Offended by a Sketch
Isaac's got the goods.
It's not the bomb-head that's offensive. It's that someone -- anyone -- drew a picture of Muhammad. That's idolatry. Three guesses what the punishment for that is in Islam.
"I'll Be Back in an Hour. Are You Boys Sure You Know What You're Doing?"
If we take honor to mean fame, glory, renown, or splendor, it may appear applicable only to an earlier time. If, however, we understand its significance as deference, esteem, just due, regard, respect, or prestige we will find it an important motive of nations in the modern world as well. Honor, in these senses, is desirable in itself, but it also has practical importance in the competition for power. When it is on the wane, so, too, is the power of the state losing it, and the reverse is also true. Power and honor have a reciprocal relationship. It is obvious that when a state's power grows, the deference and respect in which it is held are likely to grow as well. But the opposite is also true: even when its material power appears to remain the same, it really declines if in some manner these attitudes toward it change. This happens most frequently when a state is seen to lack the will to use its material power.
HH: Do you honor the service that their son did?
JS: To honor the service their son...now this is a dumb question, but what do
you mean by honor? That's a word you keep using. I'm not entirely...maybe that's my problem. But I'm not entirely sure what you're...
TERRORIST: One who seeks to achieve a political end primarily by using violence against civilians and non-combatants, with the primary aim of creating a psychology of fear and an awareness of threat in the body of people the terrorist wishes to manipulate for the sake of the political goal.
The total number of Americans killed by Islamic terrorists in the last 5 years ? or 10 years ? or 20 years ? or ever ? is roughly 3,500, the same number of deaths by suicide which occur in this country every month.
... where does Sept. 11 rank in the grand sweep of American history as a threat to national security? By my calculations it does not make the top tier of the list, which requires the threat to pose a serious challenge to the survival of the American republic.
Here is my version of the top tier: the War for Independence, where defeat meant no United States of America; the War of 1812, when the national capital was burned to the ground; the Civil War, which threatened the survival of the Union; World War II, which represented a totalitarian threat to democracy and capitalism; the cold war, most specifically the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, which made nuclear annihilation a distinct possibility.
Sept. 11 does not rise to that level of threat because, while it places lives and lifestyles at risk, it does not threaten the survival of the American republic, even though the terrorists would like us to believe so.
America enshrined in its history books the years of 'McCarthyism,' during which two major Soviet spies suffered rather unpleasant deaths and a few university professors and film directors temporarily lost their jobs, then returned to write their books. Post-war hysteria went somewhat further with America's ally, the Soviet Union. The victims can be counted in millions. ["1945," p.585]
Labels: Arlen Specter
In a rational, historically aware country, U.S. leaders would have told Americans that the attack on Zawahiri was facilitated by U.S. intelligence officers and Special Forces who risked their lives to gather intelligence that seemed to fix Zawahiri in a specific place at a specific time. Because Washington’s most important duty is to protect Americans, they would have said, we acted on the best information available and, so to speak, let 'er rip. Unfortunately, we missed Zawahiri, but we killed four of his fighters and will keep trying to get him and bin Laden. As for the dead Pakistanis, they are foreigners not Americans and we have no responsibility to protect them. And, in any event, they were about to serve up sautéed goat steaks and curry to one of America’s most dangerous enemies. The lesson all Pakistanis should take from the incident is that we are not concerned with the lives of Zawahiri’s abettors, that they were lucky the village was not hit by B-52s, and that next time they may not be so fortunate.
Such a public articulation would have been neither callus nor irresponsible; it just would have been true. We are engaged in war against Islamic militants who fight as insurgents. These men wear no uniforms, and live -- and hide -- among a population in eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan that overwhelmingly supports them because the insurgents are their coreligionists and because they are attacking the United States. The current problem for America is not last week’s near-miss on Zawahiri, but that there have been so few attacks on Zawahiri and bin Laden. Frankly, from an intelligence perspective, the more violence, the better chance to collect quality intelligence. Frequent, deadly bombings -- even if not always totally effective -- make the enemy nervous, force him to move about, and stimulate chattiness as he communicates electronically about his location and status. Our ability to collect intelligence pin-pointing the enemy increases exponentially when he is talking and moving. Thus, even a near-miss is a valuable stimulus to collection.
"Today, the term 'love' has become one of the most frequently used and misused of words. ... We speak of love of country, love of one's profession, love between friends, love of work, love between parents and children, love of neighbor and love of God. Amid this multiplicity of meanings, however, one in particular stands out: love between man and woman, where body and soul are inseparably joined and human beings glimpse an apparently irresistible promise of happiness."
"Nowadays, Christianity of the past is often criticized as having been opposed to the body; and it is quite true that tendencies of this sort have always existed. Yet the contemporary way of exalting the body is deceptive. Eros, reduced to pure 'sex,' has become a commodity, a mere 'thing' to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself becomes a commodity."
Wyclif and the Rhemish version regularly rendered the Vulgate dilectio by 'love,' caritas by 'charity.' But the 16th c. Eng. versions from Tindale to 1611, while rendering agape sometimes 'love,' sometimes 'charity,' did not follow the dilectio and caritas of the Vulgate, but used 'love' more often (about 86 times), confining 'charity' to 26 passages in the Pauline and certain of the Catholic Epistles (not in I John), and the Apocalypse .... In the Revised Version 1881, 'love' has been substituted in all these instances, so that it now stands as the uniform rendering of agape."
"...Love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential to her (the church) as ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel. ... For the church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being."
"Marxism had seen world revolution and its preliminaries as the panacea for the social problem. ... This illusion has vanished. In today's complex situation, not least because of the growth of a globalized economy, the church's social doctrine has become a set of fundamental guidelines offering approaches that are valid even beyond the confines of the church."
But such well-intentioned people are singularly ineffective in dealing with the more radical members of their own faiths. In many instances they are, rightly, terrified of them. Moderate Muslims have so far been utterly unable to turn the tide of Islamic opinion against Wahhabists and other extremists, but moderate Christians and Jews and Hindus have been equally feckless in countering the outrageous demands and acts of their own radical elements.
It is time for the reasonable adherents of all faiths to find the courage and stamina to reverse the tradition that honors helpless love of God — in any tradition. Far from being honorable, it is not even excusable. It is shameful. Here is what we should say to people who follow such a tradition: There is only one way to respect the substance of any purported God-given moral edict. Consider it conscientiously in the full light of reason, using all the evidence at our command. No God pleased by displays of unreasoning love is worthy of worship.
Despite the claims of the anti-religious crusaders - especially in the US - that the Christian right is on the rise, in fact in cultural terms it is increasingly marginalised. Films with a Christian message find it difficult to convey a powerful sense of faith and meaning. Instead, religious values and beliefs tend to be transmitted through non-human anthropomorphic forms. The attempt to endow even the behaviour of penguins with transcendental meaning - in the widely acclaimed March of the Penguins - is symptomatic of this theological illiteracy. The enthusiasm with which Christian organisations embraced March of the Penguins showed up their disorientation, if not desperation, rather than their aggressive confidence. After the penguin it is the turn of another animal - Aslan, the lion in the Narnia film - to serve as a symbol of innocence, sacrifice and resurrection. What beast will Christian filmmakers pick next?
And after reading I have two words for you: Fuck you.
Regardless of what the Preznit says, Muslims and Al Qaeda don’t have us for our Freedom, they hate us because we continue to perpetuate a policy of global imperialism. The book is a critque on that.
How about the fact that the US is one of the LEAST generous nations in the world? While we probably give more than any other country, we are also the RICHEST country in the world.
Give me a fucking break. Just about all of our actions in the Middle East are not done for humanitarian reasons, they are done to protect our interests. Back during the Cold war it was to stop the USSR and now it is mainly oil.
Excuse me? At the request of them? The vast majority of our foreign military bases are set up at OUR reuqest. Not theirs. On top of this, the request comes with “benefits” which is basically a legal bribe.
Fascist? Dude, you need to take a political science class. You are grossly misusing the term fascism. YOu obviously have no idea what fascism is all about.
What you need to realize is that you cannot defeat terrorism by dropping bombs on people. The only way to defeat terrorism is to erase the causes of said terrorism.
For centuries our policies towards the middle east have been extremely fucked up. Period. We supported vicious dictators, killers, and death squads when it supported out interests. Yet we love freedom and democracy right? Talk about hypocrisy.
There is absolutely no excuse for us to have 70 international military bases around the world. America was never intended to be an empire and people who think we should need to take a fucking look at history and get a god damn clue.
Now, if the position you wish to take is that Jefferson actually considered the US an Empire at its inception, I’d love to see you back that up with an argument…
Up till now we have succeeded in leaving the enemy in the dark concerning Germany's real goals, just as before 1932 our domestic foes never saw where we were going or that our oath of legality was just a trick. ... They could have suppressed us. They could have arrested a couple of us in 1925 and that would have been that, the end. No, they let us through the danger zone. That's exactly how it was in foreign policy, too. ... In 1933 a French premier ought to have said (and if I had been the French premier I would have said it): 'The new Reich Chancellor is the man who wrote Mein Kampf, which says this and that. This man cannot be tolerated in our vicinity. Either he disappears or we march!' But they didn't do it. They left us alone and let us slip through the risky zone, and we were able to sail around all dangerous reefs. And when we were done, and well armed, better than they, then they started the war!
Monsieur Flandin [French Foreign Minister] emphasized that the next challenge would not be an attack upon France or Belgium, but very likely an attack upon Czechoslovakia or Austria. If we failed to meet the present challenge, who could possibly say that Germany would be stopped in her next venture?
The French delegation left for the Munich airport almost exactly twenty-four hours after arriving. Once again, a well-programmed crowd offered cheers, and Ribbentrop provided the escort. During the flight Daladier sat silent and morose, worried about the reception he would receive at Le Bourget, about how the French would react to his having betrayed Czechoslovakia and France's promises. As the plane circled for landing, he and others saw a massive crowd awaiting them. Expecting jeers, hisses, rotten fruit, and maybe worse, Daladier declared stolidly: "They are going to mob me, I suppose. ... I appreciate their feelings," and insisted on absorbing their wrath by being the first off the plane. But as he stood dumbfounded on the gangplank, thousands surged forward carrying flags and flowers, shouting "Hurrah for France! Hurrah for England! Hurrah for peace!" Daladier turned back to Léger and cursed, "The God-damned fools!" [Benjamin F. Martin, "France in 1938"]
But many analysts inside and outside the Spanish government contended part of ETA's strategy — particularly under the Franco regime — was to cause its statements and acts to get the government to clamp down which would serve several purposes: (1) It would divide the country even more, (2) It would cause the government to perhaps overreact and be branded as represssive, and make new enemies (3) It would accentuate existing political divisions and heighten polarization — thus weakening the central government.
Could that be part of bin Laden's goal here as well?
My DD's Scott Shields notes the content of bin Laden's recent tape and how it helped spark a furor over MSNBC's Chris Matthews comparing bin Laden's comments to filmmaker Michael Moore:
When bin Laden cites domestic polling figures or mainstream criticisms of Bush, he's not doing it because he's a fan of Michael Moore or Howard Dean or reads the New York Times, as Matthews and his fellow talking heads Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson insist....He obviously doesn't care about the political affiliation of the people he kills. The reason bin Laden says these things is to create tension among the American electorate. It's a standard tactic of war and it's frustrating to see the media take the bait without question.
Bin Laden's goal is tearing America down. He doesn't care if it takes airplanes crashing into buildings or fomenting a civil war. It's all just means to an end. On this front, it seems that he might be having some success, as evidenced by the rhetoric coming from the right and accepted as conventional wisdom by people like Matthews. I've seen a few commenters question why we are so worked up over Matthews' stupidity. This is why. The narrative that he is pushing is the one bin Laden wants out there.
In other words, in this view, bin Laden wants the right to start pointing fingers at the left...which will infuriate the left...which will cause another reaction from the right. And no one benefits from bitter polarization, even though it might be beneficial in a given election.
The Matthews smear illustrates the fact that it has become routine in our national political dialogue, and among our nation's journalists, to equate opposition to George Bush with subversiveness, treason, and support for Al Qaeda....
This tactic of equating Democrats with bin Laden is designed to eliminate dissent and to stigmatize Bush’s opponents as traitors.
That the GOP has transparently wielded this tactic almost from the moment the airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center is reprehensible enough. But it is simply no longer tolerable for the media – which was intended to serve as a Fourth Estate check against government propaganda of this type – to continue to be the primary instrument for the dissemination of this smear.
There are few things more important than combating this notion, so prevalent among the Chris Matthews of the world, that opposing George Bush is tantamount to supporting Al Qaeda, or relatedly, that it's perfectly acceptable to equate Bush opponents with bin Laden but it is terribly crass - even treasonous - to aggressively criticize the President.
So if one of bin Laden's intents is indeed to sow and accentuate divisions and bitter polarization within the United States we can assume he's getting reports of what the right and media types such as Matthews are saying and how it's angering those on the left, which causes more anger on the right.
"I realized that I empathized and agreed with bin Laden's hatred of Bush and all he stands for. Bush is not America and while Binny may just be baiting us, I would welcome a truce if it included the impeachment of Bush as part of the bargain. You know the state of the nation is bad if it can get me to look at Binny boy in any light other than a fundamentalist wacko mass murderer. But, at this point in time, I honestly feel more disdain for Bush and his administration than I do for bin Laden."
Is it therefore stretching it to conclude that he'll do whatever he can in coming months to inspire more comments from the right and media types, to cause more fingerpointing and to cause more negative reaction and polarization? Wouldn't he want to see the water boil a bit more — especially during an election year?
Prediction: this will play well with the GOP base but it's going to scare independent voters away from the GOP in droves.
Frothing: My solution to war is, if anyone wants to start a war, let them go and fight it. Let Bush go fight.
Non-Frothing: Yeah, or his children.
Frothing: No, I want to see him fight it.