It’s not us; it’s them

Cultures sometimes develop pathologies. Islamic culture has clearly developed a pathology of terrorism. When medical doctors - albeit incompetently - try to murder thousands of strangers in Scotland, we know we all have a problem. We can search ourselves for what WE did to provoke THEM, but we will not find a useful answer because it is mostly THEIR fault.

We are caught in the middle of a type of civil war, but it is not only in Iraq. Islam is in the midst of a conflict between those who want to live in the modern world and those who would drag their people back to the 8th Century. We are used by both sides, but we cannot chose not to be involved. We need to make distinctions between the good guys and the bad guys.

You cannot assume what you see today is the inevitable outcome of the past nor use the past to justify events today. In the course of a culture’s development and circumstances, it may develop different ways of thought, get sick, get well, be intolerant or be generous, it might even do all these things at the same time, but we need to recognize that all cultures are not at the same stages of development and their outputs change over time. The analogy of the life of a culture to that of an individual is useful, but unlike an individual, cultures do not have a predictable lifespan. They may go through periods of decline and renewal, decadence and decency. It is clear that Islamic culture is going through a rough patch. This is not good news and it does not excuse the excesses, but it does help clarify the types of actions we need to take.

Ask yourself this question. What if you were a Jew in 1933 Berlin? You notice the Nazis hate you.* What can you reasonably do to mollify them? Your non-Jewish German acquaintances say they dislike the Nazi’s extremism, but point to areas where they “have a point”. They say that maybe if your people were not so well off when so many other Germans were struggling … Yes, ordinary Germans have some real grievances. The Nazis have described a real problem. BUT their proposed explanation is wrong and their proposed solution is horrible.

Of course the answer to the first question is that there is nothing you can do to mollify them. You are just a character in their theater play. They have designated you as the villain and that is the role you will play. Nothing you can do will change this. Your options are to fight, flee or die.

The West plays a similar role in radical Islam’s theater production. The sooner we realize that, the better. Our search for root causes will be as fruitful my hypothetical Berliner’s quest. If poverty or oppression caused terrorism, rich kids would not be flying planes into buildlings and well employed doctors would not be trying to kill people in London & Glasgow.

Radical Islam is not a symptom; it is the disease. It has to be confronted when it is found. It cannot be co-opted. We can have allies among good Muslims, but we must make the distinction between the good and the bad. Let us not die from an overdose of PC.

*BTW – I know we overdo the Nazi analogy. I choose it here because it is a Western pathology (i.e. I will not provoke the PC crowd on a minor point) and it is the last pathology where we all more or less agree it was bad.

Posted by Jack at July 7, 2007 5:22 PM
Comment #225217

So, ballpark number, how many followers of radical Islam are we talking about? A religious philosophy does not exist without adherents. There must be actual people who are radical Islamicists. But I have never received a straight answer to the question. It would seem to be important. Best guess, , just an estimate, roughly how many?

A) 100
B) 1000
C) 100,000
D) one million
E) one billion
F) everyone who is not Christian

Posted by: phx8 at July 7, 2007 6:25 PM
Comment #225218

No argument here. I’ve even read some books that talk about how the Nazis were openly admired and borrowed many ideas directly from the Nazis. However, I still think Bush fought against terrorism in the worst way possible. He made horrible decisions. He wasted a lot of money. He played into Al Qaeda’s hands. That’s why I am pissed. I agree with you the threat is real, and am angered at how Republicans blew our chances to stomp out this threat.

So…. You can ask us to be wary of PC-ism, but what’s really done damage to our country these last 6 years is the flag waving, steroid macho, nationalistic b.s. promoted by many Republicans who have been saying that if you want to fight against terrorism you have to agree with the president and his policies without question.

For Democrats the question is NOT whether we should stop fighting, but HOW should we best fight.

Posted by: Max at July 7, 2007 6:26 PM
Comment #225220


The comment above should read “I’ve even read some books that talk about how 1940’s Muslim scholars openly admired the Nazis….”. These were the same folks that radicalized the religion.

Posted by: Max at July 7, 2007 6:29 PM
Comment #225228


“Best guess, , just an estimate, roughly how many?”

How about enough to cause them (normal Muslims) and us, and all others around the world serious problems, abuse, and death. (not to sound pessimistic or anything)

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 7, 2007 7:15 PM
Comment #225229

Ask yourself, what would you do if you were a German in 1933 Berlin? Would you participate in the persecution of the elements of the population, ignore the persecution, or try to prevent the persecution? We tend to focus on the Jews, but don’t forget, by then Communists and Socialists were being rounded up and sent to concentration camps. What would you do? Most of us like to believe we would have protested, but we know, as historic fact, that most did not.

Now imagine you live in the future. You read about the torture the United States inflicted upon prisoners it captured during its military operations; you read about it insisting the Geneva Convention does not apply because of a specious reading of the convention; you read about presidents operating secret domestic surveillance clearly violating the Constitution and the law as passed by Congress and signed by the chief executive. What would you do? Most in the future would like to believe they protested, but we would know, as historical fact, that most did not.

In the previous article, it is claimed that the Left is pessimistic and that the right is optismistic. Such a glib characterization means nothing; what matters is what we do about the problems we face. Do we against our deepest principles support wrongful actions, ignore the actions, or protest against them?

One last point. It does many Republicans a disservice to imply they all turn a blind eye. There has always been Republicans against Constitutional abuses, though you don’t hear about them in the Red column. In the interests of scoring points against Democrats, article writers in this column often pretend there are no voices of conscience in their own party.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 7, 2007 7:18 PM
Comment #225231


“For Democrats the question is NOT whether we should stop fighting, but HOW should we best fight.”
So True!
Totally intellectually honest. If the Dems and the far left could unite on that statement, they would landslide the next election. Even I would vote for them. But the far left wouldn’t go there if God himself came down and threatened them with a lightning bolt.

The problem comes in that the far left started to cry we lost, bad war, since a few weeks into this. No one will be able to call that shot until history bears that out.And I know that some of you are so sure you are right that it oozes. But you cannot call that shot on any project.

I cannot start an ad campaign with my pizza place and then the next week see no results and say it didn’t work. It takes time to see the results. Same with the economy, same with teaching a child,
and the same applies with fighting for freedom in this world.

NONE of us will KNOW whether this will work or not. We all think we do. But only history will tell.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 7, 2007 7:27 PM
Comment #225233


In the previous article, it is claimed that the Left is pessimistic and that the right is optismistic. Such a glib characterization means nothing; what matters is what we do about the problems we face. Do we against our deepest principles support wrongful actions, ignore the actions, or protest against them?

Try this on for size:

How the pessimist handles problems and the way an optimist solves problems are very different. So it is not “glib”. I would rather an optimist be in control, you would obviously rather have the pessimist. The far left would rather gag the optimist.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 7, 2007 7:32 PM
Comment #225234

Scottie & Jack,
I am asking for a definition of the scope of this problem. Its seriousness, its severity dictates the scope of our response. How many followers of radical Islam are we talking about?

Almost every religion has an anti-historical faction within it, which is what I believe we are referring to when we discuss “radical Islam,” particularly among Arabs. Usually, anti-historical factions shy away from the limelight. They avoid interaction with the secular, modern world precisely because exposure to it threatens their beliefs. In most cases, the modern world is content to leave them be, because they have nothing to offer other than a curious version of faith disassociated from science and technology. Like the convents of the Middle Ages, anti-historical factions usually disappear through isolation.

Radical Islam has turned aggressive because isolation has not occurred.

The modern, secular world has come to the Arabs and the world of Islam, not vice versa. Secularism and modernism have failed the Arabs; they see their lands invaded, their resources plundered, their culture openly mocked. Since the secular Arabs seem to have nothing to offer, elements of the culture become radicalized, and turn to the sole remaining independent institution which still resists, and offers an answer: Islam.

That is one reason we were out of our minds to divert our resources from the failed state of Afghanistan, invade Iraq, and dissolve its secular institutions.

Obviously I have my own opinions, but I repeat the question: what is the scope of the problem?

Posted by: phx8 at July 7, 2007 7:40 PM
Comment #225236


The fact that you have been asking people for some kind of figure for some time makes me question why you have not investigated it yourself.

I would say what you really believe is that it is not as bad as the Conservative would say it is. I would again say, whatever the physical percentage it is:

“enough to cause them (normal Muslims) and us, and all others around the world serious problems, abuse, and death. (not to sound pessimistic or anything)”

When we talk about radical Islam, it is very clear and easy to understand. They want every government in the world to be ran by Islamic belief. They will kill everyone in their path to get there. They want our women dressed in burkas.

Look at their own sites it will tell you!

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 7, 2007 7:52 PM
Comment #225238


I have to believe that so erroneously and arogantly placing ourselves directly in the yard of an islamic nation was and still is in the eyes of extremist muslims a severe provacation. It seems to me that the islamic religion has been, depending on the region, pretty much undergoing continuous cultural change via whatever extremist faction that currently has the upper hand, for centuries. I am not denying that there is cause for concern. I do think that we must remain vigilante and learn new ways to tackle the problems.

Our problem is that our current commander in chief and his cronies are totally lost and incompetant when it comes to handling foriegn affairs. And what makes it all the worse is that they admit mistakes yet refuse to change strategies in the midst of failure. Their tactics do not add up to reflect sound strategies. The sooner they are dismissed the better. It is time our country took a fresh outlook and new direction in this fight against terrorism.

Posted by: ILdem at July 7, 2007 7:55 PM
Comment #225243


It is not pessimism to think we can do better. It is optimism. You are talking about the difference between seeing a problem and not seeing it, or between being happy with the current state of affairs and trying to improve them.

The liberal viewpoint is optimistic.

There is dichotomy between liberal and conservative views, but the terms “optimism” and “pessimism” do not capture it. Try “complacent” and “noncomplacent.” That’s my cheap shot in the spirit of the article. I actually prefer not to dwell on the psychologies of citizens; far more relevant is the purpose and effectiveness of various policies. That doesn’t make for good bumper stickers, but we’ve had far too many easy sentiments enshrined as profound truths.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 7, 2007 8:30 PM
Comment #225245

You cannot have your cake and it too.

I disagree with the premise of this thread - that we have no responsibility and no accountability for our actions. Because terrorism is immoral we ignore it’s root causes? Do we ignore the fact that escalated bombings and an unexplained occupation that shatters the power structure of the nation we’re occupying might have an impact on how they (and the world) see us? Iraq is a failed state and we’re largely responsible for the situation.

You’ll get no argument from me about whether Osama Bin Laden or the UK terrorists are evil - I find their actions to be despicable. But the more we torture and humiliate, the longer we continue to kill scores of civilians by accident or by denying them access to basic medical necessities, the more permanent military bases we build in foreign soil… expect a response.

What’s the saying? For every action….

Posted by: PMD at July 7, 2007 9:00 PM
Comment #225246

Another version of optimistic/pessimistic would be confident v fearful.

That is not to say fear is never an appropriate reaction. But it is a reaction which needs to be proportional to the threat, which leads back to the basic question: what is the scope of the threat?

Obviously Scottie has been terrorized.

You write: “The fact that you have been asking people for some kind of figure for some time makes me question why you have not investigated it yourself.”

I have investigated, read a fair amount. But there is an old saying: if I say it, you doubt it. But if you say it, it is true. I ask the question about scope because it encourages people to think it through, and put the matter of Radical Islam into perspective.

There are many evils in the world, there are terrible injustices. As the powerful nation on the planet, it is in our power to address these evils, these injustices. But we have to make choices. Which warrants our primary focus? How many lives, and how much money should we invest in overcoming evils and injustice? Is terrorism spawned by Radical Islam more of a threat than, say, the enslavement of children? Is it more evil, more unjust? What about starvation? Disease?

Posted by: phx8 at July 7, 2007 9:12 PM
Comment #225247

Scottie, “The problem comes in that the far left started to cry we lost, bad war a few weeks into this….”. Was this before or after W declaring victory on the aircraft carrier?

Posted by: j2t2 at July 7, 2007 9:39 PM
Comment #225253

Jack, What a brillant and thought provoking post. Are you actually starting to see the surge and previous strategies in Iraq as just a waste of life and money as well as time? Are you throwing off the chains of the PC hawks and seeking a fight with the real foe and not just anybody in the middle east? As more repubs come to this conclusion we can hope that new leadership will set us on the correct path in the fight against the radical Islamics all 100,000 of them.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 7, 2007 10:30 PM
Comment #225254


I would imagine the numbers of radical Islamic people is small, single digit percentages of the population. I thought very much about the numbers of committed Nazis as % of the total German population in 1933. Most Muslims are not radical, but many tolerate them. Many others try to justify their motivation. We fall into that same trap and look for “root causes”.

I was helping one of my managers a few days ago. She had a bad employee who made her feel guilty because she was not a perfect manager and did not supply perfect support. I told my manager that she was in charge. She did not have to be perfect in order to tell the bad employee what to do. It is the MO of nasty people to try to lay guilt trips on others. We cannot let them do that.

We need to support those Muslims who want to resist the radicals. We have many in Iraq & Afghanistan who are dying in the fight against them. We also need to recognize that radical Islam does not represent a billion Muslims. The radicals are fighting AGAINST Islam. Most of the people killed by the radicals are Muslims.

We do the good Muslims of the world no service by overestimating the scope of the radicals or trying to be sensitive to them. They speak for Muslims the way Nazis spoke for Germans BEFORE they took control of the country. Our goal must be to deny the radical Muslims the opportunity the Nazis got. The parallels are frightening. Good people denied the Nazis were a problem. Understanding people talked about their legitimate grievances.


We should strive for constant improvement. To do that, we need to set priorities. That means we need to assess our successes and figure out where to commit our time and resources. When somebody tells me everything is equally bad, I know he is incompetent and little good can come from trying to help him. With most of our problems in the U.S. we have made significant progress since I was young. The nature of problems has changed. My favorite is the environment. Back in 1970, we had big source pollution. Command and control worked very well. Sometimes we just had to stop things. Now we have made great progress and must employ incentives and market methods to induce new technologies and techniques. Pretending we are in the old situation will prevent us from achieving further progress.


We should work on “root causes” but be clear what they are. When we address crime, the first thing to do is stop the criminal. You can address the root causes if you can, but sometimes that is not possible. In the case of terrorist, it is not possible to address many of their complaints. Bin Laden is still pissed about the Andalusia debacle, i.e. the Muslim expulsion from Spain in 1492. He wants to establish a caliphate with himself in charge. We stand in his way AND we stand on the side of most Muslims who do not want to live under his type of law. So how do we get at the root cause?

Posted by: Jack at July 7, 2007 10:45 PM
Comment #225262

Your write: “I would imagine the numbers of radical Islamic people is small, single digit percentages of the population.”

I agree. The number of Radicals committed enough to take action is probably very, very small.

As I alluded to earlier, the problem arises when they represent the sole standing institution in Arab countries. In the failed state of Afghanistan, the Taliban brought order for the first time in many years. Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a secular state. Removing the Baathists without offering a viable, Islamic alternative has resulted in another failed state. Lacking alternatives, some Moslems turn to a radical, anti-historical version of Islam.

We have successfully negotiated with Iraqi insurgent groups, trading autonomy for their aggressive rejection of the foreign jihadists. The Iraqi Sunnis, once relatively secular and moderate, seem willing to turn against Radical Islam because they have no desire to be subjected to its anti-historical, repressive nature. However, that does not mean the insurgents prefer American troops or capitalism or other forms of foreign interference.

I really resist the comparison of Radical Islam with the Nazi movement. The Nazis were fantastically successful in resuscitating the German nation. In a matter of mere years, they lifted Germany from the depths of a depression and hyperinflation into a ecomically successful, militarily powerful, & culturally vibrant country. Christianity and xenophobia played roles in the Nazi movement, but nationalism, militarism, and fascism played even bigger roles. Those latter elements- nationalism, militarism, and fascism- are missing from the Radical Islamic movements. The Nazis were thoroughly modern, not anti-historical, and relied upon government to implement their economic program.

Posted by: phx8 at July 7, 2007 11:45 PM
Comment #225264


Excellent post.

Your guy Ron Paul has it about right. You mess with other peoples countries enough and they will sooner or later fight back. Sure we have to take them out but not looking at our own behavior leading up to the present is foolish.A re-examination is in order.
This has been brewing for a long time. The West has treated the Islamic states as doormats pretty much since ww1.This was predicted.
A strategic mistake we made was not backing the Russian invasion of Afganistan or at least staying neutral. They have been fighting Muslum extremist much longer than we have.The myopia of the cold war hurt us in this as well as other areas.

Posted by: BillS at July 8, 2007 12:12 AM
Comment #225265

“I am asking for a definition of the scope of this problem. Its seriousness, its severity dictates the scope of our response. How many followers of radical Islam are we talking about?”
Posted by: phx8 at July 7, 2007 07:40 PM


Are we asking for new measures to the “scope” of this problem? It seems your side has been persistent in measuring the “scope” of this problem all along. Have we forgotten 600,000 Iraqis slain? How about approximately 6,500 Americans? All in the last five years! Is that “scope” enough for you? Or, do you wish to keep insisting upon the new “scope” numbers of actual “living” terrorists out there?


Posted by: JD at July 8, 2007 12:18 AM
Comment #225266


The most blatent of tactics. :

“Scottie, “The problem comes in that the far left started to cry we lost, bad war a few weeks into this….”. Was this before or after W declaring victory on the aircraft carrier?”

He never declared “Victory” He declared “Mission accomplished.”

The “mission” he was referring to was “removing Saddam”

That wasn’t the only mission in the war.


He stated directly after those words that now it was time to win the peace and that it would not be easy in fact that difficult times were ahead.

Now the far left can restate the story as J2t2 did. And claim he was saying we won. All done. It’s going to be easy from here on out.

That did not happen. And Yes here I go again…

Look it up.

I don’t have to provide a link here. It is pretty easy to find. The text of the speech. It is probably on UTube You can watch it.

Don’t go by what you have been told. You might be told wrong. A simple search will find the facts.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 8, 2007 12:21 AM
Comment #225267

Phx8, it’s grotesque to say that the Nazis lifted Germany into an economically successful and culturally vibrant society.

Let’s dispense first with the cultural argument. I see nothing culturally vibrant about murdering or imprisoning so many artists, thinkers, and scientists who weren’t savvy enough to first flee the country or corrupt enough to sign on to the Nazi program. Ever been to an exhibit of Nazi art? I have. It’s garbage propaganda.

Hitler’s economy was a socialist state-controlled machine geared for war whose growth was whipped up to a feverish and unsustainable pitch. It was a totally unnatural economic monster whose successes were all a mirage, and history proved that it was a mirage. In fact, Hitler’s long-term plan was to not invade Russia until the 1950s when Germany was better prepared for war, but he had to do so much earlier because sustaining growth of the German war economy required control of natural resources to the east.

A culture and economy which required millions upon millions of deaths and which resulted in the total eventual destruction of the nation is not a “success” by any definition.

As for comparisons to Islam, our problem now is that the values of the West haven’t caught up to the problem. If something is a “religion” or a “culture” we’re programmed to give it a pass or even celebrate it instead of confront it. Unfortunately for Hitler, his ideology of domination and terror wasn’t passed off as religion—if it had been, and the world culture of his time was our current culture, he’d have had a lot of sympathy if not outright support. If Michael Moore and the cultural trend he represents were in effect then, we’d have had a movie celebrating the superior health care that was given to pure-blood Aryans. Which was, actually, pretty damn good.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at July 8, 2007 12:35 AM
Comment #225268


Who is pretending that things are as they were? You have a tendency to overly generalize and then try to support those generalizations with personal observations that, while sometimes valid, are irrelevant. It is far too simple to characterize the left as pessimistic, as unable to see what is good as well as bad. Such generalizations are intended to be homilectic, but actually are merely self congratulatory.

The truth is, when we try to solve our problems, we focus on what needs solving, not on what does not. What those things are, and the means to handle them, are the true subjects of debate; glib characterizations of the shortcomings of opponents are nothing but ad hominem attacks. For the same reasons, I roll my eyes when I see the Right characterized as loving authority. I don’t care how many anecdotes accompany the insult. It doesn’t matter if there is a shred of truth in the statement; such smug statements are merely intent to provoke. They are dismissive.

You’ve said before you don’t understand the Left. Fair enough; we all have limitations. But that self knowledge should give you pause before you make sweeping generalizations.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 8, 2007 12:37 AM
Comment #225269


Ditto to what JD said.
You are looking the wrong way.

You don’t define the scope by counting soldiers.
You define the scope by the damage they can and are accomplishing.You define the scope by their intent.

For example:

You may have 100 soldiers.
They are all armed. Half are afraid to get hurt.
1/4 are lazy 1/4 brave and ready to die for their cause.

Now I made all that up. It is just an illustration.

Group B

100 soldiers.
They are all armed. They get their recruits from depressed people who are all ready thinking about suicide. They are all willing to die whether or not they understand their cause. And they want to take as many “westerners” with them at one time.

Get it!

You can’t count soldiers! That doesn’t get and accurate view of the problem.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 8, 2007 12:40 AM
Comment #225271

You write: “Have we forgotten 600,000 Iraqis slain?”

Not at all. But that confuses the issue. Most Iraqi insurgents are not followers of Radical Islam. The largest group in Iraq is led by Al-Duri, former VP to Saddam Hussein. The ex-Baathists are Sunni nationalists, not Islamicists. Another large insurgent group is the Revolutionary Brigade of 1920. Once again, this is a group motivated by nationalism, NOT radical Islam.

Most US casualties come at the hands of Iraqi Sunni nationalists, through the use of IEDs, NOT Saudi suicide bombers or Salafists.

The Islamic Radicals represent a small portion of Iraqi insurgency, but they do cause a disproportionate amount of the carnage. I believe the US military estimates those radicals constitute u to 3% of the insurgents, and number a few thousand, at the most.

By the way, this entire post completely ignores the differences between Sunnis and Shias. There are radical Shias and there are radical Sunnis, and they take very different approaches, and they have very different versions of “Radical Islam.”

Posted by: phx8 at July 8, 2007 12:43 AM
Comment #225272


Careful with the dittos, man! The libs will start demonizing me like they do Rush!


Posted by: JD at July 8, 2007 12:46 AM
Comment #225276

Actually Scotty W declared the battle of Iraq is one VICTORY in a war on terror and announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq. The banner behind him stated “Mission Accomplished”. As far as your silly rant you will notice it is only in your mind where I said any of the crap you accuse the “far left” of. Now back to what I believe is a false accusation on your part - was it before or after W declaring vistory on the aircraft carrier that the “far left” started to cry we lost, bad war?

Posted by: j2t2 at July 8, 2007 1:39 AM
Comment #225277

If you’re talking about the far left, they were out on the street screeching and hollering and burning the US flag long before a US warship returning from the theater of action at the end of their mission near Iraq displayed a banner reading “Mission Accomplished.” On the very day the war began, there were marches and near-riots in NY and San Francisco.

In fact, they were doing the same thing over Afghanistan, and before that, over UN sanctions against Iraq. So there’s your answer.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at July 8, 2007 2:01 AM
Comment #225278

We were posting at the same time. I am not sure I follow your point about intent. Are you saying a small number of Radical Islamicists can cause a disproportionately large amount of damage? Is so, does it make sense to addess the problem with the US military?

I stand by my point. Nazi totalitarianism worked, and if they had somehow stopped in 1937, their success would have been undeniable. Nationalism, militarism, and fascism united the country, restored pride, and created an economic miracle. The downside of this formula is well known, and the Germans will never escape condemnation all the evil they caused, for where the Nazis ultimately led them.

I think it would be a mistake to dismiss Nazi propaganda as “garbage.” Sure, there is plenty of lame artwork. But “The Triumph of the Will” by Leni Riefenstahl is a very powerful, effective piece. The staged rallies were also very powerful.

But again, comparing Radical Islam with the rise of the Nazis is not very useful.

When we refer to “Radical Islam,” we often use it as a shorthand reference to terrorists following the vision of Osama bin Laden. They are not nationalists; actually, they are more like internationalists. They are not like Hitler, or Stalin, but more like Trotsky, seeking to simultaneously build religious unity across an entire region. And it is important to note this unity applies only to Sunnis- NOT to Shias in Iraq in Iran.

After Afghanistan, and given the scope of the problem, it no longer made sense to address the issue of Radical Islam & terrorism with the US military. In immediate, tactical terms, it became a problem for police work, Special Forces, and international cooperation.

Instead of making it a focus of US foreign policy, it needed to be pushed to the margins as much as possible. Radical Islam has no appeal if there are attractive, secular alternatives: westernization consistent with Islamic culture; defusing the Israel/Palestinian question; encouraging the spread of representative, democratic Arab governments (which means dealing with some very, very unpleasant results in the short run); creating economies no longer reliant solely upon oil; and removing US bases from the Middle East.

Without attention, left in isolation, lacking grievances to attract followers, and unable to offer an attractive Islamic alternative for Muslims, anti-historical Radical Islam would eventually suffer a quiet, ignoble, and well-deserved death.

Posted by: phx8 at July 8, 2007 2:19 AM
Comment #225279

How many of you believe that? How many have listened to or heard the “whole speech” Listen to it.

the moment the Iraqi Military quit fighting we completed the battle of Iraq. We were now fighting a totally different group of people. These people began to disrupt the process of rebuilding. Listen to the things he said after he said “major combat operations in Iraq” were over. He said the rebuilding would be a long hard road. Did he not?

Major combat operations were over. We would not be bombing their military post any more with huge bombs. There was no military. We would not be using our forces in the same way we had been.
yes we would still be fighting. But not anymore in
a “major” way like we did going in there.

He said it right. You guys just took it and ran. But anyone and I can encourage everyone can read the text of his speech, all of it, and listen to what he said afterward.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 8, 2007 2:30 AM
Comment #225290


Like everyone, I can only rely on what I know. Anytime I write anything postitive on this blog, on almost any subject, the blue boys are on it like ducks on a junebug. They find 4.5% unemployement horrible. They cannot see any progress in our environment in 30 years. They think race relations are no better than in the 1960s. If I am wrong, I would appreciate them saying so, w/o the usual negating “buts”.

My observation is that conditions are good today. I see prosperity everywhere. When I read the statistics, they back up this rosy view. Of course, life is not perfect, but it has never been very much better than it is right now. Some people think this means I do not want to make any improvements. They are mistaken. Those who know me know that I never leave anything alone and constantly (annoyingly) try to improve things. That does not mean that I have to denigrate what we already have. A champion team can get better, but it IS a champion team.

Posted by: Jack at July 8, 2007 9:33 AM
Comment #225292

Jack, I dont want to rain on your parade but for some statistics on unemployment that are more realistic then those you use try the Liscio report authored by Philippa Dunne and Doug Henwood. They dont use the voodoo calculations of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 8, 2007 10:06 AM
Comment #225293

Scottie you can read the whole speech on the white house web site. What I said is verbatim from the speech itself. I dont disagree with you on what was said during the speech other than he did say victory not mission accomplished as I previously stated. I will try to take the time later to look up “we lost” by the far left prior to that time.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 8, 2007 10:16 AM
Comment #225294


Yes, there is too much political gamemanship on both sides of the aisle. But you provoke it too. I’ve read many good articles of yours in which you couldn’t resist a few elbow jabs.

My view of liberals also comes from personal experience. The dissatisfaction I and my friends have about certain affairs is accompanied by the belief that positive change is possible. Otherwise, why bother? We also hold our nation to the principles of our founding documents because, you know, we do believe our nation is special and shouldn’t be satisfied with doing ok only relative to the international community. When we speak of American exceptionalism, that’s what we mean.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 8, 2007 10:21 AM
Comment #225297

And what mention of “Christians” who forcibly “spread” Christianity with terror, death, and forced labor throughout the world…politely known as “colonialism”????

Posted by: Rachel at July 8, 2007 11:18 AM
Comment #225298
In the previous article, it is claimed that the Left is pessimistic and that the right is optismistic.

Actually, the difference is that the right doesn’t acknowledge any of society’s problems and the left does…and consequently searches for solutions instead of scapegoats.

Posted by: Rachel at July 8, 2007 11:19 AM
Comment #225302

Yes j2t2 - Thank you! There was a victory. A

But how has the left spun what he said to be able to use what they say he said to use to throw at him.

Intellectually dishonest.

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel

“Actually, the difference is that the right doesn’t acknowledge ANY of society’s problems and the left does…and consequently searches for solutions instead of scapegoats.”

You go ahead and keep thinking that. I think we like it better that way.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 8, 2007 11:44 AM
Comment #225305

“Actually, the difference is that the right doesn’t acknowledge any of society’s problems and the left does…and consequently searches for solutions instead of scapegoats.”
Posted by: Rachel at July 8, 2007 11:19 AM

Actually, the left often makes up societal problems within their own imaginations, with no real evidence of such, feeds it to their cohorts in the Press and Hollywood, creating an epidemic furvor about nothing. The Dems have operated in such manner for about the last fifteen to twenty years.


Posted by: JD at July 8, 2007 1:24 PM
Comment #225306

Mission Accomplished. I remember thinking, seeing that Banner, here he goes again, jumping the gun on celebrating his victories.

Bush’s supporters paint him as a man of vision, but his policies and his perspectives on the course of events are rather nearsighted. He thought he had the Taliban beat, now they’re back. He thought he could start pulling out troops by August of ‘03, they’re still there. When he went on that aircraft carrier, and proclaimed the mission accomplished, he truly jumped the gun. It was a publicity stunt, and in many ways, it embodies his weaknesses as a president.

The Republicans see this as a long term problem, but unfortunately, their long term solution is extended combat operations and acting tough. That’s not good enough. Modern Radical Islamic Terrorism feeds off of the suffering we inadvertantly and intentionally inflict on the nations. It feeds off of whatever illegitimacy we display to them. It uses the hostility we show towards them as a means to justify their hostility in return.

We are in this fight for the long term, but the real nature of the fight escapes most on the Right.

Terrorism is a small but important part of the real battle. Are we going to replicates Israel’s tragedy of entrenched hostilities, or are we going to take the wind out of those who would build up and solidify a threat to us.

The important part to consider is that we cannot kill every potential terrorist, and destroying every actual one would be more difficult and problematic than it is worth. There’s a point where our efforts would simply reinforce the creation of new terrorists. Attrition, to work, requires both the destruction of current forces, and of the mechanism that help replace them.

Our aims should be to undercut:
1) Their motivation;
2) Their economic engines, and

3) Their support among the people of the Middle East.

Iraq does none of the three. It in fact aids them, making the war counterproductive.

Zealous waging of the war does not help us. It is not cowardice to leave this war, but wisdom. It was a mistake that should have been corrected, but since it wasn’t, it’s a mistake we should walk away from, and do our best to redeem elsewhere.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 8, 2007 1:47 PM
Comment #225313

I rest my point…the “righties” haven’t found any problems…well, now, isn’t that nice????

No hunger, no poverty, no health, no healthcare, no unemployment, no immigration problems whatsoever…so I guess that’s why Bush had to go manufacture a problem in Iraq…

Posted by: Rachel at July 8, 2007 2:15 PM
Comment #225316

“Our aims should be to undercut:
1) Their motivation;
2) Their economic engines, and

3) Their support among the people of the Middle East.
Iraq does none of the three. It in fact aids them, making the war counterproductive.”
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 8, 2007 01:47 PM

1) Their motivation- By showing to the world, in Iraq and Afghanistan that the terrorists’ agenda is to stir up division, destruction, and death, not towards the United States, but toward Muslim Iraqis and Afghans, and within the world of Islam between moderates and extremists, we are doing more to show the true fanaticism of extremist Islamics than even 9/11 accomplished. This undercuts extremist motivation more than you think!

2. Their economic engines- Do you actually think that the Bush policies have had no effect or has actually increased terrorist economic capabilities to hit the U.S.?

3. Their Middle Eastern support- I’m sorry, when did the Middle Eastern Islamic-run countries ever “not” support the terrorists in their attacks against the United States and Israel? However, as they have persistently continued to increase their attacks on other “moderate” Muslim citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan, their support especially among certain Sunni tribal leadership is quickly fading. We need to continue reminding the people of Iraq and Afghanistan that the terrorists will kill them just as quickly and unmercifully as they did the people in New York City on 9/11!!!


Posted by: JD at July 8, 2007 2:32 PM
Comment #225324


Yes, the Nazi analogy is overused and it doesn’t make much sense here. Who are the Jews in your scenario? Americans, living in the US with the world’s largest armed forces? It was the Nazis who had their own country and massive military power, not the Jews. It just doesn’t match up.

Radical Islam is not a symptom; it is the disease. It has to be confronted when it is found.

I basically agree, but the devil is in the details. What sort of confrontation are we talking about? Take the current situations with Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. (Yes, the axis of evil.) What the tough, non-“PC” solution to any or all of these crises?

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 8, 2007 5:02 PM
Comment #225332

Anyone forget that most Nazis were staunch Christians????

Posted by: Rachel at July 8, 2007 5:56 PM
Comment #225335


Once again, I am not saying things are perfect. But I will say that we need to have some perspective based on comparison with other places in the world and other times in our history. Relative to other countries, we are doing very well. Our unemployment is lower than the OSCE average; our growth rate is higher. We cannot expect to be the very top of all categories all the time.

To hear some people talk, we are living in the worst of places and the worst of times. I am afraid that some people hide behind pessimism. They like to think everybody is having a hard time because it makes their own inadequacies okay. Others are pessimistic politically. They will not admit the economy is good because they fear giving GW Bush any credit. To them, we can point out that the great economy have been going on since around 1982. Republicans and Dems can take credit, but mostly it is just the American people.


As I mentioned, all cultures go through periods of good and bad. Our problem now is not with Islam of the past; it is not with ALL or even most Islam. We have a problem with Islamic extremism. If you want to play historical games, that is fine. It is what those who want to avoid today’s problems do best. It is very popular and PC. If you take that and add a couple dollars you can buy a cup of coffee.

If you want me to play to your stereotype, I do not mind in this case. My goal is the make the U.S. and Americans safe. I want to understand Islamic extremists enough to neutralize them. If making changes in our behavior will help, I am for it, but in the strictly practical sense. It is not because I feel any guilt for the past. I do not believe in that old thing about having to be without sin before we cast stones. Maybe you do. If I could cast a stone to kill Osama, I would certainly do it, w/o being perfect myself.


I am not comparing the Islamic extremists to the Nazis in the general case. My comparison is how their ideologies needed and created enemies and how they dealt with them. We ask ourselves what we could do to stop them. Making concessions would not be a useful strategy, just as the Jews of Germany could not have made concessions that would have satisfied the Nazis.

Posted by: Jack at July 8, 2007 8:10 PM
Comment #225336

1) Are we showing them that? You’re assuming that they’ll take our perspective. That’s not necessarily the way it goes down. There has been some downgrade in al-Qaeda popularity, due to the carnage in their own backyard, but unfortunately, the support for radicalism itself, which we could term the real long term threat, has increased. You might not have a problem with the war we’re waging, but the folks we’re trying to convince to take our side do.

2) Bush’s other policies have had an effect on fund raising, paralyzing their ability to use modern wire transfers and other bank transactions to move their funds. That said, they’ve mostly switched over to informal methods of money exchange that don’t move over electronic media.

More to the point, The Iraq war has provided badly needed funds to them To put this in Bush’s Faux rancher terms, he fixed one section of the fence only to have the cattle bust out of another.

3)That’s a foolish position to take. There was a time when we had substantial support in the Middle East. That you jump to this conclusion just proves my point about the Right Wing needing to break free of its preconceptions.

The real trouble with Iraq is that it’s making us radioactive, and making it very difficult for moderates in the region to make headway. How can they when they see our war on their televisions screens, our invasion’s chaos an intrusion into their culture’s daily proceedings.

We are vindicating, inadvertantly, the propaganda about us, making it as difficult for them to see us outside what preconceptions they might have, as it is for some folks like you to see them that way.

We cannot defeat radical Islam if we continue to act as a force for chaos in the region, if Iraq remains an open sore in our relations there.

If we continue this course of action, we end up giving the region to the violent bastards who want us dead. We may get to claim we stood tall and stood fast, but we end up continuing a military campaign that at this point has left a central nation in the region an failed state. And all to get an impotent dictator who never won a stand up fight with us.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 8, 2007 8:12 PM
Comment #225337

“We ask ourselves what we could do to stop them. Making concessions would not be a useful strategy,”

If making concessions is not a useful strategy, then why did THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION PASS ON THE CHANCE TO RAID A MEETING OF AL QAEDA LEADERS IN PAKISTAN IN 2005?

Posted by: Adrienne at July 8, 2007 8:26 PM
Comment #225350

My oh my. In the too little, too late category we have:
Colin Powell, the rat that lied to the UN and to each and every one of the American people about the need for the war in Iraq, has now completely jumped ship — with the audacious claim that he truly tried to talk Bush out of taking us there.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 8, 2007 10:03 PM
Comment #225365

Actually, he did. He basically laid out the Pottery Barn rule: you break, you buy it.

Unfortunately, it turns out this particular outlet is rent to own. We broke it, so we bought it, but for some reason, we’re still paying for it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 9, 2007 1:12 AM
Comment #225366
LO, I stand by my point. Nazi totalitarianism worked, and if they had somehow stopped in 1937, their success would have been undeniable. Nationalism, militarism, and fascism united the country, restored pride, and created an economic miracle.

But my point is that they COULD NOT have stopped in 1937 because they were set on a suicidal and destructive course, and that the “economical miracle” was only possible because of a hyper-active and unsustainable state-managed economy. And that the “cultural pride” component was based on the promise of territorial expansion and war.

It’s like saying that if you sell your house and your car, max out ten credit cards, rob a couple of banks and start to party, you’ve made good choices so long as there are no further ramifications. There will indeed be a short period of time when things look pretty damn good, but there’s no way to stop the clock right there.

The Nazis could NOT have stopped in 1937. Hitler knew this. Read the histories of Nazi Germany. The Nazis launched their war LONG before they wanted to because there was no other way to maintain the mirage of their so-called economic and cultural “miracle.”

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at July 9, 2007 1:16 AM
Comment #225370


“I rest my point…the “righties” haven’t found any problems…well, now, isn’t that nice????

No hunger, no poverty, no health, no healthcare, no unemployment, no immigration problems whatsoever…so I guess that’s why Bush had to go manufacture a problem in Iraq…
Posted by: Rachel at July 8, 2007 02:15 PM”

You see Rachel,
Anytime you have to swing the pendulum as far as you can go it is a pretty good sign that you are wrong. Thats debate rules. You would automatically lose any point based debate with that statement. No matter what the subject!

Why? Because that is not even close to what any “RIGHTY” has said, any where at any time on this blog.Period.

You will never see me making statements like that about the lefties. Now I can make some pretty basic comments about the “far left”:

A lot not only do not believe in any God but will make fun of those who do.

Many hate war of any kind and believe that most wars are about oil.

But if i were to say that “all lefties” are just ignorant and hate Christians, I WOULD BE OUT OF LINE AND I WOULD SHOW THE WORLD THAT I HAVE NO OTHER POINT TO MAKE.

Sorry for the rant, but JEEZ!

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 9, 2007 4:47 AM
Comment #225384

So, Scottie…why not answer the post instead of criticizing the poster???? Aren’t those the “rules”???? Or are rules just for certain people…as demonstrated quite eloquently in the US during the past couple of weeks???

Posted by: Rachel at July 9, 2007 10:27 AM
Comment #225393


Im not criticizing you. I am criticizing your message that “the rightys” haven’t found “any” problems

Any time, Anyone, on Any subject, either on the right or left, makes a all inclusive generality as your post did, it is a good sign the other side won. I stand by my words. It is done often in the Blogesphere.

If I stood on a stage on any subject and used that tactic, I would lose the debate.

What you said about “rightys” is just not even close to be true. Neither you or I can make sweeping generalizations like that and have it be based on truth.

Now whether or not Bush “created” anything we can argue back and forth. Lets do that.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 9, 2007 12:11 PM
Comment #225394

Again, I find myself criticizing that tactic!

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 9, 2007 12:12 PM
Comment #225396

The “miracle” of Nazi Germany was made possible by the catastrophe that was WWI’s post war so-called peace. The victors of 1918 took a short-sighted approach to regaining peace. They let their feelings push them into forcing onerous reparation requirements on Germany. They overextended themselves in terms of what they required of those they defeated. Once the ardor for war died down, the shame and frustration of the German people proved perfect soil for the seeds of a movement that would erase that shame, destroy a convenient scapegoat, leaving Germany a perfect vision of it’s new self.

Now, they could think that by putting Germany under the yoke, they could destroy that threat once and for all. Instead, their actions made it very easy for the wolves to convince the sheep that throwing off the yoke and punishing the punishers would be a preferable choice.

In the meantime, the ardor of the punishers became lessened, and having backed themselves into a corner, without any constructive options or alternatives for dealing with the Germans, letting them do what they want became the preferred option.

Bush and his people have lead us into a similar situation. Two problems face us. First, Bush overreaches in his rhetoric. When he fails to go so far as he says he will, it emboldens those who were uncertain about the strength of our approach.

The failures of his plans add a new wrinkle, diverting what strength we have to back up threats into fruitless endeavors.

The problem that follows on with that is the failure of morale that follows the failure of the plans. Put simply, after Iraq, people will be sick of war in general.

America has been weakened to the point where we simply won’t want to intervene, should any great threat rise up. The debacle in Iraq adds the problem of a generation of radicalized individuals looking for somebody to erase the shame of the indignity we have inflicted on them, through our botched occupation.

We need to recognize that though differences exist between Iraq and the mistakes of the past, some aspects of those mistakes remain self-similar throughout history, regardless of how new we believe the age we live in is.

The Republicans need to stop thinking of their policies as somehow exceptional, not fallible, only failing when sabotaged by those they perceive as traitorous dissenters. The approach they’ve taken to this point has weakened America, undermined its security, and the future peace of the world.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 9, 2007 12:26 PM
Comment #225430

Stephen re: Colin Powell
“Actually, he did. He basically laid out the Pottery Barn rule: you break, you buy it.”

That’s the thing. He laid out the rule, but then turned right around and lied to the entire world so that they could break it, ensuring that the American people could pick up the tab for it. Indefinitely.
Btw, did you read in that link how he’s now meeting with Obama to offer his advice? I truly hope Obama is just politely extending a courtesy, not actually listening to that fool.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 9, 2007 2:33 PM
Comment #225458


The “righties” blame every problem on the individual…as though governmental and economic policies have no bearing on anything…so sick of people who think they “made it” on their own…no one does! At least the “left” acknowledges that there are problems which are fomented by policy…

Posted by: Rachel at July 9, 2007 4:22 PM
Comment #225487


There you go again with the pendulum thing again.

The “rightys” blame every problem…

I don’t understand though. I thought my position is to keep government out as much as possible because it does make alot of mistakeas. I thought we were the little government guy and you guys were the big government guys.

But what do I know. I believe in a creator too so my whole understanding of everything must be off.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 9, 2007 6:25 PM
Comment #225536

Government makes mistakes, but so does the market, and so does big business, and so does everybody else.

The trouble is, as committed as many Republicans and Right-wingers are to limited government in theory, they have no real practical notion of how to efficiently and effectively create minimal government. Instead, they tend towards the status quo or greater.

The main difference, and what really pisses the average American off, is that government, while it remains the same size or gets larger, is not wielded so effectively by the Republicans, who don’t want people becoming dependent on it. Never mind that one of the main reasons why the Republicans don’t have the courage to reduce government is that they know that people would miss it, and blame them. So they did something far less visible, and just let it degenerate.

Unfortunately for them, while people and society do have the ability to survive without government help, there are crucial events where regulation and government programs and services not only are welcomed, but much desired, and when they’re not there, people do notice.

Katrina is one of the higher profile examples. Enron and WorldCom, the prescription drug debacles, and the general crappiness and expense of healthcare are others. It doesn’t help that their government seems to be sneaking around and intentionally enabling these kinds of things.

You fellows have to understand something: minimal government, for people to accept it, must work, and work better than the alternative. It’s not good enough to promise improvements in the future, especially if such promises are made in the way that the Republicans made them over the last half century. There’s a point at which people are sick of suffering for some far-off utopia that their sense of the policy’s results tell them isn’t coming their way.

If you’re going to sell people on smaller government, deliver. More importantly, improve on the lot of the country, or else do nothing at all. One reason the Republicans are losing elections is that they seem all too willing to screw up what Americans want working before they stop wanting it to work.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 9, 2007 10:16 PM
Comment #225559


You say:
“Government makes mistakes, but so does the market, and so does big business, and so does everybody else.”

Ye s but we have already discussed the concept of mistakes.
Now lets look at records.

Which has proven itself to do the best job of creating a great standard of living? {free market}
Which has a record of creating societies where no one owns any thing?{would that be government?}

The sky is not falling, we need to clean up our mess but we are not destroying ourselves.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 9, 2007 11:39 PM
Comment #225625

Well, when you get that vague and generalized about it, of course it looks that way. We’re not even looking at records, you’re just restating what you believe as if they’re premises of your argument, and not conclusions of it.

You talk about the free market creating the best standard of living, but the American people have attained their greatest prosperity under a composite market system, not a pure free market.

As for government? This is a Democracy. Government is what you make of it. Your side wants smaller government, but doesn’t really understand how to set up small government so that people don’t get fed up with it and return to the larger model. America can’t be left unprepared for the challenges that it faces, while your side figures out how to do things with small government at its leisure.

I believe in Government that works, and does what is asked of it. I don’t need it to be big, but I got nothing against it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 10, 2007 10:08 AM
Comment #225635


How about just one fact????

Posted by: Rachel at July 10, 2007 12:23 PM
Comment #225670

Here is one for you:

Every living thing on this planet, whether it be plant, animal, human, from the smallest one celled creature to the most complex, all have one thing in common. The all include this little tiny blueprint that tells it what to look like, smell like, taste like and etc.

DNA - Deoxyribonucleic acid

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 10, 2007 2:54 PM
Comment #225675

Here is another one for you!

If a man has sex with lot’s of women before he settles down with one for a long term relationship, he will always crave that multiplicity in his sex life. That makes it very hard on a woman who wants a good stable relationship.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 10, 2007 3:15 PM
Comment #225768

I know for a fact your second “fact” is not true.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 11, 2007 2:42 AM
Comment #225773

Burden of proof is on you!\
Prove it!

If you are referring to yourself you are the rare example. Ask any woman.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 11, 2007 3:08 AM
Comment #225840

Here is anothe FACT!

WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation’s budget deficit will drop to $205 billion in the fiscal year that ends in September, less than half of what it was at its peak in 2004, according to new White House estimates.

President Bush planned to discuss the figures in an afternoon appearance.

The new figure is considerably smaller than original estimates. In February, the White House predicted that this year’s deficit would be $244 billion because of stronger-than-expected revenue collections. The deficit hit a peak of $413 billion in 2004 and was $248 billion last year.

Deficit Falls to $205 Billion…

Doesn’t fit with the economic disaster David Remmer says we are heading down looks like just like with JFK, REAGAN, and Rudy in NY that tax cuts work!

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 11, 2007 1:58 PM
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