September 30, 2006

Terrorism And The European Mind
— AndrewR

As I did this post, it went from brief comment to lengthy tirade to primal scream, so I'm putting the whole thing past the jump to keep things here on the main page pithy.

It rambles a bit and jumps around, but I needed to get some stuff off my chest.

I originally found the link on the website that keeps on giving. Curious as to why we Euro-pessimists think the way we do? Read this essay by a Norwegian blogger:

Terrorism will be in our lives for a long time. When and if it ends, it will end because the terrorists grow tired of it, not because we somehow find a permanent way to protect ourselves. Why would terrorists grow tired of terrorism? Who knows? Perhaps, embarassed by the naivety of today's terrorists, who thought they could destroy their way to an Islamist utopia, tired after decades of fruitless effort, a new generation of Islamist fanatics will decide that pragmaticism is a smarter road after all. They wouldn't be the first movement of violent radicals to do this...Or maybe they won't. Whatever happens, I do not believe we can make the threat go away with outside force. Not with police work, not by invading terrorist states, not by solving any social problems, nor by making the world more peaceful and wealthy, and not - certainly not! - by giving them what they want. We can reduce the threat, we can make it difficult for terrorists to succeed, but the threat is not going away. The risk of terrorism will always be there, until they choose to remove it.

Got that? All the proposed solutions we've heard, whether from left and right, aren't what's going to make a difference. It's all up to them.

There's really only one place this line of reasoning can take you:

When we talk about terrorism, it is usually to say how horrible it is, and to ask what we can do to fight it. A lot of people died! Or they could have died! What are we going to do about it? Who's to blame? Is there a law we could pass? Should we give more money to somebody, or maybe invade some place?...This is useful. There are many things we can do, and there's no reason to make it easy for terrorists to kill us. New laws can be useful, and so can money, and even sometimes invasions. But there is another thing I believe we should also talk about, and think about, which we usually forget, and that is how to live with terrorism. How to deal with terrorism as a part of our lives.

The interesting thing here is that he's trotted out a line that we're probably going to be hearing a lot more as things keep getting worse. It's the same attitude the British took back when IRA bombings were at their height: We have to learn to live with a certain acceptable level of violence. We have to wait them out.

What?! Live with terrorism? What are you, a defeatist?

Actually, Bjorn, I don't think you are. A defeatist doesn't necessarily lack the will to fight. You're something worse: a passivist. While a defeatist worries that he might lose, you've decided that there's not even going to be a contest. You're proposing we stand there and take it on the chin without lifting a finger.

This guy's a European intellectual, which means that he's hyper-rationalist, so he's naturally got a foolproof explanation for why this is such a swell idea:

Accept that there is a threat, but don't exaggerate it. Don't trust your instinct to guide you, our instincts are notoriously bad at risk assessment, use reason and facts instead. When people are afraid of flying, they remind themselves that they're much more likely to die in their car on the way to the airport than on the plane itself. Do the same with terrorism. Fight your fears with facts. I don't believe in denial, and it is not denial to say that terrorism is one of the smallest threats that any of us face. It is simple irrational to fear terrorism more than traffic.

I think I get it...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, right?

Here's the problem: fear, like laughter, is involuntary. You no more control what makes you chuckle than a claustrophobe can control that chill that goes up his back every time he steps into an elevator, so I think that our boy Bjorn's casual assumption that we should just not let them hold sway over us is condescending and unrealistic. If he can do it, great, but you can't expect the majority of us to follow suit.

Nor are our fears irrational, at least not in the sense that they're without a certain rational basis. I'll illustrate this with a story.

My parents were booked on a west coast flight out of Logan airport on September 11. It was a mid-morning flight; the only reason they didn't take an earlier one was that my father refused to get up early enough. Had my mother been traveling alone, she almost certainly would have chosen to leave at eight in the morning rather than ten.

Now, as far as September 11 stories go, that's pretty tame, but let it sink in: Imagine knowing that, but for your husband's laziness, you could have been on one of those planes that hit the Twin Towers. Imagine thinking about that every time you step onto a plane for the rest of your life, that sheer luck was the only thing that saved you on that occasion. Will it hold out for your next flight? How about the one after that?

And that's why you can't expect people to walk around and ignore their fears. Uppity Norwegians can lecture us all they want on how it's a random threat and therefore not worth thinking about, but that's precisely why it's so unnerving: once that bomb is in place, it's just a matter of chance whether or not you're going to be around to see it go off.

I'll bet that there are people alive in London today because, on July 7 last year, they stopped on the street for a moment to tie their shoes, or paused to give directions to a tourist, and ended up missing their usual bus. At the same time, people are probably dead because on that particular day they were in a hurry, didn't stop to buy coffee or a newspaper, and caught the wrong train.

What terrorism of this sort removes is the element of control. Sure, I'm statistically less likely to have my plane hijacked than I am to get in an auto wreck, but at least in my car I can do things like keep an eye out for other drivers and avoid areas that I know have a history of accidents. In other words, my fate is, partially at least, in my own hands. Once you're on a plane, train, or bus, there are far fewer precautions you can take, and so its arrogant to believe that people will be continue indefinitely to be fine with trusting to chance.

European politicians and intellectuals don't seem to understand this--hell, plenty of Americans don't--but it's the biggest challenge they face, because their constituents aren't going to remain passive forever. I'm firmly with those who believe that, if things don't start to change soon, there's going to be violence within the next few years, because--and it can't be repeated enough--people will not put up with inaction forever.

Now, I know what the big objection some people are going to have to all of this: This guy isn't the big wuss I'm making him out to be. He isn't as unserious as I'm claiming, he's not saying we should dismantle all our anti-terror programs; he's simply asking us to realize that we can't expect to thwart every planned act of terrorism every time, and that we need to live with that fact.

I'd be on board if I thought that were it, but I don't. In fact, I think he's intentionally encouraging activity that makes terrorism more likely:

I don't see much bravery anywhere, but least off all among the loudest of the anti-terror warriors. It's not brave to scream on your blog for even more anti-terror laws. It's not brave to be willing to torture innocent people because there's a chance they might be guilty...Brave is sitting down calmly on a plane behind a row of suspicious-looking Arabs, ignoring your own fears, because you know those fears are irrational, and because even if there's a chance that they are terrorists, it is more important to you to preserve an open and tolerant society than to survive this trip. Brave is insisting that Arabs not be searched more carefully in airport security than anyone else, because you believe that it is more important not to discriminate against people based on their race than to keep the occasional terrorist from getting on a plane.

Note the contradiction here: Your fear of the suspicious Arabs in the row in front of you is irrational, and yet it's brave to ignore it. But in order to do something brave, don't you have to be putting yourself at risk? Because if that's the case, than your fear can't be irrational. So which is it?

That's not the worse part, though. Here's the worst part, again: "it is more important to you to preserve an open and tolerant society than to survive this trip".

Take a minute and think of the most important person in your life. Maybe it's an unsurprising choice, like your husband, your daughter, or your best friend. Maybe you're old and can't get out of the house much, and it's the young person who comes over a few times a week to check up on you and keep you company. Maybe you're a poor kid from a bad neighborhood, and it's the teacher at your school who took you out to play darts and drink root beer on your birthday because he knew your parents would forget.

That person's life is less important than taking fifteen extra minutes to check somebody's carry-on.

Maybe some people can do that, but most of us can't. Actually, "can't" isn't even the right word: Most of us won't even try, because we, unable to look down on the world from the rarefied, Olympian heights occupied by Bjorn Staerk, refuse to give more importance to an abstract principle than we do to the person sitting next to us. This is because we are better than him.

Since this Scandinavian sophist places so much weight on "rational" thinking, I'm going to let you in on the first primal realization that crawled out of my id when I finished reading this piece of self-congratulating, masturbatory filth:

I wouldn't trade the convenience of every Muslim on the globe for five minutes off my little sister's life.

Posted by: AndrewR at 07:28 AM | Comments (40)
Post contains 1847 words, total size 11 kb.

1

I don't see much bravery anywhere


This guy wouldn't recognize bravery if it saved his life every day. Which it does.


Awesome rant Andrew.


Posted by: lauraw at September 30, 2006 07:37 AM (AQ2cT)

2 I'm surprised. Bjorn Staerk used to be all for fighting terrorists. However, he's been known to do parodies of deep-dyed moonbats on occasion. Are you so sure this isn't one of those parodies? True, these days it's hard to tell.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 30, 2006 07:59 AM (X9QjQ)

3 Great stuff, Andrew, but your dad's pissed that you called him lazy.

Posted by: Dan Collins at September 30, 2006 08:02 AM (pYXRq)

4 it is more important to you to preserve an open and tolerant society than to survive this trip

Moronic sheeple.

People like this deserve to get waxed so we can strengthen the gene pool.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 30, 2006 08:09 AM (8uDDG)

5 He ignores the desire we have to not see others killed. He frames his entire argument around a self-preservation instinct. Me, I want us to fight because I don't want strangers getting killed by terrorists. Of course the chances of terrorism actually harming me is ridiculously low, but the chances of it harming someone else are certain, and that is unacceptable.

He also ignores the economic and social consequences of terrorism. But I imagine ivory tower intellects don't think us conservative rubes think at that level, so he can be forgiven.

Posted by: adam h at September 30, 2006 08:13 AM (g1GfP)

6 You know, before 9/11 most people thought a 'terrorist attack' was something whose death toll was in the dozens, tops. Hundreds was a mega-terror strike.

I'd rather the next attack that raises our casualty expectations by some orders of magnitude doesn't ever happen.

Posted by: someone at September 30, 2006 08:19 AM (LS1TS)

7 I wasn't too upset by the Euroweenie until the line:

it is more important to you to preserve an open and tolerant society than to survive this trip

Yeah. F*$% that. Body cavity searches for all Muslims wouldn't bother me a bit.

On the fear of terrorism, he has a point. The chances of being a victim are very low. What scares me most is the combination of terrorism and WMDs.

Posted by: adolfo_velasquez at September 30, 2006 08:20 AM (zEeMI)

8 Yes, yes, that's it exactly, those who believe that death is the highest goal of all are going to lay down their arms and realize they were wrong. Got it.

I want to know what time frame he's looking at and what level of casualties are acceptable to him. How long are we to wait? How many people will get on a bus/train/plane and never go home? How many women will get their throats slit by their family for the crime of wanting their own life? How many? And, hell yes, I want a number.

Your conclusion is the right one. Not being called a racist for being, as Dennis Miller puts it, minimally fucking observant is not worth one freaking second of my parents' lives.

Posted by: alexthechick at September 30, 2006 08:24 AM (AqAtg)

9 adam h said: "Of course the chances of terrorism actually harming me is ridiculously low, but the chances of it harming someone else are certain, and that is unacceptable."

Until more of us feel this way, we continue to be in danger.

Posted by: PattyAnn at September 30, 2006 08:26 AM (tDAyS)

10

Wars are for warriors, the soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines who step up and prioudly serve their country's interests in uniform.


Terrorism is for terrorists who sneakingly attack civilians leading their lives in shops, restaurants, and public transportation.


Since the islamic fascists have been the perpetrators of terrorism again the United States and our interests, ALL people resembling islamists are suspeect.  That is not the result of irrational fear but of rational discernment of facts and evidence.


The absolutely most horrifying aspect of 9/11 to me is that the murders didn't set off a bomb not knowing whom they killed; they KNEW that there were children on those planes.  Yes, the adults were innocent victims as well, but the idea of killing children puts these evil people beyong any desire of mine for understanding or dialogue with those who remain. 


Posted by: goddessoftheclassroom at September 30, 2006 08:27 AM (42Gwq)

11 "Terrorism will be in our lives for a long time. When and if it ends, it will end because the terrorists grow tired of it, not because we somehow find a permanent way to protect ourselves. "

He started with a true statement but started to veer off the rails almost immediately and then lost it completely. Terrorism is going to be around for some time, perhaps the rest of my life. And I don't believe it will stop until those who commit terrorism decide to stop doing it.

But thats not to say we can't fight it and can't cause terrorism to be seen as frutiless by fighting back harder then they fight us. It may be true that fighting back causes increased fanaticism in the short run, seem to be the case in Iraq. But the converse is also true. If we show a long term determination that increased fanaticism will cause us to fight back harder and NEVER give up, eventually it will be a less popular calling. They believe they can use terror to break our will. We have to prove them wrong.

Posted by: JackStraw at September 30, 2006 08:28 AM (rnOZq)

12 First, I should point out that whatever you have in mind when you picture a European intellectual to yourself, I'm not it. At least I think they would be offended by the comparison. I belong to no camp, and I'm unimpressed by all those people who have implied that since I'm obviously not on "their" side, I must be on the other.

Second, you say you can't control your fear. Maybe not, or at least there's a limit to it. But you can control how you react to that fear. You can train yourself not to listen to it. The reason I mentioned fear of flying one place is that I'm moderately afraid to fly myself. I used to think that if perhaps I could do it often enough, then the fear would go away. It hasn't happened yet. What has happened instead is that I've learned ways to deal with my fear. I've learned to do something that I really don't enjoy. I suspect it's like that with all fears. The fear itself may largely be beyond our control, but nobody can take away your choice - only yourself, by telling yourself you have none.

"Note the contradiction here: Your fear of the suspicious Arabs in the row in front of you is irrational, and yet it's brave to ignore it. But in order to do something brave, don't you have to be putting yourself at risk? Because if that's the case, than your fear can't be irrational. So which is it?"

Illusion and reality. The threat is mostly illusory, there is virtually no chance that you will find yourself on a plane with terrorists. But the illusion is real to you, and creates a very real fear. Ignoring that fear requires a modest amount of bravery - even though the fear is irrational.

Andrea Harris: "I'm surprised. Bjorn Staerk used to be all for fighting terrorists. However, he's been known to do parodies of deep-dyed moonbats on occasion. Are you so sure this isn't one of those parodies? True, these days it's hard to tell."

Hey, Andrea, it's been a while. This is no parody. A lot of people find it difficult to read it on its own terms, though. They seem to think one must either be on one side or the other. This post here isn't the worst I've seen, (despite that bizarre "typical European intellectual"-thing) - I've been flamed at Dhimmi Watch all day for being coward and a disgrace to the proud viking nation or whatever. The comments I've written there clarify some of the things that might be unclear.

Anyway, I'm all for fighting terrorists. I said so in the piece. But do you have a method of eliminating terrorism alltogether? If not, we need a personal approach to living with it, in addition to any political and military approaches. I didn't feel it necessary to write much about those other approaches here, I figure my readers should be able to read a post on how to live with terrorism, without being assured in every paragraph that I also intend us to fight it, like they were children with an attention deficit problem.

Posted by: Bjørn Stærk at September 30, 2006 08:38 AM (QT8bv)

13 Robert Spencer over at Jihad Watch addressed this blogger a day or two ago:

Norwegian blogger: political correctness is more important than life itself

http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/013347.php

Posted by: MikeZ at September 30, 2006 08:39 AM (c5sWc)

14 This guys idea of civilization is all icing and no cake.

" it is more important to you to preserve an open and tolerant society than to survive this trip"

My definition of an open and tolerant society includes one where a routine commecial plane flight is not perverted into a death machine by crazed religious fanatics. Once we can reliably maintain that principle then we can get on to more esoteric niceties.

How does some other person's discomfiture at being ethnically profiled (heaven forfend!) outweigh my fear of being vaporized. Who has more right to take offence? Which offence is more likely to make other people's lives safer?

Posted by: ThomasD at September 30, 2006 08:53 AM (p6WXs)

15 Sign this one up for the Panty Fund! And if anybody wants to help with the fund, let me know.

Posted by: rightwingprof at September 30, 2006 08:53 AM (hj1Wx)

16 Bjorn-

A couple things. You state pretty emphatically that there is a very slim chance of terrorism affecting you directly. Like Andrew's parents, I was also scheduled for a flight from Logan on 9/11. My destination was NYC where I had a meeting a couple blocks from the WTC. Doesn't seem so remote from where I sit. Still, the following Monday when Logan reopened, I was on one of the first flights, a cross country one at that.

Which brings me to point 2. Bush is widely criticized for his simple approach or cowboy unilateralism but the simple fact is that since 9/11 Americans have been going on with our lives, living without fear and finding a way to cope in a world rife with terrorism.

You can boil his approach down into a simple phrase that anyone who ever spent a minute playing sports has heard, a good offense is the best defense. A Viking like you should know this too.

Posted by: JackStraw at September 30, 2006 08:57 AM (rnOZq)

17 Well, it's not every day that the writer presents himself for discussion, so, thanks Bjorn- very good of you to stop by.

The fundamental stance of your post, particularly after clarification, I agree with, but I'd amplify with the following...

Terrorism is the war tactic of the defeated. It is more in vogue today because nobody is going to take on the United States force-on-force. It's low-tech, cheap, and deniable. Because of its decentralization, it's hard to eliminate terrorism at its source. The most direct way of doing this is eliminating the resupply infrastructure (starving the weeds, if you will).

The bottom line is that there are many theories about ending terrorism, but they remain theories and are therefore untested. Under the circumstances, practice goes back to the chemotherapy side of things- kill off enough cells around the cancer to kill the cancer itself.

As unsavory as it sounds, "unnecessarily invasive" techniques, including Israeli-style profiling, are very much in order. We have rolled back our free and open society before in times of war, only to reextend it once victory was achieved. The same seems to me to be in order in this time of war- it will be difficult to do until everyone affected is on a war footing.

Again, thank you for clarifying your remarks- I am a little surprised you have any ass left after reading some of the comments flung your way. I, for one, am quite impressed. Don't necessarily agree, but, hey, rational people can disagree.

tmi3rd

Posted by: tmi3rd at September 30, 2006 08:59 AM (1oOYY)

18 I suspect the Bjorns of the world have no children. This is the real dividing line.

It wouldn't bother me at all if every muslim, that is, all one billion were nuked into non-existence, if it kept my child safe and free. That's not my wish or desire, but I wouldn't lose a moment's sleep if it were necessary.

So, no, I don't care about a diverse society if part of that diversity constitutes a continuing existenial threat. Thus far, I fail to realize what exactly the muslims are bringing to the party except an unacceptably high level of fifth columnists and terrorism.

No, all muslims aren't terrorists but this is their problem because it's their religion. And if they won't do anything to stop it, if they aren't exposing those among us who hope to do us harm, then they are part of the problem and must accept the consequences. This is what they need to realize and realize it quickly.

Again, I state that I have no hope or wish for muslim slaughter/expulsion/etc but if they can't control themselves or their coreligionists, then those of us with children and loved ones will opt and vote for the most draconian solutions.

Posted by: rinseandspit at September 30, 2006 09:02 AM (Xr6BI)

19 Ah. Another person proudly declaring himself to be prey.

Posted by: Patrick Chester at September 30, 2006 09:03 AM (MKaa5)

20 You're something worse: a passivist. While a defeatist worries that he might lose, you've decided that there's not even going to be a contest. You're proposing we stand there and take it on the chin without lifting a finger. This clown has been so cossetted in his Norwegian utopia for so long that he has forgotten (if he ever knew) the basic fact that human life is a struggle between competing tribes. Just like groups of chimps and other mammals fight over territory and sometimes kill one another, so also have humans, from the beginning. It's part of our nature, like it or not. It's the only way I can explain our warlike nature, and constant societal competition.

To me this guy is like an effete Mandarin with fingernails so long he can't feed himself. And he's so out-of-touch with being human, and having a will to survive that, like the mandarin whose feeding servants have run off, he'd rather sit there and starve to death.. Better to die than compromise his lifestyle and precious worldview by cutting his nails and scrapping something to eat.

To read The Brussels Journal it looks like the guy had brains before, but with this post he's reduced himself to passive, sacrifical mush.

I'm firmly with those who believe that, if things don't start to change soon, there's going to be violence within the next few years, because--and it can't be repeated enough--people will not put up with inaction forever. I agree. Not everyone's like the learned Mr. Bjørn Stærk. There will be a backlash against these vicious jihadist aggressors sooner or later, and it won't be pretty.

Most people aren't sheep oblivious of the fact that they're in line to have their throats cut. Even fewer are like this passive fool, who is aware of what's going to happen, and just waiting for it to occur.

Posted by: Redhand at September 30, 2006 09:03 AM (7G9b2)

21 Bjorn,

Give it up. Your whole argument is based on the premise that by not reacting, you are defending your 'open and tolerant' society. Unfortunately, political correctness like your own is sending your country in the direction of becoming a very intolerant society. Europeans still don't understand that they are tolerating intolerance. Your gestures towards the Muslims in your society will not, in the long-run, be reciprocated. Short of a drastic change in direction, you people are screwed.

All that you've worked for in the way of women's rights, minority rights, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech, you are determined to piss down the toilet in the pursuit of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism and political correctness trumps all other pursuits in the minds of modern leftists. If multiculturalism leads to the importation of Stone Age values completely contrary to every other cause in the portfolio of the modern left, so be it. After all, you wouldn't be caught dead advocating anything politically incorrect; rather, you'd be caught dead being PC.

The left-wing Dutch official who recently stated that there had to be a way to introduce Sharia law in the Netherlands is symbolic of the lack of vigor the modern left displays in defending enlightened western values over the paleolithic values of Muslims. Rather than demanding that the immigrants assimilate to Dutch norms, he was proclaiming how the Dutch system needed to be prepared to assimilate to immigrant norms. The European left is on its deathbed. Sadly, it seems determined to drag all Europeans to the grave with it.

What a shame. Hope you enjoy Sharia law.

Posted by: MikeZ at September 30, 2006 09:06 AM (c5sWc)

22 The linked essay, Andrew's reaction and now Bjorn's reply imo highlght at least 2 things:

1. European world-weariness and cynicism (to Americans weakness) vs. American energy and optimism (to Europeans naivite).

2. The left's belief that terrorism is at most a police problem, to be contained, but not something that can be eliminated, at least not without genocide vs. the right's belief that terrorism is the tip of the iceberg of an existential threat which needs to be eliminated, hopefully by rebuilding the Muslim world into democratic free societies.

In effect, the left is taking a gamble that police action will be enough to prevent the terrorists from wreaking so much havoc that the West decides to destroy the Islamic world, while the right is taking a gamble on the question of whether or not the Muslim world can be brought into the 21st century.

I prefer the right's approach even though it is harder in the short run because it is a good-faith attempt to make the Muslim world 'work' as a group of democratic and free societies, as opposed to the left's effectively rascist and nihlistic attitude that we're dealing with a hopeless culture that can only be contained, not reformed.

However, althugh I prefer the right's approach, I am by no means certain that it will work. But if we abandon that approach and do nothing but containment, I dread the consequences for both the West and the Muslim world if that containment effort fails.

Posted by: max at September 30, 2006 09:26 AM (XrQv1)

23 "I prefer the right's approach even though it is harder in the short run because it is a good-faith attempt to make the Muslim world 'work' as a group of democratic and free societies"

...except it's useless because of the presence of Islam, which is incompatible with a democratic and free society.

Posted by: D.H. Immi at September 30, 2006 09:32 AM (/Is07)

24 Ever wonder why cows don't resist more as they're led down the chute where the pneumatic driven piston will pulverize their brains as prelude to becoming Big Mac's?

This dolt exemplifies it.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 30, 2006 09:34 AM (VLNpS)

25 Bjorn supported the war on terror, but he was always squishy when it came down to actually fighting it. Like most Europeans, he's forgotten what war is actually like. It isn't surgical.

Posted by: MlR at September 30, 2006 09:48 AM (TrMUD)

26 I'm game. (Sorry All - long rant follows

Bjorn? The real problem is that you missed the issue totally. It's not about terrorism; it wasn't, it isn't, and it won't be throughout the decades of this battle.

It's about religion. More specifically, it's about an apocalyptic vision of a particular sect of a specific religion that has allowed a cancerous doctrine - whose purpose is world domination based upon religious ideology - to metastisize, and so infect the greater body politic of its believers ...in practice & intent, using scriptural misinterpretation, ignorance, and cultural poverty to reinforce its horrendous ends ...putting the whole of that religion on a collision course with ...us.

You see the end of a terroristic acts as diminishing in effect over the years. Why? What leads you to believe that the metastisization which has increased over the past 200 years and is accelerating is going to slow down, somehow, magically, without effort?

I - we - don't believe there's a rational basis, based upon "the data in the field" (what we read, what we see, what we hear), to think that this problem is going to simply "go away" as the practitioners realize the error of their ways.

You obviously do. - In that classic phrase of the Deep South: what a hoot.

You look at a symptom, and miss the disease. You see a tactical doctrine, and miss the strategic vision.

I don't want to call you a vapid, shallow idiot: you seem to be sincere, and you're obviously not stupid, and even somewhat insightful (I'm feeling particularly generous, even while thoroughly agreeing with AndrewR ...admittedly, Andrea's comments and your civil response puts this on a different level). But you need to refocus your arguments from the long view - frankly, they're wrong & stupid, and suicidal given the type of conflict that western civilization is facing in this - to the personal view, and correct the intent of your post (which could be reworked into a more plausible essay).

What you suggest is reasonable for a personal approach to the jihadi tactics in the Islam War with the West ...but as a strategic vision it's positively Chamberlinist: because you've ignored the intent of Islamist ideology - and confused their strategic vision with their purely tactical "battlefield" maneuvers - you've misproposed a personal approach to life during this war as a strategic response which would result in the destruction of western civilization. Period.

Sadly, we - the Red Staters - see your post as simply one more nail in the coffin of the decline of the West in a Europe which seems inevitably heading into the darkness of Islamic dhimmitude. Thus, the critical & and emotional reaction that you're seeing.

Rethink it, Bjorn. Pour the koolaid back into the decanter. Realize: there's simply no good way out of this one.

This is the Big One. A ...the ...War of Religion. To back down ...will be to die. If the West refuses this conflict, the West will simply die, and the world will enter into the Second Dark Ages: the Dhimmitude ...of Islamic cultural domination.

Or the West will fight - because it must, because it has no other choice - and will win.

---------
For we will win of course.

...because the Jihadists only offer is to submit. Or to die.

...the jihadi's have made a huge mistake (one based upon their belief that they love death more than life): they haven't recognized that we love freedom more than we love life ...that we regard freedom as Life, which is the single phrase definition of Western culture: for without freedom, life simply isn't worth living ...and so they've missed that we too will fight, and die, for our beliefs.

...though sadly, many will die anyways (likely many more of them, than of us ...but that is always the way of war for the vanquished): but Islamic Jihad ideology will forever cease to be an attractive alternative for ...the remaining ...practitioners of Islam.

Posted by: davis,br at September 30, 2006 10:13 AM (60wmB)

27 "I prefer the right's approach even though it is harder in the short run because it is a good-faith attempt to make the Muslim world 'work' as a group of democratic and free societies..."

And that approach is, in fact, the "kinder, gentler one".

Posted by: at September 30, 2006 10:16 AM (1Q3NA)

28 "It's about religion."

Yes - it's about Islam.

"More specifically, it's about an apocalyptic vision of a particular sect of a specific religion that has allowed a cancerous doctrine - whose purpose is world domination based upon religious ideology - to metastisize, and so infect the greater body politic of its believers ...in practice & intent, using scriptural misinterpretation, ignorance, and cultural poverty to reinforce its horrendous ends ...putting the whole of that religion on a collision course with ...us."

Ridiculous Islam apologism. The problem is Islam per se, not some supposed mutated and hijacked version of it.

Posted by: D. H. Immi at September 30, 2006 10:24 AM (/Is07)

29 Ridiculous? - I'm trying to be nice.

And I do have Islamic (Persian, ...presumably Shiite, though I've never asked) friends, who aren't jihadist at all ...so I do operate within the presumption of "moderate Islam" as not being an oxymoron. I do see the "cancer" as being Wahabbism rather than Islam; in that sense, you're partially correct, if overly severe.

I'm thoroughly amused at being described as an Islamic apologist (particularly after that post): now that's a[nother] hoot.

Sheesh.

Posted by: davis,br at September 30, 2006 10:48 AM (60wmB)

30 If you look at the violence inflicted by the act, then fighting back gives both time and example for learning to fight it better. There is value in this alone that helps justify fighting terorists. We learn, we get better, and we save lives by information received, and by thwarting plans, or giving the potential terrorist second thoughts. Just putting him or her in the mindset that we might prevent their success shifts their approach and thought processes.

There is another effect that gets delivered by a terrorist attack, though. The symbolism of the "oppressed" winning one against "the mighty oppressor" has a value that is not to be ignored. Its success breeds more support than our "offensive" actions do. By fighting back against what is there, we are effecting our own symbolism. We are stating that, although we may not defeat terrorism entirely, we will defend our way of life at any cost. If they see that determination to defend our way of life, our cultural heritage, and the notion that all of our countrymen must adapt their traditional attitudes and actions to the rule of  law, rather than bending the laws to suit one culture, we inspire our own people to support, rally, and ultimately join.

Posted by: Tom M at September 30, 2006 11:04 AM (TtaDz)

31 Yes, eventually the terrorists will stop. But a policy of "Invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert the rest to Christianity" will make them stop a hell of a lot sooner than a policy of sitting back and accepting it.

And there are other bad results of terrorism besides death. Economic impact was already mentioned. The foiled plane plot resulted in huge inconvenience for millions of passengers, and continues still.

But there is also the gradual loss of our freedoms. The Mohammed cartoons, the German opera, the op-ed writers in hiding - this is a steady loss of our most precious freedoms to the threats of terrorism coming directly and exclusively from Muslims. People now feel the need to self-censor because of fear of Muslim maniacs coming to kill them, and that situation is not going to get better by learning to accept it.

Posted by: lmg at September 30, 2006 03:30 PM (aSIW8)

32 "And I do have Islamic (Persian, ...presumably Shiite, though I've never asked) friends, who aren't jihadist at all ...so I do operate within the presumption of "moderate Islam" as not being an oxymoron."

Your friends may not be jihadists, but the fact that they do not take their religious duties seriously doesn't mean that they represent a moderate version of Islam. In other words, your friends aren't particularly good Muslims.

Moderate Islam is an oxymoron because Islam is not (and cannot be) moderate. There may be moderate Muslims, of course, but there is no such thing as moderate Islam.

Posted by: D.H. Immi at September 30, 2006 10:23 PM (jMclx)

33

And I do have Islamic (Persian, ...presumably Shiite, though I've never asked) friends,


Indeed?


quran 5:51: "Believers, take not Jews and Christians for your friends."


quran 2:71: "The semblance of the infidels is one who shouts to one who cannot hear. They are deaf, dumb, and blind. They make no sense."


quran 9:29 : "Fight those who do not believe in allah, do not forbid what has been forbidden by allah and his messenger, or acknowledge the religion of truth, even if they are the People of the Book, until they pay the jizyah tribute tax in submission, feeling themselves subdued and brought low."


So let's see......quran 9:29 commands muslims to fight people who do not forbid what has been forbidden by allah and his messenger, and quran 5:51: forbids believers to take Jews and Christians (non believers) for their friends, perhaps because quran 2:71 condemns non-believers as contemptible inferior idiots anyhow. Seems to read pretty plain to me, but does raise a couple small questions....


Are you sure your "friends" are muslim or are they non practicing muslims? Are you a muslim? If not... Are you their friend?


Posted by: drolmorg at October 01, 2006 12:12 AM (MUVRh)

34 The eurotrash dude posing as an intellectual is simply a nihilist too stupid and lazy to realize or admit it.

Posted by: hunter at October 01, 2006 02:47 AM (vDMcW)

35 If any readers are still fearful of flying (i.e. fearful that terrorists may hijack your plane), I think you can rest easy: I'm pretty sure we'll never see another successful hijacking of an American airplane.

The reason is that all of the avenues by which a group of hijackers can effectively threaten the *pilots* have been closed off: armored cockpit doors can't be forced open without heavy tools, and no pilots will voluntarily open the door in response to a threat to the cabin crew because doing so would presumably doom everyone.

Threats of a bomb on board will be similarly ineffective: If we open the door we're presumably all dead anyway, so I'll call your bluff.

Meanwhile, I would estimate that in any group of, say, 50 American men at least ten would have enough balls to grab bottles off the beverage carts and beat the would-be hijackers to death with them, even if the latter are holding boxcutters to the throat of the cabin crew--since everyone now knows that the alternative is death.

In short, I think hijacking is finished.

Posted by: sf at October 01, 2006 05:27 AM (9ilOO)

36 D.Himmi - One of us is incorrect about my friends; it would seem that your knowledge of them just might be a degree or two further distant than my first-hand, personal observations of them, wouldn't you agree?

Drolmorg - Point by point: They are Muslim. They are practicing Muslims; they are moderate. I am a practicing, devout, sometimes scholarly fundamentalist Pentecostal Christian (which puts me in a very, very conservative group of believers indeed ...and just in case you misinterpret this - which I consider likely - you should know that I'm not a good person because of the practice of my deeply held beliefs: what I am is forgiven by the Blood of the Lamb despite my many faults). Yes, they are really my friends ...cherished friends ...and reciprocal friends. We have discussed religion; we do not agree. Amiably so.

If you'd like, I can quote Torah, Law, Prophets, Testament and etc. that might seem rather at odds with commonly held Judeo-Christian beliefs, in analagous counterpoint to your Koran cites (it's been 40 years since I was interested enough - due to a curiousity of Sufism in particular - to read the Koran; like the book of Mormon, I found it droll at best ...I much preferred the Bhagavid Gita back in my wastrel youth, actually: it just seemed so, well, interestingly Norse and all ...and yes, I get along famously with my [pagan] Hindu friends too, gentlemen), though equally as "evidence" of just about absolutely nothing as yours were. In broken koine even, though alas my understanding of Hebrew is non-existent ...if you'd like. My point being that the practice of Judeo-Christian beliefs has changed - moderated - over the centuries, and diverged somewhat from what can seem rather, umm, harsh at first reading verses to non-believers (indeed, I see idiots misquoting some verbatim Biblical cite all the time, positing that their "discovery" is somehow lucidly unique and facily apropos of whatever criticism of a belief that they obviously know absolutely less than nothing about and thoroughly irrelevant to their batty argument).

Your point being? I mean, other than publicly displaying an insinuation of bigotry writ large?

It seems odd to me that rather than taking what I've said at face value, you've both focused narrowly upon something that is so apparently at variance with your own - obviously limited - experience and belief and assumed - and labeled - my personal experience (admittedly, offered purely as an anecdotal response to a percieved criticism, and as such not at all relevant to the point of my post) as simply false.

I'm curious: is it that you feel threatened by the idea that there are moderate Islamics, or does your discomfort arise from the startling revelation that you may be wrong in some small fashion about anything at all?

Good lord. Are you unaware how ...small ...that makes you appear?

...just because we're on the same side of this conflict, doesn't make us friends. I choose my friends with care.

Good day, gentlemen ...and, I'll pray for both of you.

Posted by: davis,br at October 01, 2006 05:28 AM (60wmB)

37 "D.Himmi - One of us is incorrect about my friends; it would seem that your knowledge of them just might be a degree or two further distant than my first-hand, personal observations of them, wouldn't you agree?"

Your point being? It's not like the fact that your friends "aren't jihadist at all" tells me anything about the nature of Islam. It does, however, tell me something about your friends.

Now tell me, why did you bring your non-jihadist friends into this discussion? After all, you cannot use them as proof that Islam can be moderate.

Posted by: D.H. Immi at October 01, 2006 05:45 AM (jMclx)

38

Wow. OK. Let's see..."point by point" as it were...


1) "and just in case you misinterpret this - which I consider likely - you should know that I'm not a good person because of the practice of my deeply held beliefs: what I am is forgiven by the Blood of the Lamb despite my many faults)"


Answer- Who cares? Wasn't my point. Irrelevant.


2) "If you'd like, I can quote Torah, Law, Prophets, Testament and etc. that might seem rather at odds with commonly held Judeo-Christian beliefs, in analagous counterpoint to your Koran cites (it's been 40 years since I was interested enough - due to a curiousity of Sufism in particular - to read the Koran; like the book of Mormon, I found it droll at best"


Answer- Irrelevant. Jews and Christians aren't blowing up school buses, daycare centers and markets filled with innocent people. muslims, and ONLY muslims are. I couldn't care less about what happened hundreds or thousands of years ago, it's today and tomorrow that concerns me. Are you saying that muslims don't take the quran as the LITERAL word of god himself?


3) "Your point being? I mean, other than publicly displaying an insinuation of bigotry writ large? "


Answer- It is not bigotry to point out the truth. Show me one verse where Jesus commands his followers to slay unbelievers forever until they are no more. quran 2:193 instructs muslims to do this. There are literally thousands of verses in the quran and hadiths encouraging rape, murder, torture, and humiliation of non-muslims. (See, Genius?...Us backard Yank bumpkins can figger booklearnin too). Again, do not muslims take the quran as the literal word of god? Muslim clerics say it is. They also declare that Jesus is in hellfire because He was not a follower of muhammed. Are they wrong, or are you too PC to face their assertions?


4) - "obviously limited - experience and belief and assumed - and labeled - my personal experience"


Answer- Wow. You ARE arrogant, ignorant, and a naive liar as well. Of course you don't speak from experience. You're much too enlightened for that.


5) "I'm curious: is it that you feel threatened by the idea that there are moderate Islamics, or does your discomfort arise from the startling revelation that you may be wrong in some small fashion about anything at all?"


Answer- No, Genius. I feel threatened by kill-crazy lunatics that murder children and innocent people in the name of their demon god. I guess the hundreds of thousands of people murdered by the mohammedans in the past 20 years don't count because that's just my "personal experience"... You mean like watching the news? 


6) "Good lord. Are you unaware how ...small ...that makes you appear?" 


 Answer- Good Lord. Are you unaware how ...stupid ...that makes you appear?


7) " ...just because we're on the same side of this conflict, doesn't make us friends. I choose my friends with care."


Answer- Who cares? I damn sure wouldn't want to be on your side or be your friend.You are an enemy.


Spare me your "prayers", Genius. My God is not yours.




Posted by: drolmorg at October 01, 2006 07:05 AM (MUVRh)

39

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