Fire in Beirut

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Protestors today burned the Danish embassy building here in Beirut, in the latest response to the ballooning Danish cartoon fiasco. One aspect of the protests was particularly disturbing: the embassy is in the predominantly Christian neighborhood of Ashrafieh, and groups of protestors–most of whom were Sunni Muslims, not Shiites–ransacked properties and threw rocks at a Maronite Christian church nearby, provoking the predictably angry reaction from Christian youths. Below my building, in the center of Ashrafieh, the army and security forces had to intervene to prevent the situation from getting out of hand as Muslims driving or walking to the protest were taken to task by some youths. The fact that the demonstrators were traveling through Ashrafieh in the first place, assuming they wouldn't be molested, confirmed they had no idea of what was going on and that there was no general intention to provoke Christians.

Then who threw stones at the church? The official version is that "external groups" did so, which conveniently meant individuals manipulated by Syria. It's difficult to say. Certainly, there were Islamist groups involved in the demonstration that answer to Syrian intelligence, for example the Ahbash, and they may well have had something to do with church attack. On the other hand, what we saw today was the true extent to which Lebanon's Sunni community has a large number of Islamist groups, particularly in the North, that subscribe to an increasingly militant agenda; and that the main Sunni leadership, represented by the Hariri family, really only has nominal influence over many of them.

The dunce of the day was Interior Minister Hassan al-Sabaa, a Hariri appointee. He initially deployed far fewer anti-riot police than required, supposedly to avoid increasing tension. Sabaa's striking incompetence has been on display before, but this situation may speak to something more complex: My theory, and it's only a theory at this stage, is that the Hariri camp may have tried to ride the Sunni groups' anger (presuming the demonstration would remain peaceful), to show its sectarian political clout, but then had to watch helplessly as the whole thing spun out of control. One of those groups organizing the demonstration, the Jamaa Islamiyya (Lebanon's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood), is not under the Hariris' thumb, but it does answer to Saudi Arabia, and in last year's parliamentary elections the Saudis paid the group a hefty sum of money to avoid its voting against the Hariri candidate list in the North.

My theory would also explain why a leading Christian politician, Samir Geagea, who happens to be a very close ally of the Hariri camp, harshly criticized the security forces (meaning Sabaa, meaning the Hariri camp) for having allowed the demonstration to get out of hand, when it was amply clear in the past day or so that something big was about to happen. (Addendum: Geagea is now asking for Sabaa's resignation.)

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  1. The problem is that Reason’s Arab heroes are utter savages. That Libertarians arrogantly support them and attack the Jewish state is merely an indicia of the evil that is the present day Libertarian movement.

    One should note that the Nazis came to power with the help of homosexuals (Ernst Rhoem; etc.). Libertarians are pro homosexual and have a lot of homosexuals too, so that may be part of the reason they hate the Jewish state so much and are apologists for the Arabs who try to kill them (and all other infidels).

    A good psychiatrist should do research on sexual perversion and hatred of the Jews, keeping the example of the early Nazi movement and the current Libertarian movement in mind. It would be a great doctoral thesis.

  2. Wow.

    Godwin much?

  3. Libertarians are pro homosexual and have a lot of homosexuals too, so that may be part of the reason they hate the Jewish state so much and are apologists for the Arabs who try to kill them (and all other infidels).

    Godwin much?”

    Smoke crack much?

    For real though, go troll NRO or DemocraticUnderground, man.

  4. It would be a great doctoral thesis

    No, it wouldn’t.

  5. Smoke crack much?

    Smoke crack? As regards this website and board? Pot kettle black.

    Shouldn’t crack and angel dust be legalized you Libertarians?

  6. More dissertation topics:

    Libertarians support equal rights for all people regardless of race. Idi Amin was black. OMG, libertarians support mass murder!

    Libertarians support marijuana legalization. Jimmy Hendrix died in an incident that involved marijuana. OMG, libertarians are glad that Hendrix died!

    Libertarians support the right to keep and bear arms. The guys at Columbine used firearms. OMG, libertarians think school shootings are OK!

    Libertarians support the right to put whatever you want into your body. Corn syrup might cause diabetes. OMG, libertarians are pro-diabetes!

    This is fun!

  7. Libertarians laugh at jokes in South Park. Kenny keeps dying in South Park.

    Libertarians killed Kenny! Those bastards!

  8. Oh shit! The guy might be on to something, as a Libertarian homosexual, I find that Im usually more attracted to Arab guys than Jewish guys.

  9. Do you get to meet a lot of Sabras? Sabras can be pretty damn dreamy.

  10. None of that beats getting gang-banged by a bunch of nazis. Damn, I miss those guys!

  11. One of the more relevent posts on this topic from someone that is at the scene, and it is highjacked in the first comment…

    And, Clinnochio, not that I expect a reasoned debate with you, but homosexuals weren’t exactly a favored group among the Nazis.

    http://www.holocaust-trc.org/homosx.htm

  12. Why don’t we start a fund to allow Clinnochio to afford a Logic 101 class?

    You’ve got to work hard though, bro. Lay off of them psychotropic substances (which I, as a libertarian, believe you should be legally allowed to do, even if I personally recommend you to avoid them.)

  13. The problem is that Clinoccio’s Christian heroes are utter savages. That Conservatives arrogantly support them and attack the secular state is merely an indicia of the evil that is the present day Conservative movement.

    One should note that the Nazis came to power with the help of catholics (Adolf Hitler; etc.). Conservatives are pro catholic and have a lot of catholics too, so that may be part of the reason they hate the secular state so much and are apologists for the Christians who try to kill them (and all other infidels).

    A good psychiatrist should do research on sexual perversion and hatred of the secularists, keeping the example of the early Nazi movement and the current Conservative movement in mind. It would be a great doctoral thesis…for me to poop on!

  14. Clinnochio@aol.com

    Nothing more needs to be said.

  15. Something it might be interesting for Michael Young to expand on is just how much this was a popular uprising. His points about Sabaa’s having perhaps passively allowed the attack, and about the presence of pro-Syrian flunkies, are well taken. But this is not a case where the government pushed the attacks, as was pretty clearly the case in Syria. Fouad Siniora’s reaction seems to have been pretty good. Underwhelming or not, the government of Lebanon as a body apparently tried, and failed, to stop the arson. Maybe they failed on purpose, but something was driving people to come out on a Sunday morning and burn down an embassy.

    I don’t want to be channeling Clinnochio (AKA “Will Allen,” “Bonar Law,” “Brad” “Former Reason Commenter,” et al), but there’s a reason this controversy has been bracing and revelatory in a way even 9/11 wasn’t. I don’t see how anybody can have watched the news over the past week and still be pushing the line that a few bad apples have hijacked a great religion. It would take a lot at this point to dissuade me from the belief that worldwide popular support for Islamic radicalism, in at least some of its forms, is broad and deep. So where do we go next?

  16. One aspect of the protests was particularly disturbing: the embassy is in the predominantly Christian neighborhood of Ashrafieh, and groups of protestors–most of whom were Sunni Muslims, not Shiites–ransacked properties and threw rocks at a Maronite Christian church nearby, provoking the predictable angry reaction from Christian youths.

    Are Shiites less upset about these cartoons than Sunnis? …and if so, why is that?

  17. Well Michael, you may have outsmarted Tony Badran whose Lebanese nationalism made him choose the “Syrian lead” theory.

    But as you said, there’s no evidence for the time being.

  18. One of the problems when something like this occurs, is that people in the West are often woefully ignorant of the make up of the different factions within Islam — Please note: 1) No, I’m not saying the solution is just “better understanding of Islam” and 2) I am one of these people — so, it is hard to tell what the make of these protestors are (i.e. Sunnis, Shittes, both, etc) and whether these are driven behind the scenes by governments or are popular uprisings (or, again, both). The media doesn’t usually help to clarify the situation much; they are often more concerned about not offending sensibilities — ironic as that is in this situation.

    Or maybe this is just what it appears on its face: the standard reaction of Muslims when something offends their, apparently, delicate sensibilities.

  19. It would take a lot at this point to dissuade me from the belief that worldwide popular support for Islamic radicalism, in at least some of its forms, is broad and deep. So where do we go next?

    Hear, hear!

    …and in regards to the question of where we go next, I think we should ask ourselves first whether our present course has encouraged this radicalism.

    There are big, background issues going back decades, from our support of Israel to our support of vicious dictators in the region. And Christendom too turned to religious authority for legitimacy when government failed, which is exactly what people seem to be doing in places like Nigeria, Palestine, etc.

    …but when I look at these radical groups, one of the things they all seem to have in common is an utter disdain for the United States. So I have to wonder about recent stimuli–isn’t the difference between self-defense and aggression an extremely important distinction in the Muslim world? How do we convince the Muslim world that we mean them no harm? For the moment, is that possible?

    I remain skeptical regarding the uma’s embrace of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights–people everywhere may not answer the same questions the way we do. I haven’t seen a poll, but it’s very possible that most of the people in the Muslim world don’t want freedom of the press or freedom of speech if it means that the Prophet gets ridiculed in print. They may not think much of our ideas regarding justice either.

    I wish we could wash our hands clean, and bring in the UN or something. I wish we hadn’t acted, if we were going to act, without the full support of our traditional allies. Spilt milk, some will say, but I think we should keep those lessons in mind going forward.

    …and I think we should concentrate on legitimacy rather than democracy. I remember watching Control Room when one of the Iraqi journalists went back to his home town. He asked how many people present, given the choice, preferred Sharia to democracy–and every hand went up. The secularists done got whipped in the last Iraqi elections, or so I understand. What if the idea of democracy has legitimacy issues in the Muslim world?

    I went to a Muslim conference in Long Beach a couple of years ago, and there was this guy in the audience that came up to the podium. He asked a question of the visiting imam, who had traveled here from Iraq, regarding whether democracy was compatible with the Qur’an. The imam responded that there was nowhere else in the world where Muslims could practice their religion more freely than in the United States of America. The man at the podium, as I recall, responded that such freedom was a function of law rather than democracy.

    I think the man at the podium was right.

  20. Well said, Ken. The rule of law is much more important than the implementation of democracy.

    But, I guess saying that we are trying to spread “Republicanism” has different connotations than it would’ve had 200 years ago.

  21. Clinnochio,

    One should note that the Nazis came to power with the help of homosexuals…

    Given that homosexuals in large numbers were sent to the same camps as Jews yours is a rather problematic claim (see: The Pink Triangle). Further, you use the example of Ernst R?hm, but let us note that he was murdered (along with many other SA members) on the Night of the Long Knives.

  22. Are Shiites less upset about these cartoons than Sunnis? …and if so, why is that?

    I don’t know if they’re less angry on the whole, considering Sistani’s condemnation and the protests by Shi’a Islamists in Iraq, but if the outrage is a little less strident, it might have to do with the fact that they do allow images of imams such as Husayn and Ali to be included in their prayer rituals.

    Btw, Glenn Reynolds came up with a link to an image gallery showing various medieval Islmaic drawings of a certain 7th-century Arab shepherd. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for newspapers looking to show solidarity with Jyllands-Posten to publish a few of them.

  23. “I don’t see how anybody can have watched the news over the past week and still be pushing the line that a few bad apples have hijacked a great religion. It would take a lot at this point to dissuade me from the belief that worldwide popular support for Islamic radicalism, in at least some of its forms, is broad and deep. So where do we go next?”

    Tim, I’ve come to much the same conclusion.

    It seems that we’re left with two possibilities:
    1) We’re being lied to by the media on an unprecedented scale with regard to the size and force of the ME’s reaction to the cartoons.

    or

    2) The ME is made up largely of xenophobic, irrational people whose hypocrisy knows no bounds, and who truly wish to use force to allow the Dark Ages to have a huge comeback tour.

    While I’m not blind to the sins of our own government, the states and religious leaders (really, one and the same, I suppose) of the Middle East are hardly innocent of any wrongdoing.

    In the end, I find myself wondering at what point does a libertarian go to war?

  24. Anyone who thinks that democracy and Islam are incompatable needs to take a closer look at Turkey. Granted, Turkey has has the same problems with military coups etc. over the past several decades that Latin America has had, but that said, Latin America is Christian. The only African country with genuine functioning democracy uninterrupted by coups or voting “irregularities” (i.e. fraud) over the past few decades that I am aware of is Botswana. Genuine multi-party democracy in Asia has been pretty rare and unstable too, albeit more common than elsewhere. Only western Europe, with some notable interruptions, and 2/3’s of North America have had stable democracies for a while, and we (the US) had serious growing pains ourselves, with some funky provisions in our generally awesome constitution regarding women, Indians and slavery, and I’m still trying to figure out where three fifths of other Persons came from.

    Democracy is hard to take root anywhere, with any people. To single out Islam as somehow incompatable with democracy due to a dearth of democracies in Muslim countries is just plain short sighted. Most of the planet has had a dearth of such genuine democracies.

  25. In the end, I find myself wondering at what point does a libertarian go to war?

    I’m not sure I’m following you, mediageek. What exactly are we going to achieve with this war? …Are we going to keep fighting until the Muslim street no longer object to ridiculous depictions of the Prophet?

  26. By the way, regarding democracy, I grouped Australia and New Zealand in with Asia, although by no means did I do so explicitly. My apologies to those Down Under if they have issues with that inclusion.

  27. happyjuggler:

    The 3/5ths clause, while sounding terribly racist, was actually a concession that lessened the political power of the South, as they would have fewer Representatives than if slaves were counted as full persons (as they couldn’t vote anyway).

  28. >Oh shit! The guy might be on to something, as a
    >Libertarian homosexual, I find that Im usually
    >more attracted to Arab guys than Jewish guys.

    As a libertarian bisexual, I’m not really nuts about either, since both groups are into that circumcision thing.

  29. Western culture through its embrace of multiculturalism has lived with and created an incredible hypocrisy. The hypocrisy is that multiculturalism never applied to all cultures equally. The dominant white Christian culture was of course never accorded the full respect of multiculturalism. That was reserved for designated victim groups only. Thus, it is okay for black people to call whites crackers. The west has been able to live with this hypocrisy because nobody is really very dangerous. Al Sharpton may be a buffoon but he is not a terrorist. The system also worked because the victims of the hypocrisy, white Christians, are generally on top in the West and many of them were guilty over their position on top. Occasionally we would offer up some celebrity who broke the hypocrisy in public (Al Campanus, Jimmy the Greek et al.) but mostly it was intramural fun, nothing dangerous.

    Along now has come Muslims into the West. Muslims have taken their Stone Age values and infused them with a good dose of Western victim hood and used the hypocrisy against us. Muslims claim to be a victim group and entitled to special treatment. Thus, Muslims can have garbage like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in their bookstores, openly call Jews and homosexuals pigs and call for the implementation of the Sharia law in the mosques but of course claim the benefits of victim status by viciously criticizing and categorizing as a racist anyone who criticizes Islam. The problem is that Muslims are not Al Sharpton. The Muslims make the hypocrisy of multiculturalism downright dangerous. Media people who live in liberal la la land where Christians who object to Broadway plays depicting Christ having gay sex with Judas pr government funding of “Piss Christ” is “chilling” of free speech are about to find out what real chilling of free speech is. Chilling of free speech is not an angry letter to the editor or Pat Robertson lead boycott by a bunch of people who wouldn?t’ see the play anyway. Chilling of free speech is when a group of angry lunatics show up and burn down your theater or newspaper. So, the multiculturalists are left with a real problem. If they let Muslims continue to take advantage of the hypocrisy, as Mark Steyn says this morning, there will be “very little difference between living under Exquisitely Refined Multicultural Sensitivity and Sharia.” If a cartoon offends Mohammad, why doesn’t a woman in shorts or vulgar music do the same? Considering that the same network who is running a gay sitcom doing a faux cooking show featuring “cruci-fixins” on the Thursday before Good Friday won’t run the cartoons our of “respect for Muslims”, I am not confident of our ability to deal with this threat. I have a bad feeling that if you are a woman and live in Europe and maybe even the United States, you might want to start getting fit for your foulard or burka.

  30. I’m wondering if this double standard (with US media poking fun at Christianity but scrupulously avoiding anything to offend Muslims) isn’t just the same double standard that applies to all majority/minority jokes: it’s okay for a traditionally downtrodden group to poke fun at the group that traditionally had all the power, but not vice-versa.

    For example: it’s considered okay for female comedians to joke about how all men are stupid, but a male comedian who jokes about how all women are stupid would be considered a sexist. It’s okay for black comedians to make fun of the way white people dress and dance, but offensive for a white comedian to make fun of black people.

    Likewise, Christianity is the majority attitude in the United States, whereas Muslims are a definite minority (with the additional handicap of having a lot of people assume they’re either outright terrorists, or at least terrorist sympathizers).

    On the one hand, I have a problem with double standards of any type, but on the other hand the majority/minority difference doesn’t bother me too much. I don’t feel oppressed by the fact that Chris Rock can make fun of my skin color but I can’t return the favor without being considered racist. And if that’s the only oppression my complexion causes me, that makes me luckier than a lot of other people.

  31. By the way, I hope the reaction to all this by the Bush Administration’s supporters has ended any further objections to the use of the term “cultural imperialism” when used to describe our Napoleonic president’s foreign policy.

    Back in grade school, I read a story about an elephant getting shot. I appreciate the line you’ve drawn, Mr. Hitchens, but, for goodness sake, maybe Orwell really does matter! Did you not seek to foist such cartoons on these people?

  32. Let’s see here… The reports, however true or not, that Gitmo guards were desecrating korans provoked less reaction than these cartoons of lore.

    Either Muslims are already so pissed off at us that anything we do is another brick in the wall, and other countries aren’t held to that low standard. Or, they’re just itchy to have a good ol’ riot, and any excuse will do.

    Either way, I hope the civilized world is starting to realize you can’t really bargain with neanderthals.

  33. Jennifer, I agree with your characterization of the majority/minority double-standard, and I also worry little about it.

    However, I would say that there is a different double-standard at play that is unexceptable if we simply write-off burning down an embassy as “well, they are a minority, so they are allowed to do that.”

  34. Argh. “unacceptable.”

    Preview, preview, preview.

  35. Marcvs–

    I wasn’t trying to excuse rioting and arson; I was just explaining the American double standard of “They’ll poke fun at Christianity, but won’t reprint these anti-Muslim cartoons.”

  36. Jennifer,

    I probably read your post a little uncharitably. Thanks for the clarification.

  37. “I’m not sure I’m following you, mediageek. What exactly are we going to achieve with this war?”

    Ken, I’m not sure. It’s just idle rumination for the moment.

    Allow me, for the moment, to set aside the legion of domestic problems and usurpation of rights going on in the USA for a moment.

    The way I see it, even the most liberal Middle Eastern nations are oppressive to a vulgar level.

    Most of the populations of these nations seem generally incapable of even grasping basic concepts such as seperation of church and state, freedom of expression, etc.

    Now, if they wanted to keep this within the confines of their own nationstates, I couldn’t care less. Kim Jong Il may be a despicable, crazy, sadistic tyrant, but he pretty much keeps to himself.

    But many of these virulently anti-western Muslims make no bones about wanting to strike the people and places like the US, or various European nations. Many of the immigrants from these nations engage in attempts to force their culture on everyone else. The Fatwah against Rushdie, the murder of Theo Van Gogh, any number of terrorist attacks, death threats against artists, writers, and reporters.

    What’s the tipping point? At what point do you finally say “enough” to people who take advantage of the good will and freedoms inherent in a liberal democracy?

    “…Are we going to keep fighting until the Muslim street no longer object to ridiculous depictions of the Prophet?”

    Yes. In a manner of speaking. To my way of thinking, a nation goes to war and doesn’t stop until their declared enemy surrenders unconditionally or is wiped out.

    I do not mean to say this idly or flippantly. God knows there are already more than enough frothing, irrational, hateful, war-mongering assholes, and I certainly don’t much care to give credence to their arguments, or join their choir.

    But ultimately there comes a tipping point. I find it unfathomable that a culture would react so terribly to cartoons. Cartoons for crying out loud! How can one possibly expect to carry on a rational dialogue with people who behave so savagely? In the end, such nations have a limited number of choices: join the 21st century, or be destroyed. So far I’ve seen very little that indicates they want to take the first option.

    Ugh.
    Typing this whole thing just makes me feel kinda dirty.

  38. mediageek, well said.

  39. Most of the populations of these nations seem generally incapable of even grasping basic concepts such as seperation of church and state, freedom of expression, etc.

    The “concepts” you’re talking about–freedom of expression and separation of church and state–those are some of the things I’m talking about when I talk about culture. When I talk about culture, I’m talking about institutional and intellectual heritage, and although their culture shares some things in common with ours, it is very different.

    Please notice that I’m not even addressing the question of whether our culture is superior or whether one culture can be superior to another. Maybe it can, and maybe it can’t. …I’m simply stating that, believe it or not, many people in some cultures may not want what we want them to want. Even if freedom of the press and freedom of religion is, in practice, superior in every way–they may not want it. ..and I am yet to see an effective means by which to coerce them to do so.

    It seems strange, even to my ear, but as a libertarian, I think it’s wrong to coerce other peoples to adopt our culture–even if the culture we’re imposing contains the very foundations of liberty. We have a term for imposing culture on other peoples; it’s called “cultural imperialism”, and it’s a fool’s errand. That way lies destruction.

    What’s the tipping point? At what point do you finally say “enough” to people who take advantage of the good will and freedoms inherent in a liberal democracy?

    When it threatens our security. The outrage of Muslim fundamentalists regarding cartoons is not a threat to our security.

    I don’t remember where you stood on the Iraq War off the top of my head, . …but if the Bush Administration had proposed the Iraq War on the sole basis of the impossible task of altering their culture so that it no longer poses a security threat, I would have opposed it on that basis alone. If the President’s spreading democracy panacea turns out to be a Sisyphean task, then I think we should avoid such mistakes in the future. …not compound them by trying them elsewhere.

    To my way of thinking, a nation goes to war and doesn’t stop until their declared enemy surrenders unconditionally or is wiped out.

    Who should we wipe out? Who is the declared enemy? Is it the people in the streets, working their way through life, trying to make ends meet? …Trying to provide for the their families, be good mothers, teach their children well within their own cultural context? As I’ve written elsewhere today, I suspect that many of the people who are denouncing the west for printing these cartoons are the very same people who are crying out for liberty or, at least, what they understanding liberty to mean. Our culture hasn’t always had a clear vision of what liberty meant either.

    I find it unfathomable that a culture would react so terribly to cartoons. Cartoons for crying out loud!

    They aren’t reacting to the cartoons, they’re reacting to blasphemy. God is as real to them, to many of them anyway, as the Sun is to you. …and our tolerance for blasphemy is as unfathomable to them as their intellectual heritage is to you.

  40. But, their “intellectual heritage” directly threatens our way of our life and the safety of our citizens. That’s a lot different that just a misunderstanding of cultures.

    And, no, I didn’t agree with the Iraq war.

  41. Michael Young:

    The dunce of the day was Interior Minister Hassan al-Sabaa, a Hariri appointee. He initially deployed far fewer anti-riot police than required, supposedly to avoid increasing tension. Sabaa’s striking incompetence has been on display before

    Michael spoke truth to power. I wonder how risky it was for him to do so. If the answer is: Not very risky, then Lebanon is living up to its rep as the safest place in the Arab world to dissent against the ruling regime. Perhaps the safest place in the whole Mid-east; I remember news videos of Arab Israeli citizens getting the living Hell beat out of them by Israeli police (I think that it was in Jerusalem) when they protested the Israeli military’s brutal incursion into the West Bank under the distracting cover of the onset of our government’s attack on Iraq. Also there’s the case of the popular Arab-Israeli legislator (Can’t recall his name. Can anyone help?) being tossed into jail on nebulous “talking with the enemy” charges. I think he’s still imprisoned.

    Michael, would you, or anyone, please explain this passage a bit:

    My theory would also explain why a leading Christian politician, Samir Geagea, who happens to be a very close ally of the Hariri camp, harshly criticized the security forces (meaning Sabaa, meaning the Hariri camp) for having allowed the demonstration to get out of hand, when it was amply clear in the past day or so that something big was about to happen

  42. But, their “intellectual heritage” directly threatens our way of our life and the safety of our citizens. That’s a lot different that just a misunderstanding of cultures.

    Doesn’t our intellectual heritage threaten their “way of life and the safety of [their] citizens”? …when the U.S. government claims to be actively engaged in the process of remaking the culture of the Muslim world, that is?

    One of the sentiments behind the ol’, “Why do they hate us?” question is, I think, “Why do they see us as a threat?” Maybe they think of us as a threat to their culture because we are a threat to their culture.

    I’d just as soon leave them to practice their religion and whatever politics they want in peace, so long as they didn’t bother us, wouldn’t you? I wonder, if they didn’t see us as a threat–because we weren’t a threat, that is–do you think they’d be willing to leave us to…?

  43. Ken,

    Has our foreign policy played a role in upsetting the ME towards us? Yes, I think so.

    But is the Islamist belief system a terrorist belief that threatens us, regardless of what we do? Yes, I also think so.

    I simply don’t believe that an isolationist policy towards the ME will solve our problems, especially when we rely on them for >25% of our oil needs. (OMG! he said oil! 😉

  44. Ken, I’m mulling over your points, but it’s late and I need to get to bed. Not a cop out, will try to respond tomorrow.

  45. But is the Islamist belief system a terrorist belief that threatens us, regardless of what we do?

    Radical Islam is our enemy and always will be. We have little, if any, hope of ever reaching any adherent of radical Islam.

    I’m talking about the people in the street.

  46. Check out this page:

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/02/06/cartoon.protests/index.html

    Besides the torching of Scandanavian embassies, Iraq’s “transportation ministry” is “severing all ties with the Danish and Norwegian governments.” Iran is recalling its embassador to Denmark.

    As Michael Young so eloquently stated earlier today (or yesterday(?)), in a manner far too mild for me to imitate, very fucking few Muslims are able to comprehend that a newspaper could be free from government coersion; that a newspaper could print something without the government of the country in which it’s printed either being able to censor it or coerce it to print it. As some have already said on this thread (for all intents and purposes) we are at war with a completely different mindset, a totally different culture. A culture that not only abhors our western concept of a liberal democracy but actively tries to destroy it. Sure, there are liberal Arabs, but they are the vast minority! For the most part, the people in the ME are nothing but medieval, fascist scum. I’m praying to be proven wrong, but I don’t think I will be. WE ARE AT WAR, PEOPLE, AND WE CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO MAKE EXCUSES FOR THESE BARBARIANS! No longer can we indulge ourselves in such liberal bloviating. Indeed, the entire western concept of a free society is at stake. If the past couple weeks haven’t persuaded certain people among you, I don’t know what will. I kindly ask that you step out of the way, then, and allow the rest of us to defend our way of life, a life free of forced subjugation to shari’ah.

    Liberal Arabs/Muslims, please escape while you can. Call me pessimistic, but I don’t think the time when Western governments will be forced to plain eradicate the people of your region is far off.

  47. Peaceful coexistence is no longer an option.

  48. so you’ve joined up, then, andy?

    john:

    “I have a bad feeling that if you are a woman and live in Europe and maybe even the United States, you might want to start getting fit for your foulard or burka.”

    hyperbolize much?

    the idea that somehow we’re a hair’s breadth away from being taken over and subsumed into a muslim nation is one of the dumber ideas floating about today. i mean, really folks…just think about it for a few minutes. how is this invasion going to work?

    the real danger is that our government is retarded; as such, terrorist attacks don’t pose a threat because they’ll kill a lot of citizens, disrupt the economy and the like – they pose a threat because our government is run by people whose grip on morals, were they young women working a bar, would be described as “loose” or perhaps “vulgar and cruel.”

    but yeah, keep on with your burka sizing fantasies. everyone needs an evil empire to oppose to give life true dramatic heft.

  49. So let me get this–
    them: ‘they insulted muhammad, let’s kill them!’
    us: ‘they insulted free speech, let’s kill them!’
    same ridiculous attitudes, different teams. at least one group has the partial defense that they are grossly oppressed.

  50. I have a bad feeling that if you are a woman and live in Europe and maybe even the United States, you might want to start getting fit for your foulard or burka.”

    hyperbolize much?

    I don’t know Dhex. A couple of years ago it was revealed that a small percentage of young muslim males were responsible for a disturbingly high percentage of rapes in the UK. This fact was immediately covered up and forgotten but before it was there were people on the left and Imams who claimed that woman needed to be more sensitive to the cultures of others and stop dressing so provocatively. Basically, they were asking for it by not dressing conservatively. The PC crowd bought into it. I doubt that is the last time that this will happen. Like I said, if a cartoon offends a Muslim why not a woman in shorts or for that matter a live Jew?

  51. “so you’ve joined up, then, andy?”

    Sure have. Leave next month.

  52. “and I am yet to see an effective means by which to coerce them to do so.”

    There isn’t. This is a fundamental problem that the LP has. You can’t spoon-feed someone liberty, and you certainly can’t force it on them at gun point. One must choose to embrace it.

    “I think it’s wrong to coerce other peoples to adopt our culture–even if the culture we’re imposing contains the very foundations of liberty. We have a term for imposing culture on other peoples; it’s called “cultural imperialism”, and it’s a fool’s errand. That way lies destruction.”

    Agreed.

    “When it threatens our security. The outrage of Muslim fundamentalists regarding cartoons is not a threat to our security.”

    Does it threaten our security? No. In the end, more people will probably die from the hail of bullets fired into the air. What I see is a test that this culture is failing miserably.

    “I don’t remember where you stood on the Iraq War off the top of my head,”

    Until this point, I’ve tried to not espouse a stance for a number of reasons. Boiling it down to a single sentence, I am not in favor of the current war in Iraq.

    “but if the Bush Administration had proposed the Iraq War on the sole basis of the impossible task of altering their culture so that it no longer poses a security threat, I would have opposed it on that basis alone. If the President’s spreading democracy panacea turns out to be a Sisyphean task, then I think we should avoid such mistakes in the future. …not compound them by trying them elsewhere.”

    This gets back to a point you touched on earlier. You can’t coerce people into freedom.

    “Who should we wipe out? Who is the declared enemy?”

    Those nations whose theopolitical leaders aid, abet, and encourage the attacks on and undermining of western nations and the ideals of modernity.

    “Is it the people in the streets, working their way through life, trying to make ends meet? …Trying to provide for the their families, be good mothers, teach their children well within their own cultural context?”

    What really bothers me is the answer to this question would have to be an unreserved yes.

    “I suspect that many of the people who are denouncing the west for printing these cartoons are the very same people who are crying out for liberty or, at least, what they understanding liberty to mean.”

    I would very much like to agree with you. But outside of a few westernized Islamic writers, I simply don’t see anything of the sort.

    “They aren’t reacting to the cartoons, they’re reacting to blasphemy. God is as real to them, to many of them anyway, as the Sun is to you.”

    God is just as real to James Dobson and everyone else at Focus on the Family, yet the local media here regularly lampoon, indict, and hurl invective at them with nary a fire being set.

    ” …and our tolerance for blasphemy is as unfathomable to them as their intellectual heritage is to you.”

    But ultimately, that’s the point. We’re willing to tolerate those we disagree with, even vehemently, for the sake of a civil society.
    Gun owners don’t go out and murder gun control advocates.
    The pious don’t tie the faithless to posts and set them ablaze.
    Logging corporations don’t murder the greens who chain themselves bodily to the trees they wish to harvest.
    No matter how uncivil, uncouth, and just plain wrong Bill O’Reilly may be, no one has attempted to kill him.

    And that’s the point of a civil society. Regardless of how hateful the vitriol and spite, in the end people know when to cool it.

    I see no such behavior in the Middle East. I would like to think I’m wrong, that I’m mistaken, or that the media is spinning things, or that it’s all a fabrication, but I just don’t see that.

    For crying out loud, on another forum where I’m a member, one of the other posters was threatened with death over some remark he’d made.

    It’s getting to the point where I can no longer excuse the barbarity of the Middle East, no more than I can excuse the brutality of an organization like the LAPD or the BATFE. For me, at least, there are far too many occurrences to be dismissed as simply isolated incidents.

    And that’s what sucks. It’s doubly infuriating and saddening, because you can see these cultures hammering their own epitaph into a tombstone, and they don’t even know it.

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