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Poll Shows Growing Arab Rancor at U.S
July 24, 2004 12:06 AM   Subscribe

Poll Shows Growing Arab Rancor at U.S. Arab views of the United States, shaped largely by the Iraq war and a post-Sept. 11 climate of fear, have worsened in the past two years to such an extent that in Egypt -- an important ally in the region -- nearly 100 percent of the population now holds an unfavorable opinion of the country, according to two polls due out today... More within
posted by y2karl (126 comments total)

 
...The findings reflect the concerns raised in the Sept. 11 commission report released yesterday, which emphasized a losing battle for public opinion. "Support for the United States has plummeted," the commissioners wrote. "What we're seeing now is a disturbing sympathy with al Qaeda coupled with resentment toward the United States, and we ought to be extremely troubled by that," said Shibley Telhami, a University of Maryland professor who commissioned one of the surveys.

From the previous poll is "It's the Policy, Stupid!" Our conclusion: "America" is not hated. In fact, many things about America are viewed favorably. It's only American policy that creates negative attitudes among Arabs and Muslims. It's the policy, stupid. But this was long before Abu Ghraib...

A prescient report from 2003: Changing Minds, Winning Peace (pdf)

Yet another: Finding America's Voice: A Strategy for Reinvigorating U.S. Public Diplomacy--strictly in pdf format this time.
posted by y2karl at 12:11 AM on July 24, 2004


Are we repeating mistakes that doomed us in Southeast Asia? Regrettably, the answer is, "possibly so." Here are the similarities that I put before my students.

First, in both Vietnam and Iraq, a perceived security threat was framed in a manner that limited options for dealing with the identified problem. The way the threat was identified and defined led to military rather than political solutions.
Second, in Iraq as well as Vietnam, we find an over-confidence in the ability of the United States to build democracies in countries poorly prepared for Western-style democracy.

Third, the rationale for involvement shifts over time. In Vietnam, our aim moved from containing communism in Southeast Asia to the need to maintain U.S. credibility on promises made. In Iraq, the rationale has shifted from the removal of weapons of mass destruction to the need for regime change to the need to build a democracy in the Middle East. Shifts in rationale are evidence of poorly conceived aims.

Fourth, in both wars we decided that the stakes to the United States were so great that we essentially would go it alone, ignoring world opinion. The cost of such hubris has been enormous.

Fifth, we find a troubling willingness to incur high civilian casualties without thinking too much about it. In Southeast Asia, civilian casualties in North and South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, numbered in hundreds of thousands if not the millions; in Iraq the civilians killed number in the thousands, but even now there is a kind of silence that is deafening.

Sixth, in both Vietnam and Iraq, we find presidential administrations unable adequately to understand local cultures. In Vietnam, we failed to understand that North Vietnam and its National Liberation Front supporters were nationalists first and communists second. In Iraq, we seemed to have been mystified by the political and religious differences among the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shiites - a fundamental ignorance of Iraqi culture.

Seventh, in both cases we failed to develop an exit strategy prior to engagement. We entered into war without knowing how we ultimately would disengage from the conflicts.

Eighth, Vietnam and Iraq represent wars of choice. Bush's idea of a "pre-emptive" war has its roots in the Vietnam War. The Tonkin Gulf incidents, which many historians now see as at least partially fabricated, served as the legal basis for the Vietnam War. The events of Sept. 11, disconnected from the perceived Iraqi threat, served as the legitimating basis for the war in Iraq.

Ninth, both Vietnam and Iraq unleashed inhumane impulses that placed the United States outside international law and damaged the American psyche and lowered our stature in world opinion. We live with the consequence of My Lai and Abu Ghraib.

Not having an exit strategy is one of the similarities, but the list above indicates that the analogies between Vietnam and Iraq run much deeper. This administration failed to learn the lessons of Vietnam.


And once again the question has to be asked: what incredible incompetence squandered the incredible post-9/11 goodwill toward America of practically the entire world?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:30 AM on July 24, 2004



Poll Shows Growing Arab Rancor at U.S

Mission accomplished...

*Sigh*.
posted by NewBornHippy at 12:52 AM on July 24, 2004


He's a uniter, not a divider!
posted by scody at 1:06 AM on July 24, 2004


May he be re-elected! God willing!
posted by homunculus at 1:09 AM on July 24, 2004


He's a uniter, not a divider!

Yeah. Now everybody hates America.
posted by Blue Stone at 2:10 AM on July 24, 2004


2nd Poll Shows Growing U.S. Rancor at Arabs
posted by dagny at 5:46 AM on July 24, 2004


3rd Poll Shows Growing Rancor-Trainer rancor at Luke Skywalker.


posted by cinderful at 6:22 AM on July 24, 2004


This would be a good time to pull the $100 billion dollars (my memory may be faulty on the exact amount) a year we give Egypt in foreign aid, and put that money to use in America. I mean, it's not like they're going to hate us any more than they do now.
posted by Faze at 6:25 AM on July 24, 2004


ok, but what happens then when the ayatollahs take over and invade their small Jewish neighbor? I'm kinda positive that the Egypt money is a very good investment for the US (unless one of course is in favor of the US disengaging completely from the region, pulling all aid to Israel as well. which seems to be the Nader position if I recall correctly, but it's entirely another game).
the Egypt money is probably an even better investment than the avalanche of American money flowing towards the Israeli settlers. talk about keeping the region from blowing itself up in the name of Allah, of the Book of Genesis, etc
posted by matteo at 6:39 AM on July 24, 2004


back on topic:

...a letter signed by a woman named Noor circulated widely in Baghdad saying she had been raped and impregnated by American soldiers, and begging the resistance to "please kill all of us." Prisoner Satar Jabar's photograph, showing him hooded and wired up, has become familiar to Iraqis, who derisively call it "the Statue of Liberty." Far from being a dangerous insurgent, however, Jabar, 24, was an accused car thief.

"The Statue of Liberty". this is the true legacy of the Abu Ghraib thugs, of their enablers at the White House and Pentagon, of their armchair-warrior fans sitting in front of various saliva-stained keyboards. "The Statue of Liberty".
posted by matteo at 6:46 AM on July 24, 2004


The following assertions were collected from public statements made by George W. Bush and his official spokesmen since 1997.
Originally from Harper's Magazine, May 2004.


The President of the United States is not a fact-checker.

I’m not a statistician.

I’m not a numbers-cruncher.

I’m not one of these bean counters.

I’m not very analytical.

I’m not a precision guy.

The President is not a micromanager.

I’m not a member of the legislative branch.

The President is not a rubber stamp for the Congress.

I’m not a censor-guy.

I’m not a lawyer.

I’m not a doctor.

The President is not an economist.

I’m not a stockbroker or a stock-picker.

I’m not a forecaster.

I’m not a predictor.

I’m not a pollster, a poll-reader guy.

I’m not a very good prognosticator of elections.

I’m not a committee chairman.

I’m not of the Washington scene.

I’m not a lonely person.

I’m not a poet.

I’m not a very good novelist.

I’m not a textbook player.

I’m not an emailer.

I’m not a very long-winded person.

I’m not a very formal guy.

I am not a revengeful person.

I’m not an Iraqi citizen.

I’m not a divider.

I am not a unilateralist.

I’m not a tree, I’m a Bush
posted by the fire you left me at 6:46 AM on July 24, 2004


Cinderful: awesome!
posted by MattD at 7:04 AM on July 24, 2004


In related news, voting with the feet this time:

Since 1997, More Than 22,000 People Have Deserted the US Army

Hoosick Falls soldier taken into custody

The Army says Pvt. Anthony J. Wirmusky, of Hoosick Falls, received permission for emergency leave while he and his unit were stationed in Afghanistan, and then did not return to his base...

He was detained this week for pickup by military authorities. He is now in custody at Fort Drum.

Sgt. Cain Claxton says Fort Drum has seen 645 warrants for desertion issued since Sept. 11, 2001.


From Steve Gilliard, the numbers broken down by year:

FY 1997: 2,218
FY 1998: 2,520
FY 1999: 2,966
FY 2000: 3,949
FY 2001: 4,597
FY 2002: 4,021
FY 2003 (to May 2003): 2,096
TOTAL: 22,367
posted by y2karl at 7:16 AM on July 24, 2004


Since most of the Arabs polled, a priori, live in quasi-military states, and are fed propagandistic media (from Al Jazeera to worse), I doubt this has any significance. In any case, we, as a nation, should ignore what "The Arabs" think.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:52 AM on July 24, 2004


easier said than done, unfortunately
posted by matteo at 8:00 AM on July 24, 2004


ok, but what happens then when the ayatollahs take over and invade their small Jewish neighbor?

Hopefully, the same thing that happened every other time they tried.


the Egypt money is probably an even better investment than the avalanche of American money flowing towards the Israeli settlers. talk about keeping the region from blowing itself up in the name of Allah, of the Book of Genesis, etc

I'm sure there's reasoning in here somewhere.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:06 AM on July 24, 2004


"Hopefully, the same thing that happened every other time they tried."

It's highly unlikely that the Arab world will ever morph into something other than the impoverished/elitist/poorly educated thing it is today--for it to do so, it would have to become less Arab/Islamic. There is, of course, the nuclear bomb threat (bombs, not homegrown), but rather bought from some vestige of the Cold War, with, of course, Western $. So, Israel remains imperilled, but probably not fatally.

Should we continue to give $ to Egypt? Not sure. Lots, if not most of those $ are used in the American economy, so it's not like the money is going down an Egyptian rat hole (the same is true of US aid to Israel). But, in principle, giving $ to Egypt doesn't feel good.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:26 AM on July 24, 2004


pardon my ")" misplacement, above...
posted by ParisParamus at 8:27 AM on July 24, 2004


In any case, we, as a nation, should ignore what "The Arabs" think.

Explain please.
posted by john at 8:38 AM on July 24, 2004


In 1998, Egypt received $2.1 Billion in foreign aid. The House Appropriations Committee just voted to give $1.835B to them for this coming year ($1.3B for Foreign Military Financing/ $535M Economic Support Fund). They are the second largest recipient of foreign aid after Israel (or third after Isreal and the soverign state of Iraq).

I'm not saying we should stop giving them money (I assume we give it to them to protect Isreal), but I just wanted to get the correct numbers after $100Billion/year was tossed around.

http://www.foreignaidwatch.org/index.php
and
http://www.heritage.org/Research/TradeandForeignAid/BG1186.cfm

And, regardless of what type of media is played in Egypt, we should care what they think. We should care what everyone thinks around the world, regardless of whether their opinions shape our decisions or not. It's completely inexcusable not to.
posted by graventy at 9:04 AM on July 24, 2004


I'm sure there's reasoning in here somewhere

well, one does need a brain for stuff like reading/understanding. but keep trying, who knows.

and anyway, if the US one day finally quits propping up the current Egyptian leadership it will be very, very dangerous for Israel (the alternative to the guys who run Egypt now is much, much worse). but it wouldn't be as dangerous of course as giving free rein and supporting these guys: they're Israel's most dangerous enemy.
posted by matteo at 9:05 AM on July 24, 2004


Hopefully, the same thing that happened every other time they tried.


of course, hopefully. do you look forward to another war? would you volunteer and enlist this time though, finally putting your butt where your keyboard is?
posted by matteo at 9:07 AM on July 24, 2004


It's highly unlikely that the Arab world will ever morph into something other than the impoverished/elitist/poorly educated thing it is today--for it to do so, it would have to become less Arab/Islamic.

This clearly explains why the Islamic world was miles ahead of the Christian world in areas techonology, medicine, education, economy, and humanitarianism for a thousand years. It certainly explains why Europe and North America's entire intellectual tradition has its roots. Thanks for that clarification, PP.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:10 AM on July 24, 2004


Yes, PP's statements are snowballing into major ignorance and prejudice about Arabs and Islam viewed through a myopic reading of their history and potential. The preference for war as a solution seems inherently racist. Certainly, not something the honorable PP would wish.
posted by john at 9:24 AM on July 24, 2004


It is amusing that 2 out of the 3 largest recipients of US money are Arab dictatorships.

Also, the gleeful way that Christians talk about sending Jews to die in yet another Arab-Israeli war is kind of disgusting. Acceptable loses -- they aren't Gentiles, after all! Even ParisParamus doesn't talk about it the way you fellows do.
posted by Ptrin at 9:28 AM on July 24, 2004


Hildegarde: that makes no sense. Maybe Islamic law allows a society to crawl (slowly), and may have allowed it first, but that doesn't translate, necessarily, in allowing a society to walk, run, or travel at mach speed. If anything, Islamic societies bested Chrisitian ones because the former were more open, more laissez-faire. That's no longer the case.

John: Two answers: First, citizens of Arab societies are characterized by enough coersion and press controls, that Arab opinion he: misinformation+fear of speaking out. Second, I think Islam, in its present dominant strains, runs from dysfunctional to insane. And ultimately, I don't care much for such; I would be interested in helping people be less dyfunctional, but that's a different issue.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:28 AM on July 24, 2004


Ptrin: Also, the gleeful way that Christians talk about sending Jews to die in yet another Arab-Israeli war is kind of disgusting.

Do you equate suspension of aid with "sending Jews to die"?

I hope I misunderstood you.
posted by trharlan at 9:40 AM on July 24, 2004


It's highly unlikely that the Arab world will ever morph into something other than the impoverished/elitist/poorly educated thing it is today--for it to do so, it would have to become less Arab/Islamic.

that sounds pretty racist to me
posted by muppetboy at 9:40 AM on July 24, 2004


But, in principle, giving $ to Egypt doesn't feel good.

Truly. I'd welcome the opportunity for America to stop trying to buy friends with foreign aid.

And while you're at it? Now might also be a good time to make sure we turn off the billions we pour into that little enclave of terrorists to Egypt's northeast across the Sinai. Oh, wait, on second thought, considering how we continued to support Sadaam Hussein far past the point where it was clear he was "not the good guy," I suppose another year or two of supporting Sharon and his plan to exterminate the Arab population of Zionist-occupied Palestine shouldn't be too much of an inconvenience in order to appease 2% of the American population. They're only wiping out dirty little brown sand people that don't even like us apparently, so no harm, no foul, as they say in the game...
posted by JollyWanker at 9:40 AM on July 24, 2004


It seems that it's not just Islam that is dysfunctional and they are not the only ones suffering from press controls. We all have bias in the news, but more of a diversity of bias in the US.

It seems that efforts to help foster Islamic reformation are weighed down by politics. While Daniel Pipes politics might not mix one portion of his target group, Irshad Manji's position as a lesbian and a feminist Muslim sours her reception to others-much more strong it seems for she has received death threats.

There also might be a kind of catch-22 problem illustrated by Manji's death threats. People outside of those countries might be considered outsiders and ignored, but people inside of those countries are too afraid to speak out.

Also, if you have a chance, check out Mosaic on Link TV. It gives you a daily sampling of what kind of news the Middle East receives.
posted by john at 10:24 AM on July 24, 2004


PP: citizens of Arab societies are characterized by enough coercion and press controls, that Arab opinion he: misinformation+fear of speaking out.

Maybe that explains the position of the Arabs, but how do you explain the animosity towards as (our foreign policy) from the rest of the free world? Not all of them are oppressed/being fed bogus media information.

Not that it matters to this administration (and lot of other Americans) but majority of the free world hates what we're doing in Iraq (and Afghanistan as well). Just look at what our eminent neighbors to the north think of us.....
posted by Rastafari at 10:55 AM on July 24, 2004


It's highly unlikely that the Arab world will ever morph into something other than the impoverished/elitist/poorly educated thing it is today--for it to do so, it would have to become less Arab/Islamic.

Says the man who lives in a country that made slaves of black men less than two centuries ago. It's sad how quick some Americans are to judge other "worlds" incapable of change when their own country was created with a legacy of blood and violence on the backs of slaves such a short time ago.

Perhaps if the United States actually wanted to effect positive change in the Middle East instead of meddling in their affairs in order to turn a quick couple hundred billion, we might see some more progress.
posted by The God Complex at 10:55 AM on July 24, 2004


Ptrin: It is amusing that 2 out of the 3 largest recipients of US money are Arab dictatorships.

A look at recent American history would tell you that this is not uncommon. Look at these leaders and see if you can spot a trend:

Fedinand Marcos -- Philippines
The Shah of Iran
Saddam Hussain (from 1980-1989 during the Iran-Iraq war)
General Pinochet -- Chile

Just to name a few..... and this a long list....depending on how detailed you want to get. Of course, it can be argued (with merit) that pre-1990, our foreign policy was largly driven by the cold war, but what's our excuse now. We did get attacked, but IMHO, we invavded the wrong country. And contraty to what the neocons believe, occupying Iraq will not bring democracy in the middle east.
posted by Rastafari at 11:09 AM on July 24, 2004


fire you left me, you forgot:
I'm a war president (2/04)

Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president...(7/04)

It's tragic when you look back and see how they played up Bush's good relations with Arab countries, and how Arabs saw him as better than Gore for the region: The reality is that Bush will not be the Arab savior, nor will Gore be the demon. But in foreign policy as in domestic politics, perception is reality. And so Bush, if he is elected, will most probably be given a short honeymoon in the Arab world. Given the crisis in U.S.-Arab relations and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he will need to carve out a new policy. He will, however, be given, for a time, the benefit of the doubt as he finds his way. Gore, if he wins, in all probability, will not be given such a grace period and will, therefore, have a more difficult first few months in office. --Zogby, Arab-Amer. Inst, 12/00

Now we have to wonder if relations have been permanently impaired--relations that were never good to begin with.
posted by amberglow at 11:13 AM on July 24, 2004


Democracy and the neocons: a marriage of convenience

The neocon record throughout the 1990s reinforced this conclusion. Contrary to myth, neocons, including Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary today who is widely considered the most Wilsonian on the neocon spectrum, did not urge former President George H. W. Bush to plant democracy in Baghdad during the 1991 Gulf War. And although neocons did join with liberal hawks in calling for "humanitarian interventions" after the war, and subsequently in the Balkans, they remained well within what became the post-Cold War realist consensus - that elected, more or less democratic governments, so long as they were not hostile to the US, were to be preferred over "friendly authoritarians."

Thus, when the Algerian military abruptly canceled elections in December 1991, neither realists nor neocons objected, because the alternative was thought likely to bring to power an Islamist government potentially hostile to the US, and certainly to Israel. Indeed, in their book "An End to Evil" published last January, Richard Perle and David Frum cite Algeria as the reason why they support "democratization" in the Middle East, rather than "democracy"- a subtlety that would bring a smile even to the lips of ultimate realist Henry Kissinger.

Similarly, when the neocons first began agitating for Saddam's removal in 1995-96, their arguments were based entirely on classic realpolitik of the kind they used to defend Israel's invasion of Lebanon. Thus, a 1996 task force advising Israeli candidate Benjamin Netanyahu, headed by Perle and that also included the Pentagon's current policy chief, Douglas Feith, as well as David Wurmser, a Middle East adviser to Vice-President Dick Cheney, argued that ousting Saddam was the key to transforming the balance of power in the Middle East decisively in Israel's favor, permitting it to "break" with Oslo and dictate terms to Syria and the Palestinians...


It was only after the Afghanistan campaign that the neocons finally began to articulate the argument, denounced by one realist strategist as "neo-crazy," that anti-American terrorism was caused by oppressive Arab autocracies, and that by invading and occupying the most oppressive such regime, in Iraq, the US could create a pro-Western, democratic government in the strategic heart of the Arab world that would, in turn, provoke sweeping regional change.

On the face of it, the argument has real appeal, particularly for the more idealistic neocons, such as Wolfowitz. To the increasingly pro-Likud neocon mainstream, however, it must sound like a great way to rally public opinion behind a war to permanently shift the balance of power in the Middle East.

posted by y2karl at 11:15 AM on July 24, 2004


We should care what everyone thinks around the world, regardless of whether their opinions shape our decisions or not. It's completely inexcusable not to.

I have to agree. Why is it that psychotic behavior is acceptable when we do it as a nation and in national interest, however perverted that may be?
posted by velacroix at 1:35 PM on July 24, 2004


Describing Arab/Muslim culture as backward is not racist; there's nothing immutable, genetic in that/my view. I just firmly believe that primitive is primitive.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:12 PM on July 24, 2004


Actually, the biggest recipients of American aid have been the countries of Europe, who, despite their denials, use America for it's defense, and as a great deal of the octane rating of their economies.

It's only in special situations that direct government aid is needed, and during the cold war, it, obviously, went to some pretty unsavory players.

But please, can you come up with something less cheap than siting the Shah of Iran? Can you seriously say that the savagery and denial of human rights post-Shah is not comparable, or worse than that under the Shah?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:18 PM on July 24, 2004


Says the man who lives in a country that made slaves of black men less than two centuries ago.

Hey God Complex: comgrads on winning this weeks' A-hole Pseudo Intellectual of the Week Award. It's not 1860 anymore. Moreover, if you recall, we had a little civil war involving slavery, and the side that was against it won.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:21 PM on July 24, 2004


ParisParamus: "It's highly unlikely that the Arab world will ever morph into something other than the impoverished/elitist/poorly educated thing it is today--for it to do so, it would have to become less Arab/Islamic."

Something that's been running through my mind lately, maybe some of you can comment on it. I can't find the link, but I recall reading an article speculating that the poverty throughout the Arab world stems from the fractures in it due to somewhat artificial national boundaries. Behind a lot of this is U.S. and European meddling. In terms of maintaining power and control over the resources of the region, it is by far to our benefit to keep Arab countries at each others throat, when possible, than building alliances against us. The best example of this is the Iran-Iraq war with the U.S. alternately supporting both sides. An Arab version of the European Union would very easily rival Western Europe and the U.S. in economic and cultural power, if not military. It follows then, that no matter what the rhetoric about democracy and freedom coming from Washington, the U.S. and Western Europe's primary foreign policy goal in the middle east is to prevent Arab unity. As Arabs become more cognizant of this, they more unanimously will oppose the U.S. The exceptions would be the rulers and dictators who the U.S. props up to maintain control over the various nations, and their natural resources, (i.e. the Saudi Royal Family)
posted by MetalDog at 2:23 PM on July 24, 2004


"Maybe that explains the position of the Arabs, but how do you explain the animosity towards as (our foreign policy) from the rest of the free world?"

As is mentioned in the Hudson Institute article, which is the subject of a current Mefi thread, the answer = media bias and control + statist/status quo conservatism.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:26 PM on July 24, 2004


Overall, Europe's outlook is that of a 59 year-old. The US: subtract at least twenty years.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:32 PM on July 24, 2004


ParisParamus: subtract another thirty.
posted by Grangousier at 2:34 PM on July 24, 2004


I hate asinine adolescent arguments.

ParisParamus - You mentioned that we shouldn't care what "the Arabs" think. Perhaps you are saying that because you believe they are disillusioned? I don't fully agree with you, but let's assume that for the sake of your argument. Don't you think we should listen to them anyways, if only because millions of angry Arabs does not a world without terror make. (Obviously, this applies to any race/culture, but "the angry Arabs" have proven to have the desire/capability to act on their hate.) Just because they might be disillusioned doesn't make them any less dangerous if they decide to act on it. I don't think it should be very hard to go about a foreign policy that strongarms terrorist enclaves whilst NOT alienating millions and millions of people. No need to be stubborn in this case, I say.

I mean, even if their opinion is shaped fully by their leaders' propaganda, an angry individual can be dangerous outside of his/her own regime, don't you think?
posted by oog at 2:49 PM on July 24, 2004


It's not 1860 anymore. Moreover, if you recall, we had a little civil war involving slavery, and the side that was against it won.

150 years is but a scant breath in the history of the human civilization, a period so short that to claim that an entire nation has moved beyond it is foolish at the best of times. However, this was not my point; you missed my point entirely, which frankly isn't that unexpected given your level of discourse. First, let's expand the timeframe to about double that, three hundred years or so. In that time you've managed to almost completely wipe out the aboriginal people of America in all sorts of unpleasant ways, some intentional and others not. Then, with the soil still wet with their blood (Canadians are not guilt free on this point, either, mind you) you built the railway into the west using forced labour and built up the slave trade.

The point I was making was a simple one--if America, which you hold as the shining beacon for all that's right in the world, was so mired in filth and immoral deeds such a short time ago, how can you possibly condemn an entire "world" (in this case the "Arab world", which is a very simplistic way of looking at several distinct nations, but whatever) as being incapable of change?

And if you really wanted to get into a debate about your line of thinking--the one that had nothing to do with the point I was making--we could easily get into the reasons behind the civil war and we'd fast find that it didn't start in order to free the slaves, despite what many Americans like to believe.

Or we could talk about the fact that women didn't have the right to vote until well into the 20th century and black Americans had to fight toot and nail to get civil rights well into the sixties. That's forty years ago. Hell, you guys still have racist senators even after ol' Strom thankfully passed from this world.

All of this is, of course, ignoring the action of the American government since the end of WW2, from Vietnam to the Contra scandal to funding Al Qaeda and Hussein to indirectly funding death squads all over the southern hemisphere. Oh, and there's that War in Iraq thing going on right now. For every tentative step America has taken in the past half century, there have been countless missteps and backsteps thanks to corrupt administrations and a large percentage of the public that is willfully ignorant. This is true of most of the western world, but you guys are the self-described leaders so there's the credit you rightly deserve.

For a person in your position--that of an American--to sit and moralize about other nations' inabilities to change is rather disgraceful, really, but that's just another day at the office for you. I look forward to a day when America is more concerned with helping other nations achieve freedoms instead of attempting to force American freedom on them.

Hey God Complex: comgrads on winning this weeks' A-hole Pseudo Intellectual of the Week Award.

(congrats/week's)

Cheers!
posted by The God Complex at 2:51 PM on July 24, 2004


It's highly unlikely that the Arab world will ever morph into something other than the impoverished/elitist/poorly educated thing it is today--for it to do so, it would have to become less Arab/Islamic....Describing Arab/Muslim culture as backward is not racist; there's nothing immutable, genetic in that/my view. I just firmly believe that primitive is primitive.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:12 PM PST on July 24


"Humanity would sink into eternal darkness, it would fall into a dull and primitive state, were the Jews to win this war. They are the incarnation of that destructive force that in these terrible years has guided the enemy war leadership in a fight against all that we see as noble, beautiful and worth keeping. For that reason alone the Jews hate us. They despise our culture and learning, which they perceive as towering over their nomadic worldview. They fear our economic and social standards, which leave no room for their parasitic drives."
Posted by Joseph Goebbels on January 21, 1945

"A report on interrogations of American prisoners is really gruesome. These American boys are human material that can in no way stand in comparison with our people. One has the impression of dealing with a herd of savages."
posted by Joseph Goebbels on April 9, 1943
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2004


eradicate the hippies
posted by Satapher at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2004


matteo: of course, hopefully. do you look forward to another war? would you volunteer and enlist this time though, finally putting your butt where your keyboard is?

What a load of dishonest shit. Of course I'm not looking forward to another war.

JollyWanker: And while you're at it? Now might also be a good time to make sure we turn off the billions we pour into that little enclave of terrorists to Egypt's northeast across the Sinai. ...I suppose another year or two of supporting Sharon and his plan to exterminate the Arab population of Zionist-occupied Palestine shouldn't be too much of an inconvenience in order to appease 2% of the American population.

Now here is someone who clearly isn't trying to mask his seething hatred of the Jews beneath "criticism" of Israel. Someone who does not insinuate secret Jewish control of the government, someone who isn't blind to the fact that not all American Jews support Israel. How dare anyone accuse this person of anti-Semitism! They are only trying to silence his "legitimate" criticism of Israel... I'm sorry, make that "Zionist-occupied Palestine." It's not that JollyWanker here can barely contain his hatred... he's just passionate about the issue! Really!
posted by Krrrlson at 4:14 PM on July 24, 2004


As is mentioned in the Hudson Institute article, which is the subject of a current Mefi thread, the answer = media bias and control + statist/status quo conservatism.
posted by ParisParamus


PP, no offense, but that answer is total cop-out and completely BS. WTF does that mean anyway? Media bias and control (plus) statist/status quo conservatism is supposed to explain why the rest of the free world has the same opinion as the Arab states?

And as far as the Shah of Iran is concerned, just because the ayatollahs are either just as bad or worse than the Shah doesn't excuse US foreign policy in installing him as a puppet regime. The Shah was a brutal dictator (but he pro-US). When I mentioned the Shah, I was addressing Ptrin's post as to how much of American foreign aid ends up in the hands of dictatorship, despite the fact the we trumpet the idea of democracy to anyone who will listen.
posted by Rastafari at 4:15 PM on July 24, 2004


Rastafari, true, but it undermines a cause and effect. Perhaps the Shah would have been worse without an American leash? Or the Ayatollahs would have replaced him sooner?

As for Europe's cowardess/timidity/denial of realities, I think that article was a great synopsis. As was its discussion of Europeans having hated/disliked the US for, essentially all of its history.

And the reference to the aborant immediate post-9/11 solidarity ending as soon as Europe realized that the US was not going to act like a victim--truly brilliant analysis.

Re other comments. No: we should not ignore anyone's anger, nor should we be indifferent to their humanity--that's the European, NOT the American way. But just because you're angry and/or there are a lot of you, doesn't get you respect; doesn't mean we should ignore what we believe is good and just and moral; hence, my admonition: THE UN, CHIRAC, THE EU and ARAFAT CAN GO FUCK EACH OTHER.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:34 PM on July 24, 2004


You know, a lot of you are reading this, and don't understand how ~ three years of living in France swung me from detesting Republicans, to finding Democrats at least as offensive. Europe's social outlook is a dead-end. The Arab/Muslim's outlook is Europe's, without the democracy, and without the American infusions of commerce and creativity that Europe enjoys. And even if everyone hates us, that's a reality that's not going to change.

You can argue that, when it comes to "mere" economics and trade, "getting along" may sometimes mean a compromise of principles. But not with the issue of national defense and survival.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:47 PM on July 24, 2004


you can take the boy out of new jersey...
posted by quonsar at 4:47 PM on July 24, 2004


doesn't mean we should ignore what we believe is good and just and moral; hence, my admonition:

Who in power believes this that doesn't have a financial stake in the matter?

Thought not.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:51 PM on July 24, 2004


"an article speculating that the poverty throughout the Arab world stems from the fractures in it due to somewhat artificial national boundaries."

Let me add to that: the current carve-up of the region was dictated by a the priorities of the UK and to a lesser extent of France and the US. Unfortunately, the idea even of asking Arabs (and generally other MidEast savages) for their opinion on how and by whom they should be governed was considered ridiculous. One of the most important priorities for the colonial powers (again mainly Britain) when they had to cede control and set up some sort of semi-independent entities in the region was to ensure that a. No one country would control too much of the oil wealth and b. That the countries created would be run be pro-western puppet regimes willing and able to use violence and coercion against their own populations. Thus the Hassemites and the House of Saud, and thus Faisal of Iraq... No one elected them. These corrupt and unpopular stooges set the precedent for todays corrupt regimes.

But it goes beyond this: From the late 50s to the late 70s, the Arab, Persian and other Middle Eastern peoples rose against their tyrants. The parties that led them were nationalist, marxist, arab socialist, but importantly more or less secular. These movements (none of them ideal - all of them better than what existed) were fought against tooth and nail by the US and the other major western powers, who cultivated an islamic revival as a counterweight to the growing influence of this sort of "extremist nationalism" which had the gall to propose that the populations of the countries producing oil should be the main beneficiaries of its production. Thus Saudi Arabia's export of Wahabi looniness, thus Hamas to counter the PLO, and thus the whole thing getting out of hand completely with the recent return of the chickens home to roost.

In Iraq (which fell under the arab-socialist/nationalist control) for example, from 1958 until 1980 and the Iran-Iraq war, development of vital human welfare indices soared, the country was industrialized, education was widespread and generally the country was developing in strides. Not a haven of democracy of course, and interrupted by the odd power grab here and then, but on the average certainy more popular than any previous or subsequent government in the country - and a model of democracy compared to the Gulf Sheikhdoms... Then came Saddam's rise to power and the Iran- Iraq war, both of which were at best approved at worse aided by successive US governments.

I could go on and mention the case of Iran (not an Arab country) and the CIA's coup against Mossadeq (the Shah would never have been if it wasn't for the US)... but you get the picture.

So this Arab/Middle Eastern anger has been brewing for a really long time... before being excacerbated by the colonial re-imposition of the West in a very violent occupation of an Arab country...
posted by talos at 5:05 PM on July 24, 2004


"...you've managed to almost completely wipe out..."

Correction: that's the line that wins you this weeks' award. Who is "you"? The "you" you're talking about has been dead for a long time. My friend, a rabbi, won't buy a VW, but even that's fading as a problem.

We're talking about an Arab/Muslim world of dictators and lunatics and religious extremists and poverty and education systems that grotesquely distort reality. (We're also talking about Europe, the Arab/Muslim world's enablers, who have, in the recent past, murdered millions; would prefer to see Israel gone; have this bizarre love of Arafat; were in bed with Saddam Hussein during UN sanctions, etc.) That Arab world needs to be understood for the social and moral atrocity it is. Defending ourselves against it is one thing; changing our ways because someone's angry is another.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:06 PM on July 24, 2004


After 9/11 I wondered if US Middle Eastern policy could get any worse. I mean how stupid was it to arm Bin Ladin then not take him after our use for him was over? How could we fund and trust the Saudis? How could we prop up Hussein's Iraq (by the very people in Bush Administration noless)? I guess Bush answered that question by dropping bombs on people who had never attacked use only to enrage millions of Muslims and Arabs. I'd say the Bush is foolish, but his ties to the Saudis, big oil and big brother governing suggest that these moves were not made to make America safer. I'm not going as far as Paul Krugman did, but would not logic dictate that dropping bombs on Iraq would make more people pissed at the US and make winning to attack the US? It seems like it was all done for political gain. Not since Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia and Laos has a president play fast and loose with war and nation security for political gain. I’d say Bush is worse than Nixon ever was. I'd say Bush has gone farthar than anyone, except Bin Ladin, to perhaps causing another 9/11. And then more political capital for move wars and more death? I don't hate Bush, I fear him and legions of Christian culture warriors who will follow what he says and does what he commands without question.
posted by Bag Man at 5:07 PM on July 24, 2004


John: Two answers: First, citizens of Arab societies are characterized by enough coersion and press controls, that Arab opinion he: misinformation+fear of speaking out. Second, I think Islam, in its present dominant strains, runs from dysfunctional to insane. And ultimately, I don't care much for such; I would be interested in helping people be less dyfunctional, but that's a different issue.

Sounds like Bush's America and fundamentalist Christians who follow Buhs like sheep. In fact it is!
posted by Bag Man at 5:13 PM on July 24, 2004


So America is free from the lagacy of slavery, but all of europe is stained by the holocaust.

Paris' logic is baffling.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:13 PM on July 24, 2004


It's not that JollyWanker here can barely contain his hatred... he's just passionate about the issue! Really!

If support of the single secular democracy among a sea of theocratic dictatorships makes the Wanker wrong, then wrong he must be.

Possible future alternative title for y2karl:

Poll shows U.S. doesn't give two rats' asses about Arab Rancor. American safety much more important.
posted by hama7 at 5:15 PM on July 24, 2004


Pfft.
posted by hama7 at 5:17 PM on July 24, 2004


"So America is free from the lagacy of slavery, but all of europe is stained by the holocost."

No. Europe is not stained, as the US is not stained--duh. We're talking about the here and now--and Europe's total refusal to recognize, be it in Bosnia or Iraq, or in the near future, Iran or North Korea or Syria, that war is necessary.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:18 PM on July 24, 2004


American safety much more important.

If the US was more safe now than it was, the administration wouldn't need to be talking about delaying elections.

haha7 & paramus: Sill utterly full of shit. But we knew that.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:27 PM on July 24, 2004


It must be a comfortable world you live in, ParisParamus, where history has no relevance. Tell me, in these necessary wars, I assume you'll be enlisting to fight? Or do you simply fight wars from your living room, cleansing the world of its problems with the blood of your countrymen (mere boys and girls in comparison)?

The "you" I'm talking about is America. It's funny how you once again missed my point entirely, even though I explained it to you in the plainest of words so you wouldn't.

I'm sure the irony isn't lost on anyone every time you hand out an award with "pseudo-intellectual" in the title.

Poll shows U.S. doesn't give two rats' asses about Arab Rancor. American safety much more important.

Yes, because angering people always promotes your own safety. Also, you got rid of those terrorists in Iraq.

Riight. Uh-huh. Gotcha.
posted by The God Complex at 5:32 PM on July 24, 2004


I don't see why war is necessary. I don't see why action that counters growth of extremism be a preferable route. Even the crazed Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said, "The Quran tells us that when the enemy sues for peace we must react positively."

If all this is still a reaction to 9/11, then perhaps it's more about pride and revenge than a attempt to stop the wheel of karma, which seemed to be the essense of Jesus's message of turning the other cheek.

I submit that it's not a matter of a "refusal to recognize," but a desire to not inflate the hatred that creates extremists. This is not appeasement I don't see why war is necessary. I don't see why action that counters growth of extremism be a preferable example. Even the crazed Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said, "The Quran tells us that when the enemy sues for peace we must react positively."

If all this is still a reaction to 9/11, then perhaps it's more about pride and revenge than a attempt to stop the wheel of karma, which seemed to be the essence of Jesus asking us to turn the other cheek.

I submit that it's not a matter of a "refusal to recognize," but a desire to not inflate the hatred that creates extremists. This is not appeasement. This is a sober recognition of the reality of the failure of state power. I don't think it's possible to prevent terrorism through increased violence. Iraq proves that to me. I certainly hope that things turn out for the best there, but I don't see it happening in the current climate.
posted by john at 6:21 PM on July 24, 2004


Sorry about that cut&paste mess.
posted by john at 6:24 PM on July 24, 2004


America to Arabs in Arab World: the Muslims in New Jersey and Detroit have a much nicer existence than you. You are being lied to! France and Europe are full of shit and bribery! Wake up! Allah likes America!
posted by ParisParamus at 6:27 PM on July 24, 2004


Paramus is more of a raving lunatic than usual tonight. Unless of course he wants a mass migration of Arabs to his own neighbourhood, which is what it sounds like.

Somehow I doubt that.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:29 PM on July 24, 2004


I welcome all to my little neighborhood.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:42 PM on July 24, 2004


Why would you think otherwise?
posted by ParisParamus at 6:44 PM on July 24, 2004


*stands up, offers golf clap for TGC*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:53 PM on July 24, 2004


If support of the single secular democracy among a sea of theocratic dictatorships makes the Wanker wrong, then wrong he must be.

Eh? I think one of us has misread something somewhere.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:09 PM on July 24, 2004


*stands up, offers golf clap for TGC*

Doffs golf visor, shows ball to crowd, and in a move of unexpected violence fires it wildly at an overweight man eating cotton candy.
posted by The God Complex at 7:09 PM on July 24, 2004


"...The findings reflect the concerns raised in the Sept. 11 commission report released yesterday, which emphasized a losing battle for public opinion"

Since a majority of the Arab Street thinks the World Trade Center was toppled by Jews, where are we going with this, anyway? Sometimes a large measure of indifference is the best course of action. Indifference, plus a defensive wall (actual, and figurative).
posted by ParisParamus at 7:59 PM on July 24, 2004


Since a majority of the Arab Street thinks the World Trade Center was toppled by Jews

I suppose it's too much to ask for some actual numbers. Actually it's more entertaining to see your imagination at work.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:06 PM on July 24, 2004


Indifference, plus a defensive wall (actual, and figurative).

Yeah, it did wonders for the Manchu when the Chinese built one.
posted by y2karl at 9:06 PM on July 24, 2004


Actually it's more entertaining to see your imagination at work.

I agree wholeheartedly: fascinating stuff.
posted by The God Complex at 9:22 PM on July 24, 2004


Pitiful is a more appropriate adjective.
posted by y2karl at 9:35 PM on July 24, 2004


It's still heart-warming friday on the west coast. I was playing nice ;)
posted by The God Complex at 9:55 PM on July 24, 2004


Wait a second. Today is Saturday, not Friday! All day I've been acting in a decidedly nice manner and I didn't have to. No wonder there was no flash today!

Pitiful! Pitiful is the right word!!!@!#@#!@#!@

*implodes*
posted by The God Complex at 9:59 PM on July 24, 2004


Thanks Talos, for the corroboration of my thoughts on the matter. The thing that gets me is that, we now recognize at least academically that our historical policy with regard to the Middle East was at best ill advised, and yet basically we are attempting to correct the mistake by . . . . almost exactly the same methods that created the situation.
posted by MetalDog at 10:31 PM on July 24, 2004


Pitiful! Pitiful is the right word!!!@!#@#!@#!@

But he's a cute widdle poopsie troll when he's pitiful, you have to admit.
posted by y2karl at 10:53 PM on July 24, 2004


Paris: I think all those little green footballs have warped your mind.

Seriously: what is your problem with Oman, the UAE, and Quitar?
posted by delmoi at 11:15 PM on July 24, 2004


I have no problem with the aforementioned places. The thing is, they're small, and, I suspect, they're on the Al Qaeda and Ayatollah hit list, just further down.

You know, one of these days, a nuke will go off, in Saudi Arabia, or Iraq, or the F Train in Manhattan, and if there's an Internet left, (and a me left, since I'm in NYC) many of you will write me and realize I'm not loopy. Or even Right of Center.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:44 AM on July 25, 2004


No, we won't.
posted by mr.marx at 7:59 AM on July 25, 2004


I always leave it to people who elect to call themselves "Mr. Marx" to make rational assessments of my political points of vue....
posted by ParisParamus at 8:05 AM on July 25, 2004


I've asked everyone countless times to stop replying to parisparamus. am I going to have to start handing out detentions? the dude is a total racist. do NOT talk to him, ok?
posted by mcsweetie at 8:29 AM on July 25, 2004


Toooooooohtal racist! Yeah, sure. Thinking a culture is backward and or dangeous is not racist. Thinking something in someone's genes makes them not be able to do better is. Racist to call Nazi Germany evil? How about the Soviet Union? How about the PRC?

How stupid are you?
posted by ParisParamus at 9:45 AM on July 25, 2004


You definitely march to the beat of a different theremin, to be sure.
posted by y2karl at 9:55 AM on July 25, 2004


I won't write FreedomParamus either.
I'll just wait for him to comment again in ALL CAPS, tell us how the "Iraq war is going to pay for itself in lower oil prices", enlighten us like that.

and anyway I don't blame him -- it's all his French girlfriend's fault. since she dumped him, we're stuck with FP's irrational hate for Europe (the paranoia and anti-Muslim sentiment were embedded there already, I guess)

*shakes fist at FreedomParamus' French ex girlfriend*

posted by matteo at 10:12 AM on July 25, 2004


Actually, the oil question hasn't played out yet (it might be nice if more people were more patient/had a longer attention span), but personally, I would almost prefer that oil prices go higher to punish the SUV and gratuitous driving crowd. I want the US to look like Holland: bike friendly, with lots of trains!
posted by ParisParamus at 10:19 AM on July 25, 2004


It's funny, Paris, that you assume any nuke that hits us would be from Arabs--why is that?
posted by amberglow at 10:28 AM on July 25, 2004


Why is that that the terrorist would be Islamic? Terrorism track record against the US.

Of course, the bomb wouldn't be home grown, but bought with oil money from North Korea or a former Soviet Republic.

Who do you think is the most likely suspect? George Bush trying to assure a second term? Come on, out with it.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:33 AM on July 25, 2004



posted by ParisParamus at 10:33 AM on July 25, 2004


Terrorism track record against the US.

an average of 1 act per 10 years, as i recall. in the meantime, pay no attention to the oklahoma, ruby ridge, exploding mailboxes and anthrax attacks behind the curtain. dumbass.
posted by quonsar at 10:48 AM on July 25, 2004


My money's on a disgruntled white ex-military person from the midwest, a la Timothy McVeigh--people we're still ignoring at our peril.

And if 9/11 showed anything, it proved to the whole world that you don't need nukes to do enormous damage, and to advance your cause.

on preview, what quonsar said.
posted by amberglow at 10:49 AM on July 25, 2004


"an average of 1 act per 10 years, as i recall."

REALLY? Two embassy bombings in Africa. The Cole, Two World Trade Center Bombings, plus "Westerner" attacks in Indonesia, plus a Millenium attempt, plus a few more that probably slip my mind for the moment. Not to mention all the Palestinian shit. And Libyian stuff--ALL Islamic (or pseudo Islamic).
posted by ParisParamus at 11:07 AM on July 25, 2004


Actually, a nuclear bomb would, actually and psychologically, do a lot more damage than September 11--by a factor of 10-1000x. But, of course, a coward/pacifist can rationalize any defensive effort as being wrong...
posted by ParisParamus at 11:09 AM on July 25, 2004


They're also incredibly hard to get, and no terrorist groups yet have bombers to fly them to us. A suitcase nuke/dirty bomb is another story but like i said before--it's not needed. There are far far more easy ways to attack us, and as the Commission said, "We're not safe" (nor are we adequately funded)
posted by amberglow at 11:33 AM on July 25, 2004


Of course, the bomb wouldn't be home grown, but bought with oil money from North Korea or a former Soviet Republic.

Or Pakistan.

There are far far more easy ways to attack us

Yup. They can just use one of the prepositioned WMD.
posted by homunculus at 11:38 AM on July 25, 2004


Obviously, there are far easier ways to attack us. So we should only worry about the more obvious ways--obviously.

I know it wouldn't be the Leftist-Pacifist-Cynical Metafilter way, but how about focusing on all of the possible ways?
posted by ParisParamus at 11:57 AM on July 25, 2004


Ouch. Rather scary that the USA hasn't secured its chemical storage facilities at the same time it has encouraged truckers to spy on vacationing families. There's just no sense of proportionality.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:13 PM on July 25, 2004


I know it wouldn't be the Leftist-Pacifist-Cynical Metafilter way, but how about focusing on all of the possible ways?

Ok, you round up some people and stand guard at every nuke and bomber all over the world. I think there are far more realistic threats to be concerned about, and to try to prevent. (including all those chemicals)
posted by amberglow at 12:22 PM on July 25, 2004


There are far far more easy ways to attack us...

Ok, you round up some people and stand guard at every nuke and bomber all over the world. I think there are far more realistic threats to be concerned about, and to try to prevent. (including all those chemicals)


You know, it's a pretty new idea to bring down buildings by flying airplanes into them. It's far more realistic to expect attacks involving explosives or hostage-taking, as was the case in the majority of terrorist attacks against the US to date. It's a good thing we didn't waste time on considering this possibility.

Surely, a nuclear attack is even more unlikely. Why even worry about it? In any case, the only way to prevent such an attack is to stand guard at every nuke and bomber all over the world. Isn't it? So why worry about the proliferation of nuclear weapons in a terrorist-infested nation like Iran, or the apparent lack of proper monitoring of the nuclear warheads from the former Soviet Union? I'm sure the UN can handle it, just like it is handling the crisis in Sudan right now.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:42 PM on July 25, 2004


So why worry about the proliferation of nuclear weapons in a terrorist-infested nation like Iran, or the apparent lack of proper monitoring of the nuclear warheads from the former Soviet Union? I'm sure the UN can handle it, just like it is handling the crisis in Sudan right now.

Sure, we could be doing all those things, if we had any international support or credibility left. Things like diplomacy or monitoring or inspecting or having the UN peacekeepers go in to account for and guard them. You know, the things we had no taste for with Iraq? Or maybe we should just invade those places, like we did in Iraq because of their WMDs? (and why no mention of South Korea?)

Defense of home is easier and more effective--monitoring of all cargo that comes into the country by sea or air or road--real port/border inspections and biological/chemical detectors all over NYC and DC would do far more to keep us safe, but with the underfunding given to real defense at home, i guess we just have to invade Iran, no?
posted by amberglow at 1:00 PM on July 25, 2004


Obviously the answer is to declare perpetual war against the arab / muslim world, that will make them stop, and make us safer. Paris is, at best, misguided.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:59 PM on July 25, 2004


Things like diplomacy or monitoring or inspecting...

Oh yeah. Iran would've welcomed the American efforts with open arms before the Iraq war. It's only now that the Americans have screwed up their chance with the benevolent government of Iran.

...or having the UN peacekeepers go in to account for and guard them.

Like they did in Iraq? Like they're guarding the victims in Sudan right now (keep ignoring that little issue of UN competence all you want)? I'd like one shred of evidence why the UN is going to be successful with either Iran or Russia.

Defense of home is easier and more effective--monitoring of all cargo that comes into the country by sea or air or road--real port/border inspections and biological/chemical detectors all over NYC and DC would do far more to keep us safe...

Defense of US soil, which I agree remains unacceptably crappy, does not preclude efforts to combat terrorism abroad. Or do you expect existing terrorists to lay down their arms (by non-explosive means) any time soon?

...but with the underfunding given to real defense at home, i guess we just have to invade Iran, no?

Or we could spout straw men all day long. Whatever works for you.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:33 PM on July 25, 2004


Let's not forget to protect small canal locks from having their photograph taken by brown men!

Krrrlson, how was the UN ineffective in keeping Iraq from building up an arsenal of WMDs?
posted by five fresh fish at 2:49 PM on July 25, 2004


Or do you expect existing terrorists to lay down their arms (by non-explosive means) any time soon?
...
Or we could spout straw men all day long. Whatever works for you.
posted by Krrrlson at 5:33 PM EST on


It's no straw man at all, but the only reliable way to keep us safe and alive--there's no possible way to make all the people that hate us in the world lay down their arms, but there are ways to keep them from getting in, and bringing weapons/bombs with them. And, since our explosive means have been creating new terrorists every day, you could never catch up with them. It's a fool's game.
posted by amberglow at 3:06 PM on July 25, 2004


Krrrlson, how was the UN ineffective in keeping Iraq from building up an arsenal of WMDs?

How was it effective? Why are you attributing the lack of WMDs to UN inspections? Could the UN know or prove anything about its alleged success before the war started? But I have some good news. You will not need corrective lenses for your hindsight.


It's no straw man at all, but the only reliable way to keep us safe and alive--there's no possible way to make all the people that hate us in the world lay down their arms, but there are ways to keep them from getting in, and bringing weapons/bombs with them.

I fail to see the part where you explain why counter-terrorism should be a defensive measure only.

And, since our explosive means have been creating new terrorists every day, you could never catch up with them. It's a fool's game.

Well let's just all drop dead then, shall we? To dispense with the obvious, any incompetence observed in the current "war on terror" is not an argument against offensive tactics against terrorists, nor is the apparent increase in terrorist numbers, nor are previous foreign policy blunders. If an entire horde of mosquitoes rises from the swamp after you swat the one that bit you, it is not an argument against swatting mosquitoes. More importantly, it is the violent and hateful environment created by the extremists themselves that perpetuates the terrorist cycle, aided and abetted by so-called religious leaders who are yet to graduate from the seventh century, and so-called governments that have covertly adopted terror as a political tool at the expense of their people. A fool's game is not making an effort to eradicate the hatemongers, take away their weapons, physical and verbal, and break their stranglehold on the population.

But, uh, I'm sure it's oh so racist to say that.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:35 PM on July 25, 2004


You can't possibly eradicate the hatemongers, because everytime we try that, whether through violent or non-violent means, we create more, whether it's from installing or supporting a puppet dictator or invading/bombing a country. It's ok that there are people that hate us, and there always will be, but it's not ok that we don't have adequate defenses against them, or successful means of combating them without creating new people that hate us. Eradicating one group of hatemongers always results in the creation of new ones.
posted by amberglow at 3:43 PM on July 25, 2004


How was it effective? Why are you attributing the lack of WMDs to UN inspections? Could the UN know or prove anything about its alleged success before the war started? But I have some good news. You will not need corrective lenses for your hindsight.

It was inspections/sanctions, genius. See every quote by even the Bush administration a year prior to the war in Iraq. They knew he didn't have WMDs then, only the "capabilities" (or so they claimed), whiched turned out to be bullshit anyway. The U.S. decided not to give UN Inspectors more time because they knew they'd never find any WMDs.
posted by The God Complex at 3:48 PM on July 25, 2004


Guess what: some people hate us because we are right and good, and they are bad, depraved, evil, or, at least jealous; and a threat to their depraved way of being. And that's never going to change. Until you except that, consider yourself a fool.

"Sure, we could be doing all those things, if we had any international support or credibility left. "

Like the countries that were taking bribes from Iraq? I don't want or need "support" from such countries, even if that means most of the world (which it may, or may not).

I don't credibility from such countries, just as I don't want it from you. We don't need them; they can go screw off. A John Kerry is an asshole for suggesting we have alienated such countries.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:23 PM on July 25, 2004


Krrlson, could you please explain in detail how you come to your conclusions? They seem contrary to the well-established facts.

Either I am completely unaware of information that is in your possession, or you are basing your opinions not on facts, but on speculation and hyperbole.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:31 PM on July 25, 2004


Paris! Surely by your own standards, then, the USA can not be credible. No country can match the US or US corporations for bribery, kickbacks, and coercion.

I simply can not understand your position, unless you absolutely and completely deny that the US engages in such practices... and I don't think even you are quite so crazy as to go that far.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:40 PM on July 25, 2004


some people hate us because we are right and good, and they are bad, depraved, evil, or, at least jealous;

They hate our freedom. Yes, our freedom. That's gotta be it. The evildoers have those who don't do evil, us righteous ones. And they sure know that they are evil too, right?

Yes.
posted by adampsyche at 5:44 PM on July 25, 2004


er, *hate those*
posted by adampsyche at 5:45 PM on July 25, 2004


You can't possibly eradicate the hatemongers, because everytime we try that, whether through violent or non-violent means, we create more, whether it's from installing or supporting a puppet dictator or invading/bombing a country.

You can't possibly have flawless defenses, so what? But we can let the hatemongers build up untold strength and acquire powerful weapons? Or just until they succeed, in one out of many attempted attacks?


It was inspections/sanctions, genius.

The inspections that kept being interrupted, or the sanctions that "killed thousands of Iraqi children" while Saddam sat happily on his throne? Why, if those sanctions were as effective as the Oil-for-Bribes program, why should I trust a UN statement regarding the effectiveness of their inspections more than some guy who tells me the WMDs are enjoying a pina colada on a Syrian beach right now?


Krrlson, could you please explain in detail how you come to your conclusions? They seem contrary to the well-established facts.

Which facts would those be? That Saddam played an idiotic game with UN inspectors for many years (whether to actually conceal something or just to be contrary we may never know)? That, had the UN actually been effective, Bush would never have had his excuse for the war because it would have been *conclusively* established that there are no WMDs in Iraq?
posted by Krrrlson at 6:04 PM on July 25, 2004


Just treat me as a willing student, or an idiot, whatever pleases you, and explain in thorough, but simple, terms how you come to your conclusions. I am quite curious as to how you came to your particular worldview, which is so very different from mine.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:19 PM on July 25, 2004


Just treat me as a willing student, or an idiot, whatever pleases you, and explain in thorough, but simple, terms how you come to your conclusions. I am quite curious as to how you came to your particular worldview, which is so very different from mine.

I have but one conclusion -- the UN is a completely ineffective organization when it comes to policing the world. Particularly in recent times, it has been plagued by bias (e.g. in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict), corruption (e.g. the Oil-for-Food scandal), and actions that have completely undermined its credibility (e.g. placing countries like Libya and Sudan on the Human Rights commission). For many years, the UN was unable to conclude its mission in Iraq, and it didn't look like the end was in sight when Bush used WMDs as an excuse for war. It has ignored numerous human rights abuses around the world, such as Iran. Today, the UN is failing to investigate Iran's likely foray into nuclear weapons and ignoring the atrocities committed in Sudan. This is a very short version of a long list of UN failures.

As a result, I think it is silly to rely on the UN to resolve such issues as, say, containing terrorism, policing Iraq, and bringing peace to Israelis and Palestinians. In fact, it is silly to rely on the UN for anything.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:14 PM on July 25, 2004


Oh, I get it, we're having the U.N.-doesn't-support-Israel argument again. Funny how you always come back to that.
posted by The God Complex at 8:14 PM on July 25, 2004


Krrrison: your efforts are appreciated, but certainly you must know you're dealing with pathologically delluded people here on Metafilter. Just remember how such people, in the larger world, are viewed as the twits they are.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:38 PM on July 25, 2004


Oh, I get it...

No, doesn't sound like you do. Reminds me of Farside's "What you say, What dogs hear."


Krrrison: your efforts are appreciated, but certainly you must know you're dealing with pathologically delluded people here on Metafilter. Just remember how such people, in the larger world, are viewed as the twits they are.

Oh, I'm painfully aware :) Been here long enough for that.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:46 PM on July 25, 2004


So your conclusion is that the war on Iraq was justified by the UN's inability to completely guarantee that there were no WMDs, even though the inspectors were damned insistent on that point and even though they have been proven right in that assertion?

I must ask what would constitute "proof" in your eyes.

Paris, by your silence on your part, it's difficult to know whether you agree or disagree that the US is not credible.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:42 AM on July 26, 2004


Polls apart

...When the pollsters compared the views of Lebanese Muslims and Lebanese Christians they found only minor differences. Christian views of the US as a whole and of the war on terror were slightly more favourable than those of Muslims, but still overwhelmingly negative.

In the other survey, for Maryland university, Arabs were asked about Iraq.

Questioned in May, before the US handover of power, most expected the change to be "only cosmetic". Substantial numbers thought it would lead to more chaos, while a mere handful, ranging from 2% in Saudi Arabia to 16% in Lebanon, said it would bring positive change.

The vast majority also thought the war in Iraq would bring more terrorism directed against the US, and only a tiny minority, ranging from 2% in Morocco and Saudi Arabia to 7% in Lebanon, thought it would bring more democracy...

Aware that most Arabs have no first-hand knowledge of the US and get their information about it from the Arab media, the pollsters in the AAI survey decided to check whether this made any difference. Looking more closely at Arab respondents who had visited the US, who knew Americans personally or watched US TV programmes, they found that this group had "somewhat more favourable" views of US values, people and products, but - crucially - their views of US policies were still negative.

The simple fact is that the US is losing the battle for Arab hearts and minds. No matter how many jolly tunes it plays for the Arab world on Radio Sawa, or how much it spends polishing its image through al-Hurra TV, it is not going to win people over. Only a radical change of policies will do that.

posted by y2karl at 1:58 PM on July 26, 2004


you must know you're dealing with pathologically delluded people here on Metafilter.

See! He makes sense once in a while...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:41 PM on July 26, 2004


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