The Foreign Policy Hubris of Romney and Obama

”Folly and presumption” seem apt words for anyone who proclaims that he can shape events—that is, people’s lives—in the Middle East.

Mitt Romney, whose bid to unseat Barack Obama looks more desperate every day, senses he’s found a weakness in his rival. In a foreign-policy speech the other day, he blasted Obama over the upheaval in the Arab world, saying, “This is a time for a president who will shape events in the Middle East.”

Romney is making two claims: that Obama has failed to shape events in the Middle East and that he, Romney, will succeed.

Could the hubris of a man seeking power be plainer? Does anyone with even a minimum ability to think clearly believe that Romney could “shape events” there?

We have many reasons to distrust power. One is that it inevitably violates individual rights through the legalized use of aggressive force against peaceful people. The naked power of tyrants is obvious; but the governments of democratic republics also aggress against their subjects, for example, when they tax them to provide subsidies and bailouts and launch offensive wars.

It is no surprise that power attracts the sort of unsavory people who see themselves as qualified to wield it. In a different context Adam Smith wrote that power “would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it. “

”Folly and presumption” seem apt words for anyone who proclaims that he can shape events — that is, people’s lives — in the Middle East.

Romney is not the only presidential contender displaying folly and presumption. Obama (along with his secretary of State, Hillary Clinton) apparently has no trouble believing that he too can control events in the Arab and Muslim world. There’s no other way to explain the unwise things he’s done.

The irony is that the current turmoil in the Middle East is the result of decades of U.S. government (and before that, British) attempts to manage that part of the world — attempts that continue to this present moment.

No one should be surprised at the lethal assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11. When the Obama administration decided last year to back the resistance to (former U.S. ally) Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, critics warned that no one could be sure of what the rebels’ post-Qadaffi intentions were or that the arms provided by the U.S. government would not end up in the “wrong hands.” It was widely reported that elements of al-Qaeda were members of the U.S.-backed resistance. Obama ignored the warnings (while killing a Libyan al-Qaeda leader in a drone strike in Pakistan), and on September 11 heavily armed rebel forces attacked the consulate and safe house, killing the ambassador and three other U.S. personnel.

In Egypt a violent demonstration took place at the U.S. embassy, aggravating concerns over the country’s new president, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is no fan of the U.S. government. Did this animosity come out of the blue? Of course not. U.S. presidents backed brutal Egyptian dictators for decades. When the popular uprising against the last one, Hosni Mubarak, occurred, the Obama administration initially voiced support for him. Clinton called him a family friend. Only when his ouster was inevitable did Obama abandon him — throwing U.S. support to his torturer-in-chief as his successor.

Under such circumstances, did anyone expect the Egyptians and President Mohamed Morsi to feel friendly toward the U.S. government?

U.S. attempts to manage the Middle East did not start last year. The intervention has been continuous, from the backing of the establishment of Israel in 1948 over the objection of the indigenous Palestinians, to the CIA-run overthrow of a democratically elected secular prime minister in Iran in 1953, to the support of a 1968 coup in Iraq that eventually led to the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, to the continuing support for oppressive monarchies in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, and elsewhere.

And now the Obama administration is intervening in Syria, as it did in Libya, on the side of rebels, including members of al-Qaeda, who are trying to bring down dictator Bashar al-Assad. Will anyone be surprised when heavily armed forces attack the U.S. embassy in Damascus after Assad is gone?

The “folly and presumption” of Romney and Obama disqualify them both for office.

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  • Eduard van Haalen||

    But...but...offensive movies!

  • Skip||

    I really don't get Romney. His dad lost his political future over the Vietnam War. Shouldn't that have made Mitt more wary of staking his reputation on international events?

  • Bill||

    What are you implying? That Mitt isn't the sharpest tool in the shed?

  • Skip||

    I'm saying he either really believes that a more interventionist foreign policy is correct or he just thinks the hawks will stay home or vote for Obama if he sounds like Ron Paul.

  • ||

    Power attracts people who are least qualified to have it. Yep. Old news.

    We should draft people into office with a one term term limit.

    If someone wants power they can seek it in the private sector. At least there their edicts arent binding on everyone with no option for telling them to fuck off.

  • Bill||

    But ... but ...., waht about the fatcats?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Does anyone with even a minimum ability to think clearly believe that Romney could “shape events” there?

    I doubt Romney thinks that, either. It's a campaign. Obama knows he can't create dick in the way of private sector jobs but he's pledging to do so. No one is honest about their ability or desire to shape events. But the Romney camp thinks they can't exploit this, so here we are. He's an idiot for removing focus from the economy but let no crisis go to waste, I'm sure.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    And now the Obama administration is intervening in Syria, as it did in Libya, on the side of rebels, including members of al-Qaeda, who are trying to bring down dictator Bashar al-Assad.

    As soon as we find our Syrian Che, all the dominoes will fall into the place.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Will Obama ever be held accountable for fanning the flames of racism against Arabs and Muslims by blaming the murder of Christopher Stevens on their culture and religion?

    God knows I'm no fan of George W. Bush. His attempts to associate 9/11 in the minds of Americans with the Saddam Hussein regime, his bogus speech about how Hussein was trying to get yellowcake in Niger, the results of those lies are still hurting our country...

    But at least Bush never tried to paint Muslims and Arabs as if they were culturally bent on murdering one of our ambassadors. That was just straight out racism on Obama's part, pure and simple, and the president should apologize for being a purveyor of the stuff.

  • wakeup||

    It's all about making a case for more war

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    But at least Bush never tried to paint Muslims and Arabs as if they were culturally bent on murdering one of our ambassadors. That was just straight out racism on Obama's part, pure and simple, and the president should apologize for being a purveyor of the stuff.

    What "race" are Muslims again?

    And when it comes to murdering the "kafir", the Qu'ran is pretty clear

    66:9 Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the
    hypocrites, and deal sternly with them. Hell shall be their
    home, evil their fate.
    2:244 Fight for the cause of Allah and bear in mind
    that Allah hears all and knows all.
    8:59 Let not the unbelievers think that they will ever
    get away. They have not the power so to do.
    8:60 Muster against them all the men and cavalry at
    your command, so that you may strike terror into the
    enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides
    them who are unknown to you but known to Allah. All
    that you give in the cause of Allah shall be repaid to
    you. You shall not be wronged.
  • Heroic Mulatto||

    61:4 Allah loves those who fight for His cause in ranks
    as firm as a mighty edifice.
    4:76 The true believers fight for the cause of Allah,
    but the infidels fight for the devil. Fight then against
    the friends of Satan. Satan’s cunning is weak indeed.
    5:33 Those that make war against Allah and His
    apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or
    crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on
    alternate sides, or be banished from the land. They
    shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly
    punished in the hereafter.
    4:95 The believers who stay at home - apart from those
    that suffer from a grave disability - are not the equals of
    those who fight for the cause of Allah with their goods
    and their persons. Allah has exalted the men who fight
    with their goods and their persons above those who stay
    at home. Allah has promised all a good reward; but far
    richer is the recompense of those who fight for Him:
    ranks of His own bestowal, forgiveness, and mercy.
    Surely Allah is forgiving and merciful.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    4:100 He that leaves his home in the cause of Allah shall
    find many a refuge in the land and great abundance. He
    that leaves his dwelling to fight for Allah and His apostle
    and is then overtaken by death shall be recompensed by
    Allah. Surely Allah is forgiving and merciful.
    49:15 The true believers are those that have faith in
    Allah and His apostle, and never doubt; and who fight
    with their wealth and with their persons in the cause of
    Allah. Such are those whose faith is true.
    5:33 Those that make war against Allah and His
    apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or
    crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on
    alternate sides, or be banished from the land. They
    shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly
    punished in the hereafter.
    8:45 Believers, when you meet their army stand firm
    and pray fervently to Allah, so that you may triumph.
    3:156 If you should die or be slain in the cause of
    Allah, His forgiveness and His mercy would surely be
    better than all the riches they amass.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Shall I go on?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and woman."

    ----Ezekiel 9:5

    I could go on about all the atrocities commanded by God in the Bible, verses that, likewise, don't mean Jews or Christians are bent on murder...

    But what would that have to do with Barack Obama fanning the flames of racism?

    Why would verses from the Quran make it okay for a president to falsely accuse people of murder in the name of their religion?

    Christopher Stevens was not murdered becasue of a movie--and nothing written in the Quran can ever justify Barack Obama's lies.

  • wareagle||

    I could go on about all the atrocities commanded by God in the Bible,

    sure you could, but eventually, the actions of the followers outweigh the words of the writers. One religion has a default reaction of violence; saying so is not bigoted or racist or anything other than dead-on accurate.

    Much as I dislike Obama, he's not fanning flames of anything. To the contrary, he is giving cover to a group that only understands violence by accusing some movie trailer of being the culprit. The lies from Obama are in the words directed at us, the ones basically saying "nothing to see here; move along now. And don't say anything to piss off the Muslims."

  • Ken Shultz||

    Sure you could, but eventually, the actions of the followers outweigh the words of the writers.

    Did you respond to the New York Times piece I linked below? Why don't the actions of the tens of thousands of Muslims who drove out the militants count?

    One religion has a default reaction of violence; saying so is not bigoted or racist or anything other than dead-on accurate.

    Every bigot justifies their bigotry by saying that their bigotry is really true, but just because you think your bigotry is really true? doesn't mean it isn't bigotry.

    Oh, and if there's a religious and ethnic group that's default reaction is violence, then we better be on the lookout for Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

    Anglo-Saxon Protestants have invaded or occupied just about everywhere in the world at one time or another--and you can't say that about any other religious/cultural group.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I knew you were going to stick your nose in the dusty Old Testament.

    I could care less what the Abrahamic religions say. The fact is, in 2012, a large percentage of Christians and Jews aren't engaging in holy war, but Muslims are.

    I'm a Buddhist. Can you find a quote from the Buddhist canon where the Buddha said to kill anyone or anything for any reason?

    But what would that have to do with Barack Obama fanning the flames of racism?

    What "race" are Muslims again? A religion is a choice. You can choose to belong to a religion because you believe in its values. If you identify with a certain religion, then it is assumed you must support the values of the religion, yes?

    Why would verses from the Quran make it okay for a president to falsely accuse people of murder in the name of their religion?

    You're either being willfully obtuse or willfully mendacious.

    Christopher Stevens was not murdered becasue of a movie

    That's true, he was murdered because he wasn't a Muslim.

    Here is Pat Condell, as usual speaking truth to power, destroying your nonsense.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That's true, he was murdered because he wasn't a Muslim.

    He wasn't killed because of a demonstration against a YouTube video that got out of hand because of...Muslim menace!

    He was assassinated for what were almost certainly political reasons.

    Nothing you quote from the Quran can justify Barack Obama's lies. And just becasue Barack Obama can so easily manipulate you becasue of your...what do you want to call it, Archie?

    Doesn't mean you have to sit there and defend your pointless bigotry.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I refer you to my reply below.

    He was assassinated for what were almost certainly political reasons.

    Politics and religion aren't mutually exclusive.

    Nothing you quote from the Quran can justify Barack Obama's lies.

    Oh, Obama is lying alright, but I think we disagree on just what the lie is.

    Doesn't mean you have to sit there and defend your pointless bigotry.

    Again, you have proven that you have no further argument and can only find intellectual refugee in name-calling.

    By the way, have you found anything in the Buddhist canon to support murder of anything for any reason?

  • Hneckone||

    Please stop with the crazy religious rhetoric!

    “Indeed, it's futile to try and use Holy Scripture to support any political position. I deeply distrust anyone who does. Just look at what an Islamic Republic is like.”
    ― Christopher Hitchens

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I knew you were going to stick your nose in the dusty Old Testament.

    I could care less what the Abrahamic religions say.

    LOL. To all the people who accuse me of moving goal posts, that's what moving the goal posts means....suddenly violence-urging sacred writings become irrelevant when we talk about Jewish sacred writings.

    The fact is, in 2012, a large percentage of Christians and Jews aren't engaging in holy war, but Muslims are.

    A large percentage? You're going to need evidence for that. And once you restrict it to a certain time period you lose the ability to claim it's an inherent aspect of the religion, as other factors come in to play. There are plenty of years in history where large numbers of Christians or Jews were engaging in barbaric violence.

    I'm a Buddhist. Can you find a quote from the Buddhist canon where the Buddha said to kill anyone or anything for any reason?

    I'm not familiar enough with Buddhist writings to answer that, but of course neither I nor anyone else here is trying to say Buddhism is an irredeemably violent religion as you and your buds are saying about Islam. Ken's examples (and there are plenty of others) merely show that you're going to have to condemn a lot more religions if you hold to your stated standards.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ken's examples (and there are plenty of others) merely show that you're going to have to condemn a lot more religions if you hold to your stated standards.

    I do. I've made my condemnations about the violence inherent in the Abrahamic religions quite clear.

    That's the point of following a certain religious tradition, no?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Funny, I don't see you leveling the same accusations against Jews. Indeed I recall you getting seriously pissed about me questioning accusations of anti-Semitism at the Olympics.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Funny, I don't see you leveling the same accusations against Jews. Indeed I recall you getting seriously pissed about me questioning accusations of anti-Semitism at the Olympics.

    You didn't question accusations of Antisemitism, you compared the mere sight of Israeli athletes to public gay sex.

    And when we have a story about Jewish religious violence, then you'll see me making the same observations on the violence inherent in the tradition.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    You are, once again, taking my Olympics comment out of context. You were claiming that the IOC putting a screen up in a practice area to make (bigoted) athletes more comfortable was anti-Semitic.

    Oh, and if the violence is inherent in Judaism (or any other religion) then you don't need a violent event to condemn it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    LOL. To all the people who accuse me of moving goal posts, that's what moving the goal posts means....suddenly violence-urging sacred writings become irrelevant when we talk about Jewish sacred writings.

    No. I didn't say that. But we're not talking about the Irgun right now, are we?

    The fact is, in 2012, a large percentage of Christians and Jews aren't engaging in holy war, but Muslims are.
    A large percentage?


    I'll defer to your expertise on this, but any percentage is a large percentage compared to zero, yes?

    And once you restrict it to a certain time period you lose the ability to claim it's an inherent aspect of the religion, as other factors come in to play.

    No, Tulpa, no you don't.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    any percentage is a large percentage compared to zero, yes?

    speaking of moving goal posts.... I guess you'd be OK with me saying that a large percentage of deaths are caused by lightning, since it's more than the death count by meteor.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "BENGHAZI, Libya — Two Islamist militias in the eastern city of Darnah announced Saturday that they were disbanding, bowing to a wave of antimilitia anger that has swept parts of Libya since a deadly attack on an American diplomatic mission on Sept. 11.

    A local political activist said that one of the militias, the Abu Salim Brigade, had surrendered several bases in the city. A second militia was also said to have agreed to disband, Reuters reported.

    The announcements came a day after tens of thousands of protesters marched in Benghazi demanding the dissolution of militias formed during the revolt last year against Libya’s strongman, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Protesters stormed four bases in Benghazi, routing a rogue Islamist militia whose members were tied to the attack on the American mission, in which the American ambassador and three other Americans were killed."

    ----New York Times, September 23, 2012

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09.....ounds.html

    Heroic Mulatto,

    Do you have a verse from the Quran to explain this, too?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Do you have a verse from the Quran to explain this, too?

    That's the point. According to the Qu'ran, they are doing the wrong thing by fighting against the brave mujihadeen. According to those who follow their religion to the letter and spirit of the law, these Libyan political activists aren't "true Muslims".

  • Ken Shultz||

    Do the words "No true Scotsman" mean anything to you?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Do the words "No true Scotsman" mean anything to you?

    Just to prove that you've run out of counter-arguments and that you have no idea how to correctly identify a logical fallacy.

    I'm not claiming the Libyans who routed the militias aren't "true Muslims", the Islamists are, and they have the full force of Qu'ranic exegesis to support their argument.

    Ken, it's clear that you don't have the knowledge to debate this issue with me as a peer. If you would like to continue this discussion, as a first step, I strongly suggest you research the 19th-century Nahdah literary movement and it's evolution to the Salafiyya movement of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani. After that, I'd be happy to instruct you concerning such things as the Deobandi movement and then, when you understand that, Qutbism.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "If you would like to continue this discussion, as a first step, I strongly suggest you research the 19th-century Nahdah literary movement and it's evolution to the Salafiyya movement of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani."

    How many books about the evolution of the Salafiyya movement do I have to read--before Barack Obama using lies about the Christopher Stevens assassination to fan the flames of racism somehow becomes okay?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    How many books about the evolution of the Salafiyya movement do I have to read--before Barack Obama using lies about the Christopher Stevens assassination to fan the flames of racism somehow becomes okay?

    As many as it takes to educate you and correct your misconceptions.

    It seems that you're committed to your ignorance of the situation as you value maintaining your ego-identity and whatever illusions it creates. This is sad.

    If I may quote from my religious tradition, "Truth grates on the ears." You, Ken, are a prime example of this proverb. Again, when you understand the history and the ideologies present in the region, I'll be happy to continue this debate. I don't have time to educate you myself, and besides my university sees it fit to charge 300 dollars per credit hour for my online instruction.

    By the way, what race are Muslims again?

    P.S. You're probably having problems finding texts from the Buddhist canon, I suggest you look here.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I seriously doubt more than 5% of Muslims have read the texts you're claiming every Muslim's behavior is inexorably guided by. It's probably less.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    texts you're claiming every Muslim's behavior is inexorably guided by.

    Did I say that, you mendacious ass? You want to discuss this with me or your straw man?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    HM: No, Ken is correctly identifying the fallacy.

    You started out condemning Islam across the board; then switched to "large percentages"; and now you're down to "those who follow their religion to the letter and spirit of the law".

    And if your argument can't be made without the audience doing months of research, it's a piss poor argument.

  • ||

    LOL

    "Read all these books that are barely related to the argument before you can argue with me"

    Great debate tactic. You're totally not losing this argument at all!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Read all these books that are barely related to the argument before you can argue with me

    So you're familar with the Nadah, Al-Afganhi, Deobanism, and Qutbism enough to claim they are not related to the argument! Excellent! Let's debate.

    By the way, the Brandeis library collection is great concerning this topic.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    What percentage of Muslims would you estimate have read those books, HM?

    If they haven't read them, how is their behavior guided by them?

  • ||

    No book is related to whether or not Muslims as a people are inherently violent. As you yourself say in some posts (but ignore in other), actions matter more than words.

    So let's get back to the original question. Are Muslims violent? What percentage?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You started out condemning Islam across the board; then switched to "large percentages"; and now you're down to "those who follow their religion to the letter and spirit of the law".

    No, Tulpa, I didn't. I pointed out what the Qu'ran says. There is a discipline called textual exegesis. Currently, the weight of Qu'ranic authority rests on those who interpret it as understood by the Salafiyya. No amount of sophistry from you or Ken will change that fact.

    And if your argument can't be made without the audience doing months of research, it's a piss poor argument.

    Really? Ok, I argue that four color map theory is incorrect. Explain to me why it is correct using only laymen's terms, assuming that my mathematical knowledge ended at pre-Calculus.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Ok, I argue that four color map theory is incorrect.

    First off, that's not an argument, that's an assertion. All that would be required to disprove the Four Color Theorem is an example of a map that cannot be colored with four colors. Good luck finding one.

    And of course, your claim isn't some technical thing about Islamic writings; your claim is that embracing Islam is likely to lead a person to violence. Whether you claim the same thing about Judaism and Christianity seems to depend on which argument your opponent just made.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    First off, that's not an argument, that's an assertion. All that would be required to disprove the Four Color Theorem is an example of a map that cannot be colored with four colors. Good luck finding one.

    Fair enough. But what if, like Ken, I say "I can't find a 3-color map, but I still believe it exists!" How could you show me that my assertion is incorrect without a baseline level of knowledge in the subject?

    And of course, your claim isn't some technical thing about Islamic writings; your claim is that embracing Islam is likely to lead a person to violence.

    That is correct, provided we are talking about someone who understands and lives these writings and not a "Ramadan-only" Muslim, as it were.

    Whether you claim the same thing about Judaism and Christianity seems to depend on which argument your opponent just made.

    I claim the same thing about Judaism, having seen it from the inside and making the decision to convert away from it to Buddhism because of that. However, unlike Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism, Judaism doesn't claim to be a "universal" religion, so their is no impetus for it to convert other peoples by the sword. [cont]

  • ||

    Sorry, but when someone says "Muslims" they are talking about all Muslims, not just Muslims who have read some books. Your attempt to make the argument about those Muslims who have read those books is completely evading the issue.

    What part of this statement refers to those books?

    But at least Bush never tried to paint Muslims and Arabs as if they were culturally bent on murdering one of our ambassadors.
  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What books are we refering to, the Qu'ran/Sunnah/Hadith or the writings of al-Afghani, the various Deobandis, or Sayyid Qutb?

  • ||

    Any fucking books! Wow, I can see you have your head too far up your ass to argue coherently.

    Get back to me when you understand/are willing to engage the issue that you were originally responding to.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Let me get this straight, your argument is:

    Muslims are illiterate; therefore, PEACE IN THE MID-EAST, BABY!

    Get back to me when you stop acting like a petulant child.

  • ||

    Again, we'll pick this up after you come back to reality. Until then, have a nice vacation.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You realize your entire contribution to this thread is stamping your feet and going "NUH-UH!"

    You're a joke.

  • ||

    And your entire contribution to the argument has been nothing on topic except "MUSLIM RAGE!!!"

    I'm not sure which interpretation is better.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    No. I've made specific arguments. You refuse to engage them, instead you just reply with Gen-Y snark, mistaking it for wit.

    If you want to put on the it's all our fault hair-shirt and self-flagellate, be my guest. But don't misconstrue my points, and don't put words in my mouth.

  • ||

    Yes, specific arguments that have precisely nothing to do with whether or not Muslims, as a people, are predisposed to violence. When you get back to that topic, I'll start engaging your arguments.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Muslims aren't a "people", they're a religious group, capiche?

  • ||

    people: the entire body of persons who constitute a community, tribe, nation, or other group by virtue of a common culture, history, religion, or the like

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    people: the entire body of persons who constitute a community, tribe, nation, or other group by virtue of a common culture, history, religion, or the like

    Weren't you the one just frothing at the mouth at the (imagined) suggestion that Muslims were a monolithic group? Is the culture and history of say, Tajikstan, "common" to the culture and history of Nigeria or Malaysia or Turkey or Oman?

    And you claim I'm not clear in my argumentation?

  • ||

    No idiot, I'm saying you can't assign the characteristic of violence to them as a monolithic group. Not exactly a complicated distinction to grasp, but I guess you couldn't do it.

    Also, see the difference between 'and' and 'or'

  • ||

    Here, let me synthesize what this argument might look like

    Tulpa: And of course, your claim isn't some technical thing about Islamic writings; your claim is that embracing Islam is likely to lead a person to violence.


    Mulatto: That is correct, provided we are talking about someone who understands and lives these writings and not a "Ramadan-only" Muslim, as it were.

    Tulpa: But I thought we were talking about the characterization of Muslims as a whole, i.e. why you responded to Ken Shultz's assertion by quoting the Koran, as if to say that these beliefs were inherent to all Muslims. If you are only talking about the subset of Muslims who have those specific beliefs, that doesn't touch on the wholescale characterization that you replied to.

    Mulatto: ...

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Mulatto: ...

    Really? I didn't respond to that? I didn't clarify my argument for idiots like you?

    You can't respond to my statements without lying it seems.

    You're just being an obnoxious troll at this point.

  • ||

    Instead of whining, you could just show me where you responded.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Instead of whining, you could just show me where you responded.

    Irony, thy name is heller!

    I'm not your fucking babysitter. I know you don't like to read, but you can find my response yourself. Whether or not you have the ability to understand it, that's another question.

    Now, you've ceased to amuse me with your clownishness. So I'm going to leave you to the thread.

    Thanks for ruining a lively debate with your immaturity!

  • ||

    I looked and I can't find it. I guess that means it doesn't exist since you refuse to produce it.

  • ||

    But thanks for showing me how mature you are by taking your ball and going home! You can come back any time and prove me wrong by simply providing the response that you claim exists. It's not my responsibility to prove your claims, but I looked anyway and could not find it. Instead of owning up to making a small mistake, you fled the scene. Maturity!

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Being illiterate does make it unlikely that your behavior is guided by the stuff written in books.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Except for the fact many religious texts are chanted, because of that fact. In Islam, they depended on huffaz, which is an honorific to this day.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Christianity, on the other hand, has engaged in holy war through its history, in spite of the teachings of Jesus that were meant to temper the Old Testament view on such things. That is an internal contradiction that I believe lends Christianity a certain dynamism for change that is not present in Judaism and Islam. As such, using biblical exegesis, much stronger arguments can be made for Christian non-aggression, or even pacifism than can be made in the Jewish or Muslim tradition, if at all.

    Indeed, since the fall of the very-Catholic South Vietnamese republic, I can't think of wide-spread Christian violence anywhere in the world, can you?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    The IRA and Ulster Unionists come to mind.

    Most Christian countries are wealthy at this point in history, and thus the societies have become disengaged from religious motivations. If you're talking about violence by Christian countries, there's been a ton, but the motivations have been transparently secular.

    In medieval times, of course, the roles were reversed. The wealthy Caliphate was perfectly willing to let Christians and Jews exist in their societies because they kept the taxes coming in, and engaged in warfare with transparently secular motivation...while impoverished Christian Europe launched the Crusades and killed each other by the tens of thousands over the nature of a piece of bread.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The IRA and Ulster Unionists come to mind.

    That's true. But nowadays, the Troubles are nothing like what they were.

    Most Christian countries are wealthy at this point in history, and thus the societies have become disengaged from religious motivations

    Good point, but I'm not sure I buy that wealth leads away from religion argument. After all, Saudi Arabia is rolling in dough, as in Brunei. Both of those countries are pretty strict in the role religion plays in their culture.

    In medieval times, of course, the roles were reversed. The wealthy Caliphate was perfectly willing to let Christians and Jews exist in their societies because they kept the taxes coming in, and engaged in warfare with transparently secular motivation...while impoverished Christian Europe launched the Crusades and killed each other by the tens of thousands over the nature of a piece of bread.

    I disagree that the medieval Muslim countries mostly engaged in secular warfare. The Almoravid intervention in Andalusia was specifically to prevent the Muslim emirates from falling to the Christian kingdoms of Castille, Leon, and Aragon. The Ayyubids fought many of their wars to reestablish Sunni Islam after the fall of the Shiite Fatimids. And the Rum Seljuk Turks wanted nothing more than the conquest of the Byzantines to establish a beachhead of Islam in Eastern Europe.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    After all, Saudi Arabia is rolling in dough, as in Brunei.

    The per capita income figures are skewed by the richer-than-God folks at the top. Median income is in line with other third world countries.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Hmm...that's true. I'm starting to come around to your point of view that wealth leads to a cultural disengagement from religion.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Back during my days as a Sunday school teacher in the late 90s/early 00s I went to a talk by an Irish priest... who mostly fretted about how much he hated the economic boom in Ireland, as it had been terrible for religion. It opened my eyes somewhat.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Indeed, I'm not sure you could really say there are any "Western Christianity" countries left in the world in the sense that Catholicism or Protestantism plays an integral role in how their society conducts itself. Poland and the Phillippines, maybe?

    Much of eastern Europe is very devoutly Orthodox of course.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Indeed, I'm not sure you could really say there are any "Western Christianity" countries left in the world in the sense that Catholicism or Protestantism plays an integral role in how their society conducts itself. Poland and the Phillippines, maybe?

    Much of eastern Europe is very devoutly Orthodox of course.

    I agree. And what does the West got that the others don't? You say wealth, and I'm not so sure that's the cause. What causes an Enlightenment?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Europe's relatively high proportion of arable land, lack of an interior, and the Black Death of course.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    There's something to be said for turning everything upside down in a society/burning the grass. Mideastern society was ossified in the 700s and Islamic conquest flipped everything over. The Black Death did the same in Europe in the 1300s.

    Until recently, a major advantage of the US was that we continually flipped everything over in a nonviolent way...during the past few decades we've fallen prey to the NoOneMustEverLoseTheirJob fallacy.

  • Calidissident||

    HM, you're usually a solid poster, but you're being pretty hypocritical here. You're one of the people most likely to cry "anti-Semitism!" whenever anyone criticizes Jews or Israel (correct me if I'm wrong, but are you half-Jewish ethnically? I might have you mixed up with someone else). At the same time, in these arguments you're often portraying the Islamic religion as inherently violent, citing religious texts. When Tulpa called you out on the double-standard, as there's plenty of violent and screwed up shit in the Bible and OT, you shifted the goal posts to the actions of the followers and brought up your Buddhist faith. Which makes Tulpa's point that it's not simply the religion, as Jews and Christians were far more violent in the past. You then accused a "large percentage" of Muslims of engaging in holy war. What exactly constitutes a large percentage? And why should Muslims who don't do that be judged by the actions of those who do? I suspect you'll respond with the "religion is voluntarily chosen ..." canard. This goes back to the comparison with Judaism and Christianity, where there's a lot of violent text, and a violent history, but a pretty nonviolent present. It then becomes obvious that the reason you don't hold Jews and Christians to the same standard as Muslims is because of present actions. In which case I ask again, why are the Muslims who don't engage in holy war to be judged by the actions of those who do?

  • wareagle||

    1) there is no racism since there is no race
    2) if Bush did not paint Muslims this way, maybe he should have:
    http://news.yahoo.com/muslim-p.....16609.html

    Torching Buddhist temples? Really? Buddhists won't harm insects.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I dunno, I've killed quite a few mosquitoes in my day.

    Muslims in Bangladesh and beyond have also been outraged by violence over the border in Myanmar where members of the majority Buddhist community clashed with minority Muslims this year.

    I like how they gloss over the part where the Myanmarese "minority Muslims" were responsible for said violence.

  • wareagle||

    your last sentence holds the malicious truth: usually, Muslims are the ones responsible for whatever violence breaks out. No other group I can think of has that as its default setting to damn near anything.

    A few folks on here called me bigoted for saying that, but no one offered up another group that behaves the same way. Maybe the folks in Libya attacking the militias have understood that this is no way to live and no way to gain respect from the civilized world.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Maybe the folks in Libya attacking the militias have understood that this is no way to live and no way to gain respect from the civilized world.

    As I've stated before, if there was a silver lining to the dark cloud that was Qadaffi, is was that his bat-shit insane devotion to his flavor of mostly secular Arab socalism keept Libya insulated from the Salafist/Wahabist/Islamist meme for 40 years.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    A few folks on here called me bigoted for saying that, but no one offered up another group that behaves the same way.

    Maybe we just don't take kindly to treating a billion individuals as a monolithic group.

  • ||

    YEAH COLLECTIVIST THINKING WOOHOO

    ONE IS REPRESENTATIVE OF ALL YEAH

    Why has teh stupid just risen dramatically on these boards?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Why has teh stupid just risen dramatically on these boards?

    Probably, because you've started your unapologetic ignoramus act.

  • ||

    I'm sorry, but the judges cannot accept an answer unless it is in the form of a religious quotation. -$1000

  • wareagle||

    Will Obama ever be held accountable for fanning the flames of racism against Arabs and Muslims by blaming the murder of Christopher Stevens on their culture and religionanything it does?

    all fixed

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Meanwhile, in reality:

    Egypt progresses toward Judenfrei status as the last functioning synagogue in Egypt closes, as Morsi cannot guarantee its safety. Ensuring the safety of religious minorities would take away too much time from the Egyptian Police's gang rape schedule.

    And speaking of Ms. Eltahawy, Morsi has the chutzpah to ask the Egyptian consulate to monitor the Eltahawy vandalism case . Because, you know, of the NYPD's well-establish reputation for gang rape, or something.

    Of course, you'll never see this in a Richman article; goes against the "narrative" (Neo-con ZIO-JOOZ!), you know.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Assuming you truly do condemn the violence inherent in all Abrahamic religions on equal footing, why do you give a shit about one violent Abrahamic religion shuttering another one?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Because people shouldn't harm other people, you autistic twit.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Except when the people in question are Muslims and the harm is from a drone.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Again, are you going to engage what I say or my imaginary words?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Do you oppose the drone strikes? Apologies if you do.

  • ||

    He should support them, since they're just killing violent Muslim militants, right?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Considering I'm condeming religious violence from a standpoint of Buddhist non-agression (Ahimsa), you're being an ass, heller.

  • ||

    It's a good thing there's nothing in Buddhism against maligning people for the sins of others (?) or you wouldn't have anything to say in this thread.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    heller: I suggest you read the Bhagavad-Gita before you embarrass yourself further.

  • ||

    I would, but apparently I'm a proponent of illiteracy or something.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The Bhagavad-Gita is more important in Hinduism, especially due to the differences in how Hindus and Buddhists understand the concept of karma.

    But you'd have to be, you know, familiar with the text to appreciate that.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, whatever.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Do you oppose the drone strikes?

    Absolutely! But that doesn't mean I think Haqqanis are Boy Scouts.

  • Mike1776||

    The Palestinians are not indigenous to Israel. This is a big mistake out of ignornance that way too many people make. The current Palestinians are an invention of terrorist Yassar Arafat. There is no genetic connection to the Palestinians in the Bible.

    Jews on the other hand have lived in Israel continiously for over three millenium.

  • dinkster||

    Are you talking before or after Joshua lead his armies on a blood orgy? I don't really care who was there "first." Violence is violence.

  • ||

    Goddamn. I was having a hard time imagining how anybody could be more of an intentionally obtuse cunt than Ken Schultz until heller arrived in the convo. No criticism of Muslim terrorism and violence can be unaccompanied by an equal or greater criticism of Christianity and Judaism, despite the fact that there are no current events to support the equivalence. Got it. This coming from people who get a rage boner every time someone complains that Romney or Obama are getting an unfair amount of criticism from Reason and insist that events dictate coverage...

    I actually came to the comments section to address the retardation in the article of blaming the US for the establishment of Israel post-WWII, but it seems kind of petty now considering the amount of veritable monkey shit strewn all over the walls.

  • ||

    When did I ever mention Christianity or Judaism?

  • ||

    You technically didn't yourself, although Ken Schultz did many times and you were defending his broader point that it was "racist" to blame Muslims for terrorism perpetrated by people in the middle east who just happen to be, completely coincidentally and with no possible causal connection, practitioners of Islam who have made a very public spectacle of rationalizing their behavior in terms of their religion.

    At first I thought it was just a rather amusing bit of turnabout poking fun at the sort of lefty political correctness and identity politics practiced by the president, but then I was like

    "THIS IS WHAT SCIENTOLOGISTS LIBERTARIANS UHHH, CERTAIN PEOPLE, ACTUALLY BELIEVE"

  • ||

    I never said it was racist either; I said it was idiotic collectivist thinking that is antithetical to libertarianism. It's more like Lew Rockwell's conservative culture war extract added for flavor.

    Saying Muslims are inherently violent is as stupid as saying a movie is to blame for Islamic terrorists killing Chris Stevens. Both focus on words and ideas instead of the heinous actors and actions that are actually criminal.

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