September 01, 2003
Al Qaida? In Iraq? That’s crazy talk:
A man believed to be an al-Qaida operative, found with 11 surface-to-air missiles, has been arrested in Iraq by U.S. soldiers and has acknowledged that he had been training with Ansar al Islam fighters to use the weapons against American forces, a senior U.S. official said Friday.
By the way, where are all the Western protests about foreign forces invading Iraq in order to kill innocent Iraqi civilians?
Posted by Tim Blair at September 1, 2003 04:06 AM
By the way, if millions of people take to the streets and their elected leaders don't take a blind bit of notice, are you really deranged enough to think the jihadi fanatics are going to pay any attention?
They're too busy "bringing it on" in the new playground Bush/Blair/Howard have created for them.
It has been fascinating to observe how conservative commentators scramble to adjust their justifications for the Iraq fiasco as each new setback occurs. So we've just about given up on WMD's, but of course it was really all about "liberation". Except that the only thing we seem to have "liberated" Iraqis from is law, order, water supply and electricity. Now political dissidents get blown up instead of abducted!
Conservative commentators duly declare that this was the plan all along, and we've created a massive diversion to draw all the terrorists into Iraq. So the long suffering Iraqi people are now the sacrificial lambs to be starved, dehydrated and randomly incinerated for our benefit. This kind of reasoning brings to mind Kurt Vonnegut's reference to Yale university as "Plantation Owners' Tech...where the plantation owners learned how to get the natives to kill each other instead of them."
I wonder how this plan rates on the "good vs evil" moral scale. Oops...looks like we're getting pretty close to "evil" there. I guess that makes the war on terrorism more like a battle of "evil vs evil". So, if your loved ones happen to develop smallpox or be atomized by a homemade nuclear device, just think of it in terms of a "shock and awe" campaign.
Australia will send troops back to Iraq: You're all drafted!
Join up and help to finish what you started...it's your opportunity to become a hero (and die like a hero).
Yep, we sure liberated Iraq from law and order. Damn shame that Qusay's dead, seeing as how he did such a good job on "law and order" before the war. Sure the rape rooms are gone, but the electricity isn't on all the time! Oh, the humanity!
thepusher tries to make a point by ridiculing a position which those he criticizes never held, at least not nearly as widely as he implies. Try this on for size:
"It has been fascinating to observe how leftist/pro-Saddam commentators scramble to adjust their objections to the Iraq liberation as progress occurs. So we've just about given up on WMD's, but of course it was really all about "oil". It was so much better when Saddam abducted, tortured and executed political dissidents. Everyone knows now that the society under Saddam was perfect! Those damn Americans spoiled it."
One of the distinguishing characteristics of idealogues - particularly leftist ones - is their inability or refusal to make moral distinctions.
Claiming that those who murder innocent civilians are morally equivalent to the people who stop those psychotic murderers by killing them are nothing but moral retards.
Aargh! Make that last sentence:
"Those who claim that those who murder innocent civiilians are morally equivalent to those who stop the psychotic murderers by killing them are nothing but moral retards."
The latest lefty rationalization is that there weren't any Al Qaeda in Iraq BEFORE the invasion but there are now. So apparently there were thousands of Al Qaeda just waiting at the borders of Iran and Saudi Arabia for the opening shots to be fired so that at that point they could all storm in to stick it to Bush... (don't laugh I'm serious) ...because we KNOW there couldn't POSSIBLY have been any Al Qaeda in Iraq BEFORE the war started because that would mean the new UNDENIABLE presense of Al Qaeda isn't ALL AMERIKKKA'S FAULT (tm).
I think these lefty trolls are a sign of increasing ideological desperation.
"thepusher tries to make a point by ridiculing a position which those he criticizes never held, at least not nearly as widely as he implies"
See Tim's article of a week or so ago praising Miranda Devines "cockroaches" article...I can't be bothered setting up a link to it. Of course the readers of this blog weighed in with hearty agreement.
"Everyone knows now that the society under Saddam was perfect!"
This is exactly the way anti-war sentiment has been misrepresented by right-wingers attacking opposition to the war. Apparently anyone who doesn't think it is worth risking the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents and subsequent social disintegration is a "Saddam loving weasel".
If you want to talk about morals, what gave us the moral authority to take that risk on behalf of the Iraqi people? Given that we went into war being told there were WMD ready to wreak havoc, it was pretty reasonable to expect innocent civilians to die in the tens of thousands. So what gives us the right, sitting in our safe and comfortable country, to make that decision?
"One of the distinguishing characteristics of idealogues - particularly leftist ones - is their inability or refusal to make moral distinctions."
You know the other key sign of an ideologue? They call everyone with a differing opinion an ideologue.
Geez, no wonder Christopher Hitchens cut the cord with The Nation. He just got fed up with the leftwing crazies and their inability (or unwillingness) to make moral distinctions. Ashcroft=Bin Laden, Bush=Saddam. Really no difference between those two pairs.
As he noted, two of the causes of the left over the years were the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs. Since the removal of Saddam, both groups now live without the daily fear of annihilation. In fact, the marshlands are now slowly recovering now that water is now being diverted back to the land (after Saddam had cut it off).
But during the runup to the war, the left's concerns over these two groups was nowhere to be found.
Cynicism rules the left today. As someone once said after Rousseau died, "He invented nothing, he set fire to everything." Our friends on the left seem to be determined to burn everything to the ground instead of lighting the darkness for a bit.
>>it was pretty reasonable to expect innocent civilians to die in the tens of thousands. So what gives us the right, sitting in our safe and comfortable country, to make that decision?
... it was pretty reasonable to expect innocent civilians to die in the tens of thousands. So what gives us the right, sitting in our safe and comfortable country, to make that decision? ...
You act as if innocent civillians weren't dying in the tens of thousands under Saddam's rule. Yet you seemed perfectly comfortable making the decision to let that continue with no end in sight.
>If you want to talk about morals, what gave us the moral authority to take that risk on behalf of the Iraqi people? Given that we went into war being told there were WMD ready to wreak havoc, it was pretty reasonable to expect innocent civilians to die in the tens of thousands.
Self-defense is a moral right of a nation. You operate in some kind of delusional mental framework where there are no consequences of inaction to consider, no "bad-or-worse" choices to be made, but everything is focused, in tunnel-vision manner, on the immediate possibility that innocent people might die. Well, it's a mentality of an irresponsible fool. Read your history and consider WWII as an example of the consequences of inaction. Many more innocent people can die if you don't face reality.
And as far as the WMD, you're in for a September surprise.
Okay mo skrilla, if you can't understand what I wrote I'll simplify it for you:
Saddam have weapons
Saddam attacks USA
USA blasts Saddam out of stratosphere with full world support
Sounds like a deterrent...
US attack Saddam
Saddam has nothing to lose, uses weapons
Tens of thousands of people die
Syria/Iran get in on the action
"And as far as the WMD, you're in for a September surprise."
Let me guess, the US is going to celebrate the anniversary of launching a fabricated war by launching some fabricated evidence. Re-read scenarios above...(hindsight is a wonderful thing)
What thepusher fails to comprehend is that 9/11 demanded both a tactical and a strategic response. Getting rid of the Taliban and stopping al-Quaeda from using Afghanistan as a terrorist Disneyland was the tactical response. But that wasn't enough.
The strategic response had to be to put an end to doing business as usual in the Arab world. The question was how to go about it. Iraq is the key. If we can get Iraq right (and it's an open question, seeing as the administration seems to have underestimated the countermeasures that have been taken by the ba'athist die-hards and Iraq's neighbors), then future of the terrorist-supporting states of the Middle East looks, from their view, grim. That is why they are fighting us to prevent Iraq from becoming a stable state, let alone a democracy.
As such, the strategic response to 9/11 is more like a chess game, and the war in Iraq is one move. That's what the Left can't understand -- they think that we've been playing checkers.
Oh, and by the way, that stuff about "fabricating" the reasons for war?
Read it and weep.
From The Observer, no less.
"As such, the strategic response to 9/11 is more like a chess game, and the war in Iraq is one move. That's what the Left can't understand -- they think that we've been playing checkers."
Okay, now go back and re-read my original post. So is it "moral" to play with games with people's lives? Iraq wasn't responsible for Sept 11. The 82+ people who died in that bombing weren't responsible. So what gives you the right to play with their lives, as you say, like a "chess game"? Obviously you are happy to play games as long as you are at a safe distance.
Like I said, if that's the way you think then it is a case of "evil vs evil". Moral equivalency, as you are so fond of bleating.
Well, there you have it. One uses the word "game" as a rhetorical device, and the looney-lefty takes it literally.
Talked yourself into a corner there, didn't you Rexy.
Oh well, I'll leave you and the Timster alone to enjoy your mutual-masturbation sessions without further interruption. Hope we can hook up for another debate sometime.
What is it about dictators that so enthralls the left. Something happened to the left in the '70s. It became much less responsive to repressed peoples and much more virulently anti-western. The collapse of the USSR must be heart rending for leftist; to think of all those Russians no longer under the boot of communism, it's really must be sad. You do know that Reagan "fabricated" Stars Wars to frighten the Soviets into spending themselves into collapse? Reagan should have told the Soviets the truth and spared all those Russian peasants their freedom. And that born-again leftist Christian Jimmy Carter never met a murdering tyrant that he didn't admire for his ability to provide social services and order. These people scare the hell out of me. They are why I practice my Second Amendment rights.
Be careful you don't push so hard that you blow out your o-ring. I guess with your head so far up your ass you are the expert on "hindsight." You clairvoyant leftist, you.
Let's try this, pusher: Can you define "strategic?" No one here has suggested that Iraq was responsible for 9/11. That honor and distinction goes to the Taliban, Usama bin Laden, Saudi Arabia and, as we say in baseball, the players to be named later (i.e., we don't know the whole story, yet).
Intelligence, international relations -- it's a scary, dark and murky world out there. It's full of people who look to do bad things to other people. Unfortunately for the looney-lefties, life is not a Disneyland where, if it just weren't for the evil America and Israel, everyone would get along just fine.
So, if you can give me a good definition of "strategic," I promise to elaborate. Until then, I decline to waste my time with people who play rhetorical kindergarten. Everyone I know who supported this war did so understanding that it was serious business, but that the only way to ultimately make the West safe from fundamentalist terror was to begin a long-term campaign to put an end to the failed-state, terrorist-sponsoring dictatorships of the Middle East. Hussein's regime got the honor of going first for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that it was the most vulnerable due to the long series of UNSC resolutions that everybody agreed it had violated.
Btw, you haven't responded to the Observer article linked above. I'd say that, if anyone has talked himself into a corner -- "launching a fabricated war by launching some fabricated evidence", anyone? -- it is you.
Tim -- the trolls have found you.
thepusher must be getting high on his own supply. I really enjoyed the two options presented. Obviously you prefer the one that has Saddam attacking the US. I quite prefer the second option, even if I grant all your suppositions, which, of course, I don't.
The lie-Pusher: Those who supported regime change in Iraq sincerely hope for a safe, stable and democratic Iraq. As a result, the deaths of innocent Iraqis and coalition soldiers are truly upsetting to us.
On the other hand, you and the other dishonest leftist hypocrites sincerely hope for chaos and murder in Iraq. Secretly, you and your kind cheer every bombing, every coalition death, in the hope that these will somehow validate the vile stance your diseased minds have created. I await your predictable, pathetic and meaningless denial. How does it feel, to be a cheerleader for murder, when you come to the realization that your motivation is the hope you might win an argument?
You give " moral equivalence " a bad name, if that's possible.
Hi Guys, boy I'm so glad Al Quaeda have finally turned up in Iraq. Phew! That was close! I was beginning to think they'd never come!
The left loves you, even in spite of yourselves.
Thank you to thepusher for illustrating my point so vividly. If thepusher finds it offensive to have one's views misrepresnted and one's morality insulted merely because of a difference of opinion, THEN HE SHOULD NOT DO SUCH THINGS AND ACT SURPRISED WHEN OTHERS RESPOND IN KIND.
He may also note that I called no one here an idealogue, only pointed out characteristics of them. So sorry if he recognized himself.
it was pretty reasonable to expect innocent civilians to die in the tens of thousands.
I'm so glad Al Quaeda have finally turned up in Iraq. Phew! That was close!
thepusher: Why are you criticizing those you disagree with for "playing games with other peoples lives" when, in an earlier post, you recommended the US wait until Saddam attacked the US before response?
Time for a hissy fit:
'thepusher', you seem to be having fun poking your tongue out at the conservatives, and accusing them of being ideologues, etc. But the fact is, Saddam Hussein has been deposed now, and I am sure that Iraq is much better for it. To argue now that it was 'wrong' for America to invade Iraq is stupid. The past is past. It's over. Gone. Finito.
But anyway, even if it was wrong for America to invade Iraq, they should have been credited for asking for the Iraqi government and Saddam Hussein to be brought to account for their thousands of crimes against humanity.
So, 'thepusher', if America was wrong to invade Iraq and try to instal the beginnings of a democracy in place of the Ba'ath dictatorship, what should they have done? Please, give us the benefit of your wisdom and experience. I'm sure you have a vast experience in the ways of the world, so tell us, do, if you care so much about the Iraqi people, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE ABOUT SADDAM HUSSEIN AND THE BAATH PARTY?
(Whew, felt good to get that off my chest...)
TimT makes a good point. One of the most irritating aspects of Idiotarianism is that its adherents feel well disposed to constantly express what they are against, but have yet to articulate just what hell it is that they are for. The latter is too mind-bending a challenge, I suppose.
I mean, I could sit here and smugly announce that I am against pollution, crying babies in movie theaters, being mean to manatees, and people who constantly punctuate their speech with the phrases, "I'm like," and, "he's like," and "it's like." And I could perhaps feel really good about myself for having said so. But does that make me a more responsible citizen? A better person?
TimT does make a good point Rex. It's like Hitler and Stalin. I mean - water under the bridge! Final solution? Gees, get over it. Pol Pot? Time to live and let die. Saddam Hussein? Just another US proxy who went AWOL. They all stray eventually. Musharraf? Oops, sorry.
But really, time heals all wounds (unless you are dead). So let's just get on with letting the US do whatever it wants in the world. They know best, they told us so. Time for the rest of us to just bend over and squeal like piggies. After all, they got all the guns, they got all the money, they got all the bleating bloggers following them to pandemonium AND... they got FoxNews!!!! How fair and balanced can u get?
Let's face it my left-leaning cousins: it's freedom and democracy or bust!
The left loves you, even when you spit vitriol.
You haven't answered my question, though, Billy. What do you propose to do about tyrannies, dictatorships, and so on? Let them continue to kill and torture the people they are supposed to be protecting? Is this the 'freedom of choice' which the left advocates - the freedom of dictators like Saddam Hussein to run they're country the way they see fit?
Apparently, we have reason and logic on our side, as well.
Oh, I propose we let Dubya handle them all. He's made such a good start with Iraq. But he should have started at "A" and worked his way through the alphabet. That way he wouldn't have to tackle the problem of tyranny in the United States until well into his third term.
"tyranny in the United States..."
Now we see an example of the Idiotarian resorting to hyperbole rather than engaging in a discussion. It's all too easy, being a looney-lefty. Just sit on your ass, smoke unfiltered cigarettes, collect a check from the government, and rant about American tyranny and imperialism.
We seem to have a failure to communicate here. In fact the two sides are existing in different worlds and cannot understand the other.
For one side the world is at war. Or, more accurately, militant Islam (supported by moderate Muslims) has been at war with Christendom for the last 20 years. 9/11 was just the high-point of the Islamic offensive. Thus considerations of strategy, tactics, and so forth are the main topics of discussion.
For the other side the world cannot be at war since war is wrong. Thus the discussions are about why we are not at war, why this is all illegitimate aggression, and so on.
So, when one side listens to the other it hears things that make absolutely no sense! Thus, the other side must be involved in a conspiracy or idiots or whatever.
Alas, no amount of talking is going to cross this divide, I have decided. Time and time only will tell. I know where I stand, the world is at war. And while you may not be interested in it, it is interested in you.
There are young men out there who would happily kill all of us commenting here, irregardless of our opinions.
Tim, thanks for letting me get this off my chest on your site!
The Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the US at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The first people the US attacked in response were the French in North Africa.
Attacking Iraq is part of the overall strategy in the War against the Islamofascists. You can be willfully and purposefully blind and think you can score points. But you aren't persuading anyone, just getting applause from your anti-American, self-hating, liberal pals.
Just stand aside, while the war is won.
I see thepusher is parotting Anna Quindlen with the "Bush saved the Iraqis from electricity and running water" line. Uday and Qusai are no more, so one can't wish Ms. Quindlen and her fellow poltroons the pleasure of an evening with the Husseins, perhaps capped with a feet-first trip into the shredder, so they can experience what they seem to think the Iraqis would rather we have left them to.
my motto as a freeper is Liberals only love politically correct poor people.
So no one demonstrates when a million people die in the Congo, or when Mugabe is starving their own people and my friend has to hide her brother who is a pro democracy student...
And although they once in awhile peep about Burma, no one bothers to mourn the thousands killed in Peru by the shining path marxists, or the thousand being killed by marxists in Nepal.
Liberals used to care about such things; now, except for Alan Colmes, it seems the left has been hijacked by political correct anti american marxists...
"And as far as the WMD, you're in for a September surprise."
I've heard this report too and am surprised that, if true, it's being sat upon until mid-September. To an extent I can understand why this may be done (accumulate even more hard evidence, fears of timing appearing too convenient while WMD questions are asked, waiting for a time of optimum political advantage, but still think that this really should be presented to the public as it is found
"Tyranny in the United STates?" Billy, we all know that if Bush really were a dictator, you'd be falling over yourselves to kiss up to him, just like you suck up and love every real dictator in the world.
"For one side the world is at war. Or, more accurately, militant Islam (supported by moderate Muslims) has been at war with Christendom for the last 20 years"
Try delving a bit deeper into the history books, back to when Richard the Lionheart ordered his soldiers to eat the flesh of vanquished Arabs as a "psychological tactic" to aid them in their crusade to capture Jerusalem.
You obviously don't understand the meaning of the word "moderate" either. Why don't you just say "all Muslims are in league with the devil, lets round them up and gas them".
Your responses are all predictably reactionary (you can always tell they've run out of ideas when the name-calling and SHOUTING starts). It may surprise you to learn that I would probably support what America is trying to do if it had been better thought out. Oh look, the "irrelevant" UN is called upon to bring in troops to add more international legitimacy. Didn't see that one coming...
What the US Administration (and the Tim Club) need to learn is that belligerence and self-righteousness breeds belligerence and self-righteousness.
Tim Blair=Wahabi Cleric.
Delve even farther back into history and you'll find Mohammed consolidating power through systematic attack and assassination of rivals, including Jews. This was conveniently justified by sura 8.68: "It has not been for any prophet to take captives until he has slaughtered in the land."
To term mainstream Muslims as moderate is incorrect as Allah demands total obedience. Total obedience cannot be delivered in moderation.
Given the opportunity and means these guys are going to kill all of us infidels. They cannot be detered or reasoned with. We must be prepared to kill all of those who aim to kill us.
Your slip is showing, ThePusher. Note that he/she/it said that any evidence of WMD will be fabricated evidence. He/she/it has already made up whatever mind is left in its' pointy little head.
Where the coalition the only folks that thought Iraq had WMD in the first place? I mean, it wasn't just the US, Britain, and Oz who said they had them. The UN spent over decade and lots of money and specialists looking for them. Mr. Blix -- that bastion of international bureauocracy -- sat before the UN Security Council and read off the numbers of material that they KNEW Iraq had purchased and were still unaccounted for. He said that, given more time -- and money, of course, that he would eventually find them. He was quite confident of this. That, along with evidence presented by Saddam's own weapons expert and his sons-in-law (to name only three people) gave a compelling reason to believe that there were (and are) such weapons and/or their precursors. If we haven't found them yet, so what? We found 20 some-odd MIGs buried in the desert that we didn't know were there. Who knows where the material went. The fact that we've not found them yet means absolutely nothing.
(The US recently found stashes of mustard gas from WWI that they knew were buried somewhere on a university campus. They are still looking for further caches that they know are there somewhere, but are having trouble locating. This is in the US, mind you, where we know they were buried. How much more difficult would it be to find them in a foreign country where they've had years to hide them or transport them to another country -- such as Syria and North Korea.)
I won't even address the fact that I had to read the phrase "children's prison." That ought to speak for itself. If one wants to talk about tens of thousands of Iraqi dead, one ought to reference the mass graves being found all over Iraq. Or ask the Kurds about WMD. They've become experts on the matter.
Of course, I'm speaking to the wind. Mr. Pusher has already made up his mind, as I noted at the beginning. Nothing anyone says, no facts, will ever give him pause to consider his position. After all, we're talking about the oppressive Americans here and that overrides any fact. Makes you wonder why Mr. Pusher and his friends don't just immigrate to a better country; you know, the way people from every other country come to America?
ThePusher / BigHawk / Billy Bloggs and maybe all of us, need to learn that not many “if any” arguments are black or white, 100 – 0. I am usually prepared to give some credit to the opposing view. How people finally come down deciding which view is more correct, will depend on all sorts of stuff, they back ground, pier pressure, political bios, etc, etc.
An example of this might be when car seatbelt laws were being debated. Some said “you are always better off wearing a seatbelt”. Clearly not true, equally, the “always better off not wearing a seatbelt” would not be true. The reality lies somewhere in-between. Even if it is 49 – 51 we all should wear seatbelts.
Two years after the children overboard incident it is written into history the government lied, when they said “children were thrown in the sea.” Even my wife believes children weren’t even in the water. The photos don’t prove they were or were not.
It is very interesting to debate issues such as the crusades, Palestine / Israel, going into Iraq, etc. Some folks will go back to any time in history to justify there argument. There is usually some “grey” in most problems. I just can’t fall in behind people that knowingly blow up children.
The kids were in the water because the boat was sinking after been towed for two days during which it finally fell apart. Reith simply cropped the pictures to show what he wanted and then made up a pack of lies to support it. And then media attack dogs like Tim Blair spun a bunch of bullshit to support those lies.
"I just can’t fall in behind people that knowingly blow up children."
You better strike off the allied forces that bombed Dresden to hell in WWII. Oh...that's us.
Boy, it's so easy to push people's buttons (and get reactions). I can't believe Timbo, Bolty, Janet etc actually get PAID for it.
PS: Zsa Zsa, you really need to seek some counselling - you frighten me.
"Note that he/she/it said that any evidence of WMD will be fabricated evidence. He/she/it has already made up whatever mind is left in its' pointy little head."
Well, let's just say this is some "pre-emptive speculation" based on the past use of certain fake documents by certain people.
When the report comes out I will read it carefully, but through my new "Andrew Bolt Ideological Filtration Sunglasses (patent pending)". This will block out the bits I don't want to see, but I'll have to switch the lenses from "right-wing" to "left-wing" first.
I will then write a tirade featuring quotes of four words or less woven into the context of my choosing. I'm sure a Murdoch paper will agree to publish it...
"I am usually prepared to give some credit to the opposing view. How people finally come down deciding which view is more correct, will depend on all sorts of stuff, they back ground, pier pressure, political bios, etc, etc."
You're completely right, but looking at the wrong blog. This is a blog for people who block their ears and shout at each other. I note that you refer to "pier pressure"...is that pressure of the Akerman variety?
No need to be frightened of me, it's reality that should scare you: I see you as a joke; the Islamofascists see you as a helper to be eliminated when no longer useful.
Mr. thepusher: I don't usually discuss my political leanings, but you seem to believe that anyone who acknowledges the fact that war has been declared upon the West -- and explicitly so -- is a rightwing nutter. I am a classical Liberal. None of that means anything, except to someone who begins his arguments with the pigeon-holing of the debaters instead of listening to the arguments offered. One's political leanings don't matter one bit to the bin Laden's of the world. For such as he, people are merely means to an end. Those who blew up the USS Cole, the American Embassy's in Africa, the WTC, or children on buses didn't ask about anyone's politics. (What politics did those children hold, anyway.) All Saddam cared about was who was loyal to him and his family, though the evidence -- actual bodies in actual graves -- shows that even that wasn't enough to shield many from torture, rape, eventual death, and burial in a mass grave.
You talk about an abstract projection of deaths that never took place and proceed to voice your disgust at them. What about the actual deaths of innocent Iraqis that took place everyday in Iraq. American's are not the one's killing and bombing now, but it is other Muslims killing their fellow Muslims. At least now they aren't doing it under government sanction, using torture to get their jollies before feeding innocents into the shredder. I don't understand how, if you are genuinely against the killing of innocents, you can rale against the coalition's efforts to stop it. You seem to be stuck on ONE of the reasons given for going to war. Or could it be that none of this makes any difference to you, as long as you have the slightest cause to bleat against the West?
Perhaps it is because this war has been phrased as a War on Terror. Going to war against a method isn't very inspiring, is it. But then, we didn't choose the methods being used by our avowed enemies. We are warring against a doctrine that states that "anyone who doesn't agree with us is an infidel and must be killed -- by whatever means." This doctrine doesn't make any differentiation between those who are opposed or for the doctrine, though. The (actual) murdered thousands never had a chance to voice an opinion one way or the other. We aren't the ones who handed out video tapes declaring war, while hiding in a cave, or a bunker. I'll admit that we were about 20 years too slow on the uptake in recognizing that people had declared war on us. Lebanon ought to have awakened us to the fact, but instead we helped the terrorists leave the country. You seem to be able to go back to any point in history to denigrate western civilization, but unable to take cognizance of the fact war was declared on us whether or not we willing to participate. Indeed, for years, we didn't participate. This required that the enemy up the ante (if you'll forgive the unforgivable use of a game metaphor). Well, they got our attention. They now have everything they wished for -- mass death. This is all those who believe that the end justifies the means ever manage. As a lover of history, you ought to know this.
If you would deter further war, I suggest that you expend your energies convincing the other side to stop murdering people. This is all it would take. Of course, this would mean that you must recognize ALL of reality, not just the bits that suit your favorite "arguments."
And, by-the-bye, you do the left no credit.
thepusher: "What the US Administration (and the Tim Club) need to learn is that belligerence and self-righteousness breeds belligerence and self-righteousness."
Not even a note of irony there.
"but you seem to believe that anyone who acknowledges the fact that war has been declared upon the West -- and explicitly so -- is a rightwing nutter."
Well an extremist is an extremist and a moderate is a moderate. War has been declared upon the West by extremist Muslims. Just as there have been and are Christian/Jewish extremists who are waging war upon Islam. What is really dangerous about the current situation is that people like the readers of this blog are making ever more sweeping generalisations about Islam, further dehumanising and trivialising Muslims. This is just adding fuel to the fire and leading us down an extremely dangerous path.
All societies have extremist elements, leaders and commentators who play up to predjudice and fear - what matters is the conditions which cause the FOLLOWERS to turn to such leaders. If you think the methods we are using to fight this problem are working, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Just think how many terrorists are being created as we sit around ignoring what is going on in Aceh and North Africa. In the meantime, mainstream Australia is increasingly seeking out it's own extremists...
The end result is not gonna be pretty.
"Not even a note of irony there."
Yeah, I play the game the way you guys play it.
Please give us the benefit of your expertise by explaining to us why it is that the Dar al-Islam is waging war on the Dar al-Harb.
At the end of the day, Islam is a peaceful religion being hijacked by militants with ancient grievances.
Most Muslims are not interested in destroying the West. Many wish to live in the West and enjoy its advantages for them and their children. These Muslims do not interpret the Quran as an incitement to destroy the West.
The problem for the West is to sort these genuine and innocent Muslims from the snakes in the grass who are using Islam as cover for their murderous activities.
Okay, I'll bite. You say that the way the war is being waged is wrong and will lead to disaster. For over 20 years, from the time of the Iranian "Revolution," we've fought (if one could call it that) on the diplomatic front and waged very limited battles. All we've gotten for our efforts is a growing casualty list -- which grew exponentially on 9-11. If finally taking a glove off and fighting (and I say one glove because we've certainly not "taken off the gloves") isn't the answer, pray tell, what do you suggest? I keep hearing lots of complaints, but no offers of a solution to the problem. Getting rid of our present leaders isn't an answer, by the way. The problem has persisted through both left and right administrations in every coalition government. Bush, Blair, and Howard all inherited this problem. So give us the wisdom of your experience and knowledge, Mr. thepusher. I'm waiting to hear something besides how we're just as bad as the enemy. I'm waiting to hear a solution.
And for those who think that we need to sort out the "bad" muslims from the "good" muslims: How do we go about doing that? Moreover, why is it our responsibility to do so. It is up to those among the muslims themselves who disagree with terrorism to speak up loud and long and to do whatever it takes to root out those among them who are bringing disaster down upon their heads. We have no control over what others think or do, and we certainly have no moral responsibility to speak for them.
You better strike off the allied forces that bombed Dresden to hell in WWII. Oh...that's us.
We tried to use non-indiscriminate bombing in Dresden except the Germans did such a great job camouflaging the city (they painted roads and such on the roofs of buildings) that our bombardiers couldn’t figure out where their location and, consequently, couldn’t hit any targets.
So we switched to a tactic that couldn’t miss: fire-bombing. We couldn’t hit any specific targets in Dresden so we burned the city to the ground.
Of course I can’t work up a sense of remorse since the Germans didn’t have a problem with random rocketing of London (V2’s had no guidance system).
Anyway, back to what should be the real point: targeting civilians is not the policy of the U.S. or any other western country. It’s little things like this that separate us from the barbarians. Yes, in a war civilian casualties occur. That’s what happens in a war and the civilized countries strive to keep this to a minimum.
It’s Hamas, al Qaeda, JI, et al, who deliberately target civilians as a matter of policy.
Everyone who still has trouble making this distinction is a moral midget.
"So give us the wisdom of your experience and knowledge, Mr. thepusher. I'm waiting to hear something besides how we're just as bad as the enemy. I'm waiting to hear a solution."
Ok, lets get pragmatic then...
The Middle-East peace process should have taken priority over Iraq.
Iraq could have waited because Saddam, being a vain egotistical power-lovin dictator guy, would not have used WMD or supplied WMD to terrorists who would use it because he would be annihilated by the retaliation. Think about it, after 9/11 he was immediately under suspicion. To attack the US would be like committing suicide, losing all the trappings of power. He has been quoted as saying he believes he "won" the first Gulf war simply by surviving. His army was in a pathetic state, his country was in a pathetic state, he's an evil bastard but if you are looking at it strategically, he was effectively contained because he is addicted to power.
Arguments for the urgency of invading Iraq are further contradicted by the US engaging in "sit down negotiations" with North Korea, possibly the nuttiest regime on the planet.
Now we have the US with its resources divided, facing tenuous situations in Afghanistan, Iraq and North Korea all whilst still trying to keep the remnants of the roadmap alive. You might say that the toppling of Saddam was essential for progress in the Middle-East. I disagree. I know he funded and supported Palestinian terrorism, but he's just one of many.
Establishment of a Palestinian State should have been priority number one. I support the fundamentals of the roadmap document, I also support the building of the security fence as it is unrealistic to expect an instant cessation of terrorist activity. However, this also means that Israel cannot expect complete cessation of terrorism before it starts fulfilling its side of the bargain - it is simply unrealistic to expect that the Palestinian Authority can do in a few months what Israel itself has been unable to do over several years. Israel has massive military strength plus support from the US, and as such cannot argue that there is a genuine threat to its actual existence - its civilians are under threat from terrorism, but if we are looking for a solution, a way forward, then we have to look at the long-term. Settlements must be dismantled - I think it's probably politically impossible, but if you want a solution, it is essential.
The key to fighting extremists is to empower the moderates. Extremist leaders find ripe prey amongst disempowered and downtrodden people - that is exactly what we are trying to stop with our intervention in the Solomon Islands. We should be prioritising the creation of a Palestinian state, supporting the rebuilding of their economy, basically everything we say we will do in Iraq. Palestinians who are sick of the years of violence will start turning away from their extremist leaders once they are given something to aspire to, some certainty in their future. Of course there will be die-hard zealots who will be devoted to hating Israel, there could be an increase in terrorism in the short-term (but hopefully the security fence would prove effective). However, if Israel shows restraint and a new Palestine gains economic stability (with international assistance), the extremist leaders will become marginilised and increasingly insignificant as the majority of the Palestinian population moves on and becomes busy with their day-to-day lives (something which is impossible under a system of constant curfews, checkpoints, raids, poverty etc).
Obviously this is a simplified picture (I'm not about to post a full length essay up here), easier said than done and may take decades to achieve, but my fundamental point is that the resources and focus now being devoted to Iraq should have been devoted to Palestine. Palestine should have become the first "rejuvenated" capital of the Arab world, serving as both an example of democracy and a symbolic gesture of reconciliation from the West which may make it more difficult for other extremists to brainwash their followers that we want to crush their religion.
At the end of the day, religion and nationalism is about identity, and all human beings have a natural desire to identify with a "tribe" - patriotism being just another example of tribalism (after all, what is the logical reason for us to cheer on Ian Thorpe or hero-worship Bradman?). Standing over someone and telling them that their identity is wrong or inferior to your own will not get you anywhere.
Okay, "thepusher" has weighed in. An excerpt of my response posted elsewhere:
The key to fighting extremists is to empower the moderates. Extremist leaders find ripe prey amongst disempowered and downtrodden people - that is exactly what we are trying to stop with our intervention in the Solomon Islands. We should be prioritising the creation of a Palestinian state, supporting the rebuilding of their economy, basically everything we say we will do in Iraq.
I might buy your premise on how to fight extremists that if the hijackers on 9/11 weren’t mostly wealthy Saudis. As the plight of the Iraqi Shi'ite muslims and Kurds under Saddam illustrate, the downtrodden are mostly just downtrodden.
I've now posted my response to Mark at the above link.
I did not state that being "downtrodden" causes or justifies terrorism, rather that it is a large contributor to an environment where terrorism can flourish. Obviously certain teachings of Islam are interpreted by extremists as a justification for these atrocities, but history has shown us that mankind will always twist religion to suit his own uses. My argument is about affecting change to reduce the power of extremists to win followers to their cause.