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Nail. Head. Hit it. He did.
September 20, 2001 4:19 AM   Subscribe

Nail. Head. Hit it. He did. "Despite almost universal condemnation of the attacks, many argue that a misguided US foreign policy in the Middle East is at least partly to blame. The BBC's Tehran Correspondent Jim Muir, who has spent decades covering conflicts in the region explains the forces at work."
posted by Jofus (81 comments total)

 
I agree. What we should do then is to tell Israel that they must vacate the land and forget the U.N. resolution in '48; then get out of Saudi Arabia (BinLaden specifically has mentioned our presence there) and Let Iraq take Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and do what it will with the oil. And stop spending two billion per year on Egypt, second in line after Israel for our foegin aid.
If we pull out of the entire region, and forget about global trading in that part of the world, we can not be blamed for our serious misdeeds.
Does this approach mean that Kentucky will have to stop their big business of selling horses to princes from Saudi Arabia? Ah, well, keep the horses here. Unless we can sell to China.
posted by Postroad at 4:36 AM on September 20, 2001


This is one of the best summaries of why the US is reviled internationally. I kind of think that extremist groups have allowed the US a remarkable amount of latitude in terms of being inconsistent in policy before the anger built to the point of last week's attack. There are two unfortunate things that have directly resulted. One, any response that doesn't involve a resolution of our very foreign policy issue will simply result in more violence down the road and as a nation we will be trapped in a cycle of violence. And two, very few people realize that we are trapping ourselves in such a cycle.


I don't have a good answer how to resolve the current connundrum, but it won't ultimately be fixed by busting terrorist organizations. We also need to work to defuse the motivations that drive the terrorists in the first place.
posted by shagoth at 4:37 AM on September 20, 2001


Isreal is the civilized world's only outpost in the Middle East, and instead of abandon 5 million Jews to a new holocaust, like some of you seem to suggest, we should instead be vowing to support that lonely friend as loyally as she has supported us.
posted by dagny at 4:48 AM on September 20, 2001


dagny, what is your definition of "civilized"?
posted by arf at 4:52 AM on September 20, 2001


Civilized, as in having a relatively high level of cultural and technological development
posted by dagny at 5:01 AM on September 20, 2001


Dagny, do you mean to say that there is no culture or technology within the Arabs? Or it is just not 'high' enough?

Postroad, if the Arabs agree to the 1948 U.N. resolution, would Israel agree to all the other U.N. resolutions since '48?

Just curious.
posted by tamim at 5:10 AM on September 20, 2001


[Dagny, do you mean to say that there is no culture or technology within the Arabs? Or it is just not 'high' enough?]

They aren't democracies are they? Are there people allowed to live free?
posted by revbrian at 5:12 AM on September 20, 2001


Dagny, do you mean to say that there is no culture or technology within the Arabs? Or it is just not 'high' enough?

The only proper standard for judging a culture or a society is the degree to which its core values are pro- or anti-life.

Pro-life cultures acknowledge and respect man’s nature as a rational being who must discover and create the conditions which his survival and happiness require — which means that they advocate reason, rights, freedom, and technological progress.

While still far from perfect, in the Middle East, Israel is relatively closest to this ideal.
posted by dagny at 5:14 AM on September 20, 2001


Pro-life cultures acknowledge and respect man’s nature as a rational being who must discover and create the conditions which his survival and happiness require — which means that they advocate reason, rights, freedom, and technological progress.

And Israel advocates these things for its Arab citizens? Does invading Lebanon and killing thousands of civilians in the process count as advocating "technological progress?" or advocating "reason, rights and freedom"?
posted by talos at 5:23 AM on September 20, 2001


Where’s the Islamic outrage against these attacks?
Is it happening and we just aren’t seeing it?
We see Muslims taking to the streets in a heartbeat to burn a flag or celebrate this horror and destruction. Where are the Islamic clerics and the Islamic faithful coming out into the streets to chanting “death to the terrorists” or even lighting a candle? Why aren’t they going to the governments of their countries turning over information and offering their services to up root out these people who profane their religion? Are they and we just aren't seeing it?
I realize this is probably post is gonna start an ugly “troll-poking” thread, but I heard some interesting comments on NPR last night about 11:10 pm last night. I didn’t hear the guest being introduced, but I believe he had an Islamic background.
He pointed out the Islamic faith is oppressive. When people of the Islamic take over a region, EVERY OTHER FAITH IS OUTLAWED with punishment including death. Yes, I’ve heard of the crusades and inquisition, but this guest pointed out how Christianity has shed the blood of it’s own faithful over time also to keep the faith with one foot in the modern world (the example he used was the reformation). He also pointed out was that when the Arabs controlled Jerusalem; they didn’t allow Jews access to the Western wall. He said when the Jews took over Jerusalem they did not prohibit Muslims from accessing their holy places. He said the Islamic faith has hardly changed in 1300 years.
Just some things to think about…
posted by david1016 at 5:47 AM on September 20, 2001


We also need to work to defuse the motivations that drive the terrorists in the first place.

It bewilders me that anyone could reject the self-evident good sense of a statement like this. And yet, so many do.
posted by rushmc at 5:53 AM on September 20, 2001


dagny et al. Which do you think is the central issue facing the US today?

(1) whether the US thinks the Israelies are civilised
(2) whether those who would do you harm for supporting them think the Israelies are civilised.
(3) whether those you are asking to put themselves in danger to help you, think the Israelies are civilised.

I'm testing how aware and concerned you are, in other words, of public opinion.
posted by RichLyon at 5:58 AM on September 20, 2001


The central issue facing the US government today, as it always has been, and always will be, is defending the individual rights of its citizens.

As I said in another thread, defending Israel is basic American self-defense. After all, what's the best strategy:

  • supporting your friends and weakening your enemies, and at best make them go away completely, or
  • sitting quietly, letting your enemies roam freely, and hope that they never attack you, the very symbol of the values they despise?
    posted by dagny at 6:03 AM on September 20, 2001


  • Pro-life cultures? So the world is divided into pro-life and anti-life cultures? Perhaps they're pro-death?

    Countries in the middle east are going through a period of instability which has led to a rise in fanatacism and a clamp down on freedom. That does not mean that is the whole of their culture. Europe waged religious war in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, leading to a clamp down on freedom (Oliver Cromwell anyone?). Does that make us anti-life? That period does not define European culture.

    And how technological progress becomes 'pro-life' I have no idea. So if you haven't got an IT-based industry does that mean you're pro-death? And people wonder why Americans are despised.
    posted by Summer at 6:08 AM on September 20, 2001


    Have people here all see the John Pilger piece? I've not been following all the threads and don't have a URL (just an email forwarded from someone). Anyone who hasn't seen it, give me a shout and I'll email it on (or you can just assume that it says what you expect ;-)
    posted by andrew cooke at 6:12 AM on September 20, 2001


    When people of the Islamic take over a region, EVERY OTHER FAITH IS OUTLAWED with punishment including death.

    In the sixteenth century, when the Ottoman Empire occupied territory to the east of Austria they allowed the natives to keep their own religion. What you say above is true about modern Islamic movements, not about Islam itself.
    posted by Summer at 6:13 AM on September 20, 2001


    I kind of think that extremist groups have allowed the US a remarkable amount of latitude in terms of being inconsistent in policy before the anger built to the point of last week's attack.

    I kind of think that the notion we've been given "remarkable latitude" by these murderers is a joke. They tried to do this to the World Trade Center in 1993 and failed. They've left a trail of blood all over the world the past 20 years.

    Now they've committed mass murder on American soil, and while we continue to dig for whatever pieces we can find of 5,000 people, some people think the proper response is to persuade the murderers to like us.

    To assign even part of the blame to the U.S. for these attacks assumes that there's some rational explanation for what they did. There's nothing rational about it. Extremists zealots, emboldened by promises of a glorious afterlife, murdered thousands of innocent people in a suicide attack. More zealots are doubtlessly planning future attacks with the help of states that harbor them.

    Even if you believe the worst of the U.S., which you obviously do, you should be able to see the need to deal with these terrorists and terrorist-supporting states.
    posted by rcade at 6:18 AM on September 20, 2001


    Sadly, America is trapped.

    It is perhaps right to strike back in anger against one who has attacked you -- after all, they may hate you just because of who you are and what you do....and if you change who you are to try and "defuse their motivations", then how strong are you? They win. May as well fight back.

    It is perhaps right to acknowledge their hatred for you as something you can change, and work toward that. After all, fighting back acknowledges the validity of their methods, and working toward peace is part of who you are. If you fight back in anger, they win. May as well work toward peace.
    posted by drinkcoffee at 6:23 AM on September 20, 2001


    Countries in the middle east are going through a period of instability which has led to a rise in fanatacism and a clamp down on freedom. That does not mean that is the whole of their culture.

    Talk about straw man. I've never said the entire Middle Eastern culture is about clamping down on freedom, so why are you implicating that? What I'm arguing against, is the clamping down on freedom, and the causes for that clamp-down, namely Islamic fanaticism, as you rightly mention.

    Europe waged religious war in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, leading to a clamp down on freedom (Oliver Cromwell anyone?). Does that make us anti-life?

    It does not make us -- you and me, today -- anti-life, but all wars on individual liberty are in essence anti-life, and thus those who wage them -- or waged them -- are (or were) too.

    And how technological progress becomes 'pro-life' I have no idea.

    Gee, I wonder why an increasing number of Westerners live to be 90 years old. It must be luck.

    And people wonder why Americans are despised

    Yes, surely it must be my fault, seeing how I'm not even American to begin with.
    posted by dagny at 6:31 AM on September 20, 2001


    Pro-life cultures? So the world is divided into pro-life and anti-life cultures? Perhaps they're pro-death?

    Islam is an altruist religion. Altruism is pro-death. An altruist's highest goal is to make the ultimate sacrifice for the cause, to die for something "larger than himself".
    posted by dagny at 6:34 AM on September 20, 2001


    When people of the Islamic take over a region, EVERY OTHER FAITH IS OUTLAWED with punishment including death.
    Funny, under the Arab and the Ottoman empires Christianity and Judaism were definitely not outlawed. Right now there are christians and jews living peacefully in Iran and Saudi Arabia, not to mention (in large numbers) in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan.

    Iranian reaction.
    posted by talos at 6:42 AM on September 20, 2001


    Dictionary check:
    Altruism is pro-death
    Altruism is when a fireman risks his life to save a child from a burning building.
    Altruism: Unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness.
    posted by talos at 6:47 AM on September 20, 2001


    While I think examining America's past foreign policy decisions has its place, I disagree with those who would connect those past decisions to how the US should respond to the recent attacks. Even if true, it would be absurd for the US to handicap itself as some form of "self-punishment" for past actions. The notion of "you're right, we've been heavy-handed in the past, please continue to drive airplanes into our buildings" is absurd.

    And the not-so-subtle defending of the extremist Islamic/Taliban beliefs over US interests is mind-boggling. Realize that the Taliban is currently holding eight westerners (aid workers) accused of "spreading Christianity." The punishment? Death! The US may have its flaws, but those flaws are nothing compared to the policies of those organizations.
    posted by pardonyou? at 6:48 AM on September 20, 2001


    talos
    Consider the source for the "Iranian reaction" link.
    Also, the speaker on NPR gave specific examples of Islamic controlled areas where other that openly threaten those of different religions including Afganistan and Sudan. He named others that I can't recall.
    Check out
    pardonyou?'s post.
    posted by david1016 at 6:54 AM on September 20, 2001


    instead of abandon 5 million Jews to a new holocaust, like some of you seem to suggest
    Hmmm, Israel has helicopter gunships and nuclear weapons; Palestinians have suicide bombers and, uh, rocks. Holocaust in the making? Get a grip.
    we should instead be vowing to support that lonely friend as loyally as she has supported us.
    The lonely friend has loyally infiltrated our intelligence services top-to-bottom and "supports us" by spending many millions a year lobbying Congress.
    The aspect of Middle East realpolitik that scares me most is that both sides have completely lost rationality. In its air of suffocating mistrust, it's much like the latter days of South Africa's apartheid regime. And the Israeli government, by controlling America's foreign policy in the region, has drawn us into the vortex.
    posted by Allen Varney at 6:55 AM on September 20, 2001


    Altruism is pro-death.

    Ah, I see. A proponent of Rand. So, will you be telling us the greed is pro-life now?
    posted by Fenriss at 6:56 AM on September 20, 2001


    The writings of bin Laudin and the Khalifah say the reason for the attacks is the economic domination of Saudi Arabia by American capitalist forces causing desecration of Mecca and Medina.

    Israel/Palestine is a related side issue, but nothing more. Ergo the bombing of the USS Cole while in port at Saudi, and the WTC. Bin Laudin has not been attacking Israel because it is not a priority for him.
    posted by username at 7:01 AM on September 20, 2001


    david1016 asked: Where are the Islamic clerics and the Islamic faithful coming out into the streets to chanting “death to the terrorists” or even lighting a candle?

    I live in Astoria, Queens, which has a large Islamic population, and all around I see Muslims expressing support for the US. Middle Eastern Cafes on 30th ave have US flags hung next to the large Arabic print on their front windows. Car Service drivers wearing Turbans fly small American Flags on their hoods. Perhaps the media should show us these pictures and not just the dancing in the street.
    posted by ericost at 7:01 AM on September 20, 2001


    This shows that US policy vis a vis Israel is pretty much beside the point where the terrorists are concerned. And if the terrorists are so angry about Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians, where was the anger against Syria when Assad leveled Hama in 1982? Many thousands of Muslims were murdered in that action, but nary a peep was heard from the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah.

    I'd take anything in the media right now (especially the European media) with a very large grain of salt.
    posted by mrmanley at 7:03 AM on September 20, 2001


    I kind of think that extremist groups have allowed the US a remarkable amount of latitude...

    Yes - many thanks to the merciful, patient terrorists!
    posted by glenwood at 7:05 AM on September 20, 2001


    ericost
    Thank you for the insight . I live in the VERY rural Southeast. No taxi, no Islamic people in my community that I know of. I was pretty sure there was support in the Islamic community, but as I stated and you pointed out...we're just not seeing it. (heck, I don't even have cable) ;-)
    posted by david1016 at 7:08 AM on September 20, 2001


    talos
    Consider the source for the "Iranian reaction" link.


    I saw on Greek television the candle light vigil for victims of the WTC.
    The link was from an anti-government Iranian source. As is this one, and this one.
    This link is from a radio free europe site.
    posted by talos at 7:16 AM on September 20, 2001


    Postroad, dagny, et al.:

    Why is it that whenever someone suggests America rethink its policy towards Israel, it is immediately construed to mean "abandoning" Israel to the evil clutches of the Arab hordes?

    Nowhere in the insightful articles I have read in the past week (this one included) does anyone seem to suggest that America pack up and go home. Rather, people are calling on America to bring a different set of criteria to its approach to international relations.

    Please, the paranoid cult of victimhood no longer holds water when it comes to Israel, and does little to advance your case.
    posted by mapalm at 7:21 AM on September 20, 2001


    "To assign even part of the blame to the U.S. for these attacks assumes that there's some rational explanation for what they did."

    Malarkey.

    The U.S. did not create the terrorists. It did not "deserve" what happened. There is no moral calculus that justifies the murder of 5,000 civilians.

    But what does rational have to do with it? When the Columbine High School jocks picked on the geeks, was it "rational" for two hassled kids to gun down schoolmates, mainly ones who didn't taunt them? Was it "reasonable" to expect a body count?

    Of course not. But the school later decided the tormenting pushed twisted kids to act.

    The U.S. did help fertilize the growth media for these terrorists for decades. Our government repeatedly shrugged off mass civilian deaths inflicted by our forces (in Iraq, Serbia, etc.), by our allies (in Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, Central America, South America, etc.) and despotic governments we have officially tolerated (pick 'em).

    We told the world the U.S. stood for truth and justice and freedom. We meant it then, and we mean it now. Yet too often, our actions, those of our allies, and the despots we supported made those noble words ring hollow.

    Lots of times the people who died or cried for loved ones lost in the rubble were Arabic, or Muslim, or had brown skin of some sort. This was noted by the people who were getting the crap kicked out of them, sometimes by soldiers carrying American M-16s or trained by American-schooled instructors.

    Certainly there were lots of other terrible things happening elsewhere in the world that we had nothing to do with, or tried to stop. America really does care, and lots of times we helped make things better.

    But as Muir points out, saying things are rough all over is no comfort to a man who just lost his wife and kid to American bombs dropped by American allies.

    Gradually, a splinter group of Muslim extremists tapped into the surging, boiling river of hate against us. They made it part of their own customized version of Islam, which sells very well in the slums of Kandahar and Cairo and dar-es-Salaam.

    We didn't care very much. Our government didn't agonize overly about being seen to play fair in the Arab world, or remain exquisitely sensitive to Islamic concerns, because we didn't have to. Like the fact that lots of conservative Muslims (not just bin Laden's crew) are as offended by the continued U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia as, say, Catholics would be by a whorehouse/gay disco in the Vatican.

    So the bin Ladenites had plenty of "teachable moments" for their nodding, eager students.

    In a battle against an enemy whose key weapon isn't tanks, or battleships, but ideology, truly understanding what's in their heads is crucial.

    In addition to military counterstrikes, we need diplomatic ones as well. The U.S. must commit itself to conspicuously exerting its muscle on behalf of the Arab unfortunates as well as the Israelis, as complicated, frustrating and strenuous as that will be.

    We can wipe out bin Laden and all who stand with him. But what about the next generation?

    Forgive the florid analogy, but it fits. If we don't drain the swamp of hate, all we'll get are more mosquitoes of terror, and the body counts they bring.

    Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.
    posted by sacre_bleu at 7:24 AM on September 20, 2001


    talos
    Thank you for the insight.
    Perhaps I do need to rethink some stuff. See...conservatives do have an open mind. ;-)
    posted by david1016 at 7:26 AM on September 20, 2001


    Fenriss: So, will you be telling us the greed is pro-life now?

    Quite simply: Yes.
    posted by davidmsc at 7:31 AM on September 20, 2001


    Good post.
    posted by Mocata at 7:35 AM on September 20, 2001


    (by sacre bleu)
    posted by Mocata at 7:36 AM on September 20, 2001


    After all, fighting back acknowledges the validity of their methods, and working toward peace is part of who you are. If you fight back in anger, they win.

    The U.S. appears to be fighting back in self-defense, not anger. Every day the White House puts people in front of news cameras to ask the country's patience, explain that the battle against terrorism is not something that will be solved quickly, and address the concerns of moderates in the Middle East who are afraid a severe U.S. retaliation against Afghanistan will polarize the region.

    But the school later decided the tormenting pushed twisted kids to act.

    Another example where blame is wrongly taken off murderers. None of the Columbine victims bullied those killers, and I haven't read anything that indicates the killers received anything other than mild mistreatment from some of their peers.

    saying things are rough all over is no comfort to a man who just lost his wife and kid to American bombs dropped by American allies.

    Saying that terrorists have a right to be angry is an insult to the people in the U.S. who are still waiting to receive a few fragments of a loved one so they have something to bury.
    posted by rcade at 7:42 AM on September 20, 2001


    dagny. Thank you. You answered my question. (The only way I can reconcile "defending the individual rights of its citizens" with "defending Israel is basic American self-defense" BTW is by assuming you regard Israel as in some way being a political extension of your own state. Hmmmmm.)

    The article clearly offers you the opportunity to gain some insight into how you are perceived. Don't get defensive. The UK looks (and probably is) pretty ghastly, viewed from an external perspective.

    Your job now is to understand whether the time has come to do anything about it. In making your mind up, remember this: there is absolutely no defence your country can mount against an implacable terrorist threat against your country in the 21st Century. None. Even a tiny breach in your defence is capable now of resulting in intolerable damage to your system, in a manner unimaginable when your founding fathers codified your notions of international political justice.

    You need to understand what effect your policies have on the world and why they can cause people to hate you. Don't try to rationalise it. Don't appeal to justice. Deal with it, swallow your pride, and get on with being a team player in our world.

    It's a trite idea that is going around at the moment, that you shouldn't be dropping Cruise missiles on the folks you dislike just now, but LendLease food packages. But it contains a germ of the idea which is just about your only solution to this whole, sorry mess.
    posted by RichLyon at 7:50 AM on September 20, 2001


    When people of the Islamic take over a region, EVERY OTHER FAITH IS OUTLAWED with punishment including death.

    david1016, if you're going to make grand pronouncements like this, you might want to check with the Encyclopedia Britannica or watch the frigging news. Malaysia is the seventh most populous country on the planet, and has the largest Muslim population of any nation. Neither Christianity nor Buddhism nor any other organized faith is outlawed, let alone punishable by death. Your ignorance of something so basic about Islamic life in the current day makes anything you've said or will say about Islam or Muslims highly suspect unless you can back them up with factual evidence.
    posted by lia at 8:02 AM on September 20, 2001


    There's a middle ground here that we all have, in my opinion, to reach. Many are, many are not, both here and in the world at large.

    It has to be possible to discuss the American contribution to the context in which this could occur without being accused of "hating America" or "blaming America". Likewise, I think that there has to be a way to discuss military or similar action against the perpetrators of this horror without blithely ignoring that context OR maligning all Islam or relying on the rudest stereotypes.
    posted by mikel at 8:02 AM on September 20, 2001


    The right to anger is not automatically withdrawn when someone does a horrible act. This isn't some game, where you have an emotional allowance that can be revoked when you kill x number of people.

    The barbaric nature of their action doesn't make their grievances any more or less valid.
    posted by websavvy at 8:04 AM on September 20, 2001


    lia
    Your ignorance is showing as well. That "grand pronouncements" was PRECEDED by the source I heard it from. I posted it so that someone else who may have been listening to NPR might could track down the source. Since you seem to be so good with reference material, perhaps you could track it down for me. Also, I sighted specific examples where Islamic control regions do persecute other faiths.
    posted by david1016 at 8:10 AM on September 20, 2001


    The comments about Islam prohibiting the practice of other religions does have a basis in fact. Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, UAE, and Qatar (I think) are ruled by the shari'a, or Islamic law. This law, among other things, dictates that women must wear a burka, men must wear a beard, thieves must be punished by amputation, etc. It also dictates that "infidels" may be treated as guests, but may not practice their religion upon Islamic lands.

    Nations like Egypt and Malaysia are predominately Muslim, but they are secular governments and are not run according to shari'a. That is the Islamic fundamentalists' dream: to covert all Muslim nations into completely Islamic nations beholden to no law but shari'a. This would be a humanitarian catastrophe, and is a major reason to oppose the Islamic fundamentalists.

    Note that this does not say that all Muslims believe in the absolute rule of shari'a. Most do not. That would be like saying that all Christians are like Jerry Falwell. Still, the Quran is fairly explicit about many things that Westerners find distasteful (the treatment of women, for example). There is a movement called Wahhabism that is very strict and anti-modern, and this is unfortunately the brand of Islam most popular in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world.

    We must and should encourage the moderate Muslims of the world (the vast majority of them) to join with us. But there are many Muslims who simply disagree with our very way of life, and these people will be against us no matter what course we take.
    posted by mrmanley at 8:14 AM on September 20, 2001


    The US made a mistake. They thought that they can do what ever they want and the others would see it in the same light. Ofcourse that changes when there is no trust. The US also thought that these lowly, illeterate, un-civilized, barbaric Arabs and Muslims couldnt possibly retalitate or harm us ? Well that changes, thanks to piracy, these barbarians can get Microsoft Windows XP Server Edition for less then $1. The result. BLOWBACK.

    I think Americans do not have any option any more. They have to fight the war. They have to go into states like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Kashmir, Kenya, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen etc and topple the governments there. Take over the countries, submit them to a bloody holocaust with the help of Israelis. Afterall they are expert in it, both at recieving and
    imparting ends.

    After accompolishing this phase, then the government should pick some secular people from the civilians and hand over the government to them, ofcourse that doesnt mean that the US forces leave the areas. They should stay there to help the new government take control and also learn to govern and become the beacon of light.
    posted by adnanbwp at 8:20 AM on September 20, 2001


    The barbaric nature of their action doesn't make their grievances any more or less valid.

    And Hitler was pretty steamed about World War I.

    Words can't express how little I care about the grievances of mass murderers.
    posted by rcade at 8:23 AM on September 20, 2001


    Words can't express how little I care about the grievances of mass murderers.

    Granted, but what about the grievances of those who do not resort to mass murder? Do you care about them? About the millions of people around the world who are adversely affected by US policy? Just curious...
    posted by mapalm at 8:27 AM on September 20, 2001


    Your ignorance is showing as well.

    Coming from you, that really doesn't mean anything.

    That "grand pronouncements" was PRECEDED by the source I heard it from.

    No, it wasn't actually, given that you didn't specifically name your source. That doesn't excuse you either for taking it as the gospel truth.

    I posted it so that someone else who may have been listening to NPR might could track down the source. Since you seem to be so good with reference material, perhaps you could track it down for me.

    Your unsubstantiated claim, your responsibility to back it up with proof -- not mine or anyone else's. Laziness doesn't make for convincing arguments. Again, not that that matters, since your unnamed source was making a grand pronouncements easily disproveable by a grade schooler with access to an encyclopedia or the Internet.

    Also, I sighted specific examples where Islamic control regions do persecute other faiths.

    No, actually you didn't, not in that post -- not that's a valid point in itself even if you had, since other religions have also exterminated others in their paths. You might want to read up again on how the Crusaders massacred the residents of Jerusalem, or maybe even how Spain and Portugal forced Catholicism upon their many of their colonies and how the church was then complicit in robbing the colonies blind. Despite what you might like to believe, extermination of other faiths isn't limited to (some) practitioners of Islam; Christians have done this and some would love to still.
    posted by lia at 8:36 AM on September 20, 2001


    lia
    I acknowledged the crusades and inquisitions.
    Thank you for taking time to explain my obligations as a poster.
    I’ll be more careful from now on.
    ;-)
    posted by david1016 at 8:38 AM on September 20, 2001


    mapalm: offer a list of the horrors of US Policy, particularly in the last 25 years. A few assasinations, yes, a wordwide epidemic of Colas and Disney, but what have we really done? A list please.
    posted by ParisParamus at 8:42 AM on September 20, 2001


    david1016 expressed some of what i've been feeling. i live in the DC area and know many peaceful muslims and have seen many wave the flag. what i have not seen is a consistent and conscious effort to distance themselves from the islamic extremists.

    to use some fuzzy numbers: one islamic site i visited stated they are 8 million muslims in the US. if 99.5% of them are peaceful that still leaves 40,000 radicalized muslims in our country alone. if only 10% of the 40,000 have any contact with actual terrorist organizations that's still 4000 people living among us that feel justified in killing innocent civilians for their cause.

    who is going to root these people out? i certainly do not trust my government to do it -- they are indeed very much to blame to creating the current situation -- and white america cannot do it, we have a long history of hatred and witchhunts which will only result in more innocent bloodshed and we do not have the 'inside' info anyway.

    it is up to the islamic community. and i just do not see the effort or inclination to rid themselves of this horrible menace. i would like to see Islam develop a clear demarcation among themselves of those who believe in civilization and human rights and those who perpetuate evil.
    posted by danOstuporStar at 8:42 AM on September 20, 2001


    Granted, but what about the grievances of those who do not resort to mass murder? Do you care about them? About the millions of people around the world who are adversely affected by US policy?

    I do. But frankly at this point in time, my concern is that we deal with the mass murderers in our midst. Whether the U.S. is good or terrible, the grievances of the world aren't going to matter much at all if we can't defend this country from the economic, social, and political devastation terrorists are now capable of carrying out.

    I think some of the self-flagellation this country is experiencing is from people who, in their desire to return to a sense of normalcy, refuse to recognize what a serious crisis this is. Did the people of the U.S. spend any time at all examining the flaws in our foreign policy towards Japan and Germany in the days following Pearl Harbor?
    posted by rcade at 8:57 AM on September 20, 2001


    adnan:

    what is this tripe you're talking about? obviously, the imperative of the US should be to build a facility in Jordan called DISNEY WORLD - MIDDLE EAST. it shall feature rides like "the magic carpet," "hopin' sesame," and "magic mountain ararat." and vaudeville!
    posted by moz at 8:59 AM on September 20, 2001


    ParisParamus: run your finger down the map of the Americas, and you'll find plenty of countries that have been "impacted" by US foreign policy. And I'll leave lia to explain the Philippines.
    posted by holgate at 9:30 AM on September 20, 2001


    Much of the confusion about Islam here would be eliminated if we used the proper term Khilafah to refer to those wishing to make the entire world a unified Islamic state, and Islam to refer to the rest of the religion in the world. The problem is with the Khilafa, not Islam.
    posted by username at 9:31 AM on September 20, 2001


    They have to go into states like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Kashmir, Kenya, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen etc and topple the governments there.

    But what about the week after that?
    posted by Mocata at 9:37 AM on September 20, 2001


    Blimey! You pop out for a swift pint and look what happens. Anyway, just thought I'd say that I agree with what the author of the article (Muir) says in his article - only in so far as it sums up what HE THINKS people in the middle east are feeling.

    Assuming that Muir's been accurate in his summation, that doesn't mean (as some bugger said,) that all support for Israel must be withdrawn. Does it? Leap of logic there, I think. All Muir's saying is that the American gov needs to stop acting so shocked, and the American people need to start getting with that healthy self-loathing which the English (not the British) have always done so well. (And if that isn't controversial, I don't know what is.)

    Favourite comment so far from RichLyon:

    "You need to understand what effect your policies have on the world and why they can cause people to hate you. Don't try to rationalise it. Don't appeal to justice. Deal with it, swallow your pride, and get on with being a team player in our world."

    Yeah. Yeah. Yeah!
    posted by Jofus at 9:37 AM on September 20, 2001


    "But frankly at this point in time, my concern is that we deal with the mass murderers in our midst. "

    This thread isn't about what to do. It's about whether US foreign policy has provided citizens of other countries (terrorist or not) with legitimate grievances. Anyone wishing to levelheadedly discuss this subject should hang around. Others will probably be frustrated, and might want to join into some of the other threads that don't discuss the possibility that the US might have erred in the past.
    posted by websavvy at 9:39 AM on September 20, 2001


    Where are the Islamic clerics and the Islamic faithful coming out into the streets to chanting “death to the terrorists” or even lighting a candle?

    Here are a few pictures if you're really interested. Sorry if they contradict the story that our media want to tell by replaying the same brief video clip of celebrating Palestinians ad nausaeum.

    Consider the source for the "Iranian reaction" link.

    Fine. It's just as selective as the video clip I mentioned.

    The terrorists killed because they subscribed to an ideology of hate. But if you want to prevent such incidents in the future, you might need to understand how people become so desparate as to find such an ideology appealing.
    posted by harmful at 9:42 AM on September 20, 2001


    ParisParamus:
    mapalm: offer a list of the horrors of US Policy, particularly in the last 25 years. A few assasinations, yes, a wordwide epidemic of Colas and Disney, but what have we really done? A list please.
    OK...Vietnam War; bombing of Cambodia; coup in Chile; coup in Congo; coup in Guatemala and subsequent death squads; Nicaraguan "contra" war, including the illegal mining of their harbor; embargo against Cuba; carpet bombing of Iraq; support for repressive regimes in Nigeria, Indonesia, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and, of course, Israel, to name a few. Shall I go on?
    posted by mapalm at 9:49 AM on September 20, 2001


    to use some fuzzy numbers: one islamic site i visited stated they are 8 million muslims in the US. if 99.5% of them are peaceful that still leaves 40,000 radicalized muslims in our country alone. if only 10% of the 40,000 have any contact with actual terrorist organizations that's still 4000 people living among us that feel justified in killing innocent civilians for their cause.

    Don't use fuzzy numbers, these stats have no basis in fact, and your point made after this passage holds no water because of it.
    posted by mathowie at 9:55 AM on September 20, 2001


    get on with being a team player in our world.

    Self-defense isn't a matter of consensus, or permission from a supposed majority. It's a matter of right -- a right which all nations, and all individuals posess.
    posted by dagny at 9:57 AM on September 20, 2001


    We see Muslims taking to the streets in a heartbeat to burn a flag or celebrate this horror and destruction. Where are the Islamic clerics and the Islamic faithful coming out into the streets to chanting “death to the terrorists” or even lighting a candle?

    Well, you're just not looking hard enough...
    posted by laz-e-boy at 10:02 AM on September 20, 2001


    This thread isn't about what to do.

    Sorry to step outside the parameters you would like to impose on this discussion, but I think every thread about the terror attacks is about what to do.

    Additionally, you're doing a huge disservice to the legitimate grievances of non-terrorists by lumping them together with mass murderers.
    posted by rcade at 10:08 AM on September 20, 2001


    thanks laz-e-boy for the "enough" link ... thats exactly what i've been wanting to see.

    matthowie: maybe you'll grant my point just a little possibility of validity despite the fuzzy numbers? if anyone knew exactly how many people in the US were involved with terrorist organizations, we could side-step this whole dirty war couldn't we?
    posted by danOstuporStar at 10:13 AM on September 20, 2001


    I believe part of the problem is that the UN and other countries have used us like a well-trained attack dog. They want us to be there to protect them and do the dirty work, but just when we're starting to really do our job, they start yanking on our leash to pull us back...the leash being our relations and agreements with them. Look at Iraq - we did a half-assed job there because the world "community" pulled us back and left a humiliating, "non-violent" plan in place. As a result - well, can you say WWI and WWII? We left Germany devistated and humiliated by WWI, and as a result...Germany's actions in WWII followed. This is what has been happening in the Mid-East on a somewhat smaller scale. We have been coerced into believing we have to "play fair" with everyone, and so we have watered-down policies everywhere...except for Israel. And gee, when we actually have a strong policy somewhere - we are criticized for it. Look, there is an Israel (always was) that was formally created in 1948, there was never a Palestine. If all these world countries are so concerned about Palestine being a country, how about giving up some of their land - Britain did for Israel - and making one for them somewhere else? Jordon seems to have some open space out there. Anyway, I digress, the whole Palestine-Israel thing is - as someone said - a sidenote in this. We should go in, take care of Saddam and the Taliban (don't even get me started on their crimes against humanity), then give those countries over to more moderate groups, and develop anti-terrorist policies everywhere. Afterwards, we can do what America does best - help them rebuild. Can anyone say....Japan?
    posted by jw161020 at 10:20 AM on September 20, 2001


    Gee, I thought the US used the Mujahadeen like a well-trained attack dog. And once the dirty work was done and the Russians rolled out of Afghanistan, didn't bother attempting to help rebuild their country or their non-military economy.
    posted by websavvy at 10:23 AM on September 20, 2001


    if anyone knew exactly how many people in the US were involved with terrorist organizations, we could side-step this whole dirty war couldn't we?

    Since that's impossible, what's your point? Also:

    what i have not seen is a consistent and conscious effort to distance themselves from the islamic extremists.

    Why should they even have to? Why should people look at them any differently because of what happened last week? Would you look differently at anyone who looked stereotypically Irish if last week's terrorists had been from the I.R.A.? Would you expect them to constantly explain why not all Irish people are terrorists?
    posted by lia at 10:30 AM on September 20, 2001


    Since that's impossible, what's your point?

    my point is whether the number is 400 or 4 million, the paragraphs following my fuzzy numbers are not instantly invalidated b/c i can't tell you an exact figure. the paragraphs may well be invalid but no due to fuzzy numbers.

    Would you expect them (irish americans) to constantly explain why not all Irish people are terrorists?

    hell yeah! as someone with irish blood i would definately make it clear to the world that the IRA's actions do not speak for me. yr word "constantly" is weighted: no one should be made to feel constantly on the defensive, that is beside the point.
    posted by danOstuporStar at 10:40 AM on September 20, 2001


    Afterwards, we can do what America does best - help them rebuild. Can anyone say....Japan?

    Can anyone say, "Hiroshima?"
    posted by mapalm at 10:48 AM on September 20, 2001


    hell yeah! as someone with irish blood i would definately make it clear to the world that the IRA's actions do not speak for me. yr word "constantly" is weighted: no one should be made to feel constantly on the defensive, that is beside the point

    Actually, weighting is the point -- Irish folks can blend into the general (white) populace, whereas people with brown skin are going to stick out and be stared at and have their loyalties questioned by strangers no matter how long they've lived in what is their country too because of their skin color. There's a marked difference between explaining your position once in a while, when you're asked when people find out you've got Irish blood, and having to be on the defensive because people are automatically assuming you could be a terrorist.
    posted by lia at 11:03 AM on September 20, 2001


    websavvy:
    After we helped them move the Soviet Union out:
    "...the victorious mujahidin entered Kabul to assume control over the city and the central government, a new round of internecine fighting began between the various militias, which had coexisted only uneasily during the
    Soviet occupation. With the demise of their common enemy, the militias' ethnic, clan, religious, and personality differences surfaced,
    and the civil war continued. " And it has continued since then. There have been several accords signed and attempts at stabilizing the government there. I'm not sure as to our involvement in those - net research on Afghanistan is slow right now - but for the most part, we have been told to "BUTT OUT" by the Taliban. Look at how HUMANITARIAN AID workers are treated there. Some are possibly going to be put to death for "preaching" Christianity.
    I won't say we are perfect as a country - we aren't perfect as individuals - no one in the world is - but if we want stability there, we need to take care of the problem that exists NOW and help them become stable.

    Quote from http://www.fas.org/irp/world/afghan/intro.htm
    posted by jw161020 at 11:15 AM on September 20, 2001


    websavvy:
    After we helped them move the Soviet Union out:
    "...the victorious mujahidin entered Kabul to assume control over the city and the central government, a new round of internecine fighting began between the various militias, which had coexisted only uneasily during the
    Soviet occupation. With the demise of their common enemy, the militias' ethnic, clan, religious, and personality differences surfaced,
    and the civil war continued. " And it has continued since then. There have been several accords signed and attempts at stabilizing the government there. I'm not sure as to our involvement in those - net research on Afghanistan is slow right now - but for the most part, we have been told to "BUTT OUT" by the Taliban. Look at how HUMANITARIAN AID workers are treated there. Some are possibly going to be put to death for "preaching" Christianity.
    I won't say we are perfect as a country - we aren't perfect as individuals - no one in the world is - but if we want stability there, we need to take care of the problem that exists NOW and help them become stable.

    Quote from http://www.fas.org/irp/world/afghan/intro.htm
    posted by jw161020 at 11:15 AM on September 20, 2001


    Note to self: no "fuzzy numbers".
    posted by Jack Torrance at 11:22 AM on September 20, 2001


    >>Can anyone say, "Hiroshima?"

    No one said it was pleasant. It's war. Our decision was not made lightly. It was determined based on the grim reality that the Japanese would not give up - their honor would not let them back down without disgrace. They would have kept fighting and fighting, and both countries would have lost more and more lives (not to mention the financial toll). They were already using young boys as pilots. We had to conquer them utterly so that we could give them an honorable surrender. It was nasty - and I pray something like that will not be necessary again. I am tired of the US having to apologize over and over again; Japan is a pretty wealthy country right now - with very strong companies...Sony - Hyundai... I know people from Japan, and I am happy that they are successful people. We are good friends - and never have *they* asked me to apologize for the actions of my grandparents. If they - who ARE Japanese - can move on from the actions both our countries made IN WAR - then why can't you?
    posted by jw161020 at 11:30 AM on September 20, 2001


    And Hitler was pretty steamed about World War I.

    I'm interested in that World War II analogy, rcade. Are you saying that there's no room for reflecting on the Allies' foreign policy and seeing if there was anything that might have been better handled to prevent the rise of Hitler?

    Once Hitler gained power, the only options were war or appeasement. Clearly Hitler had to be fought - once he was in power.

    But in retrospect, wouldn't it have been better not to turn isolationist, and put more pressure on the French not to demand such devastating terms in the Treaty of Versailles?

    Such an attitude does not blame Americans, nor the French, for the rise of Hitler. But it is always necessary to look at our own foreign policy and determine whether it is in our long term national interest. The post-WWI policy of the Western powers may not have been in their long term interest.

    The West learned that lesson - the Marshall Plan is proof. The Marhsall Plan was a huge humanitarian effort, sure. But it was very much designed in the US's national interest - to stabilize and pacify Western Europe so as not to risk a Communist Western Europe.

    Similarly, it may not be in our long term national interest to pursue policies that will continue to radicalize the Islamic world. Reviewing these policies does not mean "giving in" to terrorists - and it's not incompatible with strong action, including military action, to destroy the terrorists' network.

    But our only hope for stability in the region is through the cultivation of the moderate Arab regimes. Pursuing any policy that would further radicalize the Islamic world, and threaten the stability of those regimes would be contrary to the United States' national security interests.
    posted by Chanther at 4:16 PM on September 20, 2001


    You know, all of this talk is reminding me of a typical refusal of someone who has been cheated on to reflect on or accept part of the blame for not obviating the eventual outcome.

    Yes, they shouldn't have cheated on you. No, you are not to blame for their cheating. Yes, you most likely had something to do with creating the atmosphere which instigated the cheating. People don't cheat without reasons. It's going outside of a relationship to get something you are lacking within it without having the balls to end it.

    Only in reflection can we learn how to do things better.

    Or as Matt posted recently: "Those who cannot remember the plots of the '70s tv shows are condemned to repeat them."
    posted by fooljay at 6:23 PM on September 20, 2001


    Chanther:

    You`re right. We needed to look at the treaty of Versailles (Versailles ended WWI, right?) and see that the allies were way too harsh on Germany. We needed to see that we never do that again.

    But the time to do this was not while Germany was bombing London and the U.S. was chasing the Japanese navy all over the Pacific. That comes later.

    *First* you defeat your enemy, *then* you figure out why they came to be.
    posted by chiheisen at 9:29 PM on September 20, 2001


    When people of the Islamic take over a region, EVERY OTHER FAITH IS OUTLAWED with punishment including death.

    Besides being patently false, as Summer, talos, and lia have remarked... (Remember, folks, how "there is no evidence of a Jewish community [in Jerusalem] between the second and the seventh centuries" and how "Jews resumed residence in Jerusalem after the first Arab conquest of the city, in 638"?)

    ...more importantly...Hello?! Doesn't anyone here actually know something about Israeli law and life under it for Israel's non-Jewish citizens? That's right friends, apologists for a certain Middle Eastern apartheid state may come up with carefully worded statements that "no law of the Knesset's prevents non-Jews from owning land," etc., but all informed persons know that land acquisition by Israel's Arab population is rendered virtually impossible by a carefully crafted legal scheme (Israeli gov't link) that keeps land available only for "those to whom the Law of Return would apply if they were resident outside the state of Israel" (euphemism for Jews--remember that if your village was destroyed in '48 you don't have a Right of Return). Yes, this phrase is not mentioned on the .gov.il page linked to (I wonder why), but that much is fact.

    Whew, I had to get that out. I as much as anyone would love to see Israel become a beacon of civilization. But that will take some work. I don't pretend the fact to which I draw your attention is all-determining. But I can't quite hack reading people who can't even spell Israel or learn a fact or two about Islamic history talk about the noble ol' State of Israel. It's not all white-hat heroism there, and, in the view of many civilized people (Jewish Israelis and others), it's not even really civilized.
    posted by Zurishaddai at 10:08 PM on September 20, 2001


    *First* you defeat your enemy, *then* you figure out why they came to be.

    Since this "war" may be a protracted affair, I see no reason not to fire up the ol noggin now and affect change while also administering justice for the perpetrators.
    posted by fooljay at 9:51 AM on September 21, 2001


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