God's Hit Men


New at Reason: I interview terrorism expert Jessica Stern.

NEXT: Immigration Rising

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  1. Remember Friedman was one of those morons who said that the "new economy" wouldn't work by the same rules as the old economy. 🙂

  2. yeah, so he must not know anything about terrorism or international relations either. right

  3. Just Read Mr. Friedman's article ... just another variation on the "terrorism magnet," position. Now that our armed-forces are there, I want them to succeed. And if that means the loathsome Bush Administration gets re-elected (the "re" is debatable) then so be it.

    That said, wishing for a quagmire might be a result of despising the over-corporatized, hyper-moralizing, unilaterist prevaricators, but it is inexcusable. My fondest wish it to turn over the whole mess to the UN, but I sincerely doubt that this Administration is going to do that despite their recent crow mastication.

  4. I'm gonna kill my co-worker in the name of Steve. Then you'd all have a pretty good reason to believe that Steve doesn't exist. Right?

  5. Dear Anon,

    I see your point, but I disagree. I said that "Killing for God, is a pretty good argument for atheism ..." And I stand by that statement. You wouldn't get 19 atheists to hi-jack airplanes and crash them into buildings full of people, that's for sure. Killing other human beings because you believe a father-figure-in-the-sky would approve is insanity by any measure.

    Other reasons are a little less esoteric; killing for real estate is a little less bizarre, but the 72 virgin enticement almost defies description. Personally, I would be more attracted to the idea of 72-slightly more experienced lasses.

    By the way, perhaps it is just me but it is infuriating, the arrogance of theists to assume that they are somehow more "moral," than non-theists.


    A little less superstition among humanity would be in the words of Martha Stewart, "a good thing."


    After listening to the debate over Mullah Moore in Alabama, I alas, don't believe we are anywhere near outgrowing the tired and destructive superstitions passed down from generation to generation. I admit post-reformation Christians are much more tolerant of dissent than say, Iranian Shiites, but they do tend to be dogmatic anyway (at least the loud ones).

    'Poof! We're here,' isn't a satifying explanation, at least not for me.

  6. >>You wouldn't get 19 atheists to hi-jack airplanes and crash them into buildings full of people, that's for sure.

    You're not serious are you? The world has had it's share of atheistic serial murderers, genocidal dictators and all around bad guys, too.

    I don't think I'll be asking Martha Stewart anytime soon what defines "a good thing."

    >>'Poof! We're here,' isn't a satifying explanation, at least not for me.

    That's a cheap shot because that wasn't the point and because it'll not debated here.

    and BTW, no it's not just you.

  7. Good stuff, Mr. Cavanaugh.

    I suppose I should read her book, but she seemed a bit short on opinions about actual motivations. Can you write a book whose premise is that terrorist motivations are varied and chameleonic?

  8. "I said that "Killing for God, is a pretty good argument for atheism ..." And I stand by that statement."

    People who feel that their belief system is so superior that it can and should be imposed on everyone else can be enticed to do insane actions to bring that about. Historically, this has been true of atheistic and secular beliefs as well as God centered ones (see French Revolution, Marxism-Leninism, etc.). The history of fanaticism says little for or against God or atheism. The important thing is to have humility in your beliefs, no matter what they are.

  9. >

    You correctly point out one fatal flaw in that argument (the exportation of jihadists), but the one I've always found more compelling is how the USSR would have viewed an American client state on their southern border. It's easy to talk about our responsiblity for nation-building now, but when there's a hostile nuclear-armed power next door, it's a much different situation.

  10. Here's the quote that got left out of my post:

    Reason: There's a popular argument that our real error in Afghanistan wasn't funding the jihad but failing to clean up afterward. But then, fixing Afghanistan wouldn't have done anything about some jihadi who learned his skills and then went back to the Philippines or Indonesia, or Saudi.

  11. Amen MJ. Or, right on, so as not to offend Steve in CO.

  12. Killing "for God," is a pretty good argument for atheism in my opinion.


  13. To quote Tom Friedman in yesterday's NY times, "how do you get to be a terrorism expert?"

  14. Same way Friedman won his Pulitzers.

  15. Good points all. I myself as a non-believer, or infidel if you will, would never impose (via force) my belief-system on others, what I will do is try to disuade others through argument who have dogmatic religious beliefs from imposing their beliefs on others. I know logically it gets convoluted and can seem hypocritical. But you see, I don't see my lack of theistic beliefs as just another faith, but rather a complete lack of it, hence A-theist.

    And I still stand by my point. There seems to be the unstated impression that an Atheist would somehow be just as irrational and capable of stupid behavior as a theist (esp. an Islamist) and they may be true of other Atheists, but not this one. And I know a few non-believers that are in general, very kind and empathetic people. Not fanatical, except perhaps during arguments :0)

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