The Roots of Muslim Rage

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In yesterday's New York Times, French scholar Olivier Roy slapped around those who have interpreted the bombings in London, Madrid and elsewhere as retaliation for conflicts in the Middle East.

While not denying that Middle Eastern conflicts have a powerful impact on Muslim public opinion worldwide, Roy actually bothers to look at the chronology of the attacks, and at the makeup of the groups carrying them out. He writes:

From the beginning, Al Qaeda's fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers.

Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan—or they are Western-born converts to Islam.

Then the nub paragraphs:

"Born again" or converts, they are rebels looking for a cause. They find it in the dream of a virtual, universal ummah, the same way the ultraleftists of the 1970s (the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Brigades) cast their terrorist actions in the name of the "world proletariat" and "Revolution" without really caring about what would happen after.

It is also interesting to note that none of the Islamic terrorists captured so far had been active in any legitimate antiwar movements or even in organized political support for the people they claim to be fighting for. They don't distribute leaflets or collect money for hospitals and schools. They do not have a rational strategy to push for the interests of the Iraqi or Palestinian people.

And then the conclusion, which suggests that the real problem–at least regarding the Islamists living in the West–is one of being caught between two worlds while belonging to neither; of being incapable of accepting the impact of globalization–though, paradoxically, Al-Qaeda and its sister groups are in every way a product of globalization and the networks it has thrown up.

The Western-based Islamic terrorists are not the militant vanguard of the Muslim community; they are a lost generation, unmoored from traditional societies and cultures, frustrated by a Western society that does not meet their expectations.

And their vision of a global ummah is both a mirror of and a form of revenge against the globalization that has made them what they are.

Perhaps the most significant message Roy offers here is that while violent Islamist groups are very much a product of a Muslim interaction with the West, they are not inherent to Islam. The implicit moral of the story, and one the French have been trying to achieve for some time, is that the way to reduce violence is through a better social integration of Muslim communities.

Perhaps, but where the Jacobin centralized state in France has come up short is in determining whether integration is at all desirable for certain Muslim communities. The rejection of the European Constitution recently partly suggested that, at least from the European side, there is considerable doubt.

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  1. From the beginning, Al Qaeda’s fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East…

    I find this claim that their favored targets are outside the Middle East to be a bit strange given that Al Qaeda has always seens its efforts as part of two fronts: against the middle eastern states they despise and Western states. So he’s wrong right off the bat.

    Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists?

    Because their targets are much easier to get at; namely their targets exist in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel. Jihadists in either place don’t have to travel to Europe to seek out a target in other words.

    “Born again” or converts, they are rebels looking for a cause. They find it in the dream of a virtual, universal ummah, the same way the ultraleftists of the 1970s (the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Brigades) cast their terrorist actions in the name of the “world proletariat” and “Revolution” without really caring about what would happen after.

    People have been writing about the same thing over and over again since 2001. The same can be said most of the comments in this post, including the “McJihad” discussion. Michael Young and his ilk live in an echo chamber.

    They do not have a rational strategy to push for the interests of the Iraqi or Palestinian people.

    Well, whether what they are doing is a rational approach is a matter of historical perspective; after all, if they do defeat the U.S. in Iraq, then their strategy was rational.

    The Western-based Islamic terrorists are not the militant vanguard of the Muslim community; they are a lost generation, unmoored from traditional societies and cultures, frustrated by a Western society that does not meet their expectations.

    Expect another two to three iterations of such “lost generations” then.

  2. Anyone else notice that the London cops apparently blew away someone totally unrelated to the terrorist attacks?

  3. “From the beginning, Al Qaeda’s fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers.”

    This is irrelevant at best, incoherent at worst. The question for Americans is not “How can Islamic terrorism be completely stopped at all times, and all places?” but, “How can Islamic terrorism be reduced against the United States?” (Equally the question for Britons would be “How can Islamic terrorism be reduced against Britain?”, etc., etc.) For example, Kashmiri terrorist groups have never attacked American targets to the best of my knowledge. Why? Because the US has virtually no involvement in the Kashmir conflict.

  4. Hakulyt,

    Clearly you are skeptical of Roy, even before you read the article…

    I find this claim that their favored targets are outside the Middle East to be a bit strange given that Al Qaeda has always seen its efforts as part of two fronts: against the middle eastern states they despise and Western states. So he’s wrong right off the bat.

    Does the fact that Al Qaeda is waging jihad on some Middle Eastern states (most of which have good ties with Western states) somehow nullify Roy’s opinion that they are global Jihadists?

    Jihadists in either place don’t have to travel to Europe to seek out a target in other words.

    I would agree with this insofar as it seems odd that you imply that a majority of the “global” jihadists eminate from rich states such as Saudi Arabia and Western states is merely a coincidence. Yes, terrorists will attack local locations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Palestinian territory, but I would think each attack would be for a specific aim. Those terrorists are waging a more real war than the holy ones Al Qaeda claim to be fighting for.

    People have been writing about the same thing over and over again since 2001.

    Which clearly makes it bullshit.

    Well, whether what they are doing is a rational approach is a matter of historical perspective; after all, if they do defeat the U.S. in Iraq, then their strategy was rational.

    Al Qaeda and its ilk are NOT fighting for their people: they are fighting for their religion. The aim Roy describes and the aim you describe are incompatible. If the US pulls out of Iraq, it will not be a victory for the people of Iraq in their eyes; they will not run in the streets saying “we are free,” they will not aid in the rebuilding of Baghdad, they will not grow food for the starving, nor try to rebuild the oil fields destroyed so their economy will be self-sufficient.

    Yes, I make lots of assumptions here, but Al Qaeda is not an altruist organization. And I think that was what Roy was getting at.

  5. The implicit moral of the story, and one the French have been trying to achieve for some time, is that the way to reduce violence is through a better social integration of Muslim communities.

    The French government didn’t give a crap about integration integration until the 1990s.

    Perhaps, but where the Jacobin centralized state in France has come up short is in determining whether integration is at all desirable for certain Muslim communities.

    The current government is not Jacobin. This has got to be one of the most bizarro statements I’ve seen on this blog.

    The rejection of the European Constitution recently partly suggested that, at least from the European side, there is considerable doubt.

    Rejecting the EU Constitution was the best thing both the French and the Dutch could have done.

  6. Mr. Young, this sentence is unclear:

    “Perhaps, but where the Jacobin centralized state in France has come up short is in determining whether integration is at all desirable for certain Muslim communities.”

    Are you saying, certain Muslim communities may find integration undesireable? Or that it may be undesireable, from the perspective of France, to integrate certain Muslim communities?

  7. Yeah, it seems to me this dude is on to something.

    Hakluyt, it doesn’t seem to me that targets in Israel are easy to get at. As a matter of fact any target in England or the US, it seems to me would be an easier target than any US target in Afghanistan or Iraq.

    “Expect another two to three iterations of such “lost generations” then.”

    Not so much after Iraq becomes the first free democratic Arab nation, fully integrating western ideas of freedom with local islamic culture.

  8. Aaron,

    I didn’t take issue with the claim that they are global jihadists, which is patently obvious from my statement. I do take issue with the claim that they are focusing on Western countries; they aren’t.

    Nothing else that you wrote really addressed my statements.

  9. kwais,

    Not so much after Iraq becomes the first free democratic Arab nation, fully integrating western ideas of freedom with local islamic culture.

    I suggest you take a look at what is happening in Basra; its becoming a Taliban-like enclave. That is the future of Iraq. Yours is a pipe-dream in other words.

    joe,

    Certain Muslims need to be booted from France; namely the approximately 9,000-12,000 Muslims (according to Le Figaro) who are on the French watch lists.

  10. kwais & Young distinctly remind me of Lord Kitchener’s pipe dreams circa 1914.

  11. Our invasion and occupation of Iraq is going to turn out to be about as helpful as our invasions and occupations of Haiti have been.

  12. Hakluyt,

    Evidently, you camouflage ignorance with bluster. The French have not given “a crap about integration integration until the 1990s.” Really? Since the early 1980s at least, but more publicly in the middle of the 80s, the debate on Muslim integration has been a central one in France, and you can read Gilles Kepel’s “Les Banlieues de l’Islam” to fill the gaps you seem to have. Perhaps you remember the SOS Racism concerts in 1985 and 1986 against discrimination, including against those of North African origin.

    As for the notion of the Jacobin state (not “government”, reread the sentence), give me a break; the Jacobin state is the term both the French and others use for the centralized state structure in France. Paris is still very much the administrative, political and economic center of the country, and the place where virtually all major decisions are taken.

    In response to Joe: I meant that the French state, which has posited integration as a goal, may have underestimated the desire of certain Muslim communities (since not all agree) to avoid that integration.

    Rejecting the European Constitution was indeed a good thing, so no beefs there.

  13. if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan – or they are Western-born converts to Islam.

    This is indeed a perplexing point for me, and it may very well cause me to reconsider some of my notions.

    Although, if few Jihadis are Iraqi, it does raise a question as to whether liberalizing Iraq will stem the flow of Jihadis.

    Based on the point presented above, one could argue against my diagnosis of the problem (rage over Palestine among other things) but one could just as easily argue against the hawks’ favored solution (invade Iraq).

    As is so frequently the case, facts don’t always fit into anybody’s notions.

  14. Anyone else notice that the London cops apparently blew away someone totally unrelated to the terrorist attacks?

    Well, since the information is still on the sketchy side this is purely preliminary, but (from what has been reported thus far) if you leave a house under watch wearing a winter coat in the middle of summer, ignore the police’s orders to stop and run into a tube station (which have been, you know, targeted over the last two weeks) just what where the police supposed to do?

  15. Michael Young,

    Since the early 1980s at least, but more publicly in the middle of the 80s, the debate on Muslim integration has been a central one in France…

    The important word here is “debate.” Its a been a bunch of talk. They haven’t done anything. Perhaps you need to learn the difference between talk and action. The French state has essentially turned a blind eye to the community since they started piling in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Perhaps you remember the SOS Racism concerts in 1985 and 1986 against discrimination, including against those of North African origin.

    Which were about as useful as Live Aid or Live 8. Its all talk and bullshit. There’s a reason why there is such dramatic unemployment in Muslim communities in France, why these communities live in fucking ghettos the gendarmes are afraid to enter, and why scandalous gang rape incidents in these communities have only recently come to light. The French state only recently started giving a shit to the nightmare that the Muslim communities in France are.

    …the Jacobin state is the term both the French and others use for the centralized state structure in France.

    Yeah, in limited libertarian circles maybe. Most of the French people I know would find the term insulting since its basically a kin to a dirty word.

  16. I think this guy makes some good points but I’ll take issue in two areas and superagree with one.

    …if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists?

    ISSUES: I’m pretty sure Isreal is in the Middle East and the folks blowing themselves up are Palestinians. They may not be “global” but they have moved the Muslim violence along at a good clip for about 30 years. And from what I’m hearing aren’t many of the Sunnis terrorists in Iraq are actually from Iraq?

    AGREEMENT:

    It is also interesting to note that none of the Islamic terrorists captured so far had been active in any legitimate antiwar movements or even in organized political support for the people they claim to be fighting for. They don’t distribute leaflets or collect money for hospitals and schools. They do not have a rational strategy to push for the interests of the Iraqi or Palestinian people.

    To put a finer point on it, even in the context of their religion, they do not even have a rational goal let alone a strategy.

    In almost every case, terrorist activity has only strengthened western resolve and activity against their movement.

    Terrorism is mystifying largely in terms of it’s stunning historical failure rate in achieveing the stated goals of the enterprise.

    The fact that they insulate themselves from their stated constituents and do not practice any form of engagement it at the heart of their failure.

    Let’s say, as the result of a terrorist bombing, a world leader announced that they would discuss terms of apeasement and a willingness to negotiate.

    It’s doubtful the terrorist would show up or even send proxies to negotiate on their behalf. Even if they did, the insular pathology virtually guarantees that they would lack the skills to negotiate anything rational or reasonable.

  17. Michael Young,

    Have you ever been in a banlieue?

    Have you read Dans l’enfer des tournantes?

    I sincerely doubt it. I swear, your willingness to apologize for the French state’s ability to simply turn a blind eye to the atrocities happening in French Muslim communities simply shocks me to no end. It makes me want to vomit.

  18. Michael Young,

    Oooh, we had some concerts, while at the same time gang rape was going on unabated in arrondisements the French state simply doesn’t give a shit about.

  19. About that “Muslim Integration” thing…arent; the Muslims themselves just as guily of failing to integrate as the societies they inhabit?

    In France, Germany and most of Europe, most folks drink alcohol while most Muslims do not. Beer and Wine are principle exports throughout Europe.

    Sexual activity is fairly liberal while Muslims are more repressed than a Baptist Sunday School Class. Marriage among native Europeans is on the downside as are birthrates.

    Most Europeans don’t pray at all while Muslims do it 5 times a day.

    The immigrant muslim populations tend towards insular communities of like-minded muslims who work, play and socialize all within these communities.

    How is France totally responsible for that?

  20. Hakluyt,

    I’ll profess some ignorance and ask for some additional facts from you about “the atrocities happening in French Muslim communities.”

    I’m not trying to be a smartass…I sincerely want to know.

  21. I’m sorry Hakluyt, but:
    “In contemporary France this term refers to a centralistic conception of Republic, with a lot of power vested in the national government, at the expense of local governments.” (cited at Wikipedia.)
    Also the term that my French Politics professor used to describe the government under the Fith Republic (he did post-doc work in Paris, in French, so I think he might have had some professional interaction with the French).

    GinSlinger

  22. madpad,

    France hasn’t done the bare basic role expected of a state; that is protect Muslim individuals from acts generally considered criminal throughout the West, be it rape or what have you. France essentially created a bunch of public housing for immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s and turned a blind eye to the affairs happening in the Muslim community following that. Muslims are about as integrated into French society as they were thirty or forty years ago because of this. The French government assumed that like past immigrant groups that Muslims would naturally integrate into French culture, etc., but that has simply not been the case. This is why Muslims live for the most part in ethnic ghettos, have little interaction with the French political realm, why Muslims are few and far between in the French workforce (especially in anything but menial jobs), etc.

  23. Sorry, my preceeding post was in reference to the term Jacobin.

    GinSlinger

  24. How is France totally responsible for that?

    Well, this is simply my personal observation, but, contrary to popular belief, I have found much of Europe to be a much more racist place than the US. For all of Europe’s offical embrace of multiculturalism I have found attitudes there towards people who don’t “look like us” can be widespread and shockingly backwards.

  25. madpad,

    Well, the singificant level of gang rape in the banlieues is a perfect example. The French government essentially turned a blind eye to what was happening with that and had to be shamed into acknowledging the problem via some muckracking reporting.

    GinSlinger,

    I’m pretty much standing by my statement.

  26. Thanks, Hakluyt, for the info.

    On that, however, I have to revert both to my previous statement and my libertarian leanings to ask if the Muslim communities themselves aren’t at least partially responsible?

    I made a laundry list in my previous post.

    If you can enlighten me, my ignorance makes me somewhat open on this issue.

  27. madpad,

    And this muckraking reporting only came about in the last few years. Its a pretty shameful thing for the French government to treat Muslims as third-class citizens not worthy of protection from such violence.

  28. Hakluyt,

    It would help if I understood who was committing these gang rapes.

    Is it angry French citizens pissed at the Muslims?

    Or is it Muslim men going after Muslim women.

    In the case of the former, I’d say you have a solid basis.

    In the latter, while gang rape is appalling under any circumstance, surely one can appreciate the difficulties of trying to investigate this sort of crime where the very culture was comlicit in the crime.

  29. madpad,

    Well, the pathologies of the Muslim community isn’t to be excused, but nevertheless, the point is that France has done squat in the area of integration.

    In France, Germany and most of Europe, most folks drink alcohol while most Muslims do not. Beer and Wine are principle exports throughout Europe.

    You’ll find in France that wine consumption has dropped considerably; they’re drinking a lot more “American champagne.” πŸ™‚ Anyway, what Muslims drink isn’t really a major issue.

    Sexual activity is fairly liberal while Muslims are more repressed than a Baptist Sunday School Class.

    Muslims have a number of sexual pathologies that I find disturbing; such as the anal gang rape issue.

    Marriage among native Europeans is on the downside as are birthrates.

    Well, birthrates amongst the “European” French are up. France isn’t holding to the European model at the moment in other words.

    The immigrant muslim populations tend towards insular communities of like-minded muslims who work, play and socialize all within these communities.

    They live in ethnic ghettoes. The French state has done everything it can to encourage that by its housing policies.

  30. madpad,

    It is Muslim men going after Muslim women. Its a terrible, terrible problem that is only increasing in size. I can appreciate the problem, but it hasn’t been an issue of the French state merely having honest difficulties enforcing the law, they simply refuse to get involved in the first place.

  31. madpad,

    For many French Muslim boys gang-raping a young girl is pretty much a rite of passage; its ubiquitous in other words. Until the last year or two convictions, much less trials, were rare because the legal authorities at all levels simply didn’t bother to take notice of such things.

  32. Two other thoughts on the fact that most Jihadis are (apparently) from places other than Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan:

    1) Let’s make an analogy with US support for the invasion of Iraq. Before anybody jumps all over me, I want to make it clear that I’m not suggesting moral equivalence between Jihadi terrorism and the US military in Iraq. I merely want to talk about matters of public opinion and popularity.

    I think it’s safe to say that the American people would not have supported an invasion of Iraq without 9/11. Say what you will about the justification for invasion and whether Iraq and 9/11 had any connection (be it direct or indirect or whatnot), but I don’t think the political will would have been there.

    I also think it’s safe to say that the strongest bastions of pro-war sentiment have been places other than NY and DC (the two places attacked on 9/11, and yes, I know, technically it was northern Virginia, but I’ll use DC to refer to the general metro area). I’m not besmirching the patriotism of the people in those places, nor am I suggesting that people elsewhere are war-like savages. And certainly you can find hawks and doves everywhere. But from what I understand, NY and DC are not and have not been exactly staunch bastions of hawkish sentiment regarding Iraq.

    Yet I think it’s safe to say that a lot of hawks outside NY and DC would say that 9/11 is part of the reason why they supported invading Iraq. For some of them 9/11 might merely be one more example of why the job needed doing, for others it might have been the actual catalyst, but I think it’s safe to say that 9/11 is part of the reason why some people feel the way they do.

    So, if a hawk in California or Texas or Alabama or Minnesota can support the invasion of Iraq in response to 9/11, why should we be shocked if a Pakistani or Egyptian or Saudi supports Jihad in response to events in Palestine or Iraq or Afghanistan?

    (And, for the record, I think the invasion of Afghanistan was necessary.)

    2) Is it any coincidence that in places where the local ruling thugs enjoy good relations with the US (like Egypt and Saudi Arabia), the most popular and most vocal elements of the opposition are the most anti-American elements? Just a thought.

  33. What we really need in this thread is Jean Bart’s input.

  34. thoreau,

    The Clinton administration tried to tentatively push for invasion in 1998; it got nowhere.

    The problem with your analogy is that the U.S. and the “middle east” aren’t exactly equivalent units of analysis.

    You’d have to ask the question, what do youths from each of these areas have in common? Some factors could be:

    * affluence
    * education
    * familial/tribal connections (take the Yemenese tradition of following relatives in warfare)

    And there are obviously dozens more.

  35. thoreau,

    You forget that the ideology of the terrorists has to be all about existential angst, hating our values, etc., it can’t have anything to do with concrete incidents between Islamic societies and the West.

  36. I’d like to ask a question that has been in the back of my mind for a while now. If France, Germany, the Netherlands, the US, etc. are such horrible places for Muslim immigrants, why do they continue to immigrate there. More specifically, if Western Culture is the root of all evil (including capitalism and liberalism) why elect to immerse yourself in Western Culture.

    On a simular note, if Muslim males are so enraged by the vision of un-veiled women in Paris that they would engage in gang-rape, why remain in the Western lands?

    I’m asking serious questions here, not rhetorical or sarcastic.

    GinSlinger

  37. And certainly you can find hawks and doves everywhere. But from what I understand, NY and DC are not and have not been exactly staunch bastions of hawkish sentiment regarding Iraq.

    The problem with that logic is that the NY & DC’s resident non-hawkishness over Iraq wasn’t a direct cause of the attacks. DC and NYC would still feel the same way if the planes flew into buildings in Wichita and Houston. DC and NYC are historically Democrat strongholds cities that were attacked, not cities that were attacted that became Democrat strongholds.

  38. On a simular note, if Muslim males are so enraged by the vision of un-veiled women in Paris that they would engage in gang-rape, why remain in the Western lands?

    Simple. Money. Be it a better opportunity to earn a buck or generous welfare benefits 99% of the time its about economics.

  39. GinSlinger,

    Its a question of economic oppurtunities or at the very least perceived economic oppurtunities. Of course even the high level of unemployment for Muslims in Western Europe is better than what is generally the going deal in most of the middle east.

    As to the gang-rape issue, that’s more complicated than girls merely not wearing veils; it has much to do with ignorance about sex and a pretty twisted “culture of manhood” if you will.

  40. Hakluyt,

    Your outrage over this is clearly palpable and understandable.

    With all due respect, most of my statements were directed towards the European situation as a whole.

    If I understand your compaint properly, France’s situation is unique and particularly bad. I don’t know enough about it to judge.

    If I understand properly, rapes of Muslim women by Muslim men is pretty widespread throughout the middle-east. And at the risk of appearing ethnocentric (if not downright racist) deplorable misogyny seem to be stock in trade for many Muslim cultures. It even got a Dutch filmaker killed last year.

    Please understand, I’m not trying to excuse it. I’m just wondering, considering all of the other observations I’ve raised, what do you think the French could do that others seem to be having a problem with themselves.

    If Muslim men are going after Muslim women, doesn’t this point to a pernicious cultural issue that demands Muslim accountability, too?

  41. Please understand, I’m not trying to excuse it. I’m just wondering, considering all of the other observations I’ve raised, what do you think the French could do that others seem to be having a problem with themselves.

    Simple. Treat the rape of a muslim woman by a muslim man just like you’d treat any other rape. You try and convict the bastards and throw them into jail. Treat crimes the same for the entire population and this problem wouldn’t have grown to the point that it has.

  42. madpad,

    Well, enforce the law for one thing. The French legal system needs to shove a big search light into what happens the ethnic ghettos that Muslims live in to expose this crap, punish the guilty and aid the victims. If they let it stay and fester it will breed the sort of violence the French state fears so much from its Muslim communities.

    Let’s look at an example that might clarify what I am talking about. You know, in the first decades of the 20th century there were a rash of lynchings of black men in the U.S. The state (federal and state) largely turned a blind eye to these events. Certainly the rabidly racist lynch mobs are the main culprits in these events, but via the government’s lack of effort it becomes a culprit as well. That is the French government’s problem here; it refuses to enforce the laws that its citizens are breaking aiding in victimization of many people.

    Yeah, and it does piss me off and it really ticks me off that Michael Young seems to think that the French government has been remotely interested in these issues for anything approaching an appreciable length of time.

  43. So, if a hawk in California or Texas or Alabama or Minnesota can support the invasion of Iraq in response to 9/11, why should we be shocked if a Pakistani or Egyptian or Saudi supports Jihad in response to events in Palestine or Iraq or Afghanistan?

    Thoreau,

    An insightful question if ever there was one.

    I guess as we’re beginning to see more violence by terrorists against your average joe’s – or muhamed’s, if you will – over in the middle east, we’ll see how long that attitude persists.

  44. Yes, Hakluyt, I understand the drive for wealth, it’s all around me here in south Texas. But specifically, Capitalism and Liberalism are heavily attacked by radical islamists, yet it is those very systems that enable the economic opportunities that immigrants desire. In other words, I wonder about the sincerity of the attacks on “Western culture” which come from those living in the “west.”

    GinSlinger

  45. Nathan,

    Yes, and that will in turn create a disincentive for this sort of violence and help normalize Muslim communities in the process.

  46. GinSlinger,

    Well, its the old saw that capitalism even allows those who hate it to live within its confines and even be successful. Further, many Muslims want the technology, etc. that comes from the West, without the culture, etc. that creates, etc. that technology, etc.

  47. Hakluyt & Nathan,

    Thank you for the response.

    You are both, indeed, correct and I can agree whole-heartedly. Particularly good “lynching” parallel, Hakluyt.

    Thank you for enlightening me.

  48. Nathan-

    I’m not saying that DC and NY were attacked because of any characteristic of the residents. I’m saying that an event in those places caused people in other places to support a war, just as some people argue that our involvement in certain Muslim countries has motivated people in other Muslim countries to support violence against the US.

    I don’t know for certain that our foreign policy is related to terrorist threats against us, but we can’t rule it out solely because the people attacking us are (for the most part) not the ones directly affected by our policies. A lot of people who weren’t directly affected by 9/11 nonetheless supported a war at least in part because of 9/11. As Hakluyt observed, while 9/11 can’t be considered the sole reason why the public supported a war, Clinton did try to push for something similar before 9/11 but got nowhere. So it is plausible that people might support violence against the US in response to things that didn’t immediately or directly impact them.

    Hakluyt-

    You have a point in that the US and the Middle East (whatever that refers to) aren’t exactly equivalent units of analysis. But it is possible that people might be willing to engage in violence in response to an event that happened outside their borders. My analogy with the US isn’t perfect, but it isn’t all that bad either.

    I’m not trying to prove anything here, I’m just raising points to ponder.

  49. 22 of 45 comments are more of halkyut’s jihadist-loving fantasies. come on dude, just a few more posts and you’ll be over 50%!

  50. madpad,

    I suppose another thing to consider is this: how can we impart these supposed blessings of Westerm liberal government (e.g., rule of law, etc.) when we aren’t willing to practice what we preach when it comes to victims of Muslim on Muslim crime?

  51. Capitalism and Liberalism are heavily attacked by radical islamists, yet it is those very systems that enable the economic opportunities that immigrants desire.

    It’s a running theme in 2nd generation Muslim cultures in Europe that the children of those who came there to be successful are the ones who are feeling dissaffected and finding solace, purpose and action in militant islam.

    I don’t know how accurate any of that is though I imagine it’s at least one (of many) cause in some cases.

    Do you think the hatred of the west has something to do with a type of “cultural self-hate” over their own culture’s inability to thrive without living in a repressed, dictatorship.

    They were, after all, a dominant culture for some several centuries.

  52. jimmy,

    Sorry, I am not a jihadist-lover.

    thoreau,

    But it is possible that people might be willing to engage in violence in response to an event that happened outside their borders.

    Yeah, I get that. I’m curious why no one has broken down some common elements about the background of your average Islamic terrorist that’s all. I have yet to see what happen. What I have seen are statements like those by Blair, or what have you, claiming they hate use because of our values, or on the flip-side they do it because of our foreign policy. Both are entirely too monolithic for me to buy.

  53. how can we impart these supposed blessings of Westerm liberal government (e.g., rule of law, etc.) when we aren’t willing to practice what we preach when it comes to victims of Muslim on Muslim crime?

    Well I suppose there’s something to that. But then Muslims can be every bit as ethnocentric (if not downright racist) and hypocritical as any culture.

    They are, after all, the ones pooh-poohing western culture’s debasement of women while their youth gang rapes the fellow muslim virgin down the street only to shun her as unclean and blame her for the incident.

    I don’t think one country’s (France) lack of enforcing it’s own laws should be seen by anyone as a reason for painting all of western liberal governments as hypocritical.

    Yeah, I know…ALL governmens – especially Western Liberal ones – are hypocritical. Just go with me on this.

  54. madpad,

    Second and third generation French Muslims aren’t particularly well integrated, they face decidely a much lower-level of economic prospects than their non-Muslim peers, they face tremendous pressure to be “traditional” from their cultural group, they tend to live in ethnic communities that are almost like isolated islands, etc. Some French muslims have escaped this, but they are fewer than what one would expect.

  55. madpad,

    Yes, I understand your point. I suppose what I am saying is that the French state can provide a catalyst for change by merely enforcing its laws, etc. but that it has been unwilling to live up to that role. I’m not trying to abdicate French muslims of their responsibility.

  56. An attempt at track-jumping:

    The Leeds bombers = Columbine rootless male disaffection with society spiked with an international angle.

    Discuss.

  57. Do you think the hatred of the west has something to do with a type of “cultural self-hate” over their own culture’s inability to thrive without living in a repressed, dictatorship.

    Its not a culture’s iniability to thrive without living in a repressed dictatorship. The vast majority of Arabs / Muslims do just fine in the west, thankyouverymuch. A lot of the blame can be put at the feet of the idea that people from a different culture can assimilate without having to jettison the baggage of their previous culture that is in direct opposition with the laws of the new country, which is exactly the type of multiculturalism that the likes of the British and French practice.

    Perry de Havilland has a really good essay on just this subject.

  58. Jeff A. Taylor,

    Blame it on testosterone then? πŸ™‚

  59. The Leeds bombers = Columbine rootless male disaffection with society spiked with an international angle.

    Er, no. I’d say a better (but still not very good) analogy would be Leeds bombers = Eric Rudolph or Tim McVeigh.

  60. Nathan,

    I hear ya but if most of the European’s ancestry came from somewhere else and they assimilated and are doing just fine. Yes, they may have had to dump their culture over the centuries but that’s life.

    Certain Jewish sects have managed to maintain eclaves in other countries while holding on to cultures every bit as strict as the strictest muslim cultures. It ain’t perfect but people aren’t blowing up their countrymen.

    No Midwestern Amish folk have killed anybody except in Steven King novels.

    Almost every Asian culture has managed to transplant itself and survive with varying degrees of success without making it a cultural imperative to kill people.

    The fact is, that’s exactly what assimilation is…jettisoning some of your baggage that conflicts with your new homeland.

    Is that what your saying?

  61. Nathan,

    That Popper quote in the discussion below the write-up was aptly used.

  62. Jeff: I thought the Leeds team was well-integrated, at least within a larger subculture; sports star, parent of young child, etc., which seems quite different from Columbine isolated angst.

    madpad: I like where you’re going. It seems crazy, or at least infantile, to expect benefit without paying a cost. Perhaps Allah can’t back up his promises as well as the secular god.

  63. madpad,

    Are you asking why Muslims aren’t assimilating as well as some other groups have?

  64. I think that, regardless of the specifics of a culture, its religion or its level of misogyny, the deciding factor that makes somebody consider violently antisocial behavior is the feeling of personal helplessness or failure.

    I grew up in a pretty racist part of the South, but of course not EVERYBODY there was racist–if you wanted to find a serious concentration of white supremacists you didn’t go to the rich or middle-class neighborhoods where people might have some justification for a superiority complex; you went to the neighborhoods of the dirt-poor folk who had, or thought they had, few prospects for a better future. In the old slave-holding South some of the most vehement racists and supporters of slavery were the poor whites who would actually have been better off economically if they didn’t have to compete with slave labor. And we’ve all heard of the stereotypical “mean drunk” who gets chewed out by his boss at work, and then comes home and takes it out on his wife or his kids.

    Note that this is NOT always the same thing as poverty. I read of a study that showed that what matters isn’t even how well you’re doing, but how well you perceive yourself to be doing in relation to others. A guy making $50,000 per year in a town where the average salary is $25,000 will probably feel more contented with himself than the guy who makes $500,000 per year in a town where the average yearly income is a million.

    But this doesn’t address the question of how much of this is self-inflicted by the angry people themselves, and how much needs to change on the part of the more better-placed people (for lack of a better term). In the case of the racists I grew up with, a lot of their vileness came from bitter unhappiness at various aspects of their life, but it didn’t seem to matter if this was due to sheer bad luck, or personal failures and shortcomings.

  65. Jeff,

    They were well integrated up to a point. As often happens with young men they apparently started searching for something beyond themselves.

  66. “So, if a hawk in California or Texas or Alabama or Minnesota can support the invasion of Iraq in response to 9/11, why should we be shocked if a Pakistani or Egyptian or Saudi supports Jihad in response to events in Palestine or Iraq or Afghanistan?”

    People often conflate two distinct groups of people when they talk about this. Surely some things are true of suicide bombers and Al Qaeda’s leadership that aren’t necessarily true of passive supporters and potential recruits.

    Is anyone arguing that Al Qaeda doesn’t use popular perception of our foreign policy to resonate with passive supporters and potential recruits?

    …I’m skeptical of the idea that we can look at Al Qaeda’s hard core and divine some purpose separate from religion, but that doesn’t mean that the people who collaborate with Al Qaeda or passively support it aren’t reacting to our foreign policy.

  67. That’s exactly what I’m saying. The difference between the other groups you cite and the recent Muslim immigrants in Europe is the attitudes of the host countries. When the policies of the host country discourage new immigrants from dropping the incompatible baggage from you’re setting yourself up for a whole lot of hurt. Then, add the mix the fact that public debate over such problems is squashed in the name of multiculturalism (try mentioning the word “immigration” in England and see how quickly its labeled racist) and that “whole lot of hurt” becomes very real. This is exactly what has been going on in England, France, et al for the last 20-30 years.

  68. Some of the commenters here need to distinguish between the Muslim separatists waging terror campaigns in their own backyard to establish an ethnic homeland (e.g., the Palestinians, Chechens, and Uighurs) and the Global Salafi Jihadists, such as Al Qaeda, who wage terror campaigns in the West as the preliminary to establishing a fundamentalist theocratic Muslim empire comprising the entire Middle East, most of Africa, much of East and Southeast Asia, and a good chunk of Europe. Ever since bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa, Al Qaeda’s main strategy has been to bring the fight to the “far enemy” rather than waste time battling the “puppet states” in the ME. (It’s interesting to note that the invasion of Iraq hardly even figures in most of propaganda directed at European Muslims by the GSJ. And contrary to the nonsense you read in much of our media, the vast majority of recruits to the GSJ movement are lonely, homesick middle-class Muslim college students studying abroad in Europe, or disaffected second-generation European Muslim boys looking for companionship. See Marc Sageman’s Understanding Terror Networks for a detailed study of the sociology behind this).

    In the last few years there has been an attempt by the Global Salafi Jihadists to hijack various Muslim separatist groups (notably in Chechnya) and infect them with GSJ ideology, but so far we haven’t seen any Chechens, Palestinians, or Uighurs flocking to Al Qaeda to wage terror campaigns in the West.

  69. Tom Crick,

    AQ is quite good at propaganda, if that is what you are asking. Indeed, the U.S. government has on a number occassions simply admitted that we act like rank amateurs in this area on the war against Islamic terrorists. That at the same time folks like Bush, etc., state their animus has nothing to do with Western actions (or at least perceptions about such) actions connotes a level of hypocrisy that is difficult to come to grips with.

  70. Would any of these events have occured without Islam? My interest in asking is that the Muslim belief system automatically brings up the “middle east” meaning Palistine. Without Palistine, Iraq and Afghanistan do the bombings occur? Or… is there a cause at work here that suggests these bombers have more in common with Timothy McVeigh than they do with your garden variety Palistinian bomber or a recently recruited Iraqi?

    There’s are vested interests that want the connection to traditional middle eastern strife. Are those connections as strong as those interests wish?

  71. Jennifer: I think if you take failure to a more visceral level, the feeling is guilt. The $500K types in Millionaireville think they’re making mistakes and wasting thier lives. I think that then connects to Hakluyt’s observation that they begin looking beyond themselves for meaning. Or, the guilt is converted to rage at whoever is seen to be keepong them from fulfilling their “promise”.

    The poor whites in your memory probably thought they deserved to be something else (like rich whites), and felt guilty or ashamed that they couldn’t figure out how to do better. Conversely the poor Amish aren’t aspriring to be anything more than Amish, so are not so wracked by guilt.

    If I’m on to something here, my next question is: Why did the poor whites think they were entitled to something “better”? And what do the middle-class jihadis think they’re entitled to?

  72. GCWB,

    Ever since bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa, Al Qaeda’s main strategy has been to bring the fight to the “far enemy” rather than waste time battling the “puppet states” in the ME.

    Well, the “near enemy” is also attacked; that’s why AQ is operating in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. Both strategies are part of their plan according to Giles Kepel’s War for the Muslim Mind.

    It’s interesting to note that the invasion of Iraq hardly even figures in most of propaganda directed at European Muslims by the GSJ.

    That doesn’t scan. AQ spokespeople are all the time going on about Iraq, and indeed, recruiting European Muslims for work in Iraq (and a lot of European Muslims have turned up there) is done with a heavy amount of discussion about Iraq.

  73. deron,

    Well, one thing that differs from the past and “native revolts” (use whatever terminology you think might be better) is the sort of technology available. Clashes of cultures happened in the past that were often quite violent, but for the West (meaning Europe in many instances) there wasn’t much of a chance of an Aztec galleon (because the Aztecs lacked that sort of technology) sailing over to Europe and attacking Spain.

  74. Anyway, I should go do something productive. πŸ™‚

  75. “Why did the poor whites think they were entitled to something “better”? And what do the middle-class jihadis think they’re entitled to?”

    Whether it’s skinheads or European jihadists, they want a woman and a place in society.

    …Just like everybody else. Unemployed, young males with few prospects for female companionship are highly vulnerable to the suggestion that someone conspired to put them in their current state. …especially if the suggestor managed to pump up their egos.

    …And that’s been true the world over throughout history. Has it not?

  76. Dynamist–
    I think what the al-Qaeda guys want (as opposed to the Palestinian and Chechem desire for land or an end to oppression by a greater power) is more of a say in the world around them, or rather, a world that goes more the way THEY think it should go. That was the motivation of our homegrown boys like McVeigh and Kaczynski. The Amish, by comparison, aren’t getting violent because they don’t WANT any say in the greater world around them; they just want it to leave them alone, and we generally do.

    Despite the canard that violence is spawned by “low self-esteem,” I think it’s actually caused by too high a self-opinion. After all, if you think you’re a pathetic loser who’s barely even entitled to existence, let alone respect, then you’re not likely to protest if life hands you shit, and you’re more likely to be grateful the few favors you get.

    But the more narcissistic you are, OR the more convinced that you deserve something better than what you’ve got, then the more likely you are to get violent or at least seriously discontented.

    So one thing to do is determine which people have reason to feel legitimate discontent, and which stems from overdeveloped feelings of justification. I mean, screw Ted Kaczynski, blowing people up because he didn’t like technological progress, especially when he was left alone to live a primitive life, as he so desired. But if a slave of the old South did the same thing to his abusive master or the patterollers who kept him from escaping, then I wouldn’t blame him at all.

  77. “if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan – or they are Western-born converts to Islam.”
    Probably because, like college faculties being the last standard of communism in the United States, the Jihad Mullahs are the the last vestige of Islamic outreach.

  78. “After all, if you think you’re a pathetic loser who’s barely even entitled to existence, let alone respect, then you’re not likely to protest if life hands you shit, and you’re more likely to be grateful the few favors you get.

    Regardless of culture or upbringing, every man alive thinks he’s the best fighter, the best driver and the best lover in the world. …And they’re all wrong except for me.

    I’ve never met a guy–no matter how big a loser–who didn’t think he deserved a woman.

  79. And ya know, Tom, most men get the women they deserve…

    Hey, I’m here all week, try the veal!

  80. Haklyut,

    The Brazilian guy shot in London – terrible.

    The jihadis must be pissing themselves laughing. From what I’ve heard, there has been much more of an anti-Muslim backlash in England than there was here after 9/11, and now this.

    It sounds like the police were in an impossible situation, but what a freaking disaster. Poor guy.

  81. Hakluyt,

    According to the official fatwas from Al Qaeda and other groups in the GSJ movement, the main strategy remains bringing the fight to the West. The GSJ movement occasionally aids and infiltrates other terrorist groups, but that hasn’t changed their main strategy.

    But look at how the AQ spokesmen use the example of Iraq in their proclamations. When they mention it all, it’s usually embedded in the standard laundry list of incoherent grievances that ultimately reveals their real motive: the self-pity of a former superpower yearning for glory and dominance once again. Since the destruction of AQ’s training bases in Afghanistan, a few Global Salafi Jihadists from Europe have gone to Iraq to gain valuable combat skills. If they succeed in driving out the U.S., I don’t doubt they’ll celebrate their victory; but if they don’t, those who survive can bring their hard-won combat skills back to the fight against the “far enemy” again. Given the stated aims and strategy of the GSJ, what else would they do?

  82. From the Explosion in Egypt thread:
    Comment by: Born Again Iconoclast at July 23, 2005 04:12 PM

    I used to think “freedom and prosperity” was the answer. But considering that a lot of these nuts are highly educated, upper middle class Islamic types who are not suffering the kinds of privations that real impoverished arabs suffer from.

    …Westernized middle class ethnics and minorities who’ve bought into the “dialetics of oppression” bullshit that, despite their own material, vocational, educational, or social status makes them think “The Man” is the fault for their (imagined) “Oppression”.

    How can you ever appease a nihilist that has no real cause, only an imagined chip on their shoulder?

    Extend this thinking to non-Westernized jihadis. OBL has drawn the terms in such a way that he cannot be “left alone” like the Amish. Really, if you wanted to have most of the trappings of the 10th Century, USA might be the best place to set up your enclave. The Feds will keep everybody out of your business (foreign and State), as long as you agree to abide by our package of civil rights. Wherever the GSJ locates, they’ll be neighbors to people not of the same mind, who are seen as a corrupting influence, and worthy of attack.

    All the measures that seem like appeasement are good in their place, but even if the whole package was enacted, the fundamental non-cooperative nihilism cannot be appeased. I’m not a parent, but I understand there’s no way to appease a “sociopathic” 2-year-old who doesn’t understand the compromises necessary for continued survival.

  83. If there is a significantly higher rate of jihadists coming from Europe rather than America–and I don’t know that there is–then I’d like to see some statistical comparisons between Muslim immigrant communities in the United States and Muslim immigrant communities in Europe.

    …And I’d like to start with the marriage rate. I’d also like to see average pay for males of marriageable age. I know unemployment among the youth is sky high in Europe compared to the United States, even among natives.

    I have some personal experience in the Muslim community here in Los Angeles, and not just with wealthy Persians who fled the Shah either. It seems to me that most of the Muslim guys I meet have just as much of a chance of getting a good education, landing a good job and getting married as I have. Is that also the case in France?

    …Judgin’ by the description of Muslim slums in France that Hakluyt gave above, I’m gonna guess that the answer is no. Relatively speaking, how well do young Muslim men fare in Great Britain?

    If they fare no better than the losers that join the National Front–or whatever they’re calling themselves these days–then it wouldn’t surprise me to see young Muslim men join and sympathize with the Muslim equivalent of the National Front at similar rates.

    …The unemployment rate among the youth in Britain isn’t much better than it is in France, is it? I’d love to see those numbers! …Maybe if they free’d up their economies–but that would be a more controversial proposition than the suggestion that it’s got something to do with the west’s foreign policy, wouldn’t it?

  84. While Thursday’s explosions on London’s subway and bus lines were thankfully far less serious than those of two weeks ago, they will lead many to raise a troubling question: has Britain (and Spain as well) been “punished” by Al Qaeda for participating in the American-led military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    While this is a reasonable line of thinking, it presupposes the answer to a broader and more pertinent question: Are the roots of Islamic terrorism in the Middle Eastern conflicts?

    I don’t really think that’s the question at all. If the terrorists ultimate aim is a caliphate in the Middle East, then obviously every non-islamist presence in the Middle East is a huge problem. And of course, foreign troops waging a war is a bigger problem than tourism (which gets the terrorists going anyway). So a better question is, then: Are the roots of Islamic terrorism the non-islamist presence in the Middle East?

    Anyway, I think there’s two different question that needs to be answered:
    1. Why have New York, Washington, Madrid, London and all the other places been targeted by the terrorists?
    2. Why does someone become a terrorist?
    And somehow I think Olivier Roy conflates the two. But the answer to question number 1 was never supposed to answer question number 2 as well.

  85. If there is a significantly higher rate of jihadists coming from Europe rather than America–and I don’t know that there is–then I’d like to see some statistical comparisons between Muslim immigrant communities in the United States and Muslim immigrant communities in Europe.

    I’ll have to do a little digging around but such a study was released fairly recently (I remember it making the blogrounds). Arabs in the US, as a whole, were economically above the national average. This, if I remember correctly, was not the case in Europe.

    Granted Arabs doesn’t always equal muslim (not all arabs are muslim and not all muslims are arabs) but it was an interesting study nevertheless.

  86. 1. Why have New York, Washington, Madrid, London…been targeted by terrorists?

    New York, Washington, and London mainly because these are the commercial and political capitals of the western superpowers that stand in the way of the Global Salafi Jihadists who wish to create a theocratic Muslim empire. Madrid because it’s the infidel capital city of Al Andalus, the “Lost Jewel” of the old Muslim empire. These are very symbolic places and bringing off devastating attacks against them shows fence-sitting Muslims that the GSJ are on the march, which helps attract more followers to the cause (who doesn’t want to be on the winning side, in the vanguard of History?) and helps intimidate those Muslims who might not share their militant ideology.

    2. Why does someone become a terrorist?
    What kind of terrorist? A Muslim separatist, such as a Palestinian or Chechen, becomes one largely to establish an ethnic homeland on ancestral soil. A Global Salafi Jihadist is typically from a middle-class, moderately religious family, is well-educated (typically possessing an engineering degree) and was recruited as an isolated, lonely, homesick college boy studying abroad in Europe, who joined an all-male Islamic “study group” affiliated with a nearby mosque that preached a militant Salafist ideology. The “study group” fed him a steady diet of grievance-nursing, religious self-pity, and grand fantasies of heroic martyrdom. Peer group pressure and the Law of Group Polarization kicked in and…behold, a jihadist is born!

  87. Regardless of culture or upbringing, every man alive thinks he’s the best fighter, the best driver and the best lover in the world.

    gaius marius doesn’t. He thinks that he’s a lowly commoner who should be subordinate to aristocrats.

  88. “I’ve never met a guy–no matter how big a loser–who didn’t think he deserved a woman.”

    You need to hang out with more losers. You’re clearly working with an insufficient sample size.

  89. Jennifer wrote:
    After all, if you think you’re a pathetic loser who’s barely even entitled to existence, let alone respect, then you’re not likely to protest if life hands you shit, and you’re more likely to be grateful the few favors you get.

    I agree. John Stosell did a show that showed prisoners in high security super-maxes thought very highly of themselves.

    To which I’d add – it’s not really if you have high self-esteem or low self-esteem, it’s whether it’s a realistic justified self image. One can be humble and still believe they deserve things, just as one can be arrogant and think they don’t.

    When the difference moves into the delusional realm, is when we get crimminals/terrorists/etc.

  90. For anyone near Sinincincinnati. Be there or be square. Meeting Ruthless and his buddy, Waki Paki, will be icing on your falafel.

    JULY MEETING
    TARIQ ISMAIL: /What the Koran Really Says/
    Sunday, July 24, at 7 PM at the Vernon Manor

    Over the last ten years Tariq Ismail has researched the origins and
    nature of Islam. Raised as a Muslim, he has personal experience with
    Islam as well as a thorough knowledge of Islamic scholarship. Under the
    pseudonym Ibn Warraq, he has written /Why I Am Not a Muslim/ and edited
    four books, including/ Origins of the Koran/ and/ What the Koran Really
    Says. /Tariq will summarize for us what he has learned about Islam in
    preparing to publish these books. He will describe the current state of
    research on Islam.

    In the course of his remarks, Tariq will explain the conflicts
    between the Sunni and Shia factions. He will elucidate the term “Muslim
    fundamentalist” and comment on why some act in such extreme ways as
    suicide bombings.

    Tariq Ismael is a Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst,
    New York. Paul Kurtz calls him one of the leading Islamic scholars in
    the country

  91. I guess I’m not following.

    Is there a proposal on the table suggesting that the susceptibility of Muslim men of marriageable age to recruitment by Islamic radicals has nothing to do with the fact that so many Muslim men of marriageable age have neither marriage nor job prospects? …because, after all, they’re already such big losers?

    …’cause if that proposal’s out there, I wanna reject it.

    I find that even harder to swallow than the idea that the west’s foreign policy doesn’t contribute to whatever level of support Al Qaeda enjoys.

  92. Tom-
    I can’t speak for others here, but that’s not what I said; I said people who are dissatisfied with their lot in life can be people who want more than they deserve, OR people with legitimate grievances. Our problem is we need to determine which is which; it’s even possible that those who fight us are a combination of the two. After all, “Jihadis” and “al-Qaeda” and “the insurgents” are not monolithic organisms but collections of individuals.

  93. Coming late to this party, but I’m curious whether trying to understand the whys and wherefores of Islamic terrorism is even a profitable pursuit. Profiling serial murderers, I’m given to understand, mostly helps in identifying and locating them so that they can be captured and brought to justice, not in preventing future serial murder or reducing the number of sociopathic killers.

    We know who the leaders of AQ and associated groups are, and we know to within a few hundred miles, or a few dozen in some cases, where to find many of them. What we lack is simply the political will to do what is necessary to hunt them down. Even more importantly, we know who the ideologists are who are chiefly responsible for fomenting the faux-religious propaganda that takes desperate, soulless men and turns them into “martyrs for Allah.” Again, we are, for the most part, politically unwilling to do what must be done to rout them out. By “we,” I of course mean western governments and citizens of those governments too in love with the niceties of “democracy” and keeping gasoline prices within shouting distance of two dollars a gallon to recognize a carcinogenic ideology when they see one.

    There is simply no apologia sufficient to explain or excuse the behavior of terrorists. My stepdaughter came home from holiday in London two weeks ago. I watched her turn pale and nearly faint watching BBC world service covering the tube stops that had been bombed. Stations which she had so recently visited and travelled through.

  94. I don’t know if terrorists have low self-esteem or high self-esteem or whatever. The one thing that I’m pretty sure of is that they’re pissed off over something.

    Women in short skirts? Settlements in the West Bank? The existence of Christianity? US forces in Iraq? Freedom of speech in the US? Their poor marriage prospects?

    Whatever it may be, and whatever we should or shouldn’t do in response, I don’t think self-esteem is the key factor here.

  95. Personally, I’m kind of pissed off over the fact that “acting suspiciously” was reason enough to shoot and kill at point blank range a man who apparently had nothing to do with terrorism.

    Yes, I know, mistakes are inevitable, but the one made by London cops on Friday seems pretty bad.

  96. thoreau –

    I agree. Japanese kamakaze pilots didn’t fly into Allied carriers because they were depressed or couldn’t get a date. I would venture the same can be said of Islamic suicide murderers.

  97. thoreau,

    They didn’t shoot him because he was “acting suspiciously.” They told him to stop because he was acting suspiciously.

    They shot him because, a couple days after another series of bombs was left around the subway system, and a couple weeks after suicide bombers murdered dozens of people on that same subway system, he responded to being told to stop by the police by…running into a subway station.

  98. “There is simply no apologia sufficient to explain or excuse the behavior of terrorists.”

    As I stated above, I see a distinction between Al Qaeda leadership and suicide bombers on one hand and supporters and potential recruits on the other.

    I agree wholeheartedly that it doesn’t matter why Al Qaeda or suicide bombers do what they do. I couldn’t care less.

    I’m very concerned about the other group. What makes someone a potential recruit or a supporter, however passive? …There seems to be more support for Al Qaeda among the immigrant communities of Europe than there is among the immigrant communities of America. Is that simply perception or is there something to that? If there’s something to that, shouldn’t we understand why?

    I suspect that winning the War on Terror will have something to do with draining Al Qaeda of its support, particularly in countries that Al Qaeda identifies as enemies. Don’t you agree?

  99. If the same had been done down here in the bowels of Sinincincinnati, I’d be under curfew now.

  100. There’s a slight difference between the kamikaze pilots and the al qaida suicide bombers, in that the Japanese state forcibly brainwashed young children from early age and more or less forced them to smash planes into US naval vessels. Al qaida relies on sucking in depressed college kids to volunteer for atrocity tactics. So the suicide bombers are more likely to be just depressed middle class losers looking for win the approval of their peers.

  101. What we lack is simply the political will to do what is necessary to hunt them down.

    Since I’m inclined to agree that hunting the core predators is the only effective technique (you can’t persuade a sucidal nihilist), how do we build the will to attack without pity?

    The bad guys have masterfully developed a strategy that allows them claim our attacks are driven by our own ideological faults. Under Just War Theory, we can attack only on the terms our sovereign (which in democracy is us) grants, and only to achieve some “good” end. Killing people who speak agitating words, or people who disagree with us, is neither a good end nor a granted means. Revenge and preemption are also not acceptable in Just Wars.

    Maybe the challenge is to define the GSJ as a tumor of society. Left unexcised it will kill all of us, which includes the host on which it thrives. Take the religion out of it, as much as possible. Religion may be an indicator of which cells of society are more inclined toward becoming part of the tumor, and we would be wise to limit that metastasis through various means (the appeasements). In exchange, we might ask society for permission to destroy the tumors, with the understanding that in order to do a complete job we will kill some healthy tissue (innocent humans) on the way.

    It might help also, if we were more insistent on limiting or focusing the power of the Executive to the procedure indicated. PATRIOT was approved by Congress. They could have included checks against non-terror extensions or abuses, but did not. If I go in for a tumorectomy, I do not allow the doctor to remove other tissue just because he doesn’t think it should remain.

    I think many people focus on and equate the “at-risk” group with the truly cancerous core. It doesn’t seem fair to murder a bunch of lonely men who are trying to find meaning. But they’re not the problem. Like clarity wrote, we know who the real problem is, and Islam is merely the mask, not the substance.

  102. Kamikazes, like jihadis, were partially motivated by honor to a belief system. Their “brainwashing” was just living in the Japanese culture, and at least the initial blasts of Divine Wind seem more similar to the men who charged with Pickett than those who trained with Atta.

  103. I think the effectiveness of focusing on the “lonely men” aspect is that it strips away the glamor that these people are seeking. If it becomes common wisdom these terrorists are just a bunch of sad sacks who are acting out because they couldn’t get a date and were weak enough to get sucked into a crazy Islamist death cult, it might go some way toward reducing their number. Lookng for highfalutin “root causes” or pretending that their “grievances” are legitimate just gives these turds a boost. I say flush ’em!

  104. Snarf, you’ve created an opening for the Islamic Gandhi. If the mullahs decided to describe suicides as losers not worthy of Allah, it would really hurt jihadi recruitment. Rather than jihad, focus on the charity in the Koran and create a community that the world wants to be a part of. No infidel can corrupt a man who does not seek corruption himself. With the strength of Allah we need not attack, only endure to see his glory on earth. Why blow that engineering degree into a million bits when you can use it to provide for your impoverished brothers?

  105. The Army states that the top ten countries for recruits are alphabetically: Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

  106. “I say flush ’em!”

    Ignoring the reasons why Islamists find willing recruits in our midst is a sure way to lose the War on Terror.

    “Since I’m inclined to agree that hunting the core predators is the only effective technique (you can’t persuade a sucidal nihilist), how do we build the will to attack without pity?”

    This is a change in topic, but, actually, I’m not sure we’re capable of going after them. Aren’t they in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan?

    The Pakistani leadership doesn’t want to go in there, and I’m not so sure it’s simply because of the sympathies of the security and intelligence services. I think that area may represent some of the most difficult to invade terrain on the face of the earth.

    Remember the Russians in Afghanistan? …They weren’t worried about breakin’ eggs! We were successful where they failed. Why? I suspect it had something to do with the fact that local Afghanis weren’t particularly happy with the Taliban. …I’m not so sure the locals in Pakistan think so badly of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

    …And if we’re really gonna clean some house, don’t we need to go into Syria? Isn’t some of Al Qaeda’s direct support in Saudi Arabia? What kind of threat does Iran pose? …Forget the will, I’m not sure we’re capable of taking on all of that. Sometimes not having the “will” is another way of saying that it just isn’t worth it.

    P.S. Sometimes saying you don’t have the “will” is another way of saying that you learn from your mistakes.

  107. joe,

    Why they had to use deadly force against a guy they had pinned to ground is the question. Indeed, why they had to shoot him five times is even more of a mystery. Sound a bit trigger happy.

  108. “They didn’t shoot him because he was “acting suspiciously.” They told him to stop because he was acting suspiciously.”

    So many people see what they want to see.

  109. I say flush ’em!

    While I can’t say we don’t wish to know, or don’t want to deal with possible root causes, even if the causes are fallacious, I would say that I agree with the idea that in the larger war for the hearts and minds, it’s completely reasonable to show losers for what they are.

    There was a comic (and I forget the name) that outed the KKK. The guy infiltrated the KKK (much easier than doing this to AlQ) and basically gave secrets away, while making fun of the idiotic rituatals. I think the same can be done here.

    Mullah #1- The big problem in the world is the lack of virgins.

    Mullah #2 – I have an idea. Let’s say following our path leads to 100 virgins.

    Mullah #1 – 100 virgins?!?!?! No one will believe that….

    etc, etc, etc… Every murderer and rapist has a “reason” – even if it’s bad parents. The question is whether we entertain such reason(s).

    Again – this isn’t to say we don’t fight the hearts and minds war on several different fronts, just that I believe this is a front as well.

  110. Tom Crick,

    Were the cops in uniforms?

    What were the victim’s language skills like?

    It could be that three plainclothes cops went barreling after him in a language he barely understood and he understandably ran for safety.

  111. Full disclosure – this same tactic can be used against other religions, including Catholism.

  112. They shot him because, a couple days after another series of bombs was left around the subway system, and a couple weeks after suicide bombers murdered dozens of people on that same subway system, he responded to being told to stop by the police by…running into a subway station.

    Right, because never before has a non-terrorist tried to evade the cops by running into the subways. It’s unheard of.

    And until I find out whether the cops were in uniform and whether he understood English (or whatever they call that mangled dialect that the limeys speak πŸ˜‰ I’m going to withhold judgement on whether it was even a bad idea for him to flee.

    And it’s not like they shot a guy who, under admittedly suspicious circumstances, reached for an electronic device while standing out of reach of the cops. No, they shot a guy whom they had already tackled.

    joe, I never thought you’d join the ranks of those who dismiss civil liberties concerns in the war on terror. But yesterday you defended searches that are random and relatively useless. Now you defend shooting a guy at point blank range while he’s being tackled.

    If you start explaining that we needed to invade Iraq I’m going to be worried.

    But as long as you’re adopting the stances of the more right-wing people on this forum, could you at least adopt their stance on Kelo as well? πŸ˜‰

  113. OK, he’d been in England for 4 years. I’m going to guess that he understood at least some amount of English. But I still find it tough to believe that this shooting can be justified.

    I don’t get why you’re defending these cops, joe. If they had shot him from a distance then maybe, just maybe, I could see the point. If they think a bomb is about to go off and there’s no way to reach him in time then I might entertain the notion that it was an understandable mistake. But they shot him after tackling him. I mean, even the LAPD stopped short of actually shooting Rodney King when he was on the ground and helpless.

    Maybe George Bush should give those London cops the Medal of Freedom. Or, if their mistake wasn’t large enough to merit the Medal, maybe they can kill another innocent person and then get the Medal of Freedom.

    At the very least they should be knighted, right?

  114. In the case of the racists I grew up with, a lot of their vileness came from bitter unhappiness at various aspects of their life, but it didn’t seem to matter if this was due to sheer bad luck, or personal failures and shortcomings.

    Sorry for dredging something up from way earlier in the thread, but I think this is an excellent point.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why an individual is a loser. The problem is that such an individual* projects their failings on something external that is beyond their control, rather than trying to figure out what they can do to improve their own lot.

    This isn’t to say that people haven’t been screwed over by “The Man,” but spending time getting your hate on for something you have no control over is just keeps you from fixing the stuff you do control.

    *Be he southern, racist trailer trash, or a born-again Jihadist nutwhack, or whatever.

  115. thoreau,

    My civil liberties side would love to be with you on this on but at some point you have to acknowledge that a man (who’s aroused suspicion by emerging from a house under surveilance in this case AND wearing unseasonably heavy clothing) who chooses to run AWAY from police officers (20 of them) and down a subway tunnel is at least asking from some trouble.

    No, it’s not fair and it’s not right and in the final analysis they got the wrong guy.

    But when explosions have gone off not once but several times on 3 separate occassions in 10 days, at some level it’s got to fall on the person NOT to actively work at becoming a target – which he did. This wasn’t a guy standing on a platform looking suspicious. This was a guy running away from cops, leaping over a turnstile and racing onto a train.

    In my book, the guy was a stupid fool and at least partially (like 80%) responsible for his own demise.

    I’m NOT suggesting they be knighted. But I AM suggesting that this is probably not a case of abusive cops but rather a case of a person (the dead guy) who made a series of dumb choices and then failed to appreciate that a bunch of already tense, tired and keyed up people working hard to protect the public wouldn’t make a mistake.

    I think your being unreasonably harsh on the bobbies with this one. And I think you’re not appreciating that the dead guy had several opportunities NOT to get himself killed.

  116. Dynamist, I remember from Christopher Hitchens’s piece on the trial of the Bali bomber that the local imams showed up and denounced the killer and damned him to hell. It would have been nice if the media had picked up that little detail and broadcast it around the world. But yeah, encouraging moderate Muslims to start publicly denouncing the militant jihadists in no uncertain terms would be a nice start to winning the war on terror.

    Hak, I mean we shouldn’t dignify their crazy pathetic ideology with our solemn self-flagellating cries in the media about how we are ultimately to blame for what happened and how we have to look deep within ourselves to find out how we possibly could have hurt the killers’ tender feelings. Face it, the jihadists’ ideology is foul fascist shit and should simply be publicly denounced as such and there’s an end on it.

  117. thoreau: On the Backpack thread, part of your ire was about the innocent person being shot five times. I say that if one gets to the point of shooting, shoot until you know the target is dead. I’m waiting to hear the explanation of why shooting was necessary when the target human was under the officer’s body. That will be a tough one.

    On behalf of the devil, the police have admitted the dead man was not trying to blow up a train. This does not mean he was “innocent”. Perhaps I missed the news, but he was under watch for something, and may not be lily white.

    Not really trying to defend the police, just looking at a bigger picture…

  118. On Sky News last night they talked to a bunch of retired cops, and one said, without actually saying, that the shooter in this case was not a London cop, but a member of the Special Forces drafted into service to help out the London cops in what has become a giant manpower crunch.

    It was strongly implied that those guys are a lot more trigger happy than the cops.

    Perhaps this highlights the difference between police and soldiers, and where each should and should not be employed.

  119. Perhaps this highlights the difference between police and soldiers, and where each should and should not be employed.

    Perhaps there’s also a lesson for those contemplating the use of military rather than civilian justice.

    I say that if one gets to the point of shooting, shoot until you know the target is dead.

    Um, what about shooting to incapacitate? If a person is innocent until proven guilty then the cop does have certain responsibilities toward the person he’s shooting.

  120. Shoot ’em all and let Allah sort the innocent from the guilty.

  121. re: man shot in London

    Anyone consider that he may be a decoy martyr? He sacrifices himself to take some of the heat off of the terrorists through a public relations disaster for the police. Maybe this slows their trigger fingers down enough that a real bomber in a winter coat can get onto the train and detonate.

    Just an idea.

  122. madpad,

    Until recently Scotland Yard was claiming the guy was part of the bombing attacks. Now they say he wasn’t. Being harsh is called for. If the government can’t take a little heat over the matter then I say get a new government.

  123. Watching the end of the Tour de France this year is sorrowful (Lance retiring and all) but I look forward to next year which will be more, well, suspenseful. Basso v. Ullrich v. Vinokourov?

  124. “Um, what about shooting to incapacitate? If a person is innocent until proven guilty then the cop does have certain responsibilities toward the person he’s shooting.”

    Thoreau,

    You should never, or rarely ever shoot to incapacitate. (only in rare situations with a non mobil target, and special circumstances) Shooting is always deadly force. If there is a reason to shoot, you shoot to kill, you shoot center mass.

    If you shoot to maim you endanger yourself, and those around you.

  125. So long as innocent people die at the hands of cops, rather than terrorists, I guess that passes for improvement.

  126. hakluyt,

    I’m in no way saying we shouldn’t be harsh on those who deserve it. And police (or soldiers) unjustly shooting an innocent & unarmed man certainly qualifies.

    But as I suggested, his actions during the moments leading up to his meeting with his maker certainly make him at least complicit in – if not partially responsible for – his own death.

    Even if there had not been any bombings recently, it’s not smart for an unarmed civilian to run away from and then fight with armed police officers.

    I’m with others who have pointed out that just because he wasn’t trying to blow up the train doesn’t mean he wasn’t connected in some fashion and worthy of the suspicion that he might do so.

    As others have pointed out, there seems to be a lot of additional information trickling out on this one that suggests this is a bigger and more complicated nut.

    All told, I’d suggest it’s probably much too early to be passing judgement on anyone’s actions, knowing what we do know, until all of the facts are out.

    Even if he turns out to be completely unconnected in any way and just a a poor sap who tangled with the wrong guy, he was stupid for taking the actions he took and his own stupidity helped hasten his end.

  127. kwais-

    Fair enough. I suppose an additional problem with the notion of “shoot to maim” is that people who think in those terms may be less cautious about shooting. Since shooting is always potentially deadly one shouldn’t do it unless he’s prepared to kill.

    I still want to know why they shot him when two cops were tackling him.

    Maybe for the same reason that Rodney King was hit 50+ times?

  128. Lot’s of folks are comparing this with Rodney King.

    Most folks regarding the King case (except for the jury, of course) saw a drunk fellow crawling on all fours while various members of a large group of police officers kicked and hit King over the course of several minutes after a car chase.

    I think most reasonable folks (except for the jury, of course) at least question the need for the level of brutality and the judgement of the officers involved as Rodney King was clearly not a threat.

    In this case, however, it’s unclear how dire the threat was perceived by the officers involved.

    The folks on this thread jumping on the police are hearing that the guy didn’t have a bomb and may not have been involved and are using that as a justification to make some rather odd leaps.

    Among them, that acting suspiciously in the midst of several bombing attacks AND running away (into a subway station) AND fighting with police officers doesn’t somehow justifiably raise the perception that the individual might indeed be a very dire threat.

    The King analogy is probably not a fair or accurate comparison.

    I’m for protecting civil liberties as much as anyone. And certainly, I’ve got a problem with shooting someone in the head AFTER he’s pinned down.

    No, wearing a heavy, padded coat in July doesn’t make one guilty.

    Coming out of a house under suspicion doesn’t make one guilty.

    But doing those things and then running away from police officers AND into a subway station AFTER several bombings in London sure makes one LOOK guilty. It also makes them LOOK like and immediate and dire threat.

    So here’s my evaluation.

    Cops overreacted? Maybe.

    Victim acted incomprehensibly stupid? Definitely.

    Victim’s civil liberties infringed upon? Probably.

    Without cause or justification? Probably not.

    Indicator of a systematic and pathological attempt to deprive citizen’s of their civil rights by a capricious authority in the name of protecting the public? Highly unlikely.

    Accident…pure and simple.

  129. “caught between two worlds while belonging to neither”

    Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
    The other powerless to be born,
    With nowhere yet to rest my head,
    Like these, on earth I wait forlorn.
    Their faith, my tears, the world deride–
    I come to shed them at their side.

    –matthew arnold, stanzas rom the grand chartreuse, 1855

    understanding fundamentalism

    “All of these movements invariably create a dual myth. This myth links a supposed Golden Age in the past with a Utopian future. The past Golden Age is seen as a time when the members of the movement or those they identify with were strong, vital, and in control of the world. The Utopian future presages a time when movement members will return to that sense of group strength and wholeness. In seeking to do this, they adhere to a clearly specifiable orthodoxy, but no easily predictable political ideology. They are as likely to be liberal as conservative in their solution to the problem. Religious belief is the most frequent motivating and organizing principle, although purely secular concerns may also dominate. Most cultures have seen a number of fundamentalist revival movements throughout their history, and all such movements appear to have common features which bear a resemblance to general human ritual practice.”

  130. Um, what about shooting to incapacitate? If a person is innocent until proven guilty then the cop does have certain responsibilities toward the person he’s shooting.

    The idea of shooting to wound is a Hollywood misnomer. None of the serious gurus of pistolcraft have ever advocated a “shoot to wound” mentality. If a situation* is serious enough to warrant the use of a firearm, it’s life and death. Attempting to “shoot to wound” is like trying to use a wrench in place of a hammer.

    *In this case, the coppers obviously over-reacted and killed someone they shouldn’t have. Wrong as it is, under the circumstances I’m not terribly surprised.

  131. “The folks on this thread jumping on the police are hearing that the guy didn’t have a bomb and may not have been involved and are using that as a justification to make some rather odd leaps.”

    This reminds me of the movie, “The Peacemaker.” In it, a terrorist with a “suitcase” nuclear bomb is walking in the streets of New York City. A U.S. military sniper is trying to locate him. He finally gets a glimpse of the guy in his gun sight, but there’s a little girl on her father’s shoulders in the way, and relays that information to George Clooney (presumably a higher ranking officer). George Clooney tells the sniper, “Acknowledged. Take the shot!” But the sniper can’t bring himself to do it, and the terrorist moves out of view.

    I certainly wouldn’t ever want to be that sniper. Or those London cops.

  132. Hakluyt writes, “I suggest you take a look at what is happening in Basra; its becoming a Taliban-like enclave. That is the future of Iraq.”

    Would you like to put some money on that prediction?

    When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, Iraq had the distinction of being one of the least free countries on the planet, both in terms of political and civil liberties freedoms, and economic freedom.

    Regarding political and civil liberties freedom, Iraq had NEVER had a Freedom House ranking in either political or civil liberties freedom less than a “6” (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1 is the most free).

    http://www.freedomhouse.org/ratings/allscore04.xls

    Further, in the decade before the U.S. invaded, Iraq had not even received a single “6.” Every year from 1993 to 2003, it had been a pair of 7’s (for political and civil liberties freedoms).

    I’ll bet you that in 2008, Freedom House’s ranking for Iraq will be equal to or better than a pair of 6’s…something not achieved in Iraq from in the 31 years from 1972 to 2003.

    And I’ll bet you that in 2013, Iraq’s ranking will be better than or equal to a pair of 5’s. (Where Iraq never even achieved a single “5” in 31 years from 1972 to 2013.)

    I’ll bet any amount up to $50.

  133. Hakluyt-

    In response to your comment about incidents of gang-rape among French Arab youths:

    I doubt this is because of any “pathology” particular to a given culture/religion.

    Having grown up in the southeastern US, for most of my life, I went to low-performing schools that were “minority-majority” (most students were lower-class Blacks). From my experience (both hearsay and as an eye witness), gang-rape, as a rite-of-passage seems quite prevelant in “ghettoized” communities.

  134. I doubt this is because of any “pathology” particular to a given culture/religion.

    Sure it is. It’s the pathology of subhuman animals. The supposed cultural reasons are nothing more than window dressing.

  135. Mark Bahner,

    I abstain from betting under any circumstance (even when it comes to the Tour de France).

    Whatever Iraq’s past under Saddam, etc. was, that really is inapposite with regard to my statement.

    Explain to me this: if Basra is becoming a Taliban-like area under “Coalition” supervision, what is to stop most of the rest of Iraq from adopting the same stance as the “Coalition” presence weakens? After all, as we’ve already seen, the Constitution as it is beeing promulgated is being infiltrated via Sharia law.

  136. “I’ll bet any amount up to $50.”

    Considering a steady stream of reports like this one, I think I may want a piece of that action. …but we’re going to have to establish some ground rules.

    …What if maps of the world in 2008–the ones printed everywhere except for in the United States and Turkey–show two or three states where Iraq used to be? …Do I lose if Freedom House gives Kurdistan a better number than Sistanistan, Sadrstan or whatever’s left of Sunnistan?

    P.S. On second thought… There’a a big difference between what a person thinks will happen and what a person wants to happen. …and I don’t want a $50 bet interfering, even subconsciously, with my sincere hope of being incredibly wrong.

  137. what is to stop most of the rest of Iraq from adopting the same stance as the “Coalition” presence weakens?

    The desire and will of the people to stand up to oppression and negotiate (sometimes violently) a compromise that respects all sides. It may be too “western imperialist” for some, but a federalized division seems a good way to at least forestall a civil war. I read today that some Sunnis are rejoining the consitutional process. Neither bad trends nor good are solid predictors of the future.

  138. “It may be too “western imperialist” for some, but a federalized division seems a good way to at least forestall a civil war.”

    Lately, I’ve found myself wondering if perhaps the civil war hasn’t started already.

    …If Sistani or Sadr retaliated, wouldn’t we have to concede that there was a civil war? Why haven’t Sistani and Sadr retaliated?

    …How long will that last?

  139. I’ll bet you that in 2008, Freedom House’s ranking for Iraq will be equal to or better than a pair of 6’s…something not achieved in Iraq from in the 31 years from 1972 to 2003.

    Isn’t that another way of saying “Saddam was worse”? Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    But with regards to Basra, a lot of the blame for the situation there has to fall upon the British, whose “softly softly” approach – much trumpeted in the UK press – created a power vacuum that’s been filled by Shia militias, some of which are nothing more than Iranian stooges. I’m not talking about the Badr Brigades here (not that I’m fond of them), but the Sadrists and previously unknown smaller outfits. As far as I know, the only other place in the south that’s become a theocratic gutter of a similar order is Najaf, a city that’s the Shia equivalent of the Vatican.

    The way things look right now, federalism may be the biggest political threat to the development of a reasonably free Iraq, at least outside of the Kurdish regions.

  140. The proper measure of whether we’re achieving the President’s objective is not whether Iraq becomes better than it was under Hussein.

    The proper measure is whether Iraq becomes better than Egypt and Saudi Arabia. That is a necessary condition for Democratic Domino Theory to work.

  141. Just for the sake of argument regarding this “unseasonable attire” crap that this Brazilian gentleman was wearing before the police summarily executed him, let’s all try not to forget that London, even in July, is a good 20 degrees cooler than Rio is.

  142. Phil makes a good point.

    Using today’s info as a reference, the current temperatures in london are bouncing between 59 and 69 degrees F.

    While I relent on the notion that the poor dead chap was dressed in unseasonably heavy clothing, I still think his own actions were – at the very least – contributing factors in his new found career of pushing up daisies.

  143. On the other hand, most of the reports have indicated that his coat appeared to be “padded”.

    Now I live in Florida. And while there are plenty of thin blooded pussies who get all out of sorts whenever the temperature drops below room temperature, most folk find temperatures above the high 50s no real cause to be walking about in a heavy and “apparently padded” coat.

    Now the fact that he was Brazilian and completely unused to temperatures below, say, 79 degrees, may be a factor to consider but lend nothing to how his actions may have appeared to the police.

  144. Sure it is. It’s the pathology of subhuman animals. The supposed cultural reasons are nothing more than window dressing.

    Wow… Hitler lives.

  145. But from what I understand, NY and DC are not and have not been exactly staunch bastions of hawkish sentiment regarding Iraq.

    No, they appear to respond to threats by fortifying, implementing random searches, etc.

  146. hp,

    Excepting for a minute that you may be wishing to invoke Gowin’s Law and kill the thread, I think mediageek was simply indicating that gang rape was the pathology of subhuman animals and had nothing to do with any cultural issues.

    That’s a LOT different than calling an entire race or culture “subhuman animals”.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t thank that’s what MG meant.

  147. throeau,

    Your horrified response at the actions of the police seems to presuppose that they had the wrong guy. At the time, they didn’t think they had the wrong guy – they thought they had a guy in a suicide vest. It doesn’t matter if the cop’s sitting on you then – BOOM! That hotel that collapsed in Irael was brought down by one or two guys with vests. In an actual ticking bomb scenario, putting the bomber’s lights out immediately is the right thing to do, and something they were risking their own lives to carry out (which is where the comparison to the sadist thugs in the Rodney King video breaks down).

    This was the nightmare – they think it’s a ticking bomb scenario, and they’ve got the wrong guy. (Hello, Attorney Dershowitz, are you paying attention?)

    Haklyut, yes, there needs to be a lot of shit coming down. This was, first and foremost, a victory for the terrorists. The poor Brazilian was one of us. The people fighting the terrorsts, and all of England actually, is now somewhat demoralized. Many thousands of Muslim kids in Europe are now somewhat to very much more inclined to look at the police as the people who kill you for having dark skin. Some of them will undoubtedly be more likely to side with the radicals.

    It’s a shitstorm all right – but I don’t think we should jump to the conclusion that the cops are the weak link here. The facts in this case are just horrible – the coat, running way, INTO THE SUBWAY – it sucks all the way around.

  148. “The proper measure is whether Iraq becomes better than Egypt and Saudi Arabia. That is a necessary condition for Democratic Domino Theory to work.”

    thoreau,
    Ain’t gonna happen.
    We can’t even begin measuring until Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel are completely off the US taxpayer tit.
    Sorry, that would have meant we never should have attempted to do “nation-building” in Iraq, eh?
    The lid is stuck because Condi (and a long string of her predecessors) is trying to force it. We need to screw back quite a bit before we have smooth “engagement.”

  149. Here’s a line civil libertarians should be pushing:

    The Fourth Amendment, and the practice of throwing out evidence that is gathered in a constitutional manner, isn’t there to protect criminals. It isn’t even there just to protect innocent people from having their privacy invaded. It’s there to keep us safer. If a guy with parking tickets or a joint or a warrant needs to be stopped by the police as part of a security check, he needs to know that he isn’t going to be arrested if they find unrelated stuff on him (short of imminent threats to life and limb, like body parts in his trunk). If not, he’s liable to panic, bolt, knock people over, and elicit god-knows-what response from the anti-terror agents. This means that the police have to give up on the idea that the new realities of security procedure are going to be goldmine for their law enforcement/drug war operations. If the cops do anything more than throw your contraband in the trash, they’re striking a blow against public safety.

  150. Dynamist,

    The desire and will of the people to stand up to oppression and negotiate (sometimes violently) a compromise that respects all sides.

    You are assuming that the people as a rule don’t want it.

    Anyway, right now I am thinking about this last Tour de France, of the prospects of Christophe Moreau and Ivan Basso and re-reading some of the essays of the anti-Federalists. Mulling the daily nightmare that is Iraq isn’t something I focus on much anymore. If I have to be Cassandra, I won’t fret over it. πŸ™‚

  151. joe-

    I guess it comes down to how much slack you’re willing to cut the people with guns when they shoot somebody.

    But you do make a good point about finding things unrelated to the search. If, for the sake of argument, one accepts random searches under certain circumstances, then you’ll get maximum compliance if only the terrorists (or people with body parts in the trunk) have something to fear.

    Really, it’s just one more argument in favor of ending the war against victimless crimes: If you want the public to cooperate with the police in combating terrorism, don’t give the public reason to fear the police unless they’re actually doing something that directly hurts other people.

  152. “I guess it comes down to how much slack you’re willing to cut the people with guns when they shoot somebody.” Once again, you cut right to the heart of the issue, thoreau. When the subways keep getting bombed, and the police know there are more bombers out there trying to pull of additional mass murders, I’m inclined to give them some slack. Anyone whose slack meter doesn’t have different settings for what’s going on in London right now is missing something.

    “Really, it’s just one more argument in favor of ending the war against victimless crimes: If you want the public to cooperate with the police in combating terrorism, don’t give the public reason to fear the police unless they’re actually doing something that directly hurts other people.” Damn straight. How much do you want to bet that this guy had some hash on him?

    Libertoids, you need to start using the phrase “Don’t you know there’s a war on?” a lot more.

  153. joe, those 5 bullets could have been used to kill REAL terrorists.

    Don’t you know there’s a war on?!?!?!?!

    πŸ˜‰

  154. After lobbying for the same kind of search limits joe brings up on another thread, I wonder how we might sell what seems like a good idea to both ends of the lefty-righty continuum (we’ll never get the tails, but how do we get the middle three sigmas)?

    Will leftys actually allow more intrusive searches for a limited purpose without going apeshit over “fairness”?

    Will righties actually be able to recognize the limit on resources and drop their “behavioural engineering” to focus on keeping people from exploding?

  155. “Libertoids, you need to start using the phrase “Don’t you know there’s a war on?” a lot more.”

    And joe, why are wars going on?
    Because there are wars going on.
    It’s like asking why there’s a forest fire.
    Because someone lit a match. Duh.

    Nobody’s willing to unscrew are they? Even if they are the primary screwee.

  156. “Will leftys actually allow more intrusive searches for a limited purpose without going apeshit over “fairness”?

    Hell no!

    “Will righties actually be able to recognize the limit on resources and drop their “behavioural engineering” to focus on keeping people from exploding?”

    Fuck no!

    ….

    I know this isn’t a popular view–poppin’ up in the wake of a series of bombings as it is–but…um…am I willing to put up with more intrusive searches if that’s what’s required to bring down the rate of violent crime? …No, I’m not.

    …Yeah, I know that means that some terribly unfortunate and innocent soul is going to die, and I know that terribly unfortunate and innocent soul may even be me. Still, I’d rather take my chances than grin and nod while my rights erode away.

    Why should the threat of terrorism be any different?

  157. “Explain to me this: if Basra is becoming a Taliban-like area under “Coalition” supervision, what is to stop most of the rest of Iraq from adopting the same stance as the “Coalition” presence weakens?”

    The main reason is that Iraq is not Afghanistan. Specifically:

    1) Iraq is more cosmopolitan than Afghanistan. It’s especially important that 20-25% of the population of the entire country lives in Baghdad.

    2) Iraq is more of a mixture of groups than Afghanistan. Specifically, the fact that there are significant numbers of minorities…Sunni Arabs, Sunni Kurds, Christians, etc., makes it less likely that Shia religious fanatics will be able to impose their will on the country.

    3) Ali Sistani is very conservative. But he is nowhere near the Taliban in his outlook.

    It’s certainly not a sure thing (that Iraq will continue on the path towards becoming a liberal democracy). But I think the odds are better than 50/50. My wallet thinks so, too. πŸ˜‰

  158. Thoreau:

    More than one news article I read shortly after the incident said that the man fell, and then was shot, not that he was tackled. I remember at the time having a thought progression of : “Couldn’t they just tackle him after he fell?” followed by “Well, I guess it may be a little much to ask of police to tackle a man who may explode.”

    I’ve been skimming the more recent articles (and trying to look through some of the older ones) and none of them mention that he tripped and fell, but none of them say he was tackled either. The only place I’ve heard that he was tackled has been from commenters here.

    Did I just miss the articles that you read, or are you making some assumptions? If the man was actually tackled by police, I think the shooting is a lot more questionable then if they shot him from a distance after he tripped and fell.

  159. “…What if maps of the world in 2008–the ones printed everywhere except for in the United States and Turkey–show two or three states where Iraq used to be? …Do I lose if Freedom House gives Kurdistan a better number than Sistanistan, Sadrstan or whatever’s left of Sunnistan?”

    My proposal would be to rank the totality of what is presently Iraq by the populations of the subsequent countries, e.g., in 2008, if Kurdistan has a population of 5 million, and the rest of the Iraq has 20 million people with a pair of 7’s, the overall ranking would be:

    (3+3) x 5 million + (7+7) x 20 million…all divided by 25 million, or a pair of 6.2s. I would lose…just barely (my bet was that it would be equal or better than a pair of 6s).

  160. I’d like to teach the world to sing
    in perfect harmony.

    …and then I’d like to ask everyone in America what they think victory in the War on Terror looks like. Is it when we no longer have to worry about the threat of terrorism? …Because, I don’t care what our military does in Iraq or Central Asia or anywhere else–that day will never come.

    After that, I’d like to ask everyone in America to make a top five list of the things that are most important to them.

    …In my list, I’ve got big tax cuts right at the top. Protection from terrorism’s somewhere on my list, but I really do think I’m more concerned about violent crime. …And, believe it or not, I’m more concerned about the erosion of my rights than I am about violent crime. In fact, Americans who want to protect me from terrorism concern me more than terrorism itself, I think.

    I bet a lot of Americans are more concerned about their jobs, their retirements, the kind of education their kids get, etc. …more so than they’re concerned about terrorism.

  161. Oops…that should have been:

    “My proposal would be to rank the totality of what is presently Iraq by the populations of the subsequent countries, e.g., in 2008, if Kurdistan has a ***pair of 3s and a**** population of 5 million, and the rest of the Iraq has 20 million people with a pair of 7’s, the overall ranking would be:…”

  162. Mark,

    I think you missed the last part of my post:

    …and I don’t want a $50 bet interfering, even subconsciously, with my sincere hope of being incredibly wrong.

    I really meant that. It’s why I can’t play fantasy football. I can’t deal with the possibility that a small part of me, subconsciously, might want the Dallas Cowboys to play well.

  163. I predicted that Iraq would be better than a Freedom House ranking of a pair of 6s in 2008 and better than a pair of 5s in 2013.

    Eric II writes, “Isn’t that another way of saying “Saddam was worse”? Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

    That isn’t saying simply that Saddam was worse, it’s saying that Saddam was MUCH worse. There’s a huge difference between a pair of 7s (which had been the case for the previous DECADE under Saddam, and showed absolutely zero sign of changing) and a pair of 5s.

    “The way things look right now, federalism may be the biggest political threat to the development of a reasonably free Iraq, at least outside of the Kurdish regions.”

    I don’t agree. A strong federal government is at least as likely to limit freedom as to promote it. With federalism, each governate becomes “laboratory,” and as long as there is freedom of movement, people can choose to leave the areas that aren’t free.

  164. Once it occurred to me to just include “tripped” or “tackled” in my search I answered my own question. The stories conflict. As one example:

    From theledger.com which appears to be a Florida newspaper:

    ” Plainclothes police officers staking out an apartment followed a man who emerged from it, then chased him into the Stockwell subway station and onto a train. The man tripped, and one of the officers in pursuit fired five rounds.”

    Also: My first thought was plainclothes, waving guns, shouting in a language I didn’t understand, I’d probably run, too, but:

    “Another cousin, Aleide Menezes, said in an interview with Brazil’s national radio network that Mr. Menezes understood English well and would have understood the officer’s instructions.”

    I’ve seen this mentioned in a number of articles. Which makes the whole thing all the more bizarre.

    Anyway, the New York Daily News says:

    “Shocked passengers watched in fear as three cops tackled him inside a train before shooting him.”

    So a lot of stories say he tripped, a lot of stories say he was tackled, and a lot of them just say he was shot.

  165. between iraq and iran cooperating on defence and the understanable desire for kurdish federalism, it’s hard to see that even with a concerted effort for sunni inclusion and enfranchisement how the center will hold. i think a better question to ask is, who will control kirkuk?

  166. Tom: How about if the intrusive searches were of limited scope? Checking your bag at the turnstile is O.K., but you can keep your weed without prosecution. Wiretapping your phone and stealing your library records are not part of the deal I want to make. I’m not sure that vigilantes are the solution to terrorism. An armed populace can keep a limit on ordinary personal violence, but probably not on indiscriminate bombings.

    Also, you’ve also shown me that I’m subconsciously promoting terrorism. If the jihadis decided to blow up “America’s Team”, they’d just be fulfilling one of my long-term evil fantasies. Hating the Cowboys was one of favorite parts of being a sports fan. πŸ™‚

  167. Excepting for a minute that you may be wishing to invoke Gowin’s Law and kill the thread, I think mediageek was simply indicating that gang rape was the pathology of subhuman animals and had nothing to do with any cultural issues.

    hp-

    madpad nailed it.

    madpad-

    Thanks for clarifying my post. In retrospect it’s not phrased well.

  168. Way back at the top of the thread, Olivier Roy says

    It is also interesting to note that none of the Islamic terrorists captured so far had been active in any legitimate antiwar movements or even in organized political support for the people they claim to be fighting for.

    True enough. AQ is making a raw grab for power. The odds they’ll ever get what they’re after are about nil, but it’s a power grab nonetheless.

    Then Hakluyt says

    Well, whether what they are doing is a rational approach is a matter of historical perspective; after all, if they do defeat the U.S. in Iraq, then their strategy was rational.

    Phew. I’m glad Hakluyt is on our side.

    The ends justify the means if and only if you aren’t American.

    Of course, whether or not US tactics are rational does not get the benefit of doubt per “historical perspective”. The US is condemned a priori, and it doesn’t matter what kind of monsters we’re up against.

    Here’s what I think the truth is: so long as the ME is politically/socially/etc unstable, AQ will thrive. Why? Because, ever since the first Caliphate fell, there have been Muslims in the ME who have dreamed of reviving it.

    Only when it is at last crystal clear that a Middle Ages political concept cannot again be imposed on the ME, will the dream of the next Caliphate die. Not before that. Today, re-imposing the good old days of the Caliphate in the ME is really not out of the question.

    Want to end Islamic terrorism? Drag the ME, kicking and screaming, into the modern era. Just like Christianity came in kicking and screaming.

    Precisely how to do the dragging is debatable. But turning our back on it and saying “it’s their problem” is to live on Fantasy Island. It is our problem, if you look at all the suicide bombers in the last 25 years.

    Why are they able to recruit suicide bombers? Think “Amway”, albeit with a lower profile. It’s just a numbers game. Look hard and long enough and you’re sure to find the right kinds of lunatics. You don’t need that many of them.

    As far as the Brazilian getting shot in London, it’s a sad case. But if you think a guy is wired with a bomb, exactly how are you going to “shoot to disable” him? And what the hell does it matter if he’s pinned under you? You don’t know where the magic switch is….

    All you know is, this guy fits the MO and if you call it wrong there’s no telling how many people are going to die.

    This event frightens me. But if I’d been that cop, I don’t know if I’d have done different. This guy wears a heavy coat in summer, doesn’t follow orders (and who has time to figure out how good his language skils are), etc etc. He fits the MO.

    If you were that cop and this guy had a bomb — and if you were more cautious and he blew it — would you be able to live with yourself after that, supposing you survived? How many civilians blew up because you gave this guy, details as given, the benefit of the doubt?

    I’m glad I’m not the one who has to decide what happens to this poor cop, or whatever he was.

  169. thoreau, don’t cave to joe quite so rapidly. This is the same person who, after all, refuses to accept that someone with a lawn dart in his hand is even slightly complicit in his own injury or death, but is willing to place the entire blame for this Brazilian guy’s death on his own actions.

  170. It was said earlier that the guys who shot the Brazilian were not cops but members of an English military special operations outfit.

    Assuming they shot him with a pistol, the real news item to me is that they hit the guy. I have seen these guys shoot. God must have guided their bullets on this one.

  171. BTW,
    If you want to bet on the succesful outcome in Iraq go to US/Dinars.com, you can buy Iraqi dinars at more than 1000 to one. If Iraq does become the country it is supposed to, the ratio will be closer to 3 to 1. That is a pretty good bet in my book.

  172. BTW that 3 to 1 figure is scuttlebut. Somebody told me and it sounded reasonable, given the resources of the country, the educational level and all. But I am no economist.

    I really don’t understand how the depression came about in the US.

    But I know tax cuts are good.

    (and that all real Americans own guns)

  173. I, the evil conqueror,

    I believe you are confusing the question of whether strategy or tactics are rational or effective with some sort of praise for the practitioners of such.

  174. the most significant message Roy offers here is that while violent Islamist groups are very much a product of a Muslim interaction with the West, they are not inherent to Islam. The implicit moral of the story, and one the French have been trying to achieve for some time, is that the way to reduce violence is through a better social integration of Muslim communities.

    this is a very grave problem, then, because in a western world whose ideology holds self-expression to be the highest holy, how does one initiate social integration?

    this integration isn’t happening for very good reasons — ask any m/e muslim to describe the west, and the words will often include “decadent”, “militarist” and “immoral” as well as “free” and “wealthy”. what attraction is there in that? why would anyone want to integrate into that? some muslims come west seeking amorality, true enough, but most hold their noses to make a buck.

    roy is exactly right to say that the interaction of east and west creates these barbarian war-bands out of the western external proletariat. that “social integration” is even a possibility anymore as a solution is another question entirely.

  175. some muslims come west seeking amorality, true enough, but most hold their noses to make a buck.

    Then a handful of their slacker sons wage jihad against the west.

  176. Kwais,

    That is a pretty good bet in my book.

    Is it true that there is gambling on horse races in Baghdad?

  177. Certainly I can see the charge that the west, from the perspective of the middle eastern muslim on the street is decadent – but militarist? Compared to the middle east as a whole? Surely, militarism per se can’t be the gripe.

  178. “This is the same person who, after all, refuses to accept that someone with a lawn dart in his hand is even slightly complicit in his own injury or death,” lie

    “…but is willing to place the entire blame for this Brazilian guy’s death on his own actions.” Another lie.

  179. It is also interesting to note that none of the Islamic terrorists captured so far had been active in any legitimate antiwar movements or even in organized political support for the people they claim to be fighting for. They don’t distribute leaflets or collect money for hospitals and schools. They do not have a rational strategy to push for the interests of the Iraqi or Palestinian people.

    that, it seems to me, is a western standard of legitimacy and entirely inapplicable. they don’t behave as the salvation army with an overwhelming populist mandate — therefore, their complaints are illegitimate and irrational? please. i have great respect for mr roy, but this reading of his arguments is a misinterpretation of what these raiders from our frontiers are telling us about our situation.

    every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah

    quite true — but that is not to say that

    Olivier Roy slapped around those who have interpreted the bombings in London, Madrid and elsewhere as retaliation for conflicts in the Middle East.

    unless one limits “conflicts” to mean all since 2001 — and even then, our recent misadventures are only a continuation of the activities we have been engaged in to push back the islamic empire since the 18th c.

    it is to say that the interaction of east and west in the advent of 1) a chaotic, barbaric collapse into interregnum for the former and 2) advancing civil decline into militarism for the latter is producing a grassroots determined resistance, both pacifist/religious and activist/terrorist, to hubristic western attempts to globalize our own model. many decaying civilizations encounter this problem at their frontiers — the hellenic romans at the danube, rhine and scotland; the arab caliphate in the franks, berbers and turks; the tang-dynasty chinese in the mongols.

  180. but militarist?

    oh my god yes, mr ligon. how many western armies have swamped over the middle east in the last two centuries? almost all of them at one point or another. and in that time, how many armies of islam have overmarched france or britain?

    the west is the most militarist society on the planet at the moment, and they’d be right to see us in that light. no one has devoted so much effort and treasure and life into conquest as we have.

  181. Mr. Ligon,

    Don’t ALL nationalists get huffy at the sight of other countries’ soldiers, but are perferctly comfortable having their own countries’ soldiers about?

    And accuse others of being warlike?

  182. So, if a hawk in California or Texas or Alabama or Minnesota can support the invasion of Iraq in response to 9/11, why should we be shocked if a Pakistani or Egyptian or Saudi supports Jihad in response to events in Palestine or Iraq or Afghanistan?

    Way to miss the point of the article, which was that jihadi terrorism is not a response to events in Palestine or Iraq or Afghanistan at all, but rather is driven by ideological and cultural roots that are endemic to certain brands of Islam coming out of certain societies.

  183. so long as the ME is politically/socially/etc unstable, AQ will thrive. Why? Because, ever since the first Caliphate fell, there have been Muslims in the ME who have dreamed of reviving it.

    i agree, mr evil conqueror. in this way, the current-day islamic m/e is rather like the western europe post roman imperial collapse — chaotic, conflicted, insular, divided between an escape into religious pacifism and a confrontation into holy war, dreaming of a political reconstitution which cannot meaningfully happen, facing a cultural and military conquest from without (substitute the saracens of the 8th c marching on tours with america today marching on baghdad).

    Want to end Islamic terrorism? Drag the ME, kicking and screaming, into the modern era. Just like Christianity came in kicking and screaming.

    i think that the ummah which saw materialization in the mohammedan empire of the saracens has been pined over for a long time — and that isn’t going away. the eu could in some ways be seen as a reconstitution of the roman empire — cultural memory has long roots.

    but to imagine that we now can conquer our problems away is a total misreading of the situation. the muslim opposition is based in this western drive to modernity — and it isn’t just the violent opposition that matters, but also the pacifist opposition which we don’t. the west no longer has, if it ever did (regardless of what members of the religion of freedom may wish to believe,) the cultural charisma to win over other civilizational traditions. you can conquer them — but you will not assimilate them, and you will be faced with centuries of regular insurrection and devastation.

    indeed, that’s what 9/11 was! it is what AQ represents. and continued attempts at westernizing the east will yield more such evil fruit.

  184. I think thoreau posted a profound comment regarding victimless crimes. It cuts right to the heart of the issue – is it necessary that we give up our freedom in order to protect ourselves from terrorist attacks?

    The libertarian answer is a loud NO. If the Republican controlled government is so eager to promulgate asinine constitutional amendments, why don’t they pass one that really makes sense? Establish a nationwide prohibition of all laws against drugs, porn, professional sex, gambling, and other victimless crimes. With such an amendment in place, I would be much more cooperative with police and other authority types. Right now I wouldn’t give them the time of day.

    I believe that most people are concerned with their “privacy” and “civil liberties” because they do not want the cops to discover the bong in the closet. Remove the threat of punishment for victimless crimes and more people will be willing to sacrifice some degree of privacy to make this a safer world.

    “Don’t you know there is a war going on?” This should be a rallying cry for the end of social engineering by the government. People of all political persuasions should be screaming “it is time to stop the bullshit and focus on what really matters!”

  185. jihadi terrorism is not a response to events in Palestine or Iraq or Afghanistan at all, but rather is driven by ideological and cultural roots that are endemic to certain brands of Islam coming out of certain societies.

    but that is to quit the journey before reaching the end, mr dean. roy points out that these reactions are to the interaction of east and west — and are not “endemic” to islam itself (obviously) but to the reactions to that interaction.

    what is the interaction then that it is in response to? from the 1683 battle of vienna onwards, the western incursion into the muslim homelands, which has reached a crescendo in the last century.

  186. “”Is it true that there is gambling on horse races in Baghdad?”

    I have no doubt it is true, though I haven’t seen it myself. Horses were a favorite of the prophet Mohammed’s. Gambling is forbidden in Islam, but then so is alcohol, and that doesn’t seem to slow their consumption down much.

    So I guess, it is very likely that there is gambling on horse races, but I can’t attest to it personally

  187. kwais, the Koran only mentions wine.

    They’re not cheaters, they’re strict constructionists!

  188. “Way to miss the point of the article, which was that jihadi terrorism is not a response to events in Palestine or Iraq or Afghanistan at all, but rather is driven by ideological and cultural roots that are endemic to certain brands of Islam coming out of certain societies.”

    It was an excellent point in context.

    …I find myself wondering if the War in Iraq is driven by ideological and cultural roots that are endemic to certain brands of patriotism coming from certain groups within our culture.

  189. No, Tom, the invasion of Iraq was a reasonable reaction to the 9/11 attacks that carries none of the ideological baggage you claim.

    That’s why support for the war breaks down so cleanly along partisan lines.

  190. On militarism:

    I think we are disagreeing on terms. The middle east is militaristic in the same sense Sub Saharan Africa is militaristic – petty dictators and petty tribes wage constant war on each other. If they could take Spain, they’d take Spain.

    As to joe’s point, I think that is right. The perception may be there, but what it really means is something like ‘Because of your militarism, we couldn’t drive the Jews into the ocean.’

  191. “Libertoids, you need to start using the phrase ‘Don’t you know there’s a war on?’ a lot more.”

    Not in the U.S., according to the U.S. Constitution. There hasn’t been “a war on” in the U.S. since August 9, 1945.

  192. It’s a shitstorm all right – but I don’t think we should jump to the conclusion that the cops are the weak link here. The facts in this case are just horrible – the coat, running way, INTO THE SUBWAY – it sucks all the way around.

    One place the cops could might just possibly perhaps been the weak link here is if they didn’t identify themselves well enough.

    AFAIK, Brazilian dude jumped the turnstile in the hopes of attracting a cop. Like the time in Dallas I ran into a jewelry store at full throttle to escape a pursuing would be mugger. Or the time in NYC I ran into an office building lobby (with a big briefcase and walkman wires sticking out of my pocket), again to escape a would be mugger.

    Hopefully some good, forthcoming and believable police response to cross exam at the inquest will help us find the weakest link here.

  193. Good post, Dave W.

    The Brits tend to take their inquests very seriously.

  194. I’m entertained by how few people are willing to put their money where their politics are.

    Mark, I wholeheartedly agree with you. But in the interests of encouraging some of these other p*ssies to step up to the plate, I’ll take your bet. $25 USD.

    And if I win, you can drown our mutual sorrows at my expense.

  195. If the Republican controlled government is so eager to promulgate asinine constitutional amendments, why don’t they pass one that really makes sense?

    Get off your ass and start your own movement. Why wait for someone else to hand you more freedom? If you’ve got a good idea, eventually you’ll get it enacted. But only if you convince those who do not yet agree.

    (No offense itended to Crushinator, who, for all I know, spends every waking moment lobbying people for the libertarian cause)

  196. Dynamist – I’m in full agreement with you.

    I constantly lobby for the libertarian cause – with my own peculiar wrinkle. I believe the US Constitution needs to be replaced in its entirety with a constitution that is constructed along libertarian ideals.

  197. “In the old slave-holding South some of the most vehement racists and supporters of slavery were the poor whites who would actually have been better off economically if they didn’t have to compete with slave labor.”

    I’m not so sure this is true. Some of the most dangerous places for Confederates to venture during the Civil War were poor, largely non-slaveholding rural areas of northern Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee and western N. Carolina. Andrew Johnson was a self-made anti-Confederate from rural eastern Tennessee. Poor, rural, thoroughly redneck Winn Parish, Louisiana was basically considered a semi-independent pro-Union mini-state.

  198. I don’t know if anyone else read about the survey of British muslims in the Telegraph:

    YouGov sought to gauge the character of the Muslim community’s response to the events of July 7. As the figures in the chart show, 88 per cent of British Muslims clearly have no intention of trying to justify the bus and Tube murders.

    However, six per cent insist that the bombings were, on the contrary, fully justified.

    Six per cent may seem a small proportion but in absolute numbers it amounts to about 100,000 individuals who, if not prepared to carry out terrorist acts, are ready to support those who do.

  199. Hakluyt,

    Don’t worry, if you go to Jimmy’s blog you’ll see he’s basically Andrew Sullivan lite. The guy thinks the “bomb mecca if they bomb us” idea is a good one.

  200. Crushinator: If you’ve got a proposed consititution, I would love to see it. Post a link or send me an email if you care to.

    I’m currently more inclined to a gradual weaning of people off the state. I’m working with my neighbors to solve their own problems rather than turning to city hall for everything. I figure it is easier to bring down a structure from the inside.

  201. The middle east is militaristic in the same sense Sub Saharan Africa is militaristic – petty dictators and petty tribes wage constant war on each other. If they could take Spain, they’d take Spain.

    mr ligon, i think militarism is more than disorganized violence or opportunism. one can accuse m/e successor-states to the caliphate of many things over the last centuries — but of being wantonly aggressive and expansionist, of building and dedicating the machinery of the state in the service of perpetual warfare, of being culturally obsessed with military power and conquest and national pride — in most cases, nothing of the kind. even the arab nationalist movement of recent decades never rose to a level beyond a faint mimetic echo of the genuine european variety; wars against israel (an actual western militarist society) are defensive actions against another western invasion in the arab context, and are appropriately disorganized.

    indeed, the islamic civilization has been very effectively militaristic in the past — in the time of the janissaries — but suffered the fate of militarisic societies, became ossified and bankrupted.

    we, on the other hand — what percentage of our gdp goes to cover our overseas adventurism and associated “preparedness”? how many times could we flatten the earth with our nuclear arsenal? how many nations have struck the faustian bargain of hosting our military units?

    and more importantly — just how bloodthirsty and complicit is the american public which cheered on the invasion of iraq as though it were notre dame/usc — and turned a blind eye toward the lying of government to get a ticket to the big game? how many blindly followed the program fed down the political corporate hierarchy? how many justify every dehumanizing bureaucratic effort of the managing class to remove even minor public initiative on the grounds of security?

    i’m afraid that there are disturbing answers to all those questions. in a way which largely isn’t possible in the unmodern third world, we’ve militarized our public and created a manner of life that is essentially corporate — hierarchy, schedule, routine, process, program, system for system’s sake. the advance of industry in the west has created a number of severe problems to accompany its blessings, and this is one of them. technology and technique, allowed to run unchecked, is inherently dehumanizing and militarizing — a nemesis of creativity.

    we’ve become in most respects what we once beheld: a planned police state. there’s very little but an argument of degrees separating us from any of the totalitarian states that have become prevalent since nationalism first arrived on the western scene in force.

  202. gaius,

    At times you sound a bit like the Unabomber. I actually agree with your analysis. I believe what you call “the managing class” (or the infamous “THEY”)operate as an unconscious conspiracy. THEY need compliant worker bees, a content middle class, gung-ho cannon fodder, and unquestioning taxpayers in order to propagate their hegemony. Anyone who trys to throw a wrench into their machine will be neutralized. The “war on drugs” is just one of the many disguises they use to hide their heavy hand. The terrorists have created a vast new field of opportunities for the managing class to exert their influence and control. Fear nurtures compliance. It makes their brainwashing effort much easier. The nanny state will take care of you – there is no need to think or do for yourself. Trust Big Brother, he loves you.

    Dynamist – I need to polish my baby before I share it. I plan to create a website that will serve as a sounding board and as a magnet for suggested improvements. I’ll keep you updated. Thanks for your interest.

  203. gm,

    Actually, a very small % of our GDP goes to the military: http://www.truthandpolitics.org/military-relative-size.php#gdp-graph

  204. It may be small percentage of gdp but it’s a huge percentage of the budget.

  205. dude,
    40% is not a huge percentage of the budget. I think it should be closer to 90%. because just about everything BUT the military should be cut.

    Crushinater,
    I don’t really think you do agree with Gaius’s analysis as much as you think you do. Gaius is all about protecting the hoi polloi from themselves, from their base instincts. He is just not a big fan of protecting them from terrorists.

    I on the other hand am all about this war, I just am against what we are doing back in the homeland. I think the cure is the 2nd Ammendment, and a prepared public, not the TSA or any other federal agency.

  206. Thailand I think disproves the “it is all about Iraq, Palestine, etc.

    I tthink Oriana Fallaci got it right. Islamic Nazis. They want to be the ubermench.

    Considering that the Nazis worked with the Muslim Brotherhood and cross polinated with them the hatred of Jews and liberal western values.

    Why do 90% of the wars going on these days involve Islam?

    Could it be Islam is the prime mover?

  207. gaius:

    If anyone ever needed a manifesto, it is you. I understand that one possibility is the managing class is being followed unquestioning by a decadent, somehow hyperindividualistic American populace (though I’m confused as to how this fits into the normal theme that everyone was better off when people knew their place and did what cultural elites told them to do).

    Here’s a counter thought. Some people feel that there is a broader war with radical islam at hand. Some people may believe that if you declare war on the west, you are at war with the west. It may be that there is a certain skepticism in some quarters that OBL, who had the theocratic tyranny he always dreamed of in Afghanistan really just wanted to be left alone. It may be that segments of the population still see Iraq as a strategic theater of this larger war against radical islam. The argument, hypothetically, would be that the shield of the terrorist is greatly weakened if he doesn’t have phony sovereignity to hide behind. Further, such an argument might go, there is strategic value in democracy in the middle east. These hypothetical people who might be making these arguments might feel that there may well have been exaggerations on the quality of intelligence, but that it is not the case that the administration or anyone else actually knew the status of WMD in Iraq.

    Or it could be that those who supported the war were just being told what to do by their corporate political masters and never devoted a second of thought to the whole enterprise.

  208. kwais,

    I may have misunderstood gaius, or perhaps I did not properly articulate my analysis/comments.

    I do not believe that gaius was saying that hoi polloi need to be protected from themselves. Rather they need to be protected from the manipulation of the Military-Industrial Complex. The average American has simple tastes, mundane interests, and a poor education. They really do not want to ponder weighty issues beyond what channel to watch on their TVs. If they were forced to think deeply about controversial issues, they would have to sacrifice too much of their happiness and contentment. They do not mind developing their own opinions about Paris Hilton, but they would rather be told what to think about Saddam Hussein.

    I don’t say this in condemnation of the average American. Some of my best friends are average Americans. They have good hearts and are a generous, caring lot. They are conditioned by the environment to maintain a simple outlook on the world. This is the path of least resistance. It maximizes their happiness while satisfying the needs of “the managing class”. It is unlikely that this situation will ever change.

  209. If anyone ever needed a manifesto, it is you.

    lol — i am embarassed. πŸ™‚

    being followed unquestioning by a decadent, somehow hyperindividualistic American populace (though I’m confused as to how this fits into the normal theme that everyone was better off when people knew their place and did what cultural elites told them to do).

    if i might elaborate… πŸ™‚ … the morphing of the creative class into the mere managing class in the west has, as it usually does in civilizations, sparked a rebellion and created proletariats within the west (which was defined by toynbee perfectly — a group that is ‘in’ a society but not ‘of’ it). these peoples, their genuine confidence in western leadership gone, having become increasingly unmanagable, throwing off civility and the rule of law and tradition for reckless individuation.

    this is a big change from the prior condition of health in the west, in which virutally all felt ‘of’ the civilization, where the masses felt confident in a leadership which had proved its worth. (that time, imo, ended gradually between the wars of religion in the 16th c and the great wars of the early 20th c.)

  210. Some people feel that there is a broader war with radical islam at hand.

    there is, mr ligon — but we have to understand the nature of the conflict. 9/11 was not eastern aggression. 9/11 — al-qaeda, in fact — was an eastern response to centuries of western aggression. AQ is a barbarian war tribe on a heroic quest; they are modern-day teutons and mongols. i would be on the lookout (and i mean this quite seriously) for the emergence of an islamist epic literature over the next century. it would not surprise me at all if osama or someone like him became a character akin to beowulf, roland, gilgamesh or ulysses — representing the deeply held notions of virtue for a society emerging from the collapse of the islamic civilization. maybe the most accurate parallel would be a vercingetorix, the gallic hero.

    It may be that there is a certain skepticism in some quarters that OBL, who had the theocratic tyranny he always dreamed of in Afghanistan really just wanted to be left alone.

    that was never his goal, however, — he never stated the issue that way, and isn’t interested in creating a fief. he is interested (and, to the extent that he finds support, many others are also interested) in liberating muslim peoples from western occupation and interference, bringing about a condition of muslim self-determination.

    i think the truth is that he is fighting in fact for what we would impose in fiction.

    The argument, hypothetically, would be that the shield of the terrorist is greatly weakened if he doesn’t have phony sovereignity to hide behind.

    to the contrary, mr ligon, i think we’ll find that the apparatus of a state is of little use to people of this cause. states are fixities of economic efficiency that concentrate assets into attackable positions. the insurgents’ strength lies elsewhere, both physically and spiritually.

    we should be so lucky as to find the islamist insurgency against the west adopting state mechanisms. it would constitute a devastating philosophical perversity indicating the bankruptcy of the movement.

    Further, such an argument might go, there is strategic value in democracy in the middle east.

    the most misguided position of all. democracy has little appeal to these people because it is perceived to be nothing more than a vehicle of western assimilation — and rightly so, for that’s what it is in fact. those in the east who don’t already recognize that fact will be made aware of it in iraq and anywhere else our brand of reolvutionism takes hold. an imposed democratic state is a provocation which will be responded to as the string of western provocations in the m/e heretofore has been responded to. little could make our relations with the east worse, imo, short of outright conquest.

    adopting a democratic state with free trade principles seems universally virtuous only to those so blinded by westernism that they see no potential virtue in anything else. unfortunately, devoid of a meaningful education, that is most westerners. i don’t doubt many hold the hypothetical set of views you illustrated. that those views are profoundly wrong as an avenue to peace, however, is really quite beyond question for the reasons i commented.

  211. “adopting a democratic state with free trade principles seems universally virtuous only to those so blinded by westernism that they see no potential virtue in anything else.”

    Pray tell, in what other system is there more vitue?

  212. gm, when you say, “democracy has little appeal to these people,” does “these people” mean jihadists, Arabs in general, Muslims in general, or what? Because I don’t think you can say that about either Arabs or Muslims, in general terms. Many of them are risking their lives every day by doing what they can to bring democracy to their countries.

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