Charlie Hebdo Massacre

Ron Paul: The Notion That Charlie Hebdo Was Attacked Over Free Speech Is 'fantasy'

To make room for blowback arguments, some libertarians and progressives are denying that slaughtering a newsroom is a free-speech issue

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“I put blame on bad policy that we don't fully understand, and we don't understand what they're doing because the people who are objecting to the foreign policy that we pursue, they do it from a different perspective,” Paul added. “They see us as attacking them, and killing innocent people, so yes, they, they have—this doesn't justify, so don't put those words in my mouth—it doesn't justify, but it explains it.” |||

Ron Paul has a column out titled "Lessons from Paris," in which he urges readers to consider the Charlie Hebdo massacre as an act of "blowback" against imperial French and American foreign policy, a case he has been making about the attack from the beginning. While it might seem counter-intuitive that repeated assaults on an anti-war, anti-militarist, anti-Bush, anti-torture, anti-Gitmo, pro-Palestinian-statehood, pro-immigration cartoon newspaper from a country that bitterly opposed the Iraq War were caused in part by Franco/American misadventures in the Muslim world, the argument in its best form is that a history of western interventionism has created a larger pool of potential terrorists, and that therefore we should not be surprised when those terrorists bite back. 

The less persuasive form of the argument, as with Ron Paul here and a number of libertarian and progressive commentators this week, seeks to create room for the more abstracted blowback analysis by flatly denying that the direct free-speech explanation has validity. Example:

The mainstream media immediately decided that the shooting was an attack on free speech.  Many in the US preferred this version of "they hate us because we are free," which is the claim that President Bush made after 9/11.  They expressed solidarity with the French and vowed to fight for free speech.  But have these people not noticed that the First Amendment is routinely violated by the US government? President Barack Obama has used the Espionage Act more than all previous administrations combined to silence and imprison whistleblowers.  Where are the protests?  Where are protesters demanding the release of John Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on the CIA use of waterboarding and other torture? The whistleblower went to prison while the torturers will not be prosecuted. No protests.

They prefer to believe the fantasy that they attack us because they hate our freedoms, or that they cannot stand our free speech.

Bolding mine. It is indeed true that President Barack Obama has been lousy on free speech, something we have covered extensively in these pages (along with the Espionage Act, John Kiriakou, and whistleblowers writ large). And it's also true that that lousiness has zero bearing on whether repeated Islamic-fundamentalist attacks on the single most prominent fundamentalist-tweaking newspaper in the Western world can be considered an attack on free speech. Charlie Hebdo editors mocked fundamentalists knowing that they could be attacked for it; they were then sued, firebombed, sued again, fatwa'd, and finally massacred by Muslims who complained specifically about that mockery. Yet it's somehow a "fantasy" to conclude that "they cannot stand our free speech"? That does not pass the giggle test.

Paul is hardly alone in shoving aside the free speech issue to make room for a competing theory. Four more examples after the jump:

Chris Hedges, Truthdig:

The terrorist attack in France that took place at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was not about free speech….It was a harbinger of an emerging dystopia where the wretched of the earth, deprived of resources to survive, devoid of hope, brutally controlled, belittled and mocked by the privileged who live in the splendor and indolence of the industrial West, lash out in nihilistic fury.

Note: The Charlie Hebdo killers were born and raised in France.

Becky Akers, LewRockwell.com:

If you insult a man's mother, repeatedly and aggressively, should you be either surprised or outraged when the guy takes a swing at you? Has the vengeful son violated your "freedom of speech" or "freedom of expression"? Or have you simply suffered the consequences of your boorish behavior?

Likewise, if you publish years' worth of insults against a major religious figure, have the followers of that religion violated your "freedom of speech" or "freedom of expression" when they react to your deliberate provocation? Shouldn't adults, particularly world-weary ones who claim a jaundiced sophistication, understand that victims of relentless mockery and verbal abuse will almost always react?

Naturally, I do not condone murdering journalists and graphic artists. But let us be very clear that these killings have nothing to do with freedom of speech or expression, regardless of how much Our Rulers and France's try to cast them that way. Governments are the only ones who can restrict either freedom[.]

Asghar Bughari, Medium:

This Attack Was Nothing To Do With Free Speech?—?It Was About War

Diane Johnstone, Counterpunch (in a piece republished by the Ron Paul Institute):

Charlie Hebdo was not in reality a model of freedom of speech.  It has ended up, like so much of the "human rights left", defending U.S.-led wars against "dictators".

Note: Johnstone names no such wars. 

Reason on Charlie Hebdo here. I interviewed Ron Paul about foreign policy in our January issue.

NEXT: Obama to propose expanding the computer crime laws (again) [UPDATED]

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  1. I’ll accept the argument that France was wrong to attempt to recolonize Algeria after WWII – If you accept that they were equally wrong to allow mass immigration from North Africa and the Middle East.

    1. OMG, don’t you realize you’ll offend the faithful by implying that mass immigration may not be a good thing??

      1. I love how you and your other mongoloids can’t wait to attack freedom of movement after a mas-murder by a pair of people born in France. I bet you wet your pants at every atrocity or event that can be used to advance your disgusting agenda.

        1. Mongoloids? Why do you hate central Asian people?

        2. Yeah, my “disgusting agenda” of opposing a religion that’s at odds with liberty.

          1. That’s all religions, sort of by definition. Shall we purge every country of everyone? The religion nearest to the throat of my own liberty is Christianity, by a mile. Shall we deport the Christians?

            1. We should deport any group who advocates less freedom for another group. Of course, this means that you and your ilk will be the first to board the ship.

            2. That’s all religions, sort of by definition.

              Kind of, but not really. Just open your eyes and look at majority Christian countries compared to majority Muslim countries from the standpoint of liberty. Notice any general differences?

            3. let us send tony to some place like Syria..Tony is a twit but going to Syria seems over the top.

            4. No the nearest religion that is a threat to you is progressivism, you’re just not bright enough to figure it out

        3. Mass immigration isn’t the problem, it’s the fact that a large amount of them can balkanize into their little towns and societies and cocoon themselves in their own culture. For Islamists, that will facilitate radicalization.

          The United States is WAY ahead of everyone in terms of assimilation, but even here, you can find ethnic towns in which more than half the population probably cannot speak even a decent amount of English. Nor are they really keen on experiencing other cultures.

          Most Muslims are not terrorists, but many of them are sympathetic to terrorists and Sharia law. Antisemitism in France was up before this incident.

          1. Was way ahead. Now, not so much.

        4. The only reaction to a twit like you is hearty laughter. Dipshits like you are a stain on liberty.

    2. There’s a better reason why this wasn’t about “free speech”: constitutional protections for satire are actually quite weak, at least in the United States. New York, for example, has criminalized inappropriately deadpan “Gmail confessions,” without comment from any free speech organization. Because everyone knows know you just can’t do that. You see, it’s called the “everyone knows” rule. If you cross over and do a “parody over the line,” we’ll get you on some charge and make sure you shut the fuck up. We got all kinds of laws we can use to deal with that mockery stuff. See the documentation of America’s leading criminal satire case at:

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/
      So they want to call this free speech? Let’s be real.

      1. P.s. sorry about my typo (“know”).

  2. Oh, Ron.

    If they were striking back at France’s foreign policy, why did they go after a newspaper roundly hated and attacked by that same government?

    I actually think blowback exists and I’m giggling at this.

    1. And where are the Vietnamese terrorists?

      1. Do you really think that our involvement in the war didn’t cause more North Vietnamese to fight or fight harder?

        OK. Sure.

        1. I’m saying that if RP is right and France’s post WWII imperial adventures caused terrorism, the Vietnamese should be in on it.

          1. I didn’t say Ron was right. In fact, I mocked his position.

          2. I’m not saying RP is right in this instance, but the concept of blowback is more complicated than that. You are correct to point out that while the US has meddled in virtually every area of the globe, terrorism is mainly exported only from the middle east. However, blowback doesn’t exclusively come in the form of terrorism, and doesn’t always leave the home region.

            1. Then blowback is completely trivial as an idea. “People are annoyed when their country is bad and their actions in response are unpredictable”… yes. Of course. That is not exactly rocket science. There is, however, a difference in between, say, having a sullen but docile Native American population residing in small reservations across the country, and having fanatics bomb your centers of commerce. That is a significant spread which makes the above statement relatively useless, when reduced to that level of generality.

              1. I’m not sure I’m understanding your comment. So forgive any strawmanning and feel free to correct.

                “People are annoyed when their country is bad and their actions in response are unpredictable”

                For me, at least, annoyed is too mild a word. I am completely sickened that my tax dollars go toward murder droning wedding parties.

                There is, however, a difference in between, say, having a sullen but docile Native American population residing in small reservations across the country, and having fanatics bomb your centers of commerce. That is a significant spread which makes the above statement relatively useless, when reduced to that level of generality.

                I don’t see how it becomes useless. The concept of blowback is simply based on unintended consequences. We all love to point them out in the economic realm, why not in reference to foreign policy adventures?

            2. Blowback is an amorphous evil that can be anything at any time. It’s primary purpose is to justify Noninterventionism, not to describe reality.

              1. Blowback is an amorphous evil that can be anything at any time.

                Actually, blowback, as originally coined by the CIA, has a pretty specific definition. It references covert (to the originating contries citizenry) operations and retaliation to those operations. The originating countries citizenry, not knowing of the operations don’t know what sense to make of it.

                It’s primary purpose is to justify Noninterventionism, not to describe reality.

                If economic manipulation as a fool’s errand is reality, how is foreign manipulation any different?

                1. That may have been the original meaning of blowback, but here it used for anything.

                  If economic manipulation as a fool’s errand is reality, how is foreign manipulation any different?

                  Seriously? FOR REALS? They are completely different. One is economic and pertains to the generation of value and how people make choices to how they generate value. The other is making sure the USSR doesn’t take over Iran. I cannot believe I have to explain this.

                  1. Seriously? FOR REALS?

                    Seriously. For reals. They both involve human action.

                    The other is making sure the USSR doesn’t take over Iran.

                    But that’s the whole question. How can you be sure that the methods and consequences of said methods used to prevent such a thing aren’t worse than the thing?

                    Once again, how is foreign manipulation any better?

                    1. And when I say human action, I mean this isn’t some equation that can be solved with the appropriate calculation. This is something with complex unknowns.

                  2. Your fantasy,I’ll stay out of it. There is stupid and cytostupid, I’ll walk away, your stupid is so stupid that people with a brain view it with disdain. Fuck off.

              2. It would be nice if the people who worked in government were smart enough to anticipate some of this.

        2. I think he’s talking about the FRENCH colonization of Indochina. They were in Vietnam first.

          Vietnam has now embraced PRC style capitalism. They aren’t exporting violent jihadism, but clothes and stuff.

          1. What religion are most Vietnamese? Buddhists? Confucian?

            Asking really.

            1. Anecdotal, but the Vietnamese I knew growing up were Buddhist.

            2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam#Religion

              “…According to an analysis by the Pew Research Center, in 2010 about 45.3% of the Vietnamese adhere to indigenous religions, 16.4% to Buddhism, 8.2% to Christianity, 0.4% to other faiths, and 29.6% of the population isn’t religious…”

        3. Actually no I don’t think our involvement made more northern citizens to join the NVA or to fight harder.

          It *might* initially have caused more volunteers for the VC in the South but given they were just as likely to “burn a villiage to save it” as we were that was likely a wash and by 1969 the VC had been eradicated and new volunteers from the south were basically non existant.

          Basically if we had bombed the shit out of the North’s invasion in 1975 there is a reasonable chance that South Vietnam would be much like South Korea today (not saying it would be, just that it could be)

          1. If we had bombed the shit out of Haiphong in ’65 we wouldn’t have had to bomb anyone in ’75.

            1. Exactly. But we never seem to learn the lesson tht half assed warfare tend to have no assed results.

    2. Yeah, agreed, blowback does exist, but not everything is blowback.

      Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

      1. And the argument is not that the two terrorists “cannot stand our free speech,” but that they considered this particular speech to be blasphemy and worthy of retribution. They didn’t hate Charlie Hebdo for having freedom, but for exercising it to blaspheme.

      2. +1 Magritte

      3. I wonder if Bill Clinton agrees with that.

    3. I used to think I was going to write a supplement to “Radicals for Capitalism” about the internal strife in the libertarian movement in the 60s, 70s and 80s entitled “Cranky Old Jews.”

      But Ron Paul isn’t Jewish.

  3. I respect Dr. Paul. But, he just looks silly on this one. Unless he wants to try to argue that the French are guilty of occupying….Paris, his argument doesn’t really hold up.

    Sometimes the “oppressed other” really are assholes. There’s no need to put the blame on everyone else.

    1. Sometimes a person is discriminated against because they fucking deserve it. Whatever amount of discrimination Muslims in Western countries face, it’s less than they as a culture deserve and less than they discriminate among themselves. Forcibly preventing discrimination against practitioners of undesirable cultural norms amounts to subsidizing the continued existence of undesirable cultural norms.

      1. I wouldn’t want a plethora of Muslims living around me. They don’t seem to treat others well when they outnumber them.

        1. A belief system of domination and positive rights over others tends to lead to that sort of behavior among it’s adherents.

  4. And the argument is not that the two terrorists “cannot stand our free speech,” but that they considered this particular speech to be blasphemy and worthy of retribution.

    If you consider speech to be worthy of retribution, then they “cannot stand our free speech,” is EXACTLY the correct description.

    Are you claiming there are limits to free speech?

    1. They were picking a terror target. The cartoon was a useful excuse.

      1. Re: GregMax,

        They were picking a terror target. The cartoon was a useful excuse.

        Exactly.

        For the propaganda value alone, it was the perfect target. The fact that the whole of Paris is pretty much a gun-free zone made the choice even easier.

        1. And not an inconsequential side benefit is that there are now fewer people willing to blaspheme the prophet or Allah! Kind of like win-win, so long as you don’t count the martyrs who are now vexing 72 virgins with their manhood.

          1. That’s right. And I have no doubt that Muslims will be totally done bitching, and hang up their Kalashnikovs, as soon as they’ve purged the last Mohammed-doodler from the face of the Earth. Because really, you stop drawing Mohammed, these people are done complaining. Finished. They become mere pussycats, the lot of them.

      2. Bingo. These Muslim murderers were just chomping at the bit to go kill some defenseless peopople. Being the usual muslim chickenshits that they are.

      3. Now they know if they want attention, attack journalists (I use the term loosely).

  5. I think we should lash out at Ron Paul.

    All this fear mongering about the Muslim menace has been going full bore for days now, and I don’t know what policies all the fear mongers have been pushing for–but if it wasn’t meant to push support for engaging in stupid-ass wars, then I don’t know what the point was.

    …if all that fear mongering about how 1.49 non-violent Muslims are inherently violent wasn’t intended to push support for a stupid fucking war on Muslims in the Muslim World–for being Muslims–then wasn’t it all a waste!?

    You never want to let a fear mongering crisis* go to waste, and what I mean by that is, it gives you an opportunity to do stupid fucking invasions that you didn’t think you could do otherwise.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yeA_kHHLow

    If Ron Paul understand that and cringes, then he might have made an excellent President, but he’s sure as hell shitty at stupid fearmongering–and anybody who doesn’t see that he’s not fearmongering like he should be is capitulating to the caliphate!

    *ahem

    1. You never want to let a fear mongering crisis* go to waste, and what I mean by that is, it gives you an opportunity to do stupid fucking invasions that you didn’t think you could do otherwise.

      People can’t think these guys are assholes and not think we need to invade the world as a consequence?

      1. Yeah, it’s possible.

        But the pattern has been incredibly clear since 9/11.

        That was President-Elect Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff that made that statement I paraphrased, and Obama himself has used that tactic–albeit unsuccessfully.

        He tried to use it to get us involved in Syria to topple Assad, and, more recently, he tried to use it to muster support for the U.S. getting involved in Nigeria.

        https://reason.com/blog/2014/05…..ok#comment

        Yeah, I see a whole bunch of fear mongering directed at Muslims–with nowhere to go–and I know we’ve got a President, whose former Chief of Staff said you didn’t want to let crises go to waste–and I know he’s used this exact same logic to try to justify similar wars…

        Yeah, the time to pop that bullshit bubble isn’t after Obama decides to use however many cartoonists getting assassinated–as a pretext to get us involved in something “we didn’t think we could do otherwise”. The time to pop the bullshit bubble is right freakin’ now.

        1. The time to pop the bullshit bubble is right freakin’ now.

          Well, I agree. But, I don’t think the means to pop the bullshit bubble is to offer up even more bullshit. And the argument that there’s no link between Islam and extremist violence is transparent bullshit. When faced with an option of believing that or “Them Muslims are a bunch of jihadis who want to take us all over and the only way to stop them is by invading them all and make ’em all like us!”, most people are going to look at the news, see the patterns of terror attacks by Muslims and decide the latter is more believable. Acknowledging there really is a problem is going to make popping the bullshit bubble a lot easier than pretending otherwise.

          1. The real problem is terrorist violence.

            The real problem is not 1.49 billion devout Muslims who do not engage in violence.

            The real problem is terrorist violence.

            The real problem is not our respect for religious beliefs as in the First Amendment, our respect for the right to privacy as in the Fourth Amendment, or the equal protection of the laws as in the 14th Amendment.

            The real problem is terrorist violence.

            The real problem is not that we need to wage a war on Islam.

            1. Here’s the thing, though, Ken. The problem isn’t Amish terrorist violence. Or Unitarian terrorist violence. Or Wiccan terrorist violence. Or even Shinto terrorist violence. It’s Islamic terrorist violence.

              And pretending there’s no connection between that terrorist violence and Islam when its obvious that there is leaves the public believing those opposed to a war against Islam are evading reality.

              And, no, I’m not suggesting the problem is our respect for religious beliefs, or privacy or equal protection. Acknowledging that there is a widespread interpretation of Islam that is okay with terrorist violence allows you to note that there’s a lot more people of the same faith who don’t deserve to be treated the same way as the the bastards who are okay with terrorist violence.

              By not acknowledging that there is a problem with some adherents of Islam, you cede the field to those who argue that there is a problem with all adherents of Islam.

              1. It’s like Second Amendment rights.

                What you’re saying about Islam is what progressives say about guns.

                You say, “Guns don’t kill people; criminals kill people”, but they do it with a gun! How can you keep ignoring that so much of the killing is happening with a gun?

                Now insert “Islam” instead of “guns”.

                You say, “[Islam] doesn’t kill people; [terrorists] kill people”, but they do it [in the name of Islam]” How can you keep ignoring that so much of the killing is happening [in the name of Islam]?

                There IS a big difference between guns and Islam, though. When you talk about what people believe or think as being the ultimate source of the problem, you’re talking about something even more intimate than gun rights. How can what people think be the problem in a free society?

                The problem isn’t what people think. The problem is what people do–whether it’s committing a crime with a gun or committing an act of terrorism. The problem is not freedom (to own a gun or to think); the problem is that some people violate the rights of other people–with violent acts.

                Nobody’s religion or thoughts are the problem–just like nobody’s words are the problem. The problem is criminal violence.

                The problem is not 1.49 billion devout Muslims who are not violent. If people don’t get that because they’re scared, then we should denounce the fear mongers.

                1. How can what people think be the problem in a free society?

                  That’s quite simple. They can think that society shouldn’t be free. They can think any number of things that motivate them to do things that pose problems for others. A free society doesn’t mean that people are automatically angels.

                  The problem is what people do–whether it’s committing a crime with a gun or committing an act of terrorism.

                  Except it’s rational to contend that a belief system may motivate actions (an act of terrorism). It’s a lot less so to contend that an inanimate object might do so. If there were a large number of cases of guns talking people into a life of crime, there might be a more rational parallel.

                  No disrespect, but I think you’re falling for the inverse of the “Do Something!” fallacy. Just as the existence of a problem doesn’t mean we have to do something, the absence of a need to do something doesn’t mean there might not be a problem.

                  1. “They can think that society shouldn’t be free.”

                    I sat in a mosque after 9/11, and I was listening to an Imam from Iraq. It looked like we were going to invade at the time. Somebody got up and asked if it was alright for a Muslim to join the U.S. military–since they were fighting Muslims. The guy was concerned because his son wanted to join.

                    The Imam said that there was no place in the world where Muslims were more free to be Muslims than in the United States, and that the regimes the United States were fighting were enemies of not just Muslims, but good people everywhere. He said that fighting in the American military for the freedom of oppressed Muslims wasn’t just okay–it was a good thing to do.

                    There’s an open question that the Weimar Republic left unanswered about whether it’s alright for a Democracy to vote itself out of existence. I see it as an interesting conundrum–that has nothing to do with Islam in the Untied States. Because everywhere I see Muslims in the U.S., I see proud Americans who are thrilled to be here and thoroughly enjoy American freedom.

                    …especially the women.

                    You should hang out at a Middle-Eastern restaurant in Westwood on a Saturday night some time. Meet a nice girl, and maybe you’ll become a Muslim yourself someday!

                    1. : I didn’t think that non Muslims were allowed in a Mosque. Are you a Muslim ?

                      Muslims amke up about .06% of the US population. As they grow in % of the population their demands as Muslims tend to grow. There are charts on the web that point out how their actions change as their % of the population grows.

                      Many times I have heard people bitching about all these “Mexicans” we have in the US. I point out to them that at least they are Catholic and not Muslims like the European immigration problem.

                    2. No, I’m not a Muslim, and non-Muslims were perfectly welcome in all the mosques I went to.

                      I did have a number of coworkers and friends who are Muslims, and if you’re going to have an informed opinion of Muslims, a trip to your friendly local mosque isn’t just a good place to start. It’s probably a necessity.

                      As far as American Muslims being a “problem”, again, you don’t seem to know what you’re talking about.

                    3. Who are you going to believe, Ken Shultz’s personal anecdotes or your lying eyes?

              2. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard exactly what sect or ‘denomination’ of Islam a terrorist claimed for himself. It would be interesting to know what the distribution looked like. Are all terrorists Sunni, for example? (I know they’re not.)

            2. If there’s anything that decades of Islamic terror attacks has taught Ken Shultz, it’s that Islam has nothing to do with Islamists, Islamic terrorists and Islamic extremists. Even though vast proportions of the Muslim population support them, nonetheless there is no link whatsoever. It’s just random violence from random people, no patterns or associations can be made. The End.

            3. Islam needs to be contained. They do not tolerate non-Muslims when they outnumber them. And Islam is spreading.

              They need to be contaimed, away from the rest of us. The U.S. should definitely only allow Muslims to immigrate here if they are of high value. Europe let lots of them in and look how that is working out.

      2. For Ken there is no alternative. If you disagree with the “extremists are just a tiny minority” narrative, or any narrative that masks ideological violence as though it were random violence, then you are a bushpig saber rattler who must atone for the Iraq War.

        1. The Bolsheviks were a small percentage of the Russian population yet they took over the entire country, all of Eastern Europe and caused all sorts of problems in many other parts of the planet. So the fact that violent jihadis are a small percentage of a very large number isn’t very soothing.

          1. The Bolsheviks really came into their own once their bloodlust came to be recognized as legitimate for the furtherance of the supposedly righteous cause of communism. I dare say that violent jihadis enjoy far more support among the general population of Muslims than the Bolsheviks did within Russia.

            Let’s have some perspective;

            61% of Egyptians support attacks against Americans
            32% of Indonesians approve of attacks on Americans
            41% of Pakistanis approve of attacks on Americans
            38% of Moroccans approve of attacks on Americans
            83% of Palestinians approve of some or most groups that attack Americans (only 14% oppose)
            62% of Jordanians approve of some or most groups that attack Americans (21% oppose)
            42% of Turks approve of some or most groups that attack Americans (45% oppose)
            A minority of Muslims disagreed entirely with terror attacks on Americans:
            (Egypt 34%; Indonesia 45%; Pakistan 33%)
            About half of those opposed to attacking Americans were sympathetic with al-Qaeda’s attitude toward the U.S.
            http://www.worldpublicopinion……09_rpt.pdf

            Only 57% of Muslims worldwide disapprove of al-Qaeda. Only 51% disapprove of the Taliban. 13% support both groups and 1 in 4 refuse to say.
            http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/…..st-groups/

            1. A small group of true believers willing to commit violence can impose their will on the large majority who isn’t as committed or violent. The fact that the true believers have those levels of support all across the Muslim world (even if those supporters don’t pick up a gun) should cause real concern. It’s not fear mongering, it’s pointing out a really troubling reality.

    2. Islam and its stance regarding war and politics has social, political, and religious implications which go far beyond the sole issue of foreign policy. In point of fact, many of the individuals who have been characterized as “anti-Islam” opposed the Iraq War (Robert Spencer, for example). The truth value of the statement “Islam is in favor of violent spread of its precepts” and “Islam is in favor of believers holding political dominance and preference over non-believers” is very important for aspects of life and policy far beyond simply foreign policy — and they are legitimate categories of inquiry.

      When I said on another thread that secularism is far less intelligent a religion than Christianity or atheism, this is exactly the sort of thinking I was deriding.

  6. I can’t tell if this is one of those times where Uncle Ron attempts to make a nuanced argument and comes off like a nut, or if Lewis Ellen Rockwell has been gnawing at his mind.

    Paul is trying to shoehorn blowback because the French have been FedGov’s allies in the War on Terrah. As proof, he insinuates the Free Syria Army/ISIS connection, using a fact to make a dubious inferential argument. But by Ron’s own statement, America is the country largely responsible for training and arming these plucky Syria terrorists, I mean, REBELS against Assad, and therefore would be the preferred target if that were the shooters motivation.

    Ron also attempts to rope France into responsibility for the creation of the mujahedeen, which like the FSA/ISIS, was a US/Saudi project, not a French one, and yet, no shooters in Riyadh or D.C.

    The simpler and likely correct answer, drawing the fewest inferences, is that these shooters were funded and sent on this crime spree by some Wahabbist cleric who responded to Charlie Hebdo’s leftist “taunting-as-argumentation” cartoons as the uncivilized typically do: “MUH HONOR! DERKA DERKA JIHAD!”

    1. Do you believe Benghazi was a popular reaction to a YouTube video, or do you think it might have been a terrorist attack?

      Terrorists may not get their objectives across clearly at times, but I believe they do have objectives. Some of them may be rational, and some of their objectives may conflict with or complement others.

      For instance, I think one of the objectives of 9/11 was to help drive U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia. Was that the only objective of 9/11?

      No.

      Was it one of the objectives?

      Yes.

      France has been bombing ISIS, has it not? The terrorists who committed the Charlie Hebdo murders have claimed affiliation with ISIS, have they not?

      If all that is so, then why, pray tell, would it be unreasonable to suggest that ISIS striking at France might have had something to do with France attacking ISIS?

      Certainly, just because it’s running on a different track than the ‘Muslims have no sense of humor’ narrative doesn’t mean it can’t be so.

      1. ISIS got into a time machine and had Theo van Gogh murdered as well.

        1. I’d ask someone else in the thread to interpret that, but “Free Society” is such a pathetic fear-mongering concern troll, that I really don’t care.

          1. Do you believe Benghazi was a popular reaction to a YouTube video, or do you think it might have been a terrorist attack?

            Yes.

            France has been bombing ISIS, has it not?

            Yes.

            The terrorists who committed the Charlie Hebdo murders have claimed affiliation with ISIS, have they not?

            Yes.

            If all that is so, then why, pray tell, would it be unreasonable to suggest that ISIS striking at France might have had something to do with France attacking ISIS?

            Because it assumes that the Charlie Hebdo shooters were being directed by ISIS, which isn’t proven yet. As a matter of military strategy, it’s asinine; killing a bunch of cartoonists and Jewish deli owners will in no way convince the military or government to cease any attacks they might make, especially when those governments view their citizens as resources to be allotted and/or disposed of. As a counter, I would ask, if there was no ISIS/FSA, would these shootings have been as likely, more likely, or less likely, to have happened?

            Certainly, just because it’s running on a different track than the ‘Muslims have no sense of humor’ narrative doesn’t mean it can’t be so.

            It may very well be so. Based on what facts I’ve seen, I don’t think “blowback” is the best explanation.

            1. Re: Anonymous Coward,

              Because it assumes that the Charlie Hebdo shooters were being directed by ISIS, which isn’t proven yet.

              Is the ISIS angle the only one to consider? What about French intervention in Mali, yet ANOTHER Muslim country?

              Is it too hard to imagine that this attack on the magazine and the kosher deli was perpetrated for other and more transcendental political motives besides shutting up a few pornographers who routinely insult the prophet?

              1. What about French intervention in Mali, yet ANOTHER Muslim country?

                Then I would have to ask to what intervention do you refer? The most recent intervention, which was done at the behest of the Malian government and included forces contributed from Belgium, Denmark, Spain, and yes, the United Arab Emirates. I would ask where their blowback is.

                Is it too hard to imagine that this attack on the magazine and the kosher deli was perpetrated for other and more transcendental political motives besides shutting up a few pornographers who routinely insult the prophet?

                That which is conceivable and that which is likely, are not the same. To simply say “blowback” assumes motives on the part of the shooters of which there is scant proof. Finally, if the purpose of this “blowback” operation was to punish the French or teach them not to mess with ISIS/ISIL/IS/FSA/ROFLMAYO, then the message was lost, as the French defense minister just said that he was pushing to ramp up French attacks on ISIS.

            2. “As a matter of military strategy, it’s asinine; killing a bunch of cartoonists and Jewish deli owners will in no way convince the military or government to cease any attacks they might make, especially when those governments view their citizens as resources to be allotted and/or disposed of.”

              Do you imagine Osama bin Laden thought that would lose so much because of 9/11, or that destroying the World Trade Center was a rational military target?

              The terrorist hit targets for their own reasons–mostly because they want spectacles that will dominate the Western media, scare the shit out of everybody, and take it out on Muslims.

              This is one of the reasons the fear-mongers disgust me so–they’re doing the terrorists’ dirty-work for them. So, yeah, Charlie Hebdo is exactly the kind of target I’d expect them to hit.

              The practical side after that is another matter. They often seem to misjudge what Western reactions to these things will be. I think, for instance, they thought we would withdraw from Saudi Arabia rather than invade Afghanistan. I think Osama bin Laden thought we were the proverbial “paper tiger” and would shy away.

              1. I’ve always imagined there must have been a conversation between Sheik Omar, the leader of the Taliban when they were in control of Afghanistan before 9/11, and Osama bin Laden that went something like:

                Sheik Omar: “Got any more bright ideas, Asswipe?”

                Osama bin Laden: “What do you mean? Everything is going according to plan.”

                Sheik Omar: “I must have missed the planning meeting where we decided that I would lose control of my country as part of the plan!”

                1. You should be a sketch writer, Ken. You are hilarious.

              2. Do you imagine Osama bin Laden thought that would lose so much because of 9/11, or that destroying the World Trade Center was a rational military target?

                To answer the first part would be speculation, but since he was on dialysis since before 9/11, he likely was unconcerned about personal costs since he was living on borrowed time anyway. As to the second part, yes.

                Bin Laden’s stated goal behind the 9/11 attack was to economically and militarily destabilize the U.S., make it impossible for the government to maintain military presence in the Muslim world, etc. Did purpose of the plan make sense? Yes. All militaries require two things: money and food. Unfed and unpaid soldiers don’t fight or occupy for long.

                This is one of the reasons the fear-mongers disgust me so–they’re doing the terrorists’ dirty-work for them. So, yeah, Charlie Hebdo is exactly the kind of target I’d expect them to hit.

                I agree, but for different reasons. Islamists tend to be prickly about their “honor”, both personally and collectively. We have stories in America about fathers killing daughters for offending their precious honor by going out on dates. Similarly, when Muhammad, the greatest of all Muslims, is insulted, some of them take it personally, to the point of murder.

                1. Re: Anonymous Coward,

                  Then I would have to ask to what intervention do you refer?

                  This one intervention:
                  http://rt.com/news/mali-french…..flict-605/

                  I would ask where their blowback is.

                  The terrorists took their time.

                  1. Oh good. For a second there, I was worried we were about to have an argument about how the “wages of sin are deathcolonialism are terrorism.”

                2. Bin Laden’s stated goal behind the 9/11 attack was to economically and militarily destabilize the U.S., make it impossible for the government to maintain military presence in the Muslim world, etc.

                  It also incorporated a long goal of economic and military attrition by getting the U.S. government to send the military in every time al Qaeda announced its presence. He figured the costs would eventually bankrupt us as we went chasing ghosts and fighting largely meaningless battles.

                  Bin Laden’s strategy was quite rational, and the Twin Towers were an ideal target for him to implement it…large visible structures, lots of potential casualties, he hit the target at the beginning of the workday when lots of traffic would be around and there’d be a large media presence. It’s exactly what he was aiming for. And let’s not forget that he also hit the Pentagon and planned to hit the White House (if the passengers hadn’t brought down the plane in Pennsylvania).

                  The attack on Charlie Hebdo, on the other hand, is indistinguishable from any number of revenge attacks on civilians that Muslim radicals carry out whenever they feel someone insults their religion. It’s a poor target to make a statement about blowback, but an excellent target to make a statement about how they’ll kill people who offend their idiotic belief system.

                3. Do you imagine Osama bin Laden thought that would lose so much because of 9/11, or that destroying the World Trade Center was a rational military target?

                  Sure…as were the Pentagon and the White House. The *other* targets bin Laden hit/planned to hit on 9/11.

                  I generally find value in your arguments, Ken, whether I agree with them or not, but this one is poorly considered.

                  1. “Sure…as were the Pentagon and the White House. The *other* targets bin Laden hit/planned to hit on 9/11.

                    I was responding to the suggestion that cartoonists and deli owners don’t make sense as a military target to terrorists:

                    “As a matter of military strategy, it’s asinine; killing a bunch of cartoonists and Jewish deli owners will in no way convince the military or government to cease any attacks they might make, especially when those governments view their citizens as resources to be allotted and/or disposed of.”

                    The point I was trying to make was that they make as much sense as a military target as the World Trade Center.

                    In other words, I wasn’t trying to say that the WTC wasn’t a military target; I was trying to say that from the terrorists’ perspective, it makes perfect sense as a military target–if their goal is to try to break American resolve to, for instance, keep our troops stationed in Saudi Arabia.

                    They may have been doing the same thing since France has bombed (is bombing?) ISIS.

                    I mean, the terrorists’ logic doesn’t make moral sense–it makes strategic sense. …even if their strategy is wrong, miscalculated, deeply flawed, immoral, etc.

                    1. I was responding to the suggestion that cartoonists and deli owners don’t make sense as a military target to terrorists

                      They don’t. Blowing up skyscrapers concurrently with attacking the White House and Pentagon to kill thousands of people and key leaders makes sense as a military strategy. Attacking a satirical French newspaper does not…particularly, as Anon noted, with such scant evidence that this was their goal.

                      Sometimes things are as simple as they seem. The newspaper offended their “honor”…they attacked the newspaper. You see the same kind of thing happen with honor killings in the States, which don’t have much to do with foreign policy.

              3. I think Osama bin Laden thought we were the proverbial “paper tiger” and would shy away.

                Just bad timing.

          2. I’d ask someone else in the thread to interpret that, but “Free Society” is such a pathetic fear-mongering concern troll, that I really don’t care.

            Solid argument as usual, Ken.

            1. KS is a sophist twat.

              1. He is the quintessential sophist.

              2. Coming from you guys, I’ll take “sophist” to mean “articulate”.

                Thanks for the compliment!

                1. Coming from you guys, I’ll take “sophist” to mean “articulate”.

                  Coming you from you, self delusion is hardly surprising.

      2. “If all that is so, then why, pray tell, would it be unreasonable to suggest that ISIS striking at France might have had something to do with France attacking ISIS?”

        Because they didn’t strike “at France”, they struck at a bunch of cartoonists.

        If they wanted to strike at France for attacking ISIS, a more appropriate target would be people in the French armed services or in the government. Or just a bomb in a supermarket to attack “France” generally.

        What a strange and happy coincidence that the “attack on France” just happened to hit blasphemers against the Prophet! Allah be praised!

        1. “Because they didn’t strike “at France”, they struck at a bunch of cartoonists.”

          By that definition of terrorism, 9/11 wasn’t an attack on the United States; it was an attack on, mostly, financial services firms.

          Terrorists often pick civilian targets. Prior to 9/11, the universal definition of “terrorism” pretty much necessitated that the target must be civilian.

          I.e., the fact that Charlie Hebdo was a civilian target is not a reason why it couldn’t have been a terrorist attack.

          I don’t know what else to say.

      3. ITT, Ken Schultz doesn’t undestand what ‘burden of proof is’. Sure Ken, maybe it was the blowback bogeyman. That’s why the terrorists attacked a non-military target for non-military reasons.

        1. I’m not sure it was for non-military reasons–exactly. They may have attacked France because they want the French public to oppose France’s participation in the bombing campaign against ISIS.

          Incidentally, we’re talking about Ron Paul’s statement, here, right? Well, here’s what I actually wrote:

          “Certainly, just because it’s running on a different track than the ‘Muslims have no sense of humor’ narrative doesn’t mean it can’t be so.”

          Why is it so important for you to believe that the ‘Muslims have no sense of humor narrative’ is the only explanation it could be. Is this another aspect of your “blame American first” persecution complex?

          1. ITT, Ken Sophist and Ron Paul attack strawmen and still do not understand what ‘burden of proof’ is.

          2. It doesn’t really make sense though–if they wanted to get France to stop fighting ISIS, then attacking unarmed civilians seems like the wrong way to go. Usually that sort of thing makes people rally around the flag.

            1. If there’s anything that Muslim terrorists (of various stripes) are consistently good at, it’s being wrong about how we in the West will interpret things and what our responses will be.

              When they show us pictures of Palestinian babies dressed up as suicide bombers, some of them anticipate sympathy–look, those people are so desperate, they’re even willing to sacrifice their own children!

              Our reaction was more like–look, those people are so sick, the mothers are preparing their own babies to commit suicide! They’re acting like insects; should they be exterminated?

              As I wrote before, I believe they badly miscalculated our reaction to 9/11. Certainly, Sheik Omar was in much better shape when in clear control of 80% of the country–without having to contend with the U.S.

              1. The defiant reaction of a people to civilian deaths seems to be especially counter-intuitive to those who assume the outcome of a conflict is a foregone conclusion.

                Hitler bombed the British anticipating that it would break their resolve. If anything, it stiffened them up.

                But we broke the resolve of the Axis powers with even more intensive bombing in places like Hamburg, Tokyo, Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. The graph of the reaction of people’s resolve to civilian casualties is probably like an “uncanny valley” sort of thing. Apparently, you have to do a lot more than 9/11 or London during the Blitz to break a people’s resolve. And if you don’t do enough, it just fortifies their resolve.

                Again, from the perspective of those who think the outcome is a forgone conclusion, when their attacks fortify civilian resolve, I think it often comes to them as a surprise. And, anyway, who’s to say that terrorists always behave rationally or don’t make strategic mistakes?

                1. “The graph of the reaction of people’s resolve to civilian casualties is probably like an “uncanny valley” sort of thing.”

                  An inverted valley. More like an uncanny mountain.

                  The more civilians you kill, the greater their resolve seems to get–right up until it starts declining. But, wow, if you gotta drop atomic bombs on people before they hit that inflection point, who wants to do that?

                  Almost as many people died in the firebombing of Dresden as died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

                  That inflection point has gotta be somewhere between however many civilians died in Vietnam (where their resolve didn’t break) and Nagasaki and Hiroshima (where the resolve finally broke).

                  People who say Islam is the problem should try to get their heads around what that might mean about the solution.

                  1. People who say Islam is the problem presumably know that the first step to solving anything is to acknowledge it for what it is. I don’t owe you a foreign policy agenda to say that Islam has very real problems. It’s problems are reflected in the behaviors of those who use it as a moral philosophy to govern their interactions with others, including who they support politically, spiritually, intellectually or otherwise.

                    1. The people who say that Islam is the problem are the same people who dumb down every complex issue to simple collective responsibility over groups they don’t understand.

                      There are an awful lot of Shi’a and Sufis who would be rightly offended by claim that they’re responsible for something radical Sunnis do because of their particular sect’s belief system. Just like I (growing up Presbyterian) wouldn’t think much of some asshole saying that I’m no different than some dipshit evangelical who beat up the Sikh clerk at the 7/11 because I was pissed off about Afghanistan.

                    2. “…because *he* was pissed off about Afghanistan.”

                    3. “People who say Islam is the problem presumably know that the first step to solving anything is to acknowledge it for what it is.”

                      What’s your second step?

                      And while we’re at it, what’s the third step?

                      If Islam is the problem, besides “acknowledging it for what it is”, whatever that means, what is your solution to other people’s religion?

                    4. ” what is your solution to other people’s religion?”

                      Islam is more than just a religion compared to Christianity or Buddism, etc. etc.

                      Islam is also a political system ala communism.

                      It’s *two* *two* systems in one. (old Doublemint gum commercial tag line)

                    5. So what?

                      What difference does that make?

                      If other people’s religion really is the problem, then you’re proposing to do what, exactly, about the problem?

                      Your empty fear-mongering is just that–if you’re not proposing anything specific. Are we just supposed to be scared of this religion and its adherents? Or are you proposing that we do something about it?

                      If so, what are you proposing?

                      Are you going to start stripping Americans of their citizenship if they’re Muslims?

                      Are you going to start deporting people based on their religion?

                      Are you going to keep invading foreign countries until 1.5 billion Muslims convert to some other religion?

                      What are you proposing?

                      Or are you just broadcasting fear wholesale like the terrorists told you to?

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  8. What did the terrorists say it was about? Why is anybody trying to assign a reason when they flat out stated it was for vengeance for insulting their prophet? Call it an attack on free speech or blowback, whatever you want. The point is that these people killed other human beings over words. Dress them in religion or oppression or anything, it doesn’t matter. They wanted to do it. It’s happened before, it will happen again and no one population has a monopoly on it.

    1. Re: ttwagneriii,

      What did the terrorists say it was about? Why is anybody trying to assign a reason when they flat out stated it was for vengeance for insulting their prophet?

      That was the reason they chose that target but it was also reported that the two al-Qaeda-trained brothers were seeking revenge for the death of Anwar Al-Awlaki.

      The point is that these people killed other human beings over words.

      Of course, but that does not mean they are unique in that regard. Hate-speech codes and laws should serve as examples of how governments hates our freedoms, too, and are much more effective in curtailing our right to free speech than anything these maniacs in the Islamic world can fathom.

  9. Yet it’s somehow a “fantasy” to conclude that “they cannot stand our free speech”? That does not pass the giggle test.

    I am sure you think it is easier to believe the bromide than it is to believe that the terrorists attacked the magazine staff because it was a highly visible target with the necessary propaganda value.

    Also, you conveniently cut out that last quote from Paul’s piece from the paragraph which was making this point:

    Beginning with Afghanistan in the 1980s, the US and its allies have deliberately radicalized Muslim fighters in the hopes they would strictly fight those they are told to fight. We learned on 9/11 that sometimes they come back to fight us. The French learned the same thing last week. Will they make better decisions knowing the blowback from such risky foreign policy? It is unlikely because they refuse to consider blowback. They [meaning, the US and its allies] prefer to believe the fantasy that they attack us because they hate our freedoms, or that they cannot stand our free speech.

    That sounds completely different once it is placed in its proper context than what you pretend to say it says.

    1. While I don’t disagree with the premise of blowback at all, I think in this instance it would be giving these terrorists more credit for rationality than they deserve. It’s not particularly unbelievable that a Muslim would murder someone for insulting his religious beliefs, it happens with some frequency. Similarly I don’t think the murder of Theo van Gogh was driven by foreign policy considerations, to say the least.

      1. Re: Free Society,

        While I don’t disagree with the premise of blowback at all, I think in this instance it would be giving these terrorists more credit for rationality than they deserve.

        Don’t underestimate your enemy.

        It’s not particularly unbelievable that a Muslim would murder someone for insulting his religious beliefs

        Yes, but this is no random attack against someone who insulted the prophet Mohammad. This was a well-coordinated attack on two targets of high visibility. When it comes to terrorism, the tactic, the message is as important as the severity of the attack itself. It was clear from the outset that the terrorists chose their targets for the propaganda value that they convey: a well-known magazine that publishes filthy pictures, and a kosher deli.

        Thus this wasn’t a spur of the moment event by a crazy person. There WAS a rational thought process behind it.

        1. Don’t underestimate your enemy.

          It’s not underestimating them to observe a cultural predilection towards losing self control over disagreement on religious matters.

          Thus this wasn’t a spur of the moment event by a crazy person. There WAS a rational thought process behind it.

          I never said it was spur of the moment or uncoordinated. But no, their actions were thoroughly irrational. No I don’t mean irrational like they couldn’t figure out how to turn the door knob to leave their apartment that morning. I mean irrational like a man in the sky needs you to shoot some non-violent people in the face because they’re vocal about not believing what you believe. The fact that the attack was of high visibility adds absolutely no credibility, it merely means they wanted to be seen to be doing what they did.

          1. Re: Free Society,

            It’s not underestimating them to observe a cultural predilection towards losing self control over disagreement on religious matters.

            You’re already assuming that that was the case. You’re not willing to accept a rational thought process behind their actions. I am not saying that you should agree with their justifications, only that you do not dismiss their intelligence.

            I mean irrational like a man in the sky needs you to shoot some non-violent people in the face because they’re vocal about not believing what you believe.

            Was that the only motivation? Can’t you at least entertain the possibility that this attack had clear political motives along with taking care of a religious motive?

            1. You’re not willing to accept a rational thought process behind their actions.

              Supernatural beliefs are by definition, not rational. Taking violent action in the pursuit of irrational beliefs, is not rational. I don’t think it’s much of leap to call these guys irrational, like one would for any religious fundamentalist, let alone ones that are murdering people and set them selves up to die as martyrs.

              I am not saying that you should agree with their justifications, only that you do not dismiss their intelligence.

              I don’t dismiss their intelligence. Some of the bomb-maker jihadis are among the most intelligent people you meet. Sadly, one can be both profoundly intelligent and profoundly irrational. The terms speak to different mental processes.

              Was that the only motivation?

              Even if that was a peripheral motivation, it renders the actors irrational.

              Can’t you at least entertain the possibility that this attack had clear political motives along with taking care of a religious motive?

              I sure can. The Westboro Baptist Church has political motives when protesting soldiers’ funerals I have no doubt, it doesn’t lend so much as a cunt hair’s width of rational insight their perceived motives.

              Politics are tertiary concerns for jihadis.

            2. OM, I think that is part of the problem. Fundamentalist Islam is not just a theological movement but a political one. There is absolutely no provision for “separation of church and state” in fundamentalist Islam. Adherence to the faith and creation of a political structure are inextricably linked.

  10. If it was about “free speech,” why wouldn’t the attackers have targeted the French Government, judges, or whomever else decided that Charlie Hebdo ought not have the right to publish such disparaging pictures/comments. The issue of “free speech” is a red herring; such a freedom may only be infringed upon by someone with a monopoly on coercion. No one is asserting that threats & actions of physical violence by private non-monopolistic actors is justified and it is silly to say that such threats infringe on a “freedom of speech” in particular. They infringe on your right not to be threatened or harmed by private actors.

    The scope of French law enforcement and personal protection should be under consideration (trading privacy & liberty for a panopticon & pre-punishment ), rather than some abstract discussion of the freedom of speech.

    The attack was only tangentially related to free speech, in that the magazine was legally entitled to make the speech that was the but-for cause of the attack. (Not proximate cause, the attackers are still morally, ethically, and in all senses deserving of blame, but that is not to say that the speech had no effect in “causing” the attack in the literal sense.)

    1. WTF? What a bunch of psychobabble.

  11. Ron Paul has proven he is an idiot, unfit for leadership.

  12. Ron Paul has often raised good points on foreign policy, but this isn’t one of them.

    If it was extremists targeting a random civilian location to inflict maximum casualties, then it would be a strike against imperialism/interventionism/whatever. They went after a specific target that has been critical of Islam…it was very clearly an attack on free speech, and to claim otherwise is simply ignoring the obvious.

    It’s simple confirmation bias by Paul…he *wants* the attack to be about blowback, because it fits his narrative, so he’s emphasizing the facets of the story that fit his conclusion while downplaying those that contradict it.

    1. Well I think he’s right in a round-about sort of way. ISIS & friends are mad at the west for colonial & postcolonial activities, but I think it’s clear they chose Charlie Hebdo for their “blasphemy against the prophet”.

      So it seems like a tooly time for Ron to be making his argument.

    2. Is he getting worse as he gets older?

  13. What absolute garbage. I hope Rand has more sense than his father. The attackers even said they were avenging the prophet, which implies they were incensed by the drawings. Ron Paul sounds like the goofy lefties that blame America for everything.

  14. I think the good doctor’s wrong in this case. Had the attackers gone after soldiers or cops, then it’s plausible to call it blowback, but this was an attack against cartoonists who had been attacked before in an attempt to shut them up.

    -jc

    1. Re: John C. Randolph,

      I think the good doctor’s wrong in this case. Had the attackers gone after soldiers or cops, then it’s plausible to call it blowback

      So the attack on September 11th, 2001 couldn’t have been due to blowback either, because the targets were two buildings instead of soldiers or cops.

      What was your argument, again?

      1. So the attack on September 11th, 2001 couldn’t have been due to blowback either, because the targets were two buildings instead of soldiers or cops.

        The WTC was an internationally-recognized symbol of American power, more powerful than any American military base. The office of Charlie Hebdo cannot be described as a symbol of French power in the slightest.

        1. Re: bassjoe,

          The WTC was an internationally-recognized symbol of American power[…] The office of Charlie Hebdo cannot be described as a symbol of French power in the slightest.

          So one is blowback because, in your very subjective judgment, represented “American Power” but the other attack cannot be due to blowback because Charlie Hebdo is not the same thing. Again, according to your very subjective judgment.

          Maybe these new terrorists didn’t want to learn to fly airplanes. Have you considered less question-begging arguments than the above?

          1. “Subjective” being OM’s way of saying “absolutely true I just don’t want to admit it. Cue hair-splitting tedium.”

        2. While I am not supportive of this discussion the 9//11 terrorists did also aim for the Pentagon and White House.

  15. If you want to call it blowback, so what?

    The past cannot be changed and that concept tells us nothing about the correctness of the policy that the terrorists are supposedly attacking for. Blowback is utterly useless as a guide to anything except cowering in fear.

    1. Re: Mickey Rat,

      Blowback is utterly useless as a guide to anything except cowering in fear.

      I can imagine at least ONE dumb burglar saying to the other burglars “What do you worry about people defending their homes with guns for? That is just cowering in fear!”

      Maybe the lesson is that you should not burglarize other people’s homes, dude.

      Same with blowback: STOP BOMBING Muslim countries.

      1. and STOP propping up corrupt strongmen.

        This is not fear, it’s common sense.

        After that, I don’t give a ratsass what they do to each other in Afghanistan (or wherever), but if they cause trouble here they should be clobbered, very hard.

      2. First off, what was done to Charlie Hebdo was in no way analagous to person defending his home against burglars. Second, it presumes that all actipns taken against Muslim nations were against peacable nations minding their own business and there was no casus belli against them. Also, there is nothing we can do about past actions.

        If you want to have an utterly pacifistic foreign policy, there is an honorable argument for that. Blowback is a craven rationale.

        1. Re: Mickey Rat,

          First off, what was done to Charlie Hebdo was in no way analagous to person defending his home against burglars.

          That may be so but I am not comparing the two actions, I am using an analogy to demonstrate the absurdity of what you’re proposing: that the blowback explanation is akin to fear mongering.

          If you want to have an utterly pacifistic foreign policy, there is an honorable argument for that.

          Maybe, but I am not. I am arguing for a non-interventionist foreign policy, so we don’t suffer the consequences of BLOWBACK.

          1. That seems to mean you do not stand for what is just, you do not stand for your allies, and you do not even stand for your own interests.

            It is the Precautionary principle appled to foreign policy.

      3. [Maybe the lesson is that you should not burglarize other people’s homes, dude.]

        Or, maybe the lesson could come to be that you should not commit atrocities in …{America, Israel, France….] because you may very well wind up like Awlaki because the… [CIA, Moussad, DST…] will never rest until you are buried alive wrapped in fucking bacon.

        One must consider all the options.

  16. MW, you say it right here: the argument in its best form is that a history of western interventionism has created a larger pool of potential terrorists, and that therefore we should not be surprised when those terrorists bite back. The important nuance is not that they hate western free speech, but that we’ve been pissing in their sandbox for quite some while. If we weren’t propping up the Saddams, the Mussharafs, the House of Saud, etc. they wouldn’t care how often we pointed out that “The Prophet” was full of it. I’m NOT saying we planted the seeds of these attacks, but we have cultivated the weeds pretty well. Now we’ve all got some serious weeding to do.

    1. Except that’s completely wrong. America never created a large pool of potential terrorists. Saudi Arabia and Iran did.

    2. If we weren’t propping up the Saddams, the Mussharafs, the House of Saud, etc. they wouldn’t care how often we pointed out that “The Prophet” was full of it.

      [citation needed]

      The whole blasphemy thing seems to raise a lot of hackles regardless of whether the blasphemer is Western or not.

  17. Note: The Charlie Hebdo killers were born and raised in France.

    I agree that the “oppressed lash out” argument is stupid but I will note that “born in France” does not mean the same thing for everyone – where your parents were born is much more indicative of the kind of life you get to lead.

    1. Many people have this odd reflexive thought that because someone was born in a country, they automatically become an average citizen of that country. But children of immigrants are often alienated, far more than their parents. It’s one reason for terror support among Muslim citizens in Europe, and for crime among Hispanics in the U.S.

      1. And those effects are WAY worse in most of Europe, where the isolation is more or less built into offical law.

      2. Sounds more like a good reason to reevaluate your immigration policy.

        1. Actually, it’s a better reason to evaluate your social policies in country.

          I lived in England for six years, and while you certainly had your extremists there in the Muslim community, Muslims in general weren’t nearly as segregated from English society as they are in France.

          The French government goes out of their way to antagonize Muslims and targets them in their legislation. I don’t believe Paul’s stupid rant about how this is blowback for foreign policy (it’s entirely an assault on free speech), but I do think that how France deals with Muslims internally creates conditions for radicalization to happen.

          That said, fuck the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo…happily most of them are now dead.

          1. And yet England has terror attacks, ISIS volunteers, sharia patrols, honor killings, and genital mutilation. All of which seem to be associated with one religious community. Plus all the pimping out of young girls.

            1. Ah, yes…the anecdotal stories that the uninformed think condemns the whole.

              “And yet England has terror attacks…”

              So I’m guessing you blame all the Irish for what the IRA did, then? Even the ones who opposed the IRA?

              “…ISIS volunteers, sharia patrols, honor killings, and genital mutilation…

              Read about what the football firms get up to sometime…it’s not that different.

              “Plus all the pimping out of young girls”

              Which is perpetrated by criminal gangs from Eastern Europe, Russia, and Jolly Olde England as well.

  18. Love the PC “it must be the white man’s fault” argument. Isn’t this narrative getting old?

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  20. “the argument in its best form is that a history of western interventionism has created a larger pool of potential terrorists”

    Perhaps so.

    But that doesn’t explain why they picked “an anti-war, anti-militarist, anti-Bush, anti-torture, anti-Gitmo, pro-Palestinian-statehood, pro-immigration cartoon newspaper” to attack, now does it?

    1. True, dat.

  21. Becky Akers wrote this piece of asshattery:
    “But let us be very clear that these killings have nothing to do with freedom of speech or expression, regardless of how much Our Rulers and France’s try to cast them that way. Governments are the only ones who can restrict either freedom”

    Really? If people threaten to blow your head off if you publish an article, they aren’t restricting your freedom of speech?

    “Naturally, I do not condone murdering journalists and graphic artists.”

    Even when I get done explaining why they had it coming.

    1. There’s a tendency on the left these days to claim that the only real restriction on speech is censorship, which can only be done by governments. Hence when (e.g.) Brendan Eich is driven out of his career at Mozilla for a campaign contribution, it’s “consequences of speech” (OK) and not “censorship” (not OK). Of course, by this logic, the Hollywood blacklist was A-OK, but they won’t admit the equivalence.

  22. There is a difference between the intimacy of a neighbor insulting your mother on a daily basis and some media organization doing the same. And killing your neighbor would never be considered justifiable. So living in a civilized society requires even greater restraint. If we start outlawing what some people consider to be hate speech, then the evolution of insecure minds will continue to expand. You won’t be able to insult your leader because it will be considered hate speech. Once that happens (hasn’t it already?) then saying anything that would upset him becomes an insult and thereby becomes hate speech. The results are that you can no longer question or challenge your leaders or someone else’s leaders as that might be insulting their integrity. Of course then whoever speaks for those leaders become the prophets of those leaders and can dictate what is right and wrong.

    I see no way that could possibly end up badly?

  23. Ron Paul is a fucking loon and everyone on this thread who is even indirectly defending him is an idiot. I think RP’s increasing detachment from reality stems from his desperation to save Noninterventionism from the scrapheap where it’s obviously headed-even his son won’t stand by it-and so he’s shoehorning it everywhere he can.

    1. Ron’s being tooly with this one, but not getting entangled with every problem in the world still has its merits.

    2. Ron Paul’s argument is not as strong in this case, but to say that many decades of foolish and thuggish Western policy in the Middle East is unrelated is rather idiotic, IMO.

    3. noninterventionism is not on the scrapheap. there’s a difference between it and isolationism. this cartoon is not the “reason”, it’s just one of millions of straws on the camels back(no pun intended). when someone doesn’t have a sense of humor about their religion and warn u not to make fun of it, the proper thing to do is ignore it completely not provoke. the only loons are the ones who believe in intervention.

  24. So in other words politicized Moslems are so dumb and primitive they kill randomly. Or they kill people who disrespect them. Not people who engaged in aggression against them.

    1. It’s probably a lot easier for them to kill some unarmed cartoonists than attack the French military. Especially with gun control. Maybe they did it partly out of spite.

  25. It’s both! Alright people?! It’s the totality of circumstances! Why are we fighting?!

    1. Agreed. Saying this is an attack on free speech seems a bit of a distinction without a difference.

      1. Zackly.

        The terrorist decided TO attack France because bombing ISIS.

        Then they decided WHO best to attack.

        When it comes to rational thoughts the Western and Muslim minds are at loggerheads.

        One cannot say the Muslim acts irrationally based on Western concepts of rational thought.

  26. The terrorist attack in France that took place at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was not about free speech?.It was a harbinger of an emerging dystopia where the wretched of the earth, deprived of resources to survive, devoid of hope, brutally controlled, belittled and mocked by the privileged who live in the splendor and indolence of the industrial West, lash out in nihilistic fury.

    Note: The Charlie Hebdo killers were born and raised in France.

    Yeah, there’s a big portion of the socialist progressive left that see all problems through the lens of class struggle, whether it makes sense or not. Thus, they can go on living in the delusion that once we eliminate economic inequality, we’ll also eliminate practically all problems.

    So, when a bunch of French terrorists murder people in France over insulting the prophet, it’s really because people are poor in the east. It just has to be.

    One has to wonder why most poor people are so damn peaceful.

  27. I used to always respect Ron Paul, even when I disagreed with him, but now? He’s acting like a senile old fool. This is the rhetorical version of “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” What’s next — foreign policy blowback causes false campus rape reports and childhood obesity?

  28. The Muslims who do this sort of things are not ordinary people who were radicalized or forced to take action by a few atrocities committed by the west. They were radical to BEGIN with.

    If we bombed a chemical plant in the middle known to produce weapon and killed dozens of civilians despite our best efforts to minimize collateral damage, that will be good enough for the islamic state to justify whatever terrorism they wish to commit.

    The Indians (the two kinds) were brutalized by the west, and yet, they have no record of terrorizing innocent people in the modern era. Many Jews and Asians who were oppressed or lived under colonial rule do not terrorize their former masters. The Koreans, Japanese, and the Chinese quarrel over tiny pieces of land and hold unending grudges from the WW2 era, but do not blow themselves up in markets.

    Sorry, terrorism is wrong. John Brown is not a hero, and his actions shouldn’t be used to examine the evils of slavery. But it’s a different story for the people who smuggled slaves to free territories.

  29. Well – he is right in the sense that when we destabilized governments in the Middle East for no good reason we made it possible for ISIS to grow and we drew people to the Islamic cause. However he is flat wrong in saying it had nothing to do with speech (look at the target) and the USG’s crappy record on speech is not relevant. Basically he should be retired and stay out of Rand’s way.

    1. “Basically he should be retired and stay out of Rand’s way.”

      Bingo. ( if you like Rand Paul )

  30. Frightening that intelligent people can become so blinded by their own ideology that they can no longer perceive reality. Ron Paul’s comments are asinine. Anyone who cannot see that, or bring themselves to acknowledge it, falls into this same category.

    1. Put another way, we need to remain vigilant against becoming so enamored of our own philosophies and theories and beliefs that, when a conflict between said beliefs and reality arises, we are so sclerotic that we can only “shape” reality to our beliefs instead of the other way around.

  31. Needs more AND

    So much love for OR here and from Dr. Paul.

    Disregard for freedom of speech AND blowback AND poor immigration/assimilation policies AND etc.

  32. I recommend reading the article before rushing to condemn Paul.

    In the first paragraph, he writes “I pointed out that given the foreign policy positions of France we must consider blowback as a factor.” In P3, he writes “The two Paris shooters had reportedly spent the summer in Syria fighting with the rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian President Assad . . . when it comes to Syria, the two Paris killers were on ‘our’ side. They may have even used French or US weapons while fighting in Syria.”

    P4: “Beginning with Afghanistan in the 1980s, the US and its allies have deliberately radicalized Muslim fighters in the hopes they would strictly fight those they are told to fight. We learned on 9/11 that sometimes they come back to fight us. The French learned the same thing last week. . . . Perhaps one way to make us all more safe is for the US and its allies to stop supporting these extremists.”

    How is any of this the least objectionable? Western nations stir up hornet’s nests in the Middle East, and unexpected consequences follow when you have legions of trained Islamist rebels running loose in the world with their pre-Enlightenment values that don’t even acknowledge liberal values. Don’t train them, don’t support them, and presumably they remain oppressed fundamentalists rather than war-hardened killers.

    1. The worst I can say about Dr. Paul is that he overstates his case in an effort to ride his hobby horse one more time; the disregard for liberal values of expression contributed to the murders, as did the killers’ western training, as did the crappy, unarmed French police, as did French gun control laws that created a killing gallery, etc, etc.

      But the CH massacre was no more a free speech issue than the lynching of Emmett Till–both acts of vigilante violence, not state infringement, which is what freedom of speech has always referred to–but a criminal act by thugs who were putatively on “our” side when they were waging a West-backed war against Assad.

      The real libertarian hobby horse is France’s gun prohibition, with coverage of that issue being suspiciously absent from mainstream and even libertarian media. The idea that we can make the world less dangerous by beating our swords into plowshares is idiotic and lays the groundwork for the kinds of slaughter we saw in Paris and in Newtown two years ago. Did blowback and illiberal values on the part of the Islamists contribute to the murders? Yes, but so did the fact that none of the victims could fight back, which is true in all cases of violence in a legislatively disarmed society, though apparently we’re supposed to just accept that as a cost of civilized society along with the war on drugs, taxation- and inflation-funded wars, and all the other evils of the modern state.

      1. And on the Syria/ISIS or Bin Laden/Soviets issue, how many times do we have to suffer massive fallouts before the media widely acknowledges that the enemy of “our” enemy in the Middle East is far from our friend? As with Saddam in Iraq, you’re usually better off with the devil you know.

        My guess is that this attitude would be viewed as terribly cynical by lefties and hawkish righters, both of whom have a weirdly utopian or at least optimistic view of what follows from foreign intervention.

        1. I really agree with you about Syria on this, and it’s a good point.

          These guys may never have been radicalized in the first place if we hadn’t encouraged the Syrian civil war.

          I guess you can say, it’s obvious that the proximiate motivation for these guys was an attack on freedom of speech. But the distant *cause* is that we instigated a conflict that radicalized even more Muslims than were already radicalized, and they came home and started attacking our home turf.

          The thing is that neither the left nor the right, nor even the libertarians, wants to acknowledge that supporting the Arab Spring was a mistake.

  33. Ron Paul’s starting to lose it. That lefty from “Truthdig” has always been an idiot, though.

    Seriously, do these people not understand that it is possible to condemn both an interventionist foreign policy and terrorist attacks meant to stifle free speech?

    1. Addendum: a socialist idiot who insists on defending all acts of violence perpetrated by the underclass, even against innocent people. He’s the same idiot who participated in the Flood Wall Street demonstrations. Vomit.

  34. Ron Paul’s often an idiot.

    This is nothing new.

    (When the people doing the attacks say it’s about speech, it might be okay to think it’s about speech, rather than about your favorite policy bete noir.)

    1. Ron Paul has Barack Obama’s sense of priorities. His ideology is far less nutty that Obama’s, but his stances make him a walking advertisement for Republocrat presidential candidates.

    2. actually ron paul is not an idiot. the idiots are war hungry, too big to fail people who oppose ron paul

  35. A lack of imagination typical of the secular West is on display in these comments. Just because you or I think it’s fucking absurd to worship Allah and follow the teachings of a medieval warlord, doesn’t mean other people don’t take their religion extremely seriously, and that it can have very real consequences. These assholes take Islam extremely seriously, just like every Jihadist for over a thousand years that has killed in the name of Islam and COLONIZED a huge swath of the world through violent Jihad. Yet we sit here and pontificate about how if they could get a job at a McDonalds or wear Juicy sweatpants they wouldn’t kill anyone. They follow a fucked up ideology that compels them to do fucked up things, and they say, explicitly, that it is for religious reasons. They know that the stupid Westerners will buy their shit (look up taqiyya) about Palestine or a history of colonization that they pitch to Western media, when in Arabic and to their own people they speak their true motives. I’ve always thought Libertarians in general were better about admitting uncomfortable truths, but so many seem to have their fucking heads in the sand when in comes to Islam, either because they need a foreign-policy cudgel to beat someone with or they can’t imagine different people having different priorities and motivations.

    1. So much fucking this.

  36. This might make sense had the attack been on the French government, or even an indiscriminate attack on French citizens, but it was an attack on publishers of offensive cartoons, like the attack on Theo van Gogh was an attack on the producer of an offensive film, or the Fatwah on Salman Rushdie was a Fatwah on an offensive author.

    Ron Paul has jumped the shark on this one. It is past time Reason figured out the difference between libertarian and paleoconservative.

  37. Regardless if we pull out of the Middle East completely, it seems these Islamic fundamentalists will not stop until all Muslims around the world are looked at with suspicion and contempt.

    What does it say about a “religion of peace” when moderates are afraid to even speak for fear of their lives?

    Muslim delusions with the Quran and Jihad are scourges on humanity. Blame Clerics, Imams and Mullahs for spreading militant Islam.

    I have yet to hear the Muslim community’s top Clerics, Imams and Mullahs condemn the Clerics, Imams and Mullahs that support, preach and condone radical Islam.

  38. I actually thought Chris Hedges’ essay in Truth Dig was getting at something really important. He might not be 100% there, but his points are worth discussing.

  39. Even though I remain an admirer of Ron Paul’s he’s, confusing a homegrown versus an external attack by religious fundamentalists. The cause of this disaster is French socialism and its welfare state, which have given these poor Muslims just enough to survive, but has provided no hope for a future. If one is living on the government dole in France, one isn’t starving, but one also has no meaningful work and no future along with plenty of spare time. That’s the simple reason why these men turned into misguided radical Islamists.

    “According to the Renseignements G?n?raux, a police agency that monitors militants in France, half of the neighborhoods with a high Muslim population are isolated from French social and political life. The French term for these neighborhoods is ‘sensitive urban zones,’ where unemployment averages 45%.”

    1. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

      1. Which kind of makes you wonder what politicians and bureaucrats are doing most of the time.

      2. What they need is a boy’s band.

  40. Islam does not speak with one voice, so it will be unfulfilling to ask whether Muslims condemn terrorism. Some do, some don’t, some lie about what they think.

    But nothing in Islam supports freedom and democracy. Those inclined toward fascist totalitarian rule, find plenty to support their beliefs in the Koran and hadiths. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a Reformation, this is an evil which must be contained much as Communism was.

    1. If there is one religion on earth that tries hardest to beat its own adherents into speaking with one voice, it’s Islam.

    2. “this is an evil which must be contained much as Communism was.”

      Reminder that Al-Qaeda was created by the CIA to fight Russian Communists.

      The only reason Islam is any threat in the first place is because of the US shooting itself in the foot with decades of ridiculous anti-Communist hysterics, when it should have been minding its own business and economy. If Communism was wrong or flawed, it would have collapsed on its own.

  41. If it’s not an attack on free speech then we’re all overreacting a bit, frankly. More people are killed in one of the US’s bimonthly school shootings. Also, Ron Paul, judging by that ridiculous manifesto I read the other day, is rapidly going senile, I’m afraid.

    1. bi-monthly school shootings that dont exist….
      you really are a fucking scum bag

  42. The author of this piece seems severely under informed about the brutal nature and legacy of the colonialism that has ravaged much of the “developing” world for several centuries now, and more pertinent, its execution in new evolved forms today.

    The only reason the arguments you state in the beginning are “less persuasive” is because you are not academically and formally educated in such a deep and nuanced subject matter. History, bro. History. Context.

    Then you use decontextualized logical fallacies to dismiss the merit of claims about the nature and source of violence & terror. Just ’cause those kids were born in France doesn’t mean they’re not susceptible to the ideology brought on by what Hedges is saying. They too are victims of it and ALL its derivatives. Which country do you think Johnstone was talkin’ about? You really need it pointed out to you on a map?

    It is in fact, this rhetoric which feeds the ISIS propaganda machine. They highlight white people more interested in guarding a paper that insults a religion and culture, aligning Islam & suppression, and alienating the other who you may not be informed about. ISIS simply conveys the message of “look, you’ll never be accepted”. Same shit pulled w/ antisemitism in Europe.

    Freedom my ass.

    1. Please. In the 13th century, Islam was more civilized then Western Europe.

      Then something happened, and it wasn’t that Europeans invaded and colonized them.

      Colonialism didn’t happen until well AFTER Western Europe had become vastly more technologically advanced. We didn’t CAUSE them to be backward, ignorant, barbarians, they were that way already when we got there. it would have been impossible for us to conquor them otherwise.

      Something is different about our two cultures, something that caused them to stagnate and us to progress.

      1. They were more civilized because they inherited/conquered more of ancient civilization than Western Europe did.

        Western Europe was pretty much on the fringes of civilization. They had to re-learn everything by themselves, with only a smattering of ancient knowledge that was preserved. But even then, there’s no coincidence that the Renaissance started in Italy, the former home of the Roman empire.

      2. WRONG…the west destabilized it on purpose to make sure that the puppet gov’ts they put in place see to it that the oil is traded in dollars and nothing else…..it’s all about the revenue generated for multinational interests…everything else in pure propaganda

    2. Shorter Version:

      Dem sand niggers don’t know their place cause white guilt.

  43. Mr. Paul, is France flying drones over Yemen? No? So what’s you’re point? Undoubtedly, the terrorist groups we’re killing in Yemen want to kill us. We’re at war with them, you see. But they also believe in Islam and they don’t like being mocked. That’s why they killed those French journalists, not your “blowback” bullshit. Only trouble is, no other politicians want to call a spade a spade either, and they’d much rather trample the rights of their own citizens than confront Islamists.

  44. Apparently the way to get attention is to claim that attacks like this are because of any reason except the most obvious, that Islamic radicals hate the West and want to kill us.

    You guys go on with your various theories that are either ridiculous on their face or have been disproven time and again and I’ll stick with the obvious.

  45. This tries to put cartoonists and journalists in the same boat with kiriakou who was a government employee that knowingly divulged classified information he had access to which is why he went to prison. An apple isn’t a potato either.

  46. I would think it unwise to try to read too much into the motivation of these killers. Any guess outside of murderous lust for those who they felt insulted their religion, and a desire to be hero’s amongst other like minded muslims, might be giving these low life’s too much credit.

    Similarly, politicians of all stripes tend to give perpetrators of these types of crimes too much credit for their sophistication and training. We hear of masterminds, military style training camps, and their abilities to harness technology (they know how to use facebook after all).

    Could someone please explain to me how this attack on Charlie Hedbo took any more planning than the murder of the two New York police officers a couple weeks ago?

  47. I would think it unwise to try to read too much into the motivation of these killers. Any guess outside of murderous lust for those who they felt insulted their religion, and a desire to be hero’s amongst other like minded muslims, might be giving these low life’s too much credit.

    This. We can all sit in our ivory towers and debate the merits of various policies; however, these guys didn’t get upset because of people having free speech. Your seeing friction between different civilizations clashing. These guys were radicals that supported terrorism. They took their summer holiday visiting a shit hole to attend terrorist camp, which is like the boy scouts but stingier with the merit badges.

  48. The attacks had little to do with free speech but everything to do with further accomplishing the Global Islamic Caliphate.

    The Jihadists couldn’t give a crap about free speech or Cartoonists, they only care about ONE thing, the implmemtation of Sharia Law upon everyone, everywhere, forever.

    The Jihadists were simply implementing the OIC charter, which is to establish a Global Islamic Caliphate though any means possible.

    1. I wish reason had an edit feature in the replies.

      Sharia means Law, so I meant Sharia, not Sharia Law, which would be Law Law.

      1. A lot of rivers are literally named River River because their proper name means “river”.

      2. hey man, the law is the law.

  49. The reasons are not mutually exclusive.

  50. When Ron Paul says the US and France were the agents who caused Muslim extremists to think that way, does the name “Pakistan ISI” even enter his mind? Pakistan has been FAR more of an active agent promoting terrorism than the US or France. To pretend the US is the only country in the world is really ignorant, whether done by the Left, or by pacifist Libertarians.

    Islam has a tilt toward fascist totalitarianism. Witness which side the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem sided with, during WW2.

  51. I don’t think we can rationally compartmentalize this attack from the greater radical Islam movement and the role Western foreign policy has played in its evolution.

  52. Its not an attack on free speech.
    just 2 upstanding muslims doing their part to uphold shaira law.
    they didnt write the laws, theyre just enforcing them.

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  55. This accusation of a fantasy reflects the fantasy world that Ron lives in.

    1. Youre kinda stupid, arent you?

  56. Please run for President again

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  58. Poor old fool ronnie

  59. I agree that to some extent we have had some rather boorish behaviour levied against the Islamic faith and it’s followers through cartoons, articles, etc. We must remember that our 1st Amendment rights, so revered in the west and modern democratic societies have natural limits. If you disparage someone’s mother or lineage, you should not be shocked when they punch your lights out, or worse kill you, shoot up a shopping mall or a school. The inability of people to cope with criticism, which lampooning someone is a form of, is a broader topic to be addressed in another forum.

  60. 2 of 3

    However, we must admit that the Islamic faith has provided more than ample fodder for creative, if not abusive, lampooning by the west for many years. I would posit that the Muslim faith has accomplished more self-destructive activity that it should not hold those who mock it responsible for their belief or understanding of its tenets. A simple test to prove the basic western cultural understanding would be straightforward word association test. You know, the kind a sociologist or psychiatrist might employ to make certain diagnoses more accurate when determining whether paranoia or schizophrenia are at work.

    So let ‘s proceed…. If I say ‘red’, say the first thing that comes to mind. Like ‘blue’ or ‘light’ for example.

    Car
    Apple
    Gun
    Flower
    Rock
    Christian
    Fire
    Chair
    Lamp
    Muslim
    School

  61. 3 of 3

    When I did this with a couple of friends and my wife the word associated with Christianity was either ‘love’ or ‘charity’. However the word associated with Muslim was either ‘terrorist’ or ‘extremist’. This is how the west invariably associates the Muslim faith’s position in people’s minds. Is this our fault? You may ask if you’ve been asleep for the last 30 years why this impression is so common? But those of us who have watched in horror the bombings, the masacres, the World Trade Center towers coming down, the thousands of innocent women and children all killed in the name off Allah and the Muslim faith, that these are the words that one associates with the word Muslim should not be surprising. Anyone saying anything else is either lying or living in a falsely contrived utopian universe. Buddhists do not have this association, nor do Shintoists. Only Muslims go to such extremes to justify their faith. I have always said that if you have to go to such extremes to justify your faith, then perhaps your faith is not based on solid foundations – you know the ‘sinking sand’ analogy, which seems to support the ever-increasing violence surrounding the Muslim faith and its supporters.

  62. All the blowback argument amounts to is a recognition that some people are unreasonable, and you have to treat them as such. It’s not a moral justification of their unreasonableness. Just because Ron Paul – who has spent many of his recent years rephrasing the blowback argument in more leftist-sounding terms (in order to get more people to support him in his political campaigns) – …has lost the ability to clearly articulate this, it doesn’t mean it’s not true. Yes, the Muslims hate the West for it’s freedom of speech, and would do so regardless, but that doesn’t mean that that’s enough to get them to go out of their way to kill us. They need a more concrete rationalization for that – and an interventionist foreign policy is just what they need to get lathered up into such a high level of hatred.

    If you don’t think that the West should ever do anything differently in regards to the existence of pathologically (ie: irreversibly) illogical people, then you shouldn’t even advise people have locks on their doors – because, after all, technically they shouldn’t have to. They should just denounce, under no uncertain terms, how evil burglars are – and that will somehow be enough to control them. Locks, after all, are “appeasement.”

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