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Asleep at the switch, or killing flies with a hammer?
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Those, essentially, are the questions about radical Islam which divide the West according to Tony Blankley:
Watching (and participating in) the intense Iraq War and War on Terror debate both in the United States and in Europe — and the politics that flows from it, a sense of futility is increasingly hard to resist. Our nation and Europe seem to have hardened in their divisions on those topics.

It would appear that the great divide in both public opinion and between politicians is not Republican-Democrat, liberal-conservative, pro or anti-Bush, or even pro or anti-war (or, in Europe: pro-or anti-American). Rather, the great divide is between those, such as me, who believe that the rise of radical Islam poses an existential threat to Western Civilization; and those who believe it is a nuisance, if, episodically, a very dangerous nuisance.
I don't think there is any question that there are portions of the Western population which are quite content to call any threat from radical Islam grossly overblown. In fact, we, as a country, pretty much treated it as a nuisance for over a decade. Then we were rudely slapped awake on the morning of 9/11/01. I find it difficult, given that occurrence, to believe anyone could argue that radical Islam isn't an existential threat to our form of civilization given its stated and oft verbalized goals.

To me the only question remains how large is the threat in reality? But when a movement takes out 3,000 people in a single morning, it has moved well beyond nuisance stage.

Blankley outlines the two arguments, beginning with the nuisance argument:
For those in the latter category, the great thrust of modern history exemplified in Francis Fukuyama's concept of "The End of History" continues onward. The great secular triumph of (more or less) free markets, a world economy, democracy, individual rights, socialized economic security, and their management by merit-based technocrats will be an inevitable continuity in human affairs. The episodic terrorist violence, so far killing far less people than die in car crashes or from lung cancer each year, does not justify re-ordering our social priorities. It does not justify any significant intrusions into civil liberties. It does not justify a major shift of tax revenues from social spending to war and homeland security programs. It certainly does not justify fighting wars on the other side of the world that kill and grievously wound painful numbers of American and European soldiers — and even greater numbers of local residents in the war zones.
The counter-points should be obvious. "The "secular triumph" is endangered in much of Europe by an aggressive and spreading Islam brought by a flood of immigrants (and with a significant portion of that immigrant population then being radicalized). What is also obvious (Spain) is that their efforts don't have to kill great numbers of people to have a far-reaching effect. And if you're interested in a terrifying glimpse of what the future may hold in Europe, read this.

On the other hand, the argument for confronting (and defeating) radical Islam goes like this:
For those of us who support the great struggle against radical Islam, the world reality could not be plainer. The threat of radical Islam is not merely a few thousand terrorists using small explosives to kill a few dozen people at a time — usually in the faraway Middle East. Rather, it is an historic recrudescence of a violent, conquering old tradition of Islam that almost overwhelmed the world from the Seventh Century until as recently as the 17th century. It is radicalizing the minds of increasing numbers of the world's 1.4 billion Muslims to be very aggressive culturally, as well as violent — from Africa to Indonesia, to Cairo to Ankara, to Paris, to Rotterdam to London to Falls Church, Va.

Funded by Saudi petro-dollars, it is capable of acting on a worldwide scale and will eventually get its hands on biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. While it probably will not be able to find sufficient unity to form a caliphate, it clearly has the capacity and intent to create violent chaos, to wreak digital havoc on our computer-based world economy and to intimidate western governments to give up the very values and methods that have made our civilization so vibrant and free. Free speech in Europe is already being curtailed to protect radical Islam from even verbal criticism. The flying Imams' lawsuit attempts to intimidate American citizens from even reporting possible terrorist activity to the authorities. Iran's nuclear ambitions are being appeased. How dare the media call it "Bush's War on Terror"? It's our war — and it was started by the radical Islamists — not by us. Where will it all stop?
I've highlighted what I consider the key line. Will a Caliphate, per se, every actually exist? Most likely not. At least not in corporeal form. But it certainly doesn't preclude the existence of a virtual Caliphate if, as noted, radical Islamists can subvert our laws and successfully limit our freedoms as they advance their ends. Cultural subversion is victory to the radicals. And fear and our own systems are their weapons. What most of us who believe this to be true cannot understand is how the other side can deny this.
To us, no fair and objective assessment of the state of radical Islam can deny these implications. One must not see the denouement of the Iraq War outside that context. To those who disagree with our view of reality, we are quite ready to impute anything from ignorance, to willful ignorance, to moral cowardice to treason. Those who disagree with us find our alarmism as noxious as we find their willful blindness to reality.
That is where the Western world is at the moment, a divided civilization faced with a united, determined and radicalized enemy (well at least that's how it appears to those of us falling on one side of the debate). that takes us to the inevitable conclusion which Blankley articulates quite well:
Thus, while others and I will continue to make our case in public, it seems probably inevitable that the correctness or incorrectness of our views will only become persuasive to the multitude when history teaches its cruel, unavoidable lessons. It was ever thus, which is why history is strewed with broken nations and civilizations that couldn't read the writing on the wall. Of course, it is also strewed with sad hulks of false predictors of doom.
Frankly, I'd love to be saddled with the sobriquet of "false predictor of doom" in this case. But, just as frankly, I don't think that will be the case. I have to wonder if it will take the subversion of a country in Europe before we'll finally see the West wake up as a whole and face this real and growing existential threat.
 
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Frankly, I’d love to be saddled with the sobriquet of "false predictor of doom" in this case. But, just as frankly, I don’t think that will be the case. I have to wonder if it will take the subversion of a country in Europe before we’ll finally see the West wake up as a whole and face this real and growing existential threat
At this point, I doubt even a state-sponsored terror nuke in a major American city would wake anyone up who already isn’t.

Just get more "ITS BUSH’S FAULT" crapola out of it
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I wonder how many of those who consider radical Islam to be a mere nuisance - despite all the evidence to the contrary - are absolutely convinced that global warming is the biggest threat to life - despite all the lack of - or contradictory - evidence.

I think the difference is between those who grasp reality and those who don’t.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
That is where the Western world is at the moment, a divided civilization faced with a united, determined and radicalized enemy
I’ve highlighted where you are completely wrong. The Islamic world is divided between Shi’ite and Sunni, between traditionalists, modernists and a small number of radicals/extremists.

To somehow assert that there is some kind of unified Islamic threat is utterly and completely baseless, and reeks of fear mongering when rationality is needed. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t facing a real threat – my blog entry today sounds an alarm that we are indeed facing a major challenge. However, trying to simplify the situation by raising the specter of some kind of unified radical Islam is dangerously off base, and appeals more to emotion than to reason. The only way to handle the challenges we face is to recognize the divisions within the Islamic world, as well as the transition its going through, and recognize that treating this as some kind of major clash will only increase our vulnerability. And anyone who thinks that Europeans aren’t treating the issue of integration of Muslim immigrants in their societies seriously simply isn’t paying attention to what’s happening in Europe. Also, European Muslims may be the key to helping the Arab states modernize as they develop and promote a modern form of Islam. Sure there are radical Muslim clerics whipping up trouble in Europe. But there are also places like the Grand Mosque in Paris which promotes a moderate form of Islam to counter the radicals. The radicals are a divided minority in the Muslim world.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Sorry, one more thing: I agree with Blankley that they can raise havoc and radical Islam is a threat. Oil and our economy represent our Achilles heal, that’s where they are aiming. The key is not to turn this into a ’clash of civilization’ with some romantic defense of the West against a villified Islamic world based on images from the past. Because if we go down that route, our way of life is probably doomed.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The key is not to turn this into a ’clash of civilization’
Er yeah.....except that is probably what this really is.

Denial doesn’t help the situation.

You also bring up a strawman about how radical islam isn’t unified. There you are DEAD wrong pal. Oh sure, radical Sunni, Shiite, Wahabi, all have their differences. But they’re certainly united in their hatred of and war against the west, the jews, the great satan, etc. Sure, they would turn on and savage each other for supreme control at the end of the day, but the day isn’t ended yet, so yes, we do face a unified enemy- they are united in trying to destroy us.

Scott, are you pushing willful blindness or deliberate obfuscation?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Islam is not at the root of Sweden’s problem. The problem is the Swedes are not rooting enough. The country is getting old. It needs immigration to survive and the biggest source of immigrants come from Muslim countries. Eventually the majority of Swedes will no longer be the blond nordic Venus you see in Tourism posters. It’s Sweeden’s bad luck Islam is an aggressive religion.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
My question is not whether radical Islam is a threat. That is obvious. The question is how big of a threat, and what to do about it? Do you need to invade Iraq to protect us from terrorists? Do we need the PATRIOT act and warrantless wiretaps to protect us from terrorists? Do we need to live in constant fear?

I think the tactics our government takes is more likely to create a police state than stop terrorism. Government is great at taking freedom, but not really all that good at protecting people. Just as generals tend to prepare for the most recent war, not the next war, government tends to try to protect us from the most recent uncovered plot, not future ones. Did they ask us to remove our shoes to fly before Richard Reid? Did they ban liquids before the plot in Britain? And all the supposed safety controls they’ve added don’t change the fact that they quite often fail to catch GUNS coming through security when they’re tested...

I think we need to take a long look at radical Islam and terrorism. But relying on government security gives you nothing more than a false sense of security. Yet it’s guaranteed to restrict your freedom. That’s what gives me fits.
 
Written By: Brad Warbiany
URL: http://thelibertypapers.org/

Scott, are you pushing willful blindness or deliberate obfuscation?


I think your approach is based on illusion and emotion. You need to research and educate yourself about the true state of politics in the Mideast, the nature of how the Islamic faith is understood and practiced by most Muslims, the limited appeal of extremism, and the fact that extremists already fight each other more than they are worried about us. You also need to come to grips with how Iraq proves the limited capacity of military power to provide any kind of ’victory,’ and in fact how it plays into the hands of those extremists who can leverage their limited appeal to much greater effect when we help out like we have been.

Bluntly: you’re being played by the extremists who want to arouse the kind of reaction you promote. You are being used as a tool, even though you think you’re standing up against them. Wake up! There is a real threat — if there wasn’t, I’d just brush you aside as another person caught up in the emotion of fantasizing some kind of romantic defense of the West. But there is a threat, and your kind of approach is precisely what will weaken our capacity to resist. I’m serious. the issue is not whether radical Islam is a threat or nuisance — it’s a threat. That’s why we have to understand it and deal with it correctly and realistically.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Prof Erb, There may or may not be a unified Islamist threat. Most of us recognize the schisms in Islam (Sunni/Shi’ite)but we also recognize that they will cooperate to achieve a primary goal. Shi’ite Iran is providing assistance to Sunni Iraq. While the radicals may represent a minority in the Muslim world their numbers are not insignificant. I’ve read that the radicalized Muslims represent about 10% of the total. Consider that Indonesia has a population of 190 million and Pakistan 160 million and you see the numbers confronting the free world. Add in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc, and the financing provided by Iran and Saudi Arabia and you begin to see the scope of the threat. When you also understand that perhaps as much as 30% of additional Muslims, while not radicalized, are sympathetic to the goals of radical Islam you can see the threat is not insignificant. HotAir has an interesting poll that they just posted. I know there are similar ones such as the Pew poll.
McQ provided a link to Islam Watch, a site by former Muslims, and that site has a link in the left sidebar to videos. I would recommend viewing some of those videos. Also, there is a documentary out called Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. If you have the opportunity to view that you should. Many campus’ are blacklisting this from being shown on campus even though it is the recipient of "winner-Best feature film, 2005 Liberty Film Festival. Special Jury Award, Houston Worldfest 2006 International Film Festival. Official selection Newport Beach Film Festival. Perhaps Professor Erb, as a member of the education establishment, can inform us why the universities fight the showing of this film on campus. I believe this reluctance to allow criticism of Islam certainly swells the ranks of those that believe radical Islam is not a threat.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
I have to wonder if it will take the subversion of a country in Europe before we’ll finally see the West wake up as a whole and face this real and growing existential threat
.


Shark is right. If you want to know how the Left will react to the next attack, look at how they reacted to the last ones. After 9/11, they ignored the terrorists’ own explanations of their motivations and explained to us that that root cause was the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

After the next major attack the terrorists will once again clearly explain the radical jihadist ideology that motivates them, and liberals and Democrats will stand up on TV and explain that the root cause is George Bush, the Iraq war, and the fact that OBL funds day care centers in the Third World and the US does not (see: Senator Patty Murray).

Look at how Spain reacted to the Madrid train bombings as the template for the Reid/Pelosi response to the next attack.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I believe this reluctance to allow criticism of Islam certainly swells the ranks of those that believe radical Islam is not a threat.
Again, my point is that while it is a threat, we have to be realistic about the nature of the threat and how to counter it. One thing about videos — it’s edited what is there and what is not, and often these play to emotions. Showing examples of radical Islam doesn’t really say much about the real scope of the threat. Note as well that the Pew poll really shows that European Muslims are far more liberal than non-European Muslims, which is a very good sign. Still, yes, there is a threat, and the threat is multifaceted, touching issues of economics and oil as well as terrorism.

But I guess the question really gets down to specifics: what is the best response of the West and of the US?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"I think we need to take a long look at radical Islam and terrorism. But relying on government security gives you nothing more than a false sense of security."

I think we need to do a little more than look.
What other security do you suggest we rely on?

"the limited appeal of extremism,"

Fascism and Communism had limited appeal, too. Not to worry, eh?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Professor Erb says:
Note as well that the Pew poll really shows that European Muslims are far more liberal than non-European Muslims, which is a very good sign.
Agreed. but I’m of the opinion that European Muslims were predisposed to the belief prior to arriving in Europe. That is why they left their Muslim homes. I don’t think Europe altered their beliefs. In fact I think Europe is radicalizing their Muslim populations more than if they had remained in their homelands. I believe that is the result of the multiculturalism that Fjordman highlights about Sweden.
But I guess the question really gets down to specifics: what is the best response of the West and of the US?
There are several approrriate and effective responses. I think one of the best is to insist that we follow contitutional law and not submnt to things like the Minneapolis taxi drivers, or Target store clerks that refuse to scan pork items or, as in Seattle, separate swinning times for Muslim won=men in swimming pools that receive federal funds. Hopefully the "flying Imans case will be laughed out of court.
One thing about videos — it’s edited what is there and what is not, and often these play to emotions.
The same coud be said for the mainstream media. Should we disregard all media reposts?
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
My typing is really bad today. Sorry.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Agreed. but I’m of the opinion that European Muslims were predisposed to the belief prior to arriving in Europe. That is why they left their Muslim homes. I don’t think Europe altered their beliefs. In fact I think Europe is radicalizing their Muslim populations more than if they had remained in their homelands. I believe that is the result of the multiculturalism that Fjordman highlights about Sweden.
I disagree that their views led them to leave; they went to Europe mostly for economic reasons or to flee violence. Positive views about the west, respect for women, etc., almost certainly were a result of their experience in Europe. Also most European and American Muslims have a distinctly modern approach to their religion. There are subcultures of radicalism, and especially with the emotion of the Iraq war, this appeals to the youth. That’s a problem and Europe knows it. Why do you think Chirac was so against the Iraq war? It’s not just that he knew what might happened, but he also knew it could give fodder to radical Muslims trying to prey on young French Muslims.

Europeans are also finally trying to work towards integration of Muslims into European society, but unlike the US, the Europeans a long tradition of ethnic notions of identity. Even progressive Germans I know find it hard to conceive of considering someone who is of Turkish descent — even if they are third generation in Germany and know German culture far better than Turkish — as being German. But they see me a kind of kin since my background is German and I can speak the language — even though I’ve only spent a couple years of my life there. That’s true of pretty much every European country, meaning that immigrants tend to get ghettoized, and that feeds radicalism. Europeans might see the Muslim population up to nearly 10% by 2025, and the key is to make sure radicals are a small minority. They’ll certainly be terror attacks, but it’s not like Europe is going to "be defeated."

I tend to agree with you about taxi drivers, swimming pools, Target, etc. Though I’d probably leave it up to Target to decide what they want to have as store policy. I also agree we have to treat all media reports as only one perspective. So when Time this week reports "Is the Surge Backfiring," I’ll take that info, compare it to what media friendly to the government report, look at media perspectives from other parts of the world, read analyses, and ultimately see any media report as only a bit of evidence.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
BTW, this is an interesting point about how the ’threat’ to Europe may be much less than people think. Most Muslims in Europe just want a good life, after all.

Still, Larsson plays down the real problem — long term demographics, and Europe’s ability to handle more diversity in its population. Also, I don’t doubt for a second that tightly organized groups could still pull off a number of major attacks in the coming years, hoping to goad a response that will increase the popularity of their radical message. I think the Europeans will handle both the short term and long term challenge — shrill alarmists like Melanie Phillips seem out of touch. Also, European birth rates are so low that without immigration European economies are going to shrink.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Wait, wait, wait. So we should be wetting our pants at the exsitential threat of "culturally aggressive muslims"? A virtual caliphate? Does that make it a virtual existential threat? To WoW? Gee, I hope they don’t wreak digital havoc on my class 60 gnome rouge. As for violent chaos, if 9/11 is the best they can do, that’s not very existential so far.

On the other hand if we should be worried about their ablity to intimidate western governments to give up the very values and methods that have made our civilization so vibrant and free, is the patriot act a surrender to Teh Global Jihad? How about The Right’s defences of the erosion of habeus corpus or warantless wiretaps. Chalk those down in the Jihadist’s column.

Fear is their weapon but all of y’all are just not understand how afraid you should be of this terrible, terrible threat?

How large is the threat in reality? Excellent question...Oh no look: cultural subversion. Headscarves, run for the hills.

 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Part of the problem it seems to me, is an effective counterbalance to the radicals.

You’ve got a radical Muslim minority, a broadly peaceful and passive Muslim majority. I think most would agree.

What is needed is a vocal Muslim group every bit as enthusiastic about denouncing the radicals as the radicals are about recruitment and killing.

Until this counterbalance can be found, I’m not sure this problem will go away.




 
Written By: BillB
URL: http://squidly.com
Yeah Retief, I get it the REAL threat is 1600 PA Avenue, and that fellow who has slaughteed several tens of thousands of folks in the name of the Caliphate he’s not nearly the threat...

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Part of the problem it seems to me, is an effective counterbalance to the radicals.

You’ve got a radical Muslim minority, a broadly peaceful and passive Muslim majority. I think most would agree.

What is needed is a vocal Muslim group every bit as enthusiastic about denouncing the radicals as the radicals are about recruitment and killing.

Until this counterbalance can be found, I’m not sure this problem will go away.
And I would argue that as long as western actions, especially the US in Iraq, continue to create anger and anti-Americanism, that kind of vocal denunciation is unlikely to be too widespread. When it seems that Americans are very sensitive to violence against us (or the West) and insensitive about the violence we do to Muslims, then many Muslims will feel like the focus has to be on what America is doing first. If we change our approach, I think it’ll be easier to work with more active Muslim moderates.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
timactual: "I think we need to do a little more than look.
What other security do you suggest we rely on?"


Do you really think most of the security they’re providing will do anything? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do what we can to investigate terrorist organizations. But I am saying that I am unwilling to give up things like habeas corpus and judicial oversight in order to fight terrorism.

I trust that Bush actually has his sights set on foreign terrorists, and that he would only use this awesome power he has claimed in order to catch them. But what scares me is what the next President, or the president three terms down the line, will use that power for. Do you really trust putting that much power in Hillary Clinton’s hands? The ability to spirit away an American citizen by declaring them an enemy combatant, stripping them of of even the rights to fight their detention or status as an enemy combatant in any sort of court?

Do you not think that the forces in this country who want to increase the power of government had the PATRIOT act pretty much written and ready to slam through Congress long before 9/11 came along? How much of it really protects us from terrorists, and how much of it does silly things like allow the government to check your library records?

I’m simply not willing to give up my fundamental liberties in order to fight a war against terrorists that is ill-defined and could go on for the next century. I might consider it, if I had any faith in the competence of government to actually succeed in their mission, but since government can’t tie their own shoes without filling out a dozen forms, I’m not about to entrust my safety in their hands. And I’m certainly not going to give up my rights to do so.

Unfortunately, though, I’m going to have to cut this debate short today. I’m about to hop on a plane and fly to California. Of course, my bottle of award-winning homebrew that I will share with my brother-in-law this weekend has to go into my checked baggage, because god forbid someone think my beer is a bomb as I head through security.
 
Written By: Brad Warbiany
URL: http://thelibertypapers.org/
and then there are those of us who believe that islam-o-facism is about the same level of threat that global warming is and that both have been handled with a level of incompetance that over the long run may very well turn a managable problem into an unmanageable problem.

Those who have studied 4th generation warefare note exactly how we have bawled it up.

http://www.d-n-i.net/lind/lind_4_23_07.htm
 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
Scott,

You are overly optimistic. It’s not as if there were loud cries from moderate Muslims prior to the invasion of Iraq calling for self-control and free thinking within the faith. Most of the Muslim world lives under the thumb of various strongmen. Most Muslim women go from birth to death as virtual slaves. Most Muslim nations, especially the ones without oil, are technologically crippled and collectively speaking, the populations are intellectually retarded. Islam is stunted by the large vocal minority of fundamentalist regressive resurgent Caliphate dreamers within the ranks.

Regards,

Trevor
 
Written By: Trevor
URL: http://willtoexist.com
Funded by Saudi petro-dollars, it is capable of acting on a worldwide scale and will eventually get its hands on biological, chemical and nuclear weapons....How dare the media call it "Bush’s War on Terror"? It’s our war — and it was started by the radical Islamists — not by us.
I’m with the media, this is Bush’s war. His strategy is to be very nice and compliant with the Saudis, who are the enemy. It is a very flawed strategy - they bomb us, we shake their hands and sell them jet planes.
I’ve highlighted what I consider the key line.
What you have highlighted are the aims and ambitions of the terrorists. These are things which cannot easily be harmed, as they occur inside a man’s head. We cannot change them and we should therefore not care to try. Our most viable course of action should be to destroy their capacity to act, that is their funding.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
All war, like diplomacy, is about getting the other guy to change his *mind*.

The problem with Saudi is a quaint little town called Mecca. Bombing Saudi won’t change minds the way that we’d prefer them be changed. Something ought to be done, but in this case military action would be a very bad idea.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
"What is needed is a vocal Muslim group every bit as enthusiastic about denouncing the radicals as the radicals are about recruitment and killing"

Maybe, but it is rather difficult, I imagine, to get enthusiastic about denouncing someone who may kill you for doing so.
 
Written By: stimactual
URL: http://
"Do you not think that the forces in this country who want to increase the power of government had the PATRIOT act pretty much written and ready to slam through Congress long before 9/11 came along?"

I used to, but then I started wearing my AFDB.
 
Written By: stimactual
URL: http://
All war, like diplomacy, is about getting the other guy to change his *mind*.
If the other guy is a fanatic this is very difficult, it is practical to classify Al Qaeda as fanatical. The minds to change are those who are not fanatical, but who act in support of the fanatics. The current strategy is to give the Sauds (who are non-fanatics and do act to support Al Qaeda) everything they ask for and is unlikely to change their mode of operation.

Perhaps there are diplomatic possibilities between kissing their behinds and bombing Mecca that could be tried.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
"Perhaps there are diplomatic possibilities between kissing their behinds and bombing Mecca that could be tried."

I tend to think that the "kissing their behinds" is a bit hyperbolic, but certainly we should do what we possibly can to stop the funding that comes from Saudi. I’m not sure that all of those efforts need to be public, as we’ve seen what happens when "someone" gets even a hint that maybe we’re tracking international money transfers.

I’ve heard enough rants about how we ought to be at war with Saudi to sort of assume that the person saying so *is* talking about bombs. My apologies if I made baseless assumptions.

Different strokes for different folks and all that. In some cases, being a bully is the smartest plan. In others it would be counter-productive. Being pro-military or supportive of the war in Iraq does not mean that a person (me) will see the military as the answer for all problems. I’d like to assume that the fact that the Bush administration isn’t applying the same strategies to all problems doesn’t mean they are doing nothing at all. And since I think it’s likely necessary to take a very back-door, indirect approach to Saudi, I don’t expect to be aware of what is being done since my knowing would mean that the Saudis were every bit as aware.

I think that sometimes this is considered diplomacy... war by other means.

Or maybe it *is* a case of doing very little, one problem at a time, and all that.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
I think you were almost right with: "The problem with Saudi is a quaint little town called Mecca." Add in a whole lot of oil and Saudi does warrant extreme delicacy. War would be way too costly.

But after 5 & a 1/2 years expect some sort of result, instead 28 pages of the 911 report remain classified and the British quash bribery investigations on request and Al Qaeda is in greater operation. Any covert diplomacy that may be occuring is not obviously effective.

The Sauds have no interest in Iraq suceeding, a democracy endangers the neighbouring tyranny. Taking care of the problem in Iraq as a first problem is not possible, it should be handled as part of a wider strategy.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Do you not think that the forces in this country who want to increase the power of government had the PATRIOT act pretty much written and ready to slam through Congress long before 9/11 came along? How much of it really protects us from terrorists, and how much of it does silly things like allow the government to check your library records?
It is similar to Clinton era efforts at a terrorism bill, with the worst parts removed.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I second retief at being wholly unimpressed at the impending threat to world civilization at the prospect of Muslims in Detroit refusing to take passengers with alcohol. It sounds a lot like fundamentalist christians refusing to fill birth control prescriptions - a possible pain in the ass? yeah. Am I in favor of it? Not really. But it’s hard to remember that I’m not in favor of it, because my bullsh*t alarm is pinging through the roof at all the people around me shouting about the existential threat to our civilization.

What this is, is the reincarnation of xenophobia. That’s why the same people that preach about this are the same people that go into hysterics when Mexicans wave the Mexican flag at a parade.

"Culturally aggressive" Muslims will play out according to a balancing, assimilative, series of adaptations, moderations, and compromises, like every other process of cultural blending in the past 400 years. There’s nothing new under the sun. Saudi Arabia is not as rich as us and in no position to madrassize the West.

Of course, to the extent worse-case scenarios are possible, they will come about through alienation and radicalization - and this won’t just come about from the Saudis and the Iranians, though I’m sure they’d love to help, but from the Michelle Malkin culture of suspicion and hostility towards Muslims in general that some people (not accusing McQ of this in any way) vigorously promote. But even in worse case scenarios, those scenarios are worse for American Muslims than for American non-Muslims. Muslims aren’t even going to reach 5% of the American population in 100 years. Tiny minorities do not adapt majorities to them. Tiny miniorties adapt to the majority.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
glasnost

You got us wrong, we want to Westernise Saudi. Get them voting, drinking and letting man-love abound. Stop them beating their women, being ruled by despots and secularise them all. They have more than enough money to resist this by the only way they can, by demonising us. Don’t matter what we do they will demonise us, because if they don’t strongest richest culture wins - and that is us. They know this so we have another 40 years of them "killing their demons" until the oil runs out or less if we Westernise them.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://

 
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