Middle East

The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

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Pakistan's opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, has been killed in a suicide attack. Current press accounts say at least 20 others died in the bombing.

Technorati's roundup of reactions is here. Balloon Juice may have the most apt response:

There will be chaos in Pakistan because of this. F**king crazy. Holy shit.

Post your own apocalyptic scenario in the comments.

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  1. Hey, this is the kind of thing that makes me think the whole “Islamofascism” concerns are not just simply the overwrought wet dreams of militaristic authoritarians (though many with those concers certainly fall into that camp). Holy shit this is terrible.

  2. The conspiracists will have a field day with this. I don’t know how things will shake out, but there are more bad scenarios than good.

  3. It’s terrible, but it’s still not our direct concern.

    Bhutto was a woman ahead of her time. A woman trying to bring democracy to a nation full of Muslim radicals. Alas, it failed. There is a lesson in this for us: you can’t modernize backwards parts of the world. Cultures must slowly evolve to become better. They can’t be forced there.

  4. That’s completely unfair to Pakistan, Duckman. Pakistan is where lawyers and judges stand up to riot police to defend the rule of law and separation of powers. Pakistan is where the “Muslim radicals” have the support of only 10- 20%, according to the best opinion polling. Pakistan has had democratic elections going back decades, and when they were interrupted, it was not by “Muslim radicals,” but by military strongmen.

  5. What miserable news to start the morning.

  6. joe
    I feel you. Pakistan has some very positive elements. But they also have this 10-20% that keeps BLOWING UP THEIR OPPONENTS. And I thought dittoheads were bad (actually, they are, but not that bad).

  7. How does this affect her conviction in Switzerland money laundering the cash she plundered from Pakistan? Can her victims still recover damages or was it just so much eyewash?

    Yes, this was asked in an earlier thread.

  8. Shooting and blowing up a woman is not the kind of thing that will make new friends for the head-choppers. This is probably going to be the thing that turns Pakistan into a zero-tolerance zone for islamists.

    -jcr

  9. There is a lesson in this for us: you can’t modernize backwards parts of the world. Cultures must slowly evolve to become better. They can’t be forced there.

    A Muslim nation elected a female head of state. Sounds like the only “force” being inflicted on this culture is from the Islamic extremists trying to force the country back about 13 centuries or so.

  10. So do her years of corruption and graft get swept under the rug because she was assassinated? This event is unfortunate (as all violent deaths are,) but is it really that much of a shock given the political discourse of the region?

    Regards,
    TDL

  11. Pakistan may still have some elements of modernity left over from when it used to be a part of India, but I would still consider 10-20% as being “full” of Muslim radicals. Too full, at any rate, to support any kind of non-authoritarian government.

  12. I’ll take a corrupt democrat over a principled Islamist every day of the week, Guy.

    Your lips to God’s ear, Mr. Randolph. Inshallah.

  13. Duckman —

    re: Modernization

    I’m sure that’s exactly what the Cordoban and Ottoman Muslims thought of backwards Christian Europe eight centuries ago.

    They were wrong, too.

  14. joe
    In past debates I’ve been totally down with criticizing the “we gotta get those Islamofasicists” meme. It often masks stupid authoritarian jingoism and xenophobia (and of course plain ignorance of Islam and Islamic populations).

    BUT I am concerned about how decent nations with democratic traditions and a rule of law can deal with an admittedly minority though significant population that seems to have no qualms whatsoever.

    I watched the Batle of Algiers the other day. The French director was actually sympathetic to the Algerians, but what I took away from the film was, how in the world do you deal with people who have no qualms about waging anything in war? I mean, the French tried law enforcement, the Algerians put bombs in cafes. The French had checkpoints but had the deceny not to harrass the Algerian women and children, so the Algerian’s gave the bombs to women and children. And on and on. These guys are not playing by the same rules of decency…I feel for someone like Pakistans dictator sometimes…

  15. Bhutto was a woman ahead of her time. A woman trying to bring democracy to a nation full of Muslim radicals. Alas, it failed.

    Let’s not rush to canonize the woman; this is certainly bad news, but let’s not forget whose ISI forces it was that assisted the Taliban, both militarily and monetarily, under the guise of “stabilization”.

    Cultures must slowly evolve to become better. They can’t be forced there.

    A contentious notion and assertion that has no basis in fact. How long was Japan’s history of democracy again? Germany’s? Italy’s?

    (Ed note: just contending the facts; anyone who knows me knows I don’t support the neocon “change the world with a checkbook and a gun” notion).

  16. “So do her years of corruption and graft get swept under the rug because she was assassinated?”

    Worked for JFK…

    -jcr

  17. how in the world do you deal with people who have no qualms about waging anything in war?

    you hunt them down and kill them. that involves prioritizing targets and commissioning headhunters.

    Note: you do not invade and reform a nationalist-socialist country that was about at the bottom of the “Islamic fundie” food-chain.

  18. I’ll stand by my statement about slow cultural change. Germany and Italy are western nations that evolved culturally in ways similar to England and the US. So I don’t think those cases are too suprising. Japan though, you got me there. I guess when you believe your emperor is god and he is deposed that tends to make you a little more open minded.

  19. I’m curious what those who bring up Bhutto’s corruption are aiming at? Someone like Guy Montag is just a raving d*ck/retard of course, but what are the rest of you getting at? Good riddance or something? Bhutto certainly had problems but compared to many of Pakistans other leaders she seemed the more optimistic hope to me…

  20. This is truly sad news.

    I don’t think there’s much we can do about it, except wonder… what the hell would motivate someone to get up in the morning, strap on a bomb and say “today, I’m gonna try and kill Benazir Bhutto so we can make Pakistan a happy place.” Was she seen by some as a tool of the West or an usurper of some sort?

    Her supporters were chanting “Dog, Musharraf, dog!” after this happened. No one likes that guy, neither the moderates nor the muzzies.

  21. “you hunt them down and kill them. that involves prioritizing targets and commissioning headhunters.”
    I agree with that point (as well as the invade one). But if these people are entrenched in 20% of the population, with fanatical support, how do we accomplish this? How many, if any, extremists can we take out without killing/torturing/generally violating a slew of rights or innocent though misguided sympathizers (or even non-sympathizers who just get caught up in the net…)?

  22. I think Muslim radicals were opposed to Bhutto because she is a woman. They don’t like Musharraf either. They want a theocracy run by a spiritual leader.

  23. OK, I know she was formerly associated with corruption, but I could never see someone suicide bombing Dan Rostenkowski’s office.

    Thank god it doesn’t happen here.

  24. “Dog, Musharraf, dog!”

    Oooooh…Unclean. That’s a lot meaner than that insult is here.

  25. And I thought dittoheads were bad (actually, they are, but not that bad)

    Yeah, you know, that whole Church of Rush, and Kill Yourself and Liberals for Rush movement and stuff…

    Oh, by “not as bad” you meant, “not even worth comparing”…I wonder why you did that then?

  26. TW,

    She was seen by more than a few people as a corrupt politician who did her best to ruin their country, in their eyes.

    Until the folks who blew her up are found out we will not have any idea of their specific motovation.

  27. Mr. Nice Guy, the answer is: you can’t.

    If large numbers of the population are driven to fanatacism by their religious beliefs, there’s nothing you can do. If you invade the nation, you still have their presence in the general public. Re-education isn’t going to work, especially not with Islam that teaches that apostasy is punishable by death. Your only options are genocide or to leave them the hell alone.

    That’s why I think we should do: stop worrying about these nations until they actually become a threat to us. And by threat, I mean an actual leader of a nation who wants to attack us with military weapons.

    The only defense against terroristic threats is to secure our borders so that we know who is getting into the country, and to be vigilant at home, which is something we need to do anyway.

  28. Speaking of how far we’ve come, vis a vis “modernization”, isn’t the Republican party threatening to nominate someone for president who believes in a fuzzy, warm Christian rule supported by the might of the US military?

  29. A Muslim nation elected a female head of state.

    This is fantastically nitpicky, but as Prime Minister Bhutto was Head of Government, not Head of State (that would be the President).

  30. You know what will happen? BushCo is going to find a so-called link to the Iranians, and use this as an excuse to bomb Theran.

  31. Ayn-Randian
    Oh, just because Limbaugh is such a big fat hypocritical boring hypocrite pussy and fool whose really faithful listeners tend to be (in my expereince) the embodiement of the kind of stupid authoritarianism that, when unchecked, becomes something like what we see among Islamic fundies. I mean, there is a certain amount of dogmatism implied in the term “dittohead.”

  32. Ayn Randian,

    but let’s not forget whose ISI forces it was that assisted the Taliban, both militarily and monetarily, under the guise of “stabilization”.

    Musharrif, no? Are you saying that began under Bhutto? I’m genuinely asking here.

    How long was Japan’s history of democracy again? Germany’s? Italy’s? In each case, the had elected legislatures for decades prior to the fascists seizing power.

    But yes, let’s not canonize Bhutto. Democracy and freedom are about systems, not individual political figures.

    MNG,

    I hear you, but let’s not forget a little detail about Pakistan’s military dictator: when he declared the state of emergency earlier this year, allegedly because of the terrorist threat, he didn’t go after the terrorists. He went after the judges and the opposition parties in parliament.

  33. Joe,

    The Bolsheviks never had wide support in Russia. They were just the most organized and the most ruthless. If even 10% population is radical and willing to die or commit any act of babarity for thier cause, the other 90% of the population has a real problem. A few people with weapons and the will to use them can oppress the hell out of the masses.

  34. “The only defense against terroristic threats is to secure our borders so that we know who is getting into the country, and to be vigilant at home, which is something we need to do anyway.”

    I tend to agree Duckman. I’m concerned though as to what nations like thos ein Europe should do when faced with immigration from Muslim nations and some signs of this creating little bastions of Islamic extremism within their countries? How can they fight that?

  35. Germany and Italy are western nations that evolved culturally in ways similar to England and the US.

    I think that’s contentious as well; hell, even France latched on to liberal democracy pretty fast, considering its history (yes, I’m aware of the revolution, but the Third Republic didn’t come about until 1870) of having nothing but kings or emperors in control of it for thousands of years.

    I guess my whole point is that the spread of liberal democracy (excepting England) happened pretty quickly in the nations known as the West; to me, this points to a exponential model rather than a linear model. (Don’t beat me up, math nerds! I was using exponential colloquially.)

  36. RIP, Bezazir Bhutto.
    She was indeed a flawed human being, as every one of us is. I hope that her family and friends can find some comfort while facing their loss. I hope Pakistan can find some peace and stability despite this trouble.

  37. The standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, the Wikipedia, says this about Ms. Bhutton and the Taliban:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benazir_Bhutto

    Policy on Taliban

    “The Taliban took power in Kabul in September 1996. It was during Bhutto’s rule that the Taliban gained prominence in Afghanistan. She viewed the Taliban as a group that could stabilize Afghanistan and enable trade access to the Central Asian republics, according to author Stephen Coll.[citation omitted] He claims that her government provided military and financial support for the Taliban, even sending a small unit of the Pakistani army into Afghanistan.

    More recently, she took an anti-Taliban stance, and condemned terrorist acts committed by the Taliban and their supporters.”

  38. “how in the world do you deal with people who have no qualms about waging anything in war?”

    The US military has just demonstrated this very nicely in Iraq.

  39. “I hear you, but let’s not forget a little detail about Pakistan’s military dictator: when he declared the state of emergency earlier this year, allegedly because of the terrorist threat, he didn’t go after the terrorists. He went after the judges and the opposition parties in parliament.”
    Good point. My very reluctant acceptance of Mushareef is premised on him being a realistic alternative to radical muslim rule. But to the extent that he is waging war on the “liberal” parts of their liberal democracy he may be part of the problem. Hmmm..

  40. Scratch the “RIP.” Can’t rest in peace when you die that way.

    Change to “She will be missed by many.”

  41. I’m curious what those who bring up Bhutto’s corruption are aiming at?

    It’s easy to get caught up in high praise of even bad people when they are killed. I also wondered about the corruption charges and her support of the Taliban but I don’t know enough about her history to really participate in a full on conversation on the matter. But since it’s been mentioned by others, I thought I’d bring up the questions surrounding her brother’s assasination. Bhutto’s niece had some things to say about it here.

  42. “stop worrying about these nations until they actually become a threat to us. And by threat, I mean an actual leader of a nation who wants to attack us with military weapons.”

    Which I don’t think they ever would. They would be foolish to do so with our military might.

  43. Mr. Nice Guy,

    The people bashing Bhutto while her corpse is still warm are Iraq hawks.

    Benazir Bhutto committed the horrific crime of being extorted by the Saddam Hussein regime when she tried to do business there under the oil-for-food deal.

    How far has the Iraq War distorted the political views of the right? So far that they don’t know which side to take when al Qaeda bombs a democratic politician. That far.

    As for what you do when 20% of the population are loonies: you build up the liberal, democratic institutions of society so that they become more and more marginalized, while giving those individuals the opportunity, through schools and development programs, to join the modern majority.

    Oh, and you hunt down and kill the really big wheels.

  44. BushCo doesn’t care about Democracy as demonstrated by his support for Musharaff and the leaders of the other ‘stans. As long as the leader is a good corporate-imperial puppet of the United States, we always support them.

  45. “The Taliban took power in Kabul in September 1996. It was during Bhutto’s rule that the Taliban gained prominence in Afghanistan. She viewed the Taliban as a group that could stabilize Afghanistan and enable trade access to the Central Asian republics, according to author Stephen Coll.[citation omitted] He claims that her government provided military and financial support for the Taliban, even sending a small unit of the Pakistani army into Afghanistan.

    So she made alliances with foreign scumbags if she thought it would forward her own country’s interests? If not for an accident of birth, she could’ve been an American leader instead. Maybe she felt that the head of the Taliban, like Putin, had “a good heart.”

  46. Don’t beat me up, math nerds!

    You’re kidding, right? Math nerdsbeating someone up?

    But you’re absolutely right, “civilzation” comes quickly and unexpectedly. If I were an alien visiting the Earth in the 12th century, I’d have put good odds on China or the North Africans leading the industrial revolution. I certainly would have lost that bet!

  47. John,

    The Bolsheviks never had wide support in Russia. True, but they came to power as part of a broad popular front of communists, socialists, democrats, and religious leaders which DID have the support of most of the population.

    Which is an important point, when you consider how “Czar Pervez” is uniting disparate opposition elements with his authoritarianism.

  48. “how in the world do you deal with people who have no qualms about waging anything in war?”

    The US military has just demonstrated this very nicely in Iraq.”

    Well, they didn’t just make a parking lot out of the place, true, but they killed a lot of people and didn’t exactly use the velvet glove approach either. Lots of countries, Peru, Columbia, Isreal, Russia, France, Britian, to name a few, have delt with fanatical well armed terrorist organizations and none of them succeeded by using conventional law enforcement. They all ended up having to compromise civil rights and fight pretty dirty. In their defense, they didn’t have a lot of options. It is kind of hard to arrest people and give them a public trial when your enemy’s answer to that is to murder the judge, the prosecutor, the jurors and their entire families.

  49. BS,

    Where are you getting that bullshit from?

  50. “It’s easy to get caught up in high praise of even bad people when they are killed.”
    I see the point. I guess I was just thrown off more by the insanity of blowing up your political opponents. I mean, many of us here do not like Hillary Clinton, or say Mitt Romney. We think, perhaps to varying degrees, their rule of this nation and their influence would be bad for the nation and people that we love. But (I dearly hope) none of us thinks that BLOWING THEM UP is even a remote possibility or something we would think of as a good thing. It’s damn insane and uncivilized and it makes me worry for a nation that is pivotal in geopolitics that has this occurring with alarming regularity and a world that faces such problems. That to me is the tragedy (though the killing of Bhutto, corrupt or not is still a tragedy itself).

  51. MNG:

    Two things.

    First of all, although “Islamic extemists” will be blamed for this assassination and may even try to take credit for it, it’s much more likely that Musharraf is the one who actually had her killed.

    Second of all, I can’t believe that your question about the Algerian war is “How can you fight such savages?” This assumes that France had a right to occupy Algeria. The easiest way to deal with it was to give Algeria independence.

    The entire point of the terrorist provocations in Algeria was to induce the French to crack down. The torture chambers run by the French belie the statement that the Algerians were somehow uniquely savage. The “terrorists” simply knew that if they provoked the French enough, the French would brutally crack down, and the mask they wore to disguise the reality of their oppression would be torn. It turns out that they were right.

  52. I’m not shocked in the least. It was almost a foregone conclusion that’s she’d be rubbed out. Murder and mayhem is part of the sorry landscape now and for years to come.

  53. You know what will happen? BushCo is going to find a so-called link to the Iranians, and use this as an excuse to bomb Theran.

    And in other unlikely news, some troll-like poster is going to learn how to spell important Middle Eastern capitals.

    Are you saying that began under Bhutto? I’m genuinely asking here.

    There’s lots of evidence in favor. “Ghost Wars” cites a lot. I’ll have to look up some stuff, though. Wish I had brought the book with me! Anywho, that was my understanding, given that the Taliban came to power in 09/96 and she had just left government (actually, removed again) at that time…Pakistan supported the Mujahadeen against the USSR, I would be willing to bet that inertia set in and someone didn’t get around to changing the policy.

    Oh, just because Limbaugh is such a big fat hypocritical boring hypocrite pussy and fool whose really faithful listeners tend to be (in my expereince) the embodiement of the kind of stupid authoritarianism

    You don’t actually listen to Rush, do you? As I understand it, he’s pretty hedonisitic in his personal life.

  54. “True, but they came to power as part of a broad popular front of communists, socialists, democrats, and religious leaders which DID have the support of most of the population.”

    Yeah but they shot those people pretty early on. The Bolshevicks could have been stopped by the navy rebellion. The hold on power was very tenuous and if anyone had stood up and been as ruthless as them, they would have been stopped. But no one realized or admitted how awful they were until it was too late.

  55. Duckman,

    “The only defense against terroristic threats is to secure our borders so that we know who is getting into the country, and to be vigilant at home, which is something we need to do anyway.”

    One of the only areas I give Bush and Rice credit is in their effective use of diplomacy and PR in support of the democratic, anti-Syria uprising in Lebanon. Our best defense against international terrorist is for the locals in “terrorist donor areas” to put their houses in order, and that means modernizing, liberalizing, and democratizing THEMSELVES. When we can support LEGITIMATE, INDIGENOUS democracy movements, we should.

  56. Uggh! Ooogah boogah!

    *hits ground with stick*

  57. Also,

    I would never pretend to know enough about Pakistan to bet any money on who did this. Yeah, suicide bomber sure seems like radical Islamics to me, but if it turned out that Musharif did it, I can’t say I would be surprised.

  58. And my Limbaugh comment was actually an attempt to put a positive spin on such depressing news: thank God I live in a nation where folks that represent, in my opinion, the worst this nation has to offer politically just listen worshipply to some fat hypocritical pussy and vote for morons like Mitt Romeny or Mike Hucakabee. It really puts it into perspective how good we have it here. Over there the worst they have to offer politically are authoritarian murderers with no qualms about their murderous actions in order to gain power.

  59. The people bashing Bhutto while her corpse is still warm are Iraq hawks.

    Accusations of corruption against Bhutto date to her first term as PM in the ’80s. I am no Iraq hawk, but I think it’s important to remember this as people on this thread talk about her “bringing her people democracy.”

    Lots of countries, Peru, Columbia, Isreal, Russia, France, Britian, to name a few, have delt with fanatical well armed terrorist organizations and none of them succeeded by using conventional law enforcement.

    Arguably, not many of them succeeded by fighting dirty either.

  60. It seems to me that most people here are assuming that she was killed by a radical Muslim. The ISI or some other politcal opposition is as likely a candidate at this point.

  61. BushCo doesn’t care about Democracy as demonstrated by his support for Musharaff and the leaders of the other ‘stans. As long as the leader is a good corporate-imperial puppet of the United States, we always support them.

    Who let Cindy Sheehan get near the computer?

    You’re kidding, right? Math nerds…beating someone up?

    heh…guess I should have said “Don’t take Windows XP or my credit score away from me!”

    Murder and mayhem is part of the sorry landscape now and for years to come.

    Saying that is like saying “murder” “rape” and “theft” are all a regular part of the U.S. landscape.

    Remember, kids, if it bleeds it leads.

    Seriously, about 95% of people over here want to live their lives and be productive. Just like in any other society, you’ve got the 5% who fuck it up for everybody.

  62. Mr. Nice Guy,

    True enough. Few things reveal a person’s ignorance more than someone ranting about the U.S.’s fascist government. Clowns who say shit like that wouldn’t know a fascist if one came up and bit them in the ass.

  63. Mr. Nice Guy, I think European nations currently have small enough numbers of radical Muslims that they are probably okay for now. But if this trend continues, I think the only way these European nations can cope with radicalism in their own countries is to curb immigration from Muslim nations. I know that’s contentious for libertarians; I sympathize with the argument that people should be free to travel without arbitrary national borders, but I think Muslim radicals are a special case that requires un-libertarian methods, unfortunately. I think curbing their entry is less problematic than other approaches to the problem (such as trying to control their religious practices (like outlawing the burqa) in order to keep them from wanting to enter).

    I think immersion in Western culture will eventually dull radicalism over a generation, but only if the number of migrants is relatively small.

  64. I don’t know about this, John.

    The hold on power was very tenuous and if anyone had stood up and been as ruthless as them, they would have been stopped

    The Whites certainly didn’t shrink from shedding blood.

  65. Who let Cindy Sheehan get near the computer?

    Don’t diss Cindy Sheehan, shes a true American Hero who stood up against this war when it was still unpopular to do so.

  66. OMG! MNG called me a bad name! He must have the best argument . . . no, wait, if he throws food he has the best argument.

    Sorry, I am not smart enough to follow a brain that big, I might get sent off to Iraq for being dum.

    Must make a resolution to ignore people I vow to ignore.

  67. …suicide bomber sure seems like radical Islamics to me, but if it turned out that Musharif did it, I can’t say I would be surprised.

    You might not have to choose between the two. Musharraf may not have directly ordered anyone to do it, he may simply have let it happen. Rawalpindi is supposed to be a garrison town, where the Pakistani army should be strong.

  68. “Lots of countries, Peru, Columbia, Isreal, Russia, France, Britian, to name a few, have delt with fanatical well armed terrorist organizations and none of them succeeded by using conventional law enforcement.

    Arguably, not many of them succeeded by fighting dirty either.”

    Peru certainly did. Argueably so has Columbia who are starting to make real progress against the FARC. The Brits have managed to get peace in Northern Ireland. Considering that the IRA was a Marxist terrorist organization bent on the overthow of both the Irish and British governments, it is doubtful that would have happened had the Brits just rolled over for them.

  69. “You don’t actually listen to Rush, do you? As I understand it, he’s pretty hedonisitic in his personal life.” Sadly, I did for a while (at a workplace where the boss listened to it and his ill fated tv show). Yes, I heartily agree that he is quite hedonistic in his personal life while endorsing and apologizing for all kinds of right wing puritanism on his show. That’s why I said “hypocrite” between pussy and boring.

    But really, we had a Limbaugh thread a few weeks ago, and unless absolutely necessary we need not rehash all that here. I did not mean to threadjack from the topic at hand (for what I meant see prior post).

  70. MNG, re: The Battle of Algiers.

    The way the French fought the Algerians was not by “law enforcement.” It was by killing 1 million of them (out of a population of 9 million) and torturing others.

  71. Good to see you anarchists come ’round to my way of thinkin’. This is a moment to unite not divide.

  72. But (I dearly hope) none of us thinks that BLOWING THEM UP is even a remote possibility or something we would think of as a good thing. It’s damn insane and uncivilized and it makes me worry for a nation that is pivotal in geopolitics that has this occurring with alarming regularity and a world that faces such problems

    Um, political assassination has a long and proud tradition in all civilized nations. We ourselves have had four presidents successfully assassinated, not to mention the sheer number of serious but unsuccessful attempts. What makes this any more distasteful…bombs instead of guns? I agree it is certainly messier and less subtle, but let’s not pretend for a moment we are oh so much more evolved morally or politically than the “rabble” of nations around us.

  73. John,

    Considering that the IRA was a Marxist terrorist organization bent on the overthow of both the Irish and British governments, it is doubtful that would have happened had the Brits just rolled over for them.

    The end of their Soviet support kinda helped that along too.

  74. The Bolsheviks, the Ba’aathists, the Bushes… a motivated minority can make for a healthy run of Rusty Nail nights.

    Did anyone actually expect a different outcome here? Bhutto seemed almost to welcome a slaughter: “I am ready to die for my country.”

    Now all the cool kids will wonder: how is this going to impact the Positive-Mental-Attitude of those Cheney Walker Bush clients still in possession of their arms and face?

  75. joe, diplomacy is fine. I totally support the US trying to help unite divided factions. But I don’t support the US making behind the scenes threats of military force in order to coerce agreements.

  76. Jeez Montag, I posted that half an hour ago and you just got it. I know, judging from your confused arguing ability, that you’re slow and all, but c’mon, call your mom out of the kitchen and have her read the posts too you (and mybe act them out with fingerpuppets) so you can keep up with the discussion!

  77. The main significance of Pakistan’s violence is how it shows the neocon method for fighting terrorism is not working… big time.

  78. The Brits have managed to get peace in Northern Ireland.

    Which only happened when the British government agreed to recognize Sinn Fein as a legit counterparty to negotiations and made several major compromises.

    It could be argued that the Brits forced the IRA to back down through playing hardball. It could just as convincingly be argued that the Brits’ insistence on playing hardball condemned Northern Ireland to 25 years of unnecessary strife, and that only in agreeing to compromise did they attain peace.

  79. John,

    The Colombians have been negotiating with FARC for decades, and even ceded them a portion of the country at one point.

    As for Britain and the IRA – did you miss the entire 1990s? Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness? Demilitarization of Northern Ireland? Reforming the RUC? The entire peace process?

    They tried it your way for decades, and it only brought them more bombs.

  80. Don’t diss Cindy Sheehan, shes a true American Hero who stood up against this war when it was still unpopular to do so.

    you need to quit playing.

    Sheehan didn’t become an anti-war activist until her son was KIA in Iraq.

    I’m not saying that as a bad thing, but like I said, let’s not canonize the woman.

  81. I will ignore everyone’s posts and simply say: it is very likely that serious shit will hit the fan in a nuclear-armed country with a lot of batshit insane religious fanatics.

    If I were India I would be sweating profusely right now.

  82. mng, we’re of one mind in this case.

    i have trouble imagining that it’s pervert mushy behind this- the m.o. doesn’t fit with a pure political assassination.

  83. If I were India I would be sweating profusely right now.

    If India starts “sweating profusely” Pakistanis ought to “shit their pants”–while they still can.

  84. “If I were India I would be sweating profusely right now.”

    I think the whole western world should be sweating profusly. Those Pakistani nukes are just as likly to be stolen and used on us as they are to be used on India

  85. It may have been a garrison town, but a lone nut who seeks death is tough to stop for anybody.

  86. As far as places like Ireland and Peru and Columbia and the peace negotiations, why do you think fanatical murders like the IRA and the FARC were willing to negotiate? It is because they were forced to by the strength of the their enemies. Had their opponents not been willing to go after them, they would have just taken what they wanted and never bothered to negotiate. Strength produces compromise not weakness.

  87. If I were India I would be sweating profusely right now.

    Me too! I think it’s all the curry and the heat, though.

    Serious question: if we’re willing to support a militaristic but secular dictator (Musharraf, by most accounts); wtf is with the Iraq peacekeeping operation?

    I think if I were Musharraf I’d just skip out and seek asylum somewhere (a la the Shah) and become a monied political adviser.

  88. Lew Rockwell on the assassination:

    The horrific assassination of Benazir Bhutto is a massive blow to the empire, since she was the handpicked US replacement for the hated Pervez Musharraf. The US had installed Musharraf as military dictator after kicking out his elected predecessor, Nawaz Sharif (ah yes, global democracy), who was considered insufficiently obedient. The US has spent many billions on Musharraf and his military, but it has only earned the contempt of Pakistanis who don’t like being a US colony (and no, one does not have to be pro-terrorist to be opposed to foreign control). What will happen now in Pakistan? Nothing good. At the same time, the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan continue to go badly, and Turkey–with US support–is bombing the Kurds in Iraq, the most pro-American part of the population. All over the world, other occupied areas grow restive as well.

    Meanwhile, thanks to the Fed, the dollar weakens every day, riaking a key pillar of US hegemony. Domestically, housing heads into a 1930s-style crisis, with more of the economy to follow.

    This is the way empires end: in blood and economic disaster. The regime will want to do more of the same: inflate and bailout at home, threaten and bomb abroad, which will only worsen everything.

    There is only way out: cut spending, cut taxes, stop inflating, end the police state, bring the troops home. Peace and freedom: libertarianism, in other words. How blessed we are, at the very moment of crisis, to have Ron Paul.

  89. Yes, John.

    Negotiation requires a stick, too.

    This observation is not nearly as obscure as you seem to think. It’s actually pretty universally understood.

    The idea that bringing your opponent to the negotiating table can be a wise use of your strength, and not a exercise in defeatist capitulation, does not seem to be as widely known.

  90. I think if I were Musharraf I’d just skip out and seek asylum somewhere (a la the Shah) and become a monied political adviser.

    But Musharraf is not you. You’re rational.

  91. I don’t know what to make of Musharrif.
    He is is utterly baffling.

  92. That’s why I think we should do: stop worrying about these nations until they actually become a threat to us. And by threat, I mean an actual leader of a nation who wants to attack us with military weapons.

    Under this formula, we would have done exactly nothing after 9/11, because we were not attached by the state of Afghanistan with military weapons.

    The only defense against terroristic threats is to secure our borders so that we know who is getting into the country, and to be vigilant at home, which is something we need to do anyway.

    This line of thinking has brought us the Homeland Defense debacle and miscellaneous other pointless infringements on our civil liberties. A defensive hunker will fail, but in doing so will wreck what is left of this country’s tradition of civil liberties.

    One of the only areas I give Bush and Rice credit is in their effective use of diplomacy and PR in support of the democratic, anti-Syria uprising in Lebanon.

    As near as I can tell, that uprising is in the process of failing, as the Syrians, via their secret services and catspaws, seem to be pretty thoroughly entangled in Lebanese affairs yet again. The life expectancy of any leader who wants Syria out seems to be back down to its pre-“Cedar Revolution” days.

  93. I think if I were Musharraf I’d just skip out and seek asylum somewhere (a la the Shah) and become a monied political adviser.

    If what you like is power then that is a sucky option. He’s already got money.

  94. The US had installed Musharraf as military dictator after kicking out his elected predecessor, Nawaz Sharif

    This is why I hate LewRockwellians; they deal in conspiracy theories and crazy bullshit.

    I haven’t seen nor do I believe that there is any credible evidence that the military coup was anything but internal.

    Rockwellians have a weird idea of the U.S. Government: sometimes it’s an all-encompassing shadow organization that manages to overthrow whole regimes on its own, but sometimes they think the government is a bunch of bumbling clowns.

    “Never attribute to malice what you can attribute to incompetence”

  95. Very bad business, this. Not unexpected, but sad, nonetheless.

    And other posters have gone into both her virtues and her flaws, so I shan’t bother.

    But I don’t support the US making behind the scenes threats of military force in order to coerce agreements.

    Well, in reality, a threat of force lies behind all diplomacy.

    There are those who believe that the more credible the threat the more effective the diplomacy. I suspect they’re right.

    I am much more disturbed by idle and/or pointless threats.

  96. R C Dean, I don’t think our presence in Afghanistan has exactly yielded any fruit. We don’t have Bin Laden, and Afghanistan seems to be sliding back towards Taliban rule.

    I also think you misinterpret what I mean by “vigilant” at home. I just mean that ordinary citizens should be on the lookout for suspicious behavior. The 9/11 hijackers left a few clues, such as their disinterest in learning how to land a plane and an outburst by Mohammad Atta in a bank. (Sorry, I don’t have links for these, but I’m sure you can find them). I do not mean a police state being “vigilant” for us, although I do admit we run such a risk. However, I honestly think there is ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NOTHING we can do about terrorism by adventuring abroad. The only thing we can do is try to keep them out of our country or watch for them to slip up once they are here.

  97. Ayn_Randian- But it does make sense to have a strongman from the military to be head of state of Pakistan. I can not, now, remember the US response to Musharraf’s coup d’etat, but what was the US position on the coup d’etat? The typical “We strongly condemn this attack on democracy” [in lower voice] “but that is okay with us”?

  98. kicking out his elected predecessor, Nawaz Sharif (ah yes, global democracy), who was considered insufficiently obedient

    Seriously, they are unwell and sort of schizo; on one hand, you’ll see Rockwellians lambasting democracy here at home and then trumpeting how the U.S. overthrew “the will of the people” in Pakistan.

    Also, Nawaz Sharif was no angel; he was well on his way to consolidating power as Prime Minister.

  99. I can’t imagine how insane you have to be to think you can get away with using a nuke on any nation. The outrage might result in the complete leveling of your country. If a terrorist ever used a nuke, they will have demonstrated complete loss of mental function. Nuclear weapons only worked when the US was the only nation to have them. Since then, nobody’s been ballsy enough to contemplate using them for anything other than the complete destruction of another nation.

  100. …the m.o. doesn’t fit with a pure political assassination.

    Yes and no.

    Could be the perfect m.o. for someone who wanted to kill two birds with one stone, as it were.

  101. RC Dean,

    As near as I can tell, that uprising is in the process of failing, as the Syrians, via their secret services and catspaws, seem to be pretty thoroughly entangled in Lebanese affairs yet again.

    That movement certainly did take a beating as a result of the Isreali decision to wage a country-wide punitive war in response to Hezbolllah’s occupation, but Lebanon is certainly more free and independent today than they were before Hariri’s funeral, even if there has been backsliding.

  102. er, provocation. Not occupation. Hezbollah’s provocationl.

  103. Randian-

    Also, Nawaz Sharif was no angel; he was well on his way to consolidating power as Prime Minister.

    Of course he was not, but he was more legitimate the Musharraf, no?

  104. I’ll put a hundred on “Mossad did it”

  105. Lost_In_Translation, you are correct in your judgement if you believe the person holding the nuke is sane and rational. I submit that by definition a Muslim radical is not sane or rational by our definition, because they believe we are the Great Satan and that their religion demands that we be destroyed, regardless of the consequences. If we nuke them in retailiation, perhaps all the Muslims we kill will be marytrs who will go to Paradise?

    I do think there is a real threat from Muslim radicals with nukes. However, that doesn’t alter my assessment that there is no way for us to pre-empt such a situation.

  106. “the”->”than”

  107. I can not, now, remember the US response to Musharraf’s coup d’etat, but what was the US position on the coup d’etat?

    I dunno. It’s not particularly important either way in the context of the now, but for the Rockwell folks to peddle in insane and unfounded conspiracy theories is disgusting.

    But it does make sense to have a strongman from the military to be head of state of Pakistan.

    Sure; just like it made sense to have one head Iraq while we hunted down OBL and his gang of crazies.

  108. If we nuke them in retailiation, perhaps all the Muslims we kill will be marytrs who will go to Paradise?

    From a practical point of view, you either mean (a) nuke them all, or (b) not all of them, but then what about the rest who will probably seek revenge? Neither option is something I would recommend doing. Bad.

  109. This isn’t Kashmir or some sectarian squabble we’re talking about. I tend to think it was a foreign element – possibly Al-Qaeda or some other group with foreign members operational in Pakistan.

    If it was a Pakistani, it was likely a young madrassa brainwashee.

  110. Duckman,

    Lord knows I’m not exactly an imperialist hawk, but there are certain specific cases where the use of military force overseas can ben an effect weapons against terrorists – those cases when the terrorists adopt a military stance.

    The overthrow of the Taliban, routing of the al Qaeda training camps there, and that destruction of al Qaeda at Tora Bora are all (or at least, would have been, if that last one had been completed) examples of such. The special forces aid we provided to the Phillipines and the joint American/Frence naval patrols off the Horn of Africa are others.

  111. Of course he was not, but he was more legitimate the Musharraf, no?

    Ali – do you really want to go down the “legitimacy” road again? Although I do agree with you, for whatever that’s worth. I just wanted to point out that Nawaz acted much like a right-wing Putin prior to his ouster. No good guys or bad guys here, just sad situations.

  112. Randian-

    I dunno. It’s not particularly important either way in the context of the now, but for the Rockwell folks to peddle in insane and unfounded conspiracy theories is disgusting.

    I think Rockwellians’ point of view is that there is evidence in history to support their “theories”. We can’t just say history is irrelevant. Essentially Rockwellians are making the very Ron Paul argument about “blowback”. Don’t expect your adversaries to forget history while you do.

    Sure; just like it made sense to have one head Iraq while we hunted down OBL and his gang of crazies.

    So we agree that there is a US interest in having Musharraf in power. It would be consporatorial to say that the US helped him in the coup d’etat, but not so much so if we see that there was a nod of approval because there was a US interest in having him in power. While we’re at it, why don’t we send him a few hundred million dollars or so to secure his new regime? We do not approve of him, but it is in our interest.

  113. joe, I agreed with our decision to attack Afghanistan, and I agree that if we know where the most organized terrorists are we should take action. My main beef is with us staying behind in these nations and having a permanent presence there. I think that just creates resentment from people who think we are trying to install puppet governments, and I think this plays into the hands of Muslim radicals.

  114. A contentious notion and assertion that has no basis in fact. How long was Japan’s history of democracy again? Germany’s? Italy’s?

    1) It is debatable whether or not Japan is actually a Democracy. Sure, they have elections, but democracy is more than that. Also, they tried to invade everybody once they started to modernize.

    2) After attempting to become a democracy, not only did Germany try to kill all the Jews, half of the country became an authoritarian communist country only to become democratic a few years ago. It took time.

    3) Wait, so more insane nationalism. Then a bunch of instability. still took time.

    I guess I’d rather do it British style, at least they kept their internal democratic struggles internal.

  115. One week before the Iowa caucus, and no one thinks, ‘False Flag.’

    I guess no one here is aware of how the US government authorized the Diem assassination as a pretext to years of US military intervention in South Vietnam.

    This is not a case of ‘Crying Wolf,’ however. This is a case of ‘Creating Wolf.’ While spending trillions of dollars and thousands of lives to make America safe from car bombers in Iraq, the Bush Administration let al-Qaeda grow and fester in Pakistan, a country with nuclear weapons.

    Anyone remember how the Bush Administration quietly shut down the CIA’s bin Laden Unit, which was charged with tracking bin Laden in Pakistan? If al-Qaeda gets its hands on a nuke now, we may have to intervene, but one thing for sure is that the neocons have been thoroughly discredited in the realm of competence and should not be permitted anywhere near the helm of state any longer.

    It’s time to talk impeachment, for the high crime and misdemeanor of Supreme Stupidity.

  116. Lord knows I’m not exactly an imperialist hawk, but there are certain specific cases where the use of military force overseas can ben an effect weapons against terrorists – those cases when the Democrat Party holds the Whitehouse.

  117. 3) refers to italy

  118. you are correct in your judgement if you believe the person holding the nuke is sane and rational. I submit that by definition a Muslim radical is not sane or rational by our definition

    I’m not inclined to believe there is a huge portion of human beings who have thrown their basic survival instinct out the window. Nor their reason.

    By that, I mean I could drop 99% of people in the middle of an American mall with 100 bucks and I’d bet they all come back with something for themselves and their families.

    Larger point: economic incentives work better than the “stick”.

    Shorter version: the proper response to the ’79 Iranian takeover was to keep trading with the people, even if we hated the leaders. Ditto Cuba, Iraq, Libya et al.

  119. As far as places like Ireland and Peru and Columbia and the peace negotiations, why do you think fanatical murders like the IRA and the FARC were willing to negotiate? It is because they were forced to by the strength of the their enemies. Had their opponents not been willing to go after them, they would have just taken what they wanted and never bothered to negotiate. Strength produces compromise not weakness.

    Perhaps. And the core of the IRA were certainly fanatical murderers (though not all wer Marxist). But they were only able to operate for so long because of the many thousands who supported them because of the very grievances–some legitimate, some not–they had against the British government, the provincial government and the structure of their society.

    Only when the Brits finally showed that they were willing to address these grievances, and to force their Orange allies to engage in real negotiations, was any headway made. At that point, in the eyes of public opinion, the IRA was now the side of intransigence, and Gerry Adams was smart enough to see that he faced a choice between coming to the negotiating table and losing support.

    There is still, to this day, a branch of IRA diehards who preach Marxist revolution. You’ll note that people don’t pay much attention to them anymore.

    Strength doesn’t always mean fighting harder. Sometimes it means having the balls to take away your opponent’s support by addressing their legitimate grievances.

  120. This is bad news yes, no doubt about it…however Bhutto for whatever was good about her…she was a kleptocrat who defrauded Pakistan out of a ton of money. Her husband is in jail for the same offence. So all I am saying is please do not believe the saintly songs that are sung in her honor.

  121. Randian-

    No good guys or bad guys here, just sad situations.

    I do agree. But that goes back to a position as that taken by Paul or Rockwell. It is not a matter of conspiracy. It is a matter of a terribly messy world out there that a direct US involvement only makes worse. It is a matter of admitting that big empire could just make things worse. Avoiding an empire does not mean surrender or weakening your defenses. On the contrary, it implies stronger defenses by eliminating unnecessary costs. And so that if someone attacks us here, we root the hell out of them for good. Simple, constitutional, yet makes the US ever more powerful. 3-in-1.

  122. Duckman,

    My main beef is with us staying behind in these nations and having a permanent presence there. I think that just creates resentment from people who think we are trying to install puppet governments, and I think this plays into the hands of Muslim radicals.

    I agree, though if you look at the actions of the adminstration in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what their theorists wrote in the months and years before the Iraq War, it looks pretty clear that, for them, “staying behind” was the point from the beginning.

    While you and I thought the administration was going through the Taliban to get at al Qaeda, what they were actually doing was using al Qaeda as a reason to invade and occupy Afghanistan. Ditto Iraq.

  123. Sometimes it means having the balls to take away your opponent’s support by addressing their legitimate grievances.

    amen.

    i can’t say i’m very surprised someone finally got to bhutto; seeing as she was less than favored by the current regime on top of other issues her creative accounting may have created.

  124. Ayn_Randian, I agree that most people are rational and for most people economic and survival incentives work. But clearly, given the number of Muslim radicals willing to blow themselves up in the name of Allah, regardless of whether it creates more hatred and “blowback,” it seems to me that any Muslim radical who straps a conventional bomb to his back would be more than happy to strap a nuclear bomb there if only he could.

  125. Obama could make a lot of political hay out of the Pakistan situation. I can’t see Hillary being bold enough.
    All the Repubs (but RP) should hang their heads in shame.

  126. whatjoereallythinks | December 27, 2007, 11:43am | #

    Lord knows I’m not exactly an imperialist hawk, but there are certain specific cases where the use of military force overseas can ben an effect weapons against terrorists – those cases when the Democrat Party holds the Whitehouse.

    Funny how the three examples I gave were all Bush administration actions, then.

    It would be nice if people weren’t so blinded by their partisanship that they saw everything through those lenses.

  127. Oh, and it’s called the “Democratic Party.”

    “Democratic,” you partisan shill.

  128. One week before the Iowa caucus, and no one thinks, ‘False Flag.’

    Exhibit “A” for the prosecution. The attack just happened, what, five hours ago, and already we have the loons coming out for a look-see.

    They’re like cultists; every shred of evidence supports the conspiracy, even the ones that don’t seem to at all.

    Essentially Rockwellians are making the very Ron Paul argument about “blowback”.

    No, they aren’t, Ali. You don’t say words like “installed” “insufficiently obedient” “handpicked” and “U.S. Colony” when describing blowback; Rockwellians are saying the U.S. is a massive shadowy empire.

    There is a very important distinction.

  129. Post your own apocalyptic scenario in the comments.

    OK, Here goes.

    1) Musharraf cancels Jan 8 election.
    2) Violence continues.
    3) Islamist radicals from within the Pakistani armed forces assassinate Musharraf and sieze power.
    4) Islamist govt orders US to remove bases, making logistics for Afganistan more difficult.
    5) Extremist groups get covert aid from new Islamist government.
    6) Extremists infiltrate Pakistani nuclear program and steal 2 – 3 nukes.
    7) New York and a couple of other port cities, probably in the US., get nuked from arriving container ships.
    8) Super-Patriot Act gets passed, habeus corpus suspended permanently.
    9) World trade is frozen for months.
    9) Economy goes into tailspin.
    10) Giuliani elected in landslide.

    [Is that apocalyptic enough?]

  130. JFC MNG is under the delusion that I must hang on his every word, like a twisted Dave W.

    Sorry, went to lunch. Now I have a new policy to review. If you get too lonely without me TDB.

  131. Duckman-

    Have you ever asked yourself what was the percentage of “radical Muslims who are ready to blow themselves up” 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 100, 200, and 400 years ago? You will probably see a trend and a sharp spike in the last 20-40 years. What is it about those 20-40 years that has changed?

    To get to my point. The radicals are very irrational, dangerous and murderous. But what is the basis on which they are being recruited? I also hope that you realize that it is not a “Muslim” thing.

  132. “Strength doesn’t always mean fighting harder. Sometimes it means having the balls to take away your opponent’s support by addressing their legitimate grievances.”

    It has to be a mixture. You can’t kill your way out things true. But at the same time, you can’t die on your principles either. Most people are going to join the side they think is going to win. Nothing kills popular support like losing.

    It is my understanding that the State Department had a lot to do with Bhutto going back to Pakistan. She was our guy over there. I can’t think of a more westernized leader of an Islamic country than her. Granted she was corrupt as hell, but so are leaders of a lot of other countries. She was no worse than Vincente Fox and his mob that runs Mexico. She also did a lot to stablize the economy and bring investment to Pakistan. Bhutto was very much a Western alternative and a lot of people wanted her dead because of it.

  133. Aresen, I would make one change to your apocalyptic vision: Guiliani will not be elected because if a US city gets nuked, Bush will declare martial law and stay in power indefinitely.

  134. But clearly, given the number of Muslim radicals willing to blow themselves up in the name of Allah

    Hey man, if France pulled all the Grey Goose of the shelves (or the Brits Tanqueray) because they disagreed with the Administration, I might go apeshit too.

    More serious point: Let’s not forget that if goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will. We have to expose the most radical nations to the wealth that comes from peace and the peace that comes from wealth.

  135. Randian-

    OK, yeah, with that I agree. I guess I take him less literally than you do.

  136. More serious point: Let’s not forget that if goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will. We have to expose the most radical nations to the wealth that comes from peace and the peace that comes from wealth.

    Amen! (Though that sounds Rockwellian too!)

  137. Bush will declare martial law and stay in power indefinitely.

    Oh, that’d be super. Now I get to decide if I come home in uniform or take my chances on the streets of Baghdad.

    Can the nuke wait till I get home? (I don’t think Ohio’s gonna be the target anyway).

  138. “More serious point: Let’s not forget that if goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will. We have to expose the most radical nations to the wealth that comes from peace and the peace that comes from wealth.”

    I am all for trade and wealth but lets not kid ourselves. Bin Ladin is the son of a millionaire. His right hand man is a doctor. Mahaumud Atta had a college degree. It is not the poor and dispossed who are becoming terrorists. It is the children of the middle and upper classes in these countries. The problems go a lot deeper than economics. I really wish a few trade deals and some economic growth could solve the problem, but I don’t think that is the case.

  139. Can the nuke wait till I get home? (I don’t think Ohio’s gonna be the target anyway).

    Unless the terrorist is a Wolverine.

  140. Ayn,

    Is it bad sport if someone raises the notion of the California Republican Primary rules being a percieved disadvantage to Dr. Paul and this bombing event happening while former PM Bhutto was awaiting her next round of trials in Switzerland all being too neat a package for declaring martial law and outlawing private ownership of precious metals in the USA?

    And then watching the loonie spiderweb of conspiracy stuff unfold, of course.

    Unrelated historical note: the first person to bomb the US Capitol building was a college professor protesting our involvement in WW I.

  141. Ali, are you suggesting Israel is the cause of this? I must say, I think it is definitely a contributing factor. But I disagree when you say it is not a “Muslim thing”. I think the turning point was WWI, when Britain gained control of the Middle East and began to run it like a colony. Some Muslims felt Dar-Al-Islam had been violated, and since then between the presence of Israel and the meddling presence of Western nations (primarily US and Britain), Muslim extremist nationalism was awakened.

    This is also why I totally disagree that Muslim radicals are bent on world conquest. They only want to keep Dar-Al-Islam free of outside influence.

  142. Unless the terrorist is a Wolverine.

    Oh he just WOULD be too…sorry bastard.

    It is not the poor and dispossed who are becoming terrorists.

    sure john, whatever you say. You’re going to have to have a hard time explaining to me then why suicide bombers’ families get paid. If they’re in it ’cause they’re “BLIND ISLAMIC BORG”, what’s with the cash?

    Incentives?

    The problems go a lot deeper than economics.

    I find that very few problems go deeper than economics. Ever wonder why it’s DoD policy to use local national contractors instead of AAFES?

  143. Ali, are you suggesting Israel is the cause of this?

    OH, that wasn’t actually on my mind AT ALL! It was a legitimate question hinting at the Afghan-Russian war, and other precipitates from the cold war. A lot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement picked up steam in response to events happening in the 60s and 70s. I was also thinking of the shah of Iran, etc. I think the I/P, while it does play a role, it is only a tool by the hands of politicians and extremists, not the goal. The Palestinian cause is hijacked, if you want my opinion.

  144. “This is also why I totally disagree that Muslim radicals are bent on world conquest. They only want to keep Dar-Al-Islam free of outside influence.”

    The problem is that “Dar-Al-Islam” is the entire world. Yes, they want to start by re-establishing a capliphate over the middle east, but you are kidding yourself if you think that in the unlikly even that happened, said calihate would be at peace with the world and have no interest in expansion. The goal is the entire world. I am not saying that is going to happen or that they are not complete whackjobs for beleiving it, but that is what they want.

  145. Is it bad sport if someone raises the notion…

    Heh, not bad sport; it might be rather S&M like of you, though. Hey, whatever trips your trigger.

    One quibble: didn’t I read that the primary rules in Cali were an advantage to the good Doctor?

  146. “sure john, whatever you say. You’re going to have to have a hard time explaining to me then why suicide bombers’ families get paid. If they’re in it ’cause they’re “BLIND ISLAMIC BORG”, what’s with the cash?”

    Where do suicide bomber’s families get paid outside of the West Bank? Yeah, the Palistinians are poor as hell but that is just one piece of the problem. The bombers in London and Madrid were certainly not poor by any rational standard and their families were never paid. Same for the 9-11 highjackers.

    It comes as a shock to the typical American homoeconomicus, but some people really don’t base their lives around money.

  147. Yes, they want to start by re-establishing a capliphate over the middle east

    Who’s they, John? And why should they be taken seriously enough to invade “their” country?

    I am going to be that the Average Muslim Man’s thoughts on this perverse Manifest Destiny is “who cares? how can I get those sweet American clothes?”

  148. Ali, I definitely think our involvement in “Charlie Wilson’s War” contributed to the current problems we see, particularly in Afghanistan/Pakistan. However, I still think that fundamentally what we are seeing is religious fanatacism run amok caused by Western meddling in the Middle East dating back to WWI. That is why Bin Laden chose September 11 as the date of his attack, because that date commemorated the partition of Dar-Al-Islam by Britain in 1922.

    To you and Ayn_Randian, I totally agree that trade and prosperity may reduce fanatacism. But I think when you are dealing with a fundamentalist religious mindset all the “normal” rules of the game go out the window. Religious fervor trumps EVERYTHING. It is very irrational. How many religious pilgrims from Christian to Buddhist lands have given up all the pleasures of life for a life of religious solitude? You just can’t treat religious fanatacism the same way you treat other forms of rational human behavior. To do so is to make a grave error in judgement.

  149. “One quibble: didn’t I read that the primary rules in Cali were an advantage to the good Doctor?”

    Considering that he isn’t a front runner — any system that isn’t winner take all will be better for him than a system that is winner take all in that he will be more likely to get delegate for the convention.

    So, yes.

  150. “Yes, they want to start by re-establishing a capliphate over the middle east

    Who’s they, John? And why should they be taken seriously enough to invade “their” country?”

    Al Quada is they. And they were only taken seriously after they killed 2800 or so AMericans on 9-11 and yes we did invade their “country” such as it was in AFghanistan. I am not saying that the average Muslim beleives that. But Al Quada and Bin Ladin certainly beleive it.

  151. John, Dar-Al-Islam is not the entire world. The non-Muslim world is referred to as Dar-Al-Harb. There is a belief that lands that have ever been Muslim (even if they are not anymore, like Spain) are part of Dar-Al-Islam, but I think it is incorrect to assume that Muslims are out for world conquest.

  152. Where do suicide bomber’s families get paid outside of the West Bank?

    john, don’t be disingenous and miss the forest for the trees. I used the suicide bomber thing as an example.

    Here in Iraq the enemy gets paid all the ever-loving time for successful attacks; that’s why the freaking videotape them. It’s not for some sick pleasure (although for some, I am sure that is true) it’s because they need the proof to get their money.

    You’ll note, too, that despite the Muslim nature of most Afghanis and the injunction against drugs, the poppies are in full healthy bloom this year in Kabul.

  153. homoeconomicus

    Best neologism ever.

  154. Some Muslims felt Dar-Al-Islam had been violated, and since then between the presence of Israel and the meddling presence of Western nations (primarily US and Britain), Muslim extremist nationalism was awakened.

    I really do disagree. The first terrorist attack done by an Islamic movement is a 1952 bombing of a theater by the Egyptian MB. The MB is the inspiring movement out of which grew a lot of the other terror movements that came later on.

    Before that, those who took up arms against Israel, like the Egyptian “Free Officers Movement, where not religious movements at all. In fact, Nasser, who was a member of the cross-national movement, cracked down on Islamists and Islamic practices in general. Same with the Baathists, the Saudi Royal family, etc. I/P was a minimally religious issue. It was essentially political/ethnic.

    This is also why I totally disagree that Muslim radicals are bent on world conquest. They only want to keep Dar-Al-Islam free of outside influence.

    Yes, and that is what I was alos referring to. This whol Dar-al-Islam/War thing was a matter of theory in books up until the 80s when Afghanistan, the Iranian revolution, Lebanon started exploding out of hand. So what was so peculiar about this era that generated all that? That was my original question.

  155. Ayn,

    All I noticed of those primary rules were in a comment by someone on another H&R thread allusing to some sort of anti-Paul conspiracy (I think). I only remembered enough for my own entertainment 🙂

    Ever wonder why it’s DoD policy to use local national contractors instead of AAFES?

    Well, there is that whole practical matter that hauling over money is easier than hauling over boatloads of civilians while we are hauling over boatloads of DOD folks already.

  156. Every universalist ideology speaks of the “ultimate, someday” conversion of the entire world, John, including liberal democracy, Christianity, and trade unionism. History provides no indication whatsoever that Islam is any more inherently expansionist than any other universalist ideology.

    No doubt, there are some Islamists whose program includes expansionism into non-Muslim areas in the medium term, just as there are some a-holes who celebrated the Iraq War because they would be able to follow the sword with the Bible, conquistadore-style. Nontheless, most people who supported the Iraq War had specific, localized reasons for doing so which had nothing to do with imperialism, and that is doubtlessly true of the vast majority of those who adhere to political Islam.

  157. “Don’t diss Cindy Sheehan,”

    Her stand on the war doesn’t excuse her cozying up to that thug, Chavez. To hell with her.

    -jcr

  158. Ayn_Randian, I think cash payouts may be an incentive for some bombers, but clearly not for all bombers, and I would argue not even for most bombers.

  159. To keep it simple, did anyone notice how F’d most people are?

  160. and, oh by the way, if I was less of a stick-in-the-mud about my oath as an officer, if I wanted porn, booze and hookers, the fastest way to all of that is to go “on the economy”.

    You just can’t treat religious fanatacism the same way you treat other forms of rational human behavior

    weeeeellll…what, do we just kill the fanatics now? I know plenty of fundie Christians who blamed 9/11 on America’s sin, too.

  161. “John, Dar-Al-Islam is not the entire world. The non-Muslim world is referred to as Dar-Al-Harb. There is a belief that lands that have ever been Muslim (even if they are not anymore, like Spain) are part of Dar-Al-Islam, but I think it is incorrect to assume that Muslims are out for world conquest.”

    Yes Duckman so after they had reconquered all of Dar-Al-Islam, that will be it. They will just leave the rest of the world in peace. Are you kidding? Yes the stated goal is to take back the Muslim World and end Western influence over it. But if that were to ever happen, it is difficult to see how such an aggressive and at that point wildly successful movement would just stop and not continue to aggressively expand.

  162. @ Ali,

    Anything coming from the Arabic-language news that we’re not getting?

  163. Well, there is that whole practical matter that hauling over money is easier than hauling over boatloads of civilians while we are hauling over boatloads of DOD folks already.

    Nah, man, I meant in just purchasing stuff. Example: we could’ve ordered the pick-ups we needed from the States and have gotten them here faster by shipment. We still don’t do that, though.

    but clearly not for all bombers, and I would argue not even for most bombers.

    Completely disagree. For suicide bombers that may or may not be true, but for every other attacker? Cash is the main incentive; you better believe it.

    Money talks and bullshit walks.

  164. Ayn_Randian, if you read my previous posts you’ll see that I favor withdrawing from the Mideast as the only reasonable option on the table. Remove their incentives to hate us in particular, and stop wasting money trying to do the impossible (that is, change the Middle East).

  165. Religious fervor trumps EVERYTHING.

    I definitely agree. But by attacking the “religious fervor” with another kind of “fervor” (religious or not) we’ll get nowhere. What needs to be attacked is the cause that is used to ignite that fervor.

    The Muslim man on the street does not care much about a caliphate, etc. He cares about his livelihood and getting by, just like any other man on any other street in the world. John, above, equates the London terrorists with the average man on the street. He forgets that these terrorists are hand picked and are not just your “usual man on the Arab/Muslim street”. These had to have certain qualities (such as fanatical/sadist/disgruntled, whichever you wanna call it) not shared by the average man on the street to carry out there deadly acts. If the “average man on the street” has the same fanatical qualities as John seems to believe, then why aren’t we faced with an army of Islmic fanatics (not only a small % of them, but ALL or MOST of them) marching in war on their governments and on the West? Why?

  166. The point isn’t that terrorists are in it for the money.

    The point is that they come from screwed-up societies, which tend to be wracked by poverty and highly insular and culturally conservative. Trade is a good way to address all of these root causes.

  167. who gives a damn about Dar-Al-Islam? The only way that can happen is if we continue on this insane path of cutting off trade with every single nation that might piss us off.

    Then the people are going to look to the leaders and go “hey, wtf are you going to do about this? I can’t get anything!”

    And then the Soldiers cross borders, because the goods didn’t.

    Bastiat was a wise ol’ bastard.

  168. It may have been a garrison town, but a lone nut who seeks death is tough to stop for anybody.

    This is true.

    …”who cares? how can I get those sweet American clothes?”

    One of the laws the Taliban enforced was against Western style haircuts. IIRC, they were particularly upset about a Leonardo di Caprio “Titanic” style cut which had been very popular.

  169. John, since Muslim expansion is not being sought by any military, I would argue it can’t expand any further. Only nations with large Muslim populations and long histories of Islamic rule will suffer enough unrest from Muslim radicals for them to have any effect.

  170. Ayn,

    Ah, okay, did not know exactly what you were alluding to.

    Others,

    If some of Islam was/is not trying to take over the whole world, how did it get to the gates of Vienna? If your answer is tent revivals then you are incorrect.

  171. favor withdrawing from the Mideast as the only reasonable option on the table. Remove their incentives to hate us in particular, and stop wasting money trying to do the impossible (that is, change the Middle East).

    Almost entirely agree: the last step is to remove the trade barriers.

  172. “Here in Iraq the enemy gets paid all the ever-loving time for successful attacks; that’s why the freaking videotape them. It’s not for some sick pleasure (although for some, I am sure that is true) it’s because they need the proof to get their money.

    You’ll note, too, that despite the Muslim nature of most Afghanis and the injunction against drugs, the poppies are in full healthy bloom this year in Kabul.”

    True. When I was there most of the insurgents we caught were unemployed men who could not provide for their families. Honor is a big thing in that society and not providing for their families is about the most dishonorable thing a man can do. Lack of economic advancement drove a lot of it. But, those guys were not suicide bombers, they were just IED planters. At least in 2003 and 2004, you could get good money for taking a shot at an American. They had no intention of getting killed, they just wanted to make a buck.

    But that is the insurgency in Iraq. I am talking about radical Islamists. I am talking about the people who did 9-11 and Bali. No amount of economic opportunity and going to get them to quit. Even in Iraq, the forgeigners that are there are not there for money. They are there to kill the infidel and die for the jihad. That is the element I am talking about.

  173. I don’t think anyone is suggesting we cut off trade with Muslim nations. I agree, that is a terrible idea. I am merely suggesting that military interventionism isn’t going to solve any problems.

  174. If some of Islam was/is not trying to take over the whole world, how did it get to the gates of Vienna? If your answer is tent revivals then you are incorrect.

    I suppose you could say that paganism made it to the gates of London, too, but I don’t think that religion was Rome’s primary motivation.

    I suppose you could say that the United States made it to the gates of Baghdad, Tokyo, Berlin and Paris, but I don’t think that Christianism (nor empire!) is our primary motivation.

  175. Ali,

    The average Muslim is not and does not want to be a terrorist. That is very true. But it doesn’t take that many disgruntled hand picked people to create a big problem. If even say one in 20 Muslims become radicalized, that would equate to millions of people willing to kill and die for the cause. Even if one in a thousand were willing to do so, that would be more terrorists than you could ever imagine. It doesn’t matter that the average Muslim or even the greatest majority of Muslims are not terrorist. What matters is the sheer numbers and fanaticism of those who are radicalized.

  176. By the time they’re ready to put on the bomb belt, economic opportunity isn’t going to change them.

    But no one is born wearing a bomb belt.

  177. TakTix: The only thing that attracted my attention is that Al-Jazeera says that there was a shooting at a Nawaz Shareef event with 4 dead. Not sure if he was there. But that is just al-jazeera, take it with a grain of salt as you would with cnn of fox 😉

  178. “If some of Islam was/is not trying to take over the whole world, how did it get to the gates of Vienna? If your answer is tent revivals then you are incorrect.”

    They would be very foolish to try. But if they do, we have enough military might to stop them at that time. In the meantime, they don’t have near the military might they would need.

  179. Ali,

    Thanks! I know Al-Jazeera is not the most credible, but I also know that Fox and CNN care more about Britney Spears’ sister than about correctly reporting a story from an Asian/Middle-Eastern country…

  180. It doesn’t matter that the average Muslim or even the greatest majority of Muslims are not terrorist. What matters is the sheer numbers and fanaticism of those who are radicalized.

    Fish need water to swim in. I think your analysis would benefit from breaking down the concept of “radicalized.” You (finally! at last!) acknowledge the difference between Iraqi insurgents and Islamist fanatics, indicating that those insurgents have not been “radicalized.” And yet, before the Anbar shieks switched sides, it was those very same non-“radicalized” Iraqi Sunnis who provided the water for the AQI fish. And they most certainly were not motivated by the global caliphate.

  181. Even in Iraq, the forgeigners that are there are not there for money.

    That just isn’t true. Even AQI videotapes their attacks for money.

    That is the element I am talking about.

    And I’m trying to tell you that said element is very, very small (albiet well financed).

    Look john, the socioeconomic status of the guys we’re catching here isn’t much different than before. Additionally, we’ve got schools in the prisons, and the recidivism rate is figuratively falling through the floor.

    Most of the enemy’s forces consist of no-skill dudes who are at least smart enough to “point rocket tube that way and hit button = get cash money.”

  182. “By the time they’re ready to put on the bomb belt, economic opportunity isn’t going to change them.

    But no one is born wearing a bomb belt.”

    Very true. But it is about a lot more than economics. Saudi Arabia is rich as hell, but wealth doesn’t help when you have no voice in your own society of government and your government raises you to beleive that all of your problems are the result of some nafarious plot between the Jews and the West. People blow themselves up and joint radical movements not because they are poor and can’t eat. If you are too poor to eat, you steal. They join those movements because they feel powerless over their own lives and societies and feel humiliated by that powerlessness. Joining a radical movement gives people a sense of purpose and the chance to exert power over their world. Until you change that dynamic, no amount of economic growth is going to stop it.

  183. joe

    The point is that they come from screwed-up societies, which tend to be wracked by poverty and highly insular and culturally conservative. Trade is a good way to address all of these root causes.

    Mmmmm, yes. AFAIG.

    More important is the exchange of ideas.

    My hopes are pinned more on the internet. While the fanatics will undoubtedly use it for their own ends, I think the access to ideas and dialogue will do more to break the rule of the mullahs and imams in the long run.

    In a way it is strange that a system developed by the military to secure against a nuclear attack might be the most potent weapon of all for democracy. (I think that falls in the “unintended consequences” category.)

  184. And yet, before the Anbar shieks switched sides, it was those very same non-“radicalized” Iraqi Sunnis who provided the water for the AQI fish. And they most certainly were not motivated by the global caliphate.

    Hell no they weren’t (that is, I’m agreeing with joe). Guess who’s more popular at the tribal meetings: the general or the lieutenant/captain with the cash for the latest tribal project?

    Three guesses, john. I’m that kind.

  185. “Most of the enemy’s forces consist of no-skill dudes who are at least smart enough to “point rocket tube that way and hit button = get cash money.”

    I am not denying that. But those guys are not the threat. They didn’t do 9-11 for money did they? If all that is left of radical Islam is a bunch of dudes looking to take pot shots for a few bucks, lets just write them all a check and forget the whole thing. But there is more to it then that and there are a lot of them out there who are not interested in the money. Granted, I have no doubt their leaders are corrupt bastards who don’t beleive half of what they say and are just in it for the power and the presige. You don’t see Bin Ladin out there blowing himself up do you? But, there is more to it than just paying some poor bastard to take a shot at a convoy.

  186. Um, anybody who thinks that bomb planting radicals are spawned from dirt floor homes with donkey powered vehicles parked in the manger has realy missed a bit of history on these movements. That bit would be all of it, actually.

    The SDS were a bunch of well-to-do college students, the 9/11 hijackers were engineers lead by a wealthy engineer, the Manson “Family”, while lead by a song writer of modest background was composed of middle-class/upper middle-class individuals, Yasser Arafat was an engineer and his gang was composed of like-educated folks, the Bader(?) Meinoff gang of Germany was a bunch of well-to-do college students who liked to house ‘palestinian’ terrorists for the Olympics when they were not burning stuff, etc.

  187. John,

    I get all that at 12:34, but economic growth is only one of the benefits of trade. Seeing that there is a world beyond the authority of your local strongman is another.

  188. Saudi Arabia is rich as hell

    Grr…the Royal Family is rich as hell and you know it, john. There’s a difference.

    If you are too poor to eat, you steal

    OR, OR, JOHN!, in a society where theft = the loss of your hand, you have the guy in the robes hook you on up with an IED and a camcorder, you blow some stuff up and you get to eat next week.

    These people aren’t evil, John…I find that very, very few people truly are.

    joint radical movements not because they are poor and can’t eat.

    OK, John, there’s a littel Austrian corporal who, if he were alive today, might disagree with you!

    And now that I have Godwinned the thread, I am out.

  189. That’s a lot of engineers, Guy.

    Maybe they should have studies humanities.

  190. “Hell no they weren’t (that is, I’m agreeing with joe). Guess who’s more popular at the tribal meetings: the general or the lieutenant/captain with the cash for the latest tribal project?”

    It is my understanding about Anbar that AQ did themselves in by being assholes. The Iraqis in Anbar are theives. They have lived for generations stealing and extorting the caravans and trade going into Bahgdad. Hell, Saddam didn’t really control Anbar. The Fallujians publiclly hung a Bathist mayor in the 1990s for screwing with business. They are not radical Muslims and were not going to put up with AQ and their radical Islamic state, no booze, or fun bullshit. The tribes turned on AQ and came to the US and made a deal.

  191. Maybe they should have studies humanities.

    And end up lone gunmen?

  192. “joint radical movements not because they are poor and can’t eat.

    OK, John, there’s a littel Austrian corporal who, if he were alive today, might disagree with you!”

    What the fuck are you talking about? Hitler didn’t take over Germany because it was poor and starving. He certainly didn’t launch agressive wars and try to kill half the human race because his people needed jobs. There is more to life than money. People are motivated by a lot of complex factors. Yes, trade helps but it is not a panacea.

  193. The leadership of all political movements, including those that revolve around the interests of the poorest of the poor, is almost always from an elite. Ergo, pointing out the wealthy or middle-class background of a movement’s leadership tells us nothing about the relationship of that movement to issues of poverty and powerlessness.

  194. John-

    What matters is the sheer numbers and fanaticism of those who are radicalized.

    Yes, I definitely agree with you that a small % will amount to large numbers. But a few points are to be made:

    (1) To fight them, guns and bombs won’t be the best way to fight their movement. Guns and bombs are good only to eliminate terrorists, but won’t eliminate the movement.

    (2) Muslims who do not belong to this small % of Muslims are an asset. They are the ones who can help in fighting the radical movements. Commerce, cultural, exchanges, and not demeaning them would do the West well.

    (3) There is a third comment that I just decided not to include as it would probably take us onto a theoretical tangent. But here is the jist of it: This idea of Islam ruling the world under one caliphate is a big MYTH. Most military adventures committed in the name of Islam (e.g., the siege of Vienna, expansion and practices in India) can not be justified by some (mostly non-radical, mainstream and dominant) interpretations of the scripture. These adventures were executed for might and power and had very little to do with dar-harb/islam stuff. Wars in Islam are primarily defensive in nature. But there is room for preemptive wars to fend off possible attacks. I think these kinds of wars was what sparked the initial phase of Islamic expansion. There was the mentality “if we do not take the fight to them, the Byzantines and the Persians will attack first” you know, nothing unusual about that, no? But with the might the Muslims acquired, they (the Muslims), just like any other empire, started salivating about expansionist imperial prospects. But that is just history and theory.

  195. I’ve gotta agree with John.

    The followers of that Austrian corporal were mainly middle class, especially petit-bourgeois. Physicians had the highest rate of party membership of any profession in the Reich.

    The genuinely poor in Germany in the 30s belonged to the Communists and SDs.

  196. John,

    Nice to see someone else here who equates the inefficency of Socialism (even the National variety) with terrorism and enslavement 🙂

    Now, if Hitler had just been a bit more enterprising, rather than a bad art student, he would have known that one can create wealth without stealing it.

  197. “OR, OR, JOHN!, in a society where theft = the loss of your hand, you have the guy in the robes hook you on up with an IED and a camcorder, you blow some stuff up and you get to eat next week.”

    I guess that is why most of the radicals come from really poor Muslim countries like Chad or Bangledesh as opposed to say Saudi Arabia or Syria. Moreover, if you are so detered by the thought of getting your hand cutoff, why would you not be detered by the thought of being shot?

  198. Hitler didn’t take over Germany because it was poor and starving.

    Uhh, please google “post-WWI Germany” and get back to me on that one.

    Thanks, have a nice day…

  199. Ali,

    You meant “Wars in the Koran,” right? Because most wars in “Islam” are most certainly not defensive in nature, any more than any other religious or cultural group.

    You make a good point – the Kaiser was the head of a state church and often invoked the deity to rally the troops and justify his cause, too.

  200. The Spanish Civil War/Revolution seemed to have the poor represented only by native Spaniards. All of the foreigners seemed to be of decent means (except fo the Stalinists I guess), like E. A. Blair, Hemigway, the Lincoln Brigade, etc.

  201. Ali,

    You are right about the various wars of Islam in the middle ages. Yeah, the Muslims were agressive but so was every one else. That is just how the world worked back then.

    “(2) Muslims who do not belong to this small % of Muslims are an asset. They are the ones who can help in fighting the radical movements. Commerce, cultural, exchanges, and not demeaning them would do the West well.”

    That is exactly right. The people who stand to lose most in a conflict between Muslims and the West are Muslims. Either they will be destroyed with the radicals or the radicals will win and they will be stuck living under them. Radical Islamics are never going to take over America. They might however take over Egypt or Jordan.

  202. Even in Iraq, the forgeigners that are there are not there for money. They are there to kill the infidel and die for the jihad. That is the element I am talking about.

    And that element has always been there, and still is, in every country in the world. And as somebody pointed out, the leaders tend to be disgruntled middle-class citizens.

    But to become truly threatening, a la Al Qaida, these movements require some level of broad, passive support. People who write checks to them. People who will hide their leaders, or lie about their whereabouts. Hell, people who will write articles trumpeting the justice of their cause.

    When the masses are generally prosperous and feel that they have a voice in society (John is right to point out that it’s not just money, it’s also a sense of control), maniacal leaders like Bin Laden tend to have a hard time finding followers, and their movements don’t go very far. Unfortunately for us, the citizens of the Middle East have a lot of legitimate complaints, be they economic, political, or otherwise, and as a result they’re very open to the simple explanation that it’s all our fault.

  203. John-

    Moreover, if you are so detered by the thought of getting your hand cutoff, why would you not be detered by the thought of being shot?

    I am really not sure if you were being sarcastic. But other than KSA, probably pakistan, and former taliban run afghanistan, cutting the hands off thing is very rare (may be somewhere in Yemen they do that). I thin you have some misconceptions on how things really are on the ground in many Muslim countries.

    Hey, I have an idea, visit Dubai, Doha, or Cairo. You may surprise yourself.

  204. Guy Montag | December 27, 2007, 12:53pm | #

    The Spanish Civil War/Revolution seemed to have the poor represented only by native Spaniards. All of the foreigners seemed to be of decent means (except fo the Stalinists I guess), like E. A. Blair, Hemigway, the Lincoln Brigade, etc.

    That is very insightful, Guy.

  205. “Uhh, please google “post-WWI Germany” and get back to me on that one.

    Thanks, have a nice day…”

    That is why the starving masses were all Nazis as oppossed to the middle class as Joe points out. The Nazis never won a majority vote. They took over because of the gun and their willingness to use violence and Germany society’s utter unwillingness to stop them. Germany in the 20s was no worse off than a lot of countries yet it and Italy were the only two to go fascist.

  206. “All of the foreigners seemed to be of decent means (except fo the Stalinists I guess), like E. A. Blair, Hemigway, the Lincoln Brigade, etc.”

    Don’t forget about Richard Blane.

  207. I know plenty of fundie Christians who blamed 9/11 on America’s sin, too.

    Ayn,

    Are they serving with you? Civilians from your hometown?

    Seems kind of bizarre, I’ve never met anyone who thinks that.

  208. “I am really not sure if you were being sarcastic. But other than KSA, probably pakistan, and former taliban run afghanistan, cutting the hands off thing is very rare (may be somewhere in Yemen they do that). I thin you have some misconceptions on how things really are on the ground in many Muslim countries.”

    I know they don’t do that. I was just responding to the point. I realize that Doha or Cairo is not Saudi Arabia.

  209. Bhutto was there at the urging of G.H.W. Bush as the result of clandestine meetings set up by Manuel Noriega. She was allowed there by Musharraf at the behest of G.W. Bush. She was allegedly shot by a blackwater operative working in conjunction with a CIA team of agents.
    This is according to the latest intel chatter intercepts made by Tibetan intelligence agents working out of Delhi.

  210. “This is according to the latest intel chatter intercepts made by Tibetan intelligence agents working out of Delhi.”

    okay. that is totally Escher on so many levels!


  211. That is exactly right. The people who stand to lose most in a conflict between Muslims and the West are Muslims. Either they will be destroyed with the radicals or the radicals will win and they will be stuck living under them. Radical Islamics are never going to take over America. They might however take over Egypt or Jordan.

    I completely agree with the exception of the last statement. That will never happen in Egypt. May be Jordan (but I am very very skeptical because Jordan is mostly a secular society with Islamic values). It is something very possible in Pakistan, though. And that would be dangerous.

    I thought you were going to comment on moderate Muslims not doing enough. I think they are doing much, but quietly (or unnoticed here in the media) and at a pace that is only restricted by that which is feasibly possible.

    But here is something else to be said regarding US involvement in the affairs of Muslim countries. For example, every time the US takes a hands off stance towards Iran, we found the seculars and the moderates in Iran demanding reform and pressing hard on their hard line government. Once the US starts to verbally, diplomatically, and economically attacks Iran, you find that these reformers get quite, roll back and get all defensive about their national sovereignty. Wanting reform does not necessarily equate to loving the US’s policies. Plus they do not want to be seen as being supported by the US. They do not want to be viewed or labeled as the “5th column”.

  212. paranoidandroid,

    Don’t forget the resurgence of the Black Hand.

  213. “Are they serving with you? Civilians from your hometown?

    Seems kind of bizarre, I’ve never met anyone who thinks that.”

    I have never met him but look no further than Pat Robertson

    We have allowed rampant secularism and occult, et cetera, to be broadcast on television. We have permitted somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 to 40 million unborn babies to be slaughtered in our society. We have a Court that has essentially stuck its finger in God’s eye and said, ‘We’re going to legislate you out of the schools, we’re going to take your Commandments from off the courthouse steps in various states, we’re not going to let little children read the Commandments of God, we’re not going to let the Bible be read — no prayer in our schools.’ We have insulted God at the highest levels of our government. And, then we say ‘why does this happen?’ Well, why its happening is that God Almighty is lifting His protection from us.” (in response to the 9/11 attacks) ”

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Pat_Robertson

    The original idiotarian.

  214. Am I the only one who thinks this, while sad and tragic, is really not of great world-historic importance?

    Bhutto had been in power before, so it’s not as if this is squelching some movement in its embryonic stage or its infancy.

    And, ‘to go there’, like the Kennedy’s, isn’t this kind of a family tradition for the Bhutto’s?

  215. What the fuck are you talking about? Hitler didn’t take over Germany because it was poor and starving. He certainly didn’t launch agressive wars and try to kill half the human race because his people needed jobs. There is more to life than money. People are motivated by a lot of complex factors. Yes, trade helps but it is not a panacea.

    Hitler (and his fellow crazies) did what they did because they were crazy. Everybody else in Germany allowed it to happen (at least partly and probably mostly) because the things the NAZIs did resulted in the normal people having food rather than their previous state of not having food. If post WWI Germany was not extremely poor and unstable, the NAZIs would not have gotten power.

    That’s, generally, how those things work. Most people aren’t crazy, but if the crazies are the one’s that are going to get the food (where food can mean anything a people needs) then they are going to get support.

    Maybe your comment applies to western countries, mostly because we have everything we need ten times over. We have the luxury of not having to spend our entire day trying to figure out how we are going to eat. If there was massive fairly extreme poverty here, you can bet that there would be massive extremism.


  216. That is why the starving masses were all Nazis as oppossed
    [sic] to the middle class as Joe points out. The Nazis never won a majority vote. They took over because of the gun and their willingness to use violence and Germany society’s utter unwillingness to stop them. Germany in the 20s was no worse off than a lot of countries yet it and Italy were the only two to go fascist.

    I’m not saying poverty is the cause of power consolidation, but rather a fertile breeding ground for it. Poverty is a fertile breeding ground for positive change as well.

    Rather, I’m trying to make the point that it’s a lot easier to make major political shifts in times of crisis (poverty, disease, threat level orange) than in times of peace. While the poor of Germany were not fully on board with Hitler, they were not motivated to stop what they saw as change from the shitty status quo…

  217. Bhutto was there at the urging of G.H.W. Bush as the result of clandestine meetings set up by Manuel Noriega. She was allowed there by Musharraf at the behest of G.W. Bush. She was allegedly shot by a blackwater operative working in conjunction with a CIA team of agents.
    This is according to the latest intel chatter intercepts made by Tibetan intelligence agents working out of Delhi.

    Of COURSE! It’s all so SIMPLE!

    No, wait, it’s NEEDLESSLY COMPLICATED!

  218. Bhutto was there at the urging of G.H.W. Bush as the result of clandestine meetings set up by Manuel Noriega. She was allowed there by Musharraf at the behest of G.W. Bush. She was allegedly shot by a blackwater operative working in conjunction with a CIA team of agents.
    This is according to the latest intel chatter intercepts made by Tibetan intelligence agents working out of Delhi.

    Many Bothan spies died getting this information…

  219. paranoidandroid | December 27, 2007, 12:59pm | #

    Bhutto was there at the urging of G.H.W. Bush as the result of clandestine meetings set up by Manuel Noriega. She was allowed there by Musharraf at the behest of G.W. Bush. She was allegedly shot by a blackwater operative working in conjunction with a CIA team of agents.
    This is according to the latest intel chatter intercepts made by Tibetan intelligence agents working out of Delhi.

    Blackwater agents were only sent in because Bhutto was going to reveal her part in planting the explosives in the WTC on 9/11.

  220. “Cultures must slowly evolve to become better. They can’t be forced there.”

    A contentious notion and assertion that has no basis in fact. How long was Japan’s history of democracy again?

    Japan had begun liberalizing (on its own!) by 1870.

    Germany’s?

    Germany had liberal institutions for several hundred years before 1945 — Hitler was a severe anomaly. (E.g., Kaiser’s Germany was in ways more democratic than the UK or US.)

    Those first two examples are pretty bad for your case. But even worse, Ayn Randian, is…

    Italy’s?

    Um, about 2500 years?! (From the death of Tarquinius Superbus.) Of course it was interrupted often, but it always revived. Italy saw the first modern revival of republicanism, starting around 1000 and lasting through the 16th century.

  221. “Taktix? | December 27, 2007, 1:22pm”

    11/10 for the win.

  222. Right before 9/11 the leader of the northern alliance was assasinated as part of the grand scheme to screw up the US and nail down the islamowhatever control of Afghanistan.

    Is this isolated or part of a new and improved Pinky and The Brain plot to take over the world (or at least Pakistan without US interference?)

  223. “how in the world do you deal with people who have no qualms about waging anything in war?”

    The US military has just demonstrated this very nicely in Iraq.

    By creating total chaos? Wow, who knew?!

  224. Kohole

    Am I the only one who thinks this, while sad and tragic, is really not of great world-historic importance?

    Bhutto herself was not terribly important.

    OTOH, neither was Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

    IOW, this thing could snowball.

  225. OK, here’s what we’ve got: the Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the saucer people under the supervision of the reverse vampires are forcing the Islamofascists to go to bed early in a fiendish plot to eliminate the threat of Bhutto’s party taking 32% of the Parliamentary voting. We’re through the looking glass here, people…

  226. Arsen,

    Yea, if you thought those oil-for-food folks were pissed off before just wait until this sinks in!

  227. If there was massive fairly extreme poverty here, you can bet that there would be massive extremism.

    Thus FDR.

    *ducks*

  228. Thus FDR.

    And Lincoln (per Dr. Paul)

  229. I apologize, I see that Wonkette posted the same thing, therefore I am mere santorum.

  230. Only nations with large Muslim populations and long histories of Islamic rule will suffer enough unrest from Muslim radicals for them to have any effect.

    I’m not sure the Dutch, the French, or the English would agree.

    Japan had begun liberalizing (on its own!) by 1870.

    I vaguely recall a certain naval task force that had something to do with this.

  231. The big question is: are the riots going to be most like

    a. College Park Maryland after a National Championship Win

    b. Detroit at Halloween

    c. All over the middle east when Newsweek lied and people died

    d. The Arafat funeral

    e. Yale vs. Harvard football game

    f. 1968 Democrat National Convention: Closed Shop Union Cop Dems vs. Marxist College Student Dems

    g. 2000 Democrat National Convention Rage Against the Machine concert

  232. Arsen-
    I thought of Franz, Sophie, and Gavrilo after I posted that.

    One of primary factors for the situation spirally out of control in 1914 was a severe and fatal underestimation of the cost of then modern war, mainly due to the continent being at peace for over a generation.

    Because of stuff like Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the particular case of Pakistan, the ongoing fighting in the Kasmir, I don’t think many in the region or around the world currently have any illusions about the cost of war in a cost/benefit analysis. (Yes, I think Musharref is very rational, it’s just that his first priority is personal survival)

  233. She got her Bhut kicked.

  234. OK, here’s what we’ve got: the Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the saucer people under the supervision of the reverse vampires…

    Thank you.

  235. Kohole

    One of primary factors for the situation spirally out of control in 1914 was a severe and fatal underestimation of the cost of then modern war, mainly due to the continent being at peace for over a generation.

    Yes and no. Yes, they did not understand what then-modern war meant – although virtually every feature of WWI had been prefigured in the American Civil War. No, because they knew the costs and figured that the enemy would give in first.

    There was also still a pervasive notion that war was “glorious”, which I find disturbingly echoed in the extremists call to jihad.

  236. By the time they’re ready to put on the bomb belt, economic opportunity isn’t going to change them.

    I would agree with this, in large part because so few terrorists are economically disadvantaged. Most of them have had economic opportunities, and it hasn’t kept them from being homicidal shitheads.

  237. There was also still a pervasive notion that war was “glorious”

    Good thing trench warfare and mustard gas put a dent in that one…

  238. But Musharraf is not you. You’re rational.

    Umm, being a power-hungry dictator who doesn’t shrink from violence doesn’t make you irrational. Musharraf ducked the beatdown the Taliban took because he rationally sided with the folks with the guns and the (temporary) pass on using them (before they blew it all by attacking a country that posed no imminent threat).

    Not defending Musharraf in the least, but hey, let’s trying sticking to the facts here. Ruthless is not the same as crazy, even if some folks manage to overlap the two.

  239. RC,

    Most terrorists are economically disadvantaged. The 9/11 hijackers are not representative of most terrorists.

  240. God damnit! I thought Bhutto was hot. Hopefully they won’t go after Yulia Tymoshenko too. I’d hate for the hottest female world leader to be Hillary (shiver).

  241. I don’t think that terrorists are ultimately motivated by economic status, as much as they are motivated by humiliation.

    The Irishman was held subordinate to the Englishman, and was humiliated before him – even those Irishmen who were prosperous. So the Irish produced a certain number of terrorists. We think of the terrorist as being a faceless monster, but from his point of view his act is extraordinarily personal – he will force the more powerful party to take notice of him!

    Terrorists tend to come from the upper middle class of a subordinate group, precisely because those individuals have a high economic class status but still feel humiliated by some other marker, usually ethnic identity / race or minority religious status. When an indivudual’s status in society does not match his abilities or capacities, watch out – particularly if the discrepancy can be paired to some historical grievance.

  242. This will occupy Americans’ minds for exactly one day. Then back to the important stuff: did you know there’s an ex-cop who might have murdered three of his wives? It’s true!

  243. Gene Callahan:

    Um, about 2500 years?! (From the death of Tarquinius Superbus.) Of course it was interrupted often, but it always revived. Italy saw the first modern revival of republicanism, starting around 1000 and lasting through the 16th century.

    Tsk tsk. Rome is not the same thing as Italy, and it took until the end of the Social War for the Romans to completely unify all of Italia under their rule in 88 B.C., well after the founding of the Republic. Since the Republic would only last until 30 B.C., you can say that Italy had less than 60 years of Republican governance under Roman rule.

  244. When an indivudual’s status in society does not match his abilities or capacities, watch out – particularly if the discrepancy can be paired to some historical grievance.

    Indeed. To paraphrase clumsily, terrorism is politics by other means. The best way to fight it is to open other channels of political action. I suspect that this is why the US has relatively few home-grown terorrists – it’s easier to give money to the GOP than bomb an abortion clinic.

  245. geezus,

    This sucks.

    Most posts here niggle… the short of it is that this is bad all around for pakistan, the region overall (including afghanistan) and for the US. Whether the woman was a crook or whether this was jihadis or the ISI who did it… it makes little difference. It just sucks.

    The us shares some complicity in how fucked up the place is. Recent piece on our wasted billions propping up Musharraf =

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/24/world/asia/24military.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

  246. Ayn_Randian, please read Scott Atran before you embarrass yourself further. I know that anthropology is a fuzzy science, but it’s far better than Aristotelian musing.

  247. pretty rugged d00d, is he…

    *heads to Stevo’s bunk*

  248. When I was younger, I remember seeing an interview of her when she took the role of Prime Minister. This was during the big flap in the Muslim world over Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses,” and she was asked about the book. If memory serves (and, please, correct me if I’m wrong) she said she’d read it and thought it was a rather humorous book.

    Truly a woman who will be sorely missed.

  249. You all need to see the Ron Paul video now up on HotAir.com of his reaction to the Bhutto murder. It’s unbelievable. This guy gets loonier by the day. No sympathies or caring at all expressed by Dr. Paul. Just more trashing of America’s foreign policy, and talk of isolationism and not intervening in the affairs of other Nations.

  250. MNG,
    “”And I thought dittoheads were bad (actually, they are, but not that bad).

    MNG, for the record I don’t think you are as bad as suicide bombers who take out elected heads of state, or who take out random women and children to get their points across.

    Despite when I may vehemently disagree with you on some of your more socialist tendencies.

    I say this as someone who from time to time when I am back home I wholly enjoy some Rush (when he is not talking about Israel, or abortion, or some other stuff).

    (But for the record, I do believe for the most part that lefties have more in common with Islamists than ditto heads, as far as thinking it is ok to use force to impose your morals on other people)

  251. Also I haven’t read the posts since MNG’s anti Rush listeners comment, so my apologizes for that, and for posting an answer on the wrong thread.

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