Rebirth of Reason

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Post 0

Friday, September 14, 2012 - 10:33pmSanction this postReply
Good article, Ed.

You wrote,
Most leftists of the Obama ilk and some libertarians as well need to understand that the hatred and violence in the Islamic world against America is not simply "blowback" because of America’s influence in the region and support for corrupt dictators.
It is can be both "blowback" and the barbaric culture's hatred of modernity.

The fundamentalists are like crabs in a bucket. Left to themselves they will attack each other, but when someone from the outside comes within reach they unify against a common enemy. They don't see war, or in their terms, jihad, as something that leads to a goal. It is the goal. They enter a state of righteous indignation that is like a 1,400 year old drug. It is a way to project their self-hatred outward and to imagine they are on a path towards purity of spirit and a place in paradise.

They aren't fit for freedom and if it could be handed to them, they couldn't hold it - they'd abandon it for a religious tyranny - just as you wrote in the article.

I know that a only a small percentage of the people in Egypt or Iran or Libya are evil and want to kill and destroy, but the bulk of the population hold the ultimate responsibility for not forcing that small percentage to behave in a civilized fashion.

I see no easy answers, no reason for America to be in the Middle East (apart from the bare minimum required for actual self-defense), and we'd be better off to close all the embassies and tell all Americans, "Enter these countries at your own risk." They countries should be shunned by those in the civilized world.

Post 1

Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 7:05amSanction this postReply
Good article.  Good reply. 
SW:  I know that a only a small percentage of the people in Egypt or Iran or Libya are evil and want to kill and destroy, but the bulk of the population hold the ultimate responsibility for not forcing that small percentage to behave in a civilized fashion.
The same could be said for us when WTO protestors set banks on fire.  Is everyone in America responsible for our "culture of violence" which includes the highest  per capita homicide rate by firearms of all industrialized nations, placing the USA between Mexico and the Philippines? 

Just how big is this "bulk" of the population which must be held accountable? Who is in it?  Who is left out?

And "accountable" to whom?  And to what extent: by what remediation?

I agree with Ed and Steve that the problem is cultural.  Despite having lived in New Mexio twice and Texas now, I have never been to Mexico and have no interest in going.  I distrust the culture. On the other hand,  I was sent to Switzerland once. I would not raise my voice on the street, there.  In four days, I saw a police car twice: on the first day.  They saw me.  I saw them.  We were both satisfied.  They don't need police, apparently, or not like here.  In Austin, it takes three cars to write a traffic ticket. 

Who is to blame for our American culture of violence?  Who should be held accountable?  How?

Put "tourist killed in (American city name)" into a search engine and read the horror stories. This is from Sarasota, March 2012.

A teenager who shot dead two British tourists on holiday in Florida will spend his life in prison after he was convicted of two counts of murder.
A jury in Sarasota took just two hours to decide that Shawn Tyson, 17, killed James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, after they strayed into a rundown area of the city after a night out last April.
Tyson, who bragged to friends about shooting the pair because they refused to give him money, received a mandatory life term with no possibility of parole from circuit court judge Rick De Furia.

I know that some here will say that Tyson got what he deserved.  He was punished for his crime.  Retribution theory - an eye for an eye - is typical of primitive cultures like Islam.  The British are more civilized: 
The victims' friends and families in the UK have set up a charity, Always a Chance, in their memory to tackle youth crime and violence.
This was not the killer's first run-in with the law: he was out on bail for illegal possession of a firearm.  I can easily guess that that was not his first offense.  We know that statistically, a felon commits 30 acts of aggression before being sentenced the first time.  There are no first time offenders.  Who is responsible for the rampant crime in America?

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 9/15, 7:18am)

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Post 2

Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 12:01pmSanction this postReply

There are those who commit violence, and they are the ones that are morally responsible for their actions. But if a society makes no effort to stop a continuing form of violence, and the culture of that society is friendly towards the causes of those who commit the violence then that society is responsible as well.

The moderate Muslims in these countries can be divided into three categories:
1. Those who actively oppose the fundamentalist. There are very, very few of these and that is a problem.
2. Those who disagree with the fundamentalists, but don't speak up. And that is a problem.
3. Those who agree with the fundamentalist positions, but choose not to be active. This is a large portion and that is a problem.

You are totally off of the mark when you equate America and the WTO protesters setting fire to banks for several reasons:
1. That isn't something that is an on-going event the way Islamic fundamentalist violence is in some of the countries that are predominately Muslim - they have 1,400 years of Jihadist history.
2. Our country has laws on the books against burning banks, our society does not support setting banks on fire and the laws are enforced.

As to the per capita homicide rate in our country, I, like others, don't know why we have so much violence. I have some ideas... but they don't feel entirely adequate. But, first, we have to separate the kinds of violence.
- There is violence in pursuit of criminal ends (like gang killings over drug turf, or armed robbery), and
- There are neurotic outbursts that result in meaningless violence like bar fights and spousal violence, and
- There are the almost psychotic serial or mass murders where a lone person goes off the deep end.
There is an instabillity in our country where some subcultures have bad values, and the family structure is broken in many ways, and things wrong with child-rearing practices - but our culture is not in favor of these things, we aren't on the side of these forms of violence or their suspected causes - for that reason your equation of our violence with Islamic fundamentalist violence which is cheered on by large portions of their population is totally wrong.

In the case of initiated violence the blame for the violence is on the individual. The society is also to blame but only if the following are true:
- The violence is organized and in support of an ideology
- The violence fits a pattern that has a history and that is on-going and predictable
- The society does not disagree with ideology or speak out against it

In Egypt the society spoke out with such force that they ejected Mubarak and changed a government that had held dictatorial power for decades. But we won't see them speaking out against Islamic fundamentalist violence. They have the power to make change and they know it, they recognize the pattern of violence and know where it comes from, many don't disagree with the violence, they won't act to make changes.

Michael, you asked, "Who is responsible for the rampant crime in America?" That feels like a trick question. As if it is thrown out to confuse or confound rather than to elicit a thoughtful answer. "Crime in America" is an aggregate and the answer needs to reflect that. Each individual act is the responsibility of the actor. But there is still responsibility to go around. There is blame for negligent parents, for children who became parents before growing up, for their parents for letting children become parents. There is blame for government programs that turn "safety nets" into lifetime support of irresponsible behavior. There is blame for advocates of bad philosophy that encourages bad government programs and for whole subcultures built on victimhood as a central value. There is blame for government schools and those who advocate them. There is blame for teachers' unions. There is a blame for journalists that don't tell the truth and for politicians that are more crooks than politicians. It is a long list, Michael.

Post 3

Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 2:51pmSanction this postReply
the use of the term "moderate" to describe muslism or religious adherents in general is a redundancy. they are either consistent or inconsistent aka MINOs (Muslims in name only). The so-called "moderates" can never fully appose extremists because they are not the tail that wags the dog. they are not influential. they just give cover to the extremists.

Post 4

Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 4:08pmSanction this postReply
Michael Philip,

You wrote, "the use of the term 'moderate' to describe muslism or religious adherents in general is a redundancy. they are either consistent or inconsistent...

I have to disagree on this. It is very useful to have an adjective to refer to all of those billion and a half Muslims who are not fundamentalists.

No religion that I'm familiar with can be practiced consistently. All those who subscribe to a religion have to choose how they wish to interpret a body of confusing, ambiguous notions that can be interpreted in many, many ways.

For the Muslims, there is one group that wants to interpret the lessor jihad in a way that means initiating war against infidels, and all the others who focus on greater jihad - a spiritual cleansing and only support attacks on others out of self-defense. There are similar splits on Sharia. It is such a distinct split that it has to be more about the psychology of the adopters than the fact that the Koran lends itself to all of these different interpretations.

There are three different views of the striving or struggle that is jihad:
- The inner struggle to follow the religion's precepts. To be a fundamentalist in this area causes us no problems - they spend all their time praying and studying.
- The struggle to make their community loyal to the practices of Islam. In this case the application is Sharia and the violation of rights is restricted to those who believe and live in the community.
- The last is the one where the sword of Islam is turned towards the West.

Needless to say, there are different mixes of the three kinds of jihad that are called for and with different levels of intensity.

Post 5

Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 7:35pmSanction this postReply
To me these distinctions you mentioned are redundant and dangerous as they lead one to believe that it is only the radical branches of Islam that are problematic and not the whole religion.

There are also other points to add to this:

1- Religion, by definition, is based on mysticism, which is the claim to knowledge through some means other than reason. Mysticism allows the religious follower to play out his actions with all cards "wild." Anything goes. Islam in particular, as shown in its holy scripture, the Qur'an, is loaded with mysticism

2- Without realizing the essential unity of “moderate” and “extreme” (today, the latter is merely a dysphemism for consistent) irrationalism, regarding them instead as fundamentally different, you will be powerless to resist either. Moderate muslims, moderate environmentalists, moderate marxists etc...

3- History (Weimar Germany) indicates that as the evil gets bolder and more thuggish, the moderates go “deer in the headlights” and become less and less relevant as ballast.

I think, that the whole distinction is an exercise in futility. Your example of the meaning of Jihad is a case in point. Since religion values are made up (“faith-based”), they can be literally *anything*. All one needs to do is invent, choose or adapt (“re-interpret”) existing ones to fit the pre-existing “use” (read: wish or whim) which needs to be justified.
(Edited by Michael Philip on 9/15, 8:28pm)

Post 6

Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 9:27pmSanction this postReply
Michael Philip,

We still disagree. There is a significant difference between those whose beliefs are faith-based but have not, and will not initiate violence against another and those who are terrorists.

You wrote, "Without realizing the essential unity of 'moderate' and 'extreme' ..., regarding them instead as fundamentally different, you will be powerless to resist either." But they are fundamentally different. Our objection in this context is to their violence and to their belief that they should initiate violence. Not to the fact that they have mystical foundations to their beliefs. There are Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and any number of people who have foolish beliefs.

I don't know what you mean by "powerless to resist either [moderate or extreme]." One resists foolishness with reason. One resists force with force. They are different things. Moderates do not believe in terrorism. Extremists do. People are more than their religion. To say otherwise is to diminish the personal responsibility that we all must exhibit.

The whole Muslim religion is a problem... actually it is many problems, but it's practitioners are not all the same. Some are normal people - about a billion and half of them. And some are murders and advocates of terrorism. If someone doesn't make that distinction then they must look at war with 59 nations and those billion or so people.

Nearly all religions contain mysticism, but that doesn't mean they are all morally comparable to the beliefs that are held by the fundamental Islamist. Believing foolish things isn't morally comparable to killing people as a terrorist.

Take two Christians, as an example, where one is just a normal person like the one that lives next door. His only problem is that some of his beliefs are mystical in nature, but he will go through his life violating no ones rights. The other Christian thinks of himself as a Warrior for Jesus and kills abortion doctors. I hope that you can see that despite whatever epistemological problems exist in Christianity, and despite the fact that Christianity's altruistic morality is not good for man, these are not the same as the beliefs held by the murderer.

The purpose of making a distinction is to know your enemy, to know him within the context of the problem, and to find the best way to deal with this situation. It makes no sense to ignore the fact of a HUGE peaceful Muslim population compared to a tiny population of terrorists. Being ignorant of that fact will not likely lead to good strategies.

Personally, I don't think we will find any long-term solution that doesn't involve those moderate Muslims as the agents of change. They need to be the ones to contain the terrorists, set new civil standards for Muslim nations and to reform their religion so that it isn't a source of moral justification for future terrorists. On TV I saw a young man standing amid the chaos outside our Consulate in Libya and he was holding a sign saying "I am sorry, America. This is not how all Libyans believe" - or something close to that. My heart went out to him. He sees and identifies with American values and wants his new government to reflect those values. He was ashamed of this act of violence and put himself in danger to honor his beliefs. That is the moderate Muslim we want and it is his values we want to see asserted by a new government. They are the majority, but they need to assert their values. That is the lever we need to search out - calling them all the same is not going to help.

For short term issues, given the primitive psychology of the Islamic terrorist and his sympathizers and the fact that anything else is seen as weakness and that they are encouraged by weakness, we need to be not just strong, but harsh in those occasions where we defend ourselves. But for the long-term we should encourage those who are not terrorists, that vast majority, to turn on the terrorists and to create a nation that doesn't tolerate intolerance.

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Post 7

Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 10:51pmSanction this postReply
There is the Muslim street, there are the theocratic power elites who control everything, and there are the modern moderates. But there is also America, the Great Satan, and the Great Satan has replaced 'the rich' in their local charlatan's convincing of their street that their politicos aren't responsible for the poverty and 80% youth unemployment rate. Their Old Men in RObes successfully blame the West for every failure of local leadership, and they can do that because they control education in their political contexts with an iron fist.

So there is an odd deal between the modern-moderates and the threocratic crazies who control the street. (You'll notice it was after pouring out of the local mosques on a holy day and being fed their line of shit that these mobs over-ran our embassies.

The modern moderates are ... relieved of being the usual targeted 'the rich' in their local politico's power game; America is 'the rich' far over the horizon, and serve the usual purpose. So the modern moderates are benefiting from the local theocratic crazies controlling the street and diverting their rage away from their local 'the rich' to America. I don't see them anytime soon leaping into that fray to take on the role of the local scape goats for their religious crazies.

And so, weak signs of propitiation from the West -- on or around 9/11 of all days -- can and will enflame the Muslim street. We don't seem to fundamentally get that. We think the Muslim street is going to react like average Americans at a Sertoma Club meeting. "I'm sorry, I seem to have sat in your chair. My mistake."

They live in the world's worst squalor and poverty. They are taught by their local religious crazies that America the Godless rules the earth and is responsible from afar for every empty stomach day, for every pained breath of foul air in Dhaka, for every lost child and stubbed toe and bad hair day. Imagine living like that and being taught that from the time you are young.

And then, to put it bluntly, some effete apologist milk toast, a gentile and timid state official of America, makes some weak assed sign of propitiation like he was addressing a convention of retired sunday school teachers. The Muslim street reacts to such displays not with goodfellow feelings of goodwill, but with rage; "This is what rules the earth? This is why we live in squalor? These weak-assed midgets are what is standing between us and world dominance? They can obviously be crushed like unsightly bugs! Where do I sign up? It's not like I've got anything better to do in this local dung heap!

And polite young men from the Ivy League who somewhere along the line screwed up so badly in the foreign service that they were banished to some impoverished shithole, following their instructions from afar from folks who mainly battle the crowds at Georgetown bistros try to finesse the Muslim street with DC crafted PR announcements and in so doing, enrage them.

I don't know if the following is true, but there is a rumor that one of the murdered ambassadors had been sodomized(as Qaddafi was.) This was an attack on US soil(at a US embassy.) We've not responded. If that rumor is true, it is entirely consistent with the 'enraged' scenario I've described above. It is what I would expect as a response to a weak sign of propitiation in that context. Remember, these statements by the embassy official in Cairo were -before- the violence and rioting and murders.

America fundamentally does not get the nature of this conflict between modernity and the last remaining remnants of the Dark Ages. And while all this is going on, we have no POTUS, only some stuffed shirt worried only about his campaign.

Post 8

Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 10:59pmSanction this postReply
There were no Marines at these embassies; Sec of State Clinton had forbidden them?


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Post 9

Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 11:00pmSanction this postReply
My concern are those mystical foundations and more broadly the philosophy involved because that is what ultimately needs to change. The fact that they do not initiate force against me or others might be a temporary comfort but is besides the point and one thing to notice is that this is the case with Muslims living in the Western World, in other words, when they are subjected to more pro-life values as opposed to those who live in the middle east

I personally wouldn't rely on moderates to be agents of change, any significant change needs to acknowledge that Islam is a big part of the problem. Genuine reform and liberalism will be very destructive to Islam itself and the moderates are not up to it. By Islamic standards, they are already bad muslims. The Mu’tazilites tried to reform the religion 1000 years ago and they were wiped out

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Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 12:05amSanction this postReply
yes apparently no marines were to be deployed

Post 11

Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 12:22amSanction this postReply
Michael Philip,

You wrote, "The fact that they do not initiate force against me or others might be a temporary comfort but is besides the point...

Maybe we are living in different universes. To me the entire point is that if people respect my rights, they can believe what they want.

You think that when Muslims come to live in the West that it improves this situation. That has not been the case in much of Western Europe. Some of the Muslims there are moderates and some are extremists - where they live doesn't change this difference. Look at the Dutch filmmaker murdered by Muslim Radicals. Some Muslims are willing to initiate violence and some are not - those beliefs don't change with geography or socioeconomic situations. Osama Bin Laden was wealthy and many of the 9/11 terrorists were college educated.

You don't think the moderates could ever be an agent of change despite their numbers. Perhaps you don't think people are capable of change. Christian religions have undergone a number of reforms. You don't think the moderates can make changes, yet in your first sentence you said that your concern was for "those mystical foundations and more broadly the philosophy involved because that is what needs to change." Well, I certainly don't expect that the change will be made by the fanatics! So, tell me how you think those changes will happen if not by moderates.

No one can change another's mind for them. They have to do it themselves. We can cajole, pressure, entice, educate and encourage, but they have to make the change. We can skip a generation and appeal to the next, but they too will make up their own minds. My thought is that if there is to be any change, it is the moderates that are going to be more open and more motivated to change than the fanatics and they have majorities and more money (at this point, they don't have the courage, he organization, or the motivation).

The alternative to a reform of the Islamic culture is perpetual war. We should be able to find a better alternative than that.

Post 12

Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 1:09amSanction this postReply
the problem is that they don't respect rights. They want to see their morality implemented/sanctioned through government

As for Christian religions, they were forced to change and reform thanks to the genie of Aristotle. The secular entitlement with its Aristotelian causation put an end to their bullshit. Today they are much watered down shadows of their former selves but even here they are still a threat.

I don't think the change will take place. The moderates will try but eventually be drowned out like they were along while back and I don't think the West has the intellectual or philosophical ammunition to help them overcome the fanatics because they themselves are lost.

Islamic culture is a war against reality.
(Edited by Michael Philip on 9/16, 1:35am)

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Post 13

Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 8:45amSanction this postReply
I read an article in The Economist this morning about blasphemy laws in Pakistan. They made the point that accusations of blasphemy are seldom about religion; they are usually about other issues - family or tribal feuds, or disputes over property.

It made me wonder if we are focusing too much on these people's wacky religious ideas. I suspect that it's not really about religion, it's about power. There are groups that want to seize power, and they are using these religious issues as cover. I don't think anyone wants to seize power so that they can impose Sharia Law. They want to impose Sharia Law so that they can seize (and keep) power.

Post 14

Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 9:21amSanction this postReply
Then, the applause having come to an end, the company took up their cards and continued the game that had been interrupted, and the animals crept silently away.
But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.
Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

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Post 15

Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 10:17amSanction this postReply

It is exactly about power, but religion is their theocrats tool of control. That is their shtick. That is exactly why the mere existence-- well, not 'mere' existence, but blasted on 500 cable channels worldwide existence-- of a successful thriving -secular- America was correctly perceived by those theocrats as a direct existential threat to their local political power. They were absolutely right in their assesment: "It is them or us."

That was true no matter how America regarded struggling theocracies in the world; with barely considered contempt, or the focus of intense round the clock drone raids picking the crazies out of their swamp if they weren't going to. Even in the hypothetical of a completely benign oblivious America peacefully pursuing modernity at home with not a literal care in the world, the mere -existence- of a successful America, known to their struggling populations living in the consequent squalor and poverty of theocratic shit holes -- was an existential threat exactly to their -power- over their street.

Religion is just the sweet candy coating over their local politicos power game, but it is exactly the key to their political control, and exactly why a secular America is perceived by them -- correctly-- as an existential threat to their theocratic based power.

We have a hard time imagining this because we were raised in a secular political context.

That is why this conflict is not symmetric in any sense of the word. Secular America could care less about the existence of struggling theocracies in the world until and unless they start striking out based on their correctly perceived existential fear. It doesn't matter if we fundamentally are not threatened by the existence of struggling theocracies in the world as long as they are fundamentally threatened by our mere existence and they act out on those existential fears. We must because they do, period.

The basis for their existential fear is fundamental; we are a threat because of exactly what we teach our kids in grades K-12 about the 1st Amendment, period, and that is enough if as a result of what those kids are taught, they eventually grow up and build world leading economies. (That we might also be a factual military threat is way down the chain of cause and effect.)

A concrete example I keep bringing up is Bangladesh; Americans are barely aware of Bangladesh, and hardly consider it an existential threat, and yet, those 140 million people, living in an area about the size of Wisconsin in the always flooded Ganges River delta, which is also the exit of the sewage disposal system for much of the Indian subcontinent, are taught in their political context from an early age to "fear and loathe" the West, precisely because of Americas 1st Amendment. In this recent spate of world uprisings, Bangladesh was included, and without any background or context, most Americans would think "w.t.f.?"

Bangladesh is not a threat to US power or US politicos power, but the converse is not true; the very existence of a successful and preeminent US in the world is a direct threat to the power of the local politicos in Bangladesh who rule using religion as a tool.

Secular America fundamentally does not understand this. If we did, we would understand that the conflict is not tractable in the sense of negotiation or compromise; we would literally need to compromise away exactly what makes America "America" in order to appease these religious tools, because it is non-secular religious activism that is the foundation of their theocratic power in their political context.

The local Old Men in Robes run -everything.- They prove it frequently by calling national religious strikes -- Hartals-- during which it is against their law to do -anything- such as ... run a power plant, conduct any form of commerce, down to even hiring ones-self out as a rickshaw driver. Desperate rickshaw drivers, mindful of the opportunity because regular taxis and three wheeled Cushman taxis are not operating, conduct trade in defiance of the religious Hartal, and gangs of religious 'enforcers' roam the streets. If they find a rickshaw driver with a passenger, they pursue/descend on them and summarily murder them in the street. The body count is announced in the papers the next day like national soccer scores: "Dhaka 7 Chittagong 3."

The nominal civil government -begs- the nation to ignore these Hartals, and to at least act peacefully, but has no ultimate control over the situation. The entire purpose is to demonstrate to all who really is running the country, and it is the old religious crazies. During a Hartal the streets are totally surrendered to the religious crazies and their gangs of enforcer/thugs. Not even the military bayoneted Enfields or not, dare violate the Hartal and concede the streets during such days.

You are absolutely right; it has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with power, but religion is the magic key to their tyranny and is an absolute requirement for their power. It is the source of their existential fear and loathing of secular America.


Post 16

Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 8:47pmSanction this postReply
We are at war with Islam. Fred makes excellent points about the religion being a conduit to power for the people who want to run things, but there is a flip side that is exposed by Fred's examples of the Hartal. The lesson of the Hartal is that the people WANT the religious laws to exist. The whole religion is obviously used as a tool by the power mad despots in that part of the world, but the only reason it's useful as a tool is that the people want it that way.

Compare it to the American millionaire country-club politician who jumps out in front of the labor movement as a means of gaining power and support. He likely doesn't give a damn about the movement, except as a means to his end. That doesn't change the fact that the movement is there. If that offends anyone's sensibilities then simply insert a republican politician who jumps out in front of conservative religious values. He may be cynically using the ideals of a large group of people, but that doesn't change the fact that the ideals are there.

As long as the ideology of Islam exists in its current form there will always be new leaders rising to the top who are willing to inflame the masses to whatever acts of violence suit their purposes.

The fundamental Muslim ideology simply is not compatible with Western ideology. This can be changed -maybe is already changed in some parts of the world- but it takes many generations. Look at Judaism. In its original form, Judaism was very much like Islam. It was a theocratic system of government rather then an individual religion. That was thousands of years ago, and today Jews live peacefully in secular nations all over the world. It is possible, actually probable, that someday we will see such a transformation of Islam, but it won't be in our lifetimes.

We've successfully fought against ideologies in the past, but they were top down ideologies. Take out Hitler and his government, and you take out the power of the Nazi ideology at the same time. This is not true of the Muslim ideology. It is a bottom-up ideology where the cynical power-grabbers are usually just jumping out in front of the existing movement and offering to lead it. The only way to take it out in one generation is to exterminate an entire generation. With enough mass bombings, concentration camps, and seizing of children for Western re-education we could eventually do to Islam what we did to the first non-compatible culture the U.S.A. rubbed up against - The Native American tribes. Of course, Islam is so much bigger than the Native American tribes that this would be an enormous undertaking. Even if it was possible, would we really want to do it? I wouldn't.

I think there is one other possibility: Instead of dropping a 500 pound bomb on a wedding party in Afghanistan, drop 500 pounds of iPads or tablets. Instead of spy satellites, put up communications satellites with free cable and internet signals. Drop full-season DVDs of whatever crap most people are watching these days. Drop Star Wars videos and toys. Instead of buying a new stealth destroyer to launch missiles at Iran, buy half a million subscriptions to popular massive multiplayer online games and carpet bomb Tehran with them. Unlock whatever translation software the NSA is using and give it to the online game companies to integrate into their software so those Iranian, Afghan, Libyan, and other gamers can communicate with the American, British, and Australian gamers. Don't forget the secret weapon though: Porn. Lots and lots of free porn. Information, specifically information about just how much fun freedom can be, is the Achilles' heel of these theocracies. Since we can't kill them by cutting off their head, we might as well try a bottom-up approach. Let our kids talk to their kids on the internet long enough, and we'll win. They know this. That's why they're so scared. Why aren't we using the strategy that our enemy is most afraid of us using?

I was among the first troops to occupy Baghdad. The enemy tanks were still burning on the side of the road as I drove into town. The number one question from the Iraqis I met was whether we would punish them if they put their satellite dishes up in plain sight on their houses. These people had just survived the "shock and awe." A foreign conquering army of infidels was just entering their streets. Public services in a city bigger and more crowded than Chicago had been non-existent for weeks leading up to the invasion. Dogs were eating human bodies in the alleys. These people had a lot to be concerned about. They wanted HBO.

One last point. We can't look at a democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood and view that as evidence that "these people just can't handle freedom." This transformation we want is a process. Look at the hundreds of years that it took Christendom to progress from a society dominated by the Catholic Church until The Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. Even after that, the people of several states in the new Union chose to establish state religions in their own Constitutions. Small towns in the Midwest are STILL talking about whether they should allow alcohol sales on Sundays. It took decades for some Americans to decide that state religions weren't a good idea, but they were given decades to work out their mistakes on their own. Let these Muslim nations elect the Muslim Brotherhood. If they actually attack us, kill their army and drop video games and porn on the population. If they leave us alone, let them learn from their own mistakes like our culture has. Installing our own puppet dictator in place of their democratically elected theocracy is a solution that we have tried over and over. By now we should be figuring out that it just doesn't work.

Post 17

Monday, September 17, 2012 - 4:39amSanction this postReply
Colonel: Hillary Made Decision Not to Post Marines at Benghazi

Is Breitbart News believable?

Post 18

Monday, September 17, 2012 - 1:17pmSanction this postReply
P M H:"I think there is one other possibility: Instead of dropping a 500 pound bomb on a wedding party in Afghanistan, drop 500 pounds of iPads or tablets. ... Drop Star Wars videos and toys. ... buy half a million subscriptions to popular massive multiplayer online games and carpet bomb Tehran with them. ...   Let our kids talk to their kids on the internet long enough, and we'll win. ...

I was among the first troops to occupy Baghdad. ...  The number one question from the Iraqis I met was whether we would punish them if they put their satellite dishes up in plain sight on their houses. ... They wanted HBO.

This has been suggested and shot down here on RoR. 
See my Post #10 and the reply Post #18 in this Topic.

Cyril Kornbluth wrote The Space Merchants and The Merchants' War. They were intended as bitter commentary on consumerism, but in the second, the last uncivilized place on Earth is invaded with consumerism.  I am not sure which Fire Sign Theater it was, maybe "Waiting for the Electrician,"  but the last stronghold of unhip resistance was bombarded with five million copies of Naked Lunch.  Just sayin'...  "our side" does not want to "win" the struggle because the struggle empowers them, also.  War is Peace.
One last point. We can't look at a democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood and view that as evidence that "these people just can't handle freedom." This transformation we want is a process....  Small towns in the Midwest are STILL talking about whether they should allow alcohol sales on Sundays.

Austin, Texas: No sales after midnight and no sales before noon on Sunday.  Ain't no small midwest town, pard...  Condoleezza Rice singled us out as a high-tech magnet for the brains of the world.  But I agree, in the main, "we" look at "them" and see differences that are more like denials

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 9/17, 1:19pm)

Post 19

Monday, September 17, 2012 - 5:25pmSanction this postReply
its enough evidence that they don't understand what freedom is. then again half the US population doesn't understand it either

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