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Tilting at Windmills

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April 18, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

WAR ON JIHADISM?....Who are we fighting, anyway? "War on Terror" is a phrase disliked by lots of liberals and not a few conservatives, and the Pentagon's suggested replacement, the "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism," is mostly considered a joke. So what is it, then? Jon Rauch has a suggestion:

"I think defining who the enemy is is a real problem in this war," says Mary Habeck, a military historian at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies....As it happens, Habeck is the author of one of three new books that, taken together, suggest the time is right to name the battle. It is a war on jihadism.

Jihadism is not a tactic, like terrorism, or a temperament, like radicalism or extremism. It is not a political pathology like Stalinism, a mental pathology like paranoia, or a social pathology like poverty. Rather, it is a religious ideology, and the religion it is associated with is Islam.

But it is by no means synonymous with Islam, which is much larger and contains many competing elements. Islam can be, and usually is, moderate; Jihadism, with a capital J, is inherently radical....No single definition prevails, but here is a good one: Jihadism engages in or supports the use of force to expand the rule of Islamic law. In other words, it is violent Islamic imperialism. It stands, as one scholar put it 90 years ago, for "the extension by force of arms of the authority of the Muslim state."

No matter how careful we are to distinguish Jihadists from moderate Muslims, there's not much question that an explicitly religious phrase like "War on Jihadism" is explosive. On the other hand, like it or not, it has the virtue of being more accurate than "War on Terror." We haven't spent a lot energy trying to bring the Tamil Tigers to heel, after all.

And it does have an upside: although it may make religion more explicit than we'd like, it also forces us to distinguish between moderate and radical Islam in a way that's too often glossed over. And it has another upside: it forces us to address the question of just how numerous and how dangerous our enemy really is. How many are there? How much damage can they do? Is the Jihadist movement growing? Even including 9/11, the fact is that Jihadists haven't had a lot of success outside the Muslim world, and addressing these questions might very well bring a stiff dose of common sense to the debate over what role the United States ought to play in this war.

Or maybe not. But it's worth a discussion, no?

Kevin Drum 1:39 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (175)

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Comments

I think a more fitting decription is, "The War on Common Sense."

Posted by: Keith G on April 18, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

This term has the added advantage that our so-called president could neither spell nor pronounce it.

On second thought, that's not really all that unusual.

Posted by: eshytle on April 18, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

"although it may make religion more explicit than we'd like, it also forces us to distinguish between moderate and radical Islam"

What makes you think so?

It's my understanding the "jihad" is a term may be used by any Muslim. Would a "War on Redemption" sound like something that targets only some Christians?

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on April 18, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

How about WTKBIP. War to keep bush in power.

Posted by: lib on April 18, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

In the 'takes one to know one' dept., how about moving the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives out of HUD and into DHS?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on April 18, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

It's not an accident that the Administration and its minions have refused to define the war exactly. When Kevin asks "how many of the enemy are there"? He raises just the point that the "War on Terror" supporters are trying to evade. The truth is there are no more than a few thousand dedicated jihadists who pose a direct threat to the US. That hardly seems like a war now does it?

Posted by: Vanya on April 18, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

It's a war on war
It's a war on war
It's a war on war
It's a war on war
It's a war on war
It's a war on war
It's a war on war
There's a war on

You're gonna lose
You have to lose
You have to learn how to die

Seriously people, for politically minded people, is it that hard to look into the history books and realize that this is just another case of two right wing expansionist powers fighting with each other for that privilege? Lenin was on top of this a hundred years ago and we're still trying to figure out its intricacies. Let's get with the times - we're only a century late.

Posted by: zoidberg on April 18, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

How about the War on Fundamentalism?

Oh, wait, then we'd have to bomb Virginia.

Posted by: Paul Garrison on April 18, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

How about we lose the whole "war" metaphor entirely? Any ill defined war such as this (whether you call it Jihadism or Terrorism, it's still a very illdefined and open ended "war") you are destined to be at war for, well, ever. Think War on Poverty and War on Drugs. Will either of those ever be definitively won? Probably not. Wars should be able to be very specifically constrained and bounded. The "unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan" is pretty simple and easily bounded, the success of which is very easy to determine (did those to parties sign declarations ending the war or not).

We have sacrificed many liberties in the name of the War on Drugs and still lots of people use them. We have already sacrificed, and the Bush Administration as already taken, much in the name of the War on Terrorism (or Jihadism). Because, whatever term you use, these wars will never really end how much more will we sacrifice before common sense returns and we drop the whole war metaphor in the first place.

Let's not encourage the same sort of thing by trying to come up with a more "accurate" term.

Posted by: Vincent Sheffer on April 18, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"forces us to distinguish between moderate and radical Islam"
Kevin Drum

So when Abdul Rahman was threatened with death as a result of converting to christianity was that "Moderate" or Radical Islam?

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 18, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

It's a piecemeal confrontation with lots of different parts, but we have to think about the whole.

So for Iran, the best policy would be to let the U.N. talk with Mr Ahmadinejad, see if it can take a stand on his nuclear proliferation, then get all the major allies on board and in full participation in a military activity; then, and only then!, make an ultimatumwhich must not include the use of nuclear weapons by the West.

But if Iran wants to be a nuclear power, then it will be one someday no matter what happens. So I think the West should avoid bombing Iran pre-emptively if diplomacy fails. Bombing wont change anything for the better, and it will kill tens or hundreds of thousands of innocents, create an humanitarian disaster that will rival several of the worse ones, and hasten a unified jihad where none, thank goodness, has yet arisen.

So if diplomacy failsif Iran proceeds on its nuclear paththe West should not attack, but move immediately to a comprehensive Cold-War-type containment and deterrence of Iran, and plan for a long-term MANAGEMENT of the situation. The region will then have a Shiite Iran-and-Iraq in contention with their Sunni neighbors, and plenty of opportunities for diplomacy and learning by all sides. Indeed, if the Iranians gain a little pride by becoming a nuclear power, they may start to turn-around their psychology on more important matters, as all other nuclear publics in the world have done, and begin to think about how to get to a world in which everybody can survive, and begin that reformation of political Islam which we all hope for.

The idea that Iran is a bunch of crazies is itself crazy. Ahmadinejad is yanking our chains much as Mr Chavez is, down in Venezuela banging on the table in front of a television camera, and we shouldnt fall for it. We should strongly resist those in the United States who suggest that Iran is some type of new total suicide country that will risk it all, by firing a rocket at Israel. The evidence of recent history is the reversethey are very practical.

And it is unlikely that Iran is going to be expansionist. Going much beyond southern Iraq, if they make it that far, will put them into conflict with Sunni Arab states, causing an Islamic-internecine conflict that may redound to Western advantage. Some threatened Sunni states may acquiesce to basing Western troops and/or granting airspace.

Present U.S. policy is, however, asking the Iranians to act like cowards, from their point of view. We cannot suppose that much good will issue from this. Nor will it relieve our management of the situation. Their most rational response would then be to lie, and try to get the nukes anyway.

If Iran gets the bomb, we need strong deterrence and containment after that, promising to ensure their annihilation if they lob a rocket at anyone, or if they perpetrate a terror attack anywhere, -- while making overtures of peace. And then if the Mullahs do not modify their exertions, I think all those Iranians dissatisfied with their government, seeing that they have become pariahs in the eyes of outsiders who would prefer peace, will have a much stronger impetus to change that government. Perhaps it will become the crisis which begins to change Islam. But there can be no concurrent exterior agitation, if you are to show your leaders the door. The Bush Administration in fact made it harder for Mr Khatami as well as the NGO reform groups by its rhetorical posturings. Certainly the Iranians will have a much greater opportunity to change their government, than if the West follows through on its threat to bomb them beforehand, kills lots of people, and makes the place unliveable.

Posted by: Lee A. Arnold on April 18, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

How about the War on Fundamentalism?

I think that's the real struggle of the 21st century.

Rational people vs. al Qaeda, the GOP and their ilk

Posted by: Essjay on April 18, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

"addressing these questions might very well bring a stiff dose of common sense to the debate over what role the United States ought to play in this war."

Actually you are missing a threshold question that might bring a bigger dose of common sense, and render these debates on what to call it moot.

Is this a war at all?

Sure there is a war in Afghanistan and a war in Iraq, but the alleged "war on terror" is an abstraction and a distraction whatever you decide to call it. If the alleged "war" has no clear enemy, no discernable end point, no clear victory conditions or conditions of defeat, it may be that calling it a war to begin with is a rheteorical distraction we are better off as a nation without.

War has been used to justify exceptional actions and policies and limits on civil rights throughout history. It isnt just a coincidence that enternal war was central to the propaganda of 1984. The question isnt what we should call this war, and whether its a war on terror or war on extremism or war on fundamentalism, but whether its really a war at all - any more than the war on drugs or war on poverty were truly wars. While we have a President that claims war powers, and a public willing to go a long with it, based upon such a nebulous war, its not just academic. The answer isnt to change the name but to stop this expansive use of the word war.

Posted by: Catch22 on April 18, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't matter what you call it. If Bush is in charge, the Dems will whine and complain and wring their hands.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 18, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Per Glenn Reynolds "Genocide against the muslim world would be quick. And it would work. And if we did it, most of the world would be happy, though it would pretend to be shocked. I think that the course we've chosen is morally preferable to either committing genocide or, effectively surrendering to it."
That's the solution!

Posted by: lk on April 18, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency nailed it!

Posted by: craigie on April 18, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

This is a terrible idea. Muslims would see this an affront to their faith since the concept of a jihad is not something that's owned by radicals. A jihad could be called, for example, against Bin Laden.

And buying into the notion that this is a war--with all that that implies, possible victory for example--only helps out the neocons and their like.

Glad to see a Wilco geek make an appearance.

Posted by: david mizner on April 18, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I watched a documentary on Islam the other night and the meaning of "jihad" within the religion was addressed. I think labeling our war as focusing on jihad would be a big mistake. The following paragraph sums the shows info for the most part:
"The word Jihad translated into English does not mean "Holy War" as people in the media ignorantly state repeatedly. In the text of the entire Koran, the word "Holy War" cannot be found. These are concocted words, invented by people who want to deliberately convey a certain image of Islam. Usually the people who use the term "Holy War" are quite ignorant of Islam. The word Jihad in Arabic means "struggle". Jihad as the Koran makes clear, is struggle in the way of God with oneself, and one's possessions."--Muhammed Asadi

I'm sure many Muslims understand Jihad the way the West sees it, as a violent expansion of Islam, but that's probably because we're so intent on labeling it as such and the media further portrays it this way. However, I'd wager millions of Muslims would take great offense at renaming this whole mess a "War on Jihad". As in using the word "crusade" you're inflaming emotions in a way not helpful to your cause.

Posted by: steve duncan on April 18, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

"War on religious extremism" would work, but the present administration is unlikely to take on its own base.

Posted by: tom on April 18, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Wilco geeks unite!

I still think that song is about addiction, not literal war.

Posted by: shortstop, in love with Jeff Tweedy for years now on April 18, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

I see I no longer have to show up to be present in these discussions. How amusing.

Meanwhile, if you call it something meaningful - like, say, the War on Religious Fundamentalism - you pretty quickly get into dangerous territory with the Christian loonies we have right here.

Which is a good reason to call it just that.

Posted by: craigie on April 18, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

The time for 'paradigming' 911 is long past. We're stuck with what we've got.

By comparison, note that the way in which Truman scoped the Cold War was the way in which we thought about it until it ended.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on April 18, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Agree with Vincent Sheffer. The "war" metaphor locks us into a single option -- if we're at war, then the only option is deploying our military. But a military is only good against other militaries, not against nationless terrorists and certainly not against insurgents (see Algeria, Vietnam, Iraq). It's like trying to use the Army to fight the Mafia.

As for what catchphrase to use instead -- I dunno. Too bad Cartago delenda est is already taken.

Posted by: lucidity on April 18, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Let's just reject the term "war".

There's a war going on in Iraq. But there isn't a real "war on terror" or "war on jihadism" or whatever. You don't dignify some guy in a tent by declaring war on him. If you're at war, when you capture bin Laden's people you'd have to treat them as POWs, and you want to treat him as a criminal. The alternative is to gut American democracy and international law by inventing a new category of people who are have neither the rights of accused criminals nor the rights of POWs.

Posted by: Joe Buck on April 18, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Before settling on the term, "War on Jihadism", I think it would be pretty important to make sure that the group of "Jihadists" really IS coextensive with the group of radicals we REALLY care about, namely those who pose a true threat to us and/or our allies.

I suspect, though, I don't know, that there are a lot of people who call themselves Jihadists who threaten only those within their own country, or, at most, Israel.

And if it's only Israel among our allies that they threaten, we have to ask ourselves, is this really OUR war, as Americans?

Posted by: frankly0 on April 18, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

War against Islamicism

An Arab Muslim political writer pointed this out, the radical muslims are commonly referred to as Islamics in the middle east.


Posted by: Matt on April 18, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, and can we drop the "War" metaphors, please?

Something more civilized, like "The Boston Tea Party for Tolerance and Plurality" would be great!

Posted by: craigie on April 18, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

What does Iraq under Hussein have to do with jihad? Absolutely nothing!

This is the Son of a Bush War. It will never have a better name.

Posted by: reino on April 18, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

They should change the propaganda slogan to The War to Enrich Republican Benefactors.

Posted by: Hostile on April 18, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Is Hamas a "Jihadist" organization?

If so, are we at war with them, even though they now democratically represent the Palestinian people?

Aren't we being sold a bill of goods if we accept that they are now our official enemies?

Posted by: frankly0 on April 18, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Calling it a War on Jihadism or a War on Islamic Imperialism, will highlight that the Iraq regime change mission did not attack the correct enemy. In fact, it furthered the goals of that enemy by removing a stable, secular government.

Posted by: DLev on April 18, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, and can we drop the "War" metaphors, please?

Er, okay.

Posted by: shortstop on April 18, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

The Eternal War to Resubjugate Brown People

Posted by: The General on April 18, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

War against a tactic will always be

1) endless
2) a losing proposition

especially when out own allies engage in the same tactic.

Yet I still don't think that you understand this Kevin: Bushco has no interest in winning this "war," or even reducing the effectivness or number of Jihadists. You see, that would severly jeapordize their hold on power.

Witness the fate of bin Laden. If he had been definitively killed or captured in 2001 or 2002, Iraq would not have happened. No color alerts, no Patriot Act, no rationale for the existence of Bush's presidency as we know it. And probably no second term.

Thus when Bush said he was "not that concerned" with bin Laden, he was telling the absolute truth.

Posted by: HeavyJ on April 18, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Er, okay.

See, just like Mom said. Ask nicely, and you get what you want. On to the next issue...

What's up with that Dodger bullpen?

Posted by: craigie on April 18, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Since I'm one of the few Muslims who posts here, I thought I'd chime in.

I don't think the War against Jihadism is the proper name for this conflict, because its still a slogan. The tacit support that keeps Al-Qaeda and other Jihadi organizations going is not a condoning of Islamic Imperialism. These guys are propped up because angry, but not necessarily violent people see Jihadis as the only ones fighting on their behalf.

The Western Muslim that travels to Bosnia to fight the Russians is an imperialist. The dozens of people that keep quiet or even aid the jihadi are not necessarily committed to his goals. This is a war to stop that jihadi from carrying out his goal, while simultaneously convincing his friends and neighbors that he is not fighting for them.

I say you call it the "War against Al-Qaeda" because you can focus on the horrific tactics they use. That could help turn people away from Jihadists in general, without telling Muslims that they cannot stand up for themselves. This is what we Americans fail to understand. We claim that we are not violent while we have hundreds of thousands of troops pointing and using guns to impose our will all over the world. Muslims have no one to stand up for them, because their leaders have sold them out for money and power. Muslims are not committed to Islamic imperialism, but as long as they are not represented, a small portion of them will continue to support a violent defense of what they see as their honor. Ever heard of Give me liberty or give me death?

Posted by: enozinho on April 18, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Vincent, catch22 and Joe Buck are right.

We are not at war.

If it's politically necessary not to say that too loudly, lest one be labeled unserious on national security, or "naive" (somewhere along the line it became naive not to believe in things that don't exist; I'll have to figure out how that happened someday) then Dems should simply not participate in the blah-blah fest over what to call all this.

If absolutely necessary, I nominate the preferred Tony Soprano term:

"Our thing."

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 18, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

The Western Muslim that travels to Bosnia to fight the Russians is an imperialist.

Not to mention geographically challenged.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 18, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Muslims have no one to stand up for them, because their leaders have sold them out for money and power.

Hey! Just like us!

Posted by: craigie on April 18, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Which war are we talking about, again? A war against Saddam Hussein is even more clearly not a war against Jihadism than a war against terrorism.

Posted by: Boronx on April 18, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Or change the propaganda slogan to The War Against Struggling Oil Slaves.

Posted by: Hostile on April 18, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency nailed it.

Damn it craigie. For once, give someone else the opportunity to say that.

Posted by: lib on April 18, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: But it's worth a discussion, no?

What the hell drives you, anyway? Do you have not a single conviction? Are you an autonomous robot trying to understand biological lifeforms? Is the affection you provide your cats the limit of your empathy?

You want a name for your goddam war? How's this: War On Meaningfulness. The first casualty is the meaning of the word "war." It's not about self-defense at all; it's about the divine right of power to make all the rules, supply all the definitions, and arrange billions of little robots in a manner which serves their jealous, greedy, doomed quest for omnipotence.

A War On Jihad is no different than one gang having a cross-town war with another, where one gang outnumbers the other several-fold, but is worried the other will catch up. Their answer: Get everyone to join their gang and kill or imprison all who won't. Once that's accomplished, keep it a blood-secret that, really, there are only a very select few truly in the gang, and the rest are being brainwashed with lottery tickets and celebrities and the stock market into believing they belong also, but their only real purpose is to keep the gang's leaders fat and happy.


Posted by: jayarbee on April 18, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

I say you call it the "War against Al-Qaeda" because you can focus on the horrific tactics they use.

I asked the WH if we could use this. They said no, because if the embarrassingly large percentage of Americans who still think Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11 ever get wise, Bushco will, you know, look silly.

Posted by: shortstop on April 18, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth didn't quite nail it. His quote should read, "If Bush is in charge he'll fuck it all up, the Dems will whine and complain and wring their hands."

Maybe we should replace the word "war" with "fight" or "struggle"... And let's recall that Iraq was no major center of Jihad, so our war in Iraq shouldn't be included in the term "war against jihad."

How about the "Large Multinational Interdisciplinary Police, Intelligence, Political, Ambassadorial and Military Effort Against Occassional but Disrupting Violence with which We Disagree Strongly"? Heh-heh.

Posted by: mroberts on April 18, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Jihad is a general term not necessarily associated with violence or conversion. One could, for example, have a jihad against obesity. Or a jihad against drugs. A jihad can be personal.

Scholars like Reza Azlan don't really think that the battle is a "clash of civilizations" or of religions. Rather, it is a clash within Islam itself. The Christian "church" constantly has infights--some in the past have even turned violent.

I think people should try to actually read up on the culture and religion of others. Perhaps we wouldn't have ignorant comments about a war on jihadists, which is a war on ALL moslems. Ignorance is an important weapon for some.

Posted by: gq on April 18, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

So it's violent Islamic imperialism agains violent Christian imperialism.

Posted by: Jrgen in Germany on April 18, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

"violent Islamic imperialism"

Islamic empire? Maybe jihad is a reaction to our violent imperialism. I'm not trying to argue there's a moral equivalence, but this "Why do they hate us?" cluelessness is infantile and jingoistic.

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on April 18, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin--

I think Vincent Sheffer is trying to point you in a less menacing direction. The "war on terror" was poorly conceived from its first utterance. A large part of what was wrong with the concept was on the "war" side. Maybe somebody should have taken a moment or two to work out the appropriateness of war as a response to terror.

Now that we have the inappropriate response firmly installed as a simmering regional war, a scholar suggests that we redefine the enemy. The human cost of the situation drains all the humor out of it. Does it make more sense to declare war on "jihadists" than on terror? Marginally.

If we are truly opposed to terror, we might endeavor to restrain ourselves and others. If we agree, in our ignorance, that we are opposed to "jihadists", we might still debate whether the appropriate response is to endeavor to kill them. War, however you define it, is not a precision tool.

Tell me how you define "jihadist". Then show me how "war" can be construed as an appropriate response.

Posted by: sam on April 18, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

How about "Operation Enduring Halliburton Profits"?

Posted by: ckelly on April 18, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

While I stand by my comment earlier that this use of the word war in this context is misleading and a destraction, if you must have candidates "War on Jihadism" is a bad choice.

Jihad has more meanings than such a forumlation gives credit. Crusade is probably more militaristic than jihadism, but even there you would have those that disagreed strongly (e.g. Crusade for Christ):

"Jihad (Arabic: جهاد ǧihād) is an Islamic term, from the Arabic root ǧhd ("to exert utmost effort, to strive, struggle"), which connotes a wide range of meanings: anything from an inward spiritual struggle to attain perfect faith to a political or military struggle to further the Islamic cause. To those the neologism "jihadist" is sometimes applied.

The term is frequently translated into English as "holy war"; however, the concept of jihad encompasses more than just warfare. The denotation is of a challenging or difficult, (frequently) opposed effort, made either in accomplishment or resistance. A person who engages in any form of jihad is called a mujahid, (Arabic: striver, struggler). He might engage in fighting, or, for example, struggle to memorize the Qur'an."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jihad


Posted by: Catch22 on April 18, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

It's a war for the sake of war. So the Commander in Chief can claim unlimited executive power indefinateliy. Letting presidents start wars without the explicite approval of the legislative was an act of political cowardice: Everyone was so scared - they needed a strong leader to protect them against the enemy.

Posted by: Jrgen in Germany on April 18, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Nice posts, pretty much all of them, from the sarcastic to the analytical. This whole adventure went south the moment the proponents of invasion were blithely allowed to skip over the fundamental question of what good it actually does the United States to run around projecting power all over the world when there is really no threat from any other country in the world to the existence of the United States.

Sure, its probably handy to be able to selectively project force, but if history shows anything, its that colonialism is really not all its cracked up to be.

I felt, shortly after the basic shock of 9/11 wore off, that the "war" label was completely inapt. Yet, Bush picked it up, and ran with it all the way to a couple of hundred billion dollars and thousands of lives, and its very, very difficult to show any gain we could not have achieved for a fraction of the cost in lives and money.

This will take a while to sink in, but it will, eventually. The question of the day is whether it will sink in fast enough to stop any similarly ridiculous adventure in Iran.

Posted by: hank on April 18, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Is there any difference between someone that condones terrorism carried out on their behalf and those that condone torture carried out in their name?

If your answer is no, then the 101 Fighting Keyboardists are legitimate targets for Al-Qaeda in the "War on Terror". This, obviously, is insane, just like bombing an ideology is insane. The goal should be to capture or kill the "fighters" and change the minds of their supporters. Those whose minds can't be changed, should be marginalized.

That's our war, if only someone was committed to fighting it.

Posted by: enozinho on April 18, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Surely it would save typesetters some trouble if we just made it "Jihad against Jihadism."

It would also reveal the stupidity of this sloganeering and its slaughter of language.

Posted by: Jeromy on April 18, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

"War Against Sunnis, Terrahists and Every Democrat" (WASTED)

Posted by: ckelly on April 18, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Large Multinational Interdisciplinary Police, Intelligence, Political, Ambassadorial and Military Effort Against Occassional but Disrupting Violence with which We Disagree Strongly"?
Posted by: mroberts

LMIPIPAMEAODVWDS? I've been trying to come up with a word out of this now my head hurts. Ya know it's GOTTA have an acronym. It just wouldn't be governmental if it didn't.

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 18, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Is this a war at all?

Good point. Let's call it a crusade. That ought to make all parties happier.

Heh.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 18, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

While I like and appreciate the text of your post and the thrust of what you're trying to argue, I'm a little iffy with Jihadism -- only because I think Benjamin Barber's Jihad vs McWorld is still one of the best paradigms through which we can view this struggle.

In Barber's definition, Jihad is a broad term, not an exceedingly narrow one which only embraces radical Islamist imperalism. Jihad is any force that seeks to retain the identity of individuals and assert the primacy of community over the centrifugal forces of globalization and their attendant cultural manifestations (fragmentation, depersonalization, standardization, alienation -- the cultural imperalism of an *economic* and to a lesser extent, technological, sort).

In this broad, metaphorical sense, Jihad has a long history, not merely with various religious fundamentalisms resisting modernity, but with the Romantic movement as well. In fact, all strong, systemic critiques of modernity partake of Jihad in this sense -- and Jean-Jacques Rousseau was perhaps the father of this intellectual tradition in the West.

Blake' ominous intonation against the Dark Satanic mills is Jihad. Mary Shelley's prescient tocsin against rampant scientism in her Gothic novel Frankenstein is Jihad. Ludditism (historical or metaphorical) is Jihad. Nazi and Fascist ideologies, which look to a glorious premodern past, partake of Jihad. (Interestingly enough, Leninism and Maoism are *not* Jihad, because they look to the very alienating processes of industrialization to produce a New Man, who is as equal in every way as what's coming off the assembly line).

Anti-globalization protesters are also Jihad. And thoroughly modern urbanites who shop at organic markets, or keep a country cottage to "get away from the rat race" on weekends also partake of Jihad -- or at least Jihad Lite. As does Frankfurt School critical theory and virtually all of Continental (as opposed to analytic) philosophy.

Max Weber -- the premier sociologist of the historical process of modernity -- in warning about the "iron cage" of bureacuracy parook of Jihad. So did President Eisenhower in his farewell address by alerting us to the military-industrial complex.

Fredreich Nietsczhe is the apotheosis of philosophical Jihad.

Barber's analysis is useful, because it describes the dialectic of modernization. It doesn't directly equate critics of the alienating, dehumanizing aspects of modernity with religious fundamentalism, let alone violent Islamism -- but it does draw these criticisms into a web of counterforce against processes which economists (those princes of McWorld) tell us are simply natural and inevitable.

And this is useful, because it resists the temptation to put violent, radical Islamists into the category of the Alien Other. It helps us to unpack the current postindustrial avatar of modernity -- globalization (McWorld) -- and show how these processes unleash powerfully dehumanizing forces. Violent Islamism then becomes merely one form of a resistance that nearly all of us partake in to a greater or lesser extent.

And in this way, this analysis helps us understand our most intractible geopolitical enemy.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 18, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

A 'moderate Muslim' is about as religious as the average completely demented Catholic nun.


That said, though, the real enemy is social conservatism, which is probably a form of mental retardation.

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like a "politically correct" verson of War on Islamofascisim, and just as useful

Posted by: Martin on April 18, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

How about: The Judeo/Evangelical crusade against Islam fomented by neocons like Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Lieberman, Bush, Cheney, et.al., who tricked the American people by cherrypicking or falsifying intelligence on WMD to get us into Iraq.

Or AIPAC for short.

Posted by: Myron on April 18, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Fareed Zakaria's father, himself a noted journalist in India, was asked on NPR when he visited USA a few years ago about the reasons his family did not move to Pakistan after the partition of the British India.

The elder Zakaria replied that they did try, and the family stayed in Pakistan for sometime, but his father concluded that Pakistan was too Muslim, and so they came back to India.

Posted by: lib on April 18, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

"How about the "Large Multinational Interdisciplinary Police, Intelligence, Political, Ambassadorial and Military Effort Against Occassional but Disrupting Violence with which We Disagree Strongly"? Heh-heh."

Yes, the LMIPIPAMEAODVWWWDS!

Imagine the tv news logo for that.

Posted by: jefff on April 18, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

enozinho:

Totally endorse your comments.

Ultimately, it's about dignity.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 18, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe presents an interesting point above,

The Democrats should simply stand up and insist 'We're not at war. We're not at war with anybody. If a terrorist attacks us, that's an international police problem. Not war.' Republicans don't like that because they want to be able to view terrorist organizations as autonomous international corporate entities, trans-nationals, above any law but their own.

Just like them. This is really why the Republicans want the terrorists to succeed, because it provides the ideal rational model for corporate feudalism, where the nation state is hopelessly out of date.

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

'We're not at war. We're not at war with anybody. If a terrorist attacks us, that's an international police problem. Not war.'

So say a particular nation-state funds terrorist activity or gives them safe harbor. Should we simply arrest their leaders?

Great show on Discovery last night, by the way. "Nuclear Jihad", about AQ Khan and his efforts in the proliferation realm.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 18, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Jorgen (sorry; I can't find my umlaut): So it's violent Islamic imperialism agains violent Christian imperialism.

Damn straight. No one ever seems to endorse my plan of putting the religious fanatics of all stripes together in one hemisphere and leaving the other one for normal people. Hell, I'd uproot and switch hemis myself if it meant all these religious wackos would leave me alone.

craigie: What's up with that Dodger bullpen?

I haven't been following the Dodgers.

Posted by: shortstop on April 18, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

So say a particular nation-state funds terrorist activity or gives them safe harbor. Should we simply arrest their leaders?


Yes, why not? There are lots of solutions in international forums for addressing this kind of action, sanctions, embargoes, confiscation of their property.

On the other hand, if they did that, that would be an act of war, wouldn't it? Which is why we made such a successful invasion of Afghanistan, though the follow-through has left something to be desired.

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

sorry; I can't find my umlaut

I understand there's a drug for that.

Posted by: ckelly on April 18, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

ckelly:

Well, let's hope that at least she can find her uvula :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 18, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

So say a particular nation-state funds terrorist activity or gives them safe harbor.

By terrorists do you mean Contras? Mujahideen? Taliban? MEK?

What should we do with countries who've been state sponsors of the aforementioned terrorist groups?

By your implied argument, should a coalition of countries take on the U.S., impose regime change, and write a new constitution for us?

And if the argument is that those were good terrorists or even freedom fighters -- how are ordinary folk supposed to know the difference?

Posted by: Curious in Cleveland on April 18, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

I understand there's a drug for that.

And according to my e-mail, purchasing it now will make my GRRL WANNT IT BADD 2NITE!

Posted by: shortstop on April 18, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin D., I fail to see how redefining the "War on Terror" as a "War on Jihadism" in order to better rationalize a war against Iran makes any sense or does us any good.

Posted by: David W. on April 18, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

interesting idea. With so much of this president's support coming from christian evangelicals and armchair and otherwise holy-warriors, "War on Jihadism" seems like a war on America, or at least some Americans.

Posted by: Mark on April 18, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Where the Pentagon is controlling a right-wing terrorist organization inside Iran,

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Retired_colonel_claims_U.S._Military_operations_0415.html


Last Thursday, Raw Story's Larisa Alexandrovna reported (On Cheney, Rumsfeld order, US outsourcing special ops, intelligence to Iraq terror group, intelligence officials say) that, according to former and current intelligence officials, the Pentagon has been using a right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) as an operational asset "to create strife in Iran in preparation for any possible attack."

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

WAR ON JIHADISM

Please tell me this was ironic.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on April 18, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Or maybe not. But it's worth a discussion, no?

I'll go with maybe not.

You can declare war against a state, a government, a group of individuals. You can't declare war against abstract concepts. What makes the "War on Terror" unworkable isn't the "terror" part, it's the "war."

If it were a war, we would have a set criteria for knowing if we were winning or losing, and when it was over. For instance - Britain recognizes U.S. independence, or Iraq withdrawing from Kuwait, etc.

Any other kind of war is just rhetoric. For instance, Vietnam was a war. Korea was a war. The Cold War was not a war.

Of course, sometimes it's not rhetoric, but an excuse to bypass "peacetime" restraints. Say, for instance, wiretapping without a warrant, suspend habeas corpus, etc. Unless you think it's fine for a president (this one and future ones) to circumvent the constitution, you ought to have a real problem with open-ended, ambiguous wars against concepts.

Posted by: moderleft on April 18, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

How about a War on Religious Intolerance and Extremism? Oh wait, that might be considered a war on our fearless leader.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on April 18, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

I love it. "We are not at war." That's the motto the Democrats should run on in 2006 and 2008. Don't pay any attention to what the people who think they are at war with us have to say. Who cares if OBL declared "war" on us and followed it up with a series of bombings that culminated in 9/11? Did I say culminate? I guess I forgot about Bali and London and Madrid.

I'm sorry, I shouldn't be sarcastic. It's not nice. But it would be nicer if you all stopped looking at everything through the lens of domestic politics and actually paid some attention to what's happening in the world. You are doing exactly what you criticize President Bush for - you are not trying to understand what those "furriners" want but just imposing your own domestic political paradigms over everything.

It is impossible to look at the world realistically and not see that there is a large contingent of radical Islamists out there who are in fact waging war against the US and its allies. That's what they call it, that's how they think of it, and I don't see the point in trying to pretend that's not what they are doing.

Whether they should be called "Islamists" or "Jihadists" is almost irrelevant to me. They fight in the name of a highly political ideology that is based on certain elements of the Islamic religion. Maybe they only represent 5 or 10% of Moslems in the world. But it's foolish to pretend that they don't exist and that we are not engaged in a death struggle with them, just because you wish it weren't so. As my grandfather used to say, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

Posted by: DBL on April 18, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Agree with above posts... drop references to "war" and "jihad".

There's also benefit to being less than precise (e.g., "cold war" covered a lot of ground).

In any case, policies and actions will define the real meaning, regardless of the tag line (not the other way around). That's where the exercise should start.

Posted by: has407 on April 18, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

DBL:

Dude, they represent less than ten thousand people. The support they receive from Muslims is -- as enozihno, who happens to be a Muslim, says -- passive, not active. Armchair. They're glad somebody's standing up for them when they feel so pushed around by Western powers, which isn't to be equated with endorsing the warriors' manifestly un-Islamic tactics.

You want the world's last remaining superpower to declare a "war" on less than a division?

Whatever this struggle against struggle (heh) is -- it is in no way a "war" in the military sense.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 18, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

DBL,

If we accept their terms of discussion, the terrorists will have won. Is Tony Soprano really 'just doing business'?

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

cld
On the other hand, if they did that, that would be an act of war, wouldn't it?

Would it? Iran has been the biggest funding source of terrorism on the planet for quite a number of years. Should we declare war on them?

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 18, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Allowing some small trans-national, or even smaller, group to put on airs like being able declare war in a political sense is nothing but a covert way of shifting social norms to an acceptance of international corporate feudalism as a successor to the nation state.

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Iran has been the biggest funding source of terrorism on the planet for quite a number of years. Should we declare war on them?


Have they attacked us?

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe they only represent 5 or 10% of Moslems in the world.

As there are over one billion muslims in the world, that would mean we're currently 'at war' with up to 100 million of them. I think that is a great exaggeration, to say the least.

Posted by: David W. on April 18, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:

We could declare war on the state of Iran.

Would that increase, or decrease, Muslim support for a terrorist resistance against it?

If our military can wipe any handful of Taliban mongos off the map tactically -- as we have done time and time again -- why is the Taliban in resurgence in Afghanistan?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 18, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, it's been at least a month and half since you have entertained an idea this stupid.

1) The first target in a "war on jihadism" would need to be Pakistan, given the large number of adherents to radical islam or full control by islamic law. Iran is much less brutalized by "islamic law" than Pakistan. But a military (the "war" part) attack on Pakistan isn't on the schedule so this "war on Jihadism" or "war on terror" or whatever you want to call it is just the another neocon bait-and-switch cover story for their Middle East plan.

2) This whole idea of "expanisive" world-conquering Islam is loony. Objectively, the only conquering and expanding that is going on is the current crusade by a extreme-Christian dominated United States. This is what the rest of the world sees. They see us glorifying and uplifting a small but wealthy terrorist organization, Al-Qeada, into a beacon for disaffected muslims, and then affirming their reasoning by attacking islamic countries. Now you want to expand the definition of identified enemies to include all religious based opposition parties in the islamic world.

Are you insane?

Posted by: ChetBob on April 18, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

The War on "blank" is just PR baloney.

This morning's Wash post had an article on how one after another Andean country is telling the US to jump in the lake on coca eradication.

And the person who suggested that we have a War on El Queda nailed it. That should have been the fight - and we should have focused on that.

That was supposedly what the US was fighting after 9-11, but all of a sudden it was transformed into a nebulous "War on Terror" which should have immediately set off the alarm bells. Once that huge door was opened: Iraq, Patriot Act, etc.

Like the War on Drugs, The War on Terror is an international joke. A sick, macabre punchline of ineptitude, graft and corruption.

I hope that was the direction you were leading, Kevin, why was the PR job so successful for so long? Why did we, as a society, get taken in so badly? And how can we make sure that it won't happen again? (Iran)

Posted by: Samuel Knight on April 18, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

I love it. "We are not morons." That's the motto the Democrats should run on in 2006 and 2008. Don't pay any attention to what the people who think they are morons have to say.

Posted by: nut on April 18, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

What did we do with the War on Poverty? Declared victory and went home, wasn't it?

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

I think we term it the Forever War, pay royalties to Joe Haldeman, and let it go, on and on and on......

btw shortstop, the Onion in summer of 01 had the suggestion that we put all the armed combatants in the world in Israel, and the last army left standing took the territory. Don't think they'd fit there anymore.

Posted by: hrc on April 18, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

I am fighting my war against Radical Extremists of all faiths.

Posted by: MNPundit on April 18, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Before 9/11 made such a concept unworkable even in theory--it was already unworkable in practice--Boston College professor and reactionary Catholic apologist Peter Kreeft was calling for an "ecumenical Jihad" that would unite his fellow ultramontanists, right-wing Protestants, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims in a common war against modernity.

Call it ecumenicalism's evil twin.

Posted by: Wally Ballou on April 18, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Can we just stop the "war"? It's not a war. How many of us, after all, are actually involved in it? On both sides, very few. Calling this a war cheapens the others.

Posted by: Nate on April 18, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Wally Ballou:

That's a crystallization of what Ben Barber means by Jihad -- as in Jihad vs McWorld.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 18, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

I think it would make more sense to call it a "spat". Spat on Terror. :)

Posted by: Nate on April 18, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Death struggle" DBL says. You must have a very weak notion of how mighty the American nation is. Sometimes I think the problem is we just don't know how strong we are.

Posted by: Nate on April 18, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

I like it. I think we should make a point of including our domestic jihaddists, none of whom are Islamic...

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on April 18, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Probably the reason we are struggling to define the enemy is because we are not actually at war.

Posted by: Robespierre on April 18, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

So say a particular nation-state funds terrorist activity or gives them safe harbor. Should we simply arrest their leaders?

Before we can do this, we have to define "terrorist activity." Would everyone would agree that bombing a building outside of the context of a declared war is an act of terror? Would it make a difference if the bomber was flying an airplane? Would it still be terrorism if they wore cute little matching outfits?

Where exactly is the line between terrorism and acts of war? What should we do Mike when an aggressor nation won't take yes (surrender) for an answer and continues to bomb buildings whose only purpose is self-defense? Isn't this too a form of state sponsored terrorism? What should the United States do about such bad actors Mike? What would you call the individuals who would perpetrate such war crimes?

Posted by: pita on April 18, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Terror is an act of desperation. You can't defeat desperation. You can't win it over, force it to surrender. You just have to live through it. Desperation, terror, is a natural consequence of our numbingly dull consumer world.

Those people -- the followers of OBL -- crave meaning, want to create it. Instead they've started a senseless "war"...and it's created a nice diversion for us who lead purposeless lives. Without them, who would we be?

Posted by: Round we go on April 18, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

And it's that meaning we have to deny, which the Republicans validate.

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

It's not an enviable position. Who wants to defend meaninglessness? We would do better to change the subject, as Mr. Bush is letting us do: corruption, inept government, poor stewardship. In other words: they suck (refering to Republicans of course).

Posted by: Robespierre on April 18, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

How about "Jihad on War?"

Posted by: pmurph on April 18, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't we just call it what it is -- a vendetta. I haven't seen "V for Vendetta," but its pretty obvious by now that AQ has no actual purpose in mind except killing some westerners in as dramatic a way as possible. If someone had taken the time to figure out that the Middle East still operates on a tribal/sectarian vendetta culture we could have saved a ton of money and lives.

Its good though, to see post after post pointing out that this is hardly a "war" and taking Kevin to task for the wording of the initial post.

Americans are ill-informed isolationists at heart. Thank goodness for that. It will ultimately save our bacon as we will tire of this mis-adventure in the near term.

Posted by: hank on April 18, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK
So say a particular nation-state funds terrorist activity or gives them safe harbor. Should we simply arrest their leaders?

After we impeach them, sure.

Take the plank out of our own eye, etc.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 18, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see now- a war on Islam, run by Christian fundamentalist nutcases who totally reject international law. Because if they didn't they'd be in prison for war crimes.

Almost as cool as Kissinger helping the Argentinean military murder ten thousand Jews.

Yeah, that oughta work.

Posted by: serial catowner on April 18, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Oh bullfinches!

I think we need to "discuss" Islamic Jihad...right after we discuss "Zionist" Jihad and "Christian" Jihad.

Overdose them all with some Jim Jones koolaide and be done with it...the world would be better off.

However, if anyone wants to gin up a American Jihad to end all these crapola cultist, I am all for it.

Posted by: Chanel No 5 on April 18, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

This thread illuminates more fundamental differences between the left and the right.

While the left (Jon Rauch, Biden, et al) debates how to label, characterize, and spin the terminology of our current conflict, the right (the 90% of the soldiery that is conservative) just takes up the cause and fights for our national defense.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on April 18, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

the right (the 90% of the soldiery that is conservative) just takes up the cause and fights for our national defense.


The percentage of the 'soldiery' that has returned form Iraq and are now running for political office are around 99% Democrats.

Yes, fighting for our national defense is just how I'd put it.

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Before we can do this, we have to define "terrorist activity." Would everyone would agree that bombing a building outside of the context of a declared war is an act of terror?

No, because an act of terror has as its purpose the goal of striking terror into people's hearts. There's lots of reasons to bomb buildings.

cld...
RSM: Iran has been the biggest funding source of terrorism on the planet for quite a number of years. Should we declare war on them?

Have they attacked us?

Other than our sovereign territory of the embassy, not recently, directly. They're savvy. They just pay someone else to do it, so we are hamstrung by our view that it is a police matter and don't respond.

They're evil, but also smart.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 18, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Muslims have no one to stand up for them, because their leaders have sold them out for money and power.

Hey! Just like us!
Posted by: craigie

Maybe all the average, non-insane Americans and the average, non-insane residents of the ME and other assorted and sundry regions should all just join together to round up our insane, pscyhopathic leaders and throw them out.

Heck, get Bush, Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il, Hussein, Bin Ladin, et al all nice and happy together on a remot island, and I think for once using a nuclear weapon might be justifiable.

Posted by: moderleft on April 18, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

cld
The percentage of the 'soldiery' that has returned form Iraq and are now running for political office are around 99% Democrats.

What will be interesting to watch is the effect they have on the democratic party. At least one of the two (vets or trad democrats) is going to have to adapt.

One of the more interesting senate races, to be preceeded by a democratic primary, is the 2006 race in VA. James Webb, former SecNav and republican through and through, is now running as a democrat against George Allen. He's a great man, as a dem or repub. Highly decorated Vietnam vet. Non-backstabber. How will democrats welcome him? I am very interested to see.

What happened to the Marine that Ohio democrats shit-canned a while back? There's gratitude for you.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 18, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

You just know that was Iran, explicitly?

What evidence do you have that George Bush feels himself hamstrung by international convention of any kind?

I don't deny that Iran is working hard to make things worse for us in Iraq, but they're not working as hard as we are.

If our behaviour, means and intentions weren't so perfectly, transparently self-serving and crooked it would be different, but the Republicans have given the Iranians, and all our other enemies, something they could never have dreamt of, perfect evidence that every bad thing they might ever have said of us is true. Thanks to George Bush, a real man's guy.

Now they can realistically argue that screwing with us in Iraq is justified in keeping us bogged down, fighting us there so they don't have to fight us anywhere else.

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

What happened to the Marine that Ohio democrats shit-canned a while back? There's gratitude for you.


Yes, he should never have backed out. He would only have had to put up with those jerks for one more term, anyway.

It's a generational shift and Kerry, of all people, is alarmed by it. You'd think he'd be happy to get Vietnam behind him.

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

To paraphrase someone from long ago... "terror is war by other means". And the enemy is the same as it's always been--those who:

  1. attack or threaten the US;
  2. attack or threaten US strategic interests;
  3. either of the above through the use or support of proxies.
Al Qaeda is primarily #1, although there's obviously some #3. Afghanistan is #3. Iraq was positioned as #1 and #3, although #2 is more accurate. Iran falls into #2 (more today than yesterday) and #3.

As always, there is significant disagreement within the US and abroad as to what constitutes "US strategic interests", and especially the rest of the world's willingness to support US actions in protecting those interests, as those interests are not always congruent. And as always, there is significant disagreement on the acceptable price for protecting those interests. Moreover, those interests haven't changed much, although priorities have varied over the years, and the scope of those interests may have increased (Pax-Americana).

Arguably, about the only thing that has changed is when a perceived threat justifies action ("9/11 changed everything"). And these days, since our competitive advantage (so to speak), is being the biggest hammer in the shed--by a large margin--everything tends to look like a nail.

In short, let's be honest about what it is, and has always been: the War Against Threats to US Interests; or, if you have to be for something, the War for US Interests. If you need something more high-minded (in the Pax-Americana frame), try War for Peace. Cynical? You bet.

Posted by: has407 on April 18, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

let's be honest about what it is, and has always been: the War Against Threats to US Interests

Agreed. Except you need differnt titles to describe it to the elites and market it to the hoi polloi. So may I suggest that the

War For Us

also be titled

The War Against People Who Seem Funny To Us and So Must Be Doing Something Wrong.

Posted by: snicker-snack on April 18, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Nice job has407. The 9/11 attacks were basically a response to various things the U.S. did to pursue its strategic interests prior to that date. The main problem with the "war" label is that it makes quite a few assumptions. I thought at the time it would take, to pardon the expression, some real, real big brass balls to essentially do nothing. Or, perhaps, only "nothing" in the sense that we did not need to run around attacking other countries. We could have examined what some of our foreign policy choice were and re-evaluated whether those choices were wise, and then adjusted accordingly.

However, it was much easier, espicially politically easier, to simply thrash back. That way, you might be right, you might be wrong, it might cost alot, thousands of lives might be wasted, but at least no one could accuse you of being a pussy.

Sigh.

Posted by: hank on April 18, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

cld

Here's a nice description of Hezbollah, one of Iran's favorite terrorist organizations to send ducats to.

A more long winded description of Iranian-backed terrorism...
http://www.meforum.org/article/427

If our behaviour, means and intentions weren't so perfectly, transparently self-serving and crooked it would be different, but the Republicans have given the Iranians, and all our other enemies, something they could never have dreamt of, perfect evidence that every bad thing they might ever have said of us is true. Thanks to George Bush, a real man's guy.

Go visit Iraqi Kurdistan if you think everything we've done is wrong.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 18, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Why should we come up with new catch phrases to help Bush sell a campaign to dismantle the Constitution?

Posted by: Justin Faulkner on April 18, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

"And these days, since our competitive advantage (so to speak), is being the biggest hammer in the shed--by a large margin--everything tends to look like a nail."

Perhaps in your one-dimensional, kindergarten class of foreign policy it does, but in the real world the relationship between America and other countries is rather more complicated than your silly hammer-nail metaphor.

Posted by: jello on April 18, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Well, RSM, that link certainly give more information on Hezbollah than, well, perhaps, whatever.

But, there is absolutely no doubt from the piece, none at all, that Hezbollah's primary beef is with Israel.

To the extent there is a beef with anyone else, its with the U.S. but mainly to the extent that we are seen as being on the same side as Israel.

I'm not particularly against Israel, but its pretty clear that (i) when Israel was a cold-war proxy against Arab regimes supported by the USSR it was a whole different ball game and (ii) Israel's own version of fundamentalist settlement builders don't strike me as overtly democratic or worthy of support.

So my question would be, if someone says, it will cost $X hundred billions of dollars and Y thousands of lives to invade a couple of countries and fight off the religious sectarian violence to follow, I should ask, well, just so there are some options, how much would it cost to reingineer public opinion so that we are not seen as Israel's surrogate?

Didn't see anything in that piece about Hezbollah attacking Canada, Mexico, or China? How come China is off the hook? How come they are not worried about being labled the great satan?

What exactly are we getting out of this world wide military presence that seems to be pissing so many people off?

In the case of Iran, I'm in the blue state of good old California, near Los Angeles, home of the biggest Iranian ex-pat population outside of Iran. I have never met a single group more overtly willing to embrace the U.S. capitalist consume at all costs culture than these Iranians. If even 30% of the Iranians in Iran are anything at all like the Iranians in Los Angeles, we shouldn't even bother considering acting militarily against them, we should bomb them with Prada and Jimmy Choos.

Militarily, our record of conveting countries by force is not good. Our record of converting countries culturally is unsurpassed. Yet, in a time when it is arguably more important than ever to have people at least be able to understand our culture, all we have gotten for five years is understanding the part of our culture that pays for the world's largest military.

Posted by: hank on April 18, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

While fighting still continues among the terrorists, the War on Terror was decided in the invasion of Iraq and the torture chambers of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and the result was that Terror won. When the United States chose to use the methods of Terror:
preemptive attack, extraordinary rendition, torture, the vengeful destruction of Fallujah, the revocation of the Geneva conventions and the US constititution, denial of habeas corpus, and now threats of nuclear attack, etc., the US government joined the side of Terror and ensured the victory of Terror, regardless of which of its advocates obtains temporary tactical advantage. This is particularly sad, since if the US had actually used the methods of democracy: respect for law and treaties, recognition of human rights, a military that follows the Geneva treaties, etc. the nonterrorist world might have won in Afghanistan and the rest of the Middle East.

Renaming the War on Terror as the War on Jihadism is only a small step from calling it an anti-Islamic Crusade, which is what it may become. (Jihad within Islam has multiple meanings, most of which are considered favorably by even moderate Moslems.) Also if the struggle is against those who use force to expand the rule of Islamic law, why did we invade one of the few Islamic countries that was ruled by secular law, and replace that with a government that is following Islamic law? (The US, which did use force to expand the rule of Islamic law in Iraq, is then the enemy. This would be consistent with the previous paragraph, however.) Also the phrase demonizes Islamic law, which is not intrinsically evil and would not allow the terrorist attacks of 9-11.

The solution would be for the US government to change sides and actually oppose Terror rather than participate in it, but that transformation is beyond the capabilities of the present government.

Posted by: ansatz on April 18, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

How dare those Jihadists actually resist our illegal invasion of a soveriegn country???

How DARE they!

They *must* be extremists! I mean - imagine that - don't they know the white man reigns supreme forever by decree of the Holy Father and his Baby Jesus?

Posted by: chuck on April 18, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

red state mike,

Iraqi Kurdistan can thank itself for its' achievements. We hung them out to dry, how many times was it, three?

And when did Hezbollah attack us?

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

hank, "I have never met a single group more overtly willing to embrace the U.S. capitalist consume at all costs culture than these Iranians. If even 30% of the Iranians in Iran are anything at all like the Iranians in Los Angeles, we shouldn't even bother considering acting militarily against them, we should bomb them with Prada and Jimmy Choos."


This is incredibly true. Every Iranian I've ever met has been terrific. Every Arab I've ever met has been a jerk.

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

How about the War on anti-secular Jihadists? Of course the Christians would get cute about being secular. What do they call us? They don't seem to have a very good way of describing us either.

Posted by: exclab on April 18, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Every Arab I've ever met has been a jerk.

Whoa. I am so not on the same page as you here. Two points: have met lots of very nice Arabs, some jerks (ditto for Russians, French, Americans); worshipping Prada and Jimmy Choos would seem to be evidence of being a jerk, rather than the converse. (Liking Converse, on the other hand...)

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 18, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Go visit Iraqi Kurdistan if you think everything we've done is wrong.

Um, you're kidding...right?

''But sometimes the police disappear people and say they are terrorists," she added. ''And the parties control everything. Everything serves their interests."

Power in the largely autonomous Kurdish region is divided between two longtime ruling parties, largely to the exclusion of dissenters. A heavily policed state strictly limits political opposition and speech, residents and human rights advocates say.

In recent weeks, both parties have jailed journalists who have written articles claiming government corruption.

Kurdistan is a frightening police state run by the Hatfields and the McCoys with Kalishnikovs. The flower of democracy it is not.

Posted by: Windhorse on April 18, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

jello -- Yes, there are a lot of "other" countries with "complicated" relationships. And the context of my statement clearly indicates--although maybe not for the "one-dimensional, kindergarten class"--that I was not speaking of those countries.

Posted by: has407 on April 18, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

There's lots of reasons to bomb buildings.

So says Red State McVeigh.

Posted by: pita on April 18, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Except not let it scare you so badly you change your way of life and succumb to fear.
Can't have terrorism without fear. It's as simple as that.

Well put. And a corollary: nor can you have a Republican majority without fear. They need the external threat of terrorism to get votes, one-trick pachyderms that they've become.

If only there were another party organized enough to take up the reins and challenge them.

Posted by: Windhorse on April 18, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

How about we lose the whole "war" metaphor entirely?

I propose "handwaving":

The Global Handwaving on Jihadism, or GHoJ for short.

Posted by: ogmb on April 18, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

"I think defining who the enemy is is a real problem in this war," says Mary Habeck, a military historian at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies....As it happens, Habeck is the author of one of three new books that, taken together, suggest the time is right to name the battle. It is a war on jihadism

Its worth a Discussion, No? -Kevin Drum
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's often said that man repeats his past. This is why. Here we are, in my view, teaching people to WAR on a Religion because of the 'Nature' of that religion. Yet Anyone here can find many comparable mentions of smiting and killing, certainly plenty of blood. In either the Koran or Deutromony many such "violent" Statements exist, By Prophets, and Gods of Both religions.

That, Of Course, resulted in alot of Wars of A Religious Nature. And today we see the Same fundamental literalists in American Religion as we Do in The Muslim Religion.

All Bias aside, we see this is but a group[s] and a opposite group[s] of Pissed Off People. Is one more so Righteous than the Other? If So Why? I Haven't Implied any Religion, race or Color, Just Anger.

War? Death? Anger? Why do we need to make up words, colorize, baptise, cloak and rationalize a murderously simple act? Man is Intelligent for he has designed ways more ways to kill than Doan's has Pills.

Hmph...Intelligent Savages

Bush said it was a Global War On Terror, so 'Global War on Jihad'? That dog won't Hunt.
Global War on Terror? Why people are "Terrfied" to fly, others of Elevators, many Bush Neo-cons seem to be 'terrified' of the Vietnam War, and Brown People [Muslims,Mexicans,Cubans,Venezuelan]then there is the Terror on Easter,Terror On Christmas, And the Terror of Immigrants, Port Terror, Social Security Terror..Terror Terror Terror.

Naw, The WAR Should Be on Intelligent Savagery perhaps, no one gets offended, Regionally or Religiously, and it describes the current world wide situation pretty well. The Japanese Yakuza, the Violence in Africa,The IRA bombers, Ted Kacysinky, Tim Mcveigh, MEK, AL Qaeda. Whatever. Intelligent Savages.

The Global war On Intelligent Savagism.
More so than anything really, when you look, it is Murder Rationalized thru Ideology. Think Tanks and Political Advisors offer Ideology, alot of Mental Masturbation really.Yet this Political Ideology, based upon a religious Ideology, on both sides, has fomented conflicts and the resultant deaths.

Was it Intentional? Like chasing a pea in a shell.
So Ideology is then the Culprit behind the Savagery of Mankind?

A Gloab War on Ideologues.

Now that would be quite the Ironic twist would it not? The Bush Ideologues of AEI, and PNAC, JEB Bush, Perle, Rummy, and the other odd assorted Neo-Cons would have to declare themselves as Ideologues [Jihadists] in this scenario of mine and they would then, as Rabid Ankle Biters Do, Savagely attack themselves.
-------------
Time, History, and Names are only that, if you dwell within them you are sure to repeat them, religiously. -- [X^B

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 19, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Just when you think Eye Tooth is a total idiot he somehow makes sense.

Posted by: AXIOM on April 19, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK


ANSATZ: The solution would be for the US government to change sides and actually oppose Terror rather than participate in it, but that transformation is beyond the capabilities of the present government.

And beyond the probabilities, I darkly fear, of any foreseeable government.


Posted by: jayarbee on April 19, 2006 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

have met lots of very nice Arabs

They were kidding.

Posted by: cld on April 19, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

They were kidding.

Oh...so they didn't really mean to invite me and my wife over to share their barbecued lamb, take a swim in the lake, and then a couple of weeks later go out belly-dancing at the local club? Must have been some elaborate plan to fool us into thinking they were nice.

You're talking like a moron.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 19, 2006 at 4:35 AM | PERMALINK

Non-backstabber.

I see Red State McVeigh has taken on the language of a certain set of anti-Semites when talking about the heroes who had the effrontery to point out that Americans were routinely engaged in what could only be called war crimes against the Vietnamese people. But I guess anyone who has actually engaged in unprovoked aggression can't really be counted on to speak rationality about war.

Posted by: on April 19, 2006 at 4:37 AM | PERMALINK

cld
And when did Hezbollah attack us?

Marine barracks in Beirut. 241 Marines dead.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 19, 2006 at 7:08 AM | PERMALINK

I see Red State McVeigh has taken on the language of a certain set of anti-Semites when talking about the heroes who had the effrontery to point out that Americans were routinely engaged in what could only be called war crimes against the Vietnamese people.

You should nominate him again. That'll teach me!

Heh.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 19, 2006 at 7:10 AM | PERMALINK

Time, History, and Names are only that, if you dwell within them you are sure to repeat them, religiously. -- [X^B

OK, X-raised-to-the-power-of-B, exactly how do you suggest we step out of time?

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 19, 2006 at 7:15 AM | PERMALINK

Bob has it right in one of the replies above. This so-called War on Terror is in reality a war in defense of globalization. It is in fact an imperial war for globalization. For obvious reasons we can't call it that so we beat around and try to come up with euphemisms that justify our aggressive militaristic behavior. The term "War on Terror" helped us separate our own aggression from that of aggressive worldwide resistance to the depersonalizing effects of globalization.

Posted by: Bill on April 19, 2006 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Bob has it right in one of the replies above. This so-called War on Terror is in reality a war in defense of globalization. It is in fact an imperial war for globalization. For obvious reasons we can't call it that...

One of which is because it's wrong. Unless you mean globalization = modern, in which case I'd almost agree, since the other side is fighting to return us to medieval times (except using RPGs and electrodes instead of catapults and the rack).

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 19, 2006 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:

That's the simplistic interpretation, yes.

I'd suggest you go back and read my original post. I'm merely restating the central thesis of Ben Barber's Jihad vs McWorld.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 19, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

OMG kevin, is it that hard to do a quick google search?

Jihad is a "pillar of Islam". It is a core of the religion. And it doesn't mean what you think it means.

Jihad is struggle. Fundementalists turn that struggle outward to attack outsiders. But that isn't what sane muslims think. Its the struggle to improve yourself, to be good in the eyes of Allah as a muslim in spite of all the temptations in the world to be otherwise.

As was said earlier in the thread, War against Jihad is the same thing as saying "War against Salvation" to a moderate Christian, and would be the absolute worst framing imaginable.

A war against fundementalism would solve a lot of the problems in the world, because we could knock out the Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and Hindu nuts at once, the people responsible for so much of the conflict in the world because of their insane need to prove they are God's Chosen People over everyone else.

Posted by: Mysticdog on April 19, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Mysticdog:

While this has been a big theme of the comments of this thread (War against Jihad parses into War against War or Struggle against Struggle -- i.e. meaningless babble) -- I like Ben Barber's broadening out of Jihad into strictly metaphorical terms which include all critiques of the depersonalizing and dehumanizing effects of modernity, or currently, globalization.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 19, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

"Heck, get Bush, Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il, Hussein, Bin Ladin, et al all nice and happy together on a remot island, and I think for once using a nuclear weapon might be justifiable. "

Heh, just give them beer and guns and call it a Goodwill Duck Hunting Summit. Cheney ought to be good for four or five world leaders himself, including Bush.

Posted by: Mysticdog on April 19, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

If they'd declared war on Al Qaida we could've avoided all this idiocy and possibly captured bin Laden by now, as well.

Posted by: Mike on April 19, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

I liked when it was the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, because it would translate into a Global "Jihad" and the american new services would be all up in arms about why Arabic television kept calling us Jihadists :) Sadly that framing only lasted a few days, and never made it beyond a few press conferences.

Posted by: Mysticdog on April 19, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how many young men and women would sign up to fight and die for the "Global War on high prices?"

Since oil became a matter of national security it has been pretty obvious to me that our military guards 'strategic resources' and supply lines, starting with oil.

Shoot, even Wal*Mart understand the concept, advertising with its cute little pacman knight charging around zapping high prices.

Posted by: Tripp on April 19, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Struggle to Halt Islamic Terror (SHIT)

Posted by: Red on April 19, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:
Go visit Iraqi Kurdistan if you think everything we've done is wrong.

Me:
Hilarious. The kurds have done it all by themselves. A little history is always a good thing RSM. The Kurds are a wholly self sustaining group and have moved quickly to sustaing themselves because they are surounded by enemies. One of thier enemies is us. We have betrayed thier trust three times and they don't trust us anymore. As soon as it is expedient they will betray us. And why not? The have been lied to by us, killed by our dear friends Turkey, bombed by Sadam and hated by Iran. The Kurds unite everyone becuase everyone screws them.

Without waiting for the fulfilment of whimsical promises from Washington they have organized themselves.

Read history. I know you red staters don't believe in a little education but the grand nitwit's war would have been avoided with a little knowlege.

Posted by: exclab on April 19, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

red state mike, "cld
And when did Hezbollah attack us?

Marine barracks in Beirut. 241 Marines dead."


Hezbollah denies they did that, and as terrorists universally brag about their successes, they probably didn't. There were so many dark and murky actors in that war the truth will probably never come out.


But, whoever did it, it was pretty successful. The US completely withdrew from meddling in the Lebanese civil war.

Posted by: cld on April 19, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

exclab
Hilarious. The kurds have done it all by themselves. A little history is always a good thing RSM. The Kurds are a wholly self sustaining group and have moved quickly to sustaing themselves because they are surounded by enemies. One of thier enemies is us. We have betrayed thier trust three times and they don't trust us anymore.

Better notify the Kurds

What do you think of George W. Bush? Sean said to Kiman.

Hes controversial, Kiman said. A lot of people dont like him. But I dont care about that. American presidents are all the same from our point of view. We love Bush for freeing us from Saddam, but we would love any American president.

We met two American soldiers in front of the store. They sat on a park bench outside. Iraqi Kurdistan is perfectly safe, so they did not carry guns...

...It's hard to convey what it's actually like meeting Iraqi Kurds. Fleshing out the dialogue doesn't capture the feel of it. Americans and Kurds don't just get along because we're temporary allies of convenience in the Middle East. The connection is deeper and personal. Kurdish culture and American culture might as well be from different planets. But somehow, oddly enough, Kurds think much like Americans do. Let me rephrase that: Americans think like the Kurds. We have similar values despite our extraordinarily different cultural backgrounds. I find it easier to develop a rapport with Iraqi Kurds than with people from any other country I have ever been to. It's instant, powerful, and totally unexpected.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 19, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike perhaps we should nominate a draft-dodging coward instead? Someone who can start wars for the entertainment of welfare recipients sitting at home thinking of the glory days when they too murdered brown people for fun and profit.

For what it's worth, this isn't a war. This is a Republican campaign commercial.

Posted by: RSM on April 19, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike perhaps we should nominate a draft-dodging coward instead?

Bill Clinton again? You can only be President once, I think.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 19, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK
How about we lose the whole "war" metaphor entirely?

Well, we could be honest, and call it the "Global Use of Exaggeration of Threats from and Promotion of Violent Responses to Distant Brown People to Distract Americans from the Domestic Advance of Policies to Advance Authoritarianism and the Power of an Entrenched Wealthy Elite."

But, somehow, I doubt that will catch on, at least with the promoters of the "war".

Posted by: cmdicely on April 19, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Red state... Even better! No wonder you reps believed Chalabi! Of course the Kurds want to get along with americans. They need friends! If we get along with them so well why did we let Saddam murder them in thier thousands before the first war? Why did we tell them to fight Saddam, that we would support them and then back off at the last minute? Do you think people forget this stuff? Of course not. Americans always think they charm people but the fact is americans are being charmed. For the money.


The Kurds need americans support when they make thier move on the north Iraq oil field. The Kurds are our friends for exactly as long as they need us. Tit for tat. They aren't going to be fooled again.

Go read a book. While your at it, read about Mossedeq. It might give you some idea why the Iranians hate us. No, its not just cause they're nasty people. They have thier reasons and they are pretty good ones. Not that the Grand Nitwit would get it.


Hilarity and confusion continue.!

Posted by: exclab on April 19, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

If we get along with them so well why did we let Saddam murder them in their thousands before the first war?

Are you saying we are global cops?

Why did we tell them to fight Saddam, that we would support them and then back off at the last minute? Do you think people forget this stuff?

I think you are confusing Kurds and Shiites. I'm not surprised.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 19, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Red State Mike is so predictable in his regurgitation of Republican spin. We had Clinton - a guy who actually signed up for the draft (it's a strange world when signing up for something is called "dodging" it). Unlike Bush, who weekend playacting was what kept him far from the war he supported.

But you missed an important step Mike, I also mentioned starting a war for the entertainment of welfare recipients. You know, guys who do nothing but get a regular government check. Guys whose glory days are long past but still long for that frisson of fear that comes with doing something dangerous. No matter how pointless the danger is.

No, for that you need a coward. Only one recent candidate fits that bill. And it wasn't Bill. I'm sad to report that the only draft dodging coward on the ballot for one of the major parties in the last two decades was none other than George W. Bush - in conjunction with his partner in cowardice and draft dodging - Richard Cheney.

You even got basic civics wrong. You can be elected President twice.

Come back when the facts are, even nominally, on your side.

Posted by: RSM on April 19, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

He's not confusing Kurds and Shiites.

Posted by: cld on April 19, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

How about Jihad against Jihad?

Posted by: Hi on April 19, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Red state wrong again! We promised the Kurds and the Shia! Oh yes and when it was all over Saddam drained the marshes in the south and poisoned the north.

And no we are not world police but when we are giving Sadam weapons and he is killing civilians and we say "good old boy" then we are screwing the Kurds, yes we are.

No my friend, your boys in the white house are indeed a bunch of chuckle head slobs with greatly overrated talents. And the last bunch to be screwed on the list (last but not least!) is you and me brother.

Sorry but its true.

Posted by: exclab on April 19, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Islam can be, and usually is, moderate;"

Moderate?
In what way is Islam as a whole, in a historical context, moderate?
I see historical Islam as a militaristic religion, and in my opinion, calling historical Islam moderate is the same as painting a Main Battle Tank pink and calling it a flower.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on April 19, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Any religion's followers are ussually moderate. A fundamentalist is ussually a form of parasite and only so many can be supported.

But Moderate is a relative term - and so we have to compare it. Lets compare it to Christianity. Certainly both religions have been spread most often through conquest although Christianity has also combined that more often with coersion. In the flush of thier strength the muslims tended to be accepting of other religions. In gold age of Christianity the opposite was true. The moslem have no sordid mass executions. Certainly whole cities have been razed and the populations of areas decimated in the name of Allah, but the Christians took on whole cultures and reduced them to ruins. Apparently the obliteration of cultures never occured to Moslems. To thier loss of course. The christians have proved that this is an excellent of securing the love of the faith for centuries. As late as the twentieth century the catholic church endorsed the eviseration of the Congo and the depopulating exhertion of Franco. People were put to death for not going to Church. Now thats the Church Militant!

THe muslims have certainly changed in the last fifty years and are working hard to catch up with thier christian opponents. But they have a long way to go.

Posted by: exclab on April 19, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Certainly both religions have been spread most often through conquest although Christianity has also combined that more often with coersion. In the flush of thier strength the muslims tended to be accepting of other religions. In gold age of Christianity the opposite was true. The moslem have no sordid mass executions. Certainly whole cities have been razed and the populations of areas decimated in the name of Allah, but the Christians took on whole cultures and reduced them to ruins."

What?
We're talking about Islam, not Christianity, and by the way, you haven't even gotten to the good stuff about Christianity. But that's for another thread.
However, there are many myths about Islam's tolerance of other religions, it's lack of brutality, mass murder, and it seems the myth is far popular than the reality.
Islam's "tolerance" is one of being on top of hte heap. As long as the other religions lived in their appointed ghetto's and didn't make a fuss, all would be well. But Allah help the poor schmuck who decided to wear his religious identification outside in full public view.
What, you think this was something novel only to Saudi Arabia?
Also, those who were not muslim were forced to pay a "I'm not a muslim" tax, and the only way to escape that tax, which basically was a classic form of social and governmental shakedown, was to "convert" to Islam.
And yes, there are plenty of mass murders, mass homocides, and plenty of brutality to earmark Islam's history as Christianity's equal when it came to warfare.
However, Muhammad turned to the sword to get his message across, and he was quite effective at that. And ever since, his followers have followed his lead.

Like I said before, calling Islam "moderate" or even peaceful, is the same as painting a Main Battle Tank pink and calling it a flower.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on April 19, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

The Traditionalist View on Sex Slavery (in Islam),


http://www.averroes-foundation.org/articles/sex_slavery.html


And, really, this is pretty much the tip of the iceberg. The author is a Muslim.

Posted by: cld on April 19, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

The monetheisms are not peaceful. Christianity and Islam make excellent war religions. The Muslim were tolerant, the Christians were not tolerant in any way of thier new converts. You converted or died. But I agree, this is splitting hairs. Well may be not, Even on the issure Slavery - From what I understand, Islamic slavery was not perpetual as christian slavery was up until the american civil war. The old testament certainly endorses slavery and describes the right behavior of a good slave. Both religions seemed to have taken this advice seriously.

What makes me peevish about the Christians is thier insistence that thier king is the prince of peace. Yet peace has been the furtherest thing from thier minds for centuries. Whereas the Moslems are directed to kill under circumstances, the Christians are told never to kill. But they do with happy abandon and when they believe thier maker has told them to. The Moslems at least seem to have an excuse.

Really I don't think the Moslems are any worse than Christians. They are both soaked in blood in a way few other religions ever approuch. Historically they are quite disgusting.

Posted by: exclab on April 19, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Those who lead the country
Into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men
--Bertolt Brecht

The enemy isn't the jiahdists or whatever the label du jour is. The enemy is the people who've brought us to the brink of catastrophe. (AndI'm not just talking about the last 5 years.) Until people wake up to this fact, nothing is going to get better.

Posted by: MYOB on April 20, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

I don't like Jihadism. Here's a coincidental though experiment I did on this subject just a few days ago (after reviewing the Global Counter-Insurgency Strategy article):

"islamic extremists"

no war agains them, unless "extremists" means "violent"

so "violent islamists" would be just as good

or "islamoists" (rhymes with violence)

*

but, what about other religions?

so, "violent religionists"

but, what about other violent groups?

so, "violent rejectionists"

*

now, if there is no threat of WMD from these actors, as they are not state actors, then these groups are generally not military objectives, but intelligence and police work

hitting the taliban for sheltering the perpetrators of 9-11 is one thing - a legitimate military effort

but declaring a largely homegrown and sectarian insurgency in Iraq as part and parcel of a "global" insurgency, and such that we need a "global counterinsurgnency", is going too far, since insurgents by definition are defending their own space against invaders (are we invaders?)

*

we want to avoid war, and wmd. violent rejectionists in civil society are criminals, nothing more and nothing less, and not a military objective

if violent rejectionists obtain wmd, then we may need to bring the military

Posted by: Jimm on April 20, 2006 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

Basically, it comes down to violence. If you are violent, then you are a threat. It's not a military thing. And violence fits neatly into the (classical) liberal paradigm, since if you commit violence against someone, without doing so in obvious and direct self-defense, then you are violating their human and civil rights, by violating their person, and so on.

Posted by: Jimm on April 20, 2006 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

The military needs to get back to doing what they do best, and game planning the future, not the police actions that we need to take place a result of 9-11, and could have been largely accomplished by our military in conjunction with their invastion of Afghanistan, had we let them finish the job and spent 1/10 of the money on it there that we spent in Iraq so far.

Posted by: Jimm on April 20, 2006 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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