Zinger of the Day

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Matthew Yglesias, responding to Martin "with this blog, I give you the gift of comedy" Peretz's observation that if a Muslim Martin Luther King existed he'd be killed:

Imagine that! A society where a figure like King could be imprisoned or even killed! Those Muslims sure are vicious and evil.

Yglesias wonders if "it's a problem that one of America's leading political magazines is owned and operated by a man whose political opinions appear to be primarily driven by bigotry against Arabs and Muslims." I actually think this is a great act of charity by Peretz.

Most of the pro-war opinion in Washington comes from neoconservatives and neoliberals who believe that failed states are worth fixing and that "eventually the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul." I'm convinced this isn't the thinking of most Americans who supported the war. September 11 made them angry at the Middle East; they wanted to kill (or at least convert to Christianity) lots of people in the Middle East. Witness the success of 24, a thrilling drama in which special agent Jack Bauer does not win over terrorists by touching, E.T.-like, the lust for freedom they harbor in their hearts. Ann Coulter does a good job of clarifying this, but Peretz is a swell pinch-hitter.

NEXT: You Know What This Racist Party Needs? Photographic Evidence on the Internet!

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  1. Witness the success of 24, a thrilling drama in which special agent Jack Bauer does not win over terrorists by touching, E.T.-like, the lust for freedom they harbor in their hearts.

    “Our cause is just!”

  2. Stop complaining about Marty’s blog! It separates all of his self-indulgent inanities into a discrete category on the New Republic homepage, so they can be ignored as a lump. In the bad old days, you could end up reading a Marty by accident! Now I haven’t read one in months, AND I FEEL GREAT!

  3. The difference is that after being killed, the Moslem Martin Luther King wouldn’t get a national holiday to honor him and his message.

    See? We are indeed superior.

  4. Wasn’t…Martin Luther King Jr killed? Just saying is all.

    And that Rabin fellow, who wanted to make peace with the Palestinians…wasn’t HE killed? Just saying is all.

    That guy Gandhi, who wanted the Hindis to make peace with the Moslems in India…wasn’t he killed by the Hindis? Just saying is all.

    But those darned Muslims sure are unique savages!

  5. James, good – if ironic – point.

    And MLK was killed by a white bigot while Rabin was killed by a fellow Jew. Go figure.

    Muslim fanatics, Jewish fanatics and Christian fanatics are, in the end, all pretty darn similar.

  6. Just so we dont boil it down to “it’s religions that are crazy!” –

    JFK was killed by secular fanatics…. (if you accept the lone gunner explanation)… not that he was necessarily the great peacemaker like Ghandi or MLK, but my point being that leaders who try to get their people to reconcile differences too forcefully, try to push people in a direction that many are not ready for, often get whacked by the lunatic fringe. Its not religion, it’s the universal distribution of intolerance… which can be voiced by religions or by secular ideologies. What concerns me is the lack of distinction people make between Al Q type Qtubists, and “islam”. It’s describing the worlds largest religion in the terms of a teeny radical offshoot fringe, who’s objectives are more political than religiously inspired. They wear islam on their sleeves only because it can earn them support from some of their hosts…not because there are car-bomb manuals in the Koran.

  7. Gilmore

    nitty nit pick

    “the worlds largest religion” is Christianity, by about a 2 to 1 margin over Islam.

  8. Ya know, maybe we’re going to have to lay off the “Weigal’s [sic] a Democratic shill” routine for a while. Maybe he’s really a shill for reasonable, thoughtful people.

    At this point, I am probably the one who needs to lay off the “shill” angle. I think I bring it up more than the knee-jerkers.
    Sorry, David.

  9. Arensen =

    re “world’s largest”

    the numbers are certainly debatable. We over-define Christianity and include massive numbers of self defining but non-practicing people, and lump together all the various sects into one pool. If you were going to do a more deliniated analysis, the single largest denominations would put catholics and sunnis at 1bn and 940m respectively. not 2-1 by any measure… and FWIW, the growth rates in Islam point out that it very soon WILL be the worlds largest religion. Religiosity in the western world, and birthrates, are in steep decline. But yes, technically you are right, and pehaps I should have simply said SECOND largest religion. The point holds nevertheless.

    http://www.answers.com/topic/major-religious-groups

  10. Muslim fanatics, Jewish fanatics and Christian fanatics are, in the end, all pretty darn similar.

    Along those lines, I’ve long suspected tat Pat Robertson and the Ayatollah Khamenei are butt buddies. I have no proof, just a nagging suspicion.

  11. “I’m convinced this isn’t the thinking of most Americans who supported the war. September 11 made them angry at the Middle East; they wanted to kill (or at least convert to Christianity) lots of people in the Middle East”

    Yeah, that is why we have continued to invade other countries in the middle east and spent billions trying to rebuild Iraq. Further, I guess that is why there has been such an explosion of hate killings of Muslims in this country since 9-11. Since all those dumb redneck Americans just want to kill Muslims, it is a wonder any of them are still alive in this country. Ah, not really.

    Weigel is a shill for someone just not thoughtful people. Idiotic generalizing elitists? maybe.

  12. John, it’s not what we think we tried to do in the Mideast, it’s what the inhabitants there think that we did.

    Yeah, I know. We invaded their country, overthrew their ruler, and turned the place into a bloody reenactment of Mad Max. And continue to defend Israel up the wazoo and never put any pressure on them to actually do any dealings with the Palestinians.

    But the people in the Mideast should be *grateful* to us because we did all of this with the best of good intentions.

    *Somebody* doesn’t understand much about human nature, does he?

  13. John,

    Weigel’s post makes it quite clear that he’s talking about two different groups – the idealistis and the blood n gutters.

    Even if we are to give the benefit of the doubt that George Bush just really wanted to save the fuzzy bunnies, that’s still no reason to delude ourselves about how people felt towards Middle Easterners after 9/11.

  14. What’s really striking is the comeplete unabashed ignorance displayed in the attitude and the implication that muslim nations are “failed states”. Investigation of this so-called failure will inevitably lead one to the conclusion that the imperial meddling of white christians has caused centuries of strife in these regions, and the finger pointing label of failure is abbreviation for “failure to do our bidding”. In applying any rhetoric that supports this ideology of “failed states” we can easily see the current American administration has led the US into this same defined quagmire. Maybe someone should take away our WMD’s and kangaroo-court our dictator.

  15. See? We are indeed superior.

    I disagree. We aren’t superior to the muslims until we kill more gays, execute more rape victims, condone more honor killings, permit more beheadings, and ignore more wife-beatings. *Then* we’ll be better than they are.

    Muslim fanatics, Jewish fanatics and Christian fanatics are, in the end, all pretty darn similar.

    Minus those nagging and enormous differences in both breadth and depth. Oh, screw it, it’s all our fault!

    Along those lines, I’ve long suspected tat Pat Robertson and the Ayatollah Khamenei are butt buddies. I have no proof, just a nagging suspicion.

    And that just proves how awful the two of them are, since homosexualty is a disgusting sin.

    Yeah, I know. We invaded their country, overthrew their ruler, and turned the place into a bloody reenactment of Mad Max.

    Remember: when a sunni fills a busful of shi’a with gunfire, then it’s all our fault. In fact, we are the only ones doing any killing in Iraq. The pony-riding, kite-flying, Peaceful(TM) Muslims only want peace and an end to the Halliburton Hellfire that we stupid, redneck Americans continue to spew in our wicked war for oil. Oh, wait, “war for oil” is passe. I need to update my “progressive” talking points. Allow me to adjust my god-damned blindfold.

    And continue to defend Israel up the wazoo and never put any pressure on them to actually do any dealings with the Palestinians.

    Sarcasm off.

    I agree: Israel has not been dealing with the “Palestineans”. They have been talking and appeasing when they should have been killing, a la 1967.

    Sarcasm back on.

    Even if we are to give the benefit of the doubt that George Bush just really wanted to save the fuzzy bunnies

    Yes, this is all about the pig Bush! Pay no attention to those 100 million mujahedin behind the curtain.

    What’s really striking is the comeplete unabashed ignorance displayed in the attitude and the implication that muslim nations are “failed states”.

    I agree, calling them “failed states” is an insult to failed states. Muslim states are shitholes.

    Investigation of this so-called failure will inevitably lead one to the conclusion that the imperial meddling of white christians

    Hail Marx!

    Maybe someone should take away our WMD’s and kangaroo-court our dictator.

    It’s all our fault! We’re bad! I feel so guilty for being a white American!

  16. Joe, if most Americans really wanted to kill Mideasterners after 9/11, how do you explain the lack of actual assaults vs Arab immigrants? there were some, but very few in a nation of 300 million. likewise, how do you explain the entire Iraq campaign? no indiscriminate air bombings, pretty tight use of force guidelines.

    I think Weigel’s off base. Most people who favored the war did so b/c they thought Saddam had chem and bio weapons, was gunning for a nuke, and would become a problem again if he wasn’t removed. If the war was just about killing Arabs, why not S Arabia? More oil, less of a defense, and supplied most of the 9/ll hijackers.

  17. Yeah, that is why we have continued to invade other countries in the middle east and spent billions trying to rebuild Iraq.

    Don’t kid yourdelf. You spent billions of dollars in enriching Chaney’s buddies, not rebuilding Iraq.

  18. If the war was just about killing Arabs, why not S Arabia? More oil, less of a defense, and supplied most of the 9/ll hijackers.

    The public would have gone for that.

    But the Republican leadership did not want that and neither did the Democratic leadership. So the public’s rage got channeled in more convenient directions.

    Do you remember when those Towers fell?

  19. GILMORE said:

    Just so we dont boil it down to “it’s religions that are crazy!” –

    Yes, religions are crazy.

  20. Loundry,

    Sorry, but most Americans ARE ignorant rednecks…

    By the way, I am an American, I might be ignorant, however, I am not a redneck.

  21. “I agree: Israel has not been dealing with the “Palestineans”. They have been talking and appeasing when they should have been killing, a la 1967.”

    Oooh I hate those super-pacifist Islambuttkissing Israelis, ooh I hate it when they keep throwing roses at those vicious smelly Palestinian Islamoislams. Don’t they know anything? Israelis should learn to fight wars, dammit before they all are forced to wear burkas under their yarmulkes. Religion sucks, it’s supersititous and insane and brings bad luck and fanaticism. Kill them all.

  22. Many Americans DO want to kill Muslims. Why don’t they for the most part? Because there is a tradition of democratic ideals like tolerance. Even those that openly preach their bigotry think twice about actually killing someone not just because they’re afraid of the law (though that’s part of it) but because they’re mostly not THAT intolerant. The same can’t be said for the Muslims. Even the moderates don’t usually condemn the fanatics and their bloodthirsty ways. Even moderates often cheer when suicide bombings, 9/11 etc. happen. And the extremists? Not only do they NOT think twice about killing innocent people, but they ACTIVELY pursue it. As much as I despise redneck bigots, there’s a big difference between them and the terrorists. If tolerance is a virtue, our society is definitely superior to Muslim ones in that regard. Maybe liberals don’t want to admit this because it’s not PC to say and maybe because they’re cowards. I can make fun of Jesus Christ as much as I want to and there’ll be no riots (though I may get lots of nasty letters). Make fun of Mohammad and there’s riots all over the Muslim world. Even some danish cartoons a while back. As far as I’m concerned a lot of them are savages that can’t take another’s opinion without getting violent and that’s definitely at least a step or two below rednecks.

    And chris, Saddam and the suspected WMDs were yes part of the reason for going to war. But THAT reason expired the very first year of the war after Saddam and his government was taken down and we’ve determined that there are no WMDs. The Iraq war now has nothing to do with that. The ONLY reason we’re still there: because Bush has no integrity and does not want to admit failure or stupidity, because Bush still has political supporters who find it easier to live in the fantasyland that there’s still hope than face the truth and the disasterous consequences to their political careers, because some feel guilty about opening this Pandora’s box of civil war in Iraq, and because the Dems are happy to do nothing but watch Bush and the Republicans hammer the last nails on the coffin of their careers/reputations.

  23. chris,

    “Joe, if most Americans really wanted to kill Mideasterners after 9/11, how do you explain the lack of actual assaults vs Arab immigrants?”

    That’s a very interesting question. Americans, like the British in India, seem to have developed a habit of thinking in term of “our good” Middle Easterners, and those bad, foreign Middle Easterners.

    “how do you explain the entire Iraq campaign? no indiscriminate air bombings, pretty tight use of force guidelines.” Dude, we weren’t exactly dropping bouquets. The dead from our weapons is well into the six figures. And have you forgotten how many people continued, and continue, to defend Abu Ghraib? I recall one National Review writer penning the immortal phrase, “Good, kick one for me.”

  24. chris,

    Read Loundry’s post.

    Now ask yourself how many times you’ve seen people expel venom like that against black people, Jews, Eskimos, or even the filthy, stinking Thais? (I keed, I keed. Love the gang massaman). We get a crackpot like him on this board about 10 times a week, which jumps to about ten times an hour on places like Free Republic.

    Then ask yourself how many times you saw such repugnant, inhuman bigotry towards Middle Easterners before 9/11.

  25. If you’re going to argue that the West exhibits superior tolerance because attacks on Muslims are (relatively) rare, I think you’re going to have to acknowledge that for all the open hostility that is expressed toward the U.S., attacks on American civilians are also exceedingly rare. Does Islam exhibit a “tradition of tolerance” because out of close to 300 million Americans they’ve only managed to kill 3 thousand on our soil?

  26. So many things wrong with this. I’d say that what Islam need is a Martin Luther rather than MLK Jr. But apart from that, it gives everyone a chance to exhibit their bigotry, ignorance and self-loathing. I think what most people have no understanding of the muslim world, so they take whomever parrots their own personal beliefs and declares them to be an expert. Meanwhile, half of us meander down a well-meaning path half-heartedly while the other half would just as soon wash their hands of the entire region and pretend it’s not our problem. Unfortunately, neither side is right, but they sure are righteous about it. I don’t have any great answers, but I do realize that it will take a lot of time before any resolution happens. Too many children in the public sphere that have no patience. But even on this small point, what if a Muslim MLK Jr. were killed or imprisoned? Many things have been accomplished by martyrs that couldn’t be accomplished by the living.

  27. Experts? Who claimed they were experts?

    The question is not whether Mideast is our problem. The question is what the hell we can do about it. And the answer is: NOTHING. Only the Iraqis can stop the civil war if they really want to. The best we can do with our military is to delay it which is absolutely useless since it will commence as soon as we leave. The Iraqi democracy and the government is a joke. But if you really think we can stop their civil war, if you really think we can change their minds from wanting to kill each other, then please Yoda tell us all about it. But if you don’t have a clue how we could do this, then STFU. It’s time to either deliver the goods or admit that you don’t have it. If anyone is an expert and thinks we could do this, why isn’t anyone speaking up to tell us this magic formula?

  28. Joe, I know we have killed many innocent people in Iraq. each of those deaths is a tragedy. But if we solely went to war to vent our bloodlust, we would have killed many many more. surely you know this.

    I know that on the ‘net you can find all sorts of ravers and haters (I’m not sure how Loundry’s post shows this, though.) this hardly means the nation as a whole is made up mostly of ravers and haters.

  29. Many more than a couple hundred thousand?

    Anyway, I’m not saying there was a straight line, as you seem to be attributing to me, or that the nation is made up of haters and ravers. More likely, the really dumb, transparent, pre-refuted excuses for starting the Iraq War were swallowed eagerly by a public that was more than willing to believe whatever justificaitons were offered for invading a Middle Eastern country.

  30. Joe, do you think US troops directly killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi innocents? if so, you’re mistaken. Most of the post-invasion deaths owe to suicide bombings and the like, not US fire. most of the invasion deaths were of Iraqi troops and other combatants – not innocent civilians.

    i agree that our failure to secure the country means we bear some blame for the post invasion deaths, but these are sins of omission, not commission. you may think it a distinction without a difference, but I don’t. it’s the difference b/w murder and reckless endangerment.

  31. chris,

    I don’t hold our negligence to be morally equivalent the premeditated murder carried out by the jihadists. But my point is not about moral equivalence.

    We, the people, tolerated that negligence more than we would have before 9/11, and we were more willing to tolerate it in a Middle Eastern country.

  32. I recall one National Review writer penning the immortal phrase, “Good, kick one for me.”

    Yeah, sadly that was John Derbyshire, and even after being given the chance by Jonah Goldberg later on the blog to recant, Derb stuck to his guns.

    Link here.

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