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Parsing Terror
November 3, 2005 7:36 AM   Subscribe

Osama bin Laden, littérateur and new-media star. A thought-provoking analysis of bin Laden's adept use of Koranic language and the Internet by Bruce B. Lawrence, an Islamic scholar at Duke who edited a new anthology of bin Laden's public statements called Messages to the World. The Western media -- says the millionaire mass-murderer formerly trained as a useful ally by the CIA via Pakistan's ISI -- "implants fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media are doing!" Know thy enemy. [via Arts and Letters Daily.]
posted by digaman (57 comments total)

 
Meanwhile, bin Laden himself has managed to slip through the "global war on terror" dragnet. The man in charge of the search, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, opined last month: "It's a fact that Osama bin Laden has not been out on video for a hell of a long time. Maybe he's getting shy."
posted by digaman at 7:44 AM on November 3, 2005


Bin Laden's is a creed of great purity and intensity, capable of inspiring its followers with a degree of passion and principled conviction that no secular movement in the Arab world has yet matched. At the same time, it is obviously also a narrow and self-limiting one: It can have little appeal for the great mass of Muslims. Like their Jewish and Christian counterparts, contemporary Muslims need more than scriptural dictates, poetic transports, or apodictic slogans to chart their everyday life, whether as individuals or as collective members of a community, local or national.

It can have little appeal for the great mass of Muslims... but it took only 19 guys with boxcutters to defeat and humiliate the world's sole hyper-power. That sort of leverage always appeals to someone.
posted by three blind mice at 7:45 AM on November 3, 2005


From the article:

If I have learned one enduring lesson from months of reflection on the words of Osama bin Laden, it is that the best defense against World War III is neither censoring nor silencing him but reading what he has actually written and countering his arguments with better ones. He has left a sufficient record that can, and should, be attacked for its deficiencies, its lapses, its contradictions, and, above all, its hopelessness.

In other words, we need a better counterargument than the one currently in vogue: "We have a product to sell, and that product is democracy." (emphasis mine)
posted by halcyon_daze at 7:57 AM on November 3, 2005


And we don't have need for postmodernism? I mean, Osama bin Laden's a bad guy, if he exists, is still alive, and yeah then he's the guy who blew up the WTC.
posted by nervousfritz at 8:09 AM on November 3, 2005


That's a good read. Thanks.
posted by dios at 8:10 AM on November 3, 2005


It can have little appeal for the great mass of Muslims... but it took only 19 guys with boxcutters to defeat and humiliate the world's sole hyper-power.

The United States was defeated? I missed that.
posted by srboisvert at 8:13 AM on November 3, 2005


We ain't winning yet, son. Talk to people who are there.
posted by digaman at 8:16 AM on November 3, 2005


The United States was defeated? I missed that.

The PATRIOT Act was signed into law. We let ourselves get mired in a Vietnam-like atrocity over 9/11. We elected an incompetent, cronyist president in the name of security. We let the media scare us into submission over any vague security scare that turns out to be nothing. Etc. Etc.

It's not defeat like MacArthur in Japan, granted. But since 9/11, the US has lost a lot of what made it a great country.
posted by Rothko at 8:18 AM on November 3, 2005


The worst part is not that bin Laden defeated us, but that we defeated ourselves: throwing away civil liberties, human rights, basic decency.
posted by Rothko at 8:19 AM on November 3, 2005


The word "defeat" can be tortured to mean whatever one likes, it seems.
posted by dios at 8:26 AM on November 3, 2005


I just want to issue an apologia for dios' misuse of the verb "torture".
posted by Rothko at 8:31 AM on November 3, 2005


And "victory" need never be defined, so as to always remain at war.
posted by Haruspex at 8:32 AM on November 3, 2005


The worst part is not that bin Laden defeated us, but that we defeated ourselves.

Well said, sir.
posted by S.C. at 8:32 AM on November 3, 2005


The word "defeat" can be tortured to mean whatever one likes, it seems.
posted by dios at 11:26 AM EST on November 3

I just want to issue an apologia for dios' misuse of the verb "torture".
posted by Rothko at 11:31 AM EST on November 3




Hey Heckyl & Jeckyl, here an idea -- can we prevent the thread from being about the two of you, AND the evils of BushHitler/Amerikkka? Pretty tall order, I realize.


Interesting link, diga, thanks.
posted by dhoyt at 8:34 AM on November 3, 2005


I feel deep sympathy for the poor souls who feel that they have been defeated. What an amazing lack of grasp on reality one must have to think the United States has been "defeated" in any way.
posted by dios at 8:35 AM on November 3, 2005


That being said, I agree with dhoyt that this thread is going to be way off-topic if that rabbit trail is followed. As I said above, the main link that digaman gave is an interesting viewpoint, and it's nice to see real Islamic scholars have their viewpoints out there instead of fake hacks like Cole.

So, again, thanks digaman.
posted by dios at 8:38 AM on November 3, 2005


You're welcome, dios. Yes, let's keep this on-topic, in part because I don't have the energy to keep up if this thread devolves into a snipefest.
posted by digaman at 8:42 AM on November 3, 2005


What an amazing lack of grasp on reality one must have to think the United States has been "defeated" in any way.

Congress didn't sign the PATRIOT Act into law? We're not in Iraq under false pretenses? We don't have incompetent, corrupt leadership? We don't collectively cower under the beds from NYC subway and Baltimore tunnel threats and the like, that turn out to be both "unspecified" and false?

We must be living in different countries, dios.
posted by Rothko at 8:42 AM on November 3, 2005


You both are, Rothko. But let's keep this on topic.
posted by digaman at 8:44 AM on November 3, 2005


What an amazing lack of grasp on reality one must have to think the United States has been "defeated" in any way.

yeah, there's lack of grasp of reality that is indeed amazing, I agree with you on that. have a nice stay, dios.

oh, I forgot -- you're cheering for the slaughter safe behind lines. sorry.
*snicker*
posted by matteo at 8:53 AM on November 3, 2005


Lawrence: "Bin Laden's is a creed of great purity and intensity, capable of inspiring its followers with a degree of passion and principled conviction that no secular movement in the Arab world has yet matched. At the same time, it is obviously also a narrow and self-limiting one: It can have little appeal for the great mass of Muslims."


And yet, in Australia and parts all over the globe, bin Laden's message has resonated with some Muslim leaders & their followers:

The men [Australian terror suspects] under surveillance were well-known to ASIO and the AFP as key players in a web of Islamic extremists in Australia.

They were followers of a Melbourne-based cleric, Nacer Benbrika, known for his extreme Islamist views.

Benbrika became a follower of the controversial Sheik Mohammed Omran, leader of the fundamentalist Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jemaah group in Australia, who resides in Melbourne. Sheik Omran is a supporter of the British-based al-Qa'ida leader Abu Qatada, whom he hosted on a speaking tour of Australia in 1994. Sheik Omran was also named in Spanish court documents as an associate of the Madrid-based al-Qa'ida chief Abu Dada, an accusation Sheik Omran has consistently denied. Sheik Omran's key lieutenant in Sydney, Sheik Abdul Salam Mohammed Zoud, was identified in a dossier compiled by France's leading terrorism investigator, judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, as "the recruiter in Australia of volunteers for the jihad".

Benbrika's views were even more extreme than those of others in Sheik Omran's group, and they eventually parted ways. Benbrika is a self-confessed Osama bin Laden devotee. In August this year he told the ABC: "Osama bin Laden, he is a great man. Osama bin Laden was a great man before 11 September, which they said he did it, and until now nobody knows who did it."


This post sheds a little more light on bin Laden devotees & esteemed 'peaceful' imams among Muslims in Australia.
posted by dhoyt at 9:00 AM on November 3, 2005


Dios, please avoid the temptation to respond to personal attack.

Thanks for that, dhoyt.
posted by digaman at 9:02 AM on November 3, 2005


What trips me out is this:

He appeals directly to the youth, those with education and skills who still find themselves on the margins of wealthy societies and under the thumb of corrupt autocrats. He invites the overeducated and undervalued to become the vanguard of a war against religious enemies, Jews and Christians

I get it. I see the appeal.

And what does the west have to say in response? Basically what halcyon_daze said: "We have a product to sell, and that product is democracy."

Basically the policy challenge is to get a group of people on board with the American Dream, and it just seems really hopeless. I think a lot of americans have this hope that if we just got the whole world to play nice together, we could all have McDonald's and Honda factories and be happy. But it ain't gonna happen. What is going to happen? Are we just going to have wars for the next couple hundred years?
posted by selfmedicating at 9:10 AM on November 3, 2005


It's surely yet another myth surrounding him, but last week at least one source was reporting bin Laden died in June:

Pakistani newspaper claims the founder of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, died in June in a village near the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in the south of Afghanistan. The Awsaf newspaper, based in the city of Multan, reports that the Saudi terror leader fell ill in Bamiyan, the region to the west of the capital Kabul where the Taliban blew up two huge 1,500-year-old Buddha statues in 2001. His protectors then took him back to the Kandahar region, where he died and was buried in a graveyard in the shadow of a mountain, the newspaper says.

Shudder to think how many out there see bin Laden as the Mahdi.
posted by dhoyt at 9:17 AM on November 3, 2005


digaman: no worries. I can resist the trolls. :)
posted by dios at 9:32 AM on November 3, 2005


I thought bin Laden was a dialysis patient -- does anybody know if that's still the case? I'm wondering how he underwent dialysis when hiding in a cave deep in the Afghan mountains.
posted by alumshubby at 9:33 AM on November 3, 2005


dhoyt: any info on how reliable a source that is? I'm unfamiliar with that. I wouldn't be surprised were it true, and it would make a lot of sense.
posted by dios at 9:34 AM on November 3, 2005


Let me rephrase that...

"[bin laden's message] can have little appeal for the great mass of Muslims..." but it took only 19 guys with boxcutters to defeat and humiliate the world's sole hyper-power.

I think we can all agree on the humiliation part. In any case, the whole 9/11 thing got huge press.

That sort of fame is always gonna appeal to someone. It doesn't matter if Osama bin Laden's appeal is more than a few hundred twisted souls. 19 angry dudes with boxcutters and a plan. That's all it took to perpetrate 9/11 and that's all it's gonna take the next time. Here's your terrorist threat and this is why the person of Osama bin Laden needs to be brought to justice. Chasing the windmills of pan-Islamic, Islamo-fascism is a ridiculous detour.

If Bush was serious about Osama bin Laden he would increase the price on his head every day by 10 million dollars. First come, first served.
posted by three blind mice at 9:35 AM on November 3, 2005


On second thought, never mind...
posted by alumshubby at 9:36 AM on November 3, 2005


3bm: Wouldn't that be an incentive to hold off on killing him or handing him over?
posted by alumshubby at 9:37 AM on November 3, 2005


digaman: no worries. I can resist the trolls. :)
posted by dios at 12:32 PM EST on November 3 [!]


Without getting into this, no one is trolling you.
posted by Rothko at 10:05 AM on November 3, 2005


dios: "The word "defeat" can be tortured to mean whatever one likes, it seems."

What a wonderfully pathetic allusion to your ridiculous performance in the thread yesterday.

dios: "digaman: no worries. I can resist the trolls. :) "

...what?
posted by prostyle at 10:11 AM on November 3, 2005


Never mind. One knows who is trolling and who isn't. Just try to focus on bin Laden and the larger issues, thanks.
posted by digaman at 10:16 AM on November 3, 2005


If Bush was serious about Osama bin Laden he would increase the price on his head every day by 10 million dollars.

Whether Bush is serious or not - and I find it extremely unlikely that he'd pass up the tremendous good fortune of being able to show a captured or dead bin Ladin to the world - I don't think it matters much any more:
His legacy is more secure than his life: No matter when or how he dies, he will not easily be dislodged from his perch as the most famous/infamous Arab of the 21st century.

And what does the west have to say in response? Basically what halcyon_daze said: "We have a product to sell, and that product is democracy."

Basically the policy challenge is to get a group of people on board with the American Dream, and it just seems really hopeless. I think a lot of americans have this hope that if we just got the whole world to play nice together, we could all have McDonald's and Honda factories and be happy. But it ain't gonna happen. What is going to happen? Are we just going to have wars for the next couple hundred years?


I think that the "selling" of democracy is exactly the correct response - the only response. It sells itself, given the chance. It might take a long time, but several hundred years is not that long. I'm not especially sanguine about creating democracies by force, though.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:36 AM on November 3, 2005


But since 9/11, the US has lost a lot of what made it a great country.

A part of me wonders if that wasn't the ultimate goal.

Sad. But nothing says we can't get it back. Difficult, but not impossible.
posted by jonmc at 10:43 AM on November 3, 2005


So this really is a war of ideas then?

Probably not a good idea to bomb the shit out of people in order to convince them of the rightness of secular governments then?

Exactly what I thought.

Can we bring the soldiers home now and stop doing stupid stuff that pisses off the rest of the world just because some PNAC idiots manged to get into the White House staff?
posted by nofundy at 10:50 AM on November 3, 2005


But nothing says we can't get it back. Difficult, but not impossible.

But jon, friend o' mine: optimism of that sort has never been fashionable with about half the country. If there's one posture which will never go out of vogue, it's the "Woe is we, the great monster, the great defeated superpower" by dopey pundits. It's almost a kind of perverse romanticism: "If we fearmonger as much as those in charge, we'll have the illusion of a Political Message". It has more to do with puddling self-esteem and guilt complex issues than it does with strength of perspective

Makes we want to say: Enjoy your perceived defeat, "progressive" Americans. The rest of us will be "moving on".
posted by dhoyt at 10:59 AM on November 3, 2005


Shudder to think how many out there see bin Laden as the Mahdi.

Very few, when you phrase it that way. "The Mahdi" is expressly a Shi'i belief, and Shi'i have absolutely no interest in Bin Laden.

To be "a Mahdi" is not such a big deal in Sunni Islam. The page you linked, in my opinion, does not explain enough that today, and for quite a long time, the concept of Mehdi having any impact in the popular Muslim imagination is exclusively a Shi'i phenomenon. Of course, times change and perhaps the concept will have a revivial in the Sunni world?
posted by cell divide at 11:00 AM on November 3, 2005


But jon, friend o' mine: optimism of that sort has never been fashionable with about half the country.

Well, dhoyt, true optimism (as opposed to dewy-eyed-naifism) has to follow honest warts-and-all assesment of what is before one can be honestly hopeful about what could be. And that's where doomsayers serve their purpose a bit. If that makes any sense. John Sayles' books and films put it a lot better than I could. But to paraphrase Dave Marsh on Bruce Springsteen, we have to insist on hope.
posted by jonmc at 11:13 AM on November 3, 2005


Makes we want to say: Enjoy your perceived defeat, "progressive" Americans. The rest of us will be "moving on".

Please quit talking to vague abstractions like "the progressives," dhoyt. It makes you look nutty, and it's really hard to debate with abstractions. If you really want to change some minds, why not address your remarks at specific people and arguments? What makes you think the people who made comments about America's defeat in this thread are representative of "progressives" generally? Not one of them characterized themselves as "progressives." For all we know, they're all disillusioned Republicans, or non-American nationals (there are lots of international visitors to this forum, you know). Wispy generalizations only further contribute to the polarization and ineffectiveness of contemporary civil discourse, and I sometimes suspect you know it. If you're only trying to rile up some of the more passionate MeFites to encourage them to become belligerent so you can easily marginalize their otherwise legitimate positions, please stop. Hyperbole should definitely be called for what it is, but only if it's even worth taking seriously. The overheated claims of America's "defeat" have very little to do with the general thrust of this discussion, and should just be ignored. Now please stop trying to define what "progressive" Americans believe without their consent (I'm a moderate conservative-leaning independent; but since I'm critical of the Bush admin's policy, I'm sure you'd just lump me in with these "defeatist progressives," your railing against, too, if it served your rhetorical purposes. That kind of childish game-playing has to stop if this country is ever going to get back on track again, IMV.)
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 11:34 AM on November 3, 2005


In 2002, bin Laden declared: 'Whether America escalates or de-escalates this conflict, we will reply in kind.'"

Do you believe this statement is a lie, dhoyt, loquax, or dios?
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 11:55 AM on November 3, 2005


The concepts of "abstraction", "polarization" and "hyperbole" only seem to bother you, all-seeing eye dog, when you are at political odds with whoever is perceived to be dabbling in them. I notice you zero in on the same 3 out of 25,000 users, while ignoring the rest. Admit you have a grudge, and we'll go from there.

In 2002, bin Laden declared: 'Whether America escalates or de-escalates this conflict, we will reply in kind.'"

Uh, loquax isn't even involved in this thread. As for me, I don't think bin Laden can speak for all terrorists, so no, I don't think he can say they will all "reply in kind" depending on our actions. But what does that have to do with this discussion?
posted by dhoyt at 12:32 PM on November 3, 2005


I notice you zero in on the same 3 out of 25,000 users, while ignoring the rest.

I've called out the shriller voices on every side, when their contributions are actually influencing the direction of the thread; if you look more closely, you'll see that.

As for why I mentioned you, dios and loquax, specifically, it's because you happen to be the only one's I see consistently chalking up criticisms of the Bush administration's approach to the War in Iraq to malcontent "progressives" on the basis of the overheated statements of a few, who may or may not even identify themselves as progressives.

I probably shouldn't have brought loquax and dios into this, but I was trying to address the views of specific MeFites rather than making sweeping generalizations, and I'm genuinely curious to know what you particular MeFites have to say about the statement I quoted, in light of some of the previous MeFi discussion about Bin Laden's goals over here...
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 12:47 PM on November 3, 2005


srboisvert writes "The United States was defeated? I missed that."

...and evidently you're still not getting it.
posted by clevershark at 1:26 PM on November 3, 2005


dios writes "I feel deep sympathy for the poor souls who feel that they have been defeated. What an amazing lack of grasp on reality one must have to think the United States has been 'defeated' in any way."

There's no arguing against a sense of denial that's been cultivated over a period of many years.
posted by clevershark at 1:28 PM on November 3, 2005


...and evidently you're still not getting it.

There's no arguing against a sense of denial that's been cultivated over a period of many years.


Hey, eyedog - looks like we've got some polarizing & uncivil discourse, bordering on abstraction. Here's your chance to bite.
posted by dhoyt at 1:33 PM on November 3, 2005


dhoyt--thing is, clevershark's attributing an attitude to a specific MeFite in this case, and one who's perfectly capable of defending himself at that. These "progressives" you called out can't exactly defend themselves, since they probably don't even know who they are. But you're right, unsupported sniping is sniping. So clevershark: Can't we all just try to avoid the incendiary tactics? At least, if there's any chance of real dialog spontaneously breaking out? Or is this thread just a lost cause by now...?
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:39 PM on November 3, 2005


I can only hope clevershark recovers from that brutal tongue-lashing.

In any case:

"Some have suggested that the war against Al Qaeda can be won if the United States takes steps to engage in serious dialogue with its enemy. That is the counsel from Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, a Harvard policy expert on conflict resolution: "Though dismissed widely, the best strategy for the United States may well be to acknowledge and address the collective reasons in which Al Qaeda anchors its acts of force. Al Qaeda has been true to its word in announcing and implementing its strategy for over a decade. It is likely to be true to its word in the future and cease hostilities against the United States, and indeed bring an end to the war it declared in 1996 and in 1998, in return for some degree of satisfaction regarding its grievances."


It doesn't seem like any two Muslim terrorists agree on what "grievances" are most responsible for the waves of violence. Some say it's our support of Israel. Some say we are born infidels, and doomed to that status on general principle.

Yet it's not just we Americans they target -- Africa, Spain, Indonesia, England, Russia, Australia. The list goes on.

To be sure, they seem not to mind bombing their people on a near-daily basis. Having witnessed this for so long, what sort of dialogue do we expect them offer? What sort should we offer, if at all? Where do you draw the line before we are "appeasing" them?
posted by dhoyt at 2:09 PM on November 3, 2005


Good post, digaman—thanks.

And congratulations to those who are trying to keep this thread on topic and free of personal nastiness; I hope it works.
posted by languagehat at 2:34 PM on November 3, 2005


I can only hope clevershark recovers from that brutal tongue-lashing.

Heh. Well, I was trying to "be the change I wanted to see" or whatever nonsense...

To be sure, they seem not to mind bombing their people on a near-daily basis.

Yes, but let's be really clear about who "they" are. The vast majority of muslims are not bomb-toting fanatics; quite the opposite. And in many cases, the hard-liners that do pose a legitimate threat are at least partially a product of America's previous interventionalist policies in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the muslim world. America propped both Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein up in their early days, and that's not tin-foil hat territory but well documented historical reality. Living here in America, it may be pretty plain how these historical events came about, and we may reasonably feel that they in no way reflect on "the real America" we know and love, but if you've never lived in America, nor have any deep appreciation of the necessary imperfections of our system of democracy (the fact that our democracy in practice operates like two drunk truck drivers struggling for control of the wheel of an extremely large eighteen wheeler barreling down on history at top speed), what would you think? If you new that some distant foreign power had actively conspired to put a particular president in the White House (by encouraging a group of militant revolutionaries, no less, with a great loss of civilian life), only to agitate for regime change several years later (at another great loss of civilian life), how do you think that you, as an ordinary person who probably already feels powerless against the machinations of their own government, would feel about that foreign power?

Who are you worried about appeasing? The ones toting the bombs, or the ones who always seem to end up getting blown up? Because I think it's an important distinction to always keep in mind.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 2:37 PM on November 3, 2005


You lose as soon as you play the game his way.

....works on so many level.

But most particularly with terrorism. As soon as fear dictates your actions, you are lost.

But we don't have much to offer proactively. They have vision, we don't.

"Freedom" coming from Bushco sounds like a dodge or an empty platitude. Our own beliefs are being marketed back to us as a gimmick while you have true visionaries on the other side. It's an archaic, stupid dream. But they're willing to live and die for it.

Truth, Justice and Liberty for all is far better.
But those of us in the west that are willing to lay it out for that, keep getting shell gamed. If I thought for a minute our honest reason for being in Iraq was to promote democracy I'd be there.

Bin Laden would destroy the very system of media that is spreading his message and jacking off to his being the boogeyman. I can't say I don't see the appeal. It's comforting to believe in and be a part of something. That certainty.

But his vision is myopic. Willingness to live and die for a belief doesn't make that belief right. Neither is a willingness to kill.
Which is why 9/11 was indeed a defeat.

Not final. Not permanent. And though lives were lost that was not what hurt us. What hurt us is all that is going on now. The divisiveness, the emptiness, the illusion. Reminds me of Slaughterhouse 5 when Billy Pilgrim is comfortably riding through the country being pulled by a horse and he is stopped by two doctors who chide him for forcing such a wounded horse to pull him. He didn't know. And he starts crying.

We don't need to save lives to fight this man. We need to give lives meaning.



/derail - Nifty movie: Wages of Fear although the Friedkin remake was good.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:42 PM on November 3, 2005


Oh, and seeing eye, we've got another cleanup over here. Strawmen, hyperbole, personal attacks -- the works. I know you're an equal opportunity kind of guy, so I'm assuming that particular user—a fairly notorious troll & mudslinger—will be on the receiving end of the same speech you gave loquax [absent], dios & myself. Let's hear it.
posted by dhoyt at 3:38 PM on November 3, 2005


dhoyt: I'm back now. weirdly, the moment seems to have passed in that other thread. who's varosha, and why can't i see his/her posts? eh. whatever.

got any energy left for just talking about the original topic of this FPP, or not? if so, i'd just like to hear your responses to these points:

It doesn't seem like any two Muslim terrorists agree on what "grievances" are most responsible for the waves of violence. Some say it's our support of Israel. Some say we are born infidels, and doomed to that status on general principle.

What grievances were responsible for the Mujahadeen's emergence in the first place? Why do we sometimes encourage hateful ideologies in the interest of short-term political gain (fundamentalist beliefs of all stripes have been exploited historically to meet short-term political ends, and such tactics almost always have disastrous long-term consequences)?

There are lots of contingencies to consider here. Some of them are cultural; some of them are economic; some of them are political. But IMV, there's no way to win the kind of war the administration is currently pursuing, and there's a lot of history to back that view up. What's more, I'm not convinced that the administration's original motives for the war effort were primarily concerned with addressing the problem of Islamofascism or Neo-Caliphatism or whatever you want to call it. Everyday, there seem to be more and more credible reasons to believe that other, less noble strategic interests were at the heart of this thing.

If you could just convince me otherwise, I'd love to believe it.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 4:36 PM on November 3, 2005


Varosha, 'Islamaphobia', NeoCons and 'brown people'

D'oh! Heh... Should have looked more closely at that thread you linked, dhoyt... Varosha turns out to be a city not a nickname, so disregard my previous nonsensical questions.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 5:06 PM on November 3, 2005


This is a really stupid game to keep playing, but what the hell, Here, for example, I clearly take someone to task for espousing exactly the kind of view you might attribute to a "progressive." Not exactly the same situation, but demonstrates that I am trying at least to be even-handed about promoting civil discourse.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 5:25 PM on November 3, 2005


Satisfied now?
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 5:55 PM on November 3, 2005


all-seeing eye dog writes "So clevershark: Can't we all just try to avoid the incendiary tactics? At least, if there's any chance of real dialog spontaneously breaking out?"

Okay, I'll bite. There is no chance whatso-fucking-ever of this conversation evolving into something meaningful because some people in this thread see reality for what it is, and others do not. In fact copy that statement for every fucking thread here or elsewhere that even treads near the world of politics today.

Now there's a statement we can all agree about.
posted by clevershark at 8:36 PM on November 3, 2005


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