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Tilting at Windmills

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September 8, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BLAMING AMERICA....Are these guys in a contest to see who can write the most moronic book? Or what?

Kevin Drum 3:06 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (121)

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...they'll never be compassionate or empathetic. Just blithering jibber-jabber and shrieking mumbo-jumbo because reality ain't jivin' with their deluded perspective.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on September 8, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

it's sad that they write these things. it's even more sad that people pay money to read them.

Posted by: cleek on September 8, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, they are. They just don't know that.

Posted by: K on September 8, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Why do liberals hate brown people?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a liberal and considered a brown/red people--American Indian.

Posted by: Mazurka on September 8, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Why do I hate freedom fighter?

Posted by: dee on September 8, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

jusrt wait for sneering frat boy cocksucker goldberg's little beauty that comes out next spring: "liberal fascism", with the obligatory comparison of HRC to mussolini, and the general thrust that liberals are morally comparable to the waffen SS. d'souza and goldberg are asinine, but take themslves seriously - a very toxic combination. in fact, it occurs to me that this combination of qualities makes them just like this administration...

Posted by: lucretius on September 8, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Are these guys in a constest to see who can write the most moronic book?

No that would be Glenn Greenwald's How Would a Patriot Act? and Al Franken's Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot.

Posted by: Al on September 8, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Its a well established and widely excepted premise that populations in the third world envy Americas (and the Wests) economic and technological wealth but are most repulsed by our moral decadence.

This phenomena is not relegated (in the least) to Islamic countries, but applies equally to second and third world nations as compared to third world nations (often referred to as traditional societies)

The licentiousness, fornication, pornography and over all moral relativism expounded in our culture and its exports (Bay watch, Hollywood , ect) intensifies the effect.

A strong echo of this thinking is expounded in the Lefts argument that we aught not torture, and accord due process rights to prisoners ect. This is premised on the belief that we need to show our adversaries that we are moral exemplars. Why would this not ALSO be the case with gay marriage, ill religion, and the like?

They dont just call us the great Satan because of our policy with Israel.

Posted by: Fitz on September 8, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Dinesh D'Souza and Fitz: we must appease the fundamentalist jihadists by becoming more like them!

Posted by: Arminius on September 8, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

They hate us for our freedom! So, all we have to do is get rid of our freedoms, and the terrorists will stop attacking us! What's wrong with you people?

Bring back the Burka! Saudi family values are our values! Why can't we be more like them?

Posted by: Memekiller on September 8, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

A strong echo of this thinking is expounded in the Lefts argument that we aught not torture, and accord due process rights to prisoners ect. This is premised on the belief that we need to show our adversaries that we are moral exemplars.

No, this is not premised on the belief that we have to show our enemies -- it's simply premised on the belief that we do the right thing because it is the right thing. Liberals still believe in right and wrong, even if conservatives seem to have given up on that quaint concept.

Posted by: Arminius on September 8, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

"They dont just call us the great Satan because of our policy with Israel."

But then again, the nice folks that are calling us the Great Satan are at war with the rest of the world as well.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

"They hate us for our freedom! So, all we have to do is get rid of our freedoms, and the terrorists will stop attacking us! What's wrong with you people?"

But appeasement is very much a liberal response to those who wish to destroy us.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

First "The Party of Death" by Ramesh Ponnuru. Now this. Can't wait to see D'Souza eviscerated by Stewart and Colbert, once the inevitable book tour gets underway.

Posted by: Django on September 8, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom will always be envied and attacked, in a multitude of ways. Some want to tinker, some want to destroy. This will not change.

Posted by: Elliot Essman on September 8, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

But Al, Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot. And a hypocritical, drug-addled fuckwit too. He'd be in jail if he weren't a rich, fat white conservative.

Posted by: ckelly on September 8, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Why do liberals hate brown people?
Posted by: Freedom Fighter

d'souza has spent so much of his life wishing he was white, so his racism could be justified. after sucking so much white cock, he has, de facto, been somehow bleached.

Posted by: Nads on September 8, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

The licentiousness, fornication, pornography and over all moral relativism expounded in our culture and its exports (Bay watch, Hollywood , ect) intensifies the effect.

Yes, that's why they struck Hollywood and Las Vegas and not the financial heart of New York and the Pentagon. Oh, nevermind.

Smarter trolls and wingnut book scribblers please.

Posted by: ckelly on September 8, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

"d'souza has spent so much of his life wishing he was white, so his racism could be justified. after sucking so much white cock, he has, de facto, been somehow bleached."

Why do liberals hate gays?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

But appeasement is very much a liberal response to those who wish to destroy us.

Death of a strawman. Nice job FF.

Posted by: ckelly on September 8, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

You know sadly enough (and hold the rotten tomatoes until you finish
reading this), I do see Fitz's point. It's precisely of a piece with
Karen Hughes' attempts to draw solidarity with people in Muslim
countries because both they and the American people "believe in God
and strong family values." Even Jimmy Carter of all people told
representatives of the Afghan muhajadeen he had invited to the White
House, that he and they had much in common as "fundamentalists."

Of course, Karen Hughes was laughed out of the Muslim world and
Carter -- well, let's not even go there.

But the fact of the matter remains that a big part of rage against us
by religious fundamentalists (of all stripes) comes from our cultural
freedoms, which they consider decadent and anti-religious.

The fundamental *assininity* of this argument is that the very
values of self-fulfillment behind all the sex, drugs and MTV are the
inherent drivers of our consumerist economy. Curtail them in a Jerry
Falwell Utopia of abstemous behavior -- and our stock market would
crash.

Hehehe. The reeking hypocrisy of it all ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder why D'Souza didn't hear George Allen calling him maccaca.

Posted by: natural cynic on September 8, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

This argument is just so flabbergasting on so many levels, because it directly undercuts Bush's war rhetoric.

Bush sez "they hate us for our freedoms." Dinesh sez they're *right*.

Bush sez "we can never appease terrorists." Dinesh sez that the only way to change this is to slip into a cultural bhurka.

This really just is too hysterical for words, if you think about all the wingnut heads exploding as they attempt to reconcile these two diametrically opposed right-wing visions of the GWoT :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

But I like licentiousness, fornication, and pronography, and Osama bin Laden will have to pry them from my cold, dead, and probably sticky, fingers.

Posted by: CJColucci on September 8, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

I only lie to support my party.
Why do liberals hate me?

Posted by: Freedum Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

They dont just call us the great Satan because of our policy with Israel.
Posted by: Fitz

The denunciations of media are largely window dressing to excite the true believers ... I never saw as many episodes of baywatch as when I was in pakistan.

It really is our foreign policy (ESPECIALLY regarding israel) that gets us called the great satan. persistent oppression can generate a genuine outrage and, allowed to persist, an extremist response ...

.. teh gays and boobies, not so much.

Posted by: Nads on September 8, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

And I play my "pronography" on a pronograph.

Posted by: CJColucci on September 8, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

This is what I want to see: the right openly declaring common cause with the terrorists.

Posted by: MAX HATS on September 8, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Being from Michigan, I have often talked with Recent Immigrants, immigrants, and sons and daughters of immigrants from the Middle East. One of the things they notice about America that they did not expect (and unlike Europe) is the number of Churches and marked religiosity of our people. This helps mollify there most separatist impulses, and gives them a sense of commonality with the larger culture.

In reading about the problems Europe has in integrating Muslim Immigrants this is often brought to the fore. Contemporary Secular Ideologies are incapable of building any common ground between traditional societies and itself.

Somewhere between the all confining Burka and the thong bikini is a sensible middle ground.

Posted by: Fitz on September 8, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

This really just is too hysterical for words, if you think about all the wingnut heads exploding as they attempt to reconcile these two diametrically opposed right-wing visions of the GWoT :)
Bob
Posted by: rmck1

It is quite ironic that when the wingnuts decide to psychoanalyze the terrorists, they still somehow end up blaming america first.

but then, their analysis is suspect, since conservatives are scientific illiterates.

Posted by: Nads on September 8, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Nads:

I believe you're *cough* fundamentally correct. You see this in Iran especially, with all those black-market satellite dishes despite the religious police. The forces of cultural modernity are unstoppable save by the fiercest Talban-style repression. Even Saudi Arabia has a burgeoning HIV problem, and we all know what kind of decadent, Western-style consumers *they* are ...

At the end of the day, what makes D'Souza an ass is that the fundamental driver is nationalism and wounded pride, not consumerism per se. Fundamentalist religion is only a cloak to justify assymmetrical warfare and suicide tactics -- not a driver of them (unless you're a pig-ignurnt Taliban from the countryside who's never studied a thing in his life save memorizing and reciting the Koran in a language he doesn't understand).

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Why do I hate freedom fighter?"

Because he's fighting against freedom.

Posted by: chaboard on September 8, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Why do liberals hate gays?
Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Just the dishonest, self-loathing, closeted ones, like George Bush.

In fact, we're doing them a favor. So they won't self-loathe so much.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Fundamentalist religion is only a cloak to justify assymmetrical warfare and suicide tactics -- not a driver of them (unless you're a pig-ignurnt Taliban from the countryside who's never studied a thing in his life save memorizing and reciting the Koran in a language he doesn't understand).
Bob
Posted by: rmck1

exactly ... it doesn't really matter what sells the rubes on your plan, anyways. witness the myriad of contradictory counterfactuals expressed by the right wingnuts posting here. fanatics just need some priming, and then you can aim them and shoot.

Posted by: Nads on September 8, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhere between the all confining Burka and the thong bikini is a sensible middle ground.
Posted by: Fitz on September 8, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

How about "live and let live"?

How about "mind your own god damn business"?

How about "your right to throw your fist ends at my face"?

Those sound like sensible middle ground to me.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

I am forever being told by my conservative associates that liberals all want to blame America because bad people want to kill us. Now I learn that actually conservatives want to blame America for bad people wanting to kill us. Is nothing sacred?

Folks, I am not going to change my views of the world just because Osama Bin Ladin or Jerry Falwell think I am morally corrupt. My liberalism is based on the notion that nobody, not Charles Dobson, the Pope in Rome, or the Mullahs in Tehran, nobody, has the right to get between me and my "creator." Nobody has the right to tell me I have to bow to any idol or to hate anybody. If that means I have to fight all the mad Mullahs, the Christian Fundamentalists, or other religious nutjobs, then so be it.

I will not surrender my freedoms to give conservatives the illusion of security, no matter how much they cry.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 8, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

I guess the next logical direction for d'souza to go is to embrace terrorism as a means for christian fanatics to catalyze change, and then to become an apologist for it, as in the case of abortion clinics.

I guess it's a good thing he's brown, so he can be a ready fall guy if needed.

Posted by: Nads on September 8, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

ckelly: "But Al, Rush Limbaugh IS a big fat idiot. And a hypocritical, drug-addled fuckwit too. He'd be in jail if he weren't a rich, fat white conservative."

Here, here! And what was up with all the viagra for a trip to the Dominican Republic? No pun intended ...

It must be nice to have a rich right-wing sugar daddy like richard Mellon scaife, who can arrange massive bulk purchases of such raving lunacy.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 8, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

The fundamental *assininity* of this argument is that the very
values of self-fulfillment behind all the sex, drugs and MTV are the
inherent drivers of our consumerist economy. Curtail them in a Jerry
Falwell Utopia of abstemous behavior -- and our stock market would
crash.

Hell - if we're truly "God's Country" - let's start with restoring USURY PROHIBITION.

(/ducks to sheild self from flying gore splatter as conservatives' heads explode).

Fundamentalist Christianity and Fundamentalist Capitalism ARE DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED IDEOLOGIES.

One cannot serve two masters.

(but slimy, dishonest Republican politicians can get those two masters to serve them).

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz:

I really think that's more Karen Hughes PR than anything else. American religiosity is intensely private, and aside from the odd church wedding or funeral procession, you don't really see much evidence of American "religious morality" if you're a Muslim immigrant and settle in the usual places -- the large conurbations where outward sings of religion aren't prevalent at all.

How many recent Muslim immigrants do yo find in, say rural Georgia? Not many.

The reason America doesn't have the kinds of problems experienced in Britain and the Continent with Muslim immigrants are manifold. First, there's simply much less land to locate and settle newcomers. Secondly (and most important), America doesn't have a colonial legacy, and thus a responsibility to the citizens of our former colonies the way that Britain does with Pakistan or France does with Algeria. But mainly, it's because the American pluralist approach to immigrants is superior to both hardcore assimilationism (e.g. France) and bend-over multiclturalism (e.g. The Netherlands).

We don't care too much if Muslim immigrant women want to wear the chador, or even the bhurka. We also don't have whole isolated enclaves of Muslims from one single country, which gives them an incentive not to learn the language and stick entirely to their cultural grouping, the way you do in various London neighborhoods. All we care about is that immigrants pay taxes, learn our laws and respect our Constitution. We don't expect them to become culturally "American" the way the French insist that immigrants become culturally French (setting a high bar which amounts to forcing de-facto segregation). We don't practice a "cultural tolerance" that amounts to indifference, like in Holland.

We're perfectly cool with just about any cultural grouping expressing facts of their origins if they just abide by a few simple thing. That's been our salvation -- and not awe at just how damn religious all those Red State buttfucks are.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

What you seem to be missing. (or intentionally engaging in hyper bowl so as to obfuscate around) is any common humanity.

Obviously no one on the right thinks that (say banning pornography more than we already do) will cause Osama to quit his war. We are however talking about why large swaths of the Middle East (and, as I stated- all traditional societies) dont relate to and fear America.

Of coarse the third world has a love hate relationship with western culture. If you had not noticed the west has a love hate relationship with American culture. We dont air hard core pornography on prime time television- this doesnt make us the equivalent of the Saudi Arabian morality police. Most European nations have more restrictive abortion laws then America (with countries like Poland banning them).

One can look at the cultural moral heritage of the west and draw rough parallels with values shared in the rest of the world. As most things its a question of degree and application. NOT absolutes that pit all moral precepts against the utopia of unrestrained human freedom.

Posted by: Fitz on September 8, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry for all the typos in that last post.

This won't be all of them, but: facts = facets. thing = things.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

As I did elsewhere, on behalf of the 1 billion people of India where I was born, I profusely apologize to all Americans for foisting on my adopted country the two most stupid Republicking Indians ever: D'Souza, and Ponnuru of the Party of Death infamy.

Posted by: gregor on September 8, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

D'Souza is full of crap. Everyone knows that the reason the Islamists hate us is because of George W. Bush. There were no terror attacks on America until he was elected.

Posted by: dnc on September 8, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hope it's hard-cover. More impact.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 8, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's OK gregor ... India was right to want to rid herself of those two.

Posted by: Nads on September 8, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously no one on the right thinks that (say banning pornography more than we already do) will cause Osama to quit his war.

Pat Robertson does.

Frankly, if America were to convert to an Islamic Republic, I'm certain Osama and pretty much every other terror group would IMMEDIATELY halt operations against the US. (then the question of whether we're a Shia or Sunni islamic state would arise).

NOBODY on the Left is for things like:
Sharia
Female Genital Mutilation
Bhurkas

Yet, righties keep insisting it is so.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps some psychologist can explain the underlying phenomenon that explains the trajectory of the life of D'Souza. Having been a Catholic minority in India, where he must have surely felt discriminated against on numerous occasions, he comes to USA, and becomes a bootlicker extra-ordinnaire.

Posted by: gregor on September 8, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz:

I'd have to say I substantially agree with that post. It's not either/or. Certainly abortion is a bugaboo vastly overemphasized by the right as an evidence of cultural decadence -- yet when a largely more secular Europe has greater restrictions than America, this seems to undercut the argument that Muslims are more furious at Europe because it's a more immoral place.

Obviously, there's been a cultural critique of modernity that's been going on in the West long before these current culture wars. In fact, it got started by the cultural progressives in the Enlightenment. The 60s hippie ethos that the cultural right so loves to attack had many of the same critiques of consumer culture in the name of getting back to a more pure and wholesome way of life that you'd hear out of the mouth of Dobson and the like.

The Jihad (in Ben Barber's sense) against the modern world began at the dawn of the 19th century Romantic era with Shelley's Frankenstein and reached its apotheosis in William Blake's "dark, satanic mills."

And, you'll note, it contains within it an exceedingly vigorous critique of capitalism.

OBF's "let's ban usury" was so on the mark it's not even funny -- though I laughed my butt off, anyway :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

"I really think that's more Karen Hughes PR than anything else. American religiosity is intensely private, and aside from the odd church wedding or funeral procession, you don't really see much evidence of American "religious morality" if you're a Muslim immigrant and settle in the usual places -- the large conurbations where outward sings of religion aren't prevalent at all."

In Dearborn Michigan on Ford road their lies the largest (and most influential) Mosque in America. It is preceded by a Armenian Catholic Church, A Lutheran Church, A Catholic Church, and a Greek Orthodox Church. (All well attended thriving congregations)
They all lie one directly after another along this major thoroughfare. It was no mistake of coarse that the Muslim community chose this spot on which to buy land and build. (its really quite dramatic representation of American religious pluralism)

I have these culture war conversations with Muslims all the time. The smartest and most adept of these (a colleague of mine) who is not a particularly observant Muslim agrees that a return to Americas tradtion of natural law morality seems to be the only philosophical approach that can breach Eastern Western divides as well as create a decent moral environment for family formation and human thriving.

Posted by: Fitz on September 8, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

If the right keeps throwing enough shit against the wall, unopposed, sooner or later the whole wall will be shit. Just pointing out that it is crap wont stop them. We have to throw some back!

They call the left communist, traitorous, fascist, immoral, amoral, lazy, selfish, godless, pagan...every pejorative conceivable. We need more books, pundits, journalists, etc. calling the right racist, sexist, slavery loving, sweatshop owning, confidence scam perpetrating, drug running, economically elitist, anti-social, lying, cheating, reckless, delusional, medievil...

We need an equally vociferous counter balance to the tidal wave of crap coming from the right. This is a propaganda war for the soul of America and the gloves are off. If we keep ours on, we lose.

The far right will not be stopped by election losses in 06 and 08. It's us or them; dont kid yourself. The economic trials we inevitably face in this century will compel strong action. This house cannot and will not stand as it is. Limp wristed pooh poohing an opponent who slaps and spits in your face while stealing your present and future wont gain anything.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on September 8, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

D'Souza is absolutely right. Those of us who belive in tolerance, the dignity of the individual, and equality for all are indistinguishable from murderous theocrats who seek to impose their will on the world.

And now that we've figured that out, we should be able to wrap up this pesky war on terror pretty darn quickly. Thanks, Dinesh! A grateful nation salutes you!

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on September 8, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

The smartest and most adept of these (a colleague of mine) who is not a particularly observant Muslim agrees that a return to Americas tradtion of natural law morality seems to be the only philosophical approach that can breach Eastern Western divides as well as create a decent moral environment for family formation and human thriving.
Posted by: Fitz

what is this "natural law morality" that your relatively non-devout muslim friend has in mind? because if it is anything like the fanaticism of revival chrisitans, he's in for a fairly rude awakening.

Posted by: Nads on September 8, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

I hear Reuters has a new pic doctored for the cover of Al Franken's latest book:


http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3286966,00.html

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz:

Point taken about Dearborn and perhaps the aspirations of your Muslim friends who you discuss this with. Just bear in mind that any good cultural *leftist* would have no problem equating the if-you-enjoy-it-it's-great values of consumerist capitalism with nihilism, as well.

Nads:

The problem is that "natural law morality," noble as it was in the 18th century ("we hold these truths to be self-evident"), is an enabler of fanaticism.

"Moral clarity" is only Fanaticism Lite. The opposite of radical relativism is radical absolutism. The opposite of nihilism is the reification of one's worldview into objective reality.

The Nazis were famously accused of being enabled by the implicit nihilism of the fact/value distinction by Leo Strauss. But the Nazis were *functionally* moral absolutists.

Two sides of the same coin, really ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

No, no, no. Osama bin Laden hates baseball - which is why he timed the attacks to occur just before the playoffs.

But Kevin - follow the spat between Andrew Sullivan v. Jonah Goldberg & Ramesh about criticizing books before you've read it from cover to cover. After all, somewhere deep, deep inside this idiotic cover might be one sensible sentence here or there.

Posted by: pgl on September 8, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Nads

It the law of Gods Nature and Natures God.

I dont know any revivalist Christians so I cant attest.

Posted by: Fitz on September 8, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

This is actually kind of a repeat of WWII.

The NAZIs rounded up gays, threw them into concentration camps.

The British, honoured the one man who was perhaps MOST responsible for defeating the Nazis (Alan Turing) - with his breaking their Enigma code, by forcing him to take hormone treatments as a supposed "cure" for his homosexuality (he later committed suicide due to the extreme depression this caused).

The Americans, after letting the Jews out of the concentration camps, left the gays incarcerated.

Fascists fighting fascists. The rest of us; stuck in the middle.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhere between the all confining Burka and the thong bikini is a sensible middle ground.

Posted by: Fitz

I don't care who you are, that's funny!

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

I am a liberal in every way, shape and form, except that I have no real problem with more restrictions on hard-core pornography. Nor would I mind some serious restrictions on violence in fiction visual media -- something that seems to be on no one's agenda at all.

I do have a problem with people who think that hard-core pornography is in some way associated with legalized abortion. Both came to popularity in the '70s, but so did Dirty Harry.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 8, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Dinesh D'Souza:
(1) The terrorists' grievances are legitimate.
(2) We should appease them by purging our culture, to the extent possible, of its libertine elements.

Now, wingnuts, I ask you directly: since D'Souza is now claiming we should attempt to "understand" the terrorists' motives, that their gripes are justified, and that we should appease them, what exactly is your problem when "the Left" allegedly claims the same?


Posted by: Alek Hidell on September 8, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Drum

Are these guys in a constest to see who can write the most moronic book?

Dunno, but Fitzie is in the lead for 'most moronic comment found on this thread'...

Fitz on 09/08 at 03:36 PM:

No, wait, that was Fitzie crossposting the same crap at Berube's site. Same spelling errors, even. Hey! That means I can use the exact same response!

Fitz on September 8, 2006 at 4:39 PM:

...It was no mistake of coarse that the Muslim community chose this spot on which to buy land and build.

How sweet! More Fitz BS accompanied by an ignorance of local history. Like other ethnicities in Dearborn, they came here in the 20's for jobs at Ford's auto factories and as a result of displacement from their countries of origin...Not because they were impressed by the religiousity of the people, as you falsely state.

Oh yeah; I'm from Michigan, have worked in Dearborn, and can read a freakin' history book.

The smartest and most adept of these..

Smart, as in he agrees with you 'Smart'? Are you sure that he's not just nodding his head to get you to shut up and let him get back to work?

"natural law morality"...Eeesh.

Posted by: grape_crush on September 8, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

The licentiousness, fornication, pornography and over all moral relativism expounded in our culture and its exports (Bay watch, Hollywood , ect) intensifies the effect.

I worked in the middle east for three years in the 1980s. It is no doubt true that for some people there, the above is true. For others, it is one of the things they envy about us, along with Ray-Ban sunglasses and fast cars, which American television has convinced them we all have. I had constant requests from Egyptians, Dubhaians, and others to bring pornography to them when I returned from my trips back to the states.

The lesson is that people vary, between groups and within groups.

Posted by: anandine on September 8, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

You are the perfect lib. Keep on trashin those religious folk. I may not always agee with them but I love them just the same. I never vote with you. Neither do they. We both vote against you. Plus, they breed.

Posted by: rdw on September 8, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

It really is our foreign policy (ESPECIALLY regarding israel) that gets us called the great satan. persistent oppression can generate a genuine outrage and, allowed to persist, an extremist response ...

.. teh gays and boobies, not so much.

Spot on Nads. The line that they hate us for our freedoms is just pandering BS that let's us feel better about hating them without understanding them. Look at Frontline's piece on the Darkside for some interviews with CIA case officers that are pretty explicit: they hate us because of our foreign policies and what we do in the world. And I'm not saying that as a preface for an arguement for appeasement and changing our FP (though our FP is pretty F'd up). But you can't defeat what you don't understand.

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax:

Spot on.

rdw:

Jealousy is unbecoming :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

You are living proof of how a nihilist relativist and a moral absolutist can exist in the same person.

Even if you haven't the tiniest clue of what any of those words mean :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

I don't have anything against religious people, or people from other parts of the country, for that matter. I don't trash pig-ignurnt Red State buttfucks anymore than pig-ignurnt Red State buttfucks hurl stereotypes at the elitist lib-uh-ruhl Northeast :)

I do wonder, though, how it is a strong religious conservative can endorse unbridled capitalism -- since unbridled capitalism depends on consumerist self-indugence, which inevitably leads to cultural decadence.

But contemplating that kind of subtle social problem might be just a tad too big for your pointy li'l head :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter why they hate us, we can take them at their word that they do. But those who declare their hate do not speak for all. Sorting out those who do from those who don't is very difficult, but we can't afford to generalize. Those who hate us have a significant capability to do us harm and therefore cannot be ignored, while those who do not are the only hope for a better future. It is a difficult task. Should we leave them to their fate? Bring the soldiers home, change the channel, and hope for the best. It is tempting. And considering the American preference for immediate gratification, it is likely that is exactly what we will do.

Posted by: Randy on September 8, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

I thought it was only liberals who pointed out the affinities between religious fundamentalists in the US and the Muslim world.

Posted by: kevin_r on September 8, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

But appeasement is very much a liberal response to those who wish to destroy us.

Who would Jesus kill?

Posted by: Disputo on September 8, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Randy:

Most of them (the vast majority save for a number of Western-educated and prosperous cultural elite) hate us and might always will. The vast majority, however, won't necessarily *act* on their hatred. Separating those out from the tiny minority who feel it's their duty to act on their hatred is the *truly* tricky part.

Kevin R:

Liberals like to emphasize the commonality between Christian religious fanaticism and Muslim religious fanaticism. You know -- abortion clinic bomber terrorism vs Islamist terrorism.

Conservatives (like Karen Hughes) like to emphasize the commonality between Christian religious *conservatives* and Muslim religious conservatives -- and I think there's at least as much truth to that. Clearly, both sorts of conservatives oppose abortion, homosexuality and women's full equality. The difference is one of degree, not kind. And while Christian conservatives may well not support, say, cutting off the hands of thieves as Sharah commands Muslims to do in Saudi Arabia -- *Domininist* Christian fundamentalists have no problem with stoning adulteresses and imposing the death penalty for blasphemy.

You'll notice that the Christian Right has tried to disown their Dominionist supporters (like James Dobson and Randall Terry) and pretend that Dominionism doesn't exist. It's currently an antinomian cult movement.

But it also has a few members of Congress who keep quiet about it on the stump while going to Dominionist conferences on their own time.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter why they hate us, we can take them at their word that they do.

Actually Randy, it matters quite a bit. If their message about us resonates with others in the world (and it obviously does) that doesn't make their message right, but it makes it necessary to understand why that message resonates. Or to quote retired Marine Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold (who resigned as the director of operations for the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff on the eve of the invasion of Iraq):

    "Our national strategy must include policies that assist our cause, not those of the insurgents and terrorists by reinforcing their exaggerated views of American behavior and intentions," Newbold said.


Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhere between the all confining Burka and the thong bikini is a sensible middle ground.

Yes, the thong bhurkini.

Posted by: D'Oh! Jones on September 8, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

The right approach for the left to respond to this sort of this: D'Souza thinks that in response to the brutal 9/11 attack by Al Qaeda, we should become just as intolerant as they are.

Posted by: RM on September 8, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

I do wonder, though, how it is a strong religious conservative can endorse unbridled capitalism -- since unbridled capitalism depends on consumerist self-indugence, which inevitably leads to cultural decadence.

Points for Bob, and then some. Damn, you really nailed it with that. It's so true, hell, I remember reading the Unabombers manifesto before he was caught and while it was mostly insane rantings about liberalism, he had one very spot on take on modern conservatives.

He called them fools for believing in an unrestricted free market all the while clinging to conservative values not realizing that the market will drive new businesses and technologies that inevitably lead to cultural changes.

And nothing scares the conservative mind more than changes. Maybe ambiguity sometimes

Posted by: Press Corpse on September 8, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

D'oh! Jones:

The thong bhurkini -- ROTFLMAO !!

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhere between the all confining Burka and the thong bikini is a sensible middle ground.


A really good sunscreen. And a big hat.

Posted by: cld on September 8, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

I do wonder, though, how it is a strong religious conservative can endorse unbridled capitalism -- since unbridled capitalism depends on consumerist self-indugence, which inevitably leads to cultural decadence.

    And nothing scares the conservative mind more than changes. Maybe ambiguity sometimes

Interesting points by both Bob and Press Corpse. But isn't ambiguity just a perpetual state of change? Thus the scariness.

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1 to rdw: "You are living proof of how a nihilist relativist and a moral absolutist can exist in the same person."

rdw is living proof of how an ignorant, weak-minded, gullible sucker and a delusional crank can exist in the same person.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 8, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Its a well established and widely excepted premise that populations in the third world envy Americas (and the Wests) economic and technological wealth but are most repulsed by our moral decadence.

Democracy! Whisky! Sexy!

Posted by: Irony Man on September 8, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

But appeasement is very much a liberal response to those who wish to destroy us.

On the contrary, cultural appeasement is quite the conservative response to those who wish to "destroy" us.

Posted by: Irony Man on September 8, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Press Corpse:

Well, modern conservatism is (like modern liberalism) a philosophically hybrid and inconsistent creature. A 19th century classical liberal would be solidly pro-free market (to the point of laissez-faire), solidly pro-upwardly mobile bourgiosie, solidly anti-aristocrat -- and pretty much indifferent to the poor. In fact, European and Canadian political parties use "liberal" to indicate what we in America would call a neoliberal ideology.

Basically two things happened in America. First, the New Deal antidote to the Great Depression forced progressives concerned with social justice to support strongly statist government intervention in the economy, aligning civil libertarianism with corporate statism Lite -- in direct opposition to the much more mitigated former TR Progressive support of "free enterprise" against monopoly capitalism. Secondly, the Southern Strategy pulled a lot of temprementally conservative Democrats out of the party, first to oppose segregation. The Republican populist resurgence happened when they figured how to use the Ole Time Religion to harness this fundamental xenophobia and resistance to change in the name of "religious values" -- which they made a matter of pride rathern than shame at merely harboring prejudiced, anti-black attitudes. Thus, prejudice, xenophobia, cultural reaction became hip again thanks to the previously "liberal" party of laissez-faire capitalism.

Strange bedfellows *indeed* ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, the whole premise of this thread is crap.

Why do Muslims "hate" the USA?

It's not because of "our liberties" or "our libertine lifestyle."

It's because of the US government's foreign policy. And lots of people all over the world have entirely legitimate reasons to be angry about the US government's foreign policy.

Nationalism, Not Islam, Motivates Most Suicide Terrorists
by Gary Olson
September 5, 2006
The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania)


Here is today's discussion question: Suicide terrorism is primarily caused by Islamic fundamentalism. True or false? Although it seems counter-intuitive, especially given everything we read and hear in the mainstream media, the correct answer is "false."

In his recent book, DYING TO WIN: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape has provided an indispensable public service by collecting data from all 315 suicide terrorist campaigns from 1980 to 2003, involving 462 individuals.

His overall finding: The major objective of 95 percent of suicide attacks is to expel foreign military forces from territory that the terrorists perceive as their homeland. There is little connection with Islamic fundamentalism or any of the world religions.

The taproot of suicide terrorism is nationalism and it's "mainly a response to foreign occupation." The objective is political self-determination. The Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a secular, clearly anti-religious movement, have committed 76 of the 315 suicide attacks, the most of any group. Their specific goal was an independent homeland in Sri Lanka. Pape, who has also taught at the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Airpower Studies, convincingly demonstrates that "suicide terrorist groups are neither primarily criminal groups dedicated to enriching their top leaders, nor religious cults isolated from the rest of their society. Rather, suicide terrorist organizations often command broad social support within the national communities from which they recruit, because they are seen as pursuing legitimate nationalist goals." Absent these goals, suicide terrorism rarely occurs.

Only 6 percent of the perpetrators have come from the five countries with the world's largest Islamic fundamentalist populations. (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran and Nigeria). He notes, "Prior to America's invasion in March 2003, Iraq had never experienced a suicide bombing in its history." Further, Pape's demographic profiles of individual suicide terrorists reveals they are not uneducated, poor, mentally unstable, lacking in prospects, or young men expecting to spend paradise in the company of 72 virgins. Almost exactly the opposite is true. The data indicates they have higher incomes, intelligence and education, are deeply integrated into their communities, are highly politically conscious and from widely varied religious backgrounds. A significant minority are female.

Obviously, killing innocents is a morally repugnant act, but the evidence also strongly suggests that these individuals are motivated by a deep sense of duty and view their actions as a sacrifice for a nation's common good, its culture and community goals. Reprehensible, of course. But not caused by religious fervor. Although suicide attacks account for only 3 percent of terrorist incidents, they account for 48 percent of all fatalities. Clearly it's the most deadly manifestation of terrorism and there is every reason to suspect it will increase. It works.

Placing tens of thousands of U.S. troops in the Arabian Peninsula between 1990 and 2001 was the pivotal factor accounting for the Sept. 11 attacks. Pape concludes that given the high correlation between foreign military occupation and suicide terrorist movements, the continued and hated presence of American troops in the region will greatly facilitate terrorist organizers in recruiting fresh volunteers.

My own take is that here we get to the nub of the matter. U.S. military might is concentrated in this region for one reason: He who controls the world's energy resources, especially scarce oil resources, controls the world. He also becomes fabulously wealthy. Permanent military bases in Iraq are crucial to realizing their ends. How much easier, and necessary, for U.S. planners to deceive our citizens that Iraq and all the rest is about a "war on terrorism" related to Islamic fundementalism than to reveal the truth about their motives. They're well aware that an enlightened American public would refuse to give our nation's blessing, blood, and treasure to such a nefarious enterprise.

The so-called "war on terror" is fatally flawed because its planners are incapable of addressing the real political goals of those employing terrorism. They can't afford to do so. Precious little time remains to reverse a U.S. course of action that virtually guarantees a significant uptick in deadly attacks on Americans, both here and abroad.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 8, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

first to oppose segregation = first to oppose INTEGRATION

Sheesh!

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist:

Can you link that instead of posting the whole thing? It's alreay been posted twice already ...

I don't care how good some text commenters here didn't write themselves is or how much I agree with it -- spam is spam is spam is SPAM.

Thanks,

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist:

The whole premise of this thread is *not* crap. The premise is to deconstruct simplistic notions of why Muslims hate us.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Not sure if this point has been made, but the thing is D'Souza is dead on right - 9/11 was a result of a certain group of terrorists hating the values of the American left. And guess what other group hates the American left? The American right. That's not exactly flattering for the right...it only exposes just how much like Al Qaeda they really are.

Posted by: reader on September 8, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, Thomas1, I've got that Pi calculating program running on my machine at home, I think it's been about two weeks now.

Pi still is not 3.0.

(relax, disputo, I wrote it in Java, not Perl)

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Snorting out the hate of those who declare their word doesn't matter, what matters is very difficult to ignore and we cannot afford to generalize who they are and what they say. Determining fate, is not a children's game, but a difficult task that does not gratify immediately, like a soda pop, or even maybe in the long term. Changing the guard, like the channel, doesn't matter as long as we do not underestimate their capability for hate, which like a child's can be changed to love if the proper authority is carefully used. It is funny to think of an alien species bringing a better future to the world, we usually think of them as invaders from Mars, but children will know if they are good or not, and we must hope their supperior knowledge would provide hope for a better future.

Posted by: Will on September 8, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

while PI > 3.0 {
System.out.println("Bible's still wrong, Thomas1.")
}

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

You have a point (though I don't think the whole thread was "crap" since we already argued much the same points as your post). But I kind of disagree with the term "US planners," it sounds too faceless and too much down in the weeds. From previous articles (like the link to Joe Galloway), we can see that there are dissenting voices in the military at the highest levels about whether premanent bases in Iraq are a good idea. So that being the case, it seems to me that US planners are really the civilian heads appointed by the current administration, i.e Rummy and Cheney. In my book those are the ones driving the permanent bases things. I wonder what company got the contracts to build those bases...?

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

reader:

No, that's only partially the story and extremely simplistic. Al Q also hates the modern economic order (fundamentalist Muslims fiercely oppose usury and thus modern finance capitalism) and American militarism -- neither of which are particularly hallmarks of the American left.

D'Souza's game is to allow cultural conservatives the ability to blame the American left for global terrorism.

Simplistic, childish partisan politics and no more.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

(er - damn stupid comment board.)
While PI != 3.0

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

How about bhurkas with silkscreens of Jennifer Anniston on them? :)

Seriously though, the *least* they could do is not make them in goddamn *all black*.

Could you imagine how hot and uncomfortable that must get in the summers over there?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1 wrote: "The whole premise of this thread is *not* crap. The premise is to deconstruct simplistic notions of why Muslims hate us."

The premise that Muslims "hate us" because of some attributes of American or Western culture, is crap.

Muslims "hate" the USA because the US government installs and supports brutal, corrupt dictatorships -- like the Saudi royal family, the Shah of Iran, and Saddam Hussein -- to rule their countries for the benefit of US oil companies; because the US government occupies what Muslims regard as Muslim lands with tens of thousands of US troops, to ensure control of Middle Eastern oil supplies; because the US supports Israeli military occupation of what Muslims regard as Muslim lands, and brutal Israeli treatment of the Arabs and/or Muslims who live there; etc.

What they "hate" is the foreign policy of the US government.

Bush's claim that "they hate us for our freedoms" and this nutjob author's claim that they "hate" our culturally liberal lifestyle are both deliberate lies.

As Gary Olson wrote in the article I posted, "How much easier, and necessary, for U.S. planners to deceive our citizens that Iraq and all the rest is about a 'war on terrorism' related to Islamic fundementalism than to reveal the truth about their motives. They're well aware that an enlightened American public would refuse to give our nation's blessing, blood, and treasure to such a nefarious enterprise."

Nothing makes the Dick Cheneys of the world happier than for people to spend their time mired in discussing bogus "culture wars" or fake, phony "clashes of civilizations" instead of looking at the real problem, which is the rapacious greed of the Dick Cheneys of the world.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 8, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

(relax, disputo, I wrote it in Java, not Perl)

Real men use FORTRAN.

:p

Posted by: Disputo on September 8, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, SA, but it's constructive to note, that as the American Conservatives rail against American popular culture - they are actually doing what they accuse Liberals of doing.

Conservatives Hate America.

Which clearly underscores (as we've discussed many times in the past) how the Conservative psyche suffers from projection.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Amidst all his wankery D'Souza does have one point.

If we were do what he suggests, eliminate world trade (no more McDonalds or Coca Cola to offend Muslim senistivity) institue Sharia law and basiclaly live exactly like the fundamentalist Muslims want then bin Laden probably won't mind about the US Troops in Saudia Arabia anymore:-)

Posted by: eric on September 8, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't right-wing thinkers ever have their heads explode?

They always have these things which cannot exist at the same time, yet they do them all the time. More spending, less taxes; blame americans for terror, then blame liberals for blaming americans; etc.

Maybe it's just a psychological attack on us, 'cause we live in the real world, where two objects cannot occupy the same space.

Posted by: Crissa on September 8, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist:

I dunno, SA, in my misspent youth I flirted with Marxism and (inspired by Thomas Pynchon) technological determinism, but by about my mid-20s I started outgrowing moncausal explanations. To put it plainly and without at all attempting to provoke an argument -- despite the many points you make that I strongly agree with, there's a lot of your worldview I just don't share. I just don't believe that we liberals are all good and those conservatives are all evil. I'm not attracted to Manacheanism or massive conspiracies directed by a small number of implacably evil individuals.

It just doesn't make sense to me. Even our trolls are doubtless governed by more complex motives than are often assigned to them.

If liberals shut conservatives out of government and ran the entire country, we'd develop our own suite of governmental dysfunctions. No ideology is immune to the crud lurking in the human heart.

Now all of this is being said as a preface to a large degree of concurrence with your crosspost. Everything I've read and studied about the Muslim world since 9/11 and before leads me to the conclusion that Muslims are pissed at America for exercising undue influence in their region.

However -- that doesn't mean that cultural factors are entirely secondary. They aren't; I'd argue that culture, in fact, is impossible to separate out from foreign policy. That's what the old neomarxist term cultural imperialism tried to capture. Massive military bases tend to influence the surrounding culture, e. g. local prostitution tends to flower. Economic arrangements which shoot wealth through a pre-industrial country tend to produce massive cultural dislocations and create anxiety as well as complacency. There's a definite reason why traditional Muslim socities look askance at Westernization -- which is a mixture of both conservative fear of change and a valid critique of what consumerism does to human values.

Conversely, there are things about Muslim societies that make the West exceedingly uncomfortable, and which transcend mere value-neutral "cultural differences." There are practices in Muslim societies that we'd, in fact, ban if we could, based on the 1948 UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights. To name two, there's the legal inequality of women and some of the more barbaric forms of corporal punishment sanctioned by conservative flavors of Shariah law.

Muslim societies also have unique aspects which make generalizing about some single common dynamic difficult. There's a reason that Saudi Arabia balked at our airbases, but Kuwait, Qatar and Dubai don't have as many problems with them. Anger at corrupt elites comes because of their political alliance with us -- but also at how slavishly these elites have adopted our values and left their traditional values behind. Culture and politics are, once again, deeply intertwined.

I personally believe there are many motives to Islamist resistance to Western influence. I believe that virtually all the attacks against Israel have entirely local causes, with Islamist martyrdom a tool to help recruit and rationalize an impulse which is, at base, not religious. I believe Iran's ambitions are regional, not global, and are also based more on Persian pride than Khomenist Islamism. Al Qaeda's global Caliphate ideology is virtually unique and the most religiously grounded of these movements -- but it's also deeply incompatible with Shi'ism, and plays an uneasy game of tactically calling on Shi'ites to join them in Umma solidarity which is less than sincere.

All of these different tendencies -- plus the other offshoots in different countries -- have different blends of resentment at the fruits of modernity and the imperatives of a sectarian/nationalist struggle. And while I do believe that if we changed our foreign policy and renounced our ambitions in the region we would take much of the pressure off the West -- we wouldn't eliminate it either. Anymore than right-wing Christians having political power eliminates the desire of some on the religious right to establish a Dominionist theocracy in America.

We can help reduce terrorism through a whole variety of means at complete odds to the Republican agenda of confrontation at every turn. But we'll never stop the hatred of the West by people who feel that consumerism inevitably diminishes their cultural traditions and robs their lives of meaning.

And I think this is a balanced view of the situation -- while giving no support to the GOP.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

So they hate us for our freedom and our lack of ability to control it in a way THEY SEE FIT.


That sentence alone should make it clear but if not - Killing people because you do not like them is the worst thing that one can do. That act tops off all the other perversions or whatever you call them.

Then it starts to get complicated. Money, standards of living, etc... I can see why they hate us.... but KILLING PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU DO NOT LIKE THEM IS MORALLLY WRONG. IT IS THE LAST STEP IN AN INCOHERENT RELIGIOUS IDIOCY THAT IS IN THE WORLD. IT HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE AND WILL CONTINUE. FIGHT IT. FIGHT RELIGIOUS INDIGNATION. IT IS WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS.

*sorry for the caps*

Posted by: AC on September 8, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Bring the soldiers home, change the channel, and hope for the best. It is tempting. And considering the American preference for immediate gratification, it is likely that is exactly what we will do.

Huh. And here I thought that ignoring/fabricating intelligence and invading a nation that had not attacked us in order to satisfy the uninformed, impulsive and emotionally immature baying hounds of the right was a fine example of immediate gratification. But now that you've told us that the old IG is really about a nation waking up to the clusterfuck after only three years, thousands of bodies and billions of bucks, I understand the concept better.

Posted by: shortstop on September 8, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

from the original, which in turn cited another book review: The cultural wars at home and the global war on terror are usually viewed as separate problems. In this groundbreaking book, DSouza shows that they are one and the same. It is only by curtailing the lefts attacks on religion, family, and traditional values that we can persuade moderate Muslims and others around the world to cooperate with us and begin to shun the extremists in their own countries.

I takes a considerable leap of faith to believe that is what D'Souza actually wrote. D'Souza is, however, not alone in pointing out that, among that set of Moslems seeking to attack us, our secularism is perceived as a vice and a fatal weakness.

Posted by: republicrat on September 8, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Bob: "But we'll never stop the hatred of the West by people who feel that consumerism inevitably diminishes their cultural traditions and robs their lives of meaning."

And I think they have quite a valid point. But I doubt that 'hatred' is caused by the American penchant for consumerism. Most terrorists come from countries where most people are very poor.

Posted by: nepeta on September 8, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

D'Souza is, however, not alone in pointing out that, among that set of Moslems seeking to attack us, our secularism is perceived as a vice and a fatal weakness

Muslims, republicrat, not "Moslems." Please don't use that outmoded term deliberately.

Yes, no doubt the radical Muslims who want to attack us do see our secularism as a fatal weakness. That doesn't mean it's true, does it? Look at the most powerful nations of the world: they are also the most secular. You think that's a coincidence?

Posted by: Alek Hidell on September 8, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

D'Souza is, however, not alone in pointing out that, among that set of Moslems seeking to attack us, our secularism is perceived as a vice and a fatal weakness.

The question is whether or not you agree with the terrorists. Apparently, Dinesh D'Souza and Osama bin Laden agree about America. That's pretty much all I need to know.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 8, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Most terrorists come from countries where most people are very poor."

I am not so sure. As I recall the 9/11 group was pretty much composed of young men from Saudi Arabia. Not exactly a poor country. Many of them were fairly well educated.

Bin Laden is strickly upper class. His number two is an Egyptian surgeon.

Many of the more recent terrorists come from England, or Spain. Neither country is very poor. While many of those terrorists are working class I don't think anyone would describe them as being truly poor. I recall reading about folks attracted to Afganistan to fight for the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Many were shopkeepers or their sons. Few were truly poverty stricken.

Historically the really, really poor have been too busy trying to stay alive to take part in revolution. That is a middle class activity.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 8, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta:

This used to be conventional wisdom prior to 9/11, because it's especially true of suicide terrorism against Israel from the Occupied Territories. It is, however, getting less and less true.

Mohammed Atta was an upper-middle-class Egyptian with an advanced degree. The 7/7 London bombers were all middle class, and there was shock in that community as to how assimilated and upwardly mobile some of them seemed to be. A few years ago, there was a Palestinian who blew himself up with an Israeli bus dressed as an Ultra-Orthodox Jew which shocked everyone who knew him, because he was a dedicated medical student. And the Madrid bombers exhibited few of the profiled traits of al Qaeda supporters.

There are a lot of factors going on here. I think, clearly, the upward mobility of some of these perpetrators argues that they're not merely uneducated people manipulated by local demagogues. There's a large element of a nationalist struggle, I agree. And I do think these profiles diminishes the single-minded religious fantatic motive which we like to stress so much in America.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

He argues that it is not our exercise of freedom that enrages our enemies, but our abuse of that freedomfrom the sexual liberty of women to the support of gay marriage, birth control, and no-fault divorce, to the aggressive exportation of our vulgar, licentious popular culture.

Don't forget our other abuses of freedom like:

no-fault auto insurance ("someone must be to blame!")

allowing a Home Shopping channel just for knives

first class

the way we always build a Lowe's right next to a Home Depot when either one alone would be sufficient

business class (Caligula would be green with envy)

and how now you can now purchase a whole season of a show on DVD instead of having to be disciplined enough to watch it each week when it airs.

Or -- you can rent it.

Decadence.

Posted by: Windhorse on September 8, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK
...that set of Moslems seeking to attack us, our secularism is perceived as a vice ... republicrat at 9:59 PM
Why don' t you be honest here and admit that our secularism is an affront to Christian fundamentalist Republican supporters as well? Oh, that's right, honesty is anathema is Republican orthodoxy Posted by: Mike on September 8, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

Amidst all the nonsense there is small amount of truth in DSouzas book. Americas popular culture is the trashiest the world has ever seen. Perhaps if we only wallowed in it ourselves we could claim it is harmless, but we have messianically pushed it eveywhere. Strictly religious nations feel assaulted by evil content that they are powerless to stop.

There are many liberals who hate the culture, who consider it the enemy of their children, but are afraid to speak up because they do not wish to appear intolerant or uncool.

I sometimes think of my straightlaced grandfather and what he would think of America today. He might have becomne a jihadist himself!

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Posted by: Phillip on September 9, 2006 at 6:17 AM | PERMALINK

Nice site!
http://yqmodrom.com/lyrf/zpvw.html | http://fdabydjm.com/fxtj/nwxb.html

Posted by: Tracy on September 9, 2006 at 6:17 AM | PERMALINK

WHOA...there would be a whole long list of REPUGS and others on "the right" bawling in their morning cereal if they couldn't have them their "no-fault divorce"...careful now

ARE YOUR EYES OPEN YET!!!!?????

Posted by: Dancer on September 9, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

They hate us for our libertines?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 9, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Are these guys in a contest to see who can write the most moronic book?

Yes, and they're ALL winners.

But hey, now we know what it would like if bin Laden et al. got book deals and could publish their unadulterated tripe here in the US under pen names. The Right would eat it up!

Posted by: Irony Man on September 10, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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