Juan Gets An "F"

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Michael Totten and Juan Cole are throwing photographs at each other, after Totten posted a response to a post by Cole, where the president (or is it president-elect?) of the Middle East Studies Association wrote this:

The Bush administration is giving up the phrase "global war on terror."

I take it this is because they have finally realized that if they are fighting a war on terror, the enemy is four guys in a gymn [sic] in Leeds. It isn't going to take very long for people to realize that a) you don't actually need to pay the Pentagon $400 billion a year if that is the problem and b) whoever is in charge of such a war isn't actually doing a very good job at stopping the bombs from going off.

Totten, who realized that 9/11 was not caused by four guys in a "gymn" in Leeds, posted a series of photos showing what, to him, the war on terrorism actually means. Cole decided to retaliate by doing the same thing, but from an opposite ideological perspective (while unexplainably failing to mention Totten–humbleness, Mr. President, show some humbleness).

One can debate the exchange endlessly, but there was one passage that caught the attention of a friend of mine, and that suggests how Cole can distil dishonesty. He writes of Fred Ikle, the former undersecretary of defense for policy in the Reagan administration:

Fred Ikle, who had been part of the Reaganist/Chinese Communist effort to convince Muslim fundamentalist generals in Pakistan–against their better judgment–to allow the US to give the radical Muslim extremists even more sophisticated weapons, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal urging the nuking of Mecca.

Actually, what Ikle wrote is this:

Last, let's not give up entirely on deterrence. The more dangerous enemies for the coming type of warfare are not suicidal terrorists who think like losers. Osama bin Laden's goal was to expel the American presence from the Middle East and this is his "victory": U.S. military bases in Afghanistan and Central Asia, a stronger U.S. deployment in the Persian Gulf, Pakistan police pursuing bin Laden's followers, and a better defended American homeland. This kind of an outcome, not the "bringing to justice" of some terrorists, is the deterrence we need. Those who out of cowardice use their wealth to pay Danegeld to the preachers of hate and destruction must be
taught that this aggression will boomerang. A nuclear war stirred up against the "infidels" might end up displacing Mecca and Medina with two large radioactive craters.

Now I'm wondering what grade to give Cole for his fraudulent jump in interpretation, suggesting Ikle is advocating bombing Mecca, when all he is doing is warning what might happen if terrorists, indirectly supported by cowardly Arab regimes (read the Saudis), used a nuclear device against the U.S.? Cole couldn't link Ikle's piece because it's not online, but that's really no reason to slip such an outrageous accusation by.

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  1. It’s also what Bush means by “Islam is a religion of peace.” It’s an imperative, “Move this way.” The eventual alternative if Islamoterrorism thrives is in the background; so let it no longer thrive. We’ll try the moral thing first.

  2. I wonder if this Totten might realize that the “mastermind” of the 7/7 and 7/21 London bombings was a British double agent.

    That kind of fucks up the whole “terror terror everywhere” deal, doesn’t it?

  3. While certainly I think nuking Mecca is anything but the appropriate response to nuclear terrorism against the US, I think Ikle is right on thats the looming possibilty one day down the line for the Islamic terrorists if they continue to “succeed” against the Western world.

  4. When I was little and met someone who was Muslim, he told me that Islam actually meant ?submission to God?. I do not believe for one minute a religion that conquered by force 1/3 of the world over 400 years could mean ?peace?. I think once you submit to God?s will then you reach a state of peace.

  5. While Ikle is not unconditionally urging the nuking of Mecca, his statement is clearly meant to convey that under a particular set of circumstances he would do so. Since it would be an insane policy under any circumstances, I think we can forgive Cole a little hyperbole here.

  6. “Since it would be an insane policy under any circumstances,”

    Any circumstances covers a lot of circumstances.

  7. “I wonder if this Totten might realize that the “mastermind” of the 7/7 and 7/21 London bombings was a British double agent.

    That kind of fucks up the whole “terror terror everywhere” deal, doesn’t it?”

    Ken,

    Tracking back through your link, it appears the source on this is a poster named Qutb on a board currently pushing that the damaged Air France flight in Toronto yesterday was brought down by British Intelligence in an opening act to the latest Anglo-Franco war.

    I recall Welch mentioning a while back that you weren’t one of his brightest friends , but jesus guy, you can do a little better than that.

  8. If you’re reduced to posting pictures of 9/11 to support your argument you don’t have an argument anymore.

    Yes, Ikle doesn’t just come out and say “nuke Mecca”. That’s left to lesser lights like mere republican congressmen. Ikle does that more in sorrow than anger bit popular among the warbloggers to say pretty much the same thing though. Gee, we’d hate to have to nuke Mecca.

  9. “I take it this is because they have finally realized that if they are fighting a war on terror, the enemy is four guys in a gymn [sic]…”

    Gymn is the widely accepted abbreviation for Gymnasium. Where is the error?

  10. When I was a kid and forced to do such things, I probably sung a hymn. I don’t know that I’ve ever been to a gymn, though.

  11. I think that it is ‘gym’, as in “lets go down to Jim’s gym.

  12. Hmm, knee-jerking wingnut academic vs. knee-jerking wingnut moron… do I have to root for anyone in this particular bumfight?

  13. julian:

    Yes, you have to root for someone. Those are the rules of Thunderdome. Two men enter, one man leaves!

  14. If they were on Crossfire, I’d probably watch it – if they were on American Gladiator, I’d definitely watch it.

  15. Cole and his kind usually ignor Senate Joint Resolution 23 issued in Sept 01.

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:S.J.RES.23.ENR:

  16. jesus, its low tide around here.

    first its ken layne’s post positing, well…aw fer chrissakes, not even Kl believes that. Even if he was a full on “asset,” well, all it means is that MI-6 got snookered. It happens in that line of work. Naw, no problems with Islamofascists in britain, ken. Move riiiight along.

    then, we have Julian S. as the voice of Reason. Actually, we don’t. because his feigned weariness is silly. Juan Cole has some major flies on him, any way you slice it. Michael totten is a Clinton supporter and full on Dem who just happens to part ways with his party on foreign policy. Moreover, he’s done some pretty interesting blogging from the ME.

    Julian is lazy to crap on Totten as a “wingnut.” KL, well, he can just go back to hollerin’ about Zell Miller.

  17. PBob,

    Gymn is actually a prefix meaning naked, as in gymnasium. Gym is a commonly used abbreviation for gymnasium. Perhaps gymn is an uncommonly used abbreviation, but I haven’t seen it anywhere else. It most likely is just a typo on Cole’s part.

  18. While Ikle is not unconditionally urging the nuking of Mecca, his statement is clearly meant to convey that under a particular set of circumstances he would do so.

    No, he never says he would ever nuke Mecca. He is saying that he can easily imagine that happening if these dipshits piss us off one too many times. There is a difference.

    Since it would be an insane policy under any circumstances, I think we can forgive Cole a little hyperbole here.

    Oh, I dunno. I can imagine a world where most of Islam has been radicalized, several Western cities are radioactive holes, tens of millions have been killed, and it is apparent that we need to rip the guts right out of Islam and do it now. Highly unlikely, but not impossible. In that scenario nuking Mecca, Medina, and a few other cities would make perfectly good sense.

  19. A war on every intangible you can think of is like calling any large loss of life a holocaust.
    What we need is a war on hyperbole.

  20. Gym is the common american usage. Gymn is the common british usage. Why an american academic uses the British form I don’t know; perhaps he finds it stylish. It is however not an error, just pompous.

    A surprizing number of americans use british spellings.

  21. Right! Hyperbole must be ruthlessly hunted down and exterminated wherever it may be found!

    Oh, and Mr Layne – yeesh.

  22. Nice to have Ted Rall posting. But is it so unreasonable to suggest that if the terrorists succeed in breaking down the structure of western civilization, that unforseeable, and now unthinkable, consequences may follow.

    How can “Ted” know what every possible circumstance will be? What if New York and Los Angeles and Washington have been leveled by suitcase nukes and some imam in Mecca leads a celebration of cheering crowds? Or does Ted know that that would never happen?

    Ultimately, an enemy that persues the weaker side of assymetrical warfare has to know that he cannot go too far without paying some horrific consequence.

    BTW, Google seems to come down on the side of “Gymn”, althout it does seem to be used to connote gymnastics more than basketbal or weight lifting. More an error of style than grammer. No sic.

  23. One of the less than delightful things about blogs and blogging is that it gets so bitchy–he said this so I say this etc Who cares? Journalism presents a piece, a perspective, and you can take it or leave it without reference to the Other writers involved

  24. Isn’t it possible that radical Islamic groups that got nuclear weapons might actually use them on Mecca and Medina? The only people the al-quaeda types hate more than Americans and Jews are the Muslims who do not agree with their radical ideology. They might declare that they had to bomb Mecca to destroy the apostates. The countries that have long financed terrorist activities have already come under attack by terrorist groups. Why does everyone assume that Ikle was referring to a US strike on Mecca and Medina?

  25. Cole’s journey off the ideological deep end could perhaps be paired with an increased usage of quasi-cryptic references such as this “gymn” thing. I don’t think it’s a typo at all. Perhaps Cole means “Gymnasium” in the German sense, that is to say that of a secondary school just before a student goes either to university or to trade school. Note that in Arabic, this kind of school would be a “madrassa.”

  26. Objectivism hasn’t yet penetrated the blogosphere, Fred.

  27. Yeesh!!

    That is the worst Juan Cole piece ever. It manages to mix in nearly every extant anti-American conspiracy theory and hysterical leftist meme.

    his statement is clearly meant to convey that under a particular set of circumstances he would do so. Since it would be an insane policy under any circumstances,

    Huh? Was the idea we would nuke Moscow in return for the Russians nuking D.C. an “insane policy?” And how is “he” going to nuke anyone? I don’t think he quite has the authority for that.

  28. Let Google decide:

    “gymn” returns 97,800 hits

    “gym” returns 11,700,000 hits

    Therefore, the abbreviation of “gymnasium” is spelled “gymn” about 0.84 percent of the time – a low enough number that I declare “gym” to be correct and “gymn” to be at best uncommon and at worst erroneous. Google has spoken!

  29. Juan Cole is the Tedd Rall of “academia”

  30. In fact, a “nuke Mecca” is easy to construct: a nuclear-armed pan-Islamic theocratic nation-state capitalled (naturally) in Mecca and led by bin Laden or someone like him declares the time has come to cleanse the world of infidels and launches ICBMs against Moscow, New York, Sydney, D.C., etc. He tells his followers the Western nuclear reponse will send them to paradise where they will be greeted by 72 billion virgins, and retreats to his mile-deep bunker to wait out the apocalypse.

  31. It’s so rarely worth the effort to tangle with left-wing apologists like Cole and Layne, although I guess it should be disturbing that a two-bit bully like Cole has such a position of prominence in academia. Very telling of the people who put him there.

  32. Excellent point, Ted!

    Ikle: “Those who out of cowardice use their wealth to pay Danegeld to the preachers of hate and destruction must be taught that this aggression will boomerang. A nuclear war stirred up against the “infidels” might end up displacing Mecca and Medina with two large radioactive craters.”

    Ted’s perception is brilliant:

    “While Ikle is not unconditionally urging the nuking of Mecca, his statement is clearly meant to convey that under a particular set of circumstances he would do so.”

    I have used Ted’s insight to resolve three problems already today:

    1) Yesterday at work, my boss said to me, “If you don’t finish your analysis by the end of the day, we might lose Client X.” After reading Ted’s post, I went to the Senior VP and said, “My boss wants to lose Client X.” Result: Sayonara, boss!

    2) Last night, my younger daughter said, “Dad, if you don’t help me with me with my multiplication and division tables, I’ll be behind when school starts next month.” This morning I said to her, “You’re grounded this week.” “Why?” she tearfully asked. “For wanting to be behind in school,” I answered correctly. Result: Daughter ran away from home. That’s one less future nuclear war criminal I have to live with!

    3) On the way out the door, my wife gave me a big smooch and said, “Why don’t you come home at lunch, handsome” she said with a wink, “before some other woman gets to you first.” Oh, I came home at lunch all right. “Here are your divorce papers, bitch!” I screamed, and through them at her. If your pushing me to screw around with other women, who knows what the hell you’re doing without me! So long, slut!” Result: Adulterous perverted parasite now out of my life!

    Thanks, Ted! I now know that if someone is worried that a certain action might have terrible consequences, it is clearly only because they want that terrible thing to happen. Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!

  33. Is it so unreasonable to speculate what horrors nuclear terrorism would unleash? You don’t have to advocate nuclear retaliation to ponder what other possessors of nuclear arms might do.

    I’ve also begun to wonder how much nuking Mecca would deter some extremists; did you realize that it is official Saudi policy to demolish their own historic buildings, including places directly associated with Muhammed?

    Some of Islam’s historic sites in Mecca, possibly including a home of the Prophet Mohammad, are under threat from Saudi real estate developers and Wahhabi Muslims who view them as promoting idolatry. . .

    Angawi estimated that over the past 50 years at least 300 historical buildings had been leveled in Mecca and Medina, another Muslim holy city containing the prophet’s tomb. . .

    “They (Wahhabis) have not allowed preservation of old buildings, especially those related to the prophet. They fear other Muslims will come to see these buildings as blessed and this could lead to polytheism and idolatry.”

    The Washington-based Saudi Institute, an independent news gathering group, says most Islamic landmarks have been destroyed since Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932. It cited a 1994 edict by the kingdom’s senior council of religious scholars which ruled that preserving historical buildings might lead to polytheism.

    Full reference here.

  34. I stand corrected; somehow having read a handful of pieces on the level of what’s linked above hadn’t inspired enormous curiosity about Totten’s broader set of opinions. But honestly, if we’re talking about the likes of this pair, does anyone really need to feign weariness?

  35. Your analysis is just as stupid, Jeff Z. Noting that there are certain circumstances under which you would, however reluctantly, do something does not require that you actually desire that those circumstances come about. And nothing in Ted’s statement implies that he thinks Ikle desires greatly to nuke Mecca or Medina, only that there are situations in which he would unreservedly do so.

  36. Julian, good enough. Its a pissing match and that’s not pretty, and every ody looks a little dumb.

  37. Ted Rall, Juan Cole and that whole mess of vipers should be tossed into Mecca and then the whole stinking dump blown off the face of the earth with a nuke.

  38. Cole has some good points about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, but he repeatedly writes as if this the main grievance of Al Qaeda, when it isn’t.

    He rarely brings up Kashmir, a more prominent grievance. If a Muslim country is nuked, it will be Pakistan and the nuking will be done by India. The two came very close to having a “nuclear exchange” in 1998, over Kashmir.

    Does Cole approve of the Bush administration’s decision to drop its sanctions on India over its nuclear program? I have no idea. India is a somewhat secular, democratic country, much better than Pakistan and India’s other rival, China. China, meanwhile, backs Uzbekistan to the hilt, while the Uzbek dicatorship tells the US to leave over its criticism of Uzbekistan’s human rights abuses. Does Cole have anything to say about this? No.

  39. Your life is utterly dependant upon cheap oil. Like eating? Cheap oil comes from the middle east. What effect might nuking Mecca have on cheap oil? Can you think ahead a step or two?

  40. The big problem with Cle’s piece is that it’s factually inaccurate. For instance:

    Reagan also decided to build up Saddam Hussein in Iraq …In the meantime, Saddam, whom the US had built up as a major military power

    That is just pure horseshit. Less than one percent of Saddam’s arsenal came from the U.S. And Iraq was, at one point in the 1980s, the world’s largest arms importer!

  41. Iraq was a third world power after the disasttrous Iran-Iraq war. No threat to tohe US. Now that bush ahas been exposed for the fraud he is, we still have to make sure that before we leave Iraq, the country is stable.

  42. I wish someone would ask Galloway and Juan Cole and their ild who claim that oppression of Muslims in various places is Al Quada’s main reason for existing, why Al Quada never attacks China? China is much more explicitly secular and athiestic than the United States. In addition, China vicously oppresses its Muslim minority. In addition, China has both bought and sold arms to Isreal. Yet, China never seems to be the target of Islamic terrorism. The reason of course is God only knows what China would do if Islamic fanatics starting blowing themselves up in Bejing.

    The Islamists do not attack us because of anything we do or don’t do. They attack us because they percieve us to be weak.

  43. “One can debate the exchange endlessly”

    An excellent prediction πŸ™‚

  44. Ken Layne,

    Even if it were true, so what? Are you sugesting the MI6 is behind the 7/7 bombings? MI6s job is to infiltrate terror organizations. To do that, you might want to hire some terrorists or people associated with them to get information. I don’t see how its surprising or shocking that one of the dirtbags who planed the 7/7 or 7/21 bombings in London was selling out his buddies to MI6 on the side. Whitey Bulger was an FBI informant, but I don’t think means that the Mafia doesn’t exist or was an FBI creation.

  45. *yawn*

    Honestly, does anyone want to live in a world where we start nuking cities of little military importance? If the most imaginative you can get is to nuke Mecca (as opposed to a real military target), then I’d say you’re a rather foolish sort.

    You know, in military circles people talk about appropriate levels of response; we haven’t even gotten close to the point where it is appropriate to discuss tactical or strategic nuclear weapons uses.

    TallDave,

    In for a penny, in for a pound. The Reagan administration also encouraged other countries to sell arms to Iraq. The Reagan administration (and the Thatcher administration) also blocked UNSC efforts to condemn Iraq’s massacre of the Kurds, etc. Iraq was the tool of a lot of countries because of the often irrational fear of Iran.

  46. This thread has really brought out the drooling morons in residence – even Layne, who is slowly turning into Oliver Stone.

    Sanchez, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, first for characterizing Totten as a “wingnut,” when he is as thoughtful a blogger as there is, and then for suggesting that it’s not necessary to take sides in the war. No, you don’t have to take sides — feel free to sit back gazing intently at your navel. Meanwhile, people who actually care about civilization (not just criticizing it) are voicing their opinions. Feel free to not be a part of it.

  47. all he is doing is warning what might happen if terrorists, indirectly supported by cowardly Arab regimes (read the Saudis), used a nuclear device against the U.S.

    any that makes ikle any less a militarist psychopath for suggesting that this could be the solution to any problem? do you AGREE with him, mr young?

    If the most imaginative you can get is to nuke Mecca (as opposed to a real military target), then I’d say you’re a rather foolish sort.

    agreed, gg.

  48. The problem of course is that both Cole and Totten are, well, wrong. Its not quite as bad the hawks portray it as, and vice versa.

  49. Yet, China never seems to be the target of Islamic terrorism.

    mr john, actually china’s uighur minority is conducting a terrorism campaign in western china. as noted here:

    Chinese officials blame Muslim militants from the Uighur minority group for more than 200 violent incidents between 1990 and 2001. China accuses Uighur separatists in Xinjiang province of receiving financial and material aid from al-Qaeda in their struggle to establish an independent state.

    perhaps it isn’t as well known because china hasn’t seen fit to invade iraq or threaten to nuke saudi arabia in response.

  50. I haven’t seen such a troll clusterfuck since the torture apologists were still being taken seriously.

    Maybe Layne’s way off, people have been wrong before.

    …Linking to evidence elsewhere on web–in the comments section of a blog–certainly doesn’t bring Layne’s journalistic credibility into question.

    …and as far as the buffoon who misconstrued Sanchez’s post so–what planet are you from?

    “…for suggesting that it’s not necessary to take sides in the war. No, you don’t have to take sides — feel free to sit back gazing intently at your navel. Meanwhile, people who actually care about civilization (not just criticizing it) are voicing their opinions.”

    Did you think he was talking about the War on Terror? He was talking about the fight between Cole and Totten, not Al Qaeda and the United States, you dolt!

  51. In for a penny, in for a pound

    A penny ain’t a pound.

    The Reagan administration also encouraged other countries to sell arms to Iraq.

    Well then, reductio ad Americanum, I guess it’s all our fault.

    In fact, since we armed the Soviets in WW II, I guess the whole Cold War was our fault too.

  52. The Reagan administration also encouraged other countries to sell arms to Iraq.

    I’m also wondering how much influence we had on Iraq’s primary supplier: the Soviet Union. They were kind of, you know, our archenemy.

    Oh wait, I forgot: they’re our fault too.

  53. I can imagine a world where most of Islam has been radicalized, several Western cities are radioactive holes, tens of millions have been killed, and it is apparent that we need to rip the guts right out of Islam and do it now.

    admit it, mr dean — you indulge yourself inappropriately to this fantasy, don’t you? πŸ˜‰

  54. > Did you think he was talking about the War on Terror? He was talking about the fight between Cole and Totten, not Al Qaeda and the United States, you dolt!

    Uh, what do you think Cole and Totten are fighting about, genius? The best way to conduct the war, or, if you prefer, the best way to respond to Islamist terrorism. Saying that it’s not necessary to take sides in that fight is to be silent on the most important issue of the day.

  55. Chinese officials blame Muslim militants from the Uighur minority group for more than 200 violent incidents between 1990 and 2001. China accuses Uighur separatists in Xinjiang province of receiving financial and material aid from al-Qaeda in their struggle to establish an independent state

    Point taken. I wonder what these “violent incidents” were? Remember, this is the Chinese Government talking. Some of those violent incidents could have been legitimate protests catagorized as violent by the Chinese. Seceond, these people do not appear to be waging an all out terror war against the Chinese or flying planes into skyscapers in Shang Hi. Also, I have never heard of Bin Laden or any whackjob cleric in Saudi Arabia mention China even though they are horribly oppressive of their Muslim minority. I certainly have never heard terror apologists like Juan Cole say anything about this conflict. Why does Israeli oppression of the Palistinians warrent world wide holy war, but the Chinese oppression of Muslims goes seemingly without comment outside of the area itself? I think its because people like Bin Laden, Cole and Saudi whack jobs hate Jews and Americans a lot more than they actually care about the welfare of Muslims.

  56. “Saying that it’s not necessary to take sides in that fight is to be silent on the most important issue of the day.”

    Well let’s look closely at Sanchez’s comments then…

    “Hmm, knee-jerking wingnut academic vs. knee-jerking wingnut moron… do I have to root for anyone in this particular bumfight?”

    —-Comment by: Julian Sanchez at August 3, 2005 09:35 AM

    “I stand corrected; somehow having read a handful of pieces on the level of what’s linked above hadn’t inspired enormous curiosity about Totten’s broader set of opinions. But honestly, if we’re talking about the likes of this pair, does anyone really need to feign weariness?”

    —Comment by: Julian Sanchez at August 3, 2005 10:52 AM

    Now where, in either of these posts, does Sanchez suggest that “it’s not neessary to take sides in the war”?

    What are you, an ex-member of Clinton Administration legal team? …or just a moron?

  57. Given that one of the pillars of Islam is the pilgramage to Mecca, I sincerely doubt that any practicing Muslim (of any stripe) would nuke Mecca. Awfully hard to visit a radioactive site.

  58. TallDave,

    A penny ain’t a pound.

    It is a penny nevertheless.

    Well then, reductio ad Americanum, I guess it’s all our fault.

    Well then, reduction ad jumping to conclusions, I’d guess you are missing my point entirely. Thanks for playing. πŸ™‚ Anyway, its obvious that I’m not assigning “fault.” If you don’t like the reality of what we did and what other countries did, that’s more of a reflection on your own guilt-assessment than it is on my statements.

    The Reagan administration encouraged China and France to sell arms, etc. to Iraq. They also dropped their own ban on weapons sales, etc. to Iraq.

    Again, Iraq was the tool of a lot of countries because of the often irrational fear of Iran. If this statement is one of assigning fault, then I guess its assigning fault to everyone.

    Tom Crick,

    Our friend is prone to jumping to unwarranted conclusions. That’s the nature of trolls.

  59. “hat’s more of a reflection on your own guilt-assessment than it is on my statements.”

    It’s less a reflection on guilt assessment, more on the banality of the observation. if everyone has done bad or misguided things, why are they worth mentioning? it couldn’t be to score a cheap political point, could it?

  60. the often irrational fear of Iran

    continuing irrational fear, if there’s any truth to cheney’s nuclear attack plan.

  61. Cathy Yound uses an identical technique – when writing a post about an argument that’s going badly, write up the post about some tangential point or overblown language made by someone on the side she’s opposing, in the hopes of turning the conversation away from the point she’s losing so badly.

    Hence, we have Michael Young trying to turn this into a debate about the meaning of the word “urging,” and Cathy Young running interference for her snobby NYT girlfriend by blogging about the firing of her blogger/nanny by taking exception to someone who mentioned “feminist solidarity.”

    Seriously, are you two related?

  62. Jarod at August 3, 2005 10:38 AM

    If word usage is up for popular vote then I reckon I’ll have to start saying “irregardless”.

  63. As a blogger, Juan Cole is prone to occaisonal retorical excess and typos. He is a real person with actual emotions, imperfect fingers and a life (as in “get a …”). What separates him from unconditional Bush loving wingnut slobbermouths is an interest in actual facts on the ground in Iraq (look at his blog).

  64. Crick,

    Are you seriously arguing that neither Cole’s nor Totten’s points of view have any relevance to the larger debate about the war? Do you really think that debating whether there even is a war or not is irrelevant to.. well, to the war? Because that’s what you’re arguing. Like it or not, Cole represents one side of the Iraq debate and Totten the other. Saying that you don’t want to take sides is saying that you don’t want to take sides on the war. That’s fine if that’s what you want to think, but don’t pretend otherwise.

  65. LOL, it seems Juan Cole left the Soviet Union out of his pathetic little display — you know, the ones who invaded Afghanistan!

  66. He also completely skipped the 8 years Clinton was in office (well, he mentions 1998 but juxtaposes it to Bush’s admin.) No biggie, I’m sure nothing relevant to the history of the issue happened from 1992 to 2000.

  67. brett,

    Like it or not, Cole represents one side of the Iraq debate and Totten the other.

    No, these wingnuts represent one portion of one side, of more than a two-sided issue. Name the fallacy you are committing yourself too. πŸ™‚

  68. “Saying that you don’t want to take sides [in this little spat between Cole and Totten] is saying that you don’t want to take sides on the war.”

    Bullshit.

  69. …What separates him from unconditional Bush loving wingnut slobbermouths is an interest in actual facts on the ground in Iraq…

    Perhaps, but what separates him from unconditional Bush hating slobbermouths on the left? Not factual rigor, that’s for sure. Cole’s certainly as error prone as any of them.

  70. I would tend to believe that the bloggers posting from Iraq get things correct much more often than Cole, who reflexivly opposes the war.

    About China, the specific reason why islamic sociopaths don’t focus their attacks on China is, as already stated, America is percieved as weaker and everyone in the world already knows that if China was being assaulted by terrorists that they would respond with inhuman brutality to crush their enemies (and probably a lot of random innocents, similar to the incorrect accusations of the US military killing 100,000 innocents in Iraq).

  71. i’m sure china earns AQ’s ire as much as england does.

    I agree with you. But AQ hasn’t flown any planes into skyscrappers in Hong Kong or blown up any nightclubs Macao recently. I think the reason for this is that Chinese rightfully scare the shit out of AQ. China may be Western in many ways but AQ can’t play on well healed liberal guilt and self-loathing to limit the response to terrorism by the Chinese.

  72. About China, the specific reason why islamic sociopaths don’t focus their attacks on China is, as already stated, America is percieved as weaker and everyone in the world already knows that if China was being assaulted by terrorists that they would respond with inhuman brutality to crush their enemies (and probably a lot of random innocents, similar to the incorrect accusations of the US military killing 100,000 innocents in Iraq).

    but they do focus their attacks there, mr john — we’ve already established that. you think they fear china but not us? because we are not, what, masculine enough?

    and i think we’ve also factually established american brutality in response to 9/11. should we be proud of it? see it as a sign of “strength”, to use your word?

    i think your analysis says a lot more about your personal psychic insecurity — or, perhaps, the broad sense of shiftless and panicky insecurity in america, which i think you share — than it does about either china or al-qaeda.

  73. pardon me — addressed to “mr josh”, not mr john.

  74. Gaius,

    While you are contemplating America’s brutality consider this. When I lived in Germany, I used to have one response when my European friends would talk about how brutal and horrible America under Bush was; I would tell them not to worry, America won’t be on top forever. No country ever is. Someday America won’t be the dominant power in the world. Then probably China or India will be on top and its my guess the world will long for the days of the evil American hegimon. I never found one person willing argue the point with me.

  75. I think the reason for this is that Chinese rightfully scare the shit out of AQ. China may be Western in many ways but AQ can’t play on well healed liberal guilt and self-loathing to limit the response to terrorism by the Chinese.

    i think it’s rather comic to ascertain threat dynamics in this way. it says far, FAR more about the analyst than the issue.

    muslim insurgents in fact *do* attack china because chinese armies occupy muslim homelands.

    that the united states is perhaps the primary target has far more to do with the nature and extent of american occupation of and interference with muslim homelands vis-a-vis chinese — they occupy a mongol wasteland; we effectively occupy mecca and medina, not to mention baghdad and jerusalem (in their eyes). it is our aircraft that patrol the gulf, not china’s; it is our troops that nested in beirut and riyadh, and now nest in incirclik and fallujah, not china’s.

    again, these people are driven by worldly concerns, as we all ultimately are. they don’t fear death; they aren’t intimidated by china. they operate fully aware that a degenerating militant united states may flatten the entire middle east. they’ve simply prioritized.

  76. I never found one person willing argue the point with me.

    nor would i. but that is a result, frankly, of american brutality, not an excuse for it.

  77. gaius marius,

    Its more of an issue of a lack of reporting than it is an issue of no attacks.

    I wasn’t aware that Muslims had any claims on Tibet.

  78. I wasn’t aware that Muslims had any claims on Tibet.

    minor but extant, gg.

  79. Gaius

    They absolutely fear death. The dupes that the AQ leaders get to blow themselves up might, but the leaders certainly do. The Americans have captured numorous AQ leaders who have surrendered and sung like birds under interrogation. If they were so brave and fearless as you say they are, we wouldn’t capture any of the leaders alive, which of course we do. As far as American brutality, whatever the extent of American brutality is pales in comparision to the brutality of the Taliban, the Mullahs in Iran, or the Bathists in Syria. The brutality of American forces certainly is nothing compared to the brutality of the terrorists we are fighting. The insurgents have indescriminately targeted and murdered thousands of Iraqi civilians, including doing things such as using a suicide bomber to blow himself up in the middle of a market full of civilians and near a tanker truck full of gass burning hundreds of innocent people to death. I don’t recall any Americans at Abu Garib cutting off anyone’s head. The jihadists are increasingly despised in Iraq as the Mullahs are in Iran and the Taliban were in Afghanistan. If terrorism had anything to do with those conflicts or America’s invastion of Muslim lands AQs ranks would be filled with Afghans and Iraqis, but of course they aren’t. Whether it be Mahuamad Atta or the scum who attack Madrid and London, they are inevitbly Muslims who grew up reasonably well off in the west.

  80. sung like birds under interrogation

    i think that has less to do with philosophy that physiology, mr john. a human person is not a person under the duress of beatings.

    If they were so brave and fearless as you say they are

    i don’t say they are. there is obviously little praiseworthy in what they’re doing. but they assuredly have decided that there are things worth suffering and dying for, regardless of their fear or cowardice. and i think that definitely includes their leadership, many of whom have forsaken lives of comfort and convenience — that, as you point out, they are familiar with from time spent in the west — for an ascetic and perilous existence.

    we would do well to try to understand that rejection, rather than sneer at it, if we want to figure out how to creatively confront this issue.

    The brutality of American forces certainly is nothing compared to the brutality of the terrorists we are fighting.

    i don’t think it’s quite that clear cut, mr john. al-qaeda has killed about 3000 american civilians. the american military has killed an order of magnitude more muslim civilians in just the last two years — and that says nothing of the human cost of sixty years of american activity prior. only nationalist sentiment could force one to say otherwise, i think; the truth seems quite plain, statistically speaking.

  81. Gaius,

    I would definitley take issue with your contention that Americans have killed Muslim civilians in the order of magnatude greater than 3000. First, it is entirely different to engage in a war that results in civilian casualties than it is to specifically target and murder civilians. Second, Aq has killed a lot more than just 3000 American civilians on 9-11. Indeed, AQ has killed a lot more Muslims than they ever have Americans. No one who objects to the war against AQ ever seems to care about that. AQ’s agent Zarkawi can murder hundreds of innocent Muslims in suicide attacks in Iraq and no one seems to care but the Iraqis. Again, if AQ’s actions had anything to do with American’s alleged murder of Muslims, it would be Afghans and Iraqis filling their ranks, not disguntled sons of the middle class from countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Western Europe.

    I repeat again that people like Bin Laden are cowards. I don’t think for a moment that Bin Laden would give his life up for the cause. He certainly will dupe fools into doing so, but I have no doubt that the day we find Bin Laden in his cave he will come out with his hands up saying that he “has rights”.

  82. “i think that has less to do with philosophy that physiology, mr john. a human person is not a person under the duress of beatings.”

    Forget philosophies, self delusion of this level is more like a religion. Unless you are trying to argue:
    a.) that all successful interrogations involve beatings
    b.) Amnesty and the Red Cross are covering up beatings by Americans on captured prisoners of war

    Perhaps I have simply mistaken what you were trying to say. You did mangle your words pretty badly.

    “i don’t think it’s quite that clear cut, mr john. al-qaeda has killed about 3000 american civilians. the american military has killed an order of magnitude more muslim civilians in just the last two years”

    Might want to attempt to compile some irrefutable evidence of that. Like say video tape records.

    “and that says nothing of the human cost of sixty years of american activity prior.”

    Oh yea, the terrorists hate us because of Vietnam. Wow, terrorists and partisan leftists, two peas in a pod.

  83. No, Phil, that’s not what Ikle is saying. He is saying that “those who out of cowardice use their wealth to pay Danegeld to the preachers of hate and destruction must be taught that this aggression will boomerang.” They must understand that if they are responsible for nuking the US, they will be nuked back. They have to be taught this so it doesn’t happen.

    It doesn’t matter what Ikle feels about it, or me for that matter, it will be politically and militarily impossible not to respond with a full nuclear strike against anybody who might be responsible. To do any less is to guarantee more nuclear attacks. But that’s the least of it. The public will demand it. And if your grasp of human history is so feeble that you don’t understand the reality of those two reasons, you’re on the same level as those posters who feel ashamed before Europeans because of America’s violent acts.

    Ashamed! Before Europeans! Of violence! That’s like being ashamed before a porn star for kissing your girlfriend in public.

  84. First, it is entirely different to engage in a war that results in civilian casualties than it is to specifically target and murder civilians.

    i hate to return to this, which has been hashed through ad mauseum this week, but i’d submit that “specifically target and murder civilians” is exactly what we do, although we heavily euphemize it by calling it “collateral damage”. we’re in deep denial of it as well, of course, but there it is.

    AQ’s agent Zarkawi can murder hundreds of innocent Muslims in suicide attacks in Iraq and no one seems to care but the Iraqis.

    of course you’re right. but that has very little to do, doesn’t it, with our morality and culpability?

    i see this line of sophistry too often — “they’re bad, ergo, we’re good”. non sequitur, i’m afraid.

    Again, if AQ’s actions had anything to do with American’s alleged murder of Muslims, it would be Afghans and Iraqis filling their ranks, not disguntled sons of the middle class from countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Western Europe.

    i think that to assume that only those most recently and directly aggrieved can be outraged is too simplistic, mr john. muslim extremists in egypt, saudi and the west are part and parcel to AQ precisely because those places are on the front lines of cultural invasion in both directions. egypt, jordan, turkey, palestine and saudi have been the most aggressively westernized of the mideastern lot.

    just as the barbarians that invaded a dying rome were not the russes and danes but the teutons, goths and lombards that faced the romans across the danube for centuries, those that confront us now will come from the areas closest to the west and within it.

    now that we’ve invaded iraq and afghanistan to create that front of interaction, i suspect we’ll see exactly that dynamic take hold. i know that, here in chicago, the influx of iraqis into the city has been remarkable. (so say my cab drivers, who i often interrogate on the topic.) if we were to invade iran, similarly i think we’d see a corresponding reaction.

  85. Jonathan Goodman: unconditional Bush loving wingnut slobbermouths

    Are you talking about me? Two days ago I kicked around the idea of voting for Hillary Clinton (even though she’s nowhere near my favorite Democrat), and last night I smacked both Bush and Cole at the same time.

    But hey, if you want to paint everyone on the hawkish side of the Terror War as an “unconditional Bush loving wingnut slobbermouth” I guess that’s your right. Don’t forget Hillary Clinton and John Edwards belong in that category.

  86. Oh yea, the terrorists hate us because of Vietnam.

    no, mr josh, i mean american affairs in the middle east, particularly beginning with the role of the cia in iran with respect to the shah in 1953 and continuing without hesitation since. we have a considerable history of malevolence in our “national interest” in their homelands.

    partisan leftists

    you’re surely not referring to me. i’ve voted for more republicans than democrats in my life, and am probably much more conservative than you are, if your support for american international interventionism is any indication. nothing could be more liberal than believing america has a role in improving arabia for the arabs.

    Like say video tape records.

    there’s quite a lot, actually. but then, i’ve never seen tape of more than a few hundred holocaust victims. do i deny that 6m were murdered by the nazis? of course not.

    i don’t know any sensible person who denies that americans have killed tens of thousands of innocents as “collateral damage” in our wars of liberty. the more rigorous and conservative accounting comes to at least 20,000 in iraq in the last two years alone. but then, you don’t have to be a sensible person, i suppose. there are any number of passionate nationalist zealots in america today who are more than willing to deny any reasonable deduction if it can be felt ot besmirch the holy nation.

    that all successful interrogations involve beatings

    not at all — in fact, the least successful ones tend to be physical. but i do think that we have been liberal in the application of physical violence as a matter of national policy in dealing with detainees in the war on terror, and i see no reason to believe high-level AQ operatives would be exempt from that ill-considered revenge tactic.

  87. I always prefered my asiums naked. Can you throw in a few gymn women?

  88. Things I’ve Learned On Hit & Run Recently:

    “”unconditional Bush loving wingnut slobbermouth””

    Yeah, that must be me too. Oh, and I’m an immoral butcher who justifies murder by calling it collateral damage. I don’t recognize my culpability or appreciate with an appropriately global view how my faith in human liberty is a cancer that will rend the civilized world asunder. I could still be saved, but I must learn to call what Juan Cole does in his free time ‘objective’ and I must do what is possible to reestablish cultural elitism that dictates acceptable norms (but ONLY to the West for godsake) to the libertines who will destroy us all in persuit of their self interest.

  89. think that to assume that only those most recently and directly aggrieved can be outraged is too simplistic, mr john. muslim extremists in egypt, saudi and the west are part and parcel to AQ precisely because those places are on the front lines of cultural invasion in both directions. egypt, jordan, turkey, palestine and saudi have been the most aggressively westernized of the mideastern lot.

    The reason that AQ comes from the most westernized Arab countries is that it is in many ways a Western movement. It uses the language of victimhood, it has borrowed nearly every anti-semetic canard known in Western Europe. Further, it is at its heart a utopian idealogy very similiar to communism or facism in that regard. Whatever it is, AQ is most certainly not purely middle-eastern or Islamic. It borrows too much from the 20th Century and the West for that.

    Do you mean to imply that the Iraqis who have invaded Chicago are going to turn into terrorists as a result of the war there? I have yet to see any indication of that. Further, I don’t see what on earth the barbarian invastions of Rome have to do with anything. The Barbarian tribes who invaded Rome did not want to enforce a theocratic totalitarian state. At worst they wanted to conquer and pillage and in most cases wanted to migrate and take advantage of the protection of Roman civilization. It was only after Rome became too weak, ineffective and decedant to provide for its own people that the Barbarian tribes were able to take over. More importantly, many people welcomed the tribes as a relief from currupt Roman rule. In addition, it is a Roman lie to claim that the fall of the Western Roman empire was an contest between civilization and barbarism. What actually happened after the Roman empire fell was more again to the end of the Soviet Empire in the 20th Century in that indingenous groups and areas which had been under the thumb of a central, foreign government, threw off the yoke and reasserted themselves. I don’t see any paralells between that and what is going today with Islamic facism.

  90. I don’t recognize my culpability or appreciate with an appropriately global view how my faith in human liberty is a cancer that will rend the civilized world asunder.

    i, for one, mr ligon, don’t think this prerequisite to decency. quite the opposite. human liberty is sublime.

    it’s thinking that human liberty is the result of something other than a healthy institutional law that i find destructive.

  91. “I would tend to believe that the bloggers posting from Iraq get things correct much more often than Cole, who reflexivly opposes the war.”

    Sorry, bud, Cole supported the war, and endured enormous amounts of crap from his colleagues, before, during, and for a while after the invasion.

    He turned against it because of the way things are going on the ground.

    Remind me, again, whose opinion on this is reflexive?

  92. Gym is the common american usage. Gymn is the common british usage.

    Glad to have the explanation. I thought it was just a dod-gymned tapo.

  93. Whatever it is, AQ is most certainly not purely middle-eastern or Islamic. It borrows too much from the 20th Century and the West for that.

    neither was christianity purely roman. what of it? it becomes disingenuous?

    while i think it certainly is influenced by the radiation of western culture, to imply that AQ isn’t an “genuine” islamic movement and can therefore be dismissed is prima facie absurd.

    Further, I don’t see what on earth the barbarian invastions of Rome have to do with anything. The Barbarian tribes who invaded Rome did not want to enforce a theocratic totalitarian state. At worst they wanted to conquer and pillage and in most cases wanted to migrate and take advantage of the protection of Roman civilization.

    what do you suppose that enormous population of migrant muslims wants in european and american cities?

    Do you mean to imply that the Iraqis who have invaded Chicago are going to turn into terrorists as a result of the war there?

    some of them are. that’s a fact.

    It was only after Rome became too weak, ineffective and decedant to provide for its own people that the Barbarian tribes were able to take over.

    are where might we be headed? we clearly haven’t the cultural charisma to assimilate new immigrants any longer — indeed, multiculturalism is the resignation of any attempt.

    More importantly, many people welcomed the tribes as a relief from currupt Roman rule.

    i assure you that many in the western sphere would already welcome that eventuality — and, by the time it happens, some centuries from now, most of us will. including many erstwhile libertarians, i suspect, who have grown too cynical of western government to believe it capable of anything good.

    What actually happened after the Roman empire fell was more again to the end of the Soviet Empire in the 20th Century in that indingenous groups and areas which had been under the thumb of a central, foreign government, threw off the yoke and reasserted themselves. I don’t see any paralells between that and what is going today with Islamic facism.

    i would say that the soviets were as western as you like — german philosophy and economy, postmodern art, western european nation-state mechanism.

    the collapse of the ussr i think its more akin, in the roman context, to the collapse of the ptolemies in egypt — a hellenic fratricidal conflict, undoing the government of decadent hellenic greeks for decadent hellenic romans, both over a dessicated egyptiac civilization incapable of rising in its own defense. the people in charge of the former ussr are virtually all thoroughly westernized (putin), an increasing number of them (ukraine, kyrzygstan) simply american-backed puppet governments with only as much sovereignty as america will allow them. that may be more than the soviets allowed, but it is not self-determination.

  94. Don wrote: “Cole and his kind usually ignor Senate Joint Resolution 23 …”

    That resolution states: “To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”
    As far as I know, it’s been “pretty well confirmed,” to use Cheney’s words, that Iraq was not behind those attacks.

  95. I propose the Counter-Jihad as the name for the war we are now in. This name identifies the defensive nature of the war, it identifies who the enemy is and implies a strategy for victory. And it’s short.

  96. Hey guys,
    Why are you here making fun of left-wingers when you could sign up for that war you all cheered on in Iraq. There is a recruiting shortage or haven’t you heard?

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