May 26th, 2005

Religious intolerance

In the May 30th issue of the New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg’s “Comment” piece on the Newsweek incident contains the following phrase that caught my eye: We have to be respectful of Muslim sensibilities and Muslim beliefs…

Which brings me to a single, simple question: why? Is it because Islam is a religion? Are all religious beliefs worthy of respect, no matter what they are?

I seem to recall that the Aztecs had a religion that required them to rip the living hearts out of human sacrifices. The Aztecs would undoubtedly have called the belief system that required them to do this a religion, and they would have been correct. The ancient Greeks murdered little girls for similar reasons, as I recall (Iphegenia comes to mind). The Hindus had the quaint custom of requiring widows to be burned alive on their husbands’ funeral pyres. Which brings us to my next point.

Here’s a favorite story of mine (I hope it’s not apocryphal, but it doesn’t really matter if it is):

When General George Napier was governor of Sind province in India in the 1840s, he vigorously enforced the ban on suttee, the practice of throwing a Hindu widow on to the funeral pyre of her husband. A delegation of Brahmins came to him to explain that he must not prohibit the practice at the funeral of a particular maharaja, as it was an important cultural custom.

“If it is your custom to burn a widow alive, please go on,” Napier responded.

“We have a custom in our country that whoever burns a person alive shall be hanged. While you prepare the funeral pyre, my carpenters will be making the gallows to hang all of you. Let us all act according to our customs” The Brahmins thought better of it, and the widow lived.

I actually have nothing against a custom that says that a Koran, or any holy book, shouldn’t be desecrated (leaving aside the question of whether this actually happened at Guantanamo). But I have no problem whatsoever with saying not all customs of a religion, or a culture, need be respected just because they are under the protective penumbra of the words “religion” or “culture.”

I’ll respect those aspects of any religion or culture that are worthy of respect. Those that are not, I do not. How do I make those decisions? I use my sense of what is admirable in human beings–based on, of course, my own culture and my own beliefs, but taking into account certain universal principles of morality: respect for human life, for example, and the right to basic autonomy (both of these principles rule out suttee). One could restate these two principles as the right to “life and liberty.” Sound familiar?

I also have a simple rule about tolerance: it’s fine, but it does not extend to tolerating intolerance. On that score, Islam almost constantly falls short, so Islam’s intolerance is not to be tolerated.

77 Responses to “Religious intolerance”

  1. custom flags Says:

    I have an old flag and I want to learn the best way to store it. I have been looking for info on the blogs and found your post. I enjoyed reading you info…Thanks…custom flags

  2. open365dayz Says:

    Hi #NAME#. Just found your site via baseball. Although I was looking for baseball I was glad i came upon your site. Thanks for the read!

  3. celebrity plastic surgery Says:

    well hello there
    I just visited your blog about celebrity plastic surgery and I like what I see..why not get on over to my site at http://www.medicare-cosmetic-surgery.com and take a look at what I have to say about celebrity plastic surgery

  4. coin stores Says:

    Hi there
    I was totally captivated by your blog page. Kept me wanting to keep on reading more.

    Later
    roosevelt dimes

  5. _banon Says:

    neo-neocon wrote:

    (and why, pray tell, the scare quotes? Do you really think we don’t have an enemy today?)

    No, it’s because I think there is some confusion among us about just who “the enemy” is. Muslims or islamic fundamentalists or islamic fundamentalist terrorists or all terrorists? So I wanted to be all-inclusive, as in ” ‘the enemy’, however he may be defined.”.

    It is fairly clear from the best evidence we have that these practices occurred, but were not routine.

    Ok, to you and Alex I ask, how are we ever going to agree on a definition this word routine?

    I think we can all agree that context is important, so why not start with the report Hertzberg was describing. Let’s say you were one of the prisoners described in the military’s report. You are picked up driving a taxi, then locked in isolation with your hands chained above your head, and over the course of the next several days of interrogation you are repeatedly beaten on the legs.

    (Note: A soldier in the report is quoted as saying the leg beatings were “kind of an accepted thing”.)

    When you start coughing up phlegm and complaining of chest pains, your interrogators laugh at you. Eventually your dead body is discovered hanging from the ceiling.

    Another prisoner was beaten on the legs so hard and so often that after he died his injuries were compared to someone who had been run over by a bus. If you were one of those prisoners, would you consider that “routine” torture? I would. If you wouldn’t I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that point.

    If Hertzberg is going to use a word like “routine,” it is his responsibility to justify it very carefully…

    Fair enough. I can assume he read the report to which he was referring. Have you? What about our responsibility as readers to read the report he was referring to before we start attacking it as unjustified?

    The phrase ["We have to be respectful of Muslim sensibilities and Muslim beliefs..."] was a sloppy one (as was the phrase “routine”).”

    I’m sorry, when taken in context I fail to see how either phrase is “sloppy”, or “intentionally misleading” (as you characterized the latter).

    Rather what I see as obviously sloppy and misleading is your taking those phrases out of context.

    There are all sorts of similar human rights abuses tied to that particular religion. No, they are not universal–and perhaps, to coin a phrase, they are not even routine. But they certainly cannot be considered okay merely because they are part of a religion.

    It amazes me that a point so simple–and to which I’d imagine most people would subscribe–generates so much controversy.

    Not only a simple point but banal as well – who ever said we have to consider human rights abuses ok simply because they are part of a religion? Certainly not Hertzberg (oh right, it’s not about him, I keep forgetting), and sure, you can dig up some paper by a sociologist arguing for multi-culturalism somewhere, but really, so what?

    Who is listening to that sociologist? What kind of a threat is he? Is he sitting on some Senate sub-committe somewhere? Is he sitting in some sort of liberal think tank, planning to whip out that great big idea as some plan for the democrats to take back the white house in ’08?

    Sorry, it’s not the point itself that is generating the controversy here, it’s the way you are making it. It seems you are setting up this sort of army of straw everyliberals who are going all soft on the muslims stoning adulterous women while simultaneously blocking Christians from going to church on Sunday. I may be wrong, but I don’t see US apologists for Islam as being a really big problem at the moment…

    There are presently stonings of women who have committed adultery in certain Moslem countries–Iran, for example.

    I find it really curious that you used Iran in this example, when in my previous post I cited Saudi Arabia, our supposed ally in the War on Terror, as guilty of exactly this type of thing.

    Can you explain that, please?

    (You can go to the State Dept website for more info http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/nea/8296.htm)

    Alex, you wrote:

    I agree that people often take shortcuts in writing, but I also think that most people here consider it self-obvious that many Muslims do not support fundamentalism, and so don’t feel the need to declare it every second.

    I’m not asking for it to be done “every second.” Re-read that post. It’s all like, “Oh, Islam this, Islam that. I can’t think of any other religion that is so inherently cruel.” That should be really irritating for any fair-minded person to read.

    I’m new to this whole blog world though. I guess people just get on here and ramble. I probably shouldn’t take it so seriously…

    abraços,
    Barry

  6. Alex Says:

    E aí banon?

    Thanks for your response. I’ll be brief too. As for “routine” I think that by definition one cannot make a case that torture is routine based on one or two accounts. “Routine” implies habitual. There ought to be many well-documented accounts that Hertzberg can point to, and if there aren’t then he shouldn’t be calling it routine.

    I’m glad that you answered yes to my last question. I agree that people often take shortcuts in writing, but I also think that most people here consider it self-obvious that many Muslims do not support fundamentalism, and so don’t feel the need to declare it every second.

    And do send me an email when you get the chance. I’m curious to hear about your connection to Brazil (are you, in fact, Brazilian?).

    abraço do seu amigão,
    Alex

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    Yes, banon, I’ve moved on to other topics. Mea culpa. But I thought I’d just take a moment to clarify a few things–

    Did you see and read my earlier comment (it’s around number 16 or so)? Please take a look. But to repeat a point I tried to make there–if this post was about Hertzberg, believe me, I’d be writing about Hertzberg. I didn’t write this post to take a subtle swipe at him for sympathizing with “the enemy” (and why, pray tell, the scare quotes? Do you really think we don’t have an enemy today?). If I wanted to take a swipe, it wouldn’t be subtle or hidden. I was reading his piece, and that particular phrase leapt out at me. The phrase was a sloppy one (as was the phrase “routine”). That’s what I intended to write about, not Hertzberg’s politics–which someday I may take a swipe at, by the way. But not in this post.

    I based my criticism of the word “routine” on an entire series of articles I’ve read that go into the subject in great depth. It is fairly clear from the best evidence we have that these practices occurred, but were not routine. If Hertzberg is going to use a word like “routine,” it is his responsibility to justify it very carefully, rather that to just toss it out there, because it is a very inflammatory charge.

    Obviously I was indeed talking about religious intolerance in this post. It’s a pun of sorts–I’m referring both to the idea (seemingly expressed by Hertzberg in that phrase) that we need to tolerate all religious beliefs (an idea with which I’m taking issue), and I’m also introducing the idea that certain religions–Islam prominent among them–are themselves fairly intolerant. Sutee, quite obviously, is not the point–it was put in there as an extreme example of a religious practice that most people would agree is wrong, but that at a certain point was commonplace in India among a certain group, and against which the Brits took a stand and ended up eradicating (and which, by the way, was not an Islamic but rather a Hindu practice–equal opportunity criticism!)

    There are presently stonings of women who have committed adultery in certain Moslem countries–Iran, for example. There are all sorts of similar human rights abuses tied to that particular religion. No, they are not universal–and perhaps, to coin a phrase, they are not even routine. But they certainly cannot be considered okay merely because they are part of a religion.

    It amazes me that a point so simple–and to which I’d imagine most people would subscribe–generates so much controversy.

    Have fun at the park!

  8. _banon Says:

    -Hi Alex, I’m going to try to be brief so I can go to the park and you can get back to the beach:
    : )

    On “routine use of torture”:

    You’ve said that for me to challenge neo-neocon’s attack on H’s use of this phrase I need to “produce something better than a NYT article, based on an internal military investigation, about events that happened two years ago.”

    But can we agree that it doesn’t make any sense for me to defend his use of the word “routine” in any other context? The man never said “The US Military is ROUTINELY torturing ALL prisoners at 2:30 and 7:30 pm Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays.”

    Neo-neocon just implies by taking his statement on that specific case out of context, and then calling it “purposely misleading“. Does that seem fair to you? To determine if his use of “routine” was justified, we can really only read the article he was referring to and then make up our own minds.

    What we are doing is the following: identifying a pernicious belief that a certain very active subset of Muslims adhere to, and condemning it.

    Oh, is THAT what we” are doing? ( I notice neo-neocon has moved on to tsunamis and eye-exams and movie stars already.) So why then do we have to drag Hertzberg into it? If we want to condemn Shariah law, we could start by asking President Bush to talk to his friends in Saudia Arabia, where people are, in fact, routinely punished by flogging, caning, and amputation, and executed by beheading, stoning, or firing squad, all justified by Sharia law.

    In my opinion, I think neo-neocon wasn’t really talking about religious intolerance so much (it’s really a banal point – defending suttee? Oh, please.) She was taking a swipe at Hertzberg (and, by extension, “The Press”) to try to show them as being overly sympathetic to “the enemy.”

    So I’m curious, what exactly are you arguing for ? …suppose, hypothetically, that everyone had prefaced their comments with a “though there are many peace-loving Muslims…” and “though many religions have, at times, incited violence…” Then would you be satisfied?

    Um, yes, actually I would be satisfied. There is nothing wrong with prefacing your comments with a few words to make your point more clearly, is there? There’s nothing wrong with accurately quoting other people in context, is there? Sure, it might take a bit longer to write and the prose might not be as snappy, but still…

    um abraço,
    _banon

  9. Alex Says:

    Porra, banon, você tem razão! Por isso cara eu sai ontem pra uma festa bem foda em São Conrado e fique até as 10 horas da manhã dançando, tomando drogas e dando vários beijinhos… agora acordei e estou indo para praia. Eu acho que a minha vida pode caber de tudo — locura e malandragem mais também discussões bem chatas da internet. Gosto das duas coisas, preciso de balanço. Sabe como é? Então, sim quero ouvir mais de você. Pode responder aqui mesmo ou pelo email: o meu é public (dot) alex (at) gmail (dot) com. Se você quiser responder a minha mensagem acho melhor aqui — para falar do Brasil ou outras coisas, use o email. Tá? Abraço…

  10. _banon Says:

    Hey, thanks Alex! At least I learned something in this forum!

    ; )

    Anyway, I’d be happy to respond to your comment if you are still interested, but it seems like things have cooled off around here a bit. Which is probably not a bad thing.

    Oh by the way, I took a look at your website and PUTAQUEPARIU!!!!! Você mora no Rio????!!! Beleza puuura rapaz!!!!! O apartamento ficou ótimo, cual o bairro? Olha, você tá alí na cidade mais linda do mundo, com 25 anos, bonito, um bom trabalho, é melhor mesmo deixar este papo furado, e vai curtir uma boa praia e vê se não pode arranjar uma gatinha gostosa pra você! A vida é muito curto pra ficar em casa discutindo bobagens com esse grupo de chatos!

    Um abraço forte do
    _banon

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I rarely agree with your comments, but I find them very refreshing and you take on the whole Koran nonsense is spot on.

    Change has to come to the Middle-east and about time too.

    Keep up the fine work,

    from a European from across the Pond :)

  12. Anonymous Says:

    IBC is presently estimating between 22k minimum and 25k maximum, and IBC is used by those on both the left and right for reliable numbers. This article for example reveals why the Lancet study is not taken seriously.

    IBC, by the way, is also tracking deaths in Afghanistan, but at least for now most people even on the left side of the spectrum are indicating they supported intervening in the case of Afghanistan, so perhaps they could explain how they support, therefore, the inevitability of at least some civilian deaths in Afghanistan. (I do recall demonstrations even against intervening in Afghanistan, but those ended after there was a widespread perception of some success such as installing Karzai.) Regardless, most on the left side of the spectrum are supporting Afghanistan now, so perhaps some could explain how they are willing to rationalize the inevitable outcomes in that situaion.

  13. Mark Poling Says:

    Damn, I hate blogger.

    I meant to note that as a good Libertarian, I believe those who manage to get themselves that hosed got what was coming to them. (You were convinced you were and adult when you got that paper, right?)

    The only thing “higher education” has to account for is why it gives degrees to people like you.

  14. Mark Poling Says:

    By the way, I’m not critising higher education per se. I’m criticizing people with degrees who don’t understand that a statistical study that has a 95% CI over a range of 8000 – 194000 tells you exactly bubkus. These are people who got shafted when they got their sheepskin.

  15. Mark Poling Says:

    Actually, IraqBodyCount uses a very good methodology which, as I recall, puts the number somewhere around 30K.

    In other words, at about a third of what the (midpoint, quoted number) Lancet had it at.

    Or, at about 3 times the low end of the Lancet number.

    By the way, I’m not critising higher education per se. I’m criticizing people with degrees who don’t understand that a statistical study that has a 95% CI over a range of 8000 – 194000 tells you exactly bubkus. These are people who got shafted when they got their sheepskin.

    Is any of this sinking in?

    As to reshaping the worlds’ culture through violence, isn’t that what the jihadis are trying to do? What makes them more justified to use this approach than us? And doesn’t history show that it bloody well works?

    Shouldn’t that bother you? Unless you like the thought of Sharia replacing what those awful Europeans wrought with the Enlightenment.

    I know, this all makes your brain hurt.

    Go back to your certitudes, anonymous twit. Its obvious you’ve already been fucked, and not in the good way.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    From the Economist discussion of the Lancet research:

    “It does not, however, mean, as some commentators have argued in response to this study, that figures of 8,000 or 194,000 are as likely as one of 98,000. Quite the contrary. The farther one goes from 98,000, the less likely the figure is.”

    As I pointed out earlier, the low end of the scale is IraqBodyCount. Hence, TENS OF THOUSANDS of preventable deaths.

    omg, not another republican criticizing higher education. i can’t take it. what is it with you guys? fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off.

    On that note, BEST OF LUCK in reshaping the world’s cultures through violence.

    And fuck off.

  17. Goesh Says:

    I would say if it is determined that Iran has turned the corner to making nuclear weapons there will be an air invasion. Those new A22 Raptors will get a real workout, wouldn’t you say, anonymous? You can be a human shield for them – chain yourself to one of the nuke plants and make a real statement for once instead of blathering away anonymously in some blog.

  18. Mark Poling Says:

    Banon, I have found in reading blogs that those who hide behind the word “Anonymous” are generally the most offensive and least intelligent posters. You are right, I could have been more tactful to you, but then again you could have inspected your environment, clicked a little, and found the hidden gem all by yourself.

    I am not saying you are stupid; I am saying there is a passivity on the Left that I find appalling, and you hit a nerve, entirely by accident.

    Earlier in this thread someone quoted the Lancet article estimating civilian casualties at 100,000. That number has been roundly debunked; turns out the authors based their estimates on data taken from a limited number of neighborhoods in Iraqi munincipalities, used a highly suspect method of counting the dead (I seem to recall that at the time the US was paying reparations to relatives of slain civilians, for that matter), and even then had a frickin’ HUGE estimated range of casualties.

    See Slate for a good takedown, although googling “iraq lancet methodological errors” returns a wealth of resources.

    Can you see where sample bias may have crept into the finding here?

    Do you think all the folks — including the editors of Lancet, but of course everyone else who has quoted that number — might have been wise to approach it with some skepticism, especially right before the election?

    If I’m a neocon, I certainly don’t think of myself as a victim; instead I think of myself as someone who fights the good fight against passivity, cultural self-loathing, and all-around creeping anti-intellectualism (ironically enough). I believe the Appeal to Authority is the most dangerous logical fallicy around, and I see it running rampant within the hyper-educated Left. (I’m a college dropout who married a Ph.D. neuroscientist; one of the things that ticks me off about the Lancet study was that it was conducted by a team from the University I dropped out of. I’ve worked on five continents within the Trade Finance industry. I’ve gotten around some, so I think I’m qualified to make that statement.)

    In other words, why the hell should we believe everything we read? Back before I dropped out, Carl Sagan (remember him?) was warning everyone about the “Snowball Earth” problem. Now it goes the other way. Unless it’s switched around again.

    And of course Bjorn Lomborg became a pariah because he has the gall to question conventional wisdom. Because the questions themselves might cause the rubes to wonder about the validity of the entire field of Environmental Science.

    That ain’t the Enlightenment as I understand it.

    So bottom line, friend, I find the Attack on the Neocons (I assume that was you) to be ungrounded in some pretty fundamental ways. My take on the group described as neocon is that most of them got there not by abandoning critical thought, but my finally turning it onto the house that was the conventional wisdom shared by their peergroup, and finding the place had turned into a crack den.

    Or, shorter version: call us fools, but don’t dare call us sheep.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    LOOK ALEX, if Americans REALLY want to DRAG radical islam into the 21st century, you might focus on INVADING more countries in the region and BOMBING more women and CHILDREN while protests surge across the globe. That’ll do the trick.

    Ideally, to send the right message to the world, while the new wars are going on you should all TUNE IN to the evening news and warm to the DIGITAL FLAGS behind your OBJECTIVE journalists. It’s comforting to the rest of the world. Really.

    USA! USA! USA!

  20. Goesh Says:

    We need to focus on the positive here. Great strides have been made. For instance in Jordan a man can get up to 6 months jail time for an honor killing. During the recent elections in Saudi Arabia, though women were not allowed to vote, they were allowed to discuss the election. Most significantly of all, in those countries that still sew up the vagina of young girls to protect family honor and gurantee virginity, anesthetics are starting to be used instead of merely holding the young girl down.
    This goes to show readers of a conservative bent that islam is indeed a religion of peace.

  21. Alex Says:

    Banon,

    It’s hard to demonstrate HTML tags because if I use them in the text of the comment they will be read and converted automatically. So I’ll try this: whenever I write “[" you need to write "< ", and same for "]” and “>”. Got it? To italicize the word “every” you write:

    caps lock makes [i]every[/i] argument more convincing

    To hyperlink the word “answered” you write:

    all your questions will be [a href="http://www.dailykos.com"]answered[/a] here!

    But enough with the lesson. I actually have things to say. And since I think I caught your ear with my last round of comments, I hope you’ll listen to these as well.

    On “routine” – again, just a question of semantics.

    Saying something is a “question of semantics” is another way to say that we’re just arguing about words, we’re actually in agreement. But no, we’re not in agreement at all. Torture is far from routine. If you want to argue otherwise, please produce something better than a NYT article, based on an internal military investigation, about events that happened two years ago.

    Let’s remember there are muslims living everyday in London and Madrid and Detroit and throughout the world who aren’t clamoring for someone to be beheaded if they drop a Koran in a Barnes and Noble… let’s be careful not to throw all Muslims into that fundamentalist basket. But neo-neocon and others commenting here are doing just that.

    Sure, let’s remember this. I remember this. I think most people here remember this. But it’s your last line that threw me off. Are we lumping them together? Who here has lumped them together? I just read neo-neocon’s original post, and there is no reference to the idea that all Muslims, or even most Muslims, believe infidels should die. I don’t have the time to read this thread and verify that no one suggested such a thing, but it certainly seems like it is not the prevailing belief here. We are not doing this “lumping” that you suggest, so please stop accusing us of it (and if you want to accuse, please quote). What we are doing is the following: identifying a pernicious belief that a certain very active subset of Muslims adhere to, and condemning it. What, pray tell, is the problem with this?

    We can then qualify it by saying “Oh, but no Christian country actually DOES that (anymore), it’s what’s in PRACTICE that counts,” but that is a different point altogether.

    It’s a different point, yes, and it is also a more important point. And what about it? You don’t address it. Many people are murdered every day in the name of Islam, many more than in the name of any other religion (or belief system of any kind, perhaps). Again, let’s condemn the acts, and the religious ideologies in whose name they are committed. Do you have a problem with this?

    I’m picking on you, Banon, because in contrast to Caps Lock Anonymous you seem to have the capacity for complex thought, a decent idea of what constitutes supporting evidence, and a tentative willingness to hear the viewpoints of people who disagree with you. And frankly, I’m sick of blog threads that feature one or two trolls making incendiary comments and the rest of everyone pig-piling on them, and nothing getting accomplished but grandstanding and riled emotions. So I’m doing my best to do better.

    So I’m curious, what exactly are you arguing for? You pick apart each point as they come (you’re “lumping”, Christianity has bad rules too, etc.) but suppose, hypothetically, that everyone had prefaced their comments with a “though there are many peace-loving Muslims…” and “though many religions have, at times, incited violence…” Then would you be satisfied? The answer, I’d guess, is no. Well, what then are your substantive problems with the idea of this post, namely that aspects of Islamic belief are indeed horrible and wrong, most especially because they are carried out in practice every day, and that we shouldn’t be shy about saying so?

    I don’t ask this rhetorically; I want to know.

    And one last point. Please stop with the accusations of “snipe snipe, blah blah, ad-hominem attacks and straw-man logic”. First of all, I don’t think it’s true. Second, the surest way of avoiding the issues is to accuse others of avoiding the issues, start an argument about who’s avoiding what, etc. If you want to have a reasonable debate just go ahead and do it, and ignore the people who don’t want to be reasonable. This goes for both sides.

  22. Rachel Says:

    I’ve always liked that suttee story and I’ve thought about it a lot since this whole issue of tolerance for Islam (and only Islam) has taken over the news. If Islam is to be dragged into the 21st Century, by all means let’s criticize its backward practices. Hindus have not only stopped burning widows, but the caste system in India has been abolished. Mormons no longer practice polygamy (except for a few weirdo offshoots). These “modern” concessions came about partly because of outside pressure. Let the criticism begin. And it would be nice if the co-religionists of these Islamic fundamentalists were a little more visible and vocal.

  23. Bryan J Weitzel Says:

    By the way, I have rather a low opinion of most British Medical Journals (even if they are not The Lancet). This article caught my eye today: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/330/7502/1221

    In a nutshell, they want to outlaw kitchen knives.

    I suppose, in twenty years or so, the answer to street hooliganism will be to outlaw plastic spoons.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    USA! USA! USA!

  25. maryatexitzero Says:

    And as I think the means should be proportionate to the ends, I don’t favor going to war over it, in general.

    Of course you don’t favor going to war over the issues of slavery, oppression and genocide. No surprises there.

    There are plenty of Moslem’s who don’t like religious intolerance either – is that so hard to understand?

    I believe I already said that many Muslims oppose fundamentalism and Shariah. Who are you arguing with, anyway?

  26. Bryan J Weitzel Says:

    ALL-CAPS ANONYMOUS,

    You said: “YOU YANKS COULD BE A LITTLE MORE TACTFUL. END OF FUCKING STORY.”

    You know, I’m trying. But you make it extremely difficult. It’s probably in our genes though… after all, most of us are the offspring of the dregs of European society. We ain’t got no manners and such.

  27. Bryan J Weitzel Says:

    Lichanos,

    You said: “Religious intolerance is bad, period. We have plenty of it in the USA, and I actively oppose it.”

    Which religions aren’t tolerated today in the USA? And by whom? The general public is extremely tolerant of virtually every religion. Certain groups don’t like certain other groups but our nation as a while is one of the most tolerant on the planet. You find Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddists, Wicca, Native American, and just plain old weird all living side by side and with virtually no inter-religious violence. Now a case could be made that Christians are not welcome in the Democratic Party… but at least they are not violent about it.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    USA! USA! USA!

  29. Bryan J Weitzel Says:

    CAPS-LOCK ANONYMOUS,

    You said: “POPE JOHN PAUL used not just his bully pulpit but the full political machinery of the Vatican to try to stop what he saw as an act that did not meet the Christian definition of “just war”"

    The Pope’s job is to try to find peaceful solutions. The President’s job is to act in the best interest of the United States. I’m a Catholic. In this matter I agreed more with President Bush than I did with the Pope.

    With regard to the Downing Street Memo; I would hope that every President considering war would first consult with their closest allies. How would it have looked if President Bush, upon going before Congress to ask for an authorization for the use of force, is asked what our closest allies, the British, think of it, and Bush responds “I don’t know. I haven’t talked to them yet.”

    You said: “UN resolutions aren’t terribly convincing, given that the UN Security Council wasn’t on board.”

    UN resolutions weren’t terribly convincing to Saddam either given that any time he violated the conditions of one of the resolutions the UN just passed another resolution.

    You said: “According to a study released in fall 2004 by the British medical journal The Lancet, about 100,000 civilians are likely dead because of the coalition military action.”

    The Lancet study’s headline figure of “100,000″ excess deaths is a probabilistic projection from a small number of reported deaths – most of them from aerial weaponry – in a sample of 988 households to the entire Iraqi population. Also, the authors clearly state that “many” of the dead in their sample may have been combatants.

    If you want to blame somebody for the war, blame Diplomats in general and the UN specifically. Every war is the failure of Diplomacy. Saddam Hussein could have been dealt with 8 years ago if the UN had had any balls. How many lives would have been saved? You want to assign blame for civilian deaths? What about blaming the foreign “insurgants” who are blowing them up?

    I don’t know if you are American, British or some other nationality. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. But terrorism has been a problem in this world for a long time and very few people have ever tried to do anything about it. My first experience with it was in 1982 when I was in London for the first time. The IRA decided to blow up a parade. The next time I was in Britain they blew up the financial district. The time after that it was a mall in Manchester. Until 9/11/01 I was of the opinion “I don’t know how they live like that, but hey it’s their country.” Well now it’s here. And I don’t want to live like that. Europe can do whatever the hell it wants with itself but don’t ask Americans to join you as your society crumbles around you. And don’t bring it here.

    :: flag waving ::

    USA USA USA

  30. Anonymous Says:

    YOU YANKS COULD BE A LITTLE MORE TACTFUL. END OF FUCKING STORY.

  31. Lichanos Says:

    maryatexitzero:

    Religious intolerance is bad, period. We have plenty of it in the USA, and I actively oppose it. I deplore it in other countries. I can’t do too much about it because I don’t live there, and I don’t think the USA should make that the basis of foreign policy.

    You ask:

    “Can anyone tell us why we should tolerate apartheid Shariah laws? ”

    Well, we shouldn’t. Not here in the USA. Just as we shouldn’t tolerate female genital mutilation. And we can do a lot to oppose it in other countries, but we rarely do, unless it matches our geopolitical interests. And as I think the means should be proportionate to the ends, I don’t favor going to war over it, in general.

    Regarding the comment:

    “There are some commenters like Banon who are offering criticism, but none who address the issue of the post, religious intolerance.”

    The point Banon was making is that Neo-neocon and many of her fans don’t care to examine their own notions of intolerance. They favor it at home, as long as it’s not directed at them, they see it everywhere else where they see people who are different than they are; they lack any curiosity about the facts of other cultures, so they feel free to assume that the worst aspects of, say, modern Islam, are therefore the essence of it.

    There are plenty of Moslem’s who don’t like religious intolerance either – is that so hard to understand? It just so happens that at this time in history, some who favor it, when they’re in power, are our enemies. Of course, 15 years ago, in Afghanistan, they were our friends…oh well, a minor detail.

  32. notherbob2 Says:

    I recognize “Annonymous” (A) and can provide some background for those who might care. A has isolated himself in a land foreign to his birth to get away from what he perceived as overwhelming cultural pressure (family?, marketplace?). He is using the comment portion of the internet to “negotiate” his way back to society by contacting people of the “right” persuasion. Except that he cannot find any. He suspects that he has an extreme liberal bias, but is powerless to expiate it except by losing arguments with other neo con bloggers and commenters – and, frustration of frustrations, he always wins these encounters! But he knows in his heart that he is not right. We all observe how he doesn’t really listen and process the information he is freely given. Which is why he remains in his liberal trap despite his superhuman attempts to break out. A rare, sad case. Before you condemn him, ask yourself: what if I suspected that conservatism was really wrong and that liberalism was right and could only find my way out of the trap by losing encounters with liberals? Would I always win encounters with liberals and therefore be trapped forever? Think about it.

  33. Anonymous Says:

    After he was ignored, the pope continued to strongly oppose what he saw as a dangerous escalation in tension between the Islamic and Christian worlds. “War must never be allowed to divide the religions of the world,” he said
    - from LA Times

  34. maryatexitzero Says:

    There are some commenters like Banon who are offering criticism, but none who address the issue of the post, religious intolerance.

    Intolerance is not just encouraged by apartheid Shariah laws, it’s required.

    Can anyone tell us why we should tolerate apartheid Shariah laws?

    Millions of people have recently died as a result of those laws. Can anyone tell us why we should tolerate more years of Islamist-imposed slaughter and slavery?

  35. Bryan J Weitzel Says:

    Banon,

    You said: “(I presume) we are talking about people living those unfortunate countries where Sharia law has been implemented (Iraq was not one of them – I believe Sharia courts were allowed in some areas, but they were not the “official courts” of the state), so let’s be careful not to throw all Muslims into that fundamentalist basket.”

    I would differ with you. While not ALL Muslims have a great desire to live under Sharia law, there are movements to make it so. Just yesterday, the legislature in Quebec passed a motion against allowing the sharia to be used in the legal system.

    “The application of sharia in Canada is part of a strategy to isolate the Muslim community, so it will submit to an archaic vision of Islam,” Fatima Houda-Pepin, a Liberal member of the legislature, said as she introduced the motion against use of the Islamic law.

    See New Sisyphus for more information.

  36. Lichanos Says:

    Banon:

    Nice to read your comments. I swore I wouldn’t waste anymore time on the Yahoos at this site, but I had some downtime and got curious.

    Your summary of the rhetorical devices of most commenters here:

    “…besides a culture of victimhood, ad-hominem attacks and straw-man logic, it seems the neocon movement has also adopted the dreaded post-modern “deconstructionism”…”

    is exactly correct. I advise you to visit here and comment only in the spirit of idle entertainment or cultural anthropology. Neo-neocon and her fans have no interest in discussing facts in order to move closer to truth. They wish only to vent their spleen. Your citation of Bible mandates for death sentences is a perfect example: After reading neo-necon’s fatuous remark I was wondering if anyone would pick up on it.

    Carry on, Banon, but don’t let the @&%#$ get you down!

  37. Anonymous Says:

    POPE JOHN PAUL used not just his bully pulpit but the full political machinery of the Vatican to try to stop what he saw as an act that did not meet the Christian definition of “just war” — and was rather “a defeat for humanity.”

    “War cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good, except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict conditions, without ignoring the consequences for the civilian population both during and after the military operations,” POPE JOHN PAUL proclaimed on Jan. 13, 2003, even as he was sending his emissaries to Iraq, the U.S. and the United Nations to lobby for peaceful negotiations. “War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations.”
    - from LA Times

    So, hmm, “rushed to war” is probably the wrong phrase. It’s more like, “eager for war”: downing street memo. The memo is July 2002, the invasion began in March 2003.

    UN resolutions aren’t terribly convincing, given that the UN Security Council wasn’t on board.

    According to a study released in fall 2004 by the British medical journal The Lancet, about 100,000 civilians are likely dead because of the coalition military action. It’s ballpark. IraqBodyCount.net uses media-verifiable stats, so is low. The truth is somewhere inbetween.

    Time to wave a flag! USA! USA! USA!

  38. maryatexitzero Says:

    I presume) we are talking about people living those unfortunate countries where Sharia law has been implemented (Iraq was not one of them – I believe Sharia courts were allowed in some areas, but they were not the “official courts” of the state), so let’s be careful not to throw all Muslims into that fundamentalist basket.

    If you’re talking about countries where Sharia law has been implemented, you’d be talking about the Sudan, where more than one million people died after a civil war that was prompted by the establishment of Shariah law.

    ..and you’d be talking about Darfur where:

    “A preventable humanitarian crisis, affecting more than two million people, is raging… Not since the Rwanda genocide of 1994 has the world seen such a calculated campaign of slaughter, rape, starvation and displacement. Government-backed militias, known collectively as the Janjaweed, are systematically eliminating entire communities of African tribal farmers. Villages are being razed, women and girls raped and branded, men and boys murdered, and food and water supplies targeted and destroyed. Victims report that government air strikes frequently precede militia raids.”

    The janjaweed were trained by Saudi-financed al Qaeda. Al Qaeda’s goal, like most Saudi sponsored terrorist groups, is to establish a Caliphate based on apartheid pro-slavery Shariah laws.

    Saudi Arabia is another Shariah state, with apartheid laws that are more severe than those of the Deobandi Taliban.

    Sharia laws also rule Iran, where more than 80% of the population would be happy to get out the hammer and saw and hang the ruling billionaire Mullahs, if they could.

    There’s a lot of Muslims in that fundamentalist basket. Most probably don’t want to be there, and millions have died or been enslaved by Shariah laws, and millions more who would be happy to hang the terrorists and mullahs who impose Shariah, but enough about that. Guantanamo is the real atrocity, isn’t it? It’s a gulag!

    And what about that plastic turkey.
    Where’s the outrage?

  39. Banon Says:

    Mark (accidentally Anon) Poling said…

    One of the Anon:

    (Note there are several of us posting here as anonymous – sorry but i can’t be bothered to come up with a login and all that)

    Click other. Type Name. Click Publish.

    Dumb as rocks…

    Banon says:

    Thanks for the tip. You’re right, that was easy! Sorry but I guess I was too focused on *THE ISSUES* to trouble with that. You could’ve been nicer about it though. Anybody care to tell me how to use html tags?

  40. Mark (accidentally Anon) Poling Says:

    That was embarrasing….

  41. Anonymous Says:

    One of the Anon:

    (Note there are several of us posting here as anonymous – sorry but i can’t be bothered to come up with a login and all that)

    Click other. Type Name. Click Publish.

    Dumb as rocks…

  42. Anonymous Says:

    Parse, parse, parse. Snipe, snipe, snipe.

    “I really like the phrase…”

    “They must be from some country that didn’t get enough Foreign Aid…”

    “I really had to laugh over all the Christians that are killing people these days…”

    “Definition of sovereign is self-governing…”

    “…general assumption that the Crusades were some kind of dreadful European crime.”

    Blah, blah blah.

    Besides a culture of victimhood, ad-hominem attacks and straw-man logic, it seems the neocon movement has also adopted the dreaded post-modern “deconstructionism.” (That’s where the exact meaning of words rests exclusively in the mind of the reader.)

    Stick to the point(s) people. Remember, you guys are in power now, no need to get so worked up. Relax, take a walk, enjoy the reality you are creating. Then come back and respond to the issues.

    To “Alex”: Thanks for your reasonable reply. (It came while I was writing the above.)

    But please, when someone writes something like “Oh, Islam is so barbaric! I can’t think of another religion that would give the death penalty for blasphemy!” how is one supposed to respond to that? That was an assertion. I corrected her misperception. Sure, I had to sift through the “rule books” – but where else am I going to look when arguing theology? Isn’t that fair discourse?

    We can then qualify it by saying “Oh, but no Christian country actually DOES that (anymore), it’s what’s in PRACTICE that counts,” but that is a different point altogether.

    Let’s remember there are muslims living everyday in London and Madrid and Detroit and throughout the world who aren’t clamoring for someone to be beheaded if they drop a Koran in a Barnes and Noble.

    (I presume) we are talking about people living those unfortunate countries where Sharia law has been implemented (Iraq was not one of them – I believe Sharia courts were allowed in some areas, but they were not the “official courts” of the state), so let’s be careful not to throw all Muslims into that fundamentalist basket. But neo-neocon and others commenting here are doing just that. And I think we can all agree, no matter what one thinks of the administrations prosecution of the war on terror, that this only undermines the US cause.

    On “routine” – again, just a question of semantics. But anyway, read the NY Times article to which Hertzberg was referring (it was to a specific report on 2 specific cases – not about US military prisons overall) and tell me if the abuse described matches any common definition of “routine”.

    And let’s change my name. As you can imagine I don’t much like “Christian website anonymous” ; )

    —Banon

  43. Bryan J Weitzel Says:

    CAPS-LOCK ANONYMOUS,

    You said: “America RUSHED to murder TENS OF THOUSANDS of INNOCENT PEOPLE in an UNJUST WAR.”

    I will assume that you are speaking of Iraq here. If instead you mean Afghanistan then you are even more of an idiot than I thought you were.

    Let’s take a look at what has happened with regard to Iraq. On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait in order to get control of the northern oil fields and greater access to the Persian Gulf. By August 6, he had 11 divisions in Kuwait and poised to move on Saudi Arabia.

    The Saudis appealed for help and the world responded. On January 16, 1991, the coalition began the air campaign against Iraq and on February 24, the ground war began.

    On February 28, 1991 President Bush (the elder) called a ceasefire. In addition to the terms of the ceasefire, the UN passed United Nations Security Council Resolutions 660, 661, 662, 664 ,665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674, 677, 678, 687, 688, and 949. Over the course of 11 years, Saddam repeatedly violated the terms of the cease fire and took agressive actions against his own people and coalition forces. He had demonstrated the will to use WMDs and the desire to reacquire them. He forced the weapons inspectors to abandon their mission in 1998.

    With this information, how can you contend that the United States RUSHED to war, or that the war was UNJUST.

    As to your claim that the United States has murdered TENS OF THOUSANDS of INNOCENT PEOPLE, where is the evidence of that? Is it evidenced in our reluctance to bomb a mosque even when it is being used as a firebase? Are all of these carbombs being detonated by Americans? Where are your figures?

    According to IraqBodyCount.com, between 21,795 and 24,735 Iraqi civilians have been killed since hostilites resumed… from all causes. The vast majority of those deaths were caused by the so-called insurgents. So we are not responsible for TENS OF THOUSANDS of deaths.

    Finally, those civilians who did die at the hands of the United States were not MURDERED. They were unfortunate deaths but the United States is more conciencious than any other nation on the planet with regard to its attempts to limit civilian causualties.

    Do you have any other worthless claims with which to cast the United States in a bad light?

  44. Anonymous Says:

    Lear:

    “No, no, no life! Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, and thou no breath at all? Thou’lt come no more, never, never, never, never, never!”

    There were many funerals in Iraq, maryatexitzero. It was a preventable war, and unprovoked. Your country committed a terrible crime and the history will be written by many cultures.

    Full caps indicate OUTRAGE.

  45. Alex Says:

    Several responses for Christian-website Anonymous (who thankfully posted his or her dissenting opinions in such a way that one can reasonably respond to them):

    First, I’d suggest that, despite neo-neocon’s emphasis on it, comparing official doctrines is not very relevant here. Much more relevant is comparing common practices. It’s like how all those states have ridiculous brothel laws still on the books: fun factoids to dig up, but essentially irrelevant. The fact that one has to sift through the rule books to find a Christian anti-apostasy law is telling. No one needs to do that with Islam, since evidence of its grisly practice is in the headlines every single day. And in the end, it’s practice that matters.

    (Related note: abortion bombings generally aren’t a response to perceived apostasy, but perceived murder.)

    OK so then we start talking about how Webster’s defines “routine”, or getting referred to articles about people defending female genital mutilation, etc. Everything except addressing the problem, which as Hertzberg wearily pointed out, “is torture and abuse, not dubiously sourced reports of torture and abuse…”

    Actually, I think that a word like “routine” is in fact extremely important here. It’s a sad fact, but no one, American or not, is ever going to be able to run a large-scale military operation involving tens of thousands of people and maintain zero abuse. Human beings can be cruel, and the US gov’t does not have complete control over the actions of all of the people working under its name. In this context, the relevant question is indeed whether abuses are routine, systematic, and condoned by authority (which would be extremely bad) or if they are rare, the initiative of individuals, and punished whenever discovered (the best we can hope for, in my opinion).

    Right now the evidence points strongly to the latter. Writers like Hertzberg are getting their information, after all, from internal military reports on these abuses, presumably conducted with an eye to stopping them and punishing those responsible (which is already happening). Yet by using “routine,” Hertzberg writes as if we’re clearly in the former world. This seems very wrong.

    Confidential to Other Anonymous: caps lock isn’t helping your case.

  46. maryatexitzero Says:

    Anonymous – you forgot your surname. The proper appellation is anonymous coward.

    So, 9/11 was a coordinated attack against SYMBOLS

    My uncle, retired FDNY, spent a month attending the funerals of those symbols. For a long time, the streets of Manhattan were clouded with the smoke from thousands of symbols’ burning bodies.

    You say “America RUSHED to murder TENS OF THOUSANDS of INNOCENT PEOPLE in an UNJUST WAR”

    I hate to be a critic, but you really haven’t used enough Chomsky/Guardian inspired lies and cliches here. Couldn’t you have thrown in a Bush=Hitler and a few accusations of racism and imperialism?

    If you choose to do this standard troll dance for us, you could at least put some effort into it.

  47. Anonymous Says:

    9/11 was a coordinated attack against SYMBOLS, the largest MASS MEDIA event ever experienced. The visibility IS the significant dimension.

    Death? Are you kidding? America RUSHED to murder TENS OF THOUSANDS of INNOCENT PEOPLE in an UNJUST WAR.

  48. Sebastian Says:

    Ray Zacek;

    Yeah. I know I’m not really adding anything to the debate with that sort of thing. Mea culpa. I should always wait at least a half hour after reading something to respond to it.

  49. Ray Zacek Says:

    Sebastian, I agree with you but I’d admonish you not to descend to the same level of vituperation and invective as that pathologically leftist nihilist.

  50. Anonymous Says:

    That anonymous poster must be from a nation that didn’t get as much US tax-paid foreign aid as they were wanting. Pretty typical bitterness and jealousy I think. I really had to laugh over all the Christians that are killing people these days according to the bible code. I wish the other anonymous poster would tell us where she or he is from. Anonymous American.

  51. Sebastian Says:

    And since there appear to be several anonymi (probably not a word, but what the heck), I’m only addressing the comments of the useless crapweasel ‘anonymous’, not the other ones. Apologies for any confusion.

  52. Sebastian Says:

    I particularly like the phrase “catastrophically ego-spanking” because it perfectly captures the attitude of the worthless shitfucks who see ‘chastisement’ in the world trade center attacks and the murder of the people in those buildings and on those planes. It’s almost humorous, right? In this person’s sick worldview it’s always the US’s ‘ego’ that was attacked, never US citizens who were murdered; always our ‘self-image’ that is threatened, never our actual physical existence; always ‘the towers’ that were destroyed, never the people in them. Fuck you, anonymous. I have as much respect for that shit as for people who talk about murdering ‘towelheads’. I have to believe there’s a middle ground for reasonable people between bigots and amoral shits like ‘anonymous’.

    Sorry for the language.

  53. Anonymous Says:

    neo-neocon:

    (Note there are several of us posting here as anonymous – sorry but i can’t be bothered to come up with a login and all that)

    By heartily “fisking” (? not familiar with that word) the article you are missing the point. You parse the thing for a word here and there so you can say “ah-HA! Liberal Bias!”

    OK so then we start talking about how Webster’s defines “routine”, or getting referred to articles about people defending female genital mutilation, etc. Everything except addressing the problem, which as Hertzberg wearily pointed out, “is torture and abuse, not dubiously sourced reports of torture and abuse…”

    But I can see that isn’t going to be talked about here in this forum, at all, ever.

    (It might be worth posting a link to the full article. I doubt it, but anway: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/050530ta_talk_hertzberg)

    I was reading a little more of your blog and I see you too have been obsessed with the Newsweek fiasco. I am really amazed at how you neocons, in the ascendancy of your power, have so actively embraced a culture of victimhood that you despise in others.

    I mean, you have the executive and the legistlative branches in the palm of your hand. You now have a free hand to nominate whoever you want to the lower courts, and you must have no doubt that Bush will nominate at least two more Scalia/Thomas “mini-me’s” to the Supreme Court, then you will have the judicial branch wrapped up for the next generation at least.

    So why all the whining? Why the constant sense of being “under siege” by the so-called “Liberal Elite”? What kind of evil influence on the 3 branches of government you control do you think the NY Times has or Newsweek or The Washington Post? The neocons said it themselves, they create the reality now, the rest of us just try to play catch up. Is it because you won’t be satisified until everybody thinks like you? 100% neocon majorities in all three branches? No problematic little “independent press” to bother with?

    But I digress.

    The topic of torture and abuse aside, I am really suprised to read this in your comment:

    “Islam is a religion that happens to have a great number of human rights violations embedded within it, such as, for example, death as a penalty for apostasy. ***I can’t offhand think of another religion with that particular dictate.***”

    To that I reply:

    According to a Christian website, the Bible lists the following as capital crimes:

    1. Murder. Ex. xxi. 12-14, cf. I. Ki. i. 50; ii. 28.

    2. Murder by a Vicious Animal. Ex. xxi. 28-32.

    3. Kidnaping. Ex. xxi. 16; Deut. xxiv. 7.

    4. Idolatry. Deut. xiii. 1-18.

    5. Blasphemy. Lev. xxiv. 10-16.

    6. False Prophesying. Deut. xviii. 20-22.

    7. Witchcraft. Lev. xx. 27.

    8. Adultery. Deut. xxii. 13-22.

    9. Rape of Betrothed or Married Woman. Deut. xxii. 23-29.

    10. Whoredom. Deut. xxii. 13-21; Lev. xxi. 9.

    11. Incest. Lev. xx. 11, 12, 14.

    12. Sodomy. Lev. xx. 13.

    13. Bestiality. Lev. xx. 15, 16.

    14. Smiting or Cursing a Parent. Ex. xxi. 15, 17.

    15. Stubborn Rebellion against Father. Deut. xxi. 18-21.

    16. Rebellion against the Judges. Deut. xvii. 8-13.

    17. Swearing Away a Man’s Life. Deut. xix. 16-21.

    (source: http://www.christianlibrary.org)

    So there. Death penalty for blasphemy is in the Bible. “BUT” you say, “THAT can’t happen here!” well maybe not. But don’t think Islam has a lock on violent religious fanatics in modern times. Remember the clinic bombings in the 80′s and 90′s?

    Who was it that said “Let he among us who is without sin cast the first stone”?

    And Bush claimed Christ as his favorite political philosopher. Give me a break.

  54. Bryan J Weitzel Says:

    Annonymous,

    Ooh, ooh… you know what we could do? Let’s do Afghanistan AND Iraq… maybe influence Lebanon a little… scare the crap outta Syria (after all, thanks to the Left we’ve already got a reputation of being trigger happy cowboys)… give Kuwait a nudge in the right direction… try to convince Saudi Arabia to at least try to make some progress.

    And I’ll tell you this for free: if the US is ever on the receiving end of another ego-spanking attack you’d better hope it didn’t come from you or anybody you are harboring. As Admiral Yamamoto so wisely forsaw: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

  55. Anonymous Says:

    ATTENTION WEAK NATIONS: If America suffers a catastrophically ego-spanking attack on its homeland, it will race to war and murder tens of thousands of men, women and children in an opportunistic attack.

    Time to wave a flag! USA! USA! USA!

    If the point is to build a model modern state in the middle east, why not stick to Afghanistan? 5th poorest country in the world, formerly led by the Taliban, home base of Al Queda, DESPERATELY in need of education and infrastructure. $4.1 BILLION dollars a MONTH would go a long way there.

    http://www.naebunny.net/~mommylemur/archives/solidrockchurchjesus.html

  56. Goesh Says:

    ATTENTION: To all of you who drive on the wrong side of the road: I and my fellow/sister Americans will continue to be your ally and friend, we will contiue to do business with you, we will continue to visit your nations and we will try to drive slowly and carefully as tourists spending our money there, and we will continue to buy your products that are sold here. I personally promise to take a bus if and when I visit your nation and not drive. If on the other hand you crash airplanes into our buildings or blow up our embassies we will kill you. We will also kill your enablers if it is deemed necessary and we certainly will go after any and all financial assets you have and we will not stop until we deem it safe to stop. It is really quite that simple, alot like driving a car, regardless of which side of the road one drives on.

  57. Neo Says:

    So what kind of political, cultural or moral breakdown allows for public money to support displays of Piss Christ.

  58. Anonymous Says:

    Goesh, you were part of the Vietnam disaster and you haven’t learned a goddamn thing.

    Time to wave a flag! USA! USA! USA!

    THERE ARE STILL SOME COUNTRIES WHERE PEOPLE DRIVE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE STREET! WHAT THE HELL IS AMERICA GOING TO DO ABOUT THAT?

  59. sygamel Says:

    anonymous: we are a country…which invaded a sovereign Muslim country

    Funny, the definition of sovereign is self-governing…if you can explain how, in any way shape or form, the Iraqi people had a collective say in the shape of their government, I’d defer immediately on the sovereignty argument.

  60. Goesh Says:

    I just read on MSN where in Pakistan a homicide bomber killed 20 Shia at a shrine of theirs while they were reading from Al Qur’an. The article called the murderer a suicide bomber, which suggests in a way that everyone who died had wanted to die and the bomber was just helping them out. Why have everyone strap on a bomb when one will do the trick, eh? I think this fits in with the general category of religious intolerance and the Liberal left’s inability to come to grips with it. First off, the killer uses the bomb as an admission ticket, a new beginning with Allah for him and it is a ticket to the fires of hell for the wicked. Quick and easy. This twisted notion of suicide only demonstrates cultural bias and misunderstanding on our part, in particular the Left. Obviously if these Shia weren’t living in terrible sin by being Shia, they wouldn’t have to be sent to hell. What the hell don’t we understand about that? How long will it take before Lutherans and Catholics learn to resolve their differences in this manner?

  61. robert aldridge Says:

    Anonymous mentions Bush’s reference to the “crusades”. There seems to be a general assumption that the Crusades were some kind of dreadful European crime. Have I got it wrong? That part of the middle east was part of the Roman empire, which then became Christian. It was then threatened by the Moslems, and Europeans tried to prevent that happening – and failed. I personally don’t see anything wrong with what we did (except the conduct of the wars – which probably was not too unusual for those days); it seems that once again, the Moslem version of history – the Crusades were unprovoked aggression by the war-mongering West – has become the accepted view.

  62. neo-neocon Says:

    Anoynmous–it’s always a good idea, I think, to demonstrate at least a modicum of tact when you’re asking it from others.

    As far as Hertzberg goes, much of his article could be heartily fisked. Phrases such as, “routine use of torture” [italics mine] are incorrect and misleading. Hertzberg should know better than to use words so sloppily; he is renowned as a stylist, so I assume he’s being purposely misleading rather than careless.

    But I didn’t write this post to discuss Hertzberg per se–I may do that in another post. I wrote it to fasten on the meaning of a particular phrase he used. It’s not really about Hertzberg at all, it’s about an attitude some people exhibit that says that a religion (except, or course, for Christianity or Judaism) or a culture (unless, of course, a Western culture) cannot be criticized, period.

    There are many Western apologists for female genital mutilation in the name of respect for the culture of the practitioners (see this article for a discussion). I have little doubt that, were suttee still in practice today, there would be those defending it on the same grounds. Islam is a religion that happens to have a great number of human rights violations embedded within it, such as, for example, death as a penalty for apostasy. I can’t offhand think of another religion with that particular dictate.

    Islam happens to be a religion that not only has an unusual number of intolerant (and therefore not to be respected) beliefs and rules on the books, but which actually enforces a great many of those intolerant beliefs and rules.

  63. sammy small Says:

    Well said Neo. Very simply stated and concise.

    I had to check for a full moon tonight based on some of the comments left on this thread. I guess it goes to show that when you write A, some people read B. Could it be some readers use cognitive dyslexia to prevent cognitive dissonance?

  64. steve Says:

    It is one thing to condemn a particular practice, or even a particular sect, and quite another to condemn entire religion as broad, varied and as venerable as Islam.

    The issue is not whether we respect the sensibilities of terrorists, the issue is whether is respecting our own principles and sensibilities.
    And respecting religions is one of those, even if we don’t respect all the practices involved in it.

    Suttee may have been an abmonination, but there was and is alot in Hinduism to respect.

  65. Goesh Says:

    You’re right anonymous, I should try to enlist again in the Marines. Even though it’s been 36 years since I was in the bush in nam, I could drive a truck hauling supplies or cook or something. I can afford a face lift and I think I’m in good enough shape to pass the physical. Let’s see – excellant BP, good cholestrol, not on any medication, got all my teeth and hair, no allergies, I exercise alot, 20/40 vision…. Got any suggestions where I can get a fake birth certificate and drivers license and high school diploma? Why didn’t I think of this before? Dumb me – you’re right, anonymous, it is time to act and not talk and face up to the fact that these fanatics not only want me dead, they want my children and grandchildren dead and our way of life ended.

  66. Anonymous Says:

    Goesh, there’s a place for people like you:

    http://www.goarmy.com/life/basic/index.jsp

    Recruitment’s down. Your country needs you. Do it. You can shoot the bastards yourself and watch them die.

  67. Anonymous Says:

    YEAH, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.

  68. Goesh Says:

    I think the mindset that riots and kills people over a story that some paper in book form was flushed down a toilet warrants intolerance and coercive action to prevent its spread. I think adherents that don’t speak out and condemn what their fanatics do in the name of their religion warrant strong suspicion and profiling. I think enemy combatants that are not in uniform and are engaged in trying to kill our troops are not covered by the geneva conventions and sure the hell have no Constitutional protection. Lastly, I think the menace of fundamental Islam is as insidious as the nazism and militarism of the Japanese of WW2 and the total war concept applied back then should be applied where and when we engage these muslim fanatics.

  69. Anonymous Says:

    YOU YANKS COULD BE A LITTLE MORE TACTFUL. END OF FUCKING STORY.

  70. Huan Says:

    What passes for tolerance these days is actually moral relativism and appeasement. It is “i’ll let you act as you please as long as you don’t bother me, or remind me of it.”

  71. Anonymous Says:

    That line may have caught your eye, but read further and I think you’ll find he answered your question. It might help to post the whole paragraph:

    “We have to be respectful of Muslim sensibilities and Muslim beliefs, and the surest way to do that is to be respectful of our own. Otherwise, we’ll do worse than simply forfeit any hope of support from alienated potential allies in the Muslim world, like Imran Khan. We’ll lose sight of what we’re fighting for, and, little by little, become the mirror of what we’re fighting against.”

    I don’t think you’ll find Mr. Herzberg condoning clitorectomies or wife-burning, which is where your argument seems to head. He was just making a point about “hearts and minds”. And you must admit that in the case of Iraq this element is not “fatuous” at all, it is crucial.

    Plus, we are not fighting Aztecs or Ancient Greeks or Hindus, we are a country with a born-again Christian as our Commander-in-Chief which invaded a sovereign Muslim country, which is fraught with historical implications. (Remember Bush was even calling it a “Crusade” and they got him to stop that real quick.) We may not think much about history over here, but you can bet there are Muslims who do. The terrorists in Madrid aren’t talking about toppling the conservative government in favor of the socialists – they are talking about restoring Al Andalus, which existed on the Iberian Peninsula in like the freaking 800s.

    Anyway, WHO is talking here about the U.S. standing by while women get thrown on funeral pyres?

    I wonder why a simple line about respect for religious beliefs provoked an indignant comment from you and not the many lines in the same article about the torture and KILLINGS of Afghanis that their American “interrogators” KNEW to be innocent?

    What is happening to us?

  72. Randall Says:

    What I find interesting is that the need to “respect” religious beliefs applies only to non-western religions. It seems to be acceptable to disrespect western religious beliefs (chiefly Christianity). Imagine the ridicule that would be heaped upon protesters objecting to showing “disrespect” for the New Testament.

  73. fred Says:

    Unless I haven’t been paying attention, the silence from organizations such as NOW on the major improvements in women’s rights in Afghanistan, Iraq, small steps in Kuwait, and a few other places in Islam (as a direct result of U.S. military action) is staggering — reeking of a warped mindset in which being anti-George W. Bush trumps everything else.

  74. Juno Says:

    It is popular now for people to say they will only focus on love and light and tolerance.

    It never made any sense to me. If they saw a child about to be hit by a car, wouldn’t they sprint to save it? If they saw someone about to be beaten or murdered, wouldn’t they intervene?

    How can someone’s spiritual and philosophical beliefs stray that far from their normal physical actions?

    Thank you for your insightful post. I look forward to more.

  75. Bookworm Says:

    Absolutely excellent post, going straight to the fatuousness behind our “we must protect Muslim sensibitilies at all costs” mentality.

  76. Goesh Says:

    It is about impossible not to be sarcastic over a religion that fosters honor killings, clitorectomy, the notion that paradise is gained by murdering unarmed combatants via homicide bombs and regards women essentially as property of men.

  77. sygamel Says:

    It is important that you wrote “I’ll respect those aspects of any religion or culture that are worthy of respect,” because I think too many Americans are tossing out the religion in whole cloth, whereas others like Hertzberg assumedly, accept it without scrutiny. Great post.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>








Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge