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March 19, 2006

Pass This On To All Your E-Mail Friends….
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 02:24 AM *

Look what the e-mail fairy brought:

> ——- Original Message ——-
> From: rufff lady
> To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
> Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 9:43 PM
> Subject: What’s All The Fuss?
>
>
> Well said!
>
>

Opinions on that may differ.

>
>
> The lady that wrote this letter is Pam Foster of
> Pamela Foster and Associates in Atlanta. She’s
> been in business since 1980 doing interior
> design and home planning. She recently wrote
> a letter to a family member serving in Iraq.
> Read it!
>
>
>

Actually, no. It was written by Doug Patton, a wingnut. “Doug has served as a speechwriter and policy advisor to federal, state and local candidates and elected officials. He founded the Nebraska chapter of the Christian Coalition in 1995 and served as its first executive director for nearly 3 years. He was a candidate himself for the Nebraska Legislature in 2000.”

Wingnuts, and those who pass on wingnut letters to everyone in their addressbooks, don’t seem to care much about identifying their sources. Or telling the truth in general.

>
>
>
> WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS?
>
>
>
>
>
>
> “Are we fighting a war on terror or aren’t we?
>
>
>

We aren’t. We’re doing a bunch of nonsense that Bush was using to get himself re-elected. He’s hoping you won’t notice that it’s nonsense, and that you’ll continue to help him and his rich, draft-dodging friends get richer.

>
>
>
> Was it or was it not started by Islamic people
> who brought it to our shores on September 11,
> 2001?
>
>

Specifically, a small group of mostly-Saudis. So, you think it’s great to go to war against anyone in the world who happens to be Islamic because of that? There are lots of Islamic folks in Indonesia. Why not invade Indonesia?

There are some in Argentina too. Want to invade Argentina?

>
>
>
>
> Were people from all over the world, mostly
> Americans, not brutally murdered that day, in
> downtown Manhattan, across the Potomac
> from our nation’s capitol and in a field in
> Pennsylvania?
>
>
>
>

Sure.

Did you notice that the people most directly affected by the 9/11 attacks — New Yorkers — voted against Bush in the following election?

>
>
> Did nearly three thousand men, women and
> children die a horrible, burning or crushing
> death that day, or didn’t they?
>
>
>

Sure. No one’s questioning it. What is being questioned is whether what Bush pulled afterward helped or hindered in making sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s pretty plain that it hindered, that we’re less safe today than we were five years ago, and less free too, but don’t let me get in the way of your rant.

>
>
>
> And I’m supposed to care that a copy of the
> Koran was “desecrated” when an overworked
> American soldier kicked it or got it wet?
>
>
>

By “got it wet” you mean “pissed on it,” right? Yeah, you’re supposed to care.

>
>
>
> Well, I don’t. I don’t care at all.
>
>
>

Know something, Doug? You’re wrong.

>
>
>
> I’ll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns
> himself in and repents for incinerating all those
> innocent people on 9/11.
>
>

And kicking a Koran is supposed to help … how? Tell you what: if Bush would stop shoveling money to his pals at Halliburton and instead started to, you know, look for Osama bin Laden, then I might care. But if Bush doesn’t care enough to even try to find bin Laden, what’s your beef?

>
>
>
>
> I’ll care about the Koran when the fanatics in
> the Middle East start caring about the Holy
> Bible, the mere possession of which is a crime
> in Saudi Arabia.
>
>
>

Saudi Arabia, you’ll notice, is our friend. They’re all good friends of the Bush family too.

>
>
>
> I’ll care when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi tells the
> world he is sorry for hacking off Nick Berg’s
> head while Berg screamed through his
> gurgling,
>
>
>
> slashed throat.
>
>
>

Sure. When are you planning to tell the world you’re sorry for all the “collateral damage” (that means dead women and children and old men and other non-combatants — folks who never heard of Abu al-Zarqawi — who’ve been blown up or burned to death or shot) in Mr. Bush’s war?

>
>
>
> I’ll care when the cowardly so-called
> “insurgents” in Iraq come out and fight like
> men instead of disrespecting their own religion
> by hiding in mosques.
>
>

You know who the insurgents are? They’re guys who are fighting for their homes. This is a war we started. Cowardly? They’re taking on the largest, richest army in the world, one that crossed two oceans to attack them. You know what Iraq didn’t do? They didn’t attack us. Are you wondering why some of them are shooting back? If a foreign country invaded us, you’d do the same. Unless you’re a coward, that is. Which I rather suspect you are, Doug. Isn’t it true that if we were invaded by a foreign power that you’d hide snivveling in your basement … when you weren’t busy informing your new masters of the resistance by your more patriotic neighbors?

Hey, Doug. Let me test your historical knowledge. Fill in the blanks:
During the American Revolution, American patriots hid arms and ammunition in ch__ches.
Sometimes the Sons of Liberty met in ch__ches.
The signal that told Paul Revere to ride was hung in Old North Ch__ch.

Let’s talk about cowardly insurgents, shall we? That’s what the British called the American colonists who fired from behind trees and rocks instead of standing up in nice straight lines on the other side of an open field to get shot at.

>
>
>
>
> I’ll care when the mindless zealots who blow
> themselves up in search of nirvana care about
> the innocent children within range of their
> suicide
>
>
>
> bombs.
>
>
>
>

“Nirvana” is Buddhist, not Muslim. Even your bigotry is ignorant.

>
>
> I’ll care when the American media stops
> pretending that their First Amendment liberties
> are somehow derived from international law
> instead of the United States Constitution’s Bill
> of Rights.
>
>
>

What in the world are you talking about? Of course the First Amendment rights come from the Constitution. This is just flat insane. If you’re trying to set up a strawman at least use straw.

But since you brought the question up, shall we start talking about how the Bush administration treats people as traitors for defending their constitutional rights? Shall we talk about how Bush treats the Bill of Rights like toilet paper?

>
>
>
> In the meantime, when I hear a story about a
> brave marine roughing up an Iraqi terrorist to
> obtain information, know this: I don’t care.
>
>
>

Yes, torture is what it’s all about. You like it when Marines (and others) fail to follow their own regulations and field manuals. You’re happy when the US violates international law — law that was created to protect those very same Marines. And you don’t care that “roughing up” a “terrorist” doesn’t produce useful information. A lot you don’t care about, tough guy.

>
>
>
> When I see a fuzzy photo of a pile of naked
> Iraqi prisoners who have been humiliated in
> what amounts to a college hazing incident, rest
> assured that I don’t care.
>
>
>

Rest assured that you will burn in Hell for that, Doug. Violating the Geneva Conventions, which have had the force of law for over a century, that’s not good. Rumsfeld should have been fired over that. Bush should have been impeached over that. There should have been courts-martial up and down the chain of command over that. That they didn’t happen is a national shame. A scandal. There have been war crimes trials for less, Doug, and the guilty bastards have gone to jail for a long, long time.

Are you trying to tell me that you wouldn’t care if I and a few friends snatched your wife and your kids off the street and “hazed” them a little? Or a lot? Or until they died?

How long do you personally think you’d last before I got you to confess to being a member of al Qaeda?

>
>
>
> When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the
> head when he is told not to move because he
> might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the
> bank that I don’t care.
>
>
>

It would be useful to tell them not to move in Arabic, wouldn’t it? And it would only be fair to wait for them to move before you shot them in the head.

>
>
>
> When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a
> Koran and a prayer mat, and fed “special” food
> that is paid for by my tax dollars, is
>
>

And who might be an Afghan dirt-farmer who was turned in for the reward money by his neighbor over an old grudge about a sheep, or a taxi driver who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the brother-in-law of someone whose name sounds similar to someone on some “terrorist watch list,” whose claims not to be al Qaeda or Taliban are perfectly true.

Speaking of tax dollars, Doug, how many? How much are you willing to pay? What domestic programs are you willing to cancel? How much national debt are you willing to shoulder? Let’s save a few bucks and shut down the torture cells. They haven’t produced anything yet, aside from blackening America’s reputation and destroying our moral position.

>
> complaining that his holy book is being
> “mishandled,” you can absolutely believe in
> your heart of hearts that I don’t care.
>
>
>

Oh, I believe it, Doug. I believe you’re bigoted, I believe you’re a fool, I believe you’re a traitor. But rest assured I really do believe you don’t care.

>
>
>
> And oh, by the way, I’ve noticed that
> sometimes it’s spelled “Koran” and other times
> “Quran.” Well, Jimmy Crack Corn and — you
> guessed it, I could not have said this any
> better myself!
>
>

That’s because the word is transliterated from Arabic. Arabic, you may notice, doesn’t use the Latin alphabet. Illiterate, in addition to being bigoted. What a charming person you are, Doug.

Tell me — if you don’t care about that whole litany of things, why do you expect anyone in the world to care what happens to America and Americans?

>
>
>
>
> If you agree with this view point, pass this on
> to all your e-mail friends. Sooner or later, it’ll
> get to the people responsible for this
>
>

Agree with this point of view? You should be aware that smoking that stuff is illegal.

>
> ridiculous behavior! If you don’t agree, then by
> all means hit the delete button.
>
>
>

No, Doug. I won’t hit the “delete” button. This poison should be revealed for what it is. I’ll let the person who forwarded this to me know what I think of your hateful slime, too.

>
>
>
> Should you choose the latter, then please don’t
> complain when more atrocities committed by
> radical Muslims happen here in our great
> country,like are happening in France now.
>
>
>

And don’t you complain to me when those atrocities are committed and no one in the rest of the world cares.

What does what Bush is doing — what does torturing prisoners — what does starting a war against people who never attacked us — have to do with preventing atrocities by radical Muslims, or by anyone else? Doug, you’re not only a bigot, you’re not only ignorant, you’re also bone-deep stupid.

Those riots in France — strike me as being not much different from, and based on the same causes as, the “Ghetto Riots” in our own “Long Hot Summer” of 1967. Do you think, Doug, that the way to address those would have been to invade a random African country and drop a couple of hundred tons of bombs on it? Like I said, you’re stupid….

>
>
>
> Can I get an AMEN!!!!
>
>

No.

You’re not a real American, and you definitely aren’t a Christian. Christ told us to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us. I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, and I wore my country’s uniform and put my body on the line to defend it for damn-near two decades. My brother was assigned to the Pentagon on 9/11. Where were you?

I know a domestic enemy when I see one, Doug. I’ll continue to defend the Constitution of the United States against you, and against your kind, as long as I live.

Comments on Pass This On To All Your E-Mail Friends....:
#1 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 02:56 AM:

Hear! Hear!

Because I care.

If I had his e-mail address I'd tell him what I think of both his inanity, and his shameful lack of courage; for his convictions, and pride in his work, that he has to hide behind the coattails of a fictictious person to make this crap more palatable.

#2 ::: Edd Vick ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 03:04 AM:

Bravo, Jim.

#3 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 03:10 AM:

Amen, Mr. Macdonald.

#4 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 03:13 AM:

You know, an interesting thing to do would be to take this guy's rant, and change it around a little bit.

So, instead of 9/11, have the Abu Ghraib scandal. And then, instead of Abu Ghraib, have 9/11. And so-on.

Because, basically, that's about all the difference in motivation, if not technique, between this guy, and the mullahs in the Pakistani madrasses.

#5 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 04:28 AM:

It's worth looking at British history, and the invasion preperations made in 1940, Particularly the Home Guard and the Auxiliary Units.

We prepared a resistance movement, an "insurgency", ready to fight in territory occupied by an overwhelming military force. And the "Cromwell" alarm was the ringing of church bells.

The TV show "Dad's Army" was written by people who were in the Home Guard, and does pick and choose the entertaining truths. But the TV series and the spin-off film get one thing right: the overwhelming flood of volunteers.

One of them was my Grandfather, who had volunteered for the previous war, and ended as 241339 Cpl. Bell, C., of the 7th Bn. of The Lincolnshire Regiment, gazetted with the Military Medal on the 24th January 1919.

Page 1218, if you want to look it up. According to his medal card, he was an Acting Serjeant, but you have to pay for a copy of that.

We ended up sending agents into most of Europe to encourage insurgents there, and the USA was doing the same in the Phillipines.

It makes some of the Bushista rhetoric seem pretty hollow.

#6 ::: Anarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 05:09 AM:

To reclaim the phrase: well said.

#7 ::: petra ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 06:40 AM:

Thank you, mr Macdonald, for reassuring me that sane americans do exist...

Boy I needed that!

#8 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:24 AM:
You know, an interesting thing to do would be to take this guy's rant, and change it around a little bit.

"Are we fighting an invasion of an oil-rich Muslim country minding its own business or aren’t we?..."

It's kind of sad how much shorter their wingnut viral e-mails are, compared to ours.

#9 ::: Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:37 AM:

Thank you.

#10 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:52 AM:

I care what happens to America. Friends of mine live there. For their sake, for all our sakes, please, laugh this numskull and his supporters, and the administration he supports, into the dustbin of history. The only possible defence against the abuse of free speech is mockery. Let's use it.

#11 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 09:33 AM:

Very well said, Mr Macdonald.

#12 ::: almostinfamous ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 09:49 AM:

thank you mr mcdonald.

that was much needed

#13 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 10:10 AM:

But the really bad thing is, there's a not insignificant proportion of the US population who will read (if they can) this garbage, believe every word and say "Right on, Doug!"  And if there is a presidential election in 2008 (which I don't count as a certainty) they will vote Republican.  And whoever is the next GOP front-man will be elected.

Impossible?  Wait and see.

#14 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 10:49 AM:

Thank you Jim.

John Stanning: not that I disagree with your assessment about the likelihood of another Republican victory, but it sure would be nice if we could turn some disgusted nonvoters into outraged voters.

Still looking for a Democrat I can vote for without either holding my nose or rolling my eyes (which won't stop me from voting for them).

#15 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 11:09 AM:

Well, I have to disagree with Jim on one point: unfortunately, this guy is a real american, just like any other true scotsman among us. The only requirement for most simply being a matter of where you were born.

On the other hand, this:

the cowardly so-called “insurgents” in Iraq come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques.

is a red flag that the guy is clearly an idiot. It's like the British complaining back in 1776 that the Colonists weren't fighting like men because they weren't standing in formations, out in the open, engaging in state-level warfare.

He might as well be stomping his feet, screaming Waah! It's not fair!

Someone needs to slap this kid around a bit. sheesh.

#16 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 11:17 AM:

Hm, further reading suggests that not only is this guy an idiot who is clueless about war, he is also without morals for equating abu graib with a college hazing prank.

Dude, I got a great idea, why don't we haze you?

#17 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 11:17 AM:

It's always a dead giveaway when a proponent of a war starts complaining that the cowardly foe aren't fighting fair. It means, roughly, "we're losing".

#18 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 11:48 AM:

If I were ever likely to run into the kind of people who believe Patton's bull, I'd hang on to this for talking points. Since I haven't spoken even to my relatives in Texas since a family funeral, I'll just add to the applause.

One side note: when Patton speaks of atrocities in France, he's speaking of something more than riots; but there are enough vicious murders-for-bias in this country to weigh against the one set of "Islamic" thugs who recently were front-page news.

Irrationality and anonymity are useful markers for wingnuts. It's when the wingnuttery gets into "respectable" places, such as the about-to-be-ex-president of Harvard saying that devestiture moves against Israel were anti-Semitic, that we know we're in trouble. If they cry "Wolf!" often enough, we won't know the wolves when we see them.

#19 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 11:55 AM:

That equation of torture with college frat-boy hazing makes me pinch the bridge of my nose and shake my head. Are Rush and his followers really that stupid?

College hazing:

Is voluntarily entered into by the hazee.
Is of brief duration, which the persn being hazed knows in advance.
Ends with the hazee becoming a full fraternity member.

Abu Graib/Guantanamo "hazing":

Is not entered into voluntarily by the prisoner
Has an indefinite duration, up to the rest of the prisoner's life.
Does not end with the prisoner becoming a member of the US Army.

Furthermore: While fraternity hazing is mostly tolerated, if the exact same college boys snatched an unsuspecting coed on her way to class, or a businessman off a downtown street, and did exactly the same "hazing" activities with them that they normally do with pledges ... those college boys would be looking at hard time for felony assault, battery, kidnapping, and false imprisonment.

#20 ::: Michael J. Harris ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 11:56 AM:

Terry Karney: If I had his e-mail address I'd tell him what I think of both his inanity, and his shameful lack of courage

dpatton@americasvoices.org

#21 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 12:11 PM:

Snopes has a page on it here.

#22 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 12:47 PM:

Dave --

It's not so much "we're losing" as "We don't have a clue what kind of war we're fighting"; that usually means that they've already lost, and it's going to take them some lengthy bloody time to notice. Then there will be a completely false mythology erected to explain what happened, which will in its turn create vast bewildered slaughters.

Sheer mass has dug imperial powers out of that one before now, and it's pretty clear that at least parts of the US professional military have a very crisp, shiny clue indeed about what's going on, but they're not in control of the situation. (Indeed, all indications are have the Republicans, or at least Rumsfeld, systematically purging the flag ranks of that group.)

#23 ::: Sharon Mock ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 01:39 PM:

Especially charming how it's misattributed so that all the excesses can be written off as the emotional lability of a hysterical female. But she has family fighting in Iraq, so of course she has the right to be emotional, and how cruel the leftist traitors are to upset a poor innocent woman like that...

I'm not reading too much into this, am I?

#24 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 02:15 PM:

I've been struggling with how to express this for a while and I have to think that others have expressed this better by now. But what ultimately bothers me is the co-option and corruption of the myth of America. That is, the notion that Americans are the folks in the white hats, the good guys, rugged and independent, who march in and save the world.

Somewhere along the way, we've forgotten that in order to be good guys, we have to do good guy things. We've decided that things are good guy things by virtue of us doing them. Somewhere along the way, we've forgotten that we help because it's the right thing to do. We've decided that abandoning people is ok because it merely encourages them to be rugged and independent. Somewhere along the way, we've forgotten that we can only save the world when it needs to be saved. We've decided that a US-first policy where we strike out at anything which may threaten our dominance is saving the world.

At some point, we've moved from expressing and working towards the ideals on which this country was founded to trying too hard to maintain our position of power. (BTW, grasping at something too hard strikes me as one of the easier ways of losing it.)

The American myth has always struck me as being a bit arrogant. But when you can put up the goods to back it, when you can get involved in the world and restore peace and justice to the world, then maybe it's a justified arrogance. But when your actions are aimed at isolating yourself from the world, and your actions just lash out at whatever happens to scare you at the moment, then there isn't any of what made American a good citizen of the world. There's just the arrogance.

That's what I see in Doug Patton's letter. It's full of the "Rah! Rah! We're America. We kick ass! That's what we do!" machismo. But it uses it to support the unprovoked invasion of a country, indefinite involuntary internment, not to mention other acts which guys in white hats should dismiss out of hand.

PRI's This American Life just did a show on habeas corpus where there was a soundbite by a goverment official basically saying that treating detainees well would not guarentee reciprocal treatment to captured American soldiers as a reason for not treating detainees according to the Geneva Convention. So what? You treat detainees well because it's the right thing to do.

Didn't the United States used to take principled stands or have we always been this corrupt?

There are a lot of things to be sad about right now. But I think one of them has to be the loss of the myth of America, the notion that you could always count on this country to do the right thing and do the thing right, even if it inevitably did it with a swagger. All we have left is the swagger.

#25 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 02:17 PM:

Often respecting your insights, I have been looking for some commentary on this blog about "the cartoons."

But I can't find it. Did I miss it?

Or are you folks simply not aware of the issue?

#26 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 02:27 PM:

Greg, Jim -- It was Rush Limbaugh who first equated Abu Ghraib with college hazing, I think. At the time I thought, snarkily, that it was obvious no one ever asked Limbaugh into their fraternity, or he would know the difference. But it never pays to underestimate Limbaugh -- people actually believe his talking points, and repeat them. And snark isn't a good response to these kinds of horrors.

#27 ::: Steph Shaver ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 02:52 PM:

I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before my grandmother forwards this on to me. Thanks for this; it'll give me something to respond with. :)

#28 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 03:17 PM:

Raw Data: Often respecting your insights, I have been looking for some commentary on this blog about "the cartoons." ... But I can't find it. Did I miss it? ... Or are you folks simply not aware of the issue?

People have the right to publish obnoxious cartoons. What else do you need to know?

#29 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 03:24 PM:

I find it even more disconcerting that the expanded version of this letter was originally published on the GOPUSA website. Even Bush generally hides his bile a bit better.

#30 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 03:31 PM:

On the cartoons: Yep, that's about the size of it. People have a right to publish obnoxious cartoons about anyone or anything anytime they damn well please.

South Park just got flack from having an episode making fun of Scientology, the funniest part of which was the animation of the story of Emperor Xemu with the flashing overlay "SCIENTOLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE THIS."

#31 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 03:31 PM:

Weholt, assuming you are answering for the blog.

Uh..."what else do I need to know?"...funny.

"The Cartoons" is one of the most important events of the past few years...just thought it might have been the subject of comment here.

#32 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 03:43 PM:

Btw, I did a site search for "cartoon" and found nothing about the ones from Denmark. That's the reason for my question.

Assuming I did the search correctly, I am a bit amazed, amused and appalled.

#33 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 03:46 PM:

Raw Data --

"The cartoons" are a collusion between various factions of religious fanatics to achieve generally contemptible ends, most noteably reflexive xenophobic dismissal of all other opinion. They are important solely in terms of the determination of crazy people of low morals to render them important.

I will venture to opine that 'crazy people of low morals' does not describe our hosts.

#34 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 04:08 PM:

Damn, Raw Data, is you subtle.

#35 ::: Beth Meacham ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 04:12 PM:

Bravo, Jim, and Amen too.

#36 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 04:13 PM:

well there was some discussion about the cartoons in some of the open threads, but no thread devoted to the cartoons as a whole, which makes me happy since when they do come up in discussion either people say Danes are racists, and start bringing in examples drawn from every european nation to chastise Denmark, or they start talking loads of crap about the evils of islam, and show a generally appalling lack of knowledge of geography. Both of which I, for one, can do without having to hear again.

As far as how important they are, I think Graydon has it pegged. They're shit.

#37 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 04:20 PM:

Raw Data: Weholt, assuming you are answering for the blog.

No, I'm answering for me. I don't have any more say in how the conversation goes here than you do.

"The Cartoons" is one of the most important events of the past few years

No they're not. Sheesh.

#38 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 04:29 PM:

I seem to remember that there *was* some discussion in the comments on one of the threads of the various cartoons, but I don't think there was very much disagreement with what is being said here. (I may be misremembering, as I can't find anything with a search.) But yeah, I thought the only story there was how a typical act of tabloid journalism had been blown up out of all proportion. If nobody has much to say on it, that's a comment in itself.

As for this thread: well said, Jim.

The comment on the First Amendment / international law is baffling, but my first thought was that the 'logic' went something like:

The First Amendment is an American invention.
The President is the American head of state.
Therefore he can ignore the First Amendment.

But that would imply that the President *would* be bound by international law, which doesn't seem wingnuttish enough. So probably he means that there is no need to grant First Amendment rights to non-Americans, and that therefore no-one else in the world has any rights at all. There, that's better.

And oh, by the way, I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s spelled “Koran” and other times “Quran.” Well, Jimmy Crack Corn and — you guessed it, I could not have said this any better myself!

I love this, though. You know what? I've noticed that sometimes it's called "Congress" and other times "the House of Representatives" and - I don't care! Look how morally superior I am! Aren't Americans stupid! Let's torture them!

[Note: some sections of this comment may not represent my true opinions.]

#39 ::: Pedro Pinheiro ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 04:52 PM:

I was born in Brazil, I live in Portugal, and I've lived in the US.

One thing I've learned in my life is that individual people are NOT their country or government. Every country has its share of stupid, bigoted, intolerant people. On the other hand, fortunately, there are also wonderful, intelligent, good-hearted people everywhere around the globe.

Unfortunately, through the incoherent, misguided foreign and domestic policies of the US government, everyday it's becoming more difficult for the reasonable, tolerant Americans to make themselves heard. The loud noise of intolerance is drowning the voices of reason.

I'm not saying that every other country has perfect policies, because they don't. But the choices taken by the American government since the 2001 terrorist attacks only serve the interests of a small group of Bush supporters and will cost the American people a lot in the future.

#40 ::: jane ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 04:56 PM:

Damn! Macdonald, you're good. Ever consider becoming a professional writer?

I keep wondering how and where you could send this for publication. It needs much greater distribution.

Jane

#41 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 05:40 PM:

What you said, Jim, what you said.

Did you catch Sunday Morning on CBS this morning? They gave John Murtha five minutes to attack the war and William Bennett five minutes to defend it. A fascinating bit of "He Said/He Said."

#42 ::: Helen ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 05:49 PM:

Hmmm. I just followed Jim's link to Doug's bio and it "can't find the server". Wonder why?

#43 ::: Helen ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 06:12 PM:

According to Snopes, Pamela Foster is just fine with having her name co-opted by this freak.

Sigh.

#44 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 06:27 PM:

With "The Cartoons" as they're being called, as I understand the timeline, a generally conservative old Danish paper decided to commission some generally tepid and fairly predictable cartoons depicting Muhamed. (Yes, I just picked one of the many random spellings of the transliteration of his name.) It's forbidden in Wingnut Islam to depict Muhamed, but if you look around actual Muslim countries, you'll find him depicted right and left, if just because inconsistent theology is not unique to Christians. So, after the Danish cartoons appeared to a chorus of yawns, some rabble-rousing Muslim clerics took them on the road to various Muslim countries, but since the cartoons were pretty lame, they had their own cartoonists do some that would actually get people upset. I haven't seen those cartoons, so I can't say what it is. The worst I can imagine is a Furry spoodge-art piece of Muhamed's flight to the Farthest Mosque on the back of the woman-headed peacock-tailed donkey-bodied Al Buraq, but I think if you showed that around most Muslim countries, it would just confuse people, not inflame passions against the Great Satan.

Anyway, the extra cartoons, whatever they were, turned the trick after two months of PR work, prompting massive riots, protests, calls for boycotts of Danish butter cookies and, uh, Danish ham, which good Muslims were already boycotting. And since most of the people rioting in the streets couldn't point to Denmark on a map, or come up with any evil satires of Hamlet, Iran called for cartoons parodying that most holy and Danish of all things...the Holocaust!

Oh, and there were calls for the death of the cartoonists, even the one who did the cartoon which parodied the newspaper instead of Muhamed, because like some current world leaders who invade the wrong countries, murderous fanatics are not known for their intelligence. Alternately, like some current world leaders who invade the wrong countries, murderous fanatics have something they want to do anyway and will take any excuse to do it, even a ridiculous one.

And thus "The Cartoons" became international news, and all of the American press save Salon collectively wet themselves and didn't reprint the pictures, and the conservative blogosphere went rabid and declared that this was somehow the fault of the liberals--ignoring the fact that it was a conservative Danish paper that commissioned them and a liberal American paper that had the guts to reprint them--and so on and so forth and what was the point? Oh yes, George W. Bush, who just a few years ago was taunting contractor-beheading fanatics to "Bring it on!" is now acting all confused and apologetic to people who are rioting over Danish cartoons, because his poll numbers are the lowest ever, his war is going badly--"badly" here meaning "somewhere between the 4th and 9th Circle of Hell"--and he's being expected to behave as some variety of diplomat because the whole warmonger thing is just not working anymore.

That's the whole business with "The Cartoons" as I understand it.

#45 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 06:44 PM:

Somewhere along the way, we've forgotten that in order to be good guys, we have to do good guy things. We've decided that things are good guy things by virtue of us doing them.

Likewise, friends of Israel like to say that the Israeli Defence Force is "the most moral army in the world", but instead of holding the IDF to a high moral standard they just assume that anything it does must by definition be morally justified because the IDF is incapable of acting immorally.

#46 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 06:47 PM:

P.S. Wikipedia has a long article on the Danish cartoon controversy.

#47 ::: R.Porrofatto ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 07:05 PM:

The face of the soulless prick who wrote it.

#48 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 07:11 PM:

Amen.


> I’ll care when the American media stops
> pretending that their First Amendment liberties
> are somehow derived from international law
> instead of the United States Constitution’s Bill
> of Rights.
>

I read this as 'since the 1st amendment is part of the US Bill of Rights and not part of international law, we only owe it to Americans, and not to foreigners.'

Which doesn't make it any less insane; if humans are endowed with their creator by certain inalienable rights, including the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then you don't get off on a technicality from extending those rights to others.

#49 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 07:26 PM:

Emily, the Pharisees' notion is precisely that you don't have to extend those rights to, you guessed it, "others."

Which just goes to show that the Pharisees don't read any part of the Bible except for that one verse in Leviticus--since a major part of the Old Testament is that the Law applies to everyone--even to your daughters and your male and female slaves, and even to the aliens living within your compound.

(Um. That last part wasn't addressed to Emily specifically; it was more a generalized "why are Bush's heretics lying about my religion" sort of a rant.) (You can probably guess what today's Old Testament reading was, too.)

#50 ::: Marya ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 07:27 PM:

You know who the insurgents are? They’re guys who are fighting for their homes.

But what about all the foreign fighters who have come to Iraq to join the insurgents?

#51 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:00 PM:

For those who missed it:

The version of the Doug Patton rant I recieved in the mail the other day had an addition: A bit of sabre rattling suggesting we sure as heck better take on Iran.

I suppose by next year it will have grown a few more paragraphs, defending the nuking of Tehran, fallout deaths across South Asia, Cheney getting caught beating off to tapes of interrogations down in Guantanamo, and Bush's decision to use tear gas against the Fighting Grannies.

#52 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:09 PM:

The cartoons were discussed in this thread:

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/007240.html

===========

It's my understanding that percentagewise there aren't all that many foreign fighters in Iraq.


Back in 1776 did the Brits complain about the "foreign fighters," Layfayette, de Grasse, and von Steuben?

#53 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:09 PM:

But what about all the foreign fighters who have come to Iraq to join the insurgents?

You mean people from the neighboring countries of Iran, Syria or Saudi Arabia who might be worried about their country getting invaded next?

The "foreign fighters" who've come to join the "insurgents" are far less "foreign" than just about anyone in the "Coalition Forces."

As Bush said, "Don't forget Poland." About how far is Poland, geographically speaking, from Iraq?

Anyway, I think we can put the "insurgents" business to rest now. Local Sunnis and local Shias are blowing each other up because it's now become a civil war.

#54 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:36 PM:

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/007240.html
Pretty incisive discussion. Not.
•••
Seriously, I seldom read this blog. No particular reason, btw...just so much out there to read.

But the few times I have visited I remember being impressed by some rather incisive thinking by Teresa. So I came back to see what you folks had been saying and I am amazed (and a bit appalled) that the cartoons seem to have passed you by. Or vice verse.

#55 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:44 PM:

I'm pretty sure the cartoons didn't pass anybody by in here. And, I'm pretty sure that by now everybody in here gets that you are shocked, and shocked again, so you can probably delete that information from your future posts on the subject.

So... what new information do have for us on the subject?

#56 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:50 PM:

Conservatives really seem to love the idea of "outside agitators". The Pentagon has said that 1% of the Resistance in Iraq is "foreign."

The stats on foreign fighters that I've heard are getting to be two years old, but the Occupation itself has since stopped talking much about "foreign fighters".

quote:

"In Fallujah, U.S. military leaders say around 90 percent of the 1,000 or more fighters battling the Marines are Iraqis. To date, there have been no confirmed U.S. captures of foreign fighters in Fallujah - although a handful of suspects have been arrested."

"...Elsewhere in Iraq, U.S. military commanders say foreigners have an even smaller role in the insurgency. In Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey has said foreigners account for just 1 percent or so of guerrillas. Of 8,000 guerrilla suspects jailed across Iraq, only 127 hold foreign passports, the U.S. military said. In the south, no one has suggested that foreigners pack the ranks of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army. The group, which has fought U.S. and allied troops across southern Iraq, is made up of Shiite Muslim radicals, many of whom hail from the slums of Baghdad. In March, Dempsey called the idea that foreign fighters were flooding Iraq "a misconception."

The final word on the lie about "outside agitators" comes from that fool Wolfowitz: that there is an insurrection in Iraq is because, quote "there are too many foreigners there".

#57 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:58 PM:

Now, I know it is wrong to cast stones without ample supporting evidence, but I find "Raw Data"'s username, e-mail address, and repeated, slightly patronzing questioning style to emit a whiff of what smells like troll to me. Of course, YMMV and I may be completely incorrect. I just have my doubts.

#58 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 09:06 PM:

If the Iraqis are as tribal as the news I've seen implies, foreigners would stand out like sore thumbs, and likely be made somewhat less than welcome. So probably no, they're few and far between.

#59 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 09:14 PM:

It's true that the 'foreign fighters' are less foreign than the coalition forces - after all, for them the borders of nations in the middle east are likely to have no particular significance. However, this is to miss the point. Those who have journeyed to Iraq to fight the Americans are ipso facto not fighting for their homes.

Mr Macdonald says that 'percentagewise, there aren't all that many foreign fighters in Iraq'. As a percentage of the population, this is no doubt true. As a percentage of the people active in the armed struggle against the coalition (and anybody who collaborates with it), I am not so sure. As a percentage of the people who wish to see a full-blown civil war in Iraq because they hope it will serve as a touch-point for a regional convulsion ending with the emergence of a new Caliphate, I think they are very significant indeed.

#60 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 09:20 PM:

The US forces have a higher percentage of non-American-citizens (last I heard, about 3%) than the Iraqi Resistance has of "foreign fighters" (last I heard, under 2%).

And ALL of the Occupation forces are "foreign fighters."

#61 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 09:33 PM:

And since I began composing the last post, here is Bob Oldendorf with actual figures. All right, foreign fighters are not a significant proportion of the insurgency/resistance/internecine fighters (pick one). I only said I wasn't so sure they weren't.

#62 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 09:39 PM:

And that's just counting the official US military forces. If we were to start counting the various contractors for US companies, we'd have even more in the way of "foreigners."

There's also a certain amount of silliness to the concept of "foreign." In California's bay area, I am geographically closer to both Tijuana and Vancouver than I am to Maine, yet folk from either of those cities are "foreigners" while people from Maine are what exactly? Citizens of the same country, certainly, but locals? Hardly. And go down to San Diego where the nearest big city is Tijuana, the foreigners are locals.

Expecting people to respect borders during a war is like expecting them to line up in neat rows while wearing silly uniforms.

#63 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 09:42 PM:

Dave Luckett: I don't know why that meme is so widely believed, or - even if it were true - why it's supposed to count against the Iraqi Resistance: the fact that foreigners are willing to leave their homes and rally to the side of the Resistance does not demonstrate the misguided nature of that Resistance.

According to the US Dept. of Defense:

"* More than 60,000 immigrants serve on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

* Immigrants make up nearly 5 percent of all enlisted personnel on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

* Nearly 7 percent of U.S. Navy enlisted personnel are immigrants."

Do those data points in-and-of-themselves mean that the US relies on "foreign fighters"?

#64 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 09:53 PM:

Marya:But what about all the foreign fighters who have come to Iraq to join the insurgents?

The Colonists called them French, back in the late 1770s. In Iraq the local equivalent don't number more than a small fraction of those fighting us. They were never more than than 10, and probably not more than 2 percent. The proportional numbers are dropping as more Iraqis get fed up to the point of joining an insugency/resistance group. Then there's the entire factional issue, which has people who don't care (as much) about the U.S.: may even want us to stay; for the moderate amelioration we might have on the deterioration of the situation in their neigborhood, but are fighting other Iraqis for control/defense of the area they live in.

#65 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 11:14 PM:

The point being considered was whether the Iraqi resistance is engaged in the protection of their homes, a motive that must claim sympathy.

Foreign fighters who come to Iraq can hardly be said to be engaged in the protection of their homes. But since they are not present in significant numbers, this argument falls to the ground, and its implications are moot. Conceded.

Consider, though, that the Iraqi resistance specialises, lately, in setting off explosions where they will cause the greatest number of Iraqi casualties, generally randomly, albeit most likely from other factions. Some elements within the resistance also seem to have bombed religious sites in the hope of starting a real civil war. It is difficult to see these activities as consistent with the idea that the insurgents are concerned with protecting Iraqi homes.

#66 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 01:31 AM:

Tore him a much-deserved new one, Jim, and very well too. Thanks for this.

Michael Weholt to Raw Data: And, I'm pretty sure that by now everybody in here gets that you are shocked, and shocked again, so you can probably delete that information from your future posts on the subject.

Only that information? And only on that subject?

I'd make broader statements.

#67 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 01:46 AM:

Dave Luckett: graciously conceded. It's one of the admirable attributes I've seen you demonstrate here before: you can actually be persuaded to change your mind.

"Foreign fighters who come to Iraq can hardly be said to be engaged in the protection of their homes. But since they are not present in significant numbers, this argument falls to the ground, and its implications are moot. Conceded."

I'm not piling on you, personally, but in general, I would still like to drive home the point that there ARE foreign fighters in Iraq: 140,000 Americans and 10,000 or more from our allies, principally the UK. And they are decidedly NOT fighting for "the protection of their homes."

It seems to be some sort of weird projection for people to get all worked up about the thousand or so non-Iraqi freebooters who have joined the Iraqi resistance.

WE are the "foreign fighters" there: at least 99% of them, anyway. And I find it decidedly odd for people (from Wolfowitz three years ago, on down to today) to throw that phrase around as though our presence in Iraq was part of the natural order of things.

#68 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 01:58 AM:

if humans are endowed with their creator by certain inalienable rights, including the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then you don't get off on a technicality from extending those rights to others.

I agree entirely, of course. But this makes me wonder: are the statements in the Declaration of Independence supposed to be (in some sense) binding on US citizens? If I were to apply to become a US citizen, would I be obliged to agree (for instance) that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights? Or were these just the private opinions of the subscribers? I may be way off beam here, but I honestly don't know the answer.

I suppose there is no way of testing what (prospective) citizens believe, but you could at least then accuse them of hypocrisy.

#69 ::: otis ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 02:11 AM:

"There should have been courts-maritals up and down the chain of command over that."

Uh, martial. Let's not be too viscious with the miscreants.

#70 ::: Jim Flannery ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 02:22 AM:

I think there were a fair number of "foreign fighters" on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. Seems to me people generally think, now at least, that was a good thing ... at a minimum, it doesn't take a huge amount of effort to imagine their motivations in the absence of having homes "of their own" in Spain.

#71 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 03:56 AM:

Given all the sabre-rattling about invading Iran, Syria and wherever else Bush finds profitable, folk from those countries would have a rather good reason to be in Iraq.

What was Bush's line about "We're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here" or something like that? Cuts both ways.

#72 ::: Jean Goldstrom ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 04:04 AM:

To the wingnut debunker:
Standing ovation, well deserved!
-- Jean

#73 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 05:45 AM:

"http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/007240.html
Pretty incisive discussion. Not."

Not a very insightful comment.

At any rate, that is not the only thread on this site where they have been discussed, but as noted in this thread most people here don't assign the same level of importance to the whole affair that you do.

Somehow I doubt that you're either Danish, European, or a Moslem, three of the larger inclusive groups that could be said to have some sort of legitimate interest in the affair.

My advice is, wear looser panties. The feeling of shock will slowly diminish.

#74 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 07:05 AM:

Raw Data, you are as subtle as a SUV. I live in Europe and I can confirm that the entire brouaha didn't survive one single news cycle. Nobody gives a toss, really.
BTW, if this comes as a shock for you, wait until they tell you that the Earth is round.

#75 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 08:38 AM:

Giacomo: it was in the news for about a week, I think, on and off. Then it seems to have died away. Maybe the protestors got bored?

Kevin: a generally conservative old Danish paper decided to commission some generally tepid and fairly predictable cartoons depicting Muhamed. [...] So, after the Danish cartoons appeared to a chorus of yawns

Generally accurate, but missing the fact that nobody paid any attention when they were in the Danish newspaper - it seems to have been the reprinting in a Norwegian one which kicked it off, for whatever reason.

Oh - and the original paper may or may not be conservative (I don't read it). It is fairly unarguably run/owned by bigots of the Christian variety, however. Claims of "we must have freedom!" are slightly hollower from their mouths.

Personally, I think it falls into the category of things that you have the right to do, but you should consider several times whether it's a *wise* thing to do first.

#76 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 09:17 AM:

Now, I know it is wrong to cast stones without ample supporting evidence, but I find "Raw Data"'s username, e-mail address, and repeated, slightly patronzing questioning style to emit a whiff of what smells like troll to me. Of course, YMMV and I may be completely incorrect. I just have my doubts.

No, you are absolutely correct. Raw Data is using a familiar tactic known as Glennuendo. He threw in a fillip of Capt. Renault "shock" for extra style points. Classy!

#77 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 10:49 AM:

It is fairly unarguably run/owned by bigots of the Christian variety, however. Claims of "we must have freedom!" are slightly hollower from their mouths.

I seem to recall hearing that that newspaper refused to print cartoons of the same flavor, by the same artist, with Jesus as the subject.

#78 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 10:52 AM:

I thoroughly agree with the diseection of that jerk's chain-letter; it made me happy to see it done, and I enjoyed disliking the author (which Jim never directly asks us to do, I must add).

This informs me that I have some of the poison in me, too. The bit that exults in another person's obvious wrongness, and in seeing such a strong defence of my side. Yes, I guess there's a place for righteous anger, but those who distrust their own become monsters large or small---Pratchett has a neat unfavourable comparison of the the face of Virtue Triumphant with the face of Evil Unmasked.

Some of it is obviously born of feeling like this guy is on the currently-winning side, and the complete abandonment of any real thought that many minds can be changed---proof that weakness can corrupt as well.

And this shouldn't be used as an excuse not to struggle at all, to retreat into quietism for the sake of our own purity...but it means we should remember that we are struggling with our brothers and sisters in fallibility and the ability to sin---knowing that we are a bit like them and could get worse is the only real impediment of which I can think against our becoming a lot like them.

#79 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 11:02 AM:

Following all this from across the pond, I find it reassuring every time I hear a loud and clear voice of reason. I mean, I know you guys are out there, and I understand that in a country which values freedom of speech as highly as the US does, both the madmen and the geniuses can be heard much louder, but especially for a European living in a Europe where rolling your eyes at them crazy Americans has become a kneejerk reaction when the discussion comes anywhere near the topic and where even my very unpolitical father will complain loudly about your president during dinner (he doesn't talk about our politicians at all--well, there isn't much to say except that our chancellorette (;P) still has really bad hair) it is good to be reminded that there are still today smart people with a healthy idea of patriotism in America.

Patriotism is a funny thing; I've never known it. In post WWII Germany, there is no such thing as patriotism. Matter of fact, if you're flying a German flag, you're most probably a nazi. That's pretty much how people feel, and I must admit that whenever I drive by that one house in my village that always has our flag up I frown. The fact that they have a kitchy picture of Siegfried killing the dragon painted on their garage door does not help. Anyway, I've come to associate US patriotism almost exclusively with the likes of Doug; but remembering my American Culture Studies lessons, and remembering Gore Vidal's wonderful "Burr", I am reminded that there are truly ideas and values at least theoretically important to your country that I would be proud of too.

So to make this rant at least a little bit like a proper contribution to a conversation, how many liberals do you think would also call themselves patriots?

#80 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 11:07 AM:

Coming late to the party, wanted to chime in. There's some interesting buzzwords in this letter, IMO.

> And I’m supposed to care that a copy of the
> Koran was "desecrated" when an overworked
> American soldier kicked it or got it wet?

"Overworked" means that we should feel sorry for the guy.

> In the meantime, when I hear a story about a
> brave marine roughing up an Iraqi terrorist to
> obtain information, know this: I don’t care.

The person who's torturing someone is "brave."

> When I see a fuzzy photo of a pile of naked
> Iraqi prisoners who have been humiliated

The use of "fuzzy" suggests that you can't really tell what's going on in the photo. It might not be torture at all.

> And oh, by the way, I’ve noticed that
> sometimes it’s spelled "Koran" and other times
> "Quran." Well, Jimmy Crack Corn and — you
> guessed it, I could not have said this any
> better myself!

I think this is meant to be funny. "Those people are so stupid, they don't even know how to spell the name of their own holy book."

Also, I wonder if this was ever performed as a speech, in front of an audience. That last quote is definitely going for a punch line. And "Can I get an AMEN" is borrowed from spoken performance as well.

> If you agree with this view point, pass this on
> to all your e-mail friends. Sooner or later, it’ll
> get to the people responsible for this

What does that mean exactly? Who are the people responsible, and what are they responsible for? And, I hate to say it, why should these imaginary people "care" about this email?

#81 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 11:26 AM:

That 'overworked' should also mean that hey, Our Fearless Leader didn't send enough people to Do The Job Right. At least, that's what overworked implies to me (obviously doug didn't think that one through). But I don't think they should be there at all.

#82 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 11:44 AM:

how many liberals do you think would also call themselves patriots?

Daniel, I see myself as a centrist/progressive, but you can lump me in with the liberals if you want. I also have a couple of big American flag bumper stickers on my car. I consider myself a patriot, but I define patriotism as love of country, not love of government. I'm pretty disgusted with "W" and his cronies these days. But I think there are a lot of people in this country trying to do the right thing, and that's why I'd say I'm a patriot.

#83 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 11:47 AM:

that last link is a search. Here's a better, direct link

#84 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 11:49 AM:

One aside relating to "hazing."

In WV hazing is illegal. Anyone caught hazing at WVU will face penalties up to explusion from school. I believe fraternities can even get their charters revoked.

(The WV legislature made hazing illegal in 1995.)

#85 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 11:50 AM:

Oh, and yeah, I'm sure some people see my flag and think I'm a right-wing knucklehead who has sworn alliegiance to "W", but I'm not going to change who I am for them.

#86 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 11:57 AM:

P J: yes, that's correct. They also refused to print something similar after the Mohammed cartoons, as far as I remember.

Mind you, this isn't really on-topic for this thread...

#87 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 12:14 PM:

I'm a liberal...and an Air Force brat.

I'm a patriot, I love my country. I hate the fools who are currently in power...

And I'm deathly afraid that the GOP is going to continue to win elections.

#88 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 12:28 PM:

Am I a patriot?

I love my homeland, but by that I mean a very small piece of territory within these United States.

Do I love "America"?

I'm all in favor of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I think democracy is a pretty cool idea. But if you asked me, "Does America embody those ideals?" my answer would be no. And I'm not basing that on the Bush Dynasty alone. I'm basing it on my whole lifetime.

The reason for why I feel that way can be summed up in four words: I grew up poor.

The American Revolution was a long time ago. People who have attained power don't want to give it up.

#89 ::: suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 12:45 PM:

Jim wrote:
How long do you personally think you’d last before I got you to confess to being a member of al Qaeda?

Ooooh! Can I help? Or at least watch? Pretty please?

#90 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 12:46 PM:

From Byron's 'The Vision of Judgment'


I don`t see wherefore letters should not be
Written without hands, since we daily view
Them written without heads; and books, we see,
Are fill`d as well without the latter too:
And really till we fix on somebody
For certain sure to claim them as his due,
Their author, like the Niger`s mouth, will bother
The world to say if there be mouth or author.

LXXXII

`And who and what art thou?` the Archangel said.
`For that you may consult my title-page,`
Replied this mighty shadow of a shade:
`If I have kept my secret half an age,
I scarce shall tell it now.` — `Canst thou upbraid,`
Continued Michael, `George Rex, or allege
Aught further?` Junius answer`d, `You had better
First ask him for his answer to my letter:

LXXXIII

`My charges upon record will outlast
The brass of both his epitaph and tomb.`
`Repent`st thou not,` said Michael, `of some past
Exaggeration? something which may doom
Thyself if false, as him if true? Thou wast
Too bitter — is it not so? — in thy gloom
Of passion?` — `Passion!` cried the phantom dim,
`I loved my country, and I hated him!'


#91 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 12:48 PM:

I seem to recall hearing that that newspaper refused to print cartoons of the same flavor, by the same artist, with Jesus as the subject.

Not the same artist(s). The Jesus cartoons came in over the transom, and were rejected because they might offend. So the editors were concerned about offending Christians; Muslims, not so much, to the point where they solicited cartoons after learning that any depiction of Mohammed is offensive to many Muslims.

I don't know about the Christian associations of the paper. They may not be what we in America would assume. In Europe, Lutherans are called evangelicals, as that's what they called themselves during the Reformation. "Lutheran" was a Catholic epithet meant to insinuate that they worshipped Martin Luther. In Germany, "evangelische" means Lutheran, and "evangelikal" denotes American-style evangelical Christianity. The Church of Denmark is Lutheran, and is still state-sponsored, so 95% or so of the population is technically Lutheran, but very few actually go to church.

At least that's what I've picked up as an American Lutheran. The Europeans in these parts may have corrections/clarifications.

#92 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 01:39 PM:

That's about the size of it, from what I read in one of the Salon articles: The editors specifically commissioned the Mohammed cartoons, likely in response to everything going on in the Netherlands, whereas they didn't take the Jesus cartoons because they didn't commission them and didn't want to piss off their subscriber base. Also because, as obnoxious as many Christians are, at the moment not many people are being killed in the name of Christianity. The same cannot be said of Islam.

#93 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 01:54 PM:

That's what I've read too - the editors specifically commissioned cartoons that would be offensive to Muslims. Which is, you know, offensive. Actually there's a word for that - "trolling."

at the moment not many people are being killed in the name of Christianity

I give you the Lord's Resistance Army.

#94 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 02:36 PM:

not many people are being killed in the name of Christianity.

Some people would disagree - like General Boykin and his supporters at Town Hall, or the evangelical corps ascendant in today's Air Force. They just think it's okay, when it's them doing it to somebody else (same as how the Quran is a horrible book for commanding death to infidels, but the Bible is not, for doing the same.)

#95 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 03:16 PM:

Laura Roberts: (quoting Kevin): [...at the moment not many people are being killed in the name of Christianity]

I give you the Lord's Resistance Army.

Um, yeah, sort of, I guess. But I think that's really more about the nutbar Joseph Kony, isn't it? He considers himself to be some sort of demi-god with special information only he can see in the Bible, or something, I believe.

I think, to be fair, most people wouldn't consider the killing he's doing as much more than the work of a self-aggrandizing maniac. I think the LRA is Christianity only in the sense that, oh, I dunno, James Jones was supposedly a Christian. If he was, I don't even know. Who can keep track of these morons?

#96 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 03:29 PM:

The cartoons were originally commissioned to illustrate viewpoints of mohammed that would pertain to modern life in the context of a book that was going to be released by a danish author about the life of Mohammed http://www.modspil.dk/politik/k_re_bluitgens_nye_bog_om_profeten_muhammed.html
, this at any rate is my understanding of the terms of the commission. The commission was to have some illustrations for an article on the book, or the viewpoint of the book (uncertain as I am not a jylland's post reader, and I don't care to go back to read that article) The description of the book in the url above is basically that it is a book of bad propaganda. The book has done rather well from the controversy.

Thus the cartoons were not commissioned with any statement to the effect that they must be negative, but given the book's viewpoint, current anti-islamic sentiment, the editorial stance of the paper, and the uncanny ability of freelancers to divine what is wanted of them I suppose it is not surprising that they were negative.

That said that the editors declined to take negative cartoons of another religious figure that they did not commission is not pertinent, what would be pertinent if positive depictions of Mohammed had been provided and declined on the basis of being inappropriate to the theme.

#97 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 03:45 PM:

Michael Weholt: yes, Joseph Kony is a nutbar. But do Christian nutbars not count as Christians? Do Muslim nutbars count as Muslims? Saddam Hussein sounds like a nutbar; so does the president of Iran. Osama bin Laden could very well be a nutbar - I don't know much about him, except that he's Evil.

When people do bad things and use religion as their excuse, is the religion to blame? (Also, what bellatrys said.)

#98 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 04:29 PM:

On the definition of patriotism, I remember a favorite quote from Chesterton:

"'My country, right or wrong' is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'"

Mr. Patton is defending a punch-drunk (the US is fear-drunk, or anger-drunk) country: his desperation is like a child trying to explain the behavior of a drunk parent as being anything other than, well, drunk.

Punched out a bystander? The bystander must have been secretly a friend of the original target. Hit a child while driving? The child shouldn't have been using the crosswalk so late at night. Shot a perceived mugger- who didn't actually have any weapon? The mugger must have hidden the weapon away. Taken all the child's allowance and piggy banks to pay for more drinks? It's for the child's good...

#99 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 04:37 PM:

Am I a patriot? I was read this passage far too young to ever be able to think of patriotism without remembering it.

"...How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe talks about it; I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love wher the name ceases to apply? What is love of one's country, is it hate of one's uncountry? Then it's not a good thing. Or is it simply self-love? That's a good thing, but one mustn't make a virtue of it, or a profession....Insofar as I love life, I love the hills of the Domain of Estre, but that sort of love does not have a boundary-line of hate. And beyond that, I am ignorant, I hope."
- Therem Harth rem ir Estraven, The Left Hand of Darkness

Yes, I am a patriot, as rooted in the mountains of Northern California as Estraven is in Estre. But I don't believe that I must be a xenophobe, or a blind woman, to be a patriot. (Nor do I believe I may be a patriot of only one patria. I'm polypatriotic.)

#100 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 04:46 PM:

Laura Roberts: ...But do Christian nutbars not count as Christians? Do Muslim nutbars count as Muslims?

I think the first contention was that not many people are being killed in the name of Christianity, and the second contention was that people are being killed by the LRA in the name of Christianity.

Kony can call himself a Christian if he wants. Just like people who behead innocent people for the camera can call themselves Muslims if they want.

It's my understanding that the vast majority of Muslims don't consider such people Muslims and so don't accept that what they are doing is being done in the name of Islam, even though the guys with the serrated blades say it is.

I think likewise most Christians would dispute that what Kony is doing is being done in the name of Christianity. even though he, and others, might say it is.

In the sense that Kony and the beheaders say they are manufacturing gore in the name of God, then, yes, people are being killed in the names of the respective religions. But just because nutbars say they are doing it for their religion doesn't mean they objectively are. By that I mean: I think you have to make your determination on more than just the word of fringy, freaked-out creatures of the night.

Is all I'm saying.

When people do bad things and use religion as their excuse, is the religion to blame?

My personal answer is "No".

And I'm an atheist, just for the record.

#101 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 04:47 PM:

is love of one's country, is it hate of one's uncountry? ... a boundary-line of hate.

--The Left Hand of Darkness

Hm, I couldn't get past the first dozen pages of the left hand of darkness, couldn't stomach it for some reason. That a character talks of love and then links the absence of love to mean hate is probably a flag that it was a good thing I didn't finish the book.

That I love my country doesn't say anything at all about me hating any other country.

#102 ::: JB Segal ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 05:00 PM:

So, ameriasvoices.org is inaccessable from my workplace at this time. Further searching on '"Doug Patton" "Christian Coalition"' however, lead me to http://www.conservativetruth.org/article.php?id=310 which is a reasonably good screed against the government's intrusion into things that should be private.

"Soon, the newly created federal Department of Homeland Security will send spies into my home to observe and report. Now they want to know which library books I’m reading.

After all the privacy I have forfeited in the last fifty years, you wouldn’t think that it would bother me any more, would you? Well, it does."

Sometimes even the wingnuts get it right...

#103 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 05:10 PM:

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that not a single one of Raw Data's posts make reference to the plight of the Andorran sea bass.

#104 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 05:17 PM:

Daniel: So to make this rant at least a little bit like a proper contribution to a conversation, how many liberals do you think would also call themselves patriots?

Hmmm... how 'bout... all of them? I've never met a liberal who didn't identify themself as a patriot. I had to explain that once to the neo-con friend of a friend...

Randy, I said, there are two kinds of patriots: your kind and my kind, and the difference between them is like the love shared by a mother and her child. The child sees the mother as near to holy. Mom can do no wrong. Mommy is the greatest. If you say anything bad about my mommy, I'll hit you. The child can encompass only All Good or All Evil. For Mommy not to be All Evil, she must be All Good. There is no gray between the black and the white.

Mommy, on the other hand, has a more mature and sophisticated love for her child. She loves the child more than life itself, but is not blind to her child's faults. She wants to guide the child and see him grow up to be an asset to the world. She loves the child SO much that she is willing to suffer the child's anger and rejection (and her own inner torment) when she must chastise or punish the child for being naughty. Mommy knows that, hard as it is to punish the child, it is necessary and beneficial to do so.

Randy, I said, YOU are the child loving your Mommy, the Government, while I am the Mommy loving my child, the Government.

Idiots like Dog Patton (oops, Freudian slip!) have forgotten the basic Christian tenet of "Hate the Sin, but love the Sinner." They seem to think that loving the Sinner means loving all theirs sins as well... I have to admit that it takes far less thought and energy to hold that view, but at what cost?

~Ed~

#105 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 05:17 PM:

Michael Weholt: But just because nutbars say they are doing it for their religion doesn't mean they objectively are.

That's true. But I wasn't just talking about how self-professed members of a religion carry out what they perceive to be their religious duties. I also had in mind the people who go around saying "Islam is an evil religion - just look at all the terrorists it breeds."

In other words, you can't judge a religion by its nutbars. I think we're in agreement.

OTOH, some (most?) religions promote intolerance and insist that they are the one true way. To my mind, that kind of thinking helps to breed nutbars, or at least gives them a cause to rally around.

#106 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 05:39 PM:

Greg,

That speech comes as the answer to the question, "You hate Orgoreyn [not his country], don't you?" Estraven wasn't bringing hate into a discussion of love - he was bringing love into a discussion of hate.

In the broader context, I'd say the email at the top of this message was full of hate for the uncountry. I can't blame Le Guin for putting her finger on that thread of patriotism.

Like any book, it's not for everyone - but if you're going to dislike it, don't dislike it for one quote out of context.

#107 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 05:55 PM:

I think I'd identify as a liberal but not as a patriot. That may just be a reaction to persistent misuse of the word, or rather the overuse of it by a particular group with whom I tend to disagree. I like my native country (Wales, strictly speaking, although I grew up in England - with an Irish mother - and am a citizen of the UK) to do things I agree with, and it's not like I'm not proud of many of the things it already does and has historically done; and I feel much more at ease there than in most of the other countries I have lived in (four so far). I'm pleased to have been born there, and I will bask in whatever reflected glory is available; and I guess I will take a share of the blame when it does stupid things on my behalf. I am certainly not interested in denying my close connection with it. But I also bear in mind the EM Forster quote about choosing between one's friend and one's country, and hoping to have the courage to betray one's country; and John Osborne's "A Patriot For Me".

Perhaps all of this is just a liberal's definition of patriotism; and perhaps I'm just wary of saying I love my country because I'm not sure what that commits me to.

Still, I quite like having it around.

#108 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 06:01 PM:

abi,

I don't think I got to that quote by the time I put the book down. As I said, I only got a dozen pages or so into the book and could not continue reading it. I don't know why, but the words rubbed me the wrong way, which is why I didn't like the book, not because of the quote.

#109 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 06:09 PM:

I am a liberal and a patriot; I love my country. I do not like everything it does or has done; that would be ridiculous. I would never say "My country right or wrong;" when my country has done something wrong, I yell. I dislike the present administration intensely. I think that yelling at them for the ways in which they tamper with the law and disrespect the Constitution IS the act of a patriot.


#110 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 06:51 PM:

Laura Roberts: I think we're in agreement.

Yah, I think so.

OTOH, some (most?) religions promote intolerance and insist that they are the one true way. To my mind, that kind of thinking helps to breed nutbars, or at least gives them a cause to rally around.

Okay but we can't arrest, indict, try, convict and then execute religions. Religions don't kill people; people kill people. Certainly attempts are made to ban (or cripple) certain religions by other religions, Catholicism in the People's Republic, for example, or Christianity in parts of Afghanistan, but that's more along the lines of this insistence that you mention on OUR religion being the ONE TRUE WAY.

I mentioned the other day I was currently reading Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven. Last night I just finished the part about the Mountain Meadow(s) Massacre and subsequent murders of "Gentiles" by the Mormons. The picture you have of Mormonism after all that is that it was a particularly vile religion back then. The sort of behavior it encouraged was really awful. But, of course a lot of the religious justifications for the thievery and murder and massacres were "revealed" by Brigham Young and even by the founder of the religion, Joseph Smith himself. So, you know, who's guilty here?

My answer is that it isn't the religion itself. It's the guys who justified the vile behavior based on "revelations". And it's the people who actually carried out all the vile acts while carrying those religious justifications in their back pockets.

It's like saying N*z*sm is responsible for the Holocaust when it fact it was the N*z*s themselves, and those who went along with them (asterisks to defeat troll search engines) who were responsible for it.

The importance of making the distinction is this: I don't particularly care to listen to the filth of contemporary N*z*s, for example -- my life is a lot more pleasant if I don't have to. But I can't see banning speech in favor of it, as Germany apparently does. It's their business if they want to, of course, but I don't think the German people should be "protected" from it. Or, better put, if the German people do need to be protected from it, then we've got REAL problems. Having to be protected from such speech suggests to me that the urges that led to N*z*sm in the first place are still there, and if they are, then we are going to see people -- in large numbers -- acting on them again. People aren't very good at hiding urges like that for very long.

So my view is, put the emphasis on how people choose to behave, and not on what they choose to believe. As I said earlier, religions, and ideologies too, don't kill people; human beings do.

#111 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 07:05 PM:

On the subject of patriotism and loving your country and whatnot:

I think there has to be some semblance of love to take part in the democratic process of whatever country you live in, because love is an accepting or embracing state. I love my wife, for example, but I don't relate to her like I have to like everything she does or that I have to go along with whatever she wants. Love is richer and more complex than that.

If you are voting, then you're engaging in the relationship that is democracy. THat's what I see as patriotism and loving your country.

And the morons who take the word and twist it into "the president is always right" or "the government is always right" have grossly oversimplified somethign as complex as love and turned it into obediance.


#112 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2006, 09:51 AM:

Bravo, Jim! Bravo!

Y'know, if Jesus came back now, and started preaching the same stuff he did way back when, these wingnuts masquerading as Christians would crucify him again, as the anti-Christ.

#113 ::: Bill Hooker ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2006, 11:59 AM:

Bravo, Jim!

#114 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2006, 02:03 PM:

Beautifully said, Jim.

#115 ::: Electric Landlady ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2006, 03:46 PM:

Bravo, Mr. Macdonald.

I tend to point anyone who brings up That Cartoon Thing in the direction of this Q&A with Doug Saunders, a writer for the Globe and Mail. Very clear and calm.

Raw Data, if you're still around, and if it needs to be said, the proprietors and guests of this blog pretty much discuss what they feel like discussing. You shouldn't take their failure to discuss one of your pet topics as evidence of moral turpitude, cause for shock, or really much of anything other than a sign that they didn't feel like discussing it.

#116 ::: Ericka ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2006, 04:21 PM:

Very well said Jim! It's an e-mail I've received a number of times before. Not being as articulate, may I use your response in making my displeasure known to the senders of such trash?

#117 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2006, 08:42 PM:

wrt the question of foreign fighters in Iraq, I'm surprised nobody has brought up the question of who is defined as a foreigner and why. IIRC, the current boundaries were mostly drawn by European powers after the Ottoman empire was broken by World War I; Iraq is particularly pointed to as being a cold-blooded congeries of three groups, roughly identifiable by combinations of geography, religion, and subrace, who had no reason to be put together. (I've read there was a reason Europe was so tender of the defeated Turks' feelings as not to give the Kurds their own country, but I'm blanking on why.) People from the Shatt al-Arab to west of the Straits of Gibraltar call themselves Arabs, and have reason to argue that crossing a border that was defined by aliens is no crime, particularly if it is to help their neighbor against an alien invader; even the people east of that marker can argue that the border drawn past it is arbitrary.

#118 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2006, 12:09 AM:

Oh, I'm around Electric Landlady. Never fear.

I did look at that Doug Saunders interview. Thoughtful, though I wonder if a bit naive in his optimism that the vast majority of Moslems truly desire to integrate? It's hard to judge these things but it seems that they have only tepid interest in embracing western values such as the rough-and tumble of public conversation, women's rights, free speech, tolerance etc etc

But thanks. Was there something in particular which caught your eye?

#119 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2006, 01:19 AM:

It is sad, if not unexpected, that we keep discussing some things over & over:

"Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong." Naval commander Stephen Decatur, 1816.
In 1871 Carl Schurz put the concept in a slightly different light: "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right."
I've seen a comment by Mark Twain saying " 'Our Country, right or wrong,' ... Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation?" (from notes for a book called "Glances at History" - see his further peroration here)

#120 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2006, 02:16 AM:

CHip: I remarked, far above: "It's true that the 'foreign fighters' are less foreign than the coalition forces - after all, for them the borders of nations in the middle east are likely to have no particular significance."

I meant by this that they would mostly consider themselves to be subjects of an Islamic Caliphate, rather than citizens of any country, arguing that the 'nations' of the Islamic world were largely set up by infidels, and that their borders can therefore have no meaning for Muslims.

I think such an argument much overstates the case. True, these nations are more recent and more fragile, but that is not to say that they have no legitimacy, or that their borders are meaningless "lines in the sand". Regional roots go deep, and are nourished by different cultures, whatever their religious unity. Iraq did get a bad set of ethnic borders, but there is no hope of excising, for instance, a separate Kurdistan from Turkey and Syria without a very nasty and very protracted war. A better case, perhaps, can be made for hiving off the Shia south, but then the rest of the country would hardly be viable at all.

I think, mereover, that most who argue for a real, functioning pan-Islamic Caliphate, would want it to be a theocracy, rejecting democracy, and including literal sharia law, repression of other creeds, and conservative patriarchal society. Many Muslims would reject this, of course. It is difficult to see how it could be much more than a general umbrella, much as one may speak of "the West" while still recognising that the nations that make it up are recognisably and culturally separate, whatever one takes those nations to be.

#121 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2006, 03:27 AM:

Iraq did get a bad set of ethnic borders, but there is no hope of excising, for instance, a separate Kurdistan from Turkey and Syria without a very nasty and very protracted war.

And what, precisely, do we have now? It seems we have a perfect "Life gives you lemons" situation, excepting the war in Turkey and Syria, and Bush certainly seems to have plans for war in Syria too.

Borders get redrawn all the time. Countries regularly cease to exist. I could make a claim to Prussian nobility, except for the fact that there is no longer a Prussia.

#122 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2006, 03:35 AM:

It could be argued that, compared to Americans, Syrians are local. Compared to people from Tikrit, Syrians are foreign.

Your foreignity is comparative. You could imagine a group of nested lists, like:

(((Left-Bank La-Defense Beauborg)
Orleans Brittany)
(Germany
((Glasgow Aberdeen Edinburgh)
England Wales)))

So, if you were from the Left Bank, Orleans would be foreign, compared to La Defense. Compared to Glasgow, Orleans would be local.

(Why the lists? Because of Emacs, or Elisp, to be more precise. After a few hours of looking through the documentation, you start to think in lists...)

Of course, the problem in Iraq would then be that everyone is being compared to the Americans. There are very few people more foreign to the Iraqis than the Americans.

#123 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2006, 04:40 AM:

Kevin: What we have in Iraq, in my estimate, is a war, with all the manifold miseries and injustices wars always entail. The creation of a Kurdish state would require a considerably larger one, involving two, possibly three regional powers - Turkey and Syria at least are committed to preventing the formation of such a state on their borders, for it would undeniably be hostile to them, while Iran would be delighted to patronise it.

Most deplore the Iraq War as it is. Must we debate the undesirability of its considerable exansion?

#124 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2006, 08:05 AM:

The first and last line in the defence of 'freedom' and 'liberty' is the truth. The American Government has been ignoring that since 1945 - and my pathetic lap dog of a government (which I presently support) has gone along with that for reasons best known to their post-political bank accounts.
'War on terrorism'? Where was that when the California Supreme Court refused to deport the convicted murderers of Capt Nairack on the grounds their crimes were political (too right they were political, they were IRA murderers) Where was that when Pinochet butchered a democratically elected government in Chile (as I recall, Kissinger said - in effect - anyone within the American sphere of influence can elect any govt it likes, as long as Washington agrees - Venezuela, plus ca change)
The list is endless, depressing and it is certainly facile to rehearse it.
However, the good news is that Gee Whiz hasn't actually repealed the Constitution yet (he just behaves like he has) 'We hold these truths to be self evident' are still what they always were, a message of hope to everyone on this planet that doesn't like despots. Your founding fathers thought those words applied to everyone, not just anyone accidentally born within the colonies, as they were then. It is infinitely sad and depressing (and almost certainly counterproductive when trying to defeat those Wahabi fanatics who really do want to destroy our way of life) to see those words being trampled on by morons who believe the ends justify any means - like the imbecile who wrote the letter and was so courageous he had to hide behind someone else's name.
Ends don't justify means. Good guys don't torture. Good guys don't carpet bomb mud hut villages from 50000 feet. Good guys don't cruise around in Humvees shooting at any vehicle they damn well please. Good guys don't trample on habeas corpus. Good guys don't do a lot of things going on in Iraq and elsewhere in the name of some idiotic 'war on terrorism'. Good guys don't do bad things (do they, Lt Calley) If they do bad things it is because they are bad guys. Go look at the Nuremberg transcripts.
All any of us can do is stamp our feet and shake our fists in anger and always, always, always tell the truth. If other people can't take it, that's their problem. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all 5.8bn of us are much too precious to be hijacked by a few rich men who care absolutely nothing for the life, liberty and the happiness of anyone except themselves.
Okay, rant over. It is a wonderful day outside and, as the song says, we SHALL overcome.

#125 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2006, 03:36 AM:

Martyn, especially concerning your penultimate paragraph, can I refer you over to parts of the Jane Smiley's "Notes for Converts" thread, particularly also the link across to 'Bottomless Soup' in mid-2004 - www.gerrold.com/ soup/ 2004_05_16_archive.htm. I also feel strongly the way you feel, but how to get others to see it that way, if it's not obvious to them, is what pushes me towards despair & disconnection.

#126 ::: alau ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 12:29 AM:

I found my way over here via Miss Snark and I just wanted to say thank you for this fantastic post. We need more voices speaking up against ignorance and bigotry.

#127 ::: alaerien ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2006, 01:01 PM:

You speak for me.

#128 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2006, 11:25 AM:

I am with you Alau in your brave call.

I, too, raise my voice against "ignorance and bigotry."

In fact I will go much further and announce, publicly, boldly and for the whole world to read, that I am against all bad things!


#129 ::: Sam Dodsworth ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2006, 05:55 AM:

Are you by any chance the "Raw Data" who just got banned from Crooked Timber for persistent trolling?

#130 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2006, 04:49 PM:

C'est moi, friend Sam.

And btw, you don't have your facts straight.

#131 ::: buschhater ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 04:46 PM:

Get this shit out of here, who cares. I didn't ask for the Busch and I damn sure don't want him. Get 'em the hell out of Washington

#132 ::: Michael W. ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 01:22 PM:

May I have your permission to send your response to the Doug Patten letter?

I have created my own, but yours has greater impact. By the way, I'm fed up with this kind of forwarded ditto headed crap.

Thanks

#133 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 01:35 PM:

Sure, Michael. Go ahead.

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