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Tilting at Windmills

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March 10, 2006
By: Ogged

The Pie Strategy

You bastards already hate me. Probably.

As the war in Iraq grinds into its fourth year, a growing proportion of Americans are expressing unfavorable views of Islam, and a majority now say that Muslims are disproportionately prone to violence, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

This is not only depressing, it's boring. We're playing out everyone's favorite dynamic of suspicion vs. grievance. Right-wingers like to pretend that they're the only ones who dare say that we were attacked by MUSLIMS! In their narrative, the media, in thrall to various lefty taboos, goes out of its way to avoid showing the essential link between Islam and anti-American terrorism.

Meanwhile, on the left we have people telling us that the London bombers were British, damn it, and that we shouldn't forget Timothy McVeigh, the white terrorist.

Please. The fact is that most of the recent terrorist attacks that you might care to name--9-11, the London bombings, the Cole, the African embassies--were carried out by Muslims, and Muslims who look pretty much like you expect Muslims to look, at that. Yes, Timothy McVeigh was a regular American white boy, but even those of you who are so far left that your right ventricles don't even beat will admit that in your heart of hearts, whatever vanishingly small worries you have about terrorism involve a guy on a bus who doesn't look like Tim McVeigh.

We lose credibility when we don't admit what's obvious to everyone: insofar as we're worried, it's about Muslims (note to those who don't know me and didn't get the opening joke: I'm a (non-practicing) Muslim, born in Iran; no, I'm not pulling a Michelle Malkin on you). We get into these bizarre dynamics because we don't want to give any ground. We worry that if we give ground, unscrupulous people on the other side will take advantage and say things like, "even the liberal Washington Monthly admits Muslims are crazy." But our denial of the obvious is the only thing that gives right-wing complaints any credibility. We make it possible for them to cast their bigotry as truth-telling.

The way to approach the debate is to start from the fact that we're worried about Islamic terrorism, and make it clear that the right-wing approach of suspicion and division never ever works, because--as long as we're facing facts--any Muslim, however much he loves America, hip-hop, and the NBA, is going to hesitate to drop the dime on someone planning an attack if he thinks that the FBI agent picking up the phone hates him, or that the neighbor he'll be saving hates him. My conception of the ideal response is this: go to your local mosque, find the imam, or just some of the people gathered there, and say "I have to admit I'm scared of you, but I don't know anything about you. Let's have some of this pie I baked, and let's talk." Americans are totally down with baking some pie and sizing up the neighbors. Instead of the "vast majority of Muslims are law-abiding..." crap that we hear from liberals, let's hear "We're all scared of each other, let's have pie!" I'm totally serious about this. That's the kind of thing that people respond to, and the kind of thing that might actually make a difference.

Meanwhile, since you're still sitting at your computer, click over to this rare and fantastic three-part series by Andrea Elliott in the NY Times. She spent several months with the imam of a bustling Brooklyn mosque as he dealt with the FBI, his own move from Egypt, and all the young people he's trying to set up in marriage. Great, well-written stuff if you want a clue about what life is like for a practicing Muslim in America. The interactive features are good too.

Ogged 9:42 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (141)

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Comments

I tried that, but I put a little something extra on the pie crust. This will teach 'em, inshallah.

Posted by: FL on March 10, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

If a white boy came up to me, told me he was scared of me, and offered me pie outside my mosque, I'd be scared of him.

Posted by: toast on March 10, 2006 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Also, note that Dennis the Peasant has a couple of good posts on his interactions with the Somali mosque in Columbus OH. What's nice about that blog is that it alternates between (a) "I'm a right-wing guy who knows and gets along well with a lot of Muslim immigrants" and (b) "I fucking hate Roger Simon." Both of these are amusing, but in such different ways.

Posted by: FL on March 10, 2006 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Pie? Did I drunkenly click the Fafblog bookmark again? Would a nice cheesecake be alright?

Posted by: Brian C. B. on March 10, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Excellent post. What turned me away from liberalism was the refusal to admit certain truths staring us in the face. And we can't justify it because the conservatives do it too - we should be better than them, more intellectually rigorous, not less.

Several of my co-workers are middle easterners, and I must say, watching a Syrian chow down on Chik-Fil-A does a lot to dispel one's visceral fears. Highly recommended.

Posted by: Shag on March 10, 2006 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if FL's garnish would go with the recipe I was going to try.

Posted by: Armsmasher on March 10, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

I tried that, but I put a little something extra on the pie crust. This will teach 'em, inshallah.

That's why you have to eat the pie together. That'll teach 'em to trust us.

Either that, or it'll teach 'em that Americans are dirty coprophages who are just beggin' to get blown up.

Posted by: My Alter Ego on March 10, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

But why would Americans be trending toward being MORE suspicious of Muslims? 9/11 was over 4 years ago and there's been no further terrorism on US soil. On the other hand, over the past 4 years Americans have been killing and torturing Muslims. I think this poll shows a guilty conscience- we know that Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are wrong, we know that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and so we blame the victims.

Posted by: JR on March 10, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Oh fucknuts. Unsurprising that this is what Drum would leave us with. The condescending centrist, all the pieces in place.

I know these truths are hard to hear, but you must listen nonetheless...

I know these truths will be unpopular, but I must speak them anyway...

Please point to one liberal blogger who thought it was relevant that the British bombers were... British! in the way that you mean. Just one.

Posted by: Mr. Bigglesworth on March 10, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

I make a point of not reading Kevin's idiot guest bloggers. I suggest everyone else with another life follow my example. 'Bye 'til next week.

Posted by: David in NY on March 10, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

The fact is that most of the recent terrorist attacks that you might care to name [...] were carried out by Muslims

The other fact is that the odds of any given person being a terrorist are vanishingly small, so the first fact doesn't provide much in the way of useful information.

Posted by: apostropher on March 10, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

"I have to admit I'm scared of you, but I don't know anything about you. Let's have some of this pie I baked, and let's talk."

This is basically a "Family Circus" joke, but with extra pie - which, while adding yumminess, adds nothing to the intrinsic lack of funny.

Posted by: washerdreyer on March 10, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

"Meanwhile, on the left we have people telling us that the London bombers were British, damn it, and that we shouldn't forget Timothy McVeigh, the white terrorist."

Are there really a whole lot of of people like that around? Is it a common affliction on the left?

Posted by: David Weman on March 10, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

As Seneca and Mike Tyson have noted, the secret ingredient might be something we can enjoy together.

Posted by: FL on March 10, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

...will admit that in your heart of hearts, whatever vanishingly small worries you have about terrorism involve a guy on a bus who doesn't look like Tim McVeigh.

Right you are.

The guy in my terror stricken heart is a lot fatter, looks like Rove, has a southern accent, and carries a bible in his pack along with his pistols.

Posted by: koreyel on March 10, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

You, sir, are an idiot.

Let me say this very slowly so that your slow firing synapses can absorb the concept.

It's not the religion, it's the FUNDAMENTALISM.

Most religious folks are pious and honest in their beliefs, but regardless of which flavor or religion we are talking about, there are always people who will use it to justify their need to control others.

Not until we have an honest discussion about the dangers of fundamentalism will we start addressing the real problem.

Posted by: David Helms on March 10, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

"But why would Americans be trending toward being MORE suspicious of Muslims? 9/11 was over 4 years ago and there's been no further terrorism on US soil."

Because of the danish cartoon protests, presumably. In the US, the effect on public opinion may be shortlived. Europe, don't know.

Posted by: David Weman on March 10, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Biggs, here you go.

Posted by: ogged on March 10, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I can't find a single thing which ogged said which this David Helms comment disputes, other than the implicit claim that ogged is not an idiot. For instance, ogged doesn't say that people are reasonably afraid of Muslims, he says they are afraid of Muslims. Telling him that people should be afraid of fundamentalists generally is just irrelevant.

Posted by: washerdreyer on March 10, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Let's all just have pie! I heard an interview on NPR where a Saudi retailer said that western customers would no longer go out for coffee to "exchange culture". He thought that meant we were Arab haters. But my thought was that it meant we don't want to be kidnapped and have our heads cut off. When an apparently uncontollable portion of an ethinic group hates your ethnic group it's not unreasonable to be wary.

I think that small scale and slow as it may be, pie is probably the right answer to it all. To quote the great philosopher Rodney Kine "Why can't we all just get along". I never understood why that question was ridiculed. It's a good question.

Posted by: Cathy on March 10, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

I also had in mind this Juan Cole post, which attributes the attitudes in this poll to racism in the media and on the part of the administration. While there surely is plenty of racism in the media's representation of Muslims, a scolding like Cole's doesn't strike me as the best way to counter it.

Posted by: ogged on March 10, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

"Please point to one liberal blogger who thought it was relevant that the British bombers were... British! in the way that you mean. Just one."

I doubt Ogged is thinking of bloggers. Maybe Indymedia people, maybe people who go to a lot of demonstrations? Not so much democrats as greens, for example? But if they're kinda marginal his argument loses its force.

Posted by: David Weman on March 10, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, in the course of my professional career, I've worked with several Muslims, including one who was my boss. And another woman who was from Iraq. Therefore, I exempt myself from pie. (I need to watch what I eat very carefully because of the heart attack, anyway.)

So I recommend, after you have pie, you clean up a mile of highway together.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on March 10, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure "let's have pie" is precisely the way to indicate that we're not the effette, unwilling-to-judge morons the Right thinks we are. At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to suck it up and learn to live with risk. Welcome to a free and open society. And after you've lived with the risk for a while, and nothing's happenned, you'll dismiss the risk and move on with life. Just like with Unca Freddie's drinking and driving.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim on March 10, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

I had some thoughts that were too long for a comment, so I put them up over at Unfogged.

Posted by: LizardBreath on March 10, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Ogged, if your post had been a explicit response to Cole, it would probably been a whole lot better.

Posted by: David Weman on March 10, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Cathy, it is a good question, but it's a hard question with a long answer, not a rhetorical question that solves the problem. (Obvious-to-me assertion: understanding how and why racism works the way it does involves a lot more than saying "hey, race shouldn't matter." I'm not suggesting that you disagree with this.)

And this suggests a response to "it's the fundamentalism." Sure, it is, but understanding how the fundamentalism works in this case requires thinking a bit about cultural and religious affiliations, about immigration and assimilation, and so on. (How many Muslims do I know who have talked about how more than a few children of striving immigrants have drifted toward radicalism at the mosque? A: more than I'd expected. Understanding why seems critical to me, since, as Juan Cole suggets, it's the software, not the hardware that matters.)

Posted by: FL on March 10, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Oh fucknuts. I don't agree with Gary Farber's point there, but he wasn't making the point you're claiming he is, and neither is Cole.

Find me me one lefty blogger who made the incredibly stupid argument that the british bombings are evidence that terrorism from Muslims isn't the problem. That's the claim you were making.

I think I should just go read Ann Altmouse for my mountains of straw.

Posted by: Mr. Bigglesworth on March 10, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

One segment of the radical left can be wrongheaded in this as well as other matters, but I don't really I buy that it's a big problem among leftists in general. And this euqivalence w islamophobia, pox on both their houses construction of the post is pretty unfortunate.

Posted by: David Weman on March 10, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Ogged seems to have been Fogged for too long. He is slaying a lot of strawmen, all from the left side.

Posted by: lib on March 10, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

That's all great for rich heterosexual white males.

I'm a gay white male, and I know for me I am way way way more scared of some redneck blowing up a gay bar I am at or smashing my car because it has a gay pride sticker then anything arab.

I'm sure the black people who had their churches burnt down, or been victimized by the clan feel the same way I do about what the average terrorist looks like.

I'm sure all the brown folk from vietnam (where we send our soldiers to rape and murder children) and columbia (where we send our soldiers to spray toxic cancer causing gasses on the fields of poor peasants, destroying their entire livelyhoods and sometimes getting the stuff on schools) have the same idea of a terrorist as me. I'm sure most arabs (where we send our soldiers to destroy infrastructure, and occupy holy lands, lead by generals that openly compare the military effort to a crusade) have the same idea of a terrorist as me.

We don't need pie to defeat these stereotypes against muslims. The thing liberals fail to realize and are afraid to admit isn't that there is a connection between mulsims and terrorism. It is that the whole world hates us because we sponser terrorism all over the world and then justify it to the people with a media that is beholden to the same corporate interests that sponsered the politicians that spread terror all over the world.

Posted by: Tomk on March 10, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Bigglesworth, no that was just an example. His thesis is roughly that "We lose credibility when we don't admit what's obvious to everyone: insofar as we're worried, it's about Muslims" and presumably, that it's a non-marginal phenomenon.

Posted by: David Weman on March 10, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

The latest claims of anti-Islam sentiment and racism against Arabs is mostly spin from the right wing machine.

However, I wouldn't discount the whole cartoon debacle . . . that irritated a lot of free-speech types, including people on the left side of the spectrum.

Posted by: Librul on March 10, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Bigglesworth clearly hates the Shi'a.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim on March 10, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

To the extent the pie idea is a serious suggestion, it wouldn't work as outlined (bring a pie to the local mosque) because IINM non-Muslims are not allowed into mosques.

Posted by: Peter on March 10, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Look, I may come from the coast - but I grew up in the most white-bred of it as possible.

Muslims don't scare me. Why? Because every convenience store is filled with Indians (both kinds) or Koreans who spread to every town looking for a place to fit in.

The guys that look like Timothy McVeigh? Those are the guys I'm afraid of. I grew up with them, know they can do violence - and worst of all, they don't have any itentifiable traits aside from...

...I don't want to sit next to them on a bus.

Posted by: Crissa on March 10, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Dammit, SCMTim, everyone knows you're a Shi'a mole. Your real name is probably 71-Hour Ahmed. This is like Mary Rosh all over again.

Posted by: FL on March 10, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

It's not the worst of what's in this post but let me second what Crissa says. Does anybody shit their pants when some ay-rab looking guy gets on the bus? I ride the bus all the time and I don't think it has ever occurred to me to ooze a little extra drop of sweat when some muslim-arab-whatever looking dude shows up on the bus.

Posted by: Mr. Bigglesworth on March 10, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

When come back, bring pie.


Sorry, couldn't help myself. :)

Posted by: RT on March 10, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Peter, is that true? I've been invited to Friday prayers a few times, and it's not like I'm passing.

Posted by: FL on March 10, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Right, I go down to the local mosque and attempt to connect with people. Then the FBI busts down my door in the middle of the night and ships me off to Gitmo without a trial.

It's not the muslims I'm afraid of, it's the Bush government.

Posted by: Mike on March 10, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

"We don't need pie to defeat these stereotypes against muslims. The thing liberals fail to realize and are afraid to admit isn't that there is a connection between mulsims and terrorism. It is that the whole world hates us because we sponser terrorism all over the world and then justify it to the people with a media that is beholden to the same corporate interests that sponsered the politicians that spread terror all over the world."

Interesting take. How come of the majority of hot spots in the world, it invariably involves Moslems beheading Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Jews, Atheists, blowing up places of worship, blowing millenia old scared monuments, blowing up buses, blowing up nightclubs, blowing up malls, massacring school children, etc... are they all sponsored by the big evil corporations?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 10, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

So the US has been disproportionately screwing with Muslim nations around the world and we're surprised that a larger than normal number of people hitting back at the US are muslims? Are you serious?

So if I went out to a bar and picked a fight with every Mexican-looking guy in the room, would the fact that I was soundly pummelled by more Mexicans than non-Mexicans be worth mentioning?

Posted by: alessandro on March 10, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

"It's not the muslims I'm afraid of, it's the Bush government."

So when are you going to stop talking and enlist with the Jihadis to defeat the evil Bush government? Typical liberal chickenhawks.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 10, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

FL -
I don't know about mosques in the United States, but I've heard from people who've been in other countries (Morocco and Egypt IIRC) that they're strictly off-limits to non-Muslims.

Posted by: Peter on March 10, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

"So the US has been disproportionately screwing with Muslim nations around the world and we're surprised that a larger than normal number of people hitting back at the US are muslims? Are you serious?"

So, why are the Moslems beheading non-Americans all over the world? Are the Buddhists also disproportionately screwing the Moslems? How about school children and school teachers? How about teenagers in a nightclub?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 10, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Ignoring Freedom Fighter, who like a typical winger responds to everything with unmotivated slurs, I really think a lot of people in this thread, because they've not read ogged before, are wildly misreading him.

For instance, Alessandro, you don't say anything that I think ogged would dispute, and your mexican joke is extra funny.

Posted by: washerdreyer on March 10, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

I think the idea was to get non-Muslim Americans to interact with their Muslim neighbors.

Posted by: FL on March 10, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

People, I thought I was pretty clear on the fact that I think a lot of the anti-Muslim response is due to ignorance and bigotry. The question is whether wingers get a lot of mileage out of pretending to be the only ones willing to tell it straight. And if they do (as I think they do), what's the most effective way to undermine their stance?

Posted by: ogged on March 10, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Just Islamic Terrorism?

How about Alabama White Suburbinate Terrorism? Ask the pastors of the burnt churches.

Posted by: lib on March 10, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

What is a "scared monument"? Is it one built to commemorate Freedom Fuckers fear of serving his country?

Posted by: solar on March 10, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Except that this terrorist effort [pdf] has been going on for the last 20 years in the United States and is led by fundamentalist Christians.

The fact is that there is a concerted effort to terrorize abortion clinics, their employees and women seeking abortions. And it is done with death threats, assaults, arson and bombings.

But it doesn't get in the paper.

Posted by: NAR on March 10, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the reason many Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam is that we have seen news reports of Muslims rioting over cartoons, chopping off the heads of journalists, and setting off bombs in restaurants.

Posted by: BigRiver on March 10, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

those of you who are so far left that your right ventricles don't even beat
Hell, that's a description of the moderates around here...

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 10, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

JR writes: 9/11 was over 4 years ago and there's been no further terrorism on US soil. On the other hand, over the past 4 years Americans have been killing and torturing Muslims.

Good point. It reminds me of relations between Europeans and Natives in America in the 19th century. White settlers were terrified of the Indians, and they actually had some reason---settlers actually were occasionally killed by Indians. On the other hand, many, many more Indians were killed by settlers than the other way around.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 10, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

BigRiver, are you claiming that those are good reasons?

Posted by: washerdreyer on March 10, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

BigRiver - All the 9/11 terrorists were Muslims.

Sorry, Libs, maybe the reason many Americans have a negative view of Muslims is that we judge Muslims by their actions.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on March 10, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

"I thought I was pretty clear on the fact that I think a lot of the anti-Muslim response is due to ignorance and bigotry."

I will bet you if Moslems were doing charity work instead of killing school children or blowing people up, they have a positive Islamic response. I guess people are ignorant and bigoted that way.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 10, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Oh I've read Ogged before. He has the insufferable rhetorical tic of prefacing whatever point he has to make by making sure we all understand that he is above it all and sees things that everyone else fails to see. Just make your goddamn point without bulldozing straw mountains before doing so.

Ann Althouse with a dick.

Posted by: Mr. Bigglesworth on March 10, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

ogged:The question is whether wingers get a lot of mileage out of pretending to be the only ones willing to tell it straight. And if they do (as I think they do), what's the most effective way to undermine their stance?

so we say to the wingers, go to your local mosque with some pie and see what muslims are really like, and they come back with "oh so you want to give the terrorists milk and cookies, huh, huh?? you're defeatists who aren't taking the GWOT seriously!!!!!!!!"

people who choose to be ignorant will choose to be ignorant, even given the opportunity to enlighten themselves. people who'd be willing to eat pie with someone they didn't understand probably weren't scared of that guy in the first place.

Posted by: e1 on March 10, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

I will bet you if Moslems were doing charity work instead of killing school children or blowing people up

There are vastly more Muslims doing charity work than are engaging in terrorism.

I guess people are ignorant and bigoted that way.

Clearly, you are.

Posted by: apostropher on March 10, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Don't be an idiot.

The "muslims are violent" meme serves a narrow-minded set of misinformed redneck voters that Republicans don't mind exploiting.

But more reasonable people realize that the problem is not muslims. It's religious fanatics.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on March 10, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

"There are vastly more Muslims doing charity work than are engaging in terrorism."

Except a large portion of the "charities" goes toward the funding of Islamic Jihad.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 10, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

people who'd be willing to eat pie with someone they didn't understand probably weren't scared of that guy in the first place.

cases in point:
BigRiver at 11:00 AM
Paddy Whack at 11:06 AM
Freedom Fighter at 11:07 AM

Posted by: e1 on March 10, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

the reason many Americans have a negative view of Muslims is that we judge Muslims by their actions

There are some problems with this claim. For starters, it's a lie. Or, it's a very idiosyncratic use of the word "their," where "their" means "those of any one of their co-religionists."

Posted by: washerdreyer on March 10, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

The trick is not to worry about telling it straight but to convince people that you are telling it straight.

The trick is not to worry about having moral values but to convince people that you have moral values.

The trick is not to worry about having new ideas but convince people that your opponent does not have any new ideas.

The trick is not to incessantly talk about how to win, but to actually win.

Posted by: lib on March 10, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

But our denial of the obvious is the only thing that gives right-wing complaints any credibility.

You seem to be channeling Rumsfeld, who claims that things are going poorly in Iraq because of the U.S. media's complaints. Do you have any evidence of this, or does it just seem that way to you? If so, why? (Before you cut and paste some wingnut's rant about this, think: does the fact that he is complaining about it imply that the complaint is "getting traction"?)

The question is whether wingers get a lot of mileage out of pretending to be the only ones willing to tell it straight. And if they do (as I think they do), what's the most effective way to undermine their stance?

Are you a graduate of the Begala and Carville School of Triangulation? Look, this is pretty simple: you don't do any damage control and you don't pick up any new support (in short, your position does not improve) if you help reinforce the other guy's "frames." In other words, you won't score any points for "good faith," because the other team isn't playing fair. You might have more respect for someone who shows a willingness to concede something in order to facilitate agreement, but don't presume others will.

The choice isn't between "telling it straight" and fighting bigotry, it's between emphasizing this or that part of the story. Nutters believe that by emphasizing the aspects of terrorism most likely to fan the flames of racism and xenophobia, they will pick up a few points. I'd rather not adopt strategies that help make that belief true.

Posted by: Greg on March 10, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not afraid of Muslims. Fear of a terrorist attack has never so much as entered my mind, and I live in Chicago. Who I'm really afraid of is the government -- if the evil Muslim extremists attack me, I'll just be killed, but if the government somehow gets it in their head to haul me in, I'm in for a lot worse.

If Democrats want to sell fear, that's the fear they should be selling.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko on March 10, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Americans would have a better view of Muslims if they stopped rioting over cartoons and stopped blowing up innocent people.

Is that too hard for Liberals to understand?

Posted by: BigRiver on March 10, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Ann Althouse with a dick.

That's even more fun than D-List Internet Celebrity.

Posted by: Becks on March 10, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the reason many Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam is that we have seen news reports of Muslims rioting over cartoons, chopping off the heads of journalists, and setting off bombs in restaurants.

Maybe the reason many Muslims have an unfavorable view of America is that they have seen news reports of Americans invading their countries, torturing and raping their fellow Muslims, setting up secret prison gulags, and firing missiles and bombs into their houses and wedding parties.

Posted by: Stefan on March 10, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

In my heart of hearts, damn right it's the freaky white boys that would worry me.

Leaving aside what they have against me personally, they're the freaky dudes I've actually, you know, met. And it's not like I'm sheltered.

I'm not going to start pretending to be afraid of Muslims just because it's supposed to do Democrats some good, either.

Posted by: aretino on March 10, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

The fact is that most of the recent terrorist attacks that you might care to name [...] were carried out by Muslims

The other fact is that the odds of any given person being a terrorist are vanishingly small, so the first fact doesn't provide much in the way of useful information.

The problem with this and most of the other comments (and, to be fair, the original post, though I think the larger point it's making is a good one) is that, as inevitably happens when we talk about racism, people end up arguing over whether they, personally, are racist, and whether racism is rational, rather than admitting that it exists. Yes, the fact is that "we" as a culture are more afraid of Muslims than we are of abortion clinic bombers or gay-bashers. We know that this is irrational, and many of us try to argue ourselves out of it, but it is nonetheless true. As a culture, gay-bashings and abortion clinic bombings seem containable: we aren't all, collectively endangered by them: only gay people or women getting abortions are endanger. Hence, those kinds of domestic terrorism seem containable, understandable, "rational" (even if we vigorously, and rightly, argue that they are irrational). In contrast, the vast majority of Americans who are not Juan Cole don't really understand the reasons or rationalizations for Islamic terrorism very well, and when a bomb goes off on a train in Europe, or a building in the U.S., our first thought is either "It's Muslims" or "God, I hope it's not Muslims." The default stereotype is "Muslim terrorist," and it's beside the point to say that that's not factually true or that we see Muslim-looking guys on the bus and don't break out in a cold sweat.

Having said that, I think it's an oversimplification to say that scoldings from the Juan Coles of the world don't help. It's not like there's only one approach to combatting racism, terrorism, or any other complex problem. I take the point that changing the subject by saying "I'm not a racist!" or "racism is irrational" isn't an effective strategy when one is trying to talk about the real problem of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. But surely it's reasonable to work to distinguishing between "Muslim" and "terrorist," as well as to say "yes, Islamic terrorism is particularly threatening to the United States, so how can we forge alliances with the vast majority of anti-terrorist Muslims who live here, and maybe learn something from them about the complex nature of the problem?"

Posted by: bitchphd on March 10, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the reason many Muslims have an unfavorable view of America is that they have seen news reports of Americans...
The lesson there would be to not start something you don't want to happen.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 10, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

The lesson there would be to not start something you don't want to happen.

But how would that lesson apply to Iraqis? After all, they weren't involved in Islamist terrorism before we invaded them. It was Saudis and Yemenis and Egyptians and Pakistanis who were involved in Al Qaeda, not Iraqis.

Posted by: Stefan on March 10, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Nice shift Stefan, did you forget the topic already?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 10, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Ogged writes: ... whatever vanishingly small worries you have about terrorism involve a guy on a bus who doesn't look like Tim McVeigh.

No, he looks like Ted Kaczynski.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 10, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Americans would have a better view of Muslims if they stopped rioting over cartoons and stopped blowing up innocent people.

Maybe the rest of the world would have a better view of Americans if they stopped rioting over sports events and stopped blowing up innocent people.

See how easy it is to paint huge groups of people with an overly broad brush in order to arrive at a stupid conclusion that confirms your prejudices? Or is that too hard for trolls to understand?

Posted by: apostropher on March 10, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

An interesting point throughout this discussion is that it highlights the rather vast ignorance many (if not most) Americans have about the world outside their shores. The average American simply doesn't know that much about Islam, or life in the Middle East, or Arab history, and so is vulnerable to manipulation by any demagogue who claims to have "the facts." Tell them that "Muslims are terrorists" and they'll accept it because up to that point they've never met a Muslim, never read a book about Islam, never travelled to a Muslim or Arab country, and so they have no base of knowledge and familiarity on which to draw. Yet another example of how our lack of education is harming us.

Posted by: Stefan on March 10, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

I can't believe you moonbats are still linking to that Lancet study.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 10, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Crap, the italics command doesn't carry over from paragraph to paragraph. The second paragraph in my post above was written by apostropher; I was trying to quote both him and the person he was responding to.

Posted by: bitchphd on March 10, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Nice shift Stefan, did you forget the topic already?

The topic seems to be Americans' perception of Muslims, and vice versa. Certainly our behavior towards Muslims in Guantanamo and Afghanistan and Iraq has a significant influence in the larger Muslim community's attitude towards us.

Posted by: Stefan on March 10, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Bush: I'm worried by message sent by failed port deal . . .

And yet he's not worried at all about the message being sent by his failed "GWOT", his failed invasion of Iraq, his failed plan to secure nonexistent Iraqi WMDs, his failed plan to interdict nonexistent Iraqi WMD programs, his failed plan to capture Osama bin Laden, his defiance of international law when invading Iraq, his defiance of international law when approving torture, his approval and implementation of a mass arrest dragnet that scooped up hundreds if not thousands of innocents, his failure to secure Iraq against violence, his failure to secure democracy in Iraq or any other nation of the Middle East . . .

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 10, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Ogged writes: ... whatever vanishingly small worries you have about terrorism involve a guy on a bus who doesn't look like Tim McVeigh.

No, he looks like Ted Kaczynski.

Or like Eric Rudolph.

Posted by: Stefan on March 10, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

I can't believe you moonbats are still linking to that Lancet study.

Whichever source you choose to use, there is no denying that more Iraqi civilians have died during our occupation than Americans killed by terrorism. But go ahead and keep singing la la la, CN.

Posted by: apostropher on March 10, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan
I see, so your contention is that all Muslims should only pay attention to the harmful we do to Muslims, while we should ignore all the harmful things Muslims do to us.

Ya, why am I not surprised. Tolerance never was a 2 way street to you lefties.

Anyway, you'll be glad to know that I've got bigger fish to fry today. I'm holding a copy of the Communist Manifesto and the Where We Stand manifesto from the Democratic Socialists of America. There has been a claim that you socialists are new and improved and I have to check it out.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 10, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

The 9/11 hijackers and the London subway/bus bombers were Muslims. Most Palestinian suicide bombers are Muslims. The Nazi death camp guards were baptized and Catechized Catholics and Lutherans - Christians. The My Lai massacre perpetrators were probably mostly Christians. All those lynchings in the South, one every day for decades, were perpetrated by Christians. My guess is that T. McVeigh was baptized a Christian. Those people shooting American gifted rockets into Palestinian homes with children in them or those people running over unarmed pacifists with Caterpillar tractors are Jews. Individuals act out violence, but it does not mean they represent any religion or ethnic group or that those groups seek to be represented by those individuals.

Acting out violence for one's nation through official military institutions, however, is a representational act for the group, and is why I condemn those in the military and their nations for aggression. I do not condemn the religious group they may have been born into. When religion combines with nationalism and war is made, both should be condemned. I do not see that occurring with Islam, but I do with American Christianity.

Posted by: Hostile on March 10, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

cn: I can't believe you moonbats are still linking to that Lancet study.

I can't believe you are still citing Bush administration talking points.

Oh, wait, yes I can believe it.

I forgot the rule . . .

Once a conservative lemming, always a conservative lemming.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 10, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

But surely it's reasonable to work to distinguishing between "Muslim" and "terrorist," as well as to say "yes, Islamic terrorism is particularly threatening to the United States, so how can we forge alliances with the vast majority of anti-terrorist Muslims who live here, and maybe learn something from them about the complex nature of the problem?"

Partly it's a problem of familiarity. Americans, as I've said above, simply don't know that much about Islam, and so are particularly vulnerable to reaching for the cliche because that's the sole piece of knowledge they have. Contrast, that, for example, with the IRA. Most Americans know somebody who's Catholic and/or Irish, and so when the IRA began its bombing campaign in the 1970s they were able to distinguish between IRA terrorists on the one hand and Irish Catholics on the other.

Posted by: Stefan on March 10, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, some intense stupidity in todays leavings.

"You liberals need to wake up, march over to your nearest mosque, tell the imam you're scared shitless of him, and have some pie."

Pass.

Posted by: HeavyJ on March 10, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan
I see, so your contention is that all Muslims should only pay attention to the harmful [sic] we do to Muslims, while we should ignore all the harmful things Muslims do to us.

No, my contention is that we must remember to put things in context.

It's also important to remember that there is no organized entity known as "Muslims", where there is an organized entity known as the United States of America. It's far more valid for Muslims to draw conclusions about America based on the actions of the United States government than it is for Americans to draw conclusions about the billion Muslims on the planet based on the actions of a few thousand fanatics.

Anyway, you'll be glad to know that I've got bigger fish to fry today. I'm holding a copy of the Communist Manifesto and the Where We Stand manifesto from the Democratic Socialists of America. There has been a claim that you socialists are new and improved and I have to check it out.

Don't forget to check out that bastion of socialism the Republican Party.

Posted by: Stefan on March 10, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Ogged's post reminds me of an old Doonesbury cartoon from the 70s. A sixties revival party is going on, and one of the characters laments the representation of the civil rights movement. I think then what happens is that another character asks him why he didn't come as a black person. Because, he answered, then the hippies and liberals would just give him money, not actually talk to him.

It seems that Ogged central concern is that we more traditional Americans are not forming a community with the Muslims. Remember that in England, it was precisely the alienation of muslims in Leeds that laid the ground that made the radicalization of the youth possible, and thus indirectly contributed to the London bombings

Of course, I'm in not much position to say how the everyday muslim is being approached in everyday American. I live in Arkansas, and don't see any. (I did have a Muslim friend in college. Is "I have a muslim friend" the new "I have a black friend?") Ogged, being Iranian, is presumably much more tied into this sort of socialization, or lack thereof.

Posted by: Michael Roetzel on March 10, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

"any Muslim, however much he loves America, hip-hop, and the NBA, is going to hesitate to drop the dime on someone planning an attack if he thinks that the FBI agent picking up the phone hates him, or that the neighbor he'll be saving hates him."

This sounds odd to me; what is the relationship between turning in someone planning an attack, and speaking to an anonymous bureaucrat, regardless of what cranky personal beliefs he may have? And not turning in a terrorist because a neighbor has an offensive belief sounds as heartless as the social and tax proposals of the right wing. Are Muslims, if they are not terrorists, pie-loving wingers?

This was a nice, thoughtful thread until the trolls arrived. What did Kevin do in a past life to have to put up with cn, ff, etc., in this one, I wonder?

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 10, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Conspiracy Nut,

No, Apostropher is doing it both ways -- if you do the math, it turns out (shockingly!) that Muslims have more to fear from the greatest military power in history (especially when it no longer feels that international law applies to it), than Americans have to fear from small bands of Islamic extremists, none of whom have attacked the United States in over four years now.

Plus, the Democratic Party isn't socialist. They opposed Bush's socialized prescription drug plan, remember? He talks a good talk, but underneath it all, Bush is just a big government commie.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko on March 10, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

We get into these bizarre dynamics because we don't want to give any ground. We worry that if we give ground, unscrupulous people on the other side will take advantage and say things like, "even the liberal Washington Monthly admits Muslims are crazy."

Quite rightly so, I might add. Given the bullshit talking point of the GOP apologists regarding the Dubai port deal, which went something like "I thought liberals weren't in favor of profiling," disregarded the fact that suspicion of Dubai arose from that very country's closeness to the Taliban and bin Laden, and not some other country's, and continued to be repeated no matter how many time it was debunked, the reluctance to concede points to the right-wingers is understandable.

But I agree, the Left needs to be reality based. After all, as I just pointed out, the right wingers spew dishonest debating points regardless of its bearing to the Bush critics' actual positions. They'll lie about out positions anyway, so we have nothing to lose by being honest.

Posted by: Gregory on March 10, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

My thanks to conspiracy nut, by the way, for providing such a great example of dishonest right-wingnut paraphrasing in this very thread, thus supporting my post. I knew I could count on you, ol' buddy.

Posted by: Gregory on March 10, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Instead of the "vast majority of Muslims are law-abiding..." crap that we hear from liberals, let's hear "We're all scared of each other, let's have pie!" I'm totally serious about this.

Wow, are you an idiot. I'm totally serious about this.

Posted by: Tim B. on March 10, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

cn: . . . so your contention is that all Muslims should only pay attention to the harmful we do to Muslims, while we should ignore all the harmful things Muslims do to us.

It appears that the conservative contention is that:

Muslims (and other groups) should only pay attention to the positive things we falsely say we do for them,

that Muslims (and other groups) should ignore the horrible things we do to them (Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, aiding and abetting Saddam's gassing of the Kurds, support for the Shah, stealing their land to create Israel) and the mendacities we tell (Saddam has massive stockpiles of WMDs and ties to 9/11),

while we should exaggerate all the harmful things some Muslims do and insist that all Muslims are responsible for those harmful things.

I get it:

All good things flow from Bush; Bush is God; Bush never lies; torture is patriotic; Arabs and Muslims are all evil; Bush is God; there is no act so despicable that it cannot be justified by "it serves national security interests" as that phrase is defined by fear-mongering and cowardly, cowering conservatvies; Bush is God.

Yes, we understand your philosophy quite well, cn.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 10, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I think that the study is pretty surprising that as many people as did actually admitted to harboring a personal bias against muslims. Frankly, I don't think people are as scared of Muslims as they think they are, even wingers. Maybe they're scared of turbans and hijabs, but I bet that most people know someone who's Muslim and probably don't think too much of it, as long as that person appears normal, at least in dress and speech and manner. People are scared of a stereotype of what they think a Muslim is and looks like.

But what do I know, I'm just a fake Arab.

Posted by: silvana on March 10, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Did someone say pie? You know, this one time, in band camp, I took my flute...

Posted by: craigie on March 10, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Yet another example of how our lack of education is harming us."

Kinda telling the American public in general had a more negative view of Islam after 911, while the liberals had a more negative view of America after 911.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 10, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

How about beer? Can I bring a sixpack down and we'll chat over a game of Risk?

Posted by: craigie on March 10, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter,

You are factually wrong. I expect you to admit this in a follow-up comment, because you seem to be a guy with some real integrity.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko on March 10, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kinda telling the American public in general had a more negative view of Islam after 911, while the liberals had a more negative view of America after 911.

It's remarkable that people tell themselves stuff like this, and then actually believe it. No wonder you don't understand liberals. Say, how about some pie?

Posted by: craigie on March 10, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Freedom Fighter,

You are factually wrong. I expect you to admit this in a follow-up comment, because you seem to be a guy with some real integrity.
Posted by: Adam Kotsko"

Good one, Adam!!

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 10, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Note to ogged: No, we don't know you, we don't want to know you, and we don't want to get your jokes. We want political news and commentary from Kevin and the Washington Monthly crew.
Amy seems to understand this, why don't you?

Posted by: charlie don't surf on March 10, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Ogged, I think you are confused. The only situation I've heard people on the left say "But Richard Reid was British" is in response to those who advocate profiling, to be done in a way that Arabs and people who look like them get searched, and grandmas and respectable-looking white businessmen don't get searched.

Not only was Richard Reid a UK citizen with a nice WASP-sounding name, but the Wall Street Journal got hold of a laptop in Afghanistan that had belonged to an al Qaeda operative. This laptop was full of documents that discussed Reid, and they very specifically said that they were doing experiments to see if a guy with a UK passport and a bland (to US ears) name could get to places that people with Arab and South Asian names could not. Reid was the son of an English mother and a Jamaican father, with no Arab or South Asian ancestry at all. He looked scruffy as hell but he could have cut his hair, shaved, and put on a suit and would have been pretty much invisible on a London to New York flight.

The point isn't that the main threat comes from radical Islamists. The point is that radical Islamists can find people who don't look like our stereotypes of what an Islamic terrorist would look like, and that they will be highly motivated to do so if we restrict our attention to the obvious targets. Witness Islamic Jihad's use of female suicide bombers, for example; when they started, the Israelis were much less careful about women.

Posted by: Joe Buck on March 10, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"You are factually wrong. I expect you to admit this in a follow-up comment"

Am I? I already see plenty of comments in this blog entry alone from liberals saying the American government are worse than the the Islamic terrorists.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 10, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

"You bastards already hate me."

Well with reasoning like this is it any wonder?

Encouraging the left to be as xenophobically retarded as the right isn't exactly a winner among those of use with working brain cells. Your assumptions are universally wrong, your arguments dependent upon shoddy reasoning, and the resultant conclusions are therefore garbage.

Spend a little more time thinking before you commit this shit to a website.

Posted by: Tlaloc on March 10, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

"than Americans have to fear from small bands of Islamic extremists, none of whom have attacked the United States in over four years now."

Is it because they are being nice to us and stopped their Jihad, or are we just stopping them?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 10, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

"The 9/11 hijackers and the London subway/bus bombers were Muslims. Most Palestinian suicide bombers are Muslims. The Nazi death camp guards were baptized and Catechized Catholics and Lutherans - Christians. The My Lai massacre perpetrators were probably mostly Christians. All those lynchings in the South, one every day for decades, were perpetrated by Christians."

Did any of the Christians shout: "Praise Jesus" before killing the victims? Did they commit these acts to further Christianity or did they happen to be Christian?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 10, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I'd actually expect a Muslim to look Pakistani or Indian, not Arab, Persian, or Azeri.

Posted by: ack ack ack on March 10, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Occasionally, FF, the topic of "do liberals hold the elitist view that conservatives are idiots" is lobbed in to this forum, and as is typical, nicely kicked around.

Sometimes, though, its good to be clear: Not all conservatives are idiots, but arguments such as the ones you have offered here is pretty strong evidence that you are.

Why would your position on this issue be proof of idiocy? To take it to its most simple common, kindergarten level of analysis, its called "you can't have your cake and eat it too."

In the context of U.S. foreign policy, that simple phrase would be expanded to read: "as a country, its irrational to maintain the largest military in the world, with the most foreign bases of any country, and every few years or so use said military to attempt to impose our foreign policy by force, and, at the same time, not expect the occasional counter-attack, however staged."

To suggest that the basic liberal position, which is that we have far more foreign military entanglements than are actually necessary for our own defense and, as a result, simply serve to create more people who hate the United States enough to act on that hate, equals a "hatred of America" is, well, idiotic.

The argument is we'd rather have policies in place that reduce the hatred of America thus we must hate America is, of course, ridiculous.

And no, the solution to this has nothing to do with pie, either.

Posted by: hank on March 10, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

The Nazi death camp guards committed genocide to save the world for the Christian race.

The My Lai soldiers committed mass murder for the glory of their Christian nation.

The Christians in the Southern U.S. committed lynchings of innocent men, women, and children as worship to their God.

Freedom Fighter posts hate comments to praise Jesus.

None of the above represent Christians, just as the 9/11 hijackers do not represent Muslims.

Posted by: Hostile on March 10, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Note to ogged: No, we don't know you, we don't want to know you, and we don't want to get your jokes. We want political news and commentary from Kevin and the Washington Monthly crew.

Sounds like someone's tired and needs a nap!

Posted by: M on March 10, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

How about beer? Can I bring a sixpack down and we'll chat over a game of Risk?

Now that's a proposal I can get behind!

Posted by: Edo on March 10, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

To Freedom Fighter and others who think the violence is only done by muslins:
Sabra
Shatilla
Srebrenica
Rwanda
Oklahoma City
All massacres of civillians. All in the last 25 years. All done by Christians.

And then we get to the number of Iraqi civillians killed by the "Christian" United States.

Posted by: OwnedByTwoCats on March 10, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

If you play Risk on the subway, though, beware of claiming too loudly that Ukraine is weak.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko on March 10, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Did any of the Christians shout: "Praise Jesus" before killing the victims? Did they commit these acts to further Christianity or did they happen to be Christian?

Sure. Lots of Klansman certainly said "Praise Jesus" as they were stringing up blacks and Jews, and many of the Nazis and Nazi accomplices during the Holocaust (see, for example, the Ukrainian Catholics, the Catholic Croatian Fascists, the Romanian Iron Guard, the Vichy French collaborators, and Franco) committed their crimes to, as they saw it, further Christianity. See, also, the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Spanish in South America, etc. etc. etc.

Posted by: Stefan on March 10, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I am waiting for a fatwa that declares that killing Salman Rushdie, Ayan Ali Hirsi, and the Danish cartoonists is murder; that anybody who is suspected of carrying out such a murder should be tried; and that anybody found guilty should be imprisoned for the rest of his or her life.

So far, Moslem clergy have issued fatwas promising rewards for those murders, but there doesn't seem to be equal zeal in opposition.

Every wave of immigrants has had to overcome opposition from nativist Americans. This includes recent immigrants from China and the VietNamese immigrants of the 70s. I have already met more Moslems than I have met Vietnamese immigrants. I always welcome immigrants, and I encourage them to become American citizens. I support Dubai in the ports deal. But meeting imams is hardly more useful than meeting Vietnamese priests (Buddhist or Catholic), or the Mormon hierarchy.

Posted by: republicrat on March 10, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

owned....

to underline your point...

most posters like f.f. forget that in the 10-years before 9-11....

the #1 killer of americans through terror was:

timothy mcveigh...

and then given all the talk about how dangerous saddam was to america...

more americans have died in iraq --since-- saddam was captured...

than in all his time in power...

they rationalize that the facts are biased...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on March 10, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Ogged, you sound like a reasonable guy...

Which means the internet is not the place for you.

Well, except for this site.

That is: nice post.

Posted by: Winston Smith on March 10, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

It`s the Fundamentalists stupid !

you know, the plain and simple nut jobs, irrespective of which imaginary SuperFriend they claim to follow

and NO, I ain`t havin no pie with Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Shotgun Dick et al

be glad to have pie w/many Islamic folk tho, anytime, (almost) anywhere...

I guess it is time for a little something from the greatest ex-POTUS ever

"The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices." - James Carter

Posted by: daCascadian on March 10, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Believe me, I'm just as scared of the Fundamentalist Rightwinger as I am of the Fundamentalist Muslims. Probably because I'm fighting the Rightwingers "over here" instead of "over there."

Posted by: MNPundit on March 10, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

OK. I live in an "interesting" neighborhood in which my mext door neighbors are Chicanos on one side, Black on the other side, and mixed Black and White retired military across the street. It is mostly working class and I am an intellectual (pseudo or whatever.) A few asians live a block over.

Sadly we have no place to gather as a neighborhood. Oddly, many of the best mechanics close by are Muslim by tradition. I don't know about their level of religious practice, and don't much care.

None of us discuss terrorism. For most of us, the mutual things of importance are lawns, children, the weather and garbage pickup.

Fear is about strangers and the media showing horrors which can be attributed to strangers. The more homogeneous a society (or neighborhood) is, the more subject it is to media inspired fear. But physical proximaty isn't all there is.

When the mnedia presents enough horrors, we will reevaluate our neighbors as strangers. Not the neighbors right next door, but the ones at the end of the block and further. The negative is news - the positive is not.

The Iranians (Persians) see us as threat, so they want nukes to keep us from doing to them what we did to Iraq. We see them as a threat, so we want to stop them from getting nukes. Where's the compromise??

Posted by: Rick B on March 10, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Where's the compromise??

The US should offer to give Iran some of our nukes. This create good will, defuse the present conflict, and open up relations between two belligerants. It might even help Iraq stabilize.

Posted by: Hostile on March 10, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom F*cker: I already see plenty of comments in this blog entry alone from liberals saying the American government are worse than the the Islamic terrorists.

Well, you've never been shy about foisting your hallucinations on others.

I see nothing has changed.

I LOVE IT!

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 10, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

"whatever vanishingly small worries you have about terrorism involve a guy on a bus who doesn't look like Tim McVeigh."

Ummm... no. The guy most likely responsible for the anthrax attack was white. The guy caught trying to engineer a WMD attack in the US a few years later was white. The beltway sniper was black. Most clinic bombers have been white. The olympic park bomber was white. The Unibomber was white. Most mass murders and serial killers are white. Most church arsonists are white.

The second you think you know what race or religion the terrorist will be, you've lost. You are an idiot if you think being and Arab muslim makes a person a greater threat.

The terrorist when when we give up our liberties, and when we spend ourselves into debt to fight a tiny threat. Osama openly declared his strategy was the same as that which defeated russia (in his mind)- make us waste our resources.

Every time we given into the bedwetter mind set, we empower our enemies and aid in their objectives. And their defeat will come only with the help of a lot of Muslims deciding that we can be respectful friends and peers. Every unnecessary intrusive act we perpetrate on muslims because of our suspicion of them is a victory for Osama.

Posted by: Mysticdog on March 10, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Are we just stopping them?

I dunno. When was the last terrorist act on US soil before 9/11? How long before that one? And the one before?

Posted by: Crissa on March 10, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Last summer I did reading for a compartive religion CLEP test and was suprised to find out that Mohammed in addition to being a spiritual leader was also heavily into conquest. He was the head of a state which seemed to be focused on conquering the neighbors. The split between Shia and Sunni is rooted in competition for the sucession to the state that Mohammed created. Christianity likes to view itself as non-violent and the U.S. feigns disinterest in imperialism. Even though our actions don't reflect it, we state a belief in leaving the neighbors alone politically. Does Islamic culture have a different view? I'm asking the question, because I really don't know. I have zero knowledge about either Islamic or Arab traditions. I think not even having a surface belief in the separation between church and state must make a difference to movement actors. We tap dance around religious deference because we don't understand that for the terrorists, religious and political action are one and the same. And, yes,I would assume that the Al Quaeda view of Islam, is different that of most people.

Posted by: Cathy on March 10, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK
We tap dance around religious deference because we don't understand that for the terrorists, religious and political action are one and the same.

Who is "we"? I certainly don't fail to see that this is true of the terrorists and, for that matter, everyone else with a religion (and plenty of people with belief systems that are not "religion", per se, but play similar roles.)

You can't draw a line between action on your strongly held worldview and political action; if you have the former, it will color the latter. Separation from church and state may be part of your worldview (religious or otherwise), but its not something that exists outside of it.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 10, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Good point. Reminder that complaints about muslims is not "racism" - that is about a culture/religion, and the sick side even of that. Might as well berate wariness of the IRA back in the day as being racism against red heads and freckles. A true racist would think that a baby kidnapped from Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. and raised by middle-class parents in USA would *still* want to throw bombs. Finally: Arabs and Jews are very nearly the same "race" - similar to Spanish and Portuguese, etc.

Posted by: Neil' on March 10, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Ogged just hasn't lived here long enough to be afraid of us. God knows I have.

One day I was out in the alley, talking with a neighbor, and he pointed up to an apartment above us- "You know, the guy who lives there is a vet. And if you watch, sometimes you'll see he's pointing a rifle at you."

Or the would-be Jewish Settler I worked for who loved guns. A little too much- one day he killed a man in an argument about traffic. Turned out the other guy was reaching for a cell phone.

So, no, as a matter of fact, I'm not worried about Muslims. They are way down on my list of worries.

Posted by: serial catowner on March 10, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

You've got to be somewhat circumspect when a Brit offers something called he calls 'pie'...kidneys - yow.

Read all the way through this just to see if any of the other females here have taken exception to ' you bastards' which seems to me to flow from a faulty, or possibly Fawlty, assumption that this is a boys' club of some kind.

Guess not.

Posted by: CFShep on March 10, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, I thought I'd gotten the hang of bare bones basics of this HTML tags thing - but that was certainly not what I intended.

I put the i enclosed by on either side of 'you bastards' meaning to italicize only those two words.

Bugger.

Posted by: CFShep on March 10, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

..but even those of you who are so far left that your right ventricles don't even beat will admit that in your heart of hearts, whatever vanishingly small worries you have about terrorism involve a guy on a bus who doesn't look like Tim McVeigh.

There are so many way,way off-base assumptions here I hardly know where to begin

1. Don't assume that our strongly-held opinions come from a "left" perspective. Ok?

2. Where do you get the bizarre notion Democrats/progressives/"lefty" types are unaware it's about Muslim terrorism? When have even the strenuously anti-Bush failed to openly recognize that? The DPW deal reaction is concrete evidence your premise was fatally flawed before you hit the period key to end the sentence.

3. You write that "whatever vanishingly small worries you have about terrorism..." -

- a) when you admit there's little risk of terrorism, then Bush's fearmongering is a just a con, and you're in error to say we have to face up to the fact that it's about Muslim terror as well.

YOu continue that our worries "involve a guy on a bus who doesn't look like Tim McVeigh." -

- b) Could it be we're worried about both? Your attempt to cut through to the truth, has instead betrayed a racist view of the people you're addressing. People like McVeigh exist and are quite dangerous; you should get out and meet a few once in awhile. You also don't seem to be conscious of how general that streak is in mainstream institutions/culture. We're worried b/c that white tendency is barely submerged.

4. I met my Muslim fiance when I baked a pie and took it across the street. There was the potluck, of course, and then the bread, and not long after that I was learning to make the cookies.

YOu write: "I now have the power to hold you in contempt. Comment carefully, little people."

A couple posts at Politcal Animal and suddenly you've got the vanity of Judith Iscariot Miller or the unhinged hubris of a Thomas Friedman -- able to consdescendingly characterize the fears and political sensibilities of vast swaths of the American electorate. Though I must admit, you slam a liberal well, you've really got that mastered. Congratulations. Don't spend all the credibility that comes with that in one place. You didn't notice, though, how 'conservative' Bush apologists were saying "the majority of Muslims are law-abiding..." during the DPW ports debate, didja?

Yeesh. I suggest you get out in the world and meet a few liberals -- and a few of the Timothy McVeighs out there. The cosmopolitanism will do ya good.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 10, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

When I lived in Alexadria (LA not VA) I became acquainted with a charming Iranian family who owned a small gas/c-store.

I'd lamented the impossibility of finding decent lamb in the local Safeway, which despite being in the middle of a lamb raising agricultural area, carried those vastly expensive vacuum packed New Zealand legs and little else. I cook a fair bit of Greek/Lebanese and Indian, so I was seeking decent shoulder cuts and so forth.

I asked if they could put me in touch with their local source and mentioned 'my' rabbit, eggs, and quail guy across the river in Pineville. This piqued their interest since quail dishes were a family favorite and soon introductions to the local suppliers followed.

Both sides (and the lamb and rabbit farmers) were happy with this arrangement and so to demonstrate their pleasure the woman presented me with a home-cooked dish when next I ventured into their place of business.

I did not reciprocate because I couldn't. Neither would it have crossed my mind to do so if they'd been observant Orthodox Jews and for the same reason: I do not observe their particular dietary prohibitions. Anything from even my scrupulously clean kitchen would have been 'tref' (that's not the Iranian term of which I am ignorant but the Jewish equivalent) - unclean.

No pie.

Instead I brought in a recipe for a particular butter rich pastry stuffed with a ground almond paste which I acquired from a lovely woman from Thessaloniki.

Again, both sides were well pleased with the exchange and the proprieties had been observed.

Gotta be damned careful with cross-cultural stuff which, no matter how well meaning, can...er... blow up in one's face.

Posted by: CFShep on March 11, 2006 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are dying from lack of health care, and millions are going to in the future. I have none, zero worries about the minute number of people dying of terrorism in the US or anywhere else. For God's sakes, wake up and get a grip on reality...you are a part of a huge scam and your writing supports the furtherance of it.

Posted by: christine on March 11, 2006 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, in the course of my professional career, I've worked with several Muslims, including one who was my boss. And another woman who was from Iraq. Therefore, I exempt myself from pie. (I need to watch what I eat very carefully because of the heart attack, anyway.)

So I recommend, after you have pie, you clean up a mile of highway together.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on March 10, 2006 at 10:14 AM |

A heart attack, you say?

Have you considered the possibility it was attacked by Muslims?

Because Ogged says that in your left ventricles, in your heart of hearts, it's not the white guys you're afraid of when you ride the bus.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 11, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Hmm, hundreds of thousands of Americans dying from lack of health care. I guess you eventually gotta die of something, but our society will spend more than most to keep some pretty terribly worthless people alive.

For instance, the forty-somethings I meet who have never held down a job for more than a month in their lives, but who get a shot of methadone free every day. It's not free to the taxpayers, of course. Each dose costs $250 delivered. Then there is the street alcoholic who never goes for kidney dialysis unless he is in jail. Society pays for the medical treatment, plus $200 for the jail guard who takes him to the clinic.

Then there was the more conventional welfare mom of my acquaintance who also never worked in her life but sat around and ate herself up to 430 lbs. She didn't die from lack of medical care. Nearly every month the ambulance came and hauled her away, the docs patched her up a little bit, then she went home and ignored all the advice they tried to give her on the importance of exercise and fruits and vegetables in the diet.

I used to wonder (when we were over to visit this lady because Catholic Relief services was paying my wife to clean her house for her) how someone could be on welfare but still able to afford the 32 piece bucket of Kentucky Fried chicken every several days and two packs of Camel cigarettes each day? Yeah, poverty killed her altight. Not having to go out and work to support her fat butt is what killed her.

Truly, nothing would have done that lady so much good as being cruelly exploited by a capitalist slave driver, possibly one with a high voltage cattle prod.

Actually, we do have a lot of neighbors who are Islamic plus a few Sikhs, whom I can't quite place on the religious spectrum. Our Moslem folks all live good middle class lives and some of them are even going to vote Republican (well, the guy who is really into the Second
Amendment and several who are anti-gay marriage.)

We have a Buddhist temple within a few blocks of here. A friend of mine was over there and said in the children's room they were teaching the kids Christian hymns. I don't know much about Buddha, but my wife says I resemble him in the sauna.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 11, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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