Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lawrence Auster gets it right on You Know Who

When Auster is good, he's very good. He says he's been pressured recently by some correspondents to support Him Who Must Not Be Named. (That's the candidate with the initials R.P. who has a Zombie Army that descends upon you if you put his name into a blog post title and criticize him.) Now, as Auster says, he's been an anti-Rockwellian all this time; why should people think he'll suddenly support the uber-Rockwellian candidate for president now? But the Zombie Army is persistent. They think if you're a small-government conservative it's just inexplicable that you wouldn't support their candidate. So they've provoked Auster into saying some good stuff.

The reason it's especially interesting is because the discussion applies to several bigger issues where the paleolibertarians and paleoconservatives have their ideologies, like the Islamist threat and the "blowback" theory, as well as U.S. relations with Israel. In the thread I learned that R.P. voted against a resolution (of which I admit I haven't read the text) condemning the Iranian president's holocaust denial. Auster, by the way, takes the Iranian threat to Israel very seriously, which is interesting in itself. Of course, R.P. and his supporters say the Holocaust denial resolution is political, is unnecessary, is just symbolic, etc. (I wonder how many of them were up in arms over the refusal, based on similar reasons, of GOP Representatives to support the condemnation of the Armenian genocide. Hmmm?)

I also saw in the VFR thread a reference to R.P.'s interview with Russert in which he actually denies that "Muslim fanaticism" is the problem when it comes to terrorism. Wow! (I did see it in the VFR thread originally, but now I can't find it there, so here's the partial transcript from a different link.) Now we're not only not allowed to say that Islam is the problem. We're even supposed to deny that Islamic extremism is the problem! No, according to R.P., the "litmus test" (for what?) is whether we are occupying Islamic "holy land." Uh-huh. It's all back to that "poor, poor Muslims. We've had troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, so what could OBL do over in Afghanistan but fly into a saffron-colored rage and send his charming boys to murder thousands of our citizens?"

Auster makes what is to my mind an extremely shrewd comment. He says that since paleolibertarian ideologues (but I repeat myself) hate the U.S. government because of interventionist foreign policy, they assume that the Islamists are like themselves and hate the U.S. government for the same reason. I also thought this comment was extremely good: "As I've been pointing out for years, scratch a person who claims merely to want the U.S. to be neutral and uninvolved vis a vis Israel and her enemies, and 99 times out of a hundred you'll find something else."

To me this is all something of a relief. After all, no one can accuse Auster, of all people, of being a war-mongering Bushite yes-man! Not by a long shot. But he has the paleos' number.

Oh, I almost forgot. For humor value, here's a great Don Feder post giving sample honest campaign ads for all the candidates. If you are a liberal, you won't like it. If you are a conservative, you will find it very funny.

Update (correction): Christopher points out in the comments that the interview I have linked for RP is actually with John Stossel, not Tim Russert. I apologize for the error and even more for the carelessness that led to the error.

71 comments:

Christopher said...

When I tried your Russert link, I got a transcript of an interview of Paul by John Stossel. MSNBC has a transcript of the Russert Meet the Press interview. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22342301/

The Stossel interview transcript, "Ron Paul on War," posted on Townhall, seems to be your source. http://townhall.com/columnists/JohnStossel/2007/12/19/ron_paul_on_war?page=full&comments=true

"STOSSEL: Is this case not different? Religious fanatics hate us and want to kill us because of our culture.

"PAUL: I don't think that's true. It is not Muslim fanaticism that is the culprit. The litmus test is whether we are actually occupying a territory. In the case of Saudi Arabia, that was holy land." -Id.

Although merely tangential, you have relied on a twice edited misquote. The video is edited --as Stossel admirably acknowledges at the top of the transcript. However, if you take the time to watch the video, and listen to the audio, you will find that the transcript further edited and deleted from the actual interview. http://townhall.com/video/JohnStossel/1450_121807Stossel. Bottom line: the posted transcript (quoted above) is incomplete, edited and hence inaccurate. For example, per the video, RP actually added a qualifying clause to that last part: "holy land - for them." Id at 3:44 - 5:08.

Now, RP does have a viewpoint --and he's made the point, I believe, in several places, both verbally and in writing, that you might disagree with in regard to muslims, Islam, muslim fanaticism, muslim terrorism, war, etc. I should think you could find ample material and your resulting criticism might be not only more fair, but clearer and more comprehensive.

Lydia McGrew said...

Christopher, I certainly acknowledge and appreciate your point re. John Stossel. When I wrote the post, I was relying on a memory-trace from VFR where, obviously reading quickly, I'd gotten the impression that the interview was with Russert. When I found the Townhall transcript, I was careless and did not verify the interviewer, or I would have identified him correctly. I will update the post and make that correction.

I will go in the next few minutes and check the audio. I must say that I question the idea that this is a "misquote" in any sense relevant to my use of it. For example, "holy land, for them" really makes no difference whatsoever to the point I'm making. The outrageous line, to my mind is, "It is not Muslim fanaticism that is the culprit. The litmus test is whether we are actually occupying a territory." If that is substantially altered, I will be interested. But as you say, RP's ideas on this issue are well-known. This appears merely to be one of the most egregious instances in which he states those views. But I will check out the video/audio.

Lydia McGrew said...

Okay, I watched that part of the video. He does indeed say that "Muslim fanaticism isn't the problem." The only thing edited out at that point in the middle were his arguments for that proposition--namely, that this and that country (Iran and the Sudan) do not engage in suicide bombings against the West. There are many answers that could be given to this, including the probability that Iran was of help to al Qaeda and the fact that Sudan is too busy engaging in Islamic civil war against its own population. Besides which, according to RP, the question is one of our occupying what Muslims regard as "holy land." But Iranians are no _less_ likely to be moved by this consideration than bin Laden! He is not even being consistent: On the one hand he says "Muslim fanaticism isn't the problem," but on the other hand he implies that an Afghani Muslim can, just because he is a Muslim, be so moved by our so-called "occupation" of a completely different country--Saudi Arabia--as to send suicide bombers against us.

I also didn't see in Stossel's edited version (maybe I just missed it) one of the most outrageous lines from RP: "...if you believe Osama bin Laden, and I don't think he would lie." That's just astonishing! No, no, no propaganda coming from bin Laden. Let's just _ask_ the man why he's so mad at us and then take notes very carefully and alter our behavior accordingly!

Lydia McGrew said...

Make that "Muslim fanaticism isn't the culprit" for exact wording.

William Luse said...

Re the point you were making, Christopher's "help" seems awfully trivial.

Sudan is too busy engaging in Islamic civil war against its own population.

And Iran is too busy trying to figure out how to exterminate Israel.

Having Mr. Paul at the helm of this country would constitute a manifest threat to its own citizens. Do you happen to know if he's made known his views concerning Israel?

Lydia McGrew said...

Paul claims that we should cut all aid to Israel as part of cutting all foreign aid to everybody. There was a time when I would have been impressed by this as a principled libertarian stance. But why make Israeli foreign aid such a priority in that case? Why talk about it so much? Auster is rightly skeptical of the true neutrality of this whole approach. And then there is this, quoted in the Auster thread from RP:

"Bin Laden's claims are straightforward. The U.S. defiles Islam with military bases on holy land in Saudi Arabia, its initiation of war against Iraq, with 12 years of persistent bombing, and its dollars and weapons being used against the Palestinians as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel's occupation expands. There will be no peace in the world for the next 50 years or longer if we refuse to believe why those who are attacking us do it."

Now, when we recall that Paul takes "Bin Laden's claims" to be more or less _accurate_ assessments of the situation, and when we consider that in the context (which I just looked up) he is chiding us for not believing bin Laden's explanations of why he attacks us, then I think it wd. not be unfair to construe Paul himself as saying that Israeli "occupation" is "expanding" and as sympathizing with the "Palestinians," as this quote implies. He earlier in the piece at the Rockwell site (from which the quotation comes) appears to refer to Israel as "having a policy of repressive occupation," though it is put into a slightly convoluted context.

One can consider too what I pointed out in my previous Paul post--his courting the American Arabic vote.

Paleoconservatives' dislike of Israel is pretty well-known. Paleolibertarians are a little better at disguising it, because their libertarianism means that they are less likely to advocate our overtly pushing Israel to (for example) give back the Golan Heights. But what the difference usually comes down to is that the paleolibertarians are just as anti-Israel as the paleoconservatives, they think just as much that Israel has some sort of abstract _duty_ to give back the Golan Heights (for example), they accept just as much the Palestinian version of the whole story, but the paleolibertarians would feel a little odd advocating directly that we shd. twist Israel's arm to compromise its security in these various ways, because the libertarians are always saying that everything is "none of our business." The paleolibertarians, therefore, would if they were in power probably betray Israel by cozying up to Russia, Syria, and Iran, rather than by pushing Israel itself in any specific direction. They are continually telling us how nasty and judgemental and misguided we are not to be friends with that unholy trio. In that, they agree completely with the paleoconservatives, from what I've seen.

William Luse said...

Paul claims that we should cut all aid to Israel as part of cutting all foreign aid to everybody.

So everyone is equally unworthy, in their view? I guess it's hard to accuse them flat-out of hating Jews or Israel but, based on this failure to discriminate, I don't see why I should trust them.

Christopher said...

Yes, the misquotes are, as I initially wrote, side issues. But still, to leave out the man’s qualifying statements is a bit unfair.

There are of two levels of edits: On one level the transcript as published on the Townhall site is deficient. Second, the video was probably edited. I don’t think I’m stretching here. TV interviews usually are cut here and there.

Now, I can’t be sure without seeing the whole tape including out-takes, but there appears to be a cut at approximately 4:38, where RP is responding to Stossel’s “is this case not different” question. It looks and sounds like there was more of an exchange between that first question and RP’s response where he makes the muslim fanaticism point. RP probably laid out some of his ideology, and at some point in the exchange Stossel brought in the phrase “litmus test” and asked about muslim fanaticism. The way RP says "litmus test" suggests they had been working through some points; that RP is mirroring Stossel’s terms back to him and anchoring his comments to that term to make his points clear. Same with the muslim fanaticism. The phrases come from no-where before in the interview and it seems clear to me that RP is trying to address those terms.

“Okay, I watched that part of the video. He does indeed say that "Muslim fanaticism isn't the [culprit]." The only thing edited out at that point in the middle were his arguments for that proposition--namely, that this and that country (Iran and the Sudan) do not engage in suicide bombings against the West.”

In context, it’s clear that he means muslim fanaticism per se or on its own isn’t the problem, but muslim fanaticism + an otherwise inadvisable interventionalist foreign policy that we know can act as a trigger or catalyst is a problem. The "only thing" edited out of the transcript is a quite substantial fleshing out of that point by analogy to two fanatical muslim states that have not directly engaged in suicide bombings of the US. The clear suggestion is that those state’s non-responsibility for 911-type attacks on the US is not a coincidence but that their relative inactivity towards us is plausibly related to our relative non-intervention on their turf. RP buttresses this point with some (Texas?) folk wisdom about stepping into a snake pit and getting bitten: whose fault is it? It’s both yours for stepping in it and the snakes’ for biting you.

“There are many answers that could be given to this, including the probability that Iran was of help to al Qaeda and the fact that Sudan is too busy engaging in Islamic civil war against its own population.”

But they’d be wrong. Was Iran of help to al Qaeda? As bad as the Iranian leaders are, and they are bad, most of the evidence points to OBL and AQ so this isn’t much of a response but a huge over-extension of corporate guilt. As a mobster might say, I’m no angel, but I didn’t do that one. I thought we were better than that; that we only prosecute guys for crimes they actually commit. As for the Sudan example and RP's use of it, it too still holds.

“Besides which, according to RP, the question is one of our occupying what Muslims regard as "holy land." But Iranians are no _less_ likely to be moved by this consideration than bin Laden! He is not even being consistent: On the one hand he says "Muslim fanaticism isn't the problem," but on the other hand he implies that an Afghani Muslim can, just because he is a Muslim, be so moved by our so-called "occupation" of a completely different country--Saudi Arabia--as to send suicide bombers against us.”

Iranians, heirs to Persian culture, and for the most part Shia, are no less likely to be moved by foreign troop quartering in Saudi Arabia then a Saudi Arabian male from a wealthy family with close ties to the royal, Saudi, family --really?! How many Pashtuns were involved in 911? Tajiks? Again, I understood RP to say that if muslims want to really get into being muslims, and part of that is a Jihad, why set them off against us if we don't have to? Why step into the snake pit?

“I also didn't see in Stossel's edited version (maybe I just missed it) one of the most outrageous lines from RP: "...if you believe Osama bin Laden, and I don't think he would lie." That's just astonishing! No, no, no propaganda coming from bin Laden. Let's just _ask_ the man why he's so mad at us and then take notes very carefully and alter our behavior accordingly!”

You didn't miss it; it wasn't in the transcript.

But, as for the comment itself, you are reading out much of the context. They were talking about things that muslim terrorists have said they are upset about. So, in context, RP said he didn’t think OBL would lie about that, i.e. about being upset that we had troops stationed in Saudi Arabia. BTW, is there anyone who seriously thinks OBL made that whole grievance up? What would that have been: triple or quadruple disinformation on his part? We sound like 911 conspiracy theorists now.

As for changing otherwise needless behavior so as to avoid needlessly provoking others, what’s the problem? The key, of course, is the condition of otherwise needlessness. More at bottom.

In a later comment, you persist:

“Now, when we recall that Paul takes "Bin Laden's claims" to be more or less _accurate_ assessments of the situation, and when we consider that in the context (which I just looked up) he is chiding us for not believing bin Laden's explanations of why he attacks us, then…”

Then nothing of course, because you are putting words into Paul’s mouth. He takes OBL’s claimed grievances to be evidence of nothing more than OBL’s grievances. And RP’s chiding us not for not believing OBL’s explanations but for compounding the error of a needlessly interventionalist foreign policy by wedding it to interventions that we should be on notice will not only be unwelcome, but fanatically unwelcome, i.e. a snakepit.

Again, the key, however, is the conditional concept of otherwise needless or needlessly interventionalist. As Auster –if I read him right, and others have noted, we’ve got commitments; absolute withdrawal may not be practical or possible. But, to be fair, I think RP addresses this too. From the Russert interview (also a flawed transcript btw):

“MR. RUSSERT: So under your doctrine, if we had--did not have troops in the Middle East, they would leave us alone.

“REP. PAUL: Not, not immediately, because they'd have to believe us. But what would happen is the incentive for Osama bin Laden to recruit suicide terrorists would disappear. Once we left Lebanon in the early '80s, the French and the Americans and Israelis left Lebanon, suicide terrorism virtually stopped, just like that. But while we were there, that was suicide terrorism killed our Marines, because we were in Lebanon. So we have to understand that. We have to understand how we would react if some country did to us exactly what we do to them, and then we might have a better understanding of their motivation, why somebody would join the al-Qaeda. Since we've been over there al-Qaeda has more members now than they did before 9/11. They probably had a couple hundred before 9/11.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22342301/page/2/

Thanks for letting me post so much.

Lydia McGrew said...

Christopher, I think you are wrong. I believe that RP is wrong. For example, this idea that OBL is _personally_ offended and upset about our troops in Saudi Arabia because of his Saudi background. Really, and he's just as personally involved in the cause of the "Palestinians" because of some aspect of his background _other than_ Islam? You can't recognize trumped-up reasons for what is really naked jihadist ideology, which would find other reasons if those weren't around, when you see them, can you? And if, as RP implies in his list of grievances from OBL, the supposed plight of the "Palestinians" is such a personal issue with OBL that it makes him have this overwhelming desire to murder our civilians, why should it be any less of an issue with Iranians or converts in the U.S. or British Muslims or Muslims anywhere else in the world? And OBL's being moved in that way by that issue _isn't_ Muslim fanaticism? To my mind, that's Muslim fanaticism on stilts.

Moreover, I think it is very naive to read the things RP says and not to be able to see that he is blaming America and treating OBL and other Muslims as having some sort of legitimate grievance. I have made this point to paleos before, but they never get it. They can't see it. But it's shot all through RP's interviews, the original exchange with Giuliani (for whom as a candidate I hold no brief, I want to add). The paleos, and RP himself, _think_ they are just counseling neutrality and prudence. They don't even have the self-awareness to see their own bias. To me it's evident all over the place, perhaps most glaringly in RP's analogy of our having (with the permission of the government) troops in Saudi Arabia and China's coming over here and opening military bases in America. The moral equivalence, the nanny-like scolding ("Now, Johnny, how would you feel if Joey took _your_ truck?"), the implication of a legitimate grievance, are all there. I know of one paleo-sympathizing chap who, discussing this same issue, and 9/11 in particular, suddenly came out with the statement that the Muslims "respond as they must" to our interventionism. He later was given the chance (not by me) to say something to the effect that he had "gotten carried away," and he took that chance, thus implying that the phrase didn't represent his ideas, but I don't call it that. I call it the truth coming out.

Now, in the part of my comment that you quote re. RP's chiding us for not taking OBL's explanations seriously, I am pointing to his bias against Israel. I note, again, that elsewhere in that same Rockwell article he refers to Israel as engaging in "repressive occupation." So I stand by the claim that was my point in that context: I think there's pretty clear evidence that RP, like so many paleos of either stripe, accepts the "Palestinian" version of their supposed grievances against Israel and considers Israel to be in the wrong in that situation. That was how I was using that part of the Rockwell article in answering Bill's question about RP's attitude towards Israel.

Christopher said...

So now you admit that you missed the context on "one of the most outrageous lines from RP" that you found "astonishing"?

Meanwhile, what if ALL OBL's stated reasons are trumped up? So what? If we shouldn't be stationing troops in SA anyway --a big IF, then removing them would also yield a diplomatic/PR benefit of cutting a leg out from his trumped up statements. You sound like the Custer character at the end of "Little Big Man."

As for naive, why say that? I think it's crystal clear and plainly out in the open that, indeed, RP is critical of our government and its foreign policy, and he believes foreigners might legitimately object to our military bases on their land. Snakepits. Better yet, Tallyrand: This is worse than a crime; it's a blunder. Best: "be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."

Lydia McGrew said...

No, I didn't miss the context. My point was, is, and remains that RP implies that OBL is not engaging in trumped-up propaganda when in fact that is exactly what OBL is doing. RP implies that OBL's reasons are real causal reasons, *in the sense that* if we just would listen carefully to OBL and stop doing all the things he has listed that make him angry, he would stop hating us and wouldn't come up with a new list. This is baloney. *Of course* OBL would lie. As someone I spoke to this morning on this subject put it, OBL would feed his mother to a camel if it would help to kill infidels. So yes, of course, he would trump up reasons and market them to leftists and their fellow-traveler paleos as grievances so that they will blame America for his hatred and his terrorist acts.

Yes, if we should do something we should do it. But that isn't what RP is arguing in these place. The point of his with which I am disagreeing is that a major reason for our not stationing troops in Saudi Arabia is that it gives a legitimate grievance (because it's "holy land") to Muslims, and that if we weren't "over there" they wouldn't be "over here." That they will leave us alone if we leave them alone. That is hogwash, in my opinion. Easily seen hogwash. Only Rockwellian ideologues and perhaps leftist ideologues can't see it. I realize that RP has other arguments against an interventionist foreign policy. But he should stick to those. To bring them in in this context is just changing the subject. _My_ point is that he is clueless and worse than clueless-stubbornly "in denial"--about the Islamist threat. This means that even his domestic policy, his trade policy, and his other foreign policy would reflect that. Consider the way that he is constantly telling us that Iran really isn't a threat. His implications about suicide bombers even ignore the major anti-Americanism in Iran. But no doubt if that were brought up to him, he wouldn't say, "Gee, you're right! I guess it is Islam after all." No, he'd just think of some way in which we have "wronged" Iran and be off to the races. In other words, even if Iran _did_ send suicide bombers against us, this would not change RP's mind. Were he president, he'd cozy right up to some of the ugliest customers in the East and be as ardent as Bush in eliminating "profiling" at our airports. He would be a danger to the country. And that has nothing whatsoever to do with the *separate* question of whether we should be scaling back our foreign interventions for entirely other reasons. RP is an opportunist, a politician. He can't just say, "Yes, the Muslims would still be after us no matter what we do. I advocate a less interventionist foreign policy on purely constitutional grounds." No, he has to bring everything, even 9/11, into play to bolster his position.

Lydia McGrew said...

Btw, on naivete, this is what I mean, Christopher: I understand you may not be a big RP fan. You don't write like one, and I assume you aren't. But you are trying to read him in a fairly moderate way. Now, this means that you take his blame of America to be blame for imprudence and recklessness, period. But I say that he also clearly considers America to be _mean_ and to some extent to be getting poetic justice as a bully gets poetic justice when the little guy hits him in the nose. When you read and listen to RP and his ilk for long enough, you realize that they are blaming America not for stepping in the snakepit but rather for torturing the snakes--for being cruel and despicable, not just for being highly unwise. Paleolibertarians speak of other countries, even those ruled by despotic madmen, as "ruling themselves." They speak of invading a country and deposing a cruel dictator in very much the terms that one would use for walking up to an innocent man who was doing you no harm and punching him in the nose. Countries, "peoples," are spoken of as if they are individuals.

This is not to say that I approve of the Iraq war. I don't. It is, however, to say that I don't regard it as having been motivated by overweening neocon pride and a bullying spirit. My own take is that it was motivated by misguided idealism, mistaken evaluation of threat, and the fidgets--a desire to be doing something about those who hate us. But a paleolibertarian works himself into as much of an America-hating frenzy over it as a leftist. We're just so _bad_. I do not believe that RP is immune to this whole attitude. He just speaks in a more mild-mannered tone of voice. But the giveaway is in the never-ending moral equivalence: "How would we feel if they did that to us?" Again, this isn't the language of reproving somebody for stepping into a snakepit. After all, we aren't a snakepit! This is the language of reproving an egregious aggressor who has attacked someone else unreasonably and shouldn't be surprised if he gets it back in the face. I used the word 'naive' because you don't seem able to hear that in RP.

Christopher said...

I think I'll just wait for you to cite one serious analyst who not only didn't lend credence to the OBL & AQ grievance about our troops in SA but considered it to to be disinformation ("trumped up propaganda").

While waiting, I'll meditate on Northern Ireland's history. Were the Irish Catholics in the north merely trumping up claims of discrimination? If so, why did the British government take the charges seriously and attempt to address the charges and the perception of discrimination? Given that the British forces and the Unionist government must have known that the IRA and other terrorist groups were capable of lying, why would they nevertheless address the discrimination issue? Why didn't they just write it off as disinformation from known and avowed criminals? As propaganda? Why would the British apparently listen closely to that, or any other IRA claimed grievance? Did members of the British intelligence staff, military, Scotland Yard or other forces of order ever take notes on what the IRA was saying? Write things down?

Lydia McGrew said...

Hmm, that's very interesting. Maybe you _are_ an outright RP supporter. Perhaps I assumed too hastily that you weren't. The analogy to the Irish controversy is a well-known one among Paulites. And a poor one. As I've said, I say that the OBL "grievances" are trumped-up in the sense that he wishes us to believe we would not be hated and attacked were it not for these things, and RP even suggests that "Muslim fanaticism is not the culprit" and that if we leave those Muslim fanatics alone, they will leave us alone. The complaints are "trumped-up" in the sense that they are an ad hoc excuse for what is really jihadism, which would continue if we were doing none of these things.

The IRA had no such vision of global conquest. Not that I'm convinced that the poor blokes were just responding (awww) to "discrimination" by kneecapping teenagers.

I note, btw, that you managed to imply a deep, personal connection between OBL and our so-called "occupation" (a very misleading term) of Saudi Arabia, thus agreeing with the idea that an individual needs more than just "Muslim fanaticism" in order to be motivated to plot terror attacks against us. According to RP, and apparently you as well, such a person also needs a grievance that is personally connected to _him_ in a way that it cannot similarly be said to be connected to any Muslim anywhere in the world. But you never responded to my point about the Palestinians. If _that_ cause has some deep significance for OBL, it can only be because of...Muslim fanaticism.

Rodak said...

it can only be because of...Muslim fanaticism.

Not so. It could also be because of Arab solidarity/anti-Western colonialism, or because of simple hatred of Jews--which is a different monster than Islamic fanaticism, since it has also infected Christians throughout history.

Lydia McGrew said...

I think trying to separate "Arab solidarity" contra. Israel and America and Muslim fanaticism is like trying to get the peanut butter back off the bread. Same with Muslim anti-semitism. It's not like they hate Jews all independently of their being Muslims!

But if you like, Rodak, I'll call it "Arab anti-semitic fanaticism." Sounds pretty accurate to me, as far as it goes. And making that the name hardly makes RP less dangerously clueless.

Christopher said...

Still waiting for the cite to one serious analyst who not only didn't lend credence to the OBL & AQ grievance about our troops in SA but considered it to to be disinformation ("trumped up propaganda").

***tapping foot***

Rodak said...

Lydia--
Are we talking about hating Jews, or are we talking about hating Israelis? The first might be primarily a function of religious hatred; but the second might have definite geopolitical impetus. The state of Israel began as what amounted to a European colony in the heart of Arab territory. It is easy for us to forget that, given our attachment to biblical history.
I don't use the term "anti-Semitic" in this kind of discussion, since the Arabs, too, are Semites, similar to the indigenous Jews in language and culture.
I think that Arab hatred of Jews had a much different character prior to the establishment of the Jewish State. Measured against the grand tableau of history, Jews didn't fare much better among Christians than they do now among Arabs until very recently; in my lifetime, actually. Which is why there is a Jewish State in Palestine in the first place.

Lydia McGrew said...

Christopher, I clarified what I meant by "trumped-up." You just don't get it, do you? I've _answered_ this idea that, hey, OBL hates us *just because* we're "over there." Unless the very existence of the State of Israel somehow counts as our being "over there." In which case, words don't mean what they seem to mean, and RP (and you) should acknowledge that these guys with a supposed grievance against nasty, interventionist, occupationist America will be happy only when the Jewish State of Israel is wiped off the map, which hardly counts as _not_ being "fanatics."

Wrong, Rodak. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in WWII was a Hitler fan. Jew-hatred in Islam goes a lot farther back and deeper down than you think. Ever hear the phrase "descendents of apes and pigs"?

And btw, even now, when they speak in Arabic they don't make this nice distinction between "Jews" and "Israelis." That's another one for fooling the liberals. Interview on "Palestinian" television with the little daughter and son of Reem, woman suicide bomber. Interviewer: "How many Jews did Mommy kill?"

Rodak said...

Lydia--
Nonetheless, had the Arabs in the Middle East been systematically killing the Jews there all along, there would have been no Jews in the Middle East, long, long ago.
Israel was founded primarily by European Jews who had been hounded in, and out, of Christian countries for centuries, until finally there was a concerted effort to exterminate them completely. Who are we to point fingers, or cast stones? What nice things does the Gospel of John have to say about "the Jews?"

Lydia McGrew said...

Changing the subject again, Rodak, I see. So the Gospel of John is full of Jew-hatred, eh? Uh, no. Just like saying Allah turned them into apes and pigs, right? Just like saying in the last days the stones are going to cry out, "There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him." Yeah, Christianity is _just_ as anti-semitic as Islam.

No, I'm not buying it. And yes, I know that you think the founding of the State of Israel was some sort of white colonialist Original Sin. You've made that clear, repeatedly. I consider that position pretty much beneath contempt, though I'm not sure yet what you think it will take to purge that "sin".

But in any event, you are taking us afield once again. Islamic hatred of Jews is part and parcel of Islamic fanaticism, and if it's Islamic hatred of the very existence of a Jewish state that is "driving" those poor Muslims to fly planes into American buildings, then I consider that a knock-down, locked-up, closed case that "Muslim fanaticism is the culprit." Contra RP, and yet by his own premises, according to which somehow our support for Israel is part of our "occupying Muslims' land" and a cause of grievance that is _not_ "Muslim fanaticism." Case closed.

Rodak said...

Yeah, Christianity is _just_ as anti-semitic as Islam.

Do you know no European history at all? How, for instance, did the Jews fare in Spain, under the Muslims, as opposed to how they fared under good king Ferdinand and good queen Isabella, or the Spanish Inquisition? When did Muslims ever kill systematically murder 6 million Jews for the crime of being Jews? The mind may be closed, but the case most certainly is not.

Rodak said...

As for anti-Semitism in the Gospels, I'm sure that you are aware that Mel Gibson came under fire from contemporary Jews for portraying the role of the Jews in the Gospels too faithfully in his film The Passion of the Christ.
If, for the past several decades, anti-Semitism has been largely confined to Muslim countries, this has been true only for the past few decades.

Lydia McGrew said...

Ah, yes, the old "the Christians committed the Holocaust" maneuver. No.

Rodak, you _do_ know how to change the subject. Somehow, you think the subject here is "have Christians committed anti-semitic crimes." That isn't the subject. I refuse to be diverted. I have made my argument concerning RP's claim that "Muslim fanaticism isn't the culprit." Either his serious note-taking from OBL's grievance list is stupid, in which case Muslim fanaticism is the culprit and OBL doesn't really care spit about the "Palestinians" and is just feeding us a bunch of pre-fabricated lines designed to catch the sympathy of lefties and their friends in the West, or else OBL really is all wound up about the "Palestinians" and thinks that as long as America supports the Jewish State of Israel, America is the Evil Enemy, in which case Muslim fanaticism is _still_ the culprit. So RP is wrong either way, and yet he has the gall to say that "logic is on his side" in the interview with Stossel. You apparently can't follow this, or won't. Why should I bother trying to convince you, on a quite different subject, that the Holocaust was not a Christian genocide? (In fact, why should I converse with somebody who believes that PC canard, about that PC canard?)

Christopher said...

LM: “…one of the most outrageous lines from RP: "...if you believe Osama bin Laden, and I don't think he would lie [about that [about US troops in SA as a grievance]]." That's just astonishing! No, no, no propaganda coming from bin Laden.

Later:

“My point was, is, and remains that RP implies that OBL is not engaging in trumped-up propaganda when in fact that is exactly what OBL is doing.”

Although I must object to the continuing mischaracterizations of both my, and what I understand RP's views and statements to be, for the sake of argument:

“In other words, al Qaeda recruiter schtick is all about U.S. empire in their countries [not about hating freedom and democracy].” Scott Horton. http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2007/12/26/arguing-the-war/#more-4125.

With that, I’ll agree to call it AQ recruiter schtick, and waive on putting you to the proof that OBL invented (trumped up) the US troops on SA soil objection to US policy to mislead (propaganda) (who?), and doesn’t really hold them --despite the fact that such a holding would be completely consistent with all that I’ve ever read or heard about Jihad, dar al Islam, holy cities and the whole bit, if you’ll merely concede that it might be a good thing for us to undercut AQ recruiter schtick where we can.

For instance, AQ had a recruiting schtick consisting of several objections, one of which was US troops in SA; we didn’t need the troops there anyway and we removed them; therefore AQ recruiter schtick was weakened, therefore AQ was weakened (at the least they have to work up a new schtick; perhaps it might not be as compelling).

Can we agree that undercutting AQ schtick in this manner was a good thing? Can you say that? Do you object that it would give some sort of appearance of impropriety, appearance of weakness? What about when GW Bush spoke of a humble foreign policy --doesn't that imply doing the right thing even if might hurt our pride, i.e. how dare we take notes on their purported motivations?

BTW, did you ever see Little Big Man with Dustin Hoffman? Again, that Custer scene might be on point.

Also BTW, yes, my apologies on the IRA Northern Ireland analogy. Aside from the car, restaurant, night club bombings, the mortar attacks, the gun-running, the drug-smuggling, the cell structures, the vigilantism, the illegitimacy, the restriction on civil rights and procedure by the forces of order in reaction, the foreseeable resulting instances of police and prosecutorial abuse, the miscarriages of justice, the allegations and debates about torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners, the eventual reforms, the huge disparity in weaponry between the forces of order and the terrorists, the home-field advantage enjoyed by some of the terrorists, the relative restrictions on use of force on the forces of order as against the relative lack of restriction on the terrorists, the flight of capital from the main areas of action, the initial huge recruitment of young men, the length of time of the dispute, the attachment to the land, no, there's nothing in common. That Israeli military historian I read must not know what he's talking about either.

William Luse said...

When did Muslims ever kill systematically murder 6 million Jews for the crime of being Jews?

I thought that's where his earlier comments were leading. Despicable.

Can we agree that undercutting AQ schtick in this manner was a good thing?

No.

Rodak said...

Lydia--
My point in bringing up the holocaust was to show that Jew hatred does not necessarily have a religious foundation, even though it takes place in "Christian" nations.
It is you who can't follow any argument that you haven't concocted yourself.
If Hitler didn't kill Jews because of his Catholic milieu in Austria, then Muslim, and particularly Arab, anti-Jewish animus might well be due, at least in part, and at least to some Muslims, including bin Laden.
What of the "Clash of Civilizations"? That concept transcends religion, although it includes it. The thing is not so black and white as you would have it.

Rodak said...

Ooops. Shouldn't write before haveing coffee. I see that I neglected to complete this sentence above:

"...might well be due, at least in part, and at least to some Muslims, including bin Laden, to political grievances, rather than to religious bigotry."

Rodak said...

To argue by analogy is not to change the subject, although it might look that way to the tunnel-visioned and the monomaniacal.
Both the IRA analogy made by Christopher and the Spanish Inquisition/Holocaust analogy that I brought up are valid, plausible, and need to be refuted, not merely dismissed as "failure to understand," or "changing the subject." Neither his argument nor mine is an empty "tactic"--but your refusal to engage those analogies is.

Lydia McGrew said...

If you wish, Rodak, I will make this statement:

"RP should concede that, by his own lights, Jew-hating Arab fanaticism is the culprit in al Qaeda terrorism against the U.S."

Now, look there: I've taken out the word "Muslim" (though you are wrong, and the points I have made regarding a specifically _Muslim_ connection to Jew-hatred that predates the State of Israel have been ignored), I've replaced "anti-semitic" with "Jew-hating" (despite the fact that everyone would know perfectly well what was meant, your etymological quibbles notwithstanding), and I've put in "Arab," to go with your phrase about "Arab solidarity." I've kept "fanaticism," since it obviously _is_ fanaticism to take the existence of a Jewish state to be grounds for knocking down American buildings and murdering thousands of civilians, for suicide bombings, etc. And I haven't put in anything that would imply that this was anyone's fault but the terrorists', while RP wants it to be all about our foreign policy. Still don't like it? I think that says something in itself, which has more to do with your wanting to blame the West for things, as liberals tend to do, than with any failure to address any argument you have made. No Christian atrocity against Jews (pogroms or Inquisitions, for example) or non-Muslim genocide (the Holocaust--of which many Muslims did and do approve, while some at the same time illogically deny it happened) can possibly make that statement untrue. They simply aren't relevant.

Christopher said...

""Can we agree that undercutting AQ schtick in this manner was a good thing?"

"No."

--William Luce, Pvt., 1st Class, Breath Holding Brigade

Lydia McGrew said...

Y'know, Christopher, you started out polite in this thread. Please return to being polite, particularly to Mr. Luse, or risk having your comments deleted.

Echoing him, I would say that "undercutting al Qaeda's shtick" oughtn't to be a major motivation or consideration for us, especially since if they don't have one shtick, they'll have another. They aren't going to quit because we do what they want. Danegeld doesn't work.

Now, as a matter of fact, I talk sometimes a lot like RP myself regarding our "not being the world's policeman," our having troops stationed in too many places all over the world, and so forth. But to my mind that is entirely a separate matter from whether this is helping al Qaeda recruit. I have never held that our over-involvement in foreign countries is cause for _them_ to dislike _us_. If anything, we're trying too hard to help everybody else out. It's our own taxpayers whose money we are wasting and our own domestic defense we are neglecting, our own Constitution we are stretching, if not flouting, and so forth. But this idea that this gives the rest of the world cause to hate us, I reject. Never, never, never bargain with terrorists, is my motto. If we should get our troops out of Saudi Arabia, it shd. be done on other grounds.

I notice that you revert to sympathy not only for the IRA but also for the "Palestinians" in pressing your IRA analogy. Without discussing the matter of whether those pore Palestinians have legitimate, self-blowing-up-worthy, grievances against those nasty, powerful Israelis--and I consider the anti-Israel spin on that whole situation to be very pernicious and misguided--I will merely point out that this skirts the point I made earlier: Jihadism is an inherently expansionist ideology. It is not a matter of a desire to control some one, limited, local, place. (Not that that desire excused anything the IRA did, and your sympathy for them speaks ill of your judgement on such matters.) But jihadism is a matter of taking over the world for Islam. Will you also hold it to be a "political" rather than a Muslim religious matter and somehow similar to the IRA's goals in Ireland when I tell you that "Palestinian" TV refers to *Spain* as "beloved al Andalus" and treats it as presumptively belonging to Islam? What about the attempt to take over France and the rest of Europe demographically? Are these all somehow Israel's fault?

Lydia McGrew said...

Christopher, you also do not seem to understand that I have refuted one of RP's statements, as glossed by you. Let me spell it out one more time: RP says that the "litmus test" for whether some would-be terrorist attacks us is whether we are occupying a specific country. You glossed this w.r.t. OBL by pointing out OBL's personal Saudi background. Your implication was clear: Muslim fanaticism isn't enough; the potential terrorist must have some _specific_, _personal_ connection to a country in which we have troops.

But RP's, and your, attempt to appropriate the "Palestinian" cause as another casus belli of terrorists against us undercuts this claim in itself. For OBL _doesn't_ have a personal, specific connection to Israel and the Palestinians. Whatever "solidarity" might be motivating him there is such that it could be shared by any Muslim, or any Arab, in the world. Moreover, it is the Jewish Israelis that, you imply, are "occupying" that land, so that even if we had no troops of our own there (and we generally let the Israelis fight their own battles in their own country), but continued to support the existence of a Jewish state, this supposed "cause" would remain. This completely refutes the statement that we Americans must be "occupying" some specific country with which the potential terrorist has, by virtue of his own national background, a special connection beyond so vague a category as "being Muslim" or "being Arab."

RP, and you, cannot consistently make this statement about how we must be occupying OBL's own country while at the same time holding that OBL will continue to engage in terrorist acts against us so long as we support the existence of the Jewish state in Israel, which is not OBL's own country.

I do not know how much more clearly to put this. RP's "litmus test" claim is contradicted by his own lights, out of his own mouth, by his comments in the Rockwell article that try to appropriate the "Palestinian" cause as another grievance.

If you do not understand that one of your earlier claims has been refuted by this argument, I cannot help you.

Rodak said...

Lydia--
Islam has been around since the 7th century. The United States of American has been around since the 18th century. Israel has been around since the second half of the 20th century.
What are the acts of Islamic terrorism which were directed against the United States prior to the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine, and America's support for that Jewish state?

Christopher said...

"Echoing him, I would say that "undercutting al Qaeda's shtick" oughtn't to be a major motivation or consideration for us, especially since if they don't have one shtick, they'll have another. They aren't going to quit because we do what they want. Danegeld doesn't work."

This demonstrably contains several mischaracterizations. You are fighting the hypo.

First, you have inserted "major motivation or consideration" into the hypo, whereas I merely ask you to "concede that it might be a good thing for us to undercut AQ recruiter schtick where we can."

Second, I'll concede that, from what I've read, yes, Islam has a tradition of conquest and so knocking out one of their schticks will not completely neutralize the danger. But what is trivial about obviating, eliminating, neutralizing, de-fanging, or under-cutting one of their prime schticks? What makes you think getting a new, similarly motivating schtick would be a snap? Do you really see no difference in motivating power amongst the following schticks: (a) throw the foreigners out of the "holy land;" (b) re-conquer formerly conquered territories schtick (e.g. Spain, the Balkans); and (c) conquer virgin territory (US)? Would it make any difference to your analysis if one of those schticks reflects or mirrors a fairly universal response found in all cultures across time and space?

Third, by implication, you are attaching a disgraceful connotation to things that, for the purposes of arguing this point, we have already stipulated we should do anyway. "Yes, if we should do something we should do it." LM. By your new standard, if they say don't commit suicide, which, in fact, they do say (like all major religions), then, well, it follows that we should commit suicide. Because to not commit suicide would leave us open to the disgraceful charge that we are doing what they want.

Fourth, and this is really attached to the last point, but who said anything about Danegeld? Again you are attributing things to me that I did not say. As it plays out here, the question would be: With the particular example of leaving SA, am I to understand that leaving them to their own countries is now to be construed as paying extortion money?

Christopher said...

"I have never held that our over-involvement in foreign countries is cause for _them_ to dislike _us_."

To paraphrase from the movie Pulp Fiction, but it is Mrs. McGrew, it is.

"Never, never, never bargain with terrorists, is my motto."

The British did. And they're still there. They won. The forces of law and order won.

"If we should get our troops out of Saudi Arabia, it shd. be done on other grounds."

For the third, time, that's the hypo. The question is whether you can agree that it is a benefit to us --coincidental or otherwise, that our leaving knocked a leg out from under their recruiting schtick. Yes or no? Agree or disagree?

Lydia McGrew said...

Rodak, you still haven't told me if you accept my statement of what RP should acknowledge, given the other things he himself has said: "Jew-hating Arab fanaticism is the culprit in al Qaeda terrorism." You don't like answering direct challenges directly, do you? Perhaps that's because you don't want to come right out and say, "No, I don't like that characterization, because I think we should say that we're at least partly at fault for al Qaeda's terrorism as long as those Jews have a state in Israel and we are their allies."

Yet, I think that's really where you are coming from. Even your further challenge shows it. Basically, you're going to have some sneaking sympathy and sense of "understanding" for evil, Muslim terrorist acts against the U.S. as long as the Original Sin of the Jewish State of Israel exists and as long as the U.S. is its ally.

Which is hardly what RP said originally concerning the "litmus test" of whether we Americans are occupying some particular foreign country. Now "interventionist U.S. foreign policy" means "not throwing the Jewish State of Israel to the Arab dogs." I understand. But that's a heck of a lot less mild-mannered and reasonable than RP wants to appear to be.

To answer your question, the Barbary pirates. Here:

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/004792.html

And here are Auster's excellent further comments on the topic, here:

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/009513.html

"Isn't that funny? The state of Israel was 160 years in the future, U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia were 205 years in the future, America's "war on the Taliban" was 215 years in the future, and the U.S. had never done ANYTHING against Muslims, yet the Muslim state of Tripoli considered itself bound by the laws of the Prophet to wage war on the United States. I entitled that post, "Adams got it, Jefferson got it, Quincy Adams got it. We don't get it." And you, Dan, don't get it."

And you, Rodak, don't get it.

Lydia McGrew said...

Christopher, since I don't think al Qaeda would miss a beat in plotting terrorist acts against us if we removed all our troops from Saudi Arabia post haste, I don't think the consideration you raise (taking away some aspect of their previous shtick) is even worth thinking twice about. They will hate us and make war against us as long as we are here. They are our implacable enemies. Your question about comparative motivating power of various shticks just shows that you are treating these guys as at least semi-reasonable people with understandable political goals, people with whom we can negotiate. That's how all Paulites and paleolibertarians think. In the case of Muslim terrorists, they are wrong.

Rodak said...

"Jew-hating Arab fanaticism is the culprit in al Qaeda terrorism."

I'm not here arguing for Ron Paul. So far as I understand, al-Qaeda is a Muslim, not an Arab organization--so the statement is rather ignorantantly put, as I find Ron Paul to be most of the time. I agree with him on almost nothing other than the principle of non-intervention. I have long argued, on various blogs, that the West should withdraw completely from Muslim territories, both militarily and economically, and, having done so, sit and wait to be invited back to trade, according to mutually-agreed-upon terms. That's my position. I think that if we did that, we would solve half of the problem. The other half is Israel, and non-intervention there means withdrawing aid from Israel, from Egypt, and from any other nations in the region receiving such aid.
All of that said, when did you ask me a direct question that I haven't answered? Direct me to it again, and I will gladly answer it immediately. I just went back through the thread and failed to find it.

Rodak said...

Okay, the Barbary pirates. I actually thought of that after I posted that comment, and wished that I'd pushed my question forward by twenty years. For by thirty years after the founding of our republic, the Barbary pirates were not an issue. Furthermore, they were, for the most part, privateers, out for slaves to sell and plunder for self enrichment. They certainly weren't out to impose Sharia law on the Western world through Jihad.

Christopher said...

"I don't think the consideration you raise (taking away some aspect of their previous shtick) is even worth thinking twice about."

Is that a yes or a no?

"They will hate us and make war against us as long as we are here."

So what? I'm ok with a billion people hating me but not doing anything about it. What, everyone has to like me?

"They are our implacable enemies."

So what? Supra.

"Your question about comparative motivating power of various shticks just shows that you are treating these guys as at least semi-reasonable people with understandable political goals, people with whom we can negotiate."

Yes, I'm operating on the assumption that they are human beings, with at least some predictable emotional triggers, faults, weaknesses, strengths, virtues, vices, etc. etc.

"That's how all Paulites and paleolibertarians think."

The Pope too. And Jesus.

And as for talking to one's enemies, count me in there too; it's great company! The Israeli's, the British, the Indians, the French, the Japanes, the Irish, the Sri Lankans, the Vietnamese, the Columbians, the Peruvians, the Russians. Who doesnt' talk with their enemy every now and then?

Lydia McGrew said...

Rodak, huh? It was _you_ who connected OBL's terrorism to "Arab solidarity." Now you want to say al Qaeda is a Muslim, _not_ an Arab organization? But on your own earlier account, OBL, its leader, drives its activities on the basis of feelings of Arab solidarity with the "Palestinians"? Make up your mind!

My question to you was whether the characterization I gave was something RP should accept and admit, thus effectively abandoning his position that the "culprit" in al Qaeda terrorism is our own actions rather than their fanaticism.

And if we did all the things you recommend, is it your position that al Qaeda and the other Muslim terrorist groups out there would leave us alone? Not jolly likely.

Christopher, I said "and make war on." That's not sitting around hating us and doing nothing about it. They would do something about it. In fact, it cd. be argued that withdrawing from SA could be seen as an act of weakness and encourage them to more terrorism. Not that that is a knock-down argument _against_ withdrawing troops from SA. It just shows that the consequential argument can go both ways.

To answer your question in your terms: No, I do not agree that removing troops from SA would benefit us by removing an apparent grievance from al Qaeda, because I don't think it would make a positive causal difference. To benefit us, something has to make a positive difference to the outcome. I don't think it would make us any safer from them.

Lydia McGrew said...

Christopher, _Jesus_ says it's profitable to negotiate with al Qaeda? Oh, brother.

Rodak, are you seriously saying that because the Barbary pirates were pirates, this couldn't have been jihad? Do you not realize that piracy is one aspect of jihadist warfare, and has been time out of mind? Call it, if you will, guerilla war of the seas. Did you read the link from VFR about the meeting with the representative of the government of Tripoli at the time? In answer to the Americans' question as to why the Barbary nation was doing these things, the representative from Tripoli responded

“that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

Since we're talking about listening to the bad guys' reasons. And in this case we have the *independent* confirmation that this _is indeed_ what the Prophet taught both by word and example, so the ambassador from Tripoli wasn't making it up!

Do you deny that jihad is expansionist? Were all those pushes in the initial growth and spread of Islam prompted by the foreign policy of North Africa, Constantinople, Spain, and the Franks? How about present-day expansions in the Philippines and in Thailand?

William Luse said...

Christofer tried to speak for the Pope, too, though I'll admit the Jesus thing is more egregious.

His commenting transformation from a helpful, fair-minded sceptic to full-blown Pauly apologist - reinforced by comments to one of your previous posts - inclines me to believe that Paul attracts fanatics and dissemblers in fair numbers, giving me a further reason not to vote for him.

Rodak said...

Lydia--
With regard to Palestine, the prime motive could be Arab solidarity. With regard to 9/11, the motive could be reaction to cultural/economic imperialism. No man is motivated by the same considerations in each and every act. That's my whole point.
You want to blame every act on jihad, thereby giving every act a religious impetus. I maintain that Muslim violence against the West is only partly based in Islam per se; it is also sometimes politically and culturally motivated. And I maintain that this is true even with regard to Israel.

Rodak said...

My question to you was whether the characterization I gave was something RP should accept and admit, thus effectively abandoning his position that the "culprit" in al Qaeda terrorism is our own actions rather than their fanaticism.

Oh. My answer to that is: I don't give a damn what Paul says or does. I happen to agree with him on the basic concept of non-intervention, if not on every specific detail of its enactment.

Rodak said...

Do you not realize that piracy is one aspect of jihadist warfare, and has been time out of mind?

"Time out of mind" is right. What you are saying is that Arabs were "pirates" and raiders long before the advent of Islam. That is a cultural trait, given expression in Islam, perhaps, but preceding it by millennia.

Rodak said...

so the ambassador from Tripoli wasn't making it up!

The ambassador of Tripoli hardly spoke for all of the "Barbary Pirates." There were Muslim pirates operating out of nearly every region along the coast of N. Africa, of which Tripoli was just one city.
In my reading, I've never found the majority of pirates to have been religiously motivated, whether originating in Arab or Christian, or heathen lands. What pirates accomplish is the disruption of trade for their own benefit, and to the considerable inconvenience and financial distress of the merchants in their own countries, as well as those of the ships they plunder.
Pirates have been used to enhance the navies of nations in time of war, and if that war is jihad, then they are aiding jihad--for a fee. But when they are just being pirates, they are free agents.

Christopher said...

Oh, you can be fairer than that Mr. Luce. I transformed from a polite, helpful, corrective, and informative poster, --scholarly even, if I do say so myself, to a forceful, sarcastic, interrogator.

As for speaking for the Pope and Jesus, the point was they advise treating humans like humans. Or are we to treat all muslims like dogs? Sounds rather like the worst types of things you hear from them, actually. Should I cite something for this or do you just want misread what I've written?

Rodak said...

Lydia--
The problem that I have with your whole point of view is this: you want to say that Islam is evil; that it is evil in a way similar to the way that Naziism or Bolshevism were evil. Yet, so far as I know, like Pres. Bush, you don't want to say that we are at war with the evil that is Islam. You want to say that we are at war with "the terrorists" or "the jihadists".
If Islam is evil, it will keep producing terrorists, or pirates, or jihadists, or homicide bombers, as long as it exists.
You seem content to kill a thousand of them while they kill ten of us--forever; treating the symptoms, rather than the disease.
If Islam is evil, even when practiced by a mild-mannered shopkeeper in Toronto, you--by playing defense, and giving attention only to the squeaky wheels--are, in effect, an enabler of that fundamental evil, since--unlike Naziism or Boshevism--you do not advocate its eradication.
I don't think it's evil. I just think it--like Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.--is not a full expression of the Truth. I think that we can coexist with Islam; but not if we characterize it as intrinsically evil.

Christopher said...

Excuse me if something similar posts; I thought I responded earlier.

“No, I do not agree that removing troops from SA would benefit us by removing an apparent grievance from al Qaeda, because I don't think it would make a positive causal difference. To benefit us, something has to make a positive difference to the outcome. I don't think it would make us any safer from them.”

So, aside from yet again trying to slip another qualifier past the hypo (“apparent grievance”?), that’s a no. Because it wouldn’t affect their theology, hatred for us, motivation, etc. and hence wouldn’t make us safer.

[You lost me on the positive cause difference thing. I was under the impression that if a bunch of them quit the fight that would be a net benefit to us, e.g. -2 + 4 = 2.]

The question of what affect, if any, conceding to AQ one or more of their six major complaints would have on AQ recruitment seems a factual dispute we can both only guess at. My guess from all my readings is that it would have a net positive benefit for us vis a vis recruitment. As a logical matter it seems irrefutable (6 - 1 = 5; 5 < 6), but there are definitely other considerations (loss of face, etc.)

You'll excuse me for standing on that point; you've some art to your writing but, truly, you've misattributed much to me that I did not write.

Thanks again for the numerous postings and responses. Unfortunately, I must go to –and please take this as a friendly gesture, but I must go and watch my NY Giants knock the legs out of a possible pillar of future Patriot fan propaganda!!

Lydia McGrew said...

To be clear, Christopher--I don't think we have any reason to think "a bunch of them would quit the fight." No reason at all. That's one reason I don't think it would be a net benefit.

Good luck to your team. I am neutral in baseball, though raised by Chicago Cubs fans. But that was a long time ago.

I'll get back to ya', Rodak.

Lydia McGrew said...

And gee, now you know the area of my deepest ignorance: sports. Football, sorry. Well, I'm even _more_ neutral in football than in baseball, if neutrality comes in degrees.

Rodak said...

Christopher--
As a former long-time New Yorker and Yankee fan--out of Ann Arbor (U of M '69)--I naturally loathe anything smacking of Boston. But how can I hate the team that employs the most successful ex-Wolverine ever to play in the NFL? I am conflicted. And, to complicate things further, I have a daughter, born in NYC, now attending Wellesley College. Augh!
But let's get real: the Pats will bury them tonight.

William Luse said...

Or are we to treat all muslims like dogs?

No one implied this, so the misreading goes both ways. Lydia and I simply think differently than you about what motivates Bin Laden, et al. You can cite something if you feel it will reinforce your scholarly credentials, although using "affect" when you mean "effect" undermines my trust in advance.

Lydia McGrew said...

Rodak, the analogy among Islam, Bolshevism, and Nazism is yours, not mine. But I will agree that all three are evil systems of thought.

How is one "at war" with a system of thought? Well, metaphorically, of course you can be. And in that sense, I am, and we should be, "at war" with Islam.

How can one advocate the "eradication" of a system of thought? I'm not going to say that all neo-Nazi families should be lined up and taken off to the gas chambers. So I would be careful about saying, "I advocate the eradication of Nazism," because it sounds like advocating a Final Solution for all people who are neo-Nazis! Which might include women, children, and civilian men not presently attempting or plotting any violent evil acts. The same applies to Bolsheviks and Muslims.

So I guess I don't really challenge the analogy so much, though it's a loose one, but I just don't think you can start advocating the eradication of whole groups of people because of their ideology. Neither do you. But you can, and I would, "discriminate" against them in various ways that try to limit the effects of their evil ideas, and if they aren't in your country and you know who they are, you can keep them out. So, for example, a law that defines the teaching of jihad as sedition and hence as subject to legal penalties, sounds great to me. And discrimination against Muslims _and_ Nazis _and_ Bolsheviks in immigration also sounds like a good idea to me. And when some group or country comes against us in an act of war, then we _do_ go after that specific group of evil aggressors in arms.

Rodak said...

Lydia--
I think you argument there a bit disingenuous. Both Italian Fascism and German Naziism were defeated by means of all-out war. First the armies were defeated, then the captured Nazis were tried, executed, or imprisoned. Those WWII are still being hunted down and punished today.
You could easily advocate the same for the "Islamofascists." (I don't know if you've ever used that term, but certainly it's in wide usage amongst certain types of conservative.)
I, of course, don't advocate doing this. But it seems to me that to be intellectually consistent, any person who truly believes Islam to be inherently evil should be advocating something of the kind.
As I've said before (to choruses of boo's from those I've challenged), you should be advocating the destruction of Mecca and Medina, for the same reasons that the Romans razed the Second Temple and trashed Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
At the very least you should be demanding that we quit funding our enemies by buying their oil. We embargo Castro, why not the Saudi royals and other oil sheiks?
There are many things you could advocate that would amount to more than playing defense, which is what you advocate now.

Lydia McGrew said...

Rodak, it always annoys and fatigues me when people, liberals almost always, play this game: "You can't really believe X, because if you did, you would advocate Y bad thing."

So, did we sit down and look at Hitler's evil ideas and say, "Hey, let's just go out of the blue and start an all-out aggressive war with everybody who holds those evil ideas, all over the world, right now. Yeah!"?

No. Hitler was the head of a country and invaded other countries. He allied himself with Japan, and that's how the U.S. got involved. Ordinary war, between countries, responding to country-against-country aggression. Not declaring war on ideas and then dropping bombs for the heck of it.

Even a preemptive strike against Iran would be against a country that we have reason to believe is preparing a nuclear strike against innocents.

Hunting out al Qaeda is a response to aggression. Defunding Hezbollah is not military and is fully justified.

In one sense, when it comes to military action, one is always playing defense.

Not buying oil from Saudi Arabia? Sounds like a great idea. Let's see what we can do with the Alaska Pipeline and the ANWR. Ah, but then you can't try to bring in your environmentalism to give me a hard time, right?

Rodak said...

When the Romans destroyed the Temple, they destroyed the focus of the Judaism that existed until that time. But Judaism was not completely destroyed as a result. The Temple cult, however, with its corrupt priesthood, and its primitive animal sacrifice, was destroyed. The rabbinical Judaism that evolved out of the ashes of the razed temple and the sacked Jerusalem was a thing far superior to the old Temple cult. It's called breaking a few eggs in order to make an omelette. For those who believe that we must win by fighting, there may be an analogy in this to our current struggle.

Lydia McGrew said...

Rodak, I know you are a pacifist, so you are baiting me. I won't be baited. When did I ever agree with any of those sentiments regarding Judaism as corrupt and the razing of the Temple? Never. I believe in fighting man to man. Pitched field battles preferrable. That's the booger about terrorism. There are advantages to being a terrorist when you are attacking moral men: Nobody knows your address. But if the moral men can find it, I hope they squash the terrorists.

Lydia McGrew said...

Oh, and when did I ever agree that the Jews were an evil enemy that the Romans had to fight? That's your analogy, not mine. I never understand why liberals always think they can draw conservatives into seeming to accede by silent in anti-semitic or semi-anti-semitic comments.

Rodak said...

Lydia--
What's the problem? I'm sure that you're quite aware that First Century Palestine was rife with Jewish insurgents, who were a constant trial to the Romans and the rule of Roman law. I'm not saying that the Jews were "evil." They were being occupied and had every right to fight their occupiers. If anybody was "evil" in that situation, it was the Romans.
As for the corruption of the Jewish priestly castes, I didn't for a second entertain the thought that you would object to that assumption! Who do you think plotted to have Our Lord killed by the Romans? Of course, it was much wider than that, giving rise to groups such as the Essenes. It is also clear from the Gospels alone that the Temple priests were collaborators with the hated Roman occupation.
I really wasn't trying to be controversial with that comment, nor did I foresee raising any objections by it.

Rodak said...

There are advantages to being a terrorist when you are attacking moral men: Nobody knows your address. But if the moral men can find it, I hope they squash the terrorists.

Ah. And I suppose it's more "moral" to "fight" by dropping bombs on cities from five miles up, or by sending in cruise missiles from many, many miles away? This is why I don't believe that "Just War" is possible with contemporary weapons.

Lydia McGrew said...

Yeah, well, I happen to think Hitler was evil, and so was OBL, and so are the "Palestinian" suicide bombers. I agree with you that it doesn't look like the Jewish rebels against Rome were evil. Whether Rome was right to try to keep its empire together is a messy question. Having an empire is like having a tiger by the tail. Their total war in Jerusalem wasn't justified. Total war never is. So the whole Rome-vs.-Jerusalem case is a messy one, whereas responding to suicide-bombing terrorists or Hitler's attempts to conquer Europe is not nearly so messy a question.

You implied that the whole Jewish sacrificial system was a bad thing and better to be wiped out and replaced with synagogue study. The only reason _I_ think the sacrifices should have ended was because the Lamb of God had come, though they didn't understand that. But the sacrificial system per se was set up by God. I believe that. It wasn't a bad thing in the abstract but a divinely ordered one.

Rodak said...

The only reason _I_ think the sacrifices should have ended was because the Lamb of God had come, though they didn't understand that. But the sacrificial system per se was set up by God. I believe that. It wasn't a bad thing in the abstract but a divinely ordered one.

Really? And where does that leave contemporary Jews, who have neither animal sacrifice, nor the Lamb of God?
Do you happen to know why the Jews gave up building altars on which to sacrifice animals? If it was because this could only be done in the Temple, then the destruction of that building radically altered Jewish practice.
As a militarist, then, faced with an evil enemy, why do you not call for the destruction of the Muslim holy places, in hopes that Islam would be radically altered for the better of both Muslims and the rest of the world? That would be a real war on the real enemy, if I'm understanding your attitude toward both war and toward Islam correctly.
That's where I'm coming from, with this.

Lydia McGrew said...

I don't think I'm the sort of militarist you think I am. For one thing, I strongly disapprove of radically destroying civilian cities. Perhaps if you could realistically evacuate them. I'm not terribly attached to bricks and mortar per se. But when we're talking about bombing Mecca, we're just talking about going and taking out a whole civilian city. I don't buy that even in conventional warfare.

Nor do I have much hope that merely destroying Mecca would have the effect you think it would have. There was a highly specific reason for that effect in the case of Judaism. Actually, Muslims sacrifice all over the world (for Eid, for example).

I think you're just saying this to try to make non-pacifists who take the Islamic threat seriously look bloodthirsty. I don't play that sort of game.

Rodak said...

Actually, Muslims sacrifice all over the world (for Eid, for example).

But they don't have the Haj all over the world, which is what makes Mecca similar to Jerusalem in the day of Temple worship.

I think you're just saying this to try to make non-pacifists who take the Islamic threat seriously look bloodthirsty.

No, actually, I am trying to prompt you to express some agenda for bringing an end to the conflict, in order to avoid an Orwellian state of perpetual war in which we in the West have to live with a bunker mentality, ever decreasing mobility, and greatly curtailed freedoms.
I have laid out clearly how I would propose to try to accomplish this; from your side I hear only the ways in which you would circle the wagons.

Lydia McGrew said...

Sorry, there isn't always a way. Certainly not an ethical way. Just because one isn't a pacifist doesn't mean that one has no moral limits.

Frankly, if we'd get more of the Muslims outta here, "we" (meaning the non-Muslims) could have a lot more of our freedoms back. Refusing to renew all passports from a bunch of countries and insisting that people leave at the end of their visas, plus admission that it isn't nuns and 90-year-old veterans that are the problem could mean a resumption of much of our freedom of movement at airports, for example.

You can call the stuff I'd do "circling the wagons," but I hate the airport security situation as much as anyone. I consider it to be in no small measure a result of political correctness.

zippy said...

As for speaking for the Pope and Jesus, the point was they advise treating humans like humans. Or are we to treat all muslims like dogs?

Gee, that's not a straw man.

"You want to treat Muslims like dogs. Jesus doesn't want us to treat anyone like dogs. Therefore in this conversation I have the authority of Jesus."

Christopher might as well have held up a sign saying "you can stop listening to me now".

Lydia McGrew said...

Yeah, so I more or less stopped. Also, he went to watch football. Which is just fine with me.

Christopher said...

Well, now that the Giants won again : )

I thought we pretty much reached the end though.

But, as a reply, I'd like to quote, with approval:

"2B: How could the USA more effectively protect itself from the danger of Islamic terrorists than it's currently doing?

"Cochran: Stop trying to get Arabs to become jihadists. Leave Iraq, for example. It's not that big a threat in any event...." http://www.2blowhards.com/archives/2007/09/qa_with_gregory_1.html

I think that's also a fair reflection of RP's views.

You disagree, and note that they'd still have Islam and the Koran. Fair enough. Good point. And so, I'll say maybe you're right. Maybe leaving their countries would have the opposite effect and just encourage them in taking more Jihad to the West.

But, I'll also ask a question and, to be fair for a change (kind of like an inclusio), give an answer too:

What type of evidence would change your mind about what gets these guys fired up to attack us? A bipartisan report on, say, a major terrorist event against the US? A report from our CIA? Their own words --or is that last off the table?

I'd change my mind and agree to stay at offensive, occupying, semi-declared, not insignificantly expensive, war if conditions were as follows --again quoting Cochran with approval:

"2B: Under what kinds of circumstances does it make sense for you for the US to go to war?

"Cochran: If someone else started to build up a power that threatened to become overwhelming, such that straight-line extrapolation said they'd be able to run all the shows in the near future, a war that put a spoke in their wheel would be worthwhile.... [Et seq.] (I got that et seq thing right, yes?)
http://www.2blowhards.com/archives/2007/09/qa_with_gregory.html#004438

Meanwhile it just seems like a job for international cops and robbers, maybe some spies, perhaps Letters of Marquis and Reprisal.