Jesus Christ, we get it

Protests are still going on in Pakistan over the Muhammad cartoons. And, somehow, "Death to America" is a rallying cry.

The response was pretty unbelievable when the story first broke, but I'm really amazed that thousands of people could still be worked up enough about the whole thing to protest now.

Share this

its pretty simple to me.

its pretty simple to me. lots of unemployed people and someone willing to pay them a minimal amount to go yell in the town square for an hour. the protesters get an honest day's wage and the anti-West propaganda artists get global news coverage for a mere few thousand dollars. sounds like solid capitalism to me.

I think this debate gets

I think this debate gets confused by the fact that there are two major issues going here:
a. should a newspaper have a right to publish an inflammatory racist cartoon?
AND
b. should a newspaper do such a thing?

The answer to A is absolutely unequivically Yes. Anyone who says otherwise is right alongside the stalinists on the former-left, and the stalinists on the current right (who, for instance, call for the imprionment of an idiot holocaust denier.)

The answer to B is what the debate should be about, though many people like to defend "A" as if it's the issue is because it's easier to defend. It's difference between "does someone have a right to deny the holocaust" and "should someone, given the situation in Israel and elsewhere, be so morally depraved as to deny the holocaust?" Now it gets trickier because in some cases (the Faurrison case) the holocaust denier wasn't neccesarily being decietful and playing for attention, but then the question remains- should someone publish it? Should a newspaper publish and uncritical excerpt?

Okay, so what's the relevent context in which to view the latter question. I'd say probably the social-political context in which the piece appears. Were someone to have published an account of Jewish crimes (in pre-1948 palestine let's say, and let's assume that the account is 100% accurate) in 1943 it would have been a monsterous intellectual crime- among the most serious that could be commited. Assuming the published Jewish crimes were true, why would publishing them be so monsterous? Because you'd simply be acting to justify and reinforce the incredibly dangerous anti-semitism that marked that era. Publishing something at a certain time means something. It would be less serious today, though still debatable. That's why, regardless of how "true" the cartoon was (insofar as such a thing could be true) it's irresponsible because it's primary effect is to justify and reinforce anti-islamic sentiment. Because such sentiment justifies and contributes to the likely murder of 100s of thousands of Arabs, publishing something so blatantly racist is irresponsible.

If someone attempts to imprison or kill the author of the piece or the editor of the newspaper, I will come to his aid. Otherwise, no.

well from my understanding

well from my understanding of WHY the cartoons were printed didn't have anything to do with the actual cartoon being true or not. The editor published the cartoon over concerns of self-censorship by the European press to address Islamic issues in the media.

of course through unintended consequences, the Dutch paper may have increased the likelihood of self-censorship by newspapers over the long run.

Spoonie Luv, the paper was

Spoonie Luv, the paper was Danish but not made of pastry.

Matt27, I agree with your general thrust. It should never have been a "freedom of the press" issue. As has been said here in NZ last week (in relation to the "Bleeding Virgin" episode of South Park), the question of publish or not is critical because once that new "standard" is established it is as difficult to close off as Pandora's Box.

In view of the fact that the original publication was September, and the wider EMSM didn't get hold of the idea until December I have the feeling that in truth it was a very slow news week...

Personally, I have to question first the motives of the original Editor. They may well have been in line with your contention that self-censorship was part of the rationale. I think it far more likely that there are connections between the paper and the third largest of Denmarks political parties. I dug this up once before, and essentially that party has strong anti-immigration policies. Adding anti-Islam to that mix will only benefit the party.

The parallel in NZ is the Toyota "bugger" ads (they are very clever BTW and well done) which gave "bugger" new standing as generic rather than expletive. The latest "version" has two bulls off to pick up a couple of heifers (in their Toyota ute, naturally) telling a ram "Get out of the way, sheepshagger!" which got a few more than a little upset. But there is the new standard...

Thx Prob. Good post to

Thx Prob. Good post to you.

Spoonie- suppose the Danish newspapers were upset over the press' "self-censorship" over the issue of jewish crimes during WW2. Self-censorship is a given in the press- you simply have to decide what to publish and what not to, as it's a function of finite space. When considering a pice like this, supposing it was al about "Freedom of the press" you should consider the likely effects of the piece once published. In WW2 such a pice could have undermined the incredibly brave efforts of Danish civilians to save countless Jewish lives, and so the "self-censorship" is probably morally appropriate. But when the US press "self-censored" their coverage of proportionally holocaust-level slaughter going on in East Timor, the opposite was true. Because the US could've stopped that massacre with a word (as we eventually did in 98) censoring was morally abominable. The relevent question is context and the likely effects of out actions.

The issue is best put in

The issue is best put in context if you rearrange the catch phrases a bit.

What if we lived in Germany before WWII? What if Walt Disney published a cartoon showing Hitler as a mad man wearing an exploding Swastika?

So now the Nazis all around the world start attacking all stores that sell Mickey Mouse comics and burn down all theaters that show Donald Duck Cartoons or Bambi.
Since Walt lives in the US, Brown Shirts attack all US embassies.

Suppose there is a debate on Catallarchy concerning whether you should make fun of Hitler. Well one thing we agree upon for sure is there is a right to make fun of Hitler. The question is, is it worth stirring up the Brown Shirts? How do you know? If they get violent on you, you know you have gone too far because their profound, deeply held beliefs have been offended. Self censorship is in order.

However, if you published the cartoons and they didn’t raise hell, then it would have been a good exercise of freedom of speech to publish them. So the Brown Shirts get to set your freedom of speech policies. This is a rather equivocal position for a bunch of freedom lovers. Only when exercising your rights has consequences, do we see how deeply we believe in them. We may be going too soft and this has consequences.

Back in the past people seemed to be made of sterner stuff. In fact everyone from Charlie Chaplain to Laurel and Hardy made fun of Hitler.

If we are to prevail against the Islamo-Nazis we must make clear that we will not respect or respond favorably to those who don’t tolerate our culture of freedom.

Yeah Dave, you're right.

Yeah Dave, you're right. Publishing Hitler satire had a real-world effect: that of arousing anti-fascist sentiment at a time when it was highly needed. Is anti-muslim sentiment needed? Are arabs to be equated with Hitler? While I think you're seriously wrong here, this is really what the debate boils down to. That's why protests of the newspaper are fundamentally correct- because Islamists aren't like Hitler. When you have your jackboot on someone's neck, it's always nice to convince yourself of their treachery so you can feel okay about it. There segments of Islam which are poisonous and need to be stopped, and we need to spereate out a few issues from that statement before things get tangled up as they did in your post:

a. First off, since you're pretty directly comparing islamists to Hitler and advocating a WW2 response to threat you have a burden of proof. Can you demonstrate that all Islamists are a serious threat? That they are a Hitler-level (and style) threat? And further, that the best response is intimidation and war?

b. What's the history? Near-constant western intervention in the region. The region's gotten more and more violent and explosive over time, which shows how dreadful the effects of western presence and occupation have been. Take a look at Iran for example- Iran under Mossadegh was a secular middle-class movement, but Britain and the US assasinated him and installed the shah. Under the Shah the only accepted dissent was through a mosque which virtually created Islamic fundamentalism in the country. Which leads us to...

c. Responsibility. If you train a wild dog to thirst for human blood, then the dog escapes, terrorizes the neighborhood and eats your baby daughter... What then? Kill the dog of course, but do you bear repsonsibility for trianing it to kill and letting it loose? Of course. Do you owe the people you've let it loose upon? Does it mean that when you're trying to kill it you should make fucking god-damn sure that you don't murder say, 100,000 innocent people while ostensibly trying to kill this dog? Should we make cartoons satirizing the beliefs of these people we've oppressed? You tell me Dave.

d. When responding to a threat, we should of course consider the likely consequences of our action. Terrorism is difficult to fight because it's defuse. We know what fuels the enemy though, and in the case of terrorism it's the sympathy of the general population in the region. The equivalent of army supplies and rations in this new war is public sympathy, becaue it's public sympathy that allows young boys to grow up idolizing Bin Laden, and keeping secret the locations of the bases, and feeding and arming the terrorists. So why fight a war in Iraq that only serves to further embitter the muslim world, drastically increase recruitment for Al Qeada (estimates put it at double, which makes sense if you think about it) and increase both the threat of terrorism and the actual terrorist attacks? Should we make fun of their religion, literally fueling the enemy and making the world less safe for you and me and our children?

I don't think a case can be made. We should be angry at the newspaper not just for being insensitive but for increasing the threat to our lives. But what of a people who've had their necks stepped on at every opportunity by powerful western countries, and have turned to islamic fundamentalism as a desperate reaction to oppression the way a wound festers when it's untreated but simply covered up? After us making that wound, after preventing it from being treated, should we sit around and make fun of how bad it looks?

Jesus Christ, indeed.

Matt,I make a valid

Matt,I make a valid comparison between Nazism and Islamism.
I do not buy the idea that Islam itself is a bad thing.
All religions can be used to empower destructive persons and movements.

It seems like these destructive ideologies get their motivation by generating a sense of righteous indignation, victimization and grievance. As you know, Germany adopted Nazism because of the social disruption following WWI and the ability of Hitler to provide a dream of restoration of ancient Volkish utopia, superior culture, and glorious future for the deserving Aryans but was prevented from doing so by corrupt enemies, especially the Jews. Once in power Nazis lead Germany and the world into disaster.
How is that different from the reasoning of the Islamists who want to restore the Muslim Cephalate and Koranic law by destroying the Jews and Infidels? How does this idea really improve the lives of the Arab and other Islamic people?

Letting them dictate what you or I utter in public is not a winning strategy. This kind of appeasement only emboldens people like this and encourages similar behavior in the future. That is the trouble with you lefties, you are too ready to blame all the problems of the world on the US. You think the world would be better if America was not powerful but was nicer.

I can’t say that the West has been without sin, but you ought to realize that if the shoe had been on the other foot, you wouldn’t like that either.

Individual freedom includes the right to say things that are wrong and stupid. Permissible responses include corrective replies, peaceful demonstrations, boycotts, or saying stupid things in reply. Claiming the right to kill anyone who insults you is a step back into medieval times. We should not dignify medievalism with silly self blame. Arabs should be told they need to grow up. Islamism will get them nowhere.

My two cents - the Islamists

My two cents - the Islamists currently violently protesting over being portrayed as violent would've been burning things and blowing things under some other pretense. The key to note is the cartoons are merely a pretense for Islamist violence (see the long delay between publication and protest, the 3 fake cartoons, the fact that this has continued for weeks, the fact that there are other depictions of Mohammed, how quickly it morphed into anti-Western violence, and see Paris/the last couple decades around the world for other pretenses).

I'm pretty sure that the ones burning down embassies, blowing things up, and killing people would've been doing that for some other claimed slight so I think we can absolve ourselves of stirring up the street in the moral calculus.

Engaging Matt27's Folk Marxism- "But what of a people who’ve had their necks stepped on at every opportunity by powerful western countries, and have turned to islamic fundamentalism as a desperate reaction to oppression the way a wound festers when it’s untreated but simply covered up?"

What was the educational background of the 9/11 hijackers? And from what family does Bin Laden hail? A mighty oppressed group I think. Using the same logic that oppression causes violence, where are the violent Poles? the violent Seminoles (other than on the football field)? the violent Koreans? the violent Hawaiians? the violent Lithuanians?

Maybe, just maybe the Islamists are using oppression as a pretense to advance some other cause like establishing a global caliphate. And exactly when did this current movement start? Hint - think about the founding of Saudi Arabia, and while we're thinking founding of Saudi Arabia, when was the last time a Western power occupied and "oppressed" Saudi Arabia?

I think all this violent of

I think all this violent of the cartoons wouldn't be happening if the West was overwhelming and conquering one Muslim country after another. Somehow, I don't think they'd be protesting this much if it was a newspaper in some poor African country that published those cartoons.

Bleh. I made a misspelling

Bleh. I made a misspelling above, I meant to say I don't think all this protests would be happening if the West wasn't conquering one muslim country after another while supporting corrupt governements in the other non-conquered muslim countries.

"Somehow, I don’t think

"Somehow, I don’t think they’d be protesting this much if it was a newspaper in some poor African country that published those cartoons."

GoNow are you aware of Nigeria?

Supporting my pretense theory, we can't forget the Miss World riots also in Nigeria. Hey, maybe there's some sort of process going on in Nigeria that's related to the one I alluded to above. Freedom House certainly thinks so.

Bleh. I made a misspelling

Bleh. I made a misspelling above, I meant to say I don’t think all this protests would be happening if the West wasn’t conquering one muslim country after another while supporting corrupt governements in the other non-conquered muslim countries.

It's the easiest thing in the world to deflect blame if you really want to. If a woman does something it's because women are oppressed. If the Chinese do something it's because of the history of foreign oppression in China. And so on. Whatever the group, it's had problems with other groups.

But people deflect blame selectively. They could deflect blame universally, but they pick what they want to deflect. Why? Because they favor certain groups and disfavor certain other groups. For example right now the left-wing enemies of individual freedom seem to have hitched their cart up to the Islamofascist horse, and so they're going to be busy deflecting blame from the evil acts of anyone who looks like he might be an Islamofascist. Case in point, leftists who had started blaming America for 9/11 virtually before the dust had settled.

If you don't really know what you're talking about, blame things on a generality, like "the West". That's a pretty big net. If some "Westerner" commits a crime some time you can say, "ah ha, told you so". And if you really want to cover your bases, you can blame the "West" for P and also for not-P, so no matter what the "West" does, the Western cartoonists and that Western filmmaker Theo Van Gogh and people like that had it coming to them. For example, if the West has friendly relations with a Middle Eastern government, then it can be blamed for supporting corrupt Middle Eastern governments, and if it has tense relations with a Middle Eastern government, then it can be blamed for being hostile and therefore deserving a hostile Muslim response. Before the US overthrew Hussein, certain European governments were friendly with Hussein, so there was no pause in the case of Iraq between one excuse to blame Westerners and another excuse to blame Westerners, and in fact both reasons existed: some Western countries were friendly with, some hostile to, Hussein's government, so "the West" could simultaneously be blamed both coming and going, blamed because "the West" was friendly with a corrupt government and blamed because "the West" was hostile the legitimate government of a Middle Eastern people.

Meanwhile, the suppression of free speech through intimidation by islamofascists continues. See for example (just the latest example):

We should fear Holland’s silence: Islamists are stifling debate in what was Europe’s freest country

should a newspaper have a

should a newspaper have a right to publish an inflammatory racist cartoon?

The topic is the Mohammed cartoons, which are offensive for religious reasons, not racial reasons. It's like Serrano's "Piss Christ", which was also offensive for religious, not racial reasons.

Jody- I'll write a more

Jody-
I'll write a more thorough response pretty soon, but I can take care of most of your rebuttal with a sentence: please read my posts in full.

My clear point is not about the hijackers or Osama Bin Laden (psychopaths don't need to be reasoned with) but about the fuel of public sympathy that allows them to become the political force they are. Please, let's quit muddling the argument by insinuating that all Muslim's are like Hitler and then backing off to saying that Osama Bin Laden's crazy.

Also, "folk marxism"? Why throw around insults? I mean, if my point is right then it's right and if it's wrong then it's wrong- who the hell cares if you think it bears resembelance to the thought of some largely-vacuous 19th century class-warrior? Marx has practically become a straw man for everyone to attack. He was smart enough to get some things right, but then he abandoned those things in pursuit of "scientific socialism."

Matt, I read through the

Matt,

I read through the initial post and subsequent comments rather quickly, so I apologize if I missed it... But could you specifically point out where someone suggested, or even casually implied, that "all Muslims are like Hitler"?

Constant: a. everyone

Constant:
a. everyone satirized in the cartoons appeared to be Arab. They were clearly not going after the sect of Muslim Thais in Koh Lanta.
b. I think the cartoon's author, and much of the intded audience, considers the race and religion as something close to one and the same. I don't see people talking about how we should handle all the non-arab panamanian muslims.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to deflect blame if you really want to. If a woman does something it’s because women are oppressed. If the Chinese do something it’s because of the history of foreign oppression in China. And so on. Whatever the group, it’s had problems with other groups.

I'm not trying to deflect blame here- in my analogy above I said "kill the dog." If you have logic enough to follow analogies (I only mention this because your argument about how bad it is to deflect blame is completely about deflecting blame from the west, an inconsistency which may suggest some argumentation problems) you'll see that my argument doesn't deflect blame at all. It seeks to

a. demand that parts of the western world (and I can be specific if you like) take responsibility for their hand in things

b. understand the root causes of the scourge of terrorism so that we can stop it. Most important, of course, are the root causes that we have control over, like our attitude toward Israel, our support of the Saudis, and our actions in Iraq.

Jody:
My two cents - the Islamists currently violently protesting over being portrayed as violent would’ve been burning things and blowing things under some other pretense.

You should provide evidence for this. If you don't think it's a legitimate grievance then you should argue that point, because this one is pure speculation. I think many muslims were genuinely offended by the portrayal of their religion and it simply reinforces their beliefs about the western world. The reinforcement of such beliefs is a direct threat to our survival which why should be upset about it too.

Matt

Why is Folk Marxism an

Why is Folk Marxism an insult? (for that matter, why are "liberal" or "neo-conservative" considered insults particularly when they're used in the correct context?)

More formally, Folk Marxism is a sociological schema based on the following two assumptions:

1) The world consists of two types of people, oppressors and oppressed.
2) If a bad action is commited by an oppressed group, the oppressed group is absolved of the wrongdoing by virtue of being the oppressed group and all blame associated with an bad outcome assigned to the opressors by virtue of being the oppressors.

This can be extended somewhat to a third assumption that the root cause of every bad actor (not in the Ben Affleck sense, in the sense of an entity that performs an action) is an oppressor.

It's called Folk Marxism because Marx initially divided the world into two classes - the bourgeois and the proletariat - who were significantly defined in terms of their oppression relationship. The Folk part comes in because the concept of oppression as the defining relationship has translated into common (i.e. folk) usage for all sorts of perceived oppressor/oppressed relationships beyond the economic relationship used by Marx.

As to my usage of the term, "Folk Marxism" appears to be an accurate two word summary of your argument (West = oppressors, Arabs = oppressed; Islamism isn't to blame, it's the West for the reason du jour). Beyond the current Islamist situation, Folk Marxism applies to much of the thought processes that center around the ubiquitous "Man", Walmart, the US, and so on.

Because I disagree with the logic of Folk Marxism and find it far too prevalent, I a) point it out when it occurs and b) argue against the implicit causality (oppression causes the bad outcome, as opposed to blaming the immediate actor). In this case, I provided counter examples of groups that have been arguably more oppressed by the West, yet are not engaging in the terroristic activities of the Islamists.

Expanding upon my anti-Folk Marxism as applied to Islamism argument, surely, if oppression is the root cause of the Islamists' activities and popular acclaim among the population, then similar or greater levels of oppression should result in similar to greater levels of violence (or popularity of similar groups within the populations of the oppressed groups). Yet, it does not.

Instead, culture appears to be the dominant factor in determining behavior with oppression merely used as a pretense for the violence. Remove this pretense and another will be found. For example note that there was no oppression in the cartoons or in the Miss World riots I linked to above. Rather a group of people interested in fomenting violence (in furtherence of sharia in both cases) seized upon whatever excuse was handy at the moment (or in the case of the cartoons, months prior) and ran with it.

Oppression is not the reason for the violence, it's a pretense.

As I believe the original post implied, you don't riot for weeks over a cartoon unless you're jonesing for a riot.

"If you don’t think it’s

"If you don’t think it’s a legitimate grievance then you should argue that point, because this one is pure speculation."

I have, but I'll repeat the points in one place as to why it's been ginned up.

1) The riots occured months after the fact. This indicates that it's not a heat of the moment offense sort of thing and instead is a carefully considered action. In other words, violence was sought.
2) (Not included previously so I'll provide a link) al Fager - an Egyption newspaper - had published the cartoons last October. This further indicates that the true reaction was less serious to non-existant.
3) The fact that fake cartoons were created. (You don't make up your own cartoons unless you're looking to foment violence.)
4) The fact that riots have continued for weeks. (See jonesing comment above)
5) The fact that riots are going on in Nigeria (definitely looks like a pretense to push sharia and intimidate Nigerian Christians - what did they do? Similar sort of feeling about Pakistan church burnings).
6) The fact that it fits into a continuing pattern of seeking out pretenses to push sharia/Wahabism (I previously cited Paris and Miss World which were, I think, exceptionally thinly veiled pretenses).

Matt, I agree with Constant

Matt,

I agree with Constant on most of the content of his replies to you. There was nothing racist about the cartoons. All the cartoons were depicting Mohammed. Do you expect him to be drawn as some other race than the one he is presumed to be. He was actually white skinned with red hair but I doubt many people know that.

As for your claims that the "Western intervention" I suggest you learn a little bit more about it. Muslim intervention in western countries predates any intervention going the other direction. After all Islam invaded Europe, getting as far as Poland and conquering Spain. The crusades only occured after about 400 years of Islamic intrusion. Muslims were raiding England for hundreds of years, well into the the 18th century for slaves. You know the Barbary Corsairs. They even attack american shipping for white slaves. We are talking millions of europeans captured and enslaved.

Your history of Iran is a bit off also. Prior to the assassination you speak of the British owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company had made large investments in developing the oil fields in Iran. That's British owned technology, wells, and mineral rights. Envious Iranian politicians wishing to steal this property were pushing for nationalization of this British owned wealth. A politician who was against nationalization was elected in 1950, General Haji-Ali Razmara. It was he who was assassinated first on March 7, 1951 by a member of militant fundamentalist group "Fadayan-e Islam". Only then was Mossadegh named prime minister. It was Mossadegh who then enforce the Oil Nationalization Act which expropriated the AIOC's assets. In other words they stole enormous quantities of wealth from the British, via an assasination and nationalization. No wonder the British had him assasinated!

Why do you assume this is all a one way street? Many Muslim countries are bribing officials of Western governments to extract goodies and gain influence. What about that "influence". Why can we declare ourselves to be opressed by them. Why should I for instance be paying my taxes to support Egypt, or the Palesteinians for that matter, not to meantion acting as mercenaries for Saudi Arabia?

Everything is open to interpretation. Where you see the middle east getting more violent because of western influence, I see Islam as an inherently intolerant politico-religious system that is naturally getting bolder as we show weakness. It started with them confiscating western assets throughout the region and has escalated ever since. Each time we have not responded it has emboldened them.

Someone questioned whether anyone had even claimed that Muslims were like Hitlers. Well no one had. I won't either since that is ridiculous. I will say however that Mohammed was like Hitler, the Koran reads like Mein Kampft, and that people who blindly follow Islam are like the many dupes in Hitler's Germany. I'm sure there were many a charming Nazi supporter in Germany during the war you could sit down with and have a spot of tea, or beer. Just because you support a vile racist ideology doesn't mean you are a raving lunatic who wants to fly a plane into a building personally. Heck, many Muslims are illiterate and therefore not very likely to have cracked the quran open to see the victious racist content therein. The natural tendency is not to want to do what the Quran demands, that is, slaughter and enslave non-muslims.

Every single muslim adherent is in part responsible for their own situation by the very fact that they have not questioned their belief system. You cannot abdicate your responsiblity to think for yourself and then claim your innocence when you follow a madman. Every non-muslim has a right to self defense against such nonsense.

I know about Marx, though I

I know about Marx, though I think our lesson was pretty decent. I think it's insult because I think it was inappropriate and unneccesary. Had you made the case you did in the last post I would have simply disagreed with you instead of taking offense, but by itself Marx is a four letter word.

Why is my position not folk marxist? Because I don't make my case on the basis of simple historical analysis- I make it on the basis of actual history. Oppression exists as I'm sure you agree, but it's a simple question of fact whether a group or person is oppressed. A woman can be oppressed, but her very womaness doesn't make her automatically oppressed. That's why I mentioned the history or Iran, I implicitely discussed the history of Afghanistan and I'd be happy to talk about the British in Iraq. Why are these histories so important? because they are explanatory, they demonstrate responsiblity, and they show cause and effect rather than good and evil.

You make a correct point about culture as a mitigating factor determining one's reaction to oppression. It's irrelevent because oppression is simply wrong in the first place and creates responsiblity on the part of the oppressor- reparations for instance. Calling it a pretense is evasive at best, monsterous at worst. Were the scattered rebellions against Stalin (or Lenin and Trotsky's revolution) simply rambunctious kids using Stalin's actions as a "pretense" for a rebellion they'd been pining for anyway? I'm sure Stalin would've liked to think so because it would have both absolved him of any responsiblity, and delegitimized any legitimate grievances the rebels may have had. Did have, in fact.

The probelm with the argument is that you can discount any form of protest or rebellion with it, and that's an escapist position.

1) The riots occured months after the fact. This indicates that it’s not a heat of the moment offense sort of thing and instead is a carefully considered action. In other words, violence was sought.

not at all. Information spreads slowly sometimes, and this was likely a function of a "tipping point."

2) (Not included previously so I’ll provide a link) al Fager - an Egyption newspaper - had published the cartoons last October. This further indicates that the true reaction was less serious to non-existant.

see above. It's also worth considering that there are any number of excuses they could have used that were more timely and just as relevent: Israel, Iraq, Saudi Arabia. The fact that this one became a rallying cry simply doesn't seem convenient- it seems inconvenient in fact. Is there some conspiracy to make all the demonstrators pretend they're mad about the cartoon? What exactly could you be suggesting?

3) The fact that fake cartoons were created. (You don’t make up your own cartoons unless you’re looking to foment violence.)

the "you" in this case is a diverse body of independent actors not subject to an individual consistent type analysis you're attempting to subject it to.

4) The fact that riots have continued for weeks. (See jonesing comment above)

oh come now- you're claiming that there's an objective standard for the length of time someone should be angry? Besides, I don't think that anyone's claiming that this isn't inspiring foment about other legitimate issues- a "straw that broke the camel's back" sort of thing.

6) The fact that it fits into a continuing pattern of seeking out pretenses to push sharia/Wahabism (I previously cited Paris and Miss World which were, I think, exceptionally thinly veiled pretenses).

This seems conspiratorial- who is your agent of action who inspries legions of people to pretend to protest about something as a secret attempt to push Wahhabism?

Jody, while I'm enjoying the discussion I would like to note that you've been rather selective in responding to my arguments- ignoring my major point about responsibility and history.

Matt

Brian- I sincerely

Brian-

I sincerely appreciate a response like that because, wrong as it is, you're at least discussing what's truly at issue. I'll get to more of it tommorrow, but I must insist that you don't take me to task for ignorance of Iranian history. What you presented was simply a different perspective on it, one that presumes that the British companies that entered into highly unpopular contracts with unappointed rulers should have been sacrosanct. The contracts were complete robbery and left nothing to the people of Iran (the people whos oil it was) and they had no say in the agreement. The US had just made an agreement in Saudi Arabia allowing the exact sort of profit sharing that Britain was completely unwilling to agree to in Iran. SO let's look at this rationally- if you invest in a country you are taking risks and nationalization is one such risk. The risk is of course greater if the contract amounts to theft (it would be considered "odious debt" analogously) and it's not the state's responsbility to bail you out. Most importantly though, it's not the state's right to bail you out. Britain and the US can't overthrow a democratic popular leader because they don't like his economic policies! That's utterly depraved.

Beyond that, installing the Shah to full power and supporting an absolutely brutal Riegn for 25 years is inexcusable regardless of what you may thing about Britain's right to steal Iranian oil.

More soon.

Matt

RE: the drawings- I'll let

RE: the drawings- I'll let my point "b.", unaddressed by you, stand as my response.

Muslim intervention in western countries predates any intervention going the other direction. After all Islam invaded Europe, getting as far as Poland and conquering Spain. The crusades only occured after about 400 years of Islamic intrusion. Muslims were raiding England for hundreds of years, well into the the 18th century for slaves.

If you think that this is responsible for the current crisis/situation then make the case. Don't just rattle off history without explaining the relevence. Germans might have made the argument that Jews were the aggressors because they killed the Canaanites and stole their land, therefore any subsequent attacks by anyone were self-defense. The problem with that? It was irrlevent- the canaanite slaughter was literally and figuratively ancient history.

Now before you say "you should heed your own advice", you should notice that the history I brought up I tied to the current situation. Because of the Shah's oppressions, Islamic fundamentalism festered and boiled and exploded into the revolution of 1979. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism, and the roots thereof, is exactly what's relevent today.

Envious Iranian politicians wishing to steal this property were pushing for nationalization of this British owned wealth. A politician who was against nationalization was elected in 1950, General Haji-Ali Razmara.

the "envious politicians" were the democratic reps in the Majlis (the parliament) who were simply acting on behalf of the Iranian people. You have an undefended premise wrt "wishing to steal", namely that Iranian oil was in fact owned by Britain and subject in an iron-clad manner to contracts the British had made with despotic rulers (who didn't represent the people.) Property that's transfered illegitimately cannot confer a legitimate title. The assasination was unfortunate, but the rules were followed and his legally-appointed successor Mossadegh (who had nothing to do with the assasination) was representative of the popular democratic position of nationalization.

In other words they stole enormous quantities of wealth from the British, via an assasination and nationalization. No wonder the British had him assasinated!

again with the undefended premise. Your first sentence is also highly misleading in that it implies that the "they" that assasinated Razmara (a small fundamentalist group) is the same "they" responsible for nationalization (the democratic citizens of Iran.) Your final sentence is indefensible.

Many Muslim countries are bribing officials of Western governments to extract goodies and gain influence. What about that “influence". Why can we declare ourselves to be opressed by them. Why should I for instance be paying my taxes to support Egypt, or the Palesteinians for that matter, not to meantion acting as mercenaries for Saudi Arabia?

these are all sepreate issues, any of which I would happily discuss if you're seriously interested.

Where you see the middle east getting more violent because of western influence, I see Islam as an inherently intolerant politico-religious system that is naturally getting bolder as we show weakness.

Well then you should make the case. Plenty of thought and research has gone into debunking the canard that Islam is inherently intolerant. I'm happy to repudiate the arguments if you'll make them. 100 years of violent intervention, theft, and oppressive policies is enough to emphasize the more genocidal aspects of a regional religion. The Old Testament is a genocidal book, and could easily rationalize fanaticism and violence. Were the gun pointed in the other direction, I have little doubt that Christians would find scripture that backed up fanatical violent responses. Again, I'll stress that this does not excuse the people who act violently. The psychopaths in Al Qaeda should all be captured and brought to justice, but our policy toward the citizens of the middle east should be one of reperations non-violence.

It started with them confiscating western assets throughout the region and has escalated ever since. Each time we have not responded it has emboldened them.

First off, when have we "not responded"? More importantly though, your assumption flies in the face of conetmporary scholarship by people who actually know what they're talking about. Read Jason Burke's Al Qeada- he says , rightly, that "every use of force is another small victory for Bin Laden" as it mobilizes the constintuency that he hopes will see the west as crusaders trying to destroy the Muslim world. In other words you're playing right into the hand of someone like Bin Laden, as is Bush.

I won't respond to your rant about the Qu-ran as I've already made points sufficient for a rebuttal (my point about the old testament for instance.)

Every single muslim adherent is in part responsible for their own situation by the very fact that they have not questioned their belief system.

this sentence practically drools. How do you know that Muslims haven't "questioned their own belief system"?

You cannot abdicate your responsiblity to think for yourself and then claim your innocence when you follow a madman. Every non-muslim has a right to self defense against such nonsense.

Did the german occupiers of France have a "right to self defense" against the retaliatory attacks against them? I must admit, my praise for your post last night was written before I'd read the final paragraph or two in your response. Suffice it to say that my respect for your position has dwindled a bit. Your justification for violence features, as a special case, a justification for nearly every atrocity and attack ever committed by anyone in history. It says "we have a right to self-defense against ideologies with which we do not agree."

Let's do this: consider your above position in light of the WTC attacks. If you were a muslim could you justify the WTC attacks with the same rationale? Arguing that the people in the WTC had "abdicated responsibility" by not getting themselves out of the situation? It'd be the exact same argument. By the exact same logic (including the simple moral assumption that we should universalize any moral principles we advocate) you are literally justifying the WTC attacks. You should hang out with Ward Chruchill and teach him a thing or two, because even he doesn't go this far.

Here's a highly informative

Here's a highly informative quote from the NY times about the Iran intervention which provides so much insight into US policy in the region it should be required reading for everyone:

"Underdevloped countries with rich resources now have an object lesson in the heavy cost that must be paid by one of their number which goes berserk with fanatical nationalism."

And, somehow, "Death to

And, somehow, "Death to America" is a rallying cry.

The dictionary antonym of "jingoism": The innate ability to blame the U.S. for every unsavory human action and natural disaster (don't forget America's global warming) on the planet.

well doug, why is America

well doug, why is America the focus of such sentiment? Were we randomly selected and simply the victim of chance?

Poor us, always being blamed. It'd be so much better to be an Iraqi on the other side of the bayonet, at least we wouldn't have to face all this blame.

Is America responsbile for all the world's ills? Not even close. Should you and I as Americans focus almost solely on those ills though, in order that we can improve them? Absolutely. For me, the only country's actions worth constantly considering are the US's because those are the actions we're in a position to change. Impugning France's motives or Syria's behavior is a waste of time. Actually it's even worse than that- because it directs as away from what really matters- the actions of the state we're responsbile for. Your post here does the same thing.

Matt, The people in the

Matt,

The people in the world trade center did not espouse a philosophy that calls for the direct slaughter and enslavement of any who do not believe in it. The old testament and the quran are apples and oranges. Stories about an all powerful god drowning everyone on the planet, or some historical story about a bunch of Jews slaughtering Midanites, are not equivalent to the open ended Quranic commandments to slaughter.

Why do you think the oil under the southern portion of Iran belonged to Iranians in general. Surely using that logic I should be very upset that my ancestors didn't get their cut of the oil in texas. Just because a group roams around on the sand above an oil deposit doesn't mean they own it. That is especially true if they never set foot in the area. Your nebulous position is that whatever is in favor of the "Iranian people", whatever the hell that means. Iranians as a collective had already traded oil rights for revenue streams and investment. You can't just flip from collectivist to non-collectivist ownership at whim. It was the British who were cheated. It would be exactly equivalent to if we nationalized all the mines, and companies that extract oil in this country. If the US government was to nationalize the Alaskan oil fields, and reneged on all the contracts they have made with foreign companies extracting ore in this country they certainly would not be acting on my behalf. That is why I said the politicos were acting on their own behalf.

The dynamics are no different on either side. If it is ok for northern Indo-European Persians to claim southern oil by mere nationality, well heck, I'm a citizen of the world, where the heck is my cut. You are aware that the northern Iranians, the ones in power, were not the natives who lived where the oil was found. The British claims were superior to all comers because they actually did something to obtain the oil. They b oth found homesteaded the resource. Be aware that I am using the term Britsh loosely here, there were specific people with ownership rights, specifically stockholders in the company who's assets were stolen. You have not made your case that the "Iranian people" had any rightful claim whatsoever on the oil.

I spent a few sentences giving you some historical background on the West verses the East because you made it sound like it was a one way proposition. It very much depends on where you draw you line. You chose to draw it at a particular point that makes it appear that Iran was some kind of democratic utopia. Hardly the case, assasination was and coup was part and parcel with the normal Iranian polical process. I moved the line a mere couple of years back and we could see that leader you complain about being assasinated was actually brought into power by an assasination himself.

I understand your position that any government that happens to come into power can steal whatever foriegn assets they want and I disagree with it. Cute way of distorting it, "cost of doing business".

One big problem I have arguing with people like you who are so far out some tangential ethical sphere is that you will not even begin to understand my points. I'll give you and example. When I said, "Every single muslim adherent is in part responsible for their own situation by the very fact that they have not questioned their belief system." I was referring to the stagnant, intolerant, brutal nature of their societies. I was not refering to anything resembling a right to utilize terrorism.

You are so far out there that I really am going to have to write off talking with you. My position is purely one of self defense. I suggest you read the Quran, the life of Mohammed, the true nature of the "golden age" of Islam, and the history of Islamic conquest and slaughter. Don't give me any lectures on Christian behavior, I'm not a Christian and in fact have been persecuted by them too. The differences between the two are too complex to discuss in some comments thread. I have been spending quite a bit of time assessing Islam and frankly it really is on the level of evil of that of the Nazis or political Communism. I don't lightly come to such conclusions, and I don't have to defend them to you. I find your belief that we are playing into the hands of Osama absolutely laughable, as I do your "expert". I'm not interested in becoming a Dhimmi.

I'm am not surprised that you are unaware of how we have capitulated to Islamic agression. I'll give you a hint, it wasn't on your timeframe of a hundred years ago, it's more recent, and it isn't just one event, but a whole series of them. I'd be surprised if you could name three.

Matt, The "West" - and the

Matt,

The "West" - and the US and Israel in particular - is the convenient scapegoat used by local governments, fundamentalist imams, shrill clerics and media hacks for every conceivable problem they have. Civil society, due process, secularism, capitalism, freedom to offer offensive opinions, freedom to express blasphemist thoughts, debauchery, prosperous, liberal, gay rights (relatively speaking), women treated as equals... Now there's a target for ya.

So, nay, we weren't randomly selected and a simple victim of chance.

Sorry, man. I know where you're coming from about US foreign policy, and Iraq and particular. I know the US government has done a laundry list of bad things through the decades. But I'm not going to feel guilty over a bunch of whackos burning buildings and partaking in killing sprees over CARTOONS and BEAUTY PAGAENTS.

When Theo van Gogh is brutally murdered for making a critique about Islam; when a female Afghan music show host is killed because she acts too 'western'; when missionnaires are kidnapped in the Philippines; when hotels in Bali and weddings in Jordan blow to pieces; when placards show up at a London protest calling for the beheading of "anyone who insults Islam" and other signs suggesting "their freedom of speech should be restricted"... Well, we can wax philosophically about every x socio-political event from the 11th century on, sift and dissect every tiny action by governments long gone, and apply complex psychobabble theories to each situation. But at the end of the day, it's simply *wrong* to kill an innocent passer-by on the street over a cartoon, film or book. No amount of "US did this" and "US did that" will take away that fact.

Brian: You are so far out

Brian:

You are so far out there that I really am going to have to write off talking with you.

when people are far out there, it's quiet easy (and fun) to point it out. Justin Raimondo got alot of attention and was thoroughly rebutted. People only make claims like these when they know they'd get licked in an argument, but don't want to give up their beliefs. I'm going to respond to you anyway, even though you didn't respond to my arguments properly (quoting me and responding line by line) and most of your arguments consist of poorly thought out assertions like "the old testament and the quran are like apples and oranges."

Did you ever think that apples and oranges are actually incredibly similar? It's hard to think of anything more comparable to apples than oranges. They're both roughly spherical, sweet, grow on trees and are desginated as fruit. A better expression would be "it's like comparing apples to the collected works of edgar allen poe" or "it's like comparing apples to inflationary universe theory."

It's telling when I respond to your comments line by line, citing sources and mentioning authorites when all you can manage is "your authority sucks" and "don't tell me about christians." You have no business debating if you're going to just rely on such hackneyed tactics- an 8th grader could make the arguments you're making because they're all just naysaying. Look for my thorough line-by-line response tomorrow, and enjoy pretending that you're taking the high-road when you really just have nothing to say.

Matt

Since Matt27 engaged in some

Since Matt27 engaged in some picayune nitpicking of Macker's argumentation style, I'd like to just comment that Macker's style of not using correct punctuation for questions is rather annoying:

Why do you think the oil under the southern portion of Iran belonged to Iranians in general. Surely using that logic I should be very upset that my ancestors didn’t get their cut of the oil in texas.

Macker: The people in the

Macker:

The people in the world trade center did not espouse a philosophy that calls for the direct slaughter and enslavement of any who do not believe in it.

niether did the 100s of thousands of dead Iraqis. There are elements of every religion and every religious text that can be used to justify atrocities. Serious quaran scholars disagree with you on this point- in fact the Quaran is the only major relgious book that formally recognises the status of other religions: the quaran recognizes Jesus as a great prophet, for instance.

Let me get this out of the way: your position fits the pattern of the racism that has covered for nearly every brutal intervention ever. Rather than look for simple, recent, historical reasons for the political situation you'd rather disregard serious Quaran scholarship in favor of your own baseless opinions, and engage in childlike conjecture about the crusades. If anybody's "so far out there" it's you, yet I'm still repsonding because when someone's out there it's really easy to explain why. And conversely when someone's right, it's really easy to say they're way out there...

The old testament and the quran are apples and oranges. Stories about an all powerful god drowning everyone on the planet, or some historical story about a bunch of Jews slaughtering Midanites, are not equivalent to the open ended Quranic commandments to slaughter.

You know what sucks for you? Some people actually know what they're talking about:
http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/bible_quran.html

Why do you think the oil under the southern portion of Iran belonged to Iranians in general.

Stefan's right- that is pretty annoying. Because you're advocating violence (the overthrow of the Shah) and also punishment (the unbelievably brutal reign of the Shah which followed and which we supported) I'd say the onus is on you. Just for kicks though- it's Iran's because the people of Iran didn't freely contract with the british to sell it. The history was one of theft.

Surely using that logic I should be very upset that my ancestors didn’t get their cut of the oil in texas.

If Russia owned all of the oil in the US, and russian pumps dotted the skyline in Texas even though we owned texas... do you think we'd stand for it? Especially if we were poor? What if we didn't have a democracy but just some self-sppointed ruler we couldn't control who made that deal "on behalf" of all of us? We wouldn't stand for it for a second.

Just because a group roams around on the sand above an oil deposit doesn’t mean they own it.

And I suppose you don't own your house just because you have to be "roaming around in it" or whatever. We should be free to take whatever we want, all anyone's doing is roaming around! I guess you might argue then that Britaind didn't own the oil either, because all they were doing was roaming around on it. You need a definition that shows why Britain wasn't stealing it, yet why Iran's repossesion was theft. When you come up with that then we can talk about the status of the contract that Britain signed, and the general rights of Iranians.

Your nebulous position is that whatever is in favor of the “Iranian people", whatever the hell that means.

My "nebulous position" has been outlined above and has much more to do with the status of the contract. You're retreating off of our position though, sir, because you don't just need to challenge the morality of Iran nationalizing its oil- you need to rationalize a response which subverts a democrtaically elected leader, installs a brutal tyrant who reigns for 25 years, and a state of affairs which bred islamo-fascism.

Iranians as a collective had already traded oil rights for revenue streams and investment. You can’t just flip from collectivist to non-collectivist ownership at whim.

a. The Iranian people had nothing to do with the original decision- Britain made the contracts with non-democratic rulers.
b. Britain tried to take the case the International court (which would be the right way to handle such a thing if you were right that it was unfair) and the court threw out the case.
c. This isn't relevent or neccesary to argue, since you're wrong on the two counts above, but a country has a right to change it's mind. Does Britain still own the US? We broke a contract with Britain by taking their internationally recognized lands from them. What about the textile mills the British crown built in New England- did we steal those ? Should Britain have installed a Shah here? If they had, people'd be talking about how christianity was fundamentally evil.

well heck, I’m a citizen of the world, where the heck is my cut.

maybe something like that could be arranged if we had an international authority commited to such socialist policies. If you're actually interested in something like this you should pursue it.

The British claims were superior to all comers because they actually did something to obtain the oil.

Look, the lockean proviso only applies when you have an actual right to the land itself or when it's unclaimed land. You're making an intuitive appeal forgetting thet Locke (though you probably read it in Nozick) was talking about unowned land. Are you saying that the Lockean proviso is demonstarting how owned land can be reposessed? The history of colonization is one of theft- Britain was putting an "Arab Facade" in power (that's accoring to their internal documents from the relevent time- Lord Curzon in fact) who would do the bidding of the British. Forget all your BS about the lazy natives vs. the hardworking British- Britain set out to steal resources by ensuring that GB-friendly reps were in place to set up contracts. They actually conspired to get the oil.

Let's get out history straight once and for all. I'm assuming you're just looking at Wikipedia for your points as I thought I'd just cite some things from there: The original contract was negotiated with the Shah of Persia for 60 years in 1901. Along the way, that contract had been nationalized by the british government (in 1913) so if we're deciding that nationalization is a crime or a violation of a contract then Britain violated it too. The profit sharing to Iran was less than 10% of the profits- just theft basically, an unjust contract in spirt.

You are aware that the northern Iranians, the ones in power, were not the natives who lived where the oil was found.
"Many significant Iranian politicians and dignitaries are of Bakhtiari origin."

Be aware that I am using the term Britsh loosely here, there were specific people with ownership rights, specifically stockholders in the company who’s assets were stolen. You have not made your case that the “Iranian people” had any rightful claim whatsoever on the oil.

please read the above for such a case. The company was owned by thet state of Britain (a 51% stake) so you're just dead-wrong there.

It very much depends on where you draw you line. You chose to draw it at a particular point that makes it appear that Iran was some kind of democratic utopia.

It doesn't depend on where you draw the line. Even if it did, you'd have no right claiming that my positions were "way out there" because here you admit they're rational. There are some aspects of history which are clouded- this is not one of them. The answer to this is simple- this was another case of illegal and immoral British colonization of the kind that had gone on for 100 years.

Hardly the case, assasination was and coup was part and parcel with the normal Iranian polical process. I moved the line a mere couple of years back and we could see that leader you complain about being assasinated was actually brought into power by an assasination himself.

This means absolutely nothing. The fact that some unfortunate calamitous events happened in Iran gives Britain the right to decide Iranian politics? You can't even mean what you're saying here; it makes no sense. Incidentally I misspoke when I wrote that Mossadegh was assasinated- he was overthrown and imprisoned. I was thinking of Allende. So anyway, assasinations were not typical of Iranian politics (that sure does seem like a racist thing to say) they are the unfortunate outcome of turbulent times, and they are no less a crime regardless of how often they occur.

I understand your position that any government that happens to come into power can steal whatever foriegn assets they want and I disagree with it. Cute way of distorting it, “cost of doing business".

First you argue that I don't have a position and then you mischaracterize it. My position is that the contracts were invalid. My position is also that that even if they weren't that doesn't give Britain the right to overthrow the government of a soveriegn nation, and install a brutal tyrant in his place. Beyond those two primary arguments I'd also say that people have the right to make decisions about the affairs of their country. If there's a fuedal structure in place they have a right change things. If there's a kingship they can change that. If they don't believe that certain contracts are valid, or believe that oil in their country should be nationalized they have that right. That's not to say it's morally correct, only that it's their right.

When I said, “Every single muslim adherent is in part responsible for their own situation by the very fact that they have not questioned their belief system.” I was referring to the stagnant, intolerant, brutal nature of their societies. I was not refering to anything resembling a right to utilize terrorism.

This is crazy. First see my above points where I demonstrate the whatever Brutal behavior you see is a result of socio-historical specifics, since the quaran is less violent than the bible. Next, you are asribing repsonsibility to people for the sole fact that live in a place and believe a certain thing. That's exactly the sort of responsibility that Osama put upon the people in the towers. Responsbility means that people aren't innocent, which is how you rationalize 25 years of US backed violence in Iran and how Bin Laden rationalizes hiw terrorism.

My position is purely one of self defense.

guess what genius, every violent interventionist country in history has maintained that what it did was self-defense. This is not some new magical position- it's what every country claims to its population when it wants to go rob people blind. Nicoragua is "2 days march from texas", Iraq "is a direct threat to our security", Poland is a "dagger pointed at the heart of Germany."

That's some mighty fine company you keep, friend.

I find your belief that we are playing into the hands of Osama absolutely laughable, as I do your “expert".

We should discuss this if you like, as it's infinitely more important than Iranian history. He's an internationally renowned expert and, morover, his position are imminently defensible and important. You don't think Osama wants a clash of civilisations? You don't think he'd love it if Muslims all over the world read your little comments about them and everything they hold dear and (therefore) decided that the west was hopeless and that they should join him? Well then you haven't thought much.

I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t on your timeframe of a hundred years ago, it’s more recent, and it isn’t just one event, but a whole series of them. I’d be surprised if you could name three.

Yeah, I'd be surprised if I come up with evidence to support your loony position too. Is it the Israeli attack on our destroyer, the liberty? That was middle-east aggression we let go unpunished... Man just two more to go.

Matt

Doug- You know, I think we

Doug-
You know, I think we actually agree. Nothing excuses a violent reaction to these things, and I think the anti-modern bent of now-popular Islam is dangerous and has to go. My point is that it's completely unfruitful (anti-fruitful in fact) to wring our hands over how bad they are. Instead, to extent we are repsonsible we need to make amends, and to the extent we are not we should consider a constructive solution if we're interested in putting a stop to it.

Look these people aren't genetically different. Raise a Afghan in Orange County to whitebread parents and you won't get a terrorist- you'll get an upper class prep. Any solution starts with recognition that there are simple causes to something like this, and as for the people who aren't yet violent there's hope for them. There are debts we owe, and beyond that there are things we can do. The former is morally required; the latter morally advised.

Matt27 - The US has not

Matt27 -

The US has not killed 100s of thousands of Iraqis. The rest of the comment, depending critically on that mistaken assertion of moral equivalence, is thus somewhat moot.

Matt27 - Setting aside the

Matt27 -

Setting aside the whiffs of nurturist absolutism/creationism, while it is correct that context matters in terms of cultural responses and outcomes, I would say to the contrary that indicates a very complex and difficult problem. It is not as though we can, ala Australia at the turn of the 20th century, abscond with the current generation of Arab/Muslim babies and raise them as Americans to solve their cultural problems; nor can we simply throw money at them and get them to change. Changing society is (a) an organic and interative process and (b) indeterminate and indeterminable. Planners cannot go forth and say "lo, your culture shall change", least of all without massive and illiberal intervention to force the new vision of society onto the "whom" of the moment.

I would say that the best way to deal with it is to insist on liberal society at home and muscular defense of said society here and abroad; the proper response to rioting maniacs threatening cartoonists with death is vigorous police action, at minimum. It certainly isn't simpering prevarication ala most US news outlets self-censoring to avoid "offense".

Brian: The US has not killed

Brian:

The US has not killed 100s of thousands of Iraqis. The rest of the comment, depending critically on that mistaken assertion of moral equivalence, is thus somewhat moot.

You're pretty effing wrong on this one, guy. 1st there's the Lancet study which estimated extra deaths at between 8,000-200,000 with the highest probability estimate being around 100,000.

Crooked Timber makes the good point that the number "0" isn't even in the estimate, which means that we've been killing more people than Saddam was.

http://crookedtimber.org/2004/11/01/talking-rubbish-about-epidemiology

The fact is that the Lancet people did it very conservatively. They excluded Fallujah because that would have raised the estimate, they included the Kurdish areas, no fighting there, which would reduce the extrapolated estimate, and in general they did a careful and rather conservative analysis.

But it's either been ignored or the silly claim has been made that, well it's only an estimate, so maybe it's too high true, it's only an estimate, so maybe it's too low.

I'll debate the above with you if you like but here's your real problem- the US imposed sanctions killed 500,000 iraqi children in the 90s (according to UNICEF and acknowledged by Sec. of state Albright who said "we think it's worth it.") We also fought the first gulf war and funded Iran through the 80s during a brutal civil war which killed many Iraqis. I wouldn't be surprised if the number was over 1 million.

If you'd like to try and defend your use of the ridiculous term "moral equivalence" I'd be happy to discuss it too, but my guess is that things won't go any better for you than they did this round.

Matt

Brian- regarding your second

Brian- regarding your second post I'll happily agree to disagree with you over any proactive solution (beyond what we owe in reparations for the havoc we've wreaked.) However two things are undebatable:

1. We owe massive repartions to several middle-eastern countries and we should pay them.

2. We should stop participating in terror if we seriously want it to stop. A "muscular defense against terror abroad" would be a fine thing, and we should muscularly stop aiding the enemy my fighting the war in Iraq (which is related to terrorism only in the sense that it's causing it to increase drastically.)

If there was an opportunity to literally fight terror, then I'm all for it, but while there's not we shouldn't keep giving them fuel and making them stronger.

Matt27- Crooked Timber talks

Matt27-

Crooked Timber talks a great deal of rubbish about epidemiology, epistomology, and lots of other "epi" terms. Our own resident doctors (Jonathan Wilde in particular) have rubbished the Lancet study as have scores of others.

But that aside, it simply isn't so *even by the Lancet study's POV*, as they aren't even suggesting that the US is killing (a purposive action, mind you) that many Iraqis; they're just counting up people who die, comparing it to some baseline, and saying since the US created the new situation, *every death* is now consequently caused by the US. And this suggestion, frankly, is horseshit of collossal proportions. Notwithstanding that insurgent casualties in the course of combat are in pretty much any ethicists' standard (a) not civilian deaths and (b) an accepted aspect of war, either. I don't like what we're doing either but lying about whats going on is pretty much 180 degrees from what liberals ought to be doing about the war, and objectively helps the other liars in the Bush Administration by making casual observers cynical and relativistic about the truth.

As to Moral Equivalence, bringing up the Lancet study is a complete non-sequitur and irrelevant to the previous point you were rebutting except if (and only if) you are citing it as "see, the US kills people too", which is also the dictionary definition of drawing equivalence (in this case on moral grounds). QED.

And FYI, some more factual corrections - we supported *Iraq* v. Iran in their war. We fought the Gulf War in Kuwait mainly and killed Iraqi Soldiers who were, lest we forget, complicit in a totally illegal assault and occupation of a sovereign country for the purposes of rapine (literal and figurative), pillage, and general oppression. Pardon me if I don't shed much of a tear for the Republican Guard slaughtered on their way out of the Kuwait City rape zone. Sec. Albright is a moron (the 500,000 figure has likewise been debunked as being literally impossible given other facts on record). Which isn't to say that the sanctions regime wasn't horrific. Its just to say that peddling bollocks is not a good response to horror.

Poland is a “dagger

Poland is a “dagger pointed at the heart of Germany.

Is comparing Brian Macker to Nazis enough to count as an instance of Godwin's law?

Matt27, We owe massive

Matt27,

We owe massive repartions to several middle-eastern countries and we should pay them.

Who is "we"? Perhaps by "we" you really meant "The US government", or perhaps "Matt27"?

We should stop participating in terror if we seriously want it to stop.

This is the kind of sloppy analysis that really rubs me the wrong way. "We" haven't participated in terror; I certainly don't remember the last time I napalmed a Vietnamese village or launched massive aerial bombardment of Iraqi cities. These kinds of remarks are plain collectivism.

Our own resident doctors

Our own resident doctors (Jonathan Wilde in particular) have rubbished the Lancet study as have scores of others.

That's not surprising. Whenevr a study comes out that says bad things about the US people line up like crazy to take shots at it. Let's see if you make a case or if you're just trying to throw enough mud to get it thrown out:

But that aside, it simply isn’t so even by the Lancet study’s POV, as they aren’t even suggesting that the US is killing (a purposive action, mind you) that many Iraqis; they’re just counting up people who die, comparing it to some baseline, and saying since the US created the new situation, every death is now consequently caused by the US. And this suggestion, frankly, is horseshit of collossal proportions.

It's actually really not. The US claims that this is some sort of humanitatrian intervention, then it's reasonable to measure the effects. The US went into to Iraq and changed the political structure against the will of rest of the world- if the US's action have resulted in 100,000 more deaths who else would you attribute them to? If a country comes in and bombs all of our hospitals is it fair to only count the people in the hospitals as victims? Or should we count the people who died from inadequate medical care as a result? The latter is obviously the right one, as it's a foreseeable conseuqnce of the action. Since we don't keep a count of the people we kill (and we really should) estimates like these are there best there are.

Notwithstanding that insurgent casualties in the course of combat are in pretty much any ethicists’ standard (a) not civilian deaths and (b) an accepted aspect of war, either.

I don't have a clue what you're saying here. The iraqis killed is the number we should measure, regardless of their status. You've made no case abou the Lancet study. I agree with you that it can be criticized- but from the left, the fact that it ignored Fallujah and included the Kurdish regions.

I don’t like what we’re doing either but lying about whats going on is pretty much 180 degrees from what liberals ought to be doing about the war, and objectively helps the other liars in the Bush Administration by making casual observers cynical and relativistic about the truth.

Yeah I agree. Who said anything about lying?

As to Moral Equivalence, bringing up the Lancet study is a complete non-sequitur and irrelevant to the previous point you were rebutting except if (and only if) you are citing it as “see, the US kills people too", which is also the dictionary definition of drawing equivalence (in this case on moral grounds). QED.

this paragraph is so stupid is drools. Go back and read the damn argument, man! I brought up the deaths to show how bad things are in the arab world- there's no "equivalence" at all, as the numbers stand on their own. I brought up the lancet study because you claimed that my number was false, and now you're claiming that me defending myself with a professional study is a "non-sequitur"? If citing evidence for my positions is a non-sequitur then I'd to imagine what you'd call your response of "the Lancet study sucks because a couple of guys said so." If you've got arguments you'd do well to advance them, but all you've got now is an argument from authority and a bunch of mud.

And FYI, some more factual corrections

Oh I can't wait- let's see if you can get me on one point.

- we supported Iraq v. Iran in their war.

that's correct we supported both sides. I didn't claim otherwise; I only stated to truth that we gave Iran weapons to attack Iraq with.

We fought the Gulf War in Kuwait mainly and killed Iraqi Soldiers who were, lest we forget, complicit in a totally illegal assault and occupation of a sovereign country for the purposes of rapine (literal and figurative), pillage, and general oppression.

HEY! wake up buddy! Here's what you wrote: "The US has not killed 100s of thousands of Iraqis." You said nothing of context, civilian status or anything else. We did kill Iraqi soldiers even though we probably didn't have to (there's some evidence that we could have gotten them to withdraw without a fight.)

Sec. Albright is a moron (the 500,000 figure has likewise been debunked as being literally impossible given other facts on record). Which isn’t to say that the sanctions regime wasn’t horrific. Its just to say that peddling bollocks is not a good response to horror.

How is it that by citing studies and quotes from government officials I'm "peddaling bollocks" but you can simply naysay like a middle-schooler and pretend you've got the moral highground. Again I'll say it: if you've got arguments you'd do well to advance them. The only reason you aren't publicly embarassing yourself right now by simply saying "your evidence sucks" and then providing none of your own is that we're debating in a forum that features many people of your own political persuasion who'd like to believe you. Though, who knows, your posts are so insubstantial they may be coming around.

In conclusion: even if we've only "killed" 8,000 iraqis since the invasion, and the Sanctions death report was exaggerated by 85% and applied to all Iraqis instead of just children, and we only killed 16,999 iraqis in the gulf war... The Iranian weapons we sold them for the express purpose of killing Iraqis would only to have succeeded once for you to be wrong. Now again, you've provided no evidence that any of those figures are that low (or that they're even inaccurate)- I'm only showing you how hard-pressed you'll be to make this case without at least making a real argument or citing a real source.

So now that we've got that out of the way... Care to argue my original point?

Stefan:

Poland is a “dagger pointed at the heart of Germany.

Is comparing Brian Macker to Nazis enough to count as an instance of Godwin’s law?

My vote is no. That was mentioned in the context of two other quotes, which suggests the major point was about imperialism not Nazism. I also don't think that Macker is a Nazi- only that he couldn't really believe what he's saying.
#
Who is “we"? Perhaps by “we” you really meant “The US government", or perhaps “Matt27??

No, I mean everyone in the US owes it on behalf of our governments actions. What's your problem? Do you not believe in reparations? Should Germany have not paid them? That's not a Godwin thing either, that's a question.

This is the kind of sloppy analysis that really rubs me the wrong way. “We” haven’t participated in terror; I certainly don’t remember the last time I napalmed a Vietnamese village or launched massive aerial bombardment of Iraqi cities. These kinds of remarks are plain collectivism.

You think it's sloppy because I said "we"? For one thing, it's very clear what I meant by "we". I meant the country we live in. Because we're democratic, we're partly responsible for the actions of our government. Not responsbile to the extent that we could/should be punished, but to the extent that we can owe a debt. The money we'd go on spending in Iraq could just used for reparations- no problem.

Again, do you not believe that Germany should have paid reparations? That citizens who let the stuff go on should be absolved and that no debt is owed?

Ouch: Since Matt27 engaged

Ouch:

Since Matt27 engaged in some picayune nitpicking of Macker’s argumentation style, I’d like to just comment that Macker’s style of not using correct punctuation for questions is rather annoying:

Why do you think the oil under the southern portion of Iran belonged to Iranians in general. Surely using that logic I should be very upset that my ancestors didn’t get their cut of the oil in texas.

Stefan

Actually, “Stephan”, (I know, I know :) ). my problem is that I am too lazy to proofread my stuff. I am starting to think that is a very bad policy when posting on the Internet. I also tend to use rhetorical styles that don't translate well to written form. I don't think Matt was nitpicking for the most part. I think it was my sarcasm and lack of proofreading, plus my generally bad writing skills that threw him off.

I think he has an inkling that I am being sarcastic. he did say that he doesn’t think I believe the stuff I am writing, but I’m not sure.

Maybe you two can form a support group because I am sure you have suffered from me before.

BTW, I don't think he was violating Godwin's law if he actually thinks I'm taking Nazi-like positions. I'm not, but I can see where he might get the idea after rereading my posts. I did sound like an idiot. I was trying to make a point to him by assuming his position of collective group responsibility, and also granting his “facts” that I didn't actually believe in and then running with them. I should have explicitly stated what I was doing first and added lots of smiley faces, or perhaps not responded to him at all. Instead I came off sounding like I might be for past British and US intervention in the area, not that I explicitly stated that. So I certainly don't blame him on the point. It was probably also bad to interject valid points in with the sarcasm.

Also, be careful. He's going to start assuming you agree with me when I am being sarcasitic, or even worse when I am not.

No, I mean everyone in the

No, I mean everyone in the US owes it on behalf of our governments actions. What’s your problem? Do you not believe in reparations? Should Germany have not paid them? That’s not a Godwin thing either, that’s a question.

If someone takes your money and buys a knife to kill someone that doesn't make you a murderer. Since most humans would avoid paying taxes if given the option to do so, I conclude that the claim that all or most of German or US citizens owe "war reparations" to anyone to be absurd. Governments, not civilians, fight wars for the most part.

You think it’s sloppy because I said “we"? For one thing, it’s very clear what I meant by “we". I meant the country we live in.

That's part of the problem.

Because we’re democratic, we’re partly responsible for the actions of our government.

Probably more accurately rendered as "Because I, Matt27, believe in democracy, I feel partly responsible for the actions of my government".

Again, do you not believe that Germany should have paid reparations? That citizens who let the stuff go on should be absolved and that no debt is owed?

As I alluded to above, I reject the identification of a large group of people in a geographical area with its government. So, no, those who merely "let the stuff go on" owe nothing. People are responsible for the crimes they commit, whether they wear T-shirts, uniforms, or Armani suits. You are aware of the significance of the term "Nuremburg Trials", right?

I also tend to use rhetorical styles that don’t translate well to written form.

I don't think sarcasm is such a great rhetorical tool anyway, although occassionally it can be funny. I've found generally that the amount of sarcasm one can easily communicate in written text is almost nonexistent (the text of "A modest proposal" is rather long, for instance).

Maybe you two can form a support group because I am sure you have suffered from me before.

That's OK, I think we can manage. If we did Matt27 might want reparations for the extensive injustice you've inflicted on us in the past (kidding!).

Instead I came off sounding like I might be for past British and US intervention in the area, not that I explicitly stated that. So I certainly don’t blame him on the point. It was probably also bad to interject valid points in with the sarcasm.

When I want to do a reductio ad absurdum I usually start out with "Assuming arguendo that X is correct, then ...". Ayn Rand, for all the criticisms that have been directed at her, was very skilled at this kind of argumentation technique. I especially loved her attack against contraception by taking the stated positions of the supposedly spirit-minded Catholics and showing that in fact they evinced the most crass sort of materialism when their beliefs are applied in practice. On the other hand, some people say that the reductio is dead these days.

Also, be careful. He’s going to start assuming you agree with me when I am being sarcasitic, or even worse when I am not.

Heh, duly noted. For the record I'm a little more favorable toward your copyright-as-contract idea, even though I think imprisoning or fining third-parties is still a radically mistaken idea. Don't expect me to help any babies I find drowning in buckets however. :roll:

As for this British-Iranian

As for this British-Iranian dispute, my guess before reading the details is that both sides are wrong. Neither huge angry mobs acting "for the people", despotic rulers, or government-funded corporations can legitimately homestead anything.

The tagline for the AvP movies would be great for libertarians to keep in mind: "No matter who wins, we lose." :juggle:

On the other question, I don't think you gain the right to an oil deposit by sticking a long tube or drill into it. Homesteading means "occupancy and use", and since neither seems to apply for most oil extraction I know of (how would you "occupy" the oil?) I don't think you automatically get all the oil in a geographical area once you build a rig there.

Matt27-“The US claims that

Matt27-“The US claims that this is some sort of humanitarian intervention, and then it’s reasonable to measure the effects. The US went into to Iraq and changed the political structure against the will of rest of the world- if the US’s action have resulted in 100,000 more deaths who else would you attribute them to?”

So if the insurgents kill hundreds of innocent Iraqi men, women and children going to mosques or shopping in food markets, it is America’s fault. The US tries to rebuild infrastructure and insurgents blow it up, guess whose fault? By the way Matt says we should pay reparations for all this.

Once again Matt 27 treads the same rut, around and around demonstrating impeccable logic, minus reality. Every one of his arguments is based on some abstract notion of unilateral American fairness. These fairness principles may work well among civilized nations, if reciprocated, and between equal individuals but don’t always apply to conflicts between nations or groups with differing interests and motives. It is no easy task to determine the right thing to do, but strict Goody Two Shoes morality doesn’t apply.

The Matt 27/ leftist thinking approach is to shine a search light at our own soul so as to see if we are morally pure and if we are not to induce paralysis via guilt. This is the tactic of the weak, taking advantage of American’s good will in order to gain advantage over its adversary. In the absence of reciprocal good will this is foolish.

If the eagle is about to swoop down on a rat so as to protect or feed her family what would happen if the rat was able to deflect attack by showing the eagle photos of his children? Ashamed of herself the eagle becomes a vegetarian. Then when the eagle was away hunting carrots and lettuce to eat, the rats are at her nest eating her eggs.

The President, the Department of Defense and the State Department are paid to look out for US interests. In certain cases, the US will use military force to achieve its goals. It may turn out to be a mistake or it may be harder than expected. So, we should learn and go on. Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, Bush and all other leaders act in their or their group’s interests, not in the interests of abstract absolute morality.

As I read the news paper I see the public expects the government to protect the country from terrorists, the bird flu and even Hurricane Katrina without fail and without violating anyone’s rights.
It may not be able to do all this, but we can at least expect it to try to protect our national interests.

My position is purely one

My position is purely one of self defense.

Guess what genius, every violent interventionist country in history has maintained that what it did was self-defense.

Gross overgeneralization again, but OK I’ll play.

Guess what? History shows they were right. How can one maintain a violent interventionist country without violent intervention? To do otherwise would cause them to become peaceful and lose their traditional way of life. You are for traditional customs aren't you? Why should we only respect the rights of non-westerners to follow their traditions? :) Especially when violent intervention is a trait that we share with them. Isn't it interventionist of the Muslims to try to influence us not to use our traditional means intervention? Or can only Muslims use intervention on us because they were the first to do so, thus making our intervention inauthentic cultural mimicry, and not true tradition?

There are lots of other things that violent interventionist countries do, like claiming to have first hand knowledge from god, or whitewashing their own faults while playing up the faults of the other side. They often have collaborators, like you, in the countries they intend to attack or have attacked who take their line. They also complain about interventionism like you do. Remember the Nazis? Weren't they complaining about interventionism? Why, yes, they were! They complained about the reparations from WWI and those damn interventionist Jews.

You know I used to argue with a determinist on another forum. Her position was that we should not punish criminals because of the deterministic nature of the world. She felt that they were not responsible because they could not choose otherwise. She did insist however that things should change and that evildoers were actually the ones who supported the current system. It never dawned on her that using her own assumptions the people running the system had no culpability either.

At first I tried to reason with her but nothing would sway her. She learned it in college and had her authorities also, just like you. I found her philosophical position so ludicrous that I finally got to the point where I would just taunt her. Like saying that I really found her arguments ethically appealing since I wanted to kill that bitch Mother Teresa however due to the deterministic nature of the world I could not make such ethical judgments.

I even told her I was to a certain degree a determinist, or actually one who thought determinism was compatible with free-will. That was to deep for her, and would have robbed her of an excuse to coddle murderers.

I think you take a very similar position with the "East" and the "West". They are the poor victims who are only being bounced around by a series of events beyond their control, while we in the West are the puppet masters.

Get a grip on reality dude. Everyone has being violently intervening with everyone for quite a long time. The worst atrocities in history are the cultures “intervening” against themselves, like Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. The west doesn’t have nearly the power you think it does. We’ve been meddling in lots of places and hardly ever get our way.

Is intervention always bad? Are you upset with our occupation of Japan? How about Germany? Why not?

These Muslim countries should be lining up to be attacked by us, and they are. What's the danger to them? Is it because we'll funnel tons of U.S. tax dollars into them subsidizing their economy, developing their infrastructure, and forgiving their loans? Their only danger is that the UN may take charge in which case they would be stuck with endless sanctions and rapes by the guys in the blue hats. Heck they don’t even have to pay the price Japan and Germany did, and can keep their vile ideologies.

BTW, you failed my test on Islamic aggression about which we were soft on them. I was really surprised you didn't get 9/11 and the first attack on the World Trade center. You could have picked any of an innumerable other cases of attacks on the US and her friends like the Iranians invading US sovereign territory and taking our ambassadors as hostages. The mere funding or training of terrorists is an act of war since the intent is to cause damage without taking responsibility for it. We know Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran were and have been doing this. They also issued a fatwa on a Salman Rushdie who resided in western territory thereby violating our laws. They murdered Theo Van Gogh. They blew up London subways. They blew up Spanish trains. They have been continuously and unsuccessfully trying to exterminate the Jews in Israel, both by use of military force and via surrogate fighters.

Instead of doing the proper thing about such acts we instead subsidize them. Giving "aid" to Egypt to encourage them not to attack Israel is pure blackmail. Same with aid for the Palestinians, blackmail, and poorly spent to boot. Additional aggressions include the murder of missionaries, the outlawing of the building and repair of churches in Islamic countries, the prevention of immigration to Islamic countries based on religion and race, the state funding of extremist religious organizations and literature in the US and elsewhere.

Again pardon my use of "They" but you started it. If you can do that then so can I. It certainly makes the writing go faster.

For your edification also, Islamic extremist organizations predate the events in Iran you ascribe them to. In fact that was one reason why I pointed out that it was an Islamic extremist group that assassinated the man who stood in the way of the guy you cherished as the new savior of Iran. The savior you claimed, if left alone would have prevented the development of Islamic extremist groups. That was totally lost on you. Do you think time machines exist? How can an Islamic extremist group in Iran predate our involvement if we caused them to exist, and we didn’t get involved till much later than you claimed.

There are so many basic facts that disprove your conjectures that it is amazing you believe what you do. You even repeated the fact about the extremist group back to me so I know you didn't miss it. You are aware that there have always been Islamic extremist groups going back to the beginning of Islam, aren't you? You know about origin of the word assassin, correct? You are aware that any semi-tolerant offshoot of Islam is severely dealt with, aren't you? Shiites and Sufis are not what I am talking about, they are not tolerant, and yet they too are persecuted, to the present day. Sharia law wasn't something invented in the 20th century due to British intervention in Iran. It's intolerant and misogynistic, and even goes so far as to tell you the proper way to wipe your ass. It's been around for about as long as Islam, and in force some place on the planet at all times, except where the West has intervened to prevent it, or influenced in it other ways. Sharia interpretation runs the gamut from a to b, not from a to z. That is there may be some discrepancy on the “how” but not “whether to” execute me for my unbelief. This I don’t have to stand for.

Addition edification: The AIOC did offer fifty-fifty profit sharing. It was rejected. Mossadeq was not an elected official, he was not assassinated, he actually dissolved one the elected houses in an attempt to take over the country. In other words he wasn’t a good guy by any stretch of the imagination. He’s just another power hungry pretender. Had he gotten into power I am sure today you would be blaming that on us also.

Your history is very biased and extremely shallow. You pick the cutoffs to suit yourself and that is not a concession to your arguments as your presume. Your ignorance of Islam matches this.

You provide a link: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/bible_quran.html to show that the bible is more intolerant. However, you didn't read it. It states:
"When expressed as a percentage of cruel or violent verses (at least as marked in the SAB/Q), the Quran has about twice that of the Bible. (5.31 vs. 2.69%)*"

You do not however have enough background to understand my point. There are many works of fiction with much higher counts of cruelty and violence. That is not what matters. Stories told for edification that are cruel are not offensive. The skeptics Bible/Qur’an doesn't make that distinction. Do you really think that the book ‘White Fang’ should be counted as cruel? The Old Testament teaches of a cruel and intolerant god in order to scare people into believing. Islam shares all that plus more. It has whole sections on the methodologies for military conquest and sharing the spoils of war. Instead of having sections titled "Luke" and "John" the Quran has titles like "The [Military] Ranks", and "The Spoils of War".

Intolerant and cruel Qur’anic verses like "Those who disbelieve will be fuel for the Fire." are prejudicial but imply no action on the part of the believer. In fact one could argue that if Allah is going to take care of it then no need to worry about it. That argument is made by Christians but not by Muslims. Christians don’t have a body of religious law saying what to do. Muslim law is clear, and the punishment is death. What is objectionable are the other verses that command Muslims to violate the rights of others. Can you find such in the Bible, sure, but they are few and not applicable today precisely because Christianity has reformed. "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live" really isn't an issue today, excepting in some backwater African country. The same is true of injunctions not to tolerate Homosexuals and Masturbators. This cannot be said for Islam. They routinely execute such people. The empirical evidence shows this is true. The most respected of Muslims clerics routinely make death threats, call for executions, participate in them, call for war, etc. Many Islamic countries have these rules encoded into law. I read a book by one ex-Egyptian cleric who had a death sentence passed on him by his own people and had to escape when he mildly questioned issues of the Qur’an. He’s an insider who got out and he tells a different story than you.

What I respect about most Christians is when you confront them with this stuff they say the Bible was written by men, has errors, or that the bad stuff was superceded by the new testament. Muslims just lie to you about it, and claim the facts are not the facts. “Jihad, doesn’t mean warfare, only inner struggle. “ Bullshit! In context, in the Quran, it is talking in plain language about religiously inspired conquest with sexual and material booty for the surviving victors, and the same for the non-surviving in the afterlife.

BTW, one of those lies is about Christ. You are mistaken about Muslims believing in Christ. They believe he was a prophet but also hold that the Bible was corrupted by evil Christians and Jews (It's in the Koran) and therefore cannot be trusted. Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet but he is minor, and that what he taught is not considered trustworthy. This is why “Piss Christ” isn’t an issue for them. An example of their mistrust of him as a prophet is that they do not believe he is the Son of God although this was his claim. That kind of ruins that whole dying on the cross lesson.

If you actually read the Koran the motivation on the part of Mohammed to include wrongly told biblical stories in the Koran jumps right out at you. The bible is full of stories of errant Jews and Christians, who are suppose to be object lessons for why you should believe. Mohammed repeats them with a twist. First changing the story, perhaps making certain characters Muslim, and then using the stories to point out how evil Jews and Christians are. It isn't pretty. Muslims believe that lots of historical figures predating Mohammed are Muslim, as ridiculous as that seems. Figures like Alexander the Great, Abraham are claimed to be Muslim. Muslims consider Christians the equivalent of Idol worshipers for elevating Christ to a god. It's not about toleration. You've been had. Sucker!

They are so tolerant of Christians they don’t even allow churches to be built in many of their countries and execute people for carrying around the bible. Some toleration. Does this match the interpretation you’ve been fed?

Empirically they are liars. They do not tolerate now and have not historically done so. Their most tolerant periods were in fact marked by incidents like the Martyrs of Cordoba. Which is another example of the difference between the two religions.

Let’s have fun –

Definition Martyr: 1. (Christian) One who is murdered by Muslims for expressing his beliefs. See Martyrs of Cordoba. (Muslim) 2. One who murders Jews and Christians for expressing their beliefs but dies in the process at his own hand. See terrorist.

Muslims claim to be oppressed by Christians but I don’t see any Christians executing Muslims for saying Jesus is not the son of God, making them wear funny clothes, restricting their occupations, taxing them more than anyone else, making them walk on the other side of the street, and generally treating them as second class citizens. Even in Jewish theocracies like Israel the Muslims are treated better than they ever treated Jews during the height of their enlightened period.

One of the Martyrs of Cordoba, Rudericus, was a Christian priest executed for Apostasy. Now that may not seem possible since to be an Apostate from Islam you must first be a Muslim. Well that didn’t stop the “enlightened” Muslim authorities of the golden age of al-Andalus. No they just found a witness to claim the priest had converted to Islam. It’s not that Islamic Apostates should be killed either, that’s no sign of tolerance, but they are, even today.

What kind of religion is tolerant that kills people who wish to leave anyway? Sounds more like an evil death cult. Note that this was prior to the Inquisition in Spain, and that Jewish purges and anti-Jewish riots occurred intermittently in this “tolerant” Muslim society.

Don’t be confused by the fact that al-Andalus was prosperous. You have to know the context. The Muslims had conquered all the main trade routes to the east. One of the main motivations that caused the discovery of the New World was an effort to find new trade routes to the east that avoided the Muslims conquered trade routes. In later centuries, Jewish historians wishing to shame Christians into giving them better treatment made up stories about how great the Muslims used to treat them. Good thing they didn’t find out the history or the Jews might have gotten even worse treatment than they were getting.

That is the prospect we are looking at today. Islam has never reformed. It is still practicing slavery, misogynist Sharia, beheadings, hand severing, religious persecution, heresy laws, execution of apostates, forced conversion, and the like. This stuff is popular with Muslims and isn’t going away. This isn’t like the SLA. It is not a few crackpots on a bank robbery spree. This is close to a billion lunatics supporting whatever local Islamic intolerance machine they have, de facto and de jure.

I’m having none of it, and I don’t particularly like apologists like you.

You ask how I know that they don’t question their religion. It’s simple, I observe their behavior, which includes what they say and do. There isn’t any reformation yet, and it doesn’t look like there is going to be. I know many a Christian like this also, by talking to them, and they aren’t stuck in the 7th century, and there are plenty of them who do question their religion. Maybe it’s that death penalty the Muslims have that prevents them from questioning, but none I’ve talked with have voiced any rational questioning, no articles are forthcoming, and a few stragglers like Salman Rusdie are threatened with death.

I don’t like people who put words in my mouth either. I never said that Iranians were lazy. That’s you talking. The wandering comment was about the fact that there is very little arable land in Iran and so the oil deposits were not likely sitting underneath developed land. Oil rigs don’t impede nomadic wandering. You put so many words into my mouth I frankly got sick of debating you. I had better things to do at the time.

Matt, I really am on a

Matt, I really am on a different wavelength than you. I hope you don't assume any of the other posters here agree with what I appeared to be advocating simply because they didn't protest. I think they are used to my more poorly crafted comments and were aware that I am not making the claims you attribute to me. I have in the past stated that out government should have apologized to certain Middle Eastern countries for our behavior. Frankly, I do not know how to disentangle all the conflicting claims. The history of Iran is not as simple as you originally depicted it. The fact that these countries are so screwed up is not solely the responsibility of western countries. Local actors are much more influential.

I will give you a short correction on my actual views instead of sarcasm:

1) I do believe that the British and American governments have behaved badly. They do owe an apology to lots of people both foreign and non-foreign. That includes some Iranians, not all.
2) There may be individual Iranians who were cheated by the original contracts, since they were made with a governmental entity and not individual landowners. It has nothing to do with the reasons you give.
a) These were either actual land title owners who were usurped by the Iranian government or
b) They were tribal groups who traditionally held rights over access to the land.
c) No property rights may have been violated if the oil rigs were situated on unowned and unused land.
3) I do not believe that getting only 10% of profits is evidence of being cheated. You would have to show many things for this. I will not list them all but here's a few.
a) You would have to show that private landholders in similar circumstances got a better deal. You did attempt this with your example of 50% but it fails to be a similar circumstance.
i) Not similar because one is a state actor and the other and individual actor. The state can prevent any oil drilling from neighboring lands, whereas the individual cannot. If an oil company approached me to put an oil rig on my 1/2 acre lot it has a lot of leverage on price because if I refuse then my next door neighbor could agree. I would be lucky to get 10%.
ii) The compared owners property rights need to be equally secure. Property rights in dispute are worth less. The prices I would offer for land in Zimbabwe are way below what I would offer for land here. Likewise an oil company is going to pay a lot more for rights to identical oil reserves here in the US vs. in some third world hell hole.
4) I disagree with your assumption that I would object to foreign companies coming in and extracting natural resources. It's happening right now. There are plenty of Canadian and other foreign owned companies doing just that. They pay next to nothing for the mineral rights on public land, and merely have to find it, and pay some minor fee to extract it. I do not object because I don't own that land, and I do benefit by it being extracted. The government charging higher fees would only mean that they had more resources to oppress me. Look at Saudi Arabia.
5) I think you use double standards quite a bit.
i) You have hinted that some of my sarcastic positions are racist, if so that is an artifact of using collectivist assumptions. Why is usurpation of individual property rights just fine to you when done by local actors but not when done by those of a different race? Why is assassination by a local fundamentalism Islamic group just fine? Why do you fail to mention the failings of the locals and only concentrate on the foreign actors?
ii) Why do you consider local customs only when it is convenient for you? You are claiming the leases are invalid because they are arranged with a non-democratic government, or some such argument. Instead you think some western reform that was in place for what amounted to a few years should be considered sacrosanct. Yet you also think we should not impose western standards. If you think Iranian customs are valid, and up to that point the British got their leases it was a monarchy, then why isn't it valid for the monarchy to have sold the leases? I know why I might object to it but I find your position unfathomable. Perhaps you were being fast and loose but you didn't give me that impression. Do you believe that if I had some cold hard cash, immigrated to a country that had a monarchy, bought some land from the ruler, developed it, then I would not have rightful claim to it? It's not mine merely because the ruler was overthrown and a non-limited democracy installed? I might actually prefer to live under the monarch, believe it or not. At least he assured my private property rights. Do you have evidence that the oil leases were given on land for which individual Iranians held mineral rights, and that these rights were usurped, or are you just assuming that?
6) I probably would have ruled against the British government had they come before me with their case. I would not, however have done so for the same reasons, nor to the same extent. My ruling would have required compensation to any actual owners and not the state actors bringing the cases, either Iranian or British. I have a feeling that the 51% of stock wasn't just stolen from British subjects either although I am not sure. Seems like the first companies to be nationalized tend to be foreign held. I may be wrong however.
7) I find the correlation between self-rule and actual benefit to the average Joe citizen to be low. The worst atrocities have been by autonomous governments (not set up by occupiers) upon their own citizens. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. were all homegrown.
8) Because of 7) I don't buy your natural objection to foreigner "interference". There is good and there is bad foreign interference. Developing oil wells isn't ipso-facto evidence of malice.
9) I think point 8 is very hard to argue because throughout history the standard model has been for foreign aggressors to first invade and then plunder the conquered country. It is only natural to be skeptical of foreign actors in ones country, but I think it an erroneous assumption. Two examples:
a) Honda building cars in America doesn't really get me upset, nor does foreign private car manufacturers buying up American companies.
b) This can even include ethically questionable practices. Like if some foreigner were to have assassinated Hitler that would have been a good thing for the Germans.
10) So foreigners can have good effects even when behaving badly. Venezuelans would certainly be better off if Pat Robertson assassinated Chavez. :) That doesn't mean I'm advocating it, just stating a fact. I understand you wouldn't agree with that fact because you don't understand the economics of it. Zimbabwe would have been a better example but I couldn't resist poking fun at Robertson. I'm not sure you would agree with that anyway. I'm thinking you might be for taking the land from whites to give to blacks.
a) There are many reasons why assassinations are a bad idea. One being that once one occurs the offended country can use the excuse that everything that ever when bad after that point is the fault of the country from which the foreigner originated. It's an erroneous position but it will be made. In fact you make it.

At first I tried to reason

At first I tried to reason with her but nothing would sway her. She learned it in college and had her authorities also, just like you. I found her philosophical position so ludicrous that I finally got to the point where I would just taunt her. Like saying that I really found her arguments ethically appealing since I wanted to kill that bitch Mother Teresa however due to the deterministic nature of the world I could not make such ethical judgments.

Man Macker, go hunting or play poker or something. Anything's got to be better than arguing with determinists.

We know Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran were and have been doing this. They also issued a fatwa on a Salman Rushdie who resided in western territory thereby violating our laws. They murdered Theo Van Gogh. They blew up London subways. They blew up Spanish trains. They have been continuously and unsuccessfully trying to exterminate the Jews in Israel, both by use of military force and via surrogate fighters.

There you go again, engaging in the same kind of collectivism as matt27! Not all Muslims plotted to blow up Spanish trains, or to exterminate Israel, or to murder Theo Van Gogh. Even Bush admits as much when he talks about reaching out to the more moderate elements among Muslims (I know, I know, you're shocked to hear they may exist).

Islam and Christianity are both religions, and both have had followers who engaged in violence and followers who discouraged violence. Ignoring many of the complex political and geographical developments of the last 100 years and summarizing it by saying Islam Is Evil just won't cut it. It's sloppy, embarrasing, and flat-out wrong.