Autarky Again

Jim Henley gleefully points out that while my post looking agog at his Grand Plan was titled ‘Autarky in the U.S.A.‘, he meant no such thing, and presupposes that we can freely trade with the Islamist world while withdrawing from them culturally, politically and militarily.

This is on a par with his assumption that we can “beat the hell” out of terrorists who attack us while magically remaining at peace with the nations that shelter them. It’s been explained to me that he’s a libertarian, which may explain it, as somehow some of them seem to think it’s possible to have economic or political relationships without social or historical ones. They’re the flip side of the Rawls folks who think that participants in the political world somehow appear magically from the forehead of Zeus.

I’m looking forward to his longer response. No, really, I am.
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111 thoughts on “Autarky Again”

  1. AL:

    You somewhat mischaracterized Jim’s plan, which wasn’t a call for autarchy. It was a call for business as usual. If I have mischaracterized Jim’s plan, please tell me.

    But let’s not get bogged down with quibbles about who named the post what. The point is, what he is saying, and what you are saying.

    Whether by accident or design, you and Jim Henley have stumbled upon THE issue, even more basic than the war in Iraq: can we continue to trade with the Islamic countries of the ME, can we go back to “business as usual”, which Jim suggests we do?

    I say no, we cannot. So do you?

    Where do we go from here?

  2. Sorry ’bout the links. Word, what can I say?

    Diana, I’ll suggest that Jim also thinks we must stop business as usual with the ME; as far as I can tell, he suggests we have two tiny holes in the wall around the West, one for oil coming in and one for gold (grain?) going out.

    That’s nonsense for a variety of reasons; I’ll try and make time to expand here or in a later post.

    A.L.

  3. A. L.: This Henley being is amazingly dense, I think you will have to deconstruct his argument line by line. Should be great entertainment! Can I buy a ticket?

    Can someone explain to me what a libertarian is? I have been accused of being a libertarian myself (actually I think I am an “evolutionary-psycho-biologist-that-once-held-clearances”) but I always thought libertarianism meant a literal interpretation of the constitution.

  4. Just as fundamentalist environmentalists believe in the precautionary principle. Fundamentalist libertarians believe in the non-interference principle. If you leave them alone they won’t come.

    These are people who do not wish to engage in the alpa male struggle and wish every one else would refrain as well.

    Like all utopians they would deny reality as too ugly, unkempt, and non-logical.

    Their premise never starts from reality, it always starts from: “if every one believed this and acted on it”

  5. Jim wrote:

    What about the oil? Buy it, same as we do now. Who’s not going to want to sell it to us? Saddam Hussein himself would have sold us all the oil we could use, absent sanctions. You can’t eat the stuff. It doesn’t even make a good salad dressing.

    I suggest that this is “business as usual.”

    Your mileage may vary.

    I do not really see where he wants to draw a wall around the west. He thinks we should trade with them, allow students in (the American system is “deeply attractive”), and enlist international support in the war on terror. Where is this wall you are talking about?

  6. Well, I consider myself a libertarian, and Henley is looking pretty nutty to me.

    Two main points.

    1) Free trade for the US requires we be able to export our cultural products. As AL points out, it’s one of our greatest areas of comparative advantage, and yet it’s precisely why we’re the Great Satan.

    2) The “Don’t Tread on Me” policy seems pretty ham-fisted in the real world. By that logic, we’d be seeing American airstrikes on Syria and Iran right now.

    Look, believing individual rights are supreme comes with it a responsibility to understand individual motivations. Henley’s “strategy” reflects a pretty stunning naivete when it comes to individual motivations. All we need to do is get the leaders of Iraq together in a room and let them work it out? No other country wants anything to do with Iraq?

    Perhaps Henley isn’t aware tha Nuclear trader AQ Khan has already been to North Korea. If he did know this, would he say “We tell Kim Jong-Il that if he so much as glances in the direction of anyone remotely associated with Osama bin Laden, including the Pakistani ISI or the “government” of Saudi Arabia, we will make his country look like a jamboree of Osirak reenactors. And if we get the idea that he’s trying to sell a nuke, we will provide him more than one of our own.”

    Since, pretty clearly, Kim has done a bit more than glance, is Henley ready to put his money where his mouth is and advocate that we make war on North Korea NOW? Or is this one of those threats that sounds good to make but doesn’t work out that well in practice.

    As far as I can tell, this is about the most dangerously simple-minded strategy I’ve heard yet.

  7. M. Simon: Gratitude! Given that there is a biochemichal basis for all behavoir, Libertarianism must be a “pipe dream”. Ha! I understand the logic behind A.L.’s bong remark.:-)

  8. Bad dope will cause the Henley syndrome.

    This syndrome is described by a burning desire to pretend that 911 was a big mistake and will never happen again if only we give them the benefit of the doubt. In short, we give the islamic world a mulligan and pretend nothing happened. Oopsy.

    I read the whole thing and started laughing, thinking it was a joke, then after realizing it wasn’t started shook my head in disbelief.

    All of Henley’s exposition is based on a bizarre extension of the root causes argument. It reauires that you pretend that terrorism and proliferation is never going to be a real threat to the US.

  9. Anyone have a better plan—aside from the current one, which is clearly not working?

    Lili

    History shows Islam, democracy unlikely to mix in Iraq BY DANIEL PIPES

    ” . . .This history suggests that the coalition’s grand aspirations for Iraq will not succeed. However constructive its intentions to build democracy, the coalition cannot win the confidence of Muslim Iraq nor win acceptance as its overlord. Even spending $18 billion in one year on economic development does not improve matters.

    I therefore counsel the occupying forces quickly to leave Iraqi cities and then, when feasible, to leave Iraq as a whole. They should seek out what I have been calling for since a year ago: a democratically minded Iraqi strongman, someone who will work with the coalition forces, provide decent government, and move eventually toward a more open political system.

    This sounds slow, dull and unsatisfactory. But at least it will work — in contrast to the ambitious but failing current project. “ http://www.chicagosuntimes.com/output/otherviews/cst-edt-pipes14.html

  10. Lilith:

    Actually I responded to Daniel’s article about a democratic Iraq, but he didn’t post it. Basically he knows a great deal more about Islam than he does about democracy. And I just don’t think there are that many “democratically minded strongmen” around. Iraq has already had a Hashemite ruler, and it turned out badly.

    Moreover, I don’t think another autocrat will build the counter-wave to totalitarianism that we need, which is about the only way to stop what’s happening in the Middle East. Henley believes the fuel for the terrorists is located in our “expropriation” of resources, and in our meddling behaviors. Alas, that’s merely an excuse. The fuel lies in a “status gap” between the place in the world that Muslims believe appropriate to God 3.0, and their actual place close to the bottom of the heap. Along with this is the rather dubious notion that it is the adherents of God 1.0 and God 2.0 that are holding them back.

    It’s also related to the Marxist notion (and I think Henley is a closet Marxist) that neo-imperialism/colonialism/exploitation is keeping all those industrious Arabs down, and that if we just quit exploitinng them they’d right themselves, and learn to be good neighbors and good producers.

    This is basically a social pathology that’s shared by both the Bin Ladenists and the Western Left. It’s an article of faith, that’s born mostly out of ignorance of economics.

    So, a tidal wave is racing more or less invisibly across the Middle East (we only see hints of it) and if it isn’t cancelled before it makes landfall it will, in all likelihood, launch Trent’s scenario. That event can’t be more than a decade away. Daniel ought to be investing his time inovating ways to make the experiment in democracy successful rather than counceling the same old hash. Because what he proposes will simply not do the job. It’d be like giving aspirin to a smallpox patient.

    Capt. Joe:

    Bad dope will cause the Henley syndrome.

    No. Good dope will cause the Henley syndrome. Bad dope would, eventually, lead to sobriety.

  11. This is a very good posting, by the way, and it is high time I think that isolationist libertarians like Jim were subjected to merciless analysis.

  12. Lilith,

    Pipes spends the bulk of his article arguing that that Muslims in general will not accept a non-Mulsim ruler, and that Iraqis will not accept guidance.

    Two comments:

    1) Pipes overstates the unwillingness of Iraqis to suffer guidance from the West. Recent Coalition experience in helping Iraqis set up municipal and town councils, and run small elections, proves this.

    2) His crucial claim is this: “This history suggests that the coalition’s grand aspirations for Iraq [democracy] will not succeed. However constructive its intentions to build democracy, the coalition cannot win the confidence of Muslim Iraq nor win acceptance as its overlord”

    The claim that Iraqis will not accept a democracy does not follow from the claim that they will not accept a non-Muslim ruler. Note that Pipes does not claim that Iraqis will not accept a Muslim democratic ruler. In fact, I would expect Iraq’s first post-occupation ruler to be a Muslim democrat. This was the point of liberating Iraq in the first place.

    Pipes needs to establish that Iraqis, due to culture, history and religion presumably, will not accept democracy. He fails to establish this. If you don’t believe me, go back to the article and identify claims about the anti-democratic characteristics of Iraqi Muslims: there are none. In fact, the one claim I can find – “[Iraqis] showed a determination to shape their country’s future” – seems conducive to democracy.

    Thus, Pipes isn’t entitled to draw the conclusion he wants to draw.

  13. The diplomatically inclined tend to believe they can convince others to do what they are clearly unprepared to do. The pragmatically inclined believe people are ultimately going to follow their self interest, and diplomacy is a tool of saving face once the other party has been manuevered into having no choice but to accept it. Most of this gap in understanding stems from not recognizing exactly what the other parties interests really are.
    The Islamofascists arent interested in the status quo, hence trying to negotiate the maintanence of the status quo is not a realistic option. Once you understand that, like any fascist, the hardcore Islamacists rely on expansion to thrive, you understand what their goals are. Refusing to recognize this is a dangerous avenue of self deception.

  14. Pipes is an Islamic scholar and an adviser to the President.

    Unlike, Mark, he knows what islam is all about.

    Lili

  15. That’s nice, Lilith.

    Nonetheless, Pipes is still wrong. See my post, above. I won’t bore readers by trading insults with you, so until you start making valid arguments, our conversation is over.

  16. Mark,

    About “trading insults” with Lilith, she never insulted anyone. She simply is bringing up facts that you are uncomfortable with.

    Everything that you are saying–and I won’t bore readers with quoting selectively, I just mean, EVERYTHING–is wish fulfillment and fantasy. There’s no point arguing with you. Let’s just make a date to “meet” here in a year and see how this debacle plays out.

    If by that time there is a secular democracy in Iraq then I’ll be happy to acknowledge that fact. Who could be unhappy?

    But there WON’T be. There’ll be an Islamic republic along the lines of Iran, or perhaps a civil war leading to the partitioning of the country. Or another secular strongman. Whatever it is, it won’t be a secular democracy. Iraq is a fictitous entity set up by Britain after WWII. The real identities there are ethnic and tribal.

    (And mind you when I say secular democracy my bar is low: I don’t mean Great Britain or the US. Serbia would be good enough.)

    The worst of it is this: whatever takes shape, if it is indigenous, will have the sort of international credibility that Saddam’s regime always lacked. It will, inevitably, be emphatically anti-Israel and anti-American. (See Sistani’s remarks on the killing of Yassin here.

    Choice quote: “We call upon the sons of the Arab and Islamic nations to close ranks, unite and work hard for the liberation of the usurped land and restore rights,” Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani said in a statement released by his office in the Shiite holy city of Najaf. “This morning, the occupying Zionist entity committed an ugly crime against the Palestinian people by killing one of their heroes, scholar martyr Ahmed Yassin,” the statement said.”

    He’s gonna be the de facto ruler of Iraq. What then? I look forward to hearing your Panglossian fantasies about how wonderful things will be.

    I’ve made it clear I disagree with Jim’s ideas, but for the record, dismissing them as a product of a pot-smoking closet Marxist is silly and says more about you than it does about him.

  17. Diana,

    I’m don’t recall dismissing Jim as a pot-smoking closet Marxist. Please provide quotes to support your contention.

    Lilith made it clear that I am ignorant of Islam, and that this is relevant to the debate. She is a big girl, and should be able to deal with an opponent who correctly identifies her invalid reasoning. Arguments should be subject to rigorous criticism; your re-characterization of Lilith’s invalid argument as an “uncomfortable fact” is an attempt to avoid this.

    Neither you nor I can predict how Iraq will turn out, but we can identify emerging trends and extrapolate from similar situations. That’s not what Lilith did; Lilith attempted to show that it was not possible for Iraq to be a democracy, because Islam is not compatible with democracy. I’ve attempted to refute her position. Either address my argument or concede the point.

    As for Sistani, I don’t believe he has as much support as you say, nor that this support will translate into equivalent democratic power. Polls have shown that only 2.6% of Iraqis believe Iran should be a model for Iraq, and that the majority do not favour an Islamic state (see BBC poll here http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3514504.stm ) Furthermore, the Constitution of Iraq, as presently written, should theoretically prevent an Iranian-style theocracy. I can’t believe the US will sit back and allow the first elected post-occupation Iraqi ruler to immediately rescind the gains of liberation by creating another dictatorship. Feel free to disagree.

  18. Mark gave arguments and criticisms of Pipes. At that point, to reply by pointing out that Mark is not an expert on Islam is a red herring.

    Underlying Pipes’s view is the belief that a long history of cultivating certain mores and institutions of civil society (we can all name which ones; Iraq lacks them) is a necessary condition of instituting democracy. No one has ever proved that. One might just as well argue that as soon as Iraqis get a taste of the liberty and wealth to be had in a democracy, they’ll make sufficient effort to maintain it. Diana’s right; it’s wait and see time. But certainly the “it can’t be done” argument isn’t vindicated at this time.

    I wonder whether conservatives, such as Pipes, carefully enough distinguish two views: that the mores and social institutions are necessary for democracy; and that they are of great value, even crucial to a good society, albeit not necessary for a viable democracy. Taking the latter view, one might reasonably hope for democracy in Iraq and for the development of good society later.

    A.L., more bashing of Rawls and doctrinaire libertarianism, please. I love to hate those views. Rawls comes down to this: No rational person would play a game in which possibly some could get richer while leaving others steadily in the lower-middle class. No argument is given for this premise.

  19. Coming down firmly on the side of wishful thinking, if secular (or at least tolerant) democratic governance is not possible in the middle east, the logical consequences are apocalyptic. Technology is not going to stop moving forward. Sub-cultures that predicate their existence on cultural victomology will look for new oppressors (even if they do manage to drive the Jews into the sea). Countries that would rather export Jihad than import MTV will find a way to strike a blow for the honor of the Prophet — again — and next time it may not be something small like 9/11.

    I’m sorry, instead of saying it can’t be done, I want to hear alternative solutions that don’t involve turning the middle-east into glass. And “democratically-minded strongman” as a phrase has so many internal inconsistencies I’m tossing that one right out the window.

  20. Mark,

    My apologies for appending a general comment to a specific one. You didn’t say that Jim was a pot-smoking whatever. Others did; sorry. The rest of the comment was directed to you, but not only to you.

    However, I won’t apologize for agreeing with Lilith. I know she’s capable of defending herself, but I’m also capable of agreeing with her.

    I’m not avoiding anything: you are. I’ve offered evidence in the form of quotations of what Sistani’s belief system is. You deal with this by avoidance.

    The burden of proof is on YOU. Prove that Iraq has a national identity independent of tribes and religion. Prove that Sistani’s support is weak.

    Lastly, you betray your fundamnentally colonialist mindset by this amusing admission: “I can’t believe the US will sit back and allow….”

    Sure, the moment the Iraqis actually do what they want to do we jump right in and prevent them from doing it. Some democracy.

    Like I said, argument is fruitless. We will only look at trends and see what we are inclined to see. Meet me here in a year. I’ll be very happy to be wrong.

  21. Jim,

    A democracy and then a good society later? That seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse. Without a good society, democracy seems to me more likely to end up “one man, one vote, one time.”

    Diana,

    I’m not sure I can disagree with you, but I see a profound irony here. If two years ago, I would have told you that Arabs were incapable of democracy, you would immediately have dismissed me as a racist kook. But now that a president whose politics you don’t like is actually trying to bring some democracy to the Arab world, you accuse people who say Arabs are capable of democracy of naivete. Which is it?

  22. Diana,

    The issue is not what Sistani says, it’s what he is capable of doing in a democratic Iraq. I’ve linked a poll of Iraqi opinion supporting the contention that he just isn’t capable of circumventing democratic rule (even if, as you say, he may want to). There are other polls online that have found the same distaste for Iraqi theocracy. This doesn’t seem to square with your forecast for Iranian-style dictatorship.

    In fact, the ability of Sistani to agitate for religious rule, and the ability of other Iraqis to disagree by word or vote without fear of ending up in a mass grave, will be evidence of the project’s success, not failure.

    Re: Iraqi national identity.

    Now you are just moving the goalposts. This was not Lilith’s argument, and you should know that. If you want to argue that Iraqis lack the requisite national identity for democracy, go ahead.

    Hm.. I’ve never been called a colonialist before. I would think my desire to see Iraqi’s rule themselves would be evidence against alleged colonialism, but alas, in your view, it is not.

    As you can see by my whole quote, I said I would find it unbelievable if the US allowed the first elected Iraqi ruler to destroy the goal of liberating Iraq. I am quite willing to admit that, at present, the Coaltion is the steward of Iraq. But this is not the same as colonialism, because I have no desire to see the Coalition in an indefinite paternalist anti-democratic political role. See the difference?

  23. Lilith:
    While I am certainly an inferior to Pipes as scholar of Islamic societies, I’m unsure about trusting his conclusions completely when his account of the history of modern European/Muslim interaction seems very arguable, on the basis of this article at least.

    Europeans before 1830 ruled extensive Muslim majority areas in the Dutch East Indies and British India; I’d have to check on Russian expansion in Caucasia and Turkestan.

    The Ottoman Empire’s territories were less encroached upon before that as up until the mid 18th Century it was a major power, on land at least.

    For exactly the same reasons China, Mughal India, Japan and Persia had little to fear until their various internal problems and continuing European advances led to their being eclipsed from c.1750 onward. Prior to then (and for a good while after) Europeans were supreme at sea, but wary on land for good reason.

    As for European expansion elsewhere that Pipes refers to: in Africa, most European activity until the mid-19th Century was restricted to coastal trading forts. While the Americas (and Australia) were a different matter; comparatively sparsely populated and with lower native technical levels.

    After the Ottoman Empire went into decline, it continued to be preserved due to European rivalry and suspicion: Russia and Austria both had ambitions in the Balkans, Britain wished to keep both France and Russia well away from the approaches to India. See the Crimean War.
    So the Ottomans were encroached upon in stages, in the Balkans and North Africa, with the Middle East core remaining until the empire collapsed due to WW1.

    Pipes’ conclusions regarding Muslims and democracy are also debateable.
    Turkey at least appears to be established as a democracy; Bangladesh and Malaysia (though with problems) are making headway. Indonesia shows some signs of hope as well.

    For historical comparison, look at the record of Latin America until fairly recently. For that matter, much of east Asia.

    I don’t want to appear pollyannaish here. There does appear to be a specific problem with the interaction of Islam, Arab social and cultural patterns, historical contingency and resulting maladaptation to modernity.
    The problem is to identify the specific problems, if we can, and identify possible remedial policies.
    Some factors might be: social status of women, clan loyalty and intra-clan marriage, education, social position of Islamic preachers/teachers/jurists and lack of formal structures promoting competition between them in fundamentalism.
    Once identified the problem becomes implementing change without producing a Islamist reactionary response to ‘foreign’ impositions and ‘immorality’.

    Pipes, though, appears to be arguing for a return to the ‘our despot’ approach which Britain fell back on in the 1930’s and the US followed for much of post-WW2 period.
    While this is not to be discarded as one option (partition being another) if Iraq proves impossible to reform, it seems to me essentially a continuation of the ‘realist’ policies which have not been exactly an unarguable triumph to date.

    (Anyone have any references for more detailed pieces by Pipes? I’m likely assessing his arguments unfairly on the basis of such a short piece.)

  24. Lilith: OK then. Your cartoonish single dimensional representation of Ali Al-Sistani’s motives and actions reveals a profound lack of knowledge on your part. Sistani and the Iranian mullahs will never agree on an Iraqi government because (O Shocker!) they belong to two different sects of Islam, with conflicting beliefs. I will say again, like I said on the other thread, I do not desire either you or Daniel Pipes to interpret the Qur’an for me FROM TRANSLATION. I can read Pikthaal myself, and I am learning Arabic to read the original. I personally believe the Qur’an is not translatable.

    Diana: You also could benefit from reading this column by Dr. Krauthammer, which I believe explains our current strategy quite well. Yes, Diana, there is a plan.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16299-2004Apr15.html

    Also, I maintain that Henley’s position is indefensible, and he must be experiencing an altered state of reality to concieve of the existance of any emprical data to support his argument.

  25. Scott,

    You are correct that many Libertarians are closet Marxists in the sense that all their calculations are based on dollars.

  26. Diana,

    Suppose it takes twenty or thirty years to get Iraq right (Taiwan, South Korea).

    By your methods of measurement those two countries would be counted as failures.

  27. I don’t know M. Simon. As a former dopehead, I always found the quality of my arguments inversely proportional to the quality of the dope.

  28. Then I am at a quandary. If bad or good dope causes the Henley syndrome. I must, posthaste, stop all forms of dope and fce the reality of what is. ;)

  29. Fred:

    Please don’t assume what I would have said two years ago. I would have said then, and I say now, that Arabs do not wish to have forms of government that are culturally alien to them imposed from without at the barrel of a gun.

    Mark,

    What you call “moving the goalposts” I call bringing up another factor that undercuts your flimsy arguments. If it bothers you, too bad.

    Again you evade. The burden of proof is on YOU to show that there’s a basis for an Iraqi identity INDEPENDENT of tribal affiliations and religion.

    And no, I don’t see the difference between a little bit of colonialism now, and a lot later. I see it as simply the same old garbage: do what we want or we’ll get a better collaborator. I can’t think of a better way to create terrorists.

    Your faith in polls is pathetic, just pathetic. I have faith in demographics. The Shi’a are 60% of Iraq. Sistani is their leader. What he says, goes. And when we go, he’ll say, and they’ll do.

    Twisterella,

    I won’t waste two seconds reading Krauthammer’s garbage. He’s a dope, a fraud, and a shill.

  30. Diana,

    I get your Iraq model. The Pope and the Catholic Church – right?

    Or perhaps you were thinking more along the lines of Kerry and the Democrats.

    Or the neocons and the world.

    Diana – there is no cure for terrorism other than fear. The terrorists must fear us more than we fear them. It is the alpha male game played with nuclear weapons. Welcome to the humn race.

    Now it is my contention that our alpha male offers a better deal than their alpha male.

    You seem like a very nice person who would rather not be involved in alpa male games. Most unfortunate. You do not have that choice.

    You forget that wars are not run on anger (a common misperception), they are run on hope. The hope that violence – despite retribution – will advance one’s position. The violence will end when one side or the other loses hope.

    The end result for the world will be sharia or democracy.

    So Diana – which is it for you? Sharia? Democracy?

    BTW suppose we took your thesis “Arabs do not wish to have forms of government that are culturally alien to them imposed from without at the barrel of a gun.” and applied it in reverse.

    Because Spain is proof of the reverse equation. Islam and its alien culture are being imposed from without at the point of a gun.

    So just as the Islamics feel they must fight for their culture, we (many of us) feel the need to fight for our culture (after ignoring numerous attacks). If history is any guide this clash which has been going on for 1400 years will likely be settled in the next 100.

    Democracy for the world or sharia? Which impossible vision do you subscribe to? Which gives man (and woman) greater scope?

    BTW you can impose alien cultures at the point of a gun. It has been going on with some success for at minimum 3,000 years that we know of.

    Jews are interesting because they are so unusual. Most people just join the imposed culture and forget their own over time.

    Egypt was quite good at making this happen. Taking warring tibes andconverting them into a state. They did it through theology. – Adding new gods to their religion as new groups were conquered. The Jews stymied the Egyptians because their god had no form. On top of that they are a stubborn people.

    Bismark took the warring tribes of Germany and forged a state. So it can be done. The problem as always is that the process is very ugly. Guns, wars, armies, culture police etc.

  31. BTW re: the quality of the argument vs. the quality of the dope.

    Astronomer Carl Sagan liked to write his papers stoned.

  32. Quote:

    Myth #2: Democracy cannot be implemented by force. This is a very popular canard now. The myth is often floated by Middle Eastern intellectuals and American leftists — precisely those who for a half-century damned the United States for its support of anti-Communist authoritarians.

    Now that their dreams of strong U.S. advocacy for consensual government have been realized, they are panicking at that sudden nightmare — terrified that their fides, their careers, indeed their entire boutique personas might be endangered by finding themselves on the same side of history as the United States. Worse, history really does suggest that democracy often follows only from force or its threat.

    One does not have to go back to ancient Athens — in 507 or 403 B.C.

    from:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson200404230833.asp

    =============================================

    Joe the url code example no longer shows up when I do comments. I’d encode the urls if I had it.

  33. Diana,

    Your suggestion that Iraqis do not have an adequate national identity for democracy is an assertion rather than an argument. If you decide to develop it into one, perhaps I’ll respond.

    Democracy has often been implemented by force. See Japan, Germany, various Latin American countries.

    “Sistani is their leader. What he says, goes. And when we go, he’ll say, and they’ll do.”

    Your proof of this seems to be an unsupported citation of demographics, and unstated assumptions about political behaviour. You can hardly expect your audience to critique your ideas when they are barely coherent.

    But I think you’ve made it clear that you’d prefer hurling ad hominems to reasoned argument.

  34. “Nonetheless, Pipes is still wrong. See my post, above. I won’t bore readers by trading insults with you, so until you start making valid arguments, our conversation is over.”

    Kindly link or post the alleged “insults” that I have made to you, Mark. Nice to know that our “conversation” is over. Phew! What a relief! LOL

    While I am certainly an inferior to Pipes as scholar of Islamic societies, I’m unsure about trusting his conclusions completely when his account of the history of modern European/Muslim interaction seems very arguable, on the basis of this article at least.”

    Pipe’s argument is not simply based on that article. It is based on his scholarship of Islam and on his body of work—which any of you are free to read on his website and in his books.

    The irony is that Pipes claims to believe that Islam can be reformed. However, his research indicates the opposite. Being PC helps in the fatwa department. ;-)

    “. . .Turkey at least appears to be established as a democracy; . . .”

    Turkey is not, Not, NOT an established democracy! They have to have laws against the wearing of hijab for Pete’s sakes so the populace does not get too worked up about Islam. The Euros just voted to NOT let them into the EU because of a lack of democracy and human rights abuses. The ONLY reason that Turkey works as a half-ass democracy is because of a strong military. The rest of Islamia needs an Attatürk.

    “. .There does appear to be a specific problem with the interaction of Islam, Arab social and cultural patterns, historical contingency and resulting maladaptation to modernity.

    The problem is to identify the specific problems, if we can, and identify possible remedial policies.. . .”

    John—The PROBLEM is Islam, Islam, Islam! Read the Qur’an; read Islamic jurisprudence! Islam does not permit Muslims to be ruled by anything but sharia in an Islamic land. The “social position of women and “preachers” etc. are all written in Islamic law.

    “Your cartoonish single dimensional representation of Ali Al-Sistani’s motives and actions reveals a profound lack of knowledge on your part. . . “

    I don’t recall posting one single thing about Sistani prior to this post! You must be confusing me with someone else, Twisty. ;>)

    “I do not desire either you or Daniel Pipes to interpret the Qur’an for me FROM TRANSLATION. I can read Pikthaal [sic] myself, and I am learning Arabic to read the original. I personally believe the Qur’an is not translatable.”

    Given that ONLY 25% of 1.5 million Muslims are Arab speakers, how do suppose they will get along without translations? Pickthal, et al. are considered the MOST scholarly available in English. Again, I don’t interpret, I merely post what it says.

    “there is no cure for terrorism other than fear. The terrorists must fear us more than we fear them. It is the alpha male game played with nuclear weapons. Welcome to the humn “

    Yes, and we have the great Israeli model. That certainly is working out well. So well that the IDF is giving assistance to the coalition troops—in order that we too should be in the same, untenable position. We are getting there much faster than the Israelis because of their experienced example.

    “You seem like a very nice person [Diana] who would rather not be involved in alpa male games. Most unfortunate. You do not have that choice.”

    Alpha, male games is what got the world into the state of misery it is in today!

    “The end result for the world will be sharia or democracy.

    So Diana – which is it for you? Sharia? Democracy?”

    It will be BOTH! You cannot force democracy on Muslims or any other peoples! East is east and west is west. Let them stay that way.

    “Bismark took the warring tribes of Germany and forged a state. “

    ROTFLMAO!!! You are kidding. “Warring Tribes”!? WARRING TRIBES, in Germany in the 19th century!? Get a grip! You cannot compare the culture, literary as well as art and scientific accomplishments of the Germanic peoples to those of the Muslims. Germany was the strongest economy during that period. BTW—Bismark brought in the idea of universal health insurance and pensions among other things. The most “advanced” society on earth—the U.S.— has still to implement same.

    “Like I said, argument is fruitless. We will only look at trends and see what we are inclined to see. Meet me here in a year. I’ll be very happy to be wrong.”

    I’m with you Diana. Let’s see what happens. Thus far virtually everything I predicted (in writing) about this fiasco has happened.

    In one year things will really be in the toilet. The Bushies are about to launch a massive attack on Falujah. That will get the Islamic revenge cauldron boiling. Al Sader is planning on MASSIVE demonstrations and has threatened to unleash suicide jihadis. There are only 130,000 troops in Iraq. They cannot fight millions of jihadis!

    All you armchair warriors should volunteer so you can be exposed to depleted uranium, and come home in either a box, with missing limbs and or have a nervous breakdown. All of these things are happening to our soldiers.

    This war is a fiasco—based on spin and falsehoods. It will not make us any more safe. The current policies are not sustainable!

    Lilith

  35. Well done, Mark.

    Now, if Mark was stoned when he wrote, then this counts against Fred’s hypothesis. Aaah, I’m gonna say, “Not stoned.” Sagan’s books may be countervening evidence, but weren’t they a bit, well, “stoned”?

    Oh, and Fred, lots of guns and a constitution might prevent the one-vote-one-time scenario you predict. It has in the past.

  36. Lilith: Pardon, that was Diana’s one-dimensional cartoonish representation of Al-Sistani. But the existance of warring sects within Islam contradicts your version of the uninterpretable Qur’an.

    You say: “Given that ONLY 25% of 1.5 million Muslims are Arab speakers, how do suppose they will get along without translations? Pickthal, et al. are considered the MOST scholarly available in English. Again, I don’t interpret, I merely post what it says.”
    All converts to Islam learn the Qur’an in Arabic. It is never translated for proselytization, unlike the Bible. I am surprised you and Daniel Pipes, emminent islamic scholar, are not cognizant of that fact. Is Mr. Pipes fluent in Arabic? Again, I do not believe the Qur’an is translatable. Pickthal is (while good) still only an interpretation, and subject to distortion. I actually believe that to get full meaning, the Qur’an should be heard, in aural tradition, as it was intended to be.

  37. Diana: OK then. You will not go to Dr. Krauthammer, so Dr. Krauthammer will come to you. :-)

    “Realists do not live just in America. I found one in Finland.
    During the 1997 negotiations in Oslo over the land mine treaty,
    one of the rare holdouts, interestingly enough, was Finland. The
    Finnish prime minister stoutly opposed the land mine ban.
    And for that he was scolded by his Scandinavian neighbors. To
    which he responded tartly that this was a “very convenient” pose for
    the “other Nordic countries”—after all, Finland is their land mine.
    Finland is the land mine between Russia and Scandinavia.
    America is the land mine between barbarism and civilization.” from Democratic Realism.

    I think this is important for you to see, vis a vis your antipathy to Isreal entering into these considerations. You see, Isreal is America’s land mine.

    Pardon, what is your bias against Dr. Krauthammer?

  38. Lilith: One more thing. Please read what I just posted on ‘Good News Saturdays’, and then explain to me how “this war is a fiasco”. Do liberals truly hate George Bush more than they love their children?

  39. “All converts to Islam learn the Qur’an in Arabic. It is never translated for proselytization, unlike the Bible. I am surprised you and Daniel Pipes, emminent islamic scholar, are not cognizant of that fact.”

    Twisty, certainly I know that many, not all, converts learn Arabic. However, they learn to recite the Qur’an by rote. That is a far cry from becoming fluent in classical Arabic. And of course the Qur’an is translated for proselytization. One of the problems with converts as well as many Muslims is that they don’t actually know what is contained in the Qur’an.

    I believe that Dr, Pipes is fluent in Arabic. Do you speak fluent, classical Arabic? How many languages do you speak as fluently as English, Twisty?

    “Do liberals truly hate George Bush more than they love their children?”

    Twisty, liberals probably love their children like most other people. I doubt that many people actually “hate” GW. They just think he is wrong to send our children as cannon fodder for crazed jihadis.

    I would put that paraphrasing of Golda Maier’s this way: When conservatives love the children of the liberals enough to send THEIR own children to war— then there may be peace. I suggest that GW ship the twins off to Iraq post haste! They would look so cute in desert camouflage. ;-)

    Al-Sadr Threatens Suicide Attacks

    “Some of the Mujahideen brothers have told me they want to carry out martyrdom attacks but I am postponing this,” al-Sadr said in front of thousands of worshippers. “When we are forced to do so and when our city and holy sites are attacked, we will all be timebombs in the face of the enemy.” http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040423/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_shiite_cleric&cid=540&ncid=716

    Didn’t a few people assert that Sadr has a small following and little influence?

    This porky, sweaty little dude with the black beanie will gain more followers than he ever dreamed of BECAUSE of the stupid U.S. policies!

    Lili

  40. Lilith: You have not read the Good News? You seem very invested in failure in Iraq. Can your belief system accept good news for Bush’s policies?

    Show me where the Qur’an is translated for proselytization. I have not seen it in my research. The power of the Qur’an is in aural tradition. What does it matter if converts can read or write classical Arabic? Of the languages I have learned, Arabic is the most supple and intricate. Gender is flexible, and dependent on both inflexion and context. In other words, meaning can change with changes in the spoken word.
    What do my other languages have to do with this argument? But since you asked, probably my best language (better even than english) is math! ;-)
    I believe there was an excellent article on THIS blog, about Al-Sadr. Let it suffice to say, you have demonstrated no deep knowledge of intra-Shii’a conflicts and Al-Sadr’s motivations.

  41. “Let it suffice to say, you have demonstrated no deep knowledge of intra-Shii’a conflicts and Al-Sadr’s motivations.”

    Well, that’s probably because I have posted virtually nothing until today on Sadr. And even today, I have said little about the little despot or his political/religious motivations. Which, BTW, are well known. He is also wanted for murder.

    Quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a fig whether your or your “evil twin” Mark are satisfied with my observations or not. As Diana said, “Let’s meet in a year” and see how it all has shaken out. ;-)

    Your language skills and proficiencies matter a great deal with respect to learning classical Arabic. If you tell me that you speak no other language fluently, your credibility for Arabic takes a HUGE dive. Many Americans “study” a language—learn a bit and fancy themselves fluent. When you can read Arabic poetry in Arabic get back to me.

    As to the ‘good news.’ I read that letter a while ago printed in some publication. It matters not what one guy observes. There are plenty of other soldiers who have the opposite opinion due to an opposing experience.

    Answer me this: Do you really believe that we can take on 1.5 BILLION Muslims and win? How about half that number? Or one quarter? It is estimated that at least 10% of Muslims have jihadi leanings. How many MILLIONS is that?

    What I have predicted will come to pass!

    The Bush policies are unsustainable. Certainly many republicans have admitted that. We cannot win this war via war alone!

    Lili

  42. Lilith,

    You cannot force democracy on Muslims or any other peoples! … Let them stay that way.

    Ha! If only we could! The problem is, the Islamists don’t just want to “stay that way”, they also want to make us be that way too. I haven’t seen a single thing in what you’ve said here that addresses this part of the problem.

    All you armchair warriors should volunteer so you can be exposed to depleted uranium

    What would the harm in that be? DU is not particularly dangerous.

    The current policies are not sustainable!

    Well, you can continue to assert that till you run out of breath, but that’s not the same thing as demonstrating it. My suggestion, if I may be so bold, is to rephrase it thus: “I don’t want to sustain the current policies.” There–no one can argue with you, and it’s clear that it’s about your preferred outcome, rather than some external constraint on our activities. However, if you do really wish to argue that the latter is in fact so, please argue by supplying actual evidence.

    Finally, Twisterella, with all due respect: the Koran is neither more nor less translatable than any other document of comparable age and obscurity*. What you keep repeating is the Islamic claim that the Koran must not be translated. This is a matter of faith, not linguistics.

    (*I mean this technically, not as a pejoritive term. There are plenty of places in the Hebrew Bible, for example, that are either hapax legomena or are otherwise unclear in their meaning, and naturally translating them into English is guesswork at best. But that’s primarily because no one really knows what the Hebrew means either in such cases.)

  43. We cannot win this war via war alone!

    Let the platitudes roll down! Sheesh–who ever suggested that war alone was going to be sufficient? What some of us are saying here is that the war component is necessary–sadly so, but that doesn’t make it less true. But there’s plenty of other things to be done, and guess what? We’re doing them. Part of that “good news”, ironically, is the very long list of all the non-war stuff our very own military is doing.

  44. ” “I don’t want to sustain the current policies.” There–no one can argue with you, and it’s clear that it’s about your preferred outcome, rather than some external constraint on our activities. However, if you do really wish to argue that the latter is in fact so, please argue by supplying actual evidence.”

    The “evidence” is the fact that the Bushies have gone hat in hand to the EU and the U.N. and asked for their help. That we are “pulling out” without having accomplished anything. Additionally, the 9/11 investigations are all the proof one needs that they lied and went to war under false pretenses and now are trying to put a spin on that.

    Watch C-Span sometime and see how many members of Congress don’t believe the current policies are sustainable. Read the reports and the books of the scandals, the lies, the corruption, the collusion.

    The EVIDENCE is in the papers virtually everyday. One does not have enough time to read all the evidence that is presented in the electronic media and in print.

    Why don’t you argue by supplying evidence that the policies are working? A pathetic letter like that which Twisty posted is hardly proof when the Bushies are spending OUR money like drunken sailors, when we have the HIGHEST deficit in history, when MILLIONS have lost their jobs, when MILLIONS don’t have insurance, when hosts of children are left behind, etc. but—we have BILLIONS to spend on war—a war that is not winnable with firepower alone.

    What Went Wrong? http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/23/opinion/23KRUG.html

    Nope—NOT sustainable! No matter who wins, our taxes will go up. Our children’s children will pay for Bush’s folly. He will go down as one of the most, if not the most, incompetent leaders in the history of the world.

    Lili

  45. Lilith,

    The fact that you would cite a Krugman opinion piece on this subject convinces me that I’m wasting my time. I do appreciate, however, your careful use around the “evidence” (yep, what you’ve cited isn’t really evidence) and “pulling out” (since we’re not in fact pulling out).

    However, you missed them around “without having accomplished anything”, which is too bad because that assertion is just as laughable as the others.

    Look, I don’t know how to break this to you, but Sadaam Hussein is no longer in power. That alone qualifies as more than nothing; if you’re not interested in the long list of other positive accomplishments I’m certainly not going to rub your nose in them. Someone else will have to pick up the slack (though I expect the entire rest of the group here is snoring in agony by now…)

  46. What do you have against Krugman? He is right on much of the time. Truth hurts. ;-)

    You can laugh all you want, Kirk. I’ll bet the loved ones of those killed and maimed in this unjust, illegal and unnecessary war are not laughing. Why don’t you try to cheer them up? Tell those people everything is wonderful. I’ll bet they will either punch you or spit into your face.

    “Look, I don’t know how to break this to you, but Sadaam Hussein is no longer in power. “

    No shit! But, something even worse may be just around the corner, like another Islamic theocracy, all because the Bushies did not have a proper plan.

    Look, I don’t know how to break this to you, but they LIED! And because of that thousands are dead or maimed and we have a backbreaking debt problem not to mention that we are looked upon with disdain by the rest of the world. Now, you may think that “all powerful America” can go it alone, but that is not true. Otherwise the administration’s nose would not be brown now that they have to suck up to the “irrelevant” U.N. and our former allies.

    Perhaps you should go check out LGF, Kirk. There you will find a “the U.S. and Israel can do no wrong” crowd to cheer you on.

    Be sure to make up a nice story for your children and grandchildren as to what you did during this war.

    Now, if you will excuse me— This is a dead horse!

    Lili

  47. Oops, typo time. That should have read:

    I do appreciate, however, your careful use of scare quotes around “evidence”…

  48. Kirk: O no, I mean something very different– I think the Qur’an evolved as an aural tradition, and the difference is something more out of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. Snoring in agony, LOL! May I use that? And Mark, my evil twin! I am so honoured!
    Ah well, enough time wasted. But did Dianna/Lilith condescend to read my land mine comment? Or was it just too repulsive for them? i know, they looked at it but could not see! G’nite all.

  49. LOL, you two are quite a pair—dumb and dumber.

    I did not give you the honor of being Kirk’s “evil twin” Twisty. That goes to Mark.

    And the word is oral not “aural” for the Qur’an’s spoken tradition. “Aural” has to do with air—which is hot in your case. ;-)

    Diana’s name is spelled with one ‘n’. And your conspiracy theory, that she would spend time on this website making up another entity, is rather telling and pathetic.

    If you would have been able to read, you would have noted that her opinions and mine differ on a number of things.

    I hope your Arabic is better than your English, Twisty. It will help you to understand that the Qur’an is a war manual much more than it is a religious document.

    As for those “scare quotes” please show those, Kirk. Dead is just dead. Maimed is maimed. Today there were a few more of those. I won’t quote them. You can Google.

    No matter what the U.S. or the West does in ANY Islamic country it will NEVER be enough!

    Best to leave them to allah—ASAP! Because there are more important things in the world than Islamic terrorism.

    Lili

  50. Lilith: No, I meant aural- that is ‘heard’, not oral, ‘spoken’.

    Pardon, I thought you were responding to my comment on Al-Sadr and intra-Shiii’a conflict, with your ‘evil twin’ remark.

    I’m sorry you didn’t get my math-as-the-metalanguage analogy. I am pretty fluent in french, my japanese and russian are not as good. I have studied the Jahilyyah, and the ‘Early Suras’ pretty extensively. I do not think the Qur’an is a ‘war manual’. For what I really think about language, read Pinker, The Language Instinct.

    Conspiriacy theory? What should I think? You were responding to questions addressed to Diana. Why should should I care if you are two beings or one being with two heads? You both argue badly, and “proof by volume” is largely discredited here.

  51. “pretty fluent in french, my japanese and russian are not as good.”

    That’s like being a “little bit pregnant.” Either one is fluent in a language or one is not. What is your native language? It can’t be English. ;-)

    ” I have studied the Jahilyyah,”

    One need only study “modern” Muslims and see the jahilyyah in action first hand.

    You both argue badly, and “proof by volume” is largely discredited here.”

    Ah, yes Aurelia, why would one expect you to “get it” ? You don’t even comprehend the short, simple, poorly written, contradictory Qur’an. LOL Get a good dictionary and thesaurus, Aurelia. Perhaps a Qur’anic concordance? Aural rehab might be a good idea as well. ;-)

    Here’s one you may read in Arabic: http://www.isos.org/Bible___Quran/Concordance_5/CCBQ5/ccbq5.htm

    So, tell us, what EXACTLY is the grand plan for Iraq that the Bushies have—other than pulling out “with honor”?

    Making Iraq democratic is NOT a plan. It is wishful thinking and it won’t happen with the current unsustainable methods.

    Lili

  52. Hey, Lili – this is degenerating pretty badly, and while you’re not the only participant, you are the most recent.

    Can I politely but strongly suggest an end to personal attacks at this point?

    A.L.

  53. Ah, so all the people on this thread (and the previous one) who have insulted the author of the proposal as a “pot-smoking closet Marxist,” “nutty,” etc. there is no problem with that? Calling a columnist a ” dope, a fraud, and a shill” is also OK? Or another writer here of having: “one-dimensional cartoonish representation.” But, those of us who say he might have a point or two and post some material to back up our claims, while defending ourselves against being accused of liberalism—that’s a problem? LOL

    Sure A.L. No problem with that double standard. ;-)

    “Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo la tattakhithoo alyahooda waalnnasara awliyaa baAAduhum awliyao baAAdin waman yatawallahum minkum fa-innahu minhum inna Allaha la yahdee alqawma alththalimeena”

    Auralia may want to translate the Qur’anic Arabic for you.

    Lili

  54. A.L.: Pardon, my bad manners. Lilith believes the Qur’an is a “war manual”. That is her worldview. I see it is not going to change. I believe the Qur’an is a “manual for replication”, and I have devoted some study to this. I probably should keep my opinions to myself.

    But remember I am a newbie, here, and don’t know the protocols well.

    One question I saw raised on this thread (between Diana and Yehudit, I think), is inclusion of Israel in any discussion of the ME. I don’t understand how any discourse can NOT include Israel– isn’t that like trying to ignore the elephant in the room?

  55. Lilith,

    Calling a columnist “a dope, a fraud and a shill” doesn’t IMO constitute ad hominem because he’s not a participant on this comment thread. And when it’s Charles Krauthammer, those words are sweetly understated. :)

    Fred:

    I used to read Krauthammer devotedly, as well as the other neocons, becauase I used to be one. I’ve got better things to do now, and they are very predictable.

    Twisty:

    First, it’s “Israel,” not “Isreal.” Second, I am not anti-Israel at all, having spent nearly two years there from 1984 to 1986. I disagree w/many of their policies but that is not the subject here. To make a long story short, I admire David Ben Gurion, who said that the territories won in 1967 should be given back, because they are in his words, “a poisoned chalice.”

    Mark,

    I didn’t engage in any ad hominems. All I did was disagree with your fantasy-version of events in Iraq. As far as a lack of national identity, and obsession with tribalism, puh-leeze, this is a generally conceded fact, readily available by googling.

    If you wanted to at least sound intelligent you would concede the point that the Iraqi national identity is a recently-created one and you would deal with that creatively. But no, you just stamp your immature foot and scream “no! isn’t!” Well, it is. This is something generally admitted even by the most fervent proponents of democracy in Iraq. Deal with it.

    Twisty again:

    Don’t lecture me about alpha males. I have read anthropological literature extensively (Lionel Tiger, Robin Lane Fox) and know the score quite well. How many times have you read Men in Groups?

    Sistani is very much an alpha male, which is why his word will carry far more weight in Iraq than any of the silly little boy armchair warriors who think that the US is actually going to establish a democracy in a part of the world where every prerequisite for it is thoroughly alien.

  56. Lili –

    Don’t know if you have kids, but in our house “he did it too” isn’t considered a defense.

    Just as a reminder: this is Arguments. This is where you’re supposed to marshall facts, make cases, and see what happens. Abuse and Disagreement are down the hall.

    This is an interesting subject, and well worth making arguments about.

    A.L.

  57. > Or another writer here of having: “one-dimensional cartoonish representation.”

    Well, A.L. is the final arbiter here, so I’m sure he’ll chime in if I’m wrong about this, but from where I sit this statement, though quite agressive, isn’t ad hominem because it’s all about the argument. It’s just a flambouyant way of saying it’s at the level you’d find in Doonesbury rather than in the writings of Pipes, Ledeen, Bernard Lewis, or our Esteemed Hosts ™.

    Whereas “you two are quite a pair–dumb and dumber” is purely ad hominem: it’s about the people, not their arguments.

    Now, perhaps my dig at “scare quotes” was over the line, but I thought it was just a clever way of saying the evidence was really only “evidence” (i.e. not evidence at all) and I can’t see where it’s saying anything bad personally about the writer I’m criticizing.

  58. A.L.,

    This is an interesting subject, and well worth making arguments about.

    Thanks for the encouragement! (POWWWWW! the sound of your palm hitting your forehead as you read this and think, “Damn! Why didn’t I just write, ‘Shut up, everybody!’ ???”.)

    That’s why I was moved to keep responding, but when the argument boils down to “illegal, immoral war” (uhh, for just one thing, GWI was never concluded) or “people died” (uhh, you really think the ongoing death toll under Sadaam or the Taliban was less?) or “Bush lied” (when every single intelligence service in the known world was saying the same things) there’s really nothing more to say, is there?

    So let me restart things, if anyone is interested. Here’s a list of assertions I would make about our present situation. Have at them–or go back to snoring in agony, your choice!

    1. Wahhabism/militant Islam is a danger to the whole world–a “clash of civilizations” is at the heart of its core ideology.
    2. Because of this, as well as the central place of petroleum in the world economy, complete withdrawal/separation is not a viable option
    3. Similarly, because of the agressive nature of our opponent, “not having enemies” is not an option–it’s merely wishful thinking.
    4. Likewise, the status quo was not an option, witness such things as the massive corruption in the Oil-for-food program, and Khan’s hitherto-unknown distributed nuclear mart. While we rested, our opponent was moving ahead.
    5. Deposing Sadaam was a very useful part of our response. (Note to potential detractors on this point: I am not thereby claiming that our success is guaranteed!)
    6. There are quite a few good outcomes already in response to our Iraq campaign: the exposure of the above-mentioned UN fraud and Nuclear technology sales being merely one of them.
    7. There are also some problems, bad outcomes, and dangers lurking that we ignore to our peril. Foremost among them is that we won’t stay the course. (Note to potential detractors on these last two points: anyone suggesting there could have been a “perfect plan” is not being serious. For just one example, what words could have convinced the French or Russians, who had so much to lose by disturbing the status quo, to join with us? It’s not enough to assert we could have said the right thing, either–I want to know the exact statements we should have made that would have made them change their course of action.)
    8. There are any number of non-military things we should also be doing (and, in many cases, are doing.) This is not an either/or situation.
    9. Whether Islam can be saved from the Wahhabists, have its own Reformation, and whether there are enough live-and-let-live moderates to make this happen is, imo, a completely open question. The one thing I’m sure of is that ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

    Heck, that’s probably enough for starters. OK, snore at will!

  59. “And when it’s Charles Krauthammer, those words are sweetly understated. :)

    Can you explain that Diana? While I certainly don’t agree with everything he writes, he does have some good points—particularly when he critiques this administration. Beats the PC Friedman any day for me. ;-)

    “Don’t know if you have kids, but in our house “he did it too” isn’t considered a defense.”

    Ah, with all due respect A.L. I was simply pointing out that your “parental notice” came rather late in the game–at the end of two threads. I believe that even you indulged in “doing it too.” ;-)

    “Just as a reminder: this is Arguments. This is where you’re supposed to marshall facts, make cases, and see what happens. “

    I believe I have made my arguments well and posted substantiating facts with links to boot. Those who are screaming, “Not so” will see the grim reality soon enough.

    “Whether Islam can be saved from the Wahhabists, have its own Reformation, and whether there are enough live-and-let-live moderates to make this happen is, imo, a completely open question. The one thing I’m sure of is that ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.”

    Islam cannot and will not have a reformation! If you knew anything about Islam you would understand that. Islam is not Judaism and it is not Christianity. Islam is a cultural, political and quasi-religious cult that will not be split apart into the secular and the “divine.” It is against Islamic law!

    How do you propose to take Islam out of the Muslims— all 1.5 billion of them?

    So far the Bushies have not figured this out either. This war has united the ummah (the body Islamic) as nothing else has for centuries. Understand because of their misery, the misery that Islam has wrought, they have nothing else but Islam. In their minds, they have to hang on to that.

    All I am saying is that fire-power alone will not begin to solve this issue, which will be with us for the rest of our lives and those of our children and their children.

    War with Islam is throwing good money after bad. Education via all sorts of media, as well as the other things I have already outlined above and on the other thread, are the only way forward. But, we won’t see the end of this in our life-times.

    Lili

  60. Diana,

    You are neglecting the fact that in the current alpha male game one side can call down JADAMs and the other can’t. A powerful argument in negotiations.

    =============================================

    The really amazing thing about America is that war does not unite the country. It never has. At least not on the time scale of years.

    The wars we win are the one’s where the objective of the war is stronger than the discontent. So far that has proven to be the case. But it is not a fair test yet. The real test will be if after 7 or 10 years if we are willing to keep at it for another thirty or fifty years.

  61. Speaking of the so-called Islamic democracies. . .

    “. . . Only a handful of the more than four dozen predominantly Muslim countries have made significant strides toward establishing democratic systems. Among this handful–including Albania, Bangladesh, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mali, Pakistan, and Turkey–not one has yet achieved full, stable, or secure democracy. And the largest single regional bloc holding out against the global trend toward political pluralism comprises the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa. . . .”

    Robin Wright “Islam and Liberal Democracy: Two Visions Of Reformation,” Journal of Democracy 7.2 (1996) 64-75

    Here is an excellent article by historian, Andrew Bostom, M.D. regarding the subject:

    Delusions of Islamic Democracy: “Culturally authentic” lessons for Noah Feldman
    http://www.secularislam.org/articles/bostom2.htm

    “. . . Indeed, the bizarre concept of “Islamist-democrats” epitomizes the profoundly flawed premises of Feldman’s analyses. He specifically cites SheikhYusuf Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the influential Muslim Brotherhood as an example of such an “Islamist-democrat”, calling him “complex”. During a January, 1998 interview – Sheikh Qaradawi stated his beliefs, using unfettered Medieval terminology, that Islamic law divided the People of the Book – Jews and Christians – into three categories: 1) non-Muslims in the lands of war; 2) non-Muslims in lands of temporary truce; 3) non-Muslims protected by Islamic law, that is to say, the dhimmis. Sheikh al-Qaradawi, made it clear that Islamic law had established different rules for each of these categories. The good Sheikh had thus summarized concisely the theory of jihad war (unfortunately ignored by Feldman, Esposito, and their ilk) which regulates the relations of Muslims with non-Muslims.  . .

    “. . .perhaps most telling, is that Feldman provides no analysis of the human rights tragedy engendered by the failed Iranian theocracy, and its experimentation with Shari’a-inspired, “culturally authentic” Islamic democracy. We must hope that the scholarly insights of Professor Reza Afshari, an Iranian secularist,  will penetrate Feldman’s hubris. At any rate, this excerpt from the Preface, p. xvi, to Afshari’s “Human Rights in Iran-The Abuse of Cultural Relativism” (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/081223605X/
    qid%3D1054153224/sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/
    002-9808946-2229627), should be required reading for Feldman: 

    “…Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran has presented an almost perfect case. Who is more culturally and religiously authentic than the Ayatollah’s? Who is more credible to say what relevance Shiite culture has or does not have for the major issues of our time? The issue is not Islam as a private faith of individuals. It is about what state officials claiming Islamic authority might have to say about the state’s treatment of citizens. Islamic cultural relativism in human rights discourse addresses Islamic cultural preferences for the articulation of public policies within the contemporary state. In Iran, liberal Muslims or any other new interpreters of Islam did not come to power. When and if they do, we will have their record to examine. What we have from liberal Muslims today are only ideological claims punctuated by expressed good intentions. A sector of the traditional custodians of religion, the ulema, politicizing Islam did come to power; therefore it is logical to assume what we faced in the 1980s and 1990s was the result of Shiite Islam (at least an authentic version of it) injecting itself into the politics of a contemporary state. They created a record of what the “culturally authentic” rulers did. The Western cultural relativists deserve to know the details of that record….”

    The big issue is that of having an actual democracy in the Islamic world. This might get the Bushies something other than what they desire. Careful what you wish for—it might turn out to be another mullahtocracy, a la Iran.

    “. . . Afghanistan’s new Constitution is mostly a model of moderation, guaranteeing many rights and freedoms for men and women. But it has a very dangerous loophole: it states that no law can be contrary to the “beliefs and provisions” of Islam. (This formulation replaced the more liberal phrase, “principles of Islam,” in last- minute politicking at the loya jirga, Afghanistan’s constitutional convention.) “Provisions” can be interpreted by extremists to allow for the imposition of Sharia, or strict Islamic law. Another section of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to determine whether laws and treaties made by the government are in accordance with the Constitution. Together, these two articles give the Supreme Court the power to reject virtually any law or treaty as un-Islamic. . .” http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/26/opinion/26THIE.html?th

    Iraq, clearly has a similar problem, “Islam is to be relied on as “a source” for Iraqi laws, and the constitution states that no law may contradict either Islamic law or the guarantees of individual rights. This was a compromise between those urging that Islam be regarded as “the source”, implying that Islamic Sharia law should be the sole basis for new laws, and those, especially women, concerned that Islamic law would undermine the constitution’s individual rights. Islam was also identified as the state religion of Iraq (similar to most Arab constitutions), though religious freedom is included in the individual rights. . . ” http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/FC25Ak02.html

    Which by definition makes the whole thing quite undemocratic.

    —–

    Let’s talk “Turkey;” The “best” example of an “Islamic democracy.”

    All this weekend, there are programs commemorating the Turkish (Muslim) genocide against the Armenians in the last century. Something which the Turks deny to this day! 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children, were systematically exterminated by the Muslims because— they were Christians. Because, Islam told them to exterminate those not willing to “submit” to Islam.

    (9:14) “”So make war on them: By your hands will Allah punish them.”

    (9:29) “Make war upon …the Jews and Christians …who profess not the Religion of Truth, until they pay Jizya and be humbled”.

    (9:33) Allah hath sent the religion of truth that it may prevail over all religions”.

    (9:123) “Believers! Wage war against such of the infidels as are your neighbors.”

    Kerry Plays Politics: Recognizes ‘So-Called Armenian Genocide’ http://www.zaman.com/?bl=international&alt=&trh=20040424&hn=7901

    Note the “So-Called” headline in this Turkish (democracy) on-line paper and remember this was not so long ago in 1915.

    “Canadian Parliament recognizes Armenian genocide”

    “Certainly, relations with Canada will suffer as the result of adopting such a motion,” Turkish Embassy counselor Fazli Corman told Reuters, citing the example of Canadian companies seeking to sign contracts in Turkey. . . “

    “. . .Pashah was the leader of the Young Turks, a group of military officers who in 1908 staged a coup to overthrow the sultan who ruled the Ottoman Empire.

    “He said they would keep one Armenian in a museum so future generations would know what an Armenian looked like,” Stepanian said. . .

    . . .Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul warned his country’s border with Armenia — closed following the fall of the Soviet Union — will not be reopened “unless the Armenian lobby in the U.S. drops its false claims about the alleged Armenian genocide.”

    The issue of Turkey’s denial bothers some Turks. . .

    Gocek is on a sabbatical to write a book on a topic she calls “Deciphering Denial.”

    “I try to understand why the denial occurred,” she said. “They admit that there were massacres, but they reject the charge of genocide.”

    Gocek said her motivation was simple: As a Turk herself, she got worn out answering questions about the genocide. http://www.detnews.com/2004/metro/0404/22/b01-130106.htm

    How can a country that will not honestly recognize its crimes, certainly committed in the name of Islam, be permitted into the EU as a “full democratic member”?

    Back to Iraq and those Muslims. . .

    “the insurgency is growing broader and more lethal by the day.” Cato Institute, Ted Carpenter, vice president for defense and international relations http://www.cato.org/

    Breaking News: More Suicide Attacks in Iraq:

    http://www.boston.com/dailynews/115/world/Developments_in_Iraq_:.shtml

    We are between Iraq and a hard place! :-((

    Lili

  62. Happy to oblige, Twisty. I’ll check my hobby files. There are reams of “volume” to refute the claims that Islam is “compatible” with democracy. One could post for decades. Did you read any of the “volume”? Just to be fair you know. ;-)

    So, I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. One guy says I must present “proof” and not just my opinion. So, I so. And you say it’s “volume.” LOL

    What would you consider “real” proof that Islam is not compatible with democracy, given that passages from Islamic scripture, scholarly articles and examples of Islamic non-democracies in Muslim lands don’t seem to do the trick? ;-)

    I mean, we can’t just take your word for it. Prove that Islam is compatible with democracy, please!

    And of course, there is “No compulsion in religion”! Burning people in their houses is so non-compulsory, so compassionate don’t you think? Is it any wonder that there are no “moderate” Muslims demonstrating against jihad?

    • According to the sahih hadiths of Bukhari, Muslim and Malik •

    Sahih Bukhari
    Volume 1, Book 11, Number 617:
    Quote:
    Narrated Abu Huraira:
    Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is I was about to order for collecting fire-wood (fuel) and then order Someone to pronounce the Adhan for the prayer and then order someone to lead the prayer then I would go from behind and burn the houses of men who did not present themselves for the (compulsory congregational) prayer. By Him, in Whose Hands my soul is, if anyone of them had known that he would get a bone covered with good meat or two (small) pieces of meat present in between two ribs, he would have turned up for the ‘Isha’ prayer.’

    Sahih Bukhari
    Volume 1, Book 11, Number 626:
    Quote:
    Narrated Abu Huraira:
    The Prophet said, “No prayer is harder for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the ‘Isha’ prayers and if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to c awl.” The Prophet added, “Certainly I decided to order the Mu’adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses.”

    Sahih Bukhari
    Volume 3, Book 41, Number 602:
    Quote:
    Narrated Abu Huraira:
    The Prophet said, “No doubt, I intended to order somebody to pronounce the Iqama of the (compulsory congregational) prayer and then I would go to the houses of those who do not attend the prayer and burn their houses over them.”

    Sahih Bukhari
    Volume 9, Book 89, Number 330:
    Quote:
    Narrated Abu Huraira:
    Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hands my life is, I was about to order for collecting fire wood and then order someone to pronounce the Adhan for the prayer and then order someone to lead the people in prayer and then I would go from behind and burn the houses of men who did not present themselves for the (compulsory congregational) prayer. By Him in Whose Hands my life is, if anyone of you had known that he would receive a bone covered with meat or two (small) pieces of meat present in between two ribs, he would come for ‘Isha’ prayer.” (See Hadith No. 617, Vol. 1)

    Sahih Muslim
    Book 004, Number 1370:
    Quote:
    Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are the night prayer and the morning prayer. If they were to know the blessings they have in store, they would have come to them, even though crawling, and I thought that I should order the prayer to be commenced and command a person to lead people in prayer, and I should then go along with some persons having a fagot of fuel with them to the people who have not attended the prayer (in congregation) and would burn their houses with fire.

    Sahih Muslim
    Book 004, Number 1371:
    Quote:
    Hammam b. Munabbih reported: This is what Abu Huraira reported to us from the Messenger of Allah and (in this connection) he narrated some ahadith, one of them is: The Messenger of Allah said: I intend that I should command my young men to gather bundles fuel for me, and then order a person to lead people in prayer, and then burn the houses with their inmates (who have not joined the congregation).

    Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 1373:
    Quote:
    ‘Abdullah reported Allah’s Messenger as saying about people who are absent from Jumu’a prayer: I intend that I should command a person to lead people in prayer, and then burn those persons who absent themselves from Jumu’a prayer in their houses.

    Mailk’s Muwatta
    Book 8, Number 8.1.3:
    Quote:
    ” . . . Malik from Abu’zZinad from al-Araj from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “By Him in whose hand myself is! I had in mind to order firewood to be collected, then to order the prayer to be called, and to appoint a man to lead the people in prayer, and then to come up behind certain men and burn their houses down about them! By Him in whose hand myself is! If one of them knew that he would find a meaty bone or two good legs of meat, he would be present at isha.”

    —-

    Recently, in Pakistan and a number of other Islamic countries, such burning for “no compulsion in religion” just ocurred.

    So, Aurelia, instead of getting your knickers in a twist about my “volume,” why don’t you post some (little) “volume” to prove your claim?

    Speaking of volume. At least half a dozen more bombings in Iraq.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40000-2004Apr24.html

    Jihadis are cheaper by the dozen. Millions more where those came from. We can’t fight the whole ummah.

    Lili

  63. How would you prove that Judaism and Christianity are “compatible” with democracy? There would seem to me to be two approaches: the first deriving from an analysis of their holy books and the sayings of religious leaders, and the second from looking at countries where these religions predominate.

    The Scriptural approach looks impossible to me. Certainly we can find as many imperatives to anti-democratic behavior in these other religions. (Say, the Amalekites.) The most democratic ancient society was the Greeks, who practiced “none of the above”.

    Analyzing by country, we’d be stuck, even now, with having to believe that something about Orthodox Christianity made it less democratic than either Roman Catholicism or Protestantism. I can’t think of any doctrinal reasons for that? Even worse, if we were enlightened Martians visiting Earth in 1700, wouldn’t we conclude that all of the major Earthling religions were just as bad as some posters upthread see Islam today?

  64. Wow, a new proof form for my taxonomy of proofs. Proof by ennui.

    Kirk, that was really very good. Quelle dommage we can’t discuss it.

  65. “I retract my offer.”

    Well, thanks for the bushwhacking.

    Ah, true Bushie ostriches. No WMDs, no proof, no discussion. But, full speed ahead.

    “We are winning!” LOL

    Clearly Bush’s synapse disease, leading to cranial deficiency, is contagious. Cognitive dissonance is all the rage in Neo-con Land.

    Time to go to the demonstration. :-D

    *Redefeat Bush!*

    Lili

  66. Hey, Lili –

    You don’t leave a valid email address, so I’m going to post this publicly.

    I want to have heated, serious debates around these issues here. I encourage it, and the last thing in the world I want is a bunch of zombies who agree with each other or with me. I won’t learn anything from that kind of discussion, and that’s why I do this.

    But I won’t learn anything from juvenile namecalling either. I – politely – asked that the group raise the tone of the discussion, and you’re pretty much holding out (see your last post).

    So here’s the deal.

    Stick around and defend your positions with arguments, or post another comment like this:

    Well, thanks for the bushwhacking.

    Ah, true Bushie ostriches. No WMDs, no proof, no discussion. But, full speed ahead.

    “We are winning!” LOL

    Clearly Bush’s synapse disease, leading to cranial deficiency, is contagious. Cognitive dissonance is all the rage in Neo-con Land.

    and get banned.

    Your call.

    Feel free to email me at the address on the home page if you’d like to discuss this in private.

    A.L.

  67. A.L. : Sorry, that was snarky. And it is unfair of me to say ‘argue badly’ with out offering some constuctive criticism.

    Lilith: Please don’t be offended, but leave the qur’anic quotes out. We already established that you and I have wildly different interpretations of the Qur’an. And I think you did not prove the ‘un-interpretability’ of the Qur’an to any one here.
    Just put the link for long articles, and a short statement of how they support your argument (I learned to do that at lgf :-) ). Big wads of text just waste Joe’s bandwidth.
    Don’t yell, please, none of us are deaf.

    So, Kirk, do you think recent developments in Saud will cause them to lose their taste for Wahhabism?

  68. A.L. : Sorry, that was snarky. And it is unfair of me to say ‘argue badly’ with out offering some constuctive criticism.”

    “Lilith: Please don’t be offended, but leave the qur’anic quotes out.”

    I am very offended! Because, I was asked to support my position by several people, especially Mark, Kirk and you. When I did that with substantive evidence—you don’t want it. You won’t recognize it. Certainly posting links only would not be valid. Some people don’t follow links—like those who are convinced of their position and don’t want to hear evidence to the contrary. If my arguments don’t count and Qur’anic quotes don’t count and scholarly articles don’t count and quotes from Islamic scholars don’t count and deeds by Muslims don’t count—pray tell—what does?

    There are dozens and dozens of ad homs by others on both threads. My bites are few and far between—and always in self defense.

    A.L.—I have left a valid e-mail address every time. However, I often enter a pertinent website and perhaps you were redirected.

    Please click the link.

    I am going to go enjoy my Sunday. :-)

    Lili

  69. “What would it take to convince you that ‘liberal society’ (rule of law, etc.) might work in an Islamic society?”

    An example of one.

    As noted above and in supporting scholarly materials presented, there is not one single truly democratic Islamic nation. Not a single one! The last 1400 years of Islamic hegemony have produced only Islamic theocracies that, since 1492, are mired in backwardness, illiteracy, poverty and misery.

    Don’t misunderstand, I would certainly like it to work. However, I am not betting on this dark horse. It is presumptuous in the extreme for the West to suppose that even Western educated Muslims want our way of life or anything remotely close to it. That all we have to do is to “show them what freedom and demcracy and a chicken in every pot are about” and they will give up their hatred of anything non-Muslim to settle in on the couch with the remote and chips. It must be remembered that most of the leaders of the “Islamist” movement are highly educated—often having studied and lived in the West—and they reject our ways in spite of or perhaps because of those experiences. Specifically they reject secularism and the rule of law as well as a “liberal society” because, these are anti-Islamic. Islamic societies are by definition—conservative—and not individually oriented. The ummah is the body Islamic and it comes before individual rights.

    Islamic scholar and presidential adviser Daniel Pipes believes in the P.C. orientalist- apologist argument that Islam can be reformed. Many Muslim apostates do not because, the Qur’an is the basis for instruction toward Muslim superiority as “the best of peoples,”—with its attendant misanthropy, imperialism and terror— as the literal, immutable word of God.

    Here is a most excellent argument, on scholar Ibn Warraq’s website, why one should read the Qur’an to comprehend Islamic terrorism:

    * Should We Read the Koran to Understand Muslim Terrorism? A Response to Daniel Pipes*

    “. . . Since only the word of God is infallible, and those words are codified in the Koran, only the Koran is indubitable. If so, putatively “Islamic” practices have to demonstrate their Islamic credentials by scriptural standards, not the other way around. . .”

    —-

    Question to you, A.L.

    What would it take to convince you that “Islamic democracy” is an oxymoron? More terror attacks by jihadis who have the Qur’an in one hand and an AK-47 in the other? Statements from Islamic clerics and organizations that Islam must rule the world and that they are working actively and covertly toward that goal? Another Vietnam—or worse?

    “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
    -Omar Ahmad of CAIR

    Lili

  70. Well, there’re a couple of things raised by Lili’s comment.

    First, I’m not necessarily a fan of ‘democracy’ as the intermediate goal. I’ve commented in the past (wow, I say that a lot) about my view that ‘democracy doesn’t transplant like rose bishes’, but I do think there’s a chance for an Islamic reformatrion. I think it will be as bloody as ours was, but at the end of the day, I think a ‘liberal’ Islam is certainly a possibility.

    To get there, we have to defeat Islamism, which in my view is a hybrid strain between Western nihilism and religious fundamentalism.

    (That’s why the leaders of AQ and of the 9/11 attack were primarily western-educated)

    That will take two things: political space in which to devalue the power of the Islamist movement (which will be created, in part, militarily), and a political meme that can counter them…a ‘Good Philosophy’ to counter all the ‘Bad Philosophy’ I see around us.

    The alternative isn’t disengagement; we could have had that in the 1940’s, but didn’t. The alternative is genocidal war – by them on us, which we’ll respond to in kind – except that we have the power to make it happen and they don’t.

    I’m trying hard to find a path that avoides this outcome. It won’t be easy or cheap. But the alternatives all cost a lot more.

    A.L.

  71. While it can be argued that all Muslims countries have joined the “family of nations” and have recognized the authority of the U.N. as well as an international system of secular laws—they still don’t recognize these at home, and less and less so abroad; as evidenced by the call for sharia in the West including the veiling of women. In defiance of secular law women are regularly infibulated, forced into “arranged” marriages, raped for dressing “un-Islamically” and murdered to save the family’s “honor”—in the West!

    Indeed, many of those Muslims living and even those born in the West are becoming more and more radicalized while adhering to the literal tenets of Islam. Demanding their “rights” while seeking to deny the rest of us our rights.

    Islam claims the wailing wall in the Holy Land as its own, despite the fact that the al-Aqsa mosque stands on ground previously belonging to the Jews for millennia. Once Islamic, always Islamic, is the way that goes. Thus, the longing for the lost dream of al-Andalus. Muslims in the West regularly desecrate Christian and Jewish holy sites, yet threaten violence if a Westerner so much as enters a mosque for search and seizure because, these often harbor terrorists.

    They tell us they want to make Islam the “highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.” But, for some reason, we don’t quite believe them—yet.

    They claim to be the “religion of peace” but make war on the innocents of the world in the name of their god.

    ” I am in support of the Hamas movement.”  -Nihad Awad, Executive Director of CAIR

    “While Muslims feel free to insult Christianity, they themselves go into paroxysms of rage and violence at the slightest hint of criticism of Islam.” -Ibn Warraq

    War of civilizations? Hardly! In order to have a war between civilizations there must be two. This is a war between Islam and itself— not between civilizations.

    There is no winning this game. The more we insist on secular, democratic reforms, the more violent and radical Muslims will become. Best to leave them to their own devices—isolated from civilization. Perhaps in a few hundred years or so. . .

    The Unknown

    As we know,
    There are known knowns.
    There are things we know we know.
    We also know
    There are known unknowns.
    That is to say
    We know there are some things
    We do not know.
    But there are also unknown unknowns,
    The ones we don’t know
    We don’t know.

    ============

    Oh, the poetry of war. :-)

    If one looks at this whole thing in geological time, it is easier to take.

    Lili

  72. Best to leave them to their own devices—isolated from civilization. Perhaps in a few hundred years or so. . .‘ Sorry, we don’t have that luxury.

    But there is some hope. Check out this article by Walter Russell Mead in the L.A. Times today:

    Algeria became independent and for many years was a standard-bearer of the anti-Western, anti-capitalist Third World movement.

    How things have changed. Algeria just completed the freest election in the history of the Arab world, it has lots of oil and gas, it wants to work closely with the United States against fanatical terror — and, as a special added bonus, it still doesn’t like France.

    A.L.

  73. But that’s just the problem, Lili. They don’t and can’t exist in isolation from civilization. If we leave them alone, then we’ll periodically get visited by planes used as bombs or worse. If we want to keep them out, we’ll occasionally have to smash some of them. For me, that–and not oil, WMD, or transplanting democracy–was the reason for the Iraq war.

  74. >The alternative isn’t disengagement; we could
    >have had that in the 1940’s, but didn’t. The
    >alternative is genocidal war – by them on us,
    >which we’ll respond to in kind – except that we
    >have the power to make it happen and they don’t.

    A.L.

    Suggesting American autarky in the face of the Arab tribal power challenge is a sign of cowardice and a flight of fantasy worth of Amerind ghost dancing or Islamofascism.

    It has taken 9/11/2001 and more than 2 & 1/3 years to get where I was in 1998 on the terms of the war.

    America is on a “Salvage and Destroy” mission where we will try and save as many people as we can from the Islamists.

    If we are not nuked, chances are that _Islam_ will survive.

    Arab tribal culture will be destroyed by the USA regardless.

    The issue has always been — as Tom Holsinger put it — how many non-American survivors there will be. Arab survival in the War on Terrorism is purely optional and is largely their choice. If they would rather die than change in the face of the modern world, their wishes can be accomodated.

  75. Trent, that was so good! Tribal culture cannot exist in modern day society. I must be failing miserably at making this point, but I believe that the extremely potent meme generation and reinforement generated by the Qur’an have preseved tribal behavoirs intact for over a thousand years.
    But I disagree with killemall in general. If the Qur’an is a ‘manual for replication’ we can compare it to a “code” dedicated to preserving the genome of the larger tribe of “arabs”. The analogy is a virus, existing only to make copies of itself (via meme reinforcement and replication). So how do you wipe out a virus? Individual reps must be destroyed at a rate better than or equal to the rate reps are generated. At 1.5 billion muslims and growing, I don’t think we have the stomach for that.

  76. “The last 1400 years of Islamic hegemony have produced only Islamic theocracies that, since 1492, are mired in backwardness, illiteracy, poverty and misery.”
    This is somewhat puzzling since the Turks were defeated at the gates of Vienna in 1529(Suleiman I) and again in 1683(Muhammad IV).The greatest sea battle since Actium was fought against the Turks at Lepanto of south western Greece in 1571, again the Turks were defeated.
    After the loss of Spain in 1492 Islam was still expanding.

  77. ” They don’t and can’t exist in isolation from civilization. If we leave them alone, then we’ll periodically get visited by planes used as bombs or worse. If we want to keep them out, we’ll occasionally have to smash some of them. For me, that–and not oil, WMD, or transplanting democracy–was the reason for the Iraq war.”

    Of course, Fred, they “can’t exist in isolation from civilization.” That is precisely the point! They will “get it” sooner or later.

    And yes, we will occasionally have to smash some of them. I have no problem with that. The justification for the war and the “good” of removing Saddam are two entirely different things to my mind. Certainly, we are all glad he is “gone” —even the chicken-hearted Arab “brothers.” However, it remains to be seen whether the price was worth it. The bill has not yet been presented in full. It is coming in installments.

    I have always believed in “engagement” in exchange, in civilized discourse, in learning about other cultures and respecting those— no matter what. I have traveled extensively, studied abroad, lived abroad, learned to speak foreign languages fluently, learned to not “stick out” like a foreigner, worked abroad, hosted exchange students. But, this is different.

    I no longer believe in engaging with the world of Islam, just as I no longer believe that Islam can be reformed. Muslims are the pariah’s of the world. Regardless of how much the U.S. is “hated” for its policies, America always gives more than it takes. Aside from Western developed oil, Muslims produce virtually nothing. They only take from civilization and then want to bite the hand that feeds them while blaming the rest of the world for their self-inflicted misery.

    Like recalcitrant teens at some point, you have to say “no more!”—and either, lock them into their rooms or send them to boarding school.

    I have had it! Every day it is another atrocity against innocents inspired by the Islamic so-called “holy book.” It is time for tough love.

    Lili

    Perhaps we should pit them against the Chinese? That’s about an even match population wise. ;-)

    Find out what is the inspiration behind the hate and violence in Islamic terrorism?

  78. ” The analogy is a virus, existing only to make copies of itself (via meme reinforcement and replication). So how do you wipe out a virus? “

    Viruses behave in a number of ways, they either: Kill their hosts, burn themselves out or mutate. Take our pick. Islam, being a parasite, has always “killed” its hosts by absorbing the conquered populations and then no longer having any innovators—shriveled.

    “At 1.5 billion muslims and growing, I don’t think we have the stomach for that.”

    If it’s you or me baby, it’s going to be—YOU! ;-)

    First, every Muslim is not inclined to fight. Remember, it’s only a “tiny minority” (estimated at 10% of the Islamic population of 1.5 billion) who are inclined toward Islamism.

    Second, yes we do have the “stomach for that” if our survival is at stake. Don’t your believe that every man, woman and child in the free world would fight for their survival? It is Islam against the whole world. Like I said, pit them against the Chinese. :-D

    “After the loss of Spain in 1492 Islam was still expanding.”

    According to eminent scholar Bernard Lewis and other historians, Islam began to decline within 400 years of its inception due to infighting and the inability to sustain development because Islam stifles that. Regardless of their ability to “raid” and fight there was so much internal corruption and in-fighting they were doomed to defeat.

    Actually, we can take heart—given that the Muslims/Arabs can’t agree on what sort of bottled water to serve at one of their meetings, much less what sort of united policy they should present to the “infidels.” ;-)

    Since this whole thing came to a head—I LOVE biting into a croissant—the symbol of defeated Islam at the gates of Vienna.

    Lili

  79. It doesn’t matter if Islam decays because it is still expanding.It is is expanding in the Balkans,in Africa,Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe.There are significant numbers in the US,you cannot send 1.5 billion people to their room and immigration control is impossible.

    At some point you have to come to an accomodation with Islam and make efforts to moderate the destructive elements.This cannot be done by isolating Islam nor can Islam be isolated,it is a belief,an idea,these things once out of the bottle are the hardest to put back.

    Compare it to the struggle against communism,a conflict on many different levels and locations.
    This is going to be like that only harder.In that instance they tried shutting themselves in but military spending and low productivity broke the back of the system.
    The crucial difference is the population in the former Soviet block is declining but the Islamic population is increasing.
    Bankrupt countries with growing populations always export their people.
    What are you going to do about it?

    To paraphrase Leon Trotsky “You may not be interested in Islam, but Islam is interested in you”

  80. No, Lilith. Virus only beahave in one way. They replicate.
    “Decline” or “decay”, these terms are meaningless in the world of population genetics. All that matters is reps. Is Islam expanding?

  81. I can assure you, Aurelia, that viruses (both bio and computer) not only replicate, they also mutate and die. And they certainly apply in “population genetics.” Just look at how the Christian “virus” died in Europe and is always “dormant” in the U.S.

    While Islam may be “growing” it could also be postulated that it may die—as in peter-out when the “hosts” or “vectors” are no longer viable or willing. Indeed, Islam may well be compared to a bio-virus that is always present, becomes virulent then dies away only to pop up again—having mutated to another, more virulent strain, such as al-Qaeda. For example, if the receptor host is susceptible (such as the U.S. black prison population) then the Islamic “viral” strain could become more virulent by mutating into a recombinant RNA, reverse transcriptase “pathogen” as tough as AIDS.

    Actually, this might be an interesting dissertation. To explore the similarity of radical Islam to the life of an RNA virus. ;-)

    Lili

  82. “It doesn’t matter if Islam decays because it is still expanding.It is is expanding in the Balkans,in Africa,Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe.There are significant numbers in the US,you cannot send 1.5 billion people to their room and immigration control is impossible.”

    Of course it matters if Islam decays, Peter, because then it won’t be so virulent. There are plenty of Christians, Jews, Hindus and even Muslims in name only.

    “Bankrupt countries with growing populations always export their people.”

    There is no law that says we have to permit immigration from “bankrupt” Muslim countries. Fortress Europe is already sending them back. The Brits should take note. We can do the same. After 9/11 and the subsequent immigration crackdown thousands of illegals left for points north or back to from whence they came.

    Certainly you can send 1.5 billion Muslims “to their room.” Not only that, you can cut off their allowance. And certainly immigration can be controlled much more effectively than it is now being done. There have already been many suggestions by various people in positions of power as to how to accomplish that.

    Here are a few ideas from Daniel Pipes:

    http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1322

    It certainly would be less expensive than war and might be more effective.

    Lili

  83. OK then. I give up. Kirk, you are a wiser being than I.
    Sigh… Yet another proof for my taxonomy. Proof by attrition.

  84. twisteralla,

    The psychotic Arab version of Islam spreads only because of Saudi oil money. That would be a self-solving problem except that we’ll probably end it sooner than the Saudis will.

    Something like 11-12% of the Saudi labor force is Saudi. The rest are foreigners. I believe the 2003 statistics were 23 million people in Saudi Arabia of whom @ 5 million were foreigners working on short-term contracts. But only about 600,000 of the @ 18 million Saudis were employed. They’re dead men walking. It’s just a question of when. IMO that will be @ five years after American occupation troops leave Iran. Not Iraq – Iran.

    Note that we are trying very, very hard to secure an alliance with Iraq’s Shiite Arabs. Shiite Arabs form the great majority of the population in Saudi Arabia’s oil producing areas.

    Funny how things work out like that.

  85. Aurelia, what do you do for a living? Did you read the post? It says a lot about the environment. You are so busy trying to prove me wrong, that you have missed the point. AGAIN!

    Tom, the Saudis admit to having at least 30% unemployment. Imagine what the real figures are. They will implode. Saudiization is not working. Because the Saudis are “too superior” to actually work. Work is for expats. LOL

  86. I wasn’t going to say anything further on this topic, but here goes–just in case anyone saw the reference to Pipes but didn’t take time to read the actual item:

    Here are a few ideas from Daniel Pipes:

    http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1322

    It certainly would be less expensive than war and might be more effective.

    Well, Pipe’s brief article is indeed very interesting, but alas it has nothing whatsoever to do with the question of military vs non-military responses to the threat of Islamism. Nothing! Instead, it’s all about how we in the West should evaluate who is qualified to bear the title “Moderate Islamic Spokesman”. That’s all. Not even a single word about how we might then, for example, cooperate with such folks to defuse the present situation.

    Now if Lilith wonders why some folks here don’t take her contribution as seriously as she would like, it’s moves like this that are part of the reason why. But I suppose I also should offer apologies in advance if it turns out that the link was simply a typo and she meant to refer to some other Pipes article–indeed it would be a comfort, since the cited piece is such a non sequitur.

  87. Oh, Kirk, it really worries and disturbs me that the likes of you don’t “take me seriously.” [sob] I think I’ll go into the garden and eat worms.

    Pipes is an Islamic scholar and an adviser to the president. He has lots of articles addressing your queries. You might want to avail yourself.

    Additionally, I have already stated that I disagree with Pipes that Islam can be reformed. He only says that because he is a public figure, to avoid the fatwa brigade.

  88. “Fortress Europe is already sending them back”
    Absolute tosh! Europe leaks like a sieve on all its borders,there are no adequate controls on asylum seekers or illegal immigrants.Governments literally don’t even have a clue as to how many are entering.

    Christianity and Islam are not viruses they are belief systems,they don’t replicate,they proselytise.

    “Pipes is an Islamic scholar and an adviser to the president.”
    This President?
    “Bush’s synapse disease, leading to cranial deficiency”

  89. Peter: Islam and Christianity are not viruses, true, but for the purpose of analysis via theorectical population genetics, we can extrapolate memetic transmission and diffusion in terms of viral replication. I’m just framing the problem with a different worldview than most.

  90. Twisterella,
    Not a good idea,the method is too open to literal interpretation.Someone will start to regard faith as being suitable for eradication.We have been there before.

  91. ” “Fortress Europe is already sending them back”
    Absolute tosh! Europe leaks like a sieve on all its borders,there are no adequate controls on asylum seekers or illegal immigrants.Governments literally don’t even have a clue as to how many are entering.”

    Nevertheless, they are making a superior effort—with detention camps. Perhaps you have not seen this information, Peter?

    REFUGEES-EUROPE: Not in EU Backyard

    For tens of thousands of migrants, home is now a camp somewhere in Europe on the way back where they came from. New measures threaten recent arrivals. . .

    . . .About 56 million migrants live within the European Union (EU), making 7.7 percent of its population, says a report published by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

    An additional 3 to 4.5 million people are estimated to live in Europe without required papers. . .

    A “Europe of camps” mapped by Migreurop shows more than 130 detention centres in the EU and countries waiting to join. The camps dot Germany (21), Greece (19), France (15), Britain and Spain (12 each), Italy (11), Hungary and the Czech Republic (8 each), Belgium (6), Malta (5), and the Netherlands (4). Some are scattered in other countries. The number of migrants in these camps is not known.

    http://www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=22590

    —–

    “Pipes is an Islamic scholar and an adviser to the president.”

    This President?

    “Bush’s synapse disease, leading to cranial deficiency”

    Well, like the other advisors who know something, Bush is not taking Pipe’s advice, Peter. That’s why we are in the pickle we are in now.

    Islam “replicates” like a virus via breeding. ;-)

    “Someone will start to regard faith as being suitable for eradication.We have been there before.”

    According to many Muslim apostates Islam is not a faith but a death cult made up by Muhammad to conquer the world. Based on the the “instruction manual,” historical evidence as well as current events. . .

    (2:216) “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you.”

    (9:29) “Make war upon …the Jews and Christians …who profess not the Religion of Truth, until they pay Jizya and be humbled.”

    (9:33) Allah hath sent the religion of truth that it may prevail over all religions.”

    (5:51) “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. . .”

    http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/005.qmt.html#005.051

    —–

    Past behavior is generally indicative of future behavior.

  92. Twisty:”At 1.5 billion muslims and growing, I don’t think we have the stomach for that.”

    Read Victor Davis Hanson’s Ripples of Battle before you say that: He recounts how our reaction to Okinawa and kamikazes was to take thousands of civilians, train them, equip them with appropriate weaponry, and send them on lowlevel fire-bombing raids to Japan with the avowed intent of burning entire cities to the ground. I suspect we can and will do it again if Islam persists in harming us.

  93. Lili,

    Let me just point out again that the Pipes article you cited had nothing to do with the point you were making and were citing it in support of. Can you please address this?

    (The fact that the article had its own very interesting and valid point is beside the point.)

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