Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 10, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

CARTOONS....So what's going to be the upshot in the West over the whole Danish cartoon debacle? My honest answer, I suppose, is "nothing," since stuff like this usually blows over eventually and everyone forgets about it. But assuming there is some long-term reaction, what will it be? Andrew Sullivan sums up the conventional wisdom on the right:

People keep talking about avoiding conflict. They are in denial. The conflict is already here. It is outrageous to be informed by a crowd of hundreds of thousands that the West must give up its freedoms in order to avoid violence. I'm relieved to see that this moment has forced some very hard thinking on the left.

That might be the case. After all, it's pretty obvious that this entire episode is being cynically manipulated by corrupt regional leaders, and it's entirely possible that this will galvanize Western opinion in favor of endless war against fundamentalist Islam and the governments that support it.

But there's another possibility too: that the famous American heartland finally gets sick and tired of the whole thing and decides it's best to let them all go to hell in their own way. Pull the troops out, let them kill each other if they want, start working seriously on energy independence, and from now on just mind our own business. This doesn't strike me as the most likely reaction, but I wouldn't discount it entirely.

As for the substance of the matter, there's still not much to say about it. Of course the Jyllands-Posten cartoons were puerile and offensive, and its editor was stupid to print them. Anyone who wanted to picket Jyllands-Posten's offices or cancel their subscription last September would have had my sympathy. Beyond that, though, we should simply misquote Voltaire and leave it at that:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Kevin Drum 2:01 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (222)

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The problem with this is Andy's glib "I'm relieved to see that this moment has forced some very hard thinking on the left." You know, screw you, Sully; we've been thinking for a long time about these matters; just because we don't blindly follow you into idiot battles doesn't mean we're playing ostrich here.

Posted by: Chocolate Thunder on February 10, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Bingo - that the issue.

There are tons of idiots out there, but in a free soceity they should be allowed to say stupid things without censorship.

There is direct evidence that the Saudis, Egyptians, and Syrians directly incited their own people with this story. Saudis to distract from the people killed during the Haj, the Egyptians for basic corruption, and the Syrians for that pesky murdered the Lebanese politician story.

And you know what, the irony is that "heartland" reaction you posited would actually make a lot of sense. We should be much more energy independent.

Like the spying issue, we should not give up basic values in our soceity to win some "war" or to appease some radicals.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on February 10, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

From www.Thismodernworld.com:
----------------
Tom Tomorrow:
More cartoon context

From John Suggs, senior editor for the Creative Loafing alt-weeklies:

So, lets look at the guy who started this whole cartoon escapade. Hes Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of the Danish newspaper. In all of the Lexis-Nexis database of stories from the American media on the Mohammed cartoons, there is absolutely no mention of the fact that Rose is a close confederate of arch-Islamophobe Daniel Pipes. Indeed, there is almost no context at all about Roses newspaper. Only a brief mention in the Washington Post gave a hint at a fact desperately needed to understand the situation. The Post described the affair as a calculated insult by a right-wing newspaper in a country where bigotry toward the minority Muslim population is a major, if frequently unacknowledged, problem.

How bad is Pipes? He wants the utter military obliteration of the Palestinians; indeed, from the Muslim world, his racism is about as blatant as that of the Holocaust denying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Pipes frequent outbursts of racism designed to toss gasoline on the neo-cons lust for a wholesale conflict of cultures earned him a Bush nomination to the U.S. Institute of Peace, a congressionally funded think tank. Rose came to America to commune with Pipes in 2004, and it was after that meeting the cartoon gambit materialized.

Hes got more and you really should, if you will forgive the expression, read the whole thing.
---------------

Posted by: pogo on February 10, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

It's not so obvious to me that "of course the Jyllands-Posten cartoons were puerile and offensive." Islamic-justified violence is certainly a major issue in the world today, and to print cartoons that depict it is not puerile. Cartoons are, by definition, caricatures, and unless we call all political cartoons puerile, and don't see why these should be singled out.

Posted by: BRussell on February 10, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is the Tet Offensive of the Iraq War.

Americans hated seeing the VietCong on their screens, but it drove home the point that our fundamental assumptions about the conflict were wrong. There simply was not the kind of support in Vietnam that we needed to prevail.

These riots are the death knell to the neocon fiction that muslims just want what we want and that we can impose a Western style democracy on this region. Support for this war will never again be as high as it is right now.

Posted by: Newton Minnow on February 10, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

But there's another possibility too: that the famous American heartland finally gets sick and tired of the whole thing and decides it's best to let them all go to hell in their own way. Pull the troops out...

Isn't that exactly what "they" want? Us out?

Posted by: JS on February 10, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Voltaire never wrote that http://www.geocities.com/fitquotation/

For instance, Voltaire never wrote some of his most famous words: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Voltaire died in 1778, but this quotation dates from 1906. It was written by a biographer, S.G. Tallentyre, in her book The Friends of Voltaire.

Posted by: bob on February 10, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.

SunTzu - The Art of War

Want some more?

Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

Posted by: Tripp on February 10, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's my fondest wish that as the right wing tries to use this to portray all muslims as psychotic intolerant fundamentalist whack jobs, that the real message that ALL religious fundamentalists are intolerant whack jobs.

I think that we, in the United States, have lost sight of the importance of free expression, and other essential liberties. I hope that this brings about some debate and understanding, and shines a spotlight on the decay that has taken place, and the ignorance that grips us.

And the great mistake that some on the left are making now, is that "we need to respect their culture, and their sensitivities, and not publish this kind of hate-speech" - well that's bullshit. These are the kind of people who have destroyed and discredited the entire movement of Liberalism, and have helped to hand over our nation, and our future, to the fascists, with their own brand of leftist fascism. I realize that this subset of leftist is a small and vocal minority, not representative of the vast majority of Center-Left Americans. But Center-Left-Americans need to vocally disown them, as much as the Center-Right needs to disown the Pat Robertsons and James Dobsons and Rick Santorums of the world.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 10, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting to hear that Voltaire never said that, because I was wondering just what "the death" might mean in this context. These days, when people talk about something being worth dying for, they almost always seem to mean that they would be content or even happy to see somebody else dying for whatever cause or principle they espouse. It's much easier to stake the life of some Danish consular employ or a grunt from some other state or a few nameless people in some country where they dress funny on a principle than it is to stake your own.

Posted by: paul on February 10, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I would have been pretty much unable to read Sullivan for the last week if I wasn't the sort of guy who cranes his neck at car wrecks. Has it always been this obvious that he's an unreasonable bigot?

Posted by: neil on February 10, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

But there's another possibility too: that the famous American heartland finally gets sick and tired of the whole thing and decides it's best to let them all go to hell in their own way. Pull the troops out, let them kill each other if they want, start working seriously on energy independence, and from now on just mind our own business.

Ah, and the Israel-firsters in our press and gov't are going to let that happen? Shit, you think the NYT's and PBS/NPR broadcast Bush's bullshit before Iraq because they were hoping Chenney would get richer?

Posted by: Marcus Wellby on February 10, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, here Rick Moran of Rightwing Nuthouse making much more sense than Andy Sullivan on the issue, proving that it's really not that hard to do.

Posted by: neil on February 10, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Osama:

Well then, Osama, you'll have to disown me, because I'm one of those horrible cultural relativists. I don't think we have a clue about the Muslim world, and I think some clues would be pertinent.

The flipside of Kevin's optimistic speculation was telegraphed by something rdw said the other day: The explosions of Muslim violence everywhere around the world save *in America* is going to be used as a security meme in the '06 elections by the Republicans.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

In my worse moods, I am tempted to say "to hell with Middle East," and I do think this whole cartoon affair will add to that viewpoint for many people.

Posted by: Frank J. on February 10, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

And the great mistake that some on the left are making now, is that "we need to respect their culture, and their sensitivities, and not publish this kind of hate-speech"

Where are you seeing that statement or sentiment? I'm not seeing it anywhere.

The leftist I know are stating "Free speech - get used to it."

Posted by: Tripp on February 10, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that many Muslims saw the point-of-view of the cartoons quite clearly, and are largely pissed because it is "puerile" to represent Mohammed as a man with a bomb for a headdress. But most of them are angry anyway and love an opportunity to vent. How can a religion or culture whose day-to-day nourishment is hatred (of the Jews-collectively and without differentation) be anything but angry?

Posted by: Ace Franze on February 10, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

...because it is not puerile...

Posted by: Ace Franze on February 10, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

To add some fuel to the fire, I saw this article on a US t-shirt maker putting one of the cartoons on the front of the shirt. 120 sold on the first day!

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/2/inktomi343238.php

Posted by: pencarrow on February 10, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

"And the great mistake that some on the left are making now, is that "we need to respect their culture, and their sensitivities, and not publish this kind of hate-speech" - well that's bullshit."

It is only partly bullshit, as you represent it.

When talking about this cartoon incident the statement ought to go something like:

"These cartoons are disgusting and designed to offend. They are an expression of vile bigoted views and those who made them, distributed them, or saw them without being disgusted should be ashamed.

However they aren't illegal. In a free society people are allowed to express thier views even when those views are repugnant. So we won't arrest them. We won't stop them. We will look down upon them, try to pity them for thier hatred.

We will also apologize the way one apoligizes for one's children when they have behaved badly. This kind of filth lives in some of our people. We are sorry and ashamed that it does."

Instead of that it seems to me that mostly what we got were non-denial denials, like Bush and the swift boaters. Rather than condemn them he would go off on some larger tangent about how . First acknowledge the insult and the injustice of it. Second explain why you can't actually stop it. Third do what you can which is condemn and apologize.

Why didn't that happen? Well, sadly, I suspect it is because criticizing anti-muslim bigots has a political cost.

Posted by: jefff on February 10, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: But there's another possibility too: that the famous American heartland finally gets sick and tired of the whole thing and decides it's best to let them all go to hell in their own way. Pull the troops out, let them kill each other if they want, start working seriously on energy independence, and from now on just mind our own business.

It is not at all evident that if the USA "pulled the troops out" from everywhere in the world where they are stationed to impose the will of the ultra-wealthy neo-fascist corporate feudalist ruling elites of America's military-industrial-petroleum complex on the entire planet by force of arms, and instead "minded our own business," that the other people of the Earth would "kill each other" or "go to hell".

On the contrary, the rest of the world might well have a much greater chance to live in peace.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 10, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

" some larger tangent about how..."

heh, about how we don't restrict speech legally, or whatever.

Posted by: jefff on February 10, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

What do they mean by conflict? I would like us to continue to push for the Middle East to liberalize, democratize, marginalize their extremist elements, and learn to get along with countries whose cartoons they don't like. But I don't really see forced occupation as the best way to achieve this. What exactly is the long term strategy?

Posted by: Royko on February 10, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Finally after a couple of hundred thousands deaths and a couple of trillion bucks we figure this out. What happens over there is none of our business.Never was, never will be.

Posted by: Neo on February 10, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

But there's another possibility too: that the famous American heartland finally gets sick and tired of the whole thing and decides it's best to let them all go to hell in their own way. Pull the troops out, let them kill each other if they want, start working seriously on energy independence, and from now on just mind our own business. This doesn't strike me as the most likely reaction, but I wouldn't discount it entirely.

Shorter Kevin: Fuck 'em all if they can't take a joke.

Actually, this sums up what I've felt about the region for about 30 years. The Islamic dominated world, and the ME part of it in particular, has been nothing but a pain in the ass to the contemporary world. Granted, a large part of its anti-Western attitude is because the West has meddled in its affairs so frequently and disasterously since the end of WWI. But, just as we have major problems with religious zealots in the U.S., as long as too many adherents of Islam insist of their religion's primacy, there is simply no coming to terms. This is one such instance.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Cartoon Characters
Whose fault is it that the media presents Muslims as fanatics?
By Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006 Salon

One man was dressed as a suicide bomber, and a small child held a placard that said, "Whoever insults a prophet kill him." Other slogans read, "Behead those who insult Islam," "Europeans take a lesson from 9/11," and "Prepare for the REAL Holocaust."

On Monday, the BBC program Newsnight gathered several Muslims, among them Anjem Choudary, who had organized that demonstration. He verbally abused the other speakers, denouncing one highly intelligent and personable woman, a Conservative candidate at the last election, as an unbeliever because her head was uncovered, and a man because he was clean-shaven.

No, of course England didn't belong to the English, Choudary insisted, or to any human inhabitants, "It belongs to Allah, the whole world belongs to Allah." He prayed for "the domination of Islam" and looked forward to the day when "the black flag of Islam will be flying over Downing Street."

Indeed.

Posted by: CFShep on February 10, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

The real issue is that conservatives have been looking for a bogeyman since the collapse of communism and they have done everything in their power to find and cultivate that new bogeyman. There isn't a doubt in my mind that there are elements in the Republican Party doing their best to create a clash of cultures. And there's a fair number trying to drag us into World War III. I guess life in the suburbs must be boring these days.

As for Bush, if he were a real president, if he actually cared about the future, he would try a cost-effective strategy that requires only expertise and some thinking: I think they used to call it diplomacy. When you are the leader of the most powerful country in the world, smart diplomacy is not that difficult; and you have leverage. You can even be a hard negotiater without being stupid. Unfortunately, Condi Rice can't even assert what powers she has and Bush is clueless. And Stephen Hadley? Oh my, what a nonentity. So what passes for foreign policy is left to Cheney and Rumsfeld? Ouch.

If painting broad brushstrokes of 1.2 billion people is the best the Republican party can do, we have a problem.

Posted by: Craig on February 10, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

it's entirely possible that this will galvanize Western opinion in favor of endless war against fundamentalist Islam and the governments that support it.

What countries that support it?

There's Iran, then who? Most of the dictatorships and monarchies in the area, established by Britain/US, supported by the US, have as their enemies fundamentalist Islam. Egypt has more fundamentalists jailed (Muslim Brotherhood) than any other country on earth.

Authoritarian regimes, with US support, aid and arms, pushed any possible dissent underground, where Islamic groups were its only viable (within controlled limits) expression. These regimes tolerate some Islamic ideology as a way of legitimizing themselves before their (increasingly frustrated) populace.

You think Saudi Arabia is a friend to radical Islam? The princes are trying to co-opt this movement which seeks their destruction.

Likely Kevin was merely trying to be brief and pithy, but often on the subject of foreign policy, his POV seems WAY too influenced by ignorant right wingers and duplicitous liberal hawks.

Posted by: luci on February 10, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

...it's best to let them all go to hell in their own way. Pull the troops out, let them kill each other if they want, start working seriously on energy independence, and from now on just mind our own business.

What's wrong with that? They CAN go to hell, the stupid fucks. Really, why do we have anything to do with that bunch at all? Democratizing societies made up of camel-fucking crazies is a waste of time and money (and, in Iraq, lives). Let's stop importing oil (ethanol, nuclear, whatever) or at least put a HUGE tarriff on importing oil (say, 20-50 bucks a barrel). Then stop all trade and contacts with that part of the world. Occasionally, we can bomb them from the air if they try to develop WMDs or get too close to invading Israel or in general get crazier than usual.

Just say goodbye.

Posted by: lobi on February 10, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I think that this issue is not going to go away because it fundementally represents all the other issues surrounding it.

And by the way, it does this in a way that is far more acceptable than a global clash of civilizations. The cartoon-war will address Islam's problems with its confrontation with Modernism, which it impugnes on the west, America in particular but in a much less lethal way than other traditional means of dealling with such kind of issues.

This could be a big turning point in history on several levels. Why? Because even the most craven rogue idealogue can only get so much political mileage out of a cartoon. People are not going to die in the tens of thousands over one - its too rediculous, dare I say, too cartoonish.

The real problem is Islam's confrontation with modernism. What is modernism? Well in short its the separation of task to allow for specialization of task. Most of the other civilizations are coming to terms with Modernism and doing just fine with it: East Asia (confucian societies), South Asia (Hindu), South East Asia (Buddhist - Thailand only), and most recently East Europe. In 2000 Lee Kwan Yew in an interview on Charlie Rose said that the world was on the verge of an new Global Golden Age of which pales with anything that has come before it. He saw the promise of Modernism and it is the hope for much of the world. But it turns out a few things need to be worked out first. Namely Islam. 90% of the world's strife occurs where Islam confronts the outside, modernising world: Southern Phillipines, East Timor, Southern Thailand, Cashmire, Chechnia, Bosnia, Sudan, etc..

What does all this have to do with the Cartoon-War? Well its all about separation of religion and politics and the two from law. This is simply a subcomponent of separation of tasks (which allows for specialization and brilliance of task). Yes each of these areas influences the other, but none controls the other.

Mohammed was/is a founder of a world religion and a was/is politician.

Generally the founders of religions do not get lampooned in the media. Politicians, generally speaking, must be lampooned in the media. This is vital as an accountability check on power. Mohammed isn't being lampooned as a founder of a world religion, he's being lampooned as a politician.

Mohammed played both sides of the street, religion and politics, to great effect, using one to bolster the cause of the other, and using each to avoid accountability for the other. To a certain effect this is still dominant in the Islamic world today - its why they are still stuck in the medieval past in the area of ideas and politics.

Eventually the cartoon-war has to lead muslims to look into this backwardness about themselves and perhaps address it. If Mohammed were around today, if there was truly freedom of worship available as an idea in his day, he would not have had to seek shelter for his religious community in political power. This idea should give Islamic theorist wiggle room to go back and reinvestigate the role of politics in Islam.

An islam that is depoliticized will find that a depoliticized Mohammed doesn't get lampooned.

If Islam can use this issue to begin to separate religion and politics, then they can begin to unbundle their wares in a hole host of fields in the area of ideas. If Islam can de-politicize Islam and turn the idea of "jihad" into an individuals personal internal struggle with evil, of which hatred is a part, then Islam could be very competitive in the free market place of ideas, even in the west.

And if these things come about because of the Cartoon-wars, than the cartoons will have served a great purpose indeed. And the world can get on with pursuing the Golden Age that Lee Kwan Yew talked about.

One side note: Too bad that at this time, the west is being lead by a political figure, Bush, who's the front of a movement that basically wants to re-mediavalize western society. This explains the bunggling of this leadership in this war, and it explains why the issue is so much worse than it ought to be. Thanks to Bush we may end up with radicallized politics from Egypt to Iran, all sitting on the 80% of the worlds oil and Nuclear Bombs. The emergence of Bush has set the globe back, and farther away from the golden age of Yew, an order of magnitude for every two years they are in power: One, Ten, Hundred, and then a Thousand years. Keep in mind, they want a new Medieval Age, a new Dark Age. If everthing gets blown up or a new world war does errupt its because of his mismanagement of it.

This man is an idiot occupying a pivital position of epic proportions.

Posted by: Tim Kane on February 10, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

it's entirely possible that this will galvanize Western opinion in favor of endless war against fundamentalist Islam and the governments that support it.... Likely Kevin was merely trying to be brief and pithy, but often on the subject of foreign policy, his POV seems WAY too influenced by ignorant right wingers and duplicitous liberal hawks.

- no need for "endless war" lah. Just destroy their cities from the air if they get too frisky.

Posted by: lobi on February 10, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

it's entirely possible that this will galvanize Western opinion in favor of endless war against fundamentalist Islam and the governments that support it.... Likely Kevin was merely trying to be brief and pithy, but often on the subject of foreign policy, his POV seems WAY too influenced by blah blah blah.

- no need for "endless war", lah. Just destroy their cities from the air if they get too frisky. Problem solved.

Posted by: lobi on February 10, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

"The emergence of Bush has set the globe back, and farther away from the golden age of Yew, an order of magnitude for every two years they are in power: One, Ten, Hundred, and then a Thousand years."

Ah, yes, let's not forget about the days of Yew. Jesus, you lefties are nuts.

Posted by: peanut on February 10, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

I think Bush would be happy only to go back as far as the 19th century, Tim, but great post.

Posted by: Ace Franze on February 10, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Whats_his_face:

"People keep talking about avoiding conflict. They are in denial. The conflict is already here."

Exactly.

How long can fiscal conservatives and gay conservatives continue to share a party with fundamental Christians?

Posted by: koreyel on February 10, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK
After all, it's pretty obvious that this entire episode is being cynically manipulated by corrupt regional leaders

Yeah, but if the West -- particularly the US and UK -- want to get upset about that, there is some plank removal from our own eyes needed first.

Or have we forgotten the cynical manipulation of the Iraq situation by corrupt leaders? And which corrupt, cynical manipulation killed more people?

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

No,No,No,No, NO!!!

In a free society, they have the right to say it. That means the government can't go close down their newspaper for it.

A free society also come with responsibilities, and not just rights. and somewhere, decency and common sense have to have their place in society too, unless you really do want to live in a world where everything not forbidden is mandatory.

What they printed was wrong. It was a taunt, an insult, a hate crime, an act designed to make it clear the Muslims are to be treated as terrorists.

And in a free society, people have the right to tell bigots to fuck off.

That should have been what this was about - a whole world telling those racist assholes to go fuck themselves, their cartoon doesn't represent our views, that we condemn them and their magazine.

Not legally, not with the heavy hand of government, but just people telling them to stop being fucking assholes.

Because thats what being a responsible person deserving of rights and freedoms is sometimes about.

I've heard so many bullshit arguments, but all of them basically involve "well, they have the right to print whatever they want". Yes, so fucking what? Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean you should. And just because you don't carry a right to its absolute extreme doesn't mean you are giving up your right, its just common sense.

Islam is universally understood to prohibit pictures of Mohammed. Its probably a stupid thing, it probably hurts Islam in the long run, but thats the way of it. drawing him as a suicide bomber served no legitimate purpose beyond a racist hatecrime taunt. What should have happened is the entire world come down on those clowns, standing with Muslims because it was wrong, and blatantly so.

There are no free speech issues here. No one is suggesting the Danish government arrest these people, or that laws be passed preventing it for being done. Cartoons and commentary are still allowed against muslims - there has been plenty before, and there will be plenty afterwards. But this crossed a line of decency and respect where people should have universally been outraged, and the fact that so many refuse to accept that is part of the reason muslims have been so upset.

the fact that so many want to hide their racism behind bullshit "freedom of speech" talk can only harm the spread of democracy in Islamic countries.

Posted by: Mysticdog on February 10, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

"These are the kind of people who have destroyed and discredited the entire movement of Liberalism, and have helped to hand over our nation, and our future, to the fascists, with their own brand of leftist fascism. I realize that this subset of leftist is a small and vocal minority, not representative of the vast majority of Center-Left Americans."

So what. If all you want to do is whine and retreat, get off the blogs. You, sir, and your defeatist rhetoric, have grown quite tiresome. Put another record on, or STFU.

Posted by: brewmn on February 10, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree with Kevin. I think we should immerse ourselves even more deeply in the mideast and send even more of our soldiers to their deaths, if need be, in the name of freedom and patriotism. As long as I don't have to do it myself.

Posted by: coffeequeen on February 10, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Some of the craziest demos took place in Teheran. When can we start airstrikes to destroy their nuclear program already? Why is it taking so long? Why do we elect warmongering republicans if they can't even do that much?

Seriously, if that looney tunes Ahmapsychopath gets nukes, I want my money back.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Some of the craziest demos took place in Teheran. When can we start airstrikes to destroy their nuclear program already? Why is it taking so long? Why do we elect warmongering republicans if they can't even do that much?

Seriously, if that looney tunes Ahmapsychopath gets nukes, I want my money back.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

The problem here isn't Islamic hostility to freedom of expression. The problem is pissed-off Muslims. The significance of the response is that the cartoons were an unambiguous attempt to slander Muslims. The cartoons had none of that national security/war on terror/Never Again!/guilt by association/understandable racial profiling veneer that marginalized and delegitimized Muslim anger at Western policies tilted toward Israel and that have created a bloody mess out of primarily Muslim states in the Middle East. They were a direct effort to defame the Muslim prophet and insult Muslims in general. No bones about it. Just a middle finger lifted to Islam.

The cartoons were gratuitous, dishonest, and vicious, and gave a lot of angry Muslims a chance to vent pure, righteous rage. If we didn't have a foreign policy based on military subjugation of Muslim states, maybe we'd just get a few pissed-off letters to the editor and the Grand Mufti would issue a fatwa renaming Legos "Freedom Blocks".

Free speech in the West hasn't done a whole heck of a lot for the Muslim world, given the overall pathetic performance of the US media in fomenting and abetting the Iraq war. Protected free speech a la Fox News helped give the Iraqis shock and awe, 200,000 troops on their ass, and a decade lock on the Haitian Quality of Life award. Maybe there should also be a Kevin Drum "If you love free speech as much as we do, you can enjoy the benefits of a free, open, and secure...oh never mind" award.


The paper had a perfect right to print the cartoons. The Muslims had a perfect right to be pissed off.

But dumbass liberal bloggers have no right to be surprised that the demonstrations turned violent.

Posted by: Peter on February 10, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Some of the craziest demos took place in Teheran. When can we start airstrikes to destroy their nuclear program already? Why is it taking so long? Why do we elect warmongering republicans if they can't even do that much?

Seriously, if that looney tunes Ahmapsychopath gets nukes, I want my money back.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

When talking about this cartoon incident the statement ought to go something like:

"These cartoons are disgusting and designed to offend. They are an expression of vile bigoted views and those who made them, distributed them, or saw them without being disgusted should be ashamed.

Except they weren't particularly disgusting; they weren't terribly funny either, though the 'stop, we are out of virgins' one was mildly amusing, but they were mild comic commentary of the sort that goes down on a daily basis in the West. A picture of Jesus saying 'stop! stop! we are out of halos/harps' whatever to a bunch of Fallwellites might bring some angry letters I suppose, but not rioting; there *is* no equivalent in the west for this sort of hysteria.

In fact, the Danish imams who were touring the Mideast to try to gin up some rioting knew this perfectly well, which is why they included the three fake cartoons that were genuinely offensive -- Mohammad fucking a believer, etc. *Those* were the equivalent of the 'MLK in blackface with watermelon' cartoons people have been waving to say 'we'd get just as upset about our icons'.

I think the best comment on the whole thing was from an anonymous poster over at ursulav's lj:

I don't think anyone involved was a moron, though. The cartoonists knew exactly what they were doing: demonstrating that free speech in their country is curtailed by religious extremists who demand that everyone adhere to their standards of decency or suffer. And the protesters knew exactly what they were doing: throwing a big destructive tantrum until they got their way. This is pretty much what everyone wanted. Maybe the cartoonists weren't expecting quite so much violence, but still.

Posted by: tavella on February 10, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

The leftist I know are stating "Free speech - get used to it."
Posted by: Tripp on February 10, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

sounds like a great t-shirt/bumper sticker.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 10, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

"They were a direct effort to defame the Muslim prophet and insult Muslims in general. No bones about it. Just a middle finger lifted to Islam. "

Bullshit. The editor of Jyllands-Posten had a perfectly legitimate reason for printing the cartoons. And NOT ONE of the cartoons was that offensive. The only one who has been called really offensive is the one where the Prophet (pbuh) has a bomb for a turban. Which just says that religion and politics is an explosive mixture, especially in the ME. Duh. Where is the offensiveness? This is a totally innocuous and non-offensive statement. And the reason for printing the 'toons was to highlight that an established children's book author in Denmark had tried to publish a book about the prophet, but couldn't find anyone willing to illustrate it. They were all AFRAID. That's a pretty legitimate topic for debate, that a whole group of artists in Europe will refuse certain commissions because of fear for their physical safety. If you cannot be safe from being murdered when saying certain things, what good is "formal" freedom of speech?

In Scandinavia, this is particularly important as people still remember what happened to the publisher of Satanic Verses, Mr. Nygaard. He was shot, and barely survived.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin plays right into the President's hands. Bush just spent the SOTU address campaigning against a return to isolationism. While this policy was once popular in the US, that all ended after we were bombed at Pearl Harbor.

"Nonetheless, 80 percent of Americans opposed any declaration of war against the Axis states. Not until after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and Germany and Italy declared war on the United States on December 11 did America turn to full-scale war against the Axis."

If Kevin wants to understand middle America, he should first understand what happened back in 1941. We were isolationists until we were attacked. We were also attacked on 9/11, and we have long ago learned our lesson. We are no longer isolationists.

"Roosevelt ... led Americans to support the creation of a United Nations Organization, and argued against the resumption of isolationism during the era of Stalin."

I don't think middle America is going to side against Roosevelt or with Stalin. Bush understands this, Kevin seems a bit hazy. While I presume Kevin is no isolationist, he still seems to be of the opinion that the great middle of America is somewhat behind (60 years!) the rest of us, and that this might be a good thing.

He is wrong, many now fear that triumphs by Al Qaeda and related Islamofascist groups abroad will threaten us here in the US.

Now, how are you going to win an election if you support a policy that was proven to be wrong more than 50 years ago? Why would you even suppose that middle America would be so backwards? How do you expect to win by theorizing that half of this country is populated by morons who can't remember the lessons of history?

"Isolationist perspectives did not completely disappear, but never again did they dominate American attitudes and policies."

This will be a sure loser, Kevin, and you should be smarter than to play right into the Repubs' hands by even giving the appearance that islationism is coherent policy (so long as it makes Bush look bad).

"Pull the troops out, let them kill each other if they want, start working seriously on energy independence, and from now on just mind our own business. This doesn't strike me as the most likely reaction, but I wouldn't discount it entirely."

I would discount it entirely.

"The term "isolationism" was coined by military interventionists as a pejorative term during World War I to refer to people who opposed the United States' entry into that war. Later, the term "isolationism" was used 1939-41 to refer to opponents of United States' entry into World War Two."

Now let's see, which group came out on the winning side of these issues? Isolationists? - not!

And let's not forget that isolationism refers to non-intervention AND economic nationalism: if you like isolationism, you'll love Pat Buchanan.

Posted by: sunbeltjerry on February 10, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

So what's going to be the upshot in the West over the whole Danish cartoon debacle?

But there's another possibility too: that the famous American heartland finally gets sick and tired

You know, if you meant "what's going to be the upshot in America?", then that's what you should have written.

Posted by: derek on February 10, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Who's suprized? Well, I'm a little suprized, but definitely not shocked.

Everyone has a right to be offended, but the right to be offended has to be balanced with responsibility.

At least that's what I'm hearing from the fundamentalists who want us to go back to the 13th century. Just substitute "free speech," for "offended."

Posted by: Charles on February 10, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

And for all those who say we still have freedom of speech and will continue to have that as dhimmi under islamic rule (when they take over), why don't you say that to Theo van Gogh. If you can find a suitable spiritual medium.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

No one is suggesting the Danish government arrest these people, or that laws be passed preventing it for being done.

That's not true. It IS being suggested - in fact, Iran is talking about suspending diplomatic relations with Denmark, until they offer an apology and pass laws to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future.

I say FUCK that, and fuck them.

This kind of radical intolerance is the problem. Not offensive cartoons.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 10, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

The problem here isn't Islamic hostility to freedom of expression. The problem is pissed-off Muslims. The significance of the response is that the cartoons were an unambiguous attempt to slander Muslims. Posted by: Peter

Christianity, Judaism, Bush and the U.S. are "slandered" everyday around the world in political cartoons. You don't see Americans, Israelis or Christians (which, until recently, were overwhelmingly of European descent) rioting. You may see those with too much unproductive time on their hands protesting with signs. But we don't spend much time smashing shop windows or even burning other people's flags (as if that meant anything - burn the Stars and Stripes all you like, I don't feel hot).

Islamic culture, particularly as it is manifest in the ME, is most assuredly hostile to freedom of expression and all sorts of aspects of liberal self-government. Otherwise, Egypt, Syria, Saudia Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc., etc. would pretty much resemble the West in terms of civil society.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Of course the Jyllands-Posten cartoons were puerile and offensive, and its editor was stupid to print them."

What do you mean? They were great works of art, almost at the same level as classics of Piss Christ or Elephant Dung Virgin Mary. Don't you lefties support art any more?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 10, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Any lefties blame Bush for the Islamists going crazy over the cartoons?

Most lefties manage to find away to lay the blame at Bush.

Posted by: BigRiver on February 10, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

> I'm relieved to see that this moment has
> forced some very hard thinking on the left.

Love how you buy the Radical frames and then help pass them on Kevin. You may note that in the world of stubborn facts, it is the "left" (whatever that means) that is fighting for civil liberties, including both the 1st and 4th Amendment in the US, against the Radicals. It is Mr. George W. "Islam is a religion of peace" Bush who is working to curtail civil liberties. But it is the "left" that must "think hard".

Keep pushing those frames - another 8 years of Radical rule will be really good for us.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 10, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Puerile? I don't know what the motives of the Jyllands-Posten editorial staff were; the declared reason was that some author could not find a cartoonist willing to illustrate Mohammed in his or her children's book. Whether that's the whole truth of the matter, I have no way of knowing. But I do find it disturbing that some liberals are, beyond a perfunctory defense of free speech, are so willing to condemn or dismiss this as 'puerile' and 'offensive'. We know that, by and large, conservatives are not going to step up to the plate and defend freedom of the press; we cannot afford to have so many liberals waver as well.

Going beyond the editors' motives, look at the result. A major ongoing world news story has been reported on in the U.S. with almost nonexistent publication of the material at the heart of the story. Those who do not seek them out on the internet have no way of knowing, by reading major newspapers or viewing television news, what these cartoons actually depict. And this is acceptable? Some have defended this by saying that the media also exercises self-restraint by not publishing racially stereotypical caricatures. But there is a fundamental difference between gratuitously publishing something offensive on ethnic grounds, and publishing something offensive to a religion, which is just a philosophy, as part of a legitimate news story.

Also, liberals may wish to consider the likely domestic fallout of this. There is a large group of Americans easily offended by many artistic depictions of Jesus and other Biblical figures. In the past, there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the media has reported on the 'Piss Christ' controvery as well as others, and has largely defended artistic freedom. There has been little resort to violence, although some fundamentalists have resorted to violence in other disputes, particularly abortion. More than a few are going to put two and two together during the current controversy, and will (legitimately) accuse the media of hypocrisy the next time something like this happens. What do you think the media will do? I think the MSM will cave to the Christian fundamnetalists, especially if there's some violence. It's a hard thing to be a hypocrite, at least once you cannot continue lying to yourself about it.

Personally, I want the news media to report major stories without fear of offending certain groups. I also believe fundamentalists of all stripes need to be offended, but that's secondary and besides the point. This current craven capitulation of the American media is one more step toward an erosion of the freedom of the press. And if liberals won't stand up for freedom of speech and the press...well, there aren't going to be enough conservatives who will take their place.

Posted by: ChiSoxfan in LA on February 10, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

BTW - have any of the commenters who are upset about the Danish cartoons ever seen the type of cartoons that Middle Eastern papers routinely run about, say, Jews?

It's just nutty that governments that control their press (Egypt, Syria, Saudis, etc.) are loudly denouncing the Danish cartoons - while they routinely run much worse offensive drivel in their own papers.

And yes, the cartoons were offensive, but so was "p--- Christ".

But there is one note that I wanted to add here. While the Eurepean elites were always encouraging the import of cheap foreign labor, open immigration has never been popular in almost any European country. (Same in the US, BTW - elites like cheap labor, labor doesn't)

So we can criticize European countries for opening the door, it gets a bit more complicated making sweeping generalizations about how different countries are supposed to accept other cultures. Because most people in those countries did NOT want to change their culture to accept Islam's strictures in any way.

They rejected control by their churches - why accept Islam's?

To me the funniest exchange is on Steve Gilliard's website, because he as African American sympathizes with Arabs protesting. But his girlfriend looks at fundamentalists Islam's treatment of women and had ZERO sympathy.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on February 10, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

"And the great mistake that some on the left are making now, is that "we need to respect their culture, and their sensitivities, and not publish this kind of hate-speech" - well that's bullshit."

Maybe if more Dems actually spoke out against what is now the base of the party earlier, the American people, in general would take you guys more seriously.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 10, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

No one is suggesting the Danish government arrest these people, or that laws be passed preventing it for being done. ... That's not true. It IS being suggested - in fact, Iran is talking about suspending diplomatic relations with Denmark, until they offer an apology and pass laws to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future.

Exactly, not only that, but the EU has begun mulling a "speech code" to prevent things like this from happening again. This is leading to nowhere good, and fast.

And just when the west had a golden opportunity to send a united "Fuck You" to the Islamists.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Namely Islam. 90% of the world's strife occurs where Islam confronts the outside, modernising world: Southern Phillipines, East Timor, Southern Thailand, Cashmire, Chechnia, Bosnia, Sudan, etc.."

Just so.

"The world belongs to Islam"

Posted by: CFShep on February 10, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

A large-circulation Egyptian newspaper printed the cartoons. Last October. During Ramadan.

"The Egyptian newspaper Al Fagr on Oct. 17 published six of the 12 Muhammad cartoons printed by Jyllands-Posten on Sept. 30, Danish state-owned broadcaster Danmarks Radio reported yesterday, citing Denmark's ambassador in Egypt Bjarne Soerensen."
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000085&sid=a8hEmi2ja5cg&refer=europe

You can see the Egyptian paper here:
http://egyptiansandmonkey.blogspot.com/2006/02/boycott-egypt.html

So please. Stop with the sanctimony about how offensive these cartoons are. They were all over Egypt four months ago, and no one much minded.

Posted by: JR on February 10, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody on the web pointed out that the reaction from the right on the cartoons is exactly opposite to the reaction to the Newsweek story about defacing Korans in Gitmo that was used by the same demagogic forces in the Arab. Then they blamed Newsweek. This time they blame the rioters.

Posted by: JayAckroyd on February 10, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

"What they printed was wrong. It was a taunt, an insult, a hate crime, an act designed to make it clear the Muslims are to be treated as terrorists."

And the Moslems demonstrated that what they printed was wrong by resorting to violence and terrorism.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 10, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

How about a simple statement that if anyone of the people now getting death threats from islamists actually end up dead -- then we will do _________ amount of damage on their side. Make it very explicit that these are the stakes.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

JayAckroyd: How can you compare Newsweek, which printed lies about Koran flushing as news, with a cartoon editorial?

Posted by: sunbeltjerry on February 10, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

"And just when the west had a golden opportunity to send a united "Fuck You" to the Islamists."

But who would really take a "Fuck You" from weak pacifists seriously?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 10, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Personally I'll defend the papers right to publish the cartoons, but I won't defend the cartoons since I believe they were published to anger muslims.

And if cartoons with Mohammed as a suicide bomber is fine then I got some nice ones with Jesus.

How about a cartoon with Jesus molesting 10 year old altar boys? Or a cartoon where Jesus jokingly tells catholic priests to stop dying since they are out of young boys in Heaven?

Posted by: Elmer on February 10, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Heh. At least the headlines in the papers these days provide great comic relief:

"Jihad Against Cartoons!"

"Five Dead in Cartoon Riots"

"The Cartoon Wars"

Could there ever be a stupider way to go, by the way, and a better way to deserve a Darwin Award, than to get yourself killed in one of these riots? Seriously, imagine the epitaph: "Here lies Abdullah Abu Karazee. Died 2.2.2006 in the Great Jihad Against 'Toons"

Silly cunts.

Posted by: peanut on February 10, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

What the fuck? It's not the left that's the problem here. We are the ones who are standing fast in the separation of church and state!

We're not the ones saying we should invade the mideast, kill their leaders, and convert them all to Christianity. We're not the ones who are trying to stifle any opinion contrary to our own. We are the ones screaming at Bush because he's closing off public events and creating "free speech zones." You think there's more freedom of expression OF ALL KINDS in red states than in blue ones? Is this an actual question?

Of course it's easier for everyone to defend speech they ideologically support, and both sides have their jackasses who claim to be supporting "free speech" but who are actually saying, "free speech if you agree with me." But I'm sorry, as a group liberals are far less likely to fall into the hypocrite camp than conservatives are. Because, hello, by definition we're the ones choosing to live a lifestyle where we may be exposed to different ideas, some we really really profoundly disagree with!

And kindly don't lecture me on the crisis of "political correctness." PC happened when liberals demanded the right for people to get PISSED OFF when people say shit that's offensive. The thing is, free speech is also the right to take offense at things that are offensive, and to say something about it instead of swallowing it when people call you names.

Which is where you move into liberals being like, "duh, you make fun of Mohammed and Islamic people lose their shit? Why are you surprised? We have a vague recollection of Rudy Giuliani trying to shut down a museum over a bunch of paintings."

And then, it's followed by, "and that's bullshit both ways. A government can't cut off funding becasue it doesn't like the art, and you sure as hell can't burn down an embassy because you don't like what a newspaper in that country said, but please don't pretend that y'all wouldn't be doing that here if we'd let you get away with it."

Screw Andrew. He's an asshole.

Posted by: theorajones on February 10, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

"We're not the ones saying we should invade the mideast, kill their leaders, and convert them all to Christianity. "

And your problem with that is what, exactly?

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

"How about a cartoon with Jesus molesting 10 year old altar boys? Or a cartoon where Jesus jokingly tells catholic priests to stop dying since they are out of young boys in Heaven?"

What are you trying to do? Spark Christian riots and beheadings?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 10, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

> What the fuck? It's not the left that's the
> problem here. We are the ones who are standing
> fast in the separation of church and state!

If Kevin is correct in his contention that his thinking represents the Mushy Middle(tm), oops I meant the Vital Center(tm), then I sadly conclude that there will be no end to Radical rule in 2006/2008. Or possibly for 20 years. This issue is 100.0% one for the Radicals to defend, and yet is somehow gets morphed by the mush-heads into a burden for that undefined-but-incredibly-powerful "left" to justify. Makes me sick.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 10, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

The Independent (UK) a couple of years ago published a cartoon of:

A Hook-nosed Ariel Sharon - Eating Palestinian babies.

It won the Cartoon of the Year award in the UK.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

It would seem Ann Coulter's words are growing wiser with each passing day.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 10, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone has a right to be offended, but the right to be offended has to be balanced with responsibility.

And no one has a right not to be offended. You find what someone is saying is offensive? Well, so you may, but it doesn't really give you any right to stop the person from saying it.

(Obligatory disclaimer: yes, yes, excepting cases of actionable libel or slander, or workplace harrasment, etc.)

Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think Sullivan should have written *this* instead (but I don't look to him for intellectual consistency; only self-serving bullshit with fancy words and a certain prissy style):

"It is outrageous to be informed by a crowd of *conservative, fundamentalist-ass-kissing politicians* that *America* must give up its freedoms to avoid violence. I'm relieved to see that this moment has forced some very hard thinking on the *right*."

If that doesn't strike him as at least as relevant, especially after his loathesome "fifth column" crap after 9/11, he really ought to get his head out of his own ass more often, because there are marked similarities between the politicians taking advantage of news/events to reduce civil rights/liberties, in the name of fundamentalist and nationalist goals.

Or maybe sucking up to American religious whackos is the price he pays to be one of the cool kids in conservativism.

Posted by: Chris on February 10, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Of course it's easier for everyone to defend speech they ideologically support, and both sides have their jackasses who claim to be supporting "free speech" but who are actually saying, "free speech if you agree with me." But I'm sorry, as a group liberals are far less likely to fall into the hypocrite camp than conservatives are."

Really? I take it you haven't been to a college campus lately.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 10, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

"It would seem Ann Coulter's words are growing wiser with each passing day."

Not wiser. Invasions are a pain in the ass and way too expensive. Bombing is cheap and effective. Let's reduce their societies to rubble, then they can be as nutty as they want, as long as we are careful with immigration policy and don't let any of the crazy fucks into the country, there is no risk. Stone age people don't design and manufacture nukes.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

for no apparent reason other than the fact that I wanted someone else to laugh with me...

"I would have made a good Pope."-Richard Nixon.

Posted by: Steve L on February 10, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

The conflict is already here. It is outrageous to be informed by a crowd of hundreds of thousands that the West must give up its freedoms in order to avoid violence. I'm relieved to see that this moment has forced some very hard thinking on the left.

What a fucking idiot Sullivan is. Are there really that many people on "the left" who are in any sympathy with the Islamists' bigotry, fanaticism, obscurantism, hatred, homophobia and misogyny? The "left," whatever the hell that means, generally favors liberalism, separation of church and state, racial and gender equality, free speech, free thought, etc. etc. -- all values radically at odds with the Islamists' repression. So what are we to think hard about?

Also, is there really anyone on "the left" advocating that we must give up freedom in order to avoid violence? Because that certainly sounds more like the kind of right-wing excuse I've been hearing Abu Gonzalez and others trot out to justify their curtailment of our civil liberties.

Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Namely Islam. 90% of the world's strife occurs where Islam confronts the outside, modernising world: Southern Phillipines, East Timor, Southern Thailand, Cashmire, Chechnia, Bosnia, Sudan, etc.."

False. Bosnia was every bit as modern as Serbia. Sarajevo was a modern, cosmopolitan city - it hosted the Winter Olympics - before the impeccably Christian Serbs bombed and shot it to pieces. Indian-held Kashmir is no more modern than Pakistani-held Kashmir. The Russian oppression of Chechniya is old-fashioned imperialism and is not about the inability of Chechens to "modernize." East Timor (majority Catholic) is no more modern and in many ways more backward than the rest of Indonesia (majority Muslim). The animists and Christians who are being massacred in Southern Sudan are no more modern than their Muslim killers. So whether Muslims are aggressors or victims, these conflicts don't have anything to do with a confrontation with "modernizing" influences.

The one place you've left out is Palestine. And there you may have a point. But I would say it has less to do with Islam and more to do with the proximity of a first-world population and a third-world population. Such fault lines are very rare. Usually there is an ocean or a mountain range or a desert or a wall separating the two.

Posted by: JR on February 10, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

"What are you trying to do? Spark Christian riots and beheadings?"

I am not in any way supportive of the muslims who are demanding that the Danish government should apologize or that the people responible at the paper should be fired. I'm also not supportive of the calls for violence among some muslims.

On the other hand if it's ok to demand boycotts of French goods since they didn't support the war in Iraq then I guess it's ok for muslims to boycott Danish goods for this.

I also think that Dobson, Robertson, Limbaugh, Gibson, O'Reilly and friends would use a lot of airtime and such telling Americans to boycott anything from a country that had published cartoons with a paedophile Jesus. Just look how mad they got about 'Happy Holidays'. (Actually Pat Robertson might say something about having the offending country's leader assasinated....)

Posted by: Elmer on February 10, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

How easy was it to whip up such a storm about such an inane subject. A damn drawing.

Posted by: Not bob on February 10, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

I see that there is still a lot of political correctness in the American Left. Can you guys please write a comment about free speech without mentioning GWB at least once? Offending people is what free speech is about. Free speech is for when people disagree, and when they disagree they are likely to offend each other. Respect is the enemy of free speech. And: there can be no freedom of religion without the freedom of blasphemy! Think about it.

Posted by: Willem Dezwijger on February 10, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

...Well then, Osama, you'll have to disown me, because I'm one of those horrible cultural relativists. I don't think we have a clue about the Muslim world, and I think some clues would be pertinent....
Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Reading your post, and the rest of the posts here - I see I was right. Your ilk is in the minority among the Center-Left.

Though I agree with you on some points: we don't have a clue about the Muslim world. But here's real cultural relativism for you: They don't have a clue about us. We may be callous and arrogant and ignorant - but bottom line is, there is a higher ideal than that - and that ideal is the post-enlightement world. the Reality-Based world. A world where men are free, and endowed with Liberties. The rioters just don't seem to "get it" (and neither do our own religious fundamentalist whack jobs). If you do not accept this ideal as a higher one, and if you accept their culture as relative and equal to ours then what you have is an imbalanced situation, you see, because they don't accept OUR culture as equal. So if you mix two cultures together, one willing to destroy the other, the other willing to preserve and coexist with the one, then guess what? OUR culture becomes relatively dead. Not a melting pot. A killing-jar.

Their right to throw their fist ends at my face.

They can publish all the anti-western cartoons they want. I don't care. They can issue all the fatwahs they want. I don't care. But when they start burning books, when they start killing publishers and authors, when they start burning embassies, when they start taking hostages, when they start hijacking planes, then relativism goes out the window.

I'm not calling for the elimination or extermination of Islam and Muslims. I'm saying that until they (the significant representing proportion) embrace cultural relativism, then they cannot be eligible to be a recipient of cultural relativism.

And I'm not denying that there are Muslims that are moderate, that have embraced the notion that Christians and Muslims can share the world together without blowing eachother up. But their governments don't represent them, and their rioting mobs don't represent them, and their trash-talking Imams don't represent them, and their Scripture doesn't represent them.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 10, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

I also think that Dobson, Robertson, Limbaugh, Gibson, O'Reilly and friends would use a lot of airtime and such telling Americans to boycott anything from a country that had published cartoons with a paedophile Jesus. Just look how mad they got about 'Happy Holidays'. (Actually Pat Robertson might say something about having the offending country's leader assasinated....)

Gosh. Then it's a good thing that the Danish paper didn't, right? What part of the 'the pedophile cartoon was one of three fakes included by the Danish imams to gin up anger' did you miss?

Posted by: tavella on February 10, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

"What a fucking idiot Sullivan is. Are there really that many people on "the left" who are in any sympathy with the Islamists' bigotry, fanaticism, obscurantism, hatred, homophobia and misogyny?"

It's really hard to tell, since whenever criticism of Islam is examined, the Left has this knee jerk reaction to attack Christianity. That either means you guys really hate the Christians and will never miss an opportunity to attack them, or it may just be a reflexive defense for your side, the Moslems.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 10, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

"They can publish all the anti-western cartoons they want. I don't care. They can issue all the fatwahs they want. I don't care. But when they start burning books, when they start killing publishers and authors, when they start burning embassies, when they start taking hostages, when they start hijacking planes, then relativism goes out the window."

Nice. Also, there is no doubt that their culture is inferior to ours. There is hardly a single measure of social, economic, cultural or other kinds of development where they are not inferior. We should not even EXPECT real sanity when illiterate hicks from such backwards societies are further brainwashed in madrassas.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

"And I'm not denying that there are Muslims that are moderate, that have embraced the notion that Christians and Muslims can share the world together without blowing eachother up."

Yes, you find intelligent cultivated people in even the most backwards societies. But they are an extremely small minority.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

OBF wrote:And the great mistake that some on the left are making now, is that "we need to respect their culture, and their sensitivities, and not publish this kind of hate-speech" - well that's bullshit.

I completely agree. Most in my little lefty world do as well. Granted I have a long personal evolution of cynicism toward religion, but if I want to say Mohammed is a cross dresser and Jesus buggers little children, then that's between me and Mohammed, and between me and Jesus, and the rest can please STFU.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on February 10, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

....What a fucking idiot Sullivan is. Are there really that many people on "the left" who are in any sympathy with the Islamists' bigotry, fanaticism, obscurantism, hatred, homophobia and misogyny?....
Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Heh, you gotta love him.
He's a Liberal in-denial. A self-loathing Liberal, and an out-of-the-closet gay. What delicious irony!

Read his stuff. He can't stand Bush, he's against the invasion - he's afraid of Islam for what are essentially Liberal reasons. His only real driving issue that keeps him defending the right is his own hatred of "Liberalism". Hell, he's Gay, he doesn't own a car, he doesn't hunt, he doesn't own a gun. How stereotypically left can one get?

I do so enjoy reading his stuff, and the mental gymnastics he goes through to keep his denial going strong. I have a bet with myself that says he never ever will come to grips with the fact that he's a Liberal, deep down inside. He'll be in an ally, ten years from now, getting the crap kicked out of him by some College Republicans, thinking to himself ". . . this has gotta be Kennedy's fault somehow. . . "

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 10, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter me: I am intolerant toward religious intolerance. Yikes.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on February 10, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK


Kevin quotes Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

From the Economist: I DISAGREE with what you say and even if you are threatened with death I will not defend very strongly your right to say it. That, with apologies to Voltaire, seems to have been the initial pathetic response of some western governments to the republication by many European newspapers of several cartoons of Muhammad first published in a Danish newspaper in September. When the republished cartoons stirred Muslim violence across the world, Britain and America took fright."

Posted by: Aidan on February 10, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

From the UK:

For years the London tabloids the Sun and the Daily Mail have been grumbling about "political correctness gone mad" and the pussyfooting methods of our multiculti police. Now liberals are uneasily facing the possibility that they might be right. Not only did the police make no arrests at last Friday's grotesque demonstration, which openly incited murder; they actually sheltered the fanatics. Two men who tried to stage a peaceable counterdemonstration were hustled away for questioning.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Nice. Also, there is no doubt that their culture is inferior to ours. There is hardly a single measure of social, economic, cultural or other kinds of development where they are not inferior....
Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I never said or implied any of that. That's just bullshit. This is not a game of black and white - "either you're with us or against us" or "Islamic culture is either superior to Western culture and should supplant it - or they're degenerates that should be exterminated."

We should not even EXPECT real sanity when illiterate hicks from such backwards societies are further brainwashed in madrassas.

We should not even EXPECT real sanity when illiterate rednecks are further brainwashed in baptist churches.

What are you, like 12? Get a grip.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 10, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Oh whhhaaaaaaaaa!!! Cry me a river. You know it's true, you just don't want to admit it.

Posted by: reckless on February 10, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

tavella, I know about the fakes. (I also know a lot of people on the fringe right who like to call Mohammed a pedophile, but that's OT.)

My point was if some people think it's ok with cartoons with Mohammed as a suicide bomber then I guess they wouldn't protest cartoons with Jesus as a pedophile. (Muslim suicide bombers vs. Christian priest pedophiles.)

Personally while I would defend a papers RIGHT to print both of the comics I wouldn't defend the cartoons.

Posted by: Elmer on February 10, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Juan Cole has a thoughtful piece in 'Der Spiegel.'
His main point is:

"The "global crisis" of which Rasmussen spoke has been exacerbated by the decision of the Bush administration to invade Iraq and throw the region into turmoil. It isn't just about some cartoons. It is about independence and the genuine liberty to define yourself rather than being defined by the imperial West."

Juan Cole

He points out that Muslim 'elite' are using the cartoon issue to 'safely' criticize the West and incite anger to prove their own 'holiness.' He goes so far as to say that the cartoon issue is more a matter of local politics than global conflict. Makes sense to me. The Muslims are being whipped into a frenzy of anti-western protest in the same way the US public was whipped into a position of being anti-Iraq, anti-Muslim after 9/11.

Posted by: nepeta on February 10, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Not to totally self-promote... but I talk about this Andy Sullivan post a lot on my blog today at parabasis.typepad.com ... what most commentary seems to ignore is that Sullivan quotes (Approvingly) an e-mail calling for the west to ethncially cleanse all muslims.

The problem with this cartoon fiasco is how everyone is exploiting it for their own goals. Sullivan is using it to pick on the left and muslims. It's always an act of bravery when someone in a majority population (christian conservatives in the US) picks regularly on those in the minority. Well done.

Anyway... for more depth on all of this, check out the blog if you like.

Posted by: parabasis on February 10, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

"'It would seem Ann Coulter's words are growing wiser with each passing day.'

Not wiser. Invasions are a pain in the ass and way too expensive. Bombing is cheap and effective. Let's reduce their societies to rubble, then they can be as nutty as they want, as long as we are careful with immigration policy and don't let any of the crazy fucks into the country, there is no risk. Stone age people don't design and manufacture nukes."

Look, this is exactly why the Muslims are rioting: these cartoons, along with inflammatory rhetoric from irresponsible and/or terrorist-sympathizing leaders, lead them to think that we are at war with Islam itself, as opposed to terrorism.

So using these riots to claim "Ann Coulter was right," which is basically an endorsement of wholesale slaughter based upon religious belief, is not going to solve anything.

By the way, "The Left" doesn't hate Christianity, inasmuch as I can speak for such as diverse entity. What we hate are crazy Christians, people who interpret the Bible with the same crazed literalism as al-Qaeda interprets the Koran (Falwell is the obvious target). There are millions of people out there who pray to Jesus or Allah and are hated by neither Right nor Left, because they understand that each religion fundamentally abhors violence.

Posted by: mmy on February 10, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Juan Cole is just spinning on behalf of his clients. He is the permanent, self-selected PR agent for whatever craziness comes out of Muhammedanism.

The truth is the cartoons were published in Egypt months ago. Noone noticed. Then some Danish imams took the cartoons on their little outrage tour of the middle east, with a few actually quite incendiary ones thrown in to stoke the anger up even more. That got things going.

Those Danish imams should be thrown out of the country.

Posted by: peanut on February 10, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter me: I am intolerant toward religious intolerance. Yikes.
Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on February 10, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

As goofy as it sounds, that's really it, in a nutshell. I think it's just really a curious feature of the weakness of semantics of what the word "intolerance" means. The definition is inadequate to describe the true dynamic. It sounds hypocritical, but it really is not, when you analyze the logic. Tolerance of Intolerance is not Tolerance at all, because Intolerance is something that has to be actively opposed - you cannot passively oppose Intolerance, because Intolerance is an active force. You're going to be Intolerant no matter what you do, and I suppose there's probably a minimum amount of Intolerance that is unavoidable - and it's the ideal goal towards which to strive, because the more Intolerance you Tolerate, the more Intolerance there will be in the world. And that's just not Tolerable.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 10, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

The real problem is Islam's confrontation with modernism. What is modernism? Well in short its the separation of task to allow for specialization of task. Most of the other civilizations are coming to terms with Modernism and doing just fine with it: East Asia (confucian societies), South Asia (Hindu), South East Asia (Buddhist - Thailand only), and most recently East Europe. In 2000 Lee Kwan Yew in an interview on Charlie Rose said that the world was on the verge of an new Global Golden Age of which pales with anything that has come before it. He saw the promise of Modernism and it is the hope for much of the world. But it turns out a few things need to be worked out first. Namely Islam. 90% of the world's strife occurs where Islam confronts the outside, modernising world: Southern Phillipines, East Timor, Southern Thailand, Cashmire, Chechnia, Bosnia, Sudan, etc.


Well, yes and no. As someone upthread pointed out you lumped together an awful lot of conflicts that are unrelated to modernism. Chechnya and Kashmir are separatist conflicts that have little to do with "modernism" and everything to do with political disenfranchisement; both have been someone what hijacked by militant jihadists in other parts of the Muslim world but the roots of the conflicts are entirely secular. Kashmiris, in particular, are not fundamentalist at all and were not even considered real Muslims by orthodox Muslims.

As for problems between Islam and Modernism? Yes and no. I do think Islam can be more easily interpreted to support militancy then, say, Buddhism. And when you get down to it, the monotheistic faiths in general are exclusionary by nature. Even so, the overwhelming majority of Muslims were not protesting or calling for the death of the infidels (even if they were offended). The protests were strongest where there were already strong fundamentalist currents (Afghanistan) or where they were organized by political regimes (Iran and Syria).

All older cultures have problems with transitions to modernity; you bring up East Asia, but there modernism didn't arise overnight or without struggle. In the process of modernization, Japan became a colonial oppressor and an instigator of WWII, China fell to Communism, and several East Asian countries fell to dictatorships; only recently did several emerge from that. India has had plenty of problems with social liberalism and still does; just a couple months ago the Southern Indian state of Tamil Tadu attempted to prosecute an actress for saying that premarital sex was okay if protection was used.

Europe's modernization didn't come about without hitches either; I wouldn't dismiss two world wars as nothing.

It's important to view Islamism in the political context; Islamism was not a major force until the past 30 years. The dominant currents up till then in most Middle Eastern countries were socialism/communism and secular Arab nationalism.

Transitions to political and economic liberalism are always jarring and chaotic and are especially so when they are paired with power struggles and colonial-type conflicts.

Posted by: Andrew on February 10, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the Stranger has one of the best overview articles about the whole thing:

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=30432

This is the money-quote:

"After all, the list of Western phenomena that offend the sensibilities of many Muslims is a long oneranging from religious liberty, sexual equality, and the right of gay people not to have a wall dropped on them, to music, alcohol, dogs, and pork. After a few Danish cartoons, whats next?"

We draw the line now or we have to do it later. It gets harder later.

Posted by: peanut on February 10, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Osama, so you're saying that we have every right, and in fact duty, to be Intolerant of Muslim Intolerance and hence their Intolerance of our Intolerance?

Posted by: nepeta on February 10, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Osama:

I don't think our views are all that different. Certainly I embrace and support our culture, nor could I endure living in a Muslim one where I'm the minority and have to keep all signs of my Western beliefs circumscribed.

But here's the thing: If the fraction of the Muslim world that preaches Ummah and Dar-al-Saalam and a Universal Caliphate were in any serious position to challenge Western dominance, it would be a whole different story. Then, it indeed *would* be a clash of civilizations where we'd all have to choose sides and fight to the death.

It isn't, though. Most of the world's Muslims (and if you want to go off about "200 verses" in the Koran -- try reading Deteronomy or Joshua without shuddering at the xenophobic bloodlust) simply aren't into that shit, and want very much to join with the Western world, with the south and east Asians. The problem is, the fanatics, living in a region with an extreme strategic importance to the West, get all the attention.

But on the level of a struggle of ideas -- forget it.

The West has already won a long time ago.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Osama, so you're saying that we have every right, and in fact duty, to be Intolerant of Muslim Intolerance and hence their Intolerance of our Intolerance?
Posted by: nepeta on February 10, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

um. . . I. . . . I think so. . . .
It's Friday, why are you being so hard on me?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 10, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

We draw the line now or we have to do it later. It gets harder later. Posted by: peanut

Draw the line where, in their sand? Leave 'em to it. Let them beat their breast and rend their garments over stupid shit like this. To assure that this doesn't become a domestic issue, as it is throughout Europe, we simply cut off immigration from Islamic nations. It really is that simple. We can't change them, so why make the effort abroad or at home?

Instead of patrolling the world armed to the teeth, though lacking a credible military enemy, we should have spent the decade since Gulf War I working on conservation and alternative energy.

We don't have a single interest in the region except our dependence on oil, and we don't even have to buy ME oil directly. It has to be sold, and therefore will find its way into the international market. Just walk away

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew:

Good post. I substantially agree.

Context is very important here, and the process of modernization is never painless in whatever culture it occurs.

A good look at this is offered in Benjamin Barber's incredibly prescient Jihad vs McWorld.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Nope, Jeff II, I meant draw the line here by not letting them intimidate us and not changing our laws to accommodate their craziness. If they boycott or sanction one of us, then we turn against them in full solidarity.

Posted by: peanut on February 10, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

But here's the thing: If the fraction of the Muslim world that preaches Ummah and Dar-al-Saalam and a Universal Caliphate were in any serious position to challenge Western dominance, it would be a whole different story. Then, it indeed *would* be a clash of civilizations where we'd all have to choose sides and fight to the death.

But even the ones that do want to "join with the Western world" as you put it: they emigrate to a western nation like France or Denmark, have kids, like 10 or 15 per family, and pretty soon, issues like posting the 10 commandments in court buildings become important ballot issues. Just because the parents who emigrated to France are relatively liberal, doesn't mean their kids or grandkids will be.

I'm not calling for a halt to immigration - I'm just saying that this is a danger in any Democracy that doesn't work hard to preserve its protections of Liberties, and keep its citizens (first generation and otherwise) well educated on these principles, and work hard to make sure that while radical elements have their right to speak, that they will lose the war of ideas, BEFORE the moderates lose their right to speak. Because that's often one of the first things to go (and we're nearly there, in the US, given the state of Media consolidation).

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 10, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

peanut:

Well, you're something of a crazed fanatic yourself and not all that worthwhile taking seriously -- but I will note that you're dead wrong here.

The West, being the pluralist, tolerant West, will never unite in *complete solidarity* against Muslim boycotts. It's not in our nature to do so, and if Muslims want to exercise their economic power, they have every right to do so.

Osama:

No, I think you're wrong about intolerance of tolerance. In the Western free-speech tradition, tolerance is its own reward. That's why the ACLU champions the rights of Nazis to march in small midwestern towns.

We'll be a lot more tolerant of violent Muslim protests than the Muslim protesters ever have a prayer of being -- and if we embrace intolerance of their protests, to that degree we become like them.

If we're true to our ideals, we're true to our ideals. It is that simple. Nobody's about to impose Sharia law on Skokie, Illinois.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

In the process of modernization, Japan became a colonial oppressor and an instigator of WWII,

No. Japan had embraced not just modernization but Westernization with a vengence by the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, it was it's success with this, and its neighborhood's inability to modernize/Westernize, that enabled them to dominate the region. Remember, they kicked Russia's ass in 1905.

It's more complicated than that, but modernization didn't make the Japanese militarists. It made them successful at it.

Europe's modernization didn't come about without hitches either; I wouldn't dismiss two world wars as nothing. Posted by: Andrew

The modern age is considered, for Europe, to have begun in the mid 19th Century.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

"They were a direct effort to defame the Muslim prophet and insult Muslims in general. No bones about it. Just a middle finger lifted to Islam."

So?

Posted by: Juanita de Talmas on February 10, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Love the MSNBC lead of the protests:

"Large Cartoon Protests"

Wonder why people are protesting large cartoons? When I linked to the site provided by craigie the other day, I thought the caroons were rather small, in size, as well.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 10, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

One side demands papers not to print the cartoons and another side demands papers to print the cartoons....

As I recall free speech also give you the right not to print things you don't want to print for whatever reason you got.

Posted by: Elmer on February 10, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:

Some scholars would dispute that; a few believe that the modern age began for the West before the Reniassance, when Francis Bacon enumerated the scientific method.

And if you're pegging it to industrialization, that began in Britain in the late 18th century with textile mills.

I think the modern age began with Cervantes, but I'm a literature guy, so there ya go :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Osama:

Well we don't -- thank the gods! -- have the kind of problems with Muslim immigration that so much of Europe does.

But look at France, which adopts pretty much a hardcore version of the views you set forth above. They are strict assimilationists, demanding that all immigrants submit to being "French," learning the language, cherishing their ideals, etc. They completely despise what they call the "ghettoization" of American inner cities and so deny that segregation exists in a society where everyone is "french." And the net result -- a ghettoized, segregated, deeply resentful population that refuses to assimilate while living off the French welfare state. Nice.

How did this happen? Well, some of it has to do with plain French chauvinism -- a believe that their culture is superior. This produces denial that social problems exist -- how could they, in a culture where "liberty, equality, fraternity" is so important? But in the real world, being *ethnically* French is also cherished, and employers practice extreme forms of discrimination that would never be tolerated in America. The French are so proud of themselves for never "needing" Affirmative Action -- they don't have racial problems! -- and now those chickens have come home to roost.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

A good look at this is offered in Benjamin Barber's incredibly prescient Jihad vs McWorld.
Bob Posted by: rmck1

That is an interesting essay, but really not that different from the essay length version of Huntington's "The Clash of Civilizations?"

The book length extrapolation has a great chapter on why in his opinion it's foolish to think that democracy is universal. His contention, with which I concur, is that the West is unique from "the East," and vice versa.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

"'It would seem Ann Coulter's words are growing wiser with each passing day.'

Um....like this little gem:

"The invasion of Iraq has gone fabulously well, exceeding everyone's expectations - certainly exceeding the doomsday scenarios of liberals."

Posted by: CFShep on February 10, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

The Right in our country needs to understand that the reaction to these cartoons would be nearly nothing if we were not in Iraq right now. There might have been some demonstrations, sure, but nothing like we are seeing. This is about cartoons as much as the 1994 LA Riots were about Rodney King. Like the acquittal of the police officers, the cartoon was a trigger which unleashed a torrent of pent up rage and frustration at much more significant issues.

Posted by: G Spot1 on February 10, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

I have had a lot, many people say to me 'those Arabs' when discussing this issue. I do not think the protesters and rioters who have taken offense from the Danish cartoon represent Arabs or Islamic peoples. Do the congregants of the Wichita Westboro Baptist Church represent all Christians? No. Do the Christian baptized members of the Nazi SS (Catholic or Lutheran) represent all Christians? No.

Probably most people of Islamic faith are offended by having their greatest religious figure demeaned or insulted, just like most people of Christian faith are offended when their greatest religous figure is demeaned and insulted.

One thing I would like to say is that Christianity is about 700 years older than Islam. 700 years ago I think most Christians were acting out violence against anyone accused of apostasy. Let's give the Islamic followers the historical time necessary to allow secularism, because it took a long time for secularism to become peacfully accepted in Christian societies. As a matter of fact, Christian societies are still having a difficult time living in peace with secularists.

What did Pontius Pilate say to Jesus after he dropped the cross the third time on the way to His crucifixion?

A: Drop that cross one more time, and you are out of the parade.

Posted by: Hostile on February 10, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

No, I think you're wrong about intolerance of tolerance. In the Western free-speech tradition, tolerance is its own reward. That's why the ACLU champions the rights of Nazis to march in small midwestern towns.

To a point. We tolerate the Nazis right to speak and express themselves, but we don't anymore tolerate their attempts to impose their beliefs on others.

When it comes to Islam, though, we cut them more slack. If South Africa, say, had treated its black citizens the same way Afghanistan treated women -- forcing them to stay inside, not letting them work, forcing them to cover themselves, etc. -- the world would have howled. But aside from a few protests by feminists there was relatively little outrage against the Taliban prior to Sep. 11th.

Robert Hughes had a wonderful quote, which I, unfortunately, only slightly remember and therefore have to mangle, along the lines of "Multiculturalism isn't just falafel and pita bread. It's also stoning adulterers and cutting the hands off of thieves."

You can tolerate others opinions when they remain in the realm of opinions. But when they enter the realm of attacking you and burning down your buildings because when they don't like the cartoon you drew, well, then, that's where "tolerance" draws a line.

Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

What they printed was wrong. It was a taunt, an insult, a hate crime, an act designed to make it clear the Muslims are to be treated as terrorists.

And in a free society, people have the right to tell bigots to fuck off. - MysticDog

A hate crime? In what sense can a graphic depiction of ANYTHING, no matter how offensive, be considered a crime? If words can be considered criminal then only criminals will read, speak, or write. When cartoons are considered to be hate crimes then all artists must be suspected as terrorists. Freedom means freedom to be a dumbfuck idiot just as it means the freedom to be a poet laureate. You are far too sensitive if you see crimes lurking behind every harsh criticism or ugly idea. The world is not made up of unicorns and lolipops so you better toughen up quick or the world is going to eat you whole and spit out the bones.

I do however agree that people should be free to tell offensive pricks to fuck off. But telling does not require fire bombs and death threats, those ARE crimes - real crimes. Many of the trolls on this blog offend me daily with their tripe but I have never threatened any of them with real violence. I do, however, tell them in no uncertain terms to fuck off when it is appropriate.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on February 10, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

This is about cartoons as much as the 1994 LA Riots were about Rodney King.

But if you look at the streets,
It wasn't about Rodney King,
It's this fucked up situation,
And these fucked up police.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 10, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Founders of Religions don't get lampooned (generally speaking), Politicians get lampooned. Unfortunately Mohammed was both.

Mohammed played on both side of the street. He used religion and politics as mutually supporting.

He isn't lampooned for his religiosity, but for his politiosity.

If you are going to play politics, you have to pay for that. You can't use religion to avoid accountability for ones politics and vice versa. This reflects in Islam today.

Mohammed was a founder of a religion and a politician, and he was deeply involved in political intrigue that lead to murder, generally of those who propagandized against him or his message.

Does a religious message justify political killings? I think not, but Mohammed thought so, and Bin Laden thinks so.

The issue with Islam is always unbundling their wares - in this case separating religion from politics.

The bundled wares of Islam were a potent force in the seventh century and for the next thousand years. Now they are a handicap and they don't know what to do. As a release they are attacking cartoonist.

Depoliticize Islamic religion and Mohammed won't get lampooned.

Posted by: Bubbles on February 10, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK
But if you look at the streets, It wasn't about Rodney King, It's this fucked up situation, And these fucked up police.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought of Sublime when I read that line.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Thoughtful post, Hostile, I liked it.

I expect the immediate objection to be, "We don't have 700 years, we need to nuke these bastards now!" but at least you've added some perspective.

Also, I fail to remember the outrage here when thousands of white kids in Sydney rioted a few months back, damaging cars and attacking police and Muslims.

Did I miss that thread? Was the dismissive racism just as spectacular? Were Aussie youths derided as terrorists? Was there as much stupid on that thread?

For consistency's sake, I sure hope so. Otherwise so many of the comments here would just be a load of hypocritical crap.

Wouldn't want that.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 10, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

henever criticism of Islam is examined, the Left has this knee jerk reaction to attack Christianity. That either means you guys really hate the Christians and will never miss an opportunity to attack them, or it may just be a reflexive defense for your side, the Moslems.

Wrong!

I am a Christian, and I am on the left. BTW - My faith informs me to be this way.

Only Falangist Christians are on the right, and that's just another form of facism which is inherently unchristain.

Posted by: bubbles on February 10, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Also, I fail to remember the outrage here when thousands of white kids in Sydney rioted a few months back, damaging cars and attacking police and Muslims.

Did I miss that thread? Was the dismissive racism just as spectacular? Were Aussie youths derided as terrorists? Was there as much stupid on that thread?"

Actually, in Sydney there was rioting on both sides, caused by numerous instances of intimidation and assault by Lebanese muslims on the beach in Cronulla, including an assault on three volunteer lifesavers.

The problems that muslims have in integrating into western society are as great in australia as they are in europe.


Posted by: peanut on February 10, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

And, yes, for the record, we sure as shit don't have 700 years. Or even 100. Nice historical perspective, Hostile. Way to give us hope.

Posted by: peanut on February 10, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Monotheism is based on a 3000 year old assumption, that the consciousness motivating life is inherently intelligent. It is an "all-knowing absolute" in the words of Pope John Paul II.

The absolute is basis, not apex, so a spiritual absolute would be the essence out of which we rise and to which we fall, not a pinnacle from which we fell and seek to return. While consciousness is the essence of life, knowledge is a process of distinction and judgment.

Good and bad are not some metaphysical duel between the forces of light and darkness, but the binary code of biological calculation. The yes/no, on/off, I/O of billions of years of conscious decisions.

Reality is a function of bottom up processes and the top down entities which are formed by and define these processes. Capitalism is a process. Corporations are the entities. Democracy is a process. The Republic is the entity. Life is a process. Individuals are the entity. What monotheism attempts to do is define spirituality as a top down phenomena, when it is more logically a bottom up process.

The moral argument for monotheism is that belief in God instills respect for law and order. I would like to point out that many, if not most people tend to identify their own soul as an expression of God. When the assumption is that this God is all-knowing, then the presumption follows that personal beliefs are potentially infallible. Our current President is an obvious example. If we were to view this consciousness as essence, of which we are all striving, yet fallible expressions of, then the tendency might be to think before we act.

The reason life seems meaningless is because the concept of meaning is static and reductionistic, while life is dynamic and wholistic. When we distill away all the ethereal momentary aspects of life, searching for that hard little nugget of deeper meaning, we are throwing away that makes life what it is. Everything has purpose, tying it to everything else.

Posted by: brodix on February 10, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

The cartoons say to me that Islam is being used to terroize and intimidate people. They also say that non-Muslims should not be required to observe rules about graven images of Islamic religious leaders. And they reinforce long-held cultural biases I have against the religiously pious (they care more about ritual than actually doing good, etc.)

That doesn't strike me as offensive. For now. Perhaps a few bombs might change my mind.

Posted by: Bob on February 10, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought of Sublime when I read that line. Posted by: cmdicely

A Sublime reference? I misjudged you. Buy you a beer?

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

peanut, seven hundred years ago Christians were burning heretics. Sixty-five years ago Christians were gassing Jews. Presently, Christians want to nuke Arabs and Persians. Maybe it is the Christians who should be running out of time to integrate into society, because they sure are a murderous bunch.

Posted by: Hostile on February 10, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

The violent outrage over the cartoons reinforces my belief that: religion divides people, spirituality unites humanity.

I refuse to believe that religion and violent expression of any kind is true spirituality, for anyone, anytime, anywhere.

If some muslims believe that virgins await them in heaven, so be it. But don't act on earth like you deserve those virgins by killing others.

In the West we tend to hold up the individual over the masses. In the East, there is often a tendency to subsume the individual into the greater blob of humanity.

My religion, quakerism, has had a rocky road and many of us were hung for their beliefs. But I can't for the life of me fathom violent Quaker extremists.

It's not faith that drives people to kill over pen and ink drawings, but rather insanity.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 10, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

It is outrageous to be informed by a crowd of hundreds of thousands that the West must give up its freedoms in order to avoid violence.

I'm glad Andrew is finally standing up to those right wingnuts who insist we sacrifice our liberty for security against terrorism.

Posted by: Jimm on February 10, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK
It's not faith that drives people to kill over pen and ink drawings, but rather insanity.

Insanity is a cop-out answer. More likely, its a combination of pent up anger largely resulting from (though not necessarily consciously associated with) relative deprivation, lack of freedom, and economic desperation, cleverly exploited by powermad demagogues.

Though the conditions aren't nearly as bad here, so its usually not as easy to pull off, we see the same process here where rulers cynically magnify any flimsy shred of an indication of foreign hostility to gin up anger in the masses to distract from other issues and build support for policies with motives unrelated to the supposed provocation.

Are Americans insane? Perhaps so. But that's a shallow explanation that doesn't begin to get at the root source of the problem, or how to fix it. Same when that explanation is used for Muslims.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

I am waiting for Muhammed the porn flick, staring Eddie Murphy as our favorite Islamic leader.

Of course, we will need a real Islamic for stand in when Muhammed and the camel find true love.

Posted by: Matt on February 10, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:

> "A good look at this is offered in Benjamin Barber's incredibly
> prescient Jihad vs McWorld."

> That is an interesting essay, but really not that different from the
> essay length version of Huntington's "The Clash of Civilizations?"

Absolutely not, Jeff. Jihad vs McWorld is a book, not an essay. It
was written in '93, slightly before Huntington became the rage. But
Barber makes it quite clear in Fear's Empire (2002) that his ideas are
starky different that Huntington's standard-issue cultural pessimism.

Benjamin Barber is perhaps the pre-eminent democracy theorist
writing today. He has a great zeal for democracy, but he makes
the argument that democracy is a fragile plant that needs certain
cultural conditions in which to bloom. He surely doesn't make
any kind of crypto-racist Huntingtonian argument that Muslims
are inherently incapable of democracy; rather, he endorses the
idea that Islam and democracy are compatible. The cultural
conditions of the Muslim Mideast are, however, the very last
thing from democratic, and the West has a lot of responsibility
to bear in that. And certainly Barber argues very very strongly
against the proposition that you can impose democracy from without.
Rather, what we're trying to do in Iraq is install a friendly
government with a free-market economic system so that Iraqis become
decadent consumerists and start rejecting their religion. This
is precisely why Islam is threatened by the West; Barber nails this.

> The book length extrapolation has a great chapter on
> why in his opinion it's foolish to think that democracy
> is universal. His contention, with which I concur, is
> that the West is unique from "the East," and vice versa.

And that's just standard-issue cultural
pessimism, and arguably racist as well.

Stefan:

> "No, I think you're wrong about intolerance of tolerance.
> In the Western free-speech tradition, tolerance is its
> own reward. That's why the ACLU champions the rights
> of Nazis to march in small midwestern towns."

> To a point. We tolerate the Nazis right to speak and
> express themselves, but we don't anymore tolerate
> their attempts to impose their beliefs on others.

If they had any hope of doing that, and the last time that occured
in American history was the post-civil war era, when the racist
militias of the South (the Klan, ect.) had to be put down with
force. Today, however, there's really no chance that an ideology
like the Nazis can do much more than express their opinions (save,
of course, for violence which we prosecute). Sadly enough, it's
Republican ideology that runs unchecked, morphing closer and closer
to Fascism Lite and fashioning sophisticated PR campaigns to sell it.

> When it comes to Islam, though, we cut them more slack.
> If South Africa, say, had treated its black citizens
> the same way Afghanistan treated women -- forcing them
> to stay inside, not letting them work, forcing them to
> cover themselves, etc. -- the world would have howled. But
> aside from a few protests by feminists there was relatively
> little outrage against the Taliban prior to Sep. 11th.

Well, the Dutch and British are, of course, exponents of Western
civilization, which is always on the forefront of human rights.
But don't think the world was entirely silent; I certainly remember
when the Taliban blew up those Buddhist statues, and I also
remember my skin crawling after they won the war with the Soviets.

> Robert Hughes had a wonderful quote, which I, unfortunately,
> only slightly remember and therefore have to mangle, along
> the lines of "Multiculturalism isn't just falafel and pita bread.
> It's also stoning adulterers and cutting the hands off of thieves."

Not to mention clitoridectomy.

> You can tolerate others opinions when they remain in the realm
> of opinions. But when they enter the realm of attacking you and
> burning down your buildings because when they don't like the
> cartoon you drew, well, then, that's where "tolerance" draws a line.

No, the West really has no other choice than to bear this, Stefan --
in the name of our cherished ideals. Once again, remember how these
cartoons were instigated -- by an editor deeply influenced by the
Uber-Islamophobe Daniel Pipes. And that the Danish Right wants to
censor 200 verses of the Koran that allegedly promote violence (as if
Deuteronomy and Joshua were peace-loving texts). This really wasn't
about "free speech" -- it was a deliberate, insulting provocation,
calculated to produce precisely this kind of reaction so the right
wing could then feel even more justified in their Islamophobia.

I just don't believe that "bring 'em on!" is the solution here.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

I am waiting for Muhammed the porn flick, staring Eddie Murphy as our favorite Islamic leader.

Of course, we will need a real Islamic for stand in when Muhammed and the camel find true love.

I find this remark to be as offensive as the cartoon. And I'm not Muslim.

Every day, I hope and pray for the Muslim's to wise up, to have a Ghandi/MLK moment and realize that they can get a lot more by non-violent protest than they can by violence.

The problem is with the leaders (I'm talking about "Muslim" leaders) who have no qualms about killing people to prevent this, because this sort of revolution would put them out of business.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on February 10, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

"No, the West really has no other choice than to bear this."

Well it looks like we are rapidly learning how to best "bear this."

See this quote from yestday's Slate (http://www.slate.com/id/2135820):


But in Britain the debate has now widened into other and maybe more ominous fields: the limits of multiculturalism as a basis for public policy and especially for policing, and the place of Islam in pluralist societies. For years the London tabloids the Sun and the Daily Mail have been grumbling about "political correctness gone mad" and the pussyfooting methods of our multiculti police. Now liberals are uneasily facing the possibility that they might be right. Not only did the police make no arrests at last Friday's grotesque demonstration, which openly incited murder; they actually sheltered the fanatics. Two men who tried to stage a peaceable counterdemonstration were hustled away for questioning. A working-class Londoner who got out of his van to say something to Choudary and his friends was told in violent language by a cop to get back in his van and go away. Just when my exasperation was ebbing, on Wednesday morning I heard Chief Superintendent Ali Dizaei of the Metropolitan Police explaining himself on the radio through a spume of modish jargon: gently shepherding that mob had been "a judgment call" and an example of "smart policing." ...Apart from the demands of multiculturalism and "sensitivity," there is a factor of which Americans may not be aware: The Labor Party in general and some MPs in particular, Cabinet ministers among them, are gravely concerned about the Muslim vote. There are now 1.6 million Muslims in Great Britain, concentrated in a relatively small number of parliamentary constituencies. This helps explain why the government has often looked ignominious."

Posted by: A different Bob on February 10, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

It would seem Ann Coulter's words are growing wiser with each passing day.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 10, 2006 at 3:40 P

Ann Coulter? Isn't her the chick who said that best way to talk to a liberal is with a baseball bat?

Not very wise in my book, no sir.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Of course the Jyllands-Posten cartoons were puerile and offensive, and its editor was stupid to print them.

I don't agree with Drum here. Yes, they may have been offensive to Muslims, but what of it? They weren't offensive to me, a non-Muslim. And I think the jist of the point they were making is quite legitimate: that Islam is increasingly being hijacked by people who worship at the altar of violence. It seems to me the cartoons were making a perfectly arguable point. Indeed, given this particular ideology's increasing tendencies toward violence, I'd say they cartoons were largely correct in a substantive, objective sense. They were certainly well within the bounds of traditional, Western, political satire. Don't want your prophet's image being dragged down into the mire? Fine, then don't use the religion he founded as a tool of blood and conquest. Memo to the world's 1.2 billion Muslims: WE IN THE WESTERN WORLD DON'T SHARE YOUR TABOO AGAINST DRAWING IMAGES OF HUMAN FACES, AND WILL NOT BE BOUND BY IT.

I know there might be some tendency for folks to say "well, how would you like it if the Muslims depicted Jesus Christ in a similarly disrespectful fasion?" My answer would be that, to be honest, I really don't care. And I say that as a believing Christian. I figure God is strong enough to not be hurt by the insults of a few infidels. And even if I were offended, I certainly wouldn't be demanding the deaths of those who have offended me. I'd be praying for their conversion.

Enough is enough. The quicker the Islamic world learns that the West is different, and prefers it that way, and intends to keep it that way, the better. If they don't like our culture, let them ignore it. If they don't like our newspapers, they don't have to read them.

Posted by: 99 on February 10, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Absolutely not, Jeff. Jihad vs McWorld is a book, not an essay. It was written in '93, slightly before Huntington became the rage. But Barber makes it quite clear in Fear's Empire (2002) that his ideas are starky different that Huntington's standard-issue cultural pessimism.

I teach these pieces. Both started life as essays. "Jihad" in The Atlantic Monthly
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/199203/barber

"Clash" in Foreign Affairs
http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19930601faessay5188/samuel-p-huntington/the-clash-of-civilizations.html

Huntington's resulting book length work came out in 1996, Barber's in 1995. Barber revisited his essay last year, as did Fukuyama and his "The End of History?"


Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

It's not a black-and-white issue. I think considered responses fall in these categories:

1. They do the same to us in their cartoons -- now we're even.

2. We have our freedoms which they are too uncivilized to understand -- fuck them.

3. We have our freedoms but there are some things we won't publish even though we are free to do so. Offending Islam isn't one of these things.

4. They are right -- we should apologize.

I think that #3 is closest to the truth. Of course they are wrong to burn embassies over this. Of course I think they are behind the times -- as hostile explained above. Of course we have our freedoms. But there are some things that we have silently agreed not to ridicule in our media -- such as Martin Luther King and holocaust victims and our own religions -- and we don't have the same sensitivities toward Islam. So it's not that they are right and we are wrong -- it is that they are wrong and we are wrong too, in different ways.

(I know there are many western cartoons with god and Jesus etc. in them, but I don't think we have ever made christianity or judaism scapegoats for wars or atrocities committed by their believers).

Posted by: JS on February 10, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK
Every day, I hope and pray for the Muslim's to wise up, to have a Ghandi/MLK moment and realize that they can get a lot more by non-violent protest than they can by violence.

Good thing that its just those dirty Muslims that get moved to violence by manipulative demagogues. Good thing no mostly Christian Western nation has spread death and destruction after being cynically manipulated by their leaders to lash out based on exaggerations, lies, and distortions any time recently.

We're so much better than they are.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

>Just when my exasperation was ebbing..I heard Chief...of the Metropolitan Police explaining himself on the radio through a spume of modish jargon: gently shepherding that mob had been "a judgment call" and an example of "smart policing."

They probably aren't bent by PC-ness. If the police there are anything like the police in Canada, their goal at any public demonstration is first to Maintain Order, and then to minimize violence. Any secondary crime or morality issue drops by the wayside when they're trying to deal with demonstrations.

rmk1>Sadly enough, it's Republican ideology that runs unchecked, morphing closer and closer to Fascism Lite and fashioning sophisticated PR campaigns to sell it.

And that's why the liberal/left is so ambivalent about using force in the middle east. Not only are there economic conflicts of interest (oil), the fundis here and over there are spoiling to go head to head, both hoping to drown out the enlightenment values the western world has spent centuries establishing.

One set of fundis has more power, and the other is crazier, but they both share anamosity towards the secular state, rationality, and individual freedom.

Unfortunately, the liberal/left has its own problem within, namely the nihilist rot of post-modernism, and a lack of renewal among its political class. Personally I think the best antidote would be to start at the universities, and put the Science faculties in charge of hiring and firing in the Arts & Humanities for a decade. Both are liberal/left, but one has not lost its rational & utilitarian traditions, while the other lost in the woods.

If there is a global culture war, the islamic fanatics and the western fundi-cons are closer to being on the same side than any other set of forces. They're each others foil.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on February 10, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK
I know there are many western cartoons with god and Jesus etc. in them, but I don't think we have ever made christianity or judaism scapegoats for wars or atrocities committed by their believers

Nope. No cartoon in the west has ever scapegoated religion, except Islam, for war.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK
One set of fundis has more power, and the other is crazier

I disagree with that assessment.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, not even close. Your #1 makes fun of Bush, not of god -- and I don't see war in it. Your #2 is non-denominational.

But I did like your other recent post.

Posted by: JS on February 10, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

Good thing that its just those dirty Muslims that get moved to violence by manipulative demagogues. Good thing no mostly Christian Western nation has spread death and destruction after being cynically manipulated by their leaders to lash out based on exaggerations, lies, and distortions any time recently.

Dicely: you reveal a typically Western attitude of patronization and condescension here, in characterizing the fury of the Islamic world as being something brought about through the efforts of "manipulative demagogues". Did it ever occur to you that the people of that part of the world can think for themselves, and in many respects prefer the lack of freedom and openess that characterizes their society? While no doubt the region's tyrants welcome such diversions, in fact what is at the heart of the problem here a substantive cultural difference. In the Islamic world, large numbers of people genuinely take religion seriously and are willing act upon their beliefs, prominent among them being their genuine conviction that their faith is the right one, and all others are heresy.

In the West this is largely not the case. I don't know if we're truly "better" (to use your word) but I think we both know which society is characterized by tolerance and open inquriry, and which one isn't. Heck, even here in fascist Bushian Amerika, one need not nervously look over one's shoulder in posting criticisms in blog threads. You can't say that about Saudi Arabia or Iran. I'll go out on a limb and call our way "beter" (how judgemental of me!).

Posted by: 99 on February 10, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:

If you teach these books -- how in god's name can you conflate Jihad vs McWorld with The Clash of Civilizations?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, the cartoon controversy. How surreal.

Where is the offensiveness? - posted by reckless

Well, I think the offense is in the eyes of the offended, not yours.

But, frankly, I think the Muslims went over their heads in this thing. I agree with 99 here: it's very easy to throw this thing in the lap of their religious leaders, but what I saw on TV was the naked expression of their fanatism. I don't know how many people participated on the riots, or how much of the Muslim population it represents. I might be completely wrong and unjust here, seeing the actions of a few thousand people as representative of 1.2 billion. But my feeling seeing these things was that they were indeed talking (or wrecking havoc) for them all.

I was appalled by their violence, of course, but I was also appalled by the reaction of the Iranian newspaper who decided to promote a contest of anti-semitic cartoons. It was the most childish thing I ever saw adults doing in my whole fucking life.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

I am waiting for Muhammed the porn flick

Israel has been broadcasting it into captive Palestinian territories for decades.

Posted by: on February 10, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

I might be completely wrong and unjust here, seeing the actions of a few thousand people as representative of 1.2 billion. But my feeling seeing these things was that they were indeed talking (or wrecking havoc) for them all.

That's good, BC. Trust your feelings. You know them to be true.

Posted by: Irony Man on February 10, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:

If you teach these books -- how in god's name can you conflate Jihad vs McWorld with The Clash of Civilizations? Posted by: rmck1

Not the book length versions, but the initial essays - not enough time for both books and everything else that needs to be covered in a 200 level global politics survey. I use them in a section called "What New World Order," looking at what, essentially, hasn't happened since the fall of Communism.

You may not think it, but they really are looking at the same issues if from different perspectives.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if they are. I was always disgusted by the rethoric of the Ann Coulter's of the world, joking about racial profiling of Arabs, saying that they should be converted to Christianity and stuff. It saddens me deeply to see her gloating about it now. But I can't forget a radio interview I heard with a Muslim cleric here in Brazil last week. He was being diplomatic and political, but you could see in the way he talked and in his voice that he was dripping hatred. This is also sad, since Islam, as all religions, absolutely abhors violence.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK
Dicely: you reveal a typically Western attitude of patronization and condescension here, in characterizing the fury of the Islamic world as being something brought about through the efforts of "manipulative demagogues".

First, I am saying it is directed, not produced by manipulative demagogues. I said it was produced by a variety of social conditions.

Second, it is neither patronizing nor condescending, in any sense of either word with which I am familiar, to suggest that Muslims are fundamentally no different than every other person on the planet.

Third, it is an objective fact that the particular fury here was calculatedly channelled by a group of people who deliberately sought to do so long after the fact, not something that spontaneously erupted from the grassroots.

Did it ever occur to you that the people of that part of the world can think for themselves, and in many respects prefer the lack of freedom and openess that characterizes their society?

So? People often prefer lack of freedom and openness and freely choose it, whether or not they are Muslim, and often that is directly related to demagoguery playing on fears of external and internal threats. Did people think for themselves and freely choose to follow the Bolsheviks in Russia? Sure, large numbers did. Does that mean that the Bolsheviks weren't manipulative demagogues? Hardly. The same with the Nazis. The same with totalitarian movements throughout history, throughout the world, in every culture. Including the Islamic world.

While no doubt the region's tyrants welcome such diversions, in fact what is at the heart of the problem here a substantive cultural difference.

The leaders don't merely welcome such "diversions", they actively seek out sources to stimulate them, "spin" them to their publics, and, if necessary, invent them from whole cloth. The same as manipulative leaders everywhere else in the world, throughout all of human history.

The Islamic world is not some kind of historical aberration that doesn't fit in the pattern of the rest of human society.

n the Islamic world, large numbers of people genuinely take religion seriously and are willing act upon their beliefs, prominent among them being their genuine conviction that their faith is the right one, and all others are heresy.

Fortunately, nowhere outside of the Islamic world is there any place where there is any significant, politically powerful segment of the population that believes anything like that, nor has there ever been throughout human history.

I mean, its not like any candidate for high political office in the West ever said anything like "I don't know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." And, if they had, the outcry would have been deafening, and they never would have seen the high office they sought.

Certainly, no Western political party in the modern era has rested much of its base of power on appeals to religious nationalism.

In the West this is largely not the case. I don't know if we're truly "better" (to use your word) but I think we both know which society is characterized by tolerance and open inquriry, and which one isn't.

I don't know about "societies", but I know in the US, the idea of "tolerance" and "open inquiry" are the butt of jokes by the political faction that controls all three branches of the government, and acheived that control largely through the free choice of the electorate.

Heck, even here in fascist Bushian Amerika, one need not nervously look over one's shoulder in posting criticisms in blog threads. You can't say that about Saudi Arabia or Iran. I'll go out on a limb and call our way "beter" (how judgemental of me!).

Sure, on balance, our way is better for the people living in it. OTOH, as far as violence stirred up based on ignorance and hate and directed at others, I think more Muslims were killed by Westerners based on that over the last 5 years than vice versa.


Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

I judge Muslims the same way I do you -- one person at a time. And I have to say that I have been delighted with meeting them, just delighted. They are invariably wonderful people.

Posted by: Bob M on February 10, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce the Canuck,

They probably aren't bent by PC-ness.

I'm guessing that you're making a generous assumption here and hoping that they're not bent by PC idiocy because you're simply unaware of the details. Details like:

A BLACK police bodyguard who protected the Duchess of Cornwall has won $70,000 compensation after suing Scotland Yard for "over-promoting" him because of political correctness.

Sgt Leslie Turner -- the first black personal protection officer to guard the royal family -- will receive the "racial discrimination" payout after reaching an out-of-court settlement with London's Metropolitan Police.

His representatives argued he landed the prestigious job as Camilla's bodyguard only because he was black.

It was claimed that as a result of being over-promoted and not receiving proper training and support, Sgt Turner made mistakes which led to him being re-assigned.

He launched legal proceedings against the force in October and Scotland Yard chiefs have agreed to pay "substantial" compensation -- understood to be about $70,000 -- to the married father of two.

Colleagues of Sgt Turner, who was born in Britain, say he is a "model professional"' who had a good relationship with Prince Charles and Camilla.

He began guarding Charles in August, 2004 and was re-assigned to Camilla in February last year when the royal couple were engaged.

But in June, it emerged he had suddenly been replaced.

Royal insiders stress that the decision to move him was not taken directly by Clarence House. But they concede that the race row is extremely embarrassing for Charles and Camilla.

Had Sgt Turner's case reached a tribunal, potentially embarrassing secrets about Charles and Camilla's lives may have been aired.

A Met spokesman refused to confirm the compensation deal.

Or this incident;

Prison officers at a West Yorkshire jail have been advised in a report not to wear St George's Cross tie-pins.

The wearing of England's national symbol by staff at Wakefield Prison could be "misinterpreted", said the report's section on race relations.

Or this incident:

LEICESTER -- Police here in central England seized a collection of porcelain pigs from a house's window sill after Muslims complained that they were offensive.

"I just couldn't believe it, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," Mrs Nancy Bennett, the owner of the 17 miniature pigs, told the Sun tabloid newspaper.

The porcelain figures were held at the local police station, while Mrs Bennett was threatened with prosecution if she replaces the collection. Her house is located in the same street as the city's main mosque, meaning that Muslim worshippers often passed by her front window where the pig figurines were on display.

"Muslims find pigs highly offensive," explained police officer David Griffiths. "That is why the complaints were made".

Lastly, I would suggest looking at this post, and actually clicking through to the math exam that prospective police officers need to take in order to qualify for the force, and which the US Justice Department has stated underlies the structural discrimination facing black and hispanic officers in Virginia Beach.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 10, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

I just wanted to say that this is an inspired piece of advice. It makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 10, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Personally I think the best antidote would be to start at the universities, and put the Science faculties in charge of hiring and firing in the Arts & Humanities for a decade. Both are liberal/left, but one has not lost its rational & utilitarian traditions, while the other lost in the woods.

I just wanted to say that this is an inspired piece of advice. It makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 10, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

And in news just in, President George Bush has been awarded $4,000,000 in damages for being "over promoted" - By being over promoted, Bush claimed that he had not been properly trained for his job.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 10, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

the caroons were "puerile and offensive"?

that's nonsense.

only someone who has not seen them could say this.

tell me, kevin, in print,

have you seen the cartoons?

which ones did you find "puerile"?

do you know why they were generated?

have you told your readers why?


if you have seen them, give us the link?

so kevin,

cut the usual: on the one hand, on the other hand, "nobody can pin me down", journalistic bull shit

and

link the cartoons.

yeah

link the damned cartoons.

let your readers see them and decide.


you can do this in a key stroke or so, can't you.


how is it that this, and every other american site i have visted,

have not linked to the danish cartoons?


it's not that difficult.

i've seen them myself.

they are interesting and kind of cute. not much different from your usual american political cartoon.

they are offensive only if you have a mindset to view them that way.

my guess why you won't link them?

cowardice.

dangerous for the website and maybe bad for business.

question:

which is it?

bad for business, kevin (and washington monthly),

or

fear of retaliation?


not exactly a courageous free press stance

is it?

calculating and posturing.

Posted by: orionATL on February 10, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

But there's another possibility too: that the famous American heartland finally gets sick and tired of the whole thing and decides it's best to let them all go to hell in their own way. Pull the troops out...

From the Stanley Kurtz, The Corner
"On the other hand, have a look at America First, the new country video from Merle Haggard. I only caught the last part of it, but Haggard calls for an Iraq pullout and attention to Americas problems, not the rest of the world. The Jacksonians are on the march. So it looks like the neo-realist posse may have a fight on its hands after all. And this one could leave the Democrats sitting pretty."

Posted by: Jody on February 11, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, the trolls here are quite happy that somebody somewhere is deliberately provoking Muslim sensibilities with insults and rude caricature. And they're even happier that Muslims are rioting as a result. It gives them a chance to sit anonymously at their keyboards and advocate violence. Stupid troublemaking cowards.

There is a clash of civilizations going on right now. It's being fomented by the religious and political extremists who happen to hold power right now in the middle east AND in the west. The pointless, intractible conflict in Iraq is but the prime example. The Israel-Palestine situation is just as hopeless now as it was sixty years ago.

Perhaps the real offense from everyday Muslims is that nobody with any power in the west seems to be working for peaceful solutions. Just more rhetoric, more chaos, more bombs. These cartoons, and their apologists, bring the hopelessness into sharp focus. Hopelessness creates rage, does it not?

Posted by: exasperanto on February 11, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, I'm very tired...

"real offense from everyday Muslims" should have read "real offense FOR everyday Muslims".

I suppose the neo-cons would label me an "appeaser" or something. But no, it's just diplomacy. We need to reel in the power-politics. I've observed, as just an ordinary citizen, these tempests all my adult life. Nobody on any side has enough moral capital to declare himself guilt-free. No one is a pure victim and no one has the right to call for revenge. It's time to shake hands and offer proper respect. Leaders should be lecturing their own citizens and not threatening some other nation's.

Call me namby-pamby but it's the only way forward.

Posted by: exasperanto on February 11, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

orionATL on February 10, 2006 at 10:32 PM |

I have seen the cartoons, but I won't link to the site that I saw them on, for two reasons. I don't own the site, and I don't want somebody to get it in his mind to hack the site.

The Danish newspaper that ran the cartoons is not some low-circulation rag. It is the second largest newspaper in Denmark. It is known to be center-right. The Danish government is center-right as well.

It has been reported that some Muslim religious leaders in Denmark travelled to the Middle East after the cartoons were published in an effort to encourage the Middle Eastern religious leaders to incite an uprising there against Denmark. And they succeeded. Of course, the cartoons were intended to satirize the fact that Islam is not a religion of peace, which the ME uprisings verified quite well.

Posted by: raj on February 11, 2006 at 7:17 AM | PERMALINK

I missed the porcelain pigs incident but did hear - on NPR, I think - about a bank in the Midlands which had to recind a savings account promotion and print a public apology because the ads used a piggy bank as it's symbol. Possibly gave away tiny little piggy banks...

Piggy banks are an offense against Islamic sensibilities.

Perhaps, since the word contains the French word for 'pork', worldwide production of 'porcelains', will have to be suspended lest Islamic sensibilities be offended by that, too. At least until such time as the entire category can be renamed in a more culturally sensitive manner:

Ummm....'china'? No, too fraught with geo-political overtones.

Certain clay based manufactures fired at very high temperatures.


Would that pass muster?

Posted by: CFShep on February 11, 2006 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

'its' not 'it's'

Ugh.

Posted by: CFShep on February 11, 2006 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

unfortunately, we can not just ignore this, pull our troops out and let them "kill themselves off" as suggested in Kevin's article. We must not lose sight of the fact that this radical faction of Islam is hell bent on destroying the civilized world along with themselves. I do hope this wakes a lot of people up. If the entire civilized world would unite against this threat, we could easily defeat it in a short amount of time. Political correctness and greed are preventing that from happening as currently only a handful of countries, led by the US are taking it seriously.

Posted by: Jay on February 11, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

I do hope this wakes a lot of people up. If the entire civilized world would unite against this threat, we could easily defeat it in a short amount of time.

Posted by: Jay

I agree with you. Radical Islam is the enemy of of modern society not just America. Hopefully the Europeans and the Dumbercrats can set aside their Bush hatred long enough to recognize the real enemies of our cultures and lifestyles.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on February 11, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

People have the right to be offended, but that doesn't mean they have the right to threaten or harm anyone.

If I try, I bet I can come up with a cartoon that will offend anyone of you.

Posted by: Michele on February 11, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

"first, let's put a HUGE tarriff on importing oil "


Because we can certainly afford the money to invest in researching and developing new energy technologies when we're paying even MORE for gas and oil. FYI...I PERSONALLY CAN'T STOP USING OIL AND GAS NEXT WEEK IF YOU JACK UP THE PRICE. I doubt many of us could afford to completely cut it off.

Hey I agree more than anyone in reducing consumption of oil, especially that derived from foreign sources. However, for now oil and gas are needed in our society while we develop other sources to be safe. Placing a huge tariff on importing it will only hurt the people buying it, especially the lower-income classes. In addition, prices of almost all goods and services would go up because the cost of making those goods/services would increase.

In addition, a tariff would a good idea IF we had enough domestic sources of energy production to supply our current infrastructure...which we don't. Face it, you can't just flip a switch and say "BAM! Our cars now run off ethanol or hydrogen, etc". There are MASSIVE infrastructure changes that need to take place in terms of energy suppliers, as well as developing these sources for widespread and efficient use without implications.

I agree with your basic point i think, but a huge tariff on oil imported would be devastating.

Posted by: Tim on February 11, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Fat White Guy:

The biggest enemy of *your* lifestyle, bro, is cholesterol :)

This is a tempest in a teapot. Europe has different issues with immigration than America, and no American would allow their personal knicknack collection to be banned because it offends some sensibilities.

The anti-modern viewpoint is not going to triumph in the modern world. End of story.

We can make many more enemies by trying -- but we cannot defeat Islamism by military conquest. The more we try to conquer it, the more support for it grows.

Take the heat off the Islamic world, stop supporting dictators that serve our interests (Osama's main beef), clear our interests out of that area, and cultural evolution will take care of the rest.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Take the heat off the Islamic world, stop supporting dictators that serve our interests (Osama's main beef), clear our interests out of that area, and cultural evolution will take care of the rest.

Bob

Not in our lifetime. As long as Islamic fundamentalits have any support they will go after the west any way they can. With the modern world economy and the internet there will always be something to antagonize them. There is no middle ground for them. It is only our submission to their demands or our destruction that will satisfy them.

These stupid cartoons are a good example. The press in America will not run them out of cowardice but are more than willing to run a picture of Mary covered with shit and pornographic images. The NYT did this in the same issue they claimed they would not run the cartoons of Mohamed to accompany their story about them because they might insult someones religion. So it is OK to insult Christians but not Muslims. I love it!

Posted by: Fat White Guy on February 11, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

The Right in our country needs to understand that the reaction to these cartoons would be nearly nothing if we were not in Iraq right now. There might have been some demonstrations, sure, but nothing like we are seeing. This is about cartoons as much as the 1994 LA Riots were about Rodney King. Like the acquittal of the police officers, the cartoon was a trigger which unleashed a torrent of pent up rage and frustration at much more significant issues.


See, this is a dangerous point of view. It is the point of view that says "somehow all of this is the fault of America. If we would just stop being combatative, and drop our guard completely, then radical islam would have no problem with us and we would be perectly safe!"

Totally untrue.

Doing nothing is not going to work for us any more. We are actually going to have to defend what we believe in. And it may wind up to be more than just a minor inconvenience to the average American.

But we must do it anyway.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 11, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Take the heat off the Islamic world, stop supporting dictators that serve our interests (Osama's main beef), clear our interests out of that area, and cultural evolution will take care of the rest.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, you are a naive idiot. If bombing you persuades America to stop supporting any government, those governments will very quickly fund a group that will bomb you to force you to support those governments.

Besides its going to take you years to ease of on oil. And as long as you take any, someone can always accuse you of supporting some corrupt, oil producing government - and there are many, many such governments.

Posted by: McA on February 11, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Is anyone going to supply links to sections of Bush's speeches where he said Saddam was linked to Al-Qaeda?

This has been done to death. He said Iraq was linked to terror other than the presence of Zarqawi.

This is fucking ridiculous. Half the time you claim he invaded only for WMD and couldn't find those, the other half of the time you make shit up.

The left has no fucking credibility left for anyone with a brain and a memory. Lucky for you, American elections only require a majority to win, and I'm sure most Americans are missing one of two,

Posted by: McA on February 11, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

> If we would just stop being combatative, and
> drop our guard completely,

Nice frame: "being less combatative" = "dropping our guard completely". And it is of course no doubt the "librul Democrat Party" that is advocating "dropping our guard completely".

Need to get Rush "Big Pharma" Limbaugh pushing that one real quick (or perhaps Dick "Other Priorities" Cheney); then Kevin will repeat it for you in a cleaned-up form.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 11, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

...start at the universities, and put the Science faculties in charge of hiring and firing in the Arts & Humanities for a decade.

Great idea Bruce. People should check out the Dannish TV coverage. They've caught the fabricator of one of the false cartoons.

Tim Rutten has a good column in today's LA Times called "Let's be honest about cartoons." Here's the key quote:

Among those who decline to show the caricatures, only one, the Boston Phoenix, has been forthright enough to admit that its editors made the decision "out of fear of retaliation from the international brotherhood of radical and bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do. This is, frankly, our primary reason for not publishing any of the images in question. Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and as deeply as we believe in the principles of free speech and a free press, we could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy."

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Nice frame: "being less combatative" = "dropping our guard completely". And it is of course no doubt the "librul Democrat Party" that is advocating "dropping our guard completely".

Nice work, Cranky. Dropping the post I quoted and partially quoting my post. It helped you meet your objective to spin and twist the truth.

Michael Moore would be proud of you.

Address my actual point next time, instead of dodging it.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 11, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

>>>> G Spot 1's original post
>>>> The Right in our country needs to understand
>>>> that the reaction to these cartoons would be
>>>> nearly nothing if we were not in Iraq right
>>>> now.

>>> SportsFan079's 'interpretation'
>>> See, this is a dangerous point of view. It is
>>> the point of view that says "somehow all of
>>> this is the fault of America. If we would just
>>> stop being combatative, and drop our guard
>>> completely, then radical islam would have no
>>> problem with us and we would be perectly
>>> safe!"

>> Cranky Observer's summary of sportfan's post
>> Nice frame: "being less combatative" =
>> "dropping our guard completely". And it is of
>> course no doubt the "librul Democrat Party"
>> that is advocating "dropping our guard
>> completely".

> sportsfan's angry response
> Nice work, Cranky. Dropping the post I quoted
> and partially quoting my post. It helped you
> meet your objective to spin and twist the truth.
> Michael Moore would be proud of you.
> Address my actual point next time, instead of
> dodging it.

The reader can judge for himself, but I think in any judicious reality-based universe I did respond to sportfan's point. I just pushed back against it in a way that makes Radicals, who claim not to care about losing arguments, really really angry.

Nice try though.

Cranky Observer

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 11, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

The notion that the Persian Gulf can be ignored, in any time frame but the very long term, when we start "seriously working on energy independence", is just childish daydreaming. Any attempt to wean the American economy relatively quickly from oil, which inevitably means Persian Gulf oil, given oil's fungibility, would entail a huge setback in living standards, and the electorate just isn't going to stand for it, as no electorate in human history ever has.

The oil in the Persian Gulf is going to be extracted, the United States is going to be heavily involved, and the only open question is how many people get slaughtered in the process. The hideous ugliness of this situation, and it's damnable difficulty, if one wishes to avoid a titanic slaughter, doe not mean one can turn away from it. The cards have been dealt, and the hand will be played. I hope the human race gets lucky, but there are days when it really looks like a long shot.

Posted by: Will Allen on February 11, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

The reader can judge for himself, but I think in any judicious reality-based universe I did respond to sportfan's point. I just pushed back against it in a way that makes Radicals, who claim not to care about losing arguments, really really angry.

Of course, any reader with a pair of eyes can go back and check the thread and see that you are leaving out the majority of my post. But no matter. Trying to hold some lefties to standards of truth and honesty is task which has no end. Forget about it.

The more important thing is the main point, which is this:

The coalition presence in Iraq is not RESPONSIBLE for this reaction of Islam to these cartoons. Asserting this type of causation is just wrong, and dangerous too. I believe it is the sort of catalyst that led to 9/11.

THAT is my point. Respond to that. Instead of just another ad hominem attack.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 11, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

> Of course, any reader with a pair of eyes can go
> back and check the thread and see that you are
> leaving out the majority of my post

Since you started by _adding_ a sentence to G Spot's post that was not there and was not implied ("dropping our guard completely"), I find it a bit amusing that you now claim your argument is being misquoted.

I think the takeaway lesson for Kevin is this: we all know that the Radicals' arguments are contemptibly weak - as how could they not be when they are based on Dick Cheney's philosophy.

But the strength of the Radicals' /frames/ is in fact based entirely on illusion. It is only necessary to push back against the Radicals, politely but _firmly_, and they go to pieces.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 11, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I notice that even when I politely and explicitly ASK you to respond to my main point, you won't do it.

That is called "dodging". People do it when they are frightened by their lack of a valid response.

Here, I'll restate it again, so you will be sure not to miss it this time:

{quote}

The coalition presence in Iraq is not RESPONSIBLE for this reaction of Islam to these cartoons. Asserting this type of causation is just wrong, and dangerous too. I believe it is the sort of catalyst that led to 9/11.

THAT is my point. Respond to that. Instead of just another ad hominem attack.

{endquote}

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 11, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

> THAT is my point. Respond to that.
> Instead of just another ad hominem attack.

Pointing out that you ADDED words to another person's argument, creating a concept that was not there before, for the explicit purpose of creating a frame to attack a straw man is not an "ad hominem" argument. It is pointing out that your argument is based on false premises.

You seem to have a lot of anger about being caught red-trolled as it were. Historically I don't think that level of anger is what the American people want. Nice try though.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 11, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

OK, I've tried twice now to get you to actually address a point, and twice you've dodged. I won't try a third time. It is clear that you have nothing but rhetoric. Unfortunately, my time is too valuable to be wasted on rhetoric.

Also, you seem to fantasize about being able to make others "angry" or make them "fall apart". You greatly overestimate your impact on others, I think.

That said, I welcome any others on this board to respond to the point I made earlier. I am impressed with the general level of debate on this thread, even from the leftist. It has been very thought-provoking.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 11, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky Observer convinces noone. sportsfan clearly wanted to push back against the suggestion that the rioting is America's fault. Quibbling about "framing" and the wording of sportsfan's post does not qualify in the least as a rebuttal.

The question is really fairly simple: Do you or do you not agree that the USA (your country, I presume) and its actions are to blame in inciting the riots?

Are you one of the "Always blame America first" types or not?

And, no, in - what is it now? - four posts here you have not even gotten close to answering.

Maybe that's the most telling answer of all.

Posted by: clock on February 11, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Ali says it best. And her statements, in contrast to anything on this blog, come at enormous personal risk. She may one day sign these words with her own blood:

"Liberty does not come cheap. A few million Euros is worth paying for the defence of free speech. If our governments neglect to help our Scandinavian friends then I hope citizens will organise a donation campaign for Danish companies.

We have been flooded with opinions on how tasteless and tactless the cartoons are -- views emphasising that the cartoons only led to violence and discord. What good has come of the cartoons, so many wonder loudly?

Well, publication of the cartoons confirmed that there is widespread fear among authors, filmmakers, cartoonists and journalists who wish to describe, analyse or criticise intolerant aspects of Islam all over Europe.

It has also revealed the presence of a considerable minority in Europe who do not understand or will not accept the workings of liberal democracy. These people many of whom hold European citizenship have campaigned for censorship, for boycotts, for violence, and for new laws to ban Islamophobia.

The cartoons revealed to the public eye that there are countries willing to violate diplomatic rules for political expediency. Evil governments like Saudi Arabia stage grassroots movements to boycott Danish milk and yoghurt, while they would mercilessly crash a grassroots movement fighting for the right to vote."

________________


That's courage.

http://www.nrc.nl/opinie/article215732.ece

Posted by: peanut on February 11, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky Observer convinces noone. sportsfan clearly wanted to push back against the suggestion that the rioting is America's fault. Quibbling about "framing" and the wording of sportsfan's post does not qualify in the least as a rebuttal.

The question is really fairly simple: Do you or do you not agree that the USA (your country, I presume) and its actions are to blame in inciting the riots?

Thank you very much, Clock. You hit on the central issue of my point instantly. I knew someone could do it.

In truth, I am dissapointed in that 'cranky observer' person. I really thought they would eventually discuss the main point with me. I see now that they had no actual intention of engaging in anything resembling an honest debate.

Now, we'll see if anyone responds to your excellent paraphrase of my point.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 11, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK
That's courage. Posted by: peanut
That's a fundamental misunderstanding. Even in America, we still have CD and book burnings, vicious attacks on people of different races, genders, and ideologies. One has only to listed to the likes of Republican supporters like Pat Robinson, Jerry Falwell, Fred Phelps, Grover Norquist, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage and others to hear the same message that comes from Islamic fundamentalists. It's the intolerant aspects of European and American society and hate speech from them that should be our concern. You cannot preach what you do not practice. It is Europe and American that has invaded three Muslim countries, not the other way around.

One needs to look to history for the proper context: From Juan Cole:
Muslim touchiness about Western insults to the prophet Mohammed must be understood in historical context. Most Muslim societies have spent the past two centuries either under European rule or heavy European influence, and most colonial masters and their helpmeets among the missionaries were not shy about letting local people know exactly how barbaric they thought the Muslim faith was. The colonized still smart from the notorious signs outside European clubs in the colonial era, such as the one in Calcutta that said, "Dogs and Indians not allowed."
Indeed, the same themes of Aryan superiority and Semitic backwardness in the European "scientific racism" of the 19th and early 20th centuries that led to the Holocaust against the Jews also often colored the language of colonial administrators in places like Algeria about their subjects. A caricature of a Semitic prophet like Mohammed with a bomb in his turban replicates these racist themes of a century and a half ago, wherein Semites were depicted as violent and irrational and therefore as needing a firm white colonial master for their own good.

(It is worth noting that in 2004 the Danish editor who commissioned the drawings, Flemming Rose, conducted an uncritical interview with the American neoconservative and Islamophobe Daniel Pipes. Pipes, an extreme right-wing supporter of the Israeli colonization of the Palestinian West Bank, has warned of the dangers of Muslim immigration into Denmark, claiming that "many of them show little desire to fit into their adopted country" and that male Muslim immigrants made up a majority of the country's rapists.) '

An English translation of Flemming Rose's interview with Pipes is here.
http://engforum.pravda.ru/showthread.php3?s=&threadid=158638
Rose deliberately sought the caricatures.

It is also worth noting that Jyllands-Posten declined to publish Resurrection cartoons for fear of offending, and declined to publish Holocaust cartoons because that would be a "tasteless media stunt"
..."told him [the Resurrections cartoonist] in an e-mail that readers would not enjoy the drawings because they would "provoke an outcry".
On Wednesday, Rose said the paper would consider printing the Iranian cartoons, "but we will not make a decision before we have seen the cartoons".
However, Juste said that the newspaper "in no circumstances will publish Holocaust cartoons from an Iranian newspaper", which he called a "tasteless media stunt".

This double standard proves that Jyllands-Posten was indulging in a racist stunt, which, given that this is a right-wing newspaper, is not surprising.

Posted by: Mike on February 11, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

sportsfan:

No, because no American newspaper published them.

And it's quite interesting that here in the home of the First Amendment, only one paper I know of published one cartoon. Kevin hasn't chosen to link to them.

And despite being a card-carrying ACLUer -- I applaud that choice. Just the way I'd applaud the choice of not publishing that Iranian cartoon of Hitler in bed with Anne Frank.

Sometimes gratuitous ofensiveness intended to provoke is just ... gratuitous offensiveness intended to provoke.

No redeeming social value, as some Supreme said during the Warren Court about what defines pornography vs erotic art.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Lots of misinformation here about JP, most of it probably deliberate. For the record, JP is not some "right wing" rag - it is the largest-circulation daily in Denmark.

Posted by: peanut on February 11, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Also, the editor of J-P is not Fleming Rose, but Carsten Juste. He's been editor since 2003.

Posted by: peanut on February 11, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Dogs and Indians not allowed."

Yea, that was 100 years ago in India. Trust Juan da Man to always come up with the completely irrelevant.

But, speaking of Dogs and Indians. Here's Sistani's list of things that are Nasjis (meaning dirty) and must be avoided. Remember, Sistani is one of the "moderate" ones:

Urine
Faeces
Semen
Dead body
Blood
Dog
Pig
Kafir
Alcoholic liquors
The sweat of an animal who persistently eats najasat

There is apparently some dispute about whether or not Jews or Christians are Kafir, but Hindus are most definitely Kafir.

Dogs, Indians - they're all equally impure to "moderate" muslims.

Posted by: clock on February 11, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

They're bat-shit crazy for sure. But there's also smarter operators behind the scenes getting the stupid ones all riled up. What a toxic combo. I say batten up the hatches, pull up the drawbridges, let's not let ONE single additional islamofascist into our country.

It's a risk that is equally unacceptably high as it is totally avoidable.

By Daniel Howden, David Hardaker in Cairo and Stephen Castle in Brussels
Published: 10 February 2006
A summit of Muslim nations held in Mecca in December may have played a key role in stoking outraged protests across the Islamic world against a series of caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed.

A dossier of the cartoons, which was compiled by Danish Muslims, was handed around the sidelines of the meeting, attended by 57 Islamic nations including leaders such as Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Saudi King, Abdullah.

The meeting in Islam's holiest city appears to have been a catalyst for turning local anger at the images into a matter of public, and often violent, protest in Muslim nations. It also persuaded countries such as Syria and Iran to give media exposure to the cartoon controversy in their state-controlled press.

Muhammed El Sayed Said, the deputy director of the Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, an independent studies centre, said the Mecca meeting was a turning point in internationalising the cartoons issue. "Things started to get really bad once the Islamic conference picked it up," he said. "Iran and Syria contributed to fomenting reaction. It came to the point where everyone had to score a point to be seen as championing the cause of Islam."

Posted by: nok on February 11, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Michelle.

Posted by: viox lawyer on February 11, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with tiny.

Posted by: jsklm2 on February 11, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Great posts Peanut. It's always sad to be reminded that a lot of Western "liberals" are closet authoritarians that have a secret appetite for mob rule.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

peanut:

You're factually incorrect. The JP is the second-largest circulation daily in Denmark.

And it is most assuredly a right-wing paper. People who've posted here from Denmark have owned up to this.

The Real Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

You're wrong as always, Bob. J-P is the largest circulation Danish daily. From Wikipedia:

Jyllands-Posten
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Owner Jyllands-Postens Fond
Publisher JP/Politikens Hus A/S
Editor Carsten Juste
Founded October 2, 1871
Political position Centre-right
Ceased publication {{{ceased publication}}}
Price DKK 15.00 (17.00 on weekends)
Headquarters Viby J, Denmark

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Website: www.jp.dk
Jyllands-Posten ("The Jutland Post", full name: Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten (helpinfo)) is Denmark's largest-selling daily newspaper.

And the political position is "centre-right" which in US terms puts them probably somewhere to the left of center. You don't get to be the largest daily in a Scandinavian country if you put out a right-wing paper.

Posted by: peanut on February 11, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

And for those who read Danish:

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Postens prsentationssider p internettet fortller, hvad koncernen bag Danmarks strste dagblad og landets frende internetavis er i dag men ogs, hvordan det hele udviklede sig fra en beskeden begyndelse i rhus i 1871 til positionen som Danmarks Internationale Avis.

Translation: Denmark's largest daily.

http://www1.jp.dk/info/

Posted by: peanut on February 11, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

And, oh by the way, Bob, in case you need a job (and I very much sense that you do!) here is a link with information on how you can get a paper route for the J-P:

http://www1.jp.dk/info/avisbud_hos_jp.htm

It's the perfect job for you, Bob. Not much thinking involved.

Posted by: peanut on February 11, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, the last post was for the loser who calls himself "the real bob" with the alphabet-soup handle that starts with an "r".

To you with the handle "Bob", I agree with you about the Tim Rutten piece (agree with you, not necessarily with all that Rutten says). What really bugs me about the handling of the UK and US media in this case is all the sanctimonius posturing from editors saying "we just made an editorial decision (to not show the items that started THE major news story of the past few weeks in the Eurasian continent) because we just didn't think those drawing were Any Good. You see, we just care about the quality of the drawings.

Bullshit. It would be nice if more than one single editor was willing to stand up and say that s/he would very much want to print such newsworthy items, but that s/he is afraid. Afraid that "someone" will figure out where s/he lives. Afraid of the consequences if that happens. If you think the risk is small, trust me, US editors do not think so. They know what happened to Theo van Gogh.

Posted by: peanut on February 11, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

peanut:

I read that the JP was the second-largest Denmark daily in the NYT -- you cited wikipedia. I know which source I'll believe, thanks.

You obviously know next to nothing about Denmark's political culture -- or the geography of Denmark, for that matter. Denmark's a Nordic country, not a Scandinavian country; it's above Germany. The three countries on the Scandinavian penninsula are Sweden, Norway and Finland (I'm not certain if Iceland is included, or if it's considered a Nordic country).

Denmark has a European welfare state and a big tradition of freedom of expression (it's a refuge for child pornographers), but otherwise, it's more culturally conservative than Germany and certainly than Scandinavia -- and they have a rightist government atm.

The editor who ran that cartoon previous to publication met with arch-Islamophobe Daniel Pipes, who believes the Palestinians should be driven out of the entire West Bank.

This is not an innocent matter of free speech, but you know this. You'd just like to rile up trouble for other people and cheer on the sidelines from the comfort and safety of your keyboard.

Nice. Provocateurs are such lovely people.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Provocateurs are such lovely people."

Was Rushdie a provocateur, Bob/rmck1? Was Sontag a provacateur when she orchestrated public readings of his book?

How about Scientific Digest? (see below)

NY Times, Feb 16, 1968
KARACHI. Pakistan, Feb. 15 (Reuters) Unofficial reports here said that students protesting the publication of a sketch of Mohammed in the American magazine Scientific Digest ran- sacked the Bank of America Biulding in Lahore today and stoned the Unite States Consulate General. Moslems consider the pictorial representa tion of Mohammed in any form blasphemous.

Posted by: bob on February 11, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Denmark's a Nordic country, not a Scandinavian country"

You need to get this information to the mobs, Bob/rmck1. You could help save lives. Press reports said they were looking for ANY Scandinavians to rough up.

[Yes, I know Bob/rmck1 is wrong. Scandinavia is Denmark, Norway, and Sweden]

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

I have no more time for this, but just for the record, I read the actual circulation numbers. I take it you don't read Danish, but I do. The bottom line is, you cannot possibly become that huge in a Scandinavian country by espousing anything which people here would call "right wing" - they are center-right in Denmark, which equates to about center or slightly center-left in the US.

And, OMG I can't believe I actually have to write this and god knows you don't deserve to be clued in, but as an actual Scandinavian, I can inform you this is how it is: The 5 nordic countries are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. The three countries on the Scandinavian peninsula are Sweden Norway Finland. However, (and hold on to your chair here, nitwit) the three Scandinavian COUNTRIES are Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. There are historical and political reasons why this is so but it's simply not worth my time to explain it to you.

And what is this shit that the "culture editor" met with Daniel Pipes. He did an interview with the paper. Since I can read Danish I can also inform you that it is a straight-forward interview piece. The writer passes no positive (or for that matter, negative) judgment on Mr. Pipes (unless you consider it to be very positive that he says Pipes has a "soft voice"). I assume that Mr. Pipes also has been interviewed by the NY Times. Are they right wing too?

You have just proven your cluelessness about Denmark, Scandinavia, the paper at issue, and Danish circulation numbers.

Anything else you want to demonstrate your ignorance about?


PS - here's the most recent circulation and readership numbers for Danish dailies. Depending on how you count, the J-P is at least 20% larger than the next largest:

http://www.mindshare.dk/mindshare/MindDKAr.nsf/c19961e04c0fb550c1256d8d00328a07?OpenForm&ParentUNID=3D4A3F4791C9A9FEC1256FD50046DD84

Af de store morgenaviser har bde Berlingske Tidende, Jyllands Posten og Politiken tabt oplag i forhold til januar mned 2005, og havde i gennemsnit et hverdagsoplag p henholdsvis 124.328, 153.104 og 131.629 eksemplarer.

En lille betragtning omkring oplag og lsere. Iflge februars aktuelle lsertal fra Index Danmark/Gallup lykkedes det for Jyllands Posten at g frem fra 647.000 til 724.000 lsere. Eller 77.000 lsere fra januar til februar. Politiken havde en noget mere moderat fremgang i samme periode, mens Berlingske Tidende i denne lsertalopgrelse tabte 10.000 lsere. B.T. gede deres lsertal med 78.000 lsere, fra 450.000 til 538.000 lsere. Ekstra Bladet "tabte" derimod 5.000 lsere og gik fra 528.000 til 523.000.

Posted by: peanut on February 11, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

I'm out. Jeez what an idiot this dude is. Unbelievable.

Posted by: peanut on February 11, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

peanut:

> The bottom line is, you cannot possibly become that huge
> in a Scandinavian country by espousing anything which people
> here would call "right wing" - they are center-right in Denmark,
> which equates to about center or slightly center-left in the US.

Denmark has a weird political culture. You guys are extremely hard
core on freedom of speech -- moreso than in First Amendment America.
Again, you are a haven for child pornographers. You do have a welfare
state, but it's more nationalist Sweden's or Norway's. There was just
a huge NYT Magazine piece last week on Swedish Muslim immigrants in
their public housing. Politically, my guess would be that you're
becoming more free-market oriented (the "Anglo Saxon" model) while
preserving your safety net -- and you are more resentful of immigrants
than anything I've read about the rest of Europe, including France.

So on some levels, you're way further to the left than America.
But you are no pluralist melting pot, either. Your view of
immigration is highly immature to an American. And economically,
you're following Bush, Blair and Berlusconi down the shitter :)

But maybe that's just me, and maybe I'm only tweaking you :)

> And, OMG I can't believe I actually have to write
> this and god knows you don't deserve to be clued in,

There's something really touching about
your committment to spreading information ...

Thanks for the correction. You know, I should have known this,
because I discussed it with a Scandinavian about seven years ago
but I plumb forgot. Why isn't Finland considered Scandanavian?
Too culturally and historically close to Russia? Heh, isn't
Finnish related to Hungarian and aren't they a unique linguistic
grouping that has nothing to do with either Norse or Slavic?

Both my parents have Irish surnames, but I'm an
eighth Swedish and an eighth Danish, just FYI.

Peanut, don't forget you have a history on this blog. I thwacked
you so arrogantly because you're a crazed, frothing Islamophobe
who's just spoiling for a good ol' Clash o' Civilizations from
behind your keyboard. It bugs me that you hide behind "freedom
of speech" (as if these cartoons equated to the intent of The
Satanic Verses -- which I've read) when what you're trying to do
is feed the fire. Do you have the courage of *your* convictions?
I doubt it. The publisher of the JP said that he never would have
published those cartoons if he knew the effect on his countrymen.
Is that "cowardly," too? Or is he only being ... sensible.

Do you honestly think the NYT would publish an interview with Daniel
Pipes without informing its readers of what a controversial figure
he is? This is not some mainstream scholar -- this is a guy who's
made a career out of bashing Islam. And I don't give a Danish right
wing party (don't know if it's in the ruling coalition) high marks
for agitating to ban 200 Koran verses for allegedly inciting violence.
Haven't these turkeys ever read Deuteronomy? Joshua? Ezekiel?

Bashing Islam for being backward in comparison to Western values
is like shooting fish in a barrel. It's the easiest thing in the
world to do. It takes no mental effort whatsoever. And it makes
insecure people feel better about themselves -- just as Nazis felt
better about themselves when they went off about racial superiority.

Is yor goal to provoke a holy war with 1.2 billion people? Is the
idea to get every Muslim so inflamed that they all rise up against
us and then we get to exterminate them one-by-one -- the way that
you're so certain that every Muslim would like to do to us kafir?

I'd agree with you that the Muslim world needs a Reformation --
badly. But don't you realize when you pull stupid shit like
publishing insulting cartoons (with zero redeeming humor value),
all you're doing is making it that much harder for the moderate,
sane Muslims to whack some sense into their extremists? Great
move, Denmark! Now we have to explain to *moderate* Muslims why
it's so exemplary of Western values to insult and demean a religion.

This kind of stupid shit by the parties who should freaking
*know better* is the last thing this sad old world world needs.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 12, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: notebook on February 12, 2006 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK

Bob/rmck1, you got owned. Peanut schooled you, but good.

Publishing a book as a rebuttal can't fix it.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

"Turning the West into Afghanistan under the Taliban will help no one. While Islam may enjoy equality with other religions, supremacy is another matter. If we are to truly integrate Muslims into our societies, it must be on an equal footing.
......
One of the most important and hard-won rights in the West is free speech. When free speech is chipped away in the name of avoiding offense, all else is soon forfeit. Western countries will have to decide where to draw the line -- or find themselves overtaken by tyranny."

Something Is Rotten Outside the State of Denmark

Cinnamon Stillwell
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2
006/02/08/cstillwell.DTL

"No Indians or dogs" could just as easily be and most certainly was a prevailing sentiment during this country's lovely little 3 centuries of genocide toward the aboriginal inhabitants of North and South America. "No Chinese",too, and the very popular for a time in Boston variant: "No Irish".

Islamic offence alert: LATimes uses 'pork' in headline about earmarking!

Next up on the banned phrases 'bringing home the bacon" or 'eating high on the hog'?

Or 7-11s being firebombed for selling pork rinds?


Posted by: CFShep on February 12, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

This is still going? Lotsa good comments here. I like this article today:

We were brought up to hate - and we do
By Nonie Darwish
(Filed: 12/02/2006)

The controversy regarding the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed completely misses the point. Of course, the cartoons are offensive to Muslims, but newspaper cartoons do not warrant the burning of buildings and the killing of innocent people. The cartoons did not cause the disease of hate that we are seeing in the Muslim world on our television screens at night - they are only a symptom of a far greater disease.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml;jsessionid=YJ4DGQ4CH3DT1QFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/opinion/2006/02/12/do1205.xml&sSheet=/portal/2006/02/12/ixportal.html


But the rallies and riots come from a public ripe with rage. From my childhood in Gaza until today, blaming Israel and the West has been an industry in the Muslim world. Whenever peace seemed attainable, Palestinian leaders found groups who would do everything to sabotage it. They allowed their people to be used as the front line of Arab jihad. Dictators in countries surrounding the Palestinians were only too happy to exploit the Palestinians as a diversion from problems in their own backyards. The only voice outside of government control in these areas has been the mosques, and these places of worship have been filled with talk of jihad.


Posted by: clock on February 12, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Peanut, you also should have pointed out that the statement above tt the Danish culture editor "Rose is a close confederate of arch-Islamophobe Daniel Pipes" is a complete lie. Know you alluded to it, but it needs to be said. Total utter lie. Rose did one interview with Pipes (and I take your word that its a straight piece without anything indicating that the interviewer or the paper approved of Pipes) and there is zero connection between those two beyond that.

No doubt this misinformation is deliberate too - to mislead the gullible souls on this message board.

Posted by: clock on February 12, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Piggly-Wiggly in deep doo-doo.

Hindu minority then firebombs Burger Kings?

About the Haj...ya'll know that the holy of holies they're dancing around contains a large black ROCK, right?

A rock.

Most likely, from Sir Richard Burton's description, a chunk of ferrous metorite...

And how is that Juan Cole always neglects to mention the 600 years of Ottoman Turkish rule and lays all the blame for backwardness and poverty and so forth on Europeans?

Posted by: CFShep on February 12, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

"...insulting cartoons (with zero redeeming humor value..."

Oh come on. The cartoon of Mohammed telling suicide bombers "Stop stop we ran out of virgins" is totally funny.

"Now we have to explain to *moderate* Muslims why
it's so exemplary of Western values to insult and demean a religion."

Oh my God. For Christ's sake. Mother of God. You couldn't have Western Civilization without blasphemy. In fact, I would say you couldn't have civilization -- period -- without blasphemy. And it's my understanding that in the _civilized_ Muslim world it's quite common to ridicule the pious and violate religious taboos (just like in the West!!).

Posted by: Bob on February 12, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

All extant copies of "Driving Miss Daisy' must be imediately burned for offending references to Piggly-Wiggly.

Or else.

Posted by: CFShep on February 12, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, this thread certainly has been taken over by Islamophobic
trolls -- good thing it'll be in archive soon. It was a real
drag when you couldn't openly support the KKK anymore -- but thank
the Christian god we now have the Muslims to hate with impunity!

It's it *fun* hating an entire cultural group? No responsiblity
for shading your opinions. Just pure, balls-out *bile* :)

You guys are just as morally degenerate as the Muslims you claim
to hate. No, worse -- because none of you have a valid excuse.

> Bob/rmck1, you got owned. Peanut schooled you, but good.

He corrected a factual mistake, big deal. At least I was man
enough to admit it. Peanut, being a racial ideologue, would,
of course never spend one second ever questioning his own views.

> Publishing a book as a rebuttal can't fix it.

I'm posting to a bunch of asshole Islamophobes. Do you think
I'm under the slightest delusion that I could change *your*
views? I'm writing for the lurkers -- the ones who wouldn't
dare dip a toe into such a toxic environment -- you know, the
sort of environment you're creating in the name of Free Speech.

This thread has become an Islamophobe clubhouse. The *last* thing
you racist cretins are interested in is diversity of opinion.

CFShep:

> Or 7-11s being firebombed for selling pork rinds?

You know, considering the amount of Pakistani Muslims
who run American convenience stores, this statement
is pretty fucking unintentionally hilarious.

clock:

> Rose did one interview with Pipes (and I take your word
> that its a straight piece without anything indicating
> that the interviewer or the paper approved of Pipes)

Which is like publishing an interview with the Imperial
Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. If you publish an interview
with Pipes and leave out background information about how
controversial he's considered to be, how many Mideast Studies
professors disagree with him, etc. it's tantamount to an
endorsement. You know, just bringing some "expert opinion"
to bear on the subject. Totally disingenuous defense.

"Bob":

> "...insulting cartoons (with zero redeeming humor value..."

> Oh come on. The cartoon of Mohammed telling suicide
> bombers "Stop stop we ran out of virgins" is totally funny.

Sure they're funny -- if you're an asshole. Personally, I
didn't find that funny at all; just a childish provocation.

But then again, I've never been accused of being that kind of asshole.

> "Now we have to explain to *moderate* Muslims why it's so
> exemplary of Western values to insult and demean a religion."

> Oh my God. For Christ's sake. Mother of God.

Keep praying. It makes your embrace of
secularism look that much more sincere :)

> You couldn't have Western Civilization without blasphemy. In
> fact, I would say you couldn't have civilization -- period --
> without blasphemy. And it's my understanding that in the
> _civilized_ Muslim world it's quite common to ridicule the
> pious and violate religious taboos (just like in the West!!).

Sure. In the Shi'ite tradition, you can find pictures of Muhammad
in gift shops (the Shi'a are given to venerating the human figures
of their religion to the point that hardcore Sunnis accuse them
of polytheism -- much like Calvinism trashed the Catholic Church
for all that statuary and stained glass depicting saints).

The difference is, of course, that these pictures are reverent. And
sure, there are moderate Muslims who don't believe in putting their
religious figures on pedestals anymore than we in the West do.

This, of course, completely ignores the context of those
cartoons. They were published in a right-wing (that's a fair
characterization) paper, in a country with a strong nativist
political movement (which just called for censoring the Koran
-- speaking of, you know, the Danish committment to Free
Speech), with the *explicit intention* of pissing off Muslims.

So the Muslims reacted to a blatant insult by going ballistic.

This *surprises* anybody?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 12, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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