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Tilting at Windmills

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April 25, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

WINNING THE WAR....In a recent PIPA poll of four majority-Muslim countries (Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia), 10% of the respondents said they approved of terrorist attacks on civilian targets. Question: is this good news or bad? 10% is a pretty small number, all things considered, but at the same time, it's way more than enough to keep al-Qaeda supplied with foot soldiers for a long, long time.

These other results, however, are unreservedly bad news:

  • 75% have an unfavorable view of the U.S. government.

  • 79% think one of the goals of U.S. foreign policy is to weaken and divide the Islamic world.

  • Only 16% think the primary goal of the war on terror is to protect the U.S. from attack.

  • Only 24% think the U.S. is committed to the creation of a Palestinian state.

  • Only 23% believe al-Qaeda was behind the 9/11 attacks.

Here's the problem: At best, we're never going to manage to do more than tread water in the war on terror/jihad/extremism/whatever as long as the Muslim public so overwhelmingly holds these beliefs. Unfortunately, although the Muslim attachment to a deeply illiberal culture is real and needs to be faced squarely, changing Islamic public opinion isn't a matter of merely overcoming some kind of mass delusion. After all, with the exception of the last bullet, these are all pretty defensible beliefs.

So here are some questions for every one of the 2008 presidential candidates: Do you care about Muslim public opinion? Do you think it impacts U.S. national security? Which aspects of American foreign policy do you think contribute to these attitudes? What concrete steps would you take to change these parts of our foreign policy? Aside from making jokes about bombing Iran, that is. There will be an open book test on January 20, 2009.

Marc Lynch has more here ("the al-Qaeda worldview — of a world divided between clashing civilizations and Islam under a comprehensive assault from the West — seems widely spread and increasingly entrenched"). The full PIPA report is here.

Kevin Drum 6:19 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (88)

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Comments

After all, with the exception of the last bullet, these are all pretty defensible beliefs.

Aiyeee! Blogger fifth columns! Treason! Lese majeste! Blasphemy!

What's next? Kevin takes an Al-Qaeda loyalty oath? Hosts Osama bin Laden in Orange County? Straps on a dynamite vest and blows up Disneyland?

Aiyeeee!

Posted by: bleh on April 25, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Is it any wonder that the Muslim world thinks that we're trying to weaken and divide the world of Islam? The Administration practically told them that they were going to do just that, in one of the myriad justifications in the run-up to the war. Remember all that rhetoric about tackling, redefining, and sorting out of "that whole area"?

Posted by: Mike D on April 25, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Only 23% believe al-Qaeda was behind the 9/11 attacks."

!!!!!

"Unfortunately, changing Islamic public opinion isn't a matter of merely overcoming some kind of mass delusion. After all, with the exception of the last bullet, these are all pretty defensible beliefs."

Yeah, but the last bullet *is* seriously deluded. I mean, how many videotapes from Zawahiri do they need?

Posted by: No Longer a Urinated State of America on April 25, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

I believe Bill "The Media has blacked me out" Richardson addressed this somewhat on Iraq. He mentioned that we need ALL U.S. troops out of Iraq so that people in the region know we don't plan on pushing ourselves on them. I took this as meaning more than just the people of Iraq.

Of course, I don't expect much grown-up discussions coming from the appointed media celebrities that make up the top tier candidates.

Posted by: gq on April 25, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK
In a recent PIPA poll of four majority-Muslim countries (Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia), 10% of the respondents said they approved of terrorist attacks on civilian targets. Question: is this good news or bad? 10% is a pretty small number, all things considered, but at the same time, it's way more than enough to keep al-Qaeda supplied with foot soldiers for a long, long time.

Huh? 10% support for "terrorist attacks on civilian targets" is frickin' enormous, not "a small number, all things considered".

I mean, really, where did that comment come from?

Here's the problem: At best, we're never going to manage to do more than tread water in the war on terror/jihad/extremism/whatever as long as the Muslim public so overwhelmingly holds these beliefs. Unfortunately, changing Islamic public opinion isn't a matter of merely overcoming some kind of mass delusion. After all, with the exception of the last bullet, these are all pretty defensible beliefs.

Except for the first (which isn't a question of fact) and the last, the majority opinions are almost certainly correct, not merely "defensible".

Posted by: cmdicely on April 25, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Marc Lynch >"...the al-Qaeda worldview — of a world divided between clashing civilizations and Islam under a comprehensive assault from the West — seems widely spread..."

Well, DUH & here is where some of it comes from. Note this loon`s history back around the late 1960s; he "...justified heavy bombardment of the countryside of South Vietnam as a means to drive the peasants and supporters of the Viet Cong into urban areas..."

And people continue to wonder where the crazyness of the Cheney/Bush MalAdministration sprouts from.

"Madness, madness, madness..." (to quote a well known prosecutor)

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei

Posted by: daCascadian on April 25, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

10% of the respondents said they approved of terrorist attacks on civilian targets. 10% is a pretty small number, all things considered

That's absurd Kevin. There are over a billion muslims in the world. 10% of that means there are over a 100 million potential terrorists America has to deal with. How can anyone but a liberal consider that a small number?

Posted by: Al on April 25, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what percentage of the American public would approve of bombing Iran and Syria today without taking into account the number of innocent civilians that would be killed.

I fear it would be higher than 10 percent. Just goes to show that extreme viewpoints are prevalent throughout the world.

Posted by: FunkyDuck on April 25, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

In recent polling data, about a third of Americans think the President is doing a jim dandy job. That's around 100 million potential morons America has to deal with (in their defense, some of them might just live in caves).

Posted by: R. Porter on April 25, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

The percentage of Americans who say 'nuke 'em' when presented with any news about unfavorable opinions of themselves by Moslems is probably higher than 10%.

Posted by: Brojo on April 25, 2007 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that the real war on terror is the war on Muslim opinion. The question is how to best teach moderate Muslims that the U.S. can be trusted.

The following question is not intended as snark or ridicule. I really want to know what the people on this board think about this.

What do you think the effect on Muslim opinion of the U.S. is when high ranking Democrats ( such as Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid ) accuse President Bush of lying? Do you think this and the hyperbolic statements made by liberal leaning pundits stating that America is quickly turning into a theocratic police state have a significant effect on Muslim opinion?

Posted by: John Hansen on April 25, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you disingenuous asshole.

Try not cutting the quote short.

10% of the respondents said they approved of terrorist attacks on civilian targets. Question: is this good news or bad? 10% is a pretty small number, all things considered, but at the same time, it's way more than enough to keep al-Qaeda supplied with foot soldiers for a long, long time.

Jesus Christ. I try to give people the benefit of doubt, which is to say, I always try to assume that you actually believe what you're saying. But when you pull shit like that you provide a poor representation of conservatives and the right more generally. As much as people on this board tend to despise you, I'm sure main stream conservatives despise you more, as they should. Good lord.

Posted by: Everblue Stater on April 25, 2007 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

what's to worry? i'm sure that karen hughes is working the problem real hard...

Posted by: linda on April 25, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Mate, what I think is that you're engaging in moronic navel gazing.

Opinion out here in the region is not driven by any of your domestic political concerns. It;s driven by American actions on the ground. For good bloody fuck, stop fellating yourselves.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 25, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK
The question is how to best teach moderate Muslims that the U.S. can be trusted.

How about, for the US government to actually demonstrate honesty and trustworthiness.

That would be the best way.

The following question is not intended as snark or ridicule.

Yeah, right. Bet you couldn't even keep a straight face while typing that.

What do you think the effect on Muslim opinion of the U.S. is when high ranking Democrats ( such as Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid ) accuse President Bush of lying?

It demonstrates that at least some Americans are sane and honest at least some of the time. Probably not a big help, in and of itself, but better than nothing.

Its not like Muslim foreigners are any less capable than everyone else on the planet at recognizing that Bush, in fact, lies.

Your questions seem to presuppose the belief that the best way to get Muslims to have happy ideas about the US government is for Americans to stifle their own dissent, and to pretend a false trust for their own government even when it is manifestly dishonest.

This is, of course, idiotic.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 25, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

What do you think the effect on Muslim opinion of the U.S. is when high ranking Democrats accuse President Bush of lying?

Pointing out that President is a liar reduces the amount of people who think the US is trying to nuke them.

Posted by: Brojo on April 25, 2007 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

10% is a LOT. LOTS and lots of people in that 10%. It's either over stated or really frickin' bad news. Are there pre-Iraq comparable polls?

Posted by: qwerty on April 25, 2007 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

No, my idea is not for people to stifle their own dissent. However, instead I call for reasonable rhetoric. You need a more cogent argument against the war then No Blood for Oil.

You can disagree with the policies or competence of the Bush administration, however, where the rhetoric goes over the top is when the accusations made are such things like fighting wars just to enrich U.S. oil companies.

Anyone who really believes that Bush and co. really act this way is simplistic and naive.

Posted by: John Hansen on April 25, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

So here are some questions for every one of the 2008 presidential candidates: Do you care about Muslim public opinion?


The candidates can't afford to care about things voters don't care about. Understanding this is one of the few things the Bush people do well.

Posted by: Martin Gale on April 25, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised some of the results wern't 100% and 0%.

Posted by: R.L. on April 25, 2007 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Oh goody. More navel gazing and bloody fucking hubris. Only in America is ones own opinion of ones own opinion ascribed any importance at all. If we want the Muslim world to think better of us, try changing a policy or three and stop with the hand-wringing.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 25, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Let's focus interpretation of the results. This is for Al, too. This lesson is something any undergrad student with a rudimentary education in stats would understand. Just generally, the figure of 10% doesn't mean much without more explanation, so I would quibble with the statement that the 10% means that Al Qaeda has more than enough people willing to be foot soldiers. It may be the case that they have no problems with recruitment. Also, it is likely the case that American policy to date has arguably only helped rather than hindered Al Qaeda's abilities to manipulate images for recruitment purposes. Note that this view doesn't consider whatever unseen counter-insurgency efforts are made directly on terrorist groups. My point is that the poll doesn't contain any data from which you can reliably extrapolate and support the argument that that 10% provides more than enough foot soldiers, even though that may be the case. It is a quibble, just sayin'...

If we concede the extrapolation, which, I'll grant, there is good reason to do based on other studies, let's think about the results. Think of what percentage of Americans support the war in Iraq. Then compare that to the number of military personnel that must actively do the fighting. Now, consider how many of those that are doing the actual fighting support the reasons for war. They have a sense of duty to country and have a legal obligation to fight, but what happens when you don't have that governmental/societal structure to rely on for their commitment? You must organize collective action, which is a huge problem for every insurgency. What is left is a very tiny percentage that are actually willing to be members, train, and fight in the u.s. army that are "true believers". The proportion of the population decreases rapidly. It is one good reason why insurgencies fail very early in their lives almost all of the time.

Reverse the breakdown and consider that 10% figure in increasing proportion: Return to the 10% figure reported in the survey and think about how many of those polled are willing to actually fight. Then consider how many of that 10% would not fight but might, if given the opportunity, provide material support. And then consider the number that support a given action but are unwilling to risk providing active support, but just support the guy that sticks it to the country you think is giving you a raw deal.

Ultimately, what the poll shows is nothing surprising given what we know about the nature of insurgency. By definition it relies on the thin tail of the distribution in the population. The fact remains that terrorism is very rare.

What we can immediately abstract from the poll is that the problem is not largely military in nature, it is political and therefore demands a political response.

Other parts of the survey I think are interesting.

Two-thirds would even like to unify all Islamic counties into a single Islamic state or caliphate.

That really doesn't seem right to me. I think there might be some bias in the sample.

There's other inconsistencies and also things that aren't so surprising.

Asked how they feel about the world becoming more connected through greater economic trade and faster communication, majorities in all countries say it is a good thing (average 75%). While wary of Western values, overall 67 percent agree that a democratic political system is a good way to govern their country and 82 percent agree that in their country people of any religion should be free to worship according to their own beliefs.

That doesn't seem very illiberal to me, and possibly inconsistent with the result regarding islamic law reported above. However, when Islam is the most common identification among a people, respondents will pick up on what the researcher is getting at when thinking about it as "Us" vs. "The West" and would side with the values that most closely comport with their own identities. So it may be a problem with the survey instrument. It could be response bias. It could be that Al Qaeda is successful in its "constructivist strategy" as Marc Lynch argues. However, there very well may evidence of a bias in that "islamic law" result, when you look at this result:

Large majorities in all countries (average 70 percent or higher) support such goals as: stand up to Americans and affirm the dignity of the Islamic people,

It is also weird that when pipa reported the results, they frame the results above as being a goal of Al Qaeda...while strictly true, the idea is general enough to draw wide support. Do you support freedom and democracy? Overwhelming majorities of Americans do. That is a stated goal of President Bush. See?

These are just some quick and dirty thoughts. I probably won't have more time to spend on the results, but there is plenty to argue about.

Posted by: sunship on April 25, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, let's not sit and fiddle with the ten percent perception. 10% is low compared to say, 90%, and Kevin did add the caveat that that's still a large number of people... so whatever.

But yeah, you have to take into account muslim opinion. This is what breeds terror. Terrorism isn't born of people who are born just believing that freedom is bad and killing free people is good, no matter how many times Bush tries to get us to believe otherwise.

It is conditional breeding. Living conditions, local politics, global politics, are all things that tip and sway and in the right conditions creates conditions perfect for terrorism recruitment.

Poor living conditions create a desire for change. Hostile and unstable political environments can make it seem that only radical actions are capable of creating political change. On a most basic analysis the two things put together create an atmosphere in which you have a large population eager for political change and harboring the belief that only radical actions will bring those desired changes about.

in other words terrorism.

So, yeah, you have to care about Muslim opinion, that is only one of many steps that one must take in order to minimize terrorism.

I say minimize because yeah, you'll never get rid of it. I don't know, someone wise once said something like, "we have to get to the place where terrorism is more like a nuisance. As a law enforcement person, I know that we will never get rid of organized crime or prostitution, but you can reduce them to a degree where they do not dominate our every day lives."

Sounds crazy to me...

commentsfromleftfield.com

Posted by: Mr. M on April 25, 2007 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

"What do you think the effect on Muslim opinion of the U.S. is when high ranking Democrats ( such as Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid ) accuse President Bush of lying? Do you think this and the hyperbolic statements made by liberal leaning pundits stating that America is quickly turning into a theocratic police state have a significant effect on Muslim opinion?"

Why would those would be considered hyperbolic remarks. Bush's lies and distortions are pretty well documented as is his administration's manipulation of religion and religious values for political and self-serving goals. One might hope that the effect of truth telling here would be more of the same elsewhere.

Posted by: mb on April 25, 2007 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

79% think one of the goals of U.S. foreign policy is to weaken and divide the Islamic world.

Only 16% think the primary goal of the war on terror is to protect the U.S. from attack.

Only 24% think the U.S. is committed to the creation of a Palestinian state.

Only 23% believe al-Qaeda was behind the 9/11 attacks.

One out of four ain't bad! And that only 23% believe al-Qaeda was behind 9/11 is better than the upwards of 30% of Americans who still believe it was Saddam's show.

And I'd be pretty happy about 24% believing that we are sincere about a Palestinian state. Currently, I'd say that the Bush administration has zero interest in this.

Otherwise . . .

Posted by: JeffII on April 25, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

What do you think the effect on Muslim opinion of the U.S. is when high ranking Democrats ( such as Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid ) accuse President Bush of lying?

They probably don't need anyone else to convince them that Bush is lying. If the Democrats are convinced that Bush is lying as well, what are you suggesting that they do about it--lie and say they support Bush in everything he's been doing? Not say anything, giving tacit approval? What if Bush has, in fact, been lying?

Posted by: Nemo on April 25, 2007 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Only 23% believe al-Qaeda was behind the 9/11 attacks.

So the other 77% mirror the FNC watchers here in the US who thought Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11.

There's misinformation and disinformation everywhere.

If we'd get out of Iraq, it would go a long way towards shifting those #s. Actions speak louder than words. Or so I'm told.

Posted by: TJM on April 25, 2007 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

what's to worry? i'm sure that karen hughes is working the problem real hard... Posted by: linda

Karen who? Oh, ya! That woman with special touch who came out of retirement to improve the nation's image in the Muslim world.

Haven't heard much about her these days. Did she go back into hiding, er, I mean retirement?

Posted by: JeffII on April 25, 2007 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "There are over a billion muslims in the world. 10% of that means there are over a 100 million potential terrorists America has to deal with."

Yes, Al, and that's why we want you to go over there and personally antagonize them. With a stick. It's the only way! Your president is counting on you. Why are you still sitting there?

Posted by: Kenji on April 25, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

10%? Do you realize the crazy stuff that polls show 10% of Americans believe? Hell, just over 30% believe Bush is doing a heckuva job. And a poll last year found that 13% of whites and 12% of blacks describe *themselves* as racially biased. A 2003 Harriss poll found that a majority believe in ghosts. As many people (around 1/3) believe in astrology as now approve of Bush's job performance. Over 1/4 believe that they have been reincarnated (that they lived before as someone else). How many Americans do you think would express support over using nuclear weapons in Iraq? Finding 10% to say outrageous things is not difficult. It's the last two statistics Kevin reports that are troubling.

Posted by: christor on April 25, 2007 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Scratch the surface of the brain of a righty, and you will find that most of his kind would rather level the ME with a nuclear devices.

So from that world view, how does it matter if those you want to kill do not like you?

Posted by: gregor on April 25, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

bleh: What's next? Kevin ... Straps on a dynamite vest and blows up Disneyland?

Oh, come on. Nobody uses dynamite anymore - C4 is the way to go out with a bang.

Posted by: alex on April 25, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

John Hansen: What do you think the effect on Muslim opinion of the U.S. is when high ranking Democrats ( such as Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid ) accuse President Bush of lying?

and then

No, my idea is not for people to stifle their own dissent.

Sounds a wee bit contradictory.

You need a more cogent argument against the war then No Blood for Oil.

Well, I never was a big believer in conspiracies. How about "No Blood for Deception and Stupidity"?

Posted by: alex on April 25, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Lliberals go all over the world verbally bashing the United States. Then, when we wonder who gave people in other countries a negative impression of the US, the liberals cry, "Who, me?"

The biggest mistake liberal critics make is assuming that non-Americans will distinguish between criticism of the President and criticism of the country. An American can be pro-US and anti-Bush. But, outside the country, Bush personifies the US. Criticism of Bush comes across as criticism of the US.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 25, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: Then, when we wonder who gave people in other countries a negative impression of the US, the liberals cry, "Who, me?"

Yeah, those foreigners only listen to what we say about ourselves - they're too stupid to look at our actions and form their our own opinions.

The biggest mistake liberal critics make is assuming that non-Americans will distinguish between criticism of the President and criticism of the country.

Perhaps ex-liberals worry that foreigners will make this mistake, as ex-liberals make it all the time. IIRC it's called "projection".

An American can be pro-US and anti-Bush.

This one certainly is.

But, outside the country, Bush personifies the US.

Nah, if that were true then the poll numbers would be a lot worse.

Posted by: alex on April 25, 2007 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think 24% of Americans think the US is commited to the creation of a Palestinian State. I sure don't.

Posted by: Martin on April 25, 2007 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest mistake liberal critics make is assuming that non-Americans will distinguish between criticism of the President and criticism of the country. An American can be pro-US and anti-Bush. But, outside the country, Bush personifies the US. Criticism of Bush comes across as criticism of the US.


I largely agree with this. In the past this has worked in our favor as it sows confusion, but in the present circumstance, where for the first time we have an administration that is everything our worst enemies have ever said of us it is important to maintain our emphasis on the distinction between these people and everything that has come before, on how alien to our society and history the Republicans actually are, our vulgar little secret irrupting like a gamma-irradiated herpes virus.

And while we should respect and appreciate the unsophisticated, we should never temper or qualify our conversation simply because they can't keep up.

Posted by: cld on April 25, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Lliberals go all over the world verbally bashing the United States. Then, when we wonder who gave people in other countries a negative impression of the US, the liberals cry, "Who, me?"


Posted by: ex-liberal


Even if one grants the truth of the premise -- and I don't know of any liberals who go around the world badmouthing the US, and I do know plenty of liberals who go around the world. I also know a lot of conservatives who go around the world badmouthing the U.S. with nothing more than their behavior, but I digress -- even then, the conclusion is rather absurd: people would think better of the U.S. if only those damn liberals would shut up. Invasions, arrogant, out of touch politicians, idiots like "ex-liberal, current moron," just natural envy of a wealthy and powerful nation have nothing to do with it -- it's the liberals' fault. That's what too much exposure to Rush and Sean do for you. There ought to be a warning lable attached to those shows.

Posted by: Martin Gale on April 25, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

"79% think one of the goals of U.S. foreign policy is to weaken and divide the Islamic world."

The islamic world is already divided as evidenced by the shia and sunni killing each other in Iraq.


Posted by: TruthPolitik on April 25, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: outside the country, Bush personifies the US.

It's that fact (and the fact that a slim majority returned him to office), rather than any well-deserved criticism, that gives the US a bad reputation, jackass.

Oh, an nice "criticism of the President is unpatriotic" bullshit, you dishonest neocon toad. I just love the way your increasingly shrill rhetoric betrays the fact that you realize your neocon ship is sinking thanks to the incompetence of Captain Bush.

Posted by: Gregory on April 25, 2007 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

seriously...
I doubt that this 10% number will ever get much smaller-there's an almost infinite number of incidents that stir up islamic hatred of the west, be it the cartoons incident, mistaken portrayals of american society, us bases in saudi arabia, etc. while the other numbers can be fixed somewhat by changes in iraq policy, etc. lets be honest, a decent percentage of the muslim world will always be radical and hate us. nothing we can do (save unifying as a global caliphate) will stop the radicals from hating us. the difference is in the middle of the spectrum.

Posted by: Jamie on April 25, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Only 16% think the primary goal of the war on terror is to protect the U.S. from attack."

Why should they believe that? It isn't true.

Posted by: Ross Best on April 25, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt that this 10% number will ever get much smaller-there's an almost infinite number of incidents that stir up islamic hatred of the west, be it the cartoons incident, mistaken portrayals of american society, us bases in saudi arabia...

or be it our support for repressive dictatorships in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria; or our unwavering support for Israel and it 40 year occupation of Palestine, its repeated efforts to destroy Lebanon, and its discriminatory practices towards Arab-Israeli citizens; or the Gulf War, which killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi conscripts; or our sanctions against Iraq, and the hundreds of thousands of civilians who died because of it; or our ILLEGAL invasion of Iraq, the civil war we have unleashed, and the tens of thousands who have died, etc.

Let's not pretend as if Muslin rage toward the U.S. is based on mere mis-perception.

Indeed, how hypocritical is it to focus on some poll showing how a small slice of Muslim opinion supports the destruction of civilian lives, when the Western and primarily American/Israeli policies in the region have lead directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians?

Posted by: smedleybutler on April 25, 2007 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I read Political Animal daily. But, you've fallen into the Bushco trap using the word "terrorist" or words "terrorist attack." Would you or I call it a terrorist attack if our country was occupied by a foreign power and we were fighting to expel that foreign power?

Posted by: Chief on April 25, 2007 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

How can anyone but a liberal consider that a small number?

Ah, a conservative who is learning to date within his own league.

-F.

Posted by: Fingal on April 25, 2007 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Only 23% believe al-Qaeda was behind the 9/11 attacks."

I'm greatly surprised by this. But maybe this 77% knows something we don't, or don't want to know. After watching the Bill Moyer's program on the media sleeping during the run-up to war (and worse), I don't expect any info on 9/11 during my lifetime. Did anyone watch Frontline at Kevin's suggestion? It brought back 2002 in nightmarish fashion.

Posted by: nepeta on April 25, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Catnip...
See all those statistics you're quotin' there Catnip...
See...
Catnip is my nickname for Kevin Drum...
See...
Hee...hee...hee...
In other words, Cattynip...
All those stats you are quoting there Catnip
Are just proof see...
That we are winning hearts and minds...
The surge is working see...
And the people see... they voted for it in 2006.
So the surge see is working...
It's hard, but we're winning... see...
We can't let the terrorists win see...
9-11 is proof that we needed to surge...
To bring the battle to the hearts and minds..
And surge see...

Posted by: President Bush on April 25, 2007 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

"criticism of the President is unpatriotic" bullshit" - Gregory

Yeah, that's the bullshit that kept the media totally subservient to the WH and their neocon plotters in 2002. By the way, there was a great clip of Hillary all atremble at Iraq's WMD threat in a Senate speech from 2002. Dumb, dumb, dumb or treasonous? I just don't understand how I could have been 99% certain that Iraq had no WMDs in 2002 (internet research) and people like Clinton and Kerry were clueless. I'm still SO angry at them.

Posted by: nepeta on April 25, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what a survey of Americans would reveal if the same questions were asked but the subject changed to Arabs or Muslims.

While most Americans have forgotten the mass murder of of Lebanese civilians last summer by Israel, Muslim people all over the world have not. Muslim people know the bombers that killed and destroyed so much were manufactured in the US. I wish there would have been an outcry in the US against the use of its gifts for such purposes, but there was not. Some Christians actually applauded the killings.


Posted by: Brojo on April 25, 2007 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo,

Not only were US bombs used, including cluster bombs, but Bush nixed the idea of a ceasefire early on, when most of the world favored one.

Posted by: nepeta on April 25, 2007 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

"... been 99% certain that Iraq had no WMDs in 2002 (internet research)"

Indeed, the information was out there in plain sight and the conclusions a rational person would draw from examining it were obvious.

Now 5 years later most of the American populace finally figures out that Bush was the liar and Saddam was telling the truth.

They should have listened when he warned 'Blow the lid off Iraq and 7 United States [Armies] can't put it back on'.

Such a waste. A million lives and a trillion dollars down the drain... or I guess more accurately, funneled into the 'right' pockets.

The only hope for the common man is that a special hell exists for our so-called leaders.

Posted by: Buford on April 25, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry man, but that's a reeeeally dumb post, Mr. Drum.

At best, we're never going to manage to do more than tread water in the war on terror/jihad/extremism/whatever as long as the Muslim public so overwhelmingly holds these beliefs.

The beliefs of the Muslim public have almost nothing to do with the 100-1000 people in the world involved in Islamic fundamentalist militia movements. (Sunni's fighting against a Shiite-dominated future are NOT the same thing. Jeez you're lazy sometimes).

People might say they "support" attacks on civilians because they think that a war is being perpetrated against them, and that asymetrical methods of resistance are justified. It is arguable (probable, IMO) that support for such methods would disappear with different actions from the US government. I.e., stop bombing them. Stop supporting the most oppressive and anti-democratic of leaders in the ME.

Arguing that public opinion matters for the "war on terrorism" supposes that "terrorism" activity is marginally effected by movements in this "public opinion". This might be technically true, but the effect is tiny and insignificant in magnitude.

"Unfortunately, although the Muslim attachment to a deeply illiberal culture is real and needs to be faced squarely"

WTF is that? Would a larger proportion of Muslims agree to an "illiberal" government ruling them, than would westerners? Can more than 10% of US citizens define "illiberal"? Would US citizens agree to the limitation of the rights of others if they weren't "like" them? (different religions, races, nationalities, etc.?) I'd say yes.

Let's assume 20% illiberal in the US, 30% illiberal in Europe, and 40% illiberal in the Middle East. Wars, invasions, colonialism, probably had nothing to do with any of that.

Posted by: luci on April 25, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo and Buford,

You two would love Bill Moyer's Frontline, aired tonight, on how the media has failed us from 9/11 onwards. Lots of interesting interviews with all sorts of reporters and their bosses. You won't learn anything new but it's pretty amazing to revisit that time period encapsulated in an excellent one-hour expose (accent ague ).
You can find a link to air times wherever you live in Kevin's 12:32 post today. I noticed that here it was scheduled at least twice tonight, maybe three times.

Posted by: nepeta on April 25, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks. It is coming on now.

Cluster bombs made in America and given as a gift to Israel have killed lots of children in Lebanon. Where was the outrage?

Posted by: Brojo on April 25, 2007 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Luci,

Good post above. Cultures dominated by religion tend to be illiberal, no? But not just Muslim cultures. I don't see us fighting to free the Amish in this country, which is a patriarchal and anti-modern one. But there's the rub. This administration's democracy talk is just that, only talk and it's plenty cheap. It has nothing at all to do with US interests in the ME, in fact is probably antithetical to US interests.

Posted by: nepeta on April 26, 2007 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, boy, those liberals sure have got us in a mess around the world, ain't they?

Posted by: Kenji on April 26, 2007 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

Our God VS their God? What a fine mess it is.

The big guy above has given us the ultimate task of defining who he really is. Why?

Impeach bush / Impeach god. Can we do that?

Seperation of church and state. More now than ever.

Thank You

Posted by: artemusc on April 26, 2007 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Now as I see it, a large majority of Muslims are pissed at US foreign policy, but only 10% are willing to countenance terrorism targeting civilians as a response to that. That doesn't mean -- pace Al -- that we have 100 million terrorists to deal with, but a small minority who are not necessarily repulsed by radical Islamist terrorism. There's a difference. That 10% represents the swamp that needs draining if we are to actually be successful in reducing the terrorist threat. How do we get that 10% to change their views? It has to come from internal change within Muslim societies where moderates and liberals are free to speak out against radicalism in the public square and change opinions. Unfortunately, until perceptions about US foreign policy change more broadly, those moderates have no street cred and won't have the ability to begin bringing that small but significant radical minority around.

Posted by: jonas on April 26, 2007 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

Why can't these people understand that these are just the birthpangs of a new middle east?

The delusion of every right winger is that they are embroiled in a clash of civlizations. The good old days are back.

It ain't true, but the Bush "We make our own reality" Administration is on the case.

Posted by: Boronx on April 26, 2007 at 4:12 AM | PERMALINK

Ex-Liberal and Current Insulter of Foreigners Liberals go all over the world verbally bashing the United States. Then, when we wonder who gave people in other countries a negative impression of the US, the liberals cry, "Who, me?"

Tell you what, chum, I could give a flying fuck what liberal Americans have to say about American actions (except insofar as it tells me that not all Yanks are brain-dead ditto heads. I take my own positions based on the facts as I see 'em.

What an arrogant nitwit you are. And what little cause for arrogance you have.

Tell me, do you believe that negative opinion that Yanks have of France arises primarily from those French who criticize the current government?



Posted by: snicker-snack on April 26, 2007 at 4:14 AM | PERMALINK

"Liberals go all over the world verbally bashing the United States. Then, when we wonder who gave people in other countries a negative impression of the US, the liberals cry, "Who, me?" "

As one of those liberals who go all over the world, I can say this is nonsense. Ex-liberal would know this if he ever traveled abroad. The negative impression foreigners have of the US is a consequence of our policies. And they are all well aware of those policies before we even speak to them. Sometimes they get quite irate about our policies. Twenty months ago in Prague, I was accosted by a group of angry Czech soldiers who were pissed off that they were being sent to Iraq to fight Bush's war. They were blaming me for electing Bush and were preparing to kick my ass. At that point, I did say some very negative things about Bush, but not the US. That calmed them down and they were willing to accept that many people in the US are also unhappy with Bush's policies and didn't vote for him. Our conversation actually gave them a better impression of Americans than they had to begin with. Had I been a conservative apologist like ex-liberal, I would have had my ass kicked hard and the Czech soldiers would still hold their negative views about Americans. Hey, that gives me an idea. Ex-liberal, have you considered a trip to Prague? I can tell you which bars to hang out in. I'm sure there are plenty of Czech soldiers who would like to meet you. Just make sure you tell them how much you love Bush.

Posted by: fostert on April 26, 2007 at 5:39 AM | PERMALINK

fostert,

I had a similar (well, not really) case once where US Navy guys almost beat the shit out of me - in this case it was completely my own fault. It was during the Falklands War when the US representative to the UN, Jeanne Kirkpatrick was calling for the US to side with the Argentinian dictatorship and she was hardly alone. In a bar, I was 19, foolish, well into my cups, picked up my beer walked over to the table of just arrived visiting Navy guys, slammed it into the middle and said "Why the fuck can't you guys choose between your best and oldest ally and some tin pot dictator?" Everybody rose. Very fortunately the commanding officer motioned them to sit, leaned over, looked me in the eye, shook my hand and said, "I agree with you." They then bought me drinks till I staggered home.

Um, I think I'm getting less dumb as I age.

Hey ex-lib, which Americans do you blame for my opinions and behavior then? (Personally, I'd like to be allowed to blame myself)

Posted by: snicker-snack on April 26, 2007 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

Dinesh D'Souza has been excommunicated from the right for his belief in moderate Muslims.

Of course, the first points in the list are defensible. They're more than defensible. They reflect right wing intentions.

As for the last, it's a it's not encouraging, but around 37% of Americans still support Bush. Human nature isn't going to change suddenly.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on April 26, 2007 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

Bill Moyers Journal last night had a speech by Teddy Kennedy from 2002 that predicted these results from the Iraq invasion. Kennedy's analysis was ignored by the MSM, which was clearly in cahoots with the Bush Admin.

Those chickens have come home to roost.

Posted by: Bob M on April 26, 2007 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Denis Diderot

Posted by: MsNThrope on April 26, 2007 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

I remember that Kennedy speech. The fact is though that these 'chickens' were eminently predictable.

But the grand poohbah pundits that pooh-poohed Kennedy and the many others (majorities overseas) that voiced these concerns remain firmly aseat their pundocracy thrones and still apparently expect their twitterings to be taken seriously.

Posted by: snicker-snack on April 26, 2007 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Though I reside now in Australia I lived & worked in Indonesia for many years, the world's most populous (pop 220,000,000) Muslim country. Though Indonesia is widely & correctly regarded as relatively moderate Islamic nation, all 5 of the PIPA poll question/responses cited by Kevin seem to be reasonably accurate reflections of the opinions I've often heard expressed in recent years across the Indonesian population. The mistrust of the US & (still limited) embrace of more extremist views & organisations (like J.I.) has increased massively during the past six years. Contrary to the completely unsubstantiated theories of commentators like "ex-liberal" & John Hansen, those negative & sometimes extremist opinions have absolutely nothing to do with Bush-dissenting American "liberal" or Democrat opinion & everything to do with:
1) The very real, very human disastrous impact of Republican & neo-con foreign policy in Islamic countries.
2) The hateful, anti-Islamic rhetoric spouted by American political & media conservatives. Examples of anti Muslim hate-speech are quoted & translated straight from FOX & elesewhere on mainstream Indonesian network tv & in the press.
3) The decades of fulsome support the US extended to the brutal dictatorships & kleptocracies of the Sukarno & Soeharto regimes.

Interestingly during EXACTLY the same period (2001-2006) that US led forces have attempted so disastrously to create post-dictatorial Islamic democracies in Afghanistan & Iraq, Indonesia has quietly succeeded in doing just that, without major bloodshed or upheaval. In so doing Indonesia has become the largest new democracy in the world, with a huge & compulsory contingent of female parliamentarians from all parties.

This astonishingly successful & rapid democratization has given Indonesians a unique perspective on how to, & exactly how not to, create a pluralist, moderate Islamic democratic government from the ruinous decades of a military dictatorship.

John Hansen ethnocentrically enquires "how to best teach moderate Muslims that the U.S. can be trusted?" The considerably more relevant question would be "What can moderate Muslims, particularly Indonesians, teach the US about creating a post-dictatorial, pluralist, Islamic democracy?"

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on April 26, 2007 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

'If it is true that the past is another country, then what confronts the West today is not so much a clash of civilisations as a clash of centuries. The jumbo jets that have enabled the mass immigration from Muslim countries to the West are, in effect, time machines that have brought millions of people from a pre-Enlightenment world - where men are the unquestioned bosses, stoning and forced amputation are punishments rather than crimes, and sectarian differences are worth dying over - to secular, liberal and postmodern democracies such as ours.'

Editorial: The veiled conceit of multiculturalism / October 24, 2006
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/

DOJ - How 'pluralist' is a nation which is 98% Muslim? I wonder if Indonesia is in any real modern sense a 'nation' at all composed as it is of whatever could be secured by main force from the dissolution of Dutch and British colonial empires. There are dozens of armed and deadly separatist factions which seek to undo that particular 'shotgun wedding'.

Posted by: MsNThrope on April 26, 2007 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

The emphasis and reliance upon U.S. opinion polls is silly. Kevin's attempt to rely upon polls from Pakiston, Egypt, etc. is absurd.

Posted by: brian on April 26, 2007 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Al

that means there are over a 100 million potential terrorists America has to deal with. How can anyone but a liberal consider that a small number?

I think Kevin meant that's a small number compared to what you would expect given the Bush administration's handling of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Israel, etc.

Kevin

10% of the respondents said they approved of terrorist attacks on civilian targets.

Outrageous, of course, but what percent of American approve of aerial bombardment of civilian targets as long as we call the dead "collateral damage?"

Posted by: tomeck on April 26, 2007 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

A little stoll down memory lane, shall we?

Islam has embraced militant armed aggression against the west since its inception. In contrast, the Christian response ("Crusades") did not begin until the 11th century. The first Crusade was a defensive response to generations of armed jihad. Much of the Middle East was once heavily Christian. Muslim armies changed that by imposing Islamic rule (Shari'a).

The Moors Dynasty, based out of Damascus, then Baghdad, occupied Spain for 750 years. El Cid organised the first resistance to them. France repelled a similar fate narrowly in 732--the valiant Charles Martel defeated the Moors at Poiters in the Battle of Tours. Russia has always struggled with the Tatars. Tolstoy noted the Chechen problem, which exists still today.

The Ottomans have been busy in Europe since the 14th century. Istanbul seized the lands of Hungary and Transylvania (see Vladamir Tepes--"Count Dracula"-- still regarded as an historic hero. Google him for some fascinating stuff). The Polish army heroically thwarted the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna in 1683. Miguel Cervantes (AKA Don Quixote) witnessed the sea battles between Spain and Italy against the Muslims.

We can then easily jump to the Barbary Pirates and the attacks on American commericial ships, resulting in kidnapping and slavery. Thomas Jefferson formed the US Marine Corps to defend our interests. "From the Halls of Montesuma to the shores of Tripoli." "Millions for defence, not one penny for tribute."

We are in the latest battle of a very long war. And the 10% jihadists of the 1 billion muslims (100,000,000 lost souls, by my count)) are not going away. Either join the fight or get the hell out of the way.

Posted by: nikkolai on April 26, 2007 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

On what mountain of moral right do Americans live that they can go around the world browbeating others on what kind of society they should have? The United States does not have the most democratic society in the world nor is it the most liberal (if by that you mean the most secular-rationalist). Indeed if you look at the World Values Survey it is the least liberal of developed nations and if you read Robert Dahl you come to understand that the political system is the most antiquated and undemocratic in the developed world.

It was the old job of the British Empire, America’s ancient enemy, to justify world management from the high ground of civilization and progress for the benighted peoples. But no one on this planet buys this anymore. People from India and China and the Middle East just shake their heads when Americans talk like this. Why? Because it is the same story they have heard for generations from men in suits and pith helmets. It is shocking how people in the United States think the spreading democracy sales pitch is something new to history. Middle Easterners don’t reject American interests because Americans carry the burning light of liberal democracy, but because they are foreigners, and pretty corrupt, ignorant, venal ones at that, who have no business in other people’s countries.

Quit India!

Posted by: bellumregio on April 26, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

A little stoll down memory lane, shall we?

Islam has embraced militant armed aggression against the west since its inception. In contrast, the Christian response ("Crusades") did not begin until the 11th century. The first Crusade was a defensive response to generations of armed jihad. Much of the Middle East was once heavily Christian. Muslim armies changed that by imposing Islamic rule (Shari'a).

The Moors Dynasty, based out of Damascus, then Baghdad, occupied Spain for 750 years. El Cid organised the first resistance to them. France repelled a similar fate narrowly in 732--the valiant Charles Martel defeated the Moors at Poiters in the Battle of Tours. Russia has always struggled with the Tatars. Tolstoy noted the Chechen problem, which exists still today.

The Ottomans have been busy in Europe since the 14th century. Istanbul seized the lands of Hungary and Transylvania (see Vladamir Tepes--"Count Dracula"-- still regarded as an historic hero. Google him for some fascinating stuff). The Polish army heroically thwarted the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna in 1683. Miguel Cervantes (AKA Don Quixote) witnessed the sea battles between Spain and Italy against the Muslims.

We can then easily jump to the Barbary Pirates and the attacks on American commericial ships, resulting in kidnapping and slavery. Thomas Jefferson formed the US Marine Corps to defend our interests. "From the Halls of Montesuma to the shores of Tripoli." "Millions for defence, not one penny for tribute."

We are in the latest battle of a very long war. And the 10% jihadists of the 1 billion muslims (100,000,000 lost souls, by my count)) are not going away. Either join the fight or get the hell out of the way.

Posted by: nikkolai on April 26, 2007 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Fascinating. But have you joined the fight, nik--or are you for sending other people to die for your history-enriched fantasies?

Posted by: Kenji on April 26, 2007 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, nikkolai, it is now 10:50 - Time to hit post again and again and again.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 26, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

The emphasis and reliance upon U.S. opinion polls is silly. Kevin's attempt to rely upon polls from Pakiston, Egypt, etc. is absurd.

Shorter brian the faux-moderate: When data (inevitably) conflicts with your conservative worldview, reject the data.

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

This is a good example of why I'm deeply suspicious of polls. I'm not accusing PIPA of fraud, not even of deliberate slant; some of their work has indeed been useful (at least, in advancing views I already agreed with :) ) and meaningful. By suspicious, I just mean I don't want to draw any conclusions from this, because the questions and answers are schizophrenic.

As others have pointed out, anything about the "goals of al-Qaeda" is pointless; it's entirely possible to agree with the positive or neutral aspects of their ostensible goals and turn a blind eye to their methods, or the consequences of their goals, or whatever. About 45 percent of Americans would say they agree with the goals of the Constitution Party, which is about as meaningful. The survey also mingles questions of historical record, personal opinion on very vague and abstract issues, and immediate and personal questions. Of course strong-but-not-total majorities are going to say they disapprove of attacks on civilians, what did the pollsters expect? Also, as the analysis points out, there's a big disconnect between Egyptian opinions on suicide attacks and attacks on civilians. But forget about whether civilians have made up most of the targets of most suicide attacks are the pollsters really, really sure everyone would agree about the definition of "civilian"?

In fact, I'm only halfway through reading the report, and the question I just read seems like a perfect example. Respondents in those four countries were asked to choose between three options of attitudes toward al-Qaeda. 1) I support al Qaedas attacks on Americans and share its attitudes toward the US; 2) I oppose al Qaedas attacks on Americans but share many of its attitudes toward the US; and, 3) I oppose al Qaedas attacks on Americans and do not share its attitudes toward the US. But the thing that caught my eye is the number of people who said they didn't know or didn't want to answer. It varies widely. In Egypt, it's only 14 percent, with everyone else being pretty evenly split between the three main options. In Pakistan, it's 66 percent. (For that matter, they seem to have the highest "decline to answer" numbers on most questions.) And on the question of who was responsible for 9/11, only two percent of Pakistanis thought it was al Qaeda. If you try to draw logical conclusions based on this poll alone, you're forced to the conclusion that Pakistanis are deeply undecided and ambivalent as a people. More likely, though, the poll meant something very different to them than it does to people in other countries, or to us. "So do you agree with the government of the country just a day's drive west of here that got bombed back to the stone age? And how well do you know that guy who moved in down the street from you two years ago? Don't worry, this is completely anonymous."

Polls can be useful for some things. This is not one of them.

Posted by: Cyrus on April 26, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

"10% is a pretty small number, all things considered, but at the same time, it's way more than enough to keep al-Qaeda supplied with foot soldiers for a long, long time."

It seems there are plenty of people here in the United States who support a variety of atrocities, but have assiduously avoided undertaking the atrocities themselves. Don't know why it would be different there...

Posted by: bonnieg on April 26, 2007 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

nikkolai,

In your "The Muslims are the greatest in the history of the world" tome, you stated that Thomas Jefferson formed the US Marine Corps.

Not so - They were formed as the Continental Marines during the Revolution, and disbanded after the war - When the US Navy was formed in 1794, the addition of sea going infantry, or Marines, were added in 1798. Jefferson became President in 1801 - He did send the Navy with Marines into the First Barbary War, where the Marines excelled. But, Jefferson did not "form" the Marine Corps.

And, now back to the Muslims attacking you in your bed room.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 26, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

You forgot to add "scourge" after greatest, Uncle Paul

Posted by: stupid git on April 26, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Good point, bonneig. Just because people can live with horror -- or have been talked into it by mendacious leaders -- doesn't mean they are willing to pick up a machete themselves. Of course, knock down enough doors and murder parents in front of their children, and that could change, too.

Ah, the profound legacy of George W. Bush.

Posted by: Kenji on April 26, 2007 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

join the fight or get the hell out of the way

I am standing in your way nikkolai, and I am going to spit in your eye.

Posted by: Brojo on April 26, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

You all are so out of date.

The USA's Next Big War won't be a war with the so-called "Muslim world" over control of Middle Eastern oil supplies.

The USA's Next Big War will be with Canada, over control of North American water supplies.

Posted by: Never Happen on April 26, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK
…Anyone who really believes that Bush and co. really act this way is simplistic and naive. John Hansen at 7:39 PM
Check out the new Iraqi oil law. It shows that it is simplistic and naïve of you to think they don't.
The islamic world is already divided as evidenced by the shia and sunni killing each other in Iraq. TruthPolitik at 10:09 PM
Since that wasn't happening until Bush invaded, you prove their point.
…We are in the latest battle of a very long war… nikkolai at 10:07 AM
The West, of course, has never involved itself in the Middle East. There was no Eastern Roman Empire, no crusades, no Zionism. Actions have reactions. The intelligent make their actions peaceful; demagogues use jingoism and war-and-fear mongering as means to power.
…Muslims know that history has passed them by ….mhr at 11:24 AM
You should check into the rate of economic development of some places like the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Facts on the ground give lie to your RepubliConTarian propaganda. You should look to your evangelical supporters to find backward people who deny science and the modern world. Attend to your own before criticizing someone else. Posted by: Mike on April 26, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Only US liberals could believe that "public opinion" in islamic countries reflects anything but what the people are told to believe.

Big talk from someone who does nothing but parrot the more deranged GOP talking points.

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

If one wasn't nuts, then one wouldn't be a muslim.

Posted by: Matt on April 26, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Advocating the mass killing of peoples based on their religion, makes one worse than nuts. Much, much worse.

Posted by: Brojo on April 26, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Thinking of the ten percent led me to a kinda funny thought: probably 95 percent of the 10 percent are proud and fearless members of the Allah-Akhbar Glorious Suicide Keyboard Brigade.. the most hated enemy of the American Fighting Keyboardists. You'll never catch them actually strapping semtex to their chest, but you will catch them on various blogs cheering on the poor slobs who actually blow themselves up. And they'll be convinced that their suffering from carpal tunnel is equivalent to the suffering of a guerilla fighting the Americans.

A beautiful mirror image of the brave souls typing away in their basements in the US of A. But, just like their American counterparts who somehow avoid actual military service, they'll always have an excuse as to why they won't join AQ. So I doubt there's much of a recruitment pool there.

Posted by: cs on April 27, 2007 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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