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He Who Dies With The Most Kalashnikovs Wins
Hugh Fitzgerald, over at Jihad Watch, says we should get out of Iraq, pronto. (Leave them all to kill each other, and maybe they'll be too busy to come after us):

...This is the main point: the inevitability of Sunni-Shi'a conflict.

...No matter what cosmetic changes are made, what phony "oil bill" is passed that may outwardly satisfy the Americans, just as soon as those Americans leave the Shi'a militia will go at it and get their revenge, and they will be even more likely, having been held back by the Americans, to engage in the kind of warfare that is the only kind that gets the attention, and possibly some cooperation, from the Sunni Arabs. It won't be the kid-gloves treatment of the Americans in Iraq, nor the scrupulous Israelis. It will be Muslim on Muslim. From outside Iraq, others will supply money, men, weaponry, to their coreligionists, and within Muslim lands -- Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, Pakistan being the main ones where there are significant Shi'a communities -- all kinds of spillover effects will only increase the domestic unrest and headaches for regimes that, until now, have managed to export to the Infidel world, the Western world, all of the refusal to compromise, the aggression and the hostility to which Islam naturally gives rise, and which those growing up in societies suffused with Islam exhibit. It will be a very nice Demonstration Project for the Infidels of the world.

...It is and will be a country riven by civil conflict. The Sunni Arabs -- the ones likely to be more favorable to Al Qaeda, for example -- will be devoting all of their energies to attacking, or repulsing the attacks of, Shi'a Arabs. Both kinds of Arabs in the north will be attacking, or repulsing the attacks of, the Kurds. The Kurds will see the Sunni-Shi'a conflict as the perfect opportunity to make the most of these conditions to make their move for independence, a move that should be supported by the Americans. The Americans should realize that an independent Kurdistan would cause great problems to both Iran and Syria, and even to Islam more generally. The spectacle of a non-Arab Muslim people throwing off the Arab yoke would or could inspire other non-Arab Muslims, such as Berbers in North Africa, and even Berbers in France, to recognize Islam for what it is: a vehicle for Arab imperialism, linguist, cultural, economic, and political.

Will this be recognized? Is there anyone in Congress who will state this kind of opposition to the war? Who will show up the Bush Administration not for its being too ruthless, or too tough, but for being too ignorant, too inhibited, too un-ruthless, too uncomprehending of all the things that it should be trying to accomplish instead of the things that it is trying to accomplish in Iraq, which is to say a stable, unified country.

There are two things wrong with the Administration's goal of a stable, unified country:

1. It is impossible of achievement.
2. It is exactly the wrong goal.

Other than those two reasons -- it's just fine.

Posted by aalkon at March 25, 2007 12:41 PM

Comments

I've sometimes wondered if we should supply even more weapons to both sides in Iraq, pull back, and let them go at it.

It seems to me the Arabs are lazy towards the ways of modern civilization: they put little stock in the mundane tasks of picking up trash, laying sewer pipe, or maintaining civic order. They prefer the adrenaline rush of getting so mad you want to kill someone.

Posted by: doombuggy at March 25, 2007 4:34 AM

Its all a part of the 'imshallah' philosophy that governs the Middle East.

Every time I had to rely on someone in the Middle East for any mundane task... they would use the imshallah excuse. I would say: "No. It is not in God's Will. Just do it!" The heat also plays an important role too.

Posted by: Joe at March 25, 2007 8:37 AM

Hate this piece.

> Leave them all to kill
> each other, and maybe
> they'll be too busy
> to come after us

The tiger will eat us last, so go ahead an open the cage?

> they will be even more likely,
> having been held back by the
> Americans, to engage in the
> kind of warfare

What about when they were held back by Saddam? There's an explicable eagerness to describe these people as an incarnation of Old-Time Evil, an eternal force that can't be resisted. This eagerness smells like racism. Like this:

> It will be Muslim
> on Muslim

As if those people know things about hatred and killing that the rest of us don't, and should be encouraged practice them on each other.

We never save the columns that mean the most to us, but just after 9/11, someone (I think it was Michael Kelly, who'd die in Iraq a year or two later) wrote a piece about what the attackers thought they were doing in southern Manhattan. They thought they were giving us a dose of reality. They thought that with our shiny skyscrapers and bare-legged working women, we'd lost sight of the wretchedness of life. But that wasn't the case. They're the ones who've lost their way, by ignoring the power of aspiration and freedom.

Otherwise, the M-on-M thing is just a teenage comic-book reader's fantasy about the power of jujitsu as he reads quarter-page ads for mail-order instruction: "I can use my enemy's own strength against him!"

If M-on-M bloodletting is morally superior to other kinds, please tell us how.

> increase the domestic unrest
> and headaches for regimes

Anybody remember "It was necessary to destroy the village in order to save it" from Viet Nam? This is like that. If you want to destabilize these dictatorships, you ought to admit that it's your goal. There are ways of achieving that without a bloodbath which deserve exploration.

> regimes that, until now,
> have managed to export to
> the Infidel world, the
> Western world, all of the
> refusal to compromise,
> the aggression and the
> hostility

Not really. Things are quiet in Poughkeepsie, Sioux Falls, and Bakersfield this weekend.

> Both kinds of Arabs in the
> north will be attacking,
> or repulsing the attacks
> of, the Kurds.

We're cutting them loose AGAIN?!? Promise me you'll be there to look the Kurds in the eye when they get the word.

> The Kurds will see the
> Sunni-Shi'a conflict as
> the perfect opportunity to
> make the most of these
> conditions to make their
> move for independence

Presumably, they'd do so with our military support...

Yep!:

> a move that should be
> supported by the Americans.

Are we going to be arming them? That's very Rumsfeld of you (mid-career Donald, not the more recent kind). Maybe we should just reinstate the no-fly zones again. In which case, we're still at war in Iraq...

Unless the guy thinks the no-fly zones were a bad idea. No one's ever said that before.

This is a terribly frustrating time. But it was always frustrating. We don't have the option of simply cutting them loose. There's nothing in their nature that makes them less prone to picking up trash, laying sewers, or maintaining order than we are. And to be really clear about this, they have the oil and someone's going to get it, and nothing good can come from leaving it there for the rudest monster to collect.

There's really no choice about this fight. It's on, and if winning means being more ruthless and deadly than they are, then we're ready to win that way, too. But we're the good guys, so we're bound to try the less murderous methods first.

Posted by: Crid at March 25, 2007 8:50 AM

What we have done is go in half-assed, without the proper military might -- because George is always working on being crowd pleaser at home. "Bring democracy" to Iraq (probably not possible anyway in a Muslim country, with Muslim psyche) but no draft and just a few "support our troops" stickers at home.

P.S. And remember, I was against the war (in Iraq) before I was against it, and for going into Afghanistan.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 25, 2007 9:16 AM

> What we have done is go in
> half-assed, without the proper
> military might

vs.

> I was against the war (in Iraq)
> before I was against it

There's a certain thematic discontinuity here.

Posted by: Crid at March 25, 2007 9:36 AM

Not at all. I was against the war, but if we're going to go in, we should go in to win, not to lose.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 25, 2007 9:57 AM

So you should have been completely ignored?

Can we remember that about you next time?

Posted by: Crid at March 25, 2007 10:16 AM

I think what I'm saying makes perfect sense. I'm not saying we shouldn't have gone in; just what I've said all along: We get attacked by a guy hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan with his merry band of mass murderers, we go after him. We would have been much better off to put the full force of our military into routing out and smashing Al Qaeda in Afghanistan -- rather than creating a place for Al Qaeda in Iraq. What about that sounds like a bad idea?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 25, 2007 10:20 AM

Two things.

1. It's a bad idea that more troops would have made Afghanistan go better. In fact, Bin Laden chose Afghanistan as his base because it's a lawless and impoverished place with only the dimmest prospects for constabulary improvement. US armed forces have done about all they can for Afghanistan. It ain't much. But nowadays the bad guys there fuck mostly with each other, and not so much with us here in the States.

2. It's a bad idea that the problem with Al Qaeda was this one wackjob Saudi renegade millionaire whose capture would have brought all these matters to comfy conclusion.

Did you ever say to anyone in autumn '01 that we weren't pushing hard enough?

Posted by: Crid at March 25, 2007 10:33 AM

I'm of that silly mind that a guy murders 3,000 of your people and destroys a considerable swath of Manhattan riverfront, you go after him, not some other guy who had nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 25, 2007 10:38 AM

That woulda done it, huh? If only we'd have got that one guy... Syria woulda folded, Libya woulda folded, Saddam's sons woulda retired to Cote d'Azur, Israel would be relaxed and cheerful.

Saddam was worth getting for his own sake.

Posted by: Crid at March 25, 2007 11:00 AM

If Bush really cares about his Iraq project. He needs to do a few public symbolic gestures to both Americans and Iraqis before leaving office Also, place enough pressure on the upcoming POTUS in 2009 to maintain a viable solution.

1. Massive firings of Pentagon personnel. Both civilian and military. Not one general has been fired since March, 2003. This would be a major symbolic gesture for Iraqis that mistakes were made and they are in the process of being rectified.

2. Perform a real surge (a Powell II Doctrine?) only after a tactical regrouping in the Kurdish controlled areas. Maintained a strong presence of 50,000 soldiers within the Green Zone and coordinate with regular Iraqi forces. 75 to 85% of US casualties are preformed on combat support units via convoys between military airfields to the Green Zone. i.e. Easy pickings for ieds.

The surge of US forces in the North and in Kuwait. If hell breaks out again. Re-invade the trouble areas and keep coordinating with the 50,000 within Baghdad. Repeat cycle, until the sectarian violence subsides.

The Sunni insurgents will take the massive losses with a real surge of US forces. This will isolate the various subsections of Sunni insurgent groups. The remaining Sunni-Ba'thists groups will make a cease fire proposal to the US forces. They have the most to lose in all of the violence in the area. They have to compete with the Al Qaeda inspired Sunni insurgent groups, Shia militias and the US military.

Of course a real surge will upset the Democrats and threaten a revolt. All bark and no bite. The Dems cannot try an impeachment process of Bush so close to an election. Second, it will place a lot more scrutiny on the Democratic candidates' alternative Iraq policies.

Whoever takes the Oval Office on January 21, 2009, will have to maintain the increase US military presence until the cycle of sectarian violence begins to subside. Then talk about a deadline and pull out dates.

Posted by: Joe at March 25, 2007 11:14 AM

The Democrats are the biggest collection of stupid and short-sighted imaginable. The Republican party is the party of extreme self-interest. The Democrats would be, too, but they can't get that far.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 25, 2007 11:17 AM

Interesting thoughts on here today.

I hadn't quite thought of this before:

Iraq won't be stable by the time Bush is out of office. No Democratic president could make moves to do anything but leave Iraq - the base has concluded that withdrawal is the only thing to do and isn't open to persuasion. This position is only really tenable if one assumes that Iraq is a truly lost cause. It very well may be, because of the colossally inept management of the war on the part of Bush's team. Now, I've made it clear that I think we should not have gone into Iraq in the way that we did. It was an epic mistake. But we're there now, and we owe it to the world to try to create the best situation we can. I strongly doubt that simply removing our soldiers from Iraq will contribute to making things better. But this is what a Democrat will have to do - just get out, ASAP.

Heh. I think this is going to create a very conflicted electorate in 2008.

Posted by: justin case at March 25, 2007 12:53 PM

Exactly! Isn't it wonderful?

Where are all the other bitter right wing guys who usually hang out on this blog and blow hard about this? Where's the Jack Nicholson guy? Where's the "understand the Middle East" guy?

This may be an old internet joke, but there's a pretty good snicker in it:

http://eatliver.com/i.php?n=757

Posted by: Crid at March 25, 2007 12:56 PM

You talkin' to me Crid?

All this blustering over "what to do about Iraq" keeps coming back to my original theory about the inevitability of genocide.

If we walk away from Iraq, there will no doubt be someone who pulls off a symbolic attack in the US or Israel to send the message that some young Palestinian recently did to Hamas and Fatah: "Why are we killing each other while there are still infidels to kill?"

The single scariest proposition of a withdrawal before the utter defeat of political Islam is that they will put their internecine differences behind them and come after us with even more fury.

Amy - if Bin Laden is still alive, all evidence points to him having beat feet to Pakistan some time in 2003. Should we invade Pakistan to get him? As others have said, killing OBL does nothing to stop Islamist terrorism.

Killing Islam is the only way to do that. I'd like to believe it can be done without wiping out one fifth of the human population, but the actions of Saudi, and Iran, and Syria, etc. don't allow me to hold out much hope.

Posted by: brian at March 25, 2007 1:49 PM

I agree Justin.

My points were purely hypothetical. What are the odds of Bush mobilizing the nation in 2007, if he didn't do it back in 2003? Highly unlikely.

The whole debate over if we left Hussein alone is pointless. The real problem is trying to contain the level of violence and reduce the number of US casualties in a post Hussein Iraq.

Bush would never alter the current course, except with a few minor modifications like a small surge and hiring Robert Gates.

A much larger surge would also contain Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Militias. The more time he spends in Iran, because of the a larger US military build up means he cannot control his own factions within Baghdad. Also there is a huge division of views between Iran's Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and al-Sadr on establishing a similar Islamic Republic in the Shia controlled areas of Iraq. These various divisions can be exploited in Baghdad and Tehran.

But this will never happen. Too many high ranking people within the US government would never bet their reputations and clout on a gamble. It would ruin their chances of having a long term career within the Beltway.

Posted by: Joe at March 25, 2007 1:55 PM

Amy - if Bin Laden is still alive, all evidence points to him having beat feet to Pakistan some time in 2003. Should we invade Pakistan to get him? As others have said, killing OBL does nothing to stop Islamist terrorism.

It's now 2007 -- we're only five and a half years behind. What we should do is what George Bush said he'd do -- capture Bin Laden and his top henchmen, and flatten all the terrorist training camps.

Too bad we have so many career politicians and so few career patriots. Of course, we're largely to blame -- the short-sighted, uninterested electorate. Paris Hilton? We all know who she is. Arlen Spector? Ron Paul? Tom DeLay? Who?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 25, 2007 2:34 PM

That was one of Bush's first mistakes in the GWOT, to personalize the conflict against Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

It was quite understandable in the beginning for the WTC and Pentagon victims' families and possible future political gains during the mid term elections of 2002 and the Presidential campaign in 2004. Also, the tough talk in the beginning was used to compensate, because of the questions on Bush's initial reactions during the 9/11 attacks. I believe it was the late Peter Jennings who started those questions on his evening news broadcasts a few days after the attacks.

Could anyone see Ronald Reagan say: "Kick Ass!" to a general?

If Bush leaves the White House without bin Laden's death or capture that will be the final nail on the coffin of the Bush Years. It will also send a dangerous, but powerful symbolic message to the Middle East.

Posted by: Joe at March 25, 2007 3:23 PM

Well thanks for asking Crid. Sorry not to drop in sooner, but I actually have a life. Add to that, that trying to stear Amy off the rocks of idiocy when it comes to National Security Policy, or politics would be a full-time job.

I'm stupified by all who spout their "plans" for Iraq. Only the guys at the table know what the situation is, and they're very smart guys. Much smarter than ANYONE posting on this blog. We won't know how the game was played for a decade, after the insiders write their books. By then Amy and her brilliant Generals, who've never fought a battle, will have moved on to other airy-fairy thoughts where they know best.

Amatures think tactics, professionals think logistics. The Brits walked out of the Middle East for good in the '60s, creating a power vacuum. We invested our future in the Moslem world with the Shah, who was what we are now trying to create in Iraq. If you want to blame a President, Jimmy Carter is the cocksucker who got us into this. His ouster of the Shah is what allowed the whackos in, and gave them oil money to work with. The Saudis understand not to kill the goose, but they were never our allies. A Middle East in turmoil is a world in turmoil. Our lives depend on putting the genie back in the bottle, that Carter let out. As crid pointed out, walking away and letting the meanest moslem control more oil isn't a solution. At least not one we can live with.

Posted by: Casca at March 25, 2007 3:38 PM

BTW, all you "Civil War" types who say there will never be peace between Sunni and Shia, should understand that the same thing was said of the French and Germans fifty years ago.

Iraq is our foothold in the Middle East. We're engaged with the world's terror masters there, the Iranians. If we leave. They win. Goodbye Israel.

Posted by: Casca at March 25, 2007 3:48 PM

I'm stupified by all who spout their "plans" for Iraq. Only the guys at the table know what the situation is, and they're very smart guys. Much smarter than ANYONE posting on this blog.

Oh, come on, let's not be so wide-eyed teenage girl about it, shall we? There were reports, just to give one example of the rampant idiocy, that those spearheading the war were clueless to the fact that there isn't just one kind of Muslim.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 25, 2007 4:11 PM

> I actually have a life.

Don't kid a kidder.

> Only the guys at the table
> know what the situation is,

Stop it, yer killin' me.

> and they're very smart guys.

Aw, get outta here, ya big lug.

> the same thing was said of
> the French and Germans fifty
> years ago.

Sixty years ago. But I think you're right: We still have a hundred thousand troops Over There. The French and the Germans are still full of piss and snot, but they've not been killing each other lately. The American taxpayer of my mother's generation has given the continent it's first half-century of peace in six hundred years... All the way through Bosnia.

Having done that I'm not sure we can defend them from the conversion to Eurabia, or that we want to be bothered. It's kind of a gentle presentation, but if you go listen to the Reynolds' interview with Claire Berlinski...

http://instapundit.com/archives/028869.php

...she makes some interesting points about how the United States is better at dealing with Arabian immigrants than Europe is. One secret: Cleveland gets the urban, educated, aspirational ones. Paris gets the hillbillies.

Posted by: Crid at March 25, 2007 4:20 PM

The French and the Germans are still full of piss and snot, but they've not been killing each other lately.

Furthermore, these are basically civilized western cultures, not a religiously driven nuttery with directives to kill anybody who, say, doesn't like sauerbrauten or croque monsieur.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 25, 2007 4:49 PM

Casca,

Your French and German comparison is groundless. Prior to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, Germany was based on a series of semi- independent duchies until 1870-1871.

Everyone understands the history of Germany would have been quite different if the Prussians (more war-like duchy) wasn't the more the dominant sub grouping during the unification of the modern German nation. The common European stereotype of the average Germans around 1801, was a people full of beer drinkers and poets. (ie the non Prussians)

The fighting between Shia and Sunnis would continue if there were 500,000 to a million US soldiers sent to Iraq. It would be less intense than the current 130,000. How do I know this? It is quite simple... these tribal bloodbaths occur ALL over the Middle East. I've witnessed many feuds between tribe against tribe in southern Egypt. Fighting between sub tribes within the same larger tribe. I have literally stepped over puddles of blood to get to my apartment in Cairo. How could this happen in Mubarak's police state? These tribal fights are more isolated and less intense within a 'stable' nation. Once Hussein's Ba'thist super structure was gone... all hell was going to break out with US soldiers stuck in the middle.

One final note, Casca. Your attempt to insult the posters on Amy's site is a real sign of your inability to have an informed debate. Try a little harder next time Casca. Be a cut above.

Posted by: Joe at March 25, 2007 5:21 PM

Amy -

In other words, to hell with not invading sovereign nations that didn't have anything to do with 9/11?

Would you feel the same way if, perhaps, Bin Laden had run off to live in the Swiss Alps?

Posted by: brian at March 25, 2007 7:24 PM

Excuse me for not spelling out the diplomatic steps that would obviously need to be taken to go into sovereign nations.

Apparently, you have no problem with our invading Iraq without provocation. Would you feel the same way if Saddam Hussein were vacationing in the Swiss Alps?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 25, 2007 7:32 PM

Amy, my preference in the whole matter of Iraq would have been to take him out in 1991.

So far as his vacationing in a friendly nation, I'm sure we could arrange for him to have an "accident", which is certainly not likely in the case of a hostile nation like Pakistan.

Amy - the problem with your methodology is that it is based upon the availability of diplomatic solutions. Pakistan is one bullet away from being what Afghanistan was. Getting Musharraf to do anything about the AQ i his country is going to be limited to what he can get his personal guard to do, as the intelligence services and the broader military are compromised by Taliban and AQ sympathizers.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that Pakistan has nukes.

You may not like what was done in Iraq. But getting Bin Laden was never necessary, nor was it ever likely to put an end to anti-Western terrorism. What will put an end to it is decapitating the Islamist power structure. And that goes right through Iran. And you get to Iran through Iraq.

Although our deference to the UN on matters atomic just might have cost us that opportunity. Iran is playing two games here - one for regional hegemony (short game), one for world Islamist domination (long game). They cannot be allowed to win either of them.

Personally, I think Bush has had his eye on Iran since 9/12. But to say so would be to tip his hand, which would have been colossally stupid.

Although if people like you continue to carp about why we shouldn't be invading middle-eastern nations, you're virtually guaranteeing my worst-case scenario of 1.5 billion dead muslims and other assorted middle-easterners.

Not that you'll pull the trigger yourself, but our lack of action when the problem was solvable without extermination will lead inexorably to genocide as our only option.

Posted by: brian at March 25, 2007 9:35 PM

I do find it quite tiresome in reading the bitter right wing guys' 2 dimensional outlook on the Middle East.

Personally, I would love to know their sources on the Middle East?

Posted by: Joe at March 25, 2007 11:45 PM

Amy, my preference in the whole matter of Iraq would have been to take him out in 1991.

Yes, and I'd like to go back to 1981 and wear a different dress to prom.

And second, what Joe said.

If Muslims want to kill each other, and cannot be stopped from this endeavor without the death of lots of American service people, perhaps (gasp!) the problem lies with Islam? And perhaps without curing that there is no cure for the Muslim on Muslim violence?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 26, 2007 12:20 AM

Amy - that's all well and good. But they are hell bent on killing not only other muslims, but everyone else who isn't them.

Which means we can either try to tame them, try to contain them, or wipe them out.

Pick one.

Joe - I don't need "sources" on the middle east, but Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch is as good as any. They've been fucking with us since our nation's birth. Any they haven't changed a bit. Israel is merely their latest excuse to slaughter in the name of Allah.

Posted by: brian at March 26, 2007 5:10 AM

God damn, you people are dumber than dog dirt. Don't let me disturb your illiterate echo chamber.

Oh, come on, let's not be so wide-eyed teenage girl about it, shall we? There were reports, just to give one example of the rampant idiocy, that those spearheading the war were clueless to the fact that there isn't just one kind of Muslim.

Amy, oh my, there were reports? Musta read it in the times. Yet they were crafty enough to create the government conspiracy to bring down the towers. You're a flaming moron. It just hit me, UofM Journo, si?

Joe, ya got about ten % comprehension going there. The government may owe you some retard money. It was the conventional wisdom that the French & Germans were eternal enemies fifty years ago. CW is not fact. It is the perceived truth by emptyheaded quickdraw speedreading shitheads like you.

Posted by: Casca at March 26, 2007 5:38 AM

Quote a Nicholson film! Maybe Five Easy Pieces! Or Heartburn, that was a great one, wuzzinit?

Posted by: Crid at March 26, 2007 6:11 AM

Casca, being insulting doesn't win you points. Being insightful does. We're still waiting.

You're a flaming moron. It just hit me, UofM Journo, si?

No. I would never take journalism -- it's a waste of time -- and I advise kids going to college to study history, literature, science, and politics. You can learn to write a lede in an afternoon, and story structure and reporting skills in a couple of weeks. I was an intern at UPI in Washington D.C. one summer, where a number of really good reporters kicked my ass. I got that internship based on the strength of my high school newspaper column -- and what I'd learned in one semester in a high school journalism class. That, and strong personal ethics which spillover professionally, was sufficient.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 26, 2007 7:38 AM

I agree with you Amy. Iraq was unneccesary, but if you are going to go in, don't sacrifice American troops and do the job daintily. Even in the military, our soldiers have their Right to Life.

However, complaining that Iraq was a sovereign nation is silly. If a regime does not recognize the rights of its own citizens, that regime has no ligitimacy. We have the right, but not the obligation to remove said regime if we deem it necessary. (Casca don't bother, I know where you stand)

Iran is and has been the terror masters for the last 30 years. If they get removed, Syria and Saudi Arabia would be much more accomodating to our demands, or they would know they are next.

Posted by: Jon at March 26, 2007 8:36 AM

Hitchens says there are four conditions by which a country surrenders sovereignty:

1. If it participates in regular aggressions against neighboring states or occupations of their territory;

2. If it violates the letter and spirit of the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and in other words, fools around promiscuously with the illegal acquisition of weapons of mass destruction;

3. If it should violate the Genocide Convention, the signatories to which are obliged without further notice to act either to prevent or punish genocide; and

4. If it plays host to international gangsters, nihilists, terrorists, and jihadists."

The great thing about this list, and I've heard Hitchens deliver it about four times, is the way he presents it as having come from on high, as if it were on a yellow Post-It in Moses' pocket as he was toting the Commandments. But so far as I can tell he pulled it out of is ass.

It's a good list anwyay.

Posted by: Crid at March 26, 2007 9:33 AM

Hitchens says there are four conditions by which a country surrenders sovereignty:

1. If it participates in regular aggressions against neighboring states or occupations of their territory;

2. If it violates the letter and spirit of the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and in other words, fools around promiscuously with the illegal acquisition of weapons of mass destruction;

3. If it should violate the Genocide Convention, the signatories to which are obliged without further notice to act either to prevent or punish genocide; and

4. If it plays host to international gangsters, nihilists, terrorists, and jihadists."

The great thing about this list, and I've heard Hitchens deliver it about four times, is the way he presents it as having come from on high, as if it were on a yellow Post-It in Moses' pocket as he was toting the Commandments. But so far as I can tell he pulled it out of is ass.

It's a good list anwyay.

Posted by: Crid at March 26, 2007 9:37 AM

Hitchens says there are four conditions by which a country surrenders sovereignty:

1. If it participates in regular aggressions against neighboring states or occupations of their territory;

2. If it violates the letter and spirit of the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and in other words, fools around promiscuously with the illegal acquisition of weapons of mass destruction;

3. If it should violate the Genocide Convention, the signatories to which are obliged without further notice to act either to prevent or punish genocide; and

4. If it plays host to international gangsters, nihilists, terrorists, and jihadists."

The great thing about this list, and I've heard him cite it about four times, is the way he presents it as having come from on high, as if it were on a yellow Post-It affixed to the tablets as Moses presented the Commandments. But so far as I can tell he pulled it out of his ass. It's a fabulous rhetorical trick, and I can't wait to try it.

It's a good list anwyay. It doesn't even mention the psychotic sons, Oil-for-food, or the environmental devastation.

> Casca, being insulting doesn't
> win you points.

WHAT??!!

Did everybody else know about this but me?

Posted by: Crid at March 26, 2007 9:46 AM

Sorry, sick network

Demented commenter, sick network

Posted by: CRid at March 26, 2007 10:31 AM

> Casca, being insulting doesn't
> win you points.

WHAT??!!

Did everybody else know about this but me?

It depends upon the points being scored. There are logical debating points, to which insults don't count.

But really clever insults can add style points. Those above largely fail on that count, though, this bit appealed to me: emptyheaded quickdraw speedreading shitheads

I have to say that Casca's little attack on Amy as being a stupid conspiracy theorist reflects what I can only assume is a willful misreading of her. But then again, Casca appears to have a direct line to the one and only universal truth, so perhaps he knows something I don't.

Hitch's list is a good one - but part of the reason he gets away with such rhetorical tricks is that he's such a skilled rhetorician. Course, it also is tailor-made to support the Iraq position that has pissed off most of his old fellow-travelers...

Posted by: justin case at March 26, 2007 10:36 AM

Yep, "speedreading" was deft

Posted by: Crid at March 26, 2007 11:10 AM

Hitch's list is just pragmatic concretes.

If you agree that a government gains its legitimacy from the consent of the governed, you don't need some checklist to see if he is killing too many people (genocide) or if he attacks his neighbors or if he recognizes the Geneva conventions.

By that standard, the founding father should have recognized the sovereignty of the British over the colonies as the Brits did not abuse that list.

But by objective standards, only a government that recognizes and protects individual rights can have legitimate sovereignty over an area.

So the founders correctly threw off the yoke of the British who did not fully recognize individual rights. However, if the founders intended to institue Sharia, the revolution would have been illigitimate.

Posted by: Jon at March 26, 2007 11:46 AM

From Cathy's column on Dennis Miller's CNBC show, talking about the press conference when it premiered:

He had a preemptive crack ready for those who complain that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. "I wish there was a country called al Qaeda and we could have started the war there," Miller said, "but there wasn't. And Hussein and his punk sons were just unlucky enough to draw the Wonka ticket in the a**hole lottery."

You can't get much clearer than that. And indeed the air of disapproval among the assembled reporters was so thick that even a couple of Bush haters in the room later told me they thought it was a bit much...

She also talks about pissing off Howard Stern, which I'd forgotten about!

Posted by: Jim Treacher at March 26, 2007 12:23 PM

Speaking of Hitch, his recent post on Slate is a good one: http://www.slate.com/id/2162656/

Posted by: justin case at March 26, 2007 1:45 PM

Casca, you are such an easy mark. Ramble on.

Brian,

Robert Spencer is a good authority on religions, but lacks field experience. A bit too heavy on the direct approach of 'the clash of civilizations' though. It stems from his connections to the religious right.

I would recommend the writings of Bat Ye'or and Ibn Warraq. These 2 critics were raised in the Middle East and argue through a secular humanist point of view. If you haven't heard of them.

Bat Ye'or was known for popularizing the term dhimmitude, but it was originally started by the late Bachir Gemayel of Lebanon.

Bat Ye'or's site:
http://www.dhimmi.org/

Posted by: Joe at March 26, 2007 3:43 PM

Heard of Bat Ye'or, haven't read directly. Also haven't read directly Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but I intend to.

And even at that, they still come to largely the same conclusions - if Islam does not do something about the Islamists, then Islam will die.

Islam needs a Martin Luther. However, unlike the Catholics, the Islamists aren't shy about decapitating their critics rather than merely excommunicating them. Kinda hard to reform a religion if you're sans head.

Posted by: brian at March 26, 2007 4:12 PM

apparently not speaking English any more.

I'm going to go drink.

See you all tomorrow.

Posted by: brian at March 26, 2007 4:13 PM

Well, there are secularists within Islam and the Middle East.

There is one particular religious movement within Islam that has potential, called 'The Qu'ran Alone' schism. They want to reform Islam, by eliminating the Hadiths from a holy texts. Here are the various Qu'ran Alone movements within the Middle East and the West:

1. Bazm-e-Tolu-e-Islam (Resurgence of Islam) Pakistani movement that only supports certain Hadiths that will back up the verses of the Qu'ran, but it is open for interpretation on the individual believer.
2. The Ahle Qur'an, they rely completely on the verses of the Qur'an alone. The spiritual value of the holy verses outweighs the hadiths.
3. United Submitters International (a bit cultish), they do not even label themselves Muslim or Islamic in any of their references. Their founder Rashad Khalifa* coined the phrase: "the Qur'an, the whole Qur'an, and nothing but the Qur'an." USI believes that Judaism, Christianity and Islam will merge as a complete unitary faith devoted to the submission of one god. In the 1990s, a dissident group broke away from the USI and labeled themselves the Dissident Submitters.
4. Non-organised Qur'anic Muslims, they believe the hadiths are irrelevent and reject future messengers of god.

They are also known as: Qur'aniyyun or Qu'ranites (used as an insult by Hadith believing Shias/Sunnis), Anti-Hadith Muslims and Qu'ranic Muslims. Also, the various leaders of the Qu'ran Alone movement have recieved their fair share of fatwas by various clerics through out the Middle East.

It isn't a perfect form of religious inspired secularism, but it is a start.


***Rashad Khalifa was killed in 1990. Stabbed 29 times and his body was lit on fire. No was ever convicted of the murder, but the leading suspect was a James Williams. (a member of the Jamaat ul-Fuqra terrorist group) He was convicted of conspiracy to the murder. On the day of Williams sentencing, he disappeared.

There is a slight Al Qaeda connection to the murder too. Wadih el-Hage was also mentioned as a possible conspirator to the murder of Khalifa. Wadih el-Hage is serving a life sentence for his involvement of the A. Q. inspired African Embassy bombings in 1998.

Posted by: Joe at March 26, 2007 5:26 PM

Myself, I'm still waiting to read Casca explain why Walter Reed was in fact 'not that bad,' (his words) and why Dragon Skin is in not better than the armor issued to our troops. Not expecting a precise, technically nuanced reply, but hey. Anyone who makes Crid On the Middle East seem thoughtful and reasonable, adds a little leaven to our Amy dough.

Amy, the fembots are almost ready - green eyes, or blue? Or blue-green?

Joe, always a pleasure to read your well-informed comments.

Posted by: Cat brother at March 26, 2007 6:45 PM

People can tell that secretly you like me.

Posted by: Crid at March 26, 2007 7:20 PM

Hey Crid - just rethinking the sovereignty thing. Perhaps a more important point is that a tyranny is an objective threat not only to its own people but to *ALL* nations. So any nation had the right to dipose Saddam, given that they are not a worse tyranny.
For example, we would be morally right in overthrowing the the regime in Sudan. The only question is should we.

Brian - Martin Luther radicalized Christianity, not modernized it. He attacked the church for not being escetic enough. He attacked the church for being too worldly. A far cry from today's Lutherans 400 years later, but that is another discussion.

What Islam needs is their Thomas Aquinas, Abelard, Siger etc.

Bat Ye'or, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan need more support.

Posted by: Jon at March 27, 2007 4:58 AM

=__=

Posted by: Malcolm at April 23, 2008 3:57 AM

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