Patriotism and Partisanry:
The Democrats and the War on Terror

Democrats — By on August 24, 2006 at 12:57 am

In his masterpiece On War, the 19th century Prussian general Karl von Clausewitz’s described war as a “continuation of politics by other means. ‘



  • http://www.evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com Collin Brendemuehl

    It seems so obvious to us, but add to it some response from C&L or Kos. It will add to your evidence that “reason” is not what the Lib/Left world is about today.
    Collin
    http://www.evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com

  • George

    I have a completely different take on the difference between the response of the left and right to the “war” on “terror”. And reason is absolutely what the left is about. If fact, under certain statistical circumstances, theirs is the only reasonable approach.
    The left, quite correctly, understands that the real, personal risk of terrorism in the US is extremely small. Even if one lives in, say, San Francisco – a city which I have no doubt the Islamic loons would love to strike, what with its in-your-face gay ambiance – the odds that one will happen to be crossing the GG Bridge at the very moment some Isloon decides to take it down is vanishingly small. And, after all, it is a symbol of Western homophobic patriarchial privileged white male hegemony, right? And there would be the opportunity to bash the Bush administration for not rebuilding it the day after tomorrow. Look at the traffic!! But it likely won’t happen to me. Very reasonable and why we are all willing to hop in our cars and drive on the freeways for a quart of milk. The absolute risk is very low to us personally.
    The right has a very different take on the absolute risk. Included in the sample are the innocent victims in Haifa and Beirut, as well as those people who may just happen to be on the GG Bridge at the wrong moment. It’s not just important whether I’m likely to get killed but also whether anybody is likely to get killed. Not just me, but any innocent person. Now if one’s worldview is more-or-less solipsistic, then one is likely to be highly critical of anything unpleasant to be endured whose positive effects will likely benefit only someone else. There are many examples of solipsistic indulgences on the left (e.g., having two of triplets aborted because one lives in a walk-up and loathes the idea of buying mayonnaise at Costco, or taking down a religious symbol comforting to many because it irritates me).
    There are those who favor the Patriot Act, NSA wiretapping, killing terrorists on foreign soil instead of American streets, and keeping Isloons behind barbed wire in Cuba because they don’t want them to kill anybody else, either. If Dick Cheney happens to hear me discussing the grocery needs of Auntie Maude, it’s worth it if it helps save a life in Chicago, even though Auntie and I may live in Poughkeepsie. Obviously a completely different, other-directed take on the expected value equation.
    But suppose whe alter the ststistical circumstances… Let’s take airport profiling and do a thought experiment. Imagine (if necessary) you are a leftist. At the moment, you happen to be in O’Hare on a Monday morning. You have a flight to catch and financial losses to incur if you are significantly delayed. It is announced that the authorities have discovered, without a shadow of a doubt, that somewhere in O’Hare is a terrorist that plans to blow up a plane. But it isn’t clear which flight. The authorities are going to lock the doors and everybody is going to be confined to the terminals until the guilty party is found. Individual interviews and interrogations are to begin immediately and continue as long as necessary. With whom should they begin?

  • Gordon Mullings

    Joe:
    I have but little interest per se in US follytricks — having been totally ticked off by follytricks gone mad in JA back in the 70s-80’s. But, when follytricks begins to mess up serious business and/or our minds, we do need to set a few points straight.
    Here, we need to get the business of Jihadism straight. For that, let us consider, as I presented recently:
    Surah 9:29 – 31:

  • http://vitaro.wordpress.com Rob V.

    “Drum is so constrained by partisanship that he has become more concerned about ‘being a pawn in the Bush administration’s latest marketing campaign’ than he is in a despotic and dangerous regime acquiring nuclear weapons.”
    – Because above all else, a liberal is a liberal FIRST.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    As somebody who’s posting at Kos has been blowing away your traffic lately (when’s the last time you had as many comments as I ‘ve had here?) please allow me to respond.
    First of all, if people dislike Bush it’s for a reason: Bush hates us for our freedom. Bush has nothing but contempt for the law as witnessed by his “signing statements.” The NSA case is a plain violation of the law, regardless of whether you thought the opinion was badly worded.
    Next on to “terrorism.” I have previously covered the topic, to a much wider audience than yours here.
    Most Americans are coming around to this point of view: “Terrorism” isn’t even the right word to use, and it’s use for political manipulation is repugnant, and the evidence is there in spades that not only has the Bush regime been manipulating this issue to attempt to gain an advantage, but they have also made us less safe and secure in the process (witness recent complaints by the Brits that they didn’t want to make the arrests when they did because they were still trying to make a case, but were forced to do so by “American pressure.”).
    And then there’s the airport security nonsense. Republicans have made us less safe and secure. It was Republicans that failed to heed the Aug. 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing.
    And then there’s Iraq.
    Your partisan nonsense aside, it is now objectively true that Republicans have compromised our security, made us less safe, and have committed and omitted acts that have directly led to the death of thousands of Americans.
    For once in your life, sir, take responsibility.
    The blood is on yours and all supporters of the Republicans.
    Have you no decency?

  • Bryan K Mills

    Everyone once in a while I attempt to put down my right-wing-extremist-koolaid and try to look at things from the left’s perspective. But try as I might I can’t make sense of their worldview.

  • Doug

    The difference between Democrat and Republican is this: One scares folks into believing they need the protection of a huge welfare state, the other scares people into believing they need the protection of a huge warfare state.
    The two parties need each other because both need a huge overweening state in order to have their power, control and position. It is the presupposition of all public “debate”.
    Murray Rothbard was the first I read that pointed out that the welfare/warfare state is one thing supported by one party (the party of big government, the Republicrats) with two wings, left and right.
    When we get too much of one the other gains power, but in the process the people constantly lose liberty. Its a rigged game.
    The sooner we understand that the sooner we will stop being surprised by how much both sides are the enemy of Constitutional, limited gov’t, and of our liberties. Christians should have a more radical solution. The reduction of the state to stakly limited biblical responsibilites instead of being the messiah, and the preaching and living out the Gospel that sets men free.

  • http://www.jerometeel.com Jerome

    Amen, Joe. The democrats are way off base here. It is a war — a global war — against principles of darkness. It is not a police matter as the previous administration portrayed it. And that is exactly how future democratic administrations (perish the thought!) will portray it. We must do everything possible to insure that republicans remain in leadership in congress and that republicans retain the White House in 2008. Until democrats allow those with a Christian worldview the marjority voice in their party they cannot be trusted with control of our government.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Terrorism, though, is not just another domestic issue. No one dies if Congress opposes voucher programs or same-sex marriage. But thousands of Americans have died because of acts of terrorism. Whether they rely on rhetoric and reframing or simply recoil from responsibility, the Democrats have proven time and again that they are not serious about dealing with terrorism.
    Indeed, vote Republican or DIE.
    Next wonder why liberals and an increasing portion of the public has this bizaar, irrational ‘hate’ of George Bush? I think the more important question is why people like Joe have an irrational love of George Bush. Any criticism of Bush, no matter how legitimate, is framed as though it was some type of mental illness (gee, why do you hate our President so much?) or just selfish politics.
    Notice, for example, how Joe completly overlooked the fact that Drum was quite clear why he was silent on Iran. Because he thought a military strike would be a diasterous policy and this administration couldn’t be trust to not do the stupid thing. (I take a different view, Bush has so overextended ourselves with this Iraq mess that he isn’t going to engage in any more military adventures anywhere…instead his energy will be on explaining why it made sense to invade Iraq for ‘freedom’ but not everywhere else like Iran, Syria, N. Korea etc.).

  • Scott

    Liberals hated Bush in November, 2000, when Gore lost the election in Florida, about 10 months before 9/11 and almost 3 years before Iraq. Liberals disdained Bush as a candidate for his faith, and the fact that he is from Texas, and therefore southern, inbred, inarticulate, uneducated. The fact that he is none of these things, okay, maybe he could be more articulate.
    Bush represents more than a departure from the policies of Democrats, he represents a departure from all previous presidents with regard to terrorism and the Arab nations. That includes his father and Reagan.
    As far as military strikes are concerned, Iraq makes a lot of sense. It’s geographically central to the Islamic nations, and it’s close to Iran. In a pinch, the 150,000 or so troops in Iraq could be marched across the border into Iran, after sufficient shock and awe. The Shi’a in Iraq will be insignificant if Iran is bombed into the dark ages. Hezbollah becomes manageable without Iran.
    Iraq’s contribution to terrorism is at best overlooked by liberals, and at worst, represents an enduring lie of the liberal. Saddam exported terroism by supporting Palestinian terrorists, had contact with Al Quaeda with initial limited support that could possible expand. He also had a ongoing WMD program that was probably exported to Syria in the months that Bush wasted with UN resolutions at the insistence of liberal Democrats. And Joe Wilson’s lie notwithstanding, Saddam was working on a nuclear program.
    Which only makes sense. Iran’s nuclear ambitions were known in the region, and Saddam had a lot of reason to counter Iran.
    As far as being overextended and unable to invade Iran, Syria, N. Korea, et al., the forces in Iraq represent less than 10% of our armed forces. Any strike on N. Korea will not involve ground forces for at least a week, if we can even imagine that the U.S. would be so bold on China’s border. Ain’t gonna happen. Any suggestion made otherwise is either insanity or Democratic attempts to give Kim a reason not to negotiate.
    Syria is a minor cockroach and would fall in less than a week. Iran, see the comments above on positioning to strike against Iran.
    Iraq could be easily managed if we stopped trying to be nice. Isolate Baghdad from the Shi’a and vice versa, and sectarian violence disappears. Kill Sadr and his militia, and other militias start to scatter. Or bomb them if they don’t. All of which would be justifiable if an invasion of Iran was necesssary.
    Liberals have given terrorist the impression that Bush can be defeated at home. Liberals have given terrorist the impression that American support for Israel can be terminated, or at least diminished.
    Thanks so much, Kerry, Dean, Lamont, et al.

  • Commenterlein

    Joe,
    Bush Jr., either through incompetence or malfeasance, has the blood of thousands of Americans and many more thousands of Iraqis on his hands. He has destabilized the Middle East, strengthened Iraq, weakened our alliances and over-extended our military.
    The pertinent question is therefore – why do you focus your efforts onto understanding why people dislike this president, rather than onto the much more interesting question why some people continue to support him?

  • http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver/christian Oliver

    Being British, I regard US political divisions at a distance. I am quite bemused by the rabid hostility shown by the left towards the right; it is reminiscent, though, of the hostility shown by the British left towards Margaret Thatcher. I think the reason for both is that Bush and Thatcher both tried (successfully?) to move the political debate away from ground that the left had colonised and regarded as their own.
    The British left didn’t mind much when the Conservatives took over from Labour in 1951 (Churchill’s last government); they minded a bit more in 1970 (Edward Heath); in both those cases, the Conservative Party did not wish to make a great upset in the arrangement of society. However, in 1979 (Margaret Thatcher) they spoke and behaved as if a police state had been proclaimed and the Gestapo would be calling on them the next morning. Mrs Thatcher’s main crime in their eyes was her determination to break the power of the Trade Unions over the state. The Trade Unions were traditionally associated with and were the main funders (and founders) of the Labour Party.
    There was not then, as there is now in the US, any religious component to British politics. The Church of England, was possibly Conservative in its membership but Labour or Liberal in its clergy; the non-conformist churches had traditionally been left-wing throughout. In Mrs Thatcher’s case, the religious establishment was lined up against her — with no apparent effect. No one thought that religious issues were at all significant in politics.
    Is it then the case that the left-wing hostility to Bush in the US has a religious (or anti-religious) basis? or is it because he is cutting away the left’s power-base?
    The fact that President Bush claims to be a believer raises some further questions:
    I wonder if it is possible to be faithful to Jesus and also a successful politician? Is it possible to be successful in politics without lying and cheating and doing down your rivals? If you do those things, of course, you cannot be obeying the Lord.
    Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world. How far then should Christians get involved in politics, which is very definitely of this world?
    I think it is notable that none of the New Testament letters make any suggestion that Christians should try to be involved in the institutions of society.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Scott:
    Wow! How many falsehoods can you cram into one comment?

    Liberals hated Bush in November, 2000, when Gore lost the election in Florida,

    Gore didn’t lose the election in Florida

    Liberals disdained Bush as a candidate for his faith…

    Yeah, that’s why we just hate the present governor of Virginia, Barack Obama, and a host of other people of faith…

    …and the fact that he is from Texas, and therefore southern, inbred, inarticulate, uneducated…

    Bush is from Connecticut originally. And we have nothing against folks like Jim Hightower and Nick Lampson. Or Molly Ivins, so stop the victim routine…

    Bush represents more than a departure from the policies of Democrats, he represents a departure from all previous presidents with regard to terrorism and the Arab nations. That includes his father and Reagan.

    Well, an inadvertant truth, wrapped in some nonsense: Yes Bush’s policies are a deaprture from precedents. Precedents were based on reality. Bush’s is based on … PowerPoint

    … Iraq makes a lot of sense…

    Iraq is a civil war.

    In a pinch, the 150,000 or so troops in Iraq could be marched across the border into Iran, after sufficient shock and awe…Iran is bombed into the dark ages.

    Pro-genocide. That’s the Bush policy. Wonderful.
    …the forces in Iraq represent less than 10% of our armed forces…
    Many of whom are committed in other areas. You’ll be hard pressed to get the staff of carrier battle groups to suddenly become infantry, but don’t let little things like facts change your mind…
    Repugnant. Utterly repugnant.

  • Troy

    Mumon:
    You imply that popularity (as measured in traffic and audience size) makes your opinion more valid, more accurate, more true. You may be disappointed to know that truth is not determined by popularity. It does not validate the rest of your statements, which you do not attempt support by any reasoned arguments.
    Boonton:
    It is not “Vote Republican or die.” I think Democrats such as Joe Leiberman or Zell Miller, indeed any Democrats that follow in the tradition of Harry Truman and JFK, could gain a lot of Republican support.
    Also, Drum did not say a military strike on Iran would be “disasterous” (sic) or stupid”. He does say “it can’t be trusted to act wisely”, although he does not define what a wise policy toward Iran would consist of. But that seems secondary to his mail point, which is “like it or not, my words

  • The Raven

    Congrats on making the DKos “Recommended List” mumon. That was a major accomplishment. Very well done.
    And Joe, citing a TNR writer as a source of credible opinion is like finding a potato shaped like Jesus and thinking you’ve seen the Second Coming.
    Right now, the Democratic Party is offering a number of clear alternatives to “stay the course.” Which is a good thing, since nobody in the administration appears able to define what the course is.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Troy:
    No, I don’t have any such implication. I would submit though that what I say resonates with more people than with what Joe Carter says, because what I happen to say is based on facts, and Joe Carter’s statements simply are not.
    Raven:
    Thanks. Folks like Carter and other Bush apologists will say, “Nobody could have predicted a water shortage” when water prices go through the roof.
    As I noted over at Kos, the whole talk of “terrorism” is itself a misnomer: it’s really conservative extremist religious criminal and insurgent activity. I don’t get afraid of things like 9/11; some folks do, but they’re the ones receptive to the FEAR FEAR FEAR conservative message.
    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, Roosevelt said, and rightly. Bush is no Roosevelt just as Blair is no Churchill. People are seeing through this nonsense. (The recent ban on liquids is absurd on its face, and people are, I think starting to get it.)

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Oh, and Troy?
    Lieberman is no longer a Democrat, based on his recent ballot identification in CT. He’s “Connecticut for Lieberman.”
    One other thing: Iran can be engaged, and engaged wisely ethically, and for the present wtithout violence, but Bush has not done that.

  • Scott

    Mumon,
    1. Gore lost Florida. The Times, the Post, and the Wall Street Journal conducted a joint effor to recount the votes.. The Times and the Post didn’t publish the results because Bush won. Close, yes, but Bush won. The lie that Bush lost Florida is more liberal nonsense and conspiracy theories. The Jews, with the Trilateral Commission and Knight Templar stole the election. See
    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/sep2001/nyt-s25.shtml
    Bush was disdained for his conservative evangelical faith, kinda like you are doing now.
    “Bush is from Connecticut…” Which is why I wrote “none of which is true.” You might read that again.
    “Precedent were based on reality.” The reality is that the U.S. refused to confront terrorism until Bush. Beirut, the Cole, etc. Cut and run, kinda like the liberals are still advocating. And that can be a reality. Attacking our enemies is another reality.
    “Iraq makes a lot of sense…” It may be a civil war now, but it was not at the time. Liberal opposition to the war has emboldened our enemies, and the conflict has become a sectarian issue. However, it is becoming a civil war because Al Queada decided that terrorism could be used to start the civil war, which might further erode American support, and fan the flames of cut and run. Which seems to be working for you liberals. You are equating cause and effect in Iraq because it helps your liberal cause. Sectarian violence is becoming the “effect”, not the “cause.” Difficult concept, there, so read slowly and move your lips a lot. It might help.
    Pro-genocide. Not sure where that come from. Must be your new word of the day. Iran has identified themselves as an enemy of the US and our allies in the region. It appears that they are using their technology to control the region, with a state goal of destroying the U.S. and Israel (and England, Germany, all of Europe, controlling Saudi Arabia, and so on.) So assume that they really want to attack us, and maybe do so. Then we protect ourselves and allies by a military strike, see, and bomb the technology that threatened us. More difficult concepts here, so re-read the paragraph. The “dark ages” description may be a little harsh, but nowhere does it indicate a desire to eradicate Persians, or even Shi’a from the earth. As opposed to Iran’s stated goal of eradicating Jews. So genocide is an aspect, but not from this side of the aisle.
    Your post is pretty much proof of what Joe wrote”Hatred for George W. Bush has become the defining theme of modern American liberalism, pushing aside all other issues. You, for example, are willing to lie about those with whom you disagree to make your point.

  • Scott

    Mumon, forgot to deal with your last inanity. The commitment of our troops in other theaters is based on our perception of need in those areas vs. our needs in Iraq, or Iran, if needed. If our perception of need changes, then our commitment levels might change too, see. Then we might increase the number of troops in the Mid East.
    If Iran drops the big one, our perceptions will change pretty much instantaneously.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Scott :
    Nope. By any measure of recounting Gore would have won Florida. Period.
    Rather odd link you have there…
    What “evangelical” faith does Bush have? The one that causes him to engage in wars that are condemned as immoral by Christian leaders ’round the world?
    Re “terrorism”: There is no such thing, except for those who, like Bush and bin Laden, want people to be afraid. Americans are made of sterner stuff than that.
    It’s conservative religious violence we fight against. And you’re either with us or against us.
    Which side are you on?
    Liberal opposition to the war has emboldened our enemies…
    No – and Bush’s own generals say differently.
    Get your head out of repugnant talking points and educate yourself.
    Pro-genocide. Not sure where that come from.
    If you going to “bomb Iran into the Dark Ages,” you’re going to kill a lot of innocent people. That’s genocide.
    …Iran’s stated goal of eradicating Jews…
    Reference?
    Ahdimenijad denied the Holocaust, to be sure, but he could have been responded to precisely on that point (he had actually implied that if it did not take place that would invalidate Israel’s right to exist, which would suggest a converse statement could have been coaxed out of him).

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Scott…forgot to deal with your last inanity.
    The commitment of our troops in other theaters is based on our perception of need in those areas vs. our needs in Iraq, or Iran, if needed.
    LOL! Let’s see a plan from you- more detailed than the PowerPoint slides Rumsfeld’s office has been using…to transition carrier battle groups into infantry…

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    It may be a civil war now, but it was not at the time. Liberal opposition to the war has emboldened our enemies, and the conflict has become a sectarian issue.
    Wow, there was less dissent on the Iraq war than there was for the first Gulf War. That’s not enough. Like a 19th Century spiritualist who blames her inability to summon ghosts for the skeptic on ‘a doubter in the room’, we are now told that Bush’s policies would have worked perfectly if only liberals had believed in them harder!
    No controlling the White House and Congress was not enough. Being Commander of the entire military was insufficient. As long as one old hippie sitting in Seattle eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream doubts the Bush-god his super wise policies will not work as well as they should!
    Keep sipping the Kool-aid, you’re not convincing anyone of anything but you are showing us how foolish the right has become.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Boonton:
    Wow, there was less dissent on the Iraq war than there was for the first Gulf War.
    Not strictly true; in the media, it was all gung-ho to a point that verged on absurdity, and made great fodder for Jon Stewart.
    But hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets, including myself; I had predicted that this would evolve into the violence in Palestine but on a scale an order of magnitude larger. I have been proven correct.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Mumon,
    I still disagree. Yes there were street protests but there were also street protests against the first Gulf War and they seemed more vocal and more numerous. I’m just basing that by memory (I was in High School at the time) but overall I think there was less opposition to the Iraq war than the Gulf War…which is ironic since the Gulf War had many more ‘selling points’ for it IMO.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Boonton:
    Public support for Gulf War I was over 85%; for Iraq it was (intially) about 66-75%.
    There was about 100K people protesting in NYC alone; and a similar number in Portland OR. Those are just 2 that I remember.
    And all over the world, millions protested.
    But the propaganda- it was nauseating.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Wow, if only 10% of people had switched from opposing to supporting the war Iraq would now be just like Florida or California! Maybe even MTV would be shooting the next Real World there!
    Isn’t it amazing how people marching in NYC can have no power in the US but project such power overseas?

  • Scott

    Mumon,
    you keep changing definitions to suit your positions.
    Yeah, the link is interesting. Got the wrong link. Try one more up your ally, the CCN article. http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/florida.ballots/stories/main.html
    Gore would maybe have won if all rules for counting votes with double entries were thrown out.
    “Evangelical faith”, which Joe writes about here on occasion, believes that the Christ was God Incarnate, and His death and resurrection are the means of salvation. War, believe it or not, really doesn’t enter into the definition. Other than some snarky little comment to define religion more advantageously to a liberal definition that rules our national security.
    Terrorism. What a convenient definition that you liberals have discovered? Bush isn’t fighting terrorism, he is fighting “conservative religious violence”. Or did you write that about Bush? I may have missed that. But if you are writing about Al Quaeda, Hezbollah, etc., then obvously Bush is wrong, since there are no terrorist, only conservative religious types who are using violence. Terrorists using terrorism.
    Traditionally, like, you know, from precedent, terrorism is distinguished from military action, since it is violence that is not carried out by an army, which can be identified with uniforms, flags, and so on.
    I agree basically that we have not properly identified the conflict. Bush did in fact recently mention that we are fighting Islamofascists, and folks got upset for bringing a religion into the equation. We are fighting a paramilitary force that uses violence against soldiers when possible and against civilians when convenient, introducing “terror” into the fight. Hence, terrorism. In this case, the paramilitary forces happen to be Muslims.
    Repugnant talking points – they are only repugnant to you because they properly identify the contribution that you and yours make to the issue. Not so repugnant to a lot of us.
    Genocide has a specific meaning, and it is not just killing a lot of people. We intended to kill a lot of people from Germany and Japan in WWII. We did not intend to practice genocide, nor did we.
    Again, liberals change the meaning of words to fit their purposes. What a word meant under Clinton now magically tranforms under Bush.
    I’m not sure what point you are making about “transition carrier battle groups into infantry.” Are you saying that all of our infantry is committed in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do your really believe that we have only about 200,000 infantry?
    And how does that appply to the conversation? Are you suggesting that Bush invade N.Korea, and use the infantry to do it? Are you suggesting that after significant bombing strikes into Iran, we could not find sufficient infantry to subdue it?
    We don’t actually have to subdue Iran with infantry. We just have to destroy their capability of producing nuclear weapons. And that is a test of the will to punish an enemy. We have the capability, we may not have the resolve after folks like you continue to tear us down.
    And congratulations on your success over there at Kos. Way to go, big guy! You da man!! Truly one of the more outstanding nutjobs to rise to the top of the heap at Kos!!!

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Scott:
    Interesting you quote CNN, who featured Jefrey Toobin, who noted that if all the votes had been counted, by any measure Gore would have won. Period.
    End of story.
    War, believe it or not, really doesn’t enter into the definition…
    Traditionally, it does: you know, the 10 C’s and all that stuff. Pope John Paul II himself, no flaming liberal, condemned the war in Iraq as immoral.
    Bush isn’t fighting terrorism, he is fighting “conservative religious violence”.
    Bush is doing neither, and that’s why we’re less safe than before: Bush is encouraging religious extremism and the violence it engenders.
    Bush did in fact recently mention that we are fighting Islamofascists…
    It is rather odd that Bush, like Lieberman is using this approach.
    Very Orwellian.
    Repugnant talking points – they are only repugnant to you because they properly identify the contribution that you and yours make to the issue. Not so repugnant to a lot of us.
    Repugnant to most Americans.
    I’m not sure what point you are making about “transition carrier battle groups into infantry.” Are you saying that all of our infantry is committed in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do your really believe that we have only about 200,000 infantry?
    We don’t have 200,000 infantry in Iraq; we have 130K.
    The troops in Germany, Italy, and the UK are obviously doing something, among other things, providing logistical support to the troops stationed in Iraq. That’s why the Marines are calling up reservists, and even impressing people up to 60 years old.
    You just have no idea what you’re talking about.
    And the folks at Kos are raging moderates, whose views generally reflect those of Americans, with some notable exceptions.
    It’s you folks who are way out of the mainstream.

  • RB

    A note to all the lib posters here. When next a person with a D next to their name becomes president, I will look forward to reading your rants against government sponsored violence when that person feels military action is required. I know they will be well reasoned and level headed criticisms of that person’s leadership, because I remember all of your angst when Clinton carried on his military exploits. We’ll be watching. Then again, somehow the memories of Clinton criticisms from the lefties are very dim in my memory. (sigh)

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    RB:
    The tu quoque fallacy. And false indeed it is, as this but one example illustrates. (Remember NAFTA?)
    Oh, were you thinking Bosnia? As I recall that’s not a quagmire. Nothing suceeds like success you know. But actually lots of us were not happy at some of the aspects of the way Bosnia was carried out, e.g., the inept bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
    It’s not a question of reflexive pacifism (which is why we have Paul Hackett and Jim Webb, and your side has…Dick Cheney, Mr. 5 Deferments himself.)
    No, its about rational use of military forces versus idiotic use of military forces.

  • RB

    “Republicans seem to blindly and unconditionally support military action, so long as this action is suggested by another Republican.”
    The fact that you believe this about Rs and not Ds simply illustrates the reality of your own blinding bias.
    What exactly is STFU? I’ll just assume that’s one of your own high class beverages I can’t afford..

  • Rob Ryan

    “If Bush were to suddenly announce that he supported abortion, gay rights, flag-burning, and handgun confiscation, we would see a massive political shift. The entire American Left would suddenly become a cadre of pro-life, homophobic, flag-waving, NRA members.”
    Perhaps you are attempting to exaggerate for effect. Hyperble, though, requires at least some basis in truth; otherwise, it is just calumny. At tgirsch pointed out, Bush’s unpopularity has mostly to do with his stands on the issues important to liberals.
    “The right has a very different take on the absolute risk.”
    Who else laughed out loud when they read George’s attempt to cast the right as altruistic? It’s truly priceless. One normally has to go to the “No Spin Zone” to find such remarkable, improbable spin.
    ” In a pinch, the 150,000 or so troops in Iraq could be marched across the border into Iran, after sufficient shock and awe. The Shi’a in Iraq will be insignificant if Iran is bombed into the dark ages. Hezbollah becomes manageable without Iran.”
    Oh boy! Saddle up, stout fellows, we’re going into Iran! You scare me, Scott.
    “Liberals have given terrorist the impression that American support for Israel can be terminated, or at least diminished.”
    Maybe that is exactly what should happen. At any rate, I will express my opinion regardless of whether or not terrorists find it encouraging. Are you going to stop voting for republicans just because racists and bigots vote the same way? Of course not! You make your decisions based on your opinions, and you express them regardless of whether or not some very bad people agree with them.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Joe Carter:
    I’d be curious to what a liberal foreign policy response would be in regards to Iran.
    LOL! Why not hop on over to Daily Kos and find out! Even the GOP is doing that (tell Karl Rove thanks for the publicity!)
    Just go to http://www.dailykos.com, go to the lower right hand corner, sort diaries by tag, input “Iran,” and voila! (That’s French, you know. Markos thinks the French are right about terrorists, the GOP tells me.)
    Lots and lots of liberal thought on Iran…
    Next…

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick (gryph)

    Terrorism, though, is not just another domestic issue. No one dies if Congress opposes voucher programs or same-sex marriage. But thousands of Americans have died because of acts of terrorism. Whether they rely on rhetoric and reframing or simply recoil from responsibility, the Democrats have proven time and again that they are not serious about dealing with terrorism. They have made it abundantly clear that they cannot be trusted with the security of our nation. We cannot afford to give the reigns of power over to a party that is more concerned with hurting Bush than protecting our people, more concerned with partisanry than patriotism

    Why is it Joe that you are willing to let the GOP off the hook for using terrorism as a campaign tool, but condemn the democrats for doing exactly the same thing? Shouldn’t you be condemning both?
    And I don’t buy your “GOP is the best on terrorism” line of reasoning. The current GOP leadership has been much more worried about gay marriage than terrorism. And the President’s Administration, for all its tough talk, doesn’t seem to be very interested in winning against terrorism in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Or maybe its just that they are miserably incompetent instead.

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’mm:
    Meanwhile the real opinion poll that counts begins to really tilt the deadly way — the one in the ME and wider Muslim world.
    For, as more and more muslims begin to see the West as broken-willed adn divided and self-condemning [look on how naively the fauxtographs were taken in by the media . . .], thus the “weak horse,” the power of Q 9:29 31 will begin to tell as much more than the infamous 10% will see things Usama’s way.
    Only when dar ul Islam is divided and relatively weak can the world avert Islamist expansionism — the lesson of the past 1400 years, with a whole lot of cases in point.
    THAT is what is at stake, and will remain at stake for the foreseeable future.
    And BTW, Mumon et al, depite your pretence to the contrary, credibly within several years, maybe WELL within several years, Iraq would have plainly gone nuke, and the missiles to deliver at IRBM range were being developed.
    [And, once there is access to the key materials — and a UN seal on 500 tons of yellowcake counts for zip, on plain track record now — from the late 1960’s it was proved that a credible nuke design could be done in a few years by physics majors witrh access to open literature. SH had access to Khan’s SUCCESSFUL and advanced designs!]
    BOTH ME members fo the axis of evil were dangerous, and trhe remaining one is ever moreso.
    Okay
    $ 0.02
    GEM
    PS to B: Really now! I would point to the last post I did to show just how your responses in the last thread show the fallacy of the closed mind at work, as JH also pointed out but it is of course now closed off. No sense cross-threading either. And, in case you didn’t know, Newtonian dynamics is only a small part of the puzzle of explaining solar system origins, which is of course a tentative piece of reconstruction of the past. Operations science and origins science are VERY different.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    And BTW, Mumon et al, depite your pretence to the contrary, credibly within several years, maybe WELL within several years, Iraq would have plainly gone nuke, and the missiles to deliver at IRBM range were being developed.
    [And, once there is access to the key materials — and a UN seal on 500 tons of yellowcake counts for zip, on plain track record now — from the late 1960’s it was proved that a credible nuke design could be done in a few years by physics majors witrh access to open literature. SH had access to Khan’s SUCCESSFUL and advanced designs!]
    Gordon:
    A nuke design is trivial. Anybody with 6 credits of physics could design one.
    The trick is getting the uranium & enriching it. We won WWII because we succeeded at enriching enough uranium before Japan and Germany did.
    Which Saddam could not have done, and there was no evidence that he was.
    Even the Bush regime has dropped that pretense for invading Iraq.

  • Gary

    I think it is notable that none of the New Testament letters make any suggestion that Christians should try to be involved in the institutions of society.
    There are innumerable things not suggested in the New Testament. I think it is notable that you didn’t note that it doesn’t say that Christians should not be involved in the institutions of society.

  • Terry

    Mumon, your ability to speak on subjects about which you know nothing is amazing. Now it’s not just religion, but the state of nuclear weapons research by our enemies during WW2.
    The Germans gave up on the idea of a fission bomb shortly after Barbarossa. They needed weapons fast, and rightly saw that a fission bomb was not a project that would return quick results. They only made it to the point of making a rudimentary fission pile and that was at the war’s end. Japan had a rudimentary program that never made it past the small scale manufactur of UF6.
    Glad the folks at Kos think you’re a genius!

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Only when dar ul Islam is divided and relatively weak can the world avert Islamist expansionism — the lesson of the past 1400 years, with a whole lot of cases in point.
    What exactly is this supposed to mean? If we need to keep Islam divided then this administration has become a horrible failure. In the Muslim world Muslims can be counted on to kill each other and get themselves killed before they kill Westerners or even Israelies. Despite this inability to get along, though, they seem to have pretty much united around anti-Americanism…even in Iraq where Michael Moore’s apparently magical powers (according to Scott) have made Iraqis forget life under Saddam.
    So what are we supposed to do? Haphazzardly invade Islamic countries almost at random? Keep bluffing Iran and Syria that we ‘mean business’ when it is obvious we are bogged down in Iraq?
    1400 years ago Islam expanded dramatically for a very simple reason, it was the best civilization in the neighborhood. It had preserved learning, science, literature, art and more while Europe allowed itself to descend into the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire.
    Times have changed and today Islamic culture is not only weak but extremly weak. They cannot get their economies to work, even countries with oil wealth like Iran are pretty screwed up economically. They cannot organize their societies sensibly and as a result the only expansion they are doing is sending thousands of immigrants to Europe and America to make a living.
    The best response is to do what we do right. Keep our societies free and open. Do not try to go on a nation building spree accross the Arabian world. Institute sensible securities measures against the very, very few terrorist nutcases and make serious long run plans to find ways to replace oil as our fuel.
    PS to B: Really now! I would point to the last post I did to show just how your responses in the last thread show the fallacy of the closed mind at work, as JH also pointed out but it is of course now closed off.
    As much as I would like to continue on evolution Joe closed the thread up and I think it is best to try to stick to the topic on a thread. If Joe opens up another evolution thread then I’d be happy to go at it again but perhaps after a 4-part series and hundreds of commentary posts a breather is called for.

  • giggling

    “I have previously covered the topic, to a much wider audience than yours here [DailyKos].” -Mumon
    A much wider audience, eh? So you mean… ideologically? Interesting brag…

  • giggling

    “Your partisan nonsense aside, it is now objectively true that Republicans have compromised our security, made us less safe, and have committed and omitted acts that have directly led to the death of thousands of Americans.
    For once in your life, sir, take responsibility.
    The blood is on yours and all supporters of the Republicans.
    Have you no decency?” -Mumon
    1) This isn’t the DailyKos; you’re actually going to have to explain yourself to people who don’t automatically agree with you because you hate Bush.
    2) More to the point, I wonder if Democrats could do any better. Answer? (Remember, this isn’t the DailyKo’s…)

  • giggling

    “Notice, for example, how Joe completly overlooked the fact that Drum was quite clear why he was silent on Iran. Because he thought a military strike would be a diasterous policy and this administration couldn’t be trust to not do the stupid thing.” – Boonton
    So… uh. Why doesn’t Drum just say that and what the administration should do instead rather than saying nothing? That way, he might actually be of some use rather than letting his [legitimate/illegitimate] fears shut him up.

  • Chris Lutz

    GM:Only when dar ul Islam is divided and relatively weak can the world avert Islamist expansionism — the lesson of the past 1400 years, with a whole lot of cases in point.
    B:What exactly is this supposed to mean?…
    Gordon is simply making a historical observation. And I agree that the administration has done a poor job in understanding what we are dealing with. First it was the inane title of Global War on Terror which didn’t define the enemy. Next, it was the ignorant Democracy program which has just resulted in jihadist organizations coming to power.
    That being said, what do the Democrats offer? Cowering in the corner, blaming America and Israel for all of the ME’s woes, trying to understand root causes, jumping at every little demand. So, we have two parties that don’t want to face what the problem is. The result is one party swinging blindly and stupidly. The other party will do nothing but blame America, talk at the UN, and become a nice doormat for every complaint.
    Islam is the problem. It does not mesh with Western values. It places non-believers in a dhimmi status. It calls for subjugation, slaughter, or conversion of infidels.
    Boonton is partially correct in his anaylsis. However, we can’t remain a free and open society with large numbers of Muslims living among us. Look at Britain where 25% of Muslims said that the train bombings there were justified. That is a huge pool of people to shelter jihadists. We can either discriminate against Muslims to keep ourselves safe, suffer lessened liberties by assuming everyone is a threat, or reduce the number of Muslims to a insignificant number. Take your pick.

  • The Raven

    We can either discriminate against Muslims to keep ourselves safe, suffer lessened liberties by assuming everyone is a threat, or reduce the number of Muslims to a insignificant number. Take your pick.
    Ja wohl! Seig!
    Seig!
    Heil!
    Chris, there’s a group on the Net called Stormfront that would like to welcome you as a member. Head on over, ‘kay? Bitte.

  • http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver/christian Oliver

    Gary: There are innumerable things not suggested in the New Testament. I think it is notable that you didn’t note that it doesn’t say that Christians should not be involved in the institutions of society.
    I think triple negatives are rather confusing.
    There is not the slightest hint in the NT that believers will be involved in politics or government. Paul tries to convert Festus and Herod Agrippa, but he works on the same personal level as with anyone else. He does not seem to be interested in them as rulers but only as individuals.
    In addition, Jesus said to Pilate,

    My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I wouldn

  • Eric & Lisa

    Giggling,
    You ask some rather pointed questions and make some really good points.
    However, I must warn you. You’re wasting your time with Mumon. He doesn’t really care to engage you in civil conversation. The rest do, but Mumon is the exception. He really does believe that the DailyKosKidz are the mature, responsible, mainstream adults that he claims they are. Really. He believes it.
    You’ll figure that out soon enough.

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Joe:
    It’s really quite simple. If you want Iran to be handled the way the Bush 43 Administration handled Iraq, vote Republican. If you want Iran to be handled the way the Clinton Administration handled Iraq (or, for that matter, the way the Bush 41 administration handled it), vote Democrat.
    Put in those terms, I don’t see how the Republicans win. If Hussein’s huge stockpiles of WMDs are any indication (and now even Bush himself has admitted they didn’t exist), I’d say Clintonian containment was pretty damned effective.
    Meanwhile, Bush’s pet war hasn’t exactly brought stability to the region, and it’s not hard to argue that it’s precisely because of those actions that Ahmadinejad was able to come to power in Iran.
    So Joe-Carterland, where Iraq as new haven for al-Qaeda and quagmire of sectarian violence in a previously secular state, and Iran as emerging nuclear threat somehow both constitute evidence that we should continue down the current administration’s path, I guess in that Bizarro-world it’s not hard to see why you might fear what a Democrat might do.
    As an aside, if Iraq is what “success” looks like, I’d sure as hell hate to see what failure looks like. (Unless, of course, “failure” looks like Clinton’s second term, in which case I’ll take it…)

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Chris Lutz:
    Islam is the problem.
    Yes, as evidenced by such well-known Muslims as Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, Eric Rudolph, the American Coalition of Life Activists, the Basque Party, and the Irish Republican Army.
    It does not mesh with Western values.
    Hate to break it to you, but in many ways, neither does Christianity. Of the American “big three” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” only one of these can truly be said to be a Christian ethic.
    Truth to tell, the problem is not “Islam,” but religious fundamentalism of any kind. If you don’t think there are Christians here who would happily stone adulteresses if they could get away with it, you’ve got another think coming. But in the West, we’re fortunate in that things are pretty good, economically speaking, and this limits the influence of the fundies (in particular, the violent ones). But introduce a large class of people with nothing to lose and no hope, and religion — virtually any religion — can be abused as a call to violence. Now, just for extra seasoning, imagine that such despair is caused in large part by a foreign power’s insistence on propping up oppressive regimes in such places, and now you’ve got a powder keg.
    In short, you won’t see me defending Islam, but you won’t see me singling it out, either. Religious fanaticism of all kinds is bad, and it’s made worse when short-sighted foreign policy decisions create entire classes of disgruntled, downtrodden, and disenfranchised people with nothing at all to lose.

  • Chris Lutz

    The Raven:
    Chris, there’s a group on the Net called Stormfront that would like to welcome you as a member. Head on over, ‘kay? Bitte.
    Wow, that was an impressive rebuttal. I give up.
    tgirsch:
    Yes, as evidenced by such well-known Muslims as Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, Eric Rudolph, the American Coalition of Life Activists, the Basque Party, and the Irish Republican Army.
    What does Islam say? Moral equivalence arguments are worthless which is exactly what this is. Does it call for the submission of non-believers to Islam?
    Hate to break it to you, but in many ways, neither does Christianity. Of the American “big three” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” only one of these can truly be said to be a Christian ethic.
    I don’t know where you get that from, but I don’t feel like arguing over it. Christianity doesn’t say to only obey the government until you are strong enough to overthrow it and make it a Christian theocracy. You can believe that and I’ll just believe you’re wrong.
    Now, just for extra seasoning, imagine that such despair is caused in large part by a foreign power’s insistence on propping up oppressive regimes in such places, and now you’ve got a powder keg.
    So, you support Bush’s policy of democracy.
    In short, you won’t see me defending Islam, but you won’t see me singling it out, either. Religious fanaticism of all kinds is bad, and it’s made worse when short-sighted foreign policy decisions create entire classes of disgruntled, downtrodden, and disenfranchised people with nothing at all to lose.
    You’re blinded by your thinking that all religions are basically equivalent and all causes are economic.
    1. Is a person a religious extremist if they are following what the religion says? In other words, what if the “radicals” are the ones who are obeying what their religion says? Doesn’t that make the “moderates” actually the radicals?
    2. Considering a lot of the jihadists actually come from middle-class backgrounds, there seems to be more than economics involved.
    3. The non-religious have a serious blindspot to religion. They never seem to be unable to realize that religious people may choose actions based on non-material decisions. Your line of thinking displays that.
    4. As stated above, moral equivalence arguments don’t look at the problem. No one could sensibly argue that the governments of North Korea and are equivalent because they both have wrongly imprisoned people at times. Likewise, you can’t argue that religions are equivalent because they all have committed violence in their past. What does Islam actually say? You do realize that the Golden Rule doesn’t exist in Islam? It applies only to other believers.

  • ucfengr

    Yes, as evidenced by such well-known Muslims as Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, Eric Rudolph, the American Coalition of Life Activists, the Basque Party, and the Irish Republican Army.
    t, your comparison falls orders of magnitude short. None of these individuals or groups have come any where close (with the possible exception of the IRA) to implementing their desires on any type of national basis, militant Islam has (see Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, or Sudan), none of them have the vast resources of the Islamic forces, and, finally, none of them (IRA included) have anything like popular support in their home countries, can the same be said for Al Queda, et. al.
    Truth to tell, the problem is not “Islam,” but religious fundamentalism of any kind. If you don’t think there are Christians here who would happily stone adulteresses if they could get away with it, you’ve got another think coming.
    If this is true, Christians keep it pretty well hidden, unlike Muslims who are quite open about stoning, beheading, burning, etc. of adultresses, etc. I have been a member of several “doctrinally conservative” churches and the worst anybody wanted to do to adulterers was keep them out of leadership posts, and sometimes even that was a struggle.
    In short, you won’t see me defending Islam, but you won’t see me singling it out, either. Religious fanaticism of all kinds is bad,
    Reading your post, it seems to me that your problem is that you want to imply moral equivalence between religious folks who strap bombs to their kids and blow up Jewish day schools and other religious folks who object to sexually explicit song lyrics or 13 year olds getting abortions without parental permission. Most sane people don’t do that, and I must admit your posts are ususally sane (usually wrong;), but sane), so I have to wonder, WTF is your problem with evangelicals, did one put a fence to close to your property line or something?

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    I see a few notes are in order:
    1] M: A nuke design is trivial. Anybody with 6 credits of physics could design one. The trick is getting the uranium & enriching it.
    –> First, as an engineer, you know that a system sketch diagram [within reach of anyone with 6 HS Physics Credits] is FAR from a DESIGN, proper. All that stuff about specifications and precision structures etc.
    –> next, the core point was that SH had the ton-lots of yellowcake, i.e. Uranium oxide [and was negotiating for more on the black market, pace Joe Wilson and co], had the designs of Khan in hand, not to mention whatever had been brewed up internally, had the people, money and infrastructure to run the whole chain, complete with ballistic missiles.
    2] Raven: You know full well as does anyone else that Iran is at least 5 years from a viable device, and that’s assuming their centrifuge program continues and is successful at every stage.
    –> This is called, properly, the fallacy of confident manner, folks. Typical, but sad.
    –> First, Iran strictly does not need to produce HEU, so long as No Ko is there willing to sell to all comers and has the submarines to transfer it, and/or as long as a hungry ex-Sov Colonel has a network that reached into one of the former USSR’s ill-guarded tac nuke depots. That is, they possibly/probably have a bomb or two or five or six already — why the diplomatic dance is so delicate, probably. [Years ago, I recall serious questions on whether they were trying to crack the codes on black market ex-Sov tac nukes. BTW, that could well include Spetznaz pre-positioned devices in the US; the Belgians testified to the US congress, to my recall, to finding three 60’s- era thermonuke devices on their soil recently. Belgium of course was/is NATO’s HQ.]
    –> Second, Iran is known to have a lot of stuff hidden away from IAEA’s prying eyes, so the estimates you rely on for comfort are worthless. They are publicly known to have passed the stage of enriching U235, and so are well on the way to owning the manufacturing chain, i.e. to being a full nuke power in their own right, like Pakistan just next door. [Don’t forget that in Khan’s eyes, his work was for all the Muslim states. BTW he seems to be coming down with the bomb-makers complaint

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    In light of further rage-driven nonsense above, I hereby challlenge the “[im]moral equivalency of religions” folks to come up with the way in which the following two Great Commissions” are materially equivalent:
    1] AD 30, Jesus of Nazareth:

    18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    2] AD 632, Mohammed:

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So… uh. Why doesn’t Drum just say that and what the administration should do instead rather than saying nothing? That way, he might actually be of some use rather than letting his [legitimate/illegitimate] fears shut him up.
    That’s a valid point. Drum, ironically, is giving the administration too much credit. He sees a shifty master of public manipulation trying to trick us into a war with Iran when the reality is more like an administration that doesn’t know what to do and is floundering badly…very badly. At the moment we have neither the stomach or materials to launch a war with Iran.
    I’m curious, during the Clinton administration how easy was it to find a Republican foreign policy? I recall no clear unified message. There were individuals advocating their own ideas (McCain, I recall, was pressing for a war on North Korea) and there was sniping at Clinton’s policies such as Bosnia but I don’t recall anything near a unified policy articulated by the right as a whole.
    Chris:
    Boonton is partially correct in his anaylsis. However, we can’t remain a free and open society with large numbers of Muslims living among us. Look at Britain where 25% of Muslims said that the train bombings there were justified. That is a huge pool of people to shelter jihadists. We can either discriminate against Muslims to keep ourselves safe, suffer lessened liberties by assuming everyone is a threat, or reduce the number of Muslims to a insignificant number. Take your pick.
    The fact is if large Muslim populations created terrorism we’d have a lot more of it. The UK, for example, has about 1.8 million Muslims and, what, 20 have actually done a terrorist attack or planned one? The US probably has about 1.7 million Muslims and the number who actually had any connection to terrorism are about the same.
    This means, believe it or not, that Islam as a religion in the US and UK is actually pretty close to Six Sigma standards (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_sigma 3.2 defects per million units)!
    tgirish
    It’s really quite simple. If you want Iran to be handled the way the Bush 43 Administration handled Iraq, vote Republican. If you want Iran to be handled the way the Clinton Administration handled Iraq (or, for that matter, the way the Bush 41 administration handled it), vote Democrat.
    I’d personally be shocked if Bush tries to handle Iran like he did Iraq. Nothing seems to indicate that’s going to happen, just as nothing like that seems to be in store for N. Korea. The lesson Bush taught these countries is that you’re not going to be invaded if you really have WMD so don’t bluff like Saddam did…really have the goods! True to form the administration is now dithering over the wording of UN resolutions and trying to convince Russia and other countries to give up lucrative trade deals in order to impose sanctions.

  • jd

    Giggling:
    Your patience is amazing. You are doing one of those jobs that most Americans won’t do: plowing furrows through the manure field that is the mind of Mumon. Thank you so much for doing very distasteful work. My preferred method is to ignore him and hope that he goes away. Obviously, that hasn’t worked. He is dishonest and so full of himself that he actually thinks people take him seriously. Oh, wait. I forgot about all those mainstream types (the “wider audience” LOL) over at Daily Kos who DO take him seriously. They need to take some of the blame for his delusions of brilliance. The mind of Mumon, what a terrible thing…

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    giggling:
    Oddly enough, Israel ~= Jews. Didya know that? Moreover, your quote is in dispute, and is taken from a speech by an earlier leader of Iran who, during is life, saw to it that Iran was …wait for it…collaborating with Israel….(Iran had a nasty war with Iraq in the 80s, in which the US cozied up to both sides at various times).
    Laugh all you want at Kos. We thought the repugnant attacks on Markos were kind of funny actually. Especially the hyperlinks to the site.
    You know something? Unlike RedState, or Free Republic, anybody can post there as long as they make a cogent argument, and have the evidence to back up their case.
    Keep looking for those diaries on Iran. I found no less than 5 of them dealing with policy options when I did the thing…
    (Hint: if you get one, click on the tag).

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Eric & Lisa:
    The average Kossack is actually about the same age as I am. And I’m hardly a spring chicken…

  • The Raven

    For instance, no responsible Evangelical approved of or approves of abuse of prisoners, nor has the hierarchy of the US Armed forces in question.
    I’m not going to Fisk the rest of your fascinating “rebuttal,” Gordon, because you’re long on conjecture and short on data. You claim that Saddam actually had WMD but secretly had it squirreled away to Syria, etc. I’m sorry, but that’s what is known as a “guess.” Since we have not found those items, but we have found the decayed remnants of those weapons he did have prior to our containment of his regime, your speculation here is roughly equivalent to a Bill O’Reilly talking point.
    Iran remains a murky picture, but the best analysis I’ve heard from our own intelligence experts estimates the number of centrifuges in operation, the rate at which new ones can be brought online, and the most ambitious scenario has them succeed in about 5 years. Why, then, the administration appears to be ramping up for war with Iran in a process eerily similar to the Iraq disaster is an open question.
    Hence: the neocons prefer war, and actively sabotage negotiation, weapons inspections, etc. We’ve seen this before, and we’re seeing it again.
    But that quote of yours at the top is the key point here. Gordon, I maintain that if you approve of the Bush White House and the GOP, then you endorse their program, which is torture, illegal detainment, permanent imprisonment without charge, foreign rendition for torture, and all the other stuff like environmental mismanagement and whatnot. And you’re just plain wrong: The Bush signing statement on the McCain torture amendment puts paid to any argument that this is not a torturing regime. The Yoo memo, the Gonzales memo, Rumsfeld’s now-infamous “Interrogation Matrix,” and Miller’s record in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib are all public record.
    To deny that is to be obtuse and willfully ignorant on a par with the German villagers who brush the ashes of incinerated Jews from the their clothing. “But we had no idea!” And nobody believed them. It’s wrong, and pretending it’s not happening is almost worse.

  • giggling

    “We can either discriminate against Muslims to keep ourselves safe, suffer lessened liberties by assuming everyone is a threat, or reduce the number of Muslims to a insignificant number.” -Chris Lutz
    Uhm, please don’t lump all Muslims together into one group like that. You remind me of The Raven.
    “It’s really quite simple. If you want Iran to be handled the way the Bush 43 Administration handled Iraq, vote Republican. If you want Iran to be handled the way the Clinton Administration handled Iraq (or, for that matter, the way the Bush 41 administration handled it), vote Democrat.” -tgirsch
    Does not compute! Does not compute! Unless, of course, the Constitution is changed and Clinton can run for a third term. Or unless you think all democrats are exactly the same. Clinton = Kerry? Please.
    “Hate to break it to you, but in many ways, neither does Christianity. Of the American “big three” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” only one of these can truly be said to be a Christian ethic.” -tgirsch
    Hmm. You and The Raven have the strangest ideas of Christianity. And by strange I mean uncharitable and wrong.
    “‘In short, you won’t see me defending Islam, but you won’t see me singling it out, either. Religious fanaticism of all kinds is bad, and it’s made worse when short-sighted foreign policy decisions create entire classes of disgruntled, downtrodden, and disenfranchised people with nothing at all to lose.’ [-tgirsch]
    You’re blinded by your thinking that all religions are basically equivalent and all causes are economic.” -Chris Lutz
    Yes, Chris is correct about tgirsch. ucfengr has noticed the same things as well.
    Gordon Mullings, I have only one question for you. How many words per minute do you type? =) Dang, I’d like to see the responses to your comment. I’ll be watching especially for responses to the Muslim Brotherhood 1982 world plan, which I didn’t know about.
    Mumon:
    “Oddly enough, Israel ~= Jews. Didya know that?” -Mumon
    Uhm, first, did you mean != when you wrote ~=? Because, if I remember correctly, I think ~= means “congruence” in which case I would agree with you.
    “Moreover, your quote is in dispute, and is taken from a speech by an earlier leader of Iran who, during is life, saw to it that Iran was …wait for it…collaborating with Israel….(Iran had a nasty war with Iraq in the 80s, in which the US cozied up to both sides at various times).”
    Secondly, you should read links you cite better. The link you provided simply says that Ahmadinejad paraphrased a quote from Khomeini:
    “The phrase he then used as I read it is ‘The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] from the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).'”
    So for you, Mumon, “the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” doesn’t mean “Israel must be wiped off the map.” Even though Israel is the regime “occupying” Jerusalem. And I guess “wiped off the map” no longer indicates threat since it’s now just wiped off the page of time. Or must vanish, excuse me. Must vanish obviously means peaceful change in this context.
    The author’s argument then collapses totally. He argues that Ahmadinejad’s words must not have been a violent threat because Khomeini didn’t mean it as a violent threat. But there is no reason to assume that Ahmadinejad’s implications in THIS situation are congruous to Khomeini’s speech to Iranian protestors. After all, Khomeini was speaking to Iranian protestors who desired to overthrow an Iranian government, not an alien government who is “occupying” their Holy Land…
    The author of the link you cite then says: “…needless to say I condemn the sort of terror attacks against innocent civilians (including Arab Israelis) that we saw last week. I have not seen any credible evidence, however, that such attacks are the doing of Ahmadinejad.”
    Well, if by “doing of Ahmadinejad” he means that Ahmad physically shot rockets into Israel himself, maybe not. But otherwise, I hope Iran’s recent support of Hezbollah has changed his mind.
    Nice try, though, Mumon. And don’t forget to explain to me how in this context Israel != Jews. Surely you don’t believe that Ahmadinejad wants the Muslims in Israel to vanish from the page of time? Pay attention to the context of what people are writing and maybe your arguments will start making more sense.
    “Keep looking for those diaries on Iran. I found no less than 5 of them dealing with policy options when I did the thing…” -Mumon
    I’ll take that blatant refusal to post links as evidence that what you say exists does not. I don’t have time to look for and post evidence to support YOUR arguments. That’s your job.
    “I’m not going to Fisk the rest of your fascinating ‘rebuttal,’ Gordon, because you’re long on conjecture and short on data.” -The Raven
    The reason your responses to Gordon are so inadequate (in that you don’t even acknowledge much less engage the evidence he presents) is perhaps because you don’t read his responses thoroughly. If you don’t have time, just say so. That’s fine, and everyone would definitely understand that because Gordon writes a lot.
    But don’t accuse him of being “short on data” if you don’t even read the entirety of his rebuttal. Because if you haven’t, as you admit, how can you possibly know whether he IS short on data? Maybe it’s all in the section YOU HAVEN’T READ. It’s not even like he’s just copying and pasting all of his stuff verbatim from other places, he’s actually typing it all out. That deserves some real attention, not just simply reading “that quote of yours at the top” and basing your “rebuttal” on that…
    Perhaps that’s how you got your inadequate ideas about Christianity.
    I’ve also noticed, The Raven, that you haven’t told us of any of the “clear alternatives to ‘stay the course'” that you claim the Democratic Party is offering. Perhaps you’ll have more luck at the DailyKo’s site finding it than I did? After all, Mumon claims they’re there. Maybe you can find them for us?
    You also neglected to mention the formerly Shariah nations that have been changed as a result of our cultural influence. Remember this big claim? “Our music, movies, celebrities, and the example we set with our culture of abundance, the Internet, our image of a free society – all these things wage direct war on Shariah. And they work.” -The Raven
    Don’t get me wrong. That is essentially Boonton’s perscription, and I think there is a lot of merit to it, as I’ve said. BUT, the religious factor in Islamic culture makes Islamic society Different from say, Communist Soviet society, where they did claim to compete materially with capitalism. And failed. Islamic society may not care as well who produces more and better cars or movies, and this might decisively ruin Boonton’s claim of the allure of materialistic success.
    That’s why I’m surprised to see such a big claim as “And it WORKS.” Back it up, if you can.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Don’t get me wrong. That is essentially Boonton’s perscription, and I think there is a lot of merit to it, as I’ve said. BUT, the religious factor in Islamic culture makes Islamic society Different from say, Communist Soviet society, where they did claim to compete materially with capitalism. And failed. Islamic society may not care as well who produces more and better cars or movies, and this might decisively ruin Boonton’s claim of the allure of materialistic success.
    Interesting because many on the right argued that communism was a religion and looking back on it they had a good point. But religion or not it’s a stretch to pretend that Muslims have achieved some type of Buddha-like detachment from the material world and only care about religious ideals.
    A while ago the WSJ had a very good story on the economic poicy of Iran’s current President. Briefly his economic policy can be summed up as feel good populist measures designed to keep himself popular with lower middle class voters. Things like price controls on pasteries, subsidies for ‘essential’ foodstuffs and so on. In other words, he is buying his popularity not with promises of war on the Western world but cheap cookies for whatever the Iranian equilivant of soccar moms is.
    How is he paying for this? Like Bush he’s tapping what should be societies long term investments. He’s tapping the fund that the Iranian gov’t set up to store oil profits for long term economic development to basically subsidize consumption today. The run up in oil prices has made this easier for him to do (just like oil dollars has made it easier for Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez).
    Unfortunately I don’t have any reference for that article (and you almost certainly would need a WSJ but for a similiar take (less business focused though) see Maziar Bahari’s inside Iran op-ed “Seating out the truth in Iran” http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/24/opinion/24bahari.html?n=Top%2fOpinion%2fEditorials%20and%20Op%2dEd%2fOp%2dEd%2fContributors&_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all)

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Another thing, and this applies much more to Chris than giggles but you have to be very careful when making statements like this:
    1. Is a person a religious extremist if they are following what the religion says? In other words, what if the “radicals” are the ones who are obeying what their religion says? Doesn’t that make the “moderates” actually the radicals?
    I’m not sure how to express the idea I’m about to articulate so maybe some others here can jump in and help me with the wording if they think they get what I’m talking about.
    You can’t really understand a foreign religion or philosophy by casually reading its foundational texts. Like it or not a text has inherent ambiguity in it to begin with so simply trying to read it detached from those who believe it and have lived it is like trying to learn a foreign language with just a dictionary. Technically everything might be in the dictionary but you need a bit more to be fluent.
    To understand from a sociological perspective you have to look at both what the texts say and what those who follow them do and have done. The fact is Muslims both in Western countries and even in Muslim countries do not follow the model that people like Chris put up. Yes you can find ancedotes galore of suicide bombers, primitives stoning women for ‘honor offenses’, feiry speeches calling for death to the infidels and so on. Yet the fact remains if even 10% of the million plus Muslims in the US or UK were jihadists we’d have a 9/11 every other week.
    No matter what a text says any religion that serves more than a microscopic cult of people must and will accomodate human needs and for the everyday human that means going about one’s material business. Feeding your family, getting to work, living in peace and so on. Yes there are many examples in the major religions of people who behaved in a manner very inconsistent with human nature. Suicide bombers, martyers who embraced death, ascetics who spent 40 years eating insects and preying in the desert and so on. These, though, are the exceptions. The typical person will not and cannot live like that no matter what their foundational text says so the text will be read in a way that does not require it. Perhaps it may hold some who do those things up as heros, saints, martyers etc. but in the end it will not be required of the rank and file.
    So no the ‘war on terror’ does not require us to launch a crusade to convert Islamic countries to some other religion. It does not even require us to spark a ‘reformation’ in Islam. Such sentiments, though, demonstrate the extreme hubris that right has adopted and has demonstrated all too well how prideful and arrogant it has become since taking political power in the US.
    It is ironic because intellectually the right got its start by being skeptical of the enlightenment idea that society could be controlled and managed by ‘scientific thinking’ the way an engineer may control a building’s heating/cooling system. We quite frankly do not have the knowlede and skills to perform nation building on anything like this scale. The obvious backup plan is mass slaughter (bomb them back to the stone age! Ignoring the awkward fact that they are already pretty damm close to it!) but fortunately I think barroom rhetoric aside, we do not have the stomach for such a thing.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    Passed by, I see a few observations are in order.
    But first, I see no takers on the challenge to identify how the Christian and Muslim Great Commissions are supposedly of the same ilk, never mind the ferocious, hateful accusations above. But, a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still . . .
    On points:
    1] Raven: Iran remains a murky picture
    –> That is decisive, given that we do know that there is a nuclear materials black market.
    –> What is under development is not raw capacity to have a nuke, but capacity to make one from scratch.
    –> If my old prof were so minded, he could easily have made nukes back in the 70’s when he ran the reactor at one of their universities.
    –> So the material issue is the attitude and intent of Mr A-bomb, and that is patently obvious.
    2] I maintain that if you approve of the Bush White House and the GOP, then you endorse their program, which is torture, illegal detainment, permanent imprisonment without charge, foreign rendition for torture, and all the other stuff like environmental mismanagement and whatnot.
    –> You here, sadly, show yourself to be a hate-filled, slanderous accuser, not a rational person amenable to evidence and respectful of either the truth or the rights of others to be treated with civilty and respect. No dialogue is possible with such, but onlookers will see that there is a pattern of anger and hate and who it is coming from. Sad. But consider yourself

  • The Raven

    giggling – I read Gordon’s post, but as I said, it was long on conjecture, short on fact. However, my style is not to Fisk my interlocutors, unless an extremely egregious point requires further clarification.
    Fisking, as you may know since you do it yourself, is the process of cutting out bits of someone’s entry and then replying to it, point by point. In the case you reference, this was unnecessary.
    Regarding Western influence and larger battle for ideas, there really is no other way for our society to eclipse and absorb Islam. As we see in Afghanistan and Iraq, democracy doesn’t flourish well at gunpoint. Resentments and grievances, however, thrive. That doesn’t mean that force is to be avoided at all costs – some are clearly too high. But when we can persuade, our outlook improves.
    Viz Iran in particular, you can read about the sort of thing I’m talking about here:
    http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/06/16/buying_democracy_in_iran.php
    Lionel Beehner, a writer for the Council on Foreign Relations, is also skeptical.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> But, with Islam, we are dealing with a 14 century track record, B. One now compounded by an apocalyptic fever and a sense that the strong horse is the one they are riding. That is an explosive mix, especially when the eschatology in question is that of global conquest — see the linked map above: Now — Atlantic to China, nigeria to the heart of Russia. 100 yrs time: the world map is Islamic green.
    And I guess we’d have to today color Iraq as an Islamic green country. Yet as solid as the map looks the situation on the ground looks anything but and the people who are getting killed are not, for the most part American troops & Western journalists, aid workers etc. but Muslims getting killed by other Muslims.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The Iranian student riots in the late ’90s were crushed rather brutally, but if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that there is a broad undercurrent in Iranian society that does not want harsh theocratic rule. This is the element we should be targeting, supporting, and strengthening. We win hearts and minds when we provide Tsunami relief in East Asia, where anti-American Islam was gaining a foothold. Notice how that problem has been largely surpressed. We did ourselves a great turn in Pakistan when we lent aid after the earthquake disaster.
    Indeed which ties into my posts regarding economics. So when Gordon writes:
    –> Mussolini also made the trains run on time, and Hitler solved the depression by re-arming. Such are immaterial to the very real force provided by a religiously motivated, world-conquest ideology.
    –> A is not popular, save, where it counts: with the Mullahs.
    The Mullahs and A are much more Mussolini and a lot less Hitler. The ‘religious zeal’ of their people are a lot less than the show rallies would lead you to believe and while A, of course, wants the Mullahs to like him the Mullahs themselves know there’s a limit to what they can demand of their society.
    My opinion, Iran would be very sensitive to economic pressure. Much more than they let on. I would consider a ‘reverse embargo’. Block their ports, refuse to let them sell their oil (since, of course, sanctions will not work). The price of oil would skyrocket but they wouldn’t be able to reap any of the rewards of it. Instead they would sit back and watch their rivals in Saudi Arabia banking it. (SA might just max out production to even compensate for the price increase…SA’s long term interests are for price stability in oil since super high prices lead to increased supply/conservation which hurts their market share).
    Another option would be to literally do nothing. Yes push for UN condemnations and sanctions but accept the fact that Iran, like Pakistan, India and N. Korea will end up making a nuke. That BTW, is probably a more accurate description of the Bush administration’s policy.

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: BTW, onlookers, I know Raven has shown himself irrational, but I note for our benefit, on further thought.
    Namely, when the former No 2 man in the Iraqi Air Force, Gen George Sada, publicly testifies and publishes with circumstantial details that on the excuse of providing disaster relief, WMDs were flown over the border, that is not a “guess.” Nor is it a “guess” that the world’s major intel services concurred with the general US estimate that he had them.
    Finally, if you are tracking Powerline, you will see periodic posts of translations from the trove of public domain captured documents. These plainly cumulatively – and the P-line boys are cautious in their evaluations of the import of the translations — point to a WMD programme in existence as late as the immediate run up to the war.
    Those trnaslations don’t add up to “guesses” either, in my books.
    But then, a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
    GEM

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Powerline? Geez, can you get any more astroturf than that?

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Ah, I found it. The bestest, most insightful, deep, profound paragraph ever written at Powerline, thank Google!

    It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.

    Ah, Ehrenburg would approve…

  • Gordon Mullings

    PPS: Have a read here and think on this report.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Would you like a Chalabi or a Curveball with that propagandist who had absolutely zippo knowledge of Iraq’s WMDs.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Mumon: breaking news — Poweline is one of the leading of all blogs, and for very good reason made Cover Story on Newsmagazines.
    But then, onlookers, part of that story is that the three A-1 Lawyers involved materially helped expose the TANG fake memos, back to 2004.
    On matters of credibility, fair-mindedness, analysis and accuracy, M does not even begin to come near the distant shadows cast by P-line.
    but then, that should be obvious, except maybe to M and co . . .
    GEM

  • The Raven

    Gordon:
    Let me ask you a very simple question. Seeing as the discovery of actual WMD in Iraq – or in the process of being transferred out of Iraq – would be a news coup that overturns not only the coventional wisdom of the past 3 years, but also a direct contradiction to Bush and Condi’s own claim that “we were mistaken,” it is reasonable to assume that we would have heard about it.
    Remember when Rick Santorum held his “stop the presses!” emergency briefing when we found the archaic stuff? Trust me, actual evidence that Saddam had something recent would be a White House public relations victory and you wouldn’t be able to turn on the TV for a minute without hearing about it. The only “smuggled to Syria” suggestions I’ve heard are from Fox News people, who would desperately wish that were true. Sada is simply not credible.
    John Hindracker (he’s known as “Assrocket” at DKos and Eschaton) is a partisan hack on the order of a Hugh Hewitt. He’s beyond biased, he literally worships the ground George Bush walks on and thinks that the man is a modern-day genius. Nobody with pretensions of staying informed pays any attention to Hindracker, David Horowitz, the knuckle dragging mouthbreathers at Redstate, or any of the other wingnut chickenhawk cheerleading factories. Simply not credible.
    Oh, about those “documents.” Now let me get this straight: Government releases a “treasure trove” of classified material for public consumption. Government says, “Hey, America! There might be some important intelligence information in these documents. Let’s have a contest and if anybody can find something juicy in them, why, drop us a line and let us know!”
    Gordon, does our administration work that way? They’ve been going crazy lately at the national archives classifying everything in sight, to include common documents from WWII and the cold war. They’re locking everything down. And here, suddenly, they just dump a ton of papers out and ask for the public’s “help” in looking through them. I don’t know of a single individual, except maybe Hugh Hewitt, who even pretended that this was anything other than a psy-ops propaganda campaign, in which planted needles of disinformation filled that haystack of classified goodness.
    I’m not even going to bother pulling cites, because nobody took it seriously to begin with. C’mon, Gordon, now it’s time for you to accuse me of “selective hyperskepticism,” tell me the story of how the rock got rolled away, toss three quotes from Romans into the mix, and then stroll off in a harumph.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumonno.blogspot.com

    Leading what? The TANG memos were never actually shown to be fake.
    Strike 1 Against Gordon.
    The “3 A-1 Lawers”are mere propagandists, as the gushing I’ve quoted verbatim from their site makes plain as day.
    Strike 2 against Gordon.
    Finally, “Powerline” is in the noise compared to the likes of KoS. It’s pure astroturf, just like RedState.
    And nobody goes to those places anymore, apparently, judging the input and number of comments, posts, and timely data.
    Gordon, in the US, Powerline’s simply irrelevant.
    Just like Wingnut Daily.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    The Raven:
    No this is where Gordon jumps in with verbal diarhoea, not responding to any points made, or simply quoting his angelfire webpage, or putting in more crackpot links.
    It’s also the stage where I disengage, because the man simply is constitutionally incapable of figuring out that he’s worshiping false idols.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Follow-up:
    Oh yes, the Wiki article — ! — M linked is in fact perfectly consistent with the substance I just linked. [In particular, if you think a former air force general and member of the current Govt in Iraq is unlikely to know about what’s up on major issues like WMDs, you are not in the same universe I am in.]
    But all of this is on relative trivia. The real stuff is WW 4, and how to manage it.
    M, if you are serious, why not respond point by point to the main points I have made above, including in response to your claims?
    Try, as a start, my challenge from yesterday:

    . . . kindly explain the credible geopolitical consequences of the implicit {Democratic party] alternative policies in question, with reference to the history of the 620s and 630s to 730s:
    a] Talking the situation to death until SH announced that he had both the nukes and the means to deliver them at long range a la senior member of the Axis f Evil, No Ko currently.
    b] Or, abandoning the fledgling Iraqi democratic state to the tender mercies of Iran and Al Qaeda.
    c] Or, failing to confront Iran seriously before it is in a position to make the same announcement, given especially its announced policy wish: a world without Israel, the US and other major Western powers. [I.e. cf Q 9:29 – 31 above]
    d] Mr Bush et al, under pressure are already evidently beginning to abandon Israel, so that is not an “alternative” issue. That is called strategic withdrawal in the face of a rising threat.

    Onlookers, let’s see if we get a god nibble o that bait.
    GEM

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So why, when faced with an invasion, would a countries military transfer its most powerful weapons out and give them to another nation who probably won’t give them back? If Saddam was ever going to use WMD wouldn’t the time had been when US troops were racing to Baghdad intent to capture or kill him?

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    Re M: The TANG memos were never actually shown to be fake.
    –> I guess coming out point-for-point matching to then current Mac Word at default settings [cf Chas Johnson (last of fauxtographygate) on that — he probbaly still has the GIF animation somewhere], plus not fitting in with the format etc, etc don’t count, for the deluded.
    –> I guess tracking them down to a questionable source with no further chain of custody to a credible source doen’t count either, if you are sufficiently angry that any accusation will do against Bush et al.
    –> I guess exposing the fact that the CBS’ own cited/alluded to experts did not in fact authenticate the text of the memos and rather questioned the memos, at critical points, doesn’t count if your agenda counts for more than a fair-minded assessment of the credible truth.
    –> The Powerline trio can defend themselves more than well enough so I will let M’s attempt to dismiss stand as what it is: a further exposure of his lack of contact with credible reality. Have a look around the blog and see if M’s utterly out of context excerpt is a true or fair picture of what these men represent.
    +++++++++
    M, if you are serious, take up serious points as I have already invited.
    GEM

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    And Powerline is still shrill, fact-free propaganda.

  • Gordon Mullings

    B:
    why, when faced with an invasion, would a countries military transfer its most powerful weapons out and give them to another nation who probably won’t give them back?
    –> There were exactly two Baathist — i.e Arab National Socialist — regimes in the world. One was in Iraq; guess where the other was? [No prizes for guessing Syria.]
    –> More to the point, WMDs, in a context where at length France offered to join the attack if they were used, would have been a GUILTY-AS-CHARGED plea [adn with implications for Russia too, probable supplier of a lot of the critcal technology].
    –> In light of a strategy that set out to wear down the US in particular though a guerilla campaign plus the sort of media blitz we are seeing, thus reclaiming power, were a liability. BTW, on this,thei is the first major war reporting I see where we don’t get serious discussions of strategy, just so any dead today, day by day. Guess why? [What backfired was that SH got caught in a spiderhole, and a cousin or the like turned in his sons for was it US$ 25 Mn, adn they gotr blown away, similar to Al Z more recently? I wonder who got how much for SH himself?]
    –> Further, the ultimate target of the weapons, surpeise, surprise always has been: Israel, and Syria is the best place to have such weapons, long-term. [Egypt and Jordan are officially at peace with Israel, and are far friendlier to the US. Lebanon at the time was little more than a Syrian Colony.]
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    I think a live back-forth is great for exposing the flaws in the position M is taking.
    Let’s see his citing himself is it for: There is no “fledgling democratic state” in Iraq. i guess the elections,the Constitution, the coalition Govt and the lead role taken by Iraquis in much of Iraq in the fighting don’t count in M’s world.
    Similarly, anyone who looks over P-line and can call a site that hosts not only well-sourced articles on a lot of things as one of the really early blogs on the net, and now has its own news sub-site “fact free” — an absolute claim BTW M — either does not understand language, or more likely does not care about the truth or fairness.
    As to Bush’s claimed AWOL state, let’s see during the wind down of a war, with a pilot who flew one of the older fighters and made more than the flying hours required for his hitch, and early release was at that time routine and that was in the record long since. To my knwledge there is no credible document anywhere that Mr Bush was absent without leave when he was required to be in active service. {I regard this as dso trivial that I will nt at this time go back to my vauls to pull the files on this; take the above as a best of recollection summary of those files, which can be checked by those interested int he truth.]
    besides, EVEN IF MR BUSH WAS AT THE TIME AN IRRESPONSIBLE CUT-UP, THAT S NOT THE BASIS ON WHICH HE RAN FOR ELECTION. HE ACKNOWLEDGES A MISS-SPENT YOURH — BTW ONE IN WHICH HE MANAGED TO GET A HARVARD MBA, AND THEN HAD A REDEMPTIVE TURNAROUND IN MID-LIFE. Mark Steyn aptly said as much, far more eloquently.(For the memory challenged: It is the Grad school(s) dropout who was laying much emphasis on his superior intellectual performance, and it is the evident traitor — aid and comfort to the enemy — on leash to Mrs Binh and co, and public slanderer of his fellow servicemen [recall: Genghis [sp?] Khan . .] who was relying on his military record.)
    M, why are you embarrassing yourself with foolish claims about trivial matters when there is a major matter on the table?
    GEM

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    i guess the elections,the Constitution, the coalition Govt and the lead role taken by Iraquis in much of Iraq in the fighting don’t count in M’s world.
    Nope. There’s no ability of the central government to maintain order. Kinda a prerequisite for a state in the first place. Which is the ultimate reducto ad absurdum of conservatism anyway.
    I couldn’t parse the rest of what Gordon said, but if he’s saying Bush has been hurting America, I can’t but agree.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    Still waiting for a substantive response.
    On the side issue of Iraq, there is plainly a FLEDGLING democracy there. [Compare: During the US Civil war, what was the American Govt, or during the American Revolution,under the DOI and Articles of Confederation?]
    GEM

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Chris Lutz:
    Moral equivalence arguments are worthless which is exactly what this is.
    Uh, no, it’s not. It was a list of counterexamples to your assertion that Islam (and Islam alone, it would seem) is “the problem.” All of these parties and groups have carried out much the same kind of action (often in the name of their religion) as Muslim extremists have in the name of theirs, without the “benefit” of the Qur’an telling them they were required to.
    Does it call for the submission of non-believers to Islam?
    No, just for the non-believers to be cast into a pit of eternal torment. And of course, entire races of non-believers were genocided, at God’s explicit instruction, but that’s soooo Old Testament (which any good Christian can tell you is only to be consulted when we’re looking to condemn gays…).
    I don’t know where you get that from, but I don’t feel like arguing over it.
    You could start by telling me where liberty and happiness are ever extolled in scripture as Christian virtues. And I’m not talking about the dashing-the-little-ones-against-the-rocks sort of happiness, either. We are told to make ourselves slaves to Christ — becoming a slave and liberty are, in my estimation, mutually exclusive.
    So, you support Bush’s policy of democracy.
    No, I support a policy of encouraging the enfranchisement of populations through some sort of representative government, but that’s a far cry from supporting Bush’s policy of trying to impose democracy by force.
    Frankly, both parties leave a great deal to be desired WRT middle-east policy, but as of late, the GOP has been far worse.
    You’re blinded by your thinking that all religions are basically equivalent and all causes are economic.
    I don’t believe either thing. But it’s funny that you should accuse me of taking an oversimplified view, after you matter-of-factly stated that “Islam is the problem.” The dynamics are a hell of a lot more complicated than that, which was all I was trying to point out.
    Given a choice between living in a Christian nation and living and an Islamic nation, my first choice would be “neither.” But forced to choose one of the two, I’d have to say that Islam would be worse. This is in part because there is somewhat more justification for violence in the Qur’an than in the Bible (well, the New Testament, anyway), and in part because believers in Islam seem more likely to be fundamentalists than their Christian counterparts.
    Of course, compare modern militant Islam to, say, Spain in the 1500’s, and the only major difference is that modern technology allows the former to do more damage than the latter.
    As to the economics, no, they’re not the only cause, but they’re a damned important one. In fact, I’d say that economic and political disenfranchisement are a far more important deciding factor than religion.
    Otherwise, your four point rant doesn’t wash with me, in large part because it so cleanly misses the point. For starters, just because I’m nonreligious now doesn’t mean I was always this way, or that I’m totally ignorant of what it means to let spiritual matters guide you. What your line of reasoning seems to miss is that there are those who will intentionally exploit those irrational beliefs for their own gain — hence why you see people like bin Laden and Haniya sending other people out to blow themselves up and never doing so themselves. Political and economic disenfranchisement just makes it easier for them to find recruits.
    If you think that such exploitation of the deeply religious is unique to Islam, or unheard of in Christianity, there’s no other word I can think of than “naive” to describe that view.
    So I guess if I were to distill this down into a much shorter response, I’d say that you spent a lot of time trying to defang a moral equivalence argument that I never made. I was merely pointing out that your description of “the problem” was terribly over-simplistic, and demonstrably so, and that your implication that Islam alone is to blame doesn’t even survive first blush.
    ucfenger:
    If this is true, Christians keep it pretty well hidden
    Read any Ann Coulter lately? Ever heard of a guy named “Reverend” Fred Phelps?
    While you’re correct that the problem is much more widespread in Eastern Islam than in Western Christianity, I’d argue that this has at least as much to do with the fact that Westerners in general simply don’t take religion anywhere near as seriously as their middle-eastern counterparts as it does to do with Christian being somehow inherently less judgmental toward nonbelievers.
    it seems to me that your problem is that you want to imply moral equivalence
    Sheesh, where are you guys getting this baggage from? Is there some “moral equivalence” talking point on the FOF website that I don’t know about? My point is not that Islam and insert-religion-here are equivalent in anything. My point is that you could totally eradicate militant Islam tomorrow, and the problem would not disappear. Some other radical religious group would step in to fill the same role.
    To do a better job rephrasing the point, religious fundamentalism is not the root cause of any of these problems, but it’s by far and away the best tool for fanning the flames. People have been killing people in huge numbers in God’s name for a lot longer than there have even been Muslims. So why should we believe, as Chris suggests, that destroying Islam would be some sort of magic bullet that would eliminate the problem?
    Gordon:
    Your comment at 6:33 AM wins the coveted Kevin T. Keith Award for Brevity. :)
    In any case, your selective presentation of the great charters, besides being highly selective, is a victim of inaccurate translation.
    Boonton:
    I’m curious, during the Clinton administration how easy was it to find a Republican foreign policy?
    Well, there were these guys, but at the time, they weren’t exactly mainstream Republicans. Interestingly, you’ll see that many of those involved then are in power now, and the policies they advocated back then are precisely the ones that are failing miserably right now.
    giggling:
    Clinton = Kerry? Please.
    No, but a Kerry foreign policy would have been much closer to Clinton’s than it would have been to Bush’s. But you have to be pretty simplistic to think that I was saying “vote for Clinton personally,” or that any Democrat would be identical to Clinton.
    You do, however, raise a good point. Given a choice between a Democrat who advocates Bush-esque foreign policy (e.g., Lieberman) and a Republican who advocates Clintonesque policy (I dunno, Scarborough, maybe?), I’d likely choose the latter.
    You and The Raven have the strangest ideas of Christianity.
    You could always prove me wrong by showing me where Christian scripture enumerates earthly happiness as a worthy objective (see this comments from Christians David Opderbeck and Mr. Dawn Treader, for example), and see my above remark about slavery and liberty being mutually exclusive. If the idea that happiness is not a Christian goal is “uncharitable,” it’s still an idea I picked up from conservative Christians.
    Because, if I remember correctly, I think ~= means “congruence”
    Depends on the language, actually. “Congruence” would have the squiggle above the equals. In computer languages “!” means “not,” but in some methods of mapping logic, “~” = “not.” Proof.
    Since more on-line types are familiar with mathematics than with formal logic, they’d tend to read ~= as “approximately equal” or “roughly equal,” and “!=” as “not equal.” To be correct, Mumon should have ditched the = and just said “~Jews.”

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Gordon:
    [W]hen the former No 2 man in the Iraqi Air Force, Gen George Sada, publicly testifies and publishes with circumstantial details that on the excuse of providing disaster relief, WMDs were flown over the border, that is not a “guess.”
    Far more likely, it’s a “lie.” Because there’s literally not one scrap evidence to corroborate what Sada claims. And as Mumon points out, Sada has serious credibility issues. And as Boonton points out, the idea that such weapons were spirited away, instead of, you know, used, doesn’t even pass the sniff test. It’s called “critical thinking,” and perhaps you should try it some time.
    Look, I’d love to believe that there really were huge stockpiles of weapons, and that this whole exercise wasn’t a complete waste. I can’t think of a single issue I’d rather be wrong about than Iraq. I take no pleasure in the horrific loss of life (both ours and theirs), and it would be comforting to know that this wasn’t all in vain. But the evidence simply doesn’t bear that out.
    Heck, the president himself has even admitted that we were wrong about the WMDs. So what’s making you hold out?

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Regarding the TANG memos, it’s pretty clear that the ones CBS used were fake. The elephant in the room, however, is that nobody has disputed the content of the memos, just the authenticity of those copies. In other words, the memos, while almost certainly faked, accurately reflected the opinion of the CO at the time.
    A forged copy of the Declaration of Independence would not invalidate the contents of the Declaration of Independence.
    Fact is, it’s not that most Republicans don’t believe Bush was AWOL (although as you demonstrate, there are still some who deny this) — it’s that mostly they don’t care.

  • giggling

    “But religion or not it’s a stretch to pretend that Muslims have achieved some type of Buddha-like detachment from the material world and only care about religious ideals.” -Boonton
    You exaggerated a little; it’s not that they ONLY care about “religious ideals.” To use your own analogy, it may instead be similar to the stereotypical low class Southern white inexplicably voting against their economic interests…
    The NYTimes article you cited paints a somewhat rosy picture of Iran, exemplified by the youth who like plasma TVs. I wonder, however, how much influence they really have on their nation. Would they be able to stop their government from pursuing a nuclear weapon, for example, if they wanted to? That is a pressing question that needs to be answered with evidence. If so, DO they want to? Might sound paranoid, but these are the questions that in my opinion many people would worry about. Interesting article though; definitely changed the possibility frontiers of my perspective on Iran a little because he’s an Iranian writing from Iran, but I do remain skeptical.
    “Like it or not a text has inherent ambiguity in it to begin with so simply trying to read it detached from those who believe it and have lived it is like trying to learn a foreign language with just a dictionary.” -Boonton
    I understand what you’re trying to say here, because I definitely believe it applies equally to ppl like The Raven–whom you neglected to include in your criticism–who believe they understand a foreign religion.
    That said, I THINK it depends critically on the specific content of the religion. People really aren’t as “rational” as economists would wish, as I learned in political psychology, and so I think you underestimate the power of a religion (or any worldview) to change and command lives.
    What differs, i.e. why you don’t see hardcore atheists or Christians suicide bombing today–even where Christians are poor, oppressed, etc–is the differing content of religions. Suicide bombing as a specific act for the sake of Allah in fundamentalist circles of Islam MAY be okay, but you generally (one can always find an exception) won’t see Christians doing it. Atheists will throw their lives away in other ways, but not by suicide bombing. Now before someone jumps on me, I’m not saying religion is the only factor in suicide bombing decisions, I’m just saying it’s one of the critical ones.
    So while the rank and file of multiple religions may largely be similarly committed to surviving in this world, the differing content of religions/philosophies will determine how the very devout behave, and often times the very devout have political power.
    Therefore, the question is: what is the specific content of Islam, as opposed to that of other worldviews, that will drive the actions of the devout in power? How can you find the content of a religion that the very devout (not just the rank and file) follow? By looking at its foundational documents, etc. in its context and trying to understand it the way those of that tradition would.
    Thank you for posing your criticism charitably, however. I appreciate it.
    Oh! Here’s a good example: Are the passages quoted by Gordon he calls the Christian and Muslim Great Commissions understood by the very devout to be the great commissions of their respective traditions? So far, I see no reason to disbelieve it is so. If that is true, then the specific content will (also depending on other factors) drive the way the devout in power act differently.
    Gordon: Wow, a professor with dyslexia? Harsh. I have new respect for you. I for one, would like to hear the story sometime–though not on this forum I suppose.
    “The ‘religious zeal’ of their people are a lot less than the show rallies would lead you to believe and while A, of course, wants the Mullahs to like him the Mullahs themselves know there’s a limit to what they can demand of their society.” -Boonton
    Perhaps. But will they stop their government from pursuing nuclear weapons and trying to expand Islam. Those are the things that are feared, and I haven’t seen any evidence to believe society > Ahmad+Mullahs in these critical areas.
    In fact, as The Raven pointed out, the Iranian government crushed the student revolts of the ’90s. So the evidence so far seems to me all on the side of Islamic government > society. Why do you believe society will stop their government; sure there are limits to what society will do, as you say, Boonton, but can you tell me what they are? Therefore, Gordon’s point stands.
    “Ah, I found it. The bestest, most insightful, deep, profound paragraph ever written at Powerline, thank Google!” -Mumon
    Gordon gives facts and answers questions/rebuttals. Mumons gives us… DailyKo’s material!
    Actually, he gives us outright lies: “Would you like a Chalabi or a Curveball with that propagandist who had absolutely zippo knowledge of Iraq’s WMDs.” -Mumon
    Did you even read the Wikipedia article??? I quote the relevant parts: “He officially retired in 1986 as a 2-star general, but was called back to active service for the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. He claims that he was discharged and imprisoned on February 5, 1991, for refusing to execute POWs and has not been employed in any official capacity in Iraq since then…. appeared the following day on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, where he discussed his book and reported that other pilots told him that Hussein had ordered them to fly portions of the WMD stockpiles to Damascus in Syria just prior to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq….made a guest appearance on The Daily Show on March 21st, 2006 to promote Saddam’s Secrets.”
    So… Gordon was right. And this ex-Iraqi general not only promoted his book on FoxNews but also on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, obviously a bastion of conservative propaganda. You should let Jon Stewart know he promoted a liar on his show. That goes you for you, The Raven.
    You can watch the Daily Show interview (doesn’t say much, but it really happened) here on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaQ1H_OaCKg
    The Raven again won’t respond to my criticisms of his (apparently unjustifiable) claims. Talks big, but there’s nothing to back it up with. I guess this is what’s to be expected. At least Mumon tries to give links to back himself up; unfortunately for him, they tend to say something other than what he wants them to say.
    I guess you could try the same route, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Gordon Mullings:
    I still can’t parse all of what you wrote.
    But let me address what I can:
    [Compare: During the US Civil war, what was the American Govt, or during the American Revolution,under the DOI and Articles of Confederation?]
    Let me educate you about US history:

    • The American Government in the Civil War was a Constitutional Republic that had suspended certain civil liberties, including but not limited to habeus corpus and the first amendment.
    • In the American Revolution, there was no US government. It was like, you know, the PLO.
    • The Articles of Confederation was essentially defining of just that: a confederation. There was virtually no central government whatsover, no guarantees of rights, and so no “democracy” at all.

    In no case was there a “fledgling” democracy in the US until 1788, when the present constitution was adopted.
    Need more history lessons?
    giggling:
    Quoted from the “Hindrocket” (his original term, not mine) himself.
    Try again.
    Oh, and Kos is more reliable…

  • Chris Lutz

    tgirsch:
    So why should we believe, as Chris suggests, that destroying Islam would be some sort of magic bullet that would eliminate the problem?
    I never stated that we can destroy Islam or that we should try. I however don’t believe that the West can intermingle with Islam and there not be a serious conflict. The worldviews of both conflict at a basic level.
    All of these parties and groups have carried out much the same kind of action (often in the name of their religion) as Muslim extremists have in the name of theirs, without the “benefit” of the Qur’an telling them they were required to.
    Which continues to show that you miss the point. The Koran does command those actions. From the start, the believer in Islam is commanded to

  • giggling

    “In any case, your selective presentation of the great charters, besides being highly selective, is a victim of inaccurate translation.” -tgirsch
    Uhh. It wasn’t the translation that was inaccurate. YOU LOOKED UP THE WRONG QUOTATION.

    Moreover, maybe whoever wrote that article should let these guys know: http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/980223-fatwa.htm
    “No, but a Kerry foreign policy would have been much closer to Clinton’s than it would have been to Bush’s.” -tgirsch
    How do you know what would have been? Prove it.
    “You could always prove me wrong by showing me where Christian scripture enumerates earthly happiness as a worthy objective” -tgirsch
    Uhm. The link you cited doesn’t say what you want it to say. It says: “There’s also the question of how to define ‘happiness.’ I’m not so sure we’re promised “happiness” as Christians. We are promised ‘joy’ and ‘peace,’ but always in the broader context of the pain and struggle of life.”
    Meaning not that happiness on earth is not a worthy objective for Christians, but that life also contains pain and struggle and we aren’t promised happiness defined as “lack of pain and struggle.”
    The author’s question remains: what do you mean by earthly happiness? Do you mean lack of pain and struggle? Or do you mean pleasure in toys or computers or cars?
    Here’s the quote you wanted, tgirsch. The Bible actually exhorts us to pursue happiness: Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The difference for Christians is that our happiness is never apart from God, even when we receive “the desires of our heart.”
    Your misunderstanding is simply due to your incomprehension of people’s comments, like the one you cited, and your ignorance about Christianity.
    “We are told to make ourselves slaves to Christ — becoming a slave and liberty are, in my estimation, mutually exclusive.” -tgirsch
    Because you have a simplistic understanding of Christian freedom and what it means to be a “slave to Christ.” Ephesians 6:6 says, “Ephesians 6:6
    Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.”
    So, being a slave of Christ means doing the will of God from your heart. How is doing things from your heart at odds with being free?
    Here’s some more for you:
    Galatians 2:4
    “This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.”
    Galatians 5:1 – “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
    So how is it that you weren’t aware of any of this?
    And yes, the “squiggle” (it’s called a tilde) should be above the = to mean conguence, but you can’t do that easily on a keyboard so I assumed that was shorthand.
    I think it’s funny how you accuse Gordon of not “thinking critically” when you just believe Mumon’s assertion that Sada has “serious credibility issues.” What, that he wants to earn a living off books? So… just because someone wants to make money off of a book of information, means the information is wrong? Besides that, what other concrete evidence do you actually have that Sada is lying?

  • The Raven

    giggling: The Raven again won’t respond to my criticisms of his
    What are you asking for? Do you want me to parse every word you say and respond to it?
    My policy with postings is: res ipsa loquitur, i.e., the thing said speaks for itself. There is no need for me to “defend” every observation I make. If it accords with reality and is easily verifiable or patently demonstrable, then protestations to the contrary are fine. Onlookers are free to evaluate for themselves.
    You may find a kindred soul in Eric and Lisa, who are about your speed.
    By the way, while I’m here, let me reiterate this sharp observation by Boonton:
    Another option would be to literally do nothing. Yes push for UN condemnations and sanctions but accept the fact that Iran, like Pakistan, India and N. Korea will end up making a nuke. That BTW, is probably a more accurate description of the Bush administration’s policy.
    Very good point. Look, we’re apparently happy with Pakistan, which is by all evidence an extraordinarily hostile regime with respect to our interests. Pakistan has the bomb. Pakistan is actively undermining us in Afghanistan and fomenting anti-US sentiment among its citzens, and quite likely harboring Osama. But they aren’t nuking us with suitcase bombs now, are they?
    Condi isn’t shuttling to Karachi and threatening the Pakis with shock and awe unless they de-nuke. We’ve simply accepted the fact that they’re armed and they are, as are all states, evidently rational actors. But for some reason people seem to widely believe that if Iran acquires a bomb they’ll immediately attempt to incinerate us with it. More likely, the Iranians would use a nuclear deterrent merely to avoid the fate of Iraq.
    Boonton looks to be right on this score. Islamic fundamentalism isn’t the best thing that ever happened to the world, and I truly hope that the Iranians don’t go nuclear, but as a realist I’m not chomping at the bit to blast them to bits. We have many tools and strategies available to press our objectives before we reach that stage anyway. The liberal approach, which is to use the engines of war judiciously, would have given us a far better outcome than where we are now in the middle east and it’s time we change our current modus operandi and tone it down a little.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Meanwhile, in that “fledgling democracy” called Iraq,

    Maj. Charlie Burbridge, said the last of 1,200 troops left Camp Abu Naji,…., after several days of heavy mortar and rocket fire by a local militia,… the Sadr-controlled Mahdi Army

    “This is the first Iraqi city that has kicked out the occupier!” trumpeted a message …that played on car-mounted ….”We have to celebrate this occasion!”…

    The withdrawal sparked wide-scale looting at the base then intense clashes late Thursday between Iraqi army forces guarding the camp and unknown attackers… the situation worsened when the 2nd Battalion of the Iraqi army’s 4th Brigade mutinied and attacked a local military outpost

    No flowers were offered to the retreating Brittish Army…

  • giggling

    “Quoted from the “Hindrocket” (his original term, not mine) himself.” -Mumon
    What?
    “What are you asking for? Do you want me to parse every word you say and respond to it?” -The Raven
    No, just the ones directed at you. Like this from my above commment:
    ————————————————-
    “I’ve also noticed, The Raven, that you haven’t told us of any of the “clear alternatives to ‘stay the course'” that you claim the Democratic Party is offering. Perhaps you’ll have more luck at the DailyKo’s site finding it than I did? After all, Mumon claims they’re there. Maybe you can find them for us?
    You also neglected to mention the formerly Shariah nations that have been changed as a result of our cultural influence. Remember this big claim? “Our music, movies, celebrities, and the example we set with our culture of abundance, the Internet, our image of a free society – all these things wage direct war on Shariah. And they work.” -The Raven
    ………………………………………..
    So… 1) “clear alternatives” to staying the course in Iraq. And 2) Ex-Shariah nations because of our cultural influence.
    “If it accords with reality and is easily verifiable or patently demonstrable, then protestations to the contrary are fine. Onlookers are free to evaluate for themselves.” -The Raven
    Sounds reasonable, except that what you say only accords with reality in your (and sometimes Mumon’s) mind, so every else is expecting an answer and evidence if they haven’t already written you off.
    Thanks for the comparison with Eric and Lisa, btw. They support their claims, so I take it as a compliment.
    And I’ll understand now if you don’t respond. Thanks for clarifying so I don’t look for something that doesn’t exist.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> There were exactly two Baathist — i.e Arab National Socialist — regimes in the world. One was in Iraq; guess where the other was? [No prizes for guessing Syria.]
    Hmmmm, so instead of using the one thing that might have at least delayed the arrival of US troops Iraq just gave it away?
    –> Further, the ultimate target of the weapons, surpeise, surprise always has been: Israel, and Syria is the best place to have such weapons, long-term. [Egypt and Jordan are officially at peace with Israel, and are far friendlier to the US. Lebanon at the time was little more than a Syrian Colony.]
    So let’s see. Iraq under a sanctions regime and international scrutiny undertakes a WMD program not for itself but for Syria. Syria not under a sanctions regime could just as easily produce its own WMD for use against Israel if that was its desire. In the meantime Syria is just sitting on this WMD cache for when? I guess the ‘right moment’.
    What amazing patience these Muslims have. Unfortunately for many Kurds as well as Iraqis and Iranians they couldn’t restrain themselves in the 1980’s when they so happily used them in the Iran-Iraq War and to put down Kurdish villages.
    Also amazing is Israel’s patience. I mean Hez with their primitive rockets ended up killing more cows than people in Israel despite launching hundreds, thousands? of rockets. Do they intend to do anything about their next door neighbor aquiring a huge cache of WMD’s with the intention of using it against them? In the past Israel was quite proactive in bombing Iraq’s nuclear plant to keep it from getting a bomb. It seems rather stunning that Israel would abort potential WMD’s but today won’t stop actual WMD’s!
    If this information was true then Bush should be impeached. It is unacceptable and criminal for him to have US troops getting killed trying to direct traffic in Baghdad while next door a regime aquires WMD as part of a plan to use them against an ally.
    But I don’t think this is the case. If it were even this administration would actually be doing something about it and Israel certainly would be raising hell over it. There is probably some story behind this. I too hear the ‘unconfirmed reports’ that WMDs went from Iraq to Syria but whatever the other side is the intelligence agencies are not saying.

  • The Raven

    gig: You also neglected to mention the formerly Shariah nations that have been changed as a result of our cultural influence.
    I gave you a link plus a quote demonstrating that US cultural influence has been powerful in Iran, above. See “Lionel Beehner.”
    As for Democratic proposals, I’m inclined to give the nod to the suggestions of Durbin and Murtha, Reid and Dean. Kerry was right from the beginning. If you follow the NYT et al., you find numerous statements of what we ought to be doing with respect to Iraq and, by extension, Iran. Most of these suggestions involve moving the body of our forces to an “over the horizon” locale “as soon as is practicable.” That is, a place like Kuwait, where our troops can re-arm, refresh, and regroup out of the crosshairs of snipers and roadside bombers. We wait to see if training camps for insurgents emerge. If so, we send in gunships and planes and destroy them.
    Meanwhile, we are not occupying Iraq and our absence would not fuel counterinsurgency, like Muqtada’s people. Meanwhile, we would not be inflaming the entire region. We can evaluate from there. If we have to go back – say, in the event of a total bloodbath – then maybe we do. In the event a stasis emerges, then we know that we were the problem.
    As our military regains its strength and numbers, we also re-assume the ability to deal with other regimes (including Iran and Syria) and also have a force poised to support Israel if necessary. Should things, as Ann Coulter said yesterday, “go swimmingly,” then we can consider a phased withdrawal from the region. That, I have gathered, is the Democratic alternative to propping up Baghdad’s puppet government which, by all accounts, is only able to control (partially) Baghdad.
    Meanwhile – as stated by various spokespeople in the reality-based community – we begin to take the monetary savings we aren’t plowing into Iraq’s sands and shore up our own borders and harden our ports and start screening airline cargo. None of which, apparently, Bush has the slightest interest in doing. No, I did not say that there are ex-Shariah regimes that our cultural influence has toppled, but I do assert that when we behave intelligently, we have weakened them to our advantage. It’s called realpolitik, and it means that sometimes we have to support dictators and brutal regimes, but we don’t become those regimes.

  • ucfengr

    Read any Ann Coulter lately? Ever heard of a guy named “Reverend” Fred Phelps?
    Does Ann Coulter really advocate the “stoning of adulteresses”? I don’t read her very often, but you would think that would get more press coverage. As to Fred Phelps, come on Tom, do you really mean to imply that he is anywhere near the mainstream of Evangelical thought or theology?
    Sheesh, where are you guys getting this baggage from? Is there some “moral equivalence” talking point on the FOF website that I don’t know about?
    See, the problem is that in your previous statement you implied moral equivalence between Fred Phelps, Ann Coulter, and mainstream Evangelical Christians (sing with me: “2 of these things are not like the other”). Let’s face it as bad as Ann can sometimes be, she is no worse than what you might see in a typical Kos or DU post and she is certainly not in the same galaxy as Uncle Freddie.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You also neglected to mention the formerly Shariah nations that have been changed as a result of our cultural influence.
    How about mentioning Shia nations that have been changed by our military influence? It wasn’t too long ago a fellow in Afghanistan faced the death penalty for being a Christian convert. The Constitutions of both Iraq and Afghanistan explicitly state they are Islamic nations.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    First of all, I see the usual “Quran inaccurate translation” game, this time [doubtless innocently] by Tom Girsch:

    our selective presentation of the great charters, besides being highly selective, is a victim of inaccurate translation.

    Here is the Yusuf Ali translation of vv 29 – 31 which is generally regarded as perhaps the best of the three leading touchstone translations in English. [Though of course there is a game of insisting that the substance of the Q cannot be accurately translated. But obviously so long as the substance in question is cognitive, it is capable of expression in other languages than classical Arabic. Nuances may be hard to express, but I dout that that is what is at work here.]

    9:29 Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
    9:30 The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. God’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!
    9:31 They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of God, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One God: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).
    _________________
    Pickthal [#2 touchstone]: 009. 029 Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.
    Shakir [# 3]: [9:29]Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

    The three sound very close to each other, don’t they!
    I have of course cited here the three major English translations. further to this, on ‘abrogation”: Surah 9 — one of the last “handed down” so it takes precedence in Islamic interpertation — is in fact filled with sword verses, e.g. the v. 5 actually referred to in the link in TG’s remarks:

    9:5 But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an[d] seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

    That should sound very familiar in light of vv 29 – 31, given that in Muslim eyes, there are the Muslims, the People of the Book, and the Pagans.
    Believe it or not folks, the major objection to the accuracy of the translation of v. 5 is: The word used most often in Quran, that is so often mistranslated as kill; slay; or slaughter is not jihad, it is qital and if you look to the Arabic, you will quickly understand this word in today’s usage would clearly be combat.
    In short, this attempted evasion in Islamic apologetics SUBSTANTIATES my case.
    Chris Lutz, thanks for the backup, and you are right on target: There is no opened statement like this in any other religion that I know of. Just claiming that other people of other religions have committed similar acts in the name of their religion doesn’t mean it is actually based on their religion. The Koran though does justify those actions.
    +++++++++
    Grace, open our eyes
    Gordon

  • Eric & Lisa

    Mumon quoted Powerline and since that is one of my favorite daily stops for blog reading (Along with this site) I thought i’d give everyone the full quote. So, here is the full quote that Mumon gave from Powerline;
    It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.
    Hyperbolic? Well, maybe. But consider Bush’s latest master stroke: the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. The pact includes the U.S., Japan, Australia, China, India and South Korea; these six countries account for most of the world’s carbon emissions. The treaty is, in essence, a technology transfer agreement. The U.S., Japan and Australia will share advanced pollution control technology, and the pact’s members will contribute to a fund that will help implement the technologies. The details are still sketchy and more countries may be admitted to the group later on. The pact’s stated goal is to cut production of “greenhouse gases” in half by the end of the century.
    What distinguishes this plan from the Kyoto protocol is that it will actually lead to a major reduction in carbon emissions! This substitution of practical impact for well-crafted verbiage stunned and infuriated European observers.
    I doubt that the pact will make any difference to the earth’s climate, which will be determined, as always, by variations in the energy emitted by the sun. But when the real cause of a phenomenon is inaccessible, it makes people feel better to tinker with something that they can control. Unlike Kyoto, this agreement won’t devastate the U.S. economy, and, also unlike Kyoto, the agreement will reduce carbon emissions in the countries where they are now rising most rapidly, India and China. Brilliant.
    But I don’t suppose President Bush is holding his breath, waiting for the crowd to start applauding.
    It’s because of information like this that I read blogs. The antique media spends too much time telling me about people who may or may not have killed little girls over a decade ago.
    I specially like the part where he writes, “Hyperbolic? Well, maybe.”
    I think John Hinderocker knows just how to get at folks like Mumon.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    By now it should be quite clear that there is a problem of irresponsibility and hostility that now riddles US politics.
    My concern is the associated attacks against the Christian Faith, and failure to come to serious grips with the implications of Islamism as a unique, religiously motivated world conquest ideology, and the existing World War 4 – some would argue that this is actually just WW0, the 1400 year — so far — war.
    I remark on further points, and at the end will partly rehabilitate an earlier point made by Chris Lutz that he was unduly slammed for:
    1] R: it is reasonable to assume that we would have heard about it.
    –> Since, e.g. discovering that there is a Muslim Brotherhood world conquest plan since 1982 that is a thread that underlies much of what we observe the jihadis doing, would be vital news, should that not also be headline news all around the world? [But of course, it was not. Back in the 30’s too, Churchill was despised as a warmonger and extremist for warning of the rise of Hitler. Denial of unwelcome reality is an old, old problem.]
    –> Similarly, when in SH’s second court case, testimony from eyewitnesses on the use of gas against Kurd civilians should dominate headlines — but it has not.
    –> Likewise, wen Mr Santorum pointed out the recovery of 500 gas shells [quite close to the numbers in Mr Powell’s UN presentation on unaccounted for gas shells, BTW], that was by and large headlined only in the context of pooh-poohing the significance.
    –> In short, when there are vested interests in not seeing something that would otherwise be plainly evident, we can count on the force of serious selective hyperskepticism showing up as an engine driving personal and institutional defense mechanisms.
    –> one of these mechanisms is personal attacks, and the vulgarity played on Mr Hinderaker’s name — in a Christian blog by a commentator who should know better — is aptly illustrative of the problem.
    –> The same line comes out in Mumon’s 3:31 pm “crackpot links” claim, in a context where he has repeatedly been unable to substantially address say the discussion on Information and Design, not to mention the Christian contribution to the rise of modern liberty — I here recall vividly his remarks last Christmas that try to parallel Bible believing Christian faith and fascism; simply reveal his underlying irresponsibility. How fitting that it is in this thread that he now boasts of his elevation to “recommended” in Kos. That tells us all we need to know about the worth of Kos.
    2] about those “documents.”
    –> First I believe the Administrators had to be forced by relevant political authorities to open up the vaults, in a context where there is the problem of if anything too much paper. [This is the peripheral stuff — after the intel folks have combed through. But, in aggregate, they are telling. Onlookers: follow Belmont Club and Col Austin Bay on the progress of the project.]
    3] TG: You could always prove me wrong by showing me where Christian scripture enumerates earthly happiness as a worthy objective
    –> In brief, it is not. Giggling has put it well: The link you cited doesn’t say what you want it to say. It says: “There’s also the question of how to define ‘happiness.’ I’m not so sure we’re promised “happiness” as Christians. We are promised ‘joy’ and ‘peace,’ but always in the broader context of the pain and struggle of life.” Meaning not that happiness on earth is not a worthy objective for Christians, but that life also contains pain and struggle and we aren’t promised happiness defined as “lack of pain and struggle.”
    –> The Christian faith is realistic that happiness in the conventional sense is not a proper goal of life, but rather its byproduct:

    1TI 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
    1TI 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness . . .

    –> Indeed, as C S Lewis observes in his Surprised by Joy and elsewhere, there is a passionate longing in all of us that points to a fulfillment beyond this world. That is why riches and earthly pleasures are not ultimately satisfying — they were never meant to be. Our destiny is higher than that. [And that is the point that the alluded to sources were making, in the case of Dawn Treader, in a blog that names itself after a ship in C S Lewis’ famous Chronicles of Narnia allegorical series of novels. The key incident therein s the encounter of Lucy with Aslan by the pool of water: thirsty, but fearful. The lion will not move away ad there is no other source of water, so she has to trust the lion to slake her thirst — and

  • Gordon Mullings

    E&L:
    Why is this not a great surprise?
    G

  • Gordon Mullings

    Meanwhile on the WW 4/0 front:

    a radical Islamic group called Hizb al-Tahrir (Liberation Party) is planning to declare the birth of an Islamic caliphate in the Gaza Strip on Friday. The relatively small party, which is seen as more extreme than Hamas, is said to have increased its popularity following what is perceived as a Hizbullah victory over Israel.
    On Tuesday, thousands of the party’s supporters staged a demonstration in Gaza City to mark the anniversary of the end of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It was the first demonstration in the Gaza Strip in which demonstrators called for establishing an Islamic caliphate that would rule not only in the PA territories, but the entire world.
    Buoyed by the large turnout, the party’s leaders are now considering declaring an Islamic caliphate in the Gaza Strip during Friday prayers, sources close to the party said.
    Jordanian security forces recently foiled a similar attempt by the party’s followers in the kingdom and arrested most of their leaders. Ramzi Sawalhah, the leader of Hizb al-Tahrir in Jordan, was arrested shortly after he delivered a sermon in a mosque in which he called for replacing the monarchy with an Islamic caliphate. [HT LGF, a good source for the facts you won’t find elsewhere — y’know one of M’s infamous fact-free zones. And, here is the smokin gun TANG gif link from LGF.]

    You can’t make this stuff up folks!
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    And here is a video clip on the false accusation of Israel using Chemical weapons. Notice how it fails to asses the inherent incredible nature of the accusation, how the media played up the unverified accusations, and how it leaves standing the falsehood that WP is a chemical [i.e. like the war “gas”] weapon.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    Yet another fact-free zone link, from PL to a Taheri piece on the gap between the mil and the PR fronts in the Lebanon campaign:

    The way much of the Western media tells the story, Hezbollah won a great victory against Israel and the U.S., healed the Sunni-Shiite rift, and boosted the Iranian mullahs’ claim to leadership of the Muslim world. Portraits of Hassan Nasrallah, the junior mullah who leads the Lebanese branch of this pan-Shiite movement, have adorned magazine covers in the West, hammering in the message that this child of the Khomeinist revolution is the new hero of the mythical “Arab Street.” . . . .
    By controlling the flow of information from Lebanon throughout the conflict, and help from all those who disagree with U.S. policies for different reasons, Hezbollah may have won the information war in the West. In Lebanon, the Middle East and the broader Muslim space, however, the picture is rather different . . . .
    Having lost more than 500 of its fighters, and with almost all of its medium-range missiles destroyed, Hezbollah may find it hard to sustain its claim of victory. “Hezbollah won the propaganda war because many in the West wanted it to win as a means of settling score with the United States,” says Egyptian columnist Ali al-Ibrahim. “But the Arabs have become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory.”
    Mr. Taheri is author of “L’Irak: Le Dessous Des Cartes” (Editions Complexe, 2002).

    Of course we should read the whole article by this serious Iranian commentator. But, the Tet effect is plainly still strong so let us wait and see what happens in the end.
    GEM

  • The Raven

    Gordon, begin with this quote:
    “However, once all aspects of warfare can be translated into flows of information, a language of aesthetics reveals the way that information can be used as warfare. It is aesthetics that enables information. In this way, tactical media is a form of aesthetic information warfare.”
    I would suggest that you have “lost” the information war for your opinion. You have not just swallowed the Kool-Aid, you’ve torn open a wingnut pack, poured the powder into your mouth, and chewed on the mendacious mush until a bizarre and blurry world-view snapped into feckless focus.
    “By now it should be quite clear that there is a problem of irresponsibility and hostility that now riddles US politics.”
    Indeed. We call it: The Bush Administration.
    “My concern is the associated attacks against the Christian Faith, and failure to come to serious grips with the implications of Islamism as a unique, religiously motivated world conquest ideology…”
    Yep. They’ve got this Holy Book, see, which tells them that their God is the One True God. There is no God but Allah, and Muhommed is his prophet. That appears to contradict certain statements in your Holy Book, but your book is right and theirs is wrong. Ergo, we have full right to disabuse them of their apostasy and convert them – at gunpoint if necessary – to a belief in your Holy Book.
    This is one of the reasons I have little tolerance for religion. It leads people to fight with each other due to competing notions regarding which particular invisible superbeing is the “correct” one.
    “Similarly, when in SH’s second court case, testimony from eyewitnesses on the use of gas against Kurd civilians should dominate headlines — but it has not.
    Incorrect. Saddam’s genocide against the Kurds was front page news. It was considered an outrage and an act that “shocked the conscience.” It certainly wasn’t ignored, and in the run-up to Operation Castrate American Moral Authority, it was cited constantly as one of the primary reasons we ought to remove Saddam from power.
    “Likewise, wen Mr Santorum pointed out the recovery of 500 gas shells [quite close to the numbers in Mr Powell’s UN presentation on unaccounted for gas shells, BTW], that was by and large headlined only in the context of pooh-poohing the significance.”
    The headlines in question noted rather sharply that the Bush White House was doing the “pooh-poohing.” They knew with full certainty that these were not the WMDs that had been surmised to constitute grounds for invading Iraq. One analyst said that the gas was so degraded that you’d “hardly get a sunburn” from exposure to it. Hyperbole, perhaps, but the point was that these were ’91-era munitions, and not evidence of an ongoing WMD program.
    We were told that Saddam had a massive cache of profoundly deadly weapons – possibly nuclear – and that we knew where they were: (cf. Rumsfeld: “We know where they [Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat. – ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, 3/30/03). It’s public record. Then, we discovered precisely zero evidence of any such thing. This was a serious problem for the Bush administration, and thus ever since the discovery that we were just plain dead wrong about having to destroy, invade and occupy Iraq, we’ve been treated to a merry-go-round of ever-shifting justifications, or, as people like myself prefer to regard them: lies.
    “[O]ne of these mechanisms is personal attacks, and the vulgarity played on Mr Hinderaker’s name — in a Christian blog by a commentator who should know better — is aptly illustrative of the problem.”
    A casual visit to Powerline suffices to demonstrate that the website is dedicated to vilifying Democrats and exalting Republicans. What’s worth noting here is that, on a liberal blog like DKos, any evidence of Democratic wrongdoing is exposed and laid out, followed by condemnation. Jefferson (the cash in the freezer guy) was not defended; rather, there were unanimous demands that he step down. In internal polling, Hillary Clinton always comes in dead last or number 9 in a field of 10 possible candidates for president.
    Yes, the infamous documents: “First I believe the Administrators had to be forced by relevant political authorities to open up the vaults, in a context where there is the problem of if anything too much paper.”
    Yeah, sure. If you go here: http://70.168.46.200/
    You’ll find the preface: “At the request of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the US Army Foreign Military Studies Office has created this portal to provide the general public with access to unclassified documents and media captured during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The US Government has made no determination regarding the authenticity of the documents, validity or factual accuracy of the information contained therein, or the quality of any translations, when available.”
    Then there’s the next bit:
    “The documents contained on this site were captured during Operation Iraqi Freedom and represent a dramatic departure from previous document release efforts which have historically taken place decades after the cessation of hostilities. Viewers are urged to carefully read the disclaimer above.”
    Not only is there no way of knowing whether these documents are authentic – and surely some of them are – but the government disclaims them. Why? And why this “dramatic departure”? Because, the smart set has surmised, they are threaded with planted documents intended to fight the information war referenced in the first quote above.
    “Further to this, the point is not whether or no one may find objections tot he credibility of Gen Sada or any source — such objections are not only always possible, they are routine.”
    No, not at all. What we should expect is that our satellite surveillance cameras would have shown a massive movement of materiel across the desert, and over the border to Syria. We should expect witnesses and parties involved on both sides of that border to provide compelling testimony. We should view the ordnance itself and note the Iraqi army markings on it, date it, and verify that these were, in fact, the WMD we claimed Saddam possessed. Instead, we have Alan Colmes interviewing a FOX News analyst who explains the matter thusly:
    MCINERNEY: Well, if you want, my personal opinion is, I think the fact is that the Russians moved large stocks out in the fall of 2002. You heard what General Sada said. They went into three locations into Syria and one location in the Bekka Valley.
    And if you get in there and if you found those weapons and found the precursors, the fingerprints would go back to Russia, China and France. Now, those are the three countries that had the most conventional weapon sales to Saddam Hussein. We

  • giggling

    To The Raven:
    “I gave you a link plus a quote demonstrating that US cultural influence has been powerful in Iran, above. See ‘Lionel Beehner.'” -The Raven
    Wrong. I asked for the names of “formerly Shariah nations.” Not a nation, Iran, which is still, last I checked, a Shariah nation.
    Obviously there are many youth in many Shariah nations who favor the U.S. The point is they have no power. But of course you don’t fully read posts, so you wouldn’t know I wasn’t saying U.S. culture has no effect on some youth in Iran.
    If Iran is the best example you have of the power of US cultural influence to change Shariah nations, then I guess I have my answer.
    “We wait to see if training camps for insurgents emerge. If so, we send in gunships and planes and destroy them.” -The Raven
    Ah, the ingenius pullout plan. Except you said the Democrats had “clear alternatives to ‘stay the course’ in Iraq.” I guess I should have expected your watering down of questions so you can answer them. Note to you though: there already are training camps for insurgents in Iraq. Where do you think insurgents come from? If it were that easy to “send in gunships and planes and destroy them,” don’t you think our cowboy president would have done so by now?
    “No, I did not say that there are ex-Shariah regimes that our cultural influence has toppled, but I do assert that when we behave intelligently, we have weakened them to our advantage.” -The Raven
    “Weakened them to our advantage.” How so? If I donate one dollar to anti-Iran efforts, I have also weakened them to our advantage. Your assertions become vaguer and vaguer to the point where they don’t mean anything. You should attach your big claims to concrete reality. So far, all you’ve shown is that our cultural influence makes many kids in Iran like us. Great. So much for: “Our music, movies, celebrities, and the example we set with our culture of abundance, the Internet, our image of a free society – all these things wage direct war on Shariah. And they work.” -The Raven
    “It’s called realpolitik…” -The Raven
    You claim to understand realpolitik (how so? Did you study it? Or maybe you just read the NYTimes?) but you haven’t even mentioned the effect a withdrawal from Iraq would have on the international perception of our will to “stay the course” in military actions.
    “I’d love to believe that there really were huge stockpiles of weapons, and that this whole exercise wasn’t a complete waste.” -The Raven
    Even if it vindicates Bush, whom you hate, and makes him a hero? Somehow I doubt it…
    “I would suggest that you [GM] have ‘lost’ the information war for your opinion.” -The Raven
    You can “suggest” whatever you want. You already do, irresponsibly and ignorantly, as evidenced by your wild claims and consistent lack of substantive support.
    To Boonton:
    “How about mentioning Shia nations that have been changed by our military influence? It wasn’t too long ago a fellow in Afghanistan faced the death penalty for being a Christian convert. The Constitutions of both Iraq and Afghanistan explicitly state they are Islamic nations.” -Boonton
    I notice that you wisely avoided trying to defend The Raven’s irresponsible ramblings, and instead pose a good question.
    I honestly don’t know because I know little military history. I remind you that I never asserted military action has influenced Shia nations, since I don’t pretend to know things I have no clue about like some others *cough* The Raven *cough*.
    I can tell you that I’ve studied international religious freedom, and from that perspective, the new constitution of Afghanistan (put in place after a military confrontation) features religious freedom more prominently than under the Taliban, despite the fact that Islam is officially the state religion and despite the grave potential for conflict within the constitution itself between the place of Islam and the place of religious freedom, resulting (due to the ideologies of some high-placed jurists) in the Abdul Rahman case.
    Concretely, this means that while it is still a tragedy that Rahman was arrested, the fact that he is alive and was freed means already that the situation is measurably better in Afghanistan [for religious freedom]. See http://www.uscirf.gov for more in depth information on the status of religious freedom in Afghanistan. They’re a good group of people.
    Oh, I just remembered, another thing one should note is that there are different severities that Sharish law is interpreted and enforced between Islamic nations (and actually within regions of each country). So to lump all officially “Islamic nations” together is simplifying the picture a bit. Severity may measurably change, and this is good.
    To Gordon:
    “where he has repeatedly been unable to substantially address…” -Gordon
    Seems like that’s a common inability among certain commenters.
    “Again, [The Raven is] irresponsible and ignorant of basic military principles.” -Gordon
    Add that to religion, U.S. cultural influence on Shariah nations, realpolitik, how to keep silent concerning things one knows little to nothing about, and how read sentences for what they say rather than what he wants them to say so he can “argue” against them.
    Watch this from The Raven, everyone!
    He even quotes Gordon so that the words are right in front of his face as he attempts to respond. “Similarly, when in SH’s second court case, testimony from eyewitnesses on the use of gas against Kurd civilians should dominate headlines — but it has not. [-Gorden]
    Incorrect. Saddam’s genocide against the Kurds was front page news.” -The Raven
    The Raven WANTS Gordon’s words to say “Saddam’s use of gas against the Kurds was not dominating headlines.” But it doesn’t! It says, “WHEN IN Saddam’s SECOND COURT CASE, TESTIMONY FROM EYEWITNESSES on the use of gas… was not dominating headlines.”
    I don’t understand how someone can actually copy-paste the quote one’s trying to argue against and still change it unless he has some serious interpretive issues. That seems to be the case here.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    I first observe that a lot of demonstrably false assertions and accusations have not been pulled back [e.g. on the Quran cites], but maybe that is in part due to this being a weekend.
    Giggling: thanks for some serious observations.
    I also see Raven, sadly, has plainly not got the message that he needs to look long and hard in the mirror and amend his ways. I see little point in going though a point by point attempt to rebut claims by someone whose assertions are demonstrably irrational and driven by blinding emotions such as rage.
    However, notes may be helpful to onlookers, and so I will pause on such as strike me as so helpful. G has taken up several of these and I will in effect in the main supplement:
    1] They’ve got this Holy Book, see, which tells them that their God is the One True God. There is no God but Allah, and Muhommed is his prophet. That appears to contradict certain statements in your Holy Book, but your book is right and theirs is wrong. Ergo, we have full right to disabuse them of their apostasy and convert them – at gunpoint if necessary – to a belief in your Holy Book.
    –> A wild accusation, and in the teeth of evident inability to understand the difference between the commission of a world-witness faith [Cf Matt 28:18 – 20 as cited] and that of a religiously motivated world conquest ideology [Cf Surah 9:29 – 31 and 5 again].
    –> Second, kindly distinguish between the geostrategic challenges faced by western [and other] states in the face of Islam, and the very different issue of the Christian commission to bear witness to Christ in all nations, which plainly includes nations [people groups] under Islamic rule.
    –> Third, I have repeatedly pointed tot he central warranting claim and argument of the Christian worldview. You may wish to brush it aside as mere clashes between books, but you should be informed that the challenge of the resurrection and providing a credible alternative explanation tot he rise and spread of the Christian faith is very much on the table. [Islam’s justification, insofar as it has one, rests on attempts to undermine Christian theology — often mispresented, and the “justification” of success, even military success.]
    2] I have little tolerance for religion. It leads people to fight with each other due to competing notions regarding which particular invisible superbeing is the “correct” one.
    –> Again a wild and ill-based assertion of hostility. Kindly review the history of the past century and you will see that secularist systems of thought are very capable of leading to mass slaughters, in the womb and after that. The real issue is that human beings handle power without accountability poorly.
    –> further to this onlookers will observe the patent lack of balance in regards tot he positive influences of religions in general and the Christian faith in particular, e.g. On the rise of modern liberty which you profess to love.
    3] Saddam’s genocide against the Kurds was front page news. It was considered an outrage
    –> Onlookers, kindly observe the shift from the live testimony on the present situation, i.e. the material context that SH’s career 20 years ago proves that he had and was very willing to use WMDs, and implications of that for re-evaluating the No-WMDs mantra that Raven et al are so fond of.
    –> 20 years ago, a great many of the people now of say voting age were not aware of events. So, when, in the context that the 2nd trial comes out, there is not a strong headline response, with appropriate commentary on the implications for the ongoing debates on WMDs in Iraq, that is telling. [Observe, too, the effect of fauxtography on the public opinion.]
    4] these were not the WMDs that had been surmised to constitute grounds for invading Iraq.
    –> Artfully, there is a missing THE there. But in fact observe how this fails to respond to the point I have had to highlight several times now: the grounds for the renewal of major hostilities were persistent, multidimensional, broad-spectrum, gross and accelerating material breach of armistice terms.
    –> Further to this, these were precisely cases of WMDs, and I think the analyst in question should be made the offer to spread a suitable quantity on his skin as a reasonable test. [Compare onlookers: many decades later, unexploded WW I gas munitions have been quite dangerous.]
    –> recall as well that the relevant reports have had much to say about the existence of armistice term-defeating infrastructure, programmes and equipment. (I also, as a further note, observe that there is a lot of “insecticide” in Iraq that has been recovered under suspicious circumstances, co-located with military sites. As anyone who has read the label on say Baygon will know, the difference between “insecticide” and nerve gases in particular, is often a matter of how and why they are used. Indeed, sarin and tabun were first developed as insecticides and then their utility on certain bigger quadrupeds was “discovered.”]
    –> but then, we are far afield from my basic point o this: there is evidence from people in a position to know, that there was movement of WMD stuff across the border in the runup to the war. [And BTW, the space occupied by serious quantities of these materials and weapons is smaller than you seem to imagine.]
    5] A casual visit to Powerline suffices to demonstrate that the website is dedicated to vilifying Democrats and exalting Republicans
    –> A jaundiced assessment by one whose own biases are obvious.
    6] Not only is there no way of knowing whether these documents are authentic – and surely some of them are – but the government disclaims them. Why? And why this “dramatic departure”? Because, the smart set has surmised, they are threaded with planted documents intended to fight the information war referenced in the first quote above.
    –> The US Govt puts out a standard disclaimer, and the “smart set” infers that there is planting of evidence, in a context where leaks are dogging even key secret programmes. Oh, sure.
    –> In effect the issue is to use common sense and critical awareness to asses the documents.
    6] we have Alan Colmes interviewing a FOX News analyst who explains the matter thusly: MCINERNEY . . .
    –> of course, onlookers might just not notice that I have not at all cited this talking head but rather have linked Sada, and then have pointed out that there are translated documents out there that can be eyeballed and assessed, then explained on an inference to best explanation basis.
    7] You have, in the above, defined what we English language users refer to as, “a guess.” Or, to borrow jd’s lil’ gem: A just-s0 story.
    –> A classic distortion on the nature of assessment of empirical situations, which are simply not open to demonstrative proof. History and science and law operate on precisely the basis that I have outlined: which live-option, competing explanation best accounts for the material facts, is coherent and is most explanatorily powerful?
    –> By sharpest contrast,a Just-so story is made without reference to this competition across alternative hypotheses or explanations. [In the design- NDT context for instance, the lack of detailed accounting for the required DNA information innovation to substantiate the concept that NDT is adequate to explain macroevolution is a longstanding challenge.]
    –> Astute observers will note that Raven has declined to offer a competing explanation and cross examine it on the facts the coherence and the power tests. [his attempted explanation for instance precisely does not address the fact that Mr SH had and used WMDs and was found to have or be developing key components for delivering WMDs such as missiles well beyond the range restricted by the armistice.] Elsewhere he has repeatedly tried to dismiss the discipline imposed by such comparative difficulties inquiry. Guess why . . .
    8] Iraq has a sham government that controls, partially, Baghdad. The rest of country is a patchwork of feuding warlords and religious leaders.
    –> In fact, Iraq has a duly elected constitutionally based Government, in light of a legitimate democratic process, and most of the country is far more stable than the headlined provinces and cities.
    –> It IS a war zone, and the evidence from Mr Al Z’s own body, is that the opposition is in seriously worse shape than the Government. [But if it wins in the world opinions theatre, it can easily win on the ground. An American withdrawal would guarantee just such an outcome.]
    –> Similarly, the notion that the US etc could have safely ignored accelerating broad-spectrum material breach of armistice terms in Iraq without serious consequences, and would have been able to just focus on Afghanistan, is nonsense. Again, it speaks to failure to think through the implications of alternatives in light of the credible situations and forces at work.
    –> A rather imperfect emerging democracy in Iraq would be a massive improvement relative to the consequences of either [1] Mr SH remaining in power and destroying the sanctions that partly contained him, or [2] abandoning the post SH Iraq to the tender mercies of Iran and Al Qaeda.
    –> In this light, too, while indeed there are factions in Pakistan that are doing pretty bad things, and the tribal regions are as usual not really ruled by anyone, the root issue here is to examine what the credible alternatives and their likely consequences are.
    9] rhetoric identical to that of nearly every Arab and Muslim leader in the vicinity. The Hamas charter calls for the elimination of Israel, too. That’s politics.
    –> The point is that Iran is at the nuke threshold, and in the grip of a regime that given its worldview, may well be immune to MAD strategies.
    –> Further to that it is not just politics, it is a unique

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Hi Gordon,

    Powerline is one of the leading of all blogs

    One of my pet peeves is how Powerline (at least John Hinderaker), John Podhoretz, Jonah Goldberg, Debbie Schlussel and an enormous number of commentors on their blogs made the most outrageous and frequently obscene remarks about Jill Carroll (the CSM reporter) when she was still in captivity. They based their judgments (even suggesting she was performing sex acts for her captors) on what a kidnapped person said on videos which she made under duress. It was the most vile, stomach churning display of warped partisan thinking I’ve seen in a long time.

  • Eric & Lisa

    AndyS,
    I don’t read those other blogs you just mentioned but I do read Powerline. I don’t recall them writting anything “outrageous” or “obscene” in regards to Jill Carroll. Perhaps you could provide a link to Powerline to support your claim?

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Gordon,

    Isn’t it important to look beyond the current situation? We (the USA) are bogged down in Iraq indefinitely; same with NATO in Afghanistan and soon in Lebanon as well (at least half the UN forces there coming from NATO members).

    Suppose in the next 6 months we have US airstrikes in Iran (and maybe even Syria for good measure). Sadly, that’s not unlikely. What do you think China, given its need for oil to support a fast growing economy, will do? I doubt they will sit back and watch benignly. The people of Taiwan must be a bit concerned that their US umbrella will disappear. Lebanon and Iraq would become more tenuous. It’s not hard to imagine Chinese support for Iran — and China has a quite real nuclear capability along with lots of conventional military power.

    It really is one unholy mess we Americans have created as a result of our go-it-alone and lead-with-bombs reaction to 911. There is every likelihood of George W Bush going down as not just the worst US President in history, but the one who ensured the 21st century becomes the most violent in history. With nuclear weapons in Israel, Pakistan, India (which is also in need of oil), the possibilities of catistrophic war is perhaps far more real now than during the Cold War. We bomb Iran; China ships them some weapons that really work — they don’t have to nuclear; perhaps Iran uses them to take out a US aircraft carrier. Then what? Would North Korea decide it’s time to push a little south?

    Even Tom Clancey can not spin a scenario more troubling than the real ones the Bush administration is creating. They’ve made the Cuban missle crisis look like a schoolyard tussle. There is so much more in play today than 40+ years ago with just two superpowers and no meaningful regional actors.

  • Chris Lutz

    This is off topic.
    Gordon:
    Similarly, had the US intervened in 1915 instead of 1917, arguably [I am here agreeing with Churchill] the balance in that war would have tipped in good time to probably block the decisive collapses in Russia and Germany that led to the basis for WW 2 and the Cold War, i.e. WW 3.]
    Just because I find the question interesting, I disagree with Chruchill’s assessment. Most likely, an early U.S. intervention would have increased the carnage with little appreciable effect on the land war (the war at sea most likely would have been different). The U.S. actually benefited, I can’t believe I’m going to say this :-), from French training. U.S. troops once they arrived in France were trained by veteran solidiers from French colonial units who had suffered terrible casualties early in the war. The lessons they learned and taught empasized the use of the bayonet and grenades over rifle fire and small unit tactics, much like the German stormtrooper units were trained.
    That doesn’t mean I support an isolationist policy though.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    Interesting developments overnight — and BTW, Hi Andy, good to see you.
    Now, I had a point to observe on overnight, then I think there are several points above that are worth a comment.
    I: OVERNIGHT:
    R: Israel is a nuclear power and can defend itself both conventionally and via MAD. I fully agree that a non-nuclear Iran would be better than the alternative. But starting a major war with Iran to enforce that preference would be a poor tactical and strategic decision at the current time.
    –> First and foremost, Iran has been at war with the world since 1979, when it took up the cudgels of Q9:29 – 31 and 5. In short, the first thing that the US’ citizens must do is soberly assess the fact that they have been facing a coherent, global geostrategic plan since Iran became the first modern Islamist nation. So, to pretend that peace exists with Iran, or even to pretend that the terrorism tactics they have usually used are semi-acceptable is to lose contact with reality.
    –> Second, there must be a realisation of a corollary to Clausewitz’s point that war is the continuation of politics: war exists on a spectrum, and its object is in the end to shift the balance of power between the actors in a given situation. That is why in the 1960’s to 70s, far more militarily powerful western nations crumbled in asymmetric warfare all over the world, e.g. the US in SE Asia [Hint: Since 1945, the West had been facing a coordinated Communist-backed camapign all across that part of the world, with campaigns of note in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, etc.]
    –> In the ongoing war Israel faces, the cluster and balance of asymmetric forces in say the international media/opinion and institutions front may be more important than the open secret that it has nukes and a highly effective conventional military force.
    –> Indeed, that is why it has had a null result in Lebanon, and why it has been handing back territories used for aggression against it in absence of a credible settlement, only to invite the latest tactic: missile and rocket barrages.
    –> Further to this, in UBL’s remarks surrounding his rationale for 9/11, let us note that he intended a decapitation strike, on the assessment that the US was far more vulnerable to a collapse-cascade than was obvious. [And, I simply cannot imagine the credible alternative leadership at that time in the US taking action in response with anything like the vigour of the current administration.]
    –> Finally on this, complaints about vulnerability to foreign oil linked challenges sound hollow coming from those who consistently oppose energy options and alternatives that wold reduce that vulnerability. [For instance, some 80% of electricity in France is nuclear.]
    II: Points overnight:
    1] E&L to AndyS: I do read Powerline. I don’t recall them writting anything “outrageous” or “obscene” in regards to Jill Carroll. Perhaps you could provide a link to Powerline to support your claim?
    –> I have no recall of such disrespectful behaviour towards Ms Carroll either including on the part of JH of PL. Kindly, substantiate.
    2] Andy: Suppose in the next 6 months we have US airstrikes in Iran (and maybe even Syria for good measure). Sadly, that’s not unlikely. What do you think China, given its need for oil to support a fast growing economy, will do? I doubt they will sit back and watch benignly.
    –> First, the more relevant situation for China is the No Ko existing nuke threat and the unfortunately likely outcome at this point: Japan, So Ko, Taiwan and Australia, maybe even Singapore are increasingly likely to go nuke in response to the implied threat, if that situation with the senior member of the axis of evil cannot be contained. That will colour China’s likely response to the junior members of the axis, especially given that China has its own large Muslim population and the Islamists are targetting them too [cf map above].
    –> Second, observe that the Arab countries in the ME are having a very late wake-up call on the subject of Persian domination, what with S Lebanon being already a colony of Iran occupied by whatr is in effect a foreign Legion of division strength with special weapons, of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Lebanon and Syria are plainly already drifting into Iranian orbit, and Iraq is in part fighting to block a similar outcome.
    –> In that context, US air strikes under plain material and accelerating violations of relevant Non-proliferation agreements that buy time for the return to the bargaining table take on a very different colour. [However now that a reactor has been reported as going online, the prospects of air strikes are much lower as the fallout implications are serious — cf Israel’s 1981 selection of the window of time just before the Iraq reactor went live. The Iranians may have already won their nuke race as we speak. The implications of that are sobering.]
    3] It really is one unholy mess we Americans have created as a result of our go-it-alone and lead-with-bombs reaction to 911. There is every likelihood of George W Bush going down as not just the worst US President in history, but the one who ensured the 21st century becomes the most violent in history. With nuclear weapons in Israel, Pakistan, India (which is also in need of oil), the possibilities of catistrophic war is perhaps far more real now than during the Cold War.
    –> First, India has been a nuclear power since 1974, Pakistan since 1998, and Israel since about 1967, so a good part of the implications of your remarks are grossly anachronistic. [Besides, with RATIONAL powers, nukes tend to push conflicts to a lower intensity relative to say WW 2. I have serious questions on the rationality of Iran and No Ko.]
    –> Second, Mr Bush has simply not gone it alone; there is in fact a global coalition tat is confronting Islamism at various levels — which is why there were successes at all, starting with Afghanistan. [Who, in 2000, could have predicted that a US effort, largely staged out of former Soviet bases in central Asia and also through collaboration with the same Pakistan whose ISI was backing the Taliban, would have taken on the Islamists in Afghanistan in retaliation for a major terrorist attack by October 2001?]
    –> Third, when you are confronting a foe in a war that has been ongoing for decades, the best approach is to play your strengths to your enemy’s vulnerabilities. In the US’s case that means inter alia applying air power as the key force multiplier. [Note my observations above that since the advent of nukes in the 1940’s world wars have had a major shift in style, such that there is now no purely military strategy or conflict. I have used the bended word

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: I see I need to explain a bit more: an in large part religiously motivated world-conquest ideology.
    I am not talking of the 90+% [accor to a Saudi Prince’s estimate]of muslims who are so far peaceful but to the 10% or less [~ 120 millions . . . comparable to Germany] who have been radicalised through the militant understanding of their reliionand its documents.
    Unfortunately, they have a lot of history and precedent behind their arguments in the Muslim worlds, and a great many of the 90% are in effect of similar perceptions on the theology of Islam, but are thinking that the balance of power is not favourable to renew Islamist expansion under Q 9:29 ff. Thus, my remarks on the historical observation that it is when Islamic powers have been divided internally and relatively weak that the tide of such expansionism has been in check. [This is similar to A J P Taylor’s remark on the recipe for peace in Europe inthe days of German truculence: keep the Germans divided ad their bneighbours strong. But, having been decisively and undeniably defeated — after WW 1 there was a ‘stab in the back” myth; Germany has now become a good neighbour.]
    I wish the world were different, but it isn’t. That is in part why I seek to serve the Prince of Peace.
    G

  • The Raven

    I seek to serve the Prince of Peace.
    Yeah, but that takes “boots on the ground,” right?

  • giggling

    Gordon:
    I very much enjoyed reading your posts; they were well-thought out and offered much information, in contrast with my own posts which tended simply to take apart lame “arguments” I read, while contributing small bits of positive information where I was qualified. I generally lack knowledge concerning the historical facts relevant to the military aspects of the discussion, and so I appreciated the effort you made to bring them to light. Keep it coming :)
    “Yeah, but that takes ‘boots on the ground,’ right?” -The Raven
    Yawn. Discussed and answered, not that you care.

  • giggling

    On a side note, how do you guys italicize/boldface/hyperlink your font on these comment forms?
    It definitely makes comments easier to read.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    It is pretty obvious that the underlying pattern in this thread as with so many others, sadly, is the gap between media- and/or “education”- driven perceptions and objective reality, especially in light of the epistemological issues tied to abduction/ aka inference to best explanation.
    This reminds me of what happened, several years ago, after my wife (on realising that I was in disagreement with the common view on the then upcoming Y2K) asked me on whether 2000 was the first year of the new millennium or not.
    I pointed out that there was no year of “zero” so the first century ran 1 to 100, and the twentieth therefore ran 1901 to 2000. So, plainly the 21st century, the first of the third Christian Millennium, began Jan 1, 2001. She then observed that if the public, media and even Governments could be so widely and easily misled on and/or unconcerned about accuracy regarding such an in- the- end simple matter of counting, then that speaks volumes for how we can be manipulated and deceived on more difficult matters.
    The observation struck me as deeply insightful then, and that impression remains to this day. We therefore watched the “New Millennium” celebrations with amazement — but of course the kids loved the fireworks display over the Kingston waterfront! [NB: I count myself a lucky — rather, blessed

  • Gordon Mullings

    Forgot:
    Paste is CTRL-V. Cut is CTRL-X,and undo is CTRL-Z, which was responsible for mysterious clippoffs I had problems with for a long time. [These keyboard shortcuts go waaay back to the very early days of microcomputers and usually work in just about all programs.]
    GEM

  • Eric & Lisa

    The Raven wrote;
    I seek to serve the Prince of Peace.
    Yeah, but that takes “boots on the ground,” right?
    This is a misunderstanding of why Christ is the Prince of Peace. Christ has brought us peace not with man but with Him.
    We are at war with God. This is not a war that is over, it was begun the day Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and it continues today. It is only finished in the sense that Christ is victorious, we just don’t know it yet.
    Reading the New Testament in this light helps in a lot of ways to understand the message better. There is a lot of talk of peace in the New Testament, there is also talk of putting on the armor of God, soldiers, etc.
    This is to help those having the message communicated to that it is a message of peace. Not a message of warm fuzzy feelings in the gut, but a message more along the lines of a peace treaty.
    Example such as the one i’m about to give are very poor arguments but hopefully it will help to demonstrate my point.
    God is like an army of a million men with tanks. He faces a nation of but a few hundred men with spears. The few hundred men with spears think themselves superior and able to defeat God’s army. God, having mercy on the few hundred fools who don’t know any better, offers a peace treaty. He will give them over his only son if they will but lay down their weapons and follow Him.
    It is in this way that Christ is the Prince of Peace. He has saved some from destruction. But those fools who think that God has offered up his Son from a position of weakness will surely be destroyed. And it is on that day that there will be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, sad to say.

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: Just for fun, some more of the Mumon “fact-free” stuff from Powerline as it addresses, with the aid of qualified readers, the claimed 2-missile strike on a Land Rover with Reuters Journalists in it in Gaza. This morning’s gem of the day . . .
    I find the retired photo interpreter’s remarks especially interesting:

    The photo of the damage to the roof in the first photo appears to have been caused by some heavy weight (a large stone, piece of concrete, etc.,) impacting the van, and is NOT a missile strike point. The same is true of the second photo and the strike to the rear of the van . . . . A missile explosion, either on the van or inside, would have destroyed the vehicle (remember the photos of car swarms after other Israeli missile attacks? The cars are demolished). Anyone inside would have been shredded to bits in seconds . . . . Finally, the “bloodstains” are also inconsistent with anyone actually being injured. The stains on the outside of the vehicle look more like they were placed there deliberately by hand. There are no bloody handprints, which would be one sign that someone who had been injured leaned against the van for support.
    The photo of the person on the stretcher is the most obviously faked: there is blood on his vest, but his undershirt is spotlessly white. That wouldn’t happen to a truly injured individual. Also, the blood appears to have been thrown onto the vest, and doesn’t seem to be coming from any internal bleeding.
    Just another Reuters Fauxtography and false reporting incident, nothing to see here, move along

    Now, over to you Mumon, on the : PL “Fact-free” zone.
    GEM
    Compare with the stuff over in the MSM on the same subject.

  • Gordon Mullings

    E&L:
    I see your: This is a misunderstanding of why Christ is the Prince of Peace. Christ has brought us peace not with man but with Him.
    Good point, and one I should have commented on.
    I will, starting with: our being at war with God means that we are at war within ourselves and that in turn comes out in how we deal with one another, thence the need for government to enforce justice at levels ranging from family to insitution to community to nation to world.
    My mom is fond of quoting “uncle James” the wise:

    JAS 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
    JAS 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
    JAS 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    Sobering look at human, fallen, sinful reality — all the way up to poisoned prsayers that God does not listen to. [On that one, I cannot but note that there is a rather large number of peole who assert that God never answered their prayers so they don’t believe in him. How many of these have asked whether they prayed in the sort of way that God expects? On observation, rather few.]
    Okay
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    PPS: on the MAD vs MAHDI/12th Imam front, from Washington Times:

    The prospect of Israel “living with” a nuclear Iran appears remote. Last week, Giora Eiland, Israel’s former national security adviser, told reporters that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would “sacrifice half of Iran for the sake of eliminating Israel.”
    Mr. Ahmadinejad “has a religious conviction that Israel’s demise is essential to the restoration of Muslim glory, that the Zionist thorn in the heart of the Islamic nations must be removed,” Mr. Eiland said.

    Sobering thoughts.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    Adding: N Pod’s discussion of the Bush Doctrine will make for a much more informed dicsussion in this thread. I advise his detractors in particular to take time to read carefully, before making further remarks.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    On the look-back front, with special reference to JH’s example. Bat radar.
    GEM

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Gordon Mullings:
    Fact free indeed…

    To my untrained eye, the photos of the vehicle do not appear to depict an armored car that was hit by two missiles…

    IOW, he’s just pulling conjectures from his posterior.
    Which is I guess why he gave himself the monicker “Hindrocket.”

  • giggling

    “IOW, he’s just pulling conjectures from his posterior.” -Mumon
    You seriously believe that two missles hit that truck, or did you not even look at the pictures, which I agree are quite interesting to my untrained eyes?
    Moreover, he’s simply acknowledging humbly the possibility that he may be wrong. Hence the full quote:
    “I don’t have an opinion at this point about whether the claims being made by Reuters’ Palestinian stringers are true. To my untrained eye, the photos of the vehicle do not appear to depict an armored car that was hit by two missiles. The visible hole looks to me like an old, rusted-out tear or gap in the roof. But my knowledge of military ordnance is close to zero; I leave it to others to comment more knowledgeably on the photos than I can.” -PL
    But that just underscores how clearly the truck does not appear to have been hit by two missles.
    Btw, sorry for the excessive bold/italics/hyperlink, I was just testing. Sweeeeeet =D

  • giggling

    Oh, and the UPDATE comments on the bottom of the Powerling blog article include quotes from an ex-US Army Special Forces Vietnam vet and an Air Force Master Sergeant agreeing that the trucks could not possibly have been hit by missiles.
    I doubt anyone would accuse them of pulling conjectures from their posteriors, at least not to their face =D

  • Katie

    We talk so often about the politics behind the war but does anyone put much thought into the people living in these war zones.
    Haifa, which is actually Israel’s 3rd largest city, is a model for the co-existence of Jews and Arabs. Most of Haifa’s residents have remained there even though they are being attacked on a daily basis!
    They are in need of dontaitons to fund specific emergency needs related to the attack Haifa is under…. we must do our part to aid in their survivial efforts.
    I came across the website wwww.haifaemergencycampaign.com and I encourage you to check it out!!!!!

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    giggling:
    Are you still here? I thought I told you to come back when you had a plan for re-deploying the Navy for the infantry that was based on more than Powerpoint slides.
    LOL!

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Eric & Lisa:
    I truly feel sorry for you, but even more so for those who will be the inevitable recipients of such inhumanity and cruelty.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Gordon Mullings:
    Just so you know, I have no intention of responding to most of your bilge. For example, you haven’t a whit of knowledge- not one whit- of information theory.
    Your writing is only good for a drinking game: take one drink whenever you write “selective hyperskepticism” one whenever you make a hyperlink to your disjointed ramblings on your angelfire website, and so forth.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Editor and Publisher Fisks the 101st Keyboarders

    Often, the allegations of bogus photos amounts to nothing more than this: Showing, say, one picture of a badly-damaged car in Lebanon next to another shot of a totally destroyed auto, both said to be hit by Israeli bombs. Aha! Obviously the one that was only badly-damaged must have gotten wrecked in some other way. The possibility that one vehicle suffered a direct hit and the other a glancing blow — or that different Israeli missiles were used — apparently does not occur to these people.

    And theres more:

    But, in general, the serious charges and wacky conspiracy theories against the photographers, and their news organizations, are largely unfounded, and politically driven, while at times raising valid questions, such as what represents “staging.”
    Since my first column, the same blogs are in a tizzy over the “Zombietime” site proving that the July 23 incident, in which two Red Cross ambulances were hit from the air by the Israelis, never happened. Needless to say, there is no such proof, and my favorite line comes near the end when the writer observes “Israel already admitted to carrying out the attack,” adding dryly that this is “an interesting point.”
    Does this stop her? Alas, no. She goes on to assert that “all signs” point to a “clumsy hoax,” complete with ambulances towed from a junk yard and “Red Cross workers feigning minor injuries.” Perhaps the Israeli missiles were fired from the Grassy Knoll.
    In that previous column (which one rightwing blog, with exquisite hypocrisy, labled a “cheap smear”), I briefly mentioned the uproar over comments made by a 23-year-old freelancer in Beirut named Bryan Denton, posted at Lightstalkers.org, a prime site for photojournalists. Denton has placed half a dozen pictures in The New York Times this summer, which would normally discredit him as a source for the rightwing bloggers, since so many of them feel that paper frequently collaborates with Hezbollah in its photo propaganda. But in this case they liked what he’d written, at least initially.

    Repugnant, disgusting right wing nonsense.

  • giggling

    Mumon:
    “Are you still here? I thought I told you to come back when you had a plan for re-deploying the Navy for the infantry that was based on more than Powerpoint slides.
    LOL!” -Mumon
    Well, Mumon, you’re obviously even stupider and more delusional than anyone else thought BECAUSE YOU NEVER ASKED ME FOR A PLAN FOR RE-DEPLOYING THE NAVY.
    You asked Gordon, you sad, sad man. Have you seriously been wondering all this time why I never responded to you? I can picture what that would look like…
    LOL! So much for your caustic attack! And I still don’t see those links to the DailyKos dairies describing Democrat plans for Iran THAT I ACTUALLY DID ASK YOU FOR.
    Welcome back to reality, Mumon.

  • giggling

    Link to a relevant article just posted on National Review Online, citing this article by Stephen Peter Rosen at Harvard on post-proliferation.

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Chris Lutz:
    Moral equivalence.
    I guess I didn’t realize that these were magic words which allow you to dismiss any argument you don’t care to actually address.
    Bottom line is that you claim Islam is “the problem,” but when it is pointed out that religiously-motivated violence is far from unique to Islam, you cry “moral equivalence!” And when it’s pointed out that parts of Christianity also justify extreme violence toward non-believers (not to mention eternal torment) you cry “moral equivalence.”
    So gee, I guess I am missing the point. That Islam is the problem implies that there’s something unique to Islam that fuels this problem. Yet you haven’t bothered to show us what that might be. When I point out similar things in Christianity as evidence against the idea that the problem is unique to Islam, you hide behind “moral equivalence,” which seems awfully convenient.
    Finally, for someone who has repeatedly chided me for cherry-picking scripture in past threads, you sure don’t seem to mind cherry-picking the Qur’an to try to make your intolerant, bigoted “point.”
    Anyways, your whole attitude with the question is not discussion but some sort of Christian slamming exercise.
    Slamming Islam, on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable. I see…
    Your argument is because they are poor and disenfranchised, they are being exploited. Yet, we give them aid and it tends to buy weapons. We help free them from tyrants and they implement sharia.
    Based on this, I guess black people are “the problem,” based on what happened to FEMA aid post-Katrina. Frankly, this might be the most ignorant statement you’ve made here or anywhere. Sometimes people don’t do exactly what we think they should, therefore all of those people are bad and not to be trusted. Oh, and their religion sucks, too, and causes all problems of mankind (but don’t you dare say one bad thing about my religion, or I might cry).
    Just admit that you don’t see any significant moral difference between Islam, Christianity, and probably all or most other religions.
    I can’t decide if you’re really so dense that you’re not getting my argument, or if you’re being intentionally disingenuous and changing the subject. There are plenty of moral differences among major religions. For starters, although there may indeed be one, I’m not aware of any Buddhist-led genocides in modern history. The problem we have here is that you are trying to single out one religion as being “the problem,” and then dismissively waving away any examples of other religions suffering from the same problems as “moral equivalence.” Sorry, chum, it’s not moral equivalence on my part, but religious bigotry on yours, whether or not you choose to see it.
    Really, what I’m trying to get at is why you think all of the bad things that are associated with Islam are Islam’s fault, but none of those same bad things associated with Christianity are Christianity’s fault. That’s basically what you seem to be arguing.
    Historically, Islam has been an aggressive ideology
    I’d point out the exceptionally violent history of Christian expansion, but I suppose that would just be a “moral equivalence” argument. No, no, these things are only a problem when it’s Islam that does it. Pay no attention to that Christian violence behind the curtain. Islam is the problem.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    giggling:
    It wasn’t the translation that was inaccurate. YOU LOOKED UP THE WRONG QUOTATION.
    It was less the specific quotation and more the word in question. Further, it would be interesting to find out whether Muslims consider Gordon’s passage as a “great commission,” or if he just picked the passage and elevated it to that status on his own. Not being a Muslim (and never having been one), I can’t say that the verse is as important to most Muslims as Gordon claims.
    As an aside, you mean to tell me that some stuff in a holy book contradicts other stuff in the same holy book? Say it ain’t so!
    How do you know what would have been? Prove it.
    Not sure how I could prove it to your satisfaction, other than to point out that Kerry repeatedly spoke out against pre-emptive war (whereas Bush advocated it), campaigned for increased internationalism and increased cooperation with the UN (which Bush campaigned against), and called for increased diplomacy (which, especially at the time, Bush disparaged).
    The link you cited doesn’t say what you want it to say.
    Continue reading to the very next comment:

    Second, who said happiness was the official goal in life, or even a worthy goal in life? … Three, is happiness ever promised anywhere in the Bible? There are plenty of promises as far as what will come if you follow Christ — try to find happiness in the list.

    As to your Biblical citations, they certainly show that happiness is possible within Christianity (I never argued that it wasn’t), but they don’t identify happiness as a defining ethic. Happiness is something that may come to the followers of Christ, but the “pursuit of happiness,” a defining objective of our nation, doesn’t have any real importance in scripture.
    As to slavery vs. freedom, I don’t think it’s just that I misunderstand what it means to be a “slave to Christ,” but also that you misunderstand the difference between Christian liberty, as Paul describes it, and the liberty of the Declaration. Freedom for Paul meant freedom from physical oppression, but American freedom is much broader than that. The freedom to be let alone, and the freedom to do as one pleases without fear of retribution. That, to me, is a wee bit different than the freedom to do exactly what God commands.
    Yes, I know the “squiggle” is called a tilde. The fact is that you “assumed” incorrectly (I’m guessing intentionally, to try and score a quick point). Although you may have been ignorant of the “not” meaning.
    Besides that, what other concrete evidence do you actually have that Sada is lying?
    Well, apart from the fact that by his own admission he has no direct knowledge (he claims that he “knows people” who did these things or saw these things), none of his WMD claims have been corroborated at all, by anyone else. And his claims contradict virtually everything we know, our current president, and every major intelligence organization. When you have one guy contradicting essentially the rest of the world, and his “evidence” for his claims amounts to “I know a guy who knows,” I’d say that’s a pretty serious credibility issue.
    Do I have concrete evidence that Sada is lying? No, which is why I said it’s “far more likely” a lie: given the evidence we have, it’s the simplest explanation. (Also, the lie might not be Sada’s. He may simply be repeating a lie which was told to him, and which he bought.)

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    ucfengr:
    Does Ann Coulter really advocate the “stoning of adulteresses”?
    No, just the bombing of the NY Times building, the indiscriminate killing of Muslims, etc.
    do you really mean to imply that he is anywhere near the mainstream of Evangelical thought or theology?
    Quite the contrary. I merely mean to imply that he’s about as close to the mainstream of Evangelical thought as bin Laden is to the mainstream Islamic thought. Given that this thread is densely populated with people who want to blame entire religions for the acts of a relative few, I didn’t see why I shouldn’t be allowed a piece of that action. :)
    the problem is that in your previous statement you implied moral equivalence between Fred Phelps, Ann Coulter, and mainstream Evangelical Christians
    No, the problem is that you misunderstand my argument. When the point being debated is whether or not Islam is uniquely responsible for various problems, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be admissible that the same problems exist (and are disturbingly common) outside of Islam. This isn’t saying that Islam and Christianity are wholly morally equivalent. It is saying that neither is totally innocent, and that neither is totally at fault. One may very well be more guilty than the other(s), but that neither condemns the one nor exonerates the other.
    Let’s face it as bad as Ann can sometimes be, she is no worse than what you might see in a typical Kos or DU post
    I don’t read Kos or DU, and while I don’t doubt there’s some vile stuff from the commenters, I seriously doubt either any of their authors seriously advocated the wholesale killing and/or conversion of an entire religion of people, or the bombing of a major news outlet.
    Gordon:
    Yes, because heaven knows Christianity never advocates against nonbelievers. But of course, I’m probably just citing things out of context, whereas Gordon’s Qur’anic citations no doubt accurately represent the essence of what it means to be a Muslim.
    The Christian faith is realistic that happiness in the conventional sense is not a proper goal of life, but rather its byproduct
    And you believe this distinction to be unimportant?
    I think onlookers can judge for themselves who is a more balanced, factually based, critically aware thinker.
    I’ll gladly accept those terms.
    Second, as I pointed out to B above there is good reason for SH to pass on to Syria his unaccounted for, known to have existed, WMDs stash.
    Yeah, because if he didn’t, we might attack and depose him. Uh, wait a minute… And I know I didn’t just see a self-described conservative argue that a foreign tyrant acted the way he did because he was afraid of the French
    Frankly, I suspect that nothing could convince you that we were wrong about the weapons stockpiles. It would be easy to convince me that I’m wrong: simply produce the weapons, or the remnants thereof, or even any concrete evidence (other than a second- or third-hand say-so) that the weapons were, in fact, moved. In fact, this would be huge news, all over the world’s front pages. Truth is, it’s much easier to believe this ultra-thin conspiracy theory than to admit you were wrong about Iraq’s weapons.
    THAT is the true undiscussed elephant in the middle of the room — the breakdown of responsibility and integrity in news.
    On this, at least, we can agree. The media have run from bad to awful for the better part of the last decade and a half, and they’re only getting worse.
    Of course, I doubt you objected to people bringing up Clinton’s lack of military service (which Clinton did not run on) when that was brought up against him. On second thought, I’m sure you loudly condemned those stories as “just an attempt to smear Clinton and shift the election dynamics.”
    Let us pray for R.
    Yes, I can hardly think of a more rational thing to do.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    Whoops, above should read “never advocates violence against nonbelievers.” Of course, then I’d have to search 30 whole seconds to find a fifth example of the Bible advocating wholesale slaughter.

  • Terence Moeller

    GM: “I think onlookers can judge for themselves who is a more balanced, factually based, critically aware thinker.”
    T: “I’ll gladly accept those terms.”
    As an onlooker it is obvious to me that Gordon is light years ahead of you in every department.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    giggling :
    Actually, I’m quite happy. But I still haven’t seen a plan from you for re-deploying the Navy. And for all I know, you may merely be a pithier, succint avatar of Mullings. Which I guess would be an improvement over a troll with verbal cholera.
    tgirsch:
    Really, what I’m trying to get at is why you think all of the bad things that are associated with Islam are Islam’s fault, but none of those same bad things associated with Christianity are Christianity’s fault. That’s basically what you seem to be arguing.
    Yeah, that bears repeating. It can also be called, “IOKIYAC”: It’s OK if You’re A Christian.

  • Rob Ryan

    “As an onlooker it is obvious to me that Gordon is light years ahead of you in every department.”
    Funny how what is obviously true to one person is laughably false to another. As another onlooker, it is easy for me to see why tgirsch would accept those terms so readily. Needless to say, Terence, my assessment of their relative merits is opposite yours.

  • The Raven

    When it comes to understanding a complex situation, a difficult problem, the standard Western model is analysis – to break the matter into discrete parts, to find analogous examples, to trace the flow of history, and speculate upon the futures that yet may be.
    As we see in this thread, the standard Christian model is somewhat different. In this paradigm, the outcome is a given at the outset:
    – George Bush is always correct
    – The Republican Party is always right
    – The military is always good
    – Rumsfeld is a genius
    – Neocon values are perfect
    – Islam is bad
    – Muslims are evil
    – Jesus will triumph over Iraq
    So any policy, any suggestion, must be forced into this mold, and twisted and bent until it “fits” the preconceived outcome. Hence, Coulter states with assurance that Afghanistan is “going swimmingly,” Hannity claims the economy is “vibrant,” and Cheney proclaims we are “winning” the “war on terror.”
    It’s a simple, black and white view and it’s easy and it feels good. Over on the Christian side, we have good, hardworking CEOs and real estate agents and chamber of commerce leaders and nice white people with perfect hair and straight, white teeth. They make money, God has blessed them, and they must be shown to be good and right.
    On the other side, we have dirty people, atheists, liberals, bad and naughty people who wish liberty to perform acts of license, so anything that opposes them is valid. The poor, after all, are cursed by God and cannot be the object of human sympathy. Pity? Maybe, or just plain scorn.
    The very mechanisms that drive the religious right to spurn science are manifestly evident in this thread to be identical with those that drive Islamist extremism to reject Western modernism. Thus in just the past few weeks we’ve seen Plan B rejected by the Christian right even though it is only contraception and prevents abortion, we’ve seen a federal scholarship for evolutionary biology removed from the schedule of eligibility without explanation – silently and in secret, and we’ve seen manifold examples of climate science supressed, distorted, or outright fabricated in order to protect the cozy illusions of unsupported, blind faith.
    The real battle, I’d posit, is not between Islam and the west, but between rationality and faith. We are coming to a turning point, and each American must decide whether truth is a heartfelt, emotional yearning validated by any means including falsity or an empirical, verifiable result. Should those of us fighting for reason fail, the west will become an imitation of Islam, equally dogmatic, equivalent in its rejection of demonstrable reality.

  • ucfengr

    No, just the bombing of the NY Times building, the indiscriminate killing of Muslims, etc.
    Come on Tom, there is a difference between rhetoric (AC) and action (OBL, etc.). When AC talks about blowing up the NYT, you can be 95% certain that she is speaking rhetorically, when the President of Iran speaks of wiping Israel off the map, you can be 95% certain that he means it.
    Quite the contrary. I merely mean to imply that he’s about as close to the mainstream of Evangelical thought as bin Laden is to the mainstream Islamic thought. Given that this thread is densely populated with people who want to blame entire religions for the acts of a relative few, I didn’t see why I shouldn’t be allowed a piece of that action. :)
    Unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence that OBL is closer to the mainstream of Muslim thought then you would like to admit. A good illustration would be the number of Muslims naming their children Osama vs. the number of Christians naming their kids Fred Phelps. I think you are whistling past the graveyard here.
    No, the problem is that you misunderstand my argument. When the point being debated is whether or not Islam is uniquely responsible for various problems, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be admissible that the same problems exist (and are disturbingly common) outside of Islam. This isn’t saying that Islam and Christianity are wholly morally equivalent. It is saying that neither is totally innocent, and that neither is totally at fault.
    While their are problems within both religions, I don’t think you can compare the threat of the IRA vs. the threat of Al Queda. Al Queda, et. al. desires to destroy the West and Christianity, the IRA does not wish to destroy Britain or Ireland.

  • Terence Moeller

    “Funny how what is obviously true to one person is laughably false to another. As another onlooker, it is easy for me to see why tgirsch would accept those terms so readily. Needless to say, Terence, my assessment of their relative merits is opposite yours.”
    Rob,
    Since you have already acknowledged that you “seldom read”
    Gordon’s posts, you are certainly not in a position to judge whether or not he is a more balanced, factually based, critically aware thinker than his nemesis. If you did take the time to read his posts and the dozens of links that he used to support his arguments (on this thread alone) and compared that to the relative dearth of ANY verifible information provided by his nemesis, I don’t believe that you could not objectively reach that conclusion. As a High School English teacher who gave an assignment to his students to take “any position” on the war and support that position with research and scholarly critical analysis, which of these two would you give the better grade to? Be honest.
    As far as who is the most “balanced” of the two pundits, one needs to look no further than his very first post on this thread to get a taste of what Mr. t’s basic attitude is toward most opposing ideas. . .
    “Allow me to offer you a piping hot mug of STFU.”
    This guy can even use profane acronyms to bash Christians with whom he disagrees, he must be a real paragon of political demagoguery!
    Good grief!

  • Terence Moeller

    #147
    The double negative in the second paragraph of the above post was a typo. I understand that double negatives are a no no.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    ucfengr:
    A good illustration would be the number of Muslims naming their children Osama vs. the number of Christians naming their kids Fred Phelps. I think you are whistling past the graveyard here.
    Aside from the fact that Osama is, in fact, a fairly common Arab name, I would imagine that a lot of folks in the Arab world are righteously peeved at, like, being exploited and all that.
    Believe it or not, most of ‘em haven’t benefitted from oil wealth, regardless of whether their particular tyranny was friends with the West or not, which was directly the place where these made-up countries were made up in the first place following WWII, following the collapse of the Turkish empire.
    Also believe it or not, they’ve felt kind of thwarted in this: knowing they are every bit as smart or smarter than the folks in the West, who’ve denied them time and time again any role on the world stage, because, after all, that might raise oil prices.
    No, they don’t hate us for our freedom; they hate us for our imperialism.
    I know, I know, that doesn’t comport with what you’ve heard on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or whatever your source of propaganda is. But trust me, the trajectory of this empire is like every other, and no Jesus or any other deity will alter the outcome one iota. The best we can do at this point is to mindfully plan for our post-empire stage. Or we – and I guess that excludes the 101st Keyboarders who are too patriotic to shed blood for their country- can go over the cliff like crazed lemmings.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    where these made-up countries were made up in the first place following WWII…
    My bad, that should say WWI.

  • Terence Moeller

    As a TV news stringer/ correspondent, I took an interest in Gordon’s reference to fauxtography. The example cited from Powerline was certainly not the best and the article below only touches the tip of the iceberg, but I agree with him that most people, have a “media-driven perception” of the world and that perception is routinely being manipulated.
    Every week I have an opportunity to influence hundreds of thousands of people in exactly what they see and hear on the news. In that I decide what is shot and what questions are, or are not asked, not to mention who answers them. (That is for 4 stations). As a conservative I give special deference to most liberal causes on this island because I support most of them and admire their efforts to curb expansion and protect the enviroment, etc. All that to say that neither the international news organizations, nor the terrorists that they cover are so benign. They manipulate the news daily and if you never read conservative blogs you would be completley unaware of it. You might even agree with one of our commenters that “fake but accurate” was a defenseable position.
    By David Frum
    Posted: Monday, August 28, 2006
    ARTICLES
    National Post (Canada)
    Publication Date: August 26, 2006
    Perhaps you saw the images in your newspaper or on television:
    Resident Fellow David Frum
    “A Lebanese man counts U.S dollar bills received from Hizbollah members in a school in Bourj el-Barajneh, a southern suburb of Beirut, August 19, 2006. Hizbollah handed out bundles of cash on Friday to people whose homes were wrecked by Israeli bombing, consolidating the Iranian-backed group’s support among Lebanon’s Shiites and embarrassing the Beirut government. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (LEBANON)”
    This scene and dozens more like it flashed around the planet. Only one thing was missing–the thin wire security strip that runs from top to bottom of a genuine US$100 bill. The money Hezbollah was passing was counterfeit, as should have been evident to anybody who studied the photographs with due care.
    Care was due because of Hezbollah’s history of counterfeiting: In June, 2004, the U.S. Department of the Treasury publicly cited Hezbollah as one of the planet’s leading forgers of U.S. currency.
    But this knowledge was disregarded by the news organizations who queued up to publicize Hezbollah’s pseudo-philanthropy. The passing of counterfeit bills was detected not by the reporters and photographers on the spot, but by bloggers thousands of miles away: SnappedShots.com, MyPetJawa and Charles Johnson’s Little Green Footballs. These sites magnified photographs and showed them to currency experts and detected irregularity after irregularity in the bills. (Links to all the sites mentioned here can be found at frum.nationalreview.com)
    Maybe it’s too much to expect journalists to be currency experts. But one does expect them to be able to detect a manipulated photograph, especially a crudely manipulated one. Yet it was again Charles Johnson–who is a professional musician by the way–and not a news editor, who caught Reuters distributing faked photographs by its now infamous Lebanese staff photographer, Adnan Hajj.
    Hajj used Photoshop software to make fires in Lebanese cities look larger than they were and to transform photos of Israeli signal flares into apparent images of missiles in full flight. For this and other faked pictures, Hajj was fired and Reuters removed almost a thousand of his photographs from its archive.
    But the scandal of Lebanese war coverage only begins with Hajj; it does not end there–nowhere close.
    In July, respected news organizations like AP, the BBC, Time Magazine, ITN, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and thousands of others broadcast the shocking news that Israeli forces had fired missiles at two clearly marked Red Cross ambulances, igniting intense fires that injured their passengers. Accompanying photographs and then later footage taken by somebody described as a “local cameraman” showed a badly damaged ambulance with a hole in the dead centre of the roof.
    Yet as the blogger Zombietime.com has demonstrated, the whole story is a crude hoax. Photographs of the ambulances in question show no signs of blast or burn. Nor was there any damage to the floor of the ambulance–as one would expect if a missile had smashed through the roof. The badly “wounded” and heavily bandaged ambulance driver who appeared in the stories resurfaced in other news footage six days later without so much as a scratch upon him. The hole in the roof was not only perfectly round, but it matched exactly the size and placement of the ambulance’s missing siren. The siren must have been removed some time before, because the edge of the hole was corroded by rust.
    Although journalists were not allowed to inspect the ambulances themselves–and had to rely on images supplied by Hezbollah–and although the ambulance drivers’ stories changed and changed again, becoming more dramatic with each retelling, every single Western reporter who covered the story accepted it as unquestioned fact.
    So are reporters just gullible? The most troubling of all the blog reports, this posted at EUReferendum.com, strongly suggests a more disturbing explanation.
    The authors of the EUReferendum blog painstakingly studied all the available photographic evidence of the damage done by the Israeli bombing of a Hezbollah compound near the village of Qana on July 30. According to many press reports, the Israeli bombs struck a three-storey building, trapping civilians and childrens in the rubble. The toll was estimated at some 60 people, later reduced to 28. The photographs and television footage from this sad scene became some of the most famous footage of the whole Lebanon war.
    At the EUReferendum site, you can see over many Web pages a compilation of evidence that proves beyond all reasonable doubt that the images from Qana were not merely staged–but staged with the active knowledge and complicity of the Western journalists on the scene.
    Scenes were enacted and re-enacted; dead bodies were carried from point to point and then back again; Hezbollah spokesmen chatted on cellphones when they believed the cameras were turned away from them–and then erupted in tears and anguish when they believed the cameras had turned on again.
    How to account for this massive distortion? Yesterday, Annia Ciezadlo detailed in these pages Hezbollah’s attempts to deceive the press. But why is the press so horribly susceptible to manipulation? Anti-Israel ideology plays its part. So too must competitive zeal. Photo-journalists want to win prizes–and news organizations want scoops: If that means hiring local Hezbollah sympathizers to carry cameras where more objective journalists are forbidden to go, that is a price that news organizations will too often pay.
    Finally, let’s not underestimate the power of fear: Hezbollah is the terrorist organization that held the AP reporter Terry Anderson hostage in Lebanon for six years. As the stories of Jill Caroll of the Christian Science Monitor, Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig of Fox News, and of course Daniel Pearl remind us, Middle Eastern terrorist groups do not scruple to seize and murder journalists.

  • ucfengr

    I would imagine that a lot of folks in the Arab world are righteously peeved at, like, being exploited and all that.
    I’m trying to imagine what a non-exploited Middle Eastern country would look like, I can’t imagine it would be a nice place to live (probably a lot like Taliban controlled Afghanistan). Yes, all that oil wealth does by nice palaces and cars for the Saudi and Kuwaiti princes, but it also buys water de-salination plants and power plants so that the average Arab/Kuwaiti can drink clean water while watching Al-Jazera.
    Also believe it or not, they’ve felt kind of thwarted in this: knowing they are every bit as smart or smarter than the folks in the West, who’ve denied them time and time again any role on the world stage,
    This looks more than a little like “projection” to me. Poor mumon, so smart and wise but denied a larger role on the world stage by unseen forces who can’t handle the way he speaks truth to power. Shine on you crazy diamond.
    No, they don’t hate us for our freedom; they hate us for our imperialism.
    Of course this ignores the imperialistic origins of Islam. Islam reminds me a little of the Enron employees who where most mad about the fact that the bigshots like Skilling and Lay were able to sell out at the top, but they weren’t. Islam is mad not because we are imperialists, but because they aren’t.
    I know, I know, that doesn’t comport with what you’ve heard on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or whatever your source of propaganda is.
    You really give the game away here. Maybe a dictionary would help, fact is not generally defined as that which supports mumon’s worldview and propaganda as that which does not.

  • Chris Lutz

    So gee, I guess I am missing the point. That Islam is the problem implies that there’s something unique to Islam that fuels this problem. Yet you haven’t bothered to show us what that might be. When I point out similar things in Christianity as evidence against the idea that the problem is unique to Islam, you hide behind “moral equivalence,” which seems awfully convenient.
    Yes, my point is that in it’s religious teachings Islam does justify violent behavior. Christianity, in it’s religious texts, does not justify killing the infidel and then proceed to explain how to properly divide the spoils. For Jews, the OT does contain sanctioned violence. However, that violence is limited in time and scope. Never are the Jews ordered to make the whole world submit to God.
    Your arguments have been morally equivalent and simplistic. Basically, they have devolved down to “Christians have been violent, therefore Christianity is a violent belief system (and see the verses prove it). Since Christianity has violence in it’s religious texts, it is the same as Islam. Thus, the cause of the violence must be economics and lack of freedom.” Now, you claim that you do not see Islam and Christianity as morally equivalent yet every argument I’ve made about Islam has not received a reply about Islam itself. Instead, every reply has been about how Christianity is the same. In the end, almost your every reply is based on your apparent belief in the moral equivalence of the two religions.
    Slamming Islam, on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable. I see…
    I have only pointed out what Islam says. If you want to point out where I am wrong instead of playing the “He does it too!” game, let me know.
    Look at what you posted earlier:
    You could start by telling me where liberty and happiness are ever extolled in scripture as Christian virtues. And I’m not talking about the dashing-the-little-ones-against-the-rocks sort of happiness, either. We are told to make ourselves slaves to Christ — becoming a slave and liberty are, in my estimation, mutually exclusive.
    First, in general, what you were wanting to discuss was off topic and I told you I would just agree to disagree. Specifically, what does the child part have to do with the rest of the statement? It has nothing to do with the statement and is designed to continue to lead the discussion off point and is meant as an obvious slam against Christianity.
    Finally, for someone who has repeatedly chided me for cherry-picking scripture in past threads, you sure don’t seem to mind cherry-picking the Qur’an to try to make your intolerant, bigoted “point.”
    If you want to get into a complete discussion of chapter 9 of the Koran, we can. However, it will only further prove the point that it is an open ended call to war against non-Muslims. I know that the verse is not out of context and will gladly defend that position. In the past though, you have been known to take verses obviously out of context and I pointed out how it was out of context.
    Sometimes people don’t do exactly what we think they should, therefore all of those people are bad and not to be trusted. Oh, and their religion sucks, too, and causes all problems of mankind (but don’t you dare say one bad thing about my religion, or I might cry).
    What are you saying here? While I do think Islam is a poor religion, I don’t think Muslims are any less human. However, considering what their religion says and past actions, we need think beyond the “Islam is a religion of peace” and “All religions are essentially the same” platitudes.
    Since I come to this board and put up with quite a bit of anti-Christianity drivel, your taunt is sad. This is school yard antics level.
    For starters, although there may indeed be one, I’m not aware of any Buddhist-led genocides in modern history.
    Again, the point isn’t whether the adherents of religion X commit Y crimes. People being people, will always have someone committing Y crime and some will use their religion to justify it. The question is, does religion X actually justify the action?
    So what religions say you should subjugate the whole world? Buddhism, probably no. Probably the same for Hinduism and definitely (just because I know it better) no for Christianity. Therefore, a believer in one of those religions does not start out as a potential threat. The question is if Islam claims to want to subjugate the world. If it does, then by default, any believer in Islam is a potential threat.
    Really, what I’m trying to get at is why you think all of the bad things that are associated with Islam are Islam’s fault, but none of those same bad things associated with Christianity are Christianity’s fault. That’s basically what you seem to be arguing.
    I believe that because it is what Islam, their religion, tells them to do.
    I’d point out the exceptionally violent history of Christian expansion, but I suppose that would just be a “moral equivalence” argument. No, no, these things are only a problem when it’s Islam that does it. Pay no attention to that Christian violence behind the curtain. Islam is the problem.
    Again, I haven’t denied that Christianity has been violent at times. The question is was that violence based on Christian beliefs? Is Muslim violence based on Islamic beliefs?

  • http://www.serenataflowers.com/ Brenda

    Terrorism is not, first of all, a fact, but a consequence. That’s why people should consider their deeds before doing them and with the thought that after birth, death is the major event in our life.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    I see, sadly, that Mumon immediately reveals the superficiality with which he has handled evidence and issues in this blog
    I will first of all comment on his response to a case in point as it is so telling on the failure to observe obvious facts or to address their import.
    1: Mumon’s: “Fact free indeed…”
    –> Let us take this case up a step at a time:

    a] Mumon evidently fails to understand that photographs are in themselves facts, and that we har Mr Hinderaker — Mumon’s perverted sexual twist to another man’s name is itself telling too — was being RESPONSIBLE in observing his suspicions but pointing out that he had no technical basis for commenting decisively on the matter. So he invited comment from the knowledgeable, as Giggling aptly pointed out: I leave it to others to comment more knowledgeably on the photos than I can.
    b] Now, one of the key points of blogs is that knowledgeable readers comment [as here at EO], and if Mumon had taken time to look at all the material facts, he would have seen that the cite I made yesterday was from just such a knowledgeable reader, as in:

    FURTHER UPDATE: Still no one willing to defend Reuters’ claim. Meanwhile, many more readers have expressed skepticism. Mike Weatherford writes:
    I am a retired Air Force Master Sergeant. I retired after 26 years’ service in 1991. Before that, I spent more than 20 years as an imagery analyst – one of the people that looked at and interpreted satellite, tactical, and strategic reconnaissance imagery for the Air Force. I was VERY good at my job, as the string of outstanding performance reports and five Air Force Commendation Medals attests . . . . [the remarks I excerpted yesterday follow]

    c] Had Mumon actually read my note yesterday, he would have noted how I began: “I find the retired photo interpreter’s remarks especially interesting . . . “
    d] To wit:

    The photo of the damage to the roof in the first photo appears to have been caused by some heavy weight (a large stone, piece of concrete, etc.,) impacting the van, and is NOT a missile strike point. The same is true of the second photo and the strike to the rear of the van . . . . A missile explosion, either on the van or inside, would have destroyed the vehicle (remember the photos of car swarms after other Israeli missile attacks? The cars are demolished). Anyone inside would have been shredded to bits in seconds . . . . Finally, the “bloodstains” are also inconsistent with anyone actually being injured. The stains on the outside of the vehicle look more like they were placed there deliberately by hand. There are no bloody handprints, which would be one sign that someone who had been injured leaned against the van for support.
    The photo of the person on the stretcher is the most obviously faked: there is blood on his vest, but his undershirt is spotlessly white. That wouldn’t happen to a truly injured individual. Also, the blood appears to have been thrown onto the vest, and doesn’t seem to be coming from any internal bleeding.
    Just another Reuters Fauxtography and false reporting incident, nothing to see here, move along . . .

    e] So, what part of “retired photo interpreter” — who took a look on the facts presented by Mr Hinderaker with due caution and rendered his own technically capable judgement — is it that Mumon cannot understand?
    f] Further to this, the retired photo interpreter did not just assert his pontifications, he helped us see the photos with an instructed eye, refferring to the key points that make it grossly unlikely that this is anything more than the now all-too-usual fauxtography produced by Pallywood and/or Heswood productions for the consumption of the gullible mainstream media and their all-too-eager audience. NOTICE THAT MUMON UTTERLY FAILS TO ENGAGE ANY OF THESE FACTS AND OBSERVATIONS.
    g] Observe too that JH goes on to further discussion as other experts weigh in. Cf. my last point below.

    –> That brings us to a serious, and sobering issue: What does this pattern tell us, given that humility and accuracy are habits of mind, and so are carelessness, arrogance and deceit?
    –> Also, I simply observe to onlookers that I have relevant and appropriate qualifications to comment on the issues I have raised in my personal reference web site, including the points where the issues of inference to design come up in the parallel contexts electromagnetic or even textual/alphabetic signals and molecular ones. [Note that SETI is a field of research that is published in peer reviewed literature and addresses the hoped for detection of just such functionally specified, complex information as a basis for inferring to intelligent source.] Mumon, to date has yet to do anything more than dismiss issues and attack the man.
    –> BTW further, the Editor and Publisher article has itself been duly and properly dissected. Note in particular that he two cases I have cited have been given in substantial details, and in the case of Reuters, after Mr Johnson of LGF addressed the obvious and sloppy photoshopping intended to give the false impression that Beirut was going up in smoke, the news agency has had to withdraw the works of the phtgrapher in question. The more recent case, I have discussed above.
    –> Mumon, PLEASE reflect on what you have again inadvertently revealed about yourself and amend your ways.
    II. Now, on other points of note:
    1] Giggling: YOU NEVER ASKED ME FOR A PLAN FOR RE-DEPLOYING THE NAVY. You asked Gordon . . .
    –> I seem to have missed this one. I assume that the navy in question is the USN, in the here and now [as I discussed an alternative to the pre-1916 situation above in response to CL]
    –> The component of the USN — If they have not been given full independent status [I do not know o this] — that is on the ground in Iraq is of course the US Marines, is it some 1/5 of the troops? I defer to the Pentagon in the department of why they are deploying specialist assault naval infantry in Iraq.
    –> Onlookers will observe that I spoke to the issue that Iraq is a combat zone where Iran and Al Qaeda have engaged the forces of the West, and have taken — by Al Z’s own admission — a pasting. They are hoping for a victory over the West by media, and so are hanging on. In that context, Raven’s ideas about pulling back to Kuwait and sending in helicopter gunships simply fails to address the real situation, would hand initiative and balance of combat power over to the enemy, and would revert to a strategy that was tried in the 12 years of the armistice and which led to renewal of major hostilities in light of persistent and accelerating material breach of armistice terms. It would predictably fail.
    –> The current course of fighting in Iraq and thus attrition of the Islamists, whilst supporting the emergence of even an imperfect but credibly sustainable democracy in Iraq able to defend itself [with some assistance] is far more likely to succeed. Look at the precedents in Korea, Germany and Taiwan.
    –> Why does Mumon want to redeploy away from the major field of battle, next door to the geostrategic heartland of the Islamists since 1979?
    –> Footnote: G’s two linked articles are a sobering read.
    2] TG to CL: when it is pointed out that religiously-motivated violence is far from unique to Islam, you cry “moral equivalence!” . . . . That Islam is the problem implies that there’s something unique to Islam that fuels this problem. Yet you haven’t bothered to show us what that might be.
    –> First, this aptly illustrates the fallacy of [im]moral equivalency. For, there is exactly one global, religiously motivated world-conquest ideology that is on a geostrategic offensive afoot today. The attempt to point from that to the sins [present and past] of others is an attempt to divert attention from what must come first, and to paralyse urgently required action through turnabout accusations.
    –> Second, observers can easily see that CL does not need to present the justification, as that is in the long since linked Map by the World Islamic Mission’s Research Dept and the Muslim Brotherhood 1982 world plan, as well as in the telling contrast between the Great Commissions in Matt 28:18 – 20 and Q 9:29 – 31 and 5, all of which were linked or cited by the undersigned. Besides, the further justification is all over our headlines, since 1979 when Islamism gained geostrategic significance with the Iranian revolution.
    3] for someone who has repeatedly chided me for cherry-picking scripture in past threads, you sure don’t seem to mind cherry-picking the Qur’an to try to make your intolerant, bigoted “point.” . . . . The problem we have here is that you are trying to single out one religion as being “the problem,” and then dismissively waving away any examples of other religions suffering from the same problems as “moral equivalence.”
    –> Again, TG studiously avoids addressing the person who actually introduced the evidence, namely the undersigned.
    –> TG, kindly review the discussion of the 164 sword-verses of the Quran and supportive material in the #2 collection of Muslim holy literature, the Hadiths, here and here, then come back to us on the notion that what is just about the last Surah of the Quran [it is not in chronological order], which in light of the Islamic concept of Abrogation therefore takes precedence over the softer Surahs and ayas of the earlier Meccan period is being “cherry-picked.” [Note in particular p.10 of the just linked work on abrogation: The Sword Verse (S 9 V. 5) occurs so frequently as an Abrogating Verse that it is quoted in full the first time only, afterwards giving the reference to it, without text . . . . [Since the Sword Verse, which is mentioned in Sura 9:5, abrogates many of the Qur’anic verses, we will cite this verse the first time, then we put the words “Sword Verse” instead, to avoid redundancy.
    –> I note as well that so far you have not pulled back your ill-informed and mis-addressed accusation [I cited 9:29 – 31, you quoted an inept attempt to address aya 5] over the weekend of mistranslation, which I addressed by citing the three main English translations, all of which tell the same story.
    –> I have in this general context occasion to repeat that we must note that the NT and Gospels are exactly in the opposite tone, and that the past morality challenges faced by those operating under the banners of “Christendom” and have indisputably undertaken mass violence and aggression have been in defiance of the Scriptures, not under their instructions. Indeed, the literature that in large part led to the breaking of the notion that aggressive war and tyranny were appropriate prerogatives of Kings was precisely the biblical literature of the Reformation, starting with most notably Vindiciae in 1579 and the immediately following Dutch DOI of 1581, which enshrines the principle of religious liberty.
    –> Onlookers should note just how insistently Raven, TG and others refuse to seriously interact with the evidence I have for many months repeatedly supplied to this blog on the material contribution of biblically influenced thought and action to the rise of modern liberty.
    –> In that light, the attacks on CL for alleged one-sided bigotry and cherry-picking are all too revealing of their own one-sidedness and bigotry against the reformed Christian faith. Further tot his, in the light of the arguments and example provided by the success of that initiative, the Roman Catholic church underwent its own reformation relative to the matter of liberty and democracy, and is now a great champion of liberty.
    –> So, could Mr Girsch kindly provide evidence of Christians, acting out of the NT, in exegetically defensible light of say even 50 verses therein, or even 5, or even 1, and conducting a geostrategic campaign of conquest in the current era? [If he cannot, he owes some big apologies.]
    4] I’d point out the exceptionally violent history of Christian expansion, but I suppose that would just be a “moral equivalence” argument.
    –> Massive distortion of the relevant history and sources of behaviour. Again, it was precisely the printing and translation of the Bible into the vernacular that led to the liberation struggles that tamed the native and intense aggression of Western Cultures ever since Pagan times.
    –> In short, it is through ignorance and/or defiance of the biblical teachings that Western powers have proceeded in aggression, and it is in material part through the reforming impact of those said scriptures that this has been tamed to a large extent.
    –> Further to this, Mr Girsch should kindly explain how the expansion in question earns the title Capital-C “Christian.”
    –> Now, in fact, there IS a “sword verse” in the NT, which is in Rom 13:4 as I have cited. That is, rulers hold the sword as God’s agents to do the citizenry good, and particularly in defence of justice and to restrain or resist evildoers. The contrast of this sword verse which addresses the duty of rulers [in the context of advising us on citizenship and paying taxes, to Christians living under Nero — admittedly in the days before he overthrew Seneca and went mad – no less] to those cited for Islam is as telling as we can get.
    5] It was less the specific quotation and more the word in question. Further, it would be interesting to find out whether Muslims consider Gordon’s passage as a “great commission,” or if he just picked the passage and elevated it to that status on his own.
    –> Let’s go back to the verse in question, Q 9:29 specifically, and use the fact that TG’s reference is to a defence of the claim that “the word” is about COMBAT:

  • Gordon Mullings

    NB: Since it came up again:
    And I’m not talking about the dashing-the-little-ones-against-the-rocks sort of happiness, either
    . . . is in the context of a lament on the captivity and oppression of Judah by Babylon, and the anguished JEWISH commenter there says that Babylon’s turn is coming in which the one who does that to her children will be happy. [Ps 137:1 – 9.]
    Is this an endorsement of violence by Judaism, much less the Christian faith?
    Much less, is such behaviour ever presented as the Christian road to happiness?
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: Ms Glick’s remarks — again HT the ever-on-the-ball PL — on context and details are to be borne in mind on this developing story.
    Especially telling is her observation — as the publisher of the Jerusalem post newspaper — on just who is doing he real newsman’s job here:

    I did not see these pictures in the media coverage of the purported IDF attack on the Reuters and Iranian cameramen. I saw them on Powerlineblog Web site. I did not see any questions raised from either the Israeli or the international media on the veracity of Shana’s tale, which of course, provides a nice balance to the Centanni-Wiig hostage story.
    AS IS the case with the Palestinian war against Israel, one of the most notable aspects of Hizbullah’s latest campaign against Israel has been the active collaboration of news organizations and international NGO’s in Hizbullah’s information war against Israel. Like their rogue state sponsors, subversive sub-national groups like Hizbullah, Fatah and Hamas, see information operations as an integral part of their war for the annihilation of Israel and defeat of the West. And their information operations are more advanced than any the world has seen. As becomes more evident with each passing day, they have successfully corrupted both the world media and the community of NGOs that purportedly operate in a neutral manner in war zones.
    It is not a coincidence that I saw the pictures of the Reuters’ vehicle on Powerline and not in the media coverage of the purported attack. Both the global media and the international NGO community abjectly refuse to investigate themselves. As democratic governments and their militaries have proven incapable of dealing with the phenomenon (in part because they seek to curry favor with the media and the international NGO community), the blogosphere has taken upon itself the role of media watchdog.

    Here, I note in passing that over this weekend, I had reason to contribute to the expose of an utterly indefensible column in a major regional newspaper where a columnist was taken in by the exact pattern of Pally-/Hez-wood propaganda here denounced. [Note the apology. A lot of people are being taken in by this stuff, and it is patently largely based on lies.]
    +++++++++
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’MM: Note to TG et al: is this another case in point on the Islamist view of their commission under the sword verses?
    GEM

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    One of the more effective ways of dealing with trolls that has evolved on Kos (prior to the evolution of Trusted Users who can troll-rate comments into oblivion) has been the posting of recipies; in fact, there is a whole section of the website devoted to the recipies that Kossacks have shared (and made to great gastronimcal effect!) to identify and defuse a troll.
    I’d do it here, but it’s Carter’s site, and evidently, as long as the troll’s religiously correct, IOKIYAC, I guess.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    ucfengr:
    Poor mumon, so smart and wise but denied a larger role on the world stage by unseen forces who can’t handle the way he speaks truth to power.
    Actually, you’d be surprised how well connected I am.
    Just not to necons, and frankly, who’d want to be?

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Terence:
    As an onlooker it is obvious to me that Gordon is light years ahead of you in every department.
    Based on our previous discussions, where you were unable to accept the conclusions pointed to by information that you yourself had posted, I’m not sure you exactly qualify as an unbiased observer.
    This guy can even use profane acronyms to bash Christians with whom he disagrees
    Actually, I use them against anyone who accuses me (and pretty much everyone who thinks like me) of blindly supporting or opposing actions irrespective of merit. The accuser need not be a Christian. And for the record, it was not an acronym (which must be pronounced as a word), but an abbreviation; and while it may well have been offensive or perhaps even obscene, it was decidedly not profane.
    Rob Ryan:
    As Bartles & James used to say, “Thank you for your support.” :)
    Raven:
    The real battle, I’d posit, is not between Islam and the west, but between rationality and faith.
    I agree.
    ucfengr:
    When AC talks about blowing up the NYT, you can be 95% certain that she is speaking rhetorically
    Honestly, with Coulter, I’m not anywhere near that certain. I don’t seriously think she’d ever act on it, but that’s not really the point. Both Coulter and bin Laden are long on rhetoric. What differentiates the two of them is that there are a lot of people out there who are willing to act on bin Laden’s rhetoric, and their religion is only part of the puzzle as to why. That Coulter’s rhetoric thankfully goes unacted-upon doesn’t make it any less vile.
    Unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence that OBL is closer to the mainstream of Muslim thought then you would like to admit.
    Bin Laden’s support within Islam is doubtless wider than Phelps’ is within Christianity, but I think it still falls well short of “mainstream.” And I suspect the reasons for that support have a lot to do with ignorance — just as ignorance has a lot to do with the support Phelps gets. It’s just that ignorance is more widespread (on a myriad of issues) across the middle east.
    I don’t think you can compare the threat of the IRA vs. the threat of Al Queda.
    I don’t really think I have to in order to make my point. What you seem to be arguing is that if two things are anything other than morally equivalent, there can be no comparison at all between them, and any similarities can be completely discounted. Though the objectives of, say, the IRA and al-Qaeda are/were markedly different, the tactics used are often remarkably similar.
    Al Queda, et. al. desires to destroy the West and Christianity, the IRA does not wish to destroy Britain or Ireland.
    True, but I suspect that a lot of al-Qaeda’s support (I’d argue the majority of it) comes from folks with less grandiose objectives. Most of them simply want to be left alone, and blame the meddling of the West for their plight (not an entirely unsubstantiated accusation, by the way). It wouldn’t be the first time an extremist ideologue whipped up fervor among a much-less-extreme population, and I don’t expect it will be the last.
    Say, for example, a country was just attacked by terrorists. Say, further, that this country’s leadership had eyes on a grand scheme of remaking an entire region through military force. Suppose this leadership then exploited the legitimate fear and frustration among the nation’s populace as a result of the attacks to convince them that the grand scheme was necessary in order to prevent further attacks. This is all purely hypothetical, of course, but I suspect that a large percentage of the population would get behind the grand scheme in ways that they wouldn’t if they knew the extent to which the grand scheme and the attacks were unrelated. Leaders take advantage of such ignorance all the time, as recent history repeatedly illustrates.
    Otherwise, what Mumon said.
    Of course this ignores the imperialistic origins of Islam.
    Who’s arguing moral equivalence now? :)

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers
    Joe recently published a series on how Neo-Darwinism supporters inadvertently hurt the case they wish to make, by the rhetorical tactics they choose to use.
    A glance at this thread will easily show how that pattern of distractions, unsupported assertions and assumptions and attacks to the man extend to this thread on the part of those who are atrtempting to discredit the basic issues that Islamism is a serious geostrategic theat, and should be seriously tackled on a realistic basis.
    Today’s posts by Mumon and tgirsch inlight of the exchanges of the past several days, abundantly show the point.
    Well did the ancients warn of such: whom the gods would destroy, first they rob of the power of reason.
    +++++++++++
    Grace, open our eyes
    GEM

  • ucfengr

    I don’t really think I have to in order to make my point. What you seem to be arguing is that if two things are anything other than morally equivalent, there can be no comparison at all between them, and any similarities can be completely discounted. Though the objectives of, say, the IRA and al-Qaeda are/were markedly different, the tactics used are often remarkably similar.
    Part of the problem is I conceded the point that the IRA was a religious organization, and on further reflection it really isn’t. The IRA is a nationalist organization, not religious. Their purpose was always to create an Irish nation independent from Great Britain, never to establish papal rule from Rome. OBL, et. al. have always maintained a larger goal of establishing a world wide Caliphate and imposing Sharia. There really is no Christian equivalent to Al Queda, Hamas, or Hezbollah, even the Crusaders where a response to Muslim expansion, not an example of Christian expansion. Keep in mind that much of the Middle East was Christian prior to the imposition of Islam by the sword. Once that prop is gone, the rest of your fear of “religious fundementalism” collapses into mere anti-religious bigotry.

  • Gordon Mullings

    For any interested: here is HotAir’s take on the Reuters vehicle case, with input from yet another apparent expert.
    GEM

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Gordon:
    For, there is exactly one global, religiously motivated world-conquest ideology that is on a geostrategic offensive afoot today.
    Your saying so doesn’t make it true. And if I’m guilty of “[im]moral equivalence” in pointing out that Christianity has been guilty of the same crimes, then Lutz is at least as guilty of it in holding the actions of a relative few against the entirety of the religion.
    I note as well that so far you have not pulled back your ill-informed and mis-addressed accusation
    Consider it retracted. I did indeed have the incorrect verse. But it wouldn’t make any difference anyway.
    So, could Mr Girsch kindly provide evidence of Christians, acting out of the NT, in exegetically defensible light of say even 50 verses therein, or even 5, or even 1, and conducting a geostrategic campaign of conquest in the current era?
    Gee, that’s an awful lot of qualifications you’ve put on that. Gee, I wonder why. First, if the OT is exempt from consideration, then why is it often cited to condemn various perceived ills of society? Indeed, why is it even included in scripture at all if we can ignore it when convenient, as you suggest we do here?
    As to Christian-inspired violence and genocide, I need look no further than Hitler. Or perhaps that doesn’t pass your “modern era” qualification.
    In short, it is through ignorance and/or defiance of the biblical teachings that Western powers have proceeded in aggression, and it is in material part through the reforming impact of those said scriptures that this has been tamed to a large extent.
    Too bad you won’t give Islam this same benefit of the doubt, despite the fact that your religion has about a 750 year head start on theirs.
    Further to this, Mr Girsch should kindly explain how the expansion in question earns the title Capital-C “Christian.”
    I virtually always capitalize the term, because that’s how I see self-described Christians doing it. (It’s laziness or sloppiness if I don’t, certainly nothing intentional about it.) Perhaps you can clarify when I should use christian vs. Christian.
    Thus, plainly his remarks are irresponsible and at best in willful ignorance of the truth.
    Quoth the kettle unto the pot.
    Of course, reading between the lines, the implicit agenda there is to infer that the Christian Holy book is riddled with contradictions
    I didn’t think there was anything implicit about it. It was an explicit attempt to disparage the very concept of an infallible, inerrant holy text, irrespective of which particular religion.
    Notice, again he fails to engage the substantive remarks on this above.
    I grow weary of this. Show me where scripture says that the pursuit of happiness is one of the three most important things in this life (or even anywhere close to that). If you can’t, you’ve got nothing. Speaking of lack of substantive remarks.
    Now,this is a basis to assert LYING as opposed to error?
    I’d say I was speculating lying more than asserting it, but I’d be interested to know why you’ve shifted the goal posts from “he was telling the truth” to “he was mistaken.”
    Frankly, I’ll admit it: you have worn me down with sheer volume. I really don’t feel like arguing with you on this any more. When we actually find the huge stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons that Sec’y Powell assured us (and the UN) that we knew where they were, look me up. Until then, no amount of spin or excuse-making is going to wash that egg off your face. You go right on believing, even if the vast majority of the world’s intelligence agencies continue to contradict you. Belief without proof is what faith is supposed to be all about, anyway…
    Each of these is of course an OT passage, and addresses a limited and confined situation of appropriate divine judgement against peoples and rulers long resistant to the rebuke to their sins
    Meanwhile, every single call to violence in Islam is unlimited in scope, completely open-ended in time, and wholly uncontradicted by later passages, I’m sure. Not to mention the fact that you’ve just described indiscriminate slaughter of men, women, and children and the ripping open of pregnant women — and, by extension, the killing of “innocent” unborn “babies” — as “appropriate divine judgment.” All of this is “appropriate,” of course, because your God called for it, rather than theirs.
    he nowhere addressed the NT’s Great Commission and the subsequent immediate history of the church: faithful witness even in the face of death threats and worse
    Because I don’t see how it’s relevant. And because even in its earliest days, Christianity (or should I have said “christianity?”) was not so pacifistic as you seem to imply.
    but in fact self-refuting
    Oooh, “self-refuting!” Another buzzword out of the STR playbook! Do go on!
    is this another case in point on the Islamist view of their commission under the sword verses?
    Once again, the actions of a few Muslim extremists are held up as if they are typical of all Muslims. But when I hold up a Phelps or a Yates, I’m being unfair, and arguing “moral equivalence.”
    For those just joining the thread, I can sum up the entire discussion thusly: Muslims do bad things because Muslims are bad. Christians do bad things because they are bad Christians. In the former case, the religion is to blame; in the latter case, it is not. To argue anything else makes you guilty of “moral equivalence.”

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    GEM:
    whom the gods would destroy, first they rob of the power of reason.
    Yeah, but it’s not my fault — it’s God’s fault. By your own admission, and by 2 Thes, of course.
    ucfengr:
    even the Crusaders where a response to Muslim expansion, not an example of Christian expansion
    That strikes me as a bit of a rose-colored view.
    I should also note that much of the middle-east adhered to Judaism and paganism before Christianity took over, often by less-than-peaceful means. Dammit, there I go with those “moral equivalence” arguments again!

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Here’s a thought experiment for the group: Suppose Islam disappeared tomorrow. You have all the same socioeconomic and political conditions that you have today, but nobody believes in Islam any more. Do you suppose that terrorism and violence would magically disappear as a result of this? Do you think they would even be significantly reduced?
    Frankly, I wish it were that simple.

  • ucfengr

    That strikes me as a bit of a rose-colored view.
    Of course it does.
    I should also note that much of the middle-east adhered to Judaism and paganism before Christianity took over, often by less-than-peaceful means. Dammit, there I go with those “moral equivalence” arguments again!
    Really? And how pray tell did they do that, by making Roman lions fat and chipping rocks with their heads? Come on Tom, you can do better than that. Early Christianity spread in spite of oppression, not through it. You may be able to make the case for the Spanish expansion into the New World, but even that was more about establishing trade routes than expanding Church influence.

  • The Raven

    Since I have addressed the merits etc, and have invited a better explanation repeatedly, then it is plain that in fact there is just the opposite on the facts: the closed mindedness is on Raven’s part, not mine.
    See, Gordon, when you use qualitative terms like “better” you lose whatever point it was you were trying to make. But, as I’ve told you before, there is a solution. Here’s what you do:
    1. Read the comment to which you will respond.
    2. Do not post. Think. Give it a day if necessary. Ruminate. Meditate. If you’re a Christian, I suppose you might “pray.”
    3. Organize your thoughts. Consider that which has been said by you before. Assume your audience is familiar with your past arguments. Repetition is not persuasive.
    4. Boil your point down to a key thought, then drive that point home like a sledge pounding on a railroad spike. Come at the same point from different angles, but work the same task, the same idea, with vigor.
    5. Re-read your work. Start trimming. Ask yourself, “is this necessary?” Cut, cut, cut. Or, as E.B. White exhorted, “Omit needless words.”
    6. When you are satisfied with your efforts, give it an hour. You’d be amazed how many times you come back to a comment you’ve penned in pique and think to yourself, “My God – if I’d posted that, I’d be so ashamed of myself.”
    7. Finally, post away. These massive sockdolagers you construct are tedious and painful to read, and characteristic of poor composition. You punish your reader. Keep your writing focused, man, and you’ll get your point across “better.”

  • Terence Moeller

    “Based on our previous discussions, where you were unable to accept the conclusions pointed to by information that you yourself had posted, I’m not sure you exactly qualify as an unbiased observer.”
    tgiesch, you are a liar. As you well know, although it took some time to do so, I located that specific post and addressed in detail. Deny it again and I will post it again here to prove it.

  • Rob Ryan

    TM: “Since you have already acknowledged that you “seldom read”
    Gordon’s posts, you are certainly not in a position to judge…”
    But sometimes I do read his posts. Doing so usually reinforces my tendency NOT to. This thread is a case in point.
    “As a High School English teacher who gave an assignment to his students to take “any position” on the war and support that position with research and scholarly critical analysis, which of these two would you give the better grade to? Be honest.”
    1. Neither tgirsch nor Gordon has been given a formal assignment. It would be silly and unfair for me to assess their comments from that perspective.
    2. When I make such an assignment, I grade on quality of thought and support for one’s position, not sheer volume of supporting material. Gordon, like the apologists he is so fond of quoting, linking to, and alluding to, excels at building mansions of glory out of sand and smoke. His comparative difficulties argument, which he inevitably links in most threads of any duration, is an example of the enormous waste of words he devotes in a vain effort to portray the nonsensical as the most logical conclusion. It really doesn’t merit a response. To respond to such an argument properly would come perilously close to ridiculing his belief system by boiling it down to its basic tenets and holding a mirror up to it. I would be immediately set upon by many here for my incivility were I to do so. Besides, something in me chafes at the cruelty of it. I really don’t care if people believe this stuff. If it makes them happy, I’m all for it. My objections begin when people expect the government to echo their mythologies. If theists respected such boundaries, I would never cross swords (or pens) with them.
    To Gordon, the comparative difficulties argument looks good. To me, it looks preposterous. To me, Gordon’s frequently leveled charge of selective hyperskepticism looks like what psychologists call projection. When Gordon dismisses naturalistic viewpoints as “self-referentially absurd”, he seems to be holding them to a higher standard than he is willing to assume for his own worldview, which, in my opinion, is much more of a stretch. Why should naturalists be required to prove their theories objectively, when that of theists begins with presupposition?

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Rob, …excels at building mansions of glory out of sand and smoke. That’s a beautiful phrase.

    Raven, great summary of how write effectively.

    Gordon, my friend, it not a case of having to water down your thoughts for a less capable audience. It’s about organizing and editing. You have much to contribute and the gems are often lost in the noise. Since you are one of the better educated and often the only non-hostile Christain who comments here, I would greatly appreciate any effort you make to move your writting away from a high volume of bullet points toward a smaller number of complete paragraphs.

  • Terence Moeller

    Rob,
    I asked for an honest answer and I received a predictable dodge. Obviously this thread was not a term paper, but you were specifically asked to make a hypothetical judgment based upon the research demonstrated on this thread — as if you were judging which of the two better supported his arguments. You were not asked to present a litany of complaints about one of the two writers. We have heard most of them before from you, which was quite unnecessary.

  • ucfengr

    Suppose Islam disappeared tomorrow. You have all the same socioeconomic and political conditions that you have today, but nobody believes in Islam any more.
    The answer of course would depend on whether or not you believe that the “conditions” are a function of or independent of Islam. I think that Islam is currently incompatible with freedom and democracy so it would follow (assuming I am right) that the conditions are dependent on Islam or some other totalitarian philosophy/religion. For those who might fire back that Christianity (especially that of that old devil, George Bush) is incompatible with freedom and democracy I would suggest another thought experiment, where would you rather live, the US or a relatively moderate Islamic regime like Kuwait. As I sit here nursing an ice cold beer, I know what my answer would be.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    The Raven :
    The fact is, this type of thing has been pointed out before to Mullings; and between that and the bizarre off-topic meandinrings (what the heck did this thread have to do with his brand of creationism anyway?), I can only conclude that he’s a troll.

  • Rob Ryan

    TM: “…you were specifically asked to make a hypothetical judgment based upon the research demonstrated on this thread — as if you were judging which of the two better supported his arguments.”
    And I declined to do so for reasons I clearly stated. You proposed terms for my response that I rejected. Call it what you wish; you do not control my end of the discourse.
    “You were not asked to present a litany of complaints about one of the two writers.”
    I did so without being asked because it clarified my reasons for giving more weight to tgirsch’s comments.
    “We have heard most of them before from you, which was quite unnecessary.”
    I think they bear repeating. If repetition were suddenly off limits, by the way, I would return to reading your friend’s comments in their entirety.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    The pattern, sadly, continues. I will again take it up, so that we can see for ourselves where the balance is on the merits of credible fact, coherent logic and comparative difficulties across live-option explanations [where offered . . .]:
    1] TG: Taken in a comprehensive reading, the Qur’an advocates violence against those who attempt violence toward you or attempt to forcibly convert you, and prohibits violence toward others.
    –> I only wish that were so. In fact, UBL and co have both the direct words of the Quran [the 164 sword verses which are LATER than and routinely abrogate the Meccan irenic texts], and the early history of Islam in its first century on their side. Notice the citation I made above from the review on Quranic abrogation.
    –> To see just what I mean, ask yourself: just what were Muslims defending against when from about 620 on, under Mohammed, they started raiding the Meccan trade caravans to Syria that passed by Medina, which led to the first serious external war? Or, just what were they defending all the way from Medina to the Indus in the east and Poitiers, France, in the West over the next 110 or so years? [Note: the Crusades, which were in large part triggered by harassment and massacres of Christian pilgrims in Palestine, date from the 1090’s, and so count as a counter-offensive.]
    2] Islamic scholars say almost exactly the same thing about Qur’anic sanctions of violence. Of course, that’s probably just some “moral equivalence” that I’m missing there.
    –> They do so as is now proverbial, “In English, not in Arabic.” Observe carefully: the early history of Islam bears out the understanding that the Quran and examples set by Mohammed [preserved in the Hadiths] lead Islam to a global conquest agenda.
    –> While many Muslim scholars — the would-be reformers — try to limit the scope of that by introducing the concept that it is defensive in response to provocations, one must realise that the classic, historic Islamic understanding of dar ul Harb is that it is the land of such provocations, so an excuse to start the fighting again is not hard to find in that mindset. And, Mohammed’s actions in regard to mecca after it checked his attacks and forced him to sign a treaty, bear this out. Within 2 years when his forces were stronger and the Meccans had relaxed, he found an excuse ands attacked and captured the city.
    –> Thence, we see the point that in the Islamist’s eyes, agreements with states in dar ul Harb are inherently temporary truces, that hold only so long as the balance of forces and opportunities is unfavourable.
    3] My argument is that you have repeatedly failed to show what it is about Islam that is unique to Islam and thus makes it “the problem.” Every criticism you level at Islam exists, albeit in differing degrees, in other religions, including Christianity.
    –> Again, first kindly remember that this is a Christian blog, and refrain from vulgarity.
    –> Next, onlookers can see for themselves precisely in what way Islam is unfortunately unique, and why in that context the radicalised are so powerful. It is quite evident that it is only because you have made up your mind that you need not attend to the relevant history and texts that you think you can simply accept what is comfortable to you and dismiss what does not fit with your preferences.
    4] where poverty and disenfranchisement are rampant, it’s a lot easier for some extremist, in particular a religious extremist, to whip up furor
    –> Not so: it is not mere disfranchisement or poverty that that lead to openness to radicalisation. For, you have just described the vast majority of humanity, across the vast majority of history — it is wealth and liberty that need explanation not poverty and oppression. And, of course, such mass liberation and enrichment began in just one place and time inhuman history, i.e in precisely that part of the world that was then known as Christendom, and for reasons linked to the teachings of a certain Book you would scant. [Onlookers, think about just why Max Weber spoke about the Protestant work Ethic.]
    –> Second, we do not see oppressed Ethiopians or Haitians [or any number of peoples] suicide bombing or launching major attacks around the world. Further to this, a great many of the terrorists we do see under the islamist banners have precisely been highly educated and from relatively comfortable backgrounds [to the point where it is now notorious to hear of the amazement of family and neighbors] UBL s of course simply the most notorious case in point. In short, the empirical data just does not fit.
    –> What DOES explain the observed pattern is that we have a major movement that taps into resentments — which is not at all confined to the poor or the oppressed — and motivates to undertake extremist action, then trains, funds, equips and organises. Contrast this with the irenic approach of the Civil Rights movement of several decades ago, which in large part drew its inspiration from precisely Jesus’ teachings.
    5] As to Surah 9, I’d bet dollars to donuts that the vast majority, if not all, of your knowledge of it comes from opponents of Islam. Would you trust me, an atheist, to give an honest representation of the “true meaning” of Ezekiel 9? I doubt it.
    –> First, this is the fallacy of attacking the source rather than addressing the substance.
    –> Second, this distraction seeks to distract attention from an inconvenient fact: there are 1400 years worth of Islamic history, law and teachings that are on public record that substantiate precisely the points as observed by Chris and the undersigned, above.
    –> Third the claim is patently false: the QUOTATIONS above — surely, a major part of what we know — come from the three major translations into English, each of which was done by a muslim scholar. the problem is with the plain substance of Surah 9 ayas 29 – 31, 5 and several other points, in light of subsequent islamic history and the associated history of the dhimmis. The fact and extent of dhimmitude is itself a strong proof that the verses in question as we have read them have played a major part in islamic history.
    6] I would argue that, to varying degrees, both are. And as long as the violent portions of the respective holy texts remain, you will find people who will exploit them and use them to justify violence in the name of their religion. You’ll forgive me if I find your position, that No True Christian would resort to violence while No True Muslim would refrain from it, a bit less than compelling.
    –> First, let us note that nowhere in the Bible, OT or NT, is there anything remotely parallel to the global mandate of Surah 9 and subsequent praxis or the like. So, TG is insisting on a gross distortion in the teeth of corrections above. Fallacy of the closed and hostile mind, in short. [he is also hoping to appeal to prejudice on the part of many who have a similar mindset.]
    –> Further, as also noted above, we do also find, especially in the NT but with underpinnings and relevant examples in the OT [Cf here Vindiciae’s argument], that the Judaeo-Christian scriptures set in motion the ideas that led to the rise of modern liberty and the rolling back of the traditional prerogatives of kings to launch wars of aggression.
    –> Third, there is a direct implication in TG’s remark, that it is “exploitation” i.e. twisting of the text that is the root of resort to violence. This is completely inaccurate. On the part of Christianity-influenced cultures, it was IGNORANCE of the teachings and the lack of democratisation that led to a situation where for instance Crusades of the type known from history could be launched and supported by a majority. [Observe on this the Gospel-based rebukes to the crusaders by none less than the patron saint of my old Primary School, St Francis of Assisi.] The Jihads by direct contrast came organically from the teachings and example of Mohammed, leading to the first century of islamist expansion that has set in train the history ever since.
    7] UCF: I conceded the point that the IRA was a religious organization, and on further reflection it really isn’t. The IRA is a nationalist organization, not religious. Their purpose was always to create an Irish nation independent from Great Britain, never to establish papal rule from Rome. OBL, et. al. have always maintained a larger goal of establishing a world wide Caliphate and imposing Sharia. There really is no Christian equivalent to Al Queda, Hamas, or Hezbollah, even the Crusaders where a response to Muslim expansion, not an example of Christian expansion.
    –> Correct.
    8] TG: Your saying so doesn’t make it true. And if I’m guilty of “[im]moral equivalence” in pointing out that Christianity has been guilty of the same crimes, then Lutz is at least as guilty of it in holding the actions of a relative few against the entirety of the religion.
    –> First, you patently cannot identify any other major religious movement, apart from the islamists, that is on a military geostrategic, global offensive, period. Nor can you identify any other movement whose scriptures on a plain reading mandate or support such a military thrust.
    –> Second, you continue to harp on, on [im]moral equivalency, in the teeth of some highly material facts, as shown again above: while it is true that from time to time — especially [but not only] in the pre-Reformation era — regimes and church leaders in what by then had become Christendom did carry out oppressive and militarily imperialistic acts, THEY DID SO IN IGNORANCE OF OR DEFIANCE OF THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES.
    –> Indeed, much of the corrective influence that has led Western nations to pull back from the globally traditional prerogatives of Kings and other similar rulers to wage war for whatever reason suited them, precisely came from the same scriptures and from the cultural movements and struggles initiated when those scriptures — in the teeth of the power wielders of the day — were translated into the common man’s tongues, and were widely circulated.
    –> Third, so far as I have seen both Mr Lutz and I have distinguished between the radicalised 10% and the wider muslim community, We have also pointed out the roots of that 10%’s behaviour in the teaching and example first set by the Muslim Prophet.
    –> I have therefore warned on the danger of Mr bin Laden’s “strong horse” argument, in light of the historical fact that whenever islamists have been relatively strong they have returned to precisely the geostrategic offensive that from 620 – 732 surged from Yathrib [renamed Medina] to the Indus in the E. and 150 mi from Paris in the W. Mr Lutz pointed out that this is an unfortunately all too accurate historical observation, when way back now someone challenged this point.
    –> Your attempt to imply that he/we is/are tarring all muslims with the same brush is improper. As came up in an earlier thread, I have expressed my agreement with Daniel Pipes that there is a struggle inside Islam, between t he would-be reformers and the radicals. however, I think the reformers have a challenge that is the precise opposite of that faced by the Christian reformers of 500 years ago: they have to appeal against the “obvious” meaning of the Quran and the examples set by its founders.
    9] TG: I did indeed have the incorrect verse. But it wouldn’t make any difference anyway.
    –> The retraction is appreciated.
    –> Howbeit the second sentence tries to take back its force. In fact,the point stands: the text of Q 9:29 – 31 on the plain reading of the major English translators USED BY MUSLIMS ON THEIR OWN WEBSITES AND IN THEIR DAWAH MISSIONARY EFFORTS GENERALLY does assert precisely what I and others have pointed out. The history of Islam is also in support of the reading.
    10] that’s an awful lot of qualifications you’ve put on that. Gee, I wonder why. First, if the OT is exempt from consideration, then why is it often cited to condemn various perceived ills of society? Indeed, why is it even included in scripture at all if we can ignore it when convenient, as you suggest we do here?
    –> The “qualifications” you would scant are precisely to highlight the radical differences:

    [1] the NT is the specifically Christian scripture (and though it is rooted in the OT, if you are speaking specifically to Christians, you should advert primarily to the NT).
    [2] the OT which does address wars by states, does so on a specific and limited not a global conquest basis, reflecting God’s revoking of tenancy for persistent and material breach of the covenant of nationhood [basic justice and righteousness] by the Jews and other nations.
    [3] In the Quran there are 164 sword verses; in the NT, there is just one, and it is in the context of affirming the legitimacy of a Pagan Government — of Nero, no less [albeit in the earlier positive part of his reign] — as God’s agent to defend justice by in part bearing the sword. the contrast to Islam is obvious.
    [4] In the OT you cannot find anything like the Quran’s global mandate to “fight” either; nor a history to back that up. Indeed, you can find precisely say Isaiah and Jeremiah pointing out that God was using and would use pagan kings as his agents of justice and judgement by the sword against the Jews!
    [5] Though doubtless you could dredge up some ignoramus from somewhere to “justify” wars of aggression under the Christian banner, it cannot be done so while respecting the integrity of the text. Indeed, the first major Christian writing that touched on the subject of the Christian and war, by Augustine, laid out the foundations of: just war theory, i.e. it expanded on the points in Rom 13:1 – 10. In the West today, the points in that theory are more or less axiomatic, where war is viewed as ever morally justifiable relative to the alternative.
    [6] Nor does such an emphasis of the NT “ignore the OT. Indeed, Rom 13 is precisely an explicit case in point: RO 13:8 . . . he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments [cf Exodus 20], “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

    11] As to Christian-inspired violence and genocide, I need look no further than Hitler. Or perhaps that doesn’t pass your “modern era” qualification.
    –> This reflects the grossest ignorance of the history in question.
    –> Hitler was not at all a Christian — just ask the ghost of Dietrich Boenhoffer, Germany’s leading theologian in the 1930’s, and Martin Niemoller, the U Boat Hero from WW I turned pastor and leader of the confessing Christian churches who resisted the apostasy Hitler tried to impose on the church through his German Church movement.
    –> Instead, he was a racist, Social Darwinist, neo-pagan who looked to Astrology and occult teachings of Blavatsky [the Aryan Man myth] and the superman philosophy of the atheistic nihilist Nietzsche etc for his inspiration, precisely NOT the NT and certainly not the Jewish OT.
    –> The closest history-of-ideas precedent for his behaviour in influential and widely respected modern thought, unfortunately, can be seen in this observation by no less than Charles Darwin himself, in a letter to the co-founder of modern Darwinism, Wallace:

    I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world. (July 3, 1881; cited in p. 343 of Himmelfarb’s biography, 1959 Chatto and Windus edition, it is footnote #9 in Chapter xix, “Darwinism, Politics, and Society.”)

    12] Too bad you won’t give Islam this same benefit of the doubt, despite the fact that your religion has about a 750 year head start on theirs.
    –> The benefit of the DOUBT exists only where there is a justified, reasonable doubt.
    –> And, while as earlier threads can substantiate, I am rooting for the Islamic reformers — who wouldn’t? [the world will be a lot safer and better off if they win in the internal debates in Islam] — but I must recognise the basic and objective problem of the contrasting teachings of the relevant scriptures.
    13] Show me where scripture says that the pursuit of happiness is one of the three most important things in this life (or even anywhere close to that).
    –> First, I have pointed out how you have misread the term “happiness.” In its proper context, pursuit of happiness relates to fulfilling one’s purpose under God the Creator, thus the rights you have are derivative of your duty to fulfill what God has put in you. That is, others have a duty to respect your life, liberty etc as these are conditions for you to fulfill yourself under God. THAT is how one’s rights are an endowment of the Creator, as the DOI explicitly says in leading up to itemising yardstick rights.
    –> Rights, of course, are the dual form of those duties: my right to life, liberty, property, reputation etc reflects your duty to respect these things.
    –> In turn underneath lurks the force of Rom 13:1 – 10: Government is God’s agency to protect the community trough defending justice and doing good more generally, so we pay taxes and honour to the governor in that context. [Thence, if s/he turns tyrant s/he “loses the king in the tyrant.”] Further to this the general principle of justice int he community is neighbour-love [from both Moshe and Jesus] which specifically comes out in the principle of doing no harm as already cited. As Blackstone notes, Justinian, in his explicitly Christian precis and pruning of 1,000 years of Roman jurisprudence, lays this out as the foundation stone of civil law, in the introduction to Corpus Juris. [All of which is discussed and/or linked in the notes on modern liberty’s roots.]
    14] [Re Sada:] I was speculating lying more than asserting it, but I’d be interested to know why you’ve shifted the goal posts from “he was telling the truth” to “he was mistaken.” . . . . no amount of spin or excuse-making is going to wash that egg off your face. You go right on believing, even if the vast majority of the world’s intelligence agencies continue to contradict you. Belief without proof is what faith is supposed to be all about, anyway…
    –> First, respect for reputation is a keystone of “do no harm,” so your easy resort to “lying” is all too telling. And that, in a context where there is an issue of inference to best explanation on the WMDs and associated programmes known to have been in and used by Iraq, and which Mr Hussein’s resistance to the Armistice-Inspectors was plainly designed to protect. NOTICE KINDLY, I ADVERTED TO GEN SADA’S REPORT IN THE CONTEXT OF POINTING OUT THAT I WAS NOT MERELY GUESSING. You still owe us a better explanation of all the material facts.
    –> Second, onlookers should note that I have consistently pointed out that the historically accurate understanding of the rationale for the renewal of major hostilities — low-grade fighting continued on a routine basis across 12 years, with flareups as in 1998 — was gross, broad-spectrum, material and accelerating breach of the armistice terms of 1991 and associated UNSC resolutions. Inter alia, at the time in question, it was the public, consensus opinion of the relevant intelligence services, and even Mr Bush’s Democratic party detractors of today for that matter, that Mr Hussein had these weapons and the associated programmes. So, since the propriety of a decision is relative to the credible facts in evidence at the time, the “egg on the face” argument is completely out of order.
    –> Third, onlookers, observe closely. Yesterday, in response to similar snide comments, I laid out just how much reason and belief are in a partnership in all out reasoning. that is, proofs exist in the context of worldview-level faith-commitments, and are relative to those commitments. Also, in matters of fact, I have pointed out again and again that Simon Greenleaf correctly highlights that we are only capable of moral as opposed to demonstrative certainty

  • Chris Lutz

    Funny, because Islamic scholars say almost exactly the same thing about Qur’anic sanctions of violence. Of course, that’s probably just some “moral equivalence” that I’m missing there.
    That is an extremely minority position that was developed relatively recently (I believe the 1800’s). Mainline Islamic thought dismisses it for being a Western invention to subdue Islam. And the mainline people have the historical facts and scriptual support to back their position against the minority’s theories.
    BTW, that wasn’t a moral equivalence argument because you actually addressed the question at hand of whether or not the Koran and Hadiths represent a belief system that supports violence. You constant claims of other religions committing violence means that Islam is like other religions is where you have been using moral equivalence.
    Because in order for your premise to be true, there must be something unique to Islam that makes it true. I’m pointing out that such things also exist in Christianity not because I view them as morally equivalent, but because it demonstrates that such things are not unique to Islam, thereby undermining your premise. It’s not rocket science; if you can’t see this, that’s not my fault.
    And as I pointed out, no other religion I know of has any open-ended call to subjugate the unbelievers like Islam. I pointed out the verse in question and I believe Gordon pointed out a few others. So far though, you have not made any attempt to disprove that this verse plainly means what it says. If I was being hyper-selective, then it should be easy to prove me wrong just as Gordon disproved your baby-smashing verse.
    Yet Islam, their religion, also teaches them that they should not be aggressors, that they should leave those alone who would leave them alone.
    Herea are the last recorded words of Mohammed(632):
    I was ordered to fight all men until they say, ‘There is no God but Allah.’
    Saladin(1189):
    I shall… pursue them until there remains no one… who does not acknowledge Allah
    OBL(2001):
    I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah…
    There seems to be a consistent pattern from founder through followers. You are correct in that there are other verses that pronounce peace and love which makes the whole thing very contradictory. But it makes more sense if you look at it in one of the two standard ways Muslims view it.
    First, there is the thinking that later verses abrogate earlier verses. So, for example, if Mohammed says early in the Koran “Love the People of the Book,” but later says “Subjugate the People of the Book,” then the later verse takes precedence. You also have to remember that the Koran is in order of chapter size, not chronology. Therefore, the sword verses (i.e. violent verses) are chronologically at the end of the Koran and abrogate the earlier verses.
    The second method of iterpretation by those Muslims who claim there is no abrogration is that the Koran and Hadiths (i.e. life of the Mohammed) illustrate how to live in certain situations. So, if you are weak, you live peaceably in a non-Muslim society until you are strong enough to eventually impose Islamic rule and law either peaceably or through force.
    One final thing, you need to be careful about the way Muslims tend to use words. For instance, a lot of Muslims will say that they believe in freedom. Now most Muslim interpretations of freedom mean that Islamic law is in place because any law based on man’s thinking or another religion, by default, are oppressive. I’m not saying they are being intentionally deceiful, although in some instances that is the case, but it is just a different worldview.
    Yet Islam, their religion, also teaches them that they should not be aggressors, that they should leave those alone who would leave them alone. Why is it okay for you, a critic of Islam, to selectively emphasize one teaching over the other, but not for critics of Christianity to do the same thing. Why can you not see this double-standard you’re applying?
    Because what I am pointing out is what Islamic scholars have said about their own religions for centuries. Actually, they are pretty proud of it since they are following Allah’s will.
    Here’s a test: Poll Ahmed Q. Muslim, and ask him if he thinks the entire world should be converted, by force, to Islam. Ask him if he’d be willing to give his life to do so.
    Your poll question is all wrong. They will say “No, people should willing come to Allah.” However, they will say that if non-believers resist the call to Allah they should be subjugated. I heard a founder of a Muslim organization who is/was a doctor at John’s Hopkins state the same thing on a radio program last week.
    Reference the previous not above about how terms are used differently in Islam.
    Particularly when someone makes a hyper-simplistic critique of a particular religion while throwing a hissy fit when anyone does the same thing to yours.
    Mainly I didn’t post some long statement because, as has been seen in this thread, Gordon gets hammered for trying to post long arguments. I figured posting the one verse and stating that Islam is the problem, would at least lead to a calmer, more thorough discussion.
    And as long as the violent portions of the respective holy texts remain, you will find people who will exploit them and use them to justify violence in the name of their religion. You’ll forgive me if I find your position, that No True Christian would resort to violence while No True Muslim would refrain from it, a bit less than compelling.
    One, you have yet to prove that the violence in the Koran and Hadiths is the same as that in the OT (there being none in the NT).
    Second, we are talking about what each religion teaches. That by default means that people will not live up to it’s expectations. However, that does not mean people will not try to live up to it’s expectations.
    I frankly doubt either of us is even remotely qualified to dictate what Islam “really” teaches.
    Actually I have done some studying. If this is the case then, why are you telling me I am wrong? How do you know I am wrong?
    Here’s a thought experiment for the group: Suppose Islam disappeared tomorrow. You have all the same socioeconomic and political conditions that you have today, but nobody believes in Islam any more. Do you suppose that terrorism and violence would magically disappear as a result of this? Do you think they would even be significantly reduced?
    I would say that it would drop by about 90%. Of course it depends on what replaces it.
    John Quincy Adams wrote a series of essays titled: “Adams on Jesus Christ and Christianity, Relative to Muhammad and Islam.” A quote is illuminating.
    In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE (Adam’s capital letters)

  • Chris Lutz

    Also, here is a quote from the ambassador of Tripoli about their justification for raiding American shipping.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Hi Chris:
    Came by before turning off for the morning.
    Interesting points – and BTW, I too have made a study of Islam, and that is what drives my conclusions. [Here are some of the findings I and others have made at a Conference we convened for that very purpose, a few years back. Nor was this just based on an outsiders’ view.]
    Now, I note where you comment:
    I didn’t post some long statement because, as has been seen in this thread, Gordon gets hammered for trying to post long arguments. I figured posting the one verse and stating that Islam is the problem, would at least lead to a calmer, more thorough discussion.
    In fact, this captures the logic-with-a-swivel rhetoric we are both facing: [a] answer briefly, and you are hammered fro nbot answering tot he case made, [b] answer in reasonable detail, and you are too long etc etc. Either way, they got you.
    But, astute observers will soon notice thae common thread: in neither case is there actually a cogent anwer on the merits of fact and reasoning. Instead, find an excuse to attack the man. No prozes fro guessing why, as the issues we have raised here are commonplace ones.
    Indeed, I go further: whilst we see a complaint that I have used a great many bullet points rather than a connected narrative, when I have linked Norman Podhoretz’s extensive and well-written argument from the Sept Commentary, and have invited a cogent response, silence has followed. Guess why, in light of the following excerpts:

    So misrepresented has the Bush Doctrine been that the only way to begin answering that question is to remind ourselves of what it actually says (and does not say); and the best way to do that is by going back to the speech in which it was originally enunciated: the President

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Gordon,

    whilst we see a complaint that I have used a great many bullet points rather than a connected narrative, when I have linked Norman Podhoretz’s extensive and well-written argument from the Sept Commentary, and have invited a cogent response, silence has followed.

    I’ve read Norman Podhoretz’s article to which you provided a link. There is no argument there, just rhetorical meandering as anyone familiar with Podhoretz’s writing would expect to find. For those unfamiliar with him, here is a little background:

    Podhoretz is the father of John Podhoretz, a columnist for the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post, who also acts as a ubiquitous booster of the hawks. And his son-in-law, Elliott Abrams, who held a number of controversial posts in Reagan’s State Department and was eventually convicted in the Iran-Contra scandal for lying to Congress, now serves in George Walker Bush’s National Security Council as his top Middle East adviser.

    Podhoretz was a leftist in the 1950’s, a radical in the 60’s, and a neocon from the 70’s onward. He is mostly known for writing self-serving autobiographies.

    Wish I had time to say more, address other issues, etc., but must go to work.

    Andy

  • giggling

    Wow, you guys are still going at it, huh?
    Gordon, your patience is incredible and I applaud it. I’ve moved on to the Proverbs31 wife thread along with another poster who generally disagrees with me but at least has intellectual honesty and doesn’t talk about what he knows little of while insisting he’s right, and between the comments the discussion has been refreshingly… productive.
    I’ve glanced over some of the “responses” addressed to me, and haven’t seen anything worth responding to, just more displays of smug ignorance about religion, everything, etc., so I won’t…

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Terence:
    I located that specific post and addressed in detail.
    If by “addressed” you mean “danced around and distanced yourself from,” I’ll concede that yes, this is true. As I recall, your initial excuse was something along the lines of just because you pasted it didn’t mean you endorsed it, followed by a subsequent excuse of something along the lines of rather than proving the opposite of your point, the figures simply didn’t prove anything.
    Deny it again and I will post it again here to prove it.
    Heavens, no! A threat from TM to paste lengthy things in a comment thread is no idle threat! I’m sure of it. So okay, I give up, you’re right, I’m wrong, but for the love of all that is holy, please not another 40K paste!
    *ducks*
    I asked for an honest answer and I received a predictable dodge.
    Said the 16 qt stock pot to the pint-sized saucepan. Man, maybe we should look up that other thread after all.
    ucfengr:
    Early Christianity spread in spite of oppression, not through it.
    I suppose it depends what you mean by “early.” For the first two and a half or three centuries, yes, Christianity spread despite persecution. But then the very Roman sword that had been the enemy of Christianity ultimately became the bully stick through which Christianity was spread, often through subterfuge, force, or both. If not for the Roman Empire’s effective merger of Christianity and Mithraism (which had striking simliariteis anyway) in the fourth century AD, I doubt Christianity becomes the dominant religion it is today. (And, frankly, if not for its uncanny similarities to the pre-existing religion of Mithraism, I doubt it even catches on with the Romans.)
    The answer of course would depend on whether or not you believe that the “conditions” are a function of or independent of Islam.
    That’s a fair point. I’d argue that there’s a little of both there. In my estimation, and I think history supports this, the conditions have a lot to the pervasiveness of fundamentalist religious belief, and especially with conflation of religion and government. It’s easy to forget that many of the freedoms we cherish most come from enlightenment-era abandonment of fundamentalist religious belief in favor of reason. And those most responsible for our particular flavor came from a background in which the Christian religion used the government as a bully stick for persecution.
    You may be able to make the case for the Spanish expansion into the New World, but even that was more about establishing trade routes than expanding Church influence.
    And this, to me, underscores the problem here. When you have a large population that unquestioningly believes a set of religious precepts without knowing much about them, those people can be and usually are exploited, with their religion the tool of the exploitation. Further, and what you just hit on, is that the people doing the exploiting are generally doing so for political reasons rather than religious ones. They basically take advantage of the lethal combination of the populace’s ignorance of the holy text, coupled with their blind devotion to it, and can get whatever they want.
    I argue that extremist Islamic leaders such as bin Laden and his ilk have primarily political objectives, but wrap them up in religious terms to get the ignorant masses on their side, just as leaders have done through pretty much all of modern history.

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Chris Lutz:
    That is an extremely minority position that was developed relatively recently (I believe the 1800’s).
    Oh, really? Setting aside the historical dubiousness of that proposition, are you saying that a dramatic rethinking of a particular religion that occurs well over a millennium after that religion’s formation (let’s call it a “reformation,” just to pick something out of thin air) lacks legitimacy? Quite an interesting position to take. As a former Catholic, I might be inclined to agree with you on this point.
    (And, of course, the belief that blood libel against the Jews is a corruption of Christian belief is even more recent than the 1800’s, so I suppose we ought to throw that out, too.)
    You constant claims of other religions committing violence means that Islam is like other religions is where you have been using moral equivalence.
    No, for the forty-seventh time, my constant claim is that Islam is not unique in condoning violence, and it’s certainly not unique in that its more extremist adherents (as well as its opponents) tend to emphasize its violent passages in their rhetoric. Can the Qur’an be construed to sanction violence? Absolutely, and in many cases, it does. Can the Bible be construed to sanction violence? Absolutely, and in many cases it does. Does this make the Bible and the Qur’an morally equivalent? No, it doesn’t, but that’s not relevant. What is relevant is that both texts do condone violence, at least conditionally, and that both religions can be, have been, and in many cases still are used to justify violence (rightly or wrongly is up for debate, and irrelevant to my point), and that therefore there is nothing unique about Islam’s calls to violence.
    Is Islam part of the problem? You bet! Is Islam solely responsible, or even primarily responsible for the problem? I say no. The dynamic is much more complicated than that, and to argue that “Islam is the problem” is to grossly oversimplify things.
    Thought exercise: If we were living in the sixteenth century, in the heart of the Spanish Inquisition (which had more legitimacy within formalized government than Islamofascism does in most cases, by the way), would it be fair for us to say that “Christianity is the problem?” I somehow doubt you’d feel that way. And no, I’m not trying to draw a moral equivalence between the Spanish Inquisition and modern militant Islam — I’m just trying to draw a rough parallel between people of different religions doing Very Bad Things ostensibly in the name of their religion.
    Now most Muslim interpretations of freedom mean that Islamic law is in place because any law based on man’s thinking or another religion, by default, are oppressive.
    Could not the same thing be said of many modern evangelical Christians? Try listening to the speakers at one of the Justice Sunday rallies, for example…
    Because what I am pointing out is what Islamic scholars have said about their own religions for centuries.
    I’d address this in terms of the way Christian scholars taught Christianity for centuries, but that would no doubt constitute “moral equivalence.”
    However, they will say that if non-believers resist the call to Allah they should be subjugated.
    You sound awfully sure of yourself. I honestly don’t know whether or not that’s the case with Ahmed Q. Muslim, but perhaps this is why you’re so insistent in this thread. Clearly you have a much better finger on the pulse of what the average Muslim thinks and believes than I do. I’d like to know where you came by this knowledge, though…
    I figured posting the one verse and stating that Islam is the problem, would at least lead to a calmer, more thorough discussion.
    Which had about as much success as if you’d posted a Malcolm X quote and said “Black people are the problem.”
    One, you have yet to prove that the violence in the Koran and Hadiths is the same as that in the OT
    Hold on, now wait a minute. I guess now I understand why all the griping about moral equivalence. Basically, what you’re saying that so long as I am unable to unequivocally establish moral equivalence, my points have no merit. Now I think I get it.
    Second, we are talking about what each religion teaches.
    About which, in both cases (actually, in pretty much every religion), there is extreme disagreement. As history has shown repeatedly.
    Actually I have done some studying.
    As have I, although admittedly nowhere near enough to be considered an expert. Although I do wonder how much of your studying involves material that is inherently critical of Islam, versus neutral or pro-Islam sources.
    If this is the case then, why are you telling me I am wrong?
    Because I’ve admittedly gotten myself sidetracked on what amounts to a tangent. The bottom line is, while the worst teachings of Islam no doubt exacerbate the problems in the Middle East, my argument has been that they are not the root cause of those problems — they merely fan the flames.
    If Islam were truly “the problem,” then we wouldn’t see violence or extremism outside of Islam. One need look no further than Central and South America to disprove that notion. Is it easier to incite devout Muslims to violence than to incite devout Christians to violence? Depending on your definition of “devout,” it may be. But even if we accept your interpretation of Islam at face value, it is still at worst an aggravator, rather than a root cause.
    And, in fact, this is borne out by the historical record. Take just about any modern instance of Islamic terrorism, and you’ll find that at its core, it was executed not as part of some expansionist plan, but in response to Western intervention in the Middle East. The perpetrators, almost without exception, view it not as an attack, but as a counterattack, or often even as self-defense. I’ve no doubt that some bin Laden types have more grandiose ambitions than that, but I still argue that they are more the exception than the rule.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    Before going further, onlookers should note the refusal to take back and apologise for some serious and demonstrably false accusations in the above, most notably the attempt to fasten the sins of Hitler on the Chistian Church, by MR TOM GIRSCH as I addressed just yesterday.
    That failure goes seriously to the irresponsibility on display on the part of too many of the secularist-rationalist commenters in the thread. I think that such accusations are so slanderous that responsible commenters, of all sides, should publicly distance themselves from such slanders.
    I, secondly, think a few observations are in order, as it is now quite plain that attitudes and perceptions related to the agendas and power struggles of US politics are blinding too many to the objective factors in the situation. Obviously, I have little interest in even my own native land’s follytricks, much less that of others, but I Do have an interest in our recognising and facing unwelcome truths before they come knocking down our front doors.
    Now, on points worth an additional remark:
    1] Andy: I’ve read Norman Podhoretz’s article to which you provided a link. There is no argument there
    –> I am quite disappointed here, Andy. For a summary of a man’s intellectual journey out of thralldom to marxism [with a few associated ad hominems, some of them trying for guilt by association] is quite irrelevant to the point he was or was not making.
    –> Second, on inspection, there IS a significant, and indisputably fact-based argument being made: Mr Bush and his Administration, on the evidence of both his speeches and actions since 9/11, has plainly defined a policy that responds to objective factors in the situation from the ME, and has made some adjustments to that policy in light of realising that one cannot make an “exception” for the Palestinian Arabs. Namely, there is a coherent and in large part adhered to Bush doctrine that has a definable shape:

    1] a categorical rejection of the kind of relativism (

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: PL has a further update on the Reuters jeep story, from the experts who make such vehicles. JH’s sus[picions are further substantiated. And Melanie Phillips’ article here on the way the blogs are doing what the MSM should be is worth the read. So is PL’s article on a link to a telling blog discussion of the opposite tacks of the US Economy and media-driven opinion, over the period since the 1990s.
    GEM

  • Terence Moeller

    tgirsch wrote . . .
    “If by “addressed” you mean “danced around and distanced yourself from,” I’ll concede that yes, this is true. As I recall, your initial excuse was something along the lines of just because you pasted it didn’t mean you endorsed it, followed by a subsequent excuse of something along the lines of rather than proving the opposite of your point, the figures simply didn’t prove anything
    . . . Heavens, no! A threat from TM to paste lengthy things in a comment thread is no idle threat!”
    Onlookers, I apologise for the distraction, but since tigirsch has called my hand, I will provide a brief exerpt from that exchange last July (in our abortion debate) to demonstrate the fact that he has no respect for the truth.
    TM: “There were no contradictions. The report from a 1977 document stated that 43% of ALL abortions across the board were on blacks. The other report, given 14 years later stated that in 1991 at Planned Parenthood 23% of their victims were black. That does not mean that after 14 years abortions declined, although they may have. It only means that one among many abortion providers (PP) had X number of kills that year, nothing more, nothing less.”
    Now concerning the topic of this is thread, I think it is important to remember that the excesses of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages has no resemblence to the Catholic Church of today, nor the Evangelical Church EVER. And to compare it to Islam, which has been responsible for the vast majority of the terrorist attacks in the last century and has continued unabated since Muhammad raided his first caravan, is patently absurd.
    Forced conversions in Islamic history have been the norm, across three continents

  • Chris Lutz

    tgirsch:
    Oh, really? Setting aside the historical dubiousness of that proposition, are you saying that a dramatic rethinking of a particular religion that occurs well over a millennium after that religion’s formation (let’s call it a “reformation,” just to pick something out of thin air) lacks legitimacy? Quite an interesting position to take. As a former Catholic, I might be inclined to agree with you on this point.
    How is it historically dubious that the movement to disconnect the violent aspects of Islam from Islam is relatively recent and seen by Muslims as a Western invention? It may succeed, however, the Islamic world is more mainline than it was just 50 years ago. The reason that is is because the reform attempts have only convoluted claims to disassociate the violence of the Koran and Hadiths. The straightforward reading has the logical and historical force. It’s like claiming “Love thy neighbor as thyself” doesn’t mean what it obviously says.
    If you think the moderates are going to reform Islam, I think you are mistaken. They are nowhere to be seen. Here where I live, three Muslims and a “charity” were shut down for supporting terrorists. Did the recent convert who turned them in get praised by the Islamic community? There was a parade right? No, the man moved away once his identity was known. The community spent more time complaining about the charity being closed. So, either the moderates are cowed by fear or there really aren’t that many.
    Is Islam part of the problem? You bet! Is Islam solely responsible, or even primarily responsible for the problem? I say no. The dynamic is much more complicated than that, and to argue that “Islam is the problem” is to grossly oversimplify things.
    And as I have pointed out, no other religion calls for violence and subjugation against non-believers like Islam. You have yet to:
    1. Show that Christianity condones violence in it’s texts.
    2. Show that the calls for violence and subjugation in the Koran and Hadiths are similar in some way to these mythical Christian calls for violence.
    Hold on, now wait a minute. I guess now I understand why all the griping about moral equivalence. Basically, what you’re saying that so long as I am unable to unequivocally establish moral equivalence, my points have no merit. Now I think I get it.
    You claim that both religions have calls to violence. I’m asking you to prove it.
    About which, in both cases (actually, in pretty much every religion), there is extreme disagreement. As history has shown repeatedly.
    Sure, there are disagreements in Islam. With a religion that large there are going to be. However, historically and textually, the vast majority believe the subjugation verses of Islam with only minor variations.
    As have I, although admittedly nowhere near enough to be considered an expert. Although I do wonder how much of your studying involves material that is inherently critical of Islam, versus neutral or pro-Islam sources.
    I was wondering how long it would take you to imply that I’ve only looked at one side of the issue. I have looked at peaceful pro-Islam sites. Their logic is a convoluted mess. They are swallowing a camel and straining at a gnat. About the only ones that stand any serious scrutiny are the Koran only types. They still have issues since the Koran is almost jibberish without the Hadiths and Koranic commentaries, and there are still the violent verses with which to contend. Yet, they can much more easily make the claim that the violent verses were for a specific historical time period. They are an extreme minority though and not backed by any standard or historical rendition of Islam.
    Since you have done some studying and you have claimed that the verses from the Koran I have used are hyper-selective, why have you not challenged my statement?
    If Islam were truly “the problem,” then we wouldn’t see violence or extremism outside of Islam.
    What? You are basically saying that no one is motivated by religion. There must be some other primary cause in which religion may or may not increase the problem. Do you believe that people will never act solely on their religion?
    Take just about any modern instance of Islamic terrorism, and you’ll find that at its core, it was executed not as part of some expansionist plan, but in response to Western intervention in the Middle East. The perpetrators, almost without exception, view it not as an attack, but as a counterattack, or often even as self-defense. I’ve no doubt that some bin Laden types have more grandiose ambitions than that, but I still argue that they are more the exception than the rule.
    Take a look at Islamic violence beyond the past 50 years. Islam has not required any provocation to attack in the past. Of course, they also still claim Spain. Do you really think all of this will stop if we completely leave, let them take Israel, and give them back Spain?
    You can argue it is the exception and not the rule. Yet, you haven’t provided any historical evidence to back up your claim. As Gordon has pointed out, why are people in other places who are poor and oppressed committing the same violent acts? For instance, why aren’t the Copts in Egypt blowing up mosques?
    Gordon:
    On this point, it is fair to observe that CL should distinguish Islamism from Islam in general.
    I understand your point here. However, Islamism implies that the followers are taking out of context or to some excessive extreme a part of Islam. In all honesty, we probably need a term for the Muslims who complete eschew the violence of the Koran.
    I found very interesting your link about the Islam conference. The findings were very balanced and refreshingly honest.

  • Gordon Mullings

    TM:
    Thanks for reminding me on what I should have commented on:

    TG: Take just about any modern instance of Islamic terrorism, and you’ll find that at its core, it was executed not as part of some expansionist plan, but in response to Western intervention in the Middle East. The perpetrators, almost without exception, view it not as an attack, but as a counterattack, or often even as self-defense. I’ve no doubt that some bin Laden types have more grandiose ambitions than that, but I still argue that they are more the exception than the rule.

    Let us lay out some basic facts that show just how out-of-touch with reality this line from Islamist and progressivist/ mainstream media propaganda

  • Gordon Mullings

    CL:
    I understand your point here. However, Islamism implies that the followers are taking out of context or to some excessive extreme a part of Islam. In all honesty, we probably need a term for the Muslims who complete eschew the violence of the Koran.
    I found very interesting your link about the Islam conference. The findings were very balanced and refreshingly honest.

    –> First thanks on the behalf of the other organisers and participantrs in this Conference.
    –> Second, you will see above how I have made the distinction between Islam and Islamism, while pointing out just how closely tied they are across history. Indeed, one of the underlying points is that Islam is a REAL theocratic system, that rejects outright the separation of conscience and state.
    –> In that context, when it addresses matters of law and the state, observe carefully how the Christian Faith in Rom 1 – 2 especially, referes tot he law written in our hearts, i.e. natural law as a basis for morality, thence law.
    –> Further tot his, in Ch 13, Paul points out he legitimacuy of even Nero’s Pagan regime as God’s agent to administer justice [at swordpoint if necessary] and do the people good.
    –> Earlier and in the Jewish context, leading OT characters such as Joseph, Moses, David [when he was based in Ziklag under one of theLords of the Philistines], Daniel and Nehemiah were a part of pagan administrations, and so we see a basis for a common groud withthe wider community, though of course tensions emerge from time to time and persecutions occurred, leading to various liberation struggles.
    –> the point is that Islam probably takes its triumphalistic stance from the effect of Mohammed’s accession to ever increasing power, once he took control of Medina. So, apart from his earlier career as a “Warner” in Mecca and the brief refuge of someof his followers in Ethiopia, he never had to seriouslythink about getting along with neighbours on equal terms. Unfortunately, he did not allow hois earlier experience to temper his later behaviour and hte last 1400 years has paid the price for this failure.
    ++++++++
    Grace, open our eyes
    Gordon

  • Terence Moeller

    I came across an interesting article about slavery in the Muslim Sudan in the 21st century . . .
    Slavery Today in Africa is Still Horrific
    The absurdity of Prof. Ogletree

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Gordon,

    I Do have an interest in our recognising and facing unwelcome truths before they come knocking down our front doors.

    The conundrum here is being clear about what is an “unwelcome truth.”

    On Norman Podhoretz:

    1] a categorical rejection of the kind of relativism (

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Terrence,

    Now concerning the topic of this is thread, I think it is important to remember that the excesses of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages has no resemblence to the Catholic Church of today, nor the Evangelical Church EVER. And to compare it to Islam, which has been responsible for the vast majority of the terrorist attacks in the last century and has continued unabated since Muhammad raided his first caravan, is patently absurd.

    Forced conversions in Islamic history have been the norm, across three continents

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    GEM:
    most notably the attempt to fasten the sins of Hitler on the Chistian Church
    Uhh, not even close. And this is probably a good example of why your prejudices prevent you from comprehending what I’ve been trying to argue. If I were making a moral equivalence argument, like the straw man you and Mr. Lutz have continued to insist on erecting, you might have a point. But nowhere did I say that Nazi atrocities were the fault of the Christian Church, nor did I ever even say that Hitler was himself a Christian (although this case is not so cut and dry as you want to believe). Therefore, no apology nor any retraction is necessary.
    What I did argue was that religious rhetoric was used to exploit prejudices and incite people to do Very Bad Things. It’s happening now in the Middle East, and it happened in the 1930’s and 1940’s in Germany.
    In the case of Germany, it was Christian rhetoric which Hitler — Christian himself or not — exploited. The holocaust could not have happened on Hitler’s say-so alone. It required a great deal of support from a large segment of the population, which was overwhelmingly Christian. Whatever personal beliefs and motives Hitler and the Nazis may have had, the immutable truth is that they seized on and exploited Christian anti-semitism in order to commit perhaps the worst atrocity in modern history.
    In fact, listen to these not-at-all-Christian, totally atheistic quotes from Mein Kampf:
    “Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise.”
    “Almighty God, bless our arms when the time comes; be just as thou hast always been; judge now whether we be deserving of freedom; Lord, bless our battle.”
    “I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” — Oops, wait, that’s not Mein Kampf it’s Revelation. How could I have confused that with an anti-semitic tome?
    “Verily a man cannot serve two masters.” — Actually a Bible quote cited by Mein Kampf, purely by coincidence, I’m sure.
    “The prophet seldom has any honor in his own country.” — As above.
    Bottom line: On that count, I have nothing to apologize for. You can make as many excuses as you want about what happened there, and it won’t change the fact that Christianity had a big role to play.
    More narrowly, [“early Christianity”] speaks to the 1st Century era reported on in the NT.
    I’ll take your word for it. It simply wasn’t how I was using and understanding the term. My fault for not clarifying sooner.
    Have some respect for the many martyrs of the faith
    I have never denied the existence of nor attempted to diminish the importance of the “many martyrs of the faith,” and I frankly have no idea where you got such an idea. I’m not the one trying to paint with the overbroad “religion X is inherently bad” brush, or the “adherents of religion X are naturally prone to violence” brush.
    Then compare the summary by the US Library of Congress on the matter, from a recent display
    Never minding the fact that the cite you give discusses the Articles of Confederation, which failed as a charter of government, you’ve also ingored the importance of the word “fundamentalist.” The framers, by and large, were not biblical literalists or fundamentalist Christians. Certainly not Jefferson or Madison. While virtually all were religious in varying degrees, the system of governance they established owes a great deal more to enlightenment philosophy than to the Christian religion. And they were surprisingly united on the idea that the federal government had no business formally sanctioning or funding any sort of religion other than the non-specific “celebratory deism” type stuff we still see today. They believed that if there were to be any official recognition of religion (and they were divided on that yes/no question), it must be at the state level. That idea died with the ratification of the fourteenth amendment.
    TG is gliding by the now long since demonstrated point that the Islamic Religion has from its Founder on had a strong component of globally oriented conquest and subjugation in the Name of Allah
    When was the last time you banished your menstruating woman from the village (Lev 15)? Where in scripture is this ever explicitly contradicted or retracted? I seem to remember something about not the smallest letter of the law disappearing until everything is accomplished. I don’t recall any second coming lately, so as far as I’m concerned, there’s still unfinished business; thus, by Jesus own words, the old laws still apply. (I’ve no doubt you’ve got some half-baked scriptural mumbo-jumbo to dance around these inconvenient passages; it seems you always do…)
    Point is, Christians simply ignore this mandate. As much as Christians (and, truly, people of any religion) claim to accept the whole of their religion, there are vast swaths of it that people simply ingore (for example, pretty much the entire Old Testament, except when we want to cram the Commandments down everybody’s throat or bash us some fags…).
    I have never denied the existence of violent edicts in the Qur’an. I have merely questioned whether or not they are unlimited in time and scope. You gladly hide behind the “limited in time and scope” excuse to dismiss those parts of the Bible you’d rather not think about, but you’re clearly unwilling to extend the same courtesy to the Qur’an. But by now, this double standard of yours is abundantly clear to the onlookers.
    TM:
    I’d encourage any interested onlookers to go read the original thread on that and decide for themselves whether you’re being dishonest or are simply bad at math and statistics. For the record, my response was this:

    Uhh, it sure means that the rate declined dramatically. In absolute numbers, maybe not, but the decline in rate is directly contradictory to your argument that PP disproportionately targets blacks — blacks made up a substantially smaller proportion than they did 25 years earlier, according to statistics you cited. No amount of spin or lying about what the statistics mean will change that fact.

    Chris Lutz:
    How is it historically dubious that the movement to disconnect the violent aspects of Islam from Islam is relatively recent and seen by Muslims as a Western invention?
    Frankly, I have no idea how it is “seen by Muslims.” I also don’t know how the reformation was seen by Christians during the first hundred years or so. What I do know is that the latter ultimately won a lot of people over, and the former may yet. Hopefully it will.
    Then again, maybe I’m wrong about the reformation. Maybe it was near-universally accepted by the world’s Christians a day or two after Martin Luther nailed the grievances to the church door…
    It’s like claiming “Love thy neighbor as thyself” doesn’t mean what it obviously says.
    Or like claiming that “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” doesn’t mean what it obviously says.
    Here where I live, three Muslims and a “charity” were shut down for supporting terrorists.
    The plural of “anecdote” is not “data.” How many Muslims carry out acts of violence in a given year? A few thousand, maybe? Maybe a few tens of thousands, if we’re being generous? Out of well over a billion? And yet these few are the rule, and the remainder are somehow the exception?
    Did the recent convert who turned them in get praised by the Islamic community? There was a parade right?
    I suppose it would be a “moral equivalence” argument to point out the lack of parades for good churchgoing Christians in the American South when it became known that they were helping slaves to escape, or later, when they outed the Klan ties of their congregations. More often than not, doing the right thing is exceedingly unpopular, especially when the “right thing” involves ratting out your congregation.
    Show that Christianity condones violence in it’s [sic] texts.
    Criminy, there are dozens of places where it does so; but because (1) they are in the Old Testament and (2) they are extremely inconvenient to your argument, we should all pretend Jesus was just kidding about that whole “not the smallest letter” thing (or maybe the “until everything is accomplished” thing). Which is probably a good thing, because otherwise we’d be forced to start mowing down everyone who works on Sunday (or, depending on your perspective, Saturday).
    You claim that both religions have calls to violence. I’m asking you to prove it.
    Not exactly. You’re asking me to find calls to violence in the New Testament; got to ignore the OT, or I’d have a field day citing calls to violence. Insert standard Christian excusemaking and double-talk about why the OT is important except when it isn’t here.
    However, historically and textually, the vast majority believe the subjugation verses of Islam with only minor variations.
    I simply don’t agree with this statement. The share of Muslims who have acted on these verses on anything other than a highly localized scale is vanishingly small. If actions (or lack thereof) speak louder than words, then this speaks volumes against your argument.
    I have looked at peaceful pro-Islam sites. Their logic is a convoluted mess.
    Ever been to inerrancy.org? Whoops, moral equivalence again!
    They are an extreme minority though and not backed by any standard or historical rendition of Islam.
    As evidenced by the actions of the vast majority of the world’s Muslims.
    Since you have done some studying and you have claimed that the verses from the Koran I have used are hyper-selective, why have you not challenged my statement?
    Because it wouldn’t be worth it, frankly. Your bias against Islam is crystal-clear, just as you’ll claim mine against Christianity is (and, frankly, I won’t deny the latter). But since it’s not really critical to my overarching point, as stated above, I’ll simply retract the claim. For purposes of further discussion, Chris Lutz’ interpretation of the Qur’an is the one True and Proper Interpretation, is not selective in any way, and anyone who disagrees with it is clearly wrong. So let it be stipulated.
    You are basically saying that no one is motivated by religion.
    That’s not what I’m saying at all. Instead, I’m saying that very, very few people are motivated by religion alone. Although there are certainly some, those are so rare as to be inconsequential. Even Osama bin Laden doesn’t act for purely religious reasons.
    Take a look at Islamic violence beyond the past 50 years. Islam has not required any provocation to attack in the past.
    *Sigh* I suppose it would be “moral equivalence” to bring up Christian violence beyond the last 100 years…
    Do you really think all of this will stop if we completely leave, let them take Israel, and give them back Spain?
    Of course not. But I’ve never argued that. You’re the one who’s arguing that things magically get exponentially better if something changes — notably, that Islam goes away. I’m simply arguing that the problems are orders of magnatude more complicated than you give them credit for, and that these problems can in no way be distilled down to “Islam is the problem,” as you have attempted to claim.
    You can argue it is the exception and not the rule. Yet, you haven’t provided any historical evidence to back up your claim.
    As shown above, the simple numbers tell the whole tale. If such violent extremism were “the rule” for Islam, attacks like these would be orders of magnatude more common. You’re not going to convince me that even 51% of the world’s Muslims are itching to blow themselves up for the cause and collect their 72 virgins, much less most of them. So maybe you’ve got a vastly different idea of what “exception” and “rule” mean than I do.
    For instance, why aren’t the Copts in Egypt blowing up mosques?
    Even if I could find an example of some doing so, you’d accuse me of making a “moral equivalence” argument and probably also claim that they’re not “true” Christians, so I’m not sure what your point is here. I can think of at least two examples of Christians in the US blowing things up and killing people, but we’ve been through that already.
    In all honesty, we probably need a term for the Muslims who complete eschew the violence of the Koran.
    I’m not sure why we need a false dichotomy between “Muslims who want to subjugte the world and convert it to Islam by force” and “Muslims who completely eschew the violence of the Koran.” Will you admit no middle ground here?

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    OK, I think I’m pretty much worn out on the Sisyphian task that is this thread. So I guess I should forfeit.
    Chris Lutz and Gordon Mullings are right, and I am wrong. If not for Islam and those damn dirty Muslims, the Middle East would be a paradise of peace, prosperity, and happiness, and God would restore the flow of milk & honey. Widespread poverty and illiteracy are wholly irrelevant. Decades/centuries of Western intervention and support for oppressive regimes has nothing whatsoever to do with anything. Such conditions and interventions, in the absence of Islam, would not result in any violence, unhappy thoughts, or ill feelings. Islam, in the absence of such conditions and interventions, inevitably leads to extremist violence. It’s all about the Islam.
    What in the world could I have been thinking?
    Have a nice day, and a good holiday weekend.

  • Terence Moeller

    Andy:
    “Not convincing at all. This is not the type of argument Christians should not engage in. Instead, Christians would be well served by reminding themselves of the terrible excesses, crimes, etc. done in their name

  • Chris Lutz

    tgirsch:
    You gladly hide behind the “limited in time and scope” excuse to dismiss those parts of the Bible you’d rather not think about, but you’re clearly unwilling to extend the same courtesy to the Qur’an. But by now, this double standard of yours is abundantly clear to the onlookers.
    Well, maybe if you actually provided some evidence that they should be looked at in a time limited manner, you might have something. Instead you prefer to throw out claims of bad faith.
    Ever been to inerrancy.org? Whoops, moral equivalence again!
    No, but I’ll take a look. How is it moral equivalence to point to an Islamic site that defends Islam? You can’t even use the term properly. [Note: I wrote this giving tgirsch credit for at least pointing to a Muslim site that defended against the claims I have made. Instead, I go look at the site and find it is a Christian site about scriptual inerrancy. So, yes tgirsch, you are playing the equivalency game again.]
    You’re not going to convince me that even 51% of the world’s Muslims are itching to blow themselves up for the cause and collect their 72 virgins, much less most of them.
    I see that your defense has now switched to “only a small minority of Muslims commit these actions, therefore the rest have implicitly renounced the violent portions of the Koran.” Boonton made the same claim in a debate in February in which I believe he was sufficienty rebutted.
    http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/001832.html
    What are you basing vanishingly small on? Approximately 25% of Muslims in Britain said the subway bombing on 7/7 were justified. Also, after the recent arrests in Britain, 25 mainline Muslim organizations sent a letter to the gov’t implying that unless gov’t changed it’s foreign policy, there would be more violence by Muslims. Another group in Britain said that the gov’t needed to allow Muslims to implement sharia in their neighbors to stop the violence. It’s not just the number that commit violence or are willing to commit violence, but the number of people who explicitly or implicitly help them.
    Because it wouldn’t be worth it, frankly. Your bias against Islam is crystal-clear, just as you’ll claim mine against Christianity is (and, frankly, I won’t deny the latter). But since it’s not really critical to my overarching point, as stated above, I’ll simply retract the claim.
    Tgirsch, about three years ago, I would have made similar claims as you, not to the same degree, but similar. Anyone claiming that Islam had calls for violence and subjugation, I would have disagreed with and claimed it was people abusing their scripture. One day I was looking up a claim about fighting the unbelievers in an attempt to verify it’s veracity. I didn’t want to get taken in by someone using a verse out of context. I was surprised that the verse meant exactly what it stated. Since then, the more I’ve studied, the worse it has gotten. I’m willing to accept that I am wrong, but it’s going to take make than general comparisons to Christianity or any other religion. Islam is a different religion in that it combines the secular and the spiritual into one package. Just because many Muslims don’t act on Islamic teachings (I believe mainly because of the conscience God gives every man) doesn’t make it a serious threat. All religions go through cycles of dying off and revival. We are witnessing a revival of Islamic belief and that is leading to more Muslims following it’s commands.
    I believe relating the situation to Paul’s discussion of divorce is applicable. Paul talked about what to do if one spouse became a Christian and the other did not. Paul’s reasoning was that if you could live in peace and fulfill your Christain duties, then you should stay together. However, if it caused discord and anger, then they should divorce. I believe, instead of trying to live together with a group that because of their Islamic beliefs is going to be in constant conflict with our beliefs, it is better that we just admit our worldview differences and live in our separate spheres. This doesn’t need to include violence (which is going to continue and grow on our present course) but it does mean we need to be willing to assert ourselves and state that we actually do believe in something.
    Have you ever heard me say anything about any other religion similar to the things I have said about Islam? I don’t rage against Buddhists and Hindus who have committed violence against Christians. I realize that they don’t have a call to subjugate others and the tension is the standard tension between different religions. I know you will say that that is all you have been saying. However, you are unwilling to see that Islam is different and that treating it like another religion is a grave error.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    It is sad to see that this thread is slipping into the gutter, on one side. Please wiew this as an attempt to keep it out of the gutter, even in the teeth of having to at points strongly correct.
    I think a few remarks are in order:
    1] Andy: On Hitler: You say he wasn’t a Christian. But he thought he was and said, “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.”
    –> Andy should first observe the objective facts of Hitler’s known ideology, as I summarised earlier, Aug 30 at 7:14 AM, in my pointing out to TG that he is utterly wrong to ascribe Hitler’s behaviour to his alleged Christian Faith; and to which he is evidently objecting:

    TG: As to Christian-inspired violence and genocide, I need look no further than Hitler. Or perhaps that doesn’t pass your “modern era” qualification.
    [GEM:] –> This reflects the grossest ignorance of the history in question.
    –> Hitler was not at all a Christian — just ask the ghost of Dietrich Boenhoffer, Germany’s leading theologian in the 1930’s, and Martin Niemoller, the U Boat Hero from WW I turned pastor and leader of the confessing Christian churches who resisted the apostasy Hitler tried to impose on the church through his German Church movement.
    –> Instead, he was a racist, Social Darwinist, neo-pagan who looked to Astrology and occult teachings of Blavatsky [the Aryan Man myth] and the superman philosophy of the atheistic nihilist Nietzsche etc for his inspiration, precisely NOT the NT and certainly not the Jewish OT.
    –> The closest history-of-ideas precedent for his behaviour in influential and widely respected modern thought, unfortunately, can be seen in this observation by no less than Charles Darwin himself, in a letter to the co-founder of modern Darwinism, Wallace:

    I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world. (July 3, 1881; cited in p. 343 of Himmelfarb’s biography, 1959 Chatto and Windus edition, it is footnote #9 in Chapter xix, “Darwinism, Politics, and Society.”)

    –> I have never said that Hitler — a wily politician dealing with a nation that in its ordinary people still had a great many people who [albeit often in deepest ignorance, largely driven by over a century of apostasy by the leaders of the Seminaries; cf below] took Christianity seriously at some level — may not have claimed to be a “Christian,” but that his life, teaching and speech plainly show that he was not, as a direct comparison with the NT can amply justify. Period.
    –> Further to this, it is directly plain that his known political mentor — through that infamous Renaisance-era work, The Prince [and the equally vicious but less well known Discourses on Livy] — was Machiavelli, a man who outright rejected Christian thought on morality and public policy in favour of the pagan ideas, examples and ideals allegedly handed on by the Romans and the associated raw power-politics of the sort that say Augustine rebuked in his City of God Against the Pagans. Machiavelli, of course, counselled on the subject of religion that it suited the ruler to SEEM pious, but not to be in reality pious. That is, rulers should pretend to a religiosity that they had no intention of carrying through. THAT is precisely what Boenhoffer and Niemoller bravely publicly opposed, the first paying with his life, the second being incarcerated in a concentration camp, but surviving.
    –> Further, the idea-sources for the genocide of Jews, Gypsies, Russians and too many others to list in detail in question were plainly as described, and the nearest antecedent for Hitler’s genocide, sadly — and I believe Darwin would have been horrified — was Social Darwinism and the concept that he alleged Aryan races were superior tot he point where their leaders should act the part of Nietzsche’s Superman as Hitler conveniently repackaged him.
    –> In short, Andy, you have lent your support to a vicious slander. I am saddened to see this.
    2] And certainly Germany and Italy were far and away dominated by Christians in every possible way.
    –> Andy, did you study the history of ideas, especially the roots of Marx’s thought in Fuerbach? Did you ever see Marx’s beginning to his 1644 essay, “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law: Introduction”? The very first sentence of that essay begins with Marx’s thesis: For Germany, the criticism of religion is in the main complete, and criticism of religion is the premise of all criticism.”
    –> These sadly chilling words were of course directly rooted in Fuerbach’s earlier atheism, but more deeply in the state of intellecualised apostasy among the educated elites that I have discussed in my Intro to Phil Class session on Modern Theology. For instance, on the Father of Modern Theology, Friederick Schleiermacher and his “apologetics” work, On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers, Standford’s online enc of phil notes:

    This work sought to save religion in the eyes of its cultured despisers (prominent among them some of the romantics) by, inter alia, arguing that human immortality and even God are inessential to religion, diagnosing current religion’s more off-putting features in terms of its corruption by worldly bourgeois culture and state-interference, and arguing that there are an endless multiplicity of valid forms of religion . . . .
    Schleiermacher has a large measure of sympathy with the skeptics about religion whom he means to answer. But the early Schleiermacher’s sympathy with them also goes far deeper than this. In On Religion he is skeptical about the ideas of God and human immortality altogether, arguing that the former is merely optional (to be included in one’s religion or not depending on the nature of one’s imagination), and that the latter is positively unacceptable. Moreover, he diagnoses the modern prevalence of such religious ideas in terms of the deadening influence exerted by modern bourgeois society and state-interference in religion. He reconciles this rather startling concession to the skeptics with his ultimate goal of defending religion by claiming that such ideas are inessential to religion. This stance strikingly anticipates such more recent radical religious positions as Mauthner’s

  • Gordon Mullings

    TM and CL:
    Well said.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    Andy:
    CORRECTION: Marx’s 1844 essay, “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law: Introduction”? The very first sentence of that essay begins with Marx’s thesis: For Germany, the criticism of religion is in the main complete, and criticism of religion is the premise of all criticism.”
    Not sure how I missed that one!
    Also, you may wish to look at Mr Bush’s recent remarks here, and an analysis of the way AP reported on Mr Rumsfeld’s speech here.
    GEM

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Chris Lutz:
    I believe we’re talking past each other, and have been for some time. I do not deny the existence of violent passages in the Qur’an. I merely don’t share your belief that the violence of the Middle East is primarily religious in nature, or that devout belief in Islam somehow necessarily leads to violence against non-believers.
    From where I sit, you’re trying to take extremely complicated problems with manifold social, political, economic, and yes, religious components, and pin the whole mess on a religion you don’t like. And I don’t see how this is anything other than religious bigotry. Had you argued that some teachings of Islam exacerbated these problems, we wouldn’t have had a problem here. But you argued that the teachings of Islam are the root cause, and that’s a different matter altogether.
    Do not mistake me for a defender of Islam. In the grand scheme of things, I probably hold it in more contempt than I do fundamentalist Christianity. But neither is going away any time soon. My hope is that over time, as has happened with Christianity, adherents will simply begin to ignore the more sordid parts of their religious texts, and try to take away only the positives.

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Gordon:
    Here of course, TG tellingly fails to address what is most material: just what defines what is authentically “Christian”
    Really, Gordon, is “No True Scotsman” the best you can do? Christianity is absolved of all the evils it has inspired throughout history, because the people committing those evils weren’t really Christians, and weren’t really following the teachings.
    As to Christian calls to violence, I have showed where Jesus himself tells us that the laws of the Old Testament still apply, and will continue to apply until the end of time. I’m not aware of anyplace where Jesus contradicts this, and in fact I doubt you are either, since you’ll surely point out that nothing in the Bible truly contradicts anything else in the Bible.
    Finally, I’ve studied Christianity and the Bible perhaps more than you think. I simply reject the idea that it’s unconditionally true, and therefore reject the quasi-logical acrobatics people often go through to justify ignoring those parts of the Bible they prefer not to think about.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    It is sadly predictable that TG — having been challenged that Hitler is not at all a Christian, so that the slanderous notion that his behaviour constitutes a case of “Christian-inspired violence and genocide” is patently false — would now assert that it is a “No True Scotsman” fallacy to point out that the Christian Faith has a distinctive framework, set by its founders, in its founding era and preserved in the New Testament.
    Sorry, the NTS fallacy relates to the case where non-essential characteristics are used to attempt to rule someone out of a circle in which they would otherwise plainly fit. Hitler’s differences from the Christian Faith are not of the order of Uncle Angus liking/not liking sugar in his porridge, but go to the heart of that faith, as defined by the living, risen Christ in his Great Commission, as already adverted to:

    MT 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    Such commands plainly include, inter alia, that:

    12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
    MT 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
    MT 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
    MT 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
    MT 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

    And, also, when Peter thought that he was the leader of a new Maccabees-style revolution, striking the first blow in defense of Jesus at his betrayal, Jesus rebuked him: MT 26:52 “Put your sword back in its place . . . for all who draw the sword will die by the sword . . .”
    On this matter, I therefore think we can safely trust the judgement of the Christian martyrs in th White Rose movement, that Hitler was far from a penitent disciple of Jesus, and instead was obviously the most contemptible tyrant our [German] people has ever endured.”
    The contrast of Jesus’ teaching with the tenor of the Quran, Surah 9 ayas 5 and 29 – 31 could not be more plain.
    Nor does the fact that there are cultural, economic and social factors relating to Islamism in our time detract form the massively well-warranted observation that it has been the historic, general understanding of Islam that these following Quranic texts mandate a global conquest agenda, wherever there is resistance to the call to surrender to Allah, his prophet, his law and his warriors:

    9:29 Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued . . . .
    9:5 But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an[d] seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

    I repeat, there is utterly no parallel in the scriptures or other founding traditions of any other major religion, nor is there any other religion that in its first century set out on a global conquest attempt across three continents, that only stopped when its forces reached the point of strategic overstretch. In particular the contrast with the founding era of the Christian faith is utter and indisputable by reference to credible facts and cogent reasoning.
    Indeed, that is precisely why Mr Girsch, instead of showing NT texts that substantiate the parallel he imagines, and instead of trying to show that the Judaic OT mandates a similar global campaign

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Gordon (and Chris, et al.),

    To use your words, “it saddens me” to see you pitting your holy book against the Muslim’s. On the one hand, it is not surprising given your literal interpretation of the Bible that you choose to read the Koran the same way — literally. But on the other hand, would you expect someone to understand Christianity in any meaningful way simply by reading the Bible?

    Then there is this “moral equivalence” red herring you keep throwing out. No one is making a moral equivalence argument. What we are saying is that you are demonstrating a marked lack of intellectual consistency. You define Christianity to be a small subset of what most people consider it to be and conveniently toss out anyone or any nation that has is a poor moral example. In fact you say quite explicitly if some is a poor moral example they are not a Christian. Yet, when it comes to Islam you condemn the entire religion as being one of violence based on your literal reading of their holy book.

    Here’s a Muslim that argues quite like you:

    Muslims are not terrorists; anyone, State or individual, who commits a terrorist act is violating the most basic principles of our religion”, said Dr. White. link

    Here’s another Muslim who says points to Islam’s believe in the “salvific efficacy” of Christianity:

    For the Qur’an saw itself as confirming rather than altering the central message of the Abrahamic religions that preceded it chronologically. More importantly, it saw itself as a conclusive revelation in the ongoing process of divine guidance from the day the earth became inhabited by the first human couple, Adam and Eve. Consequently, the Qur’an does not take up the issue of abrogation or supersession of the previous Abrahamic religions of Christianity or Judaism and prescribe the forced conversion of the followers of these religions. Quite to the contrary, it recognizes the salvific efficacy of the Abrahamic faiths, whose central doctrines are shared by Islam. link

    And finally here’s a scholar who points out that Muslim terrorist organizations are “part of the historical legacy of colonialism and not the legacy of Islamic law”:

    Modern Muslim terrorist groups are more rooted in national liberation ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries than they are in the Islamic tradition. Although these terrorist groups adopt various theological justifications for their behavior, their ideologies, symbolism, language and organizational structure reflect the influence of the anti-colonial struggle of the developing world. For instance, the groups often use expressions such as hizb(party),tahrir(liberation), taqrir al-masir (self-determination),harakah(movement),al-kawadir al-fa’alah(the active cadres) or harb muqaddasa (holy struggle). These expressions are imported from national liberation struggles against colonialism and did not emerge from the Islamic heritage.

    In short, modern Muslim terrorism is part of the historical legacy of colonialism and not the legacy of Islamic law. According to the Islamic juristic tradition, terrorists would have no quarter. link

    Here are examples of Jews and Muslims working together for peace: link, link, and link. How do you explain that if Islam is a religion of violence and domination? There is even CAMP, Christians And Muslims For Peace. And Peace is the Basic Spirit in Islam is a 10 year old article that seems quite relevant.

    What do you hope to gain by trying to convey the wrong-headed notions about Islam? Where are the conservative evangelicals standing up for peace and reconciliation?

  • Gordon Mullings

    Andy:
    I see your remarks. I will respond on points:
    1] On the one hand, it is not surprising given your literal interpretation of the Bible that you choose to read the Koran the same way

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: Forgot: the Definition of “Islam” is at root submission, and itbecomes “peace” inthe sense that peace results from surrendeer to Allah, his Prophet, his law and his warriors, as Brig Malik amply states. [Much more can, asusual besaid on this, e.g. here]Otherwise you are a cancer to be removed.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    Correction: Al Ahram is an Egyptian newspaper, if memory serves. THe leading Islamic university, equally if memory serves is Al Azhar [or similar spelling].

  • Rhys Palmer

    Second, the Quran – “Recitation” — is presented as a work of different order from the Bible: it is held to be an eternal book that was “handed down” to Mohammed rather than a work of active human writing under guidance from God
    What evidence is there that the Bible was written under the guidance of God? Apart from.. well.. the Bible saying its the word of God, which isnt evidence at all.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Rhys:
    I see your remark, which is significantly off-topic.
    In context, I was speaking to the claims made for the two Scriptural works by their respective religions: the Bible in the Christian frame is a work in which active writers were guided by God, the Quran within its frame claims to be a recitation reduced to writing of an eternal book “handed down” to its recipient, Mohammed. Thus, the ways to understand them on their own terms, must differ accordingly,
    If you are interested, as you say, in the authenticity and inspiration of the Bible, I suggest you start here, here, and here, and follow up from there.
    The force of the point in 1 Cor 15, that Jesus’ salvific death, burial and resurrection were “according to the [prophecies of the OT] scriptures” . . . .

    1CO 15:1 . . . the gospel. . . which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
    1CO 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

    . . . . is best examined in light of the prophecy of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53, of about 700 BC:

    ISA 53:1 Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
    ISA 53:2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
    He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
    ISA 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
    Like one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
    ISA 53:4 Surely he took up our infirmities
    and carried our sorrows,
    yet we considered him stricken by God,
    smitten by him, and afflicted.
    ISA 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
    ISA 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to his own way;
    and the LORD has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all . . . .
    ISA 53:8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    And who can speak of his descendants?
    For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
    ISA 53:9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
    though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.
    ISA 53:10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
    ISA 53:11 After the suffering of his soul,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
    by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
    ISA 53:12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
    because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.

    How is this relevant? Isaiah, in Ch 41 lays outt he challenge to others who would be gods:

    ISA 41:21 “Present your case,” says the LORD.
    “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.
    ISA 41:22 “Bring in your idols to tell us
    what is going to happen.
    Tell us what the former things were,
    so that we may consider them
    and know their final outcome.
    Or declare to us the things to come,
    ISA 41:23 tell us what the future holds,
    so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad,
    so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.

    For, it is he who holds the future who can predict it accurately. And, it is he who so holds the future and so loved us that he gave himself for us to redeem us from our sins, who inspired men to write those scriptures that tell us about it.
    And, it is he who instructed hois Apostle to the Nations to warn us:

    Ac 17:17 So [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.”
    AC 17:22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. [i.e the guardians of the Western intellectual tradition had built a monument to their ignorance onthe most central issue in all knowledge . . . ] Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you [that is, God is known as he reveals himself, not as the fruit of our speculations].
    AC 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 `For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, `We are his offspring.’
    AC 17:29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone–an image made by man’s design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

    ++++++++++++
    Grace, open our eyes
    Gordon

  • Cheesehead

    Mummon said: “As somebody who’s posting at Kos has been blowing away your traffic lately (when’s the last time you had as many comments as I ‘ve had here?)”
    They like me!!!!They really like me!!!!Get out the tinfoil hats!!! They really like me!!!!

  • Rhys Palmer

    Well not really,
    I think onlookers can judge for themselves who is a more balanced, factually based, critically aware thinker
    Your arguements are full of assumptions. I just choose one, to see your response. I couldnt be bothered getting into the arguement that Tom seems to have done and gone in circles.
    Using scripture to prove the authenicity of scripture is ridiculous. There’s no doubt that people lived 2000 years ago at the time of a great spiritual master, but there is no evidence that their writings were insipired by God. Except ofcourse the scriptures saying this..

  • Noumenon

    Hatred for George W. Bush has become the defining theme of modern American liberalism, pushing aside all other issues.
    I think that support for George W. Bush has become the defining theme of modern American evangelicalism… your religion is a better predictor of your politics than anything but your Republican party card. But then, I’m not an evangelical, so I don’t know any better. Same goes for you — don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because your opponents are partisan that’s all they’ve got going on. People aren’t that shallow.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    Several notes on points:
    1] Rhys: Your arguements are full of assumptions. I just choose one, to see your response . . . . Using scripture to prove the authenicity of scripture is ridiculous.
    –> First EVERY argument in the end rests on assumptions, as I have discussed in details here. [NB: a pdf of a presentation.]
    –> In brief, ask about a claim A, why accept it? Because of B; then, why accept B? leads to C, D, . . .
    –> So we either have an infinite regress, or stop at a faith-point F. If that faith point is at least comparably credible/difficult to any other live option, we take it as a serious start-point. If not, then we say it begs the question.
    –> Thus to object that my arguments above rely on assumptions as an OBJECTION, is both trivial and selectively hyperskeptical — all arguments of the same general type have the same challenge.
    –> Third, assuming that you are in this first instance referring to the question you asked overnight, I have in fact not assumed the Divine Inspiration of Scripture in an attempt to prove it, as the above linked demonstrates. In short, you have been intellectually lazy and have not addressed my argument but what you . . . ASSUMED . . . was my argument.
    –> For, I start with the Luke-Acts narrative, credibly dating to AD 60 – 62, then address the implications of its proved accuracy on history, then address the substantial core on the merits of the question of Jesus and his death, burial and reported resurrection in light of predictions credibly dating to 700 years before, i.e. I am making here an inference to best explanation. In that context, the credibility of Luke-Acts as history — which is empirically testable, and has long since been abundantly confirmed — leads to the issue of Jesus and his passion and resurrection in light of predictions in the OT dating to centuries before the fact, thence the inference that his view of the Bible should be ours.
    –> But your point is far broader than that, as you are addressing the context of issues relating tot he ongoing WW 4. In that context, again, dismissals are at best intellectually lazy and/or closed-minded, at worst are dishonest. I have adduced facts, linked to matters open to inspection, and have raised challenges in that context. Dismissal because such arguments inevitably contain assumptions, is irresponsible.
    2] I couldnt be bothered getting into the arguement that Tom seems to have done and gone in circles.
    –> The problems with Mr Girsch’s arguments and assertions are not just “going in circles” — because of course he has evidently long since made up his mind about his conclusions and is only seeking arguments to make them seem plausible to himself, as the above sadly shows — but is also [even more sadly] resorting to plain false accusations and slanders, especially regarding Hitler.
    –> If you are a serious person and a well-intentioned one, I think you need to look back at the above and assess the tellingly sad but inadvertent self-disclosure implied by his ill-founded assertion that Hitler’s conduct is a typical example of “Christian-inspired violence and genocide.” If you do not do that,then — sadly — that equally tells us a lot about your own thought.
    3] There’s no doubt that people lived 2000 years ago at the time of a great spiritual master, but there is no evidence that their writings were insipired by God. Except ofcourse the scriptures saying this.
    –> Again, you have plainly not actually interacted with the matters brought forward in the three linked pages above,which were the context for my further remarks. [Remember, this is an off-topic point.]
    –> Note, I am citing the NT documents in Luke-Acts simply as credible, tested and found habitually accurate C1 historical sources. I cited in the above 1 Cor 15 as a well-known historically authentic document dating to some 25 years after the events. Now, in a controversial context that appeals to the commonly known facts and accessible witnesses, it refers to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection [and highlights them as fulfilling OT prophecies]. Isaiah 53 is just such a prediction that credibly dates to SEVEN centuries before Jesus [e.g. cf. the Dead Sea Scroll from C2 BC]. The issue of predictive prophecy that arises of course is a matter of a simple and credible test of God’s power.
    –> That pattern, especially the Lk-Ac account in turn brings us to the issues of the substance of the main story reported therein, in light of the Morison Challenge to explanation in light of comparative difficulties:

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    Several notes on points:
    1] Rhys: Your arguements are full of assumptions. I just choose one, to see your response . . . . Using scripture to prove the authenicity of scripture is ridiculous.
    –> First EVERY argument in the end rests on assumptions, as I have discussed in details here. [NB: a pdf of a presentation.]
    –> In brief, ask about a claim A, why accept it? Because of B; then, why accept B? leads to C, D, . . .
    –> So we either have an infinite regress, or stop at a faith-point F. If that faith point is at least comparably credible/difficult to any other live option, we take it as a serious start-point. If not, then we say it begs the question.
    –> Thus to object that my arguments above rely on assumptions as an OBJECTION, is both trivial and selectively hyperskeptical — all arguments of the same general type have the same challenge.
    –> Third, assuming that you are in this first instance referring to the question you asked overnight, I have in fact not assumed the Divine Inspiration of Scripture in an attempt to prove it, as the above linked demonstrates. In short, you have been intellectually lazy and have not addressed my argument but what you . . . ASSUMED . . . was my argument.
    –> For, I start with the Luke-Acts narrative, credibly dating to AD 60 – 62, then address the implications of its proved accuracy on history, then address the substantial core on the merits of the question of Jesus and his death, burial and reported resurrection in light of predictions credibly dating to 700 years before, i.e. I am making here an inference to best explanation. In that context, the credibility of Luke-Acts as history — which is empirically testable, and has long since been abundantly confirmed — leads to the issue of Jesus and his passion and resurrection in light of predictions in the OT dating to centuries before the fact, thence the inference that his view of the Bible should be ours.
    –> But your point is far broader than that, as you are addressing the context of issues relating tot he ongoing WW 4. In that context, again, dismissals are at best intellectually lazy and/or closed-minded, at worst are dishonest. I have adduced facts, linked to matters open to inspection, and have raised challenges in that context. Dismissal because such arguments inevitably contain assumptions, is irresponsible.
    2] I couldnt be bothered getting into the arguement that Tom seems to have done and gone in circles.
    –> The problems with Mr Girsch’s arguments and assertions are not just “going in circles” — because of course he has evidently long since made up his mind about his conclusions and is only seeking arguments to make them seem plausible to himself, as the above sadly shows — but is also [even more sadly] resorting to plain false accusations and slanders, especially regarding Hitler.
    –> If you are a serious person and a well-intentioned one, I think you need to look back at the above and assess the tellingly sad but inadvertent self-disclosure implied by his ill-founded assertion that Hitler’s conduct is a typical example of “Christian-inspired violence and genocide.” If you do not do that,then — sadly — that equally tells us a lot about your own thought.
    3] There’s no doubt that people lived 2000 years ago at the time of a great spiritual master, but there is no evidence that their writings were insipired by God. Except ofcourse the scriptures saying this.
    –> Again, you have plainly not actually interacted with the matters brought forward in the three linked pages above,which were the context for my further remarks. [Remember, this is an off-topic point.]
    –> Note, I am citing the NT documents in Luke-Acts simply as credible, tested and found habitually accurate C1 historical sources. I cited in the above 1 Cor 15 as a well-known historically authentic document dating to some 25 years after the events. Now, in a controversial context that appeals to the commonly known facts and accessible witnesses, it refers to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection [and highlights them as fulfilling OT prophecies]. Isaiah 53 is just such a prediction that credibly dates to SEVEN centuries before Jesus [e.g. cf. the Dead Sea Scroll from C2 BC]. The issue of predictive prophecy that arises of course is a matter of a simple and credible test of God’s power.
    –> That pattern, especially the Lk-Ac account in turn brings us to the issues of the substance of the main story reported therein, in light of the Morison Challenge to explanation in light of comparative difficulties:

  • Gordon Mullings

    OOPS: A double post after that infamous ERROR 500 told me that it had not gone through. Sorry.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Gordon,

    We’ve been here before — deja vu all over again:

    Such a nation, further, commits itself — as did the American founding Congress acting as representatives of the American people in 1776 and 1777, as I and others have documented — to walking under the instructions of Jesus.

    You have documented your belief that this is so, not anything like a convincing argument (except to people who start by accepting your conclusion). This is the general trend here on EO.

    Joe Carter is lucky to have you as the principal commentor on his blog — and I say that quite sincerely. You have quite a number of gifts, not least of which is your complete faith in the kind of Christianity you practice and a marvelous ability to expound on it at some considerable length by drawing on material from a variety of sources. I tip my hat to you — and do so while not finding your arguments at all compelling.

    There is a cruel irony in our circumstances. We have much in common: interests in science, philosophy, and religion for example. Yet we are doomed to meet here in conflict over some — by no means all — of our core beliefs, beliefs that neither of us are likely to change. In this I think we are a stereotypical example of the sorts of conflicts going on all over the globe.

    Stridently repeating the same arguments over and over, which all of us “old timers” here on EO do, does not create better world.

    I’m not sure where to go with that conclusion.

    Any ideas?

  • Gordon Mullings

    Andy:
    1] I see your: You have documented your belief that this is so . . .
    No, Andy, I documented the proclamation of a day of thanksgiving and prayer for Dec 1777 in gratitude especially for the key victories in the preceding year or so that secured the Independence of the USA, in a wider context as recently summarised by the US Library of Congress [as also excerpted]. In short, as that display documents, there are others of like ilk — unfortunately they used facsimiles in PDFs so it is hard to reproduce in extenso.
    I excerpt again, with the relevant highlights:

    December 1777: FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of; And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence, but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defence and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a Measure to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops and to crown our Arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; That with one Heart and one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favour, and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole; to inspire our Commanders both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE; That it may please him to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People and the Labour of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet yield its Increase; To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand, and to prosper the Means of Religion for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom which consisteth

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’MM: Maybe I should take back a too-hasty point — the idea that this is off-topic.
    For, in a situation where plainly too many secularists are only too willing to put the Bible -believing Christian faith as simpy another pea inthe pod that contains the older NAZI fascism and what VDH all-too-aptly [and, sadly]characterises as the current islamist variety– history repeating itself as tragi-farce, then it is material to point out that such faith in fact materially contributed to the emergence of liberty in the post-reformation world. And BTW I notice a petition for those in bondage in the 1779 proclamation, too. [Well did Santayana warn us that the first lesson of history is that those who refuse to learn its lessons are doomed to repeat its worst chapters, and that the second is that by and large we refuse to learn the lessons of history. That is to our shame. For, whom the gods would destroy, first they rob of the capacity of reasoning.]
    A first step to a sensible dialogue will be when we can see that the secularists are able to acknowledge that, on the evidence, there has indeed been a material contribution to the rise of modern liberty coming from Christians and Christianity-influenced people acting in light of biblical and Bible-derived ideas. [And, I note again, this is not to deny that there were other streams of ideas that contributed, just to note that this was a significant and positive one.]
    Then, we can move beyond well-poisoning to the other side of Aristotle’s ledger: our judgements when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as those we make when we are pained and hostile.
    GEM

  • levan
  • Terence Moeller

    Why abduct us? We cede our values for free
    September 3, 2006
    BY MARK STEYN SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
    Did you see that video of the two Fox journalists announcing they’d converted to Islam? The larger problem, it seems to me, is that much of the rest of the Western media have also converted to Islam, and there seems to be no way to get them to convert back to journalism.
    Consider, for example, the bizarre behavior of Reuters, the once globally respected news agency now reduced to putting out laughably inept terrorist propaganda. A few days ago, it made a big hoo-ha about the Israelis intentionally firing a missile at its press vehicle and wounding its cameraman Fadel Shana. Shana was posed in an artful sprawl in a blood-spattered shirt. But it had ridden up and underneath his undershirt was spotlessly white, like a summer-stock Julius Caesar revealing the boxers under his toga. What’s stunning is not that almost all Western media organizations reporting from the Middle East are reliant on local staff overwhelmingly sympathetic to one side in the conflict — that’s been known for some time — but the amateurish level of fakery that head office is willing to go along with.
    Down at the other end of the news business, meanwhile, one finds items like this snippet from the Sydney Morning Herald:
    “A 16-year-old girl was tailed by a car full of men before being dragged inside and assaulted in Sydney’s west last night, police say . . .
    “The three men involved in the attack were described to police as having dark ‘mullet-style’ haircuts.”
    Three men with “mullet-style” hair, huh? Not much to go on there. Bit of a head scratcher. But, as it turned out, the indefatigable Sydney Morning Herald typist had faithfully copied out every salient detail of the police report except one. Here’s the statement the coppers themselves issued:
    “Police are seeking three men described as being of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean appearance, with dark ‘mullet-style’ hair cuts.”
    That additional detail narrows it down a bit, wouldn’t you say? The only reason I know that is because the Aussie Internet maestro Tim Blair grew curious about the epidemic of incidents committed by men of no known appearance and decided to look into it. One can understand the agonies the politically correct multicultural journalist must go through, distressed at the thought that an infelicitous phrasing might perpetuate unfortunate stereotypes of young Muslim males. But, even so, it’s quite a leap to omit the most pertinent fact and leave the impression the Sydney constabulary are combing the city for mullets. The Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby wrote the other day about how American children’s books are “sacrificing truth on the altar of political correctness.” But there seems to be quite a lot of that in the grown-up comics, too. And, as I’ve said before, it’s never a good idea to put reality up for grabs. There may come a time when you need it.
    It’s striking how, for all this alleged multiculti sensitivity, we’re mostly entirely insensitive to other cultures: We find it all but impossible to imagine how differently they view the world. Go back to that video in which Fox’s Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig announced their conversion to Islam. The moment the men were released, the Western media and their colleagues wrote off the scene as a stunt, a cunning ruse, of no more consequence than yelling “Behind you! He’s got a gun!” and then kicking your distracted kidnapper in the teeth. Indeed, a few Web sites seemed to see the Islamic conversion routine as a useful get-out-of-jail-free card.
    Don’t bet on it. In my forthcoming book, I devote a few pages to a thriller I read as a boy — an old potboiler by Sherlock Holmes’ creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. In 1895 Sir Arthur had taken his sick wife to Egypt for her health, and, not wishing to waste the local color, produced a slim novel called The Tragedy of the Korosko, about a party of Anglo-American-French tourists taken hostage by the Mahdists, the jihadi of the day. Much of the story finds the characters in the same predicament as Centanni and Wiig: The kidnappers are offering them a choice between Islam or death. Conan Doyle’s Britons and Americans and Europeans were men and women of the modern world even then:
    “None of them, except perhaps Miss Adams and Mrs. Belmont, had any deep religious convictions. All of them were children of this world, and some of them disagreed with everything which that symbol upon the earth represented.”
    “That symbol” is the cross. Yet in the end, even as men with no religious convictions, they cannot bring themselves to submit to Islam, for they understand it to be not just a denial of Christ but in some sense a denial of themselves, too. So they stall and delay and bog down the imam in a lot of technical questions until eventually he wises up and they’re condemned to death.
    One hundred ten years later, for the Fox journalists and the Western media who reported their release, what’s the big deal? Wear robes, change your name to Khaled, go on camera and drop Allah’s name hither and yon: If that’s your ticket out, seize it. Everyone’ll know it’s just a sham.
    But that’s not how the al-Jazeera audience sees it. If you’re a Muslim, the video is anything but meaningless. Not even the dumbest jihadist believes these infidels are suddenly true believers. Rather, it confirms the central truth Osama and the mullahs have been peddling — that the West is weak, that there’s nothing — no core, no bedrock — nothing it’s not willing to trade. In his new book The Conservative Soul, attempting to reconcile his sexual temperament and his alleged political one, Time magazine’s gay Tory Andrew Sullivan enthuses, “By letting go, we become. By giving up, we gain. And we learn how to live — now, which is the only time that matters.” That’s almost a literal restatement of Faust’s bargain with the devil:
    “When to the moment I shall say
    ‘Linger awhile! so fair thou art!’
    Then mayst thou fetter me straightway
    Then to the abyss will I depart!”
    In other words, if Faust becomes so enthralled by “the moment” that he wants to live in it forever, the devil will have him for all eternity. In the Muslim world, they watch the Centanni/Wiig video and see men so in love with the present, the now, that they will do or say anything to live in the moment. And they draw their own conclusions — that these men are easier to force into the car than that 16-year-old girl in Sydney was. It doesn’t matter how “understandable” Centanni and Wiig’s actions are to us, what the target audience understands is quite different: that there is nothing we’re willing to die for. And, to the Islamist mind, a society with nothing to die for is already dead.

  • Gordon Mullings

    TM:
    There is a name for it: UBL’s “Strong Horse.”
    And, given the history of the organic link between Islam as religion and Islamism as world-conquest ideology, complete with the example of the sort of intimidatory tactics set 1400 years ago by their Prophet [note examples as already posted] we are in for one wild ride.
    (Hint for the history challenged: observe carefully the chain of murders of critics M. ordered in and around Medina as excerpted to Andy above, to see what I mean.)
    Add to this the nuke threshold currently being crossed by Iran. Multiply by the Vietnam syndrome, in the most virulent forms. Raise to the power of Clausewitz’s point that a battle is not so much a PHYSICAL defeat of the enemy asa breaking of his will. Then multiply by a press that was unwilling to draw out the implications of hte forced conversion of kidnapped journalists we just saw, as Mark Steyn just remarked on.
    A wild ride in the race between the strong horse and the weak one trying to escape.
    I am not convinced that Western secularists, as a whole, are in serious contanct with reality on this: spell that i-n-d-e-n-i-a-l or even d-e-l-u-s-i-o-n-a-l.
    Anyone out there able to show me any good reason to think otherwise?
    Whom the gods would destroy, first they rob of the power of reasoning. Or, more to the point:

    RO 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
    RO 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles . . . . RO 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done . . .

    ++++++++++++++
    Grace, open our eyes
    GEM

  • Cheesehead

    Andy S: While I don’t agree with all of your conclusions about how convincing Gordon is, I sure do agree with you that he is intelligent and has a mastery of many different disciplines. When you speak respectfully of others here that goes a long way to advance the dialogue. I know I mock Mummon, Larry Lord, and Boonton quite a bit when I think they are being just plain loopy, but Gordon is a frequent whipping boy for troll ranters for doing nothing more than thinking deeply and committing to keyboard extensively developed ideas. They are always readable and coherent and entirely devoid of any hint of ad hominem. When you recognize that folks like Gordon are serious thinkers it makes it easier to dialogue with you rather than get into contests to see has the most rapier wit. Thank you for that acknowledgement.
    Grodon, thanks for you thoughful posts.

  • Terence Moeller

    Indeed, thank you!

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    First, I express appreciation for the acknowledgement by Andy, and those by Terence and our resident Cheese Guy [who I would love to sample the work of!]
    I also note that the blog as a whole has suddenly undergone a major transition, due to Joe’s change of job to be FRC’s Director of Web Communication. [That, also, at minimum, has implications for the true significance of the blog and the debates in it over the past year and a half or so.]
    Now, overnight, I did some further reflection on Andy’s remarks, in light of Ac 17 and the turning point it marked in Paul’s career. This, I discussed from one perspective back in 2002 in my JTS-CGST public ethics lecture, on “Ethics, Reformation and Development” [Cf. Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology, 2003]:

    . . . intellectual leadership is a decisive factor (for good or ill) . . . and must therefore be a key to the sound and sustainable reformation of the Caribbean. This is not new; the need for prophetic intellectual leadership was also a central issue faced by Paul, most notably on his visit to Athens. Therefore, his example provides quite relevant insights that we may use to guide our own initiatives.
    The Apostle had come to Athens five hundred years after its glory days

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: Those interested in what I am up to may wish to look at my own blog- in- transition. GEM

  • Chris Lutz

    First, I believe the link below to a symposium/debate on radical Islam provides a microsm of some of the issues:
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=13956
    It’s long but read it through to the end and notice the increasingly belligerent attitude of the Dr. Muhammad.
    GEM:
    I am not convinced that Western secularists, as a whole, are in serious contanct with reality on this: spell that i-n-d-e-n-i-a-l or even d-e-l-u-s-i-o-n-a-l.
    The whole explanation necessitates an essay at a minimum. However, I believe the secularist worldview deludes them into only ascribing materialistic primary causes as motiviation. At the same time, it causes them to be indenial since for secularists, happiness tends to be the ultimate goal. Their denial is thus driven by not wanting to deal with unpleasant facts that might get in the way of that pursuit. If you seriously consider that over one billion people on the planet might be seriously following a religion that calls for the subjugation of the rest of the planet, it can be a daunting and terrifying prospect.
    Tgirsch, I appreciate you trying to lay out what you see as us talking by each other. However, I, for the most part, have understood what you were saying. I do not find it convincing to say that people who say they are motivated by their religion teaches are somehow motivated by something else. Although, there can be circumstances that aggravate the problem. This is especially true when you consider it is what their religion commands. So far, you have yet to layout how my, Gordon’s, Robert Spencer, John Quincy Adams, et. al. understanding of what Islam the religion/ideology says, is incorrect. You also, have not shown how there is anything equivalent in Christian texts.

  • Gordon Mullings

    CL:
    Very useful link. Sobering reading, especialy since this is a Muslim would-be reformer speaking with Spencer and Bat Ye’or.
    GEM

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Chris Lutz:
    So far, you have yet to layout how my, Gordon’s, Robert Spencer, John Quincy Adams, et. al. understanding of what Islam the religion/ideology says, is incorrect. You also, have not shown how there is anything equivalent in Christian texts.
    This is exactly where we’re talking past each other. Because demonstrating either (or both) of these things is only relevant if you believe the premise that these teachings are the cause of the violence. This is a premise we do not share.
    Further, it matters less what a religious text actually teaches, and more what that religion’s leaders say it teaches, especially when the majority of adherents have little or no direct knowledge of what those teachings are. Even among those who are educated and literate, it seems that the teachings of the leaders seem to trump the body of the text, at least in terms of which parts are emphasized and which parts are downplayed. (When was the last time you saw Dobson exhorting Christians to sell all they own and go preach the gospels?)
    Also, you underestimate the ability of people to ignore large swaths of what their religion teaches when it suits them. Just look at sexual ethics in America and most of the West as compared to what Christianity teaches about that, and you’ll see how readily unequivocal religious teachings are flatly ignored. It’s an age-old problem: people emphasize those religious teachings they like and agree with, and downplay or ignore those they don’t. In fact, that’s precisely what you do with Old Testament calls to violence, and why you ignore the commandment to execute anyone who works on the Sabbath, despite the fact that it’s never explicitly revoked, and is implicitly reinforced by Jesus himself.
    As to the violence here, of course, it shouldn’t matter either that the number of innocent civilians killed by the United States and Israel over the last five years is something like ten times greater than those killed by the Islamists, because after all, we’ve got God on our side, and we’re doing it (ostensibly) in self-defense. Never mind that the Islamists would probably make similar claims, they’re religion is icky, therefore it’s to blame.
    As far as I’m concerned, you’ve made an excellent case for the idea that the teachings of Islam exacerbate problems of violence in the Middle East — a point I haven’t disputed. But you’ve done nothing to establish it as causal, and frankly, if the only two pieces of evidence to the contrary you’d accept would be proof that the Qur’an does not contain violent passages, or that Christianity’s violent passages are “morally equivalent” to those in Islam, then I’m afraid nothing can convince you. So you’ll continue to make Islam the scapegoat, all the while denying that this constitutes religious bigotry.

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    I should clarify that illiteracy is not the only reason why people would be ignorant of the teachings of their religious texts. Many, perhaps even most, simply don’t read them, and know only what their pastors/ministers/priests/imams/etc. tell them. Further, the texts themselves are not exactly entirely coherent or without contradictions, making it difficult even for those who do read and study them to understand them properly, and leading to major disagreements over what the teachings really mean. One need look no further than a debate among various types of Christians concerning the death penalty to see this in action. This is why I argue that you’re putting too much emphasis on what the texts say.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Well, I was going to add a comment but tgirsch has said exactly what was on my mind with far more eloquence than I could muster.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Re T Girsch:
    [Un-lurking for a moment, as this is a real howler]
    I came by and saw that TG has resurfaced – sans a long overdue apology for his Hitler slanders that tried to assert that Hitler’s wars and genocides were Christian-inspired — and has posted this inadvertently all-too-revealing gem:

    TG: . . . we’re talking past each other. Because demonstrating either (or both) of these things is only relevant if you believe the premise that these teachings are the cause of the violence. This is a premise we do not share.

    Given the publicly available, massively documented history of Islam in the world over the past 1400 years — which TG has yet to coherently address, and the plain import of Q 9:5, 29 – 31 in light of the aggressive example set by Mohammed himself and the four “rightly guided” Caliphs, which part of Islamism: “religiously motivated world-conquest ideology” does Mr Girsch not understand? [Especially given the force of the world conquest map and the 1982 Muslim Brotherhood worldplan already linked above . . . And, TG should note the substance of the debate CL linked with a would-be Islamic reformer.]
    Yes, the West has its own sins to atone for, colonialism being among them.
    However, that does not mean that the West is the only possible global threat for aggression and imperialism – and we should note the West’s historic and even current contributions to liberation as well, and in that context, the contribution of ideas and influences stemming from the Judaeo-Christian worldview.
    Indeed, over in the Caribbean, we are now having to think about the implications of Hezbollah in Venezuela! Not to mention, over in Jamaica, having to deal with a deported Imam who was gaoled in the UK for sedition.
    Onlookers, TG’s ignoring of cogent evidence does not make it go away quietly. There is a ame for that: denial. More directly put: TG does not have a right to stubbornly insist on any and all opinions and notions he may happen to have, in a responsible dialogue. His views are accountable before the public facts, the issue of coherence and the vital difference between elegant explanations on the one hand and simplisitc assertions or ad hoc patchworks on the other.
    And, he still owes the blog a major apology.
    +++++++++
    Grace, open our eyes
    Gordon

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Gordon:
    No apology was given because none was necessary. Hitler did indeed cite Christian teachings in inciting the overwhelmingly-Christian German populace to atrocities and imperialism. You have not disproven this; you have only tried to argue (unconvincingly) that Hitler was not himself a “true” Christian.
    However, that does not mean that the West is the only possible global threat for aggression and imperialism
    Uh, where have I ever argued that? You seem to think that I’m arguing that Islam bears no responsibility, and that’s not what I’m arguing at all. I’m simply arguing that Islam is not the root cause of these problems of violence, and both history and the facts are on my side on this. If oppression is not unique to Islam, and religiously-inspired violence is not unique to Islam, then how on Earth can Islam be the sole cause of such phenomena, as you and Chris Lutz have been arguing? How can it be solely responsible (or even mostly responsible) for such violence, if this is the case? If it were, we should expect to find no such violence outside of Islam, but that’s simply not the case, and historically has never been. And all this is true irrespective of what the Qur’an says or what Islam’s history is. Islam does not exist in a vacuum.
    Publius says it better than I do:

    I would hope that our leaders recognize that most Muslims across the world don

  • Chris Lutz

    tgirsch:
    If oppression is not unique to Islam, and religiously-inspired violence is not unique to Islam, then how on Earth can Islam be the sole cause of such phenomena, as you and Chris Lutz have been arguing?
    This doesn’t logically follow. It’s like saying because oppression isn’t unique to communism, and government inspired violence isn’t unique to communism, communism can’t possibly be the primary cause and if we just removed the some other factors, communism would be sweetness and light. Also, please note, that while Gordon and I believe Islam to be a primary cause, that doesn’t mean we exclude mitigating factors as your statement implies.
    How can it be solely responsible (or even mostly responsible) for such violence, if this is the case?
    If a person believes, based on the clear and historical teachings of their religion, that it is perfectly fine to terrorize the unbelievers until they submit or convert, how could that not inspire violence? When almost without exception the people commiting these acts cite Islamic teachings for their motivations, why do you still doubt? You have a correlation of two facts, they say they are motivated by Islamic teachings and Islamic teachings match what they say.
    If it were, we should expect to find no such violence outside of Islam, but that’s simply not the case, and historically has never been. And all this is true irrespective of what the Qur’an says or what Islam’s history is. Islam does not exist in a vacuum.
    You logic is weak here. Gordon nor I have claimed that there aren’t other reasons for violence. In this instance though, one constant has remained for 1,400 and that is Islamic teachings on how to deal with the infidel. It has varied little over that time. The most secular Islam has ever been has been was during the colonisation era and it was forced to adhere to Western rules of conduct.
    Your Publius link is interesting although he is incorrect. Islam will always find a reason or provocation that causes them to be angry with someone else. Virtually everywhere on the globe, Muslims are committing violence against others whether they are in the minority, majority, in-power, or disenfranchised. The circumstances don’t seem to matter. While he is right that the neocons are disconnected from reality, so is he in thinking that if we just somehow raise the standard of living and promote democracy all will be well. Four countries, four elections, two sharia based constitutions, one terrorist party elected (which wants to implement sharia), another with a terrorist party as part of the gov’t and acting without gov’t approval, Christians and Jews fleeing in many cases to despotic Syria, etc. The best thing we can do is delineate their sphere and ours, keep them out of our sphere, and let them operate without our interference in theirs. At some point the clue meter has to start registering above zero.
    This link provides a good overview of the relationship between Islam and martrydom attacks.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Chris,

    If a person believes, based on the clear and historical teachings of their religion [Islam], that it is perfectly fine to terrorize the unbelievers until they submit or convert, how could that not inspire violence?

    As Gordon would say, as I have shown before this is not the case. If it was, why is not Indonesia, with the largest Muslim population, not implicated? How about the large population of Muslims in the USA, France, or Germany? I don’t see them rising up and attacking anyone; to the contrary they are speaking out against the violence as are Muslims in the UK.

    Virtually everywhere on the globe, Muslims are committing violence against others whether they are in the minority, majority, in-power, or disenfranchised.

    One might as well say that poor people — around the globe — are doing this.

    You are being sucked into the rightwing echo chamber. Resistance is not futile.

    The argument that you are proposing could be used in the USA against African-Americans. They are quite disproportionally represented in the criminal justice system, account for most violent crimes, teenage pregnacies, etc. Are we then to say that “being black in America” is an indicator of violent nature?

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Chris:
    Earlier today, I was perusing one of the conservative Christian websites I read regularly, and I came across this, which in turn links to this transcript. I found it to be a fascinating discussion, quite relevant to our discussion here. Notice that the expert is actually fairly hawkish about our current problems with militant Islam (much too much so for my liking), but at the same time says much to contradict your position that Islam in and of itself is inherently violent, and that violence is the rule rather than the exception. Frankly, he makes some points that I’ve been trying to make here, but he does so far more eloquently (and with the weight of years of study behind him).
    Islam will always find a reason or provocation that causes them to be angry with someone else. Virtually everywhere on the globe, Muslims are committing violence against others whether they are in the minority, majority, in-power, or disenfranchised.
    This is ignorant religious bigotry, plain and pure and simple, and I refuse to apologize for calling it out as such. And in this case, I am going to argue from moral equivalence, because you could replace “Islam” with “Christianity” and “Muslims” with “Christians,” and the statement would still hold true. Maybe Muslims are doing it in greater numbers, and maybe not. But the extent to which your anti-Islamic bigotry pervades your reasoning cannot be ignored here.
    AndyS:
    Excellent points.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    The last remarks by Mr Girsch are so grossly deceptive and in the teeth of a challenge to provide actual NT [and for that matter OT] texts that when properly interpreted in context are parallel to the Q 9:3, 29 – 31 readings that it requires a FURTHER apology, in addition to those pending but not forthcoming:

    TG: Hitler did indeed cite Christian teachings in inciting the overwhelmingly-Christian German populace to atrocities and imperialism.
    This sirs, is — in the teeth of what has already happened, now unmistakably a GROSS, SHAMELESSS FALSEHOOD.
    I. Responding to Mr Girsch’s further slanders:
    Hitler made allusions to scriptures out of context and in ways that have already been more than adequately exposed above, in response to Mr Girsch’s citations. [So much for Mr Girsch’s claimed biblical scholarship which is ever more plainly of the sort of the less reputable rationalist antichristian rhetoric and the similar works of the more tacky islamist apologists.]
    Hitler’s behaviour is of course most obviously on the lines of Shakespeare’s “Devil quoting scripture.” That is shown by how TG has simply failed to justoify them in the teeth of my challenge that these were grossly out of context phrases used to deceive those whose dwindling respect for the scriptures after a century of apostasy was only exceeded by their utter ignorance of same [quite similar BTW to Mr Clinton’s infamous misquotation of 1 Cor 2:9

  • Chris Lutz

    AndyS:
    to the contrary they are speaking out against the violence as are Muslims in the UK.
    I just want to add to what Gordon said here. A few factors make this suspect at best.
    1. Taqiyya and kiman (i.e. lying and hiding) are Islamic concepts that say that it is okay to lie and hide your true intentions as long as it advances Islam. A recent example of this was the famous North American fatwha against terrorism. The verse used to state that terrorism is forbidden in Islam was taken out of context as if you read the verses around it you see it was part of a warning to the Jews and the verse itself was selectively excerpted to hide portions of the verse that changed its meaning. So, some of the “reformers” are really propaganda organs of Islamists, like CAIR.
    2. Some of the true reformers may be talking but is anyone listening? Take a look at the debate to which I linked. The reformer said that he is banned from making his claims at virtually all mosques and this is in the San Diego area.
    3. Almost all of the reformers are from the West or have fled from the ME to the West. They don’t hold much sway in the heart of Islam and are viewed, at a minimum, with suspicion. Again, reference the debate where the professor talked about how he was accused of working for the CIA.
    4. While the reformers may denounce violence, many times they still support other aspects of Islam, i.e. sharia law, that are in direct conflict with Western values.
    5. As pointed out several times in this discussion, the reformers do not have much of a historical or contextual basis on which to make their claims. It requires a radical rereading to achieve their claims. This probably explains point #2.
    6. Islamic terminology is not clear at times. You really have to look at it at a lawyerly level where you demand precise meaning. For example, the claim that Islam does not target innocent civilians is often circumvented by making the definition of civilian meaningless.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    Time for another TM play:

    The media’s parallel Islamic universe
    Posted: September 7, 2006
    Craige McMillan

    Did you see that video of the two Fox journalists announcing they’d converted to Islam? The larger problem, it seems to me, is that much of the rest of the Western media have also converted to Islam, and there seems to be no way to get them to convert back to journalism.

  • Gordon Mullings

    ALso, here is Brigadier Malik of Pakistan, in Quranic context:

    From “The Quranic Concept of War”, by Pakistani Brigadier S.K. Malik, it says, [in the preface]
    “But in Islam war is waged to establish supremacy of the Lord only when every other argument has failed to convince those who reject His Will and work against the every purpose of the creation of mankind.”
    “Many Western Scholars have pointed their accusing fingers at some of the above verses in the Quran to be able to contend that world of Islam is in a state of perpetual struggle against the non-Muslims. As to them it is a sufficient answer to make… that the defiance of God’s authority by one who is His slaves exposes that slave to the risk of being held guilty of treason and as such a one, in the perspective of Islamic law, is indeed to be treated as a sort of that cancerous growth on that organism of humanity…. It thus becomes necessary to remove the cancerous malformation even if it be by surgical means, in order to save the rest of humanity.”
    And, some of those ayas/verses he is alluding to . . .
    9:29 Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued . . . .
    9:5 But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an[d] seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

    Of course, in Islamic eyes, there are three classes of people int he world: the muslims, the people of the book [i.e. the Bible, which muslims hold without warrant is corrupted as we now have it relative tot he origfinal Muslim form!], and pagans. THe only modification post Mohammed of consequence is that Zoroastrians and Hindus and the like were later treated similar to people of hte book — i.e. they were “mercifully’ subjugated to worse-than-apartheid dhimmitude as the alternative to slaughter by the sword at their necks, or conversion to Islam at swordpoint.
    That should be very familiar to those who realise that that three point choice was exactly what the two FOx news journalists faced. THey chose not ot be beheaded for the sake of Islamist recruiting posters, and their news organisations did not pay a ransom [which is what the Jizya would come down to here] so they converted. If they “apostasise” they are subject to a mandatory death penalty.
    I have already Sept 2, 6:45 AM, given enough on Mohammed’s career that we can easily see that murder to silence and intimidate critics and opponents — i.e. terroism — is a part and parcel of not only his words but his deeds. Recall, his example is held tobe normative for muslims, hence the Hadiths which record traditions on just these deeds and a great many others besides.
    I think the time has come for a serious rethink, here, on the part of the secularist progressives.
    GEM

  • Chris Lutz

    Actually, here is a great recent example of the moderates talking out of both sides of their mouths.
    Ameer Ali is the chairman of a government advisory council in Australia to combat extremism. Here is what he said after a government summit in August 05.
    It was very constructive and very fruitful. We agreed to denounce extremism, terrorism and the teaching of hatred in this country. We believe in the Australian family, we are all members of the same family. We have an unreserved commitment to the safety and security of this nation, of all the groups that live in this country so that we can live in a peaceful, harmonious society in the future. There is no place for hatred, there is no place for terrorism, there is no place for violence in this country.
    Now, PM Tony Howard just recently stated:
    Fully integrating means accepting Australian values — it means learning as rapidly as you can the English language if you don’t already speak it,” he said in a radio interview.
    “People who come from societies where women are treated in an inferior fashion have got to learn very quickly that that is not the case in Australia.”
    His general statment was for immigrants from Islamic societies to fit in, learn English, treat women with respect, and shun extremism.
    Now that should in general match with Dr. Ali’s statements, right? Instead we get this:
    Ameer Ali, chairman of an advisory group set up by the government to combat extremism in the 300,000-strong Muslim community, told a radio station the remarks could stoke violence.
    “We have already witnessed one incident in Sydney recently in Cronulla,” he said in reference to last December’s riots. “I don’t want these scenes to be repeated because when you antagonize the younger generation … they are bound to react.”
    Other Muslim leaders talked of how they were offended by Howard’s remarks.
    How exactly is he going to combat extremism without antagonizing the extremists? Notice the implied threat. Criticize Muslims in anyway or demand that they conform at some basic level with the culture they live in and face the prospect of “youth” rioting.

  • Terence Moeller

    Gordon,
    Your comments today reminded me of an article I read a few years ago by world renouned historian, Victor Davis Hansen. Oddly, he is a registered democrat, but nevertheless demonstrates a deep understanding that seems to have eluded most of his contemporaries. His books on Isalm are fascinating, as are those of historian Benard Lewis, whom I often read.
    I think that you are spinning your wheels trying to convince TG of anything, but i understand that you are appealing to a larger audience — one that is presumably capable of evaluating the evidence presented, and thinking somewhat independently.
    The Real Global Virus
    Either the jihadists really are crazy or they apparently think that they have a shot at destabilizing, or at least winning concessions from, the United States, Europe, India, and Russia all at once.
    Apart from the continual attacks on civilians by terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the West Bank, there have now been recent horrific assaults in New Dehli (blowing up civilians in a busy shopping season on the eve of a Hindu festival), Russia (attacking police and security facilities), London (suicide murdering of civilians on the subway), and Indonesia (more bombing, and the beheading of Christian schoolgirls). The loci of recent atrocities could be widely expanded (e.g., Malaysia, North Africa, Turkey, Spain)

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    you should follow up the linked articles, to see the background.
    Here, a la TM, is a sampler:

    Exclusive: Saddam Possessed WMD, Had Extensive Terror Ties
    By Scott Wheeler
    CNSNews.com Staff Writer
    October 04, 2004
    (CNSNews.com) – Iraqi intelligence documents, confiscated by U.S. forces and obtained by CNSNews.com, show numerous efforts by Saddam Hussein’s regime to work with some of the world’s most notorious terror organizations, including al Qaeda, to target Americans. They demonstrate that Saddam’s government possessed mustard gas and anthrax, both considered weapons of mass destruction, in the summer of 2000, during the period in which United Nations weapons inspectors were not present in Iraq. And the papers show that Iraq trained dozens of terrorists inside its borders.
    One of the Iraqi memos contains an order from Saddam for his intelligence service to support terrorist attacks against Americans in Somalia. The memo was written nine months before U.S. Army Rangers were ambushed in Mogadishu by forces loyal to a warlord with alleged ties to al Qaeda.
    Other memos provide a list of terrorist groups with whom Iraq had relationships and considered available for terror operations against the United States.
    Among the organizations mentioned are those affiliated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Ayman al-Zawahiri, two of the world’s most wanted terrorists. Zarqawi is believed responsible for the kidnapping and beheading of several American civilians in Iraq and claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bombings in Iraq Sept. 30. Al-Zawahiri is the top lieutenant of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, allegedly helped plan the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist strikes on the U.S., and is believed to be the voice on an audio tape broadcast by Al-Jazeera television Oct. 1, calling for attacks on U.S. and British interests everywhere.
    The source of the documents
    A senior government official who is not a political appointee provided CNSNews.com with copies of the 42 pages of Iraqi Intelligence Service documents. The originals, some of which were hand-written and others typed, are in Arabic. CNSNews.com had the papers translated into English by two individuals separately and independent of each other . . . . [go read the whole article and follow its links, Of course there is much more, more recent stuff out there.]

    It is time to do our own evaluation, not just sheeple-like, follow the MS media’s self-appointed shepherds [But sheppy what a long nose you have, and why are your teeth so sharp . . .?]
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’mm:
    As I get ready to rush out to a client — I’m late but he will understand, I see TM is in fine fettle this morning. VDH is telling. And, TM you are right, I do have a wider audience in mind as they see the insistent slanders, refusal to acknowledge plain facts, current and historic, and more.
    I even would ask western voters to think again: is this poorly prepared, warmed- over- from- the- Reagan- years [I vividly recall the agitprop of those days! ANd, how those who rejected it were slandered — why the unrepentant memorials of 2004 were so oleaginously hypocritical] progressivist pabulum laced with snake oil and arsenic the sort of thinking into which you should commit the fate of the free world?
    GEM
    PS WIll be posting to my blog later today probably early afternoon . . .

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: CL too is in fine fettle, exposing yet another sham moderate. I think the Aussie response to Bali and their strength of purpose are a lesson to us all. [BTW, back in 1918, if the war had gone on, LLoyd George was going to put the Aussie general Monash in charge of the British armies.]
    The Aussies have always been first rate fighters — just ask your friendly local Vietnam vet, including the VC ones.
    We just need to let some Gurkhas loose on the islamists, khukri in hand, to see how they take a dose of their own throat-cutting lessons. [A Gurkha regiment to Iraq, a Gurkha regiment to Iraq, a Gurkha regiment to Iraq, PLEEEEEEEZE . . .]
    But then I suppose that may be me getting in the flesh . . . [y’know, a proportionate response . . .]
    GEM
    GEM

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Gordon:
    You want an apology? I’ll give you several:
    I’m sorry I don’t accept your particular interpretation of of Christianity as being the One True Interpretation.
    I’m sorry you don’t believe there were any Christian roots whatsoever to the antisemitism of Nazi Germany.
    I’m sorry I take Jesus at his word when he says the law of Moses (which include calls to execute anybody who works on the Sabbath, anyone who practices witchcraft, etc.) is valid until the end of days.
    I’m sorry your anti-Islamic bigotry and selective reading of Islamic teachings so colors your views.
    I’m sorry you fail to recognize that both Islam and Christianity can be and have been exploited to incite people to commit violence and atrocities, even if Islam has been more guilty of this recently.

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Gordon:
    Hitler made allusions to scriptures out of context
    Why do you suppose he did this? You seem to think I was claiming that Naziism happened because of Christianity, but I’ve never made this argument. To the contrary, I think it would be as ridiculous to argue this as it is to argue that Middle-Eastern violence is because of Islam. Again, you seem to be insisting that if there isn’t exact moral equivalence between Christianity and Islam, then your case is made, and I do not accept this premise.
    Extremist leaders of all stripes try to wrap their rhetoric in religion to give it more weight with the populace. That they often do so disingenuously doesn’t contradict my point; in fact, it underscores it.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    Mr Girsch’s less than serious apology is, sadly, actually a compounding of the many gross and unprovoked insults and slanders above.
    First, the Christian faith, as I have long since pointed out, is defined by its founders, not any particular person’s or group’s perceptions and assertions that contradict that founding era: Jude 3’s

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Gordon:
    First, the Christian faith, as I have long since pointed out, is defined by its founders, not any particular person’s or group’s perceptions and assertions that contradict that founding era
    Which explains why there is only one Christian denomination, and why there is absolutely no disagreement whatsoever on major points of faith. It’s all laid out crystal clear for the adherents, so they’re all in complete agreement about what it all means.
    The problem with your position is not failure to acknowledge that Christianity has been abused to provoke atrocity; it’s the double-standard you apply. Christianity, you see, isn’t to blame for abuses carried out in its name, whereas Islam is to blame for abuses carried out in its name. Passages in the Bible which advocate violence are “taken out of context,” whereas Qur’anic passages that advocate violence are not. And, indeed, passages which place restrictions on such violence in the Qur’an are the ones that are somehow “out of context,” according to you.
    In other words, you’ll grant a ton of leeway to Christianity, and none to Islam. The violent passages of the Old Testament are never explicitly rescinded, but this doesn’t bother you, because you are able to squint just right and read certain verses to mean that the Old Testament no longer matters, even though agreement on this even among Christians is far from universal. Meanwhile, the worst passages of the Qur’an are to be taken at face value, while its explicit prohibition of violence against women, children, other Muslims, and non-combatants (prohbitions which, to the best of my knowledge, appear nowhere in the Christian Bible) should be ignored.
    As to the “predominant opinion of Muslim scholarship,” I remain unconvinced that what you present actually represents said opinion.
    And you continue to insist that I find moral equivalence between Islam and Christianity, all the while complaining about my supposed moral equivalence arguments. Which is it? Moral equivalence good or bad? Meanwhile, you continue to insist (seemingly) that Q9 is all there is of the Qur’an, or at least all you need to understand. Q9 authoritative. Ezekiel 9 just an irrelevant bit of historical nonsense. Got it.
    Tell you what. If you think the Old Testament is so worthless, why don’t you do like some Gideons and omit it completely?
    In any event, I suspect the “onlookers” have long since grown weary of us. I guess they’ll just have to take your word for it, that Christianity bears no responsibility whatsoever for the wrongs committed in its name, while Islam bears full responsibility for the wrongs committed in its name. Or, they could take my view, that things are a lot more complicated than that.
    So go ahead and continue to judge an entire religion and its people. I’m sure you’re arrogant enough to feel confident in being similarly judged.

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Oh, and by the way, it was nice of you to link that “news” story about Iraq’s extensive terror links and WMD caches from never-known-to-be-biased CNS News from October 4, 2004. Unfortunately, you ignored an October 5, 2004 story from the much-less-well-known CNN, in which Rumsfeld himself denies such claims.
    It’s one thing to note that the mainstream media essentially ignored this CNS news “scoop.” That plays into your “liberal media” myth. The problem for you is that the administration essentially ignored this scoop, too. Why on earth would they do that, given the vindication it would give them? If authentic, why would they just leave this sitting on the table? The answer ought to be obvious.

  • Rob Ryan

    TG: Hitler did indeed cite Christian teachings in inciting the overwhelmingly-Christian German populace to atrocities and imperialism.
    GM: This sirs, is — in the teeth of what has already happened, now unmistakably a GROSS, SHAMELESSS FALSEHOOD.
    How can you accuse TG of lying when the statement he made is easily proven? Hitler did as tgirsch stated. Sure, he took his citations out of context and bent their meaning to his own will (as many theists of all stripes persist in doing to this day), but the statement by tgirsch you point to as a falsehood is, in fact, true. An excerpt from a speech delivered by Hitler in Munich in 1922 clearly demonstrates that Hitler used Christianity to consolidate power and earn trust among the populace:
    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…. And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people…. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.”
    Say, if you wish, that Hitler was not a true Christian. I am inclined to agree, and I think the evidence supports that conclusion. But do not deny that he used Christianity, not without success, to incite a predominantly Christian populace to acceptance of and often active involvement in unspeakable crimes. As Professor Bernard Lewis puts it, “No one could seriously assert that Hitler and the Nazis came out of Christianity. No one could seriously dispute that they came out of Christendom.”
    This is not intended as a blanket endorsement of tgirsch’s opinions, lest you conflate our opinions entirely based on my general support for him, as you did some months ago with myself and Mr. Jon Rowe. I am merely pointing out that what you specifically cite as a falsehood is in this case demonstrably true.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Gordon,

    We just need to let some Gurkhas loose on the islamists, khukri in hand, to see how they take a dose of their own throat-cutting lessons.

    With this, you have become shrill, to put the most favorable spin on your words. Even the gentle onlookers can see that.

    Gordon asks the gentle onloookers to look at this post by Craige McMillan on what the left knows as the WingNutDaily. Searching for information on McMillan I can only find he “is a commentator for WorldNetDaily.” But it is interesting to note in that article he uses Jihad Watch as a source. This is the same Jihad Watch, run by Robert Spencer who has no background in the MidEast or Islam, that presents a mentally disturbed man as a terrorist. (I mention this because that horrible event happened in my neck of the woods and was accurately reported with integrity by the SF Chronicle, and because Jihad Watch has a tendency to do this)

    Have you looked at the link that tgirsch provided? Bernard Lewis, a scholar and pro-Iraqi war hard-liner, is hardly some liberal Islamic apologist. Here are a few excerpts:

    …we use two terms: Christianity and Christendom. Christianity means a religion, in the strict sense of that word, a system of belief and worship and some clerical or ecclesiastical organization to go with it. If we say Christendom, we mean the entire civilization that grew up under the aegis of that religion, but also contains many elements that are not part of that religion, many elements that are even hostile to that religion. Let me give one simple example. No one could seriously assert that Hitler and the Nazis came out of Christianity. No one could seriously dispute that they came out of Christendom.

    So we might talk of Islam and Islamdom in the same way — that is, if you can believe in intellectual fairness and can make that distinction. (And of course note his reference to Hitler and the Nazis in the same spirit as tgirshch, Rob Ryan, and me.)

    Regarding the war against terror, I am familiar with this slogan. I feel that while we are indeed engaged in a war against terror, it is inadequate and even misleading. If Churchill had informed the country in 1940, we are engaged in a war against bomber aircraft and submarines, that would have been an accurate statement but not a very helpful one. To say we are engaged in a war against terror is of the same order. Terror is a tactic. It’s a method of waging war. It is not a cause, it is not an adversary, it is not anything that one can identify as an opponent, and I think we need to be more specific in fighting a war. It’s useful to know who the enemy is. I think you would agree.

    So far, I think Gordon and Chris see Islam as the enemy. If so, how do we know when we’ve won? Is it when all of the Muslims are dead and buried?

    Wahhabism is about as central to Islam as, shall we say, the Ku Klux Klan to Christianity.

    Yet, Gordon and Chris will, I think, disagree with this scholar.

    This would have remained an extremist fringe in a marginal country except for the unfortunate combination of two circumstances. One was the creation of a Saudi kingdom in the mid-

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    I intend to first follow up to some issues from the further slanders by Mr Girsch, then I will touch on some further remarks overnight.
    To begin with, kindly note the overall context: we are facing what has aptly been called World War 4, in light of the resurgence of islamism since 1979, which returns to the world stage the contest between dar ul Islam and the rest of the world that dominated history between about 630 and 1683, as the first Islamist expansion surged out, was checked in France/Spain and India, faced major counter-offensives on several fronts that took up centuries, then was decisively outflanked by the naval breakout of the Western powers at the turn of the 1500s, finally losing the initiative after the last siege of Vienna in 1683.
    In our time, unfortunately, as the balance of perceived power on the global stage has again begun to shift, the underlying historical aggressiveness of Islamism as a religiously motivated global conquest ideology rooted in the foundational texts and examples of the religion has resurfaced.
    Now, on the pretense that those of us who have pointed these factors out are distorting the teachings in question, the fact that we have cited the historic and current mainstream Islamic understanding of the texts has been brushed aside. The historic examples have been ignored. There have been attempts to assert that the Christian faith’s foundational documents are similar to the Quran and that his has been for instance implicated in the Nazi aggression and holocaust.
    When the gross errors and distortions associated with such claims have been pointed out, there has [especially on Mr Girsch’s part] been a stubborn insistence on the in some cases slanderous falsehoods, and a refusal to engage the objective and material contribution of the biblical Christian faith to the rise of modern liberty, all in service of the grossly ill-founded belief that the current situation is a struggle between the liberating influences of secularist progressivism and the dark, enslaving and oppressive forces represented by “faith.”
    In short, unfortunately we see the fallacy of the closed and hostile mind at work.
    Now, on the matters brought forward:
    I] Re OT “difficulties”
    In the last day or so, Mr Girsch has brought forward several further points in which he evidently thinks the OT law’s prohibition of “Witchcraft” etc shows that there is a material parallel between the Christian faith and either Hitler’s behaviour or Islamism.
    In so doing, he has yet once more, again failed to reckon with several highly material factors, some of which I have already addressed on the relationship of the Christian faith to the OT law, others of which I alluded to by speaking of the out-of-context selective nature of the cites. I now briefly note:
    1] Israel as a Covenantal nation: Ancient Israel was a specific, limited covenantal nation with a designated area of settlement, and needing to be preserved from the damaging influences of the surrounding Canaanite and general ancient middle eastern pagan cultures, which were rife with human sacrifice, temple prostitution [including in homosexual forms], and much more, with witchcraft and other associated forms of divination as a gateway to he

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: Onlookers, kindly obnserve how the Barmen declaration subtly but unmistakeably calls Hitler a thief and a bandit [by a precisely in-context quotation of the Bible] — precisely for his agenda tot subvertthechurch from thew faith once for all delivered unto the sints. Not etoo the precise point of rebuke tothe agenda of inhustice and conquestt hat he was about to set out on nad had outlined in his infamous book.

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’mm: I should add: the articles excerpted yesterday were summaries replete with onward links to evidence.
    It is the evidence that the progressivist secularists have to account for.
    And, BTW, I again note a point highlighted by Mark Steyn and by Craige Mc Millan above: we notice Q 9:29 – 31 at exact work in the case of the Fox journalists with t he choice they were given. Here is Steyn, Aug 28:

    Our Thought For The Day comes from Steve Centanni, the Fox News reporter freed over the weekend by his captors in Gaza:
    “We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint. Don’t get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it.” . . . .
    Earlier, his captors released a statement saying the two men had been offered a choice between a) conversion to Islam; b) the jizya (the tax paid by non-Muslims to their Muslim masters); or c) war. There was no none-of-the-above box. “They chose Islam,” said the spokesperson for the group,” and that is a gift God gives whom He chooses”

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    Some of the worldviews level background is here, observe a debate between a secularist and a Muslim over ID vs NDT, and where the secularist starts out in terms of trying to frame his interlocutor.
    Observe in particular the Muslim’s telling rebuke to the NCSE representative, on the “fundamentalism vs modernism” issue.
    GEM

  • Rob Ryan

    “what part of taking things out of context and wrenching them into the opposite of their in-context meanings can be properly understood as supporting the notion that Hitler’s behaviour constituted: [TG]Christian-inspired violence and genocide . . .”
    Once again, you have responded predictably, evasively in an attempt to distract onlookers to your own rhetorical shortcomings. I specifically asked you NOT to conflate the opinions of Mr. Girsch and myself, and you have done precisely that. Shame! I responded to a specific charge you leveled at tgirsch regarding a specific quote. You apparently can’t defend yourself without bringing in additional material. Guess why! Please try to criticize my words without bringing in someone else’s as proxy.
    “And, RR now has joined TG in needing to apologise for slander, I believe in ignorance of what I have just pointed out.”
    Show me the slander. Quote me directly when doing so. It is you who have slandered: first tgirsch, and now me.
    “Nor is RRs pretense that my pointing out that his earlier attempts to imply that Christians and those deeply and materially affected by the Christian faith in effect made a major contribution to the rise of liberty in our time to the extent that they effectively apostasised from the faith on the relevant points, accurate to the facts as has been copiously linked and properly shown.”
    This is incoherent. One would need a machete to hack one’s way through this undergrowth of inextricable clauses. Please try again.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Gordon,

    The general point as highlighted is so outrageous that it deserves to be pointed out: what part of taking things out of context and wrenching them into the opposite of their in-context meanings can be properly understood as supporting the notion that Hitler’s behaviour constituted: [TG]Christian-inspired violence and genocide . . .

    Your attempt to position Christianity as entirely blameless in the atrocity of the Holocaust has failed. On the one hand you want to claim Christianity has been an important force in creating the notion of liberty as we understand it in the West. You base this on the fact that some of liberty’s proponents were Christian — and in this case you seem willing to use Christianity quite broadly. For instance, some of those same people were slave holders.

    On the other hand, while you accept that Christians are not without sin, you are unwilling except the clear fact that Germany was dominated by Christians and very much a part of Christiandom (to use Lewis’ term). You attempt to dismiss that because a few intellectuals rejected religion at the time does not pass muster. The Christian church in all its forms was quite alive in Germany and was hardly (except for a few notable exceptions) standing up for the Jews as antisemitism grew more virulent. And of course in this case you want to construe Christianity quite narrowly.

    It’s important to be accurate about our history — morally important — since we are doomed to repeat those parts we are unwilling to face honestly.

    This demonization of Islam as a whole — based on nothing but a biased, uninformed reading of the Koran and willful rejection of Muslims (and even hardline non-Muslim scholars) who speak up with a contrary view — is akin to antisematism. Surely you must be aware of what it can lead to. No, we won’t have the crematoriums this time. Instead, if saner heads don’t prevail, enough people will become convinced of your view of Islam that they will accept a nuclear bomb falling on Tehran.

    Just as I comment on Pharyngula that it is not Christianity that has a problem with science and evolution, it is some of its leaders who cloak themselves in theology to gain fame and fortune; it is not Islam that is causing violence now. The problem lies in some corrupt men twisting the local theology to promote their own very secular agenda.

    Of the billions of Christians and Muslims in this world, how many are engaged in terrorism? How many are trying to create a dialog with the other side? How many even know and understand their holy books? Most people identifying themselves as believers are only nominally so. The ones that scare me are the fundamentalists who only see the worst in the other side.

    I saw a young Christian man on CNN this morning who was talking about his organization which has initiated a dialog between Christian and Muslim young people. Please put your efforts behind programs like that rather than pour gasoline on the fire.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Gordon,

    A few words about World Wars 3 and 4 as you have defined them.

    By calling the Cold War WW3 aren’t you being disrespectful to the people who died in WW1 and WW2? One could argue that WW1 was not a world war since it was largely contained in Europe — but the shear scale of death and destruction earns that applelation. WW2 was, of course, a true world world in every possible sense of the term.

    The Cold War, however, was quite a different thing. Yes, it was a scary, hateful, and in its own way a horrible thing. But it did not involve massed armies of nations actively shooting, killing, bombing and otherwise trying to physically destroy each other. Even it’s label speaks to that: the Cold War. We built many weapons, true WMD’s, but did not use them. We did not call up the reserves, the nation was not on a “war footing” as the saying goes. In fact, here in the USA we experienced the greatest expansion of the economy ever — and we cancelled the draft! That doesn’t happen during a war.

    You call the “War on Terrori” WW4. What nations are we at war with? It can’t be Iraq. That war was over very quickly, same with Afghanistan.

    Using the term war the way you are we are at WW8 or WW9. One US President declared a War on Poverty, others a War on Drugs, and I’m sure we can find things like a War on Illiteracy, a War on Teenage Pregnancy, a War on Bigotry, etc., to boost the count to any number we like.

    The term World War must — at least — be applied only in cases where there are enormous casualities and where nations respond by drafting their young people into military service. Neither of those criteria are met in the “War” on Terror. We don’t even know who we are fighting. At first it was OBL and Al Qaeda; now it seems to be Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, as well as those inept guys arrested in Miami. How will we know if we’ve won? When there are no terrorists anywhere in the world? That would suit the current US administration for they could then continue to justify the executive branch of government usurping power and limiting individual rights without end.

    So I think you are doing a disservice to those who fought and died in real world wars and the families that sacraficed during those massively destructive events, events on a scale hopefully the world will never know again.

    To many of us it is clear as a bell that GWB is two-faced. He talks endlessly about a War on Terror but fails to say how it might end, fails to call for a draft, fails to call for any sacrafice by the American people other than giving up the Bill of Rights and in doing so he fails to show respect for those Americans and others who gave their lives in the real wars this nation has fought.

    It’s shameful.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    I will take up several further points, but it is plain that this thread has been sadly revealing on underlying in-denial, closed minded and even hostile attitudes on the part of some secularist commenters. That is not at all a mood in which one is likely to recognise the truth even when it is staring one in the face.
    We begin with a case in point:
    1] Exchange with RR:

    GEM, citing: 4] RR: Hitler did as tgirsch stated. Sure, he took his citations out of context and bent their meaning to his own will . . . but the statement by tgirsch you point to as a falsehood is, in fact, true.
    [GEM, response:] –> I will shortly address the speech.
    –> The general point as highlighted is so outrageous that it deserves to be pointed out: what part of taking things out of context and wrenching them into the opposite of their in-context meanings can be properly understood as supporting the notion that Hitler’s behaviour constituted: [TG]Christian-inspired violence and genocide . . .
    [RR, overnight:]Once again, you have responded predictably, evasively in an attempt to distract onlookers to your own rhetorical shortcomings. I specifically asked you NOT to conflate the opinions of Mr. Girsch and myself, and you have done precisely that. Shame! I responded to a specific charge you leveled at tgirsch regarding a specific quote.

    –> Now of course, I was responding to a specific context of remarks by TG, and RR intervened in support of TG, perhaps in ignorance of just what TG had advocated, and which I have spent several days exposing: the notion that Hitler’s behaviour constituted: [TG]Christian-inspired violence and genocide. )The ignorance of the context would doubtless be due to Mr Ryan’s boast that he does not read what I post, as a rule. Fine, but then if one answers to a matter without listening then that is a folly, as Proverbs warns.)
    –> Now, observe carefully what I actually did here:

    a] first, I postponed dealing with the speech cited, proper, to the next point immediately following [in which I showed precisely how the speech in question fails to be a case of being authentically Christian, so that the main point by TG fails yet again], then
    b] I briefly highlighted the RR-acknowledged point that Hitler’s rhetorical strategy was based on DISTORTION and taking matters out of context
    c] asking rhetorically how such could be seen as supporting the main point TG has sought to defend, namely that Hitler’s behaviour constituted: [TG]Christian-inspired violence and genocide. The answer should be obvious, i.e. that distortion cannot readonably be authentic to “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” of Jude 3.

    –> Plainly, RR is yet to explain himself on the material — as opposed to trivial — significance of in his further supportive claim: An excerpt from a speech delivered by Hitler in Munich in 1922 clearly demonstrates that Hitler used Christianity to consolidate power and earn trust among the populace. It is plainly trivial to note that Hitler cited Christian texts and statements in his account, which has never been in dispute. But that is very different indeed from showing that Hitler used Christianity to consolidate power and earn trust among the populace. Christianity inter alia embraces Jude’s

  • Chris Lutz

    AndyS:
    This demonization of Islam as a whole

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: FYI: On further thought I should add: First, wars in the long run of history, are routinely fought between actors other than nation-states. Second, we have a spectrum of engagement: duel, skirmish, battle, campaign, war, geopolitics. The point of “WW4″ is that islamism is on the global march again [complete with calls to reinstate teh claiphate,which only formally ended in 1924]. Thus, we see a global geostrategic contest, between the forces of Dar ul Islam and what hey call dar ul Harb. Of these forces, the overwhelming example in point is the USA, with UK, Australia and Britain close behind. Israel is a significant regional power, on the regional level near the Islamic heartland that is the centre of gracvity of Islamist power. In the case of the Iraq capaigns, I adn II have been carried out by coalitions under the force of applicable UNSC resolutions, II being initiated after 12 years of persistent and accelerating material breach ofr armistice terms by the Iraqis.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    Hi Chris
    On my way out the door so to speak, but notice especially: 1. Stop all Muslim immigration to the West.
    That is far too draconian, and raises seriious civil liberty questions. Besides, many muslim immigrants genuinely are seeking a better life and are not in the lest interested in jaihadism.
    Tight regulation is more than enough to achieve the result that is legitimate: minimising exposure and not importing the supportive sea of discontented immigrants for the islamist terrorist fish to swim among.
    I have spent enough time here for the day! I will add later on.
    GEM

  • Rob Ryan

    A quick review of the pertinent facts:
    First Gordon quotes this specific statement by tgirsch: “Hitler did indeed cite Christian teachings in inciting the overwhelmingly-Christian German populace to atrocities and imperialism.”
    Then Gordon responds to this specific statement as follows: “This sirs, is — in the teeth of what has already happened, now unmistakably a GROSS, SHAMELESSS FALSEHOOD.”
    Now Gordon offers this: “It is plainly trivial to note that Hitler cited Christian texts and statements in his account, which has never been in dispute.”
    It sure sounded like you were disputing it when you accused tgirsch of falsehood for saying it. Now you seem to be backing off with no hint of acknowledgement of error. Perhaps, though, your problem lies with tgirsch’s use of “overwhelmingly-Christian” in reference to the German people. It is very convenient from a rhetorical standpoint to claim the ability to determine who is in fact a true Christian. I must say I’ve never seen this fallacy deployed with such vigor.
    Additionally, Gordon would like to invoke the context argument by presuming that because I have confessed to skimming and often skipping much of his commentary, I have done so in this case and it makes a material difference. It should be obvious that I have taken issue with a specific charge made toward tgirsch based on a specific statement Gordon quotes. As Gordon himself provided the context when he selectively quoted and retorted angrily, he hardly has cause to complain of my taking issue with it exactly as he himself laid it out.
    In evaluating the validity of tgirsch’s statement, I am far more concerned with how tgirsch defines “overwhelmingly Christian” than how his ideological opponent might define it. One can make anyone out to be a liar when one defines his terms for him.
    GM: “RR is perfectly willing to acknowledge that Christians had something to do with the rise of modern liberty, but plainly wishes to credit their gradual abandonment of the biblical frame and the [in his mind] non-religious peculiar Western love of freedom.”
    Beginning with “but plainly”, you are arguing with your own flawed interpretation of my wishes. I have never said or even implied that “abandonment of the biblical frame” should in any way be credited for the rise of modern liberty. I do, however, acknowledge my feeling that the “non-religious peculiar Western love of freedom” deserves some credit. The love of freedom is evident in Western literature that predates Christianity. I don’t think any well-read person will dispute this.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers
    The last post from Mr Ryan, sadly, plainly shows that he wishes to use out-of context citation of my remarks aboive, to create the impression that I have not adequately responded to his ill-founded accusations.
    Plainly, he fails, for reasons already shown; and, in failing shows unfortunately bad faith and worse attitude. For the utter distortion of, for instance the account of the cleansing of the temple into antisemitism, as already exposed, in no way can properly be deemed authentically Christian. Indeed,t his is Shakespeare’s “Devil quoting scripture” as plainly as can be shown.
    Let us therefore first learn from the attempts above to put the authentic Christian Faith in the same boat as Nazism and Islamism — all to distract attention fromt he facts and eviddence already brought to bear that show just how hard a row would-be reformers of Islam face. That is utterly beyond the pale of civil discourse, and is revealing on the underlying attitudes and agenda at work.
    As to the second matter he raised, the telling point is that where in the excerpts from the earlier thread, he asserts that “NOW” I “want to give the bible itself credit” i.e. for materially inspiring the Christians and Christianity- influenced people who contributed so much to the rise of modern liberty. But in fact, as my excerpt shows plainly, that is ezactly what I had argued all along, it was not a “moving of goal-posts” at all. In short RR in this admission immediately gives away his game, as I went on to point out,and as can easily be followed up.
    Notice the pattern: slanderous accusations are made, and acknowledgement of a major and costly contrubution to the liberties we enjoy is refused. Classic mind-poisonin by demonisation through slander,in short.
    Let us pray that God will be gracious to such, giving opportunities to open eyes.
    But also, let us not forget the fallaxcies and attitudes that now lie nakedly revealed before us. Is this what should hold the intellectual and cultural high ground in our common civilisation?
    I think, for excellent reason, not.
    GEM

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Chris,

    Your plan

    1. Stop all Muslim immigration to the West.
    2. Deport any Muslim who advocates violence or the implementation of sharia through even peaceful means.
    3. Offer monetary incentives for other Muslims to leave voluntarily.
    4. Monitor all mosques and Islamic schools.
    5. Deny any funds and resources from any outside Islamic sources.
    6. Tightly control the movements of any Muslim from outside the country.

    is all too familiar. Substitute “Blacks” for “Muslims” and you pretty much have the same proposal as made by American racists in the past.

    Gordon,

    That is why I have pushed back as strongly as I have against your position on this topic. It is one thing to argue about evolution vs. ID or climate change, and quite another when what is at stake are outcomes like the one Chris proposes.

    The intellectual argument can and, as seen in Chris’s proposal, does lead to wholesale bigotry of the worst sort.

    The point of “WW4″ is that islamism is on the global march again [complete with calls to reinstate the caliphate, which only formally ended in 1924].

    Do you believe all the most outrageous things people say? No one in the West, and I really do mean no one, thinks that Iran has a wonderful government or that terrorism is not a significant problem. We just don’t need a “my holy book is better than yours” spin to our difficulties.

    A little more relevant history:

    The Ford administration — in which Cheney succeeded Rumsfeld as chief of staff and Wolfowitz was responsible for nonproliferation issues at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency — continued intense efforts to supply Iran with U.S. nuclear technology until President Jimmy Carter succeeded Ford in 1977. link

    See also here.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Andy:
    I think it is quite plain enough that there is no logical connection between pointing out the facts of Islamism and its unfortunate evident organic connexion to Islam the religion, and the specific points where CL has gone overboard. Thus, the “push-back” rhetorical mentality is inappropriate. [You will for instance see how I immediately paused, even on my way out the door, to correct him again. That is, there is such a thing as a balanced position based on the credible facts and circumstances, and associated issues. I have thought that CL has highlighted a real issue — disaffected immigrants forming a sea forthe terrorist fish, but that he has not come up with the right balance in his proposed solutions. I observe that onthe other side, there is a consistent shutting of the eyes tothe reality of what he pointed out. That is telling: in denial, yet again, longing for the imagined paradise of the 1990’s.]
    1] Now on your: Do you believe all the most outrageous things people say? No one in the West, and I really do mean no one, thinks that Iran has a wonderful government or that terrorism is not a significant problem. We just don’t need a “my holy book is better than yours” spin to our difficulties.
    –> You will observe first of all that the issue of comparisons with the Christian religion were primarily introduced by secularist progressives, trying to drag the Christian faith into the same position as Islamism, which has now also reached the level it was at in December, i.e trying to push the Christitian faith in the boat with Nazism. [This is all too revealing on the underlying attitudes at work, especially where coupled with refusal to acknowledge the major contributions of biblical Christian faith to the improvement and liberation of the world over the past 5 centuries since the Bible was put in the hands of the common man

  • Gordon Mullings

    BTW,
    did a little looking around the net to see just where that sppech by Hitler of 1922 was excerted from. In aditiontotheusual supect sitesa nd rhetoric, I found this interesting example from Infidenls.org [evidently an attempt to defend from the charge that Hitler was an atheist]:

    [After citing the 1922 speech] . . . .
    Once Hitler had gained power, he began to see [no, he began to act on his long held view!] Christianity as a threat to the National Socialists’ domination of Germany. After 1935 [the year after Barmen, and by which time his dictatorship and secret police were firmly in power and opponents were routinely being arrested and worse] his speeches and writings became more and more virulently anti-Christian; he argued that Christian worship was a sign of weakness, and that it should be replaced by reverence for the nation and the state, and of course for the National Socialist Party. However, he retained his belief in reincarnation [neopagan, NB], and his conviction that there was some supreme creative force [i.e. pantheistic, i.e. again neo pagan in that context] whose will he was enacting [and from his works we know just who was his lord and master whose will he faithfully carried out, with better luck, unfortunately than Haman had in Persia under Xerxes].

    The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity … The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.
    I’ll make these [profanity deleted] parsons feel the power of the state in a way they would have never believed possible. [this is post Barmen] For the moment, I am just keeping my eye upon them: if I ever have the slightest suspicion that they are getting dangerous, I will shoot the lot of them. This filthy reptile raises its head whenever there is a sign of weakness in the State, and therefore it must be stamped on. We have no sort of use for a fairy story invented by the Jews.[thus he acknowledges the Jewish roots and nature of the Christian faith, and sees it as in opposition to himself. As for the fairy tale notion, of course this is just dismissive rhetoric of a very familar kind. CF here for a rebuttal to that sort of slanderous accusation. Hitler KNEW circa 1935 that his picture of Christianity presented to the masses circa 192 was a lie. How many are prepared to bet that this was a new idea for him, i.e. post 1922 – 23?]

    [Quoted from Hitler’s “Table Talks” with Bormann,in “Hitler: A Study in Tyranny” by Allan Bullock.]

    So, which statements are more likely to be the true Hitler,

    [a] the demagogue appealing to ignrant and unstable masses who only vaguely know the Christian faith or its scriptures, by taking citations out of context and twisting them into the opposite of what they mean, or
    [b] the tyrant in power telling his cronies what he intends to do with his enemies? [To the cost of the life of among many others Deitrich Boenhoffer,the leading theologian in Germany of that day.]

    The answer is all-too-plain, and quite consistent across a and b: deceive the masses and attack those who have objected to his intent to be a law unto himself. In both cases, the answer is incompatible with Hitler being a true disciple of Jesus, and witht he notion that his behaviour was motivated by and succeded because of the alleged or implied corruptly violent and genocidal nature of the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.
    Onlookers, notice that to date not one in-contex tNT text has been adduced in support of that accusation, and the OT texts have equally been taken way out of context.
    ++++++++
    Grace, open our eyes
    Gordon

  • Chris Lutz

    Gordon, thanks for you reply to my statement. It is obvious that we disagree on whether or not one can separate the expansionist calls and sharia law of Islam from the religious aspects of Islam. My view on it is that while a person could separate one from the other, the result is that they aren’t practicing Islam any longer. It is somewhat analogous to Jefferson removing all portions of the New Testament that didn’t fit with what he believed. The result is not a “reformed” Christianity but something that denies some of the key tenets of the Christian faith. This is why much earlier in this thread I stated that it might make sense to have them called something other than Muslim.
    This year the U.S. admitted more Muslim immigrants citizens (approx. 96,000) than at anytime in it’s history. It has also allowed the quintupling of the number of Saudi students into the country. This really is insanity based on how well the gov’t screens people. If between 1-10% are radicalized, then we just admitted between 1,000 and 9,000 people who are an additional threat. While I’m sure many just want a better life, that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to bring a lot of the same issues with them that have led to the problems in their own countries. This is especially true since we have a multiculturalist policy instead of an assimilation policy. In a different society, we could reasonably allow small numbers of Muslim immigrants. That isn’t the case in today’s society where the ACLU, et al will scream if we take the necessary security measures to monitor Muslim actions.
    For a recent historical parallel, notice that the then Czechslovakia expelled all of it’s citizens of German ancestry in 1946 since many of them had agitated and acted as a fifth column for Germany. I’m sure there were Germans who were loyal to Czechslovakia that were expelled. However, since man is incapable of judging someone’s future intentions, we at times have to act based on the groups with which they affiliate themselves.
    None of this means I seek to dehumanize Muslims. It does mean I believe that we need to separate ourselves from them as much as possible.

  • Rob Ryan

    “The last post from Mr Ryan, sadly, plainly shows that he wishes to use out-of context citation of my remarks aboive, to create the impression that I have not adequately responded to his ill-founded accusations.”
    Onlookers, if there are any, can see that I responded to Gordon’s remarks in the context he himself provided. Sadly, he once again resorts to misrepresentation in a vain effort to retain some of his threadbare credibility. Ironic, sad, and sadly typical.
    He has, in fact NOT adequately responded to my accusation that he unjustly accused tgirsch of falsehood and slander. He cannot, because he is guilty as charged.
    GM, once again attacking a straw man: “The answer is all-too-plain, and quite consistent across a and b: deceive the masses and attack those who have objected to his intent to be a law unto himself. In both cases, the answer is incompatible with Hitler being a true disciple of Jesus, and witht he notion that his behaviour was motivated by and succeded because of the alleged or implied corruptly violent and genocidal nature of the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.
    Onlookers, notice that to date not one in-contex tNT text has been adduced in support of that accusation, and the OT texts have equally been taken way out of context.”
    No one is supporting the accusation because no one has made it. No one has suggested that Hitler was a Christian or was motivated by Christianity. What was said is that Hitler used elements of Christianity to further his agenda. This is true, Gordon has conceded the point, and now he wishes to broaden the original statements to distort their meanings so he can attack them. Gordon needs to find a statement that suggests Hitler was a Christian or was genuinely motivated by Christianity, or he needs to modify his comment and apologize. He will come no closer than this from tgirsch: “As to Christian-inspired violence and genocide, I need look no further than Hitler.” While this statement could have been more carefully worded, it makes no claim with regard to Hitler’s sincerity in using Christian language to inspire his followers. What Gordon will find from me is a frank statement that Hitler misused Christianity for his own ends. Strawman only works when there is no paper trail.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Well said, Rob.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Gordon,

    one of the lessons of history is not to underestimate the rhetoric of extremists who gain power

    We agree on that — although I cannot help but point to an example you will not like: GWB and the neoconservatives who are in power now. Their rhetoric has cost the lives of of thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis. Worse, they are exploiting Christians as others have done in the past and many of you are playing into their hands.

    The story of my former Physics Prof who ran an Iranian nuke reactor there in the 70s but had to flee for his life to Jamaica, and used to show us letters from former colleagues scattered all over the world is telling on just how vastly different Andy: I am an eyewitness to that situation. I can recall his reading the Daily Telegraph regularly in the early 1980s in the Dept’s Seminar Room, and sometimes bemoaning the sad fate of yet another Iranian, whom he knew or knew of.

    Lest one might think that Iran under the Shah was a good thing, this quote from Wikipedia is one of the milder takes:

    In 1975, [Mohammad Reza Shah] abolished the multi-party system of government so that he could rule through a one-party state under the Rastakhiz (Resurrection) Party in autocratic fashion, which he claimed was a response, among other things, to the Soviet Union’s support of Iranian Communist militias and parties, particularly the Tudeh Party. In addition, the Shah had decreed that all Iranian citizens and the few remaining political parties must become part of Rastakhiz. 11 The Shah also authorized the creation of the secret police force, SAVAK (National Organization for Information and Security), infamous for its ruthless persecution and torture of dissidents.

    You ask:

    So, which attitude is wiser in this world as we saw that early Tuesday morning, that of 9/10 or that of after 9/11, why? [And notice, this is a reiteration of the call for putting forth not complaints and rhetoric but credible policy proposals that show the reasonable prospect of a better result across the multi generational geostrategic situation that now again confronts us.]

    The most important thing we can do in the USA — as a nation — is to put some adults in charge of the executive branch — adults not blinded by oil, adults who are part of the reality-based community rather than driven by fantastic ideologies. Since we have to wait a couple of years to do that, as a first step we can elect a few to the legislative branch this November.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    First, it is clear that CL and I have a disagreement on whether wholesale blockage on Muslim immigration is warranted. I give him this, that historically, that has been a major issue once things have passed a certain threshold. I am not convinced that such drastic measures are either necessary or advisable or just in an era where we have much more efficient administrative and policing services, if they are not unduly fettered.
    It is, second, sadly clear that there is a reality disconnect, coupled with a contempt for those who differ, on the part of certain of the secularist progressivist commenters.
    Having already provided both detailed explanations and direct citations regarding the true nature of Hitler and his regime and its demonstrated out of context, word-wrenching abuse of the Bible to attempt to deceive the ill-informed and unstable, it is plain that the continued attempt to push the Christian faith into the same boat as Nazism or islamism is simple, jaundiced bigotry. And, bigotry maintained in the teeth of credible facts long since in evidence.
    It saddens me to have to put it that way, but that is what the stare of the case plainly now warrants.
    I will briefly note on several points, for the sake of onlookers:
    1] CL: For a recent historical parallel, notice that the then [Czechoslovakia] expelled all of it’s citizens of German ancestry in 1946 since many of them had agitated and acted as a fifth column for Germany.
    –> This is after a world war, in which a great many died and was part of a much wider relocation of a great many millions of people on both sides.
    2] RR: He has, in fact NOT adequately responded to my accusation that he unjustly accused tgirsch of falsehood and slander. He cannot, because he is guilty as charged.
    –> This is a bare

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: I looked back over the above, and it saddens me to think where the debates five years to the date after the events of that horrible weekday morning in 2001 have gone. I frankly think that UBLs strong horse argument looks more and more sadly apt every day: Western culture is in accelerating disintegration from within. For, it has determined ly turned its back on God in its elite culture. So, it has been plainly handed over to a sin-darkened, reprobate mindset that thinksitself ever so wise as it collapses into the most blatant folly.

  • Chris Lutz

    Gordon:
    First, it is clear that CL and I have a disagreement on whether wholesale blockage on Muslim immigration is warranted. I give him this, that historically, that has been a major issue once things have passed a certain threshold. I am not convinced that such drastic measures are either necessary or advisable or just in an era where we have much more efficient administrative and policing services, if they are not unduly fettered.
    Even though we disagree on this point, I believe it is much easier to reach a reasonable and realistic compromise on the actions to take when there is agreement on the basic facts.
    This is after a world war, in which a great many died and was part of a much wider relocation of a great many millions of people on both sides.
    You are quite correct in pointing that out. However, I believe the solution I outlined doesn’t result in wholesale deportations. The only people forcibly removed would be those who are not citizens and who continue to support jihad and sharia. Add in incentives for voluntary emmigration and for the most part the goal will be achieved. Those Muslims who remain will most likely be the true moderates and they will have some comfort in the knowledge that the radicals and their supporters are leaving their midst. Right now the radicals are pushing out the moderates.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    Well, I see that Gordon still has his proverbial panties in a twist because of the uncomfortable association — partly acknowledged by Gordon himself — between Nazi rhetoric and Christianity. In particular, Gordon is still whining incessantly about this statement, made by me:

    As to Christian-inspired violence and genocide, I need look no further than Hitler.

    On this statement, I will concede only that it was not worded explicitly enough for the hypersensitive Christians in the audience who are uncomfortable with the fact that their religion, too, has been used (albeit, to them, inappropriately) to help incite people to commit truly awful acts.
    But the point of contention here actually doesn’t have much to do with my choice of words, and a great deal to do with an underlying disagreement, namely that Gordon believes that Islam really does teach that these awful actions should be carried out, whereas the teachings of Christianity must corrupted to do this. I, on the other hand, have consistently argued that the teachings of Islam are also corrupted to inspire such violence. Thus, in context, it should be plain that I was comparing the rhetoric of Hitler to the rhetoric of extremist Muslims, all of whom I believe to be corrupting their religion for decidedly non-holy purposes. Which goes directly to my point that there’s nothing unique to Islam about some extremist misappropriating a religion to inspire violence.
    Meanwhile Gordon and I continue to talk past each other, as Gordon continues to insist that I find a New Testament quote to justify Nazi actions (which cannot be done, but needn’t be done, as I’ve never claimed that Christian teachings taken in context condone such actions), while I continue to point out evidence that extermist Muslims are in fact violating their religion’s teachings (e.g., prohibition of suicide, prohibition of violence against non-combatants, women, children, etc.) and Gordon ignores these.
    At the end of the day, it seems that Gordon and I aren’t even having the same argument any more. I will make this sincere and very limited apology: I’m sorry that Gordon seems to have taken me to mean that Christianity really does condone the actions of the Nazis. He seems to have been the only one here that didn’t understand what I was getting at, but nonetheless I guess I can see how someone might misunderstand.
    All that said, all the attention given to that remark has been largely tangential, so I’ll be happy just to put that one to bed.

  • Rob Ryan

    GM: “In short I am pointing out a critical and highly misleading equivocation in the use of the term

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Gordon,

    Strawman, and in effect putting imaginary words in my mouth. Search above for anywhere I have said that the Shah’s regime was a good, as opposed to a lesser evil than what has followed it.

    I did not put words in your mouth. I did want to correct the impression left by your comments related to your physics professor. I agree that he and others suffered when the Shah was removed from power. Many of our glorious onlookers may not be aware that the Shah himself was a tyrant.

    Andy, your nation is fighting a war, one brought to your shores by UBL. This is irresponsible rhetoric on your part: at the end of WW 2, in the Pacific theatre alone the US was losing 900 men per week, and the Japanese multiples of that.

    This sort of rhetoric is precisely what inflames me, Gordon. Contrary to your intent, that last sentence perfectly demonstrates the tremendous difference in a real war, especially a World War, and what is going on now. What enemy are we fighting in Iraq? We already have won the war there we set out to fight, it was over in weeks. Right now there are 130,000+ Americans in that country fighting who? Why? If we left, what danger is there to the USA? There is no comparison whatsoever to the Pacific theater in WW2.

    Brian Leiter’s article sums up my thoughts perfectly.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    It is clear — and on the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, no less [Hint to certain commenters: THINK about how you have commented on that anniversary, and how it will look in years to come!] — that the issue at stake was well-put by Joe, right in his original post:

    In his masterpiece On War, the 19th century Prussian general Karl von Clausewitz’s described war as a “continuation of politics by other means.

  • Rob Ryan

    GM:”…to ascribe blame to CHRISTIANITY is a very broad-bruch accusation…”
    No one has done this. The distortion continues.
    GM: “When therefore Mr Ryan rushed to support Mr Girsch…he joined in the slander.”
    Again, that nasty, ill-founded accusation that speaks more to Gordon’s reading acuity and paranoia than to purported attacks on Christianity. As Mr. Girsch pointed out, Gordon is the only one who chose to interpret these comments in the worst possible light, which is plainly and demonstrably belied by their contexts.
    GM: “Hitler did not USE Christianity…”
    Yes, he did.
    GM: “… to support his agenda, he distorted it and abused it, and even worse misused the name of God.”
    “Abuse” and “misuse” are subsets of “use”, as you well know, but for some reason won’t admit. I won’t allow you to become the ultimate arbiter of language. That’s my field. I don’t try to teach you physics.

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: Breaking news from MEMRI: Al J has apparently become the Muslim Brotherhood’s global propaganda arm. [I’d like to see more details and documentation, but the general trend of that station is obvious,]
    In that light consider from the previously linked 1982 MB world conquest plan, things such as, from FRontPage’s summary [the plan itself is as usual soporific but the summmary is accurate]:

    Rather than focusing on terrorism as the sole method of group action, as is the case with Al-Qaeda, in perfect postmodern fashion the use of terror falls into a multiplicity of options available to progressively infiltrate, confront, and eventually establish Islamic domination over the West. The following tactics and techniques are among the many recommendations made in The Project:

    * Networking and coordinating actions between likeminded Islamist organizations;
    * Avoiding open alliances with known terrorist organizations and individuals to maintain the appearance of

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers
    I see the brazen denial of the sadly plain fact of slander continues.
    Kindly look above at the excerpts from Mr Ryan and Mr Girsch presented again yesterday, and above in this thread a their original posts and my rebuttals.
    Then look at he obfuscations, verbal gymnastics and denials of same presented by the guilty parties, most recetnly yesterday and just now. [And BTW for the English-challenged, “misuse” and “abuse” are explicitly intended to contrast with proper use. Inthe origial context Mr Girsch set out to cite Hitler as an EXAMPLE of “Christian-inspired violence and genocide” in an attempted rebuttal of my challenge to find a case of Christians properly using the NT to justify the sort of agenda that we can see in Q 9:5, 29 – 31 and in the exxample set by Mohammed and his successors. THAT CONTEXT IS DECISIVE. Sadly, RR then set out to support Mr Girsch’s general claim, asserting that Hitler USED Christianity in his rise to power in Germany, citing the 1922 speech which I exposed as a classic of misuse and abuse. He then went on to declare adn argue, in essence, that Christianity — which is a global not a narrow term — bears a materal responsibility for the Holocaust etc. It is all in the excerpts and the original exchange. ]
    Then, you will see why all we can do for such is pray for them. For, they have plainly long since left the field of civil discourse.
    With sadness,
    GEM

  • Terence Moeller

    RR:
    ” I won’t allow you to become the ultimate arbiter of language. That’s my field. I don’t try to teach you physics.”
    Surely you jest. Being reminded on a weekly basis that you are a high school English teacher is bad enough, but to suggest that this qualifies you as the ultimate arbiter of language is beyond the pale. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but people at the EO have constantly challenged GM’s observations in physics and they have done so freely without being reminded by him that he
    holds a couple of Ph.Ds in the subject. In fact, until recently you apparently were not even aware of these qualifications.
    There has been a pattern established at the EO wherein one throws out a rhetorical bomb, another follows with strafing, and another sets off a remote booby-trap. Then, just as a counter attack is mounted, they invariably head for the hills, change the subject, or switch tactics to personal insults of the coldest kind.
    How about finally addressing the central challenge on this thread, which has been to compare and contrast the Great Commission of Christianity with that of Isalm. It has been shown that the last recorded words of Mohammed(632) were :
    “I was ordered to fight all men until they say, ‘There is no God but Allah.'”
    Saladin(1189):
    “I shall… pursue them until there remains no one… who does not acknowledge Allah.”
    OBL(2001):
    “I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah…”
    Can anyone of you identify any other major religion on earth with such a mandate in their text? If you can’t, then you must acknowledge that Islam is unique in that regard, and any attempt at moral equivilance with Christianity (or any other major religion), is not only unjustified but intellectually dishonest.

  • Rob Ryan

    “Being reminded on a weekly basis that you are a high school English teacher is bad enough…”
    That’s not very courteous, is it, Terence? Weekly? I think not. When the topic pertains to education, I disclose fully so people know my potential biases. I’m sorry It bothers you. If I were boasting. Terence, I’d be a full professor somewhere, wouldn’t I?
    “…to suggest that this qualifies you as the ultimate arbiter of language is beyond the pale.”
    You must be kidding. I tell Gordon he is not the ultimate arbiter; I do not claim the title myself. I simply remind Gordon that I won’t concede on language issues if he is wrong. I am qualified to speak. Put the straw man back in the closet, please.
    It is Gordon’s business how he handles people who question his physics, by the way.

  • Rob Ryan

    GM: “He then went on to declare adn argue, in essence, that Christianity — which is a global not a narrow term — bears a materal responsibility for the Holocaust etc.”
    That is very strange. I could have sworn I said: “I do not blame Christianity for WWII or the holocaust.”
    “In essence” is a handy qualifier; it means you don’t have to use a direct quote and parse one’s words.
    You seem to be the only one who doesn’t recognize that I criticized Hitler and cited Christian language as a tool he used for his ends. Your argument to the contrary is insulting to the extreme.

  • Terence Moeller

    RR:
    “That’s not very courteous, is it, Terence? Weekly? I think not. When the topic pertains to education, I disclose fully so people know my potential biases. I’m sorry It bothers you.”
    My apologies if it was rude to point this out, but I did so because you have on more than one occassion pointed out that GM often repeats his reference to “selective hyperskepticism.” I respect what you do, and having been a teacher in the HS system for years, I know that to survive and even thrive in that enviroment, is an exceptional task. I also know that you, like GM, are appealing to onlookers, who may not be aware of your profession, or underlying point of view, so it may be necessary to repeat it.
    “I’m sorry It bothers you. If I were boasting. Terence, I’d be a full professor somewhere, wouldn’t I?”
    That, my friend, is a non sequitar and if one of my HS students had made that remark on paper I would have given it a triple ???
    “You must be kidding. I tell Gordon he is not the ultimate arbiter; I do not claim the title myself.”
    Was it you who recently said,”Strawman only works when there is no paper trail?” You are also recently quoted as saying, ” I WON’T allow you to become the ultimate arbiter of language. That’s MY field.”
    The direct implication was that that somehow, because of your credentials, you were in an authoritative position to have the final say in these matters. You spoke of this Ph.Ds “thread bear credibility” as if your teacher’s certificate and your rather condecending analysis of his writing style was the final say.
    “I simply remind Gordon that I won’t concede on language issues if he is wrong. I am qualified to speak. Put the straw man back in the closet, please.”
    The point is that he too is qualified to speak without being censured by you on the nuances of language. Granted, you are trained to spot discrepencies in diction and logic, but even more so is anyone who has to write a dissertation — or two. I found the exchange between you two on the nuances of the word “abuse” to be interesting, but certainly no place to be pulling rank.

  • Rob Ryan

    “…if one of my HS students had made that remark on paper I would have given it a triple ???”
    Good thing this isn’t for a grade. The remark was my humourous acknowledgement that one doesn’t boast of being a mere teacher, and a hint that that was not my intent. While my pals at the Checker Flag might be impressed by my credentials, they amount to but little in the rarified air of the E.O.
    “You are also recently quoted as saying, ” I WON’T allow you to become the ultimate arbiter of language. That’s MY field.””
    Thanks for adding the allcaps emphasis that suits your interpretation; now I offer mine:
    I won’t allow YOU to become the ultimate arbiter of language. That’s my FIELD. I DID NOT and DO NOT claim overriding authority; I simply do not YIELD it. I hope that clears that up. I must admit I was not flattered that you presumed I was so presumptuous.
    “You spoke of this Ph.Ds “thread bear credibility” as if your teacher’s certificate and your rather condecending analysis of his writing style was the final say.”
    I would amend this to reflect that I used the term “threadbare credibility” and applied it to his interpretations of others’ words, not his own language. I have not really criticized Gordon’s language (except that there is too much of it) except in one instance when it seemed murky (and Gordon agreed). In fact, I think Gordon has a superb vocabulary, and his writing is stylistically quite mature and sophisticated. What I object to, particularly in this thread, is what I see as a tendency to broaden and narrow terms at will regardless of who is employing them.
    “The point is that he too is qualified to speak without being censured by you on the nuances of language.”
    He is certainly qualified to speak. As for censure, I’m sure he would endure mine for the right to dole out his.
    I would be flattered that you thought a schoolteacher might have the temerity to “pull rank” if the idea didn’t seem so silly to me.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    In the ME as such, only Lebanon until the civil war from the 1970s was a reasonably democratic state

    I bet you want to include Israel in the category of democratic ME states.

    —> Again, let us set this in context: it is you who asked about the casualties in Iraq etc as if that were ipso facto an indictment of Mr Bush etc for mass murder. I pointed out that in wars you have casualties and that the RATES of casualties across time for American wars have fallen dramatically, especially in the post-Vietnam, post-draft era. [Though, had the Cold war gone nuke that would have shifted dramatically.]

    I said nothing about “mass murder” or “indictment”, Gordon. There has long been a notion of proportionate response. We lost 3000 on 911. The conservative estimate of deaths in Iraq is 40,000 — Iraqi deaths. That’s deaths, not causualties which is a figure we will never know. And Iraq had nothing to do with 911! On top of that, we’ve lost another nearly 3000 Americans in Iraq, with a much larger number maimed for life. Even in the rural area where I now live and in the one in which I grew up we have families with 18 and 19 year old kids brought home in coffins and others now missing limbs. Meanwhile GWB continues to cut taxes and has to pay $20,000 bonuses to get soldiers to re-up. American is not at war. We are sure doing something horrible but it can not be called war.

    the Islamists have chosen Iraq as a field to confront the Western powers

    I seem to recall quite a case being made by the Bush adminstration about why we Americans choose to attack Iraq. In fact, I watched it all unfold on CNN or was that faked by the “liberal media”?.

    —> In the aftermath of the American retreat from Indochina, S VN, Cambodia and Laos fell to the communists,and a global wave of Marxist-Leninist geostrategic pushes occurred, only being stemmed in the 1980’s by Reagan and Thatcher’s firm stance and unyielding counter-strategy. Millions died in S E Asia and a lot of other people elsewhere too.

    Wow, that’s an incredible — and I do mean “not believable” — rewriting of history. Should we have nuked Viet Nam in order to save it? That was a prevailing view among some at the time. How many more Americans should have died?

    “One out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,169 were killed and 304,000 wounded out of 2.59 million who served. Although the percent who died is similar to other wars, amputations or crippling wounds were 300 percent higher than in World War II. 75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled.” link

    —> Similarly, a precipitate retreat from Iraq would predictably hand over a major base to the Islamists, who would immediately exploit it for their global agenda. WMD proliferation would be only one of the resulting geostrategic headaches. as the Islamists would restore the Caliphate and set out on the final subjugation of the world under Allah, his law, his prophet, and his warriors.

    More fantasies. You are making up from whole cloth the notion that a coherent “Islamist” agenda exists and is seriously supported by an organized group with some sort of possibly global power. Syria, Iran, and Iraq — I’m very happy to note — don’t compare in any way, shape, or form to Russia or China (our Cold War foes), not in population, not in resources, not in military power. Iran and Iraq only have oil and it is only any good to them if they can sell it.

    [In short the issue is a classic one: WHERE are you going to fight the war, not if . . . and postponing a fight to the time and place of your enemy’s choosing is to surrender all the key assets that make the difference between success and defeat. Surely, that should be a plain lesson of the 9/11 attempted decapitation strike!]

    Why America? What is it with this idea that it must be my country (with an assist from the UK) to do something? Cerainly GWB behaves as if it is our job. But while the USA sends its young people to die and be maimed on the other side of the world, while we spend $100 billion per year in Iraq (indefinitely?), what does the rest of the world do?

    Your statement is quite dramatic in its suggestion that somehow a Caliphate could be formed — something I cannot find any credible evidence for nor any serious person as much as suggesting even among the “Islamists”. And if they did, how could they defeat anyone? These are tiny, poor states. Come on, be serious, can you see the USA or the EU or Russia or China being defeated by any collection of ME countries?

    Let the onlookers decide.

  • Terence Moeller

    This today from the NY Times . . .
    ONE ARAB’S APOLOGY
    September 12, 2006 — WELL, here it is, five years late, but here just the same: an apology from an Arab-American for 9/11. No, I didn’t help organize the killers or contribute in any way to their terrible cause. However, I was one of millions of Arab-Americans who did the unspeakable on 9/11: nothing.
    The only time I raised my voice in protest against these men who killed thousands of innocents in the name of Allah was behind closed doors, among the safety of friends and family. I did at one point write a very vitriolic essay condemning their actions, but fear of becoming another Salman Rushdie kept me from ever trying to publish it.
    Well, I’m sick of saying the truth only in private – that Arabs around the world, including Arab-Americans like myself, need to start holding our own culture accountable for the insane, violent actions that our extremists have perpetrated on the world at large.
    Yes, our extremists and our culture.
    Every single 9/11 hijacker was Arab and a Muslim. The apologists (including President Bush) tried to reassure us that 9/11 had nothing to do with Islam, but was a twisting of a great and noble religion. With all due respect, read the Koran, Mr. President. There’s enough there for someone of extreme tendencies to find their way to a global jihad.
    There’s also enough there for someone of a different mindset to find a path to enlightenment and peace. Still, Rushdie had it right back in 2001: This does have to do with Islam. A Christian who bombs an abortion clinic in the name of God is still a Christian, at least in his interpretation, and saying otherwise doesn’t negate the fact that he has spent a goodly amount of time figuring out his version of the one true and right thing to do.
    The men who killed 3,000 of our citizens on 9/11 in all likelihood died saying prayers to Allah, and that by itself is one of the most horrific things to me about that day.
    And, while my grandparents never waged a jihad, their attitudes toward Jews weren’t that much different than Mohammed Atta’s. No, they didn’t support the Holocaust, but they did believe that Jews were trouble in many different ways, and those sorts of beliefs were passed on to me before I’d ever actually met a Jew.
    I’m sorry for that, for ever believing that anything that my grandparents or other relatives had to say about Jews or Israel, for that matter, had any real resemblance to truth. It took me years to realize that I’d been conned into believing the generalizations and stereotypes that millions around the Arab world buy into: that Jews, America and Israel are our main problem.
    One look at the average Arab regime should alert us to the fact that the problem, dear Achmed, lies not overseas or next door in Tel Aviv, but in the brutal, corrupt despots that we have bred from country to country in the Mideast, across the span of history. That history and its corresponding economic devastation is the main reason I reside on New York City’s West Bank – New Jersey – not the one near Jerusalem. On my worst day, I’m happy about that fact. I’d rather be here than there, and experience the freedom and boundless opportunities that were mostly unknown to so many generations of my family in the Mideast.
    For as long as I live, the image of those towers falling, as I watched in horror and disbelief from the corner of 40th and Fifth, will be for me my Pearl Harbor, for in that instant I recognized that not only was our city under attack – so was our freedom.
    It still is. And will continue to be for years to come. And the threat is not from within, but from Islamic fascists who desperately want to destroy the freedom and opportunities that millions the world over still seek.
    Five years after that awful day, it’s time for all Arab-Americans, and Arabs around the world, to protest against Islamic fascism, to raise our voices – and, where necessary, our arms – against these tyrants until their plague of terror has been driven from the face of the earth forever.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    First, thanks to TM for the reminder on the basic point at work. I do beg to remind that certifications are not to be equated to “qualifications,” and note that it is the underlying facts and reasoning that are relevant, not certificates and licenses or even experience per se. For, no alleged authority is better than his/her facts and reasoning. [BTW, TM, as I have noted earlier when it came up, I have double Masters degrees, not double Ph.Ds.]
    As to Mr Ryan’s claim that I broaden and narrow terms at will, I note that it is often materially relevant to issues such as come up in this blog to address underlying worldview questions and associated assertions. It is also often materially relevant, when hyper-skeptical criteria are being brought up in dismissing arguments, to point out that such criteria cannot consistently be applied, i.e. the issue of selective hyperskepticism.
    On matters to be noted on specifically:
    1] Blaming Christianity for Nazism:
    On this highly material point, It is to be noted that on the contrary of current denials, both Mr Girsch and Mr Ryan wished to indict the Christian Faith by pushing them into the same boat as nazism and islamism.
    Plainly, we need a reminder again, so here is the relevant set of excerpts, one more time:

    [compare] my review response to the accusation Sept 1 8 am, or the underlying accusation introduced by Mr Girsch Aug 29 4:27 pm:
    [TG, Citing GM]: could Mr Girsch kindly provide evidence of Christians, acting out of the NT, in exegetically defensible light of say even 50 verses therein, or even 5, or even 1, and conducting a geostrategic campaign of conquest in the current era?
    [TG, responding:] Gee, that’s an awful lot of qualifications you’ve put on that. Gee, I wonder why. [Cf. My Aug 30 7:14 am response on this] First, if the OT is exempt from consideration, then why is it often cited to condemn various perceived ills of society? Indeed, why is it even included in scripture at all if we can ignore it when convenient, as you suggest we do here? [My summary note: the underlying moral principles apply, e.g. Rom 13:8 – 10; the specific, culturally oriented civil and ceremonial codes do not, as has long since been discussed and as is abundantly shown by the NT.]
    As to Christian-inspired violence and genocide, I need look no further than Hitler. Or perhaps that doesn’t pass your “modern era” qualification.
    [GEM]–> This behaviour with refusal to take responsibility and apologise, is plain evidence of ill-will and slander, given the objective evidence already placed above, not only today but ever since Aug 30 7:14 am . . . . [rebuttals on abused scriptures followed]
    –> Let us see too that this shows that lurking in the thinking of the likes of Mr Girsch . . . For, he was so confident that Hitler’s behaviour was Christian [and, in context, rooted in the teaching of the NT], that he saw the only escape as being the claim that Hitler did not count as “modern.” Of course, he has yet to show us a SINGLE NT verse that properly and plainly interpreted in its context, leads to the behaviour of a Hitler — just the assumption and confident assertion that this is “Christian-inspired violence and genocide.” In short, he ducked my challenge [on the alleged [im]moral equivalency between the Bible and the Quran] and compounded the accusation by dragging in Hitler as a typical example of

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    Assignment: go read this parable and commentary on sheep, wolves and sheep-dogs.
    Then, let’s discuss at a serious level.
    GEM

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Gordon,

    to see what would very credibly result from trying to give the UN such a role, why not take a read of the Left Behind novel series

    Sorry, I cannot engage in any serious discussion where participants suggest poorly written, if widely popular, fiction is materially relevant.

    It’s clear you seek a religious war for religious reasons. Although you do not state it explicitly, for you this is fundamentalist Christians versus all Muslims in a world wide war.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Andy
    I am saddened to read your last comment.
    For, I simply pointed to the series as a popular level presentation on the dangers that a UN could pose to the world, given its tendency to Byzantine intrigues and corruption.
    You will note that I specifically did not endorse the theological element as relevant to the issues in the blog. And, frankly, I have big doubts on how the text of the Bible is used therein.
    But it does lay out a scenario for a mutated, metastasised even- more- corrupt- than- at- present- UN evolving into a global Neronian-style dictatorship. THAT is the restricted context in which I adverted to the Lindsay books.
    The underlying context is that the UN is not a credible alternative tot he USA as a global oceanic power that has it in its interests to promote global commerce and generally lawful conditions that are the necessary foundation for such commerce and its resulting prosperity.
    That is, I agree with the concept that Oceanic [Naval and commercial] Powers are a more positive influence on geopolitics than Continental [army -based and often prone to ideologically motivated conquest, often due to want of easily defined, defensible frontiers] ones. The capital case in point is — for all its flaws and crimes — the British Empire. Thus, my highlighting the significance of the Royal Navy’s global domination from 1805 – 1939 as a foundation for a lot of good that was done, and thence the point that since about June 1942, at Midway, the torch passed to the US Navy and its Carrier and amphibious forces.
    The UN’s sad history in so-called peacekeeping missions, is a telling case in sharpest contrast tot he era from 1805 to now. So is the oil for food scandal. And much more.
    As to the sad putting of words in my mouth in:

    you seek a religious war for religious reasons. Although you do not state it explicitly, for you this is fundamentalist Christians versus all Muslims in a world wide war . . . .

    I respond, in points:

    1] I first recognise that we live in the time of a global geostrategic contest since 1979, with militant islamism being — again [cf. the history of the past 1400 years for why it is “again”] — the destabilising element.
    2] In this view, I am for instance most recently joined by one certain Heinz Kissinger, who now warns of a Samuel Huntington-type scenario:

    “A common Atlantic policy backed by moderate Arab states must become a top priority, no matter how pessimistic previous experience with such projects leaves one,” Kissinger wrote [in a Wa Po article].
    “The debate sparked by the Iraq war over American rashness vs. European escapism is dwarfed by what the world now faces.
    “Both sides of the Atlantic should put their best minds together on how to deal with the common danger of a wider war merging into a war of civilizations against the background of a nuclear-armed Middle East.”
    Kissinger wrote that the big threat lay in the erosion of nation states and the emergence of transnational groups. [I add: that is, of the concept of the Muslim Umma forming dar ul Islam against dar ul Harb [everybody else], and thus returning to the long run conditions of the 1,000 year war of Islamist expansionism, which was only checked when the Europeans grew to global power, and that, after a long fight]
    Iran was at the centre of the challenge, he said, with its support for Hezbollah, radical Shiite groups in Iraq and its nuclear program . . . . “Hezbollah’s [My NB: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Foreign Legion in its S Leb de facto colony] next move is likely to be an attempt to dominate the Beirut government by intimidation and, using the prestige gained in the war, manipulating democratic procedures,” he said.
    He concluded by noting that observers wondered whether, after the Cold War, trans-Atlantic ties could survive the loss of a common enemy.
    “We now know that we face the imperative of building a new world order or potential global catastrophe. It cannot be done alone by either side of the Atlantic. Is that realization sufficient to regenerate a common purpose?”

    3] Note in particular the point HK makes that moderate Arab states wil be a key plank in restraining the rising tide of Islamism, i.e. precisely to address the issue of umma-oriented, aggressive globalist agenda radical Islamism coming to terms with the modern world and giving up global ambitions such as I have already noted on yesterday and previously.
    4] Further, recall, the major long term frontlines in the geostrategic contest have been the ME-S Europe at one end, and India at the other, with Africa and Thailand- Indonesia – Philippines coming into play in recent centuries and years, with China being envisioned by the Islamists [w China has a considerable Muslim population].
    6] In short, plainly the issue is precisely a renewal of the global expansionism of the 630s to the 730s on [which went indiscriminately East and West, over-running Zoroastrian Persia first of all], NOT Islam vs Christianity — and that, I have explicitly and repeatedly pointed out. That is, you have put simplistic and distorted words in my mouth that simply do not belong there. [That my en passant reference to a series of books in the context of illustrating by a scenario — with explicit distancing from the distinctive theology involved — if a WESTERN, Neo-Pagan, globalist subjugation under a corrupt mutated form of the UN was turned into an assertion of a war of religions between Christianity and Islam is itself a measure of the underlying ill-founded apperceptions and prejudices at work, sadly. BTW, FYI, in the books the relationship between Christian and Muslim characters is generally quite positive, in the face of the common threat posed by a neopagan WESTERN global takeover. I of course read the series precisely to see what a popular level widely read series of books on the end times was saying. You will note that my projections above of the global situation over the next half century reveal that my long term bet is currently on CHINA, which is already returning to its historical position of being the leading manufacturing power in the world, until the European Industrial Revolution. It will also take over the technology lead to go with that. I also took note of a material trend in China, to the Christian faith, and laid out historical and current antecedents on what such a trend may likely portend. While it is possible for radical Islam to make a big mess, and/or for the UN to mutate and metastasise into a global, Neronian-style dictatorship, I think it is most likely that, on trends, long term CHINA WINS. SO, the best policy focus is to restrain the Islamists, control the UN, and promoite democratisation in China. On the record of the history with Japan, xenophobic protectionism against China will be a very bad alternative. Of course, I am also very aware that trends exist to be broken by yet newer ones.]
    7] Further to this, that is also why the best outcome lies in a reformation of Islam from within, but it is plain from history and from the force of the documents and examples set in the founding era of Islam, that such a reformation can only succeed if there is global pressure that prevents the formation of an Islamist superstate as is envisioned in the Islamic World Mission research Dept map and summary plans I have linked and cited, in the further context of the Muslim Brotherhood 100 year global subjugation project.
    8] The best counter to that is the demonstration of a successful transition to a modern democratic state that has reasonable degree of liberty and equality of its citizens, in preferably several keystone Islamic states; and in which freedom of conscience is firmly established. For, MOST Muslims are not radicalised [just as most Germans were not Nazis, and most Russians were not Communists]. Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Iran, as well as Turkey are good candidates.

    No, Andy, I am NOT advocating a war of religions, but I am recognising that over the past 1400 years the second consciously global movement has had a militant wing, which we now often call Islamism. And that wing has dominated its history, finding deep roots in founding documents and examples. In our time, it is again resurgent, and that targets the whole world, not just the Christian world. At the same time, the UN is not a credible alternative framework for developing the world as a whole, given its history and the dominant forces in its organisations.
    So, my summary of current geostrategic challenges, from my perspective, is:
    a] Contain the Islamist threat through exposing and confronting the militants, while encouraging democratisation and reform from within. [The latter, historically, happens when Islam is not in a position to be geostrategically dominant or a major contender. Unfortunately, it also means that such movements appear to radicals as an alien imposition on the “pure” faith. That means that the law written on men’s hearts of Rom 1 – 2 will have to be the ultimate arbiter of just what is truly pure or not. In particular, institutions such as dhimmitude, subjugation of women and the apostasy law that condemns adult converts from Islam to death as traitors to the umma, will have to be particular points of challenge.]
    b] Recognise the role of oceanic powers as a global force for good [and restrain their tendency to fall into bad ways too]. That implies a recognition that practically speaking US interests in general are those of preserving a positive global situation, but that it will make mistakes and act selfishly on specific occasion.
    c] Assess and respond to the trends in the north that lead down the road that historically [and for related theological reasons] undermines liberty: that away from the Word of God, and towards trasnational concentrations of power [i.e the tower of Babel effect — a metastiasised UN being a possible further renewal of that agenda].
    d] Work with the Southern Reformation, bringing to bear the good that comes out of the Northern one of 500 years ago.
    e] be generally friendly to China, encouraging democratising and reform trends, including the rapid growth of the Christian church.
    +++++++++++++
    I think that is clear enough.
    Grace, open our eyes
    Gordon

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    Did a search. Here is the Kissinger Column, which is well worth the reading.
    Key excerpts additional tot hose in SFPs report:

    Hezbollah is, in fact, a metastasization of the al-Qaida pattern. It acts as an overt state within a state. It commands an army much stronger and far better equipped than Lebanon’s on Lebanese soil, in defiance of two UN resolutions. Financed and trained by Iran, it fights wars with organized units against a major adversary. As a Shia party, it has ministers in the government of Lebanon who do not consider themselves bound by its decisions. A non-state entity on the soil of a state with all the attributes of a state and backed by the major regional power is a new phenomenon in international relations . . . .
    We are witnessing a carefully conceived assault, not isolated terrorist attacks, on the international system of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. The creation of organizations like Hezbollah and al-Qaida symbolizes that transnational loyalties are replacing national ones. The driving force behind this challenge is the jihadist conviction that it is the existing order that is illegitimate, not the Hezbollah and jihad method of fighting it. For the jihad’s adherents, the battlefield cannot be defined by frontiers based on principles of world order they reject; what we call terror is, to the jihadists, an act of war to undermine illegitimate regimes.
    A ceasefire does not end this war; it inaugurates a new phase in it. This twin assault on the global order, by the combination of radical states with transnational non-state groups sometimes organized as militias, is a particular challenge in the Middle East, where frontiers denote few national traditions and are not yet a century old. But it could spread to wherever militant, radical Islamic groups exist. Leaders therefore are torn between following the principles of the existing international order on which their economy may depend, or yielding (if not joining) the transnational movement on which their political survival may depend . . . .
    Much of the discussion over observance of the ceasefire applies traditional verities to an unprecedented situation. One of the principals in the war is not a party to the ceasefire and has refused either to disarm or to release the two Israeli prisoners it kidnapped, as called for in the UN resolution. The countries needed to enforce the agreement have been ambivalent because of the importance they attach to relations with Iran, their fear of terrorist attacks on their own territory, and, to a lesser extent, their interest in improving relations with Syria . . . .
    Hezbollah’s likely next move will be an attempt to dominate the Beirut government by intimidation and using the prestige gained in the war, manipulating democratic procedures. In such a situation, Iran and Syria will be in a stronger position to shape the rules of the ceasefire than the UN forces, which – as experience shows – are likely to be withdrawn when terrorist attacks inflict casualties. The challenge for American policy and all concerned with world order is to recognize that the ceasefire requires purposeful management. A principal objective must be to prevent the rearmament of Hezbollah or its domination of the Lebanese political process. Otherwise, the UN force will provide a shield for creating the conditions for another even more dangerous explosion . . . [read it all!]

    Okay
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    A measure of the lack of seriousness, credibility and legitimacy of the UN and its agencies, commissions etc, as well as other linked international bodies [here the so-called “non-Aligned” Movement, aptly meeting in Cuba] is to be found in a couple of recent clips from current news and commentary [nowadays, too often pretty much the same thing, given the degree of advocacy journalism and outright propaganda in the guise of news]:
    1] IAEA: U.S. report on Iran ‘dishonest’
    Here, observe the exchange between the IAES — a UN Agency — and the US Congress, over a report filed by the latter:

    VIENNA, Austria – A recent House of Representatives committee report on
    Iran’s nuclear capability is “outrageous and dishonest” in trying to make a case that Tehran’s program is geared toward making weapons, a senior official of the U.N. nuclear watchdog has said . . . . International Atomic Energy Agency, says the report is false in saying Iran is making weapons-grade uranium at an experimental enrichment site, when it has in fact produced material only in small quantities that is far below the level that can be used in nuclear arms.
    The letter, which was first reported on by The Washington Post, also says the report erroneously says that IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei removed a senior nuclear inspector from the team investigating Iran’s nuclear program “for concluding that the purpose of Iran’s nuclear program is to construct weapons.”
    In fact, the inspector was sidelined on Tehran’s request, and the Islamic republic had a right to ask for a replacement under agreements that govern all states relationships with the agency, said the letter, calling the report’s version “incorrect and misleading.”
    “In addition,” says the letter, “the report contains an outrageous and dishonest suggestion that such removal might have been for ‘not having adhered to an unstated IAEA policy barring IAEA officials from telling the whole truth about the Iranian nuclear program.'” . . . . An IAEA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the letter, said it was written “to set the record straight.” . . . .
    Jamal Ware, a spokesman for the House committee, confirmed they had received the letter and said the chairman had referred it to Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Rep. Rush Hold, D-N.J. They will review it and issue a formal response if necessary, he said.
    “All IAEA complains about is a photo caption. If you read the report, it’s very clear that what it is saying is that Iran is working to develop the capability to enrich uranium to weapons grade, not that they have done so,” Ware said. “They use a string of adjectives, while not pointing to any substantive criticism of the report. There are areas where we would disagree with them. A disagreement does not make what we say erroneous.”

    –> Observers will immediately see that relative to the removed inspector in question, the IAEA is [relative to the information in the article] evidently non-responsive on the material point. We should ask: WHY did Iran ask for the inspector’s removal, and why was it granted?
    –> On the more central issue, it seems that a dispute over a caption overshadows a dispute over a substantive point. And, that in a context where the Iranian pattern of behaviour has been quite suspicious and hostile to another UN member state it has in effect declared an intent to destroy.
    2] Nonaligned want terrorism redefined
    Now, a few years ago, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference [the global association of Islamic states and those where muslims have enough influence to induce their countries to join, including Guyana and Suriname, the former of which has about 10% muslims, the latter slightly more, both being similar to for instance Uganda i this regard] was unable to define “terrorism” as an objective definition would have implicated their favourite “liberation” movements.
    Now, the Non-Aligned movement, which considerably overlaps, a few years later, is offering to redefine terrorism (at a meeting held in a major terrorism sponsoring state and notoriously oppressive dictatorship):

    members of the Nonaligned Movement complain of a double standard: powerful nations like the United States and Israel decide for the world who the terrorists are, but face no punishment for their own acts of aggression.
    A draft of the group’s joint declaration condemns “terrorism in all its forms,” especially violence that targets civilians.
    Terrorism should not be associated with any religion or nationality, says the draft. It singles out a favored phrase of President Bush in declaring that member countries “totally reject the use of the term ‘axis of evil’ by a certain state to target other states under the pretext of combating terrorism.”
    A Cuban official said sarcastically on Tuesday that the U.S. could one day accuse the entire Nonaligned Movement of supporting terrorism.
    “Reading some news reports … I’m left to believe that the axis of evil is growing,” said Abelardo Moreno, Cuba’s vice foreign minister. “Soon, the (axis of evil) will be made up of 118 countries.”

    –> Here, of course, the immediate context is the recent Lebanon campaign where there WAS a party that did target civilians and use same as human shields: Hezbollah — which seems to be nowhere mentioned as a target of the redefinition.
    –> Second, “acts of aggression” in international diplomat speak directly entails UNPROVOKED attacks. In the context of Israel and the US’s engagement int he ME at present, this is of course exactly what does not obtain, so this is blatantly slanderous.
    –> Third, as Mr Bush and others have taken pains to point out, while not all terrorists are muslime, and while plainly most muslims are not terrorists, it is plain that Islamism has resorted to terrorism as a major tactic, so that globally, Islamists — as opposed to Muslims per se

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Gordon:
    So, what do the detractors do, if they cannot argue on the merits? Easy: argue to side issues
    Umm, I’d be careful about bringing up this tactic, if I were you. After all, it is you who won’t let go of the largely irrelevant comment I made about Hitler, and you who keeps bringing it up again. And it was you who, before addressing the merits of anything we wrote on a day that happened to be September 11th, brought up the fact that it was September 11th, and complained about the inappropriateness of our remarks on that date. So who, exactly, is interested in pursuing “side issues?”
    Couple that with your complaints about selective readings of Christian texts while you selectively read Islamic texts, and your merits here are crystal clear.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    I am saddened but — givent he copious track record above and in earlier threads — not amazed to see the last remark just above. Let us pray for this man.
    I will again correct:
    Here, again is the context in which the side-issue/ distractor and outrageous bigotry by Mr Girsch made its appearance. That appearance was precisely an attempt to imply that the NT motivates violence and even genocide, ans so is parallel to the Quran in places such as 9:5 and 29 – 31, which AS THE FOUNDATIONAL HISTORY OF ISLAM PLAINLY INDICATES, right down to today, serves as a major plank in the religious platform that motivates the islamist drive to subjugate the world, adsn is a major challenge to would-be Muslim reformers, for it means that the

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: Onlookers may find this symposium’s remarks on Shiite Islamic eschatology and its links to Mr Ahmadinejad’s Islamism useful.

  • Chris Lutz

    The truth is that there is every reason to believe that a terrifying number of the world’s Muslims now view all political and moral questions in terms of their affiliation with Islam. This leads them to rally to the cause of other Muslims no matter how sociopathic their behavior. This benighted religious solidarity may be the greatest problem facing civilization and yet it is regularly misconstrued, ignored or obfuscated by liberals.
    A liberal who would refute most of what RR, TG, and AndyS have been saying. Read it here.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Chris, your link (around “here.” at the end of your comment) is broken. I’d be interested to read it.

  • Chris Lutz

    AndyS,
    Here is the link. The author, I believe, holds that seriously held religion in general is a problem. Hence several of his comments. However, he does realize that this isn’t an economic/repression/humiliation issue. He also realizes, as I pointed out somewhere in this long thread, that by liberals not facing up to the situation, they will be forced into irrelevance by those willing to do something about the situation. I completely disagree with his view of religion in general, but he makes some good points in other areas.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-harris18sep18,0,1897169.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    GM:
    That appearance was precisely an attempt to imply that the NT motivates violence and even genocide
    This wasn’t true the first time you made the accusation, and it doesn’t get any more true with repetition. That you continue to repeat it only shows your level of investment in that particular straw man. To make such an assumption is to assume, among other things, that only the teachings of the New Testament are relevant to Christians; but if this were the case, the Old Testament would no longer be included, Christians wouldn’t incessantly pine for the posting of the Ten Commandments everywhere, etc.
    Chris:
    Not sure if you got a chance to read the expert on Islamic history that I cited above, but you should. Interestingly, he’s the opposite of what you’ve cited from the LA Times: A hawkish conservative (with whom I disagree about a great deal) who supports what I’ve been arguing.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    I think that the thread has made its point, and, sadly, that comes across most strongly in the stubborn refusal to take back and apologise for outrageous words that are utterly unwarranted, on the part of especially Mr Girsch.
    [Note to Mr Girsch: we

  • Chris Lutz

    Tgirsch, I can’t find the link you are talking about. If you post it again though, I give it a read.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    This from an Omani official web site, regarding how Islam spread onward across Arabia from Mecca after its conquest by Mohammed, including to Oman:

    After God empowered Muslims to enter [NB: softens what happened: questionable repudiation of a treaty and conquest followed by slaughter of selected opponents of Mohammed] Mecca, Islam became the prevailing power and was spread by use of fear. This was particularly evident in the tribe of Quraysh [i.e. the Meccans], who had responded to the Prophet Muhammad

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: A relevant Hadith:

    Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220:
    Narrated Abu Huraira:
    Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.” Abu Huraira added: Allah’s Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them).

    The Hadiths are traditions of the sayings and pracices of the propet of Islam, and are the second Mudlim holy literature.
    HT: Comment no 5 in the thread for the above.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    PPS: Pardon the third posted coment, but this le Figaro article by French philosopher Robert Redeker, in translation, is well worth the read, whether or not you agree with all it avers [BTW it has led to a Tunisia ban].
    Key excerpts:

    As in the past with Communism, the West finds itself under ideological scrutiny. Islam presents itself, in the image of defunct Communism, as an alternative to the western world. In the manner of Communism before it, Islam, to conquer spirits, plays on a sensitive nerve. It prides itself on a legitimacy which troubles the western conscience, attentive to others: to be the voice of the oppressed of the planet. Yesterday, the voice of the poor pretended to come from Moscow, today it comes from Mecca! Today again, intellectuals embody the outlook of the Koran, as they embodied the outlook of Moscow yesterday. They excommunicate people for Islamophobia, as yesterday they did for anti-communism.
    In the opening up to others, specific to the West, a secularization of Christianity appears, whose bottom line is summarized as follows: the other person must always pass in front of me. The Westerner, the heir to Christianity, is to be the one to make his soul exposed. He runs the risk of passing himself off as weak. With the same ardor as Communism, Islam treats generosity, broadmindedness, tolerance, gentleness, freedom of women and of manners, democratic values, as signs of decadence.
    These are the weaknesses that it seeks to exploit, by means of “useful idiots”, those of good consciences imbued with fine sentiments, in order to impose the Koranic order on the Western world itself . . . .
    the Catholic church is not above reproach. Its history is strewn with dark pages, for which it has made repentance. The Inquisition, the hounding of witches, the execution of the philosophers Bruno and Vanini, those wrong-thinking Epicureans, even well into the 18th century the (execution of the) knight of La Barre for impiety, do not plead in the church’s favor. But what differentiates Christianity from Islam is apparent: it is always possible to bring forth the evangelical values, the mild personage of Jesus against the diversions of the Church.
    None of the faults of the Church have their roots in the Gospel. Jesus is non-violent. Turning back to Jesus is turning against the excesses of the ecclesiastic institution. Turning to Mahomet, by contradiction, reinforces hate and violence. Jesus is a master of love . . .

    Well worth thinking on, as we consider where this thread has gone over the past month or so.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    I see Joe has been busy clipping out the spammers. Kudos to him — maybe he will need to implement one of those read the picture-of-distorted words then post features?
    But also, I think that even though the attempt to implicate the OT as a source of motivation to violence in the Christian faith that is exegetically warranted by that faith has already been answered, it may be worthwhile to summarise a few of the points already made [NB: it is now plain and implicitly conceded by Mr Girsch et al that the NT — which is what Hitler wrenched out of context, plainly does NOT justify illegitimate use of force by anyone] for the sake of onlookers present and future. But of course, to understand the context of Mt Girsch’s remarks and why I have taken such strong objection tot hem, please look above:

    0] Before anything else, we need to see what Jesus has to say on the moral core of the law as presented by Moses, in (1) Matt. 7:12, (2) Matt 22:37 – 40, and (a) Deuteronomy 6:1 – 18 and (b) Leviticus 19:15 – 18. Onlookers may find the applicatins of same to the issue of sustainable development here {which I use in my professional work] a useful sidelight:

    (1) . . . in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
    (2) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
    (a) These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe . . . Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey . . . . Hear, O Israel, the LORD your God is one [Heb., echad: complex, rather than simple, unity. (This verse is the Shema, the great prayer/creed of Judaism.)]. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them . . . . When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers . . . then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery . . . Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you . . .
    (b) Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly. Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbour frankly so you will not share in his guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.

    1] There is a precise and well-defined relationship between the OT and the NT in Christian thought ever since C1, which Mr Girsch should be very familiar with, given his claims above to be familiar with biblical teachings — as this is a major such teaching:

    COL 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
    COL 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
    COL 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

    2] In short, the law finds its fulfillment in Christ, and in that context the moral strictures are relevant to our objective guilt before God, but the ceremonial code [and associated civil law intended to keep Israel pure from contamination by pagan ways] are no longer relevant — instead we are sent to the world in all antions but not of the world, in the power of the Spirit to witness to the power of the gospel, and to its capacity to reform and bless and transform. Cf today’s blog post on just that topic.
    3] Elsewhere, as noted repeatedly, Paul points out that “the law” in the relevant, moral sense is UNIVERSAL [and that is the context in which OT proscriptions are material to current behaviour challenges and fashionable sins in the West]:

    Rom 2:14 . . . when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law . . . they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them . . . . RO 13:8 . . . he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

    4] In fact, as pointed out under 0 above the principle of neighbour-love as a summary of the core of the law is not new to Jesus within Judaism, and we can cite Moshe (whom Jesus was consciously citing or alluding to):

    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. [Matt 22:37 – 40]
    Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly. Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbour frankly so you will not share in his guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD. [Leviticus 19:15 – 18]

    5] As I cited from the le Figaro article just yesterday morning [and as pointed out over the past month], nowhere do you ever find in the NT a mandate to spread the faith globally by force of arms, unlike what plainly comes out of the foundational praxis and teaching of the Islamic faith. That is why going back to the sources led to reformation and liberation struggles

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Chris,

    The author, I believe, holds that seriously held religion in general is a problem. Hence several of his comments. However, he does realize that this isn’t an economic/repression/humiliation issue. He also realizes, as I pointed out somewhere in this long thread, that by liberals not facing up to the situation, they will be forced into irrelevance by those willing to do something about the situation.

    The Sam Harris column you reference is indeed typical of Harris’ view that religion is the problem. And if you read more of him you’ll find he sees Christianity as a problem too. Harris is probably the most clearly anti-religious atheist on the planet.

    My point is that by demonizing large groups be they Islamic, Christian, atheist, or whatever, we miss the point and make a bad situation worse. There are billions of Muslims and Christians with thousands of leaders and hundreds of sects. They are not all bad. Not even most of them.

    What some leaders have discovered is that its “motivational” to declare some other group the enemy and stir up feelings of rage and hate. Limbaugh and Coulter are experts. Many mullahs are too. So are many Christian leaders: Roberson, Dobson, Falwell, …. That brings in money and power. These are the people we must fight — the hatemongers of all stripes.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Andy:
    I see your:

    My point is that by demonizing large groups be they Islamic, Christian, atheist, or whatever, we miss the point and make a bad situation worse. There are billions of Muslims and Christians with thousands of leaders and hundreds of sects. They are not all bad. Not even most of them.

    Several points are of importance:

    1] What “we” have been saying: I do not think it is at all the case that anyone in the comments thread advocates that all Muslims or all Christians or all atheists are ipso facto “bad” people. [E.g. I do think CL’s issues on stopping Muslim immigration and encouraging Muslims to leave, is more int he context of Mao’s fish and oceans than that they are all fish.]
    2] The key, sad contrast: Howbeit, the major issue that has been raised, is that unfortunately, in Islam’s FOUNDATIONAL teachings and examples, there is a call to global conquest and subjugation in the name of Allah, and the fact has been amply –sadly — well substantiated. This is by contrast with other majr religions, and poses a major conundrum for would-be reformers of Islam from within.
    3] Learning from History: In that light, we need to consult the relevant history and see that it is when Islamist expansionism and its associated ideological rhetoric and militancy has been externally contained, that more irenic interpretations and approaches have been seen. Again, this starts with Mohammed himself: the contrast between the roughly 10 years in Mecca then the next ten years in Medina. Indeed, it is no accident that is is largely in the West and among westernised Muslims [who are relatively small in number] that the moderate interpretations you speak to are to be found.
    4] Islamic hermeneutics: I note here, too that Islam is held to be based on direct, in effect dictated revelations that are eternal — hence, “handed down” and “recited” — Quran itself means recitation. That is there is highly limited wiggle room, and the major principle that applies, abrogation of older texts by later ones, unfortunately fits in the move Mecca –> Medina, peaceful preaching — > Active military campaigning. Indeed, Surah 9 is the last or second to last, and in particular aya 5 — as cited above — is a major abrogating text in standard Islamic thought. As can be seen form the major histori institution of dhimmitude and the associated subjugation of Christians, Jews and other adherents of major inscripturated religions, so is aya 29. This needs to be faced, not dodged.
    5] Current situation: In that context, we must firmly respond tot he islamist expansionism that has been resurgent since 1979, and we must confront the issues that speak to the moral law written on all human hearts, so that more moderate interpretations — which IMHCO, face an uphill struggle in the face of the plain statements, examples and history in question — will have enough backup that there will be a chance at reformation from within.
    6] The contrast with Christianity’s major reformation: By contrast,the challenge in the institutional Christian church and associated christianised civilisation 500 years ago was to confront immoral, ignorant or disobedient praxis with the foundational sources and examples. Through the printing press and the deeply associated Protestant Reformation, this began, and the process led to a half millennium so far of liberation struggles in light of the challenge in the NT especially, but also the OT.

    Now, the above cluster of points is not exactly a novelty on our part in theis thread — in short, we get the impression that there is a seriousnot-listening problem here. When we see the sort of irresponsible [im]moral equivalency claims and general abuse through the tactic of the smear-word “fundamentalist” we have reason to protest and call for apology, not mere passing on in silence.
    Nor, do I find it accurate — on long observation adn close reading of many things he has said over many years now — to characterise say Mr Dobson, as a hatemonger. That is, I think that the circle of well-poisoning might be a bit wider than you think, and takes in a lot of secularists and many in the mainstream media and among major opinion leaders of that ilk. It also takes in the sort of irresponsible rhetoric we saw above that tried to plaster the Christian faith with responsibility for Hitler’s abuses and evil. [I find it highly interesting that not only in this thread but elsewhere when I did some follow up searching, I found scant reference to the Barmen declaration and confessors/martyrs of 1934, or to the White Rose Movement, or to much beyond that. Remember the former included the key members of the leading theologians of Germany in that time, e.g. Karl Barth. Nor was there an adequate examination of the difference between misuse of names, texts and claims as Hitler amply exemplified, and proper use.]
    I think that fair comment and opposition to agendas that are destructive, misleading or deceptive, joined to a psotitive promotion of what is plainly wholesome — which is what I have found in the works of Mr Dobson taken as a whole over the years — is not the same as hate mongtering at all. Messrs Falwell and Robertson I do not know to anything like that extent, but i think they have had moments wherethey have plainly gone overboard, but have also had very importsant and proper things to say that were twisted by the media and their opponents into gross and demonising caricatures. Ms Coulter, as you know, I personally rebuked on her inappropriate reference to the ladies of New Jersey. I have read her book now and find that she is far too tart tongued [she needs to reread the Sermon on the Mount and the Proverbs, etc!], but that she has some very serious points, which were conveniently lost in the shouting over the page in which she said some things that were very over the top..
    I find that this “gotcha” rhetoric has again plainly just happened with the pope’s Regensburg address, as well, and a similar issue is at least potentially in view on the case of the recent questionable execution of three Christian men in Indonesia. [I of course am not at all happy to see the wave of violent and lawless protests that followedthe executions, though I again note that a similar displeasure is relevant to say many of the slave uprisings in Jamaica: I object to the wrongful behaviour in protest by some slaves, but recognise the importance oft the point they were trying to make, and that we must recognise that oppression and suppression of justice and potetniallyexculpating or liberating truth is a major provocation. Thus, we have to take a balanced view, not play the sick rhetoric of “gotcha!”]
    +++++++++++
    Grace, open our eyes
    Gordon

  • Gordon Mullings

    Andy, CL and others:
    Please look at my reflections on the questionable thursday executions in Indonesia, as a context for understanding where I am coming from, as a descendant of slaves and a relative of a man unjustly hanged under British Martial law essentially for speaking up for the oppressed in my homeland.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    AS, on the claim that this thread was not any longer open for posting [????], crossthreaded a continuation at the Theocracy canard thread, Sept 23 8:18 pm, to which I replied there. Here is his claim at the head of the comment:

    I wrote it in response to Gordon on another thread which does not now allow comments. It would be a nice enhancement if the comment text area would be disabled when you turn off comments on a post.

    Perhaps Joe can clarify. [I note too that the POINT of comments is that they allow a broader collegial — thus peer revieweed or at least reader reviewed quality control so the request to turn off access to viewing comments when a thread ends is counter-productive. It may also reflect that the balance of the coments onthe merits is not as this commenter wuld desire!]
    I now add that response and an addendum I made this morning here, so the thread here can pick up:
    ++++++++++
    All:
    First, thanks to E& L for being fair minded on my behalf.
    I think the record speaks for itself, sadly, and not as RR, TG et al imagine. I don’t have the time or inclination to get into a point by point rebuttal but I think the facts are accessible in many a thread over the past little while. The most notorious case in point is the still open thread here, in which TG asserted and refused to apologise for [when it was refuted] that Hitler’s atrocities are an example of “Christian-inspired violence and genocide.” RR then set out to back up the claim, and in so doing in effect argued that his use of Christian terms and texts is sufficient to make that case — never mind, I suppose, the concept that one can wrench out of context and distort text, or that one can misuse the name of God. [Cf my response esp to Hitler’s 1922 speech, also the 1934 Barmen declaration by leading Christians of Germany, and the White Rose movement and martyrs.]
    Now, I also see Andy cross-threading, as he attempts to rebut my point that:

    the major issue that has been raised, is that unfortunately, in Islam’s FOUNDATIONAL teachings and examples, there is a call to global conquest and subjugation in the name of Allah, and the fact has been amply