Londonistan

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The Washington Post this morning offers a lengthy piece about the "sprawling shape and deep history of al Qaeda and related extremist groups in London." Writes the Post, the British capital long ago "became 'the Star Wars bar scene' for Islamic radicals, as former White House counterterrorism official Steven Simon called it, attracting a polyglot group of intellectuals, preachers, financiers, arms traders, technology specialists, forgers, travel organizers and foot soldiers."

"Today," according to the piece, "al Qaeda and its offshoots retain broader connections to London than to any other city in Europe . . ."

The NYT fronts its own version of the London story, writing that in recent years, "Britain had become a breeding ground for hate," and its capital "a crossroads for would-be terrorists who used it as a home base . . ."

The New Stateman's Jamie Campbell wrote last August about Why terrorists love Britain.

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  1. Maybe someone in Britain could answer this: has any of the hate-speech legislation Labour has passed been used to go after muslim extremists, or is it solely used against white skinheads?

  2. Hate speech laws used against anyone other than white racists and homophobes? LOL

  3. British capital long ago became ‘the Star Wars bar scene’ for Islamic radicals

    Dirka dirka, Mohammed jihad!

  4. Hit and Run is amazing for astoundingly stupid responses to intelligently posed questions. A higher percentage of morons must post here than anywhere else in the bogosphere. What is it about libertarianism that attracts the cretin element?

  5. Milk for your cereal gone sour this morning, Sam?

  6. Sam didn’t like my pig latin last night either, but what I really wanted to say is the US (and other western govenments) are already in the midst of big two-front wars: On terror and on certain drugs. Both are unwinnable. Both must come to a screeching halt, because the residual damage done will take years to repair even if governments had the sense to bring both fronts to a screeching halt.
    Did anyone notice the irony of Tony Blair and the Queen being so sure terrorists will not change the British way of life, while Britain and the US are determined to change Iraqi way of life?

  7. Dirka dirka, Mohammed jihad!

    Yep, I think it’s time for Team Britain, World Constables

  8. Ruthless,
    The war on Drugs should be stopped. But to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, and to stop fighing an enemy that is intent on destroying us is foolish.

    We are in this fight one way or another. We pick the battlefields or they will. And they will pick some of the battlefields anyways.

  9. So, the slogan for the London Olympics is “You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy,” then?

  10. ruthless argues an assinnine moral equivalency: Did anyone notice the irony of Tony Blair and the Queen being so sure terrorists will not change the British way of life, while Britain and the US are determined to change Iraqi way of life?

    The Iraqi bloggers I read are fucking delighted to have their way of life “changed.” Living under a genocidal tyrant who flayed alive, dismembered, and otherwise tortured and raped hundreds of thousands, or simply murdered them, and piled bodies of men women and children in mass graves, and who allowed no dissent at all, is just the sort of thing most sensible people would want their lives changed from. Recall that Saddam was harboring one of the terrorists from the ’93 WTC bombing, as well as the savage who threw American citizen Leon Klinghoffer from his wheel chair and into the ocean?

    Yeah, those butt-insky guys Bush and Blair sure deserve to have bombs going off in their nations’ mass transit systems for such unspeakable behavior as putting an end to all that bullshit. (eyes rolling)

    Recall the ink-stained fingers and smiling faces from last January 30, ruthless?

  11. But to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, and to stop fighing an enemy that is intent on destroying us is foolish.

    No, what is foolish is to confuse these two, separate problems, as the administration did…or claimed. Afghanistan is part of the war on terror and necessary to win. Iraq is a very expensive distraction that just gives AQ another excuse to recruit.

    We pick the battlefields or they will. And they will pick some of the battlefields anyways.

    Seems like they’re picking all the battlefields, kwais. Win or lose in Iraq, that won’t stop them from bombing in US/Europe again.

  12. We’re sitting in an interesting place right now. I have no doubt that going into Iraq may result in an [i]inherently good[/i] result, and that while we [i]may[/i] be seeing some progress there, the fact of the matter is that we went in in the wrong way, for the wrong (claimed) reasons, and without proper world support. I simply can’t accept the Iraq war for those reasons. Rest assured of course I do still fully support the troops in the field.

    Afghanistan of course is entirely different. I think that that was done right, from the start. And I sometimes wonder how much better a position we’d be in with respect to terrorism had we devoted even half of the resources and money into finishing our business there, that we did in invading an entirely new Middle Eastern nation.

  13. Evidently I don’t know how to use italics.

  14. Walrus,
    Fuck the rest of the world. Those that are with us now are our friends, the rest were using feigned friendship against us anyways.

    We would be a lot worse in Afghanistan if we had not gone into Iraq IMO.

    Cdunlea,
    We picked Iraq and Afghanistan, so apparently we are picking some of the battles. We are chaising Zarqawi all over Iraq, instead of him sending people to our home (well, he’s probably dead now, but still the point remains).

    Iraq and Aghanistan, two parts of the same fight. Both as important as the other.

    You may be right, our efforts over there may not prevent them from attacking us here again. But it does make it harder on them. Lets fight back right?

  15. Not sure how many people clicked through to the New Statesman’s article. But it’s fundamental premise (that England is safe so long as it allows local fundamentalist reign) has just been blown to bits.

    Be interesting to see what happens there now.

  16. Kwais.

    All or nothing proposals are always dangerous. Especially in this day and age where increased globalization and international interaction are a reality. This isn’t Englands Empire of the 19th century. America can’t expect every nation to follow us into every endeavor. The fact that they may not certainly, I would think, doesn’t mean that they’ve just been feigning friendship with us.

  17. I’ll grant that Afganistan was probably not a bad descision for our own interest. But while a free Iraq is definitely better for many Iraqis it’s not necessarily a good choice for protecting our safety

  18. Brittania, fuck yeah!

  19. “big two-front wars: On terror and on certain drugs.”

    Only “certain” drugs?

  20. I respect the Ruthless dedication to anarchist principle. May I reflect the same argument he made here: Libertarians who attempt to fight two wars, against WoD and WoT, simultaneously will likely find their resources stretched thin and success limited. Both may be winnable from the anarchist perspective (all we need is an ending, there’s no “occupation” required), but are they winnable simultaneously.

    Of the two, WoD is more perniciously threatening to USA lives, and I have viable tools in hand to fight against it. Both terrorism and the WoT are threatening, yet to fight against the WoT I must in some ways support terrorism itself.

    To date, non-violent means have been successful only where order, civil law, and human sympathy are well-established. If I choose to walk behind Gandhi and MLK, I must wait for the warriors to beat back the terrorists before I step up. The battle against the WoD, however, can be pursued immediately by non-violent means.

    This does not mean I turn a blind eye to the foolish aspects of the WoT. I am just trying to allocate my resouces wisely.

    R wellor: I read it. Trusting fanatics invites betrayal. It will be interesting, indeed.

  21. Only “certain” drugs?

    There are far more legal drugs than illegal.

  22. Evidently I don’t know how to use italics.

    Walrus,

    Use the angular brackets and it will work. I had the same problem when I first posted here.

  23. Gee, I thought “blaming the victim” for terrorist incidents was unfair and even immoral. Could someone please send me the new playbook?

  24. Yeah, war on certain drugs. It’s a moving target. Witness the recent crackdown on the raw materials for amphetamines. By calling it a war on certain drugs, I think it picks up a bit of the insanity.

    But to Dynamist’s point about wanting to end both fronts simultaneously. I think it’s good to connect them in people’s minds, because, again, it picks up on their insanity.
    A war of ideas can easily be fought on many fronts simultaneously. The trick is to stick with fundamental principals, such as I own my own body. With regard to terrorism, everyone needs to acknowledge the prime aim of governments is to paint a target on their citizens’ backs. The only way to remove the target is to be a “citizen of the world.”
    The US, as the superpower of the world, is super zealous at painting targets.

    Stick with fundamental principals and a lot of dominos will begin falling in the right directions, for a change.

  25. I don’t quite get how that could be construed as a ‘prime aim’ of a government – any government. I’m no apologist for the state, but I also don’t think they have as any discernable goal the targeting of their citizens. Now as a side effect of state action, I think, a large degree of target painting is undeniable.

  26. Here’s more information on England’s lax immigration and asylum policies.

    It’s certainly surprising to see Reason even mentioning these Londonistan articles, as, just for one example, just a few months back they were encouraging inviting in millions of Muslims from Southeast Asia to do serf labor in the U.S.

    Libertarians getting smart, or just covering their bets?

  27. “Now as a side effect of state action, I think, a large degree of target painting is undeniable.”

    TheWalrus,
    As an anarchist, I’d like complete state inaction–rigor mortis.

    The purpose of a state is to define what makes one state different from another. Another name for it is patriotism. That paints targets.
    Patriotism is bad for business, bad for living, bad for the pursuit of happiness.

    Has anyone asked an intelligent Iraqi who may just be trying to keep his head down, what he thinks of Bush’s idea of fighting terrorists in Iraq’s back yard instead of America’s?

    State is for separating the sheep from the goats, for separating the us from the them.

  28. Perhaps I don’t know enough about the anarchist philosophy, but as I’ve always considered it wouldn’t complete state inaction lead inevitably to the Hobbesian state of nature? A complete relinquishing of Social Structure and Order, wich would, to paraphrase Pirsig require an abandonment of intellectual advancement and a complete reversion to basic biology and a fairly ‘nasty, bruitsh and short’ existance for all of us. Something I’m sure we can all agree is bad.

  29. Walrus,

    Ruthless isn’t that kind of anarchist (nor are any of the other anarchists around here that I know of). He advocates being rid of the state and allowing private interest to enforce contracts, provide security/roads and all the other things people normally associate with a state.

  30. TheWalrus,
    I’d be the first to be an optimist saying human societies have made progress, and will continue making progress. But, it has been in spite of governments, or, more to the point, FAITH in governments’ supernatural powers.

    And Mona, I want to be courteous enough to give you an answer. Your name always reminds me of Helen Keller, in that she needed to keep one hand free during sex to moan with. Your posts are likewise mostly moaning.
    So here’s your answer: Yes, Saddam is one bad dude. So what? I’ve been trying for years to incite Bush to go after Mugabe. Nada.
    Even from your point of view, why not just extract the bad guys such as Saddam and Osama, and let the locals pick up the pieces?
    This nation-building crap is attempting to change the Iraqi way of life. Admit it.
    Granted the Iraqi way of life needs changing, but paying kwais to change it is just not cost effective, nor is it morally straight.

  31. Well that sort of anarchy can’t work either. You come to a huge stumbling block with the judiciary system. You need to preserve the independence of the judiciary right? As long as you have a system of laws that maintain some notion of peace and order. I really doubt that you’d be able to maintain that independence in a private system. I figure that because there are two alternatives in a private system. Either you have competition between more than one actor or you have a monopoly. In the first case, lets say you have competition between privately run systems of judges, lawyers, police, etc. In that case what is to stop these independent judicial systems from simply handing out justice to the highest bidder. if you break one law, go to Corp. X to be aquitted. break another, go to Corp. Y for the same result. I suppose that you could say that you could have a standardized legal code, or use the existing Common Law Base. But that won’t work for two reasons (at least) that I can see. First, who would create a that code. You coldn’t have the corporations do it I would venture to say, because you’d just end up with the same problem of ‘judical code made to order’. The second reason would center around the fact that the last thing we want is two, three, or four tired justice. If you have more money you can go to the best justice systems – the best judges, the best lawyers, the nicest jails. If you don’t, you get the Bar admission rejects. Anyone claiming to value individual liberty should see that this simply won’t fly.

    So, what about one corporation doing it? Eliminating the competition. At that point, it would seem that you just have what is functionally a government anyway. Except without the minor incovenience of 4 year terms and elections. I’m a big believer in checking power, and putting corporations in charge of the judicial system – the single biggest area of encroachment on civil liberties in our world today isn’t the way to do it. You can’t have competition, and you can’t have one major corporation doing it.

    That said, then you’re forced to admit that some standardized form of administration of justice is best – the monopoly – and if you have a monopoly you want to keep it as accountable as possible.

    Therefore Goverment is a necessity in at least one arena.

  32. Mona wrote, “The Iraqi bloggers I read are fucking delighted to have their way of life ‘changed.'”

    Yes, I’m sure the blogging community in a Third World nation offers a representative demographic sample….

  33. “Recall that Saddam was harboring one of the terrorists from the ’93 WTC bombing, as well as the savage who threw American citizen Leon Klinghoffer from his wheel chair and into the ocean?”

    Surely you’re not suggesting that this justified the occupation of Iraq?

    If Saddam Hussein had killed Abu Abbas and Abdul Rahman Yasin like he killed Abu Nidal, would you have dropped your support for the invasion?

    …cause, just countin’ American casualties, I don’t think those two men alone justify the body count. Maybe if you established that there was some kind of collaborative relationship with those terror networks, but that’s the problem, isn’t it?

    “Yeah, those butt-insky guys Bush and Blair sure deserve to have bombs going off in their nations’ mass transit systems for such unspeakable behavior as putting an end to all that bullshit. (eyes rolling)”

    I don’t see where Ruthless suggested any such thing.

  34. ruthless writes: Your name always reminds me of Helen Keller, in that she needed to keep one hand free during sex to moan with. Your posts are likewise mostly moaning.

    This is a good example of why I have greatly decreased my participation here. Gratuitous, adolescent sexual references and slams; repartee between Jennifer and her boyfriend, and others, about sex-based web sites going on for many posts; vulgar put-downs of anyone who disagrees, these are not my things or preferences in the context of exchanging political views. If libertarians are bright and have ideas to offer, their fora should do better.

  35. Jack writes: Yes, I’m sure the blogging community in a Third World nation offers a representative demographic sample….

    No, it does not. However, they have not been able to blog until after the U.S. liberated them. They are quite new, and of those now newly online, most are delighted to be expressing themselves. Most of those taking advantage of the recent freedom like the liberation.

    Do you think this means nothing?

  36. Walrus,

    Those are the good arguments against it. The defence tends to go along the lines that firms handing out poor justice would find themselves under siege from the multitudes of competitors, and that when they don’t have the ability to simply ramp up fees (see taxation in traditional government) finding your firm in war against you competiors would be highly unprofitable. In the end this is supposed to lead to negotiated non-violent/low-cost justice delivered to consenting clients for competitive prices. Would it work? Who the hell knows. Will it ever be tried? I don’t see it in our lifetimes. But it’s a pretty interesting concept, and probably worth looking into to some extent.

  37. Surely you’re not suggesting that this justified the occupation of Iraq?
    If Saddam Hussein had killed Abu Abbas and Abdul Rahman Yasin like he killed Abu Nidal, would you have dropped your support for the invasion?

    And what if the Taliban had executed Osama in October of 2001? Should we not have routed the Taliban?

    Saddam also tried to assassinate a former U.S. President.

    My support for the War in Iraq is a coupling of idealism and pragmatism. On the first point, he was a murderous tyrant who hated the U.S. and harbored those who attacked us. On the second, Iraq is a crucial geopolitical spot that should not be in the hands of a murderous anti-American asshole.

    I would add, the Muslim jihadists thought we were in the grips of post-Vietnam malaise, and would not use force. We have shown this to be a mistaken assessment, and tyrants all over the ME are now nervously getting democracy fever. GOOD.

  38. Mona,
    I’m sorry if you have been offended by posters here in the past and I’ll give you that the Helen Keller thing was a bit heavy-handed (no pun intended), but your original post was a bit offensive to my intelligence. I mean, Mass graves, Abu Abbas, we know that. Next you’ll be telling us that he was mean to the Kurds. One of the reasons I enjoy reading H&R is that the level of discussion usually begins above the intro level.

  39. Mona,
    I should also add that I basically agree with you.

    I should also add that the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Van Gogh were quite shocking to me. They seemed like kindred spirits and their deaths, along with the events in London, bring up an issue that is certainly vital for us to discuss. That being, how can we, as libertarians, continue to advocate for open borders when there are people who have every intention of thwarting our goals by utilizing that very system? It seems like the elephant in the room to me.

  40. Walrus: Attempting to advance the ball for brother Ruthless, you seem on the right track recognizing the effectiveness of the common law. There is no code, just a reasoned history of jurisprudence which is followed voluntarily as individual actors who violate it are ostracized rather than coerced. In Anarchtopia there are far fewer “laws” but perhaps more claims of tort. The judgements, too, would tend to reflect only actual damages in order to achieve equity rather than engineer behaviour, and are perhaps more likely to be paid psychologically because there’s no scolding authority to rebel against.

    Mona: I recognize the reasons for your diminished participation. As thoreau might add, it would have been worse under Kerry. Thanks for showing up when you do. Your posts seem well-thought and show a consistent perspective.

  41. mk,
    There is some pretty good discussion here. I love that I can talk to people know so much more about these topics than I do, and it amazes me that I can post a comment and a few minutes later get a response from the actual writer of the article. Some of the discussion on the blogs out there is pretty low-level, but at some places I feel a little overwhelmed. H&R gives a pretty good balance and there’s some quality devils advocates here keping peopleo there toes.

  42. mk: The inability to use force hinders the advance of libertarian/anarchist ideals. Until we grow to the cooperative global unity that Ruthless suggests, I propose taking seemingly achievable steps where the ground is ready. It may not be pure in principle, but anarchy inside of a secure border seems better than either statism or death.

  43. Dynamist,
    fortunately libertarianism and anarchism allow for force in self-defence, an advantage the arly Christians didn’t allow for, and they got pretty huge. Unfortunately most of the time the risk involved in selfdefense is percieved as a greater cost than forfieting your threatened property/liberty. If ever there was a proper time for Guliani’s “broken windows analogy” then against ratcheting oppression was it.

  44. “Attempting to advance the ball for brother Ruthless,”

    Thanks Dynamist.
    I need all the help I can get, as I need to keep one hand free myself, seeing as how I tend to bounce back and forth between here and porn sites. Plus another hand for lifting my cup o’cheer.
    Life is good. No moaning from here.

  45. Okay, Captain, just how are you defining “self”?

  46. mk writes:I mean, Mass graves, Abu Abbas, we know that. Next you’ll be telling us that he was mean to the Kurds. One of the reasons I enjoy reading H&R is that the level of discussion usually begins above the intro level.

    Some things ought not be dismissed at the “intro level.” Auschwitz. The Gulag. Pol Pot. Saddam. They tortured and killed millions. Do you grasp that? I mean, grasp it beyond your keyboard in other than an analytical manner?

  47. I just did a search on the previous thread, “Please Fondle My Buttocks,” and, sure enough, Mona had not posted there… yet.

  48. Ruthless said: “Patriotism is bad for business, bad for living, bad for the pursuit of happiness.”

    Poppycock. Patriotism is currently a useful way of protecting a culture and creed – one that is under constant assault within our borders by the multiculturalists. Unrestricted immigration is guaranteed to rot our Anglo-Protestant cultural roots to the core (see recent Mexican immigration as an example). It is these roots and their offshoots which give us the very unique culture and creed that is American – yes, that includes such things as libertarianism. Or does Sharia Law float your boat?

    Ruthless also said: Has anyone asked an intelligent Iraqi who may just be trying to keep his head down, what he thinks of Bush’s idea of fighting terrorists in Iraq’s back yard instead of America’s?

    It’s a rationalization used by Western politicians. This is all rather irrelevant to the average Iraqi since the much weightier matters of Saddam’s kidnapping, rape and murder sprees are neutralized and new hope for a better life can possibly come to fruition.

  49. mk makes a point that is very difficult forme: I should also add that the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Van Gogh were quite shocking to me. They seemed like kindred spirits and their deaths, along with the events in London, bring up an issue that is certainly vital for us to discuss. That being, how can we, as libertarians, continue to advocate for open borders when there are people who have every intention of thwarting our goals by utilizing that very system? It seems like the elephant in the room to me.

    I am so torn up about this. Until the last few years, I’ve been a totally “open borders” advocate. But what does a democratic society do when anti-democrats who refuse any assimilation want entree by the millions? I am still working it out, and tending toward some control of Islamacist immigration.

  50. Ruthless,
    I meant in the traditional body/property sense. Like those farmers in China fighting for their property, something most of us here applaud. Whereas my understanding of the early Christian interpretation of “turn the other cheek” meant dropping your sword as the lion was released.

  51. Mona said:I am so torn up about this. Until the last few years, I’ve been a totally “open borders” advocate. But what does a democratic society do when anti-democrats who refuse any assimilation want entree by the millions? I am still working it out, and tending toward some control of Islamacist immigration.

    Precisely. Although it took me probably less time to reach this conclusion. Probably a few months after 9/11 and a few days after reading American Jihad.

  52. I agree,
    Majoritarianism + Free imigration + large swaths anti-freedom would-be imigrants
    sure seems like a dangerous equation. And item #2 seems like the most controllable variable to change the outcome.

  53. Mona: From similar feelings, I think, springs my notion of “achievable” anarchy.

    By the grand strategy of Mao and Ho, using appropriate techniques in each phase of the struggle, but with increasing amounts of non-violence rather than cruelty, to reach the end phase of a conventional non-violent overthrow of the old order.

    We must wean people from their dependence on the sword and the state; and help them find, through subversive tactics, the better angels of their nature.

  54. Captain: Fwiw, my reading of what JC actually said is that completely pacifist early Christian interpretation. Essentially everyone who claims to be Christian seems to have lost the meaning. Perhaps because it is so physically powerless…?

  55. “And what if the Taliban had executed Osama in October of 2001? Should we not have routed the Taliban?”

    Occupying Afghanistan wasn’t just a matter of catching Osama bin Laden; it was also a matter of disrupting Taliban support of an active terror network that attacked us. It was a war of self-defense.

    A mixture of idealism and pragmatism also drives my opposition to the Iraq War. By idealism, I mean the value of life and by pragmatism, I mean the cost/benefit analysis from the perspective of the American people.

    …I admit that I thought there would be many more American casualties than there have been. Still, there have been far too many for what we got in return.

    …and it’s not clear to me that the connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, at the time that we invaded, was sufficiently dangerous to warrant such a sacrifice. In fact, I suspect that the threat that Al Qaeda presents to the American people from Iraq may be greater now and in the future than it was at the time we invaded.

    Assuming all the reports are true, Saddam tried to kill the President in 1993, a full ten years before the invasion of Iraq. I don’t think you’ll find anyone in this forum who thinks that Saddam Hussein is anything other than a horrendous butcher, but who, in 1993 or 2003, thought that we should occupy Iraq because of Saddam’s attempt to kill Bush the Elder?

    …Some things are more expensive than valuable. I don’t think we should ignore the value of Iraqi civilian life, but even if we do, more than 1,700 American troops are dead and almost 7,000 have been wounded. …So what did we get for that?

    If there was any question about Iraq collaborating with Al Qaeda before, there’s no question that Al Qaeda is as thick as fleas there now. …and it’s still capable of hitting targets in Madrid and London. Surely it’s a testament to our domestic efforts that they haven’t struck here since 9/11, ’cause surely they would if they could. Do you attribute the lack of a follow up attack to the invasion of Iraq? If so, why?

    …I find myself wondering that if we had to attack a member of the axis of evil, maybe we should have chosen another target? …Maybe Iran? Iran has an active WMD program, and it supports Hezbollah. Elements of what became Hezbollah murdered hundreds of Americans in 1982, did they not? So why didn’t we invade Iran instead?

    I suppose the answer is that in spite of the reality of a WMD program and openly supporting terrorism, the cool heads looked at the likely costs and benefits and prevailed.

    So what were the benefits of the Iraq War? Saddam Hussein wasn’t much of a threat to his neighbors, not under the watchful eye of the coalition, at least. So what did we get Mona? What did the American people get for their sacrifice? Are we safer now? …Are we safer from Al Qaeda now than we were before?

  56. So what were the benefits of the Iraq War? …So what did we get Mona? What did the American people get for their sacrifice? Are we safer now? …Are we safer from Al Qaeda now than we were before?

    Neither one of us can possibly have the answers yet. We have our theories, among which I am sure we share mutual disagreement, but that is all we have.

  57. Captain, I’ve had similar conversations with my less enlightened friends. Ironically, the symptoms deriving from the entanglement of state and business drives many people to ask for MORE government.

  58. Captain: When self-defense is interpreted to mean pre-emptive force I think we’re on soft ground, libertarianally. I’m not sure I have standing to punish you for a crime you’re only contemplating. Suicide attacks are a puzzler, since I have no lever upon the people who wronged me. I sould look up the common-law wisdom on matters where the violator has nothing left from which I might take to achieve equity.

  59. Dynamist.

    I’m fairly sure that the Common Law would give very little to you. Certainly nothing beyond a lawsuit against that bombers estate.

  60. Dynamist,
    Well you could soak the remains in hogs blood. Might be harder to collect on those 77 virgins and serve as a deterent. disgusting joking aside, you have a good point and I don’t like pre-emptive strikes, they reek of thought crime. Sadly I can’t think of much to do, Thoreau has good points about a vigilant public making 9-11 impossible to repeat and it makes me all teary-eyed when he goes off on that rant, but the day to day stuff like in Isreal and Iraq, I haven’t heard too much in the way of good answers, libertarian or otherwise.

  61. Oops, messed up my tags.

  62. Mona wrote, “Do you think this means nothing?”

    Yeah, pretty much. Iraqis who blog in English constitute probably less than 1% of the country’s population, certainly no more than 5%. They will, a priori, be people who are (A) well-off by the standards of their countrymen, (B) tech-savvy; (C) pro-western. I’m far more interested in attitudes of the 95% of Iraqis who don’t share those traits, because while I recognize that “majority rules” is not necessarily the best way to conduct things, it is how the world works most of the time. If most Iraqis don’t want the occupation to continue (which even the CIA’s own polling indicates), then the fact that some miniscule fraction of the population thinks it’s swell doesn’t mean anything in terms of the country’s stability or the moral correctness of the occupation.

  63. Where did those figures come from? Iraq wasn’t exactly in the dark ages before we arrived. I’d be surprised if less than 5% of Iraqi’s have internet access. That said, since I have no figures, I’m not going to quote any.

    What I do find interesting though are the long lines of men flocking to enroll in the Iraqi armed forces and police. Despite the frequent bombings and death. Certainly that points to some positive reaction among the Iraqi people.

  64. Walrus said: What I do find interesting though are the long lines of men flocking to enroll in the Iraqi armed forces and police. Despite the frequent bombings and death. Certainly that points to some positive reaction among the Iraqi people.

    To add a little color here, the Left’s retort to your optimism is a carbon copy of the tired argument that members of our armed forces don’t really volunteer at all but are essentially forced to join due to lack of other opportunities.

    They might actually have more of a point in Iraq. But I don’t really care. The sooner we can get the Iraqis up and running, the sooner we can consider getting out of Dodge.

  65. TheWalrus wrote, “Where did those figures come from?”

    Well, let’s see, according to a Pew survey, approximately 8 million Americans have blogs: http://www.blogweblog.com/index.php?p=64

    Given that the US population is roughly 300 million, that means only about 2.6% of *Americans* are bloggers. Why in God’s name would you think that number would be higher in Iraq?

  66. Oh yeah Mike. There are pleanty of depressing alternatives out there, and while I’m usually not one who goes looking for rainbows in every pile of shit, I can’t help but hope for a little reason for optimism in the next Big Muddy.

  67. jack writes:Yeah, pretty much. Iraqis who blog in English constitute probably less than 1% of the country’s population, certainly no more than 5%. They will, a priori, be people who are (A) well-off by the standards of their countrymen, (B) tech-savvy; (C) pro-western

    Do you think well-off, tech,savvy, pro-western Iraqis opinions mean nothing?

  68. Well Jack, I don’t. To be frank I had no idea how many American’s have ‘blogs’ and given that information I’m sure that the Iraqi numbers are similar, if not a lot lower.

    That said, Bloggers in the US and Canada I would guess represent a decent cross sample of opinions. I don’t see any really compelling reason why it wouldn’t be the same in Iraq.

  69. Mona wrote, “Do you think well-off, tech,savvy, pro-western Iraqis opinions mean nothing?”

    If you had read the rest of my post you snipped the quote from, you would have seen my answer to that question already.

  70. In the immortal words of Officer Barbrady, “Nothing to see here, move along…”

  71. Ruthless,

    Patriotism is bad for business, bad for living, bad for the pursuit of happiness.

    Hmmm. To me, this looks like patriotism that’s been harnessed to a new mule.

    I mean, it’s all about advocating particular ways of living, right?

    Historically, people who have foisted a new way of living on the masses, have had a peculiar sort of arrogance. 🙂 You got to believe in what you sell, boy!

    We must wean people from their dependence on the sword and the state; and help them find, through subversive tactics, the better angels of their nature.

    I find the anrachy angle interesting for one simple reason: gov’t beauracracy is impervious to change. Once it’s given life, it grows like mold that even clorox won’t kill it….

    But I have little faith that people will evolve the right sensibilities to make this system work. At least not in my life time And I have serious questions about how certain aspects of anarchism even could work. Still, in some basic ways I admire the ideals.

    fwiw, Christianity got big only when people started loosing faith in the old order. Which happened, because the Romans could no longer keep the barbarians at bay, for one thing, and they couldn’t stop the butchery when new emporers took over, for another, and so on.

    Look for the big break down. That’s where the best opportunity will probably be.

  72. Dynamist,

    When self-defense is interpreted to mean pre-emptive force I think we’re on soft ground, libertarianally.

    How come? Seriously.

    This is slippery ground.

    No pre-emption? Ever? Are you — are we libertarians — really, really sure we mean this? I think the answer is not so cut and dried, though I’ve heard many libertarians attempt to argue that it is.

    Hitler is a perfect example. If anybody in Europe had bothered paying attention to what he was saying, they would have picked up on where he wanted to go. Ditto with the Soviets later on. And ditto, I say, with PRC right now today.

    Should we invade the PRC right now? I think probably not. But I also won’t rule out the possibile scenerio that invading them pre-emptively might be the smartest move.

    The international stage is not an anarchist utopia. It’s far worse. It’s a grade school recess playground, except there’s nobody to monitor the children. Nor can you leave the playground. There’s no self defense except what you can muster on your own.

    So, say there’s a bully on the playground and you know he’s after you. You think, in fact, that he intends to kill you if he can.

    Mind you, he hasn’t laid a finger on you yet. But everything in your gut tells that this guy wants to do you in. And the guy is a lot bigger and stronger than you are….

    Does the libertarian credo require that you, that we all, must wait for the bully to throw the first punch? In a circumstance where your only real advantage would be a surprise attack?

    If that’s the libertarian stance, then let me be the first to say it’s stupid.

    Now, this is where it gets slippery. Maybe, your guts are wrong and this guy doesn’t intend to kill you. Maybe he’s just gonna rough you up a bit and steal your licorice sticks. Or maybe he’s just been trying to scare you for the fun of it.

    It’s a judgement call, and I’ll grant you it could be called wrong. Mistakes can and will happen.

    But I’ll still say that in my book, if I really thought this guy intended to do me, in this scenerio I’d probably hide behind something with the biggest stick I could find, and “pre-emptively” wamp him in the head when he didn’t see me coming.

    So if you’re going to punish someone, then by all means start with me! Because I don’t buy the “as libertarians we can never do pre-emptive strikes” line.

    Now, I also don’t buy Bush’s line that Saddam needed pre-empting. But it’s too late for that one.

  73. Dynamist and Ruthless,

    I want to pose two questions to both of you (and anybody else). It’s something I posted on another thread and nobody jumped on it (!).

    1) Is it really true that we should never ever act pre-emptively in self defense?

    2) Is it really true that we should never ever meddle in another nation’s politics?

    The standard libertarian answer seems to be “yes” to both. I understand the logic and agree with it, to a significant extent. By that logic, I argue that the US should never have backed the creation of Isreal.

    Too late for that one.

    However, in another context look at Hitler. In retrospect, would it not have been the right thing to do, if the US had acted to prevent his rise to power in Germany? I contend that “meddling” in German politics to keep that lunatic out of office would have been the right answer.

    Translate this to today’s world. Listen to bin Laden. More than anything else, it sounds to me like he’s pissed because he couldn’t set up a Taliban style gov’t in Saudi Arabia. Yes? And didn’t US “meddling” in Saudi Arabia have something to do with that?

    I think US “meddling” did have something to do with bin Laden’s Big Beef. I also think that keeping someone like bin Laden from gaining significant power over Saudi oil revenues was a smart thing for the US to do.

    I think that sometimes, meddling in other nations’ business, pre-emptively, is the only right answer.

    Again, I concede this is slippery ground. There are judgement calls involved, which can be called wrong.

    But my whole argument is that we cannot avoid the need to make such judgement calls. Saying “we never ever meddle in another nation’s politics, and we never ever act in self defense pre-emptively”, is a cop out. A dangerous cop out.

    I don’t buy bin Laden’s line that he’s mad at the US over Isreal. That’s pan-Arabism talk, and it tells us (I say) that bin Laden wants power — on the same scale that Hitler wanted power.

    If the US has “meddled” in Saudi politics in ways that have prevented bin Laden’s rise to power, then I say we’ve done the right thing.

    bin Laden is a pain in the ass right now. But if he got serious political power, backed by huge financial income, he could turn into a lot more than a pain in the ass.

    I say that we are right to pre-emptively conquer the bin Ladens of the world, where and when they appear.

  74. I, the evil computer:

    If anybody in Europe had bothered paying attention to what he was saying, they would have picked up on where he wanted to go.

    You’re wrong. Hitler was quite innocuous in his speeches and most of his writings. Indeed, it would have been difficult to discern Hitler’s designs througout all the 1930s if indeed one were paying attention to them. Indeed, most felt that he was a moderating force within the Nazi party and that as long as he remained in power he would check the excesses of the party. And of course this illustrates a problem with pre-emption; differentiating real from imagined threats. Furthermore, this issue is even more problematic with regard to preventative warfare; the sort of warfare we committed ourselves to in Iraq.

  75. btw, I also recognize that pre-emptive action against the bin Ladens will probably make us targets for terrorists from time to time.

    The alternative — letting Hitlers and bin Ladens get their hands on serious power — is worse.

    “Militarizing” ourselves for such purposes is exactly what we ought to be doing.

    Now my evil is exposed for all to see. I can’t stand the level of pacifism I see growing rampant in Western civilization. If war is hell, pacifism leads to something worse in the long haul.

  76. Hakluyt,

    I understand the problem of discernment. And maybe I haven’t read enough history books on WWII. I got the impression that Hitler wasn’t so hard to see through before hand. Maybe I’m wrong about that.

    Nonetheless, I still argue that we have a pretty clear indication what we’re dealing with in bin Laden. And his “I hate America for Isreal” line is a give-away about what he would do if he got real power, to me (I have read a fair bit of ME history).

    I’m still convinced that acting to keep the bin Ladens out of power isn’t wrong.

  77. evil conq: Let it be said that any flavour of libertarianism is preferred to statism. My flavour is, as you label it, stupid and a cop-out. In the abstract world, initiating force is wrong. It may seem smart and practical, if you have a particular outcome to achieve. I’m not so much attached to an outcome, and have faith that people will produce something better than I can imagine if I give them the freedom to do so. My moral responsibilty is to do as little harm as I can, and that might cost my life and livelihood. Overall, though I might be dead, my liberty culture tends to flourish, eventually overtaking the others.

    In the non-abstract world, I’m not ready to live up to Christ’s model, so I lock my car when I park in “bad neighborhoods” (like OTR), and I can spend plenty of energy to deter or dissipate an assault. If the current pattern of events suggests bin Laden-looking dudes are risky, I can avoid them, deny them access to my property, and ask my allies to do the same. To coerce others to act such seems arrogant, and I’m not qualified to be the god-parent of any other person or country.

    I’m more willing than Ruthless to put on the warrior helmet. I recognize that in the non-perfect world there’s a good case for pre-emption and intervention. I prefer patience, vigilance against real attack, and encouraging the innate desire for liberty to express itself. I can’t vote for war, but I’ll help the team I’m on to win if war is chosen. If you’re going to use force, you ought to use more. And as wisely as possible.

  78. evil conq,
    In answer to your two questions, it depends on how you define “we.”
    As an anarchist, govt and I do not constitute “we.”
    As an individual, I see myself as resourceful and perceptive enough to avoid having to ever use preemptive violence.

  79. As an individual, I see myself as resourceful and perceptive enough to avoid having to ever use preemptive violence.

    I suppose you are exercising your resource and perception by never taking public transit.

    Because I don’t see how, without acting pre-emptively, we can stop the kinds of attacks we saw on 9/11 and 7/7.

  80. I can’t help responding to Sam:

    Hit and Run is amazing for astoundingly stupid responses to intelligently posed questions.

    That’s part of the fun.

    A higher percentage of morons must post here than anywhere else in the bogosphere.

    If you really think that, then dude, you need to surf a lot more.

    What is it about libertarianism that attracts the cretin element?

    Not enough chicks around to keep us civilized.

    PS: Belching contest!

  81. If anybody in Europe had bothered paying attention to what he was saying, they would have picked up on where he wanted to go.

    I’m glad to see that the Godwin continues to fail to hold anyone back here.
    You are right about that , I guess, but that isn’t the question that I would ask. The main problem in Germany at that time was that the center of the political spectrum in the Weimar had completely disappeared. You were basically forced to choose between fascism and communism (two radically different forms of statism, familiar?). What would we have done had we gone into that country at that time? created an artifical center where none existed? Is that even possible? I’m afraid that echoes what we are attempting to do in Iraq. It also leads me to think that, although I supported the move to oust Saddam, that we should let the Iraqis deal with their country now. We seem to be holding on until we get an outcome that is palatable to us and I just don’t think that is going to happen.

    MOna,
    When you say Do you grasp that? You seem to think that I am not sufficiently outraged or something. I am, but at some point you have to introduce the rational, no? Blame it on the Asperger’s if you must.

    Capt. Awesome,
    You are right about the posters here. I’m no dummy, but I’m like a gushing fanboy for some of the people who post here. Where did Gaius go anyway?

  82. Ruthless,
    I was considering your challenge to ask an intelligent Iraqi what he thought of us using his back yard as a place to fight terrorists instead of fighting them in our own back yard.

    But then as I was talking to him, I realized it was a stupid question. It doesn’t matter to him why we are there. What matters to him is the effect of us being there to him and his fellows.

    There is a small percentage of Iraqis that benefitted from Saddam’s rule. They wish we had never got involved, and they see us as the enemy. They dream that he will come to power again. Then there is a crew of Iraqis that is really glad we got rid of Saddam, but they would like us to go now so they can get to retribution for what Saddam did. And then there is the portion of Iraqis that really like us and want us never to leave. They only wish we were more ruthless.

    Where I am now it is very real that the population is turning against the insurgents. They are less insurgents, and more foreign terrorists by the day. I only see a small portion, but that is what I see.

    Us being here did not stop what happened in London, but it did put us some allies in their back yard. Also, what happened in London might be a result of Londons actions toward immigrants. Us being here may have prevented the next 9/11.

  83. mona,
    What is with the antipathy to sexual comments? (aside from the silly comment of Ruthless to you).

    We are all sexual beings. I go to my porn sites for porn (actually they are all blocked from me now) and I come here to learn about politics and libertarianism, and to discuss with like minded individuals. But still I am a sexual being. Se when in the course of a discussion or a topic there is some sexual innuendo, and Jennifer or anyone else makes a comment on their sexuality, perception of sexuality, it is refreshing (and if done by a woman, very sexy).

    Yeah there is a line that we should be weary of les the descussion degrades. But I haven’t seen that line crossed, exept once by a spammer.

    As a matter of fact, it would be cool if there were more women on this format, and there could be a seperate section for the more sexual talks. It would be much better than any dating site, because having a political interest with the person you are talking with you would know that person a little. The brain after all is the real sex organ.

    I have never in real life met a woman who is interested in the stuff we talk about on H&R.

    OK I am just rambling now. But basically why the antipathy toward Jennifer?

  84. Dynamist,

    Okay, I hear you. Just trying to understand the other side of the aisle….thanks for answering, even if my choice of words was pretty unflattering.

    I hear Hakluyt too. I just am not convinced that it’s always unclear.

    I wouldn’t necessarily have advocated invading Germany, nor would I say invade Saudi Arabia now. But I giving aid/applying pressure to the Saudis, in ways that would make it hard for OBL to get on top of the dog pile, looks well within bounds to me.

    I’m not sure which history books to believe about pre-WWII Germany, so I’m not sure what my answer on that would have been.

  85. “We are all sexual beings. I go to my porn sites for porn (actually they are all blocked from me now)…”

    Kwais, does the military block your access to porno?

    …Whew! They gotta send you guys more cheerleaders and wrestling babes and stuff. …’cause that ain’t right.

    What’s the logic they give? Is it that they don’t want government paid for networking equipment used for that? …Is it that they don’t want to give some kind of anti-porno argument to the insurgency?

  86. Tom,
    I am not really sure. I think part of the reason is puritan. The PX is not allowed to carry playboy or penthouse or any other magazine depicting nudity anymore, so all you get is Maxim and FHM and crap. And they are crap. That was done by Republicans during Clintons term.

    Another part of the reason is fear of computer viruses from porn sites. Apparently all porn sites have spyware crap and viruses. This strikes me as a poor marketing strategy, but apparently it is so. Meat eating knuckle draggers are not knowledgable enough with computers. (I have been explained by someone on this site how to put a quotation in italics, and I am still unable to do it).

    There is a way around the blocking, but I don’t know it. The funny thing is that last time I checked the site with all the naked service women in Iraq was still not blocked. So you can see the naked pictures of the chick that works in suply or motor T, the pictures that her ex boyfriend gave up.

    Cheerleaders and wrestling babes are a good idea though.

  87. Mish kwais, Kwais!

    A little R&R in Thailand is required, perhaps?

  88. evil conq: No offense felt, since I didn’t think that was your intent (but how would I really know…).

    I’ll add that intellectually, I’m very willing to help the realpolitik people, the righties, or even the lefties, make their actions more in alignment with their principles. That’s how I can help everyone (me included) see the consequences of a set of beliefs or ideals. If we look far into the vague future, I really like my chances. And there might be more than one way to happiness, so my work might cause a non-libertarian make adjustments that serve everyone better.

    If my horse gets any higher, I’ll need oxygen.

  89. Londonistan. Paristan. Berlinistan. New Yorkistan. Chicagostan. Los Angelistan…

  90. I’m waiting for my brochure on that sparkling city of tomorrow, the flawlessly designed community of….

    joeistan

  91. If you think joeistan is nice, wait until I establish my haven on The Island of Doctor Thoreau!

  92. Welcome to Disneystan, the shariaest place on earth!

  93. Stevo: thoreau’s was funny, but yours was good enough to kill the thread. Nice work. I shared it with some off-line friends.

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