is so flawed it is obvious to any casual observer. Disabling your foe without eliminating the root causes from which the problem stems, simply postpones facing the problem and throws the burden onto another. That's responsible forward thinking.

Fast forward to today and wonder why you think people in the middle east are not fit to be free, which when you boil it down is what you are saying. Your let them eat cake mentality will not help anything and quite possibly make matters worse.

Listen to one such unfit person, Cyrus Nowrasteh, who does not understand our freedom and says, "My Iranian parents fled tyranny and oppression. I know and appreciate deeply the sanctuary America has offered. Only in this country could a person such as I have had the life, liberty and opportunity that I have had. No one needs to remind me of this–I know it every single day." Mr. Nowrasteh seems to have a better grasp of these basic principals than you do.

Your idea of coddling dictators and playing off one party against another is cynical, unrealistic and extremely short sighted. Have you forgotten the ideals that this country was founded on? How naive those primitive colonials must have sounded to the British monarchy?

Again, if we are to take what you say at its face value, you are simply being a cynic who wants the freedoms he had the luck to be born into and takes for granted, but would deny to others for no other reason than the short term furthering of your material well being.

You have my pity.

9/18/2006 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Nowhere did I say that we should fully embrace or trust Saddam, only engage him in those select spheres where our interests intersected.

If our interests never went beyond mass murder, then you might have a point. But even then your prescription is nothing more than a policy of playing footsies with a viper, expecting it won't eventually bite.

Isn't that exactly what Stalin tried to do with Hitler? Or was it the other way around? (Apologies in advance to Cedarford for having the audacity to inject a tired historical analogy.)

9/19/2006 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Tim P said...

I guess by your logic that invalidates the cases where we have sucessfully grafted institutions onto other cultures. Especially our entire post WWII reconstuction effort in Japan. Basically, your analysis is flawed. You would do well to study some history.

A decent study of history will reveal deep continuities between Japanese society and political culture before and after WWII. I suggest John Dower’s Pulitizer Prize winning Embracing Defeat. The Japanese Zaibatsu became the Japanese Keiratsu, the war criminal Hirohito became the titular head of state, and the Yakuza fused with various nationalist parties to fend off a communist challenge. Many fascistic party members reorganized and gained representation within the new Diet. I will concede some structural change, some elasticity in the political culture of Japan that was brought about through total war and its resulting mass civilian casualties. I would also point out, which your study of history somehow missed, that Japan is an ancient homogenous nation, not a colonial boundary containing syncretic political cultures. In order to make the Japanese analogy work, I would pose three points to you and ask that you respond to them with the same depth in which I bother to rebut your points.

1. Total War. Clearly Sunni and Shiite Islamist political cultures have not suffered the same sort of devastation that Japanese culture did. Are you prepared to impose the same sort of traumatic cultural defeat and mass civilian death on the Islamic cultures of Iraq that we did onto the Japanese? Would that still qualify as a “war of liberation”?

2. Homogeneity. It ain’t there. Again I refer you to the work of the political scientists Mansfield and Snyder for how elections exacerbate ethnic tensions in artificial states: Somalia, Burundi, Yugoslavia, Iraq, etc.

3. The reconstruction of Japan flowed out of the sort of big government bureaucracies all too common to the New Deal era. Thankfully, we’ve let that sort of bureaucratic capacity wither to near death. The CPA was a colossal joke and you can read a dozen books on its clumsy demise. The President and Congress are not about to break our economy to pay for a liberal utopia imposed upon a resentful Iraqi people. The American people rejected your sort of big government nostrums during the Clinton era, and you’re going to have a real tough time turning the clock back. Who wants to have their taxes raised to pay for Islamist schools in Sadr city? Do you?

Hmm, where did your ideas ever pan out?

Somalia. Haiti. Yugloslavia. The former USSR. Palestine. Lebanon. Iran during the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Iraq.

How would you explain much of eastern Europe (e.g. Poland, the Baltic states, etc.)?

Again the political cultures in these states had histories of being cohesive nations with their own parliaments before Soviet domination. Those that weren’t cohesive fell apart: Yugoslavia. And those without cultural histories of Western style rights have quickly back slid into traditional Slavic servitude: Russia. A colonialism wasn’t imposed on Eastern Europe, it was lifted. You've got your example completely backwards.

Ask yourself, by playing off one group against another to further short term goals, what are you trying to achieve? Security? Peace?

The only criteria that’s ever counted in international relations. Our interests.

This is so flawed it is obvious to any casual observer. Disabling your foe without eliminating the root causes from which the problem stems, simply postpones facing the problem and throws the burden onto another. That's responsible forward thinking.

Interesting. Earlier in this thread you identified the “root cause” of the problem thusly:

Today's brutal culture is the work of Islam.

Well then, how does democratizing the Middle East address the root causes of the problem when Arab populations freely vote for Islamist governments!? How does that solve root causes?! You’re position is totally incoherent and it is beyond you to face up to it. So, I persist and ask you to do so once more, at least for your own sense of dignity and self worth. It’s as if you’ve not paid attention to a single election in Iraq, Lebanon or Palestine his past year!

Your idea of coddling dictators and playing off one party against another is cynical, unrealistic and extremely short sighted. Have you forgotten the ideals that this country was founded on? How naive those primitive colonials must have sounded to the British monarchy?

Sigh. Welcome to international politics. If you find playing one party off the other beneath our founding fathers then I suggest you go back and research the foreign policy of Washington, Adams and Jefferson as they sought to balance the Spanish, French and British against one another. Some of their stratagems were quite clever and some were necessary sacrifices of the time. “Short sighted”?! Your homework assignment is to read Thucydides. I also suggest you take at least a junior college course in Cold War history. That should establish some time frame for what you consider “short sighted”.

I know Nixon going to China upset you for its cynicism and “coddling” of a nuclear dictator but do you really want to argue that we should’ve invaded China and imposed democracy as a solution? Yeah, that’s right.

You have my pity.

I have once again demonstrated the complete incoherence of your liberal ideology. I have refuted your points and you have failed to follow up on mine. Hold onto your pity for just a bit longer and see if you can stoop to answering the following:

1. If Islam is the problem, could you please tell me what the largest Iraqi political party, known by the acronym SCIRI, stands for? Are they part of a “democracy” that you support?

2. Throughout Basra and Southern Iraq, ruling Shiite political parties have imposed Sharia and the chador. Earlier in this thread you said you wanted to bring “women’s rights” to Iraq through military force and elections. Please tell me: Why did Shiite women overwhelming vote for Shiite Islamist parties? Did they not know what these parties (Dawa, Fadhila, SCIRI, Sadr) stood for?

3. Should we waste more troops or raise taxes for this failing project when all of our blood and treasure is going to support a gov’t dominated by Shiite Islamist parties that are anti-Israel and allied with Iran?

4. If you really think that Islam is the “root” problem in Iraq then what secular Iraqi politician with a real social base is your intended solution? Chalabi has sidle up to Sadr and joined with the Shiite block (and still the snake lost). What secular constituency do you have your hopes pinned on in Iraq?

Once you’ve answered these questions we will move on to apportioning “pity”.

9/19/2006 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...

If our interests never went beyond mass murder, then you might have a point. But even then your prescription is nothing more than a policy of playing footsies with a viper, expecting it won't eventually bite. . . .Isn't that exactly what Stalin tried to do with Hitler?

You can't be serious, Sir. And if you are then your error is one of assigning strategic threat and historical import. Saddam was a third rate dictator, he was no Hitler. He lacked Hitler's economic accomplishments, he lacked Hitler's charisma and idelogical inventiveness. He lacked Hitler's armies and Hitler's record of conquest. His death toll, while high, was not Hitlerian.

We now know that toward's the end of his regime Saddam was mostly occupied writing Arabian Nights style romance novels and that his defense plan for Baghdad was utterly sophmoric, like that of a junior high school student scribbling battle plans during math. Hitler actually had some strategic chops, at least until '42.

For the viper analogy you should at least look to a second rate dictator like Suharto. As a General under Sukarno and later in East Timor, he slaughtered about three times what Saddam wrought. And Suharto was a good ally. Even your saintly Paul Wolfowitz praised Suharto's talents in front of the US Congress -- when Wolfowitz was ambassador to Indonesia. While a viper, Suharto never bit us and did a fine job of killing communists. No, foreign policy isn't for the faint hearted, but as Iraq, Somalia and Haiti have shown, neither is it a place for liberals.

Now Sirius, I have once again answered your questions. You are a liberal and believe in fair play, be courteous enough to answer the one I posed to you on 9/18 (8:31pm):

"Should Bush I have let Iraq fall to the Iranian backed Shi'a in '91? Why or why not?"

9/19/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Tim P said...

reocon, if you're going to quote someone verbatim or extensively paraphrase you should use quotations like where you said, I suggest John Dower’s Pulitizer Prize winning Embracing Defeat. The Japanese Zaibatsu became the Japanese Keiratsu, the war criminal Hirohito became the titular head of state... However, I will keep that book in mind, it sounds interesting.

As for your point 1,2 and 3, my responses are
1. It took a total defeat of Japan to make their transformation possible. Similarly, it took a total defeat of Germany to do the same. The roots of WWII in Europe lay primarily in Germany's incomplete defeat and the punitive and unfair treaty that was forced upon it. I suspect we are headed down this road again.

2. You said, "Homogeneity. It ain’t there. Again I refer you to the work of the political scientists Mansfield and Snyder for how elections exacerbate ethnic tensions in artificial states: Somalia, Burundi, Yugoslavia, Iraq, etc.

Go back and read what I said. I specifically spoke of the 'artificial' states Sykes-Picot created as a major source of today's tensions. As for the Shia and the Sunni, they are both Arab. Their difference is religious, not ethnic/cultural. (Ofcourse that doesn't help the Irish much either.)

3. You said, "The reconstruction of Japan flowed out of the sort of big government bureaucracies all too common to the New Deal era. Thankfully, we’ve let that sort of bureaucratic capacity wither to near death."

Really? We've let large government beauracratic capacity wither? Please share whatever you're smoking with the rest of us.

"The American people rejected your sort of big government nostrums during the Clinton era"

Here's irony, that I would ever defend Clinton. However explain this administration's spending which exceeds the Clinton administration's by far and the difference is more than military spending too. This administration and congress are spending like drunken sailors. But I digress.

Next I asked How would you explain much of eastern Europe (e.g. Poland, the Baltic states, etc.)? You replied, Again the political cultures in these states had histories of being cohesive nations with their own parliaments before Soviet domination

You are wrong. The Baltic states since the 1500's have been vassal states to either Poland, Sweden or Russia. The countries as they exist today were initially created after WWI.

As I understand it, your opinion of correct policy in the face of external conflict is to play one faction off against another using our self interest as a guide in deciding which faction to aid or at least not hinder and to stay out of the fight entirely if possible. President Bush shared your view until 9/11. I suspect he is better informed than you are.

Again, I asked, where did your ideas ever pan out?

You responded, "Somalia. Haiti. Yugloslavia. The former USSR. Palestine. Lebanon. Iran during the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Iraq."

So how was Somalia a sucess? It is a failed state and the new nexus of islamic terrorism. Haiti? Another failed state which continues to fester if left alone. Yugoslavia? It is another case of artificial boundaries imposed on diverse ethnic regions. How is it a success by your
definition? The former USSR? Heere we have a dangerously unstable government which is reverting to despotic rule and with a nuclear arsenal to rival ours. You call this success? What are you talking about?
Let's look at Palestine, one of your cornerstone arguments is that when left to their own choices, arabs elect terrorist governments. First, Hamas was elected as a protest vote against the rampant corruption a Arafat's Fatah group. This is well known. Fatah was never really freely elected, they became the defacto Paestinian government when Arafat was brought back from Tunisia in the early 90's.
As for Lebanon, It was a democratic state at one time. Presently, Iran's proxy, Hizbollah rules this country in everything but name. What are you talking about?
Iran? Iran wa sour ally under the Shah, who we brought to power in 1952. He was unpopular from the beginning and increasingly so as tiime wore on, but our ally. It was Carter who's backing away from support of the Shah precipitated his overthrow.
Your list of sucesses makes no sense what so ever.

Next you answered my question, "Ask yourself, by playing off one group against another to further short term goals, what are you trying to achieve? Security? Peace?"

You said, "The only criteria that’s ever counted in international relations. Our interests.

I agree, our interests are the reason behind our foreign policy, or should be. Where we diverge is that you think short term tactical manipulation serves our interests and would condemn millions to lives under brutal despots for short term tactical advantage, I say if we help create the foundation for something better, we aid our long term interests and in the end are much further ahead. That's a more strategic view. Look at the examples you named as successes for your approach. They are all misrable failures. On the other hand, the countries I referred to as examples of past nation building are successes. Your arguments are wrong. Perhaps that explains why you are stooping to increasing belligerence and name calling.

You said, "I have once again demonstrated the complete incoherence of your liberal ideology. Your obtuseness is staggering.

I won't be adding to this thread any longer. While I think you have something to say, I think your approach is wrong and would be a disaster in the long run. We will have to agree to disagree.

9/19/2006 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Griswel said...

The key event in Israel in the past few years is that the world has largely written off the palestinians. People give the 'right' answers to poll questions, but, even in Europe, few actually care anymore.

Likewise, the key event in the middle east now, in my view, is that the west is writing off Islam. I believe that people are more willing than ever to treat Muslims as mad dogs - keep away from the ones you can and kill the ones you have to.

People will still talk a good game - remember all the promises to rebuild LA after the Rodney King riots? - while quietly moving as far away as they can from the problem.

Oh, and if someone kills the Pope? For better or worse, I think we'd see that there are a lot of non-western Catholics.

9/20/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Should Bush have let Iraq fall to the Shia? I profess, unlike you, not to know, but I do think it was our error to encourage the Kurds to rise up and then not support them. Why do you assume we could not have used the event to our advantage rather than making it look to that part of the world as just another example of our inconstancy and treachery?

Your blithe dismissal of Saddam's capabilities and intentions is interesting, if only for the selectivity of your memory. Apparently you have forgotten all about his yearning to become the new Saladin of the mid-east, which is ironic given Saddam's treatment of the Kurds. But there you have it in a nutshell, the man was entirely inconsistent and yet you would have us bet our foreign policy in the region on his predictability.

The problem with your neat assessment--that he was a guaranteed foil to Iran--is that at any time he could have formed an alliance of convenience to entirely thwart that beautiful plan. That might even leave him free to look for easier pickings elsewhere--say, for instance, Kuwait, and maybe thereon to the oil fields of SA.

Or do you find that scenario entirely implausible?

And what if, let's just imagine it, we objected to such a move and sent troops to stop him? How then do we ever get back to that beautiful balance you so achingly yearn for?

One might imagine we would instead be in a constant state of low-grade war with this would-be Saladin. What one might not imagine is that another low-grade war was about to slip a notch or two higher, and that the justification would be offense taken over our sending troops to contain this former putative ally.

At what point, if any, would you concede it might be worthwhile to learn a lesson or two and try another tack?

9/20/2006 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Tim P said...

reocon, if you're going to quote someone verbatim or extensively paraphrase you should use quotations like where you said, I suggest John Dower’s Pulitizer Prize winning Embracing Defeat. The Japanese Zaibatsu became the Japanese Keiratsu, the war criminal Hirohito became the titular head of state... However, I will keep that book in mind, it sounds interesting.

It was not a quote, it was my summation.

Again, I asked, where did your ideas ever pan out? . . . So how was Somalia a sucess? . . . You call this success? What are you talking about? . . . . Look at the examples you named as successes for your approach. They are all misrable failures.

You are arguing in favor of my points and you aren’t even aware of it! Let me break it down to you in simple sequence. You asked me when my “ideas ever panned”; my “ideas” being in ardent opposition to liberal internationalism and Wilsonian crusades. I listed specific states in which the tenets I oppose failed, either through elections or through US interventions, thus showing the historical strength of my ideas. You respond by going through the list and arguing that my examples are indeed . . . failures! And you call me obtuse.

1. It took a total defeat of Japan to make their transformation possible. . . . I suspect we are headed down this road again.

Possible. We may see eye to eye here. It will be hard for you, however, to sell this as a war of “liberation” to your liberal buddies if we have to unleash mass death on civilians in Iraq. Look at all the whining over Falluja and Haditha!


2. Their difference is religious, not ethnic/cultural. (Ofcourse that doesn't help the Irish much either.)

Nor does it help the Iraqis, eh? Or what about that India-Pakistan split? No, the fractures in present day Iraq make it wholly inapplicable to an homogenous nation like Japan. You seem to agree.

3. We've let large government beauracratic capacity wither? Please share whatever you're smoking with the rest of us.

You are confusing size with capacity. Capacity may be too technical a term, perhaps for a more general audience I should’ve used the term efficiency. Let me give just two recent federal examples of failed capacity (efficiency): the CPA and Katrina.

Here's irony, that I would ever defend Clinton.

I don’t see the irony. Of course you would defend Clinton.

Next I asked How would you explain much of eastern Europe (e.g. Poland, the Baltic states, etc.)? You are wrong. The Baltic states since the 1500's have been vassal states to either Poland, Sweden or Russia. The countries as they exist today were initially created after WWI.

Ah, but the Baltic states were ethnically distinct were they not? There have been nationalist aspirations there that predate the Livonian War. And in replying about “EasternEurope” I had Poland, Hungary, Czecho(slovakia) etc. in mind, not just the Baltic states. As you know, I’m quite right in those examples.

In conclusion, I’d say that on historical approaches and first principles we would have to agree to disagree. We should, however, move on beyond these approaches and address the present, and that is were your arguments breaks down. You have failed to address the four questions I posed to you on how democracy is actually doing in the present in Iraq. You analyze the problem as “Islam” and on this we agree. However, the Iraqis have taken your little gift of democracy and used it to elect Islamist parties. For that you have no answer.

9/20/2006 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...

Or do you find that scenario entirely implausible?

Yes, the Sunni-Baathist/Shiite emnity was to great for such an alliance. I refer you to present day Iraq as evidence.

At what point, if any, would you concede it might be worthwhile to learn a lesson or two and try another tack?

I'd say that if we thought democracy would be a cure for Islamism and the Iraqi people freely elected Islamists, then we should really rethink our strategy. What do you think? You've been dodging this question for days now.

9/20/2006 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Okay, maybe alliance was the wrong word. But if not an outright alliance, then maybe a cynical truce? After all, it isn't as if there isn't an historical record of its having happened before.

And what question have I been dodging, exactly? You are intent on believing that the Iraqi Shia are marching in lockstep to Teheran's orders. I think that is a gross oversimplification and--at the very least--gives no consideration to nationalistic self-interest. There are Islamists freely elected to positions of power in Iraq? Given the history and culture, wouldn't that be expected? You can say the same thing about Lebanon. The real question is not why they should find representation, but why we should have so little faith that people won't in the long run seek their own best interests. Not all Iraqi Shiites yearn to be ruled by the Iranian mullahs. Hell, even an increasingly large number of Iranian Shiites wish they could be free of them.

9/21/2006 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...
You are intent on believing that the Iraqi Shia are marching in lockstep to Teheran's orders.

Not necessarily in lockstep but with a strong degree of alliance and mutual self-interests. The strategic interests of the Iraq Shi'a is much closer to that of the Persian Shi'a that it is to ours.

Sirius, you fail to plug any referents into your abstractions. List the parties we are talking about and the situation become more clear, especially if you do even minimal research into these group's (militia) ties, goals and hierarchy: The Supreme COuncil for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Dawa, Fadhila, Sadr. I'd recommend the following by Ambassador Gailbraith:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article-preview?article_id=18150

In addition, you might find it worthwhile to read up on the imposition of Sharia throughout the South as the Shi'a Islamists consolidate power. Is this the kind of freedom we (well, you) wanted for the Iraqi people?

In our gross naivete we have empowered fundamentalist AND democratic forces that are deeply opposed to our national interests. Sirius, how far down are you willing to go in welcoming these groups? If a political party were to win elections in Waziristan that is affiliated with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, would you welcome them as legitimate, democratic expressions of "self-interests"?

9/23/2006 09:48:00 AM  

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