Holland on Edge

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The brutal Islamicist murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, director of the short documentary Submission (which you can download here) about the oppression of women in Islam, has triggered an outpouring of national grief and an ominous cycle of violence in the Netherlands. The Associated Press reports:

Molotov cocktails caused minor damage at churches in Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amersfoort on Monday night following a half-dozen similar incidents at Muslim buildings. […]

Suspected arsonists also burned down an Islamic elementary school on Tuesday in the southern town of Uden, a day after the bombing of a Muslim elementary school in Eindhoven. Somebody had scrawled "Theo Rest in Peace" in the schoolhouse in Uden.

European newspapers are grappling with questions of asylum, integration, free speech and fanaticism. Norwegian blogger Bjorn Staerk, himself a sharp critic of extremist Islam, sounds a worried note about the tension:

When the US was attacked on 9/11, it struck many of us how few reprisals there were against American Muslims. There were some attacks, but for a country of 300 million, who had just experienced the largest terrorist attack in history, the display of restraint was encouraging.

I'm correspondingly discouraged by how the people of Holland have dealt with Theo van Gogh's murder—one death in a country of 16 million.

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  1. Remember, guys. Use your military to find a foreign country and blow them up over there. Then find a country nearby that you don’t like anyway and think up a reason that they might be kinda sorta vaguely connected in a loosely philosophical way and then bomb the shit out of them.

    That’s the civilized way.

  2. Matt Welch,

    So far, there appear to be “few reprisals” in the Netherlands as well (given the evidence you’ve presented so far), and certainly no one has been murdered in reprisal (as opposed to what happened to a few people in the U.S.). When Rotterdam is in full-scale riot mode, and dozens of people are being killed I think you can start talking about a difference in reaction, until that time, I think this strikes me as Euro-bashing.

    I’m correspondingly discouraged by how the people of Holland have dealt with Theo van Gogh’s murder — one death in a country of 16 million.

    This has got to be one of the most disingenuous arguments I’ve seen of late. It wasn’t merely “one death.” The author acts like it was just some random mugging/murder.

  3. Euro-Muslin tensions have been building for awhile…it’s a little disingenous to suggest that the Dutch are suddenly blowing up. And, anyway, I say get the terrorists and their imams.

  4. JB — “Cycle of violence” came directly from the story I linked; if adding “ominous” amounts to “Euro-bashing” on my part, then God help the future of the adjective. And it was Bjorn Staerk, not me, making the comparison to America.

  5. Matt Welch,

    Hmm, in light of the fact that I didn’t attack your choice of language, but the spin put on the events in question, your explanation seems somewhat off-target. Anyway, calling a few incidents which did not lead to any deaths an “ominous” cycle of violence seems rather “chicken little” to me, and certainly a lack of perspective. And let’s be blunt, you offered no equivocation here as to the nature of the events on the ground.

    Also you can’t start claiming that you don’t agree with Bjorn’s statement now; I think its fairly clear that you implicitly adopted it in your write-up (especially in light of the fact that there is nothing in your write-up which suggests that you disagree with Bjorn’s statement, etc.). Or are you going to start telling me some bullshit story that somehow you posted this write-up out of some “neutral” desire to get the story out? *rolls eyes* Let’s not commit the sin of claiming objectivity.

    Therefore, I take the far more realistic view that since you did not equivocate or sound any doubt in the write-up, that you agree with the positions of the author’s you cite.

  6. Jason Bourne: This has got to be one of the most disingenuous arguments I’ve seen of late. It wasn’t merely “one death.” The author acts like it was just some random mugging/murder.

    Of course it wasn’t. If you read my other posts on this I think you’ll agree that I take this murder seriously.

    And no there haven’t been any murders – but there has been a lot of vandalism. It could be there was more vandalism after 9/11 than I heard about, but the scale of the reactions strike me as different.

  7. Bjoern Staerk,

    Apparently Matt Welch needs to do a better job of editing your statements then. Still, I think my comment is spot on in reference to what was quoted here.

    It could be there was more vandalism after 9/11 than I heard about, but the scale of the reactions strike me as different.

    As I recall there were several hundred incididents of anti-Muslim acts (largely vandalism like you’ve seen in the Netherlands) in the two or three weeks following 9/11. Some of these included acts of personal violence, like the Sihk (who was erroneously taken for an Arab)who was murdered in I think Texas (or may it was Arizona) and the attack on the mosque in Tennessee. Furthermore, as I recall, during 2001 anti-Muslim acts were recorded by the Justice Department to have risen by 25%, and some 1,500-2,000 incidents were recorded. Keep in mind that while we may have close to 300 million people in the U.S., we have a relatively low population of Muslims – four million as I recall. Maybe this was under-reported in Europe.

    For point of comparison note that anti-semitic acts in the U.S. have been hovering between 1,500 and 2,000 since the early 1980s.

  8. And no there haven’t been any murders – but there has been a lot of vandalism.

    Judging from Human Rights Watch’s tally of post-9/11 hate crimes it appears that Holland’s suffering more strife on a per-capita basis. It’s hard to infer anything from the lack of murders — there were three definite and five possible murders in response to 9/11, which proportionally would work out to less than one person in Holland.

    Of course, the two incidents aren’t really comparable. The United States was attacked by foreigners, not Muslim Americans. If the 9/11 attacks had been planned and executed by members of the domestic Muslim community, the backlash would have been significant.

  9. Dan,

    I’m curious where you got Holland’s per capita response numbers from.

    Anyway, I would still maintain that until something like what is occuring in Cote d’Ivoire (where most of the European population appears to be fleeing to the chant of “Kill the Whites!”) happens, hinting that the Netherlands is coming unglued is premature and, again, somewhat “chicken little” in approach. The Dutch have remained remarkably tolerant and peaceable in comparison to what has traditionally been the response of humanity to such provocative acts.

  10. I’m correspondingly discouraged by how the people of Holland have dealt with Theo van Gogh’s murder

    Disclaimer: I suffer from a sort of racism when it comes to Dutch people. Since all the Dutch people are know are really really nice, and since all the Dutch women I know have really big feet, and since Holland itself seems like a really cool country, I expect all Dutch people to be nice, cool, and big-footed.

    Belabouring the obvious: “The people of Holland” have, I imagine, dealt with this the way people all over the world deal with all sorts of horrible things. As individuals.

    Just as the fact that the murderer is a Muslim doesn’t mean all Muslims are murderers, so the fact of the Dutch arsonists doesn’t mean Holland is about to explode in vicious race-hatred any time soon. There are evil people in every group.

    “Freedom is not for people who are afraid.”

  11. I think Americans were remarkably tolerant in the wake of 9-11. At the same time, I don’t blame the Dutch for lashing out at the Islamist threat within their society in the wake of Van Gogh’s murder (I do blame them for letting the threat grow to unbearable proportions, however).

  12. dread moray eel,

    One murder does not make for a threat of “unbearable proportions.” And the Dutch too have been remarkably tolerant.

  13. There have been anti-immigrant sentiments across Western Europe for a long, long time now. This is likely a case of an atrocity committed by a minority giving “legitimacy” to the majority xenophobia. Look at Germany and its tensions with its sizeable Turkish immigrant population. Look at the UK and its Indian and Arab population. This is nothing new, unfortunately. The nice part about the U.S. is that we have enough room for immigrants to spread out into. There isn’t as much interfacial tension between the “natives” and immigrants because there’s a lot more interface.

  14. db,

    Ahh, there are strong anti-immigrant sentiments in the U.S. as well (or haven’t you noticed Lonewacko’s comments?), especially in states like Arizona, California, etc., you know, where the immigrants/illegal aliens live. We like to pat ourselves on the back and think that we are more inclusive, but we have our own very significant problems with these issues.

  15. This is likely a case of an atrocity committed by a minority giving “legitimacy” to the majority xenophobia.

    No. This is a case of an atrocity committed by one nutcase giving legitimacy to the xenophobia of a couple other nutcases.

    Holland is not former Yugoslavia.

  16. Well, I am Dutch and I can say that all of you have no idea how it feels right here, right now. It’s like the entire country has gone mad. It’s not just the murder of Theo van Gogh (who called muslims ‘goatfuckers’ and published a book titled ‘Allah Knows Best’ – the latter expression must be familiar in the US), it not just the muslimschool set on fire in Uden. Last night – it’s on the news, even on this morning’s CNBC) there was a police raid on suspected muslim extremists in The Hague and apparently, a handgrenade was thrown to the police. This sort of thing may be common in other places around the world, but in the Netherlands it is jaw-dropping.

  17. Ahh, there are strong anti-immigrant sentiments in the U.S. as well (or haven’t you noticed Lonewacko’s comments?), especially in states like Arizona, California, etc., you know, where the immigrants/illegal aliens live.

    There are lots of places where (Mexican, since that’s what you’re talking about) immigrants live, in many states, Western, Northeastern, and Southern. No reason to single out Arizona and California, except because they fit your premise better.

  18. Strangely, I find one reason for hope in this article. US – Euro relations have suffered greatly during the Bush administration, and especially over Iraq (Thank you, Captain Obvious!). Perhaps if terrorist attacks by extremist Muslims in Europe continue to be given a higher political and media profile rather than being treated by most EU nations as a cost of doing business, the US and EU may have something constructive to talk about for a change.

  19. db,

    Strangely enough, that’s why I placed the “etc.” in my comments.

    clarityiniowa,

    European nations have been dealing with terrorism by Muslims far longer than we have, and they have traditionally been given a very high profile. Shit, I distinctly remember how tense Paris was during the terrorist campaign it suffered in the mid-90s, and just how much press it got. France’s efforts to combat terrorism – from detaining individuals without charge, to deportations, to trials which severely limit the rights of defendants, etc. – make John Ashcroft’s efforts look benign in comparison.

  20. clarityiniowa,

    Let’s also note that the Dutch have troops in Iraq.

    Also, I seriously doubt that more terrorism is going to make France budge in its lack of support for the war in Iraq; France already does far more than we do to combat terrorism domestically, and it is likely to simply reinforce the impression that screwing around in the middle east creates more problems than the scrrewing around solves.

  21. clarityiniowa,

    And the Dutch are considering extending their mission, unlike the Poles and Hungarians:

    http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=482547&C=europe

  22. “this strikes me as Euro-bashing.”

    Actually, it seems like it is the Muslim extremist, not Matt Welch, who are doing the Euro-bashing…or should I say Euro-slashing.

    It would be odd, if say a white mob lynched a black man in Georgia tomorrow, to post-pone assessing the significance of the event until such occurances became statistically common.

    The Dutch themselves, and most Europeans feel that events in Holland are flirting with crisis…neither Matt nor any other American has any reason to doubt their judgement about this. Someone like Jean Bart eg. might pointlessly argue anything, I s’pose.

  23. This is why hate crimes are more dangerous than other violent crimes. You don’t get schools firebombed when a holdup goes bad.

    There’s an interesting parallel going on. It would appear that some Europeans use progressive, anti-colonial language to make anti-semitism look more respectable, and to find a wider audience for their views. Similarly, it appears that some Europeans use progressive, feminist, secular language to make their anti-Muslim prejudice look more repsectable, and find a wider audience.

    Goatfuckers? Gee, Andrew Sullivan just said he wanted to protect women. Doesn’t make what happened to him right, though.

  24. Andrew,

    …to post-pone assessing the significance of the event until such occurances became statistically common.

    Do you hold the same opinion regarding “climate change” or the “precautionary principle” or the meme concerning the “religious right” and the recent election in the U.S.? And no one is arguing – or at least I am not – any such post-ponement, so please stop misrepresenting my position.

    The Dutch themselves, and most Europeans feel that events in Holland are flirting with crisis…

    Prove it. So far we’ve been presented with some anecdotal evidence of this claim, much of it – see the BBC article – the comments of editorials. Furthermore, even if that is the case, that doesn’t mean that a cris really exists. After all, we are all exposed to situations where there is thought to be a “crisis” when such a “crisis” does not exist. Chicken little, in the future would you please your brain to do the actual analysis you call for.

  25. France already does far more than we do to combat terrorism domestically

    Yes, but half of that effort comes from scratching “libert?” off their motto (moreso than we). So color me unimpressed.

    There have been anti-immigrant sentiments across Western Europe for a long, long time now.

    Intolerant Europeans?!? But they’re so enlightened!

    One murder does not make for a threat of “unbearable proportions.”

    Archduke Ferdinand?

  26. Andrew,

    BTW, I’ll note that your primary response was not to attack my arguments was to make a few unsubstantiated and to attack me personally. This demonstrates the thinness of your overall argument and provides me with an indicator of the low credibility I should assign it.

  27. Well said Andrew

  28. The good thing about firebombing a Dutch church, is that it is almost sure to be empty, especially on Sunday mornings. Now, if the Islamic terrorists start firebombing Dutch cathouses and porn shops…

  29. Welch- Muslim extremists are called Islamists. An islamicist is one who takes a scholarly approach to the study of Islam.

  30. rst,

    Yes, but half of that effort comes from scratching “libert?” off their motto (moreso than we). So color me unimpressed.

    You may be unimpressed, but their effort is serious and sincere, whether you like their tactics or not. Your metric, in other words, off-point, since my comments were not directed to the ethical nature of these actions, but to clarityiniowa’s implication that European nations aren’t serious about terrorism.

    Archduke Ferdinand?

    The Archduke’s death did not bring with it much outrage from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and certainly not much from the people of that state; indeed, it was a mere pre-text for the sabre-rattling and eventual war with Serbia that Austro-Hungarian Empire had been wetting its appetite for a long time prior the Archduke was murdered; indeed, the reaction to his death muted in the Empire for sometime after his death, before the Empire realized it could use the event for their advantage.

    That the Germans got involved followed from the sire of many of Germany’s leaders to go to war before Russia surpassed them in industrial and military might. In other words, your analogy is inapposite.

    What we have in Holland is far different, since don’t have a muted response, but a passionate one, which as far as I can tell is not being used cynically to further some pre-designed plan.

  31. kwais,

    Yes, if you think that misrepresenting the comments of others is “well said.”

  32. joe

    Goatfuckers.

    Christian fundamentalists (or even the merely very pious) have been called such, and worse…have been systematically and interminably insulted in every way their tormentors have calculated would distress them- and often by very resourceful and prestigious icons of our popular and opinion culture.

    If they lashed out by stalking some prominent examples with assasins, would you muse on the possible harm of “over-reacting”?

    No. Low-brow jibes are part of the “critique” every ethnicity and belief-system most endure in a diverse culture. Moslems gotta learn to take it. Why confuse them about this?

  33. GG

    So now the Dutch response is “apparently passionate”? And I could have sworn only moments before you contended that their (and Europe’s) response was indeterminable. Jean you gotta get your stories straight!

  34. Andrew,

    And I could have sworn only moments before you contended that their (and Europe’s) response was indeterminable.

    No, I did not claim that their response was indeterminable (and if I did, please do point it out – I doubt that you can). I did ask you to demonstrate that their was response was exactly as you claim it to be. Again, quit misrepresenting my statements.

    BTW, one wonders when you will get up to the gumption to respond to the full measure of my comments.

  35. Andrew,

    Here’s a clue, before you try to erroneously infer something about my statements, think about what you are doing. It will save you the embarressment.

  36. This is why hate crimes are more dangerous than other violent crimes. You don’t get schools firebombed when a holdup goes bad.

    Not sure if this isn’t the opposite of your justifications for hate previously, when you said third parties would be intimadated. I suppose you’ll say the Dutch are acting out of fear, but it seems to me that it’s more anger and a thirst for vengeance. Either way, just because some people go crazy in their reactions to certain events doesn’t mean the State should echo their type of thinking and do the same. I wouldn’t want the state trying to determine which types of crimes are more likely to result in vendetta, and especially not meting out variable justice based on such codified determinations. Anyway, Van Gogh was likely murdered in the first degree, which generally attracts the harshest penalty a legal system will mete out. How could calling it a hate crime make the goverment’s treatment of it any more severe? Seems if anything it would only inflame passions more, which is probably not what we want.

  37. fyodor,

    And of course the acts of arson, etc., would also carry with them criminal penalties, which are generally fairly serious when it comes to major property damage. The same is true of the explosion, since the use of explosive devices (if that’s what caused the explosion) by themselves (when used illegally) tend to carry with them extra-punishment (given the potential for significant loss of life).

  38. Andrew asks me,

    “If (Christian fundies) lashed out (against secularist media figures) by stalking some prominent examples with assasins, would you muse on the possible harm of “over-reacting”?”

    Yes. If the response to such criminal behavior was to burn down fundie churches and elementary schools, and I would argue strenuously that that wasn’t the right way to respond. Though no doubt, some assholes would try to use the crimes of the few to condemn all the Christians in America, just as some Dutch appear to have seized this opportunity to carry out their anti-Muslim pogroms.

  39. “an ominous cycle of violence in the Netherlands”

    the euro news seems to approach it from that angle, too.

    telegraaf.nl/binnenland/15490501/Haagse_wijk_belegerd.html

    telegraaf.nl/binnenland/15502551/Buitenlandse_media_wachten_in_spanning.html

    (aftonbladet.se)
    Holland: Muslimsk skola i brand
    En muslimsk skola i Uden i Holland sattes i brand sent p? tisdagskv?llen. P? v?ggarna hade mordbr?nnaren klottrat ett budskap som h?nvisade till mordet p? den islamkritiske filmaren Theo van Gogh.

    Under natten f?rs?kte en mordbr?nnare ?ven br?nna ner protestantiska kyrkor p? flera st?llen i landet.

    D?den misst?nks ha samband med attentatet mot en muslimsk skola i Eindhoven nyligen, enligt SVT

    berlingske.dk
    Luftrummet over Haag blev lukket i forbindelse med aktionen, oplyser politiet. Samtidig blev snesevis af beboere i fem omkringliggende gader evakueret.

    Situationen i Holland har v?ret sp?ndt siden drabet 2. november i Amsterdam p? den kontroversielle, hollandske filmskaber Theo van Gogh. En marokkaner, Mohammes Bouyeri, med tilknytning til radikale, muslimske kredse i Holland er blevet anholdt i forbindelse med drabet

    burning a school, threatening/attempting to burn down churches… closing the airspace…

    more on the social tensions in the netherlands and the EU… derstandard.at/?url=/?id=1853640

    more from derstandard.at
    Islamistengruppe drohte am Dienstag mit Anschl?gen

    Nach dem Mord an van Gogh hatte die Polizei zehn Verd?chtige festgenommen. Sechs von ihnen, darunter der mutma?liche Hauptt?ter, sind noch in Haft. Eine bisher kaum bekannte Islamistengruppe hatte am Dienstag mit Anschl?gen in den Niederlanden gedroht, sollten die Angriffe auf moslemische Einrichtungen nicht gestoppt werden.

    Den Haag – Nur Stunden nach der Beisetzung des vor einer Woche ermordeten niederl?ndischen Filmregisseurs und Islamkritikers Theo van Gogh ist am Dienstagabend in Uden bei Eindhoven neuerlich eine Koranschule niedergebrannt worden.

    commentary: derstandard.at/?url=/?id=1853640

    derstandard.at/?id=1849264 nuther one about more planned terror.

    krone.at:
    B?rgerkriegs?hnliche Zust?nde in den als multikulturell bekannten Niederlanden: Seit dem Mord an dem Filmregisseur Theo van Gogh h?ufen sich Anschl?ge auf islamische Einrichtungen und christliche Kirchen. Nachdem am Dienstagabend eine islamische Schule bei einem Brandanschlag zerst?rt worden ist, sind am Mittwoch Fr?h in Den Haag drei Polizisten bei einer Anti-Terror-Aktion verletzt worden. Dort bereiten Mitglieder einer Anti-Terror-Einheit die Erst?rmung eines Hauses vor, in dem sich seit Stunden Verd?chtige verschanzen.

    i guess it’s in the eye of the beholder…

  40. joe,

    I’m sorry, but it hasn’t quite reached the level of “pogrom.”

  41. fyodor,

    “Not sure if this isn’t the opposite of your justifications for hate previously, when you said third parties would be intimadated.”

    Actually I argued both – that hate crimes can provoke fear and withdrawal, and that they can provoke vengeance. Most commonly, they provoke both reactions among different people.

    “How could calling it a hate crime make the goverment’s treatment of it any more severe?” Many hate crimes don’t escalate all the way to first degree murder. But even in those cases where the penalty already maxes out, the symbolism of calling a spade a spade and the public recognition of the crime can help to diffuse the situation.

    When an act involves both the commission of a violent felony and the transmission of a message of intimidation and hate, it is important that society send a message, loud and clear, that both aspects of the crime are to be condemned. In the case where there really isn’t any more punishment that can be tacked on, the symbolic actions of the government become especially important.

  42. drf,

    As much as I always appreciate your comments, I don’t read Dutch. And the BBC article in the write-up dealt with the issue similarly. However, my argument remains that things aren’t quite as bad as made out, and I make this claim in light of the relatively few number of incidents thus far reported. You have had some incidents of property crime, but no deaths to date. Now, you may be worried where this will eventually lead to, but that is another matter entirely.

  43. I distinctly remember how tense Paris was during the terrorist campaign it suffered in the mid-90s, and just how much press it got.

    JB, the way you write this it sounds like you had some personal experience of it. Any interesting personal anecdotes from Paris to share with us?

  44. joe

    If fundies murdered an abortionist (as some have) much less a mere wise-ass, would you want the state to mute press-coverage, dictate the terms of eulogies and promote ‘sensitivity” toward the views of the devout assasins and their sympathising faith-community?

    Or would you sensationalise the event for any partisan and ideological leverage you could obtain from it?

    Honestly?

  45. drf,

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1512&ncid=732&e=4&u=/afp/20041110/wl_afp/netherlands_attacks

    The article speaks of “several incidents,” etc. As far as I can tell, Rotterdam, etc., are not quite in open revolt, people are not being strung up along the street, etc. “Several incidents” do not equal the chaos that people seem to be concluding is going in Holland right now.

  46. gotcha.

    considering what yesterday is the anniversary of, the germanic press is naturally a bit skittish.

    but seriously, “When Rotterdam is in full-scale riot mode…” den Haag is. and they are in full scale anti terror mode. they are taking it that seriously. and they are expecting it to be that serious. again, reading those blurbs above (as best we can, grin) the situation is that serious. closing airspace over a city is pretty drastic…….

    cheers,
    drf

  47. Jason, let’s hope it doesn’t. In fact, if I were a Dutch resident, I would want the government to do more than hope.

    fyodor, what actual harm will come to anyone if the government treats the likelihood of a crime causing further disturbances as an aggravating factor? All your objections so far amount to declarations that you don’t like the govenrment doing this, or the government doing that. To me, human lives, little kids’ schools, and people’s churches are more important than your vague sense of discomfort. Mind you, I can grok where you’re coming from with that discomfort, but we have to prioritize here.

  48. Jean/Gary/Jason

    You could save yourself much embarassment by not ostentatiously exhibiting your fantasy-life in a public forum – you would no longer blog, and that would be a break for the rest of us.

    thoreau Jason Bourne obtained his interesting experiences of Paris in his other life as a French marine with no intimate acquaintance with the French language.

  49. the symbolism of calling a spade a spade and the public recognition of the crime can help to diffuse the situation.

    Now there’s a solid legal principle there. And why couldn’t it just as easily have the opposite effect? And how about if the hatefulness of a crime is disputed? There is already plenty of opportunity to “call a spad a spade.” It’s called the press, the media, and general free speech. I don’t see why getting the lawyers and prosecutors involved helps the matter.

    BTW, I thought hate crimes were acts of bigotry based on group affiliation. Seems to me this was more a matter of vengeance against an individual for what he said. Is the Ayatollah’s order against Rushdie also a “hate crime?” I bet the definition will expand infinitely….

  50. Andrew,

    My main interest (outside of punishing the actual perps) would be getting other fundies to denounce it.

    But no, I wouldn’t want “the state” to mute the press coverage of a doctor’s murder by fundies. I’d want the message to be made, loud and clear, that you cannot use violence as a political tool. That’s the most important ideological message to send.

  51. thanks for the yahoo link.

    i read it a little differently from you. while i don’t see this at the level of rodney king, i do feel that matt’s/ bj

  52. thoreau,

    What I remember distinctly were the eight people killed at the Saint Michel station (go to Mont St.-Michel if you ever get a chance) bombing in July of 1995 it was just a few weeks after “Bastille Day” (the 25th is the date I recall). Several hundred people were also wounded that day and the media images of screaming people and the like were pretty terrible. Also the bomb was one of the nail-filled variety, so you can imagien how gruesome that was. I didn’t know anyone involved, but to me, it was essentially my own personal 9/11. Two more major bombings follow this (no one died as I recall, but dozens were injured), and all of Paris was super tense the rest of the summer and into the early fall; it seemed that more people than usual were leaving and staying away from the capital for the summer holidays. Then the EPIGN hunted down and killed the leader of the GIA terrorist group (in September of the same year) Khaled Kelkhal (probably butchering his name).

    Here are some pictures of Saint-Michel station that I was able to dig up:

    http://phototravels.net/paris/N0029/paris-street-38.html

    http://phototravels.net/paris/N0025/paris-street-73.html

    http://phototravels.net/paris/N0029/paris-street-36.html

  53. joe

    how will protecting the moslem community from almost ANY natural consequence of this sort of behavior going to induce their leaders to discourage it?

  54. fyodor, what actual harm will come to anyone if the government treats the likelihood of a crime causing further disturbances as an aggravating factor?

    It enables the government to play favorites, as governments generally do sooner or later, and making distinctions based on inner convictions (regardless of what you or I may make of those convictions) is a noxious thing for the government to be involved in and amounts to an attempt at thought control. Although, until we have mind reading capability, the evidence will likely be quite circumstantial. In sum, it’s arbitrary, overly vague, noxious on principle and open to abuse. For the third time, I think it will be more likely to fan passions and antagonism than settle them, because it forces the law to go outside its legitimate realm and tackle issues of politics and sociology for which it is ill suited and will likely only bumble and cause more problems.

    To me, human lives, little kids’ schools, and people’s churches are more important than your vague sense of discomfort. Mind you, I can grok where you’re coming from with that discomfort, but we have to prioritize here.

    Your statement here operates on the assumption that your formulation will have the desired calming effect on society. I operate on the assumption that violating good principles for rationalized expediency will ultimately do more harm than good. That’s what makes them good principles. If it were my personal discomfort that were at issue (that again!), I’d make it illegal for people to…do things that make me uncomfortable. Hmmm, I’ll have to think of a good example of that….. Meanwhile, sigh, of course I care about the human lives and little kids’ schools and all that. But I also care about the rights of defendents and having a rational and politically and socially neutral system of justice.

  55. Andrew,

    Is that really all you have for a comeback? The whole multiple persona thing? You’re going to have to start to learn to stop leaning on things which have nothing to do with the conversation at hand. *laugh*

    Anyway, personal attacks on me aside, you have presented no substantive response to my statements, and I think its safe to say that you never will. I mean, you may not like me, you may despise me even, but in the end that’s not really a rational argument against my statements.

  56. I’d want the message to be made, loud and clear, that you cannot use violence as a political tool.

    That’s right, only the State can do that!! LOL!! All substantive policies issues aside, I just couldn’t help thinking of the irony of that and laughing!

  57. “Now there’s a solid legal principle there.” Actually, the need to diffuse potential vendettas was the reason the government went in to the business of punishing murders to begin with – think of “weregild” in Beowulf, or Lawrence of Arabia shooting the murderer in Aqaba to prevent a blood feud from breaking out among his Arab army. So yes, I’d call the foundation of felony law to be a pretty solid legal principle.

    If the hatefulness of the crime, or any aspect of that crime, is disputed, then the jury is instructed to make a finding of fact. Count One, Aggrivated Murder Involving a Crime of Hate, how does the jury find? Count Two, First Degree Murder, how does the jury find? Juries make decisions about motive and intent all the time.

    “BTW, I thought hate crimes were acts of bigotry based on group affiliation. Seems to me this was more a matter of vengeance against an individual for what he said.” This was both, and the two can’t really be separated. He was targetted for his specific actions, because of the larger political import of those actions. Was Matthew Shepard targetted because he was gay, or because of what he said when he tried to flirt with his murderers? A pointless question, wouldn’t you agree?

    As for Rushdie, I really don’t see the difference between the mullah’s orders, and those of a mafia don telling his capo that a guy needs to go away – except that in the latter case, the commission of the murder is unlikely to result in civil disorder or intimidation of innocent people. Yes, I think ordering hits should be a crime. Yes, I think the sentencing judge should consider the entire import of the crime.

  58. drf,

    Well, I’ve presented my case as best I can; if you don’t agree with it, I cannot do anything any better to convince you otherwise. One way or another, the next few weeks or months will prove one of us wrong.

  59. There’s one very obvious element to the Theo Van Gogh murder that I’m surprised everyone overlooked. He happens to have been the great, great grandnephew of Vincent Van Gogh, perhaps the most famous, beloved and revered Dutchman of all time. They didn’t just kill a man, they killed a descendant of a national icon.

  60. Andrew, I do not believe in collective punishment. Punish the guilty, spare the innocent.

    Burning down the schools of kids who had nothing to do with the crime does not advance justice. In fact, it is a capitulation to the terrorists, in that it gives them the crusade they want.

    Van Gogh was not killed by “the muslim community.” He was killed by a specific set of individuals, who were attempting to jump start a religious war. As, apparently, are you.

  61. E. Steve

    Yes, that’s also an element involved in this.

  62. fyodor,

    Yes, that appears to be a fairly silly statement.

  63. Wow, fyodor, the monopolization of force by the state strikes you as funny? Do other foundations of civilization, like irrigation, the enforcement of contracts, and the rule of law, tickle your funny bone too?

  64. um, JB, it’s not a contest… i have no claim, nor do i try to make predictions of the future. i have merely presented articles that tell of an ominous situation in the netherlands where the dutch are taking this VERY seriously, including sealing the airspace. to me that says there is serious potential for trouble and they’re preventing it. but those measures are huge. As i said, Den haag is in full-scale anti terror mode.

    i do have legitimate questions about how you framed the presentation of this story. i found articles that gave the story in similar ways – all of them were very concerned, all of them told of special forces, evacuations, surrounding, etc.

    i make no predictions about the future here i have no idea what will happen. so i have nothing to be proven wrong here. i do wish to discuss your POV here, as it is very different from the reporting i’ve seen from european (pro EU newspapers) sources. had the link been to the krone that mentioned “civil war like situation”, how would you have reacted?

    i merely question what your original point is. i have not found any euro bashing. i have found, from four different countries (well, five, as i do not see where you get any defense from the yahoo article), stories that are consistent with the version they posted above.

    we can both disagree with bjoern’s us flag waving in the final sentence of his post (i feel it’s irrelevant to the story and that kinda krap is too much), but i do not feel you have presented your side enough – from what i understand, you have felt that there is exaggerated euro bashing in the above mentioned coverage, and that you feel that the reaction has been light.

    i have presented stories from sweden, denmark, austria, the netherlands that speak of a very tense situation. the yahoo story, as we discussed above, i honestly feel is different from your interpretation.

    what do you expect to happen there in the next few weeks and months? if you’re hoping for no deaths and less violence, i hope you’re right. otherwise, in light of how i understood your posts and what i was able to find, i really don’t know what you’re saying or where you’re going.

    again, i do know you share my low view of those who francebashed – our experiences tell us otherwise. since we’re so divergent in our readings and interpretations here, it makes me sit up on my hind legs and wish to ask you what your interpretations are (in light of our discussions here).

    thanks!
    drf

  65. ….the symbolism of calling a spade a spade….

    An infelicitous phrase, that, when discussing hate crimes. 🙂

    Perhaps we should call a spad a spade, though, if we want our biplanes confused for entrenching tools. 🙂 🙂

    Kevin

  66. drf,

    Well, my focus was on several points:

    (a) that there was some implied Euro-bashing going on here

    and

    (b) that people were somewhat over the top in their assessment of what was happening in Holland.

    I still think the latter is true, even if I have amended my thoughts (somewhat) as to the former. I do take events in Holland seriously, but I am not of the opinion that things have reached a “crisis” level there that folks like Andrew and others imply, and my thoughts as to why I have come to that conclusion have already been laid pretty clearly I think.

  67. Do other foundations of civilization, like irrigation, the enforcement of contracts, and the rule of law, tickle your funny bone too?

    Now they do! 🙂

    A pointless question, wouldn’t you agree?

    A labyrinthian one, is what I’d say. Who can say exactly what it was that made them behave the way they did?

    Juries make decisions about motive and intent all the time.

    I’ve made the point before and I’ll make it again, when juries normally make decisions about motive and intent, it is to determine level of responsibility, not to determine the level of harm done, as is the case with hate crimes (as well as discrimination crimes, too).

    At this point I will confess ignorance of Beowulf and Lawrence of Arabia (although the latter sounds like an instance of extra-legal justice), and I will consider your claim that eliminating vengeance is a proper basis of law.

  68. fyodor,

    If you haven’t already, you should read the Oresteian Trilogy if you are interested in issues of law and vengeance.

  69. “Who can say exactly what it was that made them behave the way they did?”

    Who can say what made Matthew Shepard’s killers beat him to death? Really, you’re having trouble with this?

    I think it was twinkies. No, wait, porn. No, no, when the sun hit his features in a certain way, he looked like Stalin…

    When you’re reduced to playing dumb in order to avoid admitting argument-destroying facts, the game’s over, dude.

  70. hi jb:

    and we agree there’s a general trend in bjoern’s rather neo-conish website to euro bash. that said, where is the specific article-related response? because you should read the german and scandinavian press more – you’d see tons of america bashing. or sit in on lectures or stuff. it seems a little quick on the trigger here.

    still, you’ve lived in germany – i’d assume you can understand the german posts – they say the same thing as the other articles. i pointed out where i thought your interpretations of the yahoo article were divergent from my reading of the same article.

    you expect people to have their facts straight and call them on any misreading. i’m doing that to you here. i have cited other sources that support the “ominous” claim. i have shown you that den haag was in anti terror mode (rotterdam is irrelevant), and i showed you that other european newspapers were on board with the tension there. read the editorial in der standard. while it doesn’t talk about america, it does go far in talking about simmering tensions in europe.
    (“Die knappe Million Muslime in den Niederlanden (Gesamtbev?lkerung 16 Millionen) ist de facto nicht oder kaum integriert. Sie leben in einer Parallelgesellschaft. Wenn es zu Schwierigkeiten kam, haben die Regierung und die Beh?rden das bisher eher aktiv ignoriert”)

    i can only say that my questions have been equally clear and remain unanswered: den haag is in an anti terror state. it’s from the horse’s mouth. that was not blown out of proportion. are you claiming that the dutch closing the airspace, something you’ve not responded to, is calling “chicken little”? maybe it is, maybe it wasn’t, but the chicken little card should be reserved for them, not matt or even bjoern.

    fortunately the incident appears to be over. phew.

    “that people were somewhat over the top in their assessment of what was happening in Holland”

    whenever authorities close the airspace over a major city, i’d say that’s a big event.

    check out the cover of ekstrabladet in denmark. they have pics of a dramatic hostage rescue in california. it’s presented in similar ways to this den haag (not rotterdam) story. is that america bashing?

    i’m not trying to be obtuse – dammit – we share many opinions – but i honestly don’t see any argument from you – i have presented many counter examples, from non american sources, using in some cases even stronger language, including the dutch paper, that tell a different tale from your interpretation.

    from what i understand: since there were no deaths it’s less severe than what the press (including the stories i linked to) was saying? or bjoern and matt were blowing it out of proportion? so did der standard. so did telegraaf. the yahoo story used the phrase “surge”. all contrary to your initial position.

    what were specific examples of euro bashing in the stories you were citing? contrast those to descriptions from the european press i have listed.

    “I’m correspondingly discouraged by how the people of Holland have dealt with Theo van Gogh’s murder — one death in a country of 16 million.

    This has got to be one of the most disingenuous arguments I’ve seen of late. It wasn’t merely “one death.” The author acts like it was just some random mugging/murder. ”
    –agreed. that’s bjoern for you. and if you’re hinging your entire argument on that, fine. but that doesn’t minimize how the dutch reacted here. it doesn’t minimize “surge”. just wait til arafat kicks off then read what he’ll say.

    still, his editorializing notwithstanding, the situation was severe. (closed airspace, remember?), and again, you have not pointed to any specific overblown coverage on the specific reaction/

    and i feel the articles i provided do support welch’s assessment. the yahoo one does too.

    going after bjoern for his neoconish hawkish blog which resembles the command post sometimes is cool. i just see no argumentation why in this case. i see no eurobashing beyond his usual bias but nothing remarkable here. i see no mention to rotterdam in the yahoo story. i have provided examples that support the initial claims.

    i was not making claims for the future, nor were you, for that matter.

    so your argument A) was not supported, and this can go down as your “trading sammy sosa” moment. and B) the articles i have cited and the yahoo one do not support that claim.

    you lost me here, man.

    anybody else: am i missing JB’s huge point that’s crystal clear to the rest of you? i apologize wholeheartedly to you, JB, if i did. i did the best i could with a close reading of your posts, provided counterevidence, and asked questions. even with my usual sympathetic reading to your posts, i cannot find any evidence you provide for either claim A or B.

    what’s going on here?????

    drf

  71. Andrew:

    “If they lashed out by stalking some prominent examples with assasins, would you muse on the possible harm of “over-reacting”?”

    Does hunting doctors in abortion clinics qualify?

  72. Oy joe, interesting how in paraphrasing me you left out the word, “exactly.” They were sick dicks, but to what degree they were reacting to being confronted by a gay person or to what extent they were effected by what he said or to what extent they were looking for their own sick idea of fun I don’t know, and I suspect you don’t either despite your claims that it’s all so obvious. I just don’t claim to know exactly what’s going on inside another individual’s head.

  73. Is it possible to put a filter on to exclude certain commenters when viewing comments? I get so tired of the circle jerkers and I have so little time for predictable bull.

  74. whenever authorities close the airspace over a major city, i’d say that’s a big event.

    Winter Olympic Games airspace closed during closing ceremonies
    Feb. 22, 2002 – Salt Lake City-area pilots are reminded that the airspace within 45 nautical miles of SLC International will be closed to all air traffic during the Winter Olympic Games closing ceremonies this Sunday (February 24) from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. MST.

    EASTERWOOD AIRSPACE CLOSEDJune 11, 2003 4:15 p.m.

    Texas A&M University and the FAA have announced that all airspace within a 15-mile radius is closed to air traffic until further no

    Airspace over Las Vegas Strip to be closed New Year’s Eve
    December 30, 2003
    “Jerry Bussell, Governor Kenny Guinn’s adviser on homeland security, tells The Associated Press that the airspace over the Las Vegas Strip will be closed New Year’s Eve.

    Pilot’s check-up flight draws fighters from Duluth sent to protect president
    Posted on Tue, Oct. 12, 2004
    AVIATION:A White Bear Lake, Minn., man gets caught flying in air space closed for Bush’s visit.

    The Dutch police were trying to arrest terrorists. Closing the airspace over The Hague must have seemed prudent to them.

    The airspace over The Hague was closed to small aircraft earlier after three Dutch policemen were injured in a blast at a house where suspected terrorists are hiding.

    I suppose you’ll say the Dutch are acting out of fear, but it seems to me that it’s more anger and a thirst for vengeance.

    It’s not “the Dutch”. It’s A FEW DUTCH NUTCASES!

    Ever hear of Ed Gein?

    “I suppose you’ll say the Americans are acting out of a craving for human flesh.”

    god that annoys me

  75. Joe, you can sugar-coat it all you want, but the term “hate crime” means exactly one thing: punishing a criminal because of his beliefs, instead of just his actions. Your attempt to use the public overreaction that bigots’ crimes provoke as justification for prosecuting people for bigotry is also despicable. Thoughtcrime should not be part of the American legal code.

  76. It’s not “the Dutch”. It’s A FEW DUTCH NUTCASES!

    god that annoys me

    Please excuse my hurried prose.

  77. “god that annoys me” was also meant as a italicized quote.

  78. Joe said:

    what actual harm will come to anyone if the government treats the likelihood of a crime causing further disturbances as an aggravating factor?

    Personally, I think this is a scarier idea of hate crime law, as Joe presents it, than making a judgement on “bad” and “worse” reasons for committing crimes. Making “what you did could cause problems to us based on other people’s reactions to it” a reason to increase sentence severity should strike people as pretty damned dangerous.

    Sure, a jury can make a judgement of a defendant’s motivation. It might even be reasonably accurate. But asking them to guess how other people (not even specifically known individuals, just some people) will react to the crime and use that guess to ladle on further punishment isn’t remotely just or sensible.

    For that matter, it doesn’t even have anything to do with motivation. In a reaction-guessing regime, juries should convict every criminal who kills or otherwise harms someone of a different race of a racial hate crime, regardless of what they think of the actual motivations involved, if they think the crime was “provocative”.

    Or, using another application of the principle, maybe someone mugging shoppers (or just breaking into cars) in a mall shopping lot should be punished more severely because crime at the mall might make people less likely to shop there and thus cause workers there to lose their jobs.

    It sounds like something that could easily devolve into a blank check to prosecutors.

  79. Of course, the real problem of punishing people additionally for “really bad” motivations instead of “just bad” motivations to commit crimes isn’t that it makes people nervous – it’s because it divorces the crime from the victim’s suffering (or death). The real worry becomes whatever public policy goal you want to throw in.

    Take it another way – if a hate crime is worse because it causes greater tension and distress to people, should “no one liked this guy, anyway” be a murder defense or a mitigating circumstance?

  80. drf,

    I think I’ve already told you before, but my time in Germany amounts to about three weeks, and that largely is made up of brief snippets of time (two-three day visits). I mean, I can order beer in German and perhaps ask the time, but I can’t read articles.

    As to the airspace issue, its not as big a deal as you think that it is.

  81. Eric the .5b,

    Interesting analogy. 🙂

  82. the term “hate crime” means exactly one thing: punishing a criminal because of his beliefs, instead of just his actions.

    What is the difference between “hate crime” and “terrorism”?

    The United States invaded two countries – and not because of the “action of murder”.

  83. Eric b,

    What about inciting a riot?

    What about breaking into someone’s house, and leaving the front door open to any and all to loot?

    Neither of those should be a crime?

  84. Sandy-
    No, the civilized way is for the Dutch to assume it MUST be something they did, and “that’s why they hate us”. For any non-westerner with grievances is automatically in the right. The Dutch must not try to fight back against terror, it will only get other Muslims madder at them. Truly the attack on Van Gogh was a result of his extensive military support for Israel, no? Oh wait, it was because he opened his mouth about the abominable human rights record of Muslim countries, something anyone claiming to care about “liberty” and “reason” should be doing. For that and that alone he was killed. Perhaps he will not have died in vain, and Europe will open its eyes to what we’re facing.

  85. joe,

    Depends how you incite the riot. If you do it directly and knowingly, that’s one thing. If people on the other side of the country riot because of something you did a week ago, are you to be held responsible? I’ve said before that if you can prove to a jury that the defendent was seeking and achieving such third party effects, I’m open albeit undecided on whether he should be held accountable. But hate crimes laws criminalize prejudice without any reference to having to show intent or ability to cause such third party effects.

    What about breaking into someone’s house, and leaving the front door open to any and all to loot?

    That the owner wanted the door locked and the trespasser violated his right to secure his property is the most relevant point. And besides, even if people do come in and loot, the person being effected is the original victim, not third parties. The looters would have to learn from this experience to go rob other houses for this analogy to apply.

  86. joe

    My point about the current regime of Politiical Correctness in Holland, is that it has shielded the Moslem community from ALL public expressions of outrage at the behavior of extremists, which frequently are condoned by religious figures there, and around the globe. YOU said your concern was to get leaders of the community to denounce the act…why remove the incentive?

    Certainly police can make efficiency judgements about apportioning limited resources toward different threats to public order…but that could apply to labor disputes or soccer hooliganism. Hate crime laws pin them to preconceived ideological agendas in this respect.

    Perhaps even more importantly, they send a quasi-official message to certain communities, that their sense of greivance and victimisation has a spurious official recognition – re. the Clinton administrations Black church-burning hoax…this does not help a community settle down.

  87. Joe said:

    What about inciting a riot?

    What about breaking into someone’s house, and leaving the front door open to any and all to loot?

    Neither of those should be a crime?

    Before, you were talking about aggravating factors to crimes based on reactions to those crimes; now you’re defining crimes themselves by the reactions.

    If we go that route, we’re not talking about punishing crimes more severely because they cause racial unrest – we talking about punishing people simply for causing racial unrest. To go full circle back to the topic, that approach would be to say van Gogh should have been prosecuted for his documentary because it could have caused tension and violence – and his own murder is proof of that.

    Ugh.

    Of course, that generally is the European approach to controvercial speech.

    (In my view, riot-inciting is more sensibly viewed as collusion by people to commit violence, not merely speech that might provoke someone and is thus wrong. The second scenario would be breaking and entering and damaging the security measures of a home, which should be punishable whether or not anyone’s around to loot or interested in doing so.)

  88. Though I suspect that the burglary you describe, Joe, would probably be pursuable as a tort.

  89. Andrew,

    “YOU said your concern was to get leaders of the community to denounce the act…why remove the incentive?”

    Even if you could show me that collective punishment – the use of force against the innocent to coerce others who share their ethnic or religious background into certain actions – wouuld result in good outcomes, I still wouldn’t support it. It crosses a line. No.

  90. What is the difference between “hate crime” and “terrorism”?

    The two biggest differences are (a) terrorism isn’t necessarily motivated by hate and (b) hate crimes aren’t necessarily aimed at terrorizing people. But I suspect that the question you’re getting at is “why condemn terrorism and not hate crimes?”. The answer to that question is: because it’s the act that matters, not the beliefs of the person who committed the act.

    Remember how we hawks have, since 9/11, sneered at those people who say things like “you should ask yourself why they hated you”? That’s because we don’t care what they think about us; we care that they attacked us.

    The United States invaded two countries – and not because of the “action of murder”.

    What a peculiar claim to make. The murder of thousands of Americans was most certainly the reason we invaded Afghanistan.

  91. The two biggest differences are (a) terrorism isn’t necessarily motivated by hate and (b) hate crimes aren’t necessarily aimed at terrorizing people.

    “Not necessarily”, yes. But what links the two (in my question) is the element of _motivation_.

    The murder of Aldo Moro is somehow different from the murder of Laci Peterson. The latter is a simple, everyday murder, while the former is a send-a-message murder.

    Terrorism is always a send-a-message kind of act – with a hopeful smidgeon of please-react-like-fascists.

    It is the motivation and intent behind extremist-islamist terrorist crime which has largely dictated US reaction to it and not the deaths themselves.

    the term “hate crime” means exactly one thing: punishing a criminal because of his beliefs, instead of just his actions.

    It is my contention that the invasion of Afghanistan was punishment “for beliefs” rather than just for actions. (It is also my contention that the invasion of Iraq has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.)

    Your attempt to use the public overreaction that bigots’ crimes provoke as justification for prosecuting people for bigotry is also despicable.

    So let me turn that sentence around a bit. This administration has used public reaction to terrorist crimes as justification for the invasion of two countries (so far), the infringement of the civil rights of US citizens, and an erosion of the rule of law. Some might consider that “despicable”.

    Thoughtcrime should not be part of the American legal code.

    Thoughtcrime should not be part of American foreign policy, but it is.

    The murder of thousands of Americans was most certainly the reason we invaded Afghanistan.

    Not, imo, _the_ reason, but _a_ reason. (Or rather, the excuse. See above.) You invaded Afghanistan because of the motivation of the terrorists who live there, because it was a soft target, because attacking it wouldn’t interfere with the flow of oil, because the Taliban were almost universally disdained…

    (Yes yes, I know. And to capture Osama bin Laden. Congratulations on that, btw.)

    (Back to the topic.) Motivation is already taken into account in the American legal system. “Motive, means, opportunity.” If I drive down the street and accidently run into you, that’s an accident. I may get some prison time,;I may lose my license. / If I aim my car at you intending to smear you all over the pavement and succeed, that’s murder. That’s “thoughtcrime”. Depending on where I live and what colour both of us are, I could get the chair.

    In both cases we have a smushed you. In only one case do we have a fried me.

    Anyway, I’m not expecting the Dutch to rise up in rosey-cheeked jihad any time soon.

    (There’s a thread uniting this somewhere.)

  92. It is my contention that the invasion of Afghanistan was punishment “for beliefs” rather than just for actions

    What an amazingly stupid thing to believe.

    Bored now.

  93. Holland Update:

    Dutch Muslims rally for unity

    http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=618025&section=news

    About 60 young Dutch Muslims wearing orange T-shirts reading “We won’t put up with extremism any more” cycled through Amsterdam stopping at mosques to protest against the murder.

    They then joined a Dutch-Moroccan rally of several hundred in a park near the street where Van Gogh was killed.

    “Muslims in Amsterdam are very worried and afraid but we want to say that we are part of the community and we are not going to tolerate or accept this,” said Samira Abbos, a 34-year-old Dutch-Moroccan television presenter.

  94. “The murder of Aldo Moro is somehow different from the murder of Laci Peterson. The latter is a simple, everyday murder, while the former is a send-a-message murder.”

    Raymond, in criminal law, we do distinguish between different kinds of killings, based on intent,that’s true. But “intent” is a very particular animal: “A consequence is intended when it is desired to follow as the result of the actor’s conduct.” I’ve got a gun, I knowingly point it at you and pull the trigger, knowing that you’ll probably die as a result and desiring that you die — that’s murder. Did I do it for money? For sex? To eat you? Because I hate Jews? Muslims? Those sorts of motivations are irrelevant to whether it was murder.

    Now, motive isn’t always irrelevant in criminal law: see, e.g., crimes defined in terms of doing an act with some further intention; defenses based on the rationale of justification (like self-defense); whether disconnecting someone from a life-support system is considered a mere (non-criminal) omission or culpable homicide; and “hate crimes” (where such a statute exists). And motive is usually considered relevant to sentence. See generally Kadish & Schulhofer, Criminal Law and Its Processes 214-15 (6th ed. 1995) (citing useful sources). But many of the above are properly viewed as exceptions, not the general rule; “hate crimes” and the like are highly controversial (and I’m not a fan of such laws); you can justify self-defense without having recourse to motive; and sentencing is based on a lot more than just how evil the act is, so differences in sentencing doesn’t necessarily imply a different intuition about the evil of the act.

    So, while it’s not clear that the actual practice of criminal law should have any moral weight — if you’re going to use the criminal law in this debate, most of it doesn’t support the idea that politically or religously motivated murder is worse than any other murder.

  95. JB and R:

    thanks for the 1) airspace blurbs and 2) the follow up article!

    happy vetrans day all!
    drf

  96. oh – and the discussion about the big deal of sealing the airspace – is that a chicken little action? that’s besides the point. if you want to be right. fine you’re right. good. A and B are still not substantiated.

    i still don’t think that point, which still is done for a reason (wasn’t done for the oj incident). and the rest of the language doesn’t show any indication of chicken little anti euro stuff. disputing that point (airspace) by no means supports either A or B.

    to help out with the german. and since you never remarked on it, well. “civil war like conditions”. i guess that is euro bashing and blowing it out of proportion that only matt and bjoern did.

  97. With the possible exception of Mohamed Atta, maybe Egyptian (and perhaps a Tunisian),
    the hijackers seem to have been either Saudis or Yemenis or both. None was an Afghan.

    Just under 3,200 people are now thought to have died in America on September 11 and the number of Australians believed dead or missing has also been revised down from 22 to 20 but analysis from the University of New Hampshire estimates at least 3,700 Afghans have been killed by US and British war planes, excluding military casualties.

    (Australian Radio, Dec 31, 2001)

    (On Oct 29, 2003, CNN gave the revised 911 death toll as 2,752. A more recently updated site gives 2948 as the number of “confirmed dead”. / Presumably, civilian Afghan casuality figures have risen over the years, since the country is far from pacified. Moreover, the figure cited above is for people killed by planes only.)

    October 29, 2004, 5:10pm EDT

    BIN LADEN ADMITS 9/11 RESPONSIBILITY, WARNS OF MORE ATTACKS

    A tape aired by Al-Jazeera television Friday showed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden admitting for the first time that he orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks …

    Dan: the term “hate crime” means exactly one thing: punishing a criminal because of his beliefs, instead of just his actions.

    me: It is my contention that the invasion of Afghanistan was punishment “for beliefs” rather than just for actions…

    Dan: What an amazingly stupid thing to believe.

    In attacking Afghanistan, the US was not simply punishing or even avenging 3000 murders. It was seeking to destroy a belief system.

    An outlandish statement? I think not.

    —————–
    (Though I understand the impulse, I don’t think killing thousands of people (innocent or otherwise) is the way to punish murderers or destroy this particular belief system. Rather, it seems to me that doing this can only win recruits to the Islamist cause.)
    —————

    ps – One interesting thing I’ve noticed on this board: Some people seem to think that qualifying the ideas of others as “stupid” or the people who do not share their beliefs as “fools” is an effective debating technique. Sort of a “You’re-an-idiot-shut-up” approach to Free Minds and Free Markets.

  98. It is the motivation and intent behind extremist-islamist terrorist crime which has largely dictated US reaction to it and not the deaths themselves.

    I disagree. You’re right that it was not necessarily just that thousands of people were killed, as horrible and vengeance inducing as that could easily be on its own, but that doesn’t mean that the Islamists’ ideology had much if anything to do with it either, beyond that the very foreignness of it helped paint them as evil “others.” What was of paramount importance was that it felt like an attack that was part of an ongoing process. That is, it was not an isolated incident, like it might have been if they just had some beef with the people in the World Trade Center (and the Pentagon and whereever else). It was an attack at the entire US and a statement that it would continue. Now, it’s not likely we would have simply shrugged our collective shoulders if we had viewed the attack as simply a common crime writ large. But if our reaction is not entirely explained by that, it’s due to the sense that this was part of an ongoing process and thus an act of war, not because the enemy is motivated by “hate.” Well, at least it should be. I can’t claim to know exactly what motivates others, but I think that’s at least as plausible an explanation.

  99. Kenneth –

    Thanks for the interesting and… _nice_ post.

    if you’re going to use the criminal law in this debate, most of it doesn’t support the idea that politically or religously motivated murder is worse than any other murder.

    I’m not a lawyer. (You guessed.) And I don’t believe the state has a valid power to punish – “hate crime” or not. But we’re in the real world, so I’ve got a serious question for you.

    Where I live, we have a system of “aggravating” and “mitigating” circumstances which are taken into consideration at the time of sentencing. (I found this on the Net, so the system exists in American law, too.)

    Every “hate crime” I’ve heard of in the US has been “especially heinous, cruel, or depraved”, so I don’t see the need for a specific “hate crime” statute or aggravating circumstance.

    Do you think that a murder like that of Matthew Shephard – one which was, perhaps, intended to sow panic among gay people – is conceivably different in nature because of that? And, if a terrorist is put on trial, are there any aggravating circumstances (not those listed in the Arizona link. Though I think the “pecuniary gain” article leads the way), which might apply which take into account the _intent_ of the terrorist?

    Thanks.

    raymond

  100. It was an attack at the entire US and a statement that it would continue.

    Would you agree that the 911 attack was primarily symbolic? (I think the world was shocked by the symbolism more than anything else. Yes, 3000 people dead is appalling. But it was, imo, the targets themselves which stunned everyone.)

    not because the enemy is motivated by “hate.”

    If I gave the impression of thinking the terrorists were motivated (purely, or even primarily) by hate and that therefore we are dealing with a “hate crime”, I haven’t been clear. I think the deaths were just a means to an end.

  101. think the deaths were just a means to an end.

    Of course, the end being some sort of “destruction” of America. If our nation reacted (and was justified in doing so) beyond how we would have treated a common crime writ huge, it was because we were aware of this “end.” Now, one could associate that goal with the Islamo-terrorists’ belief system, but it wasn’t that belief system per se (or at least shouldn’t have been, and I don’t think it mostly was) that elicited our reaction. It was the goal of fighting an ongoing war with us with the ultimate goal of our destruction. They can fantasize about destroying America all they want and it would not elicit a military reaction. They can actively seek to destroy us for whatever reason, and it obviously will have a very extreme reaction. Sure the terrorists chose their targets for largely symbolic reasons, but it was that they had real consequences that we cared. BTW, I would not deny at all that your theorem might have play in the opposite direction, that is, perhaps a large part of their motivation is based on ideological animus with us. I hate falling into that “they hate us because we’re free” hole, but it may very well help explain their passion, goals and tactics. Ours can be explained by a fear of further attacks and a belief that since they started a war, the tactics of war are required to “defeat” them.

  102. If I gave the impression of thinking the terrorists were motivated (purely, or even primarily) by hate and that therefore we are dealing with a “hate crime”

    I thought you were drawing a parralel between fighting an ideology and fighting “hate.” My apologies if I got you wrong on that. But in that case, just replace my use of the word “hate” with “a particular nefarious ideology.”

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