Democrats & Liberals Archives

Nasrallah vs. Siniora

We are not in the midst of a clash of civilizations. The clash is not between Muslims and the West. Nor is the primary conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, nor between Americans and Arabs, nor between Shi-ites and Sunnis. The historical conflict is between Muslims who glorify death and Muslims who glorify life. The former is represented by Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, and the latter by Siniora, the prime minister of Lebanon.

Nasrallah started the recent conflict with Israel. He loves martyrdom and had previously celebrated the martyrdom of his son. He encourages all Muslims to embrace death. Here is part of a speech he made to children:

"How can death become joyous? How can death become happiness? When Al-Hussein asked his nephew Al-Qassem, when he had not yet reached puberty: 'How do you like the taste of death, son?' He answered that it was sweeter than honey. How can the foul taste of death become sweeter than honey? Only through conviction, ideology, and faith, through belief, and devotion."

According to Nasrallah, death is "sweeter than honey." Death is better than life. Martyrdom is the best thing can happen to you.

In contrast to Nasrallah, who glorifies death, Siniora glorifies life. In the August 28 issue of The New Republic, Annia Ciezadlo describes what happened when during the war Siniora gathered the members of the Arab League in Beirut:

"His voice shaking, Siniora delivered a passionate speech to the ministers, who sat around a table looking uncomfortable. He called on them to keep Lebanon from being Israel's 'punching bag' and alluded to his country's longsuffering status as the battleground for regional wars. He spoke of massacres, martyrs, and the destruction of the country's infrastructure; at that point, some 500 Lebanese civilians and 35 soldiers had been killed. And then he broke down. Weeping, he said he had just heard of another Israeli bombing, in a village called Houla, in which 40 people were believed killed (it turned out to be only one). The Arab foreign ministers bowed their heads, either from courtesy or shame."

Siniora cried because he was horrified by the killing of people, whether they be Shi-ite, Sunni, Christian, Druze or anything else. He evidently thinks life is good and should not be wasted in ruthless bloodshed. The Arab foreign ministers, who had belittled Siniora before, now respected him. Siniora is appalled by the deaths and he is fighting to make Lebanon a fountain of life.

Nasrallah and Siniora are antagonists in a war for the Arab soul. Nasrallah encourages death and Siniora encourages life.

Because Nasrallah glorifies death, he must instill hatred into his people so that they may be eager to kill the enemy, though they themselves get killed in the process. This is why there are madrasas that teach hatred of and vengeance against Jews, Americans and other people of the West. It's impossible to build any kind of civilization by glorifying hatred and martyrdom. Maybe you will get rid of some enemies, but without your youth, how can you produce anything of value?

Siniora and Arabs like Siniora are the true hope of the Middle East. Siniora favors life, not death. Like others who favor life, he does not hate, but loves. Love for your fellow human beings is necessary for building a decent society. Life and love lead to joy, excitement, growth and to myriads of possibilities. They can lead to a new age of Arab prosperity and peace.

Let's fight the Nasrallahs and encourage and help the Sinioras in order to get Arabs to see that life can be peaceful, beautiful and enjoyable.

Posted by Paul Siegel at August 22, 2006 5:27 PM
Comment #177003

Oh. Well, if it’s just that simple, I’ll stop reading about the middle east.

Posted by: Trent at August 22, 2006 5:40 PM
Comment #177004

Paul - right.

We have to be clear about death lovers. Our ethics strain when dealing with people whose goal is to kill and die.

This, BTW, is a long standing problem in the Muslim region in general and the Lebanon region specifically. Teh origin of the word assassin comes from a radical sect that glorified death. That was 1000 years ago.

We can never get rid of these sorts, but there are several things we need do.

First is to recognize the problem. This is not the result of Israeli or western provocations. As we are reasonable, they push and kill moe.

Second work to destroy those we can and isolate the others. You are right that not all - or even most - Muslims ae infected. But like a pathogen, such extremism spreads.

Third - we need to be judgemental. The bad guys like to try to make us feel guilty and to create a moral equality. We are better than they are and we have the right fight and punish them. IF they feel the same way, then we have a fight on our hands, but the alternative is for us to die.

Fourth - delegitimize and ridicule. We have to not give the terrorist respect. It helps them spread their message and their pathogen. Ridicule if possible. That is why I always make a special point of laughing at the 72 virgins joke or spreading the rumor that Osama bin Laden avoid U.S. special forces by dressing as a woman. I do this even when I do not particularly feel like it.

Anyway, good post.

We beat back the Communists, who were much better organized and formidable. We can take care of these clowns too if we adapt our tactics.

Posted by: Jack at August 22, 2006 5:49 PM
Comment #177005

I usually do not correct my typos, but I have to point out that it is “As we are reasonable they push and kill MORE.” They would probably kill Moe (are well are Larry and Curly) given the chance, but that is not what I meant.

Posted by: Jack at August 22, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #177007

This is absurd. Look, yeah, let’s kill everyone trying to kill us. I ain’t stupid; that’s how it’s gotta be unless we roll over and die. But to reduce everything to such a simple life/death binary — good grief! How does that help us? Everything depends on definition, of course. If you define the primary clash as between those Muslims who want Life and those who want Death, then of course you can say that is primary. How does this help us intelligently deal with our foes? How do we think about the Sunni/Shi-ite conflict? Disregard it, or say X percentage of Sunni’s worship Death, but Y percentage of Shi-ite’s worship Life? Easy black and white thinking is a hallmark of Fundamentalism, for chrissakes.

Posted by: Trent at August 22, 2006 6:31 PM
Comment #177009

The problem with the Middle East is ignorance. These “Freedom Fighters” prey on the uneducated and poor to increase thier numbers. There are many places in the Middle East where the people are kept from learning basic reading and writing skills. This is so these so called leaders, whether they are heads of state or leaders of terrorist organization, can feed the masses what is supposedly God’s will. Until the U.N. accepts this fact and starts taking action to help the people, the plain truth is we shall never be rid of the fanatics who keep spreading thier poison throughout the world.

Posted by: Dwayne at August 22, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #177010

Excellent post, guess what these people who love death want is US TO DIE WITH THEM, it’s a simple choice and unlike a lot in this world it’s black and white…… just how far will this sink into the lefts psyche….we will just have to see.

Posted by: Peter at August 22, 2006 6:41 PM
Comment #177012

The Sunni/Shi-ite conflict is not really based on life and death but a dipute over core beliefs from the Koran.

Posted by: Dwayne at August 22, 2006 6:52 PM
Comment #177014

Western/All Others, Male/Female, Good/Evil, Business/Government, Republican/Democrat, Reason/Emotion, Rhetoric/Philosophy, Presence/Absence, Straight/Gay, Master/Slave, Base/Superstructure, etc., etc., etc.

The problem with binary thinking is that it precludes the spectrum, it precludes shades of gray, it privileges one thing uncritically over the other. This is not to say that one thing isn’t to be preferred over another…I like my eggs cooked, after all (Cooked/Raw). But I am saying that reducing EVERYTHING about Islam to one binary is to delude ourselves. Look, of course we favor peaceful people over terrorists. But losing subtlety, losing any sense of complexity, makes us susceptible to those who want to control us. It is O’Reilly thinking. It serves to justify whatever ignorant thing you want to do. Of course woman shouldn’t vote; they are not men, they cannot think logically.

Posted by: Trent at August 22, 2006 7:11 PM
Comment #177018

This is what we get if we value simplistic thinking.

Thanks to Mental Wimp for the link.

Posted by: Trent at August 22, 2006 7:26 PM
Comment #177019

I agree with everyone’s posts (I should go into politics)…

While, as Trent says, I don’t think things are as simple as the life/death quotes by these two men (and while a portion of the Muslim world, in the name of the entire Muslim world, is very much in a clash with the West), I very much agree that we are very much in a battle with those who *typically* do not embrace and value life as we do:
- Jihadist Muslims
- Inner city gangs
- Mafia, Drug cartels, and other hardened criminals
- Doomsdayers (McVeigh’s, Koresh’s, etc.)

With Jihadists who are our main problem we need to be very active with Western Law Enforcement measures, and judiciously active militarily as needed. But I suspect the cooperation, influence and pressure of the 50-95% (depends whom one asks) of Muslims who want no part of Jihad will exert far more influence than all of the West’s actions combined.

PS. I agree with Jack, too — jihadists would probably kill Moe, Larry & Curly since (I believe) they were all Jewish-Americans and would have been “twofers” ;-)

Posted by: Brian at August 22, 2006 7:39 PM
Comment #177020

“The problem with binary thinking is that it precludes the spectrum, it precludes shades of gray, it privileges one thing uncritically over the other” Posted by: Trent at August 22, 2006 07:11 PM
Trent, how about Life/Death. Where are the shades of gray. I have yet to hear a terrorist, of any stripe, say “injure” the infidel.
Paul, thank you for your civil post. Jim

Posted by: Jim at August 22, 2006 7:40 PM
Comment #177022

Jim, in the present case, the Life/Death binary is being used to comfortably categorize people. While categorizing suicide bombers are those who favor Death seems unobjectionable, easily categorizing Israel, who, regardless of the merits of its actions, has killed many Lebanese as favoring Life is a bit more problematic. Israel in this instance favors Israeli life. Again, I am not saying that Israel shouldn’t protect itself, etc. etc. I just don’t find such easy reductions useful.

Posted by: Trent at August 22, 2006 7:47 PM
Comment #177027

I agree with Trent. I think people come in all shades of gray in many dimensions, including how they value Life / Death FOR ANY PARTICULAR GROUP. E.g.:
- how Israelis value Israeli lives vs. Palestinian/Lebonese/others lives
- how American media depict and how we value American deaths in Iraq vs. Iraqi deaths
- your personal valuations for Lives of: civilian, soldier, terrorist, American, Israeli, Iraqi, criminal, …
- ad infinitum

Per my prev. post, I suspect if we can influence more Muslims to more highly value life of any/every sort, they might influence terrorists directly and their support network/culture indirectly that (employing a little Jackesque derision) “there are no virgins in this life or the next for idiots behaving like you.”

Posted by: Brian at August 22, 2006 8:23 PM
Comment #177030

This sounds to me like it was written and thought out by a Jew. Who else would think
like that of Muslims (oh wait, I forgot, Americans also think like this).

Posted by: Edward at August 22, 2006 8:31 PM
Comment #177033

Edward, so you think very poorly of those who insult terrorists.

I wonder why…

Do you think of the terrorists themselves as being millions of times worse for their heinous actions, or do you support them and therefore are offended by those who insult your comrades?

Posted by: Brian at August 22, 2006 8:47 PM
Comment #177034

…oh, and is calling someone a ‘Jew or American’ really the best insult you can think of?

Is there no better justification of your position than you don’t like Jews or Americans and you think I was acting like one?

Posted by: Brian at August 22, 2006 8:50 PM
Comment #177037

I don’t want to speak for Paul, but what I was saying and what I think he was saying was NOT that we should want to destroy all Muslims. On the contrary. There is a clash of civilization within the Muslim religion. Most Muslims are not death worshippers such as Osama bin Laden. In fact it is an insult to the religion to include people like him in it. Unfortunately, the dark side can infect many others.

Re killing people who disagree with us. We certainly should not. But we should certainly hope to kill as many of those who want to kill us as possible.

Re tolerance - we can only tolerate people and ideas who themselves live according to the rules of tolerance. People like Nazis, KKK, Marxists and radical Muslims place themselves outside the bounds by their violence. We do not ostracize them or punish them for their ideas, but for their actions. In this case, however, we have to cut through the complexity. We have the right to ostracize and punish Marists, Nazis, KKK and radical Muslims because we are better than they are. We have to believe that in order to win and we must win or the world will enter a dark age.

I believe we need to understand our enemy in order to defeat him, but let’s not let understanding drift off into justification or even sympathy.

Posted by: Jack at August 22, 2006 9:34 PM
Comment #177039

——I would hope the folks here would step back an
take a deep breath of air, seems to be a bit foul.

Posted by: DAVID at August 22, 2006 9:49 PM
Comment #177040

Like others Paul, I have to disagree with the simplicity of this view. The clash is between the individual vs. globalized world order. And the globalized world order that steam rolls over religions, cultures, personal property, personal rights, and individual choice to choose their own lifestyles, is being resisted not just by Arabs, Muslims, and aboriginal tribes, but, by growing minorities in all of the westernized nations.

It is much, much deeper, broader, and more basic than one religion’s emphasis on the highly debatable word, “life”. Not to put too fine a point on it, but, for some, there is more life in the moment of death, than all the years that precede that moment, when life is given up for a cause greater than oneself. Ask some of our own GI heroes if this is not the case.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 22, 2006 9:49 PM
Comment #177041

When a cat has kittens, she has to hide the male offspring because the tomcat will check out all the little newborn tomcats and kill them. This ensures HE has the only chance at all the female goodies. Could these turban heads be convincing these impressionable YOUNG turban heads to martyr themselves so that there won’t be so much competition for all the female goodies?

Makes about as much sense as the rest of the reasons I have encountered.

Posted by: jwfisher at August 22, 2006 9:53 PM
Comment #177050

I find the problem with this post is that while it’s very effective for Siniora to get up and cry in front of the Arab league because of an Israeli attack. Where has he and the Lebanese government been all these years and at least the last 6 after Israel left. They have done nothing to reduce the power and influence that Hezballah had over Lebanon especially in the South.

Posted by: Keith at August 22, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #177053

I’m with Jack, there is a certain mindset that is beyond what might be called civilized. I find it rather strange, that so many liberals recognize it in our own christian fundamentalists and yet excuse it in the case of the islamists. Like our own christian fundamentalists, the islamists don’t like modernity and it’s confusing, messy shades of gray, compromises and contradictions. They envy our power, but are not willing to embrace the mindset that makes such power possible. The difference is here ours are a minority (albeit an influential one) and in the middle east they are a majority.
Binary thinking is obviously not a good thing in politics or goverment, but there is, at some point, a bottom line.
Take the current case of Iran. By all accounts, Iran has a population of young, educated people, who seem to want better relations with the west and thirst for the above mentioned modernity. However, their theocratic goverment, is doing it’s best to repress those impulses by appealing to the usual suspects; the big satan enemy, the will of God, Nationalism, etc. and of course, by using the usual tools of repression costumary to all tyranies. So what do we do about their drive to become a nuclear power and the undisputed power in the region? Do you think they can be “contained” like the Soviet Union was contained? Do you think they who are on intimate terms with God and are sure of their place in heaven will blink in the same way that the atheist Krushev did? Should we send Scotland Yard to arrest the mullahs? What kind of U.N. resolution should we pass after the nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran? Is it o.k. then if Iran conquers the entire region as Saddam dreamed of doing?
I’m not a conservative, I’m a democrat and I would impeach Bush and his whole administration tomorrow if I could, but we need to look at the world as it is, not as we wish it was. Some times, there’s a bottom line.

Posted by: Rene at August 23, 2006 12:36 AM
Comment #177055

I’ve read many of Paul’s posts lately. I do not believe for one second that he thinks this is as simple as black and white. Instead, I believe he is trying to get at the essence of this thing. He is discovering and giving a name to the root, the core, the one thing that sets it apart from others.

It took a long time for us to start calling this a war on islamic fascism instead of a war on terror. That recognition, that identification helps define the problem and that must happen before the problem can be solved. This is basic analytical process.

So, Paul, go for it. You’ve found yet another name for this unspeakable evil we face and thereby further define it. There *are* Muslims that love life and even modernity. I believe it will be they that cut this Gordian’s knot.

Posted by: Charlie at August 23, 2006 1:03 AM
Comment #177056

Rene, fundamentalism is the majority approach of Islamists? And what liberals excuse extremism? I hear that charge on these boards all the time, yet have never seen it. I also hear that liberals hate America and love terrorists. Maybe we don’t spend as much time saying the obvious, that terrorism is terrible, but how that be interpreted as excusing fanatics is beyond me. These are techniques by which the right attempts to deflect criticism of wrong-headed policy. They may honestly believe it, but that doesn’t make it so.

Often when someone says you don’t understand something, what it really means is that you don’t agree with them. He or she has the view that if you simply understood, you’d have to agree with them. It’s a mechanism by which he or she can dismiss challenges. Talk to a true believer of anything, and you can see that psychological move.

Iran is dangerous and recently emboldened by mistakes we have made. We need to stop being amateurish in our foreign policy. Slogans, patriotic rah-rahs, demonizing might be psychological gratifying, but what we need is to apply the full strength of our intelligence. We’ve failed to do that so far.

Posted by: Trent at August 23, 2006 1:16 AM
Comment #177057

Could we stop using the word “modernity?” It’s a vague term that can refer to various historical periods, and it doesn’t really have much of a positive connotation.

Posted by: Trent at August 23, 2006 1:19 AM
Comment #177060

Yes, you’re right. How terribly clumsy of me. Perhaps you’d prefer “contemporaneity” or “coincidental.” Maybe “simultaneity” is a better word. Gee, there are so many words; so little time to use them all. Yes, we must start being more egalitarian and use some of the minority English words. Like “isochronal” and “coetaneous.”

But yes you are correct to imply there are words we must stay away from. For instance, I would never use “synergistic” in a sentence. It’s meaningless! An onomatopoeia of business-speak.

Thank you, Trent, for stopping me before I embarrassed myself further.

Posted by: Charlie at August 23, 2006 3:36 AM
Comment #177062

Let’s fight the Nasrallahs and encourage and help the Sinioras in order to get Arabs to see that life can be peaceful, beautiful and enjoyable.
Posted by Paul Siegel at August 22, 2006 05:27 PM

And how exactly Paul, can we help the Sinioras and fight the Nasrallahs by bombing Lebanon back twenty years? And who has emerged from this calamitous war strengthened and who weakened? Clearly Hizbullah and Nasrallah are immeasuably stronger, and therefore Siniora is immeasurably weakened, along with Lebanese democracy.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at August 23, 2006 5:52 AM
Comment #177063

I wish it was as easy to correct as it was made to sound, but even those that advocate life, in the middle east still want to limit what Israel, and the United States do, of course until they want our money to rebuild.

As far as Nasrallahs and his likes, is that they talk others into being the bombers, and getting the virgins. Someone within the Arab community that has respect has to say that he is wrong, because if it so good to be a marytr why has he not done it. To show there are other ways then just killing yourself. At the same time the US, Isarel and the west, has to let them do the talking and to stay out of other countries business, and let them work it out.

Posted by: KT at August 23, 2006 7:28 AM
Comment #177065

I didn’t mean to be pedantic, Charlie. It’s just been misused a lot, lately.

Posted by: Trent at August 23, 2006 8:06 AM
Comment #177075


I agree with you. I don’t think Paul think it is as simple as black and white either. What I do think is that he supports Israel’s destruction of southern Lebanon and the resulting displacement of nearly a half a million people, and his current reduction of ALL related issues to a simple Life/Death binary sweeps aside the actual complexity of the situation.

Posted by: Trent at August 23, 2006 9:37 AM
Comment #177076

U.K.’s Royal Institute of International Affairs just published an analysis of the various interrelated issues in the middle east, including the crisis in Lebanon. I hope it’s not just liberal self-loathing or justification of terrorists to desire to understand as much as possible.

Posted by: Trent at August 23, 2006 10:06 AM
Comment #177077

While “modernity” may be misused from time-to-time, it is a useful word in describing the reality that is the present. It’s antonym is “nostalgia”… and the battle between the two has been a fundamental conflict in the human psyche around the world in all ages. The former is adaptive, the latter is maladaptive. The former is empirical and essentially rational while, the latter is mythical and essentially irrational (think, National Socialism and its foundation in Nordic mythology). Historically, the conflict between the two is most passionate in politics and religion and, hence, the wisdom of discussing neither in polite company. That being said, it is important to note the conflict, today, between modernity and nostalgia is not unique to Islam as it is equally rages in Christianity.

History suggests the only resolution to the conflict comes when the benefits of modernity outweigh the perceived benefits of nostalgia which history, again, suggests comes via education and/or catastrophic events.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at August 23, 2006 10:07 AM
Comment #177078


Great post but I think you’re confusing cause and effect here. I believe it is a symptom that the islamofascist has an obsession with death. I’m sure you recognize that the causes are likely far more complex.

But, perhaps treating the symptom, i.e. giving more reasons to live than to die, might begin the process of a cure, or at least act like a penicillin restricting the disease spread. It is after all very hard to convert people away from a belief (vs. fact) driven system.

Posted by: Dave1 at August 23, 2006 10:25 AM
Comment #177080

Sorry for the faulty link. I still don’t have the hang of it.

My post should have read:

Go to

Posted by: traveller at August 23, 2006 10:54 AM
Comment #177081

I give up. The article I’m trying to reference is at

Posted by: traveller at August 23, 2006 10:58 AM
Comment #177084

Your points are well taken, Dr. Poshek. My objection to its misuse was rather prosaic … it’s use as a synonym for the common sense of modern, and the assumption that it denotes something unequivocally good. Existential crisis, alienation, commodification, after all, are part and parcel of a discussion of modernity. At any rate, I’ll have to think about your last sentence.

Posted by: Trent at August 23, 2006 11:05 AM
Comment #177089


So what you’re saying is that a handful of fanatics represent the entirety of Islamic civilization?

Posted by: Rocky at August 23, 2006 11:46 AM
Comment #177090

These fanatics are the mainstream of Islamic belief. Look around and see what’s going on in the world; pay attention to what’s being taught in Islamic schools and mosques. What you call fanaticism is what the Islamic holy scriptures demand.

Posted by: traveller at August 23, 2006 11:50 AM
Comment #177094

——I find it simply amazing that when one country
invades another would not expect consequences, when
you invade more than one an talk about trying
for a third country, is sure madness. When you throw stones at a hornets nest you most shrewdly will be stung. Had we pursued the head terrorists, an
dealt with them, I would suggest that we would
not be here today throwing insults at very large
group of Arab people. I do not believe our Governmental heads of State are retarded, leaving me
to ponder over the real reasons for the invasion
an destruction of other Countries!

Posted by: DAVID at August 23, 2006 12:13 PM
Comment #177095


You would have me swallow the concept of a religion that has over 1 billion followers, all over the world, all believing their “manifest destiny” is world domination, and death at any cost?

So, do we continue to exterminate them in small groups, or is this truly what the development of nuclear weapons was about?

There are “believers”, and then there are believers.

I’m sorry, given that the basic human nature is truly about survival at all costs, I just can’t buy into what you’re trying to sell.

Posted by: Rocky at August 23, 2006 12:14 PM
Comment #177097

—Rocky—-good post

Posted by: DAVID at August 23, 2006 12:24 PM
Comment #177101

Here’s the problem:

Many more Muslims love life. Extremist Muslims seeking martyrdom may only be 1%, perhaps slightly higher?

So that sounds good right? 99% are reasonable! Yes, and we could throw a party based on that until we get existentialist and say:

“Imagine if 1% of the drivers on our nations roads were willing to ram their car into you and kill you.”

You could only have a 5 mile drive to work, and you’d never get there because of the chaos of the gridlock they would cause. And of course, somewhere around the 3rd or 4th month of this hypothetical, your number would be up as the actual victim of the killing spree.

This why we must be as steadfast as ever. Just 1% of Muslims is what? 20 million people? That’s nearly 3 New York City’s worth of people ready for suicide bombing Jihad.

And to think W stirred up all this nonsense is what I call “A Convenient Falsehood”.

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 23, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #177104


“Just 1% of Muslims is what? 20 million people?”

Actually, no, that would be 10 million, given that the estimate is 1 billion believers.

So, when do we start the exterminations?

And if it was up to you, where do we start?

If we are to “win” this war on terror it must be won from inside of Islam. That is where the “hearts and minds” reside.

Cowboy George has only stirred the nest, he hasn’t done anything to change the attitude that got us where we are in the first place.

Posted by: Rocky at August 23, 2006 1:08 PM
Comment #177105

Why does the number of fanatics have to be 1%? Did you just pick that because it’s the lowest integer? Do you have any research to suggest that the proportion of fanatics is not closer to 0.001%, or about 10,000? Considering that we don’t have 10,000 suicide bombings a year, I think my number is closer to the truth, and is probably overshooting it. How can you claim a religion, in and of itself, is responsible for what less than 0.001% of its members do?

There’s no need to fan the flames of fear with specters of 2 million muslims advancing with suicide vests. Reality, although not great, doesn’t bear it out.

Posted by: Brian Poole at August 23, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #177115

Terrific comments.

I don’t believe anything is black-and-white. The reason why I posted this article is to show the way toward conquering terrorism.

I don’t believe there is a conflict of civilizations. Osama’s beef is more with his fellow Muslims than with the West.

By offering the contrast between those who glorify death and those who glorify life, we have a tool for helping the civilized Muslims. We need to spread the word and then Muslims will continue spreading the word amongst themselves.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at August 23, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #177120

Ken Stong-

So the problem is that too many muslims want to be martyrs?

Gee, care to dig a little deeper there? Maybe even TRY? Maybe even ask yourself “why?”

That’s exactly like me saying that the reason why blacks are incarcerated more than others is because a greater percentage of them commit crimes.

Even assuming your arbitrary 1% figure is even remotely true, so what?

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 23, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #177128

—-Paul Siegel—- Why not bring up some talking
heads (Politicians) capable of bringing out this message, let’s debate this for awhile!
Most of our political an news media
have no intention of putting forward any such critical thinking on the subject.
They seem interested in conflict. Possible discussion on voting, an a few key people
people would give us a better
results. We must have a completely new concept
on correcting the damage already done. an start over.

Posted by: DAVID at August 23, 2006 4:15 PM
Comment #177131

Paul you are exacly right but with all due respect this sounds like a speach that George Bush would make.Please explain were you differ with the president on this issue.

Posted by: offthehook at August 23, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #177139

It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic and obscene. All of there people talking about fanatical killing in a country that had made a policy of war making, alongside of its surrogate, Israel, thinking that problems can be solved by waging war. What about every action having an equal and opposite reaction? How are there so many insatiable warmongers in an advanced country that is a leader in the humanities and sciences. How come there can be so many irrational people? If you make war on people and if you demonise them, they are not going to love you and seek to accomodate you. They will inevitably be visited by the red cloud of hatred and irrationality and seek to kill you.

Had the US confined its war making to Afghanistan and property completed its dragnet for OBL and his lieutenants, the world would be a better place for westerners and Muslims. Muslims are people, so essentially they are just like us. They want the same things as we do, stability to raise their families and live reasonably modest lives while trying to live good lives. When we accept the bile of those who would make war, we blind ourselves to our common humanity and make ourselves pliable o their nefarious ends. By seeking to defeat terrorism by conventional military means, we end up giving massive assistance and credibility to the terrorists. What apologists for war making casually and coldly call “collateral damage” is in actual fact living breathing human beings. And although those not on the receiving end of this obscene violence can regret this unfortunate aspect of war making, to those close to them, it is murder, and they want their pound of flesh. It is after all, human nature. And so the cycle is renewed. To those Christians out there, Christianity, and indeed Judaism are clear. GOd gave Moses the ten commandments. One of those says “Thou shalt not kill” Now as far as i know, there are no get out clauses. They didn’t say except in the case of para 23, subsection c, line 3. Christ himself said do good to those that calumniate you, do unto others as you would expect to done unto, turn the other cheek. Love your neighbour. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. On a purely secular level, war making in Iraq has not achieved its objectives, despite the massive cost in lives and treasure, and there is no sign that it will do so any time soon, if ever. The recent war in Lebanon, again with so much loss of life and property damage, did not achieve its objective. Yet the limited and very targeted war in Gulf 1 did actually achieve its objectives, precisely because it had clear and achievable objectives,and was not waged among a civilian population where unacceptable loss of life was likely.

The problems in the Mid East are not soluble by imposing Western solutions. We need to engage in a debate showing the same respect for all of the protagonists that we expect to be shown. This is how radicals and terrorists can be isolated and defanged. If there is a rational and fair dialogue between everyone involved, with time and a lot of work, all of our problems can be solved. Maybe its just that for some people, war seems an easier and quicker answer. Will we never learn?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at August 23, 2006 5:49 PM
Comment #177140

Correction to second line of above post. It should have read ” all of these people…..” instead of all of there people. Apologies!

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at August 23, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #177148

Ken Strong

What GWB has done is turn that”1%”(presuming that is an accurate %) turn it into 3 or 4 or 5%…..or more.

Posted by: mark at August 23, 2006 7:04 PM
Comment #177150

Someone once asked Gandhi what he thought of western civilisation to which he replied; ” I think that would be a very good idea! Or as my fellow Irishman George Bernard Shaw observed, Christianity is a great idea that has never been tried.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at August 23, 2006 7:44 PM
Comment #177154


Where do you come up with this tripe. The reason Gandhi’s non-violent revolution worked was because the British were esentially a good and decent people who could not just slaughter millions of civillians to keep their empire. The same holds true for Martin Luther Kings’ non-violent civil rights protests.

Try this in Iran, Iraq(under Saddam) or North Korea and you would have a completely different ending.

As for the middle east, you’ve got to be kidding. The argument that they are only responding to us just won’t. The Islamo-fascists have hated the west for centuries, they just didn’t have the ability to do much about it until the oil money and technology made the world a lot smaller. They were attacking Jews in the middle east long before the turn of the 20th century.

Posted by: Keith at August 23, 2006 9:49 PM
Comment #177155


“The reason Gandhi’s non-violent revolution worked was because the British were esentially a good and decent people who could not just slaughter millions of civillians to keep their empire.”

I don’t know where you get your information, but the British were ruthless in India.
Hundreds of thousands were imprisoned, many were killed.

Britian left India because the Empire was broken by WW2, and they couldn’t afford to stay, faced with massive unrest and strikes accross the country.

Posted by: Rocky at August 23, 2006 10:03 PM
Comment #177163

Trent: I purposedly used the example of Iran, because I wanted to show the tragedy of the situation. Iran is ironicaly, the one country where I believe the vast majority of the population is NOT fundamentalist and yet, is currently the most dangerous. Their leadership thwarts all their attempts to democratize and join modernity (I stand by my choice of words, thank you Dr. Poshek).
Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria, et al, is a different story, my impression there is that it IS a majority who are radical fundamentalists. Do I have statistics? No. But I read a LOT about politics and world affairs and I’m not talking about that Coulter person or Michael Moore either.
Please don’t accuse me of supporting “wrong headed” policies, that is why I threw in the disclamer at the end about impeaching Bush.
I’m not advocating that we go to war with Iran next week, but it looks TO ME, AT THIS TIME, like we are headed that way no matter what we do in some not to distant future, given their leadership’s ambitions and world view.
I have always considered myself a liberal Democrat, but perhaps I’ve been wrong to think of myself that way. Lately I’ve been thinking that I too am a fundamentalist after all.
Democracy, free speech, protection of minority rights, separation of Church and State and a few other principles are fundamental and non-negotiable with me and when I see others who call themselves liberal and/or progressive, defending regimes that have nothing but contempt for these things, I feel like a political orphan. I’m talking about Cuba, Venezuela, China and yes, just about all of the Middle East. BUT, once again, this does not in any way mean, that I endorse the “wrong headed” policies of transfering billions of dollars to petro-tyranies, just so that Dick Chaney’s friends can get richer, or the equally obscene interventions in latin america for the sake of the Bush families interests in the United Fruit Co., etc., etc., etc.

Rocky, you (incredibly) have zero idea of what ruthless really looks like.

Posted by: Rene at August 24, 2006 12:29 AM
Comment #177164

Yes, as Rocky says. In addition, the psychic damage to both oppressor and oppressed is considerable. Orwell’s Burmese Days shows this in neighboring Myanmar (Burma).

Posted by: Trent at August 24, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #177166

I really wasn’t talking about you, Rene. Though I started off responding to your post, I shifted to venting my annoyance at those who essentially call liberals traitors.

Iran is the real problem, I agree. As we both know, plans are on the table now for bombing, though those hidden and deeply buried facilities may be difficult to get too. There’ve been reports the last couple of years of plans to use nuclear weapons. It’s very scary, all around.

I don’t trust Bush and company to make good decisions.

Posted by: Trent at August 24, 2006 12:51 AM
Comment #177167

“Rocky, you (incredibly) have zero idea of what ruthless really looks like.”

Then pray tell us, Rene.

Educate us all on what ruthless really looks like.

Posted by: Rocky at August 24, 2006 12:53 AM
Comment #177168

“We need to engage in a debate showing the same respect for all of the protagonists that we expect to be shown.”

Paul in Euroland,

Your lack of logic amazes me sometimes. many months ago Russia offered to supply Iran with Uranium processed at the level neccessary for use in power plants. Iran said NO!

Lebanon and Israel have agreed on a cease-fire, but Syria say’s the UN can’t have troops on the border between Syria and Lebanon. Why? No one is suggesting closing the border, just “monitoring” what comes and goes.

Iran and Syria are rogue states that mean only to do harm to Israel and the USA. Perhaps not all Iranian’s or Syrian’s agree with that but unfortunately all citizen’s of a country must live with the decisions made by their leaders. Many of us in America are quite unhappy with Bush but we’re still stuck with the consequences of his actions.

So please tell me just which “protagonists” you’re speaking of. My greatest concern is that Bush has severely overextended our military when they’re quite likely to be needed in an all-out war with Iran and/or Syria.

As far as the recent war between Irael and Hezbollah goes, I honestly don’t think Israel should have agreed to the cease fire until a large UN force had been assembled and ready to deploy. I hate what’s happened to Lebanon but Hezbollah must be disarmed.


Posted by: KansasDem at August 24, 2006 12:55 AM
Comment #177169

“I don’t trust Bush and company to make good decisions.”

Nor do I!

I honestly can’t imagine anyone trusting Bush’s ability at this point in time.


Posted by: KansasDem at August 24, 2006 12:59 AM
Comment #177172

Please read this:

God save the Deen

A notable quote:

“Since the events of 9-11, there has been a relentless campaign launched to reform Islam to transform it into something more palatable to Western society. The vision is a secular and cultural Islam at peace with the world through her submission to her oppressors rather than to Allah; an Islam devoid of jihad, shari’ah and khilafah – the very things we are commanded by Allah to implement in order to establish Allah’s deen on this earth.”

Seriously, always pay attention to your enemies!


Posted by: KansasDem at August 24, 2006 1:37 AM
Comment #177182

KansasDem, you speak of Iran refusing Russian uranium for power plants. I don’t know what Irans intentions are with respect to nuclear development. However, I do know that nuclear weapons have their own logic. When the US developed these weapons, the soviets decided that they needed to have them as well, as did China later. When India developed them,(thought to be a primarily a deterrent to China) Pakistan followed suit. Israel has had these weapons for many years. So now, from Irans point of view, it has the threat of nuclear weapons from Pakistan and Israel. The logic of this situation is that the balance of terror needs to be restored. I don’t say this is rational, but nuclear weapons are hardly rational anyway to any reasonable person.

You seem to think that a UN force should disarm Hezbullah. Dream on. The Israelis failed to do it, with the hugely most powerful military in the region, and the fourth most powerful in the world. And now you suppose that a vastly inferior UN force can do it? Do you really think that potential contributing countries want to see their troops coming home on a conveyor of body bags? Israel created Hizbullah. It was pushed out of Lebanon by Hizbullah in 2000. No, they will have to deal honestly with Gaza and the West bank accoring to UNSCR 242 before this affront to justice can be healed. Even Tony Blair acknowledges this truth. With a just resolution of this issue, the whole region can be transformed.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at August 24, 2006 5:05 AM
Comment #177183

Rocky and Keith, you are both right. Gandhi was a big hit with the English people when he visited England. The English people were sympathetic toward the innocent, unarmed, and non-violent protesting Indians which the British military slaughtered. The military was eventually unable to keep the press from reporting the slaughters.

And WWII had drained England of the resources that would have been needed to restore order and profitability to British occupied in India.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 24, 2006 5:51 AM
Comment #177222

So now the top white house officials and republican congressmen are turning on the intelligence community because they are trying to avoid making the same mistakes in connecting terrorism to a central government. Seems some people are hell-bent on connecting Iran to Hezbollah’s attacks, and on getting info showing Tehran to be very close to having a nuke. Neither one are believed by anyone but them to be true, but yet the tail continues to try to wag the dog.

Here we go again…some people never learn:

“The consensus of the intelligence agencies is that Iran is still years away from building a nuclear weapon. Such an assessment angers some in Washington, who say that it ignores the prospect that Iran could be aided by current nuclear powers like North Korea. ‘When the intelligence community says Iran is 5 to 10 years away from a nuclear weapon, I ask: ‘If North Korea were to ship them a nuke tomorrow, how close would they be then?’ said Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives.

‘The intelligence community is dedicated to predicting the least dangerous world possible,’ he said.

Some veterans of the intelligence battles that preceded the Iraq war see the debate as familiar and are critical of efforts to create hard links based on murky intelligence.

‘It reflects a certain way of looking at the world — that all evil is traceable to the capitals of certain states,’ said Paul R. Pillar, who until last October oversaw American intelligence assessments about the Middle East. ‘And that, in my view, is a very incorrect way of interpreting the security challenges we face.’”

Whole article is here:

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 24, 2006 12:36 PM
Comment #177257

until Siniora and the rest of Lebanon stand up to Hezbollah and stop supporting them, none of his wimpering to the Arab leaders mean anything. When Hezbollah attacked Israel and kidnapped those soldiers, the people in Lebanon were dancing in the street with glee, then upset when Israel attacked them. Act like that, you get what you get

Posted by: Randy at August 24, 2006 4:52 PM
Comment #177267


“When Hezbollah attacked Israel and kidnapped those soldiers, the people in Lebanon were dancing in the street with glee”

Maybe you can help me out with this.

Where exactly were those Israeli soldiers when they were kidnapped?

You seem to have the scoop on this information and maybe you could post a link so I could read it for myself.

Posted by: Rocky at August 24, 2006 6:18 PM
Comment #177300


Rocky is right. In the real world, we call it “detaining” when someone is illegally in US territory and they are taken into custody. Why in Lebennon is it called “kidnapping”?

I’m not a fan of the provocation itself. But we do need to realize that using the word “kidnapping” is just wrong. Its like calling the taxation of the wealthiest estates a “death tax”. It is just spin designed to illicit emotion. I think it did a great job working you up Randy. Oh and guess what? If we detained armed Cuban military personnel in Florida, I’d be glad they were picked up before they could carry out whatever mission they were undertaking. Now if we had even remotely the same feelings about Cuba as all Israel’s neighbors have about it, then I’d be dancing my ass off in the streets.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 24, 2006 9:24 PM
Comment #177308

“Where exactly were those Israeli soldiers when they were kidnapped?”

In Israel. Read here:


Posted by: KansasDem at August 24, 2006 10:14 PM
Comment #177310


Weve all been sold a crock of fish and it is begining to reek.

I think it’s high time for our government to come clean, and fess up to all this bull they’ve been shoveling.
The Bush press conference on Fox somebody linked was brutal.

I have also heard talk of revolution, and frankly, that talk scares me more than the so-called “terrorist” threat.

Posted by: Rocky at August 24, 2006 10:22 PM
Comment #177314


The Israeli media doesn’t convince me, sorry. The reports are all mixed, so I shouldn’t even profess an opinion, but the point is that calling it a “kidnapping” is specifically designed to make people believe one thing over another when they are equally plausible. Practically speaking, it probably closely resembled a kidnapping. But I’m guessing that Israel has done their fair share of “kidnappings” in the eyes of Lebanese.

Truth? Who cares, it doesn’t matter except for those who write history books. People on both sides claim the moral high ground for different reasons and that isn’t going to change. One thing is for sure: a whole lot of people in America would feel really stupid were it discovered those IDF soldiers were in Lebanon. Then again, there is so much atrocity on both sides that I doubt it even matters anymore. Much like the Zimmerman telegram, it was a relatively meaningless act which just happened to become the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 24, 2006 11:00 PM
Comment #177410

Hezbollah has not engaged in suicide bombings since 1999. And if you are saying they represent a love of death, then pay attention to the over 850 civilians that Israel killed in their usless campaign. Many Lebaneese people see Hezbollah as liberators since they formed to remove Israel from Lebanon in one of it’s many trangressions outside it borders. All Israel has done by slaughtering civilians is make Nasrallah look like more of a hero. I am tired of “liberals” who think that the only way to “fix” the Middle East is to invade it.

Or we could withdraw our support of Israel and build hydrogen cars.

Posted by: James at August 25, 2006 2:53 PM
Comment #177429

I am tired of “liberals” who think that the only way to “fix” the Middle East is to invade it.

“Liberals”? Then Bush is liberal. What are you?

Posted by: Dave1 at August 25, 2006 3:53 PM
Comment #177687

Siniora is a maronite christian, not a muslim.

Posted by: Dick at August 27, 2006 12:24 AM
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